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Many people have questioned vaccines, and some have even stated that the need for vaccines  is all hype created by drug companies to make money. However, CDC reports that,” some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines.”[1] An example of this is polio. Paralytic polio may attack the spinal cord, brain stem or both, causing paralysis and affecting breathing and heart function.[2] Survivors of polio experience new symptoms later in life. This may include fatigue, difficulty breathing or swallowing, muscles or joint pain and muscle weakness. I have lived all my life with a family member who experienced polio because there was no vaccine available, and who has lived with scoliosis as a result.  I would personally never want to deny anyone a vaccine that could prevent this condition from occurring. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States. Smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots because the disease does not exist. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States.[3]

What many people believe is that if there is not an epidemic there is no need to get vaccinated.  In 2010 the U.S. had over 21,000 cases of whooping cough reported and 26 deaths — most in children younger than 6 months. There has also been a resurgence of measles in our country.

Children are not the only ones not getting properly vaccinated. Adults are also having this issue. A new study found current adult vaccination rates in the country are “unacceptably low.” Adults need to consider being vaccinated for pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis, shingles and whooping cough.  In 2011, there were 37,000 cases of invasive pneumonia in the United States, and most of the 4,000 people who died from the illness were over the age of 50. In 2012, 9,300 adults were diagnosed with whooping cough out of a total of 42,000 cases. “When the source is identified, four out of five babies who got whooping cough caught it from someone in the home, a parent, sister, brother, grandparent or babysitter,” he said. “These are just examples of why adult vaccines are critical to the public health of our country.”[4]

Adults need to talk with their health care provider about vaccines. Just like other preventative measures vaccines can help prevent disease transmission. They are part of doing things to help ensure a healthy and long life.

 



[1] 5 important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child. CDC http://www.cdc.gov/media/matte/2011/04_childvaccination.pdf

[2] What Are the Effects of Polio Virus? eHow.com. http://www.ehow.com/facts_5672659_effects-polio-virus_.html#ixzz2JTm4Kcha

[3] Ibid CDC

[4] Beasley, David More US Adults Need Vaccines and Not Just for Flu. Jan 29th 2013 Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/usa-health-vaccine-idUSL1N0AY9BR20130129