The reason? The previous year, her husband had developed a frightening serious of symptoms that turned out to be Bell's Palsy. It was, they learned, a well-established and well-documented, albeit rare, reaction to vaccination in some people.
I do not believe that public vaccination is the cause of widespread autism in this country, as a notable group of parents (and some celebrities) believe. The fact that so many parents believe so and are not vaccinating their kids is almost certainly the reason we are facing a mild outbreak of measles right now. My kids were of course vaccinated against all those various illnesses, as are most school age kids today.
|A right of passage for Geezers in their youth.|
These days, we treat these illnesses as though they are bubonic plague, and I wonder, really, if biologically we are doing ourselves any favor by preventing our bodies from going through them. I wonder if our kids are perhaps too tender and might actually be sturdier if their bodies had fought through the routine illnesses we all did as kids. Among my working staff, I'm frequently struck by how some young workers have so little stamina and grit when it comes to working through minor problems. They are so unused to physical malady of any kind that a simple headache can utterly incapacitate them.
A difficult question. A physician friend pointed out that back in the day a certain percentage of measles victims died or developed very serious conditions when they had the illness—far more as a percentage than those today who have serious reactions to vaccinations. As a matter of overall statistical public health, vaccinations make sense. And I do recall as a kid that there were friends for whom chicken pox was so severe as to leave them with permanent scarring. And would you suggest, my friend asked, that people should also fight their way through small pox if that disease were to crop up again?
And as was also pointed out, it's not clear what Geezer conditions might be related to those childhood illnesses we all went through. What if we find out that heart valve problems, Alzheimer's disease, or other serious maladies are long-term consequences of our having had measles or mumps as kids? The jury is simply not in on such possibilities.
But I have to question the current hysteria that wants to force parents into vaccinating their kids. Liberal though I am, I do not think this is the kind of thing government can mandate. Nor do I think it is a catastrophic public health crisis if a dozen cases of measles pops up here and there. I have also heard enough compelling anecdotal stories of kids who developed frightening symptoms after vaccination, including sudden autistic like symptoms, to discount the possibility that this might occur in a few people. Parents should have the right, I think, to weigh those potential merits and risks and decide for themselves, even if their fears seem a little wacky by community standards.
I've an argument that suggests that, since we mandate things like wearing seatbelts or using child car seats, we also have a right to mandate vaccination. I'm uneasy about drawing such a parallel, since it feels like a slippery slope to begin forcing medical treatment on people.
At my last routine medical checkup, my doctor suggested that I'm at an age where I might want to consider a shingles vaccination. I'm finding this a harder decision than you might imagine.