Category Archives: vaccination

For the Sake of Society, Focus on Recent not Ancient History

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Perhaps in High School the curriculum should discard all ancient history, the dreary lives of Mesopotamians, the bible stories, the British Empire, the kings of this country and that country, and instead focus on recent history. The realities of recent history. How we lived and what we knew, and didn’t know, with special emphasis on the last 100 years.

I know for most teenagers, surviving and living in the present is paramount. They have little use for things that don’t seem to impact their own lives at this moment. But we could try.

And we could try to preserve that history and keep it visible. Perhaps in front of the city hall we should do away with statues of old queens and put up instead reminders of the epidemics of polio, measles, small pox, pertussis, chicken pox, the things and luxuries people didn’t have a mere 75 years ago, methods of communication and ways of living.

The names of wealthy donors now take the place of the names of pioneers of yesterday. In Hamilton the Henderson Hospital is now the Juravinski. Nora Henderson was a local pioneer in maternal, prenatal and perinatal care. At the time, in this rich part of the world, the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates were equal to those of present day poorest African nations. We should not forget this.

Over the past 150 years there have been many eureka moments in the advancement of medicine and the maintenance of health. Dramatic discoveries with incontrovertible evidence that something works. To name a few: treatment for some cancers, antibiotics, clean water supply separated from sewage, fluoridating water, iodizing salt, and vaccinations, with vaccinations being perhaps the biggest and broadest reaching discovery of them all. (the discovery that dead or attenuated viruses and bacteria can provoke our immune systems to prevent the same live viruses and bacteria from harming us).

And there have been remarkable improvements in the treatment of many chronic conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, AIDS, some leukemias, hepatitis, serious mental illness, seizure disorders, trauma and injury….

All of these improvements have been the product of science and medicine, not homeopathy or naturopathy.

Dramatic eureka moments have become scarce. More often today medicine struggles with the equations of early detection, invasive treatment, the balance of positive effects vs negative effects of intervention, genetics and life style: e.g lowering blood pressure by a few points by engaging in the right amount and kind of exercise, losing an inch of waist size, to salt or not to salt food, and which is best at which age: two to four alcohol drinks per day or none? vs. taking pills to lower blood pressure.

My left knee is a candidate for replacement, or, or, I could keep my weight down and ride my bicycle almost every day.

For the first time in a century the children born today in North America do not have longer life expectancy than their parents. Some suggest this may actually decrease. The causes for this are obesity, life style, social determinants of health (poverty), addictions, and increase in suicide rate. And, even more dramatically, if the trend continues, the cause of much lower life expectancy for the babies born today will be the anti-science and anti-vaccination attitudes.

Right at this moment nurses and doctors are using a vaccine developed in Canada to stop the spread of Ebola, a disease that has the potential of spreading world wide and causing the kind of population decimation previously caused by the black plague and small pox.

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Vaccine Reminiscenses

By Marvin Ross

Iron_Lung_Photo_cropped_small
Polio victims in iron lungs courtesy of google

I hate to do the old man thing of “when I was a kid” but I’ve just seen another study demonstrating that vaccinations don’t cause autism. That was followed by a report in my local paper that a 7 week old baby almost died from whooping cough before she could get her shot because so many are not vaccinated.

No end of studies showing the lack of connection between vaccines and autism will convince these dumb sods nor will heart wrenching stories of cute little kids almost dying from old diseases. That is where the old man thing comes in. These morons need to go back in time to when I was a little kid.

Just about every one of us got measles, mumps, chicken pox and German measles. I missed German measles but got all the others. They were bad but there were always houses in our neighbourhoods with quarantine signs for scarlet fever and whooping cough.

And that wasn’t even the worst. There was polio! Hot summers resulted in polio epidemics where mothers’ would not let us go to the beach or to the annual Canadian National Exhibition at the end of August. Returning to school in September often found classmates missing – dead, wearing huge braces on their legs from the weakened muscles of a polio attack, or in hospitals in iron lungs so they could breathe.

Then a miracle happened. Jonas Salk came up with a vaccine which was followed by an oral concoction so no one had to get a needle. Polio left and is now only in some very poor third world countries. The same for smallpox which was declared eradicated in 1980 as the result of a World Health Organization (WHO) immunization campaign.

When I first went to Europe, it was mandatory to show proof of having had a smallpox vaccination and it was not unusual to see people with vaccination scars on their arms. This is no longer needed thanks to the WHO. As an aside, when I first went to Europe, you could not drink the water or at least it was suggested you don’t. Then, thanks to the right wing Ontario government of Mike Harris and the removal of regulations, people in Walkerton, Ontario got ill and some died from e-coli in the water supply back in 2000.

And then there is the water supply in Flint Michigan.

If only we could send those anti-vaccine parents back in time so they could see a world before most vaccines were around.  I can’t think of anything that would convince them.

After drafting all of this, I came across a report of a 6 year old in Oregon who had been vaccinated for nothing and developed tetanus. This is what happened to him:

The child had to be sedated. A tracheostomy was performed so that he could be put on a mechanical ventilator to help him breath. He remained on the ventilator for more than five weeks. Because of the pain caused by the spasms, he required muscle relaxants as well as drugs to stabilize his blood pressure in addition to the medications to counter the tetanus toxins.

The boy spent 54 days in hospital — 47 of them in intensive care.

The bill for the hospital care came to $811,929, and that didn’t include the cost of the air ambulance, the stay in the rehabilitation facility, or follow-up care that was needed.

The parents should have been charged with failure to provide the necessities of life to their son and made to reimburse whoever paid for all that care. If parents are charged criminally and sent a bill for the needless services, more might actually vaccinate. But then again, probably they still would not.