Tag Archives: smallpox

Vaccine Reminiscenses

By Marvin Ross

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.