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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Should you vaccinate?

May 8, 2019
By PENNY HIGGINS (Special to The Eagle) , Pine Island Eagle

Remember the "good old days________? (you fill in the blank). Many of us have fond memories of the past. Others may not because they or someone they loved experienced a serious health problem caused by a contagious disease.

Margot Smith in "Life Before Vaccines" writes: "I was a child in the 30s. It was a time when parents simply said 'Go out and play' and we did. Out games were hopscotch, kick the can, jacks, tag, jump rope, and hide and seek. We were supposed to come home at twilight, before dark. The milkman, bakery truck, and iceman delivered to our doors. We felt safe in our neighborhoods.

"But my parents were fearful of epidemics. At school in first through 8th grades I had classmates who suffered from scarlet fever, mumps, measles, German measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. I had rubella and had to stay in bed for several days in a darkened room. They thought light was bad for sick children's eyes. Several of these diseases required the family to put a quarantine sign in their door. Their children missed a lot of school.

"As an adult I knew survivors men who could not father children because they had mumps as a child, a woman with a flail arm from polio, people with chicken pox scars, those deafened because of measles, a man who spent 3 years in a tuberculosis sanitarium and a woman whose child was mentally disabled because she had German measles during her pregnancy. I have friends who had polio then who now have post-polio syndrome that is muscle weakness, fatigue and pain for which there is no known cure. They experienced their illnesses before vaccines and antibiotics."

Vaccines offer protection from these serious and potentially fatal diseases.

If these diseases seem uncommon it's usually because these vaccines are doing their job. However, according to the CDC, outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases can and do still happen because some people refuse to vaccinate. And that could happen here in our own little paradise on Pine Island and Matlacha.

But parents and others may have honest concerns about vaccinations. And, unfortunately, they are often heightened by unconfirmed sources of information. There are many legitimate places to turn for answers including the CDC, prominent medical schools and your own doctor.

Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven't found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.

Still have questions? You're encouraged to dig further and get your questions answered. Be aware, however, of this information from the CDC. "Vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once regularly harmed or killed many infants, children and adults. However, the germs that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be spread to people who are not protected by vaccines. Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person who gets the vaccine, but also helps to keep diseases from spreading to others, like family members, neighbors, classmates, those who are unable to get vaccinated and other members of your communities.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. 239 283 5123.



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