(This is the same post I put up earlier, yesterday. But I made a few changes, and I changed the title, so now it goes up as a new post. But if you’ve already read yesterday’s post, you don’t need to read this one since it’s almost the same.)
I wanted to put up another travel post this week, but I felt like this subject was more pressing. After all, the sights and monuments will still be there a week from now haha!
Lately there’s been a lot of controversy in Spain about vaccinations, due to an outbreak of diphtheria in a child whose parents had decided not to vaccinate him.
Many people believe that vaccines are dangerous or have lots of terrible side effects, like autism, because they think there are toxins in vaccinations such as mercury.
Well, if you DON’T get your child vaccinated, then what are the chances that he will catch a terrible, potentially fatal infectious disease like diphtheria, measles or polio? Compare that to his chances of getting autism from a vaccination.
The Children’s Cemetery, English Cemetery, Malaga, filled with the tombs of children killed by infectious diseases in the 1800’s.
Which do you think is higher? His probabilities of becoming seriously ill from an infectious disease that is highly contagious but easily preventable by vaccines, or his probabilities of “picking up” autism from a vaccine?
To top it off, it’s now been shown that the link between vaccines and autism was, in addition, nothing but a hoax and a lie. (You can read more about this news here: Autism and Childhood Vaccinations.)
Vaccine-Related Autism Was a Hoax
So in addition to NOT protecting their children from dangerous illnesses, turns out parents who oppose vaccinations have even NOT been saving their children from autism, either. Their children were never in danger of “picking up” autism from a vaccine shot, because vaccines don’t cause autism to begin with.
And as one person I know put it: “I’d rather have a child with autism who’s alive, than a dead child who died from an easily preventable infectious illness.”
Long-term Effects of Serious Infectious Illnesses
Here is what can happen if your child gets ill from diphtheria:
(Quoted from the Mayo Clinic, link to original website here.)
Left untreated, diphtheria can lead to:
- Breathing problems. Diphtheria-causing bacteria may produce a toxin. This toxin damages tissue in the immediate area of infection — usually, the nose and throat.
- Heart damage. The diphtheria toxin may spread through your bloodstream and damage other tissues in your body, such as your heart muscle.
- Nerve damage. The toxin can also cause nerve damage. If C. diphtheria toxin damages the nerves that help control muscles used in breathing, these muscles may become paralyzed. Respiration may then become impossible without a respirator or another device to assist with breathing.
Diphtheria is fatal in as many as 3 percent of those who get the disease.
This is what happens if you get measles, another infectious illness that is covered by current immunization campaigns:
(Once again, thank you for the information, Mayo Clinic, original link here.)
Complications of measles may include:
- Ear infection. One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.
- Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
- Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with compromised immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.
- Encephalitis. About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting, convulsions, and, rarely, coma or even death. Encephalitis can closely follow measles, or it can occur months later.
- Pregnancy problems. If you’re pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor or low birth weight.
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets — the type of blood cells that are essential for blood clotting.
And how about polio, another infectious illness that is easily preventable by following the regular vaccination schedule for children. As a side note, I had a teacher at school when I was a schoolgirl, she was quite young to be so ill, only 35. She suffered from chronic health problems as a result of contracting polio as a child, before vaccinations existed.
(As usual, thanks to the Mayo Clinic for the info, original article here.)
Paralytic polio can lead to temporary or permanent muscle paralysis, disability, and deformities of the hips, ankles and feet. As a result, children who survive polio may spend their lives with severe disabilities.
Well I could continue onwards, since there are a number of diseases that can be easily prevented in children by a simple vaccine shot, included in the vaccination schedule and available for free to all children, at least here in Spain and probably in most developed countries.
Infant Mortality From Infectious Diseases Before and After Vaccination Campaigns
As a parent who obviously loves your child, do you really want to go through the anguish of seeing your child seriously ill, on the brink of death, perhaps not even surviving, because YOU refused to provide him with something so easy to obtain as a simple vaccine shot?
Think about how many people, especially children, died or suffered from lifelong disabilities, as a result of contracting any of these easily preventable infectious diseases before vaccinations existed.
As an example, in the US in 1921, 15,520 children died from diptheria.
On the contrary, in the US last year, ZERO (yes read it, 0) children died from diphtheria, thanks to routine vaccination of all children.
People Who Oppose Vaccinations
Some people who oppose vaccination said to me once, “Why do I need to vaccinate my children? They’re at school and they’re perfectly healthy. Besides which, all their classmates are vaccinated, so their classmates can’t get the disease and pass it on to my kids.”
Yeah that’s right, another word for this is called riding on someone else’s coat-tails! So, you want other parents to run the “risk” of vaccinating their children so your children won’t get sick? Is that it?
Come on, gimme a break. How selfish can you get?
That’s like living in a shared home where you do no housework and never clean up after yourself, and expect the rest of your housemates to be your slaves and clean up after you!
And as for your kids being perfectly healthy today, well, that’s just the way it is with illnesses. Today your kids are bouncing with energy and life and just won’t get out of your hair, and by night-time they’re flat on their backs with a fever of 40º Celsius (that’s round 105 for those using the old-fashioned Fahrenheit thermometers).
Just be thankful for your blessings that your kids are happy and healthy right now. I know I am, every minute of every day.
But at least I know my kids won’t be dead from meningitis by nightfall. Meningitis can kill literally within hours from the time the first symptoms appear.
But I don’t have to worry about that. Because my kids are vaccinated.
My Hippie Friends’ Point of View About Vaccinations
Once upon a time I was a hippie (maybe there’ll be more about this particular theme one day……). Most of the hippie crowd I hung around with believed in living the “natural life”.
They didn’t hold jobs, preferring to make a few bucks (well, euros) by pawning off stuff at handicraft fairs or selling their old rags on the street. Some were squatters, since they didn’t want to enrich the pocketbooks of people they perceived as avaricious, Scrooge-like, power-hungry landlords.
Some were beggars, or spent their time spaced out on booze, hash and cocaine.
Most of them advised me not to vaccinate my baby. Because it’s “not natural”, they told me. Or because my baby could pick up autism from the vaccinations, or have an allergic reaction. Because breast milk naturally protects babies, they said.
Well, getting a vaccination is “not natural”, but illnesses ARE natural and which do you prefer? A NATURAL illness, or “artificial” protection from that illness?
And by now we have debunked the autism myth. As for the allergies, well, you’ve got as much chance of developing an allergy to vaccinations as you have of developing an allergy to anything else in the world. And you’re not going to avoid strawberries, eggs, milk, wheat, nuts, flowers and trees (pollen, you know) and cats and dogs, just because you MIGHT one day develop an allergy to all these, are you?
And yes maybe breast milk does provide some protection from infectious diseases (always supposing, of course, that the mother was vaccinated herself……). But are you going to feed your baby breast milk for the next eighteen years, until your baby grows out of the high risk age for contracting infectious illnesses?
All the same, since I was into the same hippie crap as all my friends in those days, I did consider not vaccinating my beloved son. One conversation with a good acquaintance changed all that.
Dead Babies in Africa
He travelled regularly to Africa. He told me about all the little babies that he saw dead or dying every day in these countries from polio, meningitis, diphtheria, measles.
None of these children had to die. A simple vaccine shot could have saved them all.
If you asked any of these parents if they would have preferred their child to suffer from an allergic reaction to a meningitis vaccine – easily survivable, since it is easy to counteract an allergic reaction – or what did happen, that is, their child dying from this illness, what do you think they would say?
So yes please do forgive me if I sort of tend to see “opposing vaccination” as a rather arrogant, ignorant, holier-than-thou, anti-society First World problem. I don’t think one single parent in Africa who had seen their child die from meningitis, or become permanently disabled from polio, would think twice about running as fast as their legs can carry them to the nearest vaccination station (if they’re lucky enough to even have one in their country) and vaccinating all their remaining children.
Finally, since they say a pic is worth a thousand words, a few months back we had the opportunity to visit Malaga’s English Cemetery and take photos. This cemetery was founded in the 1830’s and I was especially moved by the oh so many tombstones belonging to little children who had died in the 19th century.
Children used to fall like flies in those days. As a mother, you knew that most, if not all, of your babies would never see their fifth birthday. And measles, meningitis, polio, diphtheria and whooping cough were the main reasons for this.
These one-year-old twin babies died within days of each other from one of the above mentioned infectious illnesses. The same goes for all the little inhabitants of the graves surrounding them. And the ones that fill up the Children’s Cemetery of Malaga’s English Cemetery.
Is that what you want?
If not, the solution is simple.
Vaccinate your children.
And let them bury YOU one day, rather than you being the one to bury THEM.
As usual, positive, non-spammy comments are ALWAYS welcome! I LURRVE to receive them!
If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:
Stronger Than Steel / Plus Fort Que L’Épée
Malaga’s English Cemetery
Blood Is Thicker Than Water
Recovering The Past