To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate (Part 3): Vaccinations or Communicable Diseases?

By Scott St. Clair | The Save Jersey Blog

This is PART THREE of what will be a multi-part series on an important topic, Save Jerseyans.

Click here for Part One (and here for Part Two) if you missed’em…

Vaccinations or Communicable Diseases?

Vaccination polioWhat is it about measles that has people in a lather, Save Jerseyans? Well, to be fair, since the disease was a non-issue for 15 years, it’s not surprising that we’ve forgotten how bad it is.

It’s time for a refresher course: information about the disease, its symptoms, what it ordinarily does to someone who has it and more is readily available here, here, here, here and here, with information about the current outbreak here.

For a list of 2015 recommended immunizations for children from birth through six-years-old against a variety of diseases, go here.

Measles is a dangerous disease. Refusing to take it seriously is playing Russian roulette with the lives of your children and others. Complications from measles can include pneumonia, diarrhea, seizures, encephalitis, vision and hearing loss and death.

It shouldn’t be considered a rite of passage prior to adulthood.

From the none-too-popular-among-anti-vaxxers Center for Disease Control we get the numbers:

Some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the

lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die.

  • As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
  • About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.
  • For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

        Measles may cause pregnant woman to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight

        baby.

Measles is the greatest vaccine-preventable killer of children in the world today and the eighth leading cause of death among persons of all ages worldwide. The cost to a vaccine-free United States would be $3.8 billion and 1,859 dead. Measles kills more kids worldwide than AIDS or car accidents. Compare that to the $45 million spent annually on the measles portion of the MMR vaccine

Each diagnosed case of measles runs a tab to taxpayers in excess of $10,000. While $1.4 million – roughly the public cost of the Disneyland outbreak – is chump change compared to most things in the government budget, it’s money that could be spent on other, less preventable public health issues.

Compared to the alternatives, vaccinations are cheap.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2013, measles killed 145,700 people worldwide. Still, that’s a 75 percent reduction in the number of measles-related deaths from 2000-2013, with the reduction attributable to vaccination programs. WHO estimates that 15.6 million fatalities were prevented.

Worldwide, it’s better than it used to be, but it’s still not good. As the CDC says, “Measles remains endemic in many parts of the world and unvaccinated U.S. residents continue to place themselves and others in their communities at risk for measles and its complications.”

Since the CDC is an agency of the federal government, anti-vaxxers with reservations about government treat its pronouncements with skepticism bordering on outright disbelief, especially when it says that vaccines are both effective and safe.

That other credible, reputable and respected scientific and medical authorities concur doesn’t matter.

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