I have to admit, I am baffled. Why are we arguing about giving children vaccines? I do not understand why parents would not want to protect their children from diseases that could harm or even kill them.

There is no connection between vaccines and autism. Many, many studies have shown that. Andrew Wakefield who initially made this claim published fraudulent study results on twelve children. Lawyers who were looking to win a case against a company that made vaccines paid him.  There is no credible evidence here.

Since he published his study, diseases that had almost completely disappeared have started to come back with a vengeance. The latest outbreaks have involved chicken pox and measles. Parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children based on a discredited study written by a doctor who was stripped of his license as a result.

I remember having chicken pox and mumps. I remember how miserable my sister was when she had the measles, and I remember seeing some of my friends in leg braces after they developed polio. Since the early 1960’s, vaccines made it possible to avoid getting many of these diseases.

Young adults these days have never seen or experienced these illnesses. They don’t realize how devastating they can be. Maybe that is part of the problem. They also have a distrust of big pharma and the medical profession in general.

I live near the town of Ashland, Oregon where the vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the nation. In my opinion, it is not a matter of if but when an epidemic will occur. The vaccine for measles is not given until a child is a year old. It is not effective until then. What those who insist on avoiding vaccination don’t seem to get is that if they get sick they are putting infants and immune compromised children (who may not respond to the vaccines) at risk for diseases that could kill them.

Up until recently, those who were vaccinated offered a buffer to those who were not. This is called herd immunity. That buffer is going away as a result of the ease of world travel and the increase in those who are unvaccinated.

This insistence that they know better and that by being healthy they will resist these highly contagious diseases is the ultimate in selfishness and ego. It pains me to think that it will only be illness and loss that will convince them of the need for prevention with vaccines.

I can only hope that those adults who were never vaccinated as well as parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children will come to their senses. Hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later.