Vaccination: The Harmful Misinformation

Immeasurable suffering has resulted from propaganda campaigns against vaccinations

“Anyone care to read and share thoughts? I’m constantly toing and froing, the information available is so extremist on both ends its hard to make sense of it…” – A mother wonders for her children.

“The Vaccine Hoax is Over: Freedom of Info Act Forces Release of Secret Documents that Reveal Shocking Truth: Vaccines Do Not Work – Cover Up…”VINE on Facebook.

Nick did a piece which brushed on this in his article “Let’s Get Immunised To Bullshit”. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we can let it lie at that. The disgustingly harmful practice of spreading disinformation where the health and safety of children and infants is concerned must be crushed. These people have every right to spread their vitriolic brand of deliberately damaging bullshit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s okay.

And it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to call them out on it.

VINE (Vaccination Information Network) = Concerned Idiots On Facebook

Is it a good thing to question established wisdom?  Absolutely.  Is it a good thing to ignore peer-reviewed medical science?  Absolutely not!

A brief glance over their Facebook page (feel free to educate them on the actual science) will delight you with a swath of intelligent individuals who, lock-step, believe that all vaccination is, not only dangerous, but outright harmful to children.  The bullshit reeks at face value, yes.  It’s evidently harmful propaganda from people who profess a scientific opinion without understanding the very basics of scientific endeavour, yes.  But that doesn’t mean that it should be dismissed out of hand.

One comment caught my immediate attention.

“Only indoctrinated retards believe vaccines “eradicated polio”” – One evidence ignoring Facebook user.

Perhaps we should also reflect on what happens when you blatantly ignore medical science.

The Vaccination of Polio

Vaccinations - This is one of the many horrible things survivors of polio may have to face.
This is one of the many horrible things survivors of polio may have to face. Vaccinations matter.

Commonly termed polio is an acute illness which follows gastrointenstinal infection and is, medically, called poliomyelitis.  It is often caused by one of three types of polioviruses, though the symptoms they have are the same.  The symptoms of polio, if you’re lucky enough to develop symptoms which can be treated (only about 10% of cases develop symptoms), include headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, neck and back stiffness, severe muscle pain, and paralysis.  About 5% of people hospitalised from polio will die and about half of those who survive will suffer from irreversable paralysis.  Polio can also have severe impacts on developing infants and children, leading to horrific deformities later in life.  The polioviruses are members of the enterovirus genus and are spread between people through nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces.

Having coasted with a relatively low incidence for most of human history, in the early 1900s polio reached epidemic proportions, particularly in developed countries with high living standards like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.  At the same time other diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid and tuberculosis were on the decline and the scientists of the time, rather ironically, believed that the rising standards of hygiene were to blame.

Thankfully, polio is a vaccine preventable disease and that such vaccination is reccomended as a part of standard childhood jabs.  This should not be stopped and a quick glance over at the World Health Organisation’s website should tell you why.  Polioviruses attack and kill human nerve cells with brutal efficiency.

Vaccinations - Jonas Salk, enough said.
Jonas Salk, enough said.

The polio vaccine was developed in 1955 by the inarguable humanitarian Jonas Salk.  I mention Dr. Salk for a very special reason.  His very mention deals a crippling blow to the “for profit” charge of those who argue against vaccination.  He uttered just nine magic words.

“There is no patent. Could you patent the Sun?” – Jonas Salk on patenting his polio vaccine.

The Vaccination of Smallpox

A child not vaccinated with smallpox in Bangladesh in 1973.
A child with smallpox in Bangladesh in 1973.

Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1979 following a global collaborative effort, lead by the World Health Organisation.  It is, perhaps, one of our greatest medical triumphs of the past century.  Edward Jenner, in 1796, publicised the process and vaccination was born.  Like many distant scientific events, it comes with a lovely little story.  As was the case with Newton, Jenner made his discovery after a rather simple seeming observation.  His apple, of course, were milkmaids.  Jenner realised that milkmaids who contracted the much milder cowpox did not contract smallpox.

Smallpox is—was—an infectious disease unique to humans.  It was a horrible disease whose mortality rate was as high as 35% and in 65-85% of survivors left disfiguring characteristic scars, commonly on the face.  It was caused by one of two strains of virus, either variola major or variola minor, they being members of the family of orthopox viruses.

Some historical perspective of such horrific diseases should give some perspective as to why vaccination and immunisation is distinctly important.

For Those Against Vaccination And Those On The Fence

Educate yourselves.  Use Google, the information is out there.  Those people who tell you that vaccines don’t work, of government cover-ups, they’re just as much conspiracy theorists ill-informed and in contradiction of accepted science as people who believe the moon landings to be a hoax.  The primary difference, however, is that the moon hoaxers are harmless.  Those vile people telling you not to immunise your children are not.  Ultimately, vaccination and immunisation have a track record of success.  That, itself, speaks volumes of it’s efficacy.

Are the lives of your children worth risking?  I would argue a resounding no.  People who peddle such nonsense are evil.  They do so maliciously, either intentionally or ignorantly.  Those ignorant refuse to check the actual peer-reviewed science on the issue and, still, choose to peddle misinformation.  That is an act of belligerent ignorance and it should no more be accepted than should be accepted racism or homophobia—less so!  This kind of bullshit kills people.

Education is the vaccination to bullshit.

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