Die in ignorance if you want …

… but don’t kill your kids with it!

A few days ago a friend on Facebook posted this devastating picture.

CaptureFor those lucky enough not to know about such things I’ll explain what it is. Rows and rows of children in rows and rows of iron lungs – victims of polio in 1950, they can only live by staying inside a machine which breathes for them. Medical science has come a long way since then. Modern ventilators are a fraction of the size and allow far greater autonomy. Oh, and vaccination has all but eradicated polio, and numerous other similarly grizzly, disabling and fatal diseases.

I must be one of a gradually thinning group of people who have seen at first hand what polio can do to a human body. In the house next door to where I was born and spent the first six years of my life lived a lovely woman by the name of Doris. She has long since passed away, but in her early years she contracted polio and it left her disabled for all her adult life.  She had a speech impediment. Her right arm was withered and she wore leg irons and a surgical boot, but could still only just walk as far as the outside toilet. For all that, she was a gentle soul who I will always thank for introducing me to plain chocolate! But the years of struggling against such disability took their toll and she died all to soon.

There are those on this planet who would take us back there! The anti-vaxers with their ill-conceived conceit that they are right and decades of scientific research, experiment and proven results are wrong. They tend to fall into two groups, both equally deluded and very dangerous in their beliefs.

The “vaccines cause autism” brigade. There was never any serious evidence to support that old chestnut. It came from a case study sample of only 12 children and was blown up out of all proportion. Besides, parents who use that argument are essentially saying that they’d rather have a dead child than an autistic one. Well, congratulations! By not vaccinating your children you’ve raised the prospect of the former by an order of magnitude utterly and completely out of proportion to any risk of the latter.

The “(insert deity of choice here) is my vaccine”. Well, good luck with that, but I’ll take science over prayer any day!

Anti-vaxers say that it is nobody’s business but there own. Wrong! Their irresponsible behaviour puts that child who is unable to be vaccinated because of health reasons at serious and unnecessary risk. Anti-vaxers say they have a right to decide for their own children. Wrong again! They have no right to decide that their child will die a horrible death from a preventable disease. Not vaccinating children in the face of overwhelming evidence of the benefits amounts to child abuse, and should be punished accordingly.