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Immunization foes put kids' health at risk

Date published: 5/15/2014

Immunization foes put kids' health at risk

When the guns fell silent in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an estimated 37 million people had perished. But the god Mars was a mere piker compared to the Fourth Horseman--the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic killed 50 million.

Today's parents refuse immunizations because they've never seen, or even heard of, one of their neighbors' kids strangling from diphtheria, convulsing from tetanus, asphyxiating from pertussis, reduced to coma by measles-associated Dawson's encephalitis.

There is no generational imprinted memory of what these killers do, and they're just waiting for parents to get lax before returning with a vengeance.

My grandmother (1898-1991) wouldn't have thought twice about immunizing, because she knew young mothers like herself who had buried children due to measles, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, dysentery or whooping cough.

Distrust of government, touted by conservatives, is in part to blame for disease-vulnerable children. If the CDC recommends a particular immunization schedule, then, since one cannot trust the government, ipso facto, the schedule should be opposed.

Health care politics may be brutally partisan, but pathogens are equal-opportunity killers.

Drink unpasteurized milk if you like, but don't complain when I object to your unimmunized children associating with mine.

You may choose to base immunization decisions on the word of a nude Playboy model; I'll base mine on the wisdom and experience of Dr. Lillis.

Donald Bley, M.D.