Southwest Utah Public Health Officer Dr. David Blodgett is not one to mince words, especially when it comes to vaccines.

"They saved the world, all but eliminated some deadly diseases and increased life expectancy all over the modern world," he said recently on the Andy Griffin Show.

That's why Blodgett and other health professionals are extremely frustrated in the recent trend to not get children vaccinated.

As many as 40 percent of children are not getting immunized in recent times in the United States for basic childhood diseases -- pertussis, chicken pox, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis, measles, mumps, rubella and many others.

Why not? Well, that's complicated.

There's the usual group of anti-vaxxers, who have erroneously blamed immunizations for autism, compromised immune systems and toxins in the blood system. But that group makes up less than five percent of the total.

The reason the other 35 percent of parents haven't immunized their kids range from paranoia, apathy or a mistrust of vaccines after the low success numbers from the Covid-19 vaccines.

From the website

"There are now hundreds of anti-vaccine websites, each amplified by social media, causing some to call the spread of extreme views a “cultural epidemic.” The cumulative effect of the controversy and confusion generated can make it difficult for parents to understand the facts and to make well-informed decisions for their children."

In other words, anti-vaxxers are stripping away the facts and using emotion to gain followers.

When I was young, measles, mumps, chicken pox and even polio to a lesser degree were still quite common.

These seemed like relatively harmless diseases at the time, but looking back at the statistics can bring a sobering reality.

  • Before 1963, when the measles vaccine became widely available, about 6,000 people (mostly children) died every year from the disease. In 1978, measles was declared eradicated from the United States. Not one vaccinated person died from measles that year.
  • Diphtheria killed 15,000-20,000 people a year in the United States before the vaccine. Since 2004, there have been no cases of diphtheria in the USA among vaccinated people.
  • Mumps was deadly before 1968, with the mortality rate of those infected averaging about 2-4 deaths per 10,000 people (so 20 to 40 deaths in a city the size of St. George). Since the modern vaccine, in 2017, there were 5,629 cases of mumps in the US, down from 186,000 pre-vaccine.
  • Chicken pox was extremely common 30 years ago and killed an average of 150 people a year. Now, about 30 people a year die from chicken pox.
  • Today, less than 10 people in the United States are reported to have rubella and it is usually associated with travel and not being vaccinated. During the last major rubella epidemic in the United States from 1964 to 1965, an estimated 12.5 million people got rubella, 11,000 pregnant women lost their babies and 2,100 newborns died of the disease.
  • Tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of 30 reported cases each year. In 1950 (pre-vaccine), tetanus killed nearly 600 Americans.
  • Polio vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1955. During 1951-1954, an average of 16,316 paralytic polio cases and 6,600 deaths from polio were reported each year. Since 1988, more than 18 million people can walk today who would otherwise have been paralyzed, and 1.5 million childhood deaths have been averted thanks to the polio vaccine.

To put it succinctly: "The facts are simple: Vaccines are safe. They are highly effective. They are supported by every major American medical society and government agency and are a routine part of pediatric care." --- Children's Defense Fund.



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