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Vaccination facts becoming clouded

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Jan 24, 2014 - 10:07 AM |
There are obviously divided opinions about the wisdom of getting a flu shot, or any vaccination for that matter.

Since they encourage us to get vaccinated, why can’t we get a very clear and informed directive from our provincial and national health agencies with convincing medical evidence of the value of public inoculations?

Is it, or is it not, a fact that diseases such as measles, mumps, smallpox, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), rubella, polio and other dreaded killers have been vanquished or diminished by public vaccinations?

Some purists or anti-inoculation groups professed some time ago that vaccines may have caused Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and one scientist, who has since been found to have submitted fraudulent research, postulated that autism was caused by vaccinations.

Apparently, both these assertions have since been scientifically debunked, but it’s like accusing someone of an illicit act. Even if found innocent, the accusation leaves a dark cloud hanging above the wrongly accused.

Nevertheless, some people have neglected vaccinations for themselves and their children, and now we are told that measles and mumps are staging a comeback.

Medical science tells us that the risk of any side effects from a vaccination is very small, about one in one million, and these side effects are usually relatively minor.

As a senior who wants to avoid communicable diseases, and as a lay person, I would very much appreciate factual, scientific, non-emotional, and detailed information on the benefits of inoculations, as well as a truthful rebuttal of possible scare stories by certain groups that may be preventing people from obtaining inoculation protection with inaccurate or outdated information. Let’s have the facts, not emotional banter or holier-than-thou purist attitudes.

After all, the original idea was for the general population to get immunized to prevent passing on diseases to the health-compromised or those with diminished immune systems.

Interestingly, the recent H1N5 flu outbreak has convinced many to finally get a flu shot. Perhaps we shouldn’t be waiting for another major deadly outbreak to get immunized.

Simon R. Guillet
Greater Sudbury

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