Markey Township – One of the most fun filled holidays of the year is nearly upon us, with its ghosts, goblins and walking zombies attempting to consume us alive, scaring the daylights out everyone who doesn’t have some sort of protection.
On the other side are the superheroes with shields, the Jedi with their light sabers, wizards with wands etc. Our “knights in shining armor” as it were, keeping us safe from all the bad stuff. While Oct. 31 is all about make believe, there is a real-world battle that goes on every day, all over our communities, our county, our country.
The bad guys in this battle are the bacteria and viruses that try to consume us with everything from the sniffles to crippling disease and death. The good guys are the vaccines developed over the generations that give us that invisible suit of armor stronger than any superhero shield or wizard’s wand. Once again, while in the world of make believe the good guy always wins, in the real world we have the numbers to prove it.
Can’t say that in the real world the good guy always wins, but the facts show that those who are vaccinated against the little microscopic monsters stand a far better chance than those who are not. It appears over the past number of years there have been social movements opposed to vaccinations, particularly when it come to children. One could speculate that some of that thinking is because most people nowadays have never witnessed the ravages of disease at their doorstep. However, there are many of us who remember childhood friends, neighbors or relatives struck down, many of them at a young age.
As a result of some of these refusals to inoculate, numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and other medical entities like the Michigan Health Department indicate that some of the diseases once thought to be nearly eradicated are staging a comeback.
Here are a few numbers for you to ponder. Take Rubella (German measles) for example. In the year 1964-1965 there were approximately 12.5 million cases reported with around 2,000 infant deaths. In the ensuing years a nationwide vaccine effort was made. Since the year 2012 only 15 cases have been reported. It was not unusual to have around 15,000 cases of Diphtheria reported, a disease that would send shivers up your spine just thinking about. Some latest figures show that in a 10-year period from 2004-2014, only 2 cases had been reported.
How about the flu? The Spanish Influenza pandemic of the early 20th century killed literally tens of millions world-wide. Still think vaccines don’t work? As we stated earlier, unfortunately, due to ideals or complacency, many folks will no longer have themselves or their children vaccinated.
Sad to say, but the bacteria and viruses haven’t gone away folks. They are still out there looking for the opportunity to strike you, your family, your community, indiscriminately and without conscience. The medical community has become alarmed because now they are seeing a resurgence of diseases such as measles and whooping cough (pertussis).
With both potential killers on the rise due to lack of vaccination, how long before other more hideous vermin make themselves known again? Granted there may be those of you out there that may have concerns about side effects. It is true that certain vaccines may not be suitable for everyone.
We urge you to do your homework. Talk to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician if there are circumstances such as other health issues. Get the straight scoop from those that know and not someone’s internet blog. When all is said and done, hopefully you and the little ones will have that invisible shield of armor this Halloween. And if the grim reaper comes trick or treating at your doorstep, just laugh in his face and hit him with a candy bar.
Ken Elmore is a Markey Township firefighter