Vaccinations save lives

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To the editor:

Thank you for The Rail Magazine. The photographs of you and the family were lovely, especially Weston in his cute outfit. The Fav Five items were interesting and funny and made me smile. I could connect with you on several of the issues too.

April Towery’s article on vaccination and people’s thoughts on the subject were positive which is good news.

Inoculation and vaccination have been controversial topics for hundreds of years. Inoculation against smallpox was practiced by Chinese physicians at the beginning of the 11th century.

It was not until 1721 that inoculation became popular and fashionable and supported by many physicians in Europe. However there was opposition because it was not always successful. There was general acceptance of inoculation in America by 1766.

Benjamin Franklin lost his only son from smallpox and became an advocate of inoculation. Another supporter was George Washington. During the War of Independence, Washington urged inoculation of his troops and special hospitals were set up for that purpose.

The first American establishment for free vaccinations was founded by Valentine Seaman in 1802.

One must remember that vaccinations save lives and have done so for many, many years. The “herd” concept has proved effective and has saved millions of infants, children and adults throughout the world. The more children vaccinated the safer everyone is. If the number declines then we are all more exposed to these diseases.

Texas is one of many states whose vaccination rate has dropped in recent years, so we shall see more cases of measles, chicken pox, etc. Washington state has also experienced a rise in the number of measles occurring in infants who were not vaccinated.

The BBC news this week noted a measles outbreak declared in the Philippines, in several areas, including Manila. It stated 861 cases had been reported and 50 people have died – mostly children. There are 2 million unvaccinated children at risk.

Complications from measles can be deadly, including bronchopneumonia. Authorities have warned that global measles is resurging.

Rowena Lieb

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