EDITORIAL: Listen to the facts, not Facebook, and vaccinate

Are you going to trust science or that Facebook post linking to a dubious conspiracy-theory website?

Because of misinformation and outright lies, a disease that should be eradicated is back, leading for calls from some in B.C. to make vaccinations of children mandatory, unless there is a legitimate medical reason to not do so, signed off by a medical doctor.

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There has been an outbreak of measles in southern Washington state, along with an outbreak of the same disease in the Vancouver area.

There is an outbreak because some parents prefer to believe celebrities and others with no knowledge rather than trust doctors who know the facts.

It is a fact that measles can kill. It is fact that vaccinations rarely do.

According to the World Health Organization, so few deaths have been attributed to vaccines that it is difficult to assess the risk statistically. What is known is the risk of death from a disease is extremely greater than the risk of death from a vaccine intended to prevent that disease,

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta noted in a 2015 paper:
"Vaccines are rigorously tested and monitored and are among the safest medical products we use. Millions of vaccinations are given to children and adults in the United States each year. Serious adverse reactions are rare. However, because of the high volume of use, coincidental adverse events including deaths, that are temporally associated with vaccination, do occur.
"When death occurs shortly following vaccination, loved ones and others might naturally question whether it was related to vaccination.  large body of evidence supports the safety of vaccines, and multiple studies and scientific reviews have found no association between vaccination and deaths except in rare cases.
“ … making general assumptions and drawing conclusions about vaccinations causing deaths based on spontaneous reports to VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a self-reporting database) — some of which might be anecdotal or second-hand — or from case reports in the media, is not a scientifically valid practice.”

A note on VAERS: anybody can submit information to VAERS, claiming an adverse reaction to a vaccination, but such reports are unverified. Further, submissions of adverse reactions are correlational, not causal. If someone experienced an adverse reaction after receiving a vaccination, it does prove the vaccination caused the reaction. The adverse reaction could very well be coincidental.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention addresses this: “When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. VAERS receives reports on all potential associations between vaccines and adverse events. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that vaccine caused the event.”

Vaccines contain ingredients at a dose that is even lower than the dose we are naturally exposed to in our environment.

Meanwhile, parents who prefer to ignore science are actually exposing their children —and infants who have not yet been vaccinated — to far more danger than a vaccine could deliver.

According to Interior Health, measles can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can lead to seizures, deafness, or brain damage.

One person in every 3,000 with measles may die from complications. Complications and death are most common in infants less than 12 months of age.

Those who continue to ignore scientific facts in favour of adopting loopy conspiracy theories online are endangering lives.

Perhaps it is time to make vaccinations mandatory.

Editor's note: This editorial has been updated with information from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© Kamloops This Week



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