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With the experimental Canadian Ebola vaccine winging its way to Geneva to be used in human trials, we can hope for its success. The vaccine development process  has led to dramatic reductions in illnesses that, like Ebola, were once deadly.  Once we have an effective preventative against Ebola (please let that be soon, the world over), Ebola shouldn’t be able to hold the terror it currently does.  syringe_morguefile

Vaccines truly are life-changing. For those living in countries where immunizations are available, people can live long, healthy spans of time with little worry about things like whooping cough, measles, or diphtheria. They don’t worry about the worst case scenario from these infections.  Vaccines have so much changed the lives of people who can easily get them that some people forget the history of immunizations in the first place, and question their validity.

You may have heard of the wealthy communities in Los Angeles where vaccination rates are so low that they are similar to those of South Sudan in Africa. Parents question vaccine safety and necessity. They choose not to vaccinate their kids, affecting their kids vulnerability to diseases like whooping cough that we thought were under control (or gone, pretty much), and also affecting the herd immunity of  the community.

I talked about herd immunity in a recent post on the HPV vaccine. Community or herd immunity is created when enough people are immunized against a disease, creating a safety net for those who can’t be immunized because of competing health concerns like cancer, or HIV.  Dr. Jen Gunter writes about her son’s extreme prematurity (born at 26 weeks gestation, when 40 is the norm), and how it’s SO important that people get flu vaccines. She thanks everyone who does.

Two of my kids’ favourite heroines from their early reader days are in a new book teaching all about vaccines. Ivy and Bean take on why you should get them, though Bean tries to avoid the needle by saying she’ll go live with polar bears. If you do have concerns about vaccines, talk to your doctor.  I’ll give the final word to Seattle Mama Doc Wendy Sue Swanson on the HPV vaccine- why, how, and when you should get your kid in for one.


Janet  |  @janet_madsen


Photo: DodgertonSkillHause, MorgueFile

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