Vaccines have been a godsend

I can't sit quietly by while Michael Brine writes yet another denunciation of vaccination ("Confirming the utter evils of vaccination," Whitehorse Star, April 17.) Mr. Brine is not a medical doctor and the doctor he cites shouldn't be. 

COMMENTARY

by Bill Barnie

I can’t sit quietly by while Michael Brine writes yet another denunciation of vaccination (“Confirming the utter evils of vaccination,” Whitehorse Star, April 17.)

Mr. Brine is not a medical doctor and the doctor he cites shouldn’t be. He is entitled to his opinion. After all, these are the opinion pages. However, his views can only bring serious harm, suffering and even death to children. I find that inexcusable.

If you follow his advice and your child suffers the consequence, it will be our medical professionals who will be there to try and undo the damage, and I doubt if Mr. Brine will be with you at your child’s hospital bedside.

I am old enough to remember the days before vaccination. I remember walking down the street and seeing quarantine signs on the front doors of homes while the adults whispered about the occupants. Back then, the only hope to control disease was house arrest.

I remember my classmate in Grade 3 coming down with polio during an epidemic of that disease. Parents were terrified that one of their children would be next and there was nothing that could be done.

I remember when the average city had its own sanatorium. The san’ was were they sent you if you got tuberculosis. In my hometown it was a large building with lots of rooms, and it was full. Many went there but few managed to get out alive.

I remember when my father, a teacher at the Ontario School for the Blind, taught many students who were born blind because of rubella (German measles). As well as being blind, those poor children also suffered from deafness, heart disorders, skin lesions, and a host of other problems collectively called the congenital rubella syndrome.

I also remember how happy all parents were when the polio vaccine was first introduced. At last there was hope. There was something parents could do to protect their children from this terrible blight. Parents celebrated and because of this breakthrough other vaccines soon followed and a new age for health care began.

Today some of the obstacles to ending polio forever are ignorance and superstition. In Afghanistan the Taliban are killing health-care workers because they are trying to vaccinate children. While Mr. Brine is not a murderous Taliban extremist, his goal of preventing parents from vaccinating their children is definitely shared by the Taliban.

We have been relatively free of so many of these diseases that many parents have become complacent and no longer understand how important it is for all children to be vaccinated. They are too easily convinced by opinions such as Mr. Brine’s that only a local outbreak will convince them of the importance and benefits of vaccination. Unfortunately, it could be their own child who becomes the example that spurs on others to vaccinate.

The bad news is that we are starting to see a resurgence of some of these blights. Last year in British Columbia over 300 cases of measles were reported. Other preventable contagious diseases are starting to gain footholds as well. These contagions are being incubated and spread by unvaccinated children.

Mr. Brine cited Dr. G. Lanctot to add credibility to his opinions on vaccination. Yes there is a Dr. Lanctot and she shares Mr Brines opinions on vaccination. She also thinks that the medical community is controlled by bankers who want people to be sick and that the United Nations is in on it.

Not once in a video production she made did she offer any supporting scientific data, because it is all too complicated for us average people to understand. She believes we are the sheep and that doctors are the shepherds leading us to the slaughterhouse. She also believes that the swine flu and H1N1 were a product of eugenic engineering created by this great conspiracy to kill most of us and reduce the global population to only 500 million people. Dr. Lanctot is clearly on the fringe, and that is being generous.

Today, because of vaccination in North America, the sanatoriums are gone and we never see quarantine signs posted on people’s front doors. Measles, rubella, polio, and other contagious diseases are thankfully a rare thing. Does that sound like a conspiracy to kill off 93 per cent of the world’s population?

I strongly recommend that all parents vaccinate their children. A visit to any third world country where vaccination is still not available will convince anyone of the benefits once they see the devastation these diseases can bring.

Of course this is only my opinion, and this is the opinions page. If you still have any reservations about vaccinating, a conversation with your doctor should clear the air. Just don’t ask Dr. G. Lanctot. She is too busy concocting global conspiracy theories.

Bill Barnie is a longtime Whitehorse resident.

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