Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The vaccination debate

Sometimes I wonder how the anti-vaccination movement have managed to move the debate to the extent they have. Today the debate in the media tends to be about whether a certain vaccine have barely measurable side effects or not. 

What tends to be forgotten or not mentioned is that vaccinations saves millions of lives and could save millions more if everyone had access to and used vaccines. The World Health Association estimates that vaccinations saves 3 million people every year and that if vaccination was available (and used) world wide, another 3 million people could be saved. In the US there has been a 99% decrease in deaths from vaccine preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, mumps, pertussis and tetanus since the vaccines have been introduced. Smallpox used to kill 400.000 people annually, until a vaccination was discovered. Now this disease is extinct. Before there used to be around 400.000 cases of polio each year. Following the introduction of the vaccine, there are around a 1000 cases per year. 

The bottom line is that vaccinations save lives, many many lives. Still people in Sweden are now raging over the suggested link between the swine-flu vaccine and narcolepsy, in which less than a hundred extra cases may have occurred due to vaccination. Of course I sincerely sympathise but no sane human being should question the value of vaccination in general because of this potential misfortune. 

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