Recently in Toronto, a local anti-vaccine movement called “Vaccine choice Canada” bought billboard advertisements suggesting people “Educate before you vaccinate.” By and large, I support people educating themselves and generally mistrusting authoritarianism, but in this case, the “Education” they are advertising is misinformation and pseudoscience, ironically, from people who come from generations that have benefited the most from vaccinations. In the spirit of education, I will share my understanding of vaccines.
First, it’s important to understand what a vaccine is, and to understand the true nature of vaccines, it’s equally important to understand the nature of what vaccines are protecting against. Vaccines protect us against virus and disease by allowing our immune system to “Learn” how to protect us from virus and disease. By injecting ourselves with a sterilized and deactivated or severely weakened version of a virus, our immune system can develop antibodies that can attack and destroy the real version of that virus. Without a vaccine shot, a disease like smallpox can do a lot of damage in the time it takes our immune system to develop antibodies to defend against it. In the case of young children, the damage can be enough to kill them.
I can understand where the anti vaccine movement is coming from; our authoritarian government wants to be our drug dealer, glamorizes and profits from the sale of alcohol, and runs casinos and lotteries at a profit to them. There was a time when these things were illegal as those who governed us recognized the harm, so it’s no wonder that people rightfully see our government as self-serving at our expense and misery. However, when it comes to vaccines, we only need to study history to understand the collective benefit they offer. Before vaccines were widely available, couples would have a lot of children with the understanding that some of them would die from a horrible disease. Records are available to demonstrate the mortality rate of pre-vaccination children compared to today. A visit to local grave sites will demonstrate the number of child graves drops off significantly after vaccines were made widely available.
I think it’s important to consider the motivation of the anti-vax movement. We don’t have to dig too deep to discover that they make money by selling anti-vaccine books, selling supplements and vitamins in their “Wellness” store, and soliciting donations. There are also the “Alternative” health care providers that profit once they manage to convince you that conventional healthcare is harmful and therefore they are the solution to better health. If you actually believe these people sincerely want to help you, I suggest they only want to insincerely help themselves to your money when you do get sick and believe you have nowhere else to turn. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Click here to read more about this on vaxopedia.org.
Once we recognize the benefit vaccines offer us all, it becomes readily apparent why those self-serving individuals in power would want us peons to be vaccinated; if everybody in our society is vaccinated, they and their children are better protected, because the more people that are vaccinated, the less likely it is for a disease to affect you. This is important, because, over time, our immune system stops making antibodies for diseases it hasn’t had to deal with for a while. This is fine when something like smallpox has been eradicated, but when something else remains a threat, it’s necessary for us to get booster shots before potential exposure. Ultimately, the ideal goal for all of us is to see all disease eradicated, and currently the path to that goal is vaccinations. However, if you still think you don’t want to get your child vaccinated, I recommend keeping their name short, and don’t get too attached to that kid, because the current anti-vax movement has meant that some diseases are making a comeback.