Monday 16 September 2019

Refusing to vaccinate puts everyone at risk

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Vaccinations - a tricky subject and many would say it comes down to personal choice.

That's difficult to argue though, because personal choice would indicate that a decision only affects the person who makes it, yet if an unvaccinated person spreads a contagious disease, then it quickly becomes the problem of another person or persons without their say-so.

In Italy, a law had been reinstated banning unvaccinated children from attending schools and nurseries in a bid to combat the worldwide measles outbreak of late.

They also fine parents who have failed to ensure their children receive relevant vaccines and while I'm not sure about this penalty, refusing enrolment to schools and crèches seems like a sensible rule.

There is a massive effort being made by some to scaremonger over vaccines, spreading unverified 'facts' designed to terrify people from availing of potentially lifesaving vaccines.

While it is fine for a person to decide whether they subscribe or not, their actions go against the proven 'herd immunisation' method of eradicating disease.

Though currently unavailable - some people decided the BCG which prevents TB was not required because 'nobody gets TB in Ireland these days'.

Any why is this? It is because of vaccines and the uptake, which ensured that the vast majority of new babies were vaccinated and therefore the risk of others developing the disease lowered with each passing year.

Why people cannot understand the benefit of this is mind boggling.

At a time when we have Irish women living with terminal cervical cancer shouting from the rooftops of the benefits of the HPV vaccine, there are still people trying to discredit it.

These women would not be ill, had the vaccine been available when they were children, so why would anyone want to deny the next generation that protection?

In terms of measles, or meningitis, what one person may be able to recover from, could kill another, particularly if they have a weakened immune system and so by vaccinating citizens en masse, we, as a community are doing the responsible thing for everybody.

Anyone who wishes to opt out of the vaccination scheme available to them is entitled to do so, but the potential risk they could cause to others cannot be overlooked.

Enniscorthy Guardian