Take it from Ben Franklin, Get Vaccinated!

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Just came across an excellent and timely essay about immunization in the New York Times written by Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan.

Even though Dr. Markel is from that school up north, he knows what he’s talking about.  There are a lot of ill-informed people out there today saying that vaccines do terrible things, cause terrible disease and are a conspiracy by the medical-industrial complex to invade our bodily fluids.  Now, apparently, they also violate the Founding Fathers’ principles upon which our great nation is built. 

But using little things like facts, research and evidence, Dr. Markel proves that once again these people know not of what they speak.  Vaccines save lives.  They prevent horrible disability.  They keep pandemic illness from speading like wild fire through communities.  When people don’t get vaccinated, they not only put themselves at risk, they put you and your loved ones at risk too.  

But don’t take it from me, or even Dr. Markel.  Take it from Ben Franklin, who also lived in a time when there was a lot of vitriol and controversy surrounding vaccination:

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way.  I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation.  This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

The above photo is of a young girl in Bangladesh who was infected with smallpox in 1973.  6 years later, the World Health Organization officially delared its eradication.  Thanks to immunizations, we’ll never have to see suffering this horrible again. 

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University