To the editor:
Statistics provided by the CDC show one child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable illness. Children and their families worldwide lack access to one of the most important scientific advancements ever discovered: vaccines. These families struggle to protect themselves, while in the U.S. we have a growing number of “vaccine-hesitant” individuals who are increasingly putting their families and our communities at risk.
In healthy individuals, most vaccines have a greater than 90 percent effectiveness rate. While the large majority of vaccinated individuals will not contract the disease, some few still can. Studies show those who contract the disease post-vaccination will have less severe symptoms, as well as be ill for a shorter duration.
There are some individuals who medically cannot be vaccinated, and face greater risk when people fail to vaccinate — those undergoing chemotherapy, those who are allergic (all current ingredients are deemed safe for the massive majority of the population), those too young or old to be safely vaccinated, those whose immune system is compromised by immunosuppressive drugs (anyone who has had a transplant) or those born with a compromised immune system, those with HIV/AIDS and pregnant women. These people need the protection that “Herd Immunity” grants them. This state is achieved when 90 percent or more of the population is vaccinated against a disease.
I encourage everyone to make sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Don’t fall for the misinformation out there! There is always a small risk with vaccines; every medication has risks. You may have a small fever or feel “under the weather” after a vaccine — these are expected side effects. These things should not prevent you from doing the responsible thing to protect your family and our community: get your vaccinations. Go to iris.iowa.gov to see if you’re up-to-date!
Daniel Ginger-Goodson, RN