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Letter: Anti-vaxxers ignore medicine’s history lesson

My mother developed measles while she was pregnant with my older sister. Measles caused my sister to be blind in one eye. They were both lucky. Complications from measles can be much more severe, including death.

Near the time of my birth, my father was stricken with polio. He wasn’t so lucky. After months in an iron lung, he survived losing the use of both legs and one arm. He provided for his family, and lived a happy productive life. Post-polio syndrome killed him in his mid-seventies.

After the advent of inoculations, many people do not understand the devastating effects of preventable diseases.

I’ve heard some people argue that if there was a way to prevent cancer no one would do it, because cancer makes a lot of money. Today there is a safe, effective vaccine for human papilloma virus. It could prevent up to 90 percent of cervical cancer and other cancers.

In ancient times, people with diseases were considered unclean, and expelled from society. Today, some people may consider it barbaric, but then, it was the only way to limit the spread of disease. More recently, quarantine was used to protect society. Lepers were in “colonies” tuberculosis victims were in “sanitoriums” etc.

Modern medicine including inoculations has nearly eliminated many diseases. Inoculation is more effective than quarantine, but they both protect society.

People who reject modern society by refusing to vaccinate their children should not be allowed to be part of that society. They should be quarantined.

William D. O’Connor

Grand Island

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