Originally Posted by lokidoki
When exactly were hospitals so full up of sick people that there was not enough room to treat everyone who needed treatment? Also ~ how do you explain the statistics that show that disease (measles among others) started to decline before the vaccination was introduced? How is it that we know that disease would run rampant if we did not have vaccinations? Truth is we really do not know what disease would do if we stopped vaccinating.
What I find interesting about your line of argument regarding vaccines is that you state that you believe the flu vax should only be given to compromised portions of the population ~ however this applies to many of the diseases we are vaxing our young babies with (if you vax...I do not). Hep B ~ only a very small portion of our society is afflicted with Hep B yet we vax newborns with this before they are even a day old. Chickenpox ~ something rather benign and never really fatal (except in extreme cases) even before the vaccine to children yet we vax them for this which shifts the danger zone to the older population ("lightbulb" ~ so that they can get a vaccine too).
The thing is ~ we are made to feel like these diseases were so incredibly dangerous one day many decades ago...and the truth is while there were people that became very ill and even died...the vaccinations were not the savior of disease we are all led to believe they were in those days...so many other factors were at play. I do see where it is easy to give into the fearmongering that every child born before the age of vaccinations sat in an iron lung for most of their childhood ~ that is just not the reality of those days (as much as the fearmongers would like to have us believe).
For hospitals filling up...I must admit the example I come to think about at once happened a long, long, long time ago. The outbreak of the spanish flu in 1918. About 3% of the world population is estimated to have died directly or indirectly (primarily by pneumonia) from it. Many of the deaths were of healthy people.
I agree we cannot know that the diseases would run rampant if we did not have the vaccines against them. But take a disease like polio for example, that according to kidshealth.org had its peak breakout in 1952 in the U.S. 60,000 infected. 3,000 dead. We cannot know that polio would not naturally have disappeared or at least have become less deadly over time had the vaccine not been invented. What we can know, is that the disease has virtually disappeared from the western hemisphere following the start of vaccinating against it as has many other known very contagious diseases. We can also see that the disease does still exist in countries where the vaccine is not given and we can see what it does there. So we do know what would happen if the vaccine was not given. More people would become infected. For healthy, well nourished people...not so much of a problem. Bed rest. Good fluid intake and most people recover just fine. But consider that there are people, also here in the west, who cannot afford bed rest (some have no beds). Measles is not a disease to be taken lightly even if the effects are not that bad for most healthy people.
According to WHO in 1980, before mass vaccination against measles really started, around 2.6 million people died of it yearly. In 2008 164 000 people died in measles. Admittedly, 95% of these deaths happens in low-income countries. Often the people who die have other health issues to begin with and so can't handle the disease and its after effects. So, as a parent in the western hemisphere you can relax. If your healthy child (or yourself) comes down with measles, the chance of survival is very high in comparison, but is that a reason not to vaccinate against it? Not to do what you can to insure that measles become a thing of the past? If I could, measles is certainly one of the diseases I would like to rid the world of once and for all. Because it is one of these diseases where it hits the poor worst and where who you are and where you're from really matters.
As for certain diseases starting to disappear before the vaccine was introduced, we have to remember that the vaccine and the quest for spreading information about hygiene (especially in hospitals) happens at about the same time. In the mid 19th century we do see a dramatic revolution when it comes to hygiene because doctors (and nurses, like Florence Nightingale) were aware of what caused (causes) infections: bacteria and viruses.
We have to remember that many infectious diseases was spread in hospitals, and with the tools doctors used. So once hygiene became established, of course we saw a decrease in diseases like measles. Cross contamination between wards etc. started to become less common. People with different ailments were separated. Hands washed. Tools sterilised. It is very easily explained why we see a decrease in many infectious diseases before the invention of the vaccine.
Of course many factors have been at play, and are at play, when we are talking contagious diseases and the fatality of them. For one thing, antibiotics were invented in the beginning of the century by Fleming. In combination with sewage systems, vaccination, access to fresh food year round and of course clean water it would be very surprising if we did not live in a society where we are not really frightened by the diseases of the past.
As for me not believing in vaccinating against the flu, it depends on the nature of the flu virus. We can vaccinate against one certain strand of it, but usually within a year a new strand is upon us that requires a new vaccine. With measles we have a chance to wipe it out for good which is a chance I think we should take if possible. With the flu? The problem is how quick it changes and how quick it spreads. Even if we vaccinated everyone in the western hemisphere against this year's virus, it would be bound to survive in the eastern hemisphere, change and attack us again next year when it comes around again. Brand new. Requiring new vaccinations. Therefore I really think it pointless to vaccinate all against the flu at this point in time.