My daughter is in the hospital while I am writing this. She got a bad flu, four days with a fever crossing 40 °C, and on top a secondary bacterial infection. Now she is being treated with antibiotics. I guess every parent can feel with me when a kid is suffering over days and the condition is just not getting better! Now she's in good hands and the treatment seems to work, so I am confident she'll be fine in a couple of days.
Earlier today I checked her vaccination record, and I got happy from the bottom of my heart about all the things she will not get: Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, haemophilus influenzae, hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, pneumococcus, meningococcus, and not to forget the eradicated smallpox. Each one of these, with maybe the exception of varicella, are far worse than the flu of my little girl. The generation of my great-grandparents still lost many children to these diseases! Can you imagine how it feels when your little sunshine of a kid gets weaker and weaker by the hour, crying, boiling with fever, and finally the crying ceases and your precious little baby stops breathing, and there's nothing you can do?
We live in a blessed age. A little jab and two days of feeling under the weather can protect nearly every human being from such a death. My parents, my wife, I myself, my friends, my kids, their friends and all generations that will follow can be free of this scourge for the first time since the dawn of humanity.
I don't need to argue with scientific theories to know the value of vaccinations. All I need to do is to look around: My kids and all their friends are still alive! None died from an infectious disease! None of them got any serious adverse effects from vaccinations! No matter what's in these shots, it surely works and it has tremendous beneficial effects. For me the choice in favor of vaccination is an easy one. Do I want a little jab, a little fussing, and a very slight risk of more serious complications, or do I want a good chance to watch my kid die a harrowing death or be afflicted with a permanent disability?
Maybe we live too comfortably and have forgotten what it means when kids get these diseases. The common cold, stomach flu, three-day fever and all the other common infections for kids are simply no comparison. If you or your kids ever got a really bad flu or Eppstein-Barr virus, you might get a slight idea what the real killers feel like! I am grateful that my family and I, and many, many other people on this planet could choose to never make this experience. What will be your choice?