Go ahead. Shoot!

Long, long ago, when I was a child, we had communicable diseases. Diseases like mumps, red measles, German or 3-day measles, and chickenpox were like a rite of passage for those of us in grade school. The rite it might have been was certainly no favor given by your neighbor or school mates who sneezed on us. The good news was that once you had these diseases you would likely never have them again. Of course, since ancient-aged people only got shingles, we had no idea that chickenpox would come back to haunt you when you got older in the form of shingles. And this time, you thought chickenpox was uncomfortable? Why shingles hurt like someone put a flaming shingle up your butt. Not that I know that. I have heard that though not particularly in such an analogy. I have seen a flaming shingle however. Many to be quite factual. I was a firefighter you might remember. Or not.

Thankfully, the Department Veterans Affairs decided that once a patient reaches 55 they are eligible for the shingles vaccination. How good are the shots at preventing shingles? About 51 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Can you say, close enough for government work?

Fortunately, I don’t remember the details of all these diseases. I do know that when I was young it seemed that every time I turned around I would have hypodermic needles stuck in my ass or my arm. Vaccinations. Good! I didn’t know what vaccines were until I joined the Navy. I thought at one time the service to my nation would be to take shots. Shots with needles. Shots with with a jet gun. The latter’s use fell out of favor by the World Health Organization because of the potential to transmit disease from one shot with the jet to another. Counting surgeries and yearly vaccinations for flu and pneumonia, I think I can say, I been shot all to s**t!

jet injector
Shoot me! That’s an order, Doc!


So, dating back to the times when I had all the childhood diseases, why weren’t there shots for measles, chickenpox, German measles and mumps? Well, naturally these vaccines came, but they were after my turn in the affliction box. Oh, I did receive the smallpox vaccines with very small, sewing-like, needles as well as the polio vaccine on a sugar cube.

The development of measles vaccinations came in the mid-1960s after scientists came upon flocks of leukemia-free chickens. No, I am not making this up. Millions were vaccinated into the mid-1970s, the time I joined the Navy.

Though I have a cervical spine like a 100-year-old man, I never had the measles (rubeola), mumps, German measles (Rubella) or chickenpox again. I never developed autism either. I did feel puny after a few shots in boot camp and had a fairly upsetting reaction to a yellow fever shot.

But neither am I affluent. Perhaps were I well-off and had a child of vaccination age l would be in that category that is fueling the worst measles epidemic since the CDC declared the disease “eliminated” almost 15 years ago. The “Anti-Vaxxers,” as those who refuse to have their kids immunized have been called, have caught the half-truths and no-truths about fake studies. This includes discredited studies linking immunizations with autism in children. Perhaps the Anti-Vaxxers are also painted with too broad a brush dunked in too much paint. This article in The Daily Beast, for example, charge those who do not vax as “raging narcissists.”

Can’t we all just get along?

No, of course not. We must be polarized to the point of threatening our communities. Just remember there is no “us” in “me.” Say what the fudd? Look, the Anti-Vaxxers are most likely doing what they do for their children. You cannot blame them for that. But these childhood diseases are in some cases lethal. I don’t know how people who care so much for their kids cannot see their kids and their kids’ friends and your friends’ kids and whomever becoming targets for diseases that might just kill someone, including your own children.

There are all kinds of problems out there in this world that you can or cannot believe. Pollution, hydraulic fracturing, global warming, dog fighting, newscasters lying about being shot at, being shot at, and on and on and on. If I change just one mind, perhaps one kid somewhere won’t have to worry about scratching those itchy rashes, running a fever, developing pink eye, and a condition known as “hot dog finger.” Just joking about that last one.

Sleep tight and don’t let the measles bite!


If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.