BEECHEY: Please help us get through COVID

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Please pardon my Shakespeare: ‘To vaccinate or not. That is the question.’

If we did not have scientists learning about diseases, how they spread, and then finally developing vaccinations, there would be many fewer people alive today. Terrible diseases from our past would take full families, cities and decimate the population of whole countries. One third of the global population died in the medieval Black Death!

All but smallpox have not yet been eradicated globally so if you have never been vaccinated and you just happened to meet the wrong person in the wrong place who was infected by any of the following you could still be killed, maimed or terribly disfigured by the following – cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis (consumption), rabies, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A & B, rubella, measles, whooping cough, pneumococcal diseases (pneumonia, meningitis), chickenpox and many influenzas.

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I have had reactions to vaccines, but I am still thrilled my parents made sure I got the polio vaccine as a child, for in high school I had a classmate in leg braces from polio. One thing many of us don’t consider in refusing a vaccine is catching the disease, living, but living with long-term, adverse health effects which can incapacitate for years.

A diphtheria epidemic swept through not just Canada but Tillsonburg in 1881. It can cause a thick membrane at the back of the nose or throat which causes difficulty and pain when swallowing and breathing, leading to heart failure, paralysis and death. Thank goodness a vaccine was created in 1920, although that didn’t help in 1881.

‘A Bad State of Affairs’ from the first page of the Tillsonburg Observer, Oct. 21, 1881 reports on the death of a teenager and looming death of his young brother.
“In families where sanitary regulations are observed and the general health of the members is looked after, not so much is to be feared, so long as the disease does not become all pervading; but among the poorer people who are ignorant of its manifestations, and look upon it as a stubborn cold, the insidious enemy is liable to get a secure foothold and bring mourning into many houses.”

Diphtheria, a bacterium, was spread by airborne droplets, contaminating personal/household items. Sound familiar?

The Spanish Flu in 1918 was worse than our pandemic. Today that does not need to happen! We have been blessed with scientists and health care providers that spend their lives trying to keep us alive by sharing their knowledge to educate us, plus the miracles of vaccines to stop the spread and death of the all the above listed diseases.

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So why do you refuse to do what you can to ensure the safety of those around you by not practising simple methods of stopping the spread by simply distancing, masking and getting a vaccine? Remember back in Sunday School, ‘Love your neighbour?’ It is not about rights; it is about love.

Did you inoculate your pets against rabies or distemper? If you were bitten by a rabid animal would you still refuse the vaccine? Or would knowing of certain death change your mind about vaccines?

The people not distancing or wearing the masks are the ones causing the lockdowns, not the politicians. If everyone had complied over the last year we would be out of this like New Zealand and other countries. Two people dear to me and others I knew have died from COVID. Please stop being selfish and help us get through COVID.

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