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A couple of months before her third birthday, my daughter was stricken with Haemophilus (Hib) meningitis, a potentially fatal disease that can now be prevented by vaccination. Fortunately, after three weeks in the hospital and intensive antibiotic treatment, she survived without serious long-term complications. In the wake of a powerful anti-vaccination movement, many children are once again left unprotected from Hib meningitis, and many more will fall victim to this and other preventable diseases when there are too few vaccinated individuals to provide "herd immunity." Many parents continue to be misled by a cruel hoax that endangers not only their own children but Society as a whole.
My name is Cindy Pomerleau. I am a Research Professor Emerita in the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry and am now pursuing a post-professional career of writing and blogging. When my husband suggested a pro-vaccine blog, I was very excited by the idea; but I hesitated because there is already so much material out there on the lifesaving benefits of vaccination, much of it excellent, in the form of both scientific information and personal narratives. Upon reflection, I decided I bring a somewhat different perspective from most of the other sites I visited, based not only on my personal experience, but also on my research on early autobiographical writings of women and my training in science. In addition, I am now in my seventies, old enough to remember what many younger parents have never seen and therefore cannot truly grasp - children dying or sustaining permanent damage from diseases that their parents would have given anything they had to prevent.
The title of this blog comes from George Santayana (1863-1952)'s famous aphorism, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," which seemed sadly appropriate to my topic. It is often paraphrased in various ways, including the version I have chosen. The photo in the header is of a child in an iron lung, a medical ventilator that allows a patient to breathe when normal muscle control is compromised. Rows of these machines filled hospital wards at the height of the polio epidemic in the 1940's and 1950s.
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