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Ask a Vet: Vaccinations help eradicate deadly diseases

POSTED: January 31, 2014 2:00 a.m.

I am pretty sure time travel will never be possible.

Do you know why I’m pretty sure about that? Because of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That’s right, FDR. The 32nd president, who pulled us out of the Great Depression, led us into World War II and served longer than any other president. And he had polio.

Roosevelt was a fiery, strong-willed guy. He even refused to allow himself to be photographed in his wheelchair, working hard to stand for all pictures, even after his leg strength was ravaged. By polio.

Now look around. How many people with polio do you see? How many with small pox? How many dogs or cats with rabies?

Guess why. Vaccines.

One of the greatest human accomplishments of all time are vaccines. Where they’ve been implemented, they work.

We have eradicated diseases. Not just reduced, but straight up destroyed them. People in North America do not get small pox now or polio. 

Maybe you would argue we don’t vaccinate for those now. My reply is, we don’t need to. We used them until there was nowhere for the disease to hide.

Do they have a risk of side effects? Yes, just like walking out your door in the morning.

Do they have benefits? Of course they do.

Individuals who argue that we overvaccinate may have a point in some cases. Those who say vaccines don’t work or vaccines make you sick or vaccines are a scam are ignorant, crazy or maybe both.

Most dogs and cats I see that have life-threatening viral infections were never vaccinated to protect against them. We recommend those vaccines to help avoid sickness, not to make money.

The polio vaccines was the first huge success for vaccines.

Was it just to make money? Jonas Salk didn’t patent his invention. He knew it was too important to turn into a business. He missed out on more than $7 billion. Plus, he saved millions of kids.

And people who argue that the polio vaccine wasn’t needed? If time travel were possible, I’d expect FDR to show up and punch you in the face.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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