If you’re young, and you don’t support vaccines, you’ve probably been told at least a few dozen times that the reason you don’t vaccinate is because you’ve had the luxury of living in a time where “vaccine preventable diseases” aren’t prevalent. Just ask a grandparent or someone who had polio and they’ll tell you the story of how vaccines saved the day and just how devastating measles and chicken pox really were. Their testimonies are valid…unless of course you actually have a grandparent whose lived an entire century and can tell you how things really were, or you have a friend who had polio and doesn’t support the polio vaccine. Their testimonies don’t count.
I was told to ask someone from the older generation about “vaccine preventable diseases,” so I did. I grabbed a notebook and a pen, and sat at the feet of my great-grandmother as she told me what life was like…after the Titanic sank, during two world wars, the Great Depression, and the insanity that was the vaccination movement.
She’s 100-years old, still lives in her own 2-story house, and even watches my babes once in a while. I’m lucky, I have several people in my family who are approaching the 100-year mark and are sharp enough to set the record straight. I’m not sure why people in my family live so long. It could be the organic diet, the herbs, or the fact that all of my century-old relatives are unvaccinated. If my grandmother dies in the near future, it will only be because she’s started eating hot dogs and no one has told her that hot dog is mystery meat. Do they make a vaccine for that?
My grandmother has 11 brothers and sisters – three of which are still alive. They were all born at home and grew up unvaccinated. My grandma had chicken pox, mumps, and the “tough german measles.” She got over them and developed lifetime immunity. Her entire family got influenza during an epidemic and all survived with no medical intervention and no vaccination. Her son got whooping cough as a baby. Whooping cough was tough but he too developed lifetime immunity. He also had chicken pox as an adult, and his wife got the mumps but it wasn’t serious enough to keep her from eating “dill pickles” which apparently you couldn’t do if you have the mumps.
Mumps, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, and even the flu were rights of passage that almost every child experienced which challenged and groomed the immune system and protected them from more serious diseases as adults. Deaths from these diseases were rare and only occurred in the really poor children who had other “things” as well.
When you’ve lived a century, you’ve also seen the drastic changes in living conditions. The biggest house her family of 14 lived in was a four-room house. There was even a bed in their “living room” which they shared. My Grandma’s family lived off of the land and drank milk from their own cows, gathered greens (what we consider weeds) in the fields (which you wouldn’t be able to do now because of chemicals), and dug a trench in the winter to store produce. Their family was poor as were the people around them. Quarters were close, baths were rare, outhouses were used, and sometimes, yes, people got sick; but not like the “sick” we see today.
In the last decade I have had to explain to my grandmother what Crohn’s disease is, autism, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, peanut allergies, and thyroid conditions. She never saw those health conditions growing up. “Vaccine preventable diseases” were replaced with “vaccine-induced diseases.” Can we even compare chicken pox to rheumatoid arthritis?
I know, we have better diagnostic methods now right? Crohn’s disease and autism were always around, they just weren’t labeled or diagnosed. Wrong. I had Crohn’s disease and believe me, you’d notice the kid who spent the entire day in the outhouse or had to poop on the side of the road at least 15 times on their walk to school. And have you met anyone with autism? Trust me, a parent with an autistic child doesn’t need the diagnosis to notice the difference.
I have to admit, my Grandma and her husband got one vaccine…the polio vaccine in the late 1950s contaminated with the SV-40 virus that is infamous for causing cancer and has been found in human tumors of the brain, breast, lungs, bone, and lymph. My Grandfather later developed lymphoma and died of cancer. I never met him.
My great-grandmother doesn’t understand the concept of vaccinations. She also doesn’t understand iPads or cell phones or Skype. She believes in sunshine, hard work, prayer, and good food (minus the hot dogs). She had common illnesses as a child and has never been sick as an adult. I can tell you that my Great Grandmother, Great Aunt, and Great Uncle (who was a Pharmacist) have not survived a hundred years because they were vaccinated.
Maybe we should question the older generation who experienced these “vaccine preventable diseases” they were never vaccinated against (and easily survived). But, if you’re looking for a fear-mongering, fright-inducing story about chicken pox, measles, and influenza, or the rubella that was never seen, and the whooping cough that never went away even with a vaccine, you might not want to ask someone who has lived a hundred years. You might not like what they have to say.