Editorial: Children’s vaccines are pointing to a safer future

Shutterstock

The news that children’s vaccine doses will soon be available in Ontario is being greeted with cautious jubilation in some corners, but the science of vaccines over the past several centuries should invoke more confidence.

Since the late 18th century when English doctor Edward Jenner first discovered that immunity to smallpox could be acquired through inoculation, humanity has been able to manipulate our system’s natural immune mechanisms to assist in the battle against deadly diseases that have plagued mankind since time immemorial. 

Vaccines are not a complete panacea, to be sure, and they do come with side effects (although the data shows those side effects are extremely rare, especially when compared to the chances of contracting COVID-19 and dying or being afflicted with long-haul COVID), but they offer a significant degree of safety.

There is one phrase that we must eliminate from our lexicon that is being heard far too often these days. That phrase is “it’s okay, we’re all double vaxxed here.” It is abundantly clear from the data, and that’s the science readily available to us, that vaccination helps protect us from COVID-19, but it does not completely eliminate the risk of contracting the virus. Double vaccination also does not protect one from dying from the virus’ complications. It only greatly reduces that risk.

For those of us wanting to finally be free of the shackles of the pandemic restrictions (and who among us does not) the temptation to see full vaccination as a get-out-of-COVID-free card is strong. It is not. Vaccination is just one tool in the toolbox that will buy our medical professionals time to find a solution.

History tells us that such a solution will eventually come. But, looking at the billions of dollars dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, we should all realize that the solution may take some time.

The rising numbers of children who are falling ill with COVID-19 are alarming. There are few more devastating sights than that of a desperately sick child, even more so when that child is a member of your own family, or close circle.

Vaccines are not a perfect solution and there is no magic bullet to cure COVID-19, but that does not in any way excuse the harassment of those who are choosing to get the jab. It may be “your body, your choice” but we join Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin in asking the question, “why do anti-vaccination advocates seek to harass those who choose to protect their own bodies?” That is certainly their choice.

For those hesitating to have their children receive the COCID-19 vaccination, please ask yourself how you would feel standing outside a hospital where your child is struggling for life on a ventilator in intensive care? That scenario is not so far off as you might wish to believe.