Vaccines and the Good Old Days

Written by Harold McNeill on April 17th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


If you have a child, it is your decision whether or not to vaccinate. But, you might stand by the strength of your conviction and stop taking your own preventative medications. Why would you want to risk falling prey to one of the side effects of those medications even if the danger is minimal?  There is no better way to show you love your child than standing side-by-side with them if your decision is to not vaccinate.

November 27, 2014  I bring this post back to the top to demonstrate how little we fear once common killers that have made a return, yet becomes panic-stricken over one “ebola” case in Texas. Calls for travel bans, additional airport screening, isolation of passengers, quarantines, cruise ships in a state of lockdown, aircraft placed in hangers for decontamination, passengers not allowed to board aircraft even after being screened, people wrapped in bubble wrap on flights, etc.  How is it that government and media can so easily push us into a panic state at the drop of a pin, yet when an outbreak of a disease that at one time killed thousands in our country and around the world appears, we just shrug our shoulders? In the face of all this fear about ebola, there is no rationale explanation as to why it has taken so long to begin the ‘War” on that dreaded disease that is killing thousands in West Africans. We could really make a difference, but six CF-18’s to fight ISIS – that’s just symbolic.

May 17, 2014.  An excellent article on “A Failure to Vaccinate” begins on Page 1, of the  Vancouver Sun. An 80-90% vaccination rate is needed to prevent a widespread outbreak.  Check the details on page A6 and A7 of the Sun or read the Post below. Think it over folks. (Link Here to the Sun Article)

Children of the 1940’s

My sister and I grew up at a time when many childhood communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and others were feared by every parent.  While vaccines had been developed for polio, scarlet fever and others, many killers still remained.  In PolioCrusade_t614every community, children were dying for lack of effective vaccines and over the course of the 18th  and 19th  centuries, millions of children and adults around the world died. Millions more were left with debilitating, lifelong scars. Except for Chicken Pox, my sister Louise and I luckily escaped the most serious.

Photo (Web): In this polio campaign photo a nurse stands with a recovering child.  Millions of children were afflicted with that dreaded disease and while many died, just as many were left with lifelong after effects.

After decades of careful medical research, more and more vaccines (and safer, more effective vaccines) were being developed. By the 1980’s most childhood killer diseases, including measles, were on the brink of extinction. Many others had already been taken out of existence.

Was the world was safe? Well, almost.  It did not take many years after the rate of infection had dropped to very low levels, for a few to begin to question the possible side effects. It was then parents stopped vaccinating because they feared the side effects more than the disease. Most families who refuse have never seen communities devastated by various communicable diseases. It seemed that a few pseudoscientists and celebrities carried more weight than mainstream doctors and scientists.

I do not think any caring parent today would bundle their baby into a car without carefully tucking them into a baby seat.  Baby seats and seat belts have become so common that most people feel rather naked without them being cinched up.  Helmets have followed the same path for cyclists and are now making their way into sports where the danger of head injury is high.  After initial resistance, most people now think this all makes good sense.

While everyone still has a choice to belt up or put on a helmet, there is the risk getting a fine if you fail to do so. Cell phones have children-biking-carmel-closeup-017joined the ranks. But, everyone still has a choice on vaccines and we are beginning to see the consequences in British Columbia and around the world.

My bet is that many parents who decided to skip the vaccination for their child are taking dozens of drugs for some reason or another, perhaps to reduce the chance of cardiovascular problems, to combat depression and other mood disorders, or simply as a means to enhance the sexual experience. Pfizer alone reported $2.05 billion in Viagra sales in 2012. Check the footnote for a list of possible side-effects of a single dose of Viagra.

The list of regularly prescribed drugs that come with dangerous side effects, is massive. Most of these side effects are far more dangerous than those posed by vaccinations for childhood diseases.  With your next prescription, take a moment to read the list that comes with your prescription (or even an ‘off the shelf’ drug). Also remember, many of those drugs are being taken because of poor lifestyle choices.  It seems a lot easier to pop a pill than change a lifestyle. Check the list of the 10 most commonly used prescription drugs below. Also, remember, none of the related conditions involve a communicable disease.

If you have a child, it is your decision whether or not to vaccinate. But, you might stand by the strength of your conviction and stop taking your own preventative medications. After all, why would you want to risk falling prey to one of the serious side effects of those medications even if the danger is minimal?  There is no better way to show you love your child than standing side-by-side with them if your decision is to not vaccinate.

If I could bring back my mother or father or any of our grand-parents or great grand-parents who lived through the epidemics of the 18th and 19th century, they would think you’re absolutely crazy not to vaccinate.  Link Here to the list of diseases and the time frames involved in seeking ways to defeat those diseases.

Also, take a moment to scan the attached photos as a further reminder of the ‘good old days’ before vaccines became widely used (LINK HERE)

The Ten Most Prescribed Drugs

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these generic drugs are not the ones bringing in the big bucks for pharmaceutical companies. The drugs on which we spend the most money are those that are still new enough to be protected against generic competition. It should also be remembered that these drugs, for a large part, are often (but not always) prescribed because of poor lifestyle choices. Also, none of the conditions related to use of these prescribed drugs is contagious.

The IMS reports that Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010. The 10 drugs on which society spent the most are listed below, and each has a long list of very serious side effects. I bet it has not stopped anyone from taking one or more of these drugs…

  • Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $7.2 billion
  • Nexium, an antacid drug — $6.3 billion
  • Plavix, a blood thinner — $6.1 billion
  • Advair Diskus, an asthma inhaler — $4.7 billion
  • Abilify, an antipsychotic drug — $4.6 billion
  • Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug — $4.4 billion
  • Singulair, an oral asthma drug — $4.1 billion
  • Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $3.8 billion
  • Actos, a diabetes drug — $3.5 billion
  • Epogen, an injectable anemia drug — $3.3 billion

 Now Check the Possible Side Effects of Viagra

Dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, flushing, heartburn, nosebleeds, trouble sleeping, or swollen hands/ankles/feet (edema) may occur. Vision changes such as increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or trouble telling blue and green colors apart may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Rarely, a sudden loss of eyesight in one or both eyes (NAION) may occur. This may or may not be due to sildenafil. Stop taking sildenafil and get medical help right away if this occurs. You have a slightly greater chance of developing this serious eye problem if you have heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain other eye problems (“crowded disk”), or high blood pressure, or if you smoke or are over 50.

Sexual activity may put extra strain on your heart, especially if you have heart problems. If you have heart problems and experience any of these serious side effects while having sex, stop taking sildenafil and get medical help right away: severe dizziness, fainting, chest/jaw/left arm pain, nausea.

In the unlikely event you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours, stop using this drug and get medical help right away or permanent problems could occur.

Rarely, sildenafil may cause sudden hearing problems (such as decrease/loss of hearing in one or both ears, ringing in the ears). Stop taking sildenafil and get medical help right away if these effects occur.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate)


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Comments (2)

  • maggie
    April 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm |

    Wow! Just a great article, Harold McNeill! This is a subject very dear to my heart. When I was in grade 1 I missed half the year! I had whooping cough, then about a month later I had measles (I still remember my mom making me stay in a dark bedroom because she was afraid I’d go blind), went back to school for less than two weeks then had chicken pox and right after that the flu and bronchial pneumonia! I had curtains that had farm animals on them, and I still remember being delirious with fever with one of those illnesses and the animals came jumping out of the curtains and started stampeding towards my bed – frightening!!!

  • Harold McNeill
    April 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm |

    Thanks Maggie. I wish more people who went through those times and who either had first hand experience with one of those childhood diseases, or had a family or friend go through the trauma, would speak up as you have. Parents need to be made aware of the real dangers. Harold

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  • Harold McNeill

    August 21, 2019 |

    For those who followed the earlier post about the cost of ICBC Auto insurance coverage in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (linked in comments) here is another follow-up article.

    This article again confirms earlier assertions that public-private insurers such as that which ICBC provides, is among the best in Canada in terms of rates and coverage. A link is provided in the original story.

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.