Sunday, January 3, 2016
No Vaccination, No Camp. Finally.
In 2013, Emily Stillman developed a headache. Within hours she was dead. Emily died from one of the dozens of diseases that medical science has managed to control through vaccination. Unfortunately, she had not been vaccinated against the type of meningitis that took her. Despite the existence of a safe and effective vaccine, type b meningococcal meningitis was not seen as enough of a threat for mass vaccination in the USA. Thanks to efforts led by her mother Alicia, the meningitis b vaccine is now available in the US to protect our children from Emily’s fate. Vaccination is a type of immunotherapy. For over one hundred years, people have had their immune systems trained to defend against diseases that in the past caused great suffering and millions upon millions of deaths. The concept is fairly simple: expose a person’s immune system to an important part of a germ, and the immune system develops a “memory” for the germ. When you encounter, say, measles after having been vaccinated, your immune system’s memory cells start to divide quickly and crank out antibodies to defend against the disease.