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JEFF BROOMES: Research shows it’s best to vaccinate schoolgirls

Jeff Broomes

JEFF BROOMES: Research shows it’s best  to vaccinate schoolgirls

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Over the past few years I have observed, with a keen sense of interest, the debates that have raged both in Barbados and in the United States. The unbelievably heightened conflict has surrounded two very serious medical issues. Here in Barbados we questioned whether or not our young girls should be given the HPV vaccination. In the US, they question with great venom, whether children should receive the MMR vaccination.

I have marvelled as I realised that the persons on the side of the argument that, in each case, speaks to the reasons why it is important and necessary to have the appropriate injections at the specified times. These are doctors and other medical practitioners. These have supported their positions with researched statistics and medical evidence.

Those who have been vocal in presenting the opposing argument that speaks to the reasons why the vaccinations should not be administered have had, in the main, no medical training and no empirical supporting evidence. Their views have been driven by emotion and anecdotal clattering.

In addition to the regular and in-depth reading that I have done on both topics I have also taken the time to attend specific informative meetings. My knowledge and understanding were greatly enhanced by a presentation from Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand and her team which articulated data and explained analysis of an in-depth study with background information and projections. No one could have been left in any doubt as to the importance of having young children, especially girls, inoculated with the HPV vaccine.

I sat in a high school lecture room in Brooklyn, New York (where my daughter and gran reside) and listened quite attentively to a panel of medical practitioners speak on the importance of the MMR vaccination. They addressed the liquid to be injected, the challenges to children, the appropriate age of injection, the challenges to others who share the space with those not vaccinated and the potential danger to the non-inoculated child himself.

They also fielded and responded to questions from those who totally opposed to administering the vaccination.

With both of these experiences to guide me, my focus was clear. Except for explaining the reasons why it is correct to say, “If I were a swimmer,” and always wrong to say “ . . . between you and I,” I will never engage a doctor in any such grammatical debate.  Consistent with this position, my respect for the views and specialist advice of the trained experts in the medical field will always supersede the emotional swipes of agendarised individuals.

Although I believe that everyone should have a right to make decisions about themselves and their health, I totally disagree with any attempt to do the same that may have a lasting impact on others (including their children). Neither do they have the right to make decisions that will create a situation that will forever put a drain on the public medical facilities and the public purse.

As a father and grandfather, I believe in investing for the good. I believe that we need to give our children the best possible education that speaks not only to inculcation of facts and statistics but to the ability to think, analyse and operate in unfamiliar circumstances. That’s the investment we make, knowing quite directly that many of the jobs for which we are preparing our children do not exist at this time. We project with vision and we invest with clarity.

As with education, we must also invest in the good health of our children while at the same time giving protection to others who may be more vulnerable. I see no value in gambling with the lives and livelihood of our children’s future. As with most medical challenges, there are possible negative side effects, but I have seen no verifiable evidence to support the claim of links with promiscuity, autism or any of the unsupported scares. It is clear, however that measles, mumps, rubella and cervical cancer are real and possible dangers to our youth who are not inoculated. I say vaccinate and vaccinate now!   

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as a vice president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email [email protected]