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Daugaard: Science Says Vaccines Safe; Get Your Measles Shots!

Let me give credit where credit is due. Governor Dennis Daugaard has dedicated his first column of the new year to telling the anti-vaccine crowd that the resurgence of measles is their fault, that they are wrong on science and social responsibility, and that they need to get their shots:

Avoiding vaccination has been a recent trend. As the memory of these diseases fades into the past, too many people seem to forget the risk of not vaccinating children. Unsubstantiated and discredited theories about side effects have created unreasonable anxiety. Medical professionals, repeated scientific studies and organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that vaccination is vital and safe.

I recognize that there are extreme circumstances where a child may not be able to receive specific vaccines because of a severe allergy or condition. In South Dakota, we also allow people to forgo a vaccination for religious reasons. But for the overwhelming majority of people, vaccines are safe and reliable.

Not vaccinating doesn’t just affect you and your kids. It puts others at risk as well. Just as the polio vaccine protected millions of children from disease in the 1950s, vaccines save lives today. Vaccination is just as necessary today as it was decades ago [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, "Vaccinating Saves Lives," press release, 2015.01.02].

This KSFY graphic leaves me wondering whether we've got measles or a chocolate allergy.
This KSFY graphic leaves me wondering whether we've got measles or a chocolate allergy.

I've razzed the Governor, just a little, for not raising the alarm about the anti-vaccers threat to public health. Now he's done just that. Thank you, Governor!

By the way, before the weekend, the Department of Health confirmed nine cases of measles in Mitchell, all in the same extended family, none vaccinated, and none of the children in public school.


  1. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.04

    Daugard did the right thing. Good for him.

  2. Vickie 2015.01.04

    He did his job. It's about time something positive comes out of our government in Pierre.

  3. Don Coyote 2015.01.04

    Ironically the infected family now has an immunity that is considerably stronger than can be gotten through the MMR vaccine. Naturally acquired immunity is considered lifetime while significant waning of the MMR vaccine is being seen for the measles and rubella components 20 years after vaccination. And only 10 years for the mumps component which helps explain the mumps outbreak in the NHL where most of the affected players were vaccinated.

  4. JeniW 2015.01.04

    Don, what about chicken pox vaccine?

    Chicken Pox can still happen in children, and those of us who had Chicken Pox as kids are at risk of having Shingles as we grow order (however there is a vaccine for Shingles.)

    My mother, a maternal aunt, my sister-in-law, and her mother had Shingles. They suffered horribly. for my mother it was so severe that it was debilitating enough to make her barely functional.

    About the measles vaccine, not all children survived the complications of having the measles, and some had permanent disabilities as a result of having the measles.

    But, as I mentioned previously, all drugs, including have their risk and benefits, and we have to make a decision.

    I had a booster vaccine for measles and whooping cough a couple of years ago.

  5. Don Coyote 2015.01.04

    Sure you can get a chicken pox vaccine (my immunity is natural) but did you know you are then susceptible to getting shingles? And the shingles vaccine, besides being expensive, is only about 51% effective at preventing shingles although it can reduce the severity of an outbreak.

    90% of the cases of chicken pox occur before age 13. It rarely happens in adults over 60, Barbara Walters being the exception. She got her case from kissing Frank Langella who had shingles but wasn't aware that he did.

  6. jerry 2015.01.04

    Under the Obamacare or the ACA, immunizations for children are at no cost. Given that, there is no reason to not protect your children and society itself by getting them immunized.

    Governor Daugaard needs to really step up and put Medicaid Expansion in place so that all will be able to take steps for protection.

  7. JeniW 2015.01.04

    I point was that having the disease does not necessarily mean an full immunity.

    The ones I mentioned above all had Chicken Pox as children, and they all developed Shingles. So the full immunity is not necessarily true for all diseases.

    Thanks for the information about the Shingles vaccine. I will need to ask my doctor about that.

  8. Don Coyote 2015.01.04

    @JeniW: Shingles is herpes zoster not chickenpox although the latent virus varicella zoster causes shingles. Secondary infections of varicella zoster are exceedingly rare. From the CDC: "Recovery from primary varicella infection [chicken pox] usually provides immunity for life. In otherwise healthy people, a second occurrence of varicella is uncommon and usually occurs in people who are immunocompromised. As with other viral infections, re-exposure to natural (wild-type) varicella may lead to re-infection that boosts antibody titers without causing illness or detectable viremia."

    Note that re-exposure acts to boost natural immunity. This is what happens with measles and why because of waning vaccinations we will start to see larger outbreaks of the MMR viruses. In effect, the vaccinations are weakening the herd immunity acquired through the natural infections. Now remind me again who is a threat to public health.

  9. larry kurtz 2015.01.05

    If Daugaard had any huevos he'd quarantine Davison County, put these people in cages and kill their dogs.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.05

    I guess "Don" is squeezing some lemonade from the anti-science lemons the Mitchell anti-vaccers have thrown at us. Their better immunity has come at the cost of putting other members of the community at unnecessary risk. Plus, the risks of side effects and death from measles far outweigh the side effects of vaccination. Like anti-vaccers, "Don" is putting his own selfish desires (in this case, to make a wise-guy comment for the sake of argument) over solid, comprehensive science and the general welfare.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.05

    And vaccinations weaken herd immunity? What a twisted deception! "Don" apparently believes in thinning the herd to make it stronger. Now remind me again who the pro-life crowd is in this discussion?

  12. JeniW 2015.01.05

    Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and to make choices, but Don you have not convinced me that vaccines are useless.

    As a Baby Boomer, I remember well the damages and deaths that diseases have caused.

    IMO, the benefits of vaccines outweigh the the risk.

  13. Nick Nemec 2015.01.05

    The comments of "Don Coyote" on vaccinations can only cause me to question his comments on all other issues here at Madville. Once someone goes that deep down the anti-science rathole they are no longer a reliable witness. Like Cory I too am glad that the Governor refused to lend credibility to the anti-vax crowd that, for the most part, haunts the far fringe of his party.

    I am following Cory's lead and placing "Don Coyote" in quotation marks, I figure Cory has a pretty good idea who on this site uses their real name and who uses a nom de plume. I find it ironic that "Don Coyote" picks the coyote, in Native folklore isn't the coyote a trickster, not to be trusted? Seems appropriate.
    "Neither children nor adults in general should behave as coyote behaves in the stories."

  14. Nick Nemec 2015.01.05

    Maybe Larry, maybe. Cory might be able to shed some light. The Democrats in Pierre need to push this issue and support efforts to stiffen vaccination requirements. Use the issue to help flush out the anti-science types in Pierre and don't be afraid to use the resulting information in future elections.

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