By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

I’m not old enough to have been part of the polio epidemic of the 1950s when scientists developed a vaccine for a disease that was ravaging American children. Think about it: the children—those small, helpless young humans who depend on us for everything. No one came out against Salk’s vaccine because suddenly, the incredible national nightmare was over. Children would stop being crippled for Life; or in some cases…stop dying.

Where was the uproar against vaccines then?

I realize it’s not the same as now with COVID-19, but it’s the same concept. We are faced with something that ‘cripples’ us as a society; and now, our scientists have developed a vaccine to stop it. We NOW can STOP it; so, let’s stop it.

I am old enough to remember being vaccinated at the local Health Department for smallpox. I was nine years old; my parents knew this was important. They didn’t want their children dying of the preventable disease. So, we all got a vaccination. Today, smallpox is basically eradicated from the planet. Wow! Science works when you follow the ‘scientific method.’ There is no need to add other aspects to the equation (i.e. politics) because science works in the venue of nature; and human behavior/conventions aren’t necessary to find a solution.

I think of my son when he was an infant. What if there had been a disease that targeted babies back then? Something like RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), for example, which can be a problem for small children (among others). Babies, like my son, could die; or have horrible medical problems. What if scientists followed the method and created a vaccine? (A vaccine for RSV is being developed currently.) My wife and I would never have hesitated; we would have had our son vaccinated along with his other childhood vaccinations. There would have been no choice. He might suffocate from a preventable disease; or he could be protected against it. Where is the ‘choice’ in that?

In this scenario, how could any parent live with his death if he weren’t vaccinated?

This is beyond choice. Yes, I said it. There is no choice in COVID’s case; to stop it, one must be vaccinated and wear a mask/social distance. This isn’t political; if you aren’t getting vaccinated/masking, then you run the unacceptable risk of contracting a preventable disease, which can kill you and put others at risk. There is not a ‘choice’ in this scenario either. COVID is the problem; we have a solution to the problem. End of story…no choice involved.

A few years ago, people believed vaccines caused Autism. There was a study done, which ‘proved’ the connection, even though children had been vaccinated for decades in America with no uptick in Autism numbers. I know people who believe that those childhood vaccines cause autism, even though the study was proven wrong. The scientist who did it admitted he fudged the numbers to make his hypothesis work.

This is not the case with COVID; the science and the vaccine protocol are solid by following that scientific method I mentioned. Science endeavors to explain Nature. This was done after centuries of ‘trial and error’ by scientists who have worked out this method. There is a hypothesis and replicated experiments to prove it right or wrong. Over time, the hypothesis is proven or disproven. If disproven, scientists formulate a different hypothesis based on the prior research. Basically, you do the science to find the answer.

I had wonderful, competent, and scholarly science teachers during my education. My high school chemistry teacher used to teach at West Point! In college, I had NASA engineers; I had Ivy League trained scientists; I had inventors. C’mon! This many people from that many walks of life and from that many scientific disciplines cannot be wrong.

To help us survive this COVID-19 crisis, we must follow the science. Really, there is no choice…

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.