Measles parties

No article, just memory. Back in the 1950s, every summer, mothers used to bring their kids to measles or chicken pox parties to deliberately expose their kids to the diseases at a time when they would not miss school as a result.

There was no vaccine then, and it was regarded as certain that your kid was going to get them sooner or later, so it made sense to control when. It was also believed, especially with mumps, that the younger they got them, the less likely they would be severe.

Once they had them, they were safe from then on.

Note that they did not have Polio parties. Polio killed children,

So, considering how long it will be before the vaccines will reach all children, I wonder if COVID parties for kids of vaccinated parents might not be a good idea this summer before the schools reopen in the fall?

Am I serious? Maybe half way, but it makes more sense than the anti-vaxers.

19 thoughts on “Measles parties

  1. I kind of see your point, but I don’t think COVID parties would have the same effect as the measles one’s did.

    Also, weren’t those attempted last spring? The COvid parties? And they didn’t go over so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For adults? no

      Further, it would have been a bad idea when no one was vaccinated. Once everyone who wants the vaccine has had it, that is an entirely different context.

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  2. That was also a time when kids could go out and play in the dirt, puddles, grass in parks when dog poop was rampant.

    Long before we started to disinfect everything I believe our immune systems were stronger. Recent studies seem to indicate healthier children with dogs in the house because they bring in all kinds of bacteria, flora, etc.

    Of course, the childhood diseases like measles, whooping cough and particularly polio were pretty dangerous for many.

    The old adage of “what didn’t kill you, made you stronger”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RE: “Back in the 1950s, every summer, mothers used to bring their kids to measles or chicken pox parties to deliberately expose their kids to the diseases at a time when they would not miss school as a result.”

    Such parties were how my brother and I became inoculated for measles and chicken pox. As I recall, we also received “booster shots” of vaccine in later years.

    I have no idea how Covid compares with measles or chicken pox in terms of risk to children, but it seems to me that immunity by natural exposure makes a lot of sense for this cohort.

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    1. Based on what I have read, for children under 10, COVID would be about on par with Chicken Pox and somewhat less a threat than measles.

      People forget, but at one time, a fair number of kids died of measles,

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          1. The rate of vaccination dropped well below the 90% in the Ukraine because of the conflict and measles popped up big time. The problem with herd immunity is it has to be maintained.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Your suggestion revolves around a matter of fact. At this point we can make an educated guess at the answer based on experience with adults. The question is . . . “Which presents the greatest risk to a child – the vaccine or the disease?”

    A vaccine that caused 1 out of 50 recipients to be hospitalized would not be approved or accepted. Or even 1 out of 500. So, IMHO, these old-fashioned infection parties are NOT likely to be the best public health policy for Covid-19 UNLESS evidence emerges that the vaccine is dangerous for children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, it is not that simple.

      At best, we will not get kids over 10 vaccinated until well into the next school year, and under 10 isn’t even planned yet.

      The death rate for US children under 10 is less than 1/10,000

      I am uncomfortable with deliberately infecting a child, but at the same time, if getting it over with this summer by intentional infection avoids disruption of the coming school year, it may well be worth it.

      Disrupting the school year is not without penalty in itself.

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      1. Would you travel on a plane if there was a 1 in 10,000 chance you would die?

        But you are quite correct that logistics, testing and other issues makes it impossible to get children vaccinated this year. Still, deliberate infection seems a very poor choice. If we really want to open schools safely in September then it must become a requirement that ALL teachers, bus drivers and any other staff be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. That simple, legal and doable step would eliminate most of the risk involved in a return to in person classes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Would you travel on a plane if there was a 1 in 10,000 chance you would die?”

          Depends. I would if there were a 1 in 1000 chance I would die if I didn’t get on.

          You must always balance the risk of action with the risk of inaction.

          As school personnel will be in contact with an involuntarily unvaccinated population, (the kids) I would have no problem with requiring vaccination as a condition of employment.

          The same option should be available to private employers as well.

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      2. RE: “I am uncomfortable with deliberately infecting a child, but at the same time, if getting it over with this summer by intentional infection avoids disruption of the coming school year, it may well be worth it.”

        Seems to me that deliberate infection is not the same as permitted infection. That is, if one must choose between an organized program to cause infection in children and one that merely allows children to become infected in the normal course of their lives, the latter would be less risky.

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        1. The problem with that course is that the permitted infection will happen in the school year, triggering another destructive shut down.

          There are no good answers, just less bad answers.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Agreed, Do you think shutting down the schools would have an effect that is beneficial for public health?

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