Friday, April 29, 2011

This Post is FULL of the Controversy: It's Vaccinate Your Infant Week!

It’s a generally accepted fact that two things have saved more lives than anything else in history: clean water and vaccinations. Today, there are parents across the world who cannot afford or don’t have access to vaccinations. Charitable organizations and doctors donate their time and money to cross oceans to provide kids with life-saving vaccines. This week, a nation-wide campaign encourages parents to vaccinate their infants. The campaign is aimed at uneducated and underprivileged parents who a) don’t realize the importance of getting their children vaccinated or b) lack the means to acquire said vaccinations.

While people like Bill Gates are coughing up millions of dollars to help developing countries have access to life-saving vaccines, the educated and privileged in the US (and other first-world countries) are refusing to vaccinate their children.

I am flummoxed. Absolutely flummoxed. So I looked into the major reasons why a mom would refuse to vaccinate her little people. Of course, there are a plethora of mommy bloggers out there who extol the various reasons why they would never stick their child with a needle full of toxins. The following excerpts are taken from one such mommy blogger (I do not wish to be mean or spiteful, so I will refrain from saying where it’s from) who believes vaccines are a product of the devil himself.

I knew too many people or had heard of too many people with kids with autism, and I knew not ONE child with polio, measles, mumps, or rubella.

She’s right! There’s no polio, measles, mumps, or rubella!!! She doesn’t state the obvious- that the reason her kids aren’t presently at risk for these diseases is because of vaccines. This is an example of a mom who a) is letting her children benefit from a community of otherwise inoculated children and b) who refuses to accept that vaccines are in no way, shape, or form related to autism. The initial study that linked autism to vaccines has been proven fraudulent; Dr. Wakefield fudged his results. The rational medical community asserts that, thanks to recent studies, we now know autism has absolutely no connection to vaccines.

Still, moms cling to the few members of the healthcare community who demand more research. And many are not even moms whose children suffer from autism. Their fear of the unknown- what actually does cause autism?- clouds their rationality.

I read recently that nutritionists agree that the benefits of eating tuna fish outweigh the dangers of ingesting mercury. One mom insisted that the nutritionists were in definite cahoots with tuna fishermen and that their studies could not be trusted. (That was a joke.)

No mention of where these vaccines come from and how they are made. No mention that they contain deadly toxins like mercury and aluminum.

This mom bemoans the fact that her pediatrician didn’t provide her with a full report complete with statistics of children who have had bad reactions to vaccines, as well as a full toxicity report.

Does she demand one from her water company each month with the water bill? From her local grocer who provides her with her produce? From her lawn care provider, or her neighbor’s lawn care provider? Does she pour over her town’s air quality report? (Actually, I think she does. And she writes to her local government about them. So… yeah. She’s dedicated.)

The truth is, the “toxins” in vaccines are minimal. And none of them have been added “just because medical professionals love to stick toxins into infants.” Each ingredient has a specific purpose. Anti-vaccination proponents mislead parents into believing that the ingredients in a vaccine are a reason to forego vaccinations altogether. The latest scare tactic-that aluminum in vaccines can cause neurological disorders and kidney failure in infants- is also bogus. (I love when an opportunity to use the word bogus presents itself.) I like this quote from a report on aluminum:

During the first 6 months of life, infants could receive about 4 milligrams of aluminum from vaccines. That’s not very much: a milligram is one-thousandth of a gram and a gram is the weight of one-fifth of a teaspoon of water. During the same period, babies will also receive about 10 milligrams of aluminum in breast milk, about 40 milligrams in infant formula, or about 120 milligrams in soy-based formula.
They can use aborted fetuses (this can be a major issue for Christians against abortion.)

We should all make like Charlton Heston and run out of the pediatrician’s office yelling, “IT’S PEOPLE!!!! IT’S PEOPLE!!!”

Thankfully, that statement is not true. No one is grinding up fetuses and putting them in vaccines. In fact, they now have labels that say “no babies were harmed in the making of this vaccine.”

But, if you’re curious about where this statement is derived, in the 1960s, scientists used cell-lines from aborted fetuses to create certain vaccines. Some of these cell-lines are still used today.

The babies were not aborted for science. Science journalist Chris Mooney reported:
What makes MRC-5 so controversial? According to a 1970 article in the British journal Nature, the cell line was originally derived in 1966 from the lung tissues of a male fetus "removed for psychiatric reasons from a 27-year-old woman." In other words, MRC-5 was created from an abortion.
Do with this information what you will. A good reason NOT to vaccinate? The pope doesn’t think so, and neither do I.

I just read about Tuberculosis in third world countries the other day from a ministry. In order to stop the spread of the disease, they are not vaccinating, but educating the people.

Education is good. And cheaper than vaccines! Sanitation is just as if not more important than vaccines. If we can educate, not vaccinate, why do we need those pesky shots? I got the answer from, of all places, Canada. Which I thought was a crunchy country, so I am impressed:

For the specific diseases that vaccines can prevent, however, disease rates only began to drop dramatically after the vaccines for those diseases were licensed and came into widespread use. (Follow above link for more good information.)
I think if God wanted us to have vaccines, he would have provided them in nature.

This is quite possibly the most stupid statement I have ever read on the internet. That is all.

What irritates me the most about the anti-vax crowd is their complete disregard for the danger they put their community in because they refuse to vaccinate. “If your kids are vaccinated, you shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of. Why do you care if I don’t vaccinate my kids?”

Because you put people at risk. And not just any people. The weakest and most vulnerable people.

Measles is a harmless childhood disease? Not to the infant too young to get vaccinated. Not to the AIDS patient whose immune system is severely compromised, or the cancer patient who cannot fight off disease. Not to the immunized child whose vaccine failed, because vaccines are not 100% effective. Not to the child whose parents lacked medical insurance or just didn’t bother to get their children immunized.

Life is about taking chances. We weigh the risks and the benefits, and we do what we think is best for our children, for ourselves, for the community at large. Taking a vaccine is taking a risk, but it is one that is far outweighed by the benefits.

Update:  Information about Vaccinations

Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated with These Vaccines?
Some Common Misperceptions
Risk from Disease Vs. Risk from Vaccines
Vaccine Information Statements
The Pertussis Epidemic and the Anti-Vaccine Movement


Julie A said...

Nicely done. LOVE the comic ;-)

hokgardner said...

If God had wanted us to have vaccines he would have created doctors and scientists who would have developed them. Oh wait . . .

I view parents who aren't willing to vaccinate their kids as selfish. They are willing to put their community at large for the sake of their mistaken beliefs about aluminium and autism.

And I wish to dog Jenny McCarthy would shut the hell up already. She's done as much damage to vaccinations as Wakefield's report.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written, Holly. Bravo.

sosickofit said...

Holly - usually enjoy reading your posts, but this one (sorry to say) is just irresponsible.
It is irresponsible because it perpetuates the wrong focus on the real vaccination controversy. The amount of errors and overly simplistic approach is too much for me to respond to at length. However, you should realize that the heart of the controversy is simply a risk vs. benefit analysis that every parent is entitled, and should, make after being adequately informed. If you think that the benefits outweigh the risks for your child, then that is the choice you make. But not all parents will make the same choice.
It is not a simple matter of ignorant parents focusing solely on the link (or lack thereof) to autism. Your post is nothing more than a trite, superficial regurgitation of the usual pro-vaccine propoganda and you unwittingly undermine your own arguments several times in the post.

You are right about one thing -Vaccines are not 100% effective - in other words, vaccines do not equal immunity. I'll say it again - vaccines do not equal immunity. Which of course, negates any logic to your claim that unvacciated children put the community at greater risk of spreading disease. It's not as if a germ that touches a vaccinated child simply disintegrates. Vaccinated children carry and spread disease just like unvaccinated children and the entire adult population who no longer tests positive for the disease antibodies. [FYI - most adults do not get boosters and the most common vaccines are only effective for 10-15 years].
Whether or not an individual succumbs to the germ depends on several health factors and the intended hope is that the vaccine will help an individual fight the illness faster and more efficiently. It is not a guarantee. Vaccinated children do, in fact, frequently become infected with the diseases they were vaccinated against. [And contrary to your argument on herd immunity (which was originally coined to apply to those communities who actively obtained immunity through contact with an illness as opposed to passive or vaccinated populations)outbreaks (i.e., pertussis) have occurred even in communities with a vaccination rate of 95% or higher]
Parents who chose not to vaccinate must weigh the risks (which, incidentally, are even acknowledged by the vaccine manufacturers to be death, seizures, paralysis, etc.) against the intended benefits. Since the vaccines do not account for bioindividuality, parents do take those very real risks each time their child is vaccinated. Those risks are real. Claims for children who have been injured by vaccines are real. To suggest anything else is irresponsible and plain inaccurate.
And as you succinctly stated, vaccines are expensive. So, what, may I ask is the motivation of the countless anti-vax physicians and research scientists who simply want parents to know what the actual risks vs. benefits are? What are those physicians motivated by? When my pediatrician specifically tells me that he doesn't recommend a certain vaccine because the risk of illness is not great enough to justify the vaccine, should I show him your post as authority for how he's being an irresponsible physician?

Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, most well informed "anti-vax" parents, physicians and researchers are simply asking for 2 things: 1. the ability of parents to make an informed risk v. benefit decision and 2. a higher quality product. WHY would anyone oppose those goals? If we know that vaccines DO have risks that can, and should be limited, why is it wrong to ask the manufacturers to put out a safer product? Less risk?
oh, I see... you think we should all just gladly line our children up for their shots and cross our fingers. don't question - just accept. I guess that makes sense for you. After all, you just want us to be part of the 'herd'.

Holly said...


I’m going to disagree that I am being irresponsible.

You say my focus is “wrong.” My focus was intended to be risk v. benefit. Later, you say anti-vax parents want one of two things: 1. The ability of parents to make an informed risk v. benefit decision and 2. a higher quality product.

I admit that this is a superficial and completely not comprehensive overview of the vaccination debate. It was done that way for brevity’s sake. Nothing I have stated has been proven to be false. (If it is proven that the aluminum in vaccines turns out to be toxic, I will gladly recant. Not gladly- who would be glad about that?- but responsibly.) The point of the post was to clarify misconceptions people have about vaccines. Because thanks to people like Jenny McCarthy, the large number of people who are anti-vax ignore scientific studies and refuse vaccines because they are afraid toxins in vaccines cause autism.

Anyone can go to the CDC website and look up statistics surrounding people who have bad reactions to various vaccines. Nowhere in my post did I suggest this wasn’t the case. There are invariably doctors who give vaccines when they shouldn’t; when a child is sick, for instance, or when a child has allergies that indicate they might be allergic to a vaccine. Some children do get sick from the viruses being injected into their bodies. Children who have had seizures should probably not be vaccinated. I’ve weighed these risks versus the benefits, and I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits. Example: 281 children died as a result of influenza in 2010. 48 died as a result of vaccinations- in the past 7 years. That’s a pretty small percentage.

The idea of herd immunity is that the more people in a community who are immunized, the less chance there is of a virus outbreak. In populations where there are higher numbers of unvaccinated people, there is a greater chance for the spread of, say, the flu, or measles. Of course it can be spread in communities with higher vaccination rates. That doesn’t mean that the chances of outbreak are greatly reduced when they are heavily vaccinated.

Some doctors recommend only some vaccines; for instance, the flu vaccine is different because the flu is an RNA virus, which mutates rapidly. That’s why there’s a different flu shot every year. Again, people with the weakest immune systems are encouraged to get the vaccine.

“You think we should all just gladly line our children up for their shots and cross our fingers. Don’t question- just accept.”

If you read my blog, then you know my daughter has some issues. And when I found out, I blamed myself, of course. I bought books, scoured the internet, called doctors. Some people said ADP (a relative of autism, sensory deprivation disorder, etc.) is caused by toxins in vaccines. Some thought it was related to diet. I thought it might be because I took Zoloft during my pregnancy. There’s actually a website that encourages parents like me to detoxify their children in order to cure them. I spent a lot of time questioning all the decisions I had previously made for my daughter. Ella was so small when she was born- should I have let my pediatrician inject such a small baby with toxic vaccines? As much as I would have liked to blame vaccines, the evidence just isn’t there. There is anecdotal evidence, and then there are scientific facts and studies. The anecdotal evidence appeals to my emotions; the scientific studies appeal to my rationale. The two constantly battle, but I take a deep breath, cross my fingers, and try to rationally look at healthcare options.

So, no- don’t just accept. Get informed.

Holly said...

part 2

As far as my mocking the woman who wants full toxicity reports from her pediatrician, hey. I practically admitted she was better informed than I was. My pediatrician always hands me information that details the risks of each vaccine. Any other information I want I need to ask for. And I have every right to ask for it. I can also look up my water report online, I believe. I might do that.

Do I want you to line your kids up and cross your fingers? Ultimately, yes. Not only because it’s better for the “herd” but because in the end, vaccines make your individual children safer, too. When your pediatrician tells you he doesn’t recommend a certain vaccine, should you show him my blog? Absolutely. In fact, everyone should print this out mail it to their respective pediatricians yesterday.

In seriousness, parents can:
1) opt to space out vaccinations
b) request vaccinations that do not contain mercury or aluminum
D) request vaccinations that do not stem from embryos or aborted fetuses
4) look into “green” vaccines

sosickofit said...

If your focus was intended to be risk v. benefit, then your delivery was... there is no proven risk of autism, therefore the benefits outweigh the risks. end of story. (I'm paraphrasing of course). When you do address the risk v. benefit debate, you don't actually use anything other than autism in your analysis and that's why it's irresponsible. For most parents, it's about the other scientifically PROVEN risks. Again you gloss over the actual proven risks to each individual child. [1. I'm not sure that any parent of a child who has died from a vaccine would agree with you about the acceptable risk percentages 2. citing death rates in 2010 from the flu (while again, having 48 deaths from the vaccine) is only a fraction of the story. That number does not specify the number of those 281 children who were laboratory confirmed deaths, the number who were actually vaccinated against the flu, or the number who were already immuno-compromised, or the number who already suffered from chronic respiratory ailments, i.e., those individuals who are exactly at the highest risk for serious complications from respiratory infections 3. the annual flu shot is truly based upon an educated guess at which strain will hit that year, so not only is it a matter of mutation, but also hoping that "the powers that be" guessed right].
Also, the fact is that aluminum is toxic. It is a known toxin. You're asking for a study that hasn't ever been done... has anyone extracted out the amount of aluminum alone in one vaccine to see whether it is 'proven toxic' to a child? Is that the study you're looking for before you'll buy into 'aluminum is a toxin' argument? Is the amount in any one vaccine alone toxic for child A vs. child B? Is the amount in any one vaccine combined with the other toxins enough to trigger neurologic responses? There are studies to suggest that there is such a correlation. There are also cases in the Vaccine court that support that correlation.

Yes, there are contraindications to administering vaccines. Do those children compromise the herd immunity such that we should vaccinate them anyway? With the large number of our children suffering from chronic immulogical disorders, that is becoming much more common.

You assert that there are only anecdotal studies upon which a parent refusing vaccines might rely. That is absoultely false. And the best case studies for the risks of vaccines are the more extreme (proven) cases where children have died or become permanently disabled because of a vaccine. Those are not anectdotal.

To question the link (or lack thereof) of autism to vaccines and talk about lack of causative studies is one thing. [Although there are many scientific studies that support a strong correlation between the 2]. For some, the only acceptable "evidence" is a study that proves causation. For others, a red flag is raised when the "evidence" proves a strong correlation. But to simply assert that the benefits outweigh the risks, without talking about all of the other 'risks' is why I take exception. All I ask is that you recognize that you can choose to take whatever risks you'd like and let me take whichever I find acceptable.

Lori Alexander said...

"sosickofit" have very intelligent arguments and are very articulate. I really appreciated your response!

Anonymous said...

Guess what? Doctors are responsible for deaths. So are seat belts and water and blankets and bees and pretzels. So what should we do about these, sosickofit? Thankfully use them or raise a big stinking fit about it whenever anyone defends their use and effectiveness.

Holly said...

Your beef is that I did not list the scientifically proven risks that come from taking vaccines?

First of all, I admitted there were risks, and since I made it clear autism wasn’t a risk, it’s clear I acknowledge other risks associated with vaccines. I believe those risks to be miniscule.

However, if not listing the risks is “irresponsible” I apologize.

Now I’m going to get a little indignant. (Just a little) I did not assert there were only anecdotal studies. Come on. Do I really seem that ignorant? I asserted that anecdotes cloud rationale and that I had to train myself to look beyond anecdotes at facts.

“I’m not sure that any parent of a child who has died from a vaccine would agree with you about the acceptable risk percentages.”

That’s the kind of anecdotal argument I’m talking about. If I had a friend whose child died as a result of a vaccine, I would certainly not tell them, “Well, your child made a sacrifice for the greater good. These things happen!” I don’t know what I would say. It would be awful.

But here’s an analogy: a child dies in a car accident. The parents look into cars and realize- they’re really, really dangerous. More children die each year as a result of car accidents than almost anything else. The mom starts campaigning against cars. She wants to do away with mini-vans, 4-cylinders, Jeeps, motorcycles. Instead of campaigning for car safety (don’t drink and drive, obey the speed limit, get regular inspections, etc.) the mom makes takes an irrational position based on fear.

Yes, cars are dangerous, but they also save lives. (Think ambulances, fire engines, etc.) I’m not going to give up driving my car because her child died. It sucks that her child died, I’ll probably cry and nod about how cars suck, how they paralyze, maim, dismember, crush, etc, but DESPITE the fact that cars kill children, I’ll continue to put my kids in the mini-van.

This isn’t a perfect analogy (far from it), of course, because this hypothetical woman’s refusal to drive a car doesn’t really put me or my children at risk.

When you look at the risk, it seems ludicrous to put our children in cars. But we do it every day without a thought. We allow our children to fly down the road at 60MPH. When you look at the miniscule risk (seizures, paralysis, death) of vaccines compared to the overwhelming numbers of lives saved, I have to take that small risk

Holly said...

(cont) Yes, aluminum is a toxin. There are a lot of toxic things we put into our body. Diet coke is far more toxic than any vaccine. Our body is equipped to handle small doses of toxins. And no- kids whose bodies, for whatever reasons, put them at a higher risk for developing adverse reactions to vaccines should not be vaccinated until (and if) they get healthy.

Correlation should raise a red flag. Correlation still, however, does not equal causation. When considering the so-called autism “epidemic” you must consider that in the nineties, autism became a full-fledged spectrum, and the statistics reflect those with mild autism as well as though who have severe autism. Heck, I know people who are probably autistic but have never been diagnosed. That, combined with a real push for autism awareness, has increased the number of cases reported.

You’re right- the statistics about the flu don’t come with the full story. Then- neither do the statistics about the kids who died as a result of vaccines. Did those children receive a vaccine when they shouldn’t have? Were they feverish? Have an otherwise compromised immune system- diagnosed or undiagnosed?

“All I ask is that you recognize that you can choose to take whatever risks you'd like and let me take whichever I find acceptable.”

I’m pro-vaccine, but I’m not taking it to court. I don’t believe anyone should force a parent to vaccinate. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to say that I believe choosing not to vaccinate is the right decision. If you told me “I choose not to seatbelt my kids” I wouldn’t think- “well that’s okay for you, but not for me.”

If my opinion offends you, I can live with that. It’s an opinion, not a decree. As for letting you do what you think is acceptable- how could I stop you?

* Diphtheria
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 175,885
Cases in 2003: 1
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%

* Hib (<5 yrs old)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 20,000 (estimate)
Cases in 2003: 259
Decrease in cases per year: 98.8%

* Measles
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 503,282
Cases in 2003: 56
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%

* Mumps
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 152,209
Cases in 2003: 231
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%

* Pertussis (whooping cough)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 147,271
Cases in 2003: 11,647
Decrease in cases per year: 92.1%

* Polio (paralytic)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 16,316
Cases in 2003: 0
Decrease in cases per year: 100.0%

* Rubella
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 47,745
Cases in 2003: 7
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%

* Smallpox
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 48,164
Cases in 2003: 0
Decrease in cases per year: 100.0%

* Tetanus
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 1,314
Cases in 2003: 20
Decrease in cases per year: 98.5%

Toaster said...

Holly, great job on this post as well as the follow-up comments; I am impressed!

As you know, I don't have children myself, so I am not coming from this "controversy" personally. However, I can say with 100% certainty that if I did have kids, they WOULD be vaccinated.

Although it appears that your detractors did not choose to focus exclusively on the supposed link between vaccines and autism, let's be honest--wasn't that truly the genesis of the sudden suspicion with vaccines? And sadly, not only were the results from that original British study NEVER replicated (despite many attempts), but also they were recently FULLY discredited.

Finally, bravo to you for using the terminology "correlation does not equal causation"! As a psychologist who has been trained to critically evaluate research studies, I believe that most laypeople who debate the vaccination issue do not understand the crucial, fundamental different between correlation and causation (for ANY type of scientific research).

Toaster said...

Btw, I also really liked your car analogy. There are MANY examples of things like that, but people with their hands over their ears aren't likely to hear them. :p

The Editor said...

Pointless Planet here. "Sosickofit" is a troglodyte. Holly is awesome. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Holly, I agree with you 150 billion percent. Vaccinate your children. The people who refuse to do this need to stop being weirdos. And I just find it ignorant when people STILL say vaccinations cause autism.

Holly, keep up the amazing, beautiful work. Keep the words rolling. Love it.

Dad said...

Was this subject really one of general interest?

sosickofit said...

Ok, so let me try and be as succinct as possible here and perhaps clarify a few things...
1. My beef with the post is not that you didn’t list the scientifically proven risks... it’s that you made a blanket statement/conclusion seemingly based solely on the autism issue: “Taking a vaccine is taking a risk, but it is one that is far outweighed by the benefits.”

Because the post seemingly focuses only on the vaccine/autism debate, I found the post (as I read it) to be too severe of an oversimplification of the issue - and can be irresponsible because many will read it and dismiss the other, valid vaccine safety debates. My comment(s) was simply trying to illustrate that there are many other (undiscussed in the post) risks that might not support your stated conclusion that the risk is far outweighed by the benefits. [and it seems that my comments then took your original post into a different direction - one where neither you nor I can really have a lengthy, comprehensive debate]

2. Because of reason 1. stated above, such a narrowly-focused post can help to undermine the otherwise productive dialogue that some people are seeking, particularly those parents who want safer vaccines and/or a more reasonable vaccine schedule (at times in your post, you imply that anti-vax blogger moms are hysterical and irrational - but the evidence to question vaccine safety and the schedule is valid and also available on the government databases)

3. Your opinion doesn’t offend me - the way the post was presented just aggravated me... because it is if there is no middle ground ever presented on this debate. My first comment was trying to highlight that - and I just thought your post was too narrow and perpetuated the real myth - i.e., that parents needn’t be concerned with vaccine safety. At times in the post, you absolutely mock and ridicule parents who might “extol the various reasons why they would never stick their child with a needle full of toxins.” As for diet cola, agreed and no, I don’t drink the stuff. And neither will my child for as long as I actually have a say in things.

4. While you admit that your “car accident” analogy is not perfect, I think the bigger point is that it doesn’t shed light on the vaccine debate. Whether or not to vaccinate is dependent upon the risks of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating - you don’t weigh the risk of not vaccinating a child against their risk of say, being in a car accident. If that was the case, we would take many more risks with our children’s safety because they might seem small compared to their chances of dying in an accidental death altogether (considering that there are over 90,000 children who die each year from accidental deaths.) Just because a child has a greater chance of drowning in a pool or dying in a bicycle crash than he/she does of dying from a vaccine doesn’t justify vaccination any more than it would justify not vaccinating (since both death rates are VERY low compared to accidental incidences of death); In other words, your analogy just doesn’t help to “tip the scale” towards either side in terms of the vaccinate/don’t vaccinate debate.

sosickofit said...

5. Without providing a 100 page dissertation with respect to the disease incidence pre v. post vaccination rates, I will only say that the statistical data also shows that the disease incidence rates were on a sharp and substantial decline before the formulation and wide-spread use of vaccines because immunity was spreading from active contact and response with the disease amongst the populations (i.e., the immunity to the swine flu epidemic that a large majority of people over the age of 50 acquired years ago).
6. Most adults no longer have immunity to those diseases and rarely get boosters. In reality, infants are often exposed to germs and diseases from adult carriers. Nevertheless, disease is spread by all - vaccinated and unvaccinated. The vaccinated don’t have a magic ‘vaporizer’ that kill the disease or germs upon contact with their “special vaccinated” skin. All children and adults can be carriers for disease, regardless of whether or not they become ill themselves. Vaccinated children who travel outside of the country can still spread disease here just as unvaccinated children.

7. Admittedly, I didn’t know what a troglodyte was before today. I had to look it up. Learned another something new. I’ll deny it for sure, but I’m biased.

sosickofit said...

and on the "car accident" analogy, it did occur to me that you are not comparing risks of a car accident vs. risks of vaccinating, but rather, a mom assessing whether or not to drive a car based on fear of the chance of death or an accident. (There are many people who have that fear and don't drive.) I would suggest to you that the fundamental flaw of using that analogy is that you are ignoring the importance of personal choice and risk assessment. You say that "instead of mom campaigning for car safety" she wants to do away with cars. But, perhaps mom simply doesn't drive in a car until she feels the appropriate safety measures are in place? Perhaps mom does campaign for car safety if a complete vehicular recall is met with too much opposition. It's not as if she's dismissing any value in driving cars, she just may personally feel that they're too dangerous. In the vaccinate/don't vaccinate debate, all parents should be united in seeking the most safe vaccines. If some parents feel that they are still too dangerous in their formulation, maybe they're just choosing not to drive for now (or drive only but a few miles at a time).

Elizabeth said...

Sosickofit, I live in one of the wealthiest countries on earth but have the dumb luck of living in a city with one of the lowest immunisation rates in this country. My children are fully immunised but because of idiots like you, last year I watch my little girl cough and heave and gasp for breath for 3 frickin months. I so wish I could have stuck you in her room to rock and comfort her EVERY NIGHT FOR THREE MONTHS whilst she cried and coughed until she threw up. Welcome to her life with Whooping Cough given to her by some idiot like you (or most likely your kid) who is so stupid you believe the crap peddled about immunisation risks. This is why this debate is so controversial. If you don't want to be immunised and immunise your kids...then keep your children at home 24/7 so they can never infect my kids.
And if you are going to put so much energy into debating for hours with Holly ... stick your real name to it, when you put an anonymous moniker I think you are a coward as well as being an idiot.

Holly said...

If I had taken the time to list the scientifically proven risks of vaccines, it would have been done so to bolster by “the risks far outweigh the benefits” argument. The scientifically proven risks are just that insignificant. Your argument that the anti-vax movement is primarily motivated by parents who are concerned about the proven facts surrounding vaccination risks seems unlikely- simply google “anti-vaccination” and you’ll see countless arguments from a) members of the scientific community who are angry with Wakefield, Mendlesohn, and Jenny McCarthy for spreading misinformation about vaccines and autism and b) poorly conceived arguments by parents who are still clinging to that misinformation. The rest of the anti-vax crowd seems to be libertarian in nature; they have a general distrust of the government and innately believe the individual comes before society at large.

To demonstrate risks vs. benefits, let’s use Dtap:

Here are the risks/ problems associated with Dtap, which protects against diseases caused by bacteria: Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough.) (I won’t list all of them, just a sample of the worst in each category):

Mild problem:Vomiting (1 in 50)
Moderate Problem: Seizure: (1 in 14,000)
Serious Problem: Allergic reaction: (less than 1 in a million- so rare, we don’t know if it’s really the vaccine that causes the reaction.)

On the other hand, here’s are the risks involved if a baby under 2 months old contracts pertussis:
• Nine in 10 babies are hospitalized
• 15% to 20% develop pneumonia
• 2% to 4% have seizures
• One in 100 will die from complications of pertussis

Pertussis outbreaks have been prevalent in areas with low immunization. The higher the immunization rate, the less the risk there is of a pertussis outbreak. Pertussis is especially tricky because many adults are losing immunity, and infants cannot receive Dtap until they are at least 2 months old. Therefore, it is all that more important for healthy, abled children to get the vaccine. Case-study after case-study says the only way to try and combat Pertussis is to increase immunity- and the safest way to do that is through vaccination.

Holly said...

You state that both death rates of the vaccinated and non-vaccinated are very low compared to accidental incidences of death. What about before vaccinations? Smallpox had an overall death rate of 30%! The only reason the risk for non-vaccinated people is so low is because of the effectiveness of vaccines! The fact that adults don’t have immunity against many diseases is all the more reason to vaccinate! Again- the higher the immunization in a community, the less the risk of an outbreak.

The Institute of Child Health says:

"After one dose of MMR, approximately 90-95% of children are protected against measles, over 95% against rubella, and 85-90% against mumps. After two doses, almost 100% of people will be protected against all three diseases. Because the diseases are so infectious, it is necessary to have very high levels of immunity in the population to control the diseases. It is only possible to do this, if children receive two doses of the vaccine. For this reason, almost all countries, recommend two doses of the vaccine. Those countries that have a high uptake of two doses of MMR vaccine have been most successful at eliminating the diseases."

As to your assertion that disease incident rates were in a sharp decline before vaccinations, the CDC answers that question better than I could. See the link “Some Common Misperceptions” I have put beneath my post.

For the record, I don’t consider parents who put their kids on a different vaccination schedule or who request vaccines with only certain ingredients to be the parents who are putting the rest of us at risk. Their children are still getting vaccinated.

Here’s my problem with the moms who are choosing not to drive for now. When it comes time to get our kids together for a play date, that mom is essentially saying: “You drive your kids to my house. I don’t want to risk driving my kids to your house.” All the safety measures will never be in place. I hope vaccines do get safer, and doctors and parents should certainly be advocating for the safest vaccines possible. In the interim, the ones we have are still better than the alternative.

In closing (this is my last hoorah on this issue), I don’t think you’re a troglodyte (I had to look it up, too), I’m glad to hear about the diet soda, and in order to remedy not listing all of the risks of vaccines, I have added some links that provide to anyone who’s interested the ins and outs of vaccinations.

Best to you and yours,

The Editor said...

Trog-lo-dyte (n.) 1. A member of a prehistoric race of people that lived in caves, dens, or holes. 2. A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish. 3. A person of degraded or primitive character. 4. A person unacquainted with the affairs of the world.

Pointless Planet stands by its comment.

Holly said...

I meant "the benefits far outweight the risks" argument.

Holly troglodyte. Going back to cave.

sosickofit said...

Holly - thank you for your thoughtful responses and opinions. Ultimately, I think our discourse addressed the reason why my initial knee-jerk reaction to your post was so unfavorable... it’s just so complicated of an issue, with multiple considerations, that it seems (at least to me) not something so black or white. I will not continue to hijack your comment section as it appears that we are simply not in agreement with the data that is currently available, but I did want to offer a final comment(s), admittedly spurred on specifically by co-commenter “Elizabeth”

I think that the most difficult time and heart-wrenching for a parent is to watch their child(ren) suffer in any way, shape or form, whether it be from an illness, physical disability or emotional challenge. And I hate to hear that Elizabeth (or any parent) had to struggle with her child’s health for a time, much less for me to have caused it. That is just another example of why this issue is so emotional. I’m not sure what happened to her child in that instance, or why she believes that some idiot like me or my kid gave her child the illness as opposed to contracting it from someone who may have been vaccinated or from another adult who wasn’t vaccinated. I am not a scientist or a physician. I am not an expert. I am simply a parent who wants to be as informed as possible and consider all the evidence, not just the evidence my heart might want me to consider. [I truly wish there was some magic 100% guaranteed shot my child could get that would prevent him from ever getting sick]. I don’t want to be handed a document from just one source and hold that out as my “authority” without ever considering alternative arguments or evidence that might call the information set forth in that “authority” into question. I try to look at all of the angles and make my best guess as to which is seems more credible.

Despite the fact that this is an emotional issue, I don’t think people who vaccinate their children are idiots just as people who don’t aren’t necessarily idiots (although there are, I’m sure, some in both groups). My attempt at presenting another viewpoint is based mostly on the physicians, pediatricians, research scientists, professors of pathology, biology and immunology that have come forward and questioned the safety of vaccines and the premise that widespread vaccinations are necessary. They too base those opinions on empirical data, statistics and research studies.

sosickofit said...

As just one example, the CDC’s answer to the FAQ that disease incident rates were in a sharp decline before vaccinations, highlights the data from 1950 forward relative to measles in the U.S. - but that is a somewhat misleading answer. Mostly because you’re not seeing the data supporting the significant incidence decline prior to 1950. By starting the chart a mere 7 years before the vaccine (and after there was already a substantial decline), the CDC suggests that the vaccine was the real reason for a substantial decline when the actual data pre-dating 1950 really suggests that the long-term decline was already happening before the vaccine. Would it have happened at the same rate without the vaccine? We can never know. Also, looking at disease incidence in other communities over long periods of time actually supports the proposition that disease incidence rates were in sharp decline before vaccinations and would have continued to decline even in the absence of a vaccination formulation. I offer the following link as only one example of this data:

sosickofit said...

According to the CDC, “Herd immunity is more effective as the percentage of people vaccinated increases. It is thought that approximately 95% of the people in the community must be protected by a vaccine to achieve herd immunity. People who are not immunized increase the chance that they and others will get the disease.” So if the US population isn’t vaccinated to at least 95%, according to the CDC, herd immunity cannot be achieved. The reality is that vaccination rates have never reached 95%. Disease “should” be rampant. The reality is that even in the highest vaccinated populations, rates only reach about 82% and disease is not rampant. This is true even in populations with vaccination rates as low as 63%. Long story short, there is an ongoing debate amongst pathology and immunology professionals as to the validity of the passively-induced herd immunity theory. [That term was intended to describe immunity spread to a community achieved by active contact with a disease.] The debate rages on...

Holly said...

Ok, I lied. But I am stubborn and can’t let anything rest.

The idea that the CDC and other pro-vaccination entities are “misleading” people is one of those strange conspiracy theories that seem to persist on the internet. Sanitation and vaccines are not in competition with one another. Sanitation is the best way to prevent disease. Vaccines come in at a very close second. As modern sewage systems and access to clean water increased, of course the spread of disease decreased. That doesn’t mean that vaccines didn’t save thousands upon thousands of lives. Once, boats were the only way to get across the ocean. This worked perfectly fine, but it was slow. So we came up with airplanes. Gets you to the same place, just faster. When it comes to saving lives, isn’t time always of the essence?

I’m not sure what you’re definition of “rampant” is. 10 infant deaths in California of a disease that can easily be contained by vaccination? The state declared pertussis an “epidemic.” Bacterial diseases do not have the capability of being completely eradicated, like smallpox, measles, or polio. Therefore, vaccinations are all that more important.

Here’s a great blog that was eerily prophetic about the pertussis crisis in California:

Holly said...

Nope- not blocking you. I've only deleted one really gross comment since the genesis of my blog. I LOVE FREE SPEECH! And a good debate :) Don't know why blogger is being wonky. I was e-mailed all your comments, so I'll paste this last one for you:

sosickofit has left a new comment on your post "This Post is FULL of the Controversy: It's Vaccina...":

(this was supposed to be the end of yesterday's comment, but didn't post for some reason. Are you blocking me? lol)

I offered my comments ‘anonymously’ not out of any shame or devious motivation. It just seemed simpler at the time. Type how I felt and click. I didn’t really think any further into it at the time. I’m not a blogger and I don’t have a domain of my own (further evidence of my troglodyte status). I was merely hoping to provide a somewhat informed counter-position to your post, but apparently failed miserably for some as the commenting cave-dwelling ‘idiot’. I do think that we, as parents, have a responsibility to the community at large in addition to our own individual families. I don’t discount that responsibility or take it lightly - but I may just feel differently about how I fulfill that responsibility. Best, Tiffany Troglodyte (I’m conceding).

sosickofit said...

you're a peach (could be my computer b/c it keeps 'refreshing' your page over and over, but without the postings - weird - at least I know you'll get this even if it doesn't post to your site)

Although I'm currently fighting the urge to respond to your last post for which we could debate, I'm convinced, into thousands of continuous posts, it is your blog and I should allow you the last word on the subject - with the disclaimer, of course, that I want to keep responding but won't ;) and in truth, don't really need to since our comments back and forth addressed the "singular focus" issue that I had with the original posting... so thank you for that. [I guess your comic illustration couldn't have been more appropriate]. Most importantly, I'm moving on to enjoying your other posts like I usually do - which, if I comment in the future, will be sure to include my name lest I be accused of being a coward again by other commenters.
Best, Tiffany Troglodyte

Holly said...

I signed up for google ads and now all of these vaccine ads are popping up! I didn't choose them...