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23 October 2009 @ 12:48 pm
Vaccine Hysteria  
I am reading a lot of stuff these days about people too afraid to take the H1N1 vaccine, people afraid to give their kids the chicken pox vaccine, the pertussis vaccine, and others.

What happened to science? Does no one read legitimate scientific research any more? The autism link has been thoroughly debunked. The vaccines have been changed so that thimerosol (the ingredient feared and thought to cause autism) is not used and still the hysteria continues. WTF?

We are having outbreaks of the diseases once nearly eradicated by widespread vaccination. The anti-vax crowd just says "Oh those diseases aren't as bad as we were told. So and so had whooping cough and was just fine! Measles, shmeasles." Yeah, let's bring back polio too. Kids really enjoyed the crutches and wheelchairs. Hey, they can pop wheelies!

I have a problem with chicken pox parties over vaccination, too. Do you people quarantine your kids after these parties? Because the immuno-suppressed kids might die if they get exposed. What about the pregnant lady on the bus? She shouldn't be exposed during the incubation phase either! You are all counting on a mild case of chicken pox--that's not the kind I had! Some people die from chicken pox but you'd rather deliberately expose your child than get a few shots of the vaccine? I had blisters in every conceivable place and some that you hadn't thought of. I was acutely miserable. I was lucky it wasn't worse. If I found out my parents deliberately gave it to me rather than give me a vaccine, I don't know if I would speak to them again.

While everyone is getting their exemption "for religious reasons" other kids can't go to school with your kids unless they're willing to risk their lives. A Pox on You chronicles the difficulties of one family with an immunosuppressed child who can't send him to a daycare because someone has an exemption. The author wonders what she will do when he goes to school:


For now, we will hire an at-home sitter for him. It's more expensive and not what we had wanted, but it's the best, safest option. When he is ready to go off to school, we will have to face this issue again: Public schools are forced to enroll unvaccinated children who have religious or philosophical exemptions—again, whatever that means. Because we want him to have as "normal" a life as possible, we'll likely send him off in the bright yellow school bus and cross our fingers that the kid sitting next to him didn't just attend a "chicken pox party" over the weekend. Because what's "just a case of chicken pox" for that kid could be a matter of life or death for mine.


Vaccination isn't just a personal decision. It's a public health matter that can affect others. Having a pox party can have devastating consequences unless all involved quarantine their children during the incubation phase. But since their children may attend multiple parties before they catch chicken pox, I am pessimistic that they will really keep their children home each time. If their own child has a mild case of chicken pox but kills another child through exposure, do they still feel good about their choice?

Junk science is rampant and ignorant people who don't read other sources fall for it every time. Anecdotal tales sound convincing but are no match scientifically for actual scientific studies, preferably more than one to duplicate results. Junk science is so compelling that a whole town fell for one spoof and wanted to ban foam containers with dihydrogenmonoxide or DHMO just to be safe. It's another way to describe H20, or water. One guy was so convinced by the spoof website that my husband couldn't convince him it was a scam even by showing him the debunking pages. "The hoax is designed to illustrate how the lack of scientific knowledge and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears."

If you'd like to see the hoax, here is the page: http://www.dhmo.org/

More information:

http://www.vaccineinformation.org/

http://www.immunizationinfo.org/immunization_science.cfm

http://www.newsweek.com/id/218513

http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/vacsafe.htm#The%20safety%20record%20on%20vaccines

With thanks to stephanieb

ETA:

http://www.slate.com/id/2232187?obref=obinsite (Far Left and Far Right together on anti-vaccine hysteria)

http://www.flu.gov/myths/index.html (Flu myths and realities)
 
 
 
Ashleyprophet_maid on October 23rd, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
Pertussis isn't polio. Chicken pox isn't small pox. The rhetoric on the "vax or you're an idiot and going to kill my kid!!!!" side is so overblown that they seriously treat chicken pox as if it were deadly. Pertussis the VAST majority of times isn't deadly, or even hospital-worthy. The VAST majority of children don't have a problem with chicken pox and are over it in less than 2 weeks.

Vaccines aren't 100% effective, not even close, nor 100% safe. At best, the pertussis vaccine only works 80% of the time. The CDC has no plan to eliminate chicken pox; that is NOT the goal of the vaccine. Not sure what is, but it's not elimination. Polio hasn't appeared in the industrialized world for over a decade. Not one case in 10 years.

They've also added a ton of new shots since I was a kid, and are pushing them even earlier. Of course, if you even put of your child's shots by 6 months they need fewer shots. At the absolute earliest, a child isn't immune to pertussis (or diptheria) until 8 months old. If you don't give them shots until 6 months, they're immune at.....10 months old! Vaccines are MORE EFFECTIVE if you wait until your child's even just a little bit older.

If pumping your kid full of a ridiculous amount of drugs were truly safe, they'd give all 37 shots in the hospital. Funny, they don't.

Then there's the fact that the dosing is insane. What other drug would you give the IDENTICAL dosage to an 250 pound 18 year old and a 4.5 pound newborn. Hepatitis B does just that. Which is physically impossible to get as a newborn unless the mother has it. Obviously the vast vast majority of women don't.

Then, of course, horrible reactions do exist. My stepsister had the not uncommon, scientifically verified, doctor diagnosed reaction of grand mal seizures from the DPT shot. Years of possibly choking on her tongue or vomit, or hitting her head as she randomly collapsed on the ground and started convulsing to save 3 months of a bad cough. It was fun being told how to deal with a seizing friend when I was 6 years old. I saw several of them over a few years.

As for other immunosuppressed people, vaccines DO NOT work 100% of the time. And they wear off, whereas getting the disease makes you almost always immune for life. Hell, I'm fully vaxed and I found out at the hospital that I'm no longer immune to rubella. Which, for the record, I plan on fixing early next year, once flu season passes.

As a new mother, I also love how the vaccine debate focuses solely on new mothers. VACCINES WEAR OFF. When's the last time you got your MMR booster? Or DTaP booster? Have you ever been innoculated against rotovirus? THat's a new vaccine that wasn't out when you (or I) were kids. What about the immune suppressed people? You're putting them in danger not spending hundreds of dollars getting your vaccines up to date! The rhetoric goes that because I have my daughter on a selective and delayed schedule because I've looked at actual instance rates, reactions, the symptoms, morbidity and mortality of every disease in question, I'm an anti-science wackaloon who's destroying the country and killing other children, but the average 30 year old who hasn't had more than a flu shot since he or she was 16 is totally fine and not at all that description.
Tapatitapati on October 23rd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Chicken pox has been deadly in some cases, and not just in immunosupressed kids. Do you really want to gamble that your kid won't be the one who dies? If so, I guess you can, just keep your kid at home while incubating is all I ask.

Kids are the population most likely to spread these diseases. I do update vaccines but adults are rarely the ones passing these things on. Kids are the ones most vulnerable and therefore we focus our energy on protecting them.
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 23rd, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 23rd, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 23rd, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 23rd, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 23rd, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 23rd, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 23rd, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 23rd, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 23rd, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 24th, 2009 12:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stephanieb on October 23rd, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stephanieb on October 24th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tapati on October 24th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thirishar on October 23rd, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thirishar on October 25th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mariadkins on October 24th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Equinoxstephanieb on October 23rd, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I've spent all day researching and writing and fuming about this and I have to get some work done today, but briefly:

What Tapati said. Plus, chicken pox may not be that dangerous for most kids but it's nonetheless really really miserable. Why inflict that on kids when you don't have to? And with anti-biotic resistant strep infections on the rise, do you really want them walking around with 300-1000 open wounds? http://www.nnii.org/immunization_science_detail.cfv?id=7

This article from Pediatrics replies to a lot of your points: http://www.immunize.org/concerns/offit_moser2009.pdf

As for shots: up-to-date on my tdap, hep, and current seasonal flu. H1N1, MMR (come to think of it, I may have gotten that booster when I got the tdap and the hep. I'll have to check), and rotovirus (thank you for reminding me to add that to my list) when the doctor's office calls me in for H1N1. Like Tapati said, transmission is more likely between children, especially children in school and daycare. As a middle-class American, I can afford to pay for my shots. A lot of people can't. Vaccines are offered for free to children, not so to adults. Personally, I think we ought to be funding them for everyone. Vaccines are cheap and safe. A lot of bang for our health-care buck.
(no subject) - prophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stephanieb on October 24th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
Things Gone and Things Still Herejette on December 13th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
*applause*

/not a anti-vax hysteric, just a selective health care consumer
danaewintersdanaewinters on October 23rd, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
I admit, I waffled back and forth about getting both the flu and H1N1 shots this season...that is, til I got rippingly ill with Strep, and realized if it was at all possible to get that sick with either flu this winter, I wanted to avoid it at all costs. Besides, I'm sure it won't be remotely the last time my kids are exposed to some nasty thing or another this season.
batchfilebatchfile on October 23rd, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
A lot of the hysteria actually comes from medical company's refusal to adequately state who should NOT have the shots.

I should never have been vaccinated with the MMR, and in fact I am at high risk if I ever get a flu shot. but this was something my grandfather had to logically work out on his own, after finding out I was allergic to feathers as a teen. at the time i was receiving immunizations there were no warnings about the virii being incubated in eggs and that people allergic to eggs should not have them.

in fact i was in the hospital after having had one of my children and had a nurse who was adamantly insisting i be REimmunized with the MMR because my bloodwork showed i was not immune(after recieving all the childhood and teen boosters and getting seriously ill after each and every one). i sent her away with her needle(she was going to immunize me without even telling me what it was, in fact, but i have been proactive for years) to go read the packaging. she left in a huff, but never returned.

if the medical establishment was more transparent, there would be far more trust, and fewer unnecessary nightmarish allergic reactions.

as for my kids, i kept them mostly sequestered until they were to go into school. my doctor, knowing my full medical history, said it was the smartest thing i could have done, to wait until they were older for their shots, ensuring they wouldn't have bad reactions.

also, it's a medical fact that the earlier you expose a child to certain high risk allergens, the more likely it is that they will become highly, evenly deathly, allergic to them. peanuts are one example of this.

and yet doctors are injecting proteins into infants, by way of early infant immunizations.

so my opinion? yes, the anti immunization people are often off their rockers.
but the medical community as a whole is to blame for it by not being more transparent and more conservative with other people's babies.
Tapatitapati on October 24th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
It would be great if they someday develop a method that doesn't involve eggs to create these. Until then, I suggest a medic alert bracelet that clearly indicates your egg allergy and to have it prominent in your medical chart and have a bracelet for it at the hospital, if you ever go again. Medical error does happen and that nurse should have checked. Even Walgreen's screens for that before giving out the flu shot!

I'm not saying all doctors and nurses are infallible angels. But I am weary of the hysteria that I see on Facebook and elsewhere, and truly horrified by the notion of chicken pox parties. I really would not have forgiven my family if they had done that to me deliberately!
Ashleyprophet_maid on October 24th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
To all you who think someone is a bad person (insert vitriol here) for not following the US schedule unthinkingly, do believe the same about every European country and Japan? All of whom has a much more flexible and LIGHTER vaccination schedule than we do.

Go on, I want you to say right here that the government of Iceland, Sweden, France, the UK, Belgium, Greece, Japan are all anti-science. COme on, you can do it. Because frankly my position is closer to all of them than it is to yours. My reading is backed up by the international community. Yours isn't.

But of course I'm anti-science.
Tapatitapati on October 24th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
I didn't know they were throwing chicken pox parties sponsored by the government in all of those countries. Are they?

I don't care if you slightly delay your vaccination schedule, but there's no good science behind those parties. And if your child has one of the bad cases of chicken pox, even deadly, I am sure you're not going to feel good about the risk then.

Don't bring up the driving analogy again because it has nothing to do with deliberate exposure to disease. I'd feel less upset if you simply didn't vac for chicken pox and didn't attend those parties, but giving your child an illness deliberately is just so wrong on so many levels.

Maybe your memories of chicken pox are all sweetness and light, I don't know. I had blisters everywhere. There was not a square inch of my body uncovered, and I had them in my mouth, throat, eyelids, and vaginal area. You cannot imagine my torment. I allowed myself to scratch under the hairline and have horrible scars there. I really would have disowned my entire family if I found out they did that to me on purpose.

My daughter was equally horrified by the idea of pox parties, given the scars on her forehead.

It's your child and your choice. Like I said, at least be responsible enough to quarantine your child after exposure so some adult who has never had it (like my own mom who died never having had it) won't get sick.
axolotl9: cultural travestyaxolotl9 on October 24th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
vaccines et. al
our daughter has not had the chicken pox vaccine. why? because it's nearly as bad as having the chicken pox as far as exposure to immuno-suppressed people goes, being a live-virus vaccine. similarly, neither she nor I have had a flu vaccination yet this season because all we've gotten in Santa Cruz County so far is the nasal mist, which (again) is live virus. We have an immuno-suppressed person in our household - is she to move out for two weeks each time we get a vaccination?

and then there's the vaccination errors - daughter got an extra MMR this year because her chart said she should, even though elsewhere in the comments it said she didn't need one.

all in all I believe vaccination is a good thing, but there are issues with it even without going into the safety of the vaccines.
Tapatitapati on October 24th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
Re: vaccines et. al
But you are not proposing to take your child to a pox party, either. :)

I have less problems with not vaccinating for the sound reason you have than I do with people having pox parties and then taking their kids out in public while incubating the disease.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on October 24th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: vaccines et. al
mari concurs. it's like thomas and his kidney disease. it's far better he gets vaccinated for pneumonia, flu, and h1n1 especially now that he lives here in lexington with me and is exposed to a far greater number of people on a daily basis than he ever was before. thing is - we're still waiting on the h1n1 injections to get to his pediatrician's office. :grumble: for a population of 350k, the cdc only shipped 10k inoculations to start. 10k! i know there've got to be more 'high risk' folks than 10k in this county ... :sigh:
Re: vaccines et. al - tapati on October 24th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on October 24th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
Is it really true that thermasol has been removed from ALL vaccines? That has not been my understanding.....I know they are now making thermasol-free vaccines but my research indicates that they are also more expensive.

I didn't go through all of your links but I'm interested in reading more about how the link between vaccines and autism has been thoroughly debunked.

Personally, I'm a fence sitter. I can understand both sides of the debate - and certainly agree with you about the dangers of exposing non-vaccinated kids to vulnerable populations, ie pregnant women or people who have come from other countries where no vaccines were available.

Sorry - am running late and these questions could probably be answered by reading your links, I'll come back and do that....but I had no idea they had removed all the thermasol from all the vaccines.....
Tapatitapati on October 24th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
From the CDC:

Mercury and Vaccines (Thimerosal)
Photo of bottle

Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930s. There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.

Since 2001, with the exception of some influenza (flu) vaccines, thimerosal is not used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines.


It's my understanding that you can get the flu vaccine without it as well.
(no subject) - goodbadgirl on October 25th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Tapatitapati on October 24th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
Plus these days there's more mercury in many fish than in a vaccine.
(no subject) - goodbadgirl on October 25th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC) (Expand)