Tapati (tapati) wrote,
Tapati
tapati

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)
Tags: health, health care, illness
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