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28 June 2010 @ 11:50 am
The bad old days...before vaccines  
Saw this in a thread about the California whooping cough outbreak:


Most Americans are too young to remember the effects of infectious disease on children in our past. As a child in the 1940s and early 1950's I can clearly remember the summer floods of kids coming down with polio and being crippled for life. The bouts of pox that would leave a child's face scarred for years afterwords. The kids who would be in class one day and next week we would be told by the teacher that they had died due to some infectious disease for which we now have a vaccine! I can remember my fifth grade class, where I had three children in class with me wearing braces for the rest of their lives because of polio and of one girl in particular whose face looked like a close up picture of the moon's surface due to pox. The times when the whole school would be closed due to a measles outbreak in the city. Such outbreaks of infectious disease were common and the main way to prevent their spread was to close the schools before the disease started to spread among the children. In this day and age, for a child to come down with polio or any one of a number of diseases that has a vaccine for it, I believe the parent who failed to have their child immunized should face criminal charges of child neglect and abuse. You may all be too young to remember what infectious diseases used to do to the children of this country. But a quick look around the internet at history will give a cruel lesson in how bad things could become again if parents refuse to vaccinate their children. Even if we were to lose 1 child out of 10,000 due to side effects (the number is far less than that now), it would be far better than losing hundreds to the direct effects of these contagious diseases!



@ Hermotimus: Indeed, people nowadays don't appreciate how much vaccination has done for us. The proportionately minuscule number of children who experience adverse side effects to vaccines is far outweighed by the number of children saved. Take this hypothetical example: would you prefer to take a 0.001% risk that your child has a severe reaction to a vaccine, or the 10% risk that he/she has becomes critically ill from that disease sometime during childhood? Replace severe reaction/critically ill with "death". Any way you look at it, the numbers are in favor of vaccination. Unless you have a sound medical reason--i.e. immunocompromised, etc.--not vaccinating is flat out wrong.

Vaccination also provides herd immunity, but herd immunity is based on both the percentage of people vaccinated as well as how transmissible a disease is. For something like measles (or is it mumps?), the disease is so infectious that very nearly 100% vaccination is required to achieve herd immunity. It is a testament to the dedication of doctors and scientists that we have been able to largely eliminate these diseases in our nation. Don't undo their work by refusing vaccination on flimsy, circumstantial evidence.
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 28th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
Why can't vaccinate our kids and continue to demand that our vaccines be thimerosal free - which would cut into big pharma profit but greatly reduce the "side effects" like autism that ravage families.

I agree - infectious disease control is serious - still no one talking about lyme in our kids, right? Right....We'll just wait until there's a profitable vaccine for that until we get all riled up, or even basically aware....but for the families who are raising autistic children and have great evidence to believe the cause was vaccine related those "side effects" are pretty devastating.

And unless we're ready to incarcerate every parent who lets their child run through a field or forest and misses the minuscule deer tick embedded in their child's hair after maybe we should just continue to educate people about the importance of vaccines and demand clean vaccines for ourselves and our kids while we're at it?

Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 28th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
I guess I mean....it's really easy to judge

and it's really hard to raise an autistic child in this country...

and it's hard to raise a child with polio or lyme or any other disease....we need education....not insane finger pointing and witch hunts and assumptions about the morality of parents who question the vaccination process...and I say that as someone who is pro-vaccination.
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 28th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
Ok, I swear this is my last comment! :) Until you reply... xo
Also - until every holier than thou vaccine proponent is actively fighting on the front lines for Universal Health Care for Children in this country they need to stuff it. Cause a vaccine's only as good as the $$ required to pay for it and the doctor's visit that goes with it....

And if we're putting people in jail for child neglect on that basis let's start with the freaking tea-baggers and work our way back...

But that's all. I swear. xoxo
Tapatitapati on June 28th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Ok, I swear this is my last comment! :) Until you reply... xo

I am not at all a believer of the autism connection since even scientists WORKING FOR THE PARENTS couldn't find it and others have debunked it. Furthermore, studies of videos (says my friend Randa who has a nephew with autism) showed that the signs were there before vaccinations--it's just that with very young children they were too subtle for parents to realize something was wrong or different.

I think it is MUCH more likely that the tons of environmental poisons (babies already have pesticides when they're born!) are affecting the fetus prior to birth.

But that seems like too big a problem to solve and no one agency or person to blame, so I understand distraught parents seeking for a simpler answer.

I am reacting to this whooping cough outbreak with the memory of how hard it was to clear my airway when I was younger (early thirties) and healthier. Babies are dying from this and I understand why. I plan to get the vaccine as soon as I transition to this new insurance (Kaiser) and get my card and my first appointment with a primary care doc.

I also lived for many years in one of the non-vac capitals of the world (Santa Cruz, or little Berkeley). That's WHY I ended up with whooping cough, in my opinion. Before it was autism there were so many other reasons given for not vaccinating. Sigh.

And yes, every child should have access to vaccination and medical care. I enthusiastically agree.

Also with you on our governments under-reaction to Lyme. :(


Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 29th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: Ok, I swear this is my last comment! :) Until you reply... xo
I am SO with you on the environmental aspect, for certain, for certain. But I'm not convinced that there isn't a vaccine-related component, or a vaccine related activator....at least for some kids.

No offense...but I worked with the FDA when we were trying to get mifepristone (RU486) passed in the US and they're not the org I'm trusting when it comes to the safety or efficacy of any drug. IE - over 20 years of proven European studies citing the remarkable safety of mirepristone and still it was like pulling teeth, but wheee didn't viagra sail through like a champ.

You may very well be right....but I tend to think parents are mostly pretty smart when it comes to their own kids. And I know too many good ones who have looked me in the eyes and said: on the morning of my kid's vaccination she was fine, and by that afternoon she was gone. I honestly think there are a variety of factors, mostly environmental but there's reason they pulled thimerosal, and it's not because it was convenient or cheap for them to do so.

Time will tell.

But again, I am pro-vaccine. I am also convinced that you wouldn't have whooping cough if more folks got vaccinated and I would argue in places like Berk and Santa Cruz there are likely more places to get safe vaccines than other parts of the country.

I'm just opposed to people saying things like "we should incarcerate people who don't vaccinate their children." Or, "would you rather deal with the relatively minimal side effects or...." Ideally, no parent should have to deal with either. But autism is not a minimal side effect....and if there's even a .00001% chance that the remarkable spike in autism is related to the remarkable increase in which drug manufacturers were using thimerosal I don't think any of us have the right to take that lightly or blow those families off.

But yes....by all means, by all means let us make it possible for every single child in this country and I hate this terminology but "legal" or "illegal" to receive clean vaccines in a timely manner....and let us certainly stop allowing our politicians (who are pulling most of the strings at the FDA) to fucking apologize to BP for destroying our children's planet.....that would be an excellent place to start.

Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Ok, I swear this is my last comment! :) Until you reply... xo
I wouldn't support legislating it as child abuse etc either.

I'm just tired of watching children in California get sick and/or die because people are afraid of vaccines.

They pulled thimerosal because it was hampering efforts to get kids vaccinated, not because they believed it posed a serious risk. Sometimes you have to bow to public perception of safety even if you can't fine the proof they want.

I know parents have their perceptions of how the kid was just fine before the vaccine--the parents of the kids in the video study believed that too. But the evidence showed that the signs were already there. Vaccine danger has been so hyped now that I don't think most parents can be completely objective anymore.


More than 30 years after the alarm was first raised, mercury accumulation in fish remains the chief source of exposure to the toxic metal in the U.S. The FDA advises that pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish entirely and limit consumption of albacore tuna (canned white tuna and tuna steaks) to 6 ounces (one meal) per week. Canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish are said to be OK for up to 12 ounces per week. Some say even these guidelines, particularly the one for albacore, are too permissive.

How many of them actually did limit or completely eliminate such exposure?

From that link about mercurochrome.

See also:



Tapatitapati on June 28th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)

Thimerosal is a mercury-containing organic compound (an organomercurial). Since the 1930s, it has been widely used as a preservative in a number of biological and drug products, including many vaccines, to help prevent potentially life threatening contamination with harmful microbes. Over the past several years, because of an increasing awareness of the theoretical potential for neurotoxicity of even low levels of organomercurials and because of the increased number of thimerosal containing vaccines that had been added to the infant immunization schedule, concerns about the use of thimerosal in vaccines and other products have been raised. Indeed, because of these concerns, the Food and Drug Administration has worked with, and continues to work with, vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines.

Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine (see Table 1). A preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and pregnant women. Some vaccines such as Td, which is indicated for older children (≥ 7 years of age) and adults, are also now available in formulations that are free of thimerosal or contain only trace amounts. Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose.

There is far more mercury in one serving of tuna or from one broken new-fangled light bulb than any vaccination ever had. I think that the exposure is environmental and pre-natal, myself, while the brain is developing.
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 29th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Ok. I think also...some of my defensiveness comes from being a lyme patient. From being lied about by our government and left to rot so early in my life. I am angry. And they say we don't exist, but we do honey. You know that. And they say all those parents are wrong....but I just......It's the same people saying it.

Interestingly....I googled Integrative Medicine + Thimerosal and the first thing that popped up was about *my* lyme doctor. :) I shouldn't be surprised. They say we're nuts but I am in that office all the time....and I am watching those kids get better....and hell, I am not getting much better but aside from that one poor 18 year old kid who's pretty much lost all cognition at this point I'm the second worst lyme patient he's got.....

I distrust our government because they could have prevented this from happening to me and they did not...and it makes me question them in other ways too....and I admit that I may be biased because of that....

but here is what my doc had to say back in 2007:


Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
I don't see how he can tell which mercury came from vaccines and which came from environmental and food exposure. I was watching Dr Oz the other day and was shocked to find out that these new lightbulbs we're all supposed to switch too have mercury that gets into our air if we try to sweep up a broken bulb! Add that to the fish--they analyzed samples of various fish and the amounts were shocking. I think you can only trace it to vaccines IF you can rule out all other sources. (One of those old fashioned thermometers broke when I was a kid and I PLAYED with the mercury, fascinated by the shiny silverness and feel of the stuff. My mom's favorite medicine for cuts was Mercurochrome! Back when I was growing up, it was commonly used, even on very small children, for every "owie."


So...I would be interested to know how he manages to rule out all other potential sources of exposure, most of them far, far greater than vaccines.

I understand your distrust but the autism/vaccine link has been debunked by scientists in other countries too, not just the group of people responsible for discounting late stage Lyme or under-reacting to the epidemic. Like I said, scientists working directly FOR parents, who were being pushed to FIND a link, were unable to do so. (I watched a documentary once about it and the scientists were sincerely trying to help the parents and took it very seriously.)

I have no doubt that mercury--PRENATAL mercury--may play a role. I just don't believe it's from the vaccinations. It just seems so much more likely that the mom herself had exposure while pregnant or even before getting pregnant that affected development in the womb and later, more exposure in breast milk. (It's sad that we even have pesticides in our own milk, which normally is a perfect food, but all sorts of chemicals and heavy metals are present just like they are in our environment and diet.)

Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on June 29th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
I thought the thimerosal connection had been debunked? Personally, I'm just not convinced and probably never will be that there's a connection.
Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
It's been debunked in more than one country, in fact.

I hate to see children die because parents are so scared of autism that they won't vaccinate their children.

I hope to God we pin down the cause soon so our children can be protected again from these deadly diseases.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on June 29th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
mari concurs
Phatchick: stupidityladybrigid on June 28th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
One of my uncles had polio as a child. He was always weak after that and ended up with a permanent trach from all the respiritory problems he had. He was the reason my mom and her friends had all us kids immunized, they did not want to have to go through those worries again.
Tapatitapati on June 28th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
So many of us have forgotten about the prevalence of polio disabilities and the deaths from all of these diseases. I hope we don't have to learn all over again. I'm sorry your uncle had to go through all of that. What a blessing that we can now prevent such suffering! I can imagine the joy when the vaccine was first available.
lunaetstellaelunaetstellae on June 28th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't buy the "reasons" we "should" be damning vaccinations.
From what I read, studies "suggest" a correlation between the vaccines and autism. Not definite, proven correlation, but "suggestion".

Also, I find it interesting that vaccines have been utilized for at least 50 years, yet only in the last - maybe - decade we have 'record numbers' of autism cases. And we are told to blame them on vaccines. Sorry, I don't buy that at all. Where are the earlier hoardes of cases of autism that should have followed the widespread vaccine campaigns all school kids had to go thru in the 50's, 60's and on? I think this hysteria about the supposed "cause" of autism by vaccines is pure hype and mis-information.

I think that the reduced fear of the diseases that these vaccines prevented have left us with a false sense of security and an attitude of taking for granted the conditions we live in. The threat of polio and smallpox in the U.S.A. as it existed decades ago has been controlled because of the promotion and administration of vaccines. Growing up not having been afflicted by either seems to have made us forget about the threat that is still out there in the world. Under these illusions, it is so easy to fall for the damnation of vaccines.
Tapatitapati on June 28th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
The whole autism thing has been thoroughly disproved as far as the scientific community is concerned. Even docs hired by the parents themselves failed to find a causal relationship. Personally I suspect we are paying for filling our environment with poisons that affect the unborn fetus while the brain is developing. But that's harder to trace and to quantify.
lunaetstellaelunaetstellae on June 28th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. Because the increased number of cases of "autism" (and that has issues too, much like the labeling or mislabeling of kids with ADD, etc.,), because this increase is only now claimed, not in the 50's and 60's when we were all rushed to get the vaccines as kids. You'd think there would have been outbreaks of autism noted then. . .
Because it wasn't, and it only seems to be in more recent years, I think that it is linked to something we are doing/using/eating/ingesting/exposed to NOW, that we weren't back THEN.

My husband contracted a 'mild' form of polio when he was a kid. He was born in the mid-40's, and the disease affected his legs. He never had to use braces or crutches, but it caused a curvature in his lower spine and shortened his hamstrings/achilles. He has trouble navigating stairs, but walking is normal. He can't stand for extended periods, but has learned to find other ways to do things.
Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
I, personally, think that we have reached some critical mass of environmental toxins. They are in nearly everything around us from our carpets to our plastic-lined canned foods, the pesticides, the mercury in our newfangled lightbulbs (be careful how you dispose of a broken bulb--sweeping just throws it into the air!) and so on. We're like a giant worldwide experiment in what such widespread, constant exposure can do to us--and the most vulnerable are the developing fetuses in the womb.
Ms. F.goodbadgirl on June 29th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
No, I don't think the "entire" scientific community" has thoroughly disproved it.....and again....the additives were not nearly as present in the 50s and 60s as in recent years....that's what people are not understanding...it's not the vaccinations....it's what the drug companies put in the vaccines to give them a longer shelf life.....
Tapatitapati on June 29th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
True, it's the preservative.
Christinekisekileia on June 30th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
There was always autism. However, only the most severe forms were recognized until the past ten to fifteen years. People with Asperger's or high-functioning autism just had to muddle along with no diagnosis and everyone blaming them for their symptoms. The difference in autism cases is largely due to more people actually being diagnosed.
Tapatitapati on June 30th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
I think that definitely accounts for at least some of the rise in numbers.

Christinekisekileia on June 30th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
I love this post.
Tapatitapati on June 30th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)