Friday, February 5, 2010

A Calm, Moderately Opinionated Post

Last time I posted on this topic, I stepped on some toes, so let me preface by saying that I do not mean any offense. I am merely putting my view out there because I think it's important and I want to pass along some key information to all five of you that read this.

I especially don't want to step on Megan's toes, because they've been sore lately. From Hip Hop, not from taking offense.

There has been mass hype in this and other countries about vaccination of children over the last several years or more, including reports of immunizations causing autism. Check this out. Dr Andrew Wakefield, who so famously linked autism and the MMR vaccine in children in 1998, has been fully discredited. A new report shows even further shady dealings, pointing out that Dr Wakefield was being paid by lawyers attempting to prove that the MMR vaccine caused harm to children. The sketchiness continues as it has come out now that he paid children at his son's birthday party to donate blood and caused unneeded painful harm to children in his research studies. All of this to discredit the man responsible for the 20% drop in vaccinations in England and Wales, which resulted in measles cases going from 56 for the year1998 to 1,370 ten years later. Thank you, Dr Wakefield, you have helped children's health regress.

Jenny McCarthy, the actress and spokesperson whose son was diagnosed as autistic has made the refusal of the MMR vaccine popular in America. Her son's autism, which she claims was a result of the above-mentioned vaccine, was magically cured a couple years ago. Interesting.

In addition to autism, parents seem to be concerned that the amount of vaccines given to young children are "too much for their little immune systems" according to a video I viewed on the subject (but cannot recall the title to). Do you find it amazing, as I do, that parents with no science background all of the sudden have become experts on pediatric immunity? (As though the experts who have spent many years of their lives studying and learning about the immune system and its components, many of whom have sworn to the Hippocratic oath, are all on a secret mission to pump harmful chemicals into our children). The CDC recommends the following approach to vaccinations (, not because pharmaceutical companies are paying them, but because excellent research has shown that the immune systems of young children react better when given multiple vaccines at once, as it causes a larger immune response, which helps the body see the bad things as bad. If you wait to immunize, your child ends up having to have more shots per vaccine in the long run, as their systems do not react as efficiently, as well as exposing them at younger, more vulnerable ages to harmful diseases that scientists have fought long and hard against to save kids.

Finally, not having your child immunized may pay off for you, since most other children are immunized. You may point out, correctly, that if the majority of the population is vaccinated, there will be no one to pass on the disease to YOUR child. This is called herd immunity. But the problem with herd immunity, is that a community has to maintain (usually) at least 90% immunity, which barely allows for those with compromised immune systems (HIV positive individuals, etc) who cannot build immunity. Not only do parents with this attitude endanger their children, but they endanger others who are more likely to have serious consequences to contraction of the illness. Oh yeah. And there's the whole travel thing. If you ever want your child to be able to safely travel to other countries, or if you don't want to have to hide them away from any foreigners that may visit your community, you may want to immunize.

I'm all about doing the popular thing when it makes sense. I eat organic spinach, because spinach sucks up pesticides and who needs those? But, while not vaccinating your children or waiting a long time to do so seems protective, real scientific evidence supports the opposite conclusion. I recognize that decisions either way are made out of love and concern for the child, but good intentions... you know.


Megan said...

I'm going to rely on help from people like you who are in school for this kind of stuff because I am in the camp of the non-higher scientifically educated parents. My toes are feeling good right now....

Heather Nicole said...

my toes are fine too :) you are sweet, and clearly care about the well being of children.

we are waiting because ALL of our cousins(on both sides) children who who were vaccinated "on schedule" developed autistic symptoms(some temporary, some permanent). the cousins who didn't vaccinate "on schedule", didn't develop any symptoms. weird, right? maybe it's not scientific, but it was proof enough for us that we need to wait for Liam. he starts his vaccinations in march, one at a time and 4-6 months apart. not convenient, but the only way we feel comfortable :/

thanks for all the data points! sorry again for freaking out last time...

sara said...

I love you and I'm so glad God made you smart and articulate.