I have talked to a lot of friends about vaccinations. We all believe that our children should get them; however, I often don’t comment on vaccines until I know the person is not against them. Why? Because I don’t feel I am an expert and therefore don’t feel that I have the information to enter into that kind of discussion. Recently I have read several article talking about the anti-vaccine movement, and how it’s gaining momentum because there are too many people like me out there. We believe as vehemently in our views but we don’t shout as loud as them, so we are not being heard.
These readings pushed me to decide that I needed to shout: I believe vaccinations for our children are not only beneficial but are life saving! The decision to not vaccinate is, in my opinion, irresponsible. Especially, as that it affects your child’s health, not your own~ it is a decision on behalf of another person that will affect their entire life.
That may seem like a harsh statement, but I’ve heard more than enough uneducated criticism from the anti-vaccine side, so I feel it’s high time the pro side was more bold. But before I could make such a declaration I had to do some reading. I would feel equally irresponsible saying such things without being informed. So here is all that I learned (in synopsis) about vaccines and why they are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history. Settle in this is a LONG post because there is a ton to cover.
Firstly, I spoke with my doctor and simply asked the question “why do you highly recommend vaccines?” Her response was a simple one- there are many things in medicine that we do because we “believe” there is a correlation to their use as being beneficial to health or to helping fight certain illnesses. Vaccines, however, are one of the few things we use that have a long and off-the-chart proven track record of benefiting humans and saving lives. And I will note that my doctor does not force anything upon me or my family, but this was her reply when asked directly.
Now on to the rest of my research findings ( will post sources at the end.) Let’s first start with some of the vaccine ingredients that cause people to balk, such as mercury, formaldehyde and the adjuvants.
Thimerosal (mercury): there are two kinds and one can build up in your system and be toxic. The one in vaccines is the other kind. Thimerosal in vaccines breaks down and is processed more easily by the body than the other toxic type of mercury.
It is also only an ingredient in one vaccine, and that is influenza. Breast milk contains more mercury than the influenza vaccine.
Mercury has been accused of causing autism but there are many studies that have proven this to be incorrect. There was actually an increase in instances of autism when thimerosal was removed from the vaccine. I will go more into autism and vaccines later.
Formaldehyde: while present it is extremely diluted. The body naturally contains formaldehyde in larger amounts than are in vaccines (even cumulatively.) And much larger doses have been proven to not be harmful so the minuscule amount in vaccines is not a risk. Further, there is no link to formaldehyde at these levels and cancer or malignancies.
Adjuvants (eg. aluminum salts, monophoshoryl lipid A): these are present in vaccines in order to make the vaccines work effectively. They are a necessary part of the vaccine but are not present in all. For example live vaccines do not have adjuvants. There are more of these adjuvants present in our diet than in the vaccines. Again, we are talking about such small amounts that in our daily life we encounter more of these products.
On to autism~ this seems to be a big (MISGUIDED) factor in people still deciding not to vaccinate. Firstly, there is strong evidence thus far that autism has a genetic aspect, and so is not entirely environmentally driven, thus not caused by any one thing such as vaccines.
More importantly the studies that everyone points to when stating that there is a connection between vaccines and autism are not only critically flawed but have been both definitively DISPROVED and RETRACTED BY THEIR AUTHORS. Sorry to get so bold and capital on you there, but I really cannot type that loudly enough. Autism and vaccines should not even be used in the same sentence any more! Enough already.
Vaccines have risks: They do. There are rare instances of complications associated with vaccines, but the risk of the vaccines is less than that of contracting the disease and as you will read further down there is a diminishing herd immunity to protect these unvaccinated children.
So what are some risks. The Hep B vaccine can cause anaphylaxis (at a rate of about 1 in a million) and there have been no recorded cases of this causing death. Hep B, however, kills about 5000 people per year.
As mentioned before there was one death in a million from the rotavirus vaccine, while rotavirus kills 37 people annually.
Tetanus can also rarely cause anaphylaxis; however, there is no herd immunity to this disease. Those who contract tetanus suffer muscle spasms and lock-jaw for weeks to months. The treatment is 3 doses of the vaccine. Babies of mothers who are unvaccinated can contract tetanus from an infected umbilical due to the mother not passing on immunity. It is a leading cause of neonatal death in developing countries.
The point is- The risks of vaccines outweigh the risks of contracting these diseases.
Now let’s talk about the government. Ya, the government wants me to get vaccines for clearly evil reasons. It’s some kind of government conspiracy with the pharmaceutical industry so they can get a kick back! We are clearly being used as guinea pigs for a mass experiment. This argument is even too insane for me to fully respond to, so I’ll just say, that’s insane. The World Heath Organisation is one of the best resources on the plant for health recommendations, and they emphatically recommend vaccination. And with that let’s move on to how a vaccine becomes “recommended” for you and your child.
Government protocols for approving a vaccine for it’s population: Vaccines are licensed after years, if not decades of research. They are then reviewed for risk vs. benefit to the population. After this, it is determined exactly WHO is at risk, meaning not everyone necessarily needs this vaccine. HPV is a good example of this. Realistically in Canada, the government does not want to dole out all of these drugs to everyone on the government’s tab. For example, the rotavirus is a newer vaccination given to children in Canada, and the reason for this is because the government determined that it was more cost & health beneficial for children to get this than for parents to be using sick time, hospitals to be treating ill patients and people dying. Basically, most of us have had this virus by adulthood and most of us pull through and then government is given a vaccine for it. They then decide is it better for us as a population to endure this disease or get vaccinated. In this case both the cost and the health benefit outweighed getting naturally sick. There has been one recorded case of death due to rotavirus vaccination but the virus itself kills 37 people annually. It also saves us millions in healthcare costs.
Monitoring: So the vaccine has been “unleashed” upon the population, now what? Well the CDC monitors is closely for side effects and acts upon them if they are indicated of being causally related to the vaccine. Again, the rotavirus when first introduced killed one person in a million and it was pulled.
Let us now move on to the issues associated with the decision to not vaccinate. Perhaps you are picturing a toxin free child skipping through meadows, but that’s not the reality.
Medical treatment of a non-vaccinated child: is overall more invasive, specifically at the ER. When a doctor cannot rule out that list of diseases that vaccines provide immunity, they have to run more tests and more invasive tests to ensure there is not a more sinister culprit to the symptoms your child is exhibiting. Perhaps your child will never end up in the ER or get an illness that is not immediately identifiable, but any pain I can avoid for my kid especially that involving needles and other medical equipment it a positive in my books.
The herd is dying: rates of vaccination are dropping and inversely diseases that were virtually dormant in North America are on the rise again. This also brings up a serious issue for the segment of our population who cannot be vaccinated, those with immune deficiency. Herd immunity is intended buffer just these kinds of people, so while your un-vaccinated child many not exhibit one of these diseases they may be a carrier. Something that could be devastating to a person who has no immunity defenses. And on a personal note, I have friends afflicted with AIDS and they cannot pick my child up from daycare with me due to these risks. How would you feel about unknowingly passing on a vaccine preventable disease to someone suffering from immunodeficiency… and it kills them. These are the hard realities of chipping away at herd immunity.
My child won’t get X disease: Many of these diseases have been virtually eradicated, but as mentioned above we are doing a great job of nursing them all back to health! A little medical health humor for you there 😉 Not only is the herd of immunity dwindling, but we are an interconnected planet, so while North America has rare instances of many of these illnesses, developing countries suffer greatly still. And we are all flying back and forth to every corner of the globe and coming into contact with sick people. Sick people who can pass that on to your child, making them very ill. Illnesses that cause mental & physical damage and possibly death. It’s time to stop thinking of your anti-vaccine child as this pure clean vessel who will healthfully skip through life.
Natural immunity is Stronger!: True… BUT there are more associated risks with attaining that natural immunity.
chicken pox can lead to pneumonia
Hib can lead to mental retardation
rubella can lead to birth defects in an unvaccinated mother (yes, not vaccinating does not just affect childhood)
tetanus can lead to neonatal tetanus, again from an unvaccinated mother. (Neonatal tetanus accounts for 14% of neonatal deaths in developing countries…this is absolutely curable!)
Hep B can lead to liver cancer
measles can lead to Death
Which of these possibilities is an acceptable price for your child to pay for natural immunity?
In the end, the benefits DO outweigh the risks, by about a million to one. We are degrading the herd and eventually these rare disease won’t be so rare any more. Polio epidemics occurred as recently as the 1950’s and they caused widespread panic, disability and death. Did you know that many people who have family cottages today have them because their family wanted a remote place to go in the summer due to polio outbreaks in urban centres most commonly occurring during that time of year? In summary, stop listening to these bands of loud uninformed anti-vaccine propaganda spreaders and get your child vaccinated.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Centre
World Health Organisation
Voices for Vaccines
Prison Hep B Vaccination
Task Force for Global Health
Scientist’s response to anti-vaccine propaganda