This blog is off my usual topics of discussion, but child vaccination has once again become a contentious issue, so I’ll give my 2 cents…
Failure to vaccinate my son exposes all the other children in his group or school to potential illness, or so I’ve read… therefore I, a parent, have a moral obligation to put any reservations aside that I may have about the efficacy and safety of certain vaccinations (in favor of the populist).
Up front, I’m obviously not trained to make medical judgments, but I do retain the right to exercise the powers of logic and reason and, as laws permit, freedom of choice which should be the point of departure for a discussion on vaccinations.
Before going any further, let me be clear: I’m not anti-vaccination. I’m not some granola parent who thinks they know better than medical doctors. Modern medicine has done wonders for us as a civilization, and vaccinations have played a critical role in stomping out historically fatal diseases.
My child has been vaccinated. As have I. When it comes to vaccinations, my view is that from a risk/reward perspective, they make sense. But some arguments I’ve been seeing turn up on social media and from the mainstream media regarding vaccinations, particularly those arguments which are promoting vaccines to become mandatory (by law) for children, gives me pause. I find that concerning. Despite my views on vaccinations, which is that there are more pros than cons when it comes to getting them, I’m not comfortable at all with mandatory inoculation. And I fear that is where our lawmakers are heading…
The premise framed in the first paragraph of this article is so obviously false; if all the other children in the group or school are vaccinated, where is their risk?
But the real question is, should parents be compelled to have their children vaccinated for the child’s own protection – a fundamental freedom of choice question to be sure.
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) absolutely assures us that there is no link between vaccines and autism, a major fear of parents who consider the to be or not to be question of vaccinations.
Another alphabet federal agency, the EPA, says that man-made climate change is settled science while attempting to coerce us into conformity with a theory that has holes in it big enough to drive a gas guzzling SUV through. But that’s a subject for another discussion.
Point being, government has been wrong about public safety many times. And I don’t fault parents for questioning the need for vaccinations. Skepticism is healthy.
Expert Opinion on Vaccines
Controversy surrounds the presence of thimerosal, described by the CDC as, “a mercury-based preservative that has been used for decades in the United States in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) of some vaccines to prevent their contamination with germs, bacteria and fungi.” They also stated that, “Data from several studies show the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines do not cause harm, and are only associated with minor local injection site reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site.”
From the website, Health A Lot we learn that, “It’s important to note that vaccines (especially the MMR vaccine) have been put forth by some as a possible cause of autism. However, research surrounding this issue has been unable to establish a link between the two and has come under scrutiny for being unduly manipulated. To date, there has been only one published study arguing that vaccination causes autism. This study was authored by Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet, a medical research journal. However, the journal later retracted the publication after it was discovered that Wakefield had received funds from an organization looking for harmful evidence to use against manufacturers of vaccines.”
After doing some lengthy reading about Wakefield’s questionable assertions, I found that many conclusions about his study have been made largely because of the tainted financing and lack of disclosure on his part. One particular article, which was written with quite an anti-vaccine slant, from Health Impact News, stated “You probably also did not read that Dr. Andrew’s co-author in the study, Prof. John Walker-Smith, fought an expensive legal battle against the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council and won. He was completely exonerated”.
Read more about Prof. John Walker-Smith’s legal battle here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mmr-doctor-john-walkersmith-wins-high-court-appeal-7543114.html
While it is not the purview of this article to presume to offer a medical opinion about the controversy, it is not hard to understand how a parent who has done a little research on the subject might have some hesitation about a child’s vaccination routine driven by continuously evolving pharma.
Vaccination Industry Development
1936 Max Theiler Develops Yellow Fever Vaccine
1939 Whooping Cough Vaccine Shown to Be Effective
1945 Influenza Vaccine Approved
1948 Whooping Cough: Vaccine Combined with Those for Tetanus and Diphtheria
1955 Polio Vaccine Results Announced
1960 Polio Vaccine and Simian Virus
1960 Sabin’s Polio Vaccine Licensed
1962 Attenuated Measles Vaccine Developed
1968 IPV Phased Out in U.S.
1966 Experimental Mumps Vaccine
1969 Rubella Vaccine Licensed
1971 Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine Licensed
1971 MMR Combination Vaccine Debuts
1976 Swine Flu Vaccine
1977 Pneumococcal Vaccine Licensed
1979 Rubella: An Improved Vaccine Is Licensed
1981 Chickenpox: Attenuated Strain Licensed in U.S.
1983 Pneumococcal: Vaccine Expanded to Provide More Protection
1987 Conjugate Hib Vaccine Licensed
1989 Oral Typhoid Vaccine Licensed in the U.S.
1995 Hepatitis A: Vaccine Licensed
2005 Meningococcal: New Recommendation
2006 Rotavirus: Vaccine Recommended
2006 Hepatitis A: Vaccine Recommended for All Children
2010 Tuberculosis: BCG Today
2010 Pneumococcal: Vaccine for Children Expanded
2010 Rotavirus: FDA Supports Vaccine
What used to be a single small pox vaccination has grown to:
At Birth – HBV ( Hepatitis B vaccine) ideally, the first dose is given at birth, but those not previously immunized can get it at any age.
• 1-2 Months – a second dose of HBV
• 2 Months – DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine), Hib (haemophilus influenza type B vaccine), IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine), PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) and Rota (rotavirus vaccine).
• 4 Months – DTaP, Hib, IPV, PCV, Rota.
• 6 Months – DTaP, Hib (Hepatitus V), PCV and Rota.
• 6 Months and annually – Influenza
• 12 to 15 Months – MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
• 6 to 18 Months – HBV, IPV
What To Do?
Experts say there is no link between vaccinations and autism. But, I understand the fear some parents have. Forty years ago, the incidence of diagnosed autism was approximately 1 in 2000. Now it is put at around 1 in 150, and if you account for things like attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and other things which fall under the autism umbrella, that number drops to roughly 1 in 68. The experts say it must be caused by some undefined environmental factors. To me, given the pollutants in our environment, the processed foods in many diets and even some of the household cleaning products we use, there is likely a lot of validity to that statement.
Regardless, it is hardly reassuring advice for parents about a life altering affliction whose incidence has almost paralleled the growth of the number of injections a child receives in the first year and a half of life. I wish we had more conclusive evidence about what is causing the rise in autism, but we don’t. Maybe we have just become too cavalier with diagnosing children with autism? I really don’t know… what I do know, however, is that the risk/reward of vaccinating my son made sense to me. But that’s my decision as a parent.
In respect to making vaccinations mandatory, I say no way. That’s crossing a line. There are enough unanswered questions to qualify this as a serious decision in need of further discussion. No matter the opinion of the populist (which in this case includes myself), no law should dictate what chemical compounds parents are forced to have injected into their children. The fact that news anchors from the mainstream media are suggesting they would support such a law seems offside to me. Even some conservative news anchors are supporting such a move. My final analysis, “Mother always knows best”.
A Pro-Vaccine Opinion
An Anti-Vaccine Opinion