Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vaccine questions still? Seriously people why?

In a recent story on LA Times website Melissa Healy offers a two page commentary about vaccines which frankly makes me shake my head. The article starts off with a commentary from a mother who is choosing to not vaccinate her child. Claiming that
"the tests on the vaccine in development against H1N1 aren't even completed yet, and that, to Reed [the mother], sounds like a formula for unforeseen problems down the road."
To start off with, just like most flu virus's the only difference in the vaccine formula is that it targets whatever three flu's are going around that season. The H1N1 vaccine is merely a supplement to the regular seasonal flu virus according to the CDC's main vaccine info page. This anecdotal story simply attempts to lend credence to the anti-vac claims by giving it a context the mind is more apt to remember. To make matters worse the mother in the story says that she is not likely to change her mind even if her physician reccomends otherwise. Why on earth would you go to a Doctor for medical advise is you already know you won't listen? All those years of medical school and all the real life experience of the pediatrician is nothing compared to what the anti-vac groups are saying of course. Never mind the fact that the anti-vac claims are nonsense.

To make matters worse for Healy's report is bringing up, you guessed it, the supposed link between Autism and vaccines. Really people, has all the research and all the evidence the scientific community is offering taught you nothing? Apparently because Healy states
"This new generation of vaccine skeptics has been forged by the stubbornly persistent belief -- discredited by a welter of studies -- in a link between vaccines and autism. And it is further fueled by a combustible mix of distrust of drug manufacturers, media outlets and the federal government."
At least she recognizes that the 'link' has been discredited. Seriously people though, why even bring it up again? People aren't going to remember the caveat in a two page article, they are just going to remember 'oh yeah something about autism and vaccines right?' One good thing to say for Healy is that she does try to address the growing number of adults ages 18-49 that aren't current on their vaccines. Healy states that only 37% of these adults got their vaccines last year, where she got that number I don't know but it is certainly plausible.

Oh the next anecdote is the usual; big pharma don't have our best interests at heart which is why this parent isn't getting her child vaccinated. Seriously people yes the pharmaceuticals want to make money, they are a business, but what reason do you have to believe they would deliberately try to harm you? They seriously have done great and wonderful things for our health and our world. The CDC is the one who decides what vaccines are needed each flu season and given our 'best interests' is their job it wouldn't be wise for them to undermine that.

The best part of Healy's article unfortunately comes near the end of the second page. Healy again mentions Autism but spends a decent amount of time refuting the Anti-vac claims regarding the MMR. She cites the AAP's report regarding the studies regarding the MMR, Thimerosol and Autism which rather conclusively shows the lack of any connection between these agents.

Then Healy mentions the supposed hassle of getting both the H1N1 and the regular flu vaccine. Here is the deal people, taking the extra hour to go back to the doctor when the H1N1 vaccine comes out is a heck of a lot easier to work into a schedule than having you or your child sick with influenza for a while. Take the two trips, schedule them so that everyone in the family can get vaccinated at once and enjoy the benefits of having a significantly less likelihood of getting the flu this season and knowing that you are helping protect others who have medical reasons why they can't be vaccinated stay healthy. This nonsense about not getting vaccinated is having a serious impact on our herd immunity and causing people to get sick. Really, it is time to stop and face reality for all the anti-vac people out there. Your 'choice' isn't just effecting you. It is effecting all of us.

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