Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "Vaccination Backlash"?

Who knew that vaccination would turn into a such a hot button issue? When I was a kid, I remember lamenting the one or two booster "shots" I had to get at the doctor's office. I also remember at least one family at my school who chose not to get those "shots". Whatever, it wasn't a big deal to my parents or any of the other parents at the school. It only came up when we all lined up in middle school to get the Hepatitis B and Tetanus vaccines. I was jealous that those girls didn't have the sore spot, but that was the end of it.

Today, the tables have turned. It has turned into an "us vs them" of vaccinators and non-vaccinators. Pediatricians have suddenly started fighting against alternative vaccination schedules the same way OB/GYNs have been fighting against midwifery in the past few years. It seems they think parents are deciding to delay or forego vaccines because Jenny McCarthy says they might cause autism. (Yeah, and we all had homebirths because Ricki Lake told us to *sarcasm*.)

In the latest issue of The Lancet, Paul Offit proposes re-education for anyone who dare question the CDC schedule. (Re-education camps...yeah...that's not treading on my civil liberties or bodily autonomy.)

“Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated. This could mean, for example, attending educational classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination. “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.” ”

----Side issue to be discussed first: Before I'm allowed to opt out of vaccination? I can opt out of a blood transfusion if I don't want one, can request and receive antibiotics for minor infections, or even decide to never take myself or my child to the doctor. But, I can't make an educated decision based on risk-benefit analysis whether or not to inject my child without taking mandatory classes? I feel like George Orwell is rolling over in his grave right now. Meanwhile, Paul Offit most likely has a conflict of interest as a multi-millionaire who earned his money in the vaccine business. Okay, back on topic---

While it may be true that some parents fear the possible connection between vaccines/mercury/aluminum/etc and autism, it is foolish to assume that is the only reason someone would not vaccinate their child on the CDC schedule. If you talk to anti-vaxer's, you will see parents who understand that there are risks to not vaccinating, just as there are risks to immunizing your child on schedule. I would bet my right arm that parents who don't vaccinate have done 99% more research on the vaccines and diseases than your average vaccinating parent. So, Dr. Offit, if you are still under the impression that non-vaxer's are all uneducated idiots who you claim think "vaccines are the devil", here are just a few reasons parents may want to wait on vaccines for their children:

-Serotype replacement issues: if I vaccinate for one strain of bacteria, will another serotype replace it and become more deadly? will antibiotic resistance increase?
-Questions about efficacy: the mumps outbreak in vaccinated communities, for example
-Increased number of vaccines: when does a common childhood illness like chickenpox become a deadly disease requiring vaccination for ALL children? There are also no studies showing the safety of injecting multiple vaccines at one time.
-Vaccine injury: anything from a fever and uncontrolled crying (common) to the notably rare brain damage and death...leading to the next point
-The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act: should pharmaceutical companies be protected from being sued if a vaccine they produce isn't safe?
-Recalls: should new vaccines be put on the recommended/required schedule without sufficient testing? (most recently, Rotarix)
-Ingredients: mercury (thimerosal), aluminum, and formaldehyde are the most common complaints
-Allergies: vaccine ingredients such as antibiotics, eggs, and gelatin could cause life-threatening allergic reactions in children with allergies
-Religion: a variety of reasons, the most common from mainstream christians being the "human diploid cells" coming from aborted fetuses (while I am pro-choice, I understand this being problematic for pro-life people)

There are other reasons, I'm sure, as well as some that are just slipping my mind.

Will and I haven't decided exactly what we're doing for Aengus's vaccinations (other than no Hep B at the moment and no Rotarix), but whatever we decide will be just that: our decision.

If Paul Offit's suggestion seems like too much of an invasion on your health and bodily rights, take a look at webpage for The American Rally for Personal Rights.

No comments:

Post a Comment