Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Be An Educated Parent: My Take on the Vaccine Debate

Well since the latest news story last night I feel prompted to put out my two cents on the whole vaccine debate. Let me be clear to anyone reading, it is no debate where I'm concerned, I am an avid PRO VAX momma.

That being said let me elaborate somewhat. There are a variety of excuses that the anti-vax folks rely on.
1: Vaccines Can Cause Autism.
2: There are awful horrid ingredients in the vaccines that make them completely unsafe to be giving to our children with developing immune systems.
3. Diseases we vaccinate for have been eradicated for years so there is no need to use them.
4: Extended breastfeeding provides more/better immunity than any vaccine
5. There are plenty of "natural" ways to keep the body healthy, vaccines are unnecessary and dangerous.

I will address each briefly because I believe that it is the responsibility of parents to do their OWN research into the topic. Get out your scholarly medical journal articles, get your peer reviewed double blind studies, read up on anatomy & physiology, consult some pharmacology info basics (trust me anything beyond will be WELL above your head), talk to scientists, pediatricians, neurologists, understand how the CDC operates, etc. As I say in most things including politics, be an EDUCATED decision maker. Don't end up looking your kid in the eye someday when these ignorant decisions come back to bite you in the ass and say 'I'm sorry I chose xyz for you and didn't really look into it ahead of time.'

I'll provide various links in my explanations, consider them the cliff notes for the aforementioned research that parents should be doing. They put things in simple basic terms but realize there is a wealth of info that you could delve into with any of them that would provide a much greater understanding of the material being presented.

If you've been living under a rock please do us all a favor and consult Google. Yes it's that well known by now that there is absolutely NO link that has been demonstrated between vaccines and autism or ASD. In fact taking it one step further there has been no link found between thimerosol and ASD either. The best part of all of this is that the guy that stemmed off this entire shift toward the anti-vaccine movement, the founder of the vax = autism movement was found to actually have falsified the entire observational report for money. That's right, he recruited kids (of which there were 12... 12 children, now that's one heck of a sample group to dictate consequences for the WORLD population!) that had already demonstrated autistic behaviors and then lied about when these kids had received their MMR vaccine to try and show a correlation between the two. Why? Because he got paid to show such a correlation when these families were compensated. So THIS my Dears is where the entire anti-vax movement stems from (at least the widely publicized version that got celebrities like Jenny McCarthy onboard and spread like wildfire). This is a great article that elaborates on this debate.

2. There are awful horrid ingredients in the vaccines that make them completely unsafe to be giving to our children with developing immune systems.
Ok onto the whole additive and preservative argument. Yes there are ingredients that are used in vaccine preparations that can be twisted around to look like death in a vile that we're shooting our kids up with. As you'll read over and over again the amounts of these ingredients are considered "trace" or "undetectable" for the vast majority. You'll hear people rant and rave over the precise levels and how they really are dangerous in trace amounts especially because we give kids these vaccines several times over their lifetime. I won't get into specifics here because it is a LOT of info. I prefer not to spend my day arguing over ethylmercury vs. methylmercury. Or get into the details of hydrophilic tendencies in excretory mechanisms effecting systemic toxicity. I wont get into the concept of cellular immunity and T cell and B cell activation, or antigen processing, or immunoglobulins. Again, be an educated decision maker... educate yourself.

I will say that there are preservative free vaccine preparations that eliminate a lot of this controversy however they may still be labeled as such when there are trace amounts of these ingredients present. The bottom line is that these "additives" are necessary to create the vaccine, to inactivate the viruses, to keep the viles free from bacteria so that our kids don't die from staph infections after injection (which happened in Australia). You can read all about this from the FDA and various places, they explain things a bit further.

For the aluminum phobes, these are a few good places to start. First off know that not all vaccines have aluminum salts in them. Second, know that aluminum is found all over the place, in our water, in our food, even breastmilk contains 25 mcg per liter folks... take that one in for a moment. Studies have been done all over, reviewed a billion times, and as the exhaustive studies in Rome showed '"Scare stories on aluminum-containing vaccines are not supported by evidence."

A quote that resonates with me and my vaccine views is from Dr. Paul Offit, in response to misinformation by Dr. Bob Sears, he stated "By creating the notion of zero tolerance, Sears fails to educate his readers that the dose makes the poison, that it is the amount of a potential toxin and not its mere presence that counts."

Water can be toxic folks. The take away from this should be that a can of tuna fish has a dozen times more mercury in it than any flu shot ever will. We should be more concerned with aluminum in our drinking water and deodorant than the aluminum salts in the vaccine additives. Even the ominous formaldehyde, that people associate with cancer and dead people, is produced in our own bodies during energy production processes. We have to stop skimming the surface of these things and delve deeper, remember the old adage never judge a book by it's cover. And remember what the vaccines are FOR. Stop getting caught up on the falsified propaganda of ill effects and remember that contracting Polio, Diptheria, Tetanus, Rubella, Haemophillus Influenza, etc etc etc is a much scarier prospect.

I'll tell you something that scares me much more than vaccine additives is GMO's. We should be much more concerned with this and the diseases and cancer et all resulting from the food we consume every day than we should be about flu shot preparations.

3. Diseases we vaccinate for have been eradicated for years so there is no need to use them.
Ok yes people really believe this. Shocking I know. It's like the fact that several other countries black out the Holocaust in history books and say that it never happened and it is all US propoganda (no really, this does happen).

So let me say it for those poor naive individuals. PEOPLE STILL DIE FROM THESE DISEASES. They are not eradicated, they are still a very real threat to civilization, moreso now with the anti-vax movement. Right now we're seeing an EPIDEMIC of whooping cough and this is the tip of the iceberg. There is a reason these diseases are ignored and the focus is now on ridiculous things like .03 ppm of mercury in a vile of flu shot. If people were still suffering and dying of these things every day NO ONE would give a rat's ass about aluminum salts. I encourage everyone to go ahead and pull out the history books and remind themselves of the consequences of the diseases we're trying to prevent with the vaccines.

Want to see a baby dying of a systemic chicken pox infection... go ahead take a look... take a look at the consequences that so many BLINDLY ignore by jumping on this bandwagon.  It's graphic, sure. Sad, absolutely. But all too often ignored and thought of as a thing of the past...

There are many more photos to review for vaccine preventable diseases. Please take a moment to see what can and still does happen today with these diseases that are far from gone. Outside of death there are dozens of consequences.

Mental Retardation
Congenital Heart Defects
Brain Damage
etc, etc, etc

Want to see something very scary, go ahead and research what's happening with Tuberculosis... and multiple drug resistant strains. 

4: Extended breastfeeding provides more/better immunity than any vaccine
I'm not here to speak about extended breastfeeding. Lord knows that horse has been beaten to death! You want to boob feed your kid til they're 10, go ahead. Is breast milk good for the immune system in infants, yes. Does it provide certain types of immunity, yep. Does this mean we should package it up and sell it in the grocery store to be consumed right alongside our OJ in the morning... no. It does not exempt one from needing vaccines to prevent certain diseases. So don't be naive and use this as an excuse to delay and delay and delay your vaccination schedules. In fact there are plenty of MD's out there that recommend stopping breast milk consumption to allow vaccines to do their job as some studies have shown that breast milk can make the vaccines less effective. Now I don't subscribe to this idea... not enough evidence to date, but again breastfeeding doesn't give one a free pass to opt out of vaccines.

5. There are plenty of "natural" ways to keep the body healthy, vaccines are unnecessary and dangerous.
Well, while I don't believe anyone would accuse me of being a completely "crunchy" momma. I do buy into the whole holistic medicine approach, I did acupuncture when trying to get pregnant, I use herbs, I even have a damn flock of chickens and ducks in the back yard! But I'm also a nurse. I believe in using both Eastern and Western medical approaches in any given situation but I do NOT believe in opting out of medicine, surgery, or vaccines for that matter by thinking that some "natural" approach will work better. There is science in medicine, and I trust the science, bottomline.

Go ahead and eat your Kashi, shop at Whole Foods (we do), take your garlic and zinc during flu season, boycott GMO's (for the love get rid of GMO's!) but don't use that as an excuse to forego medical science.... unless you've done your due diligence and researched it ad nauseum and found proof otherwise.

It is obviously clear where I stand and until the scientific evidence proves otherwise that is where I will stay. This is the info I will continue to impress upon anyone especially when these outbreaks and epidemics arise. Learn the facts, educate yourself on both sides of the story (I know more than a lot about both sides, afterall this is the only way to make an informed choice) so that one day when you're asked to defend your decision you have the ability to do so rationally.


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