To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, why is this still a question?

injection_1917206bSometimes I want to leave the internet. No seriously. I see things and I am like “This is the world I am living in? This is the world I am raising my child in?” And it makes my head hurt. It makes me want to shut off my phone/tablet/computer pack my bags and find an island somewhere to raise my son.

I have always been opinionated, but I am also open-minded. I have been known to change my mind on things because I have been presented with new information or facts that support the other side of the argument.

Which is why I can’t wrap my head around the growing number of parents who are not vaccinating their children and saying “it’s a personal choice”.

Huh, what?

Choosing to let your child cry-it-out is a personal choice. It’s not going to affect you or your life if I choose to let my child cry and learn self-soothing techniques. Just like it’s a parent’s choice to feed their child all organic food is not going to affect you or me. It’s a choice. One they have every right to make. Not vaccinating your child is not a choice, that is irresponsible and it’s negligible and it doesn’t just affect your child it affects me and mine. It’s selfish. It says that your fears are more important than my child’s safety, his health, his life. It says that you would rather bring back and spread infectious and possibly fatal diseases than have a child with autism or to put “toxic substances” inside your child’s body. The list goes on. So I am going to try and break it down for you.

Anti-vaccination position: It causes Autism, allergies, ADHD

How do vaccines cause autism? I’ll let this (NSFW) article answer that one for you.

In all seriousness, the rise in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis has absolutely NOTHING to do with vaccines, environment, or anything like that. It’s actually a much simpler and very logical reason if you stop freaking out and think about it. There is simply a much better understanding of the ASD spectrum. A report done by CTV in March 2014 talks about this very thing. The piece talks about how ASD diagnosis in previous decades only included people with severe language, intellectual and social impairments as well as unusual, repetitious behaviors, but now we know that ASD is much more than that.

The spectrum ranges from mild high-functioning diagnosis such as Aspergers to more severe Autism. The range can go even wider if you take into consideration that ASD is on a larger Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) scale that also includes the more severe Rett’s Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD). The reason why Autism exists is not clear, but what has been ruled out as a cause is vaccinations. (I used an Autism research link for the simple fact that if anyone wants to find out why and how to cure it, it’s them. What reason do they have to lie to you?)

Now allergies, I have only come across anti-vaccination websites touting that a rise in allergies is due to ingredients in vaccinations. Everywhere else talks about something called “The Hygiene Hypothesis” which basically is we are over Purelling and now our immune systems are breaking down which is causing an increase in allergies. And I have also seen studies that believe environment is the cause.

While I was in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina this summer, Henry was given this puffy treat called Flips, which is made with peanut oil and all the kids go nuts for them. It struck me as odd that they were everywhere and given out to all the kids without asking “Is little insert name here allergic?” I asked about peanut allergies and I was looked at like I had two heads. It is just not something they have to worry about in a place where the air is clean and they grow their own fruit and vegetables chemical free in their backyards.

I am not going to deny that allergies are on the rise, but trying to find a link between vaccinations and allergies is a stretch.

I also tried to find a link between ADHD and vaccinations and once again, the only place that link was found was on anti-vaxx sites. So I ask, who has the agenda here?

ADHD is a disorder that can be caused by many factors that affect how the brain develops and functions such as use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs during pregnancy, it can be hereditary or caused by a brain injury or trauma. But vaccination is not listed as a cause.

Anti-vaccination position: After all, if vaccines truly worked, then why would vaccinated kids be at risk?

Well it’s simple SCIENCE really. Let me break it down for you. The human body is a complicated organism, and what works for most does not work for some. Thus no vaccine is 100% effective. According to the CDC most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85% to 95% of recipients. For reasons related to the individual, some will not develop immunity.

There is a great explanation from the CDC used in a blog called Shot of Prevention, here is the excerpt:

“In a high school of 1,000 students, none has ever had measles. All but 5 of the students have had two doses of measles vaccine, and so are fully immunized. The entire student body is exposed to measles, and every susceptible student becomes infected. The 5 unvaccinated students will be infected, of course. But of the 995 who have been vaccinated, we would expect several not to respond to the vaccine. The efficacy rate for two doses of measles vaccine can be higher than 99%. In this class, 7 students do not respond, and they, too, become infected. Therefore 7 of 12, or about 58%, of the cases occur in students who have been fully vaccinated.

As you can see, this doesn’t prove the vaccine didn’t work – only that most of the children in the class had been vaccinated, so those who were vaccinated and did not respond outnumbered those who had not been vaccinated. Looking at it another way, 100% of the children who had not been vaccinated got measles, compared with less than 1% of those who had been vaccinated. Measles vaccine protected most of the class; if nobody in the class had been vaccinated, there would probably have been 1,000 cases of measles.”

Vaccines do work, just like condoms work, but nothing is 100% effective and you have to use them.

Anti-vaccination position: I’m all natural and breastfeed my babies, my immunities protect them.

First let me say, as a toddler nursing mom, congratulations! There is no doubt in my mind that breastfeeding is a great way to ensure the health of your child, but it can’t be your only source of protection. That’s like wearing a leather jacket while riding on a motorcycle and not a helmet and thinking it’s safe enough. Sure, it will protect you from road rash should you get in an accident, but it’s not going to keep your brains in your skull. And the odds of you getting in an accident are not that great on the grand scheme of things, but would you still risk it?

According to WHO (World Health Organization) breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia, but it is not going to protect them against the measles, chicken pox or a virus of that nature. That’s just not how this works. Before there was vaccines and before there was formula, babies were almost exclusively breastfed and you know what was popular then and contributed to thousands of infant/child deaths? Diphtheria, tetanus, measles, poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis – that is until vaccines arrived in the 1900s.

Anti-vaccination position: Have you read the ingredients in those shots? I’m not going to expose my child to those chemicals!

This one always gets me for a multitude of reasons the first I will let this immunologist explain.

And really, unless your child is living in a bubble do you realize how many “chemicals” they come in contact with by just breathing? By playing in the sandbox? By living their lives…just saying.

My disclaimer

I know that some (ok a lot) of what I have written here is very blunt, even harsh and it is very clear that I am frustrated, but here is why: I know there are people who legitimately have medical reasons why they can’t vaccinate (I actually can’t get the Chicken Pox vaccination or the flu shot) and just so I am clear, this blog post was not directed at them. I also know that there are parents out there who are just looking for answers to questions that are very fair to ask and are choosing inaction until they can do more research. Which is why this blog is actually directed at the people writing these books (Melanie’s Marvelous Measles) and creating this site (The People’s Chemist) or this one (VacTruth) and the many others like them.

These sites disguise themselves and their personal agendas while pointing the finger at “Big Pharma” and give old, inaccurate information and present it as current and factual. I am not going to deny “Big Pharma” exists (Hello… Cancer Research) but the costs don’t add up no matter how hard you try, and the Anti-Vaccination movement tries REAL hard. Don’t fall into the trap. There is great, REAL information out there, like the Ontario government vaccination information campaign or visit WHO or the CDC or The Government of Canada site.

P.S. Just because they are a movie/TV/reality star DOES NOT mean they are smart enough to give you medical/life/health advice, remember their number priority is their brand and their bank account, not your wellbeing.

Vaccination meme

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