Vaccines = Common Sense

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Photo: WikiCommons

Just before our youngest was scheduled to receive his four month immunizations, our pediatrician blogged about whooping cough. Whooping cough is an illness I had heard of but didn’t know of anyone who had actually had it. So I did a little digging into those “famous” diseases that most young mothers have heard about but never seen. Polio, for instance, was pretty common in the 1950’s. My mother has seen the effects of polio and remembers getting vaccinated against it. Another one of these famous diseases is small pox. Most of the people in my parents’ generation have a scar from their small pox shot. Routine vaccinations for this disease ended in 1980, and in 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the 30th anniversary of the eradication of small pox.

Which brings me to whooping cough.  Most young mothers have never seen this disease or its effects on a child. Never seen, that is, until now. Pertussis (whooping cough) is making a come back. I have seen news about the outbreaks in California and there are reports that cases of pertussis are spiking in Ohio and Oregon as well. The root cause of the outbreak appears to be parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children. Why are parents refusing to vaccinate? A study done by John Hopkins in 2005 stated that more than two thirds of the respondents thought vaccines were harmful. I have even seen celebrities spouting that vaccines cause Autism. I did a little research into how vaccines work to set my mind at ease. Vaccines prepare our bodies to fight off an illness before it is exposed to it. They typically include a dead or a weakened germ which triggers the body to make antibodies as practice to defeat the illness. Then, if you are ever exposed to that illness, the body already has antibodies in place to fight it. In general, a vaccine keeps the person from getting the illness or keeps that person from getting severely ill.

As a mother, I feel it is my responsibility to not only immunize my children for their protection but also for the protection of society at large. The more people that are immunized, the less likely diseases can spread. When the population at large is sufficiently immunized against these diseases, babies are also protected because they aren’t exposed to the illness. It gives their little bodies time to produce antibodies of their own so when/if they are exposed, the disease is not lethal.

Photo: WikiCommons

Needless to say, at my son’s four month checkup, my husband and I both got booster shots for whooping cough. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care. If you have questions as a parent, please do the research from reliable sources and then make an informed decision. It is time we stop listening to celebrities and others who don’t know a lick about medicine and use our common sense.

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100 thoughts on “Vaccines = Common Sense

  1. I could not agree more. As a professional who worked with kids with Autism I have seen a lot of fear and misinformation about vaccines and their link to Autism. The initial study that reported the link was found to be fraudulent and has since been retracted by the medical journal that published it, yet the fear persists. Thank you for helping to spread the word.

  2. I could not agree more. As a professional who worked with kids with Autism I have seen a lot of fear and misinformation about vaccines and their link to Autism. The initial study that reported the link was found to be fraudulent and has since been retracted by the medical journal that published it, yet the fear persists. Thank you for helping to spread the word.

  3. In my former life I used to work in infection control at a hospital. I was routinely amazed at the misconceptions out there about vaccines. Particularly among our nurses. When it came time for the flu vaccine we heard all manner of bizarre reasoning for not getting it. The fact remains that influenza is the number 1 vaccine preventable cause of death in the US.
    And vaccines in general help to create herd immunity. Working in an environment where you see the effects of the common cold on pediatric cancer patients really makes you think twice about not vaccinating your healthy children. All I could think was that my vaccinating my kids helped to lessen the chances of another child catching a disease that could very well kill them.

  4. In my former life I used to work in infection control at a hospital. I was routinely amazed at the misconceptions out there about vaccines. Particularly among our nurses. When it came time for the flu vaccine we heard all manner of bizarre reasoning for not getting it. The fact remains that influenza is the number 1 vaccine preventable cause of death in the US.
    And vaccines in general help to create herd immunity. Working in an environment where you see the effects of the common cold on pediatric cancer patients really makes you think twice about not vaccinating your healthy children. All I could think was that my vaccinating my kids helped to lessen the chances of another child catching a disease that could very well kill them.

  5. Come every autumn, this debate fires up on my parent listservs. It’s amazing that this long after the vaccines-cause-autism retractions that the fear of vaccines is as present as ever.

  6. Come every autumn, this debate fires up on my parent listservs. It’s amazing that this long after the vaccines-cause-autism retractions that the fear of vaccines is as present as ever.

  7. There is a sizable group of people who believe that vaccines cause everything from autism to UFO sightings. There was an issue with a specific batch of pertussis vaccine that came out a number of years ago – there were some impurities in the lot and some children did experience reactions. My son was one of them and he could not get the pertussis vaccine after that. My two girls were vaccinated.
    Unfortunately, because of the prevalence of children who are not vaccinated, he got whooping cough at the age of 14 and he was very sick. He now suffers from asthma. Because of the number of children who are not vaccinated and due to the fact that some of us who were immunized years ago have lost our immunity, there is widespread pertussis in the general community – I caught it from another nurse who caught it from her holistic grand-baby who caught it at daycare, and I now have permanent lung damage. My father just recently had whooping cough. My husband is just getting over it.
    As an RN and as a mother, I am far more afraid of the possible consequences of the disease than I am of the vaccines.

  8. There is a sizable group of people who believe that vaccines cause everything from autism to UFO sightings. There was an issue with a specific batch of pertussis vaccine that came out a number of years ago – there were some impurities in the lot and some children did experience reactions. My son was one of them and he could not get the pertussis vaccine after that. My two girls were vaccinated.
    Unfortunately, because of the prevalence of children who are not vaccinated, he got whooping cough at the age of 14 and he was very sick. He now suffers from asthma. Because of the number of children who are not vaccinated and due to the fact that some of us who were immunized years ago have lost our immunity, there is widespread pertussis in the general community – I caught it from another nurse who caught it from her holistic grand-baby who caught it at daycare, and I now have permanent lung damage. My father just recently had whooping cough. My husband is just getting over it.
    As an RN and as a mother, I am far more afraid of the possible consequences of the disease than I am of the vaccines.

  9. Our kids do get vaccinated, though I really dislike the big 5-in-one shots early on. I mean-it’s questionable that a baby’s immune system can get much use out of that much action at once. That’s not really controversial either-ask an immunologist. Plus, if a baby has a bad reaction after a big shot, it’s going to be really hard to tell which of the mix was the problem.

    For parents that are, rightly or wrongly, scared of vaccines, splitting up vaccines makes them more likely to use them. For example, you can’t get a separated MMR anymore in the US, and I know plenty of parents that are skipping it entirely that would otherwise have gotten the separate shots. We can point fingers and roll our eyes, but I’d rather them get their kids immunized than feel right.

    I also wanted to point out that a big reason for pertussis outbreaks is that *adults* get it and pass it to kids. You lose your immunity to it as you get older naturally, but your reaction to it just looks like a cold. So, the author here did what many adults should do-get a pertussis booster! You don’t have to worry about catching it from unimmunized kids that way as much either.

    I recommend Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book (also has a great website-search ‘the vaccine book’) for anyone worried about the effects of vaccines or would like a more balanced picture of them. It’s not anti-vaccine and it’s not out to scare anybody, but it does talk about the issues rather than say vaccines are totally safe. Anybody that has looked at the history of vaccines knows that there have been complete reformulations and recalls due to unforeseeable problems in the pretty recent past! Dr. Sears’ book also provides an alternative schedule that spreads out the shots to avoid the combinations that worry parents. Autism isn’t the only thing people who don’t vaccinate worry about!

    Also, *wave* at a fellow SLP.

      1. @Matthew: Thanks for the link! Sears actually addresses most of these things in his book and on his site. I don’t find the article’s arguments based on one line quotes very convincing, mostly. Believe me, as a researcher and clinician (with adults, not kids, though-speech pathology), that I sincerely wish people based their decision making on good science as this article wishes they would do… I wish doctors and clinicians made their decisions based on sound science too, but they don’t. It’s frustrating as a researcher and geek.

        I’m not a Sears devotee, and I hope the vehemently anti-Sears group still reads the rest of my thoughts! My main point is that offering an alternative after respectfully listening to people’s concerns is better than saying, but the science says this, so you’re stupid if you don’t vaccinate. That’s just unproductive. You can’t convince people by calling them stupid, which we know through parenting, right?

        I certainly didn’t say Dr. Sears was uncontroversial-though I didn’t expect the venom from Marcy. I said that it isn’t that controversial to say that many early childhood vaccines may not be fully effective because of immature immune systems.

        It sounds like the biggest concern people have with his recommendations is that Sears is recommending that people ‘hide in the herd’. My understanding of his ‘hide in the herd’ statements was that you shouldn’t unnecessarily alarm other parents about vaccinating. I guess I just misread it. That’s really too bad, if he really is telling people to hide the fact that their kids aren’t vaccinated. I imagine kids/parents will face discrimination if they don’t vaccinate-for whatever reason-so that may be part of his angle.

        Sears is definitely not anti-vax. In fact, in his book he says that he recommends the CDC schedule. He says it repeatedly. He also says things like-obviously, thousands of doctors and safely vaccinated children can’t be wrong, so he thinks that the CDC schedule is fine.
        He offers his alternative for people that would otherwise avoid vaccines altogether. A noble cause, I think. That was my main point, as well. The fear of vaccines is widespread enough that simply saying, ‘this website proves that sciences is behind vaccines’ or ‘don’t you pay attention to research’?

        He covers other things in his book too-which vaccines actually contain mercury (almost none), which vaccines have been linked with autism (none), and other things like that. He doesn’t offer any anecdotal evidence that vaccines are bad-he simply puts what doctors can find on the label information of the vaccines in book form, more or less. So, he describes how the vaccines are made, what is in them, and what the possible reactions and their likelihood are.

        I also know that many parents and people in general are just plain sick of being told what to do with their babies and kids, so vaccines just seem like one more tool of the man. I mean, I understand the impulse. I totally sympathize with the ‘free-range kids’ movement, for example. 😛

        Again, I still say I’d rather people vaccinate their kids than get worked up over offering an alternative. The CDC schedule was developed to cram as many vaccines into as few visits as possible, and an alternative will still offer immunity!

    1. i refuse to buy anything that Dr. Sears says about vaccines in his book, given that he tells no-vaxers to not tell their neighbors and friends what they are doing so that their kids can safely hide in the herd of herd immunity.

      The holistic movement is just as guilty of trying to sell you something, as well as the “evil” medical side. In this case, anecdotally supported supplements/treatments, books, speaking fees, snake oil, etc.

  10. Our kids do get vaccinated, though I really dislike the big 5-in-one shots early on. I mean-it’s questionable that a baby’s immune system can get much use out of that much action at once. That’s not really controversial either-ask an immunologist. Plus, if a baby has a bad reaction after a big shot, it’s going to be really hard to tell which of the mix was the problem.

    For parents that are, rightly or wrongly, scared of vaccines, splitting up vaccines makes them more likely to use them. For example, you can’t get a separated MMR anymore in the US, and I know plenty of parents that are skipping it entirely that would otherwise have gotten the separate shots. We can point fingers and roll our eyes, but I’d rather them get their kids immunized than feel right.

    I also wanted to point out that a big reason for pertussis outbreaks is that *adults* get it and pass it to kids. You lose your immunity to it as you get older naturally, but your reaction to it just looks like a cold. So, the author here did what many adults should do-get a pertussis booster! You don’t have to worry about catching it from unimmunized kids that way as much either.

    I recommend Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book (also has a great website-search ‘the vaccine book’) for anyone worried about the effects of vaccines or would like a more balanced picture of them. It’s not anti-vaccine and it’s not out to scare anybody, but it does talk about the issues rather than say vaccines are totally safe. Anybody that has looked at the history of vaccines knows that there have been complete reformulations and recalls due to unforeseeable problems in the pretty recent past! Dr. Sears’ book also provides an alternative schedule that spreads out the shots to avoid the combinations that worry parents. Autism isn’t the only thing people who don’t vaccinate worry about!

    Also, *wave* at a fellow SLP.

      1. @Matthew: Thanks for the link! Sears actually addresses most of these things in his book and on his site. I don’t find the article’s arguments based on one line quotes very convincing, mostly. Believe me, as a researcher and clinician (with adults, not kids, though-speech pathology), that I sincerely wish people based their decision making on good science as this article wishes they would do… I wish doctors and clinicians made their decisions based on sound science too, but they don’t. It’s frustrating as a researcher and geek.

        I’m not a Sears devotee, and I hope the vehemently anti-Sears group still reads the rest of my thoughts! My main point is that offering an alternative after respectfully listening to people’s concerns is better than saying, but the science says this, so you’re stupid if you don’t vaccinate. That’s just unproductive. You can’t convince people by calling them stupid, which we know through parenting, right?

        I certainly didn’t say Dr. Sears was uncontroversial-though I didn’t expect the venom from Marcy. I said that it isn’t that controversial to say that many early childhood vaccines may not be fully effective because of immature immune systems.

        It sounds like the biggest concern people have with his recommendations is that Sears is recommending that people ‘hide in the herd’. My understanding of his ‘hide in the herd’ statements was that you shouldn’t unnecessarily alarm other parents about vaccinating. I guess I just misread it. That’s really too bad, if he really is telling people to hide the fact that their kids aren’t vaccinated. I imagine kids/parents will face discrimination if they don’t vaccinate-for whatever reason-so that may be part of his angle.

        Sears is definitely not anti-vax. In fact, in his book he says that he recommends the CDC schedule. He says it repeatedly. He also says things like-obviously, thousands of doctors and safely vaccinated children can’t be wrong, so he thinks that the CDC schedule is fine.
        He offers his alternative for people that would otherwise avoid vaccines altogether. A noble cause, I think. That was my main point, as well. The fear of vaccines is widespread enough that simply saying, ‘this website proves that sciences is behind vaccines’ or ‘don’t you pay attention to research’?

        He covers other things in his book too-which vaccines actually contain mercury (almost none), which vaccines have been linked with autism (none), and other things like that. He doesn’t offer any anecdotal evidence that vaccines are bad-he simply puts what doctors can find on the label information of the vaccines in book form, more or less. So, he describes how the vaccines are made, what is in them, and what the possible reactions and their likelihood are.

        I also know that many parents and people in general are just plain sick of being told what to do with their babies and kids, so vaccines just seem like one more tool of the man. I mean, I understand the impulse. I totally sympathize with the ‘free-range kids’ movement, for example. 😛

        Again, I still say I’d rather people vaccinate their kids than get worked up over offering an alternative. The CDC schedule was developed to cram as many vaccines into as few visits as possible, and an alternative will still offer immunity!

    1. i refuse to buy anything that Dr. Sears says about vaccines in his book, given that he tells no-vaxers to not tell their neighbors and friends what they are doing so that their kids can safely hide in the herd of herd immunity.

      The holistic movement is just as guilty of trying to sell you something, as well as the “evil” medical side. In this case, anecdotally supported supplements/treatments, books, speaking fees, snake oil, etc.

  11. Penn and Teller did a very vivid demonstration of why, even if vaccines cause autism (which they don’t*), it would still be a good idea to get your kids vaccinated because of the risks of all the childhood diseases.

    So, yeah – get your kids vaccinated.

    Good suggestion to get a pertussis booster, though.

    [*] this is not just anecdotal. There was a study published a year or so ago showing that there was no difference in the rates of autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

  12. Penn and Teller did a very vivid demonstration of why, even if vaccines cause autism (which they don’t*), it would still be a good idea to get your kids vaccinated because of the risks of all the childhood diseases.

    So, yeah – get your kids vaccinated.

    Good suggestion to get a pertussis booster, though.

    [*] this is not just anecdotal. There was a study published a year or so ago showing that there was no difference in the rates of autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

  13. Thank You!! People don’t realize by not vaccinating their children they are also putting MY child at risk. My mother got whopping cough when she was little and she said even at 6 she truly thought she was going to die. She spent months sleeping over the heat vent in the floor in the hallway upstairs (this was the mid 1940s) and remembers coughing so badly she couldn’t breathe in for the next cough. I don’t even like when my little one has a cold… I would feel horrible if by my own ignorance of the issues that he got something like whooping cough.

  14. Thank You!! People don’t realize by not vaccinating their children they are also putting MY child at risk. My mother got whopping cough when she was little and she said even at 6 she truly thought she was going to die. She spent months sleeping over the heat vent in the floor in the hallway upstairs (this was the mid 1940s) and remembers coughing so badly she couldn’t breathe in for the next cough. I don’t even like when my little one has a cold… I would feel horrible if by my own ignorance of the issues that he got something like whooping cough.

  15. As the father of two children who have had multiple febrile seizures (brought on by spikes or dips in temperature and often accompanied by stopping breathing), I’m pretty afraid that one of my kids will catch something from another kid who wasn’t vaccinated. Children have died needlessly because parents were afraid of vaccines because they (the parents) listened to former Playboy bunnies over doctors.

    Of course, being a “Techy Dad”, I decided to model herd immunity to help show how powerful an effect it is. I published my results here (http://www.techydad.com/2010/09/a-vaccination-simulation/) but the short answer is: It’s very powerful. The slightly longer answer is that the risk of death was over 4.6 times higher in a population where nobody vaccinated than in a population where 75% of people were vaccinated. Up that to 90% vaccinated and the 0% vaccination group had a 6x greater chance of dying. The more people who were vaccinated, the less chance that the unvaccinated (for whatever reason: too young, valid health issues, etc) would get sick and die.

  16. As the father of two children who have had multiple febrile seizures (brought on by spikes or dips in temperature and often accompanied by stopping breathing), I’m pretty afraid that one of my kids will catch something from another kid who wasn’t vaccinated. Children have died needlessly because parents were afraid of vaccines because they (the parents) listened to former Playboy bunnies over doctors.

    Of course, being a “Techy Dad”, I decided to model herd immunity to help show how powerful an effect it is. I published my results here (http://www.techydad.com/2010/09/a-vaccination-simulation/) but the short answer is: It’s very powerful. The slightly longer answer is that the risk of death was over 4.6 times higher in a population where nobody vaccinated than in a population where 75% of people were vaccinated. Up that to 90% vaccinated and the 0% vaccination group had a 6x greater chance of dying. The more people who were vaccinated, the less chance that the unvaccinated (for whatever reason: too young, valid health issues, etc) would get sick and die.

  17. A friend of mine raised a good point: how are these unvaccinated children getting into public school? Don’t most states legally require the immunization of children of school age?

    1. Our local school district has this policy for immunizations:

      “Except as otherwise provided by law, before a student may register and attend the School District, the parent must present the principal of the school:

      1. A certificate from a licensed physician or an authorized representative of the State Department of Public Health stating that such student has received or is in the process of receiving required immunizations or is likely to be immune as a result of the disease; or

      2. A certificate from a licensed physician stating that the child’s physical condition is such that immunization would endanger the life or health of the child; or

      3. A written statement by the parent objecting to tests or immunizations.”

      All a parent has to do is say they object to it and they can be enrolled.

        1. Not true.

          MS and WV are the states that only offer medical exemptions from school immunization requirements – but that doesn’t mean parents can lose their parental rights for not vaccinating. It just means kids who aren’t vaccinated, and don’t have a medical reason not to be, can’t go to public school.

    2. In Florida, there is a form that can be gotten from the health department for religious exemptions to vaccinations. The health department is not allowed to ask what religion the person requesting the form practices. So anyone can get that form.

  18. A friend of mine raised a good point: how are these unvaccinated children getting into public school? Don’t most states legally require the immunization of children of school age?

    1. Our local school district has this policy for immunizations:

      “Except as otherwise provided by law, before a student may register and attend the School District, the parent must present the principal of the school:

      1. A certificate from a licensed physician or an authorized representative of the State Department of Public Health stating that such student has received or is in the process of receiving required immunizations or is likely to be immune as a result of the disease; or

      2. A certificate from a licensed physician stating that the child’s physical condition is such that immunization would endanger the life or health of the child; or

      3. A written statement by the parent objecting to tests or immunizations.”

      All a parent has to do is say they object to it and they can be enrolled.

        1. Not true.

          MS and WV are the states that only offer medical exemptions from school immunization requirements – but that doesn’t mean parents can lose their parental rights for not vaccinating. It just means kids who aren’t vaccinated, and don’t have a medical reason not to be, can’t go to public school.

    2. In Florida, there is a form that can be gotten from the health department for religious exemptions to vaccinations. The health department is not allowed to ask what religion the person requesting the form practices. So anyone can get that form.

  19. this is the same blogger who wrote earlier that:

    “armed with my internet diagnosis, the pediatrician has dismissed my claims. We have since changed doctors…”

    so jennifer D claims to know better than doctors (leaving doctors when they dismiss her google diagnosis), yet will blindly follow the immunization schedules (oh, after a little google research! congrats on your 15minutes medical degree!).

    http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2010/10/cyberchondria-the-good-the-bad-and-the-neurotic-side-of-internet-diagnosis/

    your blogs are invalid and misleading, as well as contradictory. do you blindly listen to your doctor, or drop them if they disagree with you?

    the actual problem some people have with immunizations is trace mercury that is present in most vaccines. singular, no problem, but when you add up all the shots in the first year, do you really know what that does to a baby’s body?

    1. All I will say is if I think my child has an ear infection and the doctor ignores what I have to say, then yes, I will change doctors. As parents, we are our children’s advocates.

    2. Mercury isn’t in most vaccines anymore. At the risk of alienating those who are anti-Sears, I did want to point out what he says about mercury with a quote:

      p208: “Now, what about those shots that contain traces of mercury? This amount is about 1/100 of what it used to be, so I consider it too negligible to worry about. But if you want to worry anyway, you can ask your doctor for a completely mercury-free brand. Here is a list of the current vaccines that contain a trace amount of mercury:
      – Tripedia brand of DTaP
      – Plain tetanus in the single-dose vial
      – DT in the single-dose vial
      – dT in the single-dose vial
      – Fluarix and Fluvirin brands of flu shot

      The following shots are the only ones (as of the writing of this book [2007]) that contain a full 25-microgram dose of mercury:
      – Plain tetanus in the multidose vial
      – dT in the multidose vial
      – DT in the multidose vial (no longer produced, but old bottles may still be out there)
      – Fluzone and FluLaval brands of the flu shot in a multidose vial (Fluzone’s single-dose vial does not have any mercury)”

      1. if you are going to be a smart alec, at least be smart.

        thimerosal. it’s in most vaccines. thimerosal is an organomercurial, meaning an organic mercury compound.

        1. “In the United States, countries in the European Union and a few other affluent countries, thiomersal is no longer used as a preservative in routine childhood vaccination schedules. In the U.S., the only exceptions among vaccines routinely recommended for children are some formulations of the inactivated influenza vaccine for children older than two years.”

          source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal#Use

          The same source does say that the diphtheria and Tetanus vaccines do contain Thiomersal, but those vaccines are not routinely given to children.

          Also, don’t be a dick.

  20. this is the same blogger who wrote earlier that:

    “armed with my internet diagnosis, the pediatrician has dismissed my claims. We have since changed doctors…”

    so jennifer D claims to know better than doctors (leaving doctors when they dismiss her google diagnosis), yet will blindly follow the immunization schedules (oh, after a little google research! congrats on your 15minutes medical degree!).

    http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2010/10/cyberchondria-the-good-the-bad-and-the-neurotic-side-of-internet-diagnosis/

    your blogs are invalid and misleading, as well as contradictory. do you blindly listen to your doctor, or drop them if they disagree with you?

    the actual problem some people have with immunizations is trace mercury that is present in most vaccines. singular, no problem, but when you add up all the shots in the first year, do you really know what that does to a baby’s body?

    1. All I will say is if I think my child has an ear infection and the doctor ignores what I have to say, then yes, I will change doctors. As parents, we are our children’s advocates.

    2. Mercury isn’t in most vaccines anymore. At the risk of alienating those who are anti-Sears, I did want to point out what he says about mercury with a quote:

      p208: “Now, what about those shots that contain traces of mercury? This amount is about 1/100 of what it used to be, so I consider it too negligible to worry about. But if you want to worry anyway, you can ask your doctor for a completely mercury-free brand. Here is a list of the current vaccines that contain a trace amount of mercury:
      – Tripedia brand of DTaP
      – Plain tetanus in the single-dose vial
      – DT in the single-dose vial
      – dT in the single-dose vial
      – Fluarix and Fluvirin brands of flu shot

      The following shots are the only ones (as of the writing of this book [2007]) that contain a full 25-microgram dose of mercury:
      – Plain tetanus in the multidose vial
      – dT in the multidose vial
      – DT in the multidose vial (no longer produced, but old bottles may still be out there)
      – Fluzone and FluLaval brands of the flu shot in a multidose vial (Fluzone’s single-dose vial does not have any mercury)”

      1. if you are going to be a smart alec, at least be smart.

        thimerosal. it’s in most vaccines. thimerosal is an organomercurial, meaning an organic mercury compound.

        1. “In the United States, countries in the European Union and a few other affluent countries, thiomersal is no longer used as a preservative in routine childhood vaccination schedules. In the U.S., the only exceptions among vaccines routinely recommended for children are some formulations of the inactivated influenza vaccine for children older than two years.”

          source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal#Use

          The same source does say that the diphtheria and Tetanus vaccines do contain Thiomersal, but those vaccines are not routinely given to children.

          Also, don’t be a dick.

  21. it is well researched that the flu vaccine is ineffective at preventing the flu. If you actually do the research and read the medical journals it is widely available information. Researchers also found the flu shot did nothing to decrease the death rates among children or the elderly. If you want to believe the pharmaceutical companies and believe everything is safe and effective – go ahead. Everyday there are products recalled that were promised to be safe and effective. Do your own research and don’t just rely on some bloggers that also have no medical degrees.

    1. From the CDC website: “How effective is the flu vaccine?
      How well the flu vaccine works depends on how well the match is between the influenza (flu) vaccine and the types of flu viruses that are circulating that year. Scientists try to predict what strains (types) of flu viruses are most likely to spread and cause illness each year to put into the vaccine. Past studies have shown in years when the vaccine viruses and circulating viruses are well-matched, the vaccine can reduce the chances of getting the flu by 70% to 90% in healthy adults. The vaccine may be somewhat less effective in elderly persons and very young children, but vaccination can still prevent serious complications from the flu.

      In healthy adults younger than 65 years of age, the flu vaccine can also prevent lost work days, and keep you from having to see the doctor or using unnecessary antibiotics. ”
      http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

      No one has done a study on me, but my husband and I both got the flu in 1995. Since then we have gotten a flu shot every year. We haven’t gotten the flu since. I know it is a bit of a guess as to which strains are in the shot, but I would rather get the shot then be sick as a dog for a week. Just saying…

  22. it is well researched that the flu vaccine is ineffective at preventing the flu. If you actually do the research and read the medical journals it is widely available information. Researchers also found the flu shot did nothing to decrease the death rates among children or the elderly. If you want to believe the pharmaceutical companies and believe everything is safe and effective – go ahead. Everyday there are products recalled that were promised to be safe and effective. Do your own research and don’t just rely on some bloggers that also have no medical degrees.

    1. From the CDC website: “How effective is the flu vaccine?
      How well the flu vaccine works depends on how well the match is between the influenza (flu) vaccine and the types of flu viruses that are circulating that year. Scientists try to predict what strains (types) of flu viruses are most likely to spread and cause illness each year to put into the vaccine. Past studies have shown in years when the vaccine viruses and circulating viruses are well-matched, the vaccine can reduce the chances of getting the flu by 70% to 90% in healthy adults. The vaccine may be somewhat less effective in elderly persons and very young children, but vaccination can still prevent serious complications from the flu.

      In healthy adults younger than 65 years of age, the flu vaccine can also prevent lost work days, and keep you from having to see the doctor or using unnecessary antibiotics. ”
      http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

      No one has done a study on me, but my husband and I both got the flu in 1995. Since then we have gotten a flu shot every year. We haven’t gotten the flu since. I know it is a bit of a guess as to which strains are in the shot, but I would rather get the shot then be sick as a dog for a week. Just saying…

  23. Timely post-Pertussis has recently struck in our community. fortunately, our kids are in the process of being immunized, and my husband and I are in the process of getting our boosters. I truly wish people would do more research (ie medically reputable studies with validated outcomes) rather than listening to horror stories shared by some B-list celebrity. If you look hard enough, you can find a link between anything and anything.

  24. Timely post-Pertussis has recently struck in our community. fortunately, our kids are in the process of being immunized, and my husband and I are in the process of getting our boosters. I truly wish people would do more research (ie medically reputable studies with validated outcomes) rather than listening to horror stories shared by some B-list celebrity. If you look hard enough, you can find a link between anything and anything.

  25. Thank you!! My youngest got Kawasaki disease at three months and couldn’t get his DPT for six months. Herd immunity is great!

    That being said, I prefer the Japanese schedule vs. the US. Nevertheless, vaccines are an amazing discovery that we are taking for granted now.

  26. Thank you!! My youngest got Kawasaki disease at three months and couldn’t get his DPT for six months. Herd immunity is great!

    That being said, I prefer the Japanese schedule vs. the US. Nevertheless, vaccines are an amazing discovery that we are taking for granted now.

  27. I love science, specifically the scientific method. I am a skeptic, I want proof. The proof is not there for linking autism to vaccines. Having read some of the drug studies that support vaccination, I see no scientific proof that vaccines are safe.

    I think most would agree that a properly done scientific study would involve one variable among known constants with a significant number of random participants. Many of the studies and drug trials compare the effects of one experimental drug to another, a variable to an unknown. Others test the lowest “statistically significant” number of participants which is only slightly over 1000 to represent the US. The results of a single study of 1040 people are used to make a decision for 300 million. Many of the tests and studies are never repeated; and, when there are multiple papers about a single vaccine, they often reference the same dataset. In any other science this would be ridiculed; no result of a physics experiment would be accepted until the test was repeated. Also, the vaccines are tested individually, I have seen no research encompassing the entire vaccination schedule. Over thirty doses of dead or weakened germs (along with preservatives and carriers) are injected into a child before the age of six, at least sixteen of these before six months. I would greatly welcome a study done over the first 10 years of life on children who receive the full schedule vs. those on an alternate schedule vs. those with no vaccinations.

    All of this is compounded by the bias readily apparent in medical research. John Ioannidis has published two articles (one in JAMA) showing the variability present in research, how much bias shapes results; a recent article about him and his research can be found here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269

    As a proponent of science, vaccine studies (and much other drug research besides) does not hold up to academic scrutiny. The concept behind vaccination is logical, but I am uncomfortable with its current execution. We are mandated to receive injections, whose worth is based on biased and flimsy research, and, to jump into cynicism, the profit earned from this enterprise numbers in the billions. Reads to me more like science fiction than science fact. Any suggestion to change (even improving the methods) is muted by cries of, “this protects our children.”

    I do not complain without suggesting a fix. Encourage independent and redundant research on each of the vaccines and on the vaccination schedule as a whole. With a government mandate, there should be no private gain. The vaccination of all our children should not profit individuals and corporations. It should be a nonprofit enterprise.

    I will gladly inject my son with something that has been proven to be of value by multiple independent data sets. I will not make the decision to inject him solely based on the concept of vaccination. Nor will I make any decision based on anecdotes of autism-links or anecdotes of outbreaks which effect both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    1. Elliot, it sounds like you’re missing the concept of statistics. The calculation of a sample size sufficient to give a result that can be generalized to 300 million is exactly why the studies don’t need to be done over and over again.

      There’s also the fact that, in effect, testing in the entire population after a vaccine is recommended for general use. Manufacturers are required to do formal postmarketing studies, and there are multiple governmental mechanisms for detecting patterns of adverse reactions. There have been a couple of occasions when they did catch a trend too rare to have been observed in any reasonable-sized clinical trial. So this is a practical way of making sure vaccines really are safe, even after scientists have done everything they can do pre-release.

  28. I love science, specifically the scientific method. I am a skeptic, I want proof. The proof is not there for linking autism to vaccines. Having read some of the drug studies that support vaccination, I see no scientific proof that vaccines are safe.

    I think most would agree that a properly done scientific study would involve one variable among known constants with a significant number of random participants. Many of the studies and drug trials compare the effects of one experimental drug to another, a variable to an unknown. Others test the lowest “statistically significant” number of participants which is only slightly over 1000 to represent the US. The results of a single study of 1040 people are used to make a decision for 300 million. Many of the tests and studies are never repeated; and, when there are multiple papers about a single vaccine, they often reference the same dataset. In any other science this would be ridiculed; no result of a physics experiment would be accepted until the test was repeated. Also, the vaccines are tested individually, I have seen no research encompassing the entire vaccination schedule. Over thirty doses of dead or weakened germs (along with preservatives and carriers) are injected into a child before the age of six, at least sixteen of these before six months. I would greatly welcome a study done over the first 10 years of life on children who receive the full schedule vs. those on an alternate schedule vs. those with no vaccinations.

    All of this is compounded by the bias readily apparent in medical research. John Ioannidis has published two articles (one in JAMA) showing the variability present in research, how much bias shapes results; a recent article about him and his research can be found here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269

    As a proponent of science, vaccine studies (and much other drug research besides) does not hold up to academic scrutiny. The concept behind vaccination is logical, but I am uncomfortable with its current execution. We are mandated to receive injections, whose worth is based on biased and flimsy research, and, to jump into cynicism, the profit earned from this enterprise numbers in the billions. Reads to me more like science fiction than science fact. Any suggestion to change (even improving the methods) is muted by cries of, “this protects our children.”

    I do not complain without suggesting a fix. Encourage independent and redundant research on each of the vaccines and on the vaccination schedule as a whole. With a government mandate, there should be no private gain. The vaccination of all our children should not profit individuals and corporations. It should be a nonprofit enterprise.

    I will gladly inject my son with something that has been proven to be of value by multiple independent data sets. I will not make the decision to inject him solely based on the concept of vaccination. Nor will I make any decision based on anecdotes of autism-links or anecdotes of outbreaks which effect both vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

    1. Elliot, it sounds like you’re missing the concept of statistics. The calculation of a sample size sufficient to give a result that can be generalized to 300 million is exactly why the studies don’t need to be done over and over again.

      There’s also the fact that, in effect, testing in the entire population after a vaccine is recommended for general use. Manufacturers are required to do formal postmarketing studies, and there are multiple governmental mechanisms for detecting patterns of adverse reactions. There have been a couple of occasions when they did catch a trend too rare to have been observed in any reasonable-sized clinical trial. So this is a practical way of making sure vaccines really are safe, even after scientists have done everything they can do pre-release.

  29. Don’t mean to be curt, just brief.

    Q: Why don’t we vaccinate for smallpox anymore?
    A: The risk and cost are small, but greater than zero.

    The risk from vaccines is non-zero. If you’re in the 99.9% group, fine. If you think you’re in the 0.1%, pause and think about what you’re doing.

    I have a wife and child with flaky endocrine and immune systems. The time-tested vaccines on a non-aggresive schedule – sure. Mercury-free, please. But, we were not beating down any doors to get a freshly developed vaccine against H1N1.

    Also, the 2005 study was from Johns Hopkins not “John Hopkins”.

  30. Don’t mean to be curt, just brief.

    Q: Why don’t we vaccinate for smallpox anymore?
    A: The risk and cost are small, but greater than zero.

    The risk from vaccines is non-zero. If you’re in the 99.9% group, fine. If you think you’re in the 0.1%, pause and think about what you’re doing.

    I have a wife and child with flaky endocrine and immune systems. The time-tested vaccines on a non-aggresive schedule – sure. Mercury-free, please. But, we were not beating down any doors to get a freshly developed vaccine against H1N1.

    Also, the 2005 study was from Johns Hopkins not “John Hopkins”.

  31. If you’re talking about making informed, sensible choices, you might want to read my latest blog post, which is about the fact that — unless you’re asking questions — you’re probably going to get a nice, strong dose of mercury with your flu shot this year. Oh, and the H1N1 virus. My sources are Flu.gov and Dr. Sears as well as the drug companies. I’d never tell someone not to get a vaccine. I would say, however, that before you do it you need to be very aware of what you’re taking in.

    Me, I figure that if it isn’t mandated for school, it’s something I’d probably want to skip. Do you know what’s mandated for admission to school in your state? Here in New York it’s only about half of what they try to give you. Remember: Medicine is a business, and we are customers. What business doesn’t try and sell you more than you actually need? Sure, for some people and some populations it might be wise to take the rotovirus vaccine, for example, but my kids had healthy immune systems as babies. I would have been fine with them getting a stomach virus. They never got the shot or the disease, FWIW.

    1. The mercury in thimerosal-containing flu shots is anything but strong. It’s been studied to death, and the only adverse reactions associated with it are in people who are allergic to it, just like people can be allergic to peanut butter or what-have-you. There’s nothing insidious or hidden about it.

      And of course you’re going to get the H1N1 virus – a killed version of it, of course – in your flu shot! What did you want, a shot of plain saline? The virus is what makes it a vaccine. The fact that it is killed is what ensures it can’t actually make you sick, but it teaches your immune system how to recognize it in case it ever encounters the live virus.

      Previously healthy children in the US have died from rotavirus, just like previously healthy children in the US have died from influenza, varicella, and other vaccine-preventable diseases that some parents think it would be beneficial to have them suffer through. Yours were among the lucky majority who recovered without complication. But please don’t think it was because they were special or better than the ones who didn’t.

  32. If you’re talking about making informed, sensible choices, you might want to read my latest blog post, which is about the fact that — unless you’re asking questions — you’re probably going to get a nice, strong dose of mercury with your flu shot this year. Oh, and the H1N1 virus. My sources are Flu.gov and Dr. Sears as well as the drug companies. I’d never tell someone not to get a vaccine. I would say, however, that before you do it you need to be very aware of what you’re taking in.

    Me, I figure that if it isn’t mandated for school, it’s something I’d probably want to skip. Do you know what’s mandated for admission to school in your state? Here in New York it’s only about half of what they try to give you. Remember: Medicine is a business, and we are customers. What business doesn’t try and sell you more than you actually need? Sure, for some people and some populations it might be wise to take the rotovirus vaccine, for example, but my kids had healthy immune systems as babies. I would have been fine with them getting a stomach virus. They never got the shot or the disease, FWIW.

    1. The mercury in thimerosal-containing flu shots is anything but strong. It’s been studied to death, and the only adverse reactions associated with it are in people who are allergic to it, just like people can be allergic to peanut butter or what-have-you. There’s nothing insidious or hidden about it.

      And of course you’re going to get the H1N1 virus – a killed version of it, of course – in your flu shot! What did you want, a shot of plain saline? The virus is what makes it a vaccine. The fact that it is killed is what ensures it can’t actually make you sick, but it teaches your immune system how to recognize it in case it ever encounters the live virus.

      Previously healthy children in the US have died from rotavirus, just like previously healthy children in the US have died from influenza, varicella, and other vaccine-preventable diseases that some parents think it would be beneficial to have them suffer through. Yours were among the lucky majority who recovered without complication. But please don’t think it was because they were special or better than the ones who didn’t.

  33. My oldest was born before the Rotavirus vaccine. She was a healthy, robust, breastfed baby and she contracted the virus. It made her very sick. My youngest got the vaccine, and fingers crossed, we avoided that particularly stinky virus.

  34. My oldest was born before the Rotavirus vaccine. She was a healthy, robust, breastfed baby and she contracted the virus. It made her very sick. My youngest got the vaccine, and fingers crossed, we avoided that particularly stinky virus.

  35. Hi I want to to talk about a remark right here concerning you to definitely have the ability to let you know simply how much i personally Loved this particular read. I have to elope to aTurkey Day time Dinner but wanted to leave you an easy remark. We preserved you Same goes with end up being coming back subsequent work to read more of yer quality posts. Continue the quality work.

  36. Hi I want to to talk about a remark right here concerning you to definitely have the ability to let you know simply how much i personally Loved this particular read. I have to elope to aTurkey Day time Dinner but wanted to leave you an easy remark. We preserved you Same goes with end up being coming back subsequent work to read more of yer quality posts. Continue the quality work.

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