Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Jumping up on my soapbox

I want to start this post standing on my soap box.

Vaccines rule.

If you don't have one go out and get one. It saves lives.  Period.  Andrew Wakefield is a big fat liar who has made a lot of money selling fear to parents.  He was stripped of his medical license for being a fraud.  He has been discredited by scientists everywhere.  Millions of dollars that could have been spent investigating the causes of autism have been spent trying to replicate his lies, trying to prove and disprove his lies.  In the meantime lots of children have died.

this web page is a bit chilling.  It outlines the number of illnesses that could have been prevented by vaccines as well as the number of lives saved.

If you are an "objector" then I suggest that you watch this.  It is an hour long lecture which is aimed at breaking down the rhetoric used by the anti-vaccine movement.  Or read this article which outlines the unraveling of the web of lies.

All of that said I think that the anti-vaccine movement is a bit like a religion.  You will never be able to talk someone out of their religious beliefs.  They will not convert from Judaism to Later Day Saints or Protestant to Baptist based on a 2 minute tirade  from a crazy woman writing a blog.  So i recognize that if anyone who reads this is part of the anti-vaccine movement all I've done is piss you off... sorry.

That said I am very passionate about the anti-vaccine movement for a number of reasons:

1) The science was bad.  Andrew Wakefield made money.  Babies died.  That simple.

2) Because of my medical condition I seem to be practically completely unable to maintain an immunity for a long period of time to any vaccine.  I have had my measles, mumps and rubella a couple of times, i have head the hepB shot 7 times (i worked with human blood and it is a requirement).  No immunity.  I've actually HAD chicken pox.  No immunity.  As a result I rely on the herd immunity to keep me, and suddenly my precious little package, safe.  Measles, mumps and rubella cause miscarriages and birth defects in unborn babies.  A baby who is breast fed continues to receive maternal antibodies for months after birth until they develop their own immune system.  This is something I will not be able to do.

My in-laws are among the group of conscientious objectors who do not have their children vaccinated.  As a result my husband and I have decided that until our baby is born I will not visit them.  For the first few months, until we tell them this is going to be so awkward... but after they know why I am hoping they will understand. 

Unfortunately there seems to be a shit storm of outbreaks brewing and while I can easily (if not pleasantly) avoid my in-laws I can not avoid everyone else.  I have just heard that there is an outbreak in an ultra orthodox Jewish community  in Brooklyn New York and a single cases in Williamsburg.

Ok - so it amounts to 22 cases in a city of several million, but measles spreads, easily.  And so I feel a bit of reluctance to travel there this weekend.  The case spread from a single family who traveled to the UK recently, where there are over 1200 cases reported just in Wales.  Many people in the UK are scrambling now to get vaccinated.

The fact is:  it is safer to be an unvaccinated person in a well-vaccinated community than a vaccinated person in an unvaccinated community.  There is always the incentive for people to wait for everyone else to be vaccinated rather than to take the precautions themselves.But, remember: the safest is to be a vaccinated person in a well-vaccinated community.  This is how we eradicate the diseases like polio and small pox.  And hopefully we can eradicate scourges like Andrew Wakefield too.


  1. I couldn't agree more! Seeing one baby with whooping cough way back when I was a student was enough to convince me!

    1. Yes, the statistics in the states, especially in California right now are devastating. I don't really understand how people can deny the efficacy of vaccines. I always think of the mothers in third world countries who will do anything to save their babies lives.

  2. I am so with you on the vaccine front. Every time the doctors ask, we just say, yup we're vaccine people, go ahead!!

  3. Hurrah! I am always happy to meet other pro-vaccine types. Children get more mercury from a tuna sandwich than they do from a vaccine but people get all weirded out by needles and not Subway?

  4. Amen, sister! You might want to stay away from the in-laws for FOREVER (just kidding, but until your kid is... somewhat vaccinated? Because JESUS.) Every time I hear someone say "Oh, my kid is on a *delayed schedule* my head just about explodes. In fact I wrote a whole giant list about PEOPLE I CAN'T BE FRIENDS WITH (if you'll forgive me linking to myself; I thought you might enjoy it).

    My crazy aunt who didn't vaccinate her kid- he GOT whooping cough as a baby, totally went cyanotic, CPS got involved because she refused to take him to the ER, and then my 60-year-old grandma, whose immunity had of course waned, got whooping cough, and I think my other aunt did too. This was 20 years ago, but of course they live in California. We use them as a cautionary tale.

    1. My sister-in-law is a naturopath. My brother-in-law regularly sends me postings from dr. mercola (check it out when you need a laugh One family won't vaccinate at all, the other is considering delaying vaccinations. Me? oh... thanks for asking... I have a PhD in microbiology and immunology and i hate the pseudoscience they keep throwing in my face. My mother is an infection control practitioner and work for one of Canada's leading infectious diseases expert... in my family we like hard science. But, at least my husband has been led over to the science side of these issues.

  5. This post is great! I live in Southern California, and my husband is a pediatric dentist who sees lots of kids of hippie anti-vaccine types at his practice, which makes me SUPER PARANOID that he's going to bring home whooping cough one of these days...

    My PhD is in organic chemistry, not immunology, but I share your distaste for pseudoscience. Blech!