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So, Vaccines… November 4, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Recently, I read this article about the anti-vaccination movement in America.  It’s long, but if you have the time to read it, it’s fascinating.

Vaccines have been all over the news lately.  From swine flu to cervical cancer, vaccinations have people all worked up, and I can understand.  I, myself, am not getting the swine flu vaccine for many reasons, not the least of which is its lack of availability in Arkansas.  I am leery of any medicine that has been rushed through trials, and it looks like swine flu really isn’t any worse to have than the regular flu.  A good 48 hours of bed rest and some popsicles, and you’re all better.

I’m also really invested in not making the cervical cancer vaccine mandatory as well.  You might remember when Texas decided that it was going to make all middle school aged female children get the Gardasil vaccine.  It later came out that Merck, the company responsible for making the shot, was a huge campaign contributor to then-governer Rick Perry.  Additionally, the shot would not be covered by many insurance companies, forcing families to pay the $70 per shot out of pocket.  This is not to mention the actual health dilemma: the vaccine was released in 2006, and although it had already gone through thorough medical testing, there were no statistics on the vaccine’s long-term effects.

Optional vaccines are optional for a reason.  However, what I have an immediate concern with are the folks who refuse to give their children mandatory vaccines.  The Wired article proves the point better than I ever could, but I still wag my finger at you, crazy parents.  The reason we vaccinate our children is not because we’re necessarily afraid of little Ricky catching measles, but to keep measles “extinct.”  The problem with not vaccinating your children is that every time a kid comes down with an “eradicated” disease, the disease has the chance to morph. I realize that this is a minute possibility, but follow me down this path for just a second.

Last month, John came home frustrated because the producer on one of his jobs was working out of his house and couldn’t come in to proof some mock-up shelving units for Pantene (I think, I don’t know for sure).  Anyway, the guy had been quarantined by the CDC because his son had come down with pertussis, i.e whooping cough, one of those “invisible” diseases you’re supposed to be inoculated for before you go to school.  Turns out this guy had vaccinated his son, but a stronger form of the germ was going around the kid’s daycare.  Where it came from the CDC couldn’t say, but they were trying to get it taken care of before the germ spread.

Again, this is the story.  It could be false.  Regardless, that’s the issue with swine flu, isn’t it?  The danger that it could morph into something not unlike avian flu with a high kill rate is possible, and that’s why the medical community is trying to get a handle on it.  Why contribute to the problem?  I know that many people are afraid that vaccines cause autism, but with no definitive proof, the argument doesn’t seem to hold water.  Additionally, most pediatricians now subscribe to a delayed vaccination schedule that space out the shots over a longer period of time to give the child’s immune system time to cope on the off chance that there are side effects from having too much thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in the system.  This seems like a happy medium to me.

Anyway, just had this kicking around in the ol’ noggin’ today and thought I’d share.  What are your perspectives?

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Comments»

1. guillaumehj - November 4, 2009

Definitely agreed on the importance of vaccination – it’s not to keep yourself from falling sick, it’s to lower the odds of the disease getting to mutate into something people don’t get vaccinated against.

As for getting vaccinated…once the general public vaccination begins in Quebec (right now it’s the young-children and vulnerable people phase), I will. I spend too much time in public transit, in a 50-000-students university, and generally in places that have a lot of people, to joke around with the pig flu when I can avoid it. Admittedly, publicly available vaccination that is free…sorts of help.

dorianagraye - November 4, 2009

The swine flu vaccination is free here, too–most insurance companies are covering it. When you’re in a situation where you’re at risk, I understand getting the shot.

2. thursdayborn - November 6, 2009

I definitely agree with you about Gardasil. I thought about getting it but decided that it’s just far too new and not personally necessary, and I certainly don’t agree with it being mandatory.

The Swine Flu vaccine on the other hand, I feel okay getting. Swine Flu’s just another type of flu, the vaccine’s just another type of flu shot. I’ll be getting the vaccine soon as it’s available to me, because I’m in the hospital occasionally and around patients. I used to not get the flu shot because whatever, never had the flu and if I get it, so what? But from now on I will be getting it.

Also, while you may feel better after 48 hours (talking about the flu), people are contagious for up to a week after they start showing symptoms, so if possible, it’s best to stay at home for at bit.

I’m not even going to touch the “people who won’t vaccinate because of the autism” topic. I have trouble keeping calm while discussing it. They don’t bother me as much as the “abstinence only sex education” people (I’m currently living in an area with ridiculously high STD rates because they don’t really have sex education in school), but they come close.

dorianagraye - November 10, 2009

Yeah, I was pretty sure Missouri had an abstinence-only education system. Arkansas does the same, which I find incredibly short-sighted and, honestly, criminal.

My reasoning against the Swine Flu vaccine is more along the lines of how hard it is to find. Arkansas does not even have enough supplies to take care of all of the high-risk patients, and the University is almost positive it won’t get any in until late January. My primary care physician pretty much said the same thing.

Lindsey - November 22, 2009

I remember getting taught about the importance of safe sex in my Arkansas schooling. I don’t think they could come right out and say “USE A CONDOM” but all of the major focusing on STDs got the point across pretty well. They even did games where you were given a sheet of paper that had a letter or something on it. You went around shaking hands with people. Then you found out what stds everyone had spread based on those letters. That was an effective demo. Also, I still am very anti-anal thanks to the graphic pics in our sex ed course. man.

what really irritates me is that if you don’t get kids vaccinated you put other people’s newborns at risk who aren’t old enough for the vaccine yet. it’s bad enough you’re asking for mutations of the disease, but to put others at risk is inconsiderate.


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