Sunday, September 1, 2013

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

You can read my post here or choose to go to Married to Medicine: Vaccination: A Layperson's Perspective. My post is my opinion,facts I found through Google, personal knowledge and a bit of family history. Married to Medicine has more facts and photos of actual people (mostly children) who caught diseases that could have been prevented, plus links to scientific articles about vaccination. To me, it's more important that you be fully informed (and hopefully more likely to vaccinate for your kids' safety and the safety of others) than whether you read my words or someone else's.

I chose to vaccinate my kids. I feel that the risk of a reaction from the vaccination (particularly since we don't have a history of problems) is much less than the possible risk of the actual disease.

I butted heads with a mom blogger a couple of months ago over her anti-vaccination stance. She recently posted in favor of no-peanut policy in schools because *gasp* allergic kids die of exposure to peanuts.

According to my brief research on Google, about 200 people die in the U.S. every year due to food allergies (not just peanut).

Here's what the WHO says about measles: In 2011, there were 158,000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?

According to the CDC, before vaccinations were widely available, about 2.6 million people died each year from measles.

I'm not saying that peanut allergies are inconsequential. There's a kid in my ward (church) who has a peanut allergy. We are all aware of it and keep an eye out. But an unvaccinated person who brings a disease into an unvaccinated group of people has more chances to kill by accident than a peanut butter sandwich in the wrong hands.

I worked as a secretary in a bank in Chicago in the 1990s. One of my co-workers caught whooping cough from another co-worker and her baby caught it from her, and ended up in the hospital. It was incredibly bad timing - my co-worker came back to work after her baby was born but before the baby got the Tdap shot.

My great-grandmother Augusta Meyn was 2 when her sister, father and two brothers died in about a 3-week period of diphtheria in 1879. There was an epidemic in the area.

We think that things like this don't happen any more in this modern era, but they do happen all the time, in places that don't have widespread vaccinations against the diseases that can be conquered.

There are those who say that the risk of vaccination is worse than the risk of not being vaccinated. I don't believe that. (Go back and read the CDC article about What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?) There are those who say that faith in God is all you need to stay healthy. (There's a megachurch in Texas holding vaccination clinics now because of a measles outbreak, but apparently they have been saying that all you need is faith.) I say that God gave people brains in order to figure out how to do things, such as scientists who research how to prevent diseases.

I'm done with my rant for now. It may not be my last word on the subject (or will if you are lucky). But we have the opportunity to learn from the past, and it's a shame if we don't take that chance. Vaccines save lives and save people from worse suffering from diseases that they don't have to catch.

Adding a few links I've come across lately.
Anti-vaccine body count
Penn and Teller on vaccinations (language warning)
Growing up unvaccinated
The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic
The Extent of America's (Totally Unnecessary) Whooping Cough Outbreak
I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy.
Woman with flu miscarries, battles for her life

1 comment:

Laurie Ashton Farook said...

"I say that God gave people brains in order to figure out how to do things, such as scientists who research how to prevent diseases."

This pretty much sums it up for me.

I vaccinate. Myself, since I have no kids. If I had kids, I'd vaccinate them, too. Like you said, those diseases that westerners seem to think have been eradicated or aren't a big deal haven't been eradicated and do kill people.

I have no problem with spreading out vaccines so a kid doesn't get 5 or 15 in a single day - by all means, spread it out over a month or two. But do it.