Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vaccine information...

It's rare that I post about anything that could be controversial but articles about the skyrocketing rate of people not vaccinating their children often stun me with their misinformation. While I do vaccinate I have a healthy skepticism about vaccines, and choose not to get the flu vaccine for a myriad of reasons I am not going into right now.

Here's an example of the misinformation:

From Wired magazine http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_waronscience/2/
"...while nonprofit health care provider Kaiser Permanente reported that unvaccinated children were 23 times more likely to get pertussis, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing and is potentially lethal to infants. In the June issue of the journal Pediatrics, Jason Glanz, an epidemiologist at Kaiser’s Institute for Health Research, revealed that the number of reported pertussis cases jumped from 1,000 in 1976 to 26,000 in 2004. A disease that vaccines made rare, in other words, is making a comeback."

What they do NOT mention is that part of the reason for the comeback is the vaccine itself. You see a few years back my college health center informed me that I probably had pertussis (aka whooping cough) when I said "No, that can't be right, I had the vaccine like every other kid my age" they informed me that I was wrong. Not that I didn't get the vaccine but that it didn't protect me. The outbreaks had been happening as a result of people travelling and picking up whooping cough in countries that do not vaccinate as much. The reason that travelers are picking it up? Because the vaccine "wears off." They are finding that many vaccines do NOT confer lifelong immunities and actually need boosters throughout adulthood. Not enough research has been done to find out how often people need boosters but the best guess is every 5-10 years.

This article is from the American Academy of Family Medicine, but there are many more like it http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/media/releases/newsreleases-statements-2009/whoopingcoug-adults.html

Just what is my point here?

Arguments for vaccines need to be written without this kind of misleading information. You want people to get vaccinated, leaving this sort of things in there will make some people discount the whole article. Why aren't the editors catching this sort of stuff?
Argue away about the necessity of vaccines, but please pick your arguments wisely people.

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