Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vaccines


I know there's been a lot of hype about vaccines lately, like whether or not they cause autism or ADD or asthma or any number of other diseases. I also know that a lot of that hype is unfounded and not based in scientific evidence.
And yet, it's scary.

Clearly, a lot of people have had serious problems after giving their kids vaccines.
And I've been reading a bit of research lately about things like vaccinated children dying of whooping cough, or passing on whooping cough to babies.
I'm starting to wonder if vaccination is really worth it, which is a very scary, weighty, tough and risky thing to wonder about.
But I do not have blind faith in doctors.
I do not trust them to automatically know what is best for my future child or myself.

I, for one, have never ever willingly gotten a shot - except when I went to Africa and China, and only because they wouldn't let me go without it.
But my baby will not be in a third-world country. He (or she) will live here, and will eat clean food and bathe regularly and be fed breast milk (which supposedly has tons of immunizations built right in).
So I am asking for advice.

And I am also asking for legit articles on the topic. I want to do as much research as possible, on both pro and anti-vaccine fields. If you have read a good study or article please pass it my way. I don't just want to do this word-of-mouth.
I want to make the most informed decision I can (because I'm kind of freaking out about it).

p.s. that very horrible photo is from this blog post on BabyCenter's Blog.
Which, by the way, I do not consider to be a scientific article. Come on, Dad. I can tell the difference. I can!

15 comments:

Shum Girl said...

I had the same thoughts as you. I decided in the end to go with vaccines (except for the yearly flu shot and swine flu shot) because our country has been giving vaccines for years and they are good. i.e. polio. Of the millions of people who get vaccines there is a small percentage who claim they are bad and they have a very loud voice and there is no scientific research that backs up that loud voice. For me the proof was in the years of giving vaccines. We are a pretty healthy people. It is also important to note that there are some children who can not get vaccines because of allergies and health issues. Those children have to count on the healthy children getting their vaccines to keep them healthy.
There are other options for you that might make you more comfortable like staggering your vaccines over a more years then how they currently give them. You would want a pediatrician that supports this. There are also certain types of vaccines with different ingredients that some people say are better than others.
I chose to give Eva the vaccines because Clint and I both had all of our vaccines and we are fine. It was scarier for me to think she could get whooping cough or measles and knowing I could have, most likely, prevented it. I know there are crazy cases where kids get sick anyways but it is so rare. I also prayed about it and felt good about it which you should do. You will get an answer that is best for you and your family.
Also, the only time I get a flu shot for myself is when I am pregnant in my 3rd trimester because it helps protect the baby for the first 6 months. I feel comfortable with this because it is going into my body to help the baby and because the first 6 months can be scary if your baby gets sick.
Basically, I based my decision on track record.
Hope this helps in some way.

Shum Girl said...

Sorry that was sooooo long.

Sam said...

I'm not about to be a dad or anything (I imagine that perspective makes decisions a lot more complicated), but I think there is a ridiculously small risk of anything bad happening from a vaccine--I imagine it's just one in a sea of occurrences that happen to .0000001% of the population.

Another angle to think about it from is that we almost take for granted not having to worry about awful things like polio, small pox, etc. because virtually everyone out there is immunized to them. If we don't vaccinate our children and they grow up safe and sound to have other children who they don't vaccinate (because they weren't and don't believe in it)...eventually you've got a lot fewer people vaccinated in their generation, and then as a whole they're susceptible to those awful diseases.

I would agree with the above that the people who oppose it seem to talk about their cause very, very loudly, but don't have a lot to go on--I had no idea there was such a hubbub about it until I was 21 years old and read some little blog about it and caught something on TV. That being said, there is a NOVA episode about this issue, which seems to be pretty well balanced and has a website with a bunch of information on it.

I can only imagine how stressful it would be to have to make a decision that you're aware could potentially harm your baby, but at the same time, you and I and hundreds/thousands/millions? of people we know have been vaccinated for over 50 years without harm.

Nana B said...

Ask your father, if anyone should be able to answer this it is him that is studying all the current medications and stuff we put in our bodies at the recommendation of our doctors.

Chris Froelich said...

Wow, I just spent an hour typing out a comment and stupid blogger said 'sorry, we can't process your request" and DELETED it. It was awesome good. Here is a synopsis.

Jenny McArthy is a tragic idiot. The CDC is bureaucratic nightmare. A good pediatrician will never bully you. It is very very very unlikely that there is a link between autism/ADHD/athsma and vaccines. The church has an inspired position of immunizations. Even though thimerosal probably doesn't cause long term problems, I'd still avoid it whenever possible. Do not get your child vaccinated at Walmart (it is ok for you, but baby is only vaccinated at your pediatrician's office). People/organizations can be biased even if they don't have a financial stake. People/organizations can be unbiased even if they do have a financial stake. Doctors and pharmacist DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING (but they know more than you so ask informed questions). Unless you have AIDS and get a live vaccine, you did not get the flu from the vaccine!!!! The side effects of the flu vaccine are: fever, malaise, chills, body aches, nausea & vomiting. Things that are not side effects of the flu vaccine are pneumonia and death.

Polly said...

My recollection is that you didn't willingly get your shots for China, you kicked the nurse in the face because you are afraid of needles. Don't give your fear of needles to your children. Also I have been working on an email to you for days on vaccines, I will send it now. Sorry, don't you just love moms!

Elizabeth said...

Well I have to tell you, I am pro vaccines. I think they are a very good thing. But you said you wanted some research and advise, so I pulled out several books of mine that I have here on parenting and children and medicine. I found the a great passage on why we vaccinate in a book called Toddler 411 by Drs. Denise Fields and Ari Brown.

This in Chapter 15 on page 253,
"As a parent you'll face many personal choices in raising you child. Perhaps you'll decide to spend extra on organic milk or other foods. Or make the decision that your shouldn't watch TV. Some parenting decisions happen in a bubble. It is your choice and affects only your family. Do whatever makes you happy.
However, deciding whether or not to vaccinate your child is NOT such a decision. That's because your decision. That's because your decision will have an impact not just on your child but on everyone else's.
It's like stopping your car at a stop sign. Sure, you don't HAVE stop... and running the sign puts your family at risk. BUt you also risk the lives of the other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
And that's why we are so passionate about vaccines. We don't want to see any child- your's or anyone else's_ harmed by devastating diseases that can be prevented.
Vaccines do not work as well if large number of folks opt of the system. Vaccines are not 100% effective in any one individual. It is the collective immunity of the population (known as herd immunity) that keeps a germ from reaching epidemic proportions. You may think that if everyone else's kid is protected then your child doesn't need to be. But... germ don't think that way. They just look for a new person to infect. And the more people who opt out, the more vulnerable the entire population is (especially its youngest members)."

CHECK OUT THIS STORY from the CDC from a measles outbreak in 2008 where a unvaccinated young boy contracted measles and by the time he was diagnosed with the disease he had infected his siblings and 4 children at school and 4 children in the doctors office waiting room- three of which were babies that were still too young for the vaccine. Its a good example of how vaccinating your child helps everyone's children.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm57e222a1.htm

THis is just sone food for thought. I hope it help you in your decision.

Elizabeth said...
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Elizabeth said...
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kaTie said...

Because of my experience learning about infections and immunology, I feel informed enough to tell you that those that don't get their children vaccinated are idiots. Honestly.

Chris Spencer said...

Your comment about your children not living in the a third world country therefore they do not need vaccines is flawed. Even though your child might not be living in a third world country, I know many people with whom your child will potentially attend school who do live in third world conditions. You can control what you child eats and how often you bathe them, but you cannot control the interactions they have at school (unless you home school them and that is another can of worms in and of itself). If then you do not vaccinate your child, and they come in contact with another student (not vaccinated) who contracted measles or rubella because of their poor living conditions, all the students who are vaccinated are protected, everyone except for the kid who's hippy parents chose not to vaccinate them.

Sam said...

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/10/20/california.whooping.cough/index.html?hpt=Sbin Yeah...

kami said...

Hi, I'm Trav's former roommate Travis' wife...how's that for a connection? I'm Kami. Congrats on the twins by the way! I was just reading your blog and it looks like all of the comments on this post are very pro-vaccine. I would say that I sit on the fence on this issue. We vaccinated our first because that's just what you do...I blindly had faith in the doctors. Well because of some things that we've experienced, we have chosen not to vaccinate our second daughter yet (she is 10 months). I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do and honestly, I still don't know. But, I do feel better about delaying the vaccinations until she is older (if we choose to do them). I feel like there are too many ingredients in the vaccines that are potentially harmful. I feel like we can do so much to strengthen our immune system through healthy eating, living in a healthy, chemical-free environment, etc. For me right now, the risk of getting vaccines outweighs the benefit. I would feel differently if the vaccines were cleaned up a bit. And, if they didn't give babies so many all at once. The vaccine schedule has changed dramatically since we were kids...babies get SO many vaccines now before they're two years old. Their bodies are so little and I worry about how it affects them. Yes it may be a small percentage of babies/children who are affected but...they are being affected! I don't think it is only to blame on the vaccines, there are many other issues such as all of the chemicals in our food and our environment but I do think vaccines can play a role in triggering an underlying issue. Anyways this is long but I thought you should hear a little of the "other side." Keep researching, pray pray pray, and you'll figure out what is best for your family. Most of all, don't let people scare you (from either side) into doing something you're not comfortable with.

*If you'd like an invite to my family blog let me know!

krayzid0rk said...

I also am very stuck on this decision. I've done much much thinking on it and trying to research. I looked a lot into the blood brain barrier.

In the end I/We decided to get vaccines. However only the most important ones such as whooping cough as we've had a HUGE outbreak in WA/MT. Also Emery has two older brothers who live with their mom part of the time and one is in school so I don't want him bringing home icky germs. IF he didn't have those brothers I probably would have put them off.

I'm personally waiting for as long as possible to get the vaccinations. I don't want him getting 4 shots in one day. I want to spread them out over time so his little body isn't being overloaded with them.

I'm also not worried about chicken pox. I think its better to get them and deal with them than to prevent them when they don't seem like that big of a thing to me.

I could go on and on. I'll read the rest of your blog and maybe i'll see what you decided.

Anna Elena said...

Late to this game, but since you asked...

I am strongly pro-vaccine. That said, I am highly biased since I am an RN who works in Pediatric Intensive care. I see the tiny percentage of cases where things get really bad on a weekly basis. I see children with breathing tubes because of influenza, I have seen a child nearly die from chickenpox (Which, previous to that case, I thought was a ridiculous excuse for a vaccine - really, chickenpox?)

I try to remember that the things I see are anomalies, not the norm. I agree that a delayed vaccination schedule is probably better for babies. But I have the fear.

We are having our first little one in October, and I haven't yet done all the research that I should on the matter. But I know he/she will be vaccinated, whatever schedule we choose.