Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Vaccine Question - Revisited

Today's newspaper included this article. Obviously, the person who wrote the head line is pro-vaccine, as it was written to scare people into believing that vaccines are the only choice we should be making.

Headline: Bills could erode rate of vaccines in Maine.

Dude, I got news for you - the rate of vaccines in Maine is already decreasing! - a fact which is mentioned in the article. People have stopped being sheep, and just blindly accepting what they're being told. After so many years of having been lied to and/or misled by so many people who call themselves "experts", we, parents, want answers and full disclosure.

What amazes me about this article is the attitude of the medical practitioners. In particular this one pediatrician who is balking against having to provide a list of ingredients to parents prior to administering the vaccine. It's not that parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated. It's that they want to know what's in the vaccine. I just don't understand why there is so much resistance in the medical establishment to these Bills. That's all. Just an ingredient list. Is that so much to ask?

Apparently, it is ... too much to ask, and just, really, not important. We're being unreasonable.

One pediatrician who was interviewed claims that requiring a doctor to inform patients of the ingredients would be like requiring a grocery store cashier to give lists of ingredients to customers at the time of purchase. Uh, no it's not! Because, first of all, the cashier isn't carrying out a State or Federal mandate that I consume a particular food, and the cashier isn't putting anything into my body! She is only ringing in my purchase, which I selected from a veritable smorgasbord of choices, all of which carried a label that showed the ingredients, the company that manufactured the processed food, and the country of origin. If she'd compared her receptionist to the cashier, I might agree with the analogy.

I'm really not surprised by the doctor's attitude. Too often I've come in contact with doctors who seem to believe that I should simply do as they say, without any discussion as to why. No, I do not have a degree in biology, nor have I studied medicine, but I do have a degree in English, which means I can read and understand the English language. I have studied the human body, and I have studied herbalism, and I have read about those diseases for which children are being vaccinated these days. There was a time when they were deadly, but even before vaccinations were widely used, the mortality rate was on decline. Prior to 1900, the fatality rate of Pertussis was 4 deaths for every 1000 cases. Between 1900 and 1904, the rate had fallen to less than one death per thousand cases - with no vaccine use.

I think there are two key factors that helped with decreasing the severity of the diseases. One is an increase in sanitation, and the second is an increased understanding of the causes of the disease. Knowing why people were getting sick and with what went a lot further to helping treat and ultimately prevent the disease than any vaccination ever did.

As I see it, there's a significant problem with vaccinations - other than the concerns regarding toxic ingredients, and that is, those who are vaccinated tend to think that they are impervious to disease. Unfortunatly, that's not true, and many people who were vaccinated still get sick. It's like wearing a kevlar vest and going into a fire fight. There's still a chance of being injured and even killed. The vest protects the wearer, but not completely.

Yes, we have seen some modern miracles in the medical establishment, and now, more and more we see these miracles being abused (google antibiotic-resistant MRSA or the c-section rate in the US). Vaccines can be useful, but a better way of dealing with these diseases is to educate people about them, and to encourage healthy practices, like eating well and washing hands.

We need to be educated on the fact that the average human immune system is incredibly strong and resilient. With proper rest, sanitation and hydration, most people will fully recover from even the most unpleasant of illnesses. As a society, we need to start insisting that those who are unwell be encouraged to self-quarantine. In short, if you're sick, or if your child is sick, STAY HOME, rest, get plenty of fluids ... but, for goodness' sake, don't go to school, work, daycare ... the grocery store!

A final thought: viruses and bacteria usually need a host to survive. The most severe illnesses are often due to the most fragile of viruses (ones that don't last long outside of its host or that can be killed easily outside of the host with simple soap and water). Those living in close quarters, very densely packed cities, for instance, are more susceptible to pandemics than those who live more spreadout.

The impetus behind the suburban movement was to allow people to leave crowded cities. The decrease in incidence of "normal childhood disease" and a migration out of the cities and into the less densely populated suburbs occurred at around the same time.

Perhaps it's not vaccinations that are responsible for the decrease in these diseases, but suburbs.

4 comments:

  1. Just being cantankerous & throwing out a counter-argument: if things are going to go pear-shaped in [pick a timeframe], there's no guarantee that sanitation is going to be a priority during or after the decline. Thus, it might be advantageous to get vaccinated while they're readily available. But the normal childhood diseases? Measles, mumps, chicken pox? They're not lethal, why vaccinate for those? When I was a kid, we looked forward to getting them — not only did we get a week out of school, our moms would pamper us until we got better.

    Anyway… I would *hope* that people would work to maintain clean drinking water and living environments in the future, but even today that's not a given. It was vaccination that eradicated smallpox, which *is* deadly, so it's not all bad or all good…

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  2. I'm not sure that you're really "throwing out a counter-argument", because I did say vaccines can be useful.

    I have had my children vaccinated against Tetanus (and because the vaccination only comes as a "combo" - pertussis and diphtheria), because it is not treatable with simple rest and hydration. It requires the use of antibiotics, and because we have rusty nails and chicken poo, it just seemed prudent to take some preventative measures in that instance.

    As you say, for diseases that require significant medical intervention, yes, vaccinate, but for those that are preventable with care (Gardisil) or that are treated with just rest and fluids (mumps, chicken pox), I say wait, or don't at all.

    But why aren't doctors and vaccine manufacturers willing to provide this information to parents and patients? Food manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers are required *by law* to list their ingredients so that we can make informed choices. Why is it that when it comes to the medical establishment everything is made to seem so complicated and hush-hush?

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  3. " No, I do not have a degree in biology, nor have I studied medicine, but I do have a degree in English, which means I can read and understand the English language. "

    Best.Sentence. EVER.

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  4. I agree, Wendy. We're dealing with Mainecare right now, who are trying to insist I vaccinate my little ones completely. They haven't come right out and said that my coverage is in jeopardy if I don't comply (yet), but I can feel that shoe dropping soon. I have given them some vaccinations, but I agree with you that we probably do not need the whole slew of vaccinations 'they' insist upon.

    I also agree that providing a list of ingredients should be in place. It makes one ask the question: If you have nothing to hide, then why not provide the ingredient list?

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