Let me back up at this point and say that I am not "anti-vaccine". I am, however, "anti-mandatory-vaccination". There is so much mis-information about vaccines that it is depressing and angering.
A few of my biggest vaccine-BS issues are:
- Vaccines no longer contain thimerosal. While it's true that some vaccines are thimerosal free, most have a reduced thimerosal content from what they previously had. It is called "trace amounts". However, each person's toxin filtering system is different. Some people can handle much more than others. Don't be fooled by people who say vaccines are "thimerosal-free". If you are concerned about the content of your child's (or your own)vaccine, ask to see the medicine insert that came with your vial. Also, most flu shots aren't thimerosal free. Rhogam, which is given to pregnant women who have Rh factor, often contains thimerosal.
- Vaccines guarantee immunity. Nope, they don't. What medical procedure is 100% effective with no side effects? Pretty much none. So just because you are vaccinated doesn't mean you'll never get the disease. I have an adult friend with a healthy, "normal" immune system who is fully vaccinated, and she's had whooping cough twice.
- You have to vaccinate your children to have them at public schools. In almost all U.S. states this is false. Despite living in a state that offers the option to decline vaccines due to religious, medical, or philosophical reasons, I've received two letters from schools in the past telling me that if I didn't get my daughters their booster shots by a certain date that they'd be unable to return to school. It was a form letter that was worded in a very officious and pushy tone. I don't understand how this is legal. I printed out and highlighted my state's statutes regarding immunization and sent it to school. No where on the form did it even hint that you could decline vaccinations and still send your child to public school. I wonder how many parents have given in and gotten boosters for kids because they thought that their child would be denied a free, public education without them?
- Vaccines have all but irradicated horrible childhood diseases and the deaths caused by them. Hmm, I wonder if increased cleanliness, clean water sources, and advanced medicine have had any effect on the spread of disease? Nah, it's solely the wonder of vaccinations that have kept us disease free...
- Gardasil! Ahhhh! This vaccine might be the one that pushed me over the edge. Let's look at a few facts here (that are conveniently left out of the "One Less" commercials): there are over 100 different strains of HPV! Human papillomavirus can cause both genital and non-genital warts. There are 13 strains that lead to cervical cancer, two of which are thought to cause about 70% of all cases of cervical cancer. Gardasil may grant immunity to four strains of HPV (the commercial uses the word "may", so that's why I included it and italicized it). Still, you need to get a pap smear every year to check for cervical cancer and other health issues. And, did you hear about the young girls and women who have developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome, paralysis, fatigue, fainting spells, and even some who have died from the Gardasil vaccine? Nah, I didn't think most people had. Did you hear about Merck lobbying to get Gardasil on the "mandatory" vaccine schedule for girls? Hmm, nothing seedy about this. Nope! Hurry, get your Gardasil now! You may get protection against four of over one hundred strains of a virus that may or may not cause one of the most curable cancers known to man!
Edited to add: Blogger decided to quit working while I was in the middle of this post and I hadn't copied it in a while, so a bit of my diatribe got cut off! Argh! In a nutshell, I was: pondering why exactly infants and toddlers need to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, which is primarily spread via sexual activity and needle sharing; bitching about Amanda Peet's interview in Cookie magazine in which she sang the praises of Dr. Paul Offit and called parents who choose not to vaccinate their children "parasites" (she later sort of apologized, while emphasizing the importance of everyone getting vaccinated); how I'm not anti-vaccine, but I am pissed about information about vaccine's potential side effects not being given to parents; and I bitched about how schools in states that allow parents to decline vaccination aren't very supportive or forthcoming with parents when they send home letters saying your child will no longer be able to attend school unless they get vaccinated by a certain date.
Enough ranting for now!