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This post is dedicated to my friend Marc who passed away May 10, 2014 from complications from the flu. He was 39 years old.
Yeah, yeah, I know. This is a hot button issue and I fully expect to ruffle some feathers here, but it’s time that the 90% of us who vaccinate speak out.
I told myself that I would never, ever discuss a few topics on this blog: politics, religion, and vaccines. However, I am finding that the majority of us who vaccinate have been silenced out of fear of drama or being bullied since it has become as taboo a topic as politics and religion and the very vocal minority are the only voices being heard.
Are we not adults who are trusted to make informed decisions for our children without being bullied or accused of being uneducated? I can tell you that I vaccinate my children not because I’m uneducated. I have read information from both sides and have decided that vaccination is the responsible choice for my family.
Please note that I am not here to try to change your mind or sway your decision one way or another since your mind is most likely already made up, just as mine is. I am not going to spew a bunch of facts and figures at you either since those are available if you Google them. These are my thoughts and opinions and why I’ve made the decision to vaccinate.
I don’t believe that the medical community is out to harm my children.
These are medical professionals who have dedicated their lives to treat and prevent illness, not cause it by administering poison to babies and young children. These are highly educated individuals who know a heck of a lot more about medicine than I or some washed up Playboy model do. It is up to me to trust their education and the educations of the countless individuals who have developed, tested, and ensured the safety of vaccinations.
Vaccines prevent illness, not cause it.
I also do not believe that vaccines cause Autism, ADHD, or any other condition that is being blamed on vaccines by the anti-vax community. We now have names for these things and better testing, diagnosis, and treatment which is the cause of the upswing in the number of children being diagnosed.
For example, there were about 500,000 reported cases and 500 deaths from measles each year before the measles vaccine was licensed in 1963.2 In 2002, only 44 cases were reported in the United States.3 Since the Hib vaccine was introduced in 1985, serious Hib disease has declined from about 20,000 cases per year to 34 cases in 2002.14
My children are exposed to more Mercury in fish than in vaccines.
Especially now that Mercury/Thimerosal isn’t in most vaccines anymore. Even so, I would prefer that my child have one low dose of mercury that has been proven safe over and over again over a nasty and potentially deadly bacterial infection (or Polio, Smallpox, Whooping Cough, etc). Incidentally, the mercury in fish (Methylmercury) is likely more dangerous than the mercury (Ethylmercury) found in vaccines.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust, air, soil and water. Since the earth’s formation, volcanic eruptions, weathering of rocks and burning of coal have caused mercury to be released into the environment. Once released, certain types of bacteria in the environment can change mercury to methylmercury. Methylmercury makes its way through the food chain in fish, animals and humans. At high levels, it can be toxic to people.
Thimerosal contains a different form of mercury called ethylmercury. Studies comparing ethylmercury and methylmercury suggest that they are processed differently in the human body. Ethylmercury is broken down and excreted much more rapidly than methylmercury. Therefore, ethylmercury (the type of mercury in the influenza vaccine) is much less likely than methylmercury (the type of mercury in the environment) to accumulate in the body and cause harm.
I trust science and do not listen to propaganda.
First of all, I am married to a scientist and he would be pretty offended if I told him that science was BS. More importantly, though, the reasons to skip vaccines are not from what I consider to be credible sources. I find that anti-vaccine information tends to rely on scare tactics and skewed numbers instead of true facts.
Of course, medicine is never an absolute and there is a very small percentage of people who will have a catastrophic vaccine reaction but these people are a very, very small minority. For me, the risk of serious illness such as the latest Whooping Cough, Measles, and Mumps outbreaks are far greater than the remote chance of a vaccine reaction. One also has a very small chance of having complications from life-saving surgery but we don’t stop having surgery because the benefit far outweighs the risk.
The biggest reason.
With Measles and Whooping Cough making alarming comebacks I would never be able to live with myself if my children were to catch something that could have been prevented by having them vaccinated.
In closing I would like to say goodbye to my friend, M. He was a smart, funny, healthy guy who was loved by many and he has left a giant hole in the hearts of all who knew him. I may never know if the flu vaccine would have saved his life or not as I do not know what strain he had, but I can tell you that I have been lax in getting the flu vaccine myself. You can bet that I will now be getting a flu vaccine every year along with my children.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net