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Increasing number of parents skip vaccinations for their children

Friday, November 25, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 11:23 a.m. CST, Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Joseph Waggoner, 2, touches the nasal flu vaccine before he receives it while his father, Sean Waggoner, holds his hand at Green Meadows Family Clinic. Joseph Waggoner's parents keep him up to date on his vaccinations by following the Centers for Disease Control's recommended schedule.

COLUMBIA — When Candace Sall found the receipt from her daughter’s visit to the Health Department, she was upset — but not about the cost.

Sall had sent her husband to the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department to get their daughter, Lindsey, the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. When Sall’s husband discovered the department would not give Lindsey the shot unless she received all the recommended shots, Lindsey got her vaccine, along with four other recommended vaccines.

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"I told him, 'You should have walked out of there without the shots, then,'" Sall said. "'I felt like you poisoned my daughter, you gave her all these shots.' There was a little fight at home for that."

Sall is one of a rising number of parents who are concerned about childhood vaccinations. She has created her own vaccination schedule instead of following the one recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than one in 10 parents of young children currently follow an alternative vaccination schedule, according to a national survey published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the journal Pediatrics in October. Of the parents who create their own schedule, most refused certain vaccines or delayed shots after the recommended age. The most commonly refused shots were for seasonal flu and chickenpox, and the most commonly delayed shot was for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Researchers also found it troubling that one in five parents who follow the recommended schedule think delaying vaccine doses is safer than allowing their children to receive them according to the suggested schedule.

"A concerning finding from our study was the large proportion of parents currently following the recommended schedule who seemed to be 'at risk' for changing to an alternative vaccination schedule," according to the study.  

Many of parents’ vaccination fears stem from a study that connected the MMR vaccine to autism, though the researcher's medical license was revoked and an investigation by the British medical journal BMJ proved the study to be a fraud. Outspoken celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy, and politicians, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, have questioned the safety of vaccines and fueled parents' fears.

Trina Teacutter, nursing coordinator at the Health Department, has given vaccines to children almost daily for the past 12 years. It's clear that parents are grappling with a lot of conflicting information, she said.

"Parents hear a lot of negative things about vaccines, and even though it may not be scientifically based, I think it causes fear," Teacutter said. "They think that these vaccines are in some way going to hurt their children."

Combating perceptions 

Teacutter, who is a registered nurse, is confident of the science behind the vaccination schedule. She said vaccines keep children out of the hospital and keep them from dying of diseases, and that when parents delay or reject a vaccination, their child is more vulnerable.

The idea that vaccines are harmful persists, even when science proves otherwise, said Michael Cooperstock, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Immunology and Rheumatology at MU Child Health. One reason people think this way is because of what he refers to as "anti-vaccineers."

"The 'anti-vaccineers' are a small but vocal group who fervently believe vaccines are harmful," Cooperstock said. "By all standards of knowledge, the 'anti-vaccineers' are flat-out wrong. But when a typical mother hears those concerns, she may be left unsure what to think — it is not clear to her."

Many parents are worried about the number of vaccines their children receive, Teacutter said. She acknowledged there are a lot of shots given in the first two years of a child’s life. She gives shots when a child is 2 months old, then at 4 months, 6 months, 1 year and 1 1/2 years.

"The idea that the number of vaccines will overload a child’s immune system is in no way scientifically based," she said. "We know from the moment they are born, children are exposed to a huge number of organisms just in the everyday environment. So the number of antigens they are exposed to in a vaccine is really just a drop in the ocean."

There is also a perception among parents that certain diseases are not as serious, such as chickenpox, Teacutter said. But if parents stop vaccinating against diseases they don’t think are harmful, it could prompt a resurgence in the disease.

"The problem is that there are children who die from chickenpox, and if you are a parent whose child has died from chickenpox, your perception of the importance of that particular vaccine is going to be different," Teacutter said. "Because we have the chickenpox vaccine, fewer children are hospitalized."

Lifestyle choices

It is flu season, but Ann Marie Long does not plan to take her 2 1/2-year-old son, Brome, to get the flu vaccine. Instead, Long is nursing him four or five times a day to help Brome fight off infections on his own.  

Long thinks vaccines have their place in the world — she has had her son vaccinated three times. However, she thinks the recommended vaccine schedule entails injecting an enormous amount of artificial substances into a small, developing person. She wants to give Brome every natural defense first.

"I feel that he has enough of an immune system now and enough defenses that even if he got one of those diseases, he would be able to handle it, and I would be able to recognize the seriousness," Long said.

As a parent, Long said she is constantly assessing risk. She thinks Brome is at a lower risk of contracting diseases because she doesn’t send him to day care, keeps him in a tight community and feeds him a probiotic, nutrient-dense, low-sugar diet. The choice to vaccinate should be made based on personal research and a family's lifestyle, she said. If Long's lifestyle changed or if her family were to travel to a foreign country, she would reassess the risk.

Lifestyle and personal research also drove Columbia mother Amber Bradshaw's decision not to vaccinate her 2 1/2-year-old twins. Her family has not been in a situation yet where she thought vaccinating her children was the right choice, she said.

Bradshaw is concerned with the ingredients in vaccines, especially thimerosal, which is a mercury-containing preservative. Thimerosal exists in reduced quantities in select vaccines, but Bradshaw is not willing to take the chance.

"I feel like with something as important and potentially life changing as vaccines, I need to be informed and make the decision myself and not say, 'Oh, gosh, this person has had years of medical school, so I better just do what they say,'" Bradshaw said.

Doctors in public health can be pushy, Candace Sall said. She wants her daughter to get vaccinated at her own pace. Sall isn’t comfortable giving vaccines to a 3-month-old baby, especially when some of the shots contain aluminum.

"Public health doctors see so many people, they don’t know us personally to know we will come back and get the vaccine," she said. "You have to be able to stand up for yourself and fight for what you believe in and show them you’ve done the research and that you’re not arguing for arguing’s sake."

'Subtle shades of risk'

Elizabeth Allemann practices holistic family medicine and medical acupuncture in Columbia. She is Sall's and Bradshaw's family doctor. Allemann thinks the field of medicine is experiencing some growing pains about parents’ vaccination decisions.

During the 25 years Allemann has practiced medicine, she has noticed an increasing number of families concerned with the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations.

Parents are questioning the idea that physicians are the ones who need to make the decision, she said.

"Parents are making these decisions, and their children are the ones who will live with the consequences of the decisions," Allemann said. "If a child gets sick, whether they were vaccinated or not, it is the parent that is going to nurse the child through that illness."

Parents want to find the risk-free option, but there isn’t one, she said. Vaccines are not 100 percent effective, so there is still a chance of contracting a disease, Allemann said. 

"I think people want to say things like, 'I would do that if it was safe.' People are looking for absolutes, but we live in a world of subtle shades of risk."

Allemann suggests parents decide which risks are more consistent with the values and principles that guide the rest of their lives.

"Those are the decisions that people are happy with and increase their competence and confidence as parents," she said.

An inescapable decision  

For some parents, the choice is clear: The risk of the disease far outweighs the risk of the vaccine.

Deborah Intveld vaccinated her children and is glad her granddaughter will also be vaccinated. The diseases that vaccines protect against might not be as common as they once were, but they are still dangerous, she said.

"You always have concerns, but 30 years ago, they knew it was the thing to do," Intveld said. "Why would you want to take such a chance? I think you had to live through the polio era to know what polio was really like."

Columbia mother Jennifer Waggoner said she isn’t concerned because researchers have tested the vaccines before they are given to her children.

"I have a brother who is in the autism spectrum, and I don’t think it was vaccines that did it," Waggoner said. "I don’t worry about giving my children vaccinations because if you don’t, there are a lot worse things that could happen that would result in death."

She said there are only so many things parents can do to protect their children.

"Wouldn’t you want to do everything you can?" she asked. "There is a car seat, so why not a vaccination?"


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Comments

Maurine Meleck November 25, 2011 | 1:59 p.m.

Of course the number of parents using their own vaccine schedule or not vaccinating at all is increasing. What else would one expect when the numbers are more than 1 in 100 with autism. The government health officials have no explanation for the cause for over 2 decades. Twenty five years ago it was 1 in 10,000 children affected.
This change in vaccine safety concerns has little to do with Dr. Wakefield. What it points to are the number of sick children in this country and tens of thousands of parents who saw their normally developing children regress into autism following their vaccinations. There's a child with autism on every block. Until that fully vaccinated vs fully unvaccinated study of chuildren is done(and we see the results) the numbers of non-vaccinating parents will only increase We are the most highly vaccinated country in the world and have some of the sickest children. Millions of dollars are spent on wasted studies that prove nothing on the cause of autism. Genetics is a dead end and so are studies on too much tv, odd faces,funny shaped lungs, too much rain, cold mothers, old fathers, freeway pollution and on and on and on. This article is a copy of all the other gov't and doctor articles that decorate our media and say absolutely nothing new.
Maurine Meleck, SC
grandmother to 2 vaccine injured boys-one recovered

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:12 p.m.

Trina Teacutter and Michael Cooperstock fail to give us some important information about vaccine injuries. We're aren't told for instance that if a child is injured by a vaccine parents can't sue the doctor or the vaccine makers. They have been protected by the federal government.

Instead parents have to go to a special "Vaccine Court" where they're up against government lawyers defending a government program using government money. Few parents ever get their day in "court." Despite this, the U.S. government has paid out over $2 billion for serious vaccine damage, including death, since 1986.

SEE: Feb 26, 2011, Fox News: "The Supreme Court says you cannot sue for a vaccine injury" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCFOXaPFk...

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:15 p.m.

The LA Times recently published this stunning review of the new film, "Greater Good," an in-depth look at the vaccine safety debate. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/new...

The short trailer to this movie on their websitehttp://www.greatergoodmovie.org/experts-in-the-field makes it clear that there are experts on both side and a lot of serious questions that need to be asked. The medical community and health officials promote vaccines as the greatest achievement in modern medicine yet there is going fear over vaccine side effects.
Claire Dwoskin from the National Vaccine Information Center and Leslie Manookian, producer and writer of "The Greater Good," talked about vaccine safety claims with NY talk show host Thom Hartmann on Nov. 21.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38qPvdFit_U&feature=channel_video_title

They discussed the poor design of the research that is used as proof that vaccines are safe. No one ever talks about this!

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

Last July the Baltimore Sun published the piece, "We don't know enough about childhood vaccines" http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion.... Readers learned that the shots on the ever-increasing childhood vaccine schedule have never been tested for their cumulative effect on the health of a child. SEE THE CDC VACCINE SCHEDULE:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedul...

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:40 p.m.

The New York Times recently published a review of The Greater Good in which they told the public that even if vaccines do cause autism, "all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent."
http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/mov...
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:41 p.m.

Blaming a story published in a British medical journal 13 years ago for the heated controversy over vaccines and autism makes no sense. The real reason more and more people link vaccines to autism is because tens of thousands of parents report that their children were born healthy and were developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they got sick with things like seizures, bowel disease, and sleep disorders. Many stopped talking and lost learned skills, ending up with an autism diagnosis. Doctors say autism has no known cause. The only thing they're sure of is that their ever-expanding vaccine schedule isn't to blame and they have lots of pharma-funded studies to prove it.

One percent of children now have autism, including almost two percent of boys. No official knows why and they have no idea how you can prevent your child too from ending up on the autism spectrum. These facts should wake everyone up.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/ http://annedachel.com/

(Report Comment)
Anne Dachel November 25, 2011 | 3:42 p.m.

Parents need to educate themselves. See the book, Vaccine Epidemic http://www.amazon.com/Vaccine-Epidemic-C... and the National Vaccine Information Center http://www.nvic.org/.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 25, 2011 | 3:54 p.m.

OK, let's go back to when diphtheria killed one out of every two children whi caught it. Or when polio paralyzed half its victims.

Tetanus kills. It's pretty much unheard of these days because of the vaccine, but it kills. Very unpleasantly.

Smallpox killed one in 5 of its victims. No one gets smallpox today. Why? Vaccines.

Your children might get away with not being vaccinated because most children are. However, if most children are not vaccinated, they risk epidemics of the very horrible diseases that these vaccines were designed to eliminate.

DK

(Report Comment)
Paul G King November 25, 2011 | 4:44 p.m.

First some observations about the diseases mentioned by others:

1. How did cowpox vaccination of only about 10% of the
Earth's human population wipe out smallpox?
Factually, smallpox died out in the areas where it was
endemic because of increased hygiene and sanitation as
well as the reduction of the population of its vector,
the bed bug -- these measures, and not vaccination
against cowpox, "wiped out" smallpox.

2. In the case of diphtheria, it seems that the disease has
virtually died out in the USA again more because of
increasing hygiene, sanitation, clean water, better
diet, and ANTIBIOTICS more than the vaccine.

3. Among the Amish who are continually exposed to tetanus
by their farming lifestyle and who do not vaccinate, it
seems that their attention to wound cleaning and care
protects them from tetanus -- a disease that only can
proliferate in tissues that have reduced oxygen content
because of poor circulation (deep puncture wounds)
-- this is because tetanus is a facultative anaerobe.
Moreover, most of the deaths in the USA occur in the
elderly because of poor wound care and/or reduced tissue
oxygenation.

4. When it comes to polio, having lived through the polio
epidemics before there was a vaccine, at its height,
paralytic polio was a 1 in 3000 disease in the USA -- so
why does anyone compelled to misrepresent the
incidence of paralytic polio as 1 in 2?

5. Unsubstantiated assertions about vaccines and
vaccination are refuted by the reality that there are
large populations of unvaccinated Amish who live in
communities where there clearly is no "group" immunity
from vaccination, yet they have no significant
increased mortality form the early childhood diseases
for which there is a vaccine.

As a researcher into the in-use effectiveness and safety of vaccines and a supporter of choice WHEN: a) the vaccination program is proven to be medically cost effective (when all of the costs, including the adverse reactions and increased chronic disease rates are factored in [which is NOT the case today]) and b) the prophylactic (preventive) vaccine is proven to be reasonably safe against a true placebo as other drugs are, I am continually amazed at the lack of candor in the statements made by those who, for whatever reasons, feel compelled to defend any vaccination program with fabricated and/or irrelevant data from the past.

If the survival of humankind had depended upon vaccines and not natural immunity conferred by having the disease and recovering from it, humankind would have died out centuries before the first vaccine.

Historically, societies have thrived for centuries when there was proper sanitation, personal hygiene, clean water, adequate food and housing, and peace in the society -- without any vaccines.

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle November 25, 2011 | 7:22 p.m.

Anne Dachel is a well-known media-chaser on vaccination issues. Dr King is a chemist with an entrepreneurial bent on these matters. Neither are trained medical professionals. The National Vaccine Information Center is a lawyer/litigation-driven site (see the Center's board). Background matters, that's all.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 3:04 a.m.

What's your background, Tim?

Furthermore, which of the points raised above do you dispute? Paul G. King's points are pretty clear and all of them are well-substantiated.

Mass vaccinations are a product of a time when specific diseases were more prevalent, and conditions were much worse and more conducive to the spread of disease. Conditions have changed, and the need for mass vaccination has dwindled. The idea that a horde of plagues is just waiting to burst through if vaccinations drop is nonsense. Our current system is a product of bureaucracy and corporate welfare.

While vaccines may produce an effect at the societal level, they're a lousy guarantee of anything for the individual. Studies are showing that several of the most common vaccines are hit-or-miss, at best, for preventing their respective diseases. I believe that some vaccines are good sense, but most guarantee nothing more than a bit of chemical junk being forced into your system and a bit of cash being pumped into the pharmaceutical industry.

(Report Comment)
Sarah Bush November 26, 2011 | 3:19 a.m.

‘Potty training causes autism.’ Sounds ridiculous? Just because two events occur at roughly the same time doesn’t mean that one event causes the other. That the MMR vaccine is given at roughly the same age as the onset of autism is not evidence that the vaccine is the cause, any more than potty training is. In fact, there is growing evidence that subtle signs of autism are detectable at a much younger age in children destined to develop the disorder. It was a fine hypothesis, but here’s how science works: when many different researchers around the world have tested a hypothesis and found that it isn’t supported, then it’s time to scrap the hypothesis and move on to others. Continuing to propagate the notion the vaccines cause autism not only puts society at unnecessary risk of disease outbreaks, it also diverts resources away from testing other hypotheses. Public money is being wasted on retesting an outdated hypothesis, when it could be spent on testing the dozens of other potential causes of autism. Articles like this one, that continue to propagate unsupported fears, are part of the problem.

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 8:25 a.m.

Ms Meleck,

I like Google.

One can easily find data on vaccinated kids vs. 100% unvaccinated--they have the same risk for autism. Just like all the other times...

And one can easily find the epidemiology of autism--the reality is that 1+% of kids have autism, a fact that goes back for decades.

So not only do the anti-vaccs get all the facts wrong, but they also keep repeating falsehoods no matter how many times their errors are corrected.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 10:13 a.m.

Mr. King,

The point of the article was about how anti-vaccs misinform parents and you exactly demonstrate the point with your comments.

How can anyone take the anti-vaccs seriously when they can't even get the % vaccinated against smallpox correct even after decades and decades....etc, etc.

Thanks for proving the point.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 10:16 a.m.

Mr. Gamble,

Why don't you try looking up what % of populations were vaccinated against smallpox before you decide that Mr. King's comments are "well substantiated".

This is called fact-checking.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 11:48 a.m.

Al, your rudeness and selective repetitiveness sound like the marks of a fanatic. You don't do your points any more justice than those you are critiquing when you resort to being uncivil.

(Report Comment)
Ken Reibel November 26, 2011 | 12:35 p.m.

Kevin,

Paul King is wrong on a number of points. Both variola major and minor are airborne viruses, so clean drinking water and a healthy diet didn't do much to stop it. And although it's possible bedbugs could spread smallpox, so could inanimate objects - blankets, for instance.

Even if it were true that "smallpox died out in the areas where it was endemic because of increased hygiene and sanitation," that doesn't explain how the disease was eradicated in countries that continue to have bedbugs and appalling sanitary conditions.

I would like to know from what dark corner of the internet Paul King learned that only 10% of the population was vaccinated against smallpox. Most schoolchildren were vaccinated in the US before 1972. The World Health Organization vaccinated tens of millions in the 1960s and 70s. The last known case occurred in Somalia 1977, and WHO declared the disease gone for good in 1980.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 26, 2011 | 12:46 p.m.

Rude? Uncivil? Lay off the caffeine, dude.

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 12:48 p.m.

Mr. Gamble,

Why didn't you post any data on % of populations vaccinated against smallpox?

If this is too hard for you to find, you could try posting the data on vaccine usage by the Amish.

But then when you fact check, you will find that the assertion that the Amish don't vaccinate isn't true too.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 2:15 p.m.

Mr. Mutrux,

Free advice: you should get your science from scientists.

If you read the PIDJ study that your link asserts "damages natural immunity" and "causes shingles", you will find that the results were that the vaccine prevents shingles.

Your link is just wrong.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

Sigh... a lot of intemperate commenters here seem to be overlooking my assertion that vaccines can have an effect at the societal level, but are simply not reliable guarantees at the individual level. All the frantically-defended numbers by the frantic defenders of vaccines above don't change that.

There's simply nothing in life that's a perfect one-size-fits-all formula for everyone in society. Many vaccinations are for diseases which are not threatening to life, and for which catching them provides better long-term immunity than the unreliable vaccines do. Others are for more serious diseases, and people at risk or who could create risk for others who are vulnerable are better served in getting vaccinated. The idea that every vaccine is needed for everyone is, frankly, primitive, endemic of olden-times medical-establishment thinking.

It's pretty clear that there is a large financial and organizational dependency on the vaccination structure we now have in place. A lot of our medical system's credibility is on the line, and can accept no questioning - look at the comments above. Absolute, unequivocal denial, and emotional denial too. This should tell us something.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 4:28 p.m.

@John Schultz - if this is the same John Schultz of local Libertarian connection, I find it curious that you take the time to personally insult me as I promote the idea that government-mandated vaccinations aren't such a good thing. And you choose to do so with an insult which is much more appropriate for the somewhat histrionic responses I've received from others. I'm sorry for whatever chip on your shoulder is creating this reaction. And even more sorry that you use the word "dude" in public.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 4:34 p.m.

@Ken, the issue with smallpox is that, as you say, it is transmitted in ways which can be controlled physically. This creates a scenario where it can be addressed by vaccinations, but also by other means, so the notion that vaccination is solely responsible, or is the only possible remedy, doesn't wash.

As for your question about percentages who were vaccinated - is the school-children population and tens of millions worldwide incompatible with the rough figure of 10%? I don't know, but at face value it doesn't seem to be.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 4:47 p.m.

I think there's a lot of unproductive lines of discussion forming in these comments, so I'll say one more thing and then stop participating.

The point, both of this story and my own comments, is not that vaccines have no value, provide no good, and are never appropriate. They do have a value, as has been shown in specific, individual cases of disease throughout history.

The point I'm after is that it's perfectly fair and honest to question the practices we now have in place. To consider the effect of massive private financial interests on a public program, and weigh this against the very questionable and variable current-day benefits to individuals. To wonder why a program hasn't changed when the needs for it have dramatically changed over time. To consider that some vaccines work well, while others show results that are dubious at best, and wonder why the issue keeps being framed in an all-or-nothing way by those with financial or professional interest in perpetuating what we have.

I'm not out to push a hokey new-age idea or to undermine the value of science. But we're talking about the application of large-scale commercial interests to the public sphere - probably the most universal such program we have in our society, and targeted to the most vulnerable part of our society. The frenzied energy with which this sacred cow is defended is telling, troubling, and should not be allowed to be a barrier to investigation or doubt.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble November 26, 2011 | 5:08 p.m.

Oh, one last thing I overlooked, for Al:

You seem to be attacking the claim that the Amish don't vaccinate. If you read the comments you're attacking, you would see that this claim was never made. In no case was it stated that all Amish, or even Amish in general, don't vaccinate. The claims made were for those Amish who don't vaccinate.

Many Amish do vaccinate. They do so at a lower rate than the general population. As Paul King stated, there are also entire communities, especially more traditional/conservative communities, which do not vaccinate.

Autism does exist among the Amish, albeit at a much lower rate than that of the general population. I do not say this to prove any causal relationship to vaccines, which is still an open question (it has not been proven either way), but to address a related point which may come up.

Additionally, please provide us with a very specific figure of the percentage of the world's population which has been vaccinated against smallpox, with a verified source. You seem to have both readily at hand, and I would like to see it. Not because I believe the smallpox vaccination has done no good - see my previous comment - but because I'm curious.

(Report Comment)
Albus (Al) Nerdiski November 26, 2011 | 7:22 p.m.

Mr. Gamble,

From Mr. King's posting above:
"3. Among the Amish who are continually exposed to tetanus by their farming lifestyle and who DO NOT vaccinate,.." seems unambiguous.

You were exactly correct when you posted above that you "don't know", that is exactly the point.

Our children's health is important enough to make decisions based on knowledge and facts.

FTR #1 smallpox eradication efforts often achieved vaccination rates of 90+%.

FTR #2 tetanus does not require a "deep puncture" wound as asserted above by Mr. King.

Fact-checking, the anti-vacc disinfectant.

W&N

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt November 27, 2011 | 5:00 p.m.

Kevin Gamble said:

"The point I'm after is that it's perfectly fair and honest to question the practices we now have in place."

Yes, it is perfectly fair and honest to question current practices, and to find ways to improve upon them (or scrap/revamp them altogether). However, the vast majority of people doing the questioning have no background whatsoever on the matter. How would you react if there was public outcry over quantum physics, or the physiology of elephants, "because it just doesn't sound right"? An uneducated opinion does not become educated simply because a lot of people believe it.

Unless you're arguing that thousands of scientists around the world are in cahoots with each other to promote the evil vaccination agenda in order to line their pockets, so far there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Those pushing this view are uninformed celebrities and media alarmists--such as Anne Dachel above, whose expertise as a media editor apparently gives her the necessary insight to "ask the hard questions" in medicine. Even worse, these alarmists get away with it too, thanks to the fact that the majority of the population loves sensationalism and doesn't bother to waste time with trivial matters such as fact-checking.

Whatever mistakes science has made in the past, it was also science that corrected them. The same will be true about vaccines.

(Report Comment)
Ken Reibel November 27, 2011 | 6:28 p.m.

Jonathon, thanks for that great explanation. The anti-vax call for "informed consent" conveniently leaves out the part about the need for accurate information.

(Report Comment)

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