My favorite question. Not really though. More like the opposite.

My least favorite question right now: if your kid is vaccinated why do you care if mine isn’t?

First this question is asked constantly, as if it hasn’t been answered 1000 times already.

Second, my response:
Because my 6 month old can’t be vaccinated against every communicable disease. She is still vulnerable to chicken pox and measles and I’m sure there’s a few other vaccines she hasn’t gotten yet. Vaccines are not 100%, they are dependant upon each individual’s immune response, some people never seroconvert. Some people have immune disorders where they can’t be vaccinated, some people have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive drugs to prevent rejection, some people have cancer and treatment destroys their immune system. And lastly, I do care about your child, even if you don’t care about mine. Your children are no less vulnerable than my own and I would hate to see them fight these diseases. I would hate for you to feel guilty, sitting in the hospital watching your babies struggling to breathe and live, your soapbox isn’t worth that.

This is the reason I am worried, because all these people that have no choice and are already vulnerable could be killed because of the spread of these diseases.

But finally if we want to play the self centered, screw society, my child is the only one that matters game, then really I give a shit because I am afraid for my daughter’s life, she is just a baby, she is beautiful and sweet and happy and chubby and I would lose my mind if I had to watch her try and survive one of these diseases and if she died because of it I would die too. With every single person who chooses not to vaccinate these diseases get one step closer to my family. They are already in my state, how long before my city, my daughter’s preschool? At what point am I allowed to worry about my children, and yours, rather than your ethical concerns and moral outrage?

Because I know people who have literally “done the research”. Not Google, not reading scientific literature even, but actually in the lab, with the diseases, with the vaccines, with the “toxins”, and they are parents like you and me, they have families and loved ones that they urge to get vaccinated. They strive to do their jobs to the best of their ability just like you and I do. They are not monsters, raking in the dough, experimenting with our lives, unaware that there are going to be babies at the end of that needle. They do their best to make us all safe and they are aware of the stakes better than most.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

Like a civil conversation and open discourse that might lead to a solution that works for, at a bare minimum a majority of our society.
Because these tin foil hat wearing assholes just want to pick a fight. Even when you approach them from an angle of reason all they see is a manipulative snake in the grass who wants to eat their babies.
And don’t get me wrong, not all people who choose not to vaccinate are dick bags like this inflammatory idiot. Some are reasonable, some are willing to talk, but some think they’re a fucking martyr and have to be the Rush Limbaugh of the anti vaccination movement because “Why won’t anybody think about the children!”

Here’s the transcript if you don’t mind the tl;dr.

The initial Post:
The Guggie Daily: Scrolling through the debates, the mindless comments on articles, the newsfeed littered with vaccination discussion, it reminds you of something.
It wears on your self-esteem even if you claim it shouldn’t, or say it won’t. It stills your heart when you read the words. You’ve read them before. None of them are new in the debate. But, still, the weight they carry emphasizes the gravity of their meaning.
It’s the knowledge that YOU are worthless. YOU are the one they said deserved to die, deserved to be maimed, deserved to feel pain, deserved to fall over the cliff.
YOU are the one who had to be sacrificed because others deserve to live more than you and to be happier and healthier than you.
See, when you’re the faceless casualty of their war on disease, you’re not even deserving of a nod of respect or a thank you.
Not only will you never get a “thank you” or a nod, or a moment of silence, but when you or your family bring up the vaccine reactions, you’ll be attacked. They’ll deny it. They’ll laugh in your face. They’ll call you stupid, crazy, attention-seeker. They’ll say you’re parents are looking for something to blame. They’ll say at least you didn’t die from your vaccine-induced measles/polio/whatever.
But, the inflammatory ones aren’t the worst. It’s the callous, calmly truthful ones that set a chill.
“So, some kids are going to be the 2 out of 100,000. That’s to be expected.” “Reactions are rare, but they happen. That’s life.””I know some people will die, but that’s necessary to save more lives.”
The ones who know, the ones who openly admit it, who type with you late into the night, acknowledging that you’re the one who must die so they can sit in their supposed theory of herd health. Those are the worst.

My Response:
Me: I grieve for the loss of any child no matter how it happens and this finger pointing and assuming how the other side feels is exactly what causes the problem.No sane person is calling for mandatory vaccination, the government should never have that much control over our bodies but it’s not unreasonable to ask that exposure be reduced on both sides for the safety of unvaccinated AND vaccinated children and adults. And no, I’m not saying we need to put unvaccinated petite in leper colonies, I don’t know what the right way to manage this problem is but pretending it’s not a problem doesn’t work.And there is nastiness on both sides, non vaxxers do not get to play the holier than thou card. I have been called an Asshole, a prick, a moron, an abusive parent, uneducated (I have dual bachelor’s degrees), and I was told that someone was going to “find me, tie me behind their truck, and drag me down a dirt road”. All of this because I believe in vaccination. And no, I have never called anyone a name, I have never belittled their concerns and I have never argued for forced vaccination. All I have done is state the scientific facts as I know them (one of those degrees is in microbiology) and stated my concern for my children as one is too young to be vaccinated and measles has already made it to my state. I understand how wearing this argument is, I feel the same way. Maybe it’s time we stopped fighting and worked together as a community to find a solution that works to protect our vulnerable citizens without making others feel like their concerns are not important.

And the Bullshit Back and Forth I get in return:
KG: How about just putting the decision back where it should be, in the hands of the individuals? Just like all medical procedures. I can’t figure out what is so hard about this.

Me: Which is fine but I don’t get to make that decision for my 6 month old. What now?

KG: I’m afraid I’m confused as to which side you are arguing.

Me: Does it matter? This is my point, it shouldn’t be an argument with sides! It should be a discussion, to find a reasonable solution that maintains personal choice while still providing protection for our vulnerable populations without having to completely isolate anyone from the societies we live in.

KG:  I think as parents, we all do the best we can to protect our own children. We all need to do what we believe is right for our child, without having to modify that for the sake of someone else’s child. I think that is the only way we are going to come out of this, is to recognize the value of all children, and the parental rights to accept or refuse any medical procedure based on what is right for our OWN child. As long as we have this herd mentality, we will be shamed and guilted for each putting our own children first. We’re not going to come out of it, this way.

KG: Also, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated can carry and transfer vaccinable disease, as the current outbreak clearly shows. No, we’ve got to get out of this herd mentality. That’s what’s screwing us, the idea I can somehow make my world safer by regulating everyone else. That is the fallacy, right there.

Me:  But we are part of a herd. No matter whether you believe in herd immunity or not. We are part of a herd and as such bear some responsibility to our herd mates around us, those that don’t have the privilege of making a choice.

KG: But does the responsibility to the herd come ahead of our responsibility to our own child?No.But people are getting their priorities all mixed up, and using that as a basis to control people.

Me: Our responsibility to the heard plays into our responsibility to our children. The two are intertwined.

KG:  But when there is a conflict, one responsibility supercedes the other.

Me: Again there doesn’t have to be conflict. There is a solution where both parties could be served we just have to stop arguing and look for it.

KG: Maybe. I haven’t found it, yet.

Me: No, neither have I because we have been too busy arguing and trying to show the other side why they are wrong.
(What I really wanted to say was something more along the lines of ”well shit Einstein if you haven’t figured it out yet there just must not be a solution!)

KG: It’s unlikely to find a perfect solution that pleases everyone or fits everyone’s specific situation. That’s precisely the problem with the current vaccine schedule: it’s a one-size fits-all solution. The problem is, that humans don’t come in certain prepackaged categories. This is why I currently believe the best solution is to affirm a parent’s right to make the decisions in the best interests of their own child. It was the solution that was working prior to the media purposefully whipping people into a frenzy. Come to think of it, maybe the solution is to find the source of the corruption that is feeding this frenzy to the media, to start with. Because I have no doubt that the frenzy is all manufactured. I just don’t have proof of who is at the bottom of it.

Me: So there’s no point in trying?

KG: Don’t know. I don’t think there can be any real discussion until the frenzy calms down. People are too hot, right now. Hasn’t stopped me from trying, though, as I’ve tried to dialogue with you. I haven’t even tried to dialogue with those making the more severe accusations, as I felt their minds were already closed. The main problem I have is that I feel I have “met in the middle,” already, as much as I can on this issue, without sacrificing my own child. And now you just want me to do more? And I’ve already given all I can, and then some. And the vaxxing side does not feel I’ve given nearly enough. So you see how we are just at an impasse.

Me: All I’m suggesting is for people to consider something outside of their own realm of understanding and try to look outside of their own little world.

Me: I apologize if that’s just too much to ask.
(I couldn’t help being at least a little bit of a snarky bitch, I think I’d done an admirable job restraining myself up to this point.)

TGD  ” All I’m suggesting is for people to consider something outside of their own realm of understanding and try to look outside of their own little world. I apologize if that’s just too much to ask.”
ROFLMAO. I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt that you aren’t a campaigning troll from AVWOS and leave your comments. But, I also find your last one speaks for itself. You’ve clearly never been in discussion where those who are vaccine injured are thrown under the bus. Your comment is essentially the entire point of the original status. TAKE A LOOK around. Some people were hurt, some even killed. And the response is to deny, lie, or laugh. Maybe if the responses were different, parents wouldn’t be hesitating to sacrifice their children for the herd.

Me: Yes and this kind of combative stance is what leads to the problems we’re having. A lack of empathy and understanding from both sides keeps us from coming to an acceptable conclusion that will serve everyone. I’ve been there when vaccine damaged children were disregarded and I’ve been there when disease damaged children were disregarded. The fact that people would rather point fingers and argue about how you’re being hurtful and don’t care about MY child is coming from both directions and it’s not serving anyone. Setting aside emotion, having an open discourse, and actually listening to and considering the points brought up by each other is what is going to make the difference. And yes, I’m human, I get snarky when I suggest something reasonable and it gets shot down because people jump to conclusions and make assumption about what kind of person I am simply because I don’t necessarily agree with them.

KG: I don’t think you can set aside emotion on this issue. You are talking about your infant son; I am talking about my preschooler. We can set aside hysteria and attacks, but there is going to be emotion, involved.And this is why I still think it is all going to have to come back to each parent, in good faith, making the best decisions they can for their own child, and preserving their freedom to do so. Personally, I don’t see another way, not that gives equal consideration to each child.

Me:  But even that doesn’t give equal consideration to each child.

BeeFree Alam  “Maintains personal choice while still providing protection for our vulnerable population”There are vulnerable populations on both sides. Understanding what those vulnerabilities are and what they look like would be one good start.

Me: Absolutely.

TGD:  Loni, really? I don’t buy anything that you posted. You’re attempting to say that people dismiss deaths from illnesses and that it’s equal to the separate cultural behavior of dismissing and minimizing vaccine injuries. All I see is more of what I’ve asserted in my original post. It is absolutely good and healthy to be emotional, to get angry about this, and to point out issues. The moderation you’re attempting to sneak in here sounds more like that oppressive gaslighting and restriction people get when they talk about their birth trauma or sexual assaults.

KG: Thank you, Guggie. Feeling manipulated by a soft tongue vs a harsh tongue, at this point. To Loni, if you happen to have a solution that perfectly protects all children without sacrificing any in the process, let’s hear it. Until then, I will do the best I can for my own child, to whom is my primary responsibility. I’m afraid I’m out of this discussion because someone wants me to give that which I cannot.

Me: Really? Now I think rape and birth trauma are fallacies? Boy I’m glad you’re here to let people know what a true monster I am. Asking for rational discourse and attempts to come up with a solution that don’t leave either side living in fear is unacceptable to you? I brought an open hand to the table and you slap it away. All you people are is looking for a fight so you can feel better about yourselves in the face of your perceived evil.And no, I don’t have an answer because I’m aware I see things mainly from my perspective and I’m just one person. This requires a reasonable discussion not clouded by fear or anger but with people like you leading the good fight of course that will never happen.

KG: In any case, regardless of motive or where you are going with this, I’m just going to take an “agree to disagree” and step out. I don’t feel I can give any more wiggle room on the issue than I already have, without endangering my own child. And that is the one line I am not willing to cross for the sake of another. So I am at an impasse as I feel that is what I’m being asked to do. I’m bowing out. We shouldn’t be asked to sacrifice our own children for the “greater good”.

Final thoughts:
We were all well and good until the fucking grand dragon of the anti vaxx angry martyr movement decided that I’m an evil bitch, who hates rape victims and women who’ve suffered a traumatic birth experience, and had to make sure everyone could see through my smokescreen of calm rationale. Fuck these people, I would never wish suffering on a child, but dammed if I don’t wish some of these parents would get the fucking measles. Except wait, they won’t, because their parents had the good sense to fucking VACCINATE THEM!

I just can’t… Also known as, the vaccination debate makes me go basic white girl.

As I’ve said, I’m a microbiologist by education, which also includes several years of micro work from a food science angle.  I haven’t worked in the medical industry but I have worked up close and personal with several bad bugs, E. coli, salmonella, listeria, botulism, staph, and so on.  I’ve seen people get sick with these diseases and thankfully everyone I know is still alive and mostly whole.  On the other hand, I’ve read first hand accounts of people who weren’t so lucky, I’ve read peer reviewed research, studies, and the statistics of these and other illnesses that people are faced with every day.  I know how lucky I am to live in a country with a decent vaccination program and halfway decent medical system.  Admittedly our system isn’t perfect but at least I don’t have to walk for miles carrying my child on my back and praying that the clinic has a vaccine in stock when I get there, so that I’m less likely to have to watch my child die of a preventable illness.

This is where the anger comes in, so if you are anti vaccination and you want to maintain whatever image it is you have of me as a friend, or whatever, you may just want to stop reading here.  Side note – copious swearing will probably follow as well, I’m not the classiest or most eloquent person when I’m angry.

With the recent measles outbreak and it’s screaming resurgence I am pissed.  I am so angry at all the disinformation being spread by people who have no background, education, or training in science thinking that they KNOW how vaccination works and that it’s all a government plot to kill your children, or greedy big pharma trying to take your money, I could fucking scream.

As I’ve said, I have an infant, and I’ll admit I’m not a touchy feely kind of person, but I love my girls and care deeply for them, as I know the vast majority of parents in this world do.  Right now my infant has a cold.  She is miserable, snotty, congested, can’t breath, and has the worst croupy sounding cough.  I would do anything to make her feel better or to have been able to prevent her feeling miserable in the first place, and she just has a freaking cold!  Imagine how bad she would feel with the measles, or diptheria, or if that nasty cough of her’s were whooping cough, which if you’ve never witnessed a child with it, you might think “it’s not that bad, all that nasty stuff in the vaccine is probably so much worse”.  You’d be dead fucking wrong – (Disclaimer: I cried watching this and imagining my daughter going through it, the mother in this video is amazing, I don’t know how she can be so calm) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3oZrMGDMMw.  I’m indescribably grateful I could vaccinate my kids, and assuming their immune response is good and the virus doesn’t mutate, I will NEVER have to watch one of them go through that.

But now I’m scared, I am so fucking scared I’m angry.  I want to scream at people, I want to tell them how stupid and selfish they are, I want to tell them that all their rationalization and all their fear of the boogeyman is putting my daughter in harms way.  My daughter and thousands of other children and adults who can’t be vaccinated, or didn’t mount a significant immune response, you are risking the lives of other people because of your ignorance and your faith in your invincibility.  Also those children of yours that you’re trying so hard to protect from all the terrible things that “the man” is trying to force on you – yeah, you’re risking THEIR lives too.  And remember, I actually know how this shit works on a molecular level.  I won’t lie, there’s still a lot of things we don’t know, but I know a lot more than most, and the fact that all the scientist I know are willing to admit their ignorance is more than I can say for most on the other side of the debate.

So to make quick work of the debate I’ll go through the list.

1. More children die from the vaccinations in the US than the do from the disease.
Response: This is what set me off this morning on my facebook feed:deaths_in_the_us_during_the_past_10_years_due_to_measles
You know why this might be the case? Oh, I don’t know, maybe because we FUCKING VACCINATE OUR KIDS HERE! Assuming this article is accurate (which I question, as the source is so credible) then 10 kids a year die of complications, and I am in no way minimizing the suffering caused by their loss but lets compare that to the rest of the world.  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ – This much more credible source, tells us that 145,000 people die EVERY SINGLE YEAR from measles.  Every. Year.
Also, I went and checked the VAERS data for MMR deaths for the last 10 years and got a distinctly different number of 35 potential deaths from the MMR vaccine. On top of that none of the reports conclusively indicate the MMR vaccine as the cause.

2. The rebuttal to the previous response is that most of those deaths are in countries where children are malnourished and unhealthy.
Response: Even if we play the malnourished kids card you can’t argue with the insane reduction levels due to vaccination. Children’s lives are being saved in other countries due to vaccine efforts by the who.
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5847a2.htm#tab1

3. Measles isn’t that bad, it’s just a rash and a little fever.
Response: Really? How about the high rate of serious complications http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html, or you could tell these kids it isn’t that bad (Another disclaimer, these are awful) http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/photos.html, because they just look ecstatic.

4. Vaccines are full of horrible things: aluminum, mercury, monkey cells, aborted fetal cells.
Response: Here’s a great article about human cells in vaccines http://www.drwile.com/lnkpages/render.asp?vac_abortion to sum up – there aren’t human cells in vaccines, they are used to develop the vaccine but they are filtered out. This also applies to the monkey cells. Vaccines for children don’t contain thimerosal (a biologically inactive derivative of mercury) and any adult vaccines that do use it as a preservative contain it in insignificant amounts. Insignificant amounts also applies to pretty much every other thing in vaccines that people take offense at. Aluminium, formaldehyde, etc – these chemicals all serve a purpose and they are in there in quantities significantly less than we are exposed to in our every day lives.

5. Vaccines cause autism
Response: I feel like I shouldn’t have to rebut this one, by this point it should be common knowledge that this is crap. No one knows what “causes” autism, it’s a spectrum of disorders with any number of possible causes and any number of things that could exacerbate the condition. An unbiased source http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/faq.

The list goes on with all kinds of anecdotal reasons and arguments where people are stretching correlations to try and make it seem like those are causative. They talk about viral shedding, herd immunity, vaccine complications, but in the end it’s all pseudoscience used and manipulated to control people who are afraid. I could do the same and throw down all kinds of anecdotes and crap science but above all else I’m concerned about the health of my children and those around me. I refuse to be responsible for the death of an immuno-compromised person or a child to young too be vaccinated and I fervently wish that everyone else could break through the fog of paranoia to realize how risky their choices really are.

Another year, another blog

This isn’t my first rodeo, as they say, and normally I just post my ramblings to Facebook, but it lacks in features that would allow people to ignore some of the things I may want to say or post pictures of so here we are again.

In case you don’t know me this will be my brief intro post.  Obviously I’m a mother, I have two girls, a preschooler and an infant. Also I’m a microbiologist by education, but a food scientist by trade.  Lastly, it seems I’m angry, which may not be an entirely accurate term.  Maybe frustrated would be better, or perpetually annoyed, or exasperated, sometimes just completely baffled by other people.  I try not to get into the mommy wars because what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another, so for the most part I don’t judge.  It’s not my place and I have a hard enough time trying to figure out my own kids so I tend to lean towards empathizing with other parents more than anything else.  You’ll see there’s a particular area or two where this doesn’t apply but for now we’ll go ahead and pretend I’m the sweetheart my husband sees me as.

Most of my postings will probably lean towards science stuff, or parenting stuff, or a combination of the two, but since there are more facets to my personality occasionally I might post about motorcycles, or guns, or video games, or zombies which could totally bring everything else together in one post.

Now that we’ve gotten the obligatory intro post out of the way we’ll move on to bigger and angrier things.