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.

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