The Great Vaccine Debate

jenny mccarthy antivax

Second only to the furor over breastfeeding is to discuss vaccines in a group of parents.

Try offering up this gem at your next pow-wow: “I can’t meet you for coffee, I’m taking [insert child's name] to Dr What’s-her-name for MMR shots tomorrow.”

Immediately the tin hats will be folded, the conspiracy theories will come out, and a knock-down-name-calling-tin-hat-wearing-skeptical-cynical-afraid-of-science-government-sympathizing-brawl ensues.

Some people choose to vaccinate, others don’t. They cite fears of autism (or mental retardation) and wonder aloud why they would prick their children with poison to prevent disease. A still third group prefers “natural” vaccination by holding pox parties to infect their children with chicken pox from lollipops.

The Facebook group is called “Find a Pox Party in Your Area.” According to the group’s page, it is geared toward “parents who want their children to obtain natural immunity for the chicken pox.”

On the page, parents post where they live and ask if anyone with a child who has the chicken pox would be willing to send saliva, infected lollipops or clothing through the mail.

Parents also use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox. [KPHO]

Call me a lemming, but I think vaccines make sense. We got rid of polio (in North America) and small pox because we vaccinated the population.

Jenny McCarthy thrust the risks associated with vaccinations into the spotlight in 2005 when she blamed a scheduled MMR vaccine on her son developing autism.

“The MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud.” … such “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.” [Daily Telegraph]

Now, because of Team Jenny, the vaccination rate is slipping – letting disease slip back into our population pool. Oh, and don’t forget Michelle Bachmann‘s “mental retardation” links to the HPV vaccine.

You know when you get a prescription and the doc says finish all of it? You feel better 3/4 of the way through the bottle, but you need to finish the bottle to completely cure yourself. If you stop the meds partway through and you don’t finish it off. That’s what we’re doing; an incomplete vaccination of the population is not killing off preventible disease. Disease we’ve found a “cure” for.

The non-vaccinating movement has gained such momentum that Australia this week mandated that families either vaccinate their children or forego government benefits.

PARENTS failing to ensure their children undergo the full six-stage immunisation risk losing up to $2100 as part of an expanded scheme that replaces a small carrot with a big stick to increase vaccination rates.
From next July, the government is axing the $258 ”maternity immunisation allowance” paid irrespective of income to families of fully immunised children aged up to five. Instead the government will require parents have their children fully immunised or forgo three payments of $726 available under the family tax benefit A end of year supplement. [SMH]

Personally, I’m on Team Penn and Teller (NSFW language).

To be honest, I don’t know how comfortable I am with mandated vaccination. It’s true that some will have allergies associated with the ingredient found in the vaccine. Iit should be a discussion between patient and physican when it comes to vaccinating kids. That said, for the vast majority of our population, outright dismissal of vaccines as drug company propaganda and profiteering is nonsense. Vaccinating your kids is common sense.

We wear a seatbelt in the car. We wear a helmet on our bike. We vaccinate our kids.

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Buzz

Buzz is married to Jennifer and has 2 sons. Zacharie was born in May 2007 and Charles in January 2010. Buzz is a radio guy who enjoys building bridges between old and new media. Follow buzz on Twitter @buzzbishop and check out DadCAMP on Google+

11 Comments

  1. “9 out of 10 children are immunized”
    Significant number, no?

    I don’t take the sane perspective as the Canadian government.

    If I choose to not vaccinate my child with chicken pox, I should not have to…. Regardless of a monetary compensation.
    I agree with most vaccinations, and will be requesting seperate shots (already discussed and approved by my healthcare provider)

    HPV is still an optional immunization, that can be done as an infant or school-aged.
    Why one shot can have alternative schedules but others not and not have the same “consequences” (tax credit) is unfair

    I agree the whole MMR myth has significantly fogged people’s judgements and created a “hipster” approach to immunizations, which has only clouded people who choose to not immunize for other reasons.

  2. It is unfortunate that you bow to a couple of “celebrity” magicians in their feeble attempt to bully people with their highly uneducated foul language. I wouldn’t admit to this…even if these loud mouth bullies were anti-vax. So sad!

  3. I do not vaccinate myself or my children. I’m not fanatical, and my decision has nothing to do with religion or autism. It’s a decision that was made after a great deal of research on both sides of the debate, and once I felt I had enough info, my decision was easy.
    Vaccines didn’t eliminate these diseases, or even reduce them- they were already in drastic decline. No vaccine is near 100% effective, and no vaccine is guaranteed safe. Nor can you guarantee my child will actually catch these diseases. Case in point- my kids have been exposed to chicken pox three tines and measles once (all by accident, I don’t believe in pox parties), and not caught any of them. They did catch whooping cough, and lived to tell the tale. Yet, many pro vaxxers (who can often be as fanatical as many anti vaxxers) will have you believe that you will absolutely catch and die from these diseases if exposed and not vaccinated. I’m not saying these diseases are a picnic, but the assumption is mostly untrue.
    Most of the parents I’ve met that don’t vax, are extremely well educated and not blindly jumping on a fad. I’m sad to say most of the parents I’ve met who do vax, have no idea they could have risks, or that they’re even allowed not to vax or to partially vax or to spread them out.
    I feel it’s not my business what you do with your family’s medical choices- so long as you’re making an informed choice. Do sone research- if you still want to vax, at least you’ll have a reason why you believe it’s right other than “they told me to”.
    These are your children, your most precious resource, and you are their only advocate. In all things I simply ask- look before you leap, and don’t judge the steps of another parent who like you, are only trying to do what they feel is right for their child.

  4. Google doesn’t equal research. I’m willing to trust medical professionals who have spent lifetimes analyzing what happens in the body. My radio career is hardly a basis for medical expertise.

    Walking around with a tin hat of mistrust wallowing in conspiracy theories won’t move us forward.

  5. I don’t use google as my primary means of research. Again with the assuming we’re all misinformed and stupid. I used publications from the CDC, Medical journals, epidemiology studies, immunology journals, and I interviewed doctors, pediatricians, immunologists, naturopaths, and parents of vaccine injured children.
    Only trusting the people making a butt load of money off of vaccinating children doesn’t move us forward either.

  6. Lynne, I’d love to see your links to the research you cite. I’m a journalist and concerned mom, and spent weeks researching vaccines, borrowing library books from across the province, reading every article I could find in scientific journals and hundreds of hundreds of website articles.

    The CDC, medical journals, epidemiology studies and immunology journals all support immunization. In fact, the CDC has a huge area of their website devoted to myth busting.

    Personally, I would put very little stock in personal stories from doctors, pediatricians, etc., unless they have personally been involved in large scale studies and not simply relying on their anecdotal evidence. For every individual in the medical field that is anti-vax, there and many more who are pro-vax.

  7. Why is it those who are for vaccines are the bullies? They threaten, name call and bully people who don’t vax. But those who do not vax do not resort to this immature behaviour. I will be selfish and not vax my kids for the greater good. Sorry to have upset you and the “herd”. Google was never my #1 research, nor was any celebrity and my doctor is ok with our decision to not vax. You are followers – those who trust anybody with some initials behind their name or somebody who sits behind the 6 o’clock anchor desk. You think the vaccines you gave your child hasn’t caused them problems now….what about the diseases/problems you will cause them in 30 or 40 years? Did you sign their death sentence? This ridiculous blog is sponsored by Gardasil. Nuff said!

  8. Che, this blog runs Google ads. Gardasil runs their ads next to blogs mentioning keywords associated with their products.

    I had posts on a previous blog scourging against BPA and plastic baby bottles. Guess which ads ran alongside the critiques? Yup – plastics.

    Spark up a livestream of the Occupy Movement and you’ll get banking ads in the pre-roll before the protestors start their anti capitalism rants.

    The ads you see on the blogs are not necessarily directly sponsoring the content, but are directed by keywords.

    Then again, that’s just what the herd told me to say. You keep on with your conspiracies.

  9. We are vaccinating our kids. I would rather “risk” it and have an autistic child than a dead one. People just do not understand that alot of these diseases are deadly. It has been too long for most of today’s parents to remember people dying of these now cureable diseases.

  10. Anthony you could have a dead one by vaccinating too! Chickenpox, measles, etc are not deadly diseases. Where do you get your information from Buzz or Penn & Teller???? *facepalm*

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