Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vaccines Continued

The following will be a series of common questions asked in regard to vaccines with answers given by the above mentioned Doctors:

Question:  Aren’t the diseases that vaccines protect against rare in the United States?

Answer:  Yes, it is true that many of these diseases are rare in the U.S. but that is only because we are vaccinated.  Most of these diseases are deadly.

Question:  Isn’t it a better idea to wait until your child is older to vaccinate?

Answer:   It is true that often side affects decrease with the children's age but then they are unprotected for longer.  It is a risk.  I know someone who's child got whooping cough at a family party just 2 years ago.

Question:  I have heard that the chicken pox vaccine is dangerous?

Answers:  Since chicken pox isn't usually life threatening I didn't get my 1st child immunized until I met a mother whose child is blind from chicken pox.  I then researched the rates of permanent issues from chicken pox and the rates of issues from the vaccine and once again, the vaccine was the clear choice.  Now all of my children are vaccinated against chicken pox.

Question:  Don’t vaccines contain mercury?  And isn’t mercury poisonous?

Answer:  Another concern that got a lot of press is the common preservative thimerosol, a compound that is 49.6% ethylmercury by weight. It is added to vaccines to prevent bacterial contamination. A fringe medical journal printed a paper proposing (without a shred of evidence) that autism could be a form of mercury poisoning due to thimerosol. Of course ethylmercury is not the same as methylmercury, which is known to accumulate through the food chain and can cause toxicity including neurological effects in people who eat large amounts of fish, for instance. Although ethylmercury is eliminated from the body much faster than methylmercury and does not cause
toxicity, it was removed from all children’s vaccines by 2001 as a precautionary measure. Since then, the thimerosol-autism connection has been thoroughly debunked, but public fears are unfortunately very evidence-resistant.

Question:  I’m worried that by vaccinating my child, I will overwhelm their immune system.

Answer:  Some feel that vaccines “overload” the immune system and lead to chronic diseases. Others have the perception that since many of the vaccine-preventable diseases have largely been controlled (thanks to vaccination!), there is a very low risk of their child actually becoming infected. Since adverse reactions are temporally associated with vaccination in an extremely small percentage of those that are vaccinated, then it doesn’t make sense to them to vaccinate their children. However, no study (that I’m aware of) has ever shown a causal relationship of serious adverse event in healthy children with vaccinations currently in use. Vaccination programs have been successful precisely because of the sort of “social contract” involved – individuals are willing to incur the extremely small risk of an adverse event in order to keep infectious diseases out of their communities. As more and more people choose to take a free ride on the immunity of others, the incidence of these diseases will inevitably rise.

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