Welcome to the 21st Century!

The measles outbreak in the United States and the various conversations swirling around it are driving me crazy.

By the early 21st century, measles was practically eradicated. And now, already in 2015, 84 people have been diagnosed with measles (due largely to the outbreak in Disney Land).

I mean…

“• The majority of the people who got measles were unvaccinated.
“• Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
“• Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.
“• Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.”*

*From the CDC website.

There were over 600 cases of measles in the United States last year.

Please vaccinate your children. If you think you need a booster, please talk to your own doctor.

++

The media conversation seems to center around the thoroughly debunked Wakefield study. But I see a different trend on Facebook and in article comments. (I know. Never read the comments. And yet.)

1. Vaccines are full of poison!
This school of thought lists all the scary-sounding things that allegedly make up vaccines — aluminum, formaldehyde, mercury (not true anyway), and so on. The simple rebuttal to this is: the dose makes the poison. Given the minute amounts of these ingredients in vaccines — many of them naturally occurring in other things that we put into or onto our bodies — this gains no traction with me. If you’re alarmed about these ingredients, please have a talk with your pediatrician.

2. The government is going to force me to vaccinate my children!
Yeah, they kind of should. I am pretty solidly behind the idea that the government is allowed to dictate certain things for the larger public good. All children should be vaccinated if they are going to go to school. For those that have a documented medical reason for not being able to be vaccinated, it’s the only way to give them any kind of protection. This conspiracy-type thinking pretty much drives me up the wall. If you don’t want to get your child vaccinated, then don’t send him/her to school. If you are so distrustful of the government and/or the medical establishment, maybe you need to talk to someone with a Ph.D after their name. Seriously, the government doesn’t want to harm your children; it is not trying to indoctrinate them via Big Pharma.

Relatedly, this is the tactic that Republican law makers — some of whom are going to run for president in the next year — are now employing. They aren’t anti-vaccine! They are pro-parental choice! Tell you what, once they stop fighting against access for women’s reproductive choice and healthcare, I’ll let them give parents the choice of vaccinating their children. How’s that?

++

Look, I get it. When my children were being born, the autism scare/Wakefield study bunk was at its height. My husband saw severely delayed children on a daily basis. The story was scarily the same: normal development until the MMR shot. When it came time to vaccinate Flora, he asked to space out her shots. We did a ton of reading and research together (very little of it online, thank God). I was 100 percent pro-vaccine. I did talk to the pediatrician’s office about spacing out the shots. We came to an agreement that made my husband comfortable.

Fast forward a few years to when Kate was getting vaccinated. My husband sat down with the pediatrician at the time (same organization, different office than with Flora), and that doctor talked to him at length, openly, honestly, and without being condescending. My husband and I are smart, educated people, who wanted to participate in our children’s care, not just take edicts from “on high”.

Kate got the full complement of vaccines that she was scheduled for that day. M, too, has been fully vaccinated, mostly on schedule (there were times he was ill at a checkup, and we returned later to get him caught up).

Educating parents like Dan — parents who were scared, who saw things and dealt with things highly suspect in terms of timing — those are the parents we can reach. Dan and I had the added terror of having actually lost a child already — not at all related to medicine or vaccinations, but still.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Especially now, in the Internet age, when everyone is enabled with a platform for his or her opinion, backed up with sites like Natural News and the National Vaccine Information Center.

Talk to your pediatrician. That’s the best advice.

And vaccinate your children. For the good of all the children.

My cheeseball
Michael thanks you for your vaccination.
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19 thoughts on “Welcome to the 21st Century!

  1. I’m not anti-vaccine, we have been through this. But don’t you question why this horrible “deadly disease” has yet to kill someone in US since it’s resurgence? So that’s 0 deaths in 11 years. It’s less deadly than the flu (& less deadly than the flu vaccine this year alone). Most of our information about measles dates back to the 1950’s &/or third world countries. We do live in a first world country. Medicine & our bodies have advanced since 1950. The reason measles was ever eradicated in the US was because the we had an adult population that was %100 percent immune. One could argue & prove the measles vaccine played a role in its own resurgence. Most vaccinated adults are not protected from their childhood vaccines yet very few people are aware of that. Why are they targeting the anti-vaccine movement? The first out break of measles in the US was a vaccinated adult! The best defense against measles is by naturally contracting measles. Natural acquired immunity is the strongest form of immunity. One could argue intelligently that natural acquired immunity may decrease the possibility of auto-immune disease and help the body fight against cancer. You argue the vaccine is safe, fine, but do you understand it does cause death & disease in some individuals? How is that any different from contracting the illness itself? The truth is we live in society where being sick & having sick children is an convienience. We don’t acknowledge the innate intelligence of our bodies nor do we respect the purpose of disease & illness as a process of growth to be stronger & healthier; mentally, physically, spiritually. Pain & illness are how the body signals us to pay attention to imbalance. There would be much to benefit from studying measles in a first world country. I say send vaccines to the third world countries & study that as well. But there is no profit in that…And for those with diminished immune systems, they are vulnerable to all infections. How do we protect them from that? And if the government is going to enforce vaccines are they going to enforce that people take care of themselves as well? That would be nice.

    • How is the vaccine different from the disease itself? Let me count the ways. Measles, if contracted and survived, can lead to serious neurological issues as well as specific forms of encephalitis. Those forms of encephalitis are often deadly and when not deadly lead to permanent brain injury. The chances of that happening are far, far, far greater than having an adverse vaccine reaction.

      Those specifics outcomes are also far more likely to occur in the vey young – babies too young to be vaccinated for the disease. So, it is incumbent upon those of us old enough to be vaccinated to protect those babies from these dire consequences by getting vaccinated.

      Yes, there are many adults that do not have current MMR immunity. This was discovered 30 years ago and an extra booster was added to the schedule of vaccines. I received said booster. Boosters can get gotten if titres show that your immunity is too low. All that requires is a simple blood test.

      This goes beyond just the measles. Mumps causes sterility in adult males and is a miserable disease to suffer through. It can cause fertility issues in women, brain inflammation, and hearing loss. The vaccine causes none of those.

      Rubella is generally a minor illness. UNLESS YOU ARE PREGNANT. Then, it causes awful birth defects. Vaccines do not cause that.

      Pertussis kills babies. It kills children. And in adults? Debilitating, larygospasmic cough that lasts for SIX MONTHS. The vaccine does not cause that.

      The point here is that natural immunity is fine but it doesn’t keep all these horrible other things from happening. Vaccines do and the incidence of adverse vaccine reaction is RARE. The after affects of many of the diseases we vaccinate for are FOREVER. Post-Polio Syndrome STILL kills.

      With respect, I do not believe is it possible to intelligently argue away the science here. This is not opinion. This is fact. This is years and years of research and the blood, sweat, and tears of scientists from Jonas Salk on forward. People who watched parents bury dead children because of diseases we now have the capability to prevent. It is UNCONSIONABLE to dismiss that in favor of letting children get sick and hoping for the best.

  2. We have been over this before, and I want to respond.

    First of all, and this is probably annoying, but it would be helpful if you could offer some citations.

    Second, you say “natural acquired immunity”. That means catching the measles, which has risks of encephalitis, deafness, and other side effects. So no one has died yet? It’s a matter of time.

    Here’s a great first-hand account of a parent who lost his daughter to naturally acquired immunity from measles: http://www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/blogs/ojohn/how-dangerous-measles

    The adverse effect from measles on an annual basis does not reach 600 people. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html#adverse

    There is no profit in vaccinations. I really don’t know why people keep saying there is. Here’s some math (mostly about the flu vaccine). http://vaccineconspiracytheorist.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-profit-of-vaccinations.html

    We have been over this, and we strongly disagree. Let’s leave it at that. Thanks.

  3. Also, about the gov’t forcing people to take care of themselves: If I eat poorly, the only person I directly physically hurt is me (although I probably cost lots of healthcare dollars for everyone else). If I don’t immunize my child, and she contracts measles — even if she recovers from it — and spreads it to… a child who is going through chemotherapy. An infant who wasn’t able to be immunized yet. A grandmother who system is compromised because of age. Who’s fault is it if one of those people gets seriously ill and/or dies? Mine. Because I didn’t do the best and safest thing, instead depending on her natural acquired immunity to make HER stronger. Who cares about all those other people she might put at risk?

    You know what, I care about them a lot more than trusting that “natural acquired immunity” is going to turn out hunky dory.

  4. Good info about the HPV vaccine and the cancers that it actually PREVENTS. Not helps us fight, but PREVENTS. https://radiohealthjournal.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/15-04-story-1-hpv/

    Good info about the flu vaccine, what it can and can’t do with this year’s specific strain, what the ramifications are: https://radiohealthjournal.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/15-04-story-2-the-flu-its-bad-this-year/

    There are plenty legitimate questions to raise regarding vaccines, how they’re made, what lowers or raises their effectiveness, how they’re tested, etc., and I’m all for following the money and monitoring the intentions of Big Pharma and questioning what we’re being told by anyone. But I agree with Cari – there are decades of science and research that should frame the debate. You can’t go into it ignorant of things like, oh, the concept of how herd immunity works, for example. Or by treating a tried and true protocol like a interesting theory whose impact on reality is somehow optional or up for interpretation. It’s like the difference between gravitational theory, and the law of gravity. There are things I might quarrel with about gravitational theory. And yet, funny thing, I have yet to fly.

  5. Here are some references:

    http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/zero-u-s-measles-deaths-in-10-years-but-over-100-measles-vaccine-deaths-reported/
    http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html
    http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html
    http://www.dempseyandkingsland.com/Verdicts-Settlements/Vaccine-Injury-involving-paralysis-of-1-year-old-child.shtml

    I cannot seem to substantiate Cari’s claim the adverse effects of measles is far,far,far worse than the adverse effects of the vaccine. I’m not being critical, I just couldn’t find it. The CDC’s claim that adverse effects are rare do not seem to match up with compensation history. I have not done much research on Pertussis but it seems it would be more effective if we vaccinate adults who know they are going to be close proximity to infants. And there appears to be debates about the vaccines effectiveness in regards to a new strain. I also found this in regards to the effectiveness of mumps: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/11/1458.full. Most cases of HPV (90%) self resolve in a year and the types of cancer they caused can be detected early through yearly OBGYN screening (I don’t have time right now to follow up with link but maybe in the future).

    And I’m glad you mentioned herd immunity. I will have to did through some old papers to find exact name and date but the original definition was an observation by a scientist prior to the 1950’s (prior to vaccines). His observation was that in communities where natural acquired immunity against a disease was exhibited, the offspring appeared to exhibit a higher resistance to the disease. I understand how it is applied to discussions about vaccines now and it does not include offspring. But what if his observations were correct?

    And Dawn, I love you, I always will. Unlike most people, I don’t get enraged about the topic. My observations and information are valid. And yes we disagree, I would rather my children get the measles over the vaccine. I am concerned about putting others at risk though. Again, I think studying measles in a modern day, first world environment may yield a safer and more effective approach.

  6. I’m going to be a little bit of a prick here and give a biology lesson. I am getting all of this information straight from my Anatomy and Physiology textbook. (“Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals” by Colbert, Ankney, and Lee, second edition. Published by Pearson, 2011.)

    There are four types of immunity; 2 that are naturally acquired and 2 that are artificially acquired.

    1. natural active immunity – infection. A person comes in contact with a pathogen and forms antibodies. This is a long-lived immunity.

    2. natural passive immunity – antibodies that pass from mother to fetus via the placenta or mother to baby via breast milk. This is a short-lived immunity.

    3. active artificial immunity – vaccines. A person is exposed to dead or attenuated pathogens and forms antibodies. This is a long-lived immunity.

    4. passive artificial immunity – an injection of immune serum. Antibodies are injected into a person to help fight infection. This is a short-lived immunity.

    Natural active immunity is what Kristen is advocating for. In theory, it makes a sort of sense because it confers long term immunity. Active artificial immunity is what I would prefer to see for vaccine-preventable diseases as this ALSO confers long term immunity but without the side-effects of infection with the illness itself.

    Now, on the topic of herd immunity. NO. I’m sorry, but it does not mean that a community got long term immunity from their mothers because the mothers had immunity. This is simply not possible. It is not how the immune system in mammals works. We get short term immunity from our mothers to anything they have immunity to via the placenta. That lasts no longer than 6 months at which point, it is up to baby’s immune systems to take over. This is the reason why the vaccine schedule begins at two months – so that children get as much immunity via vaccines as they possibly can before Mom’s antibodies die off and they’re vulnerable. Yes, babies DO get a certain amount of immunity through breast milk but there are issues with this. The first being that not all women breastfeed. The second being that it’s not foolproof. If Mom isn’t actively being exposed to a given disease, she’s not making antibodies that would pass through breast milk.

    So what is herd immunity? Herd immunity is when a large percentage of the population in a given area are vaccinated or have been infected and produced antibodies and because so many of them have, the disease fails to proliferate in the community. So many people have immunity that the disease cannot mutate fast enough to get past that immunity and cause widespread infection. As a result, the disease dies out. This is what happened with smallpox. Vaccine rates were so high that the disease has been eradicated world wide and we no longer make or give that vaccine. As a side note, smallpox is the one and only disease for which this achievement can be claimed. Everything else we vaccinate for continues to be an issue in other parts of the world. With our ability to travel worldwide becoming easier every day, so too does the ability of disease to spread rapidly grow.

    Vaccination rates required to achieve herd immunity vary from disease to disease. Please see this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity for a chart that will give you an idea of the vaccination rates required for many of the diseases we vaccinate for. You will notice that the rate is above 80% in almost every case. Pertussis requires over 90%. There are many communities that have vaccination rates of only 60% and these are the places we are seeing outbreaks of pertussis, measles, and other preventible diseases.

    Why is herd immunity important? For the very young – those too young to be vaccinated. This includes not just infants but a subset of toddlers as well because certain vaccines (MMR is one) are not given until later in the vaccine schedule. Herd immunity is also important for the very old – those whose immune systems are fragile due to age. It is important for the immunocompromised – those in cancer treatment, those who have diseases that compromise their immunity in some way (HIV springs to mind). These are the people who desperately need the protection of herd immunity. Not people who are perfectly healthy otherwise and make an ill-informed choice not to vaccinate.

    And why do I call it ill-informed? Well, first of all because I’ve studied biology. Second, because it doesn’t just affect your family. Do you go to the grocery store? The movie theater? Museums? Send your children to school? Enjoy a day at a theme park? If you do, you are putting others at risk. You may think you’re not but are you stopping to interview everyone you come in contact with to find out if they or anyone they know come into contact with an immune compromised individual? I’m guessing the answer to that is no, you do not interview everyone. And in the case of measles – you may not even need to be in the room to give it to someone. It can hang in the air for hours. It’s incredibly virulent.

    One last point I would like to make: you said you couldn’t substantiate my claim about measles side effects and vaccine side effects. Well. I have to ask – is encephalitis and brain damage NOT a far worse thing than a sore arm? I have copied the following directly from the CDC website:

    MMR vaccine side-effects
    (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
    What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

    A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.

    The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
    Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella.
    Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.

    Mild Problems
    Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
    Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
    Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (about 1 person out of 75)
    If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

    Moderate Problems
    Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
    Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
    Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)

    Severe Problems (Very Rare)
    Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses)
    Several other severe problems have been reported after a child gets MMR vaccine, including:
    Deafness
    Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
    Permanent brain damage
    These are so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

    You can see here, the numbers of children who have a problem with the vaccine. It is very, very low in relation to the number of vaccines given.

    See the “complications” section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles to see what the effects of measles can be. Notice how high a percentage of complications you see. A much higher percentage than the rate of severe adverse reaction to the vaccine.

    The science simple DOES NOT allow the premise that measles immunity acquired through infection rather than vaccination is superior. And if you think that scientists haven’t studied these diseases in the world of modern day health, you’re wrong. Epidemiologists do this work every single day.

  7. Cari, I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic. Thank you for your brief and basic biology lesson from a textbook. You may also want to mention natural acquired immunity induces both cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity. Vaccines are very poor at inducing cell-mediated immunity (although they are studying DNA vaccines in rats which appear to induce cell-mediated responses). Cell-mediated immunity is a major contributor to the overall function of your immune system. There is evidence that cell-mediated immunity is passed on through genetics.

    Here are two more links (although I’m not a huge fan a their writing style). One shows evidence that the death rate from measles started to drop prior to the introduction of the vaccine (there is evidence of this for other vaccinated illnesses as well). And it highlights other interesting information about other vaccines: http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/the-truth-about-measles-the-mainstream-media-is-suppressing/. This gives rise to the possibility that there are factors that can be implemented to fight vaccinated illnesses. This information comes from epidemiological studies.

    The second gives rise to question the assertion that vaccines are safe and effective. It highlights 1 of 2 lawsuits Merck is facing about falsifying claims of vaccine effectiveness. http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/why-is-the-mainstream-media-ignoring-measles-vaccine-fraud-cases/. This also talks about the capital gain of vaccines for pharmaceutical companies.

    The other lawsuit Merck is facing is an incident where they allegedly sold vaccines that were not stored properly and therefor ineffective.

    And again: young people, old people and the immunocompromised are at risk for all infections. This is why its important to pay attention to your body and its symptoms and take extra precautions when you or your children are sick. For these reasons it is also important why we as a society need to learn how to take better care of ourselves.

    I have so much more I could share but I just don’t have the time. There is science and fact on both sides of the issue. There are risks on both sides of the issue. I will continue to research for my own benefit. I do not want to put others in harms way. But I successfully treat pain, illness and disease through natural methods for a profession. I treat naturally conditions most people believe you need medication, even surgery, for. So you can understand my distrust in the information provided from main stream medicine and the media and popular thought. And I do wish the methods we relied on where proven safer.

    I agree death is inevitable, this is true for all of us.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • If you’re going to believe in conspiracy theories hatched by the main stream media and big pharma then all the science in the world will not sway you. Not that I ever thought it would in the first place.

      And if your argument is that immunocompromised people, the old, and the young are already vulnerable so therefore vaccines are worthless — well, I don’t even know where to start with that premise. Except that it’s an incredibly selfish way to look at the world. You’re a mom and you should know better than to wish death on young children. And there is no getting around the fact that your stance does exactly that. I hope to never encounter your children as there is an immunocompromised child in my son’s class and I would hate for him to carry something deadly to that child.

      Dawn, thank you for allowing this debate. I will show myself out now.

      • Well, I’m sorry you felt compelled to get ugly. I never stated vaccines where worthless; just that they pose a risk. Please rest assure I will be vigilant to assure my decisions and actions will not put others in harms way (which I have stated repeatedly). Helping people achieve health and and wellness is what I do for a living. Dawn, thanks for coming to my defense and stating the obvious.

      • The risk vaccines pose is minuscule compared to the risk of the diseases they protect against. You refuse to acknowledge that, and I can’t defend what you believe about natural acquired immunity. I’m sorry if you feel let down or disappointed with me for that.

        I also feel bad that Cari’s temper got the better of her. She’s a good friend, and a fiercely protective mother. And a redhead. You both chose to engage on this topic civilly for the most part. I do appreciate that.

  8. Not-so-random aside:
    If you think you need a booster, please talk to your own doctor.

    I saw my internist last month and asked her about an MMR booster–it was actually before the current measles crisis and was sparked by a mumps scare (apparently it’s incredibly painful for adults, and I had my share of that with shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, thankyouverymuch). But guess what! Health insurance doesn’t cover adult MMR boosters for the under-60-to-65 set, and they’re several hundred dollars out of pocket. One friend suggested going to the county health department, which is a good idea, but one I haven’t followed up on yet.

  9. I’m with you, RPM. The actual supported and widely accepted science points to vaccination. A doctor on Fox News said no one gives their kids all the recommended vaccinations on schedule. Well, I guess to Fox News I am no one, which sounds about right.

    Plus, as our mutual friend pointed out on FB, if there were a tie between vaccines and autism how are people choosing a chance their child may die over a chance their child may be autistic? Horrible.

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