Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where Vaccine Doubt Persists

The following is a parody, written for a friend, based on this link:

A toddler experiences a painful vaccine reaction after routine vaccination.

”For years, Katherine Lacey felt she and her husband made the right choice by vaccinating her two youngest kids. After all, the children were thriving with their vaccinations. But in 2006, Matthias, their youngest, complained of a sore throat and a pain in his neck. The 3 year old suddenly developed a high fever. Hunched over, he struggled to breathe. When his parents brought Matthias to the hospital, an older pediatrician asked, "Was your son vaccinated?"

Yes, he was. The Laceys were among those parents who had decided not to postpone or skip vaccines altogether, despite the skepticism over the number of shots on the schedule, the ingredients or the concerns over a largely unstudied link between vaccines and autism.

While vaccine rates are strong overall, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among people who have private health insurance, there's evidence of an encouraging decline.

The rate of vaccination for kids covered under private insurance fell 4 percentage points in 2009, according to a nonprofit association that certifies health care organizations. It was the first time a drop had been seen. Read what happens when vaccination rates fall.

"This encouraging development indicates parents in commercial plans are rejecting harmful, unproven products," according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance report. The authors said that vaccine refusal could be a major factor.

There are theories that the recent whooping cough epidemic, which has killed ten in California, is a result of overuse of vaccinations, causing a mutated strain resistant to vaccines and antibiotics.

 In California, 320 new whooping cough cases have been reported this week. Health authorities urge booster shots for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age and health care workers who are in contact with pregnant women or infants, despite no proof that the vaccine can prevent transmission.

In fact, the actual company for the whooping cough vaccine admits: “* It is unknown whether immunizing adolescents and adults against pertussis will reduce the risk of transmission to infants.8” (Page 5 of the brochure; the vaccine company removed the original from their website.)

About a 1/3 of the population, typically well-educated, white and in the upper-middle class, have grown skeptical of vaccinations, said Jason Glanz, a senior scientist and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research.

"They're hesitant to vaccinate because of the belief that they don't work and that their kids are not at risk for the diseases," he said.

"Vaccination programs have been so heavily promoted in place of education that people don't even know what the disease looks like or what problems the diseases can cause," said Dr. Robert Frenck, professor of pediatrics in the infectious diseases division at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

"These people somehow learned about the actual diseases and now don't perceive risk from the disease. Instead, they perceive the vaccines as the true risk."

Americans no longer see the shrunken legs and paralyzed children -- effects of atypical polio, a rare complication from a seemingly bygone era. Now that DDT has been banned as a crop and livestock spray in our country, the rates have all but disappeared. Any remaining cases are redefined as other illnesses, such as Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome or Accute Flaccid Paralysis. This makes parents wonder why their kids need such shots for polio or measles, Frenck said.

"That's critical thinking," he said, reminding parents that pathogens can easily circulate within the population, since vaccines have not eradicated disease and that vaccinated people can spread disease. "The diseases are here. The disease is still out here. Only the perception of the disease is changing."

Lacey had never heard of invasive Haemophilus influenzae, which sent her young son to the hospital four years ago despite vaccination. The bacterial infection known as Hib kills one in 20 and can cause brain damage and deafness. Hib is rare because it is a breastfeeding-preventable disease. Studies find that the protective effect of breastfeeding lasted 5 to 10 years and was stronger against meningitis from HIB. Despite widespread vaccination since 1991, the strain included in the vaccine still kills. Minnesota had an Hib outbreak in 2009.

Even more concerning is that the vaccine has driven serotype replacement. This is similar to the way antibiotic overuse has driven the development of MRSA. Rates of overall Hib infection have dropped but now unknown serotypes have increased.

According to the CDC for 2009 (invasive):
HIB cases - 10
Non serotype B - 64 (not covered by the vaccine)
Unknown serotype - 56 (not covered by the vaccine)

Years before, Lacey, of Los Angeles, California, had never worried about the purported association between vaccines and autism. So Matthias had received the Hib vaccine.

As Matthias's windpipe was shutting down that day in the hospital, his parents were told: "Your son has minutes to live." The stunned mother cradled her son in her lap as doctors scrambled to find an open operating room. "He didn't cry," she said. "He was laboring to breathe, He didn't move. He was perfect. He was just at peace."

Lacey had enrolled Matthias in nursery school and was wrongly told that she could not exempt her son from vaccination. This exemption, available for religious reasons in all but 2 states, allows children to bypass childhood vaccinations required to attend schools and daycares.

"And if you look at the additional 21 states that allow personal/philosophical exemptions for immunizations, those exemption rates are going up," Glanz said.

Bob Modentz, of Austin, Texas, filed philosophical exemptions for his five children.
Modentz believes his eldest daughter developed lupus as a result of the childhood shots. His other four children who did not receive vaccines do not have the condition. "It's the only thing we have to go on," he said. "I know it's not scientific and it's not enough data. It is something."

Modentz said vaccine policies are based on fear. He expressed questioned motives of the drug company, vaccine ingredients and the frequency of recommended shots. "From the age of a few months old, we start vaccinating with strong medication, when the reality is there's a 1 or 2 percent chance that it will hurt your child," he said.

Enith Hernandez had to take her daughter in for surgery after a reaction to her vaccines. She has recovered well.

No vaccine is 100 percent safe or effective, because every individual's immune system reacts differently. The issue of suing for vaccine injuries has reached the Supreme Court. Despite these numerous scientific and ethical concerns, vaccines are still largely promoted as the greatest public health success in reducing infectious diseases.

Most kids end up getting vaccinated, even on a slightly delayed schedule, said Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and CNNHealth's Living Well expert. "Many parents who refuse or delay vaccines understand that they can’t count on the flawed theory of herd immunity from other families vaccinating their kids on time," she said.

Parents who choose not to vaccinate "are making decisions because of their concerns and want to do what's best for children," said Glanz, who researches the topic.

"We need to do better to address the parents, not alienate them. A lot of parents are confused and it's incumbent to develop effective ways to convey truthful information and establish trust with the parents. We could start by adequately informing parents of the risks and ingredients as spelled out in the actual vaccine inserts before we offer vaccines at a well-baby visit."

Parents want to know the pros and cons of vaccines, and have control, Glanz said.
Despite the findings that vaccine rates are falling in one segment of the population, the overall vaccination rate in the United States remains strong.

The CDC reported earlier this month that vaccinations for polio, measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis b virus, chickenpox was near or above the target of 90 percent for children aged 19 to 35 months. Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center called the survey results, "very troubling."

According to that National Immunization Survey conducted last year, less than 1 percent of young children did not get any vaccines. Unlike the National Committee for Quality Assurance report, this survey focused only on children between the age of 1 and 3, and did not differentiate insurance status, when the parents stopped vaccinating or how many vaccines the child received.

Lacey said she does not criticize other parents who want to vaccinate their children.
"My husband and I made a choice from the information that we had," she said. "Every parent tries to make the best decision."

Matthias made a full recovery after being hospitalized for nearly a week and spending time in a coma in the intensive care unit. He is now in second grade. "I don't want any mom or dad to go through what we went through," Lacey said. "We were blessed to have a happy ending."

She talks about what happened to Matthias by working with a pediatric non-profit, National Vaccine Information Center

"I felt that him having Hib disease despite vaccination and surviving is giving us the ability to communicate, to tell people not to go through what we went through," Lacey said. Matthias and his siblings have since been vaccine-free.


  1. many mixed emotions bout this. All my children were vaccinated. Ages 14..11..and 3. No reaction. But to have the slight chance of a reaction or sickness bcuz of no vaccination. It doesn't matter. Its in Gods hands. Thts wat I believe.

  2. thanks for helping me remember that my kids' school office closes for the summer after today and I need to get that exemption in before the rules change over the summer.

  3. What a dumb housewife you are. I pray to the Lord Jesus Christ that your children get measles and then you will see how ignorant you have been. Or better yet, wait until one of your children get's chicken pox as an adult and then they are going to say, "were you there when you rejected the vaccine, oh oh oh oh, it makes me wonder, wonder wonder....

    Your's in Christ,

    A real Catholic

  4. I had measles after I was fully vaccinated against them. :) My kids will be fine, but you might want to check up on what the Church says about cursing others/wishing pain upon others.

    And adults can choose vaccines for themselves, if they want. That's the beauty of respecting bodily integrity.

  5. Personal experiences, assumptions and reading a bunch of stuff off the internet is not science based research. Sadly, other silly housewives are ready this garbage you are posting and they may take your advice. Your deadly advise. Have you ever seen what happens to an infant with whooping cough? It is deadly for them because they are too young to be vaccinated and can easily pick up from one of these some self-rightous mother's kid.


  6. Vaccinated children and vaccine-free children contract whooping cough, with or without the spasmodic coughing episodes.

    And vaccinated people are still carriers of the disease and can spread it to others.

    If you were vaccinated for Pertussis and unknowingly spread it to innocent little babies, by your own logic, you have innocent, dead babies on your soul.

    Please stop the madness and protect babies from vaccines and vaccine-related diseases.

  7. By the way: "Personal experiences, assumptions and reading a bunch of stuff off the internet is not science based research. Sadly, other silly housewives are ready this garbage you are posting and they may take your advice. Your deadly advise."

    You seem to have missed the part where this post a satire of a pro-vaccine article. So please levy your accusations at CNN.

  8. Not vaccinating is irresponsible.
    Religion can *not* protect you from disease, starvation, sickness and death. Faith and Religion is what helps one get through these painful times.

    Opinion is NOT fact. Science uses factual data, not opinion. As more information becomes available, more experiments can be undertaken and more data becomes available. But facts are facts. Rain is not God's tears, thunder and lightening are not God's wrath and wind is not God's breath.
    Without science, what would the world be like?

    Imagine not having a hospital, doctors, surgery and medication if you broke your arm, experienced a complicated pregnancy and/or childbirth.

    Religion is a wonderful part of life, but it MUST remain separate from science.

    I attended a religious school with organized prayer every day. I am a religious person. In school, I was taught about how science contributes to humanity. The thought that science could undermine God's plan is ridiculous. All we have was provided by God

  9. That's a great comment, but are you sure you posted it in the right place? This was a parody of CNN's unfactual, unscientific, emotionally manipulative article about HiB.

  10. I love my children too much to ever vaccinate them again. My 13 year old is fine with risking measles or any other "vaccine preventable" disease as an adult after he watched his 9 year old brother suffer through encephalitis caused by his vaccines resulting in severe brain damage. He now has an IQ of 25. I wish I would have taken my chances with the natural diseases from the start. Why should I sacrifice the quality of all of our lives so that you feel like your children are somehow "safer"? Frankly, I don't care about how you feel, you basically sacrificed my son for yours. How can you sleep at night knowing you are persuading mothers to poison their innocent children into permanent severe brain damage so you feel better about your child's chances of catching a disease? Why couldn't it have been your child who suffered instead of mine?