Friday, 11 April 2014

Musings on Vaccines

Here's what confuses me about the anti-vaccine movement. 

Most of them seem to believe that there is a worldwide conspiracy to silence the 'dangers of vaccines.' It comes up in every debate "BUT BIG PHARMA IS EVIL!" Have they not thought this through at all?

That would mean that there are literally millions of people 'in' on the conspiracy and that physicians and tens of thousands of vaccine researchers were too stupid to realize it or too corrupt to do anything about it. Or it would mean they think nearly all doctors and researchers liked to harm children for profit. Can I roll my eyes loudly enough?

A single measles hospitalization (which is a fairly large proportion of infected individuals) costs tens of thousands of dollars, lots of it in drugs. Pharmaceutical companies would make bank off of people not vaccinating - treating illness is a lot more expensive than preventing it.

Vaccines are the single greatest contribution to public health and reduced child mortality, closely followed by clean water. Millions of people a year don't die because of vaccines. 

When people all vaccines 'unnatural' I just can't help but laugh. You know what's unnatural? Having almost all children survive infancy. I'm okay with that, personally. If someone wants to return to child mortality rates from the pre-vaccine era, fine, but get the hell away from my community because people who can't be vaccinated for health reasons, and people for whom the vaccine didn't have a strong effect, don't deserve to die because someone wants to believe in a boogeyman. 

But no, don't let reality get in the way of your conspiracy theorizing!


  1. AMEN TO THAT! Vaccinations are the ONE parenting topic which I absolutely will ALWAYS give my opinion. I got so angry at one anti-vax mom that talked to who kept going on about "respecting person choice". Because its not personal - if it were just her kids at risk, it would be one thing. But because it affects my too young to vaccinate child, or my friend's little girl who has RA and can't be vaccinated against certain diseases (and getting them would be life threatening), it makes it a community problem. UGH. And she also did the whole "its a big pharma conspiracy" thing.

    1. More parents need to speak out like you do. You're exactly right - it's not just the kids of non-vaccinating parents who are at risk. I caught pertussis from the unvaccinated kids in our community when I was three because I was on immunosuppressing drugs so my vaccine didn't have much of an effect. Because I was born with chronic lung disease, I got very, very sick. Just a couple of years ago, ten infants died in a pertussis outbreak in California. I don't know what it's going to take for people to realize that not vaccinating is going to let these diseases come back with a vengeance. We're already seeing it happen.

      Good for you for speaking up. :)