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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dun Dun Daaaaah... Vaccinate!

I'm a firm believer in vaccinations in children.  Working with medical professionals, including some very well-renowned doctors here in Sacramento, Ca., and some in my own family, I know the risks of NOT vaccinating your child outweigh the risks of vaccinating them.  The worst are the claims that vaccinations cause autism.  This one irks me the most - because its a claim that has been spread like wildfire amongst moms seeking a more 'natural' philosophy in raising their children, or by those parents dealing with the difficulties of a child who has autism BUT the theory is based on a FALSE scientific study that was discredited and has since been retracted.  That's what annoys me the most - the theory has been scientifically discredited and retracted yet people still want believe in it. I guess facts, such as scientific backing, are not that important. I do understand how difficult it must be to have a child with autism and as a parent you may want to hang onto any glimmer of understanding as to why this happened to your child.  But I would hope if that were to happen to me, I could stick to the facts and not false theories.

Then there are the parents who believe that pumping their children with ingredients constructed through the Big Bad Pharmaceutical Company are so dangerous that they would rather fill their kids with vitamin C hoping it will fight off deadly diseases. Com'on. Really?

I understand it is a personal choice and the bottom line, parents on both sides of the spectrum, I feel, truly have the best interest of their child in mind.

That being said, I cannot reiterate the importance of vaccinations.  In fact, I won't... just read this. It's a no-bullshit-straight-to-the-point perspective on the importance of vaccinations, written by a doctor to all parents.

I love this part the most:

California recently endured the largest whooping cough outbreak in 65 years, sickening almost 9,500 people and killing 10 infants. So far this year, there have been more cases of measles in the United States than any year since 1996. This is not a harmless disease — 40% of people who get it need to be hospitalized. 
You may think your children seem just fine without their vaccinations, but that's because of a phenomenon called "herd immunity." Let's say you live in a neighborhood where every kid has been immunized except yours. There's hardly any chance little Billy will contract whooping cough when he's out with his buddies because all of them are immune. In essence, this is immunization-by-proxy, and it takes advantage of everyone else's immunity. Rather than taking the high ground, you're sponging off the other parents on the block who chose to do the responsible thing. If, on the other hand, all the parents behaved like you and Susie came down with whooping cough, it would spread like wildfire through the playground. 
You need to understand that your child does not live in a vacuum. He or she interacts with others everywhere. Unvaccinated children can be the vehicles for introducing deadly diseases into communities. Children with compromised immune systems who cannot be vaccinated are especially vulnerable.
Oh and this part: 
If you want an unbiased view, I can direct you to a whole bunch of people who would be happy to fill you in: our senior citizens. They lived with the fear of these dread diseases (one octogenarian told me his dad took a 1,000-mile detour around Chicago when he heard there was a polio outbreak there in the 1930s). They rallied around a president stricken with polio (for those who need a history refresher, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt). They lost children and other loved ones to the diseases you are so nonchalant about. These are the ones who line up for their annual flu shots and ask when they are due for any other immunizations they may need. Yes, they have a healthy respect for these diseases. I wish you could catch some of their fear.
Those of you who know me may recall that I used to be a veterinarian. Vaccination is hugely important in the animal world as well. You wouldn't dream of allowing your dog to skip his rabies shot, on the off chance that he gets into a tussle with an infected bat. All I am asking is that you treat your children as well as your pets. 
Now go vaccinate your child for heaven's sake.  By not doing so, you're not only putting YOUR child at risk of death, but other children at risk as well!


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