Take Care Tuesday: Impact of ‘Vaccine Hysteria’

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This week’s Take Care Tuesday is probably going to be a bit preachy, sorry I’m not sorry in advance! It is also a two-direction look – at both children and society. The theme, as you might guess is Immunization.

Specifically, this past week I saw the image at the top (which is from the Mother Jones article) related to ourbreaks of serious diseases in places where they had been all-but eradicated by vaccine. There is a great article about it all here.

When we had kids, we headed into the pediatrician for their 2-week check-up and started the cycles of vaccinations. This is just what was done – these diseases had been all but eradicated in the US due to wide-spread vaccination. And by requiring kids coming to school to have vaccines, they prevent re-introduction of the disease.

In fact, let’s just take a quick look at how the Measles vaccine virtually eradicated measles within 5 years, including a 90% 3-year drop-off. Measles is an incredibly infectious disease with frequent complications including pneumonia and more.

Measles_US_1944-2007_inset
(image source)

But then along came an already-debunked report linking vaccines to autism just as the detection and treatment of autistic children was on the rise …and you get ‘vaccine hysteria’. The toll? We are seeing widespread outbreaks of these diseased in areas such as the US and UK where they were gone before. The autism link is gone – but the damage continues. From Mother Jones:

It’s no surprise that Africa has been heavily hit, but why are the United States and Europe seeing so many outbreaks? Aaron Carroll explains:

All of that red, which seems to dominate? It’s measles. It’s even peeking through in the United States, and it’s smothering the United Kingdom.

If you get rid of the measles, you can start to see mumps. Again, crushing the UK and popping up in the US.

Both measles and mumps are part of the MMR vaccine.

Use of the MMR vaccine plummeted during the aughts, as vaccine-autism hysteria was spread by charlatans and the ignorati. Needless to say, this did nothing to affect the incidence of autism, but it sure had an effect on measles and mumps. To this day, though, I don’t think any of the vectors of this hysteria have so much as apologized. It’s shameful.

This is really sad and shameful – because of who I am, whenever we let fear and politics triumph over science and safety I am outraged and affronted. We can do better than this!

That is NOT to say we should blindly accept medication … but ignoring the medical reality of the eradication of a disease compared to a potential red flag put up in one study that conflicts with hundreds of others … that is paranoia, conspiracy theorizing, or worse!

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Spill It ‘Sunday’ … Two Days Late!

I had assumed that Spill It Sunday was like Five Things Friday or Throwback Thursday … in other words, it might have started somewhere but nobody really knows. Turns out that Arman at The Big Man’s World started it … at least within the community of bloggers I run with. So, credit where credit is due! Anyway, the theme this week was TV Shows. Here we go:

We were not a 'TV family' growing up, and I don't recall as many houses with 24/7 TV back then as I do more recently. We would watch some at night, and some on the weekends, but seldom during the daytime.

-> What was your favourite TV series growing up?

Very young – I remember Sesame Street, Zoom and Electric Company

Childhood – Wild Kingdom, Bugs Bunny – Road Runner, Lost in Space, Batman, Star Trek

Later childhood – Monty Python (came to US when I was 9), Six Million Dollar Man, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Battlestar Galactica

Teen years- Star Trek The Next Generation, Family Ties, Cosby Show

Twenties – Twin Peaks, Mad About You

Thirties – Ally McBeal, X-Files, Melrose Place

-> What is your current favourite TV series?

Hmmm … tough call, but right now we watch Grimm, Supernatural, and Castle pretty regularly, and have been keeping track of Suburgatory and Brooklyn Nine Nine as well.

-> If you could guest star in ANY TV show, which would it be?

Star Trek The Next Generation – although I grew up on the original, this is always my favorite series. Love all the characters (even Wesley), the techno-babble and so on.

-> What genre of television do you enjoy the most? (Reality, Action, Drama, Comedy)

Comedy and drama … action is fine, but REALLY not a fan of most reality shows (at least those that define the genre like the ‘real world’, ‘jersey shore’ and so on). Though I DO like to watch Chopped, House Hunters, and so on.

-> Which TV series do you think should NOT have been renewed after it’s first season yet had?

The Secret Life of the American Teenager – we watched the show because of the age of our kids, and while it wasn’t great, it also dealt with the issues of teen pregancy and the impact on the rest of life … for a while. Then it became about the relentless pursuit of teen sex. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

-> Which TV series do you think deserved to be renewed yet was not?

We really enjoyed a show called ‘The Heights’ that only made it a half-season (12 episodes) … but my all-time non-renewed series has to be Police Squad! From the people who made Airplane, it is really a classic. Here is the first episode:

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5 thoughts on “Take Care Tuesday: Impact of ‘Vaccine Hysteria’

  1. I so 100% agree about this post – vaccines are so important and it’s downright scary when people don’t get them (or, worse, ensure their children don’t). What will happen before people figure this out?!?!

  2. I am standing up in front of my computer applauding right now. I feel very passionately about this topic and I think you stated it perfectly. In general I try not to judge how other people parent their children because veryone is different and what works for one family might not work for another. Things that don’t affect my family aren’t on my radar. But when it comes to vaccines, a large population deciding to not immunize their kids are in turn putting my child at risk. Herd immunity is not a myth. It blows my mind that people don’t understand this concept. Thank you for this post!

    Also you have excellent taste in TV shows. 🙂

    • haha – thanks on the TV shows!

      And I agree – I am very slow to judge ANY parent so long as there isn’t anything that is too close to abuse or severe neglect for me to ignore … I mean, as parents we have ALL been ‘there’ in one way or another with our kids. But something like a significant health risk for the general population … well, not so forgiving of that. When our kids were little there were some who saw it as a hassle, saying “the disease is eradicated, why do we need to bother with a shot?” … well, now it is back, so we can see WHY you should have bothered with the shot!

  3. I’ve always felt so conflicted about this. Like you, I very strongly believe that a parent should be able to parent his/her own children the way he/she wants without judgment. BUT … when it has implications on the rest of the world, like this does, it becomes less of a clear line. If I had kids, would I vaccinate them? Yes. But if a new mother and father really believe that their child may get autism if the child gets the vaccination? I have a hard time saying they should be forced into that decision. When I think about the other people who are getting sick against their will (obviously), though, it pushes me to your side. I realize this comment is all over the place, which kind of reflects my thoughts.

    On a lighter note, you just ruined the Secret Life for me! Kevin and I are only about halfway through the first season (we don’t watch much TV but have this on Netflix) and we loved it! They definitely did talk about sex, but CERTAINLY not as much as that video. Bummer … guess we’ll have to stick to Friday Night Lights and Chopped (although now that we’ve found Cutthroat Kitchen, Kevin likes Chopped less!)

    • I think your struggle mirrors most people – we want them to make the right choice, but mandating parenting starts to get tricky. No easy answers … but I look at it this way – if the parent didn’t want to vaccinate because they were sure that tracking devices were being installed, would we feel the same? I know that the situation is different but science on the autism link is just bad science, therefore the resistance is not based on rational basis. Still tricky ground to be sure.

      As for Secret Life – I suggest you watch the full first season, then call it done. We really loved it, and felt that for the kids it was interesting to watch these issues being addressed.

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