Sunday, October 7, 2012
A Controversial Topic: Vaccines
This Sunday's paper contained the Parade magazine as usual. The cover article is this one: http://www.parade.com/health/2012/10/07-why-so-many-parents-are-delaying-vaccines.html on vaccines. I think this article is well written and not extreme.
I have been concerned about the increase in the number of parents who are not vaccinating their children. Honestly, this article expresses my concerns well. I remember visiting a church a few years ago where I knew many of the parents were choosing to delay or not vaccinate their children. I was quite anxious about my children being in the nursery. One thing most people don't realize is that when they choose to delay or not vaccinate their children, they are not only putting their own children at risk, but also those who are unable to be vaccinated for health or age reasons.
Our culture is so self-centered. We are encouraged to think more of our own families than of the greater good. We don't think about how our actions will affect others.
I have a friend who is a pediatric ICU nurse. We've had long discussions about the vaccines. She explained to me about what she's seen in her job and that people don't realize the impact of the diseases that we are warding off by vaccinating our children. I've even heard people make light of whooping cough and hepatitis.
Our generation has not had to experience these diseases in epidemic proportion. So, I believe it is very difficult for us to accept the reality of how an epidemic would impact everyone. But, outbreaks are increasing.
Can you imagine having your child die of a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccination?
Many people are now putting off the hepatitis vaccine, because they believe it is not necessary. I have known several people with hepatitis. While it is not life threatening, it is life-altering. There are many effects. One is that it can affect one's ability to get pregnant. Another person I knew struggled with fatigue and other symptoms that made it impossible for her to hold a full time job. It also damages a person's liver and can lead to liver cancer.
Another vaccine that people are putting off or not getting is the chicken pox vaccine. It is seen as not essential. But, there is an additional affect of not getting the vaccine besides chicken pox. Many people who got the chicken pox as children are now getting shingles as adults. It is the same virus that causes shingles. I have one friend who's had shingles 3 times. She has explained to me how painful it is and that she made sure her children got the chicken pox vaccine. Most parents think that if their children get the chicken pox then it is done. But, unfortunately, it isn't.
I know many parents believe that vaccines have damaged their children. I do not know how to respond to what they believe in their hearts to be true. I do know, though, that the link between vaccines and autism has been consistently disproven and debunked by research. There are other potential causes that researchers are investigating. This article lists a few of them: http://www.rodale.com/autism-and-vaccines Our culture is so cynical and distrustful. We are prone to believing conspiracy theories, like the ones that have been perpetrated about autism and vaccines. We need to be careful about such theories--they affect our well being and that of others.
Posted by Anne at 8:17 AM