Thursday, January 6, 2011

Because it can't be said enough: Vaccinate your kids

This has nothing to do with Arizona, per se. It also has nothing to do with me or my parenting, because it's not a decision on which I have ever wavered one scintilla since my son was born. We shall return to our regularly scheduled programming (I even might have a regular schedule! How d'ya like that?), but first, this:

Vaccinate your kids.

I'm sure you've all read by now -- the study's been known to be bogus for years and years now, but dangerous ignoramuses have made the issue much, much bigger than it ever had to be -- that the infamous 1998 Andrew Wakefield study linking autism and vaccines, published in the Lancet, is a fraud. This is slightly new news because not only have there been numerous studies since then showing no link between the two; not only have even the supposed "triggers" in vaccines been removed (no effect on autism rates was observed, except maybe a rise due, probably, to diagnostic improvements); not only have most of the co-authors dropped out and just about everyone disavowed the findings ... the study is out-and-out fraud. FRAUD. Fake. Garbage. Bullshit. And everyone knows it now.

So vaccinate your kids.

This moron is either lying through his teeth, or is in the deepest denial I've ever seen, but I don't really care which. Now avert your eyes if you are my mother, or are offended by strong language, because:

FUCK this guy.

Children have died because of what he started. Wakefield LIED in his study, he was hired by a lawyer who had it in for vaccine manufacturers, he refused to admit that he might possibly be wrong, other idiots took his bogus conclusions and ran with them, and rates of vaccine-preventable diseases -- death rates due to those diseases -- have risen. FUCK this guy.

If you were misled, I don't blame you at all. I realize I'm on the pretty extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to keeping up with these things, and probably even more extreme when it comes to detached, pragmatic, rational skepticism. I would contend that this is simply the right way to use one's brain, but I know there are drawbacks as well. I'm not so great at being sensitive. You, undoubtedly, are better at not pissing off your spouse or random Internet friends with extreme bluntness and an unquenchable need to correct others. And if you've been misled, anywhere along the way, I know it's not because you're stupid. You probably have a different circle of friends than I do. They are probably also smart parents. Many of them probably said, seemingly sensibly, that there must be something to this vaccine danger. Better safe than sorry. I get it. You were being the best parents you could.

But now it's out. It's all out; it's corroborated; you don't need to "trust the establishment." Independent researchers, doctors, reporters. They've all checked it out and come to the same conclusion. Everyone, really, but the ridiculous crack Wakefield, who might just be lying anyway. His study was FRAUD. Vaccines save lives. They do not cause (or "trigger") autism. If vaccines are readily available, and you decline to vaccinate your child, you're no less culpable than a parent who doesn't use a seat belt.

You ask me sometimes in messages, or on Facebook, or in parking lots, because you know I'm into this sort of thing. It's nothing like that this time, really. We're all "into" saving our kids. Maybe you refused vaccines before because you were trying to do just that. You were fed lies. Vaccinate your kids.

If you want to read more, here is the editorial in the British Medical journal, here is a CNN piece, and here is a slightly older comic that does a surprisingly good job explaining the whole thing. You can find countless other examples with the most cursory of Googling.

OK, OK. Inhale ... exhale. I'm not an angry person, really. If you have concerns / questions / commentary, if you agree or not, I really do want to hear about it. Are you still afraid to vaccinate your children? If you were, does this dispel any doubts? If not, what would?


Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

Amen; that's all I can say...

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks. And of course I knew you'd be smart about this.

monstergirlee said... Best Blogger Tips

I weighed the options when my son was born, and decided to vaccinate away, however not without misgivings. And even felt bad for my decisions during discussion with other moms.
Now this? F*cker. I hope he faces some sort of fraud charges, he's done a LOT of damage. Outraged.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

I completely respect that. All we can really do is try to be as well informed as possible, and make the best choices we can. And how horrible for you, and all the countless others, who were made to feel bad or doubt their own decisions. Yes; this prick should face some serious punishment.

Brian said... Best Blogger Tips

A-fucking-men to this. This isn't a debate anymore (not that it really ever should have been). It's a question of ethics. If you don't vaccinate your children, you're wrong. No more tip-toeing around people's bullshit feelings and backward beliefs. A mighty tip of the hat to you for a great post.

Heather said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much for posting this. I have always been against the vaccine idea but it certainly affected a lot of people. Consequently, there are diseases making a comeback because of this jackass's need to be acknowledged. I hope that people will see that vaccines exist for a reason and will choose only to not vaccinate if there are religious or compromising medical reasons. You stated this well and I'm glad that you did.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, Brian. I'm not so great at tip-toeing anyway, so this is up my alley.

Thank you very much, Heather. You're so right; it's shameful what one idiot's ego can do. Of course I'm in favor of parental choice. I saw something that made me angry earlier today, though: a discussion board basically telling people how to loophole their way into the religion exemption. The logic goes that you can claim it's against you spiritual beliefs to harm your children, and it might be harmful, so you should be exempt. Talk about a slippery slope.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

A-MEN! What a horrible fucking person, huh? The lack of perspective some people have...that man should have considered the lives he was risking.

Fuck him.

Brother Numpsie said... Best Blogger Tips

There is an upside to not vaccinating kids; the strongest children survive. (Okay, not a fun thought for parents, but I don't have anything better.)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

learned a lot

Liz Ditz said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm keeping a list of positive responses to the BMJ (Yes Wakefield is a fraud, and here are the implications...) and negative responses (Wakefield's research IS TOO valid and vaccines cause autism anyway) at A roundup of responses to the BJM & Wakefield's research was motivated by fraud.

Some observations
1. The positive responses come from a broad range of sites -- politically left and right; people who are skeptics/ people who have heretofore (to my knowledge) never commented on vaccines or autism before, and so on. The negative responses are from a predictable set of sites and people.
2. The news coverage in the US has (perhaps inadvertently) perpetrated the idea that all parents of children with autism believe in the vaccine causation myth. It is a complete falsehood. Many parents of children with autism and adults with autism robustly reject the myth.
3. Kev Leitch, whose daughter has intense autism, has a moving post on how Wakefield's actions have damaged everyone affected by autism

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, you just said everything I've wanted to yell for years, but didn't have the guts. I've nodded my head and kept my mouth shut in mom's group's I've been in while they were spouting their anti-vaccine nonsense, all the while seething inside at the ignorance. My oldest boy is 6, and I have never ever doubted the importance of vaccinating your kids. Kudos to you for writing this and making people sit up and take notice. :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Here are two direct quotes from the now refuted Wakefield paper:
"We did not prove an association between measles,
mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.
Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve
this issue."

"If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and
rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence
might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine
in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to
show whether there is a change in incidence22 or a link
with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.23"

I love how everyone has jumped on this man as if he is the single reason people are afraid of vaccines and by discrediting him vaccines will suddenly be trusted. So people yell, he is a fraud, so now you should vaccinate your kids!

If a person has done their homework either way, to vaccinate or not, supporting this original paper or discrediting it isn't going to do it. I am a little tired of this man being the focal point of the vaccine debate, good or bad, especially when half the people haven't even read the paper. Reading the paper leads me to conclude that public response to vaccines is much bigger than researchers daring to investigate or reporting on possible correlations especially in studies with numbers than anyone with scientific salt knows makes for a weak study.

The vitrol aimed at this man is scapegoating because he is an easy focal point for the overall issue. Right or wrong, people don't trust overall current current vaccine policy. Putting all anti-vax behavior on a man whose original paper looks at *one* vaccine combo and autism as one of multiple perspectives, and then says can't prove *even* a correlation is just as shoddy as any public concluding that vaccines cause autism from the paper.

Spread the blame where it belongs, in multiple quadrants of society, and not just one doctor whose conclusions in this retracted paper were and are still misrepresented.

I get you're angry, and you have a right to express your opinions on your own blog. Its just that this time of causal link and response is everywhere over the man and is just as faulty logically as concluding that vaccines cause autism from the paper as written.

I see this is moderated and am unsure about your policy or if a dissenting view will be approved. I hope that it will.