Sunday, May 30, 2010

When did vaccination become such a big deal?

The news has been full of Andrew Wakefield, the man who launched the “MMR causes autism” debacle, and how he performed unethical research and has now been struck off the rolls in Britain. According to one TV report, his research had been debunked. Reading about his research it seemed like too small a sample size to really make draw any conclusions about. When it came out that he was creating an alternate vaccination for a competitor of the MMR shot, I thought he was too biased for his research to be accepted without many other studies confirming his results. When it came out that the medical results had been re-interpreted to back up his theory...this is one time the establishment actually worked to protect the public. None of that is the same as debunked but media creates sound bites.

I did read some comments and was amazed to find that there are people who think that those of us agreeing with vaccination don’t actually get them and even think they can tell people who have been vaccinated because they look dreary and weighed down by all the toxins in their bodies (maybe this is at the bottom of the increase in BMI too!) And I have to say – really?

My anecdata.

First vaccination (and most traumatic) memory was smallpox. Our nice Greek paediatrician thought he would administer this in the waiting room and came out with a H-U-G-E needle that I was convince was going through my arm (at least). He insisted he was just going to scratch me with it and proceeded to do so. Worst side effect: extreme embarrassment about making such a fuss over nothing. BTW I know this was a nice doctor because he told our mom that we didn't have to eat anything we didn't want to. How great was that fo a kid growing up in the 60s!

Most recent vaccination memory: H1N1 flu shot. This finally prompted me to get the seasonal flu shot as well since I had been free-riding on my acquaintances and co-worker’s flu shots. Side effect – arm hurt for couple of days. Complained about it at my exercise class that night and others who had been vaccinated within the past couple of days said it would be that way for a day. None of us seemed weighed down by toxins.

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in a too much too soon mind set. I have dogs that required annual vaccination because they stay in kennels. I worried that they were being exposed to vectors that they normally wouldn’t be (which is kind of the point of vaccinations – pre-emptive exposure for the immune system). Then I realized that they are dogs and eat dead rotting things and immune systems are made to work with that. Dogs are not children but at the least they are entities under my care and I am responsible for ensuring they are not exposed needlessly to harm.