Time Magazine has a responsible feature article on vaccines in their latest issue. The article reports the facts on vaccines honestly and does little pandering to the anti-vaccine activists. The author, Alice Park, offers several good points, which I’d like to feature here just because many of her facts are worth restating:
- 77% of America’s kindergarten children are completely vaccinated (many more are just short of being completely vaccinated). This is important to remember because no matter how scary mandatory vaccines may seem, you don’t see even close to 77% of children with autism. Vaccines don’t cause autism, or we would all have autism – a simple fact that vaccine activists generally ignore, or write off with an explanation that brings them back to square one: a genetic component causes the autism.
- Hannah Poling, the Georgia girl awarded money from the vaccine court, had a pre-existing cellular disorder that was aggravated by vaccines, which caused “autism-like symptoms”. We are talking about one girl, who had a mitochondrial disorder weakening her immune system, and the vaccines aggravated that original condition. Two of her symptoms were on the spectrum of autism. It isn’t true to state that she has autism, nor is it true that her problems were due entirely to vaccines.
- Outbreaks of measles and other diseases in America are occuring in several unimmunized populations, where not vaccinating has become trendy. Parents who don’t vaccinate their children are faced with the reality that they are exposing their offspring to painful and horrible diseases.
- Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the man who first suggested a link between autism and vaccines, was abandoned by 10 of the 13 authors of their original study; they retracted their hypothesis within the decade since the paper was published.
- Autism rates did not decline after mercury-laced thimerosal was pulled from most vaccines. This put a wrench in the works of vaccine bashers until they could adjust their goalposts.
- Antivaccine activists claim that the quantity of shots required are now dangerously high, but their fears about the vaccination schedule are a red herring. It only matters how many antigens are in the shots, which actually have been significantly reduced over time.
- The CDC estimates that vaccines save 33,000 lives, prevent 14 million infections, and save $10 billion in medical costs.
- Rates of disease in Nigeria increased 30-fold after religious and political leaders convinced the population not to vaccinate.
I just finished watching a disc from Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica, in which the Saggitarian colonists refused vaccination because it was against their principles. It turns out the Saggitarians were partly right – the doctor they accused of deliberate murder was purposefully killing them with a bad vaccine because he thought they were stupid. I watched that episode, read the Time magazine article, and wrote this blog post. I started thinking about anti-vaccine activists, and I realized that their claims amount to one thing – science fiction, only this is the type of sci-fi that can endanger us all. Vaccinate your kids, people! Be responsible and vaccinate your kids!
Public Service Announcement– Over.