I get Wired magazine, and noted their article last issue about the safety of vaccines, the necessity of vaccines, and the nuttiness of all the anti-vax information polluting the media lately. It was decent article. I agreed with the author and moved on. I was amazed to read in the next issue (January 2010) that Wired received massive amounts of mail about the article. About 70% of the mail was praising them for simply publishing a good article on the subject. Has it gotten that bad out there? So bad that a single intelligent story is a cause for jubilation? I guess so, because they also received a deluge of ignorance and crazy.
Maybe that other 30% never picked up on the fact that this magazine, among other things, is about technology. And technology is closely related to something called science. This connection was not made. One person wrote:
“I don’t see how my choice [not to vaccinate her children] can threaten others. If vaccines are so safe and effective, then my decision does not put your children at risk.”
Your choice definitely puts other children at risk. Children who are too young to receive the vaccine can get a disease from your kids and die. Children with special health problems that prohibit them from getting vaccines can get a disease from your kids and die. The small percentage of those for whom the vaccine does not “take” and don’t develop an immunity–they can get a disease from your kids and die. Thanks a lot. Read about the baby who died of whooping cough because so few people in the area where she lived were getting immunized. Another person wrote:
“I have never feared that the diseases we are vaccinated for are life-threatening because we do not live in a third-world country and we have access to excellent medical care.”
That sentence can cause your brain to explode. Our “excellent medical care” means getting vaccinated; unlike third-world countries where people are not always vaccinated. Get it? If you think modern medical care can always save a child who gets one of the horrific diseases we vaccinate for, then see the above link about the baby with whooping cough. I suspect this writer is not old enough to remember seeing people suffering from the effects of polio. That vaccine wasn’t developed until the mid 1950s. Read about what happened to those right here in the USA who had polio. If only we could go back to the good old days before all these vaccines, eh? Polio. Pregnant mothers getting rubella. Woo hoo.
Some letter writers had heart-breaking stories of children who began having seizures within days of getting a vaccine. I don’t blame them for imagining a cause and effect relationship. Autism becomes obvious at about 18 to 24 months of age. Thousands upon thousands of kids in this age group are getting vaccinated every week. A few of them have autism. It would be a surprise if some of those with autism didn’t start showing symptoms around the time they are getting their vaccinations. Just to be sure, however, there have been rigorous studies done on this subject. Just to be sure, vaccine makers pulled Thimersol out of most vaccines because it contains a form of mercury, even though there is no good evidence that it does any harm. They did all that, and they still closely track what happens to kids post-vaccination, and there’s just no decent evidence of a cause and effect relationship.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts.
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan