I was scrolling through facebook a few minutes ago and ran across this article from Upworthy.com posted by none other than one of my heroes, Kevin Folta. I skimmed through the article and then was blown away by the accompanying graphic (see below) that so keenly and colorfully exposes the bad science all around the infamous ‘study’ by Andre Wakefield & colleagues, as well as those who came after, linking vaccines with autism. (I am reposting the graphic under a creative commons license. Due to the limitations of my device, the graphic is reproduced in sections.)
In case you didn’t get the memo, the study was made up. The journal that originally published the study, The Lancet, retracted the study 12 years after its publication.
Since then science and the rational movement have been fighting an uphill battle to get the public back on track about the benefit vs. risk of vaccines. Granted, some of the push back against vaccines stems not from the science, but from anti-corporate sentiment. The drug companies are out to fleece us, yes, of course there is that and understandably so, but when push comes to shove, vaccines protect against illness. Period. Do drug companies profit from vaccines? Yes they do but every time you buy a new iphone, so does Apple. We tend to pick on some companies and not others.
Several years back my elderly mother and I made a visit to Ashland, Oregon, one of the anti-vax stalwarts of the movement. Now I admit this account is purely anecdotal, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t return from Ashland with a nasty case of whooping cough that almost killed her. She made three trips via the ambulance to the hospital because her airway was so completely blocked by phlegm tossed about by the violent coughing. And I couldn’t help but wonder if this outbreak could have been avoided.
If you’re on the fence about vaccinating your child, please take a close look at this.
The areas in green are where whooping cough outbreaks have taken place since 2008
Anti-vax people. It’s working! Preventable diseases are spreading.
Pertussis or Whooping Cough. Same thing. Nasty bacterium.
And we have ways, easy and convenient ways, to keep ourselves from getting this nasty little bug, but some in the US are opting not to because of an unsubstantiated and misguided fear of vaccines.
I take this issue personally.
Two years ago my then 78-year-old mother contracted whooping cough and it damn near killed her. Her violent coughing was so severe that it constricted her airway multiple times to the point of her not being able to breath for prolonged periods of time. She went to the hospital via ambulance on three separate occasions and was terrified to be alone at night because that was when the attacks generally occurred. My son ended up staying several nights with her at her home, just to keep watch. It was all very scary.
This illness is on the rise nationwide and is of greatest concern when it affects very young infants because even if parents approved, infants under two months are ineligible for the vaccine.
There is good, reputable information to be found out there (a few links are listed below). Not every “health” website has the correct information. Just like with GMOs, this is an area of blatant fear-mongering and hysteria.
For more information about vaccine safety:
Vaccine Education Center/The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia