Posted by: sayamika, the killer bunny | 2009 January 25

This is why we vaccinate

I hate giving shots to babies. Hate that they cry, hate that I know it hurts them and distresses them.

I do it as quickly as possible and get mum or dad to cuddle and comfort immediately after.

I have had a recent run on people saying things like: what about the whole autism thing? Isn’t it going to overwhelm her immune system?

Here’s my spiel:

There was a study done several years ago, by a group led by a man called Wakefield. This was a good study, though small.

It had twelve children in it who all had autism. They looked for links, and the MMR vaccine was one thing they all had in common. The fact that kids get their MMR around the same time that autism is generally first noticed was what led to that question.

(most parents make faces at this point, and some say, “Isn’t twelve kind of small?”)

This study was a hypothesis-generating study, so its goal was to raise a question for further investigation, which it did very well. Unfortunately the media got hold of it and things got out of hand. The lead investigator does the lecture circuits and makes lots of money scaring people on the basis of this study.

There were something like 10 investigators, of whom all but the lead investigator have since removed their names from the study and are embarrassed to be associated with it.

Since that time, there have been several large studies, involving thousands of children. They have consistently found no links between MMR and autism.

Indeed there is a small trend in the other direction, but this is probably nothing but chance.

Babies are exposed to thousands and thousands of new proteins daily in the first several months of life, with each new food, new laundry detergent, new fabric, new pet, new environment. The ten to fifty new proteins in the vaccine are a drop in the ocean.

So her immune system can take it.

And thanks to vaccination, we are no longer afraid of smallpox and polio, among other things.

I suppose the truly committed anti-vaccine parents don’t come to me and certainly don’t ask, so I doubt I’ve changed anyone’s mind. I just hope I’ve eased some worry. The kids have thus far all gone one to get their shots on schedule.

What’s got me making this rant?

A baby died in the US of a vaccine-preventable illness. Due to shortage rather than paranoia, or the parents’ guilt would be unimaginable.

I am so sorry for your loss.

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