Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Should Have Stayed Asleep....

From the The News Herald amongst others.

1 in 10 children put at risk of life threatening diseases by their well-meaning but misinformed parents.

Kandace O’Neill is a Lakeville, Minn., mom whose views are shared by many parents who don’t follow federal vaccine advice. Her 5-year-old son has had no vaccinations since he turned 1, and her 7-month-old daughter has received none of the recommended shots.

“I have to make sure that my child is healthy, and I do not want to put medications in my child that I think are going to harm them,” said O’Neill, who was not involved in the survey appearing in Pediatrics.

O’Neill said she’s not an extreme anti-vaccine zealot. She just thinks that parents — not doctors or schools — should make medical decisions for their children.

The classic anti-vax slogan, "we're not anti-vaccine, we're pro-safe vaccines." The addition of the appeal to American ideals of freedom of choice is typical as well. I hope with all my heart that Kandace's decision never hurts her children or any other child. She seems like she not only cares deeply, but also honestly believes that her decision is correct.

She is wrong.

And she is dangerous.

Excuse me as I offend some "liberal sensibilities" here. Yes, everyone has the right to their opinion, just as everyone has the right to be an idiot. Opinions unsupported by evidence and facts are worthless, possibly harmful, and deserve to be ridiculed at every opportunity. All manners of insane beliefs manage to find people to champion them. The anti-vaccination crusade is just one of many, yet there is a extreme difference between this belief and so many others.

This belief kills children.

Want to practice a little google-fu? Let's start with the basic search, "measles outbreaks in the united states." Hmmm. Measles cases at 15 year high. I know, I hear you. "But it's just the measles! Who cares?" Well, I said to question everything I said.

Here. From the WHO

Key facts

Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.

In 2008, there were 164 000 measles deaths globally – nearly 450 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.

More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.

Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2008 worldwide.

In 2008, about 83% of the world's children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.

Yep, it's only measles. What's the harm?

738 vaccine preventable deaths in the US since June 3, 2007. Stat from Jenny McCarthy Body Count An important site, I highly recommend it.

It is not just measles. It's not about any particular disease. It is about the health of our children, the importance of protecting herd immunity, and the propaganda war being waged by the anti-vaccine sycophants. They claim they want safe vaccines, yet study after study after study not only shows no correlation between the MMR vaccine and Autism, but also shows the overall safety of vaccines.

Look. I understand the pain parents with autistic children must feel. I also understand this.

I lost a patient this season, an infant, to pertussis. After falling ill he lived for nearly a month in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, three weeks of which was spent on a heart/lung bypass machine (ECMO) due to the extent of the damage to his lungs, but all our efforts were in vain. The most aggressive and advanced care medicine has to offer couldn’t save his life; the only thing that could have saved him would have been to prevent him from contracting pertussis in the first place.

He was unvaccinated, but that was because of his age. He was part of the population that is fully dependent on herd immunity for protection, and that is exquisitely prone to a life-threatening course once infected. This is a topic we’ve covered ad nauseum, and I’m not inclined to go into greater depth in this post. Suffice it to say his death is a failure at every level; we, both as medical professionals and as a society at large need to do a better job of protecting our children from preventable diseases.

~Joseph Albietz

From Science Based Medicine.

I get it. I do. You want someone to blame, and the government and "big pharma" are all too easy of targets. But you are being played. The study that started this all, Andrew Wakefield's fraudulant study that ended his medical career in the UK, was a undisclosed-conflict-of-interest filled attempt at winning lawsuits that included all of 12 children. And yet Wakefield is still a hero to the anti-vaccine advocates, because reality is not the world they inhabit.

For the anti-vaxxers, this is a crusade where evidence does not matter. It's just that in this crusade, the only causalities are children.

More information on the anti-vax "evidence" here, here, here, and here.

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