Fall is almost here, near time for back to school, time for kids to get their shots.
SHOTS? You mean when the government makes you get stabbed by a needle full of disease and toxins?
Yes, I do mean that. And I do mean to have my children immunized based on every doctor recommendation our pediatrician gives us. Here are 25 reasons why I make this informed decision, and why I very strongly suggest everyone do the same.
It Works (and not doing it tends to not work).
I Love My Neighbor.
I confess: I hate needles. They make me squirm. And every time I get something taken out of me or put in me with a needle, I fear the worst. And while I might fear the idea of an inoculation and believe in my own immune system, I know my body’s bacteria can be a threat to others. I love my neighbor enough to protect my neighbor. No matter how strong my immune system (or my child’s) is, I can still pass diseases.
I believe in Natural Medicine.
Many who favor alternative medicine are against vaccines because they’re all artificial-y. On the contrary, a microscopic dose of harmless artifice delivers nature herself. “Vaccines invite the immune system to produce its own protection,” as Jane Smith puts it. Vaccines use synthetic materials that are benign in microscopic amounts and are used to deliver a dose of domesticated nature so our bodies can subdue it. What makes a vaccine work isn’t lab chemicals, but our own bodies’ antibodies. The roots of vaccination predate modern medicine to the 1770s, and even earlier, thanks to the farmer’s practice of variolation.
I am Not an Island.
I, like you, am outnumbered by the bacteria in my body right now, which reminds me that while I am an individual, I am also part of a larger group, always, a community of my family, my town, my country, and my world. Many of my personal health decisions are also health decisions made on behalf of others, some loved ones, some complete strangers.
I Believe a Child’s Immune System, Like the Child, Needs Tutoring.
Infants are born with a naive immune system that hasn’t learned how to make antibodies for germs it hasn’t met. Vaccines prepare that immune system for pathogens they haven’t encountered. I believe in teaching. And the body’s cells are students. Vaccines tutor children with “real-world examples” of hazardous pathogens.
I Believe in Hive Immunity.
Some call it “herd immunity” (but anti-vaccers say this implies we’re dumb cattle, confusing their metaphors). Immunity is not just a private matter; immunity is public. My health decisions have consequences not just on myself, but the community, the region, and the nation.
I Am Against Racism and Classism.
Vaccination works because the majority enlist themselves to protect not just themselves, but the minority. Many fears about vaccines are generated by rich and middle-class people in developed countries, and their attitudes toward vaccines would harm them less than the majority of people in the world who live in more hazardous conditions.
Fears sometimes arise that vaccines are a scheme to harm or castrate Africans or gays or some other group of impoverished, ghettoized people afflicted by colonialism and bigotry. Look, there have been and still are plenty of examples of such that are actually proven and need to be remedied. But without evidence, discouraging vaccines is only harming people of these nations, doing the opposite of helping them fight oppression and gain sovereignty. Rumors of harm to afflicted people only harm them further, erecting barriers between victim and aid.
Vaccines Are Only Marginally Profitable for Big Pharma.
Yes, vaccines make profit. So does food. If vaccines were free, they’d bankrupt their makers. They’re also effective. While vaccines are created by the same expansive companies that manufacture pharmaceutical drugs, there is no other entity with the means to successfully create and distribute vaccines. Vaccines are not addictive, they’re an expensive hassle to make, and the market for them is small. Many companies stopped making them altogether because the overhead is low. Doctors often lose money administering them. There isn’t enough incentive for anyone to capitalize on vaccines, so only pharmacoms have the infrastructure for the operation. It took Merck 16 years and $182 million to test the RotaTeq vaccine. The patent was sold for much less. 90% of that money went directly to Children’s Hospital to fund more research. The other 10% paid the researchers for years of life-saving work. The industry is hardly profitable. Underdeveloped countries struggle to get a hold of vaccine for this very reason.
Besides, don’t forget that vaccination tends to be the most cost-effective intervention against disease (as a CDC study shows). Big Pharma and Big Insurance have a bigger financial incentive to sell drugs and treatments to you after you’re sick than to sell you a vaccine beforehand. But the people who run them, no matter how greedy they are, have children of their own, and are aware of the moral incentive to provide vaccines.
Vaccines Help the Poor More Than or as Much as the Rich.
While resisting vaccines may seem like a defiant gesture of self-sovereignty or resistance against capitalism, it poses a hazard to the 99% and, arguably, abuses your sovereignty by putting others in danger. In the words of Eula Biss, “Wealthier countries have the luxury of entertaining fears the rest of the world cannot afford.” You or your child not getting inoculated can affect the health of a poorer person, even if that poor person was inoculated. Meanwhile, Big Pharma wants to sell you and the poor antibiotics after you get sick. So if you want to stick it to the man, stick it in your arm.
Researchers Know More about Hazards than I Do.
As theorist Eve Sedgwick says, “paranoia knows some things well and others poorly.” Like the average person, I sometimes have irrational fears that defy statistics. I forget simple realities: Disease causes more deaths than accidents. Suicide causes more deaths than homicide. Did you know that? I didn’t until I read a peer-reviewed study. Doctors know the research more than I do when it comes to health risks and mortality.
Much of the Alarming Information on Vaccines is From Another Era.
A lot of facts circulated about vaccines were true, but are actually outdated and don’t apply to today’s vaccines. The smallpox vaccine from 60+ years ago had many more active ingredients than vaccines today. The 20-ish immunizations kids get today are less hazardous in their totality than a single shot the previous generation got. And even then vaccines were probably the better way to go for public and personal health.
Dr. Wakefield is a Fraud…or a Quack at Best.
Every study done, except one, has led to a rejection of the theory that vaccines cause autism. But what about that one study?
In 1998 this gastroenterologist published a case study of only 12 children, speculating that the MMR vaccine may cause autism. The paper even said, “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and ruballa vaccine and the syndrome described.” No other study found any such links either. People even tried to replicate his study and found nothing even close to the links he claimed he found.
In 2004, a journalist discovered that Dr. Wakefield had done his research because he was paid $800,000 by a lawyer trying to sue a vaccine manufacturer. Britain’s General Medical Council concluded that he was guilty of dishonest practices and was no longer fit to practice medicine. So what did he do? He emigrated to America and claimed he’d been persecuted. So for almost a decade his study stuck it was exposed, and it still sticks today due to conspiracy gossip and bad science.
Mercury and Aluminum are in All Kinds of Daily Products.
Vaccines you get a few times in your life. Many of our everyday products, even foods, also contain microscopic amounts of these chemicals, and we consume them continually. For the substances that cause cancer, vaccines aren’t the place to focus on elimination. Our food and home products are. When it comes to cumulative toxic effects, in comparison with our consumer lifestyles, vaccines are reliably innocuous, and remain the best way to protect us from toxins produced by diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
Also, many fears of mercury confuse ethyl mercury with methyl mercury (which is a neurotoxin).
Thimerosal is not toxic in the amounts vaccines contain.
In 2012 the journal Pediatrics released a peer-reviewed article determining that “there is no credible scientific evidence that the use of thimerosal in vaccines presents any risk to human health,” a conclusion in concordance with WHO standards.
So what about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 1999 ban on thimerosal? The ban was actually treated as a suspension while the effects of thimerosal were further researched, not a ban based on any findings. 14 years later, knowing that it was safe, experts agree the ban was never necessary. Banning vaccines that contain thimerosal would make it more difficult for poorer countries to afford alternatives.
Formaldehyde is in Everything, and in Higher Amounts.
While it’s found in vaccines, there is more formaldehyde in car exhaust, cigarette smoke, paper bags, paper towels, gas stoves and fireplaces than in a single vaccine. It is not just an embalming liquid. Our bodies also make more of it than is found in a single vaccine.
Triclosan is Everywhere.
Triclosan is even in the urine of people who don’t use products containing it. The tiny amount in a vaccine isn’t where the danger is if Triclosan is harmful (which no study has proven). And if you’re worried about it, better throw out that germ-killer soap.
Squalene? Not in America (Also, My Liver Makes Squalene).
You hear rumors about squalene from parents with intuitive toxicology. While no US vaccine has squalene (a single US doctor mistakenly thought the H1N1 vaccine had it), some UK vaccines do. But the human body makes squalene. So if it’s too toxic in a vaccine, my body is poisoning itself, and so is yours.
The Adverse Affects of Vaccines are Rare and Harmless.
Seriously. I’m a fainter. I’ve fainted when having blood drawn, and nearly faint at vaccine time. Fainting and muscle pain are symptoms of getting shots, not symptoms of the vaccine itself. Brain swelling is an adverse effect of brain surgery, but I would still consider it if a doctor said so.
You Can’t Prove a Negative 100%.
Here’s a fear you have to get over: You can’t prove 100% what vaccines don’t cause, no matter how much evidence you have, and this is true with any negative. You can’t prove God doesn’t exist. You can’t prove I’m not an alien. You can’t prove there aren’t an infinite number of alternate realities besides this one. That’s how science works.
Autism is Better than Death.
(As said above) There is no proof that vaccines cause autism. But even if they could, I would still risk my child getting autism over the risk of my child dying, or your child dying.
Many Vaccine Conspiracies are Based on Postcolonial Fears, Not Vaccines Themselves.
An example: In 2012 the Taliban banned polio vaccines. Why? Turned out, the CIA had committed an act of war against civilians, going undercover with health officials, and administering fake vaccines in the process. The spying attempt failed, health officials were imprisoned or killed, and people were deprived of disease-preventing vaccines. As is typical of the CIA, a humanitarian effort was botched by government tyranny. Well administered, actual vaccines had nothing to do with that fiasco. Sadly, such disasters contribute to the fear of immunization. The solution is not to avoid vaccines, but to defund the CIA.
- Vaccination Can Make You Less Xenophobic.
In 2011 the journal Psychological Science published an study which concluded that “treatments for physical disease, such as the flu, can also be used to treat social maladies, such as prejudice.” It wasn’t because of the vaccination itself, obviously, but the framing of the inoculation. When vaccinated, you tend to fear other people less because you see them more as people and less as carriers of disease. It even works if you wash your hands often, the study shows. When it’s emphasized that you’re being given immunity, your fear of others decreases.
I drive a car.
I put myself (and my children) in danger of death very often. So I drive carefully. Cars are more dangerous than vaccines, and less dangerous than polio would be if it wasn’t for innoculation. You know what’s never killed a tenth or more of the population indiscriminately in a matter of months? Vehicles. You know what has? Plague. I participate in so many things whose hazard rates are statistically far more dangerous than vaccination.
Seasonal Vaccines Are a Different Story, but Still Work.
Seasonal flu vaccines are based on seasonal research and scientific guesses as to which strains will spread. So if you get a seasonal flu shot and still get the flu, it doesn’t mean the shot was a dud. It most likely means you met a different strain.
I know the “Mark of the Beast” Is NOT a Vaccine Scar.
First of all, these days vaccines hardly ever leave lasting scars. Secondly, dysfunctional hermeneutics leads false prophets to label all manner of things the “mark of the best” from the Revelation of John. The Beast of Revelation was the Roman empire, and also signified every empire of man, which, like Rome, is predisposed to commit atrocities in the name of the state. The Roman Concilia could invoke sanctions against anyone who did not subscribe to the “mark” of their worship of Caesar. It was a passage directly written to churches in John’s time, not some sort of time-bomb prophecy about vaccines. Besides, I have yet to see a scar from a medical application that looks like the number “666,” a number which, in Hebrew numerology, represents incompleteness. The Revelation of John, among other things, reveals that state worship is failed spirituality, and marks us for doom.
Vaccination takes an older form of medicine that predates modern medicine and makes it even safer. I believe in the supremacy of vaccines. So few modern inventions have benefited the world without taking something away. There is no reason to fear an invention that has saved the lives of countless humans and, at worst, has made only a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of people ill in the process. Vaccination is not perfect, but I have no doubt it is a life-saver, the fear of which is based on bad science, inherited superstition, misdirected protective instincts, and lousy metaphors.
If you are an anti-vaccer, I appreciate your zeal to protect yourself and your family from toxic substances. But zeal without knowledge is, at best, inert. There is a lot in the world to protect your child from: disease, industrial food, industrial poisons, drinking and driving, predatory corporations, predatory perverts, wolves. True toxicology isn’t a column of toxic/non-toxic. Most substances, even water, can be harmless or hazardous, depending not on its presence, but the amount and location. Most vaccine fears come from misunderstanding toxicology.
Nobody is naturally immune to fear. It is human to fear a government telling everyone to have a needle stuck in them for their safety filled with mysterious substances made by conglomerates, appearing to your most primal fears of death by contagion. But scientific scrutiny has shown time and time again that this method of immunization is the safest and most cost effective we have in the post-industrial world.
I encourage you to inoculate yourself and your children against infectious disease, and most of all, against fear.