boutell: (shave)
[personal profile] boutell
Vaccines are not 100% effective. But if everyone gets them then the odds of the disease propagating go down. Eventually to the point where a case of measles can't replace itself, on average, with more than one case of measles and the disease is no longer epidemic.

Stick to your guns long enough, as we did with smallpox, and the disease may become extinct - no more dead children from that cause, ever again ever. This is good.

But if enough people become overconfident and stop immunizing their kids, that ratio of new cases to old cases creeps above 1.0 again, and the disease starts to spread and may become epidemic once more. This is bad.

The good news is that the measles vaccine is highly effective after the second dose. The bad news is that the second dose is given at age four. The dose at age one is only 95% effective.

So even kids whose parents are doing their best to protect them are needlessly at risk of something that could lead to deafness, or even death (roughly 3 out of every 1000 cases). And decisions not to vaccinate, made by other parents, are directly responsible for this.

I would have to think twice about taking a baby on a New York City bus this month. And people who live there don't get a choice.

Date: 2014-03-16 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] excess-and-oohs.livejournal.com
And decisions not to vaccinate, made by other parents, are directly responsible for this.

How do you know this?
Measles is a live vaccine and sheds.
If you look for graphs on the decline of measles, they show serious decline way before the vaccine was even administered.

Just interested in your conclusion.

Date: 2014-03-17 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boutell.livejournal.com
I've heard that argument before. It's usually about hygiene. I'm sure that has an impact, but measles is close to being eliminated even in places where people have very limited access to clean water... but have the good sense to say yes to vaccination workers.

Smallpox was not exterminated from the face of the earth by hot water and soap alone.

Date: 2014-03-17 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] excess-and-oohs.livejournal.com
No, perhaps not, but only about 10% of the population ever received a smallpox vaccine.

We all want the best for our children. By not vaccinating, I hope to spare my children of the very real possibility that they will, like me, develop autoimmune diseases. Please don't forget that there are intelligent people with well-considered reasons for their decisions. Aside from that, everyone has a right to bodily integrity. I remember feeling hopelessly tortured by the 7 vaccines I got (yet I never had as friend die and now we have 5x as many on the schedule, depending on the state).

Anyway, bedtime for me. I no longer live in NYC, but if I did I wouldn't be worried.

Date: 2014-03-17 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] canetoad.livejournal.com
only about 10% of the population ever received a smallpox vaccine.

Could you please cite your references? My own sources indicate that over 50% of the current U.S. population (don't know about the rest of the world) has received the smallpox vaccine. So one could also assume that more than that percentage received it initially, since many from that population would no longer be alive today.

I have no wish to wade into the fray here; I think Tom's broader point is correct and I understand his anger, and I also think there can be individual medical reasons supportive of your perspective (though I do not think those reasons should dominate public policy).

Finally, people who have never been seriously affected by viral epidemics or outbreaks tend not to worry. Those who have been, or who have living relatives who experienced life before vaccines (and antibiotics), are not so cavalier. And note, antibiotics--much like vaccines--have their pluses and minuses. (However, the minuses of the vaccine world are far more subtle and complex, and mostly not at all about what worries you.)

Here is one interesting starting point regarding the smallpox vaccine, along with references to other data at the end of the article. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/8/717.long#ref-list-1

Peace, everyone.

Date: 2014-03-17 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] canetoad.livejournal.com
I also feel compelled to add a footnote on autoimmune disease. In many, many cases it likely has quite a lot to do with the gut microbiome, and all the ways in which modern life works against a healthy, functioning gut. Not breastfed? Too bad! Given antibiotics? Watch out. Contracted a serious intestinal bacterial or viral ailment? Yikes! Eat a modern diet full of processed foods? Tsk-tsk. And on and on.

However, what used to be considered fringe science has now reached the level of popular press articles and Ted talks, in terms of how autoimmune diseases may in fact be triggered by a lack of proper gut colonies, or colonies too small to achieve quorum sensing and thus regulate and coordinate gene expression (and thus function) in the gut. So it is very, very unlikely that vaccinations would cause onset of autoimmune disease (though if one's immune system *is* compromised, vaccines should be very carefully considered, weighing possible negative effects from the immune response versus the negatives of contracting the disease.

Another interesting tidbit seems to be that the appendix is no longer considered a vestigial organ. Some scientists think that it acts as a kind of emergency storehouse, for exactly those times when gut bacteria populations have been altered or decimated. So I suppose you could add "having your appendix out" to the long list of modern-life land mines that affect gut health (and thus immune system function).

Date: 2014-03-16 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-violet.livejournal.com
Amen, brother.

Date: 2014-03-17 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alphafemale1.livejournal.com
You said it.

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