Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vaccination myths

The Waterloo Regional District School Board (WRDSB) requires its students to be vaccinated against the diseases tetanus, diptheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, Pneumococcal conjugate, Meningococcal C conjugate, and Varicella (chicken pox). You can see some of the details of the policy in this memo issued by the Region of Waterloo in 2001, and this memo issued in 2005. Basically, if your child is not vaccinated against those diseases, they will be expelled from school until you can supply documentation that they've had the vaccinations, OR you supply documentation of their exemption on medical or religious (yikes) grounds.

This kind of enforced vaccination gets people like Jenny McCarthy up in arms. She is utterly convinced that vaccines gave her son autism. And she's on an emotional anti-vaccine crusade. I guess we should all listen to her, given her scientific and medical training?

What's that? She has no scientific or medical credentials? Oh, that's right... she got her start in Playboy. But she does have her self-proclaimed "mommy instinct". And she has evidence... her son's autism symptoms emerged shortly after he received the needle. Hey, that's the same logic as "My computer crashed right after I put my shoes on. Damn you Nike!"

Let's consider what would happen if we followed her advice.

Years ago, before vaccines, children were dropping like flies to diseases like rubella, measles, polio, etc. Should we bring back those good ol' days? Not on my watch!

The truth is that vaccination has been one of the most successful modern-day medical technologies ever implemented. Today, those diseases are almost unheard of. Why? Because of a quiet army of doctors and nurses administering these amazing needles over the years.

The program has been so successful that many people have lived their lives blissfully unaware of the horrors that these illnesses cause. Enter Jenny McCarthy. Her fear-mongering tactics point to anecdotal "evidence" that vaccines might cause neurological problems in rare cases (scientific consensus overwhelmingly indicates that there is no link between vaccines and autism). In my books, anecdotes do not comprise strong evidence. Besides, even if there WAS good evidence that vaccines sometimes caused neurological problems, it's far better than a 30% infant mortality rate.

I support vaccination, and those that don't should be thankful that their ancestors did because without vaccines they probably wouldn't be here.

If you're interested, someone is keeping track of the deaths caused by failure to comply to vaccination standards. It's called the "Jenny McCarthy Body Count".

Get WidgetThe Body CountJenny McCarthy Body Count

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