Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Vaccine, Schmaccine

I've been listening a lot to Jenny McCarthy. Specifically about vaccines.

Rolo is fully vaccinated to date. Let's just get that out of the way.

I don't really question the idea of vaccines; I think kids should be vaccinated. But I have begun to question the timelines for vaccination. Rolo's first vaccination occurred when he was about 30 hours old for hepatitis B. At the time, I thought this was odd, but since the doctors were recommending it and I was planning on vaccinating him anyway, I okay'd it. Most hospitals offer the vaccine to newborns. According the the CDC, hep B is transmitted by "contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids from having sex with an infected person, sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs, or from an infected mother to her newborn." It was already known that I didn't have hep B, so I wouldn't be transmitting it. So looking back, and given that the chance of my newborn having sex or shooting drugs was fairly small, I could have passed on that vaccine for now.

I know, I know. They offer the vaccine at birth because it can be given to a baby that young and because it ensures that children who will almost never be brought to a doctor again will have at least that vaccine.

I know, from our lovely genetic sequencing escapades, that each person can have any number genetic hiccups that they don't even know about. Would never know about unless they had extensive genetic testing. Things that don't effect anyone's day-to-day life. Variants and mutations that live outside the world of exhaustive research and studies. So, do I think it's possible that a vaccine could effect a genetic mutation or variant? Maybe jump-start something that was already there? Yeah, I do. I mean, yeah.

I can almost see at least one of you rolling your eyes. People point to the case I linked to above and cry "See?!?!?! Vaccines DO cause autism." I'm not ready to jump to that conclusion. But I do think there are ways in which vaccines could aggravate some existing thing. It seems to be the consensus that genetics and environmental factors play a part in autism. Depending on which statistics you look at, one in every 150 to 500 births, results in an autistic child. According to some, it's the fast-growing disability in the U.S.

I'm not just pointing to vaccines themselves either. There are other environmental factors. Take a look again at the chemicals in half of the things we eat or products we use. Do we know how any of them might effect an underlying condition?

I don't mean to get all apocalyptic here. All I'm saying is that never questioned the safety or the timeline in which vaccines were given before Rolo was born. I never questioned a lot of things before Rolo. Find out about the timelines. Do babies need to be given 3 vaccines every 3 months for essentially their first year or two of life? Are there delayed timetables for giving vaccines? When, or do, children "have to" have vaccines? I already researched the answers to these questions.

Ask questions, do your research, make decision based on what you think is right.

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At 11:47 AM, Blogger irishdo said...

I am guessing I am the one rolling my eyes. Maybe a little.

You know, autism is so hard. We are seeing so much more of it partly b/c it is more readily diagnosed and in likely in part to envirmental factors that were not in play before. Parents obviously want answers we do not have right now. The studies that vaccines do not play a part in autism are very sound. The one done years ago that linked vaccines to autism was a very poorly designed study.
I agree that there are lot of vaccines in infancy but they are really important in my opinion, some more so than others. All you need is to see one baby die from something that could have EASILY been prevented and vaccines are so worth it. People do not die from Polio or invasive Hib anymore, But we now have a huge pertusis and measles outbreak due to vaccine delay.
I have mixed feelings on Jenny McCarthy. I think she is a great voice for the autism community and is showing parentd they need to push for early services for their children and keep pushing. I just wish they would stop alarming the general public on vaccines.
I know the boy is vaccinated, I just felt the need to comment b/c it is a nerve of mine.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Christy said...

As a non-scientist, I can only go with my gut (which is what I think a lot of the parents are doing who link their kids vaccines with autism). It seems like, especially for the children (like Jenny McCarthy's son) who develop normally and then regress rapidly, there is some environmental/ biological cause. Like you, I'm not sure if it's vaccines or not, but that does seem to be one thing that some of these kids have in common. It may be the vaccine-- but just for kids who have a certain genetic mutation already existing. There is so much that I don't know but I do think parents should be informing themselves as much as possible.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger DJ Heavy D said...

I think maybe the scenario that people like Jenny McCarthy faced is the one that scares me the most. Not to diminish at all what people who have a child actually born with autism go through. But to have a child who is progressing normally, everything is fine and then WHAMMO, one day a fever and then regression? That possibility scares the bejesus out of me.


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