Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What Else are We Born With?

This week's Time Magazine has a fairly balanced article about vaccines. One of the pictures, though, shows a mother with her two baseball-uniformed, unvaccinated sons, with this in the caption:
My husband and I believe that we are born with an immune system, and we need to trust that.
Fine. We are also born with two legs and two feet that can get us anywhere we need to go. So why do we use bikes and cars and trains and planes for travel? Because we were also given the brain power to enhance the things we were born with. Just because your sons are fortunate enough to have been born into a time and place where the specter of vaccine-preventable diseases no longer hovers over the four out of ten newborns who never used to make it to their first birthday doesn't mean we don't trust their immune systems.

16 Comments:

At Fri May 30, 07:50:00 AM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

Bet you money she and the husband will sue the living shit out of their doctor and the school/church/playgroup/whatever if one of those kids gets something horrid and dies of it...or is permanently disabled. Fucking freeriders, pinning their hopes on herd immunity, all the while thinning that herd immunity with their belief in woo.

(Given that a lot of those childhood diseases are coming back, thanks to idiots who refuse to vaccinate and immigrants coming in with illnesses, there is a better chance that her kids will be exposed to something that can be life-threatening.)

I saw polio firsthand when I lived in Asia, and it was ugly. I also saw the effects of typhoid, cholera and smallpox.

Vaccines are, as far as I am concerned, a gift from God.

 
At Fri May 30, 08:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free will... ain't it a bitch??

 
At Fri May 30, 08:38:00 AM, Blogger Cindy said...

Thanks for the link, it was a well written article. I strongly believe in the importance of vaccines. My older child is fully immunized. However, my younger child is allergic to eggs, among many other things, and I (in consultation with my doctor) am considering delaying the MMR vaccine even though the AAP considers it safe for the majority, but not all, of egg allergic children. Thanks to all the parents that decide to not vaccinate based on bad science or rumor or "trust" I cannot rely on herd immunity to help protect my younger daughter if we do delay the MMR for a legitimate reason. Frustrating!

 
At Fri May 30, 10:07:00 AM, Blogger WardBunny said...

Herd immunity ain't gonna work if there's no herd! We don't learn from the past we just ignore it now...

 
At Fri May 30, 10:31:00 AM, Blogger Joe said...

One of my co-workers was vehemently anti-vaccine. The rest of us were kind of baffled by this, but I had a slightly different take (still baffled, but with another view as well).

Life is precious, but not all of it has the same value to me. I value my own life very highly, and my family (and by family I include my descendants on into the interminable future). Other people, I don't value so much, individually. As a whole, I put a lot of value in the continued existence of the human race, of life as we know it, and of the universe around us.

One of my fears is the danger of monoculture. If there's anything that absolutely everyone does, it worries me.

So I'm happy that my co-worker chooses not to vaccinate her children, because then I don't have to worry so much about monoculture. If I'm right, then her children are at a higher risk of death, and in the long run it's evolution in action, but if by some strange chance there is some unknown action of vaccines that causes them to be 100% fatal, then I know that because of her and people like her (and, of course, people with out access to vaccines), that the human race will not come to an abrupt end. I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do it, but I'm happy to let her voluntarily potentially sacrifice her children as insurance against a very small but very severe risk.

 
At Fri May 30, 11:49:00 AM, Blogger crgilvr said...

The really sad part is they think they're not risking anyone but themselves. But they're risking children like Cindy's who may have other issues that don't give them the same choice!

 
At Fri May 30, 11:53:00 AM, Blogger STLstrike3 said...

If her children get sick, every last cent should come out of their dimwitted pockets. And if you go bankrupt as a result? Way it goes.

 
At Fri May 30, 12:29:00 PM, Blogger oshee said...

My children are all fully immunized. And because of people like me, who through the decades now have been immunizing their children, people like this can feel smug in their assertion that it is wrong.

If the rest of us were not immunizing our children, the diseases would be rampant and their children wouldn't stand a chance. They get to feel self-righteous, because the rest of us are protecting our society as a whole.

I know some of the diseases are showing up in small numbers again. Measles outbreaks I see in the news are not uncommon now. Still, these parents should be thanking the rest of us for doing the responsible thing and allowing for their ignorance. I will continue to have my children vaccinated, if only to protect them from these people's selfish choices.

 
At Fri May 30, 02:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents that do this strike me as the height of selfishness and entitlement which is what we are seeing in recent college graduates. I am not sure how well this bodes for our future.

 
At Fri May 30, 03:31:00 PM, Anonymous spynster57 said...

I was recently in a history museum which had actual iron lung and photos of the polio wards from the 1940's. Should be required viewing for any parent who chooses not to vaccinate. How could anyone living in the age of AIDS believe that our immune systems are impenetrable? I'll take the "little pinch" for anything I can.....

 
At Sat May 31, 05:50:00 AM, Blogger Evil Lunch Lady said...

I say keep those kids away from the public. They are in danger of getting wee ones sick who haven't had all their shots yet.

 
At Sat May 31, 09:51:00 AM, Anonymous Fidel, MD said...

The two greatest benefits to mankind from science: The germ theory of disease (which led to sanitation, garbage collection / sewage treatment and clean drinking water) and vaccination.

Nothing mankind has done (in total) has saved as many lives as these two relatively simple, benign steps.

And now we have fraking MORONS that want to throw it all away. Whats next - not using sewage systems so they can recycle their effluent themselves, the 'natural' way?

Evolution in action. Too damned bad it takes so long to work.

 
At Sat May 31, 01:20:00 PM, Blogger Pink said...

I guess if she is so trustworth of her sons' immune systems, she doesn't use antibacterial products in her home and refuses antibiotics, right?

People are so stupid.

 
At Sat May 31, 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Dragonfly said...

Grrrrr. Don't tell me she uses homeopathic stuff though.
And Cindy has an excellent point.

 
At Sun Jun 01, 09:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vaccines are the greatest advance in public health of the 20th century. I grew up with people very slightly older who had polio, and well remember taking care of H. flu meningitis. The measles and mumps were a matter of course. I have also seen congenital rubella. Once. And that was all it took. These people are a danger to everybody's kids, not just their own. Around here they wiggle out of the compulsory vaccines for school attendance by having a chiropractor sign a note saying the kid can't have vaccines for "medical reasons." I think the polio exhibit at the Smithsonian ought to be required viewing for these folks who think they know so much better than anyone else.

 
At Fri Jun 06, 09:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the same article and my jaw dropped when I read her caption. WTF? Guess mom doesn't remember measles or polio.... Really, now. Why, again, have I wasted my whole life in public health if "mother knows best"?!

 

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