luchog: (Default)
[personal profile] luchog
Yet another example of why the anti-vaccination movement is not "cautious", "skeptical" or simply an "alternative" to mainstream, evidence-based medicine; but is pure, unadulterated evil. It is nothing but enshrined ignorance, and is entirely based on falsified research -- aka a deliberate fraud. It is increasingly resulting in unnecessary and easily preventable deaths; particularly among those who cannot be vaccinated, and rely entirely on herd immunity for their protection.

CNN Health: 10 infants dead in California whooping cough outbreak

Excerpt:
(CNN) -- Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has claimed the 10th victim in California, in what health officials are calling the worst outbreak in 60 years.

Since the beginning of the year, 5,978 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the disease have been reported in California.

All of the deaths occurred in infants under the age of 3 months, says Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. Nine were younger than 8 weeks old, which means they were too young to have been vaccinated against this highly contagious bacterial disease.

"This is a preventable disease," says Sicilia, because there is a vaccine for whooping cough to protect those coming in contact with infants, and thereby protect the infants.

However, some parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. In other cases, previously vaccinated children and adults may have lost their immunity because the vaccine has worn off.

[...]

Sicilia says California Health Department epidemiologists estimate 50 percent of the children who have gotten sick were infected by their parents or caregivers.

According to the recommended vaccine schedule for infants, newborns don't get their first pertussis vaccine until they are 2 months old, leaving them vulnerable to infection until then if the people surrounding them are infected.

Date: 2010-10-22 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sistawendy.livejournal.com
I read that and think, 'Whom should the bereaved parents sue for wrongful death?'

Date: 2010-10-23 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] luchog.livejournal.com
That's the problem with the anti-vax movement, there really isn't any one person who can be held as strictly responsible. Andrew Wakefield is probably the closest to a true villain in this regard; but the anti-vax movement predated him, he just attempted to cash in on it by linking it to the false growth in autism rates (there was no real growth, just better understanding and diagnosis) and peddling a bogus "cure". Jenny McCarthy also has a lot to answer for, for her rabid promotion of anti-vax propaganda, as does Oprah. But, ultimately, it's the parents who are responsible; and any person who takes the word of a former softcore porn actress over that of a qualified medical professional (which Wakefield wasn't) is fully responsible for whatever problems result.

Date: 2010-10-22 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaoscat.livejournal.com
That's just disturbing. I'm pro vaccinations to a point - I don't get the flu vaccine, that's about it. Kalhyn has been fully vaccinated against pertussis, thank goodness.

Date: 2010-10-23 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] luchog.livejournal.com
The problem is that there is no "point" where one can be safely anti-vax. Vaccinations are typically not that effective on an individual basis, often as little as 50% or less. They require a minimum vaccinated population of between 85 and 95 percent to be effective; what is known as "herd immunity". There is a small percentage of the population that cannot be vaccinated because they're too young or have other medical problems that prevent it; or have weak immune systems due to illness, transplants, or simple old age. These people rely entirely on herd immunity for protection.

Flu vaccines are not always effective, because the virus mutates so quickly and unpredictably; so a lot of how effective a vaccination is depends on how good at guessing which particular virus is going to be the problem one that year. Some years they guess right, and the vaccine prevents a major outbreak; other years they guess wrong. However, some strains are absolutely predictable, and vaccinations can be extremely effective if they're gotten early enough.

One very good example was the recent swine flu outbreak. That was a particularly bad one, because it actually affected healthy people worse than weaker people (it caused what is known as a "cytokine storm" in the immune system, effectively sending it into overdrive and causing it to attack it's own body). Early and widespread vaccination kept it from becoming a major pandemic and killing nearly as many people as it did the last time it occurred.

Vaccines are not perfect, medical science is not that precise. But they're a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

Date: 2010-10-23 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaoscat.livejournal.com
I agree. Your comment about the flu vaccine - that's why I don't get it. However, I do increase hand washing and staying away from anyone who appears sick as often as possible.

When Kalhyn was born, before he could be safely vaccinated, I asked everyone who wanted to visit to please not visit if anyone in their household was sick, because people can pass on illness before they even start showing symptoms. You would not believe how many nasty comments I got because of a simple request because I wanted to keep my son healthy.

Date: 2010-10-24 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] luchog.livejournal.com
The problem with avoiding sick people, though, is that you can be contagious for 2 to 5 days before notice symptoms. That's why I always get the flu vaccine. The worst that can happen is that it's useless. And even if it's not the right strain, it can actually help to reduce the effects and spread of a virus if the outbreak strain is similar enough to the vaccine strain.

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