Monday, October 20, 2014


Today is the SURVIVE AND THRIVE bloghop, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh, L Dianne Wolf, Michael DiGesu, and Stephen Tremp.

The blogfest is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.

The topics are wide open. You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.

I've chosen the simple topic of preventing multiple childhood diseases through immunizations. Immunizing your children can - and does - prevent the spread of deadly/debilitating diseases such as polio, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, measles, diptheria, pneumococcal, hepititis A and B and yes, even the mostly harmless chicken pox that later causes painful shingles in older adults. (google any of the listed diseases to see the severity of symptoms)

During my work in social services I encountered many many parents - especially very young parents - who opted not to immunize their children for various reasons; the least common due to religious affiliation. Most cited that it was not worth the 1/whatever-hundred-thousands risk of death that taking the vaccine for diseases that have been eradicated in the US may cause.

The Canadian based has several articles  that state VRAN:  knows many cases of children severely damaged or dead due to vaccinations. In the 1980’s, paediatrician Robert Mendelsohn, MD voiced his concern: “There is growing suspicion that immunization against relatively harmless childhood diseases may be responsible for the dramatic increase in autoimmune diseases since mass inoculations were introduced.

This article by the CDC disagrees: Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild. On the other hand, many vaccine-preventable disease symptoms can be serious, or even deadly. Even though many of these diseases are rare in this country (USA), they still occur around the world and can be brought into the U.S., putting unvaccinated children at risk. The November 11, 2013 Boston Globe health and wellness article also reflects the CDC opinion with:
While there are rare side effects, medical researchers say the risk of not vaccinating is much greater. Other than smallpox, which has been eradicated, most diseases unseen for decades in the United States — from measles and mumps to Hepatitis B and rubella — still exist somewhere in the world. In October, the United Nations identified an outbreak of polio in Syria, where UNICEF reports that 95 percent of children had been vaccinated before the civil war started in 2011. In the past two years, hundreds of thousands of children have gone without immunizations.
“They’re only a plane ride away. And every year the number of kids getting exempted (from vaccines) grows,” said Dr. Lawrence Madoff, director of Epidemiology and Immunization for Massachusetts. “When immunization rates fall, it doesn't take long, even in a developed country, for diseases to resurge.
A recent ScientificAmerica article reports: 
Last year 10 children died in California in the worst whooping cough outbreak to sweep the state since 1947. In the first six months of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 10 measles outbreaks—the largest of which (21 cases) occurred in a Minnesota county, where many children were unvaccinated because of parental concerns about the safety of the standard MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. At least seven infants in the county who were too young to receive the MMR vaccine were infected.
These troubling statistics show that the failure to vaccinate children endangers both the health of children themselves as well as others who would not be exposed to preventable illness if the community as a whole were better protected. Equally troubling, the number of deliberately unvaccinated children has grown large enough that it may be fueling more severe outbreaks. In a recent survey of more than 1,500 parents, one quarter held the mistaken belief that vaccines can cause autism in healthy children, and more than one in 10 had refused at least one recommended vaccine.
This sad state of affairs exists because parents have been persistently and insidiously misled by information in the press and on the Internet and because the health care system has not effectively communicated the counterarguments, which are powerful. Physicians and other health experts can no longer just assume that parents will readily agree to childhood inoculations and leave any discussion about the potential risks and benefits to the last minute. They need to be more proactive, provide better information and engage parents much earlier than is usually the case.
My kids are mostly grown and I'm a grandmother now, but when I was starting my own family in the
1980's I read everything the doctors handed me on the risks and side effects of immunizing my child. I also read all the information about the risks of not taking the immunizations. There wasn't a vaccine for the chicken pox when my kids were young, and even though I don't see that one as life threatening, who knows how the virus strains have changed in the intervening years with all the influx of immigration from countries that do not typically immunize their children.

I'd advise my daughter to give it to her kids, if she had not made her own decision to immunize. I guess my personal philosophy is I'd rather my kids (and grandkids) take the minimal risk of death (or have a severe reaction) from the vaccine than get infected with a preventable disease, and possibly infect others. Immunizations save immensely more lives than they take.

Thanks for reading my contribution to the SURVIVE AND THRIVE BLOGHOP. If this post, or the idea of the bloghop itself, has inspired you to write your own post, or to visit other participants, check out the linky here.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for participating in the blogfest!
There is a risk with anything medical, but getting the disease is far worse.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There's one for chicken pox now? Back in the day, we just had to suffer through it.

DEZMOND said...

that is quite a strong trend around the world not to immunize your babies because it is believed that many vaccines cause difficult health problems. I think that most of us don't believe doctors any more so it is hard to have an opinion on this one

Pat Hatt said...

I wouldn't get or give anyone one for chicken pox or any of that flu shot garbage, but some of the other ones I think I would. It isn't so much the vaccines but the preservatives they use in them. That mercury garbage is no good for anyone.

Cate Masters said...

Immunizations are scary, but I did the same. I wonder how often viruses adapt and become more deadly because of them though.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I shake my head at people who skip immunizations for their children. They aren't as knowledgeable as they try to act.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - we weren't given anti polio jabs or doses when we were kids - my uncle was a doctor and I'm not sure if that featured in my parents decision. Thankfully none of us got it ...

I can see exactly where you're coming from ... and it's way better to be resistant to things that perhaps catch them .. though we had every illness going (as was the way back then) .. again I'm glad I'm here today!

Cheers and great post to write up ... Hilary

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Donna,

Interesting topic. Yes, immunization is important. Why start up these old diseases again. With world travel as it is, we are putting our kids in danger.

Look at what's happening with ebola... scary.

Thanks for participating in the hop!

cleemckenzie said...

I don't know where the idea of immunizing kids was bad. We have the ability to control so many childhood illnesses from harming or killing our young people, and mis-informed parents are choosing to ignore the prevention. Good post. Hope it's read widely.

Jay Noel said...

Whoa, you're smacking the hornet's nest with this one. But working in the medical field, I can say that the disease is WAY worse than any side effects from a vaccine. Don't understand why you wouldn't do it. That's why you're seeing measles and other diseases making a comeback. And infants are at risk!

A Beer for the Shower said...

It's just crazy to me that in this day and age, with all of the medical breakthroughs we've had, there are still people who think a vaccination is going to kill their child or make them mentally disabled somehow.

Unknown said...

I think it's important to immunize but I waited a few months--until my son was six months old--to start. That way he was a bit stronger and I heard it decreased the risks.

Lisa said...

The problem now is not that there is something really to fear from side affects, the problem is HOW MANY are being given all at the same time! You can't get just a "measles" or whooping cough vaccination. The use of "combination" vaccines is what is the problem, in my opinion. If one could get each vaccine separately, I think people who are hesitating would be more willing to use them on their children.

Lisa said...

The problem now is not that there is something really to fear from side affects, the problem is HOW MANY are being given all at the same time! You can't get just a "measles" or whooping cough vaccination. The use of "combination" vaccines is what is the problem, in my opinion. If one could get each vaccine separately, I think people who are hesitating would be more willing to use them on their children.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Dolorah,
I too believe in vaccination. We've eradicated several diseases that way from Jamaica.

dolorah said...

Alex: thanks for hosting.

Dianne: I know, weird huh?

Dezzy: the medical profession seems to be run by politicians now, so it is hard to know what is needed, and what just makes money for health care.

Pat: I don't take the flu shot either, and I've only got a mild case of flu once in about 12 years.

Cate: I wonder the same thing. We have taken the natural immunities out of children with some of the medicines they take.

Susan: me too.

Hilary: Sometimes I think it is luck that some people are healthy, and others aren't.

Michael: Its just worrisome with all the global travel people do now. Thanks for hosting.

Lee: you can publish anything and people will read it :)

Jay: daycare is excellent for spreading diseases to infants. My kids never suffered more than a sore arm and fussiness after their shots.

Beers: gotta blame that on someone, right? Think of the lawsuit bucks, lol.

Clarissa: that was one of the arguments I read, that delaying until the kids are older is better. But, the immunizations are scheduled at times the kids are first at risk of getting the disease.

Li: that's a good argument, especially with all the drug interaction warnings.

Joy: good, I like to hear that :)

Diane Burton said...

I am so glad we have immunizations against such deadly diseases. I remember polio and iron lungs. Scary. As soon as the polio vaccine was available Mom had us all vaccinated.

Denise Covey said...

I can understand young mothers being worried about potential side effects to injections, but that's unfortunately a risk you have to take for the long-term good, not just for your own kids, but to society as a whole. These diseases will recur if we aren't vigilant.

mshatch said...

I was vaccinated when I was a kid and so was my son so to me that's standard operating procedure. I also wish there had been a polio vaccine for my mom who contracted the disease when she was 16.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Donna, bravo! I don't understand the philosophy of allowing kids to attend public schools without their vaccinations. When my kids first entered the school system you couldn't get in without their shot records. Now, I'm not so sure...

Mark Means said...

When I was young, I had a battery of vaccinations before we went overseas.

I still refuse to get a flu shot and, guess what? I've never had the flu. Maybe I just have strong genes? :)

Botanist said...

It's funny how people perceive risk. The scare-mongering about vaccines angers me, and the media have to take some of the blame. Scare stories always make good news, but there's no profit in setting the record straight after the damage is done.

Having said that, I don't plan to get a flu shot. I've never had flu, I guess the bugs don't like the taste of me.

Shannon Lawrence said...

An acquaintance of mine lost her baby due to being around an unimmunized child who got pertussis. Babies are too young to get immunized. People, including children, who go through extensive cancer treatments must do all their immunizations over again, meaning they're vulnerable until that happens. So those who don't immunize put others who have no choice in danger. It's a scary thing to look at. I'd feel terrible if I were responsible for someone else's death by virtue of not getting immunized.

Deniz Bevan said...

I don't want to get into a whole thing, but I find the people who don't vaccinate because "there's enough immunity if everyone else does it" are acting very unfairly and ignorantly. What if everyone thought that way and no one got vaccinated?
The trouble is, many people now don't realise how terrible some of these diseases are.
I remember back in a university history class our teacher had us read an ancient Egyptian description of a disease and asked if we recognised it. Not one of us did. It was the mumps.
Imagine how lucky we are not to know what the mumps - or small pox or polio or any of these things - is like.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've weighed the pros and cons of immunizations and am very pro-immunization. My wife, not so much. But this is a crazy world we live in with no guarantees. There is no reason many diseases today should manifest themselves, but do because people decide not to have their children immunized.

And thanks for participating in the Blogfest!

Stephen Tremp said...

I've weighed the pros and cons of immunizations and am very pro-immunization. My wife, not so much. But this is a crazy world we live in with no guarantees. There is no reason many diseases today should manifest themselves, but do because people decide not to have their children immunized.

And thanks for participating in the Blogfest!

Yolanda Renée said...

I agree with immunizations, and yes risk comes with anything, but a sick child is the scariest thing in the world.

My gripe is with the over use of antibiotics - but instead of regulating the feeding of chemicals/medicines to cows and chickens - they withhold it from sick people. That makes no sense!

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm on the same page as you about this.

David P. King said...

This has been a hot topic for most of the year. Hardly a day goes by on FB without an article or two showing up on my newsfeed. I do appreciate the many angles you've share here. :)

Arlee Bird said...

One thing I did keep up with when I was raising my daughters was keeping up with their immunizations. They stayed in excellent health and seem to be very healthy adults now. I guess I did something right.

Tossing It Out

klahanie said...

Hi dolorah,

What an informative and insightful post, with an important message. Immunisation, despite some possible minor risks, is most certainly something that should be considered. I know that I always have a flu jab this time of year. I also remember a bit of hysteria in regards to the MMR jab a few years back.

Thank you for your kind comment on my post.


D.G. Hudson said...

Coming by late, but wanted to agree immunizations are important. My BIL tried to get me not to immunize my kids as he had read some of that fear factor stuff when they were little. I told him I was more informed than he and would do as I chose. It's material like this which will make it difficult when these diseases do show up and with immigration, they will show up. Travelling is another way kids could get these diseases. You have to be informed, and many are not. Great topic, Donna!

dolorah said...

Diane: I have a friend who's father got polio. Not a fun disease.

Denise: They are recurring for that reason.

Marcy: polio and small pox have been the best immunizations.

Elsie: it is the rights of people not to do what government says to do. Lots of mothers sign an affidavit and say they do not believe in them and don't have to get them.

Mark: I never get the flu shot either, and I never get the flu :)

Botanist: The flu shot is different than the diseases kids are guaranteed to get without the immun.

Shannon: thats a scary risk, to put others in danger to save your child a mild fever.

Deniz: that's the herd mentality speaking, and so many of the "herd" have the same idea that the diseases have a second chance of spreading.

Steve: lots of immunizations are not available in some countries, but immigration laws do not seem to require immigrants to vaccinate upon entry. A violation of their civil rights I'm sure.

Yolanda: nobody can make sense of government regs sometimes.

Carol: thanks for stopping by :)

David: Thanks

Arlee: of course you did lots of things right with your daughters :)

Gary: perhaps some kids that got the MMR did experience mental problems; that just means the virus and vaccines need to be updated.

DG: Thanks for your support :)

Johanna Garth said...

I find it soooo crazy when people don't immunize their kids. There have been several times when I've struggled not to ask them if they have any understanding of how disease works and that relying on everyone else vaccinating their kids is not a reliable strategy.

Luanne G. Smith said...

So important. Not just for kids, either. I recently had to get my tetanus shot again. Scary what can happen if you're not protected.

Cathy Kennedy said...

I think immunization is a wise thing to do. It's scary, but it's the necessary lesser evil than actually coming down with the disease. Now, what do we do about this Ebola problem? Well...I know what we should do. Unfortunately Obummer and his admin sees things differently. :( Good info!