Vaccination Debate

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This pic started a huge debate on a scientific page I like on FB. What gets me is how people can be against vaccines. How can someone understand how the human immune system works (by creating antibodies against foreign invaders), know how vaccines work (by introducing a weakened foreign invader so the body can create an antibody against it), then claim that vaccines don’t work! That’s idiotic!

The other issue that people keep bring up is that vaccines “cause” autism. That’s not true. There was one study in the 90s that found a link between vaccines and autism. In 2010 it was found that the lead scientist on that study, Dr. Wakefield, acted “unethically” and his findings were thrown out. Everyone else on the study withdrew their names from it.

People still try to say that the incidence of autism has increased since the introduction of vaccines. Scientifically, correlation and causation are not the same thing. Just because I get thirsty every time I start to leave my house, that does not mean that leaving my house causes me to get thirsty. So many things changed in this country during the 1950s, and any one, a combination of them or none of them at all could be responsible for the increased incidence of autism. Fast food was discovered about that time. Since then this country has grown to live on pretty much nothing but fast food. In the 1950s we started pasteurizing our food and dairy products as well as using additives and refrigeration to extend the shelf life of our food.

Pasteurization heats things to ridiculously high temperatures, killing bacteria (both good and bad), vitamins and minerals as well as enzymes necessary for digestion. By the time people get to be older, we now have to use artificial means to get our bodies to digest food (and we can’t be certain that the food is being digested “properly”) because we’ve burned all of the natural digestion aids out of the food.

What about nutrition? Our society has become one of instant gratification in huge portions. People drive-through hamburger joints and have pizza delivered, expecting it to take only a few minutes to happen. The meal sizes are 3-4 times what they should be for a healthy portion size, of course there is nothing healthy about the food at these fast food places to begin with, is there? Even the salads are loaded down with deep fried and breaded meat product or so-called grilled meat product with artificial flavoring all over it. Any dressings they offer are loaded with fat and preservatives, including their “low-fat” varieties (which usually are full of sugar instead of fat).

Even when people think they are eating healthy, they usually are not. Now, after several generations of poor diet, poor exercise and stress, how does that affect the body? How does that affect the bodies of the unborn children that are being brought into this world? We don’t know. We can’t know.

There are a lot of factors that could be responsible for the increased incidence of autism since the introduction of vaccines. Many of those could be controlled individually. Some cannot (such as pasteurization regulations). Others could be as simple as misdiagnosis before the age of vaccines. Autism is still something that doctors do not fully understand. Sixty or more years ago the condition must have been a complete mystery. It is very possible that many cases of autism were classified as something else. Now that doctors understand more about autism, they can properly diagnose it.

Regardless of why the incidence of autism has increased, there has yet to be any scientific evidence to link it to vaccination. In fact, there has been several studies showing that there is no link at all:

The Journal of Pediatrics 2000; 138(3): 366-372
Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003; 23(6): 504-517
Journal of Neuroimmunology 2005
Brain, Behavior and Immunity 1993; 7: 97-103
Pediatric Neurology 2003; 28(4): 1-3
Neuropsychobiology 2005; 51:77-85
The Journal of Pediatrics May 2005;146(5):605-10
Autism Insights 2009; 1: 1-11
Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology February 2009; 23(2): 95-98
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 2009:21(3): 148-161
Journal of Child Neurology June 29, 2009; 000:1-6
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders March 2009;39(3):405-13
Medical Hypotheses August 1998;51:133-144.
Journal of Child Neurology July 2000; ;15(7):429-35
Lancet. 1972;2:883–884.
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia January-March 1971;1:48-62
Journal of Pediatrics March 2001;138:366-372.
Molecular Psychiatry 2002;7:375-382.
American Journal of Gastroenterolgy April 2004;598-605.
Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003;23:504-517.
Neuroimmunology April 2006;173(1-2):126-34.
Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol Biol. Psychiatry December 30 2006;30:1472-1477.
Clinical Infectious Diseases September 1 2002;35(Suppl 1):S6-S16
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2004;70(11):6459-6465
Journal of Medical Microbiology October 2005;54:987-991
Archivos venezolanos de puericultura y pediatría 2006; Vol 69 (1): 19-25.
Gastroenterology. 2005:128 (Suppl 2);Abstract-303

What vaccines do is protect people:

Smallpox: This disease once killed nearly 1,000 children per year. It was completely eradicated in 1977 thanks to the smallpox vaccine.

Diphtheria: In 1920, nearly 150,000 cases were reported in the United States, with more than 13,000 deaths. By 2002, only one case was reported nationwide.

Pertussis (whooping cough): More than 107,000 cases were reported in 1922, with nearly 5,100 deaths. In 2002, only 9,771 cases were reported nationwide.

Measles vaccination resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2011 worldwide.

Be sure to watch what Penn & Teller have to say on the subject:

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One thought on “Vaccination Debate

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