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August is Immunization Awareness Month

July 29, 2009
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AJ had his two month checkup on Monday, and got his first round of vaccinations. It isn’t pleasant to watch by any means, but having read up on the immunization “issue” online I was pretty much waiting for the world to end when he got the jab. (Then again, for AJ “really upset” sounds like other children’s “mildly distressed or annoyed” so I’m not discounting any child being upset.)  We spoke with our doctor beforehand and we got on the subject of vaccine’s and she mentioned that she often feels she has to sell the concept of vaccines to new parents.  I feel that its not only my duty as a parent to protect my child against some of the more pernicious diseases out there (and I’ve had whooping cough and it is NOT pleasant), but its also my civic duty to help protect herd immunity.*

His doctor appointment coincided pretty well with the fact that August is Immunization Awareness Month! Skepchick has a great article about it, with tons of resources for those parents who are “on the fence” about vaccinating their children – my personal favorite, and a go-to for medical type topics, is Quackwatch‘s information on the subject. It’s important to do – in some areas  (including parts of Omaha, where we live) certain diseases like Whooping Cough are making a comeback due to parents who are choosing to not immunize their children.

*That sounded way less sanctimonious in my head, by the way. Picture a Zap Branigan like pose with a DOOP flag waving in the background when you read that…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. shellssells permalink
    July 29, 2009 5:38 pm

    I’ve never for a moment bought into the rejection of immunizations. But working in infectious diseases at a medical center really drives this home. Our labs are working with a resurgence in mumps as well as other almost obliterated childhood diseases. There is NO WAY I’d put my child through one of these diseases. No Way. Have we completely forgotten what these diseases really look like? Do we really need to start with google images to drive the point home? Come on now!

    On the other hand, I do think researching and developing your own ideas logically is wise, and what a smart parent does. There are immunizations that I don’t really buy in to. Chicken pox for one. It doesn’t really guard completely, often needs a booster, and is too new. I still made Bug get it, but I do not think that it is overly harmful to not do so. And I don’t really have an issue with a family who chooses to “delay” immunizations. But please, have them done before we encounter you at school! It would be pretty tough to explain to my child why a friend of hers has passed away or can no longer walk just because her parent chose not to do the research.

  2. July 29, 2009 6:00 pm

    Exactly. There are actually a few heartbreaking stories out there – one in particular that Phil P from Bad Astronomy shared a while back in which a little girl in Australia who was too young to get vaccinated got Whooping Cough and died a little after four weeks. I watched the video when I was pregnant with AJ and it was that story, and the info that our doctor gave us that Pertussis is in the Omaha community, led me to be very careful of where we took him before Monday.

    I do think one of the big problems is that when doing research, a lot of people will come across the anti-vax material that is founded in research that has been disproven (I’m speaking specifically of the “vaccines cause autism” paper from the Lancet that made its way into popular culture – only to have 10 of the 13 authors issue a retraction of interpretation. And it later came out that Andrew Wakefield, the doctor at the heart of the study fixed the data he included in the study. ) However, I prefer passing on links like the Vaccine Education Center and the Quackwatch one listed in my posts than some of the stuff I included in this comment – there’s a lot of rhetoric surrounding the issue. I like rhetoric as much as the next gal, but I think most people don’t.

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