Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Predictably, the comments section in this article has become an anti-vax propaganda machine because most parents who vaccinate their children aren't as motivated to advocate for vaccines as those who are anti-vaccine are to advocate against them. Another telling aspect of the anti-vaccine movement is the sheer hyperbole and hysteria of their talking points--it betrays a defensiveness that is not present in the science-backed pro-vaccine movement. Such defensiveness is often symptomatic of a person who knows, at their very core, that their beliefs are based on falsehoods.
If you are a new parent or even a vaccine-hesitant parent, I typically do not suggest that you visit anti-vax websites, because the "science" is not science and startling and frightening claims are made but never backed up with science, but I think a visit to the comments page of this article would actually help to let a new parent understand the milieu of the anti-vax movement.
If a new parent chooses not to vaccinate, she should understand that the individuals posting on this article will be her peers. The people she runs with. The ones she will begin advocating for. After reading these comments--the ones promoting exposing one's child to measles rather than getting the vaccine, choosing substantial risk of death for their child over one of the safest medications known to man--you can come to your own conclusion. But know that the misrepresentation of science, the complete misunderstanding of the way vaccine components work in the human body, and, most clearly, emotions dominate their side of the debate. Are you comfortable with this? As I've mentioned before on this blog, as a cautious new parent, I was taken in by this emotional appeal, until I realized that I had been duped and had needlessly put my son's life at risk by delaying a critical vaccine.
One parent did speak up, and I encourage anyone who has chosen to vaccinate and would like to make that fact known to visit the article site and make a comment. In the meantime, here is the lone pro-vax comment from the article. The "deadly consequences" the writer refers to is in response to an anti-vaxxer claiming the story's subtitle about the deadly consequences of vaccine refusal was yellow journalism because there are no deadly consequences to not vaccinating.
Update 12/22/11: It looks like some pro-vax parents are weighing in. Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to post in favor of immunization!
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Emily Lastinger's Family|
|Chelsea Oliver (Craft)|
At the end of the day, the decision comes down to whether you think your life is worth the flu shot. I know Emily Lastinger's was. I know Chelsea Oliver (Craft)'s was. I know Chance Chandler's was. I know every single child who has died from influenza's life was worth getting the flu vaccine, and it's a tragedy that in so many of these cases, circumstances prevented them from getting the vaccine. Whether it was outdated immunization guidelines, a snowstorm, a lack of vaccine at the clinic, or misunderstanding about the fact that you need to be vaccinated each year, the bottom line is that chances are these children would be here today if they had been vaccinated. And that's why their families fight, and will continue to fight every day of their lives, to make sure you never have to suffer like they did. It's your decision.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
By Jennifer Westmoreland Bouchard
The people who recommended this film to me largely share my parenting philosophies. For all intents and purposes, I consider myself a practitioner of attachment parenting (AP). I exclusively breastfeed my four-month-old daughter, we practice elimination communication, I wear her as much as she’ll let me, and I am extremely careful about the products I allow her to use.
But I’ve noticed an anti-vaccine trend in attachment parenting groups (I partially attribute this to Dr. Sears’ delayed vaccine schedule), to such an extent that I always feel compelled to add that I am pro-vax whenever I’m in a conversation about AP. So, yes, I've become the AP parent who vaccinates according to the routine vaccinations scheduled outlined by the CDC. Why? Because my daughter deserves better than to be put at risk for serious illness as a result of baseless claims and anecdotal evidence. Because my community deserves better than to be subjected to an epidemic, to travel back in time to a much more dangerous time in human history, a time before safe, effective vaccines were available to a majority of the U.S. population.
Five minutes into the film, I wasn’t sure if I could make it through the whole thing, but I pushed ahead in the name of research. In short, the film was everything I thought it would be and more. Creative (read: deceptive) editing and splicing of sound bytes, vague science, anecdotal "evidence," everything you'd expect from a film with full support from Joe Mercola (for information on Joe Mercola, visit Science-Based Medicine's post about his appearance on Dr. Oz's show). The only reasonable parts of the film were the sections featuring Dr. Paul Offit. (I guess these few scenes were the filmmakers attempt at fair and balanced), who says something logical, then the film cuts to a figure such as notorious anti-vax crusader Barbara Loe Fisher who contradicts what he said, and then it cuts to a heart-wrenching anecdote about a child whose illness was “caused by vaccines.” There were, of course, no anecdotes about unvaccinated children whose lives had been ruined by preventable diseases.
Needless to say, I would never recommend this film to anyone. It’s simply a rehashing of all of the old anti-vax chestnuts (yes, the same ones that have been debunked by the medical community over and over). However, I’m glad I watched it. It helped me understand where anti-vaxxers get their information, and how these notions of false causality become hardened truths in their minds.
Though I’m tempted to give it a go, I’m not going to pick apart the film point-by-point. This has already been done by those much more knowledgeable about vaccine debate than I. For starters, try this piece in the Vaccine Times that dissects the film’s trailer: . Or Gorski’s remarkable dissection of the entire film at Science-Based Medicine.
Never did I imagine that vaccinating my daughter would be perceived as a political or philosophical statement. Never did I imagine that my pediatrician would noticeably relax, relieved when I told her that we were committed to following a routine vaccination schedule. It saddens and angers me that the anti-vaccine voices have become so loud, and that more and more people are being duped into refusing vaccines for their children. Good parents question the safety of everything. It’s what we do. Questioning is important, yes. But it’s even more important to base those questions on hard scientific evidence, on correct information.
We live in a climate where everyone can get a “degree in vaccination studies” at the “University of Google.” As I remind my college students each semester as we come to final paper time, Internet research is fine, just make sure you consult quality sources. Be analytical, be tough, be unrelenting when it comes to the veracity of the information you’re reading. It is my job as a Mom Who Vaxs to be a quality (re)source, to continue to educate myself not only on the science that supports benefits of vaccines, but also on the rhetoric of the anti-vaxxers (so that I can debunk it for those who are still “on the fence” about vaccinations, or anti-vaxxers who are willing to question their views). This is my best hope for helping to make our society safer for our kids, safer for all of us.
Jen Westmoreland Bouchard is a writer, teacher, translator, and mother.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Editor's Note: If you are a parent who would like to share your story about why you vaccinate, please contact us at momswhovax AT gmail.com
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
This is scary, but it's not a scare-tactic. If the anti-vax movement is anything, it is nothing but scare tactics. If you are making your own vaccine decisions about your children, please take the time to read Brendalee's incredible story and about her daughter's remarkable recovery. I had the honor of looking at lovely Julieanna for an hour during today's parents' panel. In terms of gathering information, if we are capable of hearing the "vaccines are toxic" or "they turned my child autistic" stories, we are capable of looking at the other side and reading the stories of what can happen when we choose not vaccinate. To turn away from these stories is to be dishonest in our decision making. We all want what's best for our kids, and that means making an informed decision about vaccinating. Julieanna will help you make an informed decision. Promise.
Brendalee Flint's Story