Sunday, April 14, 2013

Some real facts on Vaccinations

It's that time of year again when vaccinations are in the news. Down under in Oz, it's the start of the Flu vaccination "season" whilst up in the northern climes, there is an outbreak of Measles in Wales that is causing great concern because of the recent low vaccination rates amongst infants.

So what is it about vaccinations that seems to scare so many people? Are we starting to believe all those Zombie movies that tell of rogue scientists creating 'orrible vaccines that turn us all into dribbling maniacs?

Point one: Vaccines have become far "smarter" than they were a decade ago. Back in the last Millenia - think the 1990's - although there were fewer diseases covered in a single vaccine such as diptheria  tetanus or measles, the number of antigens that were actually injected into the infant was around several thousand. Today, we might have more diseases covered in each vaccination, but the actual number of antigens with those vaccines is down to 365! Smarter, safer and better targeted.

Point Two: Thimerosal. Many parents have been alarmed by media reports of the rise in Autism Spectrum Disorder and the possible link with Thimerosal, BUT the scientific facts differ radically from the inflammatory headlines screamed from certain Newspaper Headlines. Several large and reliable studies have shown that Thimerosal is not linked to Autism and despite that fact that Thimerosla was removed from vaccines back in 2001, the rate of Autism has continued to increase!

Point Three: I have patients who tell me that each year I give them a Flu shot, they get the flu! The Influenza vaccine doesn't contain any live virus so cannot cause an infection. The vaccine contains certain protein markers from 3 or 4 influenza strains and these are given to stimulate your body's immune system to be prepared for those viruses - should they appear in your community - so that they don't overwhelm it and "give you the flu" before your immune system is able to produce enough killer T cells and wipe them out! But we have to remember that there are approximately 100 influenza viruses continually circulating and mutating around the world and the Flu vaccination will only protect you against the three most likely and most unpleasant of those.

Vaccinations have saved millions of lives and will save millions more: low immunization levels not only put you and your family at risk, they endanger those in your community who are less able to fight off infection - those who are aged, the pregnant and those on chemotherapy. If you have a concern, then ask an expert and don't rely on the headlines in the newspaper or the latest rumour circulating on the web: your health is worth more than that.

Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.


Anonymous said...

The husband was told he can't take the flu vaccine because he has excema and an allergy to eggs...not sure if this is true but neither of us has ever had the vacine and we are both plus 65. The last time we had the flu was about 31 years ago. We do take supplements, especially over winter and spring, to attempt to boost our immune systems and we eat healthy and get lots of sleep. We are, however, considering getting the pneumonia vaccine and the shingles vaccine. Any advice on those?

cucaracha said...

Vaccination is critical in the population for the so-called "herd immunity". My children were not allowed to have the whooping cough vaccine because I have had fits, so we depended on other people's altruism to protect them. These scare stories which are not refuted cause a great deal of anxiety to those who would like to have their children vaccinated [or be vaccinated themselves] but can't.

Mariodacatsmom said...

We have been getting the flu shot for years now and I wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, we haven't even had any colds in the past two years either (helps to be retired and at home and away from all the nasty bugs). I really wish people would follow doctor's orders and get vaccinations for themselves & their children. Oh, there is some interesting news in my blog post. I was mis diagnosed PD!!