• Some things about vaccines aren’t gray

    I was just getting back from vacation when the whole world felt the need to send me this. Apparently, Jenny McCarthy is suddenly declaring that she’s not anti-vaccine:

    I am not “anti-vaccine.” This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, “pro-vaccine” and for years I have been wrongly branded as “anti-vaccine.”

    My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the “one size fits all” philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule. I embarked on this quest not only for myself and my family, but for countless parents who shared my desire for knowledge that could lead to options and alternate schedules, but never to eliminate the vaccines.

    Gah. Others have already taken to the Internet to show the many, many times when Ms. McCarthy contradicted this “stance”. I have no interest in that. What I do have an interest in it stuff like this:

    For my child, I asked for a schedule that would allow one shot per visit instead of the multiple shots they were and still are giving infants.

    Here’s the problem with that. There are currently 16 different diseases that we vaccinate against. Most of these require three or four doses in order to get the full effect. Kids don’t come to the doctor often enough to allow that, so when you ask for one shot per visit, you’re leaving them (and others) at risk. As I said before, delaying vaccinations is a bad idea.

    She asks that we consider the “gray zone”. But in many areas, there is no gray zone. Do vaccines cause autism? No. There’s no gray zone there. Do they overwhelm the immune system? No. There’s no gray zone there.

    Ms. McCarthy continues:

    I believe in the importance of a vaccine program and I believe parents have the right to choose one poke per visit. I’ve never told anyone to not vaccinate. Should a child with the flu receive six vaccines in one doctor visit? Should a child with a compromised immune system be treated the same way as a robust, healthy child? Shouldn’t a child with a family history of vaccine reactions have a different plan? Or at least the right to ask questions?

    She’s conflating totally different things here. I already pointed out why the one-poke-per-visit won’t work. She asks if a sick kid should get vaccines. If they’re not more than mildly ill, yes. Maybe if they’d gotten the flu vaccine they wouldn’t have the flu. She brings up immunocompromised kids, but they absolutely do get considered differently already. No decent physician would not consider a child’s individual medical history. Same with those kids with a history of adverse reactions. We consent people for vaccines, and ask if they’ve had bad reactions before.

    And no one, absolutely no physician I know, refuses to answer the questions of parents.

    These are not issues that the vaccine controversy has been about. These are not areas that are “gray”, because no one is arguing them. What is being argued is the efficacy and safety of vaccines in general, and in that area, I’m sorry, there is no gray zone. They work, and they’re safe. Period.

    @aaronecarroll

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