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vaccines are great

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

I believe that vaccines are generally safe, highly effective and one of the most important tools we have to improve health and well-being. Prove me wrong.

 

For my own curiosity, I'd also like to hear from parents who don't vaccinate or partially vaccinate their children: what convinced you that that is the best course of action? Please be as specific/detailed as you feel comfortable with. If you prefer to just tell me your reasons and not engage in a debate, that's fine.

 

I realize there is another thread with a similar topic, but I don't really like where it was going and I thought I'd start a new conversation.

post #2 of 47
Thread Starter 

I'm addressing this comment from a different thread in order to ensure that I am following forum rules:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ma2two View Post

 

I am not aware of any large studies that have compared unvaccinated and fully vaccinated children. Partially vaccinated vs. fully vaccinated doesn't count. Or vaccinated on a slightly different schedule vs. on schedule. Or missing one certain vaccine vs. not missing that once certain vaccine. Etc.

 

If the government and/or pharmaceutical companies wanted to do it, they would find the money, and they would find a way to do a well designed study. They should be completely confident that the results would show that fully vaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children. Those results from a large, well designed study would convince many reluctant parents to vaccinate, I'm sure.

 

As I said, a randomized controlled trial is the gold-standard in statistics. It is the only kind of experimental design that, by itself, can reliably demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships. In order to do one directly examining the differences in vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the children would have to be randomly placed into vaccine/no vaccine groups. In other words, the parents could not be the ones to decide whether to vaccinate or not. This is considered highly unethical research, because, while you may disagree, the people conducting the research believe that deliberately not vaccinating children has the potential to be extremely harmful. Other efforts have occasionally been made to compare the two groups, but the studies have been of poor quality and had strange/mixed results.

 

However, numerous high-quality studies have been done by the government, pharmaceutical companies and others examining the safety of vaccines. They have found no evidence of a link between childhood vaccines and autism or other chronic diseases/conditions. If you tend to trust large, well-designed studies, why are those not enough? And, even if you don't trust those studies, given how dangerous some vaccine-preventable diseases can be, shouldn't the default position be to vaccinate until there is real evidence of equivalent or worse danger from vaccines?
 

post #3 of 47

So since they can't do the absolute gold standard of a randomized, double blind placebo controlled study with unvaccinated children, they shouldn't do any studies at all, it seems.

 

But it also seems they have no problem doing other types of studies, as long as they don't include a group of completely unvaccinated children.

 

And at the opposite end, why aren't there studies looking at children who were healthy and developing normally, and then regressed after vaccination? To try to figure out what is different about them, from children who seemed to do well after vaccination? The late Dr. Bernadine Healy said such studies hadn't been done, but should be done. They still haven't been done.

post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by djrn View Post

I'm addressing this comment from a different thread in order to ensure that I am following forum rules:

 

As I said, a randomized controlled trial is the gold-standard in statistics. It is the only kind of experimental design that, by itself, can reliably demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships. In order to do one directly examining the differences in vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the children would have to be randomly placed into vaccine/no vaccine groups. In other words, the parents could not be the ones to decide whether to vaccinate or not. This is considered highly unethical research, because, while you may disagree, the people conducting the research believe that deliberately not vaccinating children has the potential to be extremely harmful. Other efforts have occasionally been made to compare the two groups, but the studies have been of poor quality and had strange/mixed results.

 


 

It doesn't really matter why they haven't compared vaccinated to unvaccinated in any sort of meaningful way; it just matters that they haven't.  

post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by djrn View Post

I believe that vaccines are generally safe, highly effective and one of the most important tools we have to improve health and well-being. Prove me wrong.

 

For my own curiosity, I'd also like to hear from parents who don't vaccinate or partially vaccinate their children: what convinced you that that is the best course of action? Please be as specific/detailed as you feel comfortable with. If you prefer to just tell me your reasons and not engage in a debate, that's fine.

 

I realize there is another thread with a similar topic, but I don't really like where it was going and I thought I'd start a new conversation.

 

Why on earth, if you are so sure about your belief in vaccines, do you want to be proved wrong? It is very difficult to change a person's mind when a belief is held so strongly. It is like the story that was retold in a blog I read recently, about a man who was seeing a psychiatrist because he was convinced he was a corpse. The doctor wasn't making any progress with the man, but he had an idea to get through to the man. The psychiatrist asked the him if corpses bleed. Of course the man said, "no, they are dead, only living people bleed." So the doctor got a needle and pricked the man's finger, and it bled. The man observed the blood forming on his finger in awe. The psychiatrist thought he had made a breakthrough and asked the man what had he learned. The man looked at him with wide eyes and said, "I guess corpses bleed after all." 

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, the non vaxing parents on this board have undertaken, many thousands of collective hours of research on the subject, and you expect us to condense all that information and knowledge into some sound bite reply? Please, take the time to read through this forum, and I suggest going way back, and you might learn why we have chosen not to vaccinate our children. 

 

As you saw with the other thread, threads asking this question tend to go south pretty quickly. I can't speak for others, but quite frankly, I don't care what other people do with regard to the health and well being of their children. All I ask is that I am allowed to protect my children's health and well being in the way I see fit. And that includes refusing all vaccines and any other medical treatment I deem unsafe.

post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by djrn View Post

I believe that vaccines are generally safe, highly effective and one of the most important tools we have to improve health and well-being. Prove me wrong.

 

 

I believe the safety of vaccines is unknown, they vary in effectiveness, and that they are not one of the most important tools I have to improve the health and well being of my family.  In fact, they don't improve health or well being at all.  They might prevent illness - which is different than improving health.

 

I don't have to prove you wrong at all.   If you (or anyone else) is asking me to inject a substance into my child, the burden is on you to prove they are safe.

post #7 of 47

I don't really trust vaccines being safe after things like this:

http://www.thelocal.se/46950/20130326/#.UVHtYVdPxX-

 

The government went out and recommended the swine flu shot, claming it to be totally safe. Then later it turns out that so many children (/young people) got narcolepsy from that shot. The huge study in the link clearly shows that the vaccine was to blame and the government also said so.

So why would you trust it then?

I called the swine flu shot an experiment from the start, and I do not experiment with injecting substances into my children, or myself.

 

 

(Disclaimer, my kids are not completely vax free, they have recieved a couple of shots. I don't think vaccines are evil or anything, I think they did lots of good too. But I'm very sceptical, highly selective, and will never be part of an experiment with new shots.)

post #8 of 47

As I said in the thread I first pointed you to, one of the reasons we don't vax is due to a family history of vaccine injury and reactions. We have also found out since that one of our daughters is allergic to something in several vaccines. I am not interested in defending my decision to you or anyone else. I think if you want to ask sincere questions for your research paper, you should be willing to listen without demanding we "prove" our point and you might want to rethink your title.

 

eta: demand may be too strong of a word, I realize you said you were fine with us saying we did not want to debate, but you seem to be wanting two different things, so maybe two different threads would have been in order.


Edited by fruitfulmomma - 6/18/13 at 8:10am
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by djrn View Post

I'm addressing this comment from a different thread in order to ensure that I am following forum rules:

 

As I said, a randomized controlled trial is the gold-standard in statistics. It is the only kind of experimental design that, by itself, can reliably demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships. In order to do one directly examining the differences in vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the children would have to be randomly placed into vaccine/no vaccine groups. In other words, the parents could not be the ones to decide whether to vaccinate or not. This is considered highly unethical research, because, while you may disagree, the people conducting the research believe that deliberately not vaccinating children has the potential to be extremely harmful. Other efforts have occasionally been made to compare the two groups, but the studies have been of poor quality and had strange/mixed results.

 

However, numerous high-quality studies have been done by the government, pharmaceutical companies and others examining the safety of vaccines. They have found no evidence of a link between childhood vaccines and autism or other chronic diseases/conditions. If you tend to trust large, well-designed studies, why are those not enough? And, even if you don't trust those studies, given how dangerous some vaccine-preventable diseases can be, shouldn't the default position be to vaccinate until there is real evidence of equivalent or worse danger from vaccines?
 


I consider it unethical to distribute so many vaccines to such a large portion of the population (sometimes using deceit, coercion or force), without first doing the most thorough research possible into the safety.  As for the idea that leaving study participants unvaccinated could be harmful: what about diseases like chickenpox, for which the vaccine is distributed to reduce sick days, not because of the risks of the disease.  Why haven't there been double blind studies for that?  Not all diseases for which there is a vaccine are dangerous enough to justify not doing proper research. 

 

The gross generalisation is not helping your case.  The potential danger from diseases for which there is a vaccine varies greatly, as does the potential risk from the different vaccines.  Just because tetanus is dangerous if you are unlucky enough to get it, doesn't mean that it is automatically a good idea to do mass vaccinations against HPV.  The default position should be to look at the individual and have an honest discussion about the risks/benefits of each vaccine given the individual's particular circumstances.

post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightbulb View Post


 

 

(Disclaimer, my kids are not completely vax free, they have recieved a couple of shots. I don't think vaccines are evil or anything, I think they did lots of good too. But I'm very sceptical, highly selective, and will never be part of an experiment with new shots.)


I agree with the above poster with respect to these new "vaccinations" that are now being added to the roster.  Polio was/is a disease that has devastating consequences; smallpox was a similar disease; there are various other diseases for which vaccines are, in my view, very important to minimize the number of people who may contract them, and I choose, for my children, to vaccinate against those types of disease.  I don't think vaccines are necessarily evil; however, chicken pox in small children, annual strains of influenza and HPV are not among those diseases which I consider so critical that I will vaccinate my child against them at this point.  I don't even know if the term vaccination should be used in relation to annual influenza, swine flu, etc, given that the efficacy of these so-called vaccinations is pretty questionable.  I have concerns about pushing vaccines like that on pregnant women and children, where there has been no determination as to their safety, and where there is no long-term history of their usage to look to from which an idea of their safety could be gathered.  Particularly the H1N1 vaccine had such scare tactics involved with it, and most proponents seemed incredibly misinformed in comparison to the actual drug disclosure statements provided by the drug companies.  I think that public health bodies do themselves no favours, and they undermine the importance of some vaccinations, when they use such pressure tactics to get people to obtain shots for things like flu where the efficacy of the shot is so questionable, and where the shot is completely untested in huge parts of their target population at the time when the vaccination program was rolled out (I'm primarily referring to H1N1 in 2009).  

post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by djrn View Post

Prove me wrong.

 

 

I am sorry, but there is just no easy way to get the knowledge without spending hundreds if not thousands of hours doing the research (the amount of time most people who chose to not vaccinate spent doing the research). You can start by checking out this website http://www.healthfromscratch.com/vaccines-safety-info.html . Every single link (everything in orange color is clickable) is whether a serious study (from all over the world) or lecture by an MD (including few documentaries interviewing MDs and PhDs) or news stories. Very educational.

post #12 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ma2two View Post

So since they can't do the absolute gold standard of a randomized, double blind placebo controlled study with unvaccinated children, they shouldn't do any studies at all, it seems.

 

But it also seems they have no problem doing other types of studies, as long as they don't include a group of completely unvaccinated children.

 

And at the opposite end, why aren't there studies looking at children who were healthy and developing normally, and then regressed after vaccination? To try to figure out what is different about them, from children who seemed to do well after vaccination? The late Dr. Bernadine Healy said such studies hadn't been done, but should be done. They still haven't been done.


By "regressed," do you mean that they began to display autistic symptoms? It is known that autism commonly manifests before the age of 2 years.old, regardless of whether the child is fully, partially, or not at all vaccinated. It is apparently a coincidence that this also happens to be around the time at which a number of vaccines are provided. As I said, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, despite numerous rigorous studies.

 

I've stated why an experimental study (random controlled trial) is unethical. It sounds like you want an observational study instead, which is generally less useful but can still be interesting. There can be some problems with this. For example, the number of unvaccinated children is relatively small, and within that group, the children tend to have homogenous backgrounds - they tend to be white, have married mothers with college degrees, live in an upper middle class household, etc. One of the keys to an effective study is having a heterogeneous group to study, which would be tough to put together here. But some attempts have been made, in fact one of them was by anti-vaccination group Generation Rescue. The study, which I would call poorly done and unreliable, found that the highest incidence of autism was in partially vaccinated children (with lower incidence in fully vaccinated children) which would actually appear to be evidence against vaccines causing autism. I can't find a direct link to the study any more, but you can read an analysis at http://web.archive.org/web/20080116035729/http://www.kevinleitch.co.uk/wp/?p=567.

 

Just to go back to the issue of the small number of unvaccinated children for a second... the estimate in the US is that somewhere around 50,000 3-6 year olds are completely unvaccinated. If you could enroll 1% of them in a study (even 1% could be tough), the study would only be able to reliably detect around a 15-fold difference in autism rates. If it were "only" a difference of five times, you couldn't see it in that study. You could do a study to detect a more reasonable 10%+ increase in autism rates with vaccination - if you had three times as many unvaccinated children in the study as there are in the entire country. This is an inconvenient problem, but it's how statistics works. You might be able to bypass it somewhat by doing several studies around the world, but this would get very complicated, very expensive, and divert money from researching more promising areas related to things like autism. Areas where there is more evidence for a cause. That's why you aren't seeing these studies.

post #13 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

It doesn't really matter why they haven't compared vaccinated to unvaccinated in any sort of meaningful way; it just matters that they haven't.  


This sounds very illogical to me. It would be like saying, "unless and until a large study is done to see whether children exposed to organic food develop autism, I am going to rigorously avoid exposing him to organic food." Insert any common item for organic food, if you wish, but I chose organic food for a reason: the increase in autism rates actually correlates more closely to the rise in sales of organic food than it does to vaccination rates or number of vaccines. I'm not suggesting that organic food causes autism. I like organic food. My point is that I have no good reason to think either organic food or vaccines cause autism. Since it's impossible to prove a negative (that x doesn't cause y), I'll assume there is no link until there is solid evidence of the positive claim that x causes y. Do you look for a study on any new/slightly unusual item before your child is exposed to it?

post #14 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post

 

Why on earth, if you are so sure about your belief in vaccines, do you want to be proved wrong? It is very difficult to change a person's mind when a belief is held so strongly. It is like the story that was retold in a blog I read recently, about a man who was seeing a psychiatrist because he was convinced he was a corpse. The doctor wasn't making any progress with the man, but he had an idea to get through to the man. The psychiatrist asked the him if corpses bleed. Of course the man said, "no, they are dead, only living people bleed." So the doctor got a needle and pricked the man's finger, and it bled. The man observed the blood forming on his finger in awe. The psychiatrist thought he had made a breakthrough and asked the man what had he learned. The man looked at him with wide eyes and said, "I guess corpses bleed after all." 

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, the non vaxing parents on this board have undertaken, many thousands of collective hours of research on the subject, and you expect us to condense all that information and knowledge into some sound bite reply? Please, take the time to read through this forum, and I suggest going way back, and you might learn why we have chosen not to vaccinate our children. 

 

As you saw with the other thread, threads asking this question tend to go south pretty quickly. I can't speak for others, but quite frankly, I don't care what other people do with regard to the health and well being of their children. All I ask is that I am allowed to protect my children's health and well being in the way I see fit. And that includes refusing all vaccines and any other medical treatment I deem unsafe.


I believe what I believe based on scientific evidence. Show me some rigorous scientific evidence demonstrating the opposite, that vaccines are linked to a chronic condition like autism, diabetes, or whatever, and I'll change my beliefs. Can you say the same about your beliefs? I don't question that you are trying to do what is best for your children, and that you've done a lot of research. I suppose, above all, that I question the sources where you have gotten your information. If you'd like to tell me about some of the sources or claims you found most convincing, I'd be interested in looking at them.

post #15 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I believe the safety of vaccines is unknown, they vary in effectiveness, and that they are not one of the most important tools I have to improve the health and well being of my family.  In fact, they don't improve health or well being at all.  They might prevent illness - which is different than improving health.

 

I don't have to prove you wrong at all.   If you (or anyone else) is asking me to inject a substance into my child, the burden is on you to prove they are safe.


When vaccines are developed and produced, they are rigorously tested. In fact, it is tougher to bring a vaccine or other medication to market in the USA than in many other places because we have such high standards. Common childhood vaccines have been tested for side effects and have been used for years or even decades with no evidence of widespread danger. In recent years, numerous additional studies have been done demonstrating no link between vaccines and specific problems like autism. Why does this not satisfy the burden?

 

I would argue that preventing illness and improving health are largely synonymous, but I guess that's semantics and it's not really important.

post #16 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightbulb View Post

I don't really trust vaccines being safe after things like this:

http://www.thelocal.se/46950/20130326/#.UVHtYVdPxX-

 

The government went out and recommended the swine flu shot, claming it to be totally safe. Then later it turns out that so many children (/young people) got narcolepsy from that shot. The huge study in the link clearly shows that the vaccine was to blame and the government also said so.

So why would you trust it then?

I called the swine flu shot an experiment from the start, and I do not experiment with injecting substances into my children, or myself.

 

 

(Disclaimer, my kids are not completely vax free, they have recieved a couple of shots. I don't think vaccines are evil or anything, I think they did lots of good too. But I'm very sceptical, highly selective, and will never be part of an experiment with new shots.)


I think it's admirable when someone is willing to take a nuanced position, rather than claiming all vaccines are dangerous, but I think some of your skepticism may be misplaced. The study you are linking to about narcolepsy is very recent and I haven't seen the study itself so I can't speak to it. However, I would point out that many studies of the swine flu vaccine show an adverse reaction profile similar to seasonal flu vaccines, which tend to be very rare. In fact, I saw a study showing that incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome (which was mentioned as a possible side effect) in the vaccinated was lower than in the unvaccinated. It would also be worth noting that GBS can be caused by flu infection, which may be the reason. So I wouldn't necessarily take those claims (particularly from the sensationalist media) at face value.

post #17 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post

As I said in the thread I first pointed you to, one of the reasons we don't vax is due to a family history of vaccine injury and reactions. We have also found out since that one of our daughters is allergic to something in several vaccines. I am not interested in defending my decision to you or anyone else. I think if you want to ask sincere questions for your research paper, you should be willing to listen without demanding we "prove" our point and you might want to rethink your title.

 

eta: demand may be too strong of a word, I realize you said you were fine with us saying we did not want to debate, but you seem to be wanting two different things, so maybe two different threads would have been in order.


Fair enough. Actually, you reasons for not vaccinating are entirely valid medically. I have no quarrel with them, and there is no need for you to defend them. However, I would point out that is to your children's benefit for other children to be vaccinated, since yours are at higher risk from vaccine-preventable infections. I would hope you encourage vaccination in others, assuming they do not have the same issues with allergies/reactions.

 

See? I can listen.

post #18 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post


I consider it unethical to distribute so many vaccines to such a large portion of the population (sometimes using deceit, coercion or force), without first doing the most thorough research possible into the safety.  As for the idea that leaving study participants unvaccinated could be harmful: what about diseases like chickenpox, for which the vaccine is distributed to reduce sick days, not because of the risks of the disease.  Why haven't there been double blind studies for that?  Not all diseases for which there is a vaccine are dangerous enough to justify not doing proper research. 

 

The gross generalisation is not helping your case.  The potential danger from diseases for which there is a vaccine varies greatly, as does the potential risk from the different vaccines.  Just because tetanus is dangerous if you are unlucky enough to get it, doesn't mean that it is automatically a good idea to do mass vaccinations against HPV.  The default position should be to look at the individual and have an honest discussion about the risks/benefits of each vaccine given the individual's particular circumstances.


Blue: I'm not sure what deceit, coercion or force you are referring to, but informed consent is one of the ethical foundations of modern medical treatment. If you witnessed a vaccine literally forced on a child without parental consent, or if healthcare professionals refused to give you information on the vaccines before administering them, I'd suggest hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit, because you would win easily. I would argue that that research has been done, and if there is a specific vaccine or related issue you want to see a study on or trial results for, I might be able to find something for you. The idea that the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine was released to reduce sick days is false as far as I am aware (at most it is a nice ancillary benefit). Chickenpox, while usually no more than an inconvenience if contracted in childhood, can sometimes still be dangerous for them, and if a susceptible adult catches it then you can really be asking for trouble. So there are very good reasons for having a vaccine.

 

Green: I didn't think I was grossly generalizing, I said some diseases are very dangerous, and that the benefits outweigh the risks. I would like to point out that any medical treatment, including vaccines, is provided once the healthcare professionals, researchers, etc. have determined that the benefits of it outweigh the drawbacks. For example, doctors will willingly administer chemotherapy which can do great damage to the human body. Why? Because it does even greater damage to the cancer. Any medical treatment can have bad side effects, but vaccines have among the fewest, while also providing some of the greatest benefits. It is estimated that vaccines have saved literally tens or hundreds of millions of lives.

post #19 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manysplinters View Post


I agree with the above poster with respect to these new "vaccinations" that are now being added to the roster.  Polio was/is a disease that has devastating consequences; smallpox was a similar disease; there are various other diseases for which vaccines are, in my view, very important to minimize the number of people who may contract them, and I choose, for my children, to vaccinate against those types of disease.  I don't think vaccines are necessarily evil; however, chicken pox in small children, annual strains of influenza and HPV are not among those diseases which I consider so critical that I will vaccinate my child against them at this point.  I don't even know if the term vaccination should be used in relation to annual influenza, swine flu, etc, given that the efficacy of these so-called vaccinations is pretty questionable.  I have concerns about pushing vaccines like that on pregnant women and children, where there has been no determination as to their safety, and where there is no long-term history of their usage to look to from which an idea of their safety could be gathered.  Particularly the H1N1 vaccine had such scare tactics involved with it, and most proponents seemed incredibly misinformed in comparison to the actual drug disclosure statements provided by the drug companies.  I think that public health bodies do themselves no favours, and they undermine the importance of some vaccinations, when they use such pressure tactics to get people to obtain shots for things like flu where the efficacy of the shot is so questionable, and where the shot is completely untested in huge parts of their target population at the time when the vaccination program was rolled out (I'm primarily referring to H1N1 in 2009).  


The problem with flu vaccines in particular is that the influenza virus mutates rapidly and sometimes unpredictably. The vaccines are produced to battle the strains that scientists expect to become prominent several months later. From what I've seen, the H1N1 vaccine was about as effective as any other similar vaccine. There are conflicting studies about the side effects, but many studies show that it is as safe as similar vaccines. It is credited with preventing around 1 million illnesses and hundreds of deaths in the US. I would also point out that the vaccine was very similar in its production to seasonal flu vaccines, which makes me skeptical of most claims about major risks.

post #20 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymama1976 View Post

 

I am sorry, but there is just no easy way to get the knowledge without spending hundreds if not thousands of hours doing the research (the amount of time most people who chose to not vaccinate spent doing the research). You can start by checking out this website http://www.healthfromscratch.com/vaccines-safety-info.html . Every single link (everything in orange color is clickable) is whether a serious study (from all over the world) or lecture by an MD (including few documentaries interviewing MDs and PhDs) or news stories. Very educational.


It isn't hard to provide convincing evidence, if you have rigorous scientific study to back it up. I took a look at that website, and I saw quite a bit that was misleading just in the first few lines. I'm wondering if you have some issues with vaccines that you consider most pressing (that site mentions aluminum and mercury quite a bit, for example) that you'd like to bring up that I might be able to talk about.

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