Tag: questions about vaccines

How Do You Provide Informed Consent to Vaccination?

When you take your child to their pediatrician, you expect to be given all of the information you need to help you make good decisions about their care.

Whether it is about an antibiotic to treat an ear infection, the need for an MRI if your child is having severe headaches, or weaning off an asthma medication, etc., you deserve to be well informed of the risks and benefits of any and all procedures they have.

How Do You Provide Informed Consent to Vaccination?

Of course, informed consent also applies to vaccinations.

It's not an "informed consent form," but the Vaccine Information Statement can help you get informed consent before getting vaccines.
It’s not an “informed consent form,” but the Vaccine Information Statement can help you get informed consent before getting vaccines.

How do you provide informed consent to vaccination?

  1. Provide the latest edition of the appropriate Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) before a vaccination is given. Although these aren’t actually “informed consent forms,” they are required to be given by federal law and because “cover both benefits and risks associated with vaccinations, they provide enough information that anyone reading them should be adequately informed”
  2. Give parents/guardians the chance to take the VIS home to review later.
  3. Answer any questions about the vaccine that their child is about to get.

Hopefully you always get informed consent before your child is vaccinated.

You should also get informed consent before skipping or delaying any of your child’s vaccines, as it risks their getting a life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease and puts others at risk, all without any extra benefit.

“At trial, the parent and physician both acknowledged that the vaccine was recommended, but the parent stated that the risk of death wasn’t mentioned during the discussion.”

Document ‘informed refusal’ just as you would informed consent

Believe it or not, a pediatrician in California was successfully sued after a parent refused to vaccinate their child with Prevnar and their infant died of pneumococcal sepsis, which the vaccine could have prevented.

Although they realized that their pediatrician had recommended the vaccine and they refused it, they claimed that they didn’t realize that their baby could die without it. He did…

Myths About Informed Consent and Vaccines

Not surprisingly, many folks get the idea of informed consent to vaccination wrong.

For one thing, unless it is required by state law, no one has to sign a consent form before getting vaccinated. Many pediatricians and clinics do have you sign that you received the VIS, although federal law does not require this signature.

And informed consent doesn’t come from reading a vaccine’s package insert, as the parts pushed by anti-vaccine folks are just things included from voluntary reports and have not actually been proven to be caused by the vaccine.

“Now that case one is settled, I can go back to being loud and proud about my belief that every single patient should receive complete informed consent prior to vaccinations. This two-year period of silence has been tough. I will not rest until every single family has been given access to full, complete, objective, and un-doctored information that makes every parent fully aware of the risks they accept if they don’t vaccinate their child, and all the risks they take if they do vaccinate their child. Period. And I will fight against mandatory vaccination laws until they are no more. When every single person on this planet has access to informed consent, and can make a free choice, I will then be able to say my work is done.”

Dr. Bob Sears

When Dr. Bob talks about vaccines, do you think he mentions the parents who skipped the Prevnar vaccine and then successfully sued their pediatrician for not warning them that their baby would die? 

Dr. Bob Sears actually reassured parents that measles wasn't deadly in developed countries, neglecting to mention the dozens of people who have died in outbreaks in Europe - another well-nourished population with lower vaccination rates than the U.S.
Dr. Bob Sears actually reassured parents that measles wasn’t deadly in developed countries, neglecting to mention the dozens of people who have died in outbreaks in Europe – another well-nourished population with lower vaccination rates than the U.S.

Overstating the side effects and risks of getting vaccinated, rarely or ever mentioning the benefits of vaccines, and underestimating the complications and risks of life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases isn’t informed consent.

It is actually misinformed consent.

It is propaganda.

It is a tool that some folks use to scare you away from making the right decision to vaccinate and protect your kids.

Parents deserve informed consent about vaccines. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are getting from the modern anti-vaccine movement.

More on Providing Informed Consent to Vaccination

Why Kat Von D Won’t Vaccinate Her Baby

Have you heard?

It’s been revealed!

The reason why Kat Von D won’t vaccinate her baby!

Looking at this type of anti-vaccine propaganda can help you understand why some parents are scared to vaccinate their kids.
Looking at this type of anti-vaccine propaganda can help you understand why some parents are scared to vaccinate their kids.

Actually, despite the hype, a new video from Del Bigtree, who works with Andrew Wakefield, never does reveal the reason why Kat Von D won’t vaccinate. That shouldn’t be a surprise from a guy who produced a movie about a whistleblower, but left the whisteblower out of the movie.

Why Kat Von D Won’t Vaccinate Her Baby

So why won’t Kat Von D vaccinate her baby?

“We are not against vaccines. Just because we have hesitancies and valid concerns about injecting our baby with specific chemicals and toxins does not mean we are anti anything.”

Kat Von D

We don’t know… Most people assumed it was because she was vegan, but many vegan parents do vaccinate their kids.

“As a soon-to-be-parent [and especially as a first-time-mom] I do feel it my responsibility to have questions, and to listen to my motherly instinct to question things, and do my research.

What we have found is that sometimes it isn’t always so black and white.
While we believe medications, including vaccines, are not all bad – we also can’t dismiss the fact that some may not be good for everyone.

There are plenty of studies that show some vaccinations can work wonders. And there are also studies that show some people [including mothers, and babies] may be more susceptible to vaccine injuries more than others.

It’s unfair for anyone to expect me [or any parent] to take the word of the pharmaceutical companies who have much to gain from and industry worth billions without question – and then have to dismiss any concerns of my own.”

Kat Von D

More than anything, it sounds like she is like many other on-the-fence type parents today, who get scared about all of the things they see and hear about vaccines, from vaccine injury stories and media scare stories to memes about aborted babies in vaccines.

Why Doesn’t Kat Von D Trust Vaccines?

Amazingly, his video included a record number of myths, talking points, and arguments of the anti-vaccine movement, from too many too soon to claiming that unvaccinated children are healthier.

Maybe Kat distrusts vaccines and the pharmaceutical industry because of all the anti-vaccine propaganda that folks put out.
Maybe Kat distrusts vaccines and the pharmaceutical industry because of all the anti-vaccine propaganda that folks put out.

Like many others, Del even managed to misrepresent the Hannah Poling decision, and of course, misused VAERS data.

So maybe we do know why Kat Von D and some other parents are too scared to get their kids vaccinated and protected…

REVEALED – Parents who aren’t vaccinating their kids are trusting the wrong people.

More on Why Kat Von D Won’t Vaccinate Her Baby

Recommendations for Reporting About Vaccines

Historically, the media has played a huge role in pushing vaccine misinformation and scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“The media created the MMR hoax, and they maintained it diligently for 10 years.”

Dr. Ben Goldacre Bad Science

Even before Andy Wakefield and his MMR hoax, the media helped fuel pertussis outbreaks by pushing the flawed research of John Wilson, which led to lawsuits against DPT vaccines and a big drop in vaccination rates.

None of it was true and the lawsuits failed, but the consequence was still that many unvaccinated kids died.

Bob Sears appeared on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment "Vaccines: A Bad Combination?"
Bob Sears appearing on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment “Vaccines: A Bad Combination?” is a great example of false balance.

Many others in the media have done a great job in promoting myths and fake controversies about vaccines and have used false balance in their interviews and articles to scare parents.

Fortunately, things have gotten better over the years.

Important Points for Reporting About Vaccines

Still, despite what some folks might think, health journalists aren’t going to get in trouble for reporting about vaccines.

They are going to hear about it if they do a bad job though.

“…it is important to recognise that the balance of media reporting does not necessarily reflect the balance of the argument among the involved professionals – by this is meant that equal weighting might be given by the media (and thus the lay community) to those for and against the vaccine although opponents of vaccination might be a very small number, as for example happened with both pertussis and MMR.”

David Baxter on Opposition to Vaccination and Immunisation the UK Experience – from Smallpox to MMR

Remember, the way that health journalists cover vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases can influence the behavior of people, either helping them understand that vaccines are safe and necessary, putting them on-the-fence about vaccines, or scarring them away from getting vaccinated and protected.

So be careful when reporting about vaccines, as it gives you the opportunity to correct many of myths that scare people, while educating folks about the topic you are covering.

You should also:

Are you ready to cover your next story about vaccines or the next measles outbreak?

What to Know About Reporting on Vaccines

The way that health journalists cover vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks can influence the behavior of people, either helping them understand that vaccines are safe and necessary, putting them on-the-fence about vaccines, or scarring them away from getting vaccinated and protected.

More on Reporting about Vaccines

Answers to Anti-Vaccine Talking Points

Polio Vaccine - don't wait until it's too late.
You can sometimes wait too long to get a child immunized…

Anti-vaccine folks are very good at coming up with questions about vaccines.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

It is good to be skeptical about things.

Unfortunately, they tend to believe the answers that they make up and any “evidence” that agrees with their point of view (confirmation bias). They also will agree with any “expert” who agrees with them, even if 99.99% of experts don’t.

And tragically, they sometimes convince some vaccine-hesitant parents that their answers are right too.

Answers to Anti-Vaccine Talking Points

Most questions people have about vaccines have easy answers.

Anti-vaccine folks likely were not expecting answers when they came up with their “9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims,” but they quickly got them, even after they came up with 9 new questions.

So folks were hardly stumped by these fallacious arguments…

“To say that the relationship that antivaccine activists have with science and fact is a tenuous, twisted one is a major understatement.”

David Gorski on How Not To Debate a Pro-Vaxxer

How about all of the graphs they made proving that vaccines don’t work?

Or the 14 studies that they think say vaccines cause autism?

It should be obvious by now that folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation have a poor understanding of science and a “poor understanding of how vaccination works.”

Parents who are hesitant about vaccinating and protecting their kids shouldn’t though.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.

  • Learn what package inserts really say and don’t say.
  • Review common contraindications to getting vaccinated, so that you can understand that there are actually very few reasons to not vaccinate your kids.
  • Understand that shedding isn’t the big risk that some folks claim it to be, certainly doesn’t cause outbreaks, and doesn’t routinely restrict kids from visiting cancer patients.
  • Know that vaccines worked to eradicated smallpox, helped control measles, diphtheria, rubella, and other vaccine preventable diseases, and have helped get us very close to eradicating polio.
  • Understand that kids get more vaccines today so that they are better protected, but that it is still not too many and that they don’t get them too soon.
  • Review why vaccine ingredients are not toxic.
  • Know that no major religion is against you getting your kids vaccinated.

Getting educated about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases will help you make a truly informed decision so that you don’t fall for the tactics and tropes of the anti-vaccine movement.

After all, once you get educated about vaccines, you will know that:

  • Andrew Wakefield has never been proven right
  • the movie VAXXED is pure propaganda
  • the CDC Whistleblower didn’t really blow the whistle on the CDC
  • herd immunity is real
  • they vaccinated folks at Leicester, it wasn’t all about quarantines
  • unavoidably unsafe does not mean that vaccines are dangerous
  • while almost $3.5 billion dollars have been paid out by the Vaccine Court since 1988 for about 5,555 compensated awards, it is important to understand that at least 2.8 billion doses of vaccines have been given just since 2006, and almost 80% of the compensated cases were settled, without an admission that a vaccine caused an injury.
  • the anti-vaccine movement harms autistic kids and their families
  • your pediatrician, with the CDC and Big Pharma, and doctors all over the world, are not part of a conspiracy hiding evidence that vaccines cause autism or any other vaccine induced diseases
  • while waning immunity is a problem with some vaccines, we are still in much better shape than we were in the pre-vaccine era, so even these vaccines are working, if not working perfectly well.
  • an unvaccinated child can more easily get measles, chicken pox, mumps, or pertussis because they don’t have immunity, not because we think these vaccine-preventable diseases will spontaneously pop up in their bodies.
  • natural immunity is great, as long as your child doesn’t suffer any of the complications of having a life-threatening disease.
  • you can sometimes wait too long to get your child immunized – long enough for them to get a vaccine-preventable disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine they didn’t get.

Most importantly,  realize that no matter what decision you make, no one is going to force you to vaccinate your child. You always have a choice, even if your choice is to skip or delay your child’s vaccines and put those around you at increased risk for getting a vaccine preventable disease.

What To Know About Anti-Vaccine Talking Points

Get educated about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases so that you will understand that vaccines are safe, necessary, and that they work, and so you will be able to counter any anti-vaccine talking point you hear.