As anti-vaccine folks get more attention because of the rise in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, in addition to more folks getting vaccinated, we are seeing some of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement get more vocal.
Meetings, dinners, rallies…
They are doing everything they can to get their misinformation and propaganda out so that you don’t vaccinate and protect your kids.
Ask 8 Questions Before You Skip a Vaccine
If you see any of these folks, ask them a few questions…
If you are worried about thimerosal and aluminum, then why are you worried about the MMR vaccine? Not only has it never contained thimerosal, as a live vaccine, but it has also never contained aluminum.
If better hygiene and sanitation got rid of vaccine-preventable diseases, then why didn’t it do it for all diseases at the same time? And why hasn’t it gotten rid of RSV, Ebola, Zika, HIV, Norovirus, and all of the diseases that we don’t have vaccines for?
If measles is so mild, then during the measles epidemics from 1989 to 1991 in the United States, why were 11,000 people hospitalized and why did 123 people die?
If you are concerned about vaccines that have a distant association with abortion, then why don’t you vaccinate your kids with all of the vaccines that don’t use WI-38 and MRC-5 cells lines?
If your arguments are so solid, then why do you need to keep moving the goalposts (it’s autoimmune diseases they are worried about now, not autism) and why are they so easy to refute (vaccines aren’t associated with autoimmune diseases either)?
It turns out, they say, that the FDA has admitted that the government is recommending untested, unlicensed vaccines for pregnant women.
Is that true?
Did the FDA Admit That the Government Is Recommending Untested, Unlicensed Vaccines for Pregnant Women?
Of course not!
A response to a Freedom of Information Act request for vaccines that don’t exist. That’s right, neither Tdap nor flu vaccines are currently FDA approved for use by pregnant women.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Tdap and flu vaccines aren’t recommended for use by pregnant women.
Wait, why the difference?
Why are pregnant women being given a vaccine that isn’t formally FDA approved for their use?
Well, vaccine manufacturers have to seek FDA approval for their products. The FDA doesn’t just up and approve new products or give them new indications. And none have ever sought approval in pregnancy.
But that doesn’t keep health experts from making off-label recommendations, such as getting a flu vaccine when you are pregnant.
“In prelicensure evaluations, the safety of administering a booster dose of Tdap to pregnant women was not studied. Because information on use of Tdap in pregnant women was lacking, both manufacturers of Tdap established pregnancy registries to collect information and pregnancy outcomes from pregnant women vaccinated with Tdap. Data on the safety of administering Tdap to pregnant women are now available.”
Updated Recommendations for Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) in Pregnant Women and Persons Who Have or Anticipate Having Close Contact with an Infant Aged <12 Months — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011
“Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record. There is a large body of scientific studies that supports the safety of flu vaccine in pregnant women and their babies.”
Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnancy
Getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy is a recommendation that has been evolving since 1983. It was known to be safe then, and we are even more confident that it is safe now.
A Tdap shot has been recommended since 2011, although it was first suggested in 2008 that pregnancy was not a contraindication for receiving Tdap.
How do we know these vaccines are safe during pregnancy?
The Vaccine Safety Datalink has published more than 14 studies “related to pregnancy and vaccination during pregnancy” and has used “data to study the health of children born to women who were vaccinated during pregnancy.”
Despite what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr and his ironically named Children’s Health Defense organization might think, Tdap and flu shots in pregnancy have been well studied and have been found to be safe.
Ignoring all of the above studies, Kennedy highlights a few that he thinks found problems with flu shots in pregnancy, including one that showed “a suggestion of increased ASD risk among children whose mothers received an influenza vaccination in their first trimester,” a suggestion that was not statistically significant and which was not found in the other trimesters. And another that found an increased risk of spontaneous abortion in women who had also received a flu shot in the previous season, a safety signal that has never been seen before and which continues to be investigated.
Not surprisingly, his latest bombshell is landing with as big of a thud as his HHS lawsuit, as have most of his statements these days…
“CHD’s Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. notes that most flu shots given to pregnant women still contain a mercury-based preservative thimerosal.”
FDA Admits That Government Is Recommending Untested, Unlicensed Vaccines for Pregnant Women
Has Kennedy missed the fact that 80% of flu vaccines are now thimerosal free? It makes you wonder how he defines the word “most?”
“Thimerosal is acknowledged by Proposition 65 in California as a reproductive toxicant and exposure during pregnancy can cause learning and behavioral problems. Tdap contains aluminum, which FDA regulates as a toxin in parenteral nutrition but not in vaccines.”
FDA Admits That Government Is Recommending Untested, Unlicensed Vaccines for Pregnant Women
And what is he concerned about in thimerosal-free flu shots which also don’t contain aluminum? Are those okay in his book?
Mostly, after several flu seasons in which so many people have died, you have to wonder what his goal is here. Does Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. expect folks to skip getting a flu shot when they are pregnant and instead risk getting the flu? Should they skip their Tdap shot and risk their baby dying of whooping cough?
“Existing evidence on the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccine supports current policies of mass immunisation aimed at global measles eradication and in order to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mumps and rubella.”
Cochrane Systematic Review on Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children
Let’s see if you still are after we get all of your questions about the measles vaccine answered…
How long has the measles vaccine been around? The very first measles vaccine was licensed by John Enders in 1963. An improved measles vaccine was developed by Maurice Hilleman and licensed in 1968, and that is the measles vaccine that we still use today, at least in the United States. It was combined into the MMR vaccine in 1971.
How effective is the measles vaccine? A single dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing a measles infection. Two doses (the second dose was added to the routine immunization schedule in 1994) are up to 97% effective. That’s why almost all of the people who get measles in an outbreak are unvaccinated.
How long does immunity from the measles vaccine last? Immunity from the measles vaccine is thought to be life-long. It is important to understand that the second dose isn’t a booster dose, but is instead for those few folks who don’t respond to the first dose.
Who should get the measles vaccine? Everyone without a true medical contraindication should get the measles vaccine (MMR), with the first dose at 12-15 months and a second dose at 4-6 years.
Can my kids get their measles vaccine early? An advanced immunization schedule is available for kids in an outbreak or if they will be traveling out of the country. The first dose can be given as early as age 6-months, but is repeated when the child is 12 months because of concerns of interference with maternal antibodies. The official second dose can be given early too, as early as 4 weeks after the first dose, as long as the child is at least 12 months old.
Do I need a booster dose of the measles vaccine? People who are fully immunized do not need a booster dose of the MMR vaccine, but it is important to understand whether or not you are really fully immunized to see if you need a second dose. Some adults who are not high risk are considered fully vaccinated with only one dose, while others should have two doses. Are you at high risk to get measles? Do you travel, live in an area where there are measles outbreaks, go to college, or work as a health care professional?
Should I check my measles titers? In general, it is not necessary to check your titers for measles. If you haven’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine, then get a second dose. If you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, then you are considered protected. Keep in mind that there is no recommendation to get a third dose of MMR for measles protection, although it is sometimes recommended for mumps protection during a mumps outbreak.
If my child gets a rash after getting his MMR, does that mean that he has measles? No. This is a common, very mild vaccine reaction and not a sign of measles.
Can the measles vaccine cause seizures? The MMR vaccine can cause febrile seizures. It is important to remember that without other risk factors, kids who develop febrile seizures after a vaccine are at the same small risk for developing epilepsy as other kids. And know that vaccines aren’t the only cause of febrile seizures. Vaccine-preventable diseases can cause both febrile seizures and more serious non-febrile seizures.
Why do people think that that the measles vaccine is associated with autism? It is well known that this idea originated with Andrew Wakefield, but the real question should be why do some people still think that vaccines are associated with autism after so much evidence has said that they aren’t?
What are the risks of the measles vaccine? Like other vaccines, the MMR vaccine has mild risks or side effects, including fever, rash, and soreness at the injection site. Some more moderate reactions that can rarely occur include febrile seizures, joint pain, and a temporary low platelet count. More serious reactions are even rarer, but can include deafness, long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness, brain damage, and life-threatening allergic reactions.
When did they take mercury out of the measles vaccine? Measles vaccines, including the MMR, have never, ever contained mercury or thimerosal.
Why do we still have outbreaks if we have had a measles vaccine since 1963? In the United States, although the endemic spread of measles was declared eliminated in 2000, many cases are still imported from other countries. As measles cases increase around the world, that is translating to an increase in outbreaks here. Even though overall vaccination rates are good, because there are many pockets of susceptible people in areas that don’t vaccinate their kids, they get hit with outbreaks.
Can we eradicate measles? Because measles is so contagious, the vaccine does have failures, and some folks still don’t get vaccinated, there is some doubt that we can eradicate measles without a better vaccine. That doesn’t mean that the current measles vaccines can’t prevent outbreaks though…
Are you ready to get your kids their MMR vaccine so that they are vaccinated and protected against measles, mumps, and rubella?