In 1910, as smallpox outbreaks continued and anti-vaccine folks made it harder to get folks vaccinated, he wrote:
“I would like to issue a Mount-Carmel-like challenge to any ten unvaccinated priests of Baal. I will go into the next severe epidemic with ten selected, vaccinated persons and ten selected unvaccinated persons – I should prefer to choose the latter – three members of Parliament, three anti-vaccination doctors (if they can be found), and four anti-vaccination propagandists.
And I will make this promise – neither to jeer nor jibe when they catch the disease, but to look after them as brothers, and for the four or five who are certain to die, I will try to arrange the funerals with all the pomp and ceremony of an anti-vaccination demonstration.”
When most folks think about getting a vaccine, they typically picture someone getting a shot.
It is important to remember that not all vaccines are shots though.
And even for those vaccines that are given as shots, not all of them are given intramuscularly (IM).
Some vaccines are also given orally, nasally, and subcutaneously.
Which Vaccines can be Given SQ?
Vaccines that are given by subcutaneous injection include:
ProQuad (MMR/V combination of MMR and chickenpox vaccines)
Pneumovax* (Pneumococcal vaccine)
IPV* (polio vaccine)
Varivax (chickenpox vaccine)
Zoster (shingles vaccine)
*The Pneumovax and IPV vaccines can be given either IM or Subcutaneously (SQ). And there are some other exceptions too. Kids with hemophilia can get the hepatitis A and B vaccines SQ, instead of IM.
Where to Give SQ Injections?
After asking how many shots they are going to get, kids often ask where they are going to get them?
While infants get their subcutaneous injections in the fatty tissue over their anterolateral thigh muscle, toddlers and older children get them in the fatty tissue over their anterolateral thigh muscle or triceps.
Be sure to use the correct needle size, length and gauge (typically 5/8″ and 23-25 gauge), and insert the needle with a quick thrust at a 45° angle to the skin (rapid injection technique), pinching up on the SQ tissue to avoid hitting the muscle, and instead injecting in the subcutaneous tissue between the skin and muscle.
Also keep in mind that it is not necessary to aspirate after injecting the needle and that multiple injections in the same extremity should be separated by at least one inch.
What to Know About SQ Vaccines
It is important to know which vaccines need to be given subcutaneously (SQ) and both how and where to give these shots.
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.
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.
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.