Learn the Risks of Falling for Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
Take the infographic about the number of vaccine doses children in the United States normally get.
It is designed into making you think that kids get 72 doses of vaccines, scaring you and trying to reinforce the myth that kids get too many vaccines.
Have you seen and fallen for that trick? Did you ever think to actually count the total vaccine doses they list? As you can see above, it doesn’t come out to 72 doses…
But why do they do it? If they really think their “vaccines contain toxic chemicals” argument is convincing, then would it matter if the number of vaccine doses was 11 or 53 or 72? Why inflate it to make it wound scarier?
Still, however you want to count the number of doses of vaccines kids get today, one thing is crystal clear – they get protection from more vaccine-preventable diseases.
In 1983, kids may have only have gotten 11 doses of vaccines, but many still died from Hib pneumonia and meningitis, epiglotitis (Hib), pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rotavirus, chicken pox, and meningococcemia, etc.
“for those trained in pediatrics in the 1970s, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was a horror.”
Kawasaki disease is rare and there is a good chance that you have never even heard of it, even though the first case was diagnosed in 1961.
Kids with this condition are typically irritable and can develop high fever, swollen glands in their neck, red eyes, red, cracked lips, red, swollen hands and feet, and a rash.
If you have heard of it, there is a good chance it is because anti-vaccine folks are using Kawasaki disease to scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids. Lately, talk about Kawasaki disease and the meningococcal B vaccines have been going around.
What Causes Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease is a type of vasculitis.
Kids who develop Kawasaki disease, who are typically under age 5 years, develop inflammation of their blood vessels, which leads to many of the symptoms and complications we see.
What causes this inflammation?
“Evidence suggests that Kawasaki disease may be linked to a yet-to-be identified infectious agent, such as a virus or bacteria. However, despite intense research, no bacteria, virus, or toxin has been identified as a cause of the disease.”
AAP on Kawasaki disease
We don’t know.
Can Vaccines Cause Kawasaki Disease?
Because the cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown, that leads some folks to think that it could be vaccines.
That vaccine clinical trial data sometimes finds a higher, although not statistically significant risk for Kawasaki disease, gets some of those folks thinking about it even more, except they don’t seem to think about the fact that the risk is never statistically significant.
But aren’t there case reports of kids getting Kawasaki disease after getting a hepatitis A, yellow fever, hepatitis B, or flu vaccine?
Yes, but getting a case report published about one patient who you think got Kawasaki disease soon after getting a vaccine isn’t strong evidence that it wasn’t a coincidence.
“Childhood vaccinations’ studied did not increase the risk of Kawasaki disease; conversely, vaccination was associated with a transient decrease in Kawasaki disease incidence. Verifying and understanding this potential protective effect could yield clues to the underlying etiology of Kawasaki disease.”
Abrams et al. on Childhood vaccines and Kawasaki disease, Vaccine Safety Datalink, 1996-2006.
And not surprisingly, several studies have shown that there isn’t any extra risk for Kawasaki disease after routine vaccines.
One even showed that getting vaccinated could be protective! Another benefit of vaccines and another reason you shouldn’t skip or delay your child’s immunizations.
What to Know About Vaccines and Kawasaki Disease
While anti-vaccine folks often list Kawasaki disease among their vaccine-induced diseases, several studies have shown that vaccines are not associated with Kawasaki disease, except to maybe have a protective effective if you are fully vaccinated.
I don’t think that you are either stupid, uneducated, crazy, or that questioning vaccine safety is always associated with believing in conspiracy theories.
I understand and appreciate that you do care about your children, that you care about their health, and that you want what’s best for your family.
I actually do get that. I really do.
But I know that while you believe that you have done years of research and investigation to help you decide that the potential benefits of vaccines don’t outweigh their risks, going out of your way to find information to support your decision and ignoring all of the rest that says you are wrong, isn’t really doing research.
“What if doctors never actually learn about vaccines, their ingredients, or adverse events, in medical school? What if the medical textbooks are written with an enormous amount of funding from the pharmaceutical industry? What if the CDC owns patents on vaccines? What if the pharmaceutical industry is corrupt and funds studies which conveniently stop monitoring test subjects before adverse effects begin to manifest? What if vaccines contain toxic substances at levels which can cause chronic illness when children are repeatedly injected with them? What if we are trading temporary illness for the development of autoimmune and neurological disease later in life? What if the threat and danger of these “preventable” diseases has been inflated to push more vaccines? What if these vaccines are not even truly effective as we have been led to believe and we will always need more booster shots to try to make up for that fact? What if there is evidence for all of the above, you just haven’t seen it yet?”
Ashley Everly Cates
If you don’t want to vaccinate your kids, then don’t.
Please take caution and know that I don’t do this to be popular. I don’t do this to make friends, get likes on my Facebook page, or sell vitamins and supplements in an online store.
Truly. The only reason I speak out is to protect my children and your children from unnecessary harm.
After all, is it really so hard to believe that the great majority of pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, immunologists, toxicologists, and public health experts in the world and throughout history are right about vaccines?
It is simply because we can’t tell them what does cause autism.
“In the absence of a specific etiology for ASDs, and a tendency among parents of children with a disability to feel a strong sense of guilt, it is not surprising that parents attempt to form their own explanations for the disorder in order to cope with the diagnosis.”
Mercer et al on Parental perspectives on the causes of an autism spectrum disorder in their children
For example, doctors often can’t tell you why your child has allergies, asthma, Celiac disease, diabetes, eczema, multiple sclerosis, POTS, SIDS, or thyroid problems, etc., which makes some people look to the mistaken theory that they were triggered by vaccines.
It simply demonstrates the limits of medical technology. Even if we don’t know what does cause many of these diseases, in almost all cases, it has been shown that they are not associated with vaccines.
Limits of 21st Century Medical Technology
Even in the 21st Century, science and medicine don’t have all of the answers.
And sometimes the answers are there, but are misinterpreted.
For example, the National Association of Medical Examiners makes the following distinctions on a medical certificate between manner of death:
Natural — “due solely or nearly totally to disease and/or the aging process.”
Accident — “there is little or no evidence that the injury or poisoning occurred with intent to harm or cause death. In essence, the fatal outcome was unintentional.”
Suicide — “results from an injury or poisoning as a result of an intentional, self-inflicted act committed to do self-harm or cause the death of one’s self.”
Homicide — “occurs when death results from…an injury or poisoning or from… a volitional act committed by another person to cause fear, harm, or death. Intent to cause death is a common element but is not required for classification as homicide.”
Could not be determined — “used when the information pointing to one manner of death is no more compelling than one or more other competing manners of death when all available information is considered.”
Pending investigation — “used when determination of manner depends on further information”
Why is this important to know?
Because many people confuse a natural cause of death as meaning that there was nothing wrong. That’s actually the opposite of what it means! A natural cause of death in a child means that they died because of a disease or condition.
Which disease or condition?
What was the underlying or immediate cause of death in these cases?
Limits and Uncertainty in Medicine
That’s where the limits of modern medicine and modern medical technology come in…
Maybe technology will change the future of healthcare – hopefully for the better, but there are still many things it can’t do.
Sure, we have indexed or mapped the entire human genome, but we still can’t often tell you why your child has a cough or runny nose, has developmental delays, or didn’t make it out of the PICU.
“…finding an underlying diagnosis for many conditions can be a very long and frustrating experience. A diagnosis can take as many as five years, and occasionally may never happen, especially with rare conditions. In addition, some experts say that between 30 to 40 percent of children with special needs do not have an exact diagnosis.”
NIH on Learning About An Undiagnosed Condition in a Child
Everyone wants answers when a child is sick or has unexplained signs and symptoms, especially when a child dies.
Unfortunately, while it may not get talked about often enough, there are many limits to modern medicine. There is often some uncertainty too.
“…when parents perceive greater uncertainty, they perceive less control over their child’s condition.”
Madeo et al on Factors Associated with Perceived Uncertainty among Parents of Children with Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
Doctors don’t know everything.
The best doctors are the ones that actually know that they don’t know everything.
But just because they don’t know everything, that doesn’t mean that they don’t know anything.
Vaccines are very safe, but they are not 100% risk free.
They are certainly not as high risk as some anti-vaccine folks will have you believe though.
“Vaccine hesitation is associated with perceived risk. Since vaccine-preventable diseases are rare, an adverse event from a vaccine is perceived by the parent to be of greater risk. Risk perception is critical.”
AAP on Addressing Common Concerns of Vaccine-Hesitant Parents
And when you consider their great benefits, it is easy to see why the great majority of parents get their kids fully vaccinated and protected against all recommended vaccine-preventable diseases.
Risk Perception and Vaccine Hesitancy
Even though the risks and side effects of vaccines are very low, some people think that they are much higher. This is often amplified because of vaccine scare stories and the misinformation found on anti-vaccine websites.
“No intervention is absolutely risk free. Even the journey to a physician’s office with the intention to receive a vaccination carries the risk of getting injured in an accident. With regards to risks of vaccination per se, one has to distinguish between real and perceived or alleged risks.”
Heininger on A risk–benefit analysis of vaccination
can be more likely to avoid risks that are associated with an action or having to do something vs. those that involve doing nothing or avoiding an action, even if inaction (skipping or delaying a vaccine) is actually riskier
often think about risks based on their own personal experiences (you remember someone’s vaccine injury story), rather than on scientific evidence
“As much previous research claims, this study confirms that individuals characterized by greater trust of healthcare professionals and the possession of more vaccine-related knowledge perceive higher levels of benefits and lower levels of risks from vaccinations.”
Song on Understanding Public Perceptions of Benefits and Risks of Childhood Vaccinations in the United States
Most vaccines have some common, mild side effects, which might include (depending on the vaccine):
fever, typically low-grade
redness or swelling where the shot was given
soreness or tenderness where the shot was given
tiredness or poor appetite
How commonly do they occur?
It depends on the vaccine and side effect, but they range from about 1 in 50 to 1 in 3 people. These side effects are typically mild and only last a day or two. And they don’t cause lasting problems.
While not all possible side effects are mild, those that are more moderate or severe are much more uncommon. Febrile seizures, for example, only happen after about 1 out of 3,000 doses of MMR and some other vaccines. And while scary, febrile seizures, crying for 3 hours or more, or having a very swollen arm or leg, some other uncommon vaccine side effects, also don’t cause lasting problems.
Fortunately, the most severe side effects, including severe allergic reactions, are only thought to happen in less than 1 out of a million doses. And although these types of severe reactions can be life threatening, they are often treatable, just like severe allergic reactions to peanuts. For others, like encephalitis, although they are table injuries, it isn’t clear that they are even side effects of vaccines, since they occur so rarely.
“No medical product or intervention, from aspirin to heart surgery, can ever be guaranteed 100% safe. Even though we will never be able to ensure 100% safety, we know that the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases by far outweigh those of the vaccines administered to prevent them.”
World Health Organization
In addition to side effects, some other risks of getting vaccinated might include that your vaccine didn’t work, after all, although vaccines work very well, they are not 100% effective. You might also, very rarely, be given the wrong vaccine or the right vaccine at the wrong time.
Any small risks of getting vaccinated, including side effects that are often mild, are not a good reason to think about skipping or delaying a vaccine, especially when you thoughtfully consider all of their great benefits.