Don’t abdicate, vaccinate!

Yet another brainless celebutard has entered in to the race for world’s most dangerous mother. Joining the ranks of the infamous Jenny McCarthy is Alicia Silverstone, who in her book released on April 15 spouted the usual antivaccination drivel. Vaccines: contain contaminants and result in irreversible negative effects. The source for her nonsense? Friends whose babies were drastically affected, allegedly after a vaccination round.

Of course, anyone with half a brain can refute this nonsense. Do vaccinations contain ‘contaminants’, or in the words of the scientific community ‘additives’? Yes. Once such terrible additive is formaldehyde. Some vaccinations to contain formaldehyde. The vaccinations that use it are inactive vaccines (e.g. flu shot) and it is used in the production process, but diluted out. If you add up all the shots that contain formaldehyde that a child would get between 0 and 6 years of age, the amount of formaldehyde would amount to 160 times less than the human body produces every day. Wait, what you say? Yes, the body produces and use formaldehyde naturally as part of the metabolic process. There is nothing chemically different between the formaldehyde in vaccines and the formaldehyde in your body.

Another ‘nasty’ additive says Silverstone is aluminum. I find this one particularly interesting coming from such an advocate of breastfeeding because, gasp, aluminum is present naturally in breastmilk. Aluminum is actually the third most abundant element on the planet, third to oxygen and silicon (cough, Jenny McCarthy, cough). It is found in the air, food, water, and the body also produces this element naturally as well. In the case of vaccines, aluminum sulfate is used as an adjuvants in inactive vaccines (e.g. DTap). Infants receive about 4.4 milligrams of aluminum in the first six months of life from vaccines, compared to about 7 milligrams from breastmilk for breastfed babies, 38 milligrams from formula for formula-fed infants, and infants who are fed soy formula ingest almost 117 milligrams of aluminum during the same period.

Many anti-vaccers also talk about mercury, or thimerosal. This is the big one that was blamed for the MMR vaccination causing autism. No routine childhood vaccination made since around 1999 has used thimerosal. So if thimerosal ‘caused’ autism, we would expect a drop in the diagnosis of autism. Unfortunately, the trend is in the opposite direction. More ironically, the MMR vaccination used in Canada has never contained thimerosal. So anyone in Canada claiming that the MMR shot gave their child autism is just plain stark raving mad. The vaccine-autism connection has been described as the “most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years.”

Are there severe reactions to vaccinations. Yes. Severe problems, though, are quite rare at less than 1 out of a million doses in some cases and as low as less than 1 in 4 million doses with respect to the MMR vaccination. In fact, these reactions are so rare there is no evidence that exists that indicates that these reactions are caused by vaccination. And as is aptly put by Penn and Teller, you are more likely to die of a vaccine preventable disease by not being vaccinated than you are to have an allergic reaction.

It is so important that we dispel these myths, perpetrated by these foolish d-list actors, because there are parents out there who are sucked in by their message. These parents in not vaccinating their kids are not only putting their kid at risk, but they are putting kids at risk who are too young to be fully vaccinated (like my guy) or who are too sick to be vaccinated. How much of a problem is this? Well for school aged-children, it is not a huge problem. The vaccination rate there is between 89-98%, mostly because you have to opt out. When it comes to kids not yet in school, parents have to opt in. We all know it is harder to opt-out than opt-in. In this group, the vaccination rate is a paltry 68-77%. In case you did not know, we need a vaccination rate of about 95% for herd immunity.

Losing a child is unimaginable enough, losing one because of someone else’s stupidity is unforgiveable. So go out there and spread the word. Vaccinations are safe, they can be given without worry at the recommended schedule, and they are free here in Canada. Don’t abdicate, vaccinate!

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