On the Anti-Vaccine “Movement”

This will get angry and ranty, with good reason. I had gone through a disease I shouldn’t have gone through in the first place, but for a different country’s completely fucked view of medicine, and I have a MASSIVE bone to pick with people who opt out of vaccination with no valid medical reason whatsoever.

The map of the current measles and mumps resurgences worldwide.

Here’s a response by a trained immunologist.

Unfortunately, it’s flu season: the time where anti-vaccine memes is circulating the Internet. You know what I mean: scare memes that list that OMG IT CONTAINS A CARCINOGEN! OMG MERCURY! Why would you want to put this into yourself or your child?

Because, fucking A, these ingredients are in minute amounts that will do your body absolutely nothing, and in the process, they help sustain herd immunity by triggering your body’s immune reaction and inflating it so that you will not ever get the disease they’re inoculating against.

I absolutely hate and loathe those graphics, because they fail to mention this:

An ORDINARY PERSON should never, ever be allowed to mix dangerous chemicals of any kind. But a TRAINED IMMUNOLOGIST, who actually learned how these elements work, and learned precisely how much of an element is enough without triggering the toxicity response, is a far more trustworthy authority to create a good and active product. So yeah, considering that I survived measles before I got the MMR, I have a massive bone to pick with people who read the memes, and make a decision without 1. having facts and 2. thinking straight.

Now, let’s get some things clarified here for a second.

There is more mercury to be found by route of regular consumption of tuna sushi than there is in the current version of the MMR vaccine.

And you eat tuna, don’t you?

Do you also go outside, with all the car exhaust in the air? Do you occasionally spray your lawn with pesticides or commercial fertilizer? Do you buy your fruits and veggies from someplace other than the farm where you’ve grown your own and know exactly what it is or isn’t sprayed or fertilized with?

You get my point, yes?

Few things piss me off more than selective ignorance, especially about things like medicine and what does/doesn’t go into your body. Considering that New York isn’t the pinnacle of green living, really, let’s actually think about things with some semblance of this thing called logic.

The reality is this: you will have more carcinogen collected in your bodies from not watching what you eat, where you go, where you breathe in air, what you clean your house with, than you will EVER have with a single needle-jab designed to prevent an illness. This isn’t me talking: compare the proportions of ingredients in, say, the polio vaccine and then balance them against the onslaught of everything else you get in a daily basis. The amounts will not match up, that’s just fact. If you live in NYC, one of the most toxic and polluted places in the world, or LA, its West-coast match, you can really be quiet about vaccines. You get more carcinogens from inhaling the cab exhaust when you go shopping than you can ever get from a flu shot.

Vaccines are a public health requirement. Bottom line. There have been resurgences of completely preventable diseases. Measles, whooping cough – both of these are fucking miserable, lethal depending on who’s unlucky enough to contract them, and they should not be making a comeback, but why are they? Lack of vaccination. Simple as that. Why are people not getting themselves and their kids vaccinated? Because they bought the Jenny McCarthy BS that vaccines cause autism – they do not, and this has been already debunked by Lancet magazine – and/or believe that somehow, the herd immunity will protect their kids and themselves, unaware that they are compromising it. Herd immunity is only effective if 90% of the people or more are vaccinated in a group. This isn’t me talking. Any first-year med or nursing student will confirm this.

If you tell me that measles can’t possibly be that bad, then you just handed me the right to beat you with a blunt object. I had measles. The experience was traumatizing. And if I could’ve been spared it, then believe me, I would’ve been, but the MMR vaccine was not available for me at the time. I’m sure that at the time I was sick, if I knew there was a shot available, I’d have jabbed myself with the needle without hesitation, and I was a kid then.

Yes, I will go as far as to say that I wish that every anti-vaxxer would actually have to go through measles so that they could see the hell they’re subjecting their own children to, never mind anyone else whom their children will infect. Yeah. I’d be curious if they will sing the same tune if they’re unable to even hold down bile. Oh, and those hallucinations when your fever spikes? They’re not fun.

I got my Hep B and Hep C shots, I got my polio shots, I got my smallpox shots. And this was back in the ye olde country. Trust me: GOOD THING. Do I have autism? NO. And that link has been already acknowledged as malarkey. Did I get polio? Did I get Hep? NO!

What does it mean? It means I did my job in public health. The kids around me in my elementary schools at the time were A-OK if they couldn’t get them for any reason. I’ve done my part in supporting herd immunity. Pity I happen to be allergic to the serum solvent in the US vaccine formulae – and I found this out by actually getting the MMR, which was required for me to go to school – else I’d get the flu vaccine and at least attempt to skip the misery bus I ride every year.

You do know pathogens evolve, right? unless you’re also one of those special folks who doesn’t “believe” in evolution, even though the flu virus in and of itself is proof thereof. So what you’re doing is actually giving them the perfect opportunity to evolve. The measles virus, which has no host to invade because of the host’s vaccine-induced immunity, will now have a host, and a prime opportunity to evolve because hey – different medicines, different times, and it will have proliferated enough in infecting a host to pick up that gee, if there’s a varietal that has immunity, maybe add an extra oomph in the mitosis process somewhere so that the immune response won’t be immediate. So the immunity of those who did get their shots will be compromised if there will be enough unvaccinated hosts. Why? Again: evolution. And you have just put people like me, who had the disease, and people who got the shot, at risk of being sick with it despite having immunity.

THIS is what’s happening now.

There are concerns of polio in India. Polio has been eradicated in most countries thanks to a concentrated vaccine effort. Think about that.

Is smallpox next on the menu? Because that disease had decimated thousands in the years before modern science. It has been eradicated thanks to a global vaccine effort, and it wasn’t that long ago.

We’ve had ongoing news stories about measles and whooping cough. This is an old link, but trust me, far from the first of the kind.

And then there’s Madagascar and the bubonic plague, which in today’s day and age, is treatable.

Yeah. Lovely, innit?

The real flaw with the flu vaccine is nothing that’s in it, but rather the way that it’s created. The inherent flaw is that it’s always, without fail, created with the prior year’s virus. By the time it hits the market, it’s going to protect you only on the off chance that it’s the same strain going around as the one that’s in the vaccine formula itself. Most of the time it’s not. This is why you can and often do get sick after the flu shot. You get the shot, and you’re OK for only the strain that it was used with, but not the strain it evolved into by the time the vaccine made it onto the market. What the vaccine does is trigger your body’s immune response, which means that the virus that it was created with – and ONLY the virus it was created with – will not affect you. Another strain is fair game. And if your immune system is up in arms memorizing the imprint of the virus from the vaccine, it will react very readily – and aggressively – towards a new strain. Which would be why you may feel worse if you get sick after having the shot: your immune system is on double duty.

Similar to any vaccine created for the common cold: it would be created on the exact same principle and in the exact same manner…and it won’t be near effective due to the rate of evolution of the virus strain for the common cold.

Again: this isn’t just me running at the mouth – or, at the very least, not baselessly. I’ve read the research and the mechanics of how vaccines are created. I have actual experience with a VERY preventable disease, not once but twice, and I have an absolute zero-tolerance policy for ignorance and stupidity such as what the anti-vax brigade is displaying. Yes, I’m saying it outright: ignorance and stupidity.  Because all of the scare-monger memes out there are nothing short of bunk: Vaccines are a necessity in modern living, and as the resurgences of preventable diseases show, are the only effective barrier between this and what happened with the Spanish influenza in the early 1900s. These people don’t vaccinate themselves or their kids – why? Because they believe it’s a “toxin”? Because they think herd immunity – compromised by them and their lack of a vaccine – will be enough? Look: it’s a decision that affects people other than yourself. You owe it to the public to keep yourself  disease-free, because in doing so, the public will have the same protection. Failure to do so won’t just get you sick, it’ll get other people sick. End of damn story. I have absolutely NO tolerance for people who want to believe anything other than the cold hard science on the topic of vaccination. And ignorance is not an excuse. If you’re willing to believe a meme over a medical professional, then you may want to rethink certain things, namely your own capacity for common sense.

Part of why doctors either love or hate me, is because I make every effort to talk to them on their level. I’m not a doctor myself, but I trust them to have the knowledge to back up their claims and counter or support anything I may or may not have read. It’s what constitutes an effective relationship with physicians, and considering I’ve spent most of my life around them, I may as well learn from them.

And all of them, to a T, have treated at least one kid who got a preventable disease. All of them, to a T, will tell you to get the damn vaccines. The flu vax isn’t a required set in adulthood, but tetanus, MMR, polio, Hep B and smallpox are all on the required list. And don’t even think about trotting out the bullshit “personal belief” excuse: unless you’re allergic, pull up your damn sleeve, pull up your kids’ sleeves, and shut up.

K.G.

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