Now that I’ve joined a Freethinkers group, I’m meeting a lot of new people. Some I doubt I’ll have much in common with outside the group’s raison d’etre, but others I could see hanging out with fairly often. Today, as it happens, I had lunch with one of the gals. She’s a married mother of two with both kids under 7 and hasn’t gotten either of them vaccinated for flu, H1N1, or anything else.
I’m appalled by this growing trend, frankly. The whole point of vaccination is to keep childhood death at a minimum, is it not? They’d never take their kids in a car these days without protection from fender benders (special chairs, harnesses, seat belts, etc) but they won’t protect their immune systems from preventable diseases?
True, there’s a minute risk of reaction (gelatin, yeast, egg product), but I’d rather see my kid jabbed in the arm or butt with a needle than watch him get slammed by some preventable disease or ailment that might cripple, hospitalize or possibly kill him. If I had a kid, I mean.
My friend’s taking the “They inject formaldehyde” road on this one so I read up on that fun little compound. According to medscape.com:
Formaldehyde is nearly ubiquitous, being present in polymerized plastics, metalworking fluids, wood composites, insulation, medicaments, fabrics, cosmetics, detergents, and vaccines.
More than that, it’s a byproduct of cooking cabbage and Brussels spouts and it’s in the air we breathe even if we never cook those things. It’s a naturally occurring compound our bodies metabolize anyway and has been used as a preservative in vaccines for over a century already. Nail hardening products probably have more of it than vaccines do.
I pull this from formaldehyde.org’s PDF:
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported in 2004 that formaldehyde also is given off by vegetation, forest fires and animal waste and is a natural component of fruits and other foods.
Even the most primitive organisms relied on formaldehyde as a building block for the synthesis of more complex molecules. Due to its importance in various metabolic processes, formaldehyde is naturally present in the human body with concentrations of approximately one to two parts per million (ppm) in blood. Because it is volatile, formaldehyde is exhaled in human breath.
Because formaldehyde has existed since the beginning of life, the evolutionary process had to include a way to ensure that formaldehyde’s inherent toxicity could be controlled. Certain enzymes evolved as the control system; among the most prevalent families of enzymes in all living systems is one known as aldehyde dehydrogenases (ADHs). While many forms of ADH exist, they all have the same function – to convert formaldehyde that is formed continuously in various biological processes to formate, which is less reactive and, therefore, less toxic than formaldehyde.
These highly efficient detoxification systems are found in all species and in most tissues. Their role is simple – to keep formaldehyde from reaching concentrations that are toxic to cells.
We’ve evolved to withstand daily (diminished) doses of this stuff. The .1 mg worth in a vaccine stab is a drop in the bucket when you look at how much exposure a child will have in a lifetime. It’s everywhere, quite frankly. So this is no reason to not vaccinate a kid.
Are there any real reasons to avoid vaccines, or is the whole anti-vaccine movement trumped up and misrepresenting the facts and statistics knowing most of the people they’ll convince won’t research the issues before passing on this disinformation plague to everyone they know?
Edit 9pm: just found Bing McGhandi’s podcast suggestions for flu season. He says they’re worth a listen, so I think I’m going to go listen to them.
Yeah, the anti-vax crowd drives me crazy — I go ’round and ’round with my sister in law over these issues.
New Humanist had a post recently about anti-vaccination information being left for users of the London Underground. It goes beyond crazy for some of these people.