Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm Coming Out

(Written in response to this article.)

 For the last few years, I've added "...and vaccinating" to the end of "In polite company, never talk about sex, politics or religion" adage because, honestly, I'm no better educated than Jenny McCarthy and who needs another marginally-public figure running their mouth? Also, I know I've got readers who believe deeply in certain things and if the following hurts your feelings or makes you think "Quinn doesn't GET it" or boycott my writing then I'm sorry. But here goes.

 I'm Team Vaccination.

 While we're at it, I think antibiotics are an awesome invention and are the reason I didn't die of one of my numberless sinus infections, throat infections and bacterial lung infections. Antibiotics are the reason my daughter is here to complain when I insist she brush her teeth, another thing which, like vaccinations, prevent bad things from happening.

Side note: I do not think antibiotics are awesome for feed animals nor do I think people should get them for viral infections and I happen to be very concerned about overuse of antibiotics, which is not the same thing as being concerned about the use of antibiotics.

 I'm Team Herd Immunity.

The educated bohemian parents who are deciding not to vaccinate are putting not only adults whose vaccinations have worn off at risk, they're putting my daughter's oldest friend and people like her at risk. "Layla" cannot be vaccinated because of allergies to eggs and chicken. Her parents would LOVE for her to be protected from diseases which could kill her, but they have to rely on the rest of the population to be vaccinated and not expose Layla; they can't rely on that any more. Now the only tools they have are reminding Layla to wash her hands constantly and prayer. As far as disease prevention goes, Layla now lives in the 18th century.

 I'm Team Science.

The original study which set this whole thing off was debunked. I quote:

 An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible. 

 For those who thought it was the mercury in the vaccinations doing the harm, I give you Science Daily, 1/8/2008:

 Autism cases continued to increase in California after the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was eliminated from most childhood vaccines, according to a new report.This suggests that exposure to thimerosal is not a primary cause of autism. 

 And for those who've told me not having diseases mean the body is losing opportunities to grow and develop, I give you my mother's first memory, which is of the priest over her bed giving her last rites. She had mumps; she was three. Her mother had made the dress she was to be buried in. Yes, my mother pulled through, with only lifetime deafness in one ear to show for it, but several other children in her small town that winter didn't. I assure you they weren't less healthy or worthy than my mother. My grandfather died of a burst appendix because there were no antibiotics at the time. People died of infected cuts in within the last century. Life before modern medicine was a crapshoot and I'm no gambler.

 I'm Team I Don't Want to See My Daughter Die of Something Which Was Avoidable. For that matter, I'm Team I Don't Want to Die of Something Avoidable. I have asthma which is aggravated by coughing. I could be that luckless bastard who gets whooping cough and dies of an asthma attack. Which means I just realized I have to get a Pertussis booster. And I say while I hate parking at my doctor's office, I thank God the vaccination is there.

 To sum it up, we can be friends, and we can agree not to talk about this, but I'm not going to just smile and look pained any more if someone starts slamming modern medicine.

 I've got too much team spirit.


Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for bravely posting this! I wonder if J. McCarthy has any idea of the magnitude of the harm she has done?

8:49 AM  
Blogger Scott Peterson said...


8:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

BRAVO Quinn!! Thanks for reminding us of what we too often take for granted - the chance that our children will live to grow up. That was not always the case. There are real reasons we get those vaccinations! Too many people still die overseas because they cannot get the protection we can often get at a neighborhood pharmacy.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% -- goooo, Team Vaccination!

9:31 AM  
Blogger MomQueenBee said...

You are more beautiful than Jenny McCarthy right now, because brains are GORGEOUS. Thank you for this.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Dina K said...

Yay Team Quinn. Thanks for standing up for science.


9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see someone standing up to counter the anti-vax misinformation machine.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Juli said...

Thank you for standing up to the fear-mongerers and the repeaters of half-assed misinformation. As the mother of three (well-vaccinated) children, the oldest of whom is currently in medical school, I applaud you!

11:01 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...


11:23 AM  
Blogger Ashlea said...

I'm newly committed to spreading the message of Team Vax, because lots of people who should know better are posting things on my Facebook wall that are just silly. Go Science!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Cordy said...

Yeeeeeees. This makes me so happy!

I'm parenting in Los Angeles too, and the vaccination rates at my kid's hippie school (which, to be fair, I otherwise adore) are in the toilet. As a nerd, this stuff occupies my mind a lot, and I find it very troubling. I don't get how people can be so opposed to something that is SO TOTALLY AWESOME. I would get vaccinated against colds if I could, you guys.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My husband has no spleen...lost it in a car accident 15 or 16 years ago...he's a serious risk if he is exposed to many things...we are VERY pro-vaccinations.

Another thing?? Ob/Gyns are not the devil. If you had an epidural during childbirth, it doesn't mean that you didn't want to "connect" with your child during the birthing experience. Going to a hospital to deliver doesn't make you a victim of "Big Medicine." That's another whole topic that gets me spun up...those that act all smugy smug because THEY used a midwife and had their baby in a clear mountain stream.
I had mine (17 1/2 years ago) in a nice, climate controlled hospital. Which was a good thing, since her shoulders caused her to be obstructed. They had the staff and the protocol to quickly react...she ended up with a broken collar bone...and I dont even wanna talk about what they did to me...but we were both fine.

1:19 PM  
Blogger anne said...

There is a website call Jenny McCarthy Body Count so there is a way for Jenny to know how many families were affected by her crusade.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Kelly M. said...

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person amongst my friends who's vaccinated their children. I'm always happy to learn I'm not alone. Thank you.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

Yay for standing up for the truth. It takes bravery to do so on this topic because there is so much misinformation that is so passionately spread very often by well-meaning people.

I'm Team Vaccination, too.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! The vaccination topic came up at dinner last night. I couldn't believe it when a NURSE said she didn't like to vaccinate her kids unless they absolutely needed it. Something about everybody's body being different and that all vaccines aren't for everyone. Unknown risks, blah blah blah. WHAT?!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Ale said...

THANK YOU! A great post that summarizes what my son's pediatrician said to me when I met him: "I am from India and know what vaccinations have done for the children in my country" and that is that.
Team Vaccinations all the way!

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

AMEN Sistah!

I have a step-sister that doesn't vaccinate, and I swear her kids had green noses until they were 10.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We had an anti-vaccinator here at my place of employement. Some of her other hobby-horses (I swear to God I am not making these up):

1. Foreskin re-growth (She was a big proponent of a product called "Tug-A-Hoy.")

2. Elimination communication. This is where you never put a diaper of any kind on your baby...from BIRTH...and you learn from his/her elimination cues when to hold them over a toilet.

3. She rescued pet rabbits, which was all fine and noble...but she'd rescued about eleventy-five of them and let them free-roam in her house.

So, yeah.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

What you are saying here is so important - I've had a blog post myself in mind for this. things that drive me most crazy: choosing not to vaccinate your kids - not getting th flu shot IF you directly work with patients of any kind - and not taking a full course of antibiotics because "you feel better." Also, teenagers using tanning beds but that doesn't really fit here...

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because all the responsible parents have vaccinated that those who don't vaccinate can get away with it.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too many people don't realize that 100 years ago people died of many ailments that are easily cured today. I know because I am one of them! I had rheumatic fever as a teenager as the result of untreated strep throat ( not my mom' s fault for not catching it I lied and told her I was fine because I didn't want to miss a party) . A few courses of antibiotics and I was cured. The only evidence that I was sick is a slight heart murmur.100 years ago I might have died or been left with severe heart damage.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and one thing the Jenny McCarthys of the world don't realize, is that it's not just about their kid. It's also about the immune-compromised many (elderly, young infants, sick people) who can't run into their kid because they might contract a communicable disease, preventable by vaccines. As one who had leukemia times 2, and a bone marrow transplant, I used to worry a lot about coming too close to an unvaccinated child who might spread something to me that I didn't have the immune system to throw off at that time. There's a bigger picture than just an individual child not having protection against measles or mumps. Thanks for the great blog!

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Maureen in CA said...

Well said and well done. Jenny McCarthy is an insolent, inconsiderate, ignorant blowhard. The misinformation she has perpetuated is unconscionable. My son was diagnosed in the spectrum 16 years ago. I suggest she take a closer look at her family history. The truth is out there, whether she cares to acknowledge it or not.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

I, too, am someone who would be dead today were it not for antibiotics. And the older relatives in my family still grieve for the brother who died long ago at age 18 of an infected pimple for want of them. I waited to vaccinate my two younger children because of the advice I received during my son's chemotherapy about live vaccines, but they both were eventually vaccinated, a couple years later. Let's look for autism causes as hard as we can, because it's mystifying to me how one family can have three autistic children with no family history in any direction.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're exactly on target, although I did have to corrct you on one thing that I was mistaken about for the longest time. I always though Jenny McCarthy was anti-vaccination as well but she clarified her position in an interview I saw that she isn't an advocate of not vaccinating children but that she doesn't believe in giving multiple vaccinations at once. Rather, she advocates spreading them out over the course of the year. It's an interesting perspective I thought to add to the conversation since it makes mroe sense than being anti-vaccine. -Elizabeth

9:53 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Oh, I SO agree with you! This year I even got a flu shot. Apparently there exist people who do not enjoy researching things to death before making an informed decision. What I find odd is that it is most likely that these same people bring in their pets regularly for immunizations.
I'm waiting for the vaccination against stupidity to hit the market. I shall be first in line...

8:03 AM  
Blogger Tabatha said...

Everything you said, I second. I am interested in herbal medicine, but that doesn't mean that I don't want an antibiotic if I need it! I had lyme disease last summer, and boy, did antibiotics improve my quality of life a thousand-fold.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I never thought much about this topic until this last year when I adopted my son. In our pediatricians office is a laminated letter that is pro-vaccination. I look at my son who I longed for for years and happily welcomed the nurses with their injections. Yes, not vaccinating is a crapshoot; no way am I willing to gamble on this little guy's life!

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Lydia G said...

Sorry to comment so late on this post, but I feel compelled to shout "hooray!" upon reading it. It is hard for me to fathom the ignorance of those who reject modern medicine. My grandfather died from an infected cut, and, but for antibiotics, I would be dead, too. Thanks, Quinn.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your moderation--over use of antibiotics is bad--I just recovered from an embarrassing intestionial infection due to too much of a good thing (had a chest infection which I just should have let heal on its own). BUT, I think that vaccinations have gone too far. When I was a kid i had chicken pox and therefore got the lifelong immunity. Also German Measles. Never got anything else, like mumps, but got vaccinated for those. I don't think every little childhood disease needs a shot, but having said that you must consider the overall health of the child, family history, etc. Love the blog.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Marcy Marks said...

Bravo and well written, Quinn. I thank God for medical advances in my lifetime (I'm in my 60s) and the fact that, as a diabetic with a deficient immune system, I don't have to die of preventable illnesses like flu and pneumonia. I take every vaccination I can get.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Marriane Arensmyer

"those that act all smugy smug because THEY used a midwife and had their baby in a clear mountain stream."

Hahaha, so glad I had put my tea down prior to reading that. I added a swami to my visual...

Thanks for the laugh:)


11:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If vaccinations are so effective, why are parents of vaccinated children afraid of those who are not vaccinated?
Also, about antibiotics... if you are susceptible to viral and/or bacterial illnesses, something is going on in your body that needs to be addressed. Start with the gut.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinn - Thank you for this. I fall into an often overlooked category. My immune system does not respond to some vaccines. I do not "convert" to immune. This has nothing to do the effectiveness of vaccines. My immune system is at fault.

In addition, I have a seizure disorder. Infection and fever can trigger my seizures, which put me at risk for SUDEP.

Because of growing numbers of vaccinated children, I can no longer teach in a traditional classroom.

I refuse to blame Jenny McCarthy for this. I blame the quack in England you preyed upon parents desperate for answers and gave them lies.

5:37 PM  

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