Vaccine - not a pretty name. Obviously, there is a lot of hysteria and misconceptions about what vaccines do. Immunology is probably the single most highly dynamic and consequently most complex physiological system, and most people don’t understand a fraction of it. Most health care professionals only understand, indeed, a fraction of it. Start with trying to figure out how random recombination of finite gene segments produces near infinite diversity in the antigen-binding sites of antibodies, before the immune cell even leaves the bone marrow. Then the immune cell meets the antigen, stores a memory and goes to report it to the thymus gland that undergoes somatic hypermutation to introduce high-volume, random point mutation to create microscopic alterations in the antigen-binding site to make it bind tighter, and those antibodies that bind tighter self-select themselves. Then you can switch antibody isotypes to serve different functions, and I’ll stop there. Point being, it’s complicated, and you can’t just throw away the evidence just because Jenny McCarthy decided that her son’s mandatory childhood vaccinations gave him autism. (Not to dismiss her entirely - she has a point when she says that nutrition and omega-3 deficiency might play a role in neurodegeneration.) You get 14,581 hits on Pubmed.org when you search the keywords “vaccine efficacy,” so obviously, it’s a tried and tested system. I’m not saying you should blindly accept it. I’m just saying, weigh the evidence.
Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines do not make people infertile. You ingest more mercury eating swordfish than you do getting your seasonal flu shot. Most people who refuse vaccinations never get sick and go, “OH! SEE?? They’re USELESS!” but there is smthg called ‘herd immunity’ by which immunization of the majority protects the minority. The fact is, we’ve been protected by immunization campaigns for so damn long, that we’ve forgotten the horrible pain & suffering that vaccines protect us from. Have you ever seen someone paralyzed by polio? Not unless you go to the ‘Third World.’ Know someone with primary liver cancer? Chances are, that person was an alcoholic - unless you’re in the ‘Third World’ where most liver cancer, are not metastasis from another primary site, or hepatocellular carcinoma due to alcoholic cirrhosis superimposed with Hepatitis C (for which there IS no vaccine), but in fact, due to chronic Hepatitis B transmitted vertically from birth from infected mothers, 90% of which become chronic hepatitis B, because neonates don’t have the immune system to suppress the virus the way people can when infected as adults. That’s why Hep. B is the only vaccine given at birth. In other words, vaccines protect from CANCER. An increasingly greater number of cancers in fact originate from viruses, and chances are, many more than we have so far detected. We, in the so-called ‘First World’ have been privileged and spoiled by successful disease eradication campaign that we’ve started to take efficacious solutions to infectious disease for granted.
Personally, I trust the 14,581 hits on Pubmed more than whatever Bill Gates might have to say. Vaccines don’t make you infertile—viruses do. Mumps orchitis = inflammation of the testis hits 30% of post-pubertal males with mumps. There go your balls. Thankfully, most ppl have 2, so your progeny is safe. Non-immunized women who get rubella during pregnancy = mental retardation, cataracts, deafness, microcephaly. You’ve seen diphtheria skin ulcers before? No - you’re vaccinated. You have a baby cousin who died choking from Hemophilus influenza epiglottitis? No - he’s vaccinated. Seen a patient suffering from tetanus going into opisthotonus and respiratory muscle paralysis and death from hypoventilation? No. People get shots, that’s why. And if people don’t and develop tetanus, there is an immunoglobulin available to neutralize the culprit toxin, thanks to the sweat and tears of immunologists who have worked for decades in white coats and sterile labs behind closed doors to develop the antibody in question. You know people with sickle cell disease autoinfarct their spleen? Without vaccines to protect them from encapsulated bacteria that their immune system might miss without a spleen, they’d be screwed. Fulminant sepsis = death. Hepatitis A isn’t that big of a deal - most people in the ‘Third World’ eat shit as kids, develop a mild disease, and get over it. Adults in the ‘First World’ who travel get exposed, turn yellow and puke for a while, but they get over it too. I’d rather get the shot, personally.
Here’s for another 2 cents. Flock of Bleeps, Last Days of Gravity - beautiful, poetic. Moving. Thought-provoking. What do I think of Vaccine as a title? I think it sucks. The feeling I have right now, of wanting to bang my head against a wall due to the misinformation and misconception that many people have about immunization—that feeling totally sucks. 100%. Digilatex is right - might as well call it Root Canal.
Sorry to be so inflammatory. Well, an inflammatory response is actually a possible side effect of vaccinations, so you can’t be too surprised.