27 November 2010


This post is just me thinking aloud, more or less.  I've been slowly studying more about vaccines and trying to see exactly where I stand.  I was recently having a conversation with Guggie Daly about vaccines, and she pointed out how we as a society have become conditioned to absolutely fear those diseases for which there are vaccines, while we don't seem to fear the ones for which we don't have vaccines (she pointed out the cholera outbreak as an example).  I  can see what she means.  While I live in England, I'm from the US, so I often look at the vaccines there, too, since we may one day move back.  Honestly, the list of "necessary" vaccines in the US seems odd to me, having lived in England.  Why is Hep B necessary for all infants in the US, but not here?  They don't seem to have a problem with Hep B here, and the vaccine is only offered to those who are at a high risk of contracting the disease.  Makes sense to me.  Or rotavirus - that's another one that's offered in the US but not in England.  When I talk to people in the US, some of them seem very scared of that disease, and yet I never hear anything about it here.  Another example is chicken pox.  Yes, some people in the US genuinely seem afraid of chicken pox because there are, very rarely, more serious complications from it.  My Health Visitor here, though, thinks it's silly to vaccinate against it (I agree).  It just isn't seen as serious here.  My son had a very mild case thanks to breastfeeding.

So how are various diseases viewed here?  Well, the ones that are vaccinated against are feared greatly, it seems.  Including the flu.  When the H1N1 scare happened last year, there was a palpalble panic.  I was diagnosed with it over the internet, having never been seen by a doctor.  When I developed a secondary bacterial infection, I still wasn't seen by a doctor - they wouldn't let me come to the surgery in case I infected anyone else.  I was never tested for the strain of flu, but was still told to get a H1N1 vaccine just in case.  Because of all the fear surrounding it, I eventually gave in, though I regret that.  Actually, that sums up how I feel about all vaccines, to be honest.  I bought into the fear of the MMR with K, fearing that he would get rubella and pass it on to a pregnant woman who would then be counseled to have an abortion.  With C, I'm thinking that isn't a good enough reason, since the odds of her contracting it and giving it to pregnant woman who has no immunity to it in her first trimester is extremely rare.

This also pertains to the Vit K that is commonly given shortly after birth (most commonly by injection, but sometimes orally).  Sometimes when I've spoken about the fact that I see no reason for it under normal conditions, people have been horrified and tried to scare me into it.  The health professionals just made sure I knew why they gave it when I refused for C to have it.  Thankfully they didn't give me horror stories or push it too much once I made it clear that I'd researched the matter and knew what to look out for.  I will admit to being rather paranoid about things at first, though I firmly believed that C didn't need the Vit K with a non-traumatic birth, delayed cord clamping, immediate breastfeeding, and the fact that I eat things high in Vit K.

For some reason, I didn't start thinking of all vaccines this way until recently, despite my conclusions about Vit K.  I suppose this is in large part because I didn't research other jabs until more recently, and I'm still going through the research. So I'm not saying one should just throw caution to the wind, but that we should inform ourselves about the diseases and the true risks involved, and how to treat them.  So far, I'm not seeing a great chance of serious risks by not vaccinating, at least not enough to justify vaccinating everyone.  Being informed really goes both ways, here, as we also shouldn't just have our children vaccinated without researching things more.  I always research medicines and treatments that doctors advise instead of just trusting them, so I'm not sure why I didn't start researching this sooner.

Now, I'm not saying one should just throw all caution to the wind and ignore any of these diseases, but neither should one just accept the vaccines without question.  I think we should research the diseases and the vaccines, and be aware of any warning signs and treatments for the diseases so we know what to do.  How can we truly make an informed choice without looking at these things?  I wish I'd researched more before having K, but I can't change the past.

No comments:

Post a Comment