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Old 01-12-2013, 12:53 AM   #16
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Re: From anti-vax to pro-vax?

Me! I was very opposed to any and all vaccines. I always accepted that they didn't contribute to autism, but was worried about reactions and was convinced that a strong immune system would combat anything.

What changed my mind? Becoming more involved in the scientific community. Understanding how to read peer-reviewed studies to see what they were really saying. I also took a good, hard look and realized that just because something is "unnatural" doesn't mean it's bad. Plumbing, allergy medicine and cell phones are unnatural but they make my life a heck of a lot easier. Oh, and realizing that a strong immune system doesn't mean anything in terms of disease prevention. If you've never been exposed to measles, you have no immunity and you're going to get sick. Even though most VPDs are survivable in the US, the risks of the VPD are higher than the risk of vaccines as long as the person getting vaxed isn't allergic to ingredients.

I did feel very misled by the anti-vaccine community. I do believe that they believe what they're saying, but once you take a step back it is easier to see the holes. My biggest wake-up was that I saw, over and over again, how "many countries" have delayed schedules or more selective schedules. I was curious as to which countries these were, but was never answered, so I looked up the official schedules for every western country. Surprise, they're virtually identical to ours, some even having more vaccines.

I'm generally very skeptical of the "everyone is doing it" argument, but on such a large scale in a field (science) that is objective, it's worth considering. If the overwhelming majority of doctors and researchers are in complete agreement about the safety of vaccines, and there is a bounty of credible research to prove it, I'm going to look closer.

I also find it wise to be skeptical of what those opposing vaccines say. If they say "the MMR contains X ingredient!", the natural response is to say "oh god, no way!" Why though? For instance, penicillin is derived from mold and none of us are going to freak out if we're really sick and need it. Just because something sounds shocking and gross doesn't mean that it necessarily is.

Another thing is to look past the anecdotal stories. They are sad, but for every one of them, there are countless (hundreds of thousands, if not millions) kids who are absolutely fine. I also have found that many of the stories can't be linked back to the vaccine. If someone has a seizure six months after a gardasil vaccine, can we honestly pin the blame on it? I'm not saying to necessarily try to call these people out, just read with a hefty dose of skepticism.


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World Health Organization
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