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Let’s Be Fair: Blame the Unvaccinated… and the Vaccinated!

by in Vaccine Education February 5, 2015

I’m all about spreading out the fairness when it comes to vaccine awareness. I’ve said before, I sit on the fence. I completely understand why there’s two camps of believers when it comes to vaccines, and I choose to join…. neither.

I think I’ve read thousands of vaccine studies and articles to date, add to that a thousand more Facebook and Twitter posts. One topic that keeps coming up over and over again is this issue pro-vaccine parents have with condemning anti-vaccine parents for risking the immunocompromised and infants who cannot receive vaccines yet, themselves.

Well, I’m hear to tell ya, if you’re going to try and place the blame, let’s just blame everyone. Let’s blame the unvaccinated for the obvious, not vaccinating. And let’s blame the vaccinated for pretending.

Varicella (chickenpox), a virus we all contracted as kids.

I’d like to “shed” a little light on the varicella vaccine, no pun just for fun. The VARIVAX FDA package insert, which I’m sure you’ve read before vaccinating your child,  states:

“Due to the concern for transmission of vaccine virus, vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid whenever possible close association with susceptible high-risk individuals for up to six weeks following vaccination with VARIVAX. Susceptible high-risk individuals include:

1.  Immunocompromised individuals.

2.  Pregnant women without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection.

3.  Newborn infants of mothers without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection and all newborn infants born at <28 weeks gestation regardless of varicella immunity.”

Children get vaccinated with two doses of the varicella vaccine, between 12-15 months and again between 4-6 years. I’m 100% certain that unless a parent actually read the insert and kept their child at home for 6 weeks after each vaccination round, there is very high probability that their vaccinated child may have transmitted the virus to a susceptible “high-risk” individual (or any individual for that matter).

(side-note: VARIVAX is the most widely used chickenpox vaccine, and thank goodness, because the PROQUAD vaccine has higher rates of fever and febrile seizures, says it’s FDA package insert).

Influenza (the flu), a virus we all contracted as kids…and teenagers…and adults.

I was reading a friend’s Facebook post a few weeks ago and she stated she wasn’t vaccinating her family with the flu shot this year, however she wanted her Facebook friends’ thoughts. Most comments on the thread went something like, “absolutely we are vaccinating for the flu.” One comment read, “it’s our duty to protect the herd.” Then someone asked, “which flu shot did you get, my family got the shot in the arm?” And then the same person who touted, “protect the herd and vaccinate” also said, “her family got the nasal vaccine..” and I just chuckled… I didn’t have the heart to tell her she’s got an oxymoron going on…

I’ll let one of our heroes in the know, the CDC, do it:

“Data indicate that both children and adults vaccinated with nasal spray flu vaccine can shed vaccine viruses after vaccination…

Pertussis, a bacteria, and it’s pretty ugly.

I don’t wish any parent to have to watch their child suffer with awful fits of cough that make them turn blue. But I also don’t wish for parents to blame each other. I generally hear parents in favor of vaccines placing the blame on unvaccinated children for the recent rise in pertussis. It’s just not true, says a hero in the know, the FDA:

1.  “…research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.

FACT: The vaccinated kids are transmitting pertussis, too.

2.  “This study is critically important to understanding some of the reasons for the rising rates of pertussis….”

FACT: The FDA understands that the rising rates of pertussis are due in part to vaccinated kids, and you should understand that, too.

3.  “While the reasons for the increase in cases of whooping cough are not fully understood, multiple factors are likely involved, including diminished immunity from childhood pertussis vaccines, improved diagnostic testing, and increased reporting.”

FACT: The FDA agrees there’s multiple factors involved regarding the current rise in pertussis, but there’s no mention of “unvaccinated kids.”

And just to be fair and as a reminder, an unvaccinated child carrying any of the above bacteria or viruses can, and probably will, transmit it to others, too.

I’d love your thoughts on the current state of the vaccine debate! Your comments, both positive and negative, keep me on my toes! 🙂

(Disclaimer: Scientific information presented in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice on vaccination.)

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