Archive for Friday, January 20, 2012

Vital vaccines

Kansas legislators should head off efforts to expand exemptions for childhood vaccinations.

January 20, 2012


Parents’ rights over their children are important, but broadening the exemptions for childhood vaccinations isn’t in the best interests of the state.

Kansas legislators heard testimony Wednesday concerning a bill that would allow parents or guardians to refuse immunizations for their children on the basis of conscience or personal belief. Current state law requires children to be immunized against diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella before they can enroll in school unless their parent or guardian seeks an exemption for religious reasons. It could be argued that personal belief is as valid as religious belief on this matter, but any legislation that encourages more people to bypass childhood immunizations is detrimental to public health.

The state’s epidemiologist testified that states that have broadened their vaccination exemption laws have seen an increase in preventable diseases. Parents who are seeking the additional exemption say the choice of whether to have their children vaccinated should be theirs alone. That would be a valid argument if their vaccination decision affected only their children, but that isn’t the case. For instance, an outbreak of a communicable disease can endanger children too young to be vaccinated.

It’s interesting how parental attitudes toward vaccinations have changed. A generation or two ago, there were no vaccines for childhood diseases like chicken pox, measles of mumps. Children obtained their immunity by getting those diseases. Most children weathered such illnesses with no lasting effects. Unfortunately, some did not. Vaccines are not without risk, but neither are these diseases.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, said at Wednesday’s hearing that she did not support the bill because “I still remember polio.” Many older Kansans also remember that disease, which cast a wave of fear across the nation in the 1930s, ‘40s and especially the early 1950s. There certainly was no hesitation to receive the polio vaccine when it became widely available in 1955. Because of effective vaccines, polio was eliminated in the United States by 1979.

It’s ironic that the comfort level of the minority of parents who don’t want their children vaccinated against childhood diseases is a direct result of the fact that the vast majority of children are vaccinated, thereby eliminating the risk of a potentially dangerous epidemic.

Maybe it isn’t totally fair to grant vaccination exemptions on the basis of religious, but not personal, beliefs, but any move that expands exemptions in the state is a bad idea.


Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

It’s ironic that the comfort level of the minority of parents who don’t want their children vaccinated against childhood diseases is a direct result of the fact that the vast majority of children are vaccinated, thereby eliminating the risk of a potentially dangerous epidemic. === Good point. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, scientific, historical and philosophical. If the grandparents of these folks now testifying had similar opinions, some of these people might not be around to ask that their children be excused. With luck the bill will not leave committee and die where it sits.

Phillbert 6 years, 3 months ago

This may be a first for me on a LJW editorial, but bravo.

lweinmaster 6 years, 3 months ago

Where has common sense gone, shocking the LJWorld does not see that the expansion of the vaccine program is for profits. Pharma owns the media and runs the government with there advertisement dollars and campaign contributions. I see that LJ WORLD is part of the problem. We are no longer a free country. When you take away parents right to choose medical interventions for our children you have trambled the constitutional rights.. When your child is vaccine injured no one wants to help.
Vaccines are not risk free. If you read page 11 of the Tripedia package insert where it lists AUTISM as a potential adverse effect in post marketing data. How much "evidence" do you need to link vaccines with AUTISM when it is listed right on the label? And the fact that we have thousands of parents saying their children were injured? Read it for yourself:

Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, SIDS, anaphylactic reaction, cellulitis, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence and apnea. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting. Sounds like autism to me.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

If you read for comprehension, you'll see that it lists it as something parents complain about, not an actual side effect caused by the vaccine. "Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia vaccine." Kids get autism. Kids get vaccines. Some kids get diagnosed with autism at about the same time as they get vaccines but no credible evidence shows any cause and effect link between the two. Multiple studies have been done on the issue.

Interesting trivia. When the smallpox vaccine came out, there were parents complaining that it would turn you into a cow. True story. Your fears now are just as ignorant as their fears were then, and it leads you down the path of paying a lot of money for false hope and false medicine from quacks who sell you unnecessary tests and ineffective "cures."

IndianaNurse 6 years, 3 months ago

It is called post marketing reporting. Parents have reported it numerous times so it is included on the package insert. This is how it is done. Just like with Vioxx, tens of thousands of people lost their lives and reported it until something was forced to be done. The same goes with vaccines but with vaccines, there are those that blindly follow all the misinformation they have been given and readily toss childrens lives away based on a theory that herd immunity will be compromised if parents decline vaccination. Thinking people read the research and make a decision based on that and their religious convictions.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, brand new commenter "nurse," I'm familiar with VAERS and it's lack of conclusive evidence for anyone who isn't wearing a tin foil hat. All complaints are logged no matter the validity, and then patterns are investigated. It's been investigated. There's no link.

No, it's not "just like Vioxx" any more than water is just like wine, all books are just like the Bible, or Tylenol is just like Valium.

Ironic you bring up religion, because your anti-vaccine fear mongering borders on it. It's certainly not scientific or evidence based in any way.

lweinmaster 6 years, 3 months ago

MADE IN CHINA most vaccines are made in China. If they use lead in toys imagine what they put in vaccines.

Bryan Anderson 6 years, 3 months ago

There is no proven link between Autism and vaccines. The study that claimed to find a link has been proven to be fraudulent.

IndianaNurse 6 years, 3 months ago

Absolutely not true. Take a look at the Hannah Polling case. The vaccinations given to her were linked to her vaccine injury and "autism".

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually no.

Hanna Poling has mitochondrial disease, not autism. It was possible either vaccines or a fever (from anything) worsened her condition and triggered her autistic-like symptoms. It's also possible that they just would have worsened on their own and nothing triggered it. The vaccine injury court requires a lower burden of proof than science or traditional civil suits.

Autism isn't on the vaccine injury table, because there's no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Autism test cases have repeatedly failed to even pass that low burden of proof in vaccine injury court, and nobody has come forth with a test case to try and prove that mitochondrial dysfunction causes autism - because it doesn't.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

IndianaNurse, considering the fact that tens of millions of people have been now given vaccinations, you will need to come up with 10,000 more cases of autism linked to vaccines for any realistic conclusion to be reached.

And even if you could come up with only 1,000 proven cases, that would mean that the chance of developing autism as a direct result of a vaccine would be far less than 0.01%.

Compare that with the childhood mortality rate of 50% only two hundred years ago.

You cited one single case, and you think you have reached a definitive conclusion?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

The real danger of a vaccination is that the child is much more likely to die in a car crash on the way home than to develop autism.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Here ya go, here's a look at the Hannah Poling case! Right out of 'The New England Journal of Medicine' Clipped from:

"The VICP's concession to Hannah Poling was poorly reasoned. First, whereas it is clear that natural infections can exacerbate symptoms of encephalopathy in patients with mitochondrial enzyme deficiencies, no clear evidence exists that vaccines cause similar exacerbations. Indeed, because children with such deficiencies are particularly susceptible to infections, it is recommended that they receive all vaccines.

Second, the belief that the administration of multiple vaccines can overwhelm or weaken the immune system of a susceptible child is at variance with the number of immunologic components contained in modern vaccines. A century ago, children received one vaccine, smallpox, which contained about 200 structural and nonstructural viral proteins. Today, thanks to advances in protein purification and recombinant DNA technology, the 14 vaccines given to young children contain a total of about 150 immunologic components.

Third, although experts testifying on behalf of the Polings could reasonably argue that development of fever and a varicella-vaccine rash after the administration of nine vaccines was enough to stress a child with mitochondrial enzyme deficiency, Hannah had other immunologic challenges that were not related to vaccines. She had frequent episodes of fever and otitis media, eventually necessitating placement of bilateral polyethylene tubes. Nor is such a medical history unusual. Children typically have four to six febrile illnesses each year during their first few years of life; vaccines are a minuscule contributor to this antigenic challenge."

Joe Hyde 6 years, 3 months ago

With some immunization decisions parents might look beyond the short-term benefit/risk to the child and consider what the impact of not allowing immunizations will be once their child becomes an adult.

Take chicken pox, for instance. For a child, chicken pox is an annoying but relatively harmless illness; catch it once and the child recovers quickly, never to catch it again. However, if an adult who has never had chicken pox as a child catches it, this is a life-threatening disease because the dynamics of the infection affect the adult body far differently.

Some years back I visited with a man who told me he'd recently recovered from a bout with chicken pox. I don't remember the gory details, only that he said the disease began breaking down his internal organs. He considered himself very lucky to have survived. Not that he was overjoyed about it especially -- what with having to pay off a medical bill that rose to over $40,000

Almost dies, shells out over $40K, behind chicken pox.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

I have educated myself about vaccines from doctors who studied vaccines and aren't quacks with pages on I wish you'd do the same. Seriously, your perseveration on the issue interferes with your rationality.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

If you're a one trick pony the only thing you can do is one trick, so you better do it well.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

If you admit that autism is genetic, you have to admit that you're not going to cure it with a bunch of quack medicine. Acceptance is a hard place for a lot of people.

Chengdu808 6 years, 3 months ago

Drug companies spend more money on promoting drugs than they do in research and development. Last century saw the rise of so-called "wonder drugs" such as antibiotics. Currently there are few of these in the pipeline. The drug companies are in a frenzy over the profit potential of vaccines. Drugs, on the other hand, are targeted to subgroups of individuals who are afflicted with certain diseases. Decisions on funding research are based on how much profit might be realized. If your disease does not afflict a sizable population, you are out of luck. There is just not enough profit. Big pharma is wild with anticipation of the huge profits they can make with vaccines because their potential market switches from small subgroups of the population to the entire world. Because it is a "preventative" they will sell it to everyone. The research community knows vaccines are a trigger in many neurological disorders. What is heard in the media is that vaccines do not "cause" certain disorders. There is rarely one "cause". In genetically susceptible individuals environmental exposure to toxins (as in vaccines) triggers immune response which affects brain proteins and synaptic function in the brain. There are approximately 1400 brain proteins and 130 of these are found to be involved with disorders such as autism, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, OCD, and many others.

Betty Bartholomew 6 years, 3 months ago

Kids are only required to have vaccinations in order to go to public school. Don't want vaccinations? Don't send your kid to public school. Pretty simple logic.

I get my child immunized because I care about her health. Why let her suffer from a disease that was preventable, whether it's chicken pox or polio? Silly people with your anti-vaccine rhetoric. Even if the causation of your Chicken Little science is true, it occurs in such a small part of the population as to render your argument moot.

IndianaNurse 6 years, 3 months ago

You have that choice to vaccinate and parents who have researched the data and have objections should have the choice to refuse if they choose. Vaccination is not without risks. My son has an altered immune system so vaccinated people pose a real risk to him. Maybe everyone that gets vaccinated ought to be forced to wear a mask everywhere for the few weeks they are contagious? Just because someone is vaccinated does not mean they are immune. Have you had titers drawn on your vaccinated child? If not, you do not know if immunity has been obtained nor for how long.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

No they shouldn't. Parents don't get to do their own research and decide based on celebrity endorsements and conspiracy websites that they'd rather go without car seats, either.

If you don't want to vaccinate your otherwise healthy child, homeschool.

lweinmaster 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm surprised at the Lj World stance on vaccines since they seem to be against Obama Care and mandated health care. Forced vaccines are socialized, mandated medicine and healthcare!

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

And also something we've had since the 19th Century!

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, anti-vaccine sentiment isn't a recent phenomenon. There were ignorant fools that thought the small-pox vaccine would turn them into cows when it first came out. Mandatory vaccination laws were the only way to get those fools to vaccinate, and it's the only way to get them to do it today. Yes, we're going to be all anti liberty and require your kids to get their shots, just like we anti liberty require them to be buckled into car seats. Get over it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you know that it's the law that you're required to drive on the right hand side of the highway?

I think that's an infringement on my liberty, because I like to drive on the left side.

IndianaNurse 6 years, 3 months ago

To argue the point of vaccination is not the main problem here. Freedom of choice regarding invasive medical procedures should be the priority. Our constitution grants us that right. If you are concerned about catching any illness from others, take precautions, not others rights. Vaccination does not equal immunisation. Once vaccinated, you do not know if you are truly immune to the illness. That is why so many vaccinated people continue to catch the very disease they were vaccinated for. How long does your vaccine work if it even does? You do not know. It is just a guess. This is not concrete but our constitution is. Let's not tear one another up and destroy our liberties in the process.

hujiko 6 years, 3 months ago

Freedom of choice? You do realize that in order for society to work, some liberties must be given up for the greater good. Right?

Just wondering, do you make your children wear helmets when bike riding? What about buckling up when driving them about town?

Same concept through and through. Not all risk is eliminated, but the precaution is better than inaction.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

It's not an invasive medical procedure, Indiana "nurse." KU does a drive by clinic where you just fill out a form and stick out an arm. I got a tetanus booster this year at my workplace. They don't offer the same service for say, colonoscopies.

You are correct that a vaccine doesn't confer 100% immunity, but it does pretty well. That's also the reason why it's not a matter of personal choice but public safety. Herd immunity is secondary protection, a firewall to prevent the spread of an outbreak, and that protection extends to children too young for a vaccine and children with medical conditions that prevent them from vaccines.

You don't have the constitutional right to kill babies with pertussis because you're too chicken or ignorant to get a shot. The Supreme Court agrees. Jacobson v. Massachusetts and Zucht v. King. It's not trampling on your rights to require your children to be vaccinated to attend school.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"Freedom of choice regarding invasive medical procedures should be the priority. Our constitution grants us that right."

The Constitution of the United States of America does not mention medical procedures at all, nor is it mentioned in any of its amendments.

You have slipped into fantasy. Or perhaps delusions.

You do have the freedom to not be subjected to immunizations, though. Move to Mexico. I hear they don't worry much about vaccines there.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

Linda does like to send out the conspiracy nut bat signal when she gets involved in a thread.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

At ease, disease! There's a fungus among us!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

You might have a very good point. It is difficult to believe that Indiana Nurse has any medical background at all. But, that is not a requirement to be a commenter here.

I was discussing tuberculosis with a friend a few years ago. She grew up in the Philippines, where the use of vaccines and antibiotics is only for the rich.

I have never known anyone that had a full blown case of TB, because I grew up in the United States. We have vaccines and antibiotics here, and so TB is not a lethal disease for us.

My friend's cousin was very sick with it in the Philippines, and she knew she had almost no chance of recovery. My friend quoted her, she said: "I don't want to die."

It was very unfortunate that she did die, at the age of 21.

But on the bright side, she never developed autism.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

I'll leave it up to you to pick a better example, because the only person that I personally know of that died before the age of 25 from a preventable or treatable disease died of TB.

I used it as a generalized example, and I needed to do that so that I could truthfully discuss what happened to someone that I personally know about.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 3 months ago

"The TB vaccine causes a false positive on a TB test, so now you have to take a series of X-rays to determine if one has TB..." Not quiet so simple as that.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

I was very surprised about five years ago when I was required to have a TB test done at a hospital in Topeka, because I thought it was very uncommon in the United States today.

I was told that no, it's not uncommon in Topeka at all, they see patients there every day that come up with a positive result, and they need to be aware of it if the patient is infected.

Many people are infected with TB and do not know it. But, it's usually associated with injection drug use and risky sexual practices.

gr 6 years, 2 months ago

"Many older Kansans also remember that disease, which cast a wave of fear across the nation in the 1930s, ‘40s and especially the early 1950s. There certainly was no hesitation to receive the polio vaccine when it became widely available in 1955. Because of effective vaccines, polio was eliminated in the United States by 1979."

But when you look at the data, the numbers fluctuate wildly before 1955. Why? And you still see cases in the 80s and 90s.

Just as well say, because of the increase of cell phones, polio was eliminated.

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