Tragic vaccine stories – being empathetic while reporting the facts

vaccine stories

Over the past couple of the months, this website has published three tragic vaccine stories – each involved the death of a child whose life was taken too early. Each of these grabbed everyone’s heart and made all of us empathetic to the pain of the parents. However, these stories were much more nuanced and complicated than what has been presented in some parts of the internet. And they put some of us in the crosshairs of the anti-vaccine world.

Whenever our side (you know, the pro-science, pro-vaccine side) writes about these stories, people invent strawmen claiming that we are not empathetic or sympathetic to the families whose child had died. Of course, every one of us who writes about these stories is incredibly affected by them. They make us cry. They make us hug our children.

Nevertheless, we still feel compelled to sort fact from fiction. We look at these stories with skeptical eyes, not because we want to attack the parents of these children. Instead, we want to make sure that the scientific facts are not ignored, which could lead to a false narrative about vaccines.

Of course, many of us wish we didn’t have to write these stories. I personally try to ignore them, because the stories are so incredibly complex, and I feel so incredibly sympathetic towards the parents, even if they are pushing an unfortunate narrative about vaccines. Eventually, these vaccine stories become tropes on social media, and, at some point, I feel like an analytical approach to the story is necessary. Which leads to this article – I want to make make it clear what I feel and how I react to these vaccine stories.  Continue reading “Tragic vaccine stories – being empathetic while reporting the facts”

Rabies vaccine could have saved Ryker Roque – he dies needlessly

rabies vaccine

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time reviewing stories about vaccines, I read way too many tragic ones about children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases. But a recent story, about a six-year-old boy named Ryker Roque who died from a rabies infection, was particularly sad and devastating. He could have avoided rabies, and its horrific consequences, with just a couple of better choices from his parents. If only they had used the rabies vaccine immediately, this would not be a story.

Let’s be clear – I don’t know if the parents of Ryker are anti-vaccine or not, but they made a choice about the rabies vaccine that led to their son’s death. That makes the story tragic and sad. I know his parents are incredibly distraught, and probably wish they had made better choices – but maybe their story will prevent future tragedies. I hope. Continue reading “Rabies vaccine could have saved Ryker Roque – he dies needlessly”

Vaccinate dogs – they are not going to get autism from vaccines

vaccinate dogs

We vaccinate dogs to protect them from some serious diseases that could harm our precious pooches. Rabies. Distemper. Parvovirus. Bordetella. Hepatitis. Lyme disease. Vaccine preventable diseases can devastate our canine friends, and there isn’t one good reason to keep them from the best medicine we can offer.

Not only are these diseases dangerous to our pets, but some of these diseases can be passed to us. Rabies is a horrible disease, and if a dog contracts it, they may have to be euthanized. And if that rabid dog bites a child, they have to endure a very painful series of vaccines.

No, rabies cannot be prevented by a gluten free, organic diet for your dog. We vaccinate dogs so that if they are bitten by some rabid animal, they are protected from that disease. Continue reading “Vaccinate dogs – they are not going to get autism from vaccines”

Vaccines prevented 200 million cases of disease in the USA from 1963 to 2015

vaccines prevented

Lest we forget, vaccines are one of the greatest medical inventions of all time. Without them, we would see cemeteries filled with children who would have died before they were even five years old.  In fact, the best evidence we have tells us that vaccines prevented 200 million cases of diseases in the USA alone in the five decades since 1963.

A recent study, published in AIMS Public Health, estimates that around 200 million cases of polio, mumps, rubella, measles, adenovirus, hepatitis A and rabies have been prevented in the U.S. from 1963 through 2015 as a result of widespread vaccination. The study, authored by Leonard Hayflick and S. Jay Olshansky, two leading experts on public health and infectious diseases, also discloses that about 450,000 deaths have been avoided in the U.S during this period, although other studies put that estimate of lives saved at a much higher number.

Dr. Hayflick discovered the human cell strain, WI-38, in 1962 which was critical to the safe manufacturing of vaccines, which became widespread in 1963. According to the article, the vaccines produced from the WI-38 cell line prevented almost 4.5 billion occurrences of the diseases, and stopped them from returning to infect us. Dr. Hayflick developed the foundation that allowed the world to have relative safe and very effective tools to prevent infectious diseases.

Prior to the development of WI-38, anti-virus vaccines were grown in monkey cells, which had some issues that made many question their safety, although most of the concern appeared to be overblown. However, once the WI-38 was available, it became easier to develop and produce vaccines for many viruses.

Drs. Hayflick and Olshansky wanted to see what effect that seminal event had on public health. And the numbers were incredible. Continue reading “Vaccines prevented 200 million cases of disease in the USA from 1963 to 2015”

Poll – dog comments on Andrew Wakefield

Once again, let’s talk about  MrAndy Wakefield, one of the greatest frauds in medicine over the last 100 years. I’m not exaggerating, he really is considered that.

Lately we’ve had to put up with his anti-vaccine lunacy with his fraudumentary, Vaxxed, which is out in theaters even now. In the “documentary” (scare quotes intentional), Wakefield rehashes his same old misinformation, ignorance, and utter nonsense.

I do try to ignore him, like I ignore that Australian expatriate, Ken Ham, who is wasting American taxpayer money to build a temple to that biblical myth that has all of the scientific basis of, well Wakefield’s claims. But sometimes Wakefield just keeps coming, without muzzling his mouth.

The latest is the photo below that’s hitting the interwebs. The picture includes a sad looking dog, possibly a German Shepherd (but I am not a dog expert – I’m a cat person), sitting next to Mr. Wakefield.

Wakefield is holding a couple of hand written signs that say, ” My name is Tex. I was injured by vaccines.”

dog comments on Andrew Wakefield
I don’t think that’s what the dog was thinking.

 

There’s an old saying about a person – you can judge a person’s character by how they treat children and animals. Wakefield’s treatment of children is well known – he committed a fraud to profit from trial lawyers and his own patented measles vaccine. And that fraud lead to massive measles outbreaks, and permanent injury to children. So, he fails miserably on the “treating of children.”

Now he’s trying to do the same for our pets? Dogs are protected from some serious diseases because of vaccines and other preventative medicines. Rabies. Distemper. Parvovirus. Bordetella. Hepatitis. Lyme disease. And many more.

Not only are these diseases dangerous to our dogs, they can be passed to us. Rabies is a horrible disease, and if a dog contracts it, they may have to be euthanized. And if that rabid dog bites a child, they have to endure a very painful series of vaccines.

No, rabies cannot be prevented by a gluten free, organic diet for your dog. They are bitten by some rabid animal because, well, dogs are curious, and can be bitten by a bat, raccoon, wild cat, and who knows what else – and once bitten, the disease transfers to them.

And, we can only conclude that Wakefield also fails on the “how he treats dogs” category.

If dogs could talk, I wonder what the dog comments on Andrew Wakefield would be. Here’s a poll of what I believe the dog thinks about Andrew Wakefield. Choose your favorite. Or reply in the comments with a better one. I love that!