The pseudo-science writers and pseudo-public health guardians have been out in force lately due to the outbreak of measles in several public sites. Wagging their fingers at us, for they know what is best for every man, woman, and child, not to leave out all the others who claim special dispensations of social status, they inhabit every media outlet imaginable. Yes, it’s all the fault of those who not only do not believe in vaccinations for children but who wrong question the efficacy of said vaccinations and the possible cause of autism in young children. Woe be those who spread such ignorance. Well,, they do have a point about the spreading of ignorance, for much has been spread.
Does the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) cause autism? As far as can be ascertained, no. No definite links have been found between the administration of the MMR vaccine and the development of autism. The problem with autism is that it has both a genetic and an environmental component. But the full impact of autism and the full spectrum is not widely nor deeply understood. One can argue, for instance, that very high IQ is a sign of autism since those individuals often have problems in social relationships. What is and is not autism can often be laid at the feet of perceptions that may be faulty when based on wrong assumptions. Now the second question we should ask of any vaccine is: is it safe? That is, what side effects does it cause and what percentage of the population does the vaccine affect? Ah, there’s the rub. If one goes to some of the popular internet sites the answers will vary depending on who has written the content. So let us simply pick what might be a close number, for it is difficult to obtain a true one. Roughly one percent, perhaps two percent maximum would be a safe estimate as to those who will or at least subject to side effects. That would be one out of one hundred vaccinated with MMR. The other vaccinations, such as chicken pox or shingles, polio, pneumonia, flu, and a few others have a similar effect. But are the side effects always severe? No, by side effect we mean any adverse reaction such as swelling in the spot where the needle was injected or some slight rash of several days duration. That is the point of side effects, they exist in a range of severity and effect. One percent would cover most every conceivable side effect.
But when it comes to mild to severe reactions, and one man’s mild reaction is another man’s severe reaction, we would tend to put that percentage, not probability, at about one one hundredth of a percent. This difference means 0.01 or one out of 100,000. It is easy to talk dispassionately about such things because the effects are remote from the consciousness of most individuals. If there are a million children born every year and only ten of them three or four months later when they are vaccinated have a mild to severe reaction, 99% of us will never know about that occurrence. It is also not the type of information that is spread by news media. Now assuming you have a new born or infant, what is the probability that your child will suffer from a mild to severe reaction? Ah, that is a different kettle of fish for it depends on genetic and environmental factors. Is it possible to test prior to the injection of the MMR vaccine? Most likely not. The genetic part may be a great deal easier to determine but environmental factors offer a far more variable factor. Could it be due to the fluoridation of the water supply and if so, how much fluoride in the water would be necessary to affect that reaction? Does boiling the water eliminate the fluoride? And why, if the fluoride has such a minute effect when drunk as water drink on a child’s teeth are we putting it in the water? That is another health issue that has been ignored. The use of fluoride treatment on the teeth of adults has only a minute to no effect. It has a limited and temporary effect on the teeth of children and is really an unnecessary expense. Yet there we are, convinced buy those in authority to continue such a treatment.
These diseases are not particularly friendly to children. I suffered through them as a child along with shingles twice as an adult. I think my childhood friends and I always considered them rites of passage. Polio was the one to be greatly feared and I have never forgotten seeing children my age in their iron lungs as part of a field trip in grade school. For my generation is was a real fear. And before MMR, since we didn’t have that vaccine then, the mild to severe effects of measles, mumps, and rubella was unknown to most of us. Even the few deaths never reached us. But to hear so many of these self appointed guardians, well, the sky is falling. So some seven people who went to Disneyland, ok now its up to seventy two individuals are now suffering from measles? Did any of them die? and did they contract the disease from some child whose parents feared autism might be a side effect and so never had the child vaccinated? Or was it some child or even an adult here illegally from central or south America who carried the infection. Or could it have been someone who had the inoculation years ago as a child and is still capable of being infected with a low level infection and fully capable of spreading full blown infections to any and all comers? So, is this epidemic really caused by a total lack of vaccination. should we blame those nasty parents who feared that the vaccination might cause autism in their children?
So far the news say that officials have located the source as Disneyland in Los Angles. But there are questions about that. One is, who were those who were infected? Were they all children who have never been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine? Were any of them immigrants, legal or otherwise? Were any adults affected and did they either never have the disease or the vaccination? The news media has not offered any details about the outbreak other than to offer general numbers. What is obvious is a media push to have all children vaccinated, by force, if necessary. What we see is a scare tactic to force public and political policy. How far are we willing to let those in government set policy that enforces behaviors that are for the good of the public? should we force all parents to have their children vaccinated against every conceivable disease? And if we do that in the name of child protection can we then turn to the parents and make them prepare the type of means deemed proper by public nutrition officials? She we make all individuals aver the age of fifty get the shingles vaccination and every flu vaccination, whether is works or not? Just how far are we prepared to let government, as run by a few who supposedly represent out will, dictate acceptable social behavior that is neither civil tore nor criminal as we now know it? Is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only to be defined by government policy?