Image Source: NIAID
Vaccine controversy. In Hart Johnson's short story, The Seventeen, she paints a horrifying picture of a society where there are no controls and no ethics in using human subjects for medical experiments. The consequence of the PharMagna's malpractice is one of the most delicious ironies I've ever read. You can experience it yourself on May 3 with the release of Parallels: Felix Was Here.
My own stance with vaccines is complicated. Growing up, I got the recommended vaccines. I take my children for their recommended vaccines. I thought people who didn't vaccinate were a little strange.
Then in 2012, I started researching Gardasil after it came up as a possible solution to the mystery of The Leroy Twelve. The more I learned, the worse I felt about allowing my daughters to have this vaccine. The body can heal itself from the majority of HPV infections. The chances of dying from cervical cancer are pretty small, especially with routine PAP smears. This type of cancer is more typical in older women. In other words, HPV is a different thing than meningitis, which affects school-age children and can kill a person in a day.
So unlike every other vaccine, I chose not to get my 11-year-old vaccinated with Gardasil. This is something I never would have done had I not spent hours reading about the vaccine and the stories of young women whose lives fell apart (or ended) after taking the vaccine. (See The Truth About Gardasil: Injuries if curious, or this documentary from Denmark.)
Maybe I shouldn't let the horror stories of a few (hundred? thousand? no one knows for sure) influence me, but there's a bit more to the story.
Vaccines are designed to provoke a response from the immune system. To boost this response, they contain what is called an adjuvant. Critics of Gardasil and other vaccines are worried that substances such as aluminum in the vaccine's adjuvant are dangerous. The concern is that the vaccine and/or the adjuvant can trigger not just a reaction, but an over-reaction in the immune system with dire consequences.
Image Source: Honorem Veritas
Cases of motor neuron and autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, lupus, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis among other horrible things have occurred in vaccinated patients. (But how to link them definitively to the vaccine or adjuvant? Might the disease have developed anyway over the course of time or with another trigger? Excellent questions!)
Here's another. What does the nurse ask before a vaccination: Have you or anyone in your family ever had a serious reaction to a vaccine before?
I'm not sure how to answer. You see, when my youngest daughter was 20 months old, we discovered she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. There is no family history, but it surfaced at the age where she right in the thick of her vaccination schedule. So how should I answer? Yes? Or no?
Do you feel vaccinations are safe? Ever had a bad reaction to a vaccine?