Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MMR is safe. Get over it.

Being the father of a young child, this article in today’s Oz had me walking around the office, spluttering in rage and wanting to punch hippies.

The Oz states

Increasing numbers of upper-middle-class parents are opting out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine because of fears over a link to autism.

Although the link remains unproved, autism cases are continuing to rise - the rate in the US is about one in every 150 eight-year-old children
.

I’d actually quibble with the paper’s slant on this slightly; rather than “the link remaining unproven”, it would be more accurate to say “there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism” but that’s a small matter.

It’s not as though The Boy is at any risk, he’s had his MMR shots with no adverse affect. I’m angry because this approach is based on quack science that can put the lives of children at risk – at risk from a virus that can prevented with a proven, safe and simple series of injections, offered free at any Maternal and Child Health centre across Victoria.

You may say “Ramon, you grumpy old Marxist, surely parents should have the final say about the medical treatment their child receives”.

The answer is, yes, well, up to a point.

The more children who are not immunised against the measles virus, the greater the chance that it could be passed onto a child who has not yet received the MMR vaccine.

These people not just putting their own children at risk, they’re putting at risk any child under six months they may come in contact with.

To repeat, there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism, as medical journalist and doctor Ben Goldacre noted as long ago as 2003.

If you want to bypass MMR, fine – be my guest.

But don’t come crying to me when your child dies or is crippled for life because of a decision you made.

53 comments:

Boogeyman said...

surely parents should have the final say about the medical treatment their child receives

I don't think they should, really. A parent is responsible for a child's survival and well-being, but then so is the state. At some point the state needs to step in and say, "Parent or not, you really can't make dangerous medical decisions that oppose professional consensus opinion."

In a similar vein, religious nutjobs that oppose blood transfusions shouldn't have the right to refuse one for their child.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm inclined to agree with you, Boogey.

Parents are fined if they don't strap their children securely in their car. Why not something similar for vaccinations?

Most child care centres and schools in Victoria will not enroll a child that doesn't have its complete course of jabs.

Loose Shunter said...

My missus could argue I am a bit 'autissimo', but I never received the MMR innoculation until my '30s. I'd managed to dodge that bullet until a work colleague (female) was exposed to the mumps and I thought it would be a good idea to, shall we say, 'preserve future options' by getting the MMR. I had to have the 'baby' jab because, apparently, there's no adult MMR innoculation.

Anyway, in my opinion, vaccination is non-negotiable. They should fine or punish the parents who fail to get their children's cards filled. Especially the New Age parents who believe vaccination is bad, or those crazy religious nutjobs (of any persuasion).

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

My missus could argue I am a bit 'autissimo'

But a very charming one, LS.

Sweatergirl said...

The state does provide a $300 financial incentive for child vaccination. Keeps the poor immunised at least. I was scared about the MMR jab because even though I've done the research and know that the original study is flawed and there IS no link, many parents of autistic children are adamant that their chiild changed straight after the vaccine.

We actually had a scary moment with Finn after the MMR where he was in his stroller completely still and unresponsive, just staring into space. I was standing outside Woolworths singing and dancing tying to get him to react. Little bugger was just scaring me.

Anyway, he is fine, hippies are dumb. I hope they find out what is behind autism spectrum disorders soon.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

many parents of autistic children are adamant that their chiild changed straight after the vaccine

That's an interesting cause and effect argument, SG (which I understand you are not making).

The first symptoms of autism usually appear around the same time of the second round of MMR jabs - from memory around three years old.

The Boy first developed an interest in Thomas the Tank Engine just after the second MMR jab.

On the basis of this, I could argue that MMR causes an interest in Thomas.

Although...

WitchOne said...

I must live under a rock!! Angel boy has had all his vaccinations but I don't think he's had MMR! For serious!! He got bloody chickenpox before I could him vaccinated against it (and I was going to pay out of pocket for that one too!) and from that ended up in hospital with cellulitus, had to break him out for his 1st birthday party! Bloody child care.

As for parents making decisions regarding vaccinations for their kids, I agree, they should be able to do so, as long as the decision is to always get them vaccinated. When was the last Aussie case of polio? Horrid disease, why would you subject your child to that? For that matter why not use all that medical science has to offer in order to make your child as safe and healthy as possible for life? Any parent opting not to do that is guilty of a serious crime and should be sterilised and their children removed from their care.

What $300 SG??

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

If you live in Victoria, Witchie, he would have had them.

It's all pretty standard.

So - no sign of the new Witchlet then?

WitchOne said...

That's ok then, I have this tendency to look into something, agree or not and then forget about it. Vaccinations were never negotiable and to be honest I never even asked my partner how he felt about them, he could be one of those psychos we all hate and I wouldn't know!

Nothing yet, the only thing I'm about to lose is my mind! Another big walk on the cards today, any ideas for me? Exercise, sex and spicy food don't work.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

How about sex with some spicy food and then a nice stroll afterwards?

WitchOne said...

Did that on the due date (that would be LAST Sunday!!) and got nothing but heartburn for my troubles.

On the flip side, I get to spend more time here with all of you!! :-)

OK, collective groans have been noted.

wari lasi said...

The 1 in 150 stat concerns me. It seems a lot. I wonder if that includes kids diagnosed with Asperger's? Because sometimes it can be a dodgy diagnosis apparently. Some kids are just plain difficult or come from crappy family backgrounds and get callled Asperger's sufferers.

This is all from the estranged Mrs L, who has some experience in this area.

And I think it should be compulsory. Kids up here are dying in droves for the want of free immunisations.

Commiserations witchone, remember the little blighter is gaining weight every day!

Boogeyman said...

WitchOne you need to hold back the birth until the new financial year in 3 weeks time.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Hold on for another three weeks, Boogey.

I'm sure she'll be delighted to hear that.

social disaster said...

For that matter why not use all that medical science has to offer in order to make your child as safe and healthy as possible for life? Any parent opting not to do that is guilty of a serious crime and should be sterilised and their children removed from their care.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't I read somewhere that you've been smoking throughout your pregnancy?

Boogeyman said...

I'm sure she'll be delighted to hear that.

Think of the baby bonus, man!

That extra $742 could mean an extra 10 inches on the plasma tv.

MrsK said...

I think the increase in autism has been associated with better diagnostic tools rather than environmental factors. I could be wrong though.

Surely someone who smoked during pregnancy is not lecturing others on whats good for their children??

Sweatergirl said...

OK, the maternity immunisation allowance is only $236. The MMR shot is the standard one at 12 months. Then chicken pox at 18 months.

INH, I thought they moved the first shot from 2yrs to 1 as 2yrs was when ASD signs started to manifest.

Wari I think 1 in 150 is for all ASD cases(Autism Spectrum Disorder) including Aspergers. Sure they may over-diagnose but I think that's a good thing if they can get early intervention and help with communication problems or whatever the issue is.

I don't know why non-immunisers won't trust the medical field but will trust dubious internet sites for their information.

WitchOne said...

Smoking is just as addictive as heroin, are you saying maybe I should have changed drugs?

Are you all saying you didn't touch anything you weren't supposed to while pregnant? Didn't sneak a soft serve ice cream or a tinsy bit of blue cheese or a sip of wine? We all have our vices, smoking is not a great one however it is an addiction, it is also blown out of proportion in terms of safety reports etc. The EPA report which is the one the government quotes most in relation to passive smoking etc has been edited until it no longer resembles the original, which was dodgy anyway.

Vaccinations are a preventative for some life threatening/physically disfiguring illnesses. It's a little like comparing apples to Fords don't you think?

WitchOne said...

The baby bonus is not that attractive that I'm willing to cross my legs any longer Boogey. Besides, I'm one of those ridiculous parents who won't be spending it on themselves, sadly, the kids benefit.

grumble, whinge, wine and moan.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

INH, I thought they moved the first shot from 2yrs to 1 as 2yrs was when ASD signs started to manifest.

You're quite right, SG.

MrsK said...

I certainly wasn't comparing smoking to not vaccinating or suggesting you take up heroin while pregnant. Those were both wild assumptions that you made on your own.

I was merely pointing out the irony in a pregnant smoker claiming to know whats best for babies.

You can rationalise your smoking all you like but it doesn't discount the fact that you are seriously compromising your unborn childs life by smoking while pregnant.

social disaster said...

Vaccinations are a preventative for some life threatening/physically disfiguring illnesses. It's a little like comparing apples to Fords don't you think?

Not really. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to some life threatening/physically disfiguring illnesses, so by not smoking you're helping to prevent them. You put your child at risk by smoking just as you put your child at risk if you do not get them vaccinated.

As for the rest of your post, it's quite ridiculous.

WitchOne said...

Oh please Mrs K, smokers are not stupid or thoughtless people, we are addicted to a chemical. This chemical has allowed many healthy children to be born, far more healthy children than sick ones. In terms of statistics, smoking would be the lesser evil over not vaccinating.

I do believe they used to allow smoking in the hospital in the maternity ward did they not? Does this mean that the majority of people over 30 have severe and ongoing health issues?

Think about it, please.

WitchOne said...

Why is it SD? Listeria causes some pretty awful things and this is why we stay away from processed meats, soft serve and mouldy food (even controlled mould is bad).

Toxoplasmosis is another bad one, this is why we don't change the cat litter without washing up afterwards.

There are many factors and risks in pregnancy, smoking is not *as* terrible as some others.

What are the life threatening/physically disfiguring illnesses I have exposed the child to? Asthma? What else?

wari lasi said...

Smoke away witchone. You sound quite well adjusted to me. It took me twenty years to quit and sanctimonious fuckwits preaching to you won't help anything. Quality parenting is a complex issue that goes well beyond the gestation period. I know a shit load of neurotic never-smokers (like some of the hippy turds we're discussing here) who are apalling parents.

Glad I got that off my chest.

And SG, I sort of agree except Mrs L deals with some of these kids who've been prescribed drugs to deal with their "problem" and she says they tend to neuter them intellectually. She has special needs kids who she reckons have been drugged into better behaviour but at the expense of their cognitive skills. I really don't know, it tends to then extend into the ADHD domain and kids being prescribed amphetamines as a salve to poor parents' consciences.

Loose Shunter said...

Let's face it, if we're talking about a drug that really harms unborn babies and newborns, it's alcohol. That'll fuck kids up in a way that smoking just can't do, as this story in today's SMH shows.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Maybe you should hitch up with Perseus, Witchie.

He's a tobacco fiend as well.

I'm stearing clear of any other part of this discussion re smoking.

social disaster said...

Look I'm not here to tell anyone how to be a parent, I'm not one so I wouldn't know the first thing about it. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of Witchone saying that parents should be steralised and their children removed from their care for putting their child's life at risk when she is doing something quite similar. I thought her comments were quite stupid and over the top considering her beliefs on smoking during pregnancy.

MrsK said...

Again, rationalise it all you like.

I know how hard it is to give up smoking, I'm a smoker too but I never smoked while I was pregnant. I gave up for 5 years, took it up again for 2 years, gave up for another 3 and am now smoking again. I well know the addiction.

And listen to Wari's advice, smoke all you want.....just don't believe you have the right to judge other women's choices in pregnancy and birth. Women who judge other women piss me off.

wari lasi said...

Alas I must run away to a sponsored State of Origin function at the Crowne Plaza. I look forward to the remains of the ensuing fracas tomorrow morning.

And David Bowie once said that giving up heroin was easy compared to giving up smoking.

Witchone, they say one of the main side effects of smoking during pregnancy is low birthweight. I somehow don't think you're going to fall into that category.

MrsK said...

Not only low birth weight..

Increased risk of SIDS.

Low birth weight increase the susceptibility to infections.

Increases the risk of complications during birth.

Increases the risk of cancer in children.

Sweatergirl said...

I know it is extremely hard to give up smoking, even if pregnant, but the risks are real, and in my mind, quite harmful. If you can't quit (and many GP say not to give up cold turkey) at least try to cut down significantly.

I don't think there is any way to rationalise other than admitting you have a strong addiction.

Boogeyman said...

That smoking is quite some addiction.

Not only does it bind the body, but it convinces otherwise intelligent, rational minds to voluntarily pull the wool over their own eyes.

I can't talk though - I'm still trying to get off freebased Farex from the kids' younger years.

WitchOne said...

In terms of smoking while pregnant and the medical factor, I won't go there with any of you as it's none of your damn business but who says I haven't cut down? That's not my argument here.

Mrs K, you aren't addicted to smoking, stop the crap right there. An addiction is something you canNOT give up, no matter what you do or how hard you try, I have spent as much on stopping smoking over the years as I have on actually smoking.

Let me make one point very clear to everyone, vaccinations and smoking while pregnant are 2 very different things. Not only not in the same ballpark but the ballparks in question are not even on the same continent.

SG, your point was clear, in YOUR mind the risks are "quite harmful". Did I forget to stand up with my hand on my heart and admit my addiction? Sorry, I thought it was obvious, I haven't met anyone in a long time who smokes by free will alone.

Thanks Mrs K, SIDS has no known cause.

Low birth weight can also be due to environmental, genetics and other factors.

Kids can and do get cancer just like adults, you will find the majority of cancer sufferers do not fit the "mould". ie smokers themselves, petrol sniffers etc.

Birth is hard, complicated by the fact that you are expelling an entire person from a small space.

Risk of infection is at its' highest in hospital where all the sick people are, that is why you get out of there as soon as you can.

In short, smoking while pregnant may or may not cause bad things to happen.

Not vaccinating your kids and placing them at high risk (based on historical fact, not fantasy or created "reports") of diseases like polio means my stance is unchanged. Not one of you has been able to come up with similar medical issues caused by the mother smoking while pregnant that is as hard hitting as seeing a little kid in metal braces, crippled for life because of a preventable disease.

Sweatergirl said...

Well, being dead is worse than crippled. And recent research has shown than nine out of 10 mothers who lost their baby to SIDS had smoked during pregnancy.

That does NOT mean that if you smoke your baby will die of SIDS. the risk is stil very, very small and there are other factors like bedding, sleeping position etc.

I wasn't trying to pick on you Witchone, so I tried to make my previous comment as neutral as possible. I don't know if you've cut down adn I'm sure you'd rather not smoking.

The point still stands that it is better to not smoke at all and immunise! I am just shocked that anyone would bother defending smoking when pregnant. None of us are perfect, just admit that you're addicted and it's too hard to quit.

MrsK said...

Its amazing how you've managed to convince yourself that you're not doing any damage to your unborn child. Truly amazing.

Most of what you've written is absolute rubbish, I'll put it down to pregnancy brain. A couple of points though...
1.I am addicted to nicotine. Just because I've managed to give up when I've been pregnant does not mean my addiction is any different than yours, it means I have more willpower than you.

2.I didn't claim that smoking is the cause of SIDS, I said that babies of mothers who smoked while pregnant were at INCREASED RISK of SIDS. There are other risk factors also, doesn't mean they are the cause.


Do some research into the effects of smoking on the unborn, talk to your doctor, educate yourself. There are plenty of studies out there that indicate its very harmful to unborn children. Feet and hand deformities, cancer, increased risk of stroke and heart attack...the list goes on.

Anyway, I'm not here to judge you. You live with your own choices, just make sure they are informed choices. And don't pass judgement on others.

Perseus said...

Mmm. Cigarettes.

I always said I'd quit if I had kids, because I firmly believe the reason I smoke is because my parents did. It was 'normal' in our household.

So I'll quit if I have a kid, though you need to have sex to have a kid, which rules me out for the moment.

Boogeyman said...

So I'll quit if I have a kid, though you need to have sex to have a kid, which rules me out for the moment.

And not to mention that thousands of little perseuses are probably just lying around ashen-faced, unable to swim the requisite 10cm without gasping for breath.

WitchOne said...

Either of you medically trained? Either of you on my personal medical team?

Then clearly you haven't the knowledge of my medical history nor the expertise to advise me. Or any other pregnant woman for that matter.

As for defending or justifying, I don't believe I was doing that at all, I was simply pointing out another view, one tempered with a little more tolerance than you possess.

homesick said...

Over nine years ago when my first daughter was born in London there was huge debate regarding the MMR.

The big question was why combine all three. Surely a two year old's immune system is going to have hard time taking on three viruses (make it 4 if you add polio) all at once.

I opted for the single vaccines so she would be vaccinated but not in a 'all in one' jab. When it came to her booster the paed took blood to check the levels of vaccine that were still in her body. It proved she did NOT need a booster at all.

The big thing that really pissed me off during all this was how the British government took away the single dose option by making it illegal to import the vaccine seperately (it came from Holland) and insisting upon all children not only be given the MMR but also the booster.

Don't treat children like cattle. They are individuals with different needs. By all means get them immunised but give the parent the right to choose how its done.

And as for judging a parent on his or her choices when it come to their own kids....the pathetic few who do are usually the ones who should look at their own parenting decisions.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Homesick, most medical authorities think spacing the vaccinations is dangerous because it leaves the child vulnerable to catching one of the diseases in the meantime.

billyjoe noodle-bob said...

wow. if there was anything that could push the whole outing fiasco off the front page, this was it.

i think that, as parents, we all make decisions every day that other parents won't agree with. that, in the best case scenario, we make those decisions based on advice from qualified professionals, with the best interests of our child at heart.

ultimately, though (and let it be said that i'm not jumping onto the 'let's eschew medical science in favour of smearing freshly slaughtered goat entrails on the child's noggin' bandwagon), they are our children, and it's our decision.

who hasn't had the discussion with one of their own older relatives about "yes, well i understand that that's your view, but we're doing things this way, and that's our decision"?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

they are our children, and it's our decision.

In my opinion, no it's not, Bill.

We don't have an option about whether we strap children into the car safely.

We don't have an option about sending our children out to work at seven.

We don't have an option about belting them with a brick.

And as I say, people who refuse to immunise aren't just putting their children at risk - they're putting everybody's children at risk.

billyjoe noodle-bob said...

oh hangon ramon i think i have been taken out of context (lol). i certainly wasn't referring to taking things as far as "no we're not immunising / we're practicing faith healing / we're jumping into a cave and being picked up by aliens".

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Fair enough.

homesick said...

We don't have an option about whether we strap children into the car safely.

We don't have an option about sending our children out to work at seven.

We don't have an option about belting them with a brick.



That all very true Ramon but "these precautions are put in place for the bogan/uneducated morons that are allowed to procreate" (quote from my health visitor in London).

Mass immunisation programs such as the MMR and then the booster, exist to ensure all are vaccinated regardless if their parents couldn't be arsed forking out precious drinking money to protect their offspring. For the same reason certain child protection laws are enforced.

"What, ya mean I don't have to buy a carseat/vaccinations for Chantelle?.. well fuck it then lets get a slab and a carton of Winny blues instead"

Why should my kids be part of a mass immunisation program if I am prepared to pay over the odds for the single jabs. Out of curiosity do they offer the single jabs in Australia?

Homesick, most medical authorities think spacing the vaccinations is dangerous because it leaves the child vulnerable to catching one of the diseases in the meantime.

That was what the Blair govt said back in 2000 and yet why then are theyn not at risk before the required age?? I checked my red books (infant medical log) and her jabs were only 6 months apart as recommended by a Harley St paediatrication.

Again it is interesting to note that I have never questioned anyone elses decsions whe it came to MMR or childbirth choice (FTR I went for the elective caesar) but an army of people have openly berated me for mine.

Boogeyman said...

Fair enough homesick, provided your kids all have the right jabs by the right age.

Presumably the wisdom of an all-in-one like MMR is that it is delivered as early as possible when the child's immune system can handle it.

And they do say not to immunise when your kid has just caught a cold/flu/lupus/BSE, but wait until they recover.

Fad MD said...

We don't have an option about sending our children out to work at seven.

Tell me about it. With the rising living costs the Fadlets will be out working even earlier when we return to Australia.

Sweatergirl said...

Tolerance witchone? You're the one who said "Any parent opting not to do that is guilty of a serious crime and should be sterilised and their children removed from their care."

I think it's time to consult the dictionary.

WitchOne said...

SG, debate over, all people are different and working on medical advice which IS tailored to me, I made my decision. I am not actively killing the baby and it's idiots like yourself who berate people like me that give "tolerance" a bad name.

Not vaccinating, as has been said before, endangers all children, not just one. Would you love to be the parent who thought it was a great idea to see yours (and the neighbours) kids get some horrific disease that could have been prevented?

Thought not.

Sweatergirl said...

It's extremely unlikely that even if unvacinated that an Australian child would die of a communicable disease. But it cold still happen.

On the other hand, it IS likley that you are doing some - possibly minor- damange to your unborn child through smoking.

Why are you even comparing the two? And I'm hardly berating you. You're the one calling me names. Go take a lie down.

Desci said...

Witchone, you're debating against common fucking sense here. It's literally You V Medical Science. Just go home. You lose.

Having said that, I couldn't give a flying fuck whether your kids live or die, are healthy or not (nothing quite personal, I say that about most anonymous children) so puff away.