Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Flu Shots and Statistics

People that claim vaccinations are dangerous present two assertions.

First, that the mercury contained in flu shots is too harmful for the vaccination benefit. This claim is suspect because it is based upon the questionable work of one man and a substantial amount of research contradicts it. It also neglects the communal aspect of vaccination: by reducing the incidence among the general population the elderly (whose immune systems are often too weak to create a proper antibody response to the flu shot) receive important second-hand protection.

Second, that there are a number of stories of children showing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder shortly after vaccinations. This claim also lacks support. People worry about ethyl mercury because of lies that it quickly collects in the brain. An observation about the low rate of of autism spectrum disorder among some non-vaccinated Amish neglects the growing evidence that watching television before the age of two is linked to autism spectrum disorder.

One commenter at an above link wrote:
My son developed PDD-NOS symptoms at 18-mos., a day after his 18-month shot series. Went from talking (”Hi Dada”) to not talking, no eye contact, etc. etc.
His account is crushing and touching, but the statistics show it must be either a more complicated situation than "the vaccines caused it" or mere coincidence.

If you have a family history of problems with vaccinations then avoiding them may be safer route. Otherwise what has been proven safest is to wash your hands, get your shots, and turn off the television.

UPDATE: Tangentially related to the flu shot issue, apparently the MMR vaccine scare was faked.

UPDATE: My information in Fall 2009 about H1N1 is here.

UPDATE: Well, the day after Smiley's 18-month immunizations he showed a big jump in using specific babble-words to refer to specific objects. I might as well record our "testimonial evidence" that the shots made him smarter to balance out opposite "proofs" that flourish on the internet.

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