Friday, October 30, 2009

Paul Offit is My Hero

Well, it's been almost a month since I blogged about Fall and two things that, for me, go with it: sweaters and the flu vaccine. (Read 'Tis the Season.) Despite what I thought was a harmless virtual "wink" to all the anti-vaccination folks out there, I unwittingly opened up some uncomfortable dialogue among family, friends, and myself.

It wasn't terrible, really, but I've found myself getting increasingly irritated over recent news of the swine flu vaccine, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy's talking points on Larry King Live, and conversations with friends who disagree with my pro-vaccination beliefs. The thing that gets me the most is that a lot of people who don't want to vaccinate themselves or their children somehow think that because I would, I must not have done my research, like they have.

My roommate is an epidemiologist at the CDC, and she specializes in pandemic flu. We've had many a discussion on vaccines and the history of the anti-vaccination movement, and she's reminded me of a lot of biological facts I learned in college biology classes but somehow forgot over the years. Listening to her explain what she studies day in and day out is so fun for me -- but more than that, it makes me want to tell everyone what I know and believe about science.

So although I had initially decided against posting something about vaccines on my blog, I decided this afternoon that I would do it, anyway. It's my blog, afterall.

I won't tell you that you need to support vaccines, too. I won't tell you that I think you're an idiot if you don't support vaccines. (Because I don't think you are.) And I won't go on and on about why I think the way I do.

Instead I'll let Paul Offit do that. He's the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, and he is featured in this month's Wired magazine. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments on all things vaccines. Also, Amy Wallace, the author of the article, is superb. Really, I can't stress how much I enjoyed reading this article.

The article is lengthy but, for me, riveting.
Read An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All.

Thing I'm thankful for: party Fridays and Halloween Saturdays!


Blogger Melissa said...

Sweet Sara...In general I am more of a "natural" sort of person but thanks to my micro and zoology training I take my vaccines seriously. My 3 year old and I got the H1N1 today and the others will get it as soon as there is enough for everyone that isn't high risk. A lot of people think that since these diseases are rare they don't need vaccines but the MMR, whooping cough, etc are only rare because of vaccines. They are starting to come back with force because people have stopped vaccinating their children. There is some really interesting church history about this and the small pox vaccine. A lot of early members refused it because their "body is a temple" and eventually leadersthip had to tell people to get the vaccine. There was a general authority that was told specifically to get the vaccine for him and his family before he left for Mexico. He refused and all 11 of them died of small pox...FYI. Sorry this is long...

8:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a great link! I will take it! thanks! I have had one too many stupid conversations with people who aren't vaccinating their children... and then when I say something like "what, you think you're better than me or something" (trying to be funny) They say something like "I just think it's the right choice for MY family, I think you can do whatever you want"... uhhuh... sure. Visiting from a couple blogs... Sara spelled without an H, is one.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Will and Natalie Giddens said...

Hey Sara,
We met at Cecilia's shower and I thought you were just awesome. I found your blog and couldn't resist commenting on this post. I loved it! I read the article in Wired and loved it too. I feel really strongly about vaccinating. My kids are and I think parents that don't are either irresponsible or relying on everyone else to do so in order to prevent the spread of diseases which, until recently, were pretty much a non-factor here in the US. I could never justify that kind of logic with regards to my kids.

The article in Wired was great. I love how some people's biggest problem with Offit is that he made quite a bit of money off his invention. I think that's bunk. Who cares if a side effect of years of hard work, effort and schooling, not to mention trial and error, resulted in him doing well for himself and his family? Like he said, it was a result of his research, not the main motivation.

I've rambled on to long and sadly, have no real point. I simply wanted to say I appreciated the post and the fact that it got me thinking. While being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful blessing and one that I wouldn't trade for anything, I do miss ample opportunities to think and debate, so thank you! :-)

12:53 PM  
Blogger bh said...

i read that article at work the day before you posted this! of course, i totally agree. anti-vaccinators frustrate me more than almost any other people on the earth. i'm glad we agree on them.

5:18 PM  
Blogger michele said...

Sara, thanks for posting the link to that article. John F. Kennedy gave a speech at Georgia State last year and John went, and after the speech walked up to him and told him that he disagreed with him about vaccinations! It's a long story, but I bet John will tell you if you ask.

4:38 PM  
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