The "Greatest Story Never Told" is Now Revealed
Sep 19, 2012
It’s hard to deny that some people are easily influenced by anecdotal evidence. This may be why some people fall victim to the enormous amounts of misinformation that exists on anti-vaccination websites. And why stories of alleged vaccine damage are so effective at scaring parents into making decisions to not vaccinate their children.
Vaccine critics would like you to believe that there are countless cases of serious injuries and long-term health problems that result because of vaccines. In a nutshell, they want you to doubt the safety of vaccines, despite the overwhelming evidence that has been examined and published for all to see. Heck, they’ll even post a link to a YouTube video to prove it.
On occasion this has made me stop to think. If there are so many people being damaged by vaccines – as they claim there are – why is it that “in real life” where I have come to know literally thousands of people, I have never met a single person who has suffered from a serious vaccine injury? Sore arm? Yes. Serious or permanent injury? No!
- Is it just that I’ve been unusually lucky? (Naw, I’m pretty sure that luck doesn’t have much to do with it. )
- Could it be that I’ve never lived where vaccine injuries have occurred? (Not likely. I’ve lived in a dozen different places in my life and if injury happen as often as we’re led to believe, then I would have expected to hear about it somewhere along the way.)
- Is it because immunizations are not likely to come up in casual conversation? (Doubt it. As a Shot@Life champion vaccines do come up in my casual conversations quite a bit, that’s why I consider myself an advocate.)
Now I’m not suggesting that no one has ever suffered side effects from vaccines. There are certainly times when there have been verifiable evidence of side effects that range from minor to more severe. But severe side effects are extremely rare and a great deal of time and effort go into establishing vaccine safety. Unfortunately, some people do not consider this when they fall victim to the hyped up stories that suggest an abundance of vaccine injuries.
People really need to stop and think. How do they imagine the safety data is determined for inclusion on the Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS)? Do people think it’s just a random guess?
No. Measurable scientific data exists as a result of methodical testing, extensive evaluations and specific documentation. That data is then shared with the public through the required Vaccine Information Sheet which provides details of the documented risks of the vaccine. However, we can’t stop there. In order for people to be able to thoroughly evaluate their choice as to whether it is best to vaccinate or not, they also need to be aware of the risks associated with the disease that the vaccine is intended to prevent.
That is precisely why vaccine advocates share their own stories. Stories of the unfortunate children who have suffered or died from vaccine preventable diseases. While the anti-vaccine crowd argues that these stories are irrelevant, their value is in reminding people of the dangers of the various diseases that will become more prevalent if we choose not to vaccinate.
As we go out and encourage others to protect our community immunity, there is something that we must all remember. Immunizations are happening all the time. And the reason we don’t hear about it is because, as one “Humble Mom” so eloquently explains in her recent Moms Who Vax blog post, it’s a non-story.
When my son was two days old, he received his first hepatitis B shot. Nothing happened.
When my son was one month old, he received a second hepatitis B shot. Nothing happened.
When he was two months old, he received the rotavirus vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine, and Pentacel, a shot that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, haemophilus
influenzae b, and polio. Nothing happened, and nothing happened at four months when he received another dose of each.
It’s well documented that an overwhelming majority of children are getting vaccinated as recommended. And “nothing” is happening. Nothing bad that is.
But as this “Humble Mom” explains, the truth is that plenty is happening.
Earlier I said “nothing happened” but that just isn’t true. Behind the scenes, my son’s body was mounting antibodies to the antigens in the vaccines, a response that, should he
ever be exposed to the actual disease, will help protect him.
I absolutely loved this Moms Who Vax post because it reminds us of the obvious. When we are bombarded by sensational stories that only wish to portray vaccines as evil and dangerous, we must remember that vaccinations are given to nearly every child. And nothing out of the ordinary happens. Vaccines are safe. Vaccines work. END OF (non) STORY.
This guest post was written by Alethea Mshar out of concern for her son Ben. A version of this post originally appeared on her blog Ben’s Writing, Running Mom. Like all parents, my child’s health...
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