Stories about: Vaccines

Unencumbered by facts: what upsets me most about the anti-vaccine movement

Recently I watched a clip of Andrew Wakefield being interviewed on Good Morning America, and it gave me the chills.

Andrew Wakefield, if you haven’t heard of him, is the guy who pretty much singlehandedly scared thousands of parents away from the MMR vaccine with a study he published in the Lancet linking the vaccine with autism. The study has since been retracted, something journals almost never do, after it was discovered that data in it was falsified. Not only that, Wakefield lost his medical license.

But is he backing down? No way. On the contrary: he is suing the British Medical Journal (from Texas) for defamation. And he is still defending his findings. 

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Leaving health to luck?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Avoiding the chickenpox vaccine has been in the news recently, with the story of a company offering lollipops licked by kids with chickenpox as a way to give your child the illness. Some parents, apparently, would rather use those lollipops, or take their child to a chickenpox party to play with infected kids, than give their child the vaccine.

It got me thinking about my mother and her quest to give me chickenpox when I was a child.  She would have drawn the line at the lollipops (which is a ludicrous idea—not only is it incredibly unlikely to work, but who knows what other germs were in that kid’s mouth), but she would have taken me to the parties in a heartbeat. She did her own version: she took me to play with neighborhood kids when they got chickenpox.

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It's flu shot time, parents–know the facts

It’s flu shot time again.

Most of the time—and this makes me happy—parents are glad, even relieved, when I tell them that we have the flu shot and I’d like to give it to their child. But every year, there are some that aren’t so glad.

In fact, a study just released in the journal Pediatrics shows that of the 13% of parents who refuse or delay vaccines, it’s the flu shot that is most likely to worry them.

They get a particular look I’ve learned to recognize. It’s a skeptical, hesitant look. They pause for a moment, take a breath, and tell me they don’t want their child to have it.

I pause for a moment myself, take a breath, and ask them why.

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The end of summer means the start of flu season

Come on, folks, roll up your sleeves—and your kids’ sleeves, too. Summer’s officially over and it’s time for the flu shot.

Every year, I’m caught off guard by how many people don’t want to get a flu shot. There are lots of people who are happy to get them—anxious, even—but I’m always surprised by how much I end up being a flu shot salesman.

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