Tag Archives: vaccines

Flu Vaccine Linked to Early Miscarriages

Experts are stunned and puzzled over a study that may link the flu vaccine to early miscarriages.

Getting your regular flu vaccine – Photo from Healthline

The study paid for by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention did not find a conclusive result in the study but did link 17 women who had miscarriages with a vaccine. It’s too early to say that the vaccine is the culprit but it’s a troubling signal that they will follow up on.

In the meanwhile, pregnant women are urged to get their annual flu shot because they and their unborn babies are at a higher risk of getting the flu. That statement has been studied and proven with the study of tens of thousands of women.

“We don’t want people to panic over this headline,” states Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She ended with, “Get your flu shot. It’s safe.”

This is a very tricky situation the medical community has gotten into as anti-vaccine communities may be reinvigorated. Their support is still very small as they believe the government, researchers, and even journalists are colluding to cover up the “dangers” of vaccines. The proof of one small study can elevate one of these groups. Senior Advisor for Vaccines at the CDC, Dr. Amanda Cohn, says the open release of the information shows there is no cover-up and proves that public health agencies are watching out for the safety of vaccines and humans.

The news of this may make you think about changing your mind on getting a flu shot this year. No blame here; there is a good reason why. However, it is advised that you get your shot. Besides, would you want to be laid up in bed all day, spending hundreds of dollars on medicine to help you or get a vaccine and call it a day?


Get a flu shot and beat the second Radford Plague

Ah, dorm life. The first couple weeks of Freshman year are debatably the most hypersocial time of your college career. You may binge on your newfound freedom and spend every waking moment with your new group of friends or partying until you can’t remember them. Or you might have been the type that stayed inside all day, despite several knocks on the door by the RA to leave your door open to socialize. Either way, you’re heavily encouraged to get out there and meet new people.

Then someone in your group of friends gets sick, but they don’t want to miss a moment of hanging out, so they decided to socialize anyway. Next thing you know, everyone in your group is sick, and everyone brings that sickness back to their roommates, and they, in turn, make their friends sick. So begins the annual event known as the Radford Plague.

getting a shot
“Then someone in your group of friends gets sick, but they don’t want to miss a moment of hanging out, so they decided to hang out anyway. Next thing you know, everyone in your group is sick, and everyone brings that sickness back to their roommates, and they, in turn, make their friends sick.”

You’re almost never alone in a dorm. You may wash your hands on the hour, or take a cocktail of immune boosters to keep you healthy, but your roommate might not be, and that makes you just as vulnerable.

With flu season coming up, you can protect yourself from the second Radford Plague by getting vaccinated and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Flu shots are the subject of some controversy, with critics questioning its effectiveness, as well as any number of government conspiracy theories to control the population. Such absurdities won’t be gratified here, but it’s important to understand how the vaccine works before judging whether it’s right for you.

When you get vaccinated, you’re injected with dead influenza particles, which your body then learns to make antibodies to protect against. So when you actually do come in contact with the virus, you’re already prepared to beat it. The reason some may not find it effective is because the CDC provides a flu shot for what it believes will be the most common strain of the flu, but this may not be the strain you contract. As such, the flu vaccine can never be 100% effective.

For those afraid of needles, the flu vaccine is also available in nasal spray form. Initial studies also seem to suggest that this form may actually be more effective than the shots.

Remember also that getting vaccinated is not only about protecting yourself. There is a small population that cannot be vaccinated. The elderly, and those with HIV and AIDS can have immune problems that prevent them from creating the antibodies to fight disease. Imagine being the one who brings a common cold to your group of friends and then finding out that a friend was immunocompromised and you inadvertently put them in the hospital. You have a responsibility to keep those around you safe, and you can do so by getting vaccinated.

This flu season, take care of yourself and your friends.

Should non-vaccinated children be barred from pediatricians?

The anti-vaxxer movement has gained a lot of attention in recent years. Many parents think that vaccines are related to autism. This idea may’ve taken root when Jenny McCarthy came forward and announced that she believed her child developed autism because they were vaccinated.

This fear inspired many medical studies. Although no studies show a link, there isn’t absolute proof that autism can’t be caused by vaccinations. However, with the many studies that show no link to vaccines and autism, I think it’s safe to assume that link doesn’t exist.

An infant with measles. Graphic from Janie Maitland
An infant with measles. Graphic from Janie Maitland

Many parents cry that it’s their choice to vaccinate their child or not. Just as many parents don’t like others interfering with the way they raise their child, many parents also aren’t comfortable with someone telling them how to care for their child. Although I’d be annoyed if someone told me how to raise my child, I’m not a doctor. I don’t have a medical degree, but I do look at the latest research–which tells me that there are more benefits to vaccines than there are dangers.

Recently, a measles outbreak occurred at DisneyLand in California. The source was a child who hadn’t received the measles vaccine, due to a parent’s concerns that the vaccine would have adverse effects. Because of this outbreak, many parents who had once fought against the standard vaccination schedule changed their mind and rushed to have their children caught up on vaccines.

A recent segment by NPR addressed an idea brought about by concerned, vaccinating parents: pediatricians should bar parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Many may argue that this would keep children from receiving other medical care. However, Dr. Bob Sears’ office had a great idea: give parents who choose not to vaccinate a date to start having their child caught up on vaccines. This would pressure parents to vaccinate their child immediately, or risk losing treatment for other illnesses.

Some argue that this is infringing on parents’ right to choose care for their child. I believe that parents who believe that measles, meningitis or chicken pox are lesser threats than autism, shouldn’t be parents at all. I’m not a parent, but if I ever became a parent, I would be furious if my baby were infected with a deadly disease by a child who could’ve been vaccinated. Just as some parents are charged with child abuse for faith healing,parents who choose not to vaccinate against deadly diseases should be charged with murder if their child happens to die of a disease that could’ve been prevented by vaccination.

Even if there was a link between vaccination and autism, I would much rather care for a child with autism than have to bury my child. I simply can’t imagine being a parent and not doing everything possible to protect my child.

Overall, I think barring parents who choose not to vaccinate is a very smart idea. I think there has to be an extreme level of inanity to choose otherwise. Science has brought us so far and given us the wonderful gift of health against preventable diseases. Who wouldn’t take the risk, especially when the risk is virtually non-existent?

Monkeying around with Ebola

How likely are you to survive an Ebola infection? Not very likely, with mortality rates as high as 90 percent for certain strains of the virus.

There are no approved treatments or vaccines for the virus, but a new discovery allows scientists to predict whether a patient will react well to a vaccine currently in development. Continue reading Monkeying around with Ebola