Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University ‘safe and induces an immune reaction’ | ITV News


The Covid-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford is safe and induces an immune reaction, findings of the first phases of the study suggest.

But researchers warned “there is still much work to be done” before the extent to which it would protect the population against coronavirus would be known.

Researchers say their tests have revealed that the jab could provide double protection against Covid-19.

It also induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system – provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination, and an antibody response within 28 days.

Source: Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University ‘safe and induces an immune reaction’ | ITV News

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits : The Conversation


The high cost of pharmaceuticals often means only the richest patients get lifesaving medicines. As coronavirus drugs emerge, it will require hard, creative work to ensure they’re available to all.

Source: Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits : The Conversation

Alzheimer’s disease: mounting evidence that herpes virus is a cause : The Conversation


More than 30m people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia. Unfortunately, there is no cure, only drugs to ease the symptoms. However, my latest review, suggests a way to treat the disease. I found the strongest evidence yet that the herpes virus is a cause of Alzheimer’s, suggesting that effective and safe antiviral drugs might be able to treat the disease. We might even be able to vaccinate our children against it.

The virus implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), is better known for causing cold sores. It infects most people in infancy and then remains dormant in the peripheral nervous system (the part of the nervous system that isn’t the brain and the spinal cord). Occasionally, if a person is stressed, the virus becomes activated and, in some people, it causes cold sores.

We discovered in 1991 that in many elderly people HSV1 is also present in the brain. And in 1997 we showed that it confers a strong risk of Alzheimer’s disease when present in the brain of people who have a specific gene known as APOE4.

The virus can become active in the brain, perhaps repeatedly, and this probably causes cumulative damage. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease is 12 times greater for APOE4 carriers who have HSV1 in the brain than for those with neither factor.

Later, we and others found that HSV1 infection of cell cultures causes beta-amyloid and abnormal tau proteins to accumulate. An accumulation of these proteins in the brain is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Source: Alzheimer’s disease: mounting evidence that herpes virus is a cause : The conversation

Alzheimer’s disease: mounting evidence that herpes virus is a cause : The Conversation


More than 30m people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia. Unfortunately, there is no cure, only drugs to ease the symptoms. However, my latest review, suggests a way to treat the disease. I found the strongest evidence yet that the herpes virus is a cause of Alzheimer’s, suggesting that effective and safe antiviral drugs might be able to treat the disease. We might even be able to vaccinate our children against it.

The virus implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), is better known for causing cold sores. It infects most people in infancy and then remains dormant in the peripheral nervous system (the part of the nervous system that isn’t the brain and the spinal cord). Occasionally, if a person is stressed, the virus becomes activated and, in some people, it causes cold sores.

We discovered in 1991 that in many elderly people HSV1 is also present in the brain. And in 1997 we showed that it confers a strong risk of Alzheimer’s disease when present in the brain of people who have a specific gene known as APOE4.

The virus can become active in the brain, perhaps repeatedly, and this probably causes cumulative damage. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease is 12 times greater for APOE4 carriers who have HSV1 in the brain than for those with neither factor.

Later, we and others found that HSV1 infection of cell cultures causes beta-amyloid and abnormal tau proteins to accumulate. An accumulation of these proteins in the brain is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Source: Alzheimer’s disease: mounting evidence that herpes virus is a cause : The Conversation

Measles Vaccine Reduces Death From Other Infections Too — By Preventing ‘Immune Amnesia’


Original post from Forbes

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Tara Haelle Tara Haelle  Contributor  I offer straight talk on science, medicine, health and vaccines.full bio →

If there were ever any doubt that measles is a dangerous disease, astudy published in the journal Science yesterday blows that misconception away by finally explaining how large-scale measles vaccination caused such a plummet in childhood deaths – even from infections that seemed unrelated to measles.

Aside from the risk of death and disability that measles itself poses, the disease has another sneaky trick that scientists suspected but had trouble showing: it gives the immune system amnesia. By making the immune system forget how to fight past infections, measles throws the doors wide open for all those illnesses to visit again now that the body can’t immediately remember how to defeat them.

The measles vaccine then, in addition to preventing measles, actually prevents dozens of other infections that otherwise might occur even after a person recovers from measles. And that means widespread measles vaccination protects a community not only from measles but from other diseases as well.

Scientists had already known that measles infections suppressed the immune system for several weeks to several months, just as cancer and some other diseases do. While the immune system is beaten down, opportunistic infections such as pneumonia or diarrhea can wreak havoc on a person’s body even after they’ve recovered from the measles itself.

But there were hints that measles did more than suppress the immune system for a couple months, hints that became especially apparent after widespread vaccination. As lead author Michael Mina, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University, and his colleagues explain in their paper, mass measles vaccination was wildly successful in reducing deaths – perhaps suspiciously successful since the drop in deaths that correlated with the vaccine’s introduction included those from non-measles infections. While advances in medical treatment and hygiene might appear to play some role in this drop, the correlation between non-measles infectious disease deaths and the vaccine’s introduction was too strong to ignore.

“They were trying to figure out just how and why measles vaccination had such long-lasting benefits and protection beyond simply preventing an active measles infection – how did it protect kids from other infectious diseases as well?” explained Tara C. Smith, an infectious disease researcher at Kent State University.

So they developed mathematical models to more closely examine deaths from non-measles infections before and after the introduction of the measles vaccine in four high-income countries: the U.S., England, Wales and Denmark. “They found that when measles infections were reduced, that led to a decrease in deaths from other infectious diseases as well – for up to three years,” Smith said. “They concluded that this was due to an effect of the measles virus itself, which they suggest causes the body to, in essence, ‘forget’ some of the immunity it has developed against other diseases.”

A doctor’s assistant applies a band-aid after vaccinating 11-month-old Tijana against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
A doctor’s assistant applies a band-aid after vaccinating 11-month-old Tijana against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Other recent research had already tested the idea that this immune memory loss occurred after measles infections. Researchers created the same immunosuppressive conditions in macaque monkeys that a measles infection creates and found that the disease-fighting white blood cells basically forgot how to fight much of anything besides measles.

The researchers’ mathematical modeling was precise enough to calculate that the memory-wipe from measles infections lasts an average 27 months. Data showing infectious disease deaths occurring within a window of a few years after measles infections supported this finding as well.

“Studies like this are tough to do, but they purposely picked an outcome that was easily measurable – death – rather than something that would be more difficult to find in historical records, such as illnesses,” Smith said. “The three different countries and databases they chose all support the findings, even though measles vaccines were introduced in the UK and US in the 1960s but not until the 1980s for Denmark, so that rules out a simple worldwide trend that may have been occurring in the mid-century.”

Further, the researchers looked for similar patterns from pertussis and didn’t see the same effect.

“They have multiple controls that suggest this really is just an effect of the measles virus, and therefore prevented by the vaccine,” Smith said. “The data fit in with previous studies that have seen this effect (but they weren’t sure of the cause), and with others that looked specifically at immune responses following measles infections, so it looks fairly convincing.”

In a sense, then, you could think of the MMR as protecting against more than just measles, mumps and rubella. It protects against those three diseases as well as all the others that might have come along had a person not been protected from measles.

“Our results show that when measles was common, measles virus infections could have been implicated in as many as half of all childhood deaths from infectious disease,” the authors wrote. “The reduction of measles virus infections was the main factor in reducing overall childhood infectious disease mortality after the introduction of vaccination.” Further, because vaccination provided a population (herd) immunity against measles, that meant that, in effect, “measles vaccination might also be preserving herd protection against non-measles infections.”

Eliminating measles with the vaccine is a triple win: less measles, less death from other diseases in individuals and less infections overall within a highly vaccinated population.

Vaccine Injury Stories


Original post from About Health

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    Pediatrics Expert

Subsequence and Consequence

It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other men, to mistake subsequence for consequence. – Dr Samuel Johnson

Of course, parents make this mistake too. Just because one event is subsequent (happens after) another, it does not mean that it was a consequence (was caused by) the first event.

Another way to say this is that correlation does not imply causation. We often forget that sometimes things just coincidentally happen at about the same time.

While SIDS, early symptoms of autism, and other things may seem to correlate with getting vaccines, it has been proven (again and again and again) that they are not caused by vaccines.

Mistaking subsequence for consequence and thinking that correlation always implies causation is likely why we have so many vaccine injury stories.

But the real problem is that these vaccine injury stories are shared everywhere from YouTube and Facebook to parenting groups and forums and help to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

It is important to remember that no matter how moving or convincing these stories are, they are not evidence of a vaccine injury. And although in the minority, these stories far outnumber the stories of parents of kids who didn’t have a reaction after their vaccines. Parents rarely post pictures on Facebook or do YouTube videos after there kids go to the doctor, get vaccines, and are fine.

They also typically outnumber the stories of children who suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease, although again, that certainly doesn’t mean that vaccine injuries are more common.

Vaccine Injury Stories

In 1994, the first deaf Miss America was crowned, with her mother blaming the DPT vaccine for her child’s deafness. Like many other vaccine-injury stories, Heather Whitestone’s story wasn’t what it seemed. Her pediatrician quickly came forward and set the record straight – she was deaf because of a life-threatening case of Hib meningitis and the subsequent treatment with an ototoxic antibiotic. It took several days for the media to run the corrected story though.

Born in 1973, it would be another 15 years before the first Hib vaccine was approved and began to be routinely given to children. The DPT vaccine, which has never been shown to cause deafness, had nothing to do with Heather Whitestone’s loss of hearing. It certainly didn’t stop anti-vaccine groups from using her initial story and the media coverage to scare parents about vaccines though.

Twenty years later, a mother in Waukesha, Wisconsin blamed the Gardasil vaccine for causing her daughter’s death. The healthy 12-year-old died unexpectedly hours after getting her vaccine and her father’s vaccine injury story was that “It has to be that vaccine.”

It wasn’t until several months later that the Waukesha County medical examiner released the official cause of the girl’s death – diphenhydramine intoxication (too much Benadryl, a sedating antihistamine). The medical examiner also stated that “There is no evidence that any vaccination caused or contributed to her death.”

Keep in mind that very few vaccine injury stories are verified like this.

VAERS and NVICP

But don’t all of the reports to to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the payouts from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) support many of the vaccine injury stories?

They don’t, but even so, anti-vaccine folks like to mislead people about VAERS and theNVICP.

They also seem to be favorite talking points for Dr. Bob Sears, who often mentions the yearly reports to VAERS and amount of payouts from the Vaccine Court. He doesn’t mention that most cases in Vaccine Court are settled and not based on a court decision and many more cases are dismissed.

Folks like Dr. Bob also usually don’t mention that:

  • more than 10 million vaccines are given to infants each year in the United States
  • at least 2,236,678,735 doses of vaccines were given between 2006 and 2013 in the United States

It is also important to remember that when looking at VAERS reports, “for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

One study, “Causality assessment of adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” actually found that after experts reviewed 100 random VAERS reports from 2004, only 3 adverse events were thought to be definitely caused by a vaccine. And only one of these was a serious reaction – anaphylaxis.

These results were similar to an earlier report in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, which found that the majority of reports of severe vaccine reactions were unrelated to vaccination and that “to claim that all reported adverse events are caused by vaccination is misleading and erroneous, but the opponents of vaccination often still refuse to accept this.”

Another study, “Seizures, Encephalopathy, and Vaccines: Experience in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program,” found that “a significant number of children with alleged vaccine injury had pre-existing neurologic or neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Among those developing chronic epilepsy, many had clinical features suggesting genetically determined epilepsy.”

DPT Vaccine Injury Stories

Just before similar trials in the United States, a series of lawsuits in England were brought against the manufacturers of the DPT vaccines. They too claimed that the DPT vaccinehad caused children to develop seizures and brain damage.

The trails in England all found that the DPT vaccines did not cause vaccine injuries.

One trial involved 15-year-old Johnnie Kinnear, a child who supposedly began to develop seizures just seven hours after getting a dose of DPT vaccine when he was 14-months-old. His parents lost their case when it became clear after reviewing medical records that he had actually not developed seizures until 5 months after being vaccinated, despite his mother’s testimony of the onset of his symptoms.

In another case, in addition to ruling that the child had not been vaccine injured, the judge called into question several popular researchers and studies that had likely pushed parents into thinking that their kids were vaccine injured.

One study, by David Miller, which reportedly found that seven children developed brain damage within a week of getting a DPT vaccine, actually included two children who had never received the pertussis vaccine, three children who were not actually brain damaged, three children who had a viral infection, and one child who had Reye’s Syndrome.

Study after study found that the DPT did not cause brain damage and as for seizures, it was found that many children who began having seizures after being vaccinated actually had Dravet syndrome, a rare, genetic cause of encephalopathy that causes seizures that are hard to control and developmental delays.

David Miller’s DPT study is reminiscent of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent and now retracted study in which he claimed that the MMR vaccine caused autism. It wasn’t until after Wakefield’s study was published and well publicized that we began to hear more and more vaccine injury stories about autism.

Autism Vaccine Injury Stories

Although many people still seem to be unaware of this, in addition to the fact that there are unvaccinated children with autism, there are many parents who don’t blame vaccines for their child’s autism.

Michele Han, MD, a pediatrician in Texas says that “I do not believe vaccines had anything to do with my child’s autism. I never noticed any change in his speech, behavior or development with vaccines. I believe the protection and benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks!”

So why do some other parents claim that their kids were injured or damaged by vaccines, especially causing autism?

Most certainly are not like the Wakefield ‘MMR mother’ who was found to have fabricated her son’s vaccine injury story.

Instead, it is probably that they don’t notice the gradual changes in development that typically occur in children who develop autism.

Several studies have found that:

  • less than 20 percent of parents notice the gradual changes that occur in children who develop autism, including a loss of social skills in the first year
  • most children with autism who appear to have regression are found to have earlier developmental problems

But even though these aren’t new studies and we continue to see new research some parents continue to blame vaccines.

Why?

It is probable that “parents attempt to form their own explanations for the disorder in order to cope with the diagnosis,” and many began to blame vaccines because of “the public debate which has raged since Wakefield et al.’s (1998) initial report of a possible association.”

Other experts think that “the parental focus on vaccines as a possible cause of autism has been encouraged by the recent growth in popularity of ‘unorthodox biomedical’ theories and therapies in autism, particularly in the USA.”

Unfortunately, blaming vaccines can also:

  • adversely affect the parent’s relationship with their autistic child
  • adversely affect the parent’s acceptance of their child’s condition
  • cause feelings of guilt for having their kids vaccinated
  • adversely affect the parent’s relationship with their pediatrician, perhaps even pushing them to an alternative provider
  • leave these children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases
  • waste resources that must be used convincing parents that vaccines are safe and proving that quack treatments don’t work and aren’t safe

And tragically, blaming vaccines can lead to these children being subjected to unproven, and sometimes disproved, often dangerous, unnecessary, expensive biomed treatmentsin an attempt to cure their autism or ‘recover’ them – to beat autism.Related Articles

Vaccine Injuries

Vaccine injuries certainly can occur.

Allergic reactions, thrombocytopenic purpura with MMR, or vaccine-strain polio viral infection with OPV, etc., are rare, but well-known vaccine side effects.

Also, Guillain-Barré Syndrome in very rare circumstances is thought to be caused by vaccines.

In 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) and its associated vaccine injury tables.

In addition to vaccines and specific vaccine injuries or conditions, the vaccine injury tables include a time period after getting the vaccine during which the symptoms should have started to consider the vaccine as the cause. For example, if a child develops anaphylaxis 10 hours after getting a DTaP vaccine, then it is more likely to be caused by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich he eat and not the vaccine. If the symptoms started within 4 hours, then the vaccine would be a more likely cause.

Not surprisingly, many conditions aren’t included in the vaccine injury tables, as they have been shown to not be caused by vaccines, including:

These are not vaccine induced diseases.

True vaccine injuries should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Vaccine injury stories that describe one or more of these conditions should likely be met with more than a little skepticism.

Sources:

Collet, JP. Monitoring signals for vaccine safety: the assessment of individual adverse event reports by an expert advisory committee. Advisory Committee on Causality. Bull World Health Organ. 2000; 78(2): 178–185. Assessment.

Vaccines (Sixth Edition)

Lateef, Tarannum M. Seizures, Encephalopathy, and Vaccines: Experience in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 166, Issue 3, March 2015, Pages 576–581

Fitzpatrick, Michael. MMR: risk, choice, chance. Br Med Bull (2004) 69 (1): 143-153

Mercer L. Parental Perspectives on the Causes of an Autism Spectrum Disorder in their Children. Journal of Genetic Counseling. February 2006, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 41-50

Related Articles

 

Facts Are Your Friends — Vaccinate Your Children


Original post from HuffPost

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Kristen Bell Headshot      Mother, Actress

I didn’t think I was going to vaccinate my children. I’ve always been earthy, crunchy, whatever. Fair trade? Artisanal? Free range? I love it all. I care about what I put into my body, and when I got pregnant, I became acutely aware that my decisions affected someone else. Someone who I had a duty to protect.

I’m a fairly confident person, but I was filled with so much uncertainty when I became pregnant. I was thrust into a world of choices: home birth? Drug-free? Inducement? Caesarian? Eat my placenta? And when I shared my birth plan with other moms, I would often feel shame, like I wasn’t willing to go as far as others. Every conversation felt like a million little tests that questioned my motherhood. The consensus seemed to be that anything short of a drug-free home birth in water was child abuse. It was a lot of pressure, but ultimately I felt like having a human pass between my legs was stressful enough. I didn’t need the added trouble of something going wrong and screaming, “Why am I squatting on a silk pashmina surrounded by wind chimes; where are all the doctors!?”

The doubt and difficult decisions didn’t dissipate after the birth. The responsibility of keeping another human being alive was often overwhelming. Each little choice felt like it had the power to irrevocably shape her entire future. The weight of that often brought out strong, emotional responses to even the most benign decisions. The important decisions felt almost paralyzing. What if I messed up and chose wrong?

At first, I leaned toward keeping our kids vaccine-free. I thought the concern about vaccination made sense. There are countless reasons to distrust the pharmaceutical industry, and I didn’t want to put anything artificial or unnecessary in my child’s body. Least of all something questionable that protects from diseases that don’t even exist anywhere near us these days. Still, I felt a nagging responsibility to hear both sides of the argument (largely because I had my heart set on a “mother of the year” mug).

I decided facts were my friends. I couldn’t rely on word-of-mouth, friend-of-a-friend information. It was going to require actual research from vetted sources; I wanted the truth.

It wasn’t easy sifting through all the false and deceptive studies to find them, but now that I have, I feel compelled to share them with any of you who may be struggling with this tough choice.

First, tell me why I need a vaccine.

Vaccines train your immune system. They give it a chance to build up resistance to dangerous diseases, so that if you are ever exposed to the real thing, your body is able to fend it off.

Vaccines DO contain disease particles, which is not only gross — it’s scary. However, the disease particles are dead or severely weakened, which renders them unable to cause the original disease. Even very young children can easily handle them.

The immune system is far more effective when it knows how to identify and fight off what doesn’t belong. Vaccines are like a wanted poster hanging in the saloon. They train the bartender to spot the bad guys and kick them out.

Next, must you put chemicals into vaccines?

You may have heard that vaccines contain mercury. This was a major red flag for me. It turns out that ‘mercury’ is one of those buzzwords that frighten people (myself) without the right information, but shouldn’t in this case. It turns out it’s just a harmless preservative called thimerosal (which doesn’t sound very harmless, I agree), and it is included in very few vaccines still on the market. Thimerosal doesn’t contain the dangerous kind of mercury, and it’s only got a tiny amount that is easy for the body to process and dispose of. There’s less mercury in a vaccine than in a tuna sandwich.

But why are there preservatives in my vaccines at all?

Turns out they have a very good reason for showing up to this party: They’re the bouncers. Preservatives prevent harmful bacteria from growing in a vaccine dose. Thimerosal makes it possible for vaccines to be stored in multi-dose vials — as opposed to single-dose vials. This helps make sure vaccines can stay cost-effective and be provided to as many children as possible.

Still, I’m not into preservatives for my children, and I think a lot of parents feel the same way. I know I was pleased to hear that the United States had decided to remove thimerosal from almost all vaccines (with the exception of some flu vaccines) to reduce our fears as well as our children’s exposure. By 2001 very few vaccines in the U.S. contained thimerosal, and now you can ask for thimerosal-free versions of those that still do.

You may also have heard that there is formaldehyde in vaccines… Someone hand me another red flag and watch me wave it! But then I learned that even infants naturally produce formaldehyde. An infant naturally contains and safely processes 50-70 times more than the maximum amount they would receive from a single vaccine dose. I’m not going to be adding it to my smoothies any time soon, but that really put my fear of formaldehyde in perspective.

Are vaccines sufficiently tested before they’re administered?

The FDA is not doing a good enough job of protecting our food. Period. But theseparate piece of the FDA that handles vaccines is meticulous, and its results are incredibly comprehensive. This branch is called the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), and it conducts extensive evaluation of all vaccines both before they are approved and long after they are in circulation. It can take as long as 10 yearsor more for a vaccine to be approved for use.

What’s the deal with “herd immunity”?

I found the clearest explanation of herd immunity in a comic! Find it here, but essentially, epidemics are prevented when at least 80-90 percent of people are vaccinated. This means that the most important factor in promoting universal health is creating access to vaccination. Even those who are not vaccinated against a disease — because they are too young, or have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy, etc. — are protected, because there are so many individuals with resistance that the disease doesn’t spread very far. It takes a village, people. (Not the actual Village People, but like a village of people… anyway. Let’s continue.)

Do doctors have a financial incentive to administer vaccines? What about the pharmaceutical industry?

Could doctors be recommending vaccines because they’re so profitable? To make themselves more money? If that were true, believe me, I would be flipping cop cars in the streets with super-powered mom rage. But it’s quite the contrary. Many pediatricians don’t make money on vaccines at all. In fact, some have to refer patients elsewhere because the costs are too high.

But I don’t trust big pharma. Are they marketing vaccines like they’re marketing Viagra? Well, if it was more of a moneymaker for them, I’m sure they would. Turns out, the pharmaceutical industry makes peanuts on vaccines — they’re only between 2 and 3 percent of the global market. The bottom line is, drug companies make more money when we all stay sicker. Vaccination actually keeps people from needing more of their products.

Why are vaccines given in clusters? Is this safe?

First of all, overwhelming research shows that giving children multiple vaccinations at once is completely safe. They encounter many more germs every day simply by playing in the dirt than they get in the entire vaccination process.

And every parent I know is strapped for time. Vaccinations need to be quick and convenient, considering most parents have to take a day off work to get them done. Only when vaccination is easy can it create the vital herd immunity that protects all children from deadly diseases, especially newborn babies. Vaccinating in clusters isn’t sacrificing safety for schedule, so multitask away.

(For those parents who still have reservations, most pediatricians will work with youto develop a family plan that is right for you.)

What are the side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines have some side effects. The common ones are mild — redness, slight swelling right around the injection site, brief headache or fever. But these are actually GOOD to see — these symptoms reflect that the body is responding to the treatment, and is learning how to deal with it. This is exactly what we want our bodies to do, so that we can react if we ever encounter the real thing. These common side effects are fire drills. Should the real thing happen, your child’s body will know exactly where the nearest exit is.

There are rare cases of more severe side effects. Most often, these are essentially allergic reactions. These are serious, and scary, but occur almost immediately, and can be addressed by your doctor on the spot. This is why all patients receiving vaccinations are asked to be observed for a period of time before leaving the doctor’s office. There’s a point to making you flip through their back issues of Good Housekeeping magazine. They’re keeping an eye on your little one.

Some side effects are so rare that it is impossible to tell if they are actually side effects of vaccines, or just coincidences. Interestingly, autism doesn’t fall into that category. Autism occurs frequently enough that it can be studied, and it has been — extensively. During my search for information I have found that the overwhelming majority of medical scientists agree that there isabsolutely no causal link between autism and vaccination. I know this can be a big one for many, though, so here are a fewmorearticles to read if you are concerned about autism and vaccines.

Before I started my research, I had no idea what smallpox or polio looked like, and I bet you don’t either. Most people aren’t aware and therefore aren’t afraid of diseases they’ve never seen — or sometimes haven’t even heard of. We owe that peace of mind to the scientists who pioneered vaccines. Maurice Hilleman, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur — they aren’t household names. They’re not celebrities, they don’t have PR people, and they don’t have enviable Twitter followers. But their discoveries have improved our lives more than Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s have. It is the safest time ever to have a child, and only one factor has been more life-saving than vaccines — clean water.

What struck me most during my research was the sincerity of voices on both sides of this debate. Parents are just trying to keep their children safe. It is heartbreaking to me that the FDA and other government agencies have so eroded any trust that even when they are doing a good job it is overlooked or discredited. These agencies need reform so we can once again feel safe to take them at their word. I am confident that if our families can come together to demand transparency and separation between corporate interests and the safety of our children, we will be able to create the kind of trustworthy oversight we need.

As to the benefits of vaccinations, it has been proven; they work. That’s enough for me to climb up on a soap box, make some ugly cardboard sign in my garage, and let other mothers know that it’s safe, important, and bigger than emotion: It’s the truth.  ………….’