Vaccine Debate | Selected Links Regarding Vaccination


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Selected Links Regarding Vaccinations

We jumped into the vaccination debate with our eyes wide open, fully-aware that we would lose many members when we addressed this untouchable subject. We did so because we this issue is simply too important to ignore. We could not, in good conscience, remain silent on the topic any longer. You can read Pam's positions on vaccines here, and Amy's follow-up post on the anti-vaccine debate here.

To support the discussion, and because so many moms have asked for it, below is a list of links related to the pro-vaccine side of the debate.

It is by no means exhaustive. As I wrote here, and as Pam explained here, there are so many "ayes in favor" of vaccination that it would take weeks or months to create an exhaustive list.

I therefore set the following criteria for selecting links for this post:

  1. Rather than citing actual studies, I would cite articles about those studies. Reason: because I don't have the knowledge to read those studies accurately. (Do you? Really?) Science journalists, however, like those who reviewed the original studies, interviewed key figures, and wrote the articles below, certainly do.
  2. The articles must be from reputable, highly-respected journalists and journals.  Such journals and journalists have their work submitted to editorial review and fact-checking before being published. 

Notably, articles about studies that show the risks of vaccines do not appear in respected news sources. Why? Is this a great conspiracy? Of course not: it's because reputable news sources and their journalists -- particularly science editors and science journalists -- are committed to the facts, and believe in the scientific method. They will not risk their reputation by publishing the findings of studies that don't meet the grade.

So without further ado, here it goes, and in no particular order.

Articles and Websites that Support Vaccination

Articles that Support Not Vaccinating

Again, I limited my search to reputable news sources which will only pick up and publish stories that have merit.

Notably, I could not find any articles in these reputable journals or news sources to support the anti-vaccine position.

You can duplicate my Google searches:

To the extent that there are articles about the perils of vaccines, they live exclusively on anti-vax sites, and usually are blog-style articles (as opposed to journalistic quality articles, which are subject to editorial review and internal fact checking before being published.)

The articles cite dubious studies sponsored by anti-vaccine activist groups which have never been subjected to peer review (see the Popular Mechanics article mentioned above.)

The few-and-far-between doctors who support these sites cite anecdotal experiences of seeing kids in their practice, rather than referring to real, peer-reviewed studies.

And few-and-far-between they are. The International Medical Council on Vaccination -- a highly dubious organization -- was able to get a whopping 80 signatures from physicians to sign to a petition stating that "vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children." There are roughly 200,000 family practice doctors and pediatricians in the U.S., and all this petition would gather was .04% of that group to sign the petition? See here.

Compare the quality of information on these sites with the selection from above:

 

Finally, I leave you with these...

Without further comment, but worth the read:

Antivaccination Parents Dig In Heels Even after Receiving Medical Info (Scientific American)

and

Inside the Mind of Worry (New York Times)

This article describes a study that explored why intelligent, well-informed people sometimes make decisions that are not in their best interest. It uses the vaccine debate as a case in point.

Key take aways:

"Researchers in neuroscience, psychology, economics and other disciplines have made a range of discoveries about why human beings sometimes fear more than the evidence warrants, and sometimes less than the evidence warns. That science is worth reviewing at length. But one current issue offers a crash course in the most significant of these findings: the fear of vaccines, particularly vaccines for children.

...

Based on the evidence, these and most other concerns about vaccines are unfounded. A comprehensive report last year from the Institute of Medicine is just one of many studies to report that vaccines do not cause autism, diabetes, asthma or other major afflictions listed by the anti-vaccination movement.

...

Professor Slovic and Professor Fischhoff and others have found that a risk imposed upon a person, like mandatory vaccination programs (nearly all of which allow people to opt out), feels scarier than the same risk if taken voluntarily. Risk perception also depends on trust. A risk created by a source you don’t trust will feel scarier. The anti-vaccination movement is thick with mistrust of government and the drug industry. Finally, risks that are human-made, like vaccines, evoke more worry than risks that are natural. Some parents who refuse to have their kids vaccinated say they are willing to accept the risk of the disease, because the disease is “natural.” "

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About

I am a founder of NaturallyBorn, and proud mama of three boys. I live in Northern California, and hold bachelors and masters degrees from U.C. Berkeley. I'm also the daughter of the best parenting coaches in the world (seriously).  Both of my parents are marriage & family therapists, both  have degrees in early childhood education, and both have run preschools (my dad still does.)  I've been lucky to learn so much from them, and hope to share their parenting lessons with our community.

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