Labourlist and and vaccination woo-mongering

I don’t frequent Labourlist very often but was led there today on account of this article which I’ve reproduced in full below. I even registered to leave a response but just on the off-chance it doesn’t get through I thought I reproduce it here as I’m really quite bewildered to understand how such an article would appear on a ‘Labour’ site in the first place.
Bill Dewison wrote:

If I offered you a cocktail which included in its ingredients formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, washed sheep red blood cells, embryonic fluid from chickens and thimerosal, what would be your initial reaction? Would you gladly accept this concoction of animal byproducts, heavy metals and chemicals without question?

It is more than possible you lack the relevant knowledge of chemistry, biology and metallurgy to identify what all those ingredients are, as do I, so I decided to look up one of these; thimerosol. It is a mercury-containing compound (an organomercurial) that has been in use since the 1930s. There have been concerns raised regarding its use, or specifically more than a little concern about its effect on the male and female reproductive systems. To quote the OEHHA ‘The scientific evidence that PMA and Thimerosal cause reproductive toxcitity is clear and voluminous’.

Why would any of this be relevant to you? Well if you have children, the chances are you’ve already allowed these chemicals, animal byproducts and heavy metals to be injected into them. They are present in modern vaccines, vaccines given to newly born children right through to the age of 18 years of age. But why should we worry? Surely these vaccines have been thoroughly researched and tested to ensure that they are safe long before they are given to the population?

My wife has recently given birth to our daughter and inbetween changing nappies, cleaning clothes, changing nappies and have I mentioned changing nappies, we are discussing the implications of immunising our child against potentially fatal diseases. It is something I would imagine many parents discuss and with an 18 month old son, it is something we seem to have talked about nonstop over the past 2 years. As a couple we are faced with the dilemma of believing what we are told by the medical authorities or questioning what we give our children in the same way we would question what foods to give them, what the environment around them is and how we go about educating them.

Our primary worry is the sheer number of vaccines contained in a single injection, but also the number of injections our children are given in one sitting. Our daughter can not for instance be injected with the tetanus jab by itself, we can not opt to have measles and mumps seperately or even to have the injections themselves spread out over a longer time period. Considering the age of our children, they are after all still developing, their internal organs are yet to fully form and their immune systems are not operating at full capacity. I feel our concerns are justified, regardless of the scare stories proliferated by our media here in Britain.

The media does tend to rule the roost these days in terms of what we see and hear, and it does seem that everyday we are presented with conflicting health related advice or information, much of which is grossly exagerated to sell the story to the public. For instance, take the measles virus, are you aware that in the past 17 years there has been one death in relation to measles? This death, tragic as it is, was a 13 year old boy who was taking immunosuppresive drugs for a lung condition.  Although this particular case was reported correctly by the media, it led to numerous stories of measle epidemics. It has been noted that the media in general have exagerated figures by as much as 700% to sensationalise their story which does nothing but damage to the messages the government is trying to convey to parents just like me.

That said, it can not be ignored what is happening with regards to immunisation and the serious questions still to be answered. Why, following the injection of vaccines in America, has the American government paid out millions of dollars to parents of children who have had adverse effects to these vaccines, but at the same time accepted no responsibility? If we follow America on things like immunisation and it has been reported often that parents who have refused to sign consent forms for vaccinations have been accused of child abuse for doing so, will we follow America on that one?

Once a child is injected with a vaccine we can not remove that vaccine from their system, so isn’t it about time this was debated with parents in a realistic manner? Before the National MMR Vaccine Catch-up Campaign was launched, providing PCTs (Primary Care Trusts) with additional funding of £30,000 each, wouldn’t it have been prudent to discuss some of the concerns of parents about the MMR? And long before we start to have decisions made about unvaccinated children entering the school system, what is wrong with a discussion about injecting them with a certain vaccines that contains 62.5 mcg of mercury which is 78 times the safe level?

My response:

Bill, this is my first comment on this site, I even registered just to leave it as I don’t come here very often so I’m going to put things in your terms.

Have you heard of the following:

Phosphorus (makes nice stuff like organophosphates and nerve warfare agents), Sodium (one of those alkali metals the science teachers used to put in water at school and it fizzed around), Potassium (another alkali metal from the school classroom, it’s the one that goes mental and really reacts violently when placed in water), Chlorine (used in disinfectants like bleach and handy for keeping the nasties out of swimming pools, the Germans also found a handy use for it during the first world war to gas allied soldiers as when entering the lungs it forms hydrochloric acid), sulphur (used in detergents and fungicides), cobalt (used in Lithium Ion batteries), lead (going to assume you’ve heard how nasty this stuff can be to us humans).

Can we agree that there’s some pretty nasty stuff up there? Good. Apart from all those substances are found naturally in the human body, yours, mine, everyone’s (unless that have a particular deficiency for some reason or another which incidentally usually causes problems).

Going down the route of picking up a list of various nasties and turning it into an argument about ‘you wouldn’t want this kind of stuff in your body would you’ is scientifically disingenuous. There’s lots of stuff out there that’s really rather bad for us fleshies, but it all a question of proportion. Some of it’s no problem at all and completely vital to our existence and good functioning but you wouldn’t want too much of it of course.

As for your use of statistics over one death from measles in the last 17 years, do you think perhaps, there might be a reason there’s only been one death in that time? Vaccination possibly? The death rate from measles is circa 3 in every thousand, pretty low odds but a right bummer if you happen to be one of those three. Not to mention other complications that include varying levels of blindness and if caught in adult males; infertility. You mention about your daughter but not your son. If you haven’t had him vaccinated and he manages to get through childhood without catching it but gets it in his 20′s and then finds out he can’t have kids or you’re not going to get any little grand kids to play around with, how exactly are you or him going to feel based on the decisions that you’ve taken on what looks like taking notice of ill-informed woo-mongering?

As a Labour type, such as myself, don’t you also consider that you have a civic duty to your community/society as a whole? To prevent serious outbreaks of measles we need to maintain a vaccination rate of circa 85-90%. When it dips below that we start seeing it coming back. Just say for instance you child gets it because they’re not vaccinated but they don’t suffer any side-effects and recover fine. Great for you as a relieved parent, but lets just say for instance they pass it on to their best friend at school whose parent also decided not to vaccinate their kid and they die. Hypothetical and an extreme case scenario I know but tell me, how exactly would you feel when you run into your kids best friend’s parents in the supermarket?

You make an interesting point about combined vaccinations, the MMR being probably the most debated on account of a completely useless and hideously flawed/fiddled bit of ‘research’ in 1998 that got the media into a frenzy and probably accounts for the falling levels of vaccination in particular relation to measles. The best example of the use of the MMR vaccine probably comes from Finland who adopted it early and effectively eradicated the diseases from the population with no reports of any side-effects. MMR is recommended by the (WHO) World Health Organisation and for all those paranoid ‘big pharma companies are evil’ conspiracy theorists, WHO aren’t exactly known for being uncritical of their industry’s practices.

On a personal note and as a parent with kids, 3 and 1. We’ve had all their vaccinations done because although there is never any 100% guarantee in anything in life, the alternative odds of complications and even death sure as hell aren’t very attractive to us.

On a final point, I’ve had measles, it’s crap, really crap. It probably didn’t help having whooping cough at exactly the same time when I was 4 years old. My mother sat at my beside for nearly a month nursing me back to health and I had to have daily visits by my GP. If you fancy doing that with your kids then by all means be my guest – I won’t.