I want to express my gratitude for the recent article in Seven Days on childhood vaccination rates in Vermont.  This is a critically important issue, and I think we’re all glad that you presented only the mainstream, medico-pharmacological view of the issue as it is the only view that has any truth in it.

It is shameful that some parents selfishly choose to not vaccinate their children, when our health care providers and pharmacological corporations have clearly assured us that they are perfectly safe and effective.

These deluded parents endanger all of us when they forgo the standard vaccination schedule for such absurd reasons as the concern over the long term health effects of universal vaccination.  The briefest look at vaccine ingredients (comprehensive list available from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf) would show their fears are ridiculous.

For example, the vaccines in the schedule promoted by the Vermont Department of Health include things like formaldehyde, which these foolish parents will always note is the chemical which they use to preserve cadavers.  And they’ll be sure to add that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program, an inter-agency program of the Department of Health and Human Services, named formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.  So what?  The vaccines that have this chemical may protect their child from pertussis !  (although the vaccine is not 100% effective)  You can listen to a recording of an actual child coughing with pertussis on the CDC website.  Now, I don’t know what cancer rates are in this country but they surely can’t be very high and I don’t know what “cancer” or “cancer treatment” is like but it certainly can’t be worse than that coughing.

Other ingredients these vaccine skeptics cite include thimerosal, a mercury derivative and potent neurotoxin and still an ingredient in the flu shot.  I don’t know of any parent who wouldn’t be willing to trade a little brain or nerve damage for a solid 59% potential protection from the flu!  That’s 3 days of missed school in my neighborhood!  The multiple doses of antibiotics in each vaccine are probably perfectly harmless and not, as these wackos suggest, likely to breed resistant strains of germs, no matter what “science” says.  I trust Merck, as should everyone else.

Industrial disinfectants like Beta-Propiolactone, chemicals like 2-Phenoxyethanol, an insect repellent also known as antifreeze, and the multiple tissues from monkeys, chickens and cows are likewise unlikely to have long term harmful effects.  Our kids are tough!  Yes, Glutaraldehyde is used to disinfect medical and dental equipment and for industrial water treatment and I’m confident it’s perfectly harmless.  And the fact that the flu shot has Octoxinol-9 is not a concern, it’s a bonus, because Octoxinol-9 is also a vaginal spermicide.  Having that stuff swimming around in your kids blood stream means they will neither get the flu nor pregnant!

In the end, Seven Days was right to publish a one-sided story, because it is an issue without nuance.  There is no middle ground between the extremes of wholly unfettered faith in universal- forced if necessary-immunization and rabidly anti-all-vaccines.  Discussions about vaccine ingredients, recipients, schedules and the data around risk/benefits for vaccines for non-life threatening illnesses are meaningless.  There is no centrist position, and no need to question the science-or lack thereof; there is simply the mainstream logic and the lunatic fringe. If we had the same attitude back in the 1800’s, maybe today’s children might still be benefiting from the practice of bloodletting.

So, thank you for just showing one side of the vaccine debate- the right side.  Keep up the good work!

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