Are immunizations harmful? Search carefully for answers

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  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 13, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    @Twin Lights – “But then, I know folks who swear by a lot of things that are mostly attributable to placebo effects.”

    That may be true in most such cases; however, I generally balk at making sweeping (and perhaps unintentionally dismissive) statements about any and all scientifically unproven approaches. The reality could be one of three things:

    1.It is untrue and so the placebo effect is in play.

    2.It has not yet been properly studied, which may mean just that or it also might mean that what studies have been done have been poorly designed (this happens more than people may realize).

    3.Science simply has not yet invented the tools necessary to measure the (real) effect. To see this, think of how a Star Trek-type “tricorder” could and would alter and expand our understanding of biological cause-and-effect relationships.

    I am a tremendous fan of science and argue on its behalf here at DN regularly, but treating it with an undeserved (or unquestioning) reverence is to flirt with the dangers of “scientism” of which I am not a fan.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    I don't believe there should be any debate about the safety of vaccines. I don't know anyone who has contracted polio - do you? How about smallpox? Mumps, measles, whooping cough all used to be common childhood ailments. They're not anymore. The CDC, Mayo Clinic, children's hospitals all over the nation recommend vaccines.

    Are there risks to vaccines? Yes, absolutely but they are miniscule compared to the risks of contracting disease. Side effects are also real and for the overwhelming majority of people, they are minimal and pass quickly. The researcher who reported a link between autism and childhood vaccines has been thoroughly discredited. Subsequent research has found no evidence of such a link.

    There's the issue of herd immunity - if most of us have been vaccinated against a disease, that disease can't spread as easily so people who cannot be vaccinated are protected. Think of it this way - if I have a small child who hasn't been vaccinated but I have, even if I come into contact with the flu, it's unlikely I pass it on to them. Vaccines aren't just about protecting ourselves - it helps everyone.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    The difficulty in searching for answers is the great amount of disinformation on the internet. Non-scientific conspiracy theorists seem to dominate. The issue is not whether immunizations are safe, it is a risk-reward formula. The risks associated with non-immunization are far greater than the risks with immunization. The immunization-autism theory has been thoroughly and scientifically discredited. Let's put that one to rest. If risk aversion is your goal, stop riding in a car and stop breathing air in SLC.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 13, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    I knew a family that refused vaccinations for their children because they "knew" it was a government plot to inject microchips into their children so they could be "tracked."

  • UT Brit London, England
    Feb. 13, 2013 1:17 a.m.


    "Unfortunately, a celebrity mother wrote a book and people really believed her autism and vaccine theorys, although as the DN writer says scientists have debunked those theories."

    It should also be noted that said celebrity mothers son does not actually have autism it turns out. He had problems early on but he is fine now.
    Children have died because of parents not immunizing them, some people have a lot of blood on their hands.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 13, 2013 12:48 a.m.

    Am i correct in guessing your son served an LDS mission? Stateside? Foreign? Developed or under-developed country?

    My son was diagnosed with egg and peanut allergies and asthma when he was a one yr old. He received his vaccinations as scheduled, without it affecting his health. I believed it was far more risky to take a chance of not getting immunized--and i had no regrets. He is healthier today than he was as a child when every virus he caught meant sleepless nights and breathing treatments.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Feb. 12, 2013 6:22 p.m.

    I agree with those who say we need more studies to know if all vaccinations are "safe" and if it is sensible for infants to have multiple vaccines at once.

    I do know that if your physician says, "Don't ever let this child have an MMR," that should be taken seriously. Our son with food allergies had a rocky beginning in life because of the allergies. We skipped the MMR, and eventually he seemed to overcome his allergies. However, at age 19 he was compelled to have that MMR for living outside the U.S. He has had bizarre health problems for the 19 years since then. Who can say for certain what triggered his severe issues? He copes by eating carefully, but it hasn't been easy for him. Even if that hadn't happened, I find it interesting that many parents of autistic children say that the child was normal until some specific vaccination, when suddenly the child was no longer behaving in the "normal" spectrum. Bottom line, we need to know more, and we need to go about it without making every facet of life politicized.

  • jrgl CEDAR CITY, UT
    Feb. 12, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    I'm glad the Deseret News reporter wrote that the autism and immunization theories were debunked. That British scientist really got people up in arms over immunizations and the man is a disgrace today for his lies concerning immunization. Even after the US discontinued using the ingredient thimerosal in 2001, which was thought to have an autism link by the British scientist, autism cases have increased, especially here in Utah. Unfortunately, a celebrity mother wrote a book and people really believed her autism and vaccine theorys, although as the DN writer says scientists have debunked those theories. I'm getting my information from the Center for Disease Control right now on thimerosal, which has online resources that can be trusted as well as the Institutes of Health (another government agency with accurate online information)compared to say a book by a celebrity. I do agree that when looking for information online, it is good to go to trusted sites. It's a pity in Utah those that don't immunize, just look at the whooping cough cases in Utah!

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 12, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    Yet another example of repubs trying to shove their agenda down our throats. They don't have facts. They don't have evidence. So they try and scare us. This has nothing to do with serving America. It has everything to do with control and power.

  • news.john2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 12, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    I have vaccinated all my children, but still as a father of an autistic child it is hard to put aside the belief that the immunizations did not have anything to do with it, when all the symptoms appeared right after the shots, and since no one seems to offer up any other better explanation yet.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 12, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    Tyler D,

    Thanks for the confidence. Yes, my child is definitely wanted and does have some terrific attributes. That child is in their mid 20s now.

    Tyler D,

    The diet theories were somewhat new when we were raising our kids. We did some experimenting but never saw any real results. My understanding is that blind testing was recently done on the "Autism Diet" and showed it has no effect.

    I know a young family who swears by dietary intervention. But then, I know folks who swear by a lot of things that are mostly attributable to placebo effects. But . . . placebo does not mean no effect - it just means no effect beyond what we think/hope it can deliver. And when you are in the thick of these things even such minor changes are welcome.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 12, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    @Twin Lights – “But folks need to stop listening to pseudo science at the peril of our next generation.”

    Sorry to hear about your child, although not to be presumptuous but I’m guessing he/she is a pretty terrific (and wanted) kid nonetheless.

    Completely agree with what you said… pseudo science is never the answer. The answer is always more good science, and in this case lots more, and by scientists free from conflicts of interest (hard to fully trust one study sponsored or done was by the vaccine manufacturer without having others to corroborate).

    So I don’t think the fear some folks have is completely unjustified given the meteoric rise in the past few decades of conditions like autism (for which better diagnosis is part, but I don’t think all, of the answer), along with other neurological and auto-immune disorders.

    Who knows what’s responsible… increased chemical exposure, pollution, diet, etc…? Until science begins to unlock some of these mysteries, some level of fear will likely persist.

    PS – have you explored diet changes with your child and if so, has there been any positive effect?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 12, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    Tyler D,

    I have zero problem with altering schedules as long as the vaccinations get done.

    I think folks have forgotten just how horrific these diseases are. Thankfully these diseases have been sufficiently controlled that we have been able to forget.

    I fully agree with an open hearing on all issues. But folks need to stop listening to pseudo science at the peril of our next generation.

    Just for the record, I have a child with mild autism.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 12, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    @Twin Lights – “Vaccination makes sense and protects children.”

    I agree but would add something to it (which I hope will prove wise given the “foil hat wearers”).

    First a few facts – best I can tell, there have been no large sample-size, control-group studies done on the long term impacts to the immune system of giving multiple vaccines at once and at very early ages. All studies have been on the short term acute effects. Basically, we are the studies but since it’s not controlled in a scientific way, it makes it difficult to see patterns.

    Given that fact, there seems to be a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that a small percentage of children develop a negative immune reaction to vaccinations, which mostly manifest as skin problems, allergies, asthma, but it may be that even smaller percentages of kids have worse immunological responses. Point is, we need more studies…

    I believe the benefits still far outweigh the risks, but it does not strike me as unreasonable to at least spread the vaccinations out a bit (perhaps two per visit rather the five) until we know more.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 12, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    Before the internet gave every foil hat wearer a voice, vaccinations were good for us. One of the greatest achievements in humanity, actually. Also good for us was milk, water even from the garden hose, fluoride, and playing in the dirt. Exposure to germs in the days before hand sanitiser fever gave us an immune system.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Feb. 12, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    Vaccinate your kids, not only will it protect them, it will protect all the kids who cant get vaccinations. Read up on herd immunity and the protection it gives.

    A measles outbreak in the UK is at an 18 year high because of a silly scare in the late 90's.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 12, 2013 6:04 a.m.

    Here the evidence is incontrovertible. Vaccination makes sense and protects children.