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Debate on Vaccines

(1001 Posts)
Emsyboo Mon 27-Jun-11 14:18:27

I have seen a few threads where mums have an opinion pro or con vaccine and asking for more information I would like to know your reasons for being one or the other.
My MIL is very anti vaccine and told me 4 out of 30 children die from vaccinations - I don't believe this to be true think their may be a decimal point missing although I have seen some posts from people who seem to have backed up information about vaccines.

I am pro vaccine but like to see both sides before I make a decision so if anyone has any information pro or con and more importantly has info to back up I would be really interested.


illuminasam Mon 27-Jun-11 14:42:06

I'm not really pro or anti, I don't actually think the issue is that clear cut. There is no doubt that vaccination is a wonderful thing, particularly for killer diseases in countries where the people have little access to proper sanitation. On the other hand, I think the current vaccination policy is not quite correct. I believe there is a benefit from a healthy child fighting off infection naturally that results in a healthy immune system.

While vaccination provides "herd immunity" that is good for the masses, the blanket vaccination policy we have in the west means that the immune system is not given the chance to "flex its muscles" properly and as such we are seeing the rise of auto immune diseases, asthma, allergies, eczema etc. Not so good for the masses in the long term.

While I can fully see the logic of vaccinating against a killer such as diptheria, I can see it less when it comes to the relatively mild mumps and rubella. Measles is a tricky one and one I'm not sure about myself.

In the end, I believe that it is a personal choice for every parent and one which each parent should make for themselves and then take responsibility for.

Tabitha8 Mon 27-Jun-11 14:54:07

I started off by looking at my own vaccination status.
I haven't had enough polio jabs to be immune; I'm not worried.
My tetanus jabs aren't up to date; I'm not worried.
I had mump as a child and was fine.
Many of the things they vaccinate against today I was never vaccinated against; I'm not worried about that, either.
My measles jab has possibly "worn off"; I'm not worried about that.
I am worried about all the "extras" in jabs, such as aluminium.

I'll probably think about more things later.

I totally agree that mass vaccination can't be the right way forward. I can see the point in vaccinating those at particular risk. Eg ladies before they have babies, against Rubella, if they are not already immune.

Interesting point about diptheria. I've seen charts showing a massive decline in deaths from this from before the jab came in. Bound to be on the net somewhere. Will have a Google when I have more time.

sundew Mon 27-Jun-11 15:02:36

emsyboo - I'm very pro vaccine as I would never forgive myself if either of my dds developped a serious complication to a disease that I could have vaccinated them against.

It is yuor own choice for your dcs - but make sure you look at proper evidence when making choices.

The figures you quote can't possibly be right or there would be children dying everyday in the UK from vaccines. The figures of deaths from vaccinations will be miniscule.

illuminasam Mon 27-Jun-11 15:09:55

Yes, Tabitha8, I agree with all your points as well. I didn't have mumps, measles or rubella jabs, had measles and rubella naturally and am fine. My brother had mumps and is fine.

The thing is that letting diseases run through the population, even a healthy one such as ours, is going to result in casualties and long-term effects as not everyone in the population has the health required to fight them off. That's why people advocate herd immunity. However, it seems that mass vaccination against a multitude of diseases also causes problems and it's possible that the overall result will be to weaken the immunity of the majority of the population.

And interesting about diptheria. I would probably still vaccinate against it, even with the improved sanitation issue as we travel a lot to asia and it would be too big a risk for me to feel comfortable with.

ChunkyPickle Mon 27-Jun-11 15:15:57

Like sundew I could not forgive myself if my child caught something and had serious side effect from a disease that I could have vaccinated him against.

I think that mass vaccination (with obvious exceptions for those with medical issues that make vaccination unwise) is definitely the way to go. I don't want to have to keep my baby indoors until he's a year old because measles is common again.

I don't believe that vaccination is the cause of increased asthma/allergy rates, and I don't want to risk my child getting whooping cough or measles with the aim of 'exercising his immune system'. He can exercise it by licking the carpet, not by having to fight off life and limb threatening diseases.

bubbleymummy Mon 27-Jun-11 15:47:27

"I don't want to have to keep my baby indoors until he's a year old because measles is common again."

The UK hasn't ever had herd immunity to measles so nothing has changed. Even when the target 95% has been reached in other countries there are still outbreaks.

I agree with illumina and tabitha - I think the current mass vaccination policy is wrong and doesn't actually offer the guarantees that it promises. You only have to look at the figures on the hpa website to see how the fatalities for diseases such as measles had declined before the vaccine was introduced. Mumps and Rubella figures weren't even recorded until the vaccine was introduced because they obviously weren't considered 'dangerous' enough.

CatherinaJTV Mon 27-Jun-11 16:18:32


very few children die of vaccines, the incidence is so low that in most studies you cannot even measure it.

Have a look at the vaccination schedule and then tell us what you feel uncomfortable with or where you have questions, that might be more useful that starting a general debate.


ChunkyPickle Tue 28-Jun-11 03:42:49

"The UK hasn't ever had herd immunity to measles so nothing has changed. Even when the target 95% has been reached in other countries there are still outbreaks."

Even without herd immunity levels being reached it's basic maths that the more people that are vaccinated, the lower the chance of me running into someone with the measles to catch it from

Emsyboo Tue 28-Jun-11 11:11:46

Thanks for your opinions it is definately food for thought I think some of you misread my post or I wasn't clear I don't believe the stats my mil quoted to me as there is no way we would carry on vaccinating children if there was a death rate that high, even a rate that high for severe reactions.
What I am looking for is an 'informed' discussion I was using my MIL as an example of how people seem to get facts completely wrong to back up their opinion. I don't want to put my family at risk based on hearsay and having arguments every time I see my MIL over vaccines is exhausting as she thinks I am a bad mum for letting my DS get his first 3 vaccines.

Thank you for your discussions they are very interesting

bubbleymummy Tue 28-Jun-11 16:58:56

Chunky, if you've been vaccinated yourself then why does it make a difference if you run into people who haven't?

Tabitha8 Tue 28-Jun-11 18:04:45

Re Measles
Is it correct that mothers pass immunity to their babies through the womb and that this immunity lasts for about one year, but only if the mother had measles? If she had a jab, then this doesn't work and the baby doesn't get this temporary immunity?

bubbleymummy Tue 28-Jun-11 18:16:39

Vaccinated mothers also pass on immunity but it doesn't last as long as immunity from a mother who has actually had the disease. Unfortunately, this means that more infants are going to be susceptible to measles before they are old enough to be vaccinated.

Tabitha8 Tue 28-Jun-11 18:20:02

Have you any idea how long? I always had this idea that the MMR wasn't given until about age 12 or 13 mths due to this immunity, however, if this immunity isn't very long....
Oh dear. I also read something recently that giving a measles jab too early wouldn't work, anyway. Now, to try to find the reference..........

Tabitha8 Tue 28-Jun-11 18:23:03

This makes for interesting reading.

DBennett Tue 28-Jun-11 19:01:01


Did you look at the paper itself?

It's pretty poor quality.
Even to an untrained eye it would seem thin.

I'll link to a fairly lengthy commentary on it's (numerous) faults but I fear, given your choice of source website, you'd dismiss this rebuttal as biased.

So I'll quote Age of Autism's person of the yr 2008 B Healy M.D.:

"First, it’s shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries.
The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths.
In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long.
In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless.
And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth.
Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates.
For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country."

Tabitha8 Tue 28-Jun-11 19:27:23

Now, the challenge is to find a paper listing faults on your paper, and so on. Round and round we go. Neither side ever convincing the other.

DBennett Tue 28-Jun-11 20:12:58

Welcome to the internet...

CatherinaJTV Wed 29-Jun-11 19:56:35

Tabitha - before the introduction of the measles vaccine in the US, an underestimated 80 infants died of measles every year, most of them between 6 and 12 months old. If you assume a death/case ratio of between 1 in 1'000 and 1 in 10'000 - both numbers floated here, that would mean that between 80'000 and 800'000 infants caught measles every year - that would be between 2 and 20% of each birth cohort (which is why I believe in the higher mortality rate) - hardly very good protection, certainly not up to a year!

Tabitha8 Wed 29-Jun-11 20:24:39

Now, that is interesting. So, even by not vaccinating the mothers, babies will still catch measles within the first year of life? So, why do we delay the MMR until they are aged 12 mths?
Or, perhaps some of those babies were born to mothers who had never caught measles themselves? My MiL never caught it.

CatherinaJTV Wed 29-Jun-11 21:02:00

Because, Tabitha, while maternal antibodies are no longer protective in the baby after 5 months or so, there are still interfering with proper antibody formation.

I looked it up, by the way, the citation is Barkin, RM (1975) Measles mortality: a Retrospective Look at the Vaccine Era, Am J Epidemiol 102(4) 341ff

The numbers are, in 1958 - 63, an average annual 88 infants died of measles, 20 of them 0 to 5 months, 68 between 6 and 12 months, most of them of respiratory complications (read pneumonia). 5 years after the introduction of the vaccine, average deaths in that age group had fallen to 12.

Vaccines do save lives!

Tabitha8 Thu 30-Jun-11 17:07:13

Presumably, Catherina, that is the argument why we should give all our children the MMR jab?

[I posted this on another thread]
This for me is the problem with the official stance on the MMR:
My MiL has not had a measles jab and didn't catch it as a child.
I had a single jab and, possibly, am no longer immune.
For how long does the MMR last?
Why are people like me and MiL not being told to get the MMR jab? There must surely be milliions of us around? Why does the gov't not target us?

CatherinaJTV Thu 30-Jun-11 21:15:19


your GP should actually have had a look, and there are calls to check your immunity out with nearly every outbreak (this year for measles).

How does your MIL know that she has not had measles? This is very difficult to find out, decades later.

There is no indication that measles protection from 2xMMR would wane.

bubbleymummy Thu 30-Jun-11 21:27:46

Well considering it's only been available since 1988 and then 1992(current MMR2 version) I don't think anyone is yet in the position to say whether it gives lifelong immunity.Unless of course you got it in your 60s back then in which case yes, you may be able to say it has lasted you for life.

CatherinaJTV Thu 30-Jun-11 21:40:57

There is no indication 2xMMR has waned up to now. My 3x killed measles vaccine in 1967 still had me plenty protected in 2005 (which is unusual for that vacccine, but hey - otherwise, I would have just gotten an MMR - it is easy, really).

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