Friday, September 27, 2013

The Truth About Vaccines

**Disclaimer: While this blog post contains many of the same illustrations and information found in the book "All About Vaccines", it is NOT a child-friendly post.  For a full artist's statement on this post and the book, please click here.**

I'm getting really sick of seeing articles like this pop up in the news.  I'm tired of the anti-science, idiotic populace not understanding the importance of vaccines. 

It's really difficult for me not to be hyper angry about this topic because it really infuriates me that this is even an issue. Why? Because immunizations are important.

 Why?  Because they save lives.

How?  Vaccines work by stimulating the body's immune system.   Basically, a vaccine is a weakened form of a disease.

When that weakened form of disease is injected into the body, the body's immune system goes to work.  It learns to recognize and fight off the disease, protecting the body from future infection.

 Should your body actually encounter the disease (like Measles, Mumps, Whooping Cough, or any of the other 17 vaccine-preventable diseases) your body can defend itself against the potential infection.

Instead of getting sick, your bodies immune system already recognizes the disease and how to destroy it.  It's pretty awesome.

By the way, the concept of vaccination is NOTHING NEW or scary. It's been around for a long time.

Before vaccines were developed to fight them, diseases like polio ravaged populations.  Due to recent efforts to eradicate this disease (THROUGH VACCINATION), the number of cases of polio dropped from 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 187 cases in 2012...worldwide.

Not convinced yet about vaccines?  What about our "friend", measles? Here's a neat fact from the CDC:

"If vaccinations were stopped, each year about 2.7 million measles deaths worldwide could be expected."

2.7 MILLION DEATHS.  To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of wiping out an ENTIRE city the size of chicago in one fell swoop...every year.

Due to efforts to vaccinate against measles worldwide, the number of deaths from measles dropped 71% between the years 2000-2011.

Even fighting against ignorant f*ckwads who refuse to vaccinate their children, because of current immunization practices there have only been 159 cases of measles in the U.S. so far this year.*  This is in stark contrast to life before the measles vaccine, when 3-4 MILLION people were infected EVERY YEAR. It isn't mere coincidence that the occurrence of diseases like polio, mumps, whooping cough, and measles dropped dramatically with the onset of widespread immunization practices.

(*incidentally, this number could AND SHOULD be zero.)

It's true that vaccinations can carry some risks--but most of the scarier risks happen so rarely that an actual correlation between vaccinations and these risks is hard to determine. As in, it's possible that you were a 1 in 1,000,000 case that had a complication from a vaccine...or perhaps you're just a 1 in 1,000,000 case of having a complication...from some unknown event that happened to occur concurrently.

If you're still not convinced, check out this article from the NCIRS.  If you're too lazy to click the link, what you should know is that the risks posed by actually contracting measles are FAR greater than any possible risks associated with the measles vaccine.

Another hot topic concern is often the idea that there is some correlation between vaccinations and autism.

This shouldn't be news, but: vaccines DON'T cause autism.

(As a side note, "autism" is an incredibly broad term.  I recommend educating yourself on the different things that word can mean before you throw it around like a frisbee.)

Not immunizing your child puts them at risk of contracting PREVENTABLE DISEASES.  Diseases that can put their life at risk.  What's more, you're not only compromising your own child's life, you're compromising herd immunity, which in turn puts EVERYONE at risk of diseases.   Diseases that had been ALL BUT ERADICATED.

Wait, what is herd immunity? Glad you asked.

In any populace, there does exist a certain number of people who can't receive immunizations for LEGITIMATE medical reasons.  (read: infants, pregnant women, or those who are otherwise immunocompromised) When an individual can't be immunized themselves, they rely on herd immunity to protect them.

Herd immunity is the concept that those who are immunocompromised  and can't (not refuse to, but legitimately CAN'T) get vaccinated are protected from disease.  This protection stems from the fact that everyone around them (read: the herd) is immunized.  If the herd can't get infected, then those who can't be immunized can't get infected, either.

When you don't get immunized by choice, this puts you at risk of infection.  When you get needlessly infected, you put those who CAN'T be immunized at risk.


...and then this happens.

Compromising herd immunity can (and does) lead to needless deaths.  For the sake of your own life, and the lives of those around you, immunizations are VITAL.

Science is AMAZING.  Modern medicine makes life better, but only if we respect it.  If you're anti-authority, I get it.  I don't like a lot of authorities myself.  But scientific authorities have this neato thing called "peer review".  This means that other EXPERTS in their field read and criticise their work REPEATEDLY in an attempt to get at the most accurate information.  Things that sources like the CDCWorld Health Organizationand the National Library of Medicine put out have been fact-checked multiple times by numerous people.  When they say things like, "vaccinate your children" it isn't just because one person thought it was a good idea.  It's because many EXPERTS and mounds of data confirm it.

So, what's the truth about vaccines?  The truth is, they work and they are amazing.

Just a reminder--immunizations are awesome!

In sum: if you don't immunize your children, if you're still not convinced by the piles and years of evidence that support it, you're spitting in the face of years of scientific research and analysis.

And honestly?  If you don't immunize your children, I think you're a selfish, irresponsible, murderous sh*tbag ...and I hate you.

For more reading (What? You say there's loads of evidence?  Why, yes there is!) check out the following:

Myths about Vaccination
The importance of immunization
The World Health Organization on Immunization
The CDC on immunization
The National Library of Medicine on Vaccination
The Journal of Pediatrics on Vaccines and Autism

...and that's just the beginning.


  1. So are YOU up to date with the cdc's recommended vaccinations???

  2. I am. Here's a link to the CDC's immunization schedule for anyone who may be curious: