About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Friday, October 30, 2009

We vax.

As flu season approaches, I feel compelled to write: we vax.

As in, we fully vaccinate our children, including Brad who is mildly autistic and Jeremy who is allergic to egg.

On the Brad front, there is no doubt in my mind that vaccines don't cause autism. I fear the fallout of widespread vaccine rejection.

On the Jeremy front, he can have egg-based vaccines administered at an allergy clinic. They keep him for observation afterward, and can administer anti-histimine, steroids or epi-pen if needed. For the record, Jeremy is five, has received several egg-based vaccines and has never had an anaphalactic reaction to a vaccine. (He did have an anaphalactic reaction when eating eggs, scrambled eggs, undiluted, at age one.)

Be safe, everyone.

Added: An Epidemic of Fear [via Wired]


Stimey said...

You rock. Very important post, this one.

K said...

we vax too - we are just slower and a little more deliberate about it
Example we plan to check his titers to see if he needs the MMR booster or not rather than simply give it !

My whole family is full of doctors so vax was never really an option - its something we all did !

But now I question the schedule and wonder if they need so many so fast !

To me the real worry is that the debate on the vax has become a binary one - to vax or not to vax

Few talk about the middle ground - slightly modified schedule - ensuring all the vax are toxin-free

Laura said...

K, too true about the moderate POV - there is a lot of extremism and acrimony surrounding the issue. (Understatement!) For what it's worth, I support the Dr Sears modified schedule, and the reasoning behind it. My children didn't follow a modified schedule, but I don't think it's imprudent.

Kris said...

We followed guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics for all our kids but if I had another I'd do a modified schedule (moot point - there will not be another!) I am not anti-vax but I am also of the point of view babies are getting too many too fast and I wonder how many studies there have been to study the cumulative effects (I honestly don't know).

For now, we do the "required" ones and skip most of the "optionals". I think many pediatricians (definitely ours) are too cavalier about vaccines.

My kids got the flu mist for H1N1 at school and my daughter got really sick - temp to 104. The doctor confirmed it was a vaccine reaction. We never do the seasonal flu shot.

Moderation - that is my mantra.

Good post.

Nyx said...

I am curious if you are doing the swine flu vaccine also? I don't believe that vaccines cause autism, but they can cause inflammation and therefore I think that children whose autism is related to some sort of auto-immune reaction are not unlikely to experience some aggravation of symptoms. I find it fascinating that in all the debate, I have yet to see anyone point out that hte CDC fact sheets for these vaccines warns to be cautious with children with autoimmune disorders. I am not really anti-vax, but I have not done any vaccinations since dx which was about 8 months ago, since none of them seems really critical to have at this point and I figure, why heap more inflammation on an already struggling brain? But I am really torn about the swine flu vaccine. I worry about that one mostly because it seems like it was rushed to market. I am having a hard time trusting it. Not to sound like a commie, but I have seen too much from the inside to trust corporate America. And while privilege prevents me from telling you why, let me tell you that I have absolutely zero faith in the fda. negative faith, even, if that is possible.

Laura said...

Kris, everyone's okay now though, I hope?

Nyx, be careful because children with autism (esp those who seize) may be at high risk for poor outcome if they contract H1N1. See link:


"Almost two-thirds of the children who died with swine flu had epilepsy, cerebral palsy or other neurodevelopmental conditions."

And Nyx, as for your other point, you don't need to be an insider (or have insider access) to observe corruption at big pharma and government. And I think that gets overlooked in the debate - like the scientific community expects the general public to sift through studies in making a decision. What's really needed, in my opinion, is public TRUST - trust in the government and the medical institutions. And trust shouldn't require a phd in medicine or biology. And moreover, people have a right to be mistrustful. The current system is conflict laden, and there's way too much influence of $ in politics. These are the types of things that can be improved upon with reform, e.g. finance reform and ridding published research of conflicts.

So to make a long story long, I vax because I have read several studies which have convinced me that vaccines are safe and effective and beneficial, but not because I have faith in the govt and big pharma.

Nyx said...

Here's my problem: I keep reading the actual materials CDC is publishing, and it ain't helping. I read the CDC report when it came out and was struck by the fact that most of the children had a lot of other things going on. Almost half of the ones for whom a culture report was included had a serious bacterial infection. They didn't make any effort to collect supplementary data on the deceased children or actually review their medical records, although given the small number, I am mystified as to why they were unable to take this extra step. They disclose in the report that due to limitations in the form that was used to collect data, they are not sure but that more of the children could have had other chronic health problems and that this was a bias in their report which could have been removed by seeking supplementary data. (again, why didn't they??) I then also read the CDC page on the safety of the swine flu vaccine. I also did not find this very reassuring. They talk a lot about "expecting" that most people will have mild side effects. they also disclose that the last swine flu vaccine administered in the 1970s did in fact increase the rate of Guillain-Barré syndrome. I don't know, I have a hard time feeling like it is a good idea to deliberately provoke my child's immune system when he could have an autoimmune disorder, unless I have a very good reason for believing it's necessary. The report is scary, but I just feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I called my best friend who is in the middle of a fellowship in infectious diseases and she didn't have much comfort to offer. she said, look, we want everyone to get vaccinated because we are looking at the whole population, but there could be side effects for some kids. that's the bottom line. She didn't say, rush out and vaccinate your kid. she did not try to convince me to do it, she was uncertain what was the right thing to do. If I can't get clear advice from her, who can I trust on this issue? I queried the Dr. Sears vax forum, btw, and got a vague noncommittal reply. I am still on the fence which I guess in my case is most likely to lead to nonaction. Except I will say this: after reading that CDC report you better believe that my kid is getting antibiotics at every little sniffle. nearly half the kids who died and for whom data was available had cultures that revealed serious bacterial infections. Since they didn't do any supplemental data-gathering, I guess we'll never know if those children even received any antibiotics or when.

Nyx said...

oh, ps, my own personal opinion is that incompetence and a very skewed idea of their mandate is the real problem with the FDA. In my opinion, FDA approval creates this illusion of safety which is just not real. I have the same opinion of the CDC. I called their hotline and a very nice lady told me completely the opposite of what the CDC publicly stated not long afterward about the incidence of the disease. I wonder which was the truth? I am tired of slogging through a bunch of crap only to find there are no answers.

Laura said...

hey Nyx, my understanding is that the controversy is mostly manufactured. There's no evidence to suggest increased susceptibility to vaccines, but there is evidence that children with neurodevelopmental conditions are particularly vulnerable to poor outcome with respect to swine flu. Be cautious of our innate tendency to "pattern match." Beyond that, let's agree to disagree...


Nyx said...

I wish I disagreed with you! I don't really and didn't mean to sound like I did. I wish I was certain enough to disagree with you. {sigh} I agonize over it every day. It's kind of been moot so far, because my son has been sick every single day since the swine flu vaccine came out. You are right about the pattern matching. But what really scared me was reading the case study of the lupus patient and stuff about how autoimmune patients can "cascade" after a flu vaccine. It was scary. I just wish I could tell whether my son has an autoimmune disorder. It is frustrating that something that seems in theory like kind of a basic question is unanswerable. Why can't someone tell me if he has one or not? Anyway, I think that if he ever gets well (he's been sick for 6 weeks) I probably will go ahead and get the vaccine, if there are any left. But I can't seem to ditch the fear.