As I was driving around doing erands last week, I stumbled on Cross Country Check up on CBC. Rex Murphy was checking up on Canada, and had as his guest, Dr. Michael Gardam.
It was a pleasure to hear Dr. Gardam speak on CBC, and
I’ve decided that Rex Murphy is definitely a ‘pro-vaxer’, I waffle, and Dr. Gardam is the intelligentsia (only the forward moving type.)
It was very empowering hearing Dr. Gardam’s opinions on vaccines, the hot topic of the day in regards to Measels, and a hot topic with me as the H1N1 flu shot was the trigger, twice, for my incurable and potentially life threatening health issues. I’ve been getting sucked into too many discussions on this polarized vaccine topic, where “you’re either with us or you’re against us” mentality rules the day. This feels like a black and white world, where as soon as you question how things are working, you’re an anti-vaxer, and should probably go shine your aluminum foil hat. This is how I’ve been feeling while listening to the media, sad that we’ve gotten to this point, where opinions are so strong, people are seriously talking about eliminating basic human freedoms. The freedom to choose what we inject into our bodies. It’s absolutely mind blowing.
I don’t jump into these conversations because I want to stop anyone from getting a vaccine, but because I want them to make smart, informed decisions that weigh risk and benefit as it relates to them and their particular health and family history vs the medication or vaccine you’re deciding on. I share my experience in the hopes that the mistakes I made (jumping in pretty blindly, and despite my gut feelings, believing that it is as safe as all the nurses and doctors said it was,) can be spared someone else, as sadly, this is a road of no return.
So it was nice to hear Dr. Gardam speak for the 20 or so minutes I was in the car. Pretty much everything I heard him say was in line with my own thinking, and suddenly I didn’t feel the kook that all the loud pro-vaxers, and their media puppets were trying to make me feel. He said that people should research and truly make informed decisions. Check. He said that people should be aware of the sources of their info. Check. He said he trusts the old proven vaccines. Check. He said we need to rethink flu and young vaccines. Check.
So it was with great interest that I listened to a caller ask about a number of autoimmune diseases. She stumbled around her words too much though to ask a good question.I wanted to hear Dr. Gardam’s response. Problem is people at large, still don’t get that autoimmune diseases are a laaaarge number of diseases with the same etiology, so she was mumbling a few autoimmune diseases, and then she did it…. she dropped the ‘Autism’ bait. Ughhh. As soon as I heard it I knew I wasn’t getting an answer. Then it became a discussion of the discredited MMR/Autism study. Question gone. Someone else called, and then another person brought up autoimmune disease, I think type 1 Diabetes, maybe MS, but then again, in comes, Autism, and this completely removes the conversation from where it needs to be. I was so hoping to hear him speak on autoimmune disease, but I didn’t get to. Apparently he did, I’ll have to go back and listen to it.
I believe we need to be skeptical and informed. Just because a non human entity has told you that this is safe to inject, doesn’t mean you have to do it. If there is long standing data to support safety and efficacy, by all means protect yourself and your family. But if this vaccine is younger than some of your shoes, maybe you should do some serious self educating and make a truly informed risk-benefit assessment.
When you’re looking at the numbers remember that even if the chances are low, if you’re that person who got the rare negative side effect of the drug/vaccine, suddenly that low risk means nothing, and your life has taken a turn in a different, unpleasant direction.
Perspective Break: Gardisil
A spanky new HPV Vaccine to prevent HPV spread through sexual activity
Approved for human use in 2006.
Vaccine demographic: 10 year old girls across the country
Long term side effects: Unknown (it’s not eve 10 years old)
Cost of one dose: $400-$500
Since June 2006 Merck has globally sold 169 million doses
(you do the math: hint – it’s in the Billions)
Serious Side Effects: Rare – 5 reactions in 11,000 (possibly, probably or definitely related to the injection.)
(here’s the math)
Since June 2006, 76,818 young girls are possibly, probably, or definitely having a shitty go at life because of this vaccine.
Are we really OK with having 76, 818 young girls sick, with serious life altering complications from a vaccine? To prevent sexually transmitted diseases? We don’t think very highly of our young girls. Is that the kind of place my daughter is going to grow up into? This is just one example of a young vaccine. There’s that pesky flu shot, medical boards are trying to convince us is absolutely THE thing to do if you’re a smart citizen.
Couple more points worth noting when you decide where to place your trust.
Russia and Canada are the only two countries in the G8 who do not have a system to support victims of vaccine adverse reactions. Yes, everyone knows there is a risk, and with the numbers we vaccinate, the numbers with adverse reactions will go up as well, but in Canada, our government has chosen to turn a blind eye, as well as protecting pharma companies from litigation when it comes to vaccines.
When you hear Health Canada tell you the vaccine is safe because they have very low reports on adverse reactions, that’s because the system is set up in a way to minimize feedback on vaccines. Whether it’s accidental or intentional is not my business, but it does skew the data and the information we are getting from Health Canada does not paint a true picture. Anyone can check this out. Try to report an adverse side effect from a pharmaceutical drug on Health Canada’s website. Anyone can do it. Now go and try to do the same with a vaccine. Two different worlds. With a vaccine report, you have to get your doctor to fill it in and submit it on your behalf. Several pages. What conscientious patient would do that to their doc? All my docs know that the H1N1 triggered me (it’s also in the drug insert – Vasculitis is a rare but possible adverse reaction to the H1N1 vaccine) but I would never ask them to take time away from their other patients, and to put their reputation on the line so they could write a vaccine report for me, because let’s face it “you’re either with us or against us…” even within the medical community. Why I was so pleased to hear Dr. Gardam speak in the open minded, academic manner he did on this topic. It was truly a breath of fresh air.
So there. I’m the eternal optimist, but my experience has taught me to question, to not bleat on at volume, to not believe with blind faith that a big corporation (that has only it’s stakeholders/shareholders to answer to,) has my best interest in mind.