Influenza is the most common infectious disease. According to the World Health Organization, 20-30% of children and 5-10% of adults come down with the flu every year. Usually, the flu is a manageable illness, but serious complications can occur. We are told that ¼ million to a ½ million people die every year due to serious complications from the flu, usually pneumonia.
The MMR is one of the most controversial vaccines due to claims that it causes autism. While Merck, the MMR II manufacturer, does not list autism as one of the possible side effects of this vaccine, it does list many other serious, adverse reactions. This list includes meningitis, encephalitis, pancreatitis, diabetes, decreased blood platelets, convulsions, seizures, arthritis, bronchial spasm (asthmatic reaction), pneumonia, anaphylactic shock and death.
Read any pro-vaccine article that disputes the link between vaccinations and autism and chances are Andrew Wakefield and his “fraudulent study” will be mentioned. Dubbed the “father of the anti-vaccine movement”, Wakefield has been both revered and vilified, depending on which side of the argument uses his name. The funny thing is, he is not anti-vaccine. He is, however, a critic of the MMR vaccine and has publicly stated that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines should be given separately.
The book chosen by “A Year in Books” for their vaccine discussion is “On Immunity” by Eula Biss. An extended essay, the author discusses our perceptions of immunity and how it affects individuals and society, all through the lens of a brand new mother. Reading the summaries of the book, the language is interesting, as Biss frames the issue in terms of fear. The Amazon description makes sure to note her conclusion that you cannot immunize your child from the world… but immunize them anyway.