Below are a few links to resources that people might find useful to share – or read if you want a quick introduction to vaccines for kids.
For really short takes, these brochures—all in PDF format—might be useful. They make key points in few words:
- Immunization: Get the facts – a Canadian brochure covering 5 key concerns
- Top Ten Reasons to Protect Your Child by Vaccinating
- Questions Parents Ask About Vaccinations for Babies (a few of the questions are specific to the USA)
- What If You Don’t Vaccinate Your Child? (From the USA, but quite relevant)
A bit longer on a few key topics
Some what longer reading are these. They give more background and are well-written. Try them out!
Clear Answers and Smart Advice About Your Baby’s Shots (PDF). Written by a doctor from the USA (Ari Brown, MD, FAAP) this is a lively read. It covers a lot of stuff in a friendly, readable way.
Do Vaccines Cause Autism? A topic that never seems to go away. There is a lot research testing the idea that there is some relationship between vaccines and autism: the results find there is none. Here the excellent History of Vaccines website explores this. Do check out the rest of their website. They also have a 52-page eBook on the history of vaccines. (It’s at the bottom of the their educators resources.)
Fellow sciblogger Helen Petousis-Harris is the vaccine person around here! Follow her blog, Diplomatic Immunity. Like all blogs here, you’re welcome to ask questions in the comments.
Auckland University’s Immunisation Advisory Centre
They have an excellent website. There’s a contact page, and an 0800 number people can ring. Head to immune.org.nz or 0800 immune (0800 466863). They also have a Facebook page, and you can find them on twitter, @immunenz. Their website has more resources, too.
There are many more resources I could point at, but I hope this short selection has some use. Feel free to add others in the comments below (or just generally chatter!)
I’ve listed a few of my previous posts on this topic in a section below. Do read about the featured image – Charlotte’s story is worth being reminded of.
Free, from wikipedia: ”Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, child who survived amputations of all 4 limbs, and became “the face of” New Zealand’s meningococcal meningitis vaccination campaign. Between 1-2 years old.”
Wikipedia’s ‘Vaccine controversies’ page has this to say in the legend of the image there,
More complete vaccination could have protected her through herd immunity, preventing children too young to vaccinate from catching the disease.
The wikipedia entry is well worth reading. I wonder how many people remember even this, from relatively recent times?
Most Western countries have fewer than three cases for every 100,000 people each year, with New Zealand averaging 1.5 before the epidemic started in 1991; in 2001, the worst year of the epidemic in New Zealand, the rate hit 17. 5400 New Zealanders had caught the disease, 220 had died, and 1080 had suffered serious disabilities, such as limb amputations or brain damage. Eight out of 10 victims were under 20 and half were under 5 years of age.
The morning of 17 June 2004, Cleverley-Bisman vomited and was unhappy, but the parents took it as anticipated teething pains. By mid-morning she developed a small blemish on her neck, and her mother rushed her to Waiheke Ostend Medical Centre, where staff diagnosed meningococcemia. In ten minutes she was covered with small spots. She was injected with penicillin, and rushed to Starship Children’s Health by helicopter. Half an hour after the first spots were noticed, she was blistered, swollen, and purple over her entire body, with her extremities blackening. She was not expected to survive, and needed to be resuscitated twice during her first half-hour at Starship. She was connected to life support systems which fed her, transfused blood and drugs, and assisted her breathing.
The second day, Starship doctors said that if she lived at all, Cleverley-Bisman would need to have at least both legs and most of her left hand amputated, to save her life from gangrene. During the three weeks while doctors waited for demarcation between dead and living flesh to become clearer, her catheters became clogged several times and needed to be replaced with additional surgery. By the end of June, it was clear that all four limbs would need to be amputated. This was done on 2 July, amputating both legs and left arm “optimistically”, through the knee joints, rather than above them, hoping to preserve the growth plates at the end of the long bones, which would allow for better use of prosthetics later in life.
I’ve also written a few posts on vaccines, mostly from before when Helen was writing at Sciblogs (see also Footnotes) –
- Sources for medical information for non-medics and non-scientists (a resource page)
- Fact or fallacy, a survey of immunisation statements in the print media (at the time I wrote that the media unfortunately get things wrong, which can be confusing if you’re new to the topic, but I have to say the NZ media is doing better of late — keep it up!)
- The Panic Virus (a review of a book examining parents’ concerns about vaccines)
- Thoughts on, and for, those trying to choose to vaccinate or not (Some thoughts on some aspects of parent trying to find sound information.)
- Immunisation then and now (a peek at history)
- Rubella, not a benign disease if experienced during early pregnancy (including rubella in New Zealand – I’m a rubella kid)
Aside from the topic itself, I’ve written a few posts about the NZ lobby group that is organising the screenings of Vaxxed in New Zealand – e.g. that I think it’s worth thinking about if their approach to discussion is worth trusting, particularly that their discussion rules repress open discussion and ensure they have the ‘last word’ – including simply banning people who point out information that runs counter to their ‘mantra’.*
These ‘page rules’ look to be unchanged since I wrote about them.
Bizarrely (to me), and on a more personal note, I’ve been blocked from their Facebook page! I’m surprised as they’ve long known about me and I’ve had access even when they tried to sideline me because they knew they were to face some media attention. I doubt anything I’ve written deserves being blocked, but then they’ve blocked others for less. It’s doubly surprising as I haven’t written on their page for (literally) years, and have hardly written on the topic for a long time either.
A key thought, then, is should anyone trust them if that’s how they treat others? Certainly is shows their approach to discussion isn’t consistent with free speech – a point relevant to my previous post, Vaxxed at University of Otago: venues should be able to decline.