I have learned since the Ebola crisis and now the measles outbreak how influential the media is on American society. So let’s talk about measles. I have heard many comments on talk radio and the news programs including the following:
- It causes autism
- It has mercury in it
- The vaccine doesn’t work
- It will cause brain injury
- “I won’t worry about my child being vaccinated because all the other children are vaccinated which keeps the incidence to a minimum”
- “All these vaccines are just a way to keep the pharmaceutical industry rich”
I remember seeing active measles cases when I was a medical resident in California. I will tell you those kids get very sick; there’s the 106 fever, the blood shot eyes and the malaise that scares anyone who witnesses the disease. If a child gets uncomplicated measles the child would be cared for at home, not hospitalized. The fact that it takes about 10 days to recover is challenging for those care givers who have to work. Looking at these children makes you wonder if the child is going to even “pull through.”
Well, what about the vaccine? The vaccine does NOT have Thiomersal (mercury) in it at all. The following ingredients are in the vaccine:
- Buffered salt solution
- Amino acids
- Fetal bovine (cow) serum
- Synthesized Human albumen
- Sucrose (sugar)
- Phosphate glutamate
- Neomycin (antibiotic)
The viruses are grown in chick embryo and human fetal fibroblast cell culture before they mixed with the above ingredients. But notice: NO MERCURY! I have given MMR vaccines for over 32 years now and I can tell you I have never experienced any side effect from that vaccine (MMR).
The researcher in the United Kingdom who published the article in The Lancet medical journal is presently incarcerated and stripped of his medical license for falsifying data in his research. The fact that autism appears around the same time that the vaccine is given makes this a plausible hypothesis; it just did not “hold water.”
Does it work? Most current doctors have never seen active measles. It is rare solely because of the mandated use in most states. In Maryland for example, children cannot attend daycare or school if they have not had their MMR vaccine between 12 and 15 months and again at 4-5 years of age. The use of the vaccine has made a huge difference in the incidence of the disease; so yes, it works!
Can your child get MMR vaccine if they are allergic to egg (remember the virus is grown in chick embryo egg)? Unless, the person has had a life threatening reaction to egg exposure requiring hospitalization and ICU care (anaphylactic reaction) all children including those with mild to moderate egg allergy tolerate the vaccine well. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics states that most of those with anaphylactic histories to egg tolerate the vaccine well under close supervision.
Children who have any form of thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) can still get the vaccine but monitoring of the platelet count is required.
So who CAN’T get it? Children under the age of 12 months or children with cancers with altered immunity should not get the vaccine. Don’t let the media frighten you; if your child has been vaccinated, they are protected. If not vaccinated, it’s not too late- GET VACCINATED.
See ya in the Spring!