kimberlychapman (kimberlychapman) wrote,

I was sitting with some other parents outside of Peo's music class and we were discussing school and whether each of our kids likes it or not.

I said that Peo loves it and was furious with me yesterday because as far as she sees it, I made her miss the morning of school to take her to the doctor where she got jabbed with needles. Worse, at first I said she'd only get one because the doctor said that, but then it turned out she needed four (she couldn't have the combo because she's had her full dose of one of the ones in the combo).

So I said that I was getting angry glares all morning for depriving of her of school and taking her to "a place where people HURT ME!"

The other parents laughed that knowing laugh...except one. Who then jumped down my throat about the mercury in vaccines.

I immediately thought, "Do I get into it with this person or leave it?" I decided to leave it.

But then she repeated about vaccines having mercury in them and that not being safe. So I got sucked in and said, "Actually, they don't have mercury any more."

She said, "Yes they do."

I sighed and said, "Some childhood vaccines used to have thimerosal, which contains mercury, but they haven't had it in years."

She says something about being a research biologist so therefore she knows about such things.

I said, "Okay, whatever, but you're wrong. I was worried about it too and my pediatrician has shown me labels on vaccines that indicate they are thimerosal-free." (Actually it was our Vegas pediatrician and I'll admit I haven't had the Austin one do so, but that's because I know thimerosal has been phased out for years.)

So of course, she brings up the autism thing. To which I said that the MMR study often cited as "proving" the link between vaccines and autism was a badly done study with something like 12 kids, several of whom exhibited signs of autism BEFORE they got the MMR. I said, "A study of 12 is not good science."

One of the other parents nervously said, "Um, I'm pretty sure they don't put mercury in them any more."

So the anti-vax woman keeps going on and on, and eventually I said, "Look, I respect those parents who choose not to vaccinate. I let them know when my kid has been vaccinated so they can keep their kids away for a week or so. I support parent choice. But I don't have a lot of sympathy for the parents who post to message boards complaining that they're boiling sheets for their five kids with mumps because if they made that decision."

She was furious and told me I had no right to tell anyone how to decide for their kids, and then snidely said that if I chose to vaccinate, that was my problem.

And I said (probably stupidly), "And if someone else choose to live with sixteenth century medicine, I'm not obligated to feel sorry for them if it doesn't work out."

Then she told me off for being insulting and starting such a discussion. I pointed out that she was the one who started it by coming down on me for having vaccinated my kid. She said that wasn't true. I said yeah it was. She said she wasn't judging me, so I repeated back her initial statements and of course she didn't like that. She demanded that we drop it. I said, "Okay, then drop it."

She says, "YOU drop it!"

I said, "It's dropped!"

She says, "Then you have to stop talking about it!"

I said, "I have! If you want it dropped, then drop it!"

She says, "YOU drop it!" again.

I rolled my eyes and said, "It would be dropped if you would stop telling me to drop it!"

She stormed off. One of the other mothers had slipped away earlier. The one who was left and I then had a lengthy conversation about how it's kinda sorta important to read the CURRENT information before espousing to others. She was the one who had said she was pretty sure the mercury was gone too. She pointed out that those who choose not to vaccinate can largely do so since the rest of us do vaccinate and keep many of these diseases from being so prevalent in the first place. We talked about autism levels being on the rise and all of the various factors that might or might not be part of that, and how maybe the thimerosal was involved, but how the fact remains that the standard childhood vaccines just don't have it anymore.

Then we talked about how frustrating it can be when people decide something is true, even when it's not, and spread it around with authority and other people believe that and that's how myths get propagated. I brought up the example of pineapple juice in infertility...a few years ago it was all over the fertility discussion that vast quantities of pineapple juice could help you conceive. I had the audacity to ask if there was clinical data on that and ruffled some feathers. I don't know if it helps or not, maybe it does. I know people who had trouble conceiving for years and then drank pineapple juice and got pregnant. But I also know people, like myself, who had trouble conceiving for years and then one time it finally worked and no pineapple juice was consumed. Correlation is not causation. I also know that for women with PCOS, carb intake must be strictly managed to keep estrogen levels stable, and juice of any kind is counter-productive. So spreading around anecdotal information can actually be dangerous.

Maybe there is clinical data now about pineapple juice. Maybe there will one day be conclusive, well-researched proof about vaccines and autism. But right now, the FACT is that the mercury has been removed from all childhood vaccines. There are flu vaccines with thimerosal but there are also ones without and I know that's what our pediatrician uses. Some vaccines never had it at all. Here is a government table that lists information on thimerosal in vaccines, because nobody should take my word for it any more than the person who spouted off at me today.

I suppose one could say that the government is biased and might be lying and hiding mercury in them, but that reaches a level of unlikely conspiracy that I refuse to discuss as plausible.

If people want to argue about whether vaccines are a good idea or not, that's one thing, but I do require that people bloody well get their facts straight before jumping on others, mmmkay? The mercury was there in some, it is gone now. Point.
Tags: health, parenting, politics, rant, science
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