I am not one who is typically at a loss for words, but after receiving an email linking to this blog I was in utter shock and disbelief. This might be one of the most misguided and uneducated views on vaccines that I have seen in quite a while. What’s truly sad is that the woman behind these words has the responsibility of raising 5 innocent children who will undoubtedly be left unprotected against a long list of potentially life-threatening diseases.
While I have no doubt that Ms. Gianelloni believes in the false information and bad science that she preaches, her words are dangerous. She begins her blog by asking the question: “Would you rather…A week of illness with lifetime immunity or a lifetime of illness and temporary ‘immunity?’” There is a huge problem with her line of questioning. The answer is not as black and white as she believes. She continues on saying that “everyone we know over the age of 50 survived measles.” But what about all those who did not survive? She fails to mention that as recently as 1980, prior to widespread measles vaccination, this highly contagious disease caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. It’s also worth mentioning that approximately 158,000 people died globally from measles just two years ago in 2011. Most victims of this disease were under the age of five. Does this sound like a relatively harmless disease to you?
Another question she asks us to ponder: “Is measles dangerous.” According to Ms. Gianelloni measles is only a “real” threat to malnourished children living in impoverished areas. If that’s true then why have Tarrant County residents gladly decided to vaccinate their families following a recent measles outbreak linked to a church pastor’s anti-vaccine rhetoric? Their willingness to vaccinate quite obviously has to do with the realization that measles is a serious threat. Complications include pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain that can lead to convulsions and can cause deafness and mental retardation), miscarriage or premature births for pregnant women, and in rare cases a fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). Correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked Tarrant County was not known to be an “impoverished area.”
Her anti-vaccine claims continue and fall right in line with the typical false statements concerning immunizations including the old and tired claims falsely linking vaccines and autism. As a parent, an aunt, a sister, and a friend I encourage everyone to take the time to understand the importance of vaccinations. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying up-to-date on vaccinations as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in an effort to protect yourself and your loved ones. It truly can be a matter of life and death. Let’s all stand behind and up for the science that proves the safety and necessity of vaccines!