Thursday, February 18, 2010

And the Green Grass Grew All Around

Yesterday, we hit the pediatrician office. My daughter had her five year check up and got her final boosters for kindergarten. My son got in on the action, too, with his very own shot in the leg as we are start to catch him up on the recommended schedule.

Still hanging in the lobby and several of the wait rooms are flyers advertising the "new" vaccine Pentacel. Reading the various titles and information, the advert left me feeling vaguely irked regarding both the product and the marketing.

The first thing that struck me were the bold letters stating the vaccine has been used in Canada for years. For those Americans (and there are many) who eschew the evils of Socialist Medicine, how is telling parents the vaccine has been safely used by our Great Neighbor of the North supposed to be a selling point? Isn't it the American Way or the highway?

The second bit that struck a chord of irritation was the statement: Eight Less. Eight less needle jabs for our kids. Maybe I should be more sympathetic, but I just feel rather meh about it. So what? The majority opinion seems to be that vaccines in any shape, size and volume are a privilege of living in a first world country. Lollipops and band-aids are a right of passage. I would personally rather stagger the shots (as we have) than have a super shot that packs in an obscene number of diseases.

The early 90s heralded the arrival of the DTaP. More bang for your buck. Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis all rolled into one. Sweet deal. Now, enter Pentacel. Kids get to have the DTaP, the Hib*, and the IPV* in one vial. Isn't that awesome? Five vaccines, one shot. PENTacel. Get it?

I suppose I am on the dark side of science, but I just don't get why more is better. Where do we draw the line? We are a nation of all you can eat buffets and McMansions. Doggie bags and warehouse grocery stores. First we are sold on the idea of a three-in-one-shot, now it is five-in-one. Is the end result to give a child one giant shot in the ass and be done with it? I don't know, but the thought scares me.

And the green grass grew all around, all around. The green grass grew all around.

*HiB protects our kids from the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria.
*IPV is the polio vaccine


A Free Man said...

The argument for having more vaccines at once is that you get them all done with just one shcok to the immune system. Every time you give a vaccine, your immune system ramps up to deal with it. This is stressful for the body, especially little bodies. So, as bizarre as it seems, doing as many as is safe at once is actually less stressful than if they did all five individually. I know what you're thinking, I worried the same thing, but the more I read about immunology and inflammation - it really is better to do them at once.

Indigo Children said...

in response to A Free Man


the more immunizations you get at once, the more of the supposedly "trace" amounts of toxic additives you get in them --formaldehyde, mercury etc.

we staggered our shots (and left some out completely), and my gut and my research tells me this is best for our family.

a good (balanced) book about immunizations -- one that offers information instead of recommendations --is Dr. Sears' "The Vaccine Book."

Anonymous said...

So, it's eight boosters in one? I don't think I like that idea either. Seems like an awful lot entering the body at one time. Staggering seems safer. My kids are older now so I don't hear about all this stuff now. Thanks for informing us.

Anonymous said...

Yeahhhhh.... no.

I staggered my daughter's shots and cancelled multiple appointments if she was not feeling well going into it. Jabs are good and all that, but common sense is better.

Eight at once? Kiss my ass. Nobody, not even the freakin' military, gives eight shots at once to ADULTS. Much less children.

Irrational Dad said...

ACK!!! A vaccine post! This is like throwing a steak to a pack of starving tigers.

I'll reserve my judgment on Pentacel until I can dedicate a couple hours of reading into it.

BUT, dear sis, could you educate me on your modified vaccination schedule? We're planning on starting Tyler on his when he turns two... and that's just FOUR MONTHS from now. It's sad how fast time flies.

Not Afraid To Use It said...

@AFM: I wonder about applying the idea similar to allergy therapy. Small doses (in this case, fewer vaccinations) at a time so that the body learns to handle it better rather than shocking it. I don't know the answer to it, but I would be interested to see comparisons of children who receive one or two shots at a time verses the masses they get now.

@Indigo Children: I haven't read the Sears book, but I know a lot of people who swear by it.

@Suzicate: This one is five-in-one, but that's not to say the child doesn't get an additional shot at the same time of something else.

@Titanium: It's hard going to the peds office when you want to stagger. I had to sign the "bad parent" form. Basically it states that I understand I am placing my child at risk blah blah. Note I was not refusing shots, just staggering them. Of course, parents of kids with allergies and the like who stagger don't have to sign the form because the doctors "agree" with the staggering. Because I am one of "those" parents, they made me sign.

@Joe: Not too many starving tigers over here, my friend. My comment section tends to be rather cavernous. :) I'd be happy to share the schedule with you. Offhand, I know we delayed his HepB because he wasn't going into daycare, or going to be an IV drug user. And no sexual activity to my knowledge. When my kids were born the packaging on the HepB stated to use caution if there is an egg allergy present. How the hell do you know if your 12 hour old child is allergic to eggs?

We delayed the MMR--he will get his first dose in August when he turns four. Usually they give the MMR and the chicken pox at the same time. I feel much more comfortable with my 40lb four year old processing the vaccine than a 20lb 12month old.

The first year we did all the bacterial shots, and I'm not fucking around with polio. I'd have to look at his records, but that is what I can think of off the top of my head.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Thus far, the only vaccine schedule that had us shaking our heads was the four-year-old vaccines. The twins received four plus a regular flu shot. Five shots, in one afternoon. Crazy!

Overall, though, we've had no adverse reactions. A fever here, a rash from the MMR, but nothing major. I think every parent needs to make their own decisions about vaccines and if parents want a more stretched-out schedule, then that should be their prerogative.

But, short of immune disorders, I think all kids should be vaccinated.

Not Afraid To Use It said...

@CMGD: This post is not about whether kids should or should not be vaccinated, it is about the sheer number of diseases our children are exposed to at one time. Your kids got five shots today, but most shots are combo shots. The regular flu vaccine, if I remember correctly, has three separate strains of flu and the corresponding antigens. I would bet that the other four they received were not individual shots but combos. So, how many diseases/viruses were your kids actually exposed to today? Since you are cool with it, I am cool with it. But for parents who are not cool with it, many peds throw a fit and give lectures about responsible parenting.

And as for "short of immune disorders", I know several women from my moms group with children considered "neurologically fragile". As in epilepsy. MS. They have every right to stagger or exclude certain vaccines from their child's schedule. And have done so with their both their pediatrician and neurologist's blessing. I think they would argue to death the idea that only children with immunological disorders be allowed to augment the vaccine schedule.

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