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Old 10-04-2007, 07:37 PM   #41
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PW, you say that we need to all make the decision for ourselves, but as RIT pointed out, if many take your path, the risk increases. So, in effect, you are abdicating your role in protecting you and your family but essentially hoping that every one else chooses protection so that you and yours benefit indirectly.
Not at all. I'm taking responsibility for myself and my family, and I'm educating myself about the risks of different courses of action for what is right for me here and now.

Life changes, people change, populations change. I'm open to the possibility that my ideas about this may change in the future based on a variety of factors (one of which could be whether or not the majority or minority of the population remains vaccinated).

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Vaccines rank up there with the most effective and safe tools the entire medical community has - think sanitation, potable water, vaccines, and aspirin. Improving health through medical practice along with efforts to ensure widespread public health in a inexpensive manner - it doesn't get much more basic/cost effective than this.
That's under assumptions that people make with incomplete information, such as assuming that all vaccinations are equally effective (whereas the truth is that all vaccines have different effectiveness rates), and that all
members of a population will respond favorably to the vaccines (which we've already noted is not true because age does affect this), and the assumption that the majority of people who contract a vaccine will come down with the "worst" version of it (i.e. most people who get polio pass it as a flu without any hint of potential paralysis, and only a very small minority of the total infected population actually have permanent paralysis lasting more than 6 weeks).

People often take a lot of things for granted instead of educating themselves and then evaluating the situation for their own particular situation. In the future I will likely have to re-evaluate my current approach based on factors such as my age, my current state of health, how much of the general population vaccinates, etc.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:03 PM   #42
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Rich, I saw some information - not sure of the source or the accuracy - relating to how the flu vaccine declined in effectiveness as one got older. Yet the elderly are one of the primary groups encouraged to get the vaccine. What gives?
The "immunogenicity" of the stuff is its ability to cause your body to create flu antibodies. All other things being equal, your immune system ages just like the rest of your body, so your response will be less than that of a younger person. So you might say that your response to the vaccine wanes with age.

However, your benefit from even a partial response is greater since your risk of mortality and complications once you get the flu is higher. Less brisk response, but more benefit since your overall risk is much higher from the disease. Studies of death rates show only slight benefits in the elderly but I think this is an artifact due to most of the deaths being labeled pneumonia, heart failure and other diseases which are worsened by the flu.

Hope that helps. The evidence strongly supports a decision to get a flu shot if you're over 50.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:10 PM   #43
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Earlier in the thread, someone stated we know how vaccines work. I began to wonder about that when the experts started calling for boosters of vaccines we had as kids that were supposed to provide lifetime immunity. If we really understand how the vaccines work, how could we be so wrong about the lifetime immunity?

In a way, I feel lucky I had all the "normal" childhood diseases because that really does provide lifetime immunity (I think).
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:14 PM   #44
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I've had a flu shot every year for as long as I can remember...most likely all 30 years I've been associated with the military. It's mandatory for military, we don't get to choose. I've also not had the flu in all those years. Coincidence? Who knows? I did contract Hepatitis A in 1991, and it sucked bad. Where did I get it? From my darling 9 year old daughter. Where did she get it? From the church run day care where she was enrolled. Besides the two of us, a 60+ year old daycare worker got the HepA too, and nearly died. Me....I just was wishing I could die for awhile. I was so ill I couldn't blink my eyes without heaving. My insides felt like I had been pumped full of air, even though I didn't eat a bite for at least five days. Some of the time, I crawled on the floor because I was too nauseaus to walk. That was after I could actually move off the bed. I mean, did I mention it sucked? I missed 10 days from work and received a phone call with about 100 questions from the state health department. I can never donate blood again, neither can my daughter. My 9 year old daughter, of course showed signs of jaundice, but otherwise she never missed a beat. No illness or anything. Yellow eyes and that's about it. Guess it was the age difference. Trust me, you don't want HepA or any other Heps either! Moemg, I'm truly sorry for your loss.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:37 PM   #45
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Moemg, I'm truly sorry for your loss.
Add me to this condolelence. I can't think of anything worse for a parent to endure.

Ha
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:24 PM   #46
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With a warm cyber-hug to Moemg, I am sure that I'm not the only one to remember polio and iron lungs, beaches closed during the summer for fear of contagion, and even a big blue letter "Q" for quarantine in the windows of certain houses in the neighborhood, iron lungs and that kid in the class who had to wear a leg brace and a built-up shoe just to walk after surviving the disease.

As a young physician I saw fatal cases of chickenpox pneumonia, measles pneumonia, whooping cough, rubella newborns and tetanus.

Since them we've added hepatitis A and B, h. influenza for kids, shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia and others. Maybe AIDS, malaria, and even some types of cancer will be the next diseases to fall to vaccines.

There is a reason that the smart philanthropic foundations usually aim at immunizing kids (and adults). Gates and Buffet know how to get bang for the buck.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:50 PM   #47
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i'm neither fully for vacci's or against..but I do have to wonder if it is such a good idea to have so many so soon for the kids...just as a mom it makes me feel a bit unnerved and i couldn't get through all the pro/con stuff w/out wanting to pass out trying to make sense of it.
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:37 AM   #48
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Rich, I saw some information - not sure of the source or the accuracy - relating to how the flu vaccine declined in effectiveness as one got older. Yet the elderly are one of the primary groups encouraged to get the vaccine. What gives?
Well, they're among the most susceptible to flu, so even if the vaccine isn't as effective, it's better than not having it. I've been seeing reports over the last year or two that vaccinating children is a better strategy for preventing flu in older people than vaccinating the older people themselves, but I don't know how strongly supported that research is.
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:53 AM   #49
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Thanks Guys ,
I think a lot of people don't remember iron lungs and the days before these vaccines plus they do not know how deadly Hep A can be .My son contacted it and at first he just had flu symptoms then he quickly progressed to liver failure and died before he could have a transplant. A Parents worst nightmare .
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:16 AM   #50
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PW:

I think you are downplaying the personal and social costs of these diseases. My comments are not just off the cuff. FWIW, I have worked in a large state immunization program and in cooperation with the CDC in this area. Clearly, you have your opinion, to which you are entitled, but I stand by my view that vaccines are among the most cost effective, life prolonging interventions with the broadest public health impact developed by the medical community.

My sincerest sympathies to you and your family, Moemg.
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:28 PM   #51
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Moemg,

I am so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the pain associated with losing a child. To me, there surely can be nothing worse.

((((Big Hug))))
TG
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