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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question

Joe V Joe V (Admin) Columnist Innovator Expert

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development.

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It's been around for a couple centuries: Anti-vaccination. Words like, "safety and efficacy", "thimerosal", "religious objections", and "violations of personal liberty". Everyone needs to be educated on the myths and facts of vaccination, that's true. But, sending in the ghouls and goblins to threaten us?

What fears and/or objections have you, personally, or as Nurses caring for your patients, encountered when it comes to vaccinations?


Related Funny Toon can be found at...

https://allnurses.com/nurses-germ-warfare-t678970/

I gave about 10 flu shots yesterday and I think 100% of the patients said to me "I always get sick after I get the flu shot." When I asked for details, most didn't give any other than "feeling bad."

I did have ONE patient this week whose story was "I never did get the flu shot, until a few years ago when I caught the flu and it was awful. Now I get the shot every year because I don't want that to happen again!" I wanted to give him a gold star.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB.

On 10/18/2019 at 3:14 PM, Joe V said:

What fears and/or objections have you, personally, or as Nurses caring for your patients, encountered when it comes to vaccinations?

My fears are people who have drunk the pseudoscience Kool-Aid and don't vaccinate. I'd love to NOT go back to the days of kids dying of preventable illnesses and being deformed by polio.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

My fear is polio, tetanus etc. infecting children who didn’t choose to be ignorant about vaccines

I've always been an advocate of vaccines. That being said, I do have concerns. There is a lot about immunology that we still don't understand and what frustrates me about the debate is how polarized the two sides are. It's science - why are we arguing? There are legit concerns to investigate - that's good science. Anyone yelling that vaccines are safe for everyone is wrong, and anyone yelling that vaccines aren't safe for anyone is wrong too. Unfortunately this issue has become so politicized that a healthy debate now seems impossible.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB.

34 minutes ago, Coopsalot said:

I've always been an advocate of vaccines. That being said, I do have concerns. There is a lot about immunology that we still don't understand and what frustrates me about the debate is how polarized the two sides are. It's science - why are we arguing? There are legit concerns to investigate - that's good science. Anyone yelling that vaccines are safe for everyone is wrong, and anyone yelling that vaccines aren't safe for anyone is wrong too. Unfortunately this issue has become so politicized that a healthy debate now seems impossible.

What legit concerns do you have with vaccines that you think need to be investigated? Genuinely curious.

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV.

45 minutes ago, Coopsalot said:

I've always been an advocate of vaccines. That being said, I do have concerns. There is a lot about immunology that we still don't understand and what frustrates me about the debate is how polarized the two sides are. It's science - why are we arguing? There are legit concerns to investigate - that's good science. Anyone yelling that vaccines are safe for everyone is wrong, and anyone yelling that vaccines aren't safe for anyone is wrong too. Unfortunately this issue has become so politicized that a healthy debate now seems impossible.

No one is yelling that vaccines are safe for everyone. There are always valid medical exceptions. Please don't try to make this some sort of balanced argument in that both sides have equal weight.

Vaccine research is ongoing. Data is collected on all vaccines given, trends are studied, signals for adverse effects are sought. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets three times a year to review and update vaccine recommendations.

I too am interested in what aspects of immunology you think are not understood.

Edited by nursej22

Hi LibraSunCNM,

ASIA/Schoenfeld syndrome is one of my concerns.

Hi Nursej22, As far as aspects of immunology that we still don't understand - there are many. For example, autoimmunity. Sure, we know what's happening, but why? Is it genetic, environmental? Both? Neither? There is some genetic component to a lot of autoimmune disorders, but not all. Roles and functions of cells, receptor function and identities are being discovered every day. Even lymph vessels were discovered fairly recently in the brain.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED.

I’ve been getting my flu shot since before I became a nurse and having the flu shot clinics at work makes it easier for me to get them every year. I’ve never had the flu and the only time I’ve had a mild reaction to the shot I think it had to do with injection technique because it was a student-run clinic.

As far as what we don’t know yet about immunology, the best we can do is use the knowledge we have now to make the best decisions we can and I’m comfortable with decades of evidence supporting the benefits over risks of vaccines. My kids are on the standard schedule and just got their flu shots and when they are old enough we are most definitely getting the HPV vaccine too.

Antivaxxers like to point to VERS as evidence of harm and I think it’s actually very helpful to look through the database. The vast majority of potential (not proven, the database only shows correlation by self report) are minor ones like pain, redness and swelling at the injection site.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB.

On 10/22/2019 at 10:17 AM, Coopsalot said:

Hi LibraSunCNM,

ASIA/Schoenfeld syndrome is one of my concerns.

Hi Nursej22, As far as aspects of immunology that we still don't understand - there are many. For example, autoimmunity. Sure, we know what's happening, but why? Is it genetic, environmental? Both? Neither? There is some genetic component to a lot of autoimmune disorders, but not all. Roles and functions of cells, receptor function and identities are being discovered every day. Even lymph vessels were discovered fairly recently in the brain.

I had to look up ASIA, I've never heard of that. What I read said the average age of onset is 37 years old. Your concern is its effect in childhood vaccines, or some other type of vaccine?

Of course there are aspects of immunology that we don't understand! That doesn't mean that the stacks and stacks of research from the last several decades DON'T support that vaccines are safe for the vast majority of the public and are the greatest advance in public health in the last century.

I thought it was interesting, too! I didn't specifically mention childhood vaccines - I was speaking generally as you asked about my concerns. And yes, of course there are aspects of immunology we don't understand - I was answering the other poster's question since she asked. I also never said I disputed stacks and stacks of research, and did say right off the bat that I do advocate for vaccines. I'm not trying to argue with anyone. So I'll sign off at this point. Everyone have a great evening!

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

having two kids with Type 1 diabetes, there is a HUGE debate about vaccines (of course there is no rhyme or reason to why someone has an autoimmune trigger). One of my children was dx at 2, one at 14. Neither were sick. No family hx on either side (I did have gest diabetes and ended up T2).

People clamor that there is a cure "hidden from the public" so big pharma can make all this money off T1 people (< 0.05% of the population is T1).

I have not held any vaccines from my sons. They have both had HPV vax. Oldest has just finished meningitis. series. I just got the newest Shingles vax. I am a believer of vaccination.

Other than some one who has a true allergy (like to eggs w/flu shot) I don't understand why people don't get vaccinated. We have seen in historical records that more people died before vaccines. It's a no-brainer to me. The flu or chicken pox could kill my children.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB.

1 hour ago, Coopsalot said:

I thought it was interesting, too! I didn't specifically mention childhood vaccines - I was speaking generally as you asked about my concerns. And yes, of course there are aspects of immunology we don't understand - I was answering the other poster's question since she asked. I also never said I disputed stacks and stacks of research, and did say right off the bat that I do advocate for vaccines. I'm not trying to argue with anyone. So I'll sign off at this point. Everyone have a great evening!

Not arguing, just having a conversation.

Honestly, its not as simple as so many people make it seem. Its too bad that like the poster said, it's such a "hot topic" that there's no discussion to be had. Many nurses love to just spit out facts that their teachers told them and aren't open to any conversation. This is the opposite, in my opinion, of what nursing should be about.

There are many many concerns and blindly pushing vaccines is dangerous. Please note, I am PRO- Vaccines and they are a wonderful thing.

For example, their scheduling. You still get herd immunity if a child gets it at age 4, rather than 8 months. Are you giving the infant a chance to develop ANY innate immunity? Yet, we are pushing Hep B vaccines on infants? Funny stuff.

Flu vaccine, don't even get me started. Complete money-grab.

Even for the "more serious ones" like polio and MMR, there are arguments to be made.

What it comes down to is that the medical community has lost (probably rightfully so) the trust of the general population, and vaccines are just a trigger point for it.

It does not look anyone has posted a different opinion yet, so I guess I will. Personally, I am not vaccinated and have not had any vaccines since nursing school. I also seldom get sick but I have noticed that the majority of the nurses that I work with all get sick and stay sick. They are also big proponents of vaccines.

There are probably several different ways that I stay “well,” including but not limited to: not consuming lots of sugar, I take buffered Vitamin C on a daily basis, exercise, etc. I also do the same with my own children. They are all perfectly healthy and have had very little vaccines.

Now as a nurse, that’s a different story. I pretty much keep my opinions to myself. I do not and could not work in a specific job where it is expected of me to vaccinate others, due to my own beliefs. It’s a better idea for me to not even go there.

I would like to see a large study of groups that are vaccinated vs. unvaccinated from birth to 25 years of age. This study should follow those individuals for an extended period of time looking for everything including but not limited to: cancers, neuro (any type), developmental delays, various disorders (e.g. autism, depression, etc.), obesity, fertility issues, etc. I think if we could all see something along this level and of this scale, this debate that we have every few months could be settled but something tells me, that’s not ever gonna happen.

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV.

On 10/22/2019 at 10:37 PM, dholly2015 said:

I would like to see a large study of groups that are vaccinated vs. unvaccinated from birth to 25 years of age. This study should follow those individuals for an extended period of time looking for everything including but not limited to: cancers, neuro (any type), developmental delays, various disorders (e.g. autism, depression, etc.), obesity, fertility issues, etc. I think if we could all see something along this level and of this scale, this debate that we have every few months could be settled but something tells me, that’s not ever gonna happen.

And how will you conduct this study? It would seem unethical to withhold vaccines or give placebos to study subjects who want them. Will you withhold all vaccines? I have spoken to clinicians who have seen deaths from polio, tetanus, measles, and whooping cough. Per their accounts, it isn't pretty. And even if anyone would allow these deaths, there would still be naysayers.

Plus you would need to account for environmental factors such as air pollution, diet, and social determinants of health.

Have you seen what happened in the Philippines earlier this year, when there was a massive measles outbreak? Parents had withheld MMR vaccine as a reaction to unethical action on the part of a vaccine manufacturer. Hundreds of children died this year as a result of not being vaccinated.

There are several ways I stay healthy too. I wash my hands, eat a balanced diet, take a Vitamin C supplement, avoid stress, and I get immunized.

On 10/22/2019 at 11:13 PM, nursej22 said:

And how will you conduct this study? It would seem unethical to withhold vaccines or give placebos to study subjects who want them. Will you withhold all vaccines?

Why is doing a large study unethical? It would only be unethical if persons did not know they were or were not getting said vaccines. I am not suggesting placebos at all. We have a fairly large population of people in the US right now that would volunteer to partake in such a study!

There’s many out there that pick and choose which ones they want/don’t want at all, some decide they want to space them out (but my question is why do they do that if there’s nothing to be concerned about?), and others decide to forgo all together.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” VAERS was created in 1986 under the Reagan Administration for vaccine compensation of injured children.

SUPREME COURT: The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986

Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule

It is concerning to me that the Supreme Court made the above statement and that VAERS exists to protect large corporations, rather than children and adults. I also question how legally pneumococcal and zoster vaccines are somehow exempt from VAERS claims. If most knew that VAERS was selective and certainly would not cover everything “IF” they had an adverse reaction, would those same individuals go through with it? If there were a malfunction in anything else (e.g. a faulty car seat) pertaining to our children or adult in the US, one would at least have recourse. But the pharmaceutical industry is off limits.

I'm not (yet) a nurse -- applying to programs right now. But as a mom to two kids who are autistic, the fact that autism is this big "worst thing that can ever happen to my child" fear drives me bananas. I mean, there are challenges for sure. Yet there's a particular misunderstanding/intolerance around autism that makes things way harder for folks living with it, that's for sure.

From the parent-of-patient perspective, I've been pretty stunned by how dated many pediatricians' understanding of autism can be. My son's diagnosis was so delayed and he missed out on early intervention because his doctor thought autism "looked" a certain way, and my son would talk, smile, look at you. Not that I expect an MD to have thorough experience in neuropsychology, but the pediatrician has a unique opportunity to make a real difference for families in a positive way here.

I'll be curious to see, from a health professional standpoint, how all this goes. I don't plan to work with kids, but I can tell there are millions of adults living with autism who could benefit from this understanding, compassion and respect.

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