October 3, 2018

Book Review
Count Me In! Click Here to Register

Calling the Shots:
Why Parents Reject Vaccines

Starring the Author:

Jennifer Reich

University of Colorado, Denver

Clubhouse Location:
WHSCAB Plaza & Auditorium
6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — meeting convenes
7:45pm — casual buffet dinner, more networking

Dear Vacciners,
If you were a kid in the United States in the 1940s it would have seemed perfectly normal to grow up weeding the vegetable patch in your backyard Victory Garden, to have blocks of ice delivered to your door by a horse-drawn cart, to assume that your neighbors were listening in when your operator-assisted 'party line' phone rang (the original social media!), and to personally know someone who was living in an iron lung because of polio. You would also have considered yourself fully immunized for school after having gotten just TWO shots: smallpox and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis).

One generation later — in the 1970s — the children of those 1940s kids probably assumed (if they thought about it at all) that vegetables grew in tin cans on grocery store shelves, that ice had always, since the beginning of time, been frozen at home in little levered aluminum trays, and that a vitally necessary use of your time was to spend it untangling the Princess Phone ("It's little, it's lovely, it lights!") receiver cord that was long enough to allow private telephone calls if you stretched it all the way from the living room through the kitchen to the middle of the back hall. 1970s kids were also a lot more knowledgeable about the Iron Curtain than they were about iron lungs and would have considered themselves fully immunized, even in the absence of the now passé smallpox vaccine, if they got FIVE vaccines by the time they were two (with no more than one shot per doctor's visit), now that jabs for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), plus the miraculous sugar cube against polio, had been tacked on to the DTP regimen.

Fast forward another generation or two. The grandchildren and great grandchildren of those 1940s kids now think that it is perfectly normal for their (organic, non GMO, banana-kiwi-spinach-kale-greek yogurt-barley-and-oats) lunch to come as packaged as a tasty puree from a squeeze pouch, for their (shaved/cubed/crushed) ice to be dispensed straight into a water glass from the front door of the fridge, and for their iPhone to ping them wherever they are on the planet each time Britney Spears gets arrested again. They also think it is normal to get a LOT of shots. A kid who is following the current vaccine schedule will have received THIRTY TWO immunization doses by time he or she turns 13, not counting annual flu shots or the extra jabs they'd get if they were considered to be at high risk for meningococcal disease.

And it isn't just happening to school age kids, in a worst-case scenario (i.e. playing catch up with DTaP and in that high risk group for meningococcus) the great-granddaughter of a boy who, back in the day, had received (along with one of the first ever Slinky toys) just one shot on his first birthday in 1945, might celebrate HER first birthday in 2018 at the pediatrician's office getting 9 more shots than she has candles on her birthday cupcake.

So that's a big change just over the lifespan of people who are alive today. A BIG change. One that you can look at in multiple ways. For example, you might choose to focus on just how many syringes are needed to give all those shots at a population level and decide that Mr. McGuire was absolutely correct in the 1967 advice he gave Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate."

Or you might spend a day in an old cemetery looking at the acres of teeny tiny headstones belonging to children who died from diseases that are now vaccine preventable and try to imagine what it must has been like to have been a parent in a time in which the lack of vaccines meant that you did not have the luxury of automatically assuming that all, or even any, of your babies would grow up to be cowboys.

Or you might choose to say: "Whoa!! That's too many shots in too short a time. And are they even SAFE? Keep your hands off my kid!!," like some parents do.

And just to stir the pot some more, think about what happens when you start MANDATING some of those vaccines.

For example, on December 11, 2013 the New York City Board of Health voted to make flu vaccinations mandatory for children under 6 who go to pre-school or daycare. Boy howdee, did the Twittersphere ever explode. There were Fail Whale sightings across all five boroughs.

What people who thought that it was a good idea were saying:

What people who thought this was a bad idea were saying:

What people who thought that the above arguments were specious said in return:

What people who think the above argument is, um, 'not helpful' retorted:

This is the point in which civil discourse typically broke down.

Not just because all parties involved were, by this time, busy glowering at each other and singing "la la la la la" while holding their fingers in their ears, the truth is that we DON'T have an army to enforce our mandatory vaccines, not to mention our merely recommended ones. If we did, we'd have to call them 'compulsory,' not mandatory, and we haven't had compulsory vaccination in over a hundred years in this country (see Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 1905).

But is that even necessary? Why can't we bring parents who are vaccine hesitant into the Light without having to stamp our feet, turn red in the face, threaten to put their name on Santa Claus' "naughty" list, throw them out of our pediatric practices, or otherwise fantasize a resort to force?

Come to the October VDC meeting and find out what the funny, articulate, and totally cool author of the multi-award winning book "Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines" has to say about it all.

(BTW: If this sounds at all intriguing, bring your credit card … She will be signing copies of her book during dinner ….)

Register Now!

Hope to see you and your guests for dinner at the Club next week,
-La Goddess