A hot topic for many, vaccines discussions can make or break a conversation. Like politics and religion, to vaccinate or not is a personal choice. Increasingly though, the push to get vaccines seems to be gaining more public attention. So are people’s opinions about them.
Many say that the vaccine topic is controversial. I can agree with that. Getting a vaccine isn’t what’s controversial. The fact that the many people opting for vaccines who later walk away not feeling that they were fully informed about them is. As more people realize that vaccines are a product or merchandise, the ability to decipher information, including what is controversy, hyped-up advertising, fact or opinion, can certainly help the process of deciding to get them or not.
Since only some states mandate vaccinations, and because vaccine exemptions exist in almost every state, the majority of people have the privilege to say yea or nay to them. So, when a medical provider says someone should get one, you’d hope that before administering a vaccine, they’d carefully explain all there is to know about the product and the procedure. I know medical staff who do do that, but more often than not, some valuable information has been left out. Because of that unfortunate fact, here is a list of some tips for those who are consider choosing to vaccinate.
- Read the label. Well, read the package insert. Most package inserts are 20+ pages in length and are not typically offered to the patient, but just like grocery store items have labels, each vaccine has its own package insert. This document, published by the vaccine manufacturer, and which is can be easily found on the internet for those who would like to search on their own, is rather lengthy. It offers such information as the ingredients, if it contains a live or attenuated virus, if the vaccine sheds (including how long it sheds and whom you should avoid for the duration of the shedding process) as well as the recommended dosage(s). Some of the vaccine safety study/studies that were conducted prior to the vaccine being made available to the public, including the cohorts who participated in those studies, the documented adverse reactions from the vaccine and whom the vaccine is being recommended, is also listed in a package insert. Patients may see the Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS) when vaccines are brought up in medical appointments, which is a one- to two-sided very abbreviated version of the vaccine’s information, but the VIS is missing a great amount of information that could help someone come to a more informed decision.
The Gardasil VIS above, at two sparse pages, versus the link of the 29 pages of the Gardasil vaccine package insert: http://www.merck.com/product/
2.Choose wisely. Vaccines aren’t for everyone. Yes, vaccines are offered every day to the young and old alike with multiple vaccines being offered at one time. But, not everyone gains benefits from them and, not everyone fits the one-size-fits-all recommended vaccine schedule. This has been proven with how much money has been granted to those who have fallen ill or died from their vaccines. Information on these grave results can be found in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s website.
Being sick, getting over an illness, or having other medical issues that are contradictory to receiving vaccines, can negate getting one. Not only that, but factoring in your extended family’s medical history is important to consider as well. If your father had a vaccine reaction when he was vaccinated, or if Grandma had history of an autoimmune disease, those issues can and should be weighed in the decision. After gathered the information, and if it brings you closer to a yes decision to vaccinate, your provider may suggest taking supplements before and after vaccinations. They would suggest this in preparation for the body to be ready for the toxic load that come with vaccines, or to aid the body in detoxing from the vaccine ingredients that affect the neurological and gastrointestinal systems, the immune system and other systems of the body known to be affected. Something else that can be done prior to vaccinating is to review the helpful list, Ask8 that the National Vaccine Information Center has posted on their website. Then, if feeling fully prepared and informed, once the decision has been made and a vaccine administered, the next step after receiving it is to watch for side effects.
3. Recognize the side effects. All vaccines list reported side effects in their package insert. That’s because someone somewhere, during the safety study period, had a negative reaction from that vaccine. Reactions can happen right away, within hours of getting the vaccine or can take weeks to occur. They are important to document so appropriate treatment can be started. Important to note is that secondary illness are not an unusual event post vaccination either. From the mild, like swelling at the site of injection, to the moderate, like body aches, to the severe, including rashes, seizures, loss of consciousness, autism and death, reactions are not just a coincidence and should be taken seriously.
4. Remember, convenience doesn’t always beget safety. Because of how serious side effects can be, another important factor to contemplate is where to go to receive the shots. From drive-thru locations to flu shot clinics at your local Walmart Shopping Center, as well as in the halls of an elementary school, bizarre locations instead of licensed medical facilities are just as ready to host vaccine clinics. What might be overlooked, though, is if these other locations are adequately prepared to provide medical care post-vaccination, especially for those who have an immediate reaction. If you faint, begin to seize or go into cardiac arrest soon after receiving a vaccine, falling or convulsing on the tile floor of a Walmart store may not be the safest place for you. Consider instead going to a medical center if you opt to vaccinate. You’ll likely to be surrounded by medical staff, staff who must document the reactions that occurred, and will hopefully be treated by trained providers who can respond to an adverse event quickly.
5. Report the side effects. When a product fails, the manufacture usually wants to know. Not to beat their head into a wall at the failure, but to fix the mistake and make the product better. Even with so many adverse reactions reported for many vaccines on the market, we haven’t seen many changes to the way the vaccine is manufactured to include the removal of the harsh ingredients causing some of the problems. But consumers, those who agree to get a vaccine, should know that it’s required by law that vaccines that result in adverse events and reactions must be reported. This information is entered into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). That data, which is accessible to the public, has been collected for decades now, and can be searched by anyone, not just medical staff, to cross reference mild, moderate, severe and fatal vaccine reactions.
6. Stay informed. Read the news and long-term studies of the vaccines you’ve gotten long after you’ve received them. Safety studies have never been done to test how one vaccine interacts with another when administered together, or if how many vaccines given in one day is beneficial or harmful, so keep abreast with vaccine news should those studies are ever conducted. Track reported data of the vaccine(s) you’ve gotten and pay attention to what, if any, secondary illness, have been discovered and reported by others. Listen to what other people are saying after they got their shots too. Anecdotal stories can be helpful and sometimes have had more bearing. The best way to truly stay fully informed about vaccines is to learn about them and to continue to read about them. Above all, know that you can vaccinate at almost any time. You just can’t unvaccinate once the vaccine has been administered.
Vaccines themselves come with quite a history. Those invested in the vaccine product wish to repeat that history. Others, like myself, who see vaccines in a much different light, hope that their safety and efficacy are weighed very carefully. For those new to researching all there is to know about vaccines, remember this. It may feel like a one-time event when the needle goes in, but the effects, and primarily the negative ones, have been known to last for some time.
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