By Julie Obradovic
In the aftermath of the Green the Vaccines Rally, the inevitable criticism of the participants and their purpose swooped in with the force of the thunderstorm that struck DC that afternoon.
In the recent years of being an “Autism activist”, I have found it much easier to simply steer clear of this criticism. Message boards, Bloggers and editorials that paint me as a fear-mongering fool who uses her child as an experiment only put me in a bad mood.
Initially I was compelled to argue, fighting for my dignity and looking for compassion. What I realized is that is exhaustive work, and frankly, quite fruitless, especially when the bully you’re battling is anonymous.
And so it has been that I have chosen to ignore the negativity and focus on the task at hand: finding a way to help families with Autism improve the health and well-being of their children, themselves, and their finances.
None-the-less, occasionally it becomes necessary to stand up and be heard. It’s as if the opposition got a new memo on how to belittle one of “us”, and frankly, it’s annoying.
For starters, as JB Handley addressed in his essay “Moving the Goal Posts”, we are now guilty of “changing the game”. Evidently we can’t make up our minds about what part of the vaccine or vaccines cause Autism.
Is it the mercury? Is it the aluminum? Is it both? Is it too many vaccines in combination? Somehow our inability to stick to one story makes us inauthentic.
A second point accuses us of not recognizing our children had a vaccine reaction until someone or something (i.e., the internet) told us so. This too makes us less than credible.
Then there’s the third point that champions there is no science to support what we believe; that it’s been more than proven vaccines don’t cause Autism…yadda..yadda..yadda.
To be sure, these are not unreasonable positions for a person to have given the media coverage and the spin that takes place on an almost daily basis. But all of these points have clear answers: It’s the amount of vaccines, their timing, and/or their ingredients in a susceptible child; when you’re told vaccines have no side effects, you don’t recognize them until later; yes, we use the computer to do research; and as for the science, well, there’s not enough time or space here to even go there.
None of these arguments get to me though, and none of them are the point of this article.
What does get to me is the new question I first heard posed by Dr. Harvey Karp on Larry King Live!, and have since heard from several others. It’s like a good put-down heard on the play ground one afternoon that becomes everyone’s favorite retaliatory remark by the next morning.
One particular journalist at the rally even got Jim Carrey to take the bait.
When questioning the amount of vaccines and their ingredients now given to children in light of a lack of safety studies, a new response is:
“Well, what disease DO you want your child to get (that we have a vaccine for)?”
Do me a favor. When you catch your breath from its insulting nature (for Christ’s sake, who WANTS their child to get a disease?), calmly remember this question is a trap. It’s meant to be inflammatory and make people concerned about vaccine safety look irresponsible. It’s juvenile at best.
The answer is simple and two-fold: None of them. None of us wish any child develop a vaccine preventable disease.
But the more important answer is that we don’t want them to develop a neurodevelopment delay EITHER. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.
Unless and until we study vaccines for their long term consequences, particularly for their role in the development of chronic disease in susceptible populations, it is impossible to know the true risk-reward ratio.
Vaccines have been implicated in the development of speech delay and tics (among many other health outcomes), and are currently being studied for their role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other diseases.
It is not unreasonable for consumers of vaccines to demand the answer to the question: In the name of the eradication of infectious disease, have we inadvertently swapped it for chronic disease. And if we have, what are the risks of developing both?
Hypothetically, if my child has a 1 in 5 million chance of ever getting Hepatitis B, but a 1 in 6 chance of developing a developmental delay because of the vaccine, I’ll take my chances with Hepatitis B. That is not the same as wanting the disease. That’s just plain logic.
So the next time someone asks this question, kindly respond, “Don’t you mean to ask me what disease am I least worried about my child contracting and why? Certainly you’re not implying I want my child to get a disease simply because I question the safety and unintended consequences of the mechanism that is supposed to be providing protection, are you?”
On a good note, resorting to this kind of ridiculous question reeks of desperation. And who can blame them?
Almost 20% of two year olds are now not following the recommended vaccine schedule.
The “Vaccine Court” just conceded a little girl’s Autism was aggravated by too many vaccines at once, and 5,000 more cases are in the pipeline.
Dr. Bernadine Healy acknowledged publicly (on the evening news, no less) that you can’t rule out a vaccine-autism connection.
Almost 9,000 people marched on Washington DC, and each one of them could have brought many more families with them. Thousands and thousands of parents are not giving up this fight, and if anything, are only growing stronger.
In Generation Rescue’s documentary “Autism Yesterday”, it was predicted things would only going to get uglier before they got better. I have to agree.
“What disease do I WANT my child to get?” you ask.
It doesn’t get much uglier than that.
Julie Obradovic is the mom of a recovered child. She is a member of NAA, a Rescue Angel, and a leader of the TACA Chicago Chapter.