Vaccines save lives

  • Wednesday, September 10, 2014 2:26pm
  • News

I was dismayed to read the fear mongering anti-vaccination opinion piece by Ashley Gregoire published in the Homer News recently. She asserts that there was a major Centers for Disease Control “coverup” that recently came out, but she was terribly short on facts. The “coverup” was instead a disagreement on statistical data analysis reporting from one team member on a paper that was published 10 years ago. 

It hasn’t been 11 years of data that have been covered up, as Mrs. Gregoire suggests. She doesn’t remind us that the original paper in 1998 that started the crazy anti-vaccination fear mongering was itself a complete fraud and was retracted in 2010 with evidence of data manipulation and ethics violations. We are led down the path of conspiracy despite the huge body of medical evidence to the contrary — how diseases infect bodies, how they spread and how they kill. Most importantly how they can be stopped or slowed. How an estimated 3 million children’s lives are saved by vaccines every year. 

Numerous large epidemiological studies have looked closely for links between autism and vaccines. No links have been found. This article: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.full provides a good overview of 20 such studies. 

Each one of us is a member of a community. Despite our desires to be individuals who can do whatever we want, we are a social creature and we don’t exist in vacuums. Your choices can affect my life and the lives of those around you. As one pediatrician said, “Refusing to vaccinate a child is dangerous not just for that child but for entire communities.” 

Herd immunity is not a scare tactic made up by conspirators to devalue your individual freedoms. That is paranoia. Herd immunity works on a population-level biological basis and is fairly straightforward in its effectiveness — we have seen our collective immunity decrease as fear mongering like what we read from Mrs. Gregoire plays with the emotions of parents. 

And in places where parents are electing to not vaccinate their kids, we all should be concerned as it increasingly threatens the collective immunity of our community. Recent years have seen frightening increases in outbreaks of preventable diseases in the U.S. — things like measles and whooping cough. Studies have shown that states that easily allow for vaccine exemptions in schools have up to 90 percent higher rates of whooping cough in children. 

Before you decide who to believe, please take the time to read and understand the biology of vaccinations and disease outbreaks. Educate yourself on the basics of epidemiology and ask questions. Be critical, but please don’t let paranoid conspiracy theories, short on fact and heavy in rhetoric, take over.

Rachel Lord

Parent and member of the Homer community

More in News

A diagram presented by Teresa Jacobson Gregory illustrates the proposed extension of the Beachcomber LLC gravel pit and the impact it may have on the surrounding state recreation area. The red markers indicate the current gravel mining area, and the orange represents the area the extension may allow for mining if approved. (Image courtesy of Teresa Jacobson Gregory)
KPB Assembly to consider gravel-pit ordinance revisions

Proposed gravel pit ordinance follows Superior Court ruling that planning commission can deny permits.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meets on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board works to highlight students’ voices

Within the first hour of the meeting students would have up to five minutes each to address the board about any issue

Furniture awaits use in a bedroom at a cold weather shelter set to open next month on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Half of beds at Nikiski shelter are occupied

The shelter opened at the end of December 2021

A group of community members gather together on Thursday, Jan. 6 at WKFL Park to protest the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on the one-year anniversary of the attack. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
South Peninsula residents turn out to ‘defend democracy’

Members of the Homer community and the Unitarian Universalists of Homer gathered… Continue reading

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag. The state on Thursday reported a modest population growth between April 2020 and July 2021. It's the first time since 2016 the state has reported a population increase. (
State reports small population growth

Net migration still negative, but not as negative.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Health officials: Some monoclonal treatments widely ineffective against omicron

The new guidance comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State Sen. Peter Micciche fields questions from constituents during a joint chamber luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
State Senate president lays out vision for upcoming session

Micciche seeks path forward on budget, looks to pass legislation on fishing permits, alcohol regulations

Snow covers the sign on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at the South Peninsula Hospital Bartlett Street COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Local COVID-19 alert rate quadruples

State alert level per 100,000 people now is above 1,100.

Most Read