The #GOPDebate on September 16, 2015 on CNN seems to have re-ignited the vaccine discussion once again. GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump stated, "A child went to gave the vaccine, got very, very sick, and now is autistic." Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon stated that there could still be a link between vaccinations and autism, "It has not been adequately revealed to the public what's actually going on." Rand Paul, and ophthalmologist, formerly had a similar view, but backed away from that stance (The Hill). See more in the video below.
Why are we having this debate again? Hasn't this been settled by now? Both pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine advocates took to twitter to fight it out (again). On my twitter stream, I shared the photo at the top of this post - This was me earlier this week getting my flu shot. In addition, I shared on my twitter stream these Pro-Vaccine articles:
- Scientific American: Fact or Fiction?: Vaccines Are Dangerous - Overwhelming medical evidence proves that negative side effects are rare and minor
- New York Times: Not Up For Debate: The Science Behind Vaccination
- CNN: 5 Myths Surrounding Vaccines - And The Reality
Now, this didn't stop a few anti-vax people from coming after me on twitter. It was quite amusing, let me tell ya...
Of course, I favorited some of these tweets to share with all of you. I just wanted to let you know that the anti-vax crowd is still out there, and they use media events like this to try to further their point of view. Well, the pro-vaccine community must do the same thing. I saw organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics respond to the GOP debate like this:
"The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made during the Republican presidential debate last night regarding vaccines. Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature. It is dangerous to public health to suggest otherwise.
“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer.
“Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated."
Hey Anti-Vaxers! It's not 1998 anymore. That study was debunked. We have the science on our side. The Pro-Vaccine community was not ready in those pre-social media days back at that time to combat the rhetoric and the fear mongering that was happening. But, we are more than ready now! We can and we should spread our message that Vaccines are Safe, Vaccines are Effective, and Vaccines Save Lives.
For those who know vaccines are helpful, and not harmful, and especially those of you in the medical community, we have to stand up and spread our message on social media. If we do not stand up for what we believe, then who will? I passionately talked about that in my Tedx talk on January 23, 2015 which was just in the midst of the Disneyland Measles outbreak. Check it out above and #BeTheChange