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The Herd Immunity is for Him

vaccineWhile Jenny McCarthy waxes on righteously indignant about why parents like her don’t have to vaccinate, it’s parents like Stephanie Tatel left wondering where in the world their kids are safe.

Tatel’s toddler has leukemia, and as she points out in a Slate medical article this week, he’s one of the kids to whom the non-vaccinated are a direct threat to life.

That’s because Tatel’s little boy is immunosuppressed – he isn’t on a vaccine schedule because the chemotherapy would destroy any immunities afforded by a shot. It’s not just kids with cancer who can’t be immunized – there are kids who are allergic to portions of vaccines, kids with other immune deficiencies. Ironically, these are the very kids for whom a vaccine-preventable disease is the most dangerous. A kid with no immune system to speak of doesn’t stand a fighting chance against Hib or the chicken pox.

So, as Tatel explaines, “Those who cannot be vaccinated, including young babies, transplant, and cancer patients, depend on the immunity of the herd to protect them.”

And guess where that herd immunity comes from? You got it.

The McCarthys of the world have tried to put a human face on their pseudo-science by parading out their kids. We get it – they’re struggling with the very real and very tough situation of parenting an autistic child. But as Dr. Paul Offit, who Tatel quotes, and many other scientists have proven – the link is non-existent.

The link between non-vaccinated children and the deaths of the immuno-suppressed, however, is very real. And Tatel doesn’t want her child to be human face for that story.

Image: alvi2047 via flickr

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