Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My new article at Slate - egg allergies and flu vaccines ARE compatible

I'm really proud to have authored the following piece on Slate.  Vaccines are tried and true at preventing a multitude of potentially deadly infectious diseases and have a long history of safety.  Are there adverse events?  Of course, but they are rare.  The benefits far outweigh the risks (see the infographic below).  While the flu vaccine varies in efficacy every year (some years are better than others), it is the best means we have to prevent flu, which can and does kill thousands every year and puts many more in the hospital.  It is especially important for those with asthma. 

Please know that I want to present everyone with facts so that they, along with healthcare providers, make informed decisions.  People can and do rarely have anaphylaxis to vaccines, which may have nothing to do with the miniscule amounts of egg proteins.  In controlled clinical trials, over 4,000 individuals with egg allergies have received the flu vaccine without anaphylaxis.  On top of this, the MMR vaccine is also made using eggs and is routinely given without issue.  It is important that as many of us who can receive vaccines do, in order to protect not only ourselves, but those who can't receive it (e.g. - those who have had anaphylactic reactions to vaccines more generally).

Vaccines are often suggested as a cause behind allergies, autism, etc.  There has been no direct causal evidence to support this.  A lot has changed in our modern world (maybe some not for the better), but I fear going back to the pre-vaccine era.  Keep the discussion going!  This is an important one to have.

vaccine infographic created by Leon Farrant, as appeared in Forbes - http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/02/19/a-graphic-that-drives-home-how-vaccines-have-changed-our-world/

5 comments:

  1. Hi, just found your blog from your article on Slate. Thank you a million times for this. Every winter I worry about my asthmatic, egg-allergic kid getting the flu. Until now his allergist wouldn't give him a flu shot. We're headed there next week, and if the allergist still refuses, I'm going to find another allergist!!

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    1. Glad to hear it! You can always go in with print-outs of some peer-reviewed articles/recommendations by the major allergy organizations. Your allergist should be able to help you view these findings in light of your child's unique history :).

      The actual position state - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24054370 (this link is not the actual article. You will not be able to access the article itself, but your allergist should know where to gain access to this important article if you print this out from the PubMed database!).

      Information from the major allergy org (ACAAI): http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/drug-allergy/Pages/flu-shots-egg-allergy.aspx

      A full peer-reviewed study that you can access: http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749%2812%2901293-6/fulltext

      Best of luck and thanks for reading!

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  2. Hello, I wonder if as a concerned mother - not merely a product of a fixed-focus education system, you ever bothered to research the vast amount of contra-indicating data about vaccination?
    Do you still allow your child to be intoxicated by fluoride?
    Do you understand the political difference between calcium fluoride and sodium fluoride?
    Do you understand the toxicity rating of sodium fluoride? (It's right up there with lead and mercury).
    Thus: Do you have any idea of how a vaccine is constructed?
    Do you know anyone who is a statistician? Amazing results from properly examining the data similar to your diagram above?

    As the only known survivor of mestasised pancreatic cancer I know of, and resultingly, being poisonable by vast numbers of common substances, my personal research along with my mate have been more than substantial.
    If you are serious, start with simply researching the Fluoride industry. You will learn a great deal of how The System works and can meet some very, very brave scientists ans medicos.
    One last point:
    I have seen really amazing results in cases where simply removing fluoride and mercury were accomplished.
    Just think as a mother first. This will help you offset your conditioning.

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    1. I appreciate your concern, but to say that I put a "fixed-focus education system" above the health and well-being of my family is just not true. It is an accusation that trained scientists are somehow corrupt and trying to hide some "real truth." Of course I have investigated many of these issues because of my son and other family member's chronic illnesses, and every time I look at a consensus of scientific data, the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks. Same holds true for fluoride, which is entirely different point altogether I might add. Yes, there are "scary" sounding ingredients, including mercury in the form of thimerosal in some vaccines. What needs to be considered is pharmacology - a dose-response profile. Most substances become toxic at high enough doses. It's all about the dose. You get more of a harmful form of mercury from eating a can of tuna than you do from a vaccine.

      I understand the very real fears, I really do. As I know you are well aware of. I'm glad that you were able to beat cancer! A lot about our modern way of life has changed and affected our well-being no doubt. After looking at the consensus of data, vaccines and fluoride are not the tree we should be barking up. Even if these things (allergies, autoimmune disorders, cancer, etc) are caused by a multitude of different factors coming together, vaccines/fluoride are just not the things to remove when considering overwhelming benefits versus risks. By the way, I never claim that vaccines are without risk. They are minor when compared to the deadly infectious diseases they are designed to prevent.

      I am a product of my education in that I look critically at these issues; how studies are done, etc. A lack of data is certainly no means that something is outright dismissed - and all well-trained scientists will acknowledge this. Science continually evaluates existing consensus in light of new data. Every time I have read anti-vaccine or anti-fluoride arguments, though, the evidence that gets cited cherry picks data or small underpowered studies to support an agenda while failing to cite larger, more powerful studies that are not in line with that agenda. This is not in line with how science is done.

      I also don't understand the "amazing" results that you speak of. Yes, anecdote should be acknowledged in order to do scientific studies that control for placebo effects and other forms of bias. Anecdote by itself is dangerous to rely on.

      Thank you for your point of view - I am happy to have multiple points of view - but please don't accuse me of putting my family's health below my "fixed focused conditioning" that supports some hidden agenda by trained scientists. It's just not there, and it's just not true.

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  3. Personally I just don't eat food that I'm allergic to. I think it's a little bit ignorant to continue to eat things that cause you problems. If you can't stay away from it well, I think you may need more then an allergist.
    John Bond | http://www.allergypartners.com/dfw/SitePages/Allergist.aspx

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