Diary

Guillain Barre Syndrome and Vaccines

Not to beat a dead horse, but to try to add to the knowledge base of conservatives about vaccines, it is well documented that there does appear to be some link between Guillan Barre Syndrome and some vaccines.  Guillan Barre Syndrome can be a devastating neurological disease, but the incidence of linkage is extremely small. There have been incident reports to CDC of Guillan Barre following vaccination with Gardasil, but no causal connection established.   Similarly, there is evidence of infection with polio following vaccination, not only of the person vaccinated, but of family members, most likely where an immune compromised family member changes the diapers of a vaccinated baby.  These instances are extremely rare, but they do happen.  That is why we have a fund to pay for damages when they do.  Conservatives should not buy into either the anti-vaccine scare tactics nor the pro-vaccine scare tactics.  Requiring vaccination against a disease which is easily spread through ordinary human contact before a child attends a public school is entirely reasonable.  Forcing parents to vaccinate a child against a disease which is spread only by sexual contact is not.

I also note that some commenters have pointed to the return of pertussis (whooping cough) deaths in Los Angeles County.  First, LA County has chosen to fight this through a voluntary adult vaccination program. (Most of the deaths involved newborns who were too young to vaccinate who contracted it from their parents or other adults.).  Second, the number of non-immune adults is a result of a) a large immigrant population that was never vaccinated and b) the fact that the pertussis immunity wears off   Thus L. A. County recommends vaccination for anyone who will be caring for small infants who hasn’t had a booster in the last 10 years.  There is no evidence that these deaths have resulted from some exaggerated concern about vaccine effects.  The reality is that most of us have not been immunized since childhood and can carry the infection without knowing it.