Thursday, December 25, 2008

how to research on vaccines

Really liked the following list of things to consider when researching vaccines. Got it from a mailing list from a woman named Laureen:

1) Don't take it as "vaccinations", take each and every vaccine as an
individual decision. Makes it much more manageable.

2) Figure out your risk for any given disease. Is your baby at risk?
Is that disease common or even likely where you live?

3) Figure out if there are alternative treatments should your child
contract the disease. The vaccine debate is often presented as
"vaccinate, or die of illness", when there are often many other
treatment options for a given disease.

4) Examine the original research. Often, the sample sizes are
inappropriate, the statistics are not rigorous, the assumptions
flawed. Pitch any research that's badly done, no matter what opinion
it supports. Only use the good stuff.

5) Examine the chemical composition of any given vaccination
formulation. Find out which company and which lot number your
pediatrician administers. Formulations vary a whole lot, and you need
to really understand *all* of the ingredients. Folks with egg
allergies, for example, should never be vaccinated with things
cultured on egg (like the flu shot).

6) Examine the long term effects. Some vaccinations only confer
immunity for a limited time, some require a booster schedule, some are
associated with adult health issues. Know what you're signing up for.

7) Consider the timing. A child passes through various states of
robust and compromised immune system, and you want to make sure that,
should you choose to vaccinate, the vaccination is administered at a
time appropriate for the state of your child's system, *not* some
arbitrary schedule or appointment. Never vaccinate a child in the
advanced stages of teething, for example.

8) Examine the research. Not just the studies and their construction,
but follow up on the researchers themselves, and who's paying them,
not just who's sponsoring the studies. You find some fascinating links
that way.