The other day a friend of mine posted this on her facebook page:
â€œwent against my better judgment and let [insert daughterâ€™s name] get a flu shot :( Result?…. Projectile vomiting in the back seat of our car. poor thing:( no more flu shots ever again!â€
To which I responded:
â€œIâ€™m very sorry to hear that.â€
I was very sorry to hear that. I was very sorry her little girl was sick and I was of course also very sorry that she had followed, not her better judgment but her preconceived bias towards vaccines that she had acquired primarily from watching Oprah and from shopping at Whole Foods.
My friend had at long last found what she believed was a tangible reason to finally justify opting out of flu shots and most likely vaccines for good.Â Her child had vomited in the car on the way home after getting a flu shot. Therefore flu shots are bad. Right?
Then one of her friends posted this:
â€œPoor baby! Poor mama! I use kids Immunity drops and elderberry drops as added immunity boosters during the first few weeks of school and after vacations back to school, and during big exposure periods. It seems to help with my kids. [enter kidâ€™s name] just got the “back-to-school sniffles” but I feel like two days with lessened symptoms wasn’t bad while pumping him with his “medicine”. Live and learn, we’ve all been there. And you’ll hear the flipside from peeps who think you’re ‘endangering’ your child when you don’t give them things such as flu shots…always go with your gut!â€
This as you can imagine, pissed me off.
There is literally nothing accurate about that womenâ€™s comment and her bullshit mommy-instinct crap is dangerous to the rest of us and it’s specifically insulting to intelligent mothers everywhere. The message it sends is; Donâ€™t listen when anyone tells you that you might be wrong about something or you might be endangering the life of your child or the lives of the people around you. Hell no. Ignore that silly â€˜flip sideâ€™ of any argument. You are always right. Just go with your gut! Donâ€™t try to understand any difficult concepts. Nope, just go with your gut! In fact, just close your eyes and run through traffic. Your gut will tell you when a semi truck is headed your way. Intuition is all you need.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen the general consensus seems to be that intellectualism and learninâ€™ is overrated. Us â€˜peepsâ€™ should only bother with natural, pretty, simple things that feel intuitively right. We should just make babies and pies and pick daisies and think pure happy thoughts. If it is difficult or confusing or contradictory to our commonly held beliefs or contrary to wishful thinking just don’t bother with it. Discard those thoughts. Mute those feelings. Medicine is bad unless it has a label that reads, â€œAll naturalâ€ and is sold in an unregulated market at twice the price of actual medicine and fives times the price of actual berries. Books are a waste of time too, unless they have an Oprah sticker on â€˜em or pictures for colorin’. Science is just an evil conspiracy too. Good mommies need only bother with science when they want their mini-vanâ€™s gps system to direct them to the nearest kundalini yoga class or when they want to be able to type uninformed, misleading tripe on facebook to share with the world so that they can inspire this next comment from a confused mother:
â€œThanks for all the feedback. I was just on the fence about getting one [flu shot] for my kids.â€
Thatâ€™s just great. One more woman scared into believing that vaccines and flu shots are bad with no legitimate evidence, just crappy, biased anecdotes from people who consider themselves qualified to give medical advice because they eat fruit and they squeezed a baby or two out their birth canal.Â Is it possible that the original poster whose child got sick in the car after the flu shot was carsick? Or had eaten something that made her sick? Or was sick before she got the shot? Or had a nervous mommy who stressed her out when she got the flu shot to begin with? Last time I checked you donâ€™t swallow a flu shot so it shouldnâ€™t make your stomach upset. Just because something happens directly after something does not mean that specific something caused it. Or does it?
Now that I think about it, directly after my TDaP booster shot I got an all expense-paid trip to London. And directly after my most recent flu shot, my sex life improved significantly! Why just last week at least five total strangers complimented me! I havenâ€™t been sick one single time since my last vaccine. Not even the sniffles. I lost 2 pounds. I even moved into a better apartment. I got new shoes. I saw a double rainbow and a single rainbow. That’s like a triple rainbow! Wow! The world is just so much better now that I had a flu shot. Have vaccines and flu shots seriously improved my life that much? It would seem so! All those things happened after one another so they must be related. Itâ€™s all the proof I need. Right?
Another thing that lady said that was ridiculous was the comment, â€œpumping him with medicine.â€ That is not an accurate description of what a vaccine is or does. A tiny shot is not a pump. A vaccine is not medicine. Â A vaccine introduces a tiny often-dead amount of a virus so that the bodyâ€™s immune system can identify and learn to battle that specific virus without you actually getting sick from it. The irony here is that when you get a vaccine it is actually stimulating your immune system so it is better at fighting off the actual disease should it encounter it. Huh, sorta like how the alternative medicine pushers and hippy moms imagine boosting your immune system would be. Â
I am also sick of the â€œoh itâ€™s good for them to get sickâ€ argument too. That is bull.Â A fever often comes with a flu right? Is it ever a good idea to risk inducing brain damage to your child from a dangerously high fever or what about dehydration from vomiting? And I am just talking about regular run of the mil flu viruses here. Iâ€™m not even going to get into the details of the dangers of polio, whooping cough and other serious vaccine preventable illnesses.
Then there is that wacky herd immunity you hear us talking about all the time. We need herd immunity to protect the people who canâ€™t get vaccinated because they are too young or have compromised immune systems. Elderberry doesnâ€™t do anything to solve this problem and you canâ€™t boost your immune system. Let me repeat that. If you are healthy, YOU CAN’T BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. That is a contrived statement created to sell alt med products that donâ€™t actually do anything beyond creating a placebo effect.
Some advertising guy was sitting in an office somewhere trying to come up with a way to sell stuff that had no evidence of efficacy. He or she thought to himself or herself, what better tactic than to invent something that doesnâ€™t exist and say that is what the ineffective product does. Like, oh I donâ€™t know, boosting your immune system? Boosting your immune system is like enhancing your existence. See that, I just made that up. Sounds good though right? Wouldnâ€™t you like your existence enhanced? What? You already exist and my choco-berry pellets canâ€™t enhance your existence? Oh sure they can! Just ask my friend over here. Her existence is way better now that she spends an extra $50 a week so she can stick choco-berry pellets up her ass. Or you can be like me and just get an existence enhancing flu shot.
I didnâ€™t bother to comment again on my friendâ€™s facebook page even though a part of me really wanted to. I have learned when and with whom to pick my battles. Arguing on facebook with the alternative- hippy-anti-intellectual-mom crowd is completely useless if you are a child-free skeptic. The skeptic part isnâ€™t even the worst part of it in their minds. It is the fact that I am child-free. I can never get my point across because they use the same circular, patronizing argument. â€œWell, you just donâ€™t understand. Youâ€™re not a mother. If you were a mommy then you would know what we are talking about. Mothers just know what is best for their kids.â€
Sure, because having sex in the back seat of a 1982 Chysler Cordoba and giving birth in a blow up pool are acceptable alternatives to higher education.
Quick everyone! Start handing out doctorates to all the mommies at Trader Joeâ€™s.
In the meantime, I will be packing for my upcoming trips and I will be picking out some good non-Oprah endorsed books to read on the plane rides. BTW, I highly recommend Stephen Hawkingâ€™s new book, The Grand Design . I purchased it just after my last flu shot and I have really been enjoying it!
If you would like to know how else my existence has been enhanced by vaccines and intellectual pursuits stop by and say hello to me at the Texas Freethought Convention, Tam London or you can always follow me on twitter.