Tag Archive | Vaccination

Polio – Re-Vaccinate or Not?

You may have heard that there is a polio outbreak in the Muslim world.  Honestly, I don’t care that much – except that all of our neighbors are Arab.  Great news, right?

I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but the Ministry of Health has told all residents of the south to vaccinate children 0-9 years of age with the oral polio vaccine (live but weakened virus).  This is because, starting from 2004, they replaced OPV with IPV in the standard immunization routine.  Which means that anyone born after 2004 received the inactiviated (i.e., dead) polio vaccine, instead of the live one.  On the whole, it’s a much safer vaccine now.  After all, a dead virus can’t hurt you, right?

On Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Health extended the order to re-vaccinate children 0-9 years old to all of Israel, because polio was found in the sewage in the area of Ramla and Lod.

[Backtrack: Polio was found in the sewage a few months ago, but most of the samples taken were from the south.  Word of mouth has it that polio has been in the sewage for years, but because we are mostly vaccinated, we never noticed it.  The outbreak in the Arab countries started because someone decided that the polio vaccine was a trick of the Western world in order to render Arabs infertile.  Therefore, the best thing to do was to order everyone not to vaccinate.  (Let’s say that this was true.  If the vaccine makes you infertile, the disease won’t?  Okay, no one ever said these radicals use their brains . . .)

Yitzchak adds:  Nigeria has polio, and as well all know, everyone goes to Mecca.  Then someone who came back from Mecca and lived in Judea and Samaria had caught the virus and somehow passed it on enough that there is stuff in the sewage.  I don’t know where Yitzchak got that, or if it even makes sense.  Take it or leave it.  Honestly, I think he has something there, but I’m not quite sure what it is.]

Okay, so now everyone should re-vaccinate.  And the fact that we are moving to the south (that’s for another post) makes me more nervous.  The vaccine is definitely better than the virus.  On the other hand, Shlomo is already vaccinated.  What are the chances of him catching it if he’s already had all his vaccinations?  They say the IPV prevents you from getting sick (but you can still transmit); the OPV prevents you from passing the virus on.  Do I really want to give my kid a dose of OPV so that someone who chose not to vaccinate their kid (and presumably won’t vaccinate now, either) won’t suffer?

I definitely need to go over what the Ministry of Health is saying and sort through it all.  I also have to check and make sure that Yitzchak and I are both vaccinated properly.  But if it’s an issue of transmitting the virus, not of actually getting sick – I think I’ll pass . . .

As I said, though, I need to do a bit more reading before making a final decision.

Oh, the stupid Arabs.  Oh, the stupid people who choose not to vaccinate, not only causing potential harm to themselves but also to others.  I assume said people won’t vaccinate now – in which case, I don’t see why I should do it for them.  But why can’t everyone get the regular vaccines, on schedule, and peace on Israel (shalom al Yisrael; a phrase that is used to mean, “and just be done with it”)?

HPV Vaccine: Is It Worth It?

HPV vaccine, vaccine, vaccines, child getting vaccine, nurse giving vaccine, shots, vaccinations

This is a little off-topic for me, but I am posting it because I think it is important to be aware of:

I was browsing through A Mother in Israel‘s blog, and I read her article on HPV vaccines.  She raises some good points there, but that’s not my point.  In one of the comments is a reference to a website called, “The Truth About Gardasil.”  This website links to some other news articles, and its main point is: Gardasil is a vaccine that contains a live virus, and it has hurt many people.

I am not, and I repeat this, I am NOT an anti-vaccine person.  I think that the vaccines standard today (except for chickenpox, which I am wary of) are important, and should be given to everyone, unless they have a very valid health reason not to.  I do not believe the arguments (which have long since been disproven, by the way) that vaccines cause autism or other health issues.

With that, this is a new vaccine, given for something that a couple in a lifetime monogamous relationship (or even two monogamous relationships, one after the other) does not necessarily need.  For that reason alone, I was skeptic.  And it turns out that perhaps my skepticisim was well-founded.  I am not saying was is or wasn’t.

What I am saying is this: Before you get swept up in the hype about HPV vaccines, or let their ads convince you of anything, do your research.  Decide whatever you like, and I won’t fault you for it.  But please, do your research.  Take a look at the website, click their links, read what they have to say, and read the information advocating the vaccine.  Take note of who wrote each article, what their credentials are, and what their mission is.  Do your research, and then decide.

For the sake of everyone who reads this, that is my message.  I have more than a few years to decide whether or not to vaccinate Shlomo.  By the time Shlomo gets to that age, we will probably know a lot more about the vaccine than we do now.  But for those of you who are already there, please, please, please – do your research, and make an informed decision.

Pushing Off Appointments

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I have to make an appointment for Shlomo at the Tipat Chalav (the birth to age six health and wellness center, where they give vaccines, routine checkups, and screenings).  And I’ve been pushing it off, because every time I think about it, I get annoyed.  Why?

Well, first of all, it is an annoying [steep] uphill walk from where I live.  Granted, Yitzchak makes this walk almost every day, to go to the mikva. (I say “almost”, because sometimes he has to skip, and sometimes he goes in a different mikva, near where he is studying.)  I am not Yitzchak, though, and he is not walking uphill with a stroller when he goes.  Also, I tend to walk fast, which is good, but can wear you out early if you’re not careful.

Second of all, I am not thrilled with this branch of the Tipat Chalav.  Each family is assigned a branch based on where they live, and it is pretty much impossible to change branches.  Here’s why I’m not thrilled:

1) When Shlomo was eight and a half months old, we went in to make up a missed vaccine (more on those later).  The nurse weighed and measured him, and told me that he had gone down in percentile, even though he had grown since his last visit, at six months.  She also told me that to raise his percentile and make sure he was getting enough to eat(?!?!?! he’s been gaining weight steadily,he’s happy, and other than his size, he’s perfectly normal, thank G-d, and even a bit ahead at 8.5 months), I should give him a few ounces of chicken a day. Lady, what do you expect?  First of all, you are not asking for the background information:  We switched his nursing schedule drastically two weeks ago, and he hasn’t quite gotten fully used to it yet.  And, percentile isn’t everything: this kid has two tall, slender, parents, who both held to the lower end of normal for weight for most of their lives, and at one point, either during puberty or pre-puberty were slightly underweight.  So, I don’t care too much that he dropped in percentile.

Second of all, most babies in this country do not nurse past one month, usually not past three months, and certainly not past six months.  Yes, some do, but it is not common, at all.  In fact, it is so uncommon that I might venture to call it rare.  And, as we all know, in order to receive enough nutrition from formula, a baby needs to eat a lot more of it – and often, it makes babies slightly fat.  So again, percentile doesn’t matter too much here.  Compare him to other breastfed babies, and I might think differently.

And third, he is sick of nursing.  It takes too long, takes too much effort, and he knows that he can fill his tummy on something else.  So, we are literally fighting just to keep him nursing.  Give him chicken?  Right.  Then for sure he won’t want to nurse.  And I’m really sorry, Mrs. Nurse, but he needs my milk more than he needs any other food at this point.  Talk to me again after his birthday.

2) At Shlomo’s one-year checkup, we got a second nurse, who told us that she was giving him his MMR vaccination.  That was fine; that was why I had come.  Later on, I looked at his vaccination record to check something else, and realized that she had given him, with the MMR but without telling (or asking) me, the chickenpox vaccination.  This is a vaccination that we were on the fence about, for various reasons.  We had decided to push it off.  And she gave it to him, without permission?!?!  No matter what I would have done or would not have done, now or later, you don’t do anything to a child without his parents’ permission.

3) One of my friends asked the nurse at her branch (she’s not my neighbor, so different branch) a question, and the nurse told her outright that they have books with statistics and charts, and that is what they go by.   They don’t know anything except for the protocols in their books, so she can’t answer my friend’s question.  Very impressive.

Oh, and my last nitpick about the clinics?  They have formula advertisements everywhere.  Great environment for mothers, right?  They apparently offer lactation consultant services, too, but their services usually do not help a mother who is struggling to keep breastfeeding, and most mothers who turn there for help end up formula feeding.

So, given all of this, is it any shock that I do not want to take him back until I have to, for his last set of [early childhood] vaccinations?  I think not.  But, I will make the appointment and take him anyways, because a professor that I respect told me that even though he’s probably fine (and she said specifically that she doesn’t see a problem, thank G-d), I should still get him checked out.

Please take my poll!  Thank you.