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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

F*&k you, anti-vaccination idiots...

I am so sick of the anti-vaccination nutjobs.  This time it's personal.  Missy and her family went to Disneyland over Christmas.  They brought back a bad case of the flu* and passed it along to me, but fortunately they did not come back with measles. Not everyone was so lucky.  Missy's family's "luck" is quite possibly due to the fact that they are

a) vaccinated
b) amoung the 95%-99% of people who've had the vaccination who have immunity
c) maybe they didn't come into contact with someone who had measles

Most of the people who got it had not been immunized, some by choice and some who were too young to get it, plus a few other people who'd had the vaccine but got sick anyway.   It's contagious as heck.  Now it is getting spread around to other people.

I'm getting up on my Old Biddy soapbox here.  When I was 30, I had chickenpox.  Somehow, my brother and I avoided getting it when we were kids and had it as adults.  The chickenpox vaccine was rolled out in 1995, and it took a while for it to get implemented and for people to get herd immunity.  Furthermore, as a 20-something adult, I didn't go to the doctor very much, so from 1995-1998 it slipped under my radar.  In 1999, at age 30, I decided it was time to be a grownup and get a primary care physician and have a physical and get up to date on all my vaccines.**  I made the first appointment I could get, which was about a month after I called in and made the appointment.
While I was waiting for my physical, I went to a meeting which was also attended by an asshole*** whose kids had chickenpox.  I caught it from him.  That's how contagious it is - I was just sitting in the same room from someone who had chickenpox virus on him but was immune.  Two weeks later I started feeling a bit sore and achy on Saturday.  I thought, no big deal, I'd been playing a lot of soccer.  So I went out to a party Saturday night, and then played soccer on Sunday and had dinner with a friend.  I had one or two itchy spots but assumed they were mosquito bites.  On Monday I realized I had chickenpox, and quarantined myself.  I was sick and miserable for two weeks, lost 10 lbs of muscle, got a secondary infection and was covered with hives, and my once-photographic memory has never been the same as it was.  This is what happened to a healthy 30 year old woman.  It could've been much worse if I had been older, had a suppressed immune system, or was just more unlucky.
As far as I know, I passed it along to one other person, at least.  She was the host of the party I attended two days before I realized I had it.  I do not remember having a lot of contact with her, but, like me, she was a Californian who never had it as a kid.  I had no clue that I had it for another 2 days. It is fortunate that I did not go to Disneyland.
That is chickenpox.  Chickenpox outbreaks don't make the news. By all accounts, measles is MORE contagious and is MORE dangerous.  Don't spread that shit around.  You kid is not a precious snowflake with magical immunity due to their special diet, nor are you the only idiot out there who didn't vaccinate, nor will you know when your kid first is contagious.  And even if you keep your kid home once you realize they're sick, you may spread it around.
If you avoiding getting them vaccinated because you were worried about autism, put on your grownup pants and get them vaccinated now.  Separate out the measles vaccine from the rest if it makes you feel better, but please get it done now.  Keep your goddamned magical thinking out of the Magic Kingdom, and everywhere else too.

* This flu that's going around is nasty, and pretty much everyone has come down with it.  I got it after I got back from break, and most of my students were either sick during the break or when they got back.  One reason it's so prevalent is that this year's vaccine is not very effective against the strains going around this year, so a lot more people are spreading around.  Rather than say this means that vaccines don't work, it means they do work and we are seeing what happens when fewer people have immunity than usual.  The flu vaccine is made months in advance, and, unlike other vaccines, the vaccine makers have to guess at which strains are going to be prevalent.

**Anti-vaxxers - don't put primary blame on adults who were vaccinated as kids for not getting booster shots as adults, either.  We're not the first line of defense here - your kids are.  We're riding the herd immunity same as everyone else.  In an ideal world we'd all get booster shots the minute we need them or get new vaccines when they are introduced,  but most people don't know their exact childhood vaccine schedule or remember if the shot they got when they went off to grad school was a MMR booster or a tetanus shot.  Or they may have a one month wait for a physical at Kaiser.  So there may be a lag time, as there was with me and the chickenpox vaccine I tried to get.

*** He was an asshole for a lot of reasons which have nothing to do with him giving me chickenpox.

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