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Monday, September 29, 2008

MMR, to have the shot or not

Because your thoughts are important to me, I'm making this into a sticky post, please scroll down for the most recent entries. And since you're already reading this, I hope you'll comment if you have something to say on the MMR issue -- Is MMR worth the risk?

You heard me talk about Xofia all the time. What can I do, I'm one inlove mama who can't get her grubby hands off her daughter. I'm happy to report that she feels the same way towards me as well. At least for about 15 minutes seconds, then afterwards, she'd want me to put her down so she can continue exploring her world without me. Such is a fact of life. :-)

I will do anything for my daughter. I wanna give her the best care I can afford. I bet all moms feel the same way. Since her birth, I've never been amiss on her vaccinations. See, my daughter has a heart anomaly, but that's a totally different story. Part of me wanted to be an activist and wanted my daughter to get immunity the natural way, a big part of me doesn't want to subject her to the aggravation of getting the disease just so she gets the necessary immunity. Though she's been asymptomatic so far, I don't want to compromise. Up to now, I had her shots complete and on time. Until it's time for her to get the MMR shot.

MMR is a single shot composed of three live attenuated vaccines: Mumps, Measles and Rubella, thus the acronym. At least in my own little research, never has a vaccine so abundantly littered with controversies than MMR. There is a very big controversy on it's relationship with autism. Autism was non-existent before MMR was introduced. Of course, I am not discounting the fact that time and again, scientists claim that there is no link between the vaccine and autism. I am also aware that because MMR is administered at approximately the same age babies who have autism manifest the disorder, thus the fires of doubts were stoked even more. On the other hand, the companies that fund these researches that prove no relationship between the two are allegedly the companies that make the vaccine. It is of no secret that the vaccine business is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Go figure.

As you can probably see by now, I'm all for shots. If you look at my daughter's baby book, you'd be amazed by how perfectly I followed the vaccination schedules. Now it's all about weighing the risks. Autism is a lifelong threat. Giving my daughter the MMR shot does not guarantee a 100% immunity from the three diseases. Mumps is not that threatening to girls, and even to boys if they had it early in life. Measles, she's had a separate (individual) shot of that. Rubella is not life-threatening unless she's pregnant (by then, fatal to the baby).

Now the question is am I willing to take the autism risk just so my daughter gets her chance of immunity from the three diseases? Our pedia has been very understanding, and has been very patient in answering my questions. She has scheduled Xofia twice for the shot, twice I expressed my fear and told her that I'd rather wait up and delay it, if I ever should have Xofia have it.

Evidently, the jury is still out on whether she'll have the MMR or not. Right now, I am at a point where I am unwilling to compromise in as much as I am unwilling to take the risk. If you're a mother who has had experience or know something about the issue, your input will greatly help me in arriving at a decision. If you're a parent faced with the same dilemma, what did you do? Do share?

5 comments:

Constance Chan September 27, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

understand your plight here. i gave them their shots of MMR cos i thought it is also for the convenience. it is the measles that i am more worried about. but then i thought, never mind if she don't need rubella and mump shots, just for her own convenience for later part in life. then she also receive a rotovirus free the other time cos she was among the 2,000 babies getting free shots before it was made available to public and my elder one had the virus before thats why i want my younger girl to be virtually free of anything in her baby years.

now all sorts of virus are around us. we'll never catch up because these virus just evolve.. but getting a good headstart to prevent is good.

so far, in singapore, all children get their MMR shots without fail and i think, so far so good. i went for a 6 in 1 shot.

Ligaya September 27, 2008 at 1:56 PM  

hi bern! i'm not a mom but i thought i'd comment anyway hehe. you can get separate shots if you want, but that just brings us to the question of what exactly did they think was in the mmr vaccine that they think causes autism. as far as i know, there has been just this ONE major study that reported a possible link between the vaccine and autism, and some of the co-authors have since distanced themselves from that study. there's been lots of studies since then that have found no link between autism and mmr, and not all of those were sponsored by companies that make vaccines and such. as for the studies' authors' questionable interests (considering their source of funding), well, studies in general need huge funds and it's either provided by the government (and they have, in this case), or from someone who has a stake in it. that doesn't necessarily diminish the value of the results, or else we might as well discredit all the studies that provide the support for all the drugs out in the market because they were funded by the drugmakers. and anyway the scientist have their reputation to guard. so what we can do, in making a decision whether to trust a product or not, is to ask what MAJORITY of the studies say. in this case, majority do say mmr is not linked to autism.

i don't really want to sway you one way or the other bern... your daughter's had her measles shot na man kaha... rubella is just a bit like measles, and their complications (encephalitis and all that) are similar... what's just scary (aside from the complications, of course) is if an unvaccinated woman gets it during pregnancy and her child gets congenital rubella

um... what else?

basta. it's hard sometimes to put away fear and rely on faith. all i know is that majority of studies do NOT show a link between autism and mmr. but if you're looking for someone to tell you FOR SURE that there is no link, you won't get it. you can't prove a negative hypothesis.

hmmm.... and as for conspiracy theories, drugmakers will benefit much less from a kid who becomes autistic then from a kid who develops normally and has friends and go out drinking and getting liver cirrhosis, along with hypertension and diabetes and all such chronic diseases that come with a faulty but "regular" lifestyle. hehe...

Purpled Sky September 28, 2008 at 10:41 AM  

@constance-- thanks for sharing. a mother from where I work knows someone who has 3 autistic children, all of whom have had MMR. the other younger two did not get the MMR shot, they turned out OK. well, it could be genetics, it could be anything else. it's just a scary thought, and I can't seem to throw my daughter's life out there to chance.

@dr. gaya-- you're not a mother, but you are an authority. I did try asking our doctor for separate shots. she said it's already unavailable. i was told doctors purchase vaccines in bulk, and if i'd only be using one vial, what will she do with the other 9, and multiply that to 3 vaccines? I don't know if the measles vaccine my daughter had when she was 10 months offers the same protection as that component in MMR. and you're right, even if they found a causal link, what really in MMR that causes the disorder? ah. would like you to know though, that the decision hasn't been made as to which way I'm taking. I don't wanna go into what-ifs later on.

Ligaya September 29, 2008 at 9:44 AM  

ay bitaw sah... the pedia people buy the vaccines themselves man diay... i'm not sure if you can get them at the pharmacies, because i don't think there's enough demand pod for the pharmacies to carry them... 10 months is about the right age to get the measles-only vaccine; specifically guidelines say 9 months... anyways, if your mommy readers want to get a separate measles vaccine for their kids, they can get them at... (drum roll please) ...the local health centers. free pa ;-)

Vered - MomGrind September 29, 2008 at 1:36 PM  

We chose to follow the recommended immunization schedule.

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