Are vaccines really this controversial?

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Wow! The media, facebook and twitter are burning up about the measles vaccine right now! I was pretty determined not to weigh in on it because there is so much talk already but after reading multiple facebook postings on my personal page last night that were so aggressive it was shocking, I decided to give my take on this all. If you have read my previous blogs, you probably understand some of what I am going to write today. Most importantly, the internet is not a credible source of scientifically based health information. The media and famous people aren’t either. We all know this right? Yet, I read over and over people quoting and misquoting and generalizing and misinterpreting “facts” about vaccines and their safety. I am decidedly in favor of vaccines, have vaccinated myself, my husband, my now adult kids, my elderly mother and recommended my grandkids be vaccinated. They have been thankfully and my daughter gets pretty upset with people who do not vaccinate their kids fearing they are putting her kids at risk. So after that disclosure, I strongly encourage people to take a deep breath and use their brains calmly when deciding about vaccines. I know scientists. Some of my best friends are highly educated, honest, hardworking and meticulous scientists. They know far more than I will ever know about vaccines and other medical stuff for which numerous studies have been done. Scientific study is rigorous, meticulous and painstaking. Studies must be carefully designed, scrupulously carried out, and painstakingly evaluated. They must be repeatable and confirm results over and over again before they begin to be considered “facts.” Allowing for conspirators who are trying to trick whole populations for their unspecified gains, most of these verified, repeated, evaluated studies are probably pretty reliable. Not perfect, no. But pretty good. Better than anything that social media, famous people on soap boxes and websites can provide us with.  So armed with this factual info from credible sources like www.nih.gov (National Institutes of Health) I get to my second recommendation that you have heard from me before: go talk to your trusted medical provider about information and concerns. If you don’t have one, find one. Keep looking until you do. Read my blogs on how to find one. None of us is equipped to decipher the amount of scientific information out there on every subject that impacts our health. Even scientists only truly understand their tiny portion of all this. We have trusted medical providers to help us figure out information that is out there–good and bad–and help us make well informed decisions. Will they always be 100% correct? Nope. There are no guarantees but living in a world where we are terrified to take steps to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy is unimaginable to me. Stop the hysteria. Use your brain and the brains of trusted experts. Keep the media, internet and famous people out of your decision making. Good luck!

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