I often get called a pharma shill, in vaccine debates. That means the other person assumes the only reason I could possibly have for advocating in favor of vaccines is that I am paid to do so, likely by “Big Pharma.” Vaccine advocates encounter this kind of name calling often. When I explain to the name caller that not only am I not paid to post but I had a moderately bad adverse reaction to the MMR, as a college student, and have a child on the autism spectrum, they are shocked. They cannot fathom how a person could experience a vaccine adverse event and have a child with a disability that some blame on vaccines and still be provaccine.
I am not alone. I know many people who have children with autism, allergies, asthma, epilepsy or have those issues themselves or who lost a baby to SIDS and did not fall down the rabbit hole of antivax rhetoric. They know vaccines can cause harm, in rare cases, but they also know what vaccines do not cause. And they continue to advocate for vaccines, for many reasons. I think our stories deserve to be heard. Most people who experience autism in themselves or their families are not opposed to vaccines. Most people know a minor reaction to a vaccine is not a big deal and a health problem that pops up well after a vaccine is given is not caused by the vaccine. Most people know the stories of chronic illness related to HPV vaccine are not based on sound medical evidence.
Let’s share our stories of rational thinking about autism, allergies, epilepsy, personal health, vaccines, and public health. Please cut and paste this questionnaire into an email and send it to me, with your answers. You can share as little or as much as you like. You can have a pseudonym. I will never share your email with anyone nor will I publish it or add you to any list of any kind. Please don’t use real names other than your own. My goal is to collect these stories and publish them on this blog, as a series.
- What is your name or what name would you like me to use when I publish your story?
- What health issue do you have, in your life, that antivaxers blame on vaccines? This could be in you or a family member.
- How do you know this issue is not caused by vaccines?
- Have you ever experienced an adverse event related to a vaccine that was more than normal/mild? Do you consider yourself injured?
- Why do you advocate for vaccines?
- What do you think of people who blame so many health issues on vaccines, despite the medical evidence to the contrary?
- Do you have any words you would like to share with us?
- Please feel free to link to your blog or published story, if you have one that relates to this project.
- If you have any photographs I could use in the blog post with your story, please include them in the email.