Posted by: wmckenzi | December 11, 2015

Finally a vaccine for Dengue!

Children have needed this. Adults have needed this. Thousands of people worldwide have needed this for years and finally a vaccine for the dreaded Dengue Fever has arrived! BBC’s article ‘Mexico to get world’s first dengue  fever vaccine,‘ states children over age 9 and adults under 49 will receive the vaccine in all endemic areas and the initial phase will include the vaccination of 40,000 persons. What exciting news!


Posted by: wmckenzi | February 28, 2014

Living an Un-vaccinated Life

So I came across this article, “Growing Up Unvaccinated,” a while back and thought I’d share it now. It is incredible to me what this woman went through that could have been prevented with vaccinations. Was her mother wrong in subjecting her to this? Did it make her stronger mentally and spiritually having to deal with these diseases? Was it worth it? Read and decide for yourself.

Posted by: wmckenzi | December 2, 2010

Do unto the disease before it does unto you

Last night I played in a flag-football game and noticed the back of a shirt from an opposing player. The shirt read: “Do unto others before they do unto you.” How clever. We must act before we are acted upon. As I pondered on that saying throughout today, I realized that it can be applied to diseases and vaccinations. With diseases, we must act before the disease acts upon us. We have the responsibility to choose to act before we have no choice but to deal with the sometimes fatal consequences.It is best to understand these diseases before we jump to conclusions.


A cliff with a guard rail

Through vaccination, we can act before the disease gets to us. I remember the often quoted story in public health of putting a guard rail at the top of the cliff rather than having an ambulance at the bottom of the valley. In this instance, this guard rail is getting a vaccination- so why immunize? Because it is a protective action preventing the disease from taking it’s course in our bodies. To just allow the ambulance to help us at the bottom of the valley is allowing the disease to act upon us and then just treat the symptoms and hope for the best outcome. And hence, we must do unto the disease before it does unto us.

What other connections do you see with prevention?

Posted by: wmckenzi | December 1, 2010

Measles- Killing the future

Measles kills more children than any other vaccine-preventable disease (50-60% of all child deaths). These words, highlighted in a recent presentation caught my attention. This statistic is based on the world population and not just in the United States, but it made me stop and think- Why would so many children be dying throughout the world from this disease if it is so preventable!? The answer—-children are not getting the vaccination!!! Based on this information, my next worry is that though cases of measles are few in the United States, parents will decide not to vaccinate and therefor allow the spread of this preventable disease.
About Measles:  It is a virus spread through respiratory droplets- or it is able to be inhaled. Because it is a virus, antibiotics can’t be used to treat it.

Koplic's spots

Signs and symptoms come in stages: 1) tiredness and uncomfortableness of the child, growing fever, and cough, and 2) koplik’s spots (red spots in the back of throat and tonsils-pictured at the left), red rash (pictured below), and high temperatures of 103- 104 degrees F
Measles rash
This virus is highly contagious when the rash appears and the disease is much more severe in adults than in children though it is more common in children. That said, adults must be extremely careful when around children with measles and should receive vaccination as well. Further complications include

pneumonia,deafness, mental retardation, and seizure disorders.
This sounds like a pretty terrible disease to me. I definitely would not want my child to have to suffer this type of disease. What could be done to help those around the world who are not able to be vaccinated for measles?
Posted by: wmckenzi | December 1, 2010

Child = Pincushion?

So the other day I got into a very interesting conversation with a good friend from my childhood. She and I shared many experiences together and she is now the mother of a beautiful baby girl. Knowing of my nursing background, she asked me what my view of vaccinations were. I quickly told her everything that I knew trying to convince her that vaccination was the best route for her daughter. She then stated that she didn’t want her daughter to become just another pincushion. As I thought of things from her perspective, I realized that yes, children receive many more vaccinations than even our generation and far more than the generation of say, our grandparents. So, I decided to do a little investigation of the matter.

My results are as follows: From one source I found a logical response on– Blame it on progress. “As long as there are diseases which cause children to suffer, to be hospitalized, or to die, and as long as we have the technology to stop that, we will have more vaccines,” says Paul A. Offit, M.D., chief of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To me, that just made sense. With all the advances in medicine and research capability these days, it’s no wonder that solutions to disease prevention have been found. After viewing the current vaccination schedules for infants and children, I was shocked to see so many vaccines, and to be honest, I’m not sure how they may effect the development of a child. What I do know is that vaccinations are for protection and prevention. For now, that’s good enough for me.  What do you think?

Posted by: wmckenzi | November 30, 2010

Thank Goodness for THIS Vaccination!

I am currently taking a class which discusses infectious diseases and the effects human behaviors have on the spread of disease. I have been shocked to see the effects that diseases have had on past generations and feel so blessed that through vaccination, I have not seen these diseases. One of these such diseases is Polio. I wish to just share a bit about what I learned regarding the disease, and hope that you’ll feel the same way I do about the vaccination to prevent it.

A bit about Polio-  In 1916 Polio killed 16,000 people and paralyzed 27,000 others. That is a lot of people!!! And then in the early 1950’s there were more than 20,000 cases each year. Now if that doesn’t mean much, lets look at what Polio does to a person. It effects the CNS- the central nervous system which has to do with all the feeling and moving abilities of our bodies. The virus enters the body through the mouth and then multiplies in the intestines.

Symptoms: fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs paralysis may develop rapidly, with 1 in 200 infections leading to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). If this paralysis continues to effect the breathing muscles- the person will die.

the effects of polio- children in Africa with polio who were not immunized

Cure: THERE IS NO CURE! The only way to cure it is to PREVENT IT- and that comes through vaccination.

Vaccination today: Due to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which started in 1988- by 1999- cases of polio were reduced by 99%—because of vaccinations. How wonderful!!! All I can say is that I would not want this disease, and I am grateful that I have been vaccinated! 🙂

eradication outcome in the USA






What effect could the act of not vaccinating children have on the global eradication initiative of Polio? Do you think it could come back? What is our responsibility towards this?

Posted by: wmckenzi | November 26, 2010

Fight Against Vaccinations

Larry King Live recently interviewed Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey- the questions were in relation to the campaign McCarthy and Carrey have undergone to help people discover the risks of vaccination. In the debate, it was made known that McCarthy had discovered that giving children too many vaccines at a young age may cause other problems, though the exact problems were not mentioned. Carrey and McCarthy also stated that McCarthy’s son had autism and she was able to help him overcome it. Her concern now is that children now receive too many vaccines too quickly. Both Carrey and McCarthy said that vaccines were necessary, but that they should be given at a decreased rate.

The debate/interview appeals to parents across the country because McCarthy is a mother and has concerns for her child just as any other parent would have. The passion presented also appeals to those willing to think outside the norm and take a stance for something perceived to be good. The real question is- what is good? Health care providers and other health related professionals side with early, frequent, and continued vaccination while parents seeing autism and other adverse effects sometimes seen with vaccination side with not vaccinating children. Each parent has the responsibility to become informed and make decisions that are best for their children.

Another pressing question relates to who has the greatest impact on parents. From this campaign made by celebrities, we can see the great influence that can be had on parents. Health care professionals such as Doctors, Nurses, Public Health specialists such as the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention, and others also influence parents, but to what extent? I would hope that parents carefully consider those to whom they listen and that they take the responsibility to search among reputable sources when making decisions that will effect children and the nation as a whole.

Posted by: wmckenzi | November 21, 2010

The Autism/Vaccination Debate

The findings in an article I recently read grabbed my attention. Pressed in 2009, the article The end of the autism/vaccine debate answered many questions I had concerning the need for vaccines in regard to the possible side effect of causing autism.

The article stated that many parents fear that autism is more common than any disease they would vaccinate their child for and therefore choose to not give their children life-saving vaccines.

The first scare from the autism/vaccine connection was in 1998 in a British Journal, an article that has now been retracted due to “irresponsible and dishonest” testing practices. What further tests have shown is that there is no connection with vaccination and autism. How great!

This article opened my eyes and made me think a little more about how media can have a negative effect on the health choices we make. It is also VITAL that scientific studies be conducted ethically. Look at the effects this one article has had on the last 12 years and the children around the world that are indirectly effected!

One question: How can we help people know the facts and know whom to believe?

I loved a site the article refers parents to——Every Child by Two

Posted by: wmckenzi | November 3, 2010

Protect Tomorrow

The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) recently started a campaign to encourage parents to talk to their doctors about the effects of vaccines. The campaign shares a touching public service announcement to focus on the past effects of terrible diseases in the USA that have been forgotten today because of vaccinations. The campaign helps us understand that without vaccinations, thousands of children may be effected and suffer the same horrific effects that those in the past suffered.

As part of the campaign, the AAP interviewed several people that personally suffered the effects of diseases or who watched loved ones suffer here in the USA not so long ago. I was impressed to hear the stories and to know that if enough children do not receive vaccinations for these diseases, these diseases could come back. I truly hope that they do not come back, for the sake of all mankind.

Thinking about the medical side of things along with parental concerns, many questions come to mind:

  • What are the fears parents and guardians have for their children?
  • From what sources are parents and guardians receiving information that causes them to think this way?
  • If there are valid, proven sources associated with vaccines and things they can cause, what would be the concern regarding individual children verses all mankind and the future of the USA?

This is the public service announcement. What do you think about it’s message?

Posted by: wmckenzi | September 15, 2010

What is a Vaccine anyway?

I realized recently that before I knew what a vaccine was, I allowed nurses to give me one. So what is in a vaccine you ask? The American Academy of Pediatrics helps us to understand what is used to make a vaccine. All vaccines contain antigens. Antigens make vaccines work. They prompt the body to create the immune response needed to protect against infection. Antigens come in several forms. The form used in a vaccine is chosen because studies show it is the best way to protect against a particular infection.

There are also different types of vaccines.

Weakened live viruses. They are too weak to cause disease but can still prompt an immune response. Measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus, chickenpox, and one type of influenza vaccine contain weakened live viruses.

Inactivated (or killed) viruses. These viruses cannot cause even a mild form of the disease, but the body still recognizes the virus and creates an immune response to protect itself. The polio, hepatitis A, influenza and rabies vaccines contain inactivated viruses.

Partial viruses. These are made up of the specific part of the dead virus that will prompt a protective immune response. Some vaccines are made this way including the hepatitis B and HPV vaccine.

Partial bacteria. These vaccines work in two ways. First, the Hib, pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines are made using part of the sugar coating (orpolysaccharide) of the bacteria. The vaccine creates immunity against this sugar coating, providing protection against the bacteria. Second, vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) are made by inactivating the protein in the bacteria that causes harm.

How interesting to know the things that go into a vaccine!

So why vaccinate? more to come.