Comments: 181 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

urakara54 karma

Do you believe states should make vaccines required for children and abolish the philosophical exemptions from vaccines?

ejchristian86101 karma

Yes. Barring a documented medical issue (allergy, immune issues, etc) I believe vaccination should be mandatory. Normally I don't advocate for government involvement on such a personal issue, but as we're seeing more and more, vaccination is not just about the individual; it's about the entire community.

urakara18 karma

Although that is almost as if we're tearing at the very heart of what America was founded on, I also agree with you. Making it mandatory is only going to save thousands, if not millions, of lives.

Was it your parents decision to not get you vaccinated? If so, has their mind on vaccinations changed in the least bit after what you went through and because of the recent coverage of anti-vaccinators in the media?

ejchristian8630 karma

They did it with shit like polio and smallpox and it worked. My parents still tell the stories of when flocks of nurses descended on their schools to give everyone the smallpox vaccine. Of course, their parents wouldn't have stood for any anti-vaccination bullshit.

My_0-34 karma

Personally, I'm surprised that "medical professionals" who promote anti-vaccination wouldn't be held liable when children die because of their stance on this issue. It's negligence causing death.

rayray142 karma

Are those "Medical Professionals" a common thing? I've never come across one personally.

ejchristian865 karma

There was a Letter to the Editor in the San Francisco Chronicle this last week from an anti-vaccine chiropractor. http://i.imgur.com/hxMpaKR.jpg Bonus asshole points for not-so-subtly advertising his business at the same time.

Treachy20 karma

Chiropractors aren't really medical professionals. Their effectiveness is more hotly debated than the anti-vacc stance.

ejchristian868 karma

Well no, but both comments above said "medical professionals." I was interesting those quotation marks as sarcastic. We really need to have a form of punctuation specific to sarcasm... sarcastiquotes.

Licensedpterodactyl8 karma

"How can you poison a child to health?" Interesting choice of words, especially after he inferred that getting these childhood illnesses is perfectly fine and nonlethal.

ejchristian867 karma

"No one I now has ever been shot to death, therefor bullets are harmless!" Foolproof logic, right there.

LDexter42 karma

What physical aliments did or do you still suffer from not being vaccinated?

ejchristian8668 karma

Well, I coughed up blood for 3 or 4 months, so that was awful. And for a few years after I got sick, every time I laughed too hard I would start coughing until I threw up (my siblings got a kick out of that one). These days I still get a lot of phlegm in my lungs, and I find it hard to breathe on cold days and get winded easily. I consider myself lucky, though. I lived.

FEAReaper21 karma

What proof did you have that it was an antivaxxer who got you sick? How do you know with 100% certainty that it wasnt someone who had been vaccinated but didnt retain immunity, etc.?

ejchristian8614 karma

The only reason I'm alive is because my mother saw a news segment on an outbreak of pertussis at a private school with a high percentage of "personal exemption" unvaccinated kids. (Doctors had no idea what I had because none of them had ever seen whooping cough in person. I barely got the right treatment in time.) We had been travelling through that area just before I developed symptoms and I had shared playground equipment with a kid of the right age who had the telltale whooping cough. Is it definitive? No, but it's extremely likely.

TheCabbitTori13 karma

Do you think we should hold parents criminally liable for not vaccinating their children if it's found that their child has transmitted a debilitating or deadly disease?

ejchristian869 karma

This is a tough one. I don't think it's fair that a parent should face jail time for making what they felt was the correct and healthy course for their child. (Like those vegan parents who made the news a way back - they weren't evil, just fucking dumb.) However, there is, to some extent, a case to be made for neglect and child endangerment that could lead to them losing custody of their children until they prove themselves to be fit parents. At the very least they should be required to pay a portion of the medical and/or funerary costs of anyone whose infection can be traced back to the unvaccinated child.

BadgerDancer13 karma

If a person was convinced their child 'became' Autistic due to being vaccinated, what would you say to them?

ejchristian8640 karma

"But at least he's not dead of the measles!"

And then I'd go into my whole long spiel about the ingredients in a vaccine and how not one of them has the least bit to do with the causes of autism. And how the vaccine schedule has been repeatedly proven to not be too taxing on a child's immune system. How the rise in the number of kids with autism has nothing to do with vaccines but rather to an increase in awareness of the disorder and a broadening of the criteria by which a person can be placed on the spectrum. How not one case of autism has ever been linked to a vaccine, and how the doctor who published the initial paper indicating a link has been so thoroughly discredited he probably can't get a job at McDonald's (which, incidentally, is where I picked up whooping cough to begin with).

rayray1426 karma

"How the rise in the number of kids with autism has nothing to do with vaccines but rather to an increase in awareness of the disorder and a broadening of the criteria by which a person can be placed on the spectrum."

drops mic

ejchristian8619 karma

Note to self: start carrying a microphone in your purse.

Miles_Prowler7 karma

I had a similar issue, but got it at 13 years old instead of 8, honestly don't know why anyone would choose not to vaccinate against it... Of course this was long before the anti-vax thing became mainstream, talking over a decade ago now, Doctors kept telling me it was Asthma, even after I stopped breathing. I was put in the normal childrens area of casualty, luckily one Doctor heard me coughing, flipped his shit and yelled at the nurses asking "why the bloody hell is there someone with whooping cough not in isolation". 2 weeks in hospital, missed 2 terms of school, lost over half my body weight from being unable to eat, I agree whole heartedly that more people need to understand how severe this can be.

Since it's ask a question, how hard do you find it to hold back when confronted with an anti-vaxxer in person? Had to deal with it a few times personally, one of which was one of my lecturers at uni. Find it hard to not want to rip them a new one personally...

ejchristian868 karma

I've only encountered one in real life, and it took every ounce of control I had not to completely lose my shit at her. I stuck to logic as much as possible, but what really helped drive the point home was talking about the actual diseases and how awful they are and asking if she really wanted her days-old baby gasping for breath. I don't know if I changed her mind but I hope I gave her some serious food for thought.

barcode15556 karma

How do you know your case was so serious?

I also had whooping cough when I was a child (6) for the same reason, but I was never in danger to my recollection. When a coughing fit began it overwhelmed me to the extent that I couldn't stay standing and collapsed on the ground, but it passed.

The real horror was that my brother was one month old at the time. If he had caught it he'd have been a goner, no question. My parents essentially forbade me to leave my bedroom other than to use the bathroom, they were so afraid.

ejchristian8610 karma

They didn't figure out what I had for a fairly long time (the docs had never seen pertussis and didn't believe my mom when she first proposed it). By the time they figured it out, I was coughing up huge quantities of blood in my sleep and was barely getting enough oxygen. I didn't understand how dangerous it was at the time but years later my mom told me that the doctors wanted to hospitalize me, but she refused because she wanted me to die at home.

fortalyst5 karma

What's your favourite after-dinner treat?

ejchristian8610 karma

Ice cream from this place called Salt & Straw. They have a sea salt ice cream with caramel streaks that is fucking amazing.

NoUrImmature3 karma

Tried that place out in Portland about a month ago. It's one of the reasons I need to move there. Hopefully fall term.

ejchristian863 karma

You should also try and make your way to a place called Moonstruck. Best chocolate I've ever had in my life.

brownboy134 karma

Hey. I've removed this AMA since you haven't posted adequate proof in a reasonable amount of time. Please reply to this message when you add the proof and I can then reapprove your post.

ejchristian862 karma

What kind of proof do you require for something like this? It will probably take months to dig up my old medical records.

fweee4 karma

Was vaccinated, drew a short straw, got pertussis anyway. Glad everything turned out OK, as shit was not something to fuck with. Do you feel your life was altered in significant ways by running into mortality at an early age?

ejchristian864 karma

I... I definitely have issues. I'm not sure how much of it can be traced back to the pertussis (and a string of other bizarre childhood injuries and illnesses) but it's definitely something I think about often.

fweee2 karma

Do your remember how long it took docs to catch on?

ejchristian862 karma

A month, maybe 6 weeks. It felt like forever. They thought I just had asthma due to family history.

randomaker4 karma

Did your parents change their views after you got sick?

ejchristian8620 karma

My parents have always been pro-vaccine. I was allergic to the pertussis component of the TDaP so I was never fully vaccinated against it. I got sick from coming into contact with a sick anti-vaxxer kid in a McDonald's play area in another city.

In hindsight, my parents have said they wish they'd gone forward with the pertussis vaccine anyway, as it wasn't a life-threatening allergy. I would have suffered less from the reaction than I did from the disease.

Cannabaholic2 karma

I had whooping cough as well. Sophomore year of High School. I quickly learned why the Chinese call it "The 100 day cough". I missed over 3 months of school due to it. I apparently would sometimes sit up straight in the middle of the night and whoop bad enough to wake up my entire family (parents, sister) and struggle to breathe with no memory of the event at all. It thankfully hasn't affected me physically in any way to date thankfully (7 years later)

I most likely got it from smoking a blunt with a friend of mine who also ended up with the disease. We tried to smoke 1 time with the cough, which was fucking dumb. That shit hurt.

My question: Can you do aerobic exercise on a regular basis? (This can be anything running, biking, swimming, kayaking, basketball, dancing, etc)

ejchristian861 karma

Not really. I took up running for a while but always got winded very quickly.. as happened with pretty much every form of aerobic exercise I've ever tried, actually. Even when I was in pretty good shape, breathing has been an issue.

Butthole__Pleasures2 karma

I think it's important for people to see what whooping cough looks like. I actually hate children, but this hurts for me to watch. I feel like I can't breathe. No child deserves to suffer like this. Anti-vaxxers are doing this to innocent children with their wretched fucking ignorance.

My question is that if you could somehow track down the parent whose kid got you sick, would you rather fight one horse-sized kid with pertussis or a hundred duck-sized anti-vaxxer parents?

ejchristian862 karma

One hundred duck-sized anti-vaxxer parents, hands down. What if my acquired immunity has worn off?? Fighting a horse-sized pertussis kid would kill me!

rayray142 karma

What would you say to Jenny McCarthy if you met her in person?

ejchristian8624 karma

Hmm... I'd probably ask her if she feels guilty for using her (baffling degree of) celebrity status to spread dangerous misinformation that could lead to the suffering and deaths of thousands of people, including babies, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.

I would fucking love to stack the audience of The View. We'd all turn away from the stage every time she talked, and hold up signs saying JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com.

pezzshnitsol1 karma

So, after you didn't die, did you live a relatively normal life?

ejchristian861 karma

Not nearly. I suffered a string of bizarre childhood illnesses and injuries (scarlet fever and a severed finger being the most extreme examples), and my teenage years were rough (anorexia, depression, self-harm). I'm a weirdo.

jghgjb7901 karma

I did as well. I have no idea why I was never vaccinated -

Edit: after reading the comments, I've learned that this vaccine isn't super effective. I may have been vaccinated. Not a clue.

I was 6ish at the time. I got my first and only ambulance ride after passing out when I couldn't breathe. What do you remember about the incident?

ejchristian863 karma

Sleeping with towels on my bed because I coughed up blood in my sleep to the point where I ruined the quilt my mother had made for me. My mother crushing up my pills into Flintstones orange sherbet push-pops because I didn't know how to swallow them whole. Waking up in the night unable to breathe and my parents coming in with medicine and juice. My nebulizer and how funny the gas medicine tasted. My mom rocking me as I cried because it hurt so much to breathe.

And being super pissed I was too sick to go see The Lion King in theaters. That re-release a few years ago was the best thing 8-year-old me could have asked for.

Krabbi1 karma

Another question, you may or may not know anything about this. But, do parents with children that are not vaccinated curtail traveling so their children would not be exposed? The phrasing here is odd, so I will give you an example.

I live in China, my family has travelled all over Asia in the last four years including the Philippines, Cambodia and Bali where I know mumps and measles are rampant. Would a parent not to take their unvaccinated child to these places to avoid infection. If so, that really sucks for those kids. I would guess the parents, if vaccinated, could not travel to those places and immediately return home or they could carry it to their child.

On a fun note China has been seeing some polio lately and people really forget we really do live in such a small world these days.

Article about an outbreak of polio in China. http://www.livescience.com/41377-outbreak-in-polio-free-china.html

ejchristian861 karma

I'm afraid I don't know any stats on that. I hope the answer is yes, they do limit travel, but given that these people fear autism more than polio, I'm scared the answer is no.

Tobin3211 karma

What do you think of people who won't get vaccinated for mental reasons? (Such as needle phobia)

ejchristian863 karma

Sucks for them. I literally had my parents and doctors holding me down pretty much every time I got a shot as a kid. But I got 'em. A few minutes of terror for a lifetime of not fucking dying seems worth it to me.

Tobin3211 karma

I'm talking about severe phobia where the drop in blood pressure after being injected can cause death.

ejchristian861 karma

At that point it becomes a medical issue, not just a mental one, and would qualify as a medical exemption.

v-_-v1 karma

How old were you when you contracted the disease?

Did you have other conditions that made it worse?


I contracted all of the childhood diseases (including measles, pertussis, mumps, etc) via other kids when I was young, and so did pretty much everybody in school and nobody had a problem.

BTW I'm not saying don't vaccinate kids, I'm genuinely curious what happened and why it was such a rough deal for you when even Wikipedia states the mortality rate at about 0.6%.

ejchristian861 karma

I was 8. The reason it was so dangerous for me is because my doctors didn't diagnose me correctly for weeks. The mortality rate for unvaccinated, untreated pertussis is 4% iirc; unfortunately I always seem to be in the extreme minority when it comes to disease, side effects, etc. Is bad luck a mitigating factor?

senor_louse-1 karma

How are you qualified to talk about this subject? How are you different than someone who says "I got my measles vaccine and I did not get measles." ?

ejchristian8617 karma

So often the vaccination debate comes down to questions of personal choice. But it's not just a personal choice; it's a choice that effects countless others besides any one parent or child. As someone who became extremely sick due to someone else's personal choice, I feel I'm qualified to bring that perspective to the table.

Edit to add: also, so few people are aware of just how scary and dangerous these diseases are. It's easy to dismiss the benefits of a vaccine when you've never seen the consequences of not having said vaccine.