Two weeks ago, I wrote a column about my brush with typhoid fever, tongue firmly planted in cheek. The intestinal illness I contracted coincided with a typhoid vaccine I’d begun taking for a trip to Southeast Asia, and though it’s possible I experienced side effects, I, in no way, actually contracted the disease. It’s far more likely that after a week on vacay with my extended family, snotty-nose toddlers included, I picked up a stomach bug that kept me bed-ridden for a few days. But apparently, some readers in the anti-vax community co-opted the story for their own purposes as clear evidence that vaccines are evil unleashed.
So, let me be very clear: The vaccine did not give me typhoid, and in my experience (and in most people’s), the vaccines I have obtained or ordered for my children have never once done anything other than protect us from what used to be deadly diseases. Measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, hepatitis, meningitis, HPV-induced cancers, the Wilson clan hasn’t had to worry about any of these because we are all up to date on our vaccines. Do my kids complain about pain in the injection sight? Almost always. Do they occasionally feel lousy for a day or too? Yes. Has a pediatrician ever told me, “I’m sorry, Geoffrey has the measles” or “Oh, no! Corinne’s come down with whooping cough.” Never.
Vaccines are safe, effective and necessary. They don’t cause autism, and severe reactions are rare. Always consult your physician, of course, but get vaccinated and stay up to date! And please don’t use me or my purposely exaggerated stories as anti-vax poster fodder.