Get Jabbed

The Genepool Productions documentary Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines will be airing tomorrow on Australia’s SBS at 8:30pm. Our friendly neighborhood Token Skeptic Kylie Sturgess is hoping to live blog it for those of us unlucky enough to be stranded on another continent.

Here’s the trailer. Looks … well, quite frightening, actually:

To vaccinate, or not? What would you do to protect the ones you love?

Diseases that were largely eradicated forty years ago are returning. Across the world children are getting sick and dying from preventable conditions because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. And it’s not just kids: adults, too, are being hard hit. Yet the stories of vaccine reactions are frightening, with rare cases of people being damaged, even killed, by vaccines. How do we decide whether to vaccinate or not, and what are the real risks? JABBED, made by 2012 Emmy Award-winning Australian documentary filmmaker Sonya Pemberton, travels the globe to look at the real science behind vaccinations, tracks real epidemics, and investigates the real cost of opting out. Talking with vaccine-makers, alternative healers, psychologists, anthropologists, and parents, the film posing the potent question: what would you do to protect the ones you love? Two years in the making JABBED will confound your expectations, whatever your position on the most important and divisive public health question of the decade.

Kylie has also interviewed Prof. Peter Richmond of the Vaccine Trial Group in Perth on her podcast. Thanks to her for going out of her way to draw attention to a vital issue.

  • Question Everything

    My brother and sister in law wouldn’t let me visit my niece until I made sure all my vaccinations were up to date. I approve of their stance, and encourage everyone to make sure their shots are still working.

    • Greg G.

      Is it their first child? I’m told that parents say:

      First child: “The baby made a sound. I have to see what’s wrong!”
      Second child: “Your brother is crying. Go see what’s wrong.”
      Third child: “Go see why your brother stopped crying.”

    • JohnMWhite

      How is one meant to ‘make sure’ their shots are still working? Is it really feasible to get antibodies for everything checked before you visit anywhere that children might be present?

      • Andrew Cooper

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t have all the dates of my vaccines memorised, nor do I know how long each one is effective. I presume Question Everything means they looked up the records and got a new shot if it turned out any were past effectiveness.

        • JohnMWhite

          Effectiveness for vaccines tends to be quite a broad range, some might work for between 3 and ten years, and some (flu in particular) might work for only a few months. If they are past their max, obviously they are highly likely to have worn off, but a good portion of people have them wear off earlier than that without knowing it. There’s also the small proportion who have vaccine failure, and don’t know it never worked in the first place. Keeping tabs on them and making sure they are still working seems like a full-time job.

          • Andrew Cooper

            . . . which is why Question Everything’s brother and sister-in-law asked them to look up the records and re-up if it’s indicated. That might take a bit of digging through one’s medical records and a trip to the doctor.

            Nobody’s asking anyone to “get antibodies for everything checked before you visit anywhere that children might be present”, just to be current on vaccines for common childhood diseases. Relax.

            • JohnMWhite

              I think you are missing my point. You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper whether you were one of the people the vaccine lasted ten years or three years for. That’s why I suggested antibodies (or titers). I’m not sure why I need to relax, I am only asking a question.

            • Question Everything

              My only point was to talk with your doctor about when to get your shots. Yes, antibody tests are superior when determining if you need the booster, and of course some people won’t respond to the shot at all, or may be allergic to it. That makes it that much more important to talk with your doctor.

              This is about herd immunity, not individual. So long as most people are on average getting their proper shots, those who fail to respond to the shot, or in whom the shot wears off too soon, can still survive because those around them are making sure the virus or other problem never shows up.

              So, that’s why I suggest talking to your doctor, and getting the best info they can provide. It could be that your body can’t handle the shots. Maybe you’ve lost your records, or they’re not stored properly in the computer yet. But getting the shots when you’re able means that others who may not yet be able to get those shots have a better chance of surviving. And your doctor, with records or without, will be able to suggest the best course of action for you as an individual.

            • JohnMWhite

              That makes sense. It’s just the phrasing you used initially, ‘make sure your shots are still working’ implied that one was supposed to find out specifically that there were still sufficient antibody levels in the bloodstream, which would require a lot more work. If it’s just a case of ‘do what you can’, that’s a lot more reasonable.

      • Question Everything

        Asking your doctor is the best approach. Vaccines have effective durations, and if you have your records, you can easily find out when it’s time to re-up. If you don’t have those records, your doctor may be able to find them for you (depending on what health networks you’ve used), or may be able to advise on when to get your next one without any other information.

        • Noelle

          Anyone born prior to the 90s may have a difficult time finding their records. There are some states with databases started around a decade ago. Doc offices at the time loaded pediatric records only into those sites, giving people born in the 90s and after an easily accessible record. Not so much for those of us who are older. I have no record other than what mom wrote down in a baby book and later gave to my schools. Those are usually just a year, no month or day. My line of work required titres to show immunity to the shots I should’ve gotten in childhood, because those records were so shoddy. I was born in the 70s. My old doc records from those 1st 5 years likely no longer exist. Physicians don’t keep records on old patients forever. (Other states still have no computer database and it is still difficult to track shot records when kids move or change docs)

          Now then, there are vaccines adults should get. A discussion with your doc can help you get all up to date. But finding your old records if you’re 30 and up might be impossible.

          • Question Everything

            Agreed, I wasn’t trying to give a thorough response – talking to your doctor will get that sort of information, since even if you’re missing records, they can still give you some best estimates on what you might need and when to get it.

            As a 70′s kid myself, I know exactly what you mean. I have my original records from when I was very young (kept them with my birth certificate for getting into schools), but anything I got from after that to when I was in college is likely lost forever.

  • Patrick Scruggs