Monday, June 25, 2007

"Vaccinated" (and thankful)

Today, while at his annual well child check-up, my five-year-old received three vaccinations. Because of these shots, he will never know the itchy, burning feel of chicken pox in his throat. He will never experience the disabling affects of polio. He won't lose a day of school due to measles or mumps. And because of a compelling read by Paul Offit, I know exactly who to thank for this.

"Vaccinated" tells the inspiring story of Maurice Hilleman -- a humble man who grew up in a Montana farming community. Hilleman's tough childhood shaped him into the driven and determined man who not only discovered several vaccines, but improved upon a myriad of existing ones. (Hilleman is also the first person to invent a cancer vaccine as well as purify, characterize, and produce a drug now used in cancer treatment.)

Offit's extensively-researched tome also gives great insight into the history of vaccines. For example, although biologist Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin in the 1929, he was unable to purify the substance. At the start of the second world war, Howard Florey picked up where Flemming left off not only purifying but figuring out how to mass produce the product.

As doctor and author of three other books, (The Cutter Incident, Vaccines: What You Should Know, and Breaking the Antibiotic Habit) Offit chose a fascinating topic. The book is rich with compelling facts. I liked the way the book was organized and the way he presented his information. I also liked his writing style. He doesn't offend readers by "dumbing down" the information. But he does present the information in a way a lay person can understand.

Offit is also not afraid to present the darker side of vaccine discovery. Newly discovered vaccines always needed test subjects. For a period of time, those test subjects were institutionalized mentally retarded people or even children from poor countries. Often times, if a researcher fully believed in his work, the serum's were administered to their own children and even coworkers. Offit admits -- sometimes the vaccines worked. Sometimes they didn't. Sometimes the serum's side effects were so toxic, they caused problems that were worse than the actual illness.

And yes, "Vaccinated" addresses the controversy that ensued when Andrew Wakefield, a London doctor, alarmed the world with his "findings" that the MMR vaccine caused autism due to mercury levels. (Offit refutes Wakefield's concerns.)

Offit made a point at the end of the book that really hit home for me. When vaccines work, nothing happens. People take them for granted. And he's right.

When the author mentioned a new vaccine for rotovirus, I had a flashback of my son at 20-months laying on the couch too weak to move and too sick to even care. For five days, he couldn't even keep down a few swallows of water. He lost more than six pounds in a 12-day period. My husband was out of town. I was alone and overwhelmed with fear for my little boy. I'm grateful that now other children won't have to endure such misery. And many parents won't have to either.

This review was written for The Parent Bloggers Network. If you have a product you'd like PBN to review, click on this link for more info.

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, burberry, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany and co, nike outlet, replica watches, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike air max, jordan shoes, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin outlet, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet, michael kors, oakley sunglasses, longchamp, prada outlet, prada handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet, nike free, chanel handbags, louboutin outlet, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, replica watches, michael kors outlet, kate spade outlet, uggs on sale, nike air max, louboutin, louis vuitton, louis vuitton

oakleyses said...

air jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, nike roshe, true religion jeans, air force, abercrombie and fitch, north face, new balance pas cher, sac longchamp, longchamp pas cher, mulberry, oakley pas cher, nike free run uk, coach outlet, nike blazer, hermes, michael kors, nike air max, air max, hollister pas cher, true religion jeans, ralph lauren pas cher, vans pas cher, michael kors, coach outlet, true religion jeans, hollister, michael kors, north face, nike air max, nike roshe run, coach purses, burberry, lululemon, michael kors, lacoste pas cher, hogan, tn pas cher, sac guess, replica handbags, louboutin pas cher, vanessa bruno, timberland, kate spade handbags, converse pas cher, ralph lauren uk, nike free

oakleyses said...

nike roshe, new balance, beats by dre, p90x workout, instyler, valentino shoes, nfl jerseys, babyliss, ghd, hollister, s5 cases, lululemon, soccer shoes, jimmy choo shoes, nike air max, mac cosmetics, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, hollister, herve leger, asics running shoes, nike huarache, celine handbags, louboutin, mont blanc, iphone 6s cases, north face outlet, birkin bag, iphone 5s cases, north face outlet, wedding dresses, mcm handbags, oakley, iphone 6 cases, ralph lauren, longchamp, timberland boots, nike trainers, baseball bats, soccer jerseys, iphone 6s plus cases, insanity workout, iphone 6 plus cases, iphone cases, bottega veneta, chi flat iron, reebok shoes, ipad cases, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes

oakleyses said...

moncler, moncler outlet, marc jacobs, moncler, hollister, montre pas cher, vans, ray ban, replica watches, pandora charms, louis vuitton, supra shoes, sac louis vuitton pas cher, pandora jewelry, swarovski, pandora charms, moncler, bottes ugg, barbour, canada goose, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, louis vuitton, doke gabbana outlet, converse, louis vuitton, lancel, louis vuitton, hollister, moncler, pandora jewelry, doudoune canada goose, juicy couture outlet, nike air max, converse outlet, barbour jackets, moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, links of london, moncler, gucci, canada goose outlet, canada goose, canada goose outlet, coach outlet, canada goose uk, ugg boots uk, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, ugg pas cher, wedding dresses, canada goose