Heroes

Dad took blood samples at his kid's birthday party. And that's not the worst part.

There's tons of misinformation about vaccines, aka the reason we no longer live in a world where half of our babies won't live to see age 12. Let's review.

Vaccines used to be pretty uncontroversial.

People saw the devastation of diseases like polio, smallpox, and tetanus. To the earliest people to get vaccinated, vaccines were miraculous. Child mortality dropped. General health improved. As more and more people got vaccinated, some diseases disappeared from the developed world.

So what happened?

Why did people begin to fear medicines that they once regarded as saviors? The truth is, there's lots of misinformation out there and lots of conflicts of interest on all sides. It's hard to know what the facts are.


Maki Naro put together this comic to address people's ongoing concerns. One of the most shocking panels describes how Dr. Andrew Wakefield (even if you haven't heard of him, you've probably heard of his work — he wrote an article, later retracted, that tied the MMR vaccine to autism and started that whole panic) paid for blood samples at his kid's birthday party. And it just gets shadier from there.

It's important that everyone who can get their vaccines does.

So help out our collective immunity by passing this to a friend, OK?

Fact Check Time!

Here's that original Lancet study (with a big ol' "RETRACTED" stamp). And here's the second Lancet study.

How prevalent are severely adverse vaccine reactions? While most of them are, in fact, about 1 in a million, the CDC notes that the actual rates vary from 1 in 100 (adenovirus) to 1 in 20k or 100k (rotavirus) to 1 in 55k or 250k (yellow fever). However, those vaccines aren't part of the generally recommended vaccine schedule.

That formaldehyde part sounds crazy, right? Does my body actually make that stuff? Turns out, yes. From FDA: "The body continuously processes formaldehyde, both from what it makes on its own and from what it has been exposed to in the environment. ... Studies have shown that for a newborn of average weight of 6 - 8 pounds, the amount of formaldehyde in their body is 50-70 times higher than the upper amount that they could receive from a single dose of a vaccine or from vaccines administered over time."

The panel about mercury has raised a number of questions. Didn't your chemistry teacher tell you that it's an element, so there's just the one kind? In this context, we're talking about two different molecules that contain mercury, and mercury's traits change when it's in a molecular compound. The FDA has a more in-depth explanation of the research on these compounds.

Want more? Check out this other post on vaccines. And for even more, check out yet another post on vaccines and autism. And this one.

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

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It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

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While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

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