Judy Apicella is an idiot. She directed a documentary on childhood vaccinations, entitled, “Shoot ’em Up, The Truth About Vaccines”. I saw her speak at a meeting last night, run by the local Holistic Mom’s Network, that aimed to give information on vaccination to parents. After sitting through 2 tortuous hours of the most unscientific information, I came to the conclusion that Judy Apicella should definitely not be a speaker for the anti-vaccine lobby. I’d imagine that if parents had attended who were sitting on the fence about childhood vaccination, they might have actually been swayed to vaccinate if they were listening to this woman. Which is incredibly sad. It was the biggest waste of two hours that I have spent in a long time.
And all this is coming from a person (me) who is generally not in favor of vaccination. I vaccinated M selectively (he got 3 DTaP shots and 2 polio) and I don’t intend to give him any more vaccinations in the near future. In fact, I regret vaccinating him at all. J has received no vaccinations, and I am comfortable with that. But I have also done a lot of research. I have read much research, many books, and talked to multiple doctors. I have half a brain, I am capable of reading scientific materials, and I don’t respond to scare tactics.
I went to the presentation last night hoping to learn about any new research that has happened that I was unaware of, hear about any local health concerns that would be of interest to unvaccinated families, and to touch base with fellow unvaccinating parents. What I got instead was a big load of sensational crap. I watched 2 excerpts of films that this Apicella woman directed (of course she was marketing the DVDs and selling them at the meeting). I also heard some very, um, “interesting” theories about how vaccinations are affecting our population. None of these theories were seemingly being studied by actual researchers, and Ms. Apicella had such a poor understanding of science that she was unable to explain how it was possible that these theories could be true.
Here is one of the big theories that was discussed on one of her videos (and please feel free to tell me if you have any actual scientific information on the topic that could enlighten me here): One theory seems to be that the more severe reactions to vaccines, such as getting eczema, can be passed on to your children. Here is how it would work….I (the parent) got some vaccines in my childhood that have caused me to show a stronger expression of some of my genes (like the gene that says that I will get eczema) than would have been expressed if I didn’t get vaccinated. So far, so good – that makes sense to me. Here’s where it gets crazy. The fact that I was vaccinated and had a stronger expression of my own genes will then get passed on to my children, who will then have genes that more strongly show a reaction to vaccines, such as getting eczema from vaccines. How the hell is that possible? I had all the eggs in my body that I will ever have when I was in utero. Are these researchers saying that, somehow, the vaccinations that I got in childhood caused the genes in my eggs to mutate, thereby making my own children more likely to get sick from vaccines? Am I missing something here? Maybe this could be true for men, who create sperm throughout their lives. Maybe. But this theory was not explained at all, and I think I’m missing something.
After the presentation, one of the audience members, a man sitting next to me, pointed out that much of what he had heard sounded similar to the scare tactics that the medical field seems to use to get people to vaccinate their children. I couldn’t have agreed more. You can’t imagine the number of times that Ms. Apicella used the words, “vaccines destroy the immune system”. Now, I would definitely agree that vaccines change the natural way that the immune sytem was set up to work. They may even weaken the immune system, or weaken immune response. But to repeat over and over that vaccines destroy the immune system is irresponsible, in my opinion. Does Apicella think that parents are too stupid to understand science and therefore need to be manipulated in order to get them not to vaccinate? That tactic seems suspiciously familiar to me…
Apicella was similarly unable to answer requests for good scientific and recent books on the subject of vaccination. Her answer? Look at the website for my movie. Lovely.
As an advocate for breastfeeding mothers, I know the value of sticking to the facts. I know the disadvantages and risks of feeding your baby formula, for instance. I try to state those facts as best I can. I would never, for example, say that formula is poison! Well, Ms. Apicella evidently does not hold those standards to herself in the realm of vaccination discussion.