Anti-vaccination—old religion writ new

I’m rather angry.

Strike that.

I’m furious. Indescribably outraged. Disgusted.

The rise of the antivaccination cults is finally affecting public health. If you want details, go and read Orac, or Steve Novella, or some of my other writing. I’m too angry to deal with details today.

Infectious diseases have stalked us across the millennia. Centuries of advances, from sewerage to inoculation to vaccination have saved billions of people from death and disability due to infectious agents. Having a child used to mean joy tempered with fear—fear that one of the “men of death” would come for your child, leaving them scarred, paralyzed, deaf, mentally disabled, or dead.

We’ve been largely liberated from these fears. We are now free to fear obesity. We are free to worry about good schools, the environment, poverty. Infectious diseases aren’t the scourge they once were. Who would wish it otherwise?

There is a cult of infectious disease supporters out there, and they are winning. Before the days of vaccination, we could let ourselves believe that childhood diseases were acts of God, to be accepted as part of a normal life. Perhaps they were even deserved. Disease and death became integral to religious beliefs about sin and its wages.

The language has changed, but the message is the same. Infectious disease prevention is to be feared. It is against the natural order of things. Instead of “vaccines are against God’s will”, it’s now “vaccines are against Nature’s will.” They’re “unnatural”, not “green”. In the old vernacular, interfering with God’s will could lead to “bad things”, like flood, famine, or other divine punishment. In the new language, it leads to “autism”.

It’s the same old song. Anti-vaccination is simply a cult, with cult beliefs that stretch back thousands of years and are tied to a fear of interfering with the “natural order of things”.

If it were just a matter of these cultists endangering their own health it would be a moderate outrage. But their cult of infectious disease promotion is spreading disease. And their leaders are dangerous. In fact, they are more dangerous than a madman with a gun.

The health care community needs to speak up, but more importantly, politicians, preachers, and other leaders need to call these folks out, and show them for what they are…a bizarre, fringe religion who’s goal is the spread of infectious disease. The voices of the cultists must be drowned out by the voices of the rational. Perhaps then we can reverse the damage they have done to public health.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan
    August 22, 2008

    Normally I would support you. But calling parents who probably genuinely believe that vaccines may harm their children, does not mean that they are a fringe religion who’s goal is to spread infectious disease. Are they irrational? Yes. Stupid? Perhaps. Ignorant? Surely. But I cannot believe that their goal is to spread disease. More likely they are young parents who grew up without knowing the destruction caused in earlier generations by infectious diseases and therefore think they have nothing to worry about.

  2. #2 StuV
    August 22, 2008

    Dan, some of them are actively proposing having “measles parties”. Doesn’t that qualify?

  3. #3 Orac
    August 22, 2008

    Dan,

    I don’t think PalMD’s referring to the parents to which you refer. He’s referring to the hard core antivaccinationists, who actually believe that vaccines are far more harmful on balance than letting the natural diseases run rampant. Some of the parents, scared by the lies of the hard core antivax crowd, aren’t part of the cult but they are influenced and harmed by the cult.

    PalMD is right, though. Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, David Kirby, Dan Olmsted, Barbara Loe Fisher, John Scudamore, and their ilk are cultists. Their hatred of vaccines has little do to with any real evidence that vaccines cause autism and a very real dislike of the concept of vaccination itself and they especially don’t like mandatory vaccination programs. No amount of scientific evidence changes their mind. Whenever new evidence comes out that is contrary to their beliefs, they find a way to discount it or to shift the goalposts for the level of evidence it would take to change their mind.

  4. #4 Dubito
    August 22, 2008

    And here was I thinking that wilfully not researching this for yourself (as in “I wonder, and maybe this can be something for you to find out, why we have 1 in 160 now?” while I have just explained about changing diagnoses and greater awareness and am beginning to feel my mind unravelling from the stupid) was bad enough.

    Please, somebody, tell me: Is there a single website where the autism link is rebutted point by point, akin to TalkOrigins or How To Talk To A Climate Change Skeptic? I need one.

    Thank you.

  5. #5 Denice Walter
    August 22, 2008

    After reading Mark’s post on Mike Adams,I read Adams’ bio(@ Health Ranger)noticing that it listed NO educational credentials( “stats” does list his height ,weight, blood chem, and other”relevant” data),and got to thinking that perhaps this was intentional: Adams (no educational credentials listed), Null(quite fanciful educational credentials ), and Mercola( medical credentials used “creatively”). Paradoxically, lack of formal education might actually appeal to a certain segment of the population.If cultic medical diagnosis and care is by “revelation”( or by direct personal experience:Adams, McCarthy, Mercury Moms), outside influences might concievably tamper with the direct pathway to divine inspiration (or the guidance of ” true voice within”).

  6. #6 D. C. Sessions
    August 22, 2008

    As long as fury is the order of the day …

    We were on the freaking threshold of ELIMINATING several of these, worldwide!

    Like smallpox: no more vaccines for measles or polio. You utterly gormless gits, the Gottverdammte brass ring was within reach! No polio, no measles, and no freaking vaccines either!

    But noooooooo — your Society for the Preservation of Infectious Diseases couldn’t have that, could you?

  7. #7 HCN
    August 22, 2008

    Dubito said “Please, somebody, tell me: Is there a single website where the autism link is rebutted point by point, akin to TalkOrigins or How To Talk To A Climate Change Skeptic? I need one.”

    The closest I can get to are the resources at Immunize.org. There is a paper that shows the level of research of the MMR and autism:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4026.pdf

    But unlike evolution/creationism and climate change, there is real money to be made promoting the vaccine/autism myth. There are RNA drops, vitamin routines, essential oils, oral chelation, and a whole bunch of other crud. Even the cause of the MMR causes autism is part of the dubious testing and curing now in Texas (Thoughtful House hired Wakefield).

    Also, even with the resources that you cited, has that slowed down the creationists or climate change guys… or has Aidstruth.org slowed down the HIV/AIDS denialists?

  8. #8 llewelly
    August 22, 2008

    … a bizarre, fringe religion who’s goal is the spread of infectious disease.

    who’s => whose

  9. #9 llewelly
    August 22, 2008

    But unlike evolution/creationism and climate change, there is real money to be made promoting the vaccine/autism myth.

    Coal is incredibly profitable. I hear oil might be profitable too.

  10. #10 travc
    August 22, 2008

    Even ‘honest deluded rubes’ in the antivax crowd promote infectious disease the same way ‘pro-life’ folks promote teen pregnancy.

    Perversely, they are also inhibiting the identification of unsafe vaccines (really how unsafe existing vaccines are) and the development of safer ones. Very similar to how the ‘pro-life’ crowd fights against things which would actually reduce the number of abortions.

    PS: I find it suspicious how Ivins has been portrayed as promoting the existing anthrax vaccine. (When he was actually quite skeptical of it’s effectiveness and safety.) I wonder if there is some conscious play to the antivax sentiments too much of the public hold?

  11. #11 HCN
    August 22, 2008

    lewelly said “Coal is incredibly profitable. I hear oil might be profitable too.”

    Point taken.

  12. #12 Dubito
    August 22, 2008

    This may prove a little more promising:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/23/2344344.htm

    Parents have been issued with a court order to vaccinate a baby against Hep B, here in Australia.

    Oh and: I don’t expect any website, no matter how good, to eliminate nuts. But if I could hand over one address and say “Look, honestly, just read this. I will be testing you on it.” It would save me several incipient ulcers, and maybe other people as well.

    Thanks for the reference, HCN.

  13. #13 Bob O'H
    August 23, 2008

    I thought the most impressive argument against the anti-vaccination crowd were the graphs in this post from Mystery Rays from Outer Space. Vaccination starts, deaths from measles drop from a few hundred to nothing.

  14. #14 William Wallace
    August 23, 2008

    I know a girl who got measles from the shot. Not too bad (didn’t die or anything), but that’s where she got it.

  15. #15 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Vaccines, genetics, and environment have not been proven to cause ASD in a majority of diagnosed individuals and the debates continue.

  16. #16 D. C. Sessions
    August 23, 2008

    Vaccination starts, deaths from measles drop from a few hundred to nothing.

    For more than ten years now, I’ve been posting a standard challenge to the antivac set. So far, it’s a total thread-killer; most recently, from 22 March 2008, message-ID=80jgb5-4vp.ln1@news.lumbercartel.com:

    Then you won’t have any trouble at all finding just ONE
    example from hundreds of combinations where mass vaccination
    didn’t immediately precede a major drop in the disease it
    targeted for one of:

    * polio
    * diphtheria
    * pertussis
    * tetanus
    * measles
    * mumps
    * rubella
    * Hib
    * HepB
    * Meningococcal disease

    In a country where they’ve kept reasonably complete records
    for at least the ten years before and afterward. Then post
    them! Win instant fame!

    Think of being the first to pull this off after I’ve been
    posting it since 20 July 1997. For some reason none of the
    other anti-vaccination posters before you has even tried.
    Strange, that — just like you they all try to change the
    subject or just plain drop out of the newsgroup for a while.

  17. #17 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Tetanus isn’t a communicable disease. If it isn’t contagious, why is it in your list? The drop in tetanus could be explained by changes from an agriculturally centered society to a more industrialized society. Most of the current locations that have higher prevalence are also more agriculturally supported.

  18. #18 D. C. Sessions
    August 23, 2008

    The drop in tetanus could be explained by changes from an agriculturally centered society to a more industrialized society.

    And reductions in polio or arbovirus infections could be explained by improvements in sanitation or vector control.

    In any of those cases, though, there is no a priori connection between improvements in e.g. sanitation and vaccination, so there should be plenty of examples where the introduction of the vaccines didn’t correspond to an immediate drop in the disease.

    For instance, it’s not as though the USA finally got indoor plumbing and water treatment around 1960, just in time for polio rates to drop.

  19. #19 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    You glossed over the first question I ask DC. Why?

  20. #20 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    None of the current measles cases in the US has died, vaccinated or not. Indoor plumbing and water treatment doesn’t explain that either.

  21. #21 MarkH
    August 23, 2008

    I think it should be clear by now to everybody that chuck is a member of the antivaccination cult and a crank. Remember, we don’t argue with cranks and denialists here.

    Dubito, I have a fair history of the autism/vaccine story here that goes over most of these arguments, including the efficacy denial arguments like the scum that chuck represents.

    Pal, time to whip out the disemvowell code already.

  22. #22 William Wallace
    August 23, 2008

    Chuck made a valid point regarding tetanus, and MarkH decides to simply call him a name.

    The only cranks on this site are the vocal contributors like MarkH, who cannot consistently articulate what it is they stand for and why.

    Personally, I don’t dispute that vaccines are good from a public health perspective, in which you treat the masses as chattel. Sure, the vaccine might hurt a cow or two in the heard, but it is for the greater good.

    Step right up, buy your ticket, wait, strike that, be forced to accept your ticket, in the vaccine lottery.

  23. #23 William Wallace
    August 23, 2008

    Herd, not heard….oh well. Don’t you atheists hang out? Richard Dawkins has a nice interface to allow contributors to ex post facto correct their posts. I bet he’d be willing to share the code with atheistblogs.com.

  24. #24 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Exciting stuff today folks! We’ve got two pro trolls here, each struggling mightily for the gold…

    In this corner, with little sense and an obviously fake name, William Wallace! He brings a solid lack of sense to the ring, with a sheer denial of reality to back it up.

    In the other corner, Chuckles! With his ability to ignore the beam in his own eye whilst pointing out the mote in his opponent’s, and the dogged stubborness of the truly dense, this could be a real clash of titans!

    Stay tuned for more developments from the Trollympics!

  25. #25 PalMD
    August 23, 2008

    (getting the popcorn)

  26. #26 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    I am so glad that MarkH has pointed out that I am a hypocrite as everyone in my family has had all of their necessary vaccinations. I hope the judges in the event don’t lower my score due to my weakness.

  27. #27 D. C. Sessions
    August 23, 2008

    You glossed over the first question I ask DC. Why?

    My post had nothing to do with communicability.

    If you want to change the subject, go ahead.

  28. #28 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Mark you will also be happy to hear that the “scum that chuck represents” are all voicing their beliefs to every single politician from Kaine on down. They are very motivated, fairly well connected politically, and most likely get what they are after. Many local governments in the Commonwealth have made unanimous motions in support of these “scum”. Since Obama didn’t take Kaine out of the equation, they are aggressively moving forward. Denial and “disemvowelment” is delusional. Maybe some of these “scum” will show the governor some of you literary work.

  29. #29 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    An irrelevant rant from Chuckles to open the contest. The judges aren’t sure just what he’s blathering about, but hopefully it won’t cost him too much in the scoring.

    Let’s see what Wee Willy Wally has for a reply…

  30. #30 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    DC,

    Since tetanus is not communicability, the number of cases is a direct result of the population that is exposed to the neurotoxin. As societies move from an agricultural base to industrialized base the population “at risk” drops. The last statistic that I heard is that less than 10% of the US population is in a agriculturally based industry, and only a subset of that population is at risk. Strict adherence to OSHA guidelines and none are at risk, with our without the vaccine.

  31. #31 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    “An irrelevant rant from Chuckles to open the contest. The judges aren’t sure just what he’s blathering about, but hopefully it won’t cost him too much in the scoring.”

    It may become very relevant to Mark, but “home town judges” are not scoring competitors like Mark very high. Those judges do more for their constituents then this kangaroo court.

  32. #32 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Oh! The Argumentum Ad Populum! Since a lot of people believe something it *must* be true! A classic fallacy from Chuckles… let’s see how that plays with the judges…

    1.2 from the French judge, 1.3 from the British judge, .4 from the Russian… she’s a real hardcase this week… and a whopping 2.3 from the American! They’ll believe anything they see on late night television!

    (Seriously. Reality does not submit to popular vote.)

  33. #33 PalMD
    August 23, 2008

    LanceR is seriously going FTW on ID’ing the logical fallacies.

  34. #34 Anonymous
    August 23, 2008

    Since tetanus is not communicability, the number of cases is a direct result of the population that is exposed to the neurotoxin. As societies move from an agricultural base to industrialized base the population �at risk� drops.

    So according to you, the tetanus rates are independent of vaccination. Excellent! All you have to show now is a country where the correlation of tetanus rates to agricultural population before and after vaccination is the same.

    Should be a piece of cake — there are lots of countries to choose from.

    The last statistic that I heard is that less than 10% of the US population is in a agriculturally based industry, and only a subset of that population is at risk. Strict adherence to OSHA guidelines and none are at risk, with our without the vaccine.

    I’m glad we don’t have to worry about anyone who isn’t covered by OSHA regs getting out where there are C. tetani in the soil. Who knows what might happen if people were, for instance, to go camping where there are elk.

  35. #35 Anonymous
    August 23, 2008

    Chuck … “As societies move from an agricultural base to industrialized base the population “at risk” drops.

    For combat troops, the incidence of tetanus in 1914 was 1,500 to 3,000 per 10,000 wounded, and the mortality rate was generally higher than 60 percent. With the introduction of tetanus antitoxin injections toward the end of 1914, the infection rate fell to about 7 per 10,000.

    Tetanus toxoid vaccine was developed in the mid-1920s, and came into widespread civilian use in the late 1940s … the anti-toxin was saving lives, but giving large doses of horse immunoglobulins has its own risks.

    According to DOD, compulsory vaccination of U.S. Armed Forces in WWII included tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever. 12 cases of tetanus occured in 2.7 million hospital admissions for wounds and injuries. Not 12 cases per 10,000 but TWELVE CASES.

    Now tell me that the GIs were not “at risk” under the same conditions for both wars.

  36. #36 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Yes Anon, thank goddness that walking on the same soil as elk can only get your shoes dirty.

    And No Anon, tetanus rates are not independent of vaccination. Vaccination effectiveness can only be determined after exposure. AIDS vaccines are 100% effective in celibate Jehovah witnesses. What does that prove?

  37. #37 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Yes Anon, the probability of having an open wound and rolling around in a field that was covered in animal feces during both world wars was high. The probability most likely was also high during Korea and Viet Nam. I don’t think the probability was as high in Iraq, do you? Thank goodness I don’t live in a war zone and the nearest field with animal feces is fenced off a few miles away.

  38. #38 D. C. Sessions
    August 23, 2008

    Yes Anon, thank goddness that walking on the same soil as elk can only get your shoes dirty.

    Just make sure that what ever you do, you don’t come into direct contact with it. Such as, for instance, slipping and getting a gash from a rock or branch.

    To be really safe, you should keep children on pavement at all times and always have them wear full boots and heavy-duty clothing, including gloves. Maybe a helmet, too.

    Under no circumstances leave town.

  39. #39 PalMD
    August 23, 2008

    Im not sure if chuck is playing the “idiot’s advocate” here or what. Is he seriously suggesting that since urbanization may contribute to decreasing tetanus rates, we shouldn’t vaccinate?

    I’m sorry chuck, but to even suppose that tetanus vaccine isn’t a great idea is just plain stupid.

    http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/00053713.htm

  40. #40 HCN
    August 23, 2008

    Also to avoid tetanus do not do any gardening, get bug and dog bites, step on wire, thorns, sticks, nails or rakes, kick tree stumps, avoid getting punctures, splinters or abrasions on hands and feet, plus stay away from falling concrete blocks:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/e2/T1

  41. #41 PalMD
    August 23, 2008

    And whatever you do, stay away from earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods.

  42. #42 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    I am pointing out that tetanus, influenza, Gardisal are all in the non “herd immunity” voluntary vaccinations where an ounce of avoidance is worth a pound of vaccine. I have not had any of these vaccines or illnesses this millennium and it has not adversely effected anyone. The medical savings have not offset the financial losses since I have stopped accruing sick leave. But that is a savings to my employer.

  43. #43 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    “Also to avoid tetanus do not do any gardening, get bug and dog bites, step on wire, thorns, sticks, nails or rakes, kick tree stumps, avoid getting punctures, splinters or abrasions on hands and feet, plus stay away from falling concrete blocks:”

    All easily avoided, except the gardening. Heavy gardening gloves in a garden without animal feces take care of that.

    Falling 16 ton anvils might cause tetanus also.

  44. #44 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Ah! The rarely seen “Argumentum Ad Idiotum”, or “I’ll act as stupid as possible to confuse the issue”! Also known as the Argument from Ingnorance!

    Ooh, the judges don’t like that one! Look! They’re having to restrain the French judge! It appears that they resent the implication that they are as stupid as Chuckles is acting! That’s gonna hurt him in the final scoring!

    Meanwhile, Limp Willy Wally seems to have dropped from the event completely. Perhaps going for the hard to complete “Take My Ball(s) And Go Home”?

    Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Trollympics!

  45. #45 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Wait. Seriously? Bug bites are easily avoided? Abrasions and punctures? Even in children? Wow… Chuckles really does lead a sheltered life.

    What a maroon!

  46. #46 HCN
    August 23, 2008

    Chuck said “All easily avoided, except the gardening. Heavy gardening gloves in a garden without animal feces take care of that.”

    Please share how you avoid bug bites. Perhaps it is because I actually go outside that I get them (doing things like gardening, walking, swimming, biking and well, living). Do you just spend every waking moment in your house, fully clothed from head to toe… or do you just lather yourself with bug repellent every day?

    I am also amazed that you live in a world without sharp objects like nails and knives. Do you avoid using knives by buying all your food pre-made? Is it all delivered to your front door so you can avoid the insects?

    I personally like cooking, and have actually cut myself more than once. Plus we are a crafty hobby oriented family so we actually use nails, staples, saws, scissors, needles and pins (I once bled on a marching band uniform I was fixing when I stuck myself with a pin). We even encourage our fully vaccinated children to use these sharp things. Just yesterday one teenage son used scissors, the chop saw, old boogie boards, PVC pipe, rope and lots of duct tape to create a kluged together “sail powered” floating bit of silliness (I videotaped him testing it in the pool after his lifeguard shift, it was hilarious!).

    Do you just live your whole life in front of the computer screen surrounded by soft objects waiting for food to be delivered?

  47. #47 Alex Besogonov
    August 23, 2008

    Chuck:

    Tetanus IS NOT transmitted only by faeces. It’s caused by a naturally occurring obligate anaerobic bacteria. Its spores are VERY common – you can easily find them almost anywhere.

    You don’t get tetanus after every small scratch because these bacteria needs anaerobic environment, such as in a festering wound.

  48. #48 Cassidy
    August 23, 2008

    This is totally better than synchro.

    I think the track and field commentators just compared Chuck’s decline to the “we don’t need vaccines, we can just avoid all the ways in which the diseases are transmitted!” defense to the US 4x100m relay teams.

  49. #49 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Wife had a bad spider bite last year but didn’t get tetanus? Does that count? Wife and I are both First Aid/CPR certified so we know how to clean and dress wounds. Children haven’t had any puncture wounds unless you count blood draws and vaccinations. Are we at high risk of getting tetanus from those? Children have not been stung by anything and don’t seem the worse for wear from that either.

    Its rabbit season fire!

  50. #50 Liz Ditz
    August 23, 2008

    Although he seems to have dropped out, WW wrote

    I know a girl who got measles from the shot. Not too bad (didn’t die or anything), but that’s where she got it.

    Gee, I know a guy who knows this kid who swears that somebody flashed his high beams at him, and the next thing he knows he wakes up with a big scar in his back and a message written in lipstick on his mirror, “welcome to the world of aids”.

  51. #51 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Anecdotal “evidence”! Bob, how long has it been since someone pulled the lame old anecdote ploy? Let’s ignore that *everybody* in America receives the DTP vaccine in order to attend school. Let’s ignore the “I’m too clever/good/talented to get {insert disease here}” ploy. Anecdotal evidence??? That’s gonna hurt his final score!

    So far Limp Willy is leading by simply having STFU!

  52. #52 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    HCN,

    Ususal routine:

    Monday-Friday : Put children on bus. Go to work. Go to the gym. Come home in evening.

    Weekends: Wife works. Take dog on two or three walks (1 mile each). Children like to bikes together. Two or three trips 4-6 miles hilly. Other indoor sports activities, no bugs. I have never used bug repellant because I thought it smelled like crap, so no one else does either. No one has bug bites.

    “I am also amazed that you live in a world without sharp objects like nails and knives.”
    Trained with knives so I know how to be careful with them. I am also an avid carpenter. Call me silly that I am careful when I am using power equipment. My open wounds don’t heal well so I avoid them if possible. Children don’t have the desire to use scissors, you know why. We do not encourage our fully vaccinated children to use these sharp things for the same reason. I have also not been able to train my younger child any martial arts for the same reason and it SUCKS!

    “Do you just live your whole life in front of the computer screen surrounded by soft objects waiting for food to be delivered?”

    If I could afford it , sounds great but replace “computer screen” with home theater system. Even if I could afford it, it wouldn’t be my reality though.

  53. #53 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    “Let’s ignore that *everybody* in America receives the DTP vaccine in order to attend school.”

    No, they don’t.

  54. #54 LanceR
    August 23, 2008

    Ooh! A flat denial argument! That hasn’t worked since the Python disaster in the seventies! Yikes!

    He’s starting to fall apart, folks. This contest is beginning to look finished!

  55. #55 Ian
    August 23, 2008

    None of the current measles cases in the US has died, vaccinated or not. Indoor plumbing and water treatment doesn’t explain that either.

    There’s no need to “explain” anything, since that’s completely consistent with what everyone knows about measles (that is, everyone who has even spent thirty seconds learning about measles). The death rate for measles is around 1 in a thousand. There have been about 130 cases on measles in the US this year. How many people would one expect to have died?

    In the pre-vaccine era, there were hundreds of thousands of cases of measles per year, in the US alone. And, as you’d expect, there were hundreds of deaths — roughly 1 in 1000. If people continue to follow the advice of loons who haven’t spent 30 seconds learning about measles, then we will once again start to get thousands and tens of thousands of cases of measles once again, and once again children will die.

    By the way, anti-vaccine loons in Britain have caused vaccination rates there to drop as well. And, just as you’d expect, measles made a resurgence there as well. And there, a child has indeed died of measles. Chuck, that death is on your shoulders. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

  56. #56 Chuck
    August 23, 2008

    Ian,

    Since I didn’t get the influenza vaccine I must have also caused all the deaths from influenza here in the USA last year. How many was that PAL?

    It is called free will. Eliminate it and all your problems would go away.

  57. #57 Ian
    August 23, 2008

    Since I didn’t get the influenza vaccine I must have also caused all the deaths from influenza here in the USA last year. How many was that PAL?

    Between 30000 and 40000, same as usual.

    So you not only know nothing about measles death rates, you know nothing about influenza death rates; and you don’t even know how to find it out.

    And you feel qualified to give medical advice.

  58. #58 PalMD
    August 24, 2008

    I’m certainly not arguing that Chuck should get his flu shot. If he’s not hanging around vulnerable people I couldn’t’ care less. I have no idea if Chuck is in a high risk group for flu. If he is and doesn’t get vaccinated, he may get lucky. Or he may end up in a hospital for a nice long stay on a ventilator. Who can say?

    But it is all distraction, since he really is talking about ALL vaccines. Sure, his not getting tet or flu vax makes no difference to the rest of the world, but I’m sure he has some excuse why folks should also be able to shirk MMR, etc.

  59. #59 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    “Between 30000 and 40000, same as usual”

    I know that is an estimate and not an actual number and that estimate never changes due to vaccine availability or effectiveness or severity of strains. PAL and I have had this discussion.

    If you are a doctor, maybe you should refine the ranges of number you give. Make a “better” educated guess.

  60. #60 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    Technically I am considered to be in a high risk group which is why I don’t have blind faith in the vaccine’s effectiveness.

    I would be hypocritical if I was talking about all vaccines as everyone in my family has had all of their mandatory adolescent vaccinations. Most of them even worked but I don’t know what we have and have not been exposed to.

  61. #61 LanceR
    August 24, 2008

    You heard it here first, folks! Chuckles has officially jumped the Troll Shark! He’s reduced to special pleading (*My* family didn’t get vaccinated and we’re fine!) and putting the burden of evidence on other people! This contest is almost over, and Limp Willy is about to win simply by virtue of NOT making a fool of himself!

    Chuckles has only a short time to try to redeem himself… let’s watch closely… I expect either a Courtier’s Reply or a “Science doesn’t know everything” ploy. It’s really his only hope at this point. What do you think, John?

  62. #62 John Madden
    August 24, 2008

    Well, LanceR, I think you’re gonna see some jukin’, an’ some dodgin’. I betcha he’s gonna sockpuppet* any minute now to try to dredge up some support, even if it’s only in his head. I mean, I’m old, drunk and senile, and even *I* know vaccines are a good idea!

    (This message is not really John Madden. This message is purely to demonstrate sockpuppeting. This message is a figment of your imagination. No electrons were harmed during the making of this message.)

    G’Night Folks!

  63. #63 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    While I think chuck is out to lunch on almost everything, i don’t recall him ever putting on socks.

  64. #64 might be Pal
    August 24, 2008

    and the previous discussion of flu stats is here.

  65. #65 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    LanceR Having trouble reading for comprehension?

    My family has been vaccinated.

  66. #66 William Wallace
    August 24, 2008

    My neighbor’s wife is about 50, and she was never vaccinated (assembly of God now, not sure what she was when she was young.)

    And, low and behold, she’s still alive.

    Hard to believe, I know. But she is actually alive and didn’t even get polio.

  67. #67 LanceR
    August 24, 2008

    OH NO! What a catastrophe for Chuckles! He’s reduced to plain, old-fashioned lies!

    I have not had any of these vaccines or illnesses this millennium and it has not adversely effected anyone.

    And Limp Willy Wally has poked his turtle head back in for a parting comment! No! Anecdotal “evidence” that may or may not be true, and cannot be verified! Not only is that not worth much on points, but it’s already been used by Chuckles!

    In one comment, Willy shoots himself in the foot!

    We may have a contest again, folks!

  68. #68 Charlie
    August 24, 2008

    When I was much younger and in New York (talking over ten years ago), a pupil in my class who hadn’t been vaccinated got normal TB and infected another pupil. Neither of them were vaccinated and potentially more kids could be infected. I was immunized then against it (among quite a few other things as my family traveled and still do). TB is contagious and is still relatively common although more deadly now. No offense Chuck, but urbanization means nothing in terms of the vectors that bacteria/spores/viruses/protozoa use, in some cases it increases the chances of infection. Singapore used to have a law (that may still exist) that any standing water should be tipped out immediately and anyone found leaving standing water would be fined. Malaria can’t be immunized against; if it was there would be no need for the law.

    Considering what a scruffy kid I was, I’m forever grateful to my parents for the amount of vaccines I hate to have. They’d always tell me what the vaccine was for (symptoms, consequences, the lot, I asked too many questions as a kid) and why I needed it, because frankly, the results otherwise are fairly horrifying. Last year an acquiescence of mine caught Hepatitis A by drinking tap water out of the wrong tank in his house. When incidents like that happen, you need the protection and need to still use vaccines to prevent it happening again. Ever.

  69. #69 Charlie
    August 24, 2008

    *Had, not hate, my bad. Definitely not a Freudian slip there, I’ve seen what happens with polio and such when going to Sri Lanka; it’s incredibly sad that it still happens. I love meh immunization.

  70. #70 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    Charlie,

    The TB vaccination isn’t a customary vaccine in the United States and the TB skin test is subjectively read and it is not uncommon for it to be incorrect. The vaccine is one of the reasons that the test will be incorrect.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/tb/default.htm

    The QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Test is a unicorn. Few doctors have actually heard of it. Even less think they know if it is administered in their area. Virtually impossible to actually find someone who has it and can administer it correctly.

  71. #71 Charlie
    August 24, 2008

    No, but I did say ‘I travel’, hence why I had it. Fantastic you can pick up on comprehension, Chuck. Really reflects well on you. :\

    It was mandatory to go Bahrain with from the UK, which is why I had it. The UK is good with prevention and I wouldn’t have been allowed in otherwise. I also had a skin test a few weeks later to test it. Frankly, it may have helped the kid to have it, or at least to pick it up, because the school wasn’t in the middle of downtown New York by any standard, just a middle class part of New York city. And there is one more TB vaccination; it certainly isn’t perfect though, but it helps. The vectors still exist; 2 billion people in some form or another have TB or have come into contact with it. Given the risks, it would help.

    You also didn’t answer the Hep A or Malaria points, which pretty much shows you just want to hit a small point to pick at and forget the rest of the argument. Well done there. The point of vaccination is prevention and I’ll come back to the point I made, urbanization does not necessarily drop rates of diseases that can be prevented by vaccine: that is helped by the incoming wealth, and that’s only helped if the people urbanizing also get the wealth. Or, in the case of New York, TB is still fairly common and vectors exist everywhere. Chuck, you don’t seem to have been outside the USA much, have you? Seems a bit narrow to me. Because here’s the thing: vaccination rates in richer countries mean there’s more incentive for other countries to do it. People like Jenny McCarthy have far reaching consequences, as it’s not just the USA that’s affected by woo; woo is media carried.

  72. #72 PalMD
    August 24, 2008

    Yeah, BCG (the TB vaccine) is something that we’ve decided isn’t useful for the U.S., but it is still widely done in South Asia, the Philipines, etc.

  73. #73 Charlie
    August 24, 2008

    PalMD: True, I’m a bit unusual in that respect, but I was under the impression that rates have been rising in the developing world again? If not, feel free to correct me. :D

  74. #74 LanceR
    August 24, 2008

    Wow! Out of nowhere Chuckles comes storming back with a classic Cherry Pick! Did you see the way he focused like a laser on the potential inaccuracy of the TB skin test, and completely ignored all the other information? Amazing! That’s why he’s a pro! A real competitor!

    Still waiting for Limp Wally to make a comeback… Stay tuned!

  75. #75 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    “Singapore used to have a law (that may still exist) that any standing water should be tipped out immediately and anyone found leaving standing water would be fined. Malaria can’t be immunized against”

    You made the point well that reduction of risk must be in place when vaccines do not exist or are ineffective. I could not have said it better then you did.

    “urbanization does not necessarily drop rates of diseases that can be prevented by vaccine”

    Agreed. You statement is generalized. Urbanization can have a positive, neutral, or negative effect on the rate of disease. The effectivness of the vaccine in preventinging illness and stopping transmission is unique to each vaccine.

  76. #76 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    “Chuck, you don’t seem to have been outside the USA much, have you?”

    Some to Canada (skiing), Mexico, and UK (England and Scotland) to take my mother to see her WWII pen pal and limited sightseeing before my mother died 5 months later. This was all before children. It is now impossible with children.

  77. #77 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    Charlie,

    “I also had a skin test a few weeks later to test it.”

    If you had the skin test a few weeks after the vaccine and it was negative then either the vaccine was ineffective or the test was incorrect. Which did you assume since the Gold Standard Test wasn’t approved until 2003?

  78. #78 Tsu Dho Nimh
    August 24, 2008

    Chuck said:

    None of the current measles cases in the US has died, vaccinated or not. Indoor plumbing and water treatment doesn’t explain that either.

    The expected 10% have been hospitalized … it’s only a matter of time before someone’s kid dies. I hope it’s one of Jay Gordon’s patients. Not that I bear ill will towards the kid, but because it would give Jay the personal experience that he apparently can’t learn without. An anecdote to add to his collection.

    The QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Test is a unicorn. Few doctors have actually heard of it. Even less think they know if it is administered in their area.

    We must have lots of virgins around here. Routine … done by the county health department, it’s a bit of a PITA because the blood has to be really FRESH, as in less than 12 hours old.

  79. #79 Chuck
    August 24, 2008

    Tsu Dho Nimh,

    Yes our local county health department said they did do it. They also said they take the blood and ship it across country to their labs. They told us that we were the first people to actually request it.

    The stupidity of bureaucracy burns!

    We got an X-ray instead. But the bureaucracy is so stupid they don’t understand why we submitted an interpretation of an x-ray rather than a skin test and asked us to go back and get a skin test.

    Why do you think I know about the unicorn in the first place?

  80. #80 LanceR
    August 24, 2008

    Wait, this is a new twist, the judges look confused…

    Nobody knows what he’s blathering on about! Chuckles has taken Trolling to an entirely new level!

    The winner is…

    Nobody! Limp Wally gets a fat zero for dropping out early! Chuckles gets a +4 for staying in the contest, and minus several million for comprehension and clarity! We all had to sit and listen to it!

    Seriously. WTF does the accuracy of the skin test, and whether it is available near Chuckles have to do with vaccination? Is he really that stupid? Is he really that dense? These questions and others will be answered (we hope) in the next Trollympics! Coming soon to a blog near you!

  81. #81 Morticia
    August 25, 2008

    And now we heard on the news (Australia) that a woman who is Hepatitis B positive and who gave birth last week is on the run with baby and partner because when a baby is born from a Hepatitis positive mother, the baby must be immunised for Hep B in the next 12 hours- at the latest 1 week later.
    Why?
    Because the parents are afraid of the aluminium in the vaccine will damage their baby!
    Thanks to the anti-vax brigade.