I dunno whether this guy is a troll or not, but he asked a question I would love to answer, as it is very, very relevant to things Ive written on this blog before:

Finally, if your children have been vaccinated against xyz disease, why would you care if others are NOT vaccinated, surely your children are immune to the effects the disease may pose?

Joe might be a troll, but this is a fantastic question that perfectly illustrates how scientifically illiterate and self centered anti-vaxers are*.

One of the many things Ive tried to emphasize about your immune system is, the fundamental randomness of it. Lets say you and I are infected with the exact same number and kind of bacteria via the exact same paper-cut at the exact same time. When you look at The Big Picture, our immune response will be the same. Damaged epithelial cells will release cytokines, immune cells will converge at the site of damage, we will make antibodies to the invading bacteria to ‘mark’ them for destruction, meh. Pretty much the same thing.

But when you zoom in, our immune response is wildly different! The antibodies my body makes to ‘mark’ the bacteria could bear absolutely no resemblance to the antibodies your body makes. Maybe Ive been infected with that kind of bacteria before, and my body is ‘stuck’ making kinda crappy antibodies– antigenic sin. Maybe Ive been infected with that kind of bacteria before, and my body can make super-duper-awesome antibodies, and I dont even have to put Neosporin on my paper-cut.

The way our bodies have evolved to make antibodies relies entirely on, what I call, picoevolution– random mutation and natural selection of immune cells. Random mutation. My response to a vaccine or a virus or a fungus or bacteria could be just fine, but look absolutely nothing like yours, which could also be just fine.

Each one of our bodies independently comes up with a ‘right’ solution to every cold, every flu, every infected paper-cut we have ever had.

Many roads lead to Rome.

Which is why even if we identify a million Super-Awesome-Anti-HIV-Antibodies, that wont do us a hell of a lot of good in vaccine design, outside of gene therapy.

What this means is, you can do everything right. You can get all of your immunizations, you can get all the the right immunizations for your kids… and you still might not be protected very well against what you think you are protected against. Just by chance alone. If you give everyone in a city the influenza vaccine, there are some percentage of people who, by chance, are going to have a crappy response to the vaccine, and not be as protected as other people. But the herd immunity provided by everyone else still keeps those people safe.

Its not just people who cannot get vaccinated, the young and old and immunocompromised, who are protected by herd immunity.

All of us are (unless you are measuring your anti-measles, anti-mumps, anti-influenza, anti-etcetcetc antibodies every year and getting boosters accordingly).

This is one of the many reasons why anti-vaxers are self-centered little shits, and why everyone should be worried about them.

* Not knowing the answer to this question does not make you scientifically illiterate. Its thinking you know the answer to this question, calling yourself ‘self-educated’ and insisting ‘that youve done all the research’ when this is very basic immunology an undergrad should be able to answer, and actually endangering others lives with your arrogant ignorance– that is what makes this question scientifically retarded. If we were dealing with Creationists instead of antivaxers, this sort of question posed as a ‘challenge’ would be one of The Arguments Regarding Design.

Comments

  1. #1 Zombie
    August 22, 2010

    It’s sorta not fun to watch other peoples’ kids get sick and die even when your own are healthy. Empathy’s a bitch some days. I guess these anti-vax types just don’t care about sick people if they’re strangers? It would explain a lot, really.

    Still, great post – I did not know how much depended on one’s “first” exposure.

  2. #2 6EQUJ5
    August 22, 2010

    If the entire population is immunized against xyz, that puts the kibosh on outbreaks, which will tend to be rare, singular, and dispersed, with the occasional patient zero now and then here and there, and no patient one who caught it from zero. If xyz is to survive, it had better mutate to afflict some other species that all think like Jenny McCarthy.

  3. #3 feralboy12
    August 22, 2010

    That’s a nice example of a “common sense” argument. The problem with those is that they don’t require thought. Which means issues are never thought through, superficial understanding is sufficient, and the great majority end up accepting a fallacy.

  4. #4 WingedBeast
    August 22, 2010

    My immediate go-to response to the question was actually that the virus itself mutates.

    If I’m perfectly immunized against a virus and nobody else is, each person that virus hits is yet another chance for the virus to mutate and that much more chance for the virus to turn into something my immune system doesn’t know about.

    This article was a lot of info that I didn’t already have. Thanks.

  5. #5 h.Claus
    August 22, 2010

    As antibodies are made randomly, and as the more infections you have the more types of antibodies are made, and as antibodies can turn against your own body, wouldn’t it be wise to avoid as much as possible any infection? i.e. : is it wise to vaccinate, under condition the illness you’re vaccinating against is a ‘minor’ one (eg : guaranteed non-lethal, only sick for a few days) ? Because there is always a risk of some anti-flue vaccination giving you arthritis thirty years later ? Or is this a stupid question (i am by no way a doctor)

  6. #6 ERV
    August 22, 2010

    h.Claus– For autoantibodies to be made to such a degree they cause disease, you need a real infection. A real infection with multiple rounds of random mutation–>selection–>random mutation–>selection. Anything that looks too close to ‘You’ in the first few rounds is killed– its only once an infection really gets going that auto-immune B-cell can slip through the cracks. Example: Lots of us have had strep throat, but we got it treated before it could escalate to scarlet fever/auto-immunity.

    The few rounds you get via vaccination would be much safer, autoimmunity wise, than an actual infection.

  7. #7 Rorschach
    August 22, 2010

    Because there is always a risk of some anti-flue vaccination giving you arthritis thirty years later ?

    [Citation needed]

    Example: Lots of us have had strep throat, but we got it treated before it could escalate to scarlet fever/auto-immunity.

    Post-strep GN, rheumatic fever etc are now rare mainly because of antibiotics, but not every strep throat if untreated leads to autoimmune disease.

  8. #8 rcn2
    August 23, 2010

    Great post – I’m going to come back when I cover the immune system in class next term. I’ve had the same question posed, and my answer has never been this succinct.

  9. #9 Donna B.
    August 23, 2010

    Thank you for another point of information. I often encounter people (my own offspring for example!) that are worried about vaccines and any information I can use to explain to them why they are necessary is helpful.

    So far my grandchildren are fully vaccinated, but their mothers are of the opinion that they are protected so they need not worry about their friends who don’t vaccinate.

  10. #10 csrster
    August 23, 2010

    “if your children have been vaccinated against xyz disease, why would you care if others are NOT vaccinated, surely your children are immune to the effects the disease may pose?”

    Or, in other words, “My kids are my property. Hands off.”

  11. #11 Kemanorel
    August 23, 2010

    “If your children have been vaccinated against xyz disease, why would you care if others are NOT vaccinated”

    Just thought I’d add another reason in addition to herd immunity, sort of goes with it, but sort of doesn’t: age.

    1.) Kids get immunized at a certain age Z.
    2.) Say disease X is immunized in kids at age Z.
    3.) Child A is > Z and not immunized and gets disease X.
    4.) Child A is brought to the park by dumbass anti-vaxer parent(s).
    5.) Child A potentially spreads disease X to all kids age <=5
    6.) Kids die of preventable disease X thanks to dumbass anti-vaxer parent(s).

    Query: Should dumbass parent(s) of Child A be accountable for reckless endangerment manslaughter for bringing thier unimmunized, sick child into public? Should their be laws against bringing an unimmunized child into public places?

    I think so.

  12. #12 Mu
    August 23, 2010

    Since “Joe the Plumber” used every last meme of the anti-vax crowd, I’m sure he’s a troll. Great post otherwise, makes me wish I’d taken undergrad immunology.

  13. #13 ERV
    August 23, 2010

    Kemanorel– Some kids genuinely cant have some vaccines, or have to have them off-schedule for medical reasons. This includes kids who are allergic to some ingredient, or have cancer, or some immune disease, but even completely normal/healthy kids might have to delay a vaccine their parents plan on getting them, for some reason. I mean, I got sick mid-HPV shots, and had to delay the last one six months.

    We cant make not immunizing your child illegal, for this very reason.

    Yet another thing exploited by anti-vaxers. Capitalizing on others medical misfortune for their own personal gain.

  14. #14 plutosdad
    August 23, 2010

    I used to think anti vaccers were just scared parents, innocent and honest but just misinformed, until I started reading the crap they wrote in comments on blogs. Stuff like we should get measles “because the immunity is better and lasts longer.” Even if that were true (it might be I have no idea) the problem is what about the little kids and elderly and immune compromised who will get measles, and the % of people who get it and have horrible complications, who cares about them? Not the anti-vaccers.

    The reckless disregard for others’ lives I see displayed whenever an anti-vaccer speaks or writes has led me to believe they are not only self centered but have the exact same moral standing as drunk drivers.

    You don’t have to be smart. I have some science background but am not a scientist, I just 1. use my brain and 2. care about others besides myself and my children. That’s all it takes.

  15. #15 Prometheus
    August 23, 2010

    I am probably mistaken but I thought the reason why Joe the Plumbers assertion was crap was that immunization made you immune the same way that bullet proof vests are proved against bullets, that is to say, it depends on how many bullets and how big they are.

    Without herd immunity outbreaks are going to occur in which the vaccinated are exposed a multitude of times so that even the most fortified immune system will be overwhelmed by the immunogen.

    I think we have seen this in pertussis outbreaks where herd immunity was never achieved due to the complexity of the vaccination schedules.

    Again, I thought I understood this but I am probably wrong, so help?

  16. #16 Kemanorel
    August 23, 2010

    Some kids genuinely cant have some vaccines, or have to have them off-schedule for medical reasons. This includes kids who are allergic to some ingredient, or have cancer, or some immune disease, but even completely normal/healthy kids might have to delay a vaccine their parents plan on getting them, for some reason.

    Don’t get me wrong. I understand there are some situations like that which can’t be avoided, but when I’m a parent, if I’m in such a situation that my child couldn’t get, for example, the MMR at the regular time, I wouldn’t bring them to a public park or something like that, esspecially if they’re already sick. Not just to protect them, but to protect the other kids.

    I’m not avocating to make the vaccines manditory or anything like that. I only advocate common courtesy between parents. It seems to me like a no-brainer that if your kid is sick, you don’t take him/her where they can infect more kids, especially if they can’t/haven’t been vaccinated, but somehow I doubt most anti-vaxers would show such a courtesy.

  17. #17 techskeptic
    August 23, 2010

    “…but somehow I doubt most anti-vaxers would show such a courtesy.”

    I suspect they think they are doing you a courtesy by getting your kid infected “naturally”

  18. #18 Prometheus
    August 23, 2010

    ERV@#13

    “We cant make not immunizing your child illegal, for this very reason.”

    Oh but we do.

    In the vast majority of states a kid can’t be enrolled in a public or private school without a certification of vaccination or an exemption certificate.

    The exemption certificate recites three categories:

    1. Medical(requires MD’s statement/signature)

    2. Looney (requires acknowledged religion’s objection to medical intervention)

    3. Stupid (requires a rambling collection of unrelated sciencey words gleaned from watching Oprah and bouncing around hugboxes)

    Exemption certificate applications are made through county health boards that have a terrifying level of autonomy.

    You might spend the day scribbling out why little Galadriel can’t be vaccinated because she is a crystal child and it will create interference in her ascension process only to be told by Nurse Mildred Ratched “Go suck eggs hippy.”

    They make a hot list of every kid who has not been vaccinated in the county and the second they hear a rumor of a funny sounding cough, every unvaccinated kid in the county goes home and is under quarantine rules until they sound the all-clear.

    County health boards can make mom, dad and the kids all stay home as long as they feel it is warranted.

    Hey, if the old army nurse who runs your County Health Board wants to make a Buck v. Bell public welfare call she might just have the sheriff burn your house down with you and your measles ridden family still in it.

  19. #19 Tsu Dho Nimh
    August 23, 2010

    @16 Kemanorel if I’m in such a situation that my child couldn’t get, for example, the MMR at the regular time, I wouldn’t bring them to a public park or something like that,

    FYI, the infant victim of a measles outbreak was infected while at the pediatrician’s office. The child was too young to be successfully vaccinated against measles.

    The unvaccinated grade school age kid who infected the baby was brought to that same pediatrician’s office because of a fever and rash, exposing every person in the office to his virus-shedding. The measles was contracted in Europe, BTW, where vaccination rates are so low that measles is endemic.

    How locked-up in a plastic bubble should the parents have had that child?

  20. #20 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [It seems to me like a no-brainer that if your kid is sick, you don't take him/her where they can infect more kids, especially if they can't/haven't been vaccinated, but somehow I doubt most anti-vaxers would show such a courtesy.]

    Sounds reasonable. They should be at home resting and recovering. But I’ve found that this isn’t enough from the totalitarian types. They want MORE control. The next thing they say is “what if you don’t know you’re sick. You could be infecting all of those non vaccinating immune suppressed people who are at the grocery store. You’ll be a killer.”

  21. #21 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [Query: Should dumbass parent(s) of Child A be accountable for reckless endangerment manslaughter for bringing thier unimmunized, sick child into public? Should their be laws against bringing an unimmunized child into public places?]

    Only if pharmaceutical companies are held accountable for their manslaughter. If it is determined that a vaccinated child has “spread” the disease then the pharmaceutical company who sold the ineffective vaccine (and pushed for mandatory use) should be held for economic damage and a public apology acknowledging the failure.

  22. #22 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [ERV: Lots of us have had strep throat, but we got it treated before it could escalate to scarlet fever/auto-immunity.]

    You might want to give citations for this. It may be baseless or flawed from it’s premise. It doesn’t appear to be an evidence based statement.

    http://www.epmonthly.com/columns/in-my-opinion/antibiotics-for-strep-addressing-readers-concerns/

    http://www.epmonthly.com/columns/in-my-opinion/antibiotics-for-strep-do-more-harm-than-good/

    “Outside of Warren Air Force base in the 1940s, is rheumatic fever a plausible risk? Apparently not. There have been only two other cases of rheumatic fever ever reported in a pharyngitis study, both in 1961. In fact, despite large, contemporary studies tracking tens of thousands of strep throats in the general community, many of whom received placebos or no treatment, there hasn’t been a case of rheumatic fever reported in a study for nearly fifty years. When the incidence dropped to less than one per million in the general population in 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped tracking rheumatic fever entirely.”

    “Fortunately, rheumatic fever has been declining for a century, starting well before the introduction of antibiotics…leading epidemiologists to conclude that antibiotics have little or nothing to do with rheumatic fever’s disappearance. Changes in hygiene, nutrition, population crowding, access to care, and changes in the bacterium are all felt to be important factors, which explains why the disease is now typically seen most in third world settings.”

    “One of the first responses to the article asked whether or not post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis is reduced by antibiotics. Important question. In eleven thousand strep throats in trials only two mild cases occurred. There is therefore no evidence to suggest that the condition is preventable. If it is preventable, it appears we would need to treat well over five thousand strep throats just to prevent one case of glomerulonephritis. At that point we’re likely to have caused at least a few cases of fatal or near fatal anaphylaxis. Glomerulonephritis is therefore not considered by any professional groups or experts to be a reason for antibiotic use.”

  23. #23 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 23, 2010

    Oh, my. It’s worse than I thought. I posted a comment to the previous article about how North Carolina required immunizations before a child could start school. As it turns out, NC allows various exceptions, including on religious grounds.

    However, there’s apparently a huge gaping hole that I wasn’t aware of. My wife and I attended a neighborhood party last night. One of our neighbors is one of the top-rated teachers in the Forsyth County, NC school system. She teaches AG math at the elementary level. We started talking about various school-related issues, and she mentioned in passing that while students who appear to be children of US citizens are required to present evidence of vaccination (or get an exemption), it is an unwritten policy in this system and elsewhere that students who appear to be children of illegal immigrants are accepted without any evidence of vaccination, and in fact school employees are forbidden to ask for such evidence. Apparently, the fear is that those children will be withdrawn from school because their parents fear the authorities.

    So, anti-vaxers aside, we apparently have a substantial percentage of our school students who have never been vaccinated against anything. If I were a parent of a child in our school system, I’d be pissed.

  24. #24 Prometheus
    August 23, 2010

    Robert Bruce Thompson @#23

    Don’t panic, Mexico has a 96% vaccination rate for children ages 1 to 4. Every part of Mexico has a public health nurse that monitors pregnancies and if you don’t offer up the kids for shots the is going to your house to give them anyway.

    Most Central and South American countries have less parental latitude and better vaccination rates than we do and in the countries that don’t, they skip over the border and catch free shots from their neighbors.

    As for this crap from austine:

    “Only if pharmaceutical companies are held accountable for their manslaughter.”

    They are held accountable if a death is the result of negligence, criminality or malice but we are not playing a game with strict liability like slug in my ginger beer when it comes to vaccines because when we do idiots sue the pharmaceutical companies when a vaccine that kept them from dropping dead, gives them a case of hives.

    Comment K of the second restatement survives in the case of vaccines:

    “Unavoidably unsafe products.

    There are some products which, in the present
    state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe for their intended and ordinary use. These are especially common in the field of drugs.

    An outstanding example is the vaccine for the Pasteur treatment of rabies, which not uncommonly leads to very serious and damaging consequences when it is injected. Since the disease invariably leads to a dreadful death,
    both the marketing and use of the vaccine are fully justified, notwithstanding the unavoidable high degree of risk which they involve. Such a product, properly prepared, and accompanied by proper directions and warning, is
    not defective, nor is it unreasonably dangerous.”

  25. #25 MikeMa
    August 23, 2010

    Abbue,
    You’ve got an Augie infestation. He spouts this crap at RI too. Augie fails totally at risk assessment. He gives equal weight to the (very low) risk of a bad vaccine reaction to the (very real) risk of vaccine preventable disease and complications.

    Look him up over at Orac’s place to get detailed rebuttals to his nonsense.

  26. #26 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    Exactly who are these people who become infected in an outbreak? Are they the immune compromised as you have claimed? If so how many? Are they the vaccinated for whom the vaccine was a failure? Are they conscientious non-vaccinators? Are they the ignorant non-vaccinator?

    Shouldn’t you have some concrete evidence before you start making unsubstantiated hypothetical claims against certain people?

  27. #27 MikeMa
    August 23, 2010

    Sorry, that should have been addressed to Abbie. Don’t have any idea who that Abbue is:)

  28. #28 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apu_Nahasapeemapetilon

    I thought this is who you were talking about.

  29. #29 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [You've got an Augie infestation. He spouts this crap at RI too. Augie fails totally at risk assessment. He gives equal weight to the (very low) risk of a bad vaccine reaction to the (very real) risk of vaccine preventable disease and complications.]

    MikeMa loves to invoke a poisoning the well fallacy when he can’t deal with legitimate information. What’s wrong with the post Mikey?

  30. #30 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [Each one of our bodies independently comes up with a 'right' solution to every cold, every flu, every infected paper-cut we have ever had.]

    Which is why I don’t vaccinate.

    [This is one of the many reasons why anti-vaxers are self-centered little shits, and why everyone should be worried about them.]

    HMM. Worried because of vaccine failure.Worried because you think you’re protected but you might not be. Nice confidence builder in the vaccine. Do you realize what you’re even saying? You’re arguing from the stance of vaccine failure for the promotion of indiscriminate vaccine use.

  31. #31 Mamatutu
    August 23, 2010

    Hey augustine, are you some sort of mindless antivaxbot?

    Did you not read the post?

    How could you miss the point about each person’s immune response being different and that for random natural reasons beyond the control of vaccine scientists some people will have a crappy response to the vaccine, while others will have a good response to the same vaccine.
    I am not an immunologist and I understood it. The vaccine-failure meme fails a test of common sense.

    And FYI, during an outbreak of strep throat in the late 80s, which my mother treated with herbs and homeopathy, three of my little brothers ended up with scarlet fever, our whole family got quarantined at home, and one brother got rheumatic fever and still needs penicillin shots monthly – he is in his late 20s now. He has a severely damaged heart and has been prevented from doing a number of activities he would have loved to do. He will probably eventually need cardiac surgery. Gee, thanks, mum.

    How would you like your children to grow up thinking you are a bloody idiot?

  32. #32 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [Mamatutu: How would you like your children to grow up thinking you are a bloody idiot?]

    Sorry Mamatutu but I gotta do this to you. What you’ve just said is one big giant anecdote. It doesn’t count as evidence.Now you know how vaccine injured parents feel. Except I’d have to also say things like this :

    Maybe it wasn’t scarlet fever at all. Why does your brother still need penicillin shots? That sounds fishy. Maybe you were too young and can’t recall the accurate facts of the case. Maybe your mother was uneducated and relayed misinformation to you. Are you sure there was an “outbreak of strep”

    Sorry, but it’s the “law of the science blogs”. Anecdotes don’t count.

    These aren’t questions I’d really ask but this is the type of treatment some of the sciencebloggers give to vaccine injured parents.

  33. #33 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 23, 2010

    @augustine

    It is always a tragedy when a child is injured or seriously ill. I am sorry if, as it sounds, you have a child with a medical problem. I am sure that everyone here is also sorry.

    But what I don’t understand, and perhaps you can explain it to me, is why you and other anti-vaxers toss around phrases like “vaccine injured parents”. Surely you must know that there is literally no evidence to support, for example, any causal link between vaccines and autism. None. Zero. And this despite the fact that several studies have attempted to find just such a link. Do you really believe that there’s some vast conspiracy among scientists to conceal such a link? If so, what possible reason could all these people have for intentionally concealing evidence that would prove vaccines injure children?

    Do you want more studies? What would be the point? If there were only one study that had found no evidence of a link, more studies might be justifiable. But we now have many independent studies that have not only found there to be no link, but definitively so. To the extent that anything is ever certain in science, it’s certain that there is no link. So what is the point of devoting additional resources to study something that’s known not to be the cause of the problem, when those resources could be devoted to looking at other possibilities?

    As is clear to any reasonable person, anti-vaxers aren’t trying to understand the cause of the problem. They’re looking for something, anything, to blame. That’s not productive.

  34. #34 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [But what I don't understand, and perhaps you can explain it to me, is why you and other anti-vaxers toss around phrases like "vaccine injured parents". Surely you must know that there is literally no evidence to support, for example, any causal link between vaccines and autism. None. Zero.]

    Are you denying that perfectly healthy children are damaged by vaccines?

    [But we now have many independent studies that have not only found there to be no link, but definitively so. To the extent that anything is ever certain in science, it's certain that there is no link.]

    Uh, you’re not a scientist are you? I hope not. You apparently do not know what the literature definitively says and doesn’t say.

    Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence. But if you believe question number 1 it doesn’t matter how much evidence is provided. Any vaccine injury will be explained away. The motive? I don’t know.

  35. #35 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 23, 2010

    Of course, some tiny percentage of children who are vaccinated suffer idiopathic adverse reactions to vaccines. That’s never been in question. Nothing in this world is 100% safe. The issue is cost/benefit ratio.

    Are you really so irrational that you would risk a much, much higher likelihood of your child dying from a preventable illness to avoid a tiny chance of an adverse reaction to a vaccine? If so, you not only have no understanding of science or math, you simply don’t know how to think.

  36. #36 augustine
    August 23, 2010

    [If so, you not only have no understanding of science or math, you simply don't know how to think.]

    Well let me see if you can “move the goalposts”. I have an almost zero chance of getting polio in the U.S. I don’t want to vaccinate. I think the math is pretty good on this one. So is it really just about the “science and math”?

    Spare me the “it’s only a plane ride away” propaganda. It hasn’t happened in decades.

  37. #37 rnb
    August 24, 2010

    If a vaccine fails to give you immunity to a disease, will having the disease also fail to give you immunity?

  38. #38 rnb
    August 24, 2010

    If there isn’t much of a threat of polio, it is because of the vaccine. All of the people who had polio that I am aware of were born the year before I was, 1955, or earlier.

  39. #39 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    [If there isn't much of a threat of polio, it is because of the vaccine. All of the people who had polio that I am aware of were born the year before I was, 1955, or earlier.]

    Thank you for demonstrating the Paul Offit’s famous “moving the goal post” gambit. So now procede with your slippery slope fallacy.

  40. #40 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    [If a vaccine fails to give you immunity to a disease, will having the disease also fail to give you immunity?]

    I don’t know. If one’s vaccine fails (which is very common) and one get a disease is that one now immune to that disease? Maybe our resident graduate student can “guess’ on that one. I do know that if ones vaccine fails that person’s risk to benefit ratio becomes unquestionable. Too bad all the vaccinees don’t know if their vaccine fails or not.

  41. #41 Kemanorel
    August 24, 2010

    Wow. I was going to respond to Augie when I read the first response to my comment, but then I read a couple more posts down it that antivaxbot went from 0 to batshit crazy in about 2 posts…

    Only if pharmaceutical companies are held accountable for their manslaughter. If it is determined that a vaccinated child has “spread” the disease then the pharmaceutical company who sold the ineffective vaccine (and pushed for mandatory use) should be held for economic damage and a public apology acknowledging the failure.

    [Each one of our bodies independently comes up with a 'right' solution to every cold, every flu, every infected paper-cut we have ever had.]

    Which is why I don’t vaccinate.

    If one’s vaccine fails (which is very common) and one get a disease is that one now immune to that disease? Maybe our resident graduate student can “guess’ on that one.

    I feel dirty from reading such stupidity.

  42. #42 IanW
    August 24, 2010

    I’ve been trying to get my doctor to vaccinate me against xyz disease for years. He keeps assuring me that there’s no such thing. “It’s a folk myth”, quoth he, “like Morgellon’s”, so please don’t worry about it ERV. You should be much more concerned about ro ro ro U-boat disease which used to be confined to Greeks of German descent, but now seems to be spreading to geeks of germ dissent….

  43. #43 MI Dawn
    August 24, 2010

    For those who still wonder, little Augie is a troll who can’t be reasoned with. He figures that if you eat right, live right, and have lots of money, you will never get sick because you will have a super-duper immune system. He will never answer questions with any references but will ask you for them (though he will never go READ your references.) Ignore him if you can. Oh, and by the way: Augie believes that all scientists are immoral atheists anyway, and shouldn’t be listened to because they will destroy your immortal soul or something.

    Abbie: thanks for the post. I have one of those weird immune systems. I’ve had measles, mumps and rubella (yeah, I’m that old) but the only disease I have immunity to is rubella. (thank dog I never had to worry about THAT when I was pregnant, anyway). I have had the MMR twice in my past, as a teen and as an adult (required for my master’s degree at SUNY), and am still not immune to measles and mumps, if my titers are right. I depend on herd immunity and would be REALLY pissed off if I got measles or mumps at my age. As it is, I also get to look forward to the joys of possible shingles, having had chicken pox, so I will get that vaccine as soon as I am age-eligible.

  44. #44 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    [For those who still wonder, little Augie is a troll who can't be reasoned with.]

    ML Dawn, it is you who has failed to use reason. Evidence follows.

    [He figures that if you eat right, live right, and have lots of money, you will never get sick because you will have a super-duper immune system.]

    Never? Really? Error in logic, Dawn. Error in logic. Your conclusion is based on a logical fallacy.

    [He will never answer questions with any references but will ask you for them (though he will never go READ your references.)]

    Never? Again? I’ve given plenty of references. So your proclamation is false, again.

    [Ignore him if you can.]

    God (or your dog in your case) forbid you have to do any self reflection of your own knowledge.

    [ Oh, and by the way: Augie believes that all scientists are immoral atheists anyway, and shouldn't be listened to because they will destroy your immortal soul or something.]

    ALL scientists are immoral atheists? Dawn, you’ve become unhinged. Methinks you’re not a scientist at all. Maybe your an internet mom who wants to become a scientist.

    [I depend on herd immunity and would be REALLY pissed off if I got measles or mumps at my age]

    So? And? Oh, you’d really be pissed off.

    You should be pissed off at the doctor and cdc who sold you an ineffective vaccine. You should demand your money back because it didn’t work even though the marketing implied it would. Instead of trying to coerce others into using a product that OBVIOUSLY failed for you, you should be pissed at the company that sold it to you. That’s one of the most backwards ass things I’ve heard. Product fails for customer and customer champions the company because of it’s failure. INSANE.

  45. #45 William Wallace
    August 24, 2010

    “Do it for the herd,” you say.

    “Collectivists”, I say.

    In a highly vaccinated society, the marginal benefit of getting vaccinated weighs less than the approximately constant risk of getting vaccinated. That is, the benefit has a diminishing return, while the risk has an approximately constant level.

    Even if you think we all belong to each other, herd immunity does, I believe, have a diminishing return as well, but that is beside the point.

    The point is, when it comes to abortion, you think the government should keep its laws off your body.

    But when it comes to the herd, you think the government should be able to compel all children to be stuck with needles to inject substances prepared by multi-national pharmaceutical corporations in unsanitary conditions–conditions that “require” the addition of thermisol and the like all because it is cheaper to treat the crud in the output of their production process than it is to not introduce it in the first place. (Akin to big-agri having to spray your eggs with chlorine and irradiating your beef.)

  46. #46 Prometheus
    August 24, 2010

    “The point is, when it comes to abortion, you think the government should keep its laws off your body.

    But when it comes to the herd, you think the government should be able to compel all children to be stuck with needles….”

    The cases are only indistinguishable if your version of classic liberalism is some sort of matchbook cover absolute body sovereignty idea and I don’t know any social liberals that espouse that. Do you?

    I understand what you are going for and there is definitely a “christian scientist with appendicitis” problem in classic liberalism but this aint it.

    You want to save your straw man army for the environment debate because environmentalist arguments about saving the planet for the future at the expense of the present belies the actuality supersedes potentiality position in the abortion debate. This is the inherent inconsistency in classic liberalism.

    I understand you wanting a hand hold to put your grubby mitt in so I have given you one.

    You’re welcome.

    Since the abortion vaccine analog is a dog that won’t hunt (critically speaking) go look for a climate change thread and gibber nonsense at them.

  47. #47 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    Promotheus,

    Nice Strawman. Real Nice. I thought you fought FOR critical thinking. Or were you using it to teach a point about the use of straw man arguments. But it’s kind of confusing because I thought you were arguing against the analogy. Oh well. I guess vaccine ideologists can use straw man arguments if it’s to their advantage.

  48. #48 Prometheus
    August 24, 2010

    augustine,

    You don’t make sense.

    You have to misrepresent one position or both in order to make them analogs that demonstrate inconsistency in a pro-choice pro-vaccine stance.

    If you have to misrepresent an opponent’s position to make your argument then your argument is weak (not wrong, people who like to play ‘spot the fallacy’ conveniently forget this).

    WW can only make a weak argument for inconsistency in this case. The place he can make a strong argument for inconsistency is elsewhere.

    I pointed him to that strong argument. Why is that objectionable?

    This isn’t complex as far as ethics are concerned.

    We have covered all these bases as a society before and reached findings of fact and conclusions of law that took into consideration the balancing act between public welfare, civil liberty, individual autonomy and our constitutional bulwarks against governmental abuse.

    This matter is decided.

    You can be required to vaccinate your children.

    The societal interest is greater than your pretense of declaring them islands unto themselves by proxy.

    If you regard this as totalitarian or collective this may very well meet those definitions but like a fallacy does not render an argument wrong, sticky epithets do not necessarily render a policy unethical.

  49. #49 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    [This matter is decided.

    You can be required to vaccinate your children.

    The societal interest is greater than your pretense of declaring them islands unto themselves by proxy.]

    What did the nazi’s decide? Does that mean it is right because it was decided. Decided by who? Was is on the ballot box for us? Who is this PERSON who decided all of this? Do they have any ties to pharmaceutcical companies? Do they make money from their political position because of the power they hold in making financial decisions?
    ———————————————————–
    http://en.wikipedia.org

    Most ACIP members, if not all, have ties to vaccine makers, such that the CDC must grant them waivers from statutory conflict of interest rules.[citation needed] This professional experience contributes toward the development of their immunization expertise, and is the rationale offered by the CDC to justify waivers. The United States Congress has accepted this justification for service on federal advisory committees by experts with conflicts, and has provided for waivers from such prohibitions, under 18 USC § 208, when the need for the individual’s service outweighs the potential for a conflict of interest.

    Examples of ACIP conflict of interest issues:

    * Advisory committee members own patents for vaccines under consideration.[citation needed]
    * The CDC grants conflict of interest waivers to every ACIP member.[citation needed]
    * Former committee chair, Dr. John Moldin, owned stock in Merck & Co.[citation needed

  50. #50 plutosdad
    August 24, 2010

    William Wallace, you can have freedom in many other areas because your neighbors can hold you accountable for your actions. Unlawfully kill someone with your gun? You can be sued. But be a vector for a disease that kills your neighbor’s baby? You are pretty much free to transmit that disease to every vulnerable person in your town.

    In this case it is hard to prove it’s your fault and you are a killer, but you are. Freedom works when we are accountable for our actions, when we have to pay when we hurt someone. Freedom does not work without accountability. For people who refuse to vaccinate, they are not held accountable when they kill others.

  51. #51 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    [For people who refuse to vaccinate, they are not held accountable when they kill others.]

    So when the vaccine fails and the outbreaks are in the vaccinated then we should prosecute the doctor, nurse, pharmacist,pharmaceutical company, and patient for propagating such a thing?

    You’ve confused yourself about ethics plutosdad.

  52. #52 Prometheus
    August 24, 2010

    Sigh.

    Big PhARMA did not exist when these issues were first debated.

    After 53 infections and three deaths caused by the same histrionic, narcissistic and fatally(literally) flawed reasoning you are using, the matter concluded here :

    http://www.opacity.us/images/db/100/163/0000005978.jpg

  53. #53 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    really? HPV and HPB vaccines just get a free ride because it’s already been settled by a few in an abandoned building a long time ago?

    Politics only started in the 1980′s? Wow.

  54. #54 Prometheus
    August 24, 2010

    That’s where Typhoid Mary died.

    1938 was not a long time ago.

    20 years before she died, she was looking out those windows while 50 million people died from a virus and told reporters about how she felt perfectly healthy. She offered them cookies.

    They didn’t take the cookies.

  55. #55 augustine
    August 24, 2010

    Since medical doctors didn’t wash their hands, I guess she didn’t either.

    [20 years before she died, she was looking out those windows while 50 million people died from a virus and told reporters about how she felt perfectly healthy.]

    You’re so dramatic.

    Did you get your typhoid shot? You know it’s only a plane ride away. Do you think we should give it to all infants too? How do you know that you don’t have it? Typhoid Mary felt perfectly healthy also.

  56. #56 CG
    August 25, 2010

    Augie, the time of Typhoid Mary was long after Semmelweis was vindicated and the germ theory was universally accepted by the scientific and medical communities.

    Your history is worse than your science.

  57. #57 augustine
    August 25, 2010

    a few decades. I’m sure it was not universal application right away.

  58. #58 Rrr
    August 25, 2010

    augustine is the eternal contrarian troll. It constantly lies and twists words into unrecognizable trash. It will say anything, just to oppose the grown-ups.

    [Que augustine's next lie: "No, I will not say anything!"]

  59. #59 augustine
    August 25, 2010

    [It constantly lies and twists words into unrecognizable trash.]

    No lies. Just facts. No twisting. Just untwisting.

  60. #60 W. Kevin Vicklund
    August 25, 2010

    a few decades. I’m sure it was not universal application right away.

    It was a universal application before Typhoid Mary was born.

  61. #61 augustine
    August 25, 2010

    It was a universal application before Typhoid Mary was born.

    Apparently not in food service.

    Nor is it Universal medical practice:

    http://www.annals.org/content/141/1/I-38.full

    “Hand-Washing Practices and Beliefs of Physicians”

    http://women.webmd.com/news/20040706/study-doctors-dont-wash-hands-enough

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/09/study-says-us-doctor.html

    “Study says US doctors in hospitals only wash their hands about 30% of the time”

  62. #62 William Wallace
    August 25, 2010

    Prometheus,

    I didn’t comprehend your thoughts. Not interested in debating the extremes of environmentalism, or taking the advice of somebody who thinks modern liberals have anything to do with classical liberalism.

    On what principal (not end) and in this context (vaccination) do you think the government has the right to perform an invasive procedure on all children, regardless of the parents’ wishes?

    (During a literally pernicious epidemic I could understand and maybe even get behind, for the sake of public health, mandatory quarantines.)

    Speaking of classical liberals, if you were on an island with one other person, and you were convinced and even purported to have data that showed some concoction you developed would keep anybody injected with it immune from some dreaded communicable disease 95% of the time, a disease that already took out the third Island inhabitant, is it legitimate for you to forcibly inject your concoction into your neighbor against his will?

    Is it legitimate for you to use the power of the mob to compel parents to not use wild chicken pox to obtain immunity for their children (chicken pox parties of yester year and modern day underground) and instead force them to use a vaccine, risking unknown future problems with adults who did not obtain their immunity from wild chicken pox, all for the sake of corporations and governments not wanting their workers and subjects to remain economically unproductive while taking care of their sick children?

  63. #63 Monado
    August 26, 2010

    Re doctors’ offices: a lot of doctors and clinics, including emergency departments, have separate waiting rooms for ill patients vs. well-baby checkups and injuries. It makes a lot of sense for controlling the spread of infection.

  64. #64 Prometheus
    August 26, 2010

    “….if you were on an island with one other person, and you were convinced and even purported to have data that showed some concoction you developed would keep anybody injected with it immune from some dreaded communicable disease 95% of the time, a disease that already took out the third Island inhabitant, is it legitimate for you to forcibly inject your concoction into your neighbor against his will?”

    If my survival is dependent on yours or if I am obligated to care for you until my exposure to your infection risks overwhelming the immunity of my concoction?

    Sure.

    Self preservation.

    Of course I have to be honest, I ate Floyd. He didn’t really die of monkeypox.

    Never really liked Floyd.

    You haven’t provided a very good example considering you identify a pernicious epidemic after you acknowledge quarantine would be acceptable.

    Do you regard extended isolation or imprisonment less intrusive than an injection?

    If you refuse my concoction can I lock you in your hut or tie you to a tree on the other side of the island provided I fling some bananas at you from time to time?

    Your example also fails to address the substitutable will represented by vaccination.

    But why so microcosmic?

    We really only resort to islands and lifeboats in ethics when we can’t find a correspondent scale.

    Try traffic lights.

    They restrict fundamental individual freedom and autonomy constantly, everyday in the millions upon millions. Freedom of movement was acknowledged as an individual sovereign right long before theories of body/property sovereignty.

    The failure to observe their restrictions is criminal.

    They fail constantly (power failures, design flaws, birds, etc.) and when they fail semis trailers full of kittens T-Bone school buses filled with cherubic toddlers.

    Traffic lights are prophylactic best-guess flawed measures promoted and manufactured by the 76-billion-a-year self interested Siemens Conglomerate.

    A thumbnail sketch of restrictions on my freedom comes to 72,000 instances of violating my rights under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution in ten years, provided I only ever go to work (I live 6.5 minutes from my office).

    Would you argue that the observance of traffic control measures should be optional?

    Don’t stoplights meet and or exceed all the criteria you (and augustine) have indicated are appropriate for rejecting mandatory vaccination?

  65. #65 augustine
    August 26, 2010

    [Promotheus vaccinius: Don't stoplights meet and or exceed all the criteria you (and augustine) have indicated are appropriate for rejecting mandatory vaccination?]

    NO! Stopping at a stoplight is not even close to the same as being forced to take a government mandated medication.

    Nice try though. It’s yet another version of the seatbelt gambit.

  66. #66 Prometheus
    August 26, 2010

    Hahahahaha.

    Is that supposed to be a counter argument?

    YES! It is more intrusive but since your precious autonomy is invaded this way 72,0000 times a decade you became used to it and don’t throw an infantile fit.

    How you feel or saying you disagree in capslock isn’t a rational counter argument unless you are twelve or in Southern California.

    “Mahh constipetushunal raihts!”

  67. #67 Rorschach
    August 27, 2010

    Y’all folks keep feeding that troll, he ain’t never gonna leave.

  68. #68 William Wallace
    August 29, 2010

    If my survival is dependent on yours or if I am obligated to care for you until my exposure to your infection risks overwhelming the immunity of my concoction?

    Sure.

    Self preservation.

    But I have my own concoction. You must take it first.

    P.S. For lurkers: A troll is a specialized term on science blogs meaning a rational person with whom the regular contributors (read: 20-seomthings still living with parents) cannot defeat in debate.

  69. #69 Chris
    August 31, 2010

    Interesting how many trolls try to redefine words.

  70. #70 MI Dawn
    September 1, 2010

    William Wallace thinks he’s a rational being? Willy, you owe me a new keyboard because I just snorted coffee all over this one.

    Ah, well, most trolls don’t usually think they are being trolls. (See exhibits Augie and Willy)

  71. #71 Prometheus
    September 1, 2010

    WW@#68

    I have data for mine (according to you) If you’ve got data for yours that demonstrates its efficacy I’ll take yours and you can take mine or we can take both or whatever…..are you building an argument or flailing around in the hope of hitting on something.

    Again this time for the third balcony….

    Sure.

    Self preservation.

    Your hypothetical is fatally flawed.

    You stink at this.

  72. #72 Galwayskeptic
    September 2, 2010

    Thanks for this article Abbie. Just caught it while catching up on my erv supplement for the week. :) I was asked a similar question a few days ago by a member of my family, and as a psych undergrad, wasn’t in the best position to explain. This goes a long way towards my understanding of vaccination anyway.

  73. #73 Sid Offit
    September 4, 2010

    @Prometheus

    The cases are only indistinguishable if your version of classic liberalism is some sort of matchbook cover absolute body sovereignty idea and I don’t know any social liberals that espouse that. Do you?

    I understand what you are going for and there is definitely a “christian scientist with appendicitis” problem in classic liberalism but this aint it.

    You want to save your straw man army for the environment debate because environmentalist arguments about saving the planet for the future at the expense of the present belies the actuality supersedes potentiality position in the abortion debate. This is the inherent inconsistency in classic liberalism.

    I understand you wanting a hand hold to put your grubby mitt in so I have given you one.
    ———————-

    Splendid use of obfuscation. To quote Camus, “That must be wonderful; I have no idea of what it means.”

  74. #74 Shane Killian
    September 4, 2010

    My video (and a computer simulation) answering this question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cKzzPkz2o

  75. #75 sid offit
    September 5, 2010

    Shane, get help!

  76. #76 Notsoblackandwhite
    November 18, 2010

    Insulting people who are anti-vaxers adds nothing to the debate. I agree many anti-vaxers are scientifically ignorant, but probably no more so than your average Joe off the street. I truly doubt they are essentially “selfish, ignorant bastards” like this blog, and many of the comments assert. They are concerned with the best interest and health of their children, which I’m sorry, but that moral obligation takes precedence over their moral obligation towards the good of society as a whole and the health and best interest of total strangers. Anyone who has children realizes that. Moreover, making this a black or white issue is unrealistic. For example: I have a PhD in chemistry so am definitely not scientifically illiterate, have done significant research both pro and con vaccination, and am still hesitant about vaccinating my children as per the “suggested” schedule. I will vaccinate against truly dangerous diseases like polio and the like. But requiring infants and young children to be vaccinated against almost universally non-fatal diseases like rotavirus, chickenpox, and influenza? That is absurd, and illogical considering the potential risks of immunizations outweighs the very limited benefits of such vaccines. It is a fact that there has never been a double blind study on the safety of vaccines, because it is medically unethical to withhold such treatment AND children do die from vaccine related complications every year. I agree that vaccinations have helped enormously in reducing childhood diseases and deaths, but I also believe that many of the newer vaccine requirements are unnecessary and a result of bored bureacrats and pharmaceutical company lobbying.

  77. #77 Tyler DiPietro
    November 18, 2010

    Well, thanks for sharing, I guess.

  78. #78 Prometheus
    November 19, 2010

    Notsoblackandwhite @#76

    “I truly doubt they are essentially “selfish, ignorant bastards” like this blog, and many of the comments assert. They are concerned with the best interest and health of their children, which I’m sorry, but that moral obligation takes precedence over their moral obligation towards the good of society as a whole and the health and best interest of total strangers.”

    What???

    You just posited that making children susceptible to killing and crippling diseases out of willful ignorance is a parental moral obligation.

    I now hate you random anonymous internet person.

    I hate you more than actual people who owe me money or cut me off in traffic.

    This is the power of your stupid stupid words.

    I hope you choke.

  79. #79 WLU
    November 19, 2010

    @Notsoblackandwhite

    “Insulting people who are anti-vaxers adds nothing to the debate. I agree many anti-vaxers are scientifically ignorant, but probably no more so than your average Joe off the street.”

    The difference is that the average Joe off the street doesn’t advocate for the elimination of a public health measure based on their ignorance. The insults are generally unproductive, but there’s only so much most people can take when one side of a debate consistently fails to follow the rules required to arrive at a consensus – acknolwedge evidence, concede your own errors and admit when your opponent has a point.

    “They are concerned with the best interest and health of their children, which I’m sorry, but that moral obligation takes precedence over their moral obligation towards the good of society as a whole and the health and best interest of total strangers.”

    On the basis of science, they are not. Vaccine recommendations use research to determine the relative risks of the vaccines versus the disease they treat. Vaccines are only used when the risk of vaccination is less than the risk of the illness. In some cases the relationship is clear – that’s why no-one gets smallpox vaccination anymore. In other cases it is unclear, and that’s why there is ongoing debate and research. Antivaxers have decided, normally a priori that all vaccination is inherently harmful and completely lacks benefit. This is at odds with the evidence and the scientific understanding of the immune system. The evidence supports the idea that vaccination presents a low (but present and measurable) risk of harm while preventing a higher risk from the disease itself. It gets complicated when the risks are considered on a personal versus population level, but based on a pure-odds comparison you’re usually better off getting the vaccine than the disease. Fortunately in most cases even getting the disease is not serious, but it sucks hard if you’re the 0.00001% of parents whose child dies of rare but known complications from a vaccine-preventable disease.

    “[I] am still hesitant about vaccinating my children as per the “suggested” schedule.”

    Why? What convinces you that vaccination presents harm? Why do you believe that your education in chemistry means you are better informed than the dozens of expertis in immunology who decided on the schedule? It’s not a bunch of CDC employees with a dartboard – the schedule was established based on the input of many people whose life work is understanding the immune system.

    “I will vaccinate against truly dangerous diseases like polio and the like. But requiring infants and young children to be vaccinated against almost universally non-fatal diseases like rotavirus, chickenpox, and influenza?”

    The key and flaw in your statement is the “almost”. Rotavirus, chicken pox and influenza are all fatal in a small number of cases – not to mention they require time away from work AND cause suffering. This can be prevented in most cases with a vaccine. Scientists KNOW that the risks of these disease is minimal, and they KNOW that the vaccines can have side effects. But the risk of a fatal complication from the disease is HIGHER than that of the vaccine – based on large-n studies that can capture the rare complications of both.

    “It is a fact that there has never been a double blind study on the safety of vaccines, because it is medically unethical to withhold such treatment AND children do die from vaccine related complications every year.”

    The other issue is, there is a clear, well-understood benefit to vaccination; in these cases, the need for blinding is relaxed. We know that vaccines will in most cases cause an immune response – which we can test with titres. No need for blinding because the results are unambiguous – you either have titres, or you don’t. Ergo, no need for blinding. Instead what is needed is a study of the risks of getting the disease versus the risks of getting the vaccination. It’s a sophisticated research project full of ambiguity, but conceptually clear.

    “I agree that vaccinations have helped enormously in reducing childhood diseases and deaths, but I also believe that many of the newer vaccine requirements are unnecessary and a result of bored bureacrats and pharmaceutical company lobbying.”

    Do you have evidence for this? Have you reviewed the studies that these bureaucrats base their decision making on? Again, it’s not a dartboard, it’s based on research. We know a lot about the immune system and the effects of vaccination, and it is the evidence that determines the schedule and vaccine choices, NOT guesswork. Vaccines are less and less common, and fewer and fewer companies are making them due to the potential lawsuits they face. This is not a simple issue and “Big Pharma” is always a logical fallacy despite being used as if it were an argument. Built into the cost of each new vaccine is a sum of money to be set aside for the inevitable lawsuits in which standards of evidence are considerably laxer than any other type. The American vaccine injury board was specially created because of the complicated nature of vaccination’s risks and benefits. Vaccines are not particularly profitable and are in fact very risky because of public mistrust and the large number of people who get them, making rare reactions (as well as freak coincidences) inevitable. People treat this issue as if it were simple, and it’s not.

    Arthur Allen’s Vaccine (ISBN 0393059111) is a good popular starting place – certainly not the internet. The book clocks in at over 500 pages, because it is a complicated topic ill-suited to jingoism, knee-jerk reactions or slogans.

  80. #80 W. Kevin Vicklund
    November 19, 2010

    But requiring infants and young children to be vaccinated against almost universally non-fatal diseases like rotavirus, chickenpox, and influenza? That is absurd, and illogical considering the potential risks of immunizations outweighs the very limited benefits of such vaccines.

    Your cost-benefit analysis is faulty. For both rotavirus and chickenpox*:

    1. The common side effects are less severe than the normal disease progression. The odds of experiencing a side effect are about 50%, while the odds of getting the disease are greater than 90%.

    2. The severe side effects are less severe than the complications of the disease. Again, the odds of a severe side effect are about half that of a complication, though both numbers are quite small.

    3. The odds of death from the disease, while miniscule, are higher than the odds of death from the vaccine.

    Since all three factors weigh in on the side of vaccination, it is the anti-vax position that is illogical.

    *Since I have a CoI for the influenza vaccine (I am contraindicated from receiving it and thus must rely on others getting the shot), I will refrain from discussing it.

  81. #81 AndyD
    February 13, 2011

    @Notsoblackandwhite

    I have a certificate in Graphic Design, so I’m not exactly uneducated, and I’ve read the ethyl-MERCURY is the same as methyl-MERCURY and that both of them are actually just MERCURY!!! A TOXIN!!! I also read that water is able to remember the beneficial properties (and never the detrimental properties) of things, including the light reflected from VENUS. I also read that ANY substance that contains something which is TOXIC at high doses is itself a TOXIN – and that real medicine contains CHEMICALS whereas there are NO chemicals at all in natural OR homeopathic alternatives.

    I probably read these things on the same sites that scared you about vaccines. As a chemistry PhD, can you advise me if any of these things are true? Not that I’ll trust you since, as a so-called scientist, you’re probably being paid to lie. I went to college you know.