There are no women
on the internet at Skeptic meetings, women are more religious than men, women love astrology and ghosts and talking to spirits, it is easy to get the impression that women are the ‘weaker sex’– estrogen and glitter and unicorns and intuition and strawberry bubblegum build an impenetrable wall between women and science and reason.
Jenny McCarthy and her ‘Mommy Warriors’ campaign against vaccines dont do us any favors by perpetuating this stereotype. Science is not on their side, but they *just know* better. Mommies intuition *gigglehairflip* They *just know* their babbies were perfectly formed until that evil vaccine homologous recombinaltion tinikered their brains.
So I was absolutely delighted to run across this paper analyzing what moms actually thought about vaccines.
The effects of vaccine characteristics on adult women’s attitudes about vaccination: A conjoint analysis study
Most moms have a very positive view on vaccines. When presented with 9 different vaccine scenarios, varying in the severity of the disease/efficacy of vaccine/transmission, 81 of 258 gave all 9 scenarios perfect scores of 100%, with only 3 giving all 0%. Of the remaining 174, the scenarios with the lowest scores were still ~74%. Moms responded more positively to vaccines against severe diseases and vaccines with the highest efficacy, they didnt care about how the disease was spread (STD or non-STD). This finding crossed ethnic and educational boundaries.
I am delighted!
1. ‘Mommy Warriors’ are in the minority (1% of respondents in this study). They are a vocal minority. Do not let loud assholes cloud your judgment of an entire group of people. But this also shows that a small minority of nutters combined with people who are not getting vaccines for non-anti-vax reasons are enough to damage herd immunity.
2. The reason why adult women and children arent getting the vaccinations they need might not be because moms are afraid of vaccines. This might be a time/availability/information issue. You cant fix a hysterical bimbo screaming ‘GREEN OUR VAXXINES’ into a microphone. We can fix time/availability/knowledge.
3. Moms respond to knowledge. They understand disease severity. They understand vaccine efficacy. Physicians need to get that info to their Moms, so they make vaccines a priority. Measles and mumps arent a ‘right of passage’– they can make your son sterile or put him in a coma. HPV is a silent killer– What mother wants to bury her daughter? Whooping cough isnt just a cold— its helplessly watching your baby suffocate.
4. Moms dont care about STD vs non-STD diseases. Idiot Christians bawing about how the HPV shots will make little girls whores isnt a barrier to vaccination on anything but a political level.
There are barriers to proper vaccination. We need to be careful how much attention we give the harpies wailing against vaccination or the know-nothing Evangelical assholes trying to regulate medical treatments from a senate seat, when there are perfectly normal moms out there that arent getting themselves/their children vaccinated for non-anti-vax reasons. Lets get them the information and the access to vaccines that they want.