Spoiler to apologize for click-bait title:
Yes, the MMR vaccine works just fine.
But there is a difference between ‘just fine’ and ‘perfectly’.
A few things I would want in a ‘perfect’ vaccine– Only one dose is needed, zero side-effects, 100% protective antibody or CTL mediated immunity for life, inability of the target pathogen to evolve resistance to the vaccine, dirt cheap, can be stored at room temperature (but stable at high/low ambient temperatures), doesnt need to be administered with a needle– Im sure you and I can think of a lot more.
But we dont live in a world where ‘perfect’ vaccines exist. Thats because ‘perfect’ immunity doesnt exist. Due to the nature of our immune systems, ‘perfect’ vaccines are not even possible. I spoke about this at length at the first FreeOK:
Kevin has a few posts up at emmunity to help describe this too– Our immune systems are little evolutionary systems of random mutation and natural selection. How we react to a pathogen is chance and luck with a bit of guidance (but that guidance cant see into the future to see the full implications of evolutionary ‘decisions’). People do not make identical antibodies to the same vaccine/pathogen, and you cannot predict what kind of antibodies someone will make, any more than you can predict what humans will look like in 1 million years.
As much as anti-vaxers want to down-play the ‘few’ lives that are lost to chicken-pox or hepatitis B or influenza every year– every time a person dies, well, thats a ‘failure’ of our immune systems. The ‘right’ mutations didnt happen, or were not selected for.
Happily, we have vaccines to help make our immune systems less likely to fail. They give our immune systems a head-start, if we are ever exposed to the dangerous pathogen. But, sometimes our immune systems can fail in regards to the vaccine, too– either by ignoring the vaccine and not making a good response, or making a good response and then ‘forgetting’.
But, if EVERYONE gets the vaccine, then the people who get the vaccine but ‘fail’ are still protected. As I said at FreeOK, you, me, any of us might have a ‘failed’ response to, say, MMR– but we wont know it until some jerk with measles is sitting on the same bus as us. EVERYONE gets vaccinated, enough are protected to save the people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, or got vaccinated and unbeknownst to the host, the immune system failed.
You will be shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that an anti-vaxer doesnt understand the basics of how our adaptive immune response works, and thinks the reemergence of eliminated diseases is totally not anti-vaxers fault:
Never heard of the guy, but hes one of Oracs BFFs (lol).
He references this paper:
Did you get that? A twice-vaccinated individual, from a NYC measles outbreak, was found to have transmitted measles to several of her contacts. That’s a piece of evidence that The Daily Beast and their fictitious author are falsely implying does not exist. You can’t blame non-vaccinating parents in pogrom like disgust and hatred for the morbidity and mortality of infectious diseases when even the vaccinated infect others who are also vaccinated; doubly disproving their efficacy.
First, the paper. The paper is very cool. Its like nutbars have a superpower– the ability to turn cool papers into absolute derpitude. Ugh. No, this paper is the first documented case of a vaccinated person transmitting measles to other vaccinated people, *very* cool.
Usually if you have been vaccinated, and your immune system failed, you still make *some* kind of immune response. Even if its crappy, it still gives you a head-start if you are exposed to the pathogen, limiting the symptoms/duration of the disease. So, you might get measles, instead of MEASLES. This limits the disease, and limits the ability to transmit virus to a new host.
The patient at the center of this paper did make a crappy immune response to the vaccine, but this response was not enough to prevent her from transmitting to other people… who also made a crappy immune response and/or their immune system ‘forgot’ its good response.
This paper is the *first time* it has been demonstrated that a vaccinated individual infected other vaccinated individuals with measles. Academically, that is cool. We have had the luxury of being able to ‘ignore’ people who dont respond to MMR because the percentage is so low, they were protected by herd immunity anyway. But now that we have all these anti-vax jackasses flying round the world, we have to seriously look into this issue. We have to figure out a way to protect the people who are doing everything they are supposed to do to protect themselves and other people.
Regarding the claims of Oracs BFF–
You can’t blame non-vaccinating parents in pogrom like disgust and hatred for the morbidity and mortality of infectious diseases when even the vaccinated infect others who are also vaccinated…
As they plainly state in this paper, 87% of the measles infections in the US in 2011 were in unvaccinated individuals. 87% of people were at ‘100% vaccine failure’ because they didnt get the vaccine. They exposed others to the virus. 87% unvaccianted means 9.4% of people were vaccinated, but their immune system failed, so they were infected with measles by unvaccinated hosts. And 8 people– 3.6% of the measles infections in 2011– were infected by a vaccinated individual… who was infected with measles by an unvaccinated individual.
Unvaccinated people were directly and indirectly responsible for all of that.
So what would happen if everyone was vaccinated with two doses of MMR when they are little? What if those unvaccinated people werent around? Well, we know what happens. When MMR uptake rates are high, then the vaccine failure group is still protected, and endemic measles is eliminated. This isnt a hypothetical. We know this would happen because measles *was* eliminated in the US. It wasnt until the MMR ‘scare’, when people stopped vaccinating their kids, that MAGICALLY, measles reemerged in the US.
Vaccinated people infecting other vaccinated people is a frustrating, but rare novelty. But unvaccinated people transmitting viruses to everyone else? Thats old news, homeboy.