How to fix the anti-vax problem.

I just watched a report on ABC news about anti-vaxers causing the current and alarming measles outbreak. It was a reasonable report for MSM though I missed large parts of it because I was multitasking ineffectively. But an idea came to me that would go a long way to manage this problem of anti-vaxers threatening everyone else’s health and well being. Lives, even. They are threatening our lives.

Here’s the deal. Most public schools have a mealy-mouthed policy that allows people to send their kids to school unvaccinated because they are dumb asses. That’s a problem and that should be addressed, but I don’t expect it to be because school administrators are usually easily managed by whackaloon parents if the whackaloon parents organize sufficiently. Unions are already organized as entities and have the potential to change policies. So lets look at the union route.

In states with teachers’ unions, here is what I recommend. The health and well being of the teachers is a workplace thing. They should be protected against disease, injury, death, etc. in the workplace. The anti-vax supporting policies of the school — i.e. that students must get vaccinated unless their parents are morons — place teachers in danger.

So set up a system of appropriate compensation. I recommend the following.

1) If any teacher comes down with a communicable disease covered by vaccines for which there are any students who have opted out, the teacher gets $10,000. Proof of a link is not needed, and there need be no identified “case zero.” Parents are too good at hiding sickness in their families, and the necessary investigation into sickness would be very costly and highly problematic.

2) If a death occurs in that teacher’s family owing to said disease, the teacher is compensated by $100,000,000.

3) This would apply as well to all staff, and visitors.

4) If a student in the school comes down with any of the communicable diseases and this is known to the union, every teacher and staff member gets an extra $1,000 per week in salary during the period of possible infection, to be determined by reference to a lookup table developed by health professionals.

This seams reasonable given that that school administrators clearly feel that their students and faculty are at risk. They should agree to this demand by the union because there will never be a payment. Right?

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    April 6, 2014

    It might work for public schools, depending on state law.

    Unfortunately, I get the impression (from reading Orac’s posts on the subject, and comment threads thereto) that many anti-vax parents send their special snowflakes to private schools, which need not be unionized, and where many board members are sympathetic to, if not actual believers in, alt-med. There may also be public school districts where alt-med types have taken over the board. You aren’t going to get very far if the board is on the other side.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2014

    I’m pretty sure this would not work with private schools directly, but if it became general policy to have a liability payoff for teachers in unions in public schools, different things would be on the table.

    Actually, I’d be hoping for some boards to be on the other side. This is exactly the sort of fight that will help advance. An anti-vax school board could serve the same role as, say, the anti-science Dover school board, which single handedly ended the creation-evolution debate from a legal perspective, or ended it as much as it ever will be ended.

  3. #3 Smarter Than Your Average Bear
    April 6, 2014

    Monies would need to be after tax as well. This would be impetus though for the right wing to go after unions even more ruthlessly.

  4. #4 dean
    April 6, 2014

    In the end, if pictures like the one this post opens with aren’t enough to shake up the anti-vaccination people, I don’t know that anything would be.

  5. #5 John Moeller
    United States
    April 6, 2014

    dean: unfortunately they aren’t. The antivaxxer crowd sees photos like this and they double down on their position. I read somewhere that they believe that conditions like the above are actually just benign.

    What I hope is true (and what’s probably true) is that the sheep who were listening to McCarthy and her ilk before have now been woken up by MSM stories like this (which are LOOONG overdue), and I would bet that’s largely true. The antivaxxer tone has gone from pseudo-scientific and pseudo-humanitarian to paranoid and conspiracy-mongering, and that’s usually after a movement loses base and becomes a weirdo fringe group.

  6. #6 e cip
    US
    April 6, 2014

    I am the proud father of 5 children aged 15-31. They have never been vaccinated and have never been ill.

    Just the facts.

    ecip

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2014

    Your children have never been ill. At all. No illnesses.

    This might be a problem of wanting observational skills, mr. ecip.

  8. #8 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    April 6, 2014

    @e cip #6: Did you keep them in cages at home there entire lives, or did you threaten your community by letting them roam freely, like little mobile packets of anthrax and ricin? Nowadays, biological terrorism is rather frowned upon, at least in civilized cultures.

  9. #9 dean
    April 6, 2014

    There is a little good news. Chilis was going to give 10% of tomorrow’s proceeds to National Autism Association; apparently they received so much negative feedback they’ve taken back the offer. That’s a little progress.

  10. #10 G
    April 6, 2014

    Greg, here’s a slightly different version that I think is likely to get traction:

    Hazardous duty pay & selective fully-paid leave, when the immunization rate in a given school district drops below the herd immunity threshold. This should also apply to charter schools other schools receiving taxpayer funding including vouchers.

    a) Hazardous duty pay: All teachers _and_ other non-executive employees of a school district (cafeteria workers, custodians, secretaries, etc.) working in a below-herd-immunity district get their rate of pay increased in a manner comparable to that of comparable workers (similar degree of training for job) who are working in hazardous conditions.

    Examples for comparison: Military members on aircraft carrier flight decks, submarines, combat deployments. Civilian corporate employees assigned to countries with high crime levels or public health issues such as dangerous diseases, inadequate water/sanitation, etc..

    b) Teachers and other non-executive workers (cafeteria, custodial, secretarial) who have _medical conditions_ (properly diagnosed by science-based medicine) that prevent them being vaccinated (e.g. chemotherapy, immune deficiency, etc.) go on _fully paid_ leave for the duration of the period during which their district is below the herd immunity threshold.

    The intent of both of those provisions is to a) adequately compensate those who are at risk, and b) protect those who are most vulnerable.

    The additional effect of those provisions will be to substantially increase cost for districts that fall below herd immunity thresholds, thereby serving as a negative feedback incentive to maintain herd immunity.

    I have another serious proposal I’m going to post in a few minutes.

  11. #11 G
    April 6, 2014

    Greg, here’s serious proposal #2:

    Limit vaccination exemptions to a number that safely preserves herd immunity. Do this via medical exemptions, a “draft board,” and possibly a lottery or auction system.

    a) Limit exemptions to preserve herd immunity: The threshold percentage of population needed to be immunized against any given disease, to ensure herd immunity, would be established by peer-reviewed science. An additional margin of safety would be included to compensate for unforeseeable factors. The relevant numbers for each disease would be applied to the population of each school district.

    For example if the herd immunity requirement for measles is 95%, and a safety margin of 2% is added, the result is that a 98% vaccination rate is needed. If a school district has 100,000 students, it has room for a maximum of 2,000 exemptions.

    b) All children with conditions that are determined by science-based medicine (SBM) to warrant an exemption, get an exemption. Chemo patients, immune-compromised, certain types of allergies, etc. These exemptions are first in line and the number is not limited by the herd immunity threshold.

    For example if our school district with 100,000 students and 2,000 exemptions has 2,500 students with SBM-qualified conditions, all of them get exemptions, and there are _no_ exemptions left over for other children.

    If our hypothetical school district had 800 students with SBM-qualified conditions, all of them get exemptions, leaving 1,200 slots open for “other than SBM-qualified exemptions.” We’ll use this number in the discussion that follows.

    A mechanism would be established for fairly allocating the remaining exemptions, as follows:

    c) Poverty & economic hardship: Free immunizations, subsidized through the education or public health budget, with a voucher that can be used at any physician’s office or pharmacy. All that’s needed in these cases is a signed statement from a parent or guardian, stating that the cost of immunizations will be an economic hardship for the family: nothing more than a say-so and a signature, no supporting documents required.

    This solves for instances of poverty/hardship, so these families will not need exemptions. Thus, no exemptions need to be used for this category. Now our hypothetical school district still has 1,200 exemptions to allocate by other means.

    d) Deeply-held belief: This is where the “draft board” component comes into play. Relevant history: during recent wars when a military draft was in effect, principled pacifists could apply to their local draft board for “conscientious objector” status and perform non-military service. (This is the actual origin of the term “conscientious objector” that has lately been misused to cover e.g. pharmacy workers refusing to sell contraceptives.)

    Originally, the criterion for obtaining CO status was membership in a religious denomination that held pacifism as a core tenet. This included Mennonites, Quakers, and a small number of other (mostly Christian) denominations. However, per Supreme Court cases in the 1960s (Vietnam war), the definition was expanded to include pacifist beliefs that were derived from “belief in a Supreme Being or a moral principle that held an equivalent place in the individual’s life.” This allowed CO status for Buddhists (non-theistic religion), atheists (secular morality) and so on.

    However in all cases, the individual would be called before their draft board to make their case: by demonstrating that their claim of pacifism was sincere, for example through a history of written or other expression, or a history of participation in the belief-system that they claimed as their basis for CO status. There was no “just check the box and you’re exempt from the draft.” You had to make your case, and the draft board could accept or reject it. If it was rejected, you were subject to the draft.

    The same process can be applied to vaccine exemptions, using the same criteria. “Beliefs derived from belief in a Supreme Being or a moral principle that holds an equivalent place in the individual’s (family’s) life.” Note that here we are looking for _moral_ principles that justify placing others at risk from contact with one’s own unvaccinated child. Quackery such as “vaccines cause autism” will not suffice. I leave you to work out the implications of that one.

    This post is getting too lengthy so I’ll continue below…

    BTW, Greg, feel free to give me letter-grades on this stuff, from A+ to F-.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2014

    Legit medical exemptions would almost certainly stay below any reasonable threshold.

    It’s the “I dont’ wanna” exemption that needs to be eliminated. I’m very uncomfortable with religions exemptions because that is imposing someone’s religion on someone else in a very nefarious way!

  13. #13 G
    April 6, 2014

    Serious proposal #2, continued.

    There would have to be a deadline for applying for CO (conscientious objector) exemptions, so the relevant local public health agency could ascertain how many slots in the allowed exemption number are involved.

    For example in our hypothetical case, if we have 1,200 exemptions to allocate and we have 600 CO claims, then all of those claims get exemptions. But if we have 1,500 claims, then the next part of the proposal comes into play:

    e) Lottery or auction mechanism. Lotteries are more fair, auctions may also be viable. In any case, if we have e.g. 1,500 claims against 1,200 slots, we use one or both mechanisms to allocate the available slots. Those who lose must either immunize their kids, or make use of the next provision.

    f) Community quarantine. If someone loses under (e) above, they have the option of a community living environment that can be quarantined during outbreaks (e.g. a dedicated apartment building or suburban or rural development).

    Alternately, these individuals could live where they choose but be subject to individual household quarantine during outbreaks. However this is a more difficult enforcement problem than community environments, since the households would be more scattered.

    In the event of detection of even a single case of a vaccine-preventable contagious disease from the relevant list of diseases, these communities and households would be placed under full quarantine orders until the outbreak was over.

    Tasks such as grocery shopping would be mediated by fully-immunized persons in a manner similar to that by which Mennonites mediate economic trade activity between the Amish community and the non-Amish community at-large. Participation in schooling could be conducted via “distance learning” methods adapted to the internet era (live audio/video communication with classrooms).

    This element may seem draconian, but if someone is truly serious about their objection to vaccination, their seriousness about that should be sufficient to overcome factors of convenience and so on, and they should be willing to bear the burden of the additional efforts to protect others.

    Once these mechanisms are in place, they will also be ready for dealing with new threats that could cause mass-casualty pandemics, such as emerging viruses, tropical diseases migrating due to climate change, and so on.

  14. #14 G
    April 6, 2014

    Greg, I’m with you about the “I don’t wanna” exemption, and the misuse of religious freedom. Pacifism is one thing, where moral principles come into play in a manner that has a long history. But if we allow religious exemptions to vaccination, that becomes a camel’s nose under the tent for religious objections to other public health & safety measures. Someone could claim a complete religious exemption from the germ theory of disease (“it’s not in the Bible”) and demand to work in a restaurant but be exempt from hand-washing.

    However, my provisions (e) and (f) deal with those cases. If someone truly believes that a deity is going to punish them after death if they vaccinate their kid, or if they truly believe that vaccinations could render their kid autistic, then surely they will not object to quarantine during outbreaks. Or at least the case can be made that they have no right to object.

    This is based on my point about CO status based on “moral” objections rather than “convenience or quackery” objections. Placing the debate on the ground of morality removes legitimacy from selfish objections. “If you’re serious about not vaccinating, you have a moral obligation to quarantine during outbreaks.”

    There is no legitimate counter-arguement for refuseniks. Anyone who tries to argue that they should be exempt from vaccinating but able to run around and put others at risk during an outbreak, will not have a case. Their position will have zero legitimacy, they will be isolated as part of a selfish lunatic fringe, and they could legitimately be prosecuted under relevant new statutes with civil and possible criminal penalties.

    From our perspective (empirical/rational), this also “works,” in that quarantine removes the vector path from the community. And if some of the quarantined persons sneak out to go to the movies or whatever, that number will be a minority of the quarantined persons, thus not a threat to herd immunity. But in the event a refusenik sneaks out and spreads disease, they will be subject to civil and possible criminal sanctions.

    For comparison, how would we respond if we discovered that members of Al Qaeda were deliberately spreading measles and pertussis in American cities? Viruses & bacteria don’t care whether they’re being spread by Al Qaeda or by Wakefield-inspired nitwits, and the victims of those diseases don’t care either.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2014

    I agree with most of what you are saying but I don’t think any religious exemption will work because people will exploit it. If someone’s religious beliefs are so strong than rather than society bending over backwards (the quarantine would be major bending over backwards by teachers etc.), just go to a different school where everybody thinks like you do and have your little epidemic there!

    Right, the terrorist link certainly wakes people up!

  16. #16 G
    April 6, 2014

    Hi Greg, thanks for taking the time to read my (admittedly too lengthy) comments (I’m quite serious about the core elements of my proposals).

    From a strict science viewpoint, religious objections to vaccination are as absurd as religious objections to sanitation, or by analogy, artistic objections to gravity.

    But there are also sociopolitical facts we have to deal with when we seek to make policy.

    One of these is that there are small religious minorities that have historically been granted exemptions. If we disallowed those exemptions, the immediate effect would be to turn those minorities into victims whose victimhood would then be exploited mercilessly by anti-science advocates across the board. If you doubt me one bit on this, look up the case of Rev. Sun Myung Moon (deceased leader of the Unification Church aka “Moonies,” the prototypical brainwash cult): when he was prosecuted by the Feds for tax evasion, a huge coalition came together from across the religious spectrum to defend him: including a number of “mainstream denomination” churches. It was downright shocking, but none the less, it happened. That’s a lesson we have to deal with here. Even more so in the age of the internet and rampant paranoid conspiracy theories supported by people who are willing to get violent.

    The only ones who will have to bend over backwards, are those who are quarantined: entire families who will not be able to leave the house during outbreaks. Distance learning and other measures such as tutoring, are already in place for cases such as children who are in the hospital for more than a couple of weeks. If need be, we can put a “risk internalization tax” on those who get exemptions, to cover the financial costs to society at-large (analogous to my proposal for risk internalization taxes on tobacco, to cover the associated health costs). There is no legitimate right to impose an externalized cost on someone else, so there is no legitimate arguement against risk internalization taxes.

    I’ve given this stuff much thought over a period of years, as the basis for my proposal about a “draft board” solution to the religious objections. The treatment of CO status for military conscription worked and was endorsed by the Supreme Court: it’s the established law of the land in the event of a military draft, and it’s an established tradition. Vaccination, like conscription, is one of those cases where we agree that the threat (pandemic disease, military defeat) is so severe that it warrants allowing government to make demands upon the intimate personal life of each individual. Thus there is arguable legal and cultural basis to apply the same principles to objections to vaccination as we apply to objections to conscription.

    However, the checks and balances I’ve proposed should be sufficient to overcome exploitation.

    First, if there are safely enough slots to allow all claimed exemptions without threatening public health (herd immunity threshold plus safety margin), there is never an issue. All the refuseniks get to refuse, without threatening the rest of us.

    Second, if there are not enough slots, then there are mechanisms for allocating the available exemptions. AND, importantly, those mechanisms will inherently filter out the exploiters. The lazy ones will find it easier to vaccinate than to go through the “draft board” process or make a legal commitment to quarantine during outbreaks. The truly committed ones will have to do one or the other, or both.

    The structure of the “draft board” process is clearly and unarguably fair. And the remaining option of quarantine during outbreaks, is an added measure of fairness: everyone who refuses vaccination can be accommodated, as long as they are willing to do _their fair share_ by not spreading disease. Those who violate their agreements can be prosecuted, and will have no claim of legitimate exercise of rights.

    The direct effects of this combination of policies, should be to a) reduce the number of exemption claims by weeding out the “lazy cases,” b) not make “victims” of small minorities that could further be exploited by anti-vax loons, c) make refusal sufficiently inconvenient that only the truly committed will seek it, and d) make the refuseniks pay taxes to internalize to themselves the costs that would otherwise be imposed on society.

    Here’s the general method I use for translating moral positions into social policy: Define a “green zone” of “moral behavior.” Define a “red zone” of “immoral behavior.” Between these two zones is a very large “gray zone” of “arguable behavior.” Set the limit of the law sufficiently far enough toward the reddish end of the gray zone that it is unarguable, and then enforce the limit rigorously.

    For example, moderate drinking is OK (green zone), heavy drinking is not-OK (gray zone: health risk, other risks such as to one’s employment) but not illegal in and of itself, and drunk driving is not-OK (red zone) _and_ prosecutable by law (the line for blood alcohol content for drivers is set in the gray zone close to the red zone). There are self-contained venues for heavy drinking (bars), but there is no legitimacy to a claim of a right to drive drunk, so there is no debate over prosecuting drunk drivers.

    See how that works? Non-vaccinators are reduced in number, those who remain are safely contained and objections to containment are de-legitimized, those who run around and put others at risk of disease are prosecuted, and there is no basis for debating those prosecutions.

    I’d be happy to start with hazardous duty payment and paid leaves for teachers & staff who are at risk from unvaxed students. That would get the ball rolling, and it’s a highly practical policy with no legitimate basis for objections. Let’s start there and see what happens.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    Consider this possibility. The religious right gets mad at public schools, so they add to their religion that you don’t get vaccinated. The religious exemption will be gamed.

    I think your proposal would probably work, but you will have a huge hurdle with the part about incarceration. I know you call it quarantine but your opponents might call it incarceration.

    I like the idea of the Establishment Clause protecting individuals from imposition of religion by others as applying to pathogens spread by anti vaxxers.

  18. #18 bobh
    April 7, 2014

    #6 e cip: Thank the other parents in your community who have vaccinated thier kids to give yours herd immunity. Of course some would call that free-loading

  19. #19 Eric Lund
    April 7, 2014

    Consider this possibility. The religious right gets mad at public schools, so they add to their religion that you don’t get vaccinated. The religious exemption will be gamed.

    There is precedent for this kind of thing.

    In the 1970s, religious opposition to abortion was strictly a Catholic thing. Protestants, including evangelicals, were either pro-choice or neutral on the issue. The shift of the latter group toward being anti-abortion started around 1980 (the particular translation of the “clobber verse” they use to support the version first appeared in 1979). Fred Clark of Slacktivist has documented this shift.

    It’s happening again with respect to contraception. I was still attending church (a Protestant denomination) as a teenager in the early 1980s, and at the time the church was definitely in favor of birth control (as with abortion, the Catholic Church was an outlier). As recently as two years ago, Hobby Lobby willingly offered insurance coverage for the kinds of birth control it now opposes in court. Now the religious right is claiming that the Bible requires opposition to birth control (though I haven’t seen any cites to Bible verses which are used to support this claim).

    I would not be surprised to see the same thing happen with religious exemptions to vaccination. As of now, AFAIK, no significant religious denomination actually claims a philosophical opposition to vaccination, although some individual parents do. But with the paranoid John Birch type philosophy that has merged with evangelical Protestantism, I would not be surprised to see religious sects start to claim that the Bible opposes vaccination.

    So my position is this: Your kid is exempt from vaccination if and only if you can demonstrate that (s)he has a legitimate medical contraindication.

  20. #20 G
    April 7, 2014

    Interesting scenario you have there: the RR using religious vax exemptions to attack the public schools. I’d be interested to know how you came up with that, and if you have any specific information to support it.

    I’m inclined to think that if the RR tries that, it will appear to the general public to be very similar to the suicide bomber tactics associated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda: grownups putting their kids’ lives on the line to score political points for the grownups. We should be able to make that point in the media and have it stick.

    Good point about “opponents might call it incarceration.” In which case the logical basis for the policy should be built up in such a manner that all of the steps leading to that conclusion are well-accepted by the public, so the conclusion that logically follows is difficult to challenge.

    One way to go about that might be the tactic of proposing something that is much stronger, such as elimination of religious exemptions altogether, and then use my proposal as a “moderate alternative.”

    Realistically I think what’s likely is, we’ll see hundreds more cases of measles and pertussis, and dozens more deaths, before the public gets sufficiently ticked off as to want to do something concrete about it.

    1st Amendment issues in my next comment, shortly.

  21. #21 G
    April 7, 2014

    1st Amendment issues:

    Re. the Establishment clause:

    I’m intrigued with your reasoning on this.

    A potential problem arises in states such as California that also have “philosophical exemptions.” A judge might rule that no one religion is being favored over another, and religion in general is not being favored over non-religion _for purposes of getting an exemption_.

    What I think might have a decent chance, is the idea that _any_ exemption for other than SBM-supported medical reasons, is an “establishment” of a specific belief (anti-vaxism) at the expense of the general public.

    Alternately, that scientific conclusions of fact are _not_ subject to “beliefs.” “Belief” is irrelevant to issues of fact, and any privileging of “belief” above fact at the detriment of public safety constitutes an “establishment” in the broadest sense, even though not in a strict denominational sense.

    For example (hypothetical that could be used in court briefs), there is no religious exemption from the fire and sanitation provisions of the building codes, or from the drunk driving laws, nor would any such exemption ever be granted. The relevant facts are not subject to “belief.”

    “Free exercise”:

    There are two issues in play here: not only “establishment” but also “free exercise (of religious belief)” and the limits thereof. The Supreme Court and the laws that have withstood court scrutiny, have generally endorsed and followed the “compelling state interest” test. That is, the practice of religion (extended by court decisions to include non-theistic belief systems, under the language “freedom of conscience”) cannot be curtailed by laws unless those laws serve a “compelling” (urgent, essential, not routine) state interest, and that interest cannot be met in some other way that is less burdensome upon free exercise.

    We can argue that a) prevention of dangerous contagious disease outbreaks is an obvious and clear instance of a compelling state interest, and b) immunization prevents such outbreaks, so therefore c) the compelling state interest in immunization (universal or at minimum up to the level of herd immunity) overrides free exercise claims for refusal of immunization. The history of recent measles and pertussis outbreaks will support (a) and (b), leaving only (c) to be argued.

    To my mind that arguement is stronger than the “establishment” arguement, because the reasoning is much more straightforward and involves fewer “moving parts” or novel legal theories that could be argued.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    ” I’d be interested to know how you came up with that, and if you have any specific information to support it.”

    It would be tactically similar to what they do now about evolution. But no, I have no information suggesting that this has been thought of or tried or might happen.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    “:A judge might rule that no one religion is being favored over another, and religion in general is not being favored over non-religion _for purposes of getting an exemption_.”

    Say my religion said that if I didn’t like your hair I could cut off your head, and I believe this is the only way your soul can be saved. Telling me I could not do that would in fact be a violation of my religious freedom. But, there are two reasons to tell me that I can’t do that. One is that it is homicide, which is illegal. The other is that I’m actually imposing my religion on you. How such a thing would be dealt with in the courts could be a matter of history and strategy more than anything else. (EG. the courts have ruled against creationism mainly NOT because it is wrong)

    Say I have a religious belief that measles are a test. My child comes down with measles, so I send him/her to school to allow others to participate in the test of god. Intentionally exposoing people to dreaded disease has a precedent of being considered assault, but my religious belief says I should do that.

    Again, I would not be allowed to do that but there are two different reasons that could apply. One is that it is assault, the other is that I’m imposing my religion on you.

    If my belief is that I should not have vaccines in my body or my family’s body, I’m a) acting on a belief equivalent to religion and possibly but not necessarily explicitly religion, b) using my belief to justify an act that may harm others and c) imposing my belief on others. Just as a teacher may be disallowed from wearing a t-shirt with a cross on it, I may be disallowed from sending my contaminated child to school to contaminate others.

    The anti-vax belief based exemption is essentially the same thing.

    (I quickly add that a kid can wear a cross on a shirt but a teacher can’t because the teacher is a role model. With communicable diseases, the person who breathes in the same room with you and thus infects you is equivalent to the teacher wearing the cross, not the student)

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    “We can argue that a) prevention of dangerous contagious disease outbreaks is an obvious and clear instance of a compelling state interest, and b) immunization prevents such outbreaks, so therefore c) the compelling state interest in immunization (universal or at minimum up to the level of herd immunity) overrides free exercise claims for refusal of immunization. The history of recent measles and pertussis outbreaks will support (a) and (b), leaving only (c) to be argued.”

    I agree that this is absolutely the stronger argument in principle, but just as “creationism is wrong so don’t teach it” did not win the day but “creationism is establishment of relgion” did, we may not have that luxory.

    The argument you make is better, but why hasn’t it been made so far? I think because there are negative consequences associated with vaccines, to varying degrees, and some of the worst consequences that may (or may not) be associated are real mysteries. I think it all goes back to the Swine Flu fiasco under Ford. Look at what the Executive and Congress did then. The science of the flu was not well established and it was a total cluster fuck. The ability of the government to handle a mandatory vaccine using proper science was non existent. In the end, I think, the government walked away from that thinking “we can never require a vaccine again.”

  25. #25 ron
    April 7, 2014

    GL,

    A) At what point do you allow people to own their own bodies, instead of having them owned by the collective?

    B) If we (the smart ones) get vaccinated and the “dumb asses” among us don’t, we will survive, while the “dumb asses” (very technical, scientific term) will die. Is this not the desire/teaching of Darwinian evolution? Why would you not applaud this development?

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    Ron, exactly. When people send their children to school they should be reasonably well assured that those children’s bodies will not be attacked by diseases that were essentially cured and nearly eradicated decades ago, but that are making a comeback because of idiotic beliefs of a bunch of irresponsible and ignorant parents.

    Regarding your view of Darwinism and what we desire and all that, you’ve totally misunderstood and are being kind of a dumbass. To coin a phrase. (Never sure if that is one word or two.)

  27. #27 G
    April 7, 2014

    Greg, very interesting…

    Your general reasoning for “imposition of religion” is interesting and I think it can be made to work if it’s argued correctly.

    Some of your hypotheticals are over-the-top (cutting off heads etc.) and would frankly be laughed out of court, but I’m intrigued with finding a way to apply the underlying reasoning here.

    The key point you’re raising is that the imposition of religion upon nonbelievers violates the establishment clause. But this is not only about “religion”: it includes the “philosophical exemptions.” And it’s not about imposing a _belief_ on others: the anti-vaxxers couldn’t care less what the rest of us believe; they are not seeking to make us believe what they believe, they are just seeking to behave according to what they believe.

    What they are imposing on us is not their _belief_ but the _consequences of their behavior_, and more specifically, the consequence in question is the risk of harm through contagious disease.

    A more accurate hypothetical would be a church that uses wine not only for symbolic rituals, but for overt inebriation that is considered a form of immediate personal communion with God. The church seeks exception from the DUI laws on the basis that the law would require its congregants to stay in the church for an additional four hours after worship, for the wine to wear off, before they can drive. The church contends that requirement is an undue burden against free exercise.

    Your claim and mine, against the hypothetical wine-imbibing church, is that they are imposing on us by putting us at risk of harm from the behavior of their congregants. We don’t care about beliefs either, we just want people to refrain from driving while they are under the influence.

    But even that hypothetical doesn’t quite match up, on the basis that we are not seeking to restrain someone from performing an action (driving drunk), but instead we are seeking to compel someone to perform an action (vaccinate themselves and their kids). That difference is critical in our legal system: the scrutiny is far more strict for the latter than the former.

    I’m thinking that it would be interesting to bring some relevant constitutional law expertise to bear on this.

    If there is any route to repealing all of the nonmedical / belief-driven vax exemptions, I’m all for it. We should be wiling to “go to war” for this by using lawsuits and getting legislation written and sponsored, and pressing on both fronts until we get a win.

    Re. negative consequences associated with vaccines: there are also negative consequences associated with the military draft, namely that you could be wounded or killed in combat. Nevertheless, the constitutionality of the draft has always been upheld. The same principle could be applied to vaccines.

    I’m going to be away from desk for some or all of the rest of the day, be back later or this evening.

  28. #28 G
    April 7, 2014

    Re. Ron at 25: I’ve always strongly believed in the principle of “internal freedom”: freedom of body and mind. As I’ve put it many times, “the state stops at your epidermis.” Specifically, the state and other entities (corporate etc.) have no inherent right to take things out of your body or put things into your body.

    However there is a very small number of exceptions that come under the “compelling state interest” test. One of those is military conscription in time of national emergency. Another is vaccination. The reason for these exceptions is that they are dealing with true existential threats to the society as a whole, and all of the individuals in it.

    In both cases (the draft, and vaccinations) we could allow a limited number of exemptions, so long as that number does not impinge upon the numbers required to meet the objectives of military readiness and herd immunity respectively. This was the basis for my lengthy proposal about a “draft board” approach to vaccination.

    I’ve gotta’ scoot; be back later.

  29. #29 Politicalguineapig
    April 7, 2014

    Why are we focusing on the teachers? Make the parents pay. Impose a tax that will only be rescinded if vaccination records are sent in and signed by a legitimate doctor. And pass a law that says that any child disabled from a vpd will be removed from the family. Obviously, if the parents panic about autism, they are not capable of caring for a deaf/blind/ intellectually disabled child.

  30. #30 ron
    April 7, 2014

    GL @#26

    Those “ignorant parents” who do not vaccinate their children recognize and accept the (astoundingly minute) risks. Those “enlightened parents” who vaccinate their children have nothing to fear, because their children have conquered these diseases with modern medicine!

    Furthermore, what school system assures parents that the children will be free from illness? Doesn’t the group setting essentially insure illness will be spread rapidly? Schools don’t publish any disease data for parents and other adults to make informed decisions.

    What’s the issue? Why does the State need to become involved except that as Massachusetts education secretary Paul Reville asserts “the children belong to all of us”?
    http://jaypgreene.com/2014/02/05/all-your-children-are-belong-to-us/

  31. #31 Mee
    April 7, 2014

    This has to be the most unintelligent piece of garbage I have ever read. So are these said teachers vaccinated themselves? Because if they’re are, you must not believe the vaccines work.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    April 7, 2014

    Mee: You bring up an interesting question even if you do it in an obnoxious way.

    Why would we care if five or six kids with whackaloon parents show up in school without measles vaccine? If everyone else is vaccinated, then just those poor kids will get sick (and maybe die) so who cares?

    The thing is, that is not actually how immunity works. Vaccines are not all or nothing, and a person’s immune system is not all or nothing. And it turns out that if above some number, maybe 10 or 15% of the population, simply refuses to vaccinate for a highly contagious disease, the chances of that disease being caught but both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals goes up, though higher for the latter.

    The most likely response you or another anti-vaxxer would have to that is “see, they don’t even work.” But that would be untrue. They do work. But the world is a slightly complicated place where most things that “work” are imperfect, and this applies to vaccines. Some vaccines are actually close to 100%. In those cases, it is the people who have valid reasons to not take the vaccine (other than “I don’t wanna”) who are at risk, and that make them real innocent victims of crazy whackaloon anti-vaxxers.

  33. #33 G
    April 7, 2014

    PoliticalGP @ 29: Good point: if parents can’t care for a kid with autism, they can’t care for a kid who is disabled as a consequence of a preventable illness. QED.

    Ron @ 30: Nor can we obligate a school system to ensure that kids will never get in fights. However we can obligate school systems to ensure that kids don’t bring potentially deadly weapons onto school grounds. The diseases for which we insist on vaccination are like weapons compared to fists: potentially disabling and deadly. Would you insist on a right to send your kid to school with a weapon?

    Mee @ 31: Teachers with compromised immune systems and certain types of allergies can’t get vaccinated: shall we just fire them to accommodate parents who believe in quackery?

    Back to work for me, I’ll be back later…

  34. #34 J
    Ohio
    April 8, 2014

    I guess I don’t understand the hypocritical (below or sub-critical) thinking involved here. Are any of you “pro-choice”? My body, my decision? Anyone remember eugenics? Some of you speak of the clear difference of science and religion, yet want to hold people down in the holy water of vaccines like some sort of medical exorcism.
    Our #1 in the “Encyclopedia of Loons”, Mike Adams, looks a little less looney these days does he not? Narcolepsy and seizures skyrocketed with the H1N1 vaccine. It later came out that the patent for the virus was filed for PRIOR to the virus outbreak. Followed by research stating that only people with Vitamin D deficiencies were even susceptible to the virus, followed then by pharmaceutical research with utilizing vitamin D in conjunction with other antibiotics and antivirals. Yes, get your vaccination, be a guinea pig.
    Why even worry about those who don’t? You’re covered, right? I mean, if the Guardasil vaccine that protects your 13 yr old daughter from a minor percentage of HPV viruses that could be thwarted by a healthy immune system, or at worst, some beta-mannan…. if the vaccine doesn’t kill her, maybe she’ll live a normal, healthy life for the next 30 years or so. Maybe she’ll function just fine for a time, sucking down fast foods and aspartame sweetened drinks, wondering why her children are diabetic, while sitting at the doctors office trying to figure out whether she has fibromyalgia, lupus or MS. Will I then be reading a blog written by anti-vax extremists stating that the formerly vaccinated, now diseased members of society have become such a financial burden that we either put them all in colonies or euthanize them? Maybe we could just seize the assets and fine anyone who, because of some seemingly educated god-complex, decided they had the right to force medication. Perhaps some of you should cut back on your SSRI’s before making these decisions for others. Hell, try a couple thalidomides instead, maybe they’ll remind you.
    I was a critical care nurse for 27 years. I started my education at Ohio Northern University; my major, Pharmacy. I later transferred to Akron U where I received a BSN with a minor in bio-chemistry. I was told last year that I was required to have a flu vaccine to work. I have never had a flu vaccine, I’ve never called off sick. The visiting doctors are not required to be vaccinated, nor are visitors in general. I’m not either, now, for I have joined the ranks of other health professionals who quit their jobs rather than having their freedom and self-authority/autonomy (in regards to proper health care) taken away; I retired. I’ll leave it at that. I will add though, if you choose to give your personal power over to a doctor, expert, whomever presents themselves as authority, without ever questioning and searching for yourself, well, who’s really at fault for the outcome?

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    April 8, 2014

    J, thanks for the excellent Libertarian rant! Now get off my lawn, please.

  36. #36 dean
    April 8, 2014

    Mike Adams, looks a little less looney these days does he not?

    no, he does not. He still looks like an ignorant fool, uneducated about the things he discusses. Rather like you.

  37. #37 ron
    April 8, 2014

    G (#33) said: Nor can we obligate a school system to ensure that kids will never get in fights. However we can obligate school systems to ensure that kids don’t bring potentially deadly weapons onto school grounds.

    >>How’s that working out for you?

    The diseases for which we insist on vaccination are like weapons compared to fists: potentially disabling and deadly.

    >> Fists can be deadly (onepunchhomicide.com) and a pencil can be a weapon (not to mention all the scissors in the classrooms).

    Would you insist on a right to send your kid to school with a weapon?

    >>Assuming the student understood how/when to use it, Yup.

    >>See, I believe in this thing where an individual’s body is not owned by the collective and is justified to defend said body against assault, even with deadly force, if necessary. These beliefs, one might falsely assume would be most defended in government buildings, as governments are instituted to protect the Rights of the citizenry. Quite the opposite is true. Free speech, freedom of religion, the Right To Keep and Bear Arms, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, etc…all out the window when you enter a federal/state school these days. When you as a parent aren’t there to be your child’s advocate, who will take that mantle?

  38. #38 ron
    April 8, 2014

    J asked about Eugenics? Honestly?

    Bill Gates Ted talk 2010 will put that to rest for you:

  39. #39 J
    April 8, 2014

    Greg, thank you for the opportunity to mark some territory. I guess the gist of my question was lost in the libertarianism. If I may ask, why does it matter to enforce mandatory vaccinations when those who have been vaccinated are supposedly immune?

    I’m asking of I am missing something. Like Ron@30 and You@33….no, it’s like sending my child to school with a .25 cal handgun while you send yours surrounded by bulletproof glass. My child isn’t carrying the gun to hurt your child though, he’s carrying the gun for your child too, because the path to school has a history of child eating wolves. While it’s difficult to kill a wolf with a .25 cal pistol, you can certainly get it’s attention. My child has also been taught alternative lines of defense from quacks like Linus Pauling. In all those years in ICU I’ve seen amazing things, things swept under the rug of unexplained miracles. They weren’t miracles, they just defied the system.

    The fact is walking your child into your doctors office to receive a vax puts your child at a greater risk of MRSA than he ever had of measles. Perhaps I now consider your child the smoking gun.

    Regardless…. I comprehend the need for a community to rescue a child from a meth/crack/heroine or abusive environment. But if I can raise a child to adulthood in good health without excessive need of modern medicine, does that make me a danger? Or was the real danger all those parents who rushed to their antibiotic slinging physicians for a runny nose and fever? Do you believe in evolution? Do you believe in survival of the fittest? Do you believe in MRSA? Vax the world, make it mandatory and see what comes next.

  40. #40 J
    April 8, 2014

    Ron@38….. Thank you, I agree. My point here is does anyone who thinks themselves educated concerning vaccinations understand the history. This is an old topic. We make fun of someone comparing vaccines to Nazi Germany and Hitler, we trust our FDA and AMA. We think we make educated decisions, yet we fail to remember or even be aware of who Sir Francis Galton is; who is Charles Davenport; what was the primary objective of the ABA (American Breeders Association), what is AASPIM, etc. We tend to sit in our programmed boxes of thought, believing this is a health issue, a medical/science issue, without realizing it is an elitist sociological science issue of deep origin. We have been taught to think these are separate issues but they are not. We have to make the connections. We have know the distraction in order to see the slight of hand being done.

    As I stated above, we are quick to rescue a child from a meth lab, but how many grow up in houses of cocaine? Yet people see no correlation between that and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942).

    Again Greg, thanks for the lawn space, I’m going home now!! LOL

  41. #41 Greg Laden
    April 8, 2014

    “Greg, thank you for the opportunity to mark some territory. I guess the gist of my question was lost in the libertarianism. If I may ask, why does it matter to enforce mandatory vaccinations when those who have been vaccinated are supposedly immune?”

    That is a very good and important question.

    First, keep in mind that anything you can get vaccinated for your immune system has the potential to attack as well. A dreaded disease recruits the immune system, but it is like a country being attacked and needing to attack back. If you don’t have an army you need to recruit soldiers and train them for the war that is at hand then you can defend yourself. Many diseases make you sick or kill you because it takes too long for the body to do this (I oversimplify a bit). Getting a vaccine is like having the army ready.

    So, a vaccine does not fight a disease. It prepares the body to fight the disease, often so effectively that you don’t even know you got it because your adaptive immune system kills it off before it can cause the rest of your body to freak out (which is where many of your symptoms come from.)

    OK, so, your immune system may be less or more able to attack a disease on its own, and the vaccine may be less or more effective in preparing your body to do that.

    There are three categories of people who don’t have a readily available vaccine. Those that chose to not have it (or didn’t know about it), those who can’t have it because they are too young and some vaccines are better given to older kids, and those who have some other reason related to their particular medical circumstnaces that recommend against it. There is a fourth category of non-protected individual that has recently become apparent: Those for whom the vaccine has, essentially, “worn off.” So called life-long immunities turn out to be only several decades old, so 60 year olds who got a vaccine at the age of 5 may no longer be immune.

    Given all this, there are people whose immune system is strong and the vaccine worked well and is not worn out. There are people who’s immune system is not going to do well even though they had the vaccine, and people who’s immune system is OK but the vaccine somehow is not working well (how often this happens varies widely between different diseases and vaccines). There are people who have a reasonable immune system but no vaccine for one reason or another. There are people who’s immune system is not very good and they don’t have the vaccine or it is worn off.

    That list is roughly in descending order of how protected a person it. When a contagious nasty disease comes into a community that is well vaccinated, with near 100% compliance among those who can have the vaccine, there are very few people susceptible to it but they are protected by herd immunity. When some percentage of people are added to that mix who don’t have the vaccine for whatever reason, including the simple reason that they didnt’ want it because it’s the Gummit Making Them or for religious reasons or whatever, those unprotected or less protected people (who did not chose to avoid the vaccine) are now at risk and it was not their decision to make themselves at risk.

    There was no measles vaccine for me. I got the measles and the “german measles” and the mumps as well. That’s how we got our immunity in the old days, and it worked pretty well. But a certain number of children died from the diseases. With the vaccines for these diseases at near 100% compliance they simply don’t exist at all, really. Virtually all, or all but a very very small number, of these diseases showing up in the US and certain other places are happening entirely because of antivaxxers. The total number of anti vaxxers is not huge but clearly it is enough to break down her immunity in places, and this movement seems to be expanding so we can expect that more.

    And the primary victims will be babies, old people, and individuals with other medical problems.

  42. #42 Politicalguineapig
    April 9, 2014

    Greg: And the primary victims will be babies, old people, and individuals with other medical problems.

    I think you’re confusing J with someone who has a heart there, Greg. I suspect J is lying when he says he was a nurse: libertarians don’t go for caring professions because they believe that everyone else in the world is a non-player character- programmed and of no consequence. Oh, and J, don’t pretend to be prochoice. Go play with the Republicans.

  43. […] (everyone you ever liked was a Nazi sympathizer; I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much) How to fix the anti-vax problem. (actually, it would be interesting if teachers simply refused to teach classes where their or their […]

  44. #44 milwaukeegirl
    Wisconsin
    April 9, 2014

    Too late for me. Caught chicken pox as an adult near age 40 from one of my students. I was pretty darn sick. Consolation: received workman’s comp.

  45. #45 Anat
    April 10, 2014

    Adding to Greg’s post #41: For every vaccine, there is a percentage of the those who receive it in whom the vaccine does not elicit an immune response for some reason. This is one reason most vaccines are given in a series of doses. If one dose works 90% of the time, after 3 doses the non-responders should be down to 1 in 1000. Those non-responders will be susceptible in an outbreak despite having received the full vaccination series.

  46. #46 ron
    April 11, 2014

    So, it works when everybody gets it, except when it doesn’t, and even then, the disease can attack the vaccinated.

    Who wouldn’t sign up for THAT?
    #Merica!

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    April 11, 2014

    ron, what took you so long to show up and do the “I’m an ignoramus therefore you are wrong” routine?

  48. #48 Total
    April 13, 2014

    Listen well you pro vax pricks. You only understand one language obviously so I will give it to you. I don’t care what you inject in you or your kids, if you are that stupid or ignorant to believe in pharmaceutical sponsored researches. Try to force that garbage on my lawn now or anyone in my family you will have to worry much more then to die from some measles or a flu. You will feel that our immune system is not that weak after all. You all. And me sick,and there is no vaccine in this universal to get rid of you.

  49. #49 dean
    April 13, 2014

    Just the kind of response from total that sums things up: ignorant, doesn’t care about his kids’ health, and implying violence.

  50. #50 Greg Laden
    April 13, 2014

    Also, he specifically mentioned his lawn. I found that interesting.

  51. #51 dean
    April 13, 2014

    Also, he specifically mentioned his lawn.

    I wonder if he uses chemicals to keep the grass green and thick.

  52. #52 Greg Laden
    April 13, 2014

    Are you asking if he vaccinates his lawn against fungus and rot?

  53. #53 ron
    April 14, 2014

    From http://tinyurl.com/qgo6yd6

    “According to a recent report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/27/cid.ciu105), a measles outbreak in New York City in 2011 started with a fully-vaccinated individual. The first person infected was a young woman who had previously received two doses of the measles vaccine. She transmitted the infection to four other people, all of whom “had either two doses of measles-containing vaccine or a past positive measles IgG antibody.”

    Of the five people infected in the outbreak, three had records showing that they had received all recommended doses of the measles vaccine. The other two “showed signs of previous measles exposure that should have conferred immunity,” according to an article in the magazine Science (http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/measles-outbreak-traced-fully-vaccinated-patient-first-time).

    The authors of the Clinical Infectious Diseases report concluded that “[t]his outbreak underscores the need for thorough epidemiologic and laboratory investigation of suspected measles cases regardless of vaccination status.”

    To recap: everyone in the 2011 NYC measles outbreak had been previously exposed to the measles either naturally or through the vaccine. And at least three out of the five people infected had previously received all of the recommended doses of the measles vaccine.

    Despite this, in his Science article about the outbreak, Nsikan Akpan asserts that “[i]f it turns out that vaccinated people lose their immunity as they get older, that could leave them vulnerable to measles outbreaks seeded by unvaccinated people . . . .” Akpan concludes the article with a quote from Robert Jacobson, director of clinical studies for the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, who stated that “’[t]he most important “vaccine failure” with measles happens when people refuse the vaccine in the first place.’”

    You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that these conclusions do not follow from the information that Akpan presents in the article. Despite what the facts show – that a measles outbreak was “seeded” by a vaccinated individual, who then spread it to other vaccinated individuals – Akpan, like so many other authors of “scientific” articles, uses this as an opportunity to lambast “anti-vaxxers.” ”

    MOAR needles!

  54. #54 Greg Laden
    April 14, 2014

    From the source you cite: “Measles was eliminated in the United States through high vaccination coverage and a public health system able to rapidly respond to measles. Measles may occur among vaccinated individuals, but secondary transmission from such individuals has not been documented.”

    The case you refer to here was unusual enough that someone got a publication in a peer reviewed journal out of it.

    You don’t have to be a scientists to understand … hey, actually, you do. You have to either be a scientist or, really, someone who is willing to put a bit of effort into looking at this like a scientist, which is quite within the grasp of most individuals who are not blinded by some sort of ideology or another that prevents clear thinking.

    Here is the full conclusion from the abstract:

    “This is the first report of measles transmission from a twice vaccinated individual. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index were typical of measles in a naïve individual. Secondary cases had robust anamnestic antibody responses. No tertiary cases occurred despite numerous contacts. This outbreak underscores the need for thorough epidemiologic and laboratory investigation of suspected measles cases regardless of vaccination status.”

  55. #55 ron
    April 15, 2014

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000359.htm

    “Editorial Note: This outbreak demonstrates that transmission of measles can occur within a school population with a documented immunization level of 100%. This level was validated during the outbreak investigation. Previous investigations of measles outbreaks among highly immunized populations have revealed risk factors such as improper storage or handling of vaccine, vaccine administered to children under 1 year of age, use of globulin with vaccine, and use of killed virus vaccine (1-5). However, these risk factors did not adequately explain the occurrence of this outbreak. ”

    You want to talk about blinding ideology? I’m all for you, as a parent, injecting your own kids with whatever controlled substance the medical profession wants to sell you. Have at it hasse!

    Where I draw the line is with my own conscience. If a parent is not as “sold” on the concept of injecting unknown substances into their offspring (as opposed to the State’s property), why should they be forced against their will to do so? Does the concept of freedom from government mean anything in this instance?

    Or do all rights become subject to “public safety”? http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/rights-without-exceptions “The problem is that an exception has been introduced to the right whose scope is defined by action of the majority (through legislative action and subsequently through a majority of a panel of judges). That is fatal to the right because it makes the right a captive of majority rule. The concept of “public safety” has no inherent limiting principle that establishes its outer boundaries.” (It’s not surprising that atheists believe in majority rule without rights for the minority…but it bears pointing out)

  56. #56 Greg Laden
    April 15, 2014

    “Where I draw the line is with my own conscience. If a parent is not as “sold” on the concept of injecting unknown substances into their offspring (as opposed to the State’s property), why should they be forced against their will to do so? Does the concept of freedom from government mean anything in this instance?”

    That would be OK as long as there is an effective mechanism whereby your kids and their kooties stay the hell away from my kids.

    “Or do all rights become subject to “public safety”?”

    This is a tricky area, of course. Yes, rights so become subject to public safety, and that is often abused. Witness the rise of the police state that has one main objective: To keep first responders safe at all costs. But there are times when it really counts. It is easy to forget the old days, or to live in ignorance of them. This is what you are doing.

  57. #57 ron
    April 15, 2014

    The “old days” are the days of majority rule without legal rights of the minority being upheld. It’s one of the many things that made America different in world history!

    History is replete with the power of the State working against the individual through coercion. Dissent is criminalized.

    You live in ignorance of whose side you advocate.

  58. #58 J
    April 15, 2014

    Fact: I don’t post pure propaganda from anti-vax organizations on this blog so please don’t even bother.

    –gtl

  59. #59 ron
    April 18, 2014

    Oh BTW, new HHS Sec is a Gates vaccine operative, making the video I posted even more relevant

    http://www.naturalnews.com/044760_Sylvia_Mathews_Burwell_Common_Core_Gates_Foundation.html#
    “Burwell’s biography page over at the Gates Foundation website reveals that she was president of the organization’s Global Development Program for 10 years, during which time she spearheaded campaigns to essentially http://nano.foe.org.au by adopting proprietary, genetically modified (GM) crop technologies. Her program also heavily pushed vaccines on indigenous people groups, causing many of them to develop severe illnesses.

    So-called “polio-like illness,” which is still spreading throughout India as a result of Gates Foundation vaccine programs, is just one example of the tremendous harm being caused by the types of “philanthropic” efforts led by people like Burwell. And yet, this is the type of person whom the Obama administration sees as fit to govern health policy in the U.S., which is already heavily influenced by pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations.”

  60. #60 Politicalguineapig
    April 20, 2014

    I think we need to start using the ‘don’t know what you got til it’s gone’ model for red states and anti-vaxxers. For the red-staters, we simply phase out science education. No PBS, no Cosmos, no textbooks, no biology or chemistry, and any ‘accreditted’ scientist from a red state gets all studies thrown out on the assumption of insufficient data. If you’re living in Arkansas and you do a study on rhinovirus in the common cavy, you get it mailed back with the advisory that the data is corrupt until you leave the state. NASA picks up sticks and moves out of Florida and Texas, and any child who wants to be a chemist or in biology had better pray their parents move.

    For the anti-vaxxers, no doctor in a county with a large number of anti-vaxxers gets any shipment of vaccines for twenty years. Parents who want to vaccinate can leave or apply for financial help to move. We need to start being ruthless.

  61. #61 dean
    April 20, 2014

    Gates vaccine operative/blockquote>

    So-called “polio-like illness,” which is still spreading throughout India as a result of Gates Foundation vaccine programs,

    Gotta commend you ron, when you bring the ignorant, stupid, paranoid, asinine bullcrap you hold nothing back.

  62. #62 dean
    April 20, 2014

    And it’s another borked blockquote. I must be the world record holder.

    Gotta get that hand fixed.

  63. #63 ron
    April 21, 2014

    Dean #61:

    Thanks for the commendation. I’ll return the favor.

    I think it’s great that when people put forth data and ideas that you can’t square with your worldview, you resort to the tactics of the playground, demonstrating who won the argument.

    When you go for the name-calling, you don’t restrain yourself to just one. Keep that propaganda rollin’.
    http://tinyurl.com/kaua85f

  64. #64 dean
    April 21, 2014

    ron;
    the assumption underlying your crap is a conspiracy so vast (Gates vaccine operative) that it would put the 9-11 truthers to shame. The fact that you are too ignorant to see that means you deserve the ridicule you receive.
    The claim that the illness in India is due to something from th Gates foundation (or from any vaccination program) is completely unsubstantiated, despite how the folks at natural news lie about it.

    I don’t expect you to understand the issues or the statistics, or to speak honestly about them; you’ve demonstrated you have neither the will nor the ability to do so. The fact that you are actively working to spread false misleading information, possibly putting innocent people at harm, is disgusting and reflects on you for what you are: a vile human.

  65. #65 ron
    April 22, 2014

    Dean,

    I appreciate your contribution to the topic. With all the data you’ve presented, the issues you’ve raised, the dizzying statistical analysis…oh, wait.

    This “kill the messenger” tactic demonstrates the depth and breadth of your argument. You’re also mixing your metaphors by likening me to a truther and accusing me of false information (isn’t the opposite of a truther a false-r? Who would want to be that?).

    Give GL credit, he takes a run at the data presented. This allows us to find common ground on the overreach of State power at times. And that’s what this all boils down to, why a parent should have its offspring forcibly vaccinated, or why individual conscience should allow liberty/freedom to decline.

    I appreciate the opportunity to continue to defend myself from personal attacks.

  66. #66 Greg Laden
    April 22, 2014

    What about seat belts?

  67. #67 dean
    April 22, 2014

    except, ron, you’ve demonstrated that the data means nothing to you – especially with the fake crap you continue to post.

    Your dissembling about “truther” and false information is a very poor attempt: you certainly know that the meaning is that your “facts” about the risks of vaccines and the gates ‘conspiracy’ are as unsupported as the explanations from the “truthers” about what happened on September 11. You can’t even play coy correctly.

    In short, since you pay no attention to facts, or data, or medical information, there is no further use in supplying them. Until you try to understand the underlying research you don’t deserve any respect.

    Your little libertarian based comment “why a parent should have its offspring forcibly vaccinated, or why individual conscience should allow liberty/freedom to decline.” is amusing. Why should we tolerate the irresponsible (you) to pose an easily preventable risk, when objections are based on false ideas (the “risk” you and your kind assert are associated with vaccines). It is also telling that you feel benefits and protections offered by society should be free without any buy in on your part.
    Final point: they aren’t attacks if they fit – they’re descriptions.

  68. #68 ron
    April 22, 2014

    Demonizing the minority as “irresponsible”…are we really back to that?

    Do you ever stop to think that you may, one day, on some issue, be the minority who just advocated to have your rights stripped away by something so boundless and ethereal at “public safety”?

    And look, if you believe that the various government powers work transparently for your best interest, I encourage you to NOT search terms like “snowden” or “max cleland pbs national scandal”. Ignorance IS bliss. All is well.

  69. #69 ron
    April 28, 2014

    Because, why not close out the month doing this?

    While it’s difficult to encapsulate the article and Study cited ( Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/02/25/peds.2013-2365 ) about strongly held beliefs…I’ll do my best

    Perhaps this study would serve as an appropriate basis for the post

    _____________
    http://tinyurl.com/o2muk4s

    “A recent study adds to the growing evidence that our brains reject information that rebuts our strongly held beliefs.” …

    Opponents successfully rebrand their opposition to discount them as inferior in every capacity so as to neutralize them thereby leaving the opposition damaged – or as a pariah – in the public’s opinion…

    Branding, in my estimation, often branches out far afield into various aspects for guarding one’s brand or turf, which can include lobbying [7], gifting, ad hominem remarks, even possible subversive activity – or dirty tricks – against one’s opponent in order to get others to see your way of thinking about a product or issues, such as political candidates engage during election cycles…

    However, more and more parents are researching vaccines and finding that they have dangerous side effects that are printed on vaccine package inserts, which pediatricians do not give to parents nor tell them about, thus a breach of medical ethical standards, I contend. Why? Parents and others are prevented from making informed consent decisions about a medical procedure – an injection into the body of poisonous and probable unknown elements like mycoplasmas, which should be considered a criminal act. Instead, rebranding occurs with physicians and others calling vaccine-safety-conscious parents ‘vaccine deniers’, ‘anti-vaxers’, or even ‘child abusers’…
    _______________

  70. #70 sgg
    london
    August 31, 2014

    IF the teacher is vaccinated how on earth can she get sick form an unvaccinated kid?
    this is bullshit,

  71. #71 Greg Laden
    August 31, 2014

    First, you should not have used a comma there at the end.

    Second, vaccines are not 100% effective. Imagine a school district with 10000 teachers, all vaccinated. Imagine a measles spreading kid ending up in each room two or three times over a ten year period. Since MMR after the second dose is about 99.7% effective, we might expect one teacher to get measles. Then, there would have to be a payout.

    Vaccines are not an all or nothing things. Measles vaccine is very effect, others are even more, but for some diseases, rates are lower. So this of course would vary across diseases.

  72. #72 ujhfk
    August 31, 2014

    Guess you`re pretty much going to ignore the fact that mercury/thimerosal is one of the ingredients in vaccines, among other dangerous chemicals, heavy metals and adjuvants.

    [Actually, no, it isn't. They haven't used it in years. Also, the mercury in the form found in thimerosal has been shown in at least one good study to not incorporate in human tissues. Poop. It is only found in your poop. So your poop could get autism, I suppose --gtl]

    This is starting to get ridiculous.
    I guess it wasn’t the vaccines that cause those moneys autism symptoms ether right?
    ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS
    [Actually I don't allow links to anti-science tin hat conspiracy sites on my blog, so I deleted them, but it is highly unlikely that whales get autism since autism is a condition of the features of the brain pretty much only found in humans. --gtl]

    When a child gets a vaccine and later shows symptoms of autism, that’s a pretty promising lead.

    [ Yes, that might be a promising lead, one that could be followed up on by controlled studies, etc. Didn't work out, though. The vaccine-autism link has been refuted by science. So now you know! --gtl]
    Media DPT vaccine victim stories
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Autism & vaccination–parents
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Vaccine-autism link studies quotes
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Chelation for autism
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    MMR/Measles vaccines media stories
    [ Links deleted --gtl]l
    Media DPT vaccine victim stories
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Late onset/Acquired/Regressive autism
    [ Links deleted --gtl]

    you can read about Government/industry fraudulent studies here
    http://www.fourteenstudies.org/studies.html
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Fraudulent or designed to deceive Industry studies on vaccine-autism and vaccine safety
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Vaccine critics & studies proving vaccines are unsafe and cause autism
    [ Links deleted --gtl]

    Interesting to see people attacking jones with flimsy nonsense rather than attacking the facts.
    jones is just one person, literately out of millions speaking out about the dangers of vaccines.
    Unvaccinated children healthier
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Autism & vaccination testimonies
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Autism & vaccination: victim testimonies
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    Silenced Witnesses Volume II: The Parents’ Story
    The denial of vaccine damage by government, corporations and the media.
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    EVIDENCE OF HARM
    [ Links deleted --gtl]
    The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic
    [ Links deleted --gtl]

    There is a lady that went and got her son vaccinated, when her son started to show symptoms of autism/vaccine induced brain damage, she returned to the doctor, guess what that doctor told her? the doctor told her it wasn’t the vaccine. what nerve?

    [Well, there isn't any scientific evidence that there should be a link. There are hundreds of millions of people in the pool. Two things can happen at once just by coincidence. I guess you didn't know that. Now you do!]
    Is she a tinfoil hatter?

    [She's a concerned parent who happens to be wrong. I suggest you read this: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/05/02/the-vaccination-does-make-the/
    ]
    The only people that still worship vaccines are those that are deceived or those that know they`re dangerous and choose to promote them anyway.
    vaccines are a fraud and more and more people are understanding this fact every day, it`s painfully obvious that the vaccine caused this child’s autism/brain damage.
    This is called observational proof.
    [ Links deleted --gtl]

  73. #73 rtrtr
    August 31, 2014

    you deleted that cause you know you`re lying.

  74. #74 anonymous
    August 31, 2014

    the truth about autism

    Link to anti-science site deleted as per policy

  75. #75 Greg Laden
    August 31, 2014

    I didn’t delete anything, but you did use two different “names” and are therefore sockpuppeting. Stop doing that right now.

  76. #76 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    September 1, 2014

    To the sockpuppeting antivaccinationist:
    Please come over to Respectful Insolence. We’re longing for some fresh meat, and a chance to point and laugh. Oh, and if one of the links you posted was to Age of Autism (aka the Clown Blog), I can understand why Greg refused to let you post it. :D

  77. #77 Greg Laden
    September 1, 2014

    I should be clear: When “gobldygookletters” said “you deleted that s/he was referring to earlier comments, not to parts of comments … all three of those sock puppet comments appeared in my holding bin more or less at the same time, so s/he assumed that I deleted the first comment, which was merely held in moderation because it came from an unknown user.

    But yes, then I deleted all the links. Julian:Can’t remember what exactly the links were but they were to a rich assortment of anti-vax sites. There were about 40 different links.

  78. #78 anonymous
    everywhere
    September 3, 2014

    whats up greg.
    you pathetic bitch swine faggot .
    we know you love hurting children with your vaccine bullshit.
    this is why you delete us.
    you done goofed greg.
    so guess what happens next ?
    real psychopaths are now watching you.
    we hear you like doxxing people greg
    so guess what happens next greg?
    you like injecting children with Mercury and aluminum?

    expect us

  79. #79 Greg Laden
    September 3, 2014
  80. #80 weak
    Poland
    September 3, 2014

    you truly are as dumb as you look….

    you will never find us..

    nice try tho

    you have never faced what you`re about to face

    here is my IP greg, fuck yourself with it.
    178.217.187.39

  81. #81 anon0
    Canada
    September 3, 2014

    within your life time… you will know what autism feels like greg… .
    soon… you will feel the beautiful feeling of heavy metals in your body, slowly you will become autistic, you will feel what it is like greg.. and we will laugh, we will immunize you because we love you and want you to be safe….

  82. #82 mynameismud
    September 3, 2014

    “vaccines are not 100% effective”
    “Imagine a measles spreading kid”
    “Measles vaccine is very effect, others are even more”
    “anti-vaxers causing the current and alarming measles outbreak.”
    “anti-vaxers threatening everyone else’s health and well being. Lives,”

    we are talking about measles vaccines greg? are you retarded?

    if you`re vaccinated for measles and measles vaccine is very effective, how are people without a measles vaccine threatening everyone else’s health and well being?

    cause you`re a fucking piece of shit liar?

    we blame you now……
    you will now be punished for what you have done……

  83. #83 GregTisafaggot
    September 3, 2014

    we know where you are sitting at this very second

    we shall grant you a chance to confront us face to face in the day light, inan open and free debate on fare ground, let the people see the evidence on both sides of this debate, allow the free and open debate to unfold uncensored or else we shall make you eat your words in the darkness. literally
    what we ask of you is simple
    what we ask of you not unreasonable
    you will be contacted
    we shall see where your heart is
    is it with the people or with the untruthful
    with those that wish us harm

  84. #84 Dave
    Minnesota
    September 3, 2014

    “If you`re vaccinated for measles and measles vaccine is very effective, how are people without a measles vaccine threatening everyone else’s health and well being?”

    The MMR vaccine is usually not administered until the 12th month, so young children are at risk of infection. Some people cannot be vaccinated because they have severe allergies or compromised immune systems. The MMR vaccine is very effective but not 100% effective. The incidence of measles in the United States has decreased by 99% since the vaccination program began. Why would you want to go back to the bad old days?

  85. #85 Greg Laden
    September 3, 2014

    “GregTisafaggot”: Absolutely.

  86. #86 Richard Simons
    September 3, 2014

    Makes you realize what nasty creatures inhabit the anti-vax world.