How quickly things change.

If there’s one thing I always feel obligated to warn my fellow pro-science advocates about vaccines and the antivaccine movement, it’s that we can never rest on our laurels or assume that the tide is turning in our direction. The reason is simple: Antivaccinationism is a powerful belief system, every bit as powerful as religion and political ideology. It’s powerful not just among antivaccinationists, but also because it taps into belief systems that are very much part and parcel of being an American. In fact, depressingly, yesterday I learned of a perfect example of this unfortunate phenomenon. Remember my discussion of Oregon Senate Bill 442? It’s a bill that was being considered in Oregon in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It’s also the same bill that chiropractors (amazingly) wanted to have antivaccine guru Andrew Wakefield testify in front of the Senate health care committee, but that plan was rendered null and void by the justifiably negative reaction to the possibility of having a scientific fraud like Andrew Wakefield testify against a bill. At the time, I thought that was an indication that the bill might have a chance of passing.

I was wrong. I should have known better. The power of the antivaccine dog whistle is not easily denied. If you don’t believe me, take a peak at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism and what it posted last night, basically a link to this article in the the Statesman Journal entitled Oregon senator to propose new school vaccine policy:

Oregon legislators are backing off a proposal that would have made it tougher for school children to opt out of vaccinations.

Instead, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward said Wednesday she will propose a different policy that would encourage more school children to get vaccinated but continue to allow nonmedical exemptions. It also would provide alternative paths for parents to comply with the law.

Senate Bill 442, which had one public hearing and attracted national attention, would have eliminated religious and philosophical exemptions from school shots. Only medical exemptions would have been allowed.

So why did this happen? Why did Steiner back off? Simple. pressure from an unholy coalition of antivaccine loons and “health freedom” advocates:

Before the bill’s first public hearing, Steiner Hayward was confident it had the majority of votes in both the Senate and the House. However, on Wednesday, she said that support had weakened, necessitating an alternate course.

“Some of my colleagues changed their minds,” she said. “They got a lot of pressure one way or another. This is an issue that really mobilizes a very small minority of people, but it makes them very loud. I get that. That’s their right. But there were a bunch of people who weren’t prepared to take on this controversial of a topic at this point.”

While the bill had strong support from public health and medical leaders, including Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Medical Association and Providence Health & Services, a vocal group of parents who either delay or avoid vaccines for their children has been active in opposing the bill.

While many are concerned about vaccine safety, some opposed the bill on grounds of medical freedom and parental autonomy.

If you want to know how bad things got in Oregon, consider this. After the furor over the invitation by chiropractors to Andrew Wakefield to testify in front of the Senate committee, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr—RFK, Jr.!—lobbied Oregon lawmakers not to pass this bill. As a result, the bill appears to be dead, although it sounds as though Sen. Steiner wants to try to pass a bill similar to California Bill AB 2109, which requires parents seeking a personal belief exemption to vaccine mandates to see a health care professional to sign the exemption form. the purpose, as I discussed before multiple times when AB 2109 was being considered, was to make it more difficult for parents to claim personal belief exemptions than just signing a form. Even then, Governor Jerry Brown neutered the new law with a signing statement instructing the California Department of Public Health to include on the exemption form a religious exemption that doesn’t require a healthcare professional to cosign the form. It was a profound betrayal of California children and an almost certainly unconstitutional abuse of his authority as Governor in which he basically overrode the legislature’s intent.

So, instead of a strong bill that eliminates nonmedical exemptions to vaccine mandates, Oregon is likely to pass a much weaker bill, although even that is not assured, given the fierce resistance of antivaccine groups, who have been relentless. In the meantime, there is even a legislator, Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who is considering this, “”Ultimately, we probably need to review whether or not Oregon needs a constitutional amendment to make sure parents are in control of their kids’ health care.” Meanwhile, another legislator, Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, published a newsletter saying he believed vaccines are linked to autism and accusing the CDC of mismanagement and corruption, both of which are talking points “made in the documentary Kennedy showed to lawmakers last week.” What documentary was that?

Trace Amounts:

He showed the documentary “Trace Amounts,” which centers on mercury in vaccines and its relationship to autism, at Cinebarre in downtown Salem. The documentary also accuses government researchers and public health agencies of corruption and fraud.

Kennedy made the trip to Salem with one goal. To influence lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 442, the vaccine mandate bill.

It wasn’t just Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., either:

Kennedy was accompanied by Brian Hooker, a California biomechanical engineer. Hooker wrote a reanalysis of a 2004 research that found no links between the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine and autism. In the paper, Hooker accuses the CDC of covering up data that showed black boys had a 3.4 times greater risk of autism associated with the MMR vaccine.

Hooker’s study, which was published in Translational Neurodegeneration in October 2014, has been retracted. The retraction statement reads that “post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings.”

Despite that, Hooker’s findings continue to be used to argue against vaccines.

You remember Brian Hooker, don’t you? Think “CDC Whistleblower” pseudo-scandal. Think a reanalysis of the 2004 DeStefano et al paper that was so utterly incompetent that even a brand new journal eager to attract submissions saw no other choice but to retract it. Think a biochemical engineer who believes that the simplest statistical methodology is the best and applied it to the DeStefano et al data in such a way that epidemiologists who saw what he did wanted to tear out their eyes to unsee the atrocity against epidemiology he had committed in the name of “simplicity.” (Let’s just put it this way: “Simple” often means not adjusting for confounding factors.”)

I’ve discussed the concept of the “antivaccine dog whistle” on multiple occasions before. A dog whistle, of course, produces a sound at a higher frequency range than most humans can hear, but dogs can hear it. In politics, a “dog whistle” says something that most of the population finds admirable (or at least inoffensive), but people of certain groups recognize it as speaking to them, as telling them that the person blowing the dog whistle is “one of them.” It’s a technique that’s been used of late by everyone from antivaccine-sympathetic pediatricians like “Dr. Bob” Sears to Rand Paul to the aforementioned Oregon Sen. Robert Kruse to, yes, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

Kennedy made the trip to Salem with one goal. To influence lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 442, the vaccine mandate bill.

“We can’t solve a credibility problem by forcing people to undergo a medical procedure without informed consent,” Kennedy said before the event.

That “health freedom” argument in which vaccine mandates are portrayed as denying parents “informed consent”? Pure antivaccine dog whistle, an appeal to parental “rights” over the rights of their children. True, it’s not as blatant as Rand Paul’s infamous statement, “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.” It does, however, do what most antivaccine appeals to “freedom” and “informed consent” do, and that’s to ignore the child as an autonomous being. Rather, the child is simply an appendage of the parent, and it is the parents’ “freedom” and “rights” that trump the child’s right to good health care and preventive medicine.

More importantly, as I’ve explained multiple times, what antivaccinationists like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are really arguing for is something I’ve dubbed “misinformed consent.” That’s consent based on the antivaccine message, which massively exaggerates risks of vaccination, makes up risks that science has not found despite looking intensively (such as autism due to vaccination), and greatly underplaying the benefits of vaccination. If enough misinformation is aimed at parents to demonize vaccines as dangerous and ineffective and the parents accept that information, either because they don’t know any better or because there is no counterbalancing source of information, then it becomes “reasonable” to refuse vaccinations. That is the very essence of misinformed consent.

Lately, the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher herself, has been dog whistling up a storm, invoking language favored on the right of the “culture war” in a post entitled The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready?:

In this case, in addition to the usual appeals to “freedom” and “rights,” Barbara Loe Fisher takes a particularly despicable turn:

More than 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV 1 but government officials do not ban HIV infected children and adults from attending school, receiving medical care, being employed, or otherwise participating in society. In fact, there are anti-discrimination laws that guarantee civil rights protections for Americans infected with HIV or living with AIDS.

In 2012, public health officials reported that about two million people in America are infected with chlamydia, tuberculosis, syphilis and gonorrhea, 3 and they estimate another three million people are infected with hepatitis C. 4 Like those with HIV or AIDS, these citizens are not targeted for discrimination and blocked from getting a public education, being employed or moving freely in society.

Right off the bat, Fisher is being intellectually dishonest to a degree even beyond what I’m used to seeing from her. You can see her setting up a comparison to unvaccinated children by comparing how they are not allowed to go to school with how children with AIDS and various sexually transmitted diseases are. It’s clearly and blatantly an attempt to argue that the government treats people with these diseases better than it treats unvaccinated children. Of course, HIV is not easy to spread. It requires sex or contact with blood or bodily fluids like semen, and even then it’s not that easy to catch. Hepatitis C also requires direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, although it is much easier to spread by those means than HIV. The rest of the diseases, with the exception of tuberculosis, are all sexually transmitted diseases that won’t spread unless the kids are having sex.

Tuberculosis itself is—fortunately—no longer that common in the US, and, if it has been treated properly, rapidly becomes no longer contagious. Moreover, if a case of active TB is identified in a student, health officials do take strong action. It just happened in Oklahoma a week ago, when a student with active TB was identified. This student was isolated and treated, and 315 students were ordered to undergo TB testing.

So what’s the problem? The diseases vaccinated against, with the exception of HPV, vaccination against which is intended to prevent cervical cancer, the diseases vaccinated against for school are highly contagious. Measles, for instance, is one of the most contagious diseases known to humans, with infective particles hanging in the air for long periods of time after a measles victim coughs. To compare a bunch of diseases transmitted by sexual contact and blood contact with diseases spread through the air with droplets or through contact with fomites is as intellectually dishonest as it gets. In any event, the rest of Fisher’s tirade is a “greatest hits” of recent antivaccine responses to the Disneyland measles outbreak (e.g., this one) and any whiff of a hint that states want to restrict non-medical vaccine exemptions, with complaints about censorship, “shaming,” and concerns about revocation of the licenses of antivaccine doctors (this last of which, by the way, will almost certainly never happen anywhere).

Here’s where Fisher goes into full dog whistle mode:

Rational thinking has been the first casualty in this 21st century equivalent of a 17th century witch hunt 43 led by defensive doctors in government, industry, academia and media, who are fed up with parents asking them questions about vaccine risks and failures they can’t answer. 44 45 46 47 Assisted by communication conglomerates 48 and Astroturfers, 49 50 51 52 53 they piously wave the science flag and call parents “anti-social” if they don’t vaccinate 54 but completely ignore parents with vaccine injured children talking about how their vaccinated children are never healthy anymore. 55 Some of the most vicious attacks have been on families consciously choosing to stay healthy a different way 56 57 and on doctors caring for families whose children are unvaccinated or receive fewer vaccines on an altered vaccine schedule. 58 59

After headlines like “What would Jesus do about measles?” 60 and “God wants you to vaccinate your children” 61 marked a new low in American journalism, it became clear that the so-called “vaccine war” 62 63 is really a culture war 64 on freedoms, values and beliefs that have long defined who we are as a nation. 65 66 67 How it is fought and where it ends will determine the kind of nation America will become in the 21st century.

Funny that Barbara Loe Fisher would make a reference to the 17th century, given that the views that lead her to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about vaccines derive from ideas dating back at least that far. In any case, notice how neatly she co-opts the language favored on the right of the “culture war,” language that was rose to prominence when Pat Buchanan, in his speech at the 1992 Republican Party Convention, declared a “cultural war,” a “struggle for the soul of America.” Her video is about as obvious an example of the antivaccine dog whistle as I’ve been able to find, in which it’s not really about vaccines but rather about “freedom,” “values,” and what America should be.

If you want to know why antivaccinationists use this rhetoric, look no further than Oregon. It works. It taps into a very deep well of distrust of overweening government dating back to the very formation of our country and deeply embedded into the very DNA of our culture. Because of that, it attracts people who are not antivaccine to work for antivaccine goals, such as easier-to-obtain non-medical exemptions, all in the name of freedom. It’s why antivaccinationists won in Oregon even in the middle of a major measles outbreak, an outbreak that’s accounted for 119 cases in Quebec alone due to a the child of a missionary who visited Disneyland on the way home and brought measles to a religious community whose members don’t vaccinate. It worked even though the Disneyland measles outbreak had seemingly turned the tide of public opinion against the antivaccine movement. Antivaccine loons will quite possibly win in California again against a similar bill designed to eliminate non-medical exemptions, SB 227 for the same reasons. Antivaccine activists appeal to emotion because they don’t have the science, but it’s a potent weapon, as emotion frequently does trump science. It’s not enough for us to fight antivaccinationism with science. We have to find a message as potent as the invocation of freedom to counter the antivaccine dog whistle. Until we do, we will likely continue to lose.

Comments

  1. #1 Niche Geek
    Canada
    March 15, 2015

    @Matt
    “If I have a life-threatening bacterial infection- I will take the antibiotics as prescribed.

    However, if for some reason I didn’t… I don’t think I should be fined or jailed for endangering public health, or have my child taken away for exposing them to dangerous pathogens”

    In the interest of exploring your legal philosophy, should the state take your children if exposing them to the infection risks their life? Let’s say that you don’t believe HIV causes AIDS or that your spiritual beliefs will clear your Ebola. Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else?

  2. #2 Victor
    March 15, 2015

    @Chris

    If you support mandatory vaccination and I don’t, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me.

    If you support vaccination choice, then I have nothing to discuss with you. I apologize and take back all my comments/questions directed at you.

  3. #3 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    ^ For example, the whole Mahakashyapa thing with the flower was invented out of whole cloth as a matter of Ch’an political jockeying.

  4. #4 Cynthia Maurer
    USA
    March 15, 2015

    Those people opposed to vaccines for their own children are not anti-science. In fact we have yet to see the science that confirms vaccines to be safe or to be effective. Rather is the pro vaccine cabal that are the loonies in this situation because they can’t see the forest for the trees. You think we are not going to go down without a fight to let anyone rape our children with toxin containing syringes. We are doing what is best for our children. You might consider doing the same for your instead of believing every thing today’s scientist tell you is the truth and seek out the truth for yourselves.

  5. #5 JP
    March 15, 2015

    I’m not so sure that those two noun phrases connect easily.

    Yeah, okay, I was being very general. There are a lot of different kinds of “meditation,” and many different philosophical traditions within Buddhism. But there are certain “freak-outs” that can certainly occur even within the context of what’s lately been termed, in a secular sense “mindfulness meditation.” If you’re really unlucky, for instance, and you don’t have anybody around to set you straight, you might become convinced that you’re the latest Incarnation of God, or whatever, and become a millionaire guru or something. These things do happen.

  6. #6 JP
    March 15, 2015

    For example, the whole Mahakashyapa thing with the flower was invented out of whole cloth as a matter of Ch’an political jockeying.

    Yeah, for sure.

  7. #7 JP
    March 15, 2015

    Or gassing a Tokyo subway or something, say. I’m fairly sure that Asahara probably had some sort of “awakening” experience, but without any sort of proper context within which to deal with it. Like somebody smacking you upside the head and telling you you’re not that freaking special, for instance.

  8. #8 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    If you support mandatory vaccination and I don’t, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me.

    Yes, disagreeing with Victor is to strip him of his rights.

    Victor, on the other hand, has no responsibility whatever, for anything, such as lifting a finger to try to lend sense to what he was pretending was his core proposition, now that it’s become incovenient.

  9. #9 Chris
    March 15, 2015

    Victor: “If you support mandatory vaccination and I don’t, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me”

    Where did I say that? It is okay dokay if you don’t vaccinated your kids. Just make sure you don’t whine when they have to stay home during an outbreak. If you are going to get an exception, then follow the rules.

    Also thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate their families, because they are protecting your kids by maintaining community immunity. Except, as we have seen recently, that did not work for several American and Canadian families who caught measles.

    I want you to provide the evidence of the crimes of employees of the vaccine divisions of pharmaceutical companies.

    Also I want to know why the misdeeds against disabled of Usman, Bradstreet, Buttar, the Geiers, Wakefield, and others are not given the same scrutiny.

    Stop changing the subject and answer the questions.

  10. #10 Chris
    March 15, 2015

    Need better wording:

    Also I want to know why the misdeeds against the disabled by Usman, Bradstreet, Buttar, the Geiers, Wakefield, and others are not given the same scrutiny. Why is it okay to torture autistic kids?

  11. #11 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    Like somebody smacking you upside the head and telling you you’re not that freaking special, for instance.

    IIRC, this sort of behavior finds its ground in the Pai-chang/wild fox story, which didn’t make its way into the Wu-men kuan without emendation.

  12. #12 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    @Niche Geek

  13. #13 JP
    March 15, 2015

    IIRC, this sort of behavior finds its ground in the Pai-chang/wild fox story, which didn’t make its way into the Wu-men kuan without emendation.

    Yeah, it’s been around for a while.

  14. #14 JP
    March 15, 2015

    ^ I think my own personal issue with that story has basically amounted to, “Okay, but why do things still suck?” (In various ways.) Well, because that’s how it is, and there’s no running away from it, I guess.

  15. #15 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    [whoops, sorry]

    @Niche Geek

    In the interest of exploring your legal philosophy, should the state take your children if exposing them to the infection risks their life? Let’s say that you don’t believe HIV causes AIDS or that your spiritual beliefs will clear your Ebola. Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else?

    In the interest of exploring my philosophy… being ALIVE exposes one to all manner of risks, and the only [apparent] certainty is that we are all going to die one way or another.

    I don’t believe it is the state’s place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

    I don’t believe I own my [future] children. I believe I am their caretaker, and discharging that duty will surely come with all manner of ethical choices- none of which I believe the state has any business making on my behalf.

    What if I allow my kid to play hockey, and they take a puck to the face in a freak accident and die? What if I allow my kid to subsist on cheetoes and happy meals, and they become obese and get diabetes and have their leg amputated?

    What if…? What if…? What if…? Where does it end?

    Heck- why not sterilize people with a high probability of passing on a fatal genetic disorder to their children? Or why not charge somebody who DOES pass along a fatal genetic disorder to their child with murder?

    Why not force everybody to undergo daily cancer screenings under the guise of “preventive care” and then charge those who refuse treatments with crimes?

    Why not form a Tooth Brushing Brigade to go up and down the streets every morning and night to issue citations to naughty citizens who don’t follow their dentist’s advice?

    I know. I know… slippery slope fallacy. I get it. But sometimes you just don’t know you’re on the slope until it’s too late.

    Philosophically speaking- I want to know what is the principle upon where we draw a line. When do we say “enough” to the government “protecting us from ourselves.”

    I don’t purport to have the answer. I don’t know that there is an answer.

    But what concerns me is that there appear to be a whole LOT* of people around that seem to have no problem willy-nilly banning “this” and mandating “that” all for the “greater good.” (*no I don’t have a citation for that.)

    It concerns me. And I think you should be concerned too.

  16. #16 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    I don’t believe it is the state’s place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

    What does this have to do with mandating vaccination for school attendance, which is very well settled law?

  17. #17 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    ^ As is civil liability for negligent transmission of infectious disease.

  18. #18 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    ^^

    What if I allow my kid to subsist on cheetoes and happy meals, and they become obese and get diabetes and have their leg amputated?

    I suppose the child could sue you. Problem?

  19. #19 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    @Narad

    It doesn’t have anything to do with mandatory vaccination directly. I was asked to comment on my philosophy.

    To your other points… yes if somebody feels they can make a case that an unvaccinated child negligently transmitted measles to their own child, thus resulting in harm, then maybe the parent can be found liable. Sue the parents.

    Problem? No problem. I have -no- problem with that. Actually, I think that’s a really great idea. Maybe people should try that.

  20. #20 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    March 15, 2015

    Matt, if you can’t see the difference between medical decisions that endanger other people—such as refusing vaccines—and those that don’t —like all your other examples—I don’t think you’re ready for philosophy. Better retake kindergarten.

  21. #21 JP
    March 15, 2015

    Matt, you still haven’t answered the question about whether the state should allow the sale of lead paint and lead soldiers (among other toys.) Is that a case of “the state swooping in” to prevent children from harm? If it is, is that a bad thing?

    Re: seat belts: I used to quite a bit more “libertarian” in my thinking on certain issues. This was partly due to my anarchism (which, in certain ways, I have to admit, I still hold to in my heart of hearts) and partly due to a certain frontier mentality I picked up from my relatives growing up.

    I remember, though, a conversation I had with a friend when I was in college. I was sort of arguing the philosophical position that the state shouldn’t be dictating safety measures to adults – for kids, okay, but not adults. She made a good point, though:

    “Well, your decisions about these things don’t affect only you. What about the onlookers who get to witness you flying through your* windshield? What if you fly into somebody else? What about the EMTS who’ll have to pry your bloody corpse off of the freeway and deal with that experience, which will only add to the day-to-day trauma they experience? What about your friends and family who care about you?”

    *I’ve never owned a car or had a driver’s license, so this conversation was largely hypothetical. I am often enough a passenger in other people’s cars, though, I suppose, so the point still stands.

  22. #22 Chris
    March 15, 2015

    Matt: “It doesn’t have anything to do with mandatory vaccination directly. I was asked to comment on my philosophy.”

    What is your philosophy about public health in general? Does it include being required to have your septic system inspected and then maintained? Do you think restaurants are over regulated?

    Or does your philosophy on public health only extend to vaccines?

  23. #23 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    @Chris

    My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable.

  24. #24 Matt
    March 15, 2015

    ^ But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

    If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

    If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

    If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

    And so on.

  25. #25 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    March 15, 2015

    ^ But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

    If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

    If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

    If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

    And so on.

    Comprehensive bullshit. You reveal yourself as a complete sociopath.

  26. #26 JP
    March 15, 2015

    Okay, but should there be laws in place to prevent these unfortunate things from happening?

  27. #27 JP
    March 15, 2015

    I mean, should we just let buffets keep chicken salad out all day at any ol’ temperature, and rely on people suing them for damages if they get food poisoning and maybe, uh, die from it?

  28. #28 JP
    March 15, 2015

    Incidentally, I’ve had a pretty severe case of food poisoning before that I think was because of a deli sandwich I got from a convenience store. (Grad school, what can I say?) The thing is, I wasn’t sure that’s where it came from, so it would have been pretty hard to sue 7-11. It was an awfully miserable weekend, though, and happened to come right during paper-writing time, so missing that weekend of writing was a pretty major deal. (I probably should have gone to the doctor about it, but I didn’t, because I’m sort of that way.)

  29. #29 Politicalguineapig
    March 15, 2015

    Niche Geek: “Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else? “

    In the US, letting children die for your spiritual beliefs is legal in many states.

    Cynthia Maurer: Those people opposed to vaccines for their own children are not anti-science. In fact we have yet to see the science that confirms vaccines to be safe or to be effective. Rather is the pro vaccine cabal that are the loonies in this situation because they can’t see the forest for the trees. You think we are not going to go down without a fight to let anyone rape our children with toxin containing syringes.

    1. You people are anti-science. Vaccines have been studied to death, you just stick your fingers in your ears and howl.
    2. Comparing vaccines to rape. Really, lady, get some class. Or better yet, go back to Age of Autism with the rest of the scum-sucking amoebas.
    3. I hope you get diptheria.

    Chris: “Why is it okay to torture autistic kids?”

    Short version is that to most anti-vaxxers, autistic kids don’t make it into the category of human. Neither do depressed kids, kids with ADD, kids with cancer, or, in short, kids with flaws of any sort.

  30. #30 Politicalguineapig
    March 15, 2015

    JP: This is getting eerie. Something like that happened to me.Only, thankfully, it was one evening, and the only lasting damage was a blood spot in my eye. I puked so hard I burst a blood vessel.

  31. #31 Narad
    March 15, 2015

    If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then *plonk*.

    FTFY.

  32. #32 JP
    March 15, 2015

    @PGP:

    Yeah, it was only maybe a whole 24 hours with my head in the toilet for me. The next day or two, though, I was having a pretty hard time negotiating legs, and I was pretty much lying in bed trying to keep down water and saltines. I caught up on a bunch of episodes of Radiolab, though, to my memory.

  33. #33 Bill Price
    March 15, 2015

    If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

    The legal system is limited in what it can do by way of repairing damages. If it’s monetary, you could be ordered to pay, and the person you injured could try to collect. The me! ME! ME! attitude that comes through your writings is a strong hint that collecting monetary damages from you would be a nontrivial task.
    But no amount of monetary compensation is enough to make up for the three weeks o downtime from the measles your VPD vector is distributing, much less any permanent damage—or death—your antisocial behavior caused. Yes, your willful failure to vaccinate your kid is definitely antisocial.
    An ounce of prevention, as trhe saying goes, is worth a pound of cure; but only when cure is possible. VPDs are not always curable.

  34. #34 JP
    March 15, 2015

    @PGP:

    I have a certain feeling we are very much alike, in certain ways, actually, although I think we have taken very different roads in reaction to things.

  35. #35 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 15, 2015

    ^ But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

    If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

    If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

    If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

    And so on.

    Pure Libberish.

  36. #36 JP
    March 15, 2015

    @PGP:

    To be somewhat more precise, here’s more or less how I think our similar paths may have diverged.

    We were both weird kids, weird “girls” growing up, yeah? Both smart, etc. We both got along better with guys than with gals, etc.

    But something happened when I was 15 or so. It was sort of like an emotional explosion, I guess: a whole bunch of stuff I hadn’t been even able to deal with just blew up in my face, and I basically collapsed.

    To be absolutely honest, the main thing that occurred to me wasn’t “Those bastards, they really f*cked me up!” (Although that though did run through my mind more than once.) The main thing that hit me was: “Man, this really hurts. This sucks. This is like, the worst thing ever…” And then: “Man, all those people who go around getting in fights, and drinking, and doing drugs, and f*cking other people up? I bet this is why. Because it all just hurts so much. And that sucks. Man, I sure wish people didn’t have to hurt like this.”

    And it’s after that that I started to have what one might term “spiritual” experiences, for what it’s worth. Because what it really comes down to is: None of us really knows what this whole thing is about, and nobody knows why it has to hurt so much. But d*mnit, we can at least try to be kind to each other, can’t we? Because we’re all there really is in this world to help each other get through this.

  37. #37 Victor
    March 16, 2015

    “But no amount of monetary compensation is enough to make up for the three weeks o downtime from the measles your VPD vector is distributing, much less any permanent damage—or death—your antisocial behavior caused.”

    I think a bigger antisocial behavior may be driving cars on roads used by pedestrians.
    Thousand of peds are killed or maimed every year. It is easy to prevent it too. Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

  38. #38 Chris
    March 16, 2015

    Matt: “My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable.”

    So if your child gets measles and infects a child under age one year who later dies of SSPE, you will accept full responsibility. You will gladly accept that as your fault. Right?

    Victor, you have not yet answered about the torturing of autistic children by those who chemically castrate them and shove bleach (MMS) up their bums. Why is that?

  39. #39 Politicalguineapig
    March 16, 2015

    JP: We were both weird kids, weird “girls” growing up, yeah? Both smart, etc. We both got along better with guys than with gals, etc.

    That’s true. Though I got the memo that girls don’t hang with guys outside of school pretty young. It helped that I ended up in a private school where I was often placed in classes with older kids. And my class was almost all boys, which, thankfully, eliminated much gossiping. Most of my friends are now female, which is less me changing than me being unwilling to navigate the minefield of being friends with dudes, which can get very unfortunately complicated very quickly.
    As for emotional stuff, I tend to have a series of small crisises rather than big huge crashes. As far as spiritual things, the only thing I know is that I’m going to see a black rail before I die, if I have to crawl to the marsh. I’m far too high-strung and fidgety for meditation, and any other religion requires giving up too much.

    Hey, Matt, I have a question- do you want a kid or a perfect kid? Are you planning to take them to a doctor if they break a bone? Get cancer? Get bit by a dog? And how miserable do you plan to make your child’s life if they have ADD or autism?

  40. #40 Politicalguineapig
    March 16, 2015

    JP: Oof, the food poisoning sounds rough. Makes sense that you’d be kinda shaky and logy after that. Most of my experiences with food poisoning tended to be nasty but over quickly. I think the worst one I had was on a cruise with my grandparents- couldn’t keep anything down at all, and I put my head down around 4, intending to get in a quick nap before dinner. I woke up at seven the next day, feeling fine, but my grandparents almost worried themselves sick.

  41. #41 Travis
    March 16, 2015

    I see the “Oh you can just sue” argument come up all the time, in many different contexts, and it just seems so hopelessly naive.

    Even with the lower standard of evidence in civil cases, it is going to be difficult to show responsibility for many things. Think you have food poisoning? It might be from that restaurant you ate at the day before, maybe, and we often attribute to that, but since it can take days for food poisoning to present itself, it might have been that egg salad sandwich you made for lunch. Unless there was a mass poisoning, it is going to be rather hard to find evidence.

    It is also very classist. Lawsuits require resources, if you are poor, you are kind of screwed. Maybe you can find someone who will work on a contingency basis but maybe not. And as others have mentioned, suing someone might result in you getting some money, if you are lucky enough to sue someone with assets, but it is hardly compensation in many cases.

  42. #42 Bill Price
    March 16, 2015

    I think a bigger antisocial behavior may be driving cars on roads used by pedestrians.
    Thousand of peds are killed or maimed every year. It is easy to prevent it too. Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

    Most of the roads in this country have rules of social conduct, promulgated and maybe enforced by the owners of the roads. These rules are part of the conditions for permission to use the roads. These rules, such as speed limits and rights of way, set forth the rights and responsibilities of the people allowed to use the roads, whether pedestrian or automobile or carriage drivers.
    The (often unwritten) contract between road owner and user usually has a clause that says rather than immediate cancellation of the contract by which you may use this road, the owner may impose monetary fines or incareration as penalties for violation of the conditions of use.
    In general, pedestrians have their own pavements, called sidewalks in the US. Automobiles are, by the common rules, required to avoid driving on them. Yes, to drive on a sidewalk would be antisocial behavior, even when it’s not a contract violation. (YMMV in other jurisdictions.)

  43. #43 gaist
    March 16, 2015

    If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

    So, Matt, if one were to dump a pile of human feces onto your lawn but nobody got sick, ‘sall good?

  44. #44 Helianthus
    France
    March 16, 2015

    @ Viktor

    Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

    False analogy.
    Drivers who maim or kill a pedestrian are held accountable for it. Depending on the place, the case and the prosecutor, it may even be qualified as manslaughter, with related jail time.
    In short, there are already laws or rules in place to account for excessive behavior on roads.
    Why is it so hard to have rules about vaccination?

  45. #45 Alain
    March 16, 2015

    You cannot even earn trust by presenting tons of statistics and scientific evidence. Building trust is a slow process and it requires doing things that seem trustworthy to others.

    That’s because you don’t know science. Science is a method where we eliminate a truckload of hypothesis including the one you (or I) prefer in order to have the best hypothesis possible. That’s it.

    As for you, you have a bias that other have to overcome, i.e. being trustworthy but how can we determine that we got your trust? Post your criteria and definitely don’t deviate from them; or at least, tell us so. The onus is on you. Period.

    Alain

  46. #46 Alain
    March 16, 2015

    I am the customer. I get to ask more questions. You get to answer more.

    Why? Because in the best case, you are trying to “sell” me vaccines. In the worst case, you are trying to impose your will on me.

    Customer? Sell? Are you doing you best to be an id10t or does it come naturally? Public health workers (which I assume to be all of us working in SBM) do want to build sustainable development of the human race and that require a metric ton of work. Same for most scientists working in pharma companies but will you have the f*cking gall to say that all of them (and me) should be condemned because of a few bad apples? If so, you are more id10t that I have thought off.

    Alain

  47. #47 Chris
    March 16, 2015

    Matt: “If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.”

    Is your last name Sisley? Because we have one in our city, and he has totally blighted a neighborhood:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/city-pocket-park-may-replace-roosevelt-area-blight/

    Matt, you are quite welcome to live as you see fit. Just don’t be anywhere near other people. I hear Somalia has the kind of government you would like, and it has (or had) nice beaches.

  48. #48 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    March 16, 2015

    Chris @ 447:

    Cripes! I think my (then) girlfriend lived right next door to that place in 1979-80. It was already a mess then.

  49. #49 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 16, 2015

    @Matt:

    But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

    Matt, you are talking utter horse puckey.
    If a person is caught driving drunk, that person is arrested, even if he or she hasn’t caused an accident. If a building is not built to code, the authorities can get a demolition order, even before the building collapses and kills someone. The law entitles the authorities to take measures to prevent tragedies, and rightly so. We’ve had libertarians commenting here before, and we’re most unimpressed with your (and their) “I’m fine Jack, toughies for you” attitude.

  50. #50 JGC
    March 16, 2015

    My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable

    Victor, is there a rational reason your focusing on assigning legal liability after that fac rather than preventing harm from occurring in the first place?

    Because it seems to me to make a whole lot more sense to require documentation that workers have been trained in safe food handling techniques and to require business pass routine inspections of the kitchens where food is prepared to prevent the resutarant from serving that funky chicken in the first place, than to simply encourage anyone who gets food poisoning to sue.

  51. #51 JGC
    March 16, 2015

    Ooops-might have confused Matt and Victor…

  52. #52 Denice Walter
    March 16, 2015

    @ JP:
    @ PGP:

    I’d glad to see you guys meet- I also discerned that you may have experiences in common.

    I was quite fortunate myself because I come from a rather untraditional, far-flung, business-oriented, artistic, liberal-progressive family so my uniqueness was encouraged. There was some money as well- which didn’t hurt.

  53. #53 justthestats
    March 16, 2015

    @PGP

    If enough parents vaccinate in a ped’s practice, they should have a party thrown for them, and the anti-vaxxers parents get to hear about the perks.

    This is actually not a bad idea. I’m reminded of stopped clocks.

    The distrust about vaccination has nothing to do with trusting/distrusting a pediatrician. It has to do with distrust in the government, in CDC, in pharma companies, and so on. They are the ones who have to repair the distrust.

    Yeah, the antivaxxers I know in real life mistrust the medical system as a whole and aren’t specific about the individual parts.

  54. #54 Narad
    March 16, 2015

    If you have better ideas for sales tactics [than emulating antivaccine cranks], I’m all ears. But that’s just a necessary stopgap. The real value is in fixing the trust problem.

    Before I forgot, I had been meaning to say that this strikes me as lying with physicians (as, e.g., here, which I believe Krebiozen first mentioned) rather than positing an amorphous “We” blob to complain about the tone of a blog, but now you’ve advanced this:

    Yeah, the antivaxxers I know in real life mistrust the medical system as a whole and aren’t specific about the individual parts.

    But the obvious response – pointing out that antivaccine cranks rely on either lying through their teeth or ignorantly parroting those lies, generally with an gradual accretion of even more distorted versions of the original – puts you right back at square one, which is demonstrating why they’re lies.

    As for the various bills, I was never sanguine about the odds of getting rid of religious exemptions, and I’ve argued with both Dorit and Orac (at a not-so-secret other blogs) about the matter. If you want to get rid of those, it seems to me that a more promising approach is to get rid of the philosophical ones first and then make equal protection (discrimination against the nonreligious) and due process (almost necessarily whimsical enforcement) arguments against the latter.

  55. #55 Denice Walter
    March 16, 2015

    @ Narad:

    I would have to agree.
    It always seemed to me that the philosophical exemption was just the religious exemption that was conveniently used by the non-religious.
    Although if you think about it, perhaps anti-vaccinationism IS religion.

  56. #56 justthestats
    March 16, 2015

    @Narad:
    I’m not advocating lying by any means. But I feel like people who care about vaccination rates could do a better job of marketing vaccines.

    The great and terrible thing about marketing is that it influences people even though they don’t trust the marketers.

  57. #57 JP
    March 16, 2015

    Though I got the memo that girls don’t hang with guys outside of school pretty young. It helped that I ended up in a private school where I was often placed in classes with older kids. And my class was almost all boys, which, thankfully, eliminated much gossiping.

    Huh – I never got that memo, or if I did, I ignored it. I missed a lot of memos, though, growing up.

    I went to public school, and I pretty much hated it it after elementary school, mainly because, let’s be honest here, I was too smart for the place. I particularly remember getting in trouble a lot in junior high for reading during class – I mean, hey, it wasn’t my fault I’d known how plate tectonics worked since second grade. I had a bit of an attitude, too, I suppose, which is not a welcome thing in a basically rural, working class school.

    Most of my friends were guys pretty much just because most of the other weirdos and bad seeds were guys, with one or two exceptions. I actually got more flak for looking like a boy than for hanging out with boys, I think.

    As for emotional stuff, I tend to have a series of small crisises rather than big huge crashes

    I envy you. I have been cursed with a certain amount of northern reserve, or stoicism, or whatever you want to call it, and I tend to neglect my mental health, or bottle things up or whatever, until the point where I do have a major crisis. Other people have noticed this as well.

    I’m far too high-strung and fidgety for meditation, and any other religion requires giving up too much.

    It’s not my intention to proselytize, but if meditation is something you’re interested in, being high-strung and fidgety is not an obstacle; a lot of people get into meditation for that reason. If you have a hard time sitting still, you could start with, say, 5 minutes a day and work up from there. Jumping into an hour long meditation-with-chanting-service kind of thing would probably be a little much, though if you kept going with it, you’d eventually want to find a community to practice with.

  58. #58 JP
    March 16, 2015

    Most of my friends are now female, which is less me changing than me being unwilling to navigate the minefield of being friends with dudes, which can get very unfortunately complicated very quickly.

    Oh, you do have friend! Good. 🙂 Most of my closest friends are still guys, actually, I have to admit. I mean, yeah, there have been a couple weirdnesses here and there, but that’s kind of just the price you pay for having relationships. It’s better than the alternative, I think.

  59. #59 Politicalguineapig
    March 17, 2015

    JP: “have been cursed with a certain amount of northern reserve, or stoicism, or whatever you want to call it, and I tend to neglect my mental health, or bottle things up or whatever, until the point where I do have a major crisis.”

    I’m fairly stoic too, I just tend to prefer small controlled detonations where people can’t see. Or in some cases, in public areas where screaming, shouting and elbowing people is acceptable.

    JP: “went to public school, and I pretty much hated it it after elementary school, mainly because, let’s be honest here, I was too smart for the place. I particularly remember getting in trouble a lot in junior high for reading during class – I mean, hey, it wasn’t my fault I’d known how plate tectonics worked since second grade.”

    That was second grade for me, and a major reason why I transferred. Since the primary school in the school I transferred into was kind of a jumble, I took sixth grade classes in reading, and as long as I was quiet, and did a reasonable amount of work, no one noticed if I zoned out for a half hour or amused myself by working ahead. High school was okay, though, thankfully I was geographically isolated from the other kids and had a reputation as the tough chick- so, I didn’t deal with the other girls outside of school much.
    I have friends, yeah, I just don’t see them much. I prefer solitude, and kinda fret over misunderstandings. Plus there’s the problem of accidentally ruining a dude forever, not a responsibility I want.

  60. #60 Narad
    March 17, 2015

    Department of That Doesn’t Sound Right on Second Thought:

    I had been meaning to say that this strikes me as lying something that really happens by virtue of interactions with physicians

    I think it was Matt who ventured the result that “approximately 1 in 3” people don’t trust their doctors, which trivially proved to be 70% of people not even giving the matter a second thought. I just don’t see any promise in the notion of wholly blobular “messaging.”

    Where” is the “trust problem”?

  61. #61 Politicalguineapig
    March 17, 2015

    There were a few classes where I annoyed the teacher in high school- one persistent mistake I make is pronouncing words as they are read, not as they are said, and I get defensive about mistakes like that. My health teacher was a creep- not an overt one, just having a general air of creepiness, and I disliked the shop teacher, as he took over from a guy I liked.

  62. #62 JP
    March 17, 2015

    Plus there’s the problem of accidentally ruining a dude forever, not a responsibility I want.

    No offense, but I don’t think you’re that powerful. People are hard to ruin, let alone to ruin forever, especially accidentally. And any guy worth being friends with in the first place won’t be ruined forever because of something romantic happening or not happening, which I’m guessing is what you’re concerned about.

    I prefer solitude, and kinda fret over misunderstandings.

    I like a fair bit of alone time myself – I’m sort of a very gregarious introvert. I don’t know where I would be without my friends, though. Probably dead or something.

    Misunderstandings happen. Grown-ups hash them out. Boy, I could tell you some stories.

  63. #63 JP
    March 17, 2015

    one persistent mistake I make is pronouncing words as they are read, not as they are said, and I get defensive about mistakes like that.

    I had a particularly mortifying experience in my first year of grad school when I asked what the word “enjambment” meant, as I had always pronounced it as “en-jam-ment,” and I think hadn’t ever even heard the Frenchy pronunciation.

  64. #64 Marco
    March 17, 2015

    Orac, maybe this makes you happier:
    http://www.thelocal.de/20150312/doctor-proves-measles-virus
    “Measles doubter must pay doctor €100,000”

  65. #65 Niche Geek
    The warm(er) side
    March 17, 2015

    @Matt

    Thanks for the response, but it feels that you are rather muddled in your libertarian views. One of your first examples was a court enforcing a contract. Isn’t that *exactly* what you say you want? That the contract is between two parents and concerns medical treatment should be irrelevant if you are following libertarian principles.

    As for the issue of vaccination, you seem to be implying that public school is a right without any corresponding responsibilities. It isn’t. For example, a child can be excluded from public school as a result of disruptive behaviour. That means we have an implied contract between the school (government) and the students/family. That contract includes rules intended to facilitate community learning. That includes minimizing the risk that children will miss lessons or die or, through their actions, cause other children to miss lessons or die.

  66. #66 JGC
    March 17, 2015

    I don’t believe it is the state’s place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

    This suggests you do believe that it is the state’s place to protect some people from some dangers, agreed?

    By what rational basis does one pick and chose which dangers the state should “swoop in and protect people from” and which dangers they should not?

  67. #67 Niche Geek
    The warm(er) side
    March 17, 2015

    On re-reading my last post I feel that I imply that I’m a libertarian. For the record, I’m not a libertarian in any meaningful way.

    If I have misunderstood your Matt’s position then he is obviously free to clarify it. I recognize that I applied a label (libertarian) that he didn’t claim for himself and that is always problematic.

    Lastly, there are many libertarians and conservatives that see government regulation as inherently evil. They seem to forget that many of the health and safety regulations and systems that we have in place exist because we tried the alternative and realized that it didn’t work (or caused a whole lot of suffering… same thing).

    We’ve had private fire departments that only put out fires when you paid for their services – and we had whole cities burn.

    We’ve had free-form construction where anyone could build anything they wanted – and we had whole cities burn.

    We’ve had private land owners use their land to the fullest extent they want – and we’ve denuded whole islands resulting in mass starvation and societal collapse.

    We’ve allowed people to sell any medicine they like and make whatever claims they want – and many people died and were disfigured.

    A court cannot make you whole. Money does not replace a dead child or spouse. Smart contractors form shell companies and declare bankruptcy before they can be sued for shoddy workmanship (and reopen under a different name) – why wouldn’t drug, device and other manufacturers do the same thing?

    Why do we only hear about rights and not responsibilities?

  68. #68 Niche Geek
    In post-post hell
    March 17, 2015

    Why didn’t I proofread that… G’ah.

  69. #69 Chris
    March 17, 2015

    Niche Geek: “Why do we only hear about rights and not responsibilities?”

    Which is why I suggested that Matt try Somalia, as it has a government more in tune to his philosophy. Especially after his comment on how well he would deal with a septic system.

  70. #70 Jen Phillips
    March 17, 2015

    And right on cue, our neighborhood Waldorf-inspired charter school is reporting a Pertussis outbreak. Sigh.
    http://www.kmtr.com/news/local/4-cases-of-pertussis-at-Eugene-charter-school-296639191.html

    Notably, this school’s vaccine exemption rate is greater than 50%.

  71. #71 ken
    March 18, 2015

    Definitely need more gov’t regulations-
    (Friend just developed nasty intestinal infection after hospital operation)
    http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html

  72. #72 ken
    March 18, 2015
  73. #73 Lawrence
    March 18, 2015

    Based on the decrease in these infections, ken, over the past few years, it seems like hospitals are taking the problem seriously and addressing the problems.

  74. #74 a-non
    March 18, 2015

    l sympathize with libertarian views to a degree, but I also believe there are a certain set of basic rules that all civil societies need to have and a mechanism for their enforcement. And one of those principles? Making sure that while people can screw their own lives up to their hearts content, they don’t screw other people’s lives up in the process.

    So yeah, when you send your kid to school without vaccinations and put my kid at risk for the measles, I think that’s a pretty damn large infringement on my kid’s right to live their life the way they see fit.

  75. #75 ken
    March 18, 2015

    #474
    I’m not sure I follow your logic. If your child is vaccinated how can one without vaccinations put your child at risk unless he is immunocompromised. My children were vaccinated-why would I worry?

  76. #76 ken
    March 18, 2015

    #470 2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

  77. #77 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 18, 2015

    If your child is vaccinated how can one without vaccinations put your child at risk unless he is immunocompromised.

    1. What do you have against those who are immunocompromised?
    2. Vaccines train the immune system to respond to infections, but this is not a 100% guarantee. Some percentage of those vaccinated will not become immune to the disease, just as some percentage of those who catch the disease are not completely immune. If my child were vaccinated but not immune, your unimunized child places my child at risk.

    2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

    No.

  78. #78 Bill Price
    March 18, 2015

    2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

    Only if the entire vaccinated population consists these two plus two others, for a total population of four people.

  79. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 18, 2015

    2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

    Only if the entire vaccinated population consists these two plus two others, for a total population of four people.

    That would be a total population of 6 people (the 2 vaccinated who became infected, the 2 vaccinated who didn’t become infected, and the two unvaccinated).

  80. #80 Narad
    March 18, 2015

    (Friend just developed nasty intestinal infection after hospital operation)

    How do the statistics compare for at-home and in-the-field operations?

  81. #81 Krebiozen
    March 18, 2015

    Also worth noting is that these students tested positive for pertussis; it says nothing about the severity of their symptoms. The pertussis vaccine doesn’t always prevent infection, but it stimulates antibodies to the pertussis toxin, thus reducing or eliminating symptoms even if infection occurs. This means that a vaccinated person may be infected but not exhibit symptoms, or at least have much milder symptoms than an infected unvaccinated person. This reduces contagiousness by reducing coughing, which play a major role in spreading the disease.

  82. #82 Julian Frost
    Gauteng
    March 19, 2015

    To add to the refutation of Matt’s tired use of a fallacious argument, a baby died from pertussis. He was too young to be vaccinated.

  83. #83 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 19, 2015

    Sorry. Replace “Matt” with “Ken” in my above comment.

  84. […] The hidden cost of Ebola: thousands of measles deaths An Impending Shakeout In Library Prep? The antivaccine movement wins in Oregon: Senate Bill 442 is dead ISMapper: Identifying insertion sequences in bacterial genomes from short read sequence […]

  85. #85 Concerned Parent
    March 19, 2015

    Can someone here (including orac) direct me to some collection of definitive studies that prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines? Please leave out the ridicule, the arrogance and appeal to authority, the appeal to popularity, the appeal to emotion, the name-calling and general immaturity. What I am looking for is: objective peer-reviewed studies that clearly show the a) the relative safety and the b) effectiveness of any number of vaccines. It would also be helpful to see evidence refuting anti-vax claims. Seriously, I want to see this. I have genuine concerns about vaccines and I don’t trust the hype on either side, because that is what it seems like to me, hype. And not just the CDC’s site. Where is the sober, unbiased information about this?

  86. #86 Politicalguineapig
    March 19, 2015

    Concerned Parent: Well, for a start, you could check the WHO webpage and track how many smallpox outbreaks there have been lately. Get back to us when you find them. (Spoiler alert, there aren’t any. And the reason why starts with a v. )

    And you know, when you refer to facts as hype, it really, really suggests that you aren’t actually interested in the studies. I think you took a wrong turn on the internet.

  87. #87 Niche Geek
    Great Wet North
    March 19, 2015

    @Concerned Parent

    I appreciate that you want a serious answer, but it would help if you asked a slightly less open-ended question. You ask for evidence that vaccines are effective, in general. Vaccines have been in use for more than a century. In that time there has been a lot of research done by a lot of different people in a lot of different countries (and, to be clear, funded by a lot of different entities). A search on PubMed (an open tool that anyone can use) returns 246,674 publications with the key word vaccine. Of those, 3,038 are systemic reviews. Many of those are in animals, many are for vaccines you likely don’t need. Of course that doesn’t include the studies that were done in the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the 20th century that aren’t online or indexed. I’m not saying this to be a jerk, I’m saying it because you’ve asked a very broad question. Perhaps if you specified which vaccines concerned you, or even what kind of evidence you’d like to see then you might get a more direct answer. For example, I could point to the eradication of smallpox as evidence that vaccines, at least one of them, work very well and can be, at least in that one case, far far far less harmful then the diseases they treat.

  88. #88 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    Concerned Parent: “Can someone here (including orac) direct me to some collection of definitive studies that prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?”

    Here you go: Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

    Now here is a question for you, I am going to list the US Census data on measles incidence for the 20th century. Since you said “prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines”… so you now need to tell me why the incidence of measles in the USA dropped 90% between 1960 and 1970. Look at the data, and then give use documented reasons why that happened. Do not mention mortality, any other decade, any other disease nor any other country (despite Mr. Stone and Mr. Miller delusions, England and Wales are not American states):
    From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

  89. #89 Concerned Parent
    March 20, 2015

    Politicalguineapig #486 “Concerned Parent: Well, for a start, you could check the WHO webpage and track how many smallpox outbreaks there have been lately. Get back to us when you find them. (Spoiler alert, there aren’t any. And the reason why starts with a v. )

    And you know, when you refer to facts as hype, it really, really suggests that you aren’t actually interested in the studies. I think you took a wrong turn on the internet.”

    Thank you for your response. Although it is an interesting starting point to seeking more evidence, the lack of smallpox outbreaks isn’t entirely conclusive for me. I’m sure you understand that correlation does not equal causation.

    It really does seems to me like there’s an awful lot of hype on both sides of this issue. It is very difficult to get through to the actual facts when there is so much posturing and emotion. I don’t think I took a wrong turn on the internet. This seems like a good place to get some answers, although it seems to contains its fair share of emotion and hype as well. There seem to be a lot of scientists or otherwise pretty intelligent people here, most on the pro-vaccination side of the issue. So a sober presentation of that side shouldn’t be hard to find here.

  90. #90 Concerned Parent
    March 20, 2015

    Niche Geek # 487

    Thank you for your response. I realize that my question is broad, but I thought perhaps there is some collection of at least the most conclusive studies. Since, as I mentioned, there is a lot of emotion on both sides here, it is not going to be enough for me to just believe in either side – I need to see the proof itself.

  91. #91 Concerned Parent
    March 20, 2015

    Chris #488 –

    Thank you for your response. That link seems to be just what I’m looking for, thank you. It will clearly take me some time to get through it, but I am looking forward to finding evidence there.

    As far as the decline in measles, as I mentioned to the 2 other posters about smallpox – it does seem to point to a link, but correlation can’t be considered ultimately conclusive. We would have to rule out every other potential reason, with some degree of certainty, then it would be pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but still not hard evidence.

  92. #92 Concerned Parent
    March 20, 2015

    And I get that I may not understand all the factors involved, so feel free to explain things to me (just in a nice, or at least neutral, way – it’s hard to read with full attention while being berated). It is true that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, right? Or not?

  93. #93 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 20, 2015

    Concerned Parent:

    It is true that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, right?

    Correct. The belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism was initially plausible because the MMR is given at a time when the symptoms of autism become very clear. After thorough investigation, it was confirmed that there was no causation.

  94. #94 lilady
    March 20, 2015

    Concerned Parent, you still have not provided us with any specific concerns you have about vaccinations.

    If you are going to use the phrase “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation” you should be aware of the origins and meaning of that phrase as it applies to the scientific method:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

  95. #95 Narad
    March 20, 2015

    As far as the decline in measles, as I mentioned to the 2 other posters about smallpox

    *koff*

    – it does seem to point to a link, but correlation can’t be considered ultimately conclusive. We would have to rule out every other potential reason

    *KOFF*

    with some degree of certainty

    “Were those hysterical screamsI could hear in the kitchen?”

    then it would be pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but still not hard evidence.

    Please define, specifically, (1) whether the “some” in “some degree of certainty” is supposed to mean anything in particular, (2) what the “degree of certainty” that underlies your “concerns” is, and (3) why you bothered to use the foregoing words in the first place if you can’t answer Nos. 1 and 2.

    You don’t have many options, and none is promising other than changing the subject and pretending that nothing happened until you sniff the possibility to circle back around.

    So choose. “Vaxxed/unvaxxed study” as ‘stealth’ payload fails immediately on your own terms. Ever-diminishing slices of “vaccine injury susceptibles” fails on your own terms.

    There’s something plainly self-consistent left, right?

  96. #96 Lawrence
    March 20, 2015

    @Concerned – you seem to be saying that you don’t necessarily believe that vaccines work?

    The problem with that thought is that we know exactly how and why the biological process works that allows vaccines to confer immunity – hence how we know that a person who has been vaccinated, when exposed to the pathogen, won’t get sick.

    The anti-vax brigade has yet to provide any biologically-plausible theories as to why vaccines would be harmful.

    There is very good, factual information out there regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines – links have already been provided.

    Use a critical eye, but don’t be stupid.

  97. #97 Dangerous Bacon
    March 20, 2015

    Has Concerned Parent seen this?

    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/matthewherper/files/2013/03/c6fb5feb7f1ee71b7e725277d30999161.jpg

    Those statistics should be very difficult to wave off as “hype”.

  98. #98 Krebiozen
    March 20, 2015

    Concerned Parent,

    I have genuine concerns about vaccines and I don’t trust the hype on either side, because that is what it seems like to me, hype. And not just the CDC’s site. Where is the sober, unbiased information about this?

    I don’t see any hype on the CDC website, I see sober, unbiased facts supported by peer-reviewed studies. If you don’t trust them, the Institute of Medicine (a very eminent non-governmental organization) compiled a comprehensive review of the safety evidence of vaccines a few years ago. You can download it from their website (search for ‘institute of medicine vaccine safety’).

    If you don’t trust the IoM, you might look at the WHO information on vaccines, or other countries’ websites on the subject, the UK for example. If you really think that all the information about vaccines available from public health organisations globally is hype, I really can’t help you.

    As for measles vaccine efficacy, we see measles incidence plummet by 99% in every country the vaccine has been introduced routinely, shortly after it is introduced, but not in countries where it is not introduced. We also see outbreaks in countries where it is in routine use when vaccine uptake drops below the herd immunity threshold. The proportion of unvaccinated people who get measles during an outbreak is much higher than the proportion of vaccinated people. Given also the various efficacy studies that were carried out when the vaccine was being developed, I think it is very fair to say that the efficacy and safety of the measles vaccine is beyond reasonable doubt.

    You might also look at chicken pox incidence, and see that in the US it is about nine cases per 100,000, and in the UK 1,290 cases per 100,000, with 90% of the population contracting the disease and about 25 people dying of it every year. I struggle to think of any possible reason for this, other than the fact that chicken pox is routinely vaccinated against in the US, but not in the UK.

  99. #99 Helianthus
    March 20, 2015

    OT (almost)

    One of my current banner ad is about “Should parents be forced to vaccinate their kids”, from some EasyHealthOptions dot com group.

  100. #100 Renate
    March 20, 2015

    I got that ad as well, some time ago. If you look at the questions, you know where it’s leading to.

  101. #101 MI Dawn
    March 20, 2015

    @Concerned Parent: like the others, I do understand you want answers. And thankfully, Chris has posted one excellent site. But, as noted above, if you would be a bit more specific, and list the vaccines and concerns you have, we can point you in the right direction for good information.

    As far as smallpox: one really good read is “Inside the Outbreaks”, about the history of the CDC and the EIS. One section focuses on how smallpox was eliminated – by vaccination (sometimes forced, to be honest) and mandatory quarantine of infected (and possibly infected) persons. Probably neither would have worked alone as fast as the two together.

    As a parent, like many of us, I had my children fully vaccinated with all the vaccines – and on time – that were available when they were infants/children. Unfortunately, my kids had to suffer through chickenpox. It’s not fun to be up for days with a crying child who is in so much pain you have to give her narcotics for a “simple childhood disease”, who is so covered with pox that she can’t eat, drink, sit, or lie down. I’d have given anything for them to have had the vaccine, which came out 2 years later.

  102. #102 Denice Walter
    March 20, 2015

    A question for Concerned Parent:
    what reasons do you have to believe that WHO, the CDC and other governmentally sponsored agencies around the world are not to be trusted?
    Who IS to be trusted?

  103. #103 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    Concerned Parent: “As far as the decline in measles, as I mentioned to the 2 other posters about smallpox – it does seem to point to a link, but correlation can’t be considered ultimately conclusive.”

    Answer my question which was about measles. You questioned vaccine effectiveness, therefor I chose a dramatic decrease of a disease in modern times.

    Again why did measles cases in the USA drop 90% between 1960 and 1970? I repeat: Do not mention mortality, any other decade, any other disease nor any other country (despite Mr. Stone and Mr. Miller delusions, England and Wales are not American states).

  104. #104 Krebiozen
    March 20, 2015

    Chris,

    Again why did measles cases in the USA drop 90% between 1960 and 1970?

    Also worth asking, why did measles incidence remain the same over this period in the UK until 1970 when it dropped by 99% over the next few decades? What happened in the US around 1960, and in the UK around 1970 other than the introduction of the measles vaccine? Improvements in hygiene?

  105. #105 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    Then there is the resurgence of diphtheria in the former Soviet countries, followed by a reduction of cases. I am sure Concerned Parent has why vaccination rates have nothing to do with that phenomena:
    Diphtheria in the former Soviet Union: reemergence of a pandemic disease.
    and..
    Successful Control of Epidemic Diphtheria in the States of the Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: Lessons Learned

  106. #106 doug
    March 20, 2015

    via Mike the Mad Biologist, an article (Vox) on prediction of a rise of measles as a result of decreased vaccination related to issues surrounding Ebola.
    Note the death rates with measles in these countries!

  107. #107 Niche Geek
    Great Wet North
    March 20, 2015

    @Concerned Parent

    I suspect you have a lot of reading in front of you. I think others have provided you with more summarized answers than I did, but here are my key takeaways:

    1. The evidence for vaccination isn’t in any one study. That’s true of pretty much everything in science and certainly true in medicine. The evidence builds year on year. The evidence is in the hundreds of thousands of studies done over a century. I’m not saying that to hype vaccination. I’m not saying that to put you off. I’m saying that to highlight that this is the kind of topic where people spend years and years to become experts.

    2. I totally understand your correlation/causation argument, however I think that the best counter, as pointed out in several different ways above, is to look at how there is a pattern that virtually every vaccine follows. If the incidence of a disease dropped coincidentally with the introduction of a vaccine for that disease then I wouldn’t expect that to happen again in another country and again with another disease. Yet we do. That is evidence to me that this is causative. Every new country, every new vaccine is a new experiment and we get consistent results.

    3. Note that nobody is saying that there are no side effects associated with the vaccines. The fact-based argument is that the diseases are WAY worse and we are balancing risks. Unfortunately human beings seem to be biologically hard-wired to suck at probability and so we fear rare events more than common ones. As you can see above, we understand the biology involved in eliciting an immune response. The evidence to support vaccination isn’t just all the hundreds of thousands of studies of vaccines. It’s the entire field of immunology. We can definitely be wrong about details, but it is highly unlikely that everything we know about the human immune system is wrong.

  108. #108 Politicalguineapig
    March 20, 2015

    Niche Geek: Please don’t waste your time with Concerned Parent. They’re just here to troll and aren’t interested in hearing any evidence that doesn’t support their belief that vaccines are bad.

  109. #109 Denice Walter
    March 20, 2015

    @ PGP:

    We don’t necessarily do it for the scoffer alone: other people can benefit from our writing including us/

  110. #110 LinnieMae
    March 20, 2015

    One thing that could help is to graphically remind people what it was like to live in earlier times when now-preventable or curable diseases wiped out whole families and towns. Maybe that could take the form of a mandatory health history class. Some episodes of PBS’s “American Experience” tell the stories, last week I watched the one about tuberculosis. We have such luxury not to have to think about these diseases that, until recently, were huge epidemics. My great-grandfather died from TB, a horrible death. At one time, 1 in 7 Americans died from it. Blows my mind. Even studying your own family tree, you find out how early people died from diseases that are now rare or extinct.

  111. #111 Niche Geek
    Great Wet North
    March 20, 2015

    @ LinnieMae

    Last spring, my mother and I were walking through a very very old graveyard in Chester, Nova Scotia (Gorgeous spot, totally worth a visit but I’m biased). We were both in a contemplative mood, the weather was wonderful and the yard itself rather beautiful. We paused in front of a row of 8 or ten markers, all dating from the early 19th century. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going – Annual graves as child after child died, in some cases clusters that likely represented an outbreak. The whole line ends with the grave of the wife and mother. We found the father further down with his second wife and another string of children. Nature has never been friendly.

    @PGP
    I don’t know if Concerned is a troll or not. I read far far more than I comment on any site and I learn a lot from good comments, even when I lurk. Life is far too short to assume the worst of those around you.

  112. #112 DoesItMatter
    March 20, 2015

    @Denise Walter

    what reasons do you have to believe that WHO, the CDC and other governmentally sponsored agencies around the world are not to be trusted?

    Oh, I dunno, why not start here:

    CDC’s ‘inconsistent’ lab practices threaten its credibility, report says

    But lemme guess… none of this will cause any of you here to question your unshakeable faith in government agencies. We’re only skeptical when it suits our bias, right guys?

    Who IS to be trusted?

    I would trust my doctor… if I actually had enough time to establish rapport with them that is.

  113. #113 Politicalguineapig
    March 20, 2015

    Niche Geek: “Life is far too short to assume the worst of those around you.”

    Well, life is much, much shorter if you don’t assume the worst of other people. Though, maybe I should try it- murder has the advantage over suicide or any other crime, since it’s not usually considered the victim’s fault.

  114. #114 Politicalguineapig
    March 20, 2015

    Anyway, my point was that “Concerned Parent” reeks of troll, right down to accusing everyone of being emotional and presenting himself as the sole rational person, when he isn’t.

  115. #115 Niche Geek
    Lotusland
    March 20, 2015

    @PGP

    Even if CP is a troll, I’d rather baffle her with civility than push her away with aggression. It’s a national weakness.

  116. #116 Denice Walter
    March 20, 2015

    @ DoesItMatter?:

    Right reports on lab safety issues mean that multitudinous decades long reporting about reductions of VPDs via vaccination by governmental agencies WORLDWIDE aren’t to be trusted.

    AND who has unshakeable trust in governmental agencies?
    Sh!t, I just listened to Glenn Greenwald- in Portugeuse yet.

    And are you CP?
    Orac doesn’t like nymshifters.

  117. #117 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    DoesItMatter: “Oh, I dunno, why not start here.”

    Hmmm, let’s see. I guess I should never ever fly in an airplane or drive a car, because surely somewhere in one of those many large companies a person has lost stuff or stored something inappropriately.

  118. #118 Concerned Parent
    March 20, 2015

    To those wondering about me – I haven’t used any other names to post on this thread. As far as exactly where I’m coming from, I have children and I have been leaning against getting the full vaccination schedule due to the dangers, which seem undisputed. At the moment, I am doubting myself and honestly seeking sober, evidence-backed advice that could change my mind. I am currently looking into the studies that Chris posted, as time permits, and I will look at the links that others have posted. I will also be going back into seriously researching this for myself. This is going to take some time, since I have many other obligations in my daily life. Obviously I do believe that I should be able to make this decision myself, so I am against forced vaccination. It would be easier to trust the doctor’s advice if they were more forthcoming about information and respecting the patient. Every pediatrician I’ve dealt with thus far has had an attitude of “do it my way or you’re an idiot,” which doesn’t really help me trust them. I realize there are a lot of different vaccines and therefore it is a nuanced issue. Anyway, I’m not just trolling, I really am wondering if I have been wrong and looking for reliable information that could change my mind. Since the fact that there are dangers is undisputed, I need evidence that the benefits really do outweigh them. The rarity of adverse events is not enough for me, because even if it were only 1 in ten million kids that got damaged from vaccines, it’s not a risk I would subject my children to unless I were convinced there was definitely a much greater benefit. If one of my children were that 1 in ten million, then I would have failed them in my duty to protect them.

  119. #119 Chris
    March 20, 2015

    CP: “Every pediatrician I’ve dealt with thus far has had an attitude of “do it my way or you’re an idiot,” which doesn’t really help me trust them.”

    So you have not encountered the ones that say if you don’t vaccinate to find another doctor? I don’t believe they call you an idiot, it is just that they would prefer you not bring vaccine preventable diseases into their waiting room.

    “The rarity of adverse events is not enough for me, because even if it were only 1 in ten million kids that got damaged from vaccines, it’s not a risk I would subject my children to unless I were convinced there was definitely a much greater benefit.”

    Why is a risk of one in a five chance for pneumonia (with one in ten chance of hospital care) or a one in thousand chance with measles better? Are you seriously thinking you can get a free ride by your community’s immunity? If you do, please thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate, because they are actively protecting your family.

    In the mean time, you need to provide a reason of why the rate of measles incidence in the USA dropped 90% between 1960 and 1970.

  120. #120 Concerned Parent
    March 21, 2015

    @Chris – 1) I didn’t say they called me an idiot, I said they had that attitude by their lack of respect for me to make my own decision – honestly the lack of information gave me the impression that they didn’t know it. It’s either that or they have a massive sense of superiority over their patients. Either way not trustworthy.
    2) No, I don’t need to provide you with anything. I came on here to get information and evidence, not to convince anyone of anything. I guess I’ve gotten whatever of value I’m going to get here. With all the research I’ve got ahead of me, I don’t have time to bicker about all this.

  121. #121 lilady
    March 21, 2015

    Concerned Parent, you still have not provided us with your specific concerns about vaccine safety. If you want us to answer your questions, you have to provide us with more information.

    P.S. No one is forcing you to have your children fully vaccinated. You should be aware that your failure to meet vaccination school entry requirements in your State may result in your child(ren) not being eligible to attend school…and will definitely result in your child(ren) being barred from attending school if there are confirmed cases of vaccine-preventable-diseases in the school or in the school district.

  122. #122 shay
    March 21, 2015

    CP — they’re doctors. They’ve sent years qualifying to do their job. You’re telling them that you know better than they do.

    Are you this disrespectful to your financial planner? Your dry cleaner? Your plumber?

  123. #123 Chris
    March 21, 2015

    CP: “2) No, I don’t need to provide you with anything. I came on here to get information and evidence, not to convince anyone of anything.”

    No, because it is all about you and no one else.

    Seriously, do thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate because they are the ones protecting your family by maintaining community immunity.

    Though I would think you should scold your high school science and math teachers for failing to provide you with the basics because you lack any understanding of the issues under discussion.

    Also scold your the folks who raised you who made sure you became a very selfish adult without any sense of empathy towards others because you are just so special. They must be proud to have produced a leech on society.

  124. #124 Niche Geek
    lotusland
    March 21, 2015

    @Concerned Parent

    “…due to the dangers, which seem undisputed.”

    I think you’re missing the forest for the trees. You seem to assume that by avoiding or delaying vaccination you are reducing the risk of harm to your child. That isn’t what the numbers seem to show. The diseases are still around and still very real. Is the risk of disease greater than the risk of vaccination – yes it is.

    Look at this another way, I’m assuming you’re driving your child in your car. What is the risk of a car accident? Why do you accept that risk?

  125. #125 Chemmomo
    Asked the questions in the past, and chose vaccination
    March 21, 2015

    Concerned Parent

    I have been leaning against getting the full vaccination schedule due to the dangers, which seem undisputed.

    Exactly what undisputed dangers? Can you specify them? Or could you at least list those which you fear the most?

    The you say:

    The rarity of adverse events is not enough for me, because even if it were only 1 in ten million kids that got damaged from vaccines, it’s not a risk I would subject my children to unless I were convinced there was definitely a much greater benefit. If one of my children were that 1 in ten million, then I would have failed them in my duty to protect them.

    How will you feel once your child suffers a vaccine preventable disease? You will have have failed them in [your] duty to protect them.

  126. #126 Chemmomo
    Comment 525
    March 21, 2015

    Yeah, yeah, there’s an extra “have” up there. I wish there were still a Preview function, but I’m not sure it would have prevented that error.

    I hope Concerned Parent looks past the poor proofreading and considers the question.

    The diseases are out there.

  127. #127 Politicalguineapig
    March 21, 2015

    CP: Okay, let’s take a look at, say, chicken pox. There is now a vaccine for it. I had chicken pox when I was a kid. I don’t remember much of it, except for being itchy all the time and cranky. Twenty years later, I developed something called Bell’s Palsy, a variety of shingles. I lost all movement on one side of my face, since it paralyzed a few facial nerves. Luckily, I got treated for it, and it cleared up. But..if I’d been older, I might still be paralyzed. And that’s one of the LESSER effects of the disease. Imagine your adult kids, waking up one day and worrying that they had a stroke. So… is avoiding a less than one billion chance of an adverse reaction worth watching your kid suffer for a week? Or developing shingles later on?

    And then there’s measles and the rest. I’d advise you to read Eight Cousins, Little House in the Big Woods and the Mirror Crack’d- all mention consequences of measles and rubella.

    Now would be a good time to ask yourself if you’re up to the task of raising a child who’s not perfect or may have disabilities. Most parents who are anti-vax proceed to make their autistic children’s lives hell. (You say you’re not anti-vax, but I’m seeing a lot of the talking points anti-vaxxers use.) Raising a child who’s lost hearing or sight is at least as difficult as raising an autistic kid. Just sayin’.

  128. #128 lilady
    March 21, 2015

    Have I missed something here?

    Did “Concerned Parent” actually articulate any specific concerns about vaccine safety that (s)he has for any specific vaccine?

    We were all willing to provide reliable information and links to published studies and scientific papers to allay “Concerned Parents” fears about vaccine safety. Chris linked to the dozens of studies/scientific papers provided by the AAP with their excellent analyses of those 42 vaccine safety studies/scientific papers.

    We’re still waiting for “Concerned Parent” to comment again with specific questions…and to explain to us why (s)he found her encounter(s) with licensed physicians unsatisfactory.

    I see that the respected and revered amateur epidemiologist Mark Blaxill, has offered his opinion about the expected end date of the Disneyland Parks measles outbreak. Blaxill’s opinion is in direct opposition to the California State Department of Public Health’s epidemiologist’s statement about the time frame when that measles outbreak will be declared over.

  129. #129 Lancelot Link
    March 21, 2015
  130. #130 Narad
    March 21, 2015

    I know it’s an unusual step, but I have taken it into my head to raise an on-topic item.

    Oregon, Washington, and Maryland (to be too lazy to bother fact-checking D’Ohlmsted) are not exactly the end of the story, and the former two were never all that promising to start with. The Dachelbot recently tried to make hay over RFKᴊ’s* visit to, ah, Springfield, Illinois.

    I was kind of wondering why, given that the descriptions of the bill that I’d seen were of the “notarized statement from church official” variety, making it dead on arrival.

    It turns out that somebody seems to have clued in Munroe on this front (subsection 8). The whole “local school authority is responsible for determining if the content of the Certificate of Religious Exemption constitutes a valid religious objection” bit is an obvious problem, since nobody can afford to litigate enforcement, but it’s an improvement.

    * Yes, Unicode proves to be that dumb.

  131. #131 brook
    March 21, 2015

    CP have you read On Immunity by Eula Bliss? She is a heck of a writer exploring the social reasons why such a reasonable thing as protecting your kids against VPD’s has become so contentious.

    I also agree that, as a species, we tend to rationalize the risks in everyday activity – driving for example – while exaggerating the risks of limited activities – I think of all my co-workers who are sure they’re going to win the lottery.

  132. #132 Still Shaking Mama
    March 21, 2015

    CP “I have children and I have been leaning against getting the full vaccination schedule due to the dangers”

    This is very vague. Based on this, your children are either not immunized at all or partially immunized and you’re considering catching them up? The “full vaccination schedule” changes depending on the ages of your children. Once they get past a certain age, some of the shots they don’t even need to catch up on. For example,

    – Prevnar, a 4-shot series, is not needed once a child is over 5 (unless there are underlying conditions).

    – The 5-shot DTaP series is replaced with one TDap shot if the child is 7 or older, and can be used in place of the Td booster at 11-12.

    As for Hib, according to the CDC: “Previously unvaccinated children aged ≥60 months who are not considered high-risk generally are immune to Hib disease and do not require catch-up vaccination.” (Depending on the vaccine used in the primary series, that is either a 3 or 4-shot series. So, maybe vaccines AREN’T just a big big money-making scheme.)

    The reason why I know about these is because I am right in the middle of catching up our 8 kids (ages 4-18). Our 8yo needs the least amount of catch-up shots, because she is past the age of the Hib and Prevnar shots (and didn’t need the 4th IPV because her 3rd shot was past 4yo), but too young for HPV and meningococcal.

    You didn’t mention whether you have any babies. Lest you be tempted to delay shots until he/she is older to reduce the number, I don’t recommend that. We nearly lost our 3yo son to Pneumococcal Pneumonia last fall. Respiratory distress, emergency intubation, helicopter ride to children’s hospital, 6 days intubated, 9 in PICU. Yeah, I don’t recommend it.

    You see, it turns out there really ARE reasons why these immunizations are recommend in the first 18 months of life.

    While you’re researching, I recommend spending some time getting familiar with this:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/catchup-schedule-pr.pdf

  133. #133 Still Shaking Mama
    March 21, 2015

    Oh, and if you really are who you say you are, and just a “Concerned Parent,” you’re doing a lot more than I did. I never did any research – just assumed much of the ant-vaxxers’ talking points were true, or at least reasonable. I thought the debate would be very nuanced and it would be difficult to sort out right from wrong. So, I purposely avoided the topic … and vaccinating. *After* our son’s illnesses, I started reading and researching. And I was completely blown away by all the research showing the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. I couldn’t believe I’d made all those assumptions without checking the facts. I’m just glad we didn’t have to pay the ultimate price to learn all this. We came dangerously close to that.

  134. #134 lilady
    March 21, 2015

    Narad (I’m not that old), but I recall my daughter’s elementary school days, when a physical, dental and up-to-date vaccination record were requirements for school entry. Her doctor also tested for TB infection using the old (not very effective) TB Tine test and filled out the school physical form. We did not reside in an area where active TB infection was common. For those children whose parents did not have the financial resources, the school district (and every district in our County), had physicians and dentists available to provide those exams and school nurses would direct parents to call local clinics for vaccinations. Back then, no private medical insurance companies provided coverage for childhood vaccines and it was years before the VFC program was enacted.

    Children who had a positive TB tine test reaction, were required to have a chest x-ray to check for the presence of pulmonary TB. TB Mantoux tests are now required and a chest x-ray is still required to rule out active pulmonary TB or the presence of a granuloma, which should be treated with antibiotics.

    I never heard of a parental exemption to these physical and dental exams…and rarely, if ever, heard of vaccination exemptions for childhood vaccines.

    Often a child moved into a school district during the summer and the school nurses had lists of children who had started the primary series of vaccines; the school nurse kept accurate records for the dates of each child’s next scheduled vaccination appointments and those records were quite accurate. The school nurse also sent notices home if appointments were not kept.

    Each private (religious) school had a school-district-funded full time school nurse who was up to the task of monitoring children’s missing immunizations. We only had one Waldorf School within our school district…where school vaccination rates were not ideal..

    Anytime we had a confirmed case of measles in a school, those kids who had not received at least one MMR vaccine were immediately excluded, because of the excellent records kept by those competent school nurses.

  135. #135 Krebiozen
    March 21, 2015

    Concerned Parent,

    I have children and I have been leaning against getting the full vaccination schedule due to the dangers, which seem undisputed.

    The dangers, such as they are, are very remote. I’ll use MMR and measles as an example, though I could make a similar argument for other vaccines and diseases. Severe reactions to MMR occur after fewer than one in a million doses, and are so rare it is difficult to establish for certain if they are caused by the vaccine at all.

    Measles itself is far more dangerous, even in countries with good health care:

    High numbers of measles cases in Europe which began in 2010 continued in 2011, with more than 30,000 cases in each of those years. Overall, with more than 30,000 cases of measles in Europe in 2011, there were 8 deaths, 27 cases of measles encephalitis, and 1,482 cases of pneumonia. Most cases were in unvaccinated (82%) or incompletely vaccinated (13%) people. France was the hardest hit, with over 15,000 cases of measles and at least 6 deaths last year, 651 cases of severe pneumonia and 16 cases of encephalitis.

    Assuming you are in the US, you might think that your child’s risk of getting measles and suffering pneumonia, encephalitis or death is small. This is true, currently, though recent outbreaks should give you pause for thought, thanks to most people vaccinating their children.

    However, if you do not vaccinate your child with MMR, what happens then? Either he or she will contract measles as a child, with all the risks that entails, or s/he will reach adulthood with no immunity to measles. Since the risk of serious complications is much higher in adults, that really isn’t doing him or her any favors. If s/he ever wants to travel outside the US s/he will be at serious risk of contracting measles and suffering serious complications. S/he will either put him/herself at that increased risk, or s/he will have to get the MMR as an adult. I can’t find any information on it, but since measles itself is more dangerous in adults than in children it seems likely that the (tiny) risks associated with MMR are greater as well. Why not just get your child vaccinated with MMR without leaving him or her vulnerable to measles for years and then putting him/her at this increased risk.

    At the moment, I am doubting myself and honestly seeking sober, evidence-backed advice that could change my mind. I am currently looking into the studies that Chris posted, as time permits, and I will look at the links that others have posted. I will also be going back into seriously researching this for myself. This is going to take some time, since I have many other obligations in my daily life.

    Good luck with that. I spent two years studying immunology part-time and that was enough to make me aware of the extent of my ignorance of the subject (though I passed the exams). This isn’t something you will be able to pick up from Google University, especially if you mistrust what most people consider to be reliable sources of information. You will very likely come across the vast reams of misinformation about vaccines and immunology that infest the internet.

    The rarity of adverse events is not enough for me, because even if it were only 1 in ten million kids that got damaged from vaccines, it’s not a risk I would subject my children to unless I were convinced there was definitely a much greater benefit. If one of my children were that 1 in ten million, then I would have failed them in my duty to protect them.

    How would you feel if your child got measles or whooping cough and ended up permanently injured as a result? Would that feel better than him/her suffering damage from a vaccine?

    Do you travel in a car with your child? Let’s assume the risk of a serious adverse reaction to MMR is 1 in 1 million (almost certainly an overestimate). The fatality rate for road traffic accidents in the US is about 1 for every 82,000,000 miles traveled. That means that you are subjecting your child to a greater risk of death by driving 100 miles with him/her in the vehicle than you are risking a serious adverse event by giving him/her the MMR.

    Not vaccinating to reduce the risk to your child makes about as much sense as getting him/her to cycle to school on a busy road instead of driving him/her because you would feel worse if s/he was hurt while you were driving, even though the risks of cycling are far higher. In other words it seems to be about minimizing the risk of you feeling bad, not reducing the risks to your child as much as possible.

  136. #136 Scottynuke
    March 21, 2015

    I’ll wager that ConcernedParent will need treatment later in life for tinnitus after listening to (and blowing on) so many anti-vax dog whistles. *shrug*

  137. #137 What About HPV vax?
    March 21, 2015

    Hi Everyone-

    I kind of find “vax vs. anti-vax” to be a bit of a false dichotomy. For example, I feel a lot more comfortable with vaxes that have been around for a while- like MMR- and more skeptical about newer vaxes like HPV.

    Background: I have an undergrad biology degree (immunology was one of my best courses!), so I have somewhat of a framework to discuss these things. Yet I find it kind of frustrating because it seems that having any kind of concerns about vaccines, whatsoever, results in me being labeled an “anti-vaxxer.” I’m hoping that won’t happen here.

    Now my understanding about HPV (and correct me if I’m wrong) is that:

    1. There are 30-40 strains of HPV.
    2. Some strains are more dangerous than others.
    3. Some strains might possibly confer protection against other strains.
    4. Almost everybody will be exposed to HPV sometime in their life.
    5. About 90% of people who contract an HPV-related disease will clear it on their own, with no intervention, within 2 years.
    6. Even if somebody DOES get HPV-related cancer, it is very treatable with very good outcomes.

    Now assuming all of those are true- I am having a hard time finding the justification for mandatory HPV vaccination. What is the rationale here?

    Also- I’m wondering about cross-reactivity between different HPV strains. Do we know for sure that getting an HPV vax only induces immunity against the “bad” strains that cause disease?

  138. #138 Still Shaking Mama
    March 21, 2015

    Our 15 and 13yo got vaccinated against HPV this week and I still have the VIS. According to the CDC, about 20 million Americans are currently infected and about 6 million more get infected each year. If 90% of people infected clear the virus, that leaves about 2,000,000 with genital warts and an increased risk of a cancer which is the 2nd leader of cancer deaths of women around the world.

  139. #139 MarkN
    March 21, 2015

    To the basics of the timeline, the vaccine will allow your system much better odds to clear the virus before it can mutate a tissue cell.

    That our immune system can clear a virus without a vaccine is only part of the big picture in disease progression. Most people who get the measles will recover without even needing to see a doctor/go to the hospital. But, then again 25% will need hospitalization for supportive care, and 1 out of every thousand to three thousand will die.

    Along the same lines HPV developing into cancer is not common, but the vaccine does offer you an advantage so you don’t go down the road of mutation to metastasis.

  140. #140 Still Shaking Mama
    March 21, 2015

    “… with no intervention, within 2 years”

    Except for the occasional removal of genital warts. For up to 2 years.

  141. #141 Dangerous Bacon
    March 21, 2015

    “6. Even if somebody DOES get HPV-related cancer, it is very treatable with very good outcomes.”

    Only if it’s caught at an early stage. Deeply invasive/metastatic HPV-induced cancer (cervix, oropharyngeal and other sites) is difficult to eradicate and does not have a very good prognosis.

    Even if HPV-related neoplasia or dysplasia is caught early, there’s still a considerable toll on the patient, including regular followup and invasive (and sometimes painful) procedures like cryotherapy and cervical cone biopsies, which can also affect fertility. It is not currently possible to tell which dysplasias will clear up on their own, which results in invasive precautionary treatments, made unnecessary if one never contracts high-risk HPV infections in the first place.

    I’m not convinced mandatory HPV vaccination is justifiable, but getting it voluntarily if in a high-risk group seems like a good idea.

    “Yet I find it kind of frustrating because it seems that having any kind of concerns about vaccines, whatsoever, results in me being labeled an “anti-vaxxer.””

    Not at all. If you state those concerns intelligently and are receptive to good information that should allay them, you’ll get a civil and even friendly reception. Those who reject solid evidence as “biased” and stubbornly repeat common antivax tropes over and over again are another story.

  142. #142 Chris
    March 21, 2015

    “6. Even if somebody DOES get HPV-related cancer, it is very treatable with very good outcomes”

    Why is it better to treat cancer instead of preventing it?.

    “Now assuming all of those are true- I am having a hard time finding the justification for mandatory HPV vaccination. What is the rationale here?”

    How many states have that vaccine as one required for school attendance? Last I looked it was not required in California nor the state I live in?

  143. #143 Niche Geek
    GWN
    March 21, 2015

    @What About HPV vax?

    You seem to agree that there is benefit from the vaccine, you just question how much. May I suggest some additional questions:

    A. Of the strains of HPV, which are most commonly associated with causing cancer? Does the vaccine address those strains?

    B. What is the rate of complication associated with the vaccine? If you accept that there is benefit then you need the other have of the ratio before you can ask whether it is worth vaccinating.

    C. What is the cost and trauma associated with your points 5 and 6? what is the complication rate of those two conditions and what is the complication rate of treatments implemented for those conditions?

    I strongly suspect that the known incidence and severity of complication for the HPV vaccine is less than the incidence and severity of sequelae from HPV infection and HPV-related Cancer including complications from treatment of HPV and HPV-related cancer

  144. #144 ann
    March 21, 2015

    Now my understanding about HPV (and correct me if I’m wrong) is that:

    1. There are 30-40 strains of HPV.
    2. Some strains are more dangerous than others.
    3. Some strains might possibly confer protection against other strains.
    4. Almost everybody will be exposed to HPV sometime in their life.
    5. About 90% of people who contract an HPV-related disease will clear it on their own, with no intervention, within 2 years.
    6. Even if somebody DOES get HPV-related cancer, it is very treatable with very good outcomes.

    Now assuming all of those are true- I am having a hard time finding the justification for mandatory HPV vaccination. What is the rationale here?

    Assuming all of those are true, the rationale is self-evident. If just about everybody gets it, then uncontrolled HPV infection puts ten percent of everybody at potential, unpredictable risk for a number of cancers that — however treatable they may be in theory when detected early — aren’t always detected early.

    The vaccine reduces that risk by two-thirds for cervical cancer.

    That’s a very significant gain.

    And the downside is…?

  145. #145 Politicalguineapig
    March 21, 2015

    What about HPV vax?:

    I have to assume you’ve been living under a rock and are entirely apolitical. The HPV vax will never, ever be mandatory in the US. Heck, in five years, it’ll be banned here, along with science education and birth control, since the next President and Congress will be Republicans.

  146. #146 herr doktor bimler
    March 21, 2015

    finding the justification for mandatory HPV vaccination.

    I can’t be arsed looking for justification for something that doesn’t exist.
    (as PGP said).

  147. #147 sfbooklady
    March 21, 2015

    Not only is the HPV vaccine not mandatory, if you’re over 40 it’s hard to get them to give it to you at all. Insurance certainly won’t pay for it. They figure you either have it already or aren’t at risk for it, I suppose.
    It’s pretty irritating, actually.

  148. #148 Krebiozen
    March 21, 2015

    Now assuming all of those are true- I am having a hard time finding the justification for mandatory HPV vaccination. What is the rationale here?

    Ignoring the ‘mandatory’ part of your question, which others have addressed, considering how safe HPV vaccines are, I’m having a hard time finding reasons for not getting them. These aren’t live vaccines, they aren’t even made from any pathogens, and it increasingly looks as if they confer lifelong protection against diseases that kill thousands of people every year in the US alone (despite them being “very treatable with very good outcomes”).

  149. #149 Politicalguineapig
    March 22, 2015

    HDB: Are you making fun of me?

  150. #150 herr doktor bimler
    March 22, 2015

    Are you making fun of me?

    The very concept is alien to my people.

  151. #151 Narad
    March 22, 2015

    The very concept is alien to my people.

    A good man is hard to find.

  152. #152 Scottynuke
    March 22, 2015

    @ hdb #550 —

    The very concept is alien to my people.

    Thank goodness, else this might have turned out much differently:

    https://youtu.be/ienp4J3pW7U

  153. […] and have tried to curtail nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, they failed in Oregon. They might succeed in California, because the bill, SB 277, would if passed eliminate nonmedical […]

  154. #154 Michel Polidori
    May 1, 2015

    @Matt – “If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.”

    How can an unvaccinated kid harm a vaccinated kid?

    For the rest of my post please refer to the MMR package insert – a MUST READ for every parent, patient, shill, anti-vaccinationist, propagandist, blogger, Doctor who reads my posts.
    http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf
    11 pages of contraindications, adverse events, adverse reactions, warnings and precautions.

    MERCK STATES EVERY PARENT-GUARDIAN-PATIENT MUST BE MADE AWARE OF THE WARNINGS PRECAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS, EVERY TIME MMR IS ADMINISTERED.

    Merck, in the package insert, doesn’t allow for healthcare providers to review records to determine the appropriateness and safety of vaccinating…
    Merck REQUIRES parent/guardian/patient participation in COMPLETE safety evaluation and screening IAW the MMR package insert..

    What healthcare provider reviews those 11 pages and responds to all the questions a caring/aware parent would ask?
    NONE!
    Confusing, conflicting, unexplained or alarming screening criteria also JUSTIFIABLY contribute to this fear.

    Take one of MMR’s adverse reactions – DIABETES
    There are many adverse reactions listed in the MMR package insert, but DIABETES is a shocking one!
    Despite the CAUSAL relationship admitted by Merck personnel I spoke with, NO RISK-FACTORS ARE LISTED.

    There is no criteria by which a parent or healthcare provider can make an informed decision about the risk of their child or patient contracting diabetes from an MMR shot!!!

    This is one example of hundreds in various vaccine or drug package inserts that need to be completely addressed before many parents will permit vaccination of their children.

    If parents would just start questioning Merck, FDA, CDC and their elected representatives about this ONE adverse reaction, I believe dramatic results in vaccine safety and compliance would occur.
    Addressing this ONE issue would naturally result in the other issues with vaccine safety, exposed in package inserts, being addressed.
    Creating proper organized screening criteria would go a long way to reducing/eliminating serious adverse events associated with vaccinations.

    According to the American Diabetes Association childhood diabetes is increasing at epidemic rates, and has been for decades… Is MMR involved?
    NO ONE BLOGGING HERE CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION.
    Merck listing diabetes in the 2014 package insert trumps any research done before that.

    Merck attempts to deflect from this issue in the package insert by referring to the CDC’s ACIP board statement that MMR does not cause diabetes.
    But that’s overstepping the authority and expertise of the ACIP.
    Nothing can contravene the repeated listing of diabetes as an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine, when that is what is described in the package insert… when that is what the vaccine maker states could happen with MMR vaccine.

    Which kids die from natural measles infection?
    Only kids with immune problems.
    Those same kids are likely to be injured or killed by live vaccinations.

    Complete science-based efficient screening criteria and ensuring the criteria are followed/applied are ESSENTIAL in stopping inadvertent vaccinations.
    Injuries from inadvertent vaccinations are the direct cause of parents’ reluctance to vaccinate.
    Those mistakes are the adverse reactions and some or most of the adverse events that happen after the MMR shot.
    Those reactions listed in the package insert reflect Merck’s clinical trials and after-market research data.

    Both the 2010 and 2014 package inserts warn that causal evidence has been found regarding MMR vaccine and diabetes… Merck admitted this when I called them. They told me they passed that information to the FDA, but wouldn’t release it to me.
    The FDA rep, at first, played dumb!!! Claiming never to have heard about the diabetes connection before, advising me to “find out for myself” who made the MMR shots, and not knowing the difference between adverse event and adverse reaction… that was shocking!
    Then she advised me to submit an FOIA request, repeatedly reminding me I would have to pay for it, whether or not the FDA found anything and whether or not they would release anything to me.

    As always,
    for the protection of children,
    In the interests of truth and science,
    Michael Polidori

  155. #155 Lawrence
    May 1, 2015
  156. […] Yet none of this has stopped the inevitable antivaccine backlash cloaked in appeals to “freedom” and “parental rights” that have spewed forth from the mouths of even mainstream […]

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