I’ve been paying attention to the antivaccine movement a long time. Indeed, it’s been just under a decade since I made what was my first big splash in the blogosphere, namely my particularly “Insolent” takedown of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s conspiracy-laden, pseudoscience-spewing super-concentrated antivaccine nonsense known as Deadly Immunity. So here it is, almost ten years later, and RFK, Jr. is still around, spewing the same nonsense that he did ten years ago, except that this time he’s using Holocaust analogies to describe the vaccination program. Unfortunately, some things never seem to change.

Ever since I’ve taken a special interest in the antivaccination movement, periodically the issue comes up of just who makes up the antivaccine movement. The stereotype is that it’s a bunch of liberal, hippy-dippy lovers of “natural” living, but that’s not quite it. As I’ve pointed out more times than I can remember, antivaccine pseudoscience is the pseudoscience that crosses political boundaries, and there are quite a few conservatives with antivaccine beliefs, and antivaccinationism fits in very nicely with libertarianism, including Rand Paul. But this is not about the politics of antivaccine beliefs; rather it’s about another stereotype about antivaccinationists. However, a recent study hot off the presses in Pediatrics actually seems to confirm this particular stereotype, mainly that those who claim nonmedical exemptions from vaccine mandates tend to be white, affluent suburbanites. This study comes out of the Departments of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of Iowa and is entitled Personal Belief Exemptions to Vaccination in California: A Spatial Analysis. I’m a little surprised, given the subject matter and its relevance in the wake of recent measles outbreaks, especially the one that occurred at Disneyland over the holidays, that there hasn’t been much in the way of stories about the study, although this one from CBS News gives you a flavor:

Parents who cite “personal beliefs” to get their children exempted from routine vaccinations are typically white and well-to-do — at least in California, a new study finds.

The results, published June 1 in Pediatrics, confirm what other studies have suggested: Anti-vaccine sentiment in the United States appears strongest among wealthier white families.

My first reaction upon reading this is that it’s about as close to what I call a “Well, duh!” study that there is. Just look at the most prominent voices in the antivaccine movement. They’re almost all white and, if not affluent, at least solidly upper middle class. J. B. Handley, for example, is very well off and makes his money off investments. Pediatricians like “Dr. Bob” Sears and “Dr. Jay” Gordon cater mainly to well-off white people. On the other hand, that concept could be a stereotype too for all we know, hence the study.

So how did the investigators (Margaret Carrel and Patrick Bitterman) do their analysis and what did they find? First, they started with school level data for personal belief exemption and personal medical exemption rates in 5,147 kindergarten in California schools. Basically, they looked at two years, the 2001/2002 and the 2013/2014 school years.

Their rationale:

In 2003, May and Silverman16 warned against the rise in families claiming personal belief or other nonmedical exemptions to public school requirements for vaccination and their tendency to cluster geographically. Data have indicated that clusters of high exemption rates are spatially congruent with outbreak clusters of pertussis and measles. Within California, there is high heterogeneity in the rates of personal belief exemptions (PBEs), with northern and southern coastal regions exhibiting higher PBE proportions. This spatial heterogeneity exists at higher geographic scales as well, with high variation in exemption rates among US states. High exemption rates have been correlated with schools that have higher numbers of white students and greater wealth, and with charter and private schools.

The current study examines PBE data from California between the 2001/2002 and 2014/2015 school years to determine spatial patterns of PBEs in kindergartners as well as the type of school populations associated with higher rates of PBEs. We explore the spatial overlap between schools with high PBE rates and high rates of personal medical exemptions (PMEs) for students who are unable to receive childhood immunizations. This analysis identifies locations of children who are unprotected from VPDs not by choice and are surrounded by other students who remain unprotected because of parental choice.

As you will see, one of the disturbing findings is just how high the rate of overlap is between areas with high levels of PBEs and PMEs. But first, let’s look a bit more at the methods used. The data were obtained from the California Department of Public Health, which records the number of PBEs and PMEs for individual schools, although it suppresses data from schools with fewer than ten kindergartners for privacy reasons. The proportion of kindergartners in each school who received a PBE and PME were calculated, and then, using school codes, the investigators matched sociodemographic characteristics from California Department of Education Data. School locations were geocoded using geoprocessing services provided by Texas A&M and Google Earth. Pieces of information available and studied included:

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Proportion of students receiving free lunch or reduced price lunch (FRL)
  • Charter school status
  • Private school versus public school
  • Urban versus suburban versus rural

The first thing that stands out is just how much variability there is in PBE rates among schools, which during the 2013/2014 school year ranged from 0% to 79%, while PMEs ranged from 0% to 17%, up from the 2001/2002 school year, where they were 0% to 63.2% and 0% to 19.23% for PBEs and PMEs, respectively. The authors divided up the PBE rates into three “clusters” because it was the best fit for the data:

  • Cluster 1: Schools with low average PBE proportions across all years of study
  • Cluster 2: These schools have higher PBE rates than cluster 1 and had an increase beginning in the 2008/2009 school year.
  • Cluster 3: These schools had high PBE rates in the 2001/2002 school year and their PBE rates increased over time.

This resulted in maps like this:

Where the antivaxers live.

The authors observed:

Although cluster assignments were derived without consideration of spatial relationships, these types of schools exhibit interesting and significantly nonrandom patterns. The Central Valley of California, a primarily agricultural region with small and medium-size cities, is dominated by schools in the low and medium PBE clusters (Fig 3). High PBE cluster schools appear across much of northern California and in the suburban or peripheral areas of large urban areas. The Los Angeles area exhibits a distinctive spatial pattern of cluster assignments, with hotspots of low PBE schools centrally located, ringed by transitional hotspots and high PBE hotspots located along the coast to the north and south (Fig 4). This could indicate that (1) belief exemptions are diffusing from suburban/peripheral areas of cities inward toward the urban core, or (2) that those with specific vaccine beliefs have left the core and moved to the periphery.

I’d bet that both are probably going on, although determining the relative contribution of each will be difficult.

More importantly, though, high PBE rates were positively correlated with the percentage of white students, with charter status, and private schools. In contrast, public schools with high percentages receiving subsidized lunches have higher than expected membership in the low PBE cluster and lower than expected membership in the medium and high PBE clusters, while schools with low FRL percentages have high medium and high PBE cluster membership. Overall, the authors found that low PBE schools were likely to be public, noncharter, and nonsuburban, with lower percentages of white students and higher percentages of students receiving subsidized lunches. In contrast, high PBE schools tend to be charter or private nonreligious schools in suburban areas with high percentages of white students and low percentages of students receiving subsidized lunch. Among private schools, religious schools were associated with decreased PBE rates, which makes sense to me intuitively, at least for Catholic schools (with which I have some experience, having attended them 8 out of my 12 years of education as a child). The Catholic Church, for instance, supports vaccination and promotes it as a good. True, there are outliers, such as the Kenyan Catholic Bishops who have been spreading antivaccine misinformation that tetanus vaccines are actually designed as contraceptives to keep their women from having children, but, by and large, in the US the Catholic Church is solidly pro-vaccine, as are the other large, mainstream religions here.

Finally, perhaps the most depressing finding is an unexpected one, specifically that there is a disturbing amount of overlap between PMEs and PBEs. This is particularly worrisome because it implies that it is in the areas where vaccine uptake is below the level necessary to maintain herd immunity where there are more children with PMEs. Obviously, these children received PMEs for a reason, either due to allergies or problems with their immune system due to cancer or other illness. The authors didn’t know why there was this spatial overlap between areas with high PBEs and high PMEs. Neither did Paul Offit, who is quotes saying as much about the study, although he speculated that part of the reason might be because parents at the schools with high PBEs are more likely to get a doctor to give their child a medical exemption, legitimate or not. Certainly there is no shortage of doctors like Dr. Jay and Dr. Bob who would be willing to do just that based on concerns that are—shall we say?—not particularly well-grounded in science.

Be that as it may, the authors did note:

The potential for spatial overlap between schools with high PBE rates and high PMEs is particularly concerning, especially where rates of exemptions exceed 5% to 10% and threaten the protective effects of measles herd immunity. There are more than 800 schools in the 2014/2015 school year that exceeded this threshold of exemptions, primarily because of PBEs. These schools are located principally in the areas surrounding Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento (Fig 5). Statistical analysis indicates that significant hotspots of PBEs in 2014/2015 also overlap with areas of elevated PMEs (Fig 6). When outbreaks of measles or pertussis do occur, these are places where students with PMEs may be at greatest risk.

Exactly.

So it turns out that, in California (and probably in most developed countries with a white majority), it is affluent white people living in suburban areas who are the primary drivers of declining vaccination rates, because they appear to be the ones who claim the most nonmedical exemptions. It is true that this is only in California, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this pattern holds true elsewhere. In particular, it will be interesting to see if these results hold true, minus the racial preponderance, in other developed countries, as I rather suspect it is socioeconomic status more than race that is associated with antivaccine beliefs like this. In any case, based on these data, it’s hard not to speculate how privileged, entitled people tend to cluster together in mutually reinforcing echo chambers where antivaccine views not only are unchallenged but become the norm. Unfortunately, their choices have a negative impact not only on their own children, but on the children they come in contact with and their entire community.

Comments

  1. #1 Lawrence
    June 4, 2015

    And these same parents, in the name of “protecting” their children from vaccines, will be the ones to suffer, disproportionately, in case of any VPD outbreaks……

    The irony is not lost on me.

  2. #2 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    June 4, 2015

    My cousin has a seven month old boy. She lives in Cairo and was recently back home (Austria) to get him some vaccinations. She is a dietitian (an actual certified one) and a great believer in science based medicine.

    Cue our uncle wondering last week if giving babies that many vaccines is really safe. My parents I were very not impressed. And told him so.

    He’s an idiot.

  3. #3 MikeMa
    June 4, 2015

    Could the overlap be due, in part, to the presence of Dr Jay’s in the area willing to write the medical exemptions for less than true medical need?

  4. #4 Dorit Reiss
    June 4, 2015

    This makes the cries of discrimination by the anti vaccine activists, and especially the comparison of school immunization bills like SB277, to separate but equal in schools and transportation even more troubling. No, you are not Rosa Parks.

  5. #5 Eric Lund
    June 4, 2015

    In particular, it will be interesting to see if these results hold true, minus the racial preponderance, in other developed countries, as I rather suspect it is socioeconomic status more than race that is associated with antivaccine beliefs like this.

    In California they might be able to test this theory. The correlation of high PBE rates with white population might be explained due to whites being more likely to be in affluent areas. But Asians are also overrepresented, compared to blacks and Hispanics, in affluent areas, particularly in California, which has a relatively high overall Asian population compared with other US states. Some affluent areas in California have especially high Asian populations, while others are closer to the statewide average. So in principle one could check whether PBE rates are correlated with Asian populations. If yes, then it’s definitely a socioeconomic thing. If not, then there are other cultural factors in play.

    At least one prominent anti-vax person who has been mentioned on these pages, Louise Kuo Habakus, has a name which implies Asian (specifically Chinese) ancestry. I don’t know how much of an outlier she is.

  6. #6 JP
    June 4, 2015

    So in principle one could check whether PBE rates are correlated with Asian populations. If yes, then it’s definitely a socioeconomic thing. If not, then there are other cultural factors in play.

    It’s not so simple, though: “Asian” is an incredibly broad category, despite the stereotypes about who Asians are. The SE Asian communities in the PNW, for example – mostly recent immigrants, refugees really – look very different, in socioeconomic terms, from the more established East Asian communities.

  7. #7 JP
    June 4, 2015

    And these same parents, in the name of “protecting” their children from vaccines, will be the ones to whose children suffer, disproportionately, in case of any VPD outbreaks……

    FTFY.

  8. #8 Dangerous Bacon
    June 4, 2015

    Last night I was at the annual seminar presented by our malpractice insurer on how to avoid getting your butt sued. The presenter discussed the Disneyland model for medical care (yes, there apparently is such a thing). Apparently the people who work at Disneyland are super-proactive about treating all their visitors wonderfully, making sure they feel important and content.

    Presumably if MDs were more like this, their patients would be happier and less litigation-prone. I did wonder if the Disneyland model would also imply transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases via your office, but managed to keep my mouth shut.

    *when I was signing in at the reception desk for the seminar, the person working there helpfully informed me that the names of attendees were listed alphabetically according to name. I observed that was almost as good as listing them alphabetically according to height.
    I don’t think he got the reference. 🙂

  9. #9 Chris Hickie
    June 4, 2015

    Last year, working at a clinic on the far east side of the Phoenix metropolitan area, I saw parents of children on medicaid refusing to vaccinate their children due to “personal beliefs”. The typical response I’d get when I would ask about those “beliefs” was that it was “something they’d heard about vaccines” and almost always the parent refused to talk more with me about vaccines. I still did see more of the families fitting the affluent white type refusing vaccines than those of less affluent families, but I was left wondering if vaccine refusal was becoming something that the lower SES groups were now starting to emulate to be like the higher SES groups. Not good news if so (and AZ has no bill like SB277 anywhere on the legislative horizon, so vaccination rates in AZ could falling as they have over the last decade).

    With regards to PMEs, some medical conditions are clear cut about the child being unable to receive vaccines–such as a child on immunosuppressive medication. When, however, I have a parent come in and tell me their child had a high fever to vaccines, well, that falls into the realm of a PME if the parent is convinced it was a “serious reaction” and they don’t want to vaccinate further. But I’m relying on that parent’s report of the fever and given that anti-vaccinationists have already endorsed faking vaccine cards as a way of not having to vaccinate, I wouldn’t be surprised if some parents who don’t want to vaccinate due to “beliefs” have decided it’s even easier to tell their child’s doctor about a phony high fever as a way of getting a PME.

    Sucks that it’s the kids who are gonna pay for all this stupidity.

  10. #10 Denice Walter
    June 4, 2015

    I truly hope that the authors of this study do not receive a scolding from Dr Jay as I did for saying something very similar a while back.

    At any rate, anecdotally, TMR appears to fit that pattern well: I’ve been watching Autism One videos that feature the TMs amongst other presentations. I’ve learned more about them in the past week.

    The original TMs include Marissa Ali ( Dragon Slayer) from Malaysia and Thalia Michelle Seggelink ( Tex) who is probably originally from Panama .A newbie TM signs off as “Shawty’ ( i.e. Shorty) described herself as being “ghetto fabulous” so I thought that perhaps- from those expressions alone- she might have been African American but having seen photos, she looks white to me. In addition, there is a white French woman, Virginie,Chriqui- sp?- ( Prima) who may live in the US.

    Otherwise, the TMs appear to be white, at least middle class, suburban and affluent. A few mention that their husbands “work all the time” enabling them to stay at home and follow their vocation as medical rebels. They seem to reside in different areas of the US- Massachusetts, NY, NJ, Georgia, Virginia, Montana, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California; a few knew each other previously from university and possibly others met through doctor shopping. The project apparently took off via facebook: they wanted to write a book of their experiences and started the blog in order to get attention from likely publishers and readers.

    I would guess that they ( the principals) are university educated- I’ve heard careers mentioned in PR, social work, school psychology (( shudder)), computer science, business. They don’t dress like poor women.

    My general impression was that they had great certainty about their beliefs even when they said that biomed and other treatments weren’t working – that their children were “non-responders”; they discussed how they helped each other emotionally and how they helped other parents ‘find their way through the maze’. All of which would be great if they represented SBM not avenues that led directly away from it.

    I found some self-centered and overly pleased with themselves and others who were quite likable- though misguided.
    And I did find myself often feeling sorry for their plight – they don’t have easy lives.

  11. #11 Eric Lund
    June 4, 2015

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some parents who don’t want to vaccinate due to “beliefs” have decided it’s even easier to tell their child’s doctor about a phony high fever as a way of getting a PME.

    Or alternatively, they will shop for a doctor who will document the phony high fever to get them a PME. It depends on how strict (and how strictly enforced) the requirements for getting a PME are. What these parents are doing may not work for traveling to a country with a yellow fever immunization requirement (the requirements for documenting that you have a medical contraindication are particularly strict). But I can imagine that it will work in some states.

  12. #12 Delphine
    zzzzzzzz
    June 4, 2015

    When Delphinette was around 3 weeks old or so we were on the hunt for a new GP. We’d recently moved. I managed to get an appointment with a nearby clinic.

    After checking in, one of the admin staff came over to where we were seated and handed me some forms to fill out. Included in the paperwork was their vaccine schedule. It was a delayed schedule. When I inquired as to the rationale, I was told that “it’s what a lot of parents are requesting.”

    We left. Delphinette now sees a Birkenstock wearing Deadhead who can talk like Elmo. And is a borderline fanatic on three things — vaccinate on time and in full, car seat safety, and no backyard trampolines.

  13. #13 Delphine
    June 4, 2015

    I should note that our ‘burb is affluent and primarily Caucasian.

  14. #14 shay
    June 4, 2015

    It’s not so simple, though: “Asian” is an incredibly broad category, despite the stereotypes about who Asians are

    Our biggest local employer draws a considerable % of their IT staff from the Indian sub-continent. As a demographic, they tend to believe in childhood vaccines.

    During H1N1 they were the first in line at the vaccination clinics.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    June 4, 2015

    Thinking about it**, people in the movement HAVE to be at least middles class because:

    – special snowflake CA doctors demand cash- no insurance/ socialised medicine accepted
    – mothers who devote so much time and effort to expressing their beliefs aren’t juggling two part time jobs and child care
    – they can afford to go to conferences
    – they pay for alt med care out of pocket; special supplements and special diets aren’t available at discount stores; similarly, books from fellow travelers at Skyhorse
    – they have enough time to harangue people on facebook
    – they aren’t rich enough to afford full time childcare and thus, have to take care of the child themselves.

    I postulate that intensive childcare past infancy is what really sets them off on their way to revolution- how often do we hear Kim or Lisa go on and on about cleaning poop from a child who is over 2 years old? GI illness is the issue which got Andy involved.

    They assumed that eventually the child would be sent off to daycare and then school so that they could go back to their careers: instead they languish in autism h3ll with diapers and feeding schedules.

    Very rich believers are not fuelled by that issue- they can hire people. Autism may be an affront to their pride.

    ** No I am not a Thinking Mom, heaven forbid!

  16. #16 Roger Kulp
    June 4, 2015

    I wonder if more doctors are now being trained how to recognize VPDs not seen in decades.Sadly this is going to take many years to play out.I think it is going to take the reappearance of really large numbers of cases of VPDs with many thousands of kids dying,or becoming seriously disabled,before parents wake up.Study after study saying vaccines don’t cause autism is not going to change the antivaxer mindset one bit.

  17. #17 Eric Lund
    June 4, 2015

    Denice @15: I think you are on to something there, but at least in California, you have to have pretty serious scratch to live the TMR lifestyle. Real estate prices in the Bay Area, and to a lesser extent in SoCal, are absurd: a six-figure income is not enough to afford a house, even if you don’t have kids, in the sorts of zip codes where the “Thinking Moms” live. Likewise in metro NYC, DC, or Boston. Maybe the middle class can afford the TMR lifestyle in places like Dallas or Omaha, but in the coastal big cities, you have to be at least upper middle class. They aren’t rich enough to have a full-time nanny, true, but I will guess that many “Thinking Moms” belong to the 1%.

    Roger @16: Sadly, you are also right. The “Thinking Moms” didn’t reason themselves into their position, so they won’t reason themselves out of it. Their kids might, if they see friends dying of VPDs or becoming crippled as a result. But the lesson will be very expensive indeed.

  18. #18 Narad
    June 4, 2015

    During H1N1 they were the first in line at the vaccination clinics.

    Which hit India pretty hard, IIRC. Dominant strain there in the most recent season, as well.

  19. #19 Andreas Johansson
    June 4, 2015

    Denice Walter wrote:

    And I did find myself often feeling sorry for their plight – they don’t have easy lives

    Which might explain the “Drinking Moms” thing.

    I guess an odd consquence of this is that as far as infectious disease go, it’s preferable to go to a bad school than a god one.

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    June 4, 2015

    @ Eric Lund:

    Tell me about it!
    My late cousin was fond of saying that you had to be rich to be middle class around here ( right outside of the great city of {redacted})
    And I certainly HAVE priced various hovels in and around SF- purely for entertainment purposes.

    From what I observe, TMs don’t have jobs, a few of them have 4 or 5 kids ( shocking!) and they purchase beaucoup de woo. So there must be real money. I know that Blaxill and Larson of AoA/ Canaries have money. Stagliano lives in a wealthy area as does Olmsted. Some of the TMs- not all- live in or around large high priced cities like NY and Boston.

    Thus I say ‘middle class PLUS’. However I wouldn’t be surprised if less affluent folk look up towards that lifestyle and emulate it in small ways. A few posts @ TMR tell you how to eat pure food for less and do therapy on your own.

    TMR funds biomed treatment for the less affluent through its Team TMR project- 1000 USD each.

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    June 4, 2015

    @ Andreas Johansson:

    I felt awfully listening to their stories- which are heart-rending- and then criticisng them BUT
    their teachings and agenda are wrong and can potentially harm children and distraught parents alike. I think many of them could benefit from reality-based counselling.

    It’s great to have a support system but it shouldn’t replace professionals like therapists and doctors. They pretend that they are experts and take younger parents under their wing: even if they themselves have suffered, it doesn’t make what they do right. They mislead people and themselves.

  22. #22 Kiiri
    June 4, 2015

    Data is always good, but looking around my peer group my personal anecdotes support that most of the anti-vax parents are suburbanite and white. From my time in PH in AZ, we had a very easy time vaccinating Hispanic children on time, it was the others that were harder. I have been roundly criticized for being fiercely pro-vaccine in certain circles. I lost a few ‘friends’ when I tried to explain their anti-vaccine choice was misinformed. Almost exclusively they were white, suburbanite, college educated, stay at home moms.

  23. #23 ebohlman
    http://turnipsandpotatoes.wordpress.com
    June 4, 2015

    but I was left wondering if vaccine refusal was becoming something that the lower SES groups were now starting to emulate to be like the higher SES groups.

    My understanding is that parenting trends of all sorts usually start in upper-middle-class families and then diffuse “downwards”. The result is that most class-based differences in parenting styles reflect degree of recency rather than “culture”. I’m afraid your worry is realistic.

  24. #24 Narad
    June 4, 2015

    Given that the post is tagged CAM, I’ll go ahead and mention the “Black Spider Memos” here.

  25. #25 Narad
    June 4, 2015

    ^ H/T H5N1.

  26. #26 Lurker
    June 5, 2015

    And now, diphtheria.

    ‘A six-year-old child who lives in the Catalan city of Olot (Girona) has been admitted to hospital with the first recorded case of diphtheria in Spain since 1986.’

    Apparently the parents are anti-vaxxers.

    ‘General secretary for the health service, Rubén Moreno, called these campaigns “irresponsible.” He continued: “The consequences of not vaccinating a child can be dramatic. The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide.”’

    http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/06/02/inenglish/1433262397_622650.html

    Spanish public health authorities had to search frantically for the anti-toxin that is used to treat diphtheria cases. The Russian ambassador got the medication flown in from Russia, and the child is being treated with it. Russia had a nasty outbreak recently, so their medical system is geared up for dealing with cases.

    See also the Wikipedia article on diphtheria (warning: upsetting photos) and click on the maps for a quick graphical representation of epidemiological data.

  27. #27 Lurker
    June 5, 2015

    Data from Maine USA, directly pertinent:

    ‘…in Washington County, the county with the highest rate of children living in poverty in Maine, we also see the highest immunization rates in the state.’

    Article in the Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/04/children-die-vaccine-preventable-diseases-we-can-stop-that The article suggest Maine is having both a chicken pox outbreak and a pertussis outbreak this year. (Is that what you call a ‘two-fer’?)

    Data referred to in the article here: https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/publications/2015-Immunization-Rate-Report.pdf

    Anyone here who can get income data for Maine is encouraged to match them up with the epidemiological data to see if the results are convergent with Carrel’s and Bitterman’s analysis of California.

  28. #28 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 5, 2015

    Anyone here who can get income data for Maine is encouraged to match them up with the epidemiological data to see if the results are convergent with Carrel’s and Bitterman’s analysis of California.

    Those immunisation rates are atrocious; I had no idea they were so bad. I can’t go county by county to compare to the CA analysis though. Only Washington county (one of the least populated counties and probably not a high SES) almost reached herd immunity level.

  29. #29 Narad
    June 5, 2015

    Data from Maine USA, directly pertinent:

    ‘…in Washington County, the county with the highest rate of children living in poverty in Maine, we also see the highest immunization rates in the state.’

    Stock antivaccine response:

    That’s because WIC offices lie about the consequences. Here, take this printout.

  30. #30 Andreas Johansson
    June 5, 2015

    I wrote:

    bad school than a god one

    A “god school” being the sort I evidently didn’t go to.

  31. #31 Murmur
    UK-ia
    June 5, 2015

    Narad #24

    Precisely illustrating why some of us over here wish Chucky would just STFU and stop abusing his position of privilege and supposed “neutrality” to support his ignorance and numptiness. Believe what you like Chucky, but stop trying to have it imposed on other folk, who didn’t vote for you.

  32. #32 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    June 5, 2015

    Believe what you like Chucky, but stop trying to have it imposed on other folk, who didn’t vote for you.

    <Holy Grail>You don’t vote for kings!</Holy Grail>

  33. #33 Murmur
    UK-ia
    June 5, 2015

    The very thing I was hinting at.

  34. #34 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 5, 2015

    @Lurker and Science Mom

    There’s a bit of a kerfuffle about Maine’s branch of the CDC not releasing info on where the outbreaks are occurring. They’ve released info before, but not this year, for some reason.

    There was some research a few years ago showing that pertussis toxin helps influenza virus get a foothold, at least in mice. It would make sense for a pertussis infection to lead to faster/more severe illness due to other respiratory diseases.

  35. #35 who cares
    June 5, 2015

    I think this assumption is wrong:

    (and probably in most developed countries with a white majority.

    Living in the Netherlands, I’d say about as affluent/developed as a nation as it can get. Vaccination is voluntary.
    The only real opposition to vaccination here comes from our own religious fundamentalists.

    From the report on vaccination in 2014, note latest numbers are from children born in 2011.
    The worst case are the booster shots needed.
    Those tend to hover around 92%, regardless of type (both MMR and DTaP + Polio).
    Everything else is at least at a 95%. And that includes the people who refuse to vaccinate (mainly due to religion, most of these people are fundamentalist protestants), there are voting districts with less then 75% of children vaccinated.

    Think a few hundred cases of measles is bad (the US had about 700 in 2014)? Try several thousand (2640 to be exact in the 2013/2014 time period) with an unknown number of people not reported and that on a population that is 1/20 of the US population. 182 of those were children which needed to be hospitalized (no information on long term complications) and child 1 died.

    So those idiots against protecting kids from deadly diseases do not have to replicate the ongoing experiment about what happens when you do not vaccinate. We here in the Netherlands have done it already and the results aren’t pretty.

  36. #36 who cares
    June 5, 2015

    oh great blockquote screwup.
    guess I forgot the / in the second one.

  37. #37 Karen Aenlle
    Altadena
    June 5, 2015

    The vaccine compensation programme has paid nearly 3 billion for vaccine injury, tax payers money, because vaccine manufacturers have not been liable since the eighties. Maybe the rich white folk know something you don’t. Follow the money…..,

  38. #38 MI Dawn
    June 5, 2015

    Karen: Care to tell us how many vaccines have been given out compared to that 3 billion dollars? It’s not taxpayer money, either. It comes from a tax on the vaccines. You, my dear, are spouting the same old nonsense that’s been refuted a million times.

    Orac – can’t you ask Lord Draconis for a better model of trolls? These are all really boring.

  39. #39 Chris
    June 5, 2015

    Ms. Aenlle: “Follow the money…..”

    Certainly, let us look at those numbers which are tabulated here. The table goes from 01/06/2006 through 12/30/2013, which happens to be when they have the number of doses given (there is a lag in time to get those).

    So scroll on down to the bottom labeled “Grand Total.” So in that stated time period there were 2,236,678,735 vaccine doses given. The total number of compensated claims is 1,723 (which 1,436 are through settlement, remember to read the notes under the table).

    Now, Ms. Aenlle, what is the ratio between the compensated claims versus the total number of vaccine doses given? Is it a big number or a small number? How does it compare to disease complications compared to number of disease cases?

    Speaking of disease complications: is it cheaper to treat measles, pertussis, cervical cancer, liver cancer, diphtheria, tetanus, etc than to prevent the disease? Please give us the financial data that it would be cheaper to treat the diseases rather than pay $20 to $150 for a vaccine dose. I would love to see someone come up with the verifiable numbers that disprove the results of Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009. Because hospital care is so cheap in the USA! And children just love having tubes shoved down their throats before getting hooked up to a ventilator!

  40. #40 herr doktor bimler
    June 5, 2015

    [Holy Grail]You don’t vote for kings![/Holy Grail]

    There as on many issues, Arthur was sadly ill-informed.

  41. #41 David N. Brown
    June 6, 2015

    Something I have written about previously: Large-scale vaccine “scares” seem to follow a completely different pattern than solidly documented vaccine injuries. In particular, “real” injuries are well-distributed geographically, whereas “scare” claims pile up in relatively narrow areas. A lot of what’s reported here seems to be a logical extension of these patterns.

  42. #42 Ernie Gordon
    June 6, 2015

    Dangerous Bacon @#8

    If that presenter was Fred Lee, author of If Disney Ran Your Hospital, he was my high school history teacher – he left that job for his first hospital administration job. Small world.

  43. #43 Toto "The Rock"
    June 7, 2015

    The faces of vaccine-pusher scientists: Overwhelmingly affluent non-African American Jewish males.

    Just ask Katz, Rosen, Orenstein, the Merck family, Sabin, or Salk.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/measles-vaccine-developer-warns-jewish-anti-vaxxers/
    http://crownheights.info/psa/24436/mumps-virus-alert-dr-rosen-addresses-outbreak/

    “This Day in Jewish History / The man who gave us a painless polio vaccine is born
    Haaretz
    By David B. Green | Aug. 26, 2014 | 3:31 AM”
    “Albert Sabin wasn’t the first to find a way to thwart the virus. The Russian-born genius just found a way to make it not hurt.

    Albert Bruce Sabin was born in Bialystok, then part of the Russian Empire, today in Poland, to Jacob Saperstein and the former Tillie Krugman. His initial education was in Hebrew and Yiddish, to which he soon added Russian, studied with a private tutor.

    After the Bialystok pogrom of June 1906, much of the extended family began emigrating from Russia, although in the case of Albert’s family, they did not leave until after World War I, and did not arrive at Ellis Island, in New York, until early 1921, after an 18-month journey.”

    “Working at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital before and after the war, Sabin made a critical discovery that the polio vaccine thrived in the small intestines (as well as on nerve tissue). Sabin wanted to introduce live avirulent (non-harmful) viruses into the intestines to fight the full virus where it was most potent. In 1955, he and his research associates tested the vaccine on themselves before it was tested on hundreds of prison inmates (a common practice of the time). There were no adverse effects.

    However, just before Sabin was ready for wide-scale testing, Jonas Salk began testing his vaccine that was created through dead viruses. Salk’s vaccine worked, but only for a limited time and prevented the complications rather than the illness. Foreign colleagues believed more in Sabin’s vaccine, arranging for the vaccine to be tested and used in the Soviet Union, Mexico and several other countries. In 1960, Sabin was finally permitted to run a trial in Cincinnati. It proved effective, and Sabin’s live vaccine became the primary polio vaccine.

    Sabin continued to work on fighting numerous other infectious diseases. From 1969-1972, he was president of the Weitzman Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. After retiring to the States, he held several high-level research positions and was particularly interested in finding a link between viruses and cancer.”
    http://www.jewishtreats.org/2014/08/using-live-virus.html

    Israel’s Silent Polio Epidemic Breaks All the Rules
    “As soon as the (POLIO) virus was detected, Israel expanded its environmental surveillance and began analyzing stool samples to see who was carrying it. They’ve found it predominately in the POOR BEDOUIN population, who mostly live in SQUALID conditions in the SOUTHERN part of the country. The children found to be carrying the virus so far have all been FULLY VACCINATED, which is why there have been no cases, but POOR SANITATION, overcrowding, and migration have enabled the virus to SPREAD.”
    http://www.mh-hannover.de/fileadmin/organisation/beauftragte/biologische_sicherheit/Links_Newsletter/polio_vaccine.pdf
    http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Authors/O/Walt-Orenstein

    WHY DON’T THEY USE OUR US AID $DOLLARS TO CLEAN UP THESE SLUMS AND GET THEIR CITIZENS BETTER PAYING JOBS?
    I didn’t think sanitation conditions affected spread of disease. THE VACCINES AREN’T WORKING!

    “From the research I’ve done, the benefits from the vaccine do not outweigh the potential risks, which could be substantial. To be clear: I am not anti-vaccine. At all. But I think like anything, you have to be a smart vaccine consumer. I am all for vaccines when I think there is real, tangible benefit to be had: polio, MMR, chicken pox, meningitis—all great! But the HPV vaccine seems to me a big pharma marketing exercise. I feel that the protection/reduction of risks from cancer, etc., are small and the potential risks of an untested vaccine on my kids are huge. Just my feeling. But I know lots of others, including doctor friends of mine, who feel the same way.”
    http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/136690/hpv-vaccination-jewish-parents
    Why aren’t THEY on your list, ORAC?

    GERBERDING WAS CDC WHISTLEBLOWER DR. WILLIAM THOMPSON’S BOSS when he authored the alleged fraud 1994 MMR/autism study…..
    “April 30, 2014 – New York – The American Jewish Committee (AJC) honored Dr. Julie L Gerberding, president of Merck Vaccines, with the global advocacy organization’s Women’s Global Leadership Award. The award was presented today at the AJC Women’s Leadership Spring Luncheon, held at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

    “Dr. Gerberding is a true champion of global health,” said AJC President Stanley M. Bergman, who presented the award to Gerberding. “Through Julie’s tireless advocacy, tremendous contributions to the development of innovative health solutions, and commitment to educating the next generation of health care leaders, she continues to improve the lives of countless individuals around the world.”

    The AJC award recognizes Gerberding as an acclaimed global business leader, tireless advocate for access to medical care, and devoted healer and humanitarian. SHE IS THE FIRST RECIPIENT of the AJC Women’s Global Leadership Award.

    “Health is a precious resource, essential for building strong and prosperous communities throughout the world,” said Gerberding. “I’m passionate about helping to protect people’s health while in my role at Merck Vaccines and in my previous roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of California SAN FRANCISCO My tenure at these institutions has also reaffirmed my belief that women can be especially effective champions for global health promotion.”

    Gerberding, a passionate advocate for sustainable solutions for global health, is responsible for Merck’s current portfolio of vaccines, planning for the introduction of vaccines from the company’s pipeline, and accelerating efforts to broaden access to Merck’s vaccines around the world. She served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2002 to 2009.”
    http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=7oJILSPwFfJSG&b=8479733&ct=13928239

    Merck & Co. traces its history back to 1668 Germany when Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased the “Angel Pharmacy” in Darmstadt. In the early 1800s, (Heinrich) Emmanuel Merck turned the business to the manufacture of morphine, codeine, and cocaine. E. Merck AG (today’s Merck KG&A, still in Germany) was split into an American division in the 1880s after Merck agent Theodore Weicker set up a sales office and was joined by George Merck. The men purchased a 150-acre site in Rahway, New Jersey and built a production plant that included 4 divisions and a flock of “test” sheep. http://www.answers.com/topic/merck-co-inc

  44. #44 stevie
    June 8, 2015

    So people who prefer not to inject their young children with these flawed products are overwhelmingly educated, successful people? I would have thought it would fit your narrative better if they were all living in trailers in the woods preparing for Armageddon.

  45. […] The faces of antivaccine parents: Overwhelmingly affluent, white, and suburban (and that’s not a liberal demographic either. Just saying) Bernie Sanders Lays Into Republicans For Their Attack On Social Security Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska Still Wants to Kill People Ebola outbreak thrusts MSF into new roles: Relief agency sees its mission expanding after leading response to West Africa epidemic. Here’s Why Libertarians Are Mostly Men Is the Grand Prix Taking Boston for a Ride? Eight hours in Oslo How Texas Politicians Just Made Finding a Lump in Your Breast Even Scarier A Federal Appeals Court Just Denied Birthright Citizenship to American Samoans Using Racist Caselaw (all three judges are Republican appointees including the wingnut Judge Janice Rodgers-Brown–and to think Republicans wanted her on the Supreme Court) Why Public Libraries Matter: It’s time for America to stop starving its libraries of funding. Understanding Tenure The Real “No-Go Zone” of France: A Forbidden No Man’s Land Poisoned by War INCENTIVE STRUCTURE With a series of major hacks, China builds a database on Americans Why Hillary Clinton Must Back a LGBT Full Civil Rights Law for Her Own Sake ‘I’m Eating Once A Day': Congress’ Food Stamp Cuts Hit Wisconsin Seniors Hard The Harvard IKB School of Engineering […]

  46. #46 Toto "The Rock"
    June 8, 2015

    COW 1: “I heard there was some immunity going around….but I was mistaken.

    COW 2: “A human pox on you, my friend!”

    The true history of “herd immunity”………

  47. […] dogwhistles that resonate with conservative and libertarian politics, including a subset of the white, affluent parents who make up the bulk of the antivaccine […]

  48. #48 johnny
    June 9, 2015

    So is this why white men like Mr Gates target the black population with vaccines in the third world because they are not middle class and affluent. I suppose they are considered effluent and up for mugging. Even better if they are conned into paying for it. Maybe I should become a proper doctor like Mr O and then I could literally make a killing.
    Trebles all round

  49. #49 johnny
    June 9, 2015

    So, this thread means that black people are too stupid to understand why vaccines are useless, what exactly is your point?

  50. #50 Chris
    June 9, 2015

    stevie: “I would have thought it would fit your narrative better if they were all living in trailers in the woods preparing for Armageddon.”

    Perhaps you should read the above article.

  51. #51 herr doktor bimler
    June 9, 2015

    I am disappointed that TOTO @43 missed the opportunity to drag in the Rothschilds and the Elders of Zion as well.

  52. #52 Toto "The Rock"
    June 9, 2015

    THOMPSON WAS ON TO SOMETHING……
    African variation at Cytochrome P450 genes
    Evolutionary aspects and the implications for the treatment of infectious diseases

    “This review provides an overview of current knowledge of intra-Africa CYP450 variation, and the known associations with sub-optimal clinical outcomes in the treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, the potential for evolutionary approaches in the study of CYP450 variation is discussed to examine their potential in preventative medicine and intervention strategies within Africa.”

    “Variability in CYP450 expression is known to affect the safety and efficacy of therapeutic drugs, including many used in the treatment and control of infectious diseases.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3868406/

  53. #53 Toto "The Rock"
    June 9, 2015

    @herr doktor bimler
    Are the Redshields involved as well?
    Could you please document that?

  54. #54 Toto "The Rock"
    June 9, 2015

    @bimler
    Here’s one of my ancestors. You don’t think he was packing poppies do you?
    http://www.amazon.com/James-Dewolf-Rhode-Island-Slave/dp/1626194793

  55. #55 Toto "The Rock"
    June 9, 2015

    @ bimler
    I also have common ancestry with this family:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jacob_Astor_III
    Grandpa John might have been selling more than furs….

    Amazingly, I am also descended from this family. WHAT PATRIOTS!
    http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/middleton.htm

    https://www.middletonplace.org/history~/the-four-generations.html

    Captain DeWolf’s favorite port o’ call was Charleston……..

    Now these ancestors had an affinity for China….and Rhode Island:
    https://www.historiccharleston.org/russell.aspx

  56. #56 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 10, 2015

    Never mind, HDB. johnny made up for that with his racism.

  57. #57 herr doktor bimler
    June 10, 2015

    Maybe I should become a proper doctor like Mr O
    I wonder what is stopping him. No matter, medicine’s loss is osteopathy’s gain.

  58. #58 MI Dawn
    June 10, 2015

    Oh yawn. Toto, like the mutt he/she is, has rolled out the ancestry files. I’m not impressed, but then, I go back farther then that; I just don’t feel like boasting about it with specific links. I’ll just say that if ancestry means you’re correct, Toto, then I have you beat. I can easily join the DAR, DOC, and, being a FFV, take you to Virginia and show you my family’s land (grant from King James) and name many famous people I’m related to, both in the US and the UK.

    So go away. You’re boring.

  59. #59 MI Dawn
    June 10, 2015

    (and yeah, I have the documentation for all this. My grandfather, once he retired, decided to research his family tree as he wondered if the family really had the right to use the crest his brother gave him. Turns out, yes, we do.)

  60. #60 TBruce
    June 10, 2015

    Rockhead:

    That’s an illustrious family background. What happened to you?

    BTW, my brother traced our family tree to find that it included bandleader Paul Whiteman. Which means my ancestry in part is Jewish. So you can take your casual antisemitism and go fornicate elsewhere.

  61. #61 JGC
    June 10, 2015

    Toto, it actually doesn’t look like Thompson was on to anything: the cite you provided @ 52 presents no evidence that genetic variability of CYP450 impacts the body’s response to vaccines in people of African descent.

    Maybe read the paper next time?

  62. #62 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    DW: Otherwise, the TMs appear to be white, at least middle class, suburban and affluent. And I did find myself often feeling sorry for their plight – they don’t have easy lives.

    I’ve been saying all along that this is a white burbie thing, and what do I get? Cries of racism, even though I’m white.. (A fair bit darker than most of them, thanks Conquistadors.)
    I’d really save your sympathy: the TMRs lead fairly cushy lives, and there’s no excuse for the amount of h3ll they put their kids through.

    DW: Autism may be an affront to their pride.

    Yeeep. Also, having a kid with disabilities really impacts their standing on the social ladder. That’s a long way to fall.

    Delphine: What does your doctor dislike about trampolines?

    Eric Lund: Their kids might, if they see friends dying of VPDs or becoming crippled as a result. But the lesson will be very expensive indeed.

    Mm, I doubt the kids can learn anything, given who was in charge of their earliest education. That’s like expecting a homeschooled kid taught creationism to understand biology. (Which is why I support removing both vaccines and biology classes from certain areas. There’s no demand for either of these things in the affected locales, and never will be.)

    One note, LKH may be adopted or have married into suburbia. Either way, she should be regarded as ethnically white, regardless of her actual biological heritage.

  63. #63 Denice Walter
    June 10, 2015

    @ PGP:

    Dr Jay called me a racist! Woo hoo!

    Right and I am quite remarkably white myself altho’ I have oddly textured hair ( thanks, ancient Iberians/ Mediterraneans, probably).

    BUT I do feel sorry for TMs because they suffer and they ARE people. I imagine myself being caught in such an intractable dilemma-: their children have serious problems- ASDs, LD, ID, health iissues .A few have psychological issues of their own and have consulted with therapists/ psychiatrists. The future seems bleak, not what they expected at all.. Their lives are not beds of roses and most likely, they were never prepared for hard times, if they had been brought up in rather cushy semi-poshness as I suspect some were.

    If you watch them on the videos, you might perhaps feel a shred of sympathy for at least one or two
    .
    Feeling sorry for them doesn’t mean that I think what they’re doing is right. They are wrong, wrong, wrong and mislead parents routinely: they even pay for biomed treatment through their charity Team TMR.

  64. #64 Delphine
    June 10, 2015

    @PGP, they’re dangerous. AAP and CPS (where we live) don’t recommend them. Delphinette’s doctor has seen far too many injuries, some of them quite serious, so he’s pretty adamant. “Would you put a swimming pool in your backyard and then let the kids to jump in, no training, no supervision? Yeah.”

  65. #65 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    Delphine: Ah, that makes sense. It seems a tad overprotective, but then again, I spent most of my childhood around a playground which had multiple hazards (including rocks* for kids to practice bouldering on), and nets near trampolines were unknown.
    *Yes, that’s right, actual rocks on a children’s playground. I still like it better than the “equipment” that replaced it.

  66. #66 Mrs Woo
    June 10, 2015

    Here in the wild part of the world a neighbor child was life-flighted for a compound fracture from a trampoline fall…

  67. #67 Barefoot
    https://twitter.com/ActVInfectiousD
    June 10, 2015

    #63 RE ” .A few have psychological issues of their own and have consulted with therapists/ psychiatrists. ”

    Um, that would be

    * paranoid ideation

    * fixed ideas

    * grievance-collecting

    * schizophreniform perception of connection where none exists

    * hypervigilance

    The list goes on, and they suppress research into possible genetic links to the pathogenesis of autism, all the while decrying “lack of research” since as we know, “Big Pharma suppresses medical research”.

  68. #68 Sarah A
    June 10, 2015

    Mm, I doubt the kids can learn anything, given who was in charge of their earliest education. That’s like expecting a homeschooled kid taught creationism to understand biology.

    This is a good example of why it’s unwise to over-generalize: I was raised creationist but I still managed to understand my high school biology class well enough to realize that the evidence for common descent was so strong that either life on earth evolved from a common ancestor, or God was deliberately trying to fool us into thinking it did (needless to say, I didn’t consider the latter a viable possibility.) Granted, I wasn’t homeschooled, but up until that particular course I might as well have been as far as evolutionary biology went: my previous science classes had avoided evolution, while my church made sure that I was thoroughly indoctrinated with creationist propaganda. Children can transcend their backgrounds; to simply write certain kids off as “unteachable” is unconscionable, whether you justify it based on race, socio-economic status, or religious/cultural background.

  69. #69 Denice Walter
    June 10, 2015

    @ Barefoot:

    Actually, without naming names:
    one of the most vocal of the original TMs**, took herself off of meds for depression and has been scarcely heard since then. She was involved in both TMR and another offshoot project. One other, who spoke on one of their AO presentations, mentioned being in therapy.
    Their School Psychologist TM spoke against meds for kids with ASDs/ LDs but believes in aromatherapy.

    Others claims PTSD but no word of standard treatment- although there’s lots of woo “to take care of YOU” throughout their venue – diets, enemas, essential oils, energy medicine, meditation- you name it, they recommend it!

    -btw- your observation is noteworthy although I can’t say so.
    OOps!

    ** Team TMR is the second incarnation: newbies are always being invited into their sorority ( originally 23 mums and one pa/ now they number 40)

  70. #70 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    Sarah: Children can transcend their backgrounds; to simply write certain kids off as “unteachable” is unconscionable, whether you justify it based on race, socio-economic status, or religious/cultural background.

    I appreciate that this is a bit of a touchy subject for you, but let’s face it, we’re living in an economic climate where hard choices need to be made. Why should there be doctors forced to serve in suburbs where people hate them and are happy with their quacks? Why not send the vials of shots to people who want them?
    Why should biology teachers be sentenced to red states, where all the adults hate them and maybe one kid in fifty learns anything from them? Why should taxpayers support deserted museums in red states, when the collections could educate kids who might want to learn, and the curators won’t risk getting shot? I agree kids can transcend their backgrounds, but we should make it clear to the adults that there are consequences.

  71. #71 Sarah A
    June 10, 2015

    @PGP

    Where on earth do you get the idea that doctors are being “forced” to work in the suburbs, or that biology teachers are “sentenced” to red states? Where is your evidence that “all” of the adults living in red states hate biology teachers, that only “1 in 50” students learn anything from them, that museums in red states are “deserted,” or that any of these things are in such short supply that they need to be rationed? I’m going to go out on a limb here and answer my own question – you don’t have any. I usually ignore your fact-free more-liberal-than-thou screeds, but out of curiosity I wondered how you’d respond when confronted by an actual person who doesn’t fit your tidy little stereotypes. I guess now I know – by pulling self-justifying “facts” out of your butt.

  72. #72 shay
    June 10, 2015

    I live in an almost totally-red county (in a blue state), one that’s predominantly Caucasian and Christian, and fairly affluent. Moreover it has a 97% vaccine compliance rate and no school district here teaches anything but evolution in high school science classes.

    Oh, and we have a planetarium, two museums, and a natural wildlife preserve. Fairly well-frequented and none of the staff has ever been threatened with execution. I’m reasonably sure I would have heard about that, since I sit on four or five committees with the local PDs, the county sheriff and the coroner.

    We’re also considered a great place to live if you’re gay. The fact that the last time I voted there were 13 names on the ballot and 9 of them were Republicans running unopposed doesn’t seem to have made that much difference.

  73. #73 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    Sarah A: Well, there are doctor’s offices in the suburbs, which are hotbeds of anti-vax sentiment, and I assume the docs end up there because someone has to do it, or they got priced out of the city.

    Lousiana and Texas happily hobble any biology teacher they can find, and the school boards in red states tend to be full of the most unpleasant people anyone can find. Plus, you ever see any home-school parents go to museums except to mock them?
    I get home-school groups in the museum I work at occasionally, and I never am able to figure out what they are trying to do, I assume it’s to mock, stake out weak points or demonstrate the superiority of themselves vs. the general public. (And yes, I can usually spot these groups immediately and distinguish them from the public- the women are basically translucent.)
    I’d like to point out that education, shots and museums cost money. Money is in short supply in the US. I’m not talking rationing- just relocation of certain resources.

  74. #74 Lawrence
    June 10, 2015

    Just when I thought PGP couldn’t be more of a bigot, she surprises me…..

  75. #75 Mrs Woo
    June 10, 2015

    PGP’s words often shock and confuse me. I used to believe that maybe they were stated for shock value. Over the years I have been saddened to realize they are often serious.

    When it comes to red vs blue, she should have more mercy. Often states’ colors are as much a little result of gerrymandering as anything else. I was a member of the museum of natural history in the closest city when I lived in the suburbs, and took my toddler (and when I could, his older brother) frequently.

  76. #76 shay
    June 10, 2015

    PGP:

    “Most anti-vaxx parents are affluent white suburbanites” =/= ” most affluent whit sububanites are anti-vaxx.”

    That would be like saying that since most pedophiles are married heterosexual men, most married heterosexual men are pedophiles.

  77. #77 Roger Kulp
    June 10, 2015

    @ Denice Walker

    Now the Nation of Islam has allied themselves with RFK Jr. on SB277.This video is a must see.In in vaccines are compared to the Tuskegee Experiment,and Pharoh ordering the killing of all male babies.In it the NOI is calling for a holy war over SB277.It is disturbing to say the least.

  78. #78 Karen
    Ca
    June 10, 2015

    But the question of who is profiting from all this has not been addressed. The “antivaxers” are loosing their reputation, whistle blowers get ostracised, and Big pharma has no liability and keeps producing products with little or no oversight….and I forgot…. The CDC , NIH and big pharma jobs famous revolving door ……. and nobody raises an eyebrow? Anyone heard of conflict of interest? And don’t forget the AMA was swearing smoking was ok, not too long ago. Health, technology, science move along with time and we find in history that we change views when the evidence does not support the reality. At first it always seems anecdotal……just look at the science, the vaccinated and the…AH sorry they don’t really have a control group, oops they missed that part.

  79. #79 Denice Walter
    June 10, 2015

    Because I have some time now… what the f@ck!

    We are in the midst of a sceptical conversation/ social psychology experiment –

    PGP is a supporter of SBM, science, evolution, education and is of a liberal bent
    HOWEVER she has interesting ideas about particular groups of people which some might call ‘stereotypes’.

    I would venture that perhaps she holds some of these beliefs because she experienced negative outcomes at a young age associated with these groups and she has become very wary of them. In addition, she frequented hardline feminist/ radical forums that may have loaded the dice even more.

    SO if we propose that we would convert worried, on-the-fence vaccinators/ woo believers to our views why can’t be convert -or at least soften- PGP’s views? She’s one of us, right?

    I’d venture that emotion-laden beliefs are difficult to work with but isn’t that what psychologists and sociologists study: attitude change and attitude formation? Education and therapy as well deal with this.

    I recall a study of men who served in a war zone: they found that those who held very strong negative racial stereotypes changed them for the better- on the average- after being in combat with men of that race. In other words, they got to know them better by sharing life threatening experiences and everyday activities with them.

    Some cognitive psychologists characterise stereotypes as a way of using less information to make decisions quickly. It’s obviously not accurate but it tells us to avoid what has harmed us in the past – over-generalised for added safety.

    Some of the attitudes PGP espouses have been studied and there is data about people categorised by group x topic.
    Unfortunately, most of this stuff is dense and not always easy to find. There are also political polls that explore these questions.

    Some food for thought:
    – AoA/ TMR regulars agree about vaccines being the devil incarnate but they have different political views, educations and live somewhat different lifestyles ( middle class + to rich) .
    – amongst Orac’s minions, SBM supporters are not all of the same political bent, educational background and income level; religious beliefs also are variable/ diverse
    – we might say things like Red vs Blue but in reality, it’s much more complicated AND great news- it can be SEEN because of maps. (see Wikip—)
    We find that as we look more closely, red states may have blue cities/ blue states have red areas. Some places at finer discrimination look like patchworks of both, appearing purple.
    – However, there is some truth in stereotypes: there IS a rural/ urban dimension for red/ blue. Anti-vaxxers ARE predominantly white, suburban and affluent. RI folk ARE pretty white.and educated as well.

    I like PGP and think that she has much to contribute although some of her statements are offputting to me-
    BUT I think I understand a little why she feels as she does.

    Hopefully, we all can learn a great deal from our interactions with each other:
    AND have World Peace.
    AND nice things.

  80. #80 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    RK: It’s less worrying than you think. Nation of Islam has been irrelevant for decades, and everyone knows Farrakhan is batsheet. Most of the newcomer Muslim communities won’t have anything to do with the Nation of Islam.

    Mrs. Woo: I am aware of the problem of gerrymandering, but gerrymandering alone doesn’t explain why the two states next to mine might as well be in a different universe.

    DW: The main thing is that I’ve been following politics and the big debates for most of my life, and I can maybe think of two things G*d approves of. I get kind of antagonistic toward people who want to make their colorless, joyless life the law of the land. And the fact that most of them are like the creationist troll on the big thread makes me disinclined to give any Christian a chance.

    Lawrence : It’d be bigotry if they were a different race than I am. I may have been a bit harsh on LKH, but that still doesn’t excuse her penchant for being stupid in public.

  81. #81 Politicalguineapig
    June 10, 2015

    Shay: Actually, it’s more like x amount of pedophiles are priests, but not all priests are pedophiles. Sure, there might be a suburb somewhere where all the kids are vaccinated. But I’d be willing to bet you’d find very few new scientifically minded mothers willing to move to a suburb- just as you’d find very few mothers of older kids who’d leave their kids alone in a priest’s vicinity.

  82. #82 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 10, 2015

    It’d be bigotry if they were a different race than I am.

    The lads at Oxford Dictionaries beg to differ.
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/bigotry

    Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself

    And at Cambridge Dictionaries
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/bigot

    a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who thinks that anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong

  83. #83 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 10, 2015

    D’oh –

    And at Collins
    http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/bigot

    a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

    And at Merriam Webster
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot

    a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

  84. #84 Narad
    June 11, 2015

    And don’t forget the AMA was swearing smoking was ok, not too long ago.

    It’s hard to “forget” something like this if one doesn’t actually follow the Health Deranger in the first place.

    Of course, I imagine the genuine parallels cut so close to home when put next to antivaccine profiteers that they simply have to be repressed.

  85. #85 Narad
    June 11, 2015

    .In it the NOI is calling for a holy war over SB277.

    When the Nation of Islam is reduced to trying to advertise on billboards less than a mile from its home base, you’ll have to color me unimpressed.

  86. #86 novalox
    June 11, 2015

    @karen

    So, got anything to support your assertions, because they fly in the face of science and reality.

  87. #87 MI Dawn
    June 11, 2015

    @novalox: No, Karen has nothing. She came here the first time spouting Pharma Shill and AOA hoary tropes, and I see she continues on. Somehow, she missed the disclaimers on the commercials that “these are actors”, not real physicians. And she also appears to be clueless about the the fact that drug manufacturers, including those who make vaccines, *can* be sued in court for a faulty drug. However, that takes a lot of time and money, so, to help parents, the VCIP was created. I’m sure she has no idea how it works, nor the fact that if parents lose in the VCIP they can still try the civil courts.

    Since she apparently only reads things like AOA, TMR, Adams, and those loons, she doesn’t understand reality.

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    June 11, 2015

    @ PGP:

    But you see, not every Christian is like that troll- he’s an outlier. Religious people fall along a spectrum= imagine a curve, like everything else: some are liberals, some conservatives but most are in the middle. Extremes are newsworthy. Sure you’ll see and hear the most egregious examples on television and SOME of them do get a measure of political power, in particular places, in particular times but even during Trans-Atlantic Conservative Realm Supreme ( i.e. Maggie and Ronnie, 1980s) their beliefs did not permeate through their entire cultures across the board.

    Right now, the US has a ( half) black president, two of its most popular leaders are women and its largest city has a very liberal mayor. Recent polls show a general turn to the left on important issues- including income equality, climate considerations and marriage equality- which will suit liberal candidates .

    Do you really think that large cities on the coasts will ever become havens teeming with Quiver-fulls?.Please seriously look at Red State/ Blue State Wikip— maps .The coasts have a history of progressive ideas for hundreds of years.

    Personally, I have never been enamoured of belief systems that pigeonhole people into neat orderly niches and have prescribed gender and social roles: it doesn’t make psychological sense. Traditional roles are not for me. I have gone out of my way to live exactly as I please and that included not having children and not following more standard patterns. No one ever tried to stop me either.

    People @ RI have shown how diverse they are and it doesn’t line up necessarily with religion or lack thereof because there are other intervening factors that include personality and life experiences. You can sample this diversity virtually before perhaps envisioning it more easily in every day life..

  89. […] Orac mentioned this study in a recent post. He remarked that “the stereotype (of the typical vaccine denier) is that it’s a bunch of liberal, hippy-dippy lovers of “natural” living, but that’s not quite it.” I’ve seen many memes (I hate memes, they’re trash) that have a photo of a hipster/hippy young woman who obviously is opposed to vaccines. […]

  90. #90 Toto "The Rock"
    June 11, 2015

    @MI Dawn
    Were your ancestors slave traders and opium dealers (the original Big Pharma) as well? If not, they were American poor white trash. It was a rather exclusive club back them……
    BTW, the original Myddelton was a Mayor of the City of London and an original investor in the East India Company….headwaters of American drug corruption.

  91. #91 Toto "The Rock"
    June 11, 2015

    “casual antisemitism”
    LOL! I was wondering how long it would take for certain individuals to use the “a” word or bring up the “Elders”. You were much faster than those using the “H” word, LOL! Didn’t you notice Toto’s last name? Do you have something against successful Jewish doctors? Hmmmmm?

    ANOTHER TOTO TAKEDOWN!

  92. #92 Toto "The Rock"
    June 11, 2015

    Quotable quote:
    “Traditional roles are not for me. I have gone out of my way to live exactly as I please and that included not having children and not following more standard patterns. No one ever tried to stop me either.”
    A FREE GIFT FROM THE COMEDY GODS!

  93. #93 Toto "The Rock"
    June 11, 2015

    The original Wall Street theme song….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQmO-WfEkk4
    Cotton, slaves, opium …….
    COMPLICITY:
    http://www.amazon.com/Complicity-Promoted-Prolonged-Profited-Slavery/dp/0345467833

  94. #96 James Cook
    Omaha, NE
    June 12, 2015

    This is so racist…

  95. #97 herr doktor bimler
    June 12, 2015

    Karen has nothing. She came here the first time spouting Pharma Shill and AOA hoary tropes, and I see she continues on. Somehow, she missed the disclaimers on the commercials that “these are actors”, not real physicians.

    Judging by her choice of punctuation, she has also spent too much time at the gym working out on the Elliptical Trainers.

  96. #98 Helianthus
    June 12, 2015

    @ James Cook

    IKR – it’s interesting how the troll keep shooting itself in the foot to attract attention.

    @ herr doktor bimler

    Judging by her choice of punctuation, she has also spent too much time at the gym working out on the Elliptical Trainers

    There is a box full of internets waiting for you at the reception.

    I can only suggest that Karen is a native of The Semicolonial State of San Serriffe

    (strange map saved here, among other places)

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