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Anti-Vaxers

Someone on my blogroll posted something anti-vaccine, citing the rise in autism cases as just one reason that we should “stop poisoning our bodies”.  As someone who wouldn’t be alive if not for the radical medical intervention of the 20th century, I’m incredibly skeptical of anyone who claims that we’re poisoning our bodies with drugs without also acknowledging that we also don’t typically die in childhood and the life expectancy is over 40.

There is no link between vaccines and autism and more importantly, vaccines save lives. The increase in autism is partially to do with different diagnostic conditions, the introduction of autism as a spectrum disorder — to focus on the phony and disproven and discredited link invented by a doctor trying to sell his vaccine as better than the current one is to fail to research the real causes of autism.

Again there are 0 ties between vaccines and autism. It’s just a lie. The fact remains that when children are not vaccinated they get diseases that can kill them and make it more likely that the vaccinated kids will get those diseases as well. I’d rather have an autistic child than a dead child. And I’d rather not die because people are making up reasons to not trust the good science that’s been done.

Should you believe everything that comes from big pharma? No, of course not. And should you want to treat autism and be skeptical of anything that people put in their bodies? Sure. But you should also be able to rationally look at the human costs of not vaccinating children and the motivation behind the lie that there was a connection between vaccines and autism in the first place. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

“Vaccines against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, hepatitis B, and Hib disease are preventing 2.5 million deaths each year.” – CDC

Short blog with good graph:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/05/12/vaccines-do-not-cause-autism/

Longish on the anti-vaxers:
http://www.skepdic.com/antivaccination.html

Comic about Andrew Wakefield, the doctor of the original study:
http://tallguywrites.livejournal.com/148012.html

Longish well cited on the history and consequences:
http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/09-06-03/

Comments

  1. Cat says

    The anti-vaccine type of thinking really gets to me. We don’t see many of these diseases regularly today because vaccines give “herd” immunity so that the few that don’t get vaccinated are less likely to get the disease as well. I wish that people know how vaccines worked – you don’t poison your body, you activate your body’s defenses so that it can handle the disease like it’s been seen before.

  2. Cat says

    Agreed. That blog is incredibly frustrating. Many diseases we have vaccines for now were not eliminated by other scientific methods (like refrigeration). We have vaccines for a reason. And the funding issue is a sensitive one as well. Companies will not create vaccines unless there is a real need – if there isn’t one, people will not pay money for them and they are time intensive and expensive to produce. In vet med, we have issues with this. If we could have vaccines to more of our diseases, we would be happier.

    I think that with the advent of overprotective parenting, we are going to have (and already do have to a certain extent) crippled children. They aren’t being exposed to germs and antigens from the environment because parents disinfect everything. Sterile environments are really only good for cases where the child will die if exposed to any germs. The outbreak of measles and mumps recently is also proof of this. And a girl in my class was personally affected by that. She missed a few weeks of class due to having the mumps. You know when they last time I had heard of anyone having the mumps was? My parents told me stories about when they were kids. To have gone almost 50 years without it being prevalent was a miracle.

    I think the real reason autism and vaccines have been linked regardless of evidence is the feeling of hopelessness that parents of autistic children have. It’s much easier to blame a vaccine than to admit that these things happen, and you just have to live with them as best you can.

  3. ashleyfmiller says

    I think what also gets to me is this idea that having autism is the most awful thing possible. So many of the new cases of it are mild, because it’s been reclassified as a spectrum disorder. We’re talking about people who, 50 years ago, would have simply been called nerdy and gone into sciences. Yes, it can be incredibly debilitating, but for many of the cases they’re talking about something that can be addressed with good psychotherapy and that just gives someone a different approach to thought. I guess this is partially out of my own mental issues, but being different is not always the same as being bad. Different ability isn’t always the same as disability, and having some sort of health problem doesn’t make a child suddenly worth nothing. It seems like anti-vaxers genuinely would rather have a dead child than a autistic one. It’s really horrifying. There shouldn’t be the sort of hopelessness you’re describing.

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