Savage Goes Full Anti-Vaxxer

While the right wing is constantly pumping out new and more convoluted conspiracy theories, the anti-vaccination movement has been most commonly associated with the left. But right wing radio show host Michael Savage has now joined their ranks, telling people not to take the flu vaccine because “not everything your government tells you is true.” Oh, and autism.

“Did Harry Reid take a flu shot? Did Barack Obama take a flu shot? Did Barack Obama’s lovely family take a flu shot? Did Joe Biden take a flu shot?” Savage asked.

“Which of the mandarins took the flu shot?”

He explained that he was talking specifically about vaccines and was not advocating the avoidance of all pharmaceuticals.

Known for his many books on herbal medicines, Savage acknowledged he has benefited from “an awful lot of life-saving regular medicines.”

“The flu vaccine?” he asked. “No, I wouldn’t take it.”

Savage noted “not everything your government tells you is true.”…

Someone may well say, Savage acknowledged,” Well, I took the shot and it didn’t kill me.”

But when you’re older, he argued, “and you get ALS or Alzheimer’s disease or MS, or you watch your kid develop seizures, or your kid becomes autistic, God forbid, what are you going to say?”

Savage likes to say “germs don’t discriminate.” Neither, apparently, does crazy.

28 comments on this post.
  1. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant):

    Seems counter-productive. Anti-vax hysteria kills the poor and gullible, which is the demographic they rely on.

  2. slc1:

    It should be noted that the most notorious anti-vaxer in the Congress was former Representative Dan Burton, not noted as a left wing pinko commie.

  3. Alverant:

    I don’t know if the anti-vax people have commonly been from the political left. Michaelle Bachman for example.

  4. raven:

    Anti-vaxxer is orthogonal to the left right axis.

    There are huge numbers of christofascist anti-vaxxers. It’s common in the cult churches and some are Mormons.

    They just can’t let any conspiracy theories lie around unused.

  5. Randomfactor:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/12/obama-visits-the-clinic/

  6. chilidog99:

    Raven, that’s why we have stepped up the chemtrail campaign to vax them anyway.

  7. Randomfactor:

    While the flu vaccine protects us from the rest of the stuff in the chemtrails.

  8. rork:

    While not about flu vax, I’ll public service here to mention that “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009, Featuring the Burden and Trends in Human Papillomavirus (HPV)–Associated Cancers and HPV Vaccination Coverage Levels” is out, and I think anyone can get it: http://seer.cancer.gov/report_to_nation/ .

    Besides the always thrilling details about the changing incidence rates of various cancers, is a map (fig4) showing uptake rates in 13-17 females of HPV vaccines. My beloved Michigan is in the bottom tier (18-25%), keeping disgraceful company with MS, AL, GA, AR, ID, UT. So was Indiana. Neighboring Wisconsin is in the top tier (40-55%). We expect some correlation to religion, but I can’t come up with a good model. Perhaps estimates have big uncertainties.
    Folks: We’ve got to do so much better than this to get good herd immunity effects.

    As always: Young men need that jab too. It’s not just cervical cancers: head+neck, anal, penile. You don’t want those and you don’t want other people having them. Can’t stand thinking about your young son doing tricky things with his tongue (and many other even riskier behaviors)? Tough! It’s people’s lives. Together, we can lick this.

  9. F [nucular nyandrothol]:

    Did Barack Obama take a flu shot?

    Uh, yeah, I’d be pretty damned surprised if he hasn’t. He has a semi- mission critical job.

  10. shouldbeworking:

    Savage is right, not everything the government tells you is right. Iraq having WMD, no Watergate coverup, election reform….

    But he is the textbook definition of gullible and deluded.

  11. Jasper of Maine:

    When I first saw the headline I thought we were talking about Dan Savage and I was like WHAT

  12. Michael Heath:

    I don’t perceive anti-vaxxers as lefties. Instead I perceive them to be populists from both the left (homeopathics, those in love with woo) and the right (homeopathics, really conservative Christians), along with cranks (conservative-libertarians, engineers and medical doctors who behave like cranks). It’d be interesting to get an actual breakdown.

    I was able to find studies on the demographics of children who didn’t receive childhood vaccines, but that doesn’t really address it since so many current anti-vaxxers had sane parents several decades ago and got their vaccines.

  13. raven:

    Savage is right, not everything the government tells you is right. Iraq having WMD, no Watergate coverup, election reform….

    The Bush tax cuts will pay for themselves.

    So far all they’ve cost is one Lost Generation of high unemployment and nonexistent economic growth.

  14. Artor:

    I won’t be getting a flu shot either, but not because I think vaccines are evil or ineffective. I’m strong & healthy, and a flu is just a few days of misery that I haven’t experienced in 6 or 8 years. If I was in a high-risk group, like the elderly or the immune-challenged, hell yeah, I’d get that shot!

  15. Modusoperandi:

    Obama did get his shots. He got the vaccine to protect himself from “the” “vaccine” he’s “giving” to everyone else. AGENDA 21, PEOPLE!

  16. Michael Heath:

    Artor writes:

    I won’t be getting a flu shot either, but not because I think vaccines are evil or ineffective. I’m strong & healthy, and a flu is just a few days of misery that I haven’t experienced in 6 or 8 years. If I was in a high-risk group, like the elderly or the immune-challenged, hell yeah, I’d get that shot!

    I suggest considering the wellbeing of others. By getting a flu shot you help limit the spread of flu. By not getting immunized and if you become infected, you might eventually infect someone who is far more vulnerable than you – perhaps two or three degrees from you.

    I don’t argue this from a high horse, this was the reason I started getting the flu shot a couple of years ago after an immunologist pointed this out to me in a blog post. I only wished I had the character to think of this myself. So I didn’t merely start getting a shot every Autumn, I also became more sensitive to my insensitivity and have worked on this accordingly. I’m told I still have a ways to go.

  17. ursamajor:

    Compared to his usual word salad that was remarkable coherent. Still wrong but at least we could tell what he was talking about.

    I have tuned into his show now and then for about 15 years now and I wonder if he actually feeds and dresses himself.

  18. Karen Locke:

    I get a flu shot religiously; I’m asthmatic, and taking an ambulance ride to the hospital for an emergency breathing treatment is unpleasant and expensive. And that wasn’t even the flu, just a really bad cold.

    Up until a few years ago, my generally quite healthy husband didn’t bother with the flu shot. Then there was the day I came home to find him shivering in bed with a 103 degree fever, followed by three weeks of feeling like crap. Nowadays he often beats me to the annual flu shot, but that’s because his company provides them free of charge, in the workplace.

    A friend of mine teaches at a local university. Periodically he moans that some student dragged him/herself out of bed to take an exam while sick, miserable, and contagious as hell. “I’m glad to write a makeup exam,” he says. “Don’t come in and make me and the rest of the class sick.”

  19. sunsangnim:

    This is the same clown that doesn’t even think autism is a legitimate diagnosis.
    http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/07/17/savage-on-autism-a-fraud-a-racket-in-99-percent/144072

  20. Zugswang:

    Our pharmacy has given out more flu vaccines this year than in the last two combined, and that’s the trend state-wide, as well (damn good thing our pharmacist ordered so many this year). Guess the influence of known idiots is no match for the fact that everyone around them is getting sick, and they don’t want to join the mucus-laden horde.

  21. Zeno:

    I heard Savage on KSFO out of San Francisco this evening. He was complaining about how miserable he felt, with his “ice-cold hands” and the sensation that a bad case of the flu was coming on. He repeated that he had refused to risk the flu vaccine and opined that his left-wing critics would rejoice at his illness. I admit I chuckled.

  22. Richard Bartholomew:

    Vaccines cause autism? I thought autism was supposed to be “A fraud, a racket. … In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out”

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/07/17/savage-on-autism-a-fraud-a-racket-in-99-percent/144072

  23. brianwood:

    People who listen to Savage SHOULD get the Darwin Award.

  24. democommie:

    “I also became more sensitive to my insensitivity and have worked on this accordingly. I’m told I still have a ways to go.”.

    Michael Heath:

    I’m available for fucking sensitivity workshops.{;>).

    “He repeated that he had refused to risk the flu vaccine and opined that his left-wing critics would rejoice at his illness. ”

    Sorry, Mikey Whiner, for me to “rejoice” would require reading your obit.

  25. rork:

    Thanks Micheal Heath for crossing Artor, but let me specifically pick some more: ” If I was in a high-risk group, like the elderly or the immune-challenged, hell yeah, I’d get that shot!”
    If you come to be in one of those groups, the vaccine will not be as effective for you, so you will be more dependent on good behavior of others (to get their vaccines) so as not to expose you. For me, the primary reason to get jabbed is to help others. The alternative is to increase the chances that you will cause sickness and even death in other people, which is an ethics failure.

    I suggest the classic: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/protect-yourself/

  26. jamessweet:

    To echo what others have said: There are multiple categories of anti-vaxxers, and only one of them is heavily concentrated on the left, that being the naturalistic fallacy-mongers. You also have your paranoid anti-government types and your hyper-religious homeschoolers. It really cuts across the gamut.

  27. obscure:

    @ Artor “a flu is just a few days of misery that I haven’t experienced in 6 or 8 years.”

    The flu is not just a few days of misery. That was most likely just a cold. The flu is something that cen send you to the hospital or kill you. Even when you’re young and healthy otherwise. The flu a couple years ago hit the young and healthy harder because the immune system basically overreacted. Look up Cytokine storms.

    The other part, that you haven’t really been sick in 6 or 8 years… Since you haven’t been in a bad car accident in how many months or years would you stop wearing your seat belt? Because what happened in the past must certainly affect the future. And you’re a good driver (you wash your hands), you only drive in safe areas (you aren’t around children), etc.
    You can catch the flu by people coughing/sneezing near you or onto something you then touch, then you touch your face/nose/eyes.

    Others have addressed the risk you could pose to others. Research Typhoid Mary. She didn’t show signs of thyphoid but passed it on to others, some of whom died.
    I get the vaccine because my husband had a transplant, his mother is 79, people I work with have small childred, etc.

  28. baal:

    “Anti-vax hysteria kills the poor and gullible”

    Saddly, no. The poor don’t get vaccinated due to lack of contact with the health care system. The gullible aren’t always poor. To echo Michael Heath above, vaccines are often marketed as a way for *you* to not get sick but for the health care community, the point is to reach *herd immunity*. i.e. the goal is to stop or reduce transmission. That’s not about you, that’s about everyone else. The gullible are increasing their personal risks but they are also increasing the risk to everyone they meet, rich, poor, wise or dumb.

    Vaccines are also not 100%. They reduce your relative risk 50% or 70% or 30% or etc. If you care about yourself only, you want to reduce the likelyhood of exposure as much as you want to boost your personal immunity.

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