Know somebody who is avoiding vaccinating their children?


Tell them to go read this article summarizing the case for vaccinations.

How do we know that scientists and doctors are right?

I’ve been asked about this quite a bit lately. One person asked me “why aren’t we getting peered reviewed research from other points of view?” The reason is quite simple: there isn’t any.

Comments

  1. Jacob Schmidt says

    Funny thing: in Ontario, if you aren’t vaccinated, you don’t get to go to public school. I almost missed a couple of days because I was late getting my vaccination when I was 14.

  2. says

    One thing I love about DarkBaby’s pediatrician is that he will not see a child whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate* and there are signs in all the exam rooms to that effect along with newspaper clippings about Wakefield/MMR/autism and all of that. His office also doesn’t require an appointment for vaccinations– if your kid just needs their boosters for school or whatever, you can have them done at any time.

    *He will see children that can’t be vaccinated, obvs.

  3. believerskeptic says

    Bravo! Bravo! A thousand times bravo for this. I hope everybody posts this on facebook, twitter, etc.

  4. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Welp, kathryn1962 dismisses everything out of hand because it’s “just a blog.” RCBigg tries to muddy the waters by introducing the “clean vaccines” gish gallop. Christine with “Big Pharma! Big Pharma!”…

    BINGO!

  5. playonwords says

    I am old enough to remember …

    the pictures of wards filled with children, adolescents and young adults enclosed in the life-giving monstrosities that were iron lungs;

    a mother weeping because of the perinatal death of her rubella damaged child;

    a family friend dying because of adult onset mumps;

    having croup and being walked near tar works so that I could inhale the coal tar vapours;

    my primary school being closed because of a polio outbreak and that there were a couple of kids who didn’t make it back;

    the blind child who was damage in utero by her mother catching measles from the older child;

    being hurried away from the man with the tubercular cough.

    The anti-vaxers want to bring back a Victorian world of death and deformity because of their unfounded fears of autism. They would rather that less the wealthy nations continued to suffer the ravages polio than that children should ever be vaccinated.

  6. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Oh yeah, and then Kimmy later on provides me with another fucking bingo with her “VACCINES TURN AMERICA INTO SOCIALISM!” canard.

    Holy shit man.

  7. Jacob Schmidt says

    One thing I love about DarkBaby’s pediatrician is that he will not see a child whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate* and there are signs in all the exam rooms to that effect along with newspaper clippings about Wakefield/MMR/autism and all of that.

    That seems… rather odd. He knows the parents aren’t doing their job right, so he denies them treatment and sends them somewhere esle?

  8. says

    Jacob:
    *shrugs* If the parents aren’t going to allow their children to be treated, what else is he to do? Having a large number of unvaccinated children in the office is putting other patients (especially when you consider that there are newborns that are in and out of that office) and possibly staff at risk.

    Why would he allow for that?

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That seems… rather odd. He knows the parents aren’t doing their job right, so he denies them treatment and sends them somewhere esle?

    Gee, he doesn’t want to be party to unnecessary life threatening but preventable diseases due to the delusions of the parents. The parent’s have said they won’t listen to his professional advice. Why bother with them? Think about that.

  10. says

    And as someone that is not fully vaccinated*, I’m quite happy not to come into contact with large numbers of kids that could be spreading preventable diseases.

    *Whooping cough, here I come!

  11. Menyambal --- The Man Who Broke Even at Monte Carlo says

    A lot of these anti-vax folks are all for woo-based treatments that “boost your immune system”. Well, a vaccine is just a way to prepare your immune system for a particular attacker.

    As for the “un-natural” aspect of vaccines, the original vaccine was simply milkmaids getting cowpox by milking cows. What could be more natural than that? Jenner simply made it deliberate, by sticking a splinter into the skin. What could be more natural than that? Now we grow the stuff on eggs and use a syringe, but it’s still getting a natural product into your immune system to inform it what to prepare for.

    As for the injections, Jenny McCarthy seems to think that injecting botulism toxin into her face is a good thing, and getting lumps of silicone put into her breasts was also needed.

  12. sonofrojblake says

    He knows the parents aren’t doing their job right, so he denies them treatment and sends them somewhere esle?

    His time is a finite resource, and he chooses not to waste it having The Vaccine Conversation for the nth time. Since there’s a “somewhere else” to send them, then yes, I’d say that’s OK. I hope/suspect he would have a different policy if he were the only paediatrician in town, but since he’s obviously not, this seems a reasonable way to proceed.

  13. Jacob Schmidt says

    Having a large number of unvaccinated children in the office is putting other patients (especially when you consider that there are newborns that are in and out of that office) and possibly staff at risk.

    I had considered that. I’m not saying he’s wrong to do so. Potential vectors in an office of sick people seems harmful enough to me, not to mention newborns, which I hadn’t considered. It just seems odd that, knowing those kids aren’t getting adequate care, he sends them elsewhere.

    It sounds like a bad situation with no good solution, especially since all he really can do is tell the parents to do something they are likely adamantly against.

  14. says

    Not vaccinating children is one of the rights parents shouldn’t have just like not fastening their seatbelts isn’t.
    If a parent willfully inflicted the harm and pain that a child suffers from catching a vaccine-preventable disease we’d jail them. but just because they thought they knew so much better than everybody else it’s ok.
    And that doesn’t even cover the children who suffer and die because they caught diseases they were too young to be vaccinated against…

  15. believerskeptic says

    As for the injections, Jenny McCarthy seems to think that injecting botulism toxin into her face is a good thing, and getting lumps of silicone put into her breasts was also needed.

    Best point ever.

  16. says

    Jacob:

    It sounds like a bad situation with no good solution, especially since all he really can do is tell the parents to do something they are likely adamantly against.

    All he can do is protect his other patients and not waste his time with people who are willfully ignorant. He is always willing to answer any questions that parents have, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he has changed the minds of some “fence sitters”.

    From a legal and ethical standpoint, I’m not sure what else there is to do.

    And as sonofrojblake hypothesized, I live in a city with three hospitals (and innumerable doctor’s offices), so he’s not leaving anyone without care.

  17. Dexeron says

    I’ll add this to the pile of things I keep sending over to my sister who continues to refuse to vaccinate her youngest kid. Her latest argument: “Well, if scientists all agree, why do some doctors give exemptions then?” I don’t even know how to begin to respond to that.

  18. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Giliell

    Aw, you stole my analogy :)

    To hell with it: It’s illegal to take your child in the car without making sure they wear a seatbelt; it should be illegal to send them to school without the proper vaccinations.

    Having read #1, I would happily go the way of Ontario.

  19. pschoeckel says

    I work with an antivaxer who refuses to vaccinate his son. His excuse are, big pharma blah blah blah, and vaccination caused his peanut allergy.

  20. believerskeptic says

    To hell with it: It’s illegal to take your child in the car without making sure they wear a seatbelt; it should be illegal to send them to school without the proper vaccinations.

    No vax? Tell ‘em what they won, Don Pardo!

    Twelve years of homeschooling!

    Exactly.

  21. vencetti says

    Weird. My McAfee blocked the violentmetaphors site as Malicious – I wonder if that’s because the site has controversial subjects? Anyway, it’s an emotionally charged issue for parents who think their children are autistic because they have been harmed. I see a cousin of mine post anti-vax stuff on Facebook occasionally. I tried posting some rebuttal info. but the discussion gets very heated very quickly. I’ve grown to ignore the silly posts to keep the relationship.

  22. shoeguy says

    Last night I saw Anti-Vaxxer princess Jenny McCarthy on TV selling those new electric cigarettes. Now there is a product that should be the subject of peer reviewed investigation.

  23. believerskeptic says

    I post pro-vax stuff on my facebook occasionally. Perhaps I need to do it more often. I have been warmly surprised how many of my friends are sensible and will give it a “like.”

  24. Jacob Schmidt says

    Having read #1, I would happily go the way of Ontario.

    Some places are trying; in the US, the problem seems to be allowing “personal reasons” to opt out of vaccination (anything short of medical reasons shouldn’t count). Couldn’t say about the UK or elsewhere, though.

    From a legal and ethical standpoint, I’m not sure what else there is to do.

    Pray for an alien invasion that takes over the bodies of anti-vaxxers and makes them get vaccines?

  25. raven says

    Two or three out of thousand kids who get measles will just die.

    I’ve seen a case not so long ago. Ironically, the parents weren’t even anti-vaxxers. Their kid was vaccinated in a third world country. Most likely the cold chain broke down somewhere and the vaccine lost effectiveness.

    I also remember the big terror from childhood. Polio. The vaccine had been developed but a lot of adults had gotten polio. Some of them limped in various ways and we all knew why. And later on, there were some serious cases of post-polio syndrome.

  26. Victorious Parasol says

    Have pox parties gone out of fashion yet? Please?

    I don’t understand why it’s thought to be so much “safer” to expose a kid to a dangerous virus in an uncontrolled setting. And I say that as someone who hates needles.

  27. Fionnabhair says

    I agree with Giliell and Thumper: vaccines should be mandatory for all children. The only time an exception should be made is for children who cannot be given a vaccine due to a compromised immune system, an allergy, something like that. No bullshit personal belief exemptions, though.

    I’m originally from Ontario, and the government has been (as far as I know) offering free flu shots since 2000 or so, to anyone who wants one. I’m living in Nova Scotia now, and I was able to get a free flu shot last season, and I’ll ask about it again this year as well.

    I read an article recently that argued that parents should be liable if they refuse to vaccinate their children, and as a result someone with a compromised immune system or who for whatever reason (age, allergy, etc) cannot get vaccinated gets sick as a result. I’m all in favour of this, too. Parents should take responsibility for the harm they cause others by refusing to vaccinate.

  28. raven says

    Most public schools require some sort of vaccination. But they also give out exemptions for a lot of reasons.

    In my local school, there was a pertussis epidemic, one that is sporadic on the west coast for a decade now. The school immediately sent all the unvaccinated kids home and said, no vax, no school. Most of those parents went and got their kdis vaccinated.

    It might sound harsh, but that outbreak stopped immediately.

    No one died in this outbreak but a lot of infants have died in recent years all up and down the coast.

  29. DaveH says

    Re: Ontario: You can get an exemption for medical reasons (simple form filled out by a doctor, cited as 1% of students) or get exempted by getting a “Statement of Conscious or Religious Belief”. One local health unit site (http://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Immunization/Law/) cites 2% of kids in school having them. No idea if they are clustered, or what portion are religious and what are “conscience” ones. Unlikely to ever see that data, given privacy laws.

    So yeah, Ontario (My personal home and native land) does require proof of vaccination to enroll in daycares, school, etc., but you can still get exemptions on bullshit grounds.

    @Dexeron: There are legitimate medical issues that preclude vaccination. A lot of auto-immune disorders for instance, IIRC. Those are documented medical issues supported by a whole host of evidence. In fact, your sister is threatening the kids who can’t get those vaccines because of legit medical issues. Those are the exemptions she is talking about. Of course, there is lazy or sympathetic doctors out there who will sign all sorts of crap, but that is for groups like the Ontario gov’t and the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons to crack down on. Never heard of them citing someone for giving a BS exemption though, given patient confidentiality and the grey area of clinical judgement.

  30. says

    No vax? Tell ‘em what they won, Don Pardo!

    Twelve years of homeschooling!

    Exactly.

    Problem: That’s not going to help the children one fucking bit.
    It just adds to their overall risk of ending up without a proper education*

    *Comprehensive sex ed is, in my opinion, something kids have a right to just the same way they have a right to be vaccinated

  31. believerskeptic says

    Problem: That’s not going to help the children one fucking bit.
    It just adds to their overall risk of ending up without a proper education*

    *Comprehensive sex ed is, in my opinion, something kids have a right to just the same way they have a right to be vaccinated

    If we could bypass the parents and force kids to be vaccinated, I’d agree. If we could bypass the parents and force the kids into public education, I’d agree. But we can’t. Parents have rights too, for better or for worse.

    I for one would rather see all these homeschooled kids become an army of creationists than bring back smallpox. YMMV.

  32. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    I had a friend who was very anti-vaccine. His favorite watch-words were, “herd immunity”. I finally asked him, “So, you don’t think they work, but if they do and if they possibly (heavy, heavy emphasis on “possibly”) cause damage, you’re okay with other people damaging their kids to keep yours safe?” His answer was that they would get them anyway, so he held no moral responsibility for their decision. “So, if everyone decides to depend on herd immunity and doesn’t get their kids vaccinated, what do you suppose happens then?” No answer, but “he’d get back to me”. Oddly, he never did. Also please note, *had* a friend…

  33. ashl says

    I have a friend who is an anti-vaxer. She mentioned the court case as ‘proof’ that vaccines cause autism, and then in answer to the point that vaccines save lives said that people only died in the past because they were ill fed and lived in squalor, and of course no one would die nowadays. Then she focused on the vaccines containing mercury. The link in PZ’s post is good, but I’m concerned she’ll just focus on the first of the comments. Could anyone suggest any other links I could point her at? She’s a nice person, just really dangerously misguided on this issue.

  34. says

    I’m with Gilliell #18; there’s no reason at all that this should be a choice that anyone gets to make. If there is not a medical reason for not being vaccinated, you get vaccinated, full stop.
    beleiverskeptic

    Parents have rights too, for better or for worse.

    Worse. Parents may have legal rights, but they have no moral rights. Children have a right to a healthy, functional life just as anyone else has, and if their parents refuse to do their duty in ensuring that, then they are not fit to be the caretakers of said children, and should be prohibited custody of them.

  35. moarscienceplz says

    To be fair, there is some justification in being skeptical of the pharma/chemical industries. Remember Thalidomide babies? DDT that almost drove the bald eagle to extinction? And only a couple of years ago Darvon/Darvocet was withdrawn. It was a great pain reliever, as long as you didn’t mind the increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
    So I understand the desire to rely on “natural” solutions and shy away from artificial treatments. I myself try to avoid new drugs if an older drug will do the trick. Perhaps vaccine education would do better to emphasize that vaccines are in fact a natural way to prevent disease, rather than that parents should trust the latest pronouncements from the white lab-coat crowd.

  36. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You do realize there is equally if not more reason to be skeptical of “natural” solutions as well. They aren’t regulated nor have many / most of them been subjected to clinical trials to determine efficacy and safety.

    So while the drug companies do make mistakes and occasionally cover up they at least have to send their drugs through testing and they are regulated.

    Supplements and “natural” alternative treatments, not so much.

  37. Sastra says

    I had a friend who was an anti-vaxxer; her 6th child almost died in her arms from Whooping Cough. Blame it on a conspiracy mindset, fostered by a religious mindset and nurtured by a romantic view of how benevolent Nature is and how wonderful it used to be back in the Good Old Days on the prairie.

  38. raven says

    how wonderful it used to be back in the Good Old Days on the prairie.

    A century ago, the US and prairie average life span was 47 years. We’ve gained 30 years since then.

    One of my great grandmothers had 12 children. I only remember 4 or 5 great aunts and uncles. So where did the other 7 or 8 kids go? I don’t know and the people that knew are now gone. Chances are they died in childhood. It would not have been unusual back then.

  39. tomh says

    @ #29

    in the US, the problem seems to be allowing “personal reasons” to opt out of vaccination

    “Personal reasons” are a small part of the problem. A huge majority of the parents who opt out of vaccinations use a religious exemption for that purpose. Forty eight states allow a religious exemption while only about eighteen states allow a personal or philosophical exemption.

    The root problem stems from the federal Child Abuse and Protection Act (CAPTA), which requires parents to provide medical care for children, (part of the definition of child abuse), but includes the provision, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as establishing a Federal requirement that a parent or legal guardian provide a child any medical service or treatment against the religious beliefs of the parent or legal guardian.”

  40. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    @ Ashi — point them over to the Respectful Insolence blog (not linking out of, well, respect). It’s written by a cancer surgeon and he smacks on the anti-vaxxers pretty hard using actual scientific studies and a fair amount of snark.

    @moarscienceplz — Combining “natural” remedies with your nym is making me giggle. :) A number of “natural” remedies have been found to be harmful–the “natural herbal” sleep aid that got yanked because it worked…mainly because it contained Valium, for example; the problems caused when people don’t disclose that they’re taking an herbal or “natural” remedy that causes holy hell with prescription meds, etc. As Rev. Bigdumbchimp says, they’re not regulated and they hit the market with little or no testing for safety or efficacy. See PZ’s post a while back about the OTC “weight loss supplement” that contained an insecticide banned for human use. And always bear in mind that arsenic, taxine, ricine and horseshit are all thoroughly natural. ;)

  41. llamaherder says

    To be fair, there is some justification in being skeptical of the pharma/chemical industries. Remember Thalidomide babies? DDT that almost drove the bald eagle to extinction? And only a couple of years ago Darvon/Darvocet was withdrawn. It was a great pain reliever, as long as you didn’t mind the increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
    So I understand the desire to rely on “natural” solutions and shy away from artificial treatments. I myself try to avoid new drugs if an older drug will do the trick. Perhaps vaccine education would do better to emphasize that vaccines are in fact a natural way to prevent disease, rather than that parents should trust the latest pronouncements from the white lab-coat crowd.

    There’s no reason whatsoever to think something natural is safer. Not too long ago, a friend of mine started ranting about how we should be using eucalyptus leaves instead of asthma inhalers for asthma. The assumption was that because eucalyptus leaves are natural, they’re safer/better.

    Eucalyptus actually has much more common – and severe – side-effects and lower efficacy than an asthma inhaler. If eucalyptus leaves were safer and/or more effective, we would be using those instead. We don’t because they aren’t.

    This isn’t a case of some new, untested innovation. Vaccines have been around for a long time. They have been tested extensively, and the fact that there have been exactly zero cases of Smallpox in my lifetime attests to their efficacy.

  42. cuervodecuero says

    One of those random ads topped this article, touting “Prayer Promises for Kids”. Seemed apprpriate for anti-vaxxers.

  43. Menyambal --- The Man Who Broke Even at Monte Carlo says

    Back in 1980 or so, I went into a house where a woman was in an iron lung. She spent her time lying in her back in a box, with a machine breathing for her, and a full-time attendant, and a back-up power supply. I don’t know if it was from polio or something else, but I’d risk autism to avoid that.

    Fortunately, autism is not a risk.

  44. woodsong says

    how wonderful it used to be back in the Good Old Days on the prairie.

    When scarlet fever (or possibly meningitis) could leave your sister blind after affecting the whole family! After, of course, they’ve already dealt with malaria, locusts, and damaging weather. (Yes, I read the Little House On The Prairie series. I did not perceive them to represent an idyllic life.)

    What bugs me most about anti-vaxxers is that they seem oblivious to the history of diseases. Have any of them ever taken a walk through an old graveyard and read the inscriptions? I’ve done a lot of that–what’s notable is that 90% or more of the 100-plus-year-old graves are of two groups: children (mostly under 5) and elderly (mostly over 60), with a sizable percentage of the rest being women who died in childbirth. (Numbers here are not precise; I haven’t collected accurate statistics, and it’s been a while since my last in-depth graveyard exploration.) Do the anti-vaxxers really want to see more gravesites involving several children from the same family who all died during the same week??? Do they want to see people breeding lots of children in the hopes of seeing one or two live to adulthood? I don’t!

  45. MetzO'Magic says

    There may or may not be something to this study:

    Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnection

    Because science can never ‘prove’ anything. But if there is (and further studies show a conclusive link each time), the ant-vaxxer loons probably still won’t back down. Though, I do have empathy for people who do have autistic kids. I know they’re just trying to find the ‘why’. Just wish they didn’t poison the well so much.

  46. boygenius says

    I don’t think moarscienceplz is promoting the naturalistic fallacy, I think xe is suggesting exploiting it to win over some of the parents who aren’t convinced by the science?

  47. whheydt says

    I have a 5 year old grandson and live in an extended household that includes him, his parents, my wife and myself.

    Every time he he sees a new doctor, the “vaccination lecture” starts and I kind of snarl something about the idiocy of anti-vaxxers…and everyone relaxes.

    For myself, since I’m old enough that the typical vaccines for “childhood diseases” didn’t exist when I was that age, and I missed all of them except chickenpox, I bring up the advisability of getting the shots periodically with doctors. So far, the answer has been “herd immunity”, with the exception of a few years ago during the already mentioned outbreak of pertussus in the SF Bay Area. When I pointed out that there was an infant too young to have had the full course of shots in the house, the doctor agreed that giving *me* (and, later, my wife) TDAP shots was actually a pretty good idea. Wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t brought it up, though.

    And, like a few others, I remember the annual Summer polio scares. Around age six, one of the neighbor kids I played with had had polio and sometimes slept in the “iron lung” his family had for him.

    Perhaps it is the personal experience, as opposed “in the old days, they used to…”, that makes my generation take vaccination more seriously than some of the current adults of children.

  48. believerskeptic says

    I don’t think moarscienceplz is promoting the naturalistic fallacy, I think xe is suggesting exploiting it to win over some of the parents who aren’t convinced by the science?

    Yes, that’s how I read it too. And it’s not a bad idea.

  49. notsont says

    The thing is “autism” is not one thing, its a whole spectrum with probably numerous sources. I was diagnosed with autism about 4 years ago, I have one child with moderate to severe traits and another with just mild traits. The thing is they seem to be the same traits that I have just either less or more severe. In hindsight it’s fairly easy for me to see where I got it from, my mother had many of the same traits I do only to a lesser degree. I can’t imagine that whatever form of autism I have being anything other than genetic.

    Unfortunately the anti-vaxxers have heavily infiltrated the autism community so much so that even the schools around here would give out pamphlets to anti-vax groups as support group info for parents of autistic children. We went to one meeting which was heartbreaking, parents of autistic kids spending thousands on kooky treatments and recommending it to other people.

  50. whheydt says

    On the childhood death data, the following data is from a family record in father’s handwriting, that dates back to prior to 1950 (my 1949 birth is listed as an addition in my mother’s handwriting):

    William Hall b. Apr. 6, 1859, m. Apr. 23, 1782
    children:
    William d. 1783
    Caroline d. 1785
    William b. Oct. 31, 1789, d. Sept. 4, 1867
    Robert b.1793, d. 1801
    Ann d. 1795
    Anna b. 1800, d. 1802
    Thomas b. 1801, d. 1802

    So there you have it. Seven kids. *One* survived childhood. And this was not a bunch of peasants. William Hall was an officer in the South Carolina Revolutionary Navy, and his surviving son, William is actually listed as “Dr. William”.

    It would ben interesting to show that piece of paper to an anti-vaxxer and ask if that’s what they want, since with their “policy”, it’s what we’d get.

  51. Dexeron says

    @DaveH: The real problem is that we live in the U.S., and it seems that the rules here are a lot more lax than up in Canada. And she got herself a “religious” exemption, despite not being religious. It was basically a rubber stamp. I’ve tried to explain the herd immunity, and the point that it’s not just to protect her own kids but those who can’t get vaccinated, but it’s like talking to a brick wall sometimes.

    I sure as hell got my own kids vaccinated. I was so proud of my son who, while not exactly happy about getting shots before school this year, still basically told me that he’s not afraid to get them because he understands how important it is that everyone is protected from the awful diseases from long ago. I guess I’m doing SOMETHING right. ;)

  52. says

    I’m old enough to remember. We all got the smallpox vaccine. And, I think, the DPT. (Diptheria, pertussis, tetanus.)

    In Mom’s generation, smallpox was a thing. People died of it. Others were marked for life; they were the lucky ones. Then there was the vaccine. You couldn’t get a passport without it. You got it at school, in public health clinics, everywhere. Who worries about smallpox these days?

    I and my brothers got the measles. (Over Christmas vacation. We had to sit in a dark room for two weeks to protect our eyes; people went blind from measles.) And chickenpox. My brothers got mumps, too; somehow I didn’t catch it from them. My younger brother got polio, luckily a mild case, but it left him with permanent damage to one leg. I remember sitting for a day,just watching him, feeling the dread. One of my classmates had died from polio; a few others barely made it.

    There was always the fear, when a kid started a cold: is it whooping cough? We had no defenses, and children died.

    My firstborn caught measles. The vaccine became available shortly afterwards, and my other kids were duly vaccinated.

    My sons were in hospital (plastic surgery for hereditary syndactilia) when chicken pox swept through the wards; all 48 children in one ward, the first time, caught it.

    When the vaccine became available, my other kids were duly vaccinated.

    TB was rampant where I grew up. My neighbours’ kid was one of the cases. People spent years in hospitals; there was no vaccine.

    I watched a kid dying of hepatitis. Slowly.

    Dad got typhoid. I got it, too, decades later. There’s a vaccine for that now.

    A neighbour, now, in the 21st century, is in extreme pain from shingles. Because, like so many of us, he caught chickenpox as a child. There’s even a vaccine for shingles now. Too late for him.

    I remember: my grandmother had 6 kids. 3 survived to school age. That was the norm back then. The so-called childhood diseases took the rest.

    I remember the hush in my high school class when the teacher told us of yet another of our friends in hospital with polio. I remember the old iron lung, the newspaper photos of wards of kids locked up in them, unable even to breathe without them.

    There has been a vaccine for that since the 60s. We don’t even think about polio these days.

    The younger generation grew up without this constant dread, and now they have no idea how protected they were, and what they owe that to. So they want to throw away the very thing that sheltered them.

  53. DaveH says

    @Dexeron: Not as difficult as I would like in Ontario, but you still have to go through a bit of a process to get it, doing a signed affidavit, etc. Certainly isn’t a simple form where you can just pick the other checkbox.

    That being said, I missed a scheduled vaccination once due to a paperwork SNAFU, and my mother was a bit into the woo when I was a baby, and some of my early vaccinations were delayed. She fortunately had really good communication with our family physician (highly respected in the area), who brought her around. I have since caught up on all the vaccinations, and she admits it was a mistake.

    I travel quite a bit, and every time I do, I check with the local health unit about recommended vaccinations before I leave, and get everything they call for, last one was a tetanus booster in the spring. I get the (free) flu shot whenever I can. Ontario is really good about the last, and stages clinics at community halls, on campuses, major employers, etc.

  54. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Here is a question I stupidly asked in the glossolalia thread (perils of using an iPad to comment):
    Timely post. A friend just sent me an image of an ad showing a ‘heroin addict’ collapsed in a corner with a needle in her arm with the words: “thier first injection was a vaccination” above.
    It goes on to say: …studies have shown that children who are vacinated are 85% more likely to inject heroin than those who are not”

    Is this a real advertisement? He seemed to think so. Has anyone here seen it?

  55. lowspark13 says

    Comment #52 illustrates why I would like to see more pro-neurodiversity in skeptic spaces whenever vaccines come up. I’m autistic, and I’m really tired of the attitude that we are not fully people ourselves, but just something bad that happens to parents.

    Will post a longer version if anyone cares to read it.

  56. DLC says

    No, Jenny Mc-E-Cigs is not Anti-Vaxxine, she just wants them to be 100.000% safe.and “Green”.

  57. says

    I for one would rather see all these homeschooled kids become an army of creationists than bring back smallpox. YMMV.

    You understand that this is not mutually exclusive?

    Oh and yeah, I had many of the so-called “childhood diseases”. Even if my cases were the worst possible outcome, even if crying miserably in the dark because of measles were the worst that can ever happen, I would still vaccinate my kids because I don’t want them to cry miserably in the dark

  58. DLC says

    oh, and : I get a flu shot every year because I am often in close proximity to an elderly woman and an immune-compromised person. Because I know that while the flu may be annoying for me, it could be highly dangerous for them.

  59. says

    DLC
    I had a short period of bad conscience when there was a shortage of flu vaccine last year because I’m not in the high-risk groups. And then I though “wait, I didn’t push grannies out of the line to be the first one. People in the high risk groups had lots of chances to get vaccinated right before me.”

  60. says

    In The Netherlands we’re having a measles outbreak since the end of spring. Hospitalisations, but luckily no deaths so far.
    So who are getting sick? Almost exclusively, unvaccinated kids living in the Dutch Biblebelt (yes, we have one too).
    So what do we learn?
    a) Vaccines work (vaccinated kids inside the Biblebelt aren’t getting sick)
    b) Herd immunity works (unvaccinated kids outside the Biblebelt aren’t getting sick)

    The problem is that vaccines work too well. Parents of today don’t remember kids dying of childhood diseases, because they’re mostly from a generation that had their shots.

    Oh, and sbuh @41, I’m saving the link to that comic for future reference. Thank you.

  61. says

    It goes on to say: …studies have shown that children who are vacinated are 85% more likely to inject heroin than those who are not”

    no idea if that’s an actual thing anyone is trying to spread, or if that number has any relationship with reality at all (rather than ust being another number pulled out of someone’s ass), but my first (admittedly assholish) reaction to that was “…because the unvaccinated ones don’t get the chance to become old enough to try heroin”.

    So then I googled it, and apparently that started out as an image from a Somethingawful photoshop contest:
    And I also found out that there’s apparently development of a “heroin-vaccine” going on.

  62. says

    To me, mandatory vaccination is a bridge too far. While I think vaccines are important, I think the principle of bodily integrity trumps it.
    On the other hand, schools and daycare centres have the obligation to provide a safe environment for all their kids, so I think it would be reasonable for them to demand proper vaccination. I haven’t quite made my mind up about it.

    And I wish we’d had our sons vaccinated for chickenpox. It’s not part of the Dutch vaccination program and we didn’t ask for it.

  63. ledasmom says

    lowspark13 @ 62:
    I would definitely want to hear what you have to say. I am on the spectrum myself (I used to say Asperger’s, since people generally understand that, and I have not found an equivalent broadly-recognized term that is also DSM-accurate), as are both my sons. At the moment I am somewhat peeved about an article that was, I think, supposed to come across as fluffy and heartwarming but really, really didn’t. It was about a veterinarian who has written a book titled “All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome”. The book itself may be fine – haven’t read it – but the title? Obnoxious.

  64. says

    SQB

    To me, mandatory vaccination is a bridge too far. While I think vaccines are important, I think the principle of bodily integrity trumps it.

    For adults? Yes. Although I would think that you could place restrictions there, too, like for public servants.
    But for children? I think their bodily integrity is best served by not getting measles.

  65. says

    I honestly don’t know, Giliell. I think parents who do not vaccinate their children should be sued for child abuse, and that would be effectively mandating vaccinations, but I still really, really don’t like the idea of mandatory medical treatment.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think parents who do not vaccinate their children should be sued for child abuse, and that would be effectively mandating vaccinations, but I still really, really don’t like the idea of mandatory medical treatment.

    Anybody else note the hypocrisy here?

    Vaccines work best when everybody is immunized, since those who cannot be vaccinated are still protected. Which means you should need more than you don’t like it mandated to be able to opt out; namely a medical reason. Your opinion on disliking “mandatory” is irrelevant to the public health concerns.

  67. says

    Anybody else note the hypocrisy here?

    I noted it, although I prefer “ambivalence” to “hypocrisy”.

    Your opinion on disliking “mandatory” is irrelevant to the public health concerns.

    Well no, not really. We do not mandate vegetables for diner every evening. We do mandate safety belts to be worn. We do not mandate helmets to be worn while riding a bike (at least not over here, although there is a debate about it going on). We do mandate an education for every child.
    In every case, we (should) weigh the benefits against the intrusion on our lives. In this case, we should as well and I am undecided yet.

  68. says

    I honestly don’t know, Giliell. I think parents who do not vaccinate their children should be sued for child abuse, and that would be effectively mandating vaccinations, but I still really, really don’t like the idea of mandatory medical treatment.

    1. We mandate medical treatment of minors. Adult Jehova’s Witnesses are free to bleed to death, their kids get blood.
    2. We mandate that people wear setbelts and helmets on motorbikes even though the only people getting hurt by lack of wearing them is themselves. I think that helmets on bikes are just a matter of time
    3. How about punishing parents who didn’t vaccinate their children not only for the damage to their own children, but also for that happening to children who are immune-compromised or just too young to get vaccinated?

  69. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    There’s also the bit about how person A not eating his veggies hurts person A. It is difficult to make an argument that anyone else is getting hurt.

    However, seatbelt laws protect both the person wearing the seatbelt and those who (because of the restraints preventing a body from becoming a projectile) could be hit by a flying body in an accident.

    Vaccine laws protect both the vaccinated person and the unvaccinated person.

    There’s also the “an adult can make an informed decision to decline something (i.e. Jehovah’s witnesses at blood), but a child cannot” bit.

  70. says

    We mandate medical treatment of minors. Adult Jehova’s Witnesses are free to bleed to death, their kids get blood.

    That is a very good point.