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A vaccination survey

The survey on vaccination that’s being held up by DJ Grothe is not out yet, but there’s a preliminary summary that was made available. I learned something from even that one page summary: most anti-vaxxers actually do recognize that vaccination is protective, and their opposition is based on widespread misconceptions about side-effects and the evilness of pharmaceutical corporations. There is even a hint about effective strategies to convince reluctant people to vaccinate.

The full results were supposed to be released a year ago. I wonder when we’ll finally get to see them?

Comments

  1. borax says

    So the anti-vax people know that vaccination works but they don’t want to vaccinate their children. I’m guessing they want to rely on herd immunity without being part of the herd.

  2. unbound says

    Well, to be fair, pharmaceutical corporations are more evil than they are good. Unfortunately, like the overwhelming majority of markets in our lives, the oligopoly is the only game in town.

  3. says

    Just a quick clarification: Usually when we use the term anti-vaxxers it’s in reference to organized anti-vaccine movement such as exists at Age of Autism, SafeMinds and the National Vaccine Information Center. These organizations and their leadership do say that they believe that vaccines are not effective and do not protect against diseases. What we found in our survey was that even parents who self-identified as being against vaccines just didn’t find this to be a convincing argument.

    This would have been clear from the report itself if it were released.

  4. says

    It’s a good thing that this is such a small issue, completely without real-world consequences and utterly unrelated to skepticism. A year more or less surely isn’t going to harm anyone. Oh wait:

    On Sept. 3, the Texas State Department of Health had reported 2,062 pertussis cases. Two deaths this year have been recorded so far, and they both occurred in children too young to be vaccinated.

    By all means, DJ, take your time. No rush.

  5. Ogvorbis says

    I hope the report is released in full as soon as possible.

    I wonder if Grothe is comfortable with the similarities between his tactics and the tactics being used by right wing authoritarians, the religious, economic and political asswipes of the American right? How many times have we heard some variation of, “Well, that Democrat slighted me so I’m going to block this bill that helps people;” or, “I don’t agree with the implications of this government study so I will block its release”? Please note, I am not equating Grothe’s politics or belief system with that of RWAs, merely pointing out that his has adopted some of the tactics of that system.

  6. rejiquar works says

    their opposition is based on widespread misconceptions about side-effects and the evilness of pharmaceutical corporations.

    Ding, ding, ding. I wasn’t an anti-vaxxer per se, but close enough for the purposes of this discussion. I never believed that autism nonsense, but I did wonder about allergies, and the dangers of vaccines versus the danger of getting the disease for very young children, whose immune systems were still developing.

    Eventually, I found some article that compared to the hundreds of assaults our immune systems defeat every day, even MMR (three at once) was no biggie—but it took years (as compared to finding creation debunking.) I’ve now bookmarked the articles for future reference. Put the info out there, supported with studies, in plain language, with the same kind of verve for the age of the universe or evolution.

    And for goodness’ sake, don’t just tell parents to suck it up and `tough’ if their kid is gonna be the one in a million that dies. That is so not helpful. I loathed being treated as if I had no idea of the risks. I was lacking enough information to make an informed judgement, so I had to go with experience, which was midwives good, hospital/dr not so much.

  7. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I wonder if Grothe is comfortable with the similarities between his tactics and the tactics being used by right wing authoritarians, the religious, economic and political asswipes of the American right?

    Sadly, I don’t think he cares. He’s so used to always getting his way that he’s willing to use any means necessary to continue to get his way.

  8. karmacat says

    I would suggest being careful about calling the pharmaceutical industry “evil.” I think it leads to much black and white thinking in which people argue that you can’t trust anything they do. There are people in the industry who are too focused on making money, but there also people who really want to improve medications. Overall, the pharmaceutical industry has done a lot of good. However, I would definitely argue for more regulation, such as transparency of negative studies, of generic manufacturing, etc. Now if we could only separate politicians from the pharmaceutical industry…. (I know, it’s not going to happen).

  9. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    I read an analysis of anti-vaxxers that posited that a significant amount of the issue is the very fact that childhood mortality rates are falling.

    Back in the day, a couple might have nine children and see all of them die before the age of five. Offer them something that might shift that ratio towards one or two of them living, they’d accept it, even if there was risk. Look at variolation, which was used to confer smallpox immunity before the introduction of the Jenner vaccine. Variolation’s mortality rate – that is, people dying as a result of being variolated was appalling.

    And yet, people lined up to get it for themselves and their children.

    Why?

    Because they knew that the risk of variolation was – while terrible – less than the risk of not being variolated. They knew that the risk of variolation was less than that of being susceptible to smallpox.

    Here’s a quote I found that illustrates this mindset:

    In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

    That was Benjamin Franklin, for the record.

    They also knew that even if smallpox was ignored, their children had a high probability of dying young anyway.

    Nowadays, childhood mortality rates are orders of magnitude lower. Partly as a result of this (partly due to other social factors), people have fewer children. Rather than have a dozen children in the hopes that one or two will survive to adulthood, with the death of a child being mourned deeply but accepted as just being the way things are and risky things accepted because the worse alternative is well-known, people have two children and expect that both will survive to adulthood. The death of a child is a shock of a monumental order, a thing that just should not happen. Risk to the health and well-being to a child is cast as being flatly unacceptable, or acceptable only if the advantage far outweighs it. Couple that with the fact that – due in a major way to vaccination – people’s perceptions of risk is off, many well-meaning parents have a skewed risk/benefit analysis of vaccination. Because they hear that there’s some small risk from being given polio drops, but have never seen polio wards stuffed full of paralyzed children.

    Of course, the ones who go on about “purity” exist too, as are the woo-y anti-science types.

  10. R Johnston says

    Ogvorbis @5:

    I wonder if Grothe is comfortable with the similarities between his tactics and the tactics being used by right wing authoritarians, the religious, economic and political asswipes of the American right?

    DJ is a right wing authoritarians, a religious, economic and political asswipes of the American right. He’s a faith based libertarian steeped in the belief in his own infallibility, definitely an authoritarian, utterly immature, vilely sexist, and in general quite the asswipe. Whether he believes in a god or not is besides the point. He’s an antirational right wing asshole who can be relied upon to be an awful person.

  11. andyo says

    So the anti-vax people know that vaccination works but they don’t want to vaccinate their children. I’m guessing they want to rely on herd immunity without being part of the herd.

    A group of them state something very similar to that, if not the same, explicitly, in the PBS documentary that was out a while ago, “The Vaccine Wars”. It was despicable and they were oblivious of the fact.

  12. troll says

    What is the reason the survey isn’t being released? I missed that bit, but I gather it’s because Grothe is having some sort of temper tantrum about something petty?

  13. troll says

    Wow. What an ass. Though I guess it’s kind of impressive that a 15 year old managed to become president of JREF, so there is that.

  14. says

    @leftwingfox
    Well, that’s the excuse. However, since the study has been held up for a year so far, it would be quite impressive if a post written a month ago was the reason.

  15. scimaths says

    Can someone explain the practicalities by which this DJ person is managing to stop people publishing a work that they have written ? Is this some strange contract thing where the intellectual property no longer belongs to the authors but some third party who has a legal veto to it ? Is this usual or standard practice in American academia ?

  16. says

    @scimaths
    I don’t know the specifics of the contracts, but JREF sponsored the study, so presumably that gives them some level of control. From the original article on the matter:

    Since we were and are a small organization without the resources to take on such a project, we asked the JREF to fund it. They agreed, and gave us ~$5,000 to travel and conduct surveys around the country and for that, they would publish and promote the research for us

    I’m reading that to mean that JREF is in control of the publishing.

    @leftwingfox
    A lot of us are wondering about that, too.

  17. says

    @scimaths
    I guess that would depend on the exact agreement they made. If JREF was supposed to publish it, perhaps they got some kind of exclusive rights.

    Note: I am not a lawyer.

  18. says

    Monitor Note:

    troll @ 16:

    Though I guess it’s kind of impressive that a 15 year old managed to become president of JREF, so there is that.

    Please avoid ageist remarks, they aren’t helpful and they are full of splash damage. Thanks.

  19. scimaths says

    uajamie, thanks for that

    “In the original grant contract, DJ said he wanted to be able to approve each step. He used this to cause delays by not emailing approvals.”

    A shitty little contract and shitty behaviour to go with it then.

  20. says

    I hope people who plan to work with the JREF in the future learn from this: Make damn sure the contract doesn’t include anything that DJ can use to screw you over, because he will.

    For the love of all that’s holy and a few things that aren’t: Randi, fire that dirty, shit-licking fuckface. The sooner the better. It’s not just his name that’s being dragged through the mud.

  21. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    rejiquar works @6:

    But we aren’t the ones telling parents to “tough it out” if there child is the one in a million with a problem: the anti-vaxxers are. They’re saying “too bad if your kid is the one who dies of measles or pertussis” and “it’s not our fault that your too-young-to-be-vaccinated infant died of pertussis that she caught from me or my unvaccinated child because we were unreasonably worried about the vaccine.”

    There are parents out there saying pretty explicitly that they would rather have a child die of a vaccine-preventable disease than have a living autistic child. Even aside from the fact that vaccines don’t cause autism, that’s a scary thought. Doubly so since some of those parents have autistic children.

  22. Ichthyic says

    Well, to be fair, pharmaceutical corporations are more evil than they are good.

    I call you out on that statement as worded.

    proof please.

  23. Funny Diva says

    Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 @9
    Thanks for that pointer…the pfffft of all knowledge re-directs to inoculation from variolation…
    Which, iirc, is pretty much what Jenner did when he substituted cowpox for smallpox…
    I like History of Medicine stuff like that. And I think your point of how parents’ risk/benefit analysis has probably shifted after generations of dramatically lowered infant/childhood mortality is right on the money.

    I’ll web-search later, but maybe somebody knows now: are there still vaccines for humans that use attenuated live virus? I’m pretty sure some of the veterinary ones still are available…or were when I still had ambitions towards veterinary medicine…

  24. says

    I second poster number 28 in asking for evidence for claims made by poster number 2.

    Opinion does not count for evidence, nor does anecdotal experience, feelings, or strongly held but unsupported beliefs.