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Mar 16 2014

The danger posed by anti-vaxxers

There has been a disturbing rise in the number of people who refuse to give their children the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine because of the bogus fears, stoked by some celebrities, that the vaccines can cause autism. Those claims, revealed to be not only without any basis but based on initial fraudulent studies that resulted in its chief proponent Andrew Wakefield losing his medical license, have taken on a life of their own and efforts to counter them seem to have no effect.

As a result, we now have a resurgence of illnesses like measles that were once thought to have been completely eradicated in the US.

A pediatrician has had it up to here with vaccine deniers and issued a righteous rant against the anti-vaxxers (as they are known) because they have brought measles back not only into his city but other cities as well.

There is currently an outbreak of measles in New York City. Considered eliminated in the United States in 2000, last year saw a record number of outbreaks around the country. It’s only three months into 2014, and not only is the nation’s largest city seeing cases in several boroughs, but other major metropolitan areas are warning of new cases as well.

This is not some inconvenience to be laughed off. Measles is a highly-contagious illness caused by a virus. It usually presents with a combination of rash, fevers, cough and runny nose, as well as characteristic spots in the mouth. Most patients recover after an unpleasant but relatively uneventful period of sickness. Unfortunately, about one patient in every 1,000 develops inflammation of the brain, and one to three cases per 1000 in the United States result in death.

This is sheer lunacy. Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country, and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing.

He now refuses to have as patients those who do not vaccinate their children because he does not want his other patients to get the illness. This is because the vaccines not only protect those vaccinated but by everyone being vaccinated, they provide herd immunity, especially for those too young to be vaccinated. If enough people don’t get vaccinated, herd immunity breaks down. So the anti-vaxxers are not just risking the health of their own children, which is bad enough, but of everyone.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    jcsscj

    In The Netherlands there is currently a discussion going on about allowing schools not to accept children that are not vaccinated.

  2. 2
    lordshipmayhem

    In Ontario, we have rules against unvaccinated children going to schools. They can be (and have been) suspended until their vaccinations are up-to-date. (I think the only excuse permitted is a doctor’s letter stating the youngster cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. I could be wrong.)

  3. 3
    Chiroptera

    Huh. When I was in school, vaccinations occurred in the schools. Once a year, my class was taken and lined up at the nurse’s office and given whatever vaccinations we were due that year. It was never in the parents’ hands to begin with. (We were also tested for TB, but that may have been because my state had a very high incidence of TB.)

  4. 4
    Chiroptera

    Oh, and once a year we were also given a vision test and once every few years a hearing test.

    I guess maybe that’s the result of going to school in a state and in a year where oil revernues were going through the roof and before the state government was taken over by the evil wing of conservatism.

  5. 5
    left0ver1under

    The doctor is refusing to accept patients who aren’t vaccinated?

    You can be sure that *someone* *somewhere* will try to equate this to Arizona’s attempt to legalize anti-gay bigotry, that refusing to accept anti-vaxxers as patients is “discrimination”.

  6. 6
    Irreverend Bastard

    Since unvaccinated people pose a health risk to other people’s children, perhaps it’s time to create a national registry so that rational people can be properly informed where they are? I hesitate to compare anti-vaxxers to paedophiles, but there is definitely a common element. They both pose a health risk to children, and you don’t want too many of them in the neighbourhood.

  7. 7
    Jonny Vincent

    Münchausen syndrome by proxy

    One study showed that in 93 percent of cases of MSbP, the abuser is the mother or another female guardian or caregiver.

    As opposed to the explanation that no one has.

    This is sheer lunacy. Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country, and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing.

    It is sheer lunacy but it is not based on nothing. There are evils in this world that people are blind to.

    Attitudes toward fragile X mutation carrier testing from women identified in a general population survey.

    The most salient finding of this work is the apparent lack of relevance of carrier status to these women. Many expressed that although the information could be relevant in the future, it is not relevant at this stage of their lives in terms of family planning (either with respect to having unaffected offspring or to premature ovarian failure) and personal relationships. Although issues of abortion seemed prominent in the focus groups, we found that carrier status did not have an apparent effect on women’s attitudes about termination.

    Marriage has to go. It’s the nucleus of all evil. Women who need dependents are going to be pro-Life (effectively MSbP, in terms of motive and requisite incapacity to feel empathy).

    It could also be nothing. That’s a strong theory right there.

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