Hey kids – want to get dead?

Ohhhhhhhhhh dear god. Meet Stephanie Messenger, author of a children’s book about the wonders of having measles.

As Reasonable Hank points out, measles make you sick.

Measles can be deadly. Recent outbreaks in Australia, the US, and New Zealand are all traced back to unvaccinated individuals. The overwhelming majority of those infected are unvaccinated or undervaccinated individuals. In Europe there have been several deaths this year alone.

Yet there’s an imbecile who wrote a book teaching children that vaccinations are ineffective and to embrace childhood disease. Fuuuuuck.


  1. Lawrence says

    You’ve got to be kidding me……..why not take a tour of a 19th Century cemetary and play count the dead kids…..


  2. Grace says

    This isn’t from The Onion?

    A woman I went to school with told me she is afraid to visit her sister because she doesn’t want her son exposed to the sister’s unvaccinated kids. I tried to refer her to information debunking the supposed vaccine/autism connection, but she swears her friend’s child was never the same right after being vaccinated. I didn’t know what to tell her.

  3. says

    Does anyone else have an urge to say something witty or smart about this, but simply can’t come with something? I mean, it’s just so stupid.

  4. Chiral says

    How the hell did we get to the point where potentially fatal illness is glorified? Are there adults sitting around sighing about how they regret being vaccinated because it would have been so much more *glorious* to be deathly ill for several weeks?

  5. janine says

    Were those children who were lucky enough to get polio before the 1960s able to embrace their disease while in their iron lung?

  6. Hatchetfish says

    Well, at least the temporary selective advantage family planning confers, by default, to idiots is slowly reversing itself?

    I’m eagerly awaiting the first prosecution of an antivaxer for bioterrorism, which I sadly expect only to happen (at the earliest) when it comes to light they mailed an infected sucker across the country and wiped out half a kindergarten with 100% organic wholesome plague.

    Irresponsible lackwits.

  7. eb says

    OMG! My kids went to that school in Canberra, Australia.

    No surprise at all. Canberra has the highest education levels of all major cities in Australia, but being educated doesn’t mean that you’re not stupid as well.

    My kids were vaccinated.

  8. mikee says

    hmmm, what’s next?

    The Wonders of Whooping Cough

    Polio Polly and her Iron Lung or perhaps Polio Population Control

    Might I suggest the book above be subtitled “The Moron’s Guide to Measles” or perhaps “Microbiological Child Abuse – A beginners guide”

    The ignorance of some people is extraordinary

  9. adam says

    What . . . what in the . . .

    Ok. That noise you just heard was the last particle of faith in the human race that I had leaving my body at high speed.

    I have never had measles (having been vaccinated), but from what I understand, it doesn’t do anything remotely like making you leave a wake of butterflies behind you like some kind of infectious, spot-ridden Nyan Cat.

  10. Francisco Bacopa says

    You may not know this, but you can tell where the edges of your city used to be by looking at the graveyards. Look at the older graveyards in your city. You will find many child graves. I have recently made a few walks from the Occupy Houston camp downtown at Tranquility Park to the Freedman’s Town House in Fourth Ward. There is a graveyard that dates back to before there was a 4th Ward. Oldest graves in town, 1840’s or so. Quite a few child graves. And these were the graves of the super-rich.

    Dead children, and for every one there, a hundred more dead children.

    Measles and whooping cough kill. Look at the gravestones.

    There have been a few woosters at the Assembly. I always give them the rollout rather than the extend vote, limp wrist shake if it even gets near a vote, and would do a block if it even got that far. The block vote is serious mojo reserved for the most serious moral objections.

    DO the subtractions at old graveyards. Know that for every dead child there are hundreds more. Then tell me you are antivax.

  11. Musical Atheist says

    According to that blurb, the book seems to claim to teach children to ‘heal if they get a disease’. I think that’s quite special. Recovering from an infection is a decision an empowered 5-year old can make, if only they’re told how to!

  12. devdasdavids says

    I am flabbergasted by the sheer irresponsibility of this. As has been well pointed out by previous commenters (@Francisco Bacopa, great post!), measles is a deadly disease that has been responsible for countless childhood diseases throughout history. Vaccination is one of the great achievements of scientific medicine. To throw all that away–and to encourage others to do the same… I swear, sometimes it’s like the Enlightenment never happened.

  13. prochoice says

    I had polio vaccination (2 scars), anything else did not exist when I was a child. My disability is genetic, I was not made worse by those common sicknesses BUT I still feel that the children of the vaccination generations are better off.

    And I am convinced that to give children unnecessary suffering is a way to cope with born unwanted´s – the “valley of tears”, as the faithheads put it.
    The religious parents may say what they want, my experience is, when there are many children, the individual is not worth much.
    Unfortunately all the suffering and neglect is not enough to erase the birth rate of religious fanatics, we need to get information through to the children so that they can leave religion (I had to wait til coming of age, although attending a state school made me wish to leave much earlier)

  14. dirigible says

    The ineffectiveness of vaccinations

    Lying to children about something that can kill them is evil.

  15. VikingWarriorPrincess says

    I had measles as a kid and it sure as hell wasn’t marvelous. Must’ve done it wrong perhaps I wasn’t embracing it properly.

  16. says

    I had measles, mumps, whomping cough oh and don’t forget chicken pox on my 21st birthday.
    I remember hiding miserably in my parent’s cupboard when I had the measles, any crying my eyes out in the bathroom when I had chicken pox.
    It’s not that my parents were stupid anti-vaxxers, it’s because the official POV at that time was that childhoood diseases were called childhood diseases because you got them as a child. No vaccination (although measles and whomping cough were already avaible) for us except against DPT.
    If my cases were the absolute worst case scenarios of those diseases, I’d still get my children vaccinated to safe them from the pain and misery.
    I think it’s cruel child abuse to deny your kids the protection and help modern medicine can give them, and it’s criminal to let your unvaccinated child infect others who might be too young or not able to get the vaccination.

  17. Didaktylos says

    Measles doesn’t only kill. My mother contracted measles aged 12. She recovered, but her hearing was permanently damaged; she is now at age 79 almost completely deaf.

  18. lordshipmayhem says

    In order to attend school in the province of Ontario, your child needs to have his/her vaccinations up to date. And your kids are not allowed to just skip school. I don’t know about Ontario’s stance on home schooling.

    We have a few cases every year of kids suspended from school because their vaccinations weren’t up to date. The suspensions usually don’t last more than a few days, as Children’s Aid gets involved immediately – and the parents, usually immigrants unfamiliar with Canada’s health system, move heaven and earth to get their little darlings into compliance.

  19. sailor1031 says

    Yes – measles is marvellous right enough. Per wikimedia.com:

    “Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from relatively mild and less serious diarrhea, to pneumonia, Otitis media and acute encephalitis (and rarely subacute sclerosing panencephalitis); corneal ulceration leading to corneal scarring. Complications are usually more severe in adults who catch the virus.”

    Between the years 1987 and 2000, the case fatality rate across the United States was three measles-attributable deaths per 1000 cases, or 0.3%.[6] In underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutrition and poor healthcare, fatality rates have been as high as 28%.[6] In immunocompromised patients (e.g. people with AIDS) the fatality rate is approximately 30%”

    When I was a kid there weren’t these vaccinations available so we got every one of the usual “childhood diseases” – measles, chicken pox, mumps, rubella (german measles) and whooping cough. None of them were marvellous. With whooping cough there is the added benefit that if a child has it no-one else can get any sleep.

    These are serious diseases with potentially very dangerous consequences. If there had been vaccinations available for us then every one of us kids would have demanded them. We were smart enough at age five to see what the diseases did and know we didn’t want that. Incidentally one of the charming side effects of chicken pox, as I discovered fifty years later, is a very painful condition called “shingles” that I could well have done without.

    These diseases are also highly dangerous to pregnant women and fetuses. Vaccinations should be mandatory – no exceptions, no excuses.

  20. says

    Vaccinations should be mandatory – no exceptions, no excuses.

    Barring those rare cases where the child/individual would be at greater risk from receiving the vaccine because of individual health issues (I’m told this happens), then yes, I think a case could be made for this.

  21. barbrykost says

    I just finished re-reading a fairy tale by Charles Dickens–“The Magic Fishbone.” The final blessing the fairy godmother gives to the virtuous princess is for her future children, “They will never have the measles, and will have recovered from the whooping-cough before being born.”
    Imagine what a Victorian would say about Stephanie Messenger actually promoting the measles for children.

  22. Didaktylos says

    Barring those rare cases where the child/individual would be at greater risk from receiving the vaccine because of individual health issues (I’m told this happens), then yes, I think a case could be made for this.

    It is because of these few that cannot receive the vaccine that it is so necessary that everybody without those issues must be vaccinated, so that they can be shielded by herd immunity.

    A wilfully unvaccinated person is like dry tinder in a forest where it hasn’t rained in a year.

  23. Ken Pidcock says

    A few years ago, Ben Goldacre posted an extended clip from a radio show hosted by Jeni Barnett. I’m not familiar with Barnett, but the content was just unbelievable, including, yes, the suggestion that you should want your children to suffer measles for the, you know, natural immunity.

    Real harm has been done, but I’m confident that the tide is turning. Wakefield has been thoroughly disgraced and, while that might not impress the whackjobs, it’s going to make the movement harder to grow. And the truth is being effectively promoted; see, for example Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center. (If you follow these issues, that’s Paul Offit’s outfit.)

  24. says

    Thanks for the link, Christopher.

    Oh dear god.

    I have 3 healthy, totally unvaccinated children, who have never had a childhood disease. Unlike their vaccinated friends who have often succumb to the diseases they have been vaccinated against. I kept these children fit and well using what is provided by nature – natural foods, clean water, sunshine, clean air, exercise, adequate sleep and a loving and nurturing environment.

    And herd immunity you fucking moron.

  25. interrobang says

    I had rubella when I was little, before I could be vaccinated for it. I didn’t have any serious side effects, but I have a couple of mildly deformed teeth because of the high fever I got while they were developing. I also got whooping cough around the age where they’re now suggesting kids get re-vaccinated, and that was three weeks of misery, with a lingering cough for a couple months afterward.

    Anybody who is anti-vaccine is pro-misery, simple as that.

  26. julian says

    ^ Vaccinations are much like taxes. Somebody will pay the price. -Svlad Cjelli

    Do you mind if I steal this? It’s the perfect metaphor to use on liberals and left-leaners who sympathize with anti-vaxxers.

  27. Josh Slocum says

    It’s worse than that, Ophelia:

    Unlike their vaccinated friends who have often succumb to the diseases they have been vaccinated against.

    This person is flat-out lying.

  28. says

    You’re right, Josh. I spotted that on the second reading, after the comment.

    She’s probably stupid rather than lying; stupid enough to think of “diseases” as just a big undifferentiated category, like soup, so that a kid getting any disease at all shows that vaccinations don’t work. The MMR vax is supposed to prevent kids from getting colds, flu, GI bugs, poison ivy, hives…

  29. Josh Slocum says

    LOL! Soup! Yes.

    You’re right of course; it’s likely stupidity. But her type has no compunction with continuing to put that bullshit forward even when someone points out they’re wrong. Grrr. This is so maddening.

  30. says

    @Jeff Sherry

    No, the next book in the series is, “Silly Sally and the Scrumptious Salmonella.” It’s about the evils of washing your hands after handling raw chicken. Not only does it teach the kids the joys of raw chicken fat being finger licking good, but it also teaches kids to embrace the toilet and to let go of most of their innards.

    Prayer of the buffalo riders

  31. says

    She’s promoting the woo belief that if you get sick, it’s because of something YOU did. YOU didn’t try hard enough, do the right things, dance around the right drum circle, or take the right eye of newt to keep yourself well. With these people, it’s the individual’s fault if they become ill or can’t will themselves into health.

  32. Susan says

    I’m sure my uncle, who suffered from polio and still has a painful and shrunken leg at 60+ years old, would love this. Love it. Parents of unvaccinated kids are riding on the rest of the world being vaccinated so they’re not exposed to fatal illnesses.

    I don’t understand how people can think googling around and talking to a few other parents makes them an expert over medical research for the past 100+ years.

    That being said, I DID choose a pediatrician who will let us adjust the vaccine schedule if we desire and supports traditional meds as well as probiotics. I see no need to adjust the schedule, but if my daughter did have a horrible reaction to shots, I would discuss spreading it out a bit. This has more to do with her tolerance and not to do with vaccinations in general.

  33. Susan says

    Ophelia Benson – You don’t prevent measles and polio with exercise and sunshine. You are dangerously, horrifically, tragically misinformed. If you choose not to vaccinate, fine. But suggesting it’s their lifestyle is downright scary.

  34. says

    Every single medical procedure carries a risk – as do natural things such as bee stings.

    Nobody quite knows if their child will be affected badly by a bee sting or by peanut butter until they first come into contact with it.

    I have no doubt that somewhere, a child has displayed autism-like symptoms resulting from a reaction to an immunization shot.

    The difficulty that parents face is in weighing up the certainty of a flu-shot (with a low possibility of high impact) versus the possibility of exposure to a dangerous disease (with a moderate possibility of high impact).

    It’s not as simple as it sounds. A decision has to be made and regardless of the course you choose, risks must be taken.

    Of course, when taking the risks you should ask your doctor questions and read the literature carefully. I’m just not willing to consider a children’s book to be part of the appropriate literature.

  35. Brian M says

    This question is more general and not related to the idiocy this woman and her ilk are promoting…but, there are more “reputable” doctors and researchers who do claim or speculate that our obsession with everything being sterile and clean MAY be a factor in the rise of autoimmune problems like allergies.

  36. Brian M says

    Given the degree of risk and the likelihood of serious infection, gerald…it probably is actually a “simple” choice, especially given a parent who observes her child’s reactions to the vaccine and has a rational (i.e., not ego driven) and responsive doctor.

    Just like there are indeed people who are trapped by their seatbelts in a burning car. And, people are injured, sometimes seriously, by air bags. That does not mean one should “consider” buying an older car with no airbags and refuse to wear a seatbelt.

  37. says

    Oh I get it. Susan you misunderstood my comment @ 29 – the indented part is quoting someone else – someone I rather sharply disagreed with in the last line.

  38. Keith Harwood says

    The phenomenon we are seeing here is quite common. There is some serious and widespread threat, an expensive effort is made to avert that threat, the effort is successful, the threatened catastrophe didn’t happen, therefore the effort was unnecessary.

    Sometimes, as in the Y2K case, the catastrophe is averted permanently. In this case, the effort must be ongoing or the catastrophe will return, and that is exactly what we are seeing.

  39. christopher moyer says

    @Camelswithhammers –

    “Marvellous” with two l’s is British spelling, I think. And this book originates from Australia, a Commonwealth country, so that’s the explanation.

    In other words, spelling is the one part she didn’t get wrong.


  40. Grace says

    “Wakefield has been thoroughly disgraced.” Not thoroughly, unfortunately. Hopefully enough to make more people who were on the fence about vaccination change their minds, but celebrities like Jenny McCarthy are still on his side. It’s unreal. His disgrace in the scientific community makes these people even more postive that he is a victim of a grand conspiracy of Big Pharma and see him as the modern day Galileo (seriously, they’ve compared him to Galileo).

  41. says

    @Brian M;

    1. I’m not “Gerald”

    2. It’s less like a malfunctioning seatbelt or airbag and more like a peanut butter flavoured seatbelt. It’s perfectly fine for most of us but it’s possibly “not fine” for certain people.

    Sometimes a person’s genetics react to the immunisation shot (and NO… I’m not talking about Autism here which is clearly based on false research – I’m talking about death which has been proven). Seriously… read the author’s story on her web site.

    So… If one person’s genetics react poorly to an immunisation shot, the likelihood of other members of the family having a similar reaction is significantly greater than the rest of the population. In that case, there’s good grounds for someone to either avoid the shot or have a modified/reduced or segregated shot.

  42. Luna_the_cat says


    The unwarranted assumption that you are making here, is that Stephanie Messenger is accurately reporting her child’s death as a reaction to the vaccine. Her child’s death occurred after vaccination, but her “diagnosis” was something that she came up with herself, after listening to a dodgy doc being interviewed on the Phil Donohue show….and she has never ever budged on her opinion, even when the evidence points to a different medical problem altogether. See the page http://www.antivaxxers.com/?p=3725 for a rundown.

    The most dangerous reaction a person can have to a vaccine is an allergic reaction, but this is a fairly small additional risk even for immediate family members of someone who had definitely had such an allergic reaction — it would indicate a need for careful monitoring, but by no means automatically skipping the shots.

  43. says


    I’m going off two things;

    1. What Stephanie Messenger has told us (without reading anything additional into it – ie: that her doc was a quack).

    2. My recollection of the warnings when my children were immunised.

    Believe it or not, the immunisation papers in Australia actually do talk about the possibility of infant death in some reasonably but actually not ridiculously, small percentage of cases.

    As parents, we had to sign those papers to say that we accepted the risk. It’s in small print but it’s there.

    A lethal allergic reaction to an immunisation shot is may be a small risk generally but it’s a serious reaction.

    I’m very pro-Immunisation but I’m never going to suggest that if someone has already lost one child to an allergic reaction that they should risk another.

  44. Luna_the_cat says


    Yes, death is an extremely rare, but possible, side effect of an allergic reaction. I never meant to imply otherwise, and I apologise fr my unclear communication if that is the way you read it. HOWEVER, there is actually a higher risk of death from the diseases which are immunised against, even when another child has had an allergic reaction, which I would recommend stressing to parents.

    Any medical intervention, bar none, is about playing the odds. But that is best done when you understand the odds accurately.

    I would agree with you, believe it or not, that it would be unfair to compel a parent to immunise other children after a child was (definitely) lost to a vaccine reaction. On the other hand, (a) it is rather important to know whether or not it is genuinely a vaccine reaction, and (b) it is absolutely no damn excuse to go around lying to people about what vaccines are and do and what the odds actually are (bearing in mind, here, that SM has also explicitly made statements along the lines of “there is no evidence, none whatsoever, that vaccines prevent disease”).

    This leads in nicely to the the main point, however, that given the fact that SM regularly either lies or simply “misreports according to her pre-existing belief”, simply “taking her word (that her doctor was a quack)” is a profoundly silly thing to do. Why would you do it?

  45. Gazza says

    I posted this on Reasonable Hanks blog
    But it is appropriate to add it here as well
    “One of the links you give is to a 60 minutes video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJbc9Xw3yHc) featuring the Keeper of the Parsnip Viera Scheibner and her (anti) Vaccination Network. I worked in the same laboratory as she did for several years. She was mad then, (among other things she was heavily into astrology) and her claim that catching a potentially fatal disease is good for you shows she is even crazier now.
    I am old enough to remember the polio scares as a child and the fear of this disease as we lined up to receive our newly available vaccinations. I can remember the misery of measles when I was a child and I was severely affected by mumps. I also as an adult became seriously ill as a result of contracting chicken pox as a child. My son received his full quota of vaccinations and is healthier for it. I know the horror, the death and disability that can be inflicted on children as a result of failure to vaccinate. This is particularly so where parents fail to vaccinate and their unvaccinated older children spread the disease to babies who are too young to vaccinate. If parents fail to vaccinate their children it is child abuse and should be treated as such and carry a heavy penalty.
    Viera Scheibner and her ilk are putting the lives and health of thousands of children at risk they should be held accountable. If a real doctor falsely reported research results they would be barred from practice. Unfortunately because Viera lacks any medical qualification she can continue to spread he poison unchecked. That is just plain wrong.”

  46. Brian M says

    Sorry Gavin.

    Not disputing your specific points. Just the more general conclusion that I may have misattributed to you w/r/t vaccination possibly being a matter of weighing risks.

    I think others have at least partly repsonded to your specific points, so I will defer

  47. Luna_the_cat says

    Hey, lookit #57 — more dangerous idiots linking! (Again, I cannot help but note, no comments at all allowed on that blog. Why, shucks.)

  48. pbrim says

    My grandmother was born in the 1890’s and grew up dirt poor in back-woods Texas. She used to tell me about how her sibs got their names because they did this or that as babies. I asked her, “Wait, you mean they didn’t get names when they were born?” “Oh no,” she said “folks never named a baby until it was a year old at least. Weren’t no point to wasting a name on a baby that wasn’t going to stay.” Her mother gave birth 20 times but three never got names and 4 more didn’t make it to 10 years old.

    There are a lot of reasons that today we expect every baby “is going to stay” and vacinations is a big one.

  49. Penny Ross says

    I agree there is probably nothing apparently marvellous about suffering through the measles, however I know there is something marvellous about the human immune system and having natural lifetime immunity. It has been found that parents with higher educations are the ones most likely to reject the compulsory childhood vaccination schedules. What does that say? Hmm…. People spend more time researching a computer, car, flat screen TV or baby car seat than they do looking into what is in the toxic cocktail being injected into their children. Roll up YOUR own sleeves and get busy. Do your homework and make wise and informed decisions before you line up your little kids to get shot full of known neurotoxins like mercury/thimerosal, aluminum, formaldehyde and detergents, human DNA from aborted fetuses, DNA from pigs, monkeys, bovines or dogs and other miscellaneous garbage. http://www.whale.to/a/west8.html http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf http://preventdisease.com/news/11/101011_Saturday-Night-Live-Parody-of-Vaccines-Shows-Ludicrous-Nature-of-HPV.shtml

  50. Luna_the_cat says


    Someone from a relatively affluent middle class — therefore protected from ever having to encounter the actual diseases, ironically by the success of vaccines. The people who are familiar with the diseases are the ones who are quite keen on vaccinations.

    And “with higher educations” generally seems to mean “with an undergraduate liberal arts degree” — no disrespect to liberal arts undergrads, but it doesn’t mean you have any understanding of science at all, much less physiology or medicine or even scientific fact-checking and logical reasoning for that matter.

    Which is why, of course, someone like you can come in quoting the conspiracy-theory site run by a pig farmer who claims he once burned his arse on ley lines, and think that this constitutes “good evidence.”*

    Penny, the people who have done the hard work of getting a real education about physiology and medicine and how the immune system works and what is actually in vaccines (and how to understand “scary substances”) are the ones who understand why they are so much better than the diseases, and who say so. At some point, maybe you should accept the possibility that you don’t have the full story, and pay attention to the explanations you get.

    *Seriously, John Scudamore is a pig farmer, who makes the serious and earnest claim that his arse was burned on ley lines. This, among other things, is why Scopie’s Law exists.


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