The anti-vaxxers are bombing a poll!

We need you to correct the bad direction this poll is taking. Clearly the anti-vaxxers have beaten us to it — get in there and provide the rational, evidence based perspective!

Do you believe the anti-vaccination movement is a health threat?

No  68.02%

Yes  31.64%

I’m not sure.  0%


  1. DrVanNostrand says

    Today there was an interesting post on Sullivan’s blog about how pediatricians are conflicted about treating anti-vax children. On the one hand, they may spread disease to their non-ignorant patients. On the other hand, it punishes children for the stupidity of their parents, and may promote the spread of disease because it makes it harder for the kids to get treatment. I thought it was an interesting discussion. Everyone agrees that anti-vax parents are scum and deserve all the consequences of their ridiculous ideas, but what about the kids?

  2. forestdragon says

    Added my own yes. Yes is now ahead at 53.98 percent. Reason and common sense prevails.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Well… to some extent, the evidence actually *shows* they are not a health threat. Not that they wouldn’t be if they were effective, but rather that the *perception* of the negative effects of the anti-vax movement are far and away greater than the *actual* effects.

    Actual rates of vaccination remain high, despite the anti-vaxxers efforts.

    And yes, I know that is too nuanced an answer to fit the poll as written; there is not a “no, but only because the movement has continually shot itself in the foot by allowing utter idiots as banner-carriers.”

  4. Ysidro says

    Damn Anti-vaxxers are jumping ahead. And I made the mistake of reading the comments. I’m going to go cry now.

  5. screechymonkey says

    I’m now waiting for all the self-righteous agnostics to insist that we should be Pharyngulating the “I’m not sure” option.

  6. redwood says

    After reading some of the comments there I’m wondering when we’ll get a vaccination to prevent stupid thinking. My favorite was along the lines of “All the people I know got childhood diseases and they are still alive.” Yes, if they weren’t still alive, you wouldn’t know them. Or the one about illegal immigrants bringing their “special” diseases into the country. When I see religious ideas being taught in public schools, I can understand the lack of reasoning ability, xenophobia and anti-government feeling. Faith over reason leads to a dangerous world view.

  7. lordshipmayhem says

    Voted “Yes”

    Yes – 63.32%
    No – 36.42%
    Not sure – too few to register above 0.00%.

  8. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    The anti-vax crowd over here in Oz have had to change their name as it was deemed misleading – and have had their charity status taken off them.
    Little, bright moments of sanity in the world…

  9. says

    For a while now I’ve been remembering to regurgitate at least one of the two things my mother told me about as to allergies learned about when I was an infant. One of those, it turns out, is the MMR vaccine. Oddly enough, despite hanging out with this skeptic crowd for a few years now, it’s only just recently sunk in that, hey, wait a sec…I’m one of those people threatened by the anti-vaxxers.

  10. stever says

    What kind of doofus designs a poll that invites multiple voting by allowing you to return to the vote form after entering a vote? This poll will be “decided” by the first hacker to write a bot for his side. That probably means the “yes” side, since it’s hard to imagine learning to code with your head up your ass.

  11. ekwhite says


    Some of the comments over there could cause permanent facepalm, like the fool who doesn’t understand herd immunity, or the one who says that vaccines don’t work because they aren’t 100% effective, or the one who says that measles is good to get. The worst kind of ignorance is willful ignorace, because just plain ignorance can be cured with education.

  12. iasasai says

    gardengnome, the poll won’t show if you’re blocking the relevant scripts through NoScript or the like. I had the same problem until I allowed scripts one by one but then a bunch more appeared and I decided to screw it and temporarily allow them all so I’m not sure which one (or more) is actually responsible. Temporary permissions immediately revoked when done, mwuahahaha!

  13. JohnnieCanuck says

    Did you look at the map function at the site with the poll? There are many hot spots. The study at your link seems to be using an average vaccination rate to justify its policy advice.

    What they fail to take into account is the wide variation in the numbers. Particular religious communities like Orthodox Reformed can locally bring vaccination rates down to zero, such as the outbreak that was recently reported at Mount Cheam Christian school in the Chilliwack area of BC. The disease has now spread out of that community because vaccination rates in general there are as low as 60%. Side effects and philosophical reasons are mentioned as well as religion.

    From this NY Times article, in 2012, Washington state had its biggest outbreak of pertussis since vaccination began decades ago. One health professional was quoted saying that Washington had had the easiest opt-out law of all the states. CDC was quoted as having seen the case numbers rising steadily over the past few decades.

    If the opt-out rate was 6% for children entering school for all of Washington, then eventually the average would have to drop below 95% required for measles. The reasons for opting out were given as fear of side effects or philosophical reasons. That would be the effect of the anti-vaxers right there.

  14. Bicarbonate is back says

    I looked at the outbreak map and it shows no cases in France for 2013 but does show an outbreak of as few as six cases in other places. I guess then that France did not report their cases because my vaccinated grand-daughter –14-months old at the time– got it. There was an outbreak at her daycare center. As per policy here, getting the measles means the kid is excluded from daycare for a full month. She was miserable, as were her sleep-deprived parents and grandmother (me).

  15. M can help you with that. says

    stever @ 21 —

    it’s hard to imagine learning to code with your head up your ass.

    Have you ever met a brogrammer?

  16. bargearse says

    Put my vote in. Anti-vaxxers are one of my pet hates. Dad & his brother are hardcore anti-vaxxers (both have done work for the AVN in Australia) and we’ve had some horrible arguments on the subject. It’s infuriating, on nearly any other subject they’re reasonable guys but mention vaccination and their brains just shut down. Luckily for me they didn’t get into the movement until I’d reached adulthood so I’m properly vaccinated, it’d be nice if they’d stop pressuring me to not vaccinate my kids though.

  17. says

    That’s on Ugh, don’t look at the comments. And if you do, please don’t think they represent my fair city.

  18. David Marjanović says

    Yes 74.09% (4,960 votes)
    No 25.75% (1,724 votes)
    I’m not sure. 0.16% (11 votes)

    Total Votes: 6,695

  19. says

    I don’t think it reflects well on what I’ve been reading and listening to lately that I want to start the yes-chant here…

  20. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Well… to some extent, the evidence actually *shows* they are not a health threat.

    Need I say, a “threat” is not a “risk”. YES the anti-vax movement is a real threat. Their teachings of falsehoods and fear of medicine in general is truly a threat to the health of ALL of us. Regardless of their actual health (statistics be damned); the movement is a threat.

    Sorry to ask, but does this POLL have any effect on anything? We all know how representative online polling is [spambots, etc. Looking at all the capabilities the interwebs gives one].

  21. Desert Son, OM says

    Added my vote of yes earlier this a.m.

    twas brillig (stevem) at #37:

    Sorry to ask, but does this POLL have any effect on anything?

    If nothing else, the counter narrative against anti-vaxxer nonsense remains alive and loud, most importantly to people who may not know much about the issue.

    Still learning,


  22. says

    Salon link.

    Three years after public health officials realized that they had been premature in declaring that measles was eliminated in the U.S., new outbreaks of the highly infectious disease are once again cropping up in cities across the country. And it would be a mistake, epidemiologists warn, not to take this extremely seriously.

    As expected, the outbreaks have caused plenty of outrage directed against Jenny McCarthy and the crowd of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Writing in the Daily Beast, a pediatrician using the pseudonym Russell Saunders calls it “sheer lunacy”: “Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country,” he writes, “and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing.”[…]

    The group of beautiful celebrities backing the anti-vax movement really irks me. Kristin Cavallari, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey (well, okay, Jim may no longer be beautiful, but he does still have a bully pulpit). They don’t know what they are talking about, and the “research” they claim to have done exposes the Dunning-Kruger effect in their lives.

  23. says

    More from the Salon article, link in comment #39:

    The total number of confirmed U.S. cases for this year is in the 70s; in 2013, it reached 187. That’s nothing compared to the 500,000 cases per year that the U.S. saw before the vaccine was introduced in the 1960s. And it’s nothing compared to other parts of the world where measles remains endemic.

    But it is a lot compared to the United States in 2000, when we first managed to wipe out the disease. ”I think that these outbreaks are a really huge deal,” said Thomas Sandora, a specialist in infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital. ”Measles is essentially the most contagious disease on the planet” right now, he explained. It becomes contagious four days before the telltale rash appears, and can remain in the air for two hours after an infected individual has left the room. All it takes is for one case of measles to be introduced into a vulnerable group: About 90 percent of people who haven’t been immunized, if exposed, will become infected.

  24. says

    At least some journalists are taking Kristin Cavallari to task for her ignorance, most recently displayed on a Bravo cable TV show:

    Kristin Cavallari, the former star of “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills,” was on Bravo’s ebullient late-night show “Watch What Happens Live” last night. The show generally steers entirely clear of politics in favor of party games and pure nostalgia — Cavallari, for instance, began the show by running through some questions about how real and how fake was “The Hills,” which ended in 2010.

    But Cavallari also addressed a recent controversy over her announcement on the Fox Business Channel that she’s not vaccinating her children (she is pregnant with her second child).[…]

    Cohen read a call sent in via email, before trailing off: “How can you knowingly support the spread of potentially deadly diseases by not vaccinating your children? What’s your …”

    Cavallari’s response is a masterpiece of the Palinesque implication that mothers have access to some higher truth that transcends science, and of presenting pseudoscience as inherently better than established scientific fact, because it’s more novel:

    “Here’s the thing. At the end of the day, I’m just a mom, I’m trying to make the best decision for my kid. There are very scary statistics out there regarding what is in vaccines and what they cause: asthma, allergies, ear infections — all kinds of things. We feel like we’re making the best decision for our kids.”

    The host of the Bravo program did not ask any follow-up questions, so Salon’s Daniel D’Addario did. One of the advertisers on the Bravo program was Autism Speaks, an organization that continues to say that immunization triggering autism “remains possible.” Bleh.

  25. twas brillig (stevem) says

    “We feel like we’re making the best decision for our kids.” –Kristin Cavallari

    “feels” trump rational thought, donchano??? “Feels” are the most important thing to consider in any decision a mother makes about HER children. All other children are inconsequential, hers are more important than anybody’s. If she had put that phrase in the past tense, as part of an apology for making a mistake, I would not be so harsh. E.G. “I felt I was making the best decision, but I was mistaken, Sorry.” [too much to expect :-( ]

  26. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    81.32% yes at the moment. I’d say that the rationalists have, for the moment, won.

  27. says

    One thing I noticed is that the antivaxxers gave up. When they were leading, around 60%, they had a little over 1500 votes. They now have little more than 1700 as the “Yes” total quadrupled.

    Are the educated using bots to vote, or are that many intelligent people getting involved? I would hope the latter.