Vaccination map of Los Angeles schools
September 11, 2014 10:42 PM   Subscribe

The Hollywood Reporter gathered vaccination rates from Los Angeles preschools and elementary schools, for the 2013-2014 academic year. They created an interactive map that allows you to click on schools and see what percentage of preschoolers and kindergarteners got the DTaP and MMR vaccinations, and what percentage of families opted out using a Personal Belief Exemption form. Los Angeles is currently in the middle of a Pertussis (Whooping Cough) outbreak, and officials are concerned that it will spread further as herd immunity is threatened by low rates of vaccination.
posted by Joh (87 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you Jenny McCarthy.
posted by theartandsound at 10:51 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Now - map the number of children who have been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum in the districts.

Q.E.M.F.D.
posted by symbioid at 10:56 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jenny McCarthy is a mass murderer who shouldn't be permitted to walk freely.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:00 PM on September 11, 2014 [32 favorites]


We didn't move to L.A. until I was in 2nd grade, but I spot-checked two areas I grew up and thought it was interesting that two of the highest rates were at religious schools, one Jewish and one Presbyterian.

I've said it before in other threads, but there's precedent for making these immunizations mandatory if you want your kids to attend public schools and I think it's the only solution that will work.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:05 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Filling out a vaccine exemption form should really just be a trap where if you fill one out, your kids get taken away from you.
posted by silby at 11:07 PM on September 11, 2014 [32 favorites]


My elementary school is on the list. It's in a pretty working class part of a northern suburb of LA, so I'm actually surprised. I'd expect the nutso richy-rich school on the other side of town to be the worse.

Another alum of that school is a friend of mine, and his baby daughter has so far spent 1 of her 6 weeks on Earth in the hospital with Whooping Cough. See, you can't get vaccinated for that until you hit six months, so some asshole McCarthy follower has made her sick.

You can also put me in the "Jenny McCarthy is a mass murderer" camp.
posted by sideshow at 11:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Well, so it is clear... Santa Monica, the pertussis capital of southern California.
posted by crapmatic at 12:04 AM on September 12, 2014


I was looking at the percentages in the right hand column, thinking, wow, yeah, that's not good, only 80% of the kids are vaccinated, 70-something percent, ouch, that's asking for herd immunity to fail. And then I realised those percentages are the percentages whose parents submitted an exemption form, i.e. might NOT be vaccinated. Oh my god.
posted by lollusc at 12:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


If you're vaccinated, then "herd immunity" doesn't really impact you much, except for the risk that the disease evolves, or if you're immunocompromized. I accept that folks get pissy when kids get hurt by their parents issues, but it's almost exclusively the anti-vaccine parents who's kids get these illnesses.

I haven't paid much attention until this year but all the quality expository work on the vaccine controversy appear recent. Authorities have been caught in enough of lies that it's reasonable for people to demand better explanations. Anti-vaccine movement isn't soo likely to stick around, imho.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ship those who don't believe in vaccinations off to Liberia.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:25 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow. Look at all that red on the west side.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:26 AM on September 12, 2014


"...there's precedent for making these immunizations mandatory if you want your kids to attend public schools and I think it's the only solution that will work."

When I was kid back in Flintstone times you weren't allowed to attend school or transfer to a new school unless you could provide immunization records and they gave you your immunizatons shots at school. There was a long line of crying kids when they mustered you to go to the Nurses Office.

No one died of Measles, Mumps, or Rubella though, nor Diphtheria, Tetanus, or Pertussis

On preview here you go jeffburdges United States Disease Death Rates Graph.
posted by vapidave at 12:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Largent observes that herd immunity isn’t a convincing argument in modern societies like the Westside. “For [these people], what you’re saying is that the public good is more important than their child’s well-being,” he says. “I don’t think parents give a shit. It doesn’t work for them. It’s such a big, amorphous claim.”

I recall someone once describing California liberalism as “I got mine” and this seems like Exhibit A.
posted by axoplasm at 12:38 AM on September 12, 2014 [19 favorites]


I wouldn't call those graphs good expository work by themselves, vapidave, although certainly they'd contribute elsewhere. It's wonderful that, as a culture, we're growing more distrustful of authority, especially government and corporate, but it creates a space for different quacks like Mercola, Gordon, Blaylock, and McCarthy. Ya know even Steve Jobs was killed by alternative medicine and his own ego, naturally some clueless parents will buy the same koolaid brand.

We should be making more convincing arguments, as well as publicizing anything that discredits Mercola, Gordon, Blaylock, etc., not talking about taking people's kids away. I'd maybe favor limiting school choice for unvaccinated kids, maybe reserve some schools for 100% vaccinated kids except for immunocompromized kids. We could even provide parents with school vaccination rates so that anti-vaccination parents might congregate in certain schools, eliminating herd immunity there, thus restricting the outbreak locations and making monitoring easier.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:11 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy is a mass murderer who shouldn't be permitted to walk freely.


I get this, but it really lets off the hook the print and electronic media that have given her years of support and the implied legitimacy that goes with it.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [41 favorites]


We have similar problems in Australia. There is a small welfare payment given when you complete all your kids immunisations by school age. Approx $50 from memory.
It doesn't do much to incentivise non-believers, but it is a prod for everyone else to remember to get it done.
posted by bystander at 1:31 AM on September 12, 2014


but it's almost exclusively the anti-vaccine parents who's kids get these illnesses.

Pertussis generally kills infants who are too young to be vaccinated so no, it can be anyone's kid.
posted by fshgrl at 1:48 AM on September 12, 2014 [68 favorites]


If you're vaccinated, then "herd immunity" doesn't really impact you much, except for the risk that the disease evolves, or if you're immunocompromized. I accept that folks get pissy when kids get hurt by their parents issues, but it's almost exclusively the anti-vaccine parents who's kids get these illnesses.


I disagree with this - according to the CDC, the DTaP vaccine is only 80-90% effective in the first year, and about 70% effective in the fifth year.

So herd immunity is critical, even for vaccinated kids.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:27 AM on September 12, 2014 [22 favorites]


so hey kids are dying of diseases that we have vaccines for nowadays, corporate power in the US is at dizzying heights, and it sounds like war is imminent in Eastern Europe

I mean

I just want some clarification as to why people keep insisting it isn't the 1920s
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [42 favorites]


Depressingly enough I find myself thinking that the anti-vax thing has gained too much momentum to be stopped by anything other than deaths.

Americans have simply forgotten that kids dying of disease is a thing, and we're going to have to relearn it the hard way before we turn this around.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


Largent observes that herd immunity isn’t a convincing argument in modern societies like the Westside. “For [these people], what you’re saying is that the public good is more important than their child’s well-being,” he says. “I don’t think parents give a shit. It doesn’t work for them. It’s such a big, amorphous claim.”

Remember all that crap about oxytocin being the empathy hormone? Parents have bucket loads of it. The problem? It turns out oxytocin is a hormone that produces a very restricted amount of empathy. It is just you and your loved ones and everyone else actually gets less empathy. It's this narrow focused empathy that enables putative good family people to do anti-social things like anti-vax behavior, the school run where parents will drive over other children to get their own to school and stroller moms who have zero concern for strangers ankles.

Oxytocin may just be behind many social ills.

( Of course all this is just wild over extrapolation of a couple of studies showing that oxytocin maybe isn't the universally positive love drug it was made out to be. The pendulum must swing)
posted by srboisvert at 4:33 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


If my child died of whooping cough, I would go after everyone at their school who had "opted out."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you're vaccinated, then "herd immunity" doesn't really impact you much, except for the risk that the disease evolves, or if you're immunocompromized. I accept that folks get pissy when kids get hurt by their parents issues, but it's almost exclusively the anti-vaccine parents who's kids get these illnesses.


We're just coming out of a mumps outbreak here (college campus) and I believe that most of the people who got it actually had been vaccinated. The vaccine is only something like between 65%-90% effective, so if you have enough of the virus going around, you're going to get a lot of people affected.

(I got the mumps in 1st grade. This was well *after* I got the MMR shot. So, that was fun. But it meant that I could just sort of go "tra la la la la" during the outbreak.)
posted by damayanti at 5:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I apologize in advance for what is probably a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway: how is it that so many well-educated, well-heeled people are doing something so clearly selfish and stupid? I'm sincerely asking. They obviously believe they're doing the right thing -- people mainly do, even when they're doing the wrong thing, so how is this a thing? Haven't they seen the studies that fail to corroborate the claim that vaccines cause autism? I'm a fairly lazy consumer of news and I've seen this published in the mainstream press several times - do they have buckets on their heads or something? Is there some compelling evidence that points in the other direction?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, I got measles after being vaccinated. This was in the 80s, pre-MMR; I was going into hospital for surgery, and the hospital wanted the vaccination done first. Came down with measles shortly after coming home anyway (and the hospital then quarantined my ward for two weeks, so the common antivax claim that nobody considered measles a big issue pre-MMR is... not in line with my own experience). Herd immunity matters for everyone.

I don't know if more deaths would do anything to sway the antivax movement. I suspect probably not, because it'd still be a small number of deaths relative to the number of cases, and that's part of the problem - people assuming that if it's not actually killing you it's basically harmless. I wish there was more awareness of the non-fatal complications these illnesses can cause, which can be pretty horrific in their own right and a lot more common.

Also, anyone who wants to opt out of (say) the pertussis vaccine should have to watch a video of a baby suffering from pertussis. It is horrendous. Even if there was a 100% guarantee that my kid wouldn't die and wouldn't have any long-term effects from one of these diseases, I would still vaccinate based on the awfulness of the disease alone, because why the hell would I want to put anyone through that?
posted by Catseye at 5:55 AM on September 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Worth mentioning that the very thing I've heard anti-vaxers warn of - deception and fraud in the medical and scientific community - is in fact what started this whole sham of a debate.
posted by SoFlo1 at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


In response to A Terrible Lama's query:

I don't know for sure why intelligent people don't trust the vaccines, but there are a lot of intelligent reasons to distrust governments and corporations in general. There are a lot of historical records showing people in a position of authority assuring the public that something is safe and then changing their minds (smoking, raioactive materials, the really old vaccines etc.). Big corporations shouting down nay-sayers and whistleblowers is nothing new, and it's hard to tell the difference between a whistleblower with an important message and scum like Wakefield.

Look also at Global Warming, where more scientifically educated people seem to favour the resistance and there has been a lot of sound and fury against it. If you aren't sufficiently interested in a cause, Global Warming and vaccine troubles can look very similar...
posted by YAMWAK at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't know for sure why intelligent people don't trust the vaccines, but there are a lot of intelligent reasons to distrust governments and corporations in general.

Ok. That makes sense.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:12 AM on September 12, 2014


Also, anyone who wants to opt out of (say) the pertussis vaccine should have to watch a video of a baby suffering from pertussis.

Seriously. Women in parts of the USA get forced to watch an ultrasound before being allowed to have an abortion. (NB: that is a terrible thing and needs to be stopped yesterday.) Parents should be forced to watch videos of sick and dying children before being allowed to do this.

And then they shouldn't be allowed anyway. The only acceptable reasons for not getting your child vaccinated are actual medically verified allergies or having a compromised immune system. There is nothing else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:15 AM on September 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


how is it that so many well-educated, well-heeled people are doing something so clearly selfish and stupid? I'm sincerely asking. They obviously believe they're doing the right thing -- people mainly do, even when they're doing the wrong thing, so how is this a thing?

I've only met one anti vaxer and this is one armchair analysis from some schmucko (me) but here goes...

Combination of....
Contrarianism
Smugness
Kids don't like shots and parents don't like seeing their kids cry so that helps gild the lily
Propensity to believe in other vague conspiracies that really have no basis in reality (chemtrails)
Distaste for being told what to do
Enamored with easy glib explanations of the world that show you the 'truth' that other people have been fooled into not realizing. Any explanation of things that short circuits the need to actually think and make a decision is attractive.
posted by ian1977 at 6:18 AM on September 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


Maybe a shorter summary, ian: grasping for some tiny bit of control and 'individuality' in a world that allows them neither?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Plus...I bet once you decide not to vaccinate your kids it is incredibly difficult to do a 180 because admitting being wrong would be tantamount to admitting that you did a really foolish shitty thing to your kids and society. So it's probably easier to just dig your heels in further.
posted by ian1977 at 6:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


Maybe a shorter summary, ian: grasping for some tiny bit of control and 'individuality' in a world that allows them neither?

Way too exculpatory. In broad terms many of these people have been allowed rather high levels of control and "individuality."
posted by leopard at 6:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hmm. Maybe 'in a world they perceive as allowing them neither.'

It seems to boil down to control for me, anyway. Stupid, thoughtless, selfish, actively malignant control.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:25 AM on September 12, 2014


Yeah feckless. I agree. But I think for some people it's just fashion. More like is a lifestyle choice. The choice for being an anti vaxer to some people has no more weight than their decision to put a bumper sticker on their car. It's easy. You fill out the form and presto you're a freedoms fighter who knows the truth. (And one who doesn't have to keep as many dr appts)
posted by ian1977 at 6:26 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I get this, but it really lets off the hook the print and electronic media that have given her years of support and the implied legitimacy that goes with it.

It also lets off the parents who ignore the advice of medical professionals. They are ultimately responsible for the health of their children.
posted by echocollate at 6:28 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's that simple, to be honest. I think there's a lot of legitimate distrust of the medical establishment, especially pharmaceutical companies but also to some extent doctors and researchers, who are seen to be in league with Big PHarma. It's also part of a trend towards "natural" parenting: the few anti-vaxxers I've run into have also been into things like attachment parenting (which is not to say that all attachment parenting fans are anti-vaxxers, *at all*) and child-centered educational movements and avoiding exposure to chemicals and screens. They're people who think that modernity has been bad for kids and that they can return to simpler, more-natural methods of raising children that will privilege parental expertise rather than cold, unnurturing science. I think this is all mega-bullshit, of course, although I think some of their less-lethal obsessions can work out fine and even make some sense. I'm just not sure where in the past people had this joyful golden age of child-rearing, and pre-modern childhood sounds exceptionally grim from everything I've ever studied about it. But I don't think they're just about control. I think they have a (stupid) philosophy of about how best to raise children.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Even PBS (via NOVA) is saying the anti-vac people are wrong. They were practically pleading in the show i watched last night. Stating over and over that there is zero correlation between vaccination and Autism, or seizure syndromes. They did admit that one in 20 million polio vacciens went awry, but that's like hitting Powerball. They also could not fathom why people will not allow their daughters to get the HPV vac. screaming IT PREVENTS CANCER! What the hell more do you want!!!???
posted by Gungho at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I agree arbitraryandcapricious. I was only speaking about one particular anti vaxer that I've met.

A good book on the subject would be True Believer by good old what's his name. It's been years since I've read it but he breaks down all the different reasons why people join causes. From fascism to brand loyalty. Interesting book
posted by ian1977 at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2014


I get this, but it really lets off the hook the print and electronic media that have given [McCarthy] years of support and the implied legitimacy that goes with it.

Spot on. I don't know how Oprah got her hands washed clean of this, but she needs to be fully dragged back in, kicking and screaming.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


My parents are retired and live in SoCal. My mother had whooping cough, not too long ago. It sounds awful on the telephone even when the sufferer is a mostly-recovered adult.

I wonder how many anti-vaxxer parents are getting this disease themselves. Apparently not enough.
posted by elizilla at 6:44 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


My daughter has always had all the vaccines and she had pertussis once. (Whooping cough). In her case it wasn't really that outrageously bad. Just like an exceptionally nasty cold. I think they said there are different strains. At any rate, I was travelling for work when she got it and I went to a clinic and they tested me and I had it (no symptoms tho). They gave me some antibiotics. The hard part was telling my coworker who had an infant baby at he that he had been working side by side for a few days with a Typhoid Tommy. Luckily he didn't get sick and at least they knew so they could alert their doctor and monitor their baby.
posted by ian1977 at 6:53 AM on September 12, 2014


how is it that so many well-educated, well-heeled people are doing something so clearly selfish and stupid?

I think they're very afraid of autism, and still believe it's caused by vaccines. They probably aren't getting their medical information from studies, but from other parents.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on September 12, 2014


@jeffburdges - how does linking to a googling of the food pyramid indicate that 'authorities have been caught in lies" about vaccines?

there is no vaccine controversy. That's like saying there's a climate change controversy.

I don't know if more deaths would do anything to sway the antivax movement.

Probably not. The thing about the antivax movement is that it's not a movement. There are a handful of loudmouths with blogs or names like Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield. But then there's a much, much larger pool of people who aren't looking too deeply in to it, and have heard something about how vaccines aren't safe and mercury is bad for babies. And that's it.

Calling them dumbfucks for their concerns isn't going to boost immunization rates, but smart, well-researched and well-thought-out communications campaigns will.
posted by entropone at 6:55 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm somewhat heartened by the verdict in New York this summer upholding the right of schools to bar students that are unvaccinated during outbreaks.

If the fear of spreading disease won't get the parents' attention, keeping them out of school certainly will. I hope every district adopts these policies in the future. The whole 'religious exemption' thing has become a weapon the schools can't fight anymore.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Where do insurance companies weigh in on this? I'm surprised they don't say 'vaccinate your kid or sign a waiver that we won't pay for treatments related to diseases that have a vaccine'. Which is monstrous of course.
posted by ian1977 at 7:25 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Crap like this certainly does not help. LOOK! IT'S ON CNN!!!!
posted by NoMich at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the problems is you can find a doctor willing to back up a lot of random things that are outside the medical consensus. So an anti-vaxer can feel just fine because, "Hey, all I'm doing is following my doctor's advice!" or even if they don't personally search out an anti-vax doctor they will point out that some doctors are anti-vax so, controversy! It confuses all kinds of issues, look at the diet industry where there must be a thousand doctors offering a thousand different diets. One doctor tells you to eat a ton of meat, the other tells you to eat a ton of starch, one says never eat meat. People decide to trust the doctor who recommends the food or lifestyle they prefer rather than listening to the boring old medical consensus that there are no magic bullet foods for health.

For diet, whatever, usually the books have good overall advice on managing a food plan. For anti-vax...how can these doctors still be allowed to work?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gary Baum Hollywood Reporter reporter on this story is doing a Reddit AMA at 12 p.m. tomorrow 13 Sep.
posted by bukvich at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think this has all been a sort of perfect storm of tragedy, driven by a lot of things.

1. Rise of resistance to overmedication, driven by some legit things (we are overusing anitbiotics; women are pressured into c-sections and interventions for convenience; there are documented trends of overmedication and overuse of surgery that varies by geography and how much money Big Pharma is spending) and some glaringly non-legit ideas (vaccines cause autism or other problems; homeopathy and random herbs are as good as regular medicine; being a crunchy-granola parent is fashionable among a certain set of folks, so there is pressure to be more and more extreme about it).

2. Most people don't really grasp the statistics of things like herd immunity or disease risk. They are also fuzzy on how vaccines work. This makes the susceptible ones easier to convince.

3. Autism is a scary diagnosis most parents would gladly do anything to avoid if they could. Again, this makes them an easy mark.

Jenny McCarthy and Oprah are part of problem one, in that they helped make antivax a part of the already fashionable, attachment-oriented approach to childrearing.

Which, I should point out, is itself a backlash to things like rigidly scheduled feeding, forbidding breastfeeding in favor of (at the time) inferior formula, traumatic and damaging practices during birth and keeping babies separate from their mothers, warnings of "overmothering", and other "scientific" approaches to child-rearing in the early part of the 20th century that were scientifically dodgy at best and cruel at worst.

My mother was not allowed to try breastfeeding, for example; she was summarily given a shot that would dry up her milk without being asked. This was after "twilight birth" experiences she refused to ever talk about. This was also a time of mandatory circumcision, pressure to "fix" or force intersex babies into a chosen sex, and other instances of medical overreach and prejudice where treatment of children was concerned.

I say all this to point out that parental suspicion of medical directives, for a certain group of parents who have read up on these problems, is not entirely illogical or just bloody-minded. The medical community has some responsibility in creating this atmosphere of mistrust, by historically demanding parents treat their word as law even when they were tragically wrong.

That's why talk of "take away their kids!" troubles me. It would be better to perhaps approach these parents less punitively, and certainly not with arrogant rage, and talk to them about their fears in an attempt to persuade them to vaccinate. Derision and anger is probably not going to make them open to hearing this idea.

It seems like there could be a chance for an educational campaign of some kind, in which medical professionals both acknowledged the limitations and flaws of their very human profession, and listened to the parents' fears with patience. But then shared that while medicine has gotten some things wrong, we have overwhelming evidence that vaccination is right. That's a good time to show the video of the wheezing kid with pertussis, or talk about stories from the bad old days before vaccination.

I mean, I am angry too, about the fallout from this movement. But I also remember that being responsible for the life of another person is really scary and isolating. I don't believe that every single non-vaxxing parent is callously unconcerned for their children or other people's children. I can believe that many of them are vulnerable and have found support in communities that pressure them not to vaccinate, and they are afraid to betray their community.
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 AM on September 12, 2014 [19 favorites]


I never said anyone had lied about vaccines, entropone, obviously. I said that government and corporate lies about health make converting the anti-vaccine crowd difficult. I called out the food pyramid because almost everyone who pays attention accepts that lobbyists write the food pyramid.

How do you convince someone? It's almost impossible to teach them the science if either (a) they've no science background or (b) you've not enough of the relevant science background yourself. We cannot appeal to "well the scientists convinced the government" because they feel lied to by the government on health issues. We cannot appeal to "well the scientist convinced almost all other scientists" because the anti-vaccine crowd is extremely loud on google. What's left?

Also, there is no mercury in vaccines today, entropone, except for influenza shots for adults. We removed the organomercury compound thiomersal from vaccines in 1999 after we expanded the vaccine schedule created a legitimate concern, well spectacularly toxic organomercury compounds like dimethylmercury exist. Just fyi, Botox uses the most deadly chemical know.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2014


“If I talk to most of my patients, who are very savvy by the way, they will say they know someone directly or indirectly who felt that their child has not been the same since the vaccine,” says Dr. Lauren Feder, whose pediatrics practice, popular with those leery of immunizations, is based just south of L.A.’s Miracle Mile.

I, a very savvy adult allergic to the pertussis vaccine, am saddened and dismayed to find this quote from a doctor within a couple miles from me.


If you're vaccinated, then "herd immunity" doesn't really impact you much, except for the risk that the disease evolves, or if you're immunocompromized. I accept that folks get pissy when kids get hurt by their parents issues, but it's almost exclusively the anti-vaccine parents who's kids get these illnesses.

IF you are vaccinated and IF your antibody count is still up there, then you are a key part of the barrier of herd immunity. If kids were somehow only at home or teleported to school, maybe the risk would indeed be only for kids who are unvaccinated. But they are not. Kids interact with museum volunteers and grocery store clerks and little old ladies in the hall and their friends, who may be immunocompromised, and the families of their friends, ditto. Vaccines aren't perfect. Vaccinated people can contact these diseases too. That's why herd immunity matters. Also, I don't want anyone's kids getting whooping cough. It's a terrible and painful experience, especially for babies. I also don't want anyone's children taken away--I just don't want them spreading mumps or pertussis far and wide.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


A big part of the reason for the success of the anti-vax movement is the incredible success of modern medicine. People just don't die like they used to and so there isn't an understanding of just how razor thin the safety margins of modern life are. I still have all my brothers and my parents and three of my grandparents died at ripe old ages. Other than a cousin run over by a car and an uncle who drowned the grim reaper hasn't really visited my extended family early much. It is almost enough to make you infer that the natural state of humanity is health and that it takes something to perturb it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:04 AM on September 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


Sample size of one and all but our kiddo (seen recently silently forming an evil plot to take over the world) sailed through the first round of shots, we moved to the wife's internship city, got the second round, and we're approaching the third round in a week or so.

Sure, she was cranky for a day or two and obviously didn't feel great but I really feel like there's a certain percentage of the parents avoiding vaccinations population, aside from those who are oblivious enough to ever/still ride the "it causes Autism train" (I just feel sorry for society failing them, honestly), because they simply can't bear the idea of little snoogy-woogy-bottoms getting poked with a needle or being uncomfortable for a while.

Those people... I just want to grab them and shake the living shit out of them until they agree to immunize their kid, concede that a needle poke or said overall experience isn't going to cause harm to the child, decide that they can actually deal with a potentially grumpier than normal kid for a few days, and then go apologize to 7 people who have kids that are immuno-suppressed and can't get the vaccines they need or, god forbid, lost a kid to something before he or she was able to strengthen their immunity.

Yea, yea, I'm speculating but my gut reaction is that parents like that just aren't capable in general or to be trusted as caregivers for the next generation. That's the nice way of saying it. What I want to say is that they can fuck right the hell off.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


They also could not fathom why people will not allow their daughters to get the HPV vac. screaming IT PREVENTS CANCER! What the hell more do you want!!!???

Because they think that once their daughters have a shot that can prevent cancers caused by HPV, they are automatically sluts. I guarantee that if there has not already been such a case, then there will eventually be a case where a teen rape is handwaved away by a shitstain of a judge who says she couldn't have been raped because she had the shot that let her have "consequence-free sex" or some such revolting shitstain statement.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


The only thing that will change this trend is death. It will probably fade over time but, mark my words, a lot of kids will have to be shown dying on TV first. Probably featuring one or more interviews from tearful ex-anti-vax parents talking about how their baby died, followed by an interview with a father who is in prison for killing his anti-vax neighbors in a fit of rage after his child died.

...even that may not do it, because as much as people like to talk about how they value children, they actually don't.
posted by aramaic at 8:14 AM on September 12, 2014


That's why talk of "take away their kids!" troubles me. It would be better to perhaps approach these parents less punitively, and certainly not with arrogant rage, and talk to them about their fears in an attempt to persuade them to vaccinate. Derision and anger is probably not going to make them open to hearing this idea.

I agree that arrogant rage won't work but I also believe that you cannot approach anti-vaxers rationally. For all intents and purposes they arrived at their decision rationally and have made it a spiritual/religious sort of thing.

Honestly criminalizing it might be the only way. As a parent I'm not completely cool with taking kids away but it's really hard to not justify it. It's a true threat to the child and to other children. We have zero tolerance for taking anything at all that resembles a weapon to school why are they allowed to send their disease bombs to school?
posted by M Edward at 8:15 AM on September 12, 2014


We'll never convince the anti-vaccine loons until we clean up the pharmaceutical industry somewhat :
Two whistleblowers' lawsuits claiming Merck lied about mumps vaccine efficacy headed to trial

We could insist that all drugs prescribed for children be produced by non-profits or something.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2014


Vaccines are a victim of their success. Since a lot of these diseases virtually disappeared, people thought they had literally disappeared so it was okay to skip vaccines. It's kind of similar to how a lot of young people aren't concerned about HIV/AIDS because they didn't see entire communities drop dead from the disease, they just see some people who take a lot of pills every day.

It's clear that people who don't vaccinate are problematic but I think people should also pay attention to parents who decide that alternate vaccination schedules are appropriate for their special snowflake because BIG PHARMA invented the vaccine schedule to extract the maximum amount of money or whatever. There are reasons behind the vaccine schedule. One of them is a relative of mine. She was born prematurely with a tumor and is undergoing chemotherapy. She's about 3 months old now. Her immune system is compromised so she can't get her vaccines yet. If she caught a vaccine-preventable disease, it would be a life-threatening situation. So please vaccinate your kids at the appropriate times.
posted by kat518 at 8:33 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


You don't necessarily have to take the kids out of their idiot parent's custody (where wold they go? the foster care system in this country is a disaster), but at the very least their unvaccinated little Typhoid Trinity should be barred from public schools, and private schools with an unvaccinated enrollment below a certain threshold, say 90%, should be barred from receiving all public funds.

If the idol Hollywood rich want to fund their own separate school system with 17th century levels of disease risk, well I guess we can't really stop them, but they shouldn't be allowed to compromise the rest of society in their misguided quest for specialness for their special snowflakes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's why talk of "take away their kids!" troubles me. It would be better to perhaps approach these parents less punitively, and certainly not with arrogant rage, and talk to them about their fears in an attempt to persuade them to vaccinate. Derision and anger is probably not going to make them open to hearing this idea.

There's no need to take the kids away, but I still don't care about convincing them about anything when there's the perfectly good option of just forcibly vaccinating all the kids. After it's done they can be as upset about it as they like.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Almost all of the worst schools are private, and really a whole lot of them are Waldorf schools. Is there some connection between Waldorf education and not vaccinating?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:56 AM on September 12, 2014


How many deaths? California has at least 13 known infant deaths since the 2010 season.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:02 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was under the impression that big pharma does not profit from vaccines. Doesn't it lead to more disease, and more people wanting expensive cures?
posted by halifix at 10:00 AM on September 12, 2014


There's no need to take the kids away, but I still don't care about convincing them about anything when there's the perfectly good option of just forcibly vaccinating all the kids. After it's done they can be as upset about it as they like.

I might be fine with making admittance to all schools, daycares, amusement parks, etc. require vaccinations. And making vaccines free but requiring parents to pay to register themselves or kids as as non-vaxxed so that if they go to those places and there is an outbreak, they will be identified as the vector and subject to quarantine (if needed). This would also avoid the many ugly scenarios that come to mind with physically forcing children to get shots. Especially if your enforcement mechanism is "cops with guns." Which it would have to be.

But if you make non-vaxxing expensive, public, and a hassle, it reduces the appeal considerably. Right now it is none of those things.
posted by emjaybee at 10:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does any one know if some of the increasing non-vaccinated rate comes from troubles related to the rising cost of vaccines [NYT 7/2014]?
posted by foxfirefey at 10:08 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


... I find myself thinking that the anti-vax thing has gained too much momentum to be stopped by anything other than deaths.

Americans have simply forgotten that kids dying of disease is a thing, and we're going to have to relearn it the hard way before we turn this around.

posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:50 AM on September 12


Maybe it's because I'm having an optimistic day. Or maybe I've grown so cynical about the whole anti-vax movement and the clear affect it's having on public health, that I've gone full circle and started to become optimistic about it. But I find myself thinking that in the long term, the return of these diseases could acutally be a very good thing for the US.

IANAD, a public heath professional, or a policy maker of any sort. So take my hypothesis with a grain of salt, but here are the factors that I see in play:

* I think Tell Me No Lies is 100% correct--we've forgotten what these diseases can do.
* We've not only forgotten what these diseases can do to children, but we've forgotten what they can do to adults.
* We now have what is probably a record number of people walking around in public who are immuno-compromised. People receiving certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy. People living with certain illnesses and/or disorders. Heck, even senior citizens can have their immune systems weakened due to sheer age. These folks have been able to walk out of the doors of their houses and survive precisely because vaccines brought all sorts of diseases to heal. Now that these diseases are making a comeback, their lives are at risk, too.
* Let's not forget the pregnant ladies out there. Exposure to childhood diseases while you're pregnant can lead to all sort of medical complications for your child (assuming, of course, the child survives). Just take a look at what chickenpox can do to a developing fetus. Read about what in utero exposure to German measles did to the daughter of actress Gene Tierney. If these diseases make a comeback, pregnancy is going to become a potential horror show for a lot of women out there.
* It's not just about comeback diseases killing someone--they can maim the heck out of you, too. Mumps can cause deafness and (in males) sterility. Measles can cause corneal scarring. And encephalitis is a risk factor with a lot of these diseases in both children and adults. Pretty soon doctors across the land will be starting conversations with, "Hey, remember when your child used to not be mentally retarded?"
* Even if a comeback disease doesn't kill you or maim you, it can still wreak havoc in your life. Back in the day they used to quarantine you for around three weeks (possibly longer) if you contracted measles, and if an outbreak of that (or a similar disease) happens, don't think the CDC won't reinstate that practice. Not a lot of American get 3+ weeks worth of paid sick leave/vacation time from their jobs. Not a lot of Americans will be able to afford to take weeks of unpaid leave if they or their children come down with some of these diseases. I'd be willing to be that some Americans will lose their jobs because these diseases prevent them from coming into work.

It's easy to see what a seventeen-sided clusterfuck a good, solid outbreak of something like measles or whooping cough could cause. The good news is that the following might could happen:

* The MSM, who so blithely gave Jenny McCarthy and other anti-vax whack-a-doodles a public forum, will start covering the outbreaks. They'll start demanding answers from the anti-vaxxers, who won't have any non-crazy responses. And then they'll start covering the funerals.
* Once video of a a sobbing parent in front of a casket shrieking "I didn't think measles would kill my child!" makes it onto the Internet, the anti-vaxxers will be finished.
* One thing that I noticed from the last few outbreaks is how good the CDC is at tracking down the source, the "Patient Zero" (so to speak) who introduced the disease into the population. That tells me that there's someone who can be sued. And the first time an adult is either maimed or killed by a comeback diseases? Not only will there be video of families sobbing, but you can bet lawyers will get involved. They'll do whatever it takes to track down the Patient Zero and his/her parents, who will then be dragged into civil court and sued into the poor house. That will get plenty of press coverage, too.
* One of my mothers' friends used to say that if Roe v. Wade had been decided before vaccines took off, you'd be able to get an abortion at KMart today. As previously mentioned, pregnant women risk significant damage to their fetuses thanks to the return of these diseases. One look at some of those ultrasounds, and suddenly abortion will look more and more like the sane and merciful option even to some hard-core pro-lifers. I think return of these diseases has the potential to change the conversation around abortion in the US. And if the pro-choice movement is smart, they'll exploit the shit out of that.
* The return of these diseases also has the potential to impact issues around paid-time-off for American employees. There's not much you can do if the US Gov't orders you and/or your child have to stay home because of a disease you picked up. Any employers that don't suck it up and pay the employee could face one hell of a backlash.

Anyway, like I said, I don't have anything to back this up, and of course nobody tells me anything, but these are the scenarios I imagine playing out. Granted, they rely on large numbers of child and adults dying, become maimed, and having miscarriages because of comeback diseases, but I really do think that's what it's gonna take.
posted by magstheaxe at 10:27 AM on September 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


In general, possibly, but I don't think so in this particular instance. I know pretty much nothing about the socioeconomic geography of the Los Angeles area, but my sense is that the high-non-compliance schools are mostly expensive private schools in well-off neighborhoods. (There also seem to be some that are affiliated with religious groups, like the two Molokan elementary schools.) I have read that anti-vaccination people are disproportionately wealthy and well-educated. I don't think these are people who can't afford routine medical care for their kids.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:27 AM on September 12, 2014


Another factor is the scare-mongering and demonization of autism and autistic people put forth by much of the mainstream media and organizations such as Autism Speaks. People would literally rather risk their child dying of preventable disease than take a chance the kid might get autism (the fact that there is no connection between vaccines and autism notwithstanding.)
posted by Daily Alice at 10:34 AM on September 12, 2014


How many deaths? California has at least 13 known infant deaths since the 2010 season.

IMHO, the death count will need to be well into the thousands before before the tide starts to turn.

While McCarthy and hungry media may have started things along, vaccinations have now been placed squarely in the fear box that contains fluoride, pesticides, and GMO -- which is to say Things That Pollute Our Precious Bodily Fluids. That is an extremely tough box, one which science and statistics holds little sway over.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mother Jones has a state-by-state map of exemption rates, and the statewide rates are slightly more of a relief than the rates in the sorted-by-worst-case schools list on the link in this post.

Not entirely a relief, though: California is definitely not the worst case scenario, and at least Los Angelenos now have a fine-grained tool for finding out which schools are safer than others.
posted by roystgnr at 10:46 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, Oprah.

If I recall correctly, she made a big deal (eventually?) about admitting she was wrong about James Frey so maybe something like a twitter campaign could make her consider doing the same with Jenny McCarthy:

@oprah tell people to vax their kids. #jennyiswrong #makeitrightoprah

(I don't really use twitter, but something like that.)

I'd also encourage everyone to call their elected officials and tell them to make the vaccines mandatory.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2014


Mother Jones has a state-by-state map of exemption rates, and the statewide rates are slightly more of a relief than the rates in the sorted-by-worst-case schools list on the link in this post.

Looks like this is one of the only things that the South is doing right.

The Left Coast and Chicago look like the epicenter of this dangerous Woo, which makes a certain kind of sense. But no idea what's up with Michigan being so high.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:02 PM on September 12, 2014


...I really feel like there's a certain percentage of the parents avoiding vaccinations ... because they simply can't bear the idea of little snoogy-woogy-bottoms getting poked with a needle or being uncomfortable for a while...

Lest this be seen as hyperbolic speculation, let me report that my pediatric ER nurse spouse regularly (like, every shift) sees sick kids whose parents bring them in because they didn't want to take their medicine. As in, little shmoopy-woopie didn't LIKE taking her antibiotics, and now her infection is much worse, so here we are back in the ER and what are you going to do about it? What, needles? NOT MY KID! That kind of parenting along with even the vaguest suspicion of vaccines is sufficient to explain some of the problem.
posted by werkzeuger at 12:58 PM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Lest this be seen as hyperbolic speculation

Thanks for that, I felt bad throwing speculation around but I felt like folks would understand I was just using "certain percentage" in the not-zero-percent definition. Your wife's experiences, quite frankly, scare me.

What, needles? NOT MY KID!

How do doctors and nurses stay sane? Seriously. This is the same kind of mentality-slash-parenting style that would lead them to cold cock someone for performing CPR if their kid fell out while playing soccer. I just don't understand people. Between this and global warming deniers and god knows how much political fuckedupppedness... my understanding and empathy reservoir has just straight up ran dry.

I really hate it for the kids. I count them among the innocent bystanders in this debacle. I just fear that Darwin is going to start taking his toll here and the reckoning isn't going to be pretty and the gnashing of teeth and wailing coming from those whose [by choice] unvaccinated kids get sick or straight up die isn't going to be enough to set things right. Not by a long shot.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:57 PM on September 12, 2014


We're just coming out of a mumps outbreak here (college campus) and I believe that most of the people who got it actually had been vaccinated.

When I went back to college, they demanded all students show proof of measles vaccination. But I had measles as a child, back when there was no vaccine. The university said I could provide proof I had the measles. Fortunately, my family doctor was my uncle, so he wrote a letter saying I had the measles, which conferred lifetime immunity.

I remember having the measles, it was indescribable misery. Before the vaccine, measles would propagate through a school before anyone knew there was an outbreak. My older sister picked it up in kindergarten and brought it home, where all my sisters got it at the same time (extra bonus misery).

One of the original reasons for Public Medicine like vaccinations was that the poor could not afford medical care, but even the rich were at risk from communicable diseases since their servants could bring it into their mansions. But now it's just the opposite, the rich antivax assholes propagate the disease to everyone, even the poor.

This is just goddam ridiculous. Schools should not accept the phony "personal belief exemption." No vaccine, no school. And then lock up the parents for contributing to the delinquency of a minor by deliberate truancy.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:02 PM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Report (pdf) from the California Department of Public Health for the year 2014 as of September 2nd. Scroll down to page 3 for a map by county of Pertussis incidence per 100,000 population.
posted by Emor at 2:09 PM on September 12, 2014


These are interesting nationwide numbers to look at from the CDC: Reported Cases and Deaths from Vaccine Preventable Diseases, United States, 1950-2011 (pdf)
posted by Emor at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had the mumps when I was in elementary school. I don't recall much about the symptoms. In my memory it was like any other cold, except I was out of school longer and it was somehow more glamorous. And also, my dad was sick with me. I vaguely remember him being sick a lot longer. My parent had no more children after that, but our family size (three kids) was a pretty normal number for the circles they moved in, so maybe it wasn't fallout from mumps, maybe they were already done anyway.

When I was in high school, my family moved to a new school district, where they did not let me go to school until I got a mumps vaccine. I got the shot. I was annoyed at the time; it was a hassle. But looking back I completely approve. I wish schools were still that strict.
posted by elizilla at 3:07 PM on September 12, 2014


In case anyone is wondering about some of the doctors behind "alternative" vaccination schedules, here's what Dr. Bob Sears has to say:

“I do think the disease danger is low enough where I think you can safely raise an unvaccinated child in today’s society,” he said. “It may not be good for the public health. But ... for your individual child, I think it is a safe enough choice.”

So yes, at least one doctor actively markets his practice based on the fact that you can be selfish and your kid will probably not get measles.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:48 PM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


(And yes, I recognize that there are children for whom a gradual schedule is better for their health, and some kids for whom vaccination is damaging. I also understand that religious exemptions are important for some communities. I'm sure these parents are just trying to do the best for their kids. But when I walk past a school, as I did today, with a 33% exemption rate, I am a little scared and worried about what could happen. And what could happen a decade down the line if those kids do not ever get fully vaccinated and the rates remain high.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:53 PM on September 12, 2014


This reminds of people who are against pollution regulations. We don't have rivers catching on fire any more, so why do we need environmental protection? We don't have people dying in droves from measles, so why do we need vaccines? There's a loss of cultural memory here that's going to kick us in our ass.
posted by mollweide at 6:46 PM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yes, Dr. Sears is a huge problem since he is the big figure in attachment parenting. I have a one year old and I'm pretty crunchy, I guess, what with breast feeding and cloth diapering. I am in some large facebook mommy groups where attachment parenting is hugely popular and I am gobsmacked at how many antivaxxers there are. I'd be very interested to know if anyone has documented the correlation of attachment parenting followers and antivaxxers because from my anecdata it seems very, very high. There are lots of provax attachment devotees, but it seems to me like an incredibly high percentage of antivaxxers are into attachment parenting. I like some AP ideas, but the antivax stuff just makes me lose my shit. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people are drawn in by the AP childrearing ideas they find attractive and then get sucked into the vaccine nonsense.
posted by gatorae at 6:53 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well I did not realize Jenny McCarthy was on the daytime talk show The View but I see that according to Mediaite she will not be returning this season, so at least she won't have that platform.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:40 PM on September 12, 2014


I have a huge family, relatively speaking, and a good portion of them are still alive. But I still have aunts and uncles who died before there were vaccines for the diseases that killed them.

Me, I'm a rubella baby. Blindness, deafness, the works. Still dealing with aftereffects of congenital rubella syndrome, always will be, and I had it mild. Mild. The doctor recommended abortion, strongly recommended it, and I've seen people in my mother's situation abort. I have no blame for them whatsoever: I understand.

The effects of being so impaired are no-one's fault, precisely. But I don't wish it on anyone else. I wish anti-vaxxers would understand that. I advocate mandatory vaccination, maintaining immunity as required, unless there is a verified medical exception (I fall under that medical exception because of the immunological effects left over from the CRS! irony!) precisely for the reason that I don't wish this on anybody.

If I did I would be a very cruel person, and I don't want to be that person. I don't understand why they are willing to be that person.
posted by E. Whitehall at 4:20 AM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I like the idea of non vaxcers registering and paying yearly dues. The costs would cover making sure they're compliant with a visibility scheme. The home should be marked and any unvaxxed individual would have to wear a marker any time they're outside the house (ID bracelet maybe). Any public or private facility would be able to turn away people who are not vaxxed. Anyone found in violation would be subject to a fine on the spot and an insurance bond in case they were the vector for someone else getting infected.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:40 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gungho: They also could not fathom why people will not allow their daughters to get the HPV vac. screaming IT PREVENTS CANCER! What the hell more do you want!!!???

I was in highschool when that vaccine came out. Every girl at my school got it, that I knew of. There was much discussion about siblings/cousins/family friends kids/etc NOT getting it though.

It was basically a Harlem globetrotters gravity-defying ball juggle between right wing elephant in the womb uterus-lieners, and monied liberal antivaxers.

For one weird moment they both agreed it was some terrible thing. And even some of category B sort of bought into the weird sex thing.

It was also the most plain as day admission I've ever seen from the right wingers of how their opposition to sex is like, completely bizarre and is more important than preventing cancer. I think it's probably the turning point at which I started believing that anti choicers were 100% about controlling women and thinking they should never be allowed to autonomously enjoy sex, and that they should fear it as much as is in their power to create fear and doubt.

Really though, it was weird hearing of relatively deeply liberal parents who were pro single payer and shit having repeated republican anti choicer rhetoric, and seeing elsewhere the reverse take place. It was some kind of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" shit and it was super gross and awful.
posted by emptythought at 9:46 AM on September 13, 2014


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