"I know because I vaccinated both of them"
February 2, 2015 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Citing 'indisputable' science, in an interview President Obama urged parents to get their children vaccinated. However, potential presidential hopeful and current NJ governor Chris Christie, is less adamant than the president. In an interview in the UK, Christie said the government must “balance” public health interests with parental choice. This may be a beginning of polarization of vaccines among partisan lines in the US. Previous research has shown that Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to believe that childhood vaccines are risky.
posted by MisantropicPainforest (518 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Should we consider a special Darwin Award?
posted by sammyo at 7:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back
The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.
Ah, the Onion, cutting to the truth of the matter with biting sarcasm.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [142 favorites]


I'll give them a choice: Vaccinate or lifelong quarantine.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [33 favorites]


Offering "balance" in vaccine policy should mean you can get the shots in both arms.
posted by Runes at 7:17 AM on February 2, 2015 [51 favorites]


Fucking hell. This is *exactly* what I've been worrying about. If anti-vax becomes more of a partisan thing, then suddenly the false equivalence, "let's hear both sides" thing gets a WHOLE lot worse. For an entire presidential campaign. The next twenty-one consecutive months. Good luck ever getting a public consensus back after that.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:18 AM on February 2, 2015 [131 favorites]


Christie, however, said “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

Perhaps we can cut our five minute hate short this morning?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:18 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Christie is what, seventh in the polls right now? So he's going to appeal to wingnuts? I don't get it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:20 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't worry, y'all - the most virulent "anti-vaxxers are FUCKING IDIOTS" person I know lives just across the Jersey border in rural Pennsylvania. I'll send him to Trenton to kick Christie's ass.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others

I hope someone asks him which diseases he's okay with ravaging the public: flagrant amounts of chicken pox? Hundreds of new mumps patients? Rubella sounds pretty, surely it can't be that bad!
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:21 AM on February 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Curse you, filthy light thief, I posted a link to that Onion article just after you.

Here instead is an article about how fashion helped to defeat an 18th century anti-vaxx movement.
posted by orange swan at 7:22 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Thank you Empress, please update us on the ass-kicking as appropriate.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:23 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many "sides" public debates would have if we had radial symmetry.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:23 AM on February 2, 2015 [42 favorites]


Well, if Chris Christie won't stand up for the average American's Constitutional right to contract and spread highly contagious, possibly fatal, diseases, who will?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Perhaps we can cut our five minute hate short this morning?

Maybe when he can tell us what those vaccines and diseases are, instead of pulling yet another variation of the "I'm not a scientist" schtick that has become so popular in his party. After all, a couple months ago he was throwing a temper tantrum over a disease that four people in the entire nation had been diagnosed with.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [116 favorites]


There's a very simple reason that this whole anti-vaccination crusade has any traction in the US.

People don't remember.

There was a time -- ask your parents and grandparents -- when we didn't really have vaccinations. And what happened? Kids got sick. Kids *died*. Kids died a lot.

Your grandparents, and many of your parents, remembered that time. Heck, my father had polio when he was about 10. They saw this, they remembered, and when vaccines came out, they made *damn* sure you were vaccinated.

And it worked. 1955, we get the polio vaccine, in the 60's, we get MMR, and kids stopped getting those diseases. By 1970, kids weren't getting measles, mumps, rubella, or polio. (We had a smallpox vaccine earlier.)

Problem. Those kids never grew up with kids getting sick and dying. They didn't see members of their own cohort suffer and die. And now, with people born in 1980 being 35 and 1990 being 25, they've had kids.

They *literally* have not seen what these diseases can do.

So, our parents/grandparents? They saw. They knew vaccines had risks, but they were a far better bet than the actual diseases. We were vaccinated.

Today? They only see the vaccine risks (and worse, some of those risks were outright lies.) That's the "cost-benefit" ratio they're looking at. The real problem is that children are going to pay the price, because their vaccinated parents have no idea of what that real price is.
posted by eriko at 7:25 AM on February 2, 2015 [222 favorites]


Some Onion beating real world quotes from antivaxxers in this peice: Vaccine Critics Turn Defensive Over Measles
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Perhaps we can cut our five minute hate short this morning?
I'll trade you for a five minute ambivalent Christie I guess? ... and all the rest.


I sorta of see where Christie is coming from on one hand, but on the other it just really sounds like a bunch of weasel words.
posted by edgeways at 7:25 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Measles: At least it's not as bad as smallpox" seems to be the new branding...
posted by BungaDunga at 7:27 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


On one diseased, measles-ridden hand.
posted by cashman at 7:27 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


the most virulent "anti-vaxxers are FUCKING IDIOTS" person

Do we have a word for anti-eponysterical?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:30 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, the Onion, cutting to the truth of the matter with biting sarcasm.

And just like a real onion, it makes you cry.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]




Don't let the irrationality of anti-vaccination people derail what is actually an important point: what diseases are worth mandated vaccines? I mean, there is a line to be drawn, sure, but where that line is drawn will be determined politically. So we can't necessarily complain about this becoming "partisan." The debate cannot be between the two extremes of ALLOFTHEVACCINES!!! and AUTISM!!!

It sure would help if pharmaceutical companies could avoid deriving vaccines from aborted fetal tissue and bundling those with non-objectionable vaccines: that step cuts out a lot of people who selectively vaccinate, the moral objectors, who are not a huge crowd but they are there and their argument fuels anti-vaccination people. (Nothing is likely to persuade the AUTISM!!! crowd, but at least this would be a start.) Then the debate could just be on the "science"-y issues with a pinch of parental responsibility policy thrown in.
posted by resurrexit at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Christie, however, said “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

Said the man who tried to lock up an Ebola nurse in state-mandated quarantine because she'd flown home from Ebola-town during a politically inspired Ebola-panic.

Gah. Politicians.
posted by notyou at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [44 favorites]


"MEASLES: A Dangerous Illness" - Roald Dahl on the death of his daughter.
posted by Artw at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [41 favorites]


So we can't necessarily complain about this becoming "partisan."

Partisan does not mean anything determined by state policy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:38 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Rubella is of course brings it's own form of tragedy, and once a significant body of antivax kids get old enough to start trying to have kids themselves that could get pretty awful.
posted by Artw at 7:39 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Partisan does not mean anything determined by state policy.

Of course. I'm saying where you fall on this issue is likely to match with party lines, whether you favor more or less parental responsibility/autonomy in light of the risk.
posted by resurrexit at 7:41 AM on February 2, 2015


Thanks for posting. I heard an interesting interview on CBC radio the other day where a sociologist described her research on why people fall into the anti-vaxxer movement. She agreed that it is not a democratic or republican thing but that unvaccinated children either a) come from families where access to health care is inconsistent or the kids are shuffled around from home to home and don`t get follow up shots or b) the kids are from white families making >$80k per year with a college educated mother. Further more, people resist vaccinating their children because mentally they find it easier to live in inaction rather than take a direct action (get their kids vaccinated) and face the consequences of that choice, however small the risk may be. Basically they couldn`t live with the guilt of allowing a shot and having an adverse event and would rather leave things up to chance. Additionally this researcher found that the parents (mostly the mother) held the belief that babies are inherently pure and their bodies should not have anything inserted or injected into it, less they mar that purity. Finally the mothers believed they were capable of nursing their children back to health. It sounded to me like it boiled down to some kind of perverse `purity of the body`idea and to over confidence - I know enough to research vaccine ingredients and make a decision; and I know enough as a doctor to nurse my child should they get sick.

Anyways it was very interesting 12 min interview that helped me understand the mindset of someone who would make this kind of a choice, since I typically react in such anger and vitriol to the inherent selfisheness of anti-vaxxers, but I understand the anxiety of indecision and the compulsion to not make a choice directly in order to avoid responsibility. Hopefully this will make me better suited to argue my points.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:41 AM on February 2, 2015 [75 favorites]


From the NY times article linked by Artw

Kelly McMenimen, a Lagunitas parent, said she “meditated on it a lot” before deciding not to vaccinate her son Tobias, 8, against even “deadly or deforming diseases.” She said she did not want “so many toxins” entering the slender body of a bright-eyed boy who loves math and geography.

Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold. She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”


Wow! such stupidity! Much frustration! Very idiocy! Wow!

Fucking idiots!! They will understand only after Polio makes a comeback in US.

To destroy a society, you don't need a majority of people to be idiots .... just a significant section is required..
posted by TheLittlePrince at 7:44 AM on February 2, 2015 [51 favorites]


> “It’s good to explore alternatives rather than go with the panic of everyone around you,” she said. “Vaccines don’t feel right for me and my family.”

I have a feeling part of the appeal of the anti-vaxx movement for the "white families making >$80k per year with a college educated mother" crowd is the opportunity it provides for them to feel morally superior about their choices.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2015 [47 favorites]


following my point, this clip seems appropriate
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2015



Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind
- "A new study examined multiple strategies for communicating about the safety and importance of vaccines. None of them worked."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


Does the woman in the article even understand what tetanus is?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:46 AM on February 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm saying where you fall on this issue is likely to match with party lines

The last link the in FPP shows that partisanship does (did) not line up with one's opinions about vaccines.

Anyway, the FPPs title is great, right???
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:46 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Said the man who tried to lock up an Ebola nurse in state-mandated quarantine because she'd flown home from Ebola-town during a politically inspired Ebola-panic.

That knife cuts both ways. Mandated universal vaccination is OK, but let's not hesitate to bash Christie about quarantine because freedom.

Politics is ugly.
posted by mikewebkist at 7:48 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, the government needs to balance demonstrating political leadership with allowing people to make a choice to commute.
posted by knoyers at 7:48 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Toxins" without further description is a sure sign the conversation is going to take a turn towards nonsense.
posted by Artw at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2015 [104 favorites]


But when the school sent her home with a letter, Ms. McDonald’s daughter was so concerned about missing two weeks of Advanced Placement classes that she suggested simply getting a measles inoculation.

“I said, ‘No, absolutely not,’ “ Ms. McDonald said. “I said, ‘I’d rather you miss an entire semester than you get the shot.’ “


Jesus fucking christ...
posted by Huck500 at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


The only way to stop a bad guy with measles is a good guy with measles.
posted by Foosnark at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [68 favorites]


Well, I'd say that removes Christie as a potential candidate. But with he whack doodle way things are going round these parts, it might not be. But anti-vaxxers are still a huge minority, right?
posted by Windopaene at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


what diseases are worth mandated vaccines?

Every disease or parasite that has no non-human hosts, for one. If you can wipe it out, the expected return on investment is (optimistically) infinite or at least very large. Unless the vaccine kills more people than the disease does, it's an immediate gain. Measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, polio(?) are all human-only.

She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”

I can't even be mad, just horrified. Would she refuse a rabies shot if he got bitten by a rabies vector?! Boggles the mind.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [31 favorites]


If Christie thinks that a 'balanced' approach will create herd immunity, I have a bridge to sell him.
posted by Dashy at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


On my first visit to my current primary care doctor, I was asked if I wanted a tetanus booster.

I had NEVER been asked this question before - I had always kept track of how long it had been on my own. In this case it had been about 10 years since my last booster, so I accepted.

Later in the appointment I expressed my gratitude to my doctor for being on top of the issue when so many doctors aren't. He told me he'd seen a case of tetanus when he was an intern.

So... I guess that's what it's going to take for some of these parents. So easy to prevent so much suffering. Very, very sad.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Mandated universal vaccination is OK, but let's not hesitate to bash Christie about quarantine because freedom.

It's almost like there's an indisputable body of evidence about the effectiveness and importance of everyone being vaccinated, versus an equally large body of evidence that people who aren't showing Ebola symptoms aren't a risk to anyone and thus don't need to be quarantined while they are still healthy.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [80 favorites]


That knife cuts both ways. Mandated universal vaccination is OK, but let's not hesitate to bash Christie about quarantine because freedom.

Because science, in both cases.

And because populist buffoon from the anti-science party misrepresenting it for political gain at the cost of the public.
posted by Artw at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [27 favorites]


Don't let the irrationality of anti-vaccination people derail what is actually an important point: what diseases are worth mandated vaccines? I mean, there is a line to be drawn, sure, but where that line is drawn will be determined politically. So we can't necessarily complain about this becoming "partisan." The debate cannot be between the two extremes of ALLOFTHEVACCINES!!! and AUTISM!!!

Which diseases do we have vaccines for that we shouldn't vaccinate against?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


That knife cuts both ways. Mandated universal vaccination is OK, but let's not hesitate to bash Christie about quarantine because freedom.

Are you even trying? The science is pretty clear in both situations -- and Governor Christie plants himself on the anti-science, rabble-rousing side of the line in both.
posted by notyou at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


This stuff just threatened Big Mouse. Killing kids is bad for business.

That changes things.
posted by effugas at 7:53 AM on February 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


Is this honestly about to become a campaign issue? Good news for Hillary, I guess.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:54 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which diseases do we have vaccines for that we shouldn't vaccinate against?

Chicken pox is an interesting one in the UK. We don't immunize for it, so it's basically universal. If we started immunizing for it, this would be bad for two groups:

1 People who aren't immunized, who are likely to get it later in life, when it is much more dangerous. Especially for pregnant people and their foetuses.

2 Old people, who get shingles from the dormant chickenpox virus reactivating: if they have a general exposure to chickenpox through the population, this helps keep it from doing so.

We've immunized our kids, but it's not public health policy here.
posted by alasdair at 7:58 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Q: Why does my doctor not press me about vaccinating my child?

A: They have fifteen minutes for the whole visit and you cannot be convinced in 15 minutes.
posted by The White Hat at 7:59 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


That's an interesting point, effugas - I have not noticed Big Mouse publicly saying 'go get vaccinated', which is a striking lack of response.

Perhaps they're trying to 'balance' their approach to their money source as well.
posted by Dashy at 7:59 AM on February 2, 2015


Which diseases do we have vaccines for that we shouldn't vaccinate against?

Let's see... we don't widely vaccinate against smallpox, polio, anthrax, plague, hantavirus, or TB in the US.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:00 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


how fashion helped to defeat an 18th century anti-vaxx movement.
So a ribbon spotted white would be the 'cause ribbon' for pro-vaxing.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 8:00 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Passion Of Big Chicken, Chris Christie: A Blight On Old Blighty
This is not something on which you need to hedge. This is like running a campaign on Teach The Controversy regarding Creationism, or a campaign based on the fact that 9/11 was an inside job. You simply say, the people who are choosing not to vaccinate their children based on some Internet cranks or the spouting of some half-dim television personality are endangering your children and mine. Get the shots. Period. Then you move on to hedge on something more important, at least if you're Chris Christie. It is almost impossible to believe that he doesn't know this. But he's polling in single digits in Iowa, and his reception last week in Des Moines was tepid, and, let's face it, there's no herd immunity in any of them against the contagion that is The Base.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:03 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nigeria-based writer trolls ‘measles-ravaged country America’ on Twitter

Also, Oprah Winfrey is hugely influential, and has done a lot of good. When she discovered that James Fry had lied to her, she made a huge deal of setting the record straight and apologizing. Oprah, you need to do that again.

Meanwhile, I'm in the SoCal heart of this cluster-fuck. I never had any childhood diseases and doubt I've had booster shots in the last 30 years. I was just looking into it but I've just started taking meds for a new medical condition and discovered that vaccines are contra-indicated for people on this medication. I'll be checking with my doctor, of course, but just, well, fuuuuuck.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:03 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


If Christie thinks that a 'balanced' approach will create herd immunity, I have a bridge to sell him.

He'd just close it regardless.
posted by stevis23 at 8:03 AM on February 2, 2015 [53 favorites]


Anytime someone starts talking about medical issues in terms of undefined 'toxins', just sub 'toxins' with 'thetans'. That will help frame how absolutely idiotic their position is.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:03 AM on February 2, 2015 [47 favorites]


White Hat, where are you getting that Q&A from? Because in the healthcare field we are constantly being told not to press anti-vax parents too hard, for fear of driving them away from ever seeking care for their kids. If there's literature out there harnessing that fact to suggest that doctors are secretly hesitant about the shots... that's infuriating.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:04 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the one that blows my mind. Polio.

While I think anti-vax people aren't looking at the issue scientifically, I can see how someone who doesn't understand might think, "eh, Chicken-Pox, Measels and Whooping Cough, those are childhood diseases, we can nurse our kid through them." But POLIO? Polio?

You do realize that Polio is endemic. I'm old enough to know people who suffered with Polio as kids and who are now crippled by it as adults. I guess a few of these kids in an iron lung (ventilator) will change someone's mind. Or not. "Well, he may be hooked to a machine for the rest of his life, but he doesn't have teh autism."

Christ, what assholes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2015 [44 favorites]


Won't somebody think of the diseases?
posted by halifix at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Chicken pox is an interesting one in the UK. We don't immunize for it, so it's basically universal. If we started immunizing for it, this would be bad for two groups:

1 People who aren't immunized, who are likely to get it later in life, when it is much more dangerous. Especially for pregnant people and their foetuses.


Dude, I wish more people would vaccinate for chicken pox. Then maybe I could have avoided it at the age of 26. And I wouldn't have goddamned chicken pox scars right in the middle of my tattoos. Is this what it felt like to have smallpox scars? Do I need some mouches?

I'm thinking of going back to the US for my 20th reunion (since when did I get old enough for that)? You better believe I am getting all the boosters, especially since I'm going to L.A. Because if precious little Mackenzie is too pure and perfect for vaccination, ain't nothing stopping my unhealthy fat old self from picking up all the diseases from your brat.

And, dammit, I wanna go to Disneyland. Stop infecting up the place. There's Haunted Mansion swag to be purchased.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Let's see... we don't widely vaccinate against smallpox, polio, anthrax, plague, hantavirus, or TB in the US.

Oops. We do vaccinate for polio, obviously. It's in DTaP.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:08 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You'll pry my measles from my child's cold, dead fingers.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 8:08 AM on February 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


Which diseases do we have vaccines for that we shouldn't vaccinate against?
Let's see... we don't widely vaccinate against smallpox, polio, anthrax, plague, hantavirus, or TB in the US.
Polio, yes. Every state except Ohio requires Polio.


Older folks are suggested to get a pnuemonia immunization every five years (as are immuno compromised people).

State by state list of required immunizations.

I'm surprised at Hantavirus, And chicken pox. EVERYONE wants chickenpox.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 8:09 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Saturday: the Q&A content comes from working in five family med/peds offices in the last year. As it happens, I am typing this from an OR at a children's hospital. Might be different on Canada, but here in the good old USA the standard MO is to ask about vaccination, provide maybe 20 seconds of information about vaccine effectiveness, and move on regardless of the outcome. Maybe press a little harder if it's the first visit or a neonate. There is little concern about driving patients away; most of the current debate focuses on whether or not it is ethical to "fire" these patients and families from your practice.
posted by The White Hat at 8:12 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


We do vaccinate for polio, obviously. It's in DTaP.

In the US, the P in DTaP is pertussis (whooping cough), which while not polio is still something I would rather not fuck around with. (On further poking around, Wikipedia tells me there's a more recent vaccine that has both polio and DTaP, but I don't know anything else about it.)
posted by dorque at 8:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


We don't vaccinate for smallpox because it's considered eradicated and the vaccine has non-trivial side effects. We don't (widely) vaccinate for anthrax because it's very uncommon and mass vaccination would do more harm than good (rare but real side effects would kill more people than mass vaccination would save).

We don't vaccinate for TB because the vaccine isn't super-effective and TB is not all that common in the US. Instead we take a test-and-treat model, which only works if the vaccine isn't in wide use because taking the vaccine means the easy TB skin test doesn't work (it'll always read positive).
posted by jedicus at 8:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Oops. We do vaccinate for polio, obviously. It's in DTaP.

It's not. The P in the DTaP is pertussis, whooping cough. The polio vaccine is the IPV, four shots starting at 2 months.
posted by lydhre at 8:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, as an aside, I'm glad Obama has said flat out "my kids are vaccinated", when the MMR hysteria was made ever so slightly worse by Tony Blair refusing to say if Leo got the jab.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:15 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Plague is vanishingly rare in the US and (as I understand it) readily treatable with modern drugs.
posted by jedicus at 8:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Yeah I've heard a lot more concern about driving people away than about the ethics of firing patients, though that comes up too, for sure.

Is Hep A routinely immunized against in the States? In Canada they just do B in the schools.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2015


That Roald Dahl piece linked by Artw is just unbearably sad. I never thought that I would feel particular pity for Roald Dahl, but now I do.
posted by Frowner at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The medical community needs to take a harder stance, but they aren't helping themselves. Article over the weekend has an Arizona cardiologist saying "It's not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child with leukemia] to be supposedly healthy. As far as I'm concerned, it's very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place."

This isn't some Playboy model or washed-out comedian. It's a man with a medical degree and license to practice questioning:
  • The notion of heard immunity
  • The connection between vaccines and other diseases
  • Having general compassion
Why the AMA or state board or whoever isn't pulling his license is beyond me.
posted by MrGuilt at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2015 [76 favorites]


It sure would help if pharmaceutical companies could avoid deriving vaccines from aborted fetal tissue and bundling those with non-objectionable vaccines:...

You link to a single claim from a religious source. I've heard variations of the claim, such as "the MMR vaccine contains aborted fetal cells", which is complete nonsense. If by "derived from" you mean that the MMR vaccine was developed from fetal cell lines derived from two abortions that took place in the 1960s, that's true. If you're going to use an easily misunderstood word like "derived", link to something more than an assertion, OK?
Some vaccines culture the attenuated virus in human diploid cell lines that were derived from aborted fetuses. There are currently two such human cell lines in use: the WI-38 line (Winstar Institute 38), with human diploid lung fibroblasts developed in 1964, and MRC-5 first cultured in 1970. So each cell line is over 40 years old. Further, the cells themselves are not part of the vaccine. Viruses are cultured in these cell lines.
Also:
However, anyone with a modicum of training in biology will tell you that it is impossible for vaccines (or any other injected medicine) to contain human tissue. The reason is simple: if you are injected with anything containing tissue from another person, your body will immediately recognize it as an invader and begin attacking it. This immune response is often quite radical and can easily lead to death! This is why blood from a donor to a recipient must be carefully matched before the recipient can receive it. Thus, there is no human tissue of any kind in vaccines. ...

Where do the vaccine companies get the cells for these vaccines? They get them from companies like Coriell Cell Repositories, 403 Haddon Avenu, Camden, New Jersey 08103, 800-752-3805. This company has many cell lines, which are cultures of self-perpetuating cells. Each culture of cells is continually reproducing, making more cells. Those cells are sold to researchers, drug companies, and other medical technology firms. The specific cell lines used in vaccines are the MRC-5 and WI-38 cell lines[1], and they have been supplying medical research of all types for more than 35 years. Where do these cell lines come from? That's where the grain of truth in this lie comes from. Both of these cell lines were cultured from cells taken from two abortions, one (MRC-5) that was performed in September,1962[2]and one (WI-38) that was performed in July, 1966 [3].
posted by maudlin at 8:22 AM on February 2, 2015 [54 favorites]


From the CDC: Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all children at age 1 year, for persons who are at increased risk for infection, for persons who are at increased risk for complications from Hepatitis A, and for any person wishing to obtain immunity.
posted by The White Hat at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


They should come down on that Arizona doctor like a ton of fucking bricks. Leukemia? REALLY?
posted by lydhre at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold. She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”

This is a staggeringly ignorant thing to say, particularly about tetanus, and it shows that she did exactly NO research about it whatsoever.

Fun fact: tetanus is somewhat unusual among diseases with a mortality rate of 90%+ without effective modern treatment medicine, because getting it once does not confer immunity for subsequent rides. This fact comes up a lot! It came up when I wrote a report on tetanus in second grade back in the dark ages before the Internet. In fact, the Wikipedia for tetanus specifically mentions that the toxin produced by the bacteria is so hardcore that even a lethal dose of it does not raise an immunological response.

So y'know.

Survive it once, then enjoy a second round of WILL I CHOKE TO DEATH ON MY OWN SPIT BECAUSE I CAN'T SWALLOW OR COUGH DUE TO HIDEOUS MUSCLE SPASMS, OR WILL MY HEART GO FIRST? WELL, WHILE I WAIT, HOW ABOUT ENJOYING MORE SPASMS SO STRONG THEY BREAK BONES???? YAY SPASMS AROUND BROKEN BONES
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: Christie is what, seventh in the polls right now? So he's going to appeal to wingnuts? I don't get it.
Yes, precisely.

As Rick Santorum was sliding from an early "1st place" to "snowball's chance in hell" status, he famously slipped up in a speech, referring to Obama as "that nigg... the White House".

I am convinced this was a last-ditch attempt to revive his campaign with a dog whistle to the mangiest of the GOP. "Hey, he almost said what we're all thinking! He's OK by me. Goddamned librul media won't let him say what needs to be said."
posted by IAmBroom at 8:27 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]




I predict that this anti-vax nonsense will die in the face of a good, old fashioned polio out break with lots of media coverage of dead and paralysed children. Too bad for the unwilling victims.
posted by Gwynarra at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm slightly confused now as tetanus toxin was being used as a conjugate with HiB polysaccharide, as the HiB PS wouldn't promote an immune response by itself.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2015


resurrexit: Of course. I'm saying where you fall on this issue is likely to match with party lines, whether you favor more or less parental responsibility/autonomy in light of the risk.
Already proven wrong in the FRONT PAGE PARAGRAPH of the FPP:
Previous research has shown that Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to believe that childhood vaccines are risky.
I understand that the linked articles entail a lot of icky reading, but can't you at least be arsed to read the FPP itself?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


We don't vaccinate for smallpox because it's considered eradicated and the vaccine has non-trivial side effects.

One of them being the permanent scar it leaves on your arm. Compared to most vaccines, the smallpox vaccine is horrific, but compared to actual smallpox, it's a walk in the park. Smallpox had been eradicated from North and Central America by 1955, and they kept right on vaccinating as a general course in the US until at least the late 1970s, because it was still running around in part of the world, parts that Americans visited, and we were *not* letting that bastard back into the US.

God help us if Variola major ever comes back. Most of you aren't resistant at all, and us older farts who were resistant probably aren't anymore after having had exactly 0 immune challenges since we were vaccinated.
posted by eriko at 8:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Blair is exactly the kind of awful person I'd suspect of not getting their kids vaccinated. If you can combine self righteousness smugness with detachment from reality he'll be there!
posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Perhaps we can cut our five minute hate short this morning?

It's two minutes of hate.
posted by maxsparber at 8:34 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's two minutes of hate.

There's a lot more to hate now than there was 31 years ago.
posted by Foosnark at 8:36 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


[Christie] added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

Perhaps my dog-whistle detector is off, but I'm guessing this is a reference to Gardasil & HPV. Because everyone knows we need to balance public health with punishing those filthy sluts.

Christie, what an asshole.
posted by Westringia F. at 8:37 AM on February 2, 2015 [68 favorites]


I had a friend who told me that she didn't believe in vaccinating her kid. I say "had" because I don't stay friends with people so deeply stupid and reckless, and I told her so. I don't imagine that this had any effect on her decision, but people who are wrong need to be told that they're wrong. If nothing works to change their minds anyway then I'll settle for making pariahs of them.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:38 AM on February 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Compared to most vaccines, the smallpox vaccine is horrific
I don't remember so. I've had it about 4 times, the latest in my early teens.
posted by glasseyes at 8:39 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


alasdair: Chicken pox is an interesting one in the UK. We don't immunize for it, so it's basically universal. If we started immunizing for it, this would be bad for two groups:

1 People who aren't immunized, who are likely to get it later in life, when it is much more dangerous. Especially for pregnant people and their foetuses.

2 Old people, who get shingles from the dormant chickenpox virus reactivating: if they have a general exposure to chickenpox through the population, this helps keep it from doing so.
You seriously, really, really don't understand what vaccinations do.

THEY DO NOT SPREAD THE DISEASE THROUGH THE POPULATION, as you imply. THEY STOP THIS, in fact.

Immunizing for chicken pox will prevent both #1 and #2.

Just what on Earth do you imagine vaccination does? Create a marching army of Typhoid Mary's, on purpose?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


Probably the most effective way to encourage vaccination is to quarantine all the vocal jackasses who make unqualified demands of people to do whatever doctors and certain mass media say, because that is just not popular right now.

The antivax movement is a negative byproduct of the larger movement to be more thoughtful about our bodies. It's the same larger movement that's slowing down our demand for antibiotics and encouraging low carb approaches to diabetes, more mothers nursing, and so on. Overall, this movement is a net saver of lives. Attempts to convince people to vaccinate that don't recognize this won't work. The more successful method encourages the individual desire to understand and choose treatments and points people towards better resources.
posted by michaelh at 8:41 AM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


If anything I'd say the vaguely hippyish flavour of this nonsense (rather than Jesus flavour or free market flavour) probably hampers it's spread amongst Republicans, but fringe conservatives do us-versus-them like no one else, so Christie pushing it in this context really does bring the risk of it being part of the GOP platform.

Oh, and the HPV thing would absolutely tie it to Jesus favoured nonsense. They'd absolutely reduce the nation to a plague strewn hellscape if they could screw over some women in the process.
posted by Artw at 8:42 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Won't somebody think of the diseases?

Well, I thought of this when I heard about Dracunculus medinensis going extinct because its host (people) have gotten better access to clean drinking water and education.

Google around for Guinea Worm and "extinct" and read all kinds of horrible stories about people afflicted with this thing. Good riddance and all that, but it did make me a bit curious where we draw the line on eradicating a species.

Cute and cuddly owl? Sure. Keep that around. Disgusting worm? Burn it with fire!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:44 AM on February 2, 2015


Previous research has shown that Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to believe that childhood vaccines are risky.

And make no mistake: anti-vaxx country here is about as dark blue as you can get.

On preview, yes to what ArtW said, too. This isn't a Sarah Palin thing, but Bob help us if it becomes one.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:45 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I predict that this anti-vax nonsense will die in the face of a good, old fashioned polio out break with lots of media coverage of dead and paralyzed children. Too bad for the unwilling victims.
posted by Gwynarra at 11:29 AM on February 2


My money is on measles killing some adults, German measles causing severely disabled babies to be born, and the resulting lawsuits.

I support HIPAA privacy rules, but it's my hope that--if some adults or fetuses wind up being killed by measles or rubella--some canny lawyers find a way around them, get the names of the person or persons the CDC believes was the un-vaccinated Patient Zero of the outbreak, and sue the ever-lovin' shit out of that person. Sue them in a highly publicized case and take absolutely everything from them, right down to the clothes on their backs and gold in their teeth.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:46 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm guessing this is a reference to Guardasil & HPV. Because everyone knows we need to balance public health with punishing those filthy sluts.

Also, Hepatitis B. At a party a couple years ago, an anti-vaxxer mother was bragging about how she didn't have her three children vaccinated against it because it was a sexually transmitted disease! And what did you need to vaccinate a toddler against an STD for?

When my now-husband and I got serious, we toddled off for our respective panels, and when his came back, it turned out he had a surprisingly high level of antibodies for Hep B, but no actual Hep B. With the doctor, he worked it out that his ladyfriend before me had probably had it without knowing, as she came from outside the US from an area where it is present in 10-15% of the population and very frequently passed from mother to child at birth.

But Mr. Machine didn't get it because, surprise! Vaccines given as a baby! And he didn't pass it on to me! Because surprise, vaccines given as a baby!

When the anti-vaxxer mother started talking, Mr. Machine had to leave the room in rage.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


michaelh: The more successful method encourages the individual desire to understand and choose treatments and points people towards better resources.

This is a true statement in the abstract, but most people simply aren't able to truly understand the science without relying on experts to do studies and interpret the results. When people begin substituting their own amateur science knowledge for that of the people who study these things for a living, or cherry-picking scientific studies that confirm their priors, what is sold as a simple desire to understand what they're putting in their kids bodies becomes much more sinister. We can certainly be more mindful of what we eat, how we use antibiotics, etc. without ceding an inch of ground to a movement that really doesn't care about scientific consensus.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


You seriously, really, really don't understand what vaccinations do.

THEY DO NOT SPREAD THE DISEASE THROUGH THE POPULATION, as you imply. THEY STOP THIS, in fact.

Immunizing for chicken pox will prevent both #1 and #2.


I think you may have misunderstood what alasdair is saying. In the case of #1, if you have a partially-vaccinated population but there remains a reservoir of the illness, anyone who is unvaccinated but didn't contract the illness as a child has an ongoing chance to do so as they age, because they won't magically stop being susceptible when they're no longer kids. In #2, people who have had chicken pox in the past apparently derive some additional resistance against shingles from ongoing immune tests when they're exposed to people who currently have chicken pox, until the general decline of their immune system isn't enough to keep up and they get shingles anyway (unless further vaccinated against that as seniors). Neither statement is off-the-wall anti-vaxx conspiracy stuff.
posted by dorque at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


> One of [ the non-trivial side effects] being the permanent scar it leaves on your arm

I'd say the scar is trivial (unless you're a time traveler) -- I have one on my shoulder, or my arm, or somewhere, I don't even know. I've seen people with more dramatic scars and even those aren't really much to speak of.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


My husband has a huge scar on his abdomen from when he had an emergency appendectomy in the early 60s. It literally looks like someone took a chainsaw to his stomach. And you know what? He doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks about it, because he is alive.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


I'd say the scar is trivial (unless you're a time traveler)

"That scar! It's a witch's mark! He's sold his soul to the devil!"

"No, no, it's just a man stabbed me with a potion that makes me immune to disease and-"

"BURN HIM!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


the permanent scar it leaves on your arm

I consider it a badge of honour.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


He doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks about it, because he is alive.

Also because he looks like a hard enough man to survive being chainsawed!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


> “Do you want to wake up one morning and the light is gone from her eyes with autism or something?”

That article is less saddening than it is enraging.
posted by Poldo at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


> BURN HIM!

Her, actually; it's from a book that gets recommended a lot here and so mumble mumble mumble mumble.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:58 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]




I didn't know that polio was what killed jazz bassist Charlie Haden, but I just read this:

Charlie Haden, one of the most influential upright bassists in jazz and beyond, passed away Friday morning at the age of 76 at his home in Los Angeles from complications related to polio.

I tend to think of polio as a dead disease, but it is still having an effect.
posted by thelonius at 9:01 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind - "A new study examined multiple strategies for communicating about the safety and importance of vaccines. None of them worked."

I'm sure if we just use more "compassion" they will come around.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:02 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is an odd piece and an odd "controversy." Christie didn't say that people shouldn't get vaccinations and Obama didn't say that people should be forced to get vaccinations if they have objections (no matter how ill founded). In other words, so far as one can tell from the quotes given, Obama and Christie are in entire agreement on the issue.

Now, it's possible that they're not. It may be that Obama thinks that parents should not, in any circumstances, have the right to refuse vaccination for their children. But he didn't say that. All he said was that he thought vaccination is a good idea and that he'd got his children vaccinated. Christie said the same thing.

So...where's the issue, exactly?
posted by yoink at 9:03 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


One of them being the permanent scar [the smallpox vaccination] leaves on your arm.

Not all that permanent for some of us. I got my vaccination when I was just starting school, I think, but the scar had completely disappeared by the time I was 35. (Fair-skinned, not a big sun-worshipper, was a fairly flat/recessed scar to begin with.)
posted by maudlin at 9:03 AM on February 2, 2015


> I tend to think of polio as a dead disease, but it is still having an effect

Yup, it's called post-polio syndrome. I had a classmate in the 1990s with it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2015


Christie didn't say that people shouldn't get vaccinations

His original statement (and really, his correction) both imply that vaccinations aren't necessary. They, um, are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


If anti-vaxxing isn't curable, I guess we need to find a vaccine...
posted by BungaDunga at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


While I sympathise with people suggesting that the anti-vax crowd "will understand" after a major epidemic takes place, I'm not sure this will happen. Not to get all Spengler or anything, but I don't think there's enough gas left in that particular cultural tank to spark that kind of understanding. People have spent decades marinating in an environment where everything from the media to popular culture to daily lived experience reinforces a world view of hardcore selfish individualism. Someone with that frame of reference simply isn't going to comprehend ideas like herd immunity or altruism or group action to achieve a common goal. Those things are outside the frame. I think what will happen instead when/if an epidemic hits is that the organising force of another dominant frame of reference will govern responses: fear of foreign others. The response will be to build bigger walls, hire more heavily armed security personnel to keep out those disease-carrying others. Universal vaccination won't come into it. The twentieth century is over and we will not see the like of its social imaginary again.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind - "A new study examined multiple strategies for communicating about the safety and importance of vaccines. None of them worked."
METHODS: A Web-based nationally representative 2-wave survey experiment was conducted with 1759 parents age 18 years and older residing in the United States who have children in their household age 17 years or younger (conducted June–July 2011). Parents were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 interventions: (1) information explaining the lack of evidence that MMR causes autism from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; (2) textual information about the dangers of the diseases prevented by MMR from the Vaccine Information Statement; (3) images of children who have diseases prevented by the MMR vaccine; (4) a dramatic narrative about an infant who almost died of measles from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet; or to a control group.

RESULTS: None of the interventions increased parental intent to vaccinate a future child.
GAAAAAH! The fact that #3 and #4 didn't work is appalling. Before reading the methods, I was going to say "well, maybe they don't understand HOW SERIOUS THIS IS," but no such luck. Fear of "toxins"/ Big Pharma/ conspiracies/ chemtrails outweighs actual debilitating to fatal diseases.

OK, let's create a new state, AntiVaxylvania or something. If you don't want to vaccinate your children, go live over there, and you can't come out. Ever.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


How Do Vaccines Cause Autism dot Com

More on Andrew Wakefield, the man whose fraudulent research established the autism/vaccination panic. Some choice bits:
An investigation by journalist Brian Deer found that Wakefield had been paid £435,000 to advise lawyers for parents who believed their children had been harmed by MMR and that he'd given children at his son's birthday party cash in return for blood samples for his research.
Prior to Wakefield's warning, 91.5% of children in England had the MMR jab by the time they turned two. After the research came out, immunisation rates fell below 80%... The take-up has increased, to 85% last year, but the World Health Organisation says 95% is necessary to ensure "herd immunity".
Wakefield now lives in the US, where he is the executive director of research at Thoughtful House, a non-profit school and clinic in Austin, Texas, that treats children with autism from across the world. He has returned to the UK to defend himself against charges of serious professional misconduct at the General Medical Council (GMC).*
"I can't tell you that we know that the MMR vaccine causes autism. But the Department of Health can tell you with 100% certainty that it doesn't, and they believe that, and that concerns me greatly."
He's still spouting this stuff. The 2013 Swansea measles epidemic was a consequence of his work and the anti-vaccination panic it catalyzed in British culture.

*He resigned in 2010, after the GMC ruling found him to be, you know, a Quack. But he's had plenty of platforms for quacking since.
posted by byanyothername at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's a thing now to make women who want an abortion listen to the heartbeat or look at an ultrasound picture or something, right?

Why not make anti-vaxxers look at pictures (or better yet, videos) of children infected with the disease they are refusing to protect their child against? (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/photo-all-vpd.htm)

Oh right, because in America: foetus well-being trumps parental rights, but as soon as that baby is on the outside, everyone is all, "we don't want the government telling people how to care for their kids."
posted by zanybutterfly at 9:08 AM on February 2, 2015 [46 favorites]


Is this just another way to wage war on people in low income brackets? If we don't have herd immunity and access to healthcare is limited to the wealthy, who is going to suffer the most if people don't get vaccines? Who is going to die in the largest numbers?

Maybe I'm just grasping here, but I feel like there aren't Democrats and Republicans anymore - just haves and have-nots, and these distinctions don't necessarily follow the traditional party lines.
posted by sockermom at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is an odd piece and an odd "controversy." Christie didn't say that people shouldn't get vaccinations and Obama didn't say that people should be forced to get vaccinations if they have objections (no matter how ill founded).

In a case like this, what political leaders say, and how they say it, matters at least as much as the policies they actually support and push for when they are empowered to do so.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wakefield lives in the US? Can we grab him for homicide charges then already?
posted by stevis23 at 9:10 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why not make anti-vaxxers look at pictures (or better yet, videos) of children infected with the disease they are refusing to protect their child against?

Parents were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 interventions ... (3) images of children who have diseases prevented by the MMR vaccine ...

RESULTS: None of the interventions increased parental intent to vaccinate a future child


Everything is terrible.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2015 [36 favorites]


Can't we just give people the right to bear vaccines and vaccinate other people in a stand your ground castle doctrine fashion?
posted by srboisvert at 9:12 AM on February 2, 2015 [32 favorites]


More on Andrew Wakefield...

You misspelled "Moran".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:13 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is a true statement in the abstract, but most people simply aren't able to truly understand the science without relying on experts to do studies and interpret the results. When people begin substituting their own amateur science knowledge for that of the people who study these things for a living, or cherry-picking scientific studies that confirm their priors, what is sold as a simple desire to understand what they're putting in their kids bodies becomes much more sinister. We can certainly be more mindful of what we eat, how we use antibiotics, etc. without ceding an inch of ground to a movement that really doesn't care about scientific consensus.

Yeah, but the lid's off of that one. You can't go back to the 50s where doctors are unquestioned authority figures and people don't have online reviews of doctors and Medscape and popsci books. You don't see the connection, so it will be up to those who do to educate.
posted by michaelh at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2015


That article is less saddening than it is enraging.

As the parent of a child with autism, I have to say that one of the more disturbing aspects of the vaccines = autism crowd is the kind of demonization of autism that follows it. Jenny McCarthy, who has done some weaselly backpedalling of her anti-vax stance, is still contending that vitamins and a change of diet "freed" her child from autism. Groups like the Son Rise Foundation also promise to "free" children from autism. Then I look at my child, who is happy, sharp, expressive and growing every day, and I ask myself how she is "trapped", exactly?

I mean, I've been through the stages of grief about my daughter's diagnosis. I get that it's very hard to make it out of denial and bargaining and learn to accept it. But, having worked with young adults who, as children, had parents stuck in this spot, I know firsthand that in the end, you do an autistic child more harm than good. You have to put aside the perfect image you had in your mind of your perfect child and accept that this isn't the end of the world here.

The tragedy of it all is not just that the motivation to want a perfectly "healthy" child can make things worse for them; it can make things a lot worse for other children, too. Anti-vax crap and this kind of prejudice against spectrum disorders just makes me want to flip tables.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [87 favorites]


His original statement (and really, his correction) both imply that vaccinations aren't necessary.

No. It's just fun for people who hate Christie to believe that, because it's nice to think that someone you hate holds stupid views. But there is no logical connection between the claim that we have to balance people's inherent right to decide which medical treatments they receive and the claim that vaccines "aren't necessary." To say that there is is to fall into exactly the same logical error as those who say that if you oppose government spying on the grounds of supporting individuals' right to privacy you are a supporter of terrorism or you don't think terrorism matters.

It is perfectly possible to think both that vaccines are in everybody's interest and to believe that people have the right to refuse them (on religious grounds, for example).

And, frankly, every single person in this thread agrees with Christie that we have to weigh the gravity of the disease, the efficacy of the vaccine and individual rights together before we decide how high a level of coercion we want to impose on people to get the vaccine. No one in this thread, I'll wager, would support making vaccination against, say, Ebola mandatory in the USA. Why? Because the vaccine's efficacy is unproven and the disease doesn't pose a serious threat in the US. I doubt many people in this thread would support making flu vaccine mandatory. Again, why? Because the vaccine's efficacy is variable, the severity of the illness (despite the thousands it kills each year) is not high enough to warrant such a demand, etc.

I think Christie's a yutz, but this is pretty much the definition of a beat-up.
posted by yoink at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


No. It's just fun for people who hate Christie to believe that, because it's nice to think that someone you hate holds stupid views.

No, not at all. I was just interpreting what he actually said.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you believe people have the right to refuse vaccines on religious grounds, you are effectively saying they are not necessary.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [38 favorites]


Apparently Christie's been shitty in this regard for years.
posted by sparkletone at 9:20 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Two doses of the varicella zoster vaccine provide around 98% immunity (according to the CDC—some sources claim it's more like 70-90%), whereas infection provides essentially 100% immunity. Since the main danger posed by chicken pox is to pregnant women, some clinicians have argued that it's better for women to be protected via natural immunity acquired as children rather than immunization. Chicken pox is unusual in that it tends to be milder in children compared to adults, so there may be some marginal benefit in letting healthy kids get chicken pox instead of the varicella zoster vaccine. These arguments do not really apply to other commonly vaccinated diseases, where the risks of childhood infection outweigh the benefits of slightly more robust immunity.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:21 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


“I said, ‘No, absolutely not,’ “ Ms. McDonald said. “I said, ‘I’d rather you miss an entire semester than you get the shot.'"

How is this not child abuse?
posted by sonmi at 9:21 AM on February 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


I wonder what interventions would help. What about an intervention that takes advantage of the paranoia to say, big pharma and the medical community don't want you to vaccinate your kids - they get money from your kid getting sick! But we smart parents, we know better, we're not falling for their lies. There's an herbalist around the corner who offers the vaccine, let's all go this weekend.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind

And that's why we need stronger government mandates, starting with an end to all personal belief and religious exemptions from school requirements. I know this sounds elitist, but we, as a society, will simply have to protect the most deluded/selfish/stupid people from themselves when it comes to matters of public health.

By way of analogy, 10 years ago the subprime mortgage industry cried bloody murder at any prospect of greater restrictions on lending. "The government should not be in the business of telling Americans how to handle their own finances. People know best." As it turned out, some of the people actually didn't know best when it came to matters of credit and we as a country belatedly began to see the wisdom of laws that protect the public from the toxic combination of predatory finance and (in some cases) their own poor judgement.*

So it is with vaccines. The anti-vaxxers are living proof of the fact that there is no more tenacious form of ignorance than the willful variety. They evidently cannot be reasoned with or convinced with data. So be it. No matter what the question, some percentage of the population will always choose the wrong answer. In this case, the stakes are simply too high to let them.

*Not trying to start a derail with this, btw. Many bad financial decisions are made because of desperation and bad luck. Some are made because of ignorance and bad judgement. I speak from direct personal experience.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


whereas infection provides essentially 100% immunity

Not really. People can get the chicken pox when they are three and then again at 18. Ask me how I know.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


No. It's just fun for people who hate Christie to believe that, because it's nice to think that someone you hate holds stupid views. But there is no logical connection between the claim that we have to balance people's inherent right to decide which medical treatments they receive and the claim that vaccines "aren't necessary."

Come on. Let's not be obtuse. Christie isn't a Nobel Prize-winning epidemiologist or political scientist making a deeply nuanced statement about public policy. He's a noted anti-science blowhard trying to run for President, who blew a clear whistle for antivaxers to hear and resonate with so that he might make a favorable impression upon them when 2016 comes along. Come on, now.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2015 [41 favorites]


I was actually just talking about the smallpox vaccine with a friend of mine who works in public health recently, and he said that the reason we don't vaccinate most people against smallpox is largely due to the cost/benefit analysis - widespread vaccination against smallpox would be extremely expensive, and the benefit would be almost nil since there's so little chance of the disease making a comeback. This is also why most active-duty military personnel ARE vaccinated against it: the cost is much lower since it's a way smaller population, and the benefit is much higher since they're far more likely to be exposed to the disease (if it's ever weaponized) and having such a case essentially wipe out our armed forces would be a disaster. The side-effect considerations are a factor, but apparently a very minor one.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Once again we see that human ignorance, and the preventable suffering that results, comes in the form of misunderstanding probabilities in general and risk assessment in particular. But that stuff is all composed of the math that we supposedly never use in real life.
posted by Flexagon at 9:25 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Well, he may be hooked to a machine for the rest of his life, but he doesn't have teh autism."

I have friends and a cousin who are on the autism spectrum. It's hard for me to articulate how offensive I find this kind of thinking. (This is not aimed at you, Ruthless Bunny, I know you do not believe that being in an iron lung is better than being on the autistic spectrum)

it did make me a bit curious where we draw the line on eradicating a species.

Cute and cuddly owl? Sure. Keep that around. Disgusting worm? Burn it with fire!


I'm quite willing to eradicate any species that necessarily causes painful and/or disfiguring disease in humans as part of its life cycle, as guinea worms do. Guinea worms can't survive and reproduce unless they get inside a human and cause disease.
posted by Anne Neville at 9:26 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


If you believe people have the right to refuse vaccines on religious grounds

People do have that legal right in many (all?) states, though.

Mandating flu vaccines would be a pretty good idea. It saves lives. It would likely be impossible to enforce, but it would do good if it could be. The efficacy is variable but proven.

The only diseases that don't really need vaccinations in the first world are 1) rare or nonexistent and/or 2) not very transmissible on a wide scale. Ebola ticks both boxes. A cholera or anthrax vaccine would be similarly useless in the US, since they're not going to spread here.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:28 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Perhaps my dog-whistle detector is off, but I'm guessing this is a reference to Gardasil & HPV. Because everyone knows we need to balance public health with punishing those filthy sluts.

That's my thought. He's weaseling around conservative objections to HPV.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:31 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Times article is enraging.

“People are now afraid they’re going to be jailed,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a clearinghouse for resisters. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s gotten so out of hand, and it’s gotten so vicious.”

If you think it's bad now wait until parents of a polio outbreak victim show up.

As Ciel Lorenzen, a massage therapist, picked up her children, Rio, 10, and Athena, 7, at Lagunitas Elementary, she defended her choice to not vaccinate either of them, even as health and school officials urged a different course. “It’s good to explore alternatives rather than go with the panic of everyone around you,” she said. “Vaccines don’t feel right for me and my family.”

This isn't a 'feel right for me' kind of area
posted by eclectist at 9:31 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Eula Biss wrote On Immunity
On becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, what is in your child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.
In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America and the world, historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.
previously on metafilter
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:35 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Interpreting politicians' speech literally is entirely missing the point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:36 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


My father had polio. I don't. I also didn't catch smallpox, possibly because of the barely-noticeable scar on my shoulder. I consider myself fortunate, and I wish that good fortune to continue for my children and their friends, and all the other innocents of the world. I wish that people would stop making stuff up WRT science, and I wish no one would listen to them when they do. That would be a major component of my perfect world.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:38 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


whereas infection provides essentially 100% immunity

More annecdata: I had chicken pox at age 3, and again (much worse) at age 8.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:39 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


And more annecdata: my daughter was vaccinated against chicken pox but we think she caught it anyway (we didn't do any tests to see if it really was chicken pox, because the treatment for a rash 'n' fever is the same either way). It was so mild that it wasn't a serious issue other than missing some school; her doctor's theory is that it was mild because she was vaccinated.

So even if you're one of the unlucky ones who still gets sick after being vaccinated, your misery will possibly be upgraded to unhappiness.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Greg Sargent: What Chris Christie gets wrong about vaccine deniers (emphasis in original)
It’s great that Christie vaccinated his children, but it’s also completely irrelevant. And what he thinks as a parent is absolutely not more important than what he thinks as a public official. Want to know why? Because he’s a public official. That means that he has a responsibility for the health and welfare of the nine million people who live in his state. I am so tired of politicians who say, “My most important title is Mom/Dad.” It isn’t. When you decided to run for public office, you accepted that there would be times when you’d have to act in the public interest regardless of your family’s interest, or your friends’ interest, or the interest of the town you grew up in. When you took the oath of office you made a covenant that you’d work on behalf of the larger community. The fact that you’re a parent can help you understand other parents and their concerns, but it doesn’t change your primary responsibility.

One can certainly express some measure of understanding toward anti-vaxxers while still holding that their views are not just mistaken but profoundly dangerous. Fear for the health of one’s children is a powerful force. As a general matter there’s nothing wrong with distrusting the pharmaceutical industry. One can understand how someone might end up with such views. That being said, there’s about as much real evidence that vaccines cause autism as there is that volcanoes cause post-nasal drip.

So the responsible thing for a governor to say would be, “As a parent, I get where they’re coming from. But as a public official it’s my responsibility to say that they’re wrong, and in their error they aren’t just threatening their own children’s health, they’re threatening the entire community.” You don’t have to think parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids should be arrested, but their ideas ought to be condemned for the harm they do. If Chris Christie has sympathy for them as a father, that’s fine. But he has a more important job to do.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:44 AM on February 2, 2015 [51 favorites]


I just want to note that it is not true that the BCG vaccine will always make the TB skin test positive. There is a chance it could, in which case you can use a different TB test. I have had both the BCG and a negative TB skin test a decade afterwards. This is relevant for anyone who has had the BCG applying for US permanent residency.
posted by carolr at 9:45 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could you sue the pants of someone who voluntarily doesn't vaccinate their kid, and ends up infecting your (vaccinated, but unlucky) kid? If it's measles, it would be pretty obvious who infected them (the one kid in the class who had measles first).
posted by BungaDunga at 9:47 AM on February 2, 2015


From Wired's excellent 2009 report on the anti-vax movement (discussed previously):
Curt Linderman Sr., the host of “Linderman Live!” on AutismOne Radio and the editor of a blog called the Autism File, recently wrote online that it would “be nice” if [rotavirus vaccine co-inventor] Offit “was dead.”

I’d met Linderman at Autism One. He’d given his card to me as we stood outside the Westin O’Hare talking about his autistic son. “We live in a very toxic world,” he’d told me, puffing on a cigarette.

It was hard to argue with that.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Guys guys guys... I got it.

Want to know how to boost vaccinations? Start spreading the rumor that ISIS is planning on a massive Polio/Measles/whatever infection campaign.

Using paranoia FOR GOOD!

bleh
posted by edgeways at 9:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to believe that childhood vaccines are risky.

Childhood vaccines are risky, in the sense that they are not risk-free. When we had our two daughters vaccinated, we understood there was a miniscule but nonzero chance that the vaccines could have side effects that were potentially fatal.

The problem is people are terribly misjudging the risk of taking the vaccine with the risk of not.
posted by Gelatin at 9:50 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


and the clarification from Christie is still pretty weak tea, boils down to "states rights".
posted by edgeways at 9:52 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could you sue the pants of someone who voluntarily doesn't vaccinate their kid

Possibly, if the wallet was still in the pockets?

But more realistically, I'm not sure you'd be able to prove a particular transmission vector. Enough to be pretty sure, yeah, but maybe not enough for a court.
posted by echo target at 9:55 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Want to know how to boost vaccinations? Start spreading the rumor that ISIS is planning on a massive Polio/Measles/whatever infection campaign.

Using paranoia FOR GOOD!


If I were a terrorist, it would be awfully tempting to take credit for the measles outbreak at Disneyland, even if I had nothing to do with it...
posted by Anne Neville at 9:59 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least that study means we no longer have to listen to the concern trolls who insist that we could convince the anti-vaxxers to change their minds if we were only nicer to the dangerous idiots.
posted by Justinian at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Hey guys, Toronto's doing its part! So proud, if "proud" meant something else altogether.
Toronto Public Health is investigating a measles outbreak in the city after four people contracted the disease. In a news release Monday, Toronto Public Health announced lab tests confirmed four people – two under the age of two and two adults – are infected with the potentially deadly disease. Toronto Public Health said no source case has been identified and there are no known links between the cases. All the victims are from different families.
posted by maudlin at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2015


Toronto school vaccination rates as of spring 2014. The schools with very low rates look to be a mix of religious and alternative schools. (I remember when alternative schools actually attracted kids from families who respected science. Man.)
posted by maudlin at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


IAmBroom and MisanthropicPainforest, if you read what I wrote, I wasn't talking about the risk, I was talking about how people approach the parental freedom issue in light of the risk. People view the parental freedom issue differently, and this will accord with their political preferences. Thus, how people respond or expect the government to respond to the risk (as noted, people on both sides of the aisle are equally unsure about the risk of vaccines) will match up with political preferences. I did read the FPP.
posted by resurrexit at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2015


Two doses of the varicella zoster vaccine provide around 98% immunity (according to the CDC—some sources claim it's more like 70-90%), whereas infection provides essentially 100% immunity. Since the main danger posed by chicken pox is to pregnant women,....

Assuming you don't count the risk of shingles, which gives you random months of hell well into your twilight years.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


BungaDunga: I can't even be mad, just horrified. Would she refuse a rabies shot if he got bitten by a rabies vector?!

It's ok, she doesn't believe in rabies.
posted by dr_dank at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I read what you wrote it just was not clear at all.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


When it's science against appalling ignorance, you can count on Republicans to come down on the side of appalling ignorance.*



*
Because freedom.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


As others have pointed out, anti-vax sentiment is very strong among the bluest of the blue.
posted by Justinian at 10:27 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


maudlin, you said:
You link to a single claim from a religious source. I've heard variations of the claim, such as "the MMR vaccine contains aborted fetal cells", which is complete nonsense.
While I can complement your effortless destruction of that straw man, who said that? Certainly not me, and not anyone in that article I linked. (And, actually, so what if someone did formulate their objection inarticulately? I forget that everyone on MetaFilter conscientiously objecting to anything always has a perfect grasp of the issues.)
If by "derived from" you mean that the MMR vaccine was developed from fetal cell lines derived from two abortions that took place in the 1960s, that's true.
Yes, you're correct, I did indeed use the word "derived" in the way it's used in the dictionary. Thanks for supporting my "religious" (ohnoes) source with science.

My point, which no one has actually disagreed with, remains: some people currently classed among the anti-vaccination crowd are moral objectors, people who selectively vaccinate based on not wanting to cooperate in abortion, even remotely. If we can get Merck and others to remove this stumbling block by using non-objectionable sources, then we take possibly the only rational argument (aside from absolute parental autonomy) for non-vaccination away.
posted by resurrexit at 10:28 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


As others have pointed out, anti-vax sentiment is very strong among the bluest of the blue.

And the reddest of the red. The far left distrusts the corporations who make the vaccines, the far right distrusts the government that requires them to be administered.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fair enough :)
posted by resurrexit at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2015


If we can get Merck and others to remove this stumbling block by using non-objectionable sources,

They are non-objectionable sources. Just because people object for stupid reasons doesn't mean their objections are valid.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:31 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


eriko: "And it worked. 1955, we get the polio vaccine, in the 60's, we get MMR, and kids stopped getting those diseases. By 1970, kids weren't getting measles, mumps, rubella, or polio. (We had a smallpox vaccine earlier.)

Problem. Those kids never grew up with kids getting sick and dying. They didn't see members of their own cohort suffer and die. And now, with people born in 1980 being 35 and 1990 being 25, they've had kids.

They *literally* have not seen what these diseases can do.
"

This is something I think about often, systemically. Not just for vaccines or even science related stuff, but anything that requires long term, historical memory. The obvious other example is climate change. Since that's a much slower process and the variables seemingly more distant than something as immediate as a jab in the arm, it's even harder to point to, but the same principle applies, I think.

But when dealing with, say, poverty, and social programs. So many people benefit from Social Security or Unemployment or Worker's Comp... But then... Because they're comfortable in that, they forget that they have those programs, so when the attacks begin, people assume it's "other people" gaining the benefit, not realizing that it's also them... Not realizing that without it, there'd be a HUGE problem with economic hardship and survival.

This also ties in, I think, to the consequences of social good vs private "benefit" (or rather, when the "benefits" are not even actual material benefits, but founded upon selfish beliefs)...

As long as we have this stupid libertarian, pseudo-hippie bullshit making their precious child more important than anybody else's child, we're going to have stomach, not just the anti-vaxx bullshit, but a whole lot more.

One could say this is the ultimate combination of woo-hucksterism + mindset of capitalism (socialize risks, privatize benefits), the ability of people to believe something at odds with the evidence, so long as it makes them feel safer, damn the social consequences. And until the consequences are felt BY THEM, it doesn't matter. They are experientialists, first and foremost.

The partisan divide issue is definitely scary. On the one hand, it might help to get the woohippiedippielefties to fight back and start to question themselves, but I feel that they're more on the edge and more apt to tilt to the right instead of the left (since they tend to be more libertarian in approach, at least according to the type of people I've met) and we've seen which party has suckered the libertarians into supporting them (hint - Governor Christie is a member of that party).
posted by symbioid at 10:34 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Christie, however, said “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

This framing was carefully created by some truly evil assholes. They know enough to be sure that vaccinations are a net benefit, but they use that knowledge to sew doubt in the uninformed mind without actually uttering a falsehood. Of course, not all vaccines are equal. Of course, not every disease is the same threat. (Nonetheless, we don't recommend universal vaccination against non-fatal conditions.) But uttered in this context, those two facts imply that you should carefully pick and choose among recommended vaccines, because you are capable of doing the careful cost/benefit analysis to make an informed decision. (Of course, that's bollocks for 99% of the population, but freedom.) So it also implies that the public health community is sorta incompetent at that task and probably doesn't really understand the problem, so the recommendation is not reliable in spite of the huge amount of effort it takes to develop, test, evaluate, and produce a reliable vaccine.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'll give them a choice: Vaccinate or lifelong quarantine.

I say, vaccinate or they pay for all the affected children's care and suffering if their kid transmits the disease. Of course, this would bankrupt most of the anti-vaxxers and they would become dependent on Medicaid to care for their own family.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Problem. Those kids never grew up with kids getting sick and dying. They didn't see members of their own cohort suffer and die. And now, with people born in 1980 being 35 and 1990 being 25, they've had kids.

Exactly. I know a pediatrician (trained in the 70s), who says that general pediatrics has gotten really boring in the last few decades, because of the success of vaccinations. There's stuff that they used to see all the time that's just gone, and almost all the workload that's left is stuff like well-baby checks.

But who knows for how much longer.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


This is a golden spike moment. If we can unite the left-wing kooks and the right-wing kooks, think of what more we may be able to accomplish!
posted by Legomancer at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2015


Just because people object for stupid reasons [derived from aborted fetal tissue] doesn't mean their objections are valid.

That's preposterous. One can be the most ardent abortion rights supporter and recognize that abortion's not an unreservedly great thing ("safe, legal, and rare"? "I'd never have one but it should remain legal"? or "personally opposed but"?); it's a calculated balancing of fetal rights in light of a living woman's right to personal and sexual autonomy. (Look at me, restating opposing arguments in good faith!) But some disagree: anyway, fine, go ahead and give people a widely-recognized moral basis for not getting all the recommended vaccinations.
posted by resurrexit at 10:43 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




This is my idea of how to curtail the anti-vaxx movement.

1. Pass county ordinances that require primary care offices to file their office vaccination policies with county health, and keep it posted in conspicuous areas like waiting and examination rooms. Also make this a policy that needs to be reviewed and acknowledged by patients (like HIPPA policies).

2. Require additional state malpractice insurance for unvaccinated practices.

This will effectively limit doctors willing to accept no-vax parents, and allow them to get slow- or unsure-vax patients on board and eventually on schedule. So many doctors are unwilling to turn away no-vax patients because they are cheap fucking bastards, are dealing with running a small business while paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt while in one of the least lucrative specialties.

This will harden ardent no-vaxxers, but they will still need medical care, sports physicals, etc. So, I'd also consider throwing some nice public humiliation in there, like forcing an unvaccinated patient to wear a face mask while in waiting rooms. Of course, this would rope in immunocompromised or allergic patients too, but theres no real harm in wearing a face mask.

Also, lets call anti-vaxx something different. Like "Vaccine Deficient". As in "Oh, you've got a vaccine deficient child there, so you can take a face mask, and sign this notice that you're a bad parent with holding medical care from your child."
posted by fontophilic at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


While I can complement your effortless destruction of that straw man, who said that? Certainly not me, and not anyone in that article I linked.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you were making a claim based on science, but your source -- religious AND with NO citations to the research -- was weak. So any random person reading your claim and reading your only source could come to think that the MMR vaccine was made from aborted babies because "derived" can be genuinely interpreted in more than one way.

Some people DO think that the soylent vaccines are dead babies (and monkeys, and other scary things). Try this Twitter search. (Not all the hits in that search make that claim, but several do. I've seen that claim made in my own family.) Try this Google search, too. It's out there, and if you want to bring up a controversial issue while still making the truth clear, then provide better links.
posted by maudlin at 10:51 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


People don't remember.

My mother’s brother, my uncle, contracted polio as a teenager in the Thirties. It left his legs paralyzed. He “walked” with the aid of locking leg braces and crutches for the rest of his life. I didn't witness his illness, but I certainly saw what it did to the quality of his life.

I don’t remember my first polio vaccination at the age of three, but I do remember being very happy a few years later when the final booster turned out to be a syrup taken orally instead of the dreaded needle.

Years later, my mother recalled crying in the car with me and my two brothers on our way to get the vaccine that first time. She said she was overwhelmed by how momentous it felt, that she and her boys were the lucky beneficiaries of this miracle of medical science.

My uncle is dead. My mother is dead. I’m 63.

I am not a crier by any stretch, but I’ve shed a few tears reading the ignorant shit that parents say to rationalize leaving their children open to potentially life-threatening or life-altering disease.

They are so damned lucky. Here is this complete gift and they throw it away.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 10:52 AM on February 2, 2015 [92 favorites]


If the fetus died for any other reason than a woman choosing to abort the fetus, then there would be no problem from religious anti-vaxxers. It is, of course, always that a woman chose something.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:54 AM on February 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


TheLittlePrince: "
Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold. She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”

Wow! such stupidity! Much frustration! Very idiocy! Wow!
"
------------------

Yeah. My grandpa died 20 years ago this march from rusty staple induced botulism (link to newspaper article about his infection/hospitalization).

Admittedly, wiki says "There is a vaccine but it is unclear how useful it is as it is associated with significant adverse effects. As of 2013 there are efforts ongoing to develop a better vaccine., and I'm not sure if he had the vaccine if it would have mattered, but it might have...
posted by symbioid at 10:58 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


dorque: In the case of #1, if you have a partially-vaccinated population but there remains a reservoir of the illness, anyone who is unvaccinated but didn't contract the illness as a child has an ongoing chance to do so as they age, because they won't magically stop being susceptible when they're no longer kids.
That still makes NO SENSE AT ALL. How does vaccinating most of the population increase the risk that someone unvaccinated will be exposed?

That "reservoir of the illness" you speak of? It's several orders of magnitude bigger in an unvaccinated population.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Is this just another way to wage war on people in low income brackets?
posted by tecg at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think having vaccines free and widely available and strongly encouraged is going to be more feasible and more helpful to increasing coverage rates than forcing anyone to be jabbed or punishing non-vaxing parents. Plenty of kids aren't up to date just because their parents just haven't gotten around to it or can't afford office visits. Let's start there.
posted by adiabatic at 11:08 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


That still makes NO SENSE AT ALL. How does vaccinating most of the population increase the risk that someone unvaccinated will be exposed?

It doesn't. It increases the risk that they will contract the illness later in life (when, in the case of chicken pox, it's more severe) -- if you get chicken pox or are vaccinated as a child, your chances of getting a worse case as an adult are slim. If neither, you continue to be susceptible as an adult.

That "reservoir of the illness" you speak of? It's several orders of magnitude bigger in an unvaccinated population.

Yes, absolutely. But unless you know how to instantly vaccinate an entire population with 100% efficacy, it's not frothing-at-the-mouth lunacy to say things will temporarily be shittier for people who can't be vaccinated and people who are at risk for shingles while society gets to the point where the reservoir is genuinely small. Cripes.
posted by dorque at 11:09 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


resurrexit: IAmBroom and MisanthropicPainforest, if you read what I wrote, I wasn't talking about the risk, I was talking about how people approach the parental freedom issue in light of the risk
Here's what you wrote:
resurrexit: I'm saying where you fall on this issue is likely to match with party lines
... which is untrue. I guess you were implying that "this issue" was something other than the main topic of this thread; that's not really my fault.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:09 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


How does vaccinating most of the population increase the risk that someone unvaccinated will be exposed?

I think the argument is that if 75% of people are vaccinated, the remaining 25% have a fighting chance to avoid getting it until they're no longer children. Chickenpox can be much worse if you get it when you're older.

If nobody is vaccinated, (say) 90% of children will get it. Most of them are, afterwards, immune. That leaves only ~20% vulnerable to getting it as an adult, when it's worse.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:10 AM on February 2, 2015


That still makes NO SENSE AT ALL. How does vaccinating most of the population increase the risk that someone unvaccinated will be exposed?

It doesn't increase the risk of exposure. It decreases their risk of exposure, meaning they are less likely to get it as a child when it would probably be mild. This then means they're relatively more likely to have it as an adult when it may be quite severe. With chicken pox circulating widely, people are more likely to encounter it in childhood and gain immunity that way.
posted by adiabatic at 11:11 AM on February 2, 2015


Plenty of kids aren't up to date just because their parents just haven't gotten around to it or can't afford office visits. Let's start there.

Nah, because they aren't likely to be clustered and they aren't what is causing the measles outbreaks. What's causing the measles outbreaks are parents choosing to not vaccinate their children.

My fear if this gets polarized along party lines is that there will be even more clustering by locations.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:11 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can't convince pro-disease-vector people (anti-vaxxers is too kind) because of the Backfire effect.

"The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger."

Short of publicly-mandated intervention, I don't know that there's a way to deal with these people. They are not going to vaccinate Tanner because of reasons, nothing one can say will convince them otherwise. Maybe if the CDC had their own SWAT team...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:12 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


The only way to stop a bad guy with measles is a good guy with measles.

I nominate Chris Christie for this position. Haha, nevermind, he almost certainly got vaccinated as a baby.
posted by emjaybee at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think having vaccines free and widely available and strongly encouraged is going to be more feasible and more helpful to increasing coverage rates than forcing anyone to be jabbed or punishing non-vaxing parents. Plenty of kids aren't up to date just because their parents just haven't gotten around to it or can't afford office visits. Let's start there.

Here in Toronto, the vaccines are free. They're available at every general practitioner's office and hospital. They are strongly recommended to every new parent. This happened today.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Which raises an interesting point. I wonder how many anti-Vaxers where actually vaccinated as kids.
posted by edgeways at 11:16 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ok. ISIS aside. Market drive it? Steep increases in insurance rates for families who chose not to vaccinate for reasons other than medical?
posted by edgeways at 11:17 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's hard to think of a straightforward solution that isn't "banning any child from libraries, schools, theme parks and museums who doesn't have a valid vaccination card." Which would set off the Mark of the Beast frenzy we don't need.

A hardcore public education campaign could do wonders, though. Seeing pictures of some random kid with a disease is one thing; seeing repeated, well-made ads talking about the dangers of communicable diseases is another. Make the vaccines free and available everywhere. Deluge the parents with mailers, flyers, reminders and commercials. Saturate the media with pro-vaccination arguments, such that the kids, as well as the parents, hear about them. It won't get everyone, but it can have a real effect.

I don't know that our government/media is functional enough to pull it off, though. No profit in it. Except the part where not as many kids die.
posted by emjaybee at 11:20 AM on February 2, 2015


It's hard to think of a straightforward solution that isn't "banning any child from libraries, schools, theme parks and museums who doesn't have a valid vaccination card."

That's easy to think of: forcibly vaccinate all children, except for those with a medical contraindication.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Plenty of kids aren't up to date just because their parents just haven't gotten around to it or can't afford office visits. Let's start there.
Or can't afford to wait around for the short hours of vaccination clinics if provided by the county at the one or two county health clinics or vaccination vans that make tours of schools.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2015


A hardcore public education campaign

Incorporate it into TV show plots. Include a sympathetic character who starts as anti-vax but comes around, because she's a good mom; etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


My point, which no one has actually disagreed with, remains: some people currently classed among the anti-vaccination crowd are moral objectors, people who selectively vaccinate based on not wanting to cooperate in abortion, even remotely.

This puzzles me. Say Chris Christie's mom had an abortion at a time close enough to Chris Christie's birthdate such that had she not aborted, Chris couldn't have been born. (I'm always puzzled by anti-abortionists' failure to consider this aspect of abortion.) Would such a person not be able to vote for Christie? Would they consider Christie tainted by the evil of "cooperating in abortion"? If the DNA of the aborted cells used to incubate currently were artificially recreated and used to create a new line of cells genetically identical to those original cells, would the resulting vaccines incubated in those cells be cooperating in abortion? I guess I'm asking just how this supposed contamination-by-evil extends for these wackos.

But on another note, it is my experience that the moral objectionists are few and far between compared to the wacko believers in the autism connection. They are the bulk of the deniers and the main problem. Once they are dealt with, the others can be focused on.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:25 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind - "A new study examined multiple strategies for communicating about the safety and importance of vaccines. None of them worked."

Hopefully this conversation hasn't passed me by...

I've seen one survey which suggests that the best method to convince parents who are questioning-but-not-convinced to vaccinate their children is to openly compare it to other safety choices like seatbelts.
This argument turns the act of passively failing to vaccinate one’s child into a voluntary action, and it convinces two thirds of our survey respondents. Because it frames a simple lack of action as presenting their children with a real threat akin to a car crash, parents can visualize the harm that can result from their unwillingness to act. This is an uncommon strategy, but it has proven to be an effective one.
posted by muddgirl at 11:30 AM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


is to openly compare it to other safety choices like seatbelts.

The one I've been using is actually if they believe employees should wash their hands before going back to make your food in a restaurant.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:32 AM on February 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


Oh, this reminds me that we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of Croatia making standard immunizations mandatory, and they seem to be doing fine.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


You don't want to vaccinate your children? All righty -- you've just had your US Citizenship stripped! It's closing time, idiots: you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here! Go spread the plague somewhere else!
posted by gsh at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


This chart of vaccination rates of New York state schools is pretty interesting. (I think many of the 0% ones are just un-reported, but if you narrow down by county to Manhattan or Brooklyn or Queens, you get more interesting results). It definitely highlights the weird mix of ideologies involved in this -- Jewish schools, fundamentalist Christian schools, hippy-ish alternative schools.
posted by retrograde at 11:39 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


> : Go spread the plague somewhere else!

As an Elsewherian, I object. We have problems of our own, we don't need yours as well, thank you.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Article over the weekend has an Arizona cardiologist saying "It's not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child with leukemia] to be supposedly healthy. As far as I'm concerned, it's very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place."

That doctor, Jack Wolfson, is a naturopath, a believer in something called "epigenetics", and wrote a screen about how the entire problem is modern society and how we should just all go paleo with the kids, so they could get measles, mumps, all those diseases that are (and I quote here directly) "the rights of our children to get it". He's a three-steps-past-sanity nutter and the fact he's treated at all as something other than a quack makes me throw my hands (and lunch) up in despair.
posted by mephron at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Cute and cuddly owl? Sure. Keep that around. Disgusting worm? Burn it with fire!

Birds of the order Strigiformes have not previously exhibited strong tendencies to treat humans as prey; parasitic worms are considerably more threatening. For now.

But when my research is fully completed, and the vast shadows of 10-meter wingspans descend on your cities, and the screeching of the Great Owls fills the world....then you will change your minds. Oh yes, you shall.
posted by The Zeroth Law at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


via this link

Hillary Clinton (2008): Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionnaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was "Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines." And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: "Yes. We don't know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism - but we should find out."

Rand Paul (2015): Most of them ought to be voluntary ... while I think it is a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that's a personal decision for individuals to take and when to take it....
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


There seems to be some bad speculation regarding shingles here. Primarily, shingles is caused by latent infection usually contracted as chicken pox in childhood. At this point, it does not appear that the vaccination causes shingles. If the attenuated virus does cause shingles via latent infection, the resulting symptoms appear to be reduced in severity or sub-clinical.

Also, the vaccination seems to reduce symptoms in those cases where previously-vaccinated adults become infected by wild-type chicken pox.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold.

This is a telling quote, because she's echoing the common sentiment (among these types of people) that the risks of these diseases have been overstated by Big Pharma to scare people into submission.
posted by teponaztli at 11:51 AM on February 2, 2015


Which religion exactly do these people belong to, that gives them a bona fide religious exemption on the basis that some vaccines are cultured in human cell lines from a 40 year old abortion?
posted by KathrynT at 11:52 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You don't even need a religious belief. Lots of places have "personal belief" exemptions.
posted by Justinian at 11:54 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also - from the vaccine critics turn defenders article:

"“It’s the worst shot,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “Do you want to wake up one morning and the light is gone from her eyes with autism or something?”

FUCK.
YOU.

Fuck you so hard. Fuck your fear of people with autism, fuck your privileged ass, fuck your self-centered, neurotypical loving, self. Fuck you sideways until the earth turns blue, fuck you and your selfish ways.

People who have autism are people. They have needs and wants and desires. They are HUMAN. They are not fucking monsters. Neither are people with Down Syndrome or any other fucking human being alive, whether physically or mentally "disabled".

I admit, if I had a fear that giving my child a shot would turn them into someone like you, dear panicky-mom, I might have second thoughts.

But then again, you're just an asshole, a self, sensitive, hateful bigoted asshole against people who aren't neurotypical.

This is what I hate most about the Jenny McCarthy Autism Scare anti-vaxxers, the hatred and fear on display for people with autism.
posted by symbioid at 11:54 AM on February 2, 2015 [70 favorites]


You don't even need a religious belief. Lots of places have "personal belief" exemptions.

I know, I'm responding specifically to resurrexit's point. (Trust me, I know: I live in Seattle and my husband is immunocompromised.)
posted by KathrynT at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2015


Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold. She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”

How is this something that happened in real life and not a line from Arrested Development?
posted by Room 641-A at 12:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


Mental Wimp, you said: I guess I'm asking just how this supposed contamination-by-evil extends for these wackos.

Here's a link to "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses," the Pontifical Academy for Life's (high- to mid-level wacko authority) 2005 discussion of the morality and liceity of use of vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines. This gives something of the Catholic-wacko perspective (a summary-answer to your question's in the third bullet point below):
To summarize, it must be confirmed that:

+ there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems;
+ as regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one's own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole — especially for pregnant women;
+ the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women);
+ such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk.

This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.
posted by resurrexit at 12:03 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Which religion exactly do these people belong to, that gives them a bona fide religious exemption on the basis that some vaccines are cultured in human cell lines from a 40 year old abortion?

To give the Vatican some credit, they issued a statement in the matter that may not really go far enough to form the basis of a legal exemption in the States.
But the Vatican-approved study lacks the kind of absolutes that would give Catholics the backing they would need to be eligible for the exemption.

"The document says parents could use (the vaccines) or that they could abstain," which is "too gray," said Vinnedge in a July 21 telephone interview from Florida.

"We need a stronger statement" if Catholics are to get the exemption, she said.

Msgr. Suaudeau, who helped oversee the study, said the document "could not be changed" because it accurately reflected church teaching.

He said the study "in general supports the right of parents to not accept vaccinations" that are connected with abortion. But in particular cases, the use of morally objectionable vaccines can be morally justified according to the principle of proportionate reason and because there is a "hierarchy in morals," he told CNS.

He said the academy's study "takes a balanced stance," explaining the different forms and degrees of cooperation with evil and "the concerns about public health."
posted by maudlin at 12:04 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, there you go. The Catholic Church says that using those vaccines doesn't contradict their religious teachings. Catholics may have discomfort with the idea, but discomfort isn't a bona fide religious objection.
posted by KathrynT at 12:09 PM on February 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was the first person in my family's living memory to graduate from college.

Except for a great uncle, the youngest of my grandfather's brothers, who graduated from the same university I ended up graduating from. He was the wunderkind who stood out from everyone else in my family tree by being able to go to college instead of farm or work in coal mines or dig ditches or keep house. Everyone in his generation (the few that are left), to this day, speaks of him in tones of awe and respect. He played the guitar to put himself through business school. Even got stabbed once while playing in a honky tonk.

He graduated, came home, and died of polio within the year.

I wish I could have met him. I still have a textbook of his I found on a shelf at the family farm. It makes me thankful. Not just of the opportunities I have, but of vaccines against things like, ya'know, polio.

I weep for our generation as some among us toy with releasing these chimera back into the world of humanity. Ultimately, it seems, we are too weak and deserve no better than what we are going to get.

Jeeze and it's only Monday... Anyway, good for Obama. Not his fault if his speaking about it instantly turns up the political heat because it's not like he's wrong or lying or what have you...
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:10 PM on February 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


" ... in particular cases, the use of morally objectionable vaccines can be morally justified according to the principle of proportionate reason and because there is a 'hierarchy in morals ...'"

This is Thomist for "don't be a dumb-ass."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:13 PM on February 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


KathyrnT, to be fair, the Catholic Church says it's up to the parent***: giving your kids the MMR in the United States (where the R is derived from cells from an aborted human) is (1) possibly active material cooperation in abortion, a grave mortal sin (Thou shalt not kill), (2) only "morally justified" because such an act is "coercive" in light of the risk to the common good, and (3) ought to be fought at every possible opportunity to remove this moral stumbling-block to getting American kids the vaccinated against mumps, measles, and rubella.
posted by resurrexit at 12:15 PM on February 2, 2015




i wish they would put up this cartoon in every pediatrician's office.

http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon/daily-cartoon-monday-february-2nd-measles-disneyland
posted by TheLittlePrince at 12:18 PM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Sure, but as they say: it's up to the parent, and justified despite the grave mortal sin due to the implications for public health. That means that the Church doesn't forbid it.
posted by KathrynT at 12:19 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


***edit: maudlin's article clarifies this: a parent's choice to vaccinate for MMR can be justified if the parent wants to justify their participation in the sin of abortion, but a parent doesn't have to. We did for our kids (American), but there are people that have flown to Japan to get their kids the full MMR vaccines (Merck sold unbundled mumps and measles vaccines for a while, but then threw rubella back in later) from a rubella line that didn't derive from abortion.
posted by resurrexit at 12:19 PM on February 2, 2015




From roomthreeseventeen's link

"The CDC says one out of every 20 children with measles will develop pneumonia, and one out of 1,000 will get a serious complication, encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which can lead to convulsions, deafness or mental retardation."

Why isn't anyone else citing those statistics. Encephalitis is no joke.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 12:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Given that the cost of plane tickets to Japan is DWARFED by the cost of treating a child who has to be hospitalized for the measles or mumps, and fundamentally erased by the cost of supporting a child who was disabled by exposure to rubella in utero, I think that flying the family to Japan is absolutely the only supportable choice in that instance.
posted by KathrynT at 12:26 PM on February 2, 2015


Can we unvaccinate the anti-vaxxers and lock them in a polio-ward?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seriously, the antivaxxers need to visit old graveyards, where the predominance of children dying of preventable infections is striking. Although I've been in public health for over 40 years, I was struck viscerally when I visited the Colonial Park cemetery in Savannah and saw how many 1, 2, and 3 year olds had died of the measles or whooping cough.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Incorporate it into TV show plots. Include a sympathetic character who starts as anti-vax but comes around, because she's a good mom; etc.

Period dramas would be especially appropriate. Some child-character from Downton Abbey could be crippled by polio (but no miraculous recovery!), and that doctor could bemoan that fact that there was no vaccine like the one they already had for smallpox. It wouldn't even feel forced.

Add in units about nasty infectious diseases into school history classes and how common they used to be, supplemented with regular TV documentaries about pre-vaccine epidemics and epidemics in foreign un-vaccinated areas, and there might be some progress (just as long as it isn't so preachy that it triggers defensiveness in the moderate ones).

In my experience, at the grass-roots, the anti-vaxx stuff is driven by fear of health problems, and I think the only way to counter it is to re-instill an even greater fear in the alternative.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


+ the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women);

Well, yes, I guess I wasn't aware that there was sufficient religulous bloviation about the issue. I've read that passage several times, and I'm still not totally sure whether it's approving or disapproving the use of the vaccines by individuals. As near as I can tell, it's condemning those who produce and market (and "use" in a sense somehow distinct from the use in the first instance in the sentence), but allowing their use to protect children. So, I guess I stand by my wacko statement (and, yes, the RCC has frequently been the generator of wacko moral positions, viz., its position on pedophilia and the priesthood).
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:37 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


a believer in something called "epigenetics"

Just to be clear, epigenetics is absolutely a real thing with a specific scientific definition. It's just a term that is also heavily misused by quacks to mean whatever they want it to mean (much like "quantum mechanics" or "string theory").
posted by en forme de poire at 12:39 PM on February 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


My book on epigenetic quantum string theory is all you need to beat wall street at its own game.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


My book on epigenetic quantum string theory is all you need to beat wall street at its own game.

What, no link? I WANT IT!
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:42 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I personally think the crazy rich hippy types are so concerned about autism because it seems to be so prevalent in rich white families in the media. I have no idea if this is true or not but if you consume media in those communities in CA you get the idea that every other kid is profoundly autistic.

Average parental age is probably 35-40 for first kids and these are not risk taking, easy going hardscrabble folks, they are very fearful middle class types with no real experience of making cost-benefit decisionsIt's a perfect storm for hysteria.
posted by fshgrl at 12:43 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think you mean ebook
posted by en forme de poire at 12:43 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You want to take your tax deduction for your kids? That's great! Here's a form saying that they're all up to date on their vaccinations. Take it to your doctor and have him sign it* and we'll be more than happy to apply your deduction for you.

Oh, you're against vaccinations? Sorry. No deduction for you.

* Or he/she can sign this form that says they're unable to give the vaccine to your child due to X medical reason**.

** Note: I DON'T WANNA! is not an acceptable reason.
posted by bowmaniac at 12:51 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


My book on epigenetic quantum string theory that doctors don't want you to know is all you need to beat wall street at its own game.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Period dramas would be especially appropriate. Some child-character from Downton Abbey could be crippled by polio (but no miraculous recovery!), and that doctor could bemoan that fact that there was no vaccine like the one they already had for smallpox. It wouldn't even feel forced.

LOL @ social issues on Downton Abbey not feeling forced. Also, I can see the anti-vax / kill your tv Venn diagram being one circle. Toxins can get in through your eyes.

But good idea! Maybe Portlandia is a better vehicle....
posted by resurrexit at 12:55 PM on February 2, 2015


Add in units about nasty infectious diseases into school history classes and how common they used to be, supplemented with regular TV documentaries about pre-vaccine epidemics and epidemics in foreign un-vaccinated areas, and there might be some progress (just as long as it isn't so preachy that it triggers defensiveness in the moderate ones).

You could even get some US history focused on non-whites taught this way. The smallpox epidemics that killed a huge percentage of Native Americans and the measles and whooping cough epidemics in 19th century Hawaii are examples of this.
posted by Anne Neville at 12:55 PM on February 2, 2015


I think the Wakefield-autism thing is becoming a bit of a straw man. People I know who don't vaccinate list a host of other reasons besides and often excluding any sort of autism connection. Boiling anti-vax reasoning down to autism hysteria is an oversimplification and in many cases a misrepresentation. It's definitely important that the lack of connection and the Wakefield fraud remain public knowledge but it's not going to make a difference to people who think vaccines might exacerbate eczema or psoriasis or autoimmune issues or whatever. Making fun of people with those sorts of concerns by comparing them to Jenny McCarthy is just going to make them more unreachable.
posted by adiabatic at 12:58 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Leotrotsky's Rule:

You're allowed to be stupid. But once your stupid starts killing people other than yourself, you lose that allowance.

c.f. vaccines, guns, abortion access, foreign wars, fossil fuels.

Apply Liberally.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:58 PM on February 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


The Rude Pundit: Vaccinate Your Fucking Kids
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:59 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rand One-Ups Christie On Vaccinations: Most 'Ought To Be Voluntary'
posted by leotrotsky at 1:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I personally think the crazy rich hippy types are so concerned about autism because it seems to be so prevalent in rich white families in the media. I have no idea if this is true or not but if you consume media in those communities in CA you get the idea that every other kid is profoundly autistic.

Average parental age is probably 35-40 for first kids and these are not risk taking, easy going hardscrabble folks, they are very fearful middle class types with no real experience of making cost-benefit decisionsIt's a perfect storm for hysteria.


The thing that makes me ape-shit over this is that they were probably all immunized themselves, with almost no negative effects.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:05 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oops, I meant to add that it's not like, "Oh, this was a problem for my generation and even though science has made great strides I still don't trust the vaccines."
posted by Room 641-A at 1:06 PM on February 2, 2015


From a member who wishes to remain anonymous, about the suggestion to increase pro-vaccine television content:
For years I worked for the Environmental Media Association (http://www.ema-online.org/) which essentially did what you are suggesting, but for environmental issues. Back in the (mostly) pre-internet days this meant everything from fact-checking scripts with our advisory board to finding recycling bins for Baywatch to use on camera just to promote recycling. We also held tons of events where we would bring in tv writers for breakfast to hear scientists (BILL NYE!!!!) talk to them about various issues. I think it made a huge difference. Having people like Norman Lear on your board helps, too.

I bet there could be a way to make this happen [for vaccination].
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:13 PM on February 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


So what happens if a child, who didn't get vaccinated as an infant and is growing up in an anti-vaxxer household, wants to get vaccinated?

Like, they when they become a pre-teen or a teenager, did some reading and reflecting on their own on the issue, and decide that hey - they want to get these vaccinations against these serious diseases ASAP? Can a 13 year old do such a thing? Or do they have to wait until they're an adult?
posted by spinifex23 at 1:14 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


adiabatic: It's definitely important that the lack of connection and the Wakefield fraud remain public knowledge but it's not going to make a difference to people who think vaccines might exacerbate eczema or psoriasis or autoimmune issues or whatever.

Do they have any evidence on which to base their belief that they might exacerbate these conditions? If not, their belief is no more or less valid than the belief that vaccines cause autism.

I have severe plaque psoriasis, pharmaceutically-controlled by a strong biologic immunosuppressant. I went up the ladder of treatments for many years, during which time I am sure I would have heard a warning against about vaccines if there were any compelling evidence that there would be any effect on my psoriasis. Even if there were such an effect, it would have to be worse than the downside risk of exposing yourself (and others) to the disease being vaccinated against.

So, no, I don't see any reason why we should be sensitive to these claims unless they're backed by evidence.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:19 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


So, no, I don't see any reason why we should be sensitive to these claims unless they're backed by evidence.

You're misinterpreting my point, but sorry about your psoriasis.
posted by adiabatic at 1:22 PM on February 2, 2015


Making fun of people with those sorts of concerns by comparing them to Jenny McCarthy is just going to make them more unreachable.

No, what makes them unreachable is their deep and abiding commitment to being ignorant dumbwads.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


You're misinterpreting my point

Then tell me what I misinterpreted.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:23 PM on February 2, 2015


Then tell me what I misinterpreted.

I'm talking about how we talk with and about people who don't want to vaccinate their children. I'm not defending their logic.
posted by adiabatic at 1:24 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did you not see the links earlier in this thread? It doesn't matter how we talk to those people, they will only dig in their heels deeper. So we might as well tell the truth about them.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're misinterpreting my point

Your point seems to be that people's belief that vaccines cause or worsen anything, when this belief is not backed by any evidence at all, should be entertained by society at large, even when this belief puts society at large at verifiable risk.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, my husband has psoriatic arthritis, he has family members who are vigorously and vocally anti-vax, and a correlation between the two has never come up. I don't think that's something that's out there in the general consciousness.
posted by KathrynT at 1:28 PM on February 2, 2015


Guys, it was just an example. My point is that lots of non-vaxxers these days are not doing it because of autism. Lumping them in with the autism people just makes them less receptive to arguments in favor of vaccination.
posted by adiabatic at 1:29 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Assuming they're receptive to begin with seems fraught with peril if they're internalizing yet another bullshit linkage. You brought these up as specific examples from people you know, so don't yell at the peanut gallery for demanding more precision.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:31 PM on February 2, 2015


And there are people who haven't vaccinated their kids who are persuadable (I have witnessed this!), but vitriolically misrepresenting their concerns (whether they are logically founded concerns or not) and calling them names is not how we persuade them.
posted by adiabatic at 1:32 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm personally offended that we're asking all these precious fetus' lives to be wasted for naught.

If they're already "dead" - is it not more a sin to prevent their lives from going for something good (preventing rubella) than to merely... whatever it is that aborted fetuses do.

Of course, you may take an "incentivization" belief that to use fetal cells in this manner is creating a demand for more abortion, and thus an evil.

Do you then, by the same measure, demand that any transplant organs you receive be from victims of murder (for is this not what you are doing, essentially?)

Would it only be OK to take fetal cells if the law said it was murder, then, in the same way that we consider organs of murder victims fine for implantation, we could consider fetal cells fine for the specific uses to help save lives?

While I started a little snarky, I think these are important moral questions in terms of what's available/feasible and "right"...

I guess, this is how I look at and understand the question (from a moral perspective that could approach the issue in a pro-life way, while still looking at the complexities).

Of course, this doesn't preclude research for non-fetal vaccination, etc... But I guess I feel like the greater good is being diminished in the sense that the fetus is already not viable, and is thus wasted.

Now, if it were, say, fetal-cell-leather... a fashion accessory; then I could see a bigger qualm with the issue, as it's a social product that serves different interests than, say, a healthy, happy life with less suffering - there is no "balance" to counter the loss of fetal life (again - using a pro-life view here, not necessarily my own view), so it would serve the interest of vanity and pride, vs life and health (which a vaccine would serve to do).
posted by symbioid at 1:33 PM on February 2, 2015


The people I know who are withholding vaccines are doing it because of a belief in the innate intelligence of the body and a rejection of the disease model entirely (to the point where they spell it "dis-ease") plus an implicit buy-in to the just world hypothesis. There is no way to make them receptive to arguments in favor of vaccination without rebuilding their entire worldview.
posted by KathrynT at 1:33 PM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


And no matter how you extreme logicians feel about mandatory vaccination, it's not going to happen, so we need to think of different strategies.
posted by adiabatic at 1:34 PM on February 2, 2015


adiabatic: "I think the Wakefield-autism thing is becoming a bit of a straw man. ... but it's not going to make a difference to people who think vaccines might exacerbate eczema or psoriasis or autoimmune issues or whatever. Making fun of people with those sorts of concerns by comparing them to Jenny McCarthy is just going to make them more unreachable."

Ah, yes... Strawtism. My child is Strawtistic.

I guess I should not mock them mercilessly since their concern is more about eczema or psoriasis (OH NO THE GHASTLY skin diseases).

There are legitimate medical reasons for people to not have vaccines, yes. Concerns of autoimmune reactivity is a valid issue.

But that's a whole other ballgame than, say, "My vaccine has gluten..."
posted by symbioid at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


KathrynT, like you I am primarily drawing on my direct experience with other parents. Some hold the belief you state and are basically unreachable. Others have the concern about "overwhelming the immune system" and doing vaccinations too young and stuff like that, which does not preclude vaccination, and many have eventually started getting the shots for their kids. I think it's really helpful for them to feel like their concerns are heard. There is a broad spectrum of stridency among anti-vaxxers, and I think lumping them all together under the Jenny McCarthy model is a mistake.
posted by adiabatic at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


and I think lumping them all together under the Jenny McCarthy model is a mistake

Talk to Jenny McCarthy, then. Movements have leaders, and if those leaders aren't representing the movement, then the movement needs to put more representative leaders forward. It's not the public's responsibility to try to find the reasonable anti-vaxxers.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:43 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the Arizona Doctor (nearly ragequit when I read it)
Arizona Cardiologist responds

Couple Quotes:
"Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

Response: My GMother had Polio. Died at 92. Yes - we've had the Freaking Vaccine for so long that we don't see it [much] anymore. Jeepers. This guy is an idiot.


"At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive"

Response: 11,000 HOSPITALIZED every year before the vaccine (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/varicella.html)

UGH! - Excuse me while I protect your right to believe what you want to believe. But your acting on your beliefs should in no way put other people in harms way.
posted by Metheglen at 1:43 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's not our responsibility to try to find the reasonable anti-vaxxers.

I mean, it kinda is our responsibility to find them if we want to increase vaccination rates.
posted by adiabatic at 1:45 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Presumably, Jenny McCarthy doesn't speak for them, so why would it matter if people are making fun of Jenny McCarthy and those who think like her?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:46 PM on February 2, 2015


It would be far simpler to simply mandate vaccination with no personal belief exemption.
posted by Justinian at 1:47 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


[Maybe we can ease back on the back-and-forth here over whether it's a good idea to recognize the different reasons people have for being anti-vax? At this point each side has pretty much laid out its position and it's at risk of sucking the air out of the room.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:48 PM on February 2, 2015


OK, yeah, for those who are into spacing vaccines out or concerned about overwhelming, I actually DO have a discussion strategy that has worked very well for me in the past. There's two prongs to it; one is pointing out that the CDC's recommended vaccination schedule is based upon what's best for the population, and that the reason it strives to have the majority of vaccinations completed by the age of two isn't because that is necessarily the A+ #1 best time to get them but because, over populations, people quit taking their kids to well-child checkups after they turn two. Individuals don't have to follow that pattern though, so if you have concerns, talk to your doctor about a different schedule that completes them all by the time that your kid is five, and you're golden.

The second prong is pointing out that if a parent has concerns over the adjuvants and preservatives, then your BEST option is to give the combo shots. The trivalent and pentavalent vaccines contain the same amounts of preservative and adjuvants as single shots do, but since you're only getting one jab instead of 3 or 5 the overall exposure is drastically reduced.

I don't put those folks into the same category as the true withholders, though. Those are the people who maybe didn't get the MMR because they were worried, but who are now piling up outside doctor's offices to get their kids jabbed. They're a drag on the system but they aren't the real problem.
posted by KathrynT at 1:50 PM on February 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I wonder what Chris Hardwick, Jenny McCarthy's old cohort on Singled Out (who's resurfaced in recent years as a standup comic and geek icon somehow) has to say.

In other words, I'd love to see a PSA that says "if you're going to listen to an ex-MTV game show host about a serious public health matter, let it be me. Vaccinate your damn kids."
posted by dr_dank at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Here's the thing. Yes, they're not rational. Humans, it turns out, are not always very rational creatures. There are lots of sociological and psychological reasons why people view the world in the ways that they do, and why the make the choices they do.

Don't get me wrong--I'm pro-vaccines, I know that vaccines are maybe the least-profit driven and most altruistic facet of contemporary medicine. And I'm worried that people will brush past my saying this because I see in this thread one of the core human irrationalities that also seems to be driving the anti-vaxxers (or pro-disease vector people): Tribalism. That blood-red war rage, that us-versus-them, that you're threatening me and my kin so I need to destroy you.

And, yes, these people's choices are threatening the health of the whole, but it's my belief that war mentalities do more harm than good. That the real trick is to extend--and I know this is hard, because it goes against so much of those irrational instincts--and see that the ones who appear as enemies (who might even see themselves as your enemies) are, really, part of your kin.

That's the core behind why we need to vaccinate, and the beautiful/terrible truth that science has shown us. We're all in this together. Biologically, physically. This is true in terms of public health and climate change and war and economic disparity. Hurting other people hurts us too.

But so much of our society is running away from that. Not just these people making decisions out of fear and smallness. And that mass denial, that mass attempt to cut ourselves apart, is part of what these people are responding too. I mean, yes, they have the specifics wrong, but the broad strokes are pretty much true. You can't really trust corporations. The world is full of poisons that human industry put there, that you often can't see or smell or taste. Corporations, governments, experts--they lie all the time.

And, yes, these people are privileged, mostly. They're trying to cocoon themselves. They're not doing what I'm advocating for either.

And, really, I'm not even trying to advocate for any particular course of action. I think it could be a very good plan to create more pressure for vaccination and to use various tactics, including punitive measures and new county ordinances and public call-outs. But I think it's better to frame (even internally) this work not as defeating an enemy or stopping some villain but as protecting kids and vulnerable people and future generations.
posted by overglow at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


either mandate vaccinations, or bar unvaccinated kids from public school. don't give their parents tax exemptions. apply a tax penalty a la Obamacare. require that they buy insurance for when they get their kids sick.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:52 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


that the ones who appear as enemies ... are, really, part of your kin.

Nope. They are my enemy. They could kill my family.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:53 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I wonder what Chris Hardwick, Jenny McCarthy's old cohort on Singled Out (who's resurfaced in recent years as a standup comic and geek icon somehow) has to say

Why? I like @Midnight just fine, but it's not like he's a doctor or a public health expert. Relying on celebrity opinions is what got us in this mess.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:54 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wonder what Chris Hardwick, Jenny McCarthy's old cohort on Singled Out (who's resurfaced in recent years as a standup comic and geek icon somehow) has to say

Why? I like @Midnight just fine, but it's not like he's a doctor or a public health expert. Relying on celebrity opinions is what got us in this mess.


Read the rest of that comment.
posted by Etrigan at 2:07 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the Arizona cardiologist quoted by by Metheglen:
"At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive"

Chicken pox can lead to shingles. When I was eight I came home to find my great-grandmother in my room, where she'd been brought to recover after contracting shingles. I didn't recognise her. This is a woman I saw every single week, and I thought she was a stranger because of the way the shingles had affected her appearance. To this day I'm ashamed of how I reacted.

"Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

I've personally known three people with polio-related issues, as well as someone who volunteered for YEARS to drive around an elderly lady crippled by polio. And all you need to do is Google 'polio iron lung' to discover there are quite a number of those people alive today.

Oh, and the Australian Polio Register has a long list of polio sufferers in Australia alive today, including what year they contracted polio and where (if known). And those are only the ones who've registered and given their permission for their details to be online.
posted by andraste at 2:19 PM on February 2, 2015


as to Can a 13 year old get a vaccine on their own without parental consent....

in North Carolina, yes, for all but varicella, because we (as do most states) have a law where minors can consent to certain types of medical care--sexual and mental health. All vaccines other than chicken pox cover an illness which is either could be transmitted sexually or are tracked as communicable diseases. Linky (PDF).
posted by Stewriffic at 2:20 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please note my link for Epigenetics, which goes to a post on ScienceBlogs that is called "I do not think that means what you think it means", specifically about the madness that is using the term badly.
posted by mephron at 2:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

My mother, my mother-in-love. I really don't have to look far.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:27 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please note my link for Epigenetics, which goes to a post on ScienceBlogs that is called "I do not think that means what you think it means", specifically about the madness that is using the term badly.

Well, the way you introduced that article was by saying he was "a believer in something called epigenetics", which made it sound like epigenetics itself was a fringe idea. It sounds like that wasn't intentional on your part, but regardless, I wanted to make sure other people skimming this thread understood that the problem was not the field itself, but what he was claiming under that banner.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:50 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


My father, who is about to turn 70, had polio as a kid and still has a limp. One of his best friends had polio even worse and has a severely withered leg.
posted by vickyverky at 2:51 PM on February 2, 2015




"Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

My drama professor, who recently retired but has walked with a pronounced limp his entire mature life.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:52 PM on February 2, 2015


Problem. Those kids never grew up with kids getting sick and dying. They didn't see members of their own cohort suffer and die.

It doesn't take generations. So many young queer boys are blase about condoms because they weren't around for all the funerals, they don't know any of the names on the memorials.

Rand Paul: Vaccines Can Cause 'Profound Mental Disorders'

So can grieving for your immunocompromised child because some anti-reality woofucker abusive parents decided that vaccination "didn't feel right."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:09 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


A family in my neighborhood is taking care of an only daughter who, decades ago, was severely brain damaged by a horrible response to a vaccine.
Vaccines CAN "cause 'Profound Mental Disorders.'"
The family members, however, are strong supporters of vaccinations.
They know that the possible side-effects are rare and that wide-spread vaccination benefits all of society. It really shouldn't be a difficult calculation to make.
Focusing on the rare side-effects and ignoring the risks of losing herd immunity is foul.
posted by Seamus at 3:15 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]




Two more GOP presidential hopefuls express doubts about mandatory vaccinations

Proving yet again that:

1. If Mr. President said that you shouldn't eat your own shit out of the toilet, that key members of the GOP would rush to the newsrooms to declare their support for choice on the issue of shit-eating.

2. If one member of the GOP drove off a cliff, others will join out of a hope that it will get them votes.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:27 PM on February 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


Carly Fiorina: “I think there’s a big difference between — just in terms of the mountains of evidence we have — a vaccination for measles and a vaccination when a girl is 10 or 11 or 12 for cervical cancer just in case she’s sexually active at 11. So, I think it’s hard to make a blanket statement about it."

Don't remember who called it up thread, but this definitely confirms that, Christie's statement seems to have been code against HPV. Also, I did not know Carly Fiorina is "presidential hopeful".
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 3:27 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


a vaccination when a girl is 10 or 11 or 12 for cervical cancer just in case she’s sexually active at 11

Except, you mendacious shitbag, the reason for HPV vaccinations being so young is not "in case she's sexually active at 11," it's because barring other tragedies we can be reasonably sure she isn't sexually active at that age, and the vaccination needs to be given before a girl becomes sexually active. For fuck's sake.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:32 PM on February 2, 2015 [44 favorites]


er, I hope it was obvious that I was referring to Fiorina as a mendacious shitbag
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:36 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nope. They are my enemy. They could kill my family.

They could kill your family, no question. I guess what I'm trying to say is, there's a difference between a threat and an enemy. Thinking in terms of enemies seems likely to activate parts of our monkey brains that tend to obscure the hyper-complexity and novelty of this weird world we find ourselves in, making it harder for us to figure out how to effectively respond to the very real threats that exist.
posted by overglow at 3:36 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen. -- Benjamin Franklin
posted by uosuaq at 3:37 PM on February 2, 2015 [36 favorites]


My high school English teacher walked with a pronounced limp from polio. She had graduated from high school in 1933, so she is, if still alive, is 100 years old.

Some of my grandparents lived to triple digits, though none were permanenlty affected by or lost children to innoculation-preventable disease.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 3:44 PM on February 2, 2015


Obama: "Vaccinate your kids, people"

Republicans: "We hate you so much we will literally let our kids die before doing anything you say. So, yea, eat it, Obama."
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:56 PM on February 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


Rand Paul: Vaccines Can Cause 'Profound Mental Disorders'

I long for the day that everyone realizes that libertarian economic theory is exactly as stupid and destructive as libertarian theory about how to prevent epidemic diseases, and for more or less the same reasons.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Rand Paul (2015): Most of them ought to be voluntary ... while I think it is a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that's a personal decision for individuals to take and when to take it....

That's Doctor Rand Paul, for anyone who missed it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Rand Paul: Vaccines Can Cause 'Profound Mental Disorders'

You're not supposed to snort them, and you're *definitely* not supposed to snort them and then run for president, dumbass.
posted by uosuaq at 4:07 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Arizona Cardiologist responds: "Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

ITZHAK PERLMAN, you uncultured ignoramus.

My father, now 77, also had polio as a child. He underwent the Kenny treatment, and fortunately responded well and made a full recovery. To this day, however, he describes the experience as the most excruciating pain he's ever endured.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:18 PM on February 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


That's Doctor Rand Paul, for anyone who missed it.

Well, technically, he's not a real doctor. He's a doctor in the same sense that in 5th grade I invented a Board of High Wizardy and declared myself Supreme Grand High Wizard.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:20 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm 62. As a little kid, I remember my parents being terrified about polio, so when that vaccine came along, it took a great deal of pressure off, including letting us swim in pools. And when the oral vaccine came along--my God, it was like a party, parents and kids lining up on a weekend to get a little sip. I got measles as a kid, and let me tell you, the slightest bit of sun felt blinding, headaches, itch, fatigue, etc. I also got chicken pox and still have a tiny scar on my nose that gets covered up by eyeglasses.

Oddly, and apparently, incorrectly, I seem to recall fear about German measles more than real measles but apparently I'm remembering it wrong. Maybe it had to do with the fear for pregnant women, I don't know. Each one of us four kids, got chicken pox, one at another; my poor mother got them internally, apparently from taking care of us then touching her mouth or perhaps food we had touched. I never got the MMR because, I guess, I was past the age group by the time it came along. Never got the mumps, either.

Sure, no one I knew died from those diseases, but I did know a couple who got very sick. But why the hell would anyone think we should jeopardize the next generation of kids and those in society whose immune systems are compromised?
posted by etaoin at 4:25 PM on February 2, 2015


That's Doctor Rand Paul, for anyone who missed it.

Well, technically, he's not a real doctor. He's a doctor in the same sense that in 5th grade I invented a Board of High Wizardy and declared myself Supreme Grand High Wizard.


He graduated from medical school at Duke, was board-certified, and has been licensed to practice medicine for more than 20 years. Rand Paul is many things, but a fake doctor is not among them.
posted by Etrigan at 4:29 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


ITZHAK PERLMAN, you uncultured ignoramus.

Alan Alda as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:34 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]



"Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

Well dumbass, one of your colleagues in Arizona, our family friend Dr. Bob. Poor guy got it as a kid, and had it pretty mildly, only to have it cripple him as he grew older.

Also...lots died young from complications of Polio later in life.

My mother proudly kept my Lederle Vaccination records, complete with dates written in fountain pen ink. I also remember vividly having an adverse reaction to most vaccinations. Flu-like symptoms and body aches. My mom told a 4 year-old Bunny, "I'm sorry you don't feel well, but you're protected against terrible diseases and we're so blessed to have this miracle. Here's your afghan. You can watch TV with some ice cream."

Because that's how good Moms roll.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:35 PM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


Arizona Cardiologist responds: "Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many."

Okay, just for the record, these people from wikipedia's list of polio survivors are still alive:

Acting
Alan Alda
James Drury
Mia Farrow
Donald Sutherland

Business
Pete Dawkins
Garth Drabinsky
Leo J. Shapiro
Dennis Washington

Disability rights activists
Judith Heumann
Bert Massie

Film, television and radio
Adrian Adepitan
Ash Atalla
Francis Ford Coppola
Alex Cord
Joe Dante
Garth Drabinsky
John Laws
David Onley
Owen Roizman
Stacy Smith
David Starkey
Red Steagall
Ronny Yu
Arthur C. Clarke

Literature
Spike Breakwell
Joe Bob Briggs
Patrick Cockburn
Leonard Kriegel
Rosalind Miles
Gary Presley
Peter Preston
H. Ramakrishnan
Marc Shell
Bapsi Sidhwa
Rosemary Tonks

Music
Judy Collins
CeDell Davis
Donovan
Joni Mitchell
Horace Parlan
Itzhak Perlman
David Sanborn
Neil Young

Politics
Senarath Attanayake
Kim Beazley
Steve Cohen
John H. Hager
Daniel J. Kremer
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin
Mitch McConnell
Grace Padaca
Norma Paulus
Gavin Woods
Yit Foong Hee

Sports
Tenley Albright
Paulo Autuori
Walt Davis
David Dore
Paola Fantato
Bill Gadsby
Bud Grant
Lis Hartel
Larry Hinson
John Konrads
Shelley Mann
Jack Nicklaus

Now, will someone please ask Mitch McConnell what he thinks?
posted by Room 641-A at 4:42 PM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


Here you go.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:50 PM on February 2, 2015


Room 641-A: "Arthur C. Clarke"

Um, no.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:54 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aww, wishful thinking. Mods, feel free to edit that list if you want.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


He graduated from medical school at Duke, was board-certified, and has been licensed to practice medicine for more than 20 years.

The organization he is currently certified by is the National Board of Opthalmologists, of which he was the president, his wife was the vice-president, and his father-in-law was the secretary, and whose certification is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities. I say "was" because the organization was dissolved five years later. He graduated from medical school, but I'd call the "board-certified" part a stretch.
posted by KathrynT at 5:11 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


According to Twitter Don Lemon is on the case!
posted by Artw at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2015


Good news, as Millenials take over, gay rights will become the norm. Bad news, we'll all be dead from whooping cough.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


He graduated from medical school, but I'd call the "board-certified" part a stretch.

There's a reason I used "was" there -- Paul was board-certified by the ABO, in 1995. That certification lasts for 10 years. He decided long before his recertification that he didn't like the governance of the ABO (in particular, the fact that the ABO grandfathered in previous members when they started their board certification requirement). He is no longer ABO-certified, but he did pass the boards.

He's an asshole, but he's not a quack asshole.
posted by Etrigan at 5:25 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always call it Pertussis. Whooping Cough sounds like something you contract at the Juggalo Gathering.
posted by dr_dank at 5:27 PM on February 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ruthless Bunny: "My mother proudly kept my Lederle Vaccination records, complete with dates written in fountain pen ink. I also remember vividly having an adverse reaction to most vaccinations. Flu-like symptoms and body aches. My mom told a 4 year-old Bunny, "I'm sorry you don't feel well, but you're protected against terrible diseases and we're so blessed to have this miracle. Here's your afghan. You can watch TV with some ice cream."

Because that's how good Moms roll.
"

Two things here, okay three:

- I had a bad reaction to the mmpr shot when I was a kid and my mom said almost the exact same thing to me. "Sorry you feel bad kid, have some ice cream, Scooby Doo and enjoy that immunity. Hand me my cigarettes."

- My brother was in town last year and we drove Mom to her bank to get some documents out of her safe deposit box, and we got super misty when we saw our little immunization checklists. She kept track of that like she was gonna get a refund if we caught rubella. It was quite touching.

-That is how good Moms roll. Vaccinate your kids.
posted by Sphinx at 5:29 PM on February 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


seriously though I would totally support some sort of national referendum to force Rand Paul to change his name to <POO EMOJI>.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:40 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


and the [HPV] vaccination needs to be given before a girl becomes sexually active. For fuck's sake.

This is incorrect. The HPV vaccine works just as well after you've been sexually active. It is recommended for individuals up to 26 years of age, and newer research might raise that suggestion to 45 years.

The reason to get it at a young age is that the person will be immune whenever they debut sexually, but it's not like losing your virginity makes the HPV vaccine ineffective.
posted by ymgve at 5:46 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Needs to be given before she becomes sexually active in order to be fully effective.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because in the healthcare field we are constantly being told not to press anti-vax parents too hard, for fear of driving them away from ever seeking care for their kids.

Interesting. I'd love to see some concrete numbers on this. My couldn't-go-lower opinion of most of the pro-disease antivax crowd leads me to believe they'd be busting down the ER door the moment their kiddo started to be symptomatic. I also don't buy that they'd eschew other ongoing visits; the major pathology of these clowns seems to be that they are sure they know better and can effectively pick and choose as well as clinical studies and medical professionals.

I'm pondering calling my kid's docs office and asking what their policy is on taking new patients who don't vaccinate. Between that image that was going around last week and the incident of a doctor's office transmission (and measles apparently has a long life outside the body) I'm pondering trying to find a doc that only deals with vaccinated parents. And wondering whether this is a movement worth fomenting - can we push professionals into not dealing with these idiots and making it harder for them to cope with their poor decisions?
posted by phearlez at 5:49 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Needs to be given before she becomes sexually active in order to be fully effective.

True, but it's a common misconception that the vaccine doesn't work after you've had sex, and therefore sexually active people will skip it because they think it does nothing.
posted by ymgve at 5:51 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


He graduated from medical school at Duke, was board-certified, and has been licensed to practice medicine for more than 20 years. Rand Paul is many things, but a fake doctor is not among them.

Mostly true, except he currently isn't certified by the ABO (but once was). He's "certified" by the NBO, which he made up his own. So, technically, he's no longer board-certified.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:52 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should make guns that shoot people with vaccines and then it will become a second amendment right.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:53 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is incorrect. The HPV vaccine works just as well after you've been sexually active.

I think the point is that once you are infected, the vaccine is no longer useful. The earlier you are vaccinated the more likely it will actually do some good.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:54 PM on February 2, 2015


Twitter buzz here in Iowa seems to be that Christie's remarks were aimed at homeschooling parents, who are apparently an important constituency in the Iowa GOP. They're mostly fine with vaccines (except HPV), but parents' rights to make decisions for their children is kind of a dog-whistle for them.

My mom actually does have a 70-something friend who is dealing with post-polio syndrome. I can't really wrap my head around the idea of minimizing polio: that fear just looms so large in the imaginations of people old enough to remember it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2015


I think the point is that once you are infected, the vaccine is no longer useful. The earlier you are vaccinated the more likely it will actually do some good.

That's the misconception - the vaccine protects against multiple strains of HPV, and even someone who has debuted sexually will most likely not be infected with all of the strains. So yes, the vaccine is useful even after sex.
posted by ymgve at 6:01 PM on February 2, 2015 [4 favorites]




> “Do you want to wake up one morning and the light is gone from her eyes with autism or something?”

You know a seldom addressed thing is how offensive this shit is to people on the spectrum. Like, i think i might have a small inkling of what people feel like who are lgbt, and read this kind of stuff where people go "but what if your kid turned out to be TEH GAY and it was ALL THEIR FAULT?".

It's like, yea, don't mind me, i'm just over here 3/5ths of a person-ing along. If your kid ends up like me, just throw him in the dumpster behind a safeway!

To a lot of people this doesn't seem like it's so much that they see autism as a disability worse than these diseases, but that they would be oh so embarrassed among their friends and relatives that their perfect eggs and sperm created a "retarded" kid.

Like, a disease is a disease. But autism is somehow more shameful than getting herpes because you cheated on your wife, and it's on public display!

Even if that isn't really what they mean here, that's how it comes off to someone in that group they're SOOOO afraid of their kid being in.


And yes, this is of course ignoring the fact that autism was never a real threat of vaccines. But it's entirely about how it was a big enough boogieman that these people were soooooo afraid of it and bigoted about it that this seemed like a logical course of action. That is some TOXIC shit. And the more of it i read, and the more mainstream it gets, the more i just want to crawl in to a hole and never talk to anyone about autism again.
posted by emptythought at 6:09 PM on February 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


California measles: baby diagnosed, infants quarantined, day care shut

Congratulations, you dumb selfish motherfuckers.
posted by Artw at 6:12 PM on February 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Regarding the chicken pox vaccine, it seems the UK is concerned with the here and now, whereas the U.S. is playing the long game. For most people, getting chicken pox as a child isn't a huge deal. Fever, itchy spots, a week out of school. Shingles (a reactivated no of the virus on the nerve endings) on the other hand is horrific. I should know, I had it in my 20's. I had a mild case and I needed narcotics for the pain.

For many people no amount of interaction with herpes-ridden tots will keep it at bay. Others simply don't spend time around kids, so they don't get the mini boosters offered by their germs. The US position is to push the shingles vaccine hard as the current population ages and vaccinate every child so they never get the virus in the first place and won't need to worry about shingles as they age.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2015


He's an asshole, but he's not a quack asshole.

Not being a quack asshole about ophthalmology doesn't mean he can't be a quack asshole about other specialities.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:24 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


All the kids are down, rash and fever too (rash and fever too)
Ain't no MMR anywhere in view (anywhere in view)
Better wear a mask if you come to L.A. (if you come to L.A.)
California measles on such a winter's day...
posted by saturday_morning at 6:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not being a quack asshole about ophthalmology doesn't mean he can't be a quack asshole about other specialities.

I was using "quack" to mean "untrained," not "incorrect." T.D. Strange opined that "he's not a real doctor." and made it sound like Paul had made up his credentials out of whole cloth. Paul is inarguably a real doctor, as much as he is wrong about this.
posted by Etrigan at 6:32 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: He's an asshole, but he's not a quack asshole.

Rand Paul isn't a quack? He has belonged to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons since 1990. Which sounds like a perfectly respectable thing, sure. Except it isn't. AAPS puts forward the ideas that climate change is not caused by humans and is actually beneficial, that being a gay male shortens your lifespan by 20 years, that HIV does not cause AIDS, that the FDA is unconstitutional, that there is a conspiracy to replace religion with evolution, and so on.

How is that not quackery?
posted by Justinian at 6:32 PM on February 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


He's an asshole, but he's not a quack asshole.

Taking the position that vaccines should be optional pretty much defines the very being of a quack asshole.
posted by stevis23 at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


My mom is so cute. I just asked her if she still had my vaccination records and she texted me back: Please don' worry about the measles! I had it three times and I survived!

She's 84, so I'm glad we finally cleared that up.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


My kids' Catholic parochial school WILL NOT ADMIT children who have not been fully vaccinated, barring a truck-load of medical exemption proof. Given that vaccination rates in our area are borderline in some of the schools, I am completely OK with this, and it's another tic in the "pro" column for why we pay that tuition every month.

And, as always, the Jenny McCarthy Body Count.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 6:42 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Taking the position that vaccines should be optional pretty much defines the very being of a quack asshole.

I really don't want to turn this into a dictionary fight, so I'll withdraw that line if it means people will stop complaining about it.
posted by Etrigan at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2015


CNN: Dr. Jack Wolfson tells Elizabeth Cohen defends not vaccinating his children and says "I'm not going to put my child at risk to save another child" -
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:48 PM on February 2, 2015


I guess a few of these kids in an iron lung (ventilator) will change someone's mind. Or not.

That interviewee was from the North Bay, right? Then probably the assumption is that some tech company will make a stylish mobile iron lung, all bright colors and plastic.

The iLung- all the cool kids have it!
posted by happyroach at 7:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]




CNN: Dr. Jack Wolfson tells Elizabeth Cohen defends not vaccinating his children and says "I'm not going to put my child at risk to save another child"

Funny, that's almost exactly what my better-off liiberal peers say about why they won't put their kids in public school. Finally, a true bipartisan consensus is emerging around the "fuck you, got mine" platform!

Seriously, and this is really all I have left to say about any of it anymore: What the hell happened to us?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:12 PM on February 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Mississippi – yes, Mississippi – has the nation’s best child vaccination rate.
The nation's strongest 'no exceptions' mandatory vaccination law. I guess that's the benefit of an intolerant monoculture; sometimes you're intolerant of the right things.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Not that I'm not proudly liberal myself, mind you, just that I'm not one of those better-off liberals...)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:19 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's really scary is that anti-vaxer parents are apparently finding MDs who are willing to make fake vaccination records for their kids. So even a "no unvaccinated kids" admissions policy at schools, or laws about mandatory vaccinations, might not be enough in areas with a high enough concentration of nutters.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like a villain movie plot. First, they make them seem like Big Government bullying (conveniently, tying them to Obama will kick-start an automatic resistance), then make them optional, then make them expensive, then tell poor people they're a waste of money anyway, then make them too expensive for poor people at all, while still vaccinating their own kids, then blaming poor people for not having a healthy lifestyle now they can't attend school and stuff because of disease. Protect the public, you know.

Woulda got a away with it too, if it warn't for you crazy... actually, probably will.
posted by ctmf at 7:49 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


en forme de poire: In retrospect, reading what I wrote and what you wrote, I agree with your comment and you are quite correct.

He's still a quack.
posted by mephron at 8:02 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


defines the very being of a quack asshole

Quack asshole about immunology and epidemiology. Yes. Quack asshole about a lot of other things, too.

But he's been trained and had previously qualified at least one reputable exam to be an eye doctor in the United States.

The anti-vaccination pandering of the politicians ought to disqualify them to be public servants on grounds that they have demonstrated that the wellbeing of their constituents is not a concern of theirs.
posted by porpoise at 8:10 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Something's gone off the rails when Ben Fucking Carson is the voice of reason in the GOP.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:27 PM on February 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's like a villain movie plot. First, they make them seem like Big Government bullying....then make them too expensive for poor people at all, while still vaccinating their own kids

We don't need any more loony conspiracy theories going around in addition to the anti-vax ones, thanks.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:59 PM on February 2, 2015


You know what I'd love to see? A press release from Disney announcing that, in order to protect the many critically ill children who visit their parks every year (as part of Make-a-Wish and similar programs), they no longer can admit unvaccinated children into Disneyland or Disney World without proof of medical exemption.

Or maybe everyone could just listen to Captain America.
posted by nonasuch at 9:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


This isn't really difficult. For over 100 years, starting with smallpox around 1900, no child was permitted to attend public school without documentation of vaccination. No religious or other exemptions.

Public schools cover about 90% of children. Of the remaining 10%, perhaps half of private schools support vaccination, which means you get 95% coverage.

Under Obamacare all children's vaccinations are free of charge.
posted by JackFlash at 9:26 PM on February 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


We don't need any more loony conspiracy theories going around in addition to the anti-vax ones, thanks.

That's not really a conspiracy theory, it's more or less the publicly-stated healthcare policy of modern conservatism, just in less flowery language.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:07 AM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I teach vaccination to medical students. While the anti-vax movement is generally full of crap, I do wonder whether we over-vaccinate generally non-communicable diseases which now have very low rates of serious consequences. Tetanus. Very bad disease if you get it. The rate of cases has dropped to 0.06 out of 1,000,000 or about 1 case in 16,000,000 (2008 statistics from the CDCP. Deaths: zero). While I agree in regards to child vaccination, is it worth the effort to have every adult vaccinate every 10 years for this? I don't believe the vaccine is generally unsafe, but 1 in 16 million having a bad reaction? And is the cost/expense of vaccinating tens of millions worth it? The other side of the argument is that the reason tetanus is so low is because of the vaccine. Still, to me, it seems that there is a better balance to be worked out for non-communicable diseases.

From the CDCP website:

Tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person.

Today, tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of 29 reported cases per year from 1996 through 2009. Nearly all cases of tetanus are among people who have never received a tetanus vaccine, or adults who don't stay up to date on their 10-year booster shots.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:06 AM on February 3, 2015


Melanie's Marvelous Measles: a for real children's book being for real sold to for real idiots. The reviews are strong.
posted by prefpara at 6:39 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Isn't that a compelling case for tetanus vaccines though? No deaths, very few cases mostly from the unvaccinated, and while it is not communicable it is a soil bacteria, no? It doesn't have to spread if its effectively everywhere.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:42 AM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Because tetanus is a soil-borne disease and isn't spread from person to person, I feel a lot more comfortable saying that getting an adult tetanus booster is an individual decision, not a moral imperative. For me, though, it's totally worth it to get a tetanus booster every ten years. It's not an expensive or difficult shot, and it gives peace of mind not to have to worry about it every time I have some stupid little accident that results in cuts or scrapes. Plus, it's a whole lot more expensive to get a tetanus shot in the emergency room than a booster in a doctor's office or clinic. But there aren't the same issues with herd immunity or spreading it to people with compromised immune systems, so I'm not going to moralize at people who forgo a tetanus booster, although I do worry that if the CDC stopped recommending them, they wouldn't be covered by programs that make low-cost vaccines available to people who would have trouble paying for them.

My last tetanus booster was given in the same shot as my pertussis booster, and I do consider pertussis vaccinations to be a moral obligation.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:54 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


From a CDCP study:

Overall, self-reported tetanus vaccination (within the preceding 10 years) coverage was similar in 1999 (60.4%) compared with 2008 (61.6%)

(The study looked at adult under 64. Over 64 Tet vaccine is not required.)

So, we are averaging 29 cases and zero deaths per year (cited above) with 60% coverage (we will say the 29 were all adults, probably a small exaggeration). 60% coverage of U.S. adults would be 116 million out of 193 million, or 11 million vaccinations per year (assuming that people who do get the vaccine get it once in ten years). The number of tetanus cases would increase to 73 per year with no coverage 1/0.4 x 29. (since it is non-communicable). So, we have 11 million vaccinations to prevent the additional 44 cases.

If instead we targeted people more likely to get puncture wound injuries, we would be performing a better use of our resources.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:02 AM on February 3, 2015


Note to self: avoid all professional fencers.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:13 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Charles Pierce: The Trials Of Aqua Buddha: Why Is The Press Picking On Rand Paul
Coming after Chris Christie's similar comments over the weekend, it is now incumbent upon us to ask whether the anti-vaccination theories are on their way to becoming one of those conservative conjuring words, like "Keystone XL pipeline" or "school choice." This is especially true since both Christie and Paul have framed their remarks with boilerplate conservative defenses of parental rights and personal freedoms. So is the measles virus the new handgun? Will dozens of sick kids in California join dozens of dead kids in Connecticut as the price we have to pay for our freedoms? Are we going to Teach The Controversy on this one, too. Is this, like The Bell Curve was for Andrew Sullivan and The New Republic, Open For Debate?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:41 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]




Vaccines and free riders
The anti-vaccine crowd is a combination of woo guzzling liberals and conservatives. The biggest difference is that the liberals who are not vaccinating their kids don’t have significant elements of their favorably inclined political representation encouraging them while it looks like anti-vaccination will be yet another litmus test used to determine who today is a True Conservative ™ and who is a squish. Why? I think it might have something to do with how vaccines solve collective action problems and how the right does not like to recognize that these problems exist as a class.

[...]

We have seen that the conservatives in America have two reactions to the concept of collective action problems.  The first is that responsibility is for suckers.  There is an embracing of free riding and running down the collective commons as that is the individually rational thing to do, and St. Rand in her Commentaries preached that only individual interest matters.  Fuck society.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:04 AM on February 3, 2015 [7 favorites]




If instead we targeted people more likely to get puncture wound injuries, we would be performing a better use of our resources.

Nearly a third of tetanus exposures occur while gardening.
posted by KathrynT at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


What's really scary is that anti-vaxer parents are apparently finding MDs who are willing to make fake vaccination records for their kids. I find that terrifying and you better believe if anybody ever gave me a name on that, I'd take that shit right to the state licensing board. Anyone in the same position should do the same.

Day care center closed after baby gets measles = my worst nightmare; surely every other infant in that center will get it, too, since you can't get an MMR until 12 months. Counting down the days until my 5-month old is old enough for his MMR.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:51 AM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Measles Outbreak Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field, NY Times, 2 Feb 2015.

The politics of medicine, morality and free will have collided in an emotional debate over vaccines and the government’s place in requiring them, posing a challenge for Republicans who find themselves in the familiar but uncomfortable position of reconciling modern science with the skepticism of their core conservative voters.

[...] Pew Research Center polls show that in 2009, 71 percent of both Republicans and Democrats favored requiring the vaccination of children. Five years later, Democratic support had grown to 76 percent, but Republican support had fallen to 65 percent
.

I cannot imagine a worse trend than this.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:57 AM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, as an NJ resident, I'm mailing the governor a letter (that includes a picture of my infant son) expressing my strong disappointment in his comments.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:58 AM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not a Kaiser member, but I just had to pick something up for someone and it's like I'm in low-budget* dystopian movie. There are warning signs everywhere about Measles and they are handing out free masks.

The pharmacist said he thinks unvaccinated people should have to wear a big "V" on their chest and he wishes he could ban them from the pharmacy entirely.

*Low budget, because the signs are mostly clip art pictures of polka-dotted people.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:52 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's the misconception - the vaccine protects against multiple strains of HPV, and even someone who has debuted sexually will most likely not be infected with all of the strains. So yes, the vaccine is useful even after sex.

No, it's not a misconception. If you're already infected with a high-risk strain, the vaccine can no longer prevent infection with that strain. It may prevent additional infection, perhaps (this is not well established) but the WHO says:
Overall, no protective effect against CIN 2/3 OR AIS was seen among women who had already been infected with HPV 16 and 18 before vaccination (http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222b-index.htm).
However, even if you have had sex, women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 should still get it if they aren't already infected with HPV 16 or 18.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:54 AM on February 3, 2015


is it worth the effort to have every adult vaccinate every 10 years for this? I don't believe the vaccine is generally unsafe, but 1 in 16 million having a bad reaction? And is the cost/expense of vaccinating tens of millions worth it?

...

Today, tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of 29 reported cases per year from 1996 through 2009. Nearly all cases of tetanus are among people who have never received a tetanus vaccine, or adults who don't stay up to date on their 10-year booster shots.


So what's likely to happen when vaccination rates drop? More cases of tetanus. At what cost?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:56 AM on February 3, 2015


Thom Tillis: Don't Force Employees To Wash Their Hands After Using Toilet.

In Republican land, private business should be able to "opt-out" of any and all laws, because the market.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:05 AM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


what
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Where is the 2016 GOP convention? Because that town is going to need an entire container ship full of Purell.
posted by stevis23 at 10:10 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Cleveland, OH! Get ready!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on February 3, 2015


feckless, I addressed that. Running the numbers if no adults were vaccinated for tetanus, we would have 44 more cases per year (and probably two deaths). The 11 million adult vaccinations per year save us from that at a rate of 1 case per 250,000 vaccinated and one death per five million. However, I'm not advocating no adults get vaccinated. I think those at high risk from puncture wounds, scrapes should. I also believe children should be vaccinated for tetanus. (They are already at high risk for scrapes and puncture wounds, it can be folded into the general vaccination scheme, and it ensures vaccine production.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:12 AM on February 3, 2015


I think those at high risk from puncture wounds, scrapes should.

Like, as mentioned above, people who like to putter around in their gardens? Most people would look at that and go "oh well I'm not at risk" and voila, more tetanus cases.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:19 AM on February 3, 2015


Most people would look at that and go "oh well I'm not at risk"

And if the "risk" they're facing is somewhere below 44 cases (two fatal) per year in a population of 316 million people, they'd be right. There are thousands of risks orders of magnitude greater than that which you take no proactive steps whatsoever to avoid. And you would laugh at someone who suggested that you do.
posted by yoink at 10:24 AM on February 3, 2015


Well, it's becoming clear that the Republicans are adopting an anti-vax stance to attract new nut cases to the party. The latest is Rep. Sean Duffy (R, WI).
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2015




Okay, but if we didn't vaccinate most people for tetanus in advance, could we give them a rabies-like post-exposure vaccine? (That would have its own drawbacks, right, since probably a lot more people get unexpected punctures than get bat exposure.)

I would rather have the vaccine, just so I don't have the surprise-stray-nail-in-the-backyard and have to sit there wondering if I'm going to get lockjaw.

And how does this all play out with children? I can - up to a point - assess my own risk of significant puncture wounds, but what about when kids randomly decide to play down by the railroad tracks and, like, fall out of a tree onto sharp things?
posted by Frowner at 10:27 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


And if the "risk" they're facing is somewhere below 44 cases (two fatal) per year in a population of 316 million people, they'd be right.

Well, what would the risk be if we didn't vaccinate?
posted by maxsparber at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2015


(I take remote risks very seriously, for the record. My doctor knows this only too well.

But on the other hand, I was the one who said "hm, I bet that faint thumping noise means something really bad about the engine" and everyone else said nonsense and we just barely made it home and the engine was basically a brick. And it wasn't even my car.)
posted by Frowner at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Until humans are better at understanding risk, and until the anti-vaxxers disappear, we really need to avoid slippery-sloping vaccines. A dose of tetanus vaccine costs $0.20, per UNICEF. There are bigger costs to worry about.

And if the "risk" they're facing is somewhere below 44 cases (two fatal) per year in a population of 316 million people, they'd be right.

That's a big 'if.'
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 AM on February 3, 2015


Well, what would the risk be if we didn't vaccinate?

That IS the risk "if we didn't vaccinate."
posted by yoink at 10:29 AM on February 3, 2015


That's a big 'if.'

No, it's pretty small. We're currently running an ongoing experiment in which 40% of the adult US population is not vaccinated against tetanus. We have a really, really good idea of what risk that exposes them to.
posted by yoink at 10:30 AM on February 3, 2015


I don't understand. I'm vaccinated against tetanus, and get boosted every few years. It's my understanding that this represents about 60 percent of the population. So it seems to me that the stats you cited represents a 60 percent vaccination rate, not a "we don't vaccinate" rate.
posted by maxsparber at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I will throw another wrinkle into the argument - and it stands against what I said above. Yes, 40% of adults have not vaccinated for tetanus in the past 10 years, but that does not guarantee they don't have immunity from a previous vaccine. (I think my wife had a shot 11 years ago). So maybe rates would go up more. I still stand by the notion that the risk is small compared to others we can target (a strep vaccine mandatory for adults would probably be more effective in reducing deaths). And, most importantly, I only make these arguments because tetanus stands out among vaccines in that the disease is not communicable between patients.
Perhaps the people at number needed to treat could weigh in on this?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:39 AM on February 3, 2015


So it seems to me that the stats you cited represents a 60 percent vaccination rate, not a "we don't vaccinate" rate.

Jeez, this really isn't complex. Currently 60% of the adult population is vaccinated. The current rate of tetanus infection is 29 cases and zero deaths per year. We can extrapolate from that that if nobody was vaccinated the total number of cases of tetanus would increase to 73 per year (i.e., increase by 44) and we would possibly ~2 deaths per year.

That, of course, is a pretty simple calculation but it gets us to a good ballpark figure.
posted by yoink at 10:41 AM on February 3, 2015


There'd be a collective savings of maybe a couple million real dollars a year. There are bigger fish to fry.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2015


Jeez, this really isn't complex.

I'm not sure you're right. I think you're doing some really weird, bad math.

Looking at the DCD's page on tetanus, they largely and very clearly credit the decline in cases of tetanus and the massive decline in morbidity to the vaccine, especially to universal childhood vaccinations. The clusters of tetanus outbreaks seem largely to affect populations that, for whatever reason, weren't vaccinated.

Tetanus killed 272,000 in 1990, and is largely down due to vaccines. I mean, it's not the greatest killer, but it's bad enough that there are compelling reasons to continue using it (especially considering how dangerous neonatal tetanus is.) I don't think this is the sort of thing where you can say, oh, only a handful of people got it, and so if nobody were vaccinated, it would be a handful plus a few more.

Honestly, that seems like the shitty sort of health argument that leads to trouble. Cases have fallen off in the US by 95 percent, and deaths have decreased by 99 percent, yet, based on your math, it seems like it should only have fallen of by a fraction of that.

So, jeez, yeah, it is sort of complex.
posted by maxsparber at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


In this context, isn't tetanus not like the other ones? No one is spreading tetanus or putting the public at risk because they don't get a tetanus vaccine or booster, or if they don't get a shot if they step on a rusty nail.

Okay, but if we didn't vaccinate most people for tetanus in advance, could we give them a rabies-like post-exposure vaccine? (That would have its own drawbacks, right, since probably a lot more people get unexpected punctures than get bat exposure.)

I happen to be up on the tetanus shot because of a dog bite so yes, it's definitely administered post-event. And hey, if someone else wants to risk lock jaw that's fine with me. I'm not going to get it from them because we shared the same air space.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:55 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


We can extrapolate from that that if nobody was vaccinated the total number of cases of tetanus would increase to 73 per year (i.e., increase by 44) and we would possibly ~2 deaths per year.

And this is where bogus keyboard commando pseudo-science get you. The study you cite counts self-reported vaccination within the last 10 years. Most people have multiple vaccinations for tetanus over their life time and some amount of immunity persists longer than 10 years.

Tetanus is not a trivial low-risk disease. World wide, tetanus deaths declined from 270,000 per year in 1990 to 60,000 in 2010 due to tetanus vaccination campaigns. World wide 15% of neo-natal dealths are due to tetanus. A vaccinated mother confers passive immunity to the baby, protecting them in their early months of life.

A reduction of 210,000 annual deaths world wide due to tetanus vaccinations is not trivial. Your calculation of only 44 additional deaths in the U.S. if tetanus vaccination were eliminated is simply a bullshit number.
posted by JackFlash at 10:56 AM on February 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Tetanus killed 272,000 in 1990

Globally. You're talking about the worldwide death rate. I'm talking about the US death rate.

Again, 40% of the adult population in the US is unvaccinated. There is no "herd immunity" effect for tetanus, they aren't freeloading off the vaccinated ones. It's a low-risk disease whichever way you slice it.
posted by yoink at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2015


Thom Tillis: Don't Force Employees To Wash Their Hands After Using Toilet.

So it took a little less than three months for the GOP to go from "OMG Obama is working with ISIL and the cartels to bring Ebola-infested immigrants across the border!" to "Eh, nothing wrong with a little poop on the fingers in the food service industry." What a country!
posted by zombieflanders at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's a low-risk disease whichever way you slice it.

All right. But I'm of the opinion that "I did some crappy back of the envelope math and am now a disease expert" is a high-risk disease.
posted by maxsparber at 10:59 AM on February 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


World wide, tetanus deaths declined from 270,000 per year in 1990 to 60,000 in 2010 due to tetanus vaccination campaigns.

The decline in mortality in the US is only partially due to the vaccination campaigns; it is also partially due to improved treatment. If you're in a third-world country without access to decent medical treatment then vaccination for tetanus is clearly enormously important. If you're a healthy, adult American with reasonable access to healthcare, going unvaccinated for tetanus is not putting you at high risk.
posted by yoink at 11:03 AM on February 3, 2015


All right. But I'm of the opinion that "I did some crappy back of the envelope math and am now a disease expert" is a high-risk disease.

O.K., school me. Show me the advanced super-duper calculus that proves it's really a high risk. You could begin by figuring out the difference between global death rates and US death rates, for example. Once you've got that far, I'm sure the rest will be easy.
posted by yoink at 11:04 AM on February 3, 2015


I asked a buddy of mine if the Marines required proof of vaccinations when he served. He told me:

> yes. Also, they give you all the vaccinations when you get to boot camp and when you leave. Also before you leave for deployment and when you get back. So, I think I am immune to AIDS/HIV, herp, etc..... seriously

So I wonder what would happen if a private company decided to make proof of vaccinations a condition of employment. Would that be illegal discrimination? Or is it more a workplace safety issue, like smoke-free offices?
posted by ben242 at 11:05 AM on February 3, 2015


immune to AIDS/HIV

o_0
posted by saturday_morning at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


O.K., school me.

I think maxsparber was referring to your seemingly-incurable engineer's disease, not tetanus. This whole thing is a derail. T-DAP vaccination is still highly recommended in the US so I'm not sure why you think you're so much smarter and have so much more information than the CDC professionals recommending the vaccine.
posted by dialetheia at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


Tetanus killed 272,000 in 1990

Globally. You're talking about the worldwide death rate. I'm talking about the US death rate.


And the U.S. has about 5% of the world population. If the U.S. were as unvaccinated as the rest of the world the rate of deaths in the U.S. would be around 13,000. Your estimate of 44 deaths is a number conjured from sheer stupidity.
posted by JackFlash at 11:09 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


So I wonder what would happen if a private company decided to make proof of vaccinations a condition of employment. Would that be illegal discrimination? Or is it more a workplace safety issue, like smoke-free offices?

I figure asshats would try to spin it as discrimination. Were I the judge, I'd point them to the signs posted at public swimming pools.

Also, mark my words, the day a reliable HIV vaccine gets rolled out to the public, there's going to be an orgy in the streets of every gaybourhood from New Orleans to Minsk.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:09 AM on February 3, 2015


I'll wade in one last time. From the CDCP website: In 1947, the first year that tetanus became reportable nationally in the United States, the rate of reported cases was 3.9 per 1 million population.
With a population of 144 million at the time, this was 550 cases per year (and a 90% death rate). It has gone down by 97% in cases and to virtually zero in deaths (zero in 2008, the last year mentioned in the analysis, but about a 8% death rate in the several previous years). This is not worth the 11 million vaccinations per year. It is not going to rise back to 550 cases as evidenced by the fact we already have 29 cases per year with 60% vaccination compliance among adults.
That, as you would put it, is my crappy calculation. 13,000 per year when we maxed out at 550 cases in 1947 before vaccinations were available? As for sheer stupidity, I will not respond in kind.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:14 AM on February 3, 2015


This is not worth the 11 million vaccinations per year.

At twenty cents cost per shot, how much money is really being saved? Again: there are much, much bigger fish to fry that don't hand anti-vaxxers slippery slope arguments.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:16 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Again, 40% of the adult population in the US is unvaccinated.

And this is where the stupidity begins. The study most certainly did not say that 40% of the adult population was unvaccinated. Close to 100% of the population has been vaccinated for tetanus at some point in their lives. They counted self-reporting of vaccination in the last 10 years. Immunity doesn't magically disappear on the tenth anniversary. People do not accurately remember their medical records from 10 years ago.
posted by JackFlash at 11:25 AM on February 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


13,000 per year when we maxed out at 550 cases in 1947 before vaccinations were available?

Vaccines for tetanus were available prior to 1947, they just weren't widely distributed to children. According to the CDC, versions of the vaccine existed in the 1920s and soldiers were vaccinated during the Second World War, causing a steep decline in tetanus cases:
Tetanus cases among this population declined from 70 in World War I (13.4/100,000 wounds and injuries) to 12 in World War II (0.44/100,000).
(Not to weigh in on what the national rate would be in the absence of vaccinations, just noting that 1940s statistics are themselves of a partly vaccinated population)
posted by cjelli at 11:34 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


we already have 29 cases per year with 60% vaccination compliance among adults.

Here we go again. The 60% vaccination rate is counting only people self-reporting that they had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years. That does not mean they were never vaccinated for tetanus. Almost everyone has had at least one tetanus vaccination in their lifetime and many have multiple doses.
posted by JackFlash at 11:39 AM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's okay to weigh in with that once and let people read it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2015


Okay, if you want to cite CDC statistics, try this chart going back to 1900 before widespread vaccination for tetanus.

It shows a death rate in the U.S. of about 3 per 100,000 in 1900 before vaccination for tetanus. This would correspond to 9500 tetanus deaths annually in the U.S. today. This is more than two orders of magnitude larger than your ludicrous estimate of 44.

Widespread tetanus vaccination began during World War 1 and the death rate has declined steadily since.

What is it about the reflexive knee-jerk contrarians that makes them think they are oh-so much smarter than the scientists that do this stuff for a living? It's as bad as the climate change deniers.
posted by JackFlash at 11:52 AM on February 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


A lot of other things have changed since 1900, though, such as that a much lower percentage of the population is engaged in agriculture. There could definitely be other things affecting the rate of tetanus.

I don't know: I'm willing to entertain the possibility that the adult tetanus booster is overkill, although I suspect that dances_with_sneetches is overlooking some possible pro-mass-vaccination factors. (For instance, does it make sense to ask doctors to take time out of appointments to screen people for being at high risk for tetanus, given all the other things they have to discuss in a short amount of time? Are there savings in terms of people who don't go to the emergency room unnecessarily because they're already vaccinated for tetanus?) However, I don't really think most of the issues with tetanus really hold true for the other diseases for which the US routinely vaccinates, so I'm not sure it makes sense for a discussion of tetanus to dominate this conversation.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:19 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


JackFlash - I am a scientist. I teach this subject (as you may have noted from my reading my post that said as much). That will probably give you more horror. It is a lot more complex than your insulting responses suggest. Clostridium tetani is an anaerobic organism. The rates for infection are much higher in areas with exposure to agricultural feces (or really bad waste sanitation) which does not describe most of 21st century American experience. (This, along with hygiene are also major reasons tetanus went down in America.) Tetanus is not a great threat, and my proposal to shift emphasis of vaccination each ten years in adults to those adults at higher risk, I believe is modest.
The 3 per 100,000 in 1900 did not drop to 4 per 1,000,000 in 1947 solely or mostly because of vaccine. Vaccination was mostly limited to soldiers up through World War II, and the 87% drop (30 per one million versus 4 per one million) if it was mostly due to vaccine would require a corresponding vaccination rate about 50%. That didn't happen that early (BTW, soldiers are a group I would definitely argue as high risk and should be vaccinated.)
Furthermore, tetanus had a 90% kill rate in 1947. In 2008, it was 0 for 29 cases. It is not the boogeyman it was in 1900.
I am not being a contrarian here. I do believe we have a misemphasis sometimes in regards to where we direct our health resources.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:21 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not being a contrarian here.

It does seem increasingly off-topic, though.
posted by maxsparber at 12:33 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]




I think my head just exploded. How dare the organization responsible for looking after children require that foster parents follow established medical knowledge?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:54 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thom Tillis: Don't Force Employees To Wash Their Hands After Using Toilet.

A+ job to whatever sly boots chose the accompanying picture!
posted by en forme de poire at 12:55 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shaking hands with Thom Tillis might be another reason to take a tetanus shot.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, the GOP can't just be stupid, they gotta be stupid and racist:
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was asked by the host whether he saw any correlation between immigration and the measles outbreak that has erupted in the United States...

Said Brooks: "It might be the introvirus that has a heavy presence in Central and South America that has caused deaths of American children over the past 6 to 9 months. It might be this measles outbreak. There are any number of things."

Lest one thinks Brooks is heartless on the subject of immigration, he implores listeners that "You have to have sympathy for the plight of the illegal aliens" who "have not been blessed with the kind of health care, the kind of immunizations that we demand of our children in the United States."
Brooks' sympathy is misplaced. The countries from which most unauthorized immigrants come — Mexico and Central America — have childhood immunization programs. Mexico, in fact, has a 99 percent vaccination rate — which handily beats the US' 92 percent. Even assuming that unauthorized immigrants are disproportionately likely to be poor in their home countries and therefore less likely to be vaccinated, the odds are pretty good that immigrants from Mexico (or the "northern triangle" of Central America, where the vaccination rate is 93 percent) have gotten their shots.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:26 PM on February 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


Seriously, and this is really all I have left to say about any of it anymore: What the hell happened to us?

Reagan. Reagan and the 80's is what happened to us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:31 PM on February 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


"Ebola Nurse" Kaci Hickox quarantined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slams him on All In with Chris Hayes
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:33 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reagan. Reagan and the 80's is what happened to us.

Some people might even trace it back to Richard "Not a Crook" Nixon.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:35 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some people might even trace it back to Richard "Not a Crook" Nixon.

And now I'm thinking of Hunter S. Thompson:
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on February 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


This 2010 Salon article ought to clear up any uncertainties regarding Rand Paul's "board certification":
"According to an amusing story in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Republican Senate candidate bills himself as a “board-certified” physician even though he is not actually certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology — the only recognized body that certifies doctors in his specialty.

Paul’s only certification was provided instead by something called the National Board of Ophthalmology, which is very convenient because he operates that organization himself. As the Courier-Journal explains drily, the American Board of Ophthalmology, which maintains a fully staffed headquarters in Philadelphia, has existed for roughly a century and currently lists about 16,000 doctors on its rolls. (Most hospitals and insurance companies strongly prefer doctors who are board-certified because certification indicates that they have kept up with changes in technology, best practices and so on.) The National Board of Ophthalmology has existed since 1999, when Paul “founded” it, lists no more than seven doctors, and its address is a post-office box in Bowling Green, Ky. He had claimed to be certified by both boards, but Courier-Journal reporter Joseph Gerth quickly discovered that claim was false.

When Gerth tried to ask Paul why he claims to be board-certified when he isn’t and why he set up the National Board of Ophthalmology, the candidate stonewalled:

“I’m not going to go through all that right now,” Paul said while at the Great Eastern National Gun Day Show and JAG Military Show, in Louisville. Asked when he would talk, Paul said: “Uh, you know, never … What does this have to do with our election?”"
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:21 PM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see this posted above: Growing up unvaccinated.
I'm old enough to not have had the MMR shots, and I really don't get why any caring parents would want their kids and themselves to go through those illnesses and the worry.
Measles, chickenpox, mumps, they are all some of my clearest memories from childhood, and not for the good. Mostly I remember the pain, but also a holiday that ended abruptly, and worried parents and doctors talking over ones head.
One of my kids gets fever cramps and hallucinations every time she has a fever. Going through those diseases would have been severely traumatic.
posted by mumimor at 2:21 PM on February 3, 2015


My theory about what's wrong: Short answer, lack of public mindedness and selfishness aggravated by the rapid collapse of our common mainstream culture with the increasing fragmentation of national media markets.

Slightly longer version: The concerted efforts of conservative think-tanks to marginalize, confuse, and otherwise denude of practical meaning many of the fundamental concepts of modern civilization--like public interest, public good, public space, commonwealth, etc.--also share in the blame. Also it can't possibly help that we have a popular media culture awash in commercial messages whose implicit subtext is that we should never have to compromise on even our most casual whims and desires (the kinds of messages that encourage people to open their wallets without much forethought if the mood strikes and to be very particular in their own tastes so niche marketers can exploit that extra fussiness to sell more versions of the same product to a single household). We're all conditioned to resist the explicit content of commercial messages--i.e., we don't immediately go buy whatever we're told to go buy. But the implicit cultural values behind all the ads we see often slip by us and get integrated into our understanding of the world without much reflection, because our guard isn't always up against them. But ultimately, it's probably not any one single factor or complex of related factors, but a convergence of all kinds of unhelpful cultural and economic trends that seem relatively harmless when viewed only in isolation, but that make a monster when you put them all together. But we don't do putting the "big picture" together very well anymore, so that's a hard sell.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have always been curious about the question that I am about to ask...

(I am pro vax btw)

Is the rate of autism known in children whose parents did not vax?
posted by futz at 4:31 PM on February 3, 2015


This 2010 Salon article ought to clear up any uncertainties regarding Rand Paul's "board certification":

Unsurprisingly, Salon spins it as hard as they can without actually coming out and lying. As noted above, Rand Paul was certified by the ABO, in 1995. He was not re-certified when that certification expired in 2005, because he had already resigned from the ABO in protest of its 1997 decision to not require re-certification for members who had been certified before 1992.
posted by Etrigan at 5:31 PM on February 3, 2015


futz: yes, the rates of autism are essentially the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated children when other factors are controlled.
posted by Justinian at 5:32 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


He was not re-certified when that certification expired in 2005

Meaning that he is no longer certified and hasn't been for nearly a decade, and therefore is probably not up to date. In any case, he is someone for whom ideology trumps fact, so anything he does professionally should be viewed skeptically. This seems like a pretty strange hill to die on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:44 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


As noted above, Rand Paul was certified by the ABO, in 1995. He was not re-certified when that certification expired in 2005, because he had already resigned from the ABO in protest of its 1997 decision to not require re-certification for members who had been certified before 1992.

If I have a driver's license, but I don't renew it when it expires because I'm mad at the DMV for not providing a makeup artist at their photo booth, and instead choose to give myself my own driver's certification from the Department of Automated Vehicles which I just made up and which consists of me, my husband, and my 8 year old; and if I then present that driver's certification to the police officer who asks for my license and registration; will he regard me as being on the up and up or am I likely to find myself in need of a lawyer and a public relations manager?
posted by KathrynT at 7:53 PM on February 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


So if I understand the story correctly Rand Paul quit the ABO over their grandfathering in existing members when it was introducing testing. My reading is that Paul had a valid complaint but his actions suggest a character that seems undesirable in a senator. Rather than patiently fighting within an existing system he declares a revolution and sets up an alternative board. He doesn't work with his colleagues to build an organization and he doesn't follow through with the work necessary to get his new board recognized by anyone but himself.
posted by rdr at 8:01 PM on February 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


And family members!
posted by Artw at 10:30 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


He also halfassed the board and ran it more like a marketing scheme than a certifying body.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 PM on February 3, 2015


Guys are you saying the international spy license I got from the International Cosmic Spy Agency, which was formed one night when me and my friends did like 50 bong hits and concluded this organization needed to exist, isn't actually valid? If so, I have some flights to cancel, so I'd appreciate some clarification here.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:05 AM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


He also halfassed the board and ran it more like a marketing scheme than a certifying body.

To be fair, that's also how he runs his Senate office.

Rand Paul is in the Paul family business of building out the Paul Family Grifting Empire, including running for President as the main grift.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Right, just because your drivers license expires it doesn't mean you no longer know how to drive. Rand Paul got a medical degree from a respected university. They probably taught him that vaccines were good. That's why I mentioned he was a doctor.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:59 AM on February 4, 2015




Right, just because your drivers license expires it doesn't mean you no longer know how to drive.

Bad analogy, actually. Medical practice changes much more quickly than automobile technology and more extremely, and those who don't keep up will become less and less effective over time. Re-certification is to ensure that MDs keep up with the changing literature and practice standards.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:10 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Tetanus is not a communicable infectious disease, and so herd immunity is not an issue. It's really not relevant to the discussion of childhood vaccines in general.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:12 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




Tetanus is not a communicable infectious disease, and so herd immunity is not an issue. It's really not relevant to the discussion of childhood vaccines in general.

Endangering the welfare of a child is not relevant?
posted by JackFlash at 12:26 PM on February 4, 2015


Jack, I understand Mental Wimp's point.

Yeah, if you fail to vaccinate your kid against tetanus, and then your kid gets tetanus from stepping on a rusty nail that's bad for your kid. But if you fail to vaccinate your kid against measles, and then your kid gets measles, that's bad for your kid - but it is also bad for MY kid, who is only three months old and hasn't been vaccinated yet; and for my mom who has cancer; and for the woman who just moved here from Bolivia, or whatever other country you like where they don't vaccinate; and, and, and....

I think Mental Wimp is focusing on the herd-immunity angle, and tetanus is not an infectious disease so herd immunity doesn't guard against tetanus. In terms of protecting the individual, yeah, it's important, but in terms of protecting the commons, it's not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


P.S. - I pulled "Bolivia" out of my ass; I mean no ill will to the vaccination status of Bolivians, nor do I claim any knowledge of what the policy in that country may be. Substitute "Picklesnorkavia" if you like.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:32 PM on February 4, 2015


So you are agreeing with the statement that "It's not relevant to the discussion of childhood vaccines in general."

So in general we shouldn't discuss childhood tetanus vaccinations because your child is not at risk? That is certainly the libertarian point of view. Why would you limit discussion of child welfare only to herd immunity?
posted by JackFlash at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2015


So you are agreeing with the statement that "It's not relevant to the discussion of childhood vaccines in general."

.....Nnnnno, I am saying that Mental Wimp is saying that "it's not relevant to the discussion of infectious childhood diseases specifically."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:40 PM on February 4, 2015


Why would you limit discussion of child welfare only to herd immunity?

You'll have to ask Mental Wimp, but I suspect it may be because that is the one facet of the multi-faceted issue which Mental Wimp has chosen to focus on just for right now in this one discussion.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:41 PM on February 4, 2015


You'll have to ask Mental Wimp.

And this is exactly what I did in response to his assertion. I have no idea why you felt the need to jump in. I understood Mental Wimp's radical libertarian point of view perfectly -- if your own child is not at risk, the issue is irrelevant.
posted by JackFlash at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2015


I have no idea why you felt the need to jump in. I understood Mental Wimp's radical libertarian point of view perfectly -- if your own child is not at risk, the issue is irrelevant.

I was trying to help because I saw a non-libertarian explanation for what Mental Wimp was saying, but if you've already made up your mind about what Mental Wimp is saying then I'll leave you to it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2015


Well, Mental Wimp will have to speak for themselves. But I would be interested in your position on the irrelevance of tetanus in a discussion about opposition to childhood immunization. Tetanus vaccinations are one of those that anti-vax parents oppose. How could it be irrelevant to the discussion?

Herd immunity is not the reason for childhood immunization. The reason for immunization is because it saves children's lives -- period.

Therein lies the danger of focusing exclusively on the herd immunity argument because is allows someone to say that tetanus has nothing to do with herd immunity therefore the government has no business mandating it. Herd immunity may be a useful political argument for overcoming some of the objections of the libertarians and "freedomists", but it is a mistake to make it the primary reason for childhood immunization. We immunize because it saves lives.

Child car seats have nothing to do with herd immunity yet the government mandates their use because it saves lives. The same is true for tetanus vaccinations.

What I object to is the argument that if herd immunity is not involved then a disease is irrelevant to a discussion of childhood vaccination. It is a false premise.
posted by JackFlash at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2015


Okay, and nobody but Mental Wimp has disagreed with you.

That said, even as a rabid pro-vaxer, I do think there's some distinction between compelling an action that helps prevent a chain reaction versus one that is entirely within the family. I think it merits some consideration from a public policy perspective.

Now personally? If I am Grand High Emperor? You're all getting your fucking shot. You're also getting blood transfusions for your child when it's medically indicated and you will just have to console yourself with believing that Christian Scientist Jesus or Amish Jesus will have stern words for me in the afterlife.

But as a society we allow some of these exemptions for religious reasons, even if I might think it amounts to child abuse. I don't think car seats are a good comparison; nobody comes around and makes you buckle that shit in. You'll just get a ticket. Here in Virginia the law is A $50 civil penalty fine [emphasis mine] is imposed for failure to have a child in a child restraint device. Any person found guilty a second or subsequent time, on different dates, will be fined up to $500. An additional $20 civil penalty fine is assessed when persons transporting a child exempted from this law due to medical reasons do not carry a written statement of the exemption.

So if you want to never use a car seat and have deep enough pockets you can just keep writing the checks. It's not even a criminal offense. Child Protective Services' mandate is general enough that I bet you'd eventually get a visit from them, but perhaps not.

I think people who don't put their kids in proper restraints are awful, as are any who wouldn't immunize for tetanus. But I do not get as exercised about it as I do communicable diseases. Not because I don't care about those kids, but because the cascading impact of their actions is potentially so much worse. I don't think recognizing that difference in impact is wrong because both cases risk lives. We regularly draw distinctions in offenses based on how many lives are put at risk.
posted by phearlez at 2:14 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


So in general we shouldn't discuss childhood tetanus vaccinations because your child is not at risk? That is certainly the libertarian point of view. Why would you limit discussion of child welfare only to herd immunity?
Well, dances_with_sneetches was the person who originally brought up tetanus, and they specifically said that they supported tetanus vaccination for children but not boosters for adults, unless they were at higher risk for contracting tetanus. And I'm a lot more comfortable saying that adults should make their own decisions than saying that about kids.

I think the tetanus thing is a bit of a derail, though, because tetanus isn't really the issue at hand here.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:20 PM on February 4, 2015


Tetanus is not communicable and isn't really the issue, but right now, adults who get their tetanus booster are also getting a pertussis booster, which is absolutely a big deal because pertussis is a disease that makes kids and adults miserable and that kills babies who are too young to be vaccinated. And even non-Tdap boosters include diphtheria with the tetanus, which, again, is a communicable disease that is especially fatal in very young children. So, by discouraging adults from getting "tetanus shots" in the US, at least, you would also discourage them from getting these important boosters that are included in what are commonly called "tetanus shots".
posted by hydropsyche at 3:01 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


But I would be interested in your position on the irrelevance of tetanus in a discussion about opposition to childhood immunization. Tetanus vaccinations are one of those that anti-vax parents oppose. How could it be irrelevant to the discussion?

Well, you're perfectly free to continue discussing it and I wouldn't dream of trying to stop you. For the current discussion about communicable disease vaccinations (e.g., measles) the herd immunity angle is central. If you choose not vaccinate you or your kids against a non-communicable infectious disease, that's your and your kids' problem. I wouldn't advise it and I feel bad for your ignorance, but I think it is a qualitatively different social problem than not vaccinating against something like measles, which is what brought this brouhaha up in the first place. For flu, measles, mumps, etc., herd immunity is key to keeping us all safe and that means we're all in it together. When politicians start implying that it's voluntary, that signals a problem for all of us, not just those who choose not to vaccinate. Now the problem of tetanus prophylaxis (or for any other non-communicable infectious disease) is an interesting one, but not quite at the same level. Specifically, it involves an individual cost-benefit trade-off, i.e., it's no different than any other choice not to partake of a beneficial medical procedure. That's all I was trying to say.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:11 PM on February 4, 2015


Precisely, hydropsyche. The incremental cost of adding tetanus to the formulation of an injection you should be getting anyway for diphtheria and pertussis is so trivial, you have to ask "Why wouldn't you?" It costs almost nothing and it might save your life. Nobody gets just a "tetanus" shot. It is always either Tdap or Td for adults.
posted by JackFlash at 3:15 PM on February 4, 2015


Star Wars immunization PSAs, starring R2-D2 and C-3PO. From the 70s.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:16 PM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Something's gone off the rails when Ben Fucking Carson is the voice of reason in the GOP

Marco Rubio, yes, really, THAT Marco Rubio:
There is absolutely no medical science or data whatsoever that links those vaccinations to onset of autism or anything of that nature. And by the way, if enough people are not vaccinated, you put at risk infants that are three months of age or younger and have not been vaccinated and you put at risk immune-suppressed children that are not able to get those vaccinations. So absolutely, all children in American should be vaccinated.
posted by Evilspork at 6:39 PM on February 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm usually happy with anything that gets right-wingers fighting among themselves, but this shit is way not okay. Anti-vax nonsense is too serious and too awful even to cheer for it tearing apart a political side I don't like.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here in my city, a Queen's University professor is being accused of promoting anti-vaxx views. My husband, an employee of the university, was telling me how much of a shitstorm this is for the arts and science department. It is, as you can imagine, a hot topic on local social media and now national news. They've linked her course description that she teaches in her Health 102 class via social media. (pdf)
posted by Kitteh at 5:34 AM on February 5, 2015


Yeah, that's even beyond simple "anti-vax" into dangerous scam territory. The idea of "toxic load" caused by processed food or synthetic drugs or vaccines is pretty inextricably linked to detoxification products that are a waste of money at best, and actively dangerous at worst.
posted by muddgirl at 7:16 AM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm hearing about some of the stuff she gives students as "assignments." The woo is high. Like, crazypants high.

A 100K+ salary for teaching this course? I'm in the wrong line of work.
posted by Kitteh at 7:22 AM on February 5, 2015


She's an adjunct instructor and a track coach, so if she is making a full professor's salary I doubt it's for her work in the classroom.
posted by muddgirl at 7:32 AM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nobody gets just a "tetanus" shot. It is always either Tdap or Td for adults.
Except in some emergency cases. After the patient has stabilized, it is recommended you get the regular tetanus shot.

Only happen to know this because some anti-vaxx folks insist on making sure you get the TIG or TT version if you have to at the emergency room; that if the trip to the emergency room is required and they are actually worried about tetanus those are the only ones that will actually work on any current potential infection. To be offered the other is an painted as an excuse, in their phraseology, to stick you with Tdap, DtaP or Td and is useless, as the more strident insist, for any current potential infection.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:46 AM on February 5, 2015


I went to the vaccination forums at mothering.com to see how they were reacting to the recent news on measles. As usual I left with a feeling of existential despair. I don't understand how people can believe that you can convince these people to change their minds. Any evidence you show them is simply taken as proof you have been deluded.

The anti-vaxxers are out there. They can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until we are dead.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on February 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


As all the ant-vaxxers I know are left-leaning, crunchy types, I'm hoping that finding out they're on the same side as Rand Paul will be the ultimate wake-up call.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:52 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The anti-vaxxers are out there. They can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with.

Yeah, some while back I gave up. It's like trying to have a debate with a racist. It's not worth your time.
Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be tying to argue with the dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.
I am probably wrong, but I figure if you can't educate, you might be able to shame.

I mean, how can you debate with people like this: Melanie's Marvelous Measles. No amount of science with convince that woman kids should be vaccinated. Tell her that her kids can't go to school (probably not something she wanted anyway), can't receive public benefits, can't go to many pediatricians, and give her a baby coffin. Probably still won't work, but I think it's a more effective message for the willfully ignorant than yet another medical study that's been debunked by a politician or celebrity.

Seriously, when Sean Hannity is saying he doesn't trust vaccines because Obama is for them, tells you what you are up against.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:57 AM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Apologies for starting the tetanus derail. I had a point to make, but then I got caught up in too much back and forth. It directs away from the childhood vaccination debate.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:15 AM on February 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, how can you debate with people like this: Melanie's Marvelous Measles. No amount of science with convince that woman kids should be vaccinated. Tell her that her kids can't go to school (probably not something she wanted anyway), can't receive public benefits, can't go to many pediatricians, and give her a baby coffin.

Part of the tragedy of that book is summarized here. It's the coffin (and an "authoritative" conspiracy theorist in her family) that probably sent the author down that road.
posted by maudlin at 7:24 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


A link to a particularly horrifying anti-vax children's book was making the rounds yesterday. The disclaimer on the Amazon page is... something:

"Please note that the following description is provided by the publisher/author of this title and presents the subjective opinions of the publisher/author, which may not be substantiated. The description does not express the views of Amazon."
posted by sparkletone at 7:36 AM on February 6, 2015


I admit I'm waiting for the inevitable collision of dominionist and antivaxxers who claim that vaccination is an offense against God, because vaccines aren't in the Bible. That'll be another horrific force in our political system.

Unfortunately, the problem there is that inevitably, it is the little children that suffer.
posted by mephron at 9:09 AM on February 6, 2015


Santa Monica Daily Press: SACRAMENTO — Rookie State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) is co-sponsoring a bill to repeal an exemption that currently lets parents opt their kids out of getting vaccinations for schools. Earlier this week, a baby, too young to receive the measles vaccine, attending a Santa Monica preschool, was diagnosed with the disease. As a result, 14 other babies at the preschool will remain under quarantine for three weeks. Earlier this month, a Santa Monica High School baseball coach was diagnosed with measles.

I just want to say that I've been specifically warned by my doctor to avoid the unvaccinated and vulnerable people for the near future but I'm surrounded by these kids. Yesterday I got on a Santa Monica public bus with ~25 little kids on it. The kids from SaMo walk the few blocks into my neighborhood to hang out after school. I've never even had chicken pox. I try not to use the word "hate" too often or too literally, but I hate these parents.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


> The disclaimer on the Amazon page is... something

Does any other book on Amazon have that? Mein Kampf doesn't; I didn't really feel like slogging through the sewage to find other possible titles.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:45 AM on February 6, 2015


Google says no, at least not that exact phrase.
posted by rdr at 12:54 PM on February 6, 2015




The anti-vax argument is good timing for Chris Christie: NJ Gov. Chris Christie could face federal investigation over prosecutor’s firing. "Anti-vax as distraction" actually makes more sense than anything because, to his credit, I do not believe for one second that Chris Christie is concerned about vaccines or the issues surrounding them.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2015




I was just about to post:
Why would Amazon feel the need to make a disclaimer about the description of Mein Kampf? I've skimmed a few descriptions and I don't see any opinions expressed in the descriptions that a bookseller would feel the need to object to...
But then I found an edition apparently translated and published by White Nationalists, who describe in the description how Mein Kampf supports their ideologies, so...
posted by muddgirl at 2:04 PM on February 6, 2015


Mein Kampf was the first book that came to mind when I thought of "books that are controversial," but I'm sure there are better / worse ones out there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:19 PM on February 6, 2015


Here is some more info on the book and Amazon. Don't worry, the reviewers have it under control.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:37 PM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]






All those photos of screaming babies and sharpsharpsharp needles in media coverage really helps, too, I guess.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Star has put together a shoddy scare piece on Gardasil. When rightfully criticized, they didn't send out the original journalists, the senior editors or a science writer to defend it. All we've gotten is this bilge from Heather Mallick, who has been blocking doctors and other critics on Twitter. Ben Goldacre, no Big Pharma shill, responds.
posted by maudlin at 10:06 AM on February 9, 2015




Vaccine Debate Shows That Freedom is Good Governance
In saying parents should have the right to choose whether their kids are vaccinated for measles and other preventable illnesses, as Christie did, and in saying state-mandated immunizations have been categorically linked to mental illness, as Paul did, the (unofficial) presidential hopefuls were merely following the GOP playbook. They were teaching the controversy.

Teaching the what? It’s easy. They were taking something politically neutral, like vaccinations to stop communicable diseases, and fabricating another side. Then they took the “side” of the “debate” that most reflects the values of voters they are courting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:46 AM on February 10, 2015


Then they took the “side” of the “debate” that most reflects the values of voters they are courting.

It has been evident to me for a long time that the Republican party's strategy has been to string together a bunch of marginalized factions whose resentment toward mainstream society will blind them to the incoherence of the Republican party's policy positions and focus laser-like on the one plank that addresses their particular mania. They do it with climate denial, with racism, with misogyny, with homophobia, with slut-haters, with Christian fundamentalism, with libertarianism, with gun stroking, with xenophobia, and now with anti-vaxxers. They are not too proud to attract any of these angry, misinformed, miseducated groups as long as it gives them the power they crave to make us over into a wealth-friendly society (i.e., toward our financial overlords).
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]




Vox also has a piece on the Star/Gardasil omnishambles. Check out the response made to the Vox journalist:
Over the weekend and again on Monday morning, I wrote to the Toronto Star about my concerns. The editor-in-chief Michael Cooke replied first. He dismissed my concerns, and pointed to a "very pro-Gardasil story" I wrote for Vox recently. He then said that my "time might be better spent doing your own Vox-paid-for research into Gardasil-good-and-questionable rather than idly picking into other reporters' work" and that I should "stop gargling our bathwater and take the energy to run yourself your own, fresh tub." He's a charmer.
posted by maudlin at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It has been evident to me for a long time that the Republican party's strategy has been to string together a bunch of marginalized factions whose resentment toward mainstream society will blind them to the incoherence of the Republican party's policy positions and focus laser-like on the one plank that addresses their particular mania.

I used to refer to the Green Party as a dysfunctional coalition of single-issue grad students; the modern GOP is its mirror universe version (except it's the Greens with the facial hair).
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Heh. "Rural doctor" Jen Gunter has a new post up at Canadaland about The Toronto Star's reckless and oafish reporting and opinion pieces on Gardasil.
The Star's article may have contained a few statements on vaccine safety to push back against its poor reporting.

But to have an expert who never directly supports your claims? To focus on anecdotes that offer no credible support for your misleading headline? To never discuss the large body of literature that supports the safety of the HPV vaccine? To ignore the success of Australian's vaccination program? And to misuse the VAERS data?

Well, the Toronto Star seems pretty close to the newspaper equivalent of the Oprah episode where Jenny McCarthy was given an hour to flaunt her theories on vaccine induced injury and autism and the CDC was given a statement read by a dispassionate host.

The Star's article could do considerable damage. I don’t believe anyone who read it who is contemplating an HPV vaccine for themselves or their child is going to remember the short statements about vaccine safety: no, they will remember the photograph of the anguished mother or the girl with the nasogastric tube. I know I do.
posted by maudlin at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Catherine Thompon: How Vaccine Skeptics Game The System With 'Religious Exemptions'
John Grabenstein, a retired Army colonel and former director of the Military Vaccine Agency who now works for Merck Vaccines, did an extensive analysis of religion and vaccines for a 2012 study published in the journal Vaccine.

Grabenstein told TPM in a recent phone interview that based on his research, it’s clear that parents who requested religious exemptions to vaccinating their children were pursuing a waiver out of some safety concern, not because their faith prevented them from vaccinating their kids.

“When you boiled it down to what’s your objection, it was a safety concern in a cluster of people who have the same religion,” he said. “It was not a matter of theology."

Virtually no major religion has stated opposition to vaccination. Grabenstein said that the Quran, the Bible and the Torah are consistent in saying it’s important to preserve life, and by extension vaccinate.

Christian Scientists, who avoid doctors at all costs in favor of healing through prayer, are an exception.

Grabenstein argued that two other anecdotal examples of religious opposition to vaccination, the Amish community and Catholics, don’t hold up to scrutiny.

"There's nothing in the Amish faith that says don’t get vaccinated," Grabenstein said, attributing Amish enclaves’ avoidance of vaccines to their reclusive behavior. “When the county health department people go talk to the Amish elders, they very frequently will get the kids vaccinated.”

Catholics do take issue with certain vaccines, including the rubella vaccine in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shot, that are made from viruses grown in cell lines that descended from two voluntarily aborted fetuses in the 1960s.

But the Catholic Church does not compel parents to avoid those vaccines.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:38 AM on February 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have mixed feelings regarding religious exemption. On the one hand, I think it serves as a convenient cover for safety-based objections and school boards are not the equivalent of draft boards. On the other hand, I don't know that the draft-board level of scrutiny was all that successful at protecting religious rights either.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:07 AM on February 11, 2015


> I have mixed feelings regarding religious exemption

I don't! Get rid of it; there's no reason for it to be separate from "personal exemption." And then get rid of that, too.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:38 AM on February 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Philosophically I agree. From a logistics standpoint I am uninterested in a decade-long court fight about "congress shall make no law abridging" which just means stayed implementation. Exemptions that require some serious legwork & plausibility are better than ideological purity that doesn't do anything.
posted by phearlez at 8:55 AM on February 11, 2015


Religion does have first-amendment protections, but it looks like most of the parents insisting on religious exemptions come from religions that don't object, and are taking advantage of an easy loophole. The number of religious exemptions should be on the order of the number of medical exemptions, so I'm not convinced that getting rid of them entirely is necessary.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2015


Particularly because I can't find any religions that have a bona fide doctrinal objection to vaccines. Even the Christian Scientists don't have one; they say to get vaccinated to keep the Man off your back and then pray away any bad effects. I can find reports of the Dutch Reform church forbidding it, but not any statements from actual church doctrine itself. The Catholics object to the fetal cell lines used for a couple of the shots and urge people to pursue alternatives whenever possible, but also say that the health and public safety concerns outweigh the sin of complicity in the original abortion if those alternatives aren't possible. I haven't even been able to dig up any specific weird little splinter churches that hold this belief.
posted by KathrynT at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Religion does have first-amendment protections

It certainly protects us from legally mandated religious activities, but nowhere can I discern in the Constitution a right to practice my religion in a way contrary to law. It certainly guarantees that I can believe any way I want and if legislators want to build such exemptions into laws, that's their prerogative, but I can't see that the Constitution guarantees anyone's religious activities will not be illegal.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


KathrynT: I haven't even been able to dig up any specific weird little splinter churches that hold this belief.

If that's the case, trash it and let the handful of exceptions duke it out in the courts.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:33 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court has said that it's ok to make laws that force people to violate their religions, as long as the intent of the law wasn't discriminatory. I don't think the Supreme Court made the right call on that, and providing religious exemptions might still be a good and just thing to do, but as currently interpreted by the Supreme Court, the Constitution doesn't require them. At least, that's my understanding.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2015


I can't see that the Constitution guarantees anyone's religious activities will not be illegal.

It doesn't, and in 1990 they ruled against Native Americans claiming some right to peyote. However the Congress passed the Religious Freedom Protection Act subsequently - it played a role in the Hobby Lobby case - and it's more expansive.
The RFRA law states that government may "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is "the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest."
However the RFPA was decided in 1998 not to apply to the states, so state level immunization issues wouldn't apply. But any federal stuff the Supremes have indicated willingness to examine and affirmed that they'll do so case-by-case because that's how they believe the law is written. So if you want to do something on a federal level you need to consider that the same people who were willing to stop down on medical marijuana under the commerce clause - a huge overreach - were also not willing to stop import of a halucinogen. I don't think a more invasive mandatory medical procedure is going to be something they're less protective of.
posted by phearlez at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2015


If all public schools required mandatory immunization, meaning that every anti-vaxxer would have to home-school their kids or pay for private school, I think a lot of the people claiming personal exemptions might have an epiphany as it relations to vaccines. And don't you have to show proof of certain immunizations in order to fly to certain places? Make it mandatory to be vaccinated before you board a plane domestically.

As for the religious freedom argument, this is from a comment I made last year:

Although some of the religious anti-vaxxers are at least partially self-segregating their children by homeschooling, there seems* to be legal precedent for states to require children be immunized before attending public school even over the religious objections of the parents, as in West Virgina:
Although most states have chosen to provide a religious exemption from compulsory immunization, a state need not do so. [...] ("[I]t has been settled law for many years that claims of religious freedom must give way [to] the compelling interest of society in fighting . . . contagious diseases through mandatory inoculation programs. . . . The legislature's creation of a statutory exception . . . goes beyond what the Supreme Court has declared the First Amendment [] require[s].. . ."); [...] (noting that a state need not "provide a religious exemption from its immunization program" [...] finding that smallpox vaccination requirement does not violate free exercise of religion, because individuals' "freedom to act according to their religious beliefs is subject to a reasonable regulation for the benefit of society as a whole") (emphasis mine)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:41 AM on February 11, 2015


Make it mandatory to be vaccinated before you board a plane domestically.
That would be a massive pain in the ass to comply with, for what it's worth. It's pretty hard to get college students to round up the proof-of-vaccination forms that they need to register for classes, and they have lots of time and warning. I don't think you could require random travelers to hunt down their medical records or get a titer test.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:45 AM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think you could require random travelers to hunt down their medical records or get a titer test.

The problem arises when they arrive at their destination or try to return.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:26 PM on February 11, 2015


Okay, the plane thing was more wishful thinking, but I still think the more obstacles and inconveniences anti-vaxxers have to face the more "crises of faith" they will have.

Meanwhile....

NYT interactive map: Vaccination rates for every kindergarten in California
posted by Room 641-A at 3:32 PM on February 11, 2015






That Meet The Measles article is really good... I can't wait for the rest of the four part series it's part of!
posted by overglow at 11:29 PM on February 11, 2015


These invisible monsters are coming back — measles, whooping cough, polio, scurvy.

Wait, what?
posted by dirigibleman at 7:58 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, scurvy has showed up in people with bad nutrition who subsist on bad processed food. I recall reading about it happening on college campuses about 10-15 years ago. The quote that stuck with me was the doctor eye-rollingly saying they should just eat a handful of Skittles - even the slight amount of fruit juice in them would be enough to keep them from the wobbly teeth they were experiencing.
posted by phearlez at 10:14 AM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think he was surprised that some people are getting scurvy but rather that scurvy, a vitamin deficiency, does not belong in the list "measles, whooping cough, polio, scurvy".
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2015


There's a vaccine for scurvy. It comes in a little orange package that you have to peel and you take it orally.
posted by maxsparber at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Less of a vaccine and more of a lifelong maintenance medication.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I see you have also tried the Screwdriver.
posted by maxsparber at 12:57 PM on February 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


"This bar is 100% scurvy-free!"
posted by IAmBroom at 1:44 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I find a Tequila Sunrise much more efficacious in the preventing scurvey department. Or maybe a Harvey Wallbanger. This is important nutritional research I must perform tonight.
posted by happyroach at 3:19 PM on February 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


How to Get Silicon Valley’s Anti-Vaxxers to Change Their Minds
To figure out how to turn that “no” into a “yes,” it’s important to know how that decision occurred in the first place. As Amy Wallace explained in a WIRED cover story, vaccine refusal comes down to one emotion: fear. Or, in the current environment, the lack of it.

Thanks to the success of vaccination programs, many Americans have never seen a single case of measles—they didn’t get it themselves, and probably don’t know anyone who’s had it. That interferes with how they process fear in two ways.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:52 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's something interesting: maybe the Silicon Valley low-vaccination rates are actually just an indication of bad data.

I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. When I started registering the kids for daycare and then school, their vax cards were only required at registration (infancy) and several checkpoint years (pre-K, seventh grade) or when they changed schools.

And not all parents who use waivers use them to skip vaccinations, some just use them spread shots out. Or mess with reporter's data sources, apparently.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 12:56 PM on February 20, 2015


The return of scurvy
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on February 20, 2015


Here's something interesting: maybe the Silicon Valley low-vaccination rates are actually just an indication of bad data.

On quick read, I didn't see any reason why those errors wouldn't affect the statistics from all places equally, the end result being that Silicon Valley's relatively low reported rate reflects a lower actual immunization rate. And the revised figures, I will bet dollars to doughnuts, reflect a lot of lying.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whooping cough returns
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 AM on February 27, 2015


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