Hundreds rally against vaccines in Washington State
February 10, 2019 9:03 AM   Subscribe

In the midst of a measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, Washington state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would "remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption to opt their school-age children out of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine." The Pacific Northwest has some of the highest numbers of unvaccinated children in the country, and they let their voices be heard on Friday at the state Capitol in Olympia, WA when they packed a public hearing on the bill. At least 51 cases of measles have been confirmed in Clark County, WA, with another two suspected, bringing the current total up to 53, and that's not counting cases in King County, WA and Multnomah County, OR.

Almost a quarter of kids in Clark County, WA, are not immunized. The bill, HB 1638, was introduced by Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver). Washington state Secretary of Health, Dr. John Wiesman, says
“We are currently in the midst of a totally preventable measles outbreak,” Wiesman said Friday. “The outbreak we’re dealing with right now is larger and infecting people faster than in recent history. Outbreaks like this one are about unvaccinated children, not specific communities or ethnic groups.”
However, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is a leader of the anti-MMR movement, claims
“We don’t know the risk profile of the MMR vaccine,” said Kennedy. “There is no safety testing for the vaccine.”
There is absolutely no evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism or any other major health issues in children.
posted by gucci mane (207 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Brainfart: the children themselves who are un-vaccinated did not "let their voices be heard", although I am sure some children were at the rally).
posted by gucci mane at 9:07 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


On a related note, there's a whole genre of posts on Reddit and Quota of older kids asking how to get their shots on the sly.
posted by ocschwar at 9:21 AM on February 10 [122 favorites]


We recently had to disinvite the one anti-vax couple in our parenting group, the first round of kids are all 2, but with newborn kids coming in it became clear that the parents with new kids were disappearing to avoid the potential for exposure. We’re a few counties away down in Oregon, and the conversations started before the outbreak, but I think it helped to add clarity to the issue.
posted by kevin is... at 9:22 AM on February 10 [43 favorites]


The impact that anti-vaxx propaganda has on immigrant/POC communities, such as this Somali community in Minnesota where Andrew Wakefield has visited twice to "talk" to them about the "virtues" of not getting vaccinated, has started to make me wonder if some anti-vaxx activists are hoping it leads to a POC genocide.

Perhaps that's alarmist but, well, anti-vaxxers are alarmist and I don't think it's wise to downplay the impact (targeted impact) this has on non-whites. And yes, I recognize that this is a public health crisis and it affects white people too - we are all vulnerable, sure. But there is a long worldwide history of using infectious diseases to harm, frighten and kill POC communities. I think it's something we need to be aware of and closely monitor.

On a related note, there's a whole genre of posts on Reddit and Quota of older kids asking how to get their shots on the sly.

Good lord it should not have to be like this but this is one of those times I'm grateful the internet exists and one more way children can use it to advocate for their own health when their parents/guardians fail to do so.
posted by nightrecordings at 9:25 AM on February 10 [92 favorites]


Good for Washington, it's a shame parents who do not vaccinate cannot be fined or publicly shamed for their stupidity. This is the easier and more effective alternative.
posted by greatalleycat at 9:32 AM on February 10 [12 favorites]


Boy, a great way to test this wacky "theory" about herd immunity is to pack hundreds of unvaccinated people into a closed space.
posted by chavenet at 9:33 AM on February 10 [41 favorites]


“We don’t know the risk profile of the MMR vaccine,” said Kennedy. “There is no safety testing for the vaccine.”

The anti-vaxx left is every bit as anti-science as the anti-climate change right.

We absolutely know the risk profile of the MMR vaccine. We absolutely have safety testing for the vaccine. We absolutely track both the safety and efficacy of all kinds of vaccines. 5 minutes with Google proves it. We also, by the way, know what happens when parents don't vaccinate their kids because it's happening right now.

I would love to hear from Kennedy (and others) if they think Climate Change is a real problem. And, if so, why they believe science while thinking Vaccine science is, I dunno, made up?
posted by Frayed Knot at 9:39 AM on February 10 [95 favorites]


I have no problem with people making individually dangerous choices, but putting others at risk is unacceptable. I think everyone I know with kids is pro vaccination but whenever I read about this I wonder who around me is part of this.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:40 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Last year, in California: After a Debacle, How California Became a Role Model on Measles. "Changing minds on vaccination is very difficult, but it isn’t so important when a law can change behavior." I've seen that locally here in Grass Valley where kindergarten vax rates went up from 72.6% to 81.7%. Which is still awful; the state rate is 95%.

Unfortunately there's some evidence now of backsliding in California, with more medical exemptions being granted. There's been some talk about sanctioning doctors who act inappropriately. That makes me a tiny bit nervous since it's kind of close to the political arguments used to restrict abortion. OTOH fuck doctors who are selling medical exemption certificates.
posted by Nelson at 9:42 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Boy, a great way to test this wacky "theory" about herd immunity is to pack hundreds of unvaccinated people into a closed space.

You don't have to worry about them. THEY'RE vaccinated. Anti-vaxx is just a new manifestation of the phenomenon where boomers who worked summers to pay for school want their kids to be in hock for their education until they're 70.
posted by tclark at 9:44 AM on February 10 [41 favorites]


Heck, when I was in the third grade, they lined us up in the library and vaccinated us without even informing our parents.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:44 AM on February 10 [43 favorites]


I found out a coworker who I was buddies with, sat next to and talked to every day was an anti-vaxxer. I was legitimately shocked. Anti-vaxx is a disease of the mind.
posted by bleep at 9:49 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]


My wife and I both have coworkers with science PhDs who are anti-vax, it’s bizarre.
posted by kevin is... at 9:51 AM on February 10 [22 favorites]


My youngest is 18 months, so I've also had to discreetly disinvite some children from my home until she's up on all her shots. As strongly as I feel that my antivaxx friends are wrong, late is better than never, so best not to burn my bridges and miss a chance to get them to come around on the issue.
posted by ocschwar at 9:57 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


I have coworkers who refuse to do so much as get a flu shot.

I work in a goddamn Veteran’s hospital.

We’re under a mandate to get a vaccination or fill out a big pile of paperwork explaining why we didn’t, AND then required to wear a face mask for the entirety of flu season. The union fought it, but lost, because we work in a goddamn hospital serving sick, elderly, and often immunocompromised people. WTF.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:58 AM on February 10 [103 favorites]


When we interviewed a daycare for our 3 year old, they had scheduled another child's parents at the same time. We liked the place and our kid likes it too. The one big question we had though was "what is your policy on kids being vaccinated?" They didn't have one, they said, they left it up to the parents. My wife and I were pretty vocal about believing in science, and the idiocy of antivaxxers. The other parents (who were both wearing black matching t-shirts which read "Kill your local heroin dealer!",) were curiously silent. I just realized last week that I hadn't seen them since, though I think I've met the parents of all the other kids by now. Perhaps they found a different daycare, perhaps they weren't antivaxxers at all. But I think you have to have to bring up the subject if you care for your kids, express your support for vaccines and keep an eye out for potential idiot parents.

(In the same vein, years from now, I plan on asking the parents of the kids my kids play with if they own guns, because the statistic of kids shooting other kids with carelessly kept guns is tragically way too high.)
posted by Catblack at 10:01 AM on February 10 [25 favorites]


The union fought it

This is the kind of thing that does unions a disservice.
posted by aramaic at 10:04 AM on February 10 [39 favorites]


My friend's doctor brought up vaccines during a routine check up of her new daughter but it was in a super roundabout veiled way, couched in euphemism and hesitation. She had to bluntly inform her own family doctor "I want my daughter to get vaccinated, we are big fans of vaccines and not dying" and then they perked up, said thank goodness and started talking about scheduling shots for the family. This was in Seattle. When my friend told me about this I was shocked but since then I've caught hints of it all over, this horrible undercurrent of antivax bullshit that compromises children's lives. I didn't realize that it was sort of regionally specific.
posted by Mizu at 10:08 AM on February 10 [34 favorites]


I’ve had vaccines civilians don’t get anymore when I was a kid. That’s because my family moved to Mexico. Vaccination saves lives. I can’t understand how people don’t do it. It’s cheap and often free in the US. It’s not like you’re carrying your babies on your back for 30 miles to get their shots line in Kenya!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:14 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Every conspiracy has a seed, among the various genes in the seed is this weird story, Oswald's mistress was a grad student assistant of Dr Mary her monkey virus , SV40
posted by hortense at 10:16 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Good for Washington, it's a shame parents who do not vaccinate cannot be fined or publicly shamed for their stupidity.

This, from a Washington Post article, convinced me to change the way I talk about the issue. It's not productive to call people stupid.

"Martina Clements, 41, a Portland mom who didn’t vaccinate her two children until recently, said the anti-vaccine community uses fear to raise doubts about vaccine safety. But parents who support immunizations can be belittling. On one side, they make you afraid, and the other side they make you feel stupid, and you get stuck in this middle where you feel beat up by both sides,” she said.

Clements eventually changed her mind, deciding to give her kids the shots after a doctor at a vaccine workshop answered her questions for more than two hours, at one point drawing diagrams on a whiteboard to explain cell interaction. He was thoughtful, factual and also “still very warm,” she said."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:16 AM on February 10 [71 favorites]


I admit I don't read these vaccination threads in depth, so while there seems to be a lot of voices on whether vaccines do/do not cause autism (I'm on the Science Doesn't Support a Causal Link side), I don't recall seeing any comments regarding what the diseases can do to the unborn. Anyone have a Venn diagram for anti-vaxx vs. right to choice/life?
posted by a person of few words at 10:18 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


while there seems to be a lot of voices on whether vaccines do/do not cause autism

They don't, full stop, end of conversation. The Wakefield study was entirely fraudulent.

The World Health Organization has identified vaccine hesitancy as a top ten threat to global health in 2019.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:35 AM on February 10 [62 favorites]


As a person with autism, I find it to be... interesting that there are parents who find the risk of disease and death to be more acceptable than the risk of autism. Wait, I don't mean interesting, I mean CREEPY.
posted by LindsayIrene at 10:39 AM on February 10 [226 favorites]


I would love to hear from Kennedy (and others) if they think Climate Change is a real problem. And, if so, why they believe science while thinking Vaccine science is, I dunno, made up

I can't speak for Kennedy, but it seems to me being anti global warming and anti vax are both anti capitalist. On the global warming side, industry is a big part of the problem, and fixing it would cost industry. On the vax side, the belief is that big pharma is out to make money and they care more about that than the safety of the public. The people saying vaccines are safe are all paid or dependent upon big pharma, so their motives and results are suspect.

I'm pro vaccine. I just don't think there's as much cognitive dissonance between being anti global warming and anti vax as some people think.
posted by willnot at 10:49 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I teach Kindergarten in Clark Co., WA, and this whole thing has been just awful. All district employees have had to submit a form attesting to our immunity. Many of us do not have our childhood immunization records available, so are opting to get the MMR again, or to get titer tests (some of us to the tune of $300 for titer tests our insurance doesn't cover.) Kids have been withdrawn from school, affected schools have had to bar everyone who can't show proof of immunity. It is a really big deal and has wrecked havoc in several schools and clinics and I don't know that people outside of the immediate area really understand the impact it is having. My school has a VERY low vaccination rate, and I know we're just holding our collective breath waiting for that phone call or for a child to fall ill at school.

I don't understand.....I just don't understand.
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 10:50 AM on February 10 [54 favorites]


Clements eventually changed her mind, deciding to give her kids the shots after a doctor at a vaccine workshop answered her questions for more than two hours

What worries me is that that doesn't scale. Jenny McCarthy can make a scary antivax video reaching thousands, but the doctors have to turn on the charm for hours with each individual?
posted by Monochrome at 10:56 AM on February 10 [149 favorites]


Heck, when I was in the third grade, they lined us up in the library and vaccinated us without even informing our parents.

and the next week, we were all sworn in as members of the World Communist Party. No one even blinked an eye. We couldn't. Because of the vaccine.
posted by philip-random at 10:57 AM on February 10 [73 favorites]


I’m so glad our kids’ Bay Area daycare/preschool has a zero tolerance vaccination policy.

I recently heard antivax described as “pro infectious disease” and I like that.
posted by not_the_water at 10:58 AM on February 10 [29 favorites]


It's a suicide meme folks. An idea that spreads that kills its host.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:00 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]


On the vax side, the belief is that big pharma is out to make money and they care more about that than the safety of the public

As the spouse of a type I diabetic seeing insulin that hasn't changed at all increase in price from $40 a vial to $400 a vial in the last dozen or so years, I am somewhat sympathetic to this belief.
posted by COD at 11:01 AM on February 10 [29 favorites]


Jenny McCarthy can make a scary antivax video reaching thousands, but the doctors have to turn on the charm for hours with each individual?

Fear bars the door to reason.

I really don't understand why the anti-vax fear is so much stronger than the fear of disease, though. It took four members of my family an entire long evening to convince one relative to get a flu shot before visiting her immunocompromised father and grandfather. She kept saying that one coworker (who she didn't seem to respect much, even) had frightened her about vaccines and she just couldn't get over that. ????
posted by clew at 11:03 AM on February 10 [13 favorites]


I'm completely against any non-medical vaccine exemptions for public schools. No personal belief exemptions. No religious exemptions. If you're medically able to get vaccinated, that's it. If you don't want to, fine, but the price you pay is no public schools and the like.

Also, "no evidence that the MMR vaccine causes harm" is the wrong way to put it. The evidence is that the researcher lied and falsified data because he had a financial incentive to do so. That's much stronger.

(Surely big pharma would make much more money treating lots of measles outbreaks than two shots per person?)
posted by jeather at 11:06 AM on February 10 [53 favorites]


I practice emergency medicine in the Midwest where anti-vax sentiment is mercifully rather uncommon. I'm not sure how I'd deal with having to see sick unvaccinated kids on the daily, as evidently happens in Oregon and Washington State, some hot spots in California and elsewhere. I remember being unreasonably angry with the parents of one unvaccinated kid I had to transfer out to the regional children's hospital recently with concern for bacterial epiglottitis, a life-threatening vaccine-preventable illness. How dare they put their child at risk like that? I tried to handle it as a teachable moment but I'm sure they could see how bothered I was by the situaiton.
posted by killdevil at 11:07 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]


We absolutely know the risk profile of the MMR vaccine. We absolutely have safety testing for the vaccine. We absolutely track both the safety and efficacy of all kinds of vaccines.

Furthermore, there is very little in medicine about which we know more than vaccines. The numbers of people studied, the decades of follow up, the incredibly detailed ongoing monitoring, all of it. We know far, far more about vaccines than we do about how to treat your heart attack or your cancer. And not once in my career have I ever had an antivaxx person tell me, "I don't know doc, I feel like we don't have the long term safety data on [life saving heart medicine/antibiotic/cancer surgery/erectile dysfunction meds]."

I have had to fill out some of these dumb exemption certificates. We have the perfunctory discussion about safety but no one's mind is being changed. Patients know I am not sympathetic so I get bullshit statements about "Oh we're just doing an alternative schedule" and there's a kid who can't go to school if I don't sign. I would really prefer, for selfish reasons, if the legislature would just take me out of the process. I have neither the time or the training to break down science and the fundamental nature of how you can really "know anything" from a philosophical perspective with someone who's just digging their heals in when you confront them.

In our community (King County, WA), it is 100% white people of a vaguely libertarian/anti-establishment pursuasion. It's not really a coherent political system of beliefs. They are people who have only ever existed in the post vaccine world who have never seen epidemics of serious infectious diseases, who rightly want to protect their kids, and who rightly mistrust pharma. We don't have a ton of African Americans in my practice, but lots of immigrants, including Somalis and they all want their vaccines as soon as they can get them because they have had people in their lives die of measles or rotavirus in recent memory.

This whole thing about getting teenagers who can consent for their own care up to date on vaccines is interesting and I think I should make it a point to bring this up when I see them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:08 AM on February 10 [107 favorites]


As the spouse of a type I diabetic seeing insulin that hasn't changed at all increase in price from $40 a vial to $400 a vial in the last dozen or so years, I am somewhat sympathetic to this belief.

Boy howdy. I used to rest assured that if something happened (I've had vials break or get lost during travel) I could just take my emergency scrip to the nearest pharmacy and replace it. Now I take care of that shit like it's gold-plated baby Jesus, 'cause if anything happens to it I'm up Glucose Creek without a paddle.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:08 AM on February 10 [24 favorites]


I work in the schools at one of the least-vaccinated ZIP codes in the nation. And an island to boot. The anti-vaxxers I know like to say they are more pro-science than everyone else because they “ask questions.” They never say they are anti-vaccine, they are just “asking questions” and think we shouldn’t believe everything “big pharma” tells us.

This is the same ZIP code that went harder for Bernie (in terms of donations) than any other in 2016. Going for Bernie is fine (I caucused for him); the particular brand of toxicity that went with it among a minority of people I know in this community was appalling. No shock they overlapped with the anti-vax community.

The desperation not to be under “corporate” control is almost pathetic. Plenty of people in local Facebook groups are raging against the anti-vaxxers, but some are posting about how the measles “epidemic” is just big pharma/mainstream media’s lie.

My point is we are a cautionary tale, not just about vaccines but about a runaway version of a particular you-don’t-own-me version of leftism, morphed into pure narcissism.

Both the coming measles outbreak and the Democratic primaries are going to be painful for this Island.
posted by argybarg at 11:09 AM on February 10 [70 favorites]


^^oh hai argybarg, i used to practice medicine on your island.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:13 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


And this is us.
posted by argybarg at 11:13 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Really?! At the main clinic?
posted by argybarg at 11:14 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I really don't understand why the anti-vax fear is so much stronger than the fear of disease, though.

In their lifetimes, they've never seen a child crippled by polio, scarred by measles or killed by whooping cough. They really don't understand the diseases enough to fear them.
posted by SPrintF at 11:14 AM on February 10 [48 favorites]


They are people who have only ever existed in the post vaccine world who have never seen epidemics of serious infectious diseases

I think this is exactly the problem. As a species we seem to get weird magical thinking ideas about stuff we can't directly see or perceive. Lose the collective memory of many more kids being sick and dying from infectious disease and it's easier to be seduced into believing that vaccinating your kids could be dangerous, because sticking needles with chemicals into your kid feels more intuitively dangerous than exposing them to invisible infectious disease if you have no cultural context for the horrors of the latter.
posted by terretu at 11:15 AM on February 10 [19 favorites]


I really don't understand why the anti-vax fear is so much stronger than the fear of disease, though.

I think this is fundamentally a flaw of humans being visual animals - if you don't see it, it's not a real fear.

We don't have rows and rows of iron lungs in hospitals filled with polio patients, or adults walking with leg braces/crutches due to muscle weakness caused by polio infections which was far more common before widespread polio vaccination programs in the United States.

Autism on the other hand, is steadily growing in diagnoses and visibility as it's more well studied and talked about. This is easy for people to fear because it feels more real than the threat of polio and other previously vaccine suppressed diseases.
posted by Karaage at 11:16 AM on February 10 [13 favorites]


It's a suicide meme folks. An idea that spreads that kills its host.

haha no! actually it fucking doesn't! it kills children who didn't have a choice about whether or not they were vaccinated! the hosts, aka the fucking moronic parents, get to live long lives and not die horribly of preventable diseases like they deserve to! but great joke good job.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:19 AM on February 10 [73 favorites]



We don't have rows and rows of iron lungs in hospitals filled with polio patients, or adults walking with leg braces/crutches due to muscle weakness caused by polio infections which was far more common before widespread polio vaccination programs in the United States.


The worst thing is, even back then, even beyond back then, when smallpox was extant and stalking cities- there were still anti-vaxxers. It's just that as the science developed they were largely shut up and relegated to laughing-stocks and forced to vaccinate. Now that enough time has passed since smallpox was stalking cities... human memory is a fragile thing.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:20 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]


I’m not convinced that seeing a disease outbreak would change that many minds. Think of the stories people would tell themselves. The emotional charge of the situation would probably just power them up.
posted by argybarg at 11:23 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Is there correlation between anti-vaxx and resisting other skin-crossing medication? Are those parents more likely to make an asthmatic kid live without a puffer?
posted by clew at 11:27 AM on February 10


We are constantly, constantly funnel-fed fear, fear based on thin or no or false evidence, every single damn day. Just turn on the news, it's right there. We live in a world that is big and complicated and uncaring, a world that is out of our control, has never been in our control, and which will one day inevitably kill us for reasons nobody can explain. That fear of powerlessness and mortality is at the root of so many bad things that we do—it makes us liable to latch onto anything that anyone tells us might give us some measure of control over our lives. And there are those who stoke that, who exploit that, who swindle us out of billions, who sicken us, who turn us against our fellows to their benefit. People stoke our fears, offer us a false measure of control and safety, and then use it to control us to their own selfish ends. And it works, it works so simply and beautifully, over and over again, because the world is big and powerful and ancient and we are small and weak and mortal, and we hate it.

In Tolkien's history of Middle Earth, he makes much of the idea that mortality was originally conceived as a gift to Men—that it freed them from the circles of the world, and from the sorrow of having to watch things change and fade around them. One of the greatest evils committed by Melkor and Sauron was to make Men fear death, to turn it into a Doom instead of a Gift. Through this fear, great evil was wrought. So it is in our own world as well.

Anyone selling fear can fuck right off into the sea.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:28 AM on February 10 [53 favorites]


This is what happens when history is not studied or made real to subsequent generations. I am old enough to remember that two of my uncles had polio, one was severely crippled for life and had a heavy brace on his leg,and walked as best he could with a cane, the other had one leg seriously thinner that the other. But they were the lucky ones. I also remember pictures of people in iron lungs, and summer being a time of fear of polio. My grandmother had two children who died in infancy of infectious diseases. My dad said that was true of all the families in his poor neighborhood.

I was one of the first children to get the Salk vaccine,and we were called Polio Pioneers, and a big deal was made of it. Another experience that made a huge impression on me was visiting old graveyards and seeing entire families of children wiped out in a week in epidemics of diseases we now have vaccinations against. I had measles when I was ten and was out of school for a month and very sick. There was no vaccine for it yet at that time. I was glad my kids were vaccinated and did not have to go through that.

My children know all this and my grandchildren get the proper vaccinations. Of course we are also a family that respects science and real history, not woo. It is truly criminal that ignorant people put their children and other at risk because of false beliefs.
posted by mermayd at 11:32 AM on February 10 [54 favorites]


Measles also appears to be associated with lingering immune system suppression that makes one more susceptible to illnesses for years afterwards.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:34 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]


It's a suicide meme folks. An idea that spreads that kills its host.

haha no! actually it fucking doesn't! it kills children who didn't have a choice about whether or not they were vaccinated! the hosts, aka the fucking moronic parents, get to live long lives and not die horribly of preventable diseases like they deserve to! but great joke good job.


I wasn't joking. It's deadly serious. By "its host" I meant human beings in general. Perhaps suicide isn't the right analogy either as we tend to think of suicide as something affecting only the person who does it (though that also isn't true). Clearly not vaccinating your kids puts not only your kids and yourself at risk. It also creates risks for whole communities. My (poorly made) point is that it's an idea that spreads among humans that kills humans. It's like gun rights absolutism, or climate change denial. It only takes some critical mass of people to buy into such an idea to put everyone in jeopardy.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:34 AM on February 10 [11 favorites]


So sad. So insane.
posted by sfts2 at 11:40 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, we visited Hong Kong, and I saw a man whose face terrified me. Like, it didn't seem human to my kiddo eyes.

Later, my mother explained it was caused by smallpox, epidemics of which there were, especially in the 1980's, still in living memory in Hong Kong. And then my parents showed me their smallpox-tuberculosis vaccination scars.

You better fucking believe that when it came time for my kid, I did not even consider delaying his vaccination schedule. People who don't get their kids vaccinated aren't just anti-science. They're profoundly ignorant of history.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:40 AM on February 10 [15 favorites]


haha no! actually it fucking doesn't! it kills children who didn't have a choice about whether or not they were vaccinated! the hosts, aka the fucking moronic parents, get to live long lives and not die horribly of preventable diseases like they deserve to! but great joke good job.

I agree. So we should start charging the parents of the unvaccinated kids with manslaughter. If the infected children live but are in any way maimed or injured, charge them with that. If we can't shame them, we can eliminate them. If we need to make up new laws like Negligent Homicide by Committee, so be it. Put those fucks away. And then vaccinate their fucking kids.
posted by tzikeh at 11:43 AM on February 10 [13 favorites]


RFK Jr also said
“Is it this country’s Nuremburg Agreement? Oslo Agreement? Do we want to force parents to risky medical interventions without consent?” he asked. “Will mandating this vaccine cause more harm than good?”
He’s bonkers.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:47 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


My parents are Peruvian and Columbian. After medical school, they each did their compulsory "service" year, practicing medicine in remote areas of their countries--mostly the Amazonian rainforest and the Andes. They emigrated to Canada and started their family with vivid memories of children and babies dying of all sorts of infections, viruses, and parasites. They saw first-hand the impact vaccination had in communities that often had no regular access to modern medical care, and thus could not seek timely treatment if an outbreak of measles or rubella or whatever blew through their communities.

So what I am saying is that my parents are just incredulous about the whole anti-vaxxer movement, often calling it "rich gringo nonsense."
posted by LMGM at 11:48 AM on February 10 [85 favorites]


[Sorry for the slightly derail-y rant. I think that the non-White / migrant / 'global south' perspective is important here, though.]
posted by LMGM at 11:51 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]


Slarty Bartfast : "I have had to fill out some of these dumb exemption certificates. We have the perfunctory discussion about safety but no one's mind is being changed. Patients know I am not sympathetic so I get bullshit statements about "Oh we're just doing an alternative schedule" and there's a kid who can't go to school if I don't sign."

I don't understand why you are signing them? To me, your moral obligation is to the other children, including ones truly unable to vaccinate, who that child could sicken or kill. If one child is home schooled, so what?
posted by tavella at 11:52 AM on February 10 [13 favorites]


On a related note, my mom got scarlet fever when she was around 7 years old (around 1943, or so). She spent something like a week in hospital isolation. When her parents would visit, they had to wear masks and couldn’t touch her. Her brothers and sister had to stay home from school. They had a quarantine notice pasted on the front door.

It was a Big Fucking Deal because scarlet fever was one of the leading killers of children at the start of the 20th century. It left an indelible mark on my mom’s memory and took part of her hearing in one ear.

You never hear of scarlet fever any more, because we take our kids to the quick care clinic, get a prescription for amoxicillin when the strep test comes back positive, and it’s all good from that point on.

How times change.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:53 AM on February 10 [20 favorites]


Slarty Bartfast, if you're a doctor on the ground, maybe you can speak to this. With the disclaimer that (a) I don't have any particular problem with measles/mumps/rubella vaccination, and (b) I think it's fairly unlikely that vaccines are a substantial causal factor in autism... it's still the case that one big source of worry about full AAP vaccine compliance, for me, has been the really poor quality of argument on the pro-vaxx side. Coming from a science background, it especially freaks me out when I hear primary care doctors:

--moving immediately from discussions of a particular vaccine to defending "vaccines" collectively (as though they're not all fairly different medical interventions with different risk-benefit profiles depending on the disease in question and the state of the research on this particular vaccine, and as though the risk of a child dying in a measles outbreak has literally anything to do with how, when and whether you should vaccinate them for Hep C, varicella or HPV)

--apparently assuming that the Louis-Pasteur-level account of vaccine immunobiology we all learned back in 10th grade AP bio represents 100% of the patient-facing story on vaccines' mechanism of action, and being unable/unwilling to discuss more subtle points of the immune response (including those less well understood)

--confusing absence of evidence of e.g. more subtle or complex side effects (possibly in interaction with multiple environmental or other factors) with evidence of absence for such effects. Again, it's 100% fine if most complicated effects are sufficiently unlikely that they shouldn't change the treatment math. But that's very different from insisting that safety is established full-stop, and makes me worry that the doctor in question has no solid understanding of the strengths and limitations of the safety research.

-- using emotional salience (scary anecdata, developing-world mortality statistics) as a substitute for solid statistical estimates of disease risks for particular patients

-- quietly conflating practices intended to increase parent compliance (like certain points of scheduling, the insistence on combined vs. separate vaccines) with practices necessary for the health of the patient

Again, I don't particularly see any smoking guns where MMR is concerned, but I feel like I'd be a lot likelier to endorse draconian government health mandates if the physicians consistently spoke from a place of obvious good faith, scientific nuance and clear familiarity with the literature. All the ranting about how those libertarian cretins should just SHUT UP AND BELIEVE SCIENCE OMG ... really doesn't help.
posted by gallusgallus at 11:54 AM on February 10 [11 favorites]



Later, my mother explained it was caused by smallpox, epidemics of which there were, especially in the 1980's, still in living memory in Hong Kong. And then my parents showed me their smallpox-tuberculosis vaccination scars.



Born in 1975 in Israel. I have my own vaccination scars for smallpox and TB. (Too bad the TB one turned out to be a dud, but I'm glad they chose to err on the side of trying it.) I've already shown them to my 6 year old.
posted by ocschwar at 11:54 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Anyone selling fear can fuck right off into the sea.

brb embroidering this on stuff
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:54 AM on February 10 [33 favorites]


"Just asking questions" is a phrase used by 9/11 truthers and Holocaust deniers. That it pops up in anti-vaccination people should give them pause.

I have a coworker who refuses to get a flu shot and it drives me nuts. Our office was taken out for a month by the boss coming to a holiday party while sick, so it's not like he doesn't know the consequences.

What's it going to take? A Yul-Brenner-esque commercial where somebody who is dying of a completely preventable disease begs people not to smoke to get their shots?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:54 AM on February 10 [20 favorites]


I don't think that's a derail at all, LMGM. First because life without vaccines is absolutely relevant to the problem, and second because of the angle on who's susceptible to antivaxxism. It sure looks like people with a lot of cultural capital, to me. (A Kennedy!) But why? Yet another blowback from the just world fallacy? Just not having seen seriously sick kids?

I read a lot of old novels on Project Gutenberg and apparently people in the US used to wake up and find disease notices pasted onto their house doors, so that the delivery people knew not to come. (I don't know who did this! Although we did also used to have visiting public health nurses.)
posted by clew at 11:59 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


It's weird to me that there seem to be people right here in this thread who think that there is legitimate uncertainty about whether vaccines cause autism.

There is no legitimate uncertainty. The results of the study that started all this were fabricated. The author was discredited and barred from practicing medicine.

All of this bullshit stems from the work of a dishonest doctor who was found to have completely made up the results of the study that kicked off the anti-vax movement. It was a lie! It was all based on a flat-out lie, from the very beginning! There was never anything to it, there is no legitimate uncertainty, it's just the ghost of a lie still floating around in the public consciousness, nothing more.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:05 PM on February 10 [152 favorites]


"Just asking questions" is a phrase used by 9/11 truthers and Holocaust deniers. That it pops up in anti-vaccination people should give them pause.


And climate change denialists. "Just asking questions" is correct. They are just asking questions. They're not listening to the answers.
posted by ocschwar at 12:05 PM on February 10 [63 favorites]


One reason anti-vax ideas take hold is because the US medical system doesn't treat most of us well. People are deciding on vaccination at the same time they're dealing with pregnancy/ childbirth experiences that, at least in my area, are set up for the convenience of doctors/ hospitals rather than for the benefit of parents and babies. Having to research and fight for best practices teaches people to distrust medical professionals, and the experience can be stressful enough that conspiracy theories about vaccination start making sense.

I think if doctors and hospitals didn't suck for so many people, we'd be seeing lower refusal rates.
posted by metasarah at 12:11 PM on February 10 [51 favorites]


gallusgallus, I am not a doctor, but I am a biologist and you are asking about what is effectively scientific outreach, coming from professionals who aren't necessarily trained to provide it. (The why of vaccinations is beyond the scope of a primary-care physician, I think, particularly the very detailed ins and outs of why any specific vaccine is recommended, why it sits specifically on its place in the recommended vaccination schedule, and why the costs and benefits of each specific vaccine in its schedule sit where they do.)

being unable/unwilling to discuss more subtle points of the immune response (including those less well understood)

This in particular has me staring in astonishment, because you're asking your primary care physician--every primary care physician--to have a level of up-to-date familiarity with immune function and cutting-edge research and opinions on things that are not settled within the relevant scientific community that, frankly, I would only expect out of someone with a PhD in the field--and either a recent PhD or someone who is currently working in that field, at that.

We don't pay for good scientific messaging and education in this country, bluntly. We don't pay for people who are used to distilling difficult concepts like that down for other people, and the specifics that you're asking for are much more detailed and high-level than I think a general physician ever needs to know, ordinarily. They aren't relevant for diagnostics, and while the list of potential side effects is important to know, the specific cost/benefits of why this vaccine but not this one are not.

The CDC recommendations for vaccines are very conservative with respect to the risk of negative effects of vaccines. In the last ten years, there has been a shift, in fact, to even-less-potentially-risky forms of vaccines like killed vaccines and vaccines that consist only of particular proteins to train the body's response. This is also something of an issue, because these versions have less long-term potency and must be boosted in adults to be effective--but adults are harder to get vaccinated than children. When entire populations of people are protected by herd immunity, it doesn't matter, but with decreasing coverage, it really does.
posted by sciatrix at 12:12 PM on February 10 [118 favorites]


I think it's fairly unlikely that vaccines are a substantial causal factor in autism

Because, as has been mentioned a few times in this thread, the initial study was just a bunch of faked results, has been retracted, the author lost his license to practice medicine, and has never been replicated, because it cannot be replicated, because Wakefield had money in some new measles vaccine and wanted to discredit the old one so he could make money on his new vaccine.

If all that adds up to "well, there's still a chance", I'm not sure what kind of arguments could convince you otherwise.

quietly conflating practices intended to increase parent compliance (like certain points of scheduling, the insistence on combined vs. separate vaccines) with practices necessary for the health of the patient

Compliance is necessary for the health of the patient.
posted by jeather at 12:15 PM on February 10 [57 favorites]


I agree. So we should start charging the parents of the unvaccinated kids with manslaughter. If the infected children live but are in any way maimed or injured, charge them with that. If we can't shame them, we can eliminate them. If we need to make up new laws like Negligent Homicide by Committee, so be it. Put those fucks away. And then vaccinate their fucking kids.

I understand you're angry. So am I. But that's an incredibly bad idea. If I forget to get my optional yearly flu vaccine and give someone the flu, who then subsequently dies, should I be charged with manslaughter? The interventions we had before, like having all children be required to have vaccinations before attending school, and only allowing a very narrow set of exceptions, worked pretty well. The problem now, as stated in the post, is that communities are allowing exceptions for objections that essentially amount to "we don't wanna". We can close that loophole before we resort to jailing people for being dangerously misinformed.

Not to mention the fact that there would be no good way to attribute one person's illness to another person's lack of vaccination. Unless you're talking about rounding up entire families and communities and putting them in prison? That historically hasn't worked out very well for anyone, no matter the reason.

it's still the case that one big source of worry about full AAP vaccine compliance, for me, has been the really poor quality of argument on the pro-vaxx side

I am not a doctor, but the safety and efficacy of the MMR vaccine has been demonstrated over, and over, and over, and over again. A doctor could certainly present the evidence from longitudinal population studies to their patients, but while that might be persuasive to you personally I don't think it's persuasive to most people (I have no evidence for this, just a feeling). Most people (again, I am claiming this without evidence) don't understand statistics in general and the statistics of risk in particular.

If you want a doctor to make a persuasive argument for vaccines, they already do. The argument is: vaccines are overwhelmingly effective and carry minimal risk. There is NO evidence for a connection between vaccines and autism. Not vaccinating your children carries risk for not only your child, but also children and immuno-compromised people around them. If the patients want to see evidence it can be made available, but again, not many people are good at reading scientific papers. Also, if they want evidence that not vaccinating children comes with risk, they can point to THE MASSIVE OUTBREAK OF MEASLES DUE TO PEOPLE NOT VACCINATING THEIR CHILDREN!

It really comes down to whether a person trusts their doctor as a trained expert in medicine over what is essentially an entirely fabricated connection between childhood vaccination and autism (on preview, yes Andrew Wakefield(?) is an admitted and proven liar). While we all make our own personal health decisions, the point of job specialization in the medical field is that we trust that doctors know more than we do about medical science. You're right that yelling at people for being stupid won't get them to vaccinate their kids, but many (certainly not all) in these anti-vax communities are immune to the kind of fact-based evidence you or I might be persuaded by.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:16 PM on February 10 [16 favorites]


In particular, this:

-- using emotional salience (scary anecdata, developing-world mortality statistics) as a substitute for solid statistical estimates of disease risks for particular patients

happens because emotional salience works in a way that solid statistical estimates do not. Solid statistical estimates are generally discarded by the vast majority of parents or even accurately used to reject vaccines: after all, in the context of infectious diseases rendered nearly absent by herd immunity, it makes a certain sense to selfishly reject the vaccine for oneself (and the risk of rare side effects as well as the probably-parental-factor discomfort of watching one's child cry from the pain of injection) because who's going to run into the even-rarer disease?

Furthermore, vaccine noncompliance can have complex knock-on effects. Some vaccines are recommended for reasons that don't have anything to do with the likely of death for the vaccinated child. For example, rubella falls into this category. Rubella is a virus that is not particularly dangerous to anyone who has been born. However, to pregnant women who contract rubella during early pregnancy--often early enough that they don't necessarily know to be specifically vaccinated--contracting rubella can result in stillbirths, miscarriages, and severe birth defects including blindness, deafness, and developmental delays.

Or take measles. Widespread vaccination for measles not only drops mortality from measles in children, but it also decreases mortality from a number of other, unrelated childhood diseases. That's because measles has long-term effects on the immune system lasting up to two years, even after the disease is cleared. In the aggregate, that makes controlling measles very important to controlling infectious diseases generally in children.

Vaccines are an important public health initiative. Public health is not the same thing as general practice medicine, and it cannot be approached on an individual-by-individual level in the same way. It's all about big-picture structures that make life better (or worse) in the aggregate.
posted by sciatrix at 12:21 PM on February 10 [90 favorites]


I think it’s generous to assume that gallusgallus is persuadable rather than just concern trolling. Show me the similar energy expended questioning any other area of routine and generally accepted medical practice.

I think a required prelude to any such questioning is to answer: What answers would you accept? At what point in the process would you be satisfied and why? I would bet quite a bit of money that the answer is an exasperating loop-de-loop of more “questions.”
posted by argybarg at 12:23 PM on February 10 [41 favorites]


Anyone selling fear can fuck right off into the sea.

Think of the merchants of fear (artists, scientists, philosophers...) who taught us to dread nuclear war. Consider the cultural difference between the early 1950s ("it'd only take a few hundred nukes to blast the Panama canal down to sea level") vs the mid 1980s ("forget dying, what if you survived a war"). The stark, visceral terror we feel at the idea of using nuclear weapons helps keep us all alive.

You're right that those who sell irrational fear are doing extreme harm, in part because our innumerable irrational fears fears leave us too tired and numb to be appropriately terrified of infectious disease and global warming.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:25 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


Though ultimately the parents who ignore science are to blame (WHO estimates that measles vaccines alone have prevented over 21 million fatalities since 2000), this can also be seen as a result of unfettered capitalism in at least three ways.

1) The (disbarred) British doctor who's false results started the whole vaccine/autism scare did it for money.

2) The rise of conspiracy web sites are fueled by click-bait headlines and his articles that send money to advertisers.

3) The money-grubbing ways of big pharma (and the legislators who roll back consumer protection) have eroded trust in an industry whose job is (or ought to be) to improve our health.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:26 PM on February 10 [17 favorites]


Compliance is necessary for the health of the patient.

Cold, but true, but also cold. Doctors wouldn't be doing their jobs if they didn't try their best to get you to consent to and then actually do the stuff they suggest. Treatments are no good if the patient doesn't comply. Setting up things like vaccination schedules to maximize compliance gives better health outcomes.

I think it's OK to accept that and also be a little wigged out by it in practice, though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:30 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I think it’s generous to assume that gallusgallus is persuadable rather than just concern trolling.

At the same time, if your goal is to persuade, it's a good idea (as Mr. Know-it-some pointed out upthread) not to treat the people you're talking to as stupid or malicious. If you want to talk tactics, argybarg, you need to consider how an observer who does not have a lot of information about the topic might react to watching your responses.

I would rather assume good faith to start with when someone expresses concern and confusion about topics that are muddied with disinformation, mistrust, and conspiracy theories. I happen to know a lot about this one. There are certainly others that confuse me--in fact, I was tripped up by something I was wrong about as a result of some similar dynamics only last week. So on balance, I try to retain good faith until I (and that hypothetical observer) are sure the person I am talking to is not responding in equally good faith. I want that hypothetical observing person to feel comfortable talking to me and explaining to me that they are confused.

But then I teach genetics, and so I have a lot of practice making sure that people understand complicated biological concepts. I've taught GMOs, for example, often enough to be more comfortable giving my students a chance to walk through the whys with me (or come to talk to me after class) than demanding that they accept that I am right and they are wrong or trying to disrupt class, even if I am completely confident that I am correct.
posted by sciatrix at 12:32 PM on February 10 [29 favorites]


There is a small 'health and wellness office' in my neighborhood, which (no thanks to me) is one of the wealthiest, highest educational-level census tracts in the U.S. The office - which is led by a chiropractor - started hosting "informative vaccine talks," being given by an overt anti-vaxxer. When I emailed the head of the little clinic about this, asking how a medical professional could advocate for something that undermines individual as well as community health, she replied by sending me a link to Jenny McCarthy's web site. Once McCarthy recanted her 'vaccines cause autism' views, I emailed the chiropractor again to see if she would change her beliefs and advice. Haven't heard back...
posted by PhineasGage at 12:36 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


it seems to me being anti global warming and anti vax are both anti capitalist. On the global warming side, industry is a big part of the problem, and fixing it would cost industry. On the vax side, the belief is that big pharma is out to make money and they care more about that than the safety of the public. The people saying vaccines are safe are all paid or dependent upon big pharma, so their motives and results are suspect.

This is conspiracy stuff and is simply not true. There is no parallel between climate denial and vaccine denial. Big pharma is not involved in most vaccines. Vaccines are not a high profit center and most vaccines are made by smaller tier less profitable pharmaceutical companies. The reason that there is so much unchallenged anti-vax propaganda out there is because big pharma has simply taken a pass on it because they aren't interested.

The exceptions are some newer vaccines like Gardasil for HPV which is patented by Merck. It is very expensive, about $250 per dose. You see Merck heavily invested in promoting mandatory HPV vaccinations in state legislatures. But for your cheap standard childhood vaccines, not so much.
posted by JackFlash at 12:37 PM on February 10 [19 favorites]


And of course the Kremlin noticed this weak spot in the West and have been exploiting/amplifying the “controversy” since last summer: Russia trolls 'spreading vaccination misinformation' to create discord (BBC)
The researchers [at Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities] reviewed more than 250 tweets about vaccination from accounts linked to the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA). In February the agency was named in a US indictment over alleged election meddling.
The IRA tweets used polarising language and linked vaccination to controversial statements about race, class and government legitimacy, the researchers said.

One tweet casting doubt on vaccines that was cited in the study read: "Did you know there was secret government database of #Vaccine-damaged child? #VaccinateUS".

Another that argued for vaccinations said: "#VaccinateUS You can't fix stupidity. Let them die from measles, and I'm for #vaccination!"
This is like dezinformatsiya 2.0 of the old Soviet-era conspiracy propaganda.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:41 PM on February 10 [26 favorites]


I read some interesting research here in Australia, investigating failure to vaccinate. Over here, it turns out that despite the volume and airtime "ideological" opponents of vaccinations get, and the volume they have, they the majority of people who don't vaccinate their kids advisor did so for non ideological reasons, i.e they forgot our didn't think it was important.

Consequently, the government started linking vaccination to childcare rebates and the like. So if people don't care about vaccination, they do care about paying full price for childcare.

The effect of this, I suspect, is that over time the unvaccinated population will tilt mostly into conspiracy theorists.
posted by smoke at 12:48 PM on February 10 [22 favorites]


I thought it was particularly telling of where US politics is, that in the article I read about patient zero they had to specify the person brought over the disease from Europe - but they were not an immigrant - just a wealthy traveler. Just so people don't go blaming the wrong people due to ignorance.

Sincerely, mom to a fully vaccinated kiddo.
posted by PistachioRoux at 12:50 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


I have a relative who got chicken pox despite vaccination when they were in first grade because one couple chose not to vaccinate their children, and to let their children expose the elementary school to the disease.

Those two adults made a choice to endanger their own kids and hundreds of others. They have put dozens of people at increased risk of shingles, an excruciatingly painful condition caused by a) having had chicken pox combined with b) immunosuppressive problems, like cancer, HIV, and old age.

Given that the school was closed for a week, and given the probable people-weeks of suffering directly caused by this, that couple did way more harm than multiple bomb threats did at another school I've been connected to. Not getting a flu shot early enough (or at all, in years with shortages) is quite different than that couple's choices, which in my view ought to have harsh consequences.

If the law doesn't discourage, prevent, or penalize harming little kids en masse, what exactly is it for?
posted by bagel at 12:53 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


I'm curious, does chicken pox have the some of the same immunosuppressive effect as measles? I've been extremely healthy all my life in terms of disease, but I had chickenpox (pre-vaccine) in 5th grade, and in the year after I had the only other two significant illnesses I've ever had: pneumonitis and then an infected lymph gland that put me in the hospital for something like a week.
posted by tavella at 12:59 PM on February 10


You can't conflate anti-vax with global warming denialism.

The former is a bog-standard paranoid style which regulaly infects discourse. Like many such styles, very unsurprising that the most vulnerable are educated and economically comfortable. Challenging received wisdom doesn't come easily to the uneducated; and reality catches up with the poor faster than it does the rich.

Global warming denialism is strictly practical for its practitioners. In the extreme form practiced by the hydrocarbon industry -- it's perfectly rational, if cold-blooded -- a carbon-neutral or -negative society is going to be one in which your assets are deprecated badly. In the modest form practiced by everybody who lives in modern society, it's because disbelieving in the odds of discontinuous catastrophe is one of the most common cognitive defects we have. It's hard to believe that Miami could have to be abandoned or air travel might have to be rationed such that most of us would only rarely be able to travel more than the distance an electric car or train can carry us.
posted by MattD at 1:01 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


I think if doctors and hospitals didn't suck for so many people, we'd be seeing lower refusal rates.
posted by metasarah at 12:11 PM on February 10 [5 favorites +] [!]


Disagree. Being anti-vax is the stance of the privileged, who believe that their cultural capital gives them a special understanding of health and wellness, and the right not to conform. It's the *richest* places with the highest vaccine exemption rates, not the poorest.
posted by schwinggg! at 1:07 PM on February 10 [71 favorites]


feel like I'd be a lot likelier to endorse draconian government health mandates if the physicians consistently spoke from a place of obvious good faith, scientific nuance and clear familiarity with the literature.

Taking your kid in for their shots on the CDC schedule is not a "draconian health mandate." In the first year, it's a couple minutes at the end of the baby health checks that are getting scheduled for other reasons every couple months.

After that, if you're conscientious, it's the flu shot every year (which doesn't even have to be done at the doctor's office, and is now available at every big box drug store or Walmart with a pharmacy). If you're less conscientious, your kid's additional vaccination is limited to a booster shot or a follow-up dose every couple years for something. When your kid starts school, you ask your doctor to fill out a form, confirming that your kid has been vaccinated.

That's it.

In return, you know your kid isn't going to die in horrible agony from tetanus, or have their liver shredded by catching hepatitis B from their college girlfriend. Or, y'know, pass entirely preventable diseases with serious consequences to immunocompromised people, like the elderly, the very young, or people who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:19 PM on February 10 [49 favorites]


Thanks for the thoughtful responses, sciatrix. Again, as I said upthread (twice!), I'm 100% not questioning at all whether on the ground the practice of vaccinating children for measles, mumps and rubella is a good idea from a public-health standpoint (also I totally agree that Wakefield was a charlatan, although I don't see what that has to do with anything). I think my concern is a meta-one as regards the polarization of the issue (as well as the intense moralizing it seems to attract from not-overly-well-informed people on both sides), and the effects that those intense conditions might have on the state of research and information going forward.

I do worry about the increasing prevalence of atopy and other autoimmune issues, especially given the probability of their involving very complex causal mechanisms, likely including multiple environmental and genetic contributing factors, that will be difficult to tease apart with the tools currently available to us. Vaccination practices, in total or as regards a particular vaccine, don't even seem like the likeliest of these factors, although I question whether the current system of vaccine safety surveillance would be capable of registering something like a subtle shift in risk patterns for a particular subset of the population, particularly given the challenges of diagnosing autoimmune conditions in general. [Again, as I said upthread, NOT saying that vaccines cause autoimmune issues, or that vaccines cause anything, or that people shouldn't vaccinate their children for MMR.] But that's neither here nor there; mostly I think we need much more basic research directed toward understanding the mechanisms of immune function and whatever new insults are producing the types of issues we see currently.

My concern is that any political conditions that force people to assert dogmatically not just that parents ought to vaccinate their children, but that all recommended vaccines are risk-free, thoroughly well-understood and self-evidently safe (or else be suspect as an evil anti-scientific denialist) are forcing them to assert something that is not fully supported by the actual research literature. Maybe that doesn't matter in random internet fora, or even for a PCP (although... eesh, surely we could ask them to read a little bit). I do worry that this kind of fundamentalism could distort the future course of research, though, and that's bad. For example, it could plausibly make radioactively unfundable any clinical investigation into autoimmunity that includes vaccination status as a variable (because only crypto-denialists would ask questions like that). It might mean the non-publication or the non-reporting of research discoveries that bear even incidentally on vaccine-adjacent mechanisms, because that might give ammunition to those awful denialists. I should note that I'm feeling especially cynical about the malleability of the process given the recent kerfluffle over HPV research at Cochrane. But in general, I feel as though the medical profession could set a good example here by taking the high road, by being scrupulously measured, nuanced, complex and honest about the limits of their understanding. I also feel as though that that should be all the easier because the bulk of the case for current practices really does seem so solid. And I don't often see that kind of nuance.
posted by gallusgallus at 1:30 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I think if doctors and hospitals didn't suck for so many people, we'd be seeing lower refusal rates.
posted by metasarah at 12:11 PM on February 10 [5 favorites +] [!]

Disagree. Being anti-vax is the stance of the privileged


While white women with money may get better treatment than poor women or WOC, there's not exactly a shortage of shitty treatment for female patients in general going around, especially in the baby-having department.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:31 PM on February 10 [24 favorites]


Widespread vaccination for measles not only drops mortality from measles in children, but it also decreases mortality from a number of other, unrelated childhood diseases. That's because measles has long-term effects on the immune system lasting up to two years, even after the disease is cleared.

Whoa, I did not know that! None of the vaccines (except polio) were available when I was a child, so I not only had measles, but also German measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, and many many rounds of strep, and I've always wondered why I was such a sickly kid when I've been a very health adult. Interesting to think that this might have been a factor.

(Also, having nursed three children through most if not all of the above-mentioned diseases, my mother would for sure have crawled over broken glass to have modern vaccines.)
posted by Kat Allison at 1:42 PM on February 10 [17 favorites]


While white women with money may get better treatment than poor women or WOC, there's not exactly a shortage of shitty treatment for female patients in general going around, especially in the baby-having department.

Then why does anti-vax correlate directly to white race & income? I think the sort of people who reject modern obstetrics are the same ones who reject vaccinations. They're the same thing, not a reaction.
posted by schwinggg! at 1:52 PM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Gallusgallus:

What would constitute evidence that the medical profession was being scrupulously measured, nuanced, complex and honest about the limits of their understanding? How would we know that goal had been achieved?
posted by argybarg at 1:59 PM on February 10 [22 favorites]


So, are these anti-vaxxer parents angry at their own parents for putting them at such risk and having them vaccinated as children?

I just have no patience with anti-vaxxers.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:13 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


So, right off the bat, of course every single child in the world should be vaccinated with every vaccine they can safely have.

Heck, when I was in the third grade, they lined us up in the library and vaccinated us without even informing our parents.

This and the general "Of course they are totally safe, the autism link is bullshit, so it's all 100% safe." attitude are perhaps a little intense. All my vaccines were carried out under parent supervision (my mom's a teacher, she's serious), except for my pre-college meningitis shots. I received no information about possible side-effects, and surprise, I'm one of the (vanishingly, astonishingly) rare people who is deathly allergic to the meningitis vaccine I got. I went back to my work at a physical job. My throat started closing up, I thought I was just getting winded, and I had to go to the ER. I almost died. Never got meningitis tho.

So, yeah, my stance is that every single child who can receive a given vaccine should, but they should get them in a manner that recognizes them as actual medical treatments. They do not cause autism, but they sure can cause other things. If I had been made to wait even 15 or 20 minutes after my shot, they would have hopefully noticed one of the rarer but not unheard-of reactions to a medical treatment I received.

Vaccines are an important public health initiative. Public health is not the same thing as general practice medicine, and it cannot be approached on an individual-by-individual level in the same way.

Is a very important thing to keep in mind when talking about this. If I didn't already understand that vaccines are probably the single greatest health tool we have, my person experience would have pushed me far over the other side, and I'd have actual, person and emotional evidence to support it. The doctor did not tell me it could be at all dangerous. If I came to my favorite site then and now, metafilter, and read a bunch of people calling me a complete and total idiot for being scared of them after that, I'd be pushed further away.

I don't think I could be angrier at someone who knowingly and willingly puts everyone else at risk for illnesses we got thiiiiis close to beating, but I also don't see them as malicious or evil or even stupid (mostly). I think they are scared, confused, worried and stressed (sound familiar, parents?) and misinformed, and anyone with a brain and a lick of experience knows the worst way to change the mind of someone in that state is to scream and insult them. I reserve my pure fire for the bastards who profit off the concept.
posted by neonrev at 2:27 PM on February 10 [16 favorites]


The people who have told me that they don't need to vaccinate their kid because all their kid's classmates are vaccinated are mildly evil, though. Also bad at iterated games.
posted by clew at 2:37 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


I'm with those who can't understand or excuse anti-vax behavior.

But this is a thoughtless analogy:

Anti-vaxx is just a new manifestation of the phenomenon where boomers who worked summers to pay for school want their kids to be in hock for their education until they're 70.

I know a lot of boomers (talkin' 'bout my generation) and I am not aware of a single one of us—let alone the whole fucking generation—who want their kids to be in hock for their education.

I'm guessing anti-vax parents are primarily gen-x (or whatever)—yet we're not condemning the entire age cohort for the behavior of a few because that would be stupid.

So, come on, people, enough with the boomer bashing already.
posted by she's not there at 2:41 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


So, right off the bat, of course every single child in the world should be vaccinated with every vaccine they can safely have.

I'd put some nuance on that - I'd say they should be vaccinated with whatever's on their local vaccine schedule, and supplemented with anything relevant to international travel they're about to do. I presume that the people who develop these schedules do a risk-benefit calculation based on the incidence of the disease and the chances of side effects. I've never imagined the vaccines are zero-risk, just low-risk compared to the alternatives. Indeed, for some individuals that tradeoff looks different (e.g. those with certain allergies), which if anything increases the moral necessity of my remaining fully vaccinated.
posted by eirias at 2:41 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I'll stipulate that many who are concerned about vaccination are stressed, fearful, and do not appreciate or respond well to being questioned or presumed to be stupid.

However, this essentially puts the burden of proof on the rest of us, the medical and scientific community, and other beneficiaries of health policy in a way that feels deeply asymmetric.

In short, if you have legitimate concerns of nuance, you should probably compare those concerns to what you express every time you drive a car, consume food, or take any other action that has both benefits and risks best understood in the aggregate. If you aren't asking the same kinds of questions with the same burden of proof on your Lyft driver (or equivalent), grocery store proprietor, and so on then it still seems like the concerns are at best not scaled to actual risk and at worst willfully ignorant of comparative risk.
posted by abulafa at 2:45 PM on February 10 [31 favorites]


What makes some parents fall for anti-vaccine messaging (Julia Belluz, Vox)
Public health officials may not be hitting on the right morals in their quest to get all children vaccinated.
...

Now researchers are borrowing a theory from social psychology (one that also coincidentally helps explain the rise of Donald Trump) to understand where doctors’ pro-vaccine campaigns may be going wrong. And they’ve discovered that they’re probably emphasizing the wrong things in their messages, as they describe in a study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

The paper, led by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, was designed to tease out which morals parents who were hesitant about vaccines held most dear when making personal decisions, including about vaccinating their kids. The researchers turned to Moral Foundations Theory, an effort by social and cultural psychologists to chart the moral values that are common across cultures in guiding decision-making.

Moral Foundations Theory was widely cited in the aftermath of the election, when the facts alone had trouble explaining the rise of Trump. The theory involves six moral foundations, or “moral taste receptors”: care/harm, authority/subversion, loyalty/betrayal, liberty/oppression, purity/degradation, and fairness/cheating. For different people, different morals resonate more effectively. Conservatives are more likely to respond to appeals to authority and loyalty, for example, while liberals prize fairness.

The Emory authors behind the paper used a standard Moral Foundations Theory questionnaire to survey more than 1,000 parents of children under age 13 who were living in the US, asking them questions about whether something was right or wrong to suss out their values and then determine how important those values were in decision-making. They also asked the parents about their vaccine beliefs. An independent group of researchers, based at Loyola University in Chicago, repeated the survey on another group of American parents.

Together, they found the morals of purity and liberty were most associated with vaccine hesitancy, shedding light on what people who refuse vaccines care about — and what may be holding them back.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:51 PM on February 10 [25 favorites]


If I had been made to wait even 15 or 20 minutes after my shot, they would have hopefully noticed one of the rarer but not unheard-of reactions to a medical treatment I received.

My childrens' first pediatrician did have us wait after every vaccination, and my daughter's second pediatrician did so as well. They're now 22 and 18.
posted by cooker girl at 3:12 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


In recent news tattoo artist and makeup brand owner Kat Von D came out as anti vax with her first child - in part claiming it had to do with veganism. Plus being persecuted for being “openly vegan.” (She has also been accused of antisemitism along with her husband.) It caused - and continued to trigger - a huge back lash and boycott including Instagram comments being filled with comments about it. Plus other makeup “influencers” being boycotted or called out when still using or promoting KVD products and PR packages.

It’s been encouraging to see the backlash but depressinng to see the people supporting it or claiming it’s a “personal choice.” I refuse to purchase any of her products.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:18 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


Heck, when I was in the third grade, they lined us up in the library and vaccinated us without even informing our parents.

This and the general "Of course they are totally safe, the autism link is bullshit, so it's all 100% safe." attitude are perhaps a little intense.


In no way did I mean to imply that I thought this was a GOOD thing! It was a comment on changing times, not an endorsement. I really, really hope nobody else thought I was advocating we go back to the other extreme - there's a long, long list of things that happened "in my day" that I wouldn't wish on successive generations. (Walking to school uphill both ways did nothing to improve my character.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:23 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Vaccines are safe and the autism link is bullshit.
posted by argybarg at 3:26 PM on February 10 [17 favorites]


in fact, I had been wondering whether or not to mention the boy I should have gone to high school with, except our school wasn't wheelchair accessible and he developed some kind of paralysis immediately after a childhood vaccination (I don't remember which one). While I know bad side effects are rare, I wouldn't have blamed his mother if she'd had younger children and was hesitant about vaccinations.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:27 PM on February 10


Our pediatrician refuses to keep clients that refuse vaccines for truly non-medical reasons.

(also heartening: all the kids have grown up believing that the "default" for "Doctor" is female.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:47 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


gallusgallus: "I do worry about the increasing prevalence of atopy and other autoimmune issues, especially given the probability of their involving very complex causal mechanisms, likely including multiple environmental and genetic contributing factors, that will be difficult to tease apart with the tools currently available to us... I do worry that this kind of fundamentalism could distort the future course of research, though, and that's bad. For example, it could plausibly make radioactively unfundable any clinical investigation into autoimmunity that includes vaccination status as a variable..."

So this all seems very subtle and reasonable, but 5 seconds of idle googling reveal study after study in the last decade that use vaccination status as a variable and show that there is no link between autoimmunity and vaccinations:

* Our results provide no evidence that immunisations in the 1st year of life may increase the risk of atopic disease.
* There were no statistically significant effects of early vs delayed BCG on atopy or symptoms of atopic disease.
* Our analysis does not support any association between common childhood immunizations and risk of asthma and atopic disease in middle‐age.

So it's not as though the medical community is unaware of fears like your own about possible links between vaccination and autoimmunity. You claim to be a "well-informed" person on this topic -- what evidence do you have that your concern is reasonable, or that research into these links is being or will be deterred on political grounds?
posted by crazy with stars at 3:48 PM on February 10 [64 favorites]


I think the sort of people who reject modern obstetrics are the same ones who reject vaccinations.

Can you be a little more specific on what you mean by modern obstetrics? Because a lot of practices we used to think of as modern (like unnecessary C-sections and other pathologization of the natural process of childbirth) are - it turns out - bad for women and babies, and stem largely from the misogynistic apathy of (mostly male) 20th century doctors.
posted by splitpeasoup at 3:52 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


Frayed Knot: The anti-vaxx left is every bit as anti-science as the anti-climate change right

1st majorities on the right left and independents support vaccines.

Anti-vax parents: vaccines should not be required (pew) 50% more likely to be republican than democrat (34% vs 22%)

Anti vaccine beliefs more prevalent on right than left
but the lop-sidedness isnt strong.

the idea of vaccines has been successfully tainted, with everyone knowing that some people think they are harmful.

my anecdotal experience in the pacific northwest had been anti-vax is also anti-water fluoridation and chlorination, anti-flu shot, and planes-make-chemtrails. So it might be less about ideology than fear of contaimination, fear that the rising diseases are from chemicals, chemicals everywhere. That fear is left right and center in a world where there are chemicals everywhere and we often here that foods or plastics we thought were safe are now suspect.

As someone who has had bad reactions to statins, i can attest that every medical intervention has a truther/conspiracy skeptic community with similar nonsense.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 3:55 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


in fact, I had been wondering whether or not to mention the boy I should have gone to high school with, except our school wasn't wheelchair accessible and he developed some kind of paralysis immediately after a childhood vaccination (I don't remember which one). While I know bad side effects are rare, I wouldn't have blamed his mother if she'd had younger children and was hesitant about vaccinations.

This is exactly the kind of broken reasoning that leads many to link vaccines to autism. The first signs of autism appear around the same time that children receive their shots. Therefore people assume that one causes the other. It's understandable in that it's a common way that people confuse coincidence and causation, but it's also wrong.

The anti-vaccine movement (as pointed out several times earlier, started by one guy who lied about it for money) has seized on this coincidence to sow doubt in the minds of parents. Part of the reason why this works is that we don't really know what causes autism or even exactly what autism is. This leaves parents who have children with autism, or that worry about having children with autism, feeling particularly vulnerable and powerless. Linking the two things, or linking vaccines with other childhood maladies, gives some parents a sense that they have some sort of lever to pull that can protect their children.
posted by runcibleshaw at 3:57 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


What I desire for most rejecters-of-modern-medicine is that they have some cause to spend time on Wikipedia exploring 18th and 19th century European history, and see how the people who by our standards had almost unimaginable relative wealth, power and privilege -- the literal kings and dukes and field marshals and holders of whole number percentages of their entire country's agricultural output -- regularly had under half their children live to adulthood, and themselves routinely died suddenly and (presumably painfully) in their 40s, 50s and 60s. That an ordinary middle class person can expect to live to their 80s with a little luck and still have all their children survive them -- is a friggin' miracle.
posted by MattD at 3:58 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


If my remarks dont make it clear I support manditory vaccines for public health, likewise the chloronation and fluridation of municipal water. I oppose air-travel because of global warming, not the condensation trails of water, and statins clearly reduce mortality in those who have CVD and have had a first heart attack. If i could tolerate them i wouls take them.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 3:59 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I am of the opinion that Andrew Wakefield, who instigated one of the initial fear reactions to vaccination, should be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He tried to discredit the MMR because he wanted to sell his own measles vaccine, and for that alone he should replace Brutus in the mouth of Satan*. He has inspired pain and suffering for people least able to resist it: the children whose only flaw is having parents of too much credibility for ridiculous ideas.

* If you do not understand this, please go read the Inferno portion of the Divine Comedy.
posted by mephron at 4:20 PM on February 10 [24 favorites]


my anecdotal experience in the pacific northwest had been anti-vax is also anti-water fluoridation and chlorination, anti-flu shot, and planes-make-chemtrails. So it might be less about ideology than fear of contaimination, fear that the rising diseases are from chemicals, chemicals everywhere.

Agreed. My experience in the Pacific NW, or at least the snapshot of opinions I get from my facebook feed, is that anti-vax tendencies are far more correlated with anti-fluoride than climate change. As stated above, I'm pretty sure this is "because chemicals" more than anything.
posted by hopeless romantique at 4:20 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


So many comments here assume that anti-vaccine ppl are mostly left, like it’s the left’s blind spot in the same way that climate change or many other issues are for the right.

I’d like to push back against that. What makes people think that the antivax movement is a liberal thing? Cause that’s not what the data seems to show, as far as I can tell.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:27 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


All the people that drive Prius’ with “coexist” stickers right next to anti-vax slogans. (I’m kidding.)

I only have anecdotal data about hippies being anti-vax based on my anecdotal observations of them also being anti-fluoride and pro-crystal healing and really obsessed with chemtrails. This is mostly a stereotype and broad generalization, of course, so I wouldn’t count any of this as definitive, especially with the links posted above. I think a lot of people in Portland became fairly miffed with the anti-fluoride lobby and how strong and loud people were against fluoride.

Article from 2013 about an anti-fluoride meeting: As the crowd files out, it's hard not to be struck by the variety of the opponents—gutter punks, yoga moms, septuagenarian military veterans. The mix reflects Clean Water Portland's diverse support base: The political action committee's roster includes the Pacific Green Party, the Oregon Progressive Party, the Organic Consumers Association, the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and libertarian groups like Cascade Policy Institute.

The anti-fluoride vote was a conglomeration of libertarian and progressive groups, and it appears that these are the same types of people that are anti-vax.
posted by gucci mane at 4:43 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


I’d like to push back against that. What makes people think that the antivax movement is a liberal thing? Cause that’s not what the data seems to show, as far as I can tell.

A lot of the "public faces" of the movement (McCarthy, Kennedy, various Hollywood types) read as liberal - that's probably part of it.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:57 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


My personal experience is rooted in the community I live in (see above). I know many anti-vaxxers who count themselves as very liberal. One, in fact, is in danger of being asked not to post to the Facebook front of the climate action group I run because she keeps posting vaccine-“questioning” links — because, to her, it’s about science as “skepticism” and corporations destroying our health. She also posts some very sane links on climate activism and was a big Bernie supporter.

I’m sure there are right-wing anti-vaxxers, and political oddballs as well. But leftist anti-vaccine thinking is the real deal and not to be denied.
posted by argybarg at 5:05 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Anti-vaxers should talk to people pushing past their 50s.

As a small kid in my neighborhood, pretty much every kid got chicken pox, measles, German measles (Rubella), and the mumps. The vaccines didn't exist yet. We all got seriously sick, each time. Often, kids would end up in the hospital. But I remember that it was the German measles that really scared the adults. If someone was pregnant when German measles was going around, there was a good chance she'd lose her child. (Having gotten it before doesn't always guarantee immunity, which is why herd immunity is so important). I remember times where unborn children were lost.

These vaccines are miracles and prevent quite a bit of suffering and death.
posted by eye of newt at 5:28 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


What makes people think that the antivax movement is a liberal thing?

Probably because the hotbeds of antivax are almost exclusively liberal leaning areas.
posted by Cosine at 5:33 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


We’re going to get a “No True Scotsman” theme with the left on this one. We should resist that.
posted by argybarg at 5:38 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I am allergic to the MMR vaccine (anaphylactic response, circa 1973,) and my doctor at the time told my mother I shouldn't get the rest of the series or any of the boosters. Those records traveled with me to the military, where all my vaccines were updated, and I was excused from the MMR.

Recently, I asked my doctor if I could have the MMR vaccine now. She researched and said it had not changed enough for her to recommend it.

I have an immune disorder, and I do school visits. And in the last five years, I've gotten more and more leery of doing elementary and middle school visits because of anti-vaxxers. I am scared shitless that I'm going to get the measles at a school visit. Chances are, I'll end up in the hospital with it, if I do.

It's frustrating, but if general vaccination rates drop much more, I'm going to have to quit going to schools and talking to kids about writing and books and storytelling, and that breaks my heart. I rely on herd immunity, and year by year, I can rely on it less and less.
posted by headspace at 5:42 PM on February 10 [66 favorites]


I should note that I'm feeling especially cynical about the malleability of the process given the recent kerfluffle over HPV research at Cochrane.

No. That won't stand, gallusgallus. You don't get to sow doubt there.

What went down at Cochrane:
  • Gøtzsche, a senior founding bloke member (“sfbm”) of Cochrane Collaboration becomes convinced that he alone is the voice for evidence-based medicine purism, and that Cochrane has lost its way
  • sfbm is warned about using Cochrane letterhead for distributing his personal points of view
  • sfbm publishes an article in (it pains me to types these shameful words) The Daily Mail stating that “Prescription pills are Britain’s third biggest killer … Why do doctors hand them out like Smarties?”, stating his links to Cochrane and expressing support for some toff with too many cars kid's evidently astroturf foundation Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry.
    (here's the link, but danger will robinson it's a racist rag and friends don't let friends set live links to it: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3234334/Prescription-pills-Britain-s-biggest-killer-effects-drugs-taken-insomnia-anxiety-kill-thousands-doctors-hand-like-Smarties.html)
  • Cochrane publishes a study on HPV vaccine shortly thereafter, and sfbm and his group launch an attack on its purity
  • Cochrane pursue legal advice, and retain an independent QC to review the situation
  • QC finds sfbm's conduct out of order; sfbm is asked to leave the board of Cochrane
  • sfbm and his fragile male ego leave the building, along with a few of his buddies.
Cochrane's “view from nowhere” is very difficult to maintain, and Gøtzsche was jeopardizing that. He had to go. I mean, is a book called Deadly Psychiatry And Organised Denial indicative of a dispassionate actor?
posted by scruss at 5:54 PM on February 10 [58 favorites]


"I understand you're angry. So am I. But that's an incredibly bad idea. If I forget to get my optional yearly flu vaccine and give someone the flu, who then subsequently dies, should I be charged with manslaughter?"

I've talked about this before, but I STRONGLY feel non-vaxxers should be subject to the same liability program that vaxxers are. Every vaccine you get (in the US), you pay 75 cents into the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). Vaccination is incredibly important for public health but, yeah, it sometimes injures people who receive the vaccine, so the government created a special liability system for vaccine injuries, that reliably provides funding for payouts, and reliably provides payouts to people who are injured and reliably protects vaccine manufacturers from unfettered liability from rare injuries so they can afford to keep making vaccines. You don't even have to prove your injury came from the vaccine! If you get a known side-effect within X days of getting the vaccine, you get the payout! That system comes to 75 cents per dose per vaccine, and pays adequately to everyone who is vaccine injured.

So what I propose is that anti-vaxxers pay into a similar system. We'll exclude people with medical exemptions, although that exemption will now be provided by a state public health official and not a random doctor. But anyone else who wants to skip a vaccine, because of religious or philosophical objections or because of imaginary medical problems, can do so, BUT they have to pay into a fund per skipped dose, which takes into account the public health cost response, tort payouts for deaths and injuries, missed school and work, etc. One of the big problems is that the cost of vaccine injuries is borne by people who actually vaccinate but the cost of people who don't vaccinate is borne by everyone. So let's shift that.

To quote from my past self: "So a couple of years ago I worked this out for California, which has pretty good vaccination statistics and had recently had a measles epidemic (2008 maybe?). I looked at the CDC's estimates of the costs of medical care for all the patients under the age of 18, the costs to the state government for controlling the epidemic, and I threw in a reasonable (small) compensation amount for the two (I think) children who died based on lawsuits for wrongful death in other sorts of cases. Then I divided that total number by California's estimate of the total number of unvaccinated children in the state of California, to work out what it costs the state of California per unvaccinated child in the case of a very small measles outbreak. You'll be happy to know that you could acquire a Certificate of Non-Vaccination for Measles for the low, low price of $10,000 per skipped measles dose."

That cost would obviously be a lot higher in Washington's current outbreak. The beauty of the system is, the fewer people who vaccinate, the higher the cost for the skipped-dose certificate gets, as the cost of controlling outbreaks gets higher and higher the lower herd immunity gets. If herd immunity is pretty high, you pay $10,000 per skipped vaccine. If herd immunity gets lower and lower, the cost per skipped vaccine goes up and up because the cost of controlling outbreaks and compensating individuals and families impacted by those outbreaks gets higher and higher.

I mean the good news is you won't get sued for manslaughter for killing a kid in your child's kindergarten class, because every non-vaxxer in the state of Washington (or wherever) will be paying towards that death. You only have to come up with $10,000 or $50,000 or whatever to put towards the financial costs of your bad decision that the rest of us have to bear.

And I think it'll make people make WAY BETTER DECISIONS about the risk levels of vaccinating versus not vaccinating, since vaccinating costs you 75 cents in risk, while not vaccinating costs you $10,000 when everyone else is vaccinating, and maybe $50,000 when you've convinced a bunch of other idiots to stop vaccinating. If you can't appropriately understand the risk differential between 75 cents and $50,000, well, God help you.


"Is there correlation between anti-vaxx and resisting other skin-crossing medication? Are those parents more likely to make an asthmatic kid live without a puffer?"

I'd be curious to have someone study this from an anthropological point of view -- basically every set of ancient scriptures has strong purity issues around "things that compromise the integrity of the skin" (like leprosy) and "breaking the integrity of the skin" appears to be a suuuuuuuuuuper fundamental human fear such that it appears in basically every ancient scripture as incredibly taboo. It'd be worth knowing that, for example, people are totally down with the oral polio and oral rotavirus vaccine, but freak out about the injected MMR vaccine. That might suggest avenues for education or even avenues for vaccine development. But if you KNEW that giving people shots made them freak out for these super-visceral fundamental human reasons, it might help direct educational efforts around vaccines.

Or it might be a total bust that doesn't help at all! But I'd be very interested to see studies about people's vaccine hesitancy and how it relates to oral vs. injected vaccines, and then very interested to see anthropologically-aware education programs relating to injected vaccine.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:58 PM on February 10 [72 favorites]


Mr 3 piffed his head into a climbing frame last week and we had to take him to the local ED to be glued back together. I got a notification from the health department today that there was an active measles case in the waiting room when we were there. Imagine my joy.

We are all immunised but I'll be paranoid for a few days yet.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:01 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I would imagine that if your older child had a rare response to a vaccine leading to paralysis that your other children would be eligible for a medical exemption.
posted by jeather at 6:03 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I was one of the first children to get the Salk vaccine,and we were called Polio Pioneers, and a big deal was made of it.

My pops was one of the last children to get polio. I think he said the vaccine became available within a few weeks of his getting sick. But he was otherwise one of the luckiest, with only some paralysis and, y'know, surviving at all. He's had a hard time with post polio syndrome as well. I've never taken vaccines lightly and I talk about it with my daughter too, so that she grows up understanding. (Even the differences of vaccines from my childhood to hers are amazing. I had the flu almost every year until I was a teen and a miserable round of chicken pox. She's never had the flu.) We're in this place where we could be getting safer and safer and it is so hard to understand people making the choice to keep their kids in danger.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:05 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


I do think (as a pro-vaxxer) that they way narratives of birth are framed in the US definitely does have an impact on pro-vaccine rates. If you start off on the natural birth track, most of your readings will have you thinking that your desires are in opposition to the medical establishment. You go into the dr.'s office and you get all these recommendations that are bunk or at least pointless at best (like avoiding lunch meat because of listeria). Then, add on the trauma of a birth that probably didn't go how Ina May Gaskin said it should, and you now have a parent who doesn't trust their doctors. I don't think you can assess anti-vax perspectives without unpacking the role of the whole natural birth movement.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:06 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


Can you be a little more specific on what you mean by modern obstetrics? Because a lot of practices we used to think of as modern (like unnecessary C-sections and other pathologization of the natural process of childbirth) are - it turns out - bad for women and babies, and stem largely from the misogynistic apathy of (mostly male) 20th century doctors.
posted by splitpeasoup at 3:52 PM on February 10 [3 favorites +] [!]


Homebirth with an unqualified midwife or for high-risk pregnancies like breech; going to 43 weeks because you believe induction is bad; false horror stories about epidurals; breastmilk instead of antibiotics ... all lead pretty directly to declining Vitamin K and the Hep C vaccine after birth.

Infant and maternal mortality are caused by too little modern medicine, not too much.
posted by schwinggg! at 6:15 PM on February 10 [19 favorites]


GET. INTO. THE. SEA.
posted by sourcequench at 6:28 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


But parents who support immunizations can be belittling. On one side, they make you afraid, and the other side they make you feel stupid, and you get stuck in this middle where you feel beat up by both sides

Some days I read metafilter because my life is anodyne and I forget what outrage feels like. This isn't one of those days. I'm sorry you feel stupid, only-recently-vaccinating parent, but I really don't know how to sugarcoat, "Your children, and others, will die of medieval diseases unless you get this shot."
posted by saysthis at 6:42 PM on February 10 [47 favorites]


But I remember that it was the German measles that really scared the adults.

When I was young - pre-MMR vaccine - my mother took me to play with little friends who had rubella so that I would have had it well before I was of child-bearing age. I shared this with a much-younger friend recently; she could not have looked more aghast if I had told her my mother had me bled using leeches.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 7:04 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


People keep responding that vaccines are safe and important. This is accurate. Some people can't be vaccinated; they have cancer, they have life-threatening allergies. There is a tiny risk to vaccination. Everybody who can should take that very tiny risk to protect the people who can't be vaccinated. It's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do to protect your kid and kids who can't be vaccinated.

Jenny McCarthy and other anti-vaxxers are arrogant. No, Jenny, you are not better informed than the CDC. No, public health workers are *not* in the pocket of Big Pharma.

I grew up with somebody who's blind because her Mom had rubella, I knew people who went to sanitariums with TB, and lots of people who had polio. My step-father had mild paralysis on 1 side from polio, had post-polio syndrome later in life. My brother had diptheria. These diseases(except TB) are all avoidable now. I had chicken pox and now I have to worry about shingles, and my son doesn't have to because he could get vaccinated. Vaccines are not just safe and important, they are a huge gift. The day we went to the doctor and my grandson got his 1st vaccines was a day to celebrate because he could be protected from harm. I got my shots renewed because Tetanus needs regular boosters, and if you're going to be around a baby, it's good to get the Whooping Cough booster. It was fantastic because I could do something to keep him safe. Also, that time I got the rusty dirty nail in my foot, right through my Tevas, I didn't get Tetanus.

I am legit very thankful that vaccines protect me and my family and you and everybody else. It's a fucking miracle.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 PM on February 10 [30 favorites]


It's basically an expansion of Mr. Know-it-some's point above, but a I'm a big fan of Maggie Koerth-Baker's take on anti-vax parents from a few years back.

Essentially, she says that it's counter-productive to see the movement as a lack of rationality or even information on the parents' part, and that it'd be better if public health officials and vaccination advocates squared up to the real challenge: the different values behind the parents' decisions.

(I and Koerth-Baker are both pro-vaccine, by the way.)
posted by col_pogo at 7:40 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I disagree. It is non-rationality. Increasing herd immunity isn't the benefit of vaccines. Not getting the fatal or life altering disease is. But, because of vaccines, few parents have seen the death and destruction that these diseases used to have. So, potential damaging side effect > some disease no one even gets anymore is the disconnect.

The fact that not vaccinating your child might lead to someone else's death not being an important "value" for a parent just means John Galt is alive and well.

Shun them, ban them from schools, day cares, ERs, etc.
posted by Windopaene at 8:07 PM on February 10 [16 favorites]


I was big into mystery stories as a child and recall reading a load of Agatha Christie at a young age; I certainly wasn’t thinking about vaccines at the time but when I first heard about vaccinations for mild diseases, the ‘secondary’ effects of vaccination, things like herd immunity, &c I immediately thought of the story of hers (spoiler alert) in which some thoughtless ninny with German measles goes out to meet her favourite actress and shake her hand ... and in so doing transmits the disease, causing the child the woman was carrying to be born disabled.

That bit of the story stuck with me for years, and if I were ever sceptical of being vaccinated, or felt it was personally unnecessary, that portrait of entitled hubris would be more than enough to get me over it.

(I did have chicken pox as a kid (and my mother was one of those parents, who tried to send me to school anyway only for the school to have to spell out to her why this was unacceptable), and TIL this means I’m a candidate for shingles in the future? Well ... yay, I guess. *sigh*)
posted by myotahapea at 8:22 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


Shun them, ban them from schools, day cares, ERs, etc.

Not only is this not a good solution, it's not a solution at all. In order for this to be effective you'd have to ban them from all public spaces where immunocomprised or unvaccinatable people might be. So that would mean all public spaces. You see how we're now back at the imprison-them-all scenario? Requiring immunization for school attendance worked because it brought herd immunity up to acceptable levels. Banning people from places doesn't fix that. You need to incentivize vaccination at the same time you disincentivize not vaccinating to increase rates. I don't know what those incentives are, but a total public ban ain't it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:24 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my brother had a bad case of chicken pox, and every few years he gets a shingles flare-up.
posted by scruss at 8:24 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


(I did have chicken pox as a kid (and my mother was one of those parents, who tried to send me to school anyway only for the school to have to spell out to her why this was unacceptable), and TIL this means I’m a candidate for shingles in the future? Well ... yay, I guess. *sigh*)

At least you're in good company with almost everyone alive who was born before the 1990s? And, on the bright side, there's a shingles vaccine.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:34 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


Where are the people who are not vaccinating?

CBS news

Paywalled journal with non-paywalled county map google image accessible

Yes, there are liberal areas with low vacination rates, and conservative areas also. This is a bi-partisan problem. I dont have a fast solution like: make them pay for epidemics or charge them with manslaughter or tell them they are dumb.

I might support excluding unvaccinated from public education for the safety of others, just as we might quarantine students with infectious diseases... but i didn't support excluding HIV+ students from public education. And i think that if I ponder this issue longer and with feedback, i might be convinced that excluding non-infected but non-vaccinated children from public schools is probably disciminatory and counterproductive.

When people do not trust the establishment, the establsihment has a hard time forcing trust and ,compliance.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 8:35 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


You don't catch HIV by breathing the same air as an HIV+ person.

You do catch measles that way.
posted by aramaic at 8:42 PM on February 10 [47 favorites]


I would wager the majority of non-vaccinators do not have 182 food allergies and auto-immune problems. So, acting like this should give everyone who doesn't vaccinate is garbage. By their choices, these parents are choosing to not be a part of society, and to endanger others by their actions.

So I'm okay with excluding them from society. I'd also wager if you did have an immunocompromised child, you wouldn't want them anywhere near non-vaccinated children.

Looking at outlier cases to give a pass to anyone who chooses not to vaccinate strikes me as "just asking questions", per another commenter in the thread.

Not sure why anti-vax makes me so angry. But boy does it, and I will argue endlessly about it. So, stepping away, (until someone else posts why there are valid reasons for not vaccinating, probably)
posted by Windopaene at 8:44 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


As per myotahapea's link, the actress character in Christie's The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side/The Mirror Crack'd was inspired by Gene Tierney:

"In June 1943, while pregnant with her first child, Tierney came down with German measles, contracted during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Congenital rubella syndrome was passed on to the baby. Little Daria was born prematurely, weighing only 3 pounds, 2 ounces, and requiring a total blood transfusion. The infant was deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and severely developmentally disabled. The child ultimately was institutionalised in a psychiatric hospital.

"About two years after the child was born, Tierney was approached by a female fan for an autograph at a garden party. The fan revealed that during WWII she had sneaked out of quarantine while sick with German measles to visit the Hollywood Canteen and meet Tierney.This incident, as well as the circumstances under which the information was imparted to the actress, is similar to the first pregnancy of Marina Gregg in the story."
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:45 PM on February 10 [33 favorites]


Hanging Wakefield would have saved a lot of bother.

Indeed.  I genuinely feel his fault in all this rises to Crimes Against Humanity level.  This entire fiasco of a movement can be dated to a paper he wrote, a paper in which he falsified data.  And he got it published—knowing it was bullshit—with intention to profit to the tune of 43 million pounds a year via tests related to the scare he'd induced, and all of it due to a paper he'd gotten published using falsified data.

This is James Bond villain level evil here, and no one ever spells it out as such.  It's such over-the-top evil it wouldn't feel believable in a novel, but here we are.  The Anti-vaccine movement has been hoodwinked, had, scammed, what-have-you by an evil charlatan, and it feels like no one ever spells out in plain words just how blatant a scam it was. He lied about vaccines and autism in order to make money off your fear.  He's a con-man, full stop.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 8:46 PM on February 10 [48 favorites]


I think we pro-vaxxers in this thread are talking about two different things: our own reactions to 'philosophical' anti-vaxxers, i.e. the fiery anger they prompt in us, versus the best way to try to persuade them to change their views and behavior, which (as cited multiple places above) isn't by indulging our anger at them. (Which of course makes me that much angrier, that I have to be mature and calm and disciplined, to have any hope of mitigating their childish, irrational stupidity. I know, I know: breathe...)
posted by PhineasGage at 8:51 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


I disagree. It is non-rationality. Increasing herd immunity isn't the benefit of vaccines. Not getting the fatal or life altering disease is.

Uh. Sure, but if herd immunity reduces the rate of those fatal/life-altering diseases sufficiently, and vaccines carry a tiny risk or unpleasantness--why bother? Essentially, these parents are parasitizing the herd immunity in order to take the advantages (not getting the disease) without paying the costs (becoming vaccinated oneself or vaccinating one's children). It is an explicitly selfish decision, but as long as these cheaters are rare, they can get away with it without penalty: herd immunity is already high. When they become common, we get problems.

This is basic game theory, and it explains why someone might make a selfish decision that harms other people (directly or indirectly) in the name of benefits or avoided costs to their own families or selves. Whether or not those costs are perceived or real doesn't actually matter in their mental calculus.
posted by sciatrix at 8:52 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


I understand sciatrix.

It is still absolutely unacceptable...
posted by Windopaene at 8:54 PM on February 10


Yes, but it is rational unacceptable behavior. From a harm reduction perspective, it helps to figure out why people are acting the way they are so that you can disincentivize them. (For example, if the perceived risks of vaccination are driving people, public education is helpful. If the difficulty of accessing vaccines is driving people and the rest of it is a fig leaf, you can make accessing vaccines easier or make avoiding them more difficult.)

I really like public health, but I totally acknowledge that I really like public health because the big-picture how-do-I-change-small-things-to-make-big-overall-positive-effects type of work pleases me. Public health really is about creating structures that make good health easier for as many people as possible to access.

I'd make an educated guess that a good majority of parents who opt out do so for legit health reasons because the vaccination rates, for the most part, give or take, accurately reflect the percentage of the population who are healthy enough to receive full schedule with no problem no concerns.

lol. In many of the areas we're talking about here, that is manifestly not the case. And hasn't been for the past decade.
posted by sciatrix at 8:59 PM on February 10 [14 favorites]


We’re under a mandate to get a vaccination or fill out a big pile of paperwork explaining why we didn’t, AND then required to wear a face mask for the entirety of flu season. The union fought it, but lost, because we work in a goddamn hospital serving sick, elderly, and often immunocompromised people. WTF.

Same here. I worked this summer for a foundation that is part of a big medical system and we were all required to get the vaccine or wear masks. I was shocked at the number of people who resisted it at every step. They could not opt out--shot or mask or no work.
posted by etaoin at 9:13 PM on February 10


[Several comments removed, reload the page and back up and let's cut it out with the "just google some non-specific studies" line of argument entirely on any of this in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 PM on February 10 [7 favorites]


[A few more removed; please reload. OnefortheLast, give this thread a pass.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


I live in NZ, we were lined up at school and given the polio vaccine (mid 60sish) it wasn't an academic exercise, my grandmother had had polio, wore a leg brace her whole life.

My own kids (in the US) missed the chicken pox vaccine by days ... is they caught it the week before it was released.

My kids (and me) may get shingles, but none of us will suffer the way that my grandmother did ... But these antivaxers with their home grown mythologies in place of science and history threaten us all ... I guess this is yet another case of "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
posted by mbo at 9:41 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Mbo it hadn't changed much in the 90s/2000s. I remember being lined up at primary school and intermediate to get MMR and I had the polio vaccine at intermediate as well. At uni they started with the menegiacocal B vaccine.

I didn't get the chicken pox one I assume because it hadn't been released or made compulsory yet...
posted by poxandplague at 9:57 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm somewhat worried about this personally. When I transferred to SFstate from City College they had to review my immunizations. And they actually lost my records a little bit for the MMR vaccine. (and two others I think) They did a titer test and it was unequivocal? Like the doctor said I *might* have the antibodies but I might not- so I had to get re-immunized. Now my mom, who keeps meticulous records eventually found proof in her own records that indeed I had the MMR right on schedule. SO I might be one of the rare people on whom the MMR vaccine doesn't convey much or any immunity. So down here in the semi-crunchy Bay Area, I am worried that people from the ultra-crunchy PNW are going to blow up this measles thing so high it'll spread down here and then I'll get it.

In other words I am very for Eyebrow's plan.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:02 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Weirdly enough, when I transferred to SF State from City College 2 years ago I also had to have an immunization review. I'm in my 30's and my mom's house burned down in the early 2000's so I didn't have records, but my mom absolutely vaccinated me on schedule. When I got my titers they were all good except for measles, so I had to get that again. It cost me way more than I really wanted to spend to get those titers done but every 6 months or so we get a fun alert that someone with active measles rode BART for a week and I ride BART every day so it was absolutely worth it.
posted by primalux at 10:26 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


We were a military family that moved around the normal amount, and somehow the record of my last MMR shot (series of 3) got lost. So every time we moved, I got the damn shot or whole series again. Yay. Went to work at a daycare at 18, MMR again.

I'm 45 now and jealous of all the vaccines that came out between my school years and now. I genuinely wish I had all of them, but I am out of the age range for most so my doctor just laughs.

I'm super eager to get the Shingles vax, because I've seen three people get it and it put the fears in me, I tell ya. Can't get it til you're 50 though apparently.
posted by taterpie at 11:09 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


these parents are parasitizing the herd immunity

I used to think this was what was going on. Now there’s an active measles outbreak in my state, which means the math has changed significantly, but parents don’t seem to be changing their minds and rushing to the doctors office. Maybe cognitive dissonance?
posted by bq at 12:38 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


This entire fiasco of a movement can be dated to a paper he wrote

As someone who caught whooping cough in the early 1980s thanks to a previous outbreak of anti-vaxers, no it can't. He fanned the flames (and the media turned a small campfire into a wildfire) but it's not just Wakefield. Not that he doesn't have a lot of blood on his hands.
posted by Francis at 2:15 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


Probably because the hotbeds of antivax are almost exclusively liberal leaning areas.
I'm really cautious about reading too much into this. While it certainly seems to be true in the USA (which is after all the context of this metafilter post), it's not necessarily true in other areas where antivax beliefs are a problem.

For example, there's mention upthread of how kids don't get polio any more. But of course despite valiant efforts we've failed to make this the second disease to be outright eliminated. In Nigeria, a conspiracy theory about vaccines led to its resurgence. And I think you'd struggle to claim this sort of thing was down to the same sorts of social groupings and their concerns as in the USA.

Conspiracy theories and anti-science ideas crop up pretty much everywhere and focussing too much on the details of this particular outbreak of nonsense may not be the best long term way to handle it, and (if you'll excuse the obvious re-use of terminology) may not lead to the best way to innoculate people against anti-vaccination ideas?
posted by edd at 2:57 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


In Nigeria, a conspiracy theory about vaccines led to its resurgence.
There's conspiracy theories in Pakistan too, and Polio. Speaking of crimes against humanity.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:28 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I have to say, as an autist, sometimes it's hard not to take it personally when whole swaths of the population are scared out of their minds at the prospect of having me for a child.

Were there issues? There were issues. But I'm pleased to report I've gone an entire decade without biting anyone. Even people who deserve it. Were there tantrums? There were tantrums. Truth is, sometimes there still are. But I've never been anti-social or oppositionally defiant enough to be arrested, beaten up, or doxxed.

It is my contention that out of all the kinds of assholes in the world, I'm the kind society can tolerate. Sometimes it even works out nicely, like when one's autistic super-power can be wielded on the correct target, yielding super-results.

I'm teachable, like most apes. I've improved. Some people even enjoy having me around.

As a homeschooling parent I ended up in conversations more than once where someone said to me about vaccines, "...And risk having an autistic child? I don't think so! Ha, ha ha. Nothing's worth that terrible danger. Can you even imagine?"

My siblings and I range from "employed and typing on MetaFilter!" all the way across the spectrum to "probably won't ever live independently." Despite these challenges I would be hard-pressed to pick which of us should not exist.

TL;DR? It's odd sometimes when monkeys say they're rescuing their kid from highly successful medical interventions in order to minimize any chance, in their minds, that their kid would turn out like me.

Charitably, it's rude. Less charitably, it's ableist. And ultimately, it's weaponized ignorance.
posted by Construction Concern at 6:42 AM on February 11 [75 favorites]


I'm really cautious about reading too much into this. While it certainly seems to be true in the USA (which is after all the context of this metafilter post), it's not necessarily true in other areas where antivax beliefs are a problem.

I think this splits less on US partisan political lines (and is certainly a problem outside the US as well, so let's not make it all about the US necessarily) than it does for people who are enamoured of the various products and services of the various tentacles of the non-evidence-based "wellness" industry.

I'd contend that it's down to the penetration of "alternative medicine" into the culture generally - it's very hard to get away from the messaging about it, and it's everywhere. Practitioners of homeopathy, naturopathy, and other "wellness" scams - and their various celebrity endorsers/backers who are rather flush - are primary vectors for the anti-vaccination contagion. They purport to offer "vaccination alternatives" and "ways to boost your immune system naturally" and so on.

When people are marinating in this sort of disinformation and misinformation, bad ideas can take hold pretty rapidly.

People upthread have mentioned that doctors and public health authorities are getting some of their messaging wrong, and maybe that is part of the problem.

Opinion: What You Believe about “Science Denial” May Be All Wrong:

Scientists should receive more institutional support, training, and career incentives to engage in proactive communication with the public. And when we do speak out, we must remember that we represent not only ourselves, but our institutions, and science as a whole. We should resist the temptation to engage with trolls, or become them ourselves by berating “non-believers.” Ridicule will not foster trust.

It's a good thought, although I give a total pass to a former coworker of mine who was old enough to have contracted polio as a child. Watching her give it to people who said they weren't going to vaccinate their kids was a pretty entertaining blood sport.

But, an even bigger part of the equation, as I see it, is that public health authorities are significantly outspent by the "wellness"/pseudoscience industries in terms of marketing, or at the very least can't begin to approximate their reach and influence. I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop fraud farm has just signed a deal for a Netflix "docu-series."

*headdesk*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:31 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


We absolutely know the risk profile of the MMR vaccine. We absolutely have safety testing for the vaccine. We absolutely track both the safety and efficacy of all kinds of vaccines.

Yeah, I work in an FDA-regulated industry, and the agency absolutely requires extensive evidence of safety and efficacy before approving anything for use in humans. As a US Representative, Rep. Kennedy can be expected to know this fact, so he is, just like Wakefield before him, deliberately lying.
posted by Gelatin at 7:54 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


As a US Representative, Rep. Kennedy can be expected to know this fact.

RFK Jr. is not in Congress. He's a lawyer at law firm Morgan & Morgan, which advertises extensively on late-night TV. You're thinking, perhaps, of his nephew, US Rep Joe Kennedy III, who is very much in favor of vaccinations.
posted by adamg at 7:58 AM on February 11 [14 favorites]


Scientists should receive more institutional support, training, and career incentives to engage in proactive communication with the public.

Personally, rather than expecting working scientists to do several jobs at once--research, teaching, public outreach, administrative work, mentorship, grant-hunting--for increasingly limited paychecks, I would love it if we as a society would agree to fund dedicated outreach and communication specialists who are genuinely good at reaching out to and educating the public and could have the support and funding necessary to do that. As it is, the incentives seem to be another thing exhausted researchers are asked to do along with their other jobs, often indifferently, in order to access resources for the jobs they actually train to do.

Let scientists specialize! Give people paid support specifically to do this! I'm so frustrated with this topic, particularly as someone in a field that tends to emphasize this outreach--there is so much unpaid work demanded, and I find it tends to settle uncompensated onto the shoulders of junior women. If we value this, pay to have people dedicate their full attention to it!
posted by sciatrix at 8:03 AM on February 11 [40 favorites]


I wonder...My entire life, I was mystified by people who were against vaccines. I am fully vaccinated and knew throughout my pregnancy that my daughter would be vaccinated. So it was a shock to my post-natal depressed self when I found myself reluctant to take her in for the second jabs of her schedule (I did, but only after step-by-step thinking of the obligations I had to her health and herd immunity).

It's an idle thought but compelling to me: could a lot of the reluctance to vaccines vanish if the vaccine delivery was painless? After all, we're trying to convince parents who love their babies as much we love ours to listen to them be hurt and then feverish and growlly for something that seems imaginary or unlikely. It sucks for a new parent, and I bet I could have been convinced I was a better advocate for my daughter if it meant avoiding vaccines (and her immediate pain) while I was in that terrible, depressed state.
posted by katiecat at 8:04 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


People upthread have mentioned that doctors and public health authorities are getting some of their messaging wrong, and maybe that is part of the problem.

One challenge is that we are often relying on doctors to be the primary advocates. As noted up thread, persuasion is not what doctors are trained in.

I have a close relative who is a neonatal intensivist - that is, she takes care of the babies who are in the ICU due to whooping cough, measles, etc - and she has seen so many die. Obviously, she is absolutely adamant about the importance of vaccines for everyone who can safely get them. But her manner of advocating for them would not be convincing to anyone who wasn't already pro-vaccine (as her whole family is: a lot work in public health/medicine, and they know her).

We chatted once about this, and I expressed that what we really need to do is to engage marketing experts and figure out how to 'sell' vaccines. She didn't really understand why people didn't just listen to doctors, but (to be honest) a lot of us are contrary and doctors can be really bossy. If you don't have complete trust in them to start, their manner can really put your back up. (Other irony: her brother is a social psychologist & professor of marketing, and probably could have explained the flaws in current strategies from the medical community).

This isn't reasonable, but it's real - and calling it unreasonable won't make it go away. The anti-vaxxers have a compelling narrative for many people, and the public health community needs to create similarly compelling narratives in favour of vaccines. We probably need more than one compelling narrative, to speak to different audiences (the skeptics, the 'natural is best', the vaccines are corporate vs vaccines are government interference types).

Frankly, I find the existing narrative of "children were paralyzed and people died" pretty damn convincing - but I'm both very familiar with pre-modern child mortality and actively pro-vaccine. I'm not the audience. Or maybe it needs to be more visual and emotional, like how movies can sway people by putting faces and stories on social issues.
posted by jb at 8:22 AM on February 11 [5 favorites]


From a purely communications standpoint, the "herd immunity" argument can actually risk being a negative. Whether we like it or not, most parents care about their own kids most. That's not a prescriptive statement, nor a positive one, just a description of the way the world is. Saying "vaccines are the best way to keep your precious baby safe" has a better chance of being effective than "you should vaccinate your kids, which you already have doubts about, in large part because it'll benefit other kids." In tone only, to someone who is questioning or reluctant to vaccinate their kids, that can feel like "make a sacrifice for the good of others." Again, I am not saying any of that is true - I'm only addressing how best to communicate with parents who are philosophical vaccine skeptics.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:24 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Performance art idea: stand in the middle of this crowd and uncap a laboratory vial containing a viscous yellow liquid. Slowly pour it all onto the ground around protestors' feet while snickering softly.
posted by Miko at 8:26 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


In other words: what sciatrix said.

The world needs KTE ('knowledge translation and exchange') professionals, science writers and interpreters who can really specialise in messaging, and leave the scientists to do the sciencing, the clinicians to do the clinicianing. Because brilliant scientists may not be good communicators - and it's a total waste of their time.

When it comes to an issue like this - countering a mass propaganda effort - I would go a step further and say that we don't just need good communicators, we need trained persuaders and propagandists. And it's not like we don't have them: we have thousands of marketers, advertising and sales experts who have thought long and hard on how to convince people to do things.

Countering anti-vaxx theories should be part of the next superbowl ad competition.
posted by jb at 8:27 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


"I have to say, as an autist, sometimes it's hard not to take it personally when whole swaths of the population are scared out of their minds at the prospect of having me for a child."

As someone on the spectrum myself, I wholeheartedly agree.
posted by XtinaS at 8:40 AM on February 11 [15 favorites]


California made it hard to avoid vaccinating kids. Medical waivers have tripled. Now what?. Again, looking ahead to the next fight after we eliminate the "my TV friends told me not to vaccinate" exemptions.
“We delegated that authority to licensed physicians, and the problem is we have physicians abusing that authority,” said Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento-area pediatrician who authored the state’s controversial ban on personal waivers after a measles outbreak originating at Disneyland infected 136 people. “I think we need the health departments to basically say when someone is abusing that authority—and to withdraw that authority and invalidate exemptions that were fraudulent.”
posted by Nelson at 8:44 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I trust doctors, to an extent. I understand why people, especially women, trust them less than I do. But the problems with the medical field that lead people to distrust doctors -- real problems that few doctors seem to care to fix -- are not problems with vaccines.

I think that suggesting "adapting for doctors requirements similar to those veterinarians must meet to exempt dogs from rabies vaccines" is a very amusing way of putting it that will never ever work.
posted by jeather at 8:53 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I think there should be an actual dollar cost to not vaccinating your child. I am annoying to some because if you have a kid who is under 30 I will probably ask if your kid or kids have gotten the HPV vaccine. I consider it a miracle that we have a cancer-prevention tool that has not been given to every eligible person, and that drives me crazy. During a walk with one friend and an acquaintance I discovered the acquaintance was kind of an anti-vaxxer but her sons had gotten the HPV vaccine anyway because their paediatrician was basically a bulldozer. Then I had to listen to this woman tell me what HPV vaccines might be dangerous. I couldn't help myself. My mouth literally dropped open. Then I said, "X, this literally prevents cancer!" And she responded with, "Yeah, but you can treat cancer."

I don't know how you can fight that attitude. You just have to route around it, and luckily her kids had a paediatrician who did exactly that. Not secretly and I am not suggesting that. I am suggesting that parents should have to pay as recommended above. There should be an actual, highly visible cost (a fee or fine or something) for parents who choose this behaviour because it sure as hell is taking a toll on our country.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:49 AM on February 11 [10 favorites]


I understand why people got suckered by the supposed connection between MMR and autism but:
1- Doesn't autism appear at a very early age? If so, why not vaccinate after that period?
2- What is the reasoning for avoiding other vaccines?
It looks like there is more than one story here but I don't hear about anything except the fear of autism.
posted by Botanizer at 10:15 AM on February 11


1- Doesn't autism appear at a very early age? If so, why not vaccinate after that period?

In order to delay vaccines on the schedule, you have to find a doctor willing to space them out. (Typically those are the doctors that see all of the non-vaccinated kids.) You'd also need to file for an exemption in order to participate in daycare/preschool without having completed the vaccine schedule. But you can't get an exemption for just one vaccine without a documented allergy. The options are: philosophical or religious objections, and to get those exemptions, you have to do NO vaccines. This system is one way that people who might otherwise be slowly persuaded to get the full schedule end up as complete non-vaccinators. I think doctors would have an easier time convincing people to get vaccines one at a time if people didn't have to fear losing the exemption.
posted by xo at 10:25 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Then I had to listen to this woman tell me what HPV vaccines might be dangerous. I couldn't help myself. My mouth literally dropped open. Then I said, "X, this literally prevents cancer!" And she responded with, "Yeah, but you can treat cancer."

The other unfortunate fact is that the HPV vaccine has sex panic working against it, too. The same people who work to deprive young people of accurate information about sex, sexuality, consent, STIs, and contraception are often at the vanguard of anti-HPV vaccine sentiment, even if they're otherwise pro-vaccination.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:36 AM on February 11 [13 favorites]


This issue hits home for me because I have been embroiled in a massive fight at my church over this topic. We have an extremely dedicated crackpot who has taken it upon himself to run a major church program, but he's obsessed with fringe topics around alternative medicine, 9/11 truthing, UFOs, who really assassinated JFK and of course, vaccines. I was instrumental in getting him and his medicine wagon kicked out of church but it cause a huge congregational fight and he is determined to bring his program back to church by hook or by crook. We have many young children in the community and the consequences could be very real so I am constantly campaigning for the congregation to handle this optimally but it is very frustrating as I wish we could just all agree to kick him out permanently and for his stupid, dangerous program to never return. My husband is already sick of hearing me talk about this incessantly and it takes up so much bandwidth and energy for me to constantly be having this fight but reading all of your razor-sharp comments is renewing my faith in the worthiness of this cause. I want to thank everyone who has made on-point comments here for empowering me with your wisdom and your passion.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:38 AM on February 11 [26 favorites]


The more delaying you let people get into their heads, the more ground you cede to the slowed schedules and the lessened vaccinations... the more ideological ground you cede to anti-vaxxers, the more you build in reasons and ways for people to "intend to research it on their own," the fewer people get vaccinated on time and the more young children remain at risk of dying of pertussis.

Again. This is public health. It is about getting the majority of people protected as efficiently as possible. And sometimes making accommodations for the people who are hemming and hawing means that you make it easier to avoid vaccination for people who will, if getting the kid vaccinated is the path of least resistance, just go along and do it. What you want to do is focus on the norms of what correct parenting does, and with that in mind, a lot of the demonization of non-vaxxing parents and the fury at them suddenly makes more sense: it's not necessarily about converting those parents as it is about instilling cultural norms that yes, you do in fact vaccinate your kids.
posted by sciatrix at 10:41 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


They're not afraid of autism, they're afraid of whatever zombie virus they've convinced themselves that people with autism must be carrying. They don't know the first thing about autism and have no interest in learning anything beyond their fears.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:43 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


What I meant to say above: I consider it a miracle that we have this cancer-prevention tool, and that it has not been given to every eligible person drives me crazy.

zeusianfog, this is coming from a non-religious person but if anything can be called the Lord's work, surely it is the work that you are doing. Pace yourself, have fun, do self-care, yadda yadda so you can outlast that guy. What you are doing is critically important, and you appear to be the only person who can do it at this time and that place. You are awesome, and I salute you!
posted by Bella Donna at 10:46 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


Ironically, I’m reading this with the flu, after getting the flu vaccine. To which, one of our antivax neighbors was like, “see, vaccines don’t work”, and even though I have limited knowledge about how disease vaccines work, I was basically “Flu mutates and changes, it is almost impossible to inoculate against every strain. Polio, on the other hand, we’ve almost eradicated. Chicken pox, measles, rubella, these are all things that had almost completely disappeared from the North American experience.

Also, earlier in the thread, someone said they were vaccinated for polio without their parents permission. That is exceedingly unlikely. Your parents may have forgotten that they signed the note, but the Salk vaccine was a big freaking deal, and permission was required because the vaccine was so new. I can find no records of any states ever that forcibly polio vaccinated their population without informing the parents.

And now ima go make some tea and try to breathe.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:52 AM on February 11 [11 favorites]


As far as I can tell from perusing the articles here, anti-vaxxers are basically that guy in a zombie movie who hides that he's been bit, or the dude in an epidemic drama who wants to break quarantine - just a whole bunch of just-world fallacy bullshit.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 11:10 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


To top it all off, I have to give my KMFDM T-shirts some side-eye, because Aiden Hughes (aka Brute, who's done a ton of their cover art) has started producing anti-vaccination artwork. Fucker.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:11 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


What you want to do is focus on the norms of what correct parenting does, and with that in mind, a lot of the demonization of non-vaxxing parents and the fury at them suddenly makes more sense: it's not necessarily about converting those parents as it is about instilling cultural norms that yes, you do in fact vaccinate your kids.

What sciatrix says, one thousand times. Trump has made lots of things more acceptable, including overt racism, white supremacy, sexism, etc. We won't be able to end those things but we can make it (largely) unacceptable to say and do those things overtly again. That is my hope, at least. Likewise, I hope that we can do the same when it comes to the anti-vaxxers and their positions.

My kid is a young mom who is fiercely pro-vaccination (because science!) and she often cackles while pouncing on Swedish anti-vaxxers in the moms group on Facebook that she belongs to. Dunno if it makes a difference at all but honestly, I am glad somebody is pushing back. Certainly, I pointed out to my acquaintance that women are still dying from cervical cancer, and there's also a growing number of men with throat cancer courtesy of HPV.

Some people are calling HPV in men an epidemic but I don't know if that's fair because I am not sciatrix. Still, the annual incidence of HPV-related cancers of the throat, tonsils, and the base of the tongue in men in the United States now outnumbers the cases of cervical cancer in women. Maybe people will take vaccinations more seriously now that men are getting it. (Jeez I hate the patriarchy.)

Anyway, we really truly do want HPV to disappear, and vaccinations will help make that happen. TL;DR: If you have children or grandchildren of any gender who are aged 26 or under, get them vaccinated. If they (or you) are between 27 and 45, you should talk to your doctor about whether vaccination might help you now that an HPV vaccine has been approved for those ages. There are several other vaccines adults may want to get, as noted above.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:12 AM on February 11 [12 favorites]


An interesting read on the latest outbreak in Vancouver.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 12:53 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


I had my 8 year old boy at the doctor last week and after reading all the signs about HPV on the walls, he asked me, 'Mom, can I get the HPV vakkination when I'm older?' and I was like, yes, son, yes you can, I'm so proud.
posted by bq at 2:29 PM on February 11 [14 favorites]


OneSmartMonkey, that is a deceptively written piece. KOMO is a Sinclair owned station. Clark county is still more conservative than liberal, and I think that implying that immigrants are responsible is wrong and irresponsible.

The Clark county measles investigation website data, referred to in the article itself, doesn't support the implied conclusion.
posted by monopas at 3:39 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


The other unfortunate fact is that the HPV vaccine has sex panic working against it, too. The same people who work to deprive young people of accurate information about sex, sexuality, consent, STIs, and contraception are often at the vanguard of anti-HPV vaccine sentiment, even if they're otherwise pro-vaccination.

It made all of us extremely uncomfortable, for a whole bunch of different reasons, but I convinced my somewhat sex-panicky parents and sister that HPV vaccination was a good idea with the argument "Um, rape?"
posted by Spathe Cadet at 4:11 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I got the hpv vaccine for my son when he hit the age for it, and convinced my evangelical friends to do the same for their daughters, also mentioning rape.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:07 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]


I'm the one who said he was lined up and vaccinated at school .... In New Zealand

My parents likely knew it was coming, it's too late to ask, and they would have been enthusiastic. A government run health system will do stuff like that, pushing public health into the school system we had dental clinics at school too.
posted by mbo at 7:44 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


los pantalones del muerte: "Measles also appears to be associated with lingering immune system suppression that makes one more susceptible to illnesses for years afterwards."

This was news to me yesterday and makes this anti-vax thing all the more horrific.

theora55: "There is a tiny risk to vaccination. Everybody who can should take that very tiny risk to protect the people who can't be vaccinated."

Smeg that; get vaccinated to stop yourself from getting these horrible diseases; that it helps out other people should be an irrelevant side effect.

edd: " In Nigeria, a conspiracy theory about vaccines led to its resurgence."

And then the fricken Americans had to go and use immunization as a cover for getting a bad guy thereby giving truth to the conspiracy.
posted by Mitheral at 9:25 PM on February 11 [13 favorites]


I have a small child who hasn't gotten Dose 2 of MMR yet. I have told my parents that we won't be visiting them in Seattle as long as it's a hotspot for measles. My mom asked if there was any way I'd change my mind, and I said "nope, but I'd sure love it if you called your state legislators and told them why they need to support stronger vaccination requirements."

If you have a small child, and family in Seattle, consider doing the same.
posted by duffell at 6:03 AM on February 12 [12 favorites]


The one that really bothers me is anti-vaxxers stating "well if your child is vaccinated, you believe your kid is safe, so why are you scared of my unvaccinated child?" Which really shows how incredibly uninformed about vaccines they are - vaccines aren't a magic shield. I think the root of all this isn't really that doctors aren't explaining things well - it's that science education in primary school is not good enough.
posted by agregoli at 7:41 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]




Also, hey, if you live in Washington State you can deliver your comment on HB 1638 via the state legislature's website. If you just wanna say GOD YES PASS THIS BILL WTF you can do that; if you want to say YES PLEASE PASS THIS BILL BUT ALSO AN AMENDMENT STRIPPING OUT THE RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION you can do that too. It only takes a few minutes!
posted by duffell at 8:40 AM on February 12 [8 favorites]




Thanks for that duffell.
posted by bq at 11:04 AM on February 12


Wow. For once, look at the comments on kliuless's link. New commenter accounts with %20 in the account name. THat indicates a scripted account creation process to flood this particular story, and scripted by someone who types in more than just the Latin alphabet. I guess Russia has decided we need measles.
posted by ocschwar at 12:38 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


I'm old enough that I had neither a cervical cancer vaccine nor a chickenpox vaccine available. I'm counting the days until I can get a shingles vaccine (actually already tried, was denied coverage, seriously considered paying anyway).

I'm also immunocompromised in a way that blunts my response to vaccines, makes me more susceptible to transmission, and have asthma that exacerbates any respiratory illness. So I wash my hands a lot and try hard not to touch my face. And get really, really angry when people mention all the stupid reasons they didn't bother to get the flu vaccine, and it's only xx percent effective, and blah blah blah

.... sorry, I need to go deal with my anger now.
posted by Dashy at 7:11 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I mentioned having an severe allergic reaction to a vaccine earlier in the context of taking vaccines seriously as a medicine and not off-handedly dismissing all concern about them, while also supporting vaccines fully. I forgot to make the point that is the reason I tell that story.

A vaccine almost killed me, and that is fine with me. If my college meningitis vaccine had killed me because I ignored a side-effect that I didn't know about and accidentally aggravated it, I think I'd still see that as a worthwhile loss on a public scale. It's like a 1 in hundreds of thousands chance, and meningitis is fucking terrifying and dramatically more virulent. Outbreaks can sicken hundreds and kill dozens. That very rare side effect is nothing in comparison. Nothing. Maybe a dozen or so people in the entire US can have that reaction, and I had it bad and survived it way, way faster than anyone can deal with meningitis.

Wanted to say that, because I do have a rare pedestal to extol the virtues of vaccines from. I'm one of the remarkably few people who was otherwise totally healthy but harmed by a vaccine. That speaks to how incredibly safe vaccines are on the broad scale, and that the only issue with them is an occasional casualness with how they are applied. The vaccine wasn't what caused the problem, the problem was probably that that doctor had done 30 other pre-college boosters and shots that day and nothing had ever gone wrong ever and things got casual. If there is a problem with vaccines, it's that the medical system is too overwhelmed for them to both preform and adequately explain what they are doing at any given time.
posted by neonrev at 5:33 AM on February 13 [8 favorites]


This is not to say that they should have said "Here's a shot, it might kill you", but that maybe a pamphlet or a waiting period or both should have been in order.
posted by neonrev at 5:37 AM on February 13


From Slate: Stop Talking About Measles: News reporting on the measles outbreak has a spotty record.

"These claims are all misleading. The anti-vaxxer movement isn’t really on the rise all across America, and measles hasn’t really re-emerged from clinical oblivion or become a fatal threat to everyone’s well-being. The outbreak in Clark County may be disturbing, but it’s a local story ... they could distract us from other, more important obstacles to vaccination, such as health care inequality.

...Vaccination rates for measles, nationwide, aren’t going down. They’ve been very stable for a while now. ... In the years leading up to Wakefield’s Lancet paper, the proportion of American 3-year-olds who had received a measles shot wavered between 91 and 92 percent—just as it has, for the most part, for the past quarter-century. ... there was a significant but very short-lived drop in MMR immunizations following news coverage of the Wakefield paper. The effect was strongest in 2000, when rates were down by about 1.5 percentage points overall, but a few years later, by 2003, they had returned to their normal, pre-Wakefield levels."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:10 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


... meanwhile, ~4000 cases and 70 deaths so far in the Philippines.
posted by aramaic at 11:05 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]




humans are so stupid and the planet is right to try and kill us
posted by poffin boffin at 10:07 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Holy crap. @PGtzsche1, formerly of @CochraneNordic, has gone full on antivax. Here he is scheduled to speak at a workshop for the antivax doctors group with the Orwellian name Physicians for Informed Consent

At this event in Costa Mesa, CA, @PGtzsche1 will be appearing with hard core antivaxers, like @RobertKennedyJr, @tonibark, and antivax lawyers Mary Holland and @JaffeRick, the latter of whom was cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski’s lawyer. physiciansforinformedconsent.org/workshop/

These are NOT borderline cases. These are hard core antivaxers and quacks (and the lawyers who defend them while advocating to make federal and state law more quackery- and antivax-friendly) .@PGtzsche1's talk will be entitled "How Mandatory Vaccination Violates Medical Ethics." Yet he's sharing the same stage with Mary Holland, whose "research" trying to link vaccines to autism violated a number of ethical rules, including no IRB approval.


David Gorski, MD, PhD @gorskon reports on anti-vaxxers shenanigans. Via Threadreader App.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:33 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]




If I forget to get my optional yearly flu vaccine and give someone the flu, who then subsequently dies, should I be charged with manslaughter?

Yes. It is part of the social compact we make as a society. That's part of the price you pay for civilization. If you can get a flu shot and you don't, you might kill someone. If you are the cause of another human's death through negligence, you should go to prison. Not even exaggerating a little bit.
posted by tzikeh at 8:32 PM on February 19


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