Enough is Never Enough with Blaming Anti-Vaxxers

Kate Tietje wants four-thousand of your children to die painfully this year.

I have an anti-vaxxer problem. 

Mainly, that there are anti-vaxxers, and I’m tired of the problems they cause.

Today I saw this article from Modern Alternative Mama, entitled “Enough is Enough with Blaming Anti-Vaxxers.” Because apparently after their lunacy and horrific unscientifically grounded opinions caused a massive outbreak of the Measles in my hometown of Anaheim, CA, they think it’s appropriate to shirk responsibility for this.

This is surprisingly the first time I’ve written about vaccines on this blog. It won’t be the last. I’ve been planning on writing on it for some time but been caught up doing things like getting Petco to pull dangerous dog medications, making my first public speaking engagement (and booking more speaking engagements), writing a guest blog for James Fell on my 90lb weight loss, and working on my novel, so this blog has taken a temporary back burner.

But Modern Alternative Mama, you know I couldn’t let this bullshit stand. Kate Tietje runs the site Modern Alternative Mama. I’ve written about her site a few times already. She’s against vitamin K shots for newborns, agains dentists’ visits, against regular bathing, thinks breastmilk is a cure for congestion, and thinks clay is a better cure for a severe allergic reaction than benadryl.

I wish I made up any of that. She’s possibly the worst public health menace on the internet. It’s her or chiropractor Billy DeMoss. She makes me think that the Food Babe isn’t so bad. That’s saying a lot. So let’s start at the beginning of this insidious blog of hers:

“In the last few days, there have been *dozens* of articles coming out in major media outlets that are absolutely filled with hate and anger towards families that don’t vaccinate. “

As there should be. Because people went to Disney and, instead of mouse ears, they came home with an infectious disease that they thought was wiped out over thirty years ago. More from MAM:

 “In the Disneyland situation:

  • There are around 70 confirmed cases currently

  • 5 of them were fully vaccinated

  • 37 were not vaccinated

  • There are no records available for at least 30 cases (so we don’t know their vaccination status)”

Statistically, these people for whom we don’t have the vaccination records? They probably aren’t vaccinated either.  It is incredibly virulent and nine out of ten without immunity who are exposed will get the measles. And now onto Kate’s version of facts:

  • “In the 1950s, there were not “thousands of deaths per year from measles”  — it was between 350 and 600, averaging around 500 annually
  • In the 50s, there were between 300K and 800K reported cases per year (mumps and rubella were so mild they didn’t even keep records until the mid-60s)
  • It was “assumed” since most children got measles and it usually was not serious that there were closer to 2 million cases annually in the 50s (minor cases were not reported)
  • The death rate from measles is about 1 in 1000 for more serious cases; about 1 in 5000 for total cases”

During the pre-vaccine era, there were thousands of deaths worldwide.  She does keep moving around the numbers as she sees fit based on speculation. We will be using peer reviewed numbers for the death rate of one death per thousand cases. Given that death rate, looking at her estimate that there would be four million cases annually in a world without vaccines now, Kate Tietje is fine with four million children suffering, a high percentage suffering complications including blindness, deafness, and four thousand of your children dying of the measles. 

I’m just making sure we’re on the same page here, Kate.

You know what prevents all of these? Not getting the measles. 

  • In 2012, there were about 50.  In 2013, just under 200.  In 2014, almost 650.

Again, vaccine preventable. 

  • “In the 2013 – 2014 school year, 94.7% of kindergarteners nationwide had 2 doses of the MMR. (vaccine rates remain high overall)”

The problem isn’t the rate. The problem is the clustering. In certain parts of the country, we have really high rates of people claiming exemptions. I happen to live in one of those areas: Orange County, CA. Unlike Disney World which is more of a vacation destination, Disneyland has a much higher percentage of local annual pass holders on any given day. Given the local low rate of immunization it’s not a surprise that so many got sick. In this outbreak, we had a few people who were too young to vaccinate fall ill. This was a failure of herd immunity.


Then again, Kate doesn’t believe in herd immunity. And as I’ve mentioned before, belief doesn’t have a place in science; evidence does. I say this not to poke at religious beliefs, but really, if you heard the CEO of Merck say “I believe in this drug” with no evidence versus “I have evidence that this drug works,” which would you prefer?

  • “According to a meta-analysis, the MMR has an efficacy rate of 69 to 95%(depending on strain, number of doses, age at first dose, etc.) and isn’t sufficiently tested for safety”

“Isn’t tested for safety” is anti-vaxxer code for “I don’t like this so I’m going to say something completely full of shit to scare you.” There is a ton of safety testing and, as vaccines have been under fire by pseudoscientific “activists,” there has been a lot of research into them since they’ve hit the market.

I really have to say this again? No there isn’t.

There’s no link between MMR and autism.

There’s no link between any vaccines and autism.

There’s no goddamn link between vaccines and autism

I’ve been clear, yes?

“The measles is just not a serious illness for most people.  “

Wrong. Beyond the fact that the measles alone is quite miserable, one out of every twenty people who gets the measles gets pneumonia. This is a common complication that can lead to death. As someone who’s had pneumonia before, I don’t find pneumonia to be anything less than “serious.” One in ten gets an ear infection that can lead to deafness.

Not serious, huh?

“We also know far, far more about it now than we did 60 years ago, and medical science has advanced quite a lot as well. ” 

Yes Kate. Medical science gave us vaccines. The cognitive dissonance is amazing. 

“We know how to prevent the most serious complications now in most cases.  If we stopped vaccinating, more kids would get measles, and the vast majority with no issues.  We would not see rampant blindness (since vitamin A supplementation is easy to get and inexpensive).”

If it were true that we knew how to prevent these serious complications, we wouldn’t have had deaths from the measles in the US as recently as 2005. Though it’s true that supplementing with vitamin A can help prevent blindness from the measles (one of few things she gets right), the study she cites is wrought with inaccuracies, as are many that you find on that MAM. 

To start with, she’s already said it’s not a very serious disease. I consider any disease that can cause blindness to be fairly serious. Furthermore, the study she chose to cite on this states that in the developing world, measles hits “30 million children a year and causes up to one million deaths annually. Measles blindness is the single leading cause of blindness among children in low income countries, accounting for an estimated 15,000 to 60,000 cases of blindness per year.” 

These statistics don’t match her own for death rates. A one in thirty death rate? Whereas real science corroborates data, bullshit doesn’t have to keep a story straight. Also, though vitamin A deficiency is known to cause blindness; vitamin A deficiency is not why people go blind with the measles. The measles is why people go blind with the measles.

“We would not see rampant death or encephalitis (these are very rare anyway).  If the death rate was really 1 in 5000 (and it’s hard to say, with the advanced medical care, if it would be that high), and everyone got measles — we could assume about 4 million cases per year — that would be 800 deaths annually.  Just to compare, there are around 35,000 deaths from car accidents annually, while preventable medical errors kill around 400,000 people annually.  We might see a reduction in autoimmunity and other lifelong health complications as well…but that hasn’t been thoroughly studied.”

She keeps changing the numbers, wasn’t it one in one thousand a few paragraphs ago? As for her argument about autoimmunity, the anti-vax movement tends to blame vaccines for everything that happens in the immune system. Lupus? It was the vaccines. Rheumatoid arthritis? It was the vaccines. Diabetes? Of course it was the vaccines.

Again, there’s no data supporting these types of autoimmunity related issues. On extremely rare occasions, the risk of Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be increased due to vaccines, but don’t let one increased link turn into the reverse panacea they make vaccines out to be. She is subsequently arguing for … more preventable deaths for your kids. Because she’s morally bankrupt. Additionally, arguing that you shouldn’t worry about disease because car accidents happen is like saying… not to worry about disease because car accidents happen.

“Are complications possible?  Yes, of course.  But I, personally, look at the whole picture and not at worst-case scenarios.  We don’t have adequate safety testing on the MMR.”

What’s adequate safety testing to these people? We have a half century of data showing nothing except kids having immunity from the target diseases. 

Oh, and that one debunked study from Andrew Wakefield, former MD, claiming it was linked to autism. 

” It doesn’t provide lifelong immunity, and it requires at least two doses (and they’re considering adding a third) — each dose comes with its own set of risks, doubling (or tripling) your overall risk.”

Wait, you’re saying you’ll need… a few completely safe injections? I got mine (on the same date as my TDap booster, no less) and it was fine. A little swelling maybe. Call VAERS!



Round, bouncy witchcraft.

“I’m not going to tell you what you should decide here. “

Funny, because with endless blog posts saying that vaccines aren’t safe, calling pro-vaxxers hate groups, and that the vaccine preventable diseases are completely harmless? That’s exactly what you did. 

“I’m trying to cut through the nonsense and share a more accurate, scientific picture of what’s going on right now, instead of wild suppositions about all those “anti-vaxxers.”  (By the way, I love science.  Accurate science.  Appropriately applied science.  I’m not such a fan of “my science is better than yours,” which a few trolls seriously said to me.)”

Let’s get one thing straight; if a blogger with zero medical credentials tries to claim that they have more accurate science than the vast majority of the scientific and medical establishment, they are, on every level, wrong. I promise you, somebody who got their degree at Google University and has a waiver on their website that says “my advice isn’t designed to treat anything” has nothing to lose by giving you terrible advice. A real doctor’s advice doesn’t come with an asterisk. They will give you advice that’s grounded in real science. 

“If people are being rude, call them out.  Be respectful, but say something.  “We all make different medical decisions for our children.  The evidence is not clear cut.  Being rude isn’t going to change anyone’s mind, and I’m asking you to stop talking to others like this.”  I suggest deleting and banning anyone who can’t remain civil.”

First she says to be respectful, but then..

“…Report hate pages.  There are a number of different ones on Facebook.  “Anti-Vax Wall of Shame.”  “Things Anti-Vaxxers Say.”  “Banned by Modern Alternative Mama.”  There are many others.  Report them for hate speech.  Their entire purpose is to take screenshots from groups where they troll and mock the people — some of you may recognize your own comments being mocked on those pages!”

Kate, I don’t think you understand it. I’ve never put anything on the internet that I wasn’t prepared to defend because I back up everything I post with peer reviewed research. You and your ilk defend diseases over vaccines and ask for natural remedies after you’ve allowed your children to get preventable diseases, and then you want sympathy or to call us hate groups? You’re monsters. 

Additionally, calling us hate groups is funny. Kate’s husband goes by the name “The Happy Factory” on facebook. He regularly makes fun of mentally handicapped people. They claim to be a Christian family. Charming.

“Are you as tired of the bullying over medical decisions as I am?”

Kate, I’m tired of telling friends who are immunocompromised not to come visit until the measles outbreak is over in Southern California. I’m tired of your same debunked arguments. I’m tired of hearing about infants who were too young to get the vaccine getting the measles because of an outbreak that almost certainly wouldn’t have started if it wasn’t for the atrocious actions of you and your morally bankrupt movement.

I’m tired of the anti-vaxxers. 

I’m tired of you.

Enough is enough.


-Science Babe

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About SciBabe 78 Articles
Yvette d'Entremont, aka SciBabe, is a chemist and writer living in Los Angeles with her husband and their four pets. She bakes a mean gluten free chocolate chip cookie and likes glitter more than is considered healthy for a woman past the age of seven.


  1. I’m too angry about it all to write coherently, and I may come off as hostile. Gee I wonder why?? I feel like I h ave to ask my kids to make sure their friends got their shots before coming over. I live with my 71 year old mother whose lungs are still strong, but beginning to get a little sensitive to the world. While she’s immunized, why take that chance when a perfectly safe, proven remedy is already on the market? What else is happening that no one’s mentioning is the strain on the resources of the whole medical community which is already strained to begin with. And now they have to deal with a MAJOR FUCKING DISEASE that was ALMOST GODDAM WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH?! SERIOUSLY!?

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’ve summed it up so well. We’ve had a victory here in Australia with anti-vaxxer Tenpenny. After several stories on mainstream TV, radio and social media her entire tour now appears to have been cancelled. Some venues lost bookings from other clients for planning to host her events and a push to have her denied a visa to enter the country seemed to finish it off. It’s going to be a long fight.

  3. Interesting!
    Who’d have thought Arkansas and Louisiana are where the smart people are? That’s the way to kill a stereotype.
    Joking aside, why is the uptake so much greater in some states,is religiously driven objection and anti-science less prevalent there?

    • sadly, the reason Arkansas rates are so high may simply be because
      A. Not enough of us are on the Internet for anti vaxxers to have a stronghold
      B. Requesting a waiver of the shot requirements means forms and paperwork and dealing with government offices. ‘Shudder. Paperwork is hard, ya’ll!
      C. Many Arkansans simply don’t know that there is the possibility of refusing.

      Happily, this means that most of us are immunized, most everybody we know are immunized, and we see it as perfectly normal. It may also help that for most of us, we just don’t know many folks on the autism spectrum – so there is less reason to mistrust the efficacy of vaccinations.

    • more rural areas perhaps with a smaller population base so community memory is longer. I live in a rural area in Canada, strong religious background, but people remember very clearly people having polio, the measles, etc etc and thus raised their kids to be RIGHT THERE for all the vaccinations. There’s still an anti-vaxx presence, but it’s a LOT smaller and mostly people resisting the flu vaccines etc.

      • This is almost certainly a factor- I’m a 20-something who grew up in rural Massachusetts in the 90s, but I used to visit our elderly next-door neighbor who’d had suffered from Polio as a child. I can tell you right now that the best possible object lesson in ‘why you’re not allowed to refuse your shots at the doctor’s office’ was a look at her withered leg and her descriptions of iron lungs (eek!).
        …It was a similar technique to my construction worker father teaching me power tool safety by introducing me to his coworkers who were more than happy to show off their missing fingers.

    • The data for Mississippi is misleading. State law requires vaccines for anyone attending an educational institution with more than 10 people that aren’t related in the second degree. There are no religious exemptions, only medical ones. This drives the number to less than 0.1% of schoolkids.

      There’s a bill up to change this — but the vax rate is one of the few things MS gets to be proud of.

      • Will luck, the MS bill will fail miserably….actually, with the recent outbreak in California (which has now spread to several states), it is extremely unlikely that any politician will want to be associated with the “pro-disease” crowd.

    • States with high immunization rates require them, without many exceptions. California is working on tightening up ours. If it doesn’t work, New Mexico is a beautiful place.

        • I used to feel the same way about California, but it has just gotten too crazy for me. I’ll be leaving the state soon and frankly, good riddance. It’s nice to visit, but I don’t enjoy living here as much as I used to.

    • Perhaps it’s because they are not as intelligent as parents, doctors, scientists, and other people for choice? Some vaccines have been directly linked to life threatening cancer, leaky gut syndrome, dry eye, narcolepsy, a myriad of other problems! Hello?

  4. “We can’t make the leap, from what we do know, that this was ’caused by unvaccinated people.'” >> Carefully omitted from MAM’s post: 30 years ago, vaccinations were heavily regimented and this disease was GONE. If it wasn’t due to the lack of vaccinations, what was it?

  5. I went full blown tacky, tasteless and vaguely inappropriate responding to her post last night. My comment is still waiting for moderation. I went for historic measles deaths vs. terrorism deaths. I don’t expect the comment to ever be approved.

  6. Thank you for rationally and accurately letting people know how screwed up the advice anti-vaxx people are spreading! We need more people to speak up against this type of propaganda!

  7. Thanks to the idiot Anti-Vaxxers, whooping cough is also reaching pandemic proportions. I caught it a couple of years ago. Now, I’m old-ish. I had whooping cough when I was 4, so didn’t get the vaccination. I didn’t realise I lost my immunity sometime around my late teens/early twenties. So to be diagnosed with WC in my early 50s came as a shock. My doctor told me that because of anti-vaxxing campaigns the diseases that killed children when I was a child are all coming back – and they’re killing adults too. Personally, I think it’s a shame we can’t just leave the Anti-Vaxxers to die of their own diseases, but unfortunately they’d take millions of the rest of us with them. Education seems to have failed to make a difference with them. What’s left? Force? That makes me uneasy, but if it’s a choice between that and millions dying of measles, whooping cough etc, then I’d just have to get over it. Anti-Vaxxers are a menace to society, and they need to be stopped!

    • i am right there with you. For the second time in 5 years my fully vaccinated child was tested for suspected whooping cough. I have been so angry as my child coughed herself to the point of gagging, waiting for the test results. Luckily we were negative, but I’m angry at all the fools out there who put us at risk.

    • I honestly think it’s pretty much going to have to go back to being mandatory for attendance to school and administered on site so they can’t just get a doctor to sign off on a false report (which is what some anti-vaxxers are now advising each other to do so as to get around admitting they’re anti-vaccination). As it is, they’re forcing immunocompromised people to self isolate as to avoid infection and they don’t seem to care about them so why should we be worrying about it?

      • I remember lining up in the hallway of my elementary school (Late 60s) for the MMR shot. We just walked the line, and they had this Star Trek looking air-gun-hypo; pop, done, next.

      • Everybody on here needs to CALM DOWN. Wow! What an anti-anti-vaxxers forum this is! I can just see you all coming down with the pitch forks for me and my unvaccinated kid now! You see,I didn’t start out being an anti vaxxer cuz my kid had a legitimate medical condition that could legally exempt him from your cattle medicine. I started out not vaccinating cuz I couldn’t morally do so having done extensive research not only by reading the statistics and history of each vaccine but by interviewing many moms as well who have had to watch their loved one get sick or die from vaccines, one dying from polio caught FROM the vaccine (something that happening in India by the 1000s!). BUT what I’ve learned in the meantime is that it’s a GOOD thing I didn’t vaccinated my baby because we are both full of toxic metals already from environmental issues (not only is my boy’s lead off the charts, but he had 6-7 times the normal uranium levels!) And HAD I vaccinated him I would have greatly increased the chances of his becoming the 1 in 45 boys who get autism! My own nutritionist overseeing our detox reversed her own son’s autism after MMR vaccine CAUSED it SO to Hell with cdc studies to show”proof” that they’d a link…US moms of consciencE aren’t waiting for the corporate sponsored, pseudo-scientific reports of those who are in bed with BIG pharma. You’re little haute natural moms forum won’t change that. We don’t want your JUNK science in our bodies. My ancestors survived the plague. People who are scared of Unimmunized kids need to ask themselves why? If they have their shots then they are safe, RIGHT? OH it’s for those who can’t get immunized due to immune issues? What are those kids doing out in society anyway? And couldn’t that segment be carriers too? But you don’t hate then do you? Stop judging! Y’all don’t even understand how immune systems work and what you all do everyday to destroy it, through bad food, vaccines, needless antibiotics, environmental pollution etc. Leave me and my kid alone,OR ELSE!!

        • You don’t get to yell at other people to “CALM DOWN” while ending a comment with “OR ELSE”.

          Your comment is mostly nonsense. Vaccines do not cause autism. This is simply a fact. So going off on folks and then saying if you’d vaccinated your kid he might have gotten autism is just completely wackadoodle.

          BTW, my daughter’s autistic. And she’s awesome. That you’d rather risk your kid’s life with preventable diseases because you live in fear of having a kid like mine is horrible.

          Because when it comes down to it that’s what you anti-vaxxers who use autism as your excuse (with no factual justification) are saying – you’d rather have a dead kid than a kid like mine.

          Enjoy my cheerfully extended middle finger.

      • Everybody on here needs to CALM DOWN. Wow! What an anti-anti-vaxxers forum this is! I can just see you all coming down with the pitch forks for me and my unvaccinated kid now! You see,I didn’t start out being an anti vaxxer cuz my kid had a legitimate medical condition that could legally exempt him from your cattle medicine. I started out not vaccinating cuz I couldn’t morally do so having done extensive research not only by reading the statistics and history of each vaccine but by interviewing many moms as well who have had to watch their loved one get sick or die from vaccines, one dying from polio caught FROM the vaccine (something that happening in India by the 1000s!). BUT what I’ve learned in the meantime is that it’s a GOOD thing I didn’t vaccinated my baby because we are both full of toxic metals already from environmental issues (not only is my boy’s lead off the charts, but he had 6-7 times the normal uranium levels!) And HAD I vaccinated him I would have greatly increased the chances of his becoming the 1 in 45 boys who get autism! My own nutritionist overseeing our detox reversed her own son’s autism after MMR vaccine CAUSED it SO to Hell with cdc studies that day there’s no “proof” that there’s a link…Us moms of consciencE aren’t waiting for the corporate sponsored, pseudo-scientific reports of those who are in bed with BIG pharma to confirm what we’re witnessing/experiencing. You’re little hate natural moms forum won’t change that. We don’t want your JUNK science in our bodies. My ancestors survived the plague. People who are scared of Unimmunized kids need to ask themselves why? If they have their shots then they are safe, RIGHT? OH it’s for those who can’t get immunized due to immune issues? What are those kids doing out in society anyway? And couldn’t that segment be carriers too? But you don’t hate them do you? Stop judging! Y’all don’t even understand how immune systems work and what you all do everyday to destroy it, through bad food, vaccines, needless antibiotics, environmental pollution etc. Leave me and my kid alone,OR ELSE!! Me and a group of moms (NON religious, educated, and environmentally aware health professionals) are ready to home school if you do make it mandatory. Won’t be the worse thing in the world.

  8. Actually, the flu and other viruses themselves are associated with more cases of Guillain Barre than vaccines are. Once again, side effects and reactions to vaccines are much less common and harmful than the diseases they prevent.

  9. Hear, hear. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for choice – chocolates or crisps, apples or bananas, breastmilk (yes I know it’s better but not everyone has the choice) or formula. However when it comes to vaccines, I don’t believe there should be a choice. Why should my child (both of whom have been vaccined) be put at risk by people who have chosen not to vaccinate? I have to say (and this is totally weird trust me) but I believe we should be grateful to Andrew Wakefield. If he wasn’t such an idiot and told the world that there was a link between the MMR and autism, well it wouldn’t be the well tested vaccine it is today. Personally I think he’s a twonk and his de-registration should have happened a lot sooner.

    • Vaxxers give more attention to Wakefield than anti-vaxxers.

      It’s true.

      ..and I’m a vaxxer. But seriously, enough already, it’s embarrassing.

  10. Love it Science Babe. Thanks for explaining to these idiots, once again, why their irresponsible actions are deplorable. I know how much effort it takes to refute false and unscientific arguments with factual, evidence based information. It’s hard work. It’s easy for her to just make shit up and loudly declare it to be true, especially when the people she’s talking to are so desperate to find any kind of validation for their false beliefs. Well done. Keep up the good fight.

  11. Well said from beginning to end. I live in the UK and fortunately we don’t have the same anti-science lobby that you have in the USA. Your point about immuno compromised people is so important. My son has recently had a stem cell transplant ( a donor from the USA) he has to be so careful abc relies on the herd immunity to prevent him from getting life threatening infections. We’ve all had flu vaccinations in the family and he will be HAVKNG all his childhood vacvinations afain as soon as he is able. These anti backers are a menace to society. Perhaps be cause we have such a good national health service and people take this in their stride we ding yet have this problem, I fo worry that the first signs of this medical lunacy are creeping across the Arlantic

    • You don’t have the same anti-science cranks? You do realize all these anti-vax kooks are the anti-gmo crowd? Be prepared for the anti-Monsanto, Natural-News, Mercola crowd to be spreading measles in a London suburb near you soon.

  12. First and foremost, I’m really glad there are people like you calling MAM and the anti-vax movement on their dangerous BS. Thank you!

    Reading this post, though, I was puzzled by one thing…could you clarify a bit what you meant by saying PubMed is full of “bunk” articles? (“The study she cites on blindness prevention is bunk, as are many that you find on that site.” The link is to PubMed.)

    Thanks for all you do,


  13. +100000000 to everything you said!

    Except for one thing. Routine vitamin A supplementation in measles does decrease the risk of associated blindness. Not a reputable doctor, just a humble med student going into pediatrics, but it’s one of those things that gets drilled into our brain throughout med school! You can view the report here:


    Awesome article!

      • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24436005/

        “Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy of vitamin A in preventing blindness in well-nourished children diagnosed with measles but with no prior clinical features of vitamin A deficiency…AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: We did not find any trials assessing whether or not vitamin A supplementation in children with measles prevents blindness, as neither study reported blindness or other ocular morbidities as end points. However, vitamin A use in children should be encouraged for its proven clinical benefits.”

        • I’ve heard people go back and forth on this, but WHO recommendation is two high doses of vitamin A from what I’ve seen and I’ve had two doctors email me (after I initially said that it was not indicated) to correct me that it was indicated.

    • Sam,
      A Jan 2014 Cochrane review says “We do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate the benefit or otherwise of vitamin A in the prevention of blindness in children infected with measles.”

      Routine vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of blindness due to measles infection in children
      Segun Bello1,*, Martin M Meremikwu2, Regina I Ejemot-Nwadiaro3, Olabisi Oduwole4
      Editorial Group: Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group

      Published Online: 16 JAN 2014

      Don’t get me wrong. There is suggestion Vit A supplementation might help, and it’s certainly worth doing during an measles infection, there just isn’t sufficient data to conclude it does work to lower blindness rate from measles.
      There is still plenty of reason to give Vit A supplementation in most parts of the world where measles is endemic, for reasons having nothing to do with measles.

      So, for the exam, the answer is “give Vit A supplement.” We’ll decide with future data if it was worthwhile.
      If you need a research proposal that’s easy to write….

  14. If I read one more comment from someone regarding measles saying that “oh it’s just a fever with a rash” I may kill someone. Thank you for a well written response.

  15. Apologies if you get this comment twice, but I submitted it over an hour ago and it hasn’t shown up, so I have to assume it didn’t go through. As a preamble, let me say that I’m not trying to be argumentative, but sincerely trying to gain understanding. I’ve been reading your blog and Facebook posts for a few days, and you seem like the right person to ask. So here’s my original comment:

    Hi, I’m a former anti-vaxxer who sincerely regrets being part of a movement that is leading to a resurgence of serious and preventable diseases. I’m currently in the middle of getting all of my children caught up on their vaccinations, and then my husband and I are going to get caught up, too. (I had all of my shots until I was 18, but my husband’s mom was anti-vaccines, too, and he’s not sure when he stopped getting his.)

    I have a few questions, though. The evidence is compelling that deaths from measles would not be few and far between, and that there would be plenty more people suffering from serious complications. (Question: in the data, when a person infected with measles develops and dies from pneumonia, does that count as a measles death? Or would those be in addition to the official deaths from measles?) However, in this article and on Facebook, you seem to imply that even if there were only a few deaths, that would be too many. I’m involved in another community dedicated to fighting the idea that, “when it comes to our kids, ANY risk is too much.” For example, completely remodeling or even removing playgrounds because a kid *might* get hurt; towns banning sledding because one person was injured; schools instituting strict security protocols in response to school shootings (even though, according to the CDC, every year more children are killed in school bus accidents than are killed by gun violence at school, on the way to or from school, at school-sponsored events, and on the way to or from school-sponsored events, combined.) Some people feel that any drawback is worthwhile if it saves “just one child.”

    So my question is this. I know that vaccines do have some risks. (For example, my doctor warned me that one of my daughters was at an increased risk of having a seizure after one of her vaccines, so we had to keep a careful eye on her temperature for 24 hours.) At what point is a disease mild enough that the vaccine *wouldn’t* be worth the risk? Is it ever? I’m not asking to be argumentative, but genuinely trying to understand where the line is, or should be.

    My second question isn’t really about vaccines, but about this:

    “A real doctor’s advice doesn’t come with an asterisk. They will give you advice that’s grounded in real science.”

    I’ve given birth to six children. During my first three pregnancies, I was subjected to care that was NOT evidence-based. (For example, I was literally forced to accept an epidural despite the fact that I have a high pain tolerance and was not uncomfortable and, more importantly, had suffered a severe adverse effect from the epidural during my first birth. But I was told, “Doctors orders, you can’t say no.” Why? Because I was a VBAC. I have since learned that the medical community is divided on this, and that many believe an epidural can mask the warning signs of a uterine rupture! Not to mention that whole “informed consent” thing.) I was also treated very poorly by several different doctors just for asking questions. (One notable time, I was given conflicting information from two different doctors about a drug prescribed to me to treat DVT — a very serious condition. When I asked for more information, I was mocked, threatened, and abused instead. I later found out that the medication IS reasonably safe, and I would have gladly taken it if the doctor had just been willing to talk to me!)

    Since then, I have had a real problem trusting doctors. I finally found one who was willing to show me studies and evidence and actually discuss the science behind his advice, but not until my SIXTH pregnancy! In the meantime, I was frustrated searching for information. I tried going to midwives, but they wanted to “prescribe” essential oils and chiropractic adjustments and other nonsense. I tried to find my own information online, but how do you know who to trust? What do you say to people like me, who have learned the hard way that doctors DON’T always give scientifically sound advice, but who don’t want to trust our lives (or our kids’ lives) to quacks “who got their degree[s] at Google University”?

    • 1. Yes, it counts as a measles death.
      2. As it’s a preventable death, it’s too many. Comparing a playground to a vaccination is silly. Apples to kumquats.
      3. In your daughter’s case, I may not vaccinate. This is why we rely on herd immunity and it’s all the more important that the people who can vaccinate should vaccinate.
      4. I don’t know, I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened between you and your doctors. Any answers I give you would be very subjective. Doctors are humans and they can make mistakes based on how they read a patient. It did take me several months to get correct diagnosis for my conditions, it didn’t make me not trust doctors and seek out witch doctors, it just made me realize that medicine sometimes needs to work to get the answer correct because it’s complicated. You need to be your own advocate and communicate clearly with your doctor. I say this as a chronically ill person.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for your replies. We did actually vaccinate my daughter, because even with her history, the risk is lower than the risks of actually getting sick. I’m not sure I can get behind the idea that even one preventable death is always too many, because how do we define preventable? But maybe it seems like a strange question to you because you’re not spending a lot of time with people who genuinely think things like slides and walking to school in safe neighborhoods are unacceptably risky. I guess it doesn’t matter, because I completely agree with you that preventing measles is well worth the small risks involved.

        I also agree with you that shunning medicine and science, and turning to charlatans is not the right answer when dealing with poor doctors. I only wish I hadn’t met so many doctors who don’t follow science and evidence based care any more than do the crazy midwives I met with.

        • The best real world example I can think of for when a vaccine is not recommended is actually for cats, not people: FIP (feline infectious peritonitus). In this case, it’s not because the disease is mild – in fact, a cat with FIP has a nearly 100% chance of dying. It has more to do with the way the virus mutates in cats who are exposed and the fact that FIP is not very contagious. From http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/local-assets/pdfs/PedersenFIPinterview9-10-08.pdf

          “A vaccine was developed and is available. However, it has to be used in kittens at least 16 weeks of age (most cats are already exposed to coronavirus at this age), it is not effective in cats already exposed to coronavirus (which is most cats),it is not effective against the common serotype of FIPV, and even when all factors are optimal, it has low efficacy. In short, it
          does not work in the environments where it is needed most (catteries and shelters) and is not justified in older pet cats where FIP is hardly seen. We do not recommend its use.”

        • Hi, Michelle. I think I’ll attempt to answer a few of your questions. I’m one of those people who has treatments for autoimmune issues and relies on herd immunity and donated antibodies (IVIG). When it comes to how much risk is too much and where we draw the line, it’s better to do a risk/benefit analysis. If you replace playground equipment because 1 in 500 children falls and gets a concussion, think about how many children that would amount to in your child’s school over a course of years. To take no risk of concussion would be to keep your child indoors 24/7 and watch her like a hawk for any signs of trying to move around independently. But that comes with its own risks because it’s not a healthy way to live. Car travel is with risks as well, of course, but it’s part of living a full life in our society.

          What is to be gained by opting out of vaccines? Do broken ribs from Whooping Cough build character? Does suffering in isolation teach a child necessary self-sufficiency? Does losing our children to preventable illnesses toughen up a mother’s heart? We have established that the benefit of the vaccine is greater than the risk of adverse effect. We can make safer automobiles (which we take several times a week, not a few times in a lifetime). These vaccines are the safest we can make them currently. The only people who believe the risk of taking the vaccines is the greater threat are people who think they’re being lied to by the scientific community, by doctors, and by the government. There’s no reasoning with them. No number of educated people reassuring them that the science backs vaccination will change their minds. I would bet they would not question the science behind a ventilator if their child couldn’t breathe.

          One of the most frustrating aspects of this for me is that if we humans wanted to, we could cut out almost all of the vaccines we take these days. It would take a global effort of nearly universal vaccinations and then within a matter of years, there would be no more need. Then they could turn to shaming mothers who give their children meds for A.D.D.

      • My son had rather intense febrile seizures as an infant. While we did wait a bit to vaccinate him, we did end up vaccinating him.
        The vaccines can cause mild fevers, which might cause him to seize, sure, but the fevers are relatively short lived. The fevers that come with the diseases we were vaccinating against, on the other hand, would certainly last longer and thus provide greater risk of seizure.
        So we took a month to think about it, and his pediatrician totally left it up to us, but he got completely vaccinated.

        Of course this was well before there was a chicken pox vaccine, so he did get a bad case of chicken pox (bad enough we were checking in by phone with the clinic every day as he was on the verge of hospitalization), but he’d outgrown his febrile seizures by then.

    • Michelle,
      I think your question about the tide or “better safe than sorry” advice for moms is entirely reasonable, though it’s big enough and complicated enough that maybe it can’t really be addressed fully in the comments section. And although you are thinking broadly, most reading the comments on this post won’t be. Getting into that particular issue might muddy the message about vaccines.
      But for a quick response about when a vaccine might not be worth giving, let me give a hypothetical “not worth the risk” vaccine scenario:
      Let’s suppose we had a vaccine to one type of cold virus, but it only gives 40% immunity due to the rapid genetic changes to such viruses, and only protected you (at that 40% rate) to one of dozens of viruses. That means you’re still much more likely to get a cold this year than not, despite the vaccine. Now let’s suppose the vaccine has a 1:1000 rate of severe (requiring hospitalization) adverse events. And the risk of serious complication to a true “cold virus” (not influenza) is very low. Now you’ve got a situation where the vaccine probably isn’t worth giving to most of the population.

      As for the inexhaustable “better safe than sorry” advice for mom’s these days, a book “Is Breast Best?” looks at this whole phenomenon and the fact that mothers are shamed for not avoiding all risks, even when the science is absent. The book focuses on the science behind the “breast is best” campaign and whether the benefits are really worth telling women that they are abusive/neglectful if they make any other choice. The answer: once you strip away all the other socioeconomic, health, educational, etc. factors, the benefit of breast milk over modern formula is so small that anything that reduces the mother’s happiness & comfort regarding the mothering is a bigger risk to the baby than the issue of breastmilk, i.e. it’s better to choose whichever you want (including both) than to stress about it.

      • Unfortunately, there is a fundamental flaw in your cold virus vaccine scenario……..such a vaccine would NEVER get approved by the FDA in the first place, for all the reasons you listed as potential problems. The vaccines currently available have way less than 1:1000 risk of serious side effects and are much more effective. For any vaccine that is approved, the vaccine maker has had to prove that the benefits of their vaccine (immunity or potential immunity) far outweighs the risk of any serious side effect. Also, even if this wasn’t know before a vaccine was approved by the FDA, THE VAERS system would root it out, and the vaccine would be pulled from the market – just like the very first rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) was in 1999, a mere 14 months after its initial introduction.

        • That’s not really a flaw though, because we’re not suggesting that any such vaccine exists, just discussing the hypothetical line where it wouldn’t be worth doing. It’s not at all surprising that the government would at least attempt to avoid injecting millions of kids with something that does more harm than good.

      • Thank you for your reply. That’s exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. I will definitely look into that book! I happily breastfed all of my kids, but I’m always stunned by the rhetoric in likening formula to poison.

    • medicine is both an art and a science – every patient is different.. It often takes a team of doctors and multiple tries to understand complicated cases. a doctors role is to do their best to apply the science they’ve been taught. If they don’t and provide negligent care, they can be sued – which is what I think scibabe was getting at with her disclaimer reference (while bloggers can’t).

      I hope you are able to find a doctor you trust.

    • Well, I wouldn’t call tuberculosis mild, but the vaccine for it, BCG, is not generally used inside the US.

      In fact, I’d never even heard of it until my family spent a year in England. The British use it (or at least they did in the early 80’s), not so much because TB is that rampant in England, but because they get a lot of immigrants from Commonwealth nations where it is, and they’re taking the paranoid approach to the disease.

      It’s not used in US because there isn’t much TB in the US, and the vaccine isn’t all that effective. It does, however cause most of its recipients to test positive on the tuberculin skin test making the test useless for checking for exposure.

  16. I’ve never read your blog before, but I will be back! Oh yes.

    This particular bitch right here infuriates me as an intelligent woman, a humanist, and a mother of a beautiful daughter. I could not in all my 35 years understand a mental state where risking the kind of agony these diseases cause to my beloved daughter is even a PASSING thought. I hope against hope their children don’t catch anything and are smart enough to vaccinate later in life.

  17. I was so apoplectic with rage I couldn’t post to her site yesterday, but you blogged the hell out of her, awesome!

    What is terrifying though is that people in the anti-vaccine and Anti-GMO movements have started to link to papers (usually through reputable sources like sciencedirect) that have been PUBLISHED IN BOGUS JOURNALS. I had some guy quoting a “published article” from a seemingly legit sounding source (called something like the journal of patho biology), until I Googled the impact factor and citations. Zero. These journals publish bogus articles for cash that don’t get peer reviewed (or even go through an editing process) and help prop up the non-evidence movement.

    I despair, and the devil on my shoulder tells me I should market bullshit products to these people, until I saw last night the new nightmare in alternative therapy: bleach enemas for autistic kids.

    I have a PhD in biochemical pharmacology, and I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  18. Thank you for taking the time to write this rebuttal. I am often astounded by the exceptional ignorance of people like Modern Alternative Momma and the pro disease(antivax) crowd. Their unfounded opinions are dangerous and irresponsible.

  19. i think it is bull that she “moderates” posts. while i do not believe in cyber bullying, someone who is responsible for helping lead parents to make idiot, life threatening decisions should be prepared to back herself up… i posted many good comments debunking and questioning her article (ie. how i am a public health nurse and have at least 3 pages of research articles debunking the autism link – pretty sufficient when there is not 1 that shows the link- and how i find it totally unacceptable that she thinks it is okay to sacrifice 800 deaths per year to measles WHEN IT IS PREVENTABLE, and how she thinks anti-vaxxers are not the cause – really because rates dropped from 650 to less than 10 and are back on the rise all over the world… wonder why?! Asked if they are so scared of the ingredients in vaccines (which are MINIMAL and often found in HIGHER contents in OUR FOOD !!) scares anti-vaxxers, it is funny how if their child had encephalitis they would not even question the TONS of medications they would need at the hospital. And comparing to accident rates is ridiculous… accidents are ALSO PREVENTABLE and no amount of death should be ACCEPTABLE in anything that is PREVENTABLE… but people don’t see how she is okay with that as long it is not her child. How about the COST of treating 800 cases a year (using her numbers).. WHO WILL PAY FOR THAT? Is she okay with increased taxes? Will she support the increased need to support families who will take time off to watch their child at home or in the ICU? It is CHEAPER and MORE EFFECTIVE to give 2-3 doses of MMR than it is to treat the complications OF THE DIESEASE. I was civil in posting my comments but they will never be posted and i think that is BS.. be prepared to back yourself up Kate !!! The science of vaccines is ready!!! I wish it was not immoral to inject her child with the measles and we could put her herbs to the test. People make me so mad !! I understand that they want to questions it… great, awesome… BUT LOOK AT CREDIBLE INFORMATION YOU GOOFS !! Going to pro-Anti-vax sites IS NOT CREDIBLE INFO!! Look at both sides of the story before making the decision to RISK YOUR CHILD’S LIFE !

  20. Oh and I also added… okay so 800 deaths per year to measles is okay, but let’s add in whooping cough, tetanus, diptheria, chicken pox, influenza, rubella, etc… even 800 deaths PER disease THAT IS PREVENTABLE is absolute horse crap but people cannot see what she is promoting.

    I even mentioned how I hear see anti-vaxxers in the community but THE ABSOLUTE SECOND there is an outbreak or a family friend or member falls ill, they come RUNNING to get a vaccine…. hm….. if the anti-vaxx SCIENCE was so GREAT then why do they switch sides so easily????

    And someone said “I do not understand why people who vaccinate are scared of my unvaccinated child, their vaccines should be protect them?”
    Well sorry but just like anything in the world, nothing is 100%… I am a non-responder to rubella, i can have multiple doses and i will not carry full immunity… i am currently pregnant, and a nurse.. and scared SHITLESS ! if I come across some anti-vaxxer with rubella and I lose my child in my womb because of it… gah, ya I am scared! And i explained herd immunity… newborns, the old, immunocompromised and how they don’t respond or cannot have vaccines… so why are we scared? BECAUSE YOUR CHOICE PUTS OUR LIFE AT RISK…. pf getting mad now. Thank you for you response to Kate’s ant-vaxx cult.

  21. I have to quibble with your response to the question about seizure risk and vaccines. History of seizures is not a contraindication to vaccination. They may be delayed until seizures are brought under control and most can be controlled. I do not know the process if they can not but that would be a discussion with doctors but it should be mentioned that the risk of seizure, epileptic or febrile, is much higher from disease than vaccination and seizures, especially febrile seizures, are mostly inconsequential with the main risk being traumatic head injury from the fall.
    I had measles encephalitis at 4 months old and as a consequence I had uncontrolled severe febrile seizures leading to repeated status epilepticus. I couldn’t be vaccinated at the time but that was the standard at the time without the knowledge we have now and I had status seizures which are very rare. I still have epilepsy today but my seizures are only simple uncomplicated and under control and I can be vaccinated. There is much fear and stigma surrounding seizures and that needs to be combatted. Even if my seizures today couldn’t be controlled they would be more of an inconvenience than a health risk.

    Now back to what I first wanted to address. As an unvaccinated child in the time of endemic, ubiquitous disease there were many steps my family had to take in an attempt to keep me safe which dwarf the whiny complaints of anti-vax parents about their unvaccinated children being sent home for several weeks during an outbreak. I wasn’t sent home for a few weeks but my schooling was delayed entirely. My parents had to find a carer that would not take in other children and both parents had to work to pay for the uncovered medical expenses.

      • I think she’s talking about your response to my question. To put your mind at ease, Harriet, I did give my daughter the vaccine. Even with her history, the risk of a seizure was low. I only brought it up as an example of a potential risk of vaccinations that isn’t complete nonsense.

    • In fact, I think seizures are the one thing I didn’t talk about. I looked back over the blog and I can’t find the seizure reference. Can you quote what you’re talking about from the blog entry?

      • It was in response to the one mom that used to be an anti-vax but now is pro-vax… she talked about how a doctor advised her this certain vaccine has a higher seizure rate (even tho still small) but just to watch her temp for the next 24 hours…. i noticed in your reply to her you said “in your daughters case i probably would not vaccinate” and then talked about herd immunity… i was confused as to why you had said this as well as yes febrile seizures are a possible side effect but it is minimal and not a contraindication to not vaccinating

        • Michelle said, “(For example, my doctor warned me that one of my daughters was at an increased risk of having a seizure after one of her vaccines, so we had to keep a careful eye on her temperature for 24 hours.) At what point is a disease mild enough that the vaccine *wouldn’t* be worth the risk? Is it ever? I’m not asking to be argumentative, but genuinely trying to understand where the line is, or should be.”

          you replied, “3. In your daughter’s case, I may not vaccinate. This is why we rely on herd immunity and it’s all the more important that the people who can vaccinate should vaccinate.”

          I am not sure of michelle’s daughters case but we do mention how seizures, especially febrile are a side effect, so the doctor was likely covering his butt and going into more depth about possible side effects than other doctors might.

          We do ask a fit to immunize questionnaire as PH nurses and there is a question about seizures in the last 24 hours…. a child can be at an increased risk for another seizure after vaccination which is why we ask this.. and would post pone immunization… also if we defer immunization it allows us to make sure that a seizure is not mistaken as a side effect when in fact the child might have had one with or without the vaccine – if that makes sense?

    • I’m not sure what seizures the child might normally have who was the topic of the original question. If an individual is prone to generalized seizures or seizures that are more disruptive the decision may have different factors to consider.

      If I was having a period where I was having constant complex partials and was told that a vaccine might aggravate that I would have more to consider.

  22. So glad I found your blog! I just recently parted ways with an “alternative” wacko.. I could no longer take her outlandish alternative crap anymore. What scares me is that she “graduated” from this place http://www.integrativenutrition.com and thinks she can cure something like food borne hepatitis with letting her immune system ride it out. Which she recently did when she ate a tainted bag of berries from Costco. She subjected her kids to her nonsense, and that is when I decided that I needed to get away from this nut job. What bothers me about the school she got her certificate in is, it promotes all of the BS that Alternative people believe, and now we have a lot of these newly minted weirdos that they they know more than doctors. She was crying about how her pediatric doctor threw her out of the practice because she wouldn’t fully vaccinate her kids. She thought I’d be sympathetic, when instead I told her exactly why. She is a French National, so she had to have some to come live here and in the states, but will not give them a booster! These people are so frustrating and annoying!!! Anyway, your blog is a site for sore eyes!!!! Keep up the good work.

  23. I find it interesting that people like MAM frequently talk about prevalence rates of serious complications from these vaccine-preventable diseases, and then don’t mention anything about rates of serious side effects from the MMR vaccine itself. When you discussed it in your post, I thought this was going to be the next logical step in your argument! That’s the only thing that I think would have strengthened your already awesome rebuttal.

    I was interested to know this myself, so I looked it up. According to the CDC’s information statement for the MMR vaccine (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html#risks), for “moderate” side effects, the rate is 1 out of 3,000 for seizure, 1 out of 4 for joint stiffness and pain, and 1 out of 30,000 for low platelet count. For “serious” side effects, the rate is less than 1 in a million.

    And yet, according to her most conservative estimate, MAM would rather us risk that if your child contracted measles, he or she would only have a 1 in 5000 chance of DEATH (though the CDC says the risk is more like 1 or 2 in 1000 [http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html]).

    So, let’s recap.
    Let your child get the measles, and have a 1 in 5000 chance of dying.
    Give your child the damn vaccine, and have less than 1 in a million chance of a severe allergic reaction, which may or may not even result in death.

    MAM is an ass hole.

    • I suspect because they believe the actual vaccine statistics are higher, given they seem ready to blame everything from autism to lupus on vaccines. So they wouldn’t accept the ‘one in a million’ statistic.

  24. I contracted measles in 1984. I was 12 years old. I was bedridden for more than two weeks, and lost almost a quarter of my weight. I could barely walk when I was allowed out of bed, and my skin sloughed off in big purple scales. My eyes were sensitive to sunlight for weeks afterwards. And I was one of the lucky ones.

    “Modern” alternative mama can take her antediluvian beliefs and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

  25. It’s really unfortunate that there’s so much hate on bioth sides of this discussion. The anti-vaxxed are “idiots”‘ and the vaxxers are “lemmings”. I’m looking forward to see how this whole discussion plays out.

    • “How this whole thing plays out?!” It has already been played my friend. For thousands of years people have been maimed, crippled, killed, rendered sterile and blind by small pox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, flu ad nauseum. We have reduced polio and smallpox to a memory, and for years the MMR vaccine saved BILLIONS of people from having to experience this. Do you know anyone in an iron lung? or massively scarred from small pox? ITS BECAUSE SCIENCE WORKS! If Ebola were to start ravaging the freaking USA, and we found a vaccine that prevented it, how do you think that would “play out” I weep for this country’s stupidity.

  26. It’s amusing to me that MAM feels she’s educated enough to speak on vaccines when she doesn’t even believe in germ theory. Viruses and bacteria don’t cause illness! Except when they do. Wait, what?


  27. One of the things I find the most galling about assholes like MaM is how they bandy around words like ‘freedom of speech’, ‘liberty’ and ‘hate speech’. Go tell it to people who are genuinely being persecuted for their speech, like the Saudi blogger who is awaiting fifty lashes for blasphemy. She’s a whining, first-world brat.

  28. After discussing your article with a friend (and mostly loving all the zingers you toss out), we came to a very important conclusion: You are most definitely someone we’d love to be friends/ have a beer with. Keep up the good work!

  29. Good to know many ppl disagree with anti-vaxx.The country I stay, provides free immunizaion program for kids. Is cost for immunization expensive for some places?

  30. Great post, but I wish you had also mentioned the danger of birth defects if women catch measels while pregnent. It is seriousnproblem that has been largely ignored in the reporting around this issue.

  31. We’re sick of them down under too, but rather than give them a platform to “debate” because “free speech” we told them in no uncertain terms to stay home in the US when they tried to organise a 2015 anti-vaccine tour of Australia. You guys should follow our example – refer to Reasonable Hank’s blog for good coverage of the debacle.

  32. MMR booster at 42 years old. 3 months later antibody lab tests showed little to no immune response to any of them. Rabies vaccine at age 30-ish. Lab tests 5 years later showed good immune response. Well, I sure hope that the dozen vaccinations I’ve taken follow the rabies example.

    But … I’ll be standing in line for all of my boosters, as well as any new whiz-bang ones. Why? Even if it isn’t going to prevent me from catching a disease, it might minimize the severity and might reduce the likelihood of transmitting to you. (according to my doctor)

    Because I don’t want you to catch any of the things I have been vaccinated against:
    hepatitis B

    and … I’m almost old enough to get shingles vaccine!

  33. I left this comment on her blog, which is currently sitting in her moderation queue. Let’s see if she is willing to publish it…


    “During the 1962-1965 global rubella pandemic, an estimated 12.5 million rubella cases occurred in the United States, resulting in 2,000 cases of encephalitis, 11,250 therapeutic or spontaneous abortions, 2,100 neonatal deaths, and 20,000 infants born with CRS.”


    That doesn’t sound “so mild” to me. Do you even know why we vaccinate children for rubella? It’s not for that child’s health. It’s to protect the unborn among our population from ending up with congenital rubella syndrome, which can be quite devastating, causing permanent, irreversible blindness, deafness, heart defects, and mental retardation.

    When you don’t vaccinate your child, you put the unborn of every pregnant woman in your community at risk of prenatal death, death within the first year of life, or at the very least, a lifetime of disabilities.

    That’s not “so mild” and certainly a reason to quarantine, ostracize, or shun your childen till you get some sense and stop subjecting your kids to medical neglect.

    To me, there is very little difference between deliberately not vaccinating your child and deliberately not feeding them.

    Unless you have a sound medical reason why your child can not receive a certain vaccine (determined by a doctor on a child-by-child and vaccine-by-vaccine basis), you are an incompetent parent, guilty of child neglect, and should have your kids taken away from you, not just for the sake of your children, but also for the sake of your community.

    Please go educate yourself before you become responsible for someone’s death or disabilities.


  34. Thank you for this article!! Nothing makes me madder than anti-vaxxers illogical, unfounded, non-supported, and falicious arguments.

    I read a comment by a mother recently, on Dr. Tenpenneys FB page, stating that her children’s “paleo diet” cured them from colds, the flu, and viral infections. I cannot understand why anyone would put a child on a diet, let alone one that doesn’t include any dairy products. It blows my mind, and this movement makes me sad for the human race.

    Google degrees and people know all sorts of things, but anti-vaxxers can actually hurt human beings. It’s sickening.

  35. I’m glad someone commented on the congenital rubella syndrome. My father’s mother contracted rubella when she was pregnant with him (back in the ’30s). As a result, he was born deaf and, eventually lost his sight completely. There is a lot of a fallout from these diseases that some people consider mild or non-threatening. For all the deaths that are recorded, does anyone gather the numbers for how many lives were altered in other ways because of these entirely preventable diseases? My father was not a complainer, but I cannot stress how difficult life is when you cannot hear or see.

  36. Thank you for posting this. This anti-vaxx movement is scary to me as one of the people that had an allergic reaction to the pertussis portion of the DPT vaccine given to small children. I got all of the other vaccines though. I honestly worry about getting whooping cough because of the number of people who are not vaccinated by choice and not because of an allergy like myself. I am a teacher on top of that so I am exposed to a lot of germs on a regular basis. When ever the news mentions a new whooping cough outbreak in the area I have to make sure I know where because I am at risk because of the people that chose not to vaccinate their children. I cannot help that I am allergic to that part of the vaccine, and I have made sure to stay current on all other vaccines. This is why making sure more people are vaccinated is important, to help the people who can’t be vaccinated stay healthy too.

  37. not vaccinating your children is completely selfish. One, your leaving your poor child at risk to catch life threatening diseases which should be a form of neglect without medical reasons.
    Two, your putting poor babies that aren’t old enough to be vaccinated along with people who medically can’t be vaccinated at a much greater risk. And for what? Because you think some hippy dippy crap and believe in the “natural ammune system” which obviously isn’t saving children from the diseases or this wouldn’t be a problem to begin with. It’s been proven that the study connecting autism to the mmr vaccine was never properly studied and the numbers were pretty much pulled out of thin air. Though there is no proof that they aren’t connected their also isn’t proof that they are connected so which is more life threatening? The small possibility that your child could become autistic or the large chance they could catch one of these diseases and potentially die? I don’t know about anyone else but to me the possibility of death is much more important than the small chance of a learning dissability. Just my opinion. I don’t know how anti vaxx people live with themselves knowing that they are the reason millions of infants have died in the past 5 years. It’s something I could possibly live with. Knowing that I contributed to the spread of diseases that attack infants is just something I could not do and I find not vaccinating the most selfish act out there and I don’t know how these people go on with themselves but then again they don’t think it’s them that are causing these outbreaks.

  38. Thank you for your wonderful, well-articulated blog. It saddens me that so many people make the choice and defend it for not vaccinating their children. Obviously they have either a short, accurate memory of medical history or not educated to rely soley on the internet for their misinformation.

    As a member of the military, I’m happy to know every person I work with is vaccinated. It’s a requirement unless you have a medical reason.

    Thank you.

  39. We need to start viewing these anti-vacs as a cult, and treat it’s followers the same way they do with those escaping from a cult. Like cults the anti-vacs movement have charismatic leaders who can deliver a message well and convincingly, it has celebrity supporters to make it seem credible to us little people. They control by fear, they use pseudoscience and quackademics to frighten people into believing nonsense. They love to be hard done by, it gives them a martyr position from which to garner sympathy and a platform to spread their message.
    Make no mistake their supporters are followers, they have turned medicine into a form of religion believing in snake oil in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
    You cannot use logic and scientific proof to disabuse them, they have to be de-programmed just like those leaving a cult. Sadly, I can see a time coming when the anti-vacs will lose their followers, as an epidemic claims the children of those followers.

  40. Andrew Wakefield, the unethical bastard who started the whole modern secular anti-vax movement with his sham paper making a(completely BS) case for an MMR/Autism link, should be in prison.

    How many kids have been injured or killed as a result of gullible cretins like MAM believing Wakefield’s lies?

    As you noted in this blog, infants too young to get vaccinated and the very elderly are especially vulnerable when herd immunity is compromised by a low vaccination rate. I have to add another two situations where anti-vax can cause great harm.

    Firstly there are patients undergoing cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, since both these therapies, as an unavoidable side effect, decimate the immune systems of the patients undergoing them.

    Secondly there are, for obvious reasons, people who are HIV positive.

    I’m all for allowing parents as much freedom in the raising of their children as possible, but only when their decisions regarding their kids, only affect them and their kids. As we have seen with the recent measles fiasco at Disney Land, parents who choose to not vaccinate their children, don’t just endanger the health and lives of their kids, but of all the kids around them. I think a reasonable case can be made for taking the decision whether or not to vaccinate children, out of the hands of the parents.

  41. Let me start by saying, I love your site and your blog!

    Several weeks ago, a FB friend of mine posted a comment on an article regarding Gardasil. It showed up in my news feed because I follow her posts.

    I went to the article, and read the comments under it, which caused me severe hypertension from the astounding stupidity there. “What is the big deal over a few cases of measles at Disneyland?” “I WISH I could take my kid to Disneyland to get the measles!”

    So, silly me, I commented, and quoted the World Health Organization stats on measles deaths each year, and several PubMed and Ebsco journal articles, for which I was called a “brainwashed troll, “a big pharma shill” and worse, before being banned from the page.

    I did a little follow-up, and found that the page I had been banned from was no other than Ms. Tenpenny (I refuse to call her Dr after reading more about her). I went to her website, and after much searching found her email, and asked why I was banned when I politely provided information, did not call names, and backed up my comments with peer reviewed studies.

    She did not respond to my email, but the next day, posted on her FB page “This page is NOT about “vaccine debate.” There are innumerable FB pages for that type of banter. This is why we delete messages and ban users who are nasty, disparaging and call names.” I found this interesting, as I was not the one calling names.

    I have also been involved in an online discussion regarding the mumps outbreak in the NHL, and have found some common themes anti-vaxxers use to try to argue their point. When provided with pages of studies and data, their responses are:

    “The reason Polio cases went down was that they reclassified the definition of Polio after the vaccine came out.”

    “Also, the rates of Polio were already on a steep decline prior to the introduction of the vaccine due to better sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.”

    “Don’t forget that they changed the definition of POLIO when they introduced the vaccine. It immediately showed a very flawed favorable polio vaccine benefit. In actuality – polio is worse now than ever. They just DO NOT call it polio.”

    “..peer reviewers can be bought to say anything you want. You’ve never heard of the power over influence money has ?”

    “So, where’s my long term placebo control trial (showing vaccines work) ? Answer; there isn’t any !”

    Sigh: It is enough to make me run screaming into the night.

    I fear that the work you do, to try to enlighten those that cannot face facts, will fall on deaf ears when it comes to the anti-vax crowd…

    • Wow, I had heard the ‘improved sanitation’ gag but not the ‘reclassification’ — it would be comical except that it actually makes me kinda sick. I’d been thinking about the sanitation question, and looked up polio numbers from the 50’s — before the vaccine was developed, there were 45000-55000 cases a year — two years later, there were 5600 cases, and numbers continued to drop. So, they must have developed really really good sanitation, really really fast, right? Yep.

  42. “We know how to prevent the most serious complications now in most cases.”

    We can successfully TREAT the pneumonia with antibiotics and ventilators and oxygen masks.

    We can TREAT the dehydration with IV fluids.

    We can TREAT the fever with antipyretics and tepid baths

    We can TREAT the thrombocytopenia with transfusions of platelets.

    But to PREVENT them takes vaccination.

  43. I am rightly skeptical of vaccines, simply because I pay attention to the pharmaceutical malarkey they spew. When vaccines first came out, they were all touted as 100% effective, providing lifetime immunity. The pharmaceutical companies lobbied lawmakers and laws were passed mandating vaccinations.

    Of course, lifetime immunity wasn’t a particularly good idea for the profit stream, so we were soon told that you’d need booster shots. Wait, what happened to lifetime immunity? The science was irrefutable at that time and now it’s not?

    As conservatism has risen in the country, small-governnment advocates have made sure that regulatory agency budgets have shrunk, so pharmaceutical companies get to test their own product, which is inevitably deemed safe. It’s such a joke, because science that is not rigorously disputed is not science. It’s corporate science: I pay you to come to the conlusion I paid you to come to.

    Follow the money, people. Follow the money. In my lifetime, there was scientific consensus that drilling a hole in people’s heads was sound science. Frankly, I think you’d have to have a frontal lobotomy to believe the claims of a pharmaceutical industry that rarely produces a drug that performs better than a placebo.

    • O.k. let’s say that the pharmaceutical companies are only in it for money. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the diseases to not be eradicated through vaccinations so that they can make money off of the treatments for the diseases? Using your own reasoning, go all the way and think it through completely. If you were to be hospitalized for measles more money would be made from treating you than be made from a couple of vaccinations. You claim to pay attention, but you fail to think your own “reasoning” all the way through. If you’re going to play the “they want to make money” card actually think if they really are making money and/or scenarios where they would make more money.

      You said, “an industry that rarely produces a drug that performs better than a placebo.” SERIOUSLY? Look person, you telling me that someone brought back from cardiac arrest with drugs is a placebo effect? You sayin’ that all the people being effectively treated with medicine where labs (i.e bloodwork) and imaging (i.e. x-rays, MRI’s) prove they are being successfully treated is a placebo effect? What is this? Arrogance, willful ignorance, or are you just a troll?

      To put it as you say, I’m rightly skeptical of your comment, simply because your “logic” is marlarkey.

      The anti-vaxx movement really gets my blood boiling. It would be one thing if this only affected the anti-vaxx idiots, but they’re taking down innocent people with them by force. My mother had to provide proof of vaccination for me when I was enrolled. Do they not do this anymore? Let’s see if all these morons change their tune with this recent measles outbreak in California. If they don’t, then their arrogance (because they “know” everything and refuse to listen to reason) borders on evil.

    • Actually, vaccines are pretty terrible for making money for Big Pharma: they are mostly out of patent and have a slim profit-margin. They’d rather sell you pills to help with erections. Or slightly altered forms of drugs with patents that are about to expire. The US government had to even step in to handle the small risk of complications from vaccine side-effects*, lest the chance of a lawsuit stop vaccines entirely.

      * Something that it does with no other drug.

  44. Do you have statistics on the prevalence of sterility in postadolescent males contracting childhood diseases, specifically measles and mumps? My mom was in nursing school in the late 1950s, and told me during an outbreak of measles at the college where my husband took night classes that it was particularly important he get revaccinated, since there had been batches of vaccine during our childhood that weren’t effective. I doubt my mom would make this up: but I’d like some actual studies to point to, in order to counter antivaxxers in a way they might actually be convinced!

  45. WOW!!! we are planning a trip for the first time to the states to Orlando, and after hearing the news/ the national and the case of the major out break in CA, I phoned my Family Doc and made sure we are all up to date! This world is falling apart when ppl think they are above the rest and don’t get vaccinated! What a shame you have to poop poop the great scientists who came up with these life saving remidies!I think you should all be chucked on an island and left to take care of yourselves, why should my family suffer for your stupidity.. ( sorry to those who TRULY can’t have the vaccine!) this is directed to the wanna-bees!

    • Hi Angela, it’s great you got updated on your family’s shots, at the same time, the outbreak at Disneyland was clear on the other side of the country from Orlando and Disney World, and to my knowledge (lived here over 20 years), we don’t have the issues of concentrated communities of people refusing to get their kids vaccinated. Come on over to the Mouse House without worry!

  46. I like this article and I hope it reaches some of the anti- vaxx people. I read that stupid alternative mama post you provided a link to and the arrogance of that woman borders on evil. I call it arrogance because she refuses to acknowledge any information other than what she wants to believe. That arrogance borders on evil because she’s witnessing the damage her “ideology” is doing to society as a whole, but still doesn’t care and continues to be anti-vaxx and encourage it. When their (the anti-vaxx people) choice is forced upon others and they take innocent people down with them, people have every right to blame anti-vaxxers. And she has the nerve to play victim. Evil.

  47. I am a 38 year old young woman who has Epilepsy, Cystic fibrosis and COPD. My family has always vaccinated myself and my sisters and brother and we have never been I’ll from them. I have never had a seizure from them and no you can’t catch anything I have. The CF is from birth and so is the Epilepsy. I got the COPD from the CF. Cystic Fibrosis is only from birth that’s the only way to get CF ever. The main reason I am writing this is because I am proud of the woman for writing this blog. Not proud of the language though. In no way has it ever been proven that you can get autism from vaccinations and the article from Harvard was wrong and they were forced to print a retraction saying v that in reality there is no irrefutable proof that they cause autism. The researchers actually took a payout worth millions of dollars to fund their research just to print the article from 10 years before. I was a special education for paraprofessional and substitute teacher for over 12 years here in Michigan. Guns are mire dangerous than vaccines.

  48. So sorry about the spelling. I’m having problems with my Cell phone. I would personally vaccinate my own children if I had any. The risk is nothing compared to preventing a horrible disease such as Meassels or Menegitis or Chicken Pox. Oh and that lame video that was shown on Oprah years ago is a hoax. The children only acted like that when their mother came into the room. Her children acted perfectly normal until their mother announced she was coming into the rooms. Then tadah they acted like they had mental problems.

  49. I’ve used arguments like MAM’s, where the numbers keep changing and are not backed up by any evidence. I’ve done so in the pub, drunk, about trivia like football. Not online about a serious health issue when I am online with access to data – and a calculator in case I need it to work out 10005000.

  50. Vaccines are great. I think it’s just wrong for society to be going out of its way persecuting parents who happened to not vaccinate. I vaccinate my kids, was vaccinated myself, and I feel no compunction to blame others in case me or my kids get sick. Sickness, disease, germs, microbes, etc. are all over this world- especially in hospitals and clinics and places with a lot of foot traffic. Forcing people to vaccinate via accusations of ‘neglect’ and legal harassment is not the type of America I want to live in. I’d rather just be grateful that we have something as wonderful as vaccinations and then also be grateful for the choice that we all have the option of using them instead of shaming and threatening those who haven’t taken the opportunity to use vaccines yet. IMHO.

    • I’d rather live in an America where horrific diseases that were eradicated years ago and are completely preventable come rearing their ugly heads again because some people are too irresponsible and selfish to get their kids vaccinated because they didn’t pay nearly enough attention in science class, effectively throwing us back as a society back to the first part of the last century. Other countries: you mean there’s a shot that will mean I and my children will never get a horrible disease that could possibly maim, disfigure or maybe even kill us? Gimme the shot! The United States, greatest superpower in the world: “Because vaccines have essentially eradicated most horrific diseases, I have no experience with their horrible effects and am not afraid of what could happen if they come back. So it must be a conspiracy, because it just couldn’t happen here. I’ll pass.”

  51. As someone who had whopping cough(pertussis) one more anti-vaxxer claim I would like disputed is the money angle. I got WC because I didn’t get my booster in my 30’s. While visiting my sister after the birth of her son I picked it up from her, who had gotten it from someone walking around with it. Her son died at 23 days old. Our families were quarantined and several of us got sick.
    Anti-vaxxers claim that companies that make vaccines are in it for the money. Wrong if they were in it for the money they would stop making vaccines and let people get these diseases. Cost break down below (we had really good insurance and these were just the co-pays)

    6 doses of z-packs (2 for me, 1 each for the hubby and kids) $180.
    2 trips to the emergency room for breathing treatments and cracked ribs (you can break your ribs from coughing, it sucks and makes it even more painful) $1000.
    nebulizer and medicine $600.
    steroids $25 per month for 3 months
    inhaler $25 per month for a year
    This does not include about 6-8 trips to the doctor for monitoring for me at $30 each and 3 trips for my kids to the pediatrician and 3 for my husband

    My husband lost 2 weeks of work, my kids had to be out of school for 2 weeks. I was off work for 2 MONTHS.

    We had good insurance and modern medicine at our disposal. Every time I hear an AV claim that pharmaceutical companies make SO MUCH money from vaccines I want to laugh then cry. That is a huge lie.

    And for the record I have scarred lungs from this. I was coughing for about a year.

  52. I got here from the Tysonism Facebook page, I just wanted to say something about this nugget:

    “…Report hate pages. There are a number of different ones on Facebook. “Anti-Vax Wall of Shame.” “Things Anti-Vaxxers Say.” “Banned by Modern Alternative Mama.” There are many others. Report them for hate speech. Their entire purpose is to take screenshots from groups where they troll and mock the people — some of you may recognize your own comments being mocked on those pages!”

    And I have a quote in reply:

    “Public service announcement: The Right to Free Speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it.

    The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences. If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.

    It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole, and they’re showing you the door.”

    That’s from xkcd.com/1357

  53. Abortion is 100% fatal 100% of the time, and I don’t want the government passing (more) any laws on the subject, either way. I certainly don’t care for any compulsory laws supposed to stop measles.

    I have no problem not letting kids into government schools if they are unvaccinated. It might keep some kids from having their brains deactivated.

    However safe or unsafe vaccines are, they are certainly less safe because of the vaccine court and the FDA. If you want people to think vaccines are safe, then end the cartellization of vaccine makers and the liability protection they are afforded. Compensation for vaccines comes from tax payers. See how safe McDonalds would be if food poisoning claims were paid from taxes. (see also: banking)

    Drug companies are protected from market and judicial discipline. ‘Peers’ are usually on the take by those same drug companies. Restore judicial and market discipline and they will be more safe.

    If we didn’t allow occasional quality control mistakes to be swept under the rug, there would be fewer of them, and we wouldn’t have moms that you will never convince that the vax didn’t cause their child’s harm when two that got vaxxed are autistic and two that didn’t aren’t. Coincidence? Maybe. Let’s see what a jury says.

    There’s nothing wrong with the science of vaccines any more than there’s anything wrong with the science of automobiles. But you remove market and judicial discipline and you make things less safe.

    • Though I know this is feeding the trolls, I think that there are reasons to shoot down some of the uninformed thinking that lead to this post. Abortion and vaccination aren’t the same thing, and ok, the poster hates government. Got it. Now, how is that relevant?

      1. The FDA may not be funded and staffed to meet the requirements placed upon the agency, but exactly how has it played a negative role in vaccination? That statement requires some proof rather than just being thrown into a mixture of anti-government talking points. (for FDA mandates, see http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/default.htm; for funding see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=BUDGET&browsePath=Fiscal+Year+1996&isCollapsed=true&leafLevelBrowse=false&isDocumentResults=true&ycord=0)

      2. The vaccine court was set up to stop vaccine makers from losing absurd amounts of money to lawsuits (many of them clearly frivolous), while holding to fairly lax standards for assuming that harm correlated with vaccination (which the vaccine-autism belief has still never been able to meet). Businesses that makes vaccines do not see huge profits from that section of their business. This means that they have little incentive to sell a product, for which they make little money, and for which they will potentially be sued to ruin for producing. The reason that the government runs the vaccine court is because of the societal good that vaccines bring, and because of the shield that is necessary to keep high standards for public health in operation over the long-term. (see http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-injury-compensation-programs; http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html).

      It makes little sense to believe that taking the safety regulator (FDA) and the court (set up to pay reasonable costs to those who meet a low standard of evidence) out of the picture would somehow serve the public good (banks, by the way, were bailed out after they screwed the public, which points to their oversight likely needing a boost, rather than being allowed to do whatever they want, or, alternatively, they could be allowed to fail, or to face “market discipline”, though the repercussions of that are very debatable). Anyways, the analogy to vaccines breaks down at a critical point. With how few vaccine manufacturers there are left, (again, see http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-injury-compensation-programs), what happens when one faces that oh-so-desirable “market discipline” and fails? Who keeps up the supply of vaccines? Certainly, the argument to just let them fail is absurd on its face. Should the government then go into the vaccine-producing business (or are we still assuming only incompetence and corruption from the government?).

      While it does appear to make sense to keep politicians out of the entire debate, (e.g., see http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/02/politics-and-vaccinations), taking all government out seems like it would have negative consequences, as it is clearly necessary to have a set of standards for vaccine makers to adhere to and an authority that they cannot easily be ignored (read up on the history of vaccines to understand why; see bottom of post). Government (at least in most advanced democracies) seems to be uniquely qualified to defend many, if not most/all, forms of public good, and with vaccines, in the U.S., it does provides protection from mobs of ignoramuses through the vaccine court. What private entities could/would do that?

      3. Why should the public not pay for the public good afforded by vaccination, as vaccination is clearly proven to improve public health (disagreement over the improved public health point just shows ignorance and/or an inability to understand science, rules of evidence, and how to research a topic).

      4. A cartel? This kind of claim requires evidence. Here is what looks to be a pretty standard definition of a cartel: “an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition” (e.g. OPEC). Claiming that there is a cartel effect is easy, while showing how one exists is much less so. This is not to say that one cannot exist, but just saying that it does proves nothing. Perhaps what looks like a cartel is more simply the product of history and patent law.

      5. Market discipline (meaning what?) is believed, seemingly, to ensure high safety standards for vaccines? This statement requires evidence of where the market has done a good job at protecting public health, without stringent government oversight and standards. And what is judicial discipline (other than foregoing the desire to interpret law into or out of existence)? The decisions of a jury?

      6. …if so, what jury is equipped to understand the science of such a complex topic? Courts in the U.S. system find it necessary to bring in special masters to understand the in-depth science and history necessary to make rulings on issues like vaccination. If the decisions of a jury what is meant by “judicial discipline”, lead by a judge, then those who actually know what they are talking about (special masters) will have to be brought in to, in a short period of time, attempt to educate a group of random people on the science and history of vaccination. Does that sound like a recipe for reasonable decision-making? As an analogy, imagine some of the most extremely difficult projects or jobs that you’ve ever worked on, which required years of understanding to do correctly. Now, try to imagine grabbing the first handful of people (whose names you randomly point to in a phone book) flying in, taking it over, and running it successfully within, say, a couple weeks. If that’s not a recipe for success, I don’t know what is.

      It’s also worth pointing out that courts are run by the government. If the belief is that the government is rife with conspiracy and protectionist leanings for favored industries, how difficult would it be to corrupt court proceedings?

      7. The accusation that peer review in vaccine development is corrupt has some threads of truth to it. However, where is the proof? When did the improper review happen? And for which vaccines, exactly? Though peer review is imperfect and medical research definitely has its faults (and they are still some of the best systems out there for weeding out bias and bad information), vaccinations tend to have a very strong safety record, overall. The poorly developed ones rarely made it to market, and those that did, while at times having negative consequences, were in almost all cases still leading to less than the negative effects of the diseases they were meant to prevent (perhaps more government oversight was needed at those times…?). [see ‘Vaccinated: one man’s quest to defeat the world’s deadliest diseases’ (2007)].

      Two more concepts that might help to understand how and why the system that is in place is there today, include the reasoning behind cost/benefit analyses (comparing alternatives and looking for the best) and the tragedy of the commons (“individuals acting independently and rationally according to each’s self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting [or damaging] some common resource”).

  54. Had first hand experience with vaccinated versus unvaccinated. Rescued a puppy. The shelter was told she was vaccinated. She wasn’t. My year old dog was fully vaccinated. The puppy became ill from parvovirus and over 5 days was literally eaten away by the virus. All we and the shelter could do was keep her hydrated and comfortable until she passed. My other dog was as thoroughly exposed as it’s possible to be and did not have even the smallest issue not even a loose stool. It was a terrible experience. No one should have to go through that. Vaccinations work protecting us and those around us.

  55. “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” is what came to mind when you called anti-vaxxers morally bankrupt. (or ignorance, to say it more kindly) I know a few people that oppose vaccination, and although they tend to blindly believe that everything ‘natural’ is better and that much of science is evil, they are by no means morally bankrupt. Do you really think that these people would oppose vaccination if they agreed that doing so would harm their children? And what does MAM’s husband’s sense of humour have to do with anything? Since you said you’re willing to back up anything you say, can you provide some evidence of a correlation between the moral status of spouses that would make it a valid argument against MAM? If you believe that you’re a noble warrior for nature and truth then admitting that you’ve been wrong all along can be a very difficult and painful thing to do, and if the ones who know (more of) the truth call you an evil monster (or even just a regular idiot) it doesn’t become any easier.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think what you’re trying to do here is great. I just worry that getting angry at the people that need convincing tends to limit your audience to people who already agree with you.

    • Yes, because some of them have said they would be fine with their children getting sick (and subsequently getting other children sick) as long as they knew their children were “pure.”

      They’re monsters.

      • Since you said you’d be willing to back up anything you say with scientific data. Are there any psychologists/psychiatrists who agree with the existence of these ‘monsters’? Is it an accepted diagnosis? What is the scientific definition of being a monster? How does someone become a monster and are there any remedies? Surely if monsters play an important part in the popularity of the anti-vaccination movement you’d be interested in finding out whether/how you can turn these monsters back into regular people.

        An old friend of mine, who you might call a monster, now believes that keeping your body pure and thinking happy thoughts (and some strange stuff he calls holy geometry) can remedy most ailments except broken legs etc. He knows that people can get sick but he thinks that as long as you’re natural/pure/happy/enlightened/whatever this won’t kill you and only make you stronger. So given his strange beliefs, preferring to be natural over getting sick seems to be consistent with him being a caring individual.

        As to why he believes all this I can ofcourse only guess. But I think it has something to do with his dad dying of cancer when he was very young. After that he was raised by his depressed mom who was on all sorts of psychiatric medication which never seemed to help. His mom has also been suffering from lung cancer for as long as he can remember, has undergone numerous surgical and medicinal treatments which have kept her alive for a long time but also seemed to make her very sick whithout really curing her. So along comes this guru that offers him a way out based on what as far as I know is basically guided meditation backed by all sorts of wacky theories. Sure, the wacky theories make little to no sense. But he knows nothing about medicine or science in general and the meditation part seems to really help him. Can you really blame him for believing in it? Sure, you could call him deluded. Sure, refusing vaccination and other medical treatment will likely hurt him, his family and others. But does that make him a monster?

        Last week we started talking again after a long time, and he was really excited about sharing his ideas and hearing what I though about them. Since I’ve gone to med school for a few years and he trusts me, I’d say that I have a good opportunity to try to change his mind, at least concerning the more extreme parts of his theories. I don’t think that would last very long if I started calling him a monster.

    • Out of two anti-vaccers I’ve met:
      One recently put a picture on FaceBook implying it’s better to bomb children than to not tell everyone about them being killed, sadly we are related but very distantly. But she lives rural, so didn’t get much actual education on this.

      The other, a friends mother, also wasn’t very educated. She (Both are female) smokes a lot inside around her children.

      No anti-vaccer i know cares about kids. They don’t care about purity. They are just monsters. Trying to make sure the world can’t get better.

      There might be an anti-vaccer i’ve met who i don’t know they don’t vaccinate.

  56. I need to start out saying that I completely agree with you, and I think anti-Vaxxers are completely crazy. I just had to point out one thing.

    When you ask “She keeps changing the numbers, wasn’t it one in one thousand a few paragraphs ago?”, yes, she does but she calls 1/1000 for “serious” cases and 1/5000 “total”. I’m not saying the statistics are right, just that according to her, using 1 in 5000 isn’t changing anything.

    I realize it doesn’t change that she’s crazy, just that one argument of the many you made isn’t quite as strong. I still completely agree with you…sorry, at the end of the day I tend to become somewhat of a snarky ass, and pick things apart that don’t need it. Keep up the excellent posts.

  57. I love how she mentions “advances” in medicine and science to justify why not vaccinating is ok. Really? You mean the same doctors and scientists telling you to vaccinate your child? So modern medicine can be trusted to save your child’s life, but you won’t vaccinate? The doublethink is mind-boggling. There’s also the financial cost to think of. Flooding hospitals with children suffering from preventable diseases puts a huge burden on the healthcare industry, including already overworked nurses. Emergency room visits would become that much longer and healthcare costs would rise just to keep up with the huge increase in patients. Oy vey! Fewer resources would be available for patients who have chronic and/or incurable illnesses. This privileged and ignorant thinking makes me so mad!

  58. My father’s parents had eight children. Three survived to adulthood. I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to take us back to those days.

    (As points of reference, I’m 67 and my degrees are in engineering.)

  59. I have a question about the Hep B vaccine series. The first one is given soon after birth. I had thought Hepatitis B was a disease transmitted through sex, IV drug use, shared needles. If the parents suffer from Hep B then to be immunized at birth does make sense but otherwise why aren’t we waiting till later in life? It’s not an easily communicable disease. Hep b is not transmitted by air but by blood contact.
    Have there been extensive studies done on newborns? I would be interested in reading any studies from reputable science publications you might recommend.
    Thank you

  60. the problem with this generation is that they have NOT seen what preventable diseases ( polio measles etc ) can do, i am 70 years old and i have seen first hand what these ” harmless diseases” can do. listen to an old fart– VACCINATE YOUR KIDS.

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