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.
- “The last measles death in the U.S. was in 2005, and there was 1 death that year (there have been a total of 15 measles deaths in the U.S. since 1992)
- There have been between 37 and 212 cases of measles annually between 2000 and 2011.
- Vitamin A supplementation can prevent blindness from the measles”
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.
- “There’s an association between auto-immunity, autism, and the MMR — but it hasn’t been sufficiently studied”
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.
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