No sympathy for irresponsible anti-vaxxers

43 thoughts on “No sympathy for irresponsible anti-vaxxers”

  1. If you take the time to read other sources of information, besides what the mainstream media says is true, you may find that health is far more than just following along with the rest of what society says. It’s kind of like becoming an adult. You aren’t really one if you just do as you are told, you must forge your own reality and let go of what your own parents “did” to you and move on to make better choices, or not.

    As for vaccines, the “truth” that I’ve found is that far more vaccinated people spread disease than non-vaccinated, and there is proof of that as well. Right where I live, a few years ago, there was an outbreak and every case was in someone who was previously vaccinated, but never kept up with the shots.

    This tells us two things: First, those who are unvaccinated aren’t even mentioned because the aforementioned cases are really the culprits. Second, the unvaccinated are really small numbers that although it seems likely that they are blame, it’s probably handwashing that is more likely the reason why the incidents of disease have gone down in all groups, but it’s actually rare to get the diseases in the US. (Having good hygiene–that’s why schools are likely places to spread it–because it’s hard to keep kids from picking their noses and giving high fives).

    Fear is a strong emotion that will keep you down. Being free and having good health is a quality of life standard worth living for–I write about it in my blogs as well–how to be free and healthy doesn’t come from society giving it through actions like shots, but it comes from a mindset that I can be healthy, regardless of the conditions presented to me.

    There are some who can walk through a hospital, and they will never get sick, while others will pick up a staph infection or some other nasty bug. The reason…the belief is really what determines if a person gets sick. Understanding the mind is so important, and that is why people who get sick can also get well.

    1. Mainstream media are the last place I look for reliable health information. I go to the source — the doctors, the scientists, the research papers, the journal articles. And I’ve long recommended that everyone else do the same. Do your own thinking; don’t let the media do it for you.

      Yes, becoming an adult means learning to make your own choices. That does not necessarily entail rejecting the decisions of your parents, the discoveries of science, or the rules of society. In fact, rejecting the experience, expertise, and wisdom of others just to prove you’re an adult is rather childish.

      I suspect the “truth” you’ve found — that far more vaccinated than non-vaccinated people spread disease — is because there are far more vaccinated than non-vaccinated people in our society. As for the local outbreak you cite, you said it was among people previously vaccinated but who didn’t keep up with the shots. That’s almost as bad as not vaccinated at all. One must keep up with the shots to maintain the immunity conferred.

      Nobody disputes the value of hand washing, but that alone does not and will not eradicate disease in our society. If certain diseases are rare here, it’s either because they do not naturally occur in this country or because they’ve been eliminated by widespread vaccination. I guarantee you hand washing alone did not wipe out polio in the US.

      A healthy mindset or belief is great but that alone will not protect you from viruses and bacteria. Belief is not “really what determines if a person gets sick.” Immunities, exposures, and dumb luck are the determinants. Viruses and bacteria are opportunistic and don’t care in the least what you believe.

  2. When I was a kid, there was a requirement to be vaccinated before starting school … they even set up a clinic at the school for the last round for the kids who hadn’t had their last shots yet. And I remember having to provide my immunization records to my college when I started there. Not exactly onerous, and I much preferred it to the idea of making others sick and canceling out herd immunity. But then, I thought of others besides myself … how dare I!

    1. Nah, I was selfish. Thought only of myself. Didn’t want to get any diseases that could easily be prevented with a shot or two. When I was too young to consider that for myself, my parents saw to it. And when I became a parent, I was diligent about my son’s vaccines. Of course, I grew up in the era just before polio vaccine was introduced. Those were scary days. Those were also the days before chicken pox vaccine, and as a result of catching chicken pox (almost every kid did) I’ve had to deal with shingles twice. Experts differ on whether that confers immunity, so I got that vaccine too, as soon as it became available.

      1. 😀 Always a good reason … a fleeting sting is much better than extended misery.

        My mom and I can’t remember if I ever got chicken pox (at least one brother did, and he got shingles a couple of years ago); I do, though, remember having the mumps, which was just loads o’ fun, especially with three big brothers who loved teasing me.

      2. My son didn’t get chicken pox until he was 14 or 15. Kinda of late for a kid, and he was miserable. The up side of it was he was playing one of the kids in the the school’s production of “Oliver,” and the healing pockmarks fit right in.

        I was “lucky” with shingles. Got diagnosed within the first two days or so. Early treatment is essential to minimize the symptoms, but I was still miserable for a week or two. The second occurrence a year later was only a couple of bumps, so there may have been some immunity from the first time. But I couldn’t wait to get the vaccine when it came out. Just in case. You do NOT want to get shingles!

      3. Amen sister with regard to the shingles. Retired on a Friday and was in the hospital emergency room Sunday morning getting my shingles diagnosis! 🙁

        Miserable for several weeks, mostly due to lack of sleep…

      4. Wish I’d been retired when I got mine, so I could stay home. (The doctors thought mine was, in part, stress induced from work.) I kept going to work, with the rash under my clothes. A lot of people at work thought I was just being a slacker.

  3. You state that there are irresponsible anti-vaxxers. But what about the responsible ones – parents who studied the long term effect of vaccines on their children, and want to prevent them from potential harm? I believe it is easier to write about beer than about such a complex and politically sensitive topic.

    1. I won’t argue that those parents think they are doing what is best for their children, and that is their right. However, I don’t think they have the right to let those children mingle with others who are trying to avoid getting and spreading preventable diseases. It’s a cinch the current outbreak of measles, which had been almost eradicated in the US, was not caused by a vaccinated individual and is not being spread by vaccinated individuals.

      I’ll leave the beer treatises to you. Vaccines are a much easier topic for me.

      1. Ok, I got your point, and you are right in your point with measles. But there are other diseases where they offer you a vaccine, for example for a flu. And in a long run, they can have adverse effects on the health of our children. There are various reasons why to say no…

      2. Flu can have adverse effects on children too. It can kill them. It can also kill elderly folks like me.

        My point applies to all vaccines, not just measles. Why would you think otherwise?

  4. I believe there are a few, very few, people who have good medical reasons, such as allergies or immune-system deficiencies, to avoid vaccinations, and I think they should be able to get a doctor’s exemption. As far as unvaccinated illegals, I think we should vaccinate them – it would be in our interest and the world’s. But in condemning the vast majority of anti-vaxxers, I heartily agree.

    1. Doctor-certified allergies are a legitimate exemption. I’m not sure that as a parent I’d want to send such a child to a public school, however. I’d be as fearful of him/her getting a disease as spreading it.

      Absolutely, we should vaccinate any unvaccinated immigrants, legal or illegal, as soon as they set foot in the US. The problem with illegals is getting them to come forward.

  5. I guess I am very ‘old school’ on this issue. Growing up in the 1940’s and 1950’s vaccinating was just something parents did to protect their children. My generation and my parents were bedfellows with so many of those diseases. They were as common as the common cold and some of them could have serious complications if not addressed. And then for my generation there was the grand-daddy of them all – POLIO!

    I try to understand the logic in today’s society with regard to those that choose to opt out of such perceived protection, but pretty much fall short because of what I saw and know about those times when making my way through my childhood.

    Perhaps there were children in those days that had adverse reaction to vaccinations, I really don’t know but I believe that in the end the greater need was served with regard to the overall health of the children, of which I was one…

    1. I think you and I are just about the same age. Certainly polio is the example I always think of. All those kids in iron lungs … terrifying. And all those other childhood diseases for which there are now vaccines. Miracles of modern science. People our age remember how it used to be. And I, for one, would never go back. The anti-vaxxers should thank their lucky stars that the majority of the people around them have been vaccinated.

  6. Did you know that children can be home schooled and not vaccinated? There are so many ways to get around the regulations requiring children to get vaccinated. When it comes to illegal immigration and vaccination requirements to enter the USA,do you think they actually care? Can we actually trust foreign documentation of immunization documentation? Things that make people say humm.

    1. Sure. I think it should be a legal requirement. Unvaccinated children should not be allowed in public schools. They can be home schooled, Internet schooled, etc. As for illegal immigrants, it’s a cinch if they’re willing to break our laws to be here, they aren’t going to worry about vaccination regulations. As for foreign immunization documentation, I imagine it depends on the country of origin. Our laws do require that immigrants planning to stay here receive certain immunizations. I interpret that to mean get or repeat their shots here, regardless of foreign documentation.

  7. I and everybody I grew up with had the measles, chicken pox and mumps. I realize we were lucky, but we all lived through them with no lingering side effects. Until Penicillin came along (in the 50’s I think), I never even had an antibiotic. Now days parents who aren’t concerned with their children developing their own immune system, find a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics at the outset of the sniffles. I did have a friend who contracted Polio. That disease is dangerous by orders of magnitude. Both sides in this issue need to think about the effects of their actions on others and do everything they can to mitigate harm.

    1. All we can do is keep trying to teach people that (a) vaccinations benefit everyone and (b) antibiotics don’t work on viruses and their overuse/misuse promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — which are a threat to everyone.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with your idea of isolating the anti-vaxxers away from the rest of society PT. With all my fear-related MH issues, even I wouldn’t risk the health of my children and others by failing to get them vaccinated. There are few things in life without their associated risks, but good grief, I was born in the same year the polio vaccine trials began and I shudder to think what life would be like without that and the other vaccines that have come along since!

    1. Childhood is so fraught with peril; it’s sometimes a wonder that any children survive to adulthood. But there are some perils that can be protected against. I’ll never understand parents who won’t take advantage of those protections for their children.

  9. I worked in learning disabilities for over 30 years and several of our clients were “damaged” as a result of the accepted vaccination policy of the day. As adults we have to be reasonable but make decisions for our children based on the information given at the time and live with the consequences when things go wrong, something people like you seem to conveniently forget.

    1. I’m not forgetting; I’m a parent too. And I’m not saying you don’t have the right to make decisions for your children and live with the consequences. I am saying that we too, all of us, have to live with the consequences of your decision. Your decision to not vaccinate threatens the rest of society. Your decision is not just about you.

      I do question whether “several” clients in a 30-year span is a big enough number to draw any valid conclusions, especially if one doesn’t know for a certainty that the damage was a direct result of a specific vaccination and not, say, an allergy, a pre-existing condition, a congenital problem, an interaction with something else, etc. Damage that seems to coincide with a vaccination is usually just that — a coincidence, not a result of the vaccination. Damage can result in rare cases, but coincidences are often misinterpreted as cause and effect. Correlation is not causation.

      1. Health professionals are legally bound to advise patients of any potentially harmful side effects of any drug in order that we can make an “informed” choice. America and Britain have paid out many millions on dollars / pounds via the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program / Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme which have gradually been reduced in recent years. The use of statistical data to prove or disprove a “significant” risk is interesting but usually fails to take into account the individual’s susceptibility to the drug and citing “coincidence” may help to gloss over any damage it is none the less a real and enduring misery for those affected.

        The decision whether to vaccinate still remains with the individual and is no less of a threat than driving, drinking or smoking although I agree it is advisable. but I doubt whether any government would make vaccinations compulsory.

      2. For those who don’t vaccinate, why use seat belts, helmets, get antibiotics? There has to be an island, so you don’t infect, damage and hurt our infants, pregnant mothers and elderly…please, please, stay away from us.

      3. You could be right, perhaps round everyone up who fails to comply, put them in ghettos and gas them but that’s already been tried 😉

      4. It’s not a joking matter. It’s deadly serious. Forget society and the greater good. You and yours pose a distinct risk to me (age 71) and mine, especially my grandchildren. I don’t want you around for that reason. Our vaccinations don’t affect you (in fact, they help protect you) but your lack of them can certainly affect us.

      5. I wasn’t joking, I don’t advocate not having vaccinations just the right to chose based on the evidence available. Thankfully we haven’t reached the point where the self righteous are able to impose their will on society from either perspective.

      6. Then we are in agreement on that point — that parents have the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate. They should not be forced to vaccinate.

        That said, I also believe they should not be allowed to expose others to the consequences of their decision. That’s not self-righteousness. That’s the law. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

      7. We probably are, if it were the law like wearing a crash helmet or a seat belt here in the UK then I would support it.

      1. Coincidence may be a principle factor in superstition and urban myth but it doesn’t rule out it as a cause.

      2. No, it certainly doesn’t and anything is possible. To be as safe as possible, I suppose, one would eschew contributing to collective welfare as opposed to one’s own interests. Such probably accounts for:

        Discouraging one’s descendants from serving in the military.
        Not voting.
        Not supporting unions.
        Not supporting public schools.
        Not supporting green initiatives that mainly improve the lot of future generations.
        Not supporting a minimum wage or unemployment insurance.

      3. So far your “eschew” list remains voluntary and a matter of conscience whether one supports the collective or not, some do not on a point of religious or political belief. As a former UNISON Branch Secretary successive governments have eroded the rights and effective reply of the unions and continually berate members for taking industrial action which given yesterdays anniversary and the collective solidarity in Paris is ironic.

        The majority continue to support the collective needs of ones fellow man but thankfully the individual can still voice their dissent and stand against collective.

  10. Hi PT– some good discussions on this one. I predate all but the polio vaccine (sugar cubes, anyone?) developed keloid scars thanks to chickenpox and still avoid dill pickles thanks to mumps. Measles, had both kinds with no bad residuals, although wondering if afib could be related somehow. Would have appreciated vaccinations then over being sick even knowing how much i hated shots! I support individual choice, but with that, appropriate separation for safety becomes a requirement, at the very least for public education. Cannot continue having it both ways & risking everyone’s health. I continue to shake my head at those who insist on antibiotics for viral episodes, then want to sue the doctor when antibiotics don’t work.

    1. I used to excuse people who insist on antibiotics for viruses as just ignorant. But these days we have the Internet and everyone has access. The facts are available to anyone who bothers to look. I cannot abide willful ignorance.

  11. Many of those opposed have never seen epidemics, deaths from mass diseases.
    Remember the fear and terrors before vaccines were around. The pictures of polio wards? The way parents kept kids inside and isolated during breakouts because no one understood how it was spread or how to prevent? How kids got sick and lived but they were never the same – cripples. And now some polio survivors are finding the disease returns in old age to cause more damage.
    Life here has been very safe and people just are too comfortable. It’s lala land.
    I know the old vaccines had mercury and some nasty stuff, but very very few got sick from them and the protection lasted so long.
    There is a lot of bad info and bad studies that anti-vaxxers grab.
    I’m not a fan of putting so many vaccines in one shot at one time. There are valid studies/docs that recommend splitting those vaccines into multiple doses – but that’s very inconvenient for parents who have to make multiple trips to the doctor’s office…even though it’s probably wiser….
    Vaccines should be mandatory for public schools/sports participation.
    And every kid and educator/administrator should have to have a TB test upon entering school. Big resurfacing of that, too. Not fair teachers have to be tested, but not the kids…when the kids are usually the ones arriving with it.
    Foolish people will pay the price.

    1. Unfortunately a lot of other people will pay the price too. Immunization is not 100% effective. The unvaccinated will get infected and infect others, including some of the vaccinated. I agree vaccines should be required for sports, school, and any other activity where the public gathers. The unvaccinated should be barred. Those trying to protect themselves should not have to mix with those who don’t.

      As for the combination vaccines, I can see both sides of the argument. Determined parents would probably find a way to get all the shots for their kids, regardless. But combining vaccines, making it more convenient, probably ensures that more kids get fully protected. So it’s a judgment call by the doctors.

      Interesting that you mention TB. I was remembering earlier today that I had to be tested for it before settling in at the Univ. of Colo. my freshman year (the “TB tine test”). Haven’t heard much about TB since. Thought maybe it was disappearing, but CDC says it’s on the rise again, with by far the most cases being among the foreign born in Calif., Texas, Fla., and NY. They’re testing Texas teachers but not kids? That’s nuts. Kids “share” everything. I would think the teachers themselves would demand the kids be tested.

      1. RE TB, I just found this, “Losing the Fight Against Tuberculosis,” in the NY Times. Multidrug-resistant TB is on the rise worldwide, and the story notes “caring for a single case of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis can run more than half a million dollars.” Cause enough for everyone to worry, and to make sure they get vaccinated.

  12. Growing up in a family headed by a devout Christian Scientist, I received “religious belief” exemptions from the public school vaccinations accepted by almost all others in the days of polio and the whole package of common childhood diseases. I suffered through measles and chicken pox, but had no serious consequences.

    Even as a youngster, I had doubts about anti-vaxxing ideology. I and my older sister raised questions my mother was unable to answer satisfactorily. I got every vaccination available upon leaving home for college. Now I am protected by annual flu shots, a pneumonia set, and a shingles vaccination. Anti-vaxxing thinking is unscientific and borders on the irrational.

    1. Interesting that even as a child you questioned your mom’s thinking. Not sure I’d have thought to do so. But my dad was a doctor, so I was set on a totally different track. Either way, I’m glad we both made it through the polio years.

... and that's my two cents