Homeschooling, vaccinations, and a giant loophole

I’ve seen some recent discussion of the existence of a religious exemption from vaccination requirements. It has occurred to me that people may not know about what I call “the homeschooling exemption.”

In most states, vaccination requirements are made so that a children are not allowed to start kindergarten until they have all of their vaccinations. This does not, then, affect homeschoolers. In other words, if you homeschool, most states have no requirement that you get your children vaccinated, or at least no enforcement mechanism.

This is not to say that all homeschooled children go without vaccinations. On the contrary, most homeschoolers have their children vaccinated even without the explicit requirement or enforcement mechanism. Others, though, don’t. And while I don’t have exact stats, we’re not just talking about small numbers.

A 2007 article in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics stated the following concerns:

To protect public health, states require that parents have their children immunized before they are permitted to attend public or private school. But for homeschooled children, the rules vary. With the spectacular growth in the number of homeschooled students, it is becoming more difficult to reach these youth to ensure that they are immunized at all. These children are frequently unvaccinated, leaving them open to infection with diseases that are all but stamped out in the United States with immunization requirements.

While some of the homeschool families I grew up associating with vaccinated their children, others didn’t. This means that I grew up around children who had never had a vaccination in their lives. I also grew up around children who didn’t have social security numbers, but that’s another whole story.

In 2005, a measles outbreak occurred in Indiana in a population of unvaccinated homeschoolers. While no one died, several children were hospitalized. A homeschooled girl on a missions trip to Romania brought the disease home, and then exposed other children at a homeschool gathering.

To provide another anecdote, Joe of Incongruous Circumspection was one of these homeschooling parents who refused to have their children vaccinated. That is, until one of his children almost died from whooping cough after being exposed by other unvaccinated homeschoolers. That incident actually started Joe’s questions and led him out of the fundamentalist views in which he had been raised.

Believe it or not, some parents actually homeschool specifically to get around vaccination requirements:

Debra Barnes has a thriving chiropractic practice, a nice home and a family who loves living in the South, but she said she would leave Mississippi in a heartbeat if health officials tried to force her home-schooled children to be immunized.

Barnes is part of a network of parents whose decision to home-school their children rests on their belief that mandated vaccinations for public and private schoolchildren are a dangerous overreach by state governments.

Another article repeats this theme:

A growing number of parents are choosing to teach their kids at home not just because they feel they can provide them a better education, but as a way to avoid being forced to immunize their kids against disease.

The article from the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics that I referenced above suggested closing this loophole:

States should encourage parents to get their homeschooled students vaccinated through enacting the same laws as those used for public school students. This could be done by enforcing current laws through neglect petitions or by requiring that children be immunized before participating in school sponsored programs. As most states require some filing to allow parents to homeschool their children, it would be easy to enact laws requiring that homeschooled children be immunized or exempted before completing registration.

While this suggestion is helpful, I think implementing it would be less than simple. Some states don’t actually require homeschoolers to register at all. In these states, homeschoolers are quire literally “off the grid.” Additionally, families who homeschool in order to avoid vaccinations, or who simply have very strong anti-vaccination sentiment, would not be educed to bring their children in for vaccinations without a huge struggle.

Regardless, until the laws are changed homeschooling effectively acts as a gaping loophole in the state’s vaccination requirements. And some homeschoolers, such as those in Indiana in 2005 and Joe of Incongruous Circumspection, suffer the consequences. When we voice concerns about the religious exemption, we should keep the homeschool exemption in mind as well.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • machintelligence

    One could go after them for child neglect (which in my opinion it is). Or just take the philosophical approach that it is evolution in action.
    There are good reasons to prefer the former, such as the loss of “herd immunity”. See Orac’s blog “Respectful Insolence” for lots of information and discussion.

    • Charles Bartley

      The problem with considering it evolution in action is that it impacts more than their kids. My fiancè is a nurse at a children’s hospital. She has told me that watching a newborn cough themselves sometimes to death with whooping cough was one of the most horrible things that she has seen there. They get it because they are too young to be immunized themselves and it was spread through other kids who hadn’t been immunized. I think that we as a society are far too lenient with those that spread this. Real lives are lost over this unscientific lunacy.

      Ethically, I think that having your kid un-immunized is involuntary manslaughter if it leads to spreading a disease to someone and they die because of it.

      • http://carpescriptura.com MrPopularSentiment

        Don’t forget immunized kids whose vaccines didn’t “take” 100%. If everyone who can be vaccinated is, the diseases never get enough of a foothold in the population to pose an issue. But start introducing anti-vaxxers into the population and you’re essentially giving diseases “bastions” from which to overwhelm the not-quite-perfectly primed immune systems of even the vaccinated.

        It is a serious issue. At the very least, it’s anti-social. To live together, we all make little concessions to keep each other, and ourselves, safe and happy. You don’t get to impose your personal vision of marriage onto others, you don’t get to walk into someone else’s house and take their stuff even if you really want it, and you get your vaccinations. That’s what living in human society means. The mass failure of people to abide by these simple rules makes me, as an atheist, want to just give up and homestead, lol.

      • Lisa

        And what if the disease is spread to a vaccinated person from a vaccinated person, should the vaccinated person also be charged with involuntary manslaughter? Because if you look at the recent statistics, more people are contracting whooping cough that have been vaccinated, than people who have not been vaccinated. Do your research, you’ll find out what the rest of us already know, vaccines are poison!

      • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

        > It does not now, but it should.

        Not if human rights are to be respected. The Nuremberg agreements forbids involuntary medical experimentation – the Nazi way – and that’s what medical intervention on healthy people actually is.

      • cia parker

        The vax is often ineffective, as in my daughter. 80-90% of the 25,000 diagnosed cases of pertussis in the US so far this year have been among the appropriately vaccinated, which means that 80-90% of the thirteen newborns who have died this year were infected by people who had been vaccinated. The only way to protect the only group for whom pertussis is often dangerous, newborns in the first four or five months of life, is to quarantine them at home if there’s pertussis in their community at that time. Dr. Suzanne Humphries has a protocol for treating babies with vitamin C therapy and holding them upright during coughing spells.

      • ButchKitties

        >”80-90% of the 25,000 diagnosed cases of pertussis in the US so far this year have been among the appropriately vaccinated”

        I’d really like to see a source for this, because only about 8% of US adults are “appropriately” vaccinated. The effectiveness of the pertussis vaccination fades over time. Lots of people are vaccinated as children, but skip the periodic boosters as adults. Technically these people are vaccinated, but they are not appropriately vaccinated.

        The greatest benefit of vaccination comes from herd immunity. Vaccinations don’t confer 100% immunity to an individual. They just greatly reduce your chance of getting sick when exposed to the pathogen you’ve been vaccinated against. But when everybody around you has that same low chance of getting sick, then the chances that you’ll be exposed in the first place drop to almost nothing.

        Here’s a nifty little simulator that demonstrates how herd immunity works, and why it’s so important to vaccinate everyone who can be vaccinated.

        http://www.software3d.com/Home/Vax/Immunity.php

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      Child neglect does not apply to denying invasive medical procedures to a healthy patient. With no certain epidemic risk, forced medication of healthy people is illegal.

      • machintelligence

        It does not now, but it should.

      • cia parker

        It should be allowed to force parents to damage their children? Probably not.

      • cia parker

        Christine,
        Both incidence and mortality rates for all the former killer diseases plummeted before any vaccines for them were introduced: measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever used to kill tens of thousands a year, but by 1930 the rates for all of them were a fraction of what they had been, partly because of the natural evolution of the disease, and partly because of improved hygiene, better nutrition, and less crowded conditions. When I was a child, everyone got measles, it was not and is not now a killer disease. Whooping cough may have a mortality rate as high as one in every two hundred newborns, who should be kept in quarantine at home for their protection. Since most people getting the disease had been vaccinated for it, most of those babies who died caught it from vaccinated people. In those over four months old, it is very rarely a dangerous disease, and both I and my daughter have had it. Scarlet fever (a relative of strep throat, but not the same) disappeared with no vaccine.
        You cannot compare our society to an African village or to a town in the nineteenth century, too many variables have changed. The big change is the tremendous increase in vaccine-induced disease: asthma and allergies (sometimes fatal), seizure disorders, ADHD, autism, bowel disease, eczema, MS, childhood diabetes, PANDAS, etc. There is now one in fifty children with autism, up from one in 150 ten years ago, up from zero in 1930. The one in 88 from the CDC in April was the count of children like my daughter born in 2000, but the rate has gone up since then according to state and school district counts. Many school districts are finding that the rate has at least doubled in the last five years.
        We need to look at the facts on the ground now, and not live as though we lived in another time or place. None of the vaccine-preventable diseases threaten us with ravishingly deadly epidemics. Measles, pertussis, and flu are the only possibilities right now for epidemics, I’ve had them all, and they weren’t that bad. The vaccine-induced MS for me and autism for my daughter have been real bummers!

      • cia parker

        Christine,
        Both incidence and mortality rates for all the former killer diseases plummeted before any vaccines for them were introduced: measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever used to kill tens of thousands a year, but by 1930 the rates for all of them were a fraction of what they had been, partly because of the natural evolution of the disease, and partly because of improved hygiene, better nutrition, and less crowded conditions. When I was a child, everyone got measles, it was not and is not now a killer disease. Whooping cough may have a mortality rate as high as one in every two hundred newborns, who should be kept in quarantine at home for their protection. Since most people getting the disease had been vaccinated for it, most of those babies who died caught it from vaccinated people. In those over four months old, it is very rarely a dangerous disease, and both I and my daughter have had it. Scarlet fever (a relative of strep throat, but not the same) disappeared with no vaccine.
        You cannot compare our society to an African village or to a town in the nineteenth century, too many variables have changed. The big change is the tremendous increase in vaccine-induced disease: asthma and allergies (sometimes fatal), seizure disorders, ADHD, autism, bowel disease, eczema, MS, childhood diabetes, PANDAS, etc. There is now one in fifty children with autism, up from one in 150 ten years ago, up from zero in 1930. The one in 88 from the CDC in April was the count of children like my daughter born in 2000, but the rate has gone up since then according to state and school district counts. Many school districts are finding that the rate has at least doubled in the last five years.
        We need to look at the facts on the ground now, and not live as though we lived in another time or place. None of the vaccine-preventable diseases threaten us with ravishingly deadly epidemics. Measles, pertussis, and flu are the only possibilities right now for epidemics, I’ve had them all, and they weren’t that bad. The vaccine-induced MS for me and autism for my daughter have been real bummers!
        Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC on the unvaccinated not being in any way to blame for the current pertussis epidemic:
        http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/cdc-says-it-cannot-blame-pertussis-outbreak-on-vaccine-refusers/

      • victoria

        It’s not true that death/incidence rates for all VPDs have declined before the vaccines were induced. Just look at HIB.

  • kevinalexander

    The problem is not simply that they antivax people are killing their own children but, by providing a vector for deadly viruses, they are killing others children as well.
    Polio was on the thinnest edge of being eradicated like smallpox was until someone decided that the vaccination was against the will of Allah. Now this horrible disease is making a comeback.

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      How can a healthy child possibly be considered infective? It’s actually kids vaccinated with live vaccines who carry virus amongst an otherwise unexposed population, therefore the outbreaks among the vaccinated seemingly out of the blue.

      • plch

        Plenty of apparently healthy people carries more or less dangerous illnesses without being symptomatic, nothing strange with it.

      • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

        What’s strange is presuming them infectious and then treating them for it. This is medical experimentation, against human rights.

    • cia parker

      Over 30,000 children in India were paralyzed last year by a polio-like illness after having been appropriately vaccinated for polio, maybe by a virus that occupied the niche left by polio.

  • Nathaniel

    These “Good Christians” are the essence of parasites freeloading off general herd immunity.

    • Steve

      The problem is that they create their own herds. If they were part of the general population, it wouldn’t be such a big issue in some ways. But they segregate themselves and only hang out with their own kind. That creates groups of people who aren’t vaccinated. Who don’t have herd immunity

      • jennifer

        this was probably the stupidest thing i have ever heard. “hang out with their own kind’ , i didnt realize we had our own coven of people, shit, i must be out of the loop

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      Herd immunity doesn’t apply to vaccines for two reasons: 1) duration of protection (if any) is limited; and 2) effectivity is under 70%.

      Herd immunity is impossible to achieve under such conditions. Regular outbreaks among highly vaccinated populations testify this. Also, adolescents and adults have long lost their childhood vaccine-induced immunities and are again susceptible. They pose the real danger to children.

      As a contrast, natural immunity lasts for life and is the only way to achieve real herd protection. Most of the vaccine diseases are harmless to well nourished children, vaccine injury pose a higher risk for them than the disease.

      • Anat

        Most of the vaccine diseases are harmless to well nourished children,

        Evidence?

    • cia parker

      Nathaniel,
      What herd immuity? 23,000 people have been diagnosed with pertussis in the US this year, and 80-90% of them had been appropriately vaccinated. See Dr. Anne Schuchat on the unvaccinated not being to blame for this epidemic. Again, what herd immunity? You just want to say the word because it sounds good.

  • Mattir

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I don’t actually let my kids play with unvaccinated kids, and I know a ton of such folks. The good news, at least around here, is that to be in a summer camp (including scout camp), one has to provide vaccination certificates or that odious “religious exemption.”

    Yes, my kids are fully vaccinated, including HPV, hepatitis A & B, and (for DaughterSpawn) rabies.

    • MadGastronomer

      I got vaccinated for Hep A&B a few years back. It was pretty funny to me that when I went to the pharmacy to get it (on the advice of my doctor, who said it was cheaper, and I didn’t have insurance), the pharmacist gave me an odd look and started asking me if I had the risk factors for Hep. He went through the whole list, and I kept saying no. Finally, he asked me why on earth I wanted to get it, as it was kind of pricey, very painful, and had a risk of a week or so of unpleasant symptoms.

      “I’m a cook.” That was all I had to say. He got it, and I got my vaccine.

      (Hep is highly contagious in restaurant kitchens, spreads like crazy if one person gets it, and you can’t work for six months after you’re over it.)

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      You can only fear unvaccinated children if you believe vaccines don’t work for your kids. Then why do you expose them to vaccine injury? Ignorant parents always commit this contradiction.

      • Christine

        Please, explain why it’s ignorant of me to believe that vaccines violate causality, and my infant daughter will be protected now, before she’s had a full series of shots.

      • Anat

        You can only fear unvaccinated children if you believe vaccines don’t work for your kids.

        Vaccines have a very high probability of working for my (or anyone else’s) child. But I can’t know if a particular vaccine worked or not. So it is rational to decrease exposure to potential sources of infection.

        I wear a seatbelt when driving, but I also drive carefully, and keep my distance from those who appear not to be doing so.

  • Adele

    While my child is vaccinated pretty much as currently recommended, this issue is not as simple as it might at first appear. Each vaccination needs to be taken individually and the benefits and risks carefully evaluated. Muddying the waters is the fact that while science undeniably supports vaccination in theory, pharmaceutical companies do not have as their primary goal protecting children and society. The primary goal of pharmaceutical companies is to make money. As a result, vaccines are rolled out without adequate testing and recommendations are made to maximize profits, not the good of society. For example, I most certainly am not going to give my 11-year-old daughter the HPV vaccine. I find the idea ludicrous, but in TX they attempted to make it a required vaccine. Another example, all childhood vaccines are now manufactured without the mercury preservative, but for years the majority of vaccines contained mercury and drug companies have never admitted wrongdoing. Before mercury was removed, vaccine regulations required parents to inject a known neurotoxin into their children. Did the protection against disease outweigh the damaging effects of the mercury? Perhaps as long as only a few vaccines are given at a time, but I certainly don’t want the drug companies making that decision for me. The right to informed consent to medical procedures is extremely important and I believe it is far better to err on the side of not infringing this right. I would rather no vaccines be required, even if that means some parents do not give their children safe vaccines against truly harmful diseases such as the measles vaccine, than have someone try to force me to give my daughter a risky low-benefit vaccine.

    One last point: the manslaughter and social contract arguments in favor of vaccination make no sense: If my failing to vaccinate my child endangers yours, that means the vaccine is not reliable. The greater risk you feel an unvaccinated child poses a vaccinated child, the more unreliable you are admitting the vaccine is, which lowers the purported benefits of the vaccine and strengthens the arguments against giving it to a child when the parent objects. i.e. I believe this vaccine has risks and you are telling me the protection it supposedly provides that makes it worth the risks isn’t that great anyway.

    • Rosa

      Nothing’s 100% effective, so of COURSE vaccines aren’t 100% reliable. There are also people who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons. Vaccination works, overall, by reducing the number of susceptible people (or animals) to the point where diseases don’t spread and have less chance of evolving against our defenses.

      • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

        That would be if vaccination actually worked. It is not the case. Clinical trials against placebo are missing and effectivity is being measured indirectly by antibody tiering, which does not have to correlate with actual protection. This amounts to widespread fraud and unnecessary exposure of healthy kids to vaccine injury.

      • victoria

        Clinical trials against placebo are “missing” because they violate every basic principle of medical ethics, and no IRB/REC would ever in a million years allow one.

    • Charles Bartley

      the manslaughter and social contract arguments in favor of vaccination make no sense: If my failing to vaccinate my child endangers yours, that means the vaccine is not reliable

      No, since I am the only one that mentioned manslaughter, that is a straw man. My point specifically mentioned kids that are too young to have received a particular vaccination, not about failure of a vaccination. Young babies are especially vulnerable to these diseases as they have limited immunities and haven’t received their own vaccinations yet. As to reliability… nothing is 100% reliable. The way to make up for failings in the vaccination–and to protect the babies that can’t be vaccinated yet–is to have wider coverage so that even those few cases where it didn’t take 100% dont ever even get exposed to it because the disease itself is so rare.

      I most certainly am not going to give my 11-year-old daughter the HPV vaccine. I find the idea ludicrous, but in TX they attempted to make it a required vaccine.
      Why? Currious here. It seems to me that a vaccine that can prevent a pretty common cancer is a pretty damn cool thing. The Texas thing with Perry certainly shows some shady politics and conflict of interests but I haven’t seen much implying that the vaccination is unsafe or not effective (other than Bachman’s ranting).

      Not directing this at you, Adele because you said that your kid is vaccinated, but one thing I always wonder about with anti-vaccination people is if they allow their kids to ride in cars or to eventually drive. It seems to me that cars are waaaaay more dangerous that vaccinations are.

      • cia parker

        Spain and India took the HPV vax off the market when it killed girls there. It’s killed over a thousand girls in the US, and caused several thousand cases of permanent damage, like Zeda Pingel, left a bedridden vegetable by the HPV vaccine. How cool is that? In my opinion, not very. The vaccine is very dangerous, while the old-fashioned Pap test is very good at detecting cervical cancer at a still easily-treatable stage. Why jump on a cool bandwagon rather than study the issue reasonably and decide against the vaccine?

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        What?! afaik, the VPH is still in the vaccination plan and it’s paid by the states. what you might have heard is that in 2009 in Barcelone, there was pack of vaccines in bad state and two girls were hospitalised but I think none of them died. There’s been talk of stop paying for the vaccine and instead just strongly recommend it but maintaining it on the vaccination plan but it has been more of a economics issue than anything else (there’s been a lot of cuts in social services with the crisis). Why the misinformation, the lies of this issue? It’s always the same with anti-vaxers. There’s still certain controversy with the VPH vaccine but there isn’t any good reason not to vaccine your kid for the rest of the vaccines and you certainly have proved you aren’t very informed precisely. I don’t have it in me to go refuting you (I have a life and stuff) but at least that blatant lie I could easily and quickly refute.

      • cia parker

        Paula,
        You are right, I”m sorry, the two girls went into convulsions shortly after getting the HPV vaccine, and Spain withdrew 76,000 doses of the vaccine to try to protect others.
        http://blog.brockovich.com/?p=34
        It was in India where the government stopped giving the vaccine when it killed several tribal girls. If you read Hilary Butler’s From One Prick to Another, you can learn reams of reasons the HPV is very dangerous, or if you go to the website The Truth About Gardasil, you can learn some of what you need to know before getting the vaccine.

      • cia parker

        Paula,
        Here’s an article about a Spanish girl who went into a coma after getting the HPV:
        http://www.migueljara.com/2012/09/06/una-nina-esta-en-coma-tras-recibir-la-vacuna-del-papiloma-que-alguien-pare-esta-locura/

    • Michael Busch

      >>One last point: the manslaughter and social contract arguments in favor of vaccination make no sense.<<

      You Are Wrong.

      The relevant concept here, which Rosa alludes to, is called Herd Immunity. If a vaccine is 80% effective, and the average infected person infects 4 new people, then at least 94% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to control the disease. In that situation, each new infected patient infects less than one new patient and there isn’t an epidemic. You would be a fool at least, and possibly criminally negligent, to say “I’m not going to get vaccinated” in that situation.

      I’ll give you a concrete example: the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is 71-85% effective (I just looked that up on Wikipedia). My vaccination did not take. I know that because there was a case at my elementary school. And my cousin, my brother, and I all got pertussis – we don’t know exactly what the vectors were. BUT, because everybody had been vaccinated, there was a cluster of four cases rather than an epidemic of four hundred.

      In another example, Wikipedia also informs me that seasonal flu vaccinations in school children in urban areas save one life for every few hundred vaccinations (this was a Japanese study). The lives that are saved are almost all old people with compromised immune systems who can’t be vaccinated – the school kids are infecting their grandparents. So your not getting a seasonal flu vaccination for every year for thirty years is a 5% to 10% chance of killing somebody’s Grandma. Got it?

      • Michael Busch

        Postscript:

        I have gotten the HPV vaccination, and I’m male. The reason?

        Last year, the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee recommended that males be vaccinated as well as females, with 11-12 year-olds getting the vaccination at that age and males up to the age of 26 getting vaccinated under a catch-up scheme, and I’m still young enough to be in the catch-up age bracket. Vaccinating females gives the highest return on investment, since cervical cancer from the various HPV strains is more dangerous than penile cancers from the viruses. but the committee worked out the math and decided that vaccinating everybody is still worthwhile.

        I wonder: would there have been fewer objections to the HPV vaccine if there hadn’t been any restriction to females only at first?

      • http://incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.com Incongruous Circumspection

        But, Michael, Michelle Bachmann says the HPV vaccine renders you mentally retarded.

      • Michael Busch

        Another postscript:

        Wikipedia on thiomersal in vaccines

        That is all.

      • Dianne

        I have gotten the HPV vaccination, and I’m male. The reason?

        Apart from preventing the 4 strains of the virus covered from spreading further and protecting your female partners from cervical cancer? How about partial protection from head and neck cancer and anal cancer (and maybe some lung cancer, though the connection is far more tenuous)? You get those as a free bonus with every HPV vaccination of a man.

      • Steve

        The fact that HPV is sexually transmittable is certainly a big cause of the uproar. American prudishness and all. After all if you vaccinate kids against something that is related to sex, it means they will have sex.

      • http://incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.com Incongruous Circumspection

        By the way, my Michelle Bachmann comment was pure sarcasm.

      • Leni

        The lives that are saved are almost all old people with compromised immune systems who can’t be vaccinated – the school kids are infecting their grandparents. So your not getting a seasonal flu vaccination for every year for thirty years is a 5% to 10% chance of killing somebody’s Grandma. Got it?

        I’m so glad you said this. This is the thing that really, really burns me up about the anti-vaxxers. Their kids get ill, and then they bring to the hospital where they have the potential to kill immuno-compromised people. People who have HIV/AIDS, or who have had transplants, or who have the potential for severe allergic reactions and so aren’t vaccinated. Or babies. Or Grandma and Grandpa.

    • http://carpescriptura.com MrPopularSentiment

      People have already answered to most of your points, but I wanted to touch on the mercury thing. Thimerosal was used in a very small dose, and it has never found to be harmful in that amount – even when kids are getting 3-4 needles at a go. It was removed from vaccines because of public perception, not for safety. In other words, uninformed people and unscrupulous quacks spread so much fear over it that it was removed, even though it was making vaccines safer and no properly conducted study ever showed it to be harmful.

      Companies do not simply roll out vaccines without testing them. Yes, pharmaceutical companies want to make a profit and they are certainly not “good guys,” but they are also bound by some pretty hefty regulations. As far as I know, there has not been a vaccine shown to cause widespread harm in decades. There are some people who, due to particular individual allergies or immune system issues, are at risk from vaccines – and in those cases, doctors won’t vaccinate them. These people are protected by the rest of us getting ours.

      • Christine

        It wasn’t just public squeamishness. There’s a difference between “so dangerous we should do whatever we can to avoid it” and “this isn’t ideal, but the alternative would be not vaccinating, so let’s use it until we can come up with something better”. 1-2% of the adult population has adverse reactions (basically an allergy), and given that in the US infants get multiple shots each time they get vaccinated (I know, two needles and one oral is also multiple shots, but it’s not as if each disease requires a different shot elsewhere), the build up could easily be enough to sensitize infants, and then what do you give them when they need flu shots as adults?

      • cia parker

        The amount of mercury children were getting in only one vax was hundreds of times over the FDA “safe” level, same for aluminum (still is). You can only say it didn’t damage any of them if you turn your head away from the horrendous damage it did and is still doing.

    • http://www.brooksandsparrow.com Angelia Sparrow

      The HPV vaccine came when I was in the middle of treatment for a squamous cervix. You KNOW my girls both got it. I have reduced their chances of getting a card in the mail that says to call the gynecologist’s office. Or sitting on a table and hearing a dr. explain how he’s going to burn a layer of cells off of part of their body with a hot wire. They won’t have the perpetual worry of recurrance.

      I read some anti-vax stuff back in 92, when I was having my first. My mother, the nurse, talked sense to me. When Firstborn came down with chicken pox while I was 9 mo pregnant with Third, there was much worry, as I had never had chicken pox. The other kids all got the varicella shot. My daughters won’t have that heart-stopping moment when they tell the doctor and hear the words “Early induction, possible C-section if you’re not immune.”

    • MadGastronomer

      HPV vaccines give the best protection when administered at the age your daughter is now. By not giving her the vaccine now, however “ridiculous” you find the idea, you are risking her life. Period.

      You may be absolutely certain, if foolishly so, that your daughter won’t have sex until she’s 18. But your certainty that your little angel would never isn’t going to protect her from being forced. By the time you think it’s reasonable for her to get the vaccine, it may be too late, and it may not be your child’s fault.

      Oh, and transmission does not require vaginal penetration, either. Activities that most teens think of as not being “real sex” very much put her at risk.

      • cia parker

        A good reason to talk to her about the need for regular Pap tests once she becomes sexually active. Definitely a need to tell her about both the possible benefits and the appalling risks of getting the vaccine, and to tell her to seek out information on both sides, which she will need to do in many areas of her adult life. By the age of eleven, she is old enough to cast a veto if she doesn’t want to incur the risks, it would be her life that could be seriously damaged.

      • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

        Pap tests don’t prevent anything, though, they’re only for detecting a problem once it develops. Not to say they’re not a good idea, but they’re not really a substitute for a vaccine–they have very different purposes.

    • Andrew

      “If my failing to vaccinate my child endangers yours, that means the vaccine is not reliable.”

      If driving sober makes you so safe, why do you care if other people drive drunk?

    • Beth

      Adele,

      I just wanted to say that I appreciate your explaining that the issue is not as simple as many here are perceiving it. The point regarding our automony to make medical choices for ourselves and our children is an important one to me too.

      While there are good arguments on public health grounds for requiring vaccinations for children attending public schools and the forced association that public schools engender, those arguments don’t apply to homeschoolers. Because those arguments are based on risk to others via casual contact, they also don’t apply to sexually transmitted diseases such as HPV or Hepatitus.

      In general, I support vaccinations as a boon to protecting the my health and my childrens health. However, I do not support more stringent requirements than we currently have. In fact, I favor liberal exemption policies for public schools allowing parents to opt out of vaccines for any reason and allowing them to decline some vaccines but not all.

      Some states have an all or nothing policy* regarding vaccine exemptions and prents must either decline all vaccines or their child must receive all the required vaccinations. This thwarts the ability of parents to make informed choices about individual vaccines for their child, forcing them to either accept the entire schedule as is or reject it entirely.

      The reason I support more liberal exemption policies, rather then stricter ones, are exactly in line with the reasons you gave.

      *Actually, it’s been a few years since I reviewed state policies for vaccine exceptions. I don’t know if that is still true.

      • amhovgaard

        Children are not property, and parents should not have the right to risk their lives through ignorance and/or stupidity. Also, do you think homeschoolers live in a separate dimension and never come into contact with other people?

      • Beth

        Agreed, children are not property. Advocating for parental choice in vaccination does not equate to considering children to be property.

        Parents have the right to make choices for their children, which include choices like which vaccinations have sufficient benefit to compensate for the risk inherent in choosing to vaccination. Are you saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to make those decisions? If so, I urge you to think about the answer to that question with more depth than was evidenced in your post.

        No, I don’t think homeschoolers live in a separate dimension and never come into contact with other people. What I think is that the risk to others as a result of choosing not to vaccinate is not sufficient to justify requiring vaccinations on the basis of public health concerns. IMO the costs of governmental interference into personal medical decisions outweighs the risks to the general public posed by those who deviate from the standard vaccination recommendations.

      • Michael Busch

        >>While there are good arguments on public health grounds for requiring vaccinations for children attending public schools and the forced association that public schools engender, those arguments don’t apply to homeschoolers.<<

        You are wrong.

        Read Libby Anne’s post again. Both of those outbreaks were among homeschooler groups.

        Anyplace where you have a lot of people you will have airborne diseases being passed around. At homeschoolers’ meetings. On buses. One airplanes. At public pools. At movie theaters. In office buildings. While walking down a busy street or through the mall. This is why influenza and colds spread around so fast.

        This applies even to viruses that aren’t airborne. HPV may be spread primarily by sex, but people can also be infected by transfer of viral particles on surfaces. Even if you’re absolutely sure that every one of your child’s future sexual partners aren’t going to carry the potentially dangerous strains (and there is no way to be sure of that), you should still get them vaccinated.

        Unless you’re living in a community where a disease is not present at all, you have an obligation to everybody around you and to your children to get both them and you vaccinated for it if you can. The vaccines aren’t perfect, so we need herd immunity to protect us all.

        You should also have practice good hand hygiene and avoid coughing on people, of course. Vaccination is essential, but so is preventing modes of infection.

      • Michael Busch

        >>Parents have the right to make choices for their children, which include choices like which vaccinations have sufficient benefit to compensate for the risk inherent in choosing to vaccinate.<<

        Then they also have the obligation to educate themselves and know the true levels of risk (in most cases, indistinguishable from zero) and benefit (anything up to saving their life). Go look at what untreated measles does to a person and decide if anyone of sound mind would choose to not protect their child against it.

        >>Are you saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to make those decisions? <<

        When it comes to things like measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, and maybe even chickenpox, I personally am inclined to say that vaccination should be mandatory except when medically contraindicated, to keep herd immunity as high as possible.

        My motivation is equally altruistic and selfish. I don't want anybody else to have to spend a week in quarantine coughing their lungs out and drinking erythromycin solutions to minimize the risk of their spreading pertussis to everybody around them. I also don’t want any kids I may have to get chickenpox, and I know that the vaccine isn’t perfect.

        But I will defer to the recommendations of those with true expertise in infectious disease transmission and epidemiology.

        >>What I think is that the risk to others as a result of choosing not to vaccinate is not sufficient to justify requiring vaccinations on the basis of public health concerns. IMO the costs of governmental interference into personal medical decisions outweighs the risks to the general public posed by those who deviate from the standard vaccination recommendations.<<

        Unless you can demonstrate that the costs of "governmental inference" in the form of mandatory vaccinations would be so high as to offset preventing at least 3000 deaths per year (on the low end of currently-preventable deaths in the United States from seasonal influenza), you are wrong.

      • Beth

        @ Michael Bush:

        Homeschooled children are no more a risk to society than unvaccinated adults. It seems to me your arguments would apply equally to the parents as well as the children in homeschooling families.

        You can argue that easily infectious diseases are sufficient justification for mandatory vaccinations. But there’s no reason to target homeschooled children. Either the risk/benefit ratio is sufficient to justify for all citizens or it’s not.

        While I find it reasonable for society to demand some vaccinations (with exemptions allowed) for attendance at public schools. I don’t extend that attitude to finding it reasonable, short of being in an emergency epidemic situation, to demand that everyone in society be required to be vaccinated.

  • http://incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.com Incongruous Circumspection

    To me, I see the rabid culture of refusing to vaccinate as sort of hopeless. I can tell my horror story until I am blue in the face and people still dismiss me out of hand. They parrot words like, “Nobody has died of whooping cough in two centuries” or “Everyone else is vaccinated, so why do we need to be?”

    Well, the last one has a simple answer:

    “Because you don’t hang with the blokes that have been immunized! You shun them, you idiots.”

    They walk away whistling to themselves about what a mindless moron I am, not noticing that when their 3-month old baby almost dies, spending three weeks in a local Children’s Hospital on a respirator and everyone else in the family getting the disease, the only child who doesn’t is the one that stepped on a nail the summer before and got a DTP shot for precautionary reasons.

    It’s bloody fear-mongering. “It says it on the interweb and at my homeschool conference, so it MUST be true!!”

    Another thing. Here in the great state of Minnesota, you don’t need a religious exemption to opt out of immunizations. You can opt out for any reason. Thus, the argument that homeschooling allows you to not immunize is flat out false.

    Finally, I would rather be a parent to three down syndrome children than watch my son go through his 100 day cough again. To allow your children to catch a disease like that is negligence and should be treated criminally. That is simply my opinion.

    • MadGastronomer

      I’m sure you know, but I cannot ever let this go by without saying this, forcefully:

      The supposed link between a developmental disorder (which wasn’t claimed to be Down’s, which is definitely chromosomal, but autism) has been conclusively disproven, and the original research that claimed a link has not only been thoroughly debunked, but the researcher has admitted it was falsified.

      • http://incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.com Incongruous Circumspection

        Oof! If that was how you interpreted my words, I sincerely apologize. I know the false argument that autism is caused by immunizations and would never say such a thing. I also know that down syndrome is chromosomal and has nothing to do with a person’s external environment.

        What I was trying to say was that a parent, like myself, would be much happier in life, caring for three children with a debilitating condition (for their whole life), rather than watch their young child suffer from whooping cough.

        I wanted to die for my son and let him live.

      • MadGastronomer

        I didn’t so much think that you meant that as thought that other people might read it that way, because there are some deeply ignorant people out there. So that was more for hypothetical people like that than for you, and because I really am incapable of letting anything even vaguely in that direction go by without saying something. Sorry!

      • http://incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.com Incongruous Circumspection

        Don’t worry. Not offended. I have thick skin (that is, until you start telling me that God loves me…I’m so over that crap). Very happy to be your catalyst for getting the message out.

    • spamamander, hellmart survivor

      And as the parent of a child with Down syndrome I am incredibly glad you’ve ‘seen the light’ so to speak, though it sadly had to come after such a rending experience. Just as an aside here, people with DS end to have compromised immune systems to some extent, particularly to respiratory ‘bugs’. My daughter had a cyclic neutropenia that required a bone marrow biopsy to rule out bone and blood cancers. Having unvaccinated kids running around increases the chance she’ll be exposed to something that maybe her own vaccinations didn’t quite ‘take’ entirely. (She caught chickenpox despite the varicella vaccine, but it was very, very mild.)

      Yet I can’t IMAGINE having to watch my child suffer through a bout of pertussis like that. No parent should have to. :(

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      > To me, I see the rabid culture of refusing
      > to vaccinate as sort of hopeless.

      Well, since it’s mostly highly educated parents who opt out of vaccines, your prophecy will come true through the dumbing down of americans:

      More children of college-educated mothers were not vaccinated than children of non-college educated mothers, with noticeable spikes in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Reference: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604142726.htm

      • machintelligence

        @ Putin Reloaded

        More children of college-educated mothers were not vaccinated than children of non-college educated mothers, with noticeable spikes in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

        A classic case of Dunning-Kruger effect. What we are looking at here is misinformed consent (or rather the lack of consent).

  • Marina

    Adele, while definitely pharmaceutical companies want to make money, the basic vaccines (such as DTaP, MMRV, etc., with the new HPV and Rotavirus vaccines being exceptionss) are not big money-makers. They are well-understood, off-patent, and the market is strictly limited: one or two to a customer in their entire life.

    They mostly compete on price.

    The entire reason the special vaccine injury fund was set up was because every single potential manufacturer of vaccines said, in response to some big lawsuits, “we’re getting out of the business completely; it’s just not worth it.”

    If drug companies wanted to maximize profits, they’d stop making vaccines. They make money when people are sick, not when they’re healthy.

    Vaccines are too good; they are a perpetual cure. Drugs that people take daily for long times, like ones for blood pressure, cholersterol, or whatever, are far more lucrative.

    As for the mercury, that’s a complete red herring. The amount of mercury was trivial, and far less than typical environmental exposure. (The amount of lead we were all breathing when leaded gasoline was still around was an enormously higher heavy-metal source.) The FDA asked them to change the formulation to avoid arguments, but there was never anything wrong in the first place. I’m not sure if changing preservatives was a good idea, because people keep interpreting it as a concession.

    Now, as for HPV, a vaccine against cancer is a wonderful thing, but because you can’t spread it through normal classroom activities, it’s a more interesting question. Definitely a good idea to get, though! While the condition it prevents is not that common (about 1 in 150 women will develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes), avoiding the cancer is still a decent return on investment.

    A vaccine is basically training for your immune system. It’s exactly analagous to a form of exercise. There’s a picayune risk of getting injured while jogging, which is completely overwhelmed by the reduction in illness produced by being in shape. The problem is that it has worked so well for so many years that people have grown up who have never seen the diseases. Ask someone 65 or older about polio sometime.

    The problem with low vaccine uptake rates is that the rest of the people have to take stronger vaccines to compensate. Most people in North America got a dead polio vaccine. This works well enough if there’s no active polio going around, and has almost zero side effects. In areas where it’s still endemic, they use the (live, attenuated) oral polio vaccine. Which has a 1 in 750,000 chance of giving you polio. But protexts you far better if you’re exposed.

    Before the first (weakened) vaccine, people used to get “incoculated” or “variolated” with full-strength smallpox. People were lining up and paying money for a treatment with a 1–2% risk of death, because it was better than 25% in an epidemic.

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

      Yes … ask those of us who started to school in the 1950s about the classmates we had who had spent time in iron lungs, who hobbled around with metal leg braces and crutches because their withered legs couldn’t support them.

      Ask us about the ones who never showed up at school again, because they died, or never regained enough muscle strength to breathe on their own.

      And look around at your children’s schools: where are the kids on crutches for life?

      What happened? It was the vaccine.

      • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

        Irong lungs are goone, but not for lack of patients but thanks to modern assisted breathing technology. Actually the number of Acute Flaccid Paralyses caes (which were called polio in the 50s) is today as high as it was in the 50s. Only the concept of “polio” has changed, not the incidence of the old diseases.

    • ButchKitties

      If anti-vaxxers are so concerned about mercury exposure, I have to wonder why they spend so much time on vaccines and don’t spend the same effort posting warnings in the comments of tuna or swordfish recipes. The ethylmercury in thimerosal does not bio-accumulate. The methylmercury in piscivorous fish does bio-accumulate.

  • Adele

    I could respond point by point to all the responses to my comment, but I won’t, because I did not comment to defend or criticize specific vaccines. I commented to point out that it is possible to be a rational, well-informed, intelligent person with the best interests of my child in mind and reasonably draw the conclusion that in my case for my child, getting a particular vaccine is not the best choice.

    Most of you agree that if a child has an allergy to an ingredient in a vaccine they would not be forced to get the vaccine. They would get a medical exemption. Well, we are all allergic to all vaccines in a sense because that is the whole point of vaccines: to produce an immune response in the body. Obviously I don’t think that fact justifies not vaccinating my child at all. That is because the protection some vaccines provide is definitely worth the risk. My only point is that I have the right to make the decision on each vaccine for my child. I don’t want the government or the CDC or pharmaceutical companies making that decision for me. I will listen to the recommendations of trained people I trust, but I will choose who those people are.

    Quick response to the person who asked if people who don’t vaccinate let their children ride in cars because the risk of dying in a car is far greater than harm from a vaccine. Yes it is, but the risk of your child dying in a car is also much much greater than the risk of your vaccinated child being harmed because someone else didn’t choose to vaccinate, so do all the people who think everyone should be required to get all vaccinations let their children ride in cars? Of course they do. It’s all about cost/benefit analysis. I just want to hold on to the right to do that analysis myself because none of the people who want to do it for me have ever impressed me with their intelligence or their motives.

    Oh yeah – apparently I have a 5% chance of killing someone’s grandma because I never do get a flu shot and my child does not get one either. Clearly that number is complete fantasy, but let’s say it’s not. If I have to choose between a 5% chance of killing someone’s grandmother and a .01% increase in the risk of my child dying as a result of the same action, I’m going to protect my child. I think any parent who says she wouldn’t is either lying or is not a good parent. My child comes first for me. Always. For that reason, if someone wants to convince me to vaccinate they need to argue on the basis of how it benefits my child. Arguments of how it benefits society or others might change my mind when it comes to myself, but they will have no impact whatsoever on me when it comes to decisions about my child. The vaccines I do get my child, which is most of them, I get her because I believe the overall impact on her is positive, not because I’m trying to be a good citizen or help protect anyone other than her.

    • machintelligence

      I fear statistics is not your long suit.

    • Michael Busch

      My only point is that I have the right to make the decision on each vaccine for my child.

      Legally speaking, the welfare of your child can outweigh your own wishes, although that has not been applied to vaccines as much as to more immediate things (malnutrition, chemotherapy for cancer, emergency surgery). Far more importantly is the welfare of _all of the hundreds of other children_ your child interacts with, because of the need for herd immunity.

      That’s why vaccines are mandated for public school students, and why we should be so worried about homeschoolers not vaccinating their kids. Almost everybody has to be vaccinated, or we’ll be back in the time of epidemic measles, mumps, rubella, and pertussis.

      More importantly, I don’t understand why anyone of sound mind would chose to not get their kids vaccinated with proven vaccines (less cases of kids who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, of course).

      Clearly [the 5%-10% chance of an individual not getting seasonal flu vaccines leading to somebody else dying] is complete fantasy.

      No, it is not a fantasy. It is the truth. Here is the original reference from the New England Journal of Medicine. It may be behind a subscription wall depending on where you’re getting your internet access from.

      To be clear – that’s a 5%-10% chance of somebody dying as a result of your not being vaccinated during every flu season for a 30-year period. Each time you, or your kid, doesn’t get the flu shot, there is a 0.2%-0.3% chance of somebody dying. Most of those fatalities will be old people.

      If I have to choose between a 5% chance of killing someone’s grandmother and a .01% increase in the risk of my child dying as a result of the same action, I’m going to protect my child.

      That’s not at all the situation.

      You’re comparing a 0.2%-0.3% chance of killing somebody’s grandmother or grandfather plus a much higher chance of your kid spending a week debilitated by severe flu, and a ~0.03% chance of your kid dying from the flu for each time that they don’t get vaccinated to a less than 0.00001% chance of a severe adverse reaction to the vaccine.

      I got the adverse reaction rate from the CDC’s vaccine safety monitoring program. It’s an upper bound because they couldn’t attribute any severe adverse reactions to the flu shots – there simply aren’t many severe reactions as compared to all of the other things that happen to people, even when they’re studying millions of doses. So far as anyone can tell, the seasonal flu vaccines are safe.

      Even if you don’t care about everybody else’s grandparents, you should still vaccinate your kid, because the risk of death from influenza is ~0.03% (although it does vary widely from strain to strain) while the risk from the vaccine is many thousands of times smaller.

      I think any parent who says she wouldn’t is either lying or is not a good parent.

      At what point does the relative risk to somebody else as compared to your child become more important? We can argue about the precise point of that, but no sane person would say that it was 100%:0%.

    • MadGastronomer

      If you think that simply because vaccines affect the immune system that that means we have an allergic reaction, then your scientific literacy is sadly lacking. Go educate yourself.

      You are simply wrong.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

      Yeah, I’m a little upset at the entitlement displayed by some people on this topic. I have crap lungs, I’ve had crap lungs all my life. (Cerebral Palsy + history of breathing problems + gnarly resp. infection = Very Bad Thing)

      As far as I’m concerned, my health — my LIFE — is more important than catering to your misguided belief that vaccines are somehow dangerous. Part of my rage stems from the fact that a lot of breathing problems and all immune-deficiencies (so far as I know) are 100% invisible — you don’t know if the nice man your kid just sneezed on is perfectly healthy and able to fight it off, or has HIV, or is undergoing chemo, or, well, anything! You don’t know, and you’re willing to risk infecting and potentially killing someone?! For what? The infinitesimally small chance that your child could have a reaction of ANY kind to the vaccine?

      I don’t get that mindset. I don’t get this, “LOL I’m gonna benefit from teh safety of the herd, but I won’t contribute to keeping the herd safe” attitude.

      I just don’t understand it!

      • http://kagerato.net kagerato

        It’s called unapologetic greed, and it has made a huge comeback in America during the last thirty years.

      • Attackfish

        WMDKitty: Thank you. This is where I am. I have a severe immune disease, and don’t build immunity properly. If I get an infection like measles, I’m in serious, very possibly fatal, trouble. I rely on the herd immunity granted by having almost everyone vaccinated. People who don’t vaccinate are playing games with my health, and making the choice to endanger me without my knowledge or consent, nearly always because of a psuedoscientific study that was debunked years ago.

    • amhovgaard

      “I commented to point out that it is possible to be a rational, well-informed, intelligent person with the best interests of my child in mind and reasonably draw the conclusion that in my case for my child, getting a particular vaccine is not the best choice.”
      Unless your child has a specific medical problem that means the vaccine is an actual health risk for them, the verb you want is “claim” not “point out”. You may well be intelligent, but you are nowhere near as well-informed as you seem to think.

      • Beth

        This is the sort of response that bothers me about vaccination arguments. According to you, it’s not possible to be both informed and make a choice other than the one you think best. This is not an uncommon attitude. I not only disagree with it, I argue against it because I think that it is nothing more than promotion of unthinking dogma.

        If you don’t think parents should be allowed the option of making vaccine choices other than the recommended schedule, there is no point to recommending parents becoming informed on the issue. They should just accept whatever the experts recommend and spend their valuable time and effort at understanding what is best for their child on areas where they can make choices.

        This was, in fact, the prevalent attitude towards vaccinations when I was being brought up. Parents gratefully got vaccinations for their children as soon as they were available. The only ‘research’ my parents did about vaccines was to get whatever our doctor recommended.

        The reason that is no longer the typical attitude is an interesting slow long-term shift of public perception regarding the trustworthiness of the experts that make those recommendations. That loss of trust was not unjustified IMO, but that’s another argument and unrelated to this discussion.

      • http://carpescriptura.wordpress.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Because one the one hand you have a guarantee of children spending a good portion of their childhood miserable (once few enough are vaccinated to make herd immunity ineffective), and a substantial chance of long term damage or fatality. On the other hand, you have a fairly high chance of a slight fever and soreness for up to a day or two, a small chance of a more extreme but still non-damaging reaction, and an extremely small chance of anything seriously wrong happening.

        Let’s say we were talking about requiring car seats for babies. Would you say that it was possible to be anti-car seat and still informed? That the parents’ choice of whether to use a car seat or not should be respected? No, because the costs are so obviously far greater than any possible benefit. Therefore, we cannot imagine that a parent who refuses to use a car seat can be well informed on the topic. This has nothing to do with dogma, but rather of the utter ridiculousness of the position.

        And the reason parents used to “gratefully” get their children vaccinated in the past is because those parents could still remember the utter horror diseases could inflict. Parents of our generation, on the other hand, have largely forgotten. Our classrooms weren’t full of kids in wheelchairs, or children who were blind or deaf. We never had attend the funeral of a classmate or sibling who died of a vaccine-preventable disease. There was a time when parents could expect to lose at least one or two of their children to diseases that our generation simply has no experience with. Is this really the world that a well-informed parent would want us to return to?

    • machintelligence

      @ Adele

      The vaccines I do get my child, which is most of them, I get her because I believe the overall impact on her is positive, not because I’m trying to be a good citizen or help protect anyone other than her.

      OK I’ll call your bluff. Which vaccines do you approve of?
      FWIW Most die-hard antivaxers do not approve of any.

  • http://giliellthinkingaloud.blogspot.com/ Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg

    I had pertusis, rubella, measles, mumps and chicken pox. The last was on my 21st birthday. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried my eyes out.
    Obviously I’m still alive, but as you might guess, my kids are fully vaccinated.
    I consider vaccinations to be covered by the basic right of being protected from harm.
    I don’t think that parents should have a say in this at all, because it’s not them who are going to suffer.

  • Jeremy

    I believe in lots of homeschooling exemptions, but this one is ridiculous. Vaccines are one of those things like environmental destruction that simply can’t be treated by the law as an individual right because its results are unavoidably communal. Vaccines should be required of homeschoolers just like the rest of society. It’s not an issue of education; it’s an issue of public health.

    • Beth

      I can’t agree with this. Homeschooled children are no more a risk to society than unvaccinated adults. If unvaccinated individuals are of sufficient risk to others, then the rules should apply to everyone.

      • Michael Busch

        Yes. Everybody should be vaccinated for all of the diseases that they are likely to encounter, if they haven’t had them already. That’s why I got the Hepatitis A and HPV vaccines – I needed the former because I started traveling to Puerto Rico for work a lot, and the latter because it was only phased in for males last year and I most likely haven’t been exposed to the relevant strains yet.

        But you are still misunderstanding the situation, both here and with your similar statement above. All of the vaccination recommendations are stamped “vaccination or evidence of prior immunity”. Unvaccinated adults are less of a risk than unvaccinated children because they’ve already had a lot of the diseases and because many diseases that an adult could shrug off a child would not be able to.

        Vaccinating at an early age saves the children. That said, get your seasonal flu vaccinations, your tetanus boosters, and the anti-shingles jab when you’re around 60. You need to keep your immune system going.

        Your points about there needing to be oversight of the vaccine recommendations and transparency in the benefits of the recommended vaccines are well and good. I’m all for a medically and scientifically informed society. But this:

        If you don’t think parents should be allowed the option of making vaccine choices other than the recommended schedule, there is no point to recommending parents becoming informed on the issue.

        doesn’t make any sense. You should know the basics of why the vaccination schedule is the way that it is, if only since there are some vaccinations that you don’t need in most of the US but you’ll definitely want if you are traveling to places where the relevant diseases are prevalent (e.g. Hep A).

        Also – with regards to this:

        According to you, it’s not possible to be both informed and make a choice other than the one you think best. This is not an uncommon attitude. I not only disagree with it, I argue against it because I think that it is nothing more than promotion of unthinking dogma.

        It’s not the choice that I think best. It’s the choice that all of the doctors with the relevant expertise think best, and the one that is borne out by decades of epidemiological and demographic evidence. I’m not qualified to make the vaccination recommendations, but I can see what the benefits of following them are.

      • Beth

        You should know the basics of why the vaccination schedule is the way that it is, if only since there are some vaccinations that you don’t need in most of the US but you’ll definitely want if you are traveling to places where the relevant diseases are prevalent (e.g. Hep A).

        I’m not following you here. If you don’t think people should be allowed to make decisions different from the recommended schedule for vaccinations, then they don’t need to be informed about the risks and benefits. They only need to know what the recommendations are. Traveling to another country doesn’t alter that fact, it only alters which set of recommendations people need to be informed about.

        Parents of small children have limited amounts of time and energy to study various issues regarding the many choices they must make for their children. Knowledge about risks and benefits are very useful in making good decisions. However, if you think that people shouldn’t be allowed to make those choices for themselves because they might not make the ‘right’ choices – i.e. follow the experts recommendations, then parents don’t need to squander their time and energy on understanding the risks and benefits of vaccines so that they can come to their own conclusions. They would then have to ignore the results of their own evaluation in order to follow the recommendations of the experts.

        It’s not the choice that I think best. It’s the choice that all of the doctors with the relevant expertise think best, and the one that is borne out by decades of epidemiological and demographic evidence. I’m not qualified to make the vaccination recommendations, but I can see what the benefits of following them are.

        The ‘choice’ you think best is following the vaccine recommendations of the experts without deviation. And this doesn’t qualify as promoting unthinking dogma because…?

        When you advocate that people should simply follow the recommendations of the experts, you are promoting following dogma without question.

        If you want to promote and support people becoming informed about vaccinations and making their own decisions about them, you also have to accept the fact that some people will do so and choose not to follow the expert recommendations.

        Please understand, I am not arguing against vaccinations, I generally have agreed with the expert recommendations. I am arguing against the statement made that it’s not possible to be both informed about vaccinations and still make a choice other than the one you think best – i.e. following the official recommendations provided by a committee of experts.

        It is this attitude of ‘if you don’t agree, then you aren’t well-informed’ that I find to be nothing short of promoting unthinking obedience to others. That those who should be obeyed are a committee of scientists and other experts rather than a cabal of priests does not make attitude any less dogmatic or more palatable to me.

  • Meggie

    Libby Anne, you say all children have to be vaccinated to enrol in school. Can you get an excemption simply because you don’t want them immunised or are excemptions only available for medical & religious reasons? If parents are forced to immunise their children to enrol them in school, I can see that their would be parents who would home school instead.

    Here you can sign a form to say you have made a concious choice not to immunise and that you agree to you child being excluded from school if there is ever an outbreak of disease. The children are readmiited to school as soon as the outbreak is over.

    • amhovgaard

      So – nothing is done to stop them from infecting others, but if they are at risk, they get protected?

  • Meggie

    Forgot to say – My major concern in this whole argument is not whether you choose to immunise or not but what you do once you are actually sick. I don’t care whether people have the flu or the black death – STAY AT HOME!!! I don’t want your disease and I will do the best not to give you anything I catch.

    • http://carpescriptura.wordpress.com MrPopularSentiment

      Unfortunately, most diseases become contagious before symptoms start to show. So… get yet vaccines and then we don’t have to worry about it!

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

      Meggie, in the 2005 measles outbreak, the girl who started the whole mess was a deliberately unvaccinated teenager who had come home from Europe. Despite having a bit of a sniffle, which is what measles is like well before the rash shows up, she attended a church gathering where some of the families felt like you do … didn’t need vaccines or were scared of them.

      http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa060775#t=article

      Before it was over, 30+ people (mostly un-vaccinated) had been confirmed to have the measles, and three were hospitalized. A 45-year-old man and a 6-year-old girl required intravenous rehydration, and a hospital phlebotomist required six days of ventilator support for pneumonia complicated by the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Sixteen patients had diarrhea, and two had otitis media. No deaths.

      Not exactly a “harmless childhood disease”, is it. Before the introduction of the supportive care like IVs, oxygen supplementation, and antibiotics, measles killed a lot of people.

      An epidemic of measles can flood the hospitals with people in need of supportive care, to the extent that many of the less critically ill ones will be sent home for their family to cope with as best they can. My sister was one of those, in the pre-vaccine days. She was in a darkened room because light made her scream, on IVs, with round the clock nursing care from my mom, grandmother and a couple of neighbors. What’s scary is that they were only admitting children sicker than she was. Both my parents knew how to deal with IVs … other parents got a quick lesson in how to change the bottles and a nurse checked up on them in a flying visit once a day.

      Do you have the resources to take care of your child for a week or more, changing IVs, giving cool baths, giving medications, changing sweat-soaked sheets, coping with the diarrhea and vomiting? And then the convalescing when the child is technically OK but too weak to do anything?

  • http://blog.earthshod.co.uk/ AJS

    Don’t you need a vaccination certificate to qualify for medical insurance?

    Pets certainly need one for veterinary insurance in the UK. (I don’t know about private medical insurance for people — I trust the NHS.)

  • LucrezaBorgia

    My friend does not vaccinate her kids. Why? “The risk of them getting the disease is too low to justify the risks of vaccination.”

    Umm…your kids risk is low because of herd immunity which only works when over 95% of people around you are vaccinated. Which is starting to be less and less these days because of how “rare” these diseases have become here in the US.

  • Margo from Poland

    It is very hard to swallow all the non-sense presented here in favor of vaccines. It only proves that accepting absurdities leads to horrible atrocities.And trying to create artificially induced immunity(especially herd immunity!!!) is one of the highest absurdity invented by imperfect greedy human mind! It is totally unscientific, actually it is junk Frankenstein pseudo science. Mass medical propaganda nicely succeeded to create crazy fears in general public, who is truly absolutely ignorant of the nature of immunity itself and what is causing any disease on physical level.
    So before you start talking that outrageous non-sense of unvaccinated kids being any thread to general public, you should first accept proper definition of disease. Any disease on physical level is caused by ONLY two factors: toxicity of the body and lack of proper nutrients. Immunity is NOT having antibodies against particular disease as many people with antibodies still contract the very disease. Immunity means great health!!! Immunity is extremely complex mechanism with endless factors but basically you can say that very healthy people have the strongest immunity.Vaccines only CONFUSE immune system and as such long term they weaken it plus ad the filthy toxic soup that makes the base of any vaccine and you have great formula for disaster!
    With all the vaccine madness in your country (USA) thanks got I’m not living there !!! you have one of sickest kids on earth.You poison babies in the first year with 26 vaccines and you are on 42 place in IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) where Sweden is on the first place with lowest IMR.
    There are tons of evidence how toxic and useless and dangerous vaccines are but you guys out of baseless fear sold your intelligence and power of discrimination to the Big Pharma, you became effective tool in their hands with your herd mentality and it is you that present danger to freedom and SANITY.
    Vaccinated people are the ones that shed diseases as these diseases are injected into their blood stream! Especially with alive polio vaccin in 3 world countries, the effect is absolutely disastrous!
    I pity on you as you are NOT able to think for yourselves… you are just parroting main stream propaganda. Your FAKE GODS are medical establishment & Big Pharma and you are so willing to sacrifice endless kids on the altars of their insane mad cruel idiotic inventions.
    You do not bother to look around and COMPARE yourselves with unvaccinated folk to see HUGE differences in favor of unvaccinated ones.
    I pity on you as you even sacrificed your own bodies to these fake gods, so you are truly physically and mentally impaired… unfortunately probably you are not even able to wake up from that nightmare… you think that autism, asthma in kids, cancer,diabetes, allergies,etc etc etc arew normal pert of kid’s life and adults alike but they are NOT, they are induced by vaccines and all modern horror pharma drugs.

    Well what goes around, one day for sure comes around.
    The most tragic in that is that you are up to your neck in that pharma filthy mud and you would like all sane people to be drawn with you!
    Shame on AMERICA, shame of your values, shame on you repressive and oppressive characters. People of your sort were the driving force behind fascism, communism and now you are the base for medical fascism !!!
    God give them some intelligence so this insanity may stop. AMEN

    • Anat

      So how exactly was smallpox eradicated?

      The theory behind vaccinations is well established science. But then, it seems you don’t even believe in contagious diseases?

      • cia parker

        Smallpox did not cause large epidemics until after mandatory vaccination programs were started in many European countries. And they killed and maimed so many people that large riots in many cities protested this heavy-handed destruction of the innocent. The vast majority of those who caught and often died of the disease had been appropriately vaccinated, sort of like in the pertussis outbreak now. Hundreds of thousands of people died of smallpox in many European outbreaks, of whom 95-98% of them had been appropriately vaccinated. But all diseases have their own natural cycles, up and down, sometimes disappear entirely with no human interference, like English sweating sickness, which killed hundreds of thousands in sixteenth century England, including Henry VIII’s brother Arthur, and disappeared inexplicably in the same century.

        The theory behind vaccinations is not nearly as well-established as you believe.

    • machintelligence

      @ Margo from Poland
      The woo is strong in this one. If we can keep her commenting I can get a blackout bingo on my Anti-vaccine bingo card.
      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fun:Anti-vaccine_argument_bingo

    • Carol

      Give me a vaccine over an iron lung any day. Or a quarantined town or a baby hospitalized for 6 weeks unable to breathe from whooping cough. Shame on you for your self righteous, hysterical rages. Get ahold of yourself and your paranoia and conspiracy theories.

      • cia parker

        OK, Carol, you’re welcome to come and help me get through the day after having developed MS from a DPT vaccine. Welcome to help provide for my daughter when I”m gone, since she’ll never be independent after her encephalitis from the hep-B vax at birth and the injury from the DTaP booster which wiped out her language, leaving her autistic. Is it paranoia? I was there, I saw the immediate damage done by the vaccines.

      • Carol

        Sorry about your medical troubles, but this is chock full of conspiracy theory

        “I pity on you as you are NOT able to think for yourselves… you are just parroting main stream propaganda. Your FAKE GODS are medical establishment & Big Pharma and you are so willing to sacrifice endless kids on the altars of their insane mad cruel idiotic inventions.”

        versus the statements on vaccines from my doctors, my kids doctors, my doctor relatives, my doctor friends, all of whom have had their kids vaccinated. They must all be “in on it” then.

    • patriot4225

      Margo,
      I live in the USA and you are the best of the best. We live in a society of parrots that sit and suck all the media junk and they spill it after like society vomit, they are brain washed. My kids are non vaccinated for the longest. I homeschool my children ages 14,9,8. When I see my neighbors children and my nieces and nephews kids they are well vaccinated and they spend weeks in and out of doctors with the craziest colds and diseases. My children never visit the doctor. By the way I do have medical insurance and every time they go for physical the come out perfect, So screw your BIG Pharmacy Freeks.

  • Lucc

    All this talk of herds and vaccine herd immunity…
    I wonder, how many of YOU are up to date on YOUR vaccine boosters? If you are not, then you are a hypocrite. Vaccine “immunity” does not last a lifetime…if it even works at all. So if you are so worried about “the herd,” then I suggest you run right out and get yourself up to date on ALL recommended vaccines on the schedule so you can “contribute to vaccine herd immunity.” Kids aren’t the only ones who can get these diseases and spread them…and some of these diseases are actually worse to get in adulthood. So don’t you dare argue for “vaccine herd immunity” unless you are up to date yourself and actively “contributing to the herd.”

    • Attackfish

      Um, no. I’m not up to date and never will be. My immune system doesn’t function well enough to build immunity, and I must rely on heard immunity. And I’ll argue for it all I want.

      (But yes, everybody who is behind on their booster schedule and can afford it, get thee to a doctor)

    • Margo from Poland

      Excellent comment, it is what I wanted to ad to my previous comment but you were first. :):) Thank you! Nice to read a voice of common sense and sanity :)

    • Anat

      How about you stop making assumptions about other people? Yes, I am up to date on my boosters. That’s one of those things that get taken care of by having regular check-ups with a primary care physician. And I live in a state that is seeing a resurgence of pertussis because of falling vaccination rates. There were cases in my daughter’s school last year. Scary. I do not like the non-medical exemptions from vaccinations that public schools here allow. Heck, in Israel common vaccines were done at the school, by the school nurse. It was harder to skip, I think.

      • http://www.disease-reversal.com toni bark

        Anat, you are not alone in being misinformed in this group of responders, the author included.
        The majority of measles, mumps and pertussis outbreaks occur in populations that are vaccinated according to requirements. THis is so much the case we call it “the paradox of measles” look it up on pubmed.
        Vaccines are failing, and there is absolutely no evidence of herd immunity. therefore, you can go get all 60 doses required by states if you want, but there is no scientific reason everyone else has to get them.
        If they worked, it wouldn’t matter.
        And, for those of you who think you are up to date on your own shots, think again, I am sure you have not received what school age children are required to receive because the number has gone increased greatly.
        It’s unfortunate you don’t have any understanding of how vaccines are produced, processed and approved because if you did, you would not be writing in favor of forced vaccination.
        And yes, I have a medical degree as well as a masters in science and 25 yrs of clinical practice.
        the antibodies from the hPV vaccine last, on average 3 years for girls and 1.5 for boys. the risk of the vaccine is great and only pap smears are proven to reduce mortality rates from cervical cancer. do the analysis, do the math.

  • ib4byin

    You guys sit here on your high horses thinking that you have a leg to stand on because you believe in vaccinating… Your ignorance is blissening, and I love it. Apparently none of you have looked in your back seat after leaving the hospital with your newborn angel being born and seen blood putting out of every Orpheus of her tiny face from a hep b vaccination, our walked in to the bathroom after a long days work to find your beautiful 17 year old daughter dead from the hpv vaccination gardisil. Making an informed scion is a right in this country. My son got his varicella vaccination booster and got chicken pox…. Of you believe in your vaccination and think that they work so well, then an unvaccinated child should be of no issue to you right? I have 5 kids all vaccinated as am I… But you people to sit here and critique anyone elses decision is epic. Most of you are probably all fat morons that will die from MC Donalds fries then an unvaccinated child. From a very unbiased human being who feels no need to criticize anyones choice purley cause I don’t understand it. Bow.. One for the non vaxers.

  • ib4byin

    I don’t want to hear it from the grammar and spell check patrol… I did out from a new phone… I wonder if there is a vaccination for it to not auto correct. Lol, lighten up people 2012 is coming and we are all gonna die and I promise it won’t be from whooping cough or chicken pox.

  • http://www.pinkbekah.wordpress.com Bekah

    “In most states, vaccination requirements are made so that a children are not allowed to start kindergarten until they have all of their vaccinations. This does not, then, affect homeschoolers.”

    I could hardly get through the rest of the article because you started with a lie. In no state is a child barred from school due to lack of being vaccinated because vaccines are not the law, they are mandated and there are religious and medical exemptions in every state, as well as philosophical exemptions in many others. You could argue Mississippi doesn’t have exemptions since they only have the medical exemption and I hear that can be hard to obtain, but they still have one exemption.
    As a homeschooled graduate (never attended school till college) I can honestly say I knew/know more vaccinated homeschoolers than unvaccinated. Unless of course they are unvaccinated and simply don’t care to share that info, in which case I know a lot of public schoolers who aren’t vaccinated and their families don’t share that info much, and the school is not allowed to share that info with others. So for all the people who think sending their kids to school means they are ‘protected’ because everyone else at school is vaccinated, you are seriously mistaken.
    It’s lies like this that make it hard for me to want to listen to people in favor of vaccination. Before you argue over vaccines and their safety/efficacy why don’t you first make sure you have the facts of your basic argument right?
    Sorry for any typos, I’m on my phone trying to keep a teething baby asleep.

  • machintelligence

    toni bark:

    And yes, I have a medical degree as well as a masters in science and 25 yrs of clinical practice

    I’m calling bullshit on this one. What medical degree, exactly? A Doctor of Naturopathy, perhaps? ND = not a doctor. If it truly was a real medical degree you must have slept through the courses on epidemiology and immunology. Argument from (possibly nonexistent) authority and undocumented assertion win no points. It is time to cite some real scientific studies or shut up.
    For those wishing a much more detailed refutation of this troll, see ORAC’s blog Respectful Insolence.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/
    Today’s post is relevant, but there are many more.

  • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

    The bottom line is: healthy people cannot be presumed infectious and it’s unethical to force invasive medical interventions on them for the unfounded fears of the rest.

    • Anat

      Never heard of incubation period either have you?

      At least in the US nobody is forcing anyone to be vaccinated (other than parents forcing their own children), but this doesn’t mean society can’t impose consequences on those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      Before claiming somebody is in an “incubation period” you have to prove infection. It’s not done by “bone pointing” as you’d like it to do. But you still run into another legal hassle: every person has the right to refuse a diagnosis procedure. So before you impose vaccination on others you must prove there’s an emergency situation that allows to override personal rights.

  • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

    And… seeing the rate of vaccine failure and the limited duration of protection, vaccinated individuals especially teenagers and adults are just as exposed as unvaccinated ones. If herd protection was the real issue, peopole would have to receive the same vaccines over and over throughout their lives. The whole marketing of these unnecessary and dangerous products is based on false promises and falsified clinical data.

    • Christine

      I know this is a little futile, since you don’t seem to be interested in data, but we do receive the same vaccines over and over again. There’s the every-ten-years boosters. If you go to your doctor for a pre-pregnancy checkup, one of the things they check with the blood work is if you’re immune to rubella, because if there was an outbreak they can’t vaccinate you if you’re pregnant, and you really seriously don’t want to get it.

      Do you mind telling us what study you’re using when you say that vaccinated individuals are just as exposed (I’m assuming you mean just as likely to get infected) as unvaccinated ones? Because the data for all the recent outbreaks (measles and pertuissis specifically) say otherwise. As does the historical record and the vast majority of studies done (some turn out to be ineffective, and those are the ones that get discontinued).

    • Anat

      If vaccination is motivated by greed why are boosters recommended only for a few of the vaccines? Why would the manufacturers give up on all these extra opportunities for profit?

      • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

        I see your logic… if vaccination is motivated by greed why don’t we get them in our daily food?
        Very intelligent question, I’ll let an expert answer it for me.

  • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

    >the data for all the recent outbreaks (measles and
    >pertuissis specifically) say otherwise.

    Falsehood, the CDC admits that in most of the cases the patients were vaccinated:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a1.htm?s_cid=mm6128a1_w

    This is VACCINE FAILURE and you shills keep blaming it on people rejecting the vaccines.

    • Christine

      My apologies, I didn’t realise that the American statistics for this year’s pertussis were different. That is just the standard spread, where it’s more likely without the vaccine, not like the measles outbreaks, you are correct in that instance. I would be interested, however, in hearing an explanation for the strong correlation between states with a philosophical exemption for vaccination and the number of cases that doesn’t rely on the standard science.

    • Anat

      As vaccination rates approach 100% it is expected that the proportion of those coming down with the illness that are vaccinated will also increase. This was demonstrated by Hicks in 1989. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1711811/

  • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

    Here’s list of the most egregious scientific concerns about vaccines:

    - disease definitions conveniently rewritten to accommodate the ‘vaccines save us’ narrative,

    - placebos that are not real placebos but mimic the disease,

    - surrogate efficacy measures disconnected from clinical reality,

    - immunoactive adjuvants to induce hypergammaglobulinemia as “evidence” of neutralizing antibodies,

    - the “epitope suppression” effect that precludes vaccines for working even we accept vaccine theory as sound,

    - unrealistic reducionist model of germs as sigle cause of disease and lymphocites as single cause of healing,

    - lab “confirmations” that don’t take into account subclinical infecitons, leading to false diagnosis of clinicaly similar diseases as “infectious” when they’re not,

    …. a lot more, enough to write a book. It is against human rights to force these risky experiments on kids with no infection and in good health.

    • cia parker

      Great post, Putinreloaded! I miss you at SoP, wouldn’t you consider coming back? Varios de nosotros ahora usamos otro nombre y utilizamos hidefrom.com
      I love your detailed, well-documented information!

      • Anat

        Detailed yes, but not documented. I see no data.

    • cia parker

      Great comments, Putinreloaded! I miss your comments at SoP! Wonderful detailed, fully-documented information on the dangers of vaccines!

  • machintelligence

    This thread has been infested with anti-vaccination (antivax) trolls. They are traveling in packs these days. Sadly I do not have the time to answer all of their misinformation right now, but later I will check and see if this is the same bunch I have encountered before, and if it is I can cut and paste some rebuttals. In the mean time, have at them yourselves.

    • Christine

      I suspect that a pack was summoned, and that they’re believers in the “majority” rule of science – if the majority of people believe it, it must be true. So they want to make it look like a lot of people believe this stuff. I, personally, believe that the data dictates what’s true, but I’m a bit of an odd duck.

    • cia parker

      No one summoned me. Could it be that, as would logically be expected, ever-greater numbers of the vaccine-damaged are commenting because of our personal experience of vaccine damage? There are thousands of us, and, since we were all damaged, we all believe that we were damaged. Elementary, my dear —.

      • Christine

        Ah, I see. You managed to just know to click through to this several-months old posting because you had GBS. It’s a complete coincidence that you came at the same time as several other anti-vaxxers.

      • Kathy

        Look, “my dear”, some of us speak Spanish. If you want us to believe that this is all a coincidence, maybe you shouldn’t be talking about how some of you use different names now and use something with the revealing name “hidefrom.com”.
        Maybe Libby Anne should just close the comments on this one (if that’s even possible).

  • cia parker

    My daughter and I were both permanently damaged by vaccines, which, of course, influences my viewpoint. My daughter reacted with encephalitis to the hep-B vax at birth, she caught pertussis anyway at 8 months after getting the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, and gave it to me, and the DTaP booster at 18 months wiped out her only two words, and she didn’t say another word until 34 months. Was diagnosed with autism at 20 months, is in a special autism class now. I reacted to a DPT booster with both arms being paralyzed the same day, brachial plexus neuropathy, and went on to develop MS. Am having an exacerbation today, 35 years later.
    I had measles as a child, both my daughter and I had chickenpox, and both had whooping cough that time after the La Leche League meeting when she was 8 months old. None of our cases was that bad, as they usually aren’t, and now we have permanent immunity.
    Vaccines are the usual cause of asthma, allergies, seizure disorders, autism, learning disorders, bowel disease, childhood diabetes, MS, lupus, Alzheimer’s, and more! Parents who want to avoid them will avoid getting vaccines for either themselves or their children. Those who are more afraid of the diseases than of the vaccines are free to get whatever vaccines they want. And even though no vaccine is 100% effective, that is still no reason to ask your neighbor to risk permanent injury by getting the vaccine if he doesn’t want to. I could easily make a case for it being more abusive of children to vax them than to let them strengthen their immune system when they are young by getting the natural disease. (Newborns are an exception, and should be quarantined at home to protect them from pertussis in their first four or five months.)

    • Anat

      Vaccines are the usual cause of asthma, allergies, seizure disorders, autism, learning disorders, bowel disease, childhood diabetes, MS, lupus, Alzheimer’s, and more!

      Seriously? The autism connection was long debunked. I’d love to see a connection to Alzheimer’s. How do you know that vaccines are ‘the usual cause’ of any of the others? People develop allergies at any time of life. What kind of evidence ties an allergy specifically to vaccination?

  • Christine

    I don’t give a damn if vaccines did cause autism. By saying that it’s a reason to not vaccinate you are saying that I should be DEAD. You make me sick.

  • cia parker

    Toni Bark,
    There’s no reply button after your post, unlike for the others. Bless you for your breath of reason and sanity. We’re vaccine-damaged, as are thousands of others. Those of you who believe vaccines are harmless, and who close your ears to all the evidence, the thousands of relations of the vaccine-damaged, the thousands of medical studies indicting vaccines, the dozens of excellent books on the subject, you should start with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Make an Informed Vaccine Decision. After reading his copiously documented book, no one would ever get another.
    And your ugly, self-righteous attacks on those who rightly fear vaccines, either because of personal experience or because they want to avoid being burdened by this personal experience of vaccine damage, are reprehensible. Knock yourselves out damaging yourselves with every vaccine on the market, but you need to leave the rest of us alone.

  • cia parker

    Boy, Christine, case in point. 23,000 cases of pertussis have been diagnosed in the US so far this year (as of August 20), among them 13 deaths of newborns. The vaccine causes a lot more permanent injuries and deaths than the disease does. How ugly is it to wish that those of us who decline to be damaged to prevent a disease relatively mild in most of those over six months old be dead? Autism is a tragic thing, my daughter struggles with it every day, and she has been robbed by people like you, vaccine promoters, of ever being able to get married, have children, or have an independent life. But you don’t care, as long as you don’t have a nasty cough for a month (or two), you don’t care who has to be damaged for life!

    • Christine

      I want you to look at the numbers for autism in the population (the highest I’ve ever heard was 1 in 88), and then look at the childhood mortality rates from before vaccines were introduced. Let’s say that my autism came from being vaccinated. The odds of that happening were 1 in 88. Now let’s say that I had lived in an era before vaccines were around to prevent killers like whooping cough, polio, measles, etc. The odds of me being alive (forget able to hear, walk, think clearly, etc) are much much lower than the odds that someone who’s vaccinated would avoid autism (again, assuming that we can trust that discredited study, and that none of the other causes are a factor). So by saying that we’re better off with the childhood mortality from these preventable diseases, you are saying that I’d be better off dead.

      Oh, and sometime you should look into what the effects of rubella during pregnancy are. Specifically where they say that it’s known to cause autism in the child.

      • Anat

        It’s OK, Christine. Autism has got nothing to do with vaccination. There is increasing evidence for genetic involvement, especially in relation to increased paternal age. See http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2012/the-new-genetics-of-autism-why-environment-matters.shtml
        And the beginnings of the condition are present before the MMR vaccine. It’s just that behavioral differences such as language delays become more obvious after the first birthday, roughly coinciding with the schedule for MMR vaccination.

      • Christine

        I know it has nothing to do with it. The MMR study is flawed in so many ways, even without the conflict of interest. My specific case is almost certainly genetic (not even really environmental, although we hit all the environmental triggers we could for my daughter). My point was that even if there was a connection it wouldn’t be reason to avoid vaccination.

    • Anat

      The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: the first case-control study in Asia.
      See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22521285
      Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent: see http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452

      Also, there are some preliminary results showing that children who go on to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder show very subtle developmental differences well before the time of MMR vaccination. For example: http://mentalhopenews.blogspot.com/2007/07/tilt-test-spots-early-aspergers-bbc.html

    • Anat

      You are promoting bad math and bad science, cia parker. If the proportion of vaccinated people in the population drops the death rate from the disease grows much faster, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1711811/

    • IAmaVegetarian

      Your kid didn’t get autism from a vaccine. Vaccines do NOT cause autism. I am sorry your child is autistic. Yet please, get your facts straight.

  • smrnda

    Someone complained that there aren’t placebo trials of vaccines meaning that we haven’t given some kids placebos instead of vaccines and then seen whether or not the placebo group had greater or lower incidences of the diseases that would be vaccinated against.

    The problem is that isn’t really a meaningful experiment since we aren’t say, giving 2 people a pill for something that they actually have and seeing who gets better. The other problem is that you can’t control for exposure to the disease, so you effectively can’t ‘test’ vaccinated versus unvaccinated groups since you can’t decide that both groups will get equal exposure to the disease.

    On diseases you’re supposed to get from vaccination, the problem with researching this topic is that such a high % of people are already vaccinated that you don’t have a large enough segment of unvaccinated people to draw conclusions from. If someone is telling me that vaccines cause epilepsy or Alzheimer’s or any other number of things, please, find me evidence that unvaccinated people don’t succumb to these conditions or have them less frequently than the rest of the population.

    The argument that it’s wrong to expect people to get vaccinations because they are otherwise healthy sounds a lot like trying to make a case that good drivers should be exempt from liability insurance.

    • Christine

      smrnda, it’s not that there’s problems with your arguments here, but you’re ignoring the biggest problem with the argument that there aren’t placebo trials of vaccines. There have been. The one that you can find the most interesting information on is the trial for Salk’s polio vaccine – the polio pioneers.

      New vaccines are tested against the old ones, as this also avoids the placebo effect.

    • ButchKitties

      >If someone is telling me that vaccines cause epilepsy or Alzheimer’s or any other number of things, please, find me evidence that unvaccinated people don’t succumb to these conditions or have them less frequently than the rest of the population.

      Even this isn’t necessarily proof, as there is often overlap between low vaccination rates and genetic isolation, or low vaccination rates and isolation from modern medicine. IE: You might be able to show that unvaccinated Amish are diagnosed with autism at lower rate than the general population, but you can’t draw any conclusions from that without more information. Such a correlation doesn’t tell you if the Amish have less autism because of genetic homogeneity, if they have autism at the same rate at the general population but it’s just not getting a formal diagnosis, or if they have less autism because they don’t get vaxxed.

      • Attackfish

        This. My grandfather had no vaccines and is epileptic. My grandmother only ever had polio and smallpox vaccines, and she has had asthma and life threatening allergies her whole life, i.e. before she received the vaccines. I was born with seizures, horrible auto-immune problems, the whole bit, and I started showing pretty extreme symptoms long before they ever tried to vaccinate me. (I’m one of the medical exceptions. Not only do I not build immunity, but vaccines make me very sick, due to my non-functioning immune system). We’ve seen countless people develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia long before vaccines, and also people who had never had them suffering from all forms of dementia into the modern West. None of this is conclusive proof that vaccines don’t do these things, but you better show me your evidence before you claim they do.

  • Anat

    To cia parker:

    You claim: Smallpox did not cause large epidemics until after mandatory vaccination programs were started in many European countries.

    This is not true.

    From wikipedia:

    By the 16th century smallpox was well established over most of Europe.[22] With its introduction in populated areas in India, China and Europe, smallpox affected mainly children, with periodic epidemics that killed up to 30% of those infected. The appearance of smallpox in Europe is of particular importance, as successive waves of European exploration and colonization served to spread the disease to other parts of the world. By the 16th century it had become an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the known world.[22]

  • Anat

    To Putinreloaded:
    Actually the number of Acute Flaccid Paralyses caes (which were called polio in the 50s) is today as high as it was in the 50s.

    Source?

    • Carol

      AFP is not polio. It’s a symptom of polio and can be found as a symptom in other diseases as well.

    • http://putinreloaded.wordpress.com PutinReloaded

      Before virological tests were available in the 60′s the diagnosis of “polio” was done clinically, that is, based on symptom presentations only.

      The problems is there are more than a dozen diseases the met the clinical definition of “polio” used in the 50s:

      - Guillain-Barré,
      - Enterovirus,
      - Botulism,
      - Myastenia,
      - Transverse nyelitis,
      - Myositis

      Today virological “confirmation” tests are performed to limit the “polio” diagnosis to people with pooliovirus. All the other pre-60s “polio” diseases are now called AFP. This way, by a simpe restriction in the diagnosis the appearance of a “miracle vaccine” has been created. But the crude reality is today the other pre-60s “polio” diseases are just as alive and well as they were in the 50s, only no longer counted as “polio”.

  • Gray Falcon

    For those wondering, putinreloaded considers using only the even-numbered years of a data set perfectly acceptable: http://shotofprevention.com/2012/07/26/vaccine-questions-answered-the-real-simple-way/#comment-10735.

  • machintelligence

    Here is why we have seen such an influx of commenters:

    there are a bunch of anti-vax Facebook pages, each nuttier than the previous. They post links to articles etc. that need comments, hence the packs.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      I think a good number of them are from an argetinian anti-vax website http://bolsonweb.com.ar/diariobolson/index.php

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        They aren’t only anti-vax… I think it’s supossedly a news site but the articles that were on the frontpage when I looked were all conspiranoic-like and they didn’t make me feel like investigating more…

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Also on the frontpage there was in the sidebar a part that said:

        New Science:
        Cognitive Evolution
        Buddhist New Year in Borobudur, Indonesia
        Phrases of Buda
        Jedi religion
        Astrobiology

        Can someone tellwhy are at ñeast most of those things under the epigraph New Science??? Lol

  • Anat

    To toni bark: I looked up ‘measles paradox’ on Pubmed. Exactly 9 entries showed up. One of them is the Hicks paper I already referenced twice in this thread – it explains that what you see as a problem (that the majority of individuals coming down with measles are people who have been vaccinated) is only an apparent paradox and to be expected when vaccination rates are high and efficacy of the vaccine is anything less than 100%. It is a very easy mathematical analysis, a 2 page paper, I recommend it to you.

    One is about how despite much publicized vaccine scares (particularly the scare resulting from the Wakefield paper) vaccination rates remain high overall in the US, and in the UK for vaccines other than MMR.

    Another states that it is the *success of vaccines in reducing infection* that make adverse effects a meaningful relative risk.

    5 papers deal with the measles paradox – a phenomenon whereby infection by the measles virus is followed by activation of an immune response that clears the virus from the bloodstream – but this is followed by immune-suppression, leaving the body susceptible to other infections. Looks like there has been progress in understanding this phenomenon over the years. In any case, these papers deal with the natural virus, not vaccination.

    The remaining paper, a review by Poland and Jacobson from 1994 – I can’t access the full text, but the abstract looks like it’s about specific examples that fit with the Hicks paper.

    In summary:
    1) The measles paradox as a term refers to something different than you claimed.
    2) The phenomenon of vaccinated people coming down with measles is unsurprising.
    3) Read Hicks, do the math.


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