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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:15 pm 
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So many things to say, in no particular order:

1) Getting yourself or your kids vaccinated is not like paying taxes and that is really a useless comparison. It is intensely personal in the sense that you are allowing something to be injected into your body and that has actual risks to your wellbeing. In general, we have a societal ethic of people being able to make a lot of free choices about what they put in their bodies - there may be a few things that are illegal to use, but there's nothing else where you're mandated to use it on your own body, especially not where you're mandated to do it because it might benefit *somebody else*. It is thus categorically different from a lot of the other things people consider obligations of living in society and even those obligations are not scrupulously honored and huge proportions of the population consider them reasonable to flout (following driving laws - do you know anyone who does that 100%?, not smoking in restaurants, paying taxes - look how many do that honestly, etc.). Many of the things we're obligated to do because we're part of a society are things we can actually get punished for if we don't.

2) People are more likely to be dumb than immoral. Even rich people are dumb. Most people are idiots; most doctors are idiots. Nobody is good at understanding risk or explaining risk (doctors are terrible at explaining risk). This is not news. Are the anti-vaxxers who'd rather deal with the illness than the shot really wrong that getting the measles is not a major concern? I don't know anyone in my generation who had the measles. I don't know anyone in my daughter's generation who's had the measles. It certainly doesn't feel like a risk to not be vaccinated (we are, and on schedule, including adult boosters). Now, how many people do you know who've had a reaction of one kind or another to a vaccine? I know tons. What seems riskier? And how about a disease that is still prevalent - chicken pox. Chicken pox in my childhood was no big whoop. Why is it unreasonable for a parent to think it'll be just as insignificant for their children and any other child who gets sick? It's not unreasonable. There are those who say - everyone I know got the flu vaccine and yet freaking everybody was sick this year! That thing just doesn't work and I'm never going to get it again! I think the conclusions these people come to are wrong, but I don't know that they are inherently unreasonable working off the facts that surround them.

3) The actual risks of vaccinating are known. The risks of not vaccinating are not really known and are extremely attenuated. We know the risks of vaccinating because vaccines have been researched to the wazoo and vaccine companies have to reveal the risks. We only know about the risks of not vaccinating from the shadowy past or from developing nations. At this point, a few kids not getting vaccinated who could is not really a risk to their community. It would take a much more serious dip in vaccination rates (plus the disease actually being present in the community - I'm not so worried about my kid getting polio, for example) for us to see a resurgence of disease. It is reasonable for anti-vaxxers to say they are not doing harm at this point because at this point, they probably aren't in almost every case. The big spots of resurgence have generally been attributable to already vaccinated adults losing immunity over time, rather than pockets of ideological anti-vaxxers. The places of epidemic around the world have confounding problems of low vaccination rates, poor sanitation, and poor diets - it's easy to say we wouldn't experience the same because we have good sanitation and nourishing diets. Again, their case about risk/benefit assessment might not be so off *for them* *right now*. If the numbers shifted enough, we'd be able to put the blame on them directly, but at this point, much less so.

4) I tend to think there is less vaccinating among people who are just naive or who don't fear their kids getting measles or whatever than people who are virulently anti-vax. So why don't we deal with those people rather than fighting a losing battle? Every time this comes up, the immediate response is that those anti-vaxxers are just crassholes out to kill everybody - that their failing to vaccinate is a moral failing. I have definitely said the same about certain people and I think it's true about certain people who totally know better and are milking the system. There are actual "bad eggs" out there. But I don't think those people are the majority. Let's deal with the simply uninformed first, although they are unlikely to be reachable through internet hand-wringing.

5) If you REALLY don't trust Big Pharma, then you don't trust Big Pharma. You're not trading a vaccine today for not having to get drugs from them to treat disease in the future (especially because you probably WON'T get the disease - the risk is still actually really low). You're not getting the vaccine today AND if your kid gets sick, you're not treating the disease with pharmaceuticals. You're listening nicely and nodding your head while your doc prescribes antibiotics, then you're losing the prescription and squirting breast milk on the kid's pox or some similar nonsense.

6) You can't find a doctor you trust if you don't trust the medical industry. Duh. It's even worse when on one hand you have really good reason to distrust the medical industry (see: obstetrics) and you get sucked into a huge underworld of alternative medicine nonsense that all seems just as reasonable because the one piece they said that was true was actually reasonable. This seems to happen A LOT when people receive very bad obstetric care and then become zealots for the anti-MD brigade, and honestly, it's hard to blame that reaction. There are people who only take their kids to naturopaths and chiropractors because their distrust is so great (scary, isn't it?). There is definitely a piece of this that is the medical industry's fault and we shouldn't let them off the hook for it. The way that doctors routinely talk to patients (as Tofulish detailed above and I've experienced my whole life with almost every doctor I've ever had) is condescending, uninformative, and disinterested in their actual lives and their actual concerns about their children (and in pediatricians' offices, people also get a lot of shaming for parenting "the wrong way," including when those ways are well-supported by the medical establishment at large, like breastfeeding on demand and for an extended period). Doctors' offices are routinely set up in ways that hinder patient access to ideal care and sometimes prevent them from getting timely or appropriate care.* They have made themselves almost as unfriendly as humanly possible and then expect you to entrust your child's health entirely in their hands and their advice (which they will almost never support for you with research because it takes too much effort or they're rushing and don't give you a chance to think and ask). They seriously need to take some responsibility for those people who actually get regular medical care for their children and yet withhold vaccines from their kids. Those doctors are having opportunity after opportunity to present accurate, reasonable-sounding information and are *failing* to be persuasive with a captive audience - this includes large numbers of pediatricians who are now known as being happy to serve unvaccinated families. If we can't even trust pediatricians to do this essential part of their job, it seems unreasonable to expect people who are getting most of their medical information from the internet to make well-informed choices.

7) I agree that not every choice is equal and I definitely do not support the choice to not vaccinate and I definitely will argue with people when I find out they haven't vaccinated their kids and if I know in advance, my kid will not play with their kids (I am in a bad situation with one family, though, who don't vax and we had no idea until we were in a months-long really great relationship with them, ugh). Even so, one choice being a better choice doesn't make the other choice actually immoral. We're all working with what we've got, and some have got a lot less (between the ears and in the wallet) than others.


*Examples I've already encountered in my 20 months of parenting:
-zero in-house lactation support from my midwives' office or my pediatricians' office - why should exhausted, brand new mothers be sent to yet another office to get lactation support when everybody agrees we should be doing all we can to support breastfeeding, especially for newborns?
-zero blood testing done in-office at my pediatricians' (or my primary care doctors!), despite the CDC guidelines saying that pediatricians' offices should do in-house lead and iron testing because people won't (or can't) take their kids to another location to have it done (and especially the people whose kids are at greatest risk) and that in-house testing drastically raises the number of kids at risk who get tested. The place we finally went to have Malka's blood tests done was in East BumbleFuck and extraordinarily sketchy. That's bullshiitake.
-Takes forever to get a well visit for a kid, it is extremely easy to miss the monthly windows for vaccines and wind up way off schedule. We are super guilty of completely messing up our vaccine schedule because nobody automatically says when we're leaving "let's schedule the next appointment," we forget to call for a few weeks, and then we're slotted in 1-2 months late (at least), and then maybe she has a cold that day so we don't get the vaccines, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:01 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
So many things to say, in no particular order:

1) Getting yourself or your kids vaccinated is not like paying taxes and that is really a useless comparison. It is intensely personal in the sense that you are allowing something to be injected into your body and that has actual risks to your wellbeing. In general, we have a societal ethic of people being able to make a lot of free choices about what they put in their bodies - there may be a few things that are illegal to use, but there's nothing else where you're mandated to use it on your own body, especially not where you're mandated to do it because it might benefit *somebody else*. It is thus categorically different from a lot of the other things people consider obligations of living in society and even those obligations are not scrupulously honored and huge proportions of the population consider them reasonable to flout (following driving laws - do you know anyone who does that 100%?, not smoking in restaurants, paying taxes - look how many do that honestly, etc.). Many of the things we're obligated to do because we're part of a society are things we can actually get punished for if we don't.


Just because two things aren't exactly the same in every way doesn't mean comparing them isn't useful. I'm not saying we should criminalize people who don't vaccinate, but I do think it's useful and interesting to examine why we compel certain things and not others.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:46 pm 
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First, Ariann, I adore you. That was an incredibly articulate summary of a very complicated situation.

Second, yes exactly to the idea that while I think that not vaccinating is not a good choice, I don't feel comfortable saying that people who don't vaccinate are bad people. I think its one of many choices that I would not make for myself because I think they are not good for me or the people and beings around me. I think that eating meat is a choice that has so many deleterious consequences - from the impact on the planet, to the health of those who consume it, to the health of workers in farms, slaughterhouses and processing plants etc, but I wouldn't call people who eat meat "bad eggs." I also think everyone should be an organ donor and give blood because those are things that pose a minimal risk to the person but at the same time provide a tremendous benefit to society as a whole. But I'm not going to call someone who chooses not to (when they are able to) a bad egg.

I know lots of people who don't vax their kids (including some pretty awesome vegans) and I am happy to have my kids play with them -- because my kid is vaxed and they don't pose a real threat to her.

And the choice to compel certain things but not others is both cultural and practical (it makes very little sense to have laws we cannot enforce for example, because it hurts the credibility of the legal system). From a cultural perspective, three things are at play in the US. First, we make it difficult to invade the physical integrity of others without their consent - whether that means that it is really hard to compel a DNA sample or to compel people to give blood etc. Second, Americans really do want their religious freedoms from state interference protected - the main reason why so many people can get away without vaccinating even though there is a requirement to do so in order to be admitted to schools, is because of the religious exemption. We have made the decision that freedom of religion trumps public health in this area, even though its really a bit of a joke at the moment. There is also the cultural piece of whom we as a society single out for prosecution, and its not normally middle-class, educated white people (see as an example the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which penalize the use of those drugs used by minority groups harder than those drugs used primarily by other groups). From a practical point of view, as well, we balance the real harm done to society by those who don't vax against the potential enforcement expenses of having to have schools and other groups more closely monitor MD vax records, and we have decided that it isn't worth it, even though practically, it wouldn't be that hard to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:39 pm 
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We don't say faith healers' religious beliefs trump other considerations, though. (I know you weren't saying we do, or that we should.)

In Oregon

In Pennsylvania

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Are you saying that the US doesn't have a long tradition of separation of state and protection of religion?

We do have some limits (like the S.Ct case that doesn't allow Native Americans to use peyote in their religious ceremonies) but for the most part, religious freedom is protected (hence the religious exemption for parents choosing not to vax).

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:59 pm 
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The peyote ruling is such bullshiitake.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Well, I do think there need to be some limitations on the free exercise of religion, but a discussion of that case would be pretty far off topic for this thread, and I would feel uncomfortable with that. But if you start another thread, I'll definitely weigh in!

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Is this recent? I'm surprised because it came up in my husband's work and they had to tell a guy that while the Navy would allow him to use peyote as part of a religious ceremony and stay in the service, he would lose his specific job if he did (because the requirements to operate a reactor are more stringent). So I would have assumed it was OK under federal law.


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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Here is the case and it isn't recent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment ... n_v._Smith It involved a state law,so it may be that there isn't a federal law on peyote. Or the service person could be in a state that allows sacramental peyote use like NM or AZ.

Either way, I feel like this discussion is pretty far off-topic from vaxing, so maybe it deserves its own thread!

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:23 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
FootFace wrote:
But these parents who can, but choose not to, vaccinate:

Why are they choosing this? I think I'm still not getting this part.

In my experience, its been because they don't trust their medical professionals and "Big Pharma." If you have had MDs dismiss your concerns about vaccination as stupid, or your experiences with a side-effect, or treat you like you're not intelligent when you ask questions, it is hard to feel like they have your child's best interest at heart. And that is when you start giving more credence to pseudoscience and fears. And especially if you don't see measles or chickenpox as a real threat to your child, its possible to decide that you'd rather take your chances with that (esp if you believe that good hygiene will protect you (as many of my anti-vax friends do) than with a vaccine where it is unclear what is in it and what the side effects could be.

There's a lot of anecdotal evidence and scary stories out there, too. I googled 'vaccine during pregnancy' because I was offered the whooping cough vaccine and the flu jab and there are tons of forum posts about miscarriages. I assume you get the same thing if you google vaccines -- I generally love anecdotes and such and find them very helpful for my pregnancy and child-rearing niggles, but I can't read the anti-vaccine stuff because the forum posts are really sad and I can see how people find them compelling. I can totally see how all those anecdoted could suck kind but uninformed people in -- I have a good friend whose husband got scared out of vaccines (I think they ended up doing a delayed schedule) because he read that stuff.

My husband (pro-vax, just for the record) had whooping cough, mumps, measles, and some other stuff because his parents didn't vaccinate (he says hardly anybody got vaccinated back then, though, even though we all did in the US) and he was fine and said they didn't really seem like that much of a big deal to him -- that kind of thing also makes people less likely to vaccinate, too, because they don't always see these diseases as a big deal either (like Tofulish was saying) -- but my aunt is deaf in one ear from the mumps, so it's not always harmless, even from a non-immuno-compromised perspective.

P.S. Y'all seen the Penn & Tell Bullshiitake episode on vaccines?

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:53 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
My husband (pro-vax, just for the record) had whooping cough, mumps, measles, and some other stuff because his parents didn't vaccinate (he says hardly anybody got vaccinated back then, though, even though we all did in the US) and he was fine and said they didn't really seem like that much of a big deal to him -- that kind of thing also makes people less likely to vaccinate, too, because they don't always see these diseases as a big deal either (like Tofulish was saying) -- but my aunt is deaf in one ear from the mumps, so it's not always harmless, even from a non-immuno-compromised perspective.


The year before last, I almost thought I had whooping cough (bad cough lasted for 2 months) but doubt it was whooping cough. I was vaccinated as a child, I don't remember any boosters but I didn't have the tell tale cough. For those over 2 or so, whooping cough is just annoying and most people have no long lasting effects from it but for infants, it can be fatal. The thing is you don't realize you have whooping cough until AFTER the contagious period has ended, you may think you have a normal cough. That is why in the US, they recommend boosters for any family member that will be near infants especially in the light that less people are vaccinating for it and thus a greater chance of getting it.

So sure you can say babies are on their own, good luck babies or tell parents to not let anyone get near their baby and hopefully the parents are vaccinated. I don't have any kids but that doesn't seem like a reality to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:38 am 
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For me the biggest problem with calling people who don't vax "bad eggs" is that it is basically an end to the conversation. There's no discourse to be had when it's "good people vs bad people." I've had anti-vaxers take that stance against me, and it just shuts the conversation down because I know I am not being heard. If we write off the anti-vax community as morally inferior we're just giving them another reason to ignore us.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:20 am 
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But as near as I can tell, there IS no conversation. Try going on mothering.com and saying, "Hey guys, have you considered this peer-reviewed paper that concludes that there is no link between vaccination and autism or anything else?" and see how that goes for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:57 pm 
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linanil wrote:
I was vaccinated as a child, I don't remember any boosters ... The thing is you don't realize you have whooping cough until AFTER the contagious period has ended, you may think you have a normal cough. That is why in the US, they recommend boosters for any family member that will be near infants especially in the light that less people are vaccinating for it and thus a greater chance of getting it.


Yes, exactly. The pertussis vaccine doesn't provide lifelong immunity and the outbreaks are due (as linanil says) to adults not realizing that they are no longer immune and not realizing that they had it or were contagious.

If someone don't have a booster for pertussis, they are as much a threat to vulnerable populations (the elderly, the immuno-compromised, the very young) as a child whose parents choose not to give them the vax. So would they be "bad eggs" too?

I think the distinction needs to be made between bad acts and bad actors/eggs. Not vaxing or not getting a booster against a communicable disease that poses a public health threat to vulnerable populations is not the best choice, but I agree that calling someone a "bad egg" closes off the conversation. I have been on threads in Mothering and pointed to scientific resources and had anti-vaxers explain why they weren't convinced, so yes, I do think we can have conversations. Its still a conversation even if none of us changes our positions :)

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:33 pm 
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I think that being nice and having conversations does not change the fact that by willfully not vaccinating out of fear and superstition, they are willfully putting other people at risk, especially vulnerable populations.

It's a moral good to try to protect other people instead of being selfish and hiding behind superstition. All choices are not equal. Some choices are bad and could potentially lead to injury or death to someone else.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:07 pm 
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These are not people who are willing to have conversations, and they are not people who I particularly want to have conversations with:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/o ... 6650422913

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Geez. That actually made me cry at my desk for 1) what a sweet sweet baby and her loss on her family must be devastating and 2) how are people so cruel and stupid all at once?

Like Vantine said, all choices are not equal. Choosing to be willfully ignorant and potentially harm others is a downright crasshole thing to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:00 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
These are not people who are willing to have conversations, and they are not people who I particularly want to have conversations with:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/o ... 6650422913


You mean because of statements like this?
Quote:
In another email to Dana's website, an Andrew McDonald wrote: "Dear Dana's family, I am so sorry to read of your daughter's passing. It must be tragic to lose a daughter and I wish you all sympathy and trust that God delivers unto you. I find it amazing that some people firmly believe that God was not perfect. Apparently, according to these people, God forgot to add the heavy toxic metals, pig cells, chicken cells, etc that are found in vaccines.

"I choose this subject because your whole website seems to be pointing the finger at vaccines, or lack thereof, for your daughter's tragic death. How can you be so sure ? Do you have so much faith in the financially pressured drug companies to outstrip God that you do not doubt them at all? Have you done any research into vaccines and seen the reason why so many people will not tolerate injecting their families with toxic muck? Do you have justifiable logic to discredit all their fears?

"I am sorry, but I believe Dana passed away because of different reasons than you claim.

"All the same, please accept my sympathy for your tragic loss."

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:37 pm 
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Yeah, exactly because of statements like that.

"You're lying or were lied to. Sorry about your kid." fork them.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:49 pm 
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And:

Quote:
In 2009, Terrigal father of four Chris Kokegei turned off his seven-year-old son Michael's life support system three days after the little boy caught chicken pox. "It's just pain, the pain, it is so awful," he says.

Like the McCafferys, he went public to raise awareness about vaccination. In 2010 he did three television interviews and he left his phone number with each network for other parents to get in touch.

Soon after, he received a call from a woman who claimed she was from the AVN. He does not recall her name.

She accused him of doing the community a disservice, saying he should not be promoting immunisation.

"Then she went on saying my son was obviously weak and the weakest of the herd are not meant to survive, I should just get over it," he says.


So yeah. This is the face of the anti-vaccination movement. Let's not talk appeasement here. Actual parents might be generally okay, but the heads of the movements are foul.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:53 pm 
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I think there's a pretty big difference between the "heads of the movement" and a lot of run-of-the-mill parents who are misinformed. I am perfectly happy to call Wakefield evil. But that's not that kind of person I am generally dealing with who doesn't vaccinate their kids. And those people can often be reasoned with, and should be. And, again, you shouldn't bother attempting to do it on the internet.


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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:39 pm 
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i don't vax. i don't think i'm uninformed. every person has the absolute right to refuse/accept medical treatment. i don't think vaccines are as safe as we are told. my sister had a severe reaction to the pertussis vaccine as a child, and my mother was advised to discontinue the vax schedule. that any more could kill her. yes, a doctor said this. and still, he would not report it as a vax side-effect. i know several people, and several people's children, personally (as opposed to online), who have suffered varying side-effects of vaccines and all have gone unreported. how can i believe that glowing statistics of vaccine safety if every person i know (and countless more i have spoken to online) who has suffered a reaction was categorically told that it would not be reported? you can call me a bad egg if you like and scream for my selfish blood, but medicating people against their will was pretty much decided as a Very Bad Thing To Do and you know, against human rights and stuff after the atrocities of the nazi human experiments were discovered.

i don't think it's at all selfish for me to refuse a treatment that may harm my children because not doing it may harm someone else. and believe me, i am not just an anti-establishment freak, or to-stupid-to-understand-science. i would love to feel so sure that vaccines were All Good and give my children a lifelong gift of good health. but i have huge problems with a lot of what i have read and i am not doing something that cannot be undone to my kids out of fear of what other people may think of me.

i really find this whole thread a bit weird... it's not a discussion about vaccinations if it is one side of an argument howling so loudly about how bad the other side it that those who disagree are afraid to comment.


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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:50 pm 
Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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But, see, that's not what we're talking about. You've made a decision based on medical advice and family history. That's _great_ as long as the people who have that family history or that medical advice are the only people making that decision.

The problem is people who look at the fraudulent research or who just kinda follow their gut and decide not to do it. People for whom vaccines would be totally healthy and effective but who refuse them are weakening that. You should be just as annoyed by them as I am, because _their_ refusal is putting _your_ children at risk.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:51 am 
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I don't think it is helpful to select the most extreme examples of conduct that you can find, and construct a strawman claiming that all people who don't vaccinate, don't vaccinate for the same reason and are just as horrible. We have all seen threads like that about veganism elsewhere - someone picks up a terrible story about a vegan baby dying or about the ALF and there is loud outrage about how veganism is child abuse or that all vegans are dirty hippy terrorists without a real interest in learning about veganism. If this thread is just going to be about meaningless outrage rather than a discussion, then it just becomes uninteresting.

Vaccination isn't black and white. There is a huge range of reasons why people don't vaccinate themselves or their children (how many PPKers are up to date on every single booster shot they need, including DTAP/pertussis?) and even those of us who do vaccinate our children sometimes choose not to give certain vaccines for a variety of reasons (I reconsidered giving the chickenpox vax because of information I learned here). I would like to have a discussion about why people choose what they do, because I find it informative and interesting, and I have those respectful and informed discussions with my friends who don't vaccinate in other spaces. We do need to shape behaviors as a society to increase rates of vaccination, and we cannot figure out how to do that if we don't listen to the other side and just assume that they are all dirty hippies deliberately trying to kill our newborns and elderly.

As far as the sad case of the little girl who died of pertussis that solipsnation posts above, the pertussis outbreak is mostly traceable to lapsed immunity because people aren't aware they need a booster because they believed that the childhood vax conferred lifelong immunity. Here is a New England Journal of Medicine article that talks about the fact that even vaccinating your child isn't going to provide complete protection against pertussis. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200850 Vermont had an outbreak last year and many of the cases were in vaccinated children. It is useful to learn about vaccine failures etc, and we can't do that if we are focusing all our attention on those parents that don not vaccinate.

From the CDC Website wrote:
Q: I've heard about parents refusing to get their children vaccinated and travelers to the U.S. spreading disease; are they to blame for pertussis outbreaks?
A: Even though children who haven't received DTaP vaccines are at least 8 times more likely to get pertussis than children who received all 5 recommended doses of DTaP, they are not the driving force behind the large scale outbreaks or epidemics. However, their parents are putting them at greater risk of getting a serious pertussis infection and then possibly spreading it to other family or community members.
We often see people blaming pertussis outbreaks on people coming to the US from other counties. This is not the case. Pertussis was never eliminated from the US like measles or polio, so there's always the chance for it to get into a community. Plus, every country vaccinates against pertussis.

http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html#travelers

Finally, no one can quantify the actual public health risk in not vaccinating one's children (it seems like for the most part, parents who don't vax are putting their own kids at risk, which is problematic as well and worth discussion), but even assuming the very worst, the public health risk isn't as big as other things that we as a society really do need to address, like pollution (especially in poor, urban areas), lack of access to health care and preventative care, second hand smoke, unfettered gun ownership etc. That isn't to say that we shouldn't discuss it, but I am sorry that we cannot have a real discussion on the topic, as the OP wanted, without it becoming a few angry voices using strawman arguments to shout down the facts and careful arguments some of the posters (like Ariann and annak) have brought up.

I am very interested in the public health aspect and would love to participate in a discussion about that, perhaps in a separate thread. Personally, I would like to see a robust system of informed refusal - where we train MDs and other health professionals to answer parents' questions and spread neutral, unbiased information on the risks of diseases like polio and measles that many parents may never have seen- rather than having an unchecked religious exemption.

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 Post subject: Re: Can we talk about vaccinations here?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:58 pm 
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Why would I jump back into this? No idea. But here goes. Hey guys, have you considered this peer-reviewed paper that concludes that most vaccine-refusing parents can and should be engaged in conversation and provided with additional resources to help convince them that vaccinating their children is the right choice (but makes no mention of using 'you have an obligation to other people' as a convincing argument), or this other peer-reviewed paper that indicates that nearly half of children under 2 are undervaccinated at some point, and that <4% of those children were undervaccinated because of parental refusal (the rest lack up-to-date vaccines for other reasons)?

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/c ... l.pdf+html

http://info.emergencehealthnetwork.org/ ... 494&cn=462
http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article ... id=1558057


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