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Anti-Vaccination: A Leftist Cause

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

 

The mainstream media is doing its best this week to convince the American public that the anti-vaccination movement is some sort of conservative cause due to statements about vaccines being voluntary made by Rand Paul and Chris Christie.  Hattip to Ed Driscoll for the interview below from 2011 that explains that the anti-vaccination movement has almost entirely been a left wing cause:

 

 

Journalist Seth Mnookin’s new book, The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, explores the public health scare over vaccines and autism. The 1998 paper in The Lancet by British physician Andrew Wakefield that sparked the panic has long since been debunked and retracted, and Wakefield himself has been barred from practicing medicine and accused of fraud. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from refusing to vaccinate their children out of fear that they could become autistic.

Mnookin warns of grave consequences. Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable infections have sickened thousands of children and killed more than a dozen in the United States. Vaccine rates are falling below the level needed to prevent an outbreak in a growing number of communities, including ones with wealthy, educated populations.

Last week, Mnookin spoke with Science Insider about why.

Q: There’s a perception that vaccine refusal is especially common among affluent, well-educated, politically liberal parents—is there any truth to that?

S.M.: It’s dangerous to make broad generalizations about a group, but anecdotally and from the overall data that’s been collected it seems to be people who are very actively involved in every possible decision regarding their children’s lives. I think it relates to a desire to take uncertainty out of the equation. And autism represents such an unknown. We still don’t know what causes it and we still don’t have good answers for how to treat it. So I think that fear really resonates.

Also I think there’s a fair amount of entitlement. Not vaccinating your child is basically saying I deserve to rely on the herd immunity that exists in a population. At the most basic level it’s saying I believe vaccines are potentially harmful, and I want other people to vaccinate so I don’t have to. And for people to hide under this and say, “Oh, it’s just a personal decision,” it’s being dishonest. It’s a personal decision in the way drunk driving is a personal decision. It has the potential to affect everyone around you.

Q: But why liberals?

S.M.: I think it taps into the organic natural movement in a lot of ways.

I talked to a public health official and asked him what’s the best way to anticipate where there might be higher than normal rates of vaccine noncompliance, and he said take a map and put a pin wherever there’s a Whole Foods. I sort of laughed, and he said, “No, really, I’m not joking.” It’s those communities with the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating people.

Go here to read the rest.  Go here to Ed Driscoll for fascinating maps illustrating how the anti-vaccine movement is strongest in those areas most strongly supportive of Obama, and for a Penn and Teller video that profanely sets forth the case for vaccination.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

79 Comments

  1. That’s been my experience with the non-vaccinators I know. I only know a few and they are not complete zealots, mostly delayed vaccines rather than refused completely. However, they were all liberal crunchy folks with an interest in alternative non-western medicine. I suppose there are some conservatives of the “I don’t trust the government, and I live on a compound in the woods” types that think vaccines are a conspiracy, but I’ve never met one of those.

  2. I want to be convinced by the vaccination side, but I keep finding that the pro-vaccination people are at least as crazy as the anti-vaccination side. I mean really, listen to the rhetoric just from the excerpted piece.

    God forbid anyone question our modern medical system or their motives. Did we not learn through the Obamacare debates that the sick care industry has huge financial interests in manipulating consumers?

  3. The burden of proof is all on the anti-vaccination side. The control of diseases that were common even in my childhood is a product of vaccinations and nothing else. The allegation that autism is caused by vaccines is complete garbage as my family inadvertently demonstrated by having our twin boys receive vaccines at precisely the same times. One lad turned out autistic and the other one just finished a highly successful first semester in law school.

  4. http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/timelines/all

    Here’s an interesting timeline on the history of vaccines. If vaccines are some sort of conspiracy to make money by drug companies/government it sure goes back a long way. I suppose when George Washington mandated that the Continental Army be vaccinated against small pox, that was the start of government manipulating us for financial gains or other nefarious purposes.

  5. Well, no, the burden of proof is on the sick care industry to prove that we need every vaccine that they tell us we need, when they say we need it. The vaccine industry says that all women need the HPV virus. There’s controversy over that, and a lot of money to be made by its advocates. Just as with almost every other health care choice. No different here.
    .
    At some point, the pro-vaccination people have to come up with something better than, “we’re right, you’ve evil.”

  6. BTW, I don’t think there is necessarily a connection between autism and vaccines. In fact, I would be surprised if there is one.
    .
    But, contrary to other government advice, I also don’t believe that taxes cause prosperity or that eating 11 servings of grains a day is healthy.
    .
    There is a substantial lack of interest in actual evidence or debate on both sides of this issue.

  7. “Well, no, the burden of proof is on the sick care industry to prove that we need every vaccine that they tell us we need, when they say we need it.”

    Not at all. Vaccination has a track record of hundreds of years. Those opposing vaccines have the burden of establishing why we should cast away the clear benefits of vaccination in stamping out many diseases.

  8. I’m pro-vaccination, but I think jvc raises a good point that NOT EVERY vaccine is necessary or even desirable, and I think the example provided of the HPV vaccine is a legitimate one.
    ***
    Surely, the burden is not on parents to show why they don’t think it appropriate to vaccinate their kids with Gardasil?
    ***
    I think the flu vaccine is a waste of time and money unless the person receiving it belongs to a particularly susceptible group. Do I need to prove to some 3rd party that it is not necessary for the members of my family to line up for an annual flu vaccination?
    ***
    In short, there are vaccinations that I believe every person should receive, and there are others that are of dubious necessity and/or efficacy.

  9. I can’t say I’m surprised at the emotion to my question.
    .
    “People like you insist on a burden of proof that is impossible – proof that vaccines will harm no person ever.”
    .
    This is just a silly straw man. I’ve never said this, nor have I ever thought it.
    .
    You want people to believe whatever a business or government tells you about a product? That’s fine for you, just don’t shove your beliefs in the face of others.

  10. Some common sense from Jay. Thanks.
    .
    Of course, it’s going to be drowned out in the “we’re right, you’re evil” comments from others.
    .
    What amazes me is that I can’t think of any other aspect of life in which these guys would grab their ankles for government.

  11. I can’t say I’m surprised at the emotion to my question.

    I provided you a link that thoroughly examines most of the objections to vaccinations, a link that provides links to a series of other studies and reports than further debunk the anti-vaccination paranoia. You chose, instead to ignore it and huff and puff angrily. If anyone is lacking in reason in this debate, it is you. Now if you would like to carefully explain why you think the arguments against the anti-vaccination cause are faulty, I’m all ears. Otherwise I’ll just ignore whatever other bluster you will offer.

  12. Paul, really, calm down.
    .
    “Now if you would like to carefully explain why you think the arguments against the anti-vaccination cause, I’m all ears.”
    .
    Do you want to complete that sentence?

  13. Of course, it’s going to be drowned out in the “we’re right, you’re evil” comments from others.

    Offer a substantive comment, and we’ll be willing to listen. Again, all of the reason and proof has been offered by this side of the argument.

  14. I don’t take the flu vaccination Jay while my wife does. My attitude would change if there was a vaccination that could stamp out all flu, not that I expect to see such a vaccine in my time.

    Gardasil has been way oversold considering that it does not prevent all cervical cancer, about 70% prevented, and that there are 12,000 cases each year in the US, compared, for example, to three to four million cases each year of measles in the US before the measles vaccine came on line in 1964. Prior to making something mandatory there should be a threshold of a disease being widespread and a hope that the vaccine can largely eliminate the disease.

  15. I’ll just say “ditto” to everything Jay said. I don’t think we need every vaccine that the government or big pharma says we do, nor do I think every vaccine is effective. Look at the flu vaccine for example.
    .
    If you believe that government has your best interest in mind and want to get every vaccine possible, by all means do so. But, please, don’t act like the people producing the product don’t have a vested interest in advancing their business.

  16. “The allegation that autism is caused by vaccines is complete garbage as my family inadvertently demonstrated by having our twin boys receive vaccines at precisely the same times.”
    .
    Thank you, Don. Our experience exactly. One boy is autistic and the other is not. This can easily be put on the fact that my wife is 5’0″ (I’m 6’2″) and added together, my sons were 8 lbs-plus at birth, which was nine weeks early. Boys, multiples and preemies – the vaccination thing never enters the equation.
    .
    BTW, they just turned 18 and never had a debilitating disease, including chicken pox. The autistic one is an avid runner and his brother is looking at a youth-ministry-through-music path.

  17. “But, please, don’t act like the people producing the product don’t have a vested interest in advancing their business.”

    Just like farmers do who produce food, or contractors who build houses. The profit motive is a poor per se argument against the utility of a good or service produced. As for government having our best interests at heart, well actually I think almost all governments will have a strong interest in preventing disease epidemics among their populace. One does not have to be a fan of big government to believe that.

  18. Jay’s objections are certainly reasonable. I get the flu shot myself, but I don’t think many people are hankering for mandatory flu vaccinations. Gardisil is a more sensitive topic, but I do think parents should have that the choice in that matter. This discussion is really about vaccines for those diseases – measles, polio, etc. – that are communicable and almost completely wiped out. The non-vaccinaters believe that their decision to not vaccinate only impacts their children, which is simply not the case, as the link I provided above details.

  19. I can’t say I’m surprised at the emotion to my question.

    I think there’s some emotion because both sides are having trouble with excluding the middle.

    Are vaccines necessary? For viruses, yes, there is no treatment for them otherwise save trying to keep the body alive until it beats the virus.

    Is EVERY vaccine necessary? Debatable. All things in life are tradeoffs and there’s something to be said for taking things on a case by case basis and letting people make decisions in their own best interest.

    It seems to me every time I’ve watched these debates break out, there’s a lot more issues (boiling down to the nature of society & freedom) being bundled up in the discussion than just one aspect of medicine. Yet it’s all so rarely fruitful as nobody seems willing to untangle that bundle.

  20. Look at the flu vaccine for example.

    Minor science note: Part of the issue with that is that “the flu” is more of a term covering a VERY wide range of viruses. Talking about a vaccine to wipe out the flu is rather like talking about hunters wiping out all animals. (Yes hunters can wipe out SOME animals (like the dodo bird) but ALL animals?)

  21. I don’t think all vaccines should be mandatory for everyone. Not everyone needs a flu shot, for example. Make that decision for yourself based on your own risk factors. I always get it because I take care of small children, and I can’t afford to be out of commission for weeks with the flu. That’s my choice. That’s not the same thing as the MMR, polio, etc. I know the HPV vaccine is controversial, but if it’s safe then I’m getting it for my kids. If I can prevent or lessen the risk of a serious disease with just a shot, I’m doing it. If someone makes money off my choice, good for them. That’s capitalism.

  22. I was vaccinated for smallpox, following the outbreak in Bradford in 1962. I recall the French authorites insisted on a certificate for travellers from the UK. That, as I recall, was the last UK outbreak, except for a lab accident in 1972. Five years later, the last naturally occuring case was recorded in Somalia.

    Now, smallpox is an interesting case. There are no carriers (as in typhoid), no animal reservoir (as in maleria) and it was antigenically stable (unlike ‘flu). If vaccination were ever to succede in eradicating a disease, smallpox was the prime candidate.

  23. Not directly related to the discussion, but I note that the face of RFK Jr adorns the top of this blog post entry as an anti-vaccinationist. He is also anti-nuclear power, pro-abortion, pro-sodomy. In fact, he along with NY Gov Andy Cuomo has been fighting tooth and nail to shut down 2000 MWe of clean safe electricity on the Hudson River, and it looks like these two men could sadly succeed, all for the lives of mere fish:
    .
    http://news.yahoo.com/judge-allows-hearings-summer-closings-york-nuclear-plant-144826987–finance.html
    .
    Liberals oppose controls against disease in humans (but will do whatever it takes to protect fish). Liberals oppose the birth of new human beings (but not fish eggs at the intakes to Indian Point!). Liberals oppose the stability of marriage between one man and one woman (but not fish reproduction in the Hudson River!). Liberals oppose safe clean cheap electrical power. And the same liberals (living in adulterous relationships – both Cuomo and RFK Jr) who do and say these things parade themselves up for the Holy Sacrament to be received from the hand of Bp Hubbard of Albany or Abp Dolan of NYC.
    .
    No, I believe in nothing RFK Jr says about vaccination because I know the lies he disseminates about nuclear energy, and I know how immorally he leads his personal life in public (it would be different if he had a modicum of common sense and stopped parading his promiscuity about, calling it a 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriage).

    Is that an ad hominem attack? Well sometimes you have to know the character of a man before giving anything he says any credence.

  24. I see that Mark Shea is trying to link the right-wing to anti-vaccination fanaticism. He’s for vaccination, but his increasing leftist sympathies is blinding him to the real source of this wrong headed movement. Read the sorry saga here. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2015/02/the-growing-right-wing-fascination-with-quackery.html This is coming from a man who doesn’t understand (willfully) the difference between waterboarding and the actual torture technique used by the Japanese in WWII.

  25. I’m playing devils advocate here…
    What about the belief, held by a particular friend of mine, who observed her baby stop meeting vital milestones in development after receiving a childhood vaccine- the baby is now a 10 year old with severe autism- she cannot talk.

    Her strongly held belief is that vaccines are safe and ok for the majority, but her child was in the minority who had adverse reactions to a childhood vaccination. And it’s this minority that modern medicine ignore because of the “greater good”. And if the issues arising with this minority is addressed then perhaps there is room for improvement when it comes to vaccinations as no child should be thrown under the bus, so to speak, in the pursuit of the greater good.

    A thought worth addressing…

  26. Stephen,

    He’s for vaccination, but his increasing leftist sympathies is blinding him to the real source of this wrong headed movement.

    I’ve noticed something similar recently with feminism. I’ve been slowly catching up on Stacy McCain’s “sex trouble” series, where he examines feminism, seriously. One doesn’t have to go very far in the series before running across things that would seem to make it pretty incompatible with Catholic teaching. (I can provide links upon request, not doing so right now less this comment get stuck in moderation.)

    Yet go check on a search at Shea’s site. “Feminism”? Returns 3 pages of results and most of those are along the lines of “Radical Feminism (not all feminism)”. Meanwhile do a search for “Ayn Rand” and you get a whopping 6 pages. Think about the contrast. For Shea, a majority of the leading leaders and intellectuals of the feminist movement are not enough to discredit it, but 1 single person who has written some things about that some members agree with, is enough to discredit all of libertarianism.

    At some point one wonders if Shea’s reasoning boils down to the old “feelz before realz” philosophy.

  27. The problem, Ezabelle, is that it is a belief that is not necessarily substantiated by verifiable proof. As one doctor explained earlier on the radio, one of the reasons people associate autism with vaccinations is due to the fact that children are often diagnosed at the same age that they happen to receive these shots, and I think parents misunderstand that correlation does not mean causation.

    That being said, there are children who do have bad reactions to vaccinations. What a parent has to weigh is this: is it more likely my child will have adverse reactions to an immunization, or is my child more likely to suffer a debilitating illness due to not having a vaccination. I think the heavy weight of evidence shows that the true gamble is to not vaccinate.

  28. And it’s this minority that modern medicine ignore because of the “greater good”. And if the issues arising with this minority is addressed then perhaps there is room for improvement when it comes to vaccinations as no child should be thrown under the bus, so to speak, in the pursuit of the greater good.

    A thought worth addressing…

    First, sympathy to your friend.
    Second, that’s all fair enough, the big problem is that currently there’s no way of telling who is in that minority or not. So that’s kind of that trade off question: what do you do? Vaccinate no one to avoid some suffering, or vaccinate everyone in spite of some suffering that will happen?

    Once the medicine gets to the point that maybe testing can be done and determine beforehand whether adverse reactions will happen or not with vaccines, we’ll have the perfect solution. Until then… we’re stuck with no great option.

  29. Shea is someone who simply regurgitates popular talking points and reflects uncritically on current memes. The best idea is to simply ignore the man.

  30. I once had a discussion with a friend of mine from my wedding party. This woman is now dean of a nursing school.

    About 35 children die in the U.S. each year from vaccine adverse reactions. This statistic got me thinking: might it be possible to test infants for the possibility of adverse reactions, and then excuse the positives from mandatory vaccination? The rest of us would be vaccinated with more confidence, and the ‘herd effect’ would protect the unvaccinated to better effect than it does today.

    My friend didn’t think much of the idea. She felt that in the end such an effort would prove that those 35 children would turn out to have a serious underlying condition, and most would die young anyway. I was startled by the hardness of her statement, and had to face the fact that she was probably right. It’s called a vale of tears for a reason.

  31. So, someone remarked that if you don’t post links, your comment will get posted. So, I’m trying again to get posted without links…

    We are blessed with 4 children (born between the years ’92-’96). Their vaccinations (with each infant) were administered sooner and sooner. Our first two are healthy and developed normally. Our second two have autism. So very many want to “close the books” and say that “science has proven that the vaccinations do not cause autism.” I don’t believe them. I’m not certain it is the only cause of autism, but I certainly believe it has been one of the highest contributing factors. From the right or left is not the issue. Let’s face it, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing our borders hasn’t helped since they were relocated all over the country. This is the cause of the outbreak (if there is one).

    Those who want to say, “Science has spoken, nothing here, let’s move on…” as in the article, “…But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from refusing to vaccinate their children out of fear that they could become autistic. Mnookin warns of grave consequences. Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable infections have sickened thousands of children and killed more than a dozen in the United States. Vaccine rates are falling below the level needed to prevent an outbreak in a growing number of communities, including ones with wealthy, educated populations…”

    So, Mnookin WARNS of GRAVE CONSEQUENCES (who is fear mongoring?) and …sickened thousands of children and killed more than a DOZEN in the U.S.

    What is the current percentage of children developing autism per birth? I disagree with Mnookin. The grave consequences are what they probably have done to so many, many lives.

    These vaccines did not exist when I was a child. We had our bouts with measles, mumps, chicken pox, and I had not known anyone who died from those “childhood illnesses.”

    I believe the only way the verdict on vaccines will be found is when vaccines are stopped…wouldn’t it be interesting to see parents caring for their children through their childhood illnesses coupled with a major decline in autism diagnoses.

  32. Ditto Paul’s last comment about he-who-should-be-ignored. The fact that person is trying to pin the anti-vax tag on the right is proof positive that he has become little more than a leftist trying to score rhetorical points.
    ***
    I personally know a few anti-vax folks, and TO A PERSON they are ALL on the political left. (That’s not counting people I know from social media, but people who I actually know.)

  33. To be fair, there is definitely some anti-vaccine sentiment on the right, but it is inspired more by mistrust of the government and authority. Leftist opposition tends more to the anti-GMO, anti-technology, let’s all revert to cavemen times sentiment.

  34. Mariann,

    I understand your point. However, I am pro-vaccination. Yet I find myself holding my breath the week before and after Ive taken each of my children for their vaccines…

    As you mention, your children had their vaccines brought forward each time- this correlates with your children’s autism diagnosis.

    I understand PZ’s point that proof is needed to establish the link, otherwise we are talking superstition and not science. And I also understand the “coincidence” between the vaccination periods and childhood diagnosis of autism.

    However, this friend who I referred to in my previous comment, has 5 children- the oldest 3 have developmental issues – the oldest is Aspergers and the 3rd is autism (of which I previously referred). She didn’t vaccinate the youngest two, and they have no health or developmental issues at all.

    I guess, mothers like yourself Mariann, and my friend, need not be dismissed. If there is a belief held by your own witness and experience, then it needs to be addressed scientifically and proven that the link is impossible. Otherwise the possibility will still remain.

    Afterall, if a vaccine can be developed to be better and safer, then it should.

    It’s a difficult dilemma for those that can’t shake off the “hunch” that the vaccination “caused” the autism.

    The anti-vaccination lobby will generate more suspicion in the mind of the public toward vaccinations, if people like Mariann are ignored.

  35. Mariann, your idea is implausible. The increase is autism diagnosis does not track with vaccination introduction, it tracks with changes is diagnosis criteria. A study in South Korea demonstrated that their latter introduction of U.S. standards resulted in a diagnosis increase unlinked to vaccines, or at least without the same links perceived in the U.S.

    But, science is science. Your idea of stopping vaccinations would be a valid scientific test. But “wouldn’t it be interesting to see parents caring for their children through their childhood illnesses coupled with a major decline in autism diagnoses” wouldn’t be the outcome. Assuming that people would be forced to stop infant day-care – and Disneyland trips – during such an experiment, the results would be in within 24-36 months as to whether autism actually declined (it should not). By the time the test subjects came of nursery school age we would know for sure that autism is not related to vaccines and we would start vaccinations before they would be in school. Most parents would never get to care for a traditional childhood illness.

    BTW, I write this as the father of a daughter who is on the spectrum, the father in law of a young man with Asperger’s, and the godfather of another with Asperger’s.

  36. Fear is conquering many, unfortunately, regarding the vac. debate.

    As to Mr. Zummo’s GMO group think??
    I’ll stay with my organic tomatoes. You can keep the tasteless gmo verities if you wish.

    Please excuse me for interrupting what is a interesting thread.

    Are there vaccines that use aborted fetal matter? If so, is this part of the refusal of vaccines?

  37. I’ll stay with my organic tomatoes. You can keep the tasteless gmo verities if you wish.

    Hey, no arguments from me there. If you want to pay more for food and pretend that it tastes better, knock yourself out. 🙂

  38. I don’t want to take away the importance of this topic, vaccinations.

    I just found it funny you linked in GMO’s with leftist overtones. Monsanto stock helping your investment portfolio Mr. Z?

  39. I probably fall into the “jay” camp. I don’t particularly trust the government or “big” anything to have our best interests at heart, but none of us individually really have the resources to accurately evaluate the risks involved, so we have to rely on the big boys. Best compromise seems to be proven vaccines can be mandatory (with exceptions for individual medical care provider judgment), newer ones optional until some track record is established. The recent sterility drug additive in Africa allegations does give one pause.

  40. I just wanted to tip my hat to Mrs. Z for her reference to General Washington’s farsighted smallpox inoculation program, which is an unsung contributor to the Continental Army’s successful prosecution of the War.
    ***
    Huzzah, Mrs. Z!

  41. Philip, I assure you I didn’t take it personally. The GMO debate is a side issue, and I’d be happy to discuss another time.

    God bless.

  42. Thanks Mr. Zummo.
    I’ll be looking forward to learning the facts from the conservative point of view regarding GMO’s.
    Peace.

  43. Mariann wrote, “wouldn’t it be interesting to see parents caring for their children through their childhood illnesses”
    Good luck nursing a child through rabies, cholera, typhoid, polio, tuberculosis, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis or a bad case of tetanus.

  44. The mainstream media is doing its best this week to convince the American public that the anti-vaccination movement is some sort of conservative cause due to statements about vaccines being voluntary made by Rand Paul and Chris Christie.

    They were doing it before that– as soon as their previously popular stance started to have effects that made them look bad, they started scrambling wildly to conflate “vaccines are poison!” with, as Mrs. Z so nicely put it, something you should decide “for yourself based on your own risk factors.”

    When I am accused of being an “anti-vaxxer” for not jumping on to prudential points that are not even informed of the facts, there’s something wrong.
    (some of my sins: pointing out that vaccines are not magic and not zero risk;
    saying it’s not needful to ban the voluntarily unvaccinated from school to protect the medically unvaccinated because if there’s an outbreak, the viruses don’t care if you’re unvaccinated because of a doctor’s waiver, and there’s already a standard of removing the unvaccinated during an outbreak;
    saying some vaccines are grown in stem cell lines from aborted children, and offering proof;
    pointing out that I never believed that vaccines cause autism, although I do know people who consistently get ill after the flu vaccine*, and my husband is one of those who had to be hospitalized from the smallpox vaccine.)
    ….
    * Because folks always hear this as “the vaccine gave me the flu,” when it’s not: I am one of the folks. It happened every single year when I was in the Navy, and when I was pregnant with the Baron while my husband was deployed– I was being cautious, you see, and got vaccinated. Each time, I get sicker than I’ve ever been from the flu. My theory is that I catch something from the other folks who are there getting vaccinated, possibly enabled by (simplification!) my immune system being distracted by dealing with the flu. Since I turned 16– an age where I can be fairly sure that I’m not forgetting an illness– I have had exactly two illnesses not inside of a month of being vaccinated for the flu– and while the one that wasn’t part of a ship-board epidemic was worse than my average reaction, it was far less severe than my reaction while pregnant.
    I’d think that I have an undiagnosed allergy, but family members can also catch whatever strikes me down. Staying home with the kids makes the math a lot simpler than those who have to calculate the risk from their exposure to everyone at work, their spouses’ work, plus however many daycares their kids go to.

  45. “Just like farmers do who produce food, or contractors who build houses.”

    That’s correct, Don. The reason I bring it up is not because it is immoral to have a profit motive (I don’t think it is). It’s because there’s an attitude on behalf of a lot of wildly pro-vaccination people, including, seemingly, people on this thread, that the only reason big pharma is behind vaccinations is “science.”

  46. Well, meet a conservative Catholic right winger who doesn’t believe in vaccinations.
    Meet someone who doesn’t live off the the grid or in a cave. Meet parents with
    four advanced college degrees who studied the “science” and made the choice not to vaccinate their children. Meet a family who has witnessed the adverse effects of vaccines on their child.

    Twenty-five years ago my oldest son was given his third Dtap/MMR shot, at six months old. He cried for a week, his leg swelled up. He ran a high fever. His doctor said reactions like this can happen, but not to worried. Up to that point he was developmentally on track, crawling and even beginning to speak a little. After this shot his development slowed dramatically. It was like the “light went out of his eyes”. He became “floppy”, no real muscle tone. He began having absent seizures, with some he even stopped breathing. He didn’t learn to walk until he was almost 2years old. He didn’t learn to “speak” until he was five. We took him to specialists: speech, developmental, neurological. He had MRIs, CATs, EEGs, blood tests, you name it. My husband and my medical history was included as well as our extended family. Our backgrounds and education “levels” were even
    factored in the mystery. The experts couldn’t determine a syndrome, disease, whatever. The only cause and effect we could attribute to our son’s issues was the shot. When we mentioned this to the specialists, they just listened, never passing judgement on our opinions. The doctors did list our concerns with the vaccination in every report made on our son. Other doctors mentioned to us of other children in our area at the time, same general age as our son, who exhibited the same or similar symptoms or etiology. But no one could come to a “diagnosis” on why a perfectly healthy, developmentally-on-track baby, would be fine one moment, get a “perfectly safe” shot, then suffer seizures, developmental delays and medical issues…the next moment. No correlative leap here…or shall I say the FEAR OF making such a leap was too much for them.

    “Hot Lots” was a new term thrown out to us. These are known lots of vaccines that were discovered to have more mercury in them. There used to be site years ago where these lots where listed. Not anymore.

    When we moved, I asked our pediatrician’s office for copies of my son’s medical records. The office delayed for weeks and ultimately refused to copy them for us. The office finally did after we threatened it with legal proceedings. We discovered that the shot lot record had been whited out and unintelligible scrawl had been put it it’s place. The pediatrician had moved out of town, unexpectedly, with no forwarding address to be given out to patients. Nothing to hide here? Gee.

    My son has suffered from verbal apraxia, ADD, delayed mental and physical development, learning disabilities, peer/social rejection. By looking at him, one wouldn’t know what is wrong. But once he speaks….and has to explain his speech problem to those who ask what happened….the hate and rejection really comes out. Most people have been compassionate. But there are those who turn ugly and arrogant…once they find out the vaccine component. They don’t want to believe the correlation, or they make excuses. “Science has to be right!!! There can’t be a cause/affect with vaccines”, “they have been around too long, they have saved lives”, “government/medicine wouldn’t cover such stuff up”.
    …”(they) misunderstand that correlation does not mean causation.”
    B S !

    Parents of children who have suffered from effects of vaccinations, and who have tried to speak out on the risks, have been attacked and vilified by the medical establishment and media and anyone else who likes roaming in packs as long as it benefits them. We are not kooks. We are not uneducated. We are not acting recklessly. We choose not to vaccinate because we aren’t “sheep”, we do the research. Not every human being is created equal in regards to tolerating drugs and or medical intervention. Do you think we are selfish? Are we to sacrifice our child for the sake of the “herd? Would you do that, if you knew? Everyone has to make choices. If you want to take the shots and have your children do too, then great. You take the risk. We did with our oldest, and it didn’t work out for him.
    Yeah, we “took the shot” for the rest of the herd, and we were never thanked for it.
    We’ve been punished by society and the medical establishment for being loving parents who tried to do the right thing for their children. We aren’t reckless with our children’s lives. You don’t know our lifestyle or how we live. You don’t know the amount of tears and pain we and others who have experiences similar, and more deadly effects from getting a vaccine. It may be rare, but it happens.

    I guess, for some people here on this forum and throughout comment-land, our child was an unfortunate casualty. Oh well. Better him than my kid, right? He took “the shot’ for society. He probably should have died. Next story. The medical community and society just won’t talk about the dangers, and the modus operandi is to discredit and destroy the victims/messengers; pump out more “research” and “opinion” to back up the medical establishment. More paper must mean more knowledge and more influence, right?

    Such is the real herd mentality. Pack the herd so tightly so the individuals can’t see the dangers and have to “trust” those around them, who can’t see the dangers either. Let’s move the herd quickly so they have no time to think, rest, or learn skills. Let’s dumb down the herd so the individuals don’t recognize dangers even if the dangers are right in front of them.

    Yes, vaccines can save lives. But they darn near killed one of my kids.
    Meanwhile, 4000 babies a day, are being murdered by abortion, by choice. Science didn’t stop these deaths, did it?

    Look up MRC-5, WI-38 human diploid cells… these are cell mediums derived from
    aborted fetuses used in making vaccines. Another topic for another day.

  47. Looks more depressing than interesting, to me; a guy who put his child at risk by taking her, unvaccinated and with a known to be compromised immune system, to a place that is famous for the huge number of international visitors it gets, and then trying to blame others who also depended on everyone else being healthy to protect themselves when it didn’t work out.
    To the shock of… not anybody I know of, the virus has been examined and they believe the source was a visitor from out of country:
    http://www.newser.com/story/202013/cdc-measles-outbreak-has-overseas-source.html
    About the only odd thing is it’s linked to “Indonesia, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Dubai” rather than Vietnam or the Philippines, which both have CDC travel warnings. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
    Then another supposedly responsible result responds on a similarly nasty level, and a third party commenting on it interprets “good people do what I want them to” as giving those who disagree credit.
    Actual folks who were wronged?
    The ones that were vaccinated and got sick from their unvaccinated kids, assuming they didn’t have reason to believe they’d be more vulnerable to the disease. (such as recovering from chemo)
    If you think vaccination is too big of a risk for your kid– either because a doctor said so, or by personal belief– then don’t put them in situations where their being unvaccinated puts others at risk.
    Last time I saw any story that mentioned numbers, one in ten of the folks who were sick had been vaccinated. (52 total, 6 previously vaccinated; the babies are confusing in the calculations, since the residual resistance from their mothers is why they weren’t vaccinated.)

  48. There are merits to both sides of the argument.

    But using extreme examples of kooki parents who use their children as experiments to discredit ALL vaccines, still does not address parental concerns like those of Mariann and Susan. It just labels genuine people with genuine concerns. And It keeps the argument heavily divided. And the questions unanswered.

    Stacey Trasancos wrote a very good post on this. And I would consider my position aligned with her reasonable argument.

    “I also understood that anyone—and I mean anyone—who agonizes over the decision should be respected. I really, really wanted more guidance from the Church or the medical community, but the fact is, there is still so much unknown.”

    http://stacytrasancos.com/category/science/vaccines/

  49. I know I said to ignore the man, but what can I say, I’m a glutton. I had to read the Shea piece Stephen linked to above, and the very first link he provides to prove right-wing kookiness he mindlessly apes the Talking Points memo interpretation, yet Shea doesn’t bother looking at the full video which shows the Senator was mainly joking in order to make a point. Does Shea do anything other than mindlessly ape how left-wingers interpret a comment, a comment they almost certainly didn’t bother reading in full context themselves? No, of course not, that would involve doing original research and follow-up. And I guess someone who writes for a living doesn’t have time for that kind of deeper digging.

  50. Paul Zummo wrote: “I know I said to ignore the man, but what can I say, I’m a glutton.”
    .
    No, Paul, you are NOT the one who is a glutton.

  51. That article contains a fair amount of generalizing. There are chapel veil wearing, organic eating, Catholics who believe that toxic poison has no place in the human body; whether it comes from food, “medicine” or household cleaning products. Creation is a gift, not to be squandered or defiled.

  52. If parents want their families vaccinated and to eat GMO foods, then let them. And if not, then let them not. We don’t need useless liberal idiots like RFK Jr demonizing vaccines or government forcing them down people’s throats. But here’s the downside: if you don’t take a vaccine and get the disease the vaccine is to prevent, then your sickness is on your own head. Suffer.

  53. @Susan: You are not the only “conservative Catholic right-winger” who is opposed to vaccines. I know of at least two other families, one of whom is a respected physician in the next town over (they did home births for some of their children, by the way.) I was surprised to find in the the “left” was supposedly the group that started the anti-vaccine stance.

  54. Those who have vaccinated their children are emotionally vested in the argument that the people who choose not to do so are wrong on several counts–2 of which are the following:

    1. I am a better parent (because I vaccinated my child) than those who do not vaccinate their children. Basically, moral superiority. Basically the idea is that if you let the government tell you what to do with your child, you are a superior parent.

    2. Those who choose not to vaccinate their children (because they fear harm to their children from the vaccines) are a threat to those who do vaccinate. The threat is based in fear that those who vaccinate are being accused of deliberately risking unnecessary harm to their children when allowing them to receive the shots. Basically, those who vaccinate will not tolerate anyone saying that they have put their child at risk for a disease such as Autism.

    Anyone who thinks that money, politics, & power does not drive vaccinations is in complete denial of reality. The head of the department of health in my state is a political appointee–are they not in your state? The members of all of the educational boards in my state are politicians or political appointees–are they not in yours? There are multiplied billions/trillions of dollars to be made through the use of vaccines–much of which is controlled/influenced by government with all of its corrupt influences/actions. Just think of the pile of political crap that is our FDA!

    Identical twins receiving innoculations and only one having autism is not scientific proof that vaccines don’t cause Autism. The explanation could be as simple as one having slept better and there for having a higher immune system to deal with the physical impact of the vaccine when it was administered. People pick up disease or fight it off all of the time based on the condition of their immune system during exposure.

    It is a fact that the fevers that accompany certain childhood innoculations cause physical and cognitive impairments.

    Within the last year, my best friend’s granddaughter, who was about 1 year old at the time, was given a vaccine and promptly developed crippling juvenile arthritis that kept her from walking and being able to use one of her hands as well as affecting her eyesight. The doctor at Arkansas Childrens’ Hospital stated plainly that the vaccine damaged the child’s immune system and caused the arthritis. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

    This is getting ridiculous folks. I am going to start calling folks who condemn others for what they choose to do with their children in this area (no matter what that is) “vaccine Nazis” and “anti-vaccine Nazis.”

    No one has yet been able to explain to me why the government is having babies, who are less than 24 hours old, inoculated with Hepatitis B vaccine!! Is their a Hepatitis B epidemic at your house or in your neighborhood? There sure isn’t in mine. As I understand it, a baby doesn’t receive their full immunity through their mother’s milk until they are six months old. Why are we pumping babies with limited immunity full if chemicals and weakened viruses? That doesn’t even make sense. We cannot even take over the counter medicines without the risk of negative side effects. But no!! Vaccines, given in mass, can’t possibly have negative side effects on children who have limited immunity according to the pro-vaccine Nazis.

    Before I started school at the age of 6, my father took me to the high school cafateria of our local school district where we waited in a line to get multiple innoculations so that we would be allowed to attend school that fall. I had already had the measles and chicken pox before the age of 6 and survived them just fine. My father was given an option of whether or not to have me get a small pox innoculation. Small pox had been required to enter school the year before I started and had only became optional the year that I started school. My father had suffered some physical damage to his legs from small pox growing up. He still chose to not have me inoculated for small pox and explained to the nurse that he didn’t want me to get anything I didn’t have to have. Some of the students who were in first grade with me were inoculated for small pox and some were not based on their parents choices. None of us ever thought about judging students and parents who made a different decision regarding the small pox vaccine that day. My father had been required to have my older sister inoculated for small pox.

    I tell the story re: my not receiving a small pox innoculation to say this. You folks need to get a grip and stop condemning each other for reasonable differences of opinion. If you are worried about disease, work on securing our borders where disease walks into our country all of the time.

    And one last thing. God did not include thou shalt get your children vaccinated as the government if the government says you should in the Ten Commandment folks. Please stop acting like He did.

  55. Equally true is this:
    Those who have not vaccinated their children are emotionally vested in the argument that the people who choose to do so are wrong on several counts–2 of which are the following:
    1. I am a better parent (because I didn’t vaccinated my child) than those who do not vaccinate their children. Basically, moral superiority. Basically the idea is that if you let the government tell you what to do with your child, you are an inferior parent.

    2. Those whose children are not “normal” or get hurt did something wrong. It’s their fault the children are autistic– so the non-vaccinated are safe, because they didn’t put their kids at risk.

  56. “Good luck nursing a child through rabies, cholera, typhoid, polio, tuberculosis, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis or a bad case of tetanus.”

    I can’t believe someone even made this statement. No person that I know, even in countries where such diseases have outbreaks, has been in innoculated for all of those as a child! An a tetanus shot only lasts 10 years. I never received a tetnaus shot until I, at the age of 24, applied for a passport to a Central American country during a recovery period from a very damaging flood. Cholera was rampant in the rural parts of that nation as a result of the stagnant water from the flooding–and no one I know was innoculated for it even in country.

  57. My daughter, now 19, is autistic, but was not diagnosed as such until around age 4. She had her first MMR shot at the normal age, around 15 months, and we didn’t notice anything unusual afterward. (The first MMR vaccinations occur right around the age when many autistic kids start showing symptoms, regardless of whether the child is vaccinated or not.) When it came time for her second immunization around age 6, we hesitated a bit because at the time, there were still a lot of people in the autism community who believed the (now discredited) studies linking vaccines to autism, and we couldn’t help but wonder if they might be right. In the end, we went ahead with the vaccination and it did not have any ill effects. I do NOT believe vaccines had a thing to do with my daughter’s autism; I suspect it was probably more genetic than anything else, but who knows.

    Mandatory vaccinations for extremely contagious and potentially deadly diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and polio are entirely appropriate and IMO within the purview of the government to insist upon if, for example, you want to enroll your child in a public school or in any other public program where they will be around other people. However, vaccinations for diseases that are not spread through everyday contact and can be easily avoided by abstaining from certain behaviors (e.g. HPV) should remain entirely optional.

  58. That your family didn’t take pro-active steps against lockjaw is not an answer to the argument; my husband grew up eating rare pork and chicken, yet managed not to get food poisoning before the Navy. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to eat raw chicken.
    (or any of the other horrific possibilities)

  59. Foxfier said:
    “Equally true is this:
    Those who have not vaccinated their children are emotionally vested in the argument that the people who choose to do so are wrong on several counts–2 of which are the following:
    1. I am a better parent (because I didn’t vaccinated my child) than those who do not vaccinate their children. Basically, moral superiority. Basically the idea is that if you let the government tell you what to do with your child, you are an inferior parent.”

    “2. Those whose children are not ‘normal’ or get hurt did something wrong. It’s their fault the children are autistic– so the non-vaccinated are safe, because they didn’t put their kids at risk.”

    Foxfier,

    I honestly do not know anyone on the conservative side who did not vacinate their child (including my dad with the small pox vaccine) who thought badly of anyone who did vaccinate their kids. They simply were taking care of their own business and letting those who did differently do the same. Basically, it is a live and let live mentality.

  60. Foxfier said:

    “That your family didn’t take pro-active steps against lockjaw is not an answer to the argument; my husband grew up eating rare pork and chicken, yet managed not to get food poisoning before the Navy. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to eat raw chicken.
    (or any of the other horrific possibilities)”

    You have picked out one part of my statement and completely separated it from the comments I was addressing. Do you know of any place on the Earth where they innoculated children “rabies, cholera, typhoid, polio, tuberculosis, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis …[and] tetanus”?

    There isn’t one. That was my “argument.”

  61. I do NOT believe vaccines had a thing to do with my daughter’s autism; I suspect it was probably more genetic than anything else, but who knows.

    Nobody does. That’s why it’s so scary, and why people want so desperately to feel safe, to find something to blame. And blame they do.
    My theory is that “autism” is more of a description than a specific disease, but like everybody else– I don’t know.
    ************
    Barbara-
    I don’t know anybody on the conservative side who thought vaccines caused autism, or passed on all vaccines. Lots on the left, though, and I said nothing about which direction the flack was from.
    You’ve now made three attacks against targets you created; that’s a strike out for reasonable conversation on a target. It’s definitely not a “live and let live” mindset.

  62. Foxfier said: “You’ve now made three attacks against targets you created; that’s a strike out for reasonable conversation on a target. It’s definitely not a ‘live and let live’ mindset.”

    Personal attacks do not add anything to the discussion nor do they answer the questions I have raised.

  63. Recently the world health organization was in Africa administering vaccinations. The fertile young women were given a “special” injection that may leave them sterile. Think about it. Do you want to trust government and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, or trust your own judgment? When the vaccine industry has independent oversight like the FAA, I will be relieved. Till then, know a lot has been covered up and the real truth is hard to find and a lot of money is at stake. You and your children deserve better than the program that is in place today. Be cautious!

  64. Barbara Gordon

    The 3-in-1 Td/IPV vaccine against diphtheria, polio and tetanus is a standard vaccine for children in the UK. The BCG vaccine is given as standard in the UK in areas with a high incidence of tuberculosis, mostly urban areas with a large Asian population.

    I was vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis for a childhood holiday to the Vosges and Ardennes regions of Belgium, where the condition is endemic.

    The rest are all recommended for travel outside Europe. I had all of them (as an adult) before a visit to Benin.

  65. Donald-
    Not actually bogus; contested, rather, and honestly it looks really bad:
    http://www.kccb.or.ke/home/news-2/pressstatement-tetanus/

    Short version: the government dragged its feet, never produced the vial they tested before, never produced the test results they did before, and eventually turned over ten vials to be tested.
    The Kenyan Catholic Bishops turned over the 9 vials they’d collected from during the vaccination campaign, including two that weren’t opened.
    One third of those from the vaccination campaign itself contained beta HCG.
    None of the ten from the government did.
    The government refused to take the test results, and when the Bishop’s rep threatened to resign the group, the government added 40 vials without talking to the commission supposedly in charge of the investigation.
    All the government’s submitted vaccine was clean.
    ****
    So either this is amazing bad luck with contamination, the bishops are lying, or there was someone trying to sterilize women in the Catholic served areas.

  66. PZ asked: “Does Shea do anything other than mindlessly ape how left-wingers interpret a comment, a comment they almost certainly didn’t bother reading in full context themselves?”
    ***
    The fact that he-who-should-be-ignored continues to, without regard for the truth, whether purposefully or recklessly, take things out of context and adopt the least charitable reading possible in instances involving those on the right, while bending over backwards to — except in those cases where there is just no possible way to excuse it –pooh-pooh criticism of actual left-wing malfeasance, is just another indication that he has become little more than a caricature of the left-wing Catholic shills who are more interested in throwing rhetorical bombs at those icky conservatives, and using the Faith as an excuse to do so, than they are anything else.
    ***
    I ask you, how is what he spouts in any way distinguishable from one of his frequent left-leaning commenters, Dan Conway (who seems to have a big chip on his shoulder where conservative Bishops and conservative Catholic bloggers are concerned)?

  67. I ask you, how is what he spouts in any way distinguishable from one of his frequent left-leaning commenters, Dan Conway (who seems to have a big chip on his shoulder where conservative Bishops and conservative Catholic bloggers are concerned)?

    Is that the last name of Dan C? Seems like once upon a time he wasn’t that bad, but his hatred of rightists has grown more cartoonish over time.

  68. “Is that the last name of Dan C? Seems like once upon a time he wasn’t that bad, but his hatred of rightists has grown more cartoonish over time.”
    ***
    I’m pretty sure that’s the same person. And your accurate description of him could just as easily be applied to he-who-should-be-ignored.

  69. MPS wrote:
    “The rest are all recommended for travel outside Europe. I had all of them (as an adult) before a visit to Benin.”

    My Point exactly–you were an adult with a full fledged immune system. Also, you didn’t reference cholera nor yellow fever in the shots actually received did you?

    I don’t have near as much of a problem with vaccines per se as I have with them being given to children in mass at such young ages.

    I also am one of those folks who get the flu from a flu shot–grant it–I have a VERY sensitive immune system. Wait–there was one year that I got the flu shot and did not get the flu. I didn’t bother getting a flu shot this year after I read that they were innoculating for the wrong flu virus this time–as well as the fact that 17 people died after having received this years flu shot.

  70. I was vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine administered on a sugar cube in 1st grade in Alaska. Thank goodness because I remember visiting a family who had been stationed in Japan. Their daughter a few years older than I was in an iron lung. Through the years I have met people who had polio as children and still had lingering after effects even in their 60s and 80s. My children definitely were vaccinated. My younger son had a cold at 2 weeks and 1st ear infection at 4 weeks. Probably he was exposed to it by his older brother. Because of repeated viruses, on the advice of the pediatrician his shots were delayed and always the polio and DPT shots were given separately. It makes sense not to give a live vaccine when immunity is compromised. My mother wore glasses all her life because her eyesight was dimished from the so called red measles. Mumps can cause sterility in males. These childhood diseases are dangerous. I recently had a shingles vaccine. I had seen the sufferings of my father, my husband and shipmates with it. I don’t have a flu shot the coverage isn’t there. In the service I was given yellow fever and cholera immunizations along with typhoid and tetnus with no problem. My unasked for advice is keep Vitamin D levels up; use common sense and keep informed with conversations with your doctor or pediatrician. It’s a dirty world and there is no Ellis Island anymore.

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