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Age of Autism and vaccination against meningococcus: What’s that again about not being “anti-vaccine”?

A couple of weeks ago I made what I thought to be a rather obvious observation, namely that the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism is anti-vaccine, not, as it claims, pro-safe vaccine. One bit of the copious evidence that belies the claim is the obsessive focus of that blog on Gardasil. Even if science hadn’t failed time and time again to find a link between vaccines and autism, even in the most fevered dreams of anti-vaccine zealots Gardasil couldn’t have anything to do with autism because it is usually administered when a girl is between 10-13, long past the age when autism is most commonly diagnosed.

So is the meningococcal vaccine.

So why, then, is Age of Autism going crazy about a proposed vaccine mandate for the meningococcal vaccine to be required before children enter seventh grade? See what they’re writing:

Urgent Calls & Faxes Needed Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 1st to
STOP new meningitis shot mandate for 7th graders in NY and to oppose Assembly Bill 10313 and Senate Bill 7156.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 1, 2010 you need to get in the car and come to Albany to stop an effort to sneak through yet another mandatory vaccine in New York, this time for the meningitis vaccine, for both seventh graders and college students. If you can’t make it to Albany get on the phone, fax, and click on the Take Action link above to send your legislators an email and tell your legislators to fix state government and fix the $9 billion+ deficit and pass decent autism health insurance reform rather than interfere with your families’ health decisions.

No other state, or country requires, adolescents to get this shot. Only two states, New Jersey and Connecticut require it for college students, and that’s only for students who live in dormitories.

Other anti-vaccine groups are joining the bandwagon.

Once again, what was that about Age of Autism not being “anti-vaccine”? If it’s not anti-vaccine, why the obssessive focus on Gardasil and now the rabid reaction to a meningococcal vaccine mandate for seventh graders?

It’s because when Age of Autism bloggers proclaim that they’re “not anti-vaccine,” they’re either lying or fooling themselves.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

289 replies on “Age of Autism and vaccination against meningococcus: What’s that again about not being “anti-vaccine”?”

Wow, I just did a quick Wiki search on meningococcal, which redirects to Neisseria meningitidis, and they’re protesting a meningococcal vaccine for 7th graders and college students? Seriously? Do they even both to look up the diseases the vaccines are fighting?
Meningococcus kills what, 10% of cases? ARG, these people!!!

I will never ever take any sort of medical advice from them, not unless I get a second opinion by people with an actual medical doctorate.

Corina Becker
autistic adult

It’s pretty telling that they feel the need to pretend they’re pro-vaccine. They KNOW vaccines are important. They KNOW vaccines save lives. They KNOW that reasonable people are uniformly in favor of vaccines.

And yet they’re so far down the path of delusion, they just can’t turn back.

I’m sure the discussion will revolve around how many people die of bacterial meningitis ignoring some of the rather unfortunate and gruesome permanent sequalae, including blindness, deafness, neurological impairment, and my favorite, amputation due to meningococcal septicemia. Timmy may be deaf, blind, and limbless, but oh happy day, he’s alive!

Once again, serious side effects of the vaccine are about 1/1,000,000.

Well, herd immunity will tend to protect the unvaccinated, unless (of course) large numbers of unvaccinated children come into contact more than one would statistically expect from rand chance.

Where might such a thing happen? The creche at AoA/antivaxx rallies. Obviously.

Should there be a major outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease, it will be interesting if the vectors all lead back to one of these get-togethers.

Maybe I’m not the only one this has occured to. Maybe that’s why the rally in chicago only got 200 people attending.

My, they’re a helpful lot over there at anti-vaxx rent-a-crowd central aren’t they.

Handouts will be provided and we will help you find your legislators……
PLEASE RAISE THESE POINTS!

and exasperated says

Here is the link for the proposed bill. This article should have included that.
At the link, there is a “comments” space at the bottom. Leave comments there.
THE PROPOSED BILL IS HERE:
http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/html/bill/S7156

Translation:
No personal intelletual, or objective, effort required.
We’ll tell you what to think, what to do, where to go, and what to say.

They have to object to all vaccines, even if there is no possibility of any connection with autism, because if any on vaccine is considered safe, it throws all the rest of their objections into question. They simply cannot allow the thought of safe vaccines to come up.

AOA is a business, pure and simple. It’s committed to deceieving parents into believing vaccines cause autism then selling them thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of over-hyped, under-proven supplements and dubious regimes. Their point is encapsulated neatly in this comment which was posted in response to Kent Heckenlively’s rambling and nonsensical comparison of Autism One with the TV series ‘Lost’.

A mother says:

“I so wished I could have been a part of Autism One last week, to meet and be inspired by the leaders of our Rebellion, however, funding and lack of vacation time kept me at my post. We did celebrate a victory two weeks ago against the Empire. My nephew, Alexander, was not given the Hep B vaccine at birth and will not be vaccinated any time in the near future. Three cheers for saving a child from autism!”

It saddens me, but there you have it. AOA’s followers are completely brainwashed and it’s going to take some enormous miracle to undo the damage!

“Save a child from Autism – kill them with Pertussis!!!”

How long before some of the whackos start intentionally spreading diseases to children to prevent them from getting the vaccines? You might see measles parties for babies – or worse, trying to sneak infected children into hospitals or pediatrician offices at peak times.

And I just read an Article in SkyNews that we may be on the verge of a Breast Cancer vaccine – if that is true, I wonder how AoA will deal with that?

Wackos.

Friend of mine from Oklahoma, a very beautiful young woman, died of bacterial meningitis.

Go vaccines!

As the mother of a bacterial meningitis victim, all I can say is: “Arghhh!”

I don’t know whether it’s true that the vaccine is only required in NJ and CT. Both of my children, as college students in VA, had to either get the vaccine or give a medical exemption. I don’t recall there was an option for philosophical exemption (although I could be wrong). Personally, I was VERY happy they were protected from meningitis, especially when it swept through some colleges a few years ago.

Autism or no, there is a legitimate debate on whether the Gardasil vaccine should be mandatory. HPV is really not a killer. It may lead to cancer down the line, but the risk is much lower than for other transmissible diseases. Getting the vaccine may be a good idea, but making it mandatory is pushing the line a bit far.

I will petition against this bill simply because it makes the vaccine mandatory. Im not against this vaccine, just against the government forcing citizens to inject anything into their body.

This has little to do with safety and what a wonderful (sarcasm) job the CDC does at protecting us, even though they lie and put children in Washington, DC in extreme danger.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/19/AR2010051902599.html

Is someone trying to make Gardisil mandatory? I hadn’t heard anything about that…except from paranoid anti-vaccer’s of course..

Vaccines for stuff like Chicken Pox and HPV are totally unnecessary, it is just pharma companies working with government to take away our rights to decide about our own bodies and our children’s needs. Don’t believe the hype.

“It may lead to cancer down the line but the risk is much lower than for other transmissible diseases…”

That sentence doesn’t even make sense – what other transmissible (?) diseases cause cervical cancer? And you also need to weigh up the risks of the disease itself – which are grave: death, infertility, distress, trauma, mental health issues – and in a population (younger women) that generally don’t get affected by cancer.

And what exactly are the quantifiable and proven risks of the vaccine?

TWAT.

Love,
The daughter of cervical and breast cancer survivor

Where do they get that “two states for college students” nonsense?

Certainly the University of Arizona and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NM Tech) won’t admit freshmen who can’t show proof of vaccination.

@15 am

And what, exactly, are your qualifications? You seem pretty quick to make assertions without any justification or citations. If you’ve got anything more than histrionic chicken-little-ing to share with us, feel free. Otherwise maybe you should educate yourself (and no, that doesn’t mean reading opinion pieces on AoA, I’m talking about actual scientific data and research) and come back when you have something meaningful to add.

It has been my experience that many people who are anti-vaccine are quick to point at death as the final outcome of a disease. Since people are not dying en mass from a vaccine-preventable disease, they don’t see any need for vaccinations. They also point to people who contract a vaccine-preventable disease while vaccinated as an example of vaccines not working. They fail to understand that vaccine-preventable is a Public Health term, not necessarily applicable to an individual.
When reasonable people try to point out to them that there are psychological, social, and economic impacts to vaccine-preventable diseases (because we’ve gotten so good at keeping someone with a disease alive longer), anti-vaccine people plug their ears and chant.

To quote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
“Shredder, you gotta listen to reason! You’re going to destroy us all!”
Shredder responds by ominously saying, “Then so be it.”

Another anti-vax screed being circulated around the net,”Will Merck’s Gardasil HPV Vaccine be its Next Vioxx?”, compares the “dangerous” vaccine to the much “safer” problems with Toyota gas pedals.Authored by Richard Gale and Gary Null(The Progressive Radio Network;5/25/10),the article is the newest installment in their series of “white papers”/”investigative reports” about vaccines posted in the past year.

Gardasil is a piece of shit and Merck’s Rotateq is a piece of shit.(same as the other pig infested rota vaccine). Why would you inject a piece of shit into a perfectly healthy kid? Paul Offit should be ashamed.

I totally agree jen. Also, why would you wear a seat belt while driving a perfectly intact car that hasn’t even been in an accident?

@ jen:

Facts and evidence please, not meaningless and unsupported accusations.

Dang, I didn’t even know there was a meningitis vaccine. Is it relatively new because I don’t think I got it as a kid. That would have been badass, Meningitis is awful.

Speaking as someone who had a very tense few months because of a couple of irregular pap smears thanks to a HPV infection, I wish I could have gotten vaccinated against HPV when I was a kid. Having to have multiple pap smears in the same six months is not exactly a day at the beach, either.

What I don’t understand is why they’re currently only vaccinating girls, and why Gardasil doesn’t seem to have been tested on men at all. Those HPV infections in women come from somewhere, usually from men. Men get HPV infections too, which can cause penile and anal cancers, but unless a man’s actually got visible genital warts, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s an HPV carrier or not. I realise that the majority of the HPV-caused cancers occur in women, which is why Gardasil has been focused on them, but women are generally not transmitting HPV between themselves. (Sociologically speaking from a feminist perspective, the focus on only preventing HPV in women looks an awful lot like a manifestation of the cultural belief that women are the “gatekeepers” of sex, and are therefore responsible for any and all forms of related prophylaxis.)

I had meningitis when I was four. I nearly died, though it was probably not bacterial. (Due to a couple of path lab screwups, the actual pathogen was never identified. Disease etiology more closely resembled a viral meningitis, however.) I was lucky to escape with no long-term sequelae, apart from having to be potty trained all over again. But it was two weeks in the hospital, followed by a long recovery. And those two weeks were . . . strange. The first few days were very confusing, as I had a high fever that would not come down much. (107F when I was admitted.) Because HiB and meningococcal disease could not be ruled out (thanks to the path lab screwup), I was placed into isolation. Terrible thing for a four-year-old, but I wasn’t really very responsive anyway. By the time my fever broke, they were able to move me into a private room. That may have been worse, because when I was in isolation, I could at least make friends with the girl in the next bed. We were separated by glass, of course, but at least it was another child. I do fondly remember the playroom, and the cart they used to wheel me down. It had a built-in IV stand for my drip. By the end, when I was starting to recover, I was able to stand on the feet of the IV stand while someone pushed that, which was very exciting for a little girl.

I was very lucky indeed that all I needed was intensive hospital care for a couple of weeks, and came out mostly with interesting stories to tell. I’m luckier still that it happened before I started school; I would’ve been out of school for a whole month, most likely, including my convalescence.

Damn straight my kids got the HiB vaccine, and damn straight they’ll get the meningococcal vaccine when the time comes. It’s a scary, scary disease. Comes on like lightning, too. I went from “I have a headache; can I have some water?” to delirious and projectile vomiting in about half an hour. Within an hour of first onset, I was admitted to the hospital. Pissed off a family waiting to get their kid’s broken arm set, but meningitis patients get priority, because of the risk of brain injury.

Yes, brain injury. AoA is opposing a vaccine that will prevent some cases of brain injury. That’s nothing new, though, since measles can also cause meningitis and encephalitis, and they’ve got a long history of opposing that vaccine.

@Realinterrobang
It’s in the works for MSM, while men between 9 and 26 are already approved to take the vaccine. It just doesn’t make the news like you think it should… We are, after all, the vectors of HPV.

LINK

realinterrobang: HPV vaccines are being rolled out for males as well. Mostly, it comes up against the FDA approval process (you have to approve things for specific indications) and the ethics of vaccines. All the talk about herd immunity tends to confuse people, because vaccines are never approved on the basis of helping the herd. They have to benefit the individual. Gardasil is approved for the prevention of cervical cancer that is caused by one of three HPV strains. Men don’t get cervical cancer; thus, it is not approved for use in men. Merck is, however, going through the approval process to get it approved for prevention of penile cancer, and then we will start to see more men vaccinated.

Fact is, you can’t vaccinate a population to purely protect another population; it’s considered unethical. The vaccinated population has to benefit too. That’s why they’re working to get it approved for the prevention of penile cancer, because then there would be an approved indication for males.

@Calle Arcale:

Me too, only I was two at the time and it was known that HiB caused my meningitis. I think my father, if he were still alive, would throttle some of these folks who have clearly never dealt with these sorts of diseases for suggesting they are unnecessary.

Yes, brain injury. AoA is opposing a vaccine that will prevent some cases of brain injury. That’s nothing new, though, since measles can also cause meningitis and encephalitis, and they’ve got a long history of opposing that vaccine.

The most ironic, though, is their opposition to the rubella vaccine.

I stand corrected — it’s already approved for men! Cool! Thanks, Rene!

wow, just, wow. I remember back in 90-92 a few students at UIUC died, and they gave everyone on campus the vaccine. No one protested that I remember; we were more concerned with living, and even then living without horrible side effects of the disease.

Given how many people die from this every year, in addition to having horrible complications, how could anyone be against it? You’d think by now we’d be giving this vaccine out to everyone.

Chriskid nailed it, Jen & Co just can’t have any vaccine be beneficial and needed. Both the HPV and meningitis vaccines treat so far unconquered, relevant to today’s society diseases, and worse, they do it at an age where the patient understands the importance of it. This might lead them to a less biased view on vaccines when the decision on vaccinating their children 5 – 10 years down the road comes up. It’s easy to argue against stuff like polio and measles, things no one has seen epidemic in 30 years to half a century; stuff that can hit you in a college dorm might get you pro-vaccine just at the age they are trying to hook you on their philosophy.

This might get me in trouble, but I do have a fair bit of respect for the “health freedom” argument the anti-vaxxers make. In general, the Federal government should not be able to tell you what to do with your body unless there is a very clear and immediate danger to some other person. And “you might potentially give a disease to someone else” doesn’t cut it for me; there are lots of things that I can do that could potentially hurt another person, but we don’t have prior restraint on them. Freedom for you also means freedom for other people, and they might occasionally misuse that freedom.

However, I drop those qualms about “health freedom” when we are dealing with individual states. If New York state wants to decide that seventh graders must get meningococcus vaccines, more power to them. Moving between states isn’t trivial, but if this policy is that offensive to you, you can move to another state that doesn’t have such a policy.

The smaller the government unit, the more control over community decisions I’m comfortable with. Individual school systems ought to be able to be very aggressive in requiring vaccine compliance.

Freedom for you also means freedom for other people, and they might occasionally misuse that freedom.

Define “misuse”? If they misuse that freedom to put others in society at risk, then the government certainly does have a right to intervene.

You mis-understand the purpose of “mandatory” vaccination. It is not about them. It’s about everyone else. It is about the risk that they present to others by not being vaccinated.

Everyone will agree that people can choose to have their kids unvaccinated provided 1) they do not send them to public schools, 2) they do not use public facilities, and shoot, 3) they completely keep them away from the public without prominently displaying a caution sign that says, “I am unvaccinated.”

If they are willing to agree to these stipulations, then they can be as unvaccinated as they want.

However, if you expect to interact with society at all, then you have a responsibility to the members of society that you participate to benefit everyone. Morons like Sid Offit and Jay Gordon are perfectly willing – nay, REQUIRE that everyone ELSE participate in an activity that they deem to be dangerous, because everyone else doing it means they can get a way without having to. The government says, no, you can’t do that. If we are going to do this, we are going to ALL do it, and you are not going to sponge off the sacrifices of others.

With the rights of society come responsibilities. If you aren’t willing to live up to your responsibilities, then you do not have the right to participate.

Is someone trying to make Gardisil mandatory? I hadn’t heard anything about that…except from paranoid anti-vaccer’s of course..”

Every vaccine’s dream is to become mandated by the government. Even before it is conceived it wants to be mandated. It’s mommy and daddy also have high hopes and inspirations for it. It’s like a son who makes it to the big leagues or the NFL. Mandatory vaccine is the ultimate dream status. It doesn’t happen by accident.

“Why would you inject a piece of shit into a perfectly healthy kid?”

That wouldn’t be us, it would be people like Emily McDonald, the sMothering mother who put shit into her daughter’s IV line in the hospital. Does anyone know off the top of their head if she was anti-vacc? Since she was quite a regular on MDC, the probability is pretty likely, but I can’t remember for sure…

most of the comments have addressed points I wanted to make especially chriskid, but I want to point out something important to this discussions.

Vaccine SAFETY and EFFECTIVENESS is a matter of science.
The Age of Autism and others argue that vaccines are neither, when the science clearly proves otherwise.

The politics of mandatory vaccinations however, are an entirely philosophical debate and a matter of personal opinion. The science can inform the politics but the arguments are different and one should not get swept up into anti vaccine rhetoric when the argument one is trying to make is a small government rhetoric.

1 to 2 years before I started high school, there was an outbreak of meningitis (can’t remember which type) which killed 2 students at the school I was to attend.

I was quite happy to get the vaccine that spring.

And “you might potentially give a disease to someone else” doesn’t cut it for me; there are lots of things that I can do that could potentially hurt another person, but we don’t have prior restraint on them.

Of course we do. Try digging a two-holer in your suburban back yard instead of using a septic or sewage system mandated by building code… and many cities instituted laws against spitting on the sidewalk as a means to control the spread of tuberculosis. Oh, yeah, and then there are health codes constraining how we store and prepare food…

My freedom to put myself at risk does not extend to putting you at risk, to oversimplify.

— Steve

When I read their action alert I was struck by one thing–

any actual discussion of vaccine safety. Nothing stating “this vaccine is unsafe”. The only rationale for fighting this is the fact that it is a vaccine.

There are true vaccine safety advocates in this world. AgeOfAutism and their cohorts are not amongst them.

@ Dan:

The other big problem I have with the “health freedom” angle is that we’re not, for the most part, talking about individuals choosing whether or not to get vaccinated themselves. It’s mostly about whether parents will vaccinate their children. Yes, there’s properly quite a bit of deference to parental choice in general, but still far less than to an adult’s decisions for themselves.

So we’re not talking about freedom to decide what happens with one’s own body. We’re talking about the freedom to decide whether one’s children are left vulnerable to disease. That’s a very different, and harder, question.

@9 Lawrence

we may be on the verge of a Breast Cancer vaccine – if that is true, I wonder how AoA will deal with that?

I was wondering the exact same thing. My bet is on something like..
“Now evil Big Pharma and Big Gubmint is trying to stop us from breastfeeding”

Utterly stupid…but hey it fits with that anti-vaxx tunnel vision mindset.

Define “misuse”? If they misuse that freedom to put others in society at risk, then the government certainly does have a right to intervene.

I can own a gun. That puts my neighbor “at risk,” because I could shoot him with it. Merely putting someone “at risk” is a very low bar for taking away freedom.

Freedom can be messy at times. We deal with people misusing their freedoms (say, me shooting my neighbor) by punishing them after the fact. Now, this can be difficult with diseases, both because we can’t always figure out the source, and because we don’t want people to hide their disease status should they become ill. This doesn’t mean that I glibly dance into the “it’s okay for the Federal government to require vaccines” camp, though. Mostly because there are other ways of dealing with those problems.

I can list a whole lot of ways we would be safer but they would involve curbing liberties.

Try digging a two-holer in your suburban back yard instead of using a septic or sewage system mandated by building code

Given that building codes are often local, I don’t have much problem with that. If the local building code is that offensive, I can move.

To repeat, I’m perfectly fine with states requiring vaccines for children. This New York bill is fine, and I wish/hope my state has the same.

Freedom does matter. And I realize that the anti-vaccine idiots say this, but that doesn’t make it wrong. That’s genetic fallacy.

…tell your legislators to fix state government and fix the $9 billion+ deficit and pass decent autism health insurance reform rather than interfere with your families’ health decisions.

These people aren’t anti-vaccine; they’re anti-spending, anti-gummint, and anti-collective-solutions-to-any-problem. They may not be the same crowd as the teatards, but the above quote shows they have exactly the same mindset and the same priorities.

Oh, and Weber…are you fucking kidding me? You make the standard paleo-libertardian argument against gummint interference in personal choices, and then say it’s perfectly okay for local govermments to get as totalitarian as they want?

I can own a gun. That puts my neighbor “at risk,” because I could shoot him with it. Merely putting someone “at risk” is a very low bar for taking away freedom.

You can own a gun. You can’t bring a gun into a public school.

You child can be unvaccinated. You can’t send your unvaccinated child into a public school.

Bad example, dude.

And “you might potentially give a disease to someone else” doesn’t cut it for me; there are lots of things that I can do that could potentially hurt another person, but we don’t have prior restraint on them.

Really? So you can fire off mortar shells in your backyard, pilot a tank on the public roads, dispose of garbage and waste any way you please, drive at any speed you desire, etc., in this strange country where you live?

Might want to think harder prior to your next comment.

Two additional examples relevant to the present public health-oriented discussion: (1) In the mid-20th century, facilities at which children might gather, such as pools, were closed to try to stem the spread of polio. (2) The local, state, and federal governments have the power to quarantine you to try to halt the spread of communicable disease.

Last comment, a bit technical:

In the USA, “prior restraint” is a term used in cases involving free speech. In such cases, prior restraint means stopping the publication of material to which the government objects, so the “speech” is restrained prior to being given. This is in contrast to cases that concern the enforceability, as against the right of free speech, of legal penalties against objectionable speech that has already taken place (e.g., the enforceability of fines for a striptease act that was “banned in Boston”). The government must make a greater showing to support a prior restraint than to support enforceability of penalties for speech that has already taken place.

In vaccination cases, the right of free speech and hence the concept of prior restraint would not be relevant. In fact, I imagine the courts would quite sensibly favor enforced preventive measures prior to the spread of a disease over penalizing those responsible only after others have sickened and died.

Don’t forget, we’re talking about a school entry requirement. It makes good public health since to require most vaccines for school entry, because if there is a significant amount of unvaccinated kids in that close proximitiy to each other for days on end, you are setting up for an outbreak.

The meningococcus vaccine, in this regard, should absolutely be required for junior high, as deadly outbreaks have occurred in schools around the world. I would favor requiring influenza vaccination for that same reason, allowing for medical exemptions.

More nuanced is the argument whether to require vaccines for school entry that are not generally going to be transmitted at school or during school events, such as hepatitis B, tetanus, and HPV (which of course is not currently required).

I find it harder to justify those requirements in discussions, except to appeal to the fact that without requiring it for school entry, it is likely that we would not be able to achieve enough uptake for herd immunity. But even I hesitate over whether that is a solid argument to require those vaccines.

At this point other than complete cultish brainwashing, or simply hatred/indifference to the rest of the human race (or both) I cannot deduce a reason why anyone would have a negative reaction to something as wonderful as an HPV, chickenpox, or meningitis vaccine.

The less diseases anyone has to suffer – the happier! Geesh! So obvious.

Jeepers, my stepmother’s sister died in childhood because of the meningitis sweeping Brazil at the time. Headache one day, doctors said the equivalent of ‘take two aspirin’, the next day she fell over dead while riding a bicycle.

Heck, that’s why I volunteered to be a guinea pig for the vaccine. Felt no side effects to speak of. I rarely do with vaccines.

Meningitis is *NOT* an “inconvenient” disease.

fix the $9 billion+ deficit

That statement makes me curious as to whether there are any estimates on how much pressure/added costs,if any, the anti-vaxx activities might add to the cost of…say health insurance and maybe health services in general? Treatment of vaccine-preventable diseases surely incurs much greater expense then vaccination.

Really? So you can fire off mortar shells in your backyard, pilot a tank on the public roads, dispose of garbage and waste any way you please, drive at any speed you desire, etc., in this strange country where you live?

No, because I’m not a total idiot who lives in a world of total black-and-white, where you are either completely for something or completely against something. That would be like Age Of Autism. That would be a frightening place to have a conversation, wouldn’t it?

Try this. Just because something could potentially put someone at risk is not sufficient reason by itself for banning it.

I really enjoyed the piece posted on AoA today from Barbara Loe Fisher (what a piece of work). Ohhhh, the outrage! Two orally-administered rotavirus vaccines have < > porcine viral DNA! Oh my god, the terror! Pig virus DNA. As if eating a pork chop wouldn’t do the same thing, and we know how those pork chop viruses are killing children left and right.

My guess is that most of those geniuses at AoA probably think that “it is injected DIRECTLY into the bloodstream” (I hear that all the time). Sorry folks…it’s an oral vaccine. If you can tell me why I should go to bat-shit mode because of these DNA chunks vs. all the other viruses I eat on a daily basis in…well, just about anything that is a natural food source…then I might give a krap. Until then < >

I understand what you are saying, Dan, with guns you are talking about danger to your neighbor from an intentional act or severe negligence (leaving it out in your yard or something). Most vaccine-preventable diseases are can be spread completely unintentionally and unknowingly, hence the importance of school entry requirements.

Whoops, that should read “I understand what you are saying Dan, but with guns you are talking about…”

The gun analogy is interesting, especially considering my comments above about how you can be not vaccinated but in that case don’t go to public school and when you go out in public, to wear a sign that says “I’m not vaccinated.” With guns, we have laws against bring them to schools, and in places, concealed weapons laws, which basically means you have to make sure everyone can see you are carrying a gun (unless you have special permission).

I like the analogy.

BTW, Dan, the vaccine “mandates” ARE done at the state level, not federal.

Thanks for the understanding, Orange Lantern. As I said in @45, we can’t always track down who gave someone measles, nor do we necessarily want such a regime, and so I’m a bit more willing to be pro-active versus re-active.

Even with all my sympathies thus expressed, I’m still fine with a public (or private, FWIW) school demanding a certain threshold of its students have vaccinations against whatever diseases it deems appropriate. Said another way, even though I might be the kind of person most willing to listen to them on freedom grounds, I cannot find anything wrong with this legislation.

@Sauceress

Over at antiantivax.flurf.net, I have a link to a study on the 2006 measles outbreak in Germany that examined the costs associated with the outbreak. There was also a recent study looking at the costs of an outbreak in California, where money spent to treat patients could have vaccinated something like 180,000 individuals, IIRC.

Just because something could potentially put someone at risk is not sufficient reason by itself for banning it.

No, but it is sufficient reason for elected officials to have an honest discussion of whether this or that particular government action might reduce the risk without undue burden.

I too share Dan Weber’s position (despite the “libertard” name-calling. I think if you looked at what libertarianism actually represents, you’d find yourself agreeing. I like reading this blog for a well-reasoned explanation and defense of libertarian principles). Liberty and self-determination should be the default state, and infringement of individual liberty should only be done when there is sufficient justification.

Prevention of harm to others is reasonable justification, provided there is demonstrable risk. If you can’t reasonably show where the risk is, there is no justification to infringe. For example, while it would be better for everyone if we stopped eating hamburgers, it is not reasonable to ban them because my eating a hamburger doesn’t put anyone else at risk. What does put others at risk is if I make hamburgers with trans fats in them, and that harm is demonstrable, so it’s reasonable to restrict my freedom to put harmful substances in the food I produce.

Dan, is this somewhat close to your position?

The opposite view, I suppose, is that liberty should be preserved regardless of the consequences, since it is a “fundamental right”. There are survivalists who live by this mantra, but it’s misguided. Any time you have to exist with another person, you have to compromise your personal freedoms to accomplish collective benefit.

October 5, 2006
Number 14
NEJM

Invasive meningococcal disease is uncommon in the United States.
Approximately 2500 cases (0.5 to 1.1 per 100,000 population) occur annually.
——————————–
Another mandatory vaccine against a disease affecting few. The public health miracles continue.

Todd W.

I have a link to a study on the 2006 measles outbreak in Germany that examined the costs associated with the outbreak.

Thanks, I’ve saved the link from your site and I’ll be very interested to check that out. Right aftaer I take care of this little bout of work avoidance I’m experiencing.

There was also a recent study looking at the costs of an outbreak in California, where money spent to treat patients could have vaccinated something like 180,000 individuals, IIRC.

Indeed. There was an article in the LA Times yesterday. I actually linked to that one on another thread.

A friend of a friend of mine died of meningitis. He was young, about twenty. It sounded pretty awful and it seems like for certain people (college students, people sharing an apartment with a bunch of folks) this would be a really worthwhile vaccine.

Before about 2 years ago, I was not feeling too much love for the meningococcal vaccine. Why? No reason that made any sense. Just kind of thought, really, another vaccine for something I had seen maybe one case of and that was in an adult? If a school required it, then I was happy to give it, but I also wasn’t keeping my eye on it like I do for the other immunizations.

Then I spent two weeks taking care of a 6 month-old girl in the hospital who was getting towards the end of her 6-8 weeks stay there because she had meningococcal septicemia. She was in the PICU initially where on at least one occasion they had perform CPR to bring her back to life. She had to have multiple skin grafts done and clearly was delayed on her gross motor development because she had spent so much time in the crib. There were also some other developmental delays as well, again attributed to her being in the hospital and in a crib for so long. We were also weaning her off her methadone and benzodiazepines, medications she was placed on to manage her pain and anxiety. Ever since that experience, I’m feeling a lot more love for the vaccine. My little one is going to get it when recommended and I’m doing a lot better in making sure I give it in clinic as well.

My understanding (and I have no citation to back this up… just something I heard along the way somewhere) was that Merck put in HPV 6 and 8 along with 16 and 18 (I think that’s right) because 6 and 8 cause a lot of genital warts with the specific thought to pursue indication for Gardisil for males after Merck secured indication for females. My little one is going to get Gardisil. This is one of the hazards of having a family physician as a mother. Gardisil is also not required for school. It is recommended by the ACIP and CDC. My state’s immunization alert system brings it up as something to give, but it is not mandatory. Then again, when did AOA let facts get in the way of their story?

Oh, and what Rogue Medic said at #6. With all-caps and bolding too.

@Sid Offit

Another mandatory vaccine against a disease affecting few. The public health miracles continue.

Yeah. Something that can help cut down/eliminate a somewhat rare disease. Heaven forbid! Who gives a crap about such a minority of people? I mean, it’s not like they matter, or that the costs for treating them is more expensive than vaccinating, or that those costs in time and money could be used to treat people with other injuries/illnesses/conditions that might not be able to find space at hospitals because a bed is taken up by a meningitis patient. Who cares?

“Approximately 2500 cases (0.5 to 1.1 per 100,000 population) occur annually. ”

Annually. As in year, after year, after year.

Then, why go bat-shit over domestic terrorist attacks? They’ve only killed a 10th as many people in the last decade.

“Another mandatory vaccine against a disease affecting few.”

What is the percentage of cases in the age ranges in this discussion sid? Oh, how those little details make all the difference.

I am in general okay with the current set of laws about vaccines and compliance. But some of the justifications that people have for these laws is just frightening and leads to a dangerous place.

I can understand how we got here, because the AoA people make simplistic appeals to emotion (“don’t give mah baby teh autism!”) and it’s natural that we would respond in kind (“don’t have yer baby give mah baby teh measles!”).

“Won’t somebody please think about the children!?” is never a good way to start a debate, as fans of Maude Flanders know. Parents make all kinds of health decisions for their children every day, including giving them meat, letting them watch television, eat non-organic food, or play competitive sports. These all have potential health effects, even if we aren’t sure whether they are positive or negative. But once we start dealing with potential risks it will become all too easy for the busy-bodies to declare these things either forbidden or required for parents.

Ian, I think there are justifications for infringing on liberty for public health. This doesn’t mean that all infringements are proper or justified. I’m also more willing to let smaller entities have larger leeway in their policies. For example, if New York City thinks that banning transfats from its restaurants is in its interests, I’m okay with that. And any customers who really want their transfat in their burgers can travel outside the city, or have food delivered in to their homes. (I would object to the law if it forbade the first workaround. The second I could debate.)

TLDR: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Pablo, do you have to wear a sign saying you’re an idiot when you go out in public?

@Dan Weber

I’m not sure what the general rule to be abstracted from your example is. What if New York State banned trans fats? What about the entire eastern seabord working together? You could still go to another state if you wanted. What if it was the whole U.S.A. (some countries are moving to ban trans fats)? You could move to another country. There’s always the option to do something unless the whole world gets together and says ‘no’.

I’m not saying I necessarily disagree, I’m just unclear on the general rule. My general rule is that if you can reasonably demonstrate harm, then infringement is justified, and I think we agree with each other there. I’m just not sure what the rule underlying your ‘smaller entities’ policy is.

@T Bruce

because of the vaccine, you nitwit.

Really?

http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic1444.htm
During the last 6 decades, the occurrence of meningococcal disease has been mostly sporadic, and a widespread outbreak has not occurred. The prevalence has been approximately 1-2 cases per 100,000 population

Sid did you get passed that paragraph?

“Limited outbreaks of meningococcal disease have occurred in some populations. Public health officials arbitrarily define an outbreak of meningococcal disease as the occurrence of 3 or more cases during a 3-month period, with a primary attack rate of at least 10 cases per 100,000 population, which is approximately 10 times greater than normal. Outbreaks may be restricted to a closed population or may involve a larger community. In a Los Angeles County outbreak of meningococcal disease, nearly one half of community residents with the disease had had contact with persons who had been incarcerated.1

Recently, the incidence of meningococcal disease in adolescents and college-aged young adults appears to have increased. College students living in dormitories seemed to be the population at an increased risk (see Deterrence/Prevention)”

HEY LOOK AT THAT THE INCIDENCE RATE IS INCREASING IN THOSE FOR WHOM VACCINATION IS BEING DIRECTED AT. THE MIND BOGGLES.

Yeah, after reviewing the site you posted, sid, I can totally see why you’d be against this vaccine like all the others you are against too.

Well, at least your link explains your apathy.

One population-based study in the United States found that the incidence of meningococcal disease was significantly higher among African Americans (1.5 cases per 100,000 population) than among Anglo Americans (1.1 cases per 100,000 population). The relative risk (RR) was 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-1.8).

A 1995 study in the United States found that the incidence of meningococcal disease among infants aged 1-23 months was 11.1 cases per 100,000 population. The age-specific rate was 1.5 per 100,000 population among individuals aged 2-29 year, 0.6 among individuals aged 30-50 years, and 1.3 among individuals aged 60 years and older.

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