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No, no, no! Fifteen times, no!

A couple of weeks ago, I noted a new trend among the antivaccine glitterati, or maybe I should refer to it as a new trope. That particular trope is to refer to anyone who has the temerity to stand up for science, support vaccines, and criticize antivaccinationists like the crew at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism or the moms full of the arrogance of ignorance over at The (Not-So) Thinking Moms’ Revolution as “bullies.” Part and parcel of this trope is to try to portray aggressively countering the antivaccine misinformation that flows from such sources in a seemingly unending stream as the brutal bullying of unfortunate mothers of the victims of “vaccine injury” who are only trying to bring The Truth About Vaccines to the world and, in their view, prevent other mothers from making their children autistic by—gasp!—actually vaccinating them according to the CDC-recommended schedule.

Well, they’re at it again.

I had meant to get around to this post, but news about Stanislaw Burzynski (about whom there very likely will very soon be more blogging soon, given that his response appears to be hitting the interwebs) and the irresistible target that is Deepak Chopra distracted me as much as a squirrel distracts Dug the Dog. No problem. There was plenty of time, and I’m back to it now. After all, a juicy target like Laura Hayes’ epic piece of arrogant ignorance on AoA entitled Dear Emily Willingham, Dorit Reiss, Christopher Hickie and other Vaccine Bullies is just too tasty a morsel to resist.

First off, I must confess to a bit of disappointment. What do I mean? Well, it’s hard not to be disappointed that I wasn’t included in the list of “vaccine bullies.” Come on, Ms. Hayes! Who’s the biggest, baddest, most obnoxious “vaccine bully” of all? With all due respect and admiration Emily Willingham, Dorit Reiss, and Christopher Hickle, who are obviously thorns enough in the side of AoA that they have their very own attack post directed at them, thus earning my respect, I can’t help but point out that they are nowhere near as—shall we say?—Insolent as this particular “vaccine bully.” In fact, I should have a T-shirt made that says “Vaccine Bully,” or maybe I’ll contact Surly Amy and ask her to make a “Vaccine Bully” Surly, as a companion piece to the “Vaccine Gestapo” Surly that I still occasionally wear, especially to skeptics events.

But on to the fun. Basically, Ms. Hayes asks this question:

Do you believe anyone has the right to be exempt from vaccines? Does the Constitution protect the individual’s right to refuse a vaccine?

What about under these circumstances?

She then lists 15 different circumstances. I was half tempted to simply respond with no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no and leave it at that. Then I thought that perhaps I could simply say that it doesn’t matter if you “believe” in a Constitutional right to refuse vaccines, because adults already have the right to refuse vaccines, as they have the right to refuse pretty much any medical intervention. It’s children we’re talking about here, though, not adults. So the question is actually whether parents have the right to refuse vaccines for their children, and the answer to that question is already known. The Supreme Court gave the only opinion that matters, and that’s that philosophical and religious exemptions from vaccination for children are not required.

This is, however, Orac we’re talking about. I don’t roll that way.

Ms. Hayes then starts listing conditions:

  1. If one child in a family experienced one or more adverse reactions to one or more vaccines, would you be okay with that parent exempting that child and his/her siblings from any future vaccines?
  2. If a parent had one or more adverse reactions to one or more vaccines, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?
  3. If a parent witnessed a close relative (e.g. nephew, niece, first cousin, etc.) have one or more adverse reactions to one or more vaccines, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?
  4. If a parent has had a child die from a vaccine(s), would you be okay with that parent exempting their remaining and/or future children from vaccines?
  5. If a parent witnessed a friend’s or neighbor’s child having one or more adverse reactions to one or more vaccines, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

All of this, of course, is irrelevant to whether a child is likely to suffer another “adverse reaction.” In particular, it’s irrelevant if a friend’s or neighbor’s child has a reaction, it has no bearing on whether a parent’s child will have a reaction. While it’s understandable why a parent might be frightened if she saw (or, more commonly, was told about) an adverse reaction to vaccination, it has no bearing on whether there is a “right” to refuse vaccines. It would likely call for more understanding and reassurance, but if that fails, neither the child nor the children with whom that child will come into contact, should be endangered because of fear. Of course, in many states it’s a moot point, anyway, because they permit philosophical exemptions to vaccination. Such a parent already has a “right” to refuse vaccination for her child, as misguided as such policies might be. I support school vaccine mandates. Parents can refuse to vaccinate their children, but if they do their children shouldn’t be allowed to endanger other children in public spaces where children are in close proximity, like schools and

In addition, for most medical purposes of taking a family history, nephews, nieces, cousins, and the like are not really considered “close relatives.” Many of the rest of the 15 questions are variations on the same theme. Hayes asks if it matters if the parents’ siblings, the child’s grandparents, and various other relations had a “vaccine reaction,” then should the parents have the “right” to refuse vaccines? The same answer applies. As for first degree relatives like parents or siblings, I’d rely on the physician and science-based medicine to determine whether vaccination is medically contraindicated. If vaccination is medically contraindicated, then the child should be given a medical exemption. If it’s not, then the school vaccine mandate should continue to apply.

This brings us to religion, of course:

  1. If a parent believes that vaccines are an abomination to God, whom they believe to be the Creator of them and their children, and whom they worship above all else, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?
  2. If a parent believes that sacrificing children and/or harming children is against their personal religious beliefs (it is a fact that vaccines have the power to both harm and kill), would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

Again, it doesn’t matter what I think. The Supreme Court has already answered the question. Personally, I don’t like the privileging of religion above everything else as a reason to permit deviations from public safety like vaccine exemptions. Personally, I tend to think that either both philosophical and religious exemptions should be banned or they both should be allowed, and I’d tend to prefer the former. To do otherwise simply perpetuates the privilege of irrational religious beliefs in the law and public life.

This leads to #14, which was so hilariously off-base that Ms. Hayes almost owes me a new keyboard, as I was drinking tea at the time I was reading her little screed. Fortunately, I had just swallowed my drink and didn’t spew it all over my laptop. I suggest that, if you’re drinking anything right now, you do the same before you read this:

If a parent has independently researched vaccines, possibly to a level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner they might see, and is confident that they have reached the best decision for their family, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

I’m sorry, but if you say something that stupid, you’re going to be criticized for it. Ms. Hayes seems to think that a parent, no doubt like her, can actually “independently research vaccines” to a “level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner” she might see. (Emphasis mine.) If there’s any sentence that epitomizes the arrogance of ignorance, in which someone thinks that University of Google knowledge trumps scientific knowledge and practical experience gained over years of advanced study, it’s Ms. Larson’s gem above. It’s simply spectacular, particularly because Ms. Hayes then proclaims that the vaccine schedule is “completely untested.” Oh, really? Completely untested? That’s simply nonsense. She might claim that it hasn’t been tested enough, although she’d be wrong, but to claim it is “completely untested” is ludicrous.

She also brings up the tired old antivaccine ploy of claiming that there has never been a study comparing the outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, which is also an exaggeration, as there have been such studies. The problem with doing such studies, however, is that there are—fortunately—relatively few incompletely unvaccinated children, which means most such studies involve looking at children who received all the recommended vaccinations versus children who received only some of their vaccinations. That is an inherent difficulty in doing this sort of research, and a randomized controlled trial of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children is completely unethical because it would leave one group vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. None of this stops her from citing “informal surveys and assessments” that, according to her, show that unvaccinated children are healthier. These “studies” are generally complete crap. One was an Internet survey by a German homeopath. Another was an incompetently administered phone survey commissioned by the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism.

My amusement at Laura Hayes’ arrogance of ignorance aside, her post is only the most recent and arguably overwrought example of the new antivaccine technique of demonization. It’s becoming a drumbeat, “Help, help, I’m being repressed!” It’s also a particularly hypocritical and cynical ploy, given how willing antivaccine warriors are to harass their critics online, poison their Google reputation, and even try to get them fired from their jobs.

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 “No, no, no! Fifteen times, no!”

I suppose teachers are bullies too, if they learn children something new, while they believed things where different. And parents are bullies if they tell their children Santa Claus doesn’t exist or they are not the center of the universe.

“Independently researched vaccines”:
v. phrase meaning “went on to Google and actively sought out claims that support antivaccination talking points”.
Her self-absorption is so complete it’s a wonder she doesn’t become a black hole.

Wow. That is one of the most stunning displays of the Dunning-Kruger effect I’ve ever seen.

I actually had genuine vaccine reactions. Dephteria-Tetanus gives me a largish swelling around the injection site that is hot to the touch and really painful. A reaction like that is perfectly normal, completely harmless and beats getting the actual disease any day.

Last years flu shot gave me itchy red skin around the injection site and it twinged a bit when I lifted my arm above should height one day after the shot. All perfectly normal and harmless. Way better than getting the flu.

Haven’t managed to get my flu shot yet this year. Maybe I’ll be lucky next week.

“Rights.” This is not a right. A privelege, maybe, which comes limitations to things one can do if they choose to indulge. As an adult, I am priveleged to legally be able to imbibe alcohol, however upon reaching a certain limit I am probited from doing certain things that may endanger others, such as driving. How is this different? Of course, that means states would have to get off their a$$es and actually make meaningful requirements without check-boxes for school, jobs, etc. As far as I’m concerned, it is your privelege to be amongst the rest of society, we all have certain responsibilities to the community in turn and if you opt for the “privelege” of endangering public health by not vaccinating, then get out.

Of course, that wasn’t her actual argument, and whether or not she realizes it, she’s going into the “children = property” thing. I have a good friend who’s a little crazy but in the good way, who imagined a world where parents had that right, but then when the children were legal adults, the were presented with the argument from both sides (even though we both know there’s only one correct size), and if they decided the parents risked their life, they won a monetary award from their parents’ bank account. Again, not really feasible, but…what do these kids think? I’d be pissed off. Shoot, I am pissed off about things my mother opted not to do for me now that I’m grown and understand the science (not vaccinating, I was fully covered). How are children who are on the spectrum going to react when they are adults and realize what was done to them and how they were referred to as broken, soulless, damaged, injured, etc, etc? I look at McCarthy’s poor son and what she did (and continues to do, she was ranting about HBOT treatments somewhere a while back) to him…that’s how serial killers are made. This rant does nothing but support the notion that this little crusade has very little to do with the children, it has to do with the parents.

And where are all these kids “dying” from vaccines?

And I just realized I misspelled “privilege” throughout that entire thing. Can I place a request ticket for edit abilities? 😛

If a parent has independently researched vaccines, possibly to a level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner they might see, and is confident that they have reached the best decision for their family, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

Why, I am pretty sure that none of the healthcare practitioners had done the exhausting reaserch with the help of most trustworthy of the sources – Age of Autism. Therefore, the argument that parent’s research exceeds that halthcare practitioners is perfectly valid!

I think we need to work on promoting scientific literacy to the general public. A more scientifically literate public would likely realize the irrationality behind these fears, and perhaps be able to spot the fear mongering tactics of anti-vaccininationsts for what they really are. One can dream…

Pris @3 — This year’s flu vaccine gave me chills at 12 hours and mild malaise lasting about a day.

Again, sure beats the real flu …

I find myself heartened by the bully approach. It shows me that they have very few tools left to defend their indefensible position. That and Pharma Shill charges against other pro-vax parents sound desperate to the merely vaccine-hesitant. There have been many vaccine-hesitant parents who told me they went ahead and vaccinated their kids because of nonsense like this. So let them have at it, I say. The more conspiratorial and put-upon they sound, the more certain I am that we’re winning this thing.

Well, Jon Stewart is a “bully” for reminding people of Michele Bachmann’s ignorance about vaccines. At least, AoA thinks so (remember, Bachmann asserted that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation).

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/11/jon-stewart-vaccine-bully-say-it-aint-so.html

Only in antivax fairyland could people who censor opposing opinions, foment grotesque cartoon characterizations of their opponents and try to harass them at work portray themselves as victims of bullies.

I had my annual flu shot yesterday (just one, unfortunately of the hospitals I work at requires it of all employees and physicians). I requested the version with extra mercury but sadly, I was told that Employee Health only uses individual doses, no thimerosal-rich multidose vials. I had to have a tunafish sandwich to get my RDA for mercury (at least there was plenty of aluminum, antifreeze and aborted fetal tissue in the shot, yum).

Vaccines are such a benefit for society and for people to ignore the fact that adverse reactions can occur is just silly. They’ve been around since we stepped foot on this planet–allergic reactions and stupidity. Thanks for the information about misinformation!

“it’s hard not to be disappointed that I wasn’t included in the list of “vaccine bullies.” ”
Orac, that’s probably because the list of “bullies” was comprised of the people who responded and refuted anti-vaccine claims on an article by Emily Willingham on Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/11/04/could-california-law-to-boost-vaccine-uptake-end-up-reducing-it/?utm_source=alertsnewcomment&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20131114 – which is the first place where Ms. Hayes put her complaints up (and actually got a response, one that did not seem to please her). I am sure that if she was compiling an independent list you would top it.

She has since come back to explain that – as an observing party noted – she has a right not to vaccinate, implying, exactly as he’s saying, that children are property (though she vehemently denied that later).

The word “callous” is now added to “bully” for this purpose.

AnObservingParty, in about 25 states, if a child is seriously harmed by a parent’s decision not to vaccinate, there is a potential tort suit by the child. Other states would bar that through parental immunity. Most children wouldn’t sue, but the option is there.

@ Dorit, we were aware of that in our musings. We expanded that to include having the option immediately present, and the awarded monies would be consistently absolute, because the science is there, there’s nothing really to prove. That’s why it’s not really feasible. Would love it though. Sometimes I really am curious how many of these “warriors” would change their tune if there was a fee to pay.

At the end of the day, I wonder how many of these children are going to know (or remember) that they weren’t vaccinated – so that when they hit the age at which some of these diseases can be outright dangerous for adults, they get blindsided….only people they’ll be able to blame is their parents….interesting to see how those conversations go.

Orac, you are the Dean of Vaccine Bullies. I’d call you their Great Dark Lord- but you’re not really dark. More white-ish.

I read this the other day and thought that they are attempting to associate supporters of evidence they dislike ( vaccines work!) with perpetrators of a much-maligned childhood/adolescent trend ( bullying): similarly, I’ve recently heard alt media types refer to SBM practictioners/supporters as ‘sociopaths’ or ‘psychopaths’.

Which tells me that they are indeed- as we say in the trade- *reaching*. They haven’t got much.

There are other signs and indicators:
Jake and Company work over material from 7 years ago in order to bash Blaxill.
TMR resorts to recipes and tales of their first day as an autism parent, revolutionary warrior and/or facebook fear monger.

AND Warrior meres Habakus and MacNeil, who teamed up to run ‘Nurture Parenting’ blog have ventured stalwartly beyond the limiting confines of anti-vacciniana to rebel against most standard, practical notions concerning the raising of children.

PLUS- they inaugerated their own new internet radio show, “Fearless Parent”, @ PRN. It will be archived for our entertainment. Oh joy.

I think that Blaxill and the Canary Party have been savvy enough( as communicators- not educators) to realise that vaccines and autism shouldn’t be the entire focus of their combined wrath: there’s a larger target audience of parents with other fears and other issues. They may slowly merge with general alt med with its focus upon natural health and healing,”clean” food, green living, health freedom, environmentalism, anti-corporatism** all of which have a larger pool of fish for ther angling.

** which is hilarious because some of these creatures have their own well-compensated corporations/ business empires and live in ostentatious wealth whilst regaling their marks with tales of how “the elites’ lord it over the 99%.
Someone needs to create an illustrated index of the palaces that woo has built.

If a parent believes that sacrificing children and/or harming children is against their personal religious beliefs (it is a fact that vaccines have the power to both harm and kill), would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

Two major problems with this argument that I didn’t see mentioned above (other than the obvious that vaccines actually *help* kids and leaving them unvaccinated can sacrifice them on the altar of one’s personal prejudice):

1) Seriously, does she think it requires a *religion* to tell you it’s wrong to hurt or sacrifice a child? What kind of a sociopath is she if she wasn’t able to come to that conclusion her own?

2) If she wants to go down this path, where a religious shield can be used against vaccines, then she must also accept the reverse of her question. “If a parent believes that sacrificing children and/or harming children is required> by their personal religious beliefs, would you be okay with that parent deliberately harming the child?”

Religious shield laws are, in my opinion, an affront to the First Amendment, because they put government in the position of endorsing a religion by allowing that religion to decide if an action was lawful or criminal. And there is a very real slippery slope here that the fundies never seem to notice. How many of these fundies would be okay with recognizing sharia law in a US courtroom? How many would acquit Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, because his act of mass murder was motivated by religious imperative? That *is* on the same spectrum. It actually is.

If a person has a legitimate reason not to be vaccinated, then they need to depend on herd immunity. If they just don’t *want* to be vaccinated, then I think it is fair to exclude them from certain activities where disease transmission is more like, such as school. But barring children from school is a terrible thing, a violation of their rights, so I think the threshold for allowing a child to skip the vaccinations required for entering school should be high. There has to be a *legitimate* reason, not just “Bobby’s sister’s niece was vaccinated and is autistics today”. And for those without the means to pay, there needs to be a reasonably accessible program for free vaccination. Preferably one right at the school itself, but I know few regions can afford that many vaccination clinics these days.

Vaccines help so many people out compared to the number of people who experience reactive symptoms! Shame on people for bringing such a benefit down.

@Cali Arcale

Seriously, does she think it requires a *religion* to tell you it’s wrong

A lot of people do actually believe this, that you cannot have morals or ethics unless you believe in a god of some sort.
I have mixed feelings about this proposition. On one hand, I cannot deny that my upbringing was influenced by the christian part of my country’s culture, and it is still giving some backbone to my sense of ethics.
On the other hand, if one never acquire his own moral compass, and always need a grow-up (if only an invisible sky father) to tell him right from wrong, what does it say about one’s maturity? Back in the real world, it seems to me that people, adult and children alike, rely more on common sense and empathy than on prayers to determine right from wrong.

Apologies for the derail, back on topic. This “wrong to sacrifice children” is an old gambit: better to let passively 10 children suffer or die “by the Will of God” rather than hurt one child – and save the other 9.
Funny how your moral perspective changes once you realize that to do nothing is already to do something…

OFFTOPIC: Sorry for the interruption, but for a Whovian this is of paramount importance. There is a prequel now out for the 50th anniversary, called “The Night of the Doctor”, and it’s on YouTube. It’s under seven minutes, but it changed my day completely! Orac, you must watch this, if you have not already! There are some lovely little surprises in there for classic Whovians — and some rather sinister things as well.

http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/the-night-of-the-doctor-prequel-to-the-50th/

Orac, don’t feel bad about being left off the list of Vaccine Bullies. The commenters haven’t forgotten about you.

@ Helianthus:

You might enjoy having a look at wikipedia articles on Lawrence Kohlberg and his stages of moral judgment.

There is a whooping cough outbreak in the neighborhoods surrounding my practice. I’ve been counter posting to the anti-vaccine posts on the local community forum (which alas, is not publicly viewable). The “victim” mentality of the anti-vaccine people when challenged with actual data and research is quite a sad thing to behold. I really don’t hold out much hope of changing their minds, but I do hope that any “on-the-fence” parents make the right choice and immunize.

If a parent believes that sacrificing children and/or harming children is against their personal religious beliefs (it is a fact that vaccines have the power to both harm and kill), would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

This makes about as much sense as “If a parent believes that it’s bad for a plane to crash, would you be okay with them yanking the pilot out of her seat and trying to fly the plane themselves?”

Telling someone who thinks their Google University research means they know better than the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (not to mention all the other similar bodies in various other countries) that they are spouting dangerous nonsense is bullying? It strikes me as more of a social duty.

This reminds me of that libertarian who was recently trying to convince us that Americans are living under a tyranny. It’s an insult to those unfortunate people who really are the victims of bullies, or who live under tyrannical governments.

Hilarity rules! They ( see Mikey, Alex Jones et al) tell us about living in tyrannical police states, how everyone is ‘spied upon’, that their freedoms are being impinged upon…..
which they BROADCAST over the internet, rant about in films and preach publicly from the lectern.

Which instantly DISproves their whole point.

-btw- we need more doctors like Chris Hickie everywhere.

Just popping in to say that I would proudly buy and wear a “vaccine bully” T-shirt. That is all.

I was also struck by the “adverse reaction” allowance. My daughter (2) had an adverse reaction to DPT similar to that described by another commenter (silver dollar sized red welt at the injection site that lasted a few days and was tender to the touch. My reaction was not “Oh no, no more DPT for you! I’ll just ignore the dozen or so children in our family tree lost to diphtheria in the late 19th century.” It was, hmm, let’s write this in the baby book and remember to treat the injection site with ice and give her some Benadryl when she gets her next booster.

Laura Hayes showed up on Emily Willingham’s blog with her dumbass list of medical (and er, moral/religious) contraindications to childhood vaccines. I provided the health care professional wannabe with an up-to-date list of medical contraindications/precautions for each of the Recommended Childhood Vaccines:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/vac-admin/contraindications-vacc.htm

How desperate-for-filler must the editors of AoA be…to publish Hayes’ inane list?

CIA Parker showed up, to tell her “story” about her infant’s reaction to birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine, where Parker determined that her baby had an “encephalitic cry” which caused autistic encephalopathy. She never brought her infant to a hospital Emergency Room to be evaluated and to be treated for this potentially deadly encephalitis.

Parker also claims that her MS was caused by a Td booster that she received in college.

Twyla Ramos, who had nothing to add to the dialogue, accused Professor Reiss of being “callous to the vaccine-injured and their families”. I keep asking her to show us any of Professor Reiss’ comments to justify her vicious personal attack that is unsubstantiated and unwarranted.

@ lilady, CIA was the person on those comments that infuriated me the most, with her “without my permission at midnight” nonsense. How many of them use the “the doctor did it without my persmission!” argument? All they want is absolution (from what, I don’t know) and someone to blame. But none of it is for the children. It’s for themselves.

I fear that the legitimate concern over bullying is morphing into a full-blown moral panic. It now appears that some people think that to win an argument they only have to hurl the word ‘bully’ and the discussion is over. Perhaps we need a corollary to Godwin’s Law for that.

A) As an internet discussion progresses the probability of someone accusing the other of bullying approaches 1.
B) The first one to accuse the other of bullying loses the argument.
– Berger’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law

While I’m still thinking about it, I really think that Laura missed some obvious additional exemption conditions. I mean, my parents’ dog once had a very adverse reaction to the leptospirosis vaccine. That should’ve been enough to secure a blanket vaccine exemption for me, all of my relatives, anyone who has ever met us, and anyone who knows the dog, right? Oh, and anyone who reads this comment, too, since now you know. You’re welcome.

Also, what if a friend of a friend of a friend knows of someone who once heard a story about a vaccine-injured child? Whither their rights? Surely the law of infinitesimal doses somehow applies here (the greater the social distance from the source the more concentrated and legitimate the fear? Greater minds that me will need to work out the details).

I see that Ms. Hayes left out “What if a parent’s brother-in-law’s third cousin’s twice removed heard from her neighbor’s grandmother about a co-worker’s reading about a report of a vaccine reaction?” Wasn’t she thinking clearly? How could she have neglected this strong line of evidence?

I know everyone is joking, but goddammit, this is actually the way these people think. There are humans who find these lines of thought logical. Now I’m sad.

I fear that the legitimate concern over bullying is morphing into a full-blown moral panic. It now appears that some people think that to win an argument they only have to hurl the word ‘bully’ and the discussion is over.

Exactly. The vaccine-causation/anti-vaxx crowd makes a habit of co-opting whatever medical or social meme is available at the moment to shut down conversation or make whatever goofy point they’re trying to make. A child was compensated in vaccine court for an encephalopathy aggravating a mitochondrial disorder – suddenly all of their children have “mito disorders”. Another was compensated for ADEM – suddenly their children suffered encephalopathy. Now bullying, particularly of special needs children is getting attention – you know the drill folks.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

Pertussis in Arizona, measles in Wales. And speaking of Wales, that reminds me that I haven’t seen anything from our Elburto of late? I hope she’s okay.

@ An Observing Party:

“All they want is absolution ( from what I don’t know)”

They believe/ have been”taught” that vaccines cause autism. If their child has an ASD, they therefore believe that they were instrumental in the causation of said ASD BECAUSE they took the child to the doctor- they are thus an accomplice to the murderous deed.

Why do you think that they cast invective on and blame doctors,manufacturers and governmental officals complicit in vaccination /- to feel less guilty themselves! Many a confessional post includes,”I trusted them!” They were betrayed!

Just another lovely facet of the legacy of AJW- rising VPD rates and angry, confused, self-blaming parents.
AND viscous-but low-grade- rhetoric for all of us to … er..
enjoy ( I think).

3. If a parent witnessed a close relative (e.g. nephew, niece, first cousin, etc.) have one or more adverse reactions to one or more vaccines, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?

If a close relative reacted badly to some vaccine and therefore could not receive it, I’d take that as another reason for vaccinating those who could, for the sake of the relative. Am I missing something?

Actually, Twyla Ramos claimed that VAERS reports are not investigated. I replied that they are…except the most implausible such as deaths from motor vehicle accidents, drownings or gun shot wounds to the head, weeks or months after a vaccine is administered.

Here’s another post from Parker, on Steven Salsberg’s Forbes blog…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2013/09/23/cashing-in-on-fears-of-autism/

ciaparker2 ciaparker2 1 month ago

It would be much more sensible to say no to both the test and the vaccines. The most the test could do would be to show if there are genetic factors which predispose the child to reacting to vaccines. My baby reacted to the hep-B vax at birth with encephalitis, got the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, caught pertussis anyway at 8 months (and gave it to me), recovered fine, started saying two words, both were wiped out forever as soon as she got the DTaP booster at 18 months, and she was diagnosed with autism at 20 months. I reacted to a tetanus booster with both arms being paralyzed the same day, brachial plexus neuropathy, and went on to develop MS. I reacted to the DPT at 3 months with days of screaming, presumably encephalitis, and grew up with Asperger’s. My father reacted to a flu shot with losing his voice for a month and paralysis for the last three years of his life. My nephew reacted to vaccines with Asperger’s, and my cousin’s daughter also reacted and is institutionalized for autism. No one in my family in earlier generations had autism. It is usually caused by vaccines, either through brain damage caused by vaccine encephalitis or by toxicity from vaccine ingredients like mercury or aluminum (mercury is still in many flu shots). So I know without spending $800 that it would be a bad idea for any of us to get shots, it’s just too bad I didn’t realize soon enough. Is it safe for everyone without these factors to get vaccines? I wouldn’t bank on it, but I guess we’d need to ruin a lot more lives to get data for the study on it.

And, my reply to Parker

lilady lilady 2 weeks ago

Wow Parker, it seems that your family has had an unusual run of bad luck with vaccines causing all sorts of disorders in your family.

You never disappoint, do you? You never brought your child to a hospital emergency room for a physician to make the diagnosis of “vaccine-induced encephalitis”.

What kind of parent are you to ignore what you claim to be an “encephalitic cry” and then make up the diagnosis of encephalitis in hindsight, after your child was diagnosed with autism?

@ Denice

I understand that’s what they say, but I still don’t understand how they get there if they’re looking for total absolution. Even blaming others, with their reasoning (or lack there of) they’re still culpable for not knowing ahead of time (unless they lie and say the doc illegally did it without their permission, as Hayes did). It just seems, to me at least, that the people SO desperate to not feel guilty would just accept that no one is guilty, because how can they not feel guilty for even going to the doctor? Does that make sense? I can’t think that crazy.

And again, it’s all about them. Let’s focus on the past and what was taken from me, rather than focusing on the child’s future. As Skeptical Raptor’s blog pointed out, what other child-safety-advocating do they do?

@ Pareidolius:

She’s not in Wales but in NE England- and I think I actually know where quite precisely- and I also wonder how she is doing.

@ Lilady, I’m calling BS on all that. I would have just responded with “pics or it didn’t happen.” Wow. Or maybe there is a higher power who just hates that woman’s lineage.

Honest question: would a doc give a booster including pertussis to an infant who had had lab-confirmed pertussis? They have TD boosters…

Still calling shenanigans on her entire narrative.

@ An ObservingParty:

I doubt that we can call what they do, say or feel *reasonable*
But how they attribute causation probably makes them feel better** so they do it

I shouldn’t say this but I feel that they might better spend their time seeking counselling rather than giving parents advice, arguing with reality-based people, instructing professionals in the scientific method and advising governments about guaranteeing public health but that’s just me.
It makes them feel better about themselves.

** who am I channeling now, herr doktor?

@ AnObservingParty:

An answer to your honest question.

http://www.immunize.org/askexperts/experts_diph.asp

Should further doses of pertussis vaccine be given to an infant or child who has had culture-proven pertussis?

Immunity to pertussis following infection is not life-long. Persons with a history of pertussis should continue to receive pertussis-containing vaccines according to the recommended schedule. (Note: This answer is based upon recommendations of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases.)

“If a parent has independently researched vaccines, possibly to a level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner they might see, and is confident that they have reached the best decision for their family, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?”

God. I just showed my pop this. His response:

“If they researched vaccines to a higher level than any practitioner then they wouldn’t be refusing them”

“A couple of weeks ago, I noted a new trend among the antivaccine glitterati, or maybe I should refer to it as a new trope. That particular trope is to refer to anyone who has the temerity to stand up for science, … as“bullies.””
see
Public mobbing: a phenomenon and its features
Brian Martin and Florencia Peña
http://www.rutlandmanor.com/uploads/5/6/3/1/5631556/professormartinpm120703.pdf

Prof. Martin has been publicising this actively since it was published

I’ve been called a bully by the anti-vax AVN for several years now, it seems to be the refutation to the correction of their absurd assertions and misinformation. I think I even made it for a time on the bully list compiled by a PhD candidate who is ‘researching’ public health politics on vaccination and is staunchly anti-vax, particularly with regards to Gardasil.
Seems like the big players in anti-vax don’t like us ‘bullies’ who report them to the authorities when they break the rules 😉

One of my younger sisters had an anaphylactic reaction to the old ‘Triple A’ vaccine as a child, and as such is not vaccinated for pertussis, diptheria and tetanus. She was hesitant when she had her own kids, but with good information, support and monitoring from her GP/Community Family Health Nurse I can happily say all 5 of my nephews and nieces are fully vaccinated. And she’s a bit of a crunchy mum lol – yes, those with common sense do exist!

The whole “my baby got encephalitis though I never took him to an ER” thing drives me bonkers. I had meningitis and encephalitis when I was four. And my grandmother had West Nile Virus encephalitis a few years ago and was hospitalized. This is not a trivial disease. This is not a weird cry. This is a near death situation. Someone who believes their child has encephalitis and does not take them to the ER is, in my opinion, guilty of medical negligence.

Of course, the birth does of hepatitis vaccine is given in the hospital, so presumably the baby was already in the hospital — but if the child had encephalitis, the staff would certainly have noticed and have refused to discharge the infant until they were fully recovered, so again, this isn’t just something you know from a special cry. Why isn’t she talking about the horrible long hospital stay, the IV antibiotics, spinal tap, the incredibly high fever, the terror of wondering if the child would survive?

My guess? Because it didn’t happen. I could be wrong, but her story sounds more like hypochondria than encephalitis.

@#68
Munchausen by proxy? I swear I had veterinary clients that had this (like I’m qualified to diagnose it!)

@ Janet: Not Munchausen By Proxy…because Parker would have been taking her baby back and forth to the doctor/hospital frequently.

Parker, apparently believes if she repeats the “story” often enough someone will actually believe her. It’s called making sh!t up.

AnObservingParty,

Still calling shenanigans on her entire narrative.

I think it’s consistent with actual events seen through the perceptual filters of a True Believer. We all edit our perceptions to some extent, but when someone has a belief in which they have a lot of emotional investment, black can appear white and vice versa.

I think most of these people honestly believe that vaccines are a menace, and that somehow those who disagree with them are blinkered, brainwashed or simply unwilling to even consider the possibility that they may be wrong.

I also think it’s fair to say that most people who argue with anti-vaxxers have seriously considered the possibility that the antivaxxers might be right. I certainly have, but the longer and harder I look at the evidence, the more it seems to point to the benefits of vaccines hugely outweighing any possible risks. This isn’t even an area where there is a legitimate debate, where there is insufficient evidence to point conclusively in one direction or another.

I occasionally muse on why my father (a general practitioner) decided not to vaccinate me against smallpox in the UK in the early 60s. I wish I had thought to ask him before he died, but that preceded my interest in vaccination. Some of you will find my musings interesting, and I don’t remember sharing them here before so…

The smallpox vaccine in the 50s to the 70s carried substantial risks, it sickened many and caused several deaths every year in the UK (PDF). A Professor Dick argued in the BMJ in 1971 that it was time to end routine vaccination:

Between 1951 and 1970 there were about 100 deaths from smallpox vaccination in England and Wales, about half of them from neurological complications; one can only guess at the number of individuals with residual brain damage attributable to vaccination.

Reading this, my father’s decision makes a little more sense, though I am a little perturbed to read that there was an outbreak of smallpox in England in the year of my birth, which killed seven people. The reason such a dangerous vaccine was in routine use was because the risks were more than balanced by the benefits. A letter in reply to the previously cited paper puts it well (sadly the PDF cuts off the name of the author):

Professor Dick did not perhaps stress that the excellent measures which have controlled outbreaks in Britain in the past-namely, “prevention of importation, isolation and tracing of cases, and vaccination and surveillance of probable contacts” are rendered more difficult to achieve today in an era of fast air travel from every part of the world, including no fewer than 23 countries in which a total of no fewer than 31,000 cases of smallpox were reported last year. The standards of certification and control in some at least of these countries leave much to be desired. The risk of importation of smallpox is therefore greater than ever. It seems to me foolhardy in these circumstances to abandon a measure which would prevent the fatalities which occurred in the past.

In contrast to the present, that was a situation where there was a legitimate debate to be had about vaccination. From Professor Dick’s paper:

Since 1935, when smallpox ceased to be endemic in the United Kingdom, all cases have arisen from importations, and between 1951 and 1970 there were 13 importations giving rise to 103 cases and 37 deaths.

The benefits of a vaccine that killed almost three times as many people as died from the disease it protected against were still considered to outweigh the risks, because of the number of people who would have died if routine vaccination had not been in place. Routine vaccination against smallpox continued in the UK until 1980, when the World Health Assembly declared wild smallpox eradicated.

The comparison with the present day is interesting, to me at least, with the risks of both vaccine ADRs and disease sequelae both being far lower than 40-some years ago, but the benefits of vaccines even more clearly outweighing any risks.

@Lawrence #15

I suspect you’re right. Anecdote time:
A couple of months ago, my flatmate was diagnosed with mumps. Her mother is certain she was vaccinated, but hasn’t kept the records. Her mother was also certain that she’d already had it as a kid.
The local Health Dept rang once her doc reported it. She was quarantined for 10 days (drove her mad) and I had to be tested/have antibodies checked. My doc, being a wonderful and thorough GP, checked all the MMR ones. My measles and rubella were fine. . . no mumps antibodies. And I had a 1yr old bday party that weekend. Again, my mother hadn’t kept my vaccine records after I left home – no need, I got everything, she said. But I’m one of 10 kids, so I don’t really trust her memory there. . .
I got the MMR 1st shot straight away. (didn’t even feel the thing). And kept away from all babies at the party. I didn’t get it, probably because I had a rotten cold during the incubation period, and she was avoiding ME! But my doc had to look up the incubation period, so rare is it these days. We still don’t know where she got it from.
And this is the annoying thing – for whatever reason, our immunisation didn’t take. And someone else’s decision which they think is all about them, has kept her off work for more sick days then she had (had to take annual leave), meant I couldn’t hold my niece at her 1st bday, and kept us on edge for a few weeks while she recovered, and I monitored myself for signs of the disease. It’s not about them.
But I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I?

A frequent poster here, recalled being vaccinated against smallpox (1947), in a Brooklyn firehouse because of an imported case of the disease in New York City. IIRC, she had not received the recommended childhood vaccine because it was just before she entered kindergarten:

http://www.virology.ws/2009/12/22/smallpox-in-new-york-city-1947/

My daughter was born in 1970 and the following year when she was due for her smallpox vaccine, I had a discussion with her pediatrician, because there were some doctors who had not provided the vaccine, anticipating that the CDC would be removing smallpox vaccine from the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule. (It was removed later that year and my daughter’s 1970 birth cohort, was the last birth cohort to receive smallpox vaccine as part of the CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

May, 1971 I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Europe. We were required to get smallpox vaccine (at a regional department of health clinic).

During the run up to the (totally bogus) Bush II WMDs scare, I was one of a few nurses from the County health department who volunteered to go to our State capital to receive smallpox vaccine, which was administered by CDC staff. I had the opportunity to meet an older physician who was involved in the worldwide smallpox eradication campaign, who provided the vaccine during “ring vaccinations” in India. We returned to our County after the vaccine “took” to set up two smallpox vaccine clinics, where we vaccinated a select few doctors and nurses from area hospitals in our County catchment area.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/smallpox/en/

Thanks lilady…I knew 7ish years, but was curious about an infant who had it diagnosed, would they wait and not do the 4th and 5th until boosters later in life.

@Kreb, it is very consistent with other stories, and if she changed her narrative, that too would be consistent. They tend to not be able to keep their stories straight. I still, however, think there may be some…embellishing, on her part.

Fun anecdote time, since someone mentioned their mumps not taking: I had lost my naturally-obtained chicken pox immunity by age 27, found out when titres were drawn to get my job. Better believe I got that shot, eff if I was gonna get chicken pox again from an immunocompromised shingles patient. I like to tell “life-immunity” people that story. I know it’s just an anecdote, but they value those so much.

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