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When antivaccinationists play on Mothering.com

Antivaccinationists irritate me, for reasons that should be obvious to regular readers. The reason is that vaccine-preventable diseases can kill. Contrary to the beliefs of many nonvaccinating parents, who downplay these diseases as being not particularly dangerous, they are dangerous. Of these, one of more dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases is pertussis. That’s why a story that popped up in my Facebook feed disturbed me so. Unsurprisingly, it’s on that other wretched hive of scum and quackery (with respect to vaccines), Mothering.com:

So, my almost ten month old started coughing and after a while, we suspected that it was whooping cough. When his cough suddenly changed from normal to not normal, we took him to our ped (which is pro-vax but isn’t pushy about it.) and he gave him some antibiotics in hopes it would help the cough.

My boy handles it really well. He gets really red, but he breathes through it and immediately after he’s like I want to play!

My husband is having a really hard time with this. REALLY HARD. The only thing he asked for our boy to get was pertussis because it is so scary! I resisted, since I’m the one that did all the research and while I showed him he just deferred to me, even though I urged him to do his own research so exactly this issue wouldn’t happen. We aren’t a team in it together anymore. He’s like “we should have vaccinated him, I asked for just ONE shot out of all of them” and then I reiterated ‘the its a cocktail’ info and he’s like then why do ALL of these doctors, all these highly educated people, think that they are beneficial? Is there some great conspiracy by ALL doctors?


This is child abuse, pure and simple. Because the mother mistakenly believes that vaccines are harmful and that pertussis isn’t such a big deal, she didn’t vaccinate, and the result is that her son is suffering. Clearly in denial of the severity of pertussis, she tells herself that he’s “handling it really well,” but then describes how he “gets really red” and “breathes through it.” Those of you out there who have ever had a cough so severe that it’s hard to breathe know how terrifying it can be. I’ve experienced it myself for—thankfully—brief periods of time. It’s terrifying. If it’s terrifying to an adult to have a cough so bad that he can’t catch his breath, how much more terrifying is it to a ten month old child?

To get a further idea of the self-absorption of the mother and her utter cluelessness with respect to pertussis, check out this passage:

Anyways. So he’s upset and I’m devastated that my boy is sick but I’m just kind of like, this is biology. This is natural. He’s going to be sick and we will deal with it and get help from our doctors and maybe even our hospital if it comes to that. He’ll get better and his immune system will be stronger. I hate watching him cough and knowing there is nothing I can do but at the same time I can’t protect him from everything. He has to live in this world and deal with germs. I won’t put him in a bubble.

The naturalistic fallacy strikes again. I suppose that to this mother it would be completely natural if her son were to die of pertussis because she didn’t want to vaccinate. Or if he were to get a secondary pneumonia and end up in the hospital on antibiotics or even on a ventilator, that would be completely natural too, except for the ventilator and antibiotics. I have a message for this mother: Nature doesn’t care about you or your baby. What’s “natural” isn’t necessarily best. Before vaccines and modern medicine, huge numbers of babies never made it to adulthood because diseases like pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases killed them. Your child’s immune system might not even be “stronger” after this. Even “naturally” acquired immunity to pertussis due to the disease is not necessarily lifelong.

I feel for the husband, too. I really do. First of all, he sounds as though he is at least semi-reasonable about vaccines because, reading between the lines of this mother’s account, it sounds as though wanted his son to be vaccinated and, failing to convince his wife of that, to persuade her at least to let their son be vaccinated against pertussis. He sounds as though he was not antivaccine but that he didn’t really want to fight with his wife over vaccinations even though he clealry realized that certain vaccines, at least, are very important. His wife refused, and, not wanting to make waves, he foolishly went along, probably knowing that he was endangering his son. Now his son is suffering, and so is he. No wonder he’s having a hard time! He’s clearly regretting his decision. Worse, because he’s the stay-at-home dad, a musician who works nights and weekends while his wife appears to have a day job with more conventional hours, he has to watch his son cough up a lung every day while the mother is off working. He is seeing firsthand all day every day the consequences of his wife’s decision, and he’s the one who has to deal with it far more than she does. He should really tell her that he’s not doing it anymore, that it’s her fault that the child has pertussis, and that she needs to take some time off of work and take care of the child. The mother keeps harping about togetherness and how they should “work it out together”; yet she isn’t helping. She’s off at work, leaving him to deal with a sick child that is the direct result of her irresponsible behavior while whining on Mothering.com about how he is having a hard time with this. Hell, yes he is! He should have a hard time with this.

On the other hand, as much as I hate to concede this, one of the commenters has a point when she says:

While I feel for your husband (and I really do! ) you asked him to research things so you could make a decision together…and he didn’t. Being mad after he abdicated responsability isn’t overly appropriate.

Yes, the husband did abdicate responsibility by letting his antivaccine loon of a wife run the show with respect to vaccinating their son. Indeed, I rather suspect that he knows her viewpoint is pure quackery but ultimately capitulated because he didn’t want to get into what would no doubt be a horrible fight. Instead, he appears to have been engaging in damage control by at least trying to persuade his wife to compromise on the one vaccine he thought to be the most important. Not surprisingly, because she is an antivaccine loon, she wouldn’t even throw him that little bone. In this, the father rather reminds me of Dr. Oz, who, as you might recall, admitted that his wife, a reiki master who is antivaccine, runs the show with vaccines, the result of which was that they did not receive the flu vaccine. Of course, the person the husband is mad at is probably himself for doing exactly that. What he could do to make up for it is to stop being such a wimp and confront his wife, demanding that once the child recovers (and, hopefully, he will recover) he receive all his vaccines to bring him back on schedule. Otherwise, the same thing is disturbingly likely to happen again with any number of other childhood diseases.

Meanwhile, the commenters on Mothering.com seem to think that vitamin C can be used to treat pertussis. Commenter after commenter expounds upon the benefits of vitamin C for shortening the course of pertussis, even though there is no evidence to suggest that it can. Advice takes the form of brain dead suggestions like this:

Get some sodium ascorbate from the healthfood store and give it to him in some water and/or OJ, until he gets loose stools – then you have reached his bowel tolerance. This can and will cut the severity of the illness.

This commenter then claims that, because the DTaP is not 100% effective the child might have gotten pertussis anyway, a sentiment echoed later in the comment thread:

I hope you find something your little man likes, and I hope he feels better soon! You can show your husband examples of fully vaccinated kids contracting pertussis, and maybe that would help him during this stressful time.

The stupid, it burns. Seriously, this is arguably the single dumbest argument that antivaccinationists make. Let’s do a little reductio ad absurdum to demonstrate why. Using this “logic,” one could equally well argue that:

  • Because people wearing seatbelts and young children riding in car seats still sometimes die in car crashes, seatbelts and car seats don’t work. Even with a seatbelt or car seat, you or your child might die anyway if you get into a serious crash!
  • Because people riding bicycles sometimes suffer severe head injuries after a spill or crash even though they are wearing their helmets, bicycle helmets don’t work. Even with a helmet you might still suffer a serious head injury if a car hits you.

I’m sure you can think of more examples. The point is not that vaccines are perfect. It’s that they greatly decrease the risk of the diseases they are targeted against, not that they are perfect protection. It’s not a difficult concept to understand; yet antivaccinationists like this woman keep parroting the same brain dead argument like the ones above.

Ultimately, the moderator shut down the comment thread. Sadly, it was not because of the levels of antivaccine views, quackery, and pseudoscience being suggested to the mother. Instead, it was because people from outside the impenetrable cozy antivaccine bubble of Mothering.com were trying to bring some actual science into the thread. This is completely unsurprising, as Mothering.com makes it very explicit that they are not there to “debate” but rather to support whatever dangerous quackery any mother wants to use on her child, particularly if it involves not vaccinating. I’m only surprised it took the moderator so long to protect the Mothering.com denizens from anything resembling reason, science, or medicine.

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]

590 replies on “When antivaccinationists play on Mothering.com”

One of my parents’ acquaintances is a woo nut and very antivax.

So one day she told my mum that she had a really bad cough. So bad it made her throw up.

Mum told her that it sounded like pertussis and she should get checked out.

Fast forward six weeks.

Acquaintance: ‘So, my cough wouldn’t go away and my naturopathic doctor couldn’t do anything and sent me to a GP. Would you believe I have pertussis?!’

Mum: ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’

There is a reason pertussis in adults is called the 100 day cough.

The thing I ‘like’ most about alt med parents is that they always say ‘We’ll get through this’. Notice the ‘we’.

It’s all about them, not the kid.

The wife wanted him to “research things,” which would really only need to be a trip to the CDC website. The assumption is that he didn’t “research things” because he didn’t arrive at her loony-tunes conclusion.

The wife was interested in winning, not consensus; why should he “confront his wife and demand” etc.?
He should just take the kid to the doctor and get the shots.

Yeah, I wouldn’t take her word for it that he didn’t “research things,” as how many times have antivaxxers and woo-sters come here and said variations of “Educate yourself!” and “Do your own research!”

Unfortunately when there are parents with differing views, it is often the one who would prefer the child to get vaccinated (often the husband) who ends up capitulating to his partner’s wishes. Not because the case against vaccination is sound, but because most couples have to constantly be compromising on matters they have different opinions about for the sake of their families and their relationships. But antivaccine woo is so powerful that the rational partner is forced to choose the route of “accommodation” rather than any genuine compromise, since the alternative might be to precipitate a divorce or a family split.

(Sub)consciously the provax partner may have made a risk calculation, and say to him/herself “well our kid will probably be fine, I mean how likely is it that he will get one of these diseases?” The answer is, with the comeback of diseases like pertussis (and measles), that it is quite possible, rather than it being a very rare occurence.

Antivax sentiment is rock solid, and it is constantly reinforced by the antivax echochambers like mothering.con. The chances of breaching their outpouring of verbigeration on the topic with considered, evidence based scientific argument is zero.

The father apparently knows what the medical consensus is on vaccines, so I too suspect his non-research may be exaggerated.

Meanwhile, the commenters on Mothering.com seem to think that vitamin C can be used to treat pertussis. Commenter after commenter expounds upon the benefits of vitamin C for shortening the course of pertussis, even though there is no evidence to suggest that it can.

This is typical of the antivaxer. It is perfectly fine for kids to catch deadly diseases, because there is always some quack “remedy” or other that can help the child overcome the illness. And of course, the child will be so much “stronger” once the illness resolves. Never mind the months of respiratory distress, the failure to thrive during the time of the acute illness, the setbacks to normal child physical and neurological development, and the increased likelihood of long term respiratory compromise, all of which will make the child weaker, rather than stronger, and help him fail to achieve his health potential and will delay his milestones (which is what usually happens to infants getting bad pertussis)

You can show your husband examples of fully vaccinated kids contracting pertussis, and maybe that would help him during this stressful time.

I’m not sure that finding out that the vaccinated are much less likely to get full-blown whooping cough than the unvaccinated would help the father much. I’ve had to deal with a child with whooping cough who had to be hospitalized and it was no fun at all for anyone involved.

New mommy is offering up a slew of excuses….including hiding behind/and reminding the husband “we are Libertarians”…which of course, does not absolutely preclude either of them from getting the facts about pertussis and the vaccine that would probably have preventing their infant from contracting the disease.

Need I remind you all, that the stork didn’t drop this infant into their lives? The parents went through a pregnancy and I am confident, that during every prenatal visit, the OB or Nurse Midwife recommended Tdap boosters for the pregnant woman, her partner and every close family member and caregiver who are expected to have close contact with newborns up to one year of age. New mommy would have been urged to get the Tdap booster before she and the baby left the birthing hospital.

Dear lord, there is so much b.s. contained in that post and contained within most of the comments, I scarcely know where to begin.

Vitamin C as a cure in lieu of preventing pertussis? Nope.

Time for daddy to get some accurate information about vaccines and the serious consequences of not vaccinated babies and children….and stand up for his baby and any other babies they may have.

I suppose the daddy has some accurate information, but his wife didn’t want to listen. I would refuse to have sex with her, as long as she keeps her stupid anti-vax views.

@Krebiozen, add to that the fact that the vaccinated who are unlucky enough to get pertussis have far less severe symptoms and he would likely be very upset.

Perhaps what disgusts me the most about this is that the “offending” (read: scientifically literate) comments didn’t just cause the thread to be locked, they were _deleted_. As in, “we can’t have people hearing the opposing viewpoint at all”. Disgusting. I hope this mother contracts the illness herself.

You just have to *love* the comment suggesting that the parents compound the misery of a 10 month old baby already suffering from pertussis by administering enough Vitamin C to ensure diarrhoea.
I don’t even know what “then you will have reached his bowel tolerance” is supposed to mean in this (or any) context!

The mother’s comments about germs and “I refuse to put him in

[Whoops!] bubble” suggest to me that she probably didn’t have to suffer through any severe preventable childhood illnesses herself.

I do wonder how these kinds of people would react if something as dreadful as a recurrence of Polio in the developed world occurred?

The naturalistic fantasy can be used to justify all kinds of things.

My house still had the original, 100 year old, all natural paint and fireproofing in places when I bought it. Made from natural lead oxide pretty much right out of the ground, and linseed oil. The fireproofing for the chimney was a natural fiber, as well. Asbestos.

Needless to say, I removed as much as I could of the in a safe way and replaced them with those nasty lead and asbestos free artificial products from big chemical. Because I hate nature….. Oh, wait no. Because I hate lead poisoning.

I had a number of now preventable illnesses as a child. If I had a time machine and could send vaccines back to avoid these, I absolutely would. I remember when smallpox went out. If I had traveled as a child like one of my friends (his parents did mission work in Africa and India after the Peace Corp), it would have been a definite risk for me. Still have the scar from that vac.

There is nothing artificial about immunity. Getting help with developing immunity is about as natural and age-old as it gets. That is how modern vaccination came about. I do wonder what she would do if her child was bitten by an animal? Would she do the rabies vac series immediately? Or wait for lab tests? Or, because rabies is natural, just deal with it and hold a funeral?

From Mothering: “I’m reopening the discussion so that meganlauriana can get the support she needs. Posts to this discussion should be in support of her decision to not vaccinate not in criticism of it or to try to convince her otherwise. “

Here’s some anecdotes: So I’ve taken care of plenty of babies with pertussis. One of my littlest patients was hospitalized for 1 month because he kept having apneic spells. The children were vaccinated but the parents weren’t. Oh, and my husband had pertussis a few years ago. My vaccinated 6th grader brought it home. He had a cough for about 2 weeks. My husband was not so lucky. There were several nights where he woke up coughing and couldn’t catch his breath. It was frightening.

My son is fully vaccinated and has autism, so I followed the rabbit hole of “biomedical intervention” and convinced myself vaccines were to blame. I’m pulling myself out up out of that hole now (sites like yours are very helpful) and do intend to vaccinate any future children I have.

Anyway, one of the blogs I used to follow regularly is an anti-vaxxer whose whole family contracted whooping cough and spread it: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/11/01/whooping-cough-keep-it-to-yourself/ . She basically spread the disease to the vaccinated crowd, so ergo, vaccines don’t work, and the comments are full of people ratifying her decision not to vaccinate and condemning the toxins in the unnatural vaccines, and hey, have you tried essential oils to hear whooping cough?

At some point I had a girlfriend for a couple months that was in all sorts of woo: energy healings (reiki and whatnot), psychic bs, astrology, spirit channeling, past life woo, quantum mysticism, etc, and obviously anti modern medicine and anti vaccine.
I learned all these things about her as our relationship progressed. She would always see me a very rational person and she really liked me and wanted a serious commitment form me. But me on the other hand, the more I knew her, the more scared I was that I could share a life with such person, including future offspring. I broke up, she was too crazy, but I thought that if the relationship ever got to this point of a child not getting proper medical attention and vaccination my atitude would be to sue the mother for neglect and abuse, take over the child and give him/her proper medical treatment. Gladly, not a problem I’ll ever have to face.

“I have a message for this mother: Nature doesn’t care about you. What’s “natural” isn’t necessarily best[…]Even “naturally” acquired immunity to pertussis due to the disease is not necessarily lifelong.”

I see the recurrent problem here. Orac still confuses Natural Immunity with Naturally Acquired Immunity. Bad news Orac, they are NOT one and the same.

We very much need a better pertussis vaccine. Right now, the vaccine has the same problem the actual disease does — immunity isn’t very good and it doesn’t last all that long, maybe a couple of decades. But that said, since the immunity is no worse than what the disease itself gives you, I’ll totally take the vaccine instead of the disease. Pertussis is *horrible*.

I won’t blame the dad too much here. He’s in a horrible position, and likely weighed the risk of his child getting pertussis (most unvaccinated people in America won’t get pertussis, thanks to widespread vaccination) versus the risk of his crazy wife divorcing him and taking custody of the boy, making it even harder for him to protect the boy. Since he’s unemployed, it would be hard for him to get custody, even though he’s been the primary caregiver. It’s just the way our courts tend to work. Plus, in court, I suspect his crazy wife would have a tactical advantage because of her certainty and willingness to stretch the truth to her gain.

I do not envy him at all.

@ Dingo199

Unfortunately when there are parents with differing views, it is often the one who would prefer the child to get vaccinated (often the husband) who ends up capitulating to his partner’s wishes. […], since the alternative might be to precipitate a divorce or a family split.

I strongly agree with this. Disagreement over the chilldren is a strong cause for separation/divorce, and I understand why one partner prefers to fold. “Forcing” the issue by having a child vaccinated against the other partner’s expressed wishes may also be a sure way to lose the child custody (“he is so confrontational and doesn’t listen to me; he is putting the children at risk with unreliable drugs”). Unless the divorce judge is pro-science. What’s the record on this?
I understand that not vaccinating could be likened to child neglect, and in this context you can rightfully ask the other partner to grow a backbone. But it sounds a bit ridiculous, to go at war with your spouse over a little syringe prick. That is, until your child get sick.
In the short term, one partner forcing the vaccination may lead to a better outcome for the children. In the long term, maybe not so.

I would also add that, in the traditional family model, the mother is the one in charge of the children health – hence, I believe, why we seem to see more anti-vax mothers rather than fathers.
We do have a few vehement anti-vax fathers, like Stone. They make for by quality that they like in number…

Re: vitamine C to cure illnesses

From a previous story reported by Orac so long ago, I can predict what’s going to happen:
– the child just had a dose of antibiotics
– in the near futur, the child will receive vitamine C (or any other alt-med du jour)
– the child will go better and the vit C will be credited for the cure.

http://youtu.be/6WQtRI7A064

Honestly. This is all that has to be said. The elite want you vaccinated the second you are born so they have control over you from the start. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but children have as many rights as the brainwashed sheeple sticking them with needles. You don’t like your privacy, and liberties violated. Think about that when the government controls everything you are allowed to eat, drink, say or think, and good luck with it if you aren’t one of the ones marked on the extermination list. The internet is your teacher, and if you shut off your idiot boxes and quit being brainwashed by mainstream media you would quickly realize the bs that is being fed to you. Even the weather networks on television are the ones controlling the weather. Quit the fluoride, do a detox and start researching what the government is doing to you before the wool grows too thick!

^helianthus
Problem is that the benefits of a vaccine (preventing illness) remain totally invisible. If every child who was unvaccinated always got the disease, then the worm would turn, but until then… the prescient, prudent parent proposing “poisonous” pertussis preventatives for their precious progeny will be very much on the receiving end of a good metaphorical kicking.

I fear that, in the father’s shoes, I would make an appointment with the family doctor after the child recovers, and start the vaccination program unilaterally. If my wife were to complain I would point out that we had tried it her way and it was a disaster, so now it was time to do it my way. There are times you have to stick to your guns.

Yeah Orac, I hear you man. If we were back in the good old days, good husbands could give these broads a nice b!tch-slap until they get with the program and realize that vaccines are everybody best friends. Now look where PC got us! (Hee hee hee.)

Right after the “how about just the pertussis shot” conversation is where I’d, as the stay-at-home parent, make an appointment with my pediatrician for the Dtap. Done.

I’m sorry–but as much as I love my spouse, there’s no way in HELL I am putting my child at risk out of deference.

I could barely read this. I have a brother-in-law who is in the same position this father has been–none of his kids are vaccinated because his wife, with her Ph.D. in Google, has convinced him not to vaccinate.

Terri,

I do not know what to say about that blog post you linked to. Did they ever even get a formal diagnosis? It doesn’t sound like it or the doctor would have told them how long they were contagious. So, for all they know they had something totally different. Also, I believe there were a handful of studies that found although vaccinated children can catch pertussis they do not actually get the whooping cough because the toxin that causes it is effectively blocked.

Virchow:

“I have a message for this mother: Nature doesn’t care about you. What’s “natural” isn’t necessarily best[…]Even “naturally” acquired immunity to pertussis due to the disease is not necessarily lifelong.”

I see the recurrent problem here. Orac still confuses Natural Immunity with Naturally Acquired Immunity. Bad news Orac, they are NOT one and the same.

Citation needed.

Though perhaps you were not aware that immunity from many bacterial diseases does not confer permanent immunity. Even after coughing a lung up with pertussis, you can get it again in as short as five years:

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

She basically spread the disease to the vaccinated crowd, so ergo, vaccines don’t work

@Teri

Well, since the majority of the population is–thankfully–vaccinated, of course they would see numbers of infections in the vaccinated. 2 out of 2 and 4 out of 100…OMG TEH EVUL VACCINES DONT WORK.

Thank you and good luck while crawling out of that rabbit hole. 🙂

This is on my list of deal-breakers. “Antivax” is right below “serial killer” and right above “has never seen the original Star Wars.” And LOVE LOVE LOVE how these people do nothing but scream and shout about how they have a right to speak their minds and personal beliefs and blah blah blah but when someone tries to present a rational counter-argument to their stupid, NO DIFFERING OPINIONS HERE.

Except it’s not an opinion. It’s fact.

Having a difference of opinion this serious with a spouse is akin to having a deep religious difference. I don’t think two people this different can have much of a relationship anyway unless one of them converts to other’s position. My guess is that they’ll either end up divorced or have a relationship that’s pretty lopsided.

Here’s another one for you: Anecdotally (on message boards), I’m seeing an increase in the number of moms declaring that avoiding sugar will keep away pertussis, flu, etc. Boosts your immune system along with those vitamin c supplements. Oh, and add to that the claim that those of us who vaccinate are lazy, less likely to wash our hands, well, they’re simply better prepared to fight disease than we science-y sheeple are. &#*)*@#&@^% Morons.

If I were that dad (and if he is, in fact, a stay at home dad), the next day my wife went to work, I’d be going straight to the pediatrician and getting him vaccinated every way they knew how. Mommy never has to know, and even if she finds out, what is she going to do, un-vaccinate him? Screw her, I would never let my wife endanger my child just because she got her Ph.D. from Wikipedia State.

My guess is that they’ll either end up divorced or have a relationship that’s pretty lopsided.

I think it’s clear from the account that they already have a relationship that’s more than pretty lopsided.

@ Chis:
re ‘coughing up a lung’

Right. A few years ago, in Januray IIRC, a guy had business in an area notorious for being a hotbed** of anti-vax activity. A few days later, he started coughing… and coughing…. etc.
It persisted for several weeks- he -btw-has asthma- which the coughing didn’t help.
Long story short- doctor, meds, increased inhaler use, additonal inhaler meds rx, misery, complaining etc.

** get it

Kwehrheim,

just because she got her Ph.D. from Wikipedia State. She’s too dumb for Wikipedia State. Most of the time they’re relatively accredited. She seems to fit the mold of Google U, though.

This is just me, but I have no idea how anyone can stay in a relationship with such a huge difference in opinion in what imho seems to be a pretty important issue for spouses to agree on. Makes me wonder if she turned to woo after they were married or if she was always that crazy.

/pointless speculation

“[the pediatrician] gave him some antibiotics in hopes it would help the cough.”

??For whooping cough?? I assume the mother had “researched” that, too, at University of WOO-gle!

Dingo199: But antivaccine woo is so powerful that the rational partner is forced to choose the route of “accommodation” rather than any genuine compromise, since the alternative might be to precipitate a divorce or a family split.

Actually, divorce might be the least bad option here. If he manages to find employment and carefully documents *all* of the anti-vaccine stuff and ‘cures* his wife has been using/participating in, he might have a case.

Lilady: New mommy is offering up a slew of excuses….including hiding behind/and reminding the husband “we are Libertarians”…which of course, does not absolutely preclude either of them from getting the facts about pertussis and the vaccine that would probably have preventing their infant from contracting the disease.

Most libertarians live a pretty fact-free existence, so I’m not surprised the wife thought being libertarian entitled her to her own set of facts and a free immunity ride.

Helianthus: But it sounds a bit ridiculous, to go at war with your spouse over a little syringe prick. That is, until your child get sick.

Every anti-vaxxer I’ve seen seems to thrive on drama, so I’m not surprised some would *go to war* over a syringe prick, or in one “Thinking Mom’s” case, over giving child forbidden food like cookies. (Kid wasn’t allergic to gluten, she was trying to cure kid through diet.)

Is it me, or do most parenting sites/ parenting groups end up turning into cesspools of drama? It makes me worry if I’ll still be able to keep friends once they become parents.

In an antivax-related note, by chance yesterday I ran across Katie Couric quoted breathlessly warning that “Shots designed to protect your children might actually hurt or cripple them”! That’s her on the TV screen in… 1995. A lot of responses to her recent Gardasil embarrassment have supposed that if criticized she might realize her errors — but I don’t think she’s going to change a tune she’s been singing for two decades, do you?

Dorit: “From Mothering: “I’m reopening the discussion so that meganlauriana can get the support she needs. Posts to this discussion should be in support of her decision to not vaccinate not in criticism of it or to try to convince her otherwise “

And if a mom should happen to post that she’s getting her child all the recommended vaccinations, the site editor would delete all posts from others criticizing her or trying to get her to change her mind?

But of course. 😉

Oh yes, the old megadoses of Vitamin C. The kid almost certainly has decreased oral intake and increased insensible water loss, so whopping amounts of a substance that precipitates out as spiky crystals is just the thing. If you think that having a baby with pertussis is bad, wait to see how hard it is to have one with kidney stones.
Not for her sake, I hope Mommy Jackass and her unvaccinated son don’t respectively have a pregnancy and a case of rubella concurrently.

Where the hell does this Vitamin C crap come from? Those old 70’s Orange Juice commercials that OJ was supposed to be good for kids with colds?

Seriously? Pertussis can crack ribs in adults, what do these parents think it will do to their child?

Horrid…..

Virchow,
You have picked a ‘nym that may be more appropriate and revealing than you realize. Rudolf Virchow went to his deathbed in 1902 rejecting the germ theory of disease, thereby proving that even the finest mind can be blind to facts.

@Teri19,
The blog you cite also has an earlier enrty, detailing the travails of managing 3 kids with the disease, including videos of her kids suffering.
http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/10/31/when-you-play-the-vaccine-odds-and-lose/
It is titled: “When you play the Vaccine odds and lose”. But she then edits her post with this bit:

Quite a number in the KS community have mentioned that my title is the most inaccurate part of this piece…and they’re so very right. Here’s how one commenter encapsulated it perfectly: “We are weighing the risks of vaccination with the risks of the illnesses. Even if we contract the illness we have not “lost”. We do not regret our choice. It is a gamble either way.”

There are no words.

@eNOS

I’m guessing you’re referring to a certain attention whore who frequently plagues this site? Yeah, we try to ignore him. Some days it’s harder than others. Gotta admit, this is one of them.

We come some newcomers, I see.

There’s Virchow at #19 with:

I see the recurrent problem here. Orac still confuses Natural Immunity with Naturally Acquired Immunity. Bad news Orac, they are NOT one and the same.

Is Th1Th2 back?

Then we have Mike at #22, who has penned a masterful parody. That, or he’s too stupid to understand what Bill Gates meant about people having smaller families when all their children are likely to live to adulthood. Mike accuses others of being “sheeple”, and my newly reinforced irony meter hums a little, grows a bit hot, there’s a little smoke, but no explosion.

Then there’s this at #39

*WHACK* (hee hee hee)

I wondered for a moment who is excruciatingly dumb enough to think spousal abuse is funny, then I realized it was Greg. No surprises there.

Now, where was I with that extermination list?..

I swear I didn’t write, “We come some newcomers, I see”.
In my head it said, We have some newcomers, I see”.

I’m guessing you’re referring to a certain attention whore who frequently plagues this site? Yeah, we try to ignore him. Some days it’s harder than others. Gotta admit, this is one of them.

It gets easier the longer he’s around. I do think that his choice of trolling technique this time reveals more than he perhaps thinks about his mindset, though.

I did a quick search on vitamin C to treat pertussis. The earliest reference I found so far was Can Med Assoc J. 1937 August; 37(2): 134–136, “Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Treatment of Whooping Cough”, which concluded from a small number of cases (10) that “Ascorbic acid has a definite effect in shortening the period of paroxysms from a matter of weeks to a matter of days.” The amount of ascorbic acid used in treatment ranged from 150-500 mg/day. However, according to Douglas Gairdner in Br Med J. 1938 October 8; 2(4057): 742–744, “…the assertion of Omeraud and UnKauf that the paroxysmal period is shortened ‘from a matter of weeks to a matter of days’ was not confirmed.” He went on to comment on the previous paper’s lack of controls, and to state that in his study (21 treated with vitamin C and 20 controls) the differences between the cases was within the limits of statistical error.

So we can’t blame Anita Bryant for this.

@Orac

Indeed. I fear that’s the case.

Domestic abuse makes my blood boil. Thinking that’s it’s funny is even worse.

I’ve got enough stress right now without Dreg tee-hee-hee’ing my blood pressure up another ten points. Sigh.

He is certainly continuing to give us insight into his sick and twisted little mind…..

Johanna,

I understand your reaction. However, if you admit to Greg that you are bothered by his statements and irritated by his giggling then you have given him the validation he so much desires.

From Mothering: “I’m reopening the discussion so that meganlauriana can get the support she needs. Posts to this discussion should be in support of her decision to not vaccinate not in criticism of it or to try to convince her otherwise. “

A discussion, without opposing views? Sounds more like an echo-chamber to me. If the mother thinks she has the facts on her side, I suppose it would be better, if she would be confronted with opposing facts.

But wait…
aren’t WE the ones who are supposed to be harming children and making them suffer needessly?

Because I immerse myself in reading anti-vax mothering propaganda on a nearly daily basis, I’ve found ANOTHER idiotic consequence of their activities which is exemplified today @ AoA:
these mothers instruct their children- esp siblings of autistic kids- into the fine and arcane pseudo-science of anti-vax as well as the surrounding issues relevant to ASDs.
Witness today as Conrick’s other daughter writes about her autistic sibling.There have also been a few similar posts at TMR.

Some of the ill effects of anti-vax aren’t only physical illness but inculcating an odd worldview and perhaps creating a co-mingled victim/ saviour apprenticeship.

“Where the hell does this Vitamin C crap come from?”

It comes from historical conventional medical practice, though it’s not clear whether it was common or experimental. PubMed lists a fair number of publications in European journals from the 1930s through 1950s on treating pertussis with vitamin C. None have abstracts available. No doubt, any apparent benefit was far less than that seen with antibiotics – randomized trials were not the rule in those days, but the benefit of antibiotics for non-resistant bacterial infections is easily observed through ordinary human experience – so vitamin treatment would have been given up shortly after antibiotics became readily available and publications on the subject cease. But the idea that vitamin C could have some benefit continued to be handed down, probably by people who generally favor beliefs that say vitamins are good for you, and occasionally pops up in print on non-scholarly sites like the one mentioned.

Why is anyone not surprised that greg would make light out of domestic abuse and spousal violence? Comments like that would, if he actually did look after MR/DD and autistic children, would be grounds for immediate dismissal from his/her/its job.

And, speaking as someone who has worked with people affected by domestic violence, I would think that greg is way over the line with his crass and classless comments and owes everyone an apology, in addition to his other apologies for his other comments.

“Because the mother mistakenly believes that vaccines are harmful …”

Because the mother arrogantly believes that she is more knowledgeable than all those elitist smart people with their fancy degrees, who are unable to reach the state of enlightenment she has achieved.

FTFY 😉

I always scratch my head on the implied idea that parents have to “do their own research” because the literature is written by the drug companies. How many parents really expect to understand post-graduate levels of immunology and epidemiology? How will they “do research” without reference to the medical literature? Why does everyone seem to think that medical research is the one thing any idiot can do online?

If you finish a post-graduate level course in immunology or epidemiology, I absolutely guarantee you will no longer be anti-vaccine. It’s not as simple as “get sick” or “don’t get sick”… the vaccines are designed to steer the immune response towards one of dozens of different pathways, and to do it with a minimum of immunopathology. The more you understand the process, the more important you realize they are.

@ Spectator:

Well, I imagine that those who write about us “elitist smart people with their fancy degrees” know a *great deal* about exactly how those degrees are acquired-
how they sit us down and have us memorise volumes of dogmatic truth, entirely stifle debate, never look into the past histories of explanations of particular phenomena, changes in emphasis or various ‘schools of thought’-
only judging how well we parrot the party line which we must present unhesitatingly in order to get our seal of approval, sheepskin and secret hidden tattoo ™.
Right. That’s how it is.

Hey Guys, including Orac,
if I do say, the joke is not at the expense of physically abused female victims. On the contrary, it quite effectively pokes fun at your rediculous, neanterthal suggestion, implying that women on the whole just aren’t bright enough to get the vaccine debate right. It just goes to show that sexism is alive and well even among the ‘intellectual elites’.

“Shut up b!tch and get the kids their damn shots!!” *WHACK* (hee hee hee)

WOW. A new low for Greg: making light of spousal abuse. Thanks Greg, for bringing up such memories. You’re a gem.

This is just me, but I have no idea how anyone can stay in a relationship with such a huge difference in opinion in what imho seems to be a pretty important issue for spouses to agree on. Makes me wonder if she turned to woo after they were married or if she was always that crazy.

/pointless speculation

It’s actually not pointless speculation. I think when it comes to issues of pregnancy/child rearing, those aren’t broached in earnest until they are upon you. So unfortunately for the partners of the craxy ones, they’re in deep before they realise what they have to contend with. Probably why it’s easier to capitulate to the craxy one rather than fight it.

Anecdotally, from the family court cases I’ve seen, it appears as though the parent who wants to vaccinate “wins out” over the other. It is the evidence-based choice after all.

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