Categories
Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

Marysville High School has a chickenpox outbreak, and antivaxers don’t want their children kept home

Last week, there was a small chickenpox outbreak at a Marysville High School in my state. Unvaccinated students were sent home. Now antivaxers are protesting. Same as it ever was.

I was out a bit late last night (well, 9 PM is late for a weeknight), thanks to a work event, but I still wanted to take a little time mention a little tidbit I saw in a local Michigan newspaper. The story takes place in Marysville, MI, a small town on St. Clair River just south of Port Huron. What I somehow missed in the local news last week was that Marysville High School asked the parents of unvaccinated kids to stay home last week because of an outbreak of chickenpox. Last week, the St. Clair County Health Department issued letters to 37 families whom they identified as higher risk (i.e., unvaccinated), asking them to have their student vaccinated or have the student remain at home:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and St. Clair County Health Department have identified a chickenpox (varicella) outbreak at Marysville High School. Marysville school district officials have been working closely with the Health Department to identify approximately 37 susceptible, unvaccinated students. Letters from the Health Department were given to the district to help with parent notification.

In accordance with Michigan Public Health Code, exposed susceptible students who cannot provide documentation of vaccination or immunity history will be excluded from attending school, work or extracurricular activities until 21 days after the last identified case (date to be determined and dependent on cases). Immunity is defined as:

  • Documentation of two valid doses of any appropriate live varicella vaccine at or after 12 months of age
  • Lab evidence of immunity or confirmation of the disease

Students will be re-admitted to school upon getting vaccinated or providing the Health Department with acceptable documentation of immunity. If this is the student’s first varicella vaccine dose, the student may be conditionally re-admitted back to school; if it is the student’s second dose they will be immediately readmitted after vaccination.

And:

Wightman said the students who cannot attend classes will receive in-home services, with staff members checking in on them and ensuring they receive and complete schoolwork.

The letter further noted that chickenpox is a vaccine-preventable disease that spreads through the air via aerosol droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and that it can also be spread by touching or breathing virus that comes from chickenpox blisters. It also warned parents that it can take 10-21 days after exposure to develop symptoms, which is why unvaccinated students are susceptible, you know, standard-issue facts about the disease. The health department also pointed out that chickenpox can sometimes cause serious problems, especially in vulnerable populations and the immunosuppressed.

A news story about the outbreak and letter notes:

The district has been working with the St. Clair County Health Department to identify about 37 students who do not have documented immunity and cannot return to school until they can prove immunity, according to a news release by the St. Clair County Health Department.

The high school currently has 896 students, so the 37 affected students constitute about 4 percent of the school’s population. Marysville Schools Superintendent Shawn Wightman said it is difficult for students to be pulled out of class at the beginning of a school year — when everyone is establishing routines and extra curricular activities are getting up and running.

Not surprisingly, the local antivaxers are not happy about the county’s and school’s decision to pull these students from school. I definitely feel for these kids, too, as this week is homecoming week at Marysville High School, and these students have already missed some of the festivities. It’s not their fault, either. It’s the fault of their parents, who didn’t vaccinate them, for whatever reason they gave for a “personal belief exemption.”

It also brings up a not uncommon antivaccine argument (which, to be fair, is not being made—yet—by antivaxers in Marysville but is a frequent favorite whenever issues like outbreaks in schools come up), which is that quarantines are effective. In other words, if there’s an outbreak, it could be stopped with quarantines. Of course, this claim neglects to consider the fact that a far superior way of stopping—or better yet, preventing—outbreaks is by vaccinating. It also reveals how everything is always about the parents, the parents’ “rights,” the parents’ “freedom,” more than anything else. You might think that parents of an unvaccinated child would be happy to cooperate with health authorities and just keep their child home from school until “all clear” sign is given by health authorities. You might think wrong. Of course, antivaxers won’t do that. They’re very cavalier about wanting to quarantine any victim of a vaccine-preventable disease, but don’t you dare try to ask them to do anything to help to allow the spread of disease. That would be an unconscionable assault on the rights of their precious unvaccinated child!

Unfortunately, the editor of the local newspaper, the Times-Herald, made the astonishingly bad decision to publish an op-ed by one of the mother of one of the 37 students, entitled Parent: School wrong to remove unvaccinated students. The mother’s name is Stacy DeShon, and she’s listed as the spokesperson for the parents of children barred from attending school until the outbreak clears. She is quite unhappy, too:

Last week, Marysville High School forcibly removed over 37 students from the high school due to an alleged outbreak of chicken pox, which consisted of two students.

The school took these extreme measures based on a recommendation from the St. Clair County Health Department, discriminating against students who could not prove immunity status based on health department regulations. By doing so, they showed total disregard for the emotional welfare or physical safety of the students who were forced to leave school grounds, and not being able to return for two weeks.

I’m guessing that no actual physical force was involved here, but that doesn’t stop Ms. DeShon from trying to make the story as dramatic as possible, complete with a narrative clearly intended to evoke images of jack-booted thugs breaking into classes and dragging her precious child and other unvaccinated children out of class, traumatizing them with threats of force and humiliation. Of course, Ms. DeShon happens to be a lawyer; so perhaps it’s to be expected, although she does specialize in estate planning, which is generally not an area of law requiring hyperbole of language.

A little Googling soon revealed that she is an advocate for Michigan for Vaccine Choice—surprise! surprise!—a group that I’ve written about several times before, the most memorable (I think) being the time I described how the group had shepherded around antivaccine celebrity Del Bigtree in a tour to meet various antivaccine-friendly or -sympathetic state legislators in the run-up to the 2016 election. He also was the main attraction at a fundraiser for Michigan Vaccine Freedom PAC, where, in a fit of typical Bigtree histrionic hyperbole, he gave a speech likening antivaxers to the “Founding Fathers” fighting for liberty against tyranny. (You know, standard issue Bigtree stuff.) So if Stacy DeShon is a member of or advocate for Michigan for Vaccine Choice, you know she’s not just vaccine hesitant. She’s hard core antivaccine. Of course her writing a letter like this shows it.

As for the bit about the outbreak being only two students, there is an explanation in a news story:

So far, there are two confirmed chickenpox cases, Wightman said. St. Clair County Health Department Medical Health Officer Dr. Annette Mercatante said that a minimum of two cases are what constitutes an outbreak, which was reduced from a minimum of five cases in years past.

“The whole purpose of this is so the disease doesn’t spread,” Mercatante said. “The point of starting early is to clamp down on it.”

Personally, I’ll take the definition of an outbreak as laid down by public health professionals over the incredulity of an antivaccine activist over that definition.

Let’s look at what DeShon claims Marysville High School did:

Parents were not asked to keep children home, as publicly stated by the superintendent for Marysville School District. This group of students were pulled from class on Tuesday and put in a room and shamed for not being up to date on their vaccinations. The students were then put outside on the street. They were not allowed to call for rides or get their things, and those that rode a bus home were left sitting outside with nowhere to go. The next day a big group was again forcefully sent home.

The Marysville School District released the private health, educational, and personal records of these students to the health department without parental consent. This is a clear violation of federal law.

I find this passage rather interesting. Notice how she doesn’t mention the letter. That makes me wonder: Did these parents get the letter and then ignore it? It rather sounds that way, reading between the lines, but I have no way of knowing for sure. If the school was too heavy-handed, then that was a mistake, but I’m not going to take the word of an antivaccine activist (which DeShon sure gives me the impression of being from her writing) that that’s how events went down without corroboration.

As for the bit about federal law supposedly being violated, it’s a specious claim that Michigan-based antivaxers like to make. The federal law that they cite doesn’t cover the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) or county health departments. In any case, if Ms. DeShon so strongly believes that the law was broken, I encourage her to file suit. I rather suspect that she would be wasting her money, but, hey, I’m not a lawyer and she is. Still, if this sort of thing really is illegal under federal law, why hasn’t Michigan for Vaccine Choice or another antivaccine organization managed to get a ruling against it in court?

None of this stops Ms. DeShon:

According to Michigan state law, there are three ways to provide immunity to a school. One, is a vaccination record. Two, is a titers blood test that shows immunity. Three, is an affidavit signed by a parent, guardian, or doctor that states the child has had the chicken pox. Despite the fact that at least one parent submitted an affidavit, the school has admitted they will not follow state law, but instead continue based on what the heath department recommends.

As well a school should. Again, if Ms. DeShon truly thinks the school district and/or county health department broke the law, let’s see the relevant statute and the relevant MDHSS regulations.

Finally:

Homecoming events are happening all week long. The school has barred any Marysville student who cannot provide immunity status from attending these week long events including the homecoming parade and the homecoming dance. This group of banned students consists of band members, cheerleaders, and football players. HOWEVER, the school is allowing students from other school districts to attend without checking immunity or vaccination status of the visiting student.

Personally, I’d say that Ms. DeShon has a point here, but not in the way she thinks. Her argument is a good argument not of letting her child and the 36 other unvaccinated students back into school; it’s an argument for checking the vaccination status of the other students attending, presumably students from the school whose football team will be playing Marysville this weekend. I’m guessing this isn’t being done because it’s impractical.

Dr. Shawn Wightman, Superintendent of Marysville Public Schools, responded yesterday to Ms. DeShon’s op-ed:

This communication is in response to a number of misleading and grossly exaggerated statements that have been made by a local community member involving an unfortunate chickenpox outbreak at Marysville High School.

In summary, on Thursday, September 26, 2019, the St. Clair County Health Department identified an outbreak of the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox) at Marysville High School. Based on current records, 37 students were identified as being susceptible to this highly contagious disease. Consequently, in accordance with Michigan Public Health Code (MCL 333.1101/Rule 175), all exposed susceptible students were discreetly brought down to the school’s office and respectfully informed of the situation.

A letter, drafted by the St. Clair County Health Department, was also provided. Parents or legal guardians of these students were called by school staff, informed of the circumstances, and advised to make arrangements to have their child(ren) picked up from the building as soon as possible.

All of the above was done at the direction of the St. Clair County Health Department and for the safety of all our students, staff and visitors to Marysville High School. It was also done in a professional, respectful and caring way.

Yeah, this sounds about right and is rather how I expected that Marysville High School staff would have carried out the school district’s and county health department’s decision.

At the end of her op-ed, Ms. DeShon called on all parents of children at Marysville High School to keep their children home for the day and protest this offense against freedom (or something). What was the result? As is the case with nearly all antivaccine protests, the number of protestors was…unimpressive:

Antivaxers protesting Marysville High School.

I can’t conclude without mentioning two more things. First, the Times-Herald screwed up, big time, by publishing Stacy DeShon’s op-ed. Sure, the paper printed a letter by a doctor supporting the school’s action and emphasizing the importance of vaccination and one by the St. Clair County Medical Society doing the same. There was no reason to publish Ms. DeShon’s article other than for false balance, which is something that I had thought newspapers had gotten over (mostly) when it comes to the antivaccine movement. All I can do here is to say to the editor of the newspaper: For shame!

The last thing I want to mention before I conclude is that state law currently gives the the St. Clair County Health Department and the Marysville School District the authority to keep unvaccinated students out of school in the event of an outbreak. This power is an essential one that allows public health authorities to act early and limit the spread of outbreaks. It’s also a power that the Michigan State GOP tried to limit or eliminate on more than one occasion when it proposed bills to reverse an MDHSS policy that requires parents seeking a personal belief exemption to school vaccine mandates to go to their county health department for an educational program and to use a standardized state form. Part of those same bills were provisions that would have limited the power of county health authorities and school districts to do just what the St. Clair County Health Department and the Marysville School District did in response to this chickenpox outbreak. Their actions protected the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike. That power to protect is what Stacy DeShon and the other parents of unvaccinated students are protesting in the name of “parental rights.”

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]

88 replies on “Marysville High School has a chickenpox outbreak, and antivaxers don’t want their children kept home”

Two things.
A. Discrimination means treating like cases – like in the relevant aspects – differently. Children whose parents didn’t protect, unvaccinated children, are meaningfully different in terms of the risk during an outbreak. Sadly, children who cannot be vaccinated for valid medical reasons. It’s not discrimination to treat these groups differently.

B. FERPA (not HIPAA) would create some complications in giving records to the health department (which is likely why the schools are enforcing this on specific students), but since in Michigan exemptions now go through the health department, they should already have this on record?

And I agree it was a gaffe to give the antivaccine activist a platform to promote misinformation.

I am not sure. It depends whether you see this as an epidemic disease, and it may well not be, given the low rates. I don’t think you can assume it, though the school could think otherwise. At the least, they would be taking a risk.

One more thing. I also don’t know what happened here, but in New York they very intentionally have been sending children to school past the date unvaccinated children were not allowed under the new law.

From Stacy DeShon

By doing so, they showed total disregard for the emotional welfare or physical safety of the students

I guess letting these students catch chickenpox from their schoolmates was the way to go to preserve their emotional welfare and physical safety.

Isn’t this what the anti-vaxxers want? In New York they’re all up in arms that the religious exemption was taken away. They’ve argued that instead of taking away the exemption, quarantine can be used in case of an outbreak.

Would Michigan anti-vaxxers prefer to have no exemptions?

Consistency of thought word and deed is not a trait of anti-vaxxers. The only thing anti-vaxxers want is to do whatever they want whenever they want and to heck with their children’s health and the rest of us as well.

They think their children are “pure” in a very ritualistic sense. It’s part of their views on vaccines. So, in their mind, their children are the ones that need to be quaretined, it’s those “impure” children with chicken pox. As their children are pute, they can’t spread the diseases…

Missing homecoming festivities is definitely a blow to the emotional welfare of these unvaccinated children. They will carry the scars for a lifetime. 🙁

Personally, when I think about homecoming, I remember tediously long “pep” rallies that made me want to chew off my limbs to escape. Lucky kids.

I brought a paperback of Tolstoy and ignored the cheering. My kids complained they don’t allow that now.

@DB – “They will carry the scars for a lifetime” I thought you were being sarcastic until i saw the sad face. Are you referring to chickenpox scars or emotional scars? Both? Please clarify.

Missing an important event can be a very traumatic event. I recall that a fan of Gene Tierney very nearly missed a chance to meet her heroine, due to being quarantined for German measles. Fortunately the clever fan was able to evade the quarantine and shake hands with Tierney, infecting her, and causing deafness and mental handicaps in her unborn daughter. Another pro-disease victory!

Are you serious? I hated homecoming–King and Queen?–of what, exactly? I went to one of the dances once and all the guys just tried to “feel me up” as we called sexual assault in those days. I think I actually had more fun with chicken pox–once the pustules started healing anyway. It was the only time we got to jump on the bed!

I’m from the UK: I don’t even know what “homecoming” is (aside from what I did every day at around 4pm as a kid). Does this mean I too am emotionally scarred?

And I thought getting chicken pox had been bad enough – I do still have some scars from that…

“Missing homecoming festivities is definitely a blow to the emotional welfare of these unvaccinated children”

There was a mumps outbreak in our county in 2015, and it peaked just before homecoming. Parents were lying to the Health Department investigators about their childrens’ diagnoses because they didn’t want them missing homecoming festivities. Seriously.

The school has ( at least) 4% unvaccinated students, what level of vaccine coverage is necessary to prevent spread of this particular illness?

Also would the immunity coverage required for herd immunity in general society always be enough in an environment where groups spend several hours each day relatively close?

If you’re talking herd immunity, then the definition of the herd comes into play here. Is the herd the whole school? A particular grade? A classroom? If that 4% are all concentrated in one grade or one classroom — or, heck, one lunch period — then the proportion unvaccinated in that herd is probably below herd immunity.

The R Naught for varicella is 12, so the level for herd immunity is 1 – 1/12, or about 92%. But, again, we need to define the herd.

(This is why antivaxxers’ claims that the entire US population is well-vaccinated, so everything should be alright crumbles when a herd is defined as their unvaccinated children grouping up together in their communities, driving up the proportion of unvaccinated.)

Chicken Pox is such a miserable experience that I can only wish that each and every one of these parents who have denied their children protection from a nasty, itchy, miserable disease (that lives in your body forever!) falls into a pile of poison ivy, because that is the only itchy, blistering rash that comes anywhere close to my experience of chicken pox.

“Yes, little Susie, I love you so much that I want your entire body to be covered in itchy pustules filled with a virus that will live on your nerves for the rest of your life and probably re-emerge in a time of great stress and sorrow to cause you terrible pain and possibly blindness.”
Do they hear themselves?

@Chicken Pox Survivor – Our media in the U.S. work very hard to keep the population scared. People who are fearful (and ignorant) are easier to control.

It is time to update the formula:

FEAR + MORE MANDATES + LESS EXEMPTIONS = MORE VACCINES SOLD = MORE $$$$$$

I was almost hospitalized when I had chicken pox. A friend of my mother’s, who unfortunately didn’t contract it until she was an adult, died.

I am now at risk of shingles. Every one I know who’s had shingles says it’s about the most painful thing that’s every happened to them.

Its not even a notifiable infection in Europe.

Doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

Get a grip!

I’m sorry, what?
What?
Chickenpox can kill. Shingles is so excruciating that some sufferers have commited suicide from the pain. I had a mild bout, and there is a scar near my left shoulder. You can bet the farm that I would have preferred getting jabbed to that week.

No, I am not particularly joking.
Why should there be more suffering in the world?

I’m going to guess you haven’t had the shingles yet.
My father in law lost most of the sight in one eye to shingles.

I had the chickenpox. Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to have their children get this disease needs to be covered with honey and stacked out over an anthill.

Having had chickenpox and living in fear of shingles, I second Justa’s view. Just because it doesn’t (usually) cause severe complications, that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly uncomfortable. Not to mention, these kids are well into their teens, so they would likely have a much more severe case than people who get it as small children. Of the few people I know who got it past the age of 12 or so, the majority had to be hospitalized.

After hearing a story from a coworker about their neighbor who commited suicide due to the painf of shingles, I am counting down to when I can get my vaccine.

@Julian Frost.

Chicken pox dangerous? Please!
Sleeping is 4 x more dangerous than CHP, 450 die yearly in the US by falling out of bed.
You Americans have a way of over-dramatizing mosquito bite of a problem.

You get shingles when your immunity wanes as a result of lack of exposure to the wild virus. This is known and a reason why CHP vaccine is not recommended in Europe.

Funny that you should use “a mosquito bite” as a way of minimizing something.

Let’s see:

“Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,[1] filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis,[2] Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever,[2] as well as newly detected Keystone virus and Rift Valley fever.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito-borne_disease

Game, set, match. Don’t be a sore loser or anything, OK?

@ Meg,

Almost hospitalized? Sounds dreadful.

Friend of your moms died? Shame she did not get the infection when she was a kid. Let me guess, vaccine immunity waned and killed her?

Everyone I know had the pox and none I know had any issues. Look at old CDC data, 4 million infections yearly prior to the vaccine, 100, maybe 150 deaths.

Truly an infection to fear. Get a grip.

“Friend of your moms died? Shame she did not get the infection when she was a kid. ”

Then she could have died as a kid – cool!

I was exposed to it three times before I actually caught it, resulting in my being somewhat older. The vaccine was available until I was an adult. The friend of my mother’s who died from chicken pox was born, lived, suffered and died long before the vaccine was available.

So, a small number of deaths doesn’t matter? Children suffering doesn’t matter? Adults getting shingles doesn’t matter?

Too bad there’s not a vaccine against callous disregard for one’s fellow humans.

My cousin had encephalitis from chicken pox. He was 3 and ended up in the ICU, almost died. Sure, only 100 kids per year would die before the vaccine, but millions would suffer, incur medical expenses, cause lost time from work for their parents. I had chicken pox when I was 5 and I would never want my children to go through that if I can protect them from it. And that’s 100 kids that now don’t have to die because the disease can be prevented.

How many deaths would be non-negligible to you, then?
The chickenpox is not a part of regular schedule here because the lawmakers consider it akin to sniffles and people often don’t bother to vaccinate their kids. So, my stepson got varicella in winter when he was at Grandma’s for a weekend. Stayed there for six or seven weeks as he couldn’t travel and he was miserable for a good part of the time although he was allowed to bring all the cats in bed and eat as much sugar as he wanted. The complications of someone needing to care for a sick and unhappy child arose as well, not speaking of loss of income when someone had to take time off work.

@Gray Squirrel

““Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,[1] filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis,[2] Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever,[2] as well as newly detected Keystone virus and Rift Valley fever.”

Which one of these are a problem when you get bitten by a mosquito in US?

Which one of these are a problem when you get bitten by a mosquito in US?

One might note that several of these are, y’know, named after U.S. locations. EEE seems to particularly suck. You can do the rest of your homework yourself.

AND 10-11 years ago, my late uncle was tested for West Nile virus in Long Island/ NYC area, not Cairo.
Not to mention ‘tropical diseases’ recently in Florida and a long history of others in the US South.

I wonder how many of the parents have been vaccinated, and if not, would getting chicken pox change their point of view?
Something to explore.

@ Old Rockin’ Dave:

In my travels in Anti-vax land, I notice that : most of them are white,(at least) middle class to affluent ( shown by research) AND age groups who were vaccinated –
there are two sets:
the older set -including well-known advocates like Loe Fisher, Blaxill, Stone, Wakefield, Kuo Habakus, many of the TMs and AoA’ers, woo-meisters like Adams, Null, Mercola, Humphries, Tenpenny, Bark and dear old Del.
most of them are over 50-70+ which means that they were vaccinated AND perhaps old enough to recall outbreaks of VPDs
the younger group– ( 30s-40s?) includes many followers ( see Sacramento and NY protests) who may still have young children and new leaders like ‘Crazy Mothers’. They were born as VPDs were being eliminated by mass vaccination and may not have ever witnessed an outbreak and are protected themselves, being a group who got many, many vaccines in the 1970s-80s.

Although a few may say that they were never vaccinated ( like Del) most probably were. The parents sometimes recruit their children for protests and as followers.

I am a fully vaccinated adult with zero protective antibodies to Measles or Pertussis as per the titer test I had done in January this year.
I’m still immune to chickenpox, mumps and rubella which I had 30+ years ago though.

Both my parents had the usual childhood infections including measles and got the diseases they were vaccinated for: mom and sister had pertussis, my dad had tetanus.

Can you see the difference in natural versus vaccine immunity duration in our family?

Can you you understand the difference between anecdote and data? (and whooping cough immunity fades from both vaccine and infection).

Chicken Pox Survivor: Humans do not build long-lasting immunity to either tetanus or pertussis, either from vaccines or from wild-type infection.
That’s why you have boosters.

Probably few if any of the parents have been vaccinated. Most probably had varicella infection. Varicella vaccine in US started in 1995. Infants who received it then would be 24 year olds now. I don’t know how much older they vacccinated up to when the vaccine came out but I’d be surprised if anyone much beyond the age of 30 got the varicella vaccine (with another reason being those older kids in 1995 likely had already had varicella infection given how contagious it was). I have varicella infection age 10. It was miserable. I wouldn’t have wished those 2 weeks on anyone which was why my kids are vaccinated against varicella.

I wouldn’t have wished those 2 weeks on anyone

I believe that I’ve mentioned getting chickenpox as an undergraduate and spending a good week listening to side 4 of Traffic on the Road because I didn’t have the strength to make it stop.

I also had it at the age of 10, together with 3 younger siblings. We all barely had few spots and it was over in a few days. My 3 years old had it two months ago, her 20 spots appeared on Wednesday and were gone by Saturday. No other symptoms, now she has lifelong immunity and she will be able to protect her baby one day. Herd Immunity

We all barely had few spots and it was over in a few days.

Survivor bias much? Just because YOUhad a mild bout doesn’t mean everyone else was as lucky as you. As I mentioned above, Chickenpox kills people every year. Shingles can be painful enough to trigger suicide.

@ Dr Chris:

To clarify, when I said most of the anti-vaxxers ( both groups) were probably vaccinated, I meant in general ( whatever was available for their cohort) not specifically the varicella which I know was a more recent one ( although I didn’t think THAT recent) .
Perhaps just a few remained totally pure like Del. Hippies’ kids, natural health followers’ kids, Steiner advocates’ kids and children of chiropractors like Sherry Tenpenny.

Chicken Pox Survivor:
First, if maternal antibodies worked that well then you kid wouldn’t have gotten chickenpox in the first place, now would she?

Second, good on you and your family for having really mild cases. I wonder how strong your immunity is, with such a mild case.
Me? I had the chicken pox when I was about 3, and it was a horrible, painful, miserable experience. My older cousin had an even worse case: she had chickenpox lesions inside of her eyelids, up her nose, in her ears, as well as all over the rest of her body. And it sure wasn’t over in 3 days.

Why do you assume that your experience was universal?

Oh, Chicken Pox Survivor, you are truly the epitome of all that is chickenpox. I had it at six, a severe case, and it was everywhere, even places we didn’t know chickenpox could go, and thanks to a severe anaphylactic reaction to the typical treatment for chickenpox, which had me land in the hospital for a few days, I ended up having to suffer through the rest of it and was a month out of school (even when I went back to school you could see I had it bad – and I still have scars from it 47 years later). If the vaccine had been available back in 1972, then you can be sure my parents would taken me to get it.

Oh, and I’ve had shingles too about 10 years ago and I still have residual pain from it. I wouldn’t wish shingles on anyone. As soon as I was given the a-okay to get the vaccine for that, I got it. Hell, my experience with it even convinced my mum to get the vaccine. Chickenpox can be dangerous for some people. I survived it but would not wish for anyone to go through what I went through with it and certainly not where shingles is concerned.

Our bodies react to vaccines the same way they do to getting the disease in the wild. The cool thing about vaccines, you might get a mild reaction, or no reaction at all, and you get the benefits of immunity without having had the disease itself. I have reactions to most vaccines (some very painful), but none of those reactions are life threatening so I still get them. A few days to a week of being uncomfortable prevents me from potentially suffering much worse if I actually get a vaccine preventable disease. The only reasons not to get vaccinated are for valid medical reasons.

How some people cannot see the benefits of vaccines, the lives they save and the suffering they prevent, baffles me.

Why do you assume that your experience was universal?

Perhaps more salient is the question why anyone would pop out of nowhere here and just ramble on and on about the glory of pustules.

I note the example of a Michigan school vaccination waiver provided by Michigan for Vaccine Choice states in bold print:
“The child may be subject to exclusion from the school or program, if the local and/or state public health authority advises
exclusion as a disease control measure.”

Are Ms. DeShon and MVC functionally illiterate?
Do they somehow not understand that the waiver says their unvaccinated kid will be pulled from school during an outbreak of a disease for which they’ve not been vaccinated.
… Another anti-vax lawyer. Another batch of lies.
.
MVC website: michiganvaccinechoice(dot)org/school-waivers
The waiver pdf: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/49f017_92e78eaa74954d809b7d232dc0be2159.pdf

The immunization form they submit, the one where they signed that they have an exemption, states the children will be kicked out of school during out breaks. They should plan for this to happen more and more, as VPD rates increase.

Anti-vax Facebook group “Oregonians for Medical FreedomFreedumb” is plugging a Detroit Free Press article on this where DeShon again claims “discrimination”. Anti-vax pediatrician Paul Thomas co-chairs this Oregon group anti-vax group and Thomas is one who claims it’s ok to delay the MMR vaccination until 3 years age because he states we could quarantine the unvaccinated kids when outbreaks occur. Of course, this quarantining is exactly what is happening in Michigan, and now it’s suddenly not acceptable to anti-vaxxers to quarantine because they’re so desperate for this “civil rights” angle nonsense that they’ve most recently glommed onto as their latest bogus claim of persecution.

Well, obviously, quarantine has to be scheduled at a convenient time for the children (cannot miss homecoming), and more importantly, for the parents.
I know. Let’s just reschedule quarantine in July 2022. And to make up for the wait, let’s do it for three weeks instead of two.

Snark mostly aside, quarantine is obviously only needed for these dirty, imperfect children from other people. Antivaxers’ precious snowflakes don’t need to be quarantined. They either never get ill, of if they are, it’s good for them and if the children from other people can’t stand it, then it’s the responsibility of these weaklings to confine themselves.

Snark full aside, I understand that it’s difficult for working parents to pick-up children at school during working hours (and then figure out what to do with the little tykes), but feck, if warned beforehand that it’s going to happen today and/or one of the parents is staying at home…
I wonder if these parents would have the same reaction if the school was on fire.

Well…before the hysteria, children who had chickenpox were required to stay home until the lesions scabbed over. Now children who are not vaccinated for chickenpox are required to stay home? This IS discriminatory. My, oh my, how things have changed! Flipping the script to support more mandates.

The American fixation with chicken pox is laughable.
It’s chicken pox not ebola!
In Europe this isn’t even a notifiable disease and vaccinating is certainly not recommended as it would destroy current heard immunity where babies are protected via maternal antibody transfer, most children get it at the appropriate age where complications are rare and the elderly are protected from shingles via the circulation of the wild virus.

That’s true HEARD IMMUNITY!

Once we get rid of chicken pox, no one will have to be “protected” against shingles at the expense of the very real suffering of children.

Thank you for standing up for the vaccine manufacturers! Their profits are at risk if diseases are eliminated. If you had been around a few decades back, we might still have the benefits of smallpox – which used to be a big profit center for vaccine companies and funeral parlors.

Not sure which part of Europe you live but those bits I know have slightly varied attitude when it comes to insurance coverage but I yet have to hear a reasonable (read: not antivax or otherwise loony) doctor recommend against it.
Not sure what’s appropriate age for an annoying, if not dangerous illness, and as for the protection from shingles, my grandmother, who, being 88, got all the usual childhood diseases and doesn’t remember any of them fondly but does remember people dying from them, had a few bouts of shingles and says it’s the worst thing ever. And again, we’re talking about a person who survived war, difficult home birth, two cancers and spent her active years with rather demanding factory job. (Plus, she has those stories of neighbourhood kids actually dying of whooping cough or suffering permanent disability from whatever of those rash-causing diseases.)
Also, babies are protected by maternal antibodies but for how long? Certainly not for life.

@Kultakutri

“The chickenpox vaccine is not part of the routine UK childhood vaccination programme because chickenpox is usually a mild illness in children. There’s also a worry that introducing chickenpox vaccination for all children could increase the risk of chickenpox and shingles in adults.”

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/childrens-health/why-are-children-in-the-uk-not-vaccinated-against-chickenpox/

“Also, babies are protected by maternal antibodies but for how long? Certainly not for life.”

You don’t know how long for? Do you support vaccines in pregnancy to “protect” babies by maternal antibody transfer?

We can keep comparing stories if you like: my moms neighbor got polio from the vaccine and my moms sister was killed by penicillin injection when she was year and a half old.
She died in the doctors office.
My mom had 8 children, all born in a hospital, all dreadful experiences.

I had one at home and it was beautiful. I loved it.

I wonder why we’re all sick?. America, where the healthy are quarantined so the sick can roam free.

“I wonder why we’re all sick?”

The fact that you’re sick doesn’t mean that the rest of us are. Most people prefer that their children don’t suffer; for the few that are turned on by the idea, some slight restrictions are warranted.

“I also had it at the age of 10, together with 3 younger siblings. We all barely had few spots and it was over in a few days. My 3 years old had it two months ago, her 20 spots appeared on Wednesday and were gone by Saturday. No other symptoms, now she has lifelong immunity and she will be able to protect her baby one day. Herd Immunity”

Congratulations. Your children are have varicella zoster permanently lodged in their bodies. If they live long enough, they will be at permanent risk of shingles. You must be so proud.

P.S. Immunity to chicken pox following having the disease is not permanent – you can get it twice.

P.P.S. I’ve interviewed dozens of people who played Russian roulette, and they’re all alive – if you are smart enough to figure out why that isn’t particularly useful information you’ll be able to apply it to your current anecdote.

Immunity to chicken pox following having the disease is not permanent – you can get it twice.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I contracted it in my senior year in college from someone who had it for the second time. Were it not just about winter break, I might have had to add an extra year to finish the four-quarter Structure of Matter requisite.

And being too weak to get up and turn off side 4 of Traffic’s On the Road did not help.

Chicken Pox Survivor apparently referenced this CDC webpage on varicella, which says “Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States. In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got varicella, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized (range, 8,000 to 18,000), and 100 to 150 died each year.”

http://cdc.gov/chickenpox/surveillance/monitoring-varicella.html

How very right you are, CPC, chickenpox is no biggie! 10,500 to 13,000 hospitalizations a year meant kids got a break from school! 100-150 deaths a year from chickenpox – just a drop in the bucket!!! Anyway those dead kids probably improved the gene pool by dying.

We need lots more clear-headed thinking like this.

@ bacon

“Studies from European countries show that standardised annual incidence of hospitalisations due to varicella
ranges from 1.9‒5.8 per 100 000 population”

‘Case fatality ratios in studies from EU/EEA countries vary from 0.01% to 5.4% among hospitalised cases of
varicella”

yup, dreadful. defo a reason to go jab yourself with a vaccine.

@CPC, it most certainly is a reason to be immunized. Even that small risk swamps the risk of getting a sore arm from vaccination. Bonus: you don’t get sick. Second bonus: you drastically lower the risk of shingles.

Shingrix (first shot down, December for the second) will complete my risk abatement for a very painful, now quite preventable illness.

Consider is one:
Tino F. Schwarz, Stephanie Volpe, Gregory Catteau, Roman Chlibek, Marie Pierre David, Jan Hendrik Richardus, Himal Lal, Lidia Oostvogels, Karlis Pauksens, Stephanie Ravault, Lars Rombo, Gerard Sonder, Jan Smetana, Thomas Heineman & Adriana Bastidas (2018) Persistence of immune response to an adjuvanted varicella-zoster virus subunit vaccine for up to year nine in older adults, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 14:6, 1370-1377, DOI: 10.1080/21645515.2018.1442162

Five years not having to worry about getting shingles? I’ll take it. Five years is five years. I’ve had shingles. It was brutal. It’s been 10 years and I still have residual nerve damage and pain because of it. My reaction to the shingles vaccine is actually quite dramatic, but not life threatening. A few days of discomfort and mild pain from a vaccine over several weeks of excruciating pain and potential nerve damage from the actual disease is something I’m willing to take. Jab away!

@ Justatech

“Humans do not build long-lasting immunity to either tetanus or pertussis, either from vaccines or from wild-type infection.
That’s why you have boosters.”

Oh bummer!! Show me a country with adult schedule that enforces this

Cool, room for improvement! I was informed, some years ago, that my last tetanus shot was approaching ten years in the past. She administered the shot right there! Seriously easy.

I have a new grandchild arriving around the end of the year. Guess what? I got a TDaP in preparation so I would be allowed to hold that baby.

Rather than a rigid schedule, there are events which trigger the very normal events noted above.

Oh bummer!! Show me a country with adult schedule that enforces this

Vaccine schedules are inanimate; they don’t “enforce” anything.

Adults are expected to act like adults and keep track of such things themselves. My doctor and I keep track of my vaccines and when I’m due to get them, I get them. I like living disease free, thank you very much, and I don’t want to be the one who gives someone else who cannot get vaccines or did not get them (and should have) some VPD.

Comments are closed.