No, you are not entitled to your own opinion about the safety of homebirth … or vaccines … or detoxes, etc. etc. etc.

iStock_000054408438Small

Here at The Skeptical OB, we are treated to a steady stream of natural childbirth, homebirth and breastfeeding advocates parachuting in to “educate” everyone else. Sadly for them, they usually end by flouncing off after only a day or two. It’s almost as if they read Skeptico’s The Woo Handbook and are putting its principles into practice [with my comments in brackets]:

  • Start by telling skeptics you want to “educate them on the facts”…
  • When the skeptic comes back with demands for “evidence” (they love that word) for your claims, you should say the skeptic is being “defensive”. Alternatively you could try a passive aggressive approach and say the skeptic is “attacking”…
  • Remember, your personal experience is always more valid than their scientific studies (or your lack of them). Anecdotes will convince more people you’re right than any number of “studies” …
  • Question the skeptic’s experience or qualifications… [i.e. point out that Dr. Amy is retired as if this is a big secret that isn’t featured in the sidebar of the blog] …
  • Question the motives of everyone [except for the people who agree with you] …
  • After the debate has been going for a while you should say you’ve provided studies to support your position, even though you haven’t. [Or, alternatively, insist that you “don’t have time” to provide citations for the “many” studies that support your position]
  • … [W]hen you’ve used up all the above tactics, say you’re not going to waste any more time with the skeptics you’ve been debating because they’re too sad, stupid, closed-minded, ______ (insert other flaw the skeptic has) to understand your brilliant arguments…

Finally, when all else fails, insist that you are entitled to your own opinion.

Except that you are not. As Philosophy Professor Patrick Stokes explains:

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.

Why?

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

What’s an opinion?

Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions.

You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.”

Here’s the money quote:

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

What does that mean for those who parachute in to “educate” us about homebirth, or any other aspect of pseudoscience?

It means that while you are entitled to have whatever beliefs you wish about these subjects, but you aren’t entitled to have your beliefs taken as serious candidates for discussion unless you can defend them logically and with citations to appropriate scientific papers (papers that you have actually read and understood).

Otherwise, you might as well skip directly to Skeptico’s last principle:

Announce that you’re not going to waste any more time with the commentors on The Skeptical OB because they’re too sad, stupid, closed-minded, ______ (insert other flaw the skeptic has) to understand your brilliant arguments

Be sure to stick the flounce and don’t be tempted to come back within the hour to keep making the same absurd “arguments” again.

  • Carol Anderson

    My name is Carol Anderson, I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who helped me in my life. I was infected with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS in 2010, i went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how can I get a solution out so that my body can be okay. One day I was in the river side thinking where I can go to get solution. so a lady walked to me telling me why am I so sad and i open up all to her telling her my problem, she told me that she can help me out, she introduce me to a doctor who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS and gave me his email, so i mail him. He told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to take, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS that was in my body got cured . so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, you can also email him at ogboduherbalhivcure@gmail.com OR ogboduspellhome@gmail.com
    “”

  • curiousmama

    I have to leave the forum now and probably won’t be able to participate in discussions here anymore (I procrastinate way too much on things like this so it is usually best I avoid forums 🙂 Thank you to everyone who was polite to me, even if there were things I was wrong about or ideas I had that were basic…I am still learning and appreciate the thought-provoking comments I can take away from this thread. I also appreciate the specific links and recommendations as I have limited time and would like to read reliable sources. Thanks again, Danielle

    • Siri

      Luckily you won’t have to try to ‘avoid forums’, as you live in a ‘technologically dead’ area and only happen to be ‘minding your father’s house’. So I’m not sure how you’ve managed to do so much online reading. Do you housesit all the time? Or are you actually … gasp … a troll? If so, you wouldn’t be the first one posing as a wide-eyed first-time parent who is oh so innocently looking for answers to your honest questions. While simultaneously begging the question as fast as your little fingers will allow.

      • curiousmama

        I am house-sitting and watching my younger brother, and I can go to town and get internet access but have no affordable options at home (we refuse to pay for satellite). I should be doing last minute cleaning but wanted to check for any additional posts with resource suggestions

        • Siri

          I bet you did.

  • A Banterings

    Before any of you accuse me of being anti-vax, let me tell you that I am NOT!

    What I am is pro-informed consent, pro human rights, and pro-liberty. I believe that everyone has the rights to full information on the benefits and the risks (especially in healthcare), and the individual has the right to make the decision that they feel is right for themselves.

    I am NOT going to look at the issue of mercury or autism either.

    So let’s talk about informed consent truthfully and honestly . I will pick out one vaccine to illustrate with. It is one of the most common and one of the most dangerous (as approved vaccines go): the influenza vaccine.

    Yes, there are other vaccines that are safer, but all vaccines carry risks and benefits. I can cite sources with the same conclusions for other vaccines too, but to illustrate my point, I will focus on the influenza vaccine.

    Most of my sources are from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Therefore, their credibility CANNOT be disputed.

    A September 2013 meta-analysis study by the CDC reveals that flu vaccinations among healthcare workers offer no evidence of protection to the patients under their care! The CDC still recommends flu shots for healthcare workers because “It’s the best intervention we currently have, so we need to keep using it while working toward a better flu vaccine.”

    Here are some excerpts from the study as published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota:

    Is it safe?

    The June 2014 report from the Department of Justice on damages paid by the U.S. Government to vaccine victims was recently published on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources website. There were 120 cases of vaccine injuries decided. 78 cases received compensation, while 42 cases were denied.

    Most of the U.S. public is unaware that a U.S. citizen, by law, cannot sue a pharmaceutical company for damages resulting from vaccines. Congress gave them total legal immunity in 1986, and that law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. There is a special “vaccine court” called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that is funded through a tax on vaccines. If you are injured or killed by a vaccine, you must hire an attorney and fight tax-funded government attorneys to seek damages, as you cannot sue the drug manufacturers. It takes years to reach a settlement, with the longest case being settled after 11 years.

    As in previous reports, the June 15, 2014, report covering a 3-month period shows that the flu vaccine is the most dangerous vaccine in America. 78 cases were awarded settlements for vaccine injuries, with 55 of the settlements being for the flu shot, including one death. Most of the settlements for injuries due to the flu shot were for Guillain-Barr Syndrome. Other flu vaccine injuries included: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Rheumatoid arthritis, Shingles, Brachial plexus neuropathy, Bell’s Palsy, Brachial neuritis, Transverse myelitis, Lichenoid drug eruption, and Narcolepsy.

    Guess what the CDC says about the flu vaccine?

    ….The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm or death is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions . Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it….

    …..There is a small possibility that influenza vaccine could be associated with Guillain-Barr syndrome….

    Source: CDC website

    “U.S. data on influenza deaths are a mess,” states a 2005 article in the British Medical Journal entitled “Are U.S. flu death figures more PR than science?” This article takes issue with the 36,000 flu-death figure commonly claimed, and with describing “influenza/pneumonia” as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

    Even the CDC admits the numbers are incorrect:

    Using this new, loose definition, CDC’s computer models could tally people who died of a heart ailment or other causes after having the flu. As William Thompson of the CDC’s National Immunization Program admitted, influenza-associated mortality is “a statistical association … I don’t know that we would say that it’s the underlying cause of death.”

    The CDC’s decision to play up flu deaths dates back a decade, when it realized the public wasn’t following its advice on the flu vaccine. During the 2003 flu season “the manufacturers were telling us that they weren’t receiving a lot of orders for vaccine,”Dr. Glen Nowak, associate director for communications at CDC’s National Immunization Program, told National Public Radio. “It really did look like we needed to do something to encourage people to get a flu shot

    Source: The Huffington Post

    Research shows that the vaccine can actually cause people to be more susceptible to the flu, or suffer worse symptoms if they contract the influenza virus.

    This phenomenon where the flu vaccine can actually make the flu worse was originally observed in mass in Canada during the 2008-2009 flu season. Researchers studied the issue for the next couple of years and concluded that the flu vaccine did in fact increase the severity of flu symptoms among those who were vaccinated (see: Study finds flu shot really did make people sicker).

    This was studied in Hong Kong in 2012 by researchers who conducted a true vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study on the influenza vaccine. The researchers found that those who received the flu vaccine suffered 5.5 times more incidents of similar diseases (see: Study: Flu Vaccine Causes 5.5 Times More Respiratory Infections – A True Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Study).

    In 2013, a study conducted by microbiologist Dr. Hana Golding of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at Bethesda in Maryland showed that pigs vaccinated against one strain of influenza were worse off if subsequently infected by a related strain of the virus (see: Vaccination may make flu worse if exposed to a second strain).

    The CDC admits they do not know if the flu vaccines are effective!

    Here is a study published in Oxford University’s Oxford Journal. The study finds that the flu vaccine causes 5.5 times More respiratory infections. The implications are the act of injecting antigens probably damages the innate cell-mediated immune response, the part of the immune system that protects without the need of resorting to development of antibodies. (The phenomenon of virus interference has been well known in virology for over 60 years.)

    Source: Increased Risk of Noninfluenza Respiratory Virus Infections Associated With Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine; Clinical Infectious Diseases; Benjamin J. Cowling, Vicky J. Fang, Hiroshi Nishiura, Kwok-Hung Chan, Sophia Ng, Dennis K. M.lp, Susan S. Chiu, Gabriel M. Leung} and J. S. Malik Peir; DOI: 10.1093/cid/cis307

    June, 2014 — Europe’s biggest drug maker Novartis had its offices in Italy searched by police in June of 2014 for information related to two flu vaccines. This one was covered by the mainstream media as Bloomberg reported:

    Italian police searched two of the company’s sites as part of a probe into possible fraud related to the purchase of the vaccines by the Health Ministry, one for a pandemic in 2009, according to an e-mailed statement from the police. The police allege Novartis inflated the cost of an additive to the vaccines, known as MF59, by six-fold. (Source Law 360)

    Glen Nowak, former communications director for the CDC’s National Immunization Program, openly admitted during a 2004 presentation to the AMA, the CDC exaggerates flu hospitalization and death numbers to scare Americans into getting the flu shot. Although the presentation has been removed from the AMA’s website (most likely due to its incriminatory nature), other websites have archived it.

    Of particular interest is Nowak’s plan (he even calls it a “recipe”) to increase vaccination rates. Medical experts and public health authorities are encouraged to:

    Express concern and alarm publicly (e.g., in the media), predict dire outcomes, and urge influenza vaccination;
    Frame the flu season in terms that motivate behavior (e.g., using phrases like “very severe,” “more severe than last or past years,” “deadly”);
    Help foster the perception that many people are susceptible to a base case of influenza, by using continued reports from health officials and media that influenza is causing severe illness and/or affecting lots of people; and
    Show photographs of children and the families of those affected coming forward to get vaccinated.
    The CDC would apparently like you to believe that if everyone just got the flu shot, there would be no more tragic deaths. They seem to support efforts to force all healthcare workers to get it or lose their jobs, and of schools and youth programs to require it.

    I have presented scientific studies that show that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it claims. I have even shown the CDC’s own admission to this as well, yet it is defended as the Holy Grail. Should there not be a healthy skepticism in healthcare towards vaccines in light of the abuses committed by big pharma?

    What if I told you that the biggest risk to your health is going to a healthcare facility?

    A new study published in the March issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology shows that routine well-child visits to pediatricians actually increase a child’s chance for catching the flu within two weeks. This confirms what many parents have already discovered, that well-child visits are counterproductive, and usually a primary method of distributing vaccines.

    “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. –Joseph Stalin”

    What is really at stake? BILLIONS on DOLLARS!

    Richard Lander, MD (who also is a speaker for Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Sanofi-Pasteur – all vaccine makers) wrote in the article was published on Healio Pediatrics webpage about Infectious Diseases in Children: “Influenza vaccination makes sense for everyone.”

    Giving influenza vaccine is also good for the financial health of your practice. Source:
    Note that the article was published in January of 2013, plus there could be added financial rewards a year later due to vaccine price and medical service fees increases. Guess how much the vaccine administration fee is? According to Dr. Lander, it should range from $14 to $30.

    Dr. Lander uses a hypothetical patient base of 2,000 and explains who may or may not receive the flu vaccine. He contends bottom line and revenue results are $14,000 to $30,000 from only 1,000 patients receiving the flu shot. However, Dr. Lander throws in a financial wild card regarding 100 patients, who called to get a flu shot and then end up scheduling a well visit. According to Lander, a doctor “should be generating an additional $10,000. Bottom line: $25,000 to $42,500, which is not bad!”[Source:]

    The Flu Vaccine is the most Dangerous Vaccine in the U. S. based on Settled Cases for Injuries [Source: Department of Justice (Vaccine Court) claims 8/16/2013 through 11/15/2013].

    Of the 70 cases compensated (8/16/2013 through 11/15/2013), 42 of them were for the flu vaccine, or 60% of the cases settled where compensation was awarded for injury or death due to the flu vaccine. The combined total of the other 40% of cases settled included the following vaccines: Hep B, Tetanus, HPV, DTaP, MMR, IPV, PCV, Hib, Meningococcal, Varicella, TD.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Yeah, right. You’re not anti-vax. And neither is Jenny McCarthy. Just ask her.

      But you still pull quotes basically straight off quack Joe Mercola’s website.

      You aren’t anti-vax, you just parrot those who are.

      PS That Cochrane review was written by a vocal anti-vaxxer.

      • A Banterings

        I do not know what Jenny McCarthy’s political views are, and I can care less.

        I do not know who Joe Mercola is either.

        As for the Cochrane review was written by a vocal anti-vaxxer, just because one has an anti-vax beliefs, it does not negate the validity of the report.

        As I said I am not anti-vax. I make choices that I feel are appropriate for me. That does not mean that I am going to force other people to make the same decisions I make for myself.

        I just updated my tetanus. So if I got vaxxed, how can you say I am anti-vax?

        You point out the one reference that was written by someone with a position, yet ignore the CDC, BMJ, DOJ, the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, and the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

        You have offered no credible sources to dispute any of my sources. You have resorted to inferences and accusations.

        You are acting like a Bolshevik; trying to tell everybody else how to live their lives. That shows a total disrespect for the dignity of your fellow human being.

        • Cobalt

          You’re copy/pasting quotes from Health Impact News. Don’t expect anyone here to take you seriously, if they’re what you call reliable.

        • Cobalt
        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          That shows a total disrespect for the dignity of your fellow human being.

          You know what shows a lack of dignity for others?

          Selfishly relying on the herd immunity that we provide while proclaiming it’s all about you. My kids are vaccinated because it’s good for them, but doing so is also good for others, including those who can’t or choose not to be vaccinated. Is it really Communist to ask that you, as part of our society, also contribute to the health and well-being of the members?

          Notice, no one has proposed making it illegal. Just that those who choose not to participate helping benefit society should not sponge off of the benefits provided by others.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Anti-vax moms are the infectious disease equivalent of welfare queens!

          • Cobalt

            Do you mind if I shamelessly take that excellent summary of the situation and share it everywhere? Because it’s about perfect.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Go ahead. I just wrote a post about it. Feel free to share the meme image.

            http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/01/anti-vaxxers-the-real-welfare-queens.html

          • attitude devant

            Bofa, you Bolshevik, you! (Good lord, how can anybody say that with a straight face in 2015?)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Klinger: I have to confess. I am a communist……. Henry: Bolshevik.
            Klinger: No, honest!!!

          • attitude devant

            an oldie, but a goodie….

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            (Ooooo, well done AD; that’s the episode)

          • moto_librarian

            Mother is pregnant, sister dying.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Half the family dying, the other half pregnant

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I always get confused, are the Bolsheviks the ones with the big fuzzy hats? Or are they the Cossacks?

          • Roadstergal

            I’m a Menshevik. We get no love.

          • A Banterings

            Roadstergal, that was great!

            You would be surprised how many people do not know what a Bolshevik is let alone a Menshevik.

            I truly appreciate your wit. Thank you for making my day.

          • attitude devant

            Why would we not know what a Menshevik is? (was? while their may still be Bolshies I can’t imagine there are Mensheviks…)

          • attitude devant

            They’re the ones with the Molotov cocktails.

          • Amazed

            Oh, they, or at least their local offspring here and there are alive and kicking, have no doubt. And still in power in too many places. I have the feeling that the world will never get rid of them unless we eradicate them from anything to do with power like… like the smallpox. Lucky you, being half a world away.

            Bofa will make a terrible Bolshevik, though. Why, he even thinks that doctors should treat their loony anti-vax patients with respect! He’ll never make it through the first meeting aimed at scolding the woman who left her husband for ruining the Communist moral and the foundation of the Communist family.

            Here. Now, you have it, Bofa! I don’t qualify for a PCM. now, do I? Well, you’ll NEVER qualify for a Bolshevik.

          • yugaya

            Yeah I’m sure he rocks the leather coat. 😛

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            …and pants

          • yugaya

            – from local movie, a communist teacher asking a kid post WWII:

            Q: Who knows what communism is?
            A: Communism is when you have food on the table.
            Q: Just that?

            A: When you have food on the table every day.
            Q: Just you?
            A: Yeah, just me.

          • A Banterings

            Bofa,

            I appreciate your position of “asking” and “not making it illegal.”

            But the implication of “asking” and “not illegal” mean that you may get a “no thank you” as an answer.

            That being said, I believe that vaccines are a good thing.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But the implication of “asking” and “not illegal” mean that you may get a “no thank you” as an answer.

            And, in response, you get “thanks for nothing, douchebag”

            You have the right to be a douchebag. Doesn’t mean you aren’t a douchebag when you are. And don’t cry when people treat you like the douchebag that you are. And spare me the “I’m just doing what’s best for my family” because, yeah, we all know you are a selfish douchebag.

        • Amazed

          Earth to A Banterings (sitting comfortably in his chair in the comfort of the USA while making this particular comparison, no doubt): Some of us live in countries still trying to restore after the Bolsheviks had their pretty time here. And we know what the Bolsheviks did best: deciding who was expendable. Men. Women. Children.

          It isn’t Bofa who’s spewing misinformation, not bothering to mention all those who cannot be vaccinated and are so exposed to the VPDs. It’s the anti-vax guru, Sears or Gordon, I cannot keep their near identical bullshit straight. They think those who don’t belong to their white, well-off patient body is expendable. So expendable that they don’t bother mention them. Much like the ten thousands of people who were “disappeared” here when Bolsheviks had the say.

          So, let’s review: who’s the Bolshevik?

          • A Banterings

            I am 3rd gen US born. One of my ancestors in Poland was “drafted” by the Bolsheviks. He escaped by desertion and came to America.

            Forgive me, I do not know who Sears and Gordon are unless you are referring to Sears, Roebuck & Company and Gordon Lightfoot.

            Of course coming from such a country you could appreciating what the “it is best for society (the herd)” thinking leads to. When you put society ahead of the individual, you get things like communism and the Holocaust.

            When you say:

            ” They think those who don’t belong to their white, well-off patient body are expendable.”

            Other than the fact that statement is incredibly racist and offensive, it harkens to the conspiracy theory that the HIV virus was created by government scientists as a way to eliminate people of color. (Source: The Washington Post)

            Are you implying that people of color do not critically think for themselves?

            I really don’t know how to address this line of thought.

          • Dr Kitty

            I wasn’t aware that the Bolsheviks forced Poles to fight in their army during the Polish-Soviet war. Do you have any more information? Fascinating piece of history, interesting echoes in current Ukrainian issues.
            I assume you meant the Polish-Soviet war, because you specifically said Bolshevik.

          • A Banterings

            It was a story I heard growing up from my grandmother (who passed 3 years ago). The gist of the story was that he was a Pole, and he deserted what she referred to the “Russian Army.” It was around 1900, the time when the Marxist and Leninist ideologies began splitting.

            I am not sure if it was the Bolsheviks he was fighting for or against. Shortly after deserting, the family came to America.

            My wife is of Lithuanian decent. Her grandfather told the story of how, when he was 6 or so, the soldiers came to the farmhouse, his mother told him to hide under the bed. His parents were taken away. When he emerged, he was alone. He walked for 3 days to his uncle’s farm. Having no inheritance, he became a glassblower and made his way to America.

            A close friend of my family who just passed this year (in his 80’s) was Ukrainian. His mother was born there. He told me stories of what Stalin did to the Ukraine. Stalin had more people than Hitler executed, and many people do not realize that.

            Apparently you are versed in European history and will appreciate this joke:

            Question: What is the difference between Polish and Lithuanian?

            Answer: About 25 kilometers…

          • Amazed

            Putting society in front of the individual has nothing to do with Communism. Not that I approve of the concept but let’s get this straight: Communism was never about society, it was about serving the needs of the Communist top crust. Society and individuals just paid the price. Scratch that, they’re still paying. In fact, come to think of it, Communism and anti-vaccine movement have much in common!

            Read who Sears and Gordon are, read who their patients are, and you’ll get why I phrased my comment just as I did. I repeat it: their patients are mostly white and well-off, so those kids should not take the vastly exaggerated risk of vaxxing. Instead, they can comfortably rely on herd immunity. Hide in the herd but not tell the herd you’re hiding, that’s what Dr Sears advises.

          • A Banterings

            I briefly researched Sears and Gordon. I did not see where the demographics of their patients are, do you have a citation?

            Although I do not agree with Dr. Sears assertion on a moral basis, scientifically (based on epidemiology), he is correct.

          • Amazed

            They are both pediatrician in a certain area, their patients are well-off, upper class and so on. What demographics do you think we’re talking about?. Gordon was even the pediatrician of Jenny McCarthy’s kid, for heaven’s sake!

            Look, you can keep harping on the imaginary racist issue. Or you can focus on something far more vital, like the fact that the intentionally unvaxxed kid who spread the measles in San Diego in 2008 was Dr Sears’ own patient.

            http://www.ocregister.com/articles/http-548411-ocregister-href.html

            Turned out, science turned against him, no matter how statistically unlikely it was for the kid to get measles thanks to herd immunity. Once they left the herd, it happened.

      • Cobalt

        Health Impact News, the bastion of real truth.

    • Ainsley Nicholson

      Thank you for this magnificent example of pseudo-science. I started looking into the claims you are making, and they fell apart very quickly. For one thing, the article you reference regarding the meta-analysis of HealthCare workers did not come to the conclusion that you state (“that flu vaccinations among healthcare workers offer no evidence of protection to the patients under their care”). What they found instead was that HCW flu vaccination reduced both death rates and frequency of influenza-like illness. What they did not find was a significant drop in LAB-CONFIRMED influenza cases. Here is an excerpt from the article you referenced:

      “In the new analysis, researchers found that HCW vaccination prevented all-cause death and influenza-like illness (ILI). Pooling the results, they estimated that the measure reduced deaths from any cause by 29%. Death rates varied in the four randomized trials. Efforts to increase flu vaccination in HCWs were associated with a drop in deaths that ranged from 0.8% to 8%.

      Though the investigators found a 42% drop in ILI, the impact on lab-confirmed flu—a much more specific outcome—was lower and not statistically significant.”

      The article you referenced did not include a link to the actual article, but I’m posting a link below to what is likely to be the article that they were discussing. (right journal, right timeframe, right subject matter) However, this article was not published by CDC researchers.

      http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/6/820.full.pdf+html

      OK, so lets look next at your claim that “the flu vaccine is the most dangerous vaccine in America”. When you look at the actual statistics (http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html#_ftnref1)

      it is clear that yes, there are more compensable vaccine injury events for the flu vaccine than any other vaccine. However, there are also many more doses of flu vaccine dispensed than of other vaccines. Correcting for the number of doses, we find that the actual rate of vaccine injuy per dose is right in the middle.
      So now that the first two claims I looked at fell apart, I’m comfortable disregarding the rest of your claims; I’m confident that they would fall apart equally quickly under scrutiny.

      • A Banterings

        I apologize fot the broken link, thank you for correcting.

        I will grant you that as a percentage flu vax injuries are low due to the high numbers of doses.

        I am not anti-vax. I think that for some people it is good. My wife usually gets vaxxed (she works in healthcare). Some years it is more effective than others.

        But how often are patients told the risks, all the PSAs and providers just say “get vaccinated?”

        US data on influenza deaths are a mess. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges a difference between flu death and flu associated death yet uses the terms interchangeably. Additionally, there are significant statistical incompatibilities between official estimates and national vital statistics data. Compounding these problems is a marketing of fear—a CDC communications strategy in which medical experts “predict dire outcomes” during flu seasons.

        The CDC website states what has become commonly accepted and widely reported in the lay and scientific press: annually “about 36 000 [Americans] die from flu” (www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease.htm) and “influenza/pneumonia” is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm). But why are flu and pneumonia bundled together? Is the relationship so strong or unique to warrant characterising them as a single cause of death? Source: British Medical Journal

        I believe vaccines are a good thing. I even agree that they save lives. I concede both of these.

        I am NOT going to argue numbers. Let’s just leave this out for now.

        Do you not concede that vaccines have risks, patients have a right to know the risks (as well as the benefits), AND patients have a right to decide if (and what) vaccines are right for themselves?

        • Ainsley Nicholson

          “Do you not concede that vaccines have risks, patients have a right to know the risks (as well as the benefits)”

          Yes, I absolutely agree with this part of your statement. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the risks of vaccines, and a lot of pseudo-science. Since most people are not medical professionals or highly-trained scientists, they don’t know how to evaluate the information they are getting and determine whether or not it can be relied upon. As you demonstrated by posting your remarks above (which I’m guessing were copied from somewhere else?), even intelligent people can be confused by well-written but misleading opinion peices that are dressed up to look like science.
          Yes, vaccines have risks, but they are miniscule. The diseases they prevent are much more dangerous. If parents get misinformation that causes them to think the risks of the vaccine are substantially greater than what they really are, how does that help the parents make the best decision for their children?
          The second part of your statement “patients have a right to decide if (and what) vaccines are right for themselves” requires a more nuanced response. I do understand the sentiment that people should be able to seek the type of medical care that they believe will help them the most, and to deny any medical care that they believe has risks greater than its potential benefits. In the case of vaccines, we as parents need to make those decisions for our children. However, it is also the case with vaccines that the decision you make for your children can effect my children also, just like the decision I make can effect your children. Those are the situations where we as a society have to make a decision together as to what is best for all of our children. In this case, the decision is obvious- it is best for the vast vast majority of children if as many children as possible are vaccinated. So no, I don’t agree with the second part of your statement.

          • Cobalt

            Every single time I go for vaccines, either for myself or the kids, they give me the vaccine handout for whichever shot we’re getting. It details very simply and clearly the risks of vaccination, including everything from soreness at the injection site to death. Vaccine risks aren’t secret.

          • A Banterings

            The risks of vaccines are NOT miniscule. If they were, the FDA would NOT have such stringent regulations for them.

            “What is best for all of our children,” so the rest of society does NOT matter?

            “…the decision is obvious…” No it is not obvious, if it were, everybody would be getting vaccinated.

            Do you realize that the Holocaust was based on (American) science?

            Read The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics

            Looking back now one may dispute the validity of the science, but at the time it was thought to be sound. The same holds true now for anything; It is not what we know, but what we THINK we know.” That is the basis of any solid scientific thought.

            The biggest problem with vaccines is the lack of liability of the manufacturers. You can NOT sue a vaccine manufacturer. If they HAPPEN to put TOO MUCH mercury in a vaccine, or screw it up royally, too bad for you.

            If you really want to make your argument valid, then hold vaccine manufacturers ACCOUNTABLE.

          • yugaya

            “Do you realize that the Holocaust was based on (American) science?”

            Eeesh not everything is either that simple or about you guys. 🙂 Here is a good read on the complexities behind the first interwar racist legislation: http://mek.oszk.hu/11100/11109/11109.pdf

            It was an already established pattern when it produced this legislation in 1920. and one that quite predictably picked up both Hitler and your eugenics along the way on the road that lead from policy of restriction to policy of extermination.

          • A Banterings

            yugaya,

            Thank you. I downloaded and started looking at the publication.

            You may wish to look at Edwin Black’s “War Against the Weak.” It is about the eugenics movement in the U.S. which was led by physicians in the early 1900’s.

            When you say “…not everything is either that simple or about you guys,” I assume you mean America?

            My point there was not to take pride in such a thing, but to admit “we have all made mistakes.” It would be arrogant of me to use eugenics as an example of “what we think we know,” and not acknowledge that the US was the incubator of this science.

          • guest

            The risk of a serious reaction to – say the MMR – is less than one in a million. So, yes, miniscule.

            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

          • Who?

            Way less than the risk of getting measles. But then if you choose not to vax, and the kids get sick, I suppose people convince themselves it’s not their fault.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            Do you understand why vaccine manufacturers are protected by the federal government from vaccine injury lawsuits? Those lawsuits are so costly and unpredictable that pharmaceutical companies were deciding to stop making vaccines altogether. Faced with the possibilty of having no vaccine-producing companies left in the country, the government set up the vaccine court so that families that did have a vaccine-inured child could get compensation without having to sue the manufacturers directly. If you want to learn more about it, here is a good place to start:

            http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-injury-compensation-programs

          • A Banterings

            Yes I understand the “why.” One has to figure that into the rubric that one uses in deciding to vaccinate or not. That fact has a bearing on that decision making process.

            MMR has a 1 in 1250 risk of seizure (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr )

            That is NOT minuscule, that is a significant risk. That is just one of multiple risks, granted that is the highest incidence of the more serious risks.

            Let me ask this; a physician is trying to convince reluctant parents to vaccinate. Parents fear an adverse reaction. Physician says the risk is minuscule, more reasons to vax, blah, blah, blah… and he will drop them if they do not. Parents agree and want their protest and concerns as part of the medical record. Child has bad reaction; seizure, deafness, or whatever…

            What liability does the physician bear?

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            It is somewhat bizarre that you write “seizure, deafness, whatever” as if they had the same risk (seizure risk = 1 in approx 3000, deafness risk = less than one in a million doses, so rare that it is hard to tell if it is actually caused by the vaccine) or the same long-term effect (seizzure = scary but temporary vs. deafness = life-changing disability). I don’t know what sort of liability the physician has in those circumstances- I am not a lawyer. I do have a question for you, and please understand that I ask this out of genuine curiosity…how does your opposition to vaccinations make you feel? Do you feel smart because you can post citations to scientific studies? Do you enjoy the process of arguing about it? Do you truely believe that scientists and doctors are out to hurt people, and that only people who have educated themselves on the internet actually know what is going on? If so, does that make you feel scared or self-rightous or what? If you were to come to the conclusion that vaccines were actually very low risk and very effective, what would you lose on a personal level? What is your emotional benefit from believing that the risks of vaccines is greater than parents are being told?

          • A Banterings

            It is somewhat bizarre that you write “seizure, deafness, whatever”

            I am referring to the more sever, life altering or life threatening side effects. I was adding all the possibilities for severe adverse reactions, not picking any particular severe adverse reaction for the sake of my example.

            I don’t know what sort of liability the physician has in those circumstances- I am not a lawyer.

            I know what the legal liability is, I am asking what is your opinion of this situation where something goes wrong. What do you tell the parents, OOPS?

            I do have a question for you, and please understand that I ask this out of genuine curiosity…how does your opposition to vaccinations make you feel?

            I have repeated this ad nausium, I AM NOT ANTI-VACCINE. I HAVE BEEN VAXXED. I feel that everyone has the right to decide for themselves.

            Do you feel smart because you can post citations to scientific studies?

            No, but when I make a statement, I post a citation to validate what I said so that it provides a validity to my statements. Any work that would be of my own research I would either cite the journal where it was published or cite as unpublished.

            If something is a personal preference, I would cite that as such.

            Do you enjoy the process of arguing about it?

            I do not enjoy arguing as that is not productive. I do enjoy, respectful debate.

            Do you truely believe that scientists and doctors are out to hurt people…

            I believe that the medical industrial complex puts profits ahead of people.

            Read about: Accutane (Isotretinoin), Baycol (Cerivastatin), Bextra (Valdecoxib), Cylert (Pemoline), Duract (Bromfenac), Merital & Alival (Nomifensine), Omniflox (Temafloxacin), Palladone (Hydromorphone hydrochloride, extended-release), Posicor (Mibefradil), Raplon (Rapacuronium), Redux (Dexfenfluramine), Selacryn (Tienilic acid)

            …Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the offices at the Redding Medical Center of cardiovascular surgeon Dr Chae Hyun Moon and director of cardiovascular surgery Dr Fidel Realyvasquez Jr…82 patients who were allegedly subjected to unnecessary cardiac surgery at Redding Medical Center, Redding, northern California Source: National Institutes of Health

            …and that only people who have educated themselves on the internet actually know what is going on?

            The internet has forever changed healthcare. What was once thought to be forbidden knowledge is now available at one’s fingertips.

            If you notice, of the sources that I list that are NOT legitimate news sources (AP, Reuters, ABC News, etc.) almost ALL my sources are legitimate sources of scientific research. They are either journals or the US Federal Government’s National Institutes of Health. I have always used the NIH repository because all of their publications are vetted.

            You have to be educated, have experts that you can rely on, or know where to find the correct information to know what is going on.

            If so, does that make you feel scared or self-rightous or what?

            I do not know what you are asking here. If you are implying that I am uneducated and that I am compensating for that here, you are sadly mistaken.

            If you were to come to the conclusion that vaccines were actually very low risk and very effective, what would you lose on a personal level?

            The effectiveness of some vaccines vary by strain that they protect against. I HAVE ALREADY CONCLUDED THAT SOME ARE EFFECTIVE AND LOW RISK. Tetanus was my last one in this category.

            I have stated this fact multiple times, so why do you ignore it?????????????

            Others I deem unnecessary, usually because I have a strong immune system and/or the risks are too great. Influenza is one that I will not get. I am able to fight off the flu, therefore beyond being unnecessary, the risks become greater than any benefit.

            What is your emotional benefit from believing that the risks of vaccines is greater than parents are being told?

            As per your question, none.

          • Box of Salt

            A Banterings,
            your insistence that “I AM NOT ANTI-VACCINE” suggests you have different definition of that term than I do.

            I define “anti-vaccine” as arguing against the use of vaccines, whether or not a person concedes that one or two of them may be useful. Exactly what have you been doing here in this comments section these past few days?

          • Box of Salt

            A Banterings, you’ve got the wrong vaccine.

            The risk of seizure caused by fever from MMR is about 1 out of 3,000 doses.

            The 1 in 1250 number is for MMRV.

            Both of these side effects are considered moderate.

            The risk of severe long term seizures is 1 in 1,000,000 for MMR and 4 in 1,000,000 for MMRV.

            Contrast that with the risks brought on by getting the measles:

            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/meas.pdf
            “Seizures (with or without fever) are reported in 0.6%–0.7% of cases”

            “Death from measles was reported in approximately 0.2% of the cases in the United States from 1985 through 1992.”

          • A Banterings

            You are correct about MMR vs MMRV. Still a significant risk, especially if you are the 3000th patient in line…

            While you are correct in your numbers, your source is from 2009. My source, also from the CDC has the MMR figures from 2012 and the document was last updated 2014 (more recent), so you may choose to cite that.

            Thank you for pointing that out.

          • Box of Salt

            A Banterings, nice try. Why didn’t you link the “updated” pink book? Is it because the numbers are the same as the I quoted from the pdf version?
            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html#complications

          • A Banterings

            Your first reference was dated 2009.

            The pink book is in the publications section:

            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html#complications

            i was in the general vaccine section:

            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

            You say toe-may-toe, I say toe-ma-toe.

            I prefer http://www.afhsc.mil for epidemiology and analysis.

          • Box of Salt

            A Banterings,

            Could you please tell me how my earlier link is both dated 2009 and includes references from 2011?

            MMWR 2011;60(RR-7):1-45

            That one’s listed on the last page (p20); I understand you might not have looked that far. And, yeah, there’s a graph which has the year 2009 in its title on p6.

            It’s still the same 20 page long Pink Book pdf for Measles currently linked by the CDC.

            And it’s still the exact same numbers as the disease complications page updated Nov 2014 (in my next reply to you).

          • A Banterings

            As per page 174 (page 2) :

            Measles Complications…
            Based on 1985-1992 surveillance data

            The publication I listed:

            MMR vaccine side-effects…
            (This information taken from MMR VIS dated 4/20/12. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date

          • Box of Salt

            A Banterings, yes, data for complications are old. The rates of complications from measles, including death, run per thousand of cases.

            Take note – this is from p8 of the Pink Book pdf: “Since 1993, fewer than 500 cases have been reported annually, and fewer than 200 cases per year have been reported since 1997.”

            From 2001 to 2011, the US saw a total of only 911 cases and two deaths.
            http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6204a1.htm?s_cid=rr6204a1_w (Second paragraph under the “Measles Elimination and Epidemiology during Postelimination Era” heading). It’s difficult to update the data when you don’t have the numbers of cases.

            On the other hand, the rates of serious vaccine side effects run per million. But because millions of Americans get vaccinated, we do have both recent and reliable numbers for the vaccine.

          • A Banterings

            i have no problem accepting those numbers.

          • Who?

            Surely ‘thanks for that, it’s useful information which I’ll bear in mind in future’, would be the more appropriate and gracious response to Box of Salt.

          • Who?

            The physician’s liablility is exactly the same. Because the risk doesn’t change. The parents have, wisely for their own child and as responsible community members, decided to vaccinate.

            Who knows what was the decisive factor? Perhaps the parents prefer to stay with a doctor who believes so passionately in vaccination that she is prepared to lose patients and therefore business over it.

          • A Banterings

            This is exactly my point of my question; you so blatantly negate the risk, even when faced with that minuscule occurrence.

            It is this thinking that shows you do not fully grasp the entirety of the subject matter at hand.

            Don’t say that you do, do not accuse me of not understanding. I acknowledge fully both the benefits and the risk.

            You just ignored the risk and the consequences.

            I have never said do not vax, I have always maintained individual CHOICE.

            What it comes down to is you trying to tell other people how to live their lives.

            Yes, it is a good thing that most people choose to vax. By nature of it being a choice, some people are going to choose not to do it.

            So I guess, that according to your statement, the person with a compromised immune system, say from chemo, is NOT a responsible community member?

          • Who?

            A doctor wouldn’t be recommending that an immune compromised person be vaccinated-that person, babies too young to be vaccinated, the elderly and otherwise unwell are the beneficiaries or victims of the responsibility others take. But then you have form for mocking victims of regulatory failure, so I guess you’re mocking those people when they get sick with VPDs. Silly them!

            Weighing risk is a serious responsibility. Deciding health care for another is a serious responsibility. By all means, people should avoid vax for their children. A school might then choose to not enrol that child-do you like that choice, or just the personal one?

            Unlike you, I don’t claim to know everything about everything. Is there anything you are not an expert on?

          • A Banterings

            i never mocked anyone. you are the one talking in absolutes.

            i have never claimed that i am an expert on anything either.

            i can make a logical decision and support my position.

            my position involves choice of the individual, therefore immune compromised decide not to. you on the other hand talk in absolutes of not vaxxing is irresponsible. i never heard exceptions…

          • Who?

            Gee-maleness, deductive reasoning, stitching yourself, tea ceremony, laws of war, homicide legislation, depression, and that’s without taking a moment to check back, I’m sure there are many many more you are expert in. Don’t start being coy now!

            Nice you think you are logical, perhaps should add that to the list?

            You know all about vaccines, but don’t know the basic information that the immuno-compromised are not offered vaccination.

            You mocked the dead who are killed by guns, both in the US and here, by saying their deaths are the inevitable cost of a gun-owner’s legitimate choice. You think a gun can be both accessible to a child and safely stored, and that those deaths are worth the rights of others to carry guns. When you did that, and mocked the dead (apart from the Sydney gunman) in the only two mass shootings in Australia in more than 10 years, I stopped engaging with you on the other blog because I realised I was attempting to communicate with an amoral shell. Unfortunately, you turn out to have more than one message.

          • A Banterings

            I have been blessed to have an interesting life that has taken me many places. It is also that I continue to educate myself both formally and informally.

            I have never claimed expertise in anything. I live my life and I can depend on myself.

            Again you put words in my mouth, I have never mocked the dead. Yes people die, especially in a free society. But what would you know, as per your own words you do not live in a free society. I do not expect you to understand.

            I did bring up the two mass shootings in Australia because you so conveniently ignored them. If I had not brought them up, people unfamiliar with your country may assume that your delusions of utopia are true.

            Again you reference gender. I can only assume that you prefer your men passive, weak, and dependent like the picture that you paint of the rest of your society.

            You have stooped to this level which now includes stalking me across threads because I have called you to defend your position which you have failed to do.

            I do not mock you.

            This is the picture that you have painted of yourself and your society by your own words.

            I can only imagine what words you will place in my mouth next or what accusations you will make.

            My life is good, I can own a gun, not vax, choose to live the way I see fit. If you are happy with 75% income tax, not owning firearms, not being able to speak your mind, so be it. That is your choice. I would not impose my lifestyle or my choices upon you.

          • Who?

            Freedom kills people hey! Well that’s worth fighting for.

            I like my people-men and women-human, not caricatures.

            You don’t mock me at all, I agree, you mock victims who you consider weak. You mock the victims of the freedoms you think so important. You must therefore assume that you and whoever you care about are strong-it will be a difficult day for you when that belief if challenged.

            So brave behind your gun-oh, no, that’s right as well as all things gun, you’re also an expert in krav maga…or are you denying those areas of expertise now too?

          • A Banterings

            Everybody dies, those who live free live a better life and die a better death. Yes, there are good ways to die, like with dignity vs. without.

            Almost all times the perpetrators are the weak ones, cowards many times standing behind violence and fear.

            I don’t stand behind a gun. My strength comes from within.

            Since you have continually ignored what I have said, such as guns do not give me power or make me strong, put words (which I never said) in my mouth (I never claimed to be and expert at anything; knowing something and being an expert are 2 separate things), your insults to the male gender, your lack of coherent logical thinking, and all around childish behavior, you are irrelevant to this debate any further, and I am going to ignore you while I am talking with the other adults here.

          • Nick Sanders

            Firstly, your own link says 1 in 3,000, The 1 in 1,250 is for MMRV, and it goes on to mention that splitting it into MMR and chickenpox cuts that risk in half, down to 1 in 2,500. Either way, it’s caused by fever, and fevers can be combatted.

            Meanwhile, let’s compare the risks of just measles, one of the three diseases covered by that shot. As stated by the same CDC:
            “Ear infections occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss.

            As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.

            About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.

            For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.”

            But, suppose you get it and get better, no serious side effects. Turns out you aren’t out of the woods yet.

            “Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a very rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system that results from a measles virus infection acquired earlier in life. SSPE generally develops 7 to 10 years after a person has measles, even though the person seems to have fully recovered from the illness.”

            My, doesn’t that sound fun.

          • Nick Sanders

            What mercury?

    • Nick Sanders

      Court cases are not scientific evidence.

  • curiousmama

    Experts vs. laypeople…in science, medicine, and political commentary, it has become the norm for many discussions to quickly throw philosophical depth to the wind in order to quarrel based on partisan views. For example, instead of bringing up pro vs. con vaccine arguments, I would like to ask a few more basic questions: What was the original purpose behind vaccination – full and lasting immunity, or occasional, fading immunity? If the first vaccine for smallpox worked, can it be logically argued that all other diseases can be treated with the same platform? Phrased another way, why have we not stepped back, now that we realize many diseases we attempt to prevent through vaccination do not give the same lasting immunity as the original smallpox vaccination, and looked at whether vaccination is the way to address these other health problems?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Who says we aren’t?

      • curiousmama

        Well, quite frankly, the fact that many commenters (including Dr. Amy) do not actively acknowledge that vaccination may be a flawed approach to prevent certain illnesses.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          How would you know? Wait … don’t tell me … you have a PhD in immunology. No? Let me guess again: you read it on the internet and you actually believed the nonsense you read.

          • curiousmama

            I get the fact that you deal with many commenters who question what you say, but your condescension is quite unnecessary and not at all welcoming to someone who is truly trying to learn. I am a first time mother, and I don’t have all the answers, but at least I am trying to get a balanced perspective from sites like yours. That being said, as others have pointed out, a PhD in immunology (or any medical field for that matter) is not necessary to understand and engage in discussion on vaccines.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You’re not trying to learn; you think you already know.

            You lack the basic knowledge to even understand the issues, let alone form an opinion on them. You are an excellent example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

          • curiousmama

            No, those suffering from Dunning-Kruger are confident despite profound ignorance, and place themselves above obviously superior people. I don’t do that, because I am not unaware of my own ignorance on this topic. It is why I am here – I am trying to delve deeper into the topic rather than read the CDC handouts at my ped. office and pretend that makes me informed.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            If you are confident enough to deny your own child the protection of vaccines, then you are confident enough to be an example of Dunning-Kruger.

            You try to present yourself as someone who is seeking answers, but the fact is that you are a vaccine denialist.

            http://www.skepticalob.com/2012/10/the-difference-between-skepticism-and-denialism.html

          • Stacy48918

            If your first post was “Can someone explain to me why some vaccines confer longer protection than others?” THAT is a question from someone trying to learn.

            Instead you STATED, not asked, that since all vaccines are not equally effective as the smallpox vaccine we should do away with them and instead find natural ways to help people suffer through these diseases.

            You aren’t trying to get a balanced perspective. You already have your mind made up and you just parachuted in to tell us off.

            Go back to square one and honestly ask why vaccines are different. Its not that hard to understand, if you truly have an open mind and are willing to learn and have your preconceived notions challenged.

            Or you can keep thinking that its better for people to suffer disease than to prevent it in the first place.

          • curiousmama

            I did not state that we should do away with vaccines, nor did I dismiss all vaccines as inferior to smallpox.

            True, I did not phrase my first post the way you would have preferred…but if you would like to post non-CDC informational links that would be useful for me as I learn, I would appreciate it. (I say non-CDC because I have done a lot of looking on that website already and would love to know of other reputable websites rather than continue to get lost in anti-vaxx blogs)

          • Guesteleh
          • Guesteleh

            This discussion isn’t really about vaccines and science and immunity. It’s about privilege. The more money and education you have, the healthier you are. And if you are privileged enough you can start to think that being healthy is a matter of character and that it has nothing to do with having access to top-notch medical care, clean water, a safe place to live, etc. So you start to discard things like vaccines which are for those ignorant unhealthy masses, aka poor folks, because you know better, you are more educated, you think outside the boundaries, the doctor doesn’t know better than you, oh no. You know what? That’s arrogant and ignorant. When you willfully throw away the protections you take for granted then you learn that in fact you don’t live in some fucking magical bubble and that your body and your children’s bodies are susceptible to disease just like everyone else.

          • curiousmama

            It actually is a discussion about vaccines, science, and immunity.

            Just because you have written me off as a “privileged, arrogant, ignorant” person does not change the focus of the discussion.

            Since I have not wholly rejected vaccination and don’t plan to, your irritation towards me is unnecessary…and of course I don’t believe that a magic bubble is protecting my child from getting a disease.

          • A Banterings

            curiousmama, good for you for taking responsibility and trying to educate yourself. Remember, doctors, nurses, immunologists, are all people. If they can learn, so can you. (of course you are not going to get a PhD necessarily), but enough to make the right decisions for yourself and child.

            The biggest problem that providers have is that the internet took away their sacred and forbidden knowledge. Back when medicine was paternalistic, patients did not question providers.

            We see now that they are human, do not know everything, and make mistakes. Read my post above and look at the sources I cite (CDC, BMJ, etc.).

            Finally, a doctor may know the human body better than anybody, BUT you know YOUR body better than anybody. If you choose vax, no vax, or some vax, it is your choice.

            In disclosure, I am not anti-vax. I make choices that I feel are appropriate for me. That does not mean that I am going to force other people to make the same decisions I make for myself.

            I have had the vaccines for the ones that I feel can kill me or seriously hamper my life (MMR, HPV, Hep, Tetanus). I don’t go crazy and get ones for the sake of getting them, such as influenza.

            Continue on your path of enlightenment, learn what you can, question everything and everyone, and make your own decision.

            In all the debate here, notice that you do not see critical self thinking encouraged, people encouraged to make their own decisions, or those decisions respected. Just an observation.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            So the morons who chose not to be vaccinated for the measles and went to Disney and spread it around, was it their body and their decision? Or did it affect lots and lots and lots of others, too?

            No, it’s not a personal decision. It’s a societal issue.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            “Finally, a doctor may know the human body better than anybody, BUT you know YOUR body better than anybody.”

            So what? The reason you go to a doctor is because you can have a life threatening condition like high blood pressure or cancer without having a clue. If you can’t even tell that you’re at high risk of dying, what difference does it make what you “know”?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Besides, what does “knowing your body” have to do with whether vaccination is beneficial or not? How can anyone know if their body doesn’t need vaccination? You got a stack of tithers showing that you have immunity to everything already? No one knows their body that well.

          • A Banterings

            People go to physicians to get a script for a medication that they know they need but requires an FDA # to prescribe or a referral for a test.

            Yes I know some will abuse the system if the FDA# wasn’t required, but many, especially those with chronic conditions, have taken responsibility for their own care, and know how to monitor and treat/control it.

            Also, anyone who goes to a physician (except if unconscious) is going for a second opinion. Once a person decides to go, regardless of their knowledge or control of their healthcare, they have made a self-diagnosis that something is wrong (illness or disease), OR as a preventative measure, and they need to go.

            At the very least, the physician then confirms or disputes the decision made by the patient to seek the physician’s advice. At the other end of the spectrum, more engaged patients may have the physician confirm or dispute the patient’s diagnosis and recommended course of treatment.

            There is so much that unnecessarily requires a FDA #. Look what has happened with Nexium, Zantac, etc., all OTC. Pharmacists can do immunizations and “morning after pills (still need FDA#, but more patient directed and fewer barriers).

            In Europe, oral contraceptives are OTC. There is no reason that women are forced to undergo an unnecessary pelvic exam for OCs. I do note Planned Parenthood is developing an app for OCs to ease availability and PP does NOT require a PE for OCs.

            Wearables are allowing patients to track and monitor their own health eliminating the need for out patient testing.

            So we are making progress.

            As to high risk of dying, everybody has a 100% chance of dying. I prefer to focus on quality of life.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You didn’t answer the question. Let’s try again:

            The reason you go to a doctor is because you can have a life threatening condition like high blood pressure or cancer without having a clue. If you can’t even tell that you’re at high risk of dying, what difference does it make what you “know”?

          • A Banterings

            I did answer the question.

            I first determines for myself that I should go. That is my own self diagnosis.

            Granted, some people are robots and just go because they were conditioned to go and question nothing.

            Once I decide to go, I have made a diagnosis.

            A more sophisticated patient, such as myself, is aware when there is a problem and goes for a second opinion. It is the same as when a physician calls a consult and wants a second opinion himself.

            I do NOT go for annual wellness exams. I do go for a maintenance medication I take for ADHD. That is just heart, lung, BR, and basic lab test (glucose, cholesterol, liver, etc.). I wouldn’t even go for that if it was not mandated by law.

            I know my BP, and I would know if something was amiss that could lead to cancer. 80% of all diagnosis are based on history alone which is nothing more than self-reporting.

            I did have to go once for stitches while traveling for work, but that was only because I did not have my suture kit with me.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Sophisticated? You are an ignorant fool, not sophisticated. Wait, let me amend that. You are a narcissistic, ignorant fool.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            In my very extensive experience…many, many patients are exceptionally BAD at knowing their body and self-diagnosis.

          • Melissa

            I’m a smart person with a law degree. Yet whenever I try to self-diagnose with Dr. Google I end up thinking I have cancer or lupus. Luckily I go into my doctors who run actual tests and listen to my symptoms and can explain that my wrist pain isn’t from some terrible auto-immune disorder but from the fact that I work 12 hours a day on a computer and then come home to play Guitar Hero for hours on end. Started using an ergonomic keyboard and fewer video games and I was healed.

            People tend to assume we are all special snowflakes and that our pains are signs of rare disorders and not just normal aging or simple lifestyle problems (not enough sleep, bad nutrition, etc.) That’s why it’s good to have an outside person to look at you objectively and tell you the truth. I wouldn’t ever work on my own legal case because I lack objectivity, and diagnosing my own medical issues are a problem for the same reason.

          • Young CC Prof

            Heh. I actually tend to make the opposite assumption. “It’s nothing, just bruised it, too much time kneeling…. Oh, the bone is cracked? Nifty!”

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oooohh, you’re a Minimizer. An order of magnitude more rare and an order of magnitude more dangerous than a Maximizer.

          • Samantha06

            I can relate… I am so bad about ignoring aches and pains until they get really annoying or interfere with my life…

          • Dr Kitty

            I like the ones who tell me they have a pain in their kidney, or ovary, or liver and then point to somewhere that is nowhere near the supposedly bothersome organ.

            In my experience, patients can be relied upon to correctly diagnose fungal nail infections, chicken pox, pink eye, and dense hemiplegic strokes.

            Not so much anything else.

          • Cobalt

            I’ve had good luck picking out UTIs and ear infections. I miss the blood pressure every time.

          • Dr Kitty

            My patients are excellent at diagnosing ear infections if the drum has perforated and pus and blood are running down their child’s neck.
            They are less accurate at the “he’s pulling at his ear, I think he has an infection” end of things. Quite often either their child likes pulling their ear, or they are teething.

            UTIs are hit and miss. The hit rate for pyelonephritis and recurrent cystitis is quite good, but my patients have misdiagnosed advanced pregnancy, ruptured aortic aneurysms, renal stones, diabetes and massive ovarian cysts as UTIs, so, again I’m a bit suspicious.

          • mythsayer

            I seriously hate to be difficult, but not everyone is bad at self-diagnosing. Example: I have been having nasal drip, sore throats, bloody noses, and mucus build up in my nose for months. I have an autoimmune disease that was just diagnosed in June so I figured it was due to that. Finally I looked in my nose with a mirror and a light and saw… well… something not good. It was completely blocked. I did what I could to clear the mucus (mucinex, just in case it would help, saline… lots of saline) and then realized there is a huge mass in my nasal cavity. It scared the crap out of me. Finally I realized it was bone. I finally decided I couldn’t wait for a specialist and went to the ER just to make sure it wasn’t something serious (like a fast growing fungal infection). I told them there was a mass in my nose and I couldn’t breathe out of it and I would just like to know if it was a dangerous looking mass or something that could wait until I got in to see an ENT and whether I had a bacterial infection like I thought I might have. They looked inside and said “oh yeah, you need nose drops.” I told them “No… what I need is to know what the mass is… my nostril is closed… drops won’t help BECAUSE MY NOSTRIL IS NOW COMPLETELY OBSTRUCTED BY THE MASS IN MY NOSE.”

            After HOURS (because everyone else, including people who just had colds, were seen first… remember that even if there was no mass, I still had a completely blocked nostril with pus and blood so clearly something was wrong) I see the PA. She grills me on “how I know it’s a mass” and I told her “look… it’s bone, it’s attached, there is cartilage growing off of it somehow… it’s a mass of bone. Seriously.”

            They agree to do a CT scan. What do you know? I have a septal spur that takes up my entire nasal cavity. And yet… how could I possibly have known it was bone? That’s ridiculous… I’m not a doctor or even a nurse. After the results came back in, suddenly the PA started asking ME if I thought I had a bacterial infection. Suddenly I’m super credible. I said “well…. probably… considering there is pus and green mucus.” I got antibiotics and the peace of mind of knowing it’s not a mass that will kill me (although I just want to say that I’m really freaked out by the fact that there is a BONE growing out of my nostril…).

            Anyway… that’s been my life. My daughter had a staph infection. I called it… they refused to treat it bc it was a “spider bite” (it wasn’t). She got no treatment until after it was the size of a golf ball. She had monthly ear infections. They ignored me until the eardrum ruptured… this went on literally for over a year. And no… her ear wasn’t “fine.” Every single time they’d say “oh yeah, it’s red… just go home, she’ll be fine.” And then a few days later, burst eardrum again.

            I caught chicken pox and told a doctor at the urgent care when we lived in Japan on a military base. He didn’t even LOOK at me closely… just said “it’s a heat rash.” I specifically went to the urgent care because I was going to a baby shower and I needed to know if I was correct. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was NOT chicken pox. I asked if it was okay to go to the baby shower and was told yes, several times. By Monday (that was Saturday), the spots were everywhere and starting to scab over so back to the clinic I go. This time I see a doctor who said “yup, you’re right… chicken pox.” Later they tried to throw it back in my face… that I should have listened to my instincts and not gone to the shower if I really thought I had chicken pox. I told them “you know what? You’ve misdiagnosed me so many times… you can’t have it both ways. Either you give me the tests I ask for (like the MRI I was refused which I desperately needed as shown by the neck surgery I was rushed into after waiting 10 months to GET said MRI) or you actually diagnose properly so I can trust you.

            The bottom line is I have managed to tell doctors that I have very specific neurological issues, certain diseases, was able to identify uncovered bone in my nose (yeah… it’s white with no mucus membrane over it)… there’s more but it would take forever to go over it all.

            In response to your comment below, I can accurately diagnose a UTI every.single.time. I have permanent nerve damage in my shoulder because I was refused the MRI I requested (as I said above… ten months). I told them I was having headaches caused by a cervical spine issue. They said “you just have bad osteoarthritis… and it’s a tension headache (and that’s insulting… I think I know a tension headache when I get one). No. It wasn’t. I have multiple herniated discs in my neck. After the MRI they were screaming at me to be careful so I wouldn’t paralyze myself if I fell because my disc was herniated so badly.

            Here’s a good one! I started having stiff fingers in the morning and I’d also wake up in the middle of the night with completely numb arms. I was told I was sleeping on my arm wrong. Again, insulting. At 33 (at the time), I think I know what pins and needles are and I know they don’t feel like what I was feeling. Again… it was nerve damage. But they refused to believe that I knew what nerve damage felt like.

            Oh… and my daughter. She had reflux and a milk protein allergy. Diagnosed that… months later we discover I was right about both. But did anyone believe me? Nope.

            Honestly… I’m beyond frustrated with doctors. I realize that most people are horrendously bad at self diagnosing, but IMO that’s because they can’t take use relevant information and discard irrelevant information. It’s not that complicated for fairly common things. I can read studies just like the rest of you. If something doesn’t apply to me, I will say “nope… probably not.” I don’t try to fit myself into conditions. I fit conditions to my symptoms and I have a VERY good track record.

            I may not be able to tell you exactly what is causing my issue, but I can tell you enough to say “I need a CT scan for x,y,z reason” and be correct. I don’t appreciate being told “oh, you say you have a mass in your nose, but all I see is mucus… here… let’s try nose spray because you couldn’t possibly be correct about a bony mass in your nose. You must be overreacting.” No. No, I’m not. But see, the difference between my and most people is that I didn’t go to the ER screaming “I have a tumor!” I just went in and said “look, there is exposed bone in my nose… I can see that there are at least 50 things that could cause a growth in the nose, and I honestly don’t know what is causing it, but I can tell you with certainty that it’s a) bone, b) exposed, c) attached and not moving d) has cartilage also growing off it… I need a CT scan.”

            I can’t really blame doctors, though (it doesn’t stop me from doing it, but I try to be nice anyway). I’m an attorney and I want to punch people who come into my office and try to argue with me about how great their case is when they have an absolutely crap case. At the same time, I don’t dismiss them outright and assume they can’t possibly understand legal theories. I give them a fair shot and if it’s clear they understand, I treat them like they understand. What I DO NOT do is dismiss them outright and act like I’m a million times smarter because I went to law school. That’s been my experience with doctors (I like all the doctors on Dr. Amy’s page, though… it’s nice to see doctors act like people once in awhile… and everyone here seems nice… and it sounds like you at least listen to your patients). The masses have made medical professionals jaded and cynical. That sucks for people like me who can accurately tell you whether something is at least a real problem and what kind of test is probably necessary. I don’t mean to be insulting, honestly. It’s just been years of frustration.

            Oh… one last anecdote before I go (to see a doctor, actually…). So I had a tummy tuck and thigh lift and when I woke up, I couldn’t move my right foot. At all. They sent me home and said I’d be fine once the anesthesia totally wore off. Well… a week later, I wasn’t better at all. So I start to do research. And I learn all about positioning injuries. I told my surgeon the next time I saw her that I knew what it was and said “if it’s not better in 6 to 8 weeks, I’ll let you know.” And…. voila…. better by 6, totally fine by 8. How did I know what I had? The doctor certainly didn’t tell me. I figured it out because I understand how to apply symptoms to things.

          • Dr Kitty

            You’re smart, and actually do your research.
            That is…not as common as I would like it to be.

            I’m afraid that people who come in with a child with “meningococcal septicaemia” and a non blanching rash, who in actual fact have a very well child covered in the purple felt tip pen they’ve been playing with, do rather ruin it for everyone else.

            I don’t expect people to diagnose themselves correctly. I’m happy when they do, but usually a bit surprised.

            I’m also not averse to humouring people- if the test they want is cheap and easy and quick, why not arrange it? If it confirms their diagnosis, they’re happy and I’m the helpful Dr who got them the answer they wanted, if it doesn’t, I’m still the Dr who took their concerns seriously and perhaps they’ll be more likely to accept my alternative diagnosis and treatment plan, and won’t constantly wonder if they really have the thing they thought it was.
            I’m sneaky like that.

          • Bugsy

            Just to clarify, you mention that in Europe, “oral contraceptives are OTC.”

            Really? In September of 2014, the BBC ran an article stating exactly the opposite:

            “Although most of Western Europe, including the UK, requires physician approval for the pill, much of the rest of the world allows the sale either with an in-store pharmacy consultation or no approval whatsoever.”

            http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-29246960

        • fiftyfifty1

          Like what illnesses?

          • curiousmama

            pertussis, influenza, measles, chicken pox…there are risks and dangers associated with these illnesses, along with unpleasant side effects. There are many who would say it is our moral duty to protect our children and other people’s children from contracting illnesses that vaccines have been created to prevent. However, it does not take an expert in immunology to recognize that these illnesses are different than smallpox. The vaccines are different than the one for smallpox, and the measles may not be able to be eradicated worldwide like smallpox was (perhaps due in part to the difference in vaccine profiles…the smallpox vaccine is live virus).

          • Young CC Prof

            The measles vaccine is a live vaccine. One dose confers good immunity in 95% of people, two doses give lifetime immunity in 99% of people. We could use it to eradicate measles within the next decade or two, if people didn’t have irrational fears about it.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “There are many who would say it is our moral duty to protect our children and other people’s children from contracting illnesses that vaccines have been created to prevent. ”

            Sounds good to me! A childhood friend of mine died of Chicken Pox. I remember when we heard he was in the ICU. The entire church got together for a prayer vigil. It didn’t work. My sister is a pediatrician. Her first patient on her first day of residency was a little boy she admitted to the hospital with chicken pox. It was too late, the team couldn’t save him. It went to his lungs and he died on the vent. I worked in a genetics lab during medical school to help pay my way through. My lab mate was profoundly deaf from prenatal rubella exposure. I have a patient who is over 100. She taught school in North Dakota in a one room school house during the Dust Bowl years. 80 years later she sat in my exam room and cried for a little second grade boy who had died of diphtheria half way through her first teaching year. She remembered his name, and his red hair and the day he started to come down ill at school. My mother was part of the anti-vax trend in the 1970s and 80s. She convinced my aunt to do the same (luckily I was already vaxed). She figured natural immunity was better and problems only happened to weak people. We had a huge garden where we grew our own vegetables organically and didn’t eat any sugar or white flour. She figured we were strong. My brother came down with pertussis and gave it to my sister. They coughed for 3 months, broke blood vessels in their eyes and wet their pants. But they were ok. But they gave it to my baby cousin who was not ok and ended up in the hospital for respiratory support. He has permanent lung problems.

            I wonder if you care when you hear these stories, or whether you believe you and your family are somehow better and magically protected as my mother did?

          • curiousmama

            I don’t believe in magic or cure-alls. I want the truth, and honest conversation, and I appreciate you sharing your own experience.

          • Who?

            The truth is vaccine is safer than the illnesses it protects against. The truth is also that it is hard to see our children get hurt, and that doesn’t get any easier. And little babies looking up at you with their trusting eyes as the needles go in feels rotten, though not as rotten as seeing them seriously ill from vaccine preventable diseases would.

            As parents, we have to make decisions every day. Vaccination is one of the easier ones, because the science is in.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I don’t believe in magic or cure-alls. I want the truth, and honest conversation”

            Terrific, then we are on the same page! So I would like to go back then to your prior statement “There are many who would say it is our moral duty to protect our children and other people’s children from contracting illnesses that vaccines have been created to prevent. ” What do you say? Are you one of those people who believe we have a moral duty to protect our children and other people’s children? Or is it ok to reject the diphtheria vaccine and kill second graders? Because the USSR/Russia experiment shows that deviating from the shot schedule for only a couple of years and not vaccinating babies for this and not giving adults their boosters leads to the very rapid resurgence of diphtheria and multiple deaths. So what do you say?

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            The measles vaccine is also a live attenuated virus.

            And that biggest difference between the measles vaccine and the smallpox vaccine? The measles vaccine is an order of magnitude SAFER than the smallpox vaccine.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          That doesn’t follow.

          “Looking for something better” does not require that vaccination is “flawed,” whatever that means.

          We have great research going on all the time to find better ways to things, including the prevention of diseases. Nothing we have so far is better than vaccination from a public health perspective, but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep looking.

        • KarenJJ

          I’l just keep walking everywhere until they build a car that drives itself. Cars are so flawed these days.

        • Stacy48918

          No one ever claimed vaccines are perfect. In fact millions of dollars have been spent and continue to be spent to advance vaccine technology, in terms of safety and effectiveness. What exactly do you have to offer that’s a better approach? What do you have to even back up the assertion that “vaccination may be a flawed approach to prevent certain illnesses”?

        • moto_librarian

          You are an idiot. Sorry, I am out of patience with people who do not vaccinate on schedule. The CDC has the schedule for a reason, based on solid epidemiological evidence. You are irresponsible. I certainly hope that your kids do not pay for it. I breathed a sigh of relief that both of mine have had doses of MMR already given the current measles outbreak.

          • curiousmama

            You aren’t sorry, because you obviously wanted to call me an idiot. I don’t take the decision to delay vaccination lightly, because I am a parent and I don’t want my children to encounter the hardship of disease (or any harmful experience).

            I may disagree with a lot of the “woo” on mom websites, but at least there is usually an attitude of acceptance and support instead of constant negativity. Since I haven’t stated that vaccines are unnecessary or that my son will never have them, why not respect me as a fellow parent and spare the personal attacks?

          • Young CC Prof

            You’d do better to start by asking real questions, like, “I’m not sure whether to vaccinate my child, here are some concerns I have.” Then tell us what your specific concerns are.

          • curiousmama

            I may not have phrased it the way you prefer, but I gave two of my general concerns in my original post. I am concerned with the consensus viewpoint among pro-vaccine sources that the CDC schedule be followed to the letter, with the only exceptions in the case of allergies or compromised immune system.

            There are reasons for the schedule, and I can understand them, I just also see the other side too. What about the fact that we can’t mitigate all risk in life… should that be our endgame? Does every disease need eradication? Does it ever benefit the immune system to get sick versus having the symptoms suppressed?

            I am overtired and probably not expressing myself well, but I just want to know that I am doing the right thing. I also want to have ALL the facts, raw data, etc before I make a decision, and that is an impossibility in most areas I am curious about…so I have to reach a compromise. I am a big believer in moral black and whites, but in this subject I am in the middle of the road…in the grey, so to speak.

          • Young CC Prof

            OK, here’s the problem with the anti-vaccine movement. They’ve built the myth that the CDC represents one extreme viewpoint and they represent the other. In fact, the CDC schedule IS the middle of the road, based on the medical and financial costs of vaccinating versus not vaccinating. Not every vaccine in existence is on the standard US schedule, remember.

            Should we mitigate all risks in life? No. When the risk is small and the cost of preventing it high, ignoring the risk may make sense. However, when a risk is serious and can be mitigated easily, why not?

            “Does it ever benefit the immune system to get sick versus having the symptoms suppressed?”

            This question doesn’t even make sense. Vaccines don’t suppress the symptoms of anything. Whether it benefits the immune system to get sick is a complicated question, but remember, your children will get sick no matter what you do or don’t do. There are plenty of bugs out there! Vaccines only prevent the ones that are most likely to cause serious problems.

          • momofone

            That “attitude of acceptance and support” vanishes the second you challenge the fuzzy-wuzzy beliefs. Apparently you haven’t.

        • Samantha06

          “Well, quite frankly, the fact that many commenters (including Dr. Amy) do not actively acknowledge that vaccination may be a flawed approach to prevent certain illnesses.”

          Do you have a better, scientifically proven alternative? I’m guessing the answer is no. Vaccination- a “flawed approach”.. that’s insane. Moto is right, You are irresponsible, like the rest of the anti-vaxxers. And let me add, that the “attitude of acceptance” on the woo-based websites is exactly what sucks people into their nonsense.. because they’re “nice” while they feed you their lies. At least you’ll get the truth on this blog. It just may not be what you want to hear.

    • Young CC Prof

      First, those are some of the most tangled sentences I’ve ever read, worse than ones written by folks with non-European first languages. I don’t even know what you’re asking, or saying.

      Second, the original smallpox vaccine worked only for 10 years. It was still sufficient to wipe the disease off the planet. Current vaccines for many diseases, including polio and measles, are far better than the original smallpox vaccine, safer, more reliable, and longer-lasting.

      • curiousmama

        I was trying to confer the most meaning in the shortest space…while caring for an infant and lacking a full night’s sleep. Yes, my sentences are long, and the thoughts behind them are much longer!

        • fiftyfifty1

          You have an infant and are against vaccination? You’re a real nut. Even if you choose not to vaccinate your own baby you at least have to be grateful for the herd immunity you are poaching off of, no?

    • fiftyfifty1

      ” What was the original purpose behind vaccination – full and lasting immunity, or occasional, fading immunity?”

      Are you saying that you wish that instead of the current shot schedules that full immunity was gained with just one shot and no boosters were needed? So basically wanting to move research in the direction of searching for a super adjuvant? Okay, tell us more…

      • Young CC Prof

        I’d like that, if all of our vaccines conferred lifelong immunity with one dose! I hope someone is working on that. Also, on how to keep my living room clean for more than an hour at a time.

        Until they figure it out, though, I’ll just keep getting boosters as needed. And fighting the toddler tide on the cleaning front.

        • Roadstergal

          Yeah, people are working on that. A lot. It’s not simple. As noted above, even ‘natural’ immunity (if you’ve studied immunology, that’s a pretty ridiculous concept – all immunity is natural, the body sees an antigen and starts off a set of truly fascinating and intricate cascades in response, and it’ll do that in the presence of adjuvant whether the antigen is a live virus or a purified protein conjugated to a carrier) doesn’t always confer lifelong immunity. Immunity isn’t a simple yes/no thing; the immune system is a complex structure with many different cascades of signaling and development that can branch and re-form, work against each other or in parallel, like a river delta.

          The skin is a critical organ of the immune system, BTW. So I always wonder why those who take supplements that ‘boost the immune system’ don’t have a thicker skin. :p

          (It’s not a direct 1:1 sort of thing, but there are some tradeoffs between duration of immunity and safety of the vaccine, of course. Myself, I’ll take a few boosters in trade for a very safe vaccine.)

          • curiousmama

            thank you for your thoughtful post. good point about “natural” immunity!

      • curiousmama

        Yes, and perhaps some serious research into the difference between the body’s immunological response to some of the less long-lasting, effective vaccines (like pertussis) and its response to getting the actual illness…I understand that natural, home-based medicine is probably anathema to many commenters here, but if it is more beneficial (and confers truer immunity) for certain members of the population to get these illnesses, perhaps the research and effort could be made on how to bolster the immune system to withstand them, rather than focusing so much on prevention.

        • Kq

          If it worked better it would be used. You know what they call alternative medicine that works? MEDICINE.

        • Stacy48918

          We should research how to better help people suffer through a disease rather than prevent it in the first place? I’m sorry but that’s really an idiotic idea. YOU can get all those horrible diseases, I’ll take a shot please and thank you.

        • Stacy48918

          And you do realize that even “natural immunity” isn’t 100% and lifelong in every case, right? Well first you have to NOT DIE, of course, but even natural immunity can wane.

          • Young CC Prof

            My aunt had chicken pox as a child. Then she came down with it again a few days after giving birth, because her wonderful lifetime immunity faded. The baby survived, but it was a near thing, weeks in Children’s Hospital.

            Vaccinating her older child and his classmates would have done a much better job of protecting the family, if the vaccine was available at that time.

          • Who?

            I had the mumps twice. Really nasty both times.

          • Siri

            I was vaccinated against pertussis as a baby, and have contracted it twice; once in infancy and once as an adult. It’s a horrible, debilitating illness; for weeks I just got worse and worse until I thought I was dying. Do I still advocate for the vaccine? Yep. No-brainer. And I always advise adults to get their boosters if they want to avoid being ill for three months.

        • Have you ever seen or heard whooping cough (pertussis)? It’s freaking terrifying, it’s not fun at all, it can kill people. People cough so hard they vomit lots of times over the day- one woman had vomit buckets in her house for months because, yes, it takes months to stop coughing and she was vomiting at least 2-5 times per day every day for months. People cough so hard they break ribs, for crying out loud! And babies, well, babies just die.

          A longer-lasting immunity is just not worth that. Get the damn shot every 10 years and be grateful.

          • curiousmama

            Yes I have heard the cough and even read a blog post of a mom who had 3 kids down with whooping cough at the same time…it isn’t fun.

          • momofone

            Even less “fun” when you have to bury them.

          • Right. So why the hell are you against the vaccine that stops this disease?

        • fiftyfifty1

          Seriously? You think we shouldn’t prevent pertussis but rather let people get it and try to “bolster” them through it? Even if the healthiest among us could be effectively “bolstered” so they lived through without complication, what of all the weaker people (old people, babies, asthma patients, cancer patients etc) who would get the illness and die? Or is it about Survival of the Fittest for you?

          • Stacy48918

            No kidding. Coughing until I break my ribs? Coughing until I vomit? Coughing until I turn blue from lack of oxygen? For 100 days?!?!

            GIVE ME THE SHOT!

          • curiousmama

            it is true that whooping cough can be quite awful and it lasts a long time

          • momofone

            I know a woman who lost two babies to whooping cough, an eight-month-old daughter, and, a year or so later, a six-week-old son. “Quite awful” doesn’t begin to cover it.

          • Cobalt

            It nearly killed my sister. Twice.

          • curiousmama

            I am wondering about “bolstering”, I did not conclude that was the best option.

        • S

          “…and its response to getting the actual illness…”

          You do understand the purpose of a vaccine?

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          So, you realize that natural immunity from pertussis only lasts a few years, too, right?

          • curiousmama

            http://whoopingcough.net

            I found this site helpful, it seems quite balanced. From what I gathered, natural immunity lasts longer than the vaccine…but is not guaranteed lifetime

        • Siri

          Yes indeed, why focus on prevention when treating severely ill children is so much cheaper and easier? Whoever said prevention is better than cure was clearly deluded.

    • LibrarianSarah

      This must be the most ironic (I would use the word hypocritical but that implies conscious effort that is absent here) comments I have ever read on the internet. Curiousmama accuses provaxxers (and antivaxxers to be intellectually honest) of partisianship which is a form of black and white thinking. However in the very same comment she engages in a heaping dose of black and white thinking.

      Let’s start with the very first sentence where she frames this issue as one of experts vs. laypeople, black vs white. In reality, there are many parties involved. There are the experts (pediatricians, immunologists, doctors, nurses, the CDC etc), people who listen to those experts (most people thankfully), charlatans/renegades (Wakefield, Sears, etc), people who listen to the charlatans/renegades (antivaxxers), activists for the experts (Brian Deer, skeptics, autism self advocates), and activists for the charlatans/renegades (Jenny McCarthy, antivax bloggers etc). Each of these actors have their own motivations for example an autistic self advocate will have a very different veiwpoint than a skeptic even though they are on the same “side.”

      Then there is the rest of the comment which is more obvious in its black/white thinking. It appears that, according to curiousmama, since vaccines are not perfect and don’t provide lifelong

      • LibrarianSarah

        Immunity, then they are useless and we should give up on them. If that is not black/white thinking I don’t know what is.

        • curiousmama

          No…that is not what I asked. You, LibrarianSarah, are overreacting to a simple query on whether the vaccine platform is effective enough to combat diseases like measles, chicken pox, etc. My point on calling out the polarization between “experts” and “laypeople” is that discussion amongst parents and medical professionals/science minded people becomes quite difficult if parental concern about some of the vaccination requirements is brushed off as ignorance due to “lack of expertise” in an area that (let’s be honest) is still quite mysterious…immunology and intricate bodily reactions to the environment are still being studied, research, and discovered. To suggest that questioning vaccines for certain diseases is “ignorant” is quite unscientific…the point of science, especially medical science, is to maintain always a healthy skepticism and openness to further knowledge.

          • LibrarianSarah

            First of all it is not my fault that you failed to comunicate your points clearly. I suggest you take a writing class at your local community college because your coments are very hard to parse through.

            Laypeople by definition are ignorant. The word “ignorant” means “lack of knowledge or expertise.” A layperson lacks the knowledge or expertise to that an expert has and is therefore ignorant.

            Secondly, we have a pretty good idea on how vaccines work. There is nothing “mysterious” about it. And more importantly, we know that they do work and that the are safe. We have eliminated dangerous and deadly diseases through vaccination.

            Last but not least, there is a difference between skepticism and denialism. Skeptics look at the evidence and make a descision based on the amount and quality of the evidence. Denialists pretend to be skeptics but in reality they do not care about the evidence. They come to the party with a certain fixed belief and won’t change their mind no matter what the evidence says. The evidence in favor of vaccination is overwhelming. Only a denialist would doubt at this point.

          • curiousmama

            This is the first time I have engaged in an internet discussion on this topic. I write differently than I speak – if this were a face-to-face conversation, I would probably be able to synthesize my thoughts more clearly (and also wouldn’t try to shove them all into one post). Also, I have a six month old and am functioning on little sleep…perhaps you could be gracious.

            Skeptics are not just those that make a decision based on the best evidence…they also question current evidence/research to get further clarification. It is arrogant to say that doubting (or questioning, in other words) certain vaccinations=denialism. That is dismissing valid questions which many parents in the middle of the pro/con debate have, including myself.

          • Stacy48918

            Questioning is not the same thing as doubting.

            “Can you explain why vaccines last different times?” = question
            “Since all vaccines aren’t the same as smallpox the vaccine platform isn’t effective enough to combat disease.” = doubt

            Is your child current on her vaccines?

          • curiousmama

            I don’t have unlimited internet time to argue on semantics – I never said definitively that vaccines aren’t effective enough, so if you want to put words in my mouth and make your assumptions about my position, go ahead. I came here with questions and get called a doubter. No, my child is not current on his vaccines, and I have partnered with my very pro-vaccine pediatrician on that decision. That does not mean I am anti-vaxx, or never going to vaccinate, or that I take this lightly.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I don’t have unlimited internet time to argue on semantics ”

            Once again, another parachuter who is so very, very busy. Not quite so busy that she can’t make claims, but certainly much too busy to back up her claims! What are the incredibly vital activities that absorb all the time of these oh so important people?

          • Young CC Prof

            Making unsubstantiated claims on other websites.

          • curiousmama

            I can barely keep up with the comments on this site, and it is already past my bedtime. I am not a troll, which is what you are accusing me of.

          • curiousmama

            I have made no claims. I posted two questions hoping to engage in an adult discussion, and I do not have internet at home which makes it a bit difficult for me to be a part of any online forum. I am house-sitting and they have WiFi, but I leave tomorrow.

    • Stacy48918

      The original purpose of vaccines? To prevent people from DYING.

      You’re asserting that because EVERY vaccine doesn’t provide the exact same immunity as the smallpox vaccine that we should do away with all vaccines? That’s ludicrous.

      Yes, every disease is different and so every vaccine is different.

      You aren’t coming here to genuinely learn more. You already have it set in your mind that vaccines aren’t the way to go and we should explore other options. You’re ready to do away with all vaccines jut because they don’t meet your standards of perfection.

      • curiousmama

        I am not asserting that we do away with all vaccines. Based on my limited knowledge, I have drawn the conclusion that vaccinations are used to prevent both generally serious threats to public health, and also lesser diseases that do not threaten the population as a whole (such as HPV).
        Based on that, I have a concern that because “vaccination” is such a favored approach, perhaps other ways to combat these lesser illnesses are being passed over…or research on alternatives is not funded in favor of further vaccine research. I may be short on sleep and time, but that doesn’t seem like an illogical concern.

        As for the rest of your charges against me, I hope you realize that your words have meaning, even over the internet. I have never spoken with you before, and I don’t make assumptions about you…please extend me the same courtesy.

        • Guesteleh

          lesser diseases that do not threaten the population as a whole (such as HPV).

          Nearly every sexually active woman in the world is infected with HPV. Some strains of HPV are directly linked to cervical cancer. About 12,000 U.S. women get cervical cancer each year and 4,000 U.S. women die of it annually. Cervical cancer is treatable but at great cost and pain. The HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent thousands of cancer cases, save thousands of lives and spare thousands more the pain and suffering of cancer treatment.

          You are speaking from ignorance but you refuse to admit it. That’s why people are frustrated with you. Have some humility, read real sources of information and educate yourself.

          • curiousmama

            HPV does not carry the same death rate or hospitalization rate as every other disease we have vaccinations for. Though it is estimated there is a high infection rate, unlike diphtheria or the measles, many cases show NO symptoms and HPV infection goes away within a couple years (per the CDC fact sheet).
            So no, I am not speaking from ignorance. And since safe sex, limited sexual intercourse/few sexual partners can prevent even contracting HPV, it cannot be compared to illnesses such as the chicken pox, which is spread through much less intimate social contact.

          • Stacy48918

            70% of cervical cancer cases can be PREVENTED with this vaccine.

            WE CAN PREVENT CANCER with a shot.

            Why would you want to deny your child that protection?

          • curiousmama

            Really? Since the HPV shot is not the only thing standing between a child and cancer, how on earth can you make this emotional appeal with any seriousness? First, cancer is not a foregone conclusion for every HPV sufferer. Second, I clearly stated above that responsible sexual behavior (and that of your partner) can prevent HPV infection.

          • attitude devant

            Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
            I can be responsible all I want, but if I am raped or my partner has had other partners before me, I am at risk even if I marry as a virgin. Don’t be absurd.

          • Cobalt

            Is vaginal intercourse really the only transmission route for HPV? I’ve seen stuff urging vaccination for boys too, not just because they are transmission vectors but because HPV can also cause oral and anal cancers.

            Could oral transmission include kissing? Regular skin to skin contact?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, a family friend just finished his treatment for HPV positive tongue cancer. He’s a bit of a wise guy. He says “I could have got it from kissing or maybe from oral sex. I hope I got it from oral sex.”

          • Samantha06

            Michael Douglas admitted a while back he has HPV-related throat cancer contracted from oral sex.

          • Dr Kitty

            Yes, and sharing sex toys, and other sexual activities.

            Which is why ALL sexually active women, even women who have never had PIV intercourse with a man need to have cervical smears.

            If anyone’s anything has been in the vicinity of your cervix, you should be having smears.

            Unfortunately, a significant proportion of cervical cancers are in women who have exclusively female partners and who don’t realise they are at risk of HPV, so don’t go for smears.

          • Dr Kitty

            Oh, I should also add…

            “Sexual activity” is quite often interpreted to mean PIV sex, i.e. The Clinton Definition.

            There are also a LOT of heterosexual people who consider themselves to be virgins who have been exposed to HPV through sexual activities that aren’t
            PIV intercourse.

            Some of those people might even believe that they are saving themselves for marriage and being responsible.

            HPV is just a wart virus. Some HPV lives on hands and feet and causes verrucas and hand warts. Some HPV likes mucous membranes and lives in mouths and on genitals. Some HPV isn’t really very fussy where it lives. Some HPV is oncogenic, some isn’t. Some HPV causes visible lesions, some doesn’t.
            HPV is probably part of our microbiome. Most of us clear the viruses without symptoms. Some of us clear the viruses only after getting symptoms. Some of us never really clear the virus at all, or only after it has mutated some of our cells and given us cancer.

            We can prevent the strains that cause cancer and warts by vaccinating. The vaccines are safe and so far seem to be effective.
            We’re never going to eradicate HPV by any other means, so why not go for the option we have at present, which is the best one we have?

          • curiousmama

            I never said you wouldn’t be at risk in those situations.

          • Amazed

            Really? I thought HPV was preventable by other actions beside the vaccine?

            Go crawl under you rock where you can practice abstinence to your heart’s content. For myself, I’m ready to kill cockroaches all day long, rather than give up sex. It’s a good thing that I confess it, then, heh? This way, if this Amazed slut gets HPV, it would have been her own fault for not preventing it by practicing Holy Abstinence. It isn’t as if women who enjoy sex are worthy of being protected. As to those who are raped or get it from their one partner, well, there is risk in those situations, so all is peachy.

          • Stacy48918

            And you want people to take you seriously.

            Just don’t be a slut? Just don’t get raped? That’s your plan for preventing/eliminating HPV cervical cancer? Give me a break.

          • curiousmama

            um, no. If you look at my original post on HPV, I clearly stated that HPV is a) preventable by other actions besides the vaccine and b) it does not always, or even mostly, lead to cancer. The person I wrote this in response to implied that I was not protecting my child from cancer if I chose not to do the HPV vaccine. I disagreed.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Wow. I’ve had one sex partner. He had one partner before me. I have HPV, (contracted from him, obviously). How were we sexually irresponsible?

          • curiousmama

            I sympathize with your HPV diagnosis, thank you for your candor, and of course believe that your situation is the next best thing to two virgins becoming lifelong sex partners (in the context of HPV infection). Obviously, this is not a perfect world, and even those who have self control and (at the very least) wait to have sex until they are in a deeply committed, loving, long term relationship can still contract HPV.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “Abstinence” has not been an effective approach to birth control or controlling any STDs in the past. Talk about “failed approaches’! For pete’s sake.

          • curiousmama

            Actually, abstinence is the best form of STD and birth control prevention, when it is actually practiced. Perhaps you meant to say “programs that teach abstinence”?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Since it isn’t actually practiced, it’s a terrible approach to promote.

            How do you “teach” abstinence, btw?

            OK Miss “I don’t have time to deal with pedantry” let’s go with: hoping for abstinence is a failed approach.

          • Stacy48918

            “Programs that teach abstinence” fail. Abysmally.
            Vaccines prevent disease. Wonderfully.

            You are choosing a PROVEN failed technique over a PROVEN successful one.

            And one can “practice” abstinence all they want, until they’re raped. Which 1 in 4 women will be. How does your view help that woman in any way?

          • curiousmama

            You bring up the 1 in 4 statistic and I am curious what study or source you got that from. I hear the number thrown out in different blogs/opinion posts, but never see a link to the source.

          • Guestelehs

            Did you know that 40 percent of all pregnancies int he G

          • Guesteleh

            Grr: 40 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Abstinence is fiction.

          • Young CC Prof

            And 60% of those (24% of the total) involve women who were not using contraception.

          • Samantha06

            “Practiced” is the key word here…. more of that magical thinking that isn’t based in reality…

          • Melissa

            Abstinence is unrealistic.

            Why? Because some people like to have sex. Some of us don’t want to get married. Some of us don’t believe that there is anything wrong with having sex outside of marriage since we put as much stock in God and The Bible as any fictional character and book.

            Based on the number of people who report that they are sexually active it is actually quite a number of people who fall into this group. We represent a market that would like to be protected from negative consequences of sex (like pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections). Why exactly should we not get the products that we want just because some other people believe it is morally wrong? Plenty of people find meat eating to be morally wrong but we still have the USDA inspect beef and try to treat the increase in heart disease and other diseases related to high red meat diets.

          • Cobalt

            THANK YOU!

            Just like seatbelts and helmets, vaccines reduce some of the risks of everyday life. And yes, sex can and should be treated as a normal part of life. Because it is.

            People have sex. Informed consent is sexual responsibility.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And yes, sex can and should be treated as a normal part of life. Because it is.

            I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t the whole motivation behind her initial comment – it’s all about slut shaming. All this “is there a better approach than vaccines” was just a lead in to this silly “abstinence” crap.

          • Amazed

            Oh yes. As I pointed out, she deliberately substitutes health for her perception of “morals”. The vaccine is best, she even admitted so herself, but she’d rather replace it with something that has been proven not to work and to the extent it does, it’ll only protect (again, not flawlessly!) the ones she thinks superior.

          • Who?

            Abstinence assumes consent. A big assumption where many especially young women are concerned.

            Running the abstinence argument discounts the lived experience of many. And won’t be much comfort when a rape victim gets hpv, easily avoided by a quick needle.

          • demodocus’ spouse

            My husband practiced abstinence, except when he was raped.

          • Guesteleh

            God, that’s awful. I’m sorry.

          • demodocus’ spouse

            yeah, it sucked. Fortunately for him, some quirk in his psyche generally lets him file the incident under sometimes major crap happens.

          • Actually, it isn’t. See, for every form of birth control and STI prevention, we look at perfect use and we look at actual use. The perfect use statistics tell us how the method would work if someone used it perfectly, while the actual use statistics tell us how well it works when fallible humans actually put it into practice.

            The actual use stats on abstinence are mind-bogglingly awful. Abstinence is actually by far the worst birth control and STI prevention mechanism, bar none. It’s worse birth control than the rhythm method, for fuck’s sake! This is because while many people intend to be abstinent, they fail at it. They get overwhelmed by hormones, they think “just this once”, whatever. Abstinence also doesn’t protect people from rape, as has been pointed out numerous times.

            So, no, there is absolutely no way to claim that abstinence is at all good at birth control or STI prevention. It’s just not effective in actual use.

          • curiousmama

            I would agree that the actual use statistics are awful when it comes to abstinence, and obviously if we were to rely on this method as a means of prevention, a LOT of cultural changes would need to occur…which won’t happen, obviously. My point was that someone truly practicing abstinence is at very low risk, barring rape or other extreme factors.

          • Stacy48918

            “a LOT of cultural changes would need to occur…which won’t happen, obviously”

            So then let’s USE A VACCINE!

            Since you admit that we can’t live in your fairy-tale abstinence land (which doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, BTW), then let’s use something that actually works!

          • 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime. I’m not sure I can call that an extreme factor.

            But, that aside, since you know that abstinence isn’t a viable option, why are you against the HPV vaccine again?

          • Samantha06

            And I’m guessing she thinks slut shaming can prevent teen pregnancy too…

          • Samantha06

            I bet “curiousmama” feeds her babies “mama milk”…

          • curiousmama

            only have one child, and I am surprised at the juvenile tone of your post. Is it now wrong to breastfeed, or does that somehow implicate me as being a radical person?

          • Samantha06

            Now you understand how your statements about “responsible sexual behavior” and “abstinence” resonate. Your tone is very similar to another poster, Nikkilee, a Lactation Consultant who was debating on the recent post about the Similac video. She called breast milk “mama milk” and her tone was quite superior and patronizing. Your comments convey ignorance and mistrust of the medical system and it’s extremely frustrating to try to educate people who have bought into the woo. I deal with this on a daily basis and sometimes it’s like talking to a brick wall. And people who have bought into this line of thinking eventually have to face reality, and when they do, they sometimes blame doctors and other healthcare workers because they can’t deal with the truth. I totally agree with Stacy. Why would you deny your six month old child vaccine protection? Because you have bought into pseudoscience. It’s very frustrating to us when you ask the same question over and over that so many others like you ask- why can’t we look at “alternatives.” And you’ve been answered, over and over, but you keep asking, hoping we will give you the response you want. So many others have dropped in to argue about the “benefits” of home birth, (read Matt’s comments/arguments on Microbirth), breastfeeding, vaccines, etc with the same questions and arguments. We are educated, experienced professionals who trust medicine and science because we know it’s authentic and we see how it saves lives every day. Be grateful you actually have access to it, because so many others in this world do not.

          • curiousmama

            I am grateful, every day, for the situation I am in. I am here, being truthful about all the details even though I have previously read enough comments/posts to know there was the possibility I would get ridiculed. It would have been quite easy to either not divulge my child’s immunization status or lie about it to gain the approval of everyone on here.

            I’m not here to argue against vaccines, and have made it pretty clear that I don’t ascribe to pseudoscience or talking points by Dr. Sears or anyone else. If my questions sometimes seem repeated, it is because I have had to leave and come back to the forum and I am trying quite hard to keep track of what I have already asked/said. It doesn’t help that I am short on sleep.

          • Samantha06

            Well it’s not helping when you continually ask why can’t we consider “alternatives” to vaccines? There are no better alternatives, other than contracting the disease itself and getting severely ill and potentially infecting others! Vaccines prevent disease and it’s irresponsible and selfish to not vaccinate your child and potentially harm others. If you TRULY do not believe in pseudoscience are TRULY not anti-vax, listen to your doctor, take some responsibility and get your child immunized TOMORROW. What are you waiting for? An “alternative” that doesn’t exist?

          • Amazed

            No, you’re here to copy all the false points anti-vaxxers make and then insist that you don’t argue against vaccines. You’re here to make moral judgments and not seeing past your own nose, focusing on the tone of people who actually live with the problems you’re so sure you know how to prevent (mostly). Interesting that you claim you’re only trying to learn when all you seem to have read is anti-vax propaganda.

            I’ll spell it clearly for you: vaccines aren’t perfect. But they are the best shot we have right now to avoid terrible diseases. They are one of the greatest discoveries medicine has ever made. So until we reach perfection, we’ll stick to them.

            In elementary school, there was a boy in my class who I suppose might not have been vaccinated. He had a heart defect and was more vulnerable to common illnesses than most of us. I don’t think I would have forgiven myself if I had given him a not so common illness that I, being the healthy child I was, recovered from easily. Neither would have my mother. But well, that’s a problem you and your kid will never meet, eh? Seeing how sensitive you are to anyone who points out your bullshit with less than sweet crooning, even when they have contracted a thing like HPV. They don’t have the right to be irritated, offended, or whatever because your tender sensitivities are all that matters. And since that’s the attitude you’re going to impart to your kid, no problem.

            By the way, I cannot ask the boy I was talking about whether he was vaccinated. He died at age 9. But not of something that we, the healthy members of society gave him when it could have been prevented.

            And yes, I did enjoy pointing out your selfishness. See? I saved you having to write the question. I believe that this level of “me, me, me, I’m the world!” should be exposed.

          • Stacy48918

            “I don’t ascribe to pseudoscience”
            Except of course for promoting abstinence only teaching.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again: You can’t teach abstinence.

            There is no such thing as “teaching abstinence.” You can _promote_ abstinence, but it fails.

          • curiousmama

            If every medical professional, parent, and authority figure urged children to wait for that special someone (i.e. marriage) before having sex and did all in their power to support that message, you would completely alter the force of this infection. I realize that many people do not agree with the idea of self control applied to sex, or that it is a special act to be reserved for marriage…and that’s fine to disagree with my moral view on this issue. But, all differences aside, I think you can agree that if the culture overwhelmingly supported abstinence, chastity, and respect, that STDs, pregnancy, and other consequences would most likely drastically decrease. It isn’t the abstinence message that is faulty, but rather the inconsistency between that message and the many other messages in our culture that are sexually permissive.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Do you have any data to support that claim?

          • curiousmama

            Obviously not, because it hasn’t been tried. I can clarify by saying “I believe you would completely alter the force of this infection”. It is not an illogical belief, because culture is quite influential, but the culture I describe will probably never come about.
            I was theorizing that perhaps abstinence would not be a “failed approach” if it was coupled with support throughout the culture as a whole for chastity.

          • Cobalt

            Historically, abstinence culture has been tried. It has never worked even half as well as condoms, and condoms really aren’t great at preventing HPV infections.

            What does work is being honest that many people like to have sex, want to have sex, are going to have sex, and the most effective way to reduce dangerous HPV transmission is the vaccine.

          • curiousmama

            I would argue that abstinence has been tried, but as a way to DENY the fact that people want to have sex and use scare tactics to prevent them from doing it.

            We could use our current knowledge of facts instead of lying to kids about how sex=genitals falling off or other superstitions.

            I will grant you that other forms of education have worked, and it is unfortunate that barrier methods do not prevent this infection.

          • Cobalt

            I think the Church was pretty clear on the fact that sex was great, but should only be for married people. There were still an awful lot of STIs and out-of-wedlock babies. People even got married much earlier in life, reducing the “unmarried window”, but it didn’t help.

            Humans have a sex drive, it starts functioning well before the frontal lobes are fully operational, and sex is rewarding on a very basic level. There is no mind trick that is going to change that for any significant portion of the population.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If every medical professional, parent, and authority figure urged children to wait for that special someone (i.e. marriage) before having sex and did all in their power to support that message, you would completely alter the force of this infection.

            Complete and utter bullshit.

          • curiousmama

            It has worked for vaccinations. Let me expand on the comparison Dr. Amy suggested…

            Are there still parents who choose to never vaccinate? Yes, just as there would be people who ignore the abstinence message and have sex anyway with whoever they wanted.

            Are there parents who choose a delayed or alternative schedule?
            Yes, just as some people would wait to have sex until in a committed relationship, but perhaps not end up with that person forever and have a couple different sexual partners.

            Are the majority of parents in this nation following the advice of the culture at large and vaccinating on schedule, including boosters?
            YES. A consistent, strong, UNIFIED message to vaccinate one’s child has resulted in VERY high vaccination rates.

            So, theoretically, if the same emphasis were placed on abstinence education for a good number of years, it is not unrealistic to postulate similar results could be achieved. We are all products of our culture.

            One difference? The availability of pornography would be a much greater lure for curious abstainers than anti-vax websites are for curious parents 🙂
            Obviously, if there were a cultural push for abstinence, there would be a stifling of pornographic material.

            It isn’t a perfect idea, and I am NOT suggesting that it be implemented because realistically there is not enough support. But we can hypothesize!

          • Angela

            “But we can fantasize!”

            There, I fixed your last sentence.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Kind of like:

            If every medical professional urged parents to vaccinate their children and did all in their power to support that message, every parent would vaccinate exactly as recommended.

            Oops!!

          • Stacy48918

            So?

            All that wishful teaching doesn’t prevent RAPE.

            And you say “sexually permissive” like its a bad thing. Guess what – SEX IS FUN. People LIKE IT. And that’s why you can “teach” them all you want but people are still going to do it.

          • curiousmama

            Actually, I have never “said” sexually permissive in a tone for you to infer whether I think it is bad or not. Just because I personally don’t advocate for it doesn’t mean I condemn it for all of society, either. So thanks, but I don’t need a sales pitch on sex. I have a kid, and I wasn’t perfect before marriage so it isn’t as if I don’t understand the draw.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I think you can agree that if the culture overwhelmingly supported abstinence, chastity, and respect, that STDs, pregnancy, and other consequences would most likely drastically decrease.”

            I do agree with you there. I’m a family physician and provide healthcare to an ethnic group that has a culture that *overwhelmingly* supports abstinence and chastity and indeed, their STD and unplanned pregnancy rates are very low. The way they provide this overwhelming support is by completely cutting off the genitals of their little girls at 8 years of age and sewing up the edges leaving a hole the size of a matchstick. They value chastity let me tell you, and it gets results!

            Now all the other groups I serve, apparently don’t provide enough support: not the Catholics, not the Orthodox Jews, not the Mormons, not the homeschooling Evangelical Christians, not the Hindus, not even the non-infibulating Muslims. Turns out that I see STDs and refer for abortions in all these less supportive groups.

            I think there is a lesson in there somewhere!

          • curiousmama

            Did you not see the “respect” portion of my suggestion? Do you think I don’t know there are cultures out there who mutilate women to promote “chastity”, when really it is just a way to control and victimize them?

            There is no lesson in what you have said.
            There is no religious group I am aware of that practices the kind of abstinence program I theoretically proposed, and these groups are made up of humans and humans make mistakes. Just because they follow a religion that preaches a certain behavior doesn’t mean they always resist temptation.

            Certainly our current culture makes it difficult to have convictions about sex when the overwhelming message is that there is no use waiting for anything other than a personal feeling of comfort and readiness.
            Is it any wonder that members of those religions that you serve do not represent their faith perfectly?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ah, so back before this “current culture” things were better. Women enjoyed a golden age of respect. STDs were not known. Every child was a wanted child. Sounds wonderful. When was this magical epoch exactly?

          • curiousmama

            It has never existed. Sexually permissive cultures are not a new thing, they have been around before, and so has restrictive abstinence culture and others in between. Thank goodness we don’t have the syphilis rates we used to, and that women who DO want to use natural methods of family planning don’t have to rely on the original rhythm method which assumed a 28 day ovulation cycle (which we know now is not the schedule for all women).

          • fiftyfifty1

            Look, I’m just trying to find some real life, proven, practical solutions to fix the terrible failure rate of your preferred plan of Abstinence Promotion! If you don’t want my help, you’ll have to find a way of controlling other people all on your own!

            …in the meantime I’ll go give some vaccinations…

          • curiousmama

            The only person I can control is myself. I can teach my kids whatever I want, but I certainly can’t control their behavior.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Exactly. And that’s why you vaccinate.

          • curiousmama

            And perhaps I will, since I have never stated that I am anti vaxx

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            I can’t agree with that at all. A culture that supports open discussion of sexuality and promotes safer sex with condoms and effective birth control will have a lower rate of STDs and unplanned pregnancy. See: Scandinavia.

          • curiousmama

            Yes, I get the fact that the message you describe leads to those results. I was not refuting or arguing that at all. I was merely pointing out that the abstinence message has never been implemented at a whole culture level. There has never been a national push with the same zeal and funding as safe sex/birth control.

            My suggestion has never been tried, and apparently nobody who hears it on here wants to theoretically consider it either. That’s fine, move on.

          • Stacy48918

            But her “situation” could have been PREVENTED with a vaccine.

            That’s the point.

            Even in the “next best” situation people will still contract this potentially deadly disease. But you believe that PrimaryDoc living with the risk of life-threatening cancer is preferable to PREVENTION.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yep. I’m a family physician. I have had 3 patients in my time in practice with vulvar cancer. One died from it (a slow horrible death. the smell of putrifying flesh followed her everywhere for her last few months). She had had 2 lifetime sexual partners: her first husband and her second husband. Another patient had to have a radical vulvectomy. She had been a virgin at 19 when she married. She contracted HPV from her husband who had picked it up apparently when he served in WWII. My 3rd patient also had 2 lifetime sexual partners. Her first husband was a cheater. She found the strength to leave him and raised her 2 boys staying single until they were both raised and grown. Then in her forties, she met a man through her church group who was a good guy and they fell in love. Shortly before they were married she was diagnosed with vulvar cancer from the HPV she had contracted from her first husband, and underwent a partial vulvectomy. Unfortunately the upper margin was positive and so she had to go back to surgery where she had a further excision including, tragically, clitorectomy.

            Those slutty cancer women. I guess they get what they deserve.

          • Samantha06

            My God.. those poor women. How awful..

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes. HPV deaths are some of the ugliest deaths out there. They cause a huge amount of suffering whether it is cervical, vulvar, penile, throat, tongue or anal cancer. Or the babies who die as preemies because of incompetent cervix problems from HPV treatment. But selfish curiousmama would rather wrap herself up in her prudish self righteousness and condemn these victims to their fates.

          • Samantha06

            So awful… and yes, her “abstinence” argument is very self-righteous.

          • curiousmama

            “let’s all pat ourselves on the back as we parrot back and forth our agreement with our own viewpoints and make a joke of anyone who thinks differently.”

            Apparently now it is “self-righteous” to believe that abstinence is a valid line of prevention against STI’s and pregnancy when practiced properly…

            This kind of attitude is self-fulfilling…obviously, if today’s culture views all abstinence messages with disdain and provides no authoritative support for them, they won’t hold weight with our young people!

          • Stacy48918

            “Apparently now it is “self-righteous” to believe that abstinence is a
            valid line of prevention against STI’s and pregnancy when practiced
            properly…”

            You claim you want information and science and studies, but IGNORE everything on abstinence. Abstinence programs fails, abysmally.

            We CAN’T live in a fairytale world of IF and WHEN. We have to live in the real world. People DON’T practice abstinence anywhere near effectively enough to prevent HPV transmission. So we have a vaccine.

            So you’re an atheist?

          • curiousmama

            Did I say that abstinence education programs are a raving success? No.

            Was I talking about abstinence education programs in the post you just quoted? NO

            It isn’t a fairytale that a SINGLE PERSON practicing abstinence can REDUCE their PERSONAL risk of HPV.

            Am I saying abstinence is like a magical cloak that provides the same level of prevention the vaccine is meant to? NO

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’ll say it again:

            Why did we need to invent an HPV vaccine in the first place?
            Because hoping for abstinence and slut shaming was not working.

            But that’s what you want to try as a creative new alternative.

          • curiousmama

            Nope. I never advocated for slut shaming, but if it helps you to dismiss me by putting words in my mouth, that’s your prerogative I guess.

            I have nothing against the invention of an HPV vaccine.

            It does cause me personal regret as a logical, scientific method-loving individual that abstinence programs teaching chastity and above all RESPECT have not been implemented at a full-scale, cultural level with support from all authority figures, just to see if it would work. It is just a theoretical wish, obviously nothing that can be put into practice. But in order for abstinence ED to be given its fair shot, that is what would need to happen…the message would need to be consistent. It can’t be, so it won’t work, so I am obviously not advocating for it to be tried.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I never advocated for slut shaming,

            No, you just call women who get HPV “irresponsible” because they don’t limit their partners.

            But hey, no slut shaming there….

          • curiousmama

            How about you provide a quote from me saying that women who contract HPV are irresponsible.

            Til then, perhaps you could just admit that you are inferring things from what I have written that are not direct quotes or accurate representations of my views.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            curiousmama >Stacy48918 • 19 hours ago

            “Really? Since the HPV shot is not the only thing standing between a child and cancer, how on earth can you make this emotional appeal with any seriousness? First, cancer is not a foregone conclusion for every HPV sufferer. Second, I clearly stated above that responsible sexual behavior (and that of your partner) can prevent HPV infection.”
            It is not a direct quote, but the leap from “responsible sexual behavior can prevent HPV infection” to “women who contract HPV are irresponsible” is really small…more like a hop than a leap.
            And there have been many examples provided of women who did have responsible sexual behavior and still contracted HPV, so your directly quoted statement is inaccurate.

          • curiousmama

            No, it is not a logical leap or hop or skip.

            Yes, there have been many examples of responsible women still contracting HPV…good thing I never argued the infection was their fault or condemned them for having sex!

            Read through some of my other posts where I have had to explain this OVER and OVER because for some reason everyone on here wants to paint me as a judgmental prude who believes HPV happens to wicked, irresponsible women.

            I get it. Though none of you know me personally, nobody on here likes talking with me and not to worry, I lose my internet access in a few hours and then you won’t have to hear from me anymore.
            You can all congratulate yourselves on besting another “troll” and continue in your assumption that I am a hippie mother that wants her kid to get whooping cough instead of a vaccine.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            I don’t think you are a “troll”…my impression is
            that you are so steeped in anti-vax rhetoric that you don’t realize how your
            questions sound to people who actually do understand how vaccines work. I’ve tried to answer your questions with
            solid scientific information, and I hope you do read the articles that I and others
            have suggested.

          • Siri

            Please please PLEASE can the self-pity. It’s boring. You’ve chosen to spend hours on here and leave dozens of pointless comments.

          • Stacy48918

            “Am I saying abstinence is like a magical cloak that provides the same level of prevention the vaccine is meant to? NO”
            So why do you oppose the HPV vaccine?

            By the time you know your child is having sex, it will be too late.

            Are you an atheist?

          • curiousmama

            Perhaps because it is given the same emphasis on the vaccine schedule as other vaccines even though transmission, infection risks, and infection complication risks are all different (and lower) than measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, etc.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Am I saying abstinence is like a magical cloak that provides the same level of prevention the vaccine is meant to? NO

            Wait a minute.

            This whole discussion is taking place because you initially asked if there might be better approaches to preventing diseases than vaccines that we should be working on.

            And then YOU brought up the example of the HPV vaccine, and the alternative of pushing for responsible behavior and abstinence.

            But now you are saying that you aren’t claiming that it is better than vaccination.

            So why did you bring it up in the first place? You have complained about how we haven’t responded appropriately to your initial comment and have misread it, but now it seems you are the one who can’t even keep up with your own argument.

            Is this about vaccines? Or is it just an excuse to moralize? I don’t get your point.

          • curiousmama

            (This took forever to find again, because this thread is huge)

            Excerpt from my first post on this topic, with the quote everyone can’t move on from:

            “And since safe sex, limited sexual intercourse/few sexual partners can prevent even contracting HPV, it cannot be compared to illnesses such as the chicken pox, which is spread through much less intimate social contact.”

            As you can see, my point about HPV was not to discuss alternatives to vaccination, but to acknowledge that there ARE alternatives in the case of HPV which are NOT available for prevention of chicken pox, measles, etc.

            It has been made clear that my attempt to engage in a discussion of whether the HPV vaccine is necessary or on par with other vaccinations is a waste of time, because apparently most people on here are of the mindset that I should just vaccinate according to schedule, no questions asked.

            I did not “push” for responsible behavior or abstinence as a population wide alternative to the vaccine. I merely have stated multiple times that these choices can reduce one’s risk of contracting HPV, making the risk for this disease much different than the risk for other illnesses such as rubella, which can be transferred unknowingly to a pregnant woman and cause permanent damage to her unborn child. Worse yet, though HPV can also affect an unborn child, rubella can be caught simply by sitting next to a stranger.

          • Stacy48918

            “my point about HPV was not to discuss alternatives to vaccination, but to acknowledge that there ARE alternatives in the case of HPV which are NOT available for prevention of chicken pox, measles, etc.”
            Except that you then acknowledged that those alternatives DON’T work!

            So what was the point in bringing it up????

          • fiftyfifty1

            If you’ve raised up your child in such a way that you have truly passed on to her your values regarding chastity, I can’t imagine what threat an HPV shot would be.

          • curiousmama

            So there is no risk associated with the HPV vaccine? Are there any recent studies that confirm that assertion?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oh, multiple studies show the risks are extremely tiny. But that doesn’t matter. By the time your daughter is old enough to question the life you have planned out for her, there will hopefully be some herd immunity in place that you can leech off of.

          • curiousmama

            I don’t have a daughter. I would appreciate any links you can provide to these studies, so I can save them in my reading list/as downloads since my internet availability ends this evening.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I suggest the CDC website. It has an excellent summary including links to the actual studies so you can read them yourself. The 2 real life risks a person is likely to encounter are:
            -sore arm. In my experience, the HPV shot is one that stings a bit more than for instance influenza.
            -fainting. Unfortunately, the HPV series is given at the exact time when needle phobias peak. Kids get very worked up over the shot and then vaso-vagal afterwards. This is why in my clinic, all shots given to adolescents are always given with the teen lying down. I strongly recommend this approach.

          • curiousmama

            thank you. I will continue exploring the CDC website, I just didn’t want to overlook any other pertinent sources if they were available.

          • Dinolindor

            FYI, it’s recommended that boys get the HPV vaccine also since 1) HPV causes other kinds of cancer that men can get (so not just cervical) and 2) males can carry the virus. I’m planning on having my son vaccinated as soon as he reaches the recommended age. Check the CDC website for more information.

          • Dr Kitty

            Why should that message be supported?
            I think abstinence until marriage is a terrible idea.

            I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 20. Neither of us were virgins when we met each other. Part of the reason I knew he was my soul mate was because our sex life was AMAZING…and I could compare it to other, not so great encounters.

            A fulfilling sex life is important in a marriage, and no, I absolutely don’t believe the “if you love each other it’ll all come together with time and practice”. Some people are compatible, some people aren’t.

            Finding out you’re committed to a lifetime of insipid and lacklustre sex AFTER you’ve got married is far, far too late.

            I would want my kids to know that when they got married it was to someone they knew would fulfill their physical needs, so that they wouldn’t want to look outside their marital relationship for physical satisfaction.

          • curiousmama

            There you have it. If most people think along those lines, the abstinence message loses its validity. I believe that is part of the reason why pushes for abstinence-plus or abstinence only ED have failed…because there is no cultural consensus that such an approach is valid.

            So when Bofa on the Sofa and others point out that abstinence ED failed, it is not necessarily because the message itself is flawed (truly, not having sex is the BEST way to protect yourself, it just is harder to stick with)…in order for us to prove the message is flawed, it would need to be implemented fully and consistently for a period of years and the results evaluated then.

          • Dr Kitty

            Not “harder” to stick with…just not worth sticking with.

            Absolutely don’t have sex with people you don’t like, or don’t trust, or don’t love or don’t want to have sex with, and don’t have sex without protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancy and STIS to the best of your ability…but to only ever have sex with someone after you’ve married them… I think it is a bad idea.

            You have yet to convince me why it isn’t.

            “People don’t agree with my message and won’t support it…which doesn’t prove that my message is flawed…but that they are, because they won’t support my message”…

            No. Doesn’t work like that.

          • curiousmama

            You are right, it doesn’t work like that, so I am glad that isn’t what I said!

            I will repeat myself – in order for abstinence education to be truly proven ineffective, it would first need to be consistently, comprehensively, longitudinally applied and emphasized by the culture as a whole. Only then could we declare with conviction, as Bofa and others have, that abstinence ED is a flaming failure.

            Instead, this kind of education has been inconsistently taught in a few states/settings at various points in time with multiple different messages (abstinencePLUS, abstinenceONLY, etc)…all the while there is a further cultural message to young people that sex is worth experimenting with someone you care deeply for, as long as you use protection. That cultural message does NOT jive with abstinence education, so therefore it has not been successful. The MESSAGE cannot be fully implemented because it is contradicted by the overall culture.

          • Stacy48918

            “I will repeat myself – in order for abstinence education to be truly
            proven ineffective, it would first need to be consistently,
            comprehensively, longitudinally applied and emphasized by the culture as
            a whole. Only then could we declare with conviction, as Bofa and
            others have, that abstinence ED is a flaming failure.”
            But since that will NEVER HAPPEN, why do you continue to insist on living in a fairytale and refuse to consider real life solutions, like vaccines, condoms, birth control pills, REAL sex-ed training and easy access to safe abortion – which DOES work to reduce unintended pregnancies and prevent disease.

            Why do you keep advocating for something you KNOW and ADMIT doesn’t work and will NEVER work?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            The “don’t have sex” approach to everything had been tried for time immortal. As I have said a couple of times, the whole reason we have things like birth control, safe sex, and yes, the HPV vaccine is because “don’t do it” didn’t work, regardless how hard it was tried.

            So now we have approaches that we can use to do things like prevent pregnancies and transmission of STDs without having to “try harder” on the old failed approach.

            So what’s the concern again?

          • Stacy48918

            “it is not necessarily because the message itself is flawed”
            Umm…it fails in religious households. It fails in secular households. It fails everywhere. The message is flawed. Humans are sexual beings. Telling people to repress a part of their very nature is unnatural. Then when kids DO act on their desires they don’t know any real ways to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies or STIs because all they’ve ever been told is “don’t do it”.

          • curiousmama

            Apparently you can’t conceive of any abstinence message that utilizes facts and doesn’t just say “don’t do it”….so perhaps we are at a conversational impasse. Seems we will agree to disagree.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I don’t know. In all the years people have been trying to push abstinence, one thing that has been constant is that it has not worked.

            So whether I can come up with other messages is irrelevant to the fact that, apparently, no one else can either.

            And it’s not for lack of trying, make no mistake. It’s been tried. And tried. And tried.

          • Stacy48918

            What facts? The facts that it doesn’t work? That children taught abstinence only or abstinence plus have sex at exactly the same rates as their counter parts….they just end up pregnant and with STIs more often? The facts that we do not and will never live in the sex-purged society you imagine?

          • Guesteleh

            Research shows that states with abstinence only education have the highest rates of teen pregnancy:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194801/

            You’re wrong. And p.s lady, “today’s culture” is a dog whistle term if I’ve ever heard one. If you don’t know what dog whistlewhistlelanguage is, look it up.

          • curiousmama

            So now you think I am speaking in a type of code? Nope, just trying to best express myself, if you don’t understand what I mean perhaps you could ask.

            And yes, as I have already said, abstinence only programs do not show success when adopted in piecemeal fashion in different places at different times. Are these programs being 100% honest and informative to kids? Are they explaining what it means to use a method perfectly vs. inconsistently?
            Most importantly, do most Americans believe that sex is something to be abstained from, in order to reap moral benefits later on? Because if it isn’t, than AS I HAVE SAID, the abstinence message goes straight down the drain. It is unsustainable if not reinforced by the larger culture kids are immersed in.

          • Stacy48918

            Well unless you plan to purposefully isolate your children from the world until you’ve sold them into arranged marriages with other virgins, they are going to be exposed to the culture. No matter how much you “train” them, they are going to do things you don’t want them to. Be the adult. Make the right decision. Protect them from some of the consequences of bad decisions, should they choose to make them.

            You still haven’t answered me – are you an atheist?

          • curiousmama

            Are you? What does it matter? What are you assuming my religious affiliation is?

          • Stacy48918

            Just wondering from where your pre-determined ideas about the “responsibility” of sex and abstinence until marriage come from, since they don’t follow scientific data. Since purity/chastitiy culture trends very closely with conservative Christian belief, yes, I made an assumption.

            I am a recent escapee from a fundamentalist Christian group (Independent Fundamental Baptists). Yes, I am now an atheist.

          • curiousmama

            I am a Catholic. Science does not provide data on moral issues in the same way it provides data for other phenomena…science at its core is objective, and morality on things like sex is subjective to one’s philosophies and beliefs. In other words, science cannot “disprove” the Catholic viewpoints on sex because they are not scientific assertions able to be tested. They exist independently of scientific methods and reasoning.

          • Stacy48918

            Riiiight.

            So you believe what you believe, science be damned.

            I thought you wanted us to take you seriously? That you were only here looking for scientific, objective answers to your questions. Seems that you already HAVE the answers to some questions and you don’t care what the objective science says.

          • Stacy48918

            And sex is only a “moral” issue because your church says it is. Circular logic.

          • Stacy48918

            Obviously you don’t consider purposefully choosing to risk the lives of babies, cancer patients and other immunocompromised individuals around you by not vaccinating your child to be a moral issue.

          • curiousmama

            Of course I do, and in fact the Catholic church advocates for vaccination.

          • Young CC Prof

            Yes, the statement “sex outside of marriage is morally wrong” is non-falsifiable. Some people believe it, and that’s OK.

            The statement “teaching young people abstinence is ineffective at preventing unplanned pregnancy and STDs” is both testable and true. And don’t blame it on culture, we didn’t invent sex. Ever read “The Scarlet Letter?”

          • momofone

            No, the self-righteousness comes in where you presume to make that the optimal choice for everyone, as opposed to just yourself.

          • Who?

            How do you practice abstinence properly? You might choose to never have sexual contact with anyone, and be assaulted or raped. Have you failed at abstinence at that point?

          • curiousmama

            Yeah, because somehow MY personal apprehension about this particular vaccine is just a cover for my secret wish that it not be available for ANYONE. Is my sarcasm coming across here? I hope so, because you all are making me lose hope of a rational discussion on any topic, much less vaccination.

            Apparently, it’s either “hop on the bandwagon, don’t ask too many questions”, or “doesn’t matter what you say, now that we know you are on the fence we will marginalize you as if you are a militant anti-vaxx nut job”

            Silly me, I thought perhaps I would gain some insight from the 36 hours of internet time I had left to devote to this forum…all I have is a headache. I appreciate the handful of people who have actually treated me with respect instead of ridicule.

          • Stacy48918

            You are applying YOUR PERSONAL APPREHENSION to the population. If YOU don’t want to get it because YOU want to teach abstinence to your children, so be it. But when you want to take your ill-informed, wrong opinions and transmit them to the population as a whole and advocate changing society because we are too “sexually permissive”, THAT is where your views must be stopped. Believe wrong things if you want. You don’t get to push them on the population.

          • curiousmama

            WOOOOOW does ANYBODY on here actually READ my posts?? My idea on abstinence taught at a national level was THEORETICAL and I CLEARLY stated that…it OBVIOUSLY would not work in today’s cultural climate because it IS a sexually permissive one…that is not a judgment, just a statement of fact. We do not condemn sexual behavior outside marriage or committed relationships, right? OK, then what I said about it being a “sexually permissive” culture is true.

            “you don’t get to push them on the population”…I’m not. But thanks for your concern and lack of attention to the post you are pulling this rant from.

          • Stacy48918

            “We do not condemn sexual behavior outside marriage or committed relationships, right?”
            WHY SHOULD WE?

            There’s nothing wrong with sex, unless you are a
            religious prude.

            In advocating AGAINST the HPV vaccine for EVERYONE, you are trying to influence culture. In critiquing sexual culture you are trying to change other people.

            You’re telling me you’re an atheist/agnostic?

          • curiousmama

            Stacy48918, do you enjoy picking apart an off-topic conversation just to niggle at someone you don’t agree with? Boy, you sure do have a talent for exaggeration, misrepresentation, and redirection!

            Did I condemn the sexually permissive culture? NO

            So what’s with the incessant focus on my own personal beliefs about sexual morality?

            Am I “advocating against the HPV vaccine for everyone”? NO and now you are just making yourself look ridiculous.

          • Stacy48918

            “So what’s with the incessant focus on my own personal beliefs about sexual morality?”
            Because you brought it up as a ridiculous reason to NOT vaccinate.

            Are you an atheist?

          • curiousmama

            Another commenter stated that using the HPV vaccine as an example was faulty because it is an “opt-in” vaccine…meaning optional.

            My concern as a parent is that the CDC recommendation on vaccinations does not differentiate in this way, with some vaccines marked as more “optional” than others.

            So is it truly necessary for public health to treat HPV infection the same as measles and push for universal vaccination of both with equal vigor?

            Can you or anyone else point me in the direction of recent, reliable studies showing the effects of the HPV vaccine? Recommendations on other sources are much preferred to trying to figure out what is reliable on the internet with my limited time I can devote to this medium.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            Here you go…

            http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/1/pdfs/06-0438.pdf

            This paper from 2007 discusses in depth the reasons behind the decision to recommend the HPV vaccine.

          • curiousmama

            Thank you.
            Are there any papers you know of written more recent than 2007? Any research sources you can refer me to for more recent studies?

          • Stacy48918

            It’s as true now as it was then. Facts don’t age out.

          • Guesteleh

            You originally said that the HPV vaccine isn’t needed because HPV isn’t a dangerous disease. When that was refuted by multiple commenters you moved the goalposts and started saying that HPV could be prevented by practicing abstinence. Again, multiple people proved you wrong. Now you’re saying you aren’t advocating against the HPV vaccine for everyone? That doesn’t fly.

          • curiousmama

            I never said the HPV vaccine wasn’t needed, or that it did not carry the risk for more dangerous and life threatening symptoms. I pointed out what I saw to be the difference between a virus like HPV and those such as measles that are:
            transferred in less intimate ways, amongst more people at a time, and with greater numbers of infected people showing symptoms.

            I also did not claim that the abstinence programs implemented in certain states are effective at preventing HPV, I clearly stated that personal decisions to abstain, limit the number of sexual partners, and (to a certain extent) practice safe sex can REDUCE the risk of contracting HPV.
            “multiple people proved you wrong”…no, multiple people took my words out of context and pretended I was saying that abstinence education prevented HPV.

            I never advocated against the HPV vaccine for everyone.

            If you plan on continuing to accuse me of saying certain things, perhaps you could take the time to grab direct quotes from my posts. It might save you the embarrassment of being mistaken when you try to synthesize my “points”.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If YOU don’t want to get it because YOU want to teach abstinence to your children, so be it.

            Although everyone has the right to decide whether to get it or not, I will also say that, I don’t care if she is teaching her children all the abstinence in the world, she still should have them vaccinated.

            1) Promoting abstinence does not work, and
            2) Even if it did, there are risks that are completely out of their control.

            Get the vaccine.

          • Stacy48918

            Exactly. If I remember correctly, graduates/participants in “abstinence” programs or chastity pledges do have sex later than other kids…but they still have premarital sex at a similar rate. They’re just a bit older.

          • Young CC Prof

            They are also less likely to use protection when they do have sex, possibly since they’ve been taught that it doesn’t work.

          • curiousmama

            Does it somehow provide you with entertainment to turn a portion of what I said into an indictment on all cancer victims that they brought it on themselves? this is not humorous, it is serious and it is a shame what happened with those patients.

          • Stacy48918

            “it is a shame what happened with those patients.”
            Even more a shame that it could have been PREVENTED WITH A VACCINE!

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I sympathize with your HPV diagnosis”…as opposed to all those other ladies’ diagnoses…

          • Guestelehs

            …those sluts.

          • Who?

            …or rape victims…

          • Samantha06

            That reminds me of the old SNL news with Jane Curtin and Bill Murray… “Jane, you ignorant slut..”

          • curiousmama

            Right, because sympathizing with one person means I don’t with anyone else? Please…

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ah ok. Where then does your sympathy draw the line? Which women (and men and preemie babies) got what they deserved and which ones get your sympathy?

          • curiousmama

            Again with the “get what they deserved” as if I am some fundamentalist whack job preaching about the fires of hell reserved for those who have sex outside marriage. This is getting old. Way to take my comments so out of context that the original conversation is lost.

          • Stacy48918

            So what do you think then of someone that has “irresponsible” sex and ends up with HPV? Do you have the same amount of sympathy for them?

            Clearly not. If you did, you’d have enough sympathy to advocate vaccination so that EVERYONE, no matter their lifestyle could be prevented from catching such a horrid disease.

            Instead, you feel that those who live “responsibly” should be safe, but not those that live “irresponsibly”.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Again with the “get what they deserved” as if I am some fundamentalist whack job

            Maybe it’s because you say things like,

            Just because I hold people accountable for their choices

            Do you not mean that people deserve to suffer the consequences of their choices? Because that is what you said.

          • curiousmama

            I hold people who victimize others accountable for their choices, I do not blame the victims.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Total strawman.

            We aren’t talking about rapists here. We are talking about women who contract HPV. Some are victims of actions by others. Others get it through their choices.

          • Stacy48918

            You mean like the parents of purposefully unvaccinated children that spread VPDs to little babies, cancer patients and other immunocompromised individuals?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Answer the question. Where does your sympathy draw the line? Sounds like a raped woman gets a pass, and also PrimaryCare Doc who has had only one partner. What about a woman with 2 partners but regrets it? How about a woman with 50 lifetime partners who really loves sex and never plans to settle down?

          • curiousmama

            Would you agree that if every American had no more than 5 sexual partners over the course of a lifetime that it would reduce the spread of HPV? It is a chain reaction, the less connected links in the chain, the less chance for it to spread. In terms of risking contracting HPV, someone who chooses to sleep with 50 people is being irresponsible – they are increasing their risk of contracting it. If they get vaccinated and decide ‘what the hell, I’m protected’ and have 50 sex partners, that’s their choice. But what I am not hearing from anyone here is how the vaccine stops the infection from spreading if we still aren’t certain on how many cases there are to be begin with. Is not the only thing we can measure the incidence of HPV caused cancers and warts?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Is not the only thing we can measure the incidence of HPV caused cancers and warts?”

            Girlfriend! Get up to date with the science! How can anyone have an informed opinion without understanding the underlying science (hint: they can’t). The total for HPV infections isn’t measured by looking for cancer or warts, it’s measured by PCR, duh! Longitudinal PCR testing shows that over 70% of women carry HPV at some point.

          • curiousmama

            Thank you for the clarification and explanation, as I have stated before, I was only referred to the CDC website and if I missed this information on there, then it is a sign that I should continue using the site (as I plan to)

          • fiftyfifty1

            ” it is a sign that I should continue using the site”

            Yep and a sign that right now all your “opinions “about vaccinations can’t be taken seriously as you currently lack even the most basic science grounding.

          • Young CC Prof

            Try this for starters. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/sti-estimates-fact-sheet-feb-2013.pdf

            The CDC has been conducting surveillance of HPV prevalence among adolescents. It was really high before, it’s dropped a lot just in the few years since the introduction of the vaccine.

          • fiftyfifty1

            So does that woman with 50 partners get the pass or not? You keep dodging. Does she deserve HPV?

          • curiousmama

            I think she should hold herself accountable for her own choices, as should we all. Behaviors have consequences. Do people always deserve the consequences of their actions, good or bad? What is your point in trying to get me to condemn a person?

          • fiftyfifty1

            So you are saying that yes, she deserves her cervical cancer. That’s all, just wanted to know what we are dealing with here.

          • curiousmama

            No, I don’t believe it is anyone’s place to say somebody deserves cancer. Do you point to someone with lung cancer who was a chain smoker and say “you deserved it”? No. it is understandable that they got lung cancer, because smoking greatly increases the risk of lung cancer developing, but we don’t wish it on smokers or smugly say they deserved it if they get it.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “we don’t… […]…smugly say they deserved it if they get it”

            No, curiousmama knows better than to come right out and say it because she knows people would call her out on her cruel judgementalism. But that sure doesn’t keep her from enjoying her superior thoughts in private!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            They don’t deserve it, it is just the consequence that holds them accountable for their choice.

          • attitude devant

            It is NOT a chain reaction. Not at all. Depending on the prevalence in the population, your risk is low or high even with one sexual partner. Mathematically if I have sex with 50 people in a zero-prevalence population (an almost hypothetical group, but I know of one) I have zero risk. But if I have sex with one person in a population in a 70% prevalence population, I have a 70% risk.

            Viruses are NOT moral agents. They just are forms of life who depend on us to spread and maintain them. Their forms of transmission vary; their prevalences vary. That’s it. For us to have a killer virus like HPV available and fail to vaccinate our kids is an immoral choice. IMMORAL See how you like it when your kid gets HPV, winds up having cervical surgery at a young age and end up with impaired fertility or impaired ability to carry a pregnancy.

            Edited to add: and don’t kid yourself that you can control your kid’s sexual experimentation. YOU CAN’T.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            ^^^ YUP. As someone who has undergone a painful procedure on my cervix as a direct result of HPV, I would have loved to have the vaccine. But I guess that was just what I deserved for being a harlot. 😉

          • Cobalt

            Well, if everyone only ever had one partner, ever, sexual transmission of HPV would stop. Compliance rates would have to be 100%, no exceptions ever. Sexual assault would have to be completely non-existent.

            Sounds totally doable!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’ve always wondered…since gonorrhea and syphilis are bacterial, if everyone who had it would just get treated before having sex again, shouldn’t it be eradicated? Yet, here we are, 75 years since penicillin and they are still around…

          • Kq

            I would hazard a guess that the answer is no. Overuse of antibiotics results in resistant strains of bacteria developing and spreading. Antibiotics are an incredible thing, but they do need to be used judiciously. Others please correct me if I’m wrong here – isn’t overuse if provolactic antibiotics causing resistance?

          • Cobalt

            Also getting people to finish their meds instead of stopping when they feel better and treating everyone infected (and that might not be symptomatic yet) by the current sufferer before they reinfect the current sufferer.

          • Roadstergal

            If everyone only had one partner, ever, you might reduce HPV infections. But you would have to balance that against the additional mortality that such a system would bring, because I would start randomly bludgeoning people in the street.

          • Cobalt

            Word!

          • curiousmama

            Thank you for the correction

          • Mishimoo

            I don’t know – my parents did a fairly good job of controlling mine, but that involved vast amounts of slutshaming and misogyny over several years. 0/10, would not recommend 😉

          • Stacy48918

            No, you don’t. Because if they’d just “practiced abstinence” or been “responsible” they wouldn’t have HPV. You prefer “abstinence” which NEVER WORKS to vaccines, which do WORK.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            You can take your moralistic “sympathy” and shove it.

            Disease has nothing to do with morals. My HPV infection is no more “moral” than the HPV infection of a prostitute who sells her body for heroin.

          • curiousmama

            I don’t get it. I appreciate the internet because I get the chance to discuss things with individuals from all walks of life that I would not meet otherwise, but every time I go on forums and discuss topics that are hot-button issues, the other adults just cannot be polite. You could have just ignored my comment, but no, you had to rudely reject my genuine sympathy that is not moralistic (whatever that means) and is simply one woman feeling for the struggles of another.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            You really don’t get it. I’ll explain it slowly. Someone who contracts a disease should not be treated or judged on how they got it. Would you have expressed the same genuine sympathy to me if I had told you that I had a history of multiple sex partners and worked as a prostitute? Somehow I doubt it.

          • curiousmama

            I would not have agreed with you if you acted flabbergasted as to how you contracted it, but yes I would obviously still have sympathy with your diagnosis.

          • Siri

            Who cares what you believe?!!! I’m sorry there wasn’t a vaccine against sanctimony when you were born. You’d have benefited from a dose or twelve.

          • curiousmama

            obviously, you don’t care. There are people who care what I believe, and I am sorry that you are so incapable of politeness when faced with ideas that you disagree with. Unless I am personally attacking you, what use is it to insult me? All it does is show me that you are not a nice person.

          • Siri

            Thank you. I wouldn’t want you to find me ‘nice’.

          • Dr Kitty

            Lady, you’ve just stated that people who don’t wait to have sex until their relationships pass some sort of litmus test of acceptability you have come up with lack self control. You are personally attacking and insulting people.

          • Siri

            Those who have self control?? Lady, when I have sex it is NOT a loss of control; I choose to do it! How much more insulting can you be? I have had double figures’ worth of lovers, and I sure as heck hope to have at least a few more. I don’t have HPV; God has forgotten to punish me for my wantonness.

            P.s. I have been in control every.single.time. Dirty bitch that I am.

          • Roadstergal

            So, in a ‘perfect world,’ those who were only in committed LTRs when they had sex would not get HPV, and those who were not, would.

            Instead, we are in a world where a vaccine can prevent HPV for both sets of people.

            I think I now see why you oppose the vaccine. It gets in the way of your ‘perfect’ world, where those who pass your morality test are protected, and those who don’t get HPV.

          • moto_librarian

            Yup. I have had one partner. He was widowed. I have HPV. Stick it up your ass curious mama.

          • curiousmama

            Really? 6 people “liked” this extremely rude comment? If you read my original comment, I did not imply that all people who get HPV are irresponsible, I merely stated that sexually responsible behavior can help prevent HPV. This was part of a larger point that has now been lost due to people blowing one portion of it out of context, getting offended, and then treating me as if I said they were to blame for their illness.

          • Young CC Prof

            The issue is that HPV is really easy to spread and many infections are “silent,” especially in men. (Silent infections can still cause cancer.) Hence, most people who have ever had sex get it unless they are vaccinated before the first time. Sexually responsible behavior just doesn’t do much to stop the spread.

          • curiousmama

            With no test available for the “silent” HPV, how are these numbers formulated? I found no studies on the CDC site to indicate where they got their estimation of infection rates…

          • Angela

            There is a screening test for HPV in asymptomatic women. It’s called a Pap smear.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            There is a screening test for “silent” HPV. Here is a link to the CDC website that discusses it:

            http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/screening.html

          • curiousmama

            Thank you, somehow I missed that! So am I understanding correctly that if HPV virus is detected during the screening, you are at risk for any type of HPV caused cancer? Or is the virus localized to the cervical area?

          • Young CC Prof

            The virus seems to act like herpes and infect a particular part of the body rather than your entire system. If you have a positive pap smear, you have an HPV infection of the cervix and are at risk of cervical cancer specifically.

          • curiousmama

            Thank you for clearing that up!

          • Angela

            Thanks for mentioning this (and Young CC Prof too) and posting the link. I wanted to discuss HPV screening and testing in my comment below, but decided to be brief (first time commenter [though long time lurker], typing on my phone, figuring out Discus, etc) and at least try to correct one curiousmama misconception.
            The Pap smear as a screening test was a huge advancement in women’s health for detecting HPV-related lesions and the new HPV testing guidelines are a great addition to the basic screening. But why not prevent the infection in the first place with the VACCINE?

          • Young CC Prof

            Actually, you can test for silent infections. Pap smears can now include HPV dna.

          • curiousmama

            Okay, but where are the numbers for the 75% infection rate statistic? Has there been a study done?

          • Guesteleh

            What exactly do you mean by “responsible sexual behavior?” How many partners are responsible women allowed to have? How long do they have to be in the relationship before they have unprotected sex? What if they want to marry a partner who is infected–do they have to use condoms for the rest of their marriage?

            Do you get now why people are pissed off at you? Probably not.

          • curiousmama

            No, I think it is ridiculous to get “pissed” at someone for stating a pretty basic fact…irresponsible behavior=more risk. Did I say that the only people who get HPV are irresponsible? No.

          • Stacy48918

            “irresponsible behavior”
            You still didn’t answer the question. DEFINE responsible sexual behavior.

          • curiousmama

            I will define irresponsible behavior as having unprotected sex with multiple partners…pretty sure we can all agree on that. Furthermore, the less partners you have, the less your chance to contract it in the first place, but if people choose to sleep with many partners that is up to them.

            And before people jump down my throat AGAIN, please read my words and recognize that I AM NOT saying that rape victims or virgins with their first partner have zero risk – to infer that is making a huge leap. I am saying that every person is in control of their own behavior, and if contracting HPV concerns them, there are steps they can take besides getting vaccinated that CAN lower their risk…I will repeat that, CAN LOWER, not ELIMINATE ENTIRELY. It takes two to tango, and if the other person is infected than obviously there is risk of infection.

          • Stacy48918

            “I will repeat that, CAN LOWER, not ELIMINATE ENTIRELY.”

            Which is why we have a VACCINE, which you OPPOSE!

            You admit that your “alternate methods” of preventing disease AREN’T enough, but you OPPOSE VACCINATION!

            Why can’t you see that THAT cognitive dissonance is why we disagree with you?

          • Dr Kitty

            HPV is not well prevented by condoms. FACT.

            You can decide to tell you children that you don’t want to get them vaccinated against HPV, because they should be saving themselves for marriage if you want…

            I’ll be telling mine that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are as protected from pregnancy and disease as possible, but that sex is natural, normal and wonderful and they should feel free to experiment with partners they trust, rather than feel they have to commit to a lifelong partnership with someone before finding out if they are sexually compatible.

            Personally, I think waiting until you are married to have sex with someone is a HORRIBLE idea, and absolutely not one I would recommend to my children.

          • Stacy48918

            “Personally, I think waiting until you are married to have sex with someone is a HORRIBLE idea, and absolutely not one I would recommend to my children.”
            YES!

          • Amazed

            Liar. Before “people jumped down your throat”, you never mentioned unprotected sex. You advocated having only one partner – your spouse. Now, you’re trying to wiggle out if it by pretending that you don’t judge people for having sex with multiple partners, that you only truly mind the unprotected part.

            Barf. It’s clear what you believe but you don’t have the guts to defend it.

            Liar.

          • Siri

            Why not just get the bloody vaccine and cut out the ridiculous postering? Yes, I can reduce my risk of dying in a car crash by staying indoors forever, thus eliminating the need to wear a seatbelt. Or I can wear the goddamn seatbelt.

          • Siri

            Posturing. O really should proofreed my rantz.

          • Samantha06

            So, it’s OK for you to be narrow-minded and judgmental, but because someone called you on it, they’re “rude”?

          • curiousmama

            Ha! moto_librarian did more than “call me out”, it was a rude comment that was unnecessary. I made ONE assertion which, among rational adults, would not offend anyone…that HPV infection, along with every other STI, can be prevented by practicing safe sexual practices, which include abstinence and limiting the amount of partners you have. Did I say it always will be prevented? No. I simply mentioned a means other than vaccination that can prevent infection, as a demonstration that (unlike other illnesses), there are other ways to decrease your risk of HPV infection. One regrettable fact is that HPV does not yet have a test, and often can only be diagnosed if other symptoms occur.

          • Samantha06

            “I simply mentioned a means other than vaccination that can prevent infection, as a demonstration that (unlike other illnesses), there are other ways to decrease your risk of HPV infection.”

            Like most woo-based folks, you aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. If you have a vaccination to completely PREVENT it in the first place, what does it matter? As other commenters have already pointed out, numerous times, you are not thinking about factors beyond someone’s control, like rape. If a girl or guy chooses abstinence, does not get the vaccine, then gets raped, what then? They could have been protected but are not because they chose “other ways.” Kind of like the classic line of home birth midwives– the “other ways of knowing” phenomenon to predict labor events. You don’t want to learn. Like so many others before you, you want to “educate” us about the woo. Not gonna work..

          • curiousmama

            And that leads to a question I posed to someone else here…I saw nothing on the CDC website in regards to raw data on infection rates, perhaps because there is no test for HPV in its “silent” infectious form…so do the vaccines for sure prevent infection, or just the cancers and warts that may result from an HPV infection?

          • attitude devant

            Your question betrays so much confusion that it’s unanswerable.

          • moto_librarian

            Yes, it was rude. No, I’m not sorry that I said it. The only reason that you are arguing against the HPV vaccine is because you get HPV from having sex. If this were a vaccine to prevent breast cancer, there would be no argument. But since cervical cancer is linked to sex, we should forego the vaccine and pretend that we live in a perfect world where only whores get infected.

            There is indeed a way to diagnose HPV. Mine was diagnosed after an irregular pap, and my sample was tested for pre-cancerous strains of HPV. I tested positive for one of them, and had a colposcopy. Fortunately, I did not need a LEEP, and the virus seems to have cleared for now. But I will always have that fear in the back of my mind.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            made ONE assertion which, among rational adults, would not offend anyone

            Oh, so moto_librarian is just being irrational, eh? But hey, let’s not be rude here….

            Go back to your initial assertion…

            And since safe sex, limited sexual intercourse/few sexual partners can prevent even contracting HPV

            Now, moto_libarian has contracted HPV. Which do you assert applies to here:
            1) She practices unsafe sex
            2) She has not “few” sexual partners?

            Do you not see that she might be insulted by the insinuation that her HPV comes from some “irresponsible” behavior? (another term you’ve used)

            Your post are dripping with insults of real people, even if you don’t say anyone in particular. And as a result, people are going to take offense, because, honestly, you have insulted THEM.

          • moto_librarian

            Well, after all, curiousmama did say, “Just because I hold people accountable for their choices does not mean I also blame them for situations out of their control.” Whatever the hell that means.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Well, apparently it DOESN’T mean that people who make “irresponsible choices” deserve what they get.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Second, I clearly stated above that responsible sexual behavior (and that of your partner) can prevent HPV infection.”

            I have a teen patient with a bad case of HPV. She got it when she was raped. I guess she deserved what she got then?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And I don’t give a shit about her stupid moralizing about “responsible.” It’s crap.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oh I don’t either. Nobody deserves HPV or cancer whether they have had 100 partners or only one (or in the case of my patient, zero, because I have a hard time describing rapists as “sexual partners”)

          • curiousmama

            I don’t believe anybody deserves them.

          • Who?

            Right-can we all agree then that ‘abstinence’ is not reliable for protection against either pregnancies or stis?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ok then. So which women (and men and preemie babies) deserve to be protected from this fate by the vaccine?

            Hint: an answer like “that preemie baby’s mother should never have slept around and contracted HPV in the first place and needed cryo” will paint you as heartless.

          • curiousmama

            Just because I hold people accountable for their choices does not mean I also blame them for situations out of their control. If someone stays a virgin, saves it for marriage, and then gets raped, there is no logical argument for blaming that woman or man for their fate. The rapist is the irresponsible one OBVIOUSLY.

            You are also showing an inflexible attitude and using emotional appeal to insinuate that anyone who doesn’t vaccinate against HPV is putting preemies, men and women at risk. But the risks of infection complications, though you may have many examples of them occurring, are still QUITE LOW. Just as you don’t appreciate anti-vaxx people arguing about how they know someone with a vaccine-related injury, I don’t appreciate you using your own anecdotes to make the HPV virus seem just as contagious and serious as measles.

          • Amazed

            Luckily, there are lots of people like me that you can blame for their fate if they happen to be infected (so far, I haven’t been.) We have ONE partner at a time. Like, in relationships that last for several YEARS. Then, we realize we don’t have anything more to give each other and go our separate ways. Then, the story repeats. It isn’t that we don’t WANT to stay with one partner, it just turns out that isn’t this one as we thought it might be. You all but claimed that since we weren’t virgins for each one of those relationships, we should be blamed for our fate. Implying that “we got what we deserved”. Why bother protecting us? We weren’t virgins!

            Isn’t it great that we, the sluts, exist? Who would you wave your moral superiority over if we weren’t around?

            We’re talking about medicine. You’re talking about morals. So far, we have found out that no one who has had more than one partner (in sacred matrimony, of course!) deserves protection since you only advocate for protecting those who you believe are worthy. Who else isn’t worthy in your book?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Just because I hold people accountable for their choices does not mean I also blame them for situations out of their control.”

            Got it. So the preemie is not responsible for his own death, but he has to die to punish the mom (unless she was raped). Kind of like David and Bathsheba and their first baby. The sins of the fathers etc. etc.

            But thank God that it doesn’t happen very often. That only about 4,000 women die of cervical cancer a year, and a few thousand babies (and a bunch of pervy men who did oral sex and caught mouth cancer). Somebody has to serve as the cautionary tale to hold people accountable for their choices!

          • Melissa

            A good friend of mine had one sexual partner ever, her husband. Turns out that he had HPV and passed it on to her. It’s something that she really struggled with because she truly believed that HPV (and any STI) was a thing that happened to bad people. She had refused the HPV vaccine in college because she wasn’t one of those types of girls who needed it. The guilt she felt around the HPV diagnosis was worse than anything physical related to it because she had bought into the politicization of the vaccine.

            It’s all about the risk vs. the benefit. The risk of adverse reactions from the HPV vaccine are exceptionally low (no matter what Michele Bachman claims) and the upside is protecting yourself/your partner/any of their future partners from exposure. Protection from not only cervical cancer but also mouth and throat cancers. Not that the HPV vaccine is mandatory even (and thus a weird one to use as an example of the problem with vaccination since it is truly an opt-in vaccine). HIV is another disease that has a exceptionally low lifetime risk for many populations but that doesn’t mean that it is useless to look for a vaccine for it, or Ebola or any other disease.

          • Young CC Prof

            Recently, US health authorities recommended testing ALL adults for HIV as part of routine physicals every 5-10 years. Why? Because it happens even to people who think they aren’t at risk, people who do everything right.

          • curiousmama

            You touch on one of my concerns, as a parent, as I try my best to learn more about the topic and recommendations. HPV is as much of an “opt-in” as any other vaccine…in fact, my OB (who is also my son’s Dr.) was quite persistent that I get the HPV vaccination.
            So, with a recommendation schedule that does not treat ANY vaccination different (there is no CDC message saying “get your MMR, polio, and DTAP at least, but HPV is optional), EVEN THOUGH the risks to public health are QUITE different in the case of HPV and hepatitis, how does a parent make an informed choice?
            Is there even a choice, really, or is opting out of HPV or Hep A&B just as serious as opting out of MMR?

          • Stacy48918

            The recommendations are the same because no matter how you PLAN to live your life or PLAN to raise your kids, you can’t guarantee that your child will NEVER be exposed to these diseases or never be raped. Once the exposure happens, it’s too late to vaccinate or prevent it. The recommendations are based on the idea that we KNOW we can PREVENT these diseases or we can HOPE that our kids will live just exactly perfectly the way we want them to.

          • Dr Kitty

            Yes it is just as serious.
            All of these diseases have serious consequences.
            Vaccination could save lives and reduce transmission.

            Measles is more likely to kill you straight away than HPV or Hep B, but that doesn’t mean HPV and Hep B don’t kill or maim.

          • Stacy48918

            If I recall correctly, aren’t children infected with hepatitis viruses are more likely to get serious liver disease than are adults?

            Curiousmama – you’re starting to ask a few real questions. Have you discussed these questions with your “pro-vaccine” pedi?

          • curiousmama

            I was referred to the CDC website for more information at the time, because I did not have all these specific questions then. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around in my brain and it usually helps to engage in conversation on a topic to shake a few more specific queries loose. As everyone on here probably knows, a pediatrician does not grant hour-long time blocks to have detailed discussions on vaccination 🙂 also, I am paying for those visits…besides the drastic time suck this forum has proven to be, it costs me no money!

          • Young CC Prof

            Remember, Hep A and even Hep B are not STDs. Hep B is transmitted in bodily fluid, but that includes saliva. Young children happily swap saliva with the entire planet, hence Hep B can potentially be transmitted in daycares and preschools.

          • curiousmama

            Correct, but since I do not have any Hep B risk factors, nor does anyone my child lives with, and I currently stay at home with my child, I chose to delay that vaccination.

          • Roadstergal

            See my comment above about HBV.

          • attitude devant

            THAT is not protecting your kid. Your kid can get Hep B on playgrounds or on playdates. And Hep B kills more people every year than HIV

          • Young CC Prof

            Wait until he starts crawling around eating dust bunnies. Around the time my son discovered solid food, he would freak out if he saw anyone eating who didn’t share with him, and he’d also eat food off the floor if I didn’t sweep it up fast enough. Good luck keeping your baby from doing that at other people’s houses.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            For someone like myself who really does believe that the risks of any CDC recommended vaccine are greatly outweighed by its benefits, there is no need for this sort of guidance. I want my children protected against any disease that there is a vaccine for, regardless of how likely they are to ever be exposed to the disease, or how likely they are to die or be seriously injured by the disease if they do catch it. Why in the world would I want to opt out?

          • Samantha06

            BINGO.

          • Karen in SC

            Exactly, I recently took my teenager and 21 yr old in for boosters and the last of the HPV. They are males.

          • curiousmama

            Your logic makes sense. I am probably skeptical to a fault, and on a topic like this I understand the seriousness of the choice involved.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Actually, you are surprisingly NOT skeptical of the nonsense put about by lay vaccine critics. You aren’t a skeptic; you’re a denialist.

          • curiousmama

            How do you even get that from what I wrote? I get the fact there are rude, hate-filled people out there with nothing but contempt for those they disagree with…but I am not that person.
            No rape victim deserves their fate. Obviously.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Who then does deserve their fate? God hasn’t been weighing in much in any sort of concrete way over the last 2,000 years (unless Muslims and/or Mormons are to be believed). Maybe curiousmama would like to serve as His mouthpiece while He is taking this little break. Draw the line for us, curiousmama. Who should NOT have to suffer the consequences of HPV and who SHOULD?

          • curiousmama

            If somebody gets HPV, that is not a divine judgment of their behavior…it is a virus (which I believe someone else on this thread even pointed out that viruses don’t have morals…).

            Back to what I originally said, the vaccine is not the ONLY way to REDUCE the risk of CONTRACTING the HPV virus. How much clearer can I get? Am I saying people should not get the vaccine? NO. I was comparing one vaccine and its targeted infection’s risk to the risk of infections like diphtheria and measles, which you can catch even if you are super careful to wash your hands and practice good hygiene.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Great! So we are on the same page then. You and I both recommend the HPV vaccine AND safer sex practices (abstinence if desired, reducing partners, condoms etc). Because HPV is bad, nobody deserves it, and we want to do everything we have available to keep people from having to suffer its effects.

          • Roadstergal

            Do you know what’s really nice? You can give your daughter the HPV vaccine so that she’s protected, and then still teach her anything you want about how you think she should live her life sexually. Getting the vaccine doesn’t mean you suddenly can’t raise her with whatever sexual mores you find appropriate!

          • Roadstergal

            Also, getting the HPV vaccine doesn’t change sexual behavior. I wouldn’t think it would, but I’ve heard some parents say they don’t want it because it will suddenly make their daughters slutty-sluts.
            http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/hpv-vaccination-does-not-change-sexual-behavior/?_r=0

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Jesus moses, the risk of PREGNANCY doesn’t prevent people from having sex, why would they all of a sudden panic over the possibility of HPV?

            The suggestion in the first place is completely loopy.

          • Young CC Prof

            Nor do the risks of HIV or herpes, both of which sound much scarier to your average teen.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Not Herpes Simplex X?

            “Tell Mr. Matlin that Ramone just got back from the clinic…”

          • attitude devant

            Bofa, you are dating yourself….

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh come on, Beverly Hills Cop II came out, when, 1987? 88?

          • attitude devant

            That, combined with the M*A*S*H* quote? SMDH.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            In the other post, I literally did date myself. I don’t know what there is to shake about.

            Or are you referring to dating myself in other ways, like in a Jackson Browne/Rosie kind of way?

            But Rosie you’re all right – you wear my ring
            When you hold me tight – Rosie that’s my thing
            When you turn out the light – I’ve got to hand it to me
            Looks like it’s me and you again tonight Rosie

          • Roadstergal

            Herpiss Sahmplex teen was the first BHC, wasn’t it?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You’re right. Victor Matlin was BHC – “Theopolis” was BHC2

          • Roadstergal

            I remember BHC 1 because it had Jonathan Banks, who I rather adore.

          • fiftyfifty1

            That’s what you call an emotional appeal? I don’t read it that way at all.

            “70% of cervical cancer cases can be PREVENTED with the vaccine.” Sounds like a fact based statement to me.

            ‘WE CAN PREVENT CANCER with a shot.” Fact based again. Well designed studies show it.

            “Why would you want to deny your child that protection?” That’s not an appeal, that’s a question. Very literally why would you turn this shot down?
            Is it the fact that she used all caps that make it seem like an emotional appeal to you? I think she was using them for emphasis for the *preventive* nature of the shot (as opposed to getting the cancer and then having to treat it). Or maybe you find even just the idea of mentioning cancer and your child together in the same paragraph to be upsetting? I don’t like to think about my kids getting cancer either. I sure wish there were a vaccine for ALL types of cancer not just the ones (cervical, vulvar, penile, mouth, throat etc) caused by HPV.

          • Lisa from NY

            All it takes is ONE wrong sexual partner who had sex with ONE sexual partner who had sex with ONE partner…

            ALL IT TAKES IS ONE!

          • curiousmama

            True. But to get back to my original point, if the CDC recommends this vaccine as being just as important as other vaccines, and a parent would like to opt out of giving it to their child because it does NOT pose the same health risk as other vaccine preventable diseases, is that parent in the wrong?
            I may agree that MMR, polio, and even varicella are worth receiving…but I get the impression that if I don’t immunize against hepatitis, influenza, or HPV I will still be treated like a pariah on forums such as this.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            get the impression that if I don’t immunize against hepatitis, influenza, or HPV I will still be treated like a pariah on forums such as this

            Yes, probably. Because there is no good reason NOT to do it. Opposition to vaccines based on moralistic grounds as you’ve done is unrealistic, both in an expectation sense and in the fact that people are victims of others, and the passive-aggressive judgement that accompanies it doesn’t help. And opposition to flu vaccine is just….baseless.

            It’s not that you don’t do it that makes you a pariah, it’s your ignorant attempts to justify it. It’s true, “forums such as this” don’t have a lot of patience for nonsense.

          • Dinolindor

            Here is a pretty good piece on why newborns get the hepatitis B vaccine: http://shotofprevention.com/2010/05/06/why-infants-should-receive-the-hepatitis-b-vaccine-at-birth/

            And a good excerpt: “Parents need to understand that the hepatitis B virus can be spread by infectious blood and body fluids, and not solely through sexual contact. As a parent myself, I can recall countless times that I have tended to children, both my own and others, who have suffered scrapes, cuts, nose bleeds and even bites from frustrated playmates. These are realistic opportunities for exposure since the CDC has stated that the virus remains viable and infectious in the environment for at least 7 days and can remain present in inanimate objects absent of visible blood. Since only 7 out of 10 infected adults show any signs or symptoms, and infected children under age 5 rarely show any symptoms at all, it is obvious how the infected population can easily, and unknowingly, be transmitting the disease to others.”

          • Roadstergal

            I bang on the HBV vaccine a lot, because HBV is a freakazoid virus. With most viruses, you count their ability to live on surfaces outside of the body in minutes or hours. With HBV, it’s _weeks_. It’s a persistent little bugger. Can you keep your kid’s skinned knees and curious hands and mouth away from every surface that an HBV+ person might have deposited a bit of fluid on in the past few weeks?

          • guest

            Also, in addition to everyone else’s comments – we don’t compare the risks of vaccine to vaccine, that just doesn’t make any sense. It’s comparing the risks of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating. The CDC is recommending vaccinating against HPV not because it has the same, say death rate, as measles, but because the risk of adverse reaction to the HPV vaccination is less than the risk of developing adverse complications from the disease itself (which, as mentioned, most women get at some point.) And, we know that HPV can cause death, so why would you risk that if you knew the risk of death in the vaccine was much lower. That’s why you vaccinate, it’s about balancing risks.

            To illustrate, my great grandmother and my grandmother both developed polio during the 50s. My great grandmother almost died. She had to use crutches to walk the rest of her life. My grandma got off easy, she just had a limp. I vaccinate my kids, knowing there’s a slim chance they could have a major reaction, because I know the likelihood of that happening is so, so, so, so much lower than them having to live through what my grandma and great grandma lived through. I can’t guarantee that my kids will never get infected with the wild strain of polio even if I keep them super clean, just like I can’t guarantee my kids won’t be raped or have a sexual partner who has HPV even if they make the choices you’re advocating.

        • Stacy48918

          ” other ways to combat these lesser illnesses are being passed over”
          No, we tried “other ways” for centuries…and MILLIONS of people still died. Then we found truly effective prevention – vaccines. They have minimal side effects and wonderful efficacy. There is no reason to go back to things we know didn’t work. That’s how we ended up with vaccines in the first place.

          And HPV absolutely does threaten the population as a whole. Some estimates state that 75% of the sexually active population carries HPV.

        • Stacy48918

          Yes, words have meanings.

          ACTIONS have even greater meanings. ACTIONS like choosing not to vaccinate your child and so risking the LIVES of immunocompromised individuals around you who have no choice in the matter.

          Sorry your feelings were hurt, but I prioritize human LIVES a little bit higher.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “lesser diseases that do not threaten the population as a whole (such as HPV).
          Based on that, I have a concern that because “vaccination” is such a favored approach, perhaps other ways to combat these lesser illnesses are being passed over”
          Before we had HPV vaccination we used only “other ways” to combat it. Abstinence and condoms were promoted, but 75% of women came down with it anyway. So these women were tested every year with a pap smear and when the virus led to precancerous or cancerous changes, they were treated. And yes, thousands of women died each year of cervical cancer. But they weren’t the only ones who died or were injured…babies were injured and died. Why? Because to treat the pre-cancers and early cancers, they had to use these “other ways” you laud. They had to freeze the cervix, and do LEEPs and other cone excisions. This can eliminate the infection and saves the woman, but her cervix may never be the same and may not carry to term, leading to preemies who suffer and have permanent deficits or die. But I guess these moms and babies aren’t important to you.

          • curiousmama

            Again, so interesting that flippant comments like the one you tacked on the end of your post are so common amongst adults having a discussion. One would think the ability to edit, pause and reflect before hitting the “reply” button would cull some of these statements.

            I did not find anything at the CDC website with the 75% number…can you link to your source?

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            Here is a good summary from the year 2000 that I found on the CDC website- It shows prevelence of all sorts of stds, including HPV.

            http://www.cdc.gov/std/trends2000/trends2000.pdf

            In this document, the source of the 75% statistic was referenced. Here is a link directly to it:
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934397001770

    • attitude devant

      curiousmama, what makes you think that isn’t the way public health officials and infectious disase specialists already operate?

      Certain things are managed/prevented quite effectively with vaccines: smallpox has been eradicated, polio is not seen in the first world. Measles is eradicable but has not been eradicated to date, probably because of resistance to the MMR thanks to the efforts of Dr. Wakefield. Ideally the goal is always lifelong immunity, but not every vaccine is as effective as another in provoking lifelong immunity. That’s just a fact, and that’s why we have boosters for things like pertussis, diptheria, and tetanus.

      Other things are NOT well-managed with vaccines. Gonococcus seems to provoke no immune response. HIV seems to be too unstable (although they’re working on it…). Still more diseases need appropriate vaccines but they are in development, cf, Ebola.
      So in those diseases we focus on surveillance, treatment, and containment.

      In reality, the public health/infectious disease world is all over this stuff like a cheap suit. These guys are really good at what they do.

      Now, I suspect you’re going to be be REALLY dissatisfied with this answer, because you actually aren’t asking for an answer; you’re looking for an opening to dismantle the whole edifice of vaccine science.

      Sorry to disappoint, but we’re not playing.

      • curiousmama

        I suppose it is too much to ask for people here to give me the benefit of the doubt – it is disappointing to me how most of the commenters have either outright dismissed me, insulted me, or made arrogant conclusions on what my true purpose is. This behavior reinforces my whole point – when partisan differences are what define the conversation, it can’t go very far. I appreciate the first part of your post. As a first time mom who LOVES research (and took many college science courses), I appreciate any legitimate studies you can refer me to, or resources for delving into current research on vaccination and immunology.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          The benefit of what doubt? You are a layperson who doesn’t understand the underlying science. You still haven’t explained why your opinions ought to matter.

          • curiousmama

            Wow. I was referring to being given the benefit of the doubt that I am not in the same boat as those you call WOOers, anti-vaxxers, etc. And you respond with another insult on my intelligence and dismiss me from the conversation.

          • attitude devant

            Jeebus curiousmama! what i said is BASIC public health. If you want to learn more, read ANYTHING by Paul Offit or Seth Mnookin.

          • curiousmama

            Thank you for the recommendations.

          • attitude devant

            So read “The Panic Virus” —amazon’s got it for $13 or so.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            I second this recommendation.

          • curiousmama

            I have already explored the Wakefield controversy, and I have a wonderful book at home written by a British doctor that explores naturopathy, homeopathy, vitamins, placebos, errors in trials, vaccines and more…I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the book or the author, it is quite irritating. He is definitely anti-quack, and I wish I could recall the book name because I am sure many on this thread would enjoy reading it.

            I will still look at this source.

          • Dr Kitty

            I bet you mean Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, both of which I’ve read, and recommend heartily.

            http://www.badscience.net/about-dr-ben-goldacre/

            He’s probably the most pro-vax person you could find, and I don’t think he’d agree with your position on HPV vaccinations…

            http://www.badscience.net/2009/10/jabs-as-bad-as-the-cancer/

          • Roadstergal
          • curiousmama

            thank you

          • curiousmama

            YES THANK YOU! man that was bothering me! thank you for the link

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            But you ARE in the same boat as the woo-ers and anti-vaxxers. You keep repeating all their talking points. How do you think you are different from them?

          • curiousmama

            Are you all so used to reading these “talking points” that you truly can’t distinguish the difference between what I have brought up and their unoriginal, false ideas?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You think your “ideas” are original? Or unfalse?

          • curiousmama

            I don’t claim to have 100% original ideas – someone out there I am sure has had them, and perhaps others posting on this site say similar things…and if I don’t state something as fact (which I didn’t do in my very first post), I find it hard to believe you can label it true or false…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, that’s right. You were “just asking questions…”

            JAQing off is a really low form of internet communication. And also unoriginal.

          • curiousmama

            Right. Because somehow I am supposed to learn about this topic without having any thoughts of my own to bring to the table? I am now not even able to ask questions of anyone here without being suspected of low intelligence?
            High standards.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Your initial question was answered. Of course, it was based on a total straw man (that people aren’t thinking about alternate ways), and that got pointed out right off.

            Of course, your real motivations came clear as the discussion went on, and it was a pretty good sign that the initial responses treating you as disingenuous were pretty much spot on the mark.

          • Stacy48918

            LOL!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Apparently you can’t, either. Otherwise you would have pointed out the differences to me.

          • curiousmama

            Perhaps a little background would be helpful.

            I took 6 college science courses, all with labs. I am familiar with the scientific method, reading scientific papers (not just the abstract), forming hypotheses and asking questions.

            I lost my first child from a miscarriage and did not find out until I was 18 weeks along. I received care from both a CPM (I was considering a home birth) and an in-hospital family practitioner/OBGYN. There were no CNMs in my area. I found your website and read MANY of your posts along with more comments than I can remember. Though I find your approach to be abrasive and even rude at times, I still considered your points and ultimately chose to have my next child at the hospital. I did not like my experience at the hospital, but I was not traumatized and both baby and I were fine. Of course, this is just one more anecdote in a country full of individual stories, but it has formed the way I look at this issue, among others.

            I do NOT appreciate conjecture, logical fallacies, and bias. I have dismissed a lot of popular alternative thinkers/websites/theories because of this, including Dr. Sears, Ina May Gaskin, etc. While they may have some good ideas, their mostly false premises overshadow them.

            My son is very important to me, and I do not appreciate being treated as a lesser being simply because I don’t carry initials after my name. If degrees were free to obtain, I would pursue as many as possible in my lifetime.

          • Stacy48918

            When everything you say sounds like it’s coming from Dr. Sears or Jenny McCarthy…what else are we supposed to assume?

            Start saying something NOT directly out of the anti-vaxx playbook and we’ll be interested.

          • curiousmama

            The Jenny McCarthy comment is totally OT, and I have not even read Dr. Sears or his book ON PURPOSE because I do not trust his “expertise”. I’m not saying anything out of the anti-vaxx playbook, my original post had serious questions and reflected true curiosity and openness to learn.

            It is ridiculous to put me in the same box as people who spew false information on this site and repeat claims that are quite clearly untrue.

          • Stacy48918

            Your 6 month old child hasn’t received any vaccines, yet you’re nothing like Dr. Sears. Sure.

            I’ve given you a legitimate question, rephrasing your original post. Have you considered it? Why does the immunity from the whooping cough vaccine wear off quicker than the MMR vaccine? Are you TRULY interested in exploring the REAL answer to legitimate questions? Or are you just set in your “belief” that vaccines aren’t a good “platform” for immunity?

          • curiousmama

            http://whoopingcough.net

            I found this website while reading about the experience of a family who vaccinated some of their children but not all – 3 got whooping cough, it lasted 3 months, and she was very candid in describing how awful it was for them.

            Just because I made a decision with my very pro-vaccination pediatrician to wait before vaccinating my son (who has no hepatitis risk factors, is in general good health, and stays home with me) does NOT make me like Dr. Sears, Andrew Wakefield, or any other anti-vax source.

            I do not have a fully formed belief on the issue because my ignorance is greater than my knowledge, and I strive to learn more because I believe in informed consent whenever possible.

          • Who?

            Not sure it is appropriate to characterise a doctor who is following the best practice guidelines as pro-vaccine. He or she is following best practice guidelines.

            A doctor doing anything else is an outlier, not following best practice, and may be engaging in solo, untried practices that could see him or her disciplined by their professional accreditation board.

            I know who I’d prefer to entrust care to.

          • curiousmama

            My doctor has respected my decision to wait on vaccines for now, while also expressing his wish that we do get our son vaccinated even if it means doing a delayed schedule…are you suggesting that best practice would be a different approach, like refusing to see my son for well checks until he was vaccinated?

          • Who?

            I’d have listened to the doctor first up.

            However, if I was into researching things I know nothing about, to help me feel better armed to argue with professional advice, I would have found out what the recommended schedule was and if the doctor deviated from that, asked why.

            Smart people spend their lives thinking about this stuff. I’m a smart person who spends my time thinking about stuff other than medicine. My clients are actually clients, not patients, and I don’t care whether or not they take my advice-no one dies if they don’t, and I get paid either way.

            If I had life and death responsibility, especially for children though, I’d take a different line. Your doctor’s seems appropriate-humouring those who are patronising enough to think they knew as much as he does. Anything to get it done, I’d think, eventually is better than not at all.

          • curiousmama

            I am a parent.
            I am not an “expert” in immunology, virology, vaccinations or pediatric health care.
            I do not believe that medical care is meant to be something reserved only for the wealthy….which is why I see the merit in “Eastern” medicine, holistic/nature-based care, which is what humans relied on before germ theory, antibiotics, and surgery. Many lives are saved with these advances, and I do not believe they are “evil” or “wrong”…I just have a hard time accepting that the two different approaches to disease are mutually exclusive.
            We have a habit, as human beings, to separate things into categories…so Eastern medicine vs Western medicine becomes wrong vs right, quack vs expert…

            Is that necessary? Are parents just supposed to follow the CDC recommendations to the letter, and if they don’t are they ignorant? Irresponsible? Ill-informed?

          • Roadstergal

            “I see the merit in “Eastern” medicine”

            I don’t, and I’ve worked with a lot of Chinese, Indonesian, and Indian scientists who don’t, either. What’s with this racist meme that only white people do things scientifically, and people from the mysterious ‘east’ can’t?

            Science-based medicine is plenty holistic. We take things in a stepwise approach – trying to understand parts of the system, then introducing more complexity and trying to understand the system as we make it more and more real-world.

            SBM has a nice set of posts on how ‘TCM’ was created fairly recently to fill a need for medicine when there weren’t enough real doctors.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            It is not a matter of Eastern medicine vs. Western medicine- it is more along the lines of unproven strategies (or strategies that have been tested and proven to be ineffective) vs strategies that have been studied and proven effective. Think of the example of willow-bark tea, which was part of a folk medicine tradition. It was tested by scientific processes and found to contain a substance (salicylic acid) that had real and reproducible effects. This substance was purified and forms the basis of what we know call aspirin…it became part of Western medicine because it was effective.

          • curiousmama

            But is it fair to claim that the ONLY remedies/treatments that work are those prescribed by modern first world medical practitioners? Research takes money, and not every folk remedy or home treatment gets tested…some merely because there is no market or profit to be made…especially if the ingredients are plant based or from commonly occurring substances. Are only vitamins made by Centrum and others I see advertised in my pediatrician’s office “proven”? That is where I have my doubts about the objectivity and knowledge of the medical field…from my limited observation, modern medicine does not encompass every possible, known remedy for the ailments we seek treatment for…

          • Roadstergal

            “Because science is not perfect, some random fairy tales might have more value than science.”

            No. The strength of science is that it continually questions itself and isn’t afraid to say it was wrong in the past.

            But because a recommendation has changed, does not mean science is _wrong_. The statement “the earth is round” is not correct. But it is more correct than the statement “the earth is flat.” Science moves towards more and more accurate representation of reality. Being proven ‘wrong’ means that someone has come up with a better model. Not that dragons are suddenly real.

            Okay, so you have some herb that someone says treats headaches. You can test that. You can look in a blinded fashion (some people get the herb, some get a different herb that tastes similar enough that they can’t tell the difference) and see if it has a real effect. If it does, you identify the active ingredient. Do you know why people don’t chew on foxglove instead of taking their digoxin? Because we know, from preclinical experiments and clinical trials, what the right amount is, and we can make sure people who need it don’t get too little for their condition, which is one type of bad, or too much, which is another.

            If a herb or root or berry has an effect, it can be studied scientifically, and the optimal dose can be identified. And that’s always better than just mashing it into your kid’s tea and hoping they get the right amount.

            Vitamins: Shown in many trials to be useless or even harmful in the absence of tested deficiency. Supplement manufacturers are given way more leeway than drug manufacturers when it comes to safety and efficacy. Maybe the same streak in your pediatrician that makes him/her keep anti-vax parents in his practice makes him/her open to additional woo. I’d complain and have those posters taken down. Of course, an anti-vaxxer complaining might not carry as much weight…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Why wouldn’t there be a market for them?

            It’s true that there could be some folk remedy that could work, but then again…the chance that any specific folk remedy works? Pretty small.

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            I agree with Roadstergal. She responded with exactly what I wanted to say, and much more articulately than I could say it myself.

          • Stacy48918

            “I see the merit in “Eastern” medicine, holistic/nature-based care”
            Well pretty much the entirety of the scientific community with their pesky studies and research papers doesn’t.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh Stacy, not completely. Doctors provide holistic care all the time. And a very large extent of our drugs are “nature based” in that they were initially found in nature.

          • Stacy48918

            Oh I can agree in the way that folks here might use the term “holistic”. Trouble is, that’s not usually what anti-vaxxer’s mean. 🙂

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            That’s because they don’t actually know what it means.

          • curiousmama

            One of my other struggles recently has been finding proven home remedies that are based in scientific truth.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Why is it a struggle? If they are really “proven”….

          • curiousmama

            I see that as a very arrogant stance, considering the fact that medical science has been proven wrong/ineffective many MANY times and is not infallible. You wonder why so many parents take to the internet to find remedies besides Tylenol…they want alternatives. Choices. Because it cannot be said that there is “nothing to gain” in the pharmaceutical world…not everybody is in it for “health”. Many medications are made specifically to address symptoms, not to treat the underlying issue. Holistic medicine is about whole body health and wellness, at least from my perspective…the problem is there is not only proven remedies but quack ideas clogging up the world of “alternative” or “holistic” medicine

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ok, break it down for us. What herbs or Eastern techniques help treat HPV, or measles or diptheria? You name any vaccine preventable illness and provide us with an evidence based Eastern Medicine therapy that has been shown to work.

          • Who?

            Not sure what alternative medicine has to do with vaccines. By all means feed your kids or subject them to whatever ‘alternative’ stuff you want, but don’t for one second think any of it goes anywhere near being as effective as vaccinating them.

            I wouldn’t choose any of the pejoratives in your last paragraph for a parent who does their ‘research’ and chooses not to vax. My pejorative of choice would be arrogant.

            You spend lots of time on the internet, reading who knows what from who knows who, personal anecdotes, testimonials, then walk into the office of someone who has spent years studying and has the weight of the knowledge and research of thousands of smart people who have spent years working on this behind them, and say you’re going to do not what they propose? And you’re going to propose an alternative?

            Arrogant covers it.

        • Bugsy

          curiousmama, last year I took an epidemiology course by Dr. Offit through Coursera that I highly recommend: “Vaccines.” I was on the fence about vaccines prior to taking the course (and my son was not up to date), and I’m now very much in favour of them – with a fully vaccinated son. It was a great, very educational & informative course.

          • curiousmama

            Thank you for your recommendation – I do not have internet access at home (we live in a technological dead zone apparently), so am using the opportunity while watching my father’s house to learn as much as I can. Any written book source recommendations are also welcomed.

            More importantly, I cannot thank you enough for your polite post. I am incredibly disheartened at how others on this thread have responded to my posts, especially when I have come here for discussion instead of less credible, knowledgeable forums

    • yentavegan

      Is it time to take a step back and re-visit the whole vaccines are the way to prevent diseases protocol? I say yes, We can now treat diseases much more safely with chiropractic adjustments because when sublixations are cured the body can’t get sick…

      • curiousmama

        Off topic and dismissive comment. I have read Science Based Medicine and Quackwatch, along with many MANY Skeptical OB posts. But sure, put me in the same boat as people who believe chiropractic adjustments are a cure all.

    • Ainsley Nicholson

      I’m going to really try to address your question with the hope that it is a genuine questions from someone who truly wants answers.

      “What was the original purpose behind vaccination?”

      A bit of history- the Smallpox virus (also called the variola virus) was really horrific- it had a high death rate, and many of the people who survived it were scarred and disfigured. No one understood at the time what caused it, and there seemed to be no way to avoid it. Eventually people figured out that if you exposed children to the scab material from people who had a mild case of smallpox, there was a chance that the kids would only develop a mild case of smallpox. This practice became known as “variolation”. A doctor named Jenner heard that milk-maids believed that “once you have cow-pox, you’ll never have smallpox”, so he inoculated a child who was scheduled to have the variolation treatment with scab material from a lesion on a cow’s udder that had been identified as cowpox, in hopes that it would protect the child. It did, because the lesion contained a virus that was closely related to the smallpox virus. This virus came to be known as the vaccinia virus, and the process of exposing children to it came to be known as “vaccination”. In conclusion, the original purpose behind vaccination was to reduce the chance that a child would die when purposely exposed to a known deadly disease. We are fortunate to have much better options now.

      “can it be logically argued that all other diseases can be treated with the same platform?” Nope, nor would we want to. Vaccination saved lives but it was an unpleasant process (you’d have an itchy scab on your arm that took weeks to heal) and some people would develop systemic disease that could be life-threatening. It was a naturally occurring virus that just happened to be closely related to the virus that caused such a serious disease in humans- we were lucky it existed, because most viruses that cause serious diseases in humans don’t have cousins that cause mild disease but are similar enough that they can provoke an immune reaction that confers lifelong immunity. I can’t think of any other examples. If the only way we could get immunity to viruses was to find other naturally occurring similar viruses, we would not have been able to protect against polio, measles, etc.

      • Ainsley Nicholson

        “why have we not stepped back, now that we realize many diseases we attempt to prevent through vaccination do not give the same lasting immunity as the original smallpox vaccination, and looked at whether vaccination is the way to address these other health problems”
        A vaccine that is 100% safe, perfectly effective, and has no unpleasant side effects would arguably be the ideal way to address every health problem. In the absence of that, we do the best we can with imperfect vaccines that still manage to prevent many deaths, or with other methods if the particular health problem is not vaccine-preventable.

        • curiousmama

          And in the event that vaccine use is not as widespread as we would like, or if a disease is not vaccine preventable, is there any consensus between Western medicine and Eastern medicine on addressing illness? We know now that antibacterial soaps and other extreme measures of sanitation have negatively affected our interaction with the microscopic ecosystem around us…is germ theory compatible with more holistic forms of coping with disease?

          • Young CC Prof

            In a word, no.

            Wash your hands, make sure your water is pure. Regular soap works fine.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s where SBM (sorry, nothing ‘western’ about it) is exactly the opposite of how it’s portrayed. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Let’s take two non-vaccine-preventable viruses, the set that causes what we call common cold and the Ebola virus. They have very different risk profiles and very different prevention strategies.

            In the event that a vaccine is available, the vaccine is generally thought of as part of a prevention strategy. A key, central part. But even though I get the flu vaccine every year, I still engage in other prevention strategies (because the uptake of the vaccine is poor and the coverage can sometimes be off, and because the prevention strategies can help reduce my risk of other seasonal viruses, too). If I had gotten the HPV vaccine as a teen, I still would have engaged in the same safer sex practices that I did without it. Etc.

      • Young CC Prof

        The discovery of vaccinia is almost enough to make me believe in benevolent aliens. I mean, think about it. The most deadly virus that’s ever existed (yes, there are ones with a higher case-fatality rate, but they’re a lot less contagious) and, oh look, there’s this basically harmless virus that just happens to have antigens similar enough to give crossover immunity. It works so well that people who have no idea what a virus IS and are still two generations away from a germ theory of disease can start immunizing well enough to drastically bring down the death rate.

        Incredibly incredibly lucky.

      • curiousmama

        Thank you for the summary! Yes, my questions were genuine. As a first time mother who appreciates full disclosure, I am a bit put off by the hardliners on both sides of the “vaccine debate”… I feel as if there are some pertinent questions and concerns that deserve attention, and I am not getting the answers I would like by reading the CDC information alone. For example, has there been research showing how the body responds to vaccine shots (which introduce material into the bloodstream) versus the actual disease? Is it negatively affecting the body’s immunological response to bypass the mucous membranes when introducing viral agents?

        • Roadstergal

          “(which introduce material into the bloodstream) ”

          No. They don’t. That’s an antivaccine trope, and I don’t know where it comes from. Vaccines are IM shots. There has been an utter shit-ton of research done on exactly how the body responds to introduced material and various adjuvants. And yes, we need adjuvants. If you just put in a protein, the body kinda shrugs and goes on with its work.

          “Is it negatively affecting the body’s immunological response to bypass the mucous membranes when introducing viral agents?”

          Do you worry about that when your kid skins her knee? She’s introducing antigens (including viruses, because we live with them) directly into her bloodstream!

          Vaccines aren’t ‘viral agents,’ BTW. Most of the ones around today are killed virus or expressed viral antigens with no actual virus. It’s clear from the way you write that you’ve heard some catchy phrases and want to use them, but that you really don’t understand the immune system or viruses at all. I’d recommend some basic immunology courses.

          Signed, an immunologist. (Also a former slutty slut, now happily married.)

          • Roadstergal

            BTW, the reason IM is preferred is because we’re trying to get dendritic cells to take up the antigen and present it. DCs are rare in the blood, and it’s easy for stuff to just get washed out.

            In the case of a ‘natural’ viral infection, DCs take up antigen that’s released when cells are lysed, and the stuff that spills out of the lysed cells serves as adjuvant. Or they collect antibody-bound antigen, and the Fc activates the cells. This is all a broad-strokes overview; there are lots of routes to lots of different kinds of immune responses. One of the advantages of vaccines is that you can tailor the antigens and the adjuvants to give the most productive flavor of response.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh go away with all your knowledge and stuff.

            BTW, curiousmama still claims to not be parroting anti-vax tropes, but just happens to come up with the “injected into the bloodstream” and “by pass the mucous membranes” crap? Oh wait, she’s JAQing off…

          • curiousmama

            Please understand that I have trusted people in my life who have used these phrases, and of course it saddens (and irritates) me that they actually DON’T have logical points. And perhaps instead of writing me off, you could acknowledge that I came HERE, to this VERY clearly pro-vaccination site, to “just ask questions”. When you aren’t misrepresenting my posts and the reasons behind them, I actually have respect for you and others on this site

          • Ainsley Nicholson

            Curiousmama, I have seen how your understanding and openness to knowledge have grown during the few days that you’ve been here. I hope that you are able to take what you have learned and apply it for the benefit of your family and your community. I hope that you become a pro-vax voice in the wilderness!

          • curiousmama

            Besides the CDC are there any immunology websites or books you can refer me to? Books that may be found in a library are preferred, but if not I will take whatever recommendations you give me 🙂

            Thank you for you explanation. It disappoints me when I read false information online (I know, I know, the internet has plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing) mostly because I just want to LEARN. Perhaps I have not gone about it the best way, but I have a thirst for knowledge, obviously or I wouldn’t be on this site.

          • curiousmama

            I did not wait to have sex before marriage, and that does not make me a slut. I don’t put those kinds of labels on people because it is a subjective term with no real meaning behind…just an insult.

          • curiousmama

            “It’s clear from the way you write that you’ve heard some catchy phrases…”

            I will 100% own up to reading blogs/websites that propose alternative schedules, home-based medicine, and other “crunchy” sources, but I always balance them out with the opposite viewpoints and do my best to discern what is right. One of my many faults is getting so caught up researching a topic looking for the RIGHT answer that I let life pass me by.

            You have to admit, the ladies and gents who comment most often on this blog are an intimidating bunch, both intellectually and also in their ability to wear down an opponent. I came here and was honest about my ignorance and my child’s vaccination status, and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me – though I already knew I did not have a lot of information on this topic, I was definitely humbled! 🙂

            Do you have any immunology books/textbooks you can recommend?

          • Roadstergal

            I can – the ones that would come with an immunology course. That’s the thing. I’m not exactly stupid, and I spent years of undergrad and graduate school at class, in the lab, at talks, learning this stuff. I continue to go to conventions to continue to learn, and the give-and-take of it is critical – every time you present your research, people (very smart and experienced people) challenge you on it, and you have to respond and/or go do more follow-up work. And you do the same to them.

            The people who work on vaccines and the recommended schedule have a lot of, not just book-learning, but practical experience with patients and extensive experience in the marketplace of ideas with people who are skeptical in the proper definition of the word. Do you see how someone coming in and tossing a word salad at them might get to a ‘I don’t even know where to start’ position?

            If you think you’re smarter and better able to determine what the vaccination schedule should be than all of these people – people who do not dictate on high, but who are open to criticism and new ideas, and are constantly challenging themselves and each other – then show us – go, take classes, get an undergraduate degree in biology, get a graduate degree in immunology. It will NOT be a matter of learning rote facts from a book.

          • LibrarianSarah

            I wish I could up vote this comment twice. I make my students repeat the following mantra: “Access to information is not a substitute for a quality education.” It is unfortunate that the ease in which people have access to information has caused people to think that they could replicate years of higher education with nothing but book and internet research. This myth that you can “do your own research” and come up with as good of an understanding of a topic as someone with years of higher education and professional experience is going to ruin us.

          • Maria

            It is wonderful that you are seeking out information and that you actively look for “balance” in that information. It is important to be informed. However, there is not always an equal balance. The information saying vaccines are bad, not effective, etc is not simply a different, but equal argument from the information that says vaccines are safe and effective. There just isn’t the same level of research, critical analysis, and regulation. I am a smart woman, and I am smart enough to admit what I do not know. I am not a scientist and do not have the skills to truly delve into scientific research in any meaningful way. I simply try to find sources who can translate the science for me in an accurate and accessible way. I hope you can take a step back and realize you don’t need to “understand what is right”. That level of perfectionism will only make you crazy.

    • Maria

      I have read several of your comments on this thread and I am not sure if I believe you are genuine in your search for information on vaccines or if you are being a bit disingenuous, but since I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, I am going to give you some links to read that might help you understand vaccines a bit more:

      https://pediatricinsider.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/immunity-breastfeeding-and-the-timing-of-measles-vaccine/

      http://www.redwineandapplesauce.com/2015/01/06/hpv-vaccine-and-multiple-sclerosis-reassuring-findings-about-gardasil-safety/

      http://www.redwineandapplesauce.com/2015/01/05/investigating-side-effects-from-the-mmr-and-mmr-plus-varicella-vaccines/

      I don’t think these posts address your specific questions, but they are informative nonetheless and do provide links to further information. I encourage you to read them,

      Also, please give us the benefit of the doubt as well. We are so often bludgeoned with people commenting endlessly about the “evils” of vaccines, doctors, etc who are NOT interested in a true dialog and who have NO interest in learning anything, but who are only interested in parroting “information” that they have gleaned from website after website (all linking to each other!) to prove to us that they are much more educated than we are. This gets exhausting. If some of us are a bit short, sarcastic, or otherwise not respectful, it is simply that we are tired to going through these arguments over and over and seemingly getting nowhere. Respect our intelligence and we will respect yours.

      • curiousmama

        I understand. Thank you for the links, I will read them as soon as I can. In trying to gain a balanced perspective on this issue, I tend to bite off more than I can chew…I want to know everything about vaccines but obviously do not have the time to learn it all…which is why I am here. I have read and can read more on the basic info found on the CDC website (which is where my pediatrician referred me)…I guess I am looking for more than that, but the internet is a big place and there are many books out there on the topic too. I would rather take suggestions and engage in discussion with people who know what they are talking about than wade through the kinds of circulatory “sources” others use.

        • Who?

          None of us can know everything about anything. That’s why surrounding yourself with good and competent people who do know what there is to know is so valuable.

          It leaves valuable time for things like, well, parenting.

    • yugaya

      ” If the first vaccine for smallpox worked, can it be logically argued
      that all other diseases can be treated with the same platform?”

      I believe people a lot smarter than you and I were capable of answering those questions, which is how they stopped the deadly epidemic of smallpox in my country. And no, you do not want to get yourself into the position where the society has to resort to such measures to combat a deadly vaccine preventable disease. Hint: no, they didn’t recommend soap or ask whether you were breastfed or not, they closed off borders, introduced martial law and shot anyone who tried to break out of the quarantine on top of vaccinating the entire population.

    • Guest

      The first smallpox vaccine was actually using powdered pus from a smallpox lesion (variolation). Worked, but lots of nasty side effects including developing full blown smallpox (and death). Using dried matter from a cowpox lesion (vaccination) was much safer and with less severe side effects. The current smallpox vaccine is derived from cowpox. An excellent book about the history of smallpox and vaccination is “The Speckled Monster “. And even smallpox vaccination isn’t lifelong. There was an excellent study published a century ago that described a smallpox outbreak and it’s effect on the elderly who were previously vaccinated (tl;dr they got the disease, but much much milder than those who weren’t vaccinated).

      The history of vaccines is quite fascinating, but your views are a bit basic.

      • Young CC Prof

        Variolation is “Eastern medicine,” remember. It was invented in China.

      • curiousmama

        thank you for the book idea

    • Nick Sanders

      Immunity doesn’t have to be permanent. It just has to be long enough that the disease can be wiped out. Then it doesn’t matter any more if anyone is immune.

  • A Banterings

    What is missing from the conversation is the human right of self determination. In healthcare it is called patient autonomy. You may not agree with the choices someone makes, but you cannot tell someone else how to live their life.

    We have over-medicalized everything. Pregnancy is not a disease!

    As for Jennifer’s prior 3 Jennifer wanted to try recklessly endanger her child and herself with a vaginal birth after 3 C/Sections, I doubt they were all necessary. Yes there is an increased risk after 3, but you cannot tell me that every c section done in the US is necessary.

    I referenced just 1 article where the doctor stated that the C/Section was due to monetary reasons: insurance coverage and scheduling. She ends by admitting that the rate at that facility is high.

    Anybody who knows anything about corporate politics knows she could not lie about the problem because that would cause more harm than saying , “we are working on it.”

    If you want to end home births, then stop treating pregnancy is not a disease! There is a reason that women do not want to birth in hospitals.

    You talk about mortality rates, but guess what? Everybody is going to die at least once in their lives. Our society has made death a taboo.

    So as not to be accused of using the Woo HB….

    Even the CDC admits that there is not good data to make a determination. Most studies depend on birth certificates which does not accurately reflect hospital vs. home birth.

    The best study that exists is from the Netherlands, where 1/5 of births are home births. It finds home birth safer.

    One may argue that that study is skewed, picking lower risk women. But when you consider that in the US 1/3 of births are C/Section, and less than 1% are home birth vs the Netherlands only 13% are C/Section, and 20% home birth rate, that only furthers the notion that the US has a high rate of unnecessary C/Sections (i.e. low risk women having unneeded C/Sections).

    • Samantha06

      Patient autonomy is well-recognized and respected in the medical community. The problem is when patients expect doctors to participate in poor, high-risk choices. Doctors have autonomy too. They have the right to refuse to do something they know will harm a patient just because a patient demands they do it on the altar of “autonomy and choice.” That is what Jennifer Goodall tried to do and failed.

    • Sue

      I think this part is my favorite: “Everybody is going to die at least once in their lives.”

      • Samantha06

        Ha! You’re right! I didn’t pick up on that!

      • Young CC Prof

        My goal is to die at least 4 times, personally.

        • theNormalDistribution

          Well, that’s four times more than I plan on dying.

      • A Banterings

        My grandfather died, went down the tunnel with the light. He was resuscitated. Happened when I was 8. He died a short time later. So he died twice.

        Please do not make fun of what he and my family went through.

        • Amazed

          You’re the one mocking your grandfather and your family with your blatherings about death being a taboo. Or is it a taboo only when it’s your precious family who’s dying?

          My mom almost died, saw the tunnel of light and woke up to screams, “She has no pulse, no pulse!” That was a midwife she’d known since she was a little girl. And it happened in the hospital, after a fully natural birth, the kind your ilk oohs and aahs over. Thank god for the unnatural interventions that followed nature’s very natural wish to kill her, so we still have a mom.

          I don’t feel insulted by posts like the one you were replying to. But then, I don’t spew your bullshit and then play the innocent offended party either.

          • A Banterings

            My grandfather seeing the light changed my life. I knew there was a God and something beyond this life. You were lucky to get her back. To this day, I cherish those few years I had with him.

            I refer anthropologically to death becoming a social taboo as we developed advances in medicine and prolonged life around the 1860’s.

            Death being a taboo in society occurred around the 1860’s with the rise of the undertaking profession. Viewings were moved from the “parlor” in the house to a funeral parlor. See: Forbes, “Death Of The Death Care Industry And Eternal Life Online”

            My wife still remembers her grandfather’s death, the body being in the house in the “ice coffins” and her mother hanging black veils on all the mirrors in the house.

            You are the one mocking by calling my post “blatherings.” BTW You also just used 4, 6, 15, and 16 from the Woo HB.

        • moto_librarian

          Yes, we are all going to die. Most of us would like to live a full, rich life before that happens. We won’t all be this fortunate, but we can minimize preventable deaths, like those that occur during childbirth. Only a heartless bastard would discuss the death of a baby during childbirth in this way.

        • fiftyfifty1

          He should have resuscitated himself. He knew his body better than anyone.

          • A Banterings

            If you had READ my comment, you would see that I explicitly stated the exception being where the patient is UNCONSCIOUS.

            You have illustrated the serious lack of critical thinking skills that responsible members of society are up against. Either you did NOT READ my post, did NOT COMPREHEND, or did NOT CARE, especially when presented with the opportunity to make a snide remark.

            I hope that feeling that you “got me” with your wit made your day. I do give you credit for trying, although you fell short.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oh come now, if he really knew his body he would have seen it coming and at a minimum could have started the code.

          • A Banterings

            He did see it coming. He knew that he would be checking out soon. The only thing that I remember about my last conversation with him, it was on the phone the day he passed. He made me promise him that I would take care of my grandmother. It was a promise that I kept for 40 years, holding her hand when she passed.

    • Young CC Prof

      1) Home birth safety studies from Netherlands use many safety measures which are unavailable or irregularly used at American home birth, beginning with proper prenatal care and risking out.

      2) Perinatal and even maternal mortality rates in the Netherlands are nothing to boast about. Yes, we could do fewer c-sections, but some babies would die as a result.

      3) Women do and should have the right to give birth at home. Bodily autonomy is a critical human right. They also have the right to the truth: That there is no way to make home birth as safe as hospital birth, and American homebirth is particularly unsafe.

      • A Banterings

        How can there be truth when studies in the US with representative sampling and proper research methods are lacking? Do not point to the Cornell study, the methods are flawed. The Netherlands study is the only one that has appropriate sampling and methods, granted there is a demographic differential between the population in that study and the US.

        Saying that the US is lacking proper prenatal care is an admission that there is something lacking with the formal healthcare system in this country. I suspect that you are right. It has to do with the birth monopoly.

        If you are concerned about mortality rates, then why not implement a system here like in the Netherlands that supports home birth?

        It is paternalistic thinking like that that has relied on oligopolies and limiting access to resources that put the healthcare system where it is today. That is why physicians are employees and hospitals are turning into WalMarts. It is not healthcare any more, it is the healthcare industrial complex run by bean counters and guided by patient satisfaction surveys.

        For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy told everyone else what is best for them. They have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.Source: NY Times, “Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard”.

        What other explanation is there for the loss of money, power, and prestige that physicians once enjoyed?

        • Amazed

          “Do not point to the Cornell study, the methods are flawed. The
          Netherlands study is the only one that has appropriate sampling and
          methods.”

          Why? Because a midwife told you so? Would you care to tell us what is the MORTALITY rate in this supposedly appropriate Netherlands study? Hint: It isn’t what the authors want is to be, that’s why they left it out.

        • Young CC Prof

          No, women who have insurance in the USA usually get excellent prenatal care. Women who seek home birth in the USA often get inferior prenatal care, even as they believe their prenatal care is excellent.

          Please tell me why the Cornell study is useless. It has flaws, but most of them would lead to underestimation of home birth mortality rather than overestimation.

          • A Banterings

            Cornell study compared midwife hospital to midwife home. Let us take for an example a birth that has complications and will result in increased mortality and NO intervention will prevent it. As soon as the problem arises, a physician is called in in the hospital setting, and that birth is excluded from the study. That artificially lowers the number of hospital births with increased mortality.

            There is absolutely no way to determine which births do not need intervention when patients admit they use C/Sections for convenience (some have on this thread) AND hospitals admit they do it for monetary reasons (see below).

            “Digiorgi says it’s almost impossible to schedule a natural birth; a woman can be in labor from an hour to three days. And since insurance companies require a doctor be present at all times during a VBAC, from a logistical standpoint it’s nearly impossible.” Source: NBC 2 News “Doctor: No such thing as ‘forced C-section'”.

            Too many times surgical intervention is “precautionary.” Given the reduced rates of VBAC (both statistically and dictated by policy), one unnecessary C/Section skews all future births as requiring surgical intervention.

            Looking at a multiplier of (almost) 3X (based on future births being C/Section simply because the first one was), you need to reflect the increased risk and lack of benefits to future births which Cornell also FAILS to take into account.

          • Young CC Prof

            “Let us take for an example a birth that has complications and will
            result in increased mortality and NO intervention will prevent it.”

            Other than congenital defects, I don’t believe there are untreatable complications. And when things go wrong at home birth, they transfer to the hospital, hence increasing the number of complications that show up in hospital births.

            Your argument makes no sense.

          • A Banterings

            In the study, those transferred to a hospital were still counted as home births.

          • Young CC Prof

            Which Cornell study are you talking about?

            And even if you compare home birth to all full-term hospital births, you still get worse outcomes.

          • Young CC Prof

            So when the building is about to be destroyed by terrorists, CNMs transfer care to the doctor?

            I’ve never heard of a newborn dying of an aneurism, and neonatal infections are preventable with good care.

  • A Banterings

    Does anyone realize why the push for home birth is on the rise? Too many unnecessary C-sections. Hospitals performing too many C-sections: Consumer Reports – NY Daily News. Even the World Health Organization (Non-clinical interventions for reducing unnecessary caesarean section) recognizes this problem.

    Recent studies reaffirm earlier World Health Organization recommendations about optimal rates of cesarean section. The best outcomes for women and babies appear to occur with cesarean section rates of 5% to 10%. Rates above 15% seem to do more harm than good (Althabe and Belizan 2006).

    The national U.S. cesarean section rate was 4.5% and near this optimal range in 1965 when it was first measured (Taffel et al. 1987). Since then, large groups of healthy, low-risk American women who have received care that enhanced their bodies’ innate capacity for giving birth have achieved 4% to 6% cesarean section rates and good overall birth outcomes (Johnson and Daviss 2005, Stapleton et al. 2013). However, the national cesarean section rate is much higher. After steeply increasing over more than a decade, it leveled off at 32.8% in 2010 and 2011 (Hamilton et al. 2012). So, about one mother in three now gives birth by cesarean section.

    So I ask, which is more dangerous; home birth or an unnecessary cesarean sections?

    As part of informed consent, do you disclose that patients are 25% more likely to have an unnecessary in a healthcare setting?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The WHO withdrew that recommendation in 2009, acknowledging that there was NEVER any data to support it. Bet none of the homebirth websites or midwives you know mentioned that fact.

      Homebirth is a fringe practice adopted by women who think birth is a piece of performance art, they are the stars and everyone else, including the baby, is a prop. The C-section rate has nothing to do with beyond the fact that it is a PR highlight for homebirth advocacy groups.

      • guest

        I wouldn’t say that’s true all of the time. My mom had homebirths in the early 90s because my parents didn’t have health insurance (and thus, it was waaaay cheaper to birth at home), and she was told it was “as safe or safer” than hospital birth. So – no, I don’t think all women are as described above (although, I personally know some homebirthers who are absolutely like you describe, just not all of them).

        • guest

          I should add – I generally agree with your assessment of homebirth culture. My mom failed to consider the cost to our family should they have to transfer or if something happened to the baby. And we all know the “safe or safer” line is nonsense, but, man, I know some very smart people who have bought that line. This was particularly in the pre-internet age with my mom – how would you do adequate research? But even now, acolytes are told not to visit the scare-mongering Dr. Amy, and get fed misinformation by totally crazy midwives.

    • Stacy48918

      “Optimal range” in 1965.

      And what, pray tell, was the neonatal mortality rate in 1965? What is it now, with a 30% C-section rate?

      “which is more dangerous; home birth or an unnecessary cesarean sections?”
      Well, it depends if you’re more worried about dead babies or an abdominal scar. Different priorities, I guess.

    • Young CC Prof

      5-10% was probably the correct rate given the technology and demographics of 1965. Today’s mothers are older, more likely to have preexisting health problems, and generally have smaller families. Today’s technology is much better, as well: C-sections are safer.

    • Dr Kitty

      Babies come out one of two ways.

      One is a planned CS, which is a generally safe surgery with predictable rare complications that mostly cause risks to theoretical future pregnancies, and which has good analgesia and excellent patient satisfaction.

      The other is vaginal birth, which is painful and a complete crapshoot in terms of risk, with most of the risk being taken on by the baby in the process of being delivered, and a fair chance of ending up as an emergency CS if it all goes pear shaped.

      I’ll take door number one thanks.

    • manabanana

      I would like to encourage you to read the joint publication from ACOG and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine published in March 2014 titled “Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery.”

    • Samantha06

      What is your definition of an unnecessary C/Section? I’m curious why this thought process is so prevalent. There are so many reasons for C/Sections, and I am interested to hear your take on this.

      • A Banterings

        My definition of an unnecessary C-Section is when the hospital demands it from a logistical standpoint or it is coerced with threats of legal action. See: NBC 2 News “Doctor: No such thing as ‘forced C-section'”.

        Lee Memorial Health System tells us they have only 40 vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) cases in the past year.

        “I generally encourage people to try the vaginal route first because it is already a path that’s in place, doctor Sarah Digiorgi said.

        “[But] sometimes you get to a point where you’re pushing and you’re pushing for three hours and only then do you know, you know what, my baby’s not going to come out.”

        Digiorgi says it’s almost impossible to schedule a natural birth; a woman can be in labor from an hour to three days.

        And since insurance companies require a doctor be present at all times during a VBAC, from a logistical standpoint it’s nearly impossible.

        Another complicating issue is that once a woman has had a C-section, giving birth vaginally runs the risk of rupturing the uterus.

        Those factors aside, dozens of women pushed back against the hospital in a weekend protest, saying it threatened to turn Goodall’s over the DCF unless she had a Cesarean.

        …Lee Memorial Health System says their number of VBAC cases is low and they are working on it.

        The high rates of C sections only prove the theory that the human race was created by aliens; after all, how else could have humans procreated for millions of years with advanced technological intervention?

        • yentavegan

          I was humbled into a” shut my mouth ” moment when at a meeting of mothers who had vbac’s I made an off hand comment about kegels and bladder control when a hush fell over the room and more than half a dozen women began to speak about the pessaries their midwives gave them due to damage sustained during their all natural births. Imagine that a group of mother who can no longer depend (pun) on their hereto for healthy bladders to control the flow of urine.

        • Stacy48918

          Your last statement proves you have no grasp of evolution or the inherent waste in reproduction. The human race managed just fine with a 10% neonatal mortality rate, yes. When 9 of 10 babies live the race does manage to continue. But that’s nothing to strive for.

        • Samantha06

          Jennifer wanted to try recklessly endanger her child and herself with a vaginal birth after 3 C/Sections, which is extremely risky. She was NOT a candidate for VBAC. She tried to force her doctors to participate, and they said no. I don’t blame them for turning into CPS. That last statement is just bizarre..

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Your definition? What training do you have that makes you qualified to offer a definition?

          • A Banterings

            My definition of “unnecessary” is where the use of this surgical procedure could result in added morbidity OR no change in morbidity AND no discernable benefits .

            Again, lacking a proper study in the US, it is hard to reach conclusions with any utility.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My definition of “unnecessary” is where the use of this surgical procedure could result in added morbidity OR no change in morbidity AND no discernable benefits

            So can you point to, say, 3 specific examples of where that has happened? Given all the unnecessary c-sections that are supposedly going on, it should be easy.

            Although I suspect that the no discernible benefits part is going to be pretty hard to establish.

          • A Banterings

            when patients or hospitals schedule for convenience. the NBC article i cited twice said this. Someone one here also stated similar.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            How is doing a c-section at at time that is convenient for everyone not a benefit? When should they do c-sections – when it’s inconvenient to one party or the other?

          • A Banterings

            Are you serious? Doing major surgery so a doctor or mother can go on vacation a benefit?

            How about in terms of “morbidity?”

            Yes it does happen for convenience, and on both sides of the uterus. It does not make it acceptable.

          • Cobalt

            10 minutes ago, you said:

            “NO, I believe a woman’s strength is based on her God given right to choose how she lives her life WITHOUT nanny government or people who can NOT live their own lives telling any woman (or man) what to do.”

            I guess that doesn’t apply when making a choice you don’t approve of, even if the choice to have a elective cesarean actually improves neonatal outcomes.

            PS., There is nothing that can happen in the postpartum period to make it a vacation if the baby is there too. Regardless of labor experience or delivery method. What qualifies you to judge a woman’s choice to plan a cesarean for a time when she knows she will have whatever helps she feels she needs?

          • A Banterings

            I am not judging. It is solely in regards to medically necessary. If a women WANTS to schedule, (not forced with coercion and threats), then that is her choice if the provider is willing to go along with it.

            My example of vacation was just an example of medically unnecessary.

            Thank you for agreeing with me that many C/S are unnecessary and for a matter of convenience.

          • Cobalt

            Unnecessary doesn’t make it bad or wrong or in need of shaming. Heck, everything is unnecessary, if you see needs as absolutes and individual circumstances as irrelevant to those absolutes.

            You only need a scheduled cesarean if that’s the only week you can have help at home. You only need a hospital to deliver at if you want the best odds of survival.

            You only need oxygen if you want to live.

            The only ethical cesarean rate is the one in which each woman can make an informed choice as to whether she wants one and her choice is honored. You don’t have to agree with their decision, the choice and the power is theirs.

          • A Banterings

            Cobalt said:

            Heck, everything is unnecessary, if you see needs as absolutes and individual circumstances as irrelevant to those absolutes.

            You only need oxygen if you want to live.

            I ask, is that like you need a doctor and hospital (not a midwife and home) if you want to have a child????

            When Cobalt said:

            You don’t have to agree with their decision, the choice and the power is theirs.

            I ask:
            Choice like a midwife and home birth???

          • Cobalt

            No one here is trying to take away homebirth as an option.

            The issue is uneducated, unqualified “midwives” pretending to be health care providers and lying to women about risks. Risks of homebirth, interventions, using actual medical care, pain relief, cesareans, risk factors, available treatments, etc.

            Midwives should be educated, qualified, licensed, and liable for their actions. They should not be allowed to deny women informed consent, to use lies to take away a woman’s ability to choose.

          • A Banterings

            I agree that midwives should educated, qualified, and liable for their actions. I also agree that women should have informed consent.

            I do not necessarily agree on the issue of licensing. That does more to generate revenue than protect consumers.

            I am also not sure that women are suffering from a lack of informed consent either.

          • Roadstergal

            I’ve had ‘unnecessary’ surgery for broken bones three times. They all would have healed just fine on their own. It was for my ‘convenience’ to be able to have a shorter healing time, a cleaner heal, and more mobility while the healing was occurring. And I don’t think that holds a candle to the ‘convenience’ of urinary and fecal continence, future enjoyment of sex, and having a baby at the time when your support network can take planned time to be with you to support you. Ah, all of those unnecessareans for ‘convenience’…

          • Box of Salt

            “Yes it does happen for convenience, and on both sides of the uterus. It does not make it acceptable”

            What’s so unacceptable about allowing a woman and her doctor make their own risk assessments regarding scheduling a surgery vs leaving everything to chance?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yes it does happen for convenience, and on both sides of the uterus. It does not make it acceptable.

            Hey, it was YOUR definition that said that an unnecessary c-section had to have NO benefit. You even had the AND in their to make sure it was there.

            Convenience IS a benefit, no matter how much you want to try to deny it.

            Of course, I knew you were going to do it, which is why I let you trip over your own definition.

          • Dr Kitty

            But not a decision between a woman and her doctor that you believe anyone should be able to interfere with, certainly not the “nanny government or people who can NOT live their own lives telling any woman (or man) what to do”.
            Right?

            Or are you only a libertarian if it is about other people allowing you to live your life the way you feel best, and not so much if it is about allowing other people to make choices you feel are unacceptable, even if their choice have absolutely no impact on you?

            TBH, I think you’re just trolling, but it’s nice when the hypocrisy is this easy to call out.

        • Wombat

          She got her trial of labor (which predictably, failed)… the hospital has autonomy too. There is 0 issue with them saying “we won’t do anything but a planned section because of risk factors”… reporting her to DCF ensures that if she tries to go homebirth VBAC after being told no by the hospital there is record that she was warned of the risks and refused the safer option. Of course, public uproar changed all of this, but fortunatently it worked out in the end despite defying the medical recommendation (that again, was proven right).

          That story is no where near as outrageous as you make it out to be.

          • A Banterings

            The Justina Pelletier case highlights what happens when DCF interferes:

            http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/30/no-one-should-be-put-through-that-no-one-justina-pelletier-speaks-out-on-her-treatment-while-under-govt-care/

            The problem with the Florida case is that the hospital made the determination of C/S BEFORE she went in to labor. No let’s treat each patient as an individual, see if she can, just a BLANKET POLICY!

            That is BAD medicine!

            There is a movement on among states to regulate providers and hospitals the same way utilities are regulated due to many areas only having a single hospital (monopoly/scarce resource).

            Perhaps they need to be regulated at the county level. FEMA legislation allows this under disaster preparedness.

          • Young CC Prof

            The Pelletier case wasn’t necessarily so black and white, either. Remember, you only ever heard the parents’ side of the story, the rest of the story was in sealed court documents.

          • A Banterings

            The Pelletier case was ABSOLUTELY black and white! It was a difference in diagnostic opinion between Boston Children’s Hospital and Tufts, which led to the hospital accuse the parents of child “medical abuse” and call in the state child welfare. The problems is does a conflict in medical diagnosis by the professionals require that the patients and parents are penalized because of the conflict?

            You might be interested in a 1979 court decision In re Hofbauer, 393 N.E. 2d 1009 (N.Y. 1979). No parental abuse if a treatment “recommended by their physician and not totally rejected by all responsible medical authority.” As implied by the court, since the parents were following the diagnosis and recommended treatment from Tufts, the parents’ position should have been be upheld.

            The parents were making a decision based on a sound medical and course of treatment (developed by Tufts).

            Here is the complete story as of June 2014: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/17/judge-orders-custody-justina-pelletier-returned-parents/mDWtuGURNawSuObO0pDX4J/story.html

            The Florida case also suffered from similar errors: The decision for the C/S was made before she went into labor (a good lawyer can argue malpractice in diagnosis, but I will not go into that), the threat of DCF prevented her from seeking a second opinion (violation of Federal Patients’ Bill of Rights).

            As for “rest of the story was in sealed court documents,” sunshine laws are designed to prevent the state from infringing upon the rights of the citizenry.

            Boston Children’s Hospital knew they were in the wrong, that is why they sealed the documents. In light of a threatened takeover by HHS, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is set to investigate a complaint filed by a Boston Attorney against Boston Children’s Hospital and its “Bader 5″ Psychiatric Unit.

            Getting DCF involved (or at least the threat of) in the Florida case, shows the same deficiency in reasoning in the Pelletier case: DCF has unconstitutionally expanded the concept of “medical child abuse,” without sufficient and justifiable standards, to intrude on sincere, vigilant and loving efforts by parents who face competing diagnoses and different views on the medical condition of their children. Source: Lawsuit filed against BCH: http://blog.liftingtheveil.org/2014/06/04/massachusetts-lawsuit-against-dcf-provides-inside-look-at-bader-5/

          • Young CC Prof

            And as for the Florida case, the hospital did treat Goodall as an individual. Her doctors made the determination that, while they would be wiling to attend a trial of labor after cesarean for some women, her individual medical history made it too risky for her.

            She wound up going to a bigger hospital with more technology available, laboring for a while, then having a cesarean anyway.

  • Daniella Pal

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  • sdsures

    Richard Dawkins interviewed creationist Wendy Wright. It has been suggested to make a drinking game out of it because Wright re-uses the same phrases over and over, and you can take a drink of your favourite beverage, for example, every time she says “show me the evidence”.

    Obviously, do not drink an alcoholic beverage if you are pregnant or otherwise not advised to imbibe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AS6rQtiEh8

    Whatever you’re drinking, enjoy the insanity! *raises glass* L’chaim!

  • Lisa Murakami

    Amen.

  • Benjamin Edge

    And, when all else fails, accuse the skeptic of being a shill for the pharmaceutical, medical, hospital, insurance, or _________ (fill in the blank) industry.

    • Sue

      Also:
      – Claim that your favorite therapy ”can’t be tested by current science” because ”science hasn’t discovered why it works yet”;
      – Proclaim that “experts” are closed minded and brainwashed by their mainstream training;
      – Assert that scientists are ”pseudo-skeptics” and sheeple and that anti-vaxers/NCBers/alt medders are the REAL skeptics because they don’t just believe everything the ebil gummint and Big Pharma tells them
      – USE CAPS LOCK AND !!!!!!!

      • Bombshellrisa

        You forgot “Dr”

    • fiftyfifty1

      And don’t forget “a tool of the patriarchy.”

    • Jocelyn

      When I wrote a post on my own blog about why I would never choose a homebirth, I was accused of being sought out by and paid to write the piece by Dr. Amy. I was kind of flattered.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Did you send her a bill?

  • Mishimoo

    Slightly OT – Raw milk in Victoria will now have to be treated to be safe or have a bitter flavour added to make it undrinkable. Of course, this is causing a lot of drama with the people that think it’s perfectly safe. I think it’s in particularly bad taste for one of the loudest voices in the pro-raw milk camp to keep mentioning that his 6 year old daughter knows that it’s safe.

    • Sue

      Enter the raw Milk Lobby to argue for their human right to raw milk and its magical health-giving effects – even to adult humans.

      Fact is, they have every right to drink milk directly from the cow. Better not to package or sell unpasteurised milk to others, though.

    • Cobalt

      Didn’t a bunch of people get sick from drinking raw milk (marketed for “cosmetic use”) there recently?

      • Mishimoo

        Indeed! They were young children and a 5 year old died as a result of drinking it, hence the crackdown. I just wish that it didn’t have to get so bad before things changed.

      • sdsures

        :'( I grew up on a farm, and we had enough goats to sell their milk and drink it ourselves. ALWAYS pasteurized. Udders and hands were washed with hot water and soap prior to milking. Sterilized containers for putting the milk into once it was ready for sale. It never occurred to us to do otherwise.

        Now, to be completely honest, as a kid, milking the goats by hand, in fun, there’d be an odd squirt or two into my mouth. But that was rare. We also used the milk to bottle feed the kids (baby goats), and to feed the large contingent of barn cats gathered around the milking pen. 😉

        (Sorry for the caps lock, but I don’t know how to make italics here. Anybody know? I thought I saw some bold text in another section of comments.)

        • Cobalt

          Straight from the cow (or goat, as the case may be) is probably a good deal safer than raw milk that’s been handled, packaged, shipped, stored, etc. Contaminating bacteria don’t have time to set up and multiply before hitting your own immune defenses. There may also be less risk if you’re drinking absolutely fresh milk from animals in your normal environment, where your immune system is already frequently exposed to many of the same pathogens and is better prepared for the challenge.

          Killing the germs through pasteurization is better, though, and is the safest method by a long shot. Letting the inevitable bacteria grow in such a nutrient dense substrate for an indeterminate amount of time before giving it to your 5 year old is so much worse.

    • Amazed

      It was about time! I am baffled that it came to children losing their lives for this measures to be taken.

    • just me

      Ugh, a mom in our parents group both gave birth at home and gave her kids raw milk. She is more crunchy than wooey though. And actually educated so it boggles my mind. Yet she worried about storing baby food in plastic containers…here in California only two raw milk producers are certified and one was down for quite a while and may still be due to some contamination problems. A bigger problem here is Mexican bathtub cheese made from raw milk and either smuggled in or made clandestinely here…mm tuberculosis. I woudnt even want to drink pasteurized cow or other animal milk let alone raw milk.

  • Felicitasz

    Thank you. I am sick and tired of “equal” opinions, and this summary about the falseness of this notion is more than welcome.

  • just me

    This applies to many more issues than natural birth etc. I HATE when people use the “I’m entitled to my opinion” thing when they are flat out wrong. And then when the “mainstream” media or whatever doesn’t give both “sides” equal time/weight/whatever, the proponents of wrongness claim they are being treated unfairly. Highly irritating.

    • Amy M

      I always think of it like: You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. You can believe the earth is flat all you like, but you are still wrong.

      Obviously, this becomes an issue when fundamentalists try to get creationism into biology classes, for example. I would still say they are entitled to believe that the earth was created in 7 days by a god and is only 6000 years old, but since it IS only their opinion, it should not be inserted into school curricula because its not a fact. My children don’t need to be subject to your opinions in public school, they are there to learn facts. Instances like this are where scientists, skeptics and everyone who isn’t woo-spouting really needs to stand up and insist on the difference between facts and opinions.

      I can see how it is more difficult when it comes to vaccines, because that’s an individual battle for the doctor with every anti-vaxxer that comes into the office. And if the anti-vaxxer is very staunch in her position, no amount of facts OR anecdotes will get through.

      • just me

        That’s the thing, creationists think they are entitled to equal billing. As hobby lobby is trying to do with textbooks in I think TX public schools despite U.S. supreme court case law to the contrary.

        And honestly I think states should require vac for everyone except for medical situations such as allergy to some component. Here in California a parent can just object and get a waiver. Sucks.

        • MaineJen

          Here in Maine the non-vax rate for new kindergarteners has reached 5%. 5%!! I don’t know if that’s true in my county, but IMO it’s truly frightening.

          • Amy M

            I don’t “like” it, but I up-voted because I agree that its frightening.

        • Mishimoo

          My mormor was telling me that she is astounded by people rejecting vaccines and how easy it is to avoid vaccination. When she went to school in Denmark, she couldn’t have one of the required vaccines due to her health. For her to be allowed to go to school, her mum and doctor had to fill out paperwork and agree to catch up as soon as possible.

          • Carolyn the Red

            My Danish husband didn’t receive (nor was he/his parents offered) any vaccines until he was seven, after he’d had the mumps, measles, and rubella, in the late 70s in Denmark. I think it might be easier to get around than she thinks, even now (sadly, he’s got anti-vax family members)

          • Mishimoo

            Oh wow! That is a huge (and unfortunate) change.

          • yugaya

            I’m in continental Europe and the childhood vaccinations in my region were in most countries introduced in late 1960’s, they worked towards vaccinating the older kids as well but many people born before 1967. when it became standard were not/are not fully vaccinated. It was rare as hell to find anyone antivaxy until recently because people learned the hard way that vaccination really works better than soap during 1972 smallpox outbreak.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I always think of it like: You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

        But in an on-line discussion group, whether they are facts are not is irrelevant. You can discuss things all over devoid of any facts at all. This isn’t school.

        However, if you do pretend something is a fact (or not), others have just as much right to show you that you are completely wrong with their own “facts.”

        I don’t think the comparison to creationists in schools is apt at all. Creationists are perfectly welcome in biology discussion, and they can say whatever they want. It’s just that they can’t complain when others bring on their own “facts” and show them to be completely wrong.

        • just me

          But that’s a slippery slope. So in any science or math class magical views should be welcome besides being WRONG? Shall we bring back and encourage earth flatness, earth = center of the universe, phlogiston theory, etc? How about good ole boy Repub theories that your body can’t get pregnant if it was “true” rape?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            So in any science or math class

            This isn’t science or math class. Or school at all. It’s an on-line discussion in response to someone’s blog.

            That’s a serious distinction, and it’s not a slippery slope in the least.

            Let someone suggest some theory about “true rape” here. I dare them to. As long as they don’t complain when they get hammered 4 times to kingdom come.

          • just me

            Actually, you specifically referenced creationists in school and said they were perfectly welcome in a biology discussion. Perhaps you meant they were welcome in an online forum. Well sure then any idiot is including homebirthers, birthers, etc.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “a biology discussion” is not school. They are not welcome in a biology class.

          • sdsures

            Exactly: If a student who was a creationist wrote an answer stating that the earth is 6,000 years old in a biology, palaeontology or geology exam, it would be marked as wrong.

          • sdsures

            Or sexual assault. Unfortunately I have direct experience with just how grey things can become in the eyes of the law. 🙁

          • sdsures

            Re School biology: incorrect opinions usually metamorphose into lost correct marks on exams.

        • Amy M

          I agree with you, where your say that others have just as much right to show you that you are wrong.

          I was trying to make a different point with my creationism example. I was trying to point out the differences between an argument in an online forum, where it may not matter so much if the facts fail to sway a woo-person, vs. a real-world situation where refusing to let the opinions-as-facts stand is more important.

      • Hannah

        Reminds me of the Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon gets mad and moves back in with his mother in Texas.

        “I’ll spend the rest of my life here, trying to teach evolution to creationists”
        “You watch your mouth Shelly, everyone’s entitled to their opinion”
        “Evolution isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact”
        “And that’s YOUR OPINION”.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Oh, this is not at all restricted to birth, medicine or even science.

      Long before I came to SOB, I had an FAQ for a discussion group include the following:

      “This is a discussion group, and your opinion is welcome. However, please remember that others’ opinions are also welcome, including their opinion that your opinion is nonsense.”

      I got tired of the “it’s my opinion, you can’t criticize it” hypocrisy. This was more than 10 years ago, and already then, it was a tired trope. I don’t care if you spout a baseless opinion, but when you do, don’t cry when people call you out on it and show that it is baseless or, worse, contrary to facts.

      • Roadstergal

        Yes, this exactly. People have every right to state their opinion, and I have the perfect freedom to state my opinion that their opinion is ungrounded in reality and/or one I would never hold myself due to x, y, and z. If they would then state their opinion that they don’t care about my opinion, we’d be done, but so often it turns into ‘You have to respect my opinion!’ Well, no, I don’t.

      • Sue

        Well said. And it you spout that opinion publicly, don’t be surprised if people sail in to correct you. If you then continue to assert it repeatedly, don’t be surprised if they then become snarky.

      • So true! I am a member of such a group on Facebook and it’s ‘Respect he opinions of others” and similar blah blah but as soon as you state that the “opinion” is totally wrong, I am being a troll… also things like “I don’t want to start a discussion about vaccines but I am afraid of vaccinating my child can you tell me where I can find a doctor who will respect my opinion?”… if you’re not ready to have a discussion, why do you share this?And yes, “it’s just my opinion” is used to justify the most judgmental things possible (just like “I am not trying to judge you” means I am totally judging you but I don’t want to see judgmental so I will sugarcoat it for you and hope you don’t notice”

      • sdsures

        “I got tired of the “it’s my opinion, you can’t criticize it” hypocrisy.”

        Me, too. It’s a lot like toddlers screaming that they want a toy when they are told they cannot have it. Temper tantrum ensues.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Case in point: the exchange with Chantal yesterday

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2012/05/ina-may-gaskin-has-blood-on-her-hands.html

    It was a textbook case. Although I did love the defense of “I’m not spouting any facts, just giving my point-of-view.”

    Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear her favorite color or pizza toppings.

    • MLE

      This is not a very peaceful comment. I especially don’t care for the harsh “ext” sound in the word “textbook” when I read it in my head. It feels like the consonants are attacking me. Could you possibly revise that to “knowledge treatise”? Much smoother and less war-like.

      • Samantha06

        I mean really. How can anyone engage in a reasonable conversation about why home birth is so safe if they’re not going to be peaceful? I may not have any evidence to support my claims about it, but I’m calm and peaceful and my delicate psyche just cannot handle being challenged in such a brutal manner. I think I’m going to swoon, I need some aromatherapy..

        • MLE

          Can you please repeat that? I blacked out when you were talking about swooning because it reminded me of swans, which reminded me of the time I was chased by an angry goose at the park. I don’t see how we can continue with all these subtle jabs.

          • Samantha06

            Now, now sweetheart.. just confront those fears! Go back to that park, face that goose head on and trust your instincts! If that goose persists in attacking you, just deep breathe, stay peaceful, speak softly and slowly to the goose so he will do what you ask.. it can happen if you just BELIEVE!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Maybe burn some sage to dispel negative energy-the goal is a healing goose encounter

          • Samantha06

            Why yes, of course! Excellent idea!

          • MLE

            I thought burning sage would result in turning the goose 180 degrees, but nevertheless I’ll give it a try.

          • demodocus’ spouse

            It is best to cook the goose thoroughly, though I have to admit some sage would probably be tasty. Don’t forget the olive and coconut oil!

        • Samantha06

          Oops! I think I just upvoted my own comment.. mistake!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oops! I think I just upvoted my own comment.. mistake!

            Your mistake is in not making a sock-puppet account to do it. Make sure you give it a name like Dr. Sam Antha, MD

          • yugaya

            …or AgainstWhatever or HBA15C or ThisBlogSucks or earthmotherbabygoddesswarrior….

            You can also claim insider knowledge of obstetrics and post ridiculous meme tropes about “things that you saw happen with your own eyes many times on L&D ward” even if you were only there as a cleaner or a pizza delivery guy.

          • Samantha06

            I think I like HBA15C…

          • Samantha06

            Good idea! lol!

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    Have I missed the “concern trolls”? They worry that the people who frequent a site or blog are being misled by the writer. It’s more passive-aggressive way of trying to “educate” people.

  • Mel

    ” Anecdotes will convince more people you’re right than any number of “studies””

    That’s true for a wide variety of reasons.

    I like reading scientific studies, but studies are written for a very narrow audience. They are extremely technical and therefore very hard for people outside of academia to decipher. Also, they are often hidden behind pay-walls that make access difficult for people who are not attached to an educational institution.

    A well-communicated anecdote, however, should be understandable to the target audience AND pack an emotional punch. Anecdotes can force a person to examine magical thinking – the whole “I exercise, eat kale hourly, meditate and have avoided ultrasounds like the plague while thinking happy thoughts so I can’t have any birth complications.”

    “Yeah, so did my Cousin Gina. No GD, but her 11 pound son got his shoulder stuck on her pelvic bone. The OB couldn’t maneuver his shoulder free or break anything, so they managed to get the little guy’s head back through the cervix and CS him. He’s 5 and perfectly healthy, but if he’d been born at home, he’d be very dead right now.”

    • Guest

      I need to find the exact quote, but Paul Offit (also reviled by many NCBers) once said something along the lines of a single anecdote will always carry more weight than a pile of scientific papers.

      • ARB

        Well, as long as the anecdotes support your POV. Otherwise, you’re just fearmongering.

  • Zoey

    The list neglects my personal favourite step in internet debating: Tone Trolling. This usually comes close to the end of the debate when your opponent realizes that you actually know how to discuss a topic using science and evidence. So, instead of arguing the science and evidence, they decide to educate you on how to debate better. Like “people might actually listen to you if you didn’t come across so negatively” or “all you ever do is disagree with people and I just thought you’d want to know that a lot of people don’t like it.”

    It doesn’t matter what your tone is, because the intent is to shame you into silence with a “nobody likes you anyway” argument. Makes me so mad.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Yessss!!!!

      • Amazed

        Was that a snakey hiss, Dr Amy? Like, you were having the time of your life spoiling the poor dears’ party in the Garden of Eden?

    • Mel

      That shows you are arguing with someone with the emotional intelligence of a 10 year-old.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      And they only tone troll women bloggers. Because we’re supposed to be “nice.”

      I don’t see any of the parachuters to Orac’s blog telling him to take it down a notch.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I don’t see any of the parachuters to Orac’s blog telling him to take it down a notch.

        Oh, they are there. Not as common as here, but they show up.

    • Smoochagator

      Lately I’ve seen a lot of the passive-aggressive “Why can’t women just SUPPORT each other?” in birth groups, especially when a woman feels “attacked” when people tell her that a choice to HBAC is a choice to gamble her and her child’s life at 1 in 200 odds.

      • Francesca Violi

        This trope makes me so mad! Why should I support anything a woman says only because I’m a woman too? As if owing a vagina cancelled all the other possible differences and contrasts in thought, ethics, personality, interests, political views etc.

        • Smoochagator

          And disagreeing with someone does not mean you don’t support them. In fact, disagreeing with someone may be the very best way to support them. Let’s say I have a serious drug problem that I’m totally in denial about. It might make me really angry if you tell me that I need to get help, and I might accuse you of being a bad friend, but in reality, you’re being as good a friend as I could hope for.

      • Amy M

        Oh I HATE that one!. “Support” does not mean whole-heartedly condone any nonsense you dream up. Also, why do a bunch of strangers need MY support?

        To me, support means effort is involved: physical, emotional, or financial effort, generally given to a loved one (family or friend.) Why should I offer support to people I don’t even know? Why should they want it from me? They are equating support with cheerleading or validation, and seem to think that any choice is equally worthy of validation. They are wrong. Sure, that woman in your birth group has every right to HBAC, and you and I have every right to believe its a stupid choice. Support, like bashing, is a word that is grossly overused and misused.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          “cheerleading” is exactly the description I have given before.

          It’s apt in many ways. I remember very well from my playing days that, while the cheerleaders were nice and I really liked that they gave us candy in our locker every week, they did absolutely nothing to help us perform. They weren’t there during practice, they didn’t help us prepare and when we were on the field/court, we didn’t notice them in the least.

          Cheerleading is not support in any meaningful way.

          As I said, completely apt analogy.

    • stenvenywrites

      And this is all said, of course, out of respect and concern, like “Bless your heart, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, you know, Dear.”

      To which the only reasonable response is to quote Sheldon Cooper, PhD: “You catch even more with manure. What’s your point?”

      I don’t even defend my tone anymore. It just got so tiring. Now I’m like, “Okay, I’m mean. You’re stupid.”

  • What is it that Dirty Harry said about opinions? (Google it if you don’t know…. I’m too genteel to post it) :p

    The bulleted list of argument points is so correct it’s scary. I can pretty much predict, in order, what comments will appear after anything I post about vaccines, circumcision, breastfeeding, or any other “hot button” topic. But the majority of people who read and think about posts like these aren’t the knuckleheads who comment in that manner– most people don’t even comment at all. It’s the loudmouths who want and get the attention.

    Wait. I just commented. So what did I call myself?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Love your piece on KevinMD about stopping the hyperbole when it comes to breastfeeding!

      http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/12/stop-hyperbole-comes-breastfeeding.html

      • just me

        Ugh, that was a good post, but oh the comments. As a working mom I’m so tired of the assumption that I must be working for the luxurious (not) lifestyle I’m leading. Said with the half-hearted “of course I wouldnt criticize your choice” (to leave your poor kids with strangers so you can selfishly support your lifestyle). And the comments suggesting only 1/1000 moms might “really” have trouble bf/with supply, so everyone else is just lazy…

        And where do the claims of bf = higher iq than formula come from? I’ve heard this claim before. So is my generation (gen x) a big dip in the iq curve or what, considering most of us were FF? Just think what my IQ *could* have been!

        • I know, it’s ridiculous. Why is it OK for breastfeeding moms to spend all that money for consultants, books, pumps etc and it’s considered a good thing while when a mom uses formula, it’s because she is egocentric and egoistic? Is it because when a mom does something that is seen as a sacrifice, it’s good but if she does something for herself, it’s bad? Doesn’t make sense.

          • Amy M

            Got it in one. Martyring mothers are the ideal. Mothers who take shortcuts are lazy and selfish—the very lowest of the low. It’s a really stupid standard and long ago I learned to ignore it. Most parents do their best by their children and most parents are good (enough) parents. The real bad parents? Those who abuse and neglect their children. (for real, not this nonsense where upper middle class AP moms suggest that formula feeding is abuse. clearly that is bullshit)

            I don’t have to compare myself to my friends—am I a better parent than she is? It’s apples and oranges–we have different children, and I am a good mother to my children and she is a good mother to hers. Could either of us do better? Maybe, but its easy to look back at a situation and say what you SHOULD have done, after you know how it turned out. Regardless, I believe my children and the children of my friends will all grow up to be just fine.

      • FormerPhysicist

        And one of my more woo-y friends just shared some post complaining about how awful your article was. I’m sorry. Keep up the good fight.

        • FormerPhysicist

          That was meant for BOTH Dr. Amy and Dr. Benaroch.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Wait. I just commented. So what did I call myself?

      Just ask yourself: are you feeling lucky, punk?

      (sorry, that’s the only Dirty Harry I know; now, Debby Harry, I could quote a lot more; and Debbie Gibson)

    • Samantha06

      “Opinions are like a-holes, everybody has one”..

      I don’t think this was a Dirty Harry quote though..

      • Amy M

        More like Salt-n-Pepa….(I doubt they came up with it either)

        • Samantha06

          I don’t know where that one came from.. it’s funny though!

    • Sue

      ”most people don’t even comment at all.”

      True – and this is one of the reasons I persist with social media activism. For every zealot who is not amenable to reason, there are many other silent readers who can appreciate a rational argument and refutation of misinformation.

      And many of the irrational commenters are just kicking own-goals, showing other readers just how extreme they can be. A picture is worth a thousand words, even if it’s a word picture!

      • Who?

        So true-being calm and asking questions does engage the lurkers more than ranting, but the temptation to respond in kind is occasionally overwhelming.