Want to stop an anti-vaccine parent in her tracks? Here’s how.


If there is one thing that every anti-vax parent believes, it is that she (or he) is educated on the topic of vaccines. She’s done her “research.” She’s read books, websites and message boards that have supplied her with a plethora of information and citations to scientific studies. Give her half a chance and she will overwhelm you with lists of vaccine ingredients, anecdotes of vaccine complications, and bibliography salad of dozens of studies she hasn’t read.

Want to stop her in her tracks?

Ask her a simple question: How do vaccines work?

It is truly amazing how many anti-vax advocates are dumbfounded by that simple question. Surely, if they are critiquing the safety and efficacy of vaccines, they must know how they work, right? They must understanding the difference between cellular and humoral immunity; they surely know how and why antibodies are created; they must understand the role of each vaccine component; they must be conversant with the workings of her immunity.

But they aren’t and they often don’t even realize it until you ask them to explain it to you.

How can it be that the same people who preen about their “knowledge” of vaccines are so woefully ignorant about the basics of vaccines? Two reasons: they don’t have knowledge; they have pseudo-knowledge. And they’re not aware of how woefully uneducated they are because they bask in the warmth of alternative communities of internal legitimacy.

What is pseudo-knowledge?

We are surrounded by pseudo-knowledge in everyday life and most of us understand that it isn’t true. Advertisements of all sorts of products, both legitimate and bogus, and filled with pseudo-knowledge. Most of us are quite familiar with the language of pseudo-knowledge:

“Studies show …”
“Doctors recommend …”
“Krystal S. from Little Rock lost 30 pounds in 30 days …”

In the era of patent medicine, claims like these were usually enough to sell a product. But consumers have become more jaded and the language of pseudo-knowledge has become more sophisticated as a result. Consider this explanation of the benefits of acai, a favorite among the scourge of bogus nutritional claims. According to Dr. Perricone (a real doctor!):

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is important for a number of reasons. It helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane; together they help make cell membranes more supple. By keeping the cell membrane supple, all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state, and we know, inflammation causes aging.

This exerpt is classic pseudo-knowledge. It contains big, scientific words and sounds impressive. It contains actual facts, although they are entirely unrelated to the benefit being touted. It contains completely fabricated claims that have no basis in reality (“they make the cell membrane more supple”) and which, not coincidentally trade on the gullibility of some lay people (if my skin is no longer supple, it must be because the membranes of the individual cells are not supple) and it asserts that “we know” things that are flat out false.

Acai has been little more than a giant credit card scam. Anti-vax parents have been scammed in exactly the same way.

Much of what they think they know is flat out false (“the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases was falling before vaccines were introduced”), is anecdotal information proving nothing about anything (“Jenny McCarthy cured her son of autism!”), or goofy conspiracy theories that are ludicrous on their face (the entire medical pharmaceutical complex is aware that vaccines are not safe and not effective but they’re giving them to their own children anyway).

How is it that anti-vax parents don’t recognize that they don’t even know the most basic facts about immunology? They are part of communities of like minded believers. They inhabit an alternate world of internal legitimacy.

As Anna Kirkland explains in the paper The Legitimacy of Vaccine Critics: What Is Left after the Autism Hypothesis? published in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law in October 2011.

[They]have built an alternative world of internal legitimacy that mimics all the features of the mainstream research world — the journals, the conferences, the publications, the letters after the names — and some leaders have gained access to policy-making positions. Mixing an environmentally inflected critique of vaccination and Big Pharma with a libertarian individualist account of health has been a resonant formulation for some years now, with support flowing in from both the Left and the Right.

Anti-vaccine websites and message boards maintain totalitarian control of this alternative world, by deleting comments that question the anti-vax received wisdom and banning commentors who have independent (and generally conflicting) knowlege of immunology, pediatrics and public health. Moreover, these communities do everything possible to reinforce the positive self-image of anti-vaxxers as heroes, brilliant heretics who question received wisdom in order to save their children’s lives.

Anti-vax parents occupy an alternate world of internal legitimacy, which means never having to face dissent, never having to respond to real scientific evidence, and never having to acknowledge that most of what they think they “know” is pseudo-knowledge, not real knowledge.

Want to bring them face to face with reality?

Just ask them to explain how vaccines work.

326 Responses to “Want to stop an anti-vaccine parent in her tracks? Here’s how.”

  1. Ted LeMoine
    March 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    The problem is all of the doctors and studies on planet earth could clearly show that there is proven causation between the two and anti-vaccine people would still argue with you because of their own circumstance. This causes them to speak emotionally and confirm their biases even further. Listening to link minded people. All that really matters are double blind test results done to a diverse segment of the population by credible qualified experimental scientists . This has been done so many times and the results so incredibly scrutinized that we were beating the dead horse years ago.

  2. Michael Rivett
    January 26, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    Please watch this presentation by a doctor to a room full of doctors. You are incorrect in your position of being pro vaccine. I’m not an expert, but the speaker in this video certainly is. Not only does he understand how they work, he also has monitored myriad patients and gathered his data from real world cases (as opposed to propagandist scare campaigns. I recommend watching it on 1.5x speed as he talks too slowly and it’s long. If the video doesn’t attach just look for “The Exploding Autoimmune Epidemic – Dr. Tent” on youtube.

  3. Serenity Pond
    September 23, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    This video makes a really good point about the vaccine debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs8lnzp7ir4

  4. ali ghazanfar
    July 26, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    how are uoy my frend

  5. L.
    June 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    The worst thing IMO is this year’s flu vax (2014-2015) and the numbers of anti-vaxxers latching onto it as a reason not to vaccinate. Seriously, I have asthma. This was the year I was diagnosed and also the first year I received flu vax so if anyone has a right to be p***ed off about the 30% match it’s me, and the other people who got their first flu vax this year who is at serious risk for complications. But a basic knowledge of the immune system and genetics has meant that I understand and believe the reason for this, and know that the FDA aren’t lying about the flu virus strains mutating! But of course, anti-vaxxers have latched onto this with their whole ‘vaccines don’t work’ -c-r-a-p- *ahem* thing.

    The flaws in their arguments are sometimes just so glaringly obvious. Besides the whole MMR/autism argument, I have seen so many people use the line of ‘there haven’t been any good studies to show that flu vaccine works’…well, duh! It changes every year! In the time it would take someone to construct even a basic study, next year’s flu vax would be at least in the running, and the strains would have changed so proving that one of the flu vaccines ‘works’ would be pointless, as the We use knowledge of immunology and analysis of epidemiology to make a pretty safe bet that flu vax works to a reasonable extent most of the time for most people.

    They say ‘it doesn’t protect you from the thousands of other flu strains’. No. No of course it doesn’t. But that is irrelevant. You’re usually just unlucky if you get the flu vax and you still catch one of the ones it doesn’t cover because it covers the THREE MOST COMMON STRAINS, and the other ones are almost always considerably less common. So you’re getting more protection than anti-vaxxers want you to think. The exception to this is of course this year’s flu vax, as one of the major strains mutated and unfortunately there just weren’t the resources or time or money to generate hundreds of millions of new vaccines – including preservative-free or latex-safe or egg-free – to cover this new mutation, leaving millions of people exposed through no-one’s fault to a major strain. No-one could have predicted it, and the pharmaceutical companies are definitely NOT making money from ‘making people sick’ (what a load of bull, anyway)…in fact, they LOST money this year because people were not having the flu vax after it was revealed that it was a bit of a crap year, and press were all over it.

    And then you have figures like ‘100 people have to be vaccinated for 1 person to not get flu’. Sure, that’s true. And it isn’t the world’s greatest ratio, is it? But the issues arise when anti-vaxxers again latch onto this (they’re like leeches, aren’t they?) as a reason not to vaccinate. Firstly, how do you know that your child/you won’t be that 1 person who doesn’t get the flu? Secondly, this is herd immunity in a sense, so by not vaccinating, you are one less person in that 100, and if enough people don’t vaccinate, there may not be 100 people in an area who are vaccinated leaving 1 person who could actually die from the flu exposed who might have been saved before, if people had just borne one f***ing needle and a bit of aching instead of kicking up this stupid, selfish fuss. Sure, legally it’s your choice. But do you know what? It damned well shouldn’t be your choice. And ethically, it most certainly is not.

    Sorry for the rant; it just really, really fires me up. I have moderate/moderate-severe asthma and it’s only just stable. Only recently have I managed to get symptom-free and even then one tiny thing can throw me down for weeks and that is a really scary thought. Every time I realise that my peak flow is lower or I’m having symptoms after hockey again or I’m needing my rescue inhaler…I just think, ‘oh God please no, not this again’ and pray that it won’t turn into oral steroids and antibiotics for an infection, or mean my asthma is getting worse and I have to step up my treatment indefinitely. The pattern it has been taking is something works for a couple of months, tops, and then I start declining and it has to be stepped up.

    So getting a cold could totally screw up all the hard work, and even my perfect compliance with medications can’t save me.

    Seriously. Just vaccinate, for pity’s sake. It isn’t about you, it’s about others. So stop being selfish, get off your backside and think of someone else for a change. You never know; you might even save someone’s life.

    • Roadstergal
      June 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

      Like ~30% protection is a bad thing, somehow. I wouldn’t spit on $30 just because I was expecting $100.
      Plus, I see every flu vaccine as a roulette wheel spin with a chance at generating anti-stem antibodies for long-lasting multi-strain protection…

      • funnbunz
        July 26, 2015 at 10:13 am #

        Your a doctor huh???? How many years did it take you to get your doctrine…zero

    • oliiviaxxo
      July 25, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

      Such a perfect response! Couldn’t have said it better.

    • funnbunz
      July 26, 2015 at 10:11 am #

      I will always vaccinate my baby’s….because if there’s ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PROTECT THEM I SHOULD…ITS MY JOB

  6. Thevet
    April 18, 2015 at 2:27 am #

    Unfortunately have encountered the same Darwinian hubris many times. And unfortunately the medical profession must share some of the responsibility for the public flocking with open arms to pseudoscience – if your doctor won’t take the time to effectively communicate with you then you are likely to embrace over simplified pap particularly if it provides an emotional line of least resistance.
    Of relevance is the following sobering article. We all should read it at least once a year to keep us honest.

    Why People Fail to Recognize Their Own Incompetence
    Dunning et al.,(2003), Current Directions in Physchological Science, 12(3):83-87.

    For the most hardened anti vax – Research the following:

  7. Faith
    April 1, 2015 at 2:07 am #

    I agree with a lot of your points and I’m pro vaccine but you come off as arrogant sometimes. Being educated is great but it’s better to share it with some humility. You can share your knowledge better with people by the way. Also I kept waiting to see how to inform others on how vaccines work . You either didn’t finish sharing that or I missed it.

  8. Gwent Gasman
    March 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    I think anti-vax parents miss the point. Everything is a balance of risk. Can you say 100% are vaccines safe? No, but you can say that they are 99.9% and that the risk of suffering serious illness or death as a result of catching the disease is much higher. The only thing we can be sure of in life is that one day we will die (sorry to depress everyone).
    We had a big problem in the UK with the MMR some 10 years ago and last year in Wales we had a big outbreak of measles. It was interesting to see some of these parents who thought they knew better than medical science now crapping themselves and rushing to get their children vaccinated when the dangers became obvious.
    The other aspect to this is that as a doctor I have never had to deal with disease such as measles or epiglotitis (from HiB) as they have been largely eradicated. How good am I going to be with a disease I am not familiar with? You can read all you like, you cannot simulate the experience.

    • larrymotuz
      May 11, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      Well, I have to say that I don’t intend to ever die … and, so far so good.

      Had a friend once with this same mindset. His gravestone reads, Wish you were Here.


  9. Maire
    February 17, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    When my oldest daughter was 18 months old, she yet again developed a fever after her vaccinations, (both my daughters tended to be *fever spikers*, when pediatric Ibuprofen became available, it was like manna from heaven) am
    A few days later, she suddenly once again spiked a high fever, this time she almost immediately began experiencing Febrile Seizures. It took them hours to stabilize her. You can imagine our fear! Turns out she had Infant Roseola, she was hospitalized for 5 days. But she did suffer neurological damage. Speech and slight developmental delays, which my Pediatrician blew off. Fortunately, today, except for a very slight speech impediment, she is amazingly fine. The only worry I have (with all my children) is the Epilepsy that runs in our family (adolescent & adult onset, myself included, different triggers)
    Were the vaccines responsible for my daughters problems? Well, no. I’m pretty sure the illness that caused her fever & seizures was contracted in the Drs. Office, though I felt terribly guilty & years later, when the anti vax movement became much more publicized, I often wondered if they may have caused some of the problems she had. That was a totally emotional response. Once I began to do some intelligent research, I realized what happened to her was unfortunate, but had nothing to do with the vaccines.

  10. Wren
    February 15, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    I haven’t looked at this for a while now, but haven’t many of the cases awarded compensation for vaccine injuries been for things that resulted from a fever following vaccination? Wouldn’t those complications also be likely to occur from the fever involved in the diseases themselves?

  11. Eric Donovan
    February 14, 2015 at 1:53 am #

    I’m curious. I asked someone who was stating everyone *had* to get vaccinated “how do vaccines work?” They didn’t know. In fact, I’m virtually certain the vast majority of “pro vaxers” have no real idea how vaccines work. So does this mean I don’t need to listen to them? I challenge you to ask pro-vaxers…. they won’t know what you criticize anti-vaxers for not knowing.

    • Who?
      February 14, 2015 at 2:11 am #

      I don’t know how my car works either, doesn’t stop me relying on it and the mechanics who maintain it.

      And cars are way more dangerous than vaccines.

      Anti-vaxxers often claim vaccine is dangerous, too many are given or that they are given too close together. When asked why, the answer is, much of the time, some variation on ‘all my feelings/rights’.

      If they just said ‘I don’t like it’ that would not be able to be challenged, though one might disagree. Giving reasons they can’t back up is where they look dodgy.

      • Eric Donovan
        February 14, 2015 at 2:27 am #

        Sorry …. my point is that pro-vaxers are yelling at anti-vaxers they are idiots (the stuff in the press these days is pretty intense)… they “know” that vaccines work. Some people – and actually whether you like it or not some fairly reasonable and intelligent people – have real fear (founded or unfounded) about vaccines an their particular children. Many of these say exactly what you suggest … “I don’t like this… it’s not for my family”. Many of those don’t know why they are afraid and acknowledge that.

        I found this blog post offensive…. I believe the point of the blog is that if someone has a strong view about something they do not understand… then they are basically idiotic and should shut up. My point is that if one accepts this argument, then the vast majority of people are idiots and should shut up.

        I think a more reasonable view would be to stop insulting people, stop berating people, and try to coerce more people into getting their kids vaccinated.

        To be blunt… I know vaccines work, but I do wonder whether some kids might be at risk. Given that, I’m not inclined to yell at someone to vaccinate their kids. More than that, the more I see this vitriolic crap in the media and social media, the more I am sympathetic to the people who are frightened.

        And sorry – but the history of medicine does not reassure people who are in doubt about such things. My Mom was pressured to take Thalidomide when pregnant with me – but didn’t because she had concerns that she could not logically explain —- people around her pressured her to do so because, frankly, her morning sickness was inconvenient to them. I thank God she held firm. So mistrust is high… and somewhat earned.

        I live in Canada… I think most of these readers are in the US. You live in a country where there are 1500 children murdered every year, and as a nation you cannot get your act together on issues relating to gun control and crime in general. How many American children will die from Measles this year? I suspect none. I’m not saying that the Us (and Canada) should not do the PR required to get the vaccination rates up, but in the absence of anyone getting there knickers in a bunch over crime and the many many other terrible things that befall kids every year, people should take a chill pill and calm down.

        • Who?
          February 14, 2015 at 3:00 am #

          I don’t understand how an adult can be offended by a blog post. Challenged, confronted certainly, but offended?

          I’m not American. Unfortunately some Americans will probably die from measles this year thanks to those who choose, for religious or personal reasons, to not vaccinate. Many of those people will push pseudo-medical or scientific reasons, perhaps they even believe them. They are wrong.

          Some people, due to their age ie little babies, or state of health ie those with suppressed immune systems, are not allowed to be vaccinated. They rely on their community to protect them.

          People feel anxious about new things all the time. It’s in the nature of being human. We live in an increasingly specialised, fragmented and isolated society. If it were ever possible for one person to have a grip on everything, that time has long passed. Change is frightening. Reading scary stuff on the internet is demoralising. Being frightened and demoralised is no reason to make bad choices.

          I will challenge anyone who chooses to not vaccinate their children for other than medical reasons, because they put their children at risk, and incidentally, other community members as well. I will speak in very direct terms to anyone who sends their ill and unvaccinated child to school, the park or other communal environments where those who cannot be vaccinated might be. I will be very unimpressed with anyone whose very ill unvaccinated child ends up needing specialist medical care, and once the child is out of danger, I will tell them so. If that’s yelling, I’m a yeller.

          Saying if we can’t fix everything, we shouldn’t fix one thing, is a counsel of despair I don’t find helpful or becoming.

          • Eric Donovan
            February 14, 2015 at 10:30 am #

            I’m not challenged at all by this blog. I am offended by a group of people who are yelling at another group of people they have to do something they are afraid of doing or they are going to be baby murderers. I am offended by a group of people who claim that while they are not responsible to understand how things work because, as one reply to my comment so eloquently said “they have lives”, but the other side (which I am *not* on) is idiotic if they don’t know everything. For the medical profession to imply that people doing things they do not understand is the height of hypocrisy.

          • Amazed
            February 14, 2015 at 10:51 am #

            So you aren’t concerned by the fact that they are going to be baby murderers but by the fact that they’re called out on it? Thanks for stating your priorities so clearly.

            And you say you aren’t anti-vaxx. Yeah. I totally believe you. We’ve had the likes of you many times for the last month. You all start with “I am not ant-vaxx”, then you progress to show tender care of anti-vaxxers tiny hurt feelings and not at all for the victims of their decision, and then… you show you true colours.

          • Wren
            February 15, 2015 at 11:34 am #

            If you do not understand how something works (general you), then yes, spreading your opinion on it as fact is utterly dishonest and idiotic. Medicine, as in all sciences, may get things wrong from time to time, but corrects those things. The anti-vax movement simply moves the goalposts, with no corrections or even bothering to check out the research done.

            MMR causes autism! No, it doesn’t. Dozens of studies have failed to find that and the main study that did has been utterly discredited and retracted due to fraud on the part of the researchers.

            It’s mercury that causes it!

            There is no evidence of that, but we will remove the Mercury containing compound.

            It’s aluminum, although even breastfed babies will injest far more aluminum from milk than from vaccines! It’s too many, too soon even though our children are exposed to many more antigens in day to day life, some of which may actually be directly exposed to the bloodstream unlike vaccinations!

            We don’t even really know what the problem is, but vaccines scare us!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 15, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

            I’ve pointed out before that, given the association between MMR and the onset of noticeable autism symptoms, the hypothesis that there was a relationship was worth considering.

            However, once that relationship was ruled out, that should have been the end of the vaccine/autism question. The whole, “No, it’s DTAP!” or HIB or whatever other vaccination is nonsense. There was never anything to implicate any other vaccine, so it doesn’t make any sense to bring them up.

            How does, “there is a temporal relationship between MMR and autism symptoms onset” turn into “all vaccines are bad”?

        • Stacy48918
          February 14, 2015 at 3:29 am #

          Pro-vaxxers can and do rely on true medical professionals and experts. Many of them may not know exactly how vaccines work, just like I don’t know exactly how to do open heart surgery. That’s why I trust my doctor.

          Anti-vaxxers set themselves up as experts because they’ve done “research” and discard the vast knowledge base of true experts. If they are going to make the bold claims that they do, nearly all of which are contrary to majority opinion and established science, they darn well better be able to explain the simplest starting place – “How do vaccines work?”

          • Eric Donovan
            February 14, 2015 at 10:26 am #

            I just tested the waters with my comment. I’m not an anti-vaxer in the way you people are using this term. A long time ago, an ex-girlfriend’s mother explained to me “there is no such thing as pro choice… only pro life and pro abortion”. A ridiculous statement. Defining everyone who has concerns about vaccinations as “anti-vax”, stating with certainty the motivations and knowledge base of everyone who has such concerns as though you know so is insulting, assuming that everyone who has any concerns about vaccinations is ignorant of how they work is ridiculous (see the Huff Post article below), and stating that while pro-vaxers have no responsibility to know how vaccines work and anti-vaxers (which I am not!) have every responsibility to know everything…. well that’s a position people will look back on in the future with dismay. Many people seriously “in the know” have concerns.


          • Amazed
            February 14, 2015 at 10:46 am #

            Would you please stop with the false analogies? Anti-vaxxers aren’t people who have concerns. Many parents have concerns and discuss them with experts. Then, the vast majority of them vaccinate. Anti-vaxxers are people who choose to place their trust in liars like Andy Wakefield, washed-up celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, and people who happily boast that they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about (Bob Sears). So stop with the melodrama and the sad song of dismissing people’s concerns. Anti-vaxxers aren’t sweet innocent people who are just concerned, they are morons who turn their children into potential murder weapons.

        • Stacy48918
          February 14, 2015 at 4:19 am #

          “people should take a chill pill and calm down.”
          Just re-read this. Wow. Tell that to the mother of the first baby that dies.

          Why would you assume that we DON’T care about children that die from gun violence too? Seems you’re the one that cares little about children that (suffer) and die from VPIs simply because there aren’t very many of them. Why are their preventable deaths not worthy of outcry?

          • Who?
            February 14, 2015 at 4:27 am #

            And, btw, the only people who don’t care about children killed by guns are the ‘all my rights’ gun owners who openly admit the deaths of a few kids is a fair price to pay for them to keep their guns about them in whatever style they prefer.

          • Stacy48918
            February 14, 2015 at 4:31 am #

            In NH they’re trying to allow anyone that can legally own a gun (no felony convictions, etc) to concealed carry. No concealed carry permits, just – if you’re allowed to own a gun, you can hide it and take it anywhere.

            F-ing nuts. “Live free or die”

          • Who?
            February 14, 2015 at 4:51 am #

            That makes me go cold.

            Should that be: Live free or die at the hands of a two year old with moronic and irresponsible parents, who won’t get into trouble at all when their child shoots you, because they will have suffered enough.

            If I live to be a hundred I will never understand that thinking.

          • LibrarianSarah
            February 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

            I sometimes think that New Hampshire should change it’s motto from “live free or die” to “New England’s Florida.”

        • Stacy48918
          February 14, 2015 at 4:22 am #

          And BTW – thalidomide was removed as soon as its effects were apparent. Medicine isn’t perfect, it did make a mistake…and corrected it. How many mistakes have natural quacks recounted?

          • Eric Donovan
            February 14, 2015 at 10:15 am #

            This is simply not true. Physicians were pushing Thalidomide for over a year in Canada, and two years in some other countries, well after birth defects were being seen. It’s why the legal settlements were so high for the era, and why governments were compelled to match or exceed corporate contributions to settlements.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            February 14, 2015 at 10:53 am #

            If that were true, you might want to reconsider getting vaccinated in Canada. What does that have to do with any other country? Oh, right, NOTHING!

        • Amazed
          February 14, 2015 at 6:10 am #

          Ah Thalidomide! Why anti-vaxxers always cry Thalidomide when they want to excuse their selfishness and irresponsibility?

          Sorry, I’ll believe in the Thalidomide-induced scare when those dear mommies, so heroic and so brilliant, stop rushing to the big bad medicine – the same one who made the Thalidomide mistake, you know – with their unvaccinated, disease-spreading kids and killing other people’s children. Like this bitch – or poor heroic brilliant mommy, in your opinion – did.


          Refuse all medicine because of Thalidomide, and I’ll believe you really distrust medicine so. Refuse just vaccines because medicine isn’t always right – and I’ll know that you’re just a selfish hypocritical asshole.

        • demodocus' spouse
          February 14, 2015 at 9:20 am #

          Actually, despite appearances, the US’s violent crime rate has been going down for some time. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv11.pdf

          Here’s Wikipedia’s article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#cite_note-crimvict2011-1

        • fiftyfifty1
          February 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

          “I believe the point of the blog is that if someone has a strong view about something they do not understand… then they are basically idiotic and should shut up. ”

          What do you suggest instead? That people with strong mistaken views about something they do not understand should be encouraged to spread their misinformation and lies?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm #


            Everyone repeat after me:


            We are all ignorant about lots of things (most things, in fact)

            What is bad is thinking your ignorance is just as good as (or better than) someone else’s knowledge.

          • Amazed
            February 15, 2015 at 7:49 am #


            We are all ignorant about lots of things (most things, in fact)

            What is bad is thinking your ignorance is just as good as (or better than) someone else’s knowledge.

        • fiftyfifty1
          February 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

          “And sorry – but the history of medicine does not reassure people who are in doubt about such things.”

          I’m sorry – but the history of diseases like measles, rubella, polio and diphtheria does not reassure me that it’s cool for a bunch of people to decide that it’s okay to spread a bunch of pseudoscience nonsense about vaccines without being called out on their bullshit.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          February 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

          No, the point of the post is that if someone has a strong viewpoint about something they don’t understand, the very first step should be acquiring more knowledge so they could understand it. The odds are high that the ignorance led to misunderstanding.

        • Somewhereinthemiddle
          February 15, 2015 at 9:56 am #

          I hear what you are saying. I am definitely pro-vaccine but would certainly like more solid info and statistics on real vaccine related injuries. If those numbers do exist somewhere, I would love for someone to point me in right direction.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle
            February 15, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

            And to be clear, I’m not talking about a kiddo running a fever or having a bit of a rash. I’m talking about documented, irreversible damage from a vaccine. And I wonder if it could be further broken down into an allergic reaction to an ingredient in a vaccine and other problems.

            I mean, there is a lot of discussion by anti-vax people about vaccine injuries but I haven’t seen anyone on either side show hard numbers. Or any discussions of what real vaccine related injuries are or how they present.

            Anyone have any info on this? Someone on another discussion linked to a very vague CDC page but nothing with studies, numbers, etc. There is just so much fear and concern even on the part of seemingly reasonable folks that hard numbers could be helpful for alleviating some of those fears.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

            I haven’t seen anyone on either side show hard numbers

            Because we can’t. The actual incidence of serious side effects is too low to determine whether they even are the results of vaccines in the first place.

            Of course, that information is absolutely available on the CDC website, and is provided with the vaccine information sheet.

            You are asking for “hard numbers” that CANNOT exist, because they are too small to actually measure.

        • Poogles
          February 17, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

          “I believe the point of the blog is that if someone has a strong view that goes against the scientific consensus about something they do not understand… then they are basically idiotic and should shut up. ”

          There, fixed that for ya.

        • L.
          June 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

          Sorry, but preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis etc. kill far more children and adults a year than gun crime does. I’m not American, I’m British, but I find it offensive that you are suggesting that America is not doing anything with regards to gun crime. That’s like asking a bullied child why they’re still being bullied instead of just putting a stop to it. It just isn’t that simple. And in fact, the USA is doing a lot about gun crime, including considering restructuring their laws around guns bringing it closer to a UK-style gun legislation which would prohibit people from carrying their own guns.

          The frightened parents thing is a good point, and one I understand. So we need more education. But for the majority of people with reasonable concerns about vaccines for their child in particular (e.g. anaphylactic egg allergy) there are plenty of options out there, including an egg-free flu vaccine. I personally have a life-threatening latex allergy which makes vaccination awkward because I have to request a latex-free vaccine which has had no contact with latex at all and has been produced in a latex-safe environment and handled by people who are not wearing or handling latex or latex products. I have to reject pills from Pfizer because they use latex gloves to package up the pills. I had to have blood drawn yesterday and the risk that the buckle tourniquet might contain latex was slim but still way too high to use it on me, so one nurse took my blood while another used her hands to grip my arm to act as a human tourniquet. So I have very very real and very very serious concerns when it comes to this and I have to put some pretty big faith into my doctors and nurses that they will give me the right vaccine in the right environment…I really have to trust them.

          So I understand that fear. But there are options out there. I’m glad about your mum, but in the case of vaccines, ‘I just don’t like it’ is just not good enough. We need more education.

          And fast.

    • Amazed
      February 14, 2015 at 6:03 am #

      Let me quote myself.

      OK, I don’t know how vaccines work. I just know the basics. I have a
      life, a job, and no 10 or 20 years to dedicate to researching it –
      really researching. So I’m totally comfortable with trusting those whose
      life for the last 10 or 20 years has been researching it.

      Lesson over, kids. Any questions?

      ETA, just for you: What has Jenny McCarthy been doing for the last 10 or 20 years before starting her anti-vaxx crusade?

      What has Bob Sears been doing for the last 10 or 20 years before starting making money off his dangerous book? I’ll tell you what he hasn’t been doing: researching vaccines, as he admits freely. He’s more than happy to explain that his schedule isn’t supported by any evidence.

      So since anti-vaxxers don’t have anyone with 10 or 20 years of experience with researching vaccines, they’d better know how vaccines work. I am not under the same obligation since I can ride on the shoulders of the giants who saved the world from smallpox and almost saved it from polio, measles, and the likes. If only anti-vaxxers didn’t feel entitled to skip and bemoan vaccines without knowing how they work!

      • L.
        June 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

        You know, you brought to my mind something really interesting; polio. I’m only 17 yet I still remember the depressing adverts on TV pleading for such small amounts of money to help get polio vaccines – these little, white spheres – to children in Ethiopia. I haven’t seen one of those for years.

        Doesn’t that say something? Does that really not mean something to people who are against vaccines?

        Because I’m not even an adult but the fact that they don’t need to appeal for polio vaccines anymore is evidence enough that they have made the world of difference in countries where the people aren’t privileged enough to be anti-vaxxers, where they aren’t so lucky as to have the choice.

        Please, God. These people are good. They have shown the world what vaccines can do for people like them. Let them live, so that they can be amazing people and hopefully change people’s skewed perceptions and feeling of self-righteousness.

        We have the money to be complacent and selfish. They do not. And that is why we have anti-vaxxers, and they don’t.

        Because they know what a world without vaccines is really like.

        They know hell.

    • KarenJJ
      February 14, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      I don’t know how vaccinations work. I ask somebody that does know how vaccinations work and decide whether or not to vaccinate from there.

      Someone who is anti-vax doesn’t know how vaccinations work. They read scare tactics and stories on the internet and decide not to vaccinate and then when/if they speak to someone that DOES know how vaccines work they have to jump through all sorts of excuses and mental gymnastics to justify why they aren’t vaccinating their kids.

      One of us is relying on better information to make the decision to vaccinate or not.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 14, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      If you don’t know how they work, why should anyone pay the least bit of attention when you criticize the claims of people who DO know how they work? They shouldn’t.

      There’s a big difference between taking the advice of experts because they are recognized experts, and disagreeing with the advice of experts even though lack the most basic knowledge of the subject under discussion. The first is how the world works. The second is about the inflated egos of anti-vaxxers.

      • Kimberly Winkelmann
        February 15, 2015 at 11:28 am #

        As a nurse, I understand how vaccines work, and I trust science more than some wackjob trying to sell me something.

        • Michael Rivett
          January 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

          Would you trust a doctor who has had a career in the industry? Check out The Exploding Autoimmune Epidemic – Dr. Tent. I’m certain you will change your position after watching it. Don’t worry, it’s not about autism.

      • Insider
        February 16, 2015 at 1:38 am #

        A short article in the current issue of National Geographic does a nice job of explaining the mindset of people who ignore or reject scientific evidence:


        Among the article’s insights is the following:

        Science appeals to our rational brain, but our beliefs are motivated
        largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with
        our peers. “We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school,”
        says Marcia McNutt [editor-in-chief of the journal Science]. “People still have a need to fit in, and that need
        to fit in is so strong that local values and local opinions are always
        trumping science. And they will continue to trump science, especially
        when there is no clear downside to ignoring science.”… Scientists can be as dogmatic as anyone else—but their dogma is always
        wilting in the hot glare of new research. In science it’s not a sin to
        change your mind when the evidence demands it. For some people, the
        tribe is more important than the truth; for the best scientists, the
        truth is more important than the tribe.

        • Nick Sanders
          February 16, 2015 at 2:04 am #

          “We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school,”

          Well, I hate everyone and wish the world would shut up and go away while I hide in my room. So, that sounds about right.

    • yugaya
      February 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      I know how vaccines work. i was having coffee the other day in Starbucks and this trucker guy who drives trucks for CDC explained everything to me. First of all, there’s dead rabbits everywhere where they make those vaccines:

      “Truth be told, I wouldn’t have that shit at all. 1000s of Dead rabbits
      everywhere because they can’t live after licking and eating down there. It’s like a pet cemetery. ”

      Vaccines are full of neurotoxins which are NOT on the list of ingredients:

      “You know, basically that stuff they used in Vietnam. They put that
      Roundup on everything. Only thing that seems to survive is rats. Those suckers are bullet proof, squirrels too, they won’t die.”

      This is what he told me when I asked him if he and his children are vaccinated:

      “oh shit no, I grow my own immunity. CDC ain’t nothing but a job. I live in Hutto and have a big Ranch. Me and my wife just do our own immunity thing and crop trade infectious diseases with neighbors.”

      Another woman sitting at the next table overheard us talking and jumped in also, she works for CIA and she explained everything about how there are little invisible computer chips in the vaccines that can be turned on remotely and they can scramble your brain waves, that’s why there really is no autism it is just a mind control experiment, and if your child has been given autism by the government or you got cancer from the radiation that is used to make the chip invisible in vaccine, you just need to go to this underground website and get your password for the microchip and turn it off.

      • Nick Sanders
        February 14, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

        Well played.

      • L.
        June 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

        Haha I thought you were serious at first and I thought you were just another moron but it turns out you’re actually a legend 😉

        • yugaya
          June 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm #


          It’s just a rip off parody of some antivaxx/GMO/chemtrailz trope someone posted here …I don’t remember which blog it showed up on, but there were definitely dead rabbits everywhere around CDC premises AND a knowledgeable trucker. 😛

    • Bombshellrisa
      February 15, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

      So can you explain how “nature’s flu shot” works? If you choose this route instead of the flu shot, then you must have a better answer for me than “garlic kills the germs”.

  12. Linda
    February 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    David Oshinsky

    Polio: An American Story,

    Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, as well as other influential
    virologists, were aware that the early polio vaccines were contaminated with a
    number of other viruses, and that over 100 million people had been exposed to
    these viruses. They also knew that Dr. Bernice Eddy, a microbiologist at the
    National Institutes of Health (NIH),had proven that the SV-40 virus, present in
    both the killed and live vaccines, caused cancer in experimental animals. The
    public was not informed of this contamination until decades later. Worse, they
    continued to give the tainted vaccine to children assuming that it would not
    cause cancer. Modern science has proven them wrong.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      And your point is?

      • Bombshellrisa
        February 15, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

        You know they never make the point they think they are making

  13. Hand N. Yell
    February 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Respected vaccine science researchers share these concerns which have been left out of the discussion:

    Huffington Post: “Why the Press Shouldn’t Dismiss Vaccine Skeptics”


    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

      Most of those quote are strong PROPONENTS of vaccination.

    February 11, 2015 at 12:17 am #


  15. Bbeat
    February 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    I think this author has quite the ego. Anti-vaxers And pro-vaxers alike would have no clue as to the science of immunizations. I take offence to this view. Would any of you continue to vaccinate if your child went into seizures post vaccination? I think not, so don’t judge others…

    • Nick Sanders
      February 8, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

      The differences is, pro-vaxxrs listen to the people who do understand the science, and respect their education and knowledge on the topic. Anti-vaxxers, not so much.

    • Box of Salt
      February 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

      Bbeat “if your child went into seizures post vaccination? I think not.”

      Would you believe you might be wrong about that?

    • Poogles
      February 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

      “Would any of you continue to vaccinate if your child went into seizures post vaccination?”

      Depends on what type of seizure, since they aren’t all the same. If it were, say, a febrile seizure from the vaccine causing a fever? Absolutely I would continue to vaccinate. If it were a serious seizure that my doctors told me may mean my child shouldn’t receive further vaccines, then of course I would discontinue vaccines and be forced to rely on herd immunity for my child.

    • KarenJJ
      February 14, 2015 at 7:07 am #

      A febrile seizure? Well first, I’d discuss it with my kids doctors. Maybe get a second opinion if I felt unsure about the advice and then go from there. If a kid has a febrile seizure after a vaccination I’d be hugely concerned about a febrile seizure if they were actually to catch something like measles.

    • Mishimoo
      February 14, 2015 at 8:07 am #

      I’d want to know why it happened, and I’m sure that my doctor would be curious too. I would want to continue vaccinating, as long as there are safe options for the hypothetical child, because I don’t trust herd immunity thanks to people like you doing your damnest to destroy it.

  16. DJEB
    February 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    You can’t stop an anti-vaxxer in their tracks. They gish-gallop and shift goal posts.

  17. Lindaxox
    February 7, 2015 at 2:31 am #

    There are other sites far more information, not a little game of cat and mouse.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 7, 2015 at 2:50 am #

      You being asked simple, straightforward questions and refusing to answer them is not “a game of cat and mouse”.

      • Who?
        February 7, 2015 at 3:15 am #

        This was Lindaxox’s flounce-she will now go back to whatever woo-filled hole she emerged from.

        • Nick Sanders
          February 7, 2015 at 3:25 am #

          Well, she’s been doing nothing but the Ham Hightail, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 3:43 am #

            The positioning is classic-rather than just tag on to the discussion you’ve been having, she grandiosely starts a new one. Look at me!! I’m leaving now!!!

  18. Lindaxox
    February 6, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Even the CDC states that properly prescribed drugs kill 100,000. There are over 100,000, millions actually that are now prescription drug addicts, these drugs kill more than all street drugs combined. People drive in that condition, some drive their kids to school. They have admitted it themselves and beg for help. After years of overuse and over prescribed we are coming to the end of antibiotic protection. Superbugs have been created and there with be nothing at all to fight them or any others. In 5-10 years this whole vaccination thing might very well be the least of our worries. Every think you read that doesn’t suit your purposes is debunked…..well the way they are attacked much like a pack of wolves, many cave. They are silenced one way or another. This whole media thing is to pit one family against another, put them in isolation, charge them with child endangerment, take the Drs. license away, silence these people any way you can. Why is it that other countries admit there is vaccine damage and have set up some kind of fund to help them but the US in particular just won’t admit any of it.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 6, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

      What does *misused* medicine have to with properly used vaccines?

      • DJEB
        February 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

        Not a damned thing, but… TOXINS!!!!!

    • Kimberly Winkelmann
      February 8, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      So out of the several billion drugs prescribed, 100,000 die? Thats pretty good odds:=0.0000333333% Most of your information is wrong.

      • Grant Armbruster
        February 12, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

        So what are the odds of dying from the measles. Fist you have to get it that would be anywhere from 100-44 a year in the USA out of lets round down for your sake 300,000,000 to 100 or three million to 1 or 0.00001% just to catch it. And only 1 in 10,000 die from it. Sooo why vax against it which means that 100% of school aged kids will get it. and out of that number a few hundred will have a serious reaction according to CDC’s own site. The odds are safer if you do not get the injection. These odds mostly work for other inoculations.

        • Stacy48918
          February 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

          You can’t run the odds out of 300 million because 90% of the population is vaccinated. You need to look at – of the total number of susceptible and exposed individuals, how many contracted that disease?

          There was a great case study in the midwest a couple years ago. A girl went to Europe, came home incubating measles. Went to a church picnic with about 200 people there. Of the 35 total unvaccinated people present, 31 contracted measles. Of the remaining vaccinated individuals, something 5 caught it. Statistically, of those 31, 7-8 are in for a hospital stay. So 7-8 people out of 35 susceptible individuals not only get measles but end up in the hospital.

          The odds definitely are not safer.

          • Grant Armbruster
            February 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

            Then where is you control study…oh wait there is none. Because we blindly believe for so long.

          • Stacy48918
            February 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

            Crap! I can’t contest your example…let’s move the goalposts!

            Good one!

          • Grant Armbruster
            February 13, 2015 at 11:28 am #

            Stacy you asked a question I answered it. How is that moving the goalposts? And further more you numbers are faulty because you are using numbers that according to your own numbers don’t make sense. Why vax every one when you claim to say that you only need to look at those at risk. If you vax every one then you put them all at risk. I am sorry that you do not understand this. Good Day.

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            February 13, 2015 at 11:45 am #

            I didn’t understand your statement at all. Is this a scrabble salad?

          • Nick Sanders
            February 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

            Put them all at risk of what?

          • Wren
            February 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

            At risk of avoiding those diseases?

          • Young CC Prof
            February 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

            Unless the vast majority of people are vaccinated, everyone is at risk of the disease, and most will catch it at some point.

          • Samantha06
            February 15, 2015 at 11:23 am #

            Well, perhaps you might want to “blindly believe” the very real possibility of permanent brain damage, blindness or deafness from actually having the measles. Not to mention the danger to OTHERS who are immunocompromised and cannot receive the vaccine… oh wait.. who cares about them right?

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          February 13, 2015 at 11:44 am #

          No, that is not the proper way to calculate the risk. You are using calculations from a highly vaccinated population to assess the risks for not vaccinating.

          • Wren
            February 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

            Those calculations are correct for someone who is happy to free ride on the majority vaccinating. They only fail when the percentage of children vaccinated drops, as it has been lately.

        • Kimberly Winkelmann
          February 15, 2015 at 11:02 am #

          If you think your odds are better not to get the vaccine, then by all means don’t. The more people that don’t, the more that will prove the point. We will start to see all of the side effects of having the actual diseases soon. I’m just glad to know, my children most likely will not have to suffer through any side effects of a preventable disease.

          • Wren
            February 15, 2015 at 11:21 am #

            The problem with that is the knock on effects to those too young to be vaccinated, who are immunocompromised or otherwise cannot get the vaccination and that small percentage for whom the vaccination didn’t “take”.

          • Kimberly Winkelmann
            February 15, 2015 at 11:24 am #

            I agree.

    • Poogles
      February 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      “Why is it that other countries admit there is vaccine damage and have set up some kind of fund to help them but the US in particular just won’t admit any of it.”

      Errr….you realize there is a “Vaccine Court” in the US, right? Where anyone who believes they (or their child) suffered injury from a vaccine can have their case heard and be compensated (and it is heavily biased in favor of the claimant).

      • tony
        February 14, 2015 at 4:17 am #

        Are you fucking kidding me?! Biased in favor of? This is a bogus “court”, wanna educate yourself?

        • Stacy48918
          February 14, 2015 at 4:18 am #

          Feel free to enlighten us with published documentation at any time. Since you’re so “educated”…

        • Who?
          February 14, 2015 at 4:41 am #

          Very low levels of causation of damage required, meaning parents get their payday when mostly they wouldn’t in a real court.

          So biassed in favour of those claiming on behalf of someone they say was injured by vaccine.

        • Poogles
          February 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

          No I am not “fucking kidding you”. Unlike other courts, there is no proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” – only whether it is more likely than not (so, if a 51% chance it was the vaccine, you get compensated). In fact, to make it even easier, there is a table of injuries that are presumed to be from the vaccine (http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html) and if the injury you are seeking compensation for is on that table you don’t have to prove anything at all except that the vaccine was indeed given in the relevant time frame. If that’s not “heavily biased in favor of the claimant” I don’t know what is.
          What evidence can you provide that this is a “bogus court”? After all, I apparently need to be “educated”.

  19. Lindaxox
    February 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    These are 3 people who do know, first hand information. They know better than any Drs. and certainly any TV personalities. They gave up an awful lot to tell you the truth…


    • Nick Sanders
      February 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      I don’t know about the Merck case, but Thompson has been totally debunked:


      • Lindaxox
        February 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

        UGH no he hasn’t and the fact that this was written a year ago means it’s not current. I found this debunking post quite incredible. Wow everyone at the CDC would have such a conscience that they would all destroy there careers and be subject to attacks so viscous it almost fries you. NO THEY WOULDN’T AT ALL. We have the tobacco industry to prove that. Yrs and yrs of coverup and lies and hiding scientific info etc and there was no big turning. Other drugs on the market have caused numerous deaths the science was quite conclusive and yet it took years to get them off the market. The new state of the art lab in PA that found rhinus DNA in some vaccines and it still took 6 to 8 weeks to get them off the market and then I think they bought the lab. That will be the end of any more info there.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          February 6, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

          You appear to be ducking the question of how vaccines work to protect public health. Could it be that you don’t know?

          • Lindaxox
            February 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

            Tricky question…

          • Nick Sanders
            February 6, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

            How so?

          • Lindaxox
            February 6, 2015 at 11:42 pm #


          • momofone
            February 7, 2015 at 7:09 am #

            I don’t know; it seems pretty clear-cut to me. How do they work?

        • momofone
          February 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

          Viscous attacks are very disturbing (not to mention messy).

          • Siri
            February 7, 2015 at 5:54 am #

            Is calling someone ‘thick’ a viscous attack?

        • Nick Sanders
          February 6, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

          When did the CDC say tobacco was good for you? And please, link to this story about “rhinus” DNA.

          • Young CC Prof
            February 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

            I wonder whether “rhinus” is supposed to be a rhinocerus or a rhesus monkey, and how many scientifically illiterate antivaxxers have mangled it.

            Science by telephone, or hearing a message repeated by someone who doesn’t speak the language.

          • Lindaxox
            February 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

            can you not take anything for what it should be, they didn’t have to they all smoked, so did Drs and one of the main reasons they did was because the “science” had been manipulated, bought, hidden etc etc

          • Nick Sanders
            February 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

            Haha, no. You made a claim, back it up. Yes everybody smoked, but no one but the advertisements claimed it was good for you. The medical community, including the CDC, made it clear to the public even then.

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          February 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

          The story related to it was totally debunked. What we have is a scientists that is in the camp that believes all research data should be made available regardless of its significance. There has been a debate amongst research scientists about this since the mid 1990s. This is all Thompson has ever personally said. So, in my mind I believe what happened is he found someone who he either thought was an ally in this belief or convinced him that he was an ally in this belief, but was really a con artist who came up with the whole whistle blower nonsense. Thompson has not been attacked at all, vicious or otherwise.
          Other drugs are a lot different from vaccines which the government takes partial responsibility for. It is harder to get vaccines approved here than any other country. One thing that is the same though is that you cannot find issues that take 100,000s of people before they show up in clinical trials. It is just not possible to have a clinical trial large enough. That is why some drugs are approved and then later taken off the market. You are not being accurate to say that it takes a long time to get them off the market once the evidence is clear. Look at the old rotavirus vaccine. It took very little time to get it off the market when it was found to cause an increased risk of intussusception in 1 out of 300,000 infants. Do you have a source for your last statement?

        • DJEB
          February 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

          UGH yes he has.

  20. Lauren
    February 5, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Unfortunately, I have to give some credit – albeit an incredibly, incredibly small amount – to “HCMehdi” below. While the intention is right, the question is not. Having asked anti-vax people ‘how does a vaccine work?’ the inevitable response is, ‘that’s exactly it! They DON’T’!’ And there follows fingers in the ears, la-la-la can’t hear you.
    It can sometimes change the conversation to ask, ‘how do Drs claim the vaccine works?’ and then go from there. You’ll probably have to ask, ‘how does the immune system function, and how do you know this?’ at one point as well.
    Sadly, I have had this very conversation many times, and it always ended with shrugged shoulders and, ‘well whatever, I KNOW vaccines don’t work and are toxic!’
    The bright side? Anyone listening who was previously confused or undecided about vaccines is usually inspired to question the anti-vax “logic”, and becomes open to real science. That’s where your success lies.

    • sdsures
      February 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      There are conventions for the TV series “Star Trek”. When someone asked one of the producers, “How does the inertial dampener work?” (a feature of their starships), the answer:

      “Very well, sir.”

  21. February 5, 2015 at 2:59 am #

    Another foolish attempt to inflame rather than inform. I understand now why she calls herself the SOB. This website is like a cancer to the web. Asking an anti-vax person “how do vaccines work” is like asking a pro gun nut “Why is the world less safe when you have a gun?” It’s not a question if your answer is contained within it! I tell you, this author either doesn’t think, or enjoys making a living frowning on those that choose to live their life differently from hers. If you’re afraid of living here, go to India and get yourself and children paralyzed like the other 47,000 from their most recent polio eradication campaign. Yes, 50% of a community that was given the vaccine got paralyzed. They referred to this as a coincidental non-polio reaction to the polio vaccine (try squaring that circle). So how do vaccines work? Many of them don’t!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      February 5, 2015 at 7:42 am #

      So now you are a tone troll?

      Thank you for your concern.

    • KarenJJ
      February 5, 2015 at 8:27 am #

      So how don’t they work? If the question of “how they work” is wrong, then how don’t they work? What is the flaw in the thinking of immunologists – what mistakes have vaccine researchers made?

      • February 7, 2015 at 5:18 am #

        I think my post gives a great example of how they can fail quite badly.

        The biggest mistake immunologists have made is that of isolating the study of the immune system from that of health. And then further narrowed by focusing primarily on the way the immune system reacts to pathogens. And then further narrowed still by using syrum and petri dishes as their workspace which is then further narrowed into a number of mathematical and imaging models used to prove their findings. It’s a very isolated science basing its findings on a number of assumptions that then get deployed to millions which is unfortunately when the real science begins (after it gets deployed and numbers are collected).

        That said, I think the profession is quite noble and laudable and deserves (and needs) further development. In fact, I was quite shaken and really upset when I heard that the leading scientists working on HIV was on the Malaysian airplane that got shot down last year as he was on his way to deliver his findings in a world HIV conference in Australia.

    • Helen
      February 5, 2015 at 9:39 am #

      Can you post a reference to the 50% claim? It is well known that OPV causes paralysis in some recipients but that is estimated to be about 1 in 750,000 (approximately) – which is rather different from 50%. So please post a reference to support your claim that the usual incidence was so very different in this recent campaign.

    • Helen
      February 5, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      I think I found what you are referring to and I think you have got a little confused. I found the 47,000 quoted on Infowars.com (not the most reliable source for science!). It’s actually that there were 47,000 cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) that were reported across the entire country during the year of 2011 (so not just from one vaccination campaign and 47,000 is not 50% of the entire country or even the entire under 5 population which a vaccination campaign targets!). While the oral polio vaccine (OPV) can cause paralysis (vaccine-associated paralysis), as I said below, it does this very rarely. NPAFP is caused by many other things including Guillain-Barre syndrome or enteroviruses (other than polio), for example. AFP itself is the type of paralysis that you see with polio and surveillance for AFP (polio and non-polio) is what is used to find and identify genuine polio cases. All cases of AFP are investigated thoroughly in order to try and identify ALL paralytic polio cases (diagnosed via testing of stool samples to identify poliovirus).

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        February 6, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

        Yes, true. That is another problem. When you look for something you are going to find it in spades. In the US when we were early in the elimination of endemic polio we asked doctors to report all acute flaccid paralysis and it looked like there was an increase with the use of the vaccine when in reality there was just an increase in reporting.

        • Grant Armbruster
          February 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

          Those same doctors thought Ice Cream was causing Polio.

      • February 7, 2015 at 4:01 am #

        Try newspapers in India, where it actually happened. US news outlets are usually terrible at reporting on international news. Especially when it poses an inconvenience:


        • February 7, 2015 at 4:04 am #

          And for the 47500, here it is from the NIH


          • Helen
            February 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

            So the 47500 was an increase in NPAFP, not the actual number – and in the article you have cited it states that Grassly et al. have already explained that it was due to intensified surveillance. You still haven’t explained the 50% you stated, I don’t see it in this article.

    • auntbea
      February 5, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      First, I can’t find this number anywhere but conspiracy theory sites; do you have an actual, credible source for this claim? Second, even the non-credible sites are only showing that both vaccine rates and rates of paralysis increased over a set number of years (which also happened to coincide with increased public health monitoring efforts). If we assume that any two things that increase with time cause each other, than we have to believe that cell phones cause population growth, obesity causes air pollution in China, and old people are the source of iPod sales. To show causation, we need to show any number of other patterns, such as that those who received the vaccine become paralyzed while those who did not receive the vaccine did not. We would also need a plausible mechanism by which one thing could cause the other. Since the recent epidemic of paralysis in India has been linked to viruses other than polio, it is quite unclear by what mechanism polio vaccines would have caused it. Unless of course, the rates of paralysis have always been that high, but until polio was eradicated no one bothered to check whether all that paralysis was indeed polio.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        February 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

        Polio is not the only pathogen that causes acute flaccid paralysis and actually a lot of the children who suffered from it were all found to be infected with the same non polio enterovirus. Then there was also a problem where some children were getting 6 or more oral polio vaccinations in a single year. More than they should have total. Although this is the case none of the children were found to be infected with polio so even that was probably not the cause.

      • February 7, 2015 at 4:00 am #

        Try papers from India. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but when news (especially international news) is not convenient or fit into an overall message being conveyed by the media it usually doesn’t find itself prominently displayed in your cnn’s and nbc’s of the world:


        • February 7, 2015 at 4:04 am #

          And for the number is the NIH mainstream enough?


          • auntbea
            February 7, 2015 at 8:09 am #

            More credible yes. But it still doesn’t solve the causation problem.

          • Helen
            February 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

            Still doesn’t state anything about the 50% figure you quoted.

        • auntbea
          February 7, 2015 at 8:08 am #

          Yeah, the number you are citing appears no where in this article.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          February 7, 2015 at 10:46 am #


          Clearly you think extremely highly of your own thoughts on this issue, so highly that you think you know more than nearly all the immunologists, pediatricians and public health officials IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

          Let’s put your egotistical beliefs to the test:

          Please tell us how the overwhelming majority of immunologists, pediatricians and public health officials IN THE WHOLE world explain how vaccines work to protect public health.

          That’s pretty basic. If you can’t do that correctly, you’ve merely demonstrated my principle claim: that anti-vax is about the ego of anti-vaxxers.

    • Sue
      February 5, 2015 at 1:18 am #

      And in a lighter vein:

    • sdsures
      February 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

      “Very, very soon, she is going to be DEAD!”

  22. GiddyUpGo123
    February 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    Now that we’ve got an outbreak happening, I wonder if they will change the old “measles was already on the decline before vaccines” argument, the one that credits good hygiene with eradicating measles, rather than vaccinations. Or maybe it’s just that kids who go to Disneyland have poorer hygiene than kids who don’t go to Disneyland?

    • February 5, 2015 at 1:16 am #

      It’s such a SMALL outbreak, however, given the total population of the US…there will always be a rationalization, until there is a massive epidemic.

      • Cobalt
        February 5, 2015 at 6:08 am #

        Sick doesn’t count. They’ll need to see a few hundred dead, at least.

        • Samantha06
          February 5, 2015 at 11:38 am #

          Yes. Until people start dying, they will continue to rationalize.

          • Young CC Prof
            February 5, 2015 at 11:39 am #

            350 children died of H1N1 back in 2009, and a huge portion of the public shrugged and said, “Why do I need a flu shot?”

          • Samantha06
            February 5, 2015 at 11:44 am #

            Good Lord. It just never ends. It just goes to show you can’t fix stupid and there is a lot of stupid out there..

          • Grant Armbruster
            February 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

            Of those children how many had aids or were otherwise immunocompromised?

          • Young CC Prof
            February 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

            About 10%. Many had asthma, of course, but at least 100 were totally healthy before they contracted the virus. This is a good in-depth look: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/suppl_1/S69.full.pdf+html

          • Grant Armbruster
            February 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

            So only 1/3 were 100% healthy before. The rest had other problems that contributed to their death…How much of the asthma was environment.

          • Young CC Prof
            February 12, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

            100 totally healthy children caught it and died. Most of the others would have lived to grow up if they hadn’t caught it.

            That doesn’t concern you at all?

  23. momofone
    February 4, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Good lord. Now I see a group has formed called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, and the MS legislature is considering allowing personal belief exemptions.

    “I don’t like being coerced into something,” said Ms. Magee, of McComb, a
    city of about 13,000 people near the Louisiana border. “My husband and I
    prayerfully and carefully made that decision, and there’s no room for
    prayerful, careful decisions in Mississippi concerning our vaccine
    schedule.” (NYT)

    “She also said the extraordinary vaccination rate that Mississippi officials cherish was shameful.” (NYT)

    Amen, Ms. Magee. There’s no room now, and as a resident of MS, I hope it stays that way.

    • momofone
      February 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

      I just saw that the bill passed, but only a section allowing physicians to make the recommendation for medical exemptions remained in it. Apparently the state board of health has been the final decider, even with physician recommendation. The personal belief exemptions section didn’t make it.

  24. Sue
    February 4, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    I recently read an article about the responses of the proponents of “alt meds” to a campaign to have those courses removed from universities in Australia. The author was surprised to find that, instead of invoking “other ways of knowing”, the proponents of these courses adopted the “evidence-based” mantle, trying to argue that what they teach is scientifically valid. The problem is, what they consider to be “evidence” isn’t valid – case reports and such.

    This links in with what many vaccinophobes do. They use the language of science (the very word “immunity” comes from science) inappropriately to express their cases, not realising that all the language they are using comes directly from the clinical sciences – it’s just misapplied.

    Terms like “strengthening the immune system” misunderstands the damage done by immune over-activity – the same “inflammation” that they aim to reduce with dietary pseudoscience.

    • Young CC Prof
      February 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

      I discovered this “journal” last night and fell down a rabbit hole of horrified fascination. Remember Nikkie the Lactivist? She’s one of their authors. http://www.clinicallactation.org/Volume/1/Issue/1.

      My favorite article so far was one about the nutritional adequacy of formula, which did not as far as I could tell actually discuss any nutrients.

      It’s got all the words you’d see in a real journal, but they aren’t arranged in ways that make sense. They think a voluntary-response Internet survey mostly launched on breastfeeding websites is evidence. And always, always, the facts must serve the predetermined conclusion.

    • KarenJJ
      February 4, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      “Terms like “strengthening the immune system” misunderstands the damage done by immune over-activity – the same “inflammation” that they aim to reduce with dietary pseudoscience.”

      That’s the bit that really baffles me. How does someone “strengthen the immune system” and “reduce inflammation”? I believed that sort of thing in the past, but now I don’t see how that would work. Inflammation IS a part of the immune system.. You don’t want it too weak OR too strong… But the phrases “strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation” are so commonly used together I wonder if there is something to it or not?

      • Roadstergal
        February 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

        “Strengthen the immune system” is a meaningless term. The immune system is complex and multifaceted. You can’t stimulate some parts of it without downregulating others. You can’t stimulate some parts without stimulating others. And so on. And stimulating it isn’t ‘strengthening’ it; it’s just causing reactions that lead to certain diverse consequences. You don’t get big buff cells that kick sand at other cells on the beach.

  25. Ennis Demeter
    February 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    I always ask them why they don’t care about other people’s infants.

    • Samantha06
      February 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      And you know, what’s horrible is some of them are more than willing to admit that they don’t. Check out this “natural cardiologist”, Dr Wolfson in Arizona. We’ve been talking about him on here and his interview about vaccines. It’s horrifying to think a doctor could be so cold.


      • Amazed
        February 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

        Dr Wolf, Samantha, Dr Wolf. I really, really don’t think he deserves to be credited with Dr and his full name and I am not this fond of the sarcastic “Dr”. Wolf, on the other hand, fits him perfectly.

        • Cobalt
          February 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

          Don’t malign actual wolves comparing them to him. Heck, even wolves pitch in to care for other’s cubs

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

            That’s for sure! I know we can come up with something more “suitable” for him…

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

            How about “Jackal”? I mean after all, a jackal was supposed to be the anti-Christ’s mother or something like that…. although it still might be maligning the jackal….

          • Cobalt
            February 5, 2015 at 6:06 am #

            Opossum. They spread disease and when faced with a real threat they have the most hard core ‘ignore’ response in the animal kingdom.

          • Samantha06
            February 5, 2015 at 10:56 am #

            And they’re quite ugly little buggers too! That might work..

        • Samantha06
          February 4, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

          Well, you know I’ve been calling him “Wolf” but I wanted Ennis Demeter to get the full name… lol! And you are right, he definitely does NOT deserve the title of Dr.. other than the fact he went to school and graduated!

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

        Holy crap. [to people who vaccinate:]” All you care about is drinking your Starbuck’s, your next plastic surgery, your next cocktail, your next affair, and your next sugar fix!”

        And in the next paragraph:

        “Anger increases your risk of suffering a heart attack. Be careful.”

        That was one of the angriest rants I’ve read in a while. And the irony of that last sentence was totally lost on him.

        And also, leave my Starbucks out of this.

        • momofone
          February 4, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

          Wow. It’s like he’s been watching me or something.

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

            haha! Me too! Except for the plastic surgery part and the affair..

        • Samantha06
          February 4, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

          I know, insane, hey?? I totally thought he sounded like an angry, insane fool… pretty scary to be an actual practicing physician…

        • February 5, 2015 at 1:18 am #

          No Starbucks in Israel…and a high vaccination rate. Mmm…someone should write a learned paper about that….

        • Sarah
          February 5, 2015 at 5:38 am #

          Some of us don’t even drink coffee. I’m starting to feel quite excluded by all the anti-vaccine nuts who are trying to paint the rest of us as hypocrites. They always reference things I don’t do- the other day it was texting while driving, now Starbucks, adultery and plastic surgery.

          • Amazed
            February 5, 2015 at 8:40 am #

            I do! I do! Not texting while driving but engaged in heavy coffee-drinking. No Starbucks, though! Two empty cups staring at me from my desk and a question in my head: should I wash them and pour a third coffee in one of them or should I pour it into a third cup and then wash all three at once?

            Where do I fit?

          • Sarah
            February 5, 2015 at 10:36 am #

            I think we need to know how many nose jobs you’ve had before we can answer that one.

          • Amazed
            February 5, 2015 at 11:26 am #

            Not a single one this far.

            I might have to reconsider the situation, though. If getting a nose job is the mark of NOT belonging to the anti-vaxxers cult… Damn it, I am quite used to my nose, visible pores and all!

          • Sarah
            February 6, 2015 at 2:39 am #

            Hmm, well unless you’re cheating on your spouse, it’s possible you’re not really pro vaccination after all then. Them’s the rules! Do not pass go and do not get the MMR.

        • February 7, 2015 at 11:26 am #

          Next starbucks – no (but guilty as charged if you substitute just coffee). Plastic surgery – nope. Cocktail? Nope, although a maybe if you change it to “after work shot of vodka”. Next affair? Hell no. Next sugar fix? Eh, finally kicked the sugar Jones down to minimal.

          Anger? Only when dealing with assholes like him.

  26. Kory Oransky
    February 4, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    I think I’ll just refer them to “Vaccines from Anti-Vaxxers” on Facebook, and tell them I’m making a donation in their names.

    At least the sputtering rage would be amusing.

  27. sdsures
    February 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    Simple question, yes, but do I really want to listen to their fumbling reply as they flounder trying to come up with a non-existent cogent response?

  28. GiddyUpGo123
    February 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    I used to look at my kids vaccine records and sigh with relief every
    time they passed one of those “fully vaccinated” milestones. I can’t
    understand choosing to live every day with the knowledge that my children are vulnerable to diseases that used to kill and permanently disable a lot of little kids.

  29. Cobalt
    February 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    Here’s some serious bullshit:


    Firing woman for wanting pump breaks not sexist because “men can lactate”.

    • Samantha06
      February 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      I saw that yesterday and I just wanted to scream!! That’s one of the most outrageous things I’ve read in a long time. That woman was treated so deplorably.

      • sdsures
        February 4, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

        Risperidone and protein pump inhibitors can cause galactorrhea (although the evidence regarding PPIs is only supported by case studies; rispiradone is much more well known to have this effect). If a man were taking these medications, he could conceivably lactate.

        • Samantha06
          February 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

          I have heard that. But to use that argument is so horrible, I think..

          • Mishimoo
            February 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

            To me, it’s more a question of: They COULD fire a man for lactating, but would they?

          • sdsures
            February 4, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

            Interesting question!

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

            Great question! It wonder if her lawyers asked that question? The whole thing s just bizarre..

          • Mishimoo
            February 4, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

            I sure hope so! It’s an awful situation, and it shouldn’t have happened.

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

            I still can’t believe the supreme court actually sided with the employer! There’s a gravy train running somewhere!

          • Who?
            February 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

            One word-okay two words-Hobby Lobby.

            Haven’t seen the judgements but neither are good for women, and both out of the same court over a few months.

          • Who?
            February 4, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

            My bad, just read Melissa’s useful precis.

          • sdsures
            February 4, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

            Perhaps. But it’d still work.

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

            Yes, it would. I wonder if that was the basis for their argument?

        • Elaine
          February 4, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

          I’m not seeing said man asking for lactation breaks at work to try to keep his milk supply up to feed his baby. Though work should certainly allow him time off to see his doctor.

    • carovee
      February 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      In the year 2014, how is this actually an argument accepted by judges of all people? That is some straight up misogyny to deny a woman was unfairly targeted for being a woman because in theory the same boss could have fired a guy for lactating if such a person existed. Its nuts and I can’t believe the supreme court refused to slap those judges down.

      • Melissa
        February 4, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

        I think the article doesn’t quite explain what happened.

        In a discussion of their reasons for dismissing the case the trial court said that because men could also theoretically breastfeed that this was not sex discrimination.

        That was NOT the main reason the trial court dismissed the case. The main reason for the dismissal was that the plaintiff did not contact HR to complain about what her supervisor did. Basically, the supervisor did a bad thing but Nationwide was not responsible because the supervisor was acting on their own and not really representing the policies of Nationwide and that Ames couldn’t sue Nationwide because she didn’t take steps to allow the company to repair the problem created by the supervisor.

        So the trial court lists these reasons (the lack of HR followup and then as a side note this “and this wouldn’t have worked as a sex discrimination case anyway because men breastfeed”). The ACLU and others sort of knew that they couldn’t challenge the HR part of it (for better or worse there are a lot of rulings saying similar things) but said that the man breastfeeding thing was so dumb that the entire opinion should be overturned. The District Court and the Supreme Court declines to look at the case, not because they believe the trial court was right about the men breastfeeding but because that error didn’t impact the larger part of the decision which was correctly made.

        Now people are making a big deal of this part of the decision because, honestly, the main part of the decision isn’t nearly as interesting. But much more relevant since it is the type of knowledge people should have. They will get more clicks with the “the Supreme Court thinks men can breastfeed” but the actual thing that workers need to know is that you can’t necessarily sue your employer for the acts of a supervisor without first taking it up the chain of command.

        • Samantha06
          February 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

          That makes more sense. And you are right, you have to use the chain of command, follow policies, and document, document. I don’t know a whole lot about this sort of thing, but wouldn’t there still be some responsibility on Nationwide’s part though, since the supervisor was not following company policy?

          • Melissa
            February 4, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

            I’m not sure what the liability would have been on Nationwide to make sure the supervisor was following the policy. It sort of sounds like there might have been some bad trial strategy on the part of her team, and I don’t think that the ACLU and other parties got involved until the appeal stage and it was too late at that point to try and change the original complaint.

          • Samantha06
            February 4, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

            It seems hypocritical that they expected the employee to follow HR policies, yet basically absolved Nationwide of responsibility for the actions of its’ (company appointed) supervisor who also didn’t follow policy. Instead they said the supervisor acted alone. I guess that’s why it’s so important for employees to protect themselves and cover all their bases when something like this happens.

    • Who?
      February 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      These people are clearly both crazy and mean, hopefully she finds a new and better job soon. And that the business name is spread far and wide so good people know to avoid buying their products or working for them.

  30. February 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    I think this would be a show-stopper in a completely rational conversation, but I can’t imagine anti-vaxers having a completely rational conversation. I suspect the answer you’d get most of the time is “they don’t,” as Zoey said, or “they work like the diseases do except not as well because of all the toxins,” or “they work fine but the immunity doesn’t last and it’s loaded in aluminum and mercury,” or something along those lines.

    In other words, I think that the anti-vax mindset is well-insulated against pressure like this. Anti-vaxers don’t reason themselves into their beliefs, and pure reason won’t back them out of it.

    Having said that, I’m not sure there’s any better approach for an expert with no personal connection to the other person. I think those personal relationships are the most effective tool in shifting opinions, but without them there’s not much you can do other than provide better information and make it as easy as possible for the anti-vaxer to change their mind. (Give them a narrative for how they can do that without looking foolish, provide a positive aspirational image of expertise, build a new relationship, etc.)

    I just found your blog the other day, I’m a big fan. Thanks for your thoughts on this difficult subject.

  31. Elisabetta Aurora
    February 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    This could be so many things, not just anti-vax. Evolution-deniers spring to mind.

  32. Therese
    February 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m trying to imagine how this conversation would actually go. So you ask them how vaccines work and they say something like “Vaccines introduce inactivated bacteria or viruses into the body and your immune system learns how to produce antibodies so if it’s ever confronted with the actual disease it already has the antibodies ready to go.” Then what would be the follow up question or response?

    • Montserrat Blanco
      February 4, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Then you ask more specific questions. For example: ok, so everybody that gets the vaccine is inmune to the disease? So , how does that work? In the end they will either show that they have complete lack of real knowledge or admit that they are making the really unethical choice of benefitting from herd inmunity without taking any risks at all, as the rest of us do. Not a very nice end of the conversation.

    • Sue
      February 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

      There’s also a misconception that surviving the disease gives “natural immunity” but that sero-converting to a modified antigen in a vaccine is somehow “unnatural” – even though the immune response is the same.

      It’s also a misconception that infection gives life-long immunity. Just like vaccination, it’s not 100% reliable.

      • Young CC Prof
        February 4, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

        With pertussis, immunity usually fades after 5-20 years even from natural infection. With the “childhood” viruses, infection produces lifelong immunity, except when it doesn’t, which is sometimes.

        • Cobalt
          February 5, 2015 at 8:03 am #

          I know someone who got pertussis twice as a toddler/preschooler. Damn near killed her both times. She was frequently too sick to vaccinate as a baby, took forever to get all her shots.

    • KarenJJ
      February 4, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

      I once had a facebook argument with a friend’s friend about vaccines. She (a naturopath) was claiming that you didn’t need vaccines to create anti-bodies because you could rely on your innate immunity to protect you.

      I have some personal experience with a wonky innate immune system that I shared. “Innate” sounds nice, but calling it “inflammation” gave different imagery to the naturopath’s idea. I was baffled how they could take one small idea and run away with it and make it sound authoritative to everyone. Suddenly this woman was an “expert” on innate immunity and she had no idea! And nobody had any idea she was saying bullshit – except for me – but that was really only because I’d had to learn a bit as a patient.

      • Samantha06
        February 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

        Snake oil salesmen have always been very persuasive…it’s truly amazing what great con artists they are. My sister told me the other day she needs to see the ortho for her knee but will have to wait a while for an appointment (public health care). So she says, “I’m going to go to a naturopath and get laser treatments on my knee.” After I picked my jaw off the floor, I said, Laser? Are you sure that’s what the naturopath is going to do? I don’t think she had that right because I can’t imagine a naturopath doing “laser” treatments, but I guess in quack-world, anything is possible! I think it’s probably some sort of heat therapy, which I’m sure she could do the same thing with a hot water bottle for free. So I said, well, please re-consider, because if you have damage to your knee, it could make it worse. She said she was going to call them and she would let me know exactly what it is. She is pretty open to reason, so I am hoping I can talk her out of it and at least save her a few bucks!

  33. anh
    February 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Don’t they just answer “they don’t” when asked how vaccines work?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      They never say, “I don’t know” because they’ve already claimed to be “educated.”

      • anh
        February 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

        They don’t say “I don’t know” they say “they don’t” meaning they claim vaccines don’t work. They constantly claim hygiene is what led to the decline of the diseases (which were already declining before vaccines were introduced)

        • toni
          February 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

          I agree, they just flat out deny that they work at all or not as well as developing natural immunity from catching the real disease (which they allege is actually good for children as long as they are healthy). I guess you could argue with them that if they are going to claim vaccines don’t work or are inferior to ‘natural immunity’ they should at least be able to explain how doctors and immunologists claim vaccines work and why they say they are preferable to enduring the full blown disease because how can you refute it if you don’t know exactly what claims you are refuting? sorry about long sentences

          • Sue
            February 5, 2015 at 1:49 am #

            They should also be able to explain how the sero-conversion that occurs after an infection is different to the one that follows vaccination.

        • Sue
          February 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

          The best comeback for the “hygiene and nutrition” argument is the HiB example. Haemophilus influenzae type B used to cause life-threatening epiglottitis and a severe type of meningitis in children.

          It has now essentially disappeared since the 1980’s in affluent societies, with no change in nutrition or sanitation. Here’s a good graph to counter those misleading graphs that are widely seen.

          • Sarah
            February 5, 2015 at 5:40 am #


  34. GiddyUpGo123
    February 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    If I was a pediatrician, I would find the whole anti-vaccine movement insulting. If we can’t trust pediatricians to give us good advice about vaccinations, aren’t we really just telling them that on the whole they’re not very trustworthy or competent?

    If my kid gets sick, I take her to my pediatrician. I must trust my pediatrician, or I wouldn’t trust her to diagnose and treat my sick child. So when she tells me I ought to vaccinate my kids, why would I not trust that advice? She’s gone to medical school, she’s spent years diagnosing and treating sick children, she’s spent years vaccinating them. If I’m not going to trust her advice on vaccination, I don’t think I ought to trust her to diagnose and treat my sick child, either.

    Yet, all the anti-vaxxers I know take their kids to a pediatrician when they get sick. I don’t get that at all.

    • Roadstergal
      February 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      It’s just like the NCB crowd. “You’re safer at home than at the hospital. And if things go wrong, we will take you to the hospital!”

      • Samantha06
        February 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

        Yep. It’s “Burger King Medicine”, have it your way, until your way isn’t working anymore, then run to the experts..

      • Bothered
        February 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

        But it’s true… you are not safer in the hospital if you are healthy. In fact, you should always question whether or not you should go to the hospital. I would *never* go to the hospital if I did not think I needed to. The prevalence of infection and infectious diseases is staggering. What could possibly be wrong with giving birth outside of a hospital (with the right support) and going to the hospital if/when problems arise?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          February 14, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

          You are safer in the hospital. Homebirth has a death rate 3-9X higher than comparable risk hospital birth.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      February 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

      At a attachment parenting site that I usually read, the WHO claims regarding breastfeeding are quoted like The Best Thing Ever. The claims about vaccines from the same WHO are dismissed. I can’t understand it. But, you know, I am only one of those eeeeevil doctors.

    • Therese
      February 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

      I don’t know, it makes a certain level of sense to me. I don’t always agree with my child’s ped about everything. For instance, when my daughter was 2 he told us she was on the way to becoming obese because she was still drinking whole milk. When in reality her appointment was right before a growth spurt, so her body had packed on a few extra pounds getting ready to grow and in the next couple months after the appointment she grew a couple inches and her BMI was back into the healthy weight category. So I firmly think the doctor was wrong about that, but if my child became sick and needed antibiotics, it would never occur to me to think, “I can’t trust you for accurate weight and diet advice for my two year old, therefore I don’t trust you to diagnose and treat her when she’s sick.” I imagine antivaxxers might think about it the same way?

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

        I don’t always trust everything doctors tell me either—I was just saying on yesterday’s thread how it took three tries for me to get my son admitted when he began showing signs of severe dehydration (he had a particularly aggressive stomach virus) at age two. I know my pedi and doctors know more than I do, but I also know that they’re not infallible, and they don’t see my child every day and they don’t understand what’s normal or not normal for him. In that case, I knew my son was sick, I knew he was not “about to turn a corner” as one doctor told me and I pushed until I got someone to take me seriously. I could see him getting worse and worse every day which was not something they could see. So yes I think every parent has to trust their instincts to a certain degree, and question medical advice that doesn’t seem right. I am more than qualified to say whether or not my child seems to be getting better; I am not qualified to determine what is causing his illness or how it should be treated, because I haven’t gone to medical school and I’m not competent to make those decisions just based on things I’ve read. In the case of vaccines, it’s all about knowledge of the science of immunology, not about what’s normal for a particular patient. I can’t trust my instincts about vaccines because I can’t have instincts about something I don’t understand. But I don’t think anti-vaxx parents see it that way.

        I still trust my pedi while knowing she’s not infallible. She’s one of the doctors who said my son was going to get over his virus and be fine, even though he ended up spending two nights on an IV in the hospital. Even though she was not right in that particular case, I’m not so naive to think that I should just take over my son’s medical care myself and not trust her anymore. She’s still a very competent doctor and far, far better than Google.

        • Elaine
          February 4, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

          The anti- and selective-vax parents I know absolutely think they can trust their instincts about vaccines (and everything else to do with their kids’ health, so they’re not singling out vaccines).

          Me, I was irritated at myself the last time I took the advice of a nurse, who hadn’t actually seen my kid, over my own instinct regarding my kid. She said he probably just had a viral illness and would mend. 3 miserable days later he was diagnosed with an ear infection. I don’t think this invalidates her opinion on all things, but I do think the next time I decide to take the kid to the urgent care, I’m just going to go ahead and do it.

        • Sue
          February 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

          That’s a rational view. The other thing to consider is that it’s not always possible to predict the course of an illness, so frequent reassessment sometimes changes the treatment plan. The last person who makes the call sees a sicker child with a longer duration, so it’s easier to decide on an IV then. That doesn’t mean that the first person was objectively “wrong” – just that the course had not yet declared itself.

          Since being hooked to an IV in hospital is miserable for both child and family, it’s reasonable to think carefully before doing it. Many kids do tern the corner with oral rehydration. But you’re right, nobody is infallible.

          • GiddyUpGo123
            February 4, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

            You are right of course, I should have said that no one can see into the future. And parents (me in particular) do have a tendency to overreact when it’s their sick kid. I did feel like he was a lot sicker than the doctors thought he was … He basically spent 72 hours vomiting up every fluid I tried to put in him. And then when the nurse who failed to find a vein told me to “take him home and get him hydrated,” that’s when I started to feel like errors were being made. Of course, he is fine and recovered very quickly once he was on fluids, so in hindsight I think I can say that everyone was doing the best they could.

    • dragonseeker
      February 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      This is why my ped does not take anti/delayed vax kids. He says if the parents won’t listen to him about vaccines, what else are they going to ignore. I specifically sought out a ped that did not take anti/delayed vax kids as we live in Los Angeles county, right before it turns into Orange county (and the area with mucho measles and whooping cough cases). This guy is great and I have made many mom and dad friends from the other parents who chose him for the same reasons.

      • Samantha06
        February 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

        “This is why my ped does not take anti/delayed vax kids. He says if the parents won’t listen to him about vaccines, what else are they going to ignore.”

        So true. And then they get into non-compliance issues and it puts the doctor in the awful position of having to fire the patients if it really gets bad. I used to work with some OBs who had to do that occasionally with non-compliant patients.

    • Sue
      February 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      I have asked anti-vaxers many many times why they think that essentially all the world’s pediatricians, NICU specialists and nurses and early childhood nurses recommend vaccines. Why would they dedicate their lives to the care of sick children and have an intimate understanding of their immune systems, but just be grossly deluded or corrrupted or uneducated in this one area?

      I’ve never had a clear response to that question. Except maybe that they are all, somehow, “brainwashed” by their training. Ugh.

      • Sarah
        February 5, 2015 at 5:41 am #

        Insert between one and all of the following: brainwashing, Illuminati, the Vatican, the Jews, the Jews in the Vatican, Monsanto, there’s something we’re not being told.

    • Bothered
      February 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Because whether you want to admit it or not, they love their children.

  35. Rene
    February 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    OMG!! I’m about to get blocked from a Facebook page for DiGeorge syndrome for posting that the “Natural News” is a junk science site. Really?? A Facebook page for parents of children with a genetic abnormality that affects the immune system. I can’t even…

    • Samantha06
      February 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

      Denial is very powerful…

    • KarenJJ
      February 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

      Ouch 🙁 It’s hard when someone on a patient support group is posting rubbish like that. I’ve come across a few and am learning to be very careful with what I say…

    • Sue
      February 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

      You could start an opposing FB group for Parents Favouring Science-Based Health Information.

      The Autism Science Foundation is a good role model. Here is their excellent section on vaccines – with appropriate references.

  36. Amazed
    February 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    OK, I don’t know how vaccines work. I just know the basics. I have a life, a job, and no 10 or 20 years to dedicate to researching it – really researching. So I’m totally comfortable with trusting those whose life for the last 10 or 20 years have been researching it.

    Lesson over, kids. Any questions?

  37. Dr Kitty
    February 4, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Does anyone remember the case of the UK couple with developmental disabilities who had six children. The one that involved the partner trying to deliver a baby at home with barbecue tongs, and the infant being unwashed, poorly clothed and being fed inappropriate food when the birth was discovered several days later.

    The court has ruled that the woman can be sterilised without her consent, on the basis that her life and the life of any future child would be seriously at risk- her uterus is described as being paper thin.


    It is very sad, but I think all less invasive and extreme options were considered and found to be unworkable.

    • February 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

      There is no question that one of the most difficult moral questions is what to do with girls who cannot be responsible for their reproductive capabilities due to developmental disabilities. I remember a case in the US where the elderly parents of a Down Syndrome girl wanted her to be sterilized — they feared that, even if she lived in a sheltered environment after they passed on, she would be particularly vulnerable to sexual predators due to the easygoing personality typical of Down Syndrome children, and her intelligence level meant she was almost certain not to be able to use any form of contraception reliably. There was quite a brouhaha about the girl’s “reproductive rights” and I am not sure the parents ever succeeded in obtaining the permission they sought.

      • Ennis Demeter
        February 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

        There is a belief that pregnancy, which is far more dangerous and invasive and far-reaching, is a woman’s natural, default state, and therefore a non-competent woman’s rights are violated by impeding this. I think that view is really, really harmful.

        • February 5, 2015 at 1:15 am #

          It is complicated, I think, by the fact that many impaired girls have maternal feelings even if they are incapable of assuming the responsibility of parenthood. They are better off with a pet, but not all of them can understand that.
          We seem to have little difficulty assuming that parents can make choices for a fetus which might harm it, as it isn’t yet a “person”, yet protecting both the mother and her child in a situation like this is regarded as interference with their “rights”.

    • Mel
      February 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      That’s a heartbreaking situation where no option is good – but sometimes all you can do is find the least harmful option.

    • Samantha06
      February 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      That is so sad..

    • DiomedesV
      February 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      Wow, that’s a really hard case. So terribly tragic for everyone.

    • Cobalt
      February 4, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

      What an ethical mess. Although if she is incapable of understanding her health risks, how can she give informed consent to sex, or pregnancy, or medical care in general?

    • yugaya
      February 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      I’d have to disagree that it was the right decision but mostly out of being personally biased on the subject – we have reports over here and documented cases as late as last year of vulnerable women still being sterilised without true consent – in one case the woman was illiterate and she just signed all the papers that were given to her. I understand that this is a completely different situation where no such consent can be obtained and the system acts as the guardian of her best interests, but I wish there was anything else that was done instead – sanctioning of a living under supervision arrangement, maybe some long term contraceptive method, IDK.

      • Ennis Demeter
        February 4, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

        Withholding sterilization surgery for this woman is really withholding medical treatment. Pregnancy and childbirth should no longer be considered the natural, default state for women and girls, even more so for a woman who is incapable of comprehending the risks to herself.

    • DiomedesV
      February 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

      Is it not possible to give her an IUD? Or Essure?

      • sdsures
        February 4, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

        Perhaps they feel that sterilization would be less traumatic for the woman. IUDs can fail, and they sometimes need to be replaced.

        • HipsLikeCinderella
          February 5, 2015 at 5:44 am #

          If she is as mentally disabled as they say then I would be worried about her getting her IUD replaced before it stops working. How would they be able to ensure she makes the appointment or shows up?

          • sdsures
            February 5, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

            Assisted living, perhaps? I don’t know what her current living conditions are like at the time of the article’s publication.

          • sdsures
            February 8, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

            Maybe she’s in assisted living?

      • attitude devant
        February 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

        I have a developmentally disabled patient who has had her Nexplanon ‘fall out’. Twice. And her IUD ‘fell out.’

    • sdsures
      February 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      It is indeed very sad, but as the article reports, another pregnancy would be life-threatening for her and the child. She has the IQ of a cucumber, as evidenced by her saying she thought her latest pregnancy was “caused by a tablet from the health-food store”. Nobody is talking about killing her or her living children.

    • HipsLikeCinderella
      February 5, 2015 at 5:41 am #

      I would hate to have been on that court. Very difficult decision to make.

    • Who?
      February 5, 2015 at 6:13 am #

      Any chance they are going to also sterilise her partner who sounds like he may be implicated in the many issues, in case he moves on to a new partner at some point? It seems tough to make her bear all the responsibility, and men can and do move on.

    • Amazed
      February 5, 2015 at 9:06 am #

      It is very sad indeed but at the risk of coming across as heartless, I’d say that the sad thing is that she was born with such disabilities, not the fact that the state stepped in to protect her interests. I don’t see it as limiting her rights at all. That would be the case if she was capable of intormed consent.

      It would be tragic if she was left to her own devices and ended uo dead or damaged, a future baby ended up dead or damaged, and her other kids ended up motherless.

      The sad thing is that with people who doesn’t fit in this particular way. NOT taking measures that I would have found deplorable in any other circumstances would mean failing her.

  38. SarahSD
    February 4, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Semi-OT: What do you say to the “vaccine shedding” arguments? I’ve heard variations on this, ranging from “stay away from immunocompromised people after receiving certain (live) vaccines”, all the way to claims that imply that ANY and ALL outbreaks in N. America are caused by vaccinated people shedding the virus. But these anti-vax arguments are rarely addressed in media or in informational campaigns. I’m not an expert in this at all, but it seems implausible that vaccination could have basically eliminated measles in the US (in 2000), and yet be blamed for any subsequent outbreaks.

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      February 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

      There are NO documented cases of an asymptomatic recently vaccinated child “shedding” the vaccine virus and transmitting measles. None.

      In the rare case that a child develops vaccine-associated measles, that can be transmitted (but it’s still rare and journal-worthy).

      • SarahSD
        February 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

        Thank you. I find the patient-zero blaming tiresome, anyway. It’s a diversion from the actual problem (here at least). Where and how any “first” person in an outbreak got the measles is less relevant than our collective responsibility to stop its spread.

        • Box of Salt
          February 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

          This is relevant though, from the CDC 2 weeks ago (Jan 23)

          The cases that have been analyzed match the strain from the Philippines.
          At that time, 55% of cases with known vaccination status were unvaccinated. I am keeping my eye out or updates on that.

          • SarahSD
            February 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

            Oh sure – it’s relevant in a lot of ways. It can’t be blamed on “vaccine shedding”, for one. And of course it’s relevant for those traveling or doctors treating those traveling, and it’s relevant for the public health purposes of contact tracing, and for the purposes of tracking how the outbreak started and how it continues to unfold, and what we can expect from this particular virus strain. But I think it’s less relevant in the ongoing attempt to improve/restore herd immunity during an outbreak.

    • Roadstergal
      February 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

      I think it goes back to the live/Sabin/oral polio vaccine. The Salk vaccine had inactivated virus (except for the Cutter incident), while the Sabin vaccine had attenuated virus – it’s more effective, but has a small but real risk of reversion back to live virus. This is all moot for anyone living in the US, of course. If you need to be vaccinated against polio, you get the IPV, and all of our other viral vaccines are either inactive virus or virus-free expressed antigen.

      • DiomedesV
        February 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

        What about the flu mist? (I willfully acknowledge my ignorance of these matters.)

      • AnnaC
        February 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

        When my kids had the polio drops (a long time ago) we were advised not to take them swimming in the week or so afterwards, just in case.

    • Young CC Prof
      February 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      I especially love the claim that pertussis is caused by shedding from the ACELLULAR vaccine. (That’s about as likely as getting stampeded by a steak in your refrigerator.)

    • Cobalt
      February 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

      If vaccines caused infectious shedding, imagine what the daycare situation would be like. Every time a kid turned one and got an MMR, all the new babies would get measles, mumps, and/or rubella.

    • Elaine
      February 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

      I point out that it’s only the live vaccines, which usually shuts down those arguments because usually they are griping about pertussis shedding, or something else that isn’t a live vaccine, and then I get the heck out of that argument because typically they argue with my response too and thereby demonstrate they are too big of an idiot for me to waste my time with. LOL.

      I think shedding is really just in feces, so assuming used diapers are dealt with properly and the caregiver washes their hands, I wouldn’t think shedding would be much of an issue under most circumstances.

  39. Taysha
    February 4, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    So I shouldn’t respond to their claims of ‘education’ and ‘research’ with “No, you’re not” and “That’s because you’re a goober, son”?

    • Bombshellrisa
      February 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Don’t stop using the word goober-it’s too accurate in most cases to use a substitution : )

  40. no longer drinking the koolaid
    February 4, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    I posed that question with some people I know, but worded it as doing their research. Of course you would want to know something about immunology and virology so you understood how vaccines then work in the body and why they may or may not be good for your child.

  41. UNCDave
    February 4, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    For some anti-vaxxers, their answer to the question “How do vaccines work?” is, “They don’t”. For example:


    Read it and weep. And facepalm. And headdesk. And then scotch. Or ice cream.

    • momofone
      February 4, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      I couldn’t even read all the way to the end. (I guess Ann was right about me.)

    • Mel
      February 4, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      My brain hurts so, so bad after reading that info-graphic. There are so many false premises that build and build and build on each other that it would take me hours to unravel it all.

      Not least of which is the belief that Dr. Wakefield is being maligned – the doctor who took blood samples from kids at his son’s birthday party and subjected kids to invasive medical testing that had NO benefit to the kid to further his career. That’s so fucked up.

      Plus – contradict yourself much? Vaccines eradicated smallpox – BUT AT A HORRIBLE COST – because TB is totes linked to vaccination for smallpox. Plus, vaccines NEVER got rid of measles, mumps or polio – so vaccines don’t work.

      *Screams in frustration*

      I’ve gotta go back to reading plant stuff. It’s sad that people arguing about minor details involving plant evolution are more cordial than anti-vaxxers.

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      February 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

      Wanna know the best part of that whole thing? Her husband is a doctor. A family medicine resident.

      • Rene
        February 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

        Please tell me you are joking!!!

    • Helen
      February 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

      WTF? There’s more made up in that one page than in most Fantasy Novels!!!!! Tuberculous is a caused by a pathological organism which is _not_ related to Smallpox!!!

    • Taysha
      February 4, 2015 at 11:44 am #

      Oh sweet baby back ribs. I do science for a living and write fiction for a hobby and not even I can put together such stupidity.
      Making up the apocalypse is easier than reading that.

    • Julia
      February 4, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      Ouch. Aside from all the internally inconsistent falsehoods, there’s this:
      “Some parent believe in doing what’s best for their children. Others have been purposely manipulated by fear-driven emotional messages”.
      Ya think?

    • February 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      I’ve found that I have to limit the stupid I deliberately expose myself to as I have concerns I will develop a concussion from the constant headdesking.

    • Samantha06
      February 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      O. M. G.

      If it wasn’t so pitiful, I would laugh, but people actually believe this stuff.. Andy gave them a run for their money though…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

        I think this is the part that gets me.

        I realize there are real idiots out there who just blather on. And they are going to exist. The bizarre part is that there are so many who actually take them seriously!

        Where is it in these places that even the dopiest of the dopes can’t say, oh please, you’re making this shit up!

        • Samantha06
          February 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

          It always makes me think they just have no filters and lack critical thinking skills. But then you have highly educated people, like the one JD who commented in support of the author. I’m thinking, how can they actually believe this crap?

        • sdsures
          February 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

          “Where is it in these places that even the dopiest of the dopes can’t say, oh please, you’re making this shit up!”

          Maybe people who say that get excommunicated.

    • GiddyUpGo123
      February 4, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

      “Ethylmercury is more toxic than methylmercury and has been proven harmful for people, animals and birthday cake.” WTF?

      • sdsures
        February 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

        All the birthday cakes in the world had better hide in reinforced concrete bunkers to weather the coming apocalypse.

      • Cobalt
        February 5, 2015 at 6:42 am #

        Birthday cake? Is that some sort of placenta reference?

    • GiddyUpGo123
      February 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

      And what, pray-tell, is the difference between “artificial immunity” and “natural immunity?” You’re either immune or you’re not. “Artificial immunity” implies something that looks like immunity but isn’t. So, I guess you actually get pertussis but without all the coughing. Which sounds an awful lot like immunity. Stupid.

      • Who?
        February 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

        Maybe it’s like the breastfeeding thing. The breast feeding lobby will tell you it is really the only suitable food for a child, but then can’t pick the breastfed kids in a room full of two year olds, or probably even one month olds, actually.

        If tests were run on a bunch of people, some vaxxed and some not, could you tell which was which, unless the unvaxxed ones also hadn’t been exposed to what you are testing for?

        • GiddyUpGo123
          February 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

          I heard one anti-vaxxer say she could pick a vaccinated kid out from a crowd by “the green snot running out of his nose.” Because vaccinated kids are always walking around on the edge of death, while unvaccinated ones radiate health and sparkle in the sunshine.

          • Sue
            February 5, 2015 at 5:57 am #

            That sort of claim should be put to the test – I would suggest she gets formally tested under controlled conditions.

      • Sue
        February 4, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

        All active immunity is “natural”. Exposure to antigen causes sero-conversion – perfectly natural.

    • HipsLikeCinderella
      February 5, 2015 at 6:04 am #

      “Fantastic Infographic. Brilliantly done and very needed. I wish I could post one in every doctor’s office, clinic, library, OB/Gyn office, etc.

      New moms and dads desperately need this information!

      Thanks for putting this together”

      This is what one commenter wrote. I seriously would laugh at her if it wasn’t so damn sad that she believes all that nonsense.

      • HipsLikeCinderella
        February 5, 2015 at 6:11 am #

        Ok update I tried to post a comment on that living health article questioning a few things and it got deleted. Guess they don’t like people who disagree with them. Big surprise there.

        • Young CC Prof
          February 5, 2015 at 8:36 am #

          Deletion (of polite dissenting comments) is a sign that the leaders know they’re lying. They know their “facts” are too weak to stand up to scrutiny.

  42. Zoey
    February 4, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    I love your vaccine posts Dr. Amy.

    The vaccine parents I know (or rather, used to know before they banned me from their group) would answer the “how do vaccines work?” question with an answer of “they don’t.” Of course, they had no idea how vaccines were even supposed to work, but that didn’t matter because they were sure of themselves and their “research” that they never even bothered to look it up.

    Too bad their Google PhD didn’t require Immunology 101.

    (Also, the deleted post was mine because my computer apparently hates Disqus)

  43. Mel
    February 4, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    I’ve been thinking about vaccine denialism a lot recently.

    Most vaccine deniers have lived a charmed life.

    My at-risk (or risky) teenagers vaccinated their babies. Since they had lived with poverty, racism and being in a country illegally, they knew that children die. Regardless of how much you love your children, children die.

    Since they loved their children and did not want them to die, they got their kids shots with a regularity that made me proud. Immunizing their children was part of showing the world that they were a good parent.

    I learned at age four that babies die when my brother died unexpectedly. Twenty years later, my GP recommended that I get a DTAP update since whooping cough immunity apparently declines over time. My response was “Shoot me up, doc. Can I get the flu shot in the same arm?” I am an adult therefore I have the responsibility to protect the young, the old and the ill.

    When you love someone, you do what is in their best interest. Vaccine refusers are copping out on the unpleasant duty of vaccinating their children and pretending it is love. It’s not love; it’s cowardice.

    (And I was a hellion when it came to vaccines as a kid. It took several people to immobilize me because I would go into fight-or-flight mode and start kicking and thrashing. I kicked a nurse in the shoulder when I was twelve….and was absolutely humiliated….and decided it was time go grow up.)

    • Lisa from NY
      February 4, 2015 at 10:32 am #

      Do livestock get immunized? If so, what are they immunized for?

      • Mel
        February 4, 2015 at 10:40 am #

        Yes. I know we give ours tetanus/Clostridium, pneumonia, a cattle respiratory disease (BRD, I think), and brucellosis. There may well be more – we give a set as calves then yearly when the cow is dried off before calving plus general herd updates.

        Ironically, farmers have the same problems with vaccine deniers – but the turnaround time is much shorter since an average dairy cow lifespan is about 5 years. It follows this sequence: “Why bother vaccinating for BRD? We haven’t had a cow with it in 10 years.” Farmer stops vaccinating. One year later: “See, we don’t need to vaccinate because no one gets it.” Three years later: “I mean, one cow got it – but she was in bad shape anyway.” Seven years later: “We just about lost the farm when the entire herd went down with BRD and we couldn’t sell milk for weeks and had the herd production level crash.”

        • Lisa from NY
          February 4, 2015 at 11:11 am #


        • Young CC Prof
          February 4, 2015 at 11:51 am #

          That reminds me of this: http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/2014/04/something-good-from-tragedy.html

          Jeevan’s story about why people in his region hadn’t vaccinated their chickens, and how an outbreak of fatal chicken disease had stimulated locals to find a solution.

        • Michele
          February 5, 2015 at 11:27 am #

          Was it you who posted before about cattle “ain’t doin’ right”? I thought of that yesterday when I took my toddler to the doctor and his main symptom was that he just wasn’t acting his usual. Turned out to be an ear infection.

      • Helen
        February 4, 2015 at 10:43 am #

        It depends on the species, but yes, livestock most certainly does get immunized. Farmers don’t like losing livestock (=money) to vaccine preventable diseases. And if you have dogs and cats that get their rabies shots, parvo shots, distemper shots, and other shots — those shots are vaccinations which _prevent_ those diseases.

        • February 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

          There are, however, pet anti-vaxers who believe that vaccines for distemper, bordatella, and rabies cause cancer, heart disease, and all other maladies that dogs and cats get now that they routinely live into their teens.

          • Sue
            February 4, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

            What are hamsters vaccinated against?

      • Cobalt
        February 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

        Most species get tetanus and rabies. There are lots of species-specific VPDs though, like Potomac horse fever and equine sleeping sickness. There are even vaccines for chickens.

      • sdsures
        February 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

        Chickens in the UK and the majority of Europe get vaccinated.

    • February 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      Hah, needle phobia… I was so needle phobic that I was fired as a patient once, and my college health center had it scrawled in huge capital letters on my file. It was horrific. I spent a lot of time working with my son to prevent it – all it really took to get over it for me was a few nontraumatic experiences. I taught him the why as soon as he could grasp it, and we watched the hell out of Sid thr Science Kid’s vaccination special, learning the song (“it might hurt a little bit – just a little bit – but it’s gonna help a whole lot!”) And lo and behold he’s fine getting shots, even pretends to vaccinate his toys.

      He is however terrified of bandaids.

      Oh well.

      • nomofear
        February 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

        My daughter is similarly okay with needles, and TERRIFIED of bandaids! In fact, it was seeing a couple of PBS kids checkup shows that gave her the idea that she should even worry about them. I think I might have accidentally caused the band-aid fear by ripping one off once? Now, if we really NEED to put one on, I have to console her that I promise I won’t tear it off, we’ll let it soak off in the bathtub on its own…but otherwise we just go without. We even skipped bandaids at her last round of shots, because I hadn’t figured out that I could reassure her into them yet!

        • Cobalt
          February 5, 2015 at 6:56 am #


          Get some coflex or vetwrap style bandages. They come in all colors and some very kid friendly prints, and they only stick to themselves, not to skin or hair. Can be cut to fit small areas and funny turns. Handles dirt, rough play, and showers pretty well. I put a piece of paper towel underneath if I’m covering a large area.

      • Mel
        February 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

        My twin was actually worse than I was because she would give off this primal-banshee-scream followed by having her BP drop to near-shock levels. (Family theory: Since she was deaf, she was immune to the blood-curdling, hair-raising effects her screams had on others. BP drop was a reaction to all the needle-sticks she got as a premature baby.)

        My worst needle avoidance episodes occurred when Rach was given a shot before I was. No matter how much I tried to stay calm, hearing her scream like that sent me into a tizzy and watching a bunch of people try and get her to breathe and move and not pass out was NOT comforting…

        Thankfully, most of the time Mom remembered that we needed shots in birth order – I’d get a shot while Rach was in a different room and be reasonably calm (no kicking, anyways); I’d be hustled to a waiting area while Rach was ushered in, immunized and then the receptionist would calm the kids in the waiting room – because that scream would always scare a few people.

      • KarenJJ
        February 4, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

        My husband was needle phobic. He used to have to leave the room when someone was getting a needle. When we started doing my daughter’s needles at 3.5 his job was to pin her down so he had to be in the room while I gave her the needle. Over time my daughter came to understand that her needle was important for her to stay healthy and it had to happen and the less she fought it the more she could control it and the less painful it was.

        So my husband got more involved at the “pointy” end and eventually he was able to give it to her himself. In fact my daughter preferred him to do it because he was more patient and gentle.

        I suspect a lot of anti-vax parents that are fearful are actually needle phobic and just looking for more reasons “eg scary sounding ingredient list” to justify their phobia. And the anti-vax movement exploits that fear to prop up their own ego and “expert” status and newsworthiness (would anybody have heard of Jenny McCarthy recently otherwise?).

      • Cobalt
        February 5, 2015 at 7:08 am #

        I’m needle (and drug) phobic enough to have declined pain treatment in childbirth. I’ve passed out from little blood draws, my doctor makes me lay down if I’m getting stuck.

        I’m also fully vaccinated, including getting MMR last week because no one knows if I got both shots as a kid. My irrational fear is not an excuse for me to put my kids, and everyone else’s kids, at risk.

    • GiddyUpGo123
      February 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

      I remember my sister doing that too. It was awful for everyone … I think she was about 12 at the time, too.

      Incidentally when my first baby got his first shot I was so upset I had to leave the room. But I still got him his shot, because I knew how much more upset I would be if he died from a VPI.

  44. Guest
    February 4, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    I love your vaccine posts Dr. Amy.

    The anti-vax parents I know (or rather, used to know before they kicked me out of their group)

  45. demodocus' spouse
    February 4, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    Since I had to look them up, here’s the All-Knowing Wikipedia’s entries on humoral http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humoral_immunity and cellular http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell-mediated_immunity immunities. Humoral immunity is carried by “macromolecules” in fluids outside of cells while cellular is done by cells themselves. And someone with way more real knowledge than me can tell us where Wiki is wrong or incomplete, or confusing

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