If you give an anti-vaxxer an admonition

HiRes copy

With apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff.


If you give an anti-vaxxer an admonition (to vaccinate)
She’s going to ask for a reason.

When you tell her it will prevent disease
She’ll insist that disease was disappearing before the advent of the vaccine.

When you show her how many deaths have been prevented
She’ll declare it’s a result of good of nutrition.

Then she’ll point out that her children haven’t been vaccinated and they haven’t gotten sick.


If you tell her that her children haven’t gotten sick because other children are vaccinated
She’ll tell you she couldn’t care less about other people’s children.

When you explain that she should care because herd immunity protects babies and children with cancer
She’ll proclaim that herd immunity doesn’t exist.

When you tell her relying on others to vaccinate makes her unethical
She’ll ask you why you think vaccinated children are vulnerable if the vaccine really works.

Then she’ll post to her friends on her anti-vax message board that she really showed you.


If you make vaccination mandatory for public school education
She’s going to insist her rights are being violated.

When you explain that there is no right to hurt other children
She’ll declare that you are in the pocket of Big Pharma.

When you point out that Big Pharma does not pay you anything
She’ll insist that you’re just a sheeple who believes whatever you are told.

Then she’ll loudly declare that the Nuremberg Code prohibits human experimentation.


Once she’s compared you to the Nazis, she’s lost control completely
And she’ll bombard you with links to Whale.to, LewRockwell.com and Joe Mercola.

You’ll have to point out repeatedly that these are not scientific citations.

Then she’ll declare that she’s spent too much time trying to educate a dolt like you and she’ll flounce from your website.

But she won’t stick the flounce.


When she inevitably returns
It will be to rail against antibiotic resistant microbes.

When you point out that resistance can be overcome with new, more powerful antibiotics
She’ll insist that pathogens will become resistant to the new agents, too.

Then you’ll proudly tout the fact that we can avoid antibiotic resistance altogether
A prospect she will welcome, until …

You tell her we have developed a vaccine against the antibiotic resistant organisms.

100 Responses to “If you give an anti-vaxxer an admonition”

  1. Katrina
    December 29, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    XD Oh. My. Word. Very cleverly done. Thank you for taking something that gets too serious, too quickly, and allowing it to be a bit more light hearted for a bit.

  2. May 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

    Nicely done, Dr. Amy! I needed the giggle today.

  3. LibrarianSarah
    May 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Camelle was just a troll. By troll I do not mean “person who disagrees with me.” I mean “person who is lobbing as much stupid offensive shit as possible for the lulz.” Maybe it was the absolute glee that she had when she thought that she was “getting” to people or maybe I just don’t want to believe that someone could be THAT stupid but that is my read on the situation.

  4. SuperGDZ
    May 13, 2015 at 4:56 am #

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious – since antibiotic resistance increases with increased use of antibiotics and some vaccine-preventable diseases or complications of VPDs require treatment with antibiotics, failing to vaccinate is contributing to antibiotic resistance.

    • tiffanyjade
      May 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

      That’s what I was going to say.

    • May 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      the meat industry is a bigger problem than people imo. they use the majority of antibiotics that are manufactured.

      • Chris Preston
        May 14, 2015 at 8:10 am #

        With all due respect (and not wanting to take this too far off topic), the situation is quite a bit more complicated. One of the issues we have is that we concentrate large numbers of sick people in a single location (a hospital) and treat those with compromised immune systems with antibiotics. This is the perfect situation for breeding multiple resistance. Large numbers of bacteria being treated with antibiotics and no other controls in place.

        The animal industries should certainly share some of the blame and, in my opinion, be prevented from accessing new generation antibiotics. However, unless we look at the full picture we are likely to make mistakes in management.

        Having said that, large hospitals are the most efficient way of dealing with sick people, but possibly not the best way and I don’t necessarily have an ideal solution. From a resistance management perspective, you would reduce antibiotic mosaics in hospitals, but that would require detaining the patients, rather than letting them back out in the community.

    • araikwao
      May 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

      Yes, there has been improved sensitivity of strep pneumoniae (causes meningitis, pneumonia) to penicillin since the vaccine was introduced. And lets not forget fewer child deaths and disability as a result of meningitis, especially. It is a cruel and devastating disease (pneumococcal meningitis) and I have seen some heartbreaking cases (and missed some, because they died before needing rehab). I wonder if anti-vaxxers could still practice their astounding avoidance of cognitive dissonance in the presence of those children and families..

  5. May 13, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    And when you point out to her that natural measles wipes out the memory of the immune system, but measles vaccine keeps it intact – she’ll tell you that autism is worse than a wiped out immune system. And when you remind her that there’s no link between autism and vaccines, she’ll trot out the anecdata from her mommy group. When you tell her, her evidence is flawed, she’ll then tell you that there are other ways of knowing.

  6. Ardea
    May 13, 2015 at 1:36 am #

    I truly had that exact same conversation with a naturopathic doctor whose family attends the same synagogue that my parents-in-law do. It included all caps on her part. It was a facebook comments thread of probably 40+ comments. She even called on “natural selection” (my background is conservation biology with many courses in evolution, plus I teach it). I questioned if she really wanted to return to the time when 50% of children died, and said that both she and her husband were evoking the eugenic arguments that are really abhorrent, but no, it was all about “medical freedom” and the fact that Oregon is “fascist”.

    I was really annoyed, and can’t say I won, and then the state senate bill was voted down anyway.

    I miss Carl Sagan.

    Then I had another facebook argument with a friend from Girl Scout camp who told me I was racist just because I hadn’t kept up with the use of the word “thug” in hip hop since the 1990s. I just need to quit the Internet, that’s what.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      May 13, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      I kind of agree that thug is the new N word. I am not saying you are racists, but I would avoid it.

      • Mac Sherbert
        May 13, 2015 at 9:22 am #

        And what a lovely society we leave in when you can be labeled something just because you don’t keep up with the generational slang. It drives me crazy. Why can’t words just keep their meaning? Why do we have to keep redefining everything? (I know it’s not you. I’m just put out with a few things these days.)

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          May 13, 2015 at 9:38 am #

          I think the people who started using it to label others as being less than human were the ones that changed its meaning. Although I think it was wrong of the person to say you are racist when that was obviously not your intent.

        • Fallow
          May 13, 2015 at 10:37 am #

          Language evolves. Nothing to be done about that. Nor should anything be done about that. People had to get used to “gay” having a new definition, too.

          I also agree that “thug’ is now the way to say the n-word without saying the n-word. And I’d put forth that the people who experience dogwhistle racism via the word “thug” – are having a much harder time in general, than the population of people who have to learn that “thug” has a new meaning now.

          I suspect Ardea’s friend got a bee in her bonnet about this new fact she had learned, added a dose of self-righteousness, and went to town on Ardea unnecessarily. The right thing to do would have been to say “hey, I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way – but that word has a lot of unavoidable racist baggage, although a lot of people aren’t aware of that yet.”

      • Ardea
        May 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

        (Off topic) I get that, NOW, and hadn’t had cause to use it, nor will I use it in context, but I did take exception to being told by the Columbia linguist John McWhorter that this is how white women use that word. I hadn’t used it that way, and didn’t know, before it was overused by the media describing rioters in Baltimore. My Girl Scout friend essentially said I had unconscious bias and racism even for not knowing, whether or not I was using it as a replacement for the N-word which I would never use anyay. I polled other white men and women my age (40s) – some urban, some rural, some suburban – including classmates from my liberal arts college that prided itself on providing an anti-racist and anti-sexist education for students interwoven throughout the curriculum, and even they didn’t know. The only ones of my friends who did were two college professors, one in sociology. Two high school English teachers knew it was a pejorative for African Americans, but not that it had become a replacement. Everyone else – high school teachers, middle school teachers, a doctor, a family psychologist – none of them knew, until two weeks ago.

    • Mac Sherbert
      May 13, 2015 at 9:22 am #

      Yes. I too need to just quit the internet. As they say “You can’t fix stupid.” Sounds harsh, but often it’s true because people choose to be that way. They are “stuck on stupid.” Generally, you can tell when people are actually curious and when they are there to prove their point no matter what. I tend to ignore the later because you’ll never win.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      May 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

      Oregon? Fascist?!





      Ooooooh man that’s a good one.

      And as much as I love tying people in knots in internet aeguments, I have to remember my dad’s advice about engaging certain types of people in arguments: Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it.

  7. Sue
    May 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Those arguments are all so predictable and frequently repeated – I suspect there is some sort of secret anti-vax handbook that has them all listed.

    Their secret groups must say something like:
    “They mentioned herd immunity? Hit them with #16a on page six”,
    “They think that vaccines are properly tested? Throw out #25 on page ten”.

    “Anyway, if you believe that vaccines work, why would you care whether or not my children are vaccinated if yours are?” (Trope #14, handbook page five).

  8. just me
    May 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    OT: dr amy, did you know about this (California):

    “If passed, SB 407 will expand the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program to reimburse licensed midwives and is a critical step in our strategy to secure Medi-Cal coverage. Because private insurers look to Medi-Cal to decide what services to cover, this strategy has the capacity to impact nearly *all* women in California.

    SB 408 will, if passed, allow a ‘midwife assistant’ to legally assist a licensed midwife at a birth center or home birth. This bill will expand access to midwifery care, particularly in rural or underserved areas, by expanding the reach of existing providers. As two providers typically attend each birth, allowing a ‘midwife assistant’ (instead of another licensed midwife) could double capacity.”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 12, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

      No, I didn’t know. I’ll have to find out more about it.

      • just me
        May 13, 2015 at 9:33 am #

        I looked up SB 407 and it has already passed committee. If you have any ideas for concise language to send our state senators in urging them to vote against it, please let me know.

        I found the above on a pro-hb site and it seems these bills would further legitimize hb and unlicensed midwifery etc….

  9. Gatita
    May 12, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Hm, there are no anti-vaxxers in this thread, no doubt because Amy has listed out all their arguments and they don’t want to embarrass themselves.

    • Bugsy
      May 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      One just appeared on yesterday’s post, referred to Dr. Amy as a fear-mongering whore, among other things. It’s the most recent comment right now.

      • May 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

        I hope she doesn’t delete it. It illustrates what happens when someone doesn’t have actual conviction behind their rabid views and can’t defend them.

  10. Allie P
    May 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Yeah, you’d BETTER apologize to Numeroff! I can’t unsee this. 🙁

  11. Ceridwen
    May 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Well (and antibiotic resistant microbes *are* my area of research), the bugs will become resistant to the newer better antibiotics. but the only relevance that has for vaccines is that it makes vaccines that much more important as a means of coping with antibiotic resistant organisms.

    • Roadstergal
      May 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      The thing is, there’s just very little parallel between vaccines and antibiotics. Sharing a plasmid for resistance is a lot easier than evading a multiclonal immune response – which is what vaccination gives you.

      Vaccination has been around for about a century longer than antibiotics, and has been extremely robust. They only get better and better – as that nifty little graphic shows, we confer more immunity with fewer antigens than ever, and the vaccines only get safer.

      • MegaMechaMeg
        May 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

        And I remember reading somewhere that increased vaccination rates decreases the need for boosters because with fewer infections the disease will not mutate as much over time. If that is a true statement (which it might not be because internet) it seems like another yay vaccines point. You never know what a mutation will bring and better the devil you know?

        • Roadstergal
          May 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

          It’s complicated – sometimes increased vaccination rates increases the need for boosters, since there’s no wild virus floating around to prod our memory cells. However, a booster is always preferable to infection, and some vaccines give very long-term immunity indeed.

          And if you have sufficient vaccination rates for a disease with no non-human host, you wipe it out and don’t have to vaccinate for it anymore. See: smallpox – and where polio and measles _would_ be without the anti-vaxxers.

          • MegaMechaMeg
            May 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

            Thanks for the information, I will freely and openly state that I have no idea how the immune system works. 🙂 Maybe I was thinking that without mutation the original vaccine remains effective? Like if the predominant strain changes too much your vaccine isn’t as effective?

          • Roadstergal
            May 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

            Yes, the more readily a virus mutates, the harder it is to vaccinate against. That’s why a vaccine for HIV hasn’t been developed, and why the flu vaccine has to change every year (not a booster, a different vaccine).

            That being said, there are constant regions of the H molecule on the surface of the influenza virus – in brief, the ‘head’ that sticks out is variable, while the ‘stem’ that attaches it is more constant. Every so often, someone who has gotten the seasonal flu vaccine makes anti-‘stem’ antibodies that are broadly protective. The thrust of flu vaccine development is making vaccines that generate a response to constant regions.

            (Flu is characterized by HxNx, where the H refers to the type of hemagglutinin on the surface, and the N the neuraminidase. Those are the primary antigens.)

          • Anj Fabian
            May 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

            I’ve always wondered why my family has a natural flu resistance. It doesn’t seem possible that a person could develop resistance to constantly mutating pathogen without being exposed to the variants.

          • Mac Sherbert
            May 13, 2015 at 9:36 am #

            Ok. I know absolutely nothing about viruses or vaccines. However, I saw this program on TV one time and they traced the ancestors of plague survivors. It seemed they had some gene that protected them and then I think they traced the same gene to people who somehow did not contract HIV though exposed to it. Anyway, I found it interesting and your comment about family history made me think about it.. http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/04/04/black-plagues-quirky-genetics-700-years-later/

          • Sannica
            May 13, 2015 at 10:08 am #

            Actually, the link between plague and CCR5 was not terribly strong, particularly since there were “only” a few major waves of plague to exert selective pressure in Europe. However, others (http://www.pnas.org/content/100/25/15276.long) have attributed the European prevalence of the mutation to the constant, and long-term selective pressure of smallpox, instead, which may explain the difference in the prevalence of the mutation in Europeans vs. Africans (although I don’t know if they looked at Asian populations to verify, since both smallpox and plague were present in Asia). And then there’s some that don’t think that it’s anything other than coincidence: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0030378
            (Sorry for the off-topic)

          • Mac Sherbert
            May 13, 2015 at 10:33 am #

            I know off topic! Thanks for explaining it more. Like I said I know nothing…I just thought it was interesting.

          • Amazed
            May 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

            Just today, as I was having lunch with some colleagues, one of them got a call from her father. He used to work in the agency of hygiene and epidemics here. He wanted to talk to her about that time, almost 15 years ago, when we had the dubious honour of being the first host of polio in Europe in years. He said the same thing – wipe it out, and it’s gone.

            Of course, he called because he wanted to share his indignation at the anti-vaccine parents he had just watched on the TV. He said, “They have no idea what they’re talking about. They want their rights but they don’t realize the potential consequences. It’s my child, they say. But if it gets polio, it’ll still be your child, just damaged. I’m ready to give them a pass for diseases that only affect themselves. If they want not to immunize against tetanus, fine. But they cannot be left to decide about polio and measles!”

          • Sue
            May 12, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

            “However, a booster is always preferable to infection”

            Exactly! Give me a jab and a couple of days’ aching arm to a week or more of illness any day.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 13, 2015 at 9:52 am #

            Fascinating! Are polio and measles like smallpox, in that they only exist in humans/aren’t hosted by other species? I just read a book about the eradication of smallpox which explained that that was a big reason smallpox *could* be eradicated, and for some reason I thought that that was a feature unique to smallpox. If not…*snarls unintelligibly about idiot antivaxxers*
            You know, I am beginning to think that the worst thing that could happen to someone who rejects vaccines, thus preventing the elimination of diseases which kill or maim hundreds of thousands, if not millions every year would be to somehow have a miraculous awakening and realize what evil they’ve done. Don’t really see it happening, but a girl can dream.
            Of course, the people who usually get sick and die from these diseases (or who die horribly in childbirth in filthy surroundings, but hey! It’s NATURAL!)…well, their skin is a funny color and they sound weird and they don’t live here, so they really don’t matter as much, right? Right. (/sarcasm, though I certainly hope that tag isn’t needed here.)

  12. May 12, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Dr Amy- check your “other” folder for your facebook messages.

  13. A
    May 12, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    Aaaaah, good old whale.to.

    • A
      May 12, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      Crap, I didn’t know that would create a link. Do not click on it.

      • Mac Sherbert
        May 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

        And now I so want to click on it!! lol.

  14. Amy M
    May 12, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    I’ve certainly seen this, a lot on the internet. Not too many people I know don’t vaccinate, but I know that some of you here have had face-to-face discussions like this. Is there any way to get through to these people? Or are they a totally lost cause?

    I’ve also seen instances where a previously anti-vaxxer sees the light after her children pick up a VPD, but plenty of instances where the anti-vaxxer sees the VPD as good thing to have. What’s the difference between these two groups? I don’t think its great that children have to suffer for their parents learn the lesson, but why do some respond when their children get a VPD, and some don’t? If a rabid anti-vaxxer’s child were to die of, say, measles, would that change her mind? I really hope there aren’t too many people out there that would accept their child’s death as “well, only 1 in 1000 kids that get measles die.” I’m pretty sure (hope, hope, hope) that the stakes change when their kid is the 1 of 1000, but the child shouldn’t have to die for the parent to understand why vaccines are important.

    • May 12, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      there was some study about this, about how no level of evidence does anything in the face of such an irrational belief. Formerly anti-vaccine people are rarer than ex-home birthers like me

    • Megan
      May 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      My experience has lined up with the science in that you can’t change these people’s minds. They are irrational and only want to be seen as authority-resisting “mavericks.” I agree with Dr. A’s previous article that public shaming (e.g. The Disneyland measles outbreak) is likely to change their behavior and even that is s stretch as they usually fabricate some reason why the outbreak had nothing to do with their non vax status.

      • Life Tip
        May 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

        I think it’s similar to trying to reason with a “young earth” creationist. You can’t use science to explain to them why they are wrong because they aren’t using science and they don’t know how to use science. Their entire belief system is based on irrational thought, and they can’t give an inch because their entire identity is tied up with that belief system.

        Public shaming will go a long way for those less committed though. I’ve seen quite a few new moms fall into the attachment parenting trap, believing that they must homebirth/no vax/cloth diaper/babywear/etc. in order to be a good mom and fit in with their group of friends. Once their baby gets to two or three years old, they mellow out, get tired of it, and/or really want to go back to work…where they get out of their little AP mom echo chamber.

    • Bugsy
      May 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

      I really think it depends on how rabid they are. I was on the fence about vaccines when my little guy was under a year, owing primarily to the sense that all of the moms on the internet couldn’t be wrong with their fears. Safety in numbers, I suppose. However, I was on the fence and _not_ rabid by any stretch of the imagination. It was when I took Dr. Offit’s Coursera class on vaccines that I realized how much I was playing with fire w/ my son’s life.

      I don’t see there as being as much hope for rabid anti-vaxxers, though. They’ve already bought into an ideology that relies primarily on fear and false science, to the extent that they intentionally seek out VPD illnesses for their children. How to change that discourse? I’m not sure. Perhaps looking at former cult members would offer guidance; I see a lot of parallels between cults and anti-vax groups in the complete embrace of ideologies with little/no bearing on reality.

      • Who?
        May 13, 2015 at 3:50 am #

        To be fair, the rabid anti-vaxxers would likely be shunned if after an experience they changed their mind. Like loss homebirth mothers are.

        Losing your community as well as your child would be devastating.

        My anti-vaxx buddies wouldn’t believe that any illness their child had was in fact the vpd it looked like, so no problems there for them.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        May 13, 2015 at 8:41 am #

        You can tell too that they are very invested. They used to always say vaccines weren’t effective until measles outbreaks started to happen. Now they say measles is nothing to worry about.

        • Bugsy
          May 13, 2015 at 10:20 am #

          They do keep changing the story, don’t they? The part that makes me so f****** mad is that these are people with zero experience w/ measles attesting that it’s fine. I’m guessing that most anti-vaxxers are somewhere around my age (mid-30s), some older, some younger. WE were vaccinated against measles, and I don’t know a single person growing up who was affected by it. For them to turn around and state that it’s nothing to worry about should, in fact, simply highlight their ignorance and obliviousness.

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            May 13, 2015 at 10:39 am #

            I also don’t really believe the people that say they are from a time when measles was endemic and it was no big deal. I have never met anyone in real life that says anything close to that. Also, why did they close schools and quarantine houses if it was no big deal?

          • Bugsy
            May 13, 2015 at 10:41 am #

            Yes. My parents had measles & mumps as kids, and they’re 100% pro-vaccination as a result. I had a good friend in grad school who had polio overseas as a kid; 50 years later, he’s still suffering the effects. I trust their first-hand experiences w/ these VPDs a heck of a lot more than someone in my generation who heard from someone who heard on an internet forum that measles in perfectly benign.

          • May 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

            My mom was slightly hard of hearing due to measles. She had it before a vaccine was available, of course. We got every vaccine available.

        • SporkParade
          May 13, 2015 at 10:29 am #

          Or they say that the outbreaks are caused by the recently vaccinated.

        • Liz Leyden
          May 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

          I worked in a school district with a large refugee population. The parents from countries where measles is endemic would move heaven and earth to get their kids vaccinated. Only American parents worried about “toxins” and “overloading the child’s immune system.”

    • Inmara
      May 13, 2015 at 3:42 am #

      I think that really rabid anti-vaxxers are lost cause, but still it’s worth to argument and publish blog posts and explain the same topics again and again for the sake of people “on the fence”. Otherwise, if only information they see is anti-vaxxer crap, then they’ll drown into that echo chamber soon, but if they get to peek into other sources (like Dr. Amy’s blog, SBM, Skepticalraptor etc) they can change their minds. At least I did it myself, because at the beginning of this pregnancy I was seriously considering waterbirth and that epidurals are dangerous, and that delayed immunization schedule makes sense (fortunately, I haven’t been anti-vaccines in general). So, keep writing, discussing and debunking, and you’ll make a difference.

      • Wren
        May 13, 2015 at 4:36 am #

        Most people vaccinate but aren’t passionate about it. They just follow the recommendations, protect their kids and move on. It’s very easy to believe there are a lot more anti-vaxers out there than there actually are, because most do talk about it, post about it, etc. It makes it seem as though there is some real debate going on, when in reality the consensus is solid.

        • Inmara
          May 13, 2015 at 4:53 am #

          I’m afraid that if we allow anti-vaxxers to be the loudest and most prominent voice in the public space, this silent consensus will start to disintegrate… it’s easy to spread fear around people who do things just because everyone else does. So, at the point where it seems that “everyone” is anti-vaxx, these people will shift their authority figures from doctors to some dubious quacks, and that’s it. In the age of internet and click-bait media it’s so easy to loose inner compass and start to believe false authorities, because real data and information is lost into noise.

          • Wren
            May 13, 2015 at 5:43 am #

            I completely agree, which is why I try to do my part in posting pro-vax (anti-disease?) things and promoting vaccination among my friends and family.

          • Inmara
            May 13, 2015 at 6:37 am #

            High-five! I try the same, also regarding some woo medicines, and it can have surprising turns. Like, recently I had a conversation with colleague who has Dr. in biology (OK, it’s “green” biology, so not related to medicine and lab sciences), and he was completely unaware that homeopathy is not the same as herbal medicine, and that homeopathic “medicines” doesn’t contain any actual active substance at all. He was shocked, because he’s been using some of OTC homeopathics without any idea what are their difference from, say, herbal extracts. So, I destroyed any placebo effect he might have in the future, but I hope this will show that you need to read labels before buying something because of advertisement in TV!

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            May 13, 2015 at 8:40 am #

            That is true, but sometimes I feel like engaging them is giving them too much credibility.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        May 13, 2015 at 9:55 am #

        I was much the same way re vaccines–wanted to delay them, space them out, and HepB is something you only get from IV drug use and unprotected sex, so why vaccinate my newborn against it? Then I actually read about how HepB can be transmitted and promptly decided to have DD vaccinated on schedule for it, and, a few weeks after DD was born, I came across Dr. Amy’s blog…all of which really helped me get out of the woo, rethink a number of things, and honestly helped me a *lot* when I was in the depths of PPD. Yay Dr. Amy!

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        May 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

        I agree that sites like this do a lot of good. They might not change the minds of hardliners but it will help the people that don’t have all the facts.

        I was considering for when I do have kids doing a more hands off birth if I wasn’t high risk. Being from Oregon originally and now living in Utah, there’s a very loud echo chamber of midwife wooery. They have a huge megaphone screaming about how horrible epidurals are, how doctors will force you for birth in unnatural positions that will cause pelvic floor problems, and so on. I didn’t want to hurt any potential children I might have because I might only be able to have one child with my health issues. I’d want to do what’s best for them.

        Then I tripped across Hurt By Home Birth. Then checked out this main site to see the actual numbers. That was all I needed to know that interventions wouldn’t hurt me of my child but the lack of interventions could cause so much harm. I wasn’t to the point of wanting a midwife thank goodness and this made me do a complete 180.

        Then a midwife was arrested in the town I’m living in around the time I found this site for the death of a little boy in a set of twins.

        I haven’t looked back since.

    • SporkParade
      May 13, 2015 at 8:30 am #

      I have very little hope for the rabid anti-vaxxers. The scary thing about pseudoscience is that it masquerades as science. If you ask my anti-vax cousins, they’ll say that they are pro-science. But if you dig even a little bit, it become very clear that they have no idea what science is. For example, I tried explaining basic experimental design to show that it’s silly to still believe that vaccines cause autism, and I got the response that scientific experiments are not the correct way to show if there’s a relationship.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        May 13, 2015 at 8:39 am #

        I like the way that antivaxxers try to liken the science that shows vaccines and autism are not linked to tobacco science. They actually used the exact same studies to show smoking greatly increases your risk for lung cancer and vaccines are not associated with autism. So, antivaxxers are the tobacco companies in this story.

        • SporkParade
          May 13, 2015 at 9:53 am #

          What, you mean that epidemiological studies can provide useful information, even though they are not as conclusive as the double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that it would be totally inethical to conduct?

  15. KeeperOfTheBooks
    May 12, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    I love this! 😀 It gave me a much-needed giggle, and yet is so true…
    Quick typo correction: “She’ll declare it’s a result of good of nutrition”–I assume that “She’ll declare it’s a result of good nutrition” is what you meant?

    • Nick Sanders
      May 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

      I had to reread that like six times to spot the difference. Stupid brain.

  16. Megan
    May 12, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    There is no reasoning with these people. I’ve tried it on this blog and I’ve tried it when they refuse to vaccinate their kids in my office. They are so conceited as to believe they know better than everyone else, even those who have medical and scientific training, despite the fact that they do not understand even basic science and statistics. And they are usually quite proud of their ignorance. I can understand why many docs ban these kids from their practices though I feel conflicted about punishing children for their parents’ stupidity.

    • Gatita
      May 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      These assholes are so thick on the ground where I live that every single pediatric practice I know of bans unvaccinated children.

      • Megan
        May 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

        Well I live and practice in a fairly rural area so banning these children from my practice would give them one less choice of where to go. Plus I thoroughly enjoy seeing kids as patients. I usually try to not only educate non-vaxxing parents about vaccines but also what they need to do if they don’t vaccinate and their kid gets sick (stay out of school, public places, one caregiver who is vaccinated if possible, call me with symptoms before coming I to the office, etc.) but no amount of education usually works. I’ve had one or two parents agree to get a few but not all vaccines but I’ve never been able to convince anyone to get all the recommended vaccines if they are truly anti-vax. The good news is that we don’t have a huge anti-vax population here. The biggest thing is refusal of Gardasil. We do have a large Mennonite population who selectively vaccinates but they keep to their own communities and schools for the most part, so are less of a public health threat.

        • Roadstergal
          May 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

          “The biggest thing is refusal of Gardasil”

          I hate that almost as much as I hate HepB refusal. “Only slutty sluts get that disease, so my kid doesn’t need it. And if they happen to slip, or be raped, or have values that don’t agree with mine, I hope they enjoy their well-deserved cancer.”

          (‘Almost as much’ because you can get HepB very easily from non-sex-non-iv-drug-use routes.)

          • Megan
            May 12, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

            There’s not only that attitude but also the fear of the vaccine. It’s like the new MMR; the hip new anti-vax trend. I’ve been told by parents that it causes everything from cancer to MS. Ironically when I offer it to girls aged 18-26, they usually agree. They’re smarter than their parents!

          • Roadstergal
            May 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

            Good on them!

          • CharlotteB
            May 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

            I feel really bad about this, but when my son was born, we refused the HepB shot. Why? We were told in our birth class that it was only transmitted through sex and IV drug use, AND that it was only good for 10-15 years, but then would need to be re-administered. (Without thinking about the issue of rape) My husband and I decided that there was no point to getting it done right away, since he wouldn’t really be in any danger until he was a pre-teen/teenager anyway. To me, with that info, the timing seemed way off, and I figured he’d just get it when he “needed” it, just like you get the Gardasil shot when you’re a bit older.

            So, in the hospital, we signed all the papers and stuff to refuse that shot. I really didn’t think it was an issue! However at his first pediatrician visit, they asked about it, and set me straight, so he’s all caught up. The thing that annoys me (besides trusting the birth class teacher) is that nobody in the hospital asked why we were refusing the shot. Nobody mentioned how it’s spread, that little kids can get it from each other, etc.

            I still feel pretty stupid for that. I mean, our birth class teacher was getting her info straight out of the Sears Vaccine book!! But she was pro-vaccine, and stated that while she’d started out with the delayed schedule, she wished she’d just followed the CDC recommendations since it was a pain to keep track of what her kids had gotten and what they hadn’t. Ugh.

          • Joy
            May 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

            They don’t give it here in the UK. I am tempted to get it done at a clinic when we visit the US, but then I doubt any issues would be covered by insurance if there was a reaction. (Not that I think there would be, but you know.)

          • Sue
            May 13, 2015 at 1:52 am #

            The strategy of giving it at birth is a public health measure – it maximises community coverage and gets close to fully eliminating vertical (mother to baby) transmission. Although women are routinely tested as part of ante-natal care, one can miss a positive during the window period between exposure and seroconversion. Eliminating vertical transmission is important because it leads to a high rate of chronic carriage and delayed complications.

            Certainly one can catch up later but routine vaccination before leaving hospital has been shown to be a reliable way of achieving high population coverage, at minimal risk.

          • Mac Sherbert
            May 13, 2015 at 9:53 am #

            Would they give it to you, if you were traveling to an area where it’s Prevalent? Surely, they don’t want you bringing it back with you.

          • Joy
            May 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

            I think if you are high risk you can ask for it. Otherwise you have to pay.

          • Megan
            May 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

            When you know better, you do better. We all make mistakes as parents (and humans!). At least you got him caught up and everything is fine. I applaud your willingness to change your views in the face of new information. That’s what makes a good mom!

          • Mad Hatter
            May 12, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

            We declined the HepB shot at birth for our son, but I don’t remember having to sign any papers. (I may have been so exhausted I just don’t remember) Anyway, he’ll have all other vaccines on schedule and will be caught up on the HepB at his next visit.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 12, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

            The refusal of Gardasil drives me, a conservative no-sex-outside-of-marriage Catholic, utterly mad. DD will get it when she’s 12 (or whatever the recommendation will be at that point). Do I want her sexually active at 12? OH HELL NO. But you know what? Leaving aside for the moment the question of *her* sexuality, how do I know that her future husband (if he exists) never made a mistake? How do I know she’ll never, God forbid, get raped or make a mistake? How do I know that the first deceased/marriage-annulled wife of her future husband didn’t have HPV?
            Lastly, if the only thing keeping her from having sex is the threat of HPV, I’ve massively screwed up somewhere–at the very least, in basic health and biology education.
            (You can apply the above rant to HepB too, with the addition of “Oh, I took you to the pediatrician and the MA didn’t wipe off the scale well enough when the previous HepB+ baby’s diaper exploded? Too bad, guess you’ll just have to get HepB since I don’t want you vaccinated against a disease that Those Nasty Evil Gay Druggies also get.”)

          • Amazed
            May 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

            Hahaha, 12. That’s practically a ripe old age, KOTB. I’ve mentioned it before that for many years, I was a fucking magnet for loonies lusting for little girls and then, much older men lusting for young girls. The first time someone my own age showed interest in me was when I started looking my age and not “the face of the Virgin” as a sculptor who tried to hit on me (twice my age) and impressive breasts.

            Anyway, a boy tried to rape me when I was 8. A friend of my parents started hitting on me soon after I got my first time of the month, at about 11. It was a close call, the first time especially, and not because I was sexually active at this age. It was because sometimes, people are simply out of order and children are so vulnerable. What if… and if…? My sexual activity or not simply didm’t matter.

            No one wants to think that such a thing might happen to their own child. My mom certainly didn’t think such a thing could happen to hers TWICE. But one can never be too cautious.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 12, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

            I am so very sorry. That’s terrible.
            I’ve always been something of a magnet for (much, MUCH) older men, but nothing quite that bad. Ugh.

          • Megan
            May 13, 2015 at 10:45 am #

            Here we can give Gardasil as young as age 9, which would be before the vast majority of girls would be sexually active, this providing excellent protection. That obviously does not cover child sexual a use and rape (Amazed, I am so sorry). Our state Medicaid system now also covers boys which has led other local insurances to do the same. This would also prevent transmission of HPV by both sexes which makes sense. Most parents of boys I see refuse the vaccine though, even more than parents of girls. We have a long way to go. Interestingly I read a study a few years ago that the Gardasil’s prevention of genital warts is more convincing for parents to vaccinate than prevention of cervical cancer. Weird, huh?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 13, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

            Definitely weird, and I don’t really get either attitude. (I believe you’re telling the truth, you understand, but that doesn’t mean I have to get it. :p) IIRC, HPV can cause both penile cancer and head/neck cancers, both of which (obviously) affect boys, so why not get it?

            Is it an attitude of “my nice boy won’t have sex with one of *those* girls/I have a boy so he won’t be raped/abused?” If so…pardon me, I need to hit my head on a desk several times.

          • Megan
            May 14, 2015 at 9:54 am #

            I’m not sure exactly though I think at least initially it was because Gardasil was only approved for girls and hence marketed as a “cervical cancER vaccine.” Indeed, the other HPV vax is named. Cervarix, further marketing it as only for cervical cancer. The parents where I live basically have the attitude that “my son doesn’t have a cervix so why does he need this?” and are not necessarily well educated about disease transmission, herd immunity or the other things HPV causes. I try to educate regarding those things. I do encounter the “my baby wont have sex for a long time so we don’t need to think about this now” attitude and I also try to combat this. I am rarely successful with either though I think the acceptance of Gardasil is improving. It is also not a “required” vax for schools here so it does still get skipped fairly often, along with the Hep A vax.

    • Daleth
      May 13, 2015 at 11:11 am #

      ** And they are usually quite proud of their ignorance. I can understand why many docs ban these kids from their practices though I feel conflicted about punishing children for their parents’ stupidity.**

      I hear you on that, but two things sway me in the opposite direction:

      (1) If you don’t ban them, you risk exposing babies too young to be vaccinated who come into your office for well-baby visits and such;

      (2) if you do ban them… I truly believe that if it were really hard to find a pediatrician who would accept antivaxxers’ kids, 90% of antivaxxers would cave. Partly because like most trends there is a small, fanatically committed core and then a bunch of less-committed people, most of whom would peel off if staying committed became a real hardship for them (another reason banning unvaccinated kids from public school is a great idea), and partly because a pediatrician who lets antivaxxers bring their kids in and remains professionally polite instead of ripping them a new one for failing to vax is implicitly sending the message that refusing to vax is not that bad. Since if it were that bad, if it really endangered other kids in the practice, surely you wouldn’t allow it…

  17. The Computer Ate My Nym
    May 12, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I would point out that the two most recent and persistently obnoxious people arguing against vaccination in the “conceit” thread are not “she” but “he”. I realize that you had to pick a gender, but using “she” to describe the anti-vaxxer makes me a little uncomfortable: it’s men who are the “thought leaders” of the anti-vax movement, as far as I can tell.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 12, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      I chose “she” because mothers are typically the decision makers when it comes to vaccinating their children.

    • Janice Rael
      May 12, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      I’ve known dozens of anti-vax moms but no anti-vax dads.

      • Amy M
        May 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

        I don’t know any either, but I think they do turn up occasionally on internet forums.

      • Alcharisi
        May 13, 2015 at 10:19 am #

        I had one. Fortunately, my mother won that argument.

    • Amy
      May 12, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      I’d say it’s pretty evenly split. You’ve got Lew Rockwell, Joseph Mercola, nutjobs like Alex Jones, unethical doctors like Jay Gordon and the Sears. But you’ve also got Christiane Northrup, Jenny McCarthy, Mayim Bialik, Sherry Tenpenny, and Aviva Romm.

  18. namaste863
    May 12, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    “If you tell her that her children haven’t gotten sick because other children are vaccinated, she’ll tell you she couldn’t care less about other people’s children.”
    And therein lies the rub. Public health and safety is EVERYBODY’S responsibility. We (Hopefully) don’t drive drunk because our choice to do so puts not only ourselves at risk, but everyone else sharing the road. We don’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre because to do so would be to start a panic that would endanger everyone in said theatre. And we vaccinate to protect not only ourselves, but also to protect those from vulnerable populations by not allowing disease to spread in the first place.
    Okay, I’ll put my soap box away now. completely OT, but I watched the film “Contagion” last night. Many on this blog are trained medical professionals. I am not. Any of you lovelies care to weigh in on the accuracy of the epidemiology?

  19. Montserrat Blanco
    May 12, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    So so so true…

  20. luckymama75
    May 12, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Brilliant! And I’m reading “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” to my son’s kindergarten class tomorrow! Weird coincidence.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.