But what about my freedom to sicken small children and let babies die?

Freedom written red pencil

As if the anti-vaccine movement wasn’t already a complete circus!

The arrival of Presidential pander bears Chris Christie and Rand Paul has made it a three ring circus, the third ring being anti-vaxxers’ much vaunted “freedom” to do what they want.

The argument goes something like this:

If I lose the freedom to sicken small children and let babies die by refusing to vaccinate my children, the next step will be jackbooted thugs implanting us all with computer chips to control our minds and pave the way for world government.

Haven’t heard about the freedom to sicken small children, let babies die, and bring nearly abolished deadly diseases back from near extinction?

I don’t know why not. It is enshrined in the same place as these freedoms:

  • The freedom to dodge the draft because you’re afraid of being harmed by war.
  • The freedom to dodge income tax when you don’t like the President.
  • The freedom to dodge laws against theft and robbery when you need a little extra cash.
  • The freedom to burn down your neighbor’s house when it obstructs your view.
  • The freedom to obstruct your neighbor’s view by building a 90 ft. fence surrounding your property.

Wait, what??!! We’re not free to do those things? Why not?

Because the greatness of America lies in the fact that its two most important principles are freedom AND justice! American freedom is not absolute. It is tempered by the American commitment to justice. To those on the Right who seem to have forgotten the justice component, let me remind you that it comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition that you claim animated the founding of this country. Your freedom ends where the harms to others begin.

How do we settle disputes where your freedom to do what you want harms others?

John Rawls, the greatest political philosopher of modern times wrote that if we want to know what justice requires of us, we ought to imagine the world we would want if we didn’t know the position that we would occupy in that world. In other words, justice is what we would choose if we didn’t know if we were rich or poor, black or white, brilliant or plodding, talented or talentless. In the case of vaccination, justice is what you would want if you didn’t know whether you were immunocompetent and could potentially fend off vaccine preventable diseases, or immunocompromised and would almost certainly die if exposed to those same diseases. Rawls was harking back to the principle of Immanuel Kant:

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction.

In other words, if you want to know whether an action is ethical, imagine a world where everyone behaved as you did.

Imagine a world where everyone dodged the draft. The country would be overwhelmed and destroyed in short order.

Imagine a world where everyone stole anything they could. You couldn’t run a business or operate a bank. You couldn’t accomplish anything if people had the “freedom” to steal whatever they coveted.

Now imagine a world where everyone had the “freedom” to refuse vaccination, and imagine further that you don’t know whether you and your children can potentially survive the inevitable resurgence of vaccine preventable disease or you (or more likely) your children will certainly die.

What would that world look like? There would be a lot of dead bodies in it and some of them would be your children.

A world in which everyone has the “freedom” to refuse to vaccinate is a world of death and misery, hardly better than a world where everyone has the “freedom” to steal from others.

Just as there is no “freedom” to burn down your neighbor’s house to improve your view, there is no “freedom” to refuse to vaccinate your children against vaccine preventable diseases.

It doesn’t matter whether your neighbor could easily rebuild his house elsewhere; it doesn’t matter if he didn’t really care about his view; it doesn’t matter if he was thinking about moving across the country, anyway; your “freedom” to see what you want from your windows ends where his house begins.

Similarly, it doesn’t matter whether you think vaccines work; it doesn’t matter whether you think vaccines cause autism; it doesn’t matter if you think it would be safer for your children to refuse vaccination; your “freedom” to raise your children as you see fit ends where the lives and health of other children begin.

Listen up:

You never had the “freedom” to sicken small children and let babies die, so stop whining about being deprived of it!

279 Responses to “But what about my freedom to sicken small children and let babies die?”

  1. Guest
    February 12, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    Beautiful article but the typos are driving me nutty and make me not want to re-post…

    • SporkParade
      February 12, 2015 at 7:27 am #

      Write in the comments where there are typos. Dr. Amy is good about fixing them.

  2. alltheway
    February 12, 2015 at 12:10 am #

    also….the BLARING question is….if vaccines are so high and wonderful and they actually WORK…why are you afraid YOUR vaccinated child will get something from a child who isn’t? are you saying they don’t actually work? as for babies who are too young to get a vaccine, her’s a thought…how about the mother stay home with the baby and nurse and keep it away from big crowds until it IS old enough to get them?????

    • Wren
      February 12, 2015 at 2:55 am #

      A) It is well known that vaccines have a small failure rate, as do most things.
      B) Not everyone who can not be vaccinated is an infant.
      C) Not every mother has the ability to just stay home and nurse with an infant, even if she has the desire. Many families rely on the mother’s income for things like food and shelter. Additionally, the mother never going out can contribute greatly to post-parties depression. What about babies with older siblings? Those siblings should also lose the right to go out until their younger sibling is vaccinated? Or just to go out with their mother?

    • February 12, 2015 at 3:28 am #

      You really think someone should just stay home with a baby and never ever go out with it until the baby is one years old? What are you, insane?

      • Who?
        February 12, 2015 at 3:41 am #

        And never see anyone who has been out, since one person, not ‘big crowds’ or one person who has spent time aournd ‘big crowds’ can spread disease? No provider, no doctor, no siblings at school, no grandparents, and that’s before we even get to friends, social contacts like church…lonely year for mum!

    • yugaya
      February 12, 2015 at 6:11 am #

      “her’s a thought…how about the mother stay home with the baby and nurse and keep it away from big crowds until it IS old enough to get

      I’ve already shared in response to a similar question how my wee kiddo was two weeks old when she started using public transport in a two million city with over ten million tourists a year and staying on public school premises for a couple of hours each day Mon-Fri. All I have to add, since this is your BLARING personal opinion, is that you should take this sanctimonious, patriarchal, insultingly privileged thought of yours and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

      Thanks bunches!

    • KarenJJ
      February 12, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      Because some kids have medical conditions where they can’t get vaccines and rely on everyone else getting vaccinated to protect them.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      February 12, 2015 at 7:51 am #

      Thanks for demonstrating one of the most important qualities of the anti-vaxxers: they are total fucking selfish assholes.

      Why should anyone with kids have to stay home for a year just because assholes like you think you are too special to contribute to the good of society?

      You stay away from us. This whole event has made it clear: we, in society, don’t want you around. YOU, asshole, should stay away from us.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 12, 2015 at 8:14 am #

      Why do people ask this question over and over again like it is clever?

    • Amazed
      February 14, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

      I see you’ve already made your decree about infants. Fine. So, the BLARING question is, why should old people and those who are immunocompromised stay home with their conditions, just so your kids can be at large with their possible VPDs?

    • LibrarianSarah
      February 14, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      Maybe not everyone is upper middle class you over privileged bimbo. Mayby some mothers can’t “stay home and nurse” because they have to work to pay the rent. Maybe some women gain fulfillment in their careers and enjoy enjoy them. Maybe expecting women to “stay home and nurse” is sexist and paternalistic. Maybe some kids get cancer and can’t get vaccinated and your selfish, ignorant and irresponsible decision not to vaccinate your kids put their lifes at risk.

      In short, you suck Alltheway.

    • Sadlady
      February 17, 2015 at 12:57 am #

      Because 3 percent of children are allergic or compromised in a way that makes them unable to take the vaccine. The parents wish they could protect their children but they can’t so they are relying on herd immunity from kids like mine, but no some Dumbass sends their non vaccinated carrier child to class and gets him killed. Thanks.

    • L.
      June 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

      Some vaccines have a lower success rate, such as the flu vaccine. Getting flu for me would probably mean hospital, oxygen, IV fluids, IV steroids, IV antibiotics, nebulisers and IV bronchodilators. It might also mean IV magnesium, reverse barrier nursing, and CPAP/BiPAP ventilation. And because the flu vaccine has a relatively low success rate (100 people have to be vaccinated to stop 1 person from getting flu) then my fears of getting the flu – despite flawless compliance with all 3 of my asthma medications, and religiously getting the flu vaccine each year – are very real. So if someone comes into my classroom looking like death warmed up it is very scary for me. Every time I cough or have a bit of a runny nose or sore throat I’m thinking “what if this gets worse?” because it could be ‘just a cold’ – i.e. Prednisolone tablets, regular Salbutamol, prophylactic antibiotic tabs, and up the Seretide – or it could be the flu.

      Then when I’m on Prednisolone, I’m even worse. My asthma is balancing as it is, only just under control, and prone to exacerbations requiring higher doses of my inhalers, courses of steroids, and more medications added on to get it stable again. Even a mild cold could be the thing which topples it over and means I have to go on even higher doses of Seretide, or add new medications. I play ice hockey. I sing. I play cello, piano. I’m in an internationally-acclaimed youth choir, and being drafted for an ice hockey team for next season, and going on tour in a few weeks. I’m 17 years old and I have a life but it’s damned hard to live it when you are that teenager whose asthma is a constant balancing act and a source of fear and worry that all could go wrong with one cold.

      No vaccine is perfect. Some are even less perfect than others. This year’s flu vax was, quite frankly, crap, through no-one’s fault. And even a fully-vaccinated person like myself is at risk from diseases they are vaccinated against if they are on immunosuppressants, like Prednisolone or Methotrexate, or even for some kids with autism, especially severe autism, who are for some reason at an increased risk of infection. I know one guy who has to have IVIG infusions regularly. He doesn’t have asthma or diabetes or heart disease or CF but he could get very ill from certain diseases.

      So it isn’t about your unvaccinated child. It’s about other people’s vaccinated children or children who are too young or too ill to be vaccinated. It is rather selfish and arrogant to think that The Unvaccinated pose no risk to other children and adults.

      As I’ve said before, sure, it’s your choice whether to vaccinate or not.

      But it shouldn’t be.

  3. alltheway
    February 12, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    none of those things you listed as “the freedom to….” have anything to do with the government having control over how you raise your children and what does or does not go into your bodies. I am not an advocate of violence or any other form of breaking the law. I am an advocate of the government keeping it’s nose out of my parenting. The things you mentioned are not the same. This is an issue of losing our rights as parents, not a moral issue.

    • SporkParade
      February 12, 2015 at 7:32 am #

      Okay, let’s consider this: The government will take your child away from you temporarily if the child has cancer and you refuse medical treatment because you don’t want “toxins” or radiation pumped into them and then return the child when the cancer has gone into remission. In that situation, the only person put at risk by your “parenting choice” is your own child. However, when you decide not to vaccinate, you are not only risking the health of your own child, but of every baby too young to be vaccinated, every pediatric cancer patient who cannot be vaccinated, and every single person who is either allergic to vaccine components or immunocompromized. Why is this not a situation where the government should get involved?

      • L.
        June 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

        Yep. Quite frankly, it’s a public health matter.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 12, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      No, you are mistakenly framing this as an authority issue when it is not. You think you are being cool and rebellious and you’re not.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      As I’ve said to several other people, children are people, not property. You do not have unlimited writ to treat them however you want.

      • Siri
        February 14, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

        Nick, I want to marry your opinions.

    • Julie
      May 31, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

      Ok so suppose your next kid is born with or develops an auto immune disease or cancer where exposure to one of these diseases that could be prevented will LITERALLY KILL IT. I would love to see how fast you’d vaccinate your older kids to keep these deadly diseases away from your house. Although that would help you’re kid, it’ll make you a hypocrite. I’m sure you’d rather be a hypocrite, though, then bury your kid. Now imagine some parent can’t vaccinate their kids, not because they’re stupid, but because their child isn’t as lucky to be healthy like yours is. Are you comfortable knowing an illness your kid is carrying can kill someone else’s? You just sound idiotic saying you don’t want to vaccinate because the government shouldn’t interfere in your parenting. Not only does it sound like frankly your parenting SHOULD be “interfered” with, but you also sound juvenile. Like the kid who doesn’t want to do something simply because they’re told to .. why don’t YOU keep your kids home indefinitely or go move to a third world country. Jonas Salk is rolling in his grave.

      • Julie
        May 31, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

        Whoops line 7, third word should read ‘ your .’

    • L.
      June 23, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

      You selfish, thoughtless person.
      Who the hell do you think you are?

      Yeah, I guess it is your right.
      But it bloody well shouldn’t be.

  4. DelphiniumFalcon
    February 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    For the ones saying they can’t figure out how these people who have always seemed so intelligent to them can say the things they do like they’d rather let a child die before vaccinating or delivering in a hospital, table top gamers know why most systems like Dungeons and Dragons have both the intelligence and wisdom stats. Since you can’t be perfect in all stats you usually have what’s called a dump stat where you basically ignore or take penalties to in order to raise another stat.

    As my husband say for an example of these stats, “Intelligence is knowing Frankenstein isn’t the monster. Wisdom is knowing Frankenstein is a monster.”
    Or on the more whimsical side, “Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

    My husband and I just observe that a lot of anti-vaxxers have wisdom as their dump stat.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      Hey, my tabletop group needs a fifth, is your husband available? 😛

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        February 14, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

        What’s wrong with me? :p

        • Nick Sanders
          February 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

          Maybe nothing, but he’s the one that made the funny quotes. :p

        • February 14, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

          There’s more to it than that, or so I’ve seen 🙂

          Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. Charisma is being able to sell a fruit salad with tomatoes in it.

          *cue random person overhearing* Isn’t that salsa?

          *everyone turns and looks* Well, we found the bard!

  5. Lauren
    February 7, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    I have a philosophy minor, I did quite a lot of study on John Rawls, and a lot of classroom discussion.
    I am not exaggerating when I say that some students openly admit to and defend the position that it would be just fine and dandy if everyone were allowed to cheat, lie, and steal because they would simply be better at it.
    Enter the hardcore anti-government, anti-medical professionals, anti-vaxxer and ask him or her, ‘would you want to live in a world where no one was vaccinated even if there was an almost absolute certainty you and yours would contract and die from disease?’ and they would respond, confidently, “YES”.
    Because it’s not about the vaccines, and it’s not about autism, it’s not even about which children end up injured, sick, or dead, it’s about how much hatred and distrust they have for authority, and how much petty, childlike resistance they can muster, at least when it’s safe to do so.
    There are many who have changed their attitudes and minds about vaccines and other woo when the worst has happened to them or to someone very close to them — lots of stories to be read on the web.

    There are those who do not change their views, even after the worst happens to them. Even if it happens more than once.

    What do we do about those people?

    • Who?
      February 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      Hope they all find each other, stick together, and decide to go very far from the rest of us so as not to be infected by our weakness?

      • Bombshellrisa
        February 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

        Did you watch “The Village”? It’s a bit of the same concept, complete with the opening of the movie taking place at the funeral of a young child dying of a VPD.

        • Who?
          February 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

          I didn’t. These people baffle me.

          • February 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

            Oh god no, not The Village. I can’t forgive Shamalyan

          • Lauren
            February 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

            I’m not a big fan of him, but the Village was at least mildly entertaining, not that the ‘twist’ was all that shocking.
            I don’t find his stuff to be scary or thrilling. Just sort of…hmmm..interesting.

      • Lauren
        February 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

        Oh that they would.
        But then I think…..are these the same people stockpiling fuel, canned goods, and crossbows??

        I know people who would not respond well to being pushed into a corner and treated ‘like the scumbags they are’ – they do greater damage when they feel threatened.
        Look at those Green Peace people, burning fields and sabotaging labs and offices for what? Because they are the ones who won’t likely change their views, and they’re tired of being ignored and ridiculed….

        I’m probably over-reacting a bit…but I just tend to liken these types to cult members, the KKK, anti-homosexual groups…. there’s just too many to mention.

        • Who?
          February 7, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

          I’d never want to push anyone into a corner, and yes it’s probably right that at least some anti-vaxxers are also stockpiling all sorts of stuff for their future apocalypse. Quite how they’d manage in an actual jungle, not just the one in their fevered brains, is another question.

          Protest is allowed, and that’s a good thing. Cults are bad, by definition, and Greenpeace has made some questionable decisions, as have the right-wing nutters who despise them. And if they hurt people or destroy property, the criminal law can deal with them.

          It’s likely those various groups are led by people with a little too much ego to allow for mergers etc, which is where a danger could lie. It’s hard to judge at this distance whether the US right wing is just a handful of rich backers and two handfuls of more or less presentable professional blowviators, or something more serious.

          Certainly I’d encourage open protest, as hidden protest is far harder to understand, sidetrack and manage.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      February 7, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

      What do we do about those people?

      For starters, we treat them like the scumbags they are, and we make no pretense about it.

    • yugaya
      February 8, 2015 at 4:46 am #

      “There are those who do not change their views, even after the worst happens to them. Even if it happens more than once.

      What do we do about those people?”

      Make the lunacy visible so that no one mistakes them for rational people whose opinion on the issue should be taken as valid. Most people will make the safe choices once they truly understand the odds the lunatics like to play against. Beyond that, hope for them to some day understand their misconceptions, and be there to help them if they do. I’ve rarely seen that mindset in people who do not have a special interest in it somehow, be it financial or their entire identity being wrapped around it – like natural oil sellers, lay midwives, healthy living mentors or that ugly purist cardiologist.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 12, 2015 at 8:19 am #

      It is pretty pathetic when you realize that this isn’t even an issue of authority.

  6. nomofear
    February 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    New terrible link someone just posted on fb: http://politicalblindspot.com/data-reveals-measles-outbreaks-have-nothing-to-do-with-non-vaccination-trends/

    • Rosanna
      February 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

      Why is this terrible? It’s actually a pretty valid question that would be great to hear the answer to from experts – why aren’t ALL diseases that anti-vax parents opt out of on the rise? And why isn’t it happening throughout the country?

      • Guesteleh
        February 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

        I can think of two reasons: One, vaccination rates vary around the country by a lot. Orange County, where the Disneyland outbreak began, happens to be one of the areas with a lot of antivaxxers. Two, measles is extremely contagious and the vaccination rate needed to preserve immunity is also high–92% to 94%. So it makes sense that measles rates would go up before the rates of other diseases.

      • nomofear
        February 7, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

        There are a few people addressing it in far more detail in the comments section there much better than I can. I’d try to summarize, but it’s really more than I can cover in one fell swoop.

        I think it’s terrible because it’s badly shrouded at neutral. It’s not. It’s encouraging anti-science with questions that I, as a pro-vac total layman, hear alarm bells at instantly, but someone with an anti-vaccine bias would embrace.
        1. Population density is ignored
        2. Tourist flow is ignored – I imagine that socal has a far higher population traveling both in and out than other places they mentioned with higher non vac rates

        I thought of those two as I was reading. Then, in the comments, someone said that for CDC reporting, someone who skips one vaccine is marked in the reports as non compliant – i.e., the reporting isn’t sophisticated enough to delineate specific vaccine compliance rates, just yes, person x is 100% compliant, or no, they are not. Now, as a layman, I don’t know if that is true. If it is, it would follow that antivac parents might be choosing to vaccinate for some diseases, but not others – and, since MMR is the one that so many latch onto as “causing autism,” it follows that measles would spike in higher-population density areas with high tourist flow.

        • nomofear
          February 7, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

          Also, other diseases are problem. Whooping cough is not to be ignored, for instance.

      • Who?
        February 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

        Experts? I thought everyone here-apart from you and HCM-were misinformed and happily leading blissfully ignorant lives?

        Perhaps have a look at the comments on that article itself?

      • Ardea
        February 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

        I live in Oregon (one of the states identified as the highest rate of kindergarten non-medical exemptions). Washington County is suburban and rural and not as densely populated as other parts of the country. The population of Oregon as a whole is only 3.9 million people over the entire state, which is only 98,466 square miles as a whole. That works out to only about 39 people per square mile, one of the reasons why a 6% rate of kindergarten exemptions is not going to have the same effect as that rate in a more densely populated state.

      • Young CC Prof
        February 7, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

        Pertussis IS on the rise, so is mumps. Diphtheria isn’t yet, because it seems to require a lower level of herd immunity. Stop vaxxing entirely for a few years, then you get diphtheria outbreaks (see the former USSR.)

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          February 7, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

          “If dolphins are so smart, why do they live in igloos?”

          Rosanna: “Seems like a pretty valid question”

          • yugaya
            February 13, 2015 at 4:50 am #

            What are your top three resources on dolphins?

        • sdsures
          February 9, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

          TB is rampant in Russian prisons. 🙁

          • Young CC Prof
            February 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

            There’s plenty of it in American prisons as well.

          • yugaya
            February 13, 2015 at 4:47 am #

            Expats from US often decline BCG vaccine given at birth here on the grounds that “they will be following American schedule” because it makes perfect sense to them to be following a recommendation made with quite a different country risk profile in mind instead of the one made where their newborn lives and risks being exposed.

          • Dr Kitty
            February 13, 2015 at 5:31 am #

            The BCG was on the schedule in the UK when I was a child, but isn’t any more.
            But they risk assess and offer BCG at birth to any child with household contacts at high risk of TB or high TB incidence countries of origin.

            My mother was raised in Zimbabwe, so my daughter was offered BCG.
            I pointed out that not only has my mother had a BCG, she is also a Dr, so has had lots of occupational health checks, therefore her risk of having TB and giving it to my daughter is nil. We declined BCG on the basis that it only offers limited protection for 10-15 years, and she’s more likely to NEED TB protection as an adult.

            I’ll let kiddo decide if she wants a BCG later on, depending on her travel plans and occupation.

          • yugaya
            February 13, 2015 at 6:07 am #

            Unlike you I only got solid individual increased risk recommendation to vaccinate the kids after my mom got Hep B, locally it was just recently added to the schedule. Didn’t think of messing with BCG for wee kiddo born here because the largest incidence is in the capitol. Our public transport is great but that first year I swear to God all I kept seeing were people coughing and sneezing all over my baby. :)))

          • Wren
            February 13, 2015 at 6:40 am #

            I’m an American, but since I am here in the UK I went with the UK schedule.
            I do wish I’d gone with the US one as far as chicken pox.

          • Young CC Prof
            February 13, 2015 at 10:08 am #

            OK, BCG is far from perfect as vaccines go, nowhere near as effective as, say, the measles vaccine, but it’s better than nothing. And why don’t we use it in the USA? The main reason is that TB is very rare, and vaccinating against it prevents the screening test from being used.

            In areas where it’s prevalent, however, you don’t use the screening test.

  7. Rosanna
    February 7, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    Common substances found in vaccines include:

    Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate a better response. Adjuvants help promote an earlier, more potent response, and more persistent immune response to the vaccine.

    Antibiotics which are added to some vaccines to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) during production and storage of the vaccine. No vaccine produced in the United States contains penicillin.

    Egg protein is found in influenza and yellow fever vaccines, which are prepared using chicken eggs. Ordinarily, persons who are able to eat eggs or egg products safely can receive these vaccines.

    Formaldehyde is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines, (these are vaccines that use an inactive bacterial toxin to produce immunity.) It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Most formaldehyde is removed from the vaccine before it is packaged.

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol which are used as stabilizers in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.

    Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

    For children with a prior history of allergic reactions to any of these substances in vaccines, parents should consult their child’s healthcare provider before vaccination.

    Top of Page

    What You Can Do

    To find out what chemical additives are in specific vaccines, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a copy of the vaccine package insert, which lists all ingredients in the vaccine and discusses any known adverse reactions.

    The CDC does NOT list all the ingredients – instead ask us to visit our Doctors – Does anyone know why that is?

    • Cobalt
      February 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

      Differences between manufacturers and batches, the doctor doing the vaccine will have the specific information for that specific dose. Also, the doctor can give more targeted answers than a website, you can your specific question answered based on your specific situation.

    • Trixie
      February 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      Because there are multiple manufacturers for most vaccines and the they might change slightly from batch to batch. What is your specific concern?

    • KarenJJ
      February 7, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      Ah geez – not all this again! What’s wrong with asking your doctors? They know you and your medical history and any allergies etc?

    • Sue
      February 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

      COmmon substances found in human breast milk include:

      Still want to breast-feed?

      Oh, and ingested vs injected? Clearly we can ingest heavy metals – hence the concern about certain fish.


      • Sullivan ThePoop
        February 8, 2015 at 11:03 am #

        Some metals are processed better through ingestion, but some are worse. Mercury is not processed at all in digestive system and actually becomes more concentrated. Therefore ingestion is actually worse than injection. Alcohol takes a while to be processed the digestive track so you get less blood alcohol at once than if you injected it. So, ingestion is better than injection. Why anyone would be worried about aluminum salts is beyond me. It is no more toxic than table salt. Also, muscles are an acidic environment and things take a while to be processed there so it is very different than giving something IV.

    • L.
      June 23, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      But you blatantly forwent mentioning that there are egg-protein-free versions of all vaccines. And thimerosal is NOT MERCURY!

  8. TsuDhoNimh
    February 7, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    You forgot the freedom to have bonfires during forest fire season!

    • Who?
      February 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

      Absolutely-and anyone stupid enough to get burnt or have their property destroyed is just a weak loser.

      At least I understand that’s how the thinking works.

  9. The Bofa on the Sofa
    February 7, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    OT: Getting a database error on the other thread again

    • Nick Sanders
      February 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      I haven’t even been able to load it directly since yesterday.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 7, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

        Can you load it indirectly? 🙂

        • Nick Sanders
          February 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

          I can load the Disqus page for the comments alone.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 7, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

        Here’s the error I get now

        “Fatal error: Unknown: Cannot use output buffering in output buffering display handlers in Unknown on line 0”

        • Nick Sanders
          February 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

          Same, if I don’t just get a blank page, or a complete refusal to finish loading.

          • sdsures
            February 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

            Although it’s been loading fine for me the last week or so, I only got “database error” with a blank page under it.

  10. February 7, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    Warning everyone. This website is only publishing articles to inflame instead of informing. And it’s crawling with minion trolls eager to promote the message within these articles. Sometimes they have multiple accounts so they can upvote the comments that suit them. If you are not a troll and a real human, please speak up and vote up the truth!

    And the truth is scarier than you think! Did you know that 100,000 people die each year in the US from medical error? Yes, that’s close to 300 each day. Deaths from measels? Um, it’s so low you can’t get an exact number other than the vague “less than 100 a year.” Hmmm… 100 deaths a year from measels and 100,000 deaths a year from medical malpractice. Shucks, I wonder what the bigger problem is here. Perspective anyone?

    Oh and here’s the source:


    • Who?
      February 7, 2015 at 4:35 am #

      Interesting-tell us about this disease, ‘measels’ of which you speak. I have never heard of it, would love to know all about it.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      February 7, 2015 at 4:45 am #

      Thank you SO much. I was having such a boring morning…

      1- real healthcare providers study their mistakes and admit them. Vaccination recommendations are not a monolythic issue, they do change in light of new scientific findings.
      2- the panel opinion (not a real study) that the link you provide cites was published 16 years ago. We have improved a lot of things on that time.
      3- have you read the actual book? If you would you would have seen that they take two very small studies, one performed in NYC and the other in Colorado, both of them with very different results and extrapolate those results to get the figure you boast about. That is a statistic mistake, because you do not take o to account if those two small studies population have very much in common with the real population.
      4- one of the mistakes they cite is difficult in interpreting handwriting. That’s why we have electronic prescription at my hospital.
      5- another important source of harm is anestesia. Even in that paper they admit that the 1999 harm rate of anesthesia is 1 in 200000-300000 instead 1/10000 that was considered before. And we have had further improvements since then
      6- the studies it is based on are 20 years old.

      I am not registered in disquss, by the way.

      • Who?
        February 7, 2015 at 4:48 am #

        Seriously, HCM is a classic example of the sociopathic toddler, push him hard enough and he will scream and scream until he’s sick (and he can).

        Engage with him seriously at your own risk-he thinks I’m Dr T in disguise…

        • February 7, 2015 at 5:30 am #

          I missed you world health organization. As usual, never addressing the point. Like a true troll.

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 5:48 am #

            Yes but you haven’t told us all about ‘measels’ yet and everyone is so very interested.

          • Rosanna
            February 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

            to HCMedhi – it’s so pointless trying to address facts to this one sided group – so afraid to see the possibility that perhaps they are misinformed? Not given the whole story. It must be fun to live a blissfully ignorant life.

          • Maria
            February 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

            Are YOU open to the idea that you may, perhaps, be the one who is misinformed? Not given the whole story? Take a step back and really look at your sources for information (and how that information is interpreted!) and ask yourself if you really are getting the whole story from those who claim to know more about vaccines and how they work than those who have spent their lives studying, adjusting, fixing, and overall making them as safe and effective as possible. There is no conspiracy. CDC scientists, doctors, and even those “evil” pharma researches are not out to get you, nor are they interested in causing harm. They are people like you and me. They have family they love just as you and I do.

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

            Rosanna has paid good money for all that information and her ‘education’. Why would people she’s buying stuff off lie to her? Oh, wait…

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            February 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

            It is hard not to be one sided in this issue because all the facts and evidence are in favor of vaccines. I do feel sorry for people like you who are misled by internet con artists who are trying to make money off your fear and ignorance.

          • KarenJJ
            February 7, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

            I think that they ARE the internet con artists. Can’t pin ANYTHING on them, can’t get a straight answer anywhere (what happened to all those immunologists with PhDs that HCM talks with regularly?), constantly throwing out whatever will stick and when nothing does they start back at the beginning again and it’s all about trying to convince people into not vaccinating and gathering more supporters.

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

            Don’t waste any more of your oh so valuable and ‘educated’ time here then.

            You and HCM are a match made in heaven.

        • yugaya
          February 7, 2015 at 8:12 am #

          From nuanced to prophet in just a couple of days. 🙂 Interesting thing though, they originally flocked at the big vaccine post with ready-made alibi how they are vaccinating their children and are merely rightfully worried about other parents/people they know who would be hurt by oh uh ah such a generalisation statement how antivaxxing is a selfishness reflex.

          ….give them some time and the masks start falling off…

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

            Yes didn’t take long did it.

            Though to be fair HCM was primed I think-he jumped into the whole paranoid ‘are you all the same person with different sign-ins’ pretty fast.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

            Yeah, it’s too bad that the comments moved so fast that I didn’t have a chance to mock him for that. What a maroon…

      • February 7, 2015 at 5:27 am #

        Did you also notice that the article shows that only 20 states are required to report medical error? Also, consider that population in the US has grown by 40 Million since then. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual number is twice that now. Still, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say it dropped by half (50,000 deaths). My point still stands.

        • February 7, 2015 at 5:31 am #

          it’s actually 15 states that are required. At least as of a survey conducted in 2000.

          • ersmom
            February 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

            Um, it’s 2015 now. Just saying…

        • Montserrat Blanco
          February 7, 2015 at 10:19 am #

          Would you mind addressing what I wrote, as I do with what you write, by the way? You have not said a word about my view on the paper you cited, you simply change the goalposts and speak about something else.

          Maybe you have no idea of how to read a scientific paper, that is why you talk about something else.

    • S
      February 7, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      I’ve been reading this site since 2009 and i never knew. Thank you for the insight! Looks like your work here is done, buh bye.

    • Amy M
      February 7, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      I don’t think anyone is denying that medical errors are a problem. What does that have to do with measles? Preventative measures for measles (which are easily accessible and highly effective) are not effective for preventing medical errors.

      By all means, think about ways to prevent medical errors and write to your congressperson. Everyone would benefit from reducing medical errors.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 7, 2015 at 11:28 am #

        I agree. Yes, people die from medical errors. But what does that have to do with vaccination? If people giving vaccinations are making errors (dirty needles or whatever) then of course, make it better.

        But the relevance escapes me. “A person died because the nurse used the wrong dosage of pain medication. Therefore, we shouldn’t let patients have pain medication”? That doesn’t make any sense at all.

        • S
          February 7, 2015 at 11:41 am #

          “…Therefore we can’t trust nurses or any medical people.” I’m guessing he’s thinking more along those lines.

          It’s a very strange way of thinking that requires a fundamental distrust of other people, i think. Most of us understand that people make mistakes, and that systems need to be put in place (and revised as needed) to minimize human error. Most of us don’t attribute this basic human tendency to malice.

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

            It’s all about fear, all the time-doctors, ‘chemicals’, the government, ISIS, you name it they are all bad guys.

            It’s actually sad that people who live in the healthiest and safest time in the history of the world-in the west, anyway-are so afraid of so much.

        • Sue
          February 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

          Or ”a person died because the nurse used the wrong dosage of pain medication”, therefore taking a few drops of water and/or alcohol that has previously had a few molecules of some “remedy” fixes things that real medicine can’t.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      February 7, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      I love the “people die from medical errors” claims all the time, because I have never figured out exactly how many there are. Whenever we hear these, the actual numbers range from 50 000 or so all the way up to 700 000, and I swear, I have seen pretty much everything in-between.

      I’m waiting for Dr Evil to come and tell that 1 mill-lion die each year…

      • yugaya
        February 7, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

        Is that an antivax version of “babies die in hospitals too all the time in huge numbers” ?

      • Guesteleh
        February 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

        The reason there are so many different numbers out there is because different studies have come up with different figures.http://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2013/09/24/medical-errors-may-be-the-country-third-leading-cause-of-death

        There’s a lot of reasons to mock the anti-vaxxer people but it is also true that medical errors are a serious problem in the US.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          February 7, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

          But of course no one denies that. What we ARE mocking is that anti-vaxxers think it has anything to do with the policy on vaccinations.

          Then again, it sure as hell isn’t anti-vaxxers or other anti-medicine people who have made everyone aware of the problems of medical errors. This is why they quote numbers all over the place – because they don’t have the first fucking clue what it actually means. All they see is “medical errors cause deaths” and parrot whatever number they want.


      • Young CC Prof
        February 7, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

        There’s also one key question: How many of them were directly killed by medical error (while being treated for a condition they had a decent chance of surviving without treatment), versus died of their disease because a healthcare provider didn’t diagnose it or provide the correct treatment in a timely manner. Option 1 means the person would have been better off with no treatment, option 2 means treatment wasn’t good enough.

      • Sue
        February 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

        These people always quote some sort of numerator, but never a denominator.

        COnsidering that the medical system is the default for all-comers, including the critically ill, at all hours, what is the percentage of harm from errors vs benefit? How many of those errors are humanly avoidable?

        Oh, and contrast the ”alt med” system, which doesn’t even recognise its errors, let alone count or report them.

    • Elaine
      February 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

      Medical providers versus anti-vaxxers:

      Medical providers are aware that morbidity and mortality from medical errors is a huge problem, and devote resources to identifying specific causes of errors and working to remedy them.

      Anti-vaxxers do absolutely nothing to reduce deaths from measles; in fact, their actions lead to an increased death rate.

      Medical providers are working to decrease deaths from measles as well, both by trying to make sure patients get vaccinated, and by treating patients who do have measles.

      It’s possible to work on more than one problem at once; in fact, it’s pretty normal to do so. Working on med errors AND working to reduce measles deaths is perfectly reasonable.

      Not sure what your point here is.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        February 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

        Not sure what your point here is.

        It’s called “poisoning the well” and it’s a well-known logical fallacy.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

      Gee, I wonder how the deaths from measles got so low?

    • araikwao
      February 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      You forgot “Wake up, sheeple”.

    • Erica A.
      February 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

      I am very afraid of medical errors. That is one reason I prefer to have my children vaccinated at the doctor’s office (where the possibility of medical error is low) than hospitalized with an infectious disease, where there is a potential not only for the disease to kill them but for a medical error to be made that could harm or kill them.

      • Samantha06
        February 8, 2015 at 12:53 am #

        I will say that I have worked in about six different hospitals in over 20 years and I have seen only a handful of truly serious medical errors that could have been life-threatening. Patient safety is at the forefront of patient care today. Hospitals are very cognizant of the potential for errors and the potential for injury and death, and have implemented excellent preventive measures. For example, in most pediatrics units, two nurses verify medication orders–that it is the correct medication indicated and dosage based on the child’s weight. “High alert” meds, like insulin or blood thinners (in adults and children) must be co-signed by a second nurse prior to administration to ensure the correct patient, order and dosage. In the operating room, there is a system of safety checks that occur before, during and after the operation. Instruments, sharps and sponges are counted numerous times. These are just a couple of examples of the many, many safety measures in place to protect patients. I also think that when a catastrophic medical error occurs, the public assumes they happen much more frequently than they do. And, when an error or incident occurs, there is a thorough review with all involved, including hospital administration. A root cause analysis is usually done and practice changes are implemented. I know that hospitals, nurse, doctors and everyone else in healthcare do everything they can to ensure the safety of patients, and I hope this helps to allay some of your fears.

    • Lauren
      February 7, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      It is quite easy to get a nice, high-paying job because you speak English and presumably have at least a HS diploma, if not some or all of a college degree.
      I assure you, so long as you are not a homosexual, you will be treated quite well. No annoying, nasty government types to force you to vaccinate, you can have all the natural homebirths you want, no annoying public education forced on you and your children so you can homeschool them or pay for a nice, cushy private school to teach them whatever you want! Your freedom to parent however you want, and harm others through reckless and thoughtless behaviour will be well protected.

      Problem solved. Go away.

      • Who?
        February 7, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

        Don’t think that would suit HCM, he strikes me as someone who’s only into freedom if he thinks he’s the biggest bully in the playground. SA has some serious hard cases, far too hard for our mate here.

        • Lauren
          February 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

          ha ha ha ha ha
          Typical anti-government, authority-hating type. I will rail against all the evils of my pseudo-oppression, but I am going to take full advantage of the parts of it I like – i.e. clean running water, electricity, the internet, safe roads and highways, access to affordable food, free education….
          My what a tortured, tortured life he must lead. Good thing he found something he can rebel against so he can shape his identity and self-worth.

          • Samantha06
            February 7, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

            “I am going to take full advantage of the parts of it I like – i.e. clean running water, electricity, the internet, safe roads and highways, access to affordable food, free education….”

            Add to that excellent heath care to access when it’s convenient for them.. otherwise it’s the “evil doctors” and “big medicine”… like home birthers.. they despise doctors and hospitals.. until disaster strikes, then it’s “you MUST save us.. and if you don’t we’ll sue you.” These folks are the worst kind of hypocrites in addition to being total ingrates.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 7, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

            This is why I get a big kick out of the “debate” over whether pediatricians should accept patients who choose not to vaccinate.

            Why are these people wanting to see a doctor? I thought doctors were all part of the ebil conspiracy to hurt kids? Or so stupid that they are dupes of big Pharma?

            So why would anti-vax people want to be seeing these doctors in the first place?

            As far as I can see, the pediatricians are just trying to hold anti-vaxxers to their decision. You choose to forego health care? Then do it. But don’t come crying about how you need to see the doctor. The doctor was there willing to help you – and you choose to reject it. So reject it.

            How can they complain?

          • Samantha06
            February 7, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

            Yes, this!! This is what I bitch about all the f-ing time! Why do they go to doctors in the first f-ing place?

            Whether it be anti-vaxxers, home birthers, conspiracy theorists, what have you… I always want to ask them…why do you even use the healthcare system since you have all those fabulous, competent naturopaths, alternative medicines and supplements that supposedly cure all that ails you??

            Why? Because you know that when it comes to life and death, you’ll choose mainstream health care any day. It’s ego, defiance, selfshness and arrogance

            I think it’s time to draw the line. It’s not Burger King Medicine.. you can’t just “have it your way”.. then whine and complain when it doesn’t go your way, or isn’t what you expected.

            To me, these folks are the worst kind of selfish hypocrites because they know what they are doing and do it anyway.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

            (just want to mention how much I love Samantha and am glad she comments here)

          • Samantha06
            February 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

            Aw Bofa! You are too kind… the feeling is mutual! And you have adorable kids..

          • Who?
            February 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

            There is always a reason to complain.

            It’s still all about the freedom-their freedom to pick and choose the medical care they seek and accept. No problem for adults, not so relaxed where children are concerned.

            They run into trouble when either the care they want breaches the doctor’s professional obligations, or when they refuse care leading to a death. In the former case presumably the doctor sacks them-no patient is worth risking your licence for is an entirely reasonable position; in the latter, the courts get involved to scoop the child up and rescue them from their parents’ ignorance and neglect.

    • Sue
      February 7, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

      This is really funny. Is “HCMehdi” some bored twelve-yr-old causing mischief, or someone who is seriously talking about “‘minion trolls”?

      Warning everyone. I suspect one of Dr Amy’s regular ”minion trolls” would have the IQ of about twenty visiting concern trolls. Adds a bit of fun, though. So, thanks.

    • Rachele Willoughby
      February 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

      I call MinionTroll as my screen name!

  11. Who?
    February 7, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Interesting article about the Vactruth site and its founder:


  12. Ardea
    February 7, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    Did you guys see the CNN interview with the family in Arizona whose two children were exposed to measles in the waiting room waiting for their three-year old daughter’s chemotherapy appointment, contrasted with the words of “Dr.” Jack Wolfson, holistic cardiologist who said he would have no problem if his unvaccinated children caused another child to get sick and die? Because his children were “pure”? Is this in the comments below? I was absolutely horrified.

    It’s here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/30/health/arizona-measles-vaccination-debate/

    I shared it with my high school junior and senior Anatomy and Physiology students, some of whom plan to be doctors. I let the doctor speak for himself and then asked for their reactions. They were shocked that a doctor could be so uncaring about other people’s children and likened his statement, “My child is pure,” to something Hitler might have said.

    It actually gave me so much faith in humanity to know that my young students have a sense of empathy and right and wrong that this man lacks.

  13. jason
    February 6, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Why are so many vaccines laden with heavy metals? The more i study it, the more i think i will discontinue vaccines for my kids. Flu shots are a load of crap also. I don’t get them, and i don’t get the flu. Take dietary iodine folks. It boosts immune system big time.

    • Nick Sanders
      February 6, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

      Which vaccines are “laden” with what heavy metals?

      • February 7, 2015 at 3:32 am #

        I think it’s best not to feed the troll

        • Nick Sanders
          February 7, 2015 at 3:36 am #

          Normally, yes. But when it comes to important medical info, I feel it is best not to let dubious assertions go unchallenged, lest an innocent bystander be tricked into thinking they have merit.

          • Elaine
            February 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

            I admire your willingness to “take one for the team” in this fashion. I get really worn down by the necessity of challenging utter stupidity over and over and over again lest it go unchallenged.

          • KarenJJ
            February 7, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

            Yes – it’s like trying to out stamina my toddler. Some days I just don’t have it in me and put on the TV..

    • Montserrat Blanco
      February 7, 2015 at 1:18 am #

      How do you think vaccines work?
      Could you please post a link of how much heavy metals are on vaccines, especially compared to other sources of them?

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 7, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      There are no heavy metals in vaccines. I am sorry you have been misled. I cannot even eat kale because it has too much iodine. I am not going to start taking some.

    • Guest
      February 7, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      How does iodine boost the immune system?

    • Sue
      February 7, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

      Why are so many passing anti-vaxers laden with misinformation and hubris? The more i study it, the more i think they are just bored teenagers making fun of antivaxers. Easy to do. You just re-cycle all the tired arguments. Heavy metals, aborted fetal cells, packet inserts, diet, autism, Big Pharma…..yawn.

  14. Margo
    February 6, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    Margo WooZealand. On the radio today was a dx re vaccination. I was moved by Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on the desth of his son from smallpox…very poignant.

  15. rational adult
    February 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    Fun immunization fact: I learned today that the CDC now recommends that pregnant women receive the Tdap in either the 2nd or 3rd trimester of EACH pregnancy even if the woman is current on that vaccine. The more you know!

    • Guest
      February 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

      I just learned that too! I started my 3rd trimester yesterday, I’ll be talking to my OB/GYN at my appointment next week about when I should get that.

      • Elaine
        February 6, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

        They say between 27-36 weeks. In some states you can get them at the pharmacy. It’s also a good time to make sure the other parent, grandparents, etc. are up to date.

        I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s cool how the recommendations change over time. This is suspect to anti-vaxers, but when new information comes to light, we change practice to include it so that people get the most optimal care. When I had my daughter who is now 3 1/2, the Tdap during pregnancy was not yet recommended and I got it after she was born. But with my son who just turned 1, I got it in my 3rd trimester.

        The recommendations for pneumonia vaccines for seniors just changed this year, too.

        • Wren
          February 7, 2015 at 6:53 am #

          See, people who get science think it’s cool that the recommendations change as we learn more. Those who don’t think it’s an argument against vaccines.

        • SporkParade
          February 8, 2015 at 6:12 am #

          The problem is that these vaccine recommendations are sometimes changing due to people not vaccinating. If everyone was up-to-date on their Tdap, pregnant women wouldn’t need to get it. Now some doctors in areas with measles outbreaks are giving the MMR to infants I the hopes that some of them will be protected, even though the shot is less effective at that age.

    • Cobalt
      February 6, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      Peak benefit as far as immunity transferring to the baby is to get it 3 to 5 weeks prior to delivery, if I’m remembering my research correctly. Anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks is helpful though. It has to do with when your immune response peaks, which takes a few weeks after vaccination, versus when it starts to fade, reducing the length of time it will last in the baby after birth.

      Now if you just knew for certain when you were going to deliver!

      • wookie130
        February 7, 2015 at 7:00 am #

        I have children who are 17 months apart, the youngest being only 5 months old right now. I was encouraged to get it in the 34th week of both pregnancies (if I’m remembering correctly), and they both had scheduled arrivals, due to having two consecutive planned unneceaserians (that were actually quite necessary!).

        • Cobalt
          February 7, 2015 at 7:36 am #

          I think week 34 is the most common, it allows plenty of time for the shot to work, even if baby ends up coming sooner than expected. Even a cesarean planned months in advance might need to be rescheduled for sooner if something changes healthwise. Moms prone to early deliveries or that are at higher risk for needing to deliver sooner (diabetes, preeclampsia, multiples, whatever) might get different advice.

          I had a scheduling snafu and didn’t get mine until week 35, then my baby made a sudden appearance in week 36 (and good thing too, my placenta was practicing trickle down economics and baby would have drowned before term).

          • rational adult
            February 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

            My OB said that in a low risk pregnancy with no complications they like to give the vaccine in week 34.

          • Elaine
            February 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

            In hindsight, it kind of bothers me that my midwives (CNMs) never actually recommended it. They didn’t even have it in stock. I got it on my own initiative at the pharmacy where I work.

          • Daleth
            February 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

            If you’re pregnant with twins you get it before week 30, since twins usually come early.

    • Bugsy
      February 7, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Wow, that’s great to know. I was just on the cusp of the recommendation changing – my son was born a few weeks before my hospital changed its recommendation (for TDAP during pregnancy). I would have loved to have had the option to get it while he was in utero.

      • rational adult
        February 7, 2015 at 11:28 am #

        Yeah it looks like it’s a 2013 recommendation.

        • Mac Sherbert
          February 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

          I had a baby in 2012 and my doctor gave it during that time. She also gave me a flu shot. She told me that when given before birth it is thought to give the baby some immunity. (I believe she mentioned a study out of Atlanta) In any case TDAP makes my arm really sore, so getting before baby is way better for me.

  16. Elaine
    February 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    We got our son his MMR shot yesterday. The pediatrician said that it’s possible to get a rash and fever, if that happens, the treatment is three times a day do nothing, apart from treat the fever. I loled. Glad to be able to get him protected.

    • Who?
      February 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

      I had an MMR recently as am travelling to a place with live measles, and I had a very sore arm for a couple of days, so if in doubt don’t stint on the comfort medicine for the little one.

      • Elaine
        February 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

        I won’t. So far he seems unbothered though. When our older child got it, she had a red spot on her leg but no other side effects and it didn’t seem to bother her either.

        • wookie130
          February 7, 2015 at 7:04 am #

          My daughter didn’t have any obvious discomfort from the MMR, either. No fever, no sore thigh lump, nothing. She was carried on being the Wild Toddler Woman. I hope my son does as well with it in several months’ time!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 7, 2015 at 9:38 am #

            I don’t think we’ve had a vaccine reaction that lasted past the doctor’s office since our older son’s first round of 2 mo shots

        • S
          February 7, 2015 at 11:48 am #

          I would have to look this up to confirm, but i think the hep A tends to hit the kid right away, MMR a couple days later, and varicella last of all. So you think you’re good and then boom, hot crabby kiddo again.

          • Box of Salt
            February 7, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

            Yes. I still have my full set of VIS from both kids (OK, they might not be the latest versions since my kids are in elementary school). We didn’t get the HepA (not on the schedule yet), but Polio and HepB reactions would be basically the next few hours, Hib in 2 to 3 days, and reactions to MMR would occur 5 to 12 days after the shot. The chickenpox VIS does not have a timeframe and MMRV is the same as MMR.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        February 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

        That is actually a side effect that does not happen for everyone.

    • Young CC Prof
      February 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Baby Prof got his this morning. So glad!

      • Trixie
        February 6, 2015 at 9:01 pm #


      • Amazed
        February 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

        Good for him! Is he still Baby Prof, by the way? Hasn’t he progressed to Toddler Prof? After all, he’s old enough for the MMR shot now.

        • Young CC Prof
          February 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

          He is indeed Toddler Prof!

          • Amazed
            February 6, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

            OK. Keep us updated about hair and measles shedding (see below) and any impeding signs of a Hulk transformation.

            Otherwise, happy for him!

          • Young CC Prof
            February 7, 2015 at 8:37 am #

            No Hulking, but he did apparently start speaking Spanish within hours of administration. No doubt it’s because someone spoke Spanish to the vaccines during manufacture. I was thinking of reporting this as a manufacturing error, but it’s actually kind of useful, since his favorite teacher speaks Spanish to him all the time.

          • momofone
            February 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

            If you do notice the Hulk transformation beginning, please let us know–my son would probably beg to be revaccinated if he could have that as a side effect!

          • Sue
            February 8, 2015 at 12:04 am #

            Mine could only babble when she got her first vax. After every vaccination, her language got better and better. Since having the HPV vax, she is excelling at French and Latin.

          • Who?
            February 8, 2015 at 1:18 am #

            Now that would appeal to the competitive mummy and daddy, don’t you think?

            I wonder what vax might help my husband with his Japanese?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            February 7, 2015 at 9:37 am #

            I remember when my older guy was starting walking and around 1 yo. I was telling people he is a textbook illustration of why a toddler is called a toddler. He “toddled”

            it was so friggin adorable

          • Elaine
            February 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

            Mine hasn’t started taking more than a step at a time with any regularity, but his 3 1/2 yo big sister has started correcting herself when referring to him as a baby, and calling him a toddler instead. She was correcting us as well, until we told her that was not polite.

    • Kelly
      February 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Mine just got one today too. I am going to California in a few months and now I don’t have to stress as much.

  17. Who?
    February 6, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    Thankyou for writing this.

    John Rawls’ scenario has been in my mind as I’ve engaged with posters around ‘freedom’ in the last couple of weeks.

    Carrying personal freedom to its logical conclusion brings grotesque results, ultimately it is the law of the jungle. The result can be sociopathic behaviour by adults with the emotional maturity of toddlers.

  18. Oregonmom14
    February 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    I just happened onto this blog today and, Dr Amy, don’t take this the wrong way, but I think I love you.

    • February 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      Hey fellow oregonian 🙂 there’s quite a few of us here.

    • nomofear
      February 7, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

      Lol, don’t worry. I had the same reaction when I found this site, while doing “research” on “natural” birth (of course, at that time, I would not have put those words in quotations). I was so moved that I emailed her my thanks, after reading voraciously for two weeks. I was deep in the woo, and I don’t even live in a place like Oregon! Keep reading, and the comments, too. I learned as much there as I have in the actual posts.

  19. GiddyUpGo123
    February 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    This is a newswire article on Reuters.com: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/02/idUSnGNX4dQRYl+1ce+GNW20150202

    Studies Show that Vaccinated Individuals Spread Disease.

    I’m not an immunologist so I don’t know, but isn’t the assertion that recently vaccinated people can “shed virus” false? If so what is this article doing on a mainstream newswire service?

    • Luba Petrusha
      February 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

      It’s a press release. “Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.”

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

        I missed that part, which is certainly what they intended.

        • Amazed
          February 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

          False balance. Studies show, they say. Which studies? They only cite anti-vaxxers. It was a matter of time before the loonies striked back.

          • GiddyUpGo123
            February 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

            I find it really upsetting that it’s so easy to get that kind of crap on a newswire service, where it will undoubtedly be taken as fact by half the people who read it.

          • Elaine
            February 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

            Yep. The American population is not taught critical thinking in school, and this is the outcome.

      • Box of Salt
        February 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

        They should not have published it. It undermines their credibility, with or without the disclaimer.

        The press release is dated Feb 2nd. The Health Alert from the CDC I linked above is from Jan 23.

        The press release was demonstrably incorrect before it was published.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      February 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Recently vaccinated people can shed some attenuated virus depending on the vaccine. Live oral polio vaccines causes a lot of shedding in feces. So much so that it can passively immunize others. Rotavirus and chickenpox vaccines also shed whole attenuated virus in feces. Rubella sheds a tiny amount of whole attenuated virus in respiratory droplets, but no one has ever caught rubella from it and the MMR is has no restrictions for contact with immune compromised individuals. Nasal flu vaccines shed a little in nasal secretions but only once has someone caught the flu from a recently vaccinated person and they had recently had a bone marrow transplant. A child that has pox after being vaccinated for varicella can be contagious to all susceptible contacts.

      Also, none of the articles they link to say anything about shedding from a vaccine really. There are only 2 about measles and one was about a child that actually got measles from the vaccine. Once a child has a full blown infection even if it vaccine derived they will be contagious. The other other one is about pieces of the measles virus and actually says that a recently vaccinated person does not shed whole attenuated measles virus.

      • S
        February 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

        “A child that has pox after being vaccinated for varicella can be contagious to all susceptible contacts.”

        Wait… i thought this was a very rare possibility? The reason i ask is that i’m scheduled to complete my varicella series next week, and i have an infant.

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          February 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

          It is only if you get actual pox and that would happen with the first not boosters. Also, it is rare for anyone to get actual pox after vaccination but has happened. Also, if it does happen you can only get it by touching the actual pox

          • S
            February 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

            Thank you! I got my first a long time ago.

      • Trixie
        February 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

        I believe breastfeeding or pumping mothers of preemies (not full term infants) can’t get vaccinated with MMR because of a theoretical risk of transmission through breast milk. From what I understand this has never actually happened.

        • Montserrat Blanco
          February 7, 2015 at 1:25 am #

          I was not told that with my preemie. They thoroughly asked about all the drugs I was taking at the time, but the only advice regarding vaccines was to get a flu shot, which we all did as soon as possible.

          • Trixie
            February 7, 2015 at 11:23 am #

            I couldn’t donate milk to a milk bank within 28 days of getting an MMR booster.

    • Cobalt
      February 6, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

      If vaccination caused infectious shedding, infants in daycare would routinely catch measles from recently vaccinated toddlers. Also, there is typically no breastfeeding vs. formula feeding contraindication for vaccinating new mothers.

    • Box of Salt
      February 7, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      From the article “However, with
      no blood tests proving the outbreak is from wild measles”

      This is a CDC Health Alert about the Disneyland-linked cases.
      “Among the 28 unvaccinated cases, 5 were under age for vaccination.
      Measles genotype information was available from 9 measles cases; all
      were genotype B3 and all sequences linked to this outbreak are
      identical. The sequences are also identical to the genotype B3 virus
      that caused a large outbreak in the Philippines in 2014.”

      What’s up with Reuters? I thought it was supposed to be a reputable news organization. Now they’re rather fear monger than fact check?

  20. No vaccine, no travel
    February 6, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Religion is the purposeful suspension of reason…enough said.

  21. No vaccine, no travel
    February 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    It’s not freedom, but FREEDUMB!

  22. Laura Thomas
    February 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Freedom is actually quite costly; it requires responsibility on many levels!

    • Samantha06
      February 6, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

      Rights and responsibilities go hand and hand. That seems to be something anti-vaxxers and the NCB crowd don’t comprehend..

  23. Therese
    February 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    One thing I’ve never understood about this argument is that a lot of things that are perfectly moral don’t work if everyone does it. For instance, it’s perfectly moral to choose to live a childfree life, but it wouldn’t work very well if every did it. It’s moral to choose to be a janitor, but society would break down if everyone chose to be a janitor.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

      Because the freedom at issue is the freedom to choose WHETHER you want to have children or the freedom to choose WHAT you want to be not the specific choice.

      • Therese
        February 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

        Well, don’t we already live in a world where everyone has the freedom to decide whether to vaccinate or not? Seeing how no one is getting held down and injected with vaccines against their will? How would this world you are imagining be different from the one we are currently in?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          February 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

          The exemptions would be revoked and the penalties for not vaccinating would be more stringent.

          • Therese
            February 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

            Actually, probably the single most effective thing that could be done to destroy the anti-vaccine movement would be to outlaw the internet. In our pre-internet world we were able to eradicate polio and smallpox all the while allowing for voluntary vaccination. I wonder if according to John Rawls the government banning the internet would be moral? I’m thinking yes, better to live in a world where people are not dying of VPD than to have the internet. And the right to decide what happens to your own body is definitely more important than the right to access the internet.

          • mythsayer
            February 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

            Okay…. here’s the thing. While the internet has made everyone an “expert” on everything, it’s not the only reason why some people don’t believe in vaccinations. I am nearly 37 years old and was fully vaccinated as a child. I was born in 1978. My parents were born in 1944 and 1945. Do you know why vaccinating me wasn’t EVER an issue? BECAUSE THEY REMEMBER POLIO! THEY ACTUALLY BOTH HAD MEASLES. People 40 and younger… maybe even 45 and younger, don’t remember those things. They didn’t see the after effects of polio.

            I have a friend who doesn’t vaccinate his daughter because he has some belief that he got some stomach issue (he was sick, I’ll give him that… for a long time, too) from the flu vaccine. He knows they don’t cause autism. He’s just worried about other reactions and he apparently doesn’t trust big pharma.

            I asked him if he’d be totally fine with his daughter dying of whooping cough because there was an outbreak and she was too young to get the vaccine. AND HE SAID YES. What kind of stupid answer is that???? This guy is smart. Very smart. And yet, he’s still afraid of isolated bad reactions, very few of which would ever be as bad as the potential effects of a disease. There’s a better chance of dying from whooping cough or going blind from measles than there is of having a reaction so that that it causes a similar result.

          • Therese
            February 6, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

            Oh yeah, there have always been people who have chosen not to vaccinate. The difference was that before the internet, the people who chose not to vaccine weren’t in high enough numbers to threaten herd immunity. I doubt even Dr. Amy’s proposal would cause everyone to be vaccinated. There would still be people willing to home school and pay whatever penalties would be in place.

          • Samantha06
            February 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

            I had measles and all the childhood diseases as did all my siblings. My mother said it was horrible and very scary. A very good friend had polio as a child, and one leg was deformed. She always walked with a cane. She has since passed, but she would be mortified if she heard all the anti-vaxx garbage. These folks just haven’t seen it up close.
            As for your supposedly smart friend who says he’d be “fine” with is daughter dying of whooping cough…. well, he’s not so smart is he?. As I’ve said before, these folks, like the home birth crowd, focus on tiny, details that really are not too important in the big scheme of things. I think it’s their twisted way of rationalizing that they are “right” and they aren’t going to believe “big medicine, pharma, government”, what have you, because they “know better.” It’s the unreflective defiance Dr. Amy has been writing about.

          • KarenJJ
            February 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

            I doubt his daughter would be OK with dying of whooping cough… If only there was a way to protect kids better against that kind of mentality from their parents.

          • Samantha06
            February 6, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

            If that situation really happened, you’re right, he probably wouldn’t, but it does make you wonder!

          • Who?
            February 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

            He has the emotional maturity of a toddler, who, if pushed hard enough, will insist black is white.

            And if anything so dreadful were to happen, you can be sure he would insist to his dying day that nothing he could have done differently would have led to another outcome. Toddler again.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle
            February 6, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

            You know what scared the shit out of me in regards to pertussis? Googling and watching just how horrible it is for the kid/ babies who are experiencing it. I was pregnant and sobbed at the suffering. The people that really don’t think it is a big deal are delusional. My mom remembers kids in her town being paralyzed or killed by polio, meningitis, pertussis, and whatever else was going around. I don’t know why someone would be okay with that for their kids without having a really, really good reason.

          • Guesteleh
            February 6, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

            My aunt had meningitis as a kid, was hospitalized for a year and then in her early 50s suffered a massive stroke that was due to the damage from the meningitis. She died in a nursing home two years later, her mind totally gone. These people have no idea what they’re fucking with.

          • Guesteleh
            February 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

            I’m 49 and I dimly remember getting mumps (and being in agony). Don’t remember anything else.

          • yugaya
            February 7, 2015 at 1:05 am #

            Unfortunatelly not even first hand knowledge is enough – l am seeing the same antivaxxing crap just translated an copy pasted in my mother tongue, and our generation in my home country (’76 here) has parents around who survived a full blown smallpox epidemic.

        • Tosca
          February 6, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

          The anti-vaxxers are making the common mistake of confusing freedom to speak/act with freedom from *consequences* of that speech or action. No-one’s proposing the formation of a jack boot squad to burst into their home, hold down their child and forcibly vaccinate them. They’re proposing making it more difficult to access childcare and public schools if your child isn’t vaccinated. Raising the cost of not vaccinating, commensurate with the cost to public health.

          This is apparently an attack on Freedom. Oh, and being “mean” to anti-vaxxers on the internet or in person is “hate speech”. Yeah, I have quite a lot of experience with these loons…

          • Bugsy
            February 7, 2015 at 11:24 am #

            I love the idea of making it more difficult for anti-vaxxers to access childcare and schools. However, I suspect that many extreme anti-vaxxers may also homeschool; surely their children still participate in larger society. Would anti-vaxxers also willingly limit their kids’ exposure to other public areas where children congregate? The Disneyland case is an obvious example, but what about shopping malls, playgrounds, play groups, restaurants, the grocery store?

            It makes me wish that I had encouraged my anti-vaxxing friend to follow her husband’s paranoia…I mean dreams…to move to a random island in the South Pacific (to avoid chemtrails and toxins, of course). Wonder how many other anti-vaxxers could be convinced to remove themselves 100% from all traces of modern society?

    • Liz Leyden
      February 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      The decision not to have children doesn’t harm anyone else, unless you’re abandoning children you already have. The decision to become a janitor doesn’t harm anyone else. The decision not to vaccinate (assuming it’s not for medical reasons) harms people who are too young, immunocompromised, or didn’t seroconvert when vaccinated.

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

        My point was it would harm society if everyone made the same choice, so you can’t always decide what is moral by asking, “What would happen if everyone made this choice?”

        • Elaine
          February 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

          This discussion kind of distorts the categorical imperative. It was never that everyone should do the same thing, it was that the principle of action involved should be universally generalizable. “Pick the career you like” is more generalizable than “Be a janitor”. “Have kids or not according to your preference” is more generalizable than either alternative.

          But this does get murkier with vaccines, since anti-vaxxers could well argue that their principle of action is doing what they feel is scientifically best for their kids and that so should everyone, and then we’re trapped in the same endless argument about what is scientifically best. We have to stop letting them define the terms of the debate, but I’m not sure the discussion of the categorical imperative accomplishes that.

          • Therese
            February 6, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

            Thanks for clearing that up! I knew there was something wrong with how Rawls theory was being used but it’s been way too long since I studied philosophy to put my finger on what it was, exactly.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            February 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

            Actually, I think Kant has a lot to contribute to this because the only reason why anti-vax parents feel free to contemplate rejecting vaccines is because everyone else vaccinates. It’s the free rider problem; if everyone was a free rider, disaster would result.

          • Therese
            February 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

            You might be able to use Kant to prove anti-vaxxers are being immoral, but I would imagine Kant would absolutely be against forcing anyone to vaccinate. Ends don’t justify the means and all that. Can’t violate someone’s autonomy for the greater good.

          • Sia
            August 22, 2015 at 6:23 am #

            No one is forcing anyone.

          • Elaine
            February 7, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

            That’s true for some, but I have encountered anti-vaxers who think that measles, mumps, chicken pox, pertussis, etc. aren’t that bad and it wouldn’t be a big deal if they did come back. Whether they will start to change their tune if this does happen is anyone’s guess.

          • February 8, 2015 at 2:44 am #

            Yes, but the anti-vaxxers are wrong. Measles, mumps, chicken pox, pertussis, diphtheria, etc are a big deal. Facts matter. You can’t do practical philosophy such as applying the categorical imperative to real world situations unless you understand what those real world situations are.

  24. Liz Leyden
    February 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Great post, but I have to disagree with the draft argument. First of all, the US hasn’t had a draft since the 1970s. Are you referring to signing up for Selective Service? Second, Vietnam-era draft dodgers didn’t object to being harmed in war so much as they objected to being harmed in a needless war. As far as I know, there was no organized anti-draft movement in WWII.

    Before anyone calls me a traitor, my father-in-law was a WWII vet, one of my grandfathers got a Purple Heart in WWII, one of my sisters is recently-retired military, and a number of my mother’s relatives were drafted into Vietnam. One came back with a heroin addiction. I’m also very much pro-vax, living in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

    • Mac
      February 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      My grandfather didn’t object to being harmed in WWII, but he did object to being forced to take another’s life. He didn’t think soldiers who did fight and took lives were horrible or murders it was just something he didn’t want to have to live with. After he was sent off to basic training something happen that caused him to be honorably discharge and he always considered it to be an answered prayer.

    • Siri
      February 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

      If everyone dodged the draft and/or refused to take up arms to harm or kill others, the result would be world peace.

      • yugaya
        February 7, 2015 at 1:15 am #

        You are an optimist. When there are no proper armies or governments willing to start or fight wars , humans will improvise.

    • anon
      February 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      You just plain don’t know history. Every single war with a draft in the US (including WW2) had an anti-draft movement. So your statement “As far as I know, there was no organized anti-draft movement in WWII.” is (1) incorrect, (2) indicates that you really don’t know anything.

  25. JJ
    February 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    I love this post, especially the John Rawls part. We have our freedom limited in many ways even with our children. I know there are some groups (HSLDA) that seem to think that CPS and any oversight of your child’s education is infringing on parental rights. I want to live in a country where you must provide your child with a basic education and medical care.

    Vaccination is especially important because it protects all the members of society. It is hard for people to partake in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” if they are dying due to others bad choices.

    We even have to wear seatbelts and helmets in our state! Where will the totalitarianism end?

  26. Lisa C
    February 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    I think that forced vaccinations are unlikely to ever be a reality in the US but I think what would be effective is:

    1. Remove all personal exemptions for vaccination in public schools and daycares. This forces the parent to either vaccinate or keep their kids at home.
    2. Allow insurance companies to refuse to cover vaccine preventable illnesses in children whose parents failed to vaccinate them for a non-medical reason. And the hospitals / clincs / doctors that have to treat the child with a vaccine preventable illness should sue the parents if they fail to pay for services rendered.
    3. Allow civil suits against the parents of children who didn’t vaccinate for a non-medical reason if the CDC can provide the non-vaccinated child infected your child.

    All three of these things makes the anti-vaxxer put their money and livelihood where their mouth is.

    On a side note, I was listening to Good Morning America this morning and their was an anti-vaxxer being interviewed that said she didn’t want to inject her child with “unknown toxins”. Apparently she doesn’t understand that the only difference between a medicine and a poison is dosage.

    • Are you nuts
      February 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

      I love this. I kind of squirm at the thought of the government mandating a medical procedure, but I am very much in favor of anti-vaxxers being financially responsible for their actions.

    • GiddyUpGo123
      February 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      Yep, I think those three things would actually get the vaccine rates back up to acceptable levels. Particularly the personal exemption removal for public schools–unless they are very affluent, many families simply couldn’t afford to give up their day jobs to keep their kids out of public school.

    • MegaMechaMeg
      February 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      The public school and daycare thing feels to me like it very adeptly addresses the root cause of the problem with unvaccinated children without creating any ethical issues. Although public education is considered a right in this country, we do not allow children to attend if they pose a risk to the other children. When you get a bunch of unprotected people in a group a disease can spread quickly and easily, so it is in the best interest of public health that these children be disallowed from participating in events where they might be grouped together. I feel as though it is consistant from a bodily autonomy and human rights perspective because you are not forcing anybody to inject anything into their bodies, you are just disallowing them from creating a risk to other people’s bodies. It places to onus of responsibility on the parents for creating the problem and protects the children whose parents made the responsible choice for them.

      • Mac Sherbert
        February 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

        Thank you. My thoughts almost exactly.

      • Wren
        February 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

        Honestly, it doesn’t. It would do nothing in those households that already home school and places like Disneyland and even the local park could still be hotbeds of infection.

    • Samantha06
      February 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

      Add to that, “immunity” (pun intended) for doctors and other healthcare providers against lawsuits for refusing to accept non-vaccinated children into their practices, or firing parents who do not comply.

    • just me
      February 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

      #3 would be hard to definitively prove tho

    • February 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

      Longtime lurker breaking in to say the only time I was immunized as a child, other than as an infant, was when my parents needed vaccination records to prove I existed to the IRS. We got away with it because my brother and I were homeschooled.

      The homeschooling movement and the anti-vaxx movement have started to blend together. Most of them will be more than happy to keep their kids home with the government’s blessing. Or at least, that’s how they’ll interpret it.

      So no, telling parents that they HAVE to vaccinate their kids or they can’t go to public school would just serve to cement an ideological alliance that NOBODY sane would want.

      • yugaya
        February 7, 2015 at 1:25 am #

        It is already bundled together into the whole homebirth microbiome exclusive breastfeeding not vaccinting natural biodeterminism doctrine. Honestly, that underlying narrative of biological superiority and bodily purity scares me.

    • Elaine
      February 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      2 seems like it would only hurt the kids when the parents decide to instead treat them at home with lemon juice or whatever the whackaloon treatment of choice is. I wouldn’t be that opposed to 1 or 3 though. If non-vaccinating parents choose to homeschool their kids, it keeps them from infecting other kids in the schools, and also it segregates those underprotected kids from society somewhat, which gives them a little more protection from disease than what their parents chose to give them.

      • Amy M
        February 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

        This is a good point, I wouldn’t want to prevent a child from getting medical care if he needs it. Kid has no control over his parents’ ridiculous notions. I hope those kids decide to get vaccinated when they grow up. What if hospitals had a strictly enforced waiting/triage room for suspected VPD cases to keep everyone else in the hospital safe? Though I can certainly see the logistical challenges there, and I’m not sure how they could strictly enforce it, in theory, it would be a good idea, I think.

        • Sia
          August 22, 2015 at 6:21 am #

          What about allowing the kids (through guardian ad litem) who survive the VPDS to sue their parents for negligence?

    • Tosca
      February 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

      I think a refinement to #2 would be to raise the premiums an anti-vaxxer has to pay for health insurance. They charge extra for behaviours that are a known health risk, don’t they?

      • Samantha06
        February 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

        I like that strategy too. Hit them in the wallet.

      • Guest
        February 6, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

        Our health insurance makes us declare if any of us are smokers, and if we were, our premiums would be higher. Makes total sense to me!

    • The Great Queen Spider
      February 8, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

      It’s pretty sad when the schools are more concerned with banning peanuts more than unvaccinated kids. You raise really good points, I couldn’t agree more.

  27. GiddyUpGo123
    February 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    I was pretty thrilled to hear that lawmakers in my state (California) are proposing a ban on personal exemptions. I really hope it passes, and passes quickly. As I was reading up about the proposal I found a link to a page that lists the personal exemption rates for all the different schools in California, and I about fell out of my chair when I learned that our school has a 21 percent exemption rate. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad. Then I learned that three of the five schools in the town about fifteen minutes north of here have an exemption rate of 70 percent. Now I’m thinking I should put a bubble around my house and homeschool.

    I can’t believe there are that many stupid people in my area.

    • Roadstergal
      February 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

      I need to get going on a letter-writing campaign for that one.

    • Lisa C
      February 6, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

      Did you see the article on Mommyish. I literally LOL’d at the title “California May End Personal Belief Exemptions, You Can Already Taste Those Sweet Anti-Vaxxer Tears” (http://www.mommyish.com/2015/02/05/california-personal-belief-vaccine-exemption/#ixzz3QzSP2vtG)

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        Oh my god, I just LOLed too. Hahaha!!

    • Ada Barnes
      February 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      What is of concern, though, is that the difference between a religious and a philosophical objection can be murky. There are plenty of parents in my state who file religious exemption when their objection is obviously personal, because who’s counting? No further verification of religious affiliation is required. That said, I’m also fortunate to live in a state with some of the highest compliance rates in the nation. It’s just the pockets that worry me.

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

        You can never really trust the news to get the facts right, but I did read that it was going to be both a ban on both personal and religious exemptions, though one of the two lawmakers proposing the ban said he would “consider” leaving a religious exemption. I hope that doesn’t happen, because I worry a lot about people trying to establish a “Church of Wacky Nature Stupidity” in an effort to get around the ban.

        • just me
          February 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

          I contacted him and urged him to remove the religious one too

        • Amy
          February 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

          I saw, albeit years ago, on MDC, someone creating drafts of religious belief exemption letters that referenced mainstream religions. Like one had wording along the lines of, “As Catholics, we believe that God created our bodies and we should not tamper with their immune systems,” even though the Catholic church does NOT have a single teaching against vaccines. The only possible established religion I could see getting away with it based on their well-documented doctrines would be the Christian Science Church, but as I’m not a member myself, I can’t say for sure.

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

          This is currently happening in Australia. The local vaccine loons have “started” a “church”, the sole purpose of which is to provide a “religion” that forbids vaccination. It won’t stand up if challenged. And it will be challenged, I promise you that.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        February 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

        No religious exemption nor personal belief exemptions should be allowed. They are the same thing. One’s religious beliefs are personal beliefs of ones own. If someone wants to follow their religious beliefs and not vaccinate , they are free to do so, they are also free to send their kids to a school that shares their religious beliefs. They are NOT free to endanger other people by not vaxing and thereby being a potential disease vector and public health hazard.

        • just me
          February 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

          Yup, religion should never trump public health.

          • MegaMechaMeg
            February 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

            to be fair, there is a long a storied tradition of religion trumping women’s health so it isn’t like there isn’t precident…

        • GiddyUpGo123
          February 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

          I thought I read somewhere that there aren’t actually any religions that officially oppose vaccination, so it’s all just a way to get around the school requirements anyway. Though I may be remembering that wrong … anybody know?

          • The Great Queen Spider
            February 8, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

            Christian Scientist’s do I bet, they reject all medicine.

      • Sia
        August 22, 2015 at 6:19 am #

        Either way, you’re believing something based on no evidence.

    • JJ
      February 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      We may live in the same area. Our school had a 16% PB exemption and some schools about 45 minutes away had 70% plus! I really hope the PB exemption ends and soon.

      • GiddyUpGo123
        February 6, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

        Me too! We’re in Nevada County, Grass Valley area. Nevada City has all the 70 percent schools. I find the numbers really appalling.

        • JJ
          February 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

          That’s where I thought you were. Maybe we should walk around Nevada City together and hand out pro-vaccination literature 🙂

        • just me
          February 6, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

          A small district in my county has 70% e too

        • Amy
          February 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

          My brother-in-law’s hometown! Ground zero for crunchiness, isn’t it?

    • Deborah Rowan
      February 6, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      When I moved to Arizona, it was easier to sign the PB exemption form than to dig out my kids’ vaccination records.

    • Dr Kitty
      February 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm #


      Have you seen this?
      It’s pretty good at explaining herd immunity and why a 70% vaccination rate is not good enough.

    • The Great Queen Spider
      February 8, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      You need something stronger than a bubble around your house, like heat seeking missiles

  28. Amy M
    February 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Like I said before, if you (an anti-vaccinator) want to exercise your right to refuse a vaccine for yourself and/or your children, you should not be complaining when others exercise their right to safety, and restrict you from being public places like schools and doctor’s offices.

    Maybe the anti-vaxxers can set up a commune sort of thing, where they are all free to avoid vaccines and eschew medical care as they see fit and the rest of society would be free to avoid them like the plagues they carry.

    (Yes, I know that can’t really happen.)

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