Stupid stuff anti-vaxxers say

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Is there anything more pathetic than an anti-vaxxer who imagines that she’s knowledgeable?

They’re like automatons, cheerfully repeating nonsense that impressed them. And they’re boring. They all say the same stupid stuff.

Here’s a list of stupid stuff anti-vaxxers say, and what it means to smart, truly educated people who are listening.

1. Do your research!

Anti-vax to English translation: Read the same anti-vax fake news sites I’ve read.

2. There has never been an randomized controlled trial (RCT) of vaccines vs. placebo!

Anti-vax to English translation: I don’t understand that there are many different forms of scientific evidence. While RCTs are the gold standard when it is ethical to use them, there are many other tests of validity when it is not ethical to perform an RCT.

3. I’m not anti-vaccine; I’m pro safe vaccines!

Anti-vax to English translation: I’m an anti-vaxxer.

4. Watch this YouTube video!

Anti-vax to English translation: I know so little about science that I don’t understand that citing YouTube is a mark of gullibility.

5. Here’s link to a scientific paper that shows vaccines are harmful!

Anti-vax to English translation: I never read this paper (nor any other scientific paper) and I have no idea what it shows.

6. It’s a conspiracy!

Anti-vax to English translation: I’m so gullible that I actually imagine that nearly all doctors, research scientists, and public health officials IN THE WORLD, are plotting to harm all children including THEIR OWN.

7. Big Pharma!

Anti-vax to English translation: I don’t understand that vaccines are so unprofitable for pharmaceutical companies that the government must provide special benefits in order to induce the pharmaceutical companies to continue to produce them.

8. Too many vaccines at once are harmful!

Anti-vax to English translation: I don’t realize that a baby is exposed to more antigens in an afternoon at the playground than if he were to received all possible vaccines at once.

9. There are more vaccines than ever AND more cases of autism than ever!

Anti-vax to English translation: I don’t understand that correlation is not causation. The breastfeeding rate has not been this high for nearly a century. By my reasoning breastfeeding causes autism.

10. I’m educated about vaccines

Anti-vax to English translation: I’m an idiot.

The sad fact is that most of what anti-vaxxers think they “know” is factually false and they know so little about immunology, science or statistics that they are profoundly ignorant of their ignorance.

  • Brackonfire

    When all my children were lined up a couple months ago for their flu shot at the PED office I messaged my bff on Facebook that afternoon “Got the kids lined up to get their shill shots. Hoping they don’t sprout a visible tail. If so I will inform you first” we are both pro vax so we constantly make stupid vaccine conspiracy jokes when it’s our children’s turns to get their shots. That’s as close as I get to being anti vax.

  • Amy

    I wish we had a cold vaccine. I can feel a cold/sinus infection coming on and I know it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. Every year right before Christmas. >:(

    • Chi

      I hear you and I feel your pain. Hubby brought home a friggin nasty cold which started with a sore throat and progressed to horrendous runny nose and sneezing, with accompanying sinus headaches and general feeling of shittiness.

      Whilst I am now mostly over the sneezing and runny nose, I still have a scratchy throat and I am beginning to get increasing sinus pain behind my right eye which is shooting down into my teeth. A sure sign that a secondary sinus infection is brewing.

      I’m hoping I can head it off because my mother is currently having chemo and IVIG treatment for CIDP and is immunocompromised so I don’t want to bring something like this down and infect her with it. If it made me this miserable, it could probably do a lot of damage to her.

  • Gene

    We are in the midst of a particularly horrid RSV season. All of the PICUs are full and one infant I saw within the past week crumped and almost died in front of me (and when I say almost, I mean I was peeing my pants scared and that says a lot). I have said multiple times every shift: I HATE RSV. It keeps me in business, but I HATE it. It kills babies and the only treatment is supportive (oxygen). No vaccine.

    Now, if there was an effective vaccine (and I know people are working on it), my business would suffer. I get PAID when people get sick or hurt. And the day they announce a vaccine, I will do the hootchie coochie dance in celebration.

    • Taysha

      I thought there was a vax for RSV but it’s only given to high-risk kids on a case-by-case basis (second hand information from a friend who always fights for her preemie kid to get it)

      • Gene

        That’s Synagis. It’s actually an antibody. And only given to very high risk populations like preemies under 28wks. It requires a monthly shot and is not long term.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      this, i’d love to see, i like a good happy dance

  • Heidi_storage

    OT: After a very pleasant, 5-hour, induced labor replete with pitocin, epidurals, and antibiotics, we welcomed a healthy baby boy. He seems to be feeding well from me (and of course is getting his vaccines and eye drops).

    • Sue

      Wow – congrats!!

    • Inmara


    • MI Dawn

      Welcome, Baby_storage! May you continue to thrive (even though your mom is filling you with teh toxins!!!)

      • Nick Sanders

        Baby_storage sounds like a name for the womb. Or the cheapest daycare ever…

    • momofone


    • Empress of the Iguana People


    • Heidi


    • StephanieJR


    • Sean Jungian

      How wonderful, congratulations!

    • moto_librarian


    • Mel


    • Nick Sanders

      Congrats to you and your baby! So glad to hear he is healthy and doing well!

    • MaineJen

      Yay! Welcome, baby!

  • Mariana

    What really gets me is the conspiracy theory… That all the doctors in all the world are conspiring against all the children.

    There is a similar problem here in Brazil regarding a “cancer cure”. A lot of people claim that we’ll never find a cancer cure because treating cancer is so profitable! But imagine, how much more profitable would a easy and simple cure be?! And they forget cancer is not really just one disease… When I point these 2 things out I get called a “sell out”! Or sheeple.

    If there was really a cancer cure, why would doctors and researchers die of cancer just like the rest of us? Wouldn’t they use this superior drug on themselves and their families? Are they that determined to keep it a secret?

    I sometimes get the feeling some people just want to be angry at something… And probably feeling all angry and righteous makes them feel more in control

    • Angela

      Exactly. Cancer is something that affects everyone. If you don’t end up getting it yourself, you’re going to know someone close to you who will get it. Why would a cure be covered up? It makes no sense.

    • mabelcruet

      I don’t think they forget that cancer is not just one disease-I think they don’t actually know that cancer is more than one disease, and simply don’t realise that there are hundreds of different types of cancer. In their minds, it’s all the same thing because they have absolutely no concept of how complex this area is.

  • shay simmons

    You forgot “you’re all shills!”

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      You forgot “your all shills!”


  • Damester

    I love this article so much. 🙂

  • sdsures

    Have you heard of the FB group “Things Anti-Vaxxers Say”?

    • Steph858

      The response to the ‘My toddler swallowed a coin’ over there seems a bit harsh. Such a question could have been asked by anyone, not just an anti-vaxxer. Looking in from the outside it’s easy to say “OMG, what are you doing wasting time on Facebook; you MUST get to A&E ASAP!” But after a few such trips where you end up sitting in the waiting room for 5 hours with a tetchy toddler only to be told, “Meh, give him some Calpol and let him sleep it off,” you become rather reluctant to go to A&E ‘Just in case’.

      • Gæst

        Um, yeah. My son swallowed a nickel when he was a toddler. He has always been vaccinated. And I did not, in fact, race to the ER with him (though I did call the pediatrician).

        • Steph858

          I don’t remember everything clearly because I was only about 5 at the time, but my little sister swallowed a coin when she was 2 or 3. My mum called our GP Surgery and their advice was: “Keep an eye on her poop. Call us back if you don’t see a coin in it within the next 4 days.” Sure enough, 2 days later she’d pooped it out.

          Which is why I thought that presenting the post as “What an idiot!” was unfair. Yes, she should probably looking to her GP or similar for advice rather than a random Facebook group but, unlike in my mum’s day, social services have a habit of getting involved at the tiniest provocation ‘Just in case’. I can understand why they do it since in the past when they were too reluctant to get involved the results were tragic, but it can seem like the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

          So the poster in question might be turning to Facebook because she’s scared that if she calls her GP and asks for advice the result might be social services taking her kids away; because clearly, any parent who doesn’t watch their kids like a hawk 24/7 is guilty of neglect.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            My brother swallowed a penny when he was 5 and I 16 and watching him. I called Mom (at work) and she basically took the attitude of “This too shall pass”

      • Heidi

        Heh, I very much remember being 3 or 4 years old and intentionally swallowing a coin. I never even told my parents. I guess I pooped it out at some point.

        • Roadstergal

          I swallowed a dime as a little girl. Accidentally. I was a fourth kid; parents did watchful waiting. :p (I was fine.)

      • sdsures

        I certainly hope she’s not choking and turning a funny shade of blue and purple.

  • Madtowngirl

    Not that I ever was an anti-vaxxer, but taking college-level microbiology was really an awesome way to learn how our immune systems work (my prof had a PhD in immunology, so the course was slanted that way). It’s too bad that it’s not part of the average high school curriculum….not that it would make much difference with the existence of the Google University mentality.

  • Angela

    Or, they insist that their “research” is real because they use Pubmed. “Just search pubmed!” they say. But, you have to be able to put the study in context and understand what it’s saying. I can’t do that. I don’t think they can either. That’s why I defer to the consensus of people who can.

    • shay simmons

      How many of them actually search PubMed and how many just copy/paste studies that they found on anti-vaxx sites and that — hilariously often — don’t support their argument?

      Those are the fun ones.

      • Sue

        LOTS. If you search a bit of their cut-and-paste you find those lists copied from anti-vax page to page – spreading like a vaccine-preventable infection!

    • Sue

      And they assume that just reading and accepting the conclusion in the abstract of cherry-picked articles is just as good as it gets.

      For me, keeping up with critical review of the medical literature means attending ongoing courses and conferences at least yearly, over decades, as well as conducting original research, and many years spent going to journal clubs, assessing trainee research etc etc. And I STILL don’t feel as confident as I would like.

  • Mel

    A sad commentary on how anti-vaxers have changed infectious diseases in the USA: One benefit of having a micro-preemie is that Spawn will receive his first sets of vaccinations while in NICU where visitors are screened for any sort of illness and everyone scrubs in and out.

    My parents didn’t have to worry about my sister and I being exposed to pertussis or measles when we were premature infants, but I’m relieved that my son will have at least some basic immunity to pertussis before he leaves the hospital.


    And no, I sure as hell don’t trust whatever lightweight antibodies that Spawn might get through my breast milk as a form of protection.

    • cookiebaker

      Thanks for the regular updates on your little trooper! It sounds like he’s in good hands. Were you able to get the Tdap shot in the last trimester or did you deliver before it was time?

      • Mel

        I delivered at 26 weeks so I had not gotten the TdaP or my yearly influenza shot – ironically, I was going to get it at my next OB appointment.

    • Allie

      They do pertussis at birth? I’m in Canada, and our first set of recommended vaccines, including pertussis, is at 2 months. Just curious. LO has had all hers on time and as recommended (who am I to question a panel of experts?), except for flu. We always have the best of intentions, but it does tend to get towards the bottom of the to-do list. I wish a truck would come around the neighborhood playing music, and we could just run out, get the shot, and a hot chocolate or a steamed milk as a treat (too cold for ice cream).

      • Steph858

        Brit here. I can’t remember exactly how old my son was when he got his first lot of shots but I think it was 2 or 3 months. He was born at 34 weeks and in NICU for a month but the only vaccine he got before leaving the hospital was his BCG (to protect against TB). And not every child gets a BCG in the UK; my son only got it because his daddy is from Bangladesh which has one of the highest rates of TB in the world, so I guess my son’s risk of exposure is higher than most British babies because his dad could bring it back with him after a holiday ‘back home’.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Ours are recommended at 2 months, too. As a micro-preemie, Spawn might still be in the NICU on his 2nd month. He may also just have different rules. My term NICU grad was only in for a few days, and only given the vitamin K and hep shots.

        NEVER too cold for ice cream!

      • Mel

        We do it at 8 weeks as well. My little guy was born 14 weeks premature so he’ll be in the NICU for those shots.

        I like the flu vaccine truck idea. My only disagreement is the lack of ice cream; I don’t think it’s ever too cold for ice cream, but we do live in the more temperate area of southern Michigan :-).

  • Taysha

    You forgot to add “repeat ad nauseum” and “call out strawmen like ‘when will aluminum be put in prenatal vitamins'”

    • shay simmons

      Oooh…and what about the “200 new vaccines in the pipeline” warning?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        That’s a warning? Sounds like an optimistic promise to me. Also remember, even if it’s true, the ratio of compounds starting in the pipeline to approved drugs is about 100:1, and that may be optimistic, depending on what you mean by “in the pipeline”. If you’re starting with in vitro studies, add at least an order of magnitude. So we might get 2 new vaccines out of that pipeline. Or none.

        • shay simmons

          YOu silly sheeple…don’t you know BIG PHARMA bribes the CDC to approve all vaccines and then pays the FDA to make them mandatory?

          Or is it the FDA that’s bribed to approve all vaccines and the CDC that…no wait.

  • Cyndi

    You forgot “Just watch Vaxxed”.

    • MaineJen

      It’s the new “Just watch the Business of Being Born!!!1!”

      • Steph858

        The one that ends with her having a C-Section for IUGR? Well, my response would be: “Exactly the same thing happened to me. The main difference between out situations was that I kept on top of my ultrasounds, dopplers, fetal heartbeat monitoring etc so my C-Section was done under planned (and therefore relatively calm) conditions as opposed to in a mad rush at the last minute when it had become an emergency like hers was.”

        TL;DR: How would a wooist suggest that I could have avoided a C-Section when their star hero of TBoBB was unable to under the same circumstances?

        Don’t answer that, I already know: unicorn farts and wishful thinking. If only I’d inhaled a few more unicorn farts my son wouldn’t have suffered from IUGR.

  • Lemongrass

    On the lack of RCT, Logic of Science put it well:

    “Randomized controlled trials are the most powerful experimental tool for establishing causation, but the other methods are perfectly capable of showing a lack of causation. For example, case-controlled trials can only show correlation, not causation, but since a lack of correlation also means a lack of causation, they can be very powerful tools for showing that two things are not causally related. So if you were arguing that vaccines cause autism, then a lack of randomized controlled trials would be potentially problematic (depending on the strength of the other studies, especially the cohort studies), but the lack of randomized controlled trials is really irrelevant for a negative result.”

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      We do not have to have RCT to show that humans cannot fly without hanggliders, balloons, airplanes, or helicopters.

      • AA
        • Azuran

          But it doesn’t prove that humans can’t fly. Maybe they just didn’t look enough. After all, how can you be sure that no human can fly unless you test all of them? 😉

          • Proponent

            Re: Humans flying

            I’ve been practicing throwing myself at the ground.. and missing.

            Getting there..

          • shay simmons

            Baby steps.

        • kfunk937

          That is now my new favourite paper. Thanks.

          Previously, it was this one, which stands as a great example of what is publishable in bottom-feeding journals. Such as those favoured by anti-vaxxers.