More and more parents in the U.S. are reportedly opting out of vaccinating their children. These completely healthy, unvaccinated kids are walking around spreading whooping cough and measles to fully-protected vaccinated children.
That’s what the media says.
The World Health Organization shows that since 1991 there has been a huge increase in the number of children getting vaccines in this country, but the media’s version is more interesting.
Let’s look at some of the most commonly reported reasons.
Parents who don’t vaccinate are terrified. They may not obsess about polio and paralysis because 95% of polio cases have no symptoms and 99% of all cases recover completely within 7-10 days, but they’re scared of something for sure.
In fact, when there is a measles outbreak, parents who don’t vaccinate know that the media uses scare tactics based on partial data. The measles death rate is often quoted as 1 out of 1,000 cases and the complications rate calculated as 30%. These rates are based on how many cases used to be reported by a doctor (about 500,000 per year), not how many cases actually occurred (3-4 million per year).
Parents who don’t vaccinate aren’t the ones standing in long lines to get their shots because of 15 cases of measles.
Still, parents who don’t vaccinate are probably afraid.
Their doctors definitely are, apparently because of reasons other than disease. A pediatrician who won’t accept clients unless they fully vaccinate on schedule wrote this article, in which he states:
“It’s not merely that I don’t want to have to worry that the two-week-old infant in my waiting room is getting exposed to a potentially-fatal case of pertussis if these parents bring their children in with a bad cough. It’s not just that I don’t want their kid to be the first case of epiglottitis I’ve ever seen in my career. Those are reasons enough, to be sure. But they’re not all. What breaks the deal is that I would never truly believe that these parents trust me. Giving kids vaccines is the absolute, unambiguous standard of care, as easy an answer as I will ever be able to offer. If they don’t trust me about that, how can I hope they would if the questions ever got harder?”
This man is a doctor. If a parent is hesitant about drug safety (vaccines are drugs), he should sit down and discuss these concerns rather than booting them out of his office. That’s his job. If the topic of vaccines is such an easy answer, and he is so sure that the vaccines would save these children’s lives, why is he kicking parents out of his office rather than taking the time to present the clear, unambiguous scientific evidence that he is apparently in possession of?
It sounds like the real fear here is that parents might become involved in their child’s healthcare instead of explicitly trusting their doctor without question. I mean, his unvaccinated patients could spread pertussis, even though vaccinated people can also spread it just as easily. Which you’d think a doctor would know. But parental involvement and questioning your doctor… you definitely don’t want those scary thought-diseases going around.
Oh and by the way, I assume when the pediatrician brought up epiglottis that he was referring to how it’s associated with Haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB), which there is a vaccine for. However, epiglottis can be caused by Streptococcus A (which also causes strep throat), B or C; fungi such as those that cause diaper rash or yeast infections, smoking crack cocaine, burning your throat from drinking hot beverages, or injuries such as trauma to the throat.
There aren’t vaccines for any of those things. Since he’s a pediatrician, though, he probably already knows that- even though he didn’t tell the rest of us.
#2. They’ve forgotten what these diseases look like.
Parents who don’t vaccinate have short memories. Most of them live in a bubble sheltered from illness, the media, the internet, cameras, and being alive before 1957 when 98% of the population used to get measles.
Despite their short memories, most parents who don’t vaccinate are aware that measles looks a rash, like this picture of measles:
And they’re fully aware that in less than 1% of cases polio looked like an iron lung (which has been replaced with other forms of life support) or paralysis; even death in less than half a percent of cases.
But the rest of the time, polio looked like this:
These parents are also painfully aware of what vaccine injuries look like because they’ve experienced them first-hand or have seen their babies suffer from them.
They’re aware that vaccine injuries look like this:
And this woman who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after she received a swine flu shot in 1976 (GBS is still a reported side effect of vaccines today):
When most people think of a vaccine injury, they usually think of a sore arm or rare allergic reaction to the component in the vaccine. If this were the extent of it than the benefits of vaccination would likely outweigh the risks. But vaccine injuries more often look like ear infections, autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes and MS; atopy, allergies, seizures, brain damage and inflammation, and neurological disorders (yes, including autism), and death.
The Institute of Medicine has a summary of other reactions which you can view here.
Vaccine injuries and death are more common than some people realize. Even though most vaccine inserts state that the risks of vaccines are very low, only about 1% of serious adverse drug events are ever reported to the FDA. This is likely due to both a lack of awareness about where and how to report vaccine reactions (VAERS) and a reluctance of medical personnel to acknowledge that vaccines can and do frequently cause serious injury and death. Parents are often hesitant to talk about their experiences because of the ridicule and even hate that they face from family, friends and others; and a general public belief that these reactions are rare and/or attributable to other things.
Questioning the safety of vaccines is practically taboo in today’s society and these parents are often left struggling medically and financially with vaccine injuries on their own.
#3. That British doctor guy said that the MMR causes autism.
His study was retracted, you know.
Yep, Andrew Wakefield, is responsible for the whole anti-vaccination movement.
Well, other than those people in Leicester, England who were against the smallpox vaccine (the first vaccine) being forced on their children.
The movement first started to grow when parents who refused to vaccinate their children were imprisoned for their refusal. After thousands of such imprisonments, the city of Leicester finally held an anti-vaccination demonstration with 80,000-100,000 people, which became known as The Leicester Demonstration March of 1885.
Christopher Charlton, who specializes in British local history and topography, recorded the scene as described by J.T. Biggs: there were 700 banners in which other cities in England sent their support for Leicester’s fight for “health and liberty”, a child’s coffin inscribed with the words, “Another victim of vaccination” was present at the scene, and songs and hymns were sung.
Their cries included, “Better a felon’s cell than a poisoned babe,” and, “We protect our offspring.”
Yep, parents who lived and breathed in the days of smallpox and saw it with their own eyes were opting to be imprisoned by the thousands rather than submit their children to the smallpox vaccine.
Leicester was finally granted the right to refuse vaccination. By quarantining the ill they were able to keep smallpox successfully at bay and their children and young people in that town remained almost completely unvaccinated.
Mass vaccination never did end up eliminating smallpox: ultimately it was a technique borrowed from The Leicester Method and named ring vaccination. Ring vaccination, which relies on first quarantining the person sick with smallpox and vaccinating only those who’ve had contact with them, is still the preferred method in the CDC’s Smallpox Response Plan.
So long before Dr. Wakefield, there were all of those people who turned out to be right about the smallpox vaccine.
Oh, and there were also those doctors in 1896 who spoke out in public hearings against vaccines.
And the anti-vaccination societies and leagues established in America in the late 1880s, which also fought against vaccine mandates.
There was also the anti-vaccine movement in the 1970s-1990s when parents realized that the DTP vaccine was causing convulsions, collapse/shock, brain inflammation and permanent brain damage. FDA-backed studies confirming these reactions were done in the late 1970s. It turns out these parents were right, too. It only took 2 decades of vaccine-injured children and their dedicated parents to change what the FDA knew was a dangerous vaccine: in 1998 the DTP was finally withdrawn from the childhood vaccine schedule in favor of the less effective but supposedly safer DTaP vaccine.
Then there was Andrew Wakefield and his study in 1998.
Few people actually read Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s study, which concludes with the words:
“We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.”
Yet he lost his license in Britain, was essentially run out of his home country and will be ridiculed and disdained probably for the rest of his life; much like Ignaz Semmelweis, the doctor who first suggested the germ theory (which was deemed unscientific at the time).
Dr. Wakefield still practices medicine and works with autistic children in Texas.
So yeah, that’s the guy who started the anti-vaccine movement. Or maybe some people just said he did. It’s probably his fault, though.
The anti-vaccine movement must be someone’s fault because parents probably aren’t smart enough to research if certain drugs are necessary or beneficiary for their children all on their own. So if it wasn’t a doctor it was probably a celebrity. Yeah, let’s go with that.
#4. Jenny McCarthy
(Review reason #3.)
I guess Jenny McCarthy is cooler than Amanda Peet.
#5. Thimerosal and Autism
When will this topic just go away!? Probably when thimerosal is taken out of all childhood vaccines. Although it was recommended to be removed in 1999, removal of thimerosal has never been mandated or enforced.
A study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published in August 2013 makes a good point (for reference, TM stands for thimerosal):
“Additionally, through 2010, the CDC progressively widened the age range for annual flu vaccination until, effectively, young children were recommended to get two doses of flu vaccine initially and then receive an additional dose annually for the rest of their lives. In regard to pregnant women, CDC also removed the “second-and-third-trimester” restriction on flu shots [26,27,28]. Thus, even though reduced-TM and no-TM formulations were eventually approved by the FDA, exposure to TM through vaccination has remained widespread in the US. In 2013, more than half of all influenza vaccine doses are still TM-preserved. The net effect has been that, on average, lifetime Hg exposure from vaccines has actually increased compared to the lifetime exposure that a vaccinated person would have received under the CDC’s pre-2000 recommended vaccination schedule. Estimates are that the maximum lifetime exposure to TM a vaccinated person may receive is now more than double what it would have been had the pre-2000 vaccination schedule been maintained. Presently, in the United States, TM also remains a component in some other FDA-approved vaccine formulations including one DT and DTaP formulation, one multi-dose meningococcal meningitis vaccine, and a multi-dose TT vaccine . Therefore, on average, there has been no significant decrease of TM exposure in vaccine-schedule-compliant children in the USA.”
The conclusion of the article:
“The evidence suggests that the abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased GSH reserve capacity could explain why the adverse effects of TM are greater in a subpopulation of children with this susceptibility and why the subsequent brain insult is more pronounced in them, as has been shown repeatedly in the animal model.”
The article thoroughly discusses autism and thimerosal. It’s an interesting read but it’s long, so here’s a video that also explains a bit about mercury and the brain. Parents who don’t vaccinate use silly sources like YouTube, so it’s probably a lame video. Even though it was shown in a federal hearing addressing thimerosal and autism.
Parents who don’t vaccinate probably think “mercury” is all the same, though. They just don’t understand that ethylmercury (thimerosal), is a form of mercury that’s safe to inject into babies. Well, other than the study we just mentioned above. And the material safety data sheet on thimerosal, which says:
Chronic Effects on Humans:
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. May cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, liver, spleen, bone marrow, central nervous system (CNS).
Other Toxic Effects on Humans:
Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.
Special Remarks on Toxicity to Animals:
Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans:
May cause cancer based on animal data. No human data found. May cause adverse reproductive effects(female fertility – post implanation mortality, fetotoxicity)and birth defects. May affect genetic material.
Aside from thimerosal, though, parents really don’t need to worry, right?
There aren’t toxins in vaccines. Well, unless you count aluminum which has been linked to Alzeimer’s disease. But that’s in drinking water. We eat way more aluminum than the amount present in vaccines. In fact there’s more aluminum in breastmilk than in vaccines.
Of course, only 1% of aluminum in food is absorbed through the intestines into the blood while 100% of the aluminum in vaccines enters the bloodstream. Oh, and aluminum that enters through the mouth is absorbed into the GI tract and kidneys which is then quickly excreted out of the body. Vaccines bypass this process.
Here’s an interesting quote about that:
Author: Jose F Bernardo, MD, MPH, FASN; Chief Editor: Asim Tarabar, MD
“It is only when the GI barrier is bypassed, such as intravenous infusion or in the presence of advanced renal dysfunction, that aluminum has the potential to accumulate. As an example, with intravenously infused aluminum, 40% is retained in adults and up to 75% is retained in neonates.”
Formaldehyde, another proven toxin, is also in vaccines.
All of those other ingredients are probably fine, though.
Plus, parents who don’t vaccinate always claim that vaccines and their toxins are administered into the blood stream which just proves how ignorant those parents are. Vaccines are administered either into the muscle (intramuscular injection) or into fatty tissues (subcutaneous injection).
Of course, the vaccine ingredients are then absorbed into the bloodstream. So technically they’re right about that.
#7. They think their kids will be protected in the herd.
Parents who don’t vaccinate are free-riders.
After all, brave parents all around them are heroically marching their children to the doctor for their shots. You know, for the greater good. They know that vaccine adverse side effects are “unavoidable“, that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for injury or death due to the vaccines that they produce, and that if their child is injured by a vaccine they are pretty much on their own medically and financially, since it is incredibly difficult to prove a case in vaccine court and nearly as difficult to find a doctor who will side with you unless you have definitive proof that the vaccine caused your child’s injury. They’ve done their research. They’re just doing their societal duty- taking one for the team.
Of course, herd immunity doesn’t apply to whooping cough because vaccinated people can still be colonized with the bacteria and spread it to others, even without showing symptoms.
The top quartile (Q4) responded well to their first MMR vaccine and had high antibodies (meaning they were likely protected from catching measles). Then they were re-vaccinated with their second MMR. Within 6 months their antibody rates were at the same level or below what they had been to begin with before the second dose of vaccine, although they remained high enough to provide protection.
This was true of all four groups except the Q1 group, and some in the Q2 group. Their antibody levels did not go up very well after the first MMR vaccine, which means they had hardly any protection against measles. The levels went up a bit after the second MMR shot but dropped again as in the other groups.
The Q1, Q2 and possibly even Q3 groups could be susceptible to measles during an outbreak, although the higher the antibodies are the milder the disease would be for them.
Yet even with a mild case of measles you can still transmit the disease to others.
Not only that, without wild measles to boost the antibodies, after 25 years, 80% of those vaccinated are at levels deemed not protective against measles, which means they can catch and likely spread the disease to others.
To understand this study in greater depth, see this presentation given by immunologist Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych.
To read more about the theory of herd immunity, click here for a well-sourced article.
Once again, these parents are right- their children won’t be protected in the herd, because there is no protective herd.
#8. They hate medical care that saves lives.
Parents who don’t vaccinate would refuse every type of life-saving medical care. In fact, they’re all going to die out soon.
Or possibly they weigh the risks and benefits of each type of medical intervention and make their decision based on research.
#9. They want their kids to die.
Parents who don’t vaccinate have been warned. Their kids will die. Doctors tell them. Friends tell them. Family members tell them. Even though most of society has survived these diseases and grown up unscathed to complain about it. (I hear ya, Amy. Being sick so often without being allowed to watch what you wanted to on “the telly” must’ve been horrible.)
As we’ve already addressed with polio and measles, almost all of the viruses, bacteria and toxins that have available vaccines either present asymptomatically (no symptoms), or with mild symptoms, or can be prevented with a bit of care.
Yes, these diseases happen. Yes, sometimes people die. But people died more frequently in the early 1900s than they would today from these diseases, thanks to our improved hygiene and sanitation as well as a better knowledge of the importance of breastfeeding, which is why diseases such as scarlet fever (for which there is no vaccine), dropped alongside diseases for which vaccines were developed.
#10. Okay so they don’t want their kids to die… They just don’t know any better.
Parents who don’t vaccinate are uneducated. Ignorant. They are being lied to. They are looking at the wrongs sources for information.
Actually, a study published in July 2004 showed that parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are more likely to be college educated with an annual income of over 75,000 dollars. Another study published in May 2010 in Canada showed that daughters of parents with more education were less likely to be vaccinated against HPV.
Parents who don’t vaccinate get their information from the Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, also known as The Pink Book (which is a course textbook available for free on the CDC’s website), from package inserts, the Cochrane Collaboration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), numerous respected medical journals, and medical professionals.
Let’s pretend we didn’t read this.
Let’s keep reading media articles and emotional, fear-filled stories about how “scary” measles is and how our babies will die if we don’t vaccinate them. Let’s keep giving our business to doctors who don’t want to listen to how we want our children raised. Let’s keep pretending that this “anti-vaccine movement” is new, temporary and unfounded.
Let’s keep calling these parents who don’t vaccinate ignorant, irrational and uneducated. Let’s call them conspiracy theorists. Let’s use labels to brand them so we can pretend that they don’t have a rational voice.
Then we won’t have to put in the work. Take the time. Do the research. Speak up for the sake of our babies.
Let’s carry on with our day and pretend what’s happening is no big deal.
Let’s pretend none of this could happen to us.