Roald Dahl’s Message to Anti-vaccination Groups

 

“Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

‘Are you feeling all right?’ I asked her.

‘I feel all sleepy,’ she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was…in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her. On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles.

…I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.”

– Roald Dahl, 1986

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I know a medical doctor who tried to give his daughter aspirin when she was sick; I think it was also measles. Unfortunately the aspirin killed her. So tragic.

    • #1
  2. Chris Oler Coolidge
    Chris Oler
    @ChrisO

    No need for that comment now.

    Data says: unvaccinated child is at a lower risk than a vaccinated adult, as far as the current malady du jour is concerned.

    Data from UK also says Delta has a lower fatality rate.

    • #2
  3. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Not to be flippant or crass about this tragedy, but this seems to explain so much about the themes of his books: the world is a harsh and unfair place where decent and innocent people suffer and die, or experience fates worse than death, and regardless of bravery or hard work, attempts to stop or prevent those bad things will usually either fail or have only limited impact.  Finally, its up to those unjustly wronged by events or actions outside of their control to create their own happiness within the limits forced upon them.

    • #3
  4. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    Can you think of any benefit to such vaccination of young people?

    • #5
  6. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I think the government communication is all wrong on this vaccine.  Instead of saying masks will protect you and vaccines will protect you from getting the disease, the message should be:

    Masks will *not* protect you and the vaccine will *not* prevent you from getting Covid, which was made in a lab and will infect everyone on earth.  Everyone!  You *will* get Wuhan Lab Flu and getting a vaccine now will make you 10 times more likely to survive.  It is easier to get the vaccine than to loose 50 pounds, which will also cut your risk of dying by 10 times.

    Honesty will help and Americans hate dieting more than vaccines.

    • #6
  7. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    Can you think of any benefit to such vaccination of young people?

    I don’t see any benefit. The CDC grossly exaggerated the risk of being outdoors without a mask. My wife had COVID and her natural immunity exceeds that provided by the vaccine. Yet the CDC appears to be lying about that too.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/02/01/rep_thomas_massie_cdc_is_lying_about_the_efficacy_of_the_vaccine_for_people_who_already_had_covid.html#!

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/thomas-massie-covid-immunity-cdc-fauci

    • #7
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    I think the government communication is all wrong on this vaccine. Instead of saying masks will protect you and vaccines will protect you from getting the disease, the message should be:

    Masks will *not* protect you and the vaccine will *not* prevent you from getting Covid, which was made in a lab and will infect everyone on earth. Everyone! You *will* get Wuhan Lab Flu and getting a vaccine now will make you 10 times more likely to survive. It is easier to get the vaccine than to loose 50 pounds, which will also cut your risk of dying by 10 times.

    Honesty will help and Americans hate dieting more than vaccines.

    Very good! And so true!!

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Yeah, I don’t think kids should be getting the vaccine or wearing masks. They have a 99% chance of survival — probably better than the seasonal flu survival rate for them. Let them get the damned bug and contribute to herd immunity while developing their personal immunity.

    Vaccinate the vulnerable (voluntarily). Leave the kids alone. 

    So much of the freak out about the “breakthrough” Delta variant is probably because we’re testing high-profile people (sports teams, congress-critters) who might have mild to asymptomatic cases. We shouldn’t care about cases so much as hospitalizations. As long as the latter are under control, what do we care about mild cases among the vaccinated? 

    • #9
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    Can you think of any benefit to such vaccination of young people?

    I don’t see any benefit. The CDC grossly exaggerated the risk of being outdoors without a mask. My wife had COVID and her natural immunity exceeds that provided by the vaccine. Yet the CDC appears to be lying about that too.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/02/01/rep_thomas_massie_cdc_is_lying_about_the_efficacy_of_the_vaccine_for_people_who_already_had_covid.html#!

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/thomas-massie-covid-immunity-cdc-fauci

    The additional benefit is herd immunity.

    In economics, this is called a positive externality.  If you are vaccinated, you benefit because your risk of the disease is reduced (by about 90-95% in this case, apparently).  But the rest of us benefit, too, because your reduced risk of contracting the disease also makes it less likely that you will give it to me, or to anyone else.

    It’s a collective action problem.  The way that we can drive this disease into oblivion, or close to oblivion, is to ensure widespread vaccination of the entire population, or as close to it as we can manage.

    So how to solve this collective action problem?  It’s fundamentally a problem of selfishness.  It is rational, if you base your morality on the idea that you are the only important thing in the universe.  Not a view that I find very admirable, but not a view that I find to be uncommon.

    The way to solve the problem is, essentially, to have a pact within our community.  I’ll look out for you, and you’ll look out for me, and so on for everybody.  I’ll get the benefit of my own vaccination, and yours, and everyone else’s, and ditto for you, and ditto for everyone else.

    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid.  I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    There’s an additional risk to delay, which is difficult or impossible to quantify.  Diseases do mutate, over time.  The faster we can get to herd immunity, the lower the risk that a new, vaccine-resistant strain will emerge.  It might happen anyway, but we can improve the odds.

    But we have to work together.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid.  I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    I’d say, that’s where your argument falls to the ground.  Those other diseases were MUCH WORSE than covid.  Not MUCH WORSE than the media portrays covid, but MUCH WORSE than covid actually IS.

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Being anti vax is like not wanting clean drinking water. 

    • #12
  13. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Being anti vax is like not wanting clean drinking water.

    If you are thirsty enough, dirty water is better than no water. 

    • #13
  14. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid. I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    I’d say, that’s where your argument falls to the ground. Those other diseases were MUCH WORSE than covid. Not MUCH WORSE than the media portrays covid, but MUCH WORSE than covid actually IS.

    If we had a vaccine for the common cold and 1 in a million people had a bad reaction and died, should the vaccine be pushed to everyone?   The less deadly the disease, the less justification for mass vaccination.  It is a numbers game and generally a case-by-case decision. 

    • #14
  15. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    We’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here. When the virus is actually and finally isolated and weakened, to fit what has until now fit the definition of vaccine, and also prove to me the favored but suppressed treatments do not work, then get back to me.

    • #15
  16. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    We already know that due to the vaccine program, there are 25 times as many young males, age 13 to 28, experiencing myocarditis this year as did in 2019.

    These young men will be on heart medication for the rest of their lives. For families who have hospitalized their son, three weeks in a hospital makes a huge dent in the kid’s college savings fund. 

    Never forget: the vax manufacturers are not liable for the things that go wrong. The vax distributers aren’t. The doctor or nurse that injects you isn’t.

    On top of that some young people are dying. Although their risk of death from COVID itself is a mere one in a million or one in ten million.

    Risk to benefit: there is plenty of risk with the COVID vaxxes. There is little benefit, unless you believe the baloney of the vaxxes  having “98% efficacy.”

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    It still says “Ronald” in the url, but that’s life.

    • #17
  18. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid. I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    I’d say, that’s where your argument falls to the ground. Those other diseases were MUCH WORSE than covid. Not MUCH WORSE than the media portrays covid, but MUCH WORSE than covid actually IS.

    If we had a vaccine for the common cold and 1 in a million people had a bad reaction and died, should the vaccine be pushed to everyone? The less deadly the disease, the less justification for mass vaccination. It is a numbers game and generally a case-by-case decision.

    If I was worried about COVID, and thought it was as dangerous as it is portrayed, I’d prob get the vaccine. I have no underlying health concerns, have a healthy BMI, and as the oldest person in my family, there’s no elderly to worry about. 

    And there are treatments for Covid. I really don’t see the point. 

    • #18
  19. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Annefy (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid. I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    I’d say, that’s where your argument falls to the ground. Those other diseases were MUCH WORSE than covid. Not MUCH WORSE than the media portrays covid, but MUCH WORSE than covid actually IS.

    If we had a vaccine for the common cold and 1 in a million people had a bad reaction and died, should the vaccine be pushed to everyone? The less deadly the disease, the less justification for mass vaccination. It is a numbers game and generally a case-by-case decision.

    If I was worried about COVID, and thought it was as dangerous as it is portrayed, I’d prob get the vaccine. I have no underlying health concerns, have a healthy BMI, and as the oldest person in my family, there’s no elderly to worry about.

    And there are treatments for Covid. I really don’t see the point.

    Wonderfully stated.  Remember there was no measles vaccine when Olivia died.

    My first wife died of the seasonal flu, at age 49.  My second wife and I survived WuFlu at 65.  Experimental gene therapy for low risk citizens, including children, is absurd.  Children don’t die from WuFlu encephalitis, but some young adults will die from chronic myocarditis.  Masking children is absurd.  This whole fracas is absurd.

    And Chairman Xi is laughing aloud while exhorting his virologists to develop new mutants.

    • #19
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    The technology of this vaccine is better than injection of an actual dead virus.

    Of course, I also get the flu vax every year. 

    Turning against vaccination is well beyond just this one. 

     

    • #20
  21. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The WuFlu is of little danger to people under 40. Seasonal flu killed many more people in that age group. Yet the government and schools are pressuring people to get vaccines which are useless to them. Even if the long term side effects are nil, this makes no sense.

    Can you think of any benefit to such vaccination of young people?

    I don’t see any benefit. The CDC grossly exaggerated the risk of being outdoors without a mask. My wife had COVID and her natural immunity exceeds that provided by the vaccine. Yet the CDC appears to be lying about that too.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/02/01/rep_thomas_massie_cdc_is_lying_about_the_efficacy_of_the_vaccine_for_people_who_already_had_covid.html#!

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/thomas-massie-covid-immunity-cdc-fauci

    The additional benefit is herd immunity.

    In economics, this is called a positive externality. If you are vaccinated, you benefit because your risk of the disease is reduced (by about 90-95% in this case, apparently). But the rest of us benefit, too, because your reduced risk of contracting the disease also makes it less likely that you will give it to me, or to anyone else.

    It’s a collective action problem. The way that we can drive this disease into oblivion, or close to oblivion, is to ensure widespread vaccination of the entire population, or as close to it as we can manage.

    So how to solve this collective action problem? It’s fundamentally a problem of selfishness. It is rational, if you base your morality on the idea that you are the only important thing in the universe. Not a view that I find very admirable, but not a view that I find to be uncommon.

    The way to solve the problem is, essentially, to have a pact within our community. I’ll look out for you, and you’ll look out for me, and so on for everybody. I’ll get the benefit of my own vaccination, and yours, and everyone else’s, and ditto for you, and ditto for everyone else.

    We’ve done this in the past, with many other dread diseases, some much worse than Covid. I don’t recall much objection at the time.

    There’s an additional risk to delay, which is difficult or impossible to quantify. Diseases do mutate, over time. The faster we can get to herd immunity, the lower the risk that a new, vaccine-resistant strain will emerge. It might happen anyway, but we can improve the odds.

    But we have to work together.

    Does part of that “pact” include all citizens taking experimental drugs even if the bulk of the population is not at risk?  This is like saying people without cars must purchase auto insurance.  We have to work together.

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It still says “Ronald” in the url, but that’s life.

    No, that’s WordPress.

    • #22
  23. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The technology of this vaccine is better than injection of an actual dead virus.

    Of course, I also get the flu vax every year.

    Turning against vaccination is well beyond just this one.

     

    Sorry @bryangstephens. I don’t understand the bolded comment ?

    • #23
  24. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Just because someone chooses to decline this vaccine for themselves or their children , whoever made it and for whatever reason, does not mean they are anti-vax.  “Anti-vax” has quickly become a slur, a broad brush used to paint people into a corner because they disagree with you.  

    “Fifteen days to slow the spread” has transformed into “How dare you!”  What a slippery slope.

    • #24
  25. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The technology of this vaccine is better than injection of an actual dead virus.

    Of course, I also get the flu vax every year.

    Turning against vaccination is well beyond just this one.

     

    Agree completely.

    • #25
  26. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    My first wife died of the seasonal flu, at age 49. My second wife and I survived WuFlu at 65. Experimental gene therapy for low risk citizens, including children, is absurd. Children don’t die from WuFlu encephalitis, but some young adults will die from chronic myocarditis. Masking children is absurd. This whole fracas is absurd.

    And Chairman Xi is laughing aloud while exhorting his virologists to develop new mutants.

    We’re talking about antidepressants on another thread, and it made me able to finally articulate what has been bothering me about the covid-19 vaccine program. There’s been little to no medical supervision in deciding whether a person needs or should have these vaccines.

    I’m thrilled that they were developed. But they are strong drugs and should be handled with great care by doctors. We don’t put corrective lenses on people who don’t need them because for some people, the wrong lens prescription will cause harm. We don’t give iron supplements to every pregnant woman anymore because some women have enough iron and too much iron can cause harm. I could go on and on here.

    Anyone of reproductive age should not be getting these vaccines unless there is a really compelling reason to do so. Kids should definitely not be getting them, and I think it’s immoral and unethical to give them to kids as medical care experiments. They can’t give informed consent.

    I think these vaccines should have been relegated to doctors who would prescribe them to individuals with consideration of each patient’s health history.

    I understand the pressure public officials were under to distribute these vaccines as quickly as possible–partly because the vaccines have a shelf-life problem. But American doctors should have put the brakes on that program. A lot of people don’t need the vaccine. Every person should have been given a $50 antibody test to see if he or she actually needs it. Because we don’t know everything we need to know yet about these drugs, we shouldn’t be giving them to anyone who might not need it.

    In other words, the rollout should have been handled thoughtfully and carefully. These are strong drugs. I am confident they will save lives. But they aren’t for everyone, and people should be monitored carefully and exhaustively before and after they get them. There’s no other way for us to learn and track the long-term effects of these drugs.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    When this thing first started, Mr. C and I looked around at how sick people were getting (even if they didn’t die) and said to each other, “we DO NOT want to get this bug.” We’ve spent enough time in hospitals with our girls’ medical conditions. So, for us, the decision to vaccinate was fairly straightforward.

    At first, I was thinking I’d give it some time (6 months) to see how people reacted, but Elder was studying bio-chem at Hillsdale at the time and explained how the mRNA immunotherapy worked and that she was 100% going to get the vaccine at the earliest possible date, and that convinced me.

    I think it’s a bit misleading to keep calling mRNA vaccines “experimental.” This is the same immunotherapy that’s been in research and development for many years and has been used recently to successfully treat cancer patients (melanoma, for example). I think it’s prudent to discourage pregnant women from getting vaccinated (which the CDC does, if I recall). And it seems a waste of vaccine to vaccinate younger people (unless they have underlying conditions that put them at risk) when the Cubans are so desperate for vaccines they’re protesting in the streets /snark off. But, my examination of the trade-offs said “vaccinate” to me. YMMV. 

    • #27
  28. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    When this thing first started, Mr. C and I looked around at how sick people were getting (even if they didn’t die) and said to each other, “we DO NOT want to get this bug.” We’ve spent enough time in hospitals with our girls’ medical conditions. So, for us, the decision to vaccinate was fairly straightforward.

    At first, I was thinking I’d give it some time (6 months) to see how people reacted, but Elder was studying bio-chem at Hillsdale at the time and explained how the mRNA immunotherapy worked and that she was 100% going to get the vaccine at the earliest possible date, and that convinced me.

    I think it’s a bit misleading to keep calling mRNA vaccines “experimental.” This is the same immunotherapy that’s been in research and development for many years and has been used recently to successfully treat cancer patients (melanoma, for example). I think it’s prudent to discourage pregnant women from getting vaccinated (which the CDC does, if I recall). And it seems a waste of vaccine to vaccinate younger people (unless they have underlying conditions that put them at risk) when the Cubans are so desperate for vaccines they’re protesting in the streets /snark off. But, my examination of the trade-offs said “vaccinate” to me. YMMV.

    My daughter-the-veterinarian who just graduated from an advanced program and has a slew of new abbreviations after her name :-) is very excited about the promise of this type of vaccine. She is very comfortable with them. 
    In fact, our daughters put my husband and me on the waiting lists and bugged us to get them all winter. :-) 

     

     

    • #28
  29. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    What we need is to study a group of people who have exhaustive medical histories on file so that we can monitor their health carefully after they get the vaccine. That’s the only way we will be able to sort out what’s new or worse since they got the vaccine.

    I keep thinking of the salt story. A study reached the conclusion that salt was implicated somehow in elevated blood pressure. So the entire country went on an no-salt diet. Over time, however, it was discovered that actually salt did not cause elevated blood pressure in people. It exacerbated the condition in people who had high blood pressure, and so those people should reduce their salt intake. But salt, in and of itself, did not cause high blood pressure.

    This is the kind of long-term study we need for these vaccines. And the people to give us this information are people who needed it because they had a list of factors that made the covid-19 virus potentially lethal. But the vaccines should be considered “new” and not completely understood until we have that information.

    • #29
  30. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    One of the tradeoffs to consider: would you rather contract a lab-generated Chinese Communist Party virus or receive an American-made advanced technology vaccine? 

    • #30