Sorry Anti-Vaxxers, the Numbers are Against You

 

My grandmother was justifiably terrified of polio, which is why she didn’t let my mom play with other kids in the summertime, when polio was most likely to strike. My great aunt died in the flu epidemic of 1917, and my father barely survived whooping cough as a baby.

Anti-vaxxers, plagued with fear untempered by experience, and benefitting from herd immunity need to be reminded of a world without vaccines. So Michael Ramirez, who is old enough to remember the very human cost of denying vaccinations, is making a print available at a very low cost to medical professionals for their offices. Sometimes people just need a reminder:

The prints are available for $100 each for medical professionals and care providers here.

There are 71 comments.

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    If you really expect to convince the anti-vaxers, it might be good to use other language. If the purpose is to demean rather than convince, then I suppose it’s OK.

    • #1
    • March 12, 2019, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    Hm. I had most of those diseases.

    • #2
    • March 12, 2019, at 7:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    If you really expect to convince the anti-vaxers, it might be good to use other language. If the purpose is to demean rather than convince, then I suppose it’s OK.

    Typical anti-vaxxers should be ashamed of themselves for latching onto pop pseudo science film flam rather than actual science and statistics. More kids die when anti-vaxxers decide to forgo shots, and gentle persuasion has done nothing.

    • #3
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:24 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. TheRightNurse Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    More kids die when anti-vaxxers decide to forgo shots, and gentle persuasion has done nothing.

    I think the biggest problem is their outrage at other antivaxxers for ruining herd immunity for them.

    HA! For me, but not for thee, eh?

    • #4
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:29 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    More kids die when anti-vaxxers decide to forgo shots, and gentle persuasion has done nothing.

    I think the biggest problem is their outrage at other antivaxxers for ruining herd immunity for them.

    HA! For me, but not for thee, eh?

    For the ones who can’t get vaccinated because they are too sick or too young – herd immunity is extremely important for their health. (Get your whooping cough booster!)

    • #5
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:32 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. TheRightNurse Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    More kids die when anti-vaxxers decide to forgo shots, and gentle persuasion has done nothing.

    I think the biggest problem is their outrage at other antivaxxers for ruining herd immunity for them.

    HA! For me, but not for thee, eh?

    For the ones who can’t get vaccinated because they are too sick or too young – herd immunity is extremely important for their health. (Get your whooping cough booster!)

    Absolutely, but there are entire communities that feel that they will be exempt from consequences, assuming you do your job and vaccinate your kids. Your kids can be put at risk, just not theirs. That’s why there’s such an uproar about the measles. If it were anywhere else, it would be a side note. The fact that these outbreaks are in affluent areas with “educated” people is the biggest problem.

    • #6
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:42 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  7. Barfly Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    If you really expect to convince the anti-vaxers, it might be good to use other language. If the purpose is to demean rather than convince, then I suppose it’s OK.

    Maybe, but I don’t think one “convinces” somebody like that. They’ve manifestly got a different set of values, and maybe a different paradigm of the world. Shame is pretty effective.

    • #7
    • March 12, 2019, at 10:02 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. The Reticulator Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    If you really expect to convince the anti-vaxers, it might be good to use other language. If the purpose is to demean rather than convince, then I suppose it’s OK.

    Maybe, but I don’t think one “convinces” somebody like that. They’ve manifestly got a different set of values, and maybe a different paradigm of the world. Shame is pretty effective.

    I’ve seen a lot of shaming, and not so much in the way of attempting to convince. I suspect some people don’t know the difference.

    I wonder if we even know what criteria the anti-vaxers are using when making their decisions. It’s kind of hard to convince someone without knowing that. I can’t say that I know what their criteria are, but I do know what it’s like when people go to great lengths to ignore the criteria I use to make health decisions.

    • #8
    • March 12, 2019, at 10:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Vince Guerra Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I wonder if we even know what criteria the anti-vaxers are using when making their decisions.

    T
    They use personal experience, historical evidence, research, scientific analysis, logic, public testimonials etc…

    Please show more respect for those who disagree with your position, and consider engaging, instead of mocking, people who have come to a different conclusion. Here is a model for doing that. 

     

     

    • #9
    • March 13, 2019, at 12:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Old Bathos Member

    More than 30 years ago there was talk of risk associated with the whooping cough etc vaccine. I recall our pediatrician making an impassioned plea that we give our kids the shot (we were never inclined to do otherwise) because he had attended a kid who died of whooping cough and it was about the worst thing in his professional life to watch that kid die slowly and painfully and not be able to save him.

    I would like to see a Venn diagram of people who believe vaccines are dangerous who also believe “climate deniers” are anti-science.

    • #10
    • March 13, 2019, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. The Reticulator Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I would like to see a Venn diagram of people who believe vaccines are dangerous who also believe “climate deniers” are anti-science.

     Me too. I would place no bets on what it would look like. 

    • #11
    • March 13, 2019, at 10:53 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    It’s fair enough to suggest that we need to find ways to persuade anti-vaxxers without calling them out as idiots, but I maintain that mocking with a succinct message is just as an effective tool. Michael Ramirez is a master of this, and a cartoon is an elegant and effective weapon in the war on ignorance. Consider the power of an image; millions of people glimpse the cartoon. The image leaves a longer lasting impression than any words; viewers easily remember a woman with child questioning vaccines, while the trusted expert, a doctor, reminds her of the dangers of disease. They will NOT remember the exact wording of the cartoon.

    This is because the cartoon tells a detailed story that is recognized immediately, then digested and analyzed over time, as the image is recycled through a person’s recall, for instance, as they describe the cartoon to others, or recall it when a friend starts taking about side effects of vaccinations. The vast majority of anti-vaxxers are not doing research, and do not respond to reasoned arguments. They are emotionally married to the story of a child getting sick from a vaccine, and only answer is another story, the wrenching true story of real diseases that lay waiting for an opportunity to pounce on an unvaccinated child.

    • #12
    • March 13, 2019, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Vince Guerra Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    The vast majority of anti-vaxxers are not doing research, and do not respond to reasoned arguments.

    This is not true, your comments and your post violate the Ricochet code of conduct:

    Personal attacks and ad hominemarguments against people, groups, or classes. 

    Defamatory, gossipy, or rude comments.Imagine you’re a guest at a dinner party with a group of seemingly nice people you don’t know… how would you handle yourself?

    Misinformation, particularly if it appears intentional or is a recurring problem.

    And please don’t call highly intelligent people I love and respect idiots. Take that tone to Twitter please. 

    • #13
    • March 13, 2019, at 6:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    The vast majority of anti-vaxxers are not doing research, and do not respond to reasoned arguments.

    This is not true, your comments and your post violate the Ricochet code of conduct:

    Personal attacks and ad hominemarguments against people, groups, or classes.

    Defamatory, gossipy, or rude comments.Imagine you’re a guest at a dinner party with a group of seemingly nice people you don’t know… how would you handle yourself?

    Misinformation, particularly if it appears intentional or is a recurring problem.

    And please don’t call highly intelligent people I love and respect idiots. Take that tone to Twitter please.

    Anti-vax advocacy is functionally equivalent to flat-earth belief and promotion of lunar landing hoax conspiracies. In my not-so-humble opinion, that’s the only CoC violation in the spluttering above.

    • #14
    • March 13, 2019, at 7:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Vince Guerra Member

    You are ridiculing and entire group of people, some are Ricochet members. Ricochet used to be about civil conversation, not a snarky attack chat.

    • #15
    • March 13, 2019, at 7:16 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. The Reticulator Member

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    The vast majority of anti-vaxxers are not doing research, and do not respond to reasoned arguments.

    This is not true, your comments and your post violate the Ricochet code of conduct:

    Personal attacks and ad hominemarguments against people, groups, or classes.

    Defamatory, gossipy, or rude comments.Imagine you’re a guest at a dinner party with a group of seemingly nice people you don’t know… how would you handle yourself?

    Misinformation, particularly if it appears intentional or is a recurring problem.

    And please don’t call highly intelligent people I love and respect idiots. Take that tone to Twitter please.

    Anti-vax advocacy is functionally equivalent to flat-earth belief and promotion of lunar landing hoax conspiracies. In my not-so-humble opinion, that’s the only CoC violation in the spluttering above.

    So in which ways are we allowed to speak against flat earthers and lunar landing hoaxers? Is it allowed to refer to their speech as “spluttering”?

    BTW, I have no objections to Mr. Ramierez’ cartoon itself. It can be a way of opening up discussion rather than shutting it off. It’s no more demeaning to one side of the controversy than the other.

    • #16
    • March 13, 2019, at 7:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Vince Guerra Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    BTW, I have no objections to Mr. Ramierez’ cartoon itself.

    I don’t necessarily object to it either (although the post author is a publicist for the cartoonist, which is kinda shady), but the constant mischaracterizations – in fact, demonization- of good, intelligent people who have legitimate reasons for their position is the worst kind of disrespect, or rather, prejudice.

    • #17
    • March 13, 2019, at 8:08 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. The Reticulator Member

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    BTW, I have no objections to Mr. Ramierez’ cartoon itself.

    I don’t necessarily object to it either (although the post author is a publicist for the cartoonist, which is kinda shady), but the constant mischaracterizations – in fact, demonization- of good, intelligent people who have legitimate reasons for their position is the worst kind of disrespect, or rather, prejudice.

    Or, in the case of the Ramierez cartoon, mischaracterizing people of the medical profession as not being very good listeners, as missing the point, and as using unsound logic. There are some doctors like that, but most can do better. But I still think the cartoon could be a good conversation starter.

    • #18
    • March 13, 2019, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    Well, as a “kinda shady, prejudiced” person I’m very curious about the legitimate reasons for opposing vaccinations, aside for those who cannot have them for medical reasons. I’m very sorry for offending the good people here. I shouldn’t use the word idiot when I mean tragically misinformed. Because it’s horrible when children die of preventable disease. Reliable information for those who are scientifically and mathematically literate is easily available:

    https://vaxopedia.org/2018/06/10/how-many-people-die-from-vaccine-preventable-diseases-these-days/

    Tragically, we are seeing more and more deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases every day in countries that once had these diseases under good control:

    Deaths from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the Pre-Vaccine Era

    While tragic, we are still fortunate that these deaths are no where close to the levels we once saw before we had vaccines to protect our kids.

    In the pre-vaccine era, we used to see:

    • up to 15,000 deaths and 200,000 diphtheria cases each year until the 1940s
    • an average of 175,000 cases of pertussis each year in the early 1940s, with about 1,118 deaths from pertussis in 1950 and 467 deaths from pertussis in 1955
    • up to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio each year until the early 1950s
    • an average of about 186,000 cases of mumps each year before 1967, with an average of 40 deaths a year
    • up to 500 deaths and 500,000 measles cases each year until the early 1960s
    • a rubella epidemic in 1964-65 that caused 12.5 million rubella virus infections and “resulted in 11,250 therapeutic or spontaneous abortions, 2,100 neonatal deaths, and 20,000 infants born with congenital rubella syndrome”
    • up to 20,000 cases of invasive H. influenzae (Hib) disease each year, with more than half of them having meningitis, and about 300 to 600 deaths, mostly children under age 2 years. In 1980, 45 children died with epiglottitis and there were an additional 222 deaths from Hib meningitis.
    • up to 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 chicken pox deaths each year until 1995
    • up to 17,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in children younger than 5 years each year (before 2000), including 13,000 cases of bacteremia (blood infection) and 700 cases of pneumococcal meningitis, with 200 deaths.
    • just over 400,000 visits to the doctor and up to 272,000 visits to the emergency room, 70,000 hospitalizations and 20 to 60 deaths each year in children under age 5 years because of rotavirus infections until 2006
    • #19
    • March 13, 2019, at 9:03 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    I highly recommend this episode of the Jim Bohannon Show for how to persuade on vaccination. Dr. Robert Cohen dealt with the major concerns, including autism.

    • #20
    • March 14, 2019, at 7:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. RyanFalcone Member

    It seems to me that many of the same people who are trying to push vaccines as “dangerous” are the same people that push mass illegal migration as a good thing, and push modern agriculture as “dangerous” and push infanticide as a noble endeavor. I just find it interesting.

    • #21
    • March 14, 2019, at 7:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    I highly recommend this episode of the Jim Bohannon Show for how to persuade on vaccination. Dr. Robert Cohen dealt with the major concerns, including autism.

    I started to listen, hoping to hear somebody who has data interacting with an anti or two and at least persuading them to rethink. Doesn’t sound like it’s going there. I switched it off at 3:23 when Bohannon put a blanket label on the exemptions, calling them “a crock.” Maybe there would be good stuff if I’d go further, but this is not a good start.

    If the case for mandatory vaccinations for everyone is strong, it shouldn’t be necessary to use that kind of language.

    • #22
    • March 14, 2019, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Henry Racette Contributor

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    More kids die when anti-vaxxers decide to forgo shots, and gentle persuasion has done nothing.

    I think the biggest problem is their outrage at other antivaxxers for ruining herd immunity for them.

    HA! For me, but not for thee, eh?

    I think we’d refer to this as NIMB: Not In My Backside.

    • #23
    • March 14, 2019, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Jager Member

    A judge in New York has excluded 50 unvaccinated kids from schools due to measles outbreaks in the area. 

    https://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/news/20190314/ny-judge-bans-50-unvaccinated-kids-from-school

    • #24
    • March 14, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Dave Sussman Contributor

    PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon

    • #25
    • March 14, 2019, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Jager (View Comment):

    A judge in New York has excluded 50 unvaccinated kids from schools due to measles outbreaks in the area.

    https://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/news/20190314/ny-judge-bans-50-unvaccinated-kids-from-school

    I actually think this is a very effective move. One of the things they warn you about in traveling in areas with certain diseases is that if you don’t get vaccinated and there is an outbreak while you are there, you may not be able to cross international borders. So if more school systems follow suit and the courts back them, then it basically says “you are free to make a choice about vaccinating your child, but if there is an outbreak, then you will be responsible for their education for the duration.”

    I also think there is a range of anti-vaxxers, from those who refuse them all based on faulty science, and those that question the number given and timing. I think the latter issues are still fair questions.

    • #26
    • March 14, 2019, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):

    A judge in New York has excluded 50 unvaccinated kids from schools due to measles outbreaks in the area.

    https://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/news/20190314/ny-judge-bans-50-unvaccinated-kids-from-school

    I actually think this is a very effective move. One of the things they warn you about in traveling in areas with certain diseases is that if you don’t get vaccinated and there is an outbreak while you are there, you may not be able to cross international borders. So if more school systems follow suit and the courts back them, then it basically says “you are free to make a choice about vaccinating your child, but if there is an outbreak, then you will be responsible for their education for the duration.”

    I also think there is a range of anti-vaxxers, from those who refuse them all based on faulty science, and those that question the number given and timing. I think the latter issues are still fair questions.

    I agree. It certainly is a better move than an across-the-board mandate which would not stop with vaccinations. (Mandates tend to produce bad habits in those doing the mandating.) It deals with the emergency that actually exists, and does not feed any martyrific impulses that could easily develop among the anti-vaxers. In the long run it may not be sufficient to do it on an ad hoc basis like this, but for now it’s good.

    • #27
    • March 14, 2019, at 12:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    The popular start of the anti-vax movement was a fraudulent paper claiming MMR vaccination linkage to autism. While that study was eventually withdrawn, it provided momentum. 

    Denmark has now done two massive studies, having looked at two cohorts of children who were or were not given the MMR vaccine. The entire paper is available, free, online: “Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism: A Nationwide Cohort Study.”

    This study struck me as readable, not fenced about with jargon intended to keep out the reading public.

    • #28
    • March 14, 2019, at 12:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Some years back, there was speculation about linkage between the significantly increasing number of vaccinations over a lifetime and autoimmune or cancer risks. The idea was that each injection was a deliberate stimulation of the immune system, and so an instance that might, on the margins, combine with genetic and other risk factors to tip the individual’s system into a pathological response.

    This never seemed to get studied as the MMR vaccination has been. We should understand that all medical decisions are made in a competing risks environment. Everything is a trade off. In the name of protecting the public against truly lethal and disabling disease (small pox, polio, MMR at least for infants and small children), we ought not avoid doing the research that might complicate the story and limit the public acceptance of a larger spectrum of vaccinations, each proclaimed “safe” in itself. 

    Considering Denmark’s repeating their MMR study, I suspect that they, or the British NHS should have all the needed longitudinal data. I look forward to another carefully done study, perhaps published in the next year or so.

    • #29
    • March 14, 2019, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Henry Racette Contributor

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    We should understand that all medical decisions are made in a competing risks environment.

    I think this idea — which is as simple as it is both profound and easily overlooked — and, more specifically, a failure to grasp it, explains a lot of the embrace of bad ideas of all sorts by people of a progressive bent.

    • #30
    • March 14, 2019, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
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