Help vaccinate Las Vegas!

By Phil Plait | June 25, 2009 9:14 am
Joe Abietz

If there are agreed-upon definitions of the word hero, then Joe Albietz must fit many of them. This good-natured, upbeat, intelligent, and skeptical man is a pediatrician who gets up every morning so that he can help — and succeed — in saving the lives of children. I’m proud he’s my friend.

Joe’s written a concise and informative article about the JREF’s vaccine drive in Las Vegas for The Amaz!ng Meeting 7. Vaccinations rates in Vegas were very low due to poverty and a transient population, and their herd immunity to diseases like measles and whooping cough is in serious trouble. Joe came up with the idea of getting donations from the skeptic community to support vaccinations in Vegas, and spearheaded the effort.

For $25 you can support a child to get a full series of vaccinations. You don’t have to attend TAM 7 or do anything else; just send $25 and a child in Vegas will get protected against a raft of potentially life-threatening diseases. And while those children are getting their vaccinations, we will be at TAM 7 talking about how to fight people like Jenny McCarthy, Meryl Dorey, and all the others who are so vocal in making sure that diseases we once stamped out come back with a vengeance.

We know that vaccinations don’t cause autism, and we know they have wiped out smallpox, and put such scourges as polio on the endangered list. Help us, so that we can help others. Go read Joe’s article and see how you can easily support this effort.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, JREF, Skepticism

Comments (28)

  1. An aside. Has anyone yet received their telescope?

  2. Not a bad use of $25, if you have some to spare. I’m actually not entirely sure where my next meal is coming from, so I wouldn’t say I have any to spare. If you do, it’s definately a good cause. Yays for herd immunity.

  3. @William
    Not me.

    The latest episode of Better Off Ted. Ted is talking to his daughter on the phone. The daughter has been staying with her mother, Ted’s ex, and apparently gets ice-cream for breakfast and Ted says “Really sweetie? Ice cream for breakfast? No you’re right I don’t let you do that. You know what I do let you do? It’s get vaccinated”.
    Very funny show. Geeks will love it. Everybody should love it.

  4. After a recent debate in the UK about the MMR vaccine being made compulsory I was under the impression that it was compulsory for school entry in the US. Is this correct?

  5. A worthy cause but a $25 admin fee for childhood vaccinations? There’s something rotten in your health care system for sure. Holy crap that is outrageous.
    Cue Libertarians to justify user pays in 5… 4… 3…

  6. @Annie
    Donating money?

  7. ndt

    Niall Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 9:41 am
    After a recent debate in the UK about the MMR vaccine being made compulsory I was under the impression that it was compulsory for school entry in the US. Is this correct?

    Generally, yes, but it varies by state, and most states allow exemptions for religious reasons. And of course it only applies to public (government-funded) schools.

    But as the article mentions, much of the unvaccinated children in Las Vegas are transients and many of them don’t go to school at all.

  8. I totally agree with Shane @#5. Your health system really has a serious problem.

  9. Ken

    I just made a donation. Besides the obvious public health and individual quality of life issues, I have a selfish reason of my own: I want to ensure Vegas has a healthy next generation of blackjack dealers.

  10. dp

    This is great and all, but it sure makes America sound like a third-world country. Yay Canada!

  11. @Annie
    You did read the post didn’t you? But, what causes autism, donating money?
    Or, have I been Poed?

  12. Tom K.

    Annie got her gun…..
    Too scary to imagine (or real) who it is pointed at.

  13. Steve in Dublin

    Shane, hi,

    No, you haven’t been poe’d. From what I remember reading in other threads, Annie is an adamant anti-vaxxer… right Annie?

    Cue response from Annie in 3… 2… 1…

    Steve

  14. Annie, it is neither here nor there who pays for treatments when it comes to third world status but actively promoting disease? Well, it sounds like you’re doing everything in your power to hasten along third world nationhood. Nothing says third world like rampant preventable diseases. Congratulations.

  15. This guy’s my hero right now! My sister-in-law is due to give birth to my little nephew in Las Vegas this fall. I’m sure being on an Air Force base vaccination rates are higher there than the city but it’s not like she has no exposure to civilians so the more who are vaccinated the better.

  16. I tried to submit to Digg the Randi.org original page and Digg said:

    “This URL has been widely reported by users for one of the following reasons: being used to spam Digg’s submission process, posting spam content, or posting off-topic content.”

    What’s up with this? Have folks like Annie been working their nonsense and fooling Digg into rejecting reality? I wonder…

    BTW, Willliam, no scopes (10 ordered) yet. Wah! :^(

  17. mike

    The link on his article doesn’t work for me, it just takes me back to the main JREF page. Can we get a direct link in here?

  18. @mike
    Yeah I had trouble finding it too and forgot to mention it… here’s the link to the registration/donation page…
    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/component/content/article/37-static/446-the-amazing-meeting-7-registration.html

  19. susan

    Regarding compulsory vaccinations: U.S. schools say it is required for registration, but parents can sign a waiver for religious or health reasons and procede to enroll their kids.
    The U.S. health system is broken in that it does too much intervention, too soon (hence our hideous rates of mortality at birth compared to other nations). Vaccinations work by stimulating the immune response; they make no sense when given to given to newborns and infants before they even have their immune systems up and running (some say not until age 2). That is why babies are supposed to be breast-fed–to borrow their mother’s immunities until they can develop their own antibodies.
    Vaccinations are effective when given later (I thought I read that Canada doesn’t fully immunize until age 3 for this reason–is this correct?)
    and when the are given as individual shots, not combos (there is no health reason why the MMR cannot be given as single shots, except for patient compliance- give ‘em as much as you can when you’ve got ‘em in the office because they may forget to come back.)

  20. @susan
    About vaccinations being more effective earlier than later, the link below is to the Oz govt current immunisation schedule for 0 – 4. Most of the vaccinations are done before 1 year.

    http://www.medicare.gov.au/provider/patients/acir/schedule.jsp

  21. sophia8

    Susan@23: “they make no sense when given to given to newborns and infants before they even have their immune systems up and running ”
    Um, you do know how babies generally arive in this world? They have to come through this passage called a vagina and pop out of a place in a woman’s body that isn’t generally sterile. Then they have to start breathing this stuff called air, which is FULL of floating killer germs.
    But it gets worse! Almost immediately, theyalso get people TOUCHING them with BARE UNWASHED HANDS, and BREATHING right into their faces. Some of these people even put their slobbery germ-ridden saliva onto these poor little babies’ faces with KISSES!
    And these poor little newborn babies have NO immune defences whatsoever!!!! This horror should be stopped NOW!!!!!

  22. Cue Libertarians to justify user pays in 5… 4… 3…

    Shane – I’m fairly libertarian, but I fully support a single-payer health care system.

    Cue someone saying that I must therefore not be libertarian in 3… 2… (honestly, screw those people – there are many gray areas in politics, and if two parties don’t cover them all, I see no reason why three should either).

    Any government that allows its citizens to bankrupt themselves in order to receive basic medical care is no government at all.

  23. Ramel

    @Susan: In biological terms what you just wrote is bollocks, babies start life with functional imune systems and are exposed to infectious nasties from their first moments.

  24. The Blind Watchmaker

    I will be there with my donation.

    Don’t get bamboozled. Get vaccinated.

  25. The US’s infant mortality rate is a touch high, but it’s generally due to a lack of intervention — poor mothers can’t afford adequate health care — than the opposite.

  26. Hmmm… jumping over to Scientific American, there’s an article regarding creating autistic mice by making genetic changes.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=changing-a-chromosome-makes-mice-au-2009-06-26

  27. Damon

    “Um, you do know how babies generally arive in this world? They have to come through this passage called a vagina and pop out of a place in a woman’s body that isn’t generally sterile. Then they have to start breathing this stuff called air, which is FULL of floating killer germs.
    But it gets worse! Almost immediately, theyalso get people TOUCHING them with BARE UNWASHED HANDS, and BREATHING right into their faces. Some of these people even put their slobbery germ-ridden saliva onto these poor little babies’ faces with KISSES!
    And these poor little newborn babies have NO immune defences whatsoever!!!! This horror should be stopped NOW!!!!!”

    That’s right; cover up your ignorance of her statement by being sarcastic.

    That said, the guy in this article looks too much like a crooked toolbag for me to support his efforts with a donation, so I’m going to have to pass.

    Better luck next time. Maybe find a less creepy picture. :/

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