Mumps the word

By Phil Plait | October 30, 2009 12:00 pm

Hey, antivaxxers! I just wanted to send you guys a quick note of thanks for all the work you do.

For example, that whole thing about getting mumps to resurge due to lower vaccinations rates in the UK? That’s very cool. We all missed mumps so much.

Also, the way you guys dupe parents is simply brilliant!

You’ve been pretty effective getting the word out, especially the way you market yourselves as just trying to be questioning, just trying to get all the facts out. It works! You’ve been able to trick inquisitive, rational people into thinking maybe you’re onto something, when of course we all know you’re using outdated ideas, twisted facts, and sometimes out-and-out lies (which, of course, appeals to people prone to conspiracy thinking anyway). I mean, taking something that almost certainly has nothing to do with vaccinations but making that a meme spreading across the media? Great stuff! And the way you viciously attack people who disagree with you? Fantastic!

But you should really sit back and take a look at Suzanne Somers. Now there’s someone who takes incoherent nonsense about cancer and is able to market and spin it into quite an industry for herself. And who can blame her? She gets on Oprah, CNN, radio shows… and the only cost is a maybe a few thousand people dying of cancer because they tried her provably wrong "cures" instead of seeking real medical help. But hey! We all have to die someday! I mean, let’s have some perspective here. After all, what has science ever done for us?

Hat tip to Gerick Lee and many others for these tips.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience

Comments (66)

  1. rob

    i quite agree Phil. i regret having missed the opportunity to have mumps or HIB as a kid. pertusis would have been GREAT!!! let’s hear it for all the anti-vaxxers for giving todays children the opportunity to go blind, be paralyzed or have brain damage! now all they have to do is find some way to reintroduce small pox!! that would certainly give suzanne and jenny and jimmy and don and bill a great opportunity to cash in on some publicity!!! and make $$$$ doing it!!!!

  2. Shoeshine Boy

    Yeah, what have the Romans ever done for us? ;)

  3. John Baxter

    As a kid, I had to do mumps the old fashioned way. I would have preferred vaccination (although my case was pretty mild).

  4. I count myself lucky that I’ve never had to have mumps, rubella, measles, etc and that my kids will never have to get them. About the only vaccinated disease today that I can think of that I got as a kid was chicken pox. And I actually welcomed that one. (My 2nd grade teacher hated me and made my life a living hell. But that, and the fact that I dropped out of 2nd grade for a bit, is a story for another day.)

    I’ve been through some scary moments with my kids. Just yesterday we needed to rush our 2 year old to the ER because he spiked a 103.3 fever out of nowhere, had a febrile seizure (his 5th) and stopped breathing for a bit. I’ve seen my son turn gray, stop breathing and not start back up on his own. (That seizure happened a few years back.) Trust me, I have enough scary moments as it is without adding diseases like polio, mumps and the like to the list.

  5. Dawn

    I weep at the comments on the Mumps article. Some idiot is repeating the lie that the MMR contains “mercury compounds”. I can’t register from work to comment, or I’d throw some truth into the lies.

  6. Paul

    Well now, did you have your sarcasm hat on? Well said!

  7. John

    @Phil. Yeah I guess you and other skeptics have failed then. If you try and attack peoples faith and then ask for it back on other matters you’re going to run into trouble. Skeptics understand science and reason but don’t have a clue about the masses or how to persuade them.

    @Dawn, As far as I know most vaccinations for children don’t contain thimerosal(mercury) anymore, including mmr. Hepatitis and swine flu vaccines still do though, whether it’s dangerous is a whole other debate.

  8. John

    “Puzzlingly, 75% of the victims had the normal two doses of mumps vaccine, which is supposed to protect against the illness 90% of the time”

    Now I’m confused. The (presumably vaccinated) kid went to britain, caught mumps from an unvaccinated kid and then infected about 40 vaccinated children in the US.

    What gives?

  9. 2. Shoeshine Boy Says:

    Yeah, what have the Romans ever done for us? ;)

    My favorite is Lead Poisoning. “Plumbing” is derived from Plumbum (sp?), the Latin for Lead, because most pipes were made of lead. Of course, it leached into the water as it flowed, and led to health problems (most commonly mentioned is brain damage).

    More seriously, the Greeks and Romans had a lot more going for them than a lot of people know, such as indoor plumbing, navigable roads, and more.

    J/P=?

  10. Ala'a

    Great post, Phil. Sometimes I wonder if laws should be universally implemented that will prevent the likes of Somers from polluting the minds of the public with such quackery?

  11. Ca n´Internet

    Smart people get their shots. Dumb people die out.
    VIVA LA EVOLUCION!

  12. Jeff in Tucson

    F**ing LOLz. I, for one, ALWAYS seek medical advice from a licensed, board certified, 4 years of college + 4 of med-school + (2-6) years of residency (+ perhaps an internship) educated doctor (How much education do antivaxxers/homeopaths have?). Ironically, when I sprained my back recently, the sports doctor that I visited (after having given me sound advice which helped me with a speedy recovery in less than a week), gave me the business card of a chiropractor/acupuncturist to see if the pain did not improve…

  13. Bigfoot

    @John,

    I do not believe skeptics are as clueless as you think. The big problem is that much of the media thrives on splashing contrarian stories in order to drive ratings, so both the fraudulent and the honestly deluded get disproportionate amounts of air time and media attention.

    How much do Oprah’s ratings jump if she markets a message like “Today on Oprah: Your doctor is trying to keep you healthy!” The truth is never as exciting as a shocking contrarian message, no matter how absolutely baseless the message is.

  14. 6. John Says:
    October 30th, 2009 at 1:24 pm
    @Phil. Yeah I guess you and other skeptics have failed then. If you try and attack peoples faith and then ask for it back on other matters you’re going to run into trouble. Skeptics understand science and reason but don’t have a clue about the masses or how to persuade them.

    ___________

    How do skeptics attack people’s faith, exactly? By asking questions? By having their own set of beliefs based in logic and reason?

    And what does faith have to do with medical science? One’s belief system is irrelevant to the fact that vaccines prevent disease and are extremely safe.

    Seriously. If you consider a few skeptics asking questions about stuff you believe to be an “attack,” maybe your faith isn’t that strong to begin with.

  15. Apparently children dying isn’t enough to get these loons thrown in jail. I wonder how many children need to die before they actually take notice? *sigh*

    Don’t forget: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html

  16. Also – WOW! I had no idea Billy Corgan was such a nutcase.

  17. @John

    Regarding the thimerosal, you’re right that it is no longer in the majority of childhood vaccines. One note to add, though, is that the MMR never had thimerosal in it. Ever.

    As to the vaccinated kids getting mumps, it is possible that the infected individuals were in the 10% or so who do not gain immunity from the vaccine.

  18. 10. Ca n´Internet Says:
    October 30th, 2009 at 1:51 pm
    Smart people get their shots. Dumb people die out.
    VIVA LA EVOLUCION!

    _________

    Unfortunately, they have strength in numbers.

  19. Kurt Kohler

    @toasterhead

    So did the dinosaurs.

  20. John

    @toasterhead.
    “And what does faith have to do with medical science? One’s belief system is irrelevant to the fact that vaccines prevent disease and are extremely safe.”

    You missed the point beautifully.
    The science starts *after* the vaccine has been administered. You have to get it there first, which requires the faith/trust/belief etc of those whose choice it is.

    @Todd W.
    “it is possible that the infected individuals were in the 10% or so who do not gain immunity from the vaccine.” – possibly, though that would be very difficult to prove, you’d have to show that 9x as many people were infected. Without complete knowledge you could spin those numbers any way you want.

    and – 10% ? wow, I’d have thought mumps could propagate with that figure without the help of us brits….

  21. 20. John Says:
    October 30th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    You missed the point beautifully.
    The science starts *after* the vaccine has been administered. You have to get it there first, which requires the faith/trust/belief etc of those whose choice it is.

    ___________

    No. The science is always there. The fact is always there. It’s precisely due to the work of anti-vax idiots that something as fundamental as immunization against infectious disease has been spun into a matter of “faith/trust/belief.”
    ___________

    and – 10% ? wow, I’d have thought mumps could propagate with that figure without the help of us brits….
    ___________

    80-90% is a standard efficacy rate for any vaccine. Some people just don’t produce antibodies. It happens. And in order to maintain effective herd immunity, you need to have about 80-90% of a population immunized. So when people decide to assert their individual idiocy and stop having their children immunized, they cause the immunity of the population to drop below that 80% mark, as some parts of the UK have.

    So yeah, you’re helping spread that disease. Thanks!

  22. Jennifer B. Phillips

    Wow, I love how people like “John” can insinuate that no actual science goes into the research and development of vaccines at all–that the citizens of the world are just a super interesting collection of lab rats to the soulless, cash-registers-for-hearts Big Pharma doodz–without batting an eye. Truly revolting stuff.

    Thanks for this Phil. Keep fighting the good fight.

  23. Michael Swanson

    Kudos to you, Phil, for a post that is not filled with profanity and threats of punching people in the nose, since that’s the only way that I would be able to address these [insert foul language] dangerous lunatics. They’re the same damned fools that would fall for the “outlaw dihydrogen oxide” hoax, except that this is real and people are going to die needlessly.

    Portland, Oregon

  24. Gammidgy

    My son (aged 3) got his booster jabs today (Measles, mumps, rubella, Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio). One jab in each shoulder and no blubbing, that’s my boy!

    Although by the end his Kitkat was a seeping out somewhat between his whitened knuckles.

  25. Just me

    @ 15 & 17 toasterhead:

    How do skeptics attack people’s faith, exactly? By asking questions? By having their own set of beliefs based in logic and reason?

    Also – WOW! I had no idea Billy Corgan was such a nutcase.

    Challenging someone’s faith by asking questions, or saying “I don’t agree with you.” is not attacking a person’s faith. Calling someone a nutcase, because you don’t agree with their view is attacking. So is caricaturing a person’s faith as a superstitious belief in mythical sky fairies or whatever.

    Someone very close to me is currently at a place in her “journey” where I cannot join her, because it’s too “out there” for me. She’s into all of these “healing” workshops and new-age things. Do I think she’s a “nutcase”? Of course not. She’s made choices in her life; some of which I don’t think are particularly healthy. But I can’t make her choices for her. Nor do I think it’s appropriate for me to tell her that she’s wrong — no matter how much I think she may be. And she’s definitely not stupid or naïve. Her life is her life, and I can hope that she “finds her way back”. But that’s the whole point. She has to find her way back. I can’t make her come back. And calling her crazy or a nutcase certainly won’t endear her to me, or won’t encourage her to “come home”.

    I think the reason there’s popular cultural distrust of science and scientists is that there’s a lingering stereotype of the science culture, which is of these old, grumpy, grey-bearded professors speaking in cold, detached tones of “reason”. Or, the modern scientists who are lab-coat wearing science geeks, stuck in a basement laboratory, disconnected from “normal” people. Obviously, those stereotypes are not very accurate (see Brian Cox, BA, et. al). And a third thing, which is very real, is that non-scientists feel “talked down to” by science-types; i.e. “you’re stupid for believing in mystical sky fairies”. In other words, there’s a lack of empathy for the people on “the other side of the tracks”. And yet, we expect them to trust us because we’re right!

    Yes, we may have the facts and reason on our side. But if we don’t bring empathy along as well, in our discussions of, say vaccines vs. anti-vax, then it’s likely no one on “their” side will budge an inch. If anything, the “us vs them” rift will grow wider.

    I don’t agree with a lot of what Billy Corgan expressed on his blog. But I get a pretty good sense that he’s speaking from his heart. Just as Phil is speaking from his—um, what do atheists speak from? ;-)

    I think the crux of this distrust of science — particularly medical science — was illustrated in an episode of “House” I saw the other night. Dr. Foreman was running a clinical trials study for Huntington’s Disease, and he mentioned to his supervisor that one of the patients was a friend of his. His supervisor said “she’s not a patient, she’s a number. We can’t think of them as human beings. Because if we do, we can’t be objective.” I put quotes, but I really paraphrased what she said. Technically, the supervisor was right. To be objective, it’s necessary to not be connected to any of the subjects in the trial. But, that means that the subjects themselves, the people who are hoping to be helped by the trials, are just numbers. They are not human. Their feelings, fears, concerns, anxieties are not being addressed. “For the greater good.” At most, if you go in for treatment of something, a doctor will see you for maybe 5-10 minutes, and will ask you questions directly related to your actual illness and nothing else. And you’ll be one of probably 50 to 100 patients that doctor has seen that day. In other words, you’re just a number. Obviously there are exceptions. I know a lot of doctors who are very caring and sensitive—so doctors come in all shapes and temperaments.

    But, friends of mine who are more into the alt-medicine culture talk about how their “specialist” will spend time getting to know them, and that there’s a personal relationship there. And human connection trumps rational argument almost every time. I’m not into the alt-medicine culture because I have faith in science, and I trust that the doctors trained in western medicine know their trade, and I don’t need to have a personal relationship with them. I just need to know that they’ve been properly trained to diagnose & treat what ails me. But many people need that personal connection, and I don’t blame them.

    Also, there’s a distrust of the giant drug corporations who profit from the distribution of vaccines & medicines. The thinking goes, somebody’s making TONS of money off of this. Granted, alt-med treatments aren’t necessarily free, but they’re also not distributed by the millions by a few mega-corporations. In other words, the science behind the vaccines may be sound, but somebody’s making a lot of money off of it. And it’s the motivations of the profiteers that people don’t trust. Again, the difference being that in the alt-med culture, sure, you’re paying someone for their services, but you also get to look that person in the eye. When you buy a drug or get a shot, you never see the person who’s actually getting the money for it.

    So, while I don’t agree with the alt-med/anti-vax culture, I think I have a sense of why they’re so fervent in their “beliefs”. Science has failed them. Well, not science. Scientists have failed them. But when we lump people into groups, we don’t pay a whole lot of attention to subtle distinctions within those groups. So, if there’s a distrust of the practitioners of science, it’s not much of a stretch to distrust science as well.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, rather than take the “I’m right/You’re wrong” approach, which really doesn’t do anyone any good (and I come from a Christian background, so I know how bad it gets). I think the key is to try and find common ground: in the context of this discussion, the common ground is how to tackle treatable illnesses. Snake oil may not be healthy, but the seller is charismatic, and I can talk with him one-on-one, and he seems trustworthy, so what’s the harm—he might be right! On the other hand, science is rigorous, and tackles problems with amazing accuracy, but the researcher doesn’t know or care who I am, so why should put my trust in someone who I don’t know or doesn’t know me? What’s his/her real agenda?

    I think Western medicine needs to take a more holistic approach to patient care—recognize & acknowledge that patients are people, not just disease carriers, or experimental subjects. And alt-medicine needs to open itself up to more rigourous testing while maintaining the human connection.

    Maybe what I’m really saying in all this is, can’t we all just get along? :D

  26. John

    If you want to get parents to allow you to inject their children with an analogue of a dangerous pathogen, you need more than science and reason, unless you plan to put them all through medical college and educate them individually.

    If you think that knowing water will save the horse is enough to make it drink, it will die of thirst.

  27. Sarah

    It reminds me of a story I heard as a kid, about how the first vaccinations came about- a scientist by the name of Edward jenner who noticed that milkmaids who got cowpox did not often die from smallpox – a nasty nasty virus which killed 20% of those who got it and maimed the rest scarring them for life. He got an idea and thought maybe those who had cowpox may be able to survive smallpox. He tested it on a boy, James Phipps- by putting a scraping of the pus (ew!) into the boy’s arm and after a few weeks, then smallpox. The boy got a little sick, but didn’t get as bad (and hoo boy, small pox is BAD!)
    The ridiculous part though, fast forward a few years after his findings were publish and publicized, is that people (I guess, the first anti-vaxers) thought they would sprout horns , hooves and tails like cows.

    The anti vaxers know that getting animal parts isn’t gonna happen and they are a bit more sophisticated, but their beliefs are still not as based on fact – and still spread fear!

  28. DemetriusOfPharos

    @Paul

    To paraphrase a line from Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory: “You have a sarcasm hat?”

  29. I'd rather be fishin'

    Damn the anti-vaxers. Recently I was reading a post on another blog (sorry Phil…) about the eradication of smallpox. There was a picture of a child, one of the last in the world to contract smallpox. There was a warning that the picture might be disturbing to view. Well, the warning was right. If we could show that picture to people who listen to anti-vaxers, we might almost turn the tide in favour of facts and science.

  30. CybrgnX

    Does nayone out there know if any of the BIGGER anti-Vaxxers have ever had vaccines???
    Like Xtian parents who want to pray their kids well while they go to the hospital.
    It would be nice ammo if the anti-vaxxers had vaccines!!!!

  31. @Just Me:

    Also, there’s a distrust of the giant drug corporations who profit from the distribution of vaccines & medicines. The thinking goes, somebody’s making TONS of money off of this.

    I’m with you the whole way, but want to expand on this part a little.

    As the U.S. discusses (and shouts at each other about) bigger issues of health care, one obvious fact stands out clearly to me: If our goal is to provide the best, most compassionate care to the greatest number (hopefully all?), the profit motive needs to be reduced or eliminated from some parts of the health care industry. I recognize that it is a great motivator for innovation and don’t want to see that completely eliminated. But insurance in particular strikes me as an industry that is always betting against the patient in a less than fully compassionate way. Patients who become sick are liabilities and any way to reduce or limit benefits will improve the bottom line. At the same time, insurance isn’t some magic thing that will pay for everyone to every have procedure they might ever possibly want.

    I also wonder if there isn’t a way for governments to license vaccines from some pharmaceutical companies and contract the manufacture to others in a controlled way to prevent any such conspiracies of manufactured illnesses from ever arising? Not that would completely stop the David Icke’s of the world from claiming conspiracy anyway.

    The most extreme elements of the anti-vax crowd see those very dark conspiracies. They come from both the far left and far right. Between them and Jenny and Oprah pandering to the soccer mom in the middle, it does seem like people are being surrounded on all sides by fear and paranoia. I have some friends who just joined a facebook group of “Parents who won’t give their kids the swine flu vaccine”.

    So I’m also with you that there’s no confrontational way to resolve our differences. I need to get the vaccine myself (if I can find it), so the next time I see my friends I can tell them about it casually, as if I hadn’t even noticed the group they’d joined. I’m sure it will spark an interesting conversation.

  32. Jean-Denis

    Here is a moving testimony about why vaccines are important, even for “mild” diseases such as chicken pox:

    http://inessential.com/2009/10/29/vaccines

  33. Damon

    I like Phil’s soap-box ethics-rant when the real crime being committed is that vaccinations distributed in poorer facilities (and thus poorer regions) are increasingly diluted with other drugs, less and less vaccine going down the social ladder until the folks at free clinics are essentially being injected with water and fluoride.

    But no, please keep fighting the good fight by railing against some people on the internet. Thanks, Phil.

  34. 10. John Paradox Says: “2. Shoeshine Boy Says: ‘Yeah, what have the Romans ever done for us?’

    My favorite is Lead Poisoning. “Plumbing” is derived from Plumbum (sp?), the Latin for Lead, because most pipes were made of lead. Of course, it leached into the water as it flowed, and led to health problems (most commonly mentioned is brain damage).”

    John – All true, but Shoeshine’s comment was actually a Python reference, specifically from “Life of Brian.”

    - Jack

  35. @Just me,

    “Just as Phil is speaking from his—um, what do atheists speak from?”

    The brain. Though we’ve been known to vent a spleen once in a while… :-P

    @John,

    “If you want to get parents to allow you to inject their children with an analogue of a dangerous pathogen, you need more than science and reason, unless you plan to put them all through medical college…”

    You don’t need to attend med school to know the point of vaccines. Vaccines introduce inactive or severely weakened parts of a virus that are attacked by the immune system and provoke our bodies to up our defenses against the disease by developing antibodies. We know the process works because we’ve had about 100 years of documentation on how it works and whether it’s effective.

    That’s it. That’s all the education, science and reason you need to know that vaccines are a good idea.

    Luddism is one of those primal emotions of “I don’t know how it works so I have to be afraid of it and other people have to be afraid like I am.” And this is basically what drives the anti-vax movement. Pure, simple, basic Luddism. And, of course, the atrocious media coverage doesn’t help matters in the least…

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/10/22/the-great-vaccine-apocalypse-cometh/

  36. Mark Hansen

    Damon, did you think that through at all? If the free clinics in your “poorer” areas were getting what is essentially a homeopathic injection, then disease rates would pick up in those same areas. Besides which, you got some citations for the diluted vaccines?

  37. Merijn Vogel

    Now a dozen people have died from H1N1, I’m getting more and more angry at my government (the Netherlands). There could have been none, especially amongst the children had they vaccinated. I hope that next week the general practitioners alike will finally start a vaccination campaign and allow children to get vaccinated. There are tens of millions of vaccines ordered (for a population of 16M), so that should not be the limiting factor.

  38. John

    The pro-vax lobby remind me of an english tourist, trying to speak to someone with no english and raising their voice and speaking slowly thinking that they might make themselves better understood. (I’ve actually witnessed this on several occasions, it’s funny and sad at the same time)

    @Merijn
    Similar situation in the UK, though nearly all of the cases had serious underlying conditions to begin with, and we still have several thousand deaths each year from regular strains of flu, making H1N1 seem almost benign by comparison. Put simply, making swine flu vaccine is a massive waste of money when we could be saving thousands from regular flu or even millions by providing vaccines against more dangerous illnesses in the developing world.

  39. toasterhead

    26. Just me Says:
    October 30th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Challenging someone’s faith by asking questions, or saying “I don’t agree with you.” is not attacking a person’s faith. Calling someone a nutcase, because you don’t agree with their view is attacking. So is caricaturing a person’s faith as a superstitious belief in mythical sky fairies or whatever.
    ___________

    I wasn’t calling Corgan a nutcase because I don’t agree with his view. I called him a nutcase because his blog post was a burbling incoherent rant replete with every bit of conspiracy-whacko verbiage in the conspiracy-whacko lexicon. He’s entitled to believe what he wants – I totally respect that and give him that freedom. But I’m also, by the same token, entitled to believe that he’s a nutcase.

    My frustration with the whole “belief vs. science” rift is that the two aren’t opposed. They’re not even on the same plane. It makes as much sense as “hubris vs. pomegranates” or “The 1986 New York Mets vs. post-impressionism.” Belief, by definition, deals in the nonreal. Science, by definition, deals in the real. The moment something becomes real i.e. measurable, it is no longer in the realm of belief – it simply is.

    Now, I can understand the distrust of Big Pharma and all that. I don’t trust drug companies much myself. But to oppose vaccines because of the belief that the drug companies are making millions of dollars in profit is based on a lack of fact. Vaccines are time and labor intensive, with very little profit margin. That’s why the government has to provide incentives for companies to produce them. I’d understand the “flu vaccine is just a get-rich scheme” argument if the vaccine was bundled with a boner pill, but it isn’t.

    (Note – that’s a really good idea, though. H1N1 boner pill. Pfizer – ball’s in your court.)

    Sure, we can all just get along. But we also have to start from a baseline of reality, so we can begin to agree on what we’re getting along about.

  40. fred edison

    If things like common sense and caring about people really mattered to to the vaccine opponents, they would stop what they’re doing. But people like Meryl Dorey, Sherri Tenpenny, Len Horowitz, and the rest of their ilk are in a special class because of their persistent ability to invade the media and spread their falsehoods, just like a virus invades a cell by fooling it to see the virus as harmless and “persuading” the body to reproduce what could eventually kill it. The anti-vaxxers have an ability to persuade normally rational people to make irrational decisions about their health that later leads them to regret and sorrow. Indeed, the anti-vaxxers are highly effective disease proponents.

    I have no alternative but to view these anti-vaccine people, and the people who support their beliefs and echo their distorted ideas on the Internet and in the real world, as extremely selfish and horribly irresponsible people who aren’t at all bothered by the trail of misery and death that closely follows them.

  41. Just posted a link to an interesting vaccine article on my blog. Check it out. If you don’t mind…please follow me on twitter.

    Thanks,
    The Skeptical Teacher

    twitter.com/skepticalteach

    skepticalteacher.tumblr.com

  42. Damon (#35); That’s a very serious accusation. Have any solid evidence for it?

  43. Jeff in Tucson

    @Damon (#35): In your defence I did some googling about diluted vaccines in 3rd world countries and got a bunch of hits for…wait…just a bunch of antivax crap about mercury in them, and a hit from the CDC about the vaccine preservative process. Interestingly, my significant-other volunteered at a tot-shots clinic here in Tucson at the community food bank. It was a free, volunteer run, donation sustained clinic, which mostly served the poor and illegal-Mexican communities. Guess how diluted their vaccines were? (In case you are still guessing, the answer is NOT diluted–they came from the local hospital’s supply! QED) And Flouride?! What, did you throw a dart at a periodic table to get that one? Nice.

  44. amphiox

    And what alternative method of persuasion do you propose, John?

    Should we stop questioning their beliefs entirely, and thereby voluntarily relinquish our own self-identity as skeptics?

    Should we counter their propaganda campaign with our own, lies vs lies, and start spreading false but comforting and appealing pro-vaccine pap (we could say vaccines contain anti-oxidants, we could say vaccines improve your sex drive, we could say vaccines make you more beautiful, we could redefine autism as a sacred possession by angels and divine gift of the vaccine gods)

    Should we get various priests to publicly bless vaccines before administration and cast out the demon mercury?

    Should we establish a new pro-vaccine religion and start proselytizing?

    Or should we stop trying to convince and merely compel, making vaccinations mandatory and jailing all who refuse (it would have to be jail. Fines won’t work because you need to remove the non-immune to keep up herd immunity)?

    Out with it John. Which of these options would you prefer? Or do you have an alternative?

  45. Bloggo ANti-antivax

    @Dawn October 30th, 2009 at 1:01 pm
    There is, but there is way more mercury in a can of tuna.

    Stupid antivaxxers. Why don’t they warn parents over cooking food for children because of ‘dangerous compounts’ in everyday food? Everything is dangerous when you get too much of it.

  46. amphiox

    John #8

    The numbers you quote are not puzzling at all. In fact, such numbers are actually meaningless. I’ll provide a simplified example to illustrate:

    Suppose you had a population of 10000 people, and 99% have received the vaccine, which is 90% effective. This means that, of those 10000 people, 9900 will be vaccinated and 100 will not be, and of the 9900 who are vaccinated, the vaccine will provide immunity for 8910. This will leave us with 100 unvaccinated people who have no immunity and 990 vaccinated people who do not have immunity because the vaccine did not work for them.

    If an epidemic breaks out and all 10000 people are exposed, if all the people who are vulnerable get infected, you will have almost 10 times as many vaccinated people among the sick as unvaccinated people.

    You can fiddle with these numbers in any number of ways to produce a 75%/25% ratio of vaccinated/unvaccinated among the infected people, and pertaining to the question of vaccine effectiveness, it means absolutely nothing.

  47. Gary Ansorge

    Arg! So many conspiracies, so little time.

    7. John:

    Who cares about your “faith”? I don’t. Instead, I will offer you the tools to determine truth from lies, fantasy from reality, error from accuracy. It’s a very simple philosophy, a rigorous application of logic, called the Scientific Method. Evidence does not require faith, merely eyes to see and the wit to accept what is writ plain.

    26 Just Me:

    There is no such thing as “alt-med”. It’s an oxymoron. If it works, it’s what we in the science disciplines refer to as “medicine”. There IS something called “alternative TREATMENT” that may or may NOT have good correspondence with reality. If it doesn’t work, we call it BS.

    Everyone wants to be compensated for their efforts, whether it’s from the bright idea called a Hoola Hoop to medicine that prevents people from dying. Which do YOU think deserves the bigger re-imbursement?

    GAry 7

  48. Trent

    Lets be smart here. Vaccines are good for diseases that have a good chance of killing you, but are a $$ cow for diseases that don’t. Yes you are getting taken advantage of by the pharm companies for diseases like H1N1. Facts on H1N1 so far
    In USA 100 Deaths
    In World 4500 Deaths (mostly third world countries)
    1 in 15 million chance of dying from H1N1 over all, and astromonically higher in industrial countires, and healthy individuals.
    Don’t get in your car, becasue you have more of a chance of dying!!!
    Now if you read this and understand you are more likly to die from many other things than H1N1, but are just getting a flu shot or H1N1 shot because you are a pussy, and don’t way to get sick, well that is your own issue, so long as you understand you are a pussy. I personally will pass on the genetically altered untested virus for the sake of not wanting to be sick. On the other hand, something that may really kill me at a statistally high level, say small pox, well please bring it on.

    My point. Think! When you see a billboard saying get your flu shot avoid the 2009 pandemic, and you actually did. Kill yourself for being an idiot.

    In USA 7800 Deaths per yr, from over the counter pain killers (asprin/tylonol), where is the media covering this pandemic. LOL

  49. Trent (#51): You say “let’s be smart here” then give a series of logical fallacies as arguments. Here’s one that’s easily debunked: vaccines are NOT a cash cow for doctors; they make far more money if sicknesses run rampant. Maybe you could, y’know, talk to an actual physician about this.

  50. Chris

    Trent, where did you get your “In USA 100 Deaths” figure? From the most recent dub dub dub dot cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ report there have been at least 114 deaths of just kids. This does not include the almost two dozen deaths of pregnant women.

  51. @Trent
    I suppose the mostly third world deaths you quote includes Australia where so far we’ve had 186 deaths including 4 pregnant women.

  52. Col

    Salt is Sodium Chloride, NaCl2, Sodium will kill you and Chlorine will kill you so using the anti-vax, anti-science reasoning you should stop using salt completely and start a campaign about all these toxic substances being openly available in restaurants and fast food joints.

  53. Mike Mullen

    Apparently in Trent’s world you don’t start getting vaccinated until after a disease has killed a few million people, hey you don’t want to go through all that pain and suffering of getting a five second injection just to avoid getting sick do you?

  54. rob

    what’s the harm for believing in psuedo science alt med junk?

    check out http://whatstheharm.net to see some stories…

  55. Sid Offit

    The horror of puffy cheeks. And we thought the miracle of vaccination had spared future generations the millions of mumps deaths our parent’s generation had to endure

  56. Cin

    I googled “mumps” and wound up here. Why am I googling “mumps?” My 14 year old vaccinated Son was diagnosed yesterday. The only response I have gotten from people is the equivalent of “WTF?” Which is very similar to what I said to the doctor. We are in Michigan and not likely to have been affected by the New York Brit. So how the heck did we get it?!

  57. Cin (#60): Yikes! He was vaccinated against mumps specifically? I know vaccines aren’t 100%, but something like that must be very rare. I’m very sorry about that. I hope he’s OK.

    The source of the mumps there is indeed worrisome. I hope your doctor is contacting the appropriate people. I actually don’t know the protocol; should he call the CDC? Any doctors here? I’m curious now.

  58. Trent

    chris:
    I got it from the WHO’s website here http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_11_06/en/index.html my stats are a bit dated, new stats are listed there, we are up to 6,000 deaths now. I’m also not saying high risk groups should not be vaccinated like pregnant women. I’m just making fun of the would be “I saw the billboard, and it told me I needed one” people.

    Shane:
    21,000,000 people in australia, 186 deaths, a 1 to 112903 chance of dying. Not bad, quite a bit worse than the world average. Wonder why?

    Mike:
    I’m making a point, more poeple die from over the counter pain meds in just the US than this. What this means is if you get a flu shot, you should never take an asprin. Get it? And no I don’t becasue it is untested, especially in the long term. Why risk that unknown just for being sick?

    Phil:
    I’m not talking about doctors making money, I’m talking about the pharm industry making money. Too different things. Who do you think pays for all those fancy billboards and TV commercials?

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/10/29/business/AP-EU-Britain-Earns-AstraZeneca.html

    My point guys, think outside the box, I thought you did that here? Are you independent thinkers or followers? Using statistics on chances of death, getting vaccinated with a long term untested altered virus in a perfectly healthy individual, on the chance you may get sick and have an almost near 0 chance of dying, is not independent thinking. Thats following what the pharm companies wish you to think.

    Once again I bring you to the simple stat I love to use. In the USA ALONE there are 7800 deaths per yr in over the counter pain meds, in the world, I would bet this is in the hundereds of thousands. Yet where are the billboards for this, are you getting where I’m going here people? On precription meds, my god the stats climb astronomically higher.

    My point is H1N1 is HYPE, you wouldn’t know it existed if the media didn’t pick it up, just like you didn’t know hundreds of thousands died from OC pain meds around the world until you seek that info out on your own.

    I am suprised I got no one agreeing with me on this, I though with the stats, this is a no brainer.

    I have to clear something up with this last post from me, I’m NOT anti-vaccine, I’m just anti-sucker. Many vaccines have great need, but just know when you’re getting taken for a ride. And lastly High risk groups, kids/pregnant, should get H1N1 vaccine.

  59. Trent

    And to add a little more fire onto this:
    “1. There is no evidence based science that H1N1 vaccine prevents serious complication/death from H1N1.
    2. There is no evidence based science that H1N1 vaccine prevents infection with H1N1.
    3. There is no evidence based science that H1N1 vaccine is safe for fetuses.
    4. There has been NO safety data released by any of the manufacturers of the H1N1 vaccine.

    For that matter, there is no large randomized clinical trial on the influenza vaccine and whether it prevents death.

    Marc Silberman, M.D.”

    The novel H1N1 vaccine being developed must adhere to guidelines set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has announced that a vaccine will be accepted if it creates antibodies in 4 out of 10 recipients (40%), with at least 70 percent of those 4 achieving an antibody level believed to provide benefit. This means that an acceptable vaccine candidate would provide “protection” for 28% of vaccine recipients (70% of the 40%), or less than 3 in 10 recipients. The requirement drops to 18% efficacy for those over 65 years of age (60% of 30%).

    So here are the facts, as documented by the CDC and the FDA:

    As many as 3,000 Americans will be harmed by the novel H1N1 vaccine, based on past vaccine complications of 1 in 100,000, if all 300,000,000 people were vaccinated in the USA. BTW 1 in 100,000 is much higher a chance of dying than just going all natural at 1 and 15,000,000 for the whole world.

    The vaccine may be ineffective in more than 7 out of 10 recipients.

    And in case you think I am alone in my concerns, here is what several vaccine experts associated with the CDC and the U.S. government say on the subject.

    “I am very skeptical of finishing vaccine before we know the appropriate dose to be included in each inoculation, before immunogenicity studies are complete, or before safety assessments have been finished,” William Schaffner, MD, Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University and a member of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), wrote in an recent e-mail.

    “We have assured both the profession and the public that the H1N1 vaccine will be evaluated with the same rigor that is applied to seasonal vaccine. We should NOT make vaccine available before the trials are complete and the results carefully assessed.”

    Others are worried about a repeat of the last swine flu “pandemic,” now regarded as a public health and public relations debacle.

    “I fear that a rush towards vaccinating the population without completing trials risks leading to the harmful outcome that we witnessed during the 1976 swine flu scare, where the government advocated rapid production and vaccination of the population without adequate safeguards, which led to an unexplained increase in cases of Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS), amongst other complications, and massive liability for the government,” wrote Amir Afkhami, MD, PhD, of George Washington University, an international expert on the 1918 Influenza pandemic and an advisor to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. military, and the World Bank on issues pertaining to infectious diseases, public health and, mental health.

    “I think in this regard, we must learn from lessons of the past and be mindful of not jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire by putting people’s health at risk without adequate production and safety monitoring of the vaccines.”

  60. Jemima

    “Apparently children dying isn’t enough to get these loons thrown in jail. I wonder how many children need to die before they actually take notice?

    I wish people who make stupid remarks like above would have to raise a child with autism.

    It is stupid to purposely inject yourself with a known sickness.

    Hygiene and proper sanitation are the reasons why we no longer have the diseases we do.

    What kind of dummy trusts a vaccine maker who is unwilling to take responsibility for any mistakes they make and makes their government do this for them? Toyota would NEVER get away with this.

    63. Trent Says: is RIGHT.

    “putting people’s health at risk without adequate production and safety monitoring of the vaccines is STOOPID!!!”

  61. Jemima (65): That is one of the most ignorant and dangerous comments I have ever had on this blog. And that’s saying something.

    Vaccines work. Smallpox is gone — GONE — not because of hygiene, but because of vaccinations. Hundreds of millions of people’s lives have been saved by vaccinations from smallpox alone, and you decide, despite incredible, overwhelming evidence, that it’s sanitation that did the trick? You’re completely wrong. Measles was almost gone. Polio was almost gone. All due to vaccines. And when people like you spread that kind of completely wrong information about vaccinations, and the rates go down, surprise: measles and polio make a comeback. And kids get sick, and some die.

    We know that “injecting yourself with a known sickness” works, because that’s how the body works. It’s how our immune systems work.

    I find it massively ironic that you sat at a computer, accessing the internet to relay your misinformation. You depend on science in every second of your life, yet deny the parts you don’t like.

    Reality doesn’t care what you believe or disbelieve, and it doesn’t pick or choose. It all works.

    If you have a child with autism, then I am honestly and sincerely sorry. But we know for absolute rock-solid fact that vaccines don’t cause autism. I certainly hope some other mother or father doesn’t have to mourn the death of their child from pertussis because antivaxxers ignored the vast amounts of solid evidence that vaccines prevent illness.

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