Indexed takes on antivaxxers

By Phil Plait | February 28, 2011 2:29 pm

Jessica Hagy has a terrific website called Indexed, where she uses simple, hand-drawn charts and Venn diagrams to make some pithy point in a funny way. She’s tackles all kinds of topics, and recently, to my heart’s delight, made a very simple point about vaccines:

Yup. Hard to be any more succinct than that.

[Speaking of succinct points, check out a strip from last week’s Frazz webcomic, sent to me by my brother Sid.]

Related posts:

Index card of truth
The intersection of pareidolia
Getting sick of Jenny McCarthy
I got shot

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Humor, Piece of mind

Comments (18)

  1. Lawrence
  2. J. Wong
  3. Keith Bowden

    Thank you (and your brother) for introducing me to Frazz!

  4. J wong,

    thats an interesting article. Especially the part about how they inoculated (yuck!). But the mention that this method came for the far east kind of makes me smile…

    How is it that nonsense therapies from the far east (reiki, acupuncture, etc) are considered good by the woo-folk and not this method that is shown to be effective?

  5. I just started reading The Panic Virus (which you all should read if you’re interested in this topic – it is fascinating!) It says that the form of inoculation mentioned in the NY Times article is first documented as early as the 14th Century. Yes – it is icky, isn’t it! I was telling my mom about the original smallpox inoculations (a retired nurse – super-pro-vaccine) and she said, “Wow, that is taking live vaccine to a whole ‘nother level.”

    By the way Phil, that’s an awful face you’re making there in the photo of you getting the pertussis shot – surely it wasn’t that bad :) You’re gonna scare the kiddos! (I’m just gloating because I just asked my mom if I am up to date on all that stuff from childhood vaccines and she said yes – phwew!)

  6. sdn

    Is that true, though? Vaccines may not cause autism, but they should correlate because most people with autism have been vaccinated. It’s just that there’s no evidence of a causal link.

  7. Brett

    sdn@7: To correlate, people with autism would have to be more likely than the general public to be vaccinated (or people who have been vaccinated would have to be more likely than non-vaccinated to develop autism). Neither is the case – you’re just as likely to be autistic if you have vaccinated as if you haven’t, and you’re just as likely to be vaccinated if you’re autistic or not. So, while many autistic folks have been vaccinated, there’s no correlation because it’s not a different percentage than that of the general public.

  8. I have had all my vaccinations, several in the past year – H1N1, Hep A, B, and C. I must say I have had no ill effects. In fact, I have Tiger blood and Adonis DNA. Oh… wait…

  9. bigdaddyhen
  10. sdn

    Ah, thanks Brett. That makes sense.

  11. We didn’t have as many vaccines when I was growing up. We didn’t have as many diagnoses either, but we certainly did have a lot of what were known at the time as “weird kids.” I believe that was the technical term.

  12. MetaJetta

    Im high functiining autistic (with a dog bit texting hand I’m somewhat less so tonight). I have a brother like me and then one lower functioning brother, and one profoundly delayed in social behavior. I kind of resent the message that we are broken, with vax as the blame. My brother who doesn’t talk and can barely dress himself is fluent in several dozen languages, and is really funny if you can decipher his humor. Yes, polio would have enriched hiss life greatly. ūüėõ

  13. Jim

    MetaJetta, your comment cracked me up – and I agree. Thanks for posting.

  14. PeteC

    I think an interesting statistic would be the rise in autism cases ploted against the decline of cases of what, in the past (and please note that I certainly don’t endorse the terms or their use), people called “village idiots”, “morons”, “halfwits”, “retards”, “dummys”, and just plain “slow” and “stupid” folk.

    A significant part of the rise in autism cases is that we are now actually diagnosing autism cases, when before they’d be brushed off by putting the unfortunate sufferer into a somehow “broken” category.

  15. Miko

    This is actually incorrect. Medical advances leading to the availability of more vaccines have also led to an increase in detection methods for autism, so we’ve been able to detect more cases of autism at the same time that we’ve been getting more vaccines. So, there most definitely is a positive correlation between the two; there just isn’t any causation.

  16. Joseph G

    @ #3 J. Wong: Wow, that’s very cool. I had no idea that Benjamin Franklin wrote about inoculation, or that it was so common that early on. And those casualty rates! And yet, they saw that it was still the safer option compared to doing nothing. I can’t believe people are so damn reluctant to vaccinate their kids today, when things were once so much worse!

    @13 Meta: Well said!
    But yeah, that’s why I always tell people (while probably frothing at the mouth and appearing a bit unhinged in my exasperation) that even if the anti-vaxxers were RIGHT; even if vaccinations DID cause Autism, your kids would STILL be much worse off by not getting them. I can’t believe that it’s not bloody obvious to everyone.


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