Not vaccinated? No kisses!

By Phil Plait | June 12, 2012 10:00 am

I love this. Just love it. Short, simple, and to the point.

This was a billboard designed by Every Child By Two, a vaccination advocacy group I like a lot and strongly support (in fact, if you buy a Zen Pencils print of my Science Fare speech half the profits go to ECBT). While people like Meryl Dorey and Judy Wilyman vilely attack parents of babies who have died from vaccine-preventable diseases, groups like ECBT are trying valiantly to save babies’ lives.

Go talk to your board certified doctor and find out if you need to be vaccinated, and if you need your TDAP booster. Help save lives.


Related Posts:

- Followup: Antivaxxers, airlines, and ailments
- Whooping cough outbreak in Boulder
- Pertussis can kill, and you can stop it
- I got shot

Comments (44)

  1. Chris

    Hmm, I might tell people now I’m not not vaccinated just so I don’t have to touch their babies. I’ve always found them to be very sticky.

  2. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    The babies, you mean?

  3. tideliar

    My son was born 3 months ago and PTx and measles scare the pants off me. He’s getting his Vax at each doctor visit, but I have to trust the herd until he’s old enough for the Big Ones.

    One of these billboards went up in my neighborhood a couple of weeks. So great to see – very eye catching, very simple. Hopefully very effective.

  4. mjbutah

    These have been all over our area for a while. I love that scrunched up face!

  5. Carey

    Ah, unintentional pun by Chris (#1). Excellent work.

  6. Calli Arcale

    That is so adorable! I love it! Gonna put it on my Facebook page; I’ve got two brand-new nieces, and a new cousin due any day now. I got my Tdap back in ’09, so I’m covered.

  7. As a person who can’t get the MMR shot due to allergy, but has only had measles and rubella, I consider unvaccinated people to be a threat to my life and male bits limb, just about as much as some yob waving a loaded gun around. Since I *depend* on herd immunity for mumps protection, this particular issue is pretty important to me.

    I’ve heard there’s a new MMR vaccine that people who are/have been allergic to eggs and feathers can get, but I’ve never heard that from a credible source.

  8. Solius

    As one that worked for an accreditation agency, I was one that “suffered” many needle sticks. But that was 20 years ago; how am I to find out if those inoculations still protect me?

  9. Sili

    Luckily I don’t like kids, so I don’t have to worry about whether they’re vaccinated or not.

    I’ll stay far away from the little buggers, so I don’t catch anything from them.

  10. Kathy Applebaum

    @evolving squid: I have a life threatening allergy to eggs and had to get the MMR shot a week ago for grad school. My doc was at the ready with an epipen, but I had absolutely no reaction.

    The CDC is giving mixed messages on this. On some parts of their site they say no MMR to egg allergic folks, but this (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/mumps.html#contraindications) says it’s not a problem.

  11. ChazInMT

    As an adult, you need a Tdap booster if you have not had one. I didn’t get it when I got a tetnus shot and paid the price Big Time when I got Pertussis 9 months later. I coughed so hard I pulled muscles in my back and had a bad cough for a month. Look into it and get a shot for Pertussis. (I never get flu shots BTW, so I’m not some vaccine junkie.)

  12. I am 30 and never have been vaccinated. Never. My brothers too. And we are in perfect health. I know quite a lot of people not vaccinated or never updating their youth vaccinations. I instinctly give much more credit to a healthy diet and a healthy way of life (especially avoiding stress) than to drugs and vaccines. Our body can build itself such strong defences! That’s a fascinating world of experience and studies. Very sad the wider medical autorithies don’t consider that that much. (well, healthy diet doesn’t make money like drugs…)
    The world is full of examples of long-lifespan healthy people who never got vaccined. That performance is due to a very good natural condition, including balanced diet and stress-free way of life.
    Also, I pay attention to sad stories of secondary effects of many vaccines campaigns, and I prefer the soft and long term way of strenghing ourselves.
    I understand different ways of seeing health care. I don’t pretend to know the truth. I just choose the natural way of caring for the body. The human body is somehow a perfect machine we still have a lot to learn about. And we will if we listen to it.

    Regards from France.

  13. Thanks for spreading the word, again, Phil.

  14. Andrea Leong

    Love this!

    I got a DTP booster last week, thanks to the growing awareness over the past few years. I had a check through my records and found that I “didn’t bother” with the scheduled booster in secondary school 10 years ago. The three diseases were low-profile, and there was a meningococcal outbreak that year so we got Meningitec at the same time the DTP booster was due.

    When a friend of a friend broke a rib coughing earlier in the year, it just got me thinking.

    The two reasons I didn’t get a booster 10 years ago, or in the 10 years since, were laziness and ignorance of how important it could be.

  15. Graham

    I love the positive response to the anti Vax misinformation put out by the likes of Meryl Dorey and the AVN but I most say I dislike the term herd immunity.
    People don’t live in herds animals do. People live it communities so why not call it community immunity?

  16. @Solius

    If you haven’t had a booster in the last 5 years or so, you should probably talk to your doctor about what vaccines you need, including the pertussis booster for adults.

  17. Trebuchet

    We got our TDAP last week! By the way, if you think your’e ok because you got a tetanus shot, think again. I got that just a year ago but when I asked the doc, it turned out to have been just tetanus.

    The nurse said the current TDAP is thought to be good for life, but as she added, that’s subject to change without notice.

  18. @Trebuchet

    Yep. Until recently, the adult tetanus booster only covered tetanus and diphtheria, the idea being, I guess, that pertussis generally was not a major issue for adults. Then it was discovered that adults tended to be a major vector of disease transmission. So, if you go in to get your booster, make sure to specifically mention pertussis, or you may only get the Td instead of the Tdap.

  19. Lorena

    in the news today in argentina…… Buenos Aires, June 12 (EFE). – Argentina’s Supreme Court today upheld a judgment ordering the parents of a child to comply with the official vaccination schedule, judicial sources said. As reported by the Judicial Information Center, the child’s parents are followers of Ayurvedic and homeopathic method and had refused to give their child the dose prescribed by the vaccination mandatory state plan. Argentina’s highest court held that “non-vaccination of children exposed to the risk of disease, many of which could be prevented by compliance with the national vaccination plan.” The judgment enjoins the parents of the child to demonstrate compliance with the vaccination plan or otherwise proceed to vaccination of the child by force.

    The parents said that it was their right not to vaccinate their child and that they were protected by our constitution, which reads that the private actions of men, are known only to men and god, but the court said that those actions are not private if the child gets infected and starts spreading the disease aroung. Basically that was it

  20. @13 Ludovic:
    The world is full of examples of long-lifespan healthy people who never got vaccined. That performance is due to a very good natural condition, including balanced diet and stress-free way of life.

    Actually, living in areas where most people are vaccinated tends to contribute to that health, as well as knowledge of pathogens and sanitation that came along with “Western medicine”.

    I am 30 and never have been vaccinated. Never. My brothers too. And we are in perfect health.

    Lucky you. That’s unsurprising, considering you live in a nation with a high vaccination rate. That herd immunity you’re enjoying comes from your fellow citizens getting vaccinated.
    Incidentally, vaccination rates in France have been falling, and measles outbreaks are a new and growing problem there.

  21. @Ludovic

    Very sad the wider medical autorithies don’t consider that that much. (well, healthy diet doesn’t make money like drugs…)

    You mean medical authorities like doctors or the CDC don’t recommend eating a healthy diet? Really?

    The world is full of examples of long-lifespan healthy people who never got vaccined.

    And the world is full of many more examples of short-lifespan people brought down by diseases that can now be prevented by vaccination. Pay a visit to a cemetery and take a look at the number of children buried there. We have ample evidence that when people don’t vaccinate, diseases tend to spread much faster and have a greater negative impact on the population. Take a look at your own France and the measles epidemics there.

  22. Calli Arcale

    Ludovic:

    That’s a fascinating world of experience and studies.

    Well, then I’m sure you’ll be able to cite them, won’t you?

  23. ND

    Ludovic,

    Nice try, you’re comletely and deliberately avoiding the documented benefits of vaccination over decades and decades. Just because you’re healthy does not invalidate vaccines as effective. As is it often pointed out here, others around you who are vaccinated help in your defense. You’re not just helping yourself through vaccination, but also others around you, including babies who cannot yet receive vaccinations.

    “Our body can build itself such strong defences!”

    The purpose of a vaccine to trigger that defense before you encounter the disease.

  24. Wendy

    Brilliant ad campaign. It should be made into bumper stickers and patches that can be sewn onto diaper bags so that the parents of the precious little kiss-ees can wave it in the faces of the unvaccinated would-be kissers. Call it slightly more directly targeted information spreading.

  25. bouch

    A few weeks ago, I went for my annual physical. Asked the doctor, and sure enough my Tetanus shot a few years ago wasn’t DTAP. I’ve got a slightly compromised immune system due to 7 months of Prednisone, but I told him to give me the booster. Done, and no reactions.

    Phil, thanx for spreading the word on this booster. If I didn’t read your blog, I wouldn’t have known to ask for it.

  26. Meg

    I have to giggle sometimes – if it wasn’t for the AVN and their ilk, I wouldn’t have found out that I needed a booster shot. I too got a tetanus shot 5 years ago when I accidentally landed on an old, rusty needle, so no pertussis. And I was lucky enough when I asked for it recently that when the doc asked why, and I explained my sister was pregnant, he decided being an aunt was close enough to primary care giver, and didn’t charge me.

    Didn’t even feel the needle, let alone have a reaction.

  27. Thanks you all for your reactions.

    @ Josph G : “Actually, living in areas where most people are vaccinated tends to contribute to that health, as well as knowledge of pathogens and sanitation that came along with “Western medicine”.”
    I’m glad you mention the knowledge of pathogens and sanitation. Vaccines are definitely just one of the many tools that the modern world owns to work on health. You can mention nutrition too. I did mention it. There is also the management of stress (stress helps the decrease of immunity, correct me if I’m wrong), and hygiene. I think hygiene and nutrition are first on the list of what improved health in developping countries.
    Life is complex. We are defined by the air we breathe, by the food we eat, by the level of stress we have, by the sanity of the place where we live, by the chemicals we get through drugs and stuffs, etc.

    I’m lucky I’m surrounded by vaccined people ?.. Well, maybe.
    But I’m also lucky to live in a developped country with sanitation, soap, clean tap water, correct air quality, organic food, and a quite comfortable life that doesn’t give me too much stress. Is this all secondary for my immune system ?

    @ Calli : There are hundreds of books about the building of a strong immune system through a good diet (junk food doesn’t prepare your body like a balanced diet, and some vegetables for example are considered powerful against cancer), through relaxation, or basically (and that’s key in developping countries) improvement of hygiene.

    @Todd W : (well, healthy diet doesn’t make money like drugs…) “You mean medical authorities like doctors or the CDC don’t recommend eating a healthy diet? Really?”
    I notice that when healthy diet is just a “recommendation”, vaccines are almost an obligation (it has almost worked like that in France and throughout the world). There is a big business based on medecine, and I don’t say that to shock. It’s just a fact :
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/26551-list-top-pharma-companies/

    I hope can grow a consideration for the many factors of health improvement and cures of diseases. I feel like we have reached an overwhelming importance of vaccines, and that we need a wider vision of how health does work. If we really care for improvement of health, then we need to consider our whole way of life and environement, not just the “shots” we are told to update.

  28. Gary Ansorge

    …and now, a word about psychics…

    http://www.livescience.com/20928-psychic-inspired-hoax-victims-sue-police.html?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=SP_06132012

    It appears that anyone, psychic or otherwise, can make outrageous claims and the police will be required to verify those claims. In this particular incident, the people who were most affected filed suit against the police and media for making a mountain out of a psychics hallucination…

    Gary 7

  29. @Ludovic

    But I’m also lucky to live in a developped country with sanitation, soap, clean tap water, correct air quality, organic food, and a quite comfortable life that doesn’t give me too much stress.

    Which are all well and good for preventing, say, cholera, but do nothing to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like measles or pertussis.

    I notice that when healthy diet is just a “recommendation”, vaccines are almost an obligation (it has almost worked like that in France and throughout the world).

    You seem not to understand that the reason that vaccines are so strongly recommended is that unlike a healthy diet, which only affects the individual, immunization protects both the individual and the people around them. For example, the people around you that have received their vaccines are protecting themselves and you. When vaccine uptake rates drop, we repeatedly see diseases increase among those populations.

    There is a big business based on medecine

    There’s big business in dietary supplements and organic food, too. Your point? Note that that link of yours doesn’t mention anything about vaccines. Instead, the companies on that list make far, far more money from drugs than they do from vaccines. In fact, vaccines are such a high risk investment that there are not very many companies willing to actually produce them, leading to shortages. That lack of profitability and high risk is also the reason the entire vaccine industry nearly disappeared in the 1980s (look into the history of the U.S.’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program).

    It’s interesting that you completely ignored the latter half of my post, regarding those who died young because of infectious diseases. Leading a healthy lifestyle (healthy diet, exercise, etc.) is important, but eating right and exercising will do nothing to prevent you from being infected by a vaccine-preventable disease. If you have never been exposed to or vaccinated against these diseases, you will very likely contract the illness and spread it to those around you, including those who are at high risk of serious complications (e.g., newborns, the elderly and the immune compromised).

    I recommend you educate yourself about vaccines, how they work, and about the diseases they prevent. The CDC Pink Book is a good start. There are also a lot of links to further information at AntiAntiVax.

  30. Nigel Depledge

    Well, this has largely been addressed already, but just to add my twopenn’orth :

    Ludovic (13) said:

    I am 30 and never have been vaccinated. Never. My brothers too. And we are in perfect health.

    So, you got lucky.

    So what?

    What is likely is that you and your brothers are benefitting from herd immunity created by other people in your community / state.

    I know quite a lot of people not vaccinated or never updating their youth vaccinations. I instinctly [sic] give much more credit to a healthy diet and a healthy way of life (especially avoiding stress) than to drugs and vaccines.

    Again, so what?

    Just because you “feel” that a certain thing is so in no way makes it so.

    It doesn’t matter what you think or suppose about your lifestyle choices. Your suppositions prove nothing. Your personal experience is not evidence.

    As it happens, improved sanitation and hygiene are largely responsible for the rarity in deveoklped countries of waterborne diseases such as cholera. But sanitation and hygiene can do nothing to prevent the spread of airborne diseases.

    Our body can build itself such strong defences!

    Duh, yeah.

    That’s how vaccines work. Or have you never done even the simplest thing to understand what a vaccine is?

    That’s a fascinating world of experience and studies.

    There is a fascinating world of experience and studies of which you are seemingly oblivious. Pretty much every professional immunologist (yes, there is a name for people who study the human immune system) will tell you that vaccines represent the single most successful category of medical interventions known.

    Very sad the wider medical autorithies [sic] don’t consider that that much.

    What, you mean apart from the fact that general practitioners are informed (and, indeed, taught) by immunologists and epidemiologists and by the work that these scientists do?

    (well, healthy diet doesn’t make money like drugs…)

    Irrelevant. Every medical intervention on the market has to prove itself efficacious in order to get a licence for sale.

    As it happens, some Pharma companies don’t make vaccines because they don’t make much money.

    The world is full of examples of long-lifespan healthy people who never got vaccined.

    Again, so what?

    You have no way of knowing to what disease agents these people may or may not have been exposed. And why.

    Moreover, if you look back to the time before we had vaccines, there were still a handful of people who did not suffer from diseases such as polio and smallpox, but this does not lessen the immense suffering that those diseases caused.

    That performance is due to a very good natural condition, including balanced diet and stress-free way of life.

    You have absolutely no way of knowing this. Your claim is therefore nothing more than wishful thinking.

    Also, I pay attention to sad stories of secondary effects of many vaccines campaigns,

    Such as what?

    Anything that has a genuine biological effect is likely to engender some unintended effects as well as the desired one. The question that remains is: do the undesired effects outweigh the desired effect? For vaccines, the answer is almost invariably “no”.

    and I prefer the soft and long term way of strenghing [sic] ourselves.

    Eh?

    What does this even mean?

    I understand different ways of seeing health care.

    AFAICT, there are two ways to view healthcare: (1) methods that have been proven to work and (2) everything else.

    Vaccines fall firmly into category (1). I have no idea what you are even trying to advocate, apart from eschewing a tried and tested method for preventing the spread of diseases.

    I don’t pretend to know the truth.

    Yes, you do. By rejecting vaccination, pretending you know better is exactly what you are doing.

    I just choose the natural way of caring for the body.

    And what is that? Blind luck? Or what, exactly?

    Do you have any evidence that your way is even half as good as vaccination? Or any evidence that your way works at all? And by evidence I mean controlled trials and epidemiological data, not anecdotes and guesswork.

    The human body is somehow a perfect machine

    Here, your ignorance is showing through. The human body is far from perfect. It is a cobbled-together bunch of compromises that works despite its inefficiencies, largely because of our large brains that allow us to, for instance, prevent the spread of disease through vaccination.

    we still have a lot to learn about.

    Yes, and there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world engaged in the process of doing exactly this. We call them scientists and doctors.

    And we will if we listen to it.

    Wrong. We learn by discarding preconceptions and seeing only what is, not just what we wish to see.

  31. Nigel Depledge

    Ludovic (28) said:

    [@ Todd] I’m glad you mention the knowledge of pathogens and sanitation. Vaccines are definitely just one of the many tools that the modern world owns to work on health.

    Yes, but did you have a point?

    You can mention nutrition too.

    Only insofar as we now no longer have commonplace vitamin deficiencies and starvation. Otherwise, nutrition plays only a peripheral role in the prevention of disease.

    I did mention it.

    Yes, but you were not any more convincing then, either.

    There is also the management of stress (stress helps the decrease of immunity, correct me if I’m wrong),

    Yes, but again this is a peripheral issue.

    and hygiene.

    Only relating to water-borne diseases. Against airborne pathogens, hygiene is irrelevant.

    I think hygiene and nutrition are first on the list of what improved health in developping countries.

    Well, all I can say to this is : isn’t it a good thing that you have no input into the public health policy of any major nation.

    Hygiene and nutrition are the poster-children of the antivax campaigners. Yet their relevance is strictly limited, and they play no significant role in the handful of diseases against which we vaccinate widely.

    Moreover, in the developed world, nations are experiencing widespread incidence of diseases relating to over-indulgence in “nutrition”. Namely, diabetes and heart disease. Diet plays a significant role in causing these diseases – specifically, a diet containing excessive amounts of sugar and fat (and, to some extent, the exact types of sugar and fat).

    So, while improved access to a wide range of foodstuffs has played a role in reducing the incidence of some varieties of ill-health (namely, vitamin deficiencies and starvation), the same factor is causing some diseases to increase.

    Life is complex.

    You have no idea. Go to PubMed and search for “MAP kinase signalling pathway”, for instance, and see how many hits you get.

    We are defined by the air we breathe, by the food we eat, by the level of stress we have, by the sanity of the place where we live, by the chemicals we get through drugs and stuffs, etc.

    What do you mean by “chemicals”?

    I’m lucky I’m surrounded by vaccined people ?.. Well, maybe.

    There is no “maybe” anbout it. Herd immunity is a demonstrated phenomenon.

    But I’m also lucky to live in a developped country with sanitation, soap, clean tap water, correct air quality, organic food, and a quite comfortable life that doesn’t give me too much stress. Is this all secondary for my immune system ?

    No. Some of it is irrelevant to your immune system (organic food especially). And living in a developed nation is more likely to expose you to poor air quality than living in a “developing” nation, unless you live in one of the most rapidly-developing parts of that nation. LA, for example, is notorious for its smog of nitrogen oxides.

    @ Calli : There are hundreds of books about the building of a strong immune system through a good diet (junk food doesn’t prepare your body like a balanced diet, and some vegetables for example are considered powerful against cancer), through relaxation, or basically (and that’s key in developping countries) improvement of hygiene.

    None of these things is proven true by the number of books published on the topic. How many peer-reviewed studies have been published on these topics in the primary scientific literature?

    @Todd W : (well, healthy diet doesn’t make money like drugs…) “You mean medical authorities like doctors or the CDC don’t recommend eating a healthy diet? Really?”
    I notice that when healthy diet is just a “recommendation”, vaccines are almost an obligation (it has almost worked like that in France and throughout the world). There is a big business based on medecine, and I don’t say that to shock. It’s just a fact

    And there’s an even bigger business based on junk food. Did you have a point?

    I hope can grow a consideration for the many factors of health improvement and cures of diseases. I feel like we have reached an overwhelming importance of vaccines, and that we need a wider vision of how health does work.

    We already have a wider vision, but most of the rest of it is not under such concerted and concentrated attack. Vaccination has been the target of a coordinated anti-health campaign and its importance needs reasserting.

    If we really care for improvement of health, then we need to consider our whole way of life and environement, not just the “shots” we are told to update.

    True, but that is no reason not to get those shots.

  32. ND

    ludovic,

    Do you or do you not believe vaccines work? You’re dancing around this issue.

  33. Chris2

    Ludovic

    The world is full of examples of long-lifespan healthy people who never got vaccined.

    Oh, do please share who they are, especially if they live somewhere that has no vaccine program. Provide verifiable citations to your answer.

  34. Thousands of years of Human civilisation happened before vaccines even were imagined. Can you accept the idea that such a long period of human life history has been possible without the help of vaccines ? Seriously, can you ? And please don’t tell me that in those times everybody was ill or died young.
    If Life was impossible without vaccines, we would have been wiped out from Earth right from the start.
    Just considering the power of Life along milleniums is enough for me to trust my natural capacity of building a immune system through a healthy way of life. And I’m very happy with all the improvements of health that have been brought by the modern era. I count on these gifts of civilisation, but more important, I rely on my inner power. And actually, I really don’t care if that doesn’t mean anything to you. The important is that is means something to me.

    I’m ok with you thinking differently. Really. Do what you want. I’m not here to convince. I just want to share a different experience of seeing health.

    @Chris2Says : Sorry, I don’t see the point of giving citations here. You are apparently here all vaccines-convinced, so I would waste my time searching such matter for you, because as most of my words, it would receive a negative reaction (Nigel is a specialist on that).
    I am not at all a specialist in health. I’m just a human being who feel that steady health can be managed in a much more natural way than vaccines.
    Is it so shocking ?… Do I sound that dumb ??

  35. ND

    “Thousands of years of Human civilisation happened before vaccines even were imagined. Can you accept the idea that such a long period of human life history has been possible without the help of vaccines ? Seriously, can you ? And please don’t tell me that in those times everybody was ill or died young.”

    So you’re saying vaccines have had no positive effect at all?

    “If Life was impossible without vaccines, we would have been wiped out from Earth right from the start.”

    Nobody said it was impossible. Besides, what does impossible mean? But vaccines do mean less of this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliomyelitis

    Do you acknowledge that a vaccines have eliminated polio from most countries? I would have asked you what you would have done instead of using vaccines, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  36. Chris2

    Ludovic:

    Sorry, I don’t see the point of giving citations here. You are apparently here all vaccines-convinced, so I would waste my time searching such matter for you,

    Um, the point is that you made a very specific claim. It is up to you to provide evidence of that claim. It looks like you just made it up, because if the claim was true you would be able to find the verifiable documentation very quickly.

    In the future don’t make claims unless you have the evidence to back it up.

    I’m just a human being who feel that steady health can be managed in a much more natural way than vaccines.

    All the while being protected from certain infections by others around you who are vaccinated. You are being a leech on that shield of protection. Though, it seems that there are many holes in that shield if you live in France. All it takes is being in the same room/store/tram as someone with measles (which is infectious a week or more before symptoms) and you will more than likely get it.

    Do I sound that dumb ??

    Yes.

  37. @ND : “So you’re saying vaccines have had no positive effect at all?”
    I won’t say that because there are no way to be sure of that. I just think it’s possible to live without vaccines, even within a wide non-vaccinated population.
    I know Human history counts terrible episodes of disease and death. I know even now many countries still suffer from epidemics, diseases of many sorts, etc. I just don’t include vaccines in the solution to these problems. As long as we assure very good hygiene, clean water access, healthy nutrition, and a stress-free context for life, the natural capacity of the body to build its immune system is in best conditions to do the work itself.
    A very sad thing those basic life support conditions are absolutely not filled in many places of the world. I don’t just talk about remote places in the heart of Africa. I also include big cities with high concentration of people in insane dwellings, with stressful context (that’s a tough and permanent pressure on our body’s defence), and polluted air.
    I guess vaccinating such population would no be enough to compensate those very bad life conditions. That’s why I think before thinking artificial help like vaccines, we must treat the basic : a sane environement for life.

    By the way, junk food is definitely amongst the worst things that have been brought by the modern world. It’s a key point in the health issue. There’s a very good film about that : http://www.foodmatters.tv/

    I agree with you Nigel about that :
    “in the developed world, nations are experiencing widespread incidence of diseases relating to over-indulgence in “nutrition”. Namely, diabetes and heart disease. Diet plays a significant role in causing these diseases – specifically, a diet containing excessive amounts of sugar and fat (and, to some extent, the exact types of sugar and fat). So, while improved access to a wide range of foodstuffs has played a role in reducing the incidence of some varieties of ill-health (namely, vitamin deficiencies and starvation), the same factor is causing some diseases to increase.”

  38. Nigel Depledge

    Ludovic (35) said:

    Thousands of years of Human civilisation happened before vaccines even were imagined. Can you accept the idea that such a long period of human life history has been possible without the help of vaccines ? Seriously, can you ? And please don’t tell me that in those times everybody was ill or died young.

    I addressed this point in #31, to whit:

    if you look back to the time before we had vaccines, there were still a handful of people who did not suffer from diseases such as polio and smallpox, but this does not lessen the immense suffering that those diseases caused.

    You seem to have ignored this, but it still refutes your contention that vaccines are unnecessary because some unvaccinated people live a long time.

    Back to #35:

    If Life was [sic] impossible without vaccines, we would have been wiped out from Earth right from the start.

    Irrelevant. No-one has contended that it would be. What is claimed, and proven, is that vaccines prevent the spread of several diseases that previously caused immense suffering.

    Just considering the power of Life along milleniums is enough for me to trust my natural capacity of building a immune system through a healthy way of life.

    The existence of polio refutes your contention. So does the existence of diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, cancers caused by HPV and so on and on. In fact, any disease in which the pathogen is able to exploit a naive immune system (as opposed to those infections in which the pathogen evades our long-term immune response, such as flu).

    And I’m very happy with all the improvements of health that have been brought by the modern era. I count on these gifts of civilisation, but more important, I rely on my inner power.

    Is there a difference between “counting on” and “relying on”?

    What do you think you “inner power” actually is?

    And actually, I really don’t care if that doesn’t mean anything to you. The important is that is means something to me.

    Maybe so, but what matters to everyone else in the world is : does your contention mean anything at all?

    I’m ok with you thinking differently.

    I think this sentence has one word too many (it would be more meaningful without that last word). There is no evidence that your comments are based on anything resembling actual thought. Your contentions have the appearance of a load of intuitive, magical fantasy.

    Really. Do what you want. I’m not here to convince. I just want to share a different experience of seeing health.

    What is your “different experience of seeing health”? Exactly? I ask because, apart from some peripheral issues that can influence a person’s health to a limited extent, from what you have written so far, your “experience” has the exact appearance of doing nothing and trusting to luck.

    @Chris2Says : Sorry, I don’t see the point of giving citations here. You are apparently here all vaccines-convinced, so I would waste my time searching such matter for you, because as most of my words, it would receive a negative reaction (Nigel is a specialist on that).

    Woohoo! I’m a specialist!

    Seriously, though, as Chris2 points out, you have made some pretty dramatic claims and, as far as anyone else can tell, you are just making it all up.

    For example, in #28, you mentioned there being many books written “about the building of a strong immune system through a good diet (junk food doesn’t prepare your body like a balanced diet, and some vegetables for example are considered powerful against cancer), through relaxation, or basically (and that’s key in developping countries) improvement of hygiene.”

    In #32 I asked what peer-reviewed research there was to back this up, and you have ignored my request. If you can cite actual evidence from rigorous scientific studies to support what you contend, then you have the power to prove me wrong and change my mind. If you cannot, you do not.

    Furthermore, if there is no rigorous evidence to support what you contend, than at best it has not been proven to work, and at worst it has been proven not to work. That, by the way, is more or less the definition of “alternative medicine”, because as soon as alternative medicine has been proven to work, it becomes simply medicine. (With a nod to Tim Minchin for the turn of phrase.)

    I am not at all a specialist in health.

    This is painfully obvious.

    But does it not occur to you that a health specialist (or, indeed, several thousand of them) might just know more about this stuff than you yourself do?

    I’m just a human being who feel that steady health can be managed in a much more natural way than vaccines.

    Again, is there any evidence to support your view, or is it just wishful thinking?

    Is it so shocking ?

    Shocking that you are so arrogant in your disregard of medical experts, yes.

    … Do I sound that dumb ??

    To second Chris2, yes.

  39. @Ludovic

    Thousands of years of Human civilisation happened before vaccines even were imagined. Can you accept the idea that such a long period of human life history has been possible without the help of vaccines ? Seriously, can you ? And please don’t tell me that in those times everybody was ill or died young.

    Yes, humans have been around for thousands and thousands of years. And during that time, a great percentage died in infancy, killed by infectious diseases. Those who survived carried on the species. Of course not everyone was ill all the time or died young. That does not mean that there were not a large number of people who were or did. See again my suggestion that you pay a visit to an older cemetery and look at all of the infants buried there.

    In modern times, advances in medical technology, sanitation, etc. have played a role in longevity, but vaccines have given more people to actually survive childhood for those advances to make a difference in their overall lifespan.

    I don’t see the point of giving citations here. You are apparently here all vaccines-convinced, so I would waste my time searching such matter for you, because as most of my words, it would receive a negative reaction (Nigel is a specialist on that).

    As Chris2 and Nigel already pointed out, providing citations is a way to change our minds. You see, we value evidence over fallible human intuition. We are not convinced vaccines work and provide a major benefit to people just because we feel like it does. We are convinced by the vast amounts of evidence from all over the world that they work and are beneficial. If you do not provide evidence to back up your claims, then, as already mentioned, we have to assume that you are either mistaken or just making stuff up.

    Do I sound that dumb ?

    I don’t think you sound necessarily dumb. Misinformed, ignorant and intellectually lazy, yes.

  40. @Ludovic

    As long as we assure very good hygiene, clean water access, healthy nutrition, and a stress-free context for life, the natural capacity of the body to build its immune system is in best conditions to do the work itself.

    Again, clean water, good hygiene, healthy nutrition and stress-free living will not do anything to prevent infection with respiratory illnesses like measles, pertussis, Hib, etc.

    I guess vaccinating such population would no be enough to compensate those very bad life conditions.

    Are you actually suggesting that vaccinating those living in “stressful” conditions would not work to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases?

  41. Nigel Depledge

    Ludovic (38) said:

    @ND : “So you’re saying vaccines have had no positive effect at all?”
    I won’t say that because there are no way to be sure of that. I just think it’s possible to live without vaccines, even within a wide non-vaccinated population.

    Well, of course it is possible. That’s not the point.

    The point is that:
    1. Vaccination allows us to prevent the spread of many diseases that once caused widespread suffering; and
    2. Choosing not to be vaccinated exposes yourself and people with whom you come into contact to a risk that is wholly unnecessary.

    And, no, you cannot control pertussis or measles through fresh air, diet and exercise.

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that, for much of human history, population density was very much lower everywhere than it is today. A low population density gives pathogens far fewer opportunities for transmission. Additionally, long journeys overland were rare even 200 years ago, whereas now they are commonplace, and international travel is seen as routine. We are giving pathogens so many more potential opportunities to spread than was the case just a couple of centuries ago.

    And yet, they are – for the most part – not. This is due to the success of widespread vaccination, and really nothing to do with diet and exercise.

    I know Human history counts terrible episodes of disease and death. I know even now many countries still suffer from epidemics, diseases of many sorts, etc. I just don’t include vaccines in the solution to these problems.

    Have you ever heard of smallpox?

    Have you ever met anyone who has had smallpox?

    Why is that?

    As long as we assure very good hygiene, clean water access, healthy nutrition, and a stress-free context for life, the natural capacity of the body to build its immune system is in best conditions to do the work itself.

    Again, you contend this, but simply reiterating the same philosophy does not make it any more valid than it was the first time.

    Would you, for example, believe me if I were to tell you I had an invisible pink unicorn living in my back garden? Or would you challenge me to prove it? Or would you dismiss me as a crank?

    What you are doing is logically identical. You are making claims that seem outlandish and expecting people to accept your word without any corroboration.

    This is a science and critical-thinking blog. If you post a claim here, you should expect to be requested to back it up with evidence. You either dismiss or ignore requests to support what you claim. So, why should anyone accept what you say?

    A very sad thing those basic life support conditions are absolutely not filled in many places of the world. I don’t just talk about remote places in the heart of Africa. I also include big cities with high concentration of people in insane dwellings, with stressful context (that’s a tough and permanent pressure on our body’s defence), and polluted air.

    In the context of disease transmission, it doesn’t matter. Even where those conditions are met, people still contract communicable diseases.

    I guess vaccinating such population would no be enough to compensate those very bad life conditions.

    And yet, it does. Most of these people in “insane” dwellings will never have to fear polio. Most of them will never even meet someone who has had smallpox. Most of them will never contract whooping cough. And so on.

    All because of the widespread use of vaccination.

    That’s why I think before thinking artificial help like vaccines, we must treat the basic : a sane environement for life.

    Obviously, that would help people’s wellbeing in general, but you seem to be addressing heart disease and diabetes far more than you are communicable, airborne diseases such as pertussis and measles.

  42. CJ

    “and hygiene.

    Only relating to water-borne diseases. Against airborne pathogens, hygiene is irrelevant.”

    Moot Argument.

    Question: Doesn’t the CDC and international authorities like the WHO suggest frequent hand-washing as a disease-prevention mechanism? For example, for the common cold and the flu? (seehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm).

    Isn’t that why doctors and nurses are supposed to wash their hands between patients (although many don’t). see http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/Basics.html

    Hygiene is about more than water-borne diseases, it’s about stopping the spread of any illness possibly caused by contact with hands/face/respiratory passages, etc. Death by childbirth was cut pretty much in 1/2 when they started washing hands when catching babies!

  43. Frances Adams

    “13. Ludovic Says: June 13th, 2012 at 4:20 am
    I am 30 and never have been vaccinated. Never. My brothers too. And we are in perfect health. I know quite a lot of people not vaccinated or never updating their youth vaccinations.”

    Good for you Ludovic. Your a breath of fresh air in a place where everyone else wants others to do their thinking FOR THEM.

    I’ve never been vaccinated either and see how sick those who have are. The only thing I’m worried about is catching an off shedding virus from one who was!

    All the people yapping about ‘herd immunity’ fail to recognize that IF the vaccines actually WORKED, then they shouldn’t worry about being infected by those who are smart enough not to want them!

    I’m not sick. I trust my immune system to do a better job than any shot can. Another thing people fail to consider is that the vaccine makers enjoy legal immunity to any harm their products cause.

    What person in their right mind would choose such a standard for treating their loved ones?

    Zero accountability if I hurt or KILL you?

    NO THANK YOU.

    Smart people know better, the dumb ones are going to have to wait and find out. The hard way.

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