Sunday 22 February 2015

The Vaccine "Debate"


To someone in the medical field, very little has been more in vogue to discuss lately than the supposed vaccine "debate".  I say "supposed" (and put "debate" in quotations) because, considering the evidence, there really should be no debate.  In science circles the vaccine "debate" is often likened to the flat earth vs round earth "debate" or the evolution vs creation "debate".  Unbelievably there are some loons who believe the earth is only 6000 years old, and if you look hard enough you'll even find some geologists and astronomers who support that position, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Similarly there are even fewer loons (fortunately) who believe the earth is flat despite this:
How anyone in 2015 could possibly believe the earth is flat is completely beyond me.  How anyone in 2015 could possibly believe that a magical omniscient omnipotent everlasting being willed the entire universe into creation only 6000 years ago is completely beyond me.  And how anyone in 2015 could possibly believe that vaccines aren't one of the best five inventions in the history of humankind (soap, plumbing, AC electricity, and bacon rounding out the top five, of course) is completely beyond me.  However, much to the chagrin of the vast majority of the medical world, people like that do exist, and despite all the evidence presented to them, they either flatly and/or willfully refuse to understand or lack the brainpower to do so (I strongly suspect the latter).

While I readily admit that medicine, like any other science, never considers itself settled, there simply should be no further vaccine "debate".  Vaccines DO work and they do NOT cause autism (evidence is below), though they do have fleetingly rare serious side effects.  The fact (not hypothesis, not theory, FACT) is that vaccines have revolutionised preventative medicine and healthcare in general.  Unfortunately, in addition to the hardcore antivaxxers who are, for one bogus reason or another, completely against vaccines, there are also individuals who seem to enjoy stirring the pot to supposedly "improve the dialog".  These are disingenuous people who purportedly hold themselves above the fray, supposing themselves higher or better than the strictly pro-vax and pro-disease (excuse me, anti-vax) folks, because they just want to ask questions and discuss.

Kevin Geary is one of those people.  On February 9, 2015 published an opinion piece by Mr. Geary titled "Bringing Much-Needed Sanity to the Vaccine Debate".  While this sounds like it should be a logical, objective, scientific approach to the topic, it is nothing of the sort.  Instead, Geary resorts to hypotheticals, logical fallacies, overriding literalism, and "questions" in an attempt to justify and validate the antivax argument, which deserves to be neither justified nor validated.  Someone tweeted his article to me asking my opinion on it, and I brought my evaluation to his attention quite by accident (not realising that his Twitter ID was included on my tweet):
Mr. Geary immediately replied:
I criticised his content, not the author or how he wrote it, so of course what I wrote was in no way an ad hominem attack.  I pointed this out to him:
His response was no better than "Whatever!"
An empty internet opinion?  You challenged me to write a rebuttal Mr. Geary, so there was only one possible response:
Because Geary openly welcomes the rebuttal, I will be quoting liberally from his dreck article.  Put on your wading boots, folks.  It's about to get deep.

I'll preface this by quoting a few comments Geary made to the readers of his article:
This article is not a claims-making article. It’s a question-raising article. Because there’s too much over-confidence and too little inquisition in this debate.
First of all, I haven’t declared a side. 
Sentences ending in question marks are typically “speculation.” Statements that end in periods are often conclusions.
In other words, he claims not to be making arguments on either side, simply asking questions.  That's a very feeble (and thinly-veiled) way of trying to protect yourself by making it seem like you aren't taking sides, even though you unambiguously are.

Geary starts by saying that he wanted to avoid the vaccine "debate" but for some reason felt that he had to engage.  He uses questions, hypotheticals, and illogical analogies to make his points.  Hey, he is saying, I'm not saying vaccines DON'T WORK, I'm just saying WHAT IF they don't work?

At the outset, he apparently feels that people on both sides of the "debate" have problems with critical thinking (a point of almost laughable irony):
As the title says, I want to bring sanity to the discussion. That doesn’t mean I want to change your position on vaccines…it means I want people to stop acting irrationally.
It sounds good and I had high hopes . . . until he actually started his argument.  And it starts deeeeeep.
Let’s fix the misuse of the word “consensus.” The Definition: An idea or opinion that is shared by *all* the people in a group
First of all, this is wrong.  According to the dictionary (you know, Mr. Geary, that big book that contains definitions of words and also exists online and would have taken you 0.289 seconds to look up), "consensus" means:
  1. majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month. 
  2. general agreement or concord; harmony.

So it's a general agreement among most members of a group, not everyone agreeing about everything.  Geary thinks that the pro-vax camp is wrong saying that the consensus among doctors and scientists is that vaccines are safe and effective.  Well they are not wrong in saying that, he is in denying and questioning it.  The vast majority of doctors and infectious disease experts consider vaccines safe and wildly effective.  That is exactly what a consensus is.

If that literalism wasn't bad enough, he then dives straight into a typical antivax trope:
Why it matters: There have been countless times in history where the majority of scientists and researchers agreed…and were wrong.
He relates the story of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor who argued that hand-washing could drastically reduce puerperal fever.  His hypothesis was rejected by doctors of the time (mid 1800s) because of a lack of evidence.  The alternate form of this trope is:

The analogy Geary is quite obviously trying to make without being too overt, of course, is that vaccines simply haven't been studied enough, so the link to autism just hasn't been found.  Geary is very clearly saying "Science has been wrong before, so maybe they're wrong about vaccines too!"  But remember, he's just asking questions.  I'll address this a bit later, so for now I'll move on to his next bit of too-literal nonsense:

While we’re at it, let’s make sure we’re using the word “eradicated” correctly.
The definition: destroy completely; put an end to.
How it’s used in the vaccine debate: It was significantly reduced.
According to the CDC, Measles has never been eradicated, though the term is thrown around pretty loosely.
Wrong again.   Yes, that's what "eradicated" means, and no measles is not eradicated from the planet.  But that's only a small part of the story, because thus far vaccines have eradicated two diseases completely - smallpox and rinderpest.  Rinderpest was a disease of cattle.  WAS.  Due to vaccines, it's gone now.  And smallpox, which killed approximately 500 million people in the 20th century alone, has been eradicated.  Because of vaccines, IT IS GONE.  Let me repeat that: a disease which killed HALF A BILLION PEOPLE JUST LAST CENTURY is GONE due to vaccines.  Read that yet again and let it absorb into your brain.  That's what "eradication" means, Mr. Geary.

Geary also seemed to miss that measles WAS considered regionally eradicated from the Americas in 2002.  And the incidence of measles decreased by over 99% from 1990 to 2002.  Is measles completely gone?  Of course not.  But it is pretty damned close, and a complete eradication is fully possible were it not for antivax sentiment.  Several other devastating diseases could possibly be eradicated off the face of the planet with vaccine programs, including mumps, rubella, polio, and malaria.

Geary isn't just satisfied with being overly literal and just plain wrong, he also likes to appeal to your sense of freedom and fear:
Let’s get something else out of the way: violence can’t be your answer.
Not everyone advocates for vaccinating people against their will, but many do. One of the [legitimate] fears among those who don’t vaccinate is that vaccine advocates will use the power of government to force vaccination compliance.  Sell your position with reason, don’t cram it down people’s throats (or lock them in rooms and inject their children with it).
He actually argues that people shouldn't be locked up and forced to undergo these shots.  No one (no one sane, at least) advocates forceful vaccinations.  I would expect that type of silliness from grade schoolers.

Next he delves into another antivax trope, that antivax parents just want what's best for their children:
Reality: Both sides want the same thing.
An unfortunate charge often wielded by vaccine advocates is that those who choose not to vaccinate are “reckless,” “stupid,” and “thoughtlessly endangering others.”
Vaccine advocates are vehemently protective of their family…and so are the parents who choose not to vaccinate. Both sides want the same thing: to make the best decision possible for their family.  A key difference is that it often takes more thought to reject the status quo than it does to accept it.
Yes, because only thinking parents reject the opinions of the vast majority of doctors and scientists, right?  This is the whole "I've done my research!" argument that antivaxxers are so proud of and use so commonly.  Sorry Mr. Geary, but reading stuff online (especially on the NVIC website, which you reference in one of your comments), does not constitute "research".  Research is done by scientists in labs and by doctors and researchers in the community.  The research has been done (and is still ongoing), and it shows overwhelmingly that vaccines are safe and effective.  Speaking of which . . .
So if you’re a vaccine advocate, I certainly hope you’ve done extensive research. Otherwise, you’re not just injecting your loved ones with something you know relatively nothing about, you’re doing so at the behest of a group of people you largely know nothing about.
Do I "research" my car's inner workings when the "Check Engine" light comes on?  Or do I just take it to an expert that I trust to take care of it?  Though I drive my car daily, I know pitifully little about internal combustion engines, but fortunately my mechanic is an expert.  Similarly most people know pitifully little about human anatomy, physiology, and immunology.  Fortunately your doctor (who has done his "research" and is extensively educated on the subject) is such an expert.  Sometimes trusting the experts is just the right thing to do.

Then Geary goes so deep that I can barely see the top of his head above the muck:
Question One: Do doctors receive any benefits from vaccine manufacturers?
Question Two: Does the government receive any benefits from vaccine manufacturers?
Question Three: Do researchers and educators receive any benefits from vaccine manufacturers?
Those are important questions, wouldn’t you say? Do you know the answer? Just be honest with yourself.
Ah yes, the typical antivax "Doctors are in BIG PHARMA'S pocket" trope.  He doesn't come right out and say that doctors get paid by BIG PHARMA (Oh no, he's just asking questions, remember?), but he certainly insinuates it strongly enough.  He claims to be merely asking questions, but it is only an attack on doctors, the pharmaceutical industry (which is no bastion of innocence, admittedly), and medicine in general, which he only insubstantially tries to hide.

He then continues his attack on vaccine manufacturers:
Speaking of: Is it legitimate that the government passed a federal law prohibiting lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers?

It’s not a statement, just a question.
If you’re a vaccine advocate, it would help your case if vaccine manufacturers weren’t themselves immune from the repercussions of putting out a potentially dangerous product. Then you could at least make the argument, “Hey, if your kid dies or gets seriously injured, at least you’ll be rich.”
But it begs the question: why is the government in the business of protecting a “big bad corporation?”
Again, he claims, it's just a question, not an attack.  Of course anyone with more than 17 brain cells can see right through this and see it as the attack that it is.  The federal law to which he is referring is the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which was aimed at protecting vaccine manufacturers so that the supply of vaccines would remain stable.  In the 1970s several lawsuits were brought against manufacturers of the DPT vaccine, and even though there was no scientific evidence to support the claims, large awards were granted, vaccine prices skyrocketed, several vaccine manufacturers halted production, and vaccine shortages ensued.  To prevent the industry from collapsing, the law was enacted in the interest of public health.  Of course Geary's reason for attacking the manufacturers is plainly obvious.
Is it ever legitimate for the government to remove the risk of litigation from a company? The answer, if you care at all about your own wellbeing, is no.
Geary doesn't seem to know (or care about) the purpose or history of the law.  It looks like you need to do your research, Mr. Geary.

Unfortunately for Geary, his antivax sentiment becomes more and more transparent as his attack piece goes on:
What I’m going to argue is that the “putting others at risk of death” argument defeats itself based on statistical significance.  Most of the hysteria and current vaccine debate is in regards to the current measles “outbreak,” so we’ll use that as an example.  The death rate among those infected is typically 0.2%, or close to equal that of your chances of dying in a car accident.
Notice how he calls it "hysteria" and puts "outbreak" in quotations, thereby trying to minimise it.  Apparently 170 cases (approximately) isn't quite good enough for him.  What he fails to mention is that the complication rate of measles is MUCH higher than 0.2%, and that the hospitalisation rate in this outbreak is 25%.  The death rate is so low because of the success of modern supportive care.  What he also fails to mention is the fact that as recently as 2013, measles still killed well over 145,000 people worldwide, and that the measles vaccine has prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths since 2000.  And that's JUST the measles vaccine.  When you factor in diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, mumps, rubella, polio, H. flu, and all the other preventable infectious diseases, the number of illnesses, complications, hospitalisations, and deaths prevented (not to mention the money saved treating those infections) is simply remarkable.  I suppose Geary "forgot" to mention any of that.

Oh, but Geary isn't done.  Aping the comments of paleo-cardiologist Jack Wolfson who doesn't believe in protecting those who can't protect themselves ("I'm not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure."), regarding herd immunity he says:
Putting the science about herd immunity aside, this argument is faulty because its premise is that I should alter my behavior for the good of the collective. 

Geary makes it plainly obvious that he doesn't care about infants who are too young to get vaccinated or immunocompromised people who have no ability to fend off these infections which, in them, would be much worse.  As a doctor, I care.  As a father, I care.  As a decent human being, I care.

 But wait, it gets worse:
This is a debate about immunity, is it not?  If it is, then how can you not mandate vaginal birth and breast feeding until the age of two (minimum), the two primary components of the development of a healthy immune system—an immune system that can reduce the spread and severity of disease along with injury and death rates?
Yes you read that right - Geary actually argues (oops . . . I mean he asks a question) that if you are trying to optimise your child's immune system by vaccinating, then you also must mandate vaginal birth (because there is some data suggesting caesarian section can affect immune function later in life) and breast feeding (which also helps the developing immune system).  Well Mr. Geary, my daughter was born via caesarian section because of a nuchal cord.  Without the C-section she would have died.  Would that have been ok with you?  And when my son was born a few years later (also via C-section), if Mrs. Bastard had tried a VBAC (vaginal birth after delivery) there was a real (though small) risk that my wife's uterus could have ruptured, thereby putting her and my son's lives at risk.  Mandated vaginal birth?  Are you really that foolish?  Oh wait . . . you were simply asking a question, not taking sides or making statements.  I must have forgotten.

What Geary doesn't realise is that nothing is absolute, especially in medicine.  No one would mandate a vaccine for someone who is allergic or has some other hard contraindication.  And before you mention religious exemptions, no major religion on Earth actually prohibits vaccinations.  Fact.

To be fair, Geary then makes two statements with which I agree:
“Vaccines aren’t natural, so I’m opposed to them.”
You can be against the use of vaccines, but this not a legitimate argument. It doesn’t require much discussion, it’s a textbook logical fallacy.
True.  And
With Autism specifically, there is a correlation between Autism rates and vaccine rates. But correlation does not equal causation.
Also true.  Maybe he's finally gotten something right!  But just when I thought he might be turning it around, he dives right back into the antivax dungheap:
The general statement that vaccines cause Autism is unacceptable. Is it a specific vaccine? Is it a combination of certain vaccines? Is it the full vaccine schedule? If it’s not a guarantee that Autism will occur (and it’s not a guarantee that vaccines are 100% safe), then what is the underlying trigger?
Again with the question marks - he's just asking questions, right?  Surely he can't be suggesting it actually is a specific vaccine or "too many too soon", despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, right?  RIGHT?
But we’re talking about something that has known safety issues and reactions other than Autism, so it’s something that should be looked at more closely.
Oh, I guess he is suggesting exactly that.  And that makes it plainly obvious that he completely missed the study in the journal Vaccine which looked at over 1.25 million children and found:
In Geary's defense, the study is less than a year old, and I suppose the rather obscure name of the journal (Vaccine) and the somewhat confusing and ambiguous title of the study ("Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies.") may have thrown him off.  But surely he isn't still making that argument, is he?
See, there’s a lot of things to sort out. While I can’t say for sure that the use of vaccines has never caused a case of Autism, I also can’t say that it has. I’m not sure anyone can confidently say yes or no on either side, can they?
Yes, we can.

Finally Geary sums it all up with what I can only call the Jenny McCarthy defence:
Perhaps we need to increase our mutual desire for data and decrease our rampant confidence?
Again with the question mark.  Yes Mr. Geary, we can in fact say confidently that vaccines DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.  The question has been asked and answered, asked and answered, asked and answered.  And just like when my children ask for the 93rd time if they can have another cookie, asking the question again will not change the answer.


  1. Ugh. Jenny McCarthy. This is twice now I've heard about her in a month. Too many times.

    Great response, Doc!

  2. "Dreck" stricken through looks like "dreek," which made me laugh.

    Another great post, Doc, thank you.

  3. LOL Geary's little twitter tantrum after you wrote this is real. I think "all three" of your readers agree this was a well written rebuttal.

    1. My favourite bit was this: "Jesus. Do you know what the return key is for? Those paragraphs are unwieldy."

      Apparently his attention span (or intelligence . . . I'm not quite sure still) isn't equipped to handle "big" paragraphs.

    2. I don't think I've ever seen passive-aggressiveness on this scale before. It's amazing how far people will go to defend something when all it would take is a few minutes of googling to find the truth. Also, though I have been a reader for a long time, I believe this is my first time commenting. So, I feel like I must say, "Thanks, Doc.", both for saving people daily, and for entertaining/educating, with this wonderful blog.

    3. Is he actually interested in a debate or just seeing how many logical fallacies he can use while trying (and falling) to call others out on them.

      I literally went through a list of logical fallacies and he had used more of them than not. It's hilarious

  4. I am left with one question: Is Geary still beating his wife?

  5. It must be a scary world for those people who don't trust the medical profession as a whole.

  6. My kids both had side effects with vaccinations. And they had it with almost every shot they had. What were those side effects? A low to moderate fever for a day or two, a day of fatigue (likely caused by the fever), and one had a couple of red spots on his skin after his first MMR shot. Would I vax them again, despite those "grueling" side effects? Sure!

    And just for the record (for what it's worth): I shoved both of them out through my vag and breastfed them for about 2 years each (admittedly the main reason for that was that I didn't want to carry an arsenal of bottles, powder, hot water, cooked cold water, etc. with me every time I left the house. And in the second year it was just the fastest way to put them to bed.). Do I get a gold star now? No? Thought so.

    1. Would like to see DB address mandatory vaccine policies and how those are balanced with the individual's right to autonomy and self-determination (which I'm sure DB attends to, if there's research and consenting of subjects where DB works as a trauma surgeon).

      This year the flu vaccine didn't work. That's not a reason not to get a flu shot. It appears to be a quality measure (you know, like NSQIP?) and the question is, should sick patients in ICUs be given flu shots?

      Last, I didn't get a flu shot this year, and in retrospect it didn't matter. I did note a few sick people with influenza-like illness. Of course, I asked as many as I could if they had their flu shot (flu shot takers are easy to identify inside a hospital; they're the ones not idiotically walking around with a surgical mask for refusing a flu shot). Every ILI victim that I asked had a flu shot.

      I haven't been sick this year. Herd immunity? THIS year?

      Anyway, encourage vaccination if vaccination works, but such encouragement should be quickly tempered at the earliest sign of symbolism triumphing over substance.

  7. I would like to start by saying I love the blog doc. Been reading for something like 2 years.

    This is my first comment and this subject hits home with me. My 4 year old son was diagnosed with autism at just 22 months. We used the mchat on his 18 month check up because we knew something was different. Not once have I ever thought it was the vaccines that caused it. He was showing signs as early as 6 months old that we can remember. Fragile X test was negative. What does that leave as a cause? My opinion is born that way. Same as why I have some webbed toes.

    I cannot understand why people think that vaccinations cause autism. I know we could tell something was different before 6 months, but I could not for the life of me tell you what those signs were. Part of it I think, was the denial stage. Once we started to accept something was different, we were able to talk about it and do our own research just fine.

    Thanks for reading this long comment, and thanks for such a great blog.

  8. National Geographic has a great article in a recent edition that is right up your alley!

  9. You should edit his twitter reply into this a long with a "View counter" that does nothing but stay at 3

  10. Doc, great article, but you are wrong about 1 thing - one of the 5 greatest inventions of humankind is obviously chocolate not bacon, ;)

    I place some blame for the vaccine debate on the medical community - Dr. Sears (alternative vaccine schedule), the paleo-cardiologist in AZ, my MD neighbors who are vaccinating their children on a different schedule so as not to overwhelm the children's immune system, and the anti-vax nurses. Why should parents trust one physician when another physician is anti-vax? They are supposed to be educated to look at research and make decisions based on science. The medical community needs to reign in their own members if they are to win this battle.

  11. I can honestly say now, that my erection that I obtained after reading this article has reached maximum girth. Now I will sit reading old blog posts from doc in one hand and the loch Ness girth monster in the other

  12. Oh my. As a climate scientist, I recognize every one of the tactics he uses to foment doubt. Like Glenn Beck, though, he's "just asking questions."

    People who actively advocate against the health and well-being of society mystify me. If they were paid corporate or think-tank shills, I could at least understand the motivation, base though it may be.

    This sort of garbage is aggravating to no end, but just think of the people you're reaching who may really just have needed to hear it again from a trusted source, and know that you've done good. Please keep writing.

  13. I hate this kind of stupidity, I remember when Rick Santorum claimed The Netherlands actively euthanized their elderly, even without consent. According to him, they had to wear a "Kill-me-not Bracelet" in order to survive, now I know Rick Santorum is an Asshat, but the above is a such blatent lie that it's completely offensive to the Dutch in general. I wonder why he never got wooden shoes thrown at his head.

    What does this have to do to vaccinating other then the sheer stupidity being acclaimed as truth?
    Nothing, I'm just praying on a blog about DocBastards opinion about euthanasia, or at least palliative care. Not really the cup of tea of a traumadocter, but an interesting discussion nonetheless

  14. I found the article enlightening. Truth be told, I've always been in the pro-vaccine camp (Herd immunity, eradication of disease, and minimal risk all play into that siding), but never considered the other side of the coin.

    And now I know why: because 98% of anti-vaxxers are fuckin' morons. (I'm reserving 2% for those who have legitimate health reasons for not doing so, such as those who have reactions to the contents of the vaccine that could be detrimental to their health, just so you know, Doc.)

    There's a couple anti's in my hometown, always worried about the "Mercury poison in the vaccines" problem. I asked 'em if they liked tuna fish, or had fluorescent light bulbs in their home. Both said yes. I told 'em they've had more mercury put in their systems just on the fish alone, let alone any broken light bulbs they've had, than they'd get from vaccines. I may not know the exact figures, but I'm sure I'm at least within a fart's distance of accuracy.

    And yeah, I've done the 'just asking questions' type debate before. Done right, it's golden. Done wrong, it's shit. Done in the fashion Geary pulled off, it's a pile of radioactive waste in the sewer systems of the internet, and you tore it apart and put it in containment rather swiftly.

    So three cheers for our favorite anonymous doctor, anyone?

    1. those who postpone or cannot have vaccinations due to legitimate medical reasons don't count as anti vax

  15. My son was vax'ed fully on schedule except for one dTaP (or whatever order it's in now!) which we delayed by a whole week! The reason? *I* had an allergic reaction to it a year prior & we were leaving from the appt to go camping where we were going to be a couple hours from a hospital with no cell reception. We had it done when we got home. When I'd had the T part the prior year I had breathing problems and, after consulting with his dr, we decided that the stress and anxiety I was experiencing over it wasn't worth it. So we did it when we got back. No biggie.

    I have to hope that people around me have been vaccinated for measles. I have been vaccinated for it 3 times & still show no immunity through blood tests.

  16. I just have a link to share: an anti-vax related comic from SMBC.

  17. Hey doc if vaccines are so harmless why don't you vaccinate yourself against everything dead virus you can get your hands on? Because that would be stupid - vaccines are clearly dangerous.

    1. Where did you get that conclusion?

    2. I already do. Every vaccine available, I've gotten. My wife and kids too. My parents and siblings too. All their spouses and kids too.


  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Uh, Doc? Your correction of "consensus" is wrong. The link to Merriam-Webster that you gave on the word "*all*" says exactly what he claims "consensus" means. Like, word for word. Were you using a different dictionary?

    1. Isn't that interesting. Of course the Internet would sabotage me.

      The reference from which I cut-and-pasted was:

      Why I linked to a different site's definition instead of the one I actually copied is beyond me.

  20. I do not think that vaccines cause autism. I'm also not a moron, but I also don't expect you to take my word for it. You would have to know me to decide for yourself and even if you think one my decisions is wrong, surely that doesn't immediately make someone a moron.

    As you probably guessed I'm not totally pro vaccines. I'm also not your typical anti vaxer. I vaccinated my first child completely on schedule, 2nd one the schedule went a bit awry because no one sent me any letters about it and I had to be the one going there to ask.
    When asked, several nurses had no clue what to do seeing that the vaccines were late. They were apologetic about us not receiving the letter but no one had a clue what to do now that it was late. That was the day I started wondering about the knowledge and expertise of all medical staff about vaccines. Clearly, even at the same surgery, people couldn't agree what to do when a child accidentally missed a vaccine.

    As I'm not a doctor or a researcher I've always gone with the opinion of those who are but yes, I did start wondering who was right after reading several articles from medical staff who do not agree with vaccines (and I do not mean the one who insisted on the MMR-autism link).

    How can you know who to trust if some experts disagree? Yes, the big majority agrees but it wouldn't be the first time that a minority is proven right later on. I don't think you can blame non medical people for at least wonder if there is any validity in their claims.

    I'm not concerned about any MMR links. The bits that I question are the ones mentioning that diseases were declining anyway due to better hygiene standards and better medical care. If vaccines are truly this effective, shouldn't we have been able to eradicate more diseases by now? I do think vaccines are useful, I'm more wondering if that usefulness is not said to be more than it really is?

    My other doubt is the duration of the vaccines. Of I get the disease I get life long immune to it. With the vaccine o may end up getting the disease as a middle age person and have more chances of dying from it.

    I can see you replied about the point he did about vaginal birth and of course c sections are sometimes needed. But what do you have to add about the breastfeeding?

    The % of women who cannot breastfeed for medical reasons is quite low and as far as I'm aware there are plenty of good reasons as far as health goes, to breastfeed. So if we would make vaccination compulsory, would we also make breastfeeding compulsory or make parents pay, or at least contribute towards any treatment for certain illnesses that could have been helped if the child had been breastfed?

    Apologies in advance for any errors in my reply but writing this on a phone and with kids interrupting is definitely making it harder to keep hold of my thoughts.

  21. Smallpox hasn't been eradicated, there are samples kept alive in labs.

    1. Maybe look up the meaning of "eradicated" as it pertains to infectious disease.

      Yes, it has been.

  22. Putting the science about herd immunity aside, this argument is faulty because its premise is that I should alter my behavior for the good of my pocketbook.

    If someday, I landed at Disneyworld and one of his child transmit measles or any sh!t of that sort to one of my child, he is going to be sued to the maximum extend possible.

    I do hope his potential for learning is correlated to the pocketbook emptying lesson of such premise and especially the very simple but very deep legal concept: his rights stop where mine begin.


  23. It probably makes me a bad person but I wish every anti-vexer would get those diseases that smart people have fought so hard to eradicate. No, I don't mean their children, I don't wish bad things upon children. I mean the adults making the crappy decisions to not vaccinate.


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