Cover comic: Source
This Facebook status called “Conversation with an anti-vaxxer” was recently brought up to us. We were asked for our input, and we had plenty to offer. This is obviously a “gotcha”, “I’ve done my research” post. We found that very poor research had been done here, and it needed to be corrected. The original text is in BOLD RED.
Conversation with an anti-vaxxer
Q: So you’re an “anti-vaxxer“?
A: Yes, if you need to call me that.
Q: Don’t you worry about your child getting sick from vaccine preventable diseases?
A: No, not really. I actually have less fear of many of those illnesses now that I’ve done my research.
While some vaccine preventable diseases can be mild, there are still things to fear about them. There is not just death, there is suffering, there are lifelong complications. A perfectly healthy child can be harmed by a vaccine preventable disease. If you are going to choose not to vaccinate, please live in reality and respect what these diseases can do. You are not making a well-rounded choice if you ignore all the possibilities;
Q: But what about polio?
A: Polio is asymptomatic in over 90% of cases. When symptoms do present, they’re usually mild and flu-like.
Up to 72% of cases are asymptomatic.
1% will get paralytic polio.
Before the vaccine 13,000-20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported annually.
We’ve addressed other Polio Myths, here.
Q: But we don’t see iron lungs anymore because of vaccines.
A: We don’t see iron lungs anymore for the same reason we don’t see computers that are large enough to take up an entire room. Technology has come a long way.
True, we have ventilators now. Though the iron lung allowed individuals to not be intubated for long periods of time (the rest of their lives sometimes). These type of individuals are now given tracheotomies and portable ventilators.
Q: But even if the risk of getting something serious is small, don’t you want to protect your child with vaccines just in case?
A: I do want to protect my child, and that is one reason I say no to vaccines. Because in my cost-benefit analysis (what?), the chances of my child being harmed from vaccines is greater than the chances of my child being harmed from one of those illnesses.
Measles alone has an encephalitis risk of 1 in 1,000, and death rate of 1 in 5,000, it can cause deafness, blindness, and even years later it carries a 1 in 25,000 chance of 100% fatal subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE).
Q: But it’s not just about your child. It is your responsibility to vaccinate your child to protect immune compromised people through herd immunity.
A: First and foremost, my responsibility is to my child. I will not set my child on fire to keep someone else warm. What parent would knowingly risk their child’s life for the sake of the herd? Would you? My child is not a human shield. Secondly, herd immunity is a myth. We do not have vaccine induced herd immunity and never have.
Vaccination is by far less risky for your child than acquiring natural infection. The analogy here is an example of false equivalency, and is extremely dramatic.
Q: But don’t you think vaccines are a victim of their own success? They eradicated polio and other diseases, so you probably haven’t seen them thanks to vaccines.
A: Correlation does not equal causation.
This person doesn’t understand what “correlation does not equal causation” means. You will see in the text that follows, that this person uses the argument that correlation does equal causation, when it comes to the rise in different health conditions. So they believe correlation equals causation, but only when they want it to.
The history of vaccines is more complex than that, and I no longer believe that vaccines can take the credit for eradicating any diseases.
We have never had widespread vaccination for scarlet fever or typhoid yet, they are no longer a threat.
Scarlet fever is a secondary infection to strep throat; we have antibiotics which prevent most cases now. Yes, sanitation is partially credited for the fall in Typhoid cases, but, there is a typhoid vaccine, Typhoid is still a threat around the world.
Amazing what sanitation can do. Polio has also not been eradicated. I may not have lived through the “polio” era, but I am living in a time with a different kind of epidemic.
Do you know what is really amazing? In 1952, 58,000 new cases of polio were reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. In 1955 the polio vaccine was rolled out, in 1957 the United States only had 6,000 cases of polio.
Do you know what else is really amazing? Polio has been eliminated from everywhere but Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has been eliminated from places that do not have modern sanitation practices.
We are so close to the eradication of polio, there was only 37 cases globally in 2016.
My child’s generation is the first to have a life expectancy that is less than that of their parents. People are sicker than ever with autoimmune diseases, deadly allergies, neurological problems, and cancer (this is not related to vaccines. We can not cling to a controversial problem of the past to make crucial decisions for today. We have to do something about the problems we are currently faced with, and giving more vaccines is not an acceptable solution.
Q: Do the ingredients in vaccines concern you?
The ingredients should not scare you. They are all in safe amounts, remember, the dose makes the poison.
Q: You know there’s formaldehyde in pears, right? And mercury in tuna?
A: When’s the last time you puréed a pear and some tuna, then injected it intramuscularly? We have a digestive system for a reason, and the mucosal tissue is one of the most important components of the human immune system. I don’t think bypassing those functions is without consequence. Ingestion and injection are not the same thing. It’s the same reason you can drink snake venom, but being bitten in the leg with the same venom can kill you.
Venoms and poisons are not the same thing. It’s still not a great idea to drink venom…
Q: But the science is settled and doctors and scientists agree that vaccines are necessary.
A: Science is never settled. As history has shown, science can be dangerously wrong. It can also be heavily influenced by financial interests. And doctors and scientists do not all agree about vaccines.
If you jump off a building, will you fall or fly? Seems like the science on gravity is settled.
“Once science has been established, once a scientific truth emerges from a consensus of experiments and observations, it is the way of the world. What I’m saying is, when different experiments give you the same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion.”
-Neil deGrasse Tyson
It is true there are dishonest people out there.
There are many doctors, nurses, immunologists and researchers who are aware of the shortcomings of vaccines. And if we want to really discuss vaccine science, we need to demand that there be more of it, because vaccine science is severely lacking.
The same anti-vaccine doctors are continuously cited; some are no longer licensed to practice, many have financial interests in being anti-vaccine, most have online stores where they sell supplements and books. There is one lady who has a Ph.D in immunology and is anti-vaccine, one. I’m not sure what qualifies as a researcher? There’s that one guy who communicates with aliens, and his buddy the computer scientist, is an AIDS denialist.
It is the tobacco science of our time.
The current vaccine schedule (which has more than tripled since vaccine manufacturers became protected from liability) has never been tested for safety. There hasn’t been a randomized double blind placebo controlled study comparing the outcomes of the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Vaccines are the epitome of quackery .
The one study this lady wants doesn’t exist for a variety of reasons.
I leave you with this; the root word of “ignorance” is “ignore.”
It is a terrible idea to ignore facts and reality when making decisions.