Anti-Vaccine Rhetoric Already Riskier than Vaccine Injuries: Where there’s no room for compassion

“Who’s at risk this year? People who get vaccinated! Do not fall prey to this evil, criminal scheme! Vaccines simply do not work and worse are quite dangerous. When will this egregious practice stop? Oh, when there is no money to be made from killing people!” –Comment on Huffington Post article on recommended flu vaccination in everyone over the age of 6 months
Yes, big pharma is out to kill people for 20 dollars a flu shot. Of course they are; that makes complete and total sense. If you get vaccinated, you’ll get sick and die. Obviously, not only are critical thinking skills woefully short, so are math skills.  Don’t pharmaceutical companies make far more off of chronically ill patients who will take a pill or two or three a day for the rest of their long lives? Aren’t some of these medications far more expensive? Why, of course, they are, and any rational person knows it.
“Now that the vaccine companies are immune from lawsuits, they are going to be cooking up one virus, and vaccine after another. Yep, they make viruses and vaccines, what a deal.” –Another conspiracy theorist on Huff.
Why yes, see, now they also make the virus so they can make people sick to make them scared so next year if the virus doesn’t kill them, the vaccine will. Hey, these pharma companies really aren’t bright then, because aren’t they giving the virus away for free? Where’s the profit in that? I mean, it can’t be cheap to create a virus, right?
There are, as I write this post, ten comments on the article. Nine of them are from anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists. At least we know how and where to find these folks, don’t we? And because they are so outspoken, if their desired goal of reducing vaccination or eliminating it all together succeeds, mainstream society will know where to look for financial and legal culpability in the vaccine-preventable deaths.
There are people who cannot get immunized, and our compassion for them should be large enough to want to make sure we protect them. We need to clearly distinguish between those who cannot get vaccinated safely and those who are simply wearing tinfoil hats: one group deserves compassion. The other? Not so much. Well, okay, they deserve compassion for a different reason.
This year my family will all be vaccinated once again against the flu. We’ve had no adverse effects in past years, so consider, based on the science, that our risks are much less with the vaccine than without it, and we will know we’ve done our part in protecting others who may not be able to get vaccinated. We’ll also keep our sick children home from school, continue to stress handwashing and other good practices to avoid infections.


Autism Mom Rising said...

I think is important that everyone with concerns about the vaccine schedule be lumped in some comprehensive anti-vax category. Maybe some parents of children who won't be going to daycare and who don't have Hep B themselves do not think their child Needs that shot on the first day of life. Yes, some people will make crazy comments on the Huffington Post or AofA comment sections. But that doesn't mean that if anyone questions an aspect of the schedule he should be labeled in an anti-vax box with those other people.

Autism Mom Rising said...

I meant "not be lumped in" in that first sentence. I really need to proof read before I post!

KWombles said...

I don't lump people with concerns about vaccines into the anti-vax category; I didn't do that in this piece, nor am I aware that I have done that in any piece I have written.

Everyone should be concerned about vaccines, medications, and the treatments they use. They should be informed consumers and make the best decisions they can about their health care choices.

Not everyone can be safely vaccinated. They are clearly not anti-vaccine. In addition, there are others who need to space out vaccines. They are clearly not anti-vaccine.

The nine folks or so who had commented over at Huff were clearly against vaccination PERIOD. Many of the posters at AoA are clearly, admittedly and proudly anti-vaccine at the same time that they are clearly, admittedly, and proudly in favor of giving their children chelators, hbot, IVIG, nicotine patches, oxytocin, and other unproven (in regards to autism) treatments. In other words, they refuse to vaccinate their children on unfounded fears about relative risks while at the same time placing their children at far greater risks from the treatments in order to cure their children of autism. I'm not talking about children with accompanying medical illnesses who get needed and doctor-guided medical treatment (while noting that many such doctors may be giving these parents incredibly BAD medical advice and harming these children).

There are no easy answers; there are an overabundance of questions, and when we fail to both think and act rationally and show compassion to those facing tremendous challenges all while being called on to make incredibly difficult decisions, we short ourselves and our community.

Less compassion, though, is merited to those who stridently, proudly, and deliberately intend to destroy the vaccine program because they believe it to be the root of all evils.

(and I guess I have today's post)

farmwifetwo said...

We fall into the "as little meds as possible here" catagory.

MIL has breast cancer, double neg, therefore chemo and radiation, it hasn't spread and now they want to her take part in a study of a new drug.... http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65C2C120100613 No family history, yet long time use of these drugs... I wouldn't ever take part in the study unless I was a very, very high risk.

Then there's the bone densening drug that causes throat cancer that's just in the news - Michael Douglas.

There is no follow up on vaccines, there is no follow up on interventions used during birth either... But that's another rant entirely.

We're on Ped #2 (first retired) and our Family Dr have all told us "Your children are healthy, you are home and take them out of school when they are ill, there is no reason for the flu shot". We had H1N1 a year ago in May... long before the vaccine was ever available. One child was home 2.5 days the other .5 and we saw the Dr and came home with no meds just instructions for tylenol, fluids and sleep... and that's what we did.

I'm tired of the "what about everyone else" I get it all the time dealing with school or here in "you must vax" blog posts or ABA people or autism is wonderful people or... Or reading whiny comments on the news or politicians etc... Guess what... I don't care anymore. Sooner or later it's about you and yours - only. We've had all the shots that are important to us... we're not getting the flu one, we caught chicken pox from a kid that got the shot, and we're not getting the pneumonia one. We may change our minds in the future as our health changes.. but for today.. No.

KWombles said...


Seriously? You're tired about group concerns and taking into account vulnerable populations, but our children need society's understanding and compassion in order to successfully navigate this world. No conflict there at all.

Our reliance on the education system to provide necessary interventions is at bottom, proof of society's concern for the least among us (even if it is often inadequate).

Choosing to base your decisions on availability heuristic and illusions of control rather than on an understanding of relative risks and how your vaccination choices affect the greater population is certainly your right. But if you honestly believe that keeping your children home while they are ill means they won't have spread that illness before they manifested symptoms, you are factually wrong.

And just because your family (and mine) came through H1N1 fine doesn't mean everyone was so lucky.

Atilla's son was nowhere near so fortunate and they are still dealing with the long term health complications from his bout with H1N1.


Chris said...

Yikes... her child is still on oxygen after several months!