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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can lead an antivaxxer to water...

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Feb 9, 2015.

    For some reason I let myself become embroiled in an antivax discussion on G+ over the weekend. I posted some historical data about vaccines and disease, corrected some misconceptions about how the immune system works (of which there were many), talked about balancing of harms, and so on. Sadly, it made no difference. People posted the same things in response, repeatedly, even though those points had already been addressed. Perhaps most disturbingly, people finally took the position that all of my historical and medical data was somehow the product of some vast vaccine-industrial-complex conspiracy.

    How do you even address that. The idea that there is some secret conspiracy no one has information about can't be disproven. Every fact is assumed by the dolt you're arguing with to be another example of the conspiracy.

    Do we need to teach more critical thinking in schools, or what?
     
  2. pk.
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    pk. Active Member

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    The world is full of misconceptions & conspiracies. Personally, if people don't like vaccines, I'm fine with it. I'm for negative liberty, it's a choice.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is like most things. You can't convince those who embrace conspiracy theories and bizarre world outlooks. Giving them facts only makes them cling to their entrenched positions even more strongly.

    The problem here is externalities. They're harming society with their nutty beliefs. I have no problem prohibiting the unvaccinated from attending school. If you need to believe in these theories for some sort of self-validation, you can keep your kids out of school.
     
  4. pk.
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    I'm concerned with liberty. Governments "knowing what's best". Negative liberty is always the safe option & I always fall back to that. People should always have choice over an authority, in my opinion.
     
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  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    People should have a choice over authority as long as it doesn't harm other people. And choosing to not vaccinate your children not only hurts your own children when they catch the virus, but also the other children who can't get vaccinated because of illnesses.

    I've read countless stories recently about children with cancer or autoimmune diseases that can't get vaccinated who now can't go to school because of the unvaccinated children in attendence there. And it makes me so sad, and so angry, because these sick children have been through enough, then they can't be a normal child and go to school because of some nut job?

    Loving parents get their children taken away from them every day because they can't provide for them the way the state wants them to. But these anti vaxxers are allowed to put their children and other's health at risk without consequence? I don't think that's fair in the slightest. That is the epitome to me of child endangerment. The parent shouldn't have a choice.

    If a judge can force a teenager to get chemotherapy for an illness that can't spread to other people, then parents should be forced to vaccinate their children against something that CAN spread to other people.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Does that apply to child abuse as well? Neglect? Feeding your kids only water because you believe that is all they need?

    Or how about burning plastics in your fireplace letting damaging smoke fill the neighborhood?

    Drunk driving? Meh, it's negative liberty?
     
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I use a couple arguments with the anti-vaxxers but even then you only get to a few of the ones on the fringe of belief. But if it's on a forum, you may not reach the already entrenched, but you might reach the undecided.

    I try to address the underlying premises rather than the facts. Anti-vaxxers believe all the research is controlled by the drug companies so I address that. Research done by thousands of researchers in multiple countries come to the same conclusions. And there are many non-profit sources of research funding when it comes to public health like vaccinations.

    They believe the drug companies own the CDC. Drug manufacturers' reps do sit on the ACIP (Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices). They have to as they have logistics input the committee needs. So I address the fact all the countries with national health insurance have similar vaccine recommendations.

    For anti-vaxxer beliefs to be true, all doctors are duped or in on the conspiracy. Usually they trust their own physicians, however, and it helps to inquire about that. I ask them, who do they think is more likely to be duped, Jenny McCarthy or their own doctor?

    As for autism, I point out the rate went up, not down, when thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines. Who knows, maybe thimerosal had a protective effect.

    MMR never had thimerosal in it, by the way. Not only is Wakefield a fraud, MMR is given at 15 months and they can now diagnose autism at 12 months or earlier. A clever researcher took videos of kids' one year old birthdays and identified the characteristics indicative of autism. They looked to see if indeed they matched kids who went on to get autism and they did.

    The reason parents think autism starts later is because it becomes more apparent to them when the kids develop more social skills and the autistic kids don't. Before that, the symptoms are there if you know what to look for.

    For the parent who has an autistic child, I point out that while it was important to rule vaccines out as a cause, now that we have, (and we have), continuing to dump resources into vaccines as a cause diverts those resources from more productive possibilities.

    And finally there is the nonsense about it being harmful to give the vaccines all at once. It's the latest thing parents have latched on to. First it was the MMR because of Wakefield's fraud (he did it to make money in case people didn't know). Then it was the thimerosal - mercury sounded scary. Like I said, we took it out and autism rates went up. Now it's giving too many vaccines at one time. But that has also been ruled out as a problem and spreading vaccines out only serves to put the kid through more trauma.

    The belief comes from the misconception your body can't handle multiple antigens but that's ludicrous since we are exposed to hundreds of thousands of antigens by the time we grow up. Some older tetanus vaccines had many more antigens than today's versions and more antigens than a slew of vaccines. So kids got more antigens in one shot than you get in 10 shots today. It makes good sense to combine vaccines into single doses.

    And the dose of hep B vaccine postpartum is given because some kids are infected with hep B as young as that age. We don't always know the source but the cases are on record.
     
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  8. chicagoliz
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    Every person I personally know who is a researcher in a bio-medical related field, every doctor, and every person who works for a vaccine manufacturer fully vaccinates their kids.

    Vaccine manufacturers are notified and have to notify the CDC whenever there is an adverse event. If, somehow, they were hiding this data, or manipulating the evidence, the people in the company would know this, because, by definition, they would be the ones carrying out this scheme. Do people really think that they would nonetheless give their own children the vaccine if they knew that it was harmful and were covering it up?
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    People don't think it through. And they latch on to a single tidbit of information and filter out the rest.

    Standard medical education does indeed favor drugs and surgery. They don't teach all that alternative crap. So that makes some people think we are all duped. They have a gazillion reasons, all false, why the alternative crap isn't accepted.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, there's the standard, "What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine."
     
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  11. GingerCoffee
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    I should mention, it's not that we haven't given them some of the rope they are hanging themselves with.

    The language of science confuses people who want black and white. I try to use specific language for that reason. Because I can't say the evidence provides 100% proof, I say "overwhelmingly supports". I talk about benefit overwhelming any risk, and risk, of not vaccinating in this case, is so much greater with the illness. There is some evidence, for example, that influenza in pregnancy might cause or trigger in the case of genetic predisposition, schizophrenia.

    Then you have the news media that sells controversy. So crackpots are presented as if there is a controversy when there isn't one.

    Much as I love Democracy Now, sometimes they get carried away with the corporate evildoing position. They had an anti-vaxxer on a couple days ago followed by an immunologist. Amy Goodman wondered why the doctor refused to be on at the same time and debate the anti-vaxxer. I didn't.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/2/5/inside_the_vaccine_war_measles_outbreak

    First they cover some of the news including Christie and Paul's gaffs. Followed by:
    Next is the anti-vaxxer:
    I'll have to look up what a "research scholar" is but some of the anti-vaxxers are educated. They just don't understand evidence based medicine.
    Finally the immunologist who really does know his stuff:
    The only thing I think he missed was the first year birthday video study. He did note though that autism starts before the vaccines are given that are being blamed.
    That is a large part of the problem.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    Exactly. :)
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I never understood the anti-vaxxers. The question really boils down to this: "You've got two choices: either ensure your kid can live a long, healthy life, or you hope like hell the kid doesn't get so sick that he or she dies at a young age because you didn't give them all the vaccinations."

    This belief is as dangerous, if not more so, than those who rely on religious faith to heal their sick kid. I mean, even if the vaccines gave a kid autism (which they don't), it's that or die. I think the choice is pretty clear on that.
     
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  14. Okon
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    I don't understand the argument of how not being vaccinated will harm the other people who can't be vaccinated. Can't you easily carry germs even if you are vaccinated? It's not like it creates a special bubble around you or anything. Further, if five kids in one school aren't vaccinated, they won't catch disease from the other vaccinated children (by the logic in the original rationale), and thus wouldn't have anything to pass on to the 'unvaccinatables' anyway.

    Never getting the flu shot hasn't killed me, my parents and siblings, or a slew of friends. I dislike how all vaccines are lumped together as one entity, and I find the blunt attitude of this thread a little disturbing.
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    This answers your question pretty well, I think:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/measles-cases-are-spreading-despite-high-vaccination-rates-whats-going-on/2014/06/23/38c86884-ea97-11e3-93d2-edd4be1f5d9e_story.html
     
  16. Lea`Brooks
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    I'm glad you found this so I didn't have to.
    Who said anything about the flu shot? It's my understanding that this thread is about measles and mumps and hepatitis. I've never gotten the flu shot either, but I've gotten all the others.

    I don't think you entirely understand the purpose of this thread....
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    Think of it as fuel for a fire. If the fire runs out of fuel (susceptible people), it dies out. If there is lots of fuel (susceptible people), the fire spreads.

    We are protected by immune people surrounding us. When the measles vaccine level in the population is above 92% (some sources say 95%) individual cases don't spread further. When it drops below that, the fire can spread.

    The guy who went to Disneyland with measles would have been one guy with measles. But instead he infected about 30 unvaccinated individuals. They all went home, some to other states, carrying the infection with them. Now we have well over 100 cases.

    It's basic math.

    As for carrying it, no, not with viruses especially. Viruses multiply within cells. So they don't grow on surfaces. They can be spread on surfaces for as long as they survive outside the host cell. Some viruses live a long time on surfaces, some only live minutes.

    Measles is one of the few truly airborne viruses (most you think of as airborne are really droplet spread). It can survive several hours in the air and float long distances. In addition it only takes one or two virions to cause infection. Some infections take a larger dose. Measles is one of the most, if not the most, infectious viruses known to humans.

    So because you haven't died from influenza yet, you figure you never will? :confused:

    Influenza and flu vaccine are misunderstood. The disease kills tens of thousands of people in the US alone every year. Even if 90% of those people are over 65 yrs old and most of the rest have underlying health conditions, that still leaves 100s of otherwise healthy young people killed from influenza every year just in the US.

    It's extremely rare for someone to die from the flu vaccine. Most years that number is zero. Once in a while a specific batch is recalled because it is suspected to be causing a problem. There was a batch in the Netherlands that may have caused narcolepsy in some kids. The vaccine was recalled. Things like this do occur, very rarely.

    For the most part if you are reading some website that claims thousands of deaths from the vaccine they are completely false. The anti-vaxxers like to distort raw data to propagate their fear mongering.

    For example we have the VAERs system (vaccine adverse event reporting). That means if I give you a vaccine today and you die of a heart attack within 48 hours I report it. But it doesn't mean the vaccine had jack shit to do with the death.

    One has to analyze the data to know that, looking at all the people who had heart attacks who didn't get a flu shot as well as all the people who did. If the rate is the same in both groups, the vaccine had nothing to do with the death. But the anti-vaxxers will claim that vaccine caused that heart attack. It's pure ignorance at its most evil.

    With placebo controlled studies we have shown that the flu vaccine does not make adults ill, not even mildly ill. A few kids can get a little fever for a day after a flu shot.

    But look at how many people swear their flu shot made them ill. They refuse to believe the vaccine had nothing to do with their illness, but the research proves it was not likely to be the cause.

    On the other hand, we give flu vaccine right as upper respiratory infection season starts. People catch an unrelated infection and refuse to believe it was that and not the vaccine.


    I get a flu shot every year, and I give my son one every year (now healthy kids should get the mist). I've seen previously healthy people die from flu. Flu is scary as shit, but so many people have no idea.

    Do you ever hear of MRSA cases around you? They've become common. If you are colonized with MRSA bacteria in your throat and you get the flu, you can get flesh eating pneumonia, literally. The staph bacteria and flu are synergistic pathogens.

    Severe Coinfection with Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Virus and Staphylococcus aureus — Maryland, February–March 2012
    This is still rare, a couple hundred cases a year. But we don't know if that number will stay low with the spread of MRSA around the world due to a particular strain called USA300.
     
  18. Okon
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    @Lea`Brooks, where in the OP is there exclusively mumps and hep mentioned? :rolleyes: Flu shots are a kind of vaccination, and this thread is about 'antivaxxers.' I'm not sure you entirely understand the purpose of this thread.

    Actually, yes this does help, thank you. Though I didn't know someone who was effectively vaccinated would eliminate the disease immediately as expressed in your link:
    I thought antibodies, even advanced ones, would required more time than that, depending on the disease. Anything more than a day would still lead to spread in the classrooms. I don't know if there is recorded antibody response times but I will look for them. If it is truly immediate then I stand corrected.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    Where would you get those germs? If no one is walking around infected with the measles, you're not going to be carrying around measles germs. If almost everyone is vaccinated, hardly anyone is going to be walking around infected with the measles.

    If you're not vaccinated, you can catch the disease. If you catch the disease, you spread the disease while you have it, just like you spread a cold. You may be hearty and healthy and get through the disease just fine. The people who catch it from you may be hearty and healthy and get through it just fine. But one of them may be immunocomprmised and die.

    If the vast majority of people are vaccinated, it's highly unlikely that the rare person who truly CANNOT be vaccinated will ever run into someone with the disease. Even though they're not immune, they're protected by "herd immunity".

    But if a substantial percentage of people are unvaccinated, then the person who gets sick can make a few others sick, and they can make a few others sick, and they can make a few others sick, and then people who are vulnerable NOT by choice--the immunocompromised, babies too young to be vaccinated, people who for special medical reasons truly cannot be vaccinated--are going to get sick, and someone is going to die.

    When you choose not to be vaccinated, you choose to weaken herd immunity.

    We're not talking about the flu shot. Colds and flus are constantly mutating, so there's no realistic hope of wiping them out. We're talking about diseases that (1) are life-threatening and (2) CAN be thoroughly controlled with vaccinations. Diseases that were thoroughly controlled, that were all but wiped out, that didn't kill anyone because no one caught them, until a bunch of people decided not to get vaccinated. Those vulnerable populations who can't be vaccinated are going to start dying of these diseases again, soon, and those will be preventable deaths, deaths caused by other people's choice not to be vaccinated.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    No, if the vaccine is effective the virus does not build up to a quantity the host can then shed. A viral infection starts with very low numbers of virions. The virions enter the host cell and a massive production occurs. Only then will the host shed more virus.

    Some people do still spread some infections when the vaccine gives them a mild case but doesn't prevent the infection altogether. You'd still be less contagious, but you could still spread disease. We see that more with flu vaccine and only rarely do asymptomatic cases of measles occur, usually in unvaccinated people not in vaccinated ones.

    Between 1963 and 1968 we used a killed vaccine for measles. Some people who got that version and have not gotten additional doses of the live vaccine lose their immunity and can have partial immunity resulting in a milder but still contagious infection.
     
  21. Okon
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    How is a few hundred cases of MRSA a year common? One is too many, but those numbers are very small.

    Thank you for the information, though. As always, you present a clear argument. I understand this is a game of risk/benefit, and that popular opinion is entirely pro-vaccination (at least here, for sure). I'm just more reluctant to accept the more mundane vaccinations. I'll probably change my mind in the future, but for now I want to wait and see if more evidence and quantative research can be done.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    No no, a few hundred cases of fatal MRSA/flu coinfection. Both flu infections and MRSA infections are very common, in the tens of thousands a year.
     
  23. Okon
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    Goood points, though the fact that flu shots were exempt from this was lost on me. When did this happen?! "Anti life-threatening-but-controllable-disease vaxxers," then? I never mentioned being against those vaccinations; I agree with most of what you say, though I'm not sure how 'a bunch of people deciding not to get vaccinated' can be measured, and sounds like a guess rather than a fact on your timescale. EDIT for clarification: there could be other reasons, like an increase in failed vaccinations—lots of things could potentially answer that question.

    @GingerCoffee thank you for clarifying.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    I don't follow what you mean here. Medical records are kept of vaccinations. Vaccination information is required to register for school. The vaccination rate of the population is known to a fair level of precision; it's not a guess.

    The vaccination rate for certain diseases is drastically down. The rate of catching those diseases is drastically up. Are you saying that these things are unrelated?
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    The question seems to come up frequently in discussion groups I'm in. I read it a while back and thought it was a great piece so I bookmarked it.
     
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