A mom on the sidelines of the vaccination maelstrom

I’ve been sitting quietly on the sidelines of the vaccination maelstrom for some time. No one with a disabled child (like me) and, therefore, friend to other parents with disabled children, enters this discussion lightly. Knowing the backstories of children with autism or seizure disorders, knowing the cost of caregiving at a visceral level, I find myself unable to fling judgment at anyone.

It’s not that I don’t know what to think. I do: My children have had their vaccinations on schedule, even the annual flu shot. I didn’t make a personal choice to have them vaccinated; I considered vaccination critical to both their well-being and the good of society. Having studied 16th and 17th century literature, I’d read too many accounts of dead children and grieving parents to think otherwise.

Yet, I find the current discussion brutal and politically calculating. Republicans are warily enthused at the chance to portray liberals as anti-science for a change. Liberals and progressives trot out the twin specters of wealth and selfishness. It’s an issue people care about, so someone can earn political capital.

Howard Dean summed up the categories of anti-vaccination politics: “One is people who are very much scared about their kids getting autism, which is an idea that has been completely discredited. Two, is entitled people who don’t want to put any poison in their kids and view this as poison, which is ignorance more than anything else. And three, people who are antigovernment in any way.”

Fear, ignorance and paranoia.

As for ignorance, in my wanderings about the internet, I’ve read anti-vaccination defenses and noted factual errors, but then again, maybe my science education is better than most. U.S. high schools generally require only one year of science to graduate (usually watered-down biology). Because any nuanced understanding of medicine requires familiarity with chemistry and molecular (even sub-molecular) sciences, few grasp the details of cell receptors, genomics, and the variety of metabolic pathways that have evolved to allow bodies to do the simplest things, such as breathe or snap fingers, let alone fight off disease or repair cell damage.

Speaking of fear: Our culture tends to hand us science in the form of over-hyped published studies and science fiction. Science and technology are rarely the heroes of books and movies. If anything, Hollywood and literature have conditioned us to fear scientific advances and technological innovation. What is human is “natural” and good; technology becomes unnatural.

On the other hand, the news media often treats scientific studies with the pseudo-religious reverence of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. They fail to point out that a “study” or published paper is just a contribution to an ongoing conversation among scientists. Even if Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 data on vaccines and autism had not been faked, no responsible scientist would have accepted his findings until proven on a larger, long-term scale—which is precisely how Wakefield was discredited. The system worked.

People do their best with the information at hand, the messages absorbed from our culture, and concerns for their children. What I’m hearing over and over are parents, even educated parents, trying to understand the vast amount of technical information available in an Internet era when authority is difficult to identify.

Decentralizing authority isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without specialized knowledge, trust becomes a necessary emotional touchstone for most people. And, thus, paranoia. Our politicians give us little reason to trust them. U.S. policy has gradually abandoned group benefit for several decades. We live in an era of unfettered individualism, not by accident.

Why would a parent prioritize the needs of his or her child over the good of the whole? Because the message is drummed into us repeatedly that we’re on our own in the new economy. A child with disabilities, even the slight risk of one, presents an economic catastrophe to a single family. Even an ill child is a heart-breaking financial burden. Then, of course, there are the social and education penalties to families. It’s no wonder many parents cosset and protect their children.

Those of us who parent disabled children are the canaries in the coalmine of social policy and health insurance. Most of us are left on our own—Medicaid waivers vary by state in terms of disabilities covered, and there are long waiting lists. My husband and I estimate we’d spent approximately $250,000 before qualifying for a waiver—and that with good insurance coverage.

In the U.S., we can’t even agree on healthcare for all citizens, let alone children. We dole out measly child medical and education programs to the poor as a form of government “charity,” which lets us off the hook ethically when the services are substandard. Those of us who aren’t poor wouldn’t settle for that for our own children, but our fellow citizens have no choice, do they?

We’ll continue to struggle with the costs, benefits and consequences of “choice” parenting until the U.S. can re-establish trust with its own citizens and move toward domestic policies that protect children and bolster families, reducing the risks and penalties of raising them. Until then, it’ll be every person for themselves.


Jeneva Burroughs Stone is an essayist, poet, blogger of the rare & unknown, practical g/i nurse, interpreter of EOBs, queen of medical-necessity letters, unlicensed PT, knowledgeable wheelchair mechanic. She has a PhD in Renaissance literature with a focus on gender and sexuality, has taught high school and college students, and worked on Capitol Hill and as an editor in higher education policy.

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57 Responses to “A mom on the sidelines of the vaccination maelstrom”

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  2. David Howe says:

    Did you fart?

  3. David Key says:

    Children protection should be our main target.

  4. Baal says:

    The parts of your piece I liked best are you mentioning that some studies are over-hyped (drives me crazy), whereas on the other end, Hollywood and literature have conditioned us to fear scientific advances and technological innovation, and what is human is “natural” and good; technology becomes unnatural.

    But as you say, at this point the “system” has worked and vaccinations at least should not be controversial any longer.

    The part I didn’t like is the part that is probably most personal to you, which are the issues you face as a parent of a disabled child. Those are obviously very real but they should not be compared to getting kids vaccinated to protect them AND OTHERS. You state categorically that the attitudes to disability are related to attitudes towards vaccination. It’s an assertion I would not accept without some actual studies to show it. My unwillingness to accept that without some actual data is not misogynistic.

    A canary in a coal mine actually does detect gas. A real gas. Vaccinating kids is not a gas. It never was. One thing is not like the other and that is where your careful reasoning seems to break down, at least to me. A big part of the anti-vax movement was a hysterical fabrication from the get-go, which continues to be propagated in large measure by the misuse of statistics and obvious logical fallacies. And that is the thing that people may be reacting to in your post — to the extent that people are critical at all (and this comment thread is largely positive). Bearing in mind that just about anyone who posts at this particular blog and who is not a troll would agree whole-heatedly with your comments about the state of American health care in general (especially if we have ever seen how it is done in Europe for example, where politicians are no more trustworthy but at least they have figured out how to do manage health care better than we do). But they see clearly where the recent anti-vax movement is getting its current impetus and it isn’t pretty.

    So when you complain that the criticism is misogynistic I don’t think it adds very much. If someone is an active anti-vaxer they are paranoid, ignorant, or selfish. In English language none of those words have a gender.

  5. jenevastone says:

    I agree that certain politicians have jumped on fears of disability in an absolutely horrifying way.

    I do not, though, feel that I have just “thrown out” accusations of misogyny. First of all, many commenters have simply ignored the point of my article and hurled accusations at me about my attitudes toward vaccination which are rather clear: I’m pro-vaccination. This comes, I think, from a willful disregard of what I wrote and wrote clearly–factors in our society contribute to this problem, factors that affect most of us and include ableist bias, irrational fear of disability, irrational fears about science and scientific advances (Larry Wilmore, discussing new genetics research that would allow parents who carry disease-causing mutations to bring healthy infants to term, skipped immediately from the real-world value of that to “designer babies” and “genetic engineering a la Hitler), and a lack of societal commitment to children’s well-being. Why was all my careful reasoning bypassed in the service of hurling insults? Because the headline of this article called me a “mom”? And “moms” are what? Vacuous?

  6. jenevastone says:

    Thanks, Joe. The incredible fear with which society confronts disability contributes to this anti-vaccination issue. I find that little attention has been given to how the bias manifests itself on both sides of the debate. But the bottom line is that our country simply does not care properly for its children–or there’s no popular support for that–and, as a result, people with means are doing what they can–in fear or ignorance or whatever–to insure that their children are not harmed. And they’re doing it because they realize there’s no real support for child well-being in this country.

  7. Baal says:

    Of course the ones getting criticized are the ones who “speak out”. Speaking out in advocacy of this untenable position actually compounds the problem of not getting your kids vaccinated — since it contributes in a second way to allowing dangerous and previously (nearly) vanquished infectious diseases to regain a foothold. An appalling development.

    Since as you suggest it may more often be the anti-vaxer moms who are the public voice of this idiocy, what seems like misogyny may not be exactly that. It’s easy to just throw out accusations of misogyny, but actually showing that it exists in this particular context would require some actual study. In any case, I am personally very gender neutral in saying that all anti-vaxers are some combination of ignorant, insane, or selfish, they are doing great harm, and I have absolutely no sympathy for them, even if some of them are women.

    The worst of all, though, are politicians, most of whom are male so far as I have seen so far, who have used this issue as a way to appeal to a group they consider their “base” even when they know better.

  8. Dorothy in KS says:

    Jenevastone-You know, it’s funny. I’m 68 years old, when I was in school, you didn’t get in if you didn’t have your shots. We are too sensitive to fools,

  9. Joe D'Alessandro says:

    Nice article. I have a disabled child on DD waiver. It amazes me, in this country, how folks think it will never happen to them when reality tells us it’s inevitable: you get old, you get sick, you rely on some service to survive and then you die. Your job, career, money in the bank and equity in the house (if you are part of the top 10%) are all gone and your family, if you have one, has to bear the burden. This is not really “new”, this is the same economy America was founded upon. The last 70 years were an anomaly.

  10. Plisko says:

    The reason your risk benefit tilts in your favor right now is because hundreds of millions of us took the risk and got vaccinated over the past 50 years. Please don’t use the efforts and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of people before you as an excuse to destroy the benefits they created.

  11. Plisko says:

    That chart is showing deaths not measles. Are you suggesting that those deaths from measles being shown between 1963 and 1968 are acceptable losses compared to zero deaths after that?

    The vaccine stopped the deaths. The deaths were stopped by drastically lowering the cases of measles. The CDC reports that there were 400 deaths and nearly half a million cases of measles per year between 1961 and 1963. After 1963 the deaths dropped off and the cases of measles hit a record low of just over 60.

    I guess your fine with 400 deaths per year. . . as long as we all wash our hands. . . I would rather wash my hands, get vaccinated, and have zero deaths.

  12. jenevastone says:

    Nope. “Criticism” comes without ad hominem (or ad feminam) ranting.

  13. jenevastone says:

    Excuse me?

  14. Plisko says:

    This is a seat belt argument. The anti-vax people are saying that they don’t want to wear seat belts because some people have been trapped in burning cars by their seat belts. That’s fine as a personal fear. When they put my kids in their car, however, asking them to choke back their fear and think about someone else’s fear is not unreasonable.

    Nobody has a right to coddle irrational fear at the expense of others. Nobody should be rewarded for coddling their irrational fear. This is not an issue of “everyone has right to their fears and opinions”. This is a matter of “your fear scientifically crosses my doorstep and enters my body so I would rather you choked on it.”

  15. David Howe says:

    Deflection is a sign of immaturity.

  16. David Howe says:

    I don’t see any trash-talking of women here. You have confused “bashing” with criticism.

  17. quax says:

    Measles can cause very serious complications. A parent who nowadays exposes their children to the live virus, as in the olden days, acts highly irresponsible.

  18. quax says:

    There should have always been vaccines that are Thimerosal free at least as an alternative option that costs a bit more. Thimerosal makes sense for third world countries but is just a cheap and lazy if you can have a proper refrigeration chain for the vaccines.

  19. jenevastone says:

    Another consideration that I didn’t have the time to get into in this piece is what seems to be rampant misogyny. Because mothers are often interviewed or blamed for not vaccinating their children (even though fathers probably agree), people feel free to bash them in a way they probably wouldn’t if the culprit were seen as men. But, hey, it’s OK to accuse women of being dumb, ignorant, bubble-headed and irrationally fearful. I’m pro-vaccination, but I can’t stand with other people who feel free to trash-talk women.

  20. jenevastone says:

    I think you miss the point. I don’t buy what you referred to as anti-vaccine nuttery. If the goal is to get children vaccinated, you’re going to have to deal with the fears, rational or not, of their parents. Screaming at them and calling them names isn’t going to do any good. You also display a profound lack of empathy with the problems of caregiving. You seem to be part of the group that’s accusing others of being selfish, but you are, yourself, being selfish by saying that other people should choke on their fears just to protect you. So, without any attempt at understanding or working toward a better and more secure society for all, your position is the mirror image of the people you deplore.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    I didn’t go to high school in the US, but nobody would have managed to get through my school without taking at least two science classes, one math class, and one foreign language for each of the three years of grades 10, 11 and 12.

  22. Naja pallida says:

    It wouldn’t surprise met at all to see insurance companies charge unvaccinated people more for coverage. A 30 dollar vaccine is a lot cheaper than treating someone who has to be hospitalized to treat a preventable illness, or addressing a chronic disability caused by a preventable illness.

  23. Jafafa Hots says:

    And that also doesn’t take into account those who were not killed by measles, but instead were left permanently and sometimes profoundly disabled.

  24. rmthunter says:

    Excellent piece. I am, however, amazed that most high schools only require one year of science for graduation. When I was in high school — granted, many years ago, during the height of the Cold War — in a largely working class small town, we had to have three years of science — biology, chemistry, and physics — three years of math (I took four), and a foreign language to graduate.

    As for the public policy debate, it’s been a while since our government was concerned with the welfare of citizens in general. My own feeling is that there are some things that simply should not be subject to the profit motive, and health care is way up on the list. The debate over adopting even something as rudimentary as the ACA pointed up the degree to which delusion plays a part in our domestic politics. The idea that some people in this country can just be left in the wind when it comes to basic health care is repulsive, but we’re not dealing with a group — politicians — for whom compassion is even a concept.

    I religiously get my vaccinations, including flu shots, and I’m an adult with a fully functioning immune system. To say that children should not be vaccinated is, to my mind, beyond ignorant, fearful, or paranoid. It’s just insane.

    I wonder how many of these people are prepared to welcome polio back into the realm of “normal part of growing up.”

  25. Naja pallida says:

    What that graph fails to show is incidence, which remained basically the same until the vaccine was introduced, and then plummeted from 100s of thousands of cases a year, to 10s of thousands of cases, in the first year. While obviously the most final factor, death is most certainly not the only factor to be considered. If people aren’t getting a disease at all, they’re not spreading it and putting others at risk, and by extension are not putting any cost on the health care system. Not to mention, loss of productivity/income from people having to take time off of work to care for sick children, or being sick themselves.

    Another key thing it does not take into account is that most measles deaths are not from the virus itself, but are due to secondary, opportunistic, bacterial infections. Antibiotics to fight things like streptococcus, pneumococcus, haemophilus, etc, were simply not available for the first half of the century and account for far more of the improved outcomes than sanitation. So, by allowing more cases of measles, we’re also contributing to the current problem of antibiotic overuse.

  26. Silver_Witch says:

    I represent that definition. It took me years to believe my Psyc Dr. who told me to walk, just walk, take wheat out of my diet and just walk. Have bee off hard-core meds ever since. That and getting older and wiser generally…they say mental illness either kills you or tempers as you get older. I think I believe it is temper as it gets older.
    As for a “medical professional” who doesn’t want people to get well, I am going to venture to say that is not their goal, individual professionals might not r3eally give a rats ass, and their are cases of individual professionals doing icky things (like watering down Chemo Meds), the group, the core of professional would probably love to see us all get well, and not have to visit so often.

  27. mirth says:

    “Five babies at a suburban Chicago daycare center have been diagnosed with measles, adding to a growing outbreak of the disease across the United States, Illinois health officials said on Thursday.

    Officials are investigating the cluster of measles cases at KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine, said a statement from the Illinois and Cook County health departments. All the children are under 1 year old and would not have been subject to routine measles vaccination, which begins at 12 months.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/05/us-usa-measles-illinois-idUSKBN0L92FD20150205

    “The [NJ] state Department of Health, along with Jersey City, is investigating a suspected case of measles in a baby, a state official said Thursday.”

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/nj_officials_report_first_suspect_case_of_measles.html

  28. Houndentenor says:

    I have never met anyone in the medical profession who didn’t want people to get well and stay that way. Not one. the idea among some that the medical community wants us all to be sick and stay that way so they can push pills on us and order expensive procedures has no basis in reality. The problem is that most of us don’t do what our doctors and other healthcare practitioners advise so we’re too fat, don’t get enough exercise, do all kinds of things that are bad for us and then expect them to fix us. The medical community is promoting wellness. We just don’t want to put down the french fry and go for a walk.

  29. Silver_Witch says:

    100% agreement there Houndentenor. I can not understand how anyone thinks throwing a lawyer or two in the mix will help. Better care is the only answer and I think once some of the incentivize of illness is lessened the better care people will get – or at least I hope that is true.

  30. Houndentenor says:

    I just had a conversation with a friend who was not vaccinated as a child because his parents were Christian Scientists. He is a professional musician but came close to losing his hearing as a child from the measles. Sorry, but vaccinations are necessary.

    Also, we could require foreign visitors be vaccinated against measles. There are plenty of countries that require you get certain shots before getting a visa. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if countries started requiring this of Americans soon.

  31. Houndentenor says:

    It’s funny that these criticism of problems with our medical “system” only seem to come in terms of using them as an excuse to justify anti-science nuttery. No one is arguing that everything in our medical delivery system is optimal. Quite to the contrary. But this isn’t an arguing being made to help reform the system so that we all get better medical care. It’s to justify homeopathy and other nonsense. Ridiculous.

  32. Jafafa Hots says:

    From a site that advertises a book claiming that autism is caused by vaccines.

    Sorry, I’m not a member of your religion. Don’t send me your bible tracts.

  33. lynchie says:

    Keep in mind also how education or the lack of it has played in these issues. The amount of science taken in high school wouldn’t fill a teacup and the GOP like it that way. Educate the masses and they start questioning, searching and curious about the truth.

  34. lynchie says:

    I liken the anit-vaccine crowd to the religious nuts who want to make everyone follow their beliefs. The difference here is that not using the vaccines to stop the huge outbreaks and resultant loss of life as a negative effect on me and my family. You want to believe everyone should be christian go ahead and believe but shut up and worship quietly don’t push it down our throats. Politicians on the right will say and do anything for a vote, they will lie and shred logic if that can glean that one vote for a poor rube so dumb he is painful and not care of the damage that can be done. And there is very little push back. The Dems in my opinion are no different. No one but Obama is speaking out about vaccines and the truth. The rest are a bunch of morally corrupt turds who just like the money coming in.

  35. Silver_Witch says:

    Sadly law suits will only make the attorneys wealthy and will not resolve the issue at hand with the need to improve care of those in hospitals. As an example I recently got a check for $12.17 from a class action settlement against BofA, which I did not even know I was a class member of, the attorney got 33 million…we got $12.

    Sadly too death is the outcome of age and illness…better care is the answer – how you make that happen I am not sure.

  36. Baal says:

    You certainly made it clear that you vaccinate your own kids and I don’t think there are so many weaknesses in your piece.

    One of my reflexes after many years of training to become a scientist–really hammered into me by my mentors — is to not make public pronouncements (outside of snarky comments on blogs) that are far from my area of expertise. I can confidently speak about what I work on and topics that surround it — in my case kidney disease, pharmacology, pathophysiology, drug discovery. That is what I know about. When I talk about those things, my opinion should maybe be given a certain degree of weight and gravitas compared to, say, Jenny McCarthy or Oprah or Bill O’Reilly. I am not a clinician, though, so I don’t know much about how to actually care for patients with these problems. There are a lot of people who do know about that.

    A lot of scientists are hesitant to make pronouncements about things they are not confidant about (but not 100%), and we see that things are rarely black and white, and sometimes we just don’t know the answer. That is why professional pundits like David Brooks and George Will, just to name a few, make me want to vomit. They are willing to sound off on anything with confidence, and really, how much could they actually know? I chose those two because they sort of pretend to be scholars but never made the effort to become one and really make some genuine contribution to the knowledge of the world, and because they are demonstrably full of shit.

    Of course, like everyone else, I have opinions about all sorts of things. I think virtually all religion is idiotic and dangerous (the absurdity in the Bible is sort of a hobby of mine). I favor progressive politics about 99% of the time. I prefer John Coltrane and Charlie Parker over Katy Perry. I’d rather have a dog than a cat. I prefer Chinese food to Indian food. On these issues my opinion is not worth much more than anyone else’s. There are a lot of bad things in the world I am not continually reminded of because they don’t affect me directly so I don’t “speak out” on them but it doesn’t mean I don’t think they are bad. Human trafficking is a horrible thing, but I don’t know much about it and don’t speak out about it. I think social services for mentally ill people are sorely lacking but I don’t speak out about it. Everybody deserves equal protection under the law, and police around the country are doing their best to run roughshod over that principle. I am not giving interviews in newspapers about that either.

    If I was running for political office, I would advocate forcefully progressive positions on those issues, as well as the needs of parents with disabled kids — and even perfectly normal kids!! Parental leave policies in this country are absurd. If I was running for office my number one goal would be to turn the US into Denmark or Netherlands or Sweden as quickly as I could.

    The one thing I would not be doing is sowing fear, ignorance and prejudice, and playing to the basest instincts of the electorate.

    But I am not running for office. Parents have fear perhaps, and they also hear what they tend to want to hear, and drown out the rest. And this provides an excellent opportunity for some people play on the fears of parents for ulterior motives.

    And so some of these policies, for example getting kids vaccinated, I am afraid need to be compulsory.

  37. jenevastone says:

    A lingering weakness of my piece is that I did not emphasize my belief at the end that parents should vaccinate. It is a settled issue in medicine, yet it isn’t among the general population–a point I was making. What I’m discussing isn’t the medical facts, but the public policy arc, laying out the challenges in that area.

    You are, understandably, focused on the science of vaccines. The facts. And those are on your side. I, too, accept those facts. But public policy is built on both facts (in the best case) and persuasion. My son has a genetic illness that has nothing to do with vaccination, yet we’re still learning how exons and introns work together–genomics–and how genetic malfunction is triggered. Vaccine reactions and injuries do occur, and despite the injury fund (by pharmaceutical companies), judges have made it difficult for parents to access monies. It’s a liability fund, so subject to legal maneuvers. In addition, disability scares people–it’s expensive and socially isolating and the U.S. does little to help families and those children.

    When a society does not take care of its children, parents have a lot of fear, justifiable fear–perhaps not of vaccines, but of taking any risk involving their children. As a person who is interested and engaged in science, I accept vaccination as necessary. As the parent of a child with disabilities, I don’t hear scientists advocating for care–I hear discussions about anomalies, exceptions and outliers. This dehumanizes anything that can go wrong.

    So I hear you, but we need to make public policy work to address fear not only with facts, but with support.

  38. mf_roe says:

    True enough, but to accurately evaluate any risk the benefit must also be measured. We are talking about measles, not HIV not Cancer not even Influenza (a real killer) . Measles are endemic thru-out the world. The US could have total vaccination coverage and we could still have outbreaks due to the lack of vaccination of foreign visitors.
    I’m old enough to remember when before the vaccine Mothers would sometimes expose their children to the measles during summer months so that they wouldn’t have the disease during school. They could not control IF, but they could control WHEN.

  39. mf_roe says:

    “It seems that every time researchers estimate how often a medical
    mistake contributes to a hospital patient’s death, the numbers come out
    worse.

    In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous
    “To Err Is Human” report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical
    community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of
    mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now
    widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted
    ubiquitously in the media.

    In 2010, the Office of Inspector
    General for the Department of Health and Human Services said that bad
    hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare
    alone in a given year.

    Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.

    That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.”

    Sounds to me that the abuse isn’t in the Court System but the Health Profit System.

    But I’m sure you still want “tort reform”.

  40. mf_roe says:

    What does this chart tell you about Measles Vaccine

  41. Baal says:

    There are many unsettled issues in science, medicine, economics, social policies. These particular vaccinations are not one of them. That issue has been settled.

    The most infuriating thing to me at least is that many of the GOP politicians who have decided to weigh in to appease their “base” know these issues have been settled, and they will flirt with the anti-Vax commujhites anyway because they will say or do anything to advance their own personal ambitions. I have no problem at all flinging judgment at the THEM. They are awful human beings.

    As for the others that you mention, the fearful, the ignorant, and the paranoid (words that actually do comprise a judgment), we should not be allowing them to drag the rest of us down with them. I for one am perfectly willing to make THAT judgment.

    One of the most important achievements of modern science has been the near eradication of many of these infectious diseases, and now we are poised to let them come back. As a biomedical life scientist myself, I find this really frustrating.

  42. Jafafa Hots says:

    Do you realize how many deaths there are from Tylenol? More than 300 every year in the US alone.

  43. BeccaM says:

    Beautiful, beautiful post, Jeneva. Bravo.

  44. mirth says:

    “What do Libya, Russia, China, Zimbabwe and Iran [within a total of 113 countries] have in common? According to the World Health Organization, they have a higher measles immunization coverage among 1-year-olds than the United States.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/02/03/map-113-countries-have-higher-measles-immunization-rates-than-the-u-s-for-1-year-olds/

  45. heimaey says:

    Then they should screen us coming in.

  46. nicho says:

    Zimbabwe has a higher vaccination rate than the US.

  47. mirth says:

    This is the finest piece I have read on do/don’t vaccinate and, better yet, it gives me tools for any conversations I may have with others about it.
    A grateful reader.

  48. Sam Jay says:

    That’s ridiculous and show naiveté as to how our court system is abused.

  49. Sam Jay says:

    Good point

  50. 2karmanot says:

    Well done!

  51. nicho says:

    I’m not a big fan of Sanjay Gupta, but he hits the nail on the head here.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/03/health/measles-gupta-fact/

  52. nicho says:

    For heaven’s sake — aspirin causes more risk than vaccines. Water carries risks. Everything you put in your body carries risks.

  53. heimaey says:

    Countries should start screening us before we are able to enter them. Especially those in Africa and Asia where less people are able to get vaccinated.

  54. mf_roe says:

    Revoke the Liability Immunity now given to vaccine producers, Make them totally liable for damage that their products might cause—–Then you can talk about the issue of mandating universal vaccination. Vaccines DO carry risk, if you dislike Fracking consider that the same veil of secrecy surrounds much of the facts of what is in any vial of vaccine.

  55. Indigo says:

    Good job! Very rational.

  56. BillFromDover says:

    Can conservatives catch the measles and/or other various nasties… just wonderin’?

  57. caphillprof says:

    Our crisis government will only act when the body count of victims from disease begin to worry the Department of Defense about it’s future lack of expendable personnel.

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