It looks like someone over at the “daily web newspaper of the (non-existent) autism epidemic” is all worked up over people telling her the truth. In a weird blog post, an anti-vaccine activist asks 15 questions of us “vaccine bullies”. Go read them. Every answer, from me, is a resounding “NO”. The best question was number 14:
“If a parent has independently researched vaccines, possibly to a level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner they might see, and is confident that they have reached the best decision for their family, would you be okay with that parent exempting their children from vaccines?”
I needed a good laugh after this week. (Work gets rough as the cold and flu season picks up in the capital area.) People “doing their own research” “to a level that exceeds that of any healthcare practitioner they might see”? Please. The only way this is true is if they’re seeing a chiropractor.
And what’s with the whole “bully” thing? It is very obvious that this woman, who claims to be a vaccine expert, is not an expert in the English language. To bully is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” None of the people she calls out by name at the beginning of her blog post has ever done this. And she should be very careful. Accusing people online like that of something as serious as bullying leaves her open to all sorts of legal repercussions.
No, the bullies are the ones that try to get people fired instead of brining evidence. The bullies are the ones that call for a god to bring pain and suffering upon people who advocate for vaccination. Bullies are the ones that use death threats against vaccine researchers.
Bullies are not the ones who counter the lies with science.
Go read the comments to have a good laugh. My good friend is there:
“This is very good – it makes the point that these are people who are misbehaving in very unpleasant ways. It should not be that children have to be sacrificed for the alleged public good, and these people – with all their arrogant faux-rectitude and sarcasm – are trying to sweep the damage from public gaze. The day is getting closer when this revolting charade will be thoroughly exposed. They are just there to intimidate, confuse and bully.
It is quite clear with [this scientist] and [this lawyer], that whatever brief they hold their actual knowledge is extremely superficial and flawed.”
Oh, the false prophets telling us about “the day”.
As to why I’d respond “NO” to all of her questions, the reason is very simple. I am not a medical doctor. I am not a physician assistant. I am not even a nurse. I cannot tell you whether or not any of the medical questions you pose should allow you to be exempt or not. In my opinion, they shouldn’t. But it’s not for me to tell you this. It’s for your healthcare provider. The way I see it, you don’t have a constitutional right to be exempt. You don’t even have a religious one. You have no right to put us all at risk because of your idiotic world view.
The only way for an exemption is a real, measurable, medical exemption. Period. Otherwise, get out of my society.
As one of the wrongly labeled “bullies”, thank you, Rueben, for this blog post. I am a pediatrician. It’s what I do and love. When anti-vaccine parents come to me with their “research”, they won’t listen when I ask them to consider that vast, vast majority of scientists/physicians support vaccination based on the research. I have learned when this happens that I can count on this type of parent to oppose me on many other longstanding guidelines for the care of pediatric-aged patients. I am no longer accepting parents who won’t vaccinate along the CDC schedule and guidelines, as I have found no amount of discussion sways their opposition to vaccines in the least. But nothing I do to help support vaccination is in any way “bullying”.
Pediatrics and geriatrics, two fields that a good case can be made that one is not practicing upon humans. 😉
The physiology is fairly different, reserves are different, hence reaction to illness, disease and trauma being different from the average late teen to adult, some drugs can behave differently, etc.
It’s a wonderful thing that the care is informed by all of that evidence based approach!
In my military career, I spent more time on the radio for guidance from a physician with elders and small children than for anything else.
I’m a parent who did a great amount of research about vaccines for our children, way back when they were children. They’re adults now and I’m happily a grandfather (soon to be a third time over).
I read about the efficacy of the various vaccines. I read about the buffer created by the sheer numbers of those immune through vaccines that were on the lower end of the scale in inducing immunity to the pathogen. I read about side effects, bad reactions, allergies seemed to be the most common beyond malaise and the occasional low grade fever, save for one vaccine I would still object to.
We did and still do have one vaccine that is the “most dangerous”. It has a higher rate of mortality and morbidity than any other vaccine used.
Fortunately, the disease is extinct in the wild and only the military and certain health care workers ever receive it.
Equally fortunately, some of the worst reactions to the smallpox vaccine are still subjects of research, due to the infrequent usage, but much higher than any other vaccine.
But, that particular vaccine has long been removed from the CDC recommended vaccine list for the above reasons. The disease is extinct in the wild, it has a higher mortality and morbidity rate than any other vaccine.
Ah, there goes that evidence based medicine thing again. 😉
So, where am I different from the antivaxer parent?
Well, I know enough statistics to injure myself, but understand the methods well enough to comprehend what I read. I understand the evidence based approach to medicine and think it’s a good way to approach life in general. I understand all of those big words those antivax parents cannot even pronounce, let alone define, the few that I don’t, I quickly look up and retain.
I’m brighter than them. Not because I have significantly greater intelligence, though a good case could be made for that, but because I am well educated, believe in evidence based medicine, understand the massive amounts of research both behind each and every vaccine, both before it is even tested and after it has long been in general usage.
I also know enough to seek the advice of the expert in a field, be it medicine or law or any other profession, for the specific and general knowledge of such subject matter experts is invaluable.
Needless to say, my children and grandchildren get/got their vaccines according to the CDC guidance. The only excuse not to would be due to scheduling difficulties, which would be a minimal delay or for valid health concerns raised by the physician.
Come on. If a parent researched traffic safety, to a degree unmatched by the typical law enforcement officer, surely you’d agree with that parent’s right to decide which side of the road to drive on.
That parent would have to demonstrate that knowledge by taking the required courses and passing the appropriate tests to show said knowledge. Research alone is not sufficient in matters of life and death. Going through an accredited program ensures that the research being done is proper.
You may have missed my sarcasm -the point is that the decision of which side of the road to drive on affects everyone on the road, just as the decision to make one’s children into reservoirs of disease affects everyone in society.
Ah! Got it. I have no sense of humor after really long days.
It might be worth your while to check the responses to Ms. Hayes discussion where she first posted it – here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/11/04/could-california-law-to-boost-vaccine-uptake-end-up-reducing-it/ – at the end of the comment pages.
And yes, there is an element of hubris in assuming you can know more than a trained health care provider through some internet searches.
Well, I am a nurse and I screened every patient for medical contraindications for each vaccine I administered. See CDC chart and footnotes:
I did end up reading it, but I chickened out of commenting. I hesitate to give any anti vaxer my email address.
I don’t know if I have the fortitude to read her nonsense, or that of her fans. It makes my BP skyrocket.
I don’t have the fortitude to read it.
I’d be too tempted to do something unlawful.