Vaccination Myths Compromise Herd Immunity

Vaccination Distrust and Herd Immunity CompromiseI blame Jenny McCarthy for carrying the erroneous torch and Oprah for giving her a pulpit. Jenny McCarthy decided her son's autism was caused by vaccinations, buying into a paper by Andrew Wakefield that was based on manipulated data and fraudulent research. She then preached this junk science on any show that would have her, including Oprah, whose influence is well documented here.

Since this 2008 celebrity pseudo science smorgasbord, I've met a few people who didn't believe in vaccinations or were convinced vaccinations cause autism. I'm not referring to folks who don't believe in the flu shot, as there are plenty of them, but vaccinations for smallpox, polio, measles and the like. I just had a debate with a staunch believer in the mythical dangers of vaccines that was akin to banging my head against a brick wall incessantly.

Hey Mike, why the passion? The motivation is two-fold.

It's unfair to the children. Parents who don't get their kids vaccinated are needlessly putting their kids in harm's way. Those kids can't make the decision for themselves and it's grossly unfair to them. I feel for the little stinkers.

Herd immunity is compromised. Herd immunity is the foundation upon which I base my yearly flu shot plea. It's a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. In other words, parents who do not get their children vaccinated put the entire neighbourhood's children at risk, not just their own.

Penn and Teller do a better job explaining why the anti-vaccination movement is bunk.

Parents: stop compromising herd immunity. Thanks.


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Comments (12 - click here to join in!)

Cambo

How dare you suggest I vaccinate my kids with the flu shot to appease the "herd".

Fuck the herd.

There is a very real and present danger in immunizing against all things. For the major ones such as MMR, Polio etc. yes, I will.

However I will NOT vaccinate my kids for chicken pox (which is now being pushed) or the flu.

If we continue to vaccinate against everything, our bodies will no longer develop the ability to fight these diseases, gradually weakening our immune systems.

Both of my kids have had the flu this year. Yes, it sucks for a few days. We kept them home, but they have defeated it on their own and now have a naturally built-up immunity to this particular virus.

January 16, 2012 @ 7:33 AM

Rob

I do agree, that no one should instruct you how to raise your children. It is silly for someone to condem you for not giving you child a flu shot...

That being said, getting a flu shot/getting the flu build your immune system just the same.

January 16, 2012 @ 9:01 AM

Corey

@Cambo - Oh goody, you're kids are now immune to that particular virus! So what? They won't be to next year's strain. That's why the flu vaccine is a seasonal, instead of a "one' shot" like some other vaccines. And "fuck the herd"? Charming. I'm sure the next elderly person who gets sprayed on by your sick kid will thank you. Apparently you're somehow able to detect immediate infection, and have the luxury of pulling your kids out of school for a week or two anytime. Not everyone has that luxury - but fuck them, right?

January 16, 2012 @ 9:58 AM

Jason

Here is a great link from a Ted Talks....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OMLSs8t1ng

January 16, 2012 @ 10:18 AM

Cambo

@Corey

Nice. You completely missed the point.

Actually, it is recommended for seniors. And I have no problem with seniors getting it.

No. I will not vaccinate MY kids, to ensure that everyone else is "safe". I do what is best for MY children, not the herd if I do not believe the vaccine is effective or warranted.

20 years ago, we didn't have the flu shot. I had the flu as a kid (many times), and I turned out just fine. Offer me 1 quantifiable (unbiased) report that suggests that flu deaths are down due to people getting the flu shot. Even the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) is now questioning the effectiveness.

And yes, the school boards DO ask you NOT to send your kid to school if they have the flu, to prevent others from getting it. Common sense would tell you, to NOT send your child to school if he/she is sick. Not only so they can rest, but to also not spread the virus.
However this isn't the point.

Please don't mistake this for anti-vaccine. I am pro-vaccine, for the right purposes. Influenza is not one of them. Neither is chicken pox.

January 16, 2012 @ 10:27 AM

spoon

The normal seasonal flu can be deadly, and there's no way to predict who will succumb. You roll the dice that your kids won't be in the small percentage that die from the flu. It's a personal evaluation of the risk for you. But for those with immuno-compromised kids, they have no choice. They rely on the herd immunity.

e.g. 2003 stats from CDC

One hundred fifty-three influenza-associated deaths among children were reported by 40 state health departments. The median age of the children was three years, and 96 of them (63 percent) were younger than five years old. Forty-seven of the children (31 percent) died outside a hospital setting, and 45 (29 percent) died within three days after the onset of illness. Bacterial coinfections were identified in 24 of the 102 children tested (24 percent). Thirty-three percent of the children had an underlying condition recognized to increase the risk of influenza-related complications, and 20 percent had other chronic conditions; 47 percent had previously been healthy. Chronic neurologic or neuromuscular conditions were present in one third. The mortality rate was highest among children younger than six months of age (0.88 per 100,000 children; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 1.39 per 100,000).

January 16, 2012 @ 12:02 PM

Cambo

You also roll the dice as to whether the researchers get the formula right for that season. It's all in a prediction. Sometimes they're right, and sometimes they're wrong. So yes, you can still get the flu after receiving a flu shot.

January 16, 2012 @ 1:01 PM

Jacob

@Cambo: "If we continue to vaccinate against everything, our bodies will no longer develop the ability to fight these diseases, gradually weakening our immune systems."

I don't think you know how vaccination works. Vaccination introduces a dead or inert sample of a virus into our bodies specifically SO our body's immune system can figure out how to fight them. Your immune system doesn't care if the virus is dead or alive, it learns either way.

It's basically the difference between learning karate from an instructor who won't kill you, or from a hoodlum who wants to kill you. You might be able to hold your own against the hoodlum without training, but you'd do much better if you knew how to fight beforehand.

January 16, 2012 @ 1:57 PM

Cheryl

I always get the flu shot every year. Sure, I was sick a lot when I was a kid. I had the Chickenpox, but there was no vaccine for Chickenpox when I was a kid. I get the shots because I am self-employed. If I get sick, I can't work. If I can't wor, I don't get paid. I can't afford to be sick, so I play it safe and get my shots.

January 16, 2012 @ 4:50 PM

Romy

Hmmmm. The majority opinion of respected scientists who've spent their academic and professional careers studying viruses and their propagation OR "Cambo" using the old "I know what's best for my children" routine.
Pretty easy choice, really.

January 17, 2012 @ 3:16 AM

Ajax Mike

I know I'm a little late to the party here, but this about sums it up: http://www.reddit.com/tb/ogxza

Oh and Cambo? Fuck you too. I'm part of that herd, and part of the herd who CANNOT get vaccinated due to an allergy. I rely on Herd Immunity to keep outbreaks at bay. So yeah, fuck you too, sincerely, the Herd.

January 17, 2012 @ 5:39 PM

Twilight Zone

My father was raised Amish. Altho he left the community when he was 18 and married my mother who wasn't Amish. They both shared the same view on Vaccinations and Immunizations, that it wasn't needed and potentially dangerous for us. Therefore none of my siblings or myself have ever had a vaccination and have never been sick for more than 24 hrs with a common cold or flu. I've never had the chicken pox and have been around children when they're contagious several times and never got them.
It would be interesting to know your thoughts on this Mike. I didn't have my children vaccinated and to date they haven't been sick while others around them are.

July 6, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

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