Anti the Anti-Vaxers

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BillTre

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Summary: Article with data showing immunizations save more than they hurt.

Vaccines are one of the great benefits of biology has bestowed upon humanity, in that they have saved many lives and greatly reduced suffering.
As a result anti-vaxers kind of piss me off, but they are often not worth arguing with.
Nevertheless there is a lot of data supporting the use of vaccines which some may find argumentatively useful. Problems resulting from vaccination are much less than their benefits.

Here is an article from the NY Times that discusses a US program that compensates harmed by vaccines and a database of the cases they have dealt with.
It contains lots of numbers and several stories.

Over roughly the past dozen years in the United States, people have received about 126 million doses of vaccines against measles, a disease that once infected millions of American children and killed 400 to 500 people each year. During that period, 284 people filed claims of harm from those immunizations through a federal program created to compensate people injured by vaccines. Of those claims, about half were dismissed, while 143 were compensated.
Many of recent compensations have involved poorly trained people incorrectly giving injections in the wrong place, resulting in shoulder injuries relating the act of injecting rather than the immunization itself.
 

jim mcnamara

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Since we are heavily into opinions, let's move the thread to "Opinion Central" - General discussion.
Actually the topic has merit, and there is science behind it, so I'd hate to close it because most of the posts disparage anti-vaxxers, which is 100% at this point.
 

fresh_42

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As a result anti-vaxers kind of piss me off, but they are often not worth arguing with.
There is only one valid reason: to make fun of their stubborness.
How likely is an anaphylactic shock? How probable an intolerance? Close to zero.

I have once read a hypothetical dialogue between a modern anti-vaxxer and someone from, say 1850. It was hilarious and said it all. Btw., how many great minds died because of syphilis? How many didn't survive their sixth birthday etc. etc. I have heard of parents who gave a measles party to immunize their children "the natural way". Unbelievable.
 

BWV

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Having a non-verbal autistic son who was born in time to catch the peak of anti-vax hysteria, I can understand the toxic message that there is something or someone to blame for a child’s disability, but its a lie and a great disservice to autistic people, sending the message that its somehow better to risk dead children than live autistic ones.
 

pinball1970

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There is only one valid reason: to make fun of their stubborness.
How likely is an anaphylactic shock? How probable an intolerance? Close to zero.

I have once read a hypothetical dialogue between a modern anti-vaxxer and someone from, say 1850. It was hilarious and said it all. Btw., how many great minds died because of syphilis? How many didn't survive their sixth birthday etc. etc. I have heard of parents who gave a measles party to immunize their children "the natural way". Unbelievable.
Do you have a link to the dialogue?
I lump the anti vaxers in with the moon landing deniers and conspiracy theorists. They ignore the big things like the eradication of smallpox and poliomyelitis and search for anything that will support their position no matter how small, obscure or debunked.
 

pinball1970

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Unfortunately not. I think it was on FB and this is a terrible platform to search for links which are older than a week or so.
This link gives a good summary
 

russ_watters

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Vaccines are one of the great benefits of biology has bestowed upon humanity, in that they have saved many lives and greatly reduced suffering.
As a result anti-vaxers kind of piss me off, but they are often not worth arguing with.
Nevertheless there is a lot of data supporting the use of vaccines which some may find argumentatively useful. Problems resulting from vaccination are much less than their benefits.

Here is an article from the NY Times that discusses a US program that compensates harmed by vaccines and a database of the cases they have dealt with.
It contains lots of numbers and several stories.
Over roughly the past dozen years in the United States, people have received about 126 million doses of vaccines against measles, a disease that once infected millions of American children and killed 400 to 500 people each year. During that period, 284 people filed claims of harm from those immunizations through a federal program created to compensate people injured by vaccines. Of those claims, about half were dismissed, while 143 were compensated.
Unfortunately, that NYT quote uses (implies) faulty logic that opens-up an opportunity for the only legitimate argument an anti-vaxxer has: You cannot mix and match statistics from different time periods. The problem for us pro-vaxxers is that the individual risk/reward of any particular vaccine *today* is vastly worse than the day it was introduced.

The anti-vaxx argument (a good one, anyway) is an ethical argument, not a statistical one, based on individual rights in a free society that values individual rights as paramount. Tripping over the stats on what is actually a relatively poor risk-reward balance on an individual level opens the door to that argument.
 

pinball1970

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Unfortunately, that NYT quote uses (implies) faulty logic that opens-up an opportunity for the only legitimate argument an anti-vaxxer has: You cannot mix and match statistics from different time periods. The problem for us pro-vaxxers is that the individual risk/reward of any particular vaccine *today* is vastly worse than the day it was introduced.
That's because vaccination programmes over the last 70 years or so practically eradicated some of the worst infectious diseases so today we have a lot less to aim at.
 
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Article with data showing immunizations save more than they hurt.
I saw a very interesting interactive map a couple of years ago, and I share some links here:

Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks (interactive map)
http://www.vaccineswork.org/vaccine-preventable-disease-outbreaks/

Page said:
Browse our interactive map to track outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the globe.
The map uses information published by news, governments and global health organisations to plot outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease over time, including measles, mumps, polio, rubella and whooping cough (pertussis).
Article about the map:

Interactive map shows the damage caused by ‘anti-vaxxers’ around the world (Metro UK)
http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/30/interactive-map-shows-the-damage-caused-by-anti-vaxxers-around-the-world-7037782/
 

pinball1970

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I saw a very interesting interactive map a couple of years ago, and I share some links here:

Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks (interactive map)
http://www.vaccineswork.org/vaccine-preventable-disease-outbreaks/



Article about the map:

Interactive map shows the damage caused by ‘anti-vaxxers’ around the world (Metro UK)
http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/30/interactive-map-shows-the-damage-caused-by-anti-vaxxers-around-the-world-7037782/
Does the map give an indication of where vaccinne programmes were not completed or where the anti vaxers? On a small slow tablet
 

Dr Transport

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Anti-vaxers are immune to logic.
I dealt with an anti-vaxer years ago. They were claiming religious liberty, so I asked them what they thought about a government sponsored religion. Of course their answer was that the governmrnt can't dictate our religeous rights. My response was, if the government can't do that, why are you inflicting your religeon on me and my kids by not vaccinating your family, public health in my mind outways any religeon and I am sure that your religeon wants you to be a productive non-threatening member of society. A completely blank look was all I got, no sort of an explanation forthcoming.
 
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An interesting example of a vaccine that actually was linked to severe complications and caused a drop in vaccination was on NPR a few months ago. Such a story illustrates that hysteria around vaccines is not always without reason. I don't follow this stuff much, but it seems like there may be an argument for more transparency about the risks associated with the protocols. A quick search returned this article which argues for a more personalized approach to vaccination. The authors discuss how genetic and environmental factors determine the efficacy of vaccines and also, in section 4:

Autoimmunity is a concern for many vaccines, though AD presentation among immunized individuals is rarely observed. However, because of relatively low baseline incidence of many autoimmune conditions, large post-marketing and adequately powered studies are required to evaluate any increased risk of ADs after vaccination [92]. In fact, in most of the clinical trials evaluating vaccines, a systematic screening for ADs is not performed.
 

OmCheeto

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...most of the posts disparage anti-vaxxers, which is 100% at this point.
I actually learned something from one of them just a few days ago. They actually posted the following article in February, but, I've been conditioned to ignore most of their posted references. This (PF) thread reminded me of the conversation I had with one of them, so I went back and reviewed that (Facebook) thread. I'm guessing it was the "NIH" in the URL that caught my eye that prompted me to read it this time.

I'm pretty sure they meant the reference to be an example of how vaccines are bad for you, which in this case, was true. Guessing the 64 years since it happened, nor the fact that it's never happened again, doesn't mean anything to them.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine​
J R Soc Med. 2006 Mar; 99(3): 156.​
In April 1955 more than 200 000 children in five Western and mid-Western USA states received a polio vaccine in which the process of inactivating the live virus proved to be defective. Within days there were reports of paralysis and within a month the first mass vaccination programme against polio had to be abandoned. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vaccine, manufactured by the California-based family firm of Cutter Laboratories, had caused 40 000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10.

The article points out that the number of people who perished in this incident was quite a bit lower than a single outbreak in New York that killed 2400.
 

pinball1970

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I actually learned something from one of them just a few days ago. They actually posted the following article in February, but, I've been conditioned to ignore most of their posted references. This (PF) thread reminded me of the conversation I had with one of them, so I went back and reviewed that (Facebook) thread. I'm guessing it was the "NIH" in the URL that caught my eye that prompted me to read it this time.

I'm pretty sure they meant the reference to be an example of how vaccines are bad for you, which in this case, was true. Guessing the 64 years since it happened, nor the fact that it's never happened again, doesn't mean anything to them.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine​
J R Soc Med. 2006 Mar; 99(3): 156.​
In April 1955 more than 200 000 children in five Western and mid-Western USA states received a polio vaccine in which the process of inactivating the live virus proved to be defective. Within days there were reports of paralysis and within a month the first mass vaccination programme against polio had to be abandoned. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vaccine, manufactured by the California-based family firm of Cutter Laboratories, had caused 40 000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10.

The article points out that the number of people who perished in this incident was quite a bit lower than a single outbreak in New York that killed 2400.
Yes, no pro vaxer would think that was a good outcome.


If a bad batch of insulin was circulated to pharmacies today and illness and deaths resulted, no one in their right mind would jump to the conclusion that insulin for diabetics was a bad idea.


We would expect an enquiry incident report, enquiry, compensation and a lessons learned report to be cascaded to the relevant bodies.
 

fresh_42

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A quick search returned this article which argues for a more personalized approach to vaccination.
I'm sure this wouldn't change the situation at all, apart from the fact that it is difficult to finance such an approach. It is also unnecessary, as we are talking about a very small part of the population. It would be a "solution" which tackles the wrong end of the case: Not the few persons which cannot be vaccinated cause problems, the many who could be vaccinated and refuse it are the problem, since they hamper herd immunity.

Those who refuse vaccination usually do this beyond rational reasoning. An individual drug would not change this. You simply cannot argue on that level of fundamentalism, for whatever reason caused it. Their "belief" is within the same category as "flat earth", "moon landing denial" or "creationism" is.

Hence vaccination based on individuals is not only too expensive, it is also senseless.
 
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I'm sure this wouldn't change the situation at all, apart from the fact that it is difficult to finance such an approach. It is also unnecessary, as we are talking about a very small part of the population. It would be a "solution" which tackles the wrong end of the case: Not the few persons which cannot be vaccinated cause problems, the many who could be vaccinated and refuse it are the problem, since they hamper herd immunity.

Those who refuse vaccination usually do this beyond rational reasoning. An individual drug would not change this. You simply cannot argue on that level of fundamentalism, for whatever reason caused it. Their "belief" is within the same category as "flat earth", "moon landing denial" or "creationism" is.

Hence vaccination based on individuals is not only too expensive, it is also senseless
On a rational level I completely agree with the standard approach to vaccination and I recognize that any adverse effects to vaccines have been historically limited.

I am conflicted about the personal liberty aspect of this and, while it may be true that 'most' 'anti-vaxxers' are 'fundamentalist' I think that things are more nuanced than this. First, I think 'anti-vaxxer' itself is an oversimplification and that there are well-educated folk who have good reason for questioning the standard vaccine protocols that might be labeled as this even though they are not against vaccines, but question the timing and safety of some vaccines based on the current CDC guidelines.

As I said above, I don't follow this stuff much and am not very knowledgeable about the details. However, my wife is a doctor (veterinarian) and she is. In her practice (which schedules 60 minute appointments so that is already unusual) she discusses the potential risks of vaccine protocols with clients and that is just for dogs and cats. So, my understanding is that there is some risk involved with vaccination based on genetics and other aspects of health. I think that risk associated with medical treatment should be communicated to patients and if certain factors put a person at high risk of complications I support the person's right to refuse treatment.
 
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I support the person's right to refuse treatment.
I too support a person's right to refuse treatment, but I absolutely DO NOT support their having any right to, for example, send unvaccinated kids to school (or any public gathering) where they can infect others if they do catch something.
 
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I too support a person's right to refuse treatment, but I absolutely DO NOT support their having any right to, for example, send unvaccinated kids to school (or any public gathering) where they can infect others if they do catch something.
Ok, but where do you draw the line? Flu vaccines? I hate hypotheticals, but... Suppose a child has a increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease due to a genetic defect if given a measles vaccine. The parents decide that the increased risk is not something they want to chance and decide to only vaccinate for mumps and rubella. That child should not be able to attend public school? What if it was something more deadly, but less prevalent in their location? Polio?

What happens when that child becomes an adult? Can they not work in public spaces? What about the medical privacy of the individual?
 

fresh_42

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I support the person's right to refuse treatment.
I prefer the elimination of smallpox, polio, measles. To speak of constraining personal freedom in case of a few shots is ridiculous. You haven't the freedom to become ill or not either, don't you? So if illness will severely (!) affect personal freedom, then vaccination is in comparison not measurable. And what is most important: I truly believe that personal freedom ends where it restricts the personal freedom of others. Hindering herd immunity affects the personal freedom of many and of all who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. So in the end, those people buy their personal freedom at the costs of others! Sorry, but this is a point of view I cannot share.

A quick search gave me a study with 64 / 26,333 cases of intolerance on measle vaccine (MMR was admittedly higher), where I haven't checked what really counted as intolerance. Some intolerances such as vertigo or exanthema could well be tolerated regarding the benefit.
 
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Some intolerances such as vertigo or exanthema could well be tolerated regarding the benefit.
From a macro point of view I completely agree. The micro point of view (that of the individual) is where I have a hard time. Control over what happens to one's body is a freedom that is hard for me to ask folk to give up even if there would be an increased risk to the herd. Wouldn't that risk (to the herd) also be minimal if only those with higher risk of complication were the ones not being vaccinated against X?

Seems like a fundamental philosophical disagreement that cannot be reconciled. Personally, I think something like informed consent is the best option for greater buy-in to increasing vaccination rates.

Interestingly, I see an analogy here to abortion and women's rights. How many believe the reason you quote above ("personal freedom ends where it restricts the personal freedom of others") and would defend a woman's right to choose (which certainly affects the personal freedom of the unborn child)? How many religious people who are 'against vaccine' are also against abortion? Keep government away from our bodies! Unless you're a woman, of course.
 
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Wouldn't that risk (to the herd) also be minimal if only those with higher risk of complication were the ones not being vaccinated against X?
~ correct, but the precondition is, that they should be the only ones excused: what is actually the usual recommendation and enforced practice where vaccination (against specific diseases) is law.
 
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I too support a person's right to refuse treatment, but I absolutely DO NOT support their having any right to, for example, send unvaccinated kids to school (or any public gathering) where they can infect others if they do catch something.
What do you think about the idea that some people, who are themselves rational believers in the proposition that vaccination is beneficial to the group, might think that it's fine for them to let their own kids not take the tiny risks associated with vaccination, as long as all or almost all other people's kids are vaccinated, thereby reducing or eliminating the risk to their (the some people's; not the other people's) non-vaccinated kids? Isn't that perhaps a situation that's not dissimilar to that of '98% of respondents surveyed favor public transportation -- for other people'?
 

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