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← The worst misconceptions parents of some unvaccinated children hold

The worst misconceptions parents of some unvaccinated children hold - Comments

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 1 by ZenDruid

Whether or not they abhor the term "bad parent", their wilful ignorance puts their children's health in jeopardy. That's bad.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 18:48:12 UTC | #853202

Sample's Avatar Comment 2 by Sample

"The unvaccinated aren't disease carriers..."

Until they are! The objections are just moronic. These goofballs have no concept of asymptomatic disease carriers or that one need not be deathly ill to be infectious.

I suggest they all be rounded up and sent to India with their ideas and nothing more than a vial of homeopathic rabies elixir.


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 18:51:18 UTC | #853203

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 3 by Carl Sai Baba

The worst thing I say about unvaccinated kids is that their parents are fucking idiots. I'm just one person, but I say it a lot. And yet it didn't make the list.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 19:39:29 UTC | #853226

skiles1's Avatar Comment 4 by skiles1

I've got a couple of friends who are completely against vaccinations, particularly the measles vaccine, and they tie that to the issue of GM plants (they are completely against GM testing, no matter the scenario). They are also sort of new age witch doctor types, but I couldn't say they aren't otherwise wonderful parents; it's true.

They sort of have a distrust of the medical profession, as a whole, especially where the US surgeon general is concerned (therefore they equate trusting a doctor to blind patriotism). (Just imagine how insane they would be if we had socialized medicine, like decent countries do!) I can't even talk with them about it, without offending them.

Guardian just had an article the other day about how BBC recently decided that BBC news was giving too much attention to fringe science (such as anti-GM and anti-measles vaccine dogmatism). Positions which are not accepted by the majority of the scientific community (the BBC concluded) should not have been given an equally sized forum in the news.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 20:43:36 UTC | #853251

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

" Bad parent? " If your unvaccinated child gets encephalitis then what kind of parent are you?

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 20:55:13 UTC | #853261

mellifera's Avatar Comment 6 by mellifera

I know a few parents who don't vaccinate. Some have vague reasons--a general suspicion of mainstream standards. Some have bought into the idea that it causes autism. Some say "you can PROVE vaccines are safe." As it happens, I live in a particularly crunchy part of the US, and in some areas around here, up to 20% of kids are unvaccinated. And, because I live near an Ivy League university, we have families who come here from all around the world. To me, it's a recipe for disaster and heartache.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 21:12:24 UTC | #853271

keymaker's Avatar Comment 7 by keymaker

The worst misconceptions

a bad parent...

No, I mean parents motivated by protective instincts towards their children, which is true in many of these cases, wouldn't be bad parents just because they were mistaken over the safety of the vaccine. That's right, when the government launched that campaign for acceptance of the MMR vaccine some years ago which was cheaper than administering separate jabs, there was a suspicion that the advice as to safety was tainted by economics. Given the unsavoury record of succesive governments for lies and cover-ups in health related matters, and in general, it was hardly surprising that some parents saw a dilemma and in some cases concluded that their children might be better off without the vaccine... especially given all the doubts raised in that articlet in The Lancet in 1998.


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 21:26:24 UTC | #853282

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Comment 7 by keymaker

Given the unsavoury record of succesive governments for lies and cover-ups in health related matters, and in general, it was hardly surprising that some parents saw a dilemma and in some cases concluded that their children might be better off without the vaccine... especially given all the doubts raised in that article in The Lancet in 1998.

Wakefield has been investigated and later struck off the medical register for this fraud which caused the false alarm about the vaccine.

The extracts from your linked article about the doctor who started the scare are very telling:

Exposed: Andrew Wakefield and the MMR-autism fraud

Before Deer’s inquiries, Wakefield had appeared to all the world to be an independent, if controversial, researcher.

But as journalists queued to report on parents' fears, Brian Deer was assigned to investigate the crisis, and unearthed a scandal of astounding proportions. He discovered that, far from being based on any findings, the public alarm had no scientific basis whatsoever. Rather, Wakefield had been secretly payrolled to create evidence against the shot and, while planning extraordinary business schemes meant to profit from the scare, he had concealed, misreported and changed information about the children to rig the results published in the journal.

But Deer's investigation - nominated in February 2011 for two British Press Awards - discovered that, while Wakefield held himself out to be a dispassionate scientist, two years before the Lancet paper was published - and before any of the 12 children were even referred to the hospital - he had been hired to attack MMR by a lawyer, Richard Barr: a jobbing solicitor in the small eastern English town of King's Lynn, who hoped to raise a speculative class action lawsuit against drug companies which manufactured the triple shot.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 22:36:14 UTC | #853305

keymaker's Avatar Comment 9 by keymaker

Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Wakefield has been investigated and later struck off

Yeah, I was putting an historical perspective on it of course,... but if the government expects to be believed over what it says about the reasons for it's policies, it's got as great a credibility problem today as it had in 1998 - probably greater.


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 22:44:05 UTC | #853306

Outrider's Avatar Comment 10 by Outrider

Well, with two autistic children, we were concerned whilst the debate about Wakefield's study was ongoing. I've reviewed the parts of the science that I feel I can understand and I'm satisfied that the study didn't have sufficient grounds for the claims it made - I'm still mulling over whether he was as deliberately fraudulent as is being made out, I'm not sure that's not just an attempt to further discredit the study.

However, I'm struggling to convince my wife to resume vaccinations as she's now latched on to the idea that mercury in vaccinations is a risk? Our daughter had blood- and hair-tests done for heavy metals and came back with elevated levels of mercury, and my wife has put the two together. Does anyone know somewhere I can find out more about this possible - or, at least, alleged - link?


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:00:26 UTC | #853309

Veronique's Avatar Comment 11 by Veronique

Comment 9 by keymaker

Here you go again, km, baby. I am starting to think you must be young. The Wakefield affair is notorious, you need to apprise yourself of the history of the MMR and the despicable Wakefield and the anti-vaxers world wide.

The distress these people have caused is legion.


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:00:57 UTC | #853310

keymaker's Avatar Comment 12 by keymaker

Comment 11 by Veronique

I am starting to think you must be young.

Young? By referring to an old article? Yeah, that makes sense, but... well, If you say so.

I posted Wakefied because we were making the decision over our own kids at the time of The Lancet article. The point I was discussing however is not whether a particular vaccine is safe but whether parents are inevitably 'bad' if they reject the government's advice. If you study the thread carefully I think you'll find that the answer to that is 'no'.


Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:17:54 UTC | #853314

danconquer's Avatar Comment 13 by danconquer

I don't see the problem with calling bad parenting what it is: Bad parenting. Lots of adults aren't fit to look after a dog, let alone a child. The fact that the parent in question might well be able to honestly claim to be well-intentioned does not magically make the parenting itself less bad. All it does is mitigate their moral (and possibly legal) culpability. A parent who mutilates the genitals of their child, even if they really do think it's in the best interests of the offspring, is still indulging in bad parenting aren't they?

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:59:32 UTC | #853321

keymaker's Avatar Comment 14 by keymaker

Comment 13 by danconquer

I don't see the problem with calling bad parenting what it is: Bad parenting.

Self-evidently but the example I gave involved authoritative medical opinion published in a respected journal. Parents who acted on that were not bad parents for what we now know with hindsight was erroneous advice. Equally, some vaccines can be dangerous for some children so in the blame game each case of refusal has to be considered on its merits.


Sun, 24 Jul 2011 00:26:41 UTC | #853325

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 15 by Sean_W

It's alright, other parents/nature/god can take the risk for you. Isn't that what being a parent is all about? Someone has to show these kids what it takes to make it in the world --passing the buck.

Bad reasoning? I figure what goes on inside at least some of their heads is simple this:

There is a risk that my child will get horribly sick. I reckon that risk is relatively low. There is also a chance that a vaccine could hurt my child. Also, and this is thrown in for the gritty side of humanity, there is a chance that my child will develop an illness that could be blamed on vaccines despite not having actually been caused by vaccines. But that distinction won't matter to me because I ordered the vaccine.

Therefore, because I reckon that my child has little chance of getting sick without a vaccine, and a chance of developing an illness with or without the vaccine but in the case of having received the vaccine my blame will be wholly inescapable, I choose to do nothing and hope for the best.

The shitty part is that with that scenario it all comes down to avoiding blame, and in my opinion that is not just bad, it's pathetic.

There's probably a term for that kind of reasoning, even if it never gets all the way through. Maybe throwing up ones hands, sitting on ones hands, terrified --shoot, now I have to be sympathetic.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 00:44:39 UTC | #853328

keymaker's Avatar Comment 16 by keymaker

Comment 15 by manilla_wise

Bad reasoning?

Yep, very good points... the only legitimate justifications for refusal I can see are acting on medical advice or knowledge of a greater harm in accepting the vaccine. Parents who just do as some government scheme requires irrespective of those dangers are the most callous and irresponsible parents imaginable.


Sun, 24 Jul 2011 01:03:40 UTC | #853330

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 17 by Nunbeliever

I think anti-vacciners are bad parents. I mean, you can be a bad parent despite having good intentions. In my opinion a parent who exposes his/her child to dangers that could easily be prevented is a bad parent. In the same way as you can be a bad scientists even if you have the best of intentions... Claiming they are ignorant is not really an excuse from my perspective. If you are truelly ignorant you should do as you are told by scientists. The interesting thing is that these people actually think they know better than our most renowned scientists. In most cases there seems to be either some new age philosophy or some general form of distrust in authorities behind parents decision to not vaccinate their children.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 01:37:45 UTC | #853333

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 18 by Scruddy Bleensaver

We humans are generally poor at risk-assessment. The only parents I know who definitely didn't vaccinate their daughter are nevertheless so overprotective that they won't let her ride her tricycle without helmet, knee- and elbow pads and never let her out of their sight for fear of predators.

I foresee years of therapy for the poor girl.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 01:49:13 UTC | #853337

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 19 by Nunbeliever

To Scruddy Bleensaver:

We humans are generally poor at risk-assessment.

And to some degree I think that's a good thing. Otherwise I would probably not have the courage to get up at all in the morning ;-)

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 02:37:40 UTC | #853344

thatgingerscouser's Avatar Comment 20 by thatgingerscouser

I would deem it not too draconian to say that unvaccinated children may not go to school, pre-school, kindergarten or nursery. They are undoubtedly putting other children in social situations at risk of death, and therefore should be encouraged not to leave the house too often...

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 03:20:28 UTC | #853356

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 21 by glenister_m

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." In this case, the good intentions of parents mislead by Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Wakefield, fear-mongering media, etc.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 03:30:39 UTC | #853358

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 22 by Sean_W

Comment 20 by thatgingerscouser

That is the case where I'm at, well at least as I understand it. If your kids are in school, even pre-school, they have to be vaccinated.

But there must be many loop holes. What do you think the chances are that anyone in the middle is not vaccinating their children? I bet most people that don't are around the fringes. But even that can't be entirely accurate with as much work as we've done to bring vaccines to the very poor. Still, in that same demographic--although you might be surprised at the number of people with money with the same problems--there are many children that go unvaccinated not because of a lack of access to them, but because their parents are fucking dead beats, serious dead beats. That last bit there is one reason I'd hesitate to label all these people as bad parents, because I don't want to lump them together with those nasty folks.

Anyway, wouldn't the easiest way to avoid having to vaccinate your children come by way of money? Poor folks gotta work, both parents. Someone has to watch the kids. If they have to go to an average school, they have to be vaccinated or you have to lie. Or you can have enough money to stay at home with kids and read about the dangers of vaccines all day.

If I'm out of line here I apologize, I realize anyone can contribute to the problem and it may just be my bitterness-who knows-but my suspicion is that the anti-vaccine movement is a money movement. Maybe on multiple levels.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:19:56 UTC | #853369

butterbelly's Avatar Comment 23 by butterbelly


Science based has a vaccine category with 190 articles, some address thimerosal/mercury specifically.

I'm wondering about the lab you had the hair and blood sent off to for heavy metal analysis and what sort of tests were run. There are some crackpot labs out there with bogus tests. And, there are legitimate labs for the most part, offering goofy analyses as well. Of course, you may also be under the care of a proper doctor using a proper lab. Just curious.



PS. This is Sample (I inadvertently used my wife's laptop and her RDF moniker ).

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:31:03 UTC | #853374

JuJu's Avatar Comment 24 by JuJu

Outrider @ #10

Please read about chelation therapy here at the Quackwatch website. It sounds similar to the type of test that are being done on your daughter. Please read that article and take your daughter to a proper physician instead of donating to the Quacks that ignore science. There is more mercury in a 6oz can of tuna then there is in a single vaccine dose.

I also agree with butterbelly/Sample @ 23 Science Based Medicine- vaccines is really good, also another blog called Respectful Insolence by the infamous Orac is really awesome

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 07:17:01 UTC | #853402

keymaker's Avatar Comment 25 by keymaker

Comment 17 by Nunbeliever

you can be a bad parent despite having good intentions.

True. For most patients however vaccine programmes are perfectly safe.

In my opinion a parent who exposes his/her child to dangers that could easily be prevented is a bad parent.

That's right... my advice to parents would be... go along with official vaccination recommendations unless you have some reason to think it would be dangerous for your child for example because of a food allergy. If you think your child may have a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine it's important to seek advice. Some treatments could harm your child and in some instances there is insufficient clinical evidence to recommend the vaccine.


Sun, 24 Jul 2011 07:35:04 UTC | #853404

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

Comment 14 by keymaker

Self-evidently but the example I gave involved authoritative medical opinion published in a respected journal. Parents who acted on that were not bad parents for what we now know with hindsight was erroneous advice. Equally, some vaccines can be dangerous for some children so in the blame game each case of refusal has to be considered on its merits.

While this maverick medical opinion was published in a respectable journal which should have checked it better, contrived fraud can be difficult to detect. However the great majority of authoritative expert opinion supported the use of the MMR vaccine at the time.

The problem was that the media chose to promote the controversy to present a false "balance", (or just to sell stories), while the conspiracy theorists got it backside first as usual. In the world of cheque book journalism pulicity seeking, incompetent or fraudulent mavericks, can make money from press articles, TV interviews, lecture tours publishing books etc. (eg Creationist museum+ID nuts)

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 07:53:43 UTC | #853408

Didaktylos's Avatar Comment 27 by Didaktylos

There will always be some indviduals who don't receive a vaccine and there will always be some individuals who receive the vaccine but don't properly develop the expected immunity. Therefore, there is always the risk of individual cases of any infectious disease. The problem with most infectious diseases is that the bulk of the spreading will be done by people who have not been detected as having the disease. Isolating known cases is a start at containing an outbreak - but the problem is identifying cases before they can spread the disease too far.

The problem with unvaccinated people is that they are, as it were, dry tinder. When struck by lightning, so so speak, they will ignite. In an otherwise wet forest, this is no great problem - no individual brand will burn for very long so a fire that does not spread soon burns itself out. But if a significant portion of the forest is also tinder-dry - that's when you get a wild fire.

Just in case the metaphor isn't clear - when the take-up rate for a vaccine is maintained at a sufficient level, the greater the likelihood that any outbreak can be contained before it becomes a major epidemic.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 11:05:07 UTC | #853440

Geoff 21's Avatar Comment 28 by Geoff 21

This came up in a similar past topic where Alan4's comment 26 is equally relevant.

I'm a little impatient here about the phrase 'bad parents' being used without qualification or measure, especially in cases of possible moral opprobrium. Alternatives exist ; 'inefficient parents', 'unintelligent parents', 'uneducated', 'gullible', 'misinformed', even 'uncaring'...and yet 'bad parents' is the default. Reason and Science? Having said which...

It is always a pleasure to generalise, but never correct - Discuss.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 13:08:13 UTC | #853467

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 29 by Peter Grant

Stupid parents.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 17:21:21 UTC | #853544

keymaker's Avatar Comment 30 by keymaker

Comment 28 by Geoff 21

I'm a little impatient here about the phrase 'bad parents'... Alternatives exist ; 'inefficient parents', 'unintelligent parents', 'uneducated', 'gullible', 'misinformed', even 'uncaring'...

I agree... 'misinformed' is particularly pertinent when parents lose a child following vaccination advice that proved fatal although unqualified acceptance thereof could invoke some of the other terms such as 'gullible' or 'uneducated', or, here's another one: 'naive'.


Sun, 24 Jul 2011 17:39:05 UTC | #853547