Home > Get Involved, Parent Perspective > Friends Don’t Let Friends…(fill in the blank here)

Friends Don’t Let Friends…(fill in the blank here)

By Christine Vara

Perhaps I’m dating myself, but I seem to recall an ad against drunk driving that simply stated Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk”.  I believe the message was effective.   It was certainly to the point.  Interestingly, it called upon the responsibility we all have to protect not just ourselves, but one another.

I wonder how this same slogan would play out in the immunization world.  “Friends Don’t Let Friends Fall Victim to Vaccine Preventable Disease” or “Friends Don’t Let Friends Forego Immunizations”. 

Yeah, I know…not so catchy and it certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue.  But you have to admit the sentiment is admirable. 

Sadly, I thought of this slogan when I recently discovered that a friend of mine is a supporter of Age of Autism – which for those of you who don’t know – is an extremely anti-vaccine organization, despite the emphasis on “Autism” in their title.  In fact, their motto is more like “Friends Don’t Let Friends Vaccinate”.  Immediately upon seeing that she “friended” Age of Autism on her Facebook page, I felt sick to my stomach. 

Despite the fact that we were only recently reacquainted after a simple, yet surprising, friend request on Facebook, I really thought I knew her better.  Not only were we roommates during our post-college days, we worked at the same ad agency, played together on the company softball team, and shared a beach house for a few summers.  Most importantly, as young women living in New York City, we always made sure to look out for each other. 

Even now, after 15 years, I still feel a sense of responsibility to share my perspective on vaccines and protect her from any Age of Autism brainwashing.  So why is it, after contributing to this blog for the past 8 months, that I suddenly don’t know what to say?

If you have read any of my posts here on Shot of Prevention, you know I am obviously a vaccine advocate.  I feel strongly that immunizations can prevent unnecessary suffering and even death from numerous diseases.  However, outside of this forum, I admittedly don’t carry myself around like a walking billboard.  Yes, I often discuss vaccine related issues with friends, family and even acquaintances on occasion, but only when it is relevant and appropriate.  Likewise, I don’t go around shouting about my religion or openly sharing my political views.  It’s not that I won’t share them.  I have reasons for my opinions and I certainly can defend them.  However, I feel it is a courtesy to only discuss these subjects when appropriate, in order to be sensitive to others who may have different perspectives and to avoid unnecessary confrontation. 

So now I am faced with a different kind of responsibility – to both protect a friend and to promote good public health?  What do I do? 

Unfortunately, all you have to do is read an article about vaccination for one to realize how polarized the opinions can be.  As seen on numerous occasions, it is not uncommon for a blog post on immunization – in any forum – to receive hundreds of comments both in favor, and in opposition to, vaccines.  The fact is, people are eager to express their strong opinions on the subject and some people just seem to have more time than others. 

But this is much more personal.  This is one friend reaching out to another on a very important, yet sensitive issue.

Now I certainly don’t want to alienate my friend.  And I realize that she may believe that I am the crazy one.  Yet, I owe it to the many people who work so hard to promote public health.  I will not only do this because I still feel a sense of responsibility to help protect her and her two children (one whom I believe is autistic), but I will also do this to honor the mothers and fathers of those who have lost their own children to vaccine preventable diseases.  Time and time again they recount their own horror stories in hopes that it will spare even one other family from the pain they have had to endure.  If they can find a way to help complete strangers despite their sorrow, than I certainly can find a way to demonstrate a bit of courage and approach the subject with my friend. 

Now the question is, what shall I say?  How can I be sure that I will be effective?

I can’t just assume that as a “friend” of Age of Autism that she is also anti-vaccine can I?  Perhaps I can simply begin by addressing the autism angle, and refer her to a reputable organization such as the Autism Science Foundation

As you can see, I certainly am struggling with this. 

Have you ever been surprised to discover that your friends or family members were opposed to vaccination?   If so, perhaps you can share your experiences here and help me determine how I can best approach the topic with my friend.     

I look forward to hearing your suggestions.  After all, friends don’t leave friends hanging.

  1. Deana
    November 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    It is quite simple, if you love your kids,then you vaccinate! If not, then you do not need to have kids…..period.

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  2. Jamison
    November 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Toxin myth: Toxins can be anything. It depends on their concentration. Pure oxygen can cause you to stop breathing. Pure water is toxic if infused directly into the tissue. There is more mercury absorbed from a can of tunafish and thirty times more formaldehyde in a banana.

    Allergy myth: Antigens stimulate immune function but can also trigger allergies. In response to antigens, the human body produces around 1 million antibodies in a lifetime in response to new antigen expose. That breaks down from to exposure to about 150 new antigens from the environment every single day. The entire vaccination schedule combined contains around a 150 different antigens total. You take far more allergy risks by going outside then getting a shot.

    Injection myth: Straight into the blood? Never. Vaccines are usually injected into muscle tissues for slow absorption and localised immune response.

    Big Pharma: Big Placebo. Vaccines average a staggering 1-2 billion dollars in annual profit. However, vaccines only make up less than 1% of the pharmaceutical industries profit margins. In contrast, Big Placebo’s supplement industry average around 40 billion dollar annually. Who has the bigger agenda?

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  3. Jennifer
    November 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I could have written this post! Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to this problem. I am pro-vaccination myself. It breaks my heart to know that friends of mine don’t vaccinate their children out of principle. But since I am such a non-confrontational person (extremely so!), I have never said anything, except that I vaccinate my kids out of principle. Ironically, our second son having (viral! non-vaccine-preventable!) meningitis at 3 months made one befriended family change their minds and at least (!) vaccinate their babies against meningitis. Unfortunately, that only served to prove to me how useless it is to argue with such people, since all you need to do is google meningitis, pertussis, etc. pp. to find 100’s of examples of what these diseases can do to children. Why does it have to be a child you know personally to make you change your mind, if you are so “convinced” that vaccination is bad?

    I’m sorry to say I have no answer, but will be following this post to see if anyone does!

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  4. November 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    We actually used the phrase “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Without Vaccines” in our teen program developed a few years ago..

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  5. crystal
    November 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    A recently have found out that a friend of mine who i also just came across on facebookafter severl years has chosen not to vaccinate her child i didn’t say anything othor than i do believe in vaccinating i wont make a scene of it because altho i don’t agree with her decision it is her child and i feel it is not my place to tell her how she should care for him altho it would break my heartif something were to happen to him do to not being vaccinated

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  6. Nathan
    November 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Amy, I’ve been in a similar situation more than once. If your friend is really committed to the idea that vaccinations are not a good idea, then probably the best you can do is make sure she knows that you are educated about vaccines and would love to talk about it if she was interested, and leave it at that. Then you can address any specific concerns she wishes to bring up. Trying to impress upon her the Great Importance of Vaccines without invitation probably won’t go far.

    I can’t imagine that she doesn’t already know that you are a vaccine advocate, but it couldn’t hurt to let her know that you are available to discuss her questions about vaccines, or AoA for that matter.

    I am curious though, based on the blog post it seems like the only evidence you have is that she follows AoA on FB. Do you have other reasons to believe that she doesn’t believe in vaccinations?

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  7. laura
    November 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I hate this because I value friendships, and don’t want to alienate people. But when it comes down to it, I don’t want unvaccinated kids/teens/adults around my youngest daughter (due on Feb). And I’d rather them not even be around my fully-vaccinated older daughter. So if I had to choose between potentially losing a friend and potentially losing a child, I’d lose the friend in a heartbeat. But it’s hard to say that to someone you care about.

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  8. Nathan
    November 10, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Christine, I apologize for addressing my post to Amy instead of you. I had gotten my wires crossed between you and Ms. Pisani. Friends don’t address each other by other friends’ names!

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  9. christinevara
    November 10, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Nathan, friend, no apology necessary. I appreciate your insight.

    I do not necessarily know for certain her position on vaccination, only her interest in AoA. That does provide a glimmer of hope.

    I’m also interested in hearing from advocates, like yourself, who have experience dealing with these kinds of situations. I think we can all learn from one another and the support I have witnessed on Shot of Prevention has been inspirational. Thanks again for sharing.

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  10. Denise Reibel
    November 10, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I would ask them if they have ever interviewed an older parent who lived through the anguishing times of polio, whooping cough, and other devastating epidemics.

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  11. November 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Christine, I feel for you. As you well know I have friends and even close family members who continue to question the value of flu, meningitis and hpv vaccines. Sometimes I wonder, do they think I am some completely brainwashed vaccine advocate who doesn’t bother to pay mind to the questions about safety? Why is it that being acquainted with families who have lost their children to preventable diseases makes me overly dramatic? If I lost a child to a drunk driver people would not go around saying that I was being overly dramatic if I joined a campaign to stop drunk driving. Being ensconced in the vaccine advocacy world affords me the opportunity to be aware of the dangers of disease and even more appreciative of the value of each and every human life.
    Where I struggle when trying to talk to these people in my life is in staying calm and providing just the right statement without going overboard and offending them, thereby shutting them down. If I were you I would definitely suggest that she check out a more reputable site like ASF’s and also suggest that she take a look at the credibility factor of the site she has friended. If they are selling products on the site to “cure autism” to the benefit of the supporters of the site then in my mind it is simply tainted. Finally, it seems that she would benefit greatly from having friends to talk to during what is a very difficult struggle in her life. Perhaps she would benefit from having the support of autism advocates who are focused on finding scientific answers and also supporting one another emotionally and so forth. Hateful organizations that focus on false cures and finger-pointing will not serve her long-term needs as a parent of an autistic child.

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  12. November 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    As a private citizen involved in polio eradication and vaccine advocacy, I frequently suggest the following websites and books:
    Every Child by Two website
    Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (2011)
    Do Vaccines Cause That?! (2008); Vaccines & Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction (2011) and Autism’s False Prophets (2008)
    Good Luck in your important advocacy – Jan Nichols

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  13. Joanie
    November 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    This is a tough one. It’s happened to me – as you described, not with close friends, but with an acquaintance, a long-lost childhood friend, and a new family we met in the park – our children are the same age.

    I had a slightly different experience with each of them. For the first 2, I am connected to them on Facebook, and I frequently post links from this site and elsewhere about vaccines, clearly showing my vaccine advocacy and passion about the issue. So they know where I stand. The acquaintance I mentioned commented on a link I posted and basically blamed vaccine advocates for alienating anti-vaxers. I calmly responded with rational information and never heard from her again. Her partner has repeatedly suggested we get our kids together, and I always beg off, because I do not want my toddlers to be around their slightly older unvaccinated child.

    With the long-lost childhood friend, she also commented on one of my many vaccine FB links, and let me know she doesn’t, or doesn’t fully, vaccinate her children. But she did it calmly and respectfully, and we continue to have a dialogue about the issues. I do hope one day I change her mind, but I realize that’s not very likely. But in the meantime, she knows I am pro-vaccine, I don’t hate her, and I’m here if she has questions or wants to talk.

    The final party is more difficult – we met a couple in the park with their little girl, and we liked them, and our kids are the same age…. and in the course of conversation it came out they selectively vaccinate – they worry about too many vaccines at once, they think they don’t need the polio vaccine, stuff like that. Upon just meeting them I didn’t think it was my place to lecture them. And I figured that would alienate them. So instead I said, “oh, really? We vaccinate our kids. Why don’t you vaccinate yours? What are your concerns about it?” We ended up having a conversation that really was more about their pediatrician not being responsive to their worries and not explaining well WHY vaccines are important (instead, he threatened to kick them out of his practice). I referred them to our pediatrician, who doesn’t kick out families who won’t vaccinate, but he does tell them what each vaccine is for, why it’s important, what the diseases they protect against are like… and he told us in doing that he does usually change minds.

    The bottom line is that no one wants to be told what to do by someone who thinks they know better. So the way to change a mind is to validate someone’s worries, be respectful, and be honest about what you think. Knowledge, rationality, and calm can go a long way. No, they won’t change the mind of Jenny McCarthy. But they can change the mind of a worried, misinformed parent trying to navigate a sea of contradictory media and medical information.

    Good luck, and please let us know what happens!

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  14. Caitlin Boyle
    November 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I think I would explain to them that you have noticed that not vaccinating your kids has somehow morphed into the hallmark of a good mom, one who protects her children like a bear. I think woman are these days are struggling with how to be perfect moms (it all seemed easier just a couple decades ago) and they have latched onto this anti-vaccination thing like a religion. But it defies common sense. Perhaps couch it like: I can see how easy it is to get swept up in the fervor, but really do these arguments make sense? Thousands of children used to die EVERY year from polio and they don’t now. Enough said.

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  15. Sara
    November 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Oh really…
    Who do you think you are judging others this way Deana? And, last time I checked, citizens of the Untied States have the freedom to procreate as they wish. Parents who choose not to vaccinate love their children just as much as you do. And I’d be willing to bet that they’ve done more research into their decision than you have.

    Hey Christine – here’s a tip – mind your own business!
    Why do you reserve discretion for only religion or politics? You care more about “public health” than “public policy”? You feel more of a responsibility to help protect a families’ mortal “health” rather than their immortal “souls”? I hope she reads you the riot act.

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  16. Chris
    November 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    How would you react if you or your child infected an infant with pertussis or a baby with measles?

    Two examples (and there are many many more):

    Outbreak of Measles — San Diego, California, January–February 2008″:

    These 11 cases included both of the index patient’s siblings (rash onset: February 3), five children in his school (rash onset: January 31–February 17), and four additional children (rash onset: February 6–10) who had been in the pediatrician’s office on January 25 at the same time as the index patient. Among these latter four patients, three were infants aged <12 months. One of the three infants was hospitalized for 2 days for dehydration; another infant traveled by airplane to Hawaii on February 9 while infectious.

    and… Plaintalk (a 56 page pdf), from page 47:

    My baby was infected by the mother of three middle school aged boys, before he was old enough to get the vaccine.

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  17. Sara
    November 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    What kind of question is that? How would you feel if YOU or YOUR child infected an infant with pertussis or measles? Sorry to burst your bubble, but neither vaccine series provides immunity to 100% of those who receive it – not even close. Not to mention that artificial immunity is never permanent. It wanes at different times in different people. How often does your family have their titers run?

    And, I can trump any case of so-called “vaccine preventable” illness you come up with. Here’s a few of my own (and there are many many more):

    http://sanevax.org/victims/gardasil-silgard-usa.shtml

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  18. Chris
    November 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Sara:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but neither vaccine series provides immunity to 100% of those who receive it – not even close.

    Also, getting pertussis the disease does not confer permanent immunity. It is much like a strep infection, getting the actual disease does not make you immune. Which is why boosters are required, and herd immunity needs to be kept up.

    I would personally feel horrible if my child infected another. I felt terrible that my son’s chicken pox was discovered the day after he spent Halloween trick or treating at a crowded mall. This was before the vaccine was available.

    Hopefully I have tried to protect my children (ages 16 to 22) by making sure they have had the Tdap boosters, and except for the son in college (I remind him often): their annual flu vaccine. I also got my younger children their second MMR earlier than required because of a measles outbreak in a nearby private school.

    Now please, answer the question (without diverting to other diseases, please): How would you feel if you infected a baby with pertussis? It is much like a bad cold. Or if you brought a sick child to the doctor only to find out it was measles and several babies who were too young to be vaccinated were infected?

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  19. Sara
    November 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Also, getting pertussis the disease does not confer permanent immunity.

    I never said it did. But, on average, it DOES last considerably longer than artificial immunity.
    http://journals.lww.com/pidj/Fulltext/2005/05001/Duration_of_Immunity_Against_Pertussis_After.11.aspx

    Which is why boosters are required, and herd immunity needs to be kept up.

    Again, since it wanes at different times in different people, it would be impossible to accomplish so-called “herd immunity”. Plus, the current vaccine does not protect against the parapertussis infection, which is often mistaken for pertussis.

    Since I do not find vaccines to be efficacious, I don’t know how to answer your silly, hypothetical question. Additionally, exposure to ANY infectious disease does not mean that the disease will be contracted. I suppose I’d feel the same way as I would if a member of my family passed along any other variety of virus.

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  20. Joanie
    November 18, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    First, I do not agree with the post that said if you love your children, then you vaccinate. I don’t blame Sara for taking offense and lashing out in defensive anger. I personally believe that comments like that only serve to alienate others, not to accomplish vaccine advocacy.

    I also don’t think it’s true. I think parents, pro- or anti-vaccine, love their children and intend to provide what’s best for them. I don’t think refusing to vaccinate comes out of a lack of love for one’s children, or even a lack of concern for other people’s children (though I certainly do agree that when people live in a society together, they have responsibilities to each other. I find this evident in public health issues like vaccines against dangerous diseases, and in other areas as well – a safety net to help the poorest amongst us, for example). I think refusing to vaccinate comes out of love for one’s children coupled with misinformed fear of vaccines, misinformation about their safety, their efficacy, and ignorance about the diseases they help prevent and even eradicate. I think anti-vaccine parents are misguided, but intending to do right by their children, and are not convinced by arguments about herd immunity because they do not believe in it and they erroneously think that side effects of vaccines are more common and more dangerous than the diseases themselves.

    So for most of us on here, Sara’s comments are a test of what Christine originally posted about – what to say when confronted with someone against vaccines? Let’s not accuse them of not loving their children, let’s not call them stupid or selfish. Let’s realize they are misinformed and misguided, and try to educate as best we can on the facts, and tell them honestly how we feel…. Sara, I feel your decision puts us all at risk, and it scares me, so it makes me feel angry at you, too. But I understand your decision, though I don’t agree with it. You say “I do not find vaccines to be efficacious….” and that seems to be the premise of it all – can you say why you don’t find them to be efficacious? Medical science does. A long history of the decline of vaccine-preventable diseases does. But you do not – based on what? Maybe if we knew why, we could offer some information.

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  21. Chris
    November 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Sara:

    I don’t know how to answer your silly, hypothetical question.

    I gave examples of both scenarios, so it was not hypothetical (there are more stories here and here. And you did answer.

    Unfortunately, you are using the Nirvana Fallacy. It seems because vaccines are not perfect, then they do not work. You are not really looking at the risks realistically. It is very much like saying that since seat belts don’t prevent injuries all the time, they are not worth putting on. Since I did once spend a weekend in the hospital from a seatbelt injury, I could think that — except it did save me from smashing my head into the dashboard. Therefore, I am I took the risk of seltbelt injury (old car, only a lap belt, so I broke some ribs), over the greater risk of a skull fracture.

    My oldest son had a seizure disorder (now resolved), which started before he had any vaccine (yes, I read the anecdotes that you posted as “evidence” knowing a bit about seizures, and how a cause is often not found). Because of this he only got the TD vaccine, just about the time our county was having a pertussis outbreak. So I did ask about the vaccine status of every child he came into contact with. I only met one parent who did not vaccinate, so I never communicated with her again.

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  22. Gene
    November 18, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    This blog appears to be a bunch of paid pro-vax staffers masquerading as concerned parents who are ‘duking it out’ with a real concerned parent(s). Who funds this site?

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  23. Chris
    November 19, 2010 at 12:17 am

    It is explained here:
    https://shotofprevention.com/about/

    Also see http://www.ecbt.org/.

    I am a parent, and not affiliated with either of those organizations. My oldest son had seizures not long after he was born, so he was not vaccinated for pertussis. He needed to be protected from pertussis by herd immunity, but our county was going through an outbreak of pertussis at that time. So I was concerned, and actually asked about the vaccine status of children he was around.

    This was around the time of the measles epidemic a bit over twenty years ago that killed over 120 Americans. This epidemic prompted the creation of ECBT.

    Since he is disabled I became involved in groups specific through his disability. While on the listserv I saw the beginnings of the “vaccines cause autism” movement, and realized that it was baseless.

    I do not appreciate the Pharma Shill Gambit, because it does not add to the discussion, it is old and boring. It would be nice if you would bring up some actual evidence instead of baseless accusations.

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  24. Joanie
    November 19, 2010 at 12:18 am

    You’re kidding, right? I can’t imagine a website needs funding… don’t lots of people just maintain their own blogs these days anyway? Who would pay staffers? To do what? Are you paid by an anti-vaccine group to post what you did?

    It makes sense most comments on this site are pro-vaccine, since it’s a pro-vaccine site. I’d imagine on anti-vaccine sites most of the comments are anti-vaccine. Would you agree, Gene?

    As for whether we’re parents, I don’t know any of the other posters, since this is the anonymous blogosphere, but the only 2 anti-vax people who posted on this entry don’t mention having kids. Since you brought it up (though you didn’t ask), I’m a concerned mom of 17-month-old twins, and I’m pro-vaccine. So I’m a parent.

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  25. Sara
    November 19, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I gave examples of both scenarios, so it was not hypothetical.

    It’s hypothetical when you are asking me to imagine playing a role in one of your scenarios.

    It seems because vaccines are not perfect, then they do not work.

    Chris, it’s not about finding them imperfect. It’s about finding them ineffective and unsafe. And vaccine enthusiasts LOVE the seatbelt analogy – but it is totally ridiculous. (Why are you starting to sound less and less like just a fellow “concerned mom”?) Comparing vaccines to drunk driving is also a ridiculous analogy, but I find that one to be much more on point.

    (yes, I read the anecdotes that you posted as “evidence” knowing a bit about seizures, and how a cause is often not found)

    Why do you insist on putting words in my mouth? I never said it was evidence. Your anecdotes weren’t evidence either.

    So I did ask about the vaccine status of every child he came into contact with. I only met one parent who did not vaccinate, so I never communicated with her again.

    And you assume that everyone would disclose this information to you? I certainly wouldn’t. Why? Because my family’s health choices are none of your business.

    Let’s realize they are misinformed and misguided, and try to educate as best we can on the facts, and tell them honestly how we feel…. Sara, I feel your decision puts us all at risk, and it scares me, so it makes me feel angry at you, too. But I understand your decision, though I don’t agree with it. You say “I do not find vaccines to be efficacious….” and that seems to be the premise of it all – can you say why you don’t find them to be efficacious? Medical science does. A long history of the decline of vaccine-preventable diseases does. But you do not – based on what? Maybe if we knew why, we could offer some information.

    Aw… thanks Joanie. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. Likewise, I understand your decision – and I definitely don’t don’t agree with it. But you don’t see me pushing my ideals on you – or accusing you of putting my children in danger with their shedding after receiving vaccines. I don’t feel angry at YOU. I just don’t care what you think, is all.

    The theory that the immunogenic response to an artificial antigen provides immunity is unproven. Plus, I find a lot wrong with bypassing the mucosal immune system, which is normally responsible for 80% of the entire immune response.

    I also find the safety testing that has been done on vaccines to be sorely lacking. They concentrate too heavily on acute reactions, do not follow the study participants long enough, do not track the incidence of chronic diseases, and do not test the combined effect of multiple vaccines – as they are routinely administered.

    Mankind survived a long time before vaccines came into the picture. More focus needs to be placed on strengthening one’s natural immune system. It is by far, the very best defense against disease. We also really need to go back to our roots and rediscover the medical art of homeopathy that this country was founded on before it was swallowed by the less effective allopathic medical agenda.

    I find it hard to understand the need for “vaccine advocates”. The CDC reports vaccine uptake rates are at an all time high. Hardly seems like the kind of cause someone would decide to devote their life to. I can think of a lot of things more dire than this.

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  26. Chris
    November 19, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Sara:

    The CDC reports vaccine uptake rates are at an all time high.

    Except those who refuse vaccines tend to congregate into certain communities like private schools or other enclaves. That is where the diseases will propagate.

    Trust me, if you took the attitude of not disclosing information important to my child’s health… you would never see me again. The mother told me quite proudly that she did not need to vaccinate her children. It seemed to be a kind of sociopathic batch of honor.

    Obviously you have concerns. Though it seems you have issues with risk assessment. Sure my seatbelt analogy has been done, but unlike others I have had real experience with it.

    I think you would be better off in this discussion by actually presenting the evidence you have that the vaccines present more of a danger than the diseases. Presently pertussis, measles and mumps are returning and infecting kids in America. You could do us a favor and present your real scientific evidence that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, or that the MMR is more dangerous than measles or mumps.

    Remember that the group that sponsors this blog, ECBT, was started due to the deaths of over 120 Americans from measles a bit over twenty years ago. I am sure you have some real good data about that.

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  27. Nathan
    November 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

    I am also a parent, not affiliated with the organizations that maintain this blog, and and I frequent it because I am concerned about children suffering and dying from preventable disease because of misinformation about vaccination.

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  28. Sara
    November 19, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Except those who refuse vaccines tend to congregate into certain communities like private schools or other enclaves. That is where the diseases will propagate.

    Well, those communities are few and far between. Where I live in Wilmington North Carolina, there are very few people who do not vaccinate. I’d say the majority of educated, upper-class people my husband and I socialize with have concerns about the vaccine schedule and lack of thorough, convincing safety data and choose alternate and selective schedules. Our social group includes several physicians. I have never met a staunch vaccine advocate like yourself. I actually find it very strange. You concentrate solely on the risk of disease and the “greater good” without even the slightest concern over vaccine safety. That’s seems a little off to me.

    Trust me, if you took the attitude of not disclosing information important to my child’s health… you would never see me again. The mother told me quite proudly that she did not need to vaccinate her children. It seemed to be a kind of sociopathic batch of honor.

    Those are very harsh words. You are starting to come across as a perseverating bigot.

    I think you would be better off in this discussion by actually presenting the evidence you have that the vaccines present more of a danger than the diseases.

    It is the LACK of sufficient evidence that I take the most issue with. The “proof” of “real” scientific evidence is not my burden.

    Sure, there are studies that raise the question of vaccines causing substantial harm, but why would I even bother posting them? I know how this works. Evidence and data must be cherry picked and approved by you before it is even considered. You make a systematic attempt to unfairly discredit any research that refutes your pro-vaccine agenda.

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  29. Joanie
    November 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Sara wrote:

    “Aw… thanks Joanie. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. Likewise, I understand your decision – and I definitely don’t don’t agree with it. But you don’t see me pushing my ideals on you – or accusing you of putting my children in danger with their shedding after receiving vaccines. I don’t feel angry at YOU. I just don’t care what you think, is all. ”

    Sara, I was not trying to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. I was responding rationally, calmly, and treating you with respect and dignity while relaying my honest worries and concerns. How am I pushing my ideals on you? This site is intended for vaccine advocating-parents to share ideas and support one another, to provide information…. you chose to visit this site and to engage with people you know don’t agree with you. When we defend our opinions, you then accuse us of pushing our beliefs on you? You are permitted in our society to refuse vaccines, in many states with no documented medical or religious reason, but simply because you don’t want to vaccinate. I hardly think pro-vaccine parents can be said to be pushing anything on you. Rather, it is the opposite – you have the right to refuse vaccination, but I do not have the right to make you vaccinate, do I? No, instead I live in a free society, one in which we weigh relative risk, freedom of individuals, and the public good, and we end up in different policy places depending on the issue – on vaccines, the result is that we prioritize rights of individuals to refuse vaccines rather than prioritize the public health and public good and require vaccines. So you have what you want. It is I who do not. It is I who have your ideals pushed on me, in a very real way.

    As for the remainder of your comments in that particular post, I cannot argue with them, because I cannot combat irrationality with fact. It would be like trying to convince you that the earth is round, not flat, or that the world didn’t begin 6,000 years ago. People believe all sorts of myths and reject all sorts of facts all the time, relying on wondrous, magical thinking and faith. What you say are unproven theories are not unproven theories, but are scientific facts. You say you “find” all sorts of things, as if you have done some sort of scientific study and these are your results, but you haven’t and they aren’t. You say safety testing doesn’t do things it does in fact do. In short, you claim facts are not facts and instead question scientific proof and historical fact.

    You said:
    “Mankind survived a long time before vaccines came into the picture. More focus needs to be placed on strengthening one’s natural immune system. It is by far, the very best defense against disease. We also really need to go back to our roots and rediscover the medical art of homeopathy that this country was founded on before it was swallowed by the less effective allopathic medical agenda.”

    Certainly, humankind survived before vaccines. But rates of now-vaccine-preventable diseases were high, as were the deaths from them. People had 18 children, hoping 4 might survive into adulthood. Overall life expectancy was ridiculously low, with people typically dying by their 30s.

    You said:
    “It is the LACK of sufficient evidence that I take the most issue with. The “proof” of “real” scientific evidence is not my burden.”

    There is sufficient evidence. The proof is there. You are being willfully ignorant. As is your right. But you cannot honestly say the proof is not there.

    You said:
    “Sure, there are studies that raise the question of vaccines causing substantial harm, but why would I even bother posting them? I know how this works. Evidence and data must be cherry picked and approved by you before it is even considered. You make a systematic attempt to unfairly discredit any research that refutes your pro-vaccine agenda.”

    What studies? There are no such scientific studies. There is no such research. You are the one who is cherry-picking – or even making things up completely.

    You said:
    “I find it hard to understand the need for “vaccine advocates”. The CDC reports vaccine uptake rates are at an all time high. Hardly seems like the kind of cause someone would decide to devote their life to. I can think of a lot of things more dire than this.”

    Right back at ya – why the need for anti-vaccine advocates? No one infringes on your right to not vaccine. If you meant it when you said you’re not angry at me, you understand my decision, and you don’t care what I do or think, then why do you keep posting? We all post because we DO care what you think and do. I don’t “devote my life” to this, but I do think it’s important. Vaccine uptake rates on a national average are high, but in some states, they are much lower. There are places in Washington and California where vaccination rates are as low as 28%. The recent cases of measles and pertussis in different areas of the country (including Pennsylvania, where I am) has affected many children – and those who have died have been unvaccinated. I think that is cause for concern, and it is enough to make me worry for unvaccinated children, and worry when my own little ones, too young to be fully vaccinated yet, are put in contact with people who may have these diseases. I don’t want my children to die, as I’m sure you understand. It simply is not true that vaccines present a bigger danger than the diseases they prevent. Of course everyone is concerned about safety – that’s why I can rest easy, because I know vaccines ARE SAFE. Not vaccinating is what is not safe. Delaying vaccines only increases the length of time unprotected. If you cling to myth instead of reality, then you will continue to delude yourself, and I sincerely hope no one dies – including your own children – as a result.

    Like

  30. Chris
    November 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Sara:

    Well, those communities are few and far between. Where I live in Wilmington North Carolina, there are very few people who do not vaccinate.

    Then you are being protected through herd immunity. In a sense you are benefiting from living in society without taking much risk.

    I do live where there are pockets of low vaccination, so there are alerts all the time. I did mention I got my younger kids their second MMR when there was a measles outbreak in nearby private school. I guess you also missed the part that I advocate for vaccines because of I have a child with several health issues, who needed herd immunity for pertussis when our county was having an outbreak. His heart condition is severe enough that he still has prophylactic antibiotics before dental appointment (even though for most people with heart murmurs no longer need to that).

    I do not see why trying to protect my son makes me a bigot. I did not tell that mother that she was evil, I just chose not to let my child near her children. Would you also call me a bigot for not wanting to be around those who are smoking cigarettes? I can’t tell them that they are endangering their health, but I can actively avoid being around the stench, and breathing in carcinogens.

    I asked you for evidence of your claims. I see none is forthcoming. You are claiming vaccines are not efficacious nor safe, it is up to you to provide evidence to support your claims. So I will make the question easier for you. The following is a table of the incidence of measles from 1912 to 1997. Please tell me what happened between 1960 and 1970. There is a graph of that table here (but I did provide the link so you can check it yourself, it is a very large pdf).

    From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

    Like

  31. Darlene
    December 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    What needs to be told to the parents is this:
    NO ONE IS ON THE HOOK IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG.
    IF YOUR CHILD GETS SICK, HAS A REACTION OR DIES, IT IS ALL ON YOU. NO ONE IS LIABLE, NOT THE DOCTORS, NOT THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, NOT THE G…OVERNMENT.
    If anything happens you need $10,000 to retain a lawyer, and you still may never recoup anything from the National Vaccine Injury Fund. You are stuck with ALL the aftermath.

    Meanwhile, you precious kid is a vegetable or dead all because Big Pharma fills our heads with GARBAGE and FEAR so they can make a profit. They don’t care about us. They don’t cure anyone. They make us sick for a lifetime so they have long term customers, so they can be dirty stinking rich. They peddle poison, period.

    Where is Big Pharma when your kid is having Seizures at 4 in the morning?

    What is your Dr. going to do when your child develops Autism?

    Who is going to pay for all the special and remedial education your Autistic child is going to need?

    Where is the cure for your broken heart and all the dreams you have for your child when you realize that your child will never get better?

    Who’s going to take care of your disabled child when your are dead?

    Is it really worth the risk?

    Like

  32. Chris
    December 9, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    My son is permanently disabled. He had seizures as an infant before he had any vaccines, which meant he spent his first week and a half in the hospital hooked to IVs. He also had seizures when he had an actual disease before the vaccine for that came out.

    Here is what do you do with a disabled child: you learn, you accept and you plan. And you rejoice when things do get better. Because they do get better.

    Just like parents with disabled children have been doing for decades. I just finished a book about the rubella epidemic in the 1960s (Dangerous Pregnancies). Many of the parents who campaigned for the laws that allow our children an education (IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) had children with Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

    Right now the data does not support a casual relationship between autism and vaccines. Countless funds that could have been used to support education and adult services for our children have been squandered on that wild goose chase.

    And now children are dying and being disabled by the return of pertussis, measles, Hib and mumps. So next you try to educate us, please explain exactly the risk of the vaccine versus getting the actual disease. Having had a kid in the hospital with a disease, I think this is very important to know.

    Like

  33. Chris
    December 11, 2010 at 12:43 am

    And you also cherish those moments when you and your disabled child connect and have a laugh. He saw me watching the DVDs of the fifth season of Doctor Who. He told me he did not expect to see the Cyberman. I then asked him if he expected the Spanish Inquisition… and we both laughed.

    He is 22 years old, and actually is developmentally at about fifteen years old. It is not stasis, there is change. Though it is very slow.

    And, no. He will never ever live on his own. We know that, and are planning for it. So stop your clueless scaremongering, and help us get better services for disabled adults. And please lets us not have more disabled through the actual diseases!

    Like

  34. Sara
    December 11, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Ack. So, why are you constantly hovering over this board and not spending time with him? You are a twisted individual. Get your priorities straight – and find your spirituality. Science can’t explain everything, my dear. Not even close. See you on the other side…

    Like

  35. Chris
    December 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Why? Discussing that I have a child disabled by a disease, and it is not as dire as Darlene says seems to upset you. That is interesting.

    What spirituality? Like this?

    Like

  36. July 26, 2013 at 6:35 am

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    of the highest quality websites on the web. I’m going to recommend this site!

    Like

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