Home > In the News, Parent Perspective > Parental Concerns Regarding Vaccine Exemptions

Parental Concerns Regarding Vaccine Exemptions

Vaccine exemptions.

They’re something many parents are concerned about, and many want to be informed about.

Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their latest report on Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten in the US for the 2009–10 School Year.  Upon first glance, the report looks pretty good.  More than half of the states reporting vaccination information to the CDC indicated that their overall exemption rates were around 1% or less.  A few states, like Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee reported less that 1% medical or non-medical exemptions.

Image provided by the CDC

However, upon closer examination, there are some definite areas of concern.  Four states — Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Vermont — had exemptions above 5%.  While that may not sound like a large percentage, it’s dangerously close to the herd immunity threshold for certain vaccine preventable diseases.  Take for instance the numbers in Washington State.  With the highest percentage of exemptions, the report indicates that 6.2% of WA state’s children had a parent-signed exemption form recorded for one or more vaccines.  But that is an overall state statistic.  The Seattle Time’s reports that one county in particular – Ferry County – has nearly 20% of Kindergarteners opt out in 2009-2010.

As I engage in discussions with other parents, I have heard various concerns regarding vaccine exemptions.  While reports like those we’ve seen from the CDC this week are certainly important for public health officials to get a snapshot of where we stand – state by state, and as a nation overall – parents are more interested in specific data for their own area.  In other words, they are concerned about how exemptions relate to them personally, in their own schools.

On the one hand, there will always be parents that argue about their right to choose an exemption.  The fact is they don’t need to argue this point, as exemptions are currently available in every state.  Their only restrictions on this “liberty” applies to how each state has chosen to allow for medical, philosophical or personal exemptions and the procedures that are required to apply for these exemptions.  Some states have tried to limit personal exemptions that they believe may be taken as a matter of convenience – the old, “I just didn’t have time to take little Johnny in for his shots” type of convenience.  For instance, WA state recently passed legislation that will require a health care worker’s signature on all personal exemptions in hopes that parents will take the time to understand the risks in rejecting a specific vaccine.

On the other hand, let’s consider the rights of the parents who are doing their part to protect our overall public health. The parents who are fully vaccinating their children, as recommended.  Many of these parents understand that a child’s immunizations not only benefit the children directly, but that they also contribute to overall herd immunity, thereby working to protect even those who remain unvaccinated.  Some of these parents feel that they should have the right to know how many of their childrens’ classmates are unvaccinated. After all, if there is a large enough percentage of unvaccinated children, it may be putting their own vaccinated children at risk.

Yet, there is another interesting situation to consider.  One that has been frequently discussed on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page.  What is a parent to do if their child has a medical condition?  They may or may not be able to vaccinate their child fully, and yet vaccine preventable diseases pose a serious health risk to their children?  They rely on herd immunity – the same herd immunity that may be threatened with a large percentage of unvaccinated children in one concentrated area.  How can they be assured that their child is not at an increased risk of disease due to the personal decisions of other parents in their child’s school.  Do they have a right to know the exemption rates of the school their child is attending?

In a conversation with a mother from our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, Sue Robinson explained her concerns, “I understand that in some religions they do not believe in getting their children vaccinated. I am ok with that (it is their right).  My problem is, I want to know which students in my daughter’s school have not gotten them. With my daughter’s health issues, I need to know these things. She is so easily prone to getting sick due to her weakened immune system from not only her heart/asthma/allergy issues but, from being premature as well. I haven’t tried but, I’m wondering if I confronted the school about my concerns, if they are allowed to give me that type of information.”

Of course, the issue comes down to privacy.  Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that parents will ever be provided with specific immunization information for their children’s school.  However, why wouldn’t it be acceptable to provide a school specific immunization statistics to parents, exclusive of anything that could identify exemptors by name?  When parents request a personal vaccine exemption, are they not doing so based on their belief that they are entitled to a decision based on “informed consent”.  Well, I say it’s time that parents who vaccinate their children demand similar liberties.  Information regarding specific exemptions may help alert parents to an increase risk of contracting certain vaccine preventable disease.  They should be entitled to that information.  Maybe with this information in hand, parents will begin to see that immunization decisions impact more than just themselves.  Maybe then more parents will be encouraged to become active immunization advocates within their own community and use their influence to help educate those who use exemptions as a matter of convenience.

  1. Chris
    June 4, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Checking out the state’s own statistics, Ferry County is a small county with at least 20% living under the poverty line. Let us hope that there is enough funding to provide all kids with vaccines:
    http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/immunize/providers/universal.htm

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  2. Steve Michaels
    June 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Simple logic shows that ‘herd immunity’ is a complete myth. It presumes that people only come in contact with a limited and fixed number of people. If a person is unvaccinated, goes the argument, and everyone around them is vaccinated(a false premise) then that person will not come in contact with a given pathogen and thus be protected by others. This is total nonsense on many levels. Firstly, a trip to the mall or a trip to church or the ballgame or any other excursions immediately destroy the mythical ‘protective buffer’ of the herd. On top of that, there is absolutely no evidence that a vaccinated person cannot be a carrier of any given VPD. Even if this is only for short periods of time, a vaccinated person could, at least theoretically, infect others who are not vaccinated or who have been vaccinated and achieved no protection (this covers anywhere from 3-35% of the population depending on the VPD). On top of that, it has already been shown that recipients of live vaccines (such as varicela and measles) can shed the viruses for weeks after being vaccinated and are, in fact, contagious to the vulnerable.

    Stop fear mongering and demonizing people who choose not to partake of the toxin cocktails for themselves or their children. The whole ‘herd immunity’ claim is an attempt to make vaccines a public health issue (which it is not) and an excuse to claim that people do not own (and therefore have a right to choose what enters) their body.

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  3. Chris
    June 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    http://www.granthealth.org/_content/PH/MeaslesReport102208.pdf

    Phone interviews were conducted with the mother of the children, providing information that all 8 of the children in the home had experienced the same symptoms over the preceding 2 weeks, with some variation of rash onset and severity of symptoms, the first rash onset being April 12, the latest being April 21. Some children were experiencing respiratory symptoms including cough. Nasopharangeal, urine, and serum specimens were obtained by the healthcare provider and transported by bus to the Washington State DOH Public Health Laboratory (PHL), IgM was reported as positive for all 3 individuals tested. Viral isolation testing was later found negative but PCR testing was positive on all 3. 5 siblings who met case definition were “epi-linked” as cases. All 8 children were unvaccinated and were home-schooled.

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  4. Nathan
    June 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Steve, as far as I can tell from our conversations, you simply have a distorted view of what herd immunity is. You do not understand it, and that is why you think it is nonsense.

    If a person is unvaccinated, goes the argument, and everyone around them is vaccinated(a false premise) then that person will not come in contact with a given pathogen and thus be protected by others.

    No, that is not it. The argument more accurately goes “If a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, then infectious diseases have a much more difficult time getting around the population. This makes the unvaccinated far, far less likely to catch the disease than if less than that percentage of the population are vaccinated.” It is not about never coming into contact with a pathogen, but rather about the chance of contact being significantly smaller.

    Firstly, a trip to the mall or a trip to church or the ballgame or any other excursions immediately destroy the mythical ‘protective buffer’ of the herd.”

    There is no mythical protective buffer here. It is not an entity or a wall. It is probability.

    It doesn’t matter where you go. If over a certain percentage of people where you go are vaccinated, the chances of that person transmitting the disease to someone else during that window that they are contagious drops immensely. And even if they do transmit it to someone, if that next person is in contact with mostly vaccinated people, then their chance of transmitting it is reduced as well. Soon, the disease is stopped in its tracks.

    Even if this is only for short periods of time, a vaccinated person could, at least theoretically, infect others who are not vaccinated or who have been vaccinated and achieved no protection.

    Yes, but again, that window is so small that it greatly reduces the chance of that happening. Herd immunity does not mean that disease transmission or outbreaks are impossible. It is basically a mathematical tipping point of vaccination below which it is significantly easier for infections to find other hosts.

    Here is the “simple logic” for you. Before vaccination, almost everybody got measles. It was omnipresent. After vaccination, almost nobody got measles. If there was no such thing as herd immunity, then virtually every person who is not immune should be getting measles. But they don’t. That is due to herd immunity.

    Even antivaccine sites like insidevaccines understand that herd immunity is a real phenomenon. You should read this article.

    http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2010/02/11/vaccine-myths-round-two/

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  5. Steve Michaels
    June 5, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Unfortunately Nathan, the way you explain it and the way it is promoted are too completely different things. That to the side, the supposed vaccination rate is in the 95% range. This presupposes that ALL vaccine recipients receive protective benefit from vaccines AND that all boosters are given since vaccines do not confer the same type and quality immune response as natural exposure. These are demonstrably false presumptions. It doesn’t matter how the equation looks on paper, if the primary suppositions are not accurate, the conclusion cannot be accurate either. The strongest building built on sand will always collapse. This is the point that you seem to miss.

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  6. Nathan
    June 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Well I hope my explanation helps you understand it better. But you still have some misunderstandings.

    the supposed vaccination rate is in the 95% range. This presupposes that ALL vaccine recipients receive protective benefit from vaccines…

    No, it does not suppose that, in fact, the opposite is true. The “supposed vaccination rate” is different for different vaccines. It has to be high to compensate for the people who are vaccinated and do not receive immunity. The rate of immunization required to acheive herd immunity is acutally lower than the rate of vaccination required. But there are target vaccination rates that should give us herd immunity that we can shoot for, even though some vaccinated people will not develop immunity.

    AND that all boosters are given since vaccines do not confer the same type and quality immune response as natural exposure.

    Right. This is why we do not have good herd immunity for pertussis, which requires lots of boosters that most people do not get. It is very difficult to get strong herd immunity to pertussis for this very reason.

    It doesn’t matter how the equation looks on paper, if the primary suppositions are not accurate, the conclusion cannot be accurate either.

    But clearly the conclusion is accurate because it is happening all around us. Arguing otherwise is like the people that argue that because of the weight of a bumblebee and its wingspeed are supposedly incorrect, that a bumblebee cannot fly.

    It is their suppositions that are clearly not accurate, as bumblebees clearly fly. And your presuppositons as well, because herd immunity is clearly occurring for some diseases, like measles.

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  7. Steve Michaels
    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Allow me to refer you back to what originally started our conversation about the whole ‘herd immunity’ rubbish.

    and

    http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/herd-immunity-0

    I won’t go into the arguments about them again, but you have used these as support for your view on herd immunity and yet the entire message is contradictory to what you are trying to argue here. They claim 85% vaccination rate and assume no intermingling (or limited intermingling) of people to create herd immunity. They also assume that a vaccine will weaken with every exposure to a natural or wild virus. We both know that both of these premises are wrong. And so their conclusions are also wrong. As far as bumble bees go, I believe science did not understand the vortex properties in the wing flap that explains the bee’s ability to fly. At least they had the integrity to say that there was something lacking in their knowledge. To claim that something works when the premises are false means either the premises are right or there are other factors involved or the conclusions are a leap of faith. You know the premises are wrong. You make no claim that perhaps knowledge is missing. The only remaining category is the leap of faith, otherwise known as dogma.

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  8. Nathan
    June 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I won’t go into the arguments about them again, but you have used these as support for your view on herd immunity…

    No, I didn’t. The video was blogged about as an illustration of how herd immunity works, and we debated how appropriate of an illustration it was. Flaws in the computer program in the video have nothing to do with whether or not herd immunity exists. And of course, a simplified computer program from a youtube user is going to have different paramaters than the spread of disease in the real world. The person who made the video is not a person who came up with the idea of herd immunity.

    To claim that something works when the premises are false means either the premises are right or there are other factors involved or the conclusions are a leap of faith. You know the premises are wrong.

    Huh? I just showed you above how all vaccinated people being immune is not presumed, and how vaccines that require boosters, and people don’t get them, don’t provide good herd immunity. Neither of them are false premises.

    You are desperately trying to come up with some minutae and claim that this wrecks the entire concept of herd immunity. But you still don’t have any other explanation for the phenomenon that is occurring. Before immunization, almost every child got measles. Recently, there were twenty-some cases of measles in Minnesota. But there are hundreds or thousands of MMR-unimmunized children in Minnesota. Why didn’t they get measles, if there is no such thing as herd immunity?

    I believe science did not understand the vortex properties in the wing flap that explains the bee’s ability to fly. At least they had the integrity to say that there was something lacking in their knowledge.

    Hey, I certainly agree with that. It is a sign of integrity to admit a lack of knowledge.

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  9. Steve Michaels
    June 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    “The video was blogged about as an illustration of how herd immunity works, and we debated how appropriate of an illustration it was. Flaws in the computer program in the video have nothing to do with whether or not herd immunity exists.”

    Actually, you endorsed the second one as more realistic even though it uses the same basic assumptions and the fact that the video is flawed does not mean that the theory is not flawed. The two are unrelated but I did not endorse either of them.

    “Before immunization, almost every child got measles. Recently, there were twenty-some cases of measles in Minnesota. But there are hundreds or thousands of MMR-unimmunized children in Minnesota. Why didn’t they get measles, if there is no such thing as herd immunity?”

    And following your logic as to what actually constitutes herd immunity (and using your own claims) why was there not just one massive outbreak where ‘virtually every child’ had measles and were from that point immune (without the need for boosters of multiple exposures), thus creating a natural herd immunity and ending future outbreaks? See, if herd immunity were a real phenomenon, then it would have occurred naturally long before vaccines. There must be another factor at work.

    “Hey, I certainly agree with that. It is a sign of integrity to admit a lack of knowledge.”

    As stated above, there must be something other than vaccinations at work. The premises for the herd immunity theory are unfounded and unsubstanitated. It only stands to reason that if the theory is based on inaccurate assumptions and infection rates are dropping, there must be some other factor. In the case of measles, as I stated on another thread, the vaccine is only expected to work for up to 11 years.

    http://stason.org/TULARC/child-parent/vaccinations/3c-4-How-long-does-the-measles-vaccine-last.html

    Very few adults get booster for measles and according to Merck, immuno response occurs in 95% of recipients. If you take 5% with no or inadequate response coupled with virtually no boosters after school age, then well over 50% of the population are NOT vaccine protected yet there are still no huge outbreaks. This coverage level would be well below ANY herd immunity theory. It must be something else (probably not related to vaccines at all).

    http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

    Please let me quote you again Nathan, “It is a sign of integrity to admit a lack of knowledge.”

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  10. Nathan
    June 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

    See, if herd immunity were a real phenomenon, then it would have occurred naturally long before vaccines.

    Ah, I might see what the issue is. You are not considering the primary vectors of diease. The most efficient way that measles is transmitted is through schoolchildren, because of the large amounts of time that children spend together in school (as well as other factors), and the fact that measles is contagious for a couple of days before there are any symptoms. So there was not herd immunity because most of the primary vector (children) were not immune. But now, we immunize far before school starts, so the primary means of transmission is eliminated. This is why herd immunity did not occur before vaccines, but does now.

    In the case of measles, as I stated on another thread, the vaccine is only expected to work for up to 11 years.

    I don’t know what “stason.org” is, but you probably shouldn’t take his/her/its word for it. MMR is expected to provide lifetime immunity. Find a way to pull the full text here (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2179836), as I have, and you can find a list of studies that go far beyond with no evidence of waning immunity in the vast majority of people. I can cite them all individually if you need me to. And that was in 1990, longer term studies have been done since. I can also show you numerous review studies that conclude that MMR vaccine immunity is lifelong.

    Even if it did not provide lifetime immunity (which the evidence indicates it does), the fact that it provides immunity during the age that the virus is most transmissible (school age), it could still provide herd immunity. In fact, for some diseases, the numbers required for herd immunity apply more to schoolchildren than the general population.

    then well over 50% of the population are NOT vaccine protected yet there are still no huge outbreaks.

    But over 50% of the population is not unprotected. Those born before the vaccine have immunity as well as the overwhelming majority of those who received the vaccine. There is no evidence of significant waning of immunity of the MMR vaccine with age, that I’ve seen. At least not enough to support your invented 50% figure.

    t must be something else (probably not related to vaccines at all).

    Pixies, perhaps.

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  11. laura
    June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I sort of wish unvaccinated people had to wear something, preferably electronic utilizing GPS technology, that identified them as a threat to babies, old people, the immune-compromised, etc. My friend’s son has Primary Immune Deficiency. He has been vaccinated multiple times but his poor body just can’t maintain an immune response, leaving him vulnerable to re/infection (he has already had a few VPD because of his condition, and this so-caled “natural” immunity is just as short term for him). It makes me so angry that he has been through so much and will continue to suffer, often times because of ignorant parents who are doing him real harm. While my kids seem perfectly healthy so far, my three month old relies on those around her almost as much as my friend’s son does. It is all so sad to me, the thought of either of them suffering unnecessarily. Thank you for the work you do for this cause. and thanks to your commenters who take the time to challenge the idiocy I see posted here from parents who just don’t get it.

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  12. Steve Michaels
    June 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Actually Laura, the only people who are guaranteed to have been exposed to pathogens are those who have received live vaccines. On top of that, there is zero evidence that a vaccinated individual cannot be a carrier of a given pathogen. While it is sad that your friend’s child has a primary immune deficiency, these conditions are congenital and/or genetic. His plight is not a vaccine issue. When it comes to pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella, he is much more at risk from recently vaccinated children than from the general population, vaccinated or not. I would also question his health care provider’s choice to vaccinate multiple times when his condition is a specific counter indication for ANY vaccine being administered.

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  13. Laura
    June 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Mr. Michaels, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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  14. Steve Michaels
    June 7, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Okay Laura, don’t just hurl attacks at me personally. Where is your evidence that vaccination prevents people from being contagious carriers? As far as Primary Immune Deficiency and it’s causes, according to the Immune Deficiency Foundation:

    “Primary immunodeficiency diseases occur in persons born with an immune system that is either absent or hampered in its ability to function. While not contagious, these diseases are caused by hereditary or genetic defects and can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex.”

    http://www.primaryimmune.org/about_pi/about_pi.htm

    It is NOT a vaccine related issue, but it IS a counter indication for vaccines being administered. People with these conditions can fairly easily contract full blown diseases from attenuated pathogens and, of course, still confer no immune benefit. So, ad hominems to the side, how are my points either incoherent or irrational?

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  15. June 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Here is a sad example of how the herd is so critical!

    The afternoon of January 23, 2008, 15-month old Julieanna Metcalf did not wake up from her daily nap on time. She had been running a temperature, but her mother, Brendalee, assumed she was suffering from the typical cold symptoms expected during a Minnesota winter. Brendalee tried giving her daughter a bath, hoping to make her feel better, but grew alarmed when Julieanna could not hold her head up in the bathtub, similar to a newborn. Brendalee rushed her daughter to the hospital, where doctors suspected a particularly severe case of influenza. After intravenous fluids did not quell Julieanna’s symptoms, the doctor admitted her for an overnight stay. At this point, the doctor decided to put Julieanna on an antibiotic that also happened to work for meningitisa fateful decision that would inevitably save Julieanna’s life.

    The next morning, Julieanna’s physician feared she might have meningitis and warned that she would need to undergo some invasive procedures: a lumbar puncture and a CAT scan. The doctors questioned Brendalee about Julieanna’s vaccines, including whether she had received the Hib vaccine. Brendalee had protected her child by ensuring Julieanna received all recommended vaccines. When Julieanna’s immunization records showed she was fully immunized, the doctors ran more tests. These tests revealed Julieanna suffered from an immune deficiency, which prevented the vaccines from working as well as they should.

    When Julieanna was transferred to Minneapolis Children’s Hospital, her brother asked, “Mommy, Julie’s going to die, isn’t she?”

    Julienna endured several seizures, brain surgery to remove a mass of fluid, sleepless nights in intensive care and endless days attached to a ventilator, but was finally released from the hospital on February 15, 2008. Though she overcame the infection, she lost all motor skills, including the ability to swallow, crawl, walk or speak. She remains a full year behind in her developmental skills. Julieanna is part of a group of immune-compromised children who rely on others for protection against disease. Her immune system is still weak, and she must receive three injections a week of immune globulin to prevent catching diseases from her peers. Her mother is worried that Julieanna may never be adequately protected from Hib and other diseases.

    Julieanna’s mother wants to help correct the misinformation that deters people from protecting their children against deadly diseases such as Hib. Parents need to understand that when they choose not to vaccinate, they make a decision for other people’s children, as well. Somebody else chose Julieanna’s path. As her mother said, “I still see the scar every day; she shouldn’t have had to go through this.”

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  16. Steve Michaels
    June 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    As sad as that case is Amy, it does not make a case for herd immunity. There is no evidence provided that Julieanna’s exposure to meningitis had come from an unvaccinated infected child or a vaccinated infected child. There seems to be this huge misconception that if a person is immune to a given disease that they cannot be a carrier. In fact, the lack of any incidental infections or an outbreak of the same infection would lend credence to a vaccinated person being the vector, otherwise, there would have been other reported infections as an unvaccinated carrier would most likely have contracted the disease as well. If a person has immunity, it means that when they are exposed to a given pathogen, the body is able to destroy it before the actual disease sets in. It does not mean that as soon as a vaccinated or immune person is exposed, the pathogen is instantaneously destroyed. From the time of exposure to the time of destruction of ALL viral or bacterial infection, whether symptomatic or not, anyone can be a contagious carrier.

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  17. Kelly
    June 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    There seems to be this huge misconception that immune individuals are carriers of disease.

    If a person has immunity, it means that when they are exposed to a given pathogen, the body is able to destroy it before the organism has a chance to cause damage leading to disease.

    The pathogen is not instantaneously destroyed, but it’s replication is limited to an extent that it does not reach an infectious dose for transmission to the next host.

    There, fixed that for you, Steve.

    And you are right, there is no evidence provided that Julieanna’s exposure came from an unvaccinated child or vaccinated child, but Julieanna was part of an outbreak where 3 unvaccinated and 1 undervaccinated children also had invasive disease and one unvaccinated child died. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5803a4.htm

    Notice how no successfully vaccinated children where involved in that outbreak. The MMWR editors also comment “Given the prolonged booster dose deferral and reduced primary series coverage in the state, the increase in the number of Hib cases likely reflects increasing carriage and transmission affecting those with suboptimal primary series vaccination coverage, or a weakening of herd immunity.”

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  18. Brian
    June 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Steve, as a practicing clinical immunologist all of your arguments do not hold water. You ask people to provide evidence but provide none yourself. People have correctly tried to explain it to you but you still write non-sense. If you want to take it from an expert, you are wrong and it is not worth my time to explain it to you because you will not believe it anyway. Good luck on your crusade.

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  19. Steve Michaels
    June 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Brian :
    Steve, as a practicing clinical immunologist all of your arguments do not hold water. You ask people to provide evidence but provide none yourself. People have correctly tried to explain it to you but you still write non-sense. If you want to take it from an expert, you are wrong and it is not worth my time to explain it to you because you will not believe it anyway. Good luck on your crusade.

    I have searched high and low for proof that a vaccinated person cannot spread a disease for which they were vaccinated. I have found nothing. The closest I came is this:

    “Hib bacteria are found in our airways, usually in the nose or upper throat (medically referred to as the nasopharynx). The bacteria are spread through sneezing and coughing. Children often carry Hib bacteria in their nose or throat without showing any signs or symptoms of illness, but they still can pass the bacteria to others. WHO estimates that up to 15% of young children in countries without Hib vaccination programmes may carry Hib bacteria at some time.”

    http://www.hibaction.org/resources/faqs.php

    Oddly, they don’t indicate what percentage of people may carry and spread the disease after vaccination. I find this odd in that if the answer is ‘none’, then it would be expressly stated. It is not. This leads me to believe that the assumption is that it would be none so no testing has been conducted. Assumptions do not constitute fact, and lack of study does not constitute evidence. I have provided quite a bit of evidence on other postings here, so please do not claim that I do not provide evidence for anything. In fact, the comments I have made to which you have replied DO contain documentation with regard to Primary Immune Deficiency. Please do not use the ‘I am an expert’ claim to prove that you are right and I am wrong. Show me the studies that prove that a vaccinated person who is exposed to a viral or bacterial agent cannot pass that agent on to another person. I have searched and found no such research. As a practicing immunologist, this should be an easy task for you. Unless you are able to provide it, your statement that my arguments ‘do not hold water’ are merely suppositional and unsubstantiated. In other words, they are a statement of faith, not fact.

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  20. Steve Michaels
    June 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Nathan, I said,

    “I believe science did not understand the vortex properties in the wing flap that explains the bee’s ability to fly. At least they had the integrity to say that there was something lacking in their knowledge.”

    To which you replied,

    “Hey, I certainly agree with that. It is a sign of integrity to admit a lack of knowledge.”

    When I said,

    ” This coverage level would be well below ANY herd immunity theory. It must be something else (probably not related to vaccines at all).”

    You replied,

    “Pixies, perhaps.”

    I think this exchange highlights your inconsistency. You claim that vaccines have provided herd immunity so you absolutely refuse to even contemplate an alternative explanation even though there is absolutely no evidence that a vaccinated individual cannot transmit a VPD, which is a key premise of herd immunity theory. So much for integrity. You know that when I have been shown to be wrong, I have admitted it and I have even changed my views about certain aspects of vaccination. I have always stated that I am in an open-minded pursuit of truth in my research. It is not about being right or wrong, it is about objective truth. That is integrity.

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  21. Nathan
    June 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    You claim that vaccines have provided herd immunity so you absolutely refuse to even contemplate an alternative explanation.

    You haven’t given any alternative explanation. I keep asking you for an alternative explanation. If you have one that is logical and coherent, then put it out there. You assert that herd immunity is flawed, and give these reasons you think they are flawed. I have addressed every darn one of them, and you are wrong about them all. Then you come up with another one off the top of your head. Essentiall,y “Yeah, I read somewhere that there’s no proof that you can’t carry a disease… let’s try that one instead.” My point about pixies is that you have no alternative to the herd immunity that you so desperately want to not exist. And you keep shifting the goalposts, inventing “false premises” to try to prove that it doesn’t exist, even as an actual immunologist tells you that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    even though there is absolutely no evidence that a vaccinated individual cannot transmit a VPD, which is a key premise of herd immunity theory.

    No. You keep thinking these things are “key premises” of herd immunity, but they are not premises, or assumed at all. You have no idea what herd immunity is, so you have no idea what the key premises are. You are inventing strawman premises.

    It is all about probability. It is remotely possible for people to carry around some germs that they have been vaccinated for, but it is most likely going to be brief and the chance of transmission is tiny, compared to if they have full blown infection. Do you understand how diseases spread? It is not like a louse. It does not jump from one kids head to another. In order to get around efficiently, it has to infect a host and start multiplying, so there are enough viruses being put out to infect again. And it usually causes symptoms, most commonly a cough, so it can get those particles out there and infect someone else.

    This does not happen when you are immune. You do not get full blown disease with millions of viral replications going on inside of you and coughing out droplets or forming tons of shedding vesicles. Your chance of transmission is tiny. Viruses and bacteria are immediately recognized and eliminated when they get in the blood, and with some vaccines, when they hit the mucosa. They cannot replicate. They are not coughed all over people. And many viruses cannot survive for long if they can’t infect a host. They denature after a bit. They cant just sit around on your skin forever and infect the next non-immune person they see.

    What you are missing, Steve, is that herd immunity is all about probability. It is not black and white, i.e. “no one vaccinated can carry a disease or get sick, so no disease ever gets anywhere.” It is about the ability to vastly reduce transmission of a disease. Maybe the way herd immunity is to blame. Alot of people probably state it wrong. But that does not change what herd immunity actually is

    You know that when I have been shown to be wrong, I have admitted it and I have even changed my views about certain aspects of vaccination. I have always stated that I am in an open-minded pursuit of truth in my research.

    Not really, Steve. I know the exact opposite to be true. In my experience, you hard-nose commit yourself to an argument in the face of evidence to the contrary. When you cannot come up with another argument to defend the position, you do not admit you were wrong, you simply do not respond again. This was the pattern when you were trying to tell me about the definition of efficacy, and many other times. I will track them down and link you to them if you really want everyone to see what your “open-minded pursuit” looks like. You have stated it but have not demonstrated it.

    I do not think you have an open mind about this at all. But I would commend you on your confidence, if it wasn’t so dangerous.

    Like

  22. Red Queen
    June 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Steve- You question Nathan’s integrity? You, a closed minded purveyor of falsehoods and nonsense? He has been more patient with you than many would be, and has not wandered from the path of simply pointing out your misunderstandings. There is no “attempt” to make vaccines a public health issue. They are a public health issue. And the fearmongering is not from the side using medically evidenced reasoning, but from those, like you, who fight against a life-saving measure with only the loud bellow of a bag of hot air being squeezed. I’m quite sure Nathan (a relative veteran of debates like these) has been called much worse things by much better people, but the fact that he continues to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man is a credit to his integrity and his advocacy for a medical tool that has prevented the deaths of untold children worldwide. Maybe even my children. Be assured, he does not engage in this back and forth with you because he acknowledges you as any kind of intellectual or knowlegable equal, rather, I gather he just can’t stand letting your heinous misinformation go unanswered. Integrity sir? You are out of your depths.

    Like

  23. Chris
    June 8, 2011 at 1:45 am

    What is amazing is that you claim to have been educated in “Oxford” with pertinent curricula, but you come up with this kind of gibberish.

    Please come clean and admit that you are only attended a primary school in Oxford, because you are doing much to tarnish the colleges in that town. It is obvious that the last time you were in a science or math class was when you were less than fifteen years old.

    Like

  24. Steve Michaels
    June 8, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Red Queen I appreciate your ad hominem attacks that contain not one shred of information, debate or helpful dialogue. Nathan agreed that it took integrity to admit that knowledge may be lacking, then summarily dismissed the notion that he, himself, might be lacking in knowledge. I simply pointed it out. By the way, just a point about grammar and idiomatic expression. The expression is ‘out of your depth’ without the plural…

    Like

  25. Chris
    June 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Steve, the Red Queen did not use an ad hominem. She did not say you are wrong because you are something, oh let us say a resident of a certain town. She said you are wrong because of what you say, which actually usually wrong. Which includes the definition of ad hominem.

    You have to admit, you have made some major errors, my favorite being when you claimed that there were no vaccines for bacterial diseases. That was hilariously so very wrong.

    Like

  26. Red Queen
    June 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Steve- it’s really precious how you waffle between stating the obvious with such a sense of discovery and misunderstanding basic science with such panache. I admire it, really. It’s so commendable in fact, that I’m tempted to agree with you- of course then we’d both be wrong. Please correct my above sentiments to read “depth”. Thank you for correcting me without any concern for how petty it makes you look. You are truly selfless. @ Chris- my favourite was when he fell for the old DHMO gag.

    Like

  27. June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Parents should have the right to make an informed choice about vaccines. For example, why does a NEWBORN need a vaccine before the leave the hospital to prevent an STD?

    Tell me why you do or do not vaccinate your babies at my blog. Do you make an informed choice? Do you know what the risks are?

    Like

  28. Christine Vara
    June 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    In regards to vaccines at birth, perhaps you may be interesting in another Shot of Prevention post: https://shotofprevention.com/2010/05/06/why-infants-should-receive-the-hepatitis-b-vaccine-at-birth/

    Like

  29. June 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the link. I was tested before delivery and I don’t plan on my infant son sharing needles or bodily fluids before he even hits the playground. Necessary down the road? perhaps. At birth? no.

    Like

  30. June 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    What should be addressed are the parents actual concerns as to why they do not vaccinate. People are also misinformed on the religious grounds. Yes I’m sure some don’t believe in vaccinating but most do not vaccinate because of the aborted fetal tissue/DNA that is contained within. This is not addressing peoples concerns and instilling faith back in the vaccine project – yes it is a project until we fully understand it- instead you are reinforcing the age old vaccines are good, harm very few if any, you must think about not only yourself and your children but all the others, if you get any of these disease you will most likely have horrible side effects, with a big possibility of dying, trust us we say it’s safe. Doctors are dismissing peoples concerns and repeating the same statements for years. This is not enough for people anymore.

    Like

  31. Nathan
    June 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    OurGrowing,
    Most mothers are tested for hepatitis B before delivery. However, the problem is that the test does not completely guarantee that the mother is hepatitis B negative. False negatives occur in testing. The wrong hep B test is sometimes ordered, or the test results are miscommunicated. Mothers can be infected with hepatitis B between testing and delivery. Here are some examples of these kinds of events. http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2062.pdf

    And although rare, hepatitis B can be contracted between birth and two months of age with certain kinds of minor injuries, and such transmission has even been documented in daycare settings.. There are over ten million people in the U.S. with hepatitis B, and many of them do not know it because the disease can be asymptomatic for months or years.

    In fact, it is more necessary for a baby than “down the road” because, as Christine blogged, the effects of hepatitis B on a baby are far, far more devastating than an adolescent or adult. They have a monumentally larger chance of going in to liver failure requiring a transplant, or developing liver cancer.

    This is a serious concern. According to the CDC, “Even with improvements in the management of pregnant women, only approximately 50% of expected births to HBsAg-positive women are identified (on the basis of application of racial/ethnic-specific HBsAg prevalence estimates to U.S. natality data) for case management, which maximizes timely delivery of postexposure immunoprophylaxis.” (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5416a1.htm) That is a whole lot of hepatitis B transmission that is missed without the recommendation of the newborn dose of vaccine.

    Deborah Wexler of the Immunization Action Coalition also eloquently covers this in one of the comments on the blogpost that Christine linked to. https://shotofprevention.com/2010/05/06/why-infants-should-receive-the-hepatitis-b-vaccine-at-birth/#comment-194

    In a nutshell, the rationale for the universal recommendation of the newborn dose of hepatitis B vaccine is that it saves a lot of lives and livers.

    Like

  32. Snoozie
    June 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Nicole, Your response stumps me. But I will get to that later. First: Vaccines do not contain aborted fetal tissue. While it is true that some attenuated vaccine viruses (Rubella and Varicella, for example) are cultured in cell lines derived from fetuses two fetuses aborted forty years ago, none of the cells (and certainly none of the tissue, which would not even fit in a syringe) is put into the vaccine. As far as a religious issue surrounding the use of these cells in culturing vaccine viruses, religious instutions have already addressed those concerns (as they should). For example, this article explains the Vatican’s letter concerning this issue: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0504240.htm. From the article: “‘If it is a question of protecting the whole population and avoiding death and malformation in others, that is more important’ than abstaining from vaccines developed from abortions that might have occurred decades ago, he said. . . . [B]ecause the Catholic Church lacked a “definitive statement” on the issue, Catholics were not eligible for the religious exemption.”

    Back to being stumped: I would love to hear suggestions about what doctors should say to patients to assuage their fears about vaccines. Study after study after study has shown that vaccines protect children from dangerous diseases that have horrible side effects and that vaccines are safe and have very few side effects themselves. This is simple benefits versus risks analysis. When the risks might be higher than we would be willing to accept (as may have been the case with RotaShield) the vaccine is removed from circulation.

    What else should doctors be saying? What other message do parents need to hear in order to feel comfortable vaccinating their children?

    Like

  33. Steve Michaels
    June 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

    So exactly how many lives and livers have been saved then? Hep B is EXTREMELY rare, particularly with newborn children, and even rarer still in children of mothers who have already tested negative to Hep B prior to their children’s birth. What you are really doing is fear mongering a justification for the unjustifiable exposure of a newborn baby to toxins and pathogens.

    Like

  34. Steve Michaels
    June 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Actually Nathan, I have completely dropped any reference to efficacy issues because you have convinced me that vaccines are, at least in some cases, provably efficacious. So please don’t say I won’t change my mind when the evidence justifies. I do still question the disease risk versus vaccine risk and stand by the fact that there are no long term safety studies of vaccines, but again, we have covered that ground other times and this particular thread is not the place to revisit that.

    As far as what you are calling ‘herd immunity’, you are actually describing ‘mass immunity’. It still does not provide a valid (meaning a logical sequential progression from hypothesis to conclusion) theory of ‘herd immunity’ preventing transfer of disease from immune carriers. As an example, the meningitis vaccine only confers blood based immunity, but, not being inhaled, does not confer mucosal response. The bacteria can live quite happily in the sinus or nasal areas without causing an infection in the carrier, whether vaccinated or not. This does not mean that the carrier could not transfer the bacteria to someone else who could then become infected. It is worth mentioning that at least you admit that the mucosal response is not a standard part of vaccination response. This is one crucial fact that distinguishes the unnatural injection exposure to the natural immune response from natural exposure.

    As a last note, I do not just disappear. I do have a life and sometimes go for periods of time without the time to review and respond. The only times that I have ‘walked away’ are after proving a point to which only straw man arguments are being presented or when an obvious stalemate has occurred, such as when you reject my sources and I reject yours. At that point, further discussion is pointless.

    Like

  35. Kelly
    June 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m not certain about HepB prevalence before and after the vaccine, but I do know that HepB vaccine is a subunit vaccine made from the proteins on the virus shown to provide a protective immune response. There is no pathogen in the HepB vaccine.

    As we have discussed before Steve, the only toxin in the HepB vaccine is that nasty DHMO (wink).

    Like

  36. Nathan
    June 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    You have an unusual definition of rare, Steve. About twelve million people in the U.S. have had hepatitis B infection, and around one million go on to develop chronic infection. (Above I made it sound like over ten million have current infection. I apologize for that. Over ten million (actually twelve) have had, or currently have, hepatitis B.) Prior to the hepatitis B vaccine, about 9.000 newborns contracted hepatitis B from birth, and about a quarter of them died of liver cancer or liver failure.

    According to an Immunization Action Coalition report, “Approximately 24,000 women with chronic HBV infection give birth in the U.S. each year, and many do not know they are infected.”

    and,

    “CDC estimates that annually about 12,000 HBsAg-positive women are not reported to their state’s perinatal hepatitis B program and therefore do not benefit from case management.”

    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2125.pdf

    Like

  37. Nathan
    June 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Actually Nathan, I have completely dropped any reference to efficacy issues because you have convinced me that vaccines are, at least in some cases, provably efficacious.

    That is commendable. Denying that vaccines have reduced diseases is on the level of denying the earth is round. Denying that vaccines are overwhelmingly safe is not nearly as bizarre, but is still flat-out wrong.

    However, that is not what I was referring to. I was referring to one of our earliest conversations where you tried to define the meaning of the word efficacy. I told you over and over you were wrong, and presented it many ways. You did not believe me. When I finally pulled up text from an ID text, and also showed you how the authors defined the efficacy of the vaccine in question, you stopped pressing the argument but did not admit you were wrong.

    I do not just disappear. I do have a life and sometimes go for periods of time without the time to review and respond. The only times that I have ‘walked away’ are after proving a point to which only straw man arguments are being presented or when an obvious stalemate has occurred, such as when you reject my sources and I reject yours. At that point, further discussion is pointless.

    I’m totally on board with that, and I do the same. In fact, I encourage you to take breaks, partly so you can spend some time reflecting without typing the first thing that comes to your mind, but mostly so I don’t have to spend so much time correcting your numerous scientific and logical errors.

    But I am talking about times when you are shown to be obviously wrong about simple things, and rather admit error, you do not respond to that particular point, but the conversation continues. The efficacy argument was one example (https://shotofprevention.com/2011/01/21/not-so-fast-its-not-that-easy/#comment-1758) as was the time when you asserted that Wakefield did not review GP patient records and I pointed out to you that it says he did in his very paper (https://shotofprevention.com/2011/01/06/undoing-the-damage/#comment-1679). The conversations continued after that for some time. You simply ignored the fact that you made such poor mistakes.

    Of course, the most recent example of this occurred in the thread about meningitis in Africa. https://shotofprevention.com/2011/05/31/dr-besser-reports-how-a-country-is-saving-their-next-generation/#comments

    As far as what you are calling ‘herd immunity’, you are actually describing ‘mass immunity’.

    No, I am not. You are describing “mass immunity,” assuming I understand your definition of it, because you do not understand herd immunity and think it does not exist, without any evidence that it does not exist. I have addressed every reason that you have asserted. Why don’t you discuss my responses?

    It still does not provide a valid (meaning a logical sequential progression from hypothesis to conclusion) theory of ‘herd immunity’ preventing transfer of disease from immune carriers.

    I don’t know how many times I have to say this. Its not necessarily about 100% preventing. It is about vastly reducing transmission to the point that spread of infection throughout the population is hindered. When you get above a certain level, this hindrance increases disproportionately to the flat percentage of people vaccinated.

    As an example, the meningitis vaccine only confers blood based immunity, but, not being inhaled, does not confer mucosal response. The bacteria can live quite happily in the sinus or nasal areas without causing an infection in the carrier, whether vaccinated or not. This does not mean that the carrier could not transfer the bacteria to someone else who could then become infected.

    They could, but transmission is less likely. I already addressed carriage above. Continuing to assert the same argument without responding to my counterargument does not strengthen your position nor advance the discussion.

    Vaccinated people are less likely to be carriers. And even if a vaccinated person can end up a carrier for a pathogen, that pathogen’s ability to replicate is limited compared to a full out infection, and they are not symptomatic. Their chance of transmitting to others is truncated. But you are right in that diseases that can be carried asymptomatically, can undermine herd immunity, making it difficult to acheive, especially in very dense populations. I can show you the research on that if you want. This does not at all mean that herd immunity is a myth, but rather that with some diseases, herd immunity is harder to achieve. But not all diseases have this problem. We do not carry measles around in our noses.

    It is worth mentioning that at least you admit that the mucosal response is not a standard part of vaccination response. This is one crucial fact that distinguishes the unnatural injection exposure to the natural immune response from natural exposure.

    Really? The immune response that occurs when my kids scrape their knee or get a puncture wound is unnatural? I’d better stop taking them outside.

    Like

  38. Steve Michaels
    June 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Kelly :
    I’m not certain about HepB prevalence before and after the vaccine, but I do know that HepB vaccine is a subunit vaccine made from the proteins on the virus shown to provide a protective immune response. There is no pathogen in the HepB vaccine.
    As we have discussed before Steve, the only toxin in the HepB vaccine is that nasty DHMO (wink).

    ” The purified protein is treated in phosphate buffer with formaldehyde and then coprecipitated with alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to form bulk vaccine adjuvanted with amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate.”
    http://www.rxlist.com/recombivax-drug.htm
    formaldehyde: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as a human carcinogen
    potassium aluminum sulfate: On it’s own it is not a toxic material, however, according to the MSDS, ” it is Incompatible with steel, aluminium, copper, zinc, bases, strong oxidizing agents. This is important because:
    Amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate: Aluminum is the most commonly licensed adjuvant that is added to a large number of vaccines. An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to amplify the immune response. Aluminum compounds, which were identified over 90 years ago as adjuvants, are considered by the pharmaceutical industry and various government agencies as safe.
    The combination of these last two ingredients are incompatible with any current safety testing as they have been tested independently, but the synergy between them has not been studied. As far as the amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate goes, it has been shown to be linked to various neurological problems.

    Like

  39. Steve Michaels
    June 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Continuing on:

    http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2598:study-clearly-demonstrates-that-aluminum-found-in-vaccines-can-cause-neurologic-damage&catid=5:original&Itemid=24
    Your apparently benign description of this vaccine is, at best, misleading, if not out and out deceptive with intent. Incidentally, according to Merck, “RECOMBIVAX (hepatitis b vaccine recombinant) HB is indicated for vaccination of persons at risk of infection from hepatitis B virus including all known subtypes.” This description is hardly the description of a newborn baby from a mother who has already tested negative to hep b.

    Like

  40. February 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Deze echt antwoord op mijn nadeel , dankzij!

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