Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
Via Courtney McCarthy.
Measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox are making a comeback because of the anti-vaccination movement.
It’s worse, though. Large numbers of people refusing to drive over the bridge won’t make it more likely for motorists to fall through, but parents refusing to vaccinate their children compromises herd immunity.
This is great, but I don’t see it penetrating the anti-vax mindset. I have found them remarkably impervious to pleas to fairly consider the proven science and weigh actual, not just feared, risks in light of it.
The big thing right now among anti-vaxxers, to judge from my FB feed (hey, I homeschool), is to claim that herd immunity is only a myth. Yes, immunity is a personal, not a group, characteristic. BUT the fewer disease carriers a person can come into contact with, the less likely they are to contract the disease. It’s pretty basic math.
I have two, perhaps even four, anti-vaxxers in my family, but I think some of them have learned a little more humility in the face of reality since my 46-yr-old sister (one of them) nearly died of flu-induced pneumonia right after Christmas this past year. Her husband took the rest of the family out for flu shots pronto.
(you know you’re old and you think: what do they have against VAX computers?)
That was totally my first thought, too. I’d never heard the expression “Vaxxer” before.
Not sure it makes us *old* though. That wasn’t too terribly long ago. They came out in the 70’s, but were around well through the 90’s.
Yes, herd immunity is widely misunderstood; some kids are too young to have been immunized, some people are unable to be immunized because of some medical/immunological condition and some will not manufacture antibodies despite receiving immunizations. That group, about 20% IIRC, depends on herd immunity to keep them safe.
I think that another problem is that so few physicians today are of an age to have seen the serious side-effects and deaths resulting from those Usual Childhood Diseases (UCHD). I’m old enough to have seen men become sterile after contacting mumps, women having babies with severe birth defects stemming from prenatal exposure to rubella and families having kids die or be left with serious complications. . One of my 1-12 classmates almost died of measles encephalitis, in first grade, and was left with a severe seizure disorder. She had regular grand mal seizures all through grade school, and they were still occasional in HS – and she had frequent petit mal seizrures as well.
On another blog, a CA resident said the anti-vaxxers, in his experience, came from two grouips: The generally ignorant who can be spooked by a fad–see Jenny McCarthy–and the superior-to-you bunch who think they’re above what the rest of us think, plus reality. For them, anti-vax is a social signifier. Which they must have.
The superior-to-you bunch like to claim that unvaccinated children are healthier than vaccinated children, apparently all on the basis of a volunteer survey done over the internet on a website called http://www.vaccineinjury.info (www.impfschaden.info). They don’t understand that the self-selection bias makes this survey garbage.
If they did, it wouldn’t matter. See “social signifier”, than which nothing whatsoever in the world is more important.
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