Normally, I like to mix up my topics, but it's been one of those weeks where basically discussing the antivaccine movement has taken over. Sometimes when that happens, I just go with the flow. Besides, there really is one more story involving that antivaccine movement that I want to comment on. Remember last week, when the story of how the antivaccine movement had targeted Somali immigrants in Minnesota, with a resultant plunge in MMR uptake among that population over the last decade. Completely unsurprisingly, given that MMR uptake among the Somalis fell from 92% to 42% in over a decade, the Somalis in Minnesota endured a measles outbreak in 2011 and are now at the center of the biggest measles outbreak Minnesota has seen in decades. It's all thanks to American antivaxers who targeted this population when there was a cluster of autism cases among them in 2008 and were "inspired" by (not to mention aided and abetted by) the most infamous antivaccine quack of all, Andrew Wakefield. These antivaxers are continuing to target them, even in the midst of this latest measles outbreak, which, the last time I checked, has reached 50 cases, many hospitalized.
There is a telling and educational article by Julia Belluz published by Vox.com, in which Belluz interviews a public health official in Minnesota, who explains how Minnesota lost the battle with antivaccine campaigners. It's a sad tale, but it reveals just how persistent antivaxers have been in targeting this vulnerable community and how incredibly difficult it will be for public health officials to rebuild trust in vaccines, now that it is lost. The first thing we learn is that this was a concerted effort (something that those of us who've paid attention to this story already knew) by several antivaccine groups:
Minnesota is currently battling its largest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years, with 50 confirmed cases. And it’s become a case study in how difficult it can be to slay vaccine misinformation once it takes root.
What makes this outbreak so astounding is that it is nearly a decade in the making. In 2008, anti-vaccine advocates — including the Organic Consumers Association and Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who falsified data suggesting vaccines are linked to autism — began targeting local Somali Americans who had concerns about autism among their children. The activists saw an opening, offering an explanation of a cause when the health department couldn’t provide one.
Why am I not surprised that the Organic Consumers Association is antivaccine? It's probably because anyone who's looked at the antivaccine movement for as long as I have knows about anti-GMO and antivaccine go together like dog feces and poo bags. It didn't take me long searching its website to find articles like Vaccine Studies Debunked, which touts a white paper released by the equally antivaccine ANH-USA released in conjunction with Brian Hooker, the biochemical engineer turned incompetent antivaccine (but I repeat myself) statistician and epidemiologist whose "simple" reanalysis of a 2004 study of MMR and autism helped fuel the "CDC whistleblower" conspiracy theory three years ago. Other examples include an article entitled How Mainstream Media Insults the Public’s Intelligence on Vaccines that is chock full of practically every antivaccine trope in the book. If you want to know how far down the rabbit hole of antivaccine propaganda the OCA has gone, just check out its article on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s risible "vaccine challenge." Such challenges, as I like to put it, are practically the sine qua non of a crank. Basically, the fact that OCA republishes a whole lot of material from Joe Mercola on vaccines should tell you all you need to know about its stance on vaccines.
Belluz spoke to Kristen Ehresmann, director for infectious diseases at Minnesota’s Department of Health, who has been working with the Somali community for nearly a decade. First we learn how the antivaccine movement got traction:
In 2008, there was a news article — based on people’s perception and observation — that a disproportionate number of Somali children were taking advantage of special education services in the Minneapolis public school system. Once that news piece was done, word got out that there appeared to be a disproportionate number of Somalis with autism [which is not true]. And that was the opening point.
Right from the very first meeting that the Department of Health and some community members coordinated, the anti-vaccine folks were there [through public lectures and outreach]. They have been actively working in the community. Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British doctor [who falsified data suggesting vaccines cause autism], has met with the community on at least two occasions.
I discussed this history in depth two weeks ago, with a blow-by-blow of how the antivaccine movement swooped in during 2008 to spread antivaccine misinformation. I also pointed out how the "opening" for antivaxers to do this was a series of stories that appeared that year about an "autism cluster" in the Somali community in 2008. The existence of this cluster was was not confirmed in subsequent studies, the latest of which found that Somali children born in the US were no more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than American children. This study is brought up later in the interview, and Ehresmann is asked if it had any effect. The answer, predictably, is no:
The perception is so strong [that autism rates are higher] in the [Somali] community there was almost a distrust — “You’re just saying the rates are the same.” So that [report] didn’t make a huge difference. I think this outbreak has really provided a good opportunity to try and clarify messages and get more concerted messaging from within the community and from community leaders.
I hope that's the case. Ehresmann does highlight the most difficult problem skeptics and science advocates have: Countering personal perceptions with data. Human beings are pattern-forming, storytelling apes who prize the word of people in their community and their immediate circle over data and science. I've discussed more times than I can remember how unshakable the belief that vaccines cause autism is among parents whose children exhibited their first symptoms of autism within a few days of vaccines and as a result have come to blame vaccines for their children's autism. It doesn't matter how many large, high quality studies you cite demonstrating that vaccines have no correlation with autism risk; they believe their eyes and their human tendency to fall prey to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and confuse seeming correlation with causation far more than they believe dry scientific studies. Again, it's human nature. It's also human nature that, once an impression or narrative becomes established, it's incredibly hard to change it with data and evidence.
There's another human trait that puts Minnesota public health officials at an extreme disadvantage:
Over time, we have modified our approach. First we were focusing a great deal on vaccines, and we realized that it’s not enough to say vaccines aren’t the problem. You really have to address the concerns about autism as well. Over time we’ve increased the involvement of the [Somali] community as well as made sure we’re addressing both issues.
One of the big challenges we face is that autism is extremely complex and there are multiple factors that have been identified and that may play a role. And the community really wants an answer — they want to know that X causes autism. We try to explain the level and type of research that’s needed [and that we don’t have answers about the causes of autism], and that was perceived of as, “You don’t care about us.” I don’t think we did a good enough job of conveying that we did care.
Humans crave certainty. I've discussed this aspect of human nature on more occasions than I can remember, citing the lyrics to a David Bowie song, "I don't want knowledge, I want certainty." It's a disadvantage that those of us who advocate for science have compared to cranks and quacks like antivaccine activists. Science is nuance. Quackery is certainty. Human nature is to crave certainty. It doesn't matter if it's certainty in vaccines, cancer treatment, or cancer screening. That's why we lose so often.
It's especially difficult for Minnesota public health officials when the antivaxers who got this impression established in the Somali community are doing their damnedest to reinforce it:
They have redoubled their efforts during this outbreak. They are putting more and more energy ... into promoting their message. They scheduled a community meeting on April 30 — it was “an educational community resource meeting,” but it was really an anti-vaccine meeting. The anti-vaccine groups presented their viewpoints... some Somali parents spoke about their concerns about autism. And a number of physicians got up and refuted the information provided.
I discussed this meeting in depth as well. Basically Mark Blaxill, antivaccine activist originally associated mostly with SafeMinds but now most active in the antivaccine political party The Canary Party and its "charitable" offshoot Health Choice rolled into town to lay down a heaping' helpin' of antivaccine misinformation, all spiced up with conspiracy theory fear mongering and, in essence, a plea to the Somalis not to let the health authorities "bully" them into "giving in" and vaccinating. Yes, antivaxers are just that depraved and despicable. In the midst of a growing measles outbreak in which children have been hospitalized, they're still deceiving the Somali community.
Worse, Ehresmann describes how, although Minnesota public health officials are doing the right things, they can't do them enough because they don't have the resources:
We’ve hired Somali staff to do outreach, and one of the important things is addressing [the community’s] concerns about autism. We have one Somali outreach worker whose job it is to make sure [concerned parents] are aware of resources they can have for their children if they do have [autism] concerns. Then we have an outreach worker who is focused on providing information on immunizations. We have created a Somali health advisers group and pulled together leaders in the Somali community to get their input. The challenge is we need to be doing this 10- or 100-fold more than what we’re able to do.
All of these actions are good approaches. Unfortunately, even if Minnesota public health officials had adequate funding to do what needs to be done, they would still be facing an uphill battle, thanks to human nature.
As frustrating as the whole situation in Minnesota is, it's important to remember that the Somali immigrant population refusing MMR vaccination is the victim here. They come from a very poor country with little medical infrastructure, and white, privileged—and, above all, American—antivaxers have targeted them with misinformation and pseudoscience, aided and abetted by a British fraud who got the whole scare blaming the MMR vaccine for autism started in the first place. As a result, not only are the Somali immigrants in Minnesota suffering a large and growing measles outbreak that is endangering the health of their children, but they're now also being made scapegoats by nativist racist idiots like this one:
Minnesota is facing a bit of a measles crisis, with nearing 50 confirmed cases in the last four weeks — a level that hasn’t been seen in three decades or so.
But the blame for this crisis is being wrongfully cast on anti-vaccination activists, and not on open border folk, where it more rightfully belongs.
It should be noted these cases came primarily from the Somali community of Hennepin County. They also come from a state with a massive refugee acceptance rate.
It's the same old time-dishonored narrative about immigrants that racists and xenophobes have been repeating since before the dawn of the republic, that "those" immigrants bring filth and disease into our nice clean white country. But they don't and the Somalis didn't. Eleven years ago, they vaccinated at a rate equal to or even higher than that of the local American-born population. Then American antivaxers (and a British fraud) took advantage of exaggerated news stories about an "autism cluster" to blame autism on the MMR vaccine and frighten Somalis into not vaccinating. They succeeded. MMR rates plunged precipitously and continue to plunge a decade later, with no bottom yet in sight. Now they're being demonized for having been the victim of an antivaccine con. It doesn't help that our President, Donald Trump, has targeted the Minnesota Somali immigrant community, falsely portraying the community as a hotbed of terrorist sympathizers and a fertile breeding ground for ISIS recruiting:
During a rally in Minnesota on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reiterated that he would block refugee resettlement in the United States — and specifically targeted the Somali communities in the state.
“Here in Minnesota you have seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state, without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” Trump said against the backdrop of an airport hangar at the Minneapolis International Airport.
“You’ve suffered enough in Minnesota,” he added.
Meanwhile, over at WorldNetDaily, which is just a hair short of Breitbart when it comes to xenophobia, they're ranting about the Minnesota outbreak, blaming Islam and calling it the "Muslim measles":
Andrew Bostom, M.D., an academic internist specializing in general internal medicine who has also authored several books about the history of Islam, said Muslim communities often prove difficult to convince that vaccinations are appropriate for their children.
“The case against vaccinations is first an Islamic one,” he said, citing a 2011 article by Dr. Majid Katme, spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association in the United Kingdom.
“We are giving our innocent children haram [forbidden] substances and harmful chemicals that destroy their natural immune systems, causing disease, suffering and death,” Katme wrote.
No, it's not. This is the same anti-Muslim rhetoric that xenophobes trotted out when certain Muslim communities resisted polio vaccination programs. I discussed the very article by Katme being cited by Bostom (who, as a perusal of his website will really demonstrate, is a ranting Islamophobe, which is no doubt why WND likes to cite him). In essence, there's nothing uniquely (or even particularly) "Islamic" about antivaccine views. Indeed, we have plenty of Christian antivaxers who use fundamentalist versions of their religions to justify their antivaccine views. I also pointed out, for example, that most Muslim authorities support vaccination and mentioned the example of Iran, a Muslim theocracy, where vaccination rates have traditionally been consistently high for many years. I also can't help but note that the WND article notes that, although the Minnesota Somali community is the largest such community, there are "other large enclaves in Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; San Diego; Atlanta; Fargo, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Portland and Lewiston, Maine; and Nashville, Tennessee. If it were Somali Muslim beliefs that were responsible for antivaccine views, then we'd expect to be seeing outbreaks in several, if not all, of these communities as well. We don't.
The seed was planted by nativists who fear immigration and fertilized by our President when he was a candidate, and these same nativists have seized upon the measles outbreak in the Somali community as a convenient excuse to indulge their hatred of Islam and invoke the ancient false fear of immigrants bearing "disease" to attack the Somali immigrant community in Minnesota and use it as an example of why the US should shut down immigration and stop letting refugees in. The examples I picked are mild, too. Just peruse the comments after the WND article and you'll see some naked, undisguised bigotry and hatred that will nauseate you to read.
Nearly a decade ago, long before the rise of the alt right or Donald Trump, there was a seemingly anomalous "cluster" of autism cases in Minnesota among the community of Somali immigrants who had settled there after fleeing the chaos and violence in the failed state that claimed to be their country. Antivaxers, in their unshakeable faith that vaccines cause autism, saw a population just begging to be converted, and, unfortunately, they succeeded in converting them. The result is our current situation. To compound the injury to the Somali population, many of whom fled poverty and in the hope of building a better life in the US, our own homegrown racists are now using the measles outbreak that our own homegrown antivaxers (and one Brit) tricked them into inviting.
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As of yesterday the outbreak was up to 51 with 47 confirmed unvaccinated. Given the infectious rate of measles and the effectiveness of the vaccine, I can't see a more glaring recent example of why we vaccinate. It is grotesque that anti-vaxxers have targeted this vulnerable population and just as grotesque that racists would use this to further their own vile agenda. Where were these slobs when the CA Disneyland outbreak occurred?
"Why am I not surprised that the Organic Consumers Association is antivaccine?"
The anti-GMO movement is cross-pollinated with a lot of antivax nonsense. For another example, there's March Against Monsanto, which produced this festering pile:
@Science Mom: As you know, they weren't involved with the Disney outbreak because those people were white Americans, not those illegal dark-skinned immigrants. They are vile, evil people, including the POTUS.
Between this and the transit bill, I've been thinking that we need to definitively squelch travel from the 'burbs to the cities. They can come here for work, but after or on weekends if they so much as set a toe on the sidewalk, they better pay.
I wonder if the anti vaccine activists even considered that they are feeding racism and undermining the community theybwere claiming to help in other ways. And if they care now that it's coming out.
The Washington Times, source for the quote from the racist !*$%$(^ Orac quotes, is a notorious right-wing rag, but the fact that it's a DC right-wing rag should be concerning, because racist !*$%$(^s all over the country read that rag, and incorrectly think that those words are worth at least as much as the paper they're printed on.
The reality is simple. Anti-vaxers encouraged the Somali community in Hennepin County to not vaccinate their kids. Many in that community paid attention to these "experts" and stopped vaccinating their kids, at least with the MMR vaccine (the one that Wakefield et al. specifically implicated as being linked to autism). The vaccination rate dropped well below what is required for herd immunity. Then a measles outbreak happened in that community. Cause and effect, how does it work?
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like this happening in Lewiston, ME, which is also home to a substantial Somali immigrant community. Except for the part about the community being targeted because they are dark-skinned immigrants. The haters in Maine are using different excuses.
This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.
Basic math shows that it's not an immigration problem (unless they mean allowing Wakefield into the US). The Somali community in Minneapolis is not recent. It's been there for ~20 years. The vast majority of the young children are American-born. There simply aren't enough recent arrivals from outside the US (we also get Somali people moving to the Twin Cities from other parts of the US) to account for the number of cases. But, as we all know, hate is not logical, so they happily scapegoat the community.
The worst part is that the community knows how awful measles can be, having seen it in Somlia, but were susceptible to the idea that measles 1) thought that measles wasn't something that happened here. and 2) wasn't as bad when you have solid medical care. As awful as this outbreak is, I'm hoping it will do away with those ideas.
The beauty of the human experience in America is our freedom, and ability, to question the risk/benefit ratio of vaccines.
Orac's teachings skillfully address the morality and overwhelming benefits of vaccines.
Andrew Wakefield bravely and persistently expresses the potential risks of vaccines.
From my perspective, both are brilliant and continue to bring clarity to a non-static vaccination risk/benefit ratio.
One thing is certain, the Somalia community in Minnesota is a national treasure and they continue to show us that love and friendship endures in most difficult times.
@ Terrie, to add to your list, the anti-vaxx brigade lead by Andy Wakefraud have done a stellar job of convincing the Somali Minnesotans of the false dichotomy that measles is better than autism. That is going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome.
As an aside and wishful thinking, but that photo of Andy Wakefraud looks like something taken during a prison interview.
I have to agree with Eric. Antivaxxers hijacked and exploited the autism community for years. Even though most of us now reject their lies, they still claim that vaccines cause autism. They set autistic advocacy back by years. Even more offensively, their "advocacy" suggested that it was better to be dead or crippled by some vaccine preventable disease than to be autistic.
They didn't give a hoot about us, and they don't care that they're harming the Somalis. We (and they) are just a bludgeon to hit vaccines with.
"...that photo of Andy Wakefraud looks like something taken during a prison interview."
Guess he's been too busy doing antivax rabble-rousing to spend much time poolside at his Austin-area estate.
Somebody has to support him in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.
Thanks, Doc, for identifying the Somalis as the victims, and calling out the Trumpist backlash they're facing. The comment you cited is quite mild compared to a lot of what's appeared in the comment threads at the StarTribune. Unfortunately, a lot of these trolls are also expressing 'skeptic' views on the science involved. If these clowns actually cared about public health, they'd realize they're making the situation worse by pushing the Somalis farther into defensiveness.
I think Julian has that part backwards. It's more like vaccines are a bludgeon to express fear and loathing of autism. Anti-vaxers don't just "not care" about people with autism, they do indeed suggest 'better dead than autistic'.
I think what the Minnesota health officials are discovering with the Somalis has always been true generally. For most non-vaxers, it's not really about the vaccines, so no amount of scientific info on vaccines will turn them around. They're too spooked by the prospect of having to deal with an autistic child. The better they understand autism, and the more access they have to services to support autism families, the less they'll scapegoat vaccines.
While it's likely true that humans crave certainty, I'd say fear of the helplessness attendant to having having no good bearings whatsoever is much more powerful. That is, most people are OK with knowing the odds most of the time. It's not surprising people interpret "we don’t have answers about the causes of autism" as “you don’t care about us.” This likely stems from the difference between how medical science defines 'answers' or 'knowing' and how regular folks do. The medical people apparently aren't comfortable putting forward what, as I understand it, are pretty good guesses at least about the role of genetics in ASDs. But 'our best quess' could be enough to pull people out of that terror of feeling totally lost.
Oh, no, there was plenty of blaming of the wetbacks for Disneyland. I distinctly recall repeatedly observing that Mexico had better uptake rates at the time.
Possibly. But if autism never existed, antivaxers would have just found other reasons to scapegoat vaccines, because to them it is always about the vaccines. Always. I'm more in agreement with Julian than with you on this one. If there weren't autism, antivaxers would have found something else to promote fear of vaccines. It's what they've done for over 150 years.
I actually added a little bit to this post, specifically a quote from an article in WorldNetDaily, which is blaming the measles out break on Islam and saying antivaxers have nothing to do with it. (Of course, what else would WND blame the outbreak on?) It's the usual Islamophobia, but I made the mistake of reading some of the comments in the comment section. The bigotry and hatred there reach a truly nauseating level. You're right; this outbreak is being used by bigots and nativists as a pretext to openly express their hatred.
And the outbreak is up to 54 with 51 confirmed unvaccinated. Seven of the cases are outside the Somali community. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/measles/index.html#Ex…
The cost is expected to reach $1 million just for basic public health expenses.http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2017/05/minnesota-measles-ou…
Where are the anti-vaxxers now?
I'm not the least bit surprised that World Nut Daily found an Islamic anti-vaxer to cherry pick. Both Christianity and Islam are derived from Judaism, so theological views are not so different between the two--certainly less than the variation of views within either religion. Islam does not even have a specific person who speaks for all Muslims (unless it's someone operating under a delusion), in contrast to the Pope, who speaks for the Catholic Church and implicitly all Christians.
But just as anti-vaxers would look for some other issue if they didn't have autism to latch onto, so the Islamophobes would latch onto some other issue if they couldn't find a Muslim doctor who takes the anti-vax line. It's who they are, and who they always have been.
Thank you for brain damage and death, Ku Vax Klan!
No sadmar, I don't have it backwards. As Orac points out, if it wasn't autism they'd find something else. Vaccines against HPV have never been implicated in causing autism, yet the Clown Blog (Age of Autism) has attacked them several times.
This is not about autism. This is about finding something, anything, to attack vaccines.
Jake Crosby, you have to be one of the most repugnant asses I have had the displeasure of encountering on the interwebz and that's saying a lot given what crawls all over the web. Your skanky white bum doesn't give a toss about blacks and never did.
Since Jake *had* to bring up the Whistleblower lies in his post, I had to comment on it. Because he tends to moderate comments out of existence, once again I post it here (2 comments on his site because I accidentally hit "enter" too early)
Jake, Jake, Jake. FFS. Left Brain, Right Brain has had the “Whistleblower” papers posted for years now. They weren’t burned, shredded or otherwise destroyed – file thinning was done. Like many corporate places, there are multiple copies of items during projects, and at the end, people get rid of duplicates.
Oh…and Matt posted the Whistleblower stuff OVER ONE YEAR
OOPS. Hit enter too soon.
Matt posted the Whistleblower stuff OVER ONE YEAR LATER than the time your heroes got their hands on it and lied about what it contained.
Between this and the transit bill, I’ve been thinking
You don't think; you stereotype.
Indeed, Antivaxers have falsely blamed HPV vaccines for premature ovarian failure, death, neurologic issues, and of course, promiscuity.
Lots of hand-ringing by the anti-vaxers about that editorial, yet no mention of the innumerable death threats, threats of other bodily harm, etc, that we receive on nearly a daily basis.
What a bunch of hypocrites.
Minneapolis Tribune, 1963
Doctors Give Advice to Mothers Whose Children Have Measles
"Minneapolis is on its way into a 'measles year,' with 2,325 cases reported by last week compared to 755 in the same period last year, said Dr. Karl Lundeberg, chief health officer for the city.
"Children's diseases, particularly red measles, seem to come in cycles of two or three years, said Lundeberg. The cycle pattern occurs because the disease is so highly contagious.
"'Everybody gets the measles during the epidemic, so they become immune,' said Lundeberg. It usually takes two to three years before enough susceptible persons are born to transmit the disease.
"Minnesota's reported measles cases are up from 1,399 through Nov. 16, 1962, to 3,359 on the same date this year, but Dr. D.S. Fleming of the Minnesota Department of Health does not think this indicates a 'measles year' for the state.
"Both Fleming and Lundeberg agreed that a large number of measles cases go unreported because the children involved get well without medical attention."
The article goes on to suggest a variety of activities to keep children occupied while they recuperate from measles at home, such as games, books, do-it-yourself projects, radios, portable televisions, and perhaps even a playmate or two. "Old magazines and blunt scissors, paste, construction paper and cardboard can entertain the sick child, too. The cardboard could form the frame of a doll house, and pictures from the magazines (or an old catalogue) can be pasted on for 'furniture.'"
"There is a measles vaccine out now, and children who have not yet been exposed to the disease should be vaccinated, Fleming said."
Sure, why not? It's a vaccine--what could possibly go wrong?
But with 3,359 cases of measles in Minnesota in 1963, where's the panic? How can they calmly discuss games and crafts and activities for sick kids, when they should be declaring a national emergency, and calling in the Red Cross and the National Guard?
Now, in 2017, Minnesota has a whopping 50 cases of measles, and it's big news all over the country. Orac devotes several articles to the horrific measles tragedy, and reports that many of those 50 cases required hospitalization. Really? Weird, considering most children didn't even require medical attention for measles in 1963. Could we actually be seeing atypical measles caused by the vaccine itself? Or is the hospitalization part just manufactured to create panic, and turn a non-event into a vaccine propaganda opportunity?
I wondered how long it would take someone to post the "Brady Bunch" trope with respect to measles. It's bullshit, of course:
The past and present rebuke you:
"Trope?" I was simply quoting the 1963 Minneapolis Tribune news article, which I have a photo image of. :)
It would be great if people around the country would visit their local libraries and search for similar articles in old newspapers, so we could create a databases to refute the modern deceptive disease fear mongering, which seems to be getting worse by the year. Or perhaps it's just getting more desperate, as more people wake up to the deception.
Amazing (but not really surprising) how NWOie completely ignores the information presented to show that serious complications from measles were not uncommon back then. And, yes, the trope you are using is the "measles is not dangerous" or "measles is no big deal" trope using sources in the popular literature, rather than in the scientific literature, like the one Heather cited:
Here's your trope, which was not quoted from the 1963 article you copied from:
Here's the thing when you don't have any way to prevent a disease like that, it becomes normal. We do have a way now. Why would we go back to a time when there were hundreds of thousands of cases of measles and several hundred deaths each year?
As I pointed out to Heather, the study you both cited does not do what you claim. The study only looks at people who sought medical attention for measles--but most people didn't seek medical attention for measles. The number who had no reason to seek medical attention for measles was likely many times higher than the number who did. As noted in that study, many doctors and patients disputed the need for the vaccine. A study was fortuitously produced to try to convince them otherwise. No surprise there. :)
Yet, oddly enough, you seem unable to cite sources other than a single line from a newspaper article published in 1963.
Let's take a look at a NYT article from March 28, 1963 on the measles vaccine:
Hmmm. That doesn't sound so benign...
"Before measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, an average of 400,000 measles cases were reported each year in the United States. However, because virtually all children acquired measles, the number of cases probably approached 3.5 million per year."
That means that only about 11% of measles cases were reported--meaning the other 89% recovered without any medical intervention at all. Of the 11% reported, 1 in 15 developed complications, according to the 1964 BMJ study you posted earlier.
So, yeah--that sounds pretty benign, considering there were only 2 deaths in every 10,000 reported, and half of those occurred in people with serious chronic disease or disability. Certainly low enough to make it critical to carefully weigh the potential benefits of a vaccine against the known and possible risks of the vaccine.
One notes that NWO completely ignores the many complications of measles other than death, a typical antivaccine ploy.
Pre-1963: 3,500,000 cases of measles every year. Of those, 3,100,000 recover without medical attention. 400,000 seek a doctor's care. Of those, 26,800 develop some kind of complication. 80 die, 40 of whom had some other chronic disease or disability.
How many people vaccinated with the MMR each year have some kind of complication, adverse reaction, lifelong disability? How many die? No one really knows the answer to those questions, and that is by design.
You're a very silly woman. We actually do know the answers to these questions.
Really? What source would refer us to for confirmation of the number of people injured and killed by the MMR? Other than the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program database, since I assume you would agree that's only a partial listing. :)
#24 Science Mom
And I was just thinking it would be nice to get Jake as guest speaker at a meeting in Toronto. He would be a big draw.
# 29 NWO Reporter
You really are a fool.
You know, just when I think The Gnat can't go any lower, he hits a new low, although it's a tight battle between this one and his "WaPo Wants Autistic Men to Fuck Even Less" as to which post is more vile.
From an article about measles in the early 60's, 1 in 15 people suffered a potentially serious complication:
Younger children and infants (those who should be protected from measles when vaccination rates are high) have higher rates of complications and hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, those are the groups most affected by recent outbreaks.
I think you should re-read that article, HeatherVee. The 1-in-15 number applies only to those who sought medical attention for measles. Many people never sought medical attention because they had no need for it whatsoever.
It's interesting that the article notes that a new vaccine will soon be available for measles, but the need or desire for such a vaccine was subject to considerable debate, among both patients and doctors. How fortuitous that a study supporting the desirability of the vaccine was produced in the nick of time. :D
You sure do read a lot into a single line in a newspaper article from 1963:
It says "large number." When hundreds of thousands of people a year are diagnosed with the measles, 10% is a large number.
As for the benefits of the measles vaccine, they actually go beyond just protecting against measles:
Quite a bit has been written about the widespread lack of reporting of measles, due to a lack of need for medical attention for it. Some estimate that only about 10% of people who got measles sought medical attention for it. Of course there is no way to know for sure.
A trip down memory lane....
To quote The Macalope (in a less serious context of course):
Somebody must be really desperate for traffic.
Lots of hand-ringing by the anti-vaxers about that editorial
Please do not traduce the good reputation of hand-bell enthusiasts by associating them with the antivax cause.
While strictly speaking Jake didn't write it, there was his almost complete repost of a piece from The New American. It's rather lacking in science and facts, but would otherwise look like any other piece go anti-vax BS.
The interesting thing is, who is behind The New American? From https://www.thenewamerican.com/about , we read "It is published by American Opinion Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of The John Birch Society".
Let's go back even further - 1914
Don't miss the 'View Full Size' button, NWOR. Maybe you will even want to order a print to remind you of the good ol' days.
Deaths from many common diseases were still rather high in the early part of the 20th century, although mortality was declining as nutrition, sanitation and living conditions began to improve. Mortality had dramatically declined by the mid 20th century, including for diseases for which there has never been a vaccine.
Nice try at using emotion to overcome reason, but that's a pretty worn-out trick for pushing vaccines.
Let's not forget " Autistic women are dykes" post. Jake is in a race with himself to the bottom. Weirdly I thought if Mawson could get a post in academia, even if just visiting professor then maybe someone somewhere is foolish enough to hire Jake Crosby. But given his activities since the presidential campaign, I don't even think that's possible.
Oh, geez. I forgot about that one. That is the one that's really vying for title of most vile with The Gnat's most recent excretion. Ugh. What a despicable, vile young man.
This is where infectious disease anthropology comes in really handy, not that it would matter to a myopic, biased, scientifically-illiterate person such as yourself. Measles, mumps, rubella and other "childhood diseases" didn't have a vaccine nor a cure so the cultural attitudes were different. That is not to say that these diseases didn't terrify people. The attitude toward health-seeking was also different. At that time it was also proposed that children be intentionally exposed to rubella because that was thought to be the lesser of the "evils" in the pre-vaccine era. Medical and public health professionals had to take a pragmatic approach to difficult problems and it is absurd for you to suggest that the approaches over five decades ago should be applicable today.
Johnny: "Let’s go back even further – 1914"
Yup. Measles was an actual concern, at least among those who did statistics:
A STATISTICAL STUDY OF MEASLES (1914)
Wow. That's a great resource.
Care to do a little investigative reporting and tell us how many Minnesotans died of measles in 1963?
"What a despicable, vile young man."
It's merely a phase of life he's going through. Soon enough he'll outgrow that and become a despicable, vile old man.
@Eric #21: Eric, you don't seem to know much about the history of Christianity if you think the Pope speaks for all Christians, implicitly or not.
@Science Mom #52: let me also add that many people did not have health insurance, and that insurance usually didn't cover office visits but hospitalizations only. The insurance system as we know was still evolving back then. If you didn't have health insurance, you didn't go to the doctor or the hospital unless you absolutely had to. Also, there was no EMTALA. If you had no insurance or couldn't pay, the hospitals could and did turn people away.
That accounts for many people not seeking medical care. If they couldn't afford it, they didn't unless they absolutely had to.
Orac: "Wow. That’s a great resource."
As a fan of medical history I sometimes check the PubMed index from oldest to newest. There seems to be some dedicated folks who are making some interesting papers accessible.
That was an intriguing find showing that measles was dangerous enough to warrant lots of statistical attention over a century ago! And especially since on the last page the author shows the frustration as we do with doctors like Sears and Gordon.
Shay: No, I don't. There's just been a lot of whining this legislative session about transit, and if we put a sidewalk tax in operation, that would quite effectively keep bus fares down, metro mobility in operation, and keep the anti-vaxxers at home.
Wow. Jake's posts over on Hans Litten's blog (or is it the other way around? I forget) are getting really weird.
How many people die from the MMR vaccination each year? I'm going to go with zero to one, and I'm being very generous with my estimation. It's just not the kind of thing people die from with regards to vaccination.
Seriously, though, AoA writers (and RFK Jr.) have called vaccination a holocaust. Is it that much of a stretch that Jake relishes in imagining vaccination as a lynching?
Although you might think that working for a child-support collection agency might allow someone with even a freshman-level understanding of biology enough slack time to develop at least a nodding acquaintance with the scientific literature, NWO Reporter still seems to have some difficulties:
1) The CDC-reported DEATH rate from measles during the last large US outbreak (1989-1991) was one hundred times greater than the total risk of ALL serious adverse events from MMR vaccination in a carefully-monitored study of about 1.8 million children. [Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000. 19(12): 1127-34.]
2. During the last large outbreak in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the death rate from measles was about 1 in 153.
3. During the 1988-1990 measles epidemic in California, the death rate was 1 in 219.
[L G Dales, K W Kizer, G W Rutherford, C A Pertowski, S H Waterman, and G Woodford. Measles epidemic from failure to immunize. Western Journal of Medicine. 1993 Oct; 159(4): 455–464.]
So, apparently you are saying the death rate from measles is much higher now than it was in 1963, before the vaccine was licensed. Interesting. Perhaps it has something to do with the atypical measles that is listed among the many adverse events in the manufacturer's vaccine insert.
Seems you don't have any qualms about deceiving people into believing you know how many people are harmed and killed by the vaccine. What a surprise.
BTW, your doxing has a harassing and threatening quality to it. If you want to discuss identities, start with your own, Mr. Creepy.
Wow. Jake’s posts over on Hans Litten’s blog (or is it the other way around? I forget) are getting really weird.
They are both into the "controlled opposition" trope of Trutherism, in which anyone who agrees with you but agrees in the wrong way is consigned to the status of CO -- a tool of the Enemy, set up either to discredit the Cause or to rechannel and defuse popular support for the Cause. Like AoA. Like Wakefield, according to the more militant antivaxxers.
It is like they are trying to cut themselves off from reality and surround themselves in a hermetic solipsistic bubble.
How is his campaign progressing to delegitimise Frontiers?
Oh good grief does this hoary old trope never die? Bollocks. The advent of antibiotics and ventilators are what improved the mortality rate of measles and then plateaued. Sanitation and nutrition attributed to morbidity and mortality improvements for things like cholera and tuberculosis, ironically caused an increase in polio and rubella. Are you going to claim scarlet fever magically disappeared with "improved sanitation and nutrition" now?
The hypocrisy is rich.
You're so full of it. The dramatic declines in death occurred long before antibiotics were in widespread use. But of course you know that. It's the transparent deception that is rich with you...and you strike me as the type of person who considers it wealth.
No, the mortality rate, as was the morbidity, was under-reported by an order of magnitude. Atypical measles is not an adverse event of MMR II but rather of the inactivated measles vaccine licensed in 1963 in the U.S. It is preposterous to use adverse events in a package insert as always or even ever attributable to the vaccine. That is not how package inserts work.
I said ventilators and antibiotics. Your evidence for your extraordinary claim is?
"Extraordinary claim." LOL. I can remember going over the evidence several times just on this blog. It's hardly esoteric knowledge. The point in reiterating it for you is? :D
Then you'll have no problem retrieving said evidence, specifically, "The dramatic declines in death occurred long before antibiotics were in widespread use.", and that atypical measles is an adverse event of the MMR jab.
So you've never read the MMR vaccine insert, Science Mommy? Oh, yeah--that stuff doesn't mean anything. :D
Seriously, there's no point in discussing evidence with you. You're a caricature of yourself, or rather, of your sock. Discussing evidence with you is as pointless as trying to convince a snake to become a vegetarian. It's as futile as telling a rat not to breed. I could come up with more metaphors, but I don't have the motivation right now. :D
Could you please present your evidence that the information in the references that I cited in my comment #65 is inaccurate?
I'm not sure what the resistance is, you made a claim, you put up your evidence for it. It's as though you're embarrassed.
Indeed. I had forgotten how perseverating and resistant to evidence NWOie could be.
NWO Troll: "The dramatic declines in death occurred long before antibiotics were in widespread use"
So what? What about other side effects from measles like deafness, blindness, paralysis and other neuro deficits? Oh, please educate us on the benefits of getting measles versus the "evil" of preventing disease with a couple of MMR doses.
Just provide us the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers than the MMR vaccine introduced in the USA in 1978 causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella.
Don't forgot about these brilliant headlines, Orac:
Jimmy Kimmel’s Son Inherits Dad’s Hole in Heart
Short Bus Stops at Sesame Street
Autism’s Gadfly on Why Nobody Wants to Fuck Us
New measles cases being reported in Crow Wing County.
Leaving aside your petty condescension, we have gone through this already. Vaccine Package Inserts, like all medicine inserts, are CYA documents written by lawyers. Relying on them to build a case against vaccines is very silly.
And the hypocrisy of waving the inserts as evidence and ignoring everything else put out by the manufacturer.
You can't have it both ways.
And it looks like the Gnat is desperate for attention....because his one reliable commenter is dragging him further down the rabbit hole.
Jake, the more you whine about not being able to attract a mate, the more I'm convinced the problem is you, not your AS or the AS of any young woman you've approached.
I've seen the video of you trying to show off and ambush a panel of speakers at school. Looks aren't your problem. It's your attitude. Girls can smell the BSC on you from a mile away.
Seriously, dude. Get some counseling. Otherwise if you do by some miracle manage to get a girlfriend, she'll be just as broken as you.
Sure thing, Ginny.
Yea Jake we get it; you're a Milo wannabe. Rest assured you're every bit as pathetic and repugnant as he is only without the audience.
On the rare occasions when I do look at Jake's comments, it seems as though Hans Litten/Sophie Scholl/Hans Scholl/Georg Eisler/White Rose is always complaining about being banned at AoA, only to promptly turn up back spamming away over there.
Did Jake *really* post those links to his blog as if he's proud of them? Just when I thought he couldn't get more ridiculous.
"you’re a Milo wannabe."
Yeah, autists aren't creative. We have to observe other people and see what works and what doesn't. So thanks for the comparison, Camille!
Quite a few of my autistic friends are extremely creative.
Don't blame autism if you're not.
"my autistic friends are extremely creative."
They're not, they're just taking after extremely creative people. You just don't know who they are.
It's a little arrogant of you to think you can assess the creativity of people you do not know.
I would recommend, again, not assuming lack of creativity applies to others.
"You just don’t know who they are."
Really? That's you're comeback?
Jesus, dude. How old are you?
I wasn't trying to give a "comeback," I was simply stating fact.
"not assuming lack of creativity applies to others."
It's not an assumption with other autists, it's true.
I don't know, Jake. It's pretty creative to twist things around in such a knot that they end up slipping into that alternate dimension, Crosby's Labyrinth. For example:
1. Someone says that people who spread misinformation and lies about the MMR vaccine should be hanged. In Crosby's Labyrinth, that someone says Black people should he hanged, not the people who lied and misinformed the Black people about the MMR. No, the Black people themselves. That's pretty creative.
2. You can't seem to find a decent mate. In Crosby's Labyrinth, you can't seem to find a decent mate because the Washington Post doesn't want you to, and because autistic women are more likely to be lesbians. That's pretty creative.
Let me try this whole creative thing...
In Crosby's Labyrinth, Black people should be hanged because they spread lies and misinformation about the MMR vaccine. Then Jake quotes lies and misinformation as told by a Black person, who is parroting Andrew Wakefield and friends. Thus, you agree that Andrew Wakefield and friends are spreading lies and misinformation about the MMR vaccine.
You heard it here first, folks. Jacob Lawrence Crosby, PhD candidate student (maybe? still?) in epidemiology at the University of Texas, seems to agree that the things said about the MMR vaccine by Andrew Wakefield and friends are lies and misinformation.
Pretty creative, right?
Speak for yourself Jake; if you want to idolise and imitate a creep like Milo because you lack creativity and integrity, go right ahead. But don't project your dimness on others. And you really are dim if you think I'm Camille; I see you haven't bothered to even try and compare writing styles.
Then act like it. Your attitude is pre-adolescent. This is a forum for adults.
Why don't you apply that training you've been getting in epidemiology, and actually make a defensible argument without citing Andrew Wakefield?
Trying to recommend Jaqueline to act like an adult with a single comment have the probably of 0.000000000002% of working given the stubbornness of our residents gnat. If it is any indication, it takes years of effort to undo a childhood of indoctrination in an autistic person.
That would probably require an entirely new skill set. As far as we know, Jake has only ever been a student. We have no evidence that he's every done anything other than sit in a classroom, and try to soak up some knowledge. We darn sure don't have any evidence that he's ever had a job, or ever had a dollar that he earned on his own.
You might ask 'what about his writing, isn't that beyond being a student'?
It's a fair question, but I'd say it's a sporadic hobby, and if you look at his blog, you'll see he doesn't do much actual writing, just C&P from others. About the only original contribution to the human experience he's made is his 666 degrees of conspiracy theory.
Alain: I'm not going to let Jake use autism as his excuse for his infantile behavior. He's a grown man and he can control his own impulses.
Johnny: Good point. He may be a student, but we have no way of measuring that he actually learned anything.
Perhaps I should have spoken only about upbringing and left out the autism diagnosis. I agree.
Another thing I need to specify is that I did some basic studies about autism brain architecture and speak or write about autism when relating to that, not necessarily the diagnostic criteria or personality but obviously, I will have to do a royal lot of studying to tie all that together.
Alain (also autistic)
Johnny: We have no evidence that he’s every done anything other than sit in a classroom, and try to soak up some knowledge.
Johnny: We don't even have any evidence of THAT. Yes, we know he was enrolled, but he seems to have spent all his socalled classroom time with a Geier. And like Panacea said, he never learned a thing. No wonder he voted for Orangey, another man who spent a lot of his parent's money learning nothing at all.
He did graduate GW with an MPH, so I think we can say he learned what answers to put on an exam to get a passing grade. But I'd agree that we don't have any evidence that any of that stuck with him.
Consider that in all of his blog, nothing concerns the science of the 'autism epidemic'. The closest thing I remember is they he said Hooker's 'simple statistics' were indeed valid, but he never said why. In the past, I've called it a 'gossip column', and I've seen no reason to think otherwise.
Sloppy reporting, NWO. Very sloppy. The 1964 BMJ study took place in England and Wales, not the US. Therefore, the 10% US notification rate does not apply to the BMJ study, you need to use the England and Wales notification rate. And guess what? The BMJ study included the England and Wales notification rate, at approximately 80%. That's eight times higher than the US! That also means that all the other numbers you calculated are off by an order of magnitude.
Sad that the gnat has been so brainwashed that he claims autistic people (NOT autists) real people, can't be creative but only copy.
Try Google, Jake.
Can't prove it, but i bet many famous scientists, authors and artists were on the spectrum.
Isaac Newton, certainly. Don't tell Jake that his later psychotic episodes probably were literally mercury poisoning from his alchemical experiments....
I have my suspicions about P.A.M. Dirac. Maybe Cavendish, although Cavendish might simply have disliked people, and who can blame him?
I actually read Crosby's comment about the non-creative nature of autistic people as an attempt at sarcasm. YMMV.
It wasn't sarcasm.
The Gnat doesn't do sarcasm.
There's a woman named Ginger Taylor, who is active in the anti-vaccine movement and in the "autism is a vaccine injury" movement. Taylor has for years been publishing lists of papers that she claims "show vaccines cause autism". She adds and subtracts papers and reshuffles the order. The list is now up to 131 papers. I've read each of the papers and commented on them.
Liz - Just like reshuffled sub-prime adjustable mortgages, grade dogshit.
Almost, but not entirely off topic -
Over at AoA, today's article is about how the Catholic Church is impinging on the religious freedom of some anti-vax catholics.
It seems some bishops have declared that there is no religious reason to not be vaccinated, and therefore, to attend their schools, the students must be up to date on vaccines. But some (well, at least one) anti-vax catholic parent says 'no, you must accept my request for a religious exemption so that my kid can attend your religious school', and they have gone to court about it.
So we have a catholic asking the government to order the Catholic Church to accept a religious exemption to a church mandated requirement, in the name of religious freedom, so their little disease vector can go to a private catholic school.
Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.
That's either a tautology, or an assertion against evidence. Sure, there are cranks at AoA who malign all vaccines, including HPV. But correlation ≠ causality, and you don't even have much of that. That is, there's no evidence that the mass of non-vaxers involved in creating low uptake rates over the last two decades or so started with a general vaxophobia that found an outlet in tying autism to the MMR. On the contrary, this generic anti-vax was only ever a handful of fringe loonies before Jenny McCarthy and Andy Wakefield pegged vaccines as the cause of autism. There's no question that ASD is misunderstood, demonized, and scares parents sh!tless.
It takes some powerful emotion – often tied to largely repressed childhood trauma and expressed via symbolic projection – to get people to act with the type of irrationality displayed by anti-vaxers (as opposed to just over-cautious non-vaxers). A core projection becomes something like a first principle as a defense mechanism shielding the real trauma. To bolster that defense, additional wacky may be piled on to make it internally consistent, and pump it up. Thus 'autism is horror' —> 'it must be the vaccines' —> 'it must be a conspiracy' —> 'all vaccines are destructive'.
Just look at Andy's output. Vaxxed, probably the paradigmatic text of anti-vax, devotes little screen time to vaccines and the Whistleblower CT, and is full of pathos-directed footage of autistic kids edited for scare effect. ASD is likened to any number of horrific diseases, e.g. the comparisons to Tuskeegee, or to horrific torture and death, e.g. the Holocaust. To see this as only a means to attack vaccines, rather than the root of that attack, would require extraordinary evidence. As fear and loathing of ASD, anti-vax makes a kind of sense. As proceeding from some root hysteria about all vaccines, it would just be insanity, and insanity is always about 'something else' warped into wierdness. If the 'something else's weren't ASD, you'd see a distribution in the crankiness, folks OK with the MMR but freaked out about some other vaccine. You get that to a small extent with HPV, which has it's own fairly obvious 'something else'. But the vast majority of anti-vaxers are all about ASD, only bringing in other vaccines as frosting or elaboration.
Besides, our concern is about public health, and in looking at the parents who make the uptake rates drop, we see relatively few hard-core AoA type AVs, and lots of folks who are just scared of autism, which is why I referred to them as 'non-vaxers' – just to not get hung-up on a no-true-Scotsman tautological definition, or a composition fallacy.
Finally, on the evidence of the comments threads here, you can argue against anti-vax trolls by proclaiming the science on vax safety until you're blue in the face, with no visible effect except their positions becoming even more vehement. On the other hand, (Jake notwithstanding) challenge them on their fear, loathing, and treatment of ASD kids, and they shut up or change the subject – because it hits home.
Look, I'm not just being argumentative. There's a very real public health threat here, a social wrong being inflicted by Andy's gang on innocent victims. If we want to work to help parents from setting sucked into that, we have to understand how it works. Again, this isn't about the hard-core nut-jobs, but folks like the Minnesota Somalis who can be influenced by them. Clearly, the MN outbreak is all about fear of autism, and the public health officials have discovered that some different understanding of autism is required in combination with better info on vaccines to assuage the vax-paranoia. Future outbreaks are likely to follow a similar pattern, rooted in communities that are in some way 'new' to the autism/vaccine dynamic.
Looking at post-Disneyland Cali, and the political terrain shift that enabled the passage of SB277, I conclude that where we are now is that fear of measles must reach a state where it counterbalances fear of autism to keep uptake on track, and in vulnerable populations that only occurs when an outbreak is newsworthy enough to penetrate everyday consciousness and raise concern. So unless we can dial down the fear of autism, we'll likely face a cycle of increasing clusters, followed by outbreaks, followed by a pulling back on non-vaxing, followed by a quiet period, followed by a slow rise in new or somehow revitalized clusters – lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum...
Nope, it's an observation based on experience and, yes, evidence from history. I don't have time to go into it now (mainly because I have a class to teach in 15 minutes), but if you look at the long history of the antivaccine movement and not just its latest iteration that arose in the late 1990s, if you go all the way back to the 1980s and then 150 years earlier, it's quite obvious that it is always, first and foremost, all about the vaccines. The fears vary, but it's always the vaccines. Autism is the main fear now, but before it was something else. Once the causes of autism are better understood antivaxers will move on to another condition. Same as it ever was.
The good news is that in response to the outbreak, many families are vaccinating. The current rate of vaccines being given in the Somali-American community is over 10x the rate prior to the outbreak. Hopefully, there will not be a backslide once the cases peter out.
Johnny: He did graduate GW with an MPH, so I think we can say he learned what answers to put on an exam to get a passing grade.
His parents paid other people to sit his tests for him.
Terrie: Hopefully, there will not be a backslide once the cases peter out.
Not a chance. The best thing we can do for the Somali population is sundown the Twin Cities and keep the suburbanites off our streets. People like their measles.
(Seriously, what is it with suburbs? They've become sociopathic bougie paradises.)
Any of the anti-vaccination literature from the late 1800's I've read sounds like it could have been posted yesterday on any anti-vaccination site.
People who are unvaccinated or have natural immunity are healthier
Vaccines cause diseases
Sanitation is the only thing that worked against disease.
Including HPV? That's a prime target. (Nobody seems to agree with my personal theory, that it represents a threat to the perpetuation of the antivaccine species, but they're all over it one way or the other.)
Sadmar @118: As a counter-example, many people in all levels of society were opposed to the smallpox vaccine, both when it was first introduced (mostly due to lack of understanding) but also pretty much up until it was no longer needed.
In a lot of ways vaccination is counter-intuitive (you want to poke me with a disease?!) so there will always be a subset of the population that is opposed.
What's different now is the tying of vaccines to other, unrelated diseases and disorders.
People who are unvaccinated or have natural immunity are healthier
Vaccines cause diseases
Sanitation is the only thing that worked against disease.
"Contamination of the bloodline with cross-species DNA" is an old, old favourite. Cowpox will turn us all into cows!
HDB @125: The Regency-period cartoons with people growing cows from their knees and shoulders really encapsulate the fear people had about cowpox vs smallpox.
They're also delightfully well drawn with a great balance of grandeur and gross. (They had a lot of practice from always drawing the Price Regent with gout.)
sadmar: I have my grandfather's diary from when he was in the Army during WWI. For most of his life, he blamed vaccination for his getting . . . and nearly dying from . . . typhoid fever in January, 1918. Ironically, the illness probably saved him from dying in combat as he was at the time in a field artillery unit that when it deployed suffered very high casualties. He was forced to stay behind, transferred to a balloon company, and the extended training period meant he didn't reach the front line until Armistice Day.
However, an entry several days earlier about a sick buddy makes me think otherwise. Grandpa simply applied the cause and effect fallacy to his illness.
His attitude wasn't uncommon for the time.
None of the replies to #118 address the point about whether root fear of vaccines could capture enough adherants to threaten communal immunity. Nor do they make a persuasive case that such fears have anywhere near the potency of fear of autism. Nor do the references to earlier iterations of anti-vax or other vaccines demonized recently account for the autism freak-outs at the heart of Wakefield's propaganda output, or the way discussing fear of autism short circuits the trolls in the way pro-vax facts does not.
Like I said, no-true-Scotsman tautology. By definition, anti-vaxers rant about vaccines. The persitence, such as it is, of this through history is best explained by vaccination being a ripe landing point for projection of deeper fears. I'd call it counter-instinctual, rather than counter-intuitive: natural selection has left our species with an aversion to having our bodies pierced by sharp objects, especially when the needle penetration is followed by a painful lump that takes a fair while to dissipate. But instinct alone cannot explain the sort of irrationality involved in anti-vax, and, in fact, if we look at those different iterations, the base bug-up-the-arse being expressed via the irrational vaxanoia isn't hard to see. From fear of misunderstood contagions in the 19th Century to fear of sexuality with HPV anti-vax in the 21st.
But, as I said, my aim is not to score argument points*, but to think through the most effective means of keeping the ranks of non-vaxers from swelling. To that end, Orac's original "Possibly," is assent enough. There's no reason NOT to include as part of support campaigns for the MMR material directed at better understanding autism – including it's probable genetic basis – de-stigmatizing it, and supporting more access to support services for ASD families. I didn't suggest doing this INSTEAD of 'education on the science of vax safety', just making sure both bases are covered as best we can.
* I don't need to, I'm too far ahead on this one to be caught. ;-)
Are you kidding? Sadmar you're way behind on this.
Let's look at your first statement: "whether root fear of vaccines could capture enough adherants to threaten communal immunity"
Have you not been paying attention to what's happening in Minneapolis or at Disneyland?
Autism is simply the latest boogeyman in a long line of boogeymen.
The rest of your post is just smoke and mirrors.
Exactly. sadmar owes me a new keyboard too, because I nearly spit up the iced tea I was drinking when he said that none of the responses addressed "“whether root fear of vaccines could capture enough adherants to threaten communal immunity." I mean, holy hell. It's happened. Hardcore antivaxers (which have always been a minority) demonize vaccines as the cause of autism, asthma, autoimmune diseases, neurodevelopment disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, and any of a number of other chronic diseases and conditions. The information is enough to turn parents predisposed to distrust medicine or big pharma or the government into vaccine-averse parents who either don't vaccinate, don't vaccinate on time, or "selectively" vaccinate. The fear is of the vaccines, and that fear can lead and has led to degradation of herd immunity in multiple places all over the world.
...And always and forever--for 250 years--it's all about Purity of Essence: P. O. E....
Quoth Orac two weeks ago:
And five years ago, Orac sayeth:
This is kinda OT, but you guys are the best bunch I know of who might know how to help me with a stick situation:
This weekend at my daughter E's birthday party, I met "Donna", the mother of E's close friend "Ryan". Donna's two kids are both on the spectrum, with the younger one more severely affected than Ryan. She seems like a warm and educated woman, and we exchanged contact info to try to get the kids together this summer to play, and I noticed her business card mentioned she was a physical therapist and NeuroMovement practitioner -- apparently this is based somewhat on the Feldenkrais theories. A little research leads me to think this is somewhat woo-woo, and therein lies my dilemma.
My daughter is on the spectrum, too, although the Aspie end of it, so naturally we spent time discussing autism. With her having severely affected kids, I cannot even imagine the difficulties she must deal with on a daily basis, nor have I walked a mile in her shoes, so I really don't want to presume on such a slight acquaintance to judge her career or treatment choices, especially since my feel is that they certainly shouldn't do any harm to kids,
I really don't want to be that jerk who thinks she can solve someone's problems for them by just getting them to "understand", and I will probably encounter her when our kids get together, and I like chatting with her. Maybe if I get to know Donna much better, I might someday feel comfortable bringing up questions or issues with her NeuroMovement, but it wouldn't be appropriate now. So, how do I respect her choices without endorsing them. I just can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about NM either, and I'm running out of neutral responses like "how interesting" or "I'm glad Ryan is making so much progress", etc.
How do I avoid being a jerk but also avoid supporting woo?
Ack, that's a sticky situation,I mean!
@Alison: I have a few "woo-prone" friends, one who was seeing a "neurophysiology chiropractor" for some somatic issues. Friend would gush about the "doctor" who was helping. I just kept saying that it seemed to be doing so much good, I was glad the exercises and treatments were helping.
You can respect Donna's choices by continuing as you are, saying you are interested in hearing more but at the current time not interested in trying it as your child is doing well with her current care providers.
Now 58 cases of measles in Minnesota.New cases in Le Seur County.
From Minnesota Public Radio
HCMC nurses work the phones trying to convince parents to get their kids vaccinated, and it appears to be paying off. The Minnesota Department of Health said that over the past two weeks, Somali-American children are getting immunized against measles at a rate of 500 shots a week — 17 times the normal rate.
Apparently fear of measles is greater than antivax propaganda.
The Minnesota Department of Health said that over the past two weeks, Somali-American children are getting immunized against measles at a rate of 500 shots a week — 17 times the normal rate.
Apparently fear of measles is greater than antivax propaganda.
*Files this under hitchhiker, vanishing. *
Seriously nothing is stronger than the fear of vaccines. Once a population is made fearful, you can never convince them to vaccinate again-which is why Minneapolis and St Paul need to be independent of suburbia and keep suburbanites out of the cities.
Thanks for the advice -- that is a good phrase I will borrow :-)
PGP, It's not surprising they are vaccinating now. Based on previous news stories and quotes from members of the community, parents thought it was safe not to vaccinate because they looked around and saw no measles for their kids to catch. Now that they know it's not true, anti-vaxxers will lose some of their foothold in the community. Not all of it. There will always be diehards. But the on-the-fencer will now be swayed the other way.
-which is why Minneapolis and St Paul need to be independent of suburbia and keep suburbanites out of the cities.
More mindless bigotry from PGP. How many of the current measles cases are in the suburbs?
I don't think that's her point.
PGP thinks that us evil suburbanites go into cities and convince the local populace to *not* vaccinate, and while we're there we go to libraries and museums and bust up the place, because we hate learning.
Shay SImmons: How many of the current measles cases are in the suburbs?
At least two, but that's not the point. All of the so-called Canary Party people live in the suburbs. I don't know about outstate Age of Autism people, but I'd bet you'd be hardpressed to find one who lives in a city.
Johnny: You forgot 'voting in people who will screw with the transit system for laughs,' 'whine about seeing non-white people on the streets' and 'having public fainting spells in the editorial section' as suburbanite sports.
As far as libraries and museums go, the problem is that they both whine about the funding and take up space that could be used by people who actually want to learn things. I've seen way too many creepy zombie home-schooled children at my job.
PGP, sometimes your thing about the 'burbs reminds me of other commenters with an idee fixee.
And if you turn around some of the things you say about people who live in the suburbs and said them about people who live in cities, well, I hope you can see why a lot of people here describe those comments as "bigoted".
Your thoughts and beliefs are your own, but maybe try not saying them here for, say, a week and see if others respond to you differently.
All of the so-called Canary Party people live in the suburbs.
Along with several million people who are not members of the Canary Party.
PGP's seemingly accelerating descent into unmitigated rank idiocy aside, two items:
1. Anybody seen Denice lately?
2. The Canary's 2016 year-end report is amusing in a sad sort of way. But hey, Ginger Taylor got $500 out of the deal.