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Dear Anti-vaxxer: This is why I still do not care for you.

December 9, 2013

Hi Reader,

A while ago I wrote a post entitled, “Dear Anti-vaxxer: This is why I do not care for you”. It is coming up on two years since I wrote it, and I’d hoped that things would change in that time, but for the most part they have not–with one exception. The online presence of people who are fighting back against the misinformation and lies of the anti-vax movement is increasing daily. Voices for Vaccines is one new group that is organizing around the promotion of science to combat the anti-vax movement. I recommend that you look into their group if you haven’t already. I am not personally involved in this group, by the way, so before any anti-vaxxers reading this start screaming “conspiracy!” you can stick a cork in it already. I am not even sure if they want to be mentioned on this blog, but too late now.

In the meantime, I present my updated version of why I still do not care for anti-vaxxers.

1. You still believe that your opinion should be respected

One of the most common angry responses to my original post was that “all opinions should be respected”. This is bullshit. The people responsible for spreading this fallacy are ruining the next generation. For example, I do not need to respect the opinion of racists, bigots, or people who believe that Uggs are still fashionable, right? This type of attitude is bleeding into classrooms everywhere (though, as you might imagine, not mine).  I must again refer to the Poland and Jacobson quote

Ultimately, society must recognize that science is not a democracy in which the side with the most votes or the loudest voices gets to decide what is right“.

Anti-vaxxers still fail to understand that to have a scientific debate, you must have some science.  The notion that I or anybody else must respect an opinion about a scientific subject, but about which the co-debater has absolutely no knowledge, is beyond ludicrous. Your opinion is dangerous and misinformed. No respect is forthcoming, now or ever.

2. You still think that you know more than 99.99% of the scientific community.

I have to wonder how you get out of bed every day when everyone around you is so stupid and you are so smart. How can you board an aircraft when the aerospace and mechanical engineers who built it do not know as much as you do? Oh yeah, that’s right. For almost every technological advance, you trust the experts. But not for vaccinations–oh, no.  In a phenomenal feat of mental gymnastics, you and your peeps  are still convinced  that the more qualified a person is to talk about vaccination, the less he or she actually knows. You call them arrogant. You call them elitist.  And yet, there can be no greater arrogance than that possessed by one with no degree in any field of biological sciences who still believes that she knows more than 99.99% ofthe healthcare community.  Why have you decided that you are smarter than folks who have dedicated their lives to the science that keeps you from dying of infectious disease? It remains a mystery.

3. Yep, you are still selfish.

One meme circulating widely in the anti-vax community this year said something to the effect of “I am not responsible for the herd. I am only responsible for my children”.  It is downright hilarious that you folks do not realize how selfish and disgusting this viewpoint remains.  First of all, being responsible for your children means you should not be a numbskull and that you should listen to your doctor when it comes to medical advice. Second, the concept that you need to tend only to your little snowflake is a great example of how our society has devolved.  By not vaccinating, you are jeopardizing every person in your community. But you really don’t care about your newborn niece or nephew, do you? I saw a lot of angst being posted online this year ,where anti-vaxxers were not being allowed to visit newborn family members, to which I say: HELL YEAH! You don’t think measles is disease to be concerned with, because you are not very smart, but your sister/aunt/niece/brother does. What is most amazing is your self-victimization when someone calls you out on your anti-vax crap. Here’s a novel idea: why don’t you try listening to their concerns? You are quite happy to parasite away off of the good health of your vaccinated community instead, and you are proud of it. There is something profoundly wrong with that.

4. You are still purposely trying to manipulate others.

Yes Virginia, the news story comment bombing by anti-vaxxers has finally met its match this year. You march right in after a vaccine news piece declaring that you shall educate us, one and all. Sadly, you still don’t have any useful information to share.  You post emotional anecdotes and sketchy “articles” that don’t survive any sort of critical analysis whatsoever. Your strategy is to come in great numbers and make it difficult for any rational person to actually address all of your assorted links to anti-vax websites and articles. You don’t actually want to have a debate. You want to shout so loudly that no one can hear over you. You do not care that your posts are flat-out lies, because they support your worldview that you.are.on.to.something. But you’re not. You are, quite simply, WRONG.

5. You wield autism as a club in the most offensive way possible.

This is a tremendously sensitive issue, but one of the things that broke my heart when I wrote this post originally was hearing from parents of autistic children who are outraged that the anti-vax movement uses their children as warnings about vaccines. Yes, I have family members who are on the spectrum. No, vaccines did not cause them to develop autism. This has been shown over and over and over again. So, first of all, any statements warning parents not to vaccine or their child might develop autism is quite simply factually incorrect. Second of all: piss off. Your message seems to be that you would rather have a child who dies than one with autism. So, again: piss off.

6. You are still causing disease outbreaks.

Yeah, I know, you still don’t think measles are dangerous, but you are, as usual, wrong. In addition, the head of the CDC called you out this year for being a responsible party for the measles outbreaks worldwide.  You don’t agree. You are, as usual, wrong. Your contorted attempts to rationalize why anti-vaxxers are not to blame for these outbreaks have been amusing to some degree, but they are yet another example of your inability to think clearly through this issue.

7. You still don’t understand that by spreading the anti-vaccine message, you are endangering your own children.

I understand: You refuse to vaccinate your own children. There is nothing I can say to change your mind about this subject. However, the vaccinated are protecting your children, every day.  You crow about how “healthy” your unvaccinated kids are (though many posts and comments  put the lie to these claims). You do not understand that the reason your unvaccinated child has not gotten a vaccine-preventable disease is because your neighbors did vaccinate. So why are you so insistent about spreading the word to eschew vaccination? You are popping your own protective bubble.

And that, dear anti-vaxxer, is why I still do not care for you.

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13 Comments
  1. Chris permalink

    “people who believe that Uggs are still fashionable, right?”

    Were they ever fashionable?

    One of my “favorite” claims is that “The truth will come out eventually.” Yet, they just keep making stuff up and won’t answer simple questions.

    I remember about ten years ago being told that some big evidence was coming out that definitely proved vaccines caused autism, It turned out to the silly paper from SafeMinds published in Medical Hypothesis called “Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning.” They just made it up, and did not understand that they had it completely wrong.

    And another classic was some guy who came on to Respectful Insolence with the ‘nym “Smarter than You” saying:

    Something has been in the making since 2004 that is going to make many dead people roll over in their graves. It will be completed by about October/November 2010, but it may be a little bit after that when you all become very familiar with it. But once you do, you will all finally see where you went wrong, because you most certainly have, and even the worst of the worst of them, such as Paul Offit, will even finally acknowledge just how wrong he was once and for all.

    It has been three years since that guy showed up to give us the big news.

    • “Were they ever fashionable?”

      Lol, an excellent point. Your examples of the anti-vaxxer in action are truly perfect. It really does remind me of what’s happening with HPV vaccination right now. Five years ago it was trendy and vogue-ish for even some epidemiologists to express skepticism about the vaccine; now, not so much. It’s a vaccine that prevents cancer, for Pete’s sake. I blame the backlash almost 100% on Merck’s aggressive advertising when it was released. Just my opinion though.

      • Chris permalink

        Don’t get me started on the HPV stories. I have found that in some cases where the parent claims it was the vaccine, the publicly available documents on the US Court website show other more possible reasons. Like in one case where the young lady had two abnormal EKGs.

        The aggressive marketing had a bit to do with it. Though I also find those that are moralizing it because it is a sexually transmitted disease. Apparently all a young lady has to do is to never have sex until she is properly married, and to never in a situation where she could be raped. Simple, right? Though no one mentions if the husband needs to be tested.

    • Interestingly, phrases like “the truth will come out eventually” are exactly the forms of words used by Obama “birthers”, who believe that the POTUS is Not A Citizen/Born In Kenya/mooslemland/Mars etc. etc. Well, that plus their second favorite mantra “all we need is one honest judge”. I recognize the similarities in the behavioral pathologies, and also their resemblance to the documented behaviors of members of religious cults.

      • Chris permalink

        It happened again just a few days ago on a varicella vaccine post:

        I’ll be vindicated when there is absolute proof that vaccine causes adverse and serious effects in many and sites such as this, soliciting more toxins to our children without adequate time for experimental studies, will cease to exist.

        I’d be more amused if this kind of thinking did not cause children to needlessly suffer from vaccine preventable diseases. You will note that citations are seldom given, but there are plenty of sock puppets.

        • Yes, once again I recognize yet another rhetorical device much beloved of birthers…”Any Day Now”. They fully expect total vindication in the immediate future.

        • What is especially funny about that quote is that the writer seems to think that websites would be shut down for providing incorrect information. All she needs to do is look at the anti-vax sites to know that this is not true, at least in the U.S.

  2. lilady permalink

    I managed to “out” one of those mommies who have come out of the woodwork to defend Dr. Harper and the parents who appeared on Katie Couric’s show.

    This rather Persistent Posting Parent posted a number of comments on Emily Willingham’s Forbes blog about her daughter’s “Gardasil vaccine injuries”, with enough information about her daughter’s purported “vaccine injury” for me to check out what her daughter’s medical history is…which the PPP had posted on SaneVax.

    SaneVax is the gathering place for Persistent Posting Parents who are convinced that their daughters’ vague physical symptoms/emotional problems/fatigue/psychiatric/conversion disorders and actual severe illnesses or deaths, must be associated with teh ebil Gardasil vaccine. There are multiple testimonials from moms and their daughters on SaneVax.

    In spite of Persistent Posting Parent’s quite extensive rendering of her daughter’s medical history on her SaneVax page, the PPP (somehow) managed to omit the collective opinions of treating physicians, that her daughter’s medical problems were NOT Gardasil-vaccine-related. I (gently) reminded the PPP……

    “I heard of a case similar to (redacted) child’s case. IIRC, the physicians diagnosed pyomyocitis…usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus, diagnosed by MRI, treated with IV antibiotics, and definitely NOT associated with a recent history of vaccination:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944229

  3. Thanks so much. You echoed my thoughts precisely. We had a measles outbreak here and under the news headline that all the infected were unvaccinated they still kept trying to comment that it started with vaccinated person. We had all these anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist bombing our site. Going on about greedy doctors. I had to explain we’re Canadian. We have socialized medicine. Vaccines are not usually given by doctors most are done in health clinics by nurses. I outed one (she was semi-local but in a crunchy industry) “I am only here to ask questions” she whined repeatedly but she had linked to whale. I Posted that she was there to manipulate, her “questions” were leading and she only wanted her misinformation to be confirmed that measles was a mild disease. She deleted her previous posts but kept whining how mean I was to out her. She had the gall to say to me she was sorry I had measles encephalitis but that was 40-50 years ago it wouldn’t be the same now. Can I strangle the internet?

    • lilady permalink

      Well now you have informed me about the Canadian system, Harriet. I just assumed that infants and children (and adults, as well), received their vaccines at the time of “well baby” and “well child” visits, as is done in the United States.

      People who have a private doctor (mainly those who have health insurance), take their kids for periodic visits for check-ups (especially during 0-12 months of age). Public clinics are always a possibility for pediatric care with pediatricians (or Nurse Practitioners) on duty during set clinic hours.

      Some people have crappy private medical insurance and their kids are eligible for VFC vaccine (which is the only source of childhood vaccines in public clinics). Uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid or qualified for care as American Indian/indigenous heritage meets eligibility requirements for VFC Vaccines. If nurses are on duty at a private practice or a public health clinic, then they administer all the vaccines due.

      http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram/

      I’m glad you like my “outing. Hey, you post about your child’s “vaccine damage”…you’re fair game.

    • Sounds like a typical encounter with an anti-vaxxer, I’m sorry to say. They are always the victims when they are called out on their bullshit. Good job in fighting the good fight!

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