Anti Vaccination and the Public Health Safety Issue.
As I finish this article, Washington State has declared a state of emergency to contain a measles outbreak. This outbreak is a result of extremely high vaccination exemptions in Clark County. 49 cases of measles have been confirmed, 1 confirmed MMR vaccine recipient, with 6 individuals’ vaccination statuses not yet verified. That means that at least 42 of 49 cases are unvaccinated individuals. Read More
Exemption rates in Clark County are at 7.5%. That means at least 7.5% of Clark County students are highly susceptible to preventable diseases and have the capability to spread them far and wide.
In fact, this outbreak was not confined to Clark County. There have actually been countless outbreaks around the world and across the United States leading up to the measles outbreak in Washington State. Including Israel, Ukraine, and New York.
It has been estimated that 1% to 3% of children are excused from immunization because of these exemptions, but in some communities the exemption rate is as high as 20%.
The anti-vaccine movement is comprised of people around the globe who believe and publicize that vaccines are harmful and/or useless. You know, the stuff we’ve used to prevent and eradicate some of the most painful, deadly diseases on the planet? Soccer moms around the world think they know what’s best for their children’s health. By denying hundreds of years of research by scientists and doctors, they don’t just endanger the life of their child, they endanger the entire human race.
Watch this happy-looking CDC measles vaccination video.
Reasons for vaccine hesitancy and objections
There is a higher instance of non-vaccination in children without health insurance, on medicaid, or in rural areas. Children from lower income households are less likely to receive the full vaccine schedule. Perhaps unbeknownst to their parents, the United States provides free vaccines to children under the Vaccines for Children program. If you are one of these parents I highly recommend utilizing these free government services.
As far as I saw, most mainstream religions either don’t have an objection to vaccines, or their doctrines would actually encourage the use of vaccines. Those who seek religious exemptions are usually part of smaller sect religions or have more personal belief systems (or make it up).
There are two main religions in the United States that oppose the use of vaccines: the Dutch Reformed Church and Church of Christ, Scientist. That’s right, Christian Science followers have a comma in their religion’s name. They are a radical sect of Christianity that believes bad health is an illusion and can be prayed away. They refuse medical intervention and let their children die.
If that isn’t child abuse, I don’t know what is. Not only child abuse, but forced Darwinism.
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Perceived risk of disease is low.
Have you seen polio in person? Few people have or know that they have. The low rates of vaccine preventable disease cases may convince people that once widespread diseases are now nothing to worry about.
Some diseases were commonplace in our parents’ or grandparents’ time, but they have all but disappeared in modern cities. If you haven’t seen a disease in person, it’s hard to understand the risk that these diseases pose.
Many think diseases were disappearing before vaccines, proving that vaccines are not the cause of disease reduction. They believe healthcare, hygiene, and sanitation is a factor in the low rates of diseases.
While sanitation has helped, some diseases can spread through the air. Washing your hands, drinking clean water, and flushing your waste won’t protect you from a tuberculosis cough. The rate at which cases of vaccine-preventable diseases have been reported in the United States has dropped dramatically since the introduction of modern vaccines.
Natural Immunity vs. Vaccine Immunity
Some people believe disease-induced immunity is better than vaccine protection. A natural infection usually gives a larger, much stronger dose of the disease. The immunity gained from a natural infection is usually more effective, but at what price?
Not only could an infected person live with debilitating effects for the rest of their life, but they could spread the disease and consequences far and wide. Not to mention, they could die.
In fact, some vaccines activate a better immune response than the natural virus. These vaccines include the human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and pneumococcal vaccines.
Concern About Side Effects
Without any real science to back it up, some soccer moms decide to take their child’s life in their own hands. They get sucked into searching “vaccine side effects” and fall down a rabbit hole of misinformation on blogs worldwide. They reject hundreds of years of vaccine studies by scientists and microbiologists to make a gamble with their child’s life.
Yes, vaccines can have severe side effects in a very small percentage of people. Most side effects are mild and go away within a couple days.
Chickenpox are NO LONGER a fact of life.
The varicella virus (chickenpox) is a highly communicable disease that kills. The main symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that turn into scabs. Lesions can spread to every part of the body, including the eyes and mucous membranes such as in the urethra, anus, and vagina.
For at-risk individuals, such as infants, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, serious complications from varicella can occur. They include bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children, pneumonia, infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia), bleeding problems, bloodstream infections (sepsis), and dehydration.
A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs (usually 5-7 days).
Before the vaccine became available in 1995, chickenpox was just a fact of life. There were an average 4 million cases of varicella, 10,500-13,000 hospitalizations, and 100-150 deaths each year in the US.
The chickenpox vaccine also protects against shingles, as they are the same virus. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a very painful, sometimes excruciating rash. While it won’t kill you, shingles is a condition that most people in their right mind would try to avoid.
The widespread use of the vaccine has reduced the overall United States mortality rate from chickenpox by 87%, and 99% in people under the age of 20 years old.
Still people choose not to immunize against chickenpox, despite the widespread success of the vaccine. Some defer to the argument that everyone gets chicken pox, though this is an old way of thinking with the vaccine only being available for the past 25 years. It is important to vaccinate for these diseases as well to help prevent other immunocompromised individuals from becoming sick and potentially dying.
Side effects of the vaccine include pain/redness/bruising/swelling at the injection site, fever,
While uncommon, the vaccine can create a breakthrough case of infection. It manifests with milder symptoms and a shorter illness than the natural virus infection. Symptoms typically include a low fever (or no fever) and fewer than 50 lesions.
A November 2018 outbreak of chickenpox highlights the problem. A private school in North Carolina suffered the largest outbreak since the vaccine became available in 1995. The Asheville Waldorf School has one of the highest rates of religious exemptions in the state. Of the 152 students at the school, 110 had not received the varicella vaccine.
Many anti-vaxxers are concerned with “Vaccine Injuries.” The most prevalent rumor of these so-called injuries is autism, which has been disproven in countless studies to have any links to vaccines. In fact, autism begins to show signs in the second trimester of pregnancy. Most early behavioral symptoms of autism begin to show between 12 and 18 months old, right around the time mommy might be worrying about all the shots her child is receiving.
The doctor who first made claims of a connection between autism and vaccines, Andrew Wakefield, had his medical license revoked; the article in question was retracted.
Apparently autism is so scary of a prospect that it’s worth killing your child and their friends with measles, whooping cough, or diphtheria instead. How many studies have to be completed before this wild claim will finally be put to rest?
Other anti-vaxxers’ concerns grow from a mistrust of science, religion, the motives of pharmaceutical companies, and the government (or whatever crazy shit they come up with next).
VAERS is a reporting system that records anonymous data about adverse reactions to vaccination. This system was created with the mindset that they could closely track issues with specific batches of vaccines and the people having reactions to them.
Instead, this system is repeatedly abused by anti vaxxers in an attempt to use the reporting system to highlight their misled agenda. There has never been a verified case.
Not only is there no way to fact check these claims since they are all anonymous there is no way to link them directly to vaccines in the first place. They are mostly reported by regular citizens without medical knowledge or degrees and can easily be exaggerated or downright false.
Vaccine injury claims
Since we’re on the topic of vaccine injuries, I thought I would mention something I thought was intriguing. I obviously had to search “vaccine injuries” on Google a few times for this project. When I did, an ad appeared for a lawyer who “represents clients nationwide who have been injured by vaccines.”
If that doesn’t incentivize vaccine injury claims, I don’t know what does. People will resort to desperate measures in desperate times.
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The case for morality in anti vaccination.
The first vaccine ever developed was for smallpox in 1798 by Edward Jenner.
Smallpox was a devastating disease. On average, 3 out of every 10 people who got it died. Those who survived were usually left with scars, which were sometimes severe.
The vaccine required using samples from a cow infected with cowpox and injecting them into a human to immunize them against the smallpox virus. Earlier civilizations, such as the Chinese, employed the use of cowpox to immunize against smallpox long before the vaccine was ever developed.
After the creation of the vaccine, some religious feared injecting animal DNA into a human was a sin. But the wide usage of the vaccine eradicated smallpox worldwide. It now only exists in laboratories under serious lock and key.
I would take the cow DNA over fever, pain, vomiting, body-wide lesions (including exploding mouth lesions), blindness, and death any day of the week. Good thing a little sin goes a long way.
The HPV Vaccine Controversy
Another vaccine that has touched the morals of our current world is the HPV vaccine. The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts, among other diseases.
The HPV vaccine is used in females between the ages of 9 and 26 and males up to 21 years old. It is most valuable if administered before sexual activity begins; before the patient comes into contact with the virus.
While few have studied the reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate against HPV, a very obvious reason stands out. Many, or even most parents would prefer that their kids and teenagers are not having sex. Especially parents who are religious. (See Study)
Some believe that administering a vaccine that relates to sex at such a young age could encourage sexual activity or that it is unimportant to vaccinate against a sexually transmitted disease before the child is sexually active.
What these parents fail to observe is that their child will probably have sex in their lifetime and may very well come into contact with HPV before this preventative measure is implemented. Once exposure to the virus has occurred, there is no way to prevent the infection.
An NPR article from 2011 titled HPV Vaccine: The Science Behind The Controversy puts pro-vaccination concerns at the forefront. “Studies done before widespread HPV vaccination show that by the time they’re 15, nearly 10 percent of American girls are infected with HPV. By age 17, that has doubled to nearly 20 percent. Some research also indicates that many parents are clueless about when their children start having sex.”
Your kid isn’t going to be a child forever. Let’s say it a little louder for the parents in the back. YOUR CHILD WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE SEX. THEY MAY ALREADY BE HAVING IT AND MAY ALREADY HAVE HPV. Can you live with the guilt of outliving your children because they died from a cancer you could have prevented?
Why is vaccination so important?
Disease outbreaks can happen faster than ever before.
Many diseases have become rare due to the widespread usage of vaccines. It may be rare to come into contact with these diseases, but it only takes a touch of an exposed door knob or a cough to cause an outbreak.
A busy airport is a melting pot of disease and infection.
15.6 million flights were handled by the Federal Flight Administration in 2016. That’s 15.6 million chances for a disease to travel from one city to another.
The plane with the largest passenger capacity, an Airbus A380, can carry up to 853 people.
It only takes one sick passenger to infect an entire flight with a sickness, carrying a deadly bullet of disease from one country to another. Those passengers may be taking multiple flights that spread the disease to countless cities around the world.
And consider all the people who got sick in the airport before and after the flight. A once rare disease has now become a worldwide disaster.
Pandemic, you say? Forget zombies! How about coughing up blood with tuberculosis?
CDC tuberculosis infection and disease informational video.
Vaccination effects on society
Until diseases become 100% eradicated, we must continue to immunize against them. The CDC provides a helpful simile when explaining the continued use of vaccines that prevent now-rare diseases,
“It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, ‘Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.’ But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.”
Disease eradication informational video.
Japan’s Anti Vaccination Setback
Japan is a good case study of non-vaccination having a large negative effect on a population. In 1974, 80% of Japanese children were vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough). In a matter of 2 years, rumors that the vaccine was harmful and unnecessary brought the percentage of infants getting vaccinated down to 10%.
In 1979, an epidemic of whooping cough swept the nation. 13,000 people got sick and 41 deaths were recorded.
Thought rumors were just bad for your reputation? Think again. Vaccine rumors kill people.
Kids who can’t be vaccinated.
Some children CAN’T be immunized. Children with compromised immune systems because of diseases like cancer or leukemia are unable to be vaccinated. Some kids have allergies to the ingredients in vaccines (though this is rare and sometimes there are still alternative options for the vaccination). Many infants are just too young to get certain vaccines.
Plus, no vaccine is 100% effective. Some people don’t have a strong immune response to a vaccine and can still get the disease that the vaccine is supposed to protect against. And some vaccines don’t protect for life and need booster shots to keep you protected.
In these cases, their peers and family need to be immunized to act as a shield from certain diseases.
Herd immunity relies on a large population of vaccinated individuals to protect the few that are at risk.
Non-immunized people rely on herd immunity to protect them from dangerous diseases. Imagine a class of students having a lecture from a guest speaker infected with a disease. If everyone in that class is immune to the disease, it won’t spread to the rest of the school (that is if the lecturer does not spread the disease to any unimmunized students to and from the class). This group of students just became a wall of protection to the rest of the students in the school.
However, if unimmunized students in the class do become infected, they will come into contact with many more students that may be unprotected and contract the disease. Spreading it across the school, to their families, and to anyone else they may come in contact with outside the school.
So sorry you have childhood cancer, Timmy. You can’t leave your home to be a normal kid for one second because some dumbass anti-vax mommmy might bring her measles-infected son to the park.
How are we going to stop anti-vaxxers from starting the next pandemic?
Education and awareness are very important in fixing this huge public safety concern. Children are already required to be vaccinated to enter most schools and daycares in the United States. Vaccination being the default helps to drive the majority of parents to immunize already.
Education about vaccine preventable diseases and the risks of not vaccinating needs to proliferate. And studies that highlight the non-link between vaccines and supposed “vaccine injuries” like autism need to gain more publicity.
Trust in science:
As scientific advancements become more common and widespread, people will gain a trust in science that allows for a more forward-thinking society. And the older populations of religious or uninformed will die off. Or maybe, a global pandemic will kill large swaths of anti-vaxxers, likely taking responsible vaccinated individuals down with them.
I wish there was a law preventing bored housewives from spreading misinformation. With freedom of speech, you win some and you lose some.
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Become a pro vaccine activist
Time for shameless self-promotion! Here at Logikal Threads, we believe strongly in vaccines and stopping people from killing each other. We made a series of designs to help inform the plague of anti-vaxxers before they spread the next epidemic (or even pandemic). Introducing our new and improved line of “Vaccinate Your Fucking Kids.” Great for parades, funerals, graduations, family get-togethers, and basically everywhere else.