“Anti-Vaxxers” Demonized

RougeoleDPAre you in favor of vaccines? Or do you think they are more dangerous than the diseases they protect against? There’s a war going on for your hearts and minds and there’s no doubt which side the Daily Beast falls on:

Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children.

Of all the things to be nostalgic for, infectious diseases probably don’t make it onto many lists.

However, if you happen to pine for the good old days when measles was an active public health threat, I have good news for you. The anti-vaccine crowd is bringing it back.

There is currently an outbreak of measles in New York City.  Considered eliminated in the United States in 2000, last year saw a record number ofoutbreaks around the country. It’s only three months into 2014, and not only is the nation’s largest city seeing cases in several boroughs, but other major metropolitan areas are warning of new cases as well.

This is not some inconvenience to be laughed off. Measles is a highly-contagious illness caused by a virus.  It usually presents with a combination of rash, fevers, cough and runny nose, as well as characteristic spots in the mouth. Most patients recover after an unpleasant but relatively uneventful period of sickness.  Unfortunately, about one patient in every 1,000 develops inflammation of the brain, and one to three cases per 1000 in the United States result in death.

Reports from New York note that several people have been hospitalized, and infected patients include infants too young to be vaccinated themselves. Because the American public hasn’t needed to worry much about this once-contained threat in quite some time, most people probably don’t know that measles can kill, or leave children permanently disabled.

We vaccinate people for a reason…

[continues the Daily Beast]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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50 Comments on "“Anti-Vaxxers” Demonized"

  1. Tchoutoye | Mar 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

    It’s unfortunate the vax debate has become so polarised. Vaccines ought to be examined critically on a case by case basis without any ideological baggage about the concept itself.

    • Tuna Ghost | Mar 16, 2014 at 6:21 pm |

      They have been. Repeatedly. As they were created, and several dozen times since. There isn’t any mystery about this.

      • Zombie Prep Network | Mar 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm |

        The CDC web site says that the flu vaccine has very little effect on children under 2 (actually the effect is zero above placebo) yet they recommend that all kids under 2 get the flu vaccine. It’s that kind of backwards BS that fuels the anti-vaxxers.

      • sonicbphuct | Mar 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm |

        You don’t mean like Vioxx or the myriad others that do more harm than good, but the studies were brushed over, forgotten or lost – or the AE Pages in the studies were deleted in violation of CFR21 part 11, which, luckily for Pfizer, has no teeth?

  2. Rebecca Brandt | Mar 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm |

    For the most part, vaccines are a good idea. But these days I don’t get the flu vaccine, because in all the years I got the flu shot I still got the flu. Why take a medicine that doesn’t help, especially when there is the possibility of getting Guillaine-Barre syndrome from it? Taking vitamin C seems to help a lot more. If you are talking about Polio or Smallpox, that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  3. Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Mar 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm |

    Hand washing is an Illuminati conspiracy.

  4. jasonpaulhayes | Mar 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm |

    This is a symptom of a larger issue in which people who have no qualifications to formulate an opinion on said subject… most being simply “anti-science” and religiously or politically motivated.

    The clear and obvious answer to this ever growing problem is Science Education and taxing the Church… because arguing against “The Powers of Old” it culturally taxing the Age of Reason into a shallow grave.

    • There’s a big difference betwee “anti-science” and “corporate pseudo-science.”

      • jasonpaulhayes | Mar 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm |

        Do tell.

        • Real science has reproducible results. That’s kind of the definition of science. Corporate pseudoscience has a statement somewhere that says “studies show…” or “new developments in ______ conclude…”, yet strangely enough none of this can be confirmed by impartial third party research.

          • jasonpaulhayes | Mar 17, 2014 at 11:41 am |

            Jonas Salk

          • sonicbphuct | Mar 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm |

            Pfizer, Merk, Bayer, Novartis, Roche.
            Salk gave all his findings to the public. Those above did not, have not, and will not. Salk = “Real Science”, Pfizer, Merk, Bayer, Novartis, Roche = “Corporate Pseudo-science.

          • jasonpaulhayes | Mar 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm |

            I’m aware of the contrast in “anti-science” and “corporate pseudo-science” many are casting light upon here and I mostly agree. I only ask that we not ignore the fact that the church has a long history of anti-science rhetoric that’s reinforcing the anti-vaccine movement as well.

          • sonicbphuct | Mar 19, 2014 at 4:36 am |

            No disagreement on the religion. Or the socks. But it seems like a pretty legitimate thing, not trusting medicine as a product of a tainted science. And more and more will trust less until science is taken back from profit motives, and nowhere is it worse than pharma.

          • Tuna Ghost | Mar 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |

            As someone who has been accused of being a government lackey here to spread propaganda several times, let me say: that is absolutely what is happening. You, and this site full of people like you, are so important to the global discourse that a government agency would waste time and money to come here and argue with you. That is not at all a huge overestimate of your impact on the world.

            Not at all.

          • jasonpaulhayes | Mar 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm |

            That’s a fascinatingly naive, suspiciously defensive and accusatory thing to say.

            “People like you” meaning what? Social activists making a positive change in the world?

    • Anarchy Pony | Mar 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm |

      The Dunning-Kruger effect. Too stupid to realize that you’re stupid. There’s also the corollary wherein competent people underestimate their competence.

      • jasonpaulhayes | Mar 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm |

        I was unaware of the Dunning-Kruger effect, thanks for lending some credence !

    • sonicbphuct | Mar 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm |

      As a devout anti-theist, and loud proponent of science, I’m afraid you’re only half right. “The clear and obvious answer to this ever growing problem is Science Education and taxing the Church” is absolutely correct. However, I must, from my own perspective of anecdotal evidence [first person, me], add that science, like religion, requires some degree of trust, or a similar expertise (and access to equipment) in order to reproduce the results. Given the propensity for Governments and Corporations (sorry to be redundant, I know they’re the same thing) to lie boldly and often to the populations, trust becomes a breaking lynch pin holding the whole thing together. I think removing patents from medicine would go a long way to contributing to trust … in fact, removing any competing incentive is required for a reasonable study to be trustworthy, or else we’ll forever be arguing over the semantics of the study.

  5. BuzzCoastin | Mar 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm |

    I’ve worked in big hellcare
    and I’ve been mistreated by big hellcare
    as a general rule of thumb (huristic)
    based on my experience
    I avoid big hellcare and it’s drugs

    so far so good
    but one day I’m gonna die anyway

  6. We know that GlaxoSmithKline (and at least several other of the giant biopharmaceuticals) outsourced to many levels in China, and the vaccines were highly unlikely to be properly manufactured, and there certainly was little to no oversight on them!
    Next, just how many times has Baxter Pharmaceutical/Baxter International shipped out pandemic-level compromised vaccines over the past decade (something like 2 to 3 times, but it went unreported in the USA, but was reported in Europe and to a limited degree in Canada)?
    Had not a French lab, an Austrian and Spanish lab, and the last time, a lab in the Czech Republic not caught it, many would have died, and Baxter is supposed to be using Biosafety Level 3 or 4 procedures.

    • Tuna Ghost | Mar 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm |

      Right! Just like all those iPhones made with no oversight! Because nothing in China is made well, which is why they manufacture everything you use on a daily basis.

      • gustave courbet | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:24 am |

        If I were ingesting my iphone as a medicine I would want it made with more oversight…

  7. Thurlow Weed | Mar 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

    Get vaccinated. There is not data showing it to be a mass health risk, quite the opposite. When the Ayatollah came to power in Iran following the “revolution”, health officials decided to stop treating drinking water in major cities. Let god protect us and do away with Western chemicals, they said. A few months later so many people were sick and dying that the Islamic authorities decided chemical treatment of the drinking water should resume, no explanation given for the reversal.

    • BuzzCoastin | Mar 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm |

      get vacinated
      your choice, sure go ahead
      by law, somethings fishy
      in theory
      those vacinated will be just fine
      as the unvaccinated die off

      • Thurlow Weed | Mar 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm |

        I have to register a nay on that theory. Too wide a stroke you’re painting there.

        • sonicbphuct | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm |

          then I’m a bit confused … if vaccines keep you from contracting the illness, not being vaccinated would at least make one susceptible. Perhaps we haven’t had enough generational “testing” (if you will), but on its face, Buzz’s theory sounds at least like it’s the logical extension to the fear-mongering. I’m vaccinated, you’re not – you get sick and die, I don’t. While not every sickness causes death (as you mentioned above – i think it was you), a few generations should wipe out the non-vaccinated, no?

        • BuzzCoastin | Mar 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm |

          think about it
          vaccines were discovered because
          the accidentally inoculated survived the pox

          wee humans have been fighting off death
          doing everything wee can to profit from the survivalnof the weak
          which not only screws up the gene pool
          but also taxes the resources of the healthy
          sooner or later
          Nature’s gonna set things right

  8. Forbidden Fruit | Mar 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

    If the government were more honest when it comes to public health, we
    wouldn’t be in this position now. They made it impossible to sue
    vaccine manufacturers when someone dies or experiences serious side
    effects (see: “National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986”). In what
    other area of medicine is there a zero-liability system in place to
    protect the makers of faulty products? I’ll wait.

    They refuse to enforce labeling of GMO’s and push toxic drugs like Vioxx and
    Fen-Phen on the public while banning virtually harmless drugs like
    cannabis. Then they behave as if all vaccines are 100% safe instead of
    acknowledging that ALL medical treatments come with risks, some of which
    can be life-threatening. Every “peer-reviewed” study is designed to
    disprove that vaccines can cause serious neurological damage (including
    autism), so that’s exactly what they find. Surprise.

    All of this is done out of fear that diseases like measles will re-emerge.
    It’s a valid fear, but you can’t obscure the truth from the public and
    expect them to trust you. You have to let people make informed
    decisions based on the information available–all of it: the good, bad and ugly. Armed with the facts, most people would make the decision to vaccinate their kids. But as with the drug war, people no longer trust anything the government
    says, hence the current state of affairs.

    • InfvoCuernos | Mar 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm |

      Exactly. They try to paint “anti-vaxxers” as backwards Luddites that would willfully endanger their children over a mere conspiracy theory, but the fact of the matter is that we just can’t trust the government to keep these things safe. Add also to your list the Hep-B vaccine, which may do a great deal of good, but might have also caused the spread of HIV through cross-contamination at the laboratory where it was manufactured.

    • gustave courbet | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:26 am |

      Well said.

    • Jon Ripley | Mar 17, 2014 at 3:56 am |

      Great comment.

    • Aren’t all scientific studies designed to attempt to disprove something?

  9. wfzlsster | Mar 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm |

    By referring to people who don’t believe in vaccinations as loons any reasonable discussion falls by the wayside. In reality, many disease outbreaks, such as whooping cough, occur in vaccinated populations. Most diseases were already declining when vaccines were introduced due to refrigeration, better hygiene and better diet. What we are doing now is over vaccinating our children and the consequences of that may be a compromised immune system.

    • Thurlow Weed | Mar 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm |

      Refrigeration, better hygiene and diet helped reduce the spread of more more than one disease, but an ice box and toothpaste didn’t stop the Measles. And, the benefit of vaccines can be measured in large populations where a fraction still contracts a disease but a large majority resist it.

  10. Dread Raider | Mar 16, 2014 at 10:33 pm |

    “Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children”.

    Well I guess they did not actually “Eliminate” it then, did they?

    • Thurlow Weed | Mar 17, 2014 at 2:14 am |

      The word eliminate is used to describe a dramatically lower incidence rate in the population, not total eradication of the virus. Nuking the entire planet might succeed in doing that but we’d probably lose all humanity and free internet porn as well.

      • sonicbphuct | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |

        not to nitpick, but eliminate means to remove entirely. People who’s job is communication should use the correct words. If it wasn’t “eliminated”, but instead, achieved “dramatically lower incidence rate(s) in the population”, then use the latter.

        Smokey, this is not ‘Nam, this is bowling; there are rules!

    • Dread Raider | Mar 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm |

      Tricky to use the words “Considered” and “Eliminated” so close together like that.

  11. Hoarfraust | Mar 17, 2014 at 4:49 am |

    “It’s back!!!” 19 cases in a city of 8 million. 4 of the 19 were immunized, but did not create antibodies for an unknown reason. Maybe you want to check facts before declaring doom over a measley (get it?) 15 people.

  12. Dear Daily Beast: Once you’ve resorted to ad-hominem attacks, you’ve lost the argument.

  13. signalfire1 | Mar 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm |

    Dozens of vaccinations starting at birth with HepB (the medical profession thinks that all mothers are IV drug users); what could possibly go wrong? Anyone out there wondering if Adam Lanza got some sort of neurological damage from one of them? Hmmm….? Why are autism rates spiraling out of control? School shootings along with them? And since the drug manufacturers can’t possibly be held accountable, and they own the F’ing government, what are people supposed to think? Those of us who are still actually capable of thinking, anyways.

    • Tuna Ghost | Mar 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm |

      There is no evidence to suggest autism rates are “spiraling out of control”, of if the number of people affected by the disorder is growing at all. Its far more likely that the diagnosis of the order is increasing from “zero” back when it wasn’t recognized as a disorder.

  14. signalfire1 | Mar 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

    Maybe we should blame planes and air travel for all the diseases. If people didn’t hop on a plane and go around the world, exposing themselves to godknowswhat without a clue, maybe the infectious death rates from everything would be reduced. It’s how the next pandemic will get started, that’s for damn sure. But you know… profits.

  15. Rebecca Brandt | Mar 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

    Indeed, Frank, so getting vaccinated against 2-3 strains out of a cartload really isn’t reducing your risk of getting flu much, is it?

  16. Tuna Ghost | Mar 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |

    Wakefield and his infamous study have been discredited for years now.

  17. The language the Daily Beast chooses to use when it reports these findings has no bearing on whether or not the findings are correct. An argument that uses strong evidence and calls the opponent a shithead is still better than an argument that doesn’t do either of those things.

  18. The Daily Beast!?!?! That old rag is still around?!?!

  19. Dread Raider | Apr 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm |


    What part is “Incorrect”?

    I hope your not speaking of the (“Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children”.) part. That was the headline under the title of the Daily Beast article.

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