I’m So Sick Of The Vaccine Debate

03 Apr

I’m about to do something I swore I wouldn’t do: I’m going to write a post about vaccines.

I can’t help myself; I have to read and hear these vaccine debates on the daily. Each and every time I endure another one of the mud-slinging, name-calling, biased source citing arguments, I get a little angrier. Considering the frequency of them lately, I am raging. I just want to yell.


All you pro-vaxxers posting your links blaming the unvaccinated for the ‘outbreaks’ occurring, calling them stupid and uneducated: Shut the hell up.

All you anti-vaxxers crying conspiracy theory, yelling at big pharma for ‘poisoning’ your precious little offspring over some ‘harmless’ disease: Shut the hell up.

All of you – seriously. Just stop.

The debate has gotten so out of hand we aren’t even dealing with facts anymore. We are calling 5 (yes FIVE) cases of hospitalized measles (20 cases in total) in NYC an outbreak. 2 of those hospitalized cases are suspected of being transmitted INSIDE A DOCTOR’S OFFICE. The population of NYC is 8.3 million. So even if we take the full 20 cases into account, 20 in 8.3 million is hardly an outbreak. Yet the pro-vaxxers are calling it that and using it to try to scare parents into vaccinating. Fear-mongering smut blog articles are circulating around the internet, shaming anti-vaxxers for causing the entire debacle and putting the public at risk by not immunizing their kids. There’s flaws to that argument, given that the herd immunity theory is based on actual disease contraction and not immunization rates. Given that there are low responders to any vaccine. Given that outbreaks are happening in vaccinated populations. Given that most adults I know are not up to date on their booster shots and thus are considered unvaccinated as well. Given that there was a study done that says – “In the absence of vaccination, lifelong immunity is maintained through frequent encounters with infection, which act to boost the waning immune memory (this agrees with the findings of Whittle et al. 1999). However, when vaccination is introduced the prevalence of infection declines, which in turn reduces the amount of boosting and hence the level of immunity (in agreement with Muller 2001). What is more surprising is that the interaction between vaccination and waning immunity can lead to pronounced epidemic cycles in which the peak levels of infection can be of the orders of magnitude greater than the mean.” In other words – the life cycle of disease is such that instances will decline and then explode BECAUSE OF immunization. And although I suppose that those 20 cases in NYC could have started with an unvaccinated child (which I find unlikely given the media’s admittance that “A city health official says medical facilities may be partly to blame for the rare outbreak.”), it’s hardly the crisis that the pro-vaxxers are claiming. In fact, there were more instances of measles in the US in 2011 than there were in 2013. A whopping 222 of them. Whew, crisis indeed.

And then there’s the anti-vaxxers, posting non-credible sources for your facts. Claiming that big pharma’s sole goal is to make money, lots of it, and to hell with anyone who gets hurt along the way. Posting that conspiracy theory shit is the reason why the pro-vaxxers call you uneducated. Vaccines are not without risks, but they do actually work. Vaccines have saved many a life and all but eradicated many a disease and there’s a lot of sound science to back it up. Just ask someone who has suffered from polio if they think vaccines are worthwhile. We have the luxury of choosing whether or not to vaccinate because our population is not riddled with the very diseases you’re choosing not to immunize against.  When you’re not the least bit concerned with contracting diphtheria you can move on to worrying about the contents of the vaccine meant to prevent future contraction.   What a very fortunate position, indeed.  The reality is if we all stopped vaccinating, we would be in some deep doo doo and it’s not completely off base for people to be a bit wary that this anti-vaccine thing may be catching on.

The reality is that diseases suck.  They have consequences. They kill people and if they don’t get that far they may cause lifelong damage.  It’s true that we don’t see a lot of that here (mostly thanks to vaccines!), but it doesn’t make it untrue.  Do you really want to get to a state where you find out what a real outbreak is?  Diminishing people’s concerns about the potential results of a disease by citing it as ‘mild’ and ‘harmless’ isn’t helpful, especially if you are concerned about a vaccine reaction.  The chance of a vaccine reaction is most cases is comparable to the chance of a disease complication.  Sometimes it is less.  So telling someone they are silly for worrying about a ‘mild’ disease is pretty darn hypocritical.  Same goes for you, pro-vaxxers. This works in vice versa, too.

The reality is that vaccines do carry risks.  Any of the product monographs will tell you that and they are published by the manufacturers themselves!  The side effects can be scary, and are vastly under-reported.  It may be a small chance, but this is your CHILD we are talking about.  Is it really so terrible that parents are hesitant to expose their children to a barrage of chemicals that have known and documented side effects?  Is it really such an awful thing to ask the manufacturers to create safer vaccines?  I don’t know many anti-vaxxers that are lobbying for the cessation of immunization, just safer immunization.  We could probably all do with a few less carcinogens in our system, and faulting parents for advocating for that seems counter-intuitive.

The reality is that vaccines work and protect us.  There are a ton of peer-reviewed, scientifically sound studies that prove it.  We are lucky to have access to them and that our generation is all but ignorant to the horrors of many diseases.

The reality is that vaccines are not a guarantee.  Herd immunity is flawed, and outbreaks happen even in fully vaccinated populations.  They have also not always been incredibly safe, even when the scientific community is insisting that they are.  The first batch of the polio vaccine caused polio.

The reality is that it is prudent to pay attention when instances of a disease start to rise.  It is responsible to recommend population-wide immunization (for those that want it) to mitigate the potential risk BEFORE it becomes an epidemic.

The reality is that anti-vaxxers are not the problem.  They’re still a very small percentage of the population.  They just don’t have the power to cause a mass outbreak, there’s not enough of them.  Diseases come back; they ebb and flow.  It is not as simple as blaming the unvaccinated, nor will it ever be.

The reality is that every single parent has made their decision based on what they feel is right and in the best interest of their child.  That every single parent, regardless of vaccination status, has the same end goal in mind: protecting those they love.   It doesn’t make them stupid, uneducated, irresponsible, sheep or gullible.  It makes them human.

And what do all these wars serve, really?  All I see is division, not changed minds.  I see parents attacking parents, hurt feelings.  Passive-aggressive link posting that leads to a barrage of commentary underneath.  I don’t see progression.  I don’t see respectful conversation.  People are so passionately one side or the other they cannot contain themselves and conduct themselves with even the tiniest amount of decorum.  Upset that not everyone feels their child should be exposed to either disease or vaccine in the name of the greater good.  We’ve resorted to altering the truth, convinced that either the anti-vaxxers are causing epidemics or that big pharma is out to get us.

The last thing we need is one more thing to fight about.  More friends lost over something that you both approached with the same mindset.  So do me, and all of us, a favour.

Shut the hell up.



Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Random Shit


23 responses to “I’m So Sick Of The Vaccine Debate

  1. Jeannie Stewart

    April 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you!


  2. Swarn Gill

    April 17, 2014 at 5:33 am

    A couple of flaws here in your reasoning. It isn’t just “your child” we are talking about. A decision not to immunize effects other people’s children. I have said many times to anti-vaxxers…if you want to choose to not immunize, that’s fine, but keep your child away from other children.

    Also the “carcinogens” that are claimed to be in vaccines are often in much higher concentrations in many other things we ingest. For instance there is more formaldehyde in an apple than in a vaccine. The argument by anti-vaxxers is usually just about the substance and not the concentration. Many things are not poisonous in small enough concentrations. Conversely many things that we think are benign can be poisonous in large enough concentrations.

    All outbreaks start with one person. So even a small rise in the number of cases is worth getting concerned about.

    Finally, when politicians start spouting the anti-vaxx nonsense this is a reason to fight, because those people impact legislation and when misinformation is allowed to spread it can impact us all.

    But you’re right, people who are anti-vaxxers are those prone to belief and there is often little value in arguing with them. But making counter arguments can impact those who are reading the argument and prevent misinformation from spreading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline Joy Chambers

      May 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Yes, and the formaldehyde in an apple goes through your digestive system and is broken down. The formaldehyde in a vaccine totally bypasses your body’s first line of defence (sking) and second line of defense (tonsils, cilia, digestive system) and is not broken down. More damaging.


      • Swarn Gill

        February 5, 2015 at 7:03 am

        Actually you are wrong about how formaldehyde breaks down. But don’t worry. If you liked this article that means you aren’t too worried about scientific facts.


      • posterella

        February 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        Science works both ways. You don’t get to dismiss it when it’s inconvenient for you


      • Swarn Gill

        February 5, 2015 at 12:42 pm

        Actually she is the one who made the claim about how formaldehyde works and she is wrong. The onus is not on me to disprove her, when that information is easily found from many sources. The onus was on her to provide a source that says our digestive system breaks down formaldehyde and that without the digestive system formaldehyde is more dangerous. In fact it is on the onus of the anti-vaxxer community to show that the formaldehyde that they say is in a vaccine is at a level that is harmful. This has not been done either. You can’t just say “x” is a poison and it’s in vaccines and call it that. Furthermore the argument that the digestive tract is some sort of magic line of defense against poisonous substances doesn’t make sense either since of course you can be poisoned or become sick from things you ingest through the mouth. Her argument was a poor one and felt didn’t deserve much more of a response. Had she made a valid point I wouldn’t have been dismissive.


      • posterella

        February 5, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Your body was designed to take in food and other substances from the external environment primarily through the GI tract. Any substances that can be used as nourishment are properly broken down by the enzymes in your GI tract and the resulting nutrients absorbed into circulation. The unusable residue from digestion is passed out of your body as your bowel movements.

        In addition, any substances that get absorbed into your bloodstream from your GI tract that your body sees as toxins are filtered out by the liver and kidneys and excreted (via bile and your bowel movements and/or urine).


      • Swarn Gill

        February 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        Yes I realize this, but I don’t see what your argument is. Does this mean you can ingest an unlimited amount of formaldehyde through the mouth, but not a little in a vaccine? Your liver and kidneys also filter out toxins that aren’t just a result of things you put into your digestive system also. You can smoke pot, or inject yourself with heroin and your liver will attempt to filter that out too. None of this has anything to do with my original point with that what constitutes a poison has little to do with just the name itself, but also the concentration to which you ingest, and at times how it is ingested. Since formaldehyde isn’t something that is necessary for any life function the digestive tract isn’t going to provide any greater benefit. Whether it is toxic or not has to do with how much you ingest.


      • posterella

        February 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm

        But how it is ingested can certainly make a big difference. That was her original point.


      • Swarn Gill

        February 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        Her original point seemed to be related to formaldehyde. For certain compounds it doesn’t matter where they are ingested. If her original point was that she should have used an example of a compound which would demonstrate that difference in where it was ingested.


    • GaleK

      February 4, 2015 at 11:21 am

      All of your added points were covered. Shut up!


  3. Story

    April 17, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Well said. People should really learn to use their different viewpoints as a mean to gain knowledge and achieve greater things. Instead we use our differences as weapons to simply prove one another wrong. So sad.


  4. F J

    April 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  5. Anthony

    April 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Good article. The only thing I question is the part about vaccines working. Maybe some work, maybe some don’t. Just because a disease declined around about the time a vaccine was introduced does not mean the vaccine caused the decline. It might have but might not. Polio was in decline before the vaccine was introduced, for instance.
    There are so many vaccines now that it is difficult to sort out what works and what does not. Therefore making a blanket statement that all vaccines work is problematic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sharlene

    April 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you…


  7. Joyce

    July 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I most definitely agree that the arguing should stop.

    Rather than the two groups fighting with each other, wouldn’t it be far more productive if all of that energy were focused on keeping the pharmaceutical companies accountable for producing safe vaccines with safe dosages and feasible and safe vaccine schedules?

    So, instead of arguing with each other, how about finding a way to apply pressure on pharmaceutical companies so they are accountable for providing safe products and practices?

    And, at this point, I think it’s time to stop calling non-vax people conspiracy theorists.

    It is not a theory that vaccines have injured people. While there is a vaccine injury compensation fund paying out insane amounts of money (2 billion dollars between 1988 and 2011 and 903 million before 1988) it’s pretty safe to say that vaccines can and have caused injuries. (And a note about the injury fund…the fund is comprised of revenue made from vaccine sales. Meaning, the pharmaceutical companies don’t actually lose money from injury lawsuits…the expense is built into the vaccine purchase amount.)

    It is not a theory that pharmaceutical companies have been unethical (see Merck lawsuit where their own virologists have become whistle blowers).

    It is not a theory that Diane Harper, the lead researcher involved with the Gardasil vaccine could no longer promote the vaccine because “Gardasil is associated with serious adverse events, including death,” (a quote by Harper). In fact, to date, 44 girls have died of the effects of the vaccine.

    So please stop referring to the non-vax group as conspiracy theorists. The problems we face are beyond theoretical.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherry

      January 29, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Further review of the deaths suggest deaths were caused by other things and not the vaccine.


  8. Curtis

    January 29, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Here are peer reviewed, published studies and research that are from credible sources.


  9. Alex Matey

    January 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Your article sounds reasonable. What are your thoughts on WA state forcing foster parents and their bio-kids to all get a flu shot? If the flu shots are not given to every member in the family then the state will take away their foster children.


    • posterella

      January 29, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      That sounds incredibly unrealistic and ridiculous! More later



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