05 February 2015


Why are so many things the way they are?

Why do the anti-immunization people get even a moment of consideration?

Because they grew up and have lived their whole lives living where those diseases, which killed more people annually than pretty much anything we deliberately do to each other now, no longer killed anyone thanks to immunization.

My mother in law has a bit of a gimpy foot from polio.

We seem to have forgotten, or have never learned, how many diseases there were (are) that can kill you dead in a very short span, and really don't have a cure once you've caught it.

Immunization through vaccination keeps you from catching it in the first place because you're given an antibody transplant from one of the rare survivors.  That's not the precise methodology, of course, anymore.

The people opposed to immunizations are pining for the days where diptheria killed 14,000 people a year.  Where smallpox killed 400,000 people every fucking year in Europe.

Before immunization, measles infected three to four million people a year in the US.  The death rate of about 0.2% translates to 7,000 people a year dead.  Since immunization the infection rate is down 75%.

The anti-immunization people are actually being protected by a shield provided by those who did get their artificial immunity.  If patient zero only encounters people who've been vaccinated, they never infect anyone and the disease dies when the patient either dies or recovers (and stops being a carrier).

But if they encounter people who aren't immune, they become infected and pass it on.

Right now, there're enough people who are immunized that the likelihood of one of these diseases spreading is low.  Decreasing the number of immunized people increases the chance of the disease gaining critical community size.


  1. Lots of anti-vaxxers claim that the antiseptic thimerosal (which contains mercury) causes autism. To humor these lunatics, we stopped using thimerosal in the MMR vaccine (and several others, but that’s the one that gets most of the ranting) by the turn of the century. Of course, autism rates didn’t go down at all, which caused all the rational people to stop complaining about mercury in vaccines.

    No, I didn’t notice anybody shutting up, either.

  2. The most sinister bit is the anti-vaxers most honest argument is "I'd rather my child have a life-altering or life threatening disease than be autistic" That's not even factoring in that before their kid is killed or crippled by the disease, they could kill or cripple other kids.

    EVEN if all the anti-vax crap was true (and it is proven it isn't) its one of the most short-sighted and selfish arguments. That REALLY pisses me off, I can only imagine how it makes you feel, given how much you love your son!

    Also you missed a factor in your post. Vaccines are not 100% effective. There is a small chance a vaccinated person might still contract a disease. If everybody or almost everybody is vaccinated, the chances of those who the vaccine didn't take getting exposed is near zero, but the more people who choose not to vaccinate their children grow, the more of a chance a person who did the right thing might find themselves dealing with a child with a serious illness.


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