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Katie Couric program, segment entitled 'HPV VACCINE CONTROVERSY'
Merely 'believing' something does not qualify as 'controversy'
Because Katie Couric did a show giving voice to meritless anti-vaccine forces, people are going to die. You really can't get around that; the deaths may be decades from now, and the links from here to there may never be recognized even by the people around whom the threads are tied, but somewhere in the Katie Couric audience there are going to be people who are not going to vaccinate their children against a deadly disease because Katie Couric put it in their heads that there was a risk in doing it that simply is not there, and those children are going to someday get that disease, and they are going to die from it. Think of any defense you like, but the outcome is the same. Oh, but we were just raising questions is the well-worn excuse of sensationalists everywhere, but if you are raising questions where there are, in fact, no serious questions, you are doing harm.

The problem here is, once again, scientific illiteracy. Presenting a mother who believes her daughter died from a vaccine and that other daughters are dying from a vaccine does not count as evidence of it happening, and certainly does not count as a counterargument to vast reams of evidence demonstrating the opposite. I could not go on television and claim that if my daughter died ten days after watching Dora the Explorer, it was clearly Dora the Explorer that killed her. I could not go on television and claim that because I ate a cheeseburger only days before my neighbor had a car accident, cheeseburgers are a cause of neighborhood bad luck. I could claim these things, mind you, but even the more gullible minds among us would not generally think that those claims were worthy of a television appearance. You would not have programs devoted to the Dora the Explorer hypothesis, programs that were just asking questions as to whether Dora was mass-murdering our children via some unknown force. You would not have magazines asking the cheeseburger question on their covers, even after the statistical evidence confirmed that almost every car accident in America happened to someone who lived in a neighborhood where some other person recently consumed a cheeseburger. At least, we hope we would not—there is still room for surprise, I suppose.

Frame the same questions about a subject that people have a more tenuous or abstract knowledge of, however, and suddenly the single anecdote holds sway. In the scientific realm, vaccinations and climate change are regularly "debunked" by assertions that "someone somewhere died in the same month that they were given a vaccine for something" or "it is cold today, therefore the climate is not changing." Because the anecdotes are easy to understand and broad statistical measurements are, for many people, not, the anecdotes are given more credibility. The less a subject is understood, the easier it is for cranks to pretend expertise at it in front of people who know even less, and the more eager journalists are to pit the improbable sensationalist in the some people say camp against the sum total of all the world's hard-won collective knowledge on the subject.

God help us if a single anecdote actually prove true, in the single instance provided, as that shifts the question from scientific illiteracy to statistical innumeracy. The rarer the event, the more difficult it becomes for the human mind to recognize it as rare. One man bitten by a shark on one beach becomes cause for alarm; two men bitten by two sharks on two separate beaches becomes an epidemic. Are sharks becoming more aggressive? Should you even enter the water this summer? Is the human race doomed? Take it to the political realm and you have nationwide machinations to protect against voter fraud premised on "evidence" of fraud usually consisting of, nationwide, perhaps tens of people, or demands that we do less to feed the poor because one fellow saw one fellow who did not seem all that poor to him.

Do journalism schools teach statistics? Do they teach the scientific method even in the broadest sense, the barest minimum of how to tell evidence from coincidence? Why the hell not? Would this not be a key tool of journalism, every bit as much as in any other fact-seeking endeavor?

These are not difficult questions or a difficult story, and Katie Couric and her producers are not gullible people. There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine is unsafe. There is no evidence that serious side effects are anything but rare, and the vaccine is already well on its way to cutting HPV rates in half since it was introduced in 2006.

What we have here is not a story about Katie Couric and her producers going for a sensationalistic story and misfiring. What we have here is another instance of the profession's ongoing scientific illiteracy, an illiteracy that leads to a great many quacks and cranks and great mountains of professional and well-paid bullshit artists being propped up as public experts whose testimony must be given exactly as much weight as concrete, measurable evidence to the contrary. It is excruciatingly damaging. It can kill people.

Originally posted to Hunter on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Science Matters and Daily Kos.

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  •  Tip Jar (303+ / 0-)
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  •  I was taught it's the 'Aunt Emma' syndrome. (97+ / 0-)

    That is, 'it happened to my Aunt Emma so it must be universally true.'

    Poorly trained journalists find one example of something, usually something that happened to someone they know or someone they know told them about it, and they run with it from there.

    The rationale (if they even think clearly enough to look for one) is that 'I have an example so I have credibility.'

    Whether it is, indeed, cause and effect, becomes irrelevant because you can always find an 'expert' (usually a paid shill) who you can quote who will legitimize the cause and effect.

    Then you sell it as 'hard hitting investigative journalism.'

    I know how it works--spent 25 years in the industry.  

    When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

    by wheeldog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:57:06 AM PST

  •  It CAN kill people (95+ / 0-)

    and as you state, it WILL kill people.

    We have degenerated into a country where education, scientific literacy and knowledge are disparaged daily.  The "elites"  are castigated, although when politicians rail against them they are talking about the educated, not the economic elites.  Every politician rose by his own bootstraps from a log cabin with outdoor plumbing.

    We denigrate education and science at every opportunity.  We put idiots in charge of scientific oversight in Congress.

    Personally, I would rather that my representatives and my journalists were smart!  Instead we loudly proclaim "American Exceptionalism" while denigrating anyone who is exceptional and electing the mediocre.

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:57:51 AM PST

  •  This from a woman who had colonoscopy on TV (69+ / 0-)

    to inform people about colon cancer risks.  Sheesh.  
      And it's not just the kids who aren't vaccinated who might die, it's also those who can't be vaccinated due to other health issues who might catch the germs those kids pass around.  
      Now Yahoo wants to put her at head of its proposed news.  ACK!!!
     

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:59:21 AM PST

  •  What scares me more about this illiteracy (71+ / 0-)

    is that it affects extremely intelligent people on the left. I have a number of friends who think that vaccination is a vast conspiracy of Big Pharm simply trying to wheedle you out of more money.  Thus they could be easily swayed by false evidence presented in MS media that the vaccines can cause physical harm.

    There are also who confuse the effects of vaccination with antibiotics, i.e. "if you vaccinate, you'll make the virus stronger!" Without realizing of course that the vaccination is a small sample of the virus itself causing the reaction of antibodies.  

  •  I see it all the time here at DK, (20+ / 0-)

    often at the top of the rec list and recced by the famous people. Scientific illiteracy is a badge to be worn proudly.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:07:47 AM PST

    •  Overwhelming GMO consensus (9+ / 0-)

      Agree with the scientific consensus on vaccines: ok
      Agree with the scientific consensus on climate: ok

      But, despite the fact that

      The United States National Academy of Sciences (300 Nobel Laureates)
      The British Royal Society (80 Nobel Laureates)
      The World Health Organization
      The European Commission
      The American Association for the Advancement of Science

      and every other responsible scientific organization in the world agree that there is no evidence that GMO foods are more dangerous than any other kind of food (and that there is no shortage of high quality evidence of safety), there is strong belief otherwise on the part of many commenters here; and they can support their belief with impressive-looking links. It comes down to vetting your experts, which is no easy task.

      One page from the AAAS, publishers of the top peer reviewed journal,  Science:
      AAAS GMO statement

      •  Yeah, since your kid may die if your neighbor (0+ / 0-)

        doesn't eat BT Corn, that's a great analogy.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:52:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  that rat study finally got withdrawn (7+ / 0-)

        after it was roundly and soundly debunked by almost everyone. I still expect to see it cited as fact around here.

        It is what it is. The left has its science denialists as much as the right.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

        by terrypinder on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:03:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I admit that I was disappointed (7+ / 0-)

          that the study was debunked. Like many folks, I would see GMOs as evil, mostly because of the business practices of their producers. So did I have a bias for desiring that GMOs=bad? Yes.

          But science is science, and I cannot, in all good conscience, call myself "reality-based" if I willfully ignore facts that don't fit the desired outcome of my worldview.

          I have a new mantra lately: "believing in something does not make it fact."

      •  There are environmental reasons (8+ / 0-)

        to oppose GMO despite it causing no health concerns.  

        For instance, creating Roundup resistant crops and then flooding fields with Roundup is enabled by GMO.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:20:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then there's that whole "over 90% of seed corn (4+ / 0-)

          containing genes patented by one Corporation" thing for those anachronistic freaks among us who still think the Sherman Anti Trust Act was a pretty neat idea.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:37:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  round up is expensive (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, mikidee, ban nock

          GMO Seeds are expensive, would it really make financial sense for farmers to spend more on seed and then more on round up?

          Yes their gains are larger potentially, but not exponentially, talk to some actual farmers, most of them buy GMO seeds because they require less water, fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide.

          The same reasons they switched to hybrids nearly 100 years ago.

          •  Well the farmers around here (0+ / 0-)

            use a LOT of herbicides.  I don't know the exact figures but it's standard practice to use herbicides with their GMO corn.

            Don't even think about drinking the ground water here - it is foul.  

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:30:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  One thing about GMOs can't be debunked -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, tommymet

        they contaminate non-GMO crops by cross pollination, enough reason to outlaw them.

      •  Remember with GMO's though, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, JesseCW, denise b

        people are reacting not just to what is but what is possible. That is, even if we completely agree that all the current GMO commercial crops are safe and effective, there's no regulatory process in place that seems likely to maintain that indefinitely. Whether or not any particular crop is safe is specific to that crop and those selected genes and where they are inserted.

        Untested, unapproved GMO crops have ended up in the food supply - that's a fact.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:39:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even if we agreed they were all effective (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling

          and safe, both for the environment and for our consumption, even we could be assured that genes would not migrate, even if each and every fear concerning them were proven to be irrational - whether or not we chose to consume them will still have nothing to do with whether or not other peoples kids die.

          There's nothing particularly dangerous about eating properly prepared pork - but millions of Americans don't want to do that for reasons that have no scientific basis.  We respect their right to make that choice, because it "harms" no one but people trying to sell pork.  

          This is the crux of the desperate attempts to conflate opposition to GMO crops with issues like water fluoridation, or vaccination, or anthropomorphic climate change.

          If people reject GMO crops on the basis of concerns not rooted in sound science, the only thing damaged is Monsantos profit margin.

          The risks are not more avoidable tooth decay, or the return of a dozen endemic diseases, or the destruction of human civilization and the deaths of billions.

          The risk is that some shareholders might make less money while other shareholders make more.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:36:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Much of the opposition (0+ / 0-)

        to GMO is not about health risks but about Monsanto having too much power over the global food supply. It's not scientific but political.

    •  its the stuff that drove bonddad out of here (3+ / 0-)

      when some people didn't like his conclusions and coudn't follow his quantitative analysis they accused him of all sorts of things. i remember people dismissing his "pretty pictures", also known as graphs, as meaningless eye candy.

      •  That's nonsense. He left because Meteor Blades (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka, Subterranean, run around

        posted a front-page article about the economy that came to exactly opposite conclusions from a Bondad diary on the rec list at that time.

        People have been driven off this site with the tacit approval of management before.  

        Bondad was - without question - not one of them.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:01:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And Bondad proved to be more accurate.n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seeds

          Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

          by jiffypop on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:32:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If all you cared about was the stock market (0+ / 0-)

            and real estate prices, then he'd certainly be your guy.

            But setting aside how completely, tragically, utterly wrong he's proven to have been on job creation - the issue isn't whether he was right or wrong.

            The issue is him storming off in a huff because someone on the front page disagreed with him.

            "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

            by JesseCW on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:49:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  that's not why he left (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep

          he left because he was subjected to daily abuse when he started posting diaries that said the economy was bottoming and then turning slightly up after the crash levels. people here took that to be an effort to undermine efforts to get a bigger stimulus package and validate Keynsian economics in general. comments posted to his threads and several diaries were highly emotional attacks on his analysis, frequently laced with the sort of ignorance (of economics and quantitative analysis in this case) that is the subject of this diary.  

          •  I was here the day he stormed off. (0+ / 0-)

            He flat out lost his shit because Meteor Blades disagreed with him.

            It was embarrassing to watch.

            "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

            by JesseCW on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:51:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i watch the whole thing unfold (0+ / 0-)

              and managed to keep my respect for meteor blades and bond dad fully intact. posters and other diarists who couldn't follow the quantitative discussion…not so much.

              •  One party - and it wasn't Meteor Blades - (0+ / 0-)

                stopped engaging in discussion and started raging about how he wasn't being shown proper deference by the employees of a site he felt he'd brought a lot of traffic to.

                By that point, though, it was no great loss.   Bondad had made clear by then that "The Economy" was of interest to him only in terms of how effective it was in transferring wealth from poor and working people to people like him.

                The site is much better off without him, and would benefit greatly if a few dozen like him followed in his stompy footprints, but his decision to flea the field after repeated humiliating defeats - not just of his assertions but of the twisted ideological anti-worker context in which he framed them - had nothing to do with any harassment.

                He was and is - like most of his class- an egotist who could not handle losing a fair fight.

                "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                by JesseCW on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:29:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  two different issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      To believe that GMO's are inherently risky is at this point a matter of faith.

      To believe that corporations are making improper use of GMO's, and that their policies are bad for society as a whole, on the other hand, is not a far reach.

      To believe that corporations may release GMO's that have not been thoroughly tested, or may put a thumb on the scales, is somewhere in between.

  •  Every so often, this anti-vaccine crusade shows up (39+ / 0-)

    in mainstream media, and every time, there seems to be no credible evidence that vaccines cause autism, or cancer, or anything else some folks claim it does and yet, it persists.

    You know, I was recently at the Pharmacy, and alongside flu shots, they're offering Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines--for adults!

    I never remember anyone getting whooping cough when I was a kid or even ten or fifteen years ago. All kids got vaccinated, and for older adults, even if their vaccines had worn off--which the pertussis vaccine does, it does not confer lifetime immunity--no was was getting the disease. Now, everyone should get a booster. While I understand from some cursory research I did before posting this comment part of the problem with pertussis is that it tends to mutate, but the largest problem is the anti-vaccination crowd.

    Who would willingly deprive their infants and small children of vaccines from everything from pertussis to polio, I simply don't know. AS far as the HPV vaccine is concerned, that seems to be rolled up in politics--sexual politics and "slut-shaming".

    Regardless, the anti-science movement in this country--everywhere from homeopathic quackery advocacy to the anti-vaccination crowd is deeply disturbing to many of us who grew up without anyone getting the kinds of deadly childhood diseases which are not making a comeback.

  •  I remember an early House segment wherein a (31+ / 0-)

    mother did not want her child to receive standard childhood vaccines and Dr. House agreed with her that they must be dangerous since everyone knew that the pharmaceutical industry was doing everything in its power to kill off its future clients at an early age. Or something to that effect.

  •  by that reasoning (30+ / 0-)

    I could claim that "Calvin and Hobbes" killed my father. (His last stroke happened while he was reading C&H in the Sunday funnies. It's better to think that the last thing he saw was something he enjoyed.)

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:10:30 AM PST

  •  Is it scientific illiteracy or a marketing ploy? (13+ / 0-)

    That is, it seems to me that fear-mongering is an effective way to sell audiences to advertisers. And isn't selling audiences the primary business of any advertising-supported medium? From that viewpoint, the scientific validity of the content is irrelevant as long as it delivers an audience.

  •  scientific illiteracy not the cause (41+ / 0-)

    It helps these things happen in some ways, but it's not the cause.  50 years ago people didn't know anything about scientific studies or vaccines either, but people as a whole were more trusting and the media was not the enabler that it is today, so a lack of education didn't matter.  (Heck, did they even have the kinds of mass scientific safety and efficacy studies then that they do now?  I think they didn't.  With vaccines at least, we just usually got lucky.)  And even very highly educated people are sometimes susceptible.

    I've recently been reading two books that together do a good job in getting at this stuff, I think.   One of them is called "True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society" by Farhad Manjoo.  The other is Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre.  Goldacre has a whole chapter on the MMR scare(s) and spends a lot of time talking about the media's role in stuff like this.  Manjoo has what I think are a couple of important points about lack of trust in society and what that does to our tendency to split into ever-more-segmented and insulated tribes, each of which can have quite different realities.  

    One or the other of them (I've lost track of which, but I think Manjoo) also spends some time talking about how people make decision on what to believe when confronted by competing "truths".  The idea is that when a topic is complicated and technical like vaccination is, we are far more likely to look for shortcuts in telling us who and what to trust.  In the case of vaccinations, that shortcut is very often "Big Pharma can't be trusted".  People will recognize that as being truthful on some level, and stop there.  Scientific literacy per se can't fend against that all too well.  Ability to comprehend the studies isn't always correlated with willingness to look beyond the shortcut and do the hard work of deciding who to trust on that more technical basis.

    Even a lot of us who trust vaccines in general don't necessary do so for the "right" reasons, or really understand why they do.  They just look to a different shortcut.  "Vaccines do good things and to do without them is dangerous."

    I agree that the media is far too careless with its own power on things like this.  It should recognize the power of anecdote and be wary of it.  It fails badly on all levels.

    •  Thanks for the reading suggestions! (7+ / 0-)

      I need to check out Manjoo's work.

    •  Excellent contribution to the discussion (11+ / 0-)

      Your comments about "shortcut to the truth" is a great example of Occam's Razor misused.

      Simpler isn't always better.

    •  Great comment (4+ / 0-)

      And good reading references.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:26:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sent you in to Top Comments (6+ / 0-)

      The idea of a "shortcut to truth" is a useful one.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:44:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When most of the people in power are lying (6+ / 0-)

      most of the time (The banksters did nothing illegal, we're killing all those civilians on accident, your congresswoman cares about people like you, ect) it shouldn't be a shock when most people are extraordinarily suspicious of the claims of most people in power.

      At some point, the best answer just might be to talk some folks at a senior center about what childhood was like prior to  modern vaccinations.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:14:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Public trust is at an all time low, and for some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      very good reasons. However that lack of trust is going to leak into adjacent topics.

      I observe that economics may also be a factor. Because that alone has been the determinate factor in if one receives medical care, and the quality of medical care. And if that care is not good, these people have difficulties getting legal representation or reparations for their injuries. Word gets around.

      Mix that all in with the class war issues and things are going to be tough.

      Talk down to these people, insult them and ridicule them and they will circle the wagons.

      I had all my vaccines. My kids had some vaccines delayed, but they got all their shots by age 4. The MMR was the one I was worried about until that study was debunked.  And I also got another round of shots in the military.

      I am fairly certain I have had pertussis as an older child and as an adult several times, and I suspect that I had it recently after getting it from a vaccinated school aged child.

      And that makes me wonder about the efficacy of the vaccine in general that is being distributed and how it may not be adequate to counteract the strains of the disease that is/has been making it's rounds.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:03:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if you are fairly certain you have had pertussis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tommymet

        several times, you shouldn't be wondering about the efficacy of the vaccine in general -- you should be grateful that your immune system was well-primed to resist, because full-blown pertussis is not something you'd be "fairly certain" about.

        on the other hand, i don't think anybody thinks the vaccine is any more effective than contracting the disease itself -- which makes me rather doubtful that you've had it "several times", if ever.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:23:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not absolutely sure about this but I believe (0+ / 0-)

          it's not unusual for adults to repeatedly get pertussis. Immunity, whether from vaccines or wild type pertussis wanes over time. When adults get pertussis for a second, third or fourth time their symptoms are usually less severe than when contracting it for the first time. Also, if the adult was vaccinated at some time, the symptoms of their first pertussis infection can also be diminished in severity.

          •  Whenever I get sick I do my best to (0+ / 0-)

            Wash my hands frequently, and avoid other people, to as to avoid infecting them.

            I have witnessed a lot of individuals out in the world, who don't seem to care if they sneeze and cough all over people and food, and who don't wash their hands, or cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing,  and who show up to parties and other social gatherings, sick as dogs, knowing they are contagious.

            Perhaps the other end of this vaccine discussion should be addressed in terms of how to be a good sick person, as opposed to a walking, oozing, disease vector.

            I have been ever so thankful that the rest of society at large is finally catching on to the notion of antibiotic abuse.

            Of course the issue with contagion and manners would be more easily addressed if everyone had access to sick days and sick leave without fear of professional retaliation if they use them when needed.

            What would it be like to not worry that food handlers have the flu while they are preparing your meal in town?

            Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

            by GreenMother on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:59:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. My daughter is immune compromised (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother

              and so I think more in terms of being a good sick person and wishing more people would be better at that. There are just so many illnesses that are not vaccine preventable. Also, I worry about food borne illnesses and things like West Nile that seem to be getting more prevalent because of climate change.

        •  You must be an awesome psychic to be able to (0+ / 0-)

          diagnose people over the intertubinets.

          Positively scientifical.

          Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

          by GreenMother on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:53:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You must be an awesome physician to be (0+ / 0-)

            able to diagnose an infection without a culture.

            You suspect you contracted a bacterial infection that is normally characterized by symptoms so severe -- even deadly, to small children -- and particular that they are hard to mistake; yet you suggest that your own experience was relatively mild. You simultaneously wonder about the efficacy of the vaccine you received. My "sciencey" implication was that perhaps the symptoms were less severe because you had been vaccinated -- which is, in fact, the reality that is observed clinically.

            I further allowed that other than the initial infection, it would be hard to say much about the vaccine, because the infection itself was possibly as (or more) effective against future infections. Nonetheless, you suspect that despite having been vaccinated and infected, you continue to contract pertussis -- which until recently had become relatively rare in the US population.

            You do not indicate from whom you think you contracted it, these several times, and for that matter, you provide absolutely no indication of what makes you think you had it. Here's the problem: Mild pertussis is almost indistinguishable from a "bad" cold, nevermind any of the various flavors of "walking pneumonia". The annual incidence of reported pertussis in adults is about 2/100,000 persons. If 99.9% of all actual cases were unreported, then the average adult would have about a 2% chance of contracting pertussis in any given year -- basically, a once in a lifetime event, although that assumes that subsequent infections aren't related to earlier incidences.

            So, no, I can't diagnose you over the intertubes, but in fact, you cannot diagnose yourself with a mild case of pertussis -- it can only be done with a swab and diagnostic assay.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:30:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Its the tone of this discussion that is really off (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wa ma

              putting.

              And it's why people like you, in this situation cannot get anywhere, even if they might be correct.

              Your attitude sucks and that directly affects your ability to communicate.

              All I can infer from your posts and similar posts, is derision.

              It might feel good in the moment, but it does nothing to help your case, because there is an absence of basic respect one might show to another adult.

              Until you learn to come down from your high horse and join the rest of us here on earth, you will keep having the same problems.

              You blame these problems on scientific illiteracy, and it is a convenient way to give your hands the appearance of proverbial cleanliness. But really its about something else entirely.

              You look down on anyone who disagrees with you. And then wonder why your dialogue cannot progress. The claim of scientific illiteracy is only partially true, which is why it makes for such an insidious form of reductionism. You ignore the real life issues that all these different people in America are facing, as a whole.

              Medicine doesn't have to be bitter. And neither do opinions or even facts.

              So what kind of power does this make you feel to be so unpleasant about this topic when there is no need?

              Do you think that the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders didn't suffer enough upon the initial diagnosis?

              Do you think they they did not suffer enough as they searched for treatment options? Or that they didn't suffer enough wringing their hands hoping to find a safe place for their children to learn and grow?

              And just so we are clear, they don't need your pity either, because that is still a form of a superiority complex. They simply need you to respect them as adults, as parents who have had to suffer through a chronic condition, sometimes an undiagnosed one for years, while they searched blindly for answers in a very hostile world of pure, unethical capitalism.

              And how frightening must it be to know someone directly, pregnant, and wondering if the same fate will befall your child. Is it genetic? Is it environmental? No one has been able to make a case one way or the other that can be heard over the din of lobbyists.

              When Americans have to fight to reveal things like cancer clusters, to get the ingredients in fracking brine and other hazardous chemicals revealed to them, that are put into the ground, when they have to fight to get black boxes on medications, when they watch generation after generation of veterans fight just for coverage of "Imaginary Illnesses" caused by substances like Agent Orange, or conditions like Gulf War Illness (we now know as TILT), when we watch as authority figures send clean up crews into a massive oil spill or into the flying particulate matter of Sept 11th without masks, without safety gear and then deny them health care--

              Why on earth would increasing numbers of Americans become fearful of the institutions they used to trust? And why would they question the motives of these institutions during such dark times?

              But don't worry, I am sure your uppity correctitude will overpower their suspicions and not add to it. It's a great tactic--and it's been working great so far--you should stick to it.

              Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

              by GreenMother on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:15:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  People like me? (0+ / 0-)

                Where do you think I'm trying to get?

                You made an odd observation -- actually, a somewhat self-contradictory observation -- about your experience with the pertussis vaccine. I pointed out the contradiction, and challenged your self-assessment.

                Other than responding to that, my only contributions to this thread -- that I recall, anyway -- were to note the odd flip in the fluoride conspiracy theory, and to point out in a couple of places that the anti-vax movement is older than most people realize, and was substantially the creation of the chiropractic profession, because vaccination is a direct challenge to the fundamental dogma of what I will call "strong chiropractic".

                I know many parents with autistic children (of varying severity), and I don't rant at any of them over this issue. Of course they're looking for some sort of answer, and of course they're going to be somewhat irrational in pursuing that answer: People are irrational, all of us, much of the time. However, most of the people I know who are into "alternative therapies" are not the parents of autistic children. They are, on the other hand, people who are smart enough to know better, but inexplicably don't. I don't know what the hell to tell them, because if they were susceptible to information on this, they'd probably already have changed their minds themselves.

                I should note that while I dismiss out of hand the fundamental dogma of strong chiropractic (and yes, it is very hard to respect anybody who actually does not believe that germs cause disease) I take no stand on fluoride. Maybe it's pretty bad for us, but it wasn't ever a commie plot.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:36:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thus far, I have not encountered anyone that (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wa ma, Celestia89

                  denies germs cause disease. They might not understand the finer points of germ theory, but they do wash their hands and take other cleanliness precautions.

                  They simply do not trust the big pharmaceutical companies, the same companies that churn out things like Vioxx, and Fen Phen, who are now in law suits over birth defects by women who were told to keep taking anti-depressants while pregnant.

                  But it gets better.

                  Do you have any idea what it's like for me--a regular non-medical person to have an argument with a doctor over whether to take ANTIBIOTICS for a freaken virus? Medical associations had to tell other doctors to stop giving people antibiotics for viral infections. Who doesn't understand germs now?

                  Yes, sadly this has actually happened to me more than once. I have had to have this discussion with doctors. I know the difference between a bacterium and a virus and yet--I didn't go to medical school.

                  You would not believe some of the ridiculous bullshit conversations and arguments I have had with medical people who should know better. And why do I get this dubious honor? Because my economic status dictates my quality of care, like it does for many people.

                  The medical profession wants it both ways. They want us to implicitly trust anyone who is a doctor, but then every consumer publication out there has check lists about how to fight for our healthcare, to avoid getting misdiagnosis, improper drug regimens, or suffer due to other forms of medical negligence.

                  I have to trust my doctor but be educated enough in whatever procedure we are dealing with to question my doctor--to basically check his or her work before it's even done.

                  But it gets even better.

                  You want to go after all these "deluded" parents for their anti-vaccine mentality, but there are doctors in on this too. Regular MDs not just Chiropractors or people into alternative health care.

                  So basically people like me cannot win. And by win, I don't mean win an argument, I mean feel like we have reached some kind of place where we can be accepted as adult equals while feeling confident that we get the best care for our children. We are judged if we just go along with whatever the doctor tells us, and we are judged if we challenge that medical professional. We are socially damned if we do and damned if we don't.

                  Why would I suspect I have had Pertussis several times? Because I had the text book symptoms. I am intelligent enough I can read. That's why I can argue about the differences between a virus and a bacterium. That's why I can argue, if I need to, about which medication I prefer, because I am intelligent enough to read through all the side effects. Why didn't I get a culture? Because to make an appointment at those times takes a month to see a damn doctor. So why bother? By then I will be over it or at least the symptoms will have subsided.

                  But back to the arguing with the medical people:

                  But some arguments I have to have are based on personal experience and not necessarily supported by western allopathic medical culture. That's CULTURE and not science. Take a look at the Birth Industry (as an example) and that will allow you to acquaint yourself with the differences between Medical Culture and Medical Science.

                  No one likes being talked down to. And when you are poor, you learn that when you are paying for a service, and that person talks down to you, it's time to grab your pants and run.

                  Regular people are frustrated with the pharmaceutical industry and many people are frustrated with the quality of care. And all this frustration, this lack of communication, and suspicion has done it's damage. This has taken place over a period of years. This isn't something that just sort of popped up recently.

                  So how is it that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies keep reinforcing this dynamic?

                  When you are poor, and you don't go to a doctor except for emergencies, you learn to survive. You learn to take care of yourself. You learn to find answers, you learn to research. So if you go into a doctor's office for anything at all, and they cannot or will not communicate with you in a meaningful way--that will cause you to distrust their claimed skill-level on top of everything else.

                  Now throw a mystery illness like Autism on the pile and watch all that distrust and lack of communication, and class warfare, and poverty spontaneously combust.

                  I believe that the majority of the time, vaccines are not harmful to people. But that our population has grown to such a degree that adverse events are now a numerically significant event, even if statistically they seem insignificant and that the medical community has not done enough to address this.

                  It is my understanding that there is interest in mitochondrial disorders and possible links to adverse reactions to vaccinations.

                  btw here is a CDC page for Vaccine side effects. Note that the MMRV vaccine when it does cause an adverse event can cause permanent damage.  

                  The point being to all of this: You cannot allay the fears of others by calling them stupid and trying to publicly humiliate them. That will simply cause them to hold tighter to their view point. And if you gang up on people online or in publications, that will only reinforce their feelings that there is a CT or some sort. And you want to accomplish the opposite, because you want to achieve the greatest good.

                  You have to actually, respectfully communicate with them. And you need to accept that some are not interested in hearing anything you want to say.

                  But the good news is---

                  Most of the people I meet in person, in the world who are against all vaccines don't even have kids. They can afford to be militant because they got no skin in the game.  Most other people who are worried, who have kids, want to find a physician worthy of trust who will explain each vaccine and each potential side effect and make themselves immediately available if such an event were to occur. And some like me, got the vaccines in single doses and just took longer to get the kids shots, but got them nonetheless.

                  Because the doctor was willing to recognize my worries and compromise, we got the work done. That could never happen if the doctors had been rude and condescending to me.

                  Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                  by GreenMother on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:22:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. Really. I know it's hard to believe. (0+ / 0-)

                    "Strong chiropractic" -- the vein based on the "original" system -- actively denies the germ theory. I've seen their pamphlets from the 50s, denouncing the polio vaccine. Unsurprisingly, the field experienced a schism. Amazingly, there are still adherents to the original system around, though most chiropractors are much less dogmatic. The "New, Kinda Strong" chiropractors I would characterize as admitting that germs cause some disease, but insisting that if your spine were aligned properly your body could fight off the germs. And the cancer cells. And so on.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:44:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't know, I don't go to Chiropractors. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      wa ma

                      There are lots of ways to boost the immune system, however if they admit that you need to, then clearly they "believe" in germs.

                      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                      by GreenMother on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:31:37 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's what I said. (0+ / 0-)
                        The "New, Kinda Strong" chiropractors I would characterize as admitting that germs cause some disease,

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:04:52 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And what I am saying is, Don't ignore the social (0+ / 0-)

                          dynamics driving this problem. Lack of trust cultivated via class and economic issues, quality of care, poor bedside manner, time poverty, and failure to address genuine adverse events, corrupt relationships between pharmaceutical companies and the government --all of these are factors that help create this mess.

                          This is a complex problem--simply calling people dumb doesn't address the drivers.

                          And without addressing the drivers, a reasonable solution will not be activated.

                          There are multiple factors that must be addressed to restore the kind of trust you expect in this situation, but that is not present.

                          Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                          by GreenMother on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:41:39 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Here's an article you might want to check out (0+ / 0-)

              Vaccinate the Village

              Substantial reductions in childhood pertussis have been achieved in the developed world through use of effective vaccines in an evidenced-based fashion. However, pertussis control is complicated by limited persistence of immunity after immunization and infection [1, 2], unrecognized disease and asymptomatic carriage contributing to transmission [3, 4], and resurgence of recognized disease in adolescents and adults in many developed countries.

              --snip--

              Over the past 30 years there has been growing evidence of risk for transmission of pertussis to infants from family and caregivers [9]. Despite lack of an identified source for 40%–70% of infant pertussis cases, household contacts have accounted for the majority of implicated transmissions to infants [4, 10, 11], with some differences in observed proportions of parents and siblings as sources.

              The paper by de Greeff et al [12] in this issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases reinforces these observations and highlights some salient points regarding acquisition and severity of pertussis in young infants. Source cases were implicated for 84% of 164 households of index cases with full testing of contacts. Mothers accounted for 38% of implicated transmissions, fathers for 17%, and siblings for 41%. The severity of pertussis in the hospitalized index case infants was apparent in the symptoms, complications, and treatment required. Among siblings who had received at least 4 doses of pertussis-containing vaccine within 3 years, 69% had laboratory-confirmed pertussis infection, with atypical or asymptomatic pertussis in 29% of those who received whole-cell vaccine and 61% of those who received acellular pertussis vaccine.

              --snip--

              Although the diagnosis of typical pertussis is all too often missed or delayed, atypical pertussis may not even raise suspicion of pertussis until other cases in the household appear, making antibiotic treatment to prevent transmission less effective.

              Although pertussis varies in incidence through a 3–5-year cycle, it appears that there is a real trend in decreasing incidence of pertussis, especially among adolescents, concurrent with increasing use of Tdap (Massachusetts Department of Public Health, unpublished data) [20]. Reduction of the adolescent reservoir reduces exposure and infection of younger children, as well as infants. If Tdap also prevents asymptomatic B. pertussis infection in adolescents and adults, herd immunity could further reduce risk for exposure of infants [21], although such herd immunity has not yet been demonstrated to result from Tdap use.

              I think it's fair to say she can't know for sure she had pertussis but it is possible she did because carriage rates are believed to be pretty high in adults and it would be hard to identify who she caught it from because the carrier could be asymptomatic. That's the reason behind the push to "cocoon" infants and get adults who will be around infants vaccinated with Tdap. The vaccine wears off in adults and older children. The antibodies decrease over time so the symptoms can vary depending on how soon a person contracts pertussis following their most recent vaccination or infection.

              I'm not sure infections were relatively rare in adults until recently. I think that fewer vaccinated kids were getting pertussis when the whole cell vaccine was in use compared to the relatively high number of vaccinated kids getting pertussis now.

              I think diagnosing pertussis in adults wasn't a big priority and also it was not uncommon until recently for doctors to routinely prescribe antibiotics to people who presented with cold symptoms. Because pertussis is bacterial the antibiotics would have had an effect on disease course and possibly transmissibility.

              Also, as far as missing symptoms in young children, I think one of the dangers of this illness is that young infants don't get the cough symptom but instead experience apnea. Those are the little ones who are most at danger and who die at the highest rates.

              •  yes, it is possible that she has contracted (0+ / 0-)

                pertussis. I spent rather a ridiculous amount of time trying to find, anywhere, an actual true-to-life estimate of unreported/undetected adult pertussis rates. I found a reference to a document that apparently contains such an estimate, but I couldn't find a copy of the actual document. I also found a reference to a document that turned out to be an inaccurate reference.

                the closest things i found anywhere were:

                an inferable estimate that perhaps 90% of adult pertussis goes unreported

                and

                an uncited estimate that perhaps 20% of all persistent coughs in UK adults are actually unreported pertussis.

                since i don't have an estimate of the frequency of persistent cough in UK adults, I can't really go very far with that one. meanwhile, in my own example I used a figure of 99.9% -- giving up a rather large benefit of the doubt.

                and as i noted, there is simply no way to distinguish pertussis from any other persistent cough without doing a culture, in the absence of which the assumption ought to be that it was not whooping cough, because the odds are apparently rather against it.

                this is not rocket science, it is fairly simple arithmetic. GreenMother accuses me of elitism -- a charge I will grant, if GreenMother can persuade me that any high school graduate shouldn't be easily capable of understanding the arithmetic. until then, whatever my problem is, it isn't intellectual elitism.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:50:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You might want to familiarize yourself about (0+ / 0-)

                  reporting and surveillance practices for pertussis infections. The CDC doesn't require a lab test for reporting purposes. Their position is that symptoms are enough for a diagnosis of pertussis.

                  Although many pertussis cases are not diagnosed and therefore not reported, the surveillance system is useful for monitoring epidemiologic trends. The limitations of laboratory diagnostics make the clinical case definition essential to pertussis surveillance. It is important to determine duration of cough — specifically whether it lasts 14 days or longer — in order to determine if a person's illness meets the definition of a clinical case.

                  Case Definition

                  Pertussis cases are reported by states to CDC through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). Both probable and confirmed cases should be reported nationally. The most recent case definition (1997) for pertussis includes the following information:

                  Clinical Case Definition

                  A cough illness lasting at least 2 weeks with one of the following: paroxysms of coughing, inspiratory "whoop," or posttussive vomiting, without other apparent cause (as reported by a health professional).
                  This clinical case definition is appropriate for endemic or sporadic cases. In outbreak settings, a case may be defined as a cough illness lasting at least 2 weeks (as reported by a health professional).

                  Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis

                  Isolation of Bordetella pertussis from clinical specimen
                  Positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for B. pertussis
                  Because direct fluorescent antibody testing of nasopharyngeal secretions has been demonstrated in some studies to have low sensitivity and variable specificity, such testing should not be relied on as a criterion for laboratory confirmation. Serologic testing for pertussis is available in some areas but is not standardized and, therefore, should not be relied on as a criterion for laboratory confirmation.

                  Pertussis Surveillance and Reporting
                  •  I did familiarize myself with this doc, in my (0+ / 0-)

                    fairly extensive research.

                    The Clinical Case Definition given errs substantially on the side of Sensitivity vs Specificity, especially in the "outbreak" context. What they are saying in that case is "We don't care about false positives -- count 'em all, and treat the patient as if it is known to be whooping cough."

                    I inadvertently left out the adjective "mild" in my preceding comment. The paroxysms, distinct "whoop", and puking are symptoms that distinguish a "bad" case of whooping cough from a mild one, and may distinguish it from some other respiratory infection.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:38:18 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  When you say you left out the adjective "mild" (0+ / 0-)

                      in your comment, I'm not sure where you mean you left it out. Was it this sentence?

                      and as i noted, there is simply no way to distinguish pertussis from any other persistent cough without doing a culture, in the absence of which the assumption ought to be that it was not whooping cough, because the odds are apparently rather against it.
                      Or was it somewhere else in your comment?

                      They're not saying "count 'em all" for the purposes of treatment, they're saying count cases that you believe are pertussis because the patient's symptoms meet the clinical case definition. Aren't they saying that when there is not outbreak known to be taking place, if someone has had a cough for two weeks and they have coughing fits or they vomit after they cough or they whoop as they suck in air when they cough, the health care provider can assume the patient has pertussis and the provider needs to report the case? Doesn't their guidance say that if there's an outbreak taking place, the patient only needs to have had a cough for two weeks for the provider to diagnose pertussis and report it?

                      I'm not sure why an individual could not use the same criteria to make an educated guess about whether they had contracted pertussis. If you know a lot of people in your community are getting diagnosed with pertussis (some of us do pay attention to these things, when my state had epidemic pertussis recently I checked the state report weekly), it seems appropriate that if you have come down with a cough and it's lasted more than two weeks, there is a good chance you have contracted pertussis.

                      The other poster told you they were feeling attacked and talked down to, I'm not sure why, with that knowledge, you have not made an effort to be more precise in your comments.

                      •  The moment they say, count any two-week (0+ / 0-)

                        persistent cough as pertussis, they are saying, "count 'em all". They are not saying, "This criterion tells us it is pertussis," they are saying, "Assume it is pertussis -- it doesn't matter whether it is or not, treat it as if it were." Those are two very, very different epistemological stances.

                        And yes, the sentence you block-quoted is the one where the word "mild" should have appeared.

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:10:14 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  It's worth noting that the anti-vax movement (5+ / 0-)

      has been around at least since the emergence of the polio vaccine -- which was opposed by a huge PR effort from the chiropractic fraudsters who were still denying the germ theory of disease.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:20:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The short cut is trust. CDC vs. your lyin' eyes? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      No one has read all the studies. (Okay, only a rare few.)

      "There is no expedient to which man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking." -Sir Joshua Reynolds

      by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:51:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:33:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  During the Comet ISON coverage (15+ / 0-)

    some talking head (don't remember who, but it was on MSNBC) actually asked a NASA scientist if there was any particular reason why comets got brighter as they approached the sun.  Cue a moment of silence as the question sank in.  My answer would have been a rather stunned "....what?"

    The general public is, frankly, uneducated and has no idea how science works.

    "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

    by Hayate Yagami on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:27:57 AM PST

  •  It's not just illiteracy. Paranoia a bigger factor (20+ / 0-)

    The anti-vaccine trend relies upon deep suspicion among the population, against both the government and corporations.

    They see vaccines as a joint conspiracy by these two forces.

    Of course, this is complete crap in at least 99.99% of the cases.

    But among all other things in our 21st Century world, deciding to vaccinate our kids or not is one of the few illusions of control we seem to have over our lives.

    That's why anti-vaccine is such an easy sell.

    Of course, the same people usually have no compunction against buying, say, smartphones, and even giving one to their kid. The same kid they didn't vaccinate because "who knows what government and corporations are putting into these things".

    My sister is among them. She didn't vaccinate her younger kids - maybe also her older ones. She's got a Master's in movement therapy, a biologist mom who worked in medical research all her career, a dad with a Ph.D. in physics, a brother with ditto in statistics and two science degrees before that (and two other brothers who are in hi-tech).

    Basically, she's just free-riding her kids on herd immunity.

    I've got enough other issues with her, chose not to even open this line of fire ;(

    But I think deep-seated suspicion vs. "The Establishment", as well as of course social pressure, are stronger forces than plain science illiteracy.

  •  Here's a little story about something my great (29+ / 0-)

    grandmother (1894-1986) once told me when I was a child and afraid of getting my booster shots. She pulled out a box of very old family photographs and showed me a a 10 year old boy, dressed up in a suit and a starched collar, and picture of his mother, probably taken when she was in her very early 20's given the Edwardian dress she was wearing. "Young Samuel died of whooping cough at 12, in 1912", she told me, "And your cousin Matilda there? She died of the Spanish Flu in 1918. We put flowers on their graves every Decoration Day, remember?".

    She went on to tell me about all the wonderful progress of modern medicine she had seen throughout her lifetime, and because of these shots children like me don't die of these diseases anymore, "or get polio, like President Roosevelt".

    I am lucky that even the oldest generations I knew of my family were reality-based. Some of you might think that's scary, but it put me at ease and I took my shots like a trooper. I never had one preventable childhood communicable disease, nor knew anyone who ever had pertussis, German measels, the mumps, or any of that stuff we got vaccinated against as a requirement for attending public school, and if I had been a girl, and they had had it, I'm sure I would have gotten the HPV vaccine as well.

    The only childhood disease I never got as a child was the Chicken Pox. I got that when I was 20, and in case you don't know, when adults get it it can kill you. I nearly died from it, as a matter of fact, and just had a mild bout of the shingles this Summer--something I hope never recurs.

    •  Chicken pox is the one I got. (7+ / 0-)

      Luckily young enough that I can just barely remember it.

      Kids a few years older than me were able to get shots instead.

      The one thing I remember about it is being outright miserable.

      Meanwhile, there was a shingles scare earlier in the year here -- one person got a monster case of it, a lot of her peer group started wanting the vaccine. They had a hell of a time finding anyone who would stock the thing because their doctors -- who could bill Medicare for it with no questions asked at their ages -- said there was so little demand it wasn't worth the cost to them of tossed doses to keep it on the shelf. I don't know if any of them actually managed to get vaccinated, all because of a low vaccination rate for something that occasionally turns very dangerous.

      •  I could have, and should have, gotten one, (9+ / 0-)

        but my GP at the time I got the pox told me that my risk for shingles, having gotten the pox as an adult, was very low. He was partly right: I was told I had the mildest case of shingles the doctor had seen in years and her first question was "when did you get the chicken pox?" Apparently, in her opinion, I was lucky twice: lucky that I didn't die (I really could have, and was even admitted to the hospital on account of it) and that people who get chicken pox as an adult tend to have a lower risk of shingles.

        When I was a little kid (in the early 70's) there used to be "chicken pox parties": if a kid in the neighborhood came down with it, they'd take us all over to get exposed. That might sound cruel, but I never got it until I was an adult though I was exposed multiple times. Apparently, my pediatrician suggested that perhaps I was naturally immune, which I gather a small segment of the population is. Whatever happened with my body, it waited a long time. I am very lucky I only have a couple of scars from it: it looked more like smallpox on me than chicken pox.

        By the way, that big "vaccination scar" those of us born before about 1971 one have and is no longer given? That's for smallpox. God help us if that makes a comeback.

        •  Smallpox is eradicated (7+ / 0-)

          so it won't make a comeback barring a release from frozen samples, thank goodness.

        •  I'm more worried about polio. (10+ / 0-)

          Smallpox is at least limited to contained scientific repositories.

          Polio? Is still in the wild. Is still crossing national borders when it can find a way. And it's got fake herd immunity in the US now because so few cases of even so much as exposure happen. I've known a neighbor who never got more than minimal use of his knees back and my parents had friends who never fully recovered.

          Thank goodness Saudi Arabia started realizing that Mecca was a major disease vector and acted. For a while there, until they did some apparent tweaking of national tourist entrance requirements, most of the out-of-apparently-nowhere polio outbreaks started with some obedient Muslim man in an undervaccinated area scrimping every bit of money he could, making the pilgrimage his religion said he must, and then unknowingly bringing the polio virus home to the children of his family and his neighborhood.

          If that had still been going on when the anti-vax movement in America got to its current prominence...

          •  IIRC, I'm one of the last generation to get both (6+ / 0-)

            the Sabin AND Salk vaccine. But my mother is old enough to remember swimming bans, and great hysteria about polio outbreaks, and she grew up on a lake where everyone swam all summer.

            Frankly, I think we should bring back smallpox vaccination, as smallpox virus could be potentially used as a bio-weapon and the herd immunity is only based nowadays on its general eradication.

            •  The thing with the smallpox vaccine (5+ / 0-)

              is that it has a LOT more chance of side effects - and dangerous ones - than most other vaccines.

              It's older, and the incidence rate had tapered down a lot and become geographically contained before a lot of modern techniques were developed.

              I'd like them to develop a modern smallpox vaccine and then make that standard, for the same reason.

              •  Exactly. I was born in 1969. I was vaccinated (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassandra Waites

                for Smallpox, and have the scar on my left arm to prove it. My brother, born in 1972, was not. If it were ever used in a nefarious way, everyone born after my brother, at least in this country, when the vaccination was discontinued, would be at great risk.

                •  they could ramp up production of smallpox (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass

                  vaccines pretty quickly if it ever comes back, however, there are very few stocks of the actual virus remaining and even those might have finally been destroyed. last article I read on it was in 2010.

                  Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

                  by terrypinder on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:55:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Dan Rather had a 2002 CBS story on the smallpox (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JerryNA

                    vaccine: The most dangerous vaccine. He quoted an infectious disease specialist: "We know if we immunize a million people, that there will be 15 people that will suffer severe, permanent adverse outcomes and one person who may die from the vaccine." It's interesting that the remote dangers of vaccines are recognized in

                    the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP was established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines. The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The U. S. Court of Federal Claims decides who will be paid. Three Federal government offices have a role in the VICP:
                    the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
                    the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and
                    the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
                    .

                    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

                    by ybruti on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:02:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I have heard that smallpox vaccinations over (0+ / 0-)

                  20 years old are likely to offer very limited resistance at best.

                  "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:28:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately, our brilliant "intelligence" (5+ / 0-)

            operatives decided to pose as health workers and use vaccinations as a chance to collect DNA evidence to try to track down wanted terror suspects.

            As result, we're probably not going to eradicate polio for a generation or two more.

            50 years of NGO's building trust right down the fucking shitter for petty vengeance.

            "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

            by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:27:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, not all vaccines are safe and effective. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene

        Most people I know will not take the shingles vaccine, it is only 50% effective and has the chance of side effects. http://www.cdc.gov/...
        The same with the flu vaccine. It is made long before the actual flu season starts, so a breakout of a different strain will render the vaccine useless. There is cost and like everything you do in life, carries risk. I know someone who was permanently and severely brain damaged by a flu vaccine.
        The questions with the HPV vaccine is whether there is a risk to the public health if large segments do not get vaccinated, which is not the case with pertussis or diphtheria. I do not believe HPV will be eradicated like smallpox or polio (there is still some polio but it is very isolated).
        In America, we have Teh Freedumz, which means that it is considered patriotic for you to act irresponsibly and against the public interest, like not having your children vaccinated.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:16:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Granted, it's a lot easier to be reality based (9+ / 0-)

      when the disease is in front of you. My visceral negative reaction to anti-vaxxers comes from having spent 4 years in a country with endemic diseases for which there are no vaccines, like Dengue.

      When I was in Cuba, I met a woman with a son who was about 6 years old and had some form of retardation.  The woman caught Dengue when she was 7 months pregnant and it is probably that the amount of time she had with a high fever that caused brain damage in the fetus.  

      My son's nanny also caught Dengue last year.  She lost 6 months of work and spent over a month in the hospital.  

      Even though cervical cancer is less frequent and more "silent" than diseases like Dengue or malaria, it boggles the mind to think that you would have access to prevent the disease and not take the opportunity to do it.  

      •  The reaction to the HPV vaccine drives me NUTS. (10+ / 0-)

        I am a repulsed asexual. My lifetime chance of exposure is pretty much down to a slight lifetime likelihood of encountering improperly cleaned medical equipment and a slight lifetime likelihood of sexual assault. Along with a chance if I ever decided to actively try to get pregnant.

        I want that vaccine. Badly. I want there to be one less thing for me to worry about if I ever am assaulted. I know the vaccine is there and could provide me that.

        Every time - EVERY TIME - they expand the effective age range, I am right outside of it. I have never been eligible to take the damn thing for so much as five minutes.

        This is coming from someone so needle phobic the flu shot and tetanus boosters are basically the limit of what I've consented to in the past ten years. And I WANT THAT VACCINE.

        And there are people who have access to something that can stop that silent killer in its tracks without the woman ever having to know she's been exposed, and they're fighting to SKIP it?

        •  A couple of things that might help you feel better (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, JayBat, ban nock

          the vaccine doesn't protect against all strains so women still need to be checked for HPV with pap smears or with testing for HPV. Apparently testing and treating is a good strategy for helping prevent cervical cancer.

          HPV Testing Tops Pap for Cancer Prevention

          Infection with HPV causes the vast majority of cervical cancers. With early detection, most cases are curable, and detection of precancerous changes can prevent progression to malignancy.

          Historically, early detection of cervical cancer has relied on detection of abnormal changes in cervical cytology. With the advent of viral testing, HPV infection can be identified even before precancerous changes occur.

          Four randomized clinical trials involving women in industrialized nations showed that viral testing significantly reduced the risk of grade 3 carcinoma intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN3) or worse pathology as compared with cytologic testing.

    •  Bummer about the chicken pox (5+ / 0-)

      Good reminder to get the now available vaccination (or the shingles vaccination if appropriate).

      •  I spent about five days with a fever of 104, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Cassandra Waites, chimene

        and am lucky I don't have brain damage. Thankfully, I remember very little of the experience. However, the deadliness of Chicken Pox in adults was known back when I was a kid, which is why most parents made sure their kids were exposed when they were as young as possible. Perhaps a medical professional here can explain why it's deadlier to adults than children.

        •  Not a medical professional, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, chimene

          I remember hearing that with some of the flu pandemics the real issue wasn't the flu being deadly but instead the body's immune response going overboard.

          So the fevers go sky high instead of merely elevated. And so on.

          In the case of those kinds of illnesses, it's the very young and very old who survive without much of a fight and the teenagers and adults who die - because their immune systems are strong enough to have fatal overreactions to the invader.

          •  I always thought that the Spanish Flu pandemic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            of 1918 was exacerbated by the unusual mobility due to the soldiers of WW I migrating across areas in larger numbers than is typical, bringing the infection in large groups rather than a single transmitting source. Perhaps it was a particularly virulent strain, but it's impossible to separate the virus from it's unusual transmission.

            Although there were more civilian than military casualties, I presumed that the higher mortality rate among teenagers and younger adults was caused by that group being the vector of transmission - soldiers, rather than school children introducing it to a community.

            H1N1 similarly was first spread from swine to agricultural workers and then to others when they recreated in pool halls. College kids visiting Mexico for Spring Break brought it back to the U.S. and we saw it affecting high schoolers en masse.

            Is it the virus, the immune system, or it's transmission pattern that caused the young adults to be impacted more severely?  It's hard to say for sure.

            Non pandemic flu tends to have greater mortality in the elderly, so I'm not sure how that figures in. I'm leaning towards the transmission pattern rather than virus virulence or immune response intensity.

            "There is no expedient to which man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking." -Sir Joshua Reynolds

            by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:21:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I read that most deaths were from secondary (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            bacterial infections and that the idea of the cytokine storm being a cause of death for many people was not supported by more recent studies.

            Here's an article with a lot of info about the 1918 pandemic.

            CIDRAP-Study: Bacterial pneumonia was main killer in 1918 flu pandemic

    •  friend of mine got chicken pox as an adult. (4+ / 0-)

      about fifteen years after that, he got narcolepsy from the lesions it created on his brain. discovered this only after he flipped his car and nearly died.

      he doesn't work and can't drive now and he really would rather be working and driving.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

      by terrypinder on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:52:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Granda had mumps at 14. His fever (5+ / 0-)

      stayed above 105 for days.  He spent two days talking to his dead father, who he'd never met.  Out loud.

      At one point - he was already working as an ore sorter at the mill - he rammed his hands through the plaster of the walls and literally climbed them.  His fever rendered him completely delusional.

      His testicles were the size of lemons and the doctor was certain he'd never have children.  He was comatose for another two days after his fever broke and they didn't think he was going to come out of it.

      He lost his job.   They lost the house.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:24:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  chicken pox vaccination (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      My daughter's pediatrician used what I'd call scare tactics to talk me into getting that vaccine for her. I wish I'd just let her get the chicken pox instead, to be honest. Mostly because it isn't known how long immunity lasts and that's a pretty big wildcard for an adult who wants to go into the medical profession (i.e. daughter wants to be a doctor)

      The main reason I let her do it was because I remember how bad they were when I had them as a young child. My brother got them first and had like 6 to 8 pox on his abdomen. Me, I had a horrible case, from my scalp right down to the soles of my feet. I wanted to spare her that.

      (for the record I'm not anti-vax at all, my kid had every "required" one as well as boosters recommended in middle & high school)

      "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

      by solesse413 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:34:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I must be older than you. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think there was a measles vaccination when i was a kid.  I assume that because I remember getting measles when I was about 4.  Also vaguely remember having mumps.  Couldn't tell you what they used to vaccinate us for way back then, except that I do remember getting the polio vaccine on a sugar cube...in school...and I guess we got a smallpox vaccine, which left a little dent on your upper arm.

  •  Sure they do (14+ / 0-)
    Do journalism schools teach statistics?
    "How To Read Ratings"

    I get so sick and tired of living in a world of under-educated people.  Science, civics, the arts, economics.... critical thinking in general.  It's all been thrown under the bus in the service of charter schools, standardized (read: profitized) testing, underfunded public education and home schooling.

    We can blame the media for a lot of things, but American consumers are ultimately to blame.  People that will camp out for ten hours to buy a goddamned play station, but can't seem to find the time to watch a political debate... or those who subscribe to stacks of Us Magazine or People, and can remember the intimate details of Lindsay who-the-fuck Lohan or whatever, but can't name the three branches of government.

    Makes me just want to crawl into a cave.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:29:36 AM PST

    •  Hunter's Questions (5+ / 0-)
      1) Do journalism schools teach statistics?
      2) Do they teach the scientific method even in the broadest sense, the barest minimum of how to tell evidence from coincidence?
      3) Why the hell not?
      4) Would this not be a key tool of journalism, every bit as much as in any other fact-seeking endeavor?
      Answers:
      1) No
      2) No
      3) Because the teachers/professors don't understand it.
      4) Only if "journalism" as it is to be practiced is actually a "fact-seeking endeavor."

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:00:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another factor (10+ / 0-)

    On the one hand we have scientific and statistical illiteracy, on the other we have this uniquely American distrust of the expert.

    We see folks distrustuing their lawyers. We see folks distrusting scientific opinion, distrusting their doctors on medical matters, distrusting experts of every kind because a highly educated individual who knows more that they do about a particular field is seen as somehow  a member of an untrustworthy elite.

    •  On the few occasions I have needed to consult (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, ban nock

      an attorney (on civil matters) I have not been disappointed in following her or his advice.

    •  In America, people in positions of national (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LimeyExpatDave, JerryNA

      power go on television and lie to use - blatantly - all the time.

      Advertisers lie to us all the time.

      The cops lie all the time.

      It would take a special kind of stupid not to be extremely suspicious of anything being said to you by a person in a position of authority.

      However, for anyone with a critical mind, that ought to include anyone claiming to be an authority on, say, homeopathy or crystal healing or acupuncture...but somehow that not everyone seems to have the capacity to make that connection.

      "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:36:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To my mind there is a subtle difference... (4+ / 0-)

        ...between an "authority figure" and an "expert". I have no less healthy suspicion of "authority figures" than my neighbors, but that doesnt extend to denying a persons expertise in their field, particularly when they are speaking in chorus with many others posessing similar expertise.

        I wonder if the conflation of those two is part of the problem?

        •  Or fact versus uninformed opinion. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LimeyExpatDave

          The news media corporations love ratings and ad revenue so much that a fake "controversy" is hyped and sold for profit instead of researched and debunked. This is why the anti-vaxxers, anti-global warming, alternative medicine, and GOP anti-tax arguments have gotten a foothold instead of gotten squashed as garbage and lies.

  •  Scientific Illiteracy is now rampant... (12+ / 0-)

    ... and a badge of honor over in the "other" party.  And the woo-meisters in our own.

    I'm all for informed consent on vaccines.  There are legitimate contraindications for specific patients with specific vaccines.  But usually that's one kid (or one family) and one vaccine.

    There's one vaccine that I and my daughter shouldn't have unless there's an outbreak of that disease; we're clear on why (I was given the vaccine at 10 because one of my dad's co-workers was exposed; I was sick for more than 2 weeks).  We had my daughter tested for egg allergy (runs in the family) before we let her have a flu vaccine -- she's not allergic and gets the vax, unlike one of her cousins and one of her classmates.   Every time WarriorGirl gets a shot, I get given the handout for that vaccine when we walk into the exam room (while they're weighing her and checking her vision).  

    We rescheduled a few shots for six months or a year later due to negative reactions (not giving a DTap or Tdap again at the same time as the MMR ever), but we called the pediatrician and consulted on how to maximize immune system uptake and minimize side effects.  Her next scheduled vaccine is the HPV, in 4-5 years.  And she'll get all 3, since there aren't any known contraindications.

    Now that every kid is going to have health insurance, there's no effing reason for parents not to talk with the kid's doctors and get the vaccines that are safe for their kid.

    •  "Drive like a Masshole"--OT (4+ / 0-)

      I'm a Mass native but I've lived full time in Maine now for five years and have lived all over the country and also in Europe.

      I was just down helping my dad with some of his home renovations and we had to take his car to the shop. So, I followed him. 50 in a 20 MPH zone along the Merrimac River, so lead-footed I couldn't believe it, and he never once used his turn signal. I barely could follow him (with my Maine plates, and knowing the area, I was not about to speed like that!)

      On the way home I told him "I can certainly see you live in Massachusetts! You're a leadfoot and don't use your signals!" He said "Oh, those speed limits are not for locals." I had a good laugh.

      However, I have noticed that Mainers are much better drivers than our neighbors to the south west (NH, MA, and RI).

      •  I hear you... (0+ / 0-)

        ... And having learned to drive in the square states, I still use my signal.  But hardly anyone else does.

        Our speed limits get ignored in both directions, however.  Twice this afternoon I was following people going <20 mph in 30-35 mile zones.  

        Then my car died at the gas station (jumped by the tow guy, driven by me to the dealership), so I'm not driving like a Masshole until tomorrow at noon, at the earliest (sigh).

    •  It's possible that in 4-5 years they will have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FlyingToaster

      changed the recommendation for the HPV vaccine and she won't need 3 shots.

      One Dose of HPV Vaccine May Be Enough

      A single dose of human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) achieved stable antibody levels at 48 months, suggesting that one dose of vaccine might afford adequate protection, according to a study from Central America.

      --snip--

      Authorities in oncology, infectious disease, and women's health all agreed that the findings, though preliminary, have potentially far-reaching implications.

      Robert Morgan, MD, of City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., said eliminating vaccine boosters would substantially decrease the cost of immunization and substantially improve compliance. He emphasized that the ideal vaccination schedule remains to be determined, as investigational multivalent vaccine are currently in clinical trials.

      The findings build on previously reported evidence and could have major public health implications, said Sarah Temkin, MD, of the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

      "Adherence to all three injections of the vaccine is low," Temkin told MedPage Today by email. "In Baltimore, for example, completion rates range from 20% to 38.3%. From a public health perspective, it is reassuring that the women who are not completing all three recommended injections may still be well protected against HPV-related diseases."

  •  Don't you think we need to hear both sides (6+ / 0-)

    of the "Dora" issue?  Every time she asks a question she knows the answer to and pauses, I want to punch her in the face.

    If Hobby Lobby is against contraception, why does it buy its inventory from China, the country that limits the number of children by law?

    by Inland on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:39:36 AM PST

  •  Watching Katie Couric can kill you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, a2nite, angry marmot

    schedule me and I'll get some stuff together.

  •  My kid was vaccinated against hepatitis-B. (14+ / 0-)

    Our friend though it was stupid because the kid "isn't going to be using IV drugs." She didn't know that our good friend (who plays with our kid every week) got hepatitis while working at a blood bank.

    So it's not just scientific illiteracy; It's also ignorance.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:44:58 AM PST

  •  Resource for good health journalism (10+ / 0-)

    Minnesota journalism professor Gary Schwitzer put together a group of experts (including numerous physicians) who review the latest medical news media reporting to debunk bad medical reporting.  They actully grade media health stories.

    HealthNewsReview.org

    You can follow Gary on Twitter and Facebook, too.   I find his work very helpful in judging the latest health news headlines.

    If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:54:22 AM PST

  •  From my Overnight News Digest (11+ / 0-)

    of last Sunday:

    Vaccination programs for children have prevented more than 100 million cases of serious contagious disease in the United States since 1924, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
    The research, led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of public health, analyzed public health reports going back to the 19th century. The reports covered 56 diseases, but the article in the journal focused on seven: polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:56:47 AM PST

  •  Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe... (10+ / 0-)

    that the HPV vaccine is inhibiting the ability of alien genetic material to meld with our own.

    Or something.

    Actually, I've no idea what Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe on the subject of the HPV vaccine, but the phrase "Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe..." has become one of my favorite anti-scientific clarion calls in all of television-land.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:58:46 AM PST

  •  Chiropractors (11+ / 0-)

    and Massage Therapists, at least in my neck of the woods, are the worst concerning anti-vaccines. I did find a Chiropractor in my area that believes in vaccines, but by far and away most believe "with proper spinal alignment someone does not need to be vaccinated." And don't get me started on the massage therapists. I know 3 of them from 3 different schools that are firmly anti-vaccine. One is a young mother of 3 and she refuses to get her children vaccinated.

    IMHO these are very dangerous people.....

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:00:50 PM PST

  •  HPV vaccine is very dangerous because (13+ / 0-)

    it encourages young women to have casual sex without the fear of getting HPV and increased risk of cervical cancer. Anyway, that was one of the reasons there was a concerted effort  to not allow it to come to market. It really takes a special kind of person to use this reasoning

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:05:22 PM PST

    •  Particuarly when ALL THE OTHER REASONS (8+ / 0-)

      were still available for fearmongering.

      Honestly, the girls whose parents use that as a justification for refusing them the vaccine? Probably never knew the virus existed before they were told about the vaccine.

      HIV and pregnancy (particularly in parental notification states) are just so much better sources of fear than 'be careful or you might get a cancer in 20-40 years! that is readily detectable through standard pelvic exams!'

      Particularly since the same fundamentalist parents are trying their darnedest to make sure their kids don''t figure out HIV exposure is not an automatic instant 'you will not live to see next Christmas' death sentence anymore (not that it ever actually was - the huge gap between exposure and symptoms is part of what makes fighting it on a population level so nasty - but good luck with getting the fundie teens to know that!).

    •  I've also said, when asked about HPV side effects (0+ / 0-)

      "One of the side effects is NOT promiscuity."

      The moms laugh it off, but I know what they were thinking.

      "There is no expedient to which man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking." -Sir Joshua Reynolds

      by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:28:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  THERE ARE NOT TWO EQUAL SIDES TO EVERY (19+ / 0-)

    IDEA AND ISSUE!

    This is something that both the left and the right FAIL on!

    (sorry, I feel very strongly about this.)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:07:39 PM PST

  •  NPR did a story that debunked the vaccination (9+ / 0-)

    and autism link.

    http://www.npr.org/...

    We need to get this out as much as possible and drop the hammer on Couric and anyone else that trots out this nonsense. Lies about vaccinations need to be cut off at the knees and the only people who seem to be willing to do it are us.

    “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

    by bayushisan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:14:25 PM PST

  •  My beef w/ Bill Maher (8+ / 0-)

    who is otherwise, one of my favorite commentator/comedians on the air.  Although he rightfully hammers anti-science politicians, anyone who doesn't believe in global climate change, and many other deserving targets - he fell for the anti-vaccination story line.  

    I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

    by mHainds on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:16:20 PM PST

  •  what katie Couric Does in not journalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean, MrJersey, JerryNA

    its entertainment and ratings pandering. the business of televsion decided a long time ago that feeding the public dumbed down nonsense was better than trying to teach them enough statisics to understand the your larger point.

    Couric sees her first responsibility is to get eyeballs for her show and keep them there. emotional segments about a mother's pain do that; statisical explanations about why her suspicions are misplaced do not. Couric and her producers stopped caring about the details after that.

  •  Opinion syndrome... (8+ / 0-)

    We live in an era where it is an absolute defense to any hogwashery you can come up with to just say:

    "that's my opinion and I'm entitled to it."

    When many if not most opinions are simply flat out wrong.

    The notion that 'everybody has a right to their own opinion' flies in the face of advancing knowledge and stopping ignorance.

    There is no such thing as a valid opinion.

    There are valid facts, which are correct facts. And there are invalid falsities.

    But the 'my opinion' syndrome allows people to get up there and challenge anything, even basic science, but its their opinion...

    OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

    by Jyotai on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:36:10 PM PST

    •  And then people react with "how dare you try and (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jyotai, duhban, tommymet, JerryNA

      convince me of something? I already believe something, it's downright disrespectful of my existing belief for you to come in here and try and present contrary facts and opinions! I have a right to MY opinion, so stop trying to change it!"

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:56:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I came out of my coma (8+ / 0-)

    after my cardiac arrest, the doctors said to me "you are not leaving here without a flu and pneumonia shot"  I stuck out my arm and told them to give me the shots.  I have had the pertussis booster as well.  My uncle died in the early part of the 20th century from pertussis.  He was two or three and my older uncles told how horrific a death it was for their baby brother. Idiots.  

    Add to that, when I called my chiropractor from the hospital to say I was obviously not able to keep an appointment, I heard the following "have they put you on medications?"  Uh, yeah, cardiac arrest and all that "did they make you get a flu shot?"  uh, no, I could be suicidal idiot.  "We can get  you off all of that."  My heart meds?  Yeah, never went back to that office again.  My heart condition is genetic and was misdiagnosed for years, so until that moment, I had no reason to know that someone who was a skilled chiropractor was also an anti-vaccine crank.  Ugh.  

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:42:43 PM PST

    •  Didn't you know that most chiropractors are cranks (5+ / 0-)

      when it comes to actual medicine.  Ask they how they can cure cancer through manipulation of your spine.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:40:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I avoid those chiropractors. (0+ / 0-)

        It wasn't an issue with this one until my illness was diagnosed and the "we can cure  you" crap started.

        The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

        by MufsMom on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:21:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  chiropractic was founded on a pseudo-science (5+ / 0-)

      that rejected the germ theory of disease.

      many, though not all, chiropractors are standing their ground on this non-knowledge.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:47:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My grandmother was a chiropractor (0+ / 0-)

        but never ever espoused that. In fact, I was cautioned about that stuff.

        While I am a firm believer in chiropractic care (it is putting off my knee replacement) I am very cautious about who I go to.  Sadly, the person who was treating me before my heart problems became apparent is one of the most skilled chiropractors I have seen.  I won't tolerate the anti-science crap, though.  

        The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

        by MufsMom on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:20:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your ignorance can kill my son (16+ / 0-)

    My infant son has cystic fibrosis and cannot be fully protected from whooping cough until full set of immunizations are completed at 4 years old.  If he gets whooping cough before then he will almost certainly face long hospitalization, life shortening lung damage and significant risk of death.  I hope there is a special place in Hell for the selfish, ignorant fools who profit from spreading this false vaccination hysteria.  I lump them with right wingers as people for whom there are not adequate words to express completely the contempt with which they are regarded.    

    •  I'm sorry your son is faced with the challenges of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, JerryNA

      such a serious illness.

      I'm not a medical professional but I'm pretty sure that with DTaP your son will likely be protected after his 3rd shot at 6 months. Vaccine efficacy is 80%–85% following 3 doses of DTaP vaccine. The 2 later doses are boosters to help protect against waning immunity. Hopefully that's somewhat reassuring to you. Best wishes to your son and your family.

  •  Carl Sagan said it best: (12+ / 0-)
    We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:02:09 PM PST

  •  It is, in fact, demonstrably true (13+ / 0-)

    that a nonzero portion of vaccinated individuals will have a fatal reaction or complication from the vaccine.

    The fact that the odds of this happening are below one in a million, however, mitigates the first fact quite a bit.

    The fact that the odds are much higher of dying from whatever it is that you're vaccinating against mitigates it further.

    I have snarling rage towards anti-vaxxers.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:05:09 PM PST

  •  asd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    Hunter: both funny and gets science.
    Wish there was a Hippocratic Oath for journalists, but no such luck.
    Meanwhile preach it, Hunter!

    I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night. -Bishop G. Brewer

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:08:58 PM PST

  •  I have NEVER liked nor respected little Katie (5+ / 0-)

    Couric, and this merely confirms my opinion that she is a waste of space.

    What total rubbish!  I'm deeply grateful for vaccinations. Grateful to Drs. Salk and Sabin, grateful to the person who discovered the vaccine for smallpox (was vaccinated twice for that), and for all the other vaccinations I've had.

    I hope Doctors Without Borders and Remote Area Medical, both organizations to which I donate every month, are vaccinating children--and anyone else who needs it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:17:24 PM PST

  •  I've got a plan to handle this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommymet

    Anyone who doesn't believe in vaccines or believes that they are harmful can drop their kids off at disease centers where they'll be quarantined and exposed to the viruses that they refuse to get them vaccinated against.

    After they've been exposed and recovered from all of the diseases they'll be allowed to go back home.

  •  True, true and idiotic. (0+ / 0-)

    This woman told me that she gave money to a beggar.  

    She earlier told this to her sister-in-law and her SIL gifted her with a mani/pedi cure at their favorite salon.

    Quick, run out and find a beggar and then admire your nails.

    United Citizens beat Citizens United

    by ThirtyFiveUp on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:40:15 PM PST

  •  Couric should be off TV (5+ / 0-)

    People like Couric should be off TV for spreading false, misleading and mis-information about a topic she knows nothing about.  

    Gardasil has more than proven its clinical worth in spotting the scourge of HPV related cervical cancers and as a side-effect, HPV related genital warts.   As an NP in public health in San Francisco, I used to treat young adults weekly for genital warts and abnormal pap smears that had to be sent to Colposcopy for treatment, frequent repaps and follow up appointments. I would see 5 o 8 cases per week, and we are a small clinic.  But then, gardasil happened several years ago to vaccinate pre adolescents and offer older young adults the vaccine.

    I have not treated a case of genital warts in over 3 years and the rate of repaps and referrals has gone done to one or two a year with young women.

    People like Couric should be off the airways spreading misinformation and indeed, dis-information about a vaccine that has in my opinions stopped hpv related genital warts and worse, cervical cancer for future generations of young women who won't have to go through what women of Couric's generation had to suffer.

    Couric should be ashamed of herself.

  •  Exactly why I don't watch Dr. Phil, an exploiter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JerryNA

    of misery, in my opinion anyway. This is what most, if not all, talk shows do, exploit for their own profit the misery of others, and to hell with facts. I believe it was Michael Douglas who claims that his throat cancer was the result of HPV, this vaccine will protect people in unforeseen ways.

  •  Katie Couric didn't go to "journalism school" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    according to Wiki, at least, and certainly not to my surprise, "She graduated [from University of Virginia] in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in English with a focus on American Studies."

    No mention of a master's. My bet is many, if not most, of the idiot bobbleheads on TV lack journalism school or solid print journalism training - serving at your  "award winning" college newspaper is all very well (hey, maybe she did the cheerleading section!)  but there's no mention of other print journalism on Wiki's Katie Couric page.

    "Couric attended Arlington Public Schools: Jamestown Elementary, Williamsburg Middle School, and Yorktown High School[4] and was a cheerleader.[5] As a high school student, she was an intern at Washington, D.C. all-news radio station WAVA. She enrolled at her father's alma mater,[6] the University of Virginia, in 1975 and was a Delta Delta Delta sorority sister. Couric served in several positions at UVA's award-winning daily newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. During her fourth year at UVA, Couric was chosen to live as Head Resident (RA) of The Lawn, the heart of Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village.[7] She graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in English with a focus on American Studies.[8]"

    •  Given the state of "journalism" these days, one (0+ / 0-)

      would think that even those with journalism degrees are not all that they are cracked up to be.  After all, when your course work includes False Equivalency 1.01, a course that most television journalists seem to have taken over and over again, how can a journalism degree be worth much.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:35:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lest we forget, RFK Jr. has been pushing (7+ / 0-)

    vaccine conspiracy theories for years at every opportunity. If Kouric deserves blame, RFK deserves infamy.

  •  all vaccines are not created equal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, norbalish

    Long-time lurker here, but I had to jump in on this diary's comments. I've worked in and around health care and biomed research for more than 30 years. I vaccinated my daughter for everything--except the HPV vaccine. When the first version hit the market, I spent a good bit of time researching it. What I found was a flawed approval process and questionable conclusions from available data. I also found a worrisome pattern of heavy industry-funded marketing through school boards and state houses and an almost unprecedented pitch to the CDC's ACIP, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. At the same time, a flurry of negative data and reports on Gardasil from Canada were largely ignored in this country.

    I'm not a hair-on-fire conspiracy theorist; I've spent  much of my life writing patient ed materials and working on public health campaigns. I wrote for the "If It's Been 10, Do It Again" tetanus booster campaign, multiple seasons of flu shots PSAs, meningitis vaccine pieces, and many more going back to NHLBI's early work promoting cholesterol screening. So please don't lump me in with the "anti-vaxxer" crowd.

    The HPV vaccine is different. I once had a file of data and links about this for discussion with other parents. Unfortunately, at the moment, I can put my hands on only one: http://articles.mercola.com/...

    Please do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Not all vaccines have clearly demonstrated benefits that outweigh their risks. I've concluded that the HPV vaccines don't. My daughter's now old enough to make this decision for herself and will. I have no regrets about turning down this vaccine for her when she was  younger. Unlike pertussis, for example, failure to vaccinate against HPV poses no risk to others from non-sexual contact, in the classroom or anywhere else. It's not a herd effect issue and likely never will be.

    Every new pharma product and device must be examined on its own merits and not lumped in as "vaccines--all good/all bad." Interestingly, when my daughter's pediatrician offered the vaccine (as she was required to do once ACIP recommended it) and I politely declined, she asked me why and I told her. She then did her own research and later privately said she understood my concerns.  

    Sorry if all this sounds preachy, but I couldn't let the all-or-nothing tone of so many comments about vaccines in this thread pass. I believe there's as much dangerous ignorance in such blanket proclamations as there is in the ill-informed opinions of many who refuse any vaccinations.

    •  Gardasil was introduced (5+ / 0-)

      in 2006. There have been several years since then with data coming in. It may be that in the earliest time points the data might arguably have not demonstrated benefits v risks, but at this point it seems to me that it has. Double blind studies have demonstrated efficacy and even population levels of HPV have fallen in that age group, which does suggest a herd immunity effect.

    •  I agree completely. My reasons against it include: (0+ / 0-)

      (1) the strains affected are involved in only about 75% of cervical cancers
      (2) if it's to be mandatory for girls, it should be mandatory for boys as well
      (3) heavily lobbied for by industry as you note above which is not how these decisions should be made.
      (4) Women still require PAP smears to be safe even after vaccinations but having had the vaccinations are less likely to get them. Let's face it, that's just human nature.  
      (5) It's expensive and is likely to draw funding away from women's clinics.  
      (6) Questionable duration of effective immunity
      (7) wikipedia:
      Most HPV infections in young women are temporary and have little long-term significance. Seventy percent of infections are gone in one year and ninety percent in two years.

      This vaccine is different.

    •  No, no, hell no. Mercola is a crank. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew Lazarus

      I don't care if he's an M.D.  He is a for-profit full blown anti-vaccine conspiracy nutter who should not be trusted with a dull spoon, never mind dispensing medical advice.  Mercola has no articles referenced that show that Gardasil is not effective, it's all concern trolling.  His very first ref'd article, by Tomljenovic Spinosa and Shaw, is a metadata analysis.  Unfortunately, the Tomljenovic and Shaw duo also publish their "concern" about adjuvants in vaccines without showing actual harm.  They're not epidemiologists and AFAIK have no background in public health.  I'd have to see real research from a real source, not anything from Mercola or anything that quack selects.
      (BTW, biochemist researcher here- not an MD but certainly not a layman.)

      •  Vaccines not a simple "Good" or "Bad" issue (0+ / 0-)

        It is not appropriate to simply characterize vaccinations as "good" or "bad."  It is not appropriate to characterize vaccinations as "useful" or "worthless" or "dangerous."  Recently I have read of a German study that definitively showed overall healthier populations without vaccinations than with vaccinations.  I have not researched the merits or failures of this particular study.  Clearly, some people have had side-effects and problems with the vaccines and the vaccination process.  Clearly, the science concept of vaccination and the protections that have been offered by vaccinations have been demonstrated.  What is not so clear are the root causes of numerous population health problems that have arisen in recent decades.  In so many health problems the root causes can be multiple and intertwined.  These are the most difficult to determine and the most difficult to solve.  
        Very CLEARLY we have seen corporate financial interests influence the promotions of various technologies, and very CLEARLY we can find more than a few examples where mass media creates sensationalism or amplifies controversy in order to increase their own viewership or circulation numbers.  

        I personally find the vaccination concerns to be well warranted.  Also, I personally find vaccinations to have some value.  I personally have met a polio survivor and have seen a tetanus patient and a tetanus non-survivor.  Putting these findings into action, we choose to vaccinate some of our livestock for some types of disease and choose to NOT vaccinate some of our livestock for anything.  

        The foundations of our American health crisis, in my opinion, are (i) poor nutrition, generally consisting of far too many calories that are lacking in quality nutrients and that are imbalanced in the nature of the nutrients, (ii) lack of exercise, (iii) exposures to toxins in our foods, in our water, in our air, and in our work and home environments, and (iv) effective stress moderation.  Vaccinations impact our immune systems, but in ways more complex than that observed at a glance.  

        •  The biggest reason for those health problems (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          you mention, Steve, is that people are living longer, mainly due to vaccinations.  When infant mortality drops, when toddler mortality drops, when childhood and teen mortality drops, all due to reduced death from childhood illnesses blocked by vaccination, then other factors can start to affect people as teens and adults.  Toxins, obesity and stress don't affect dead people.  Vaccines have for the most part NOT been implicated in causing harm in 99.999% of people, unlike diseases, which can kill up to 5-10-15% of victims and permanently harm many times that number.  That huge difference in risk between the disease and the vaccine is what most people fail to understand.

        •  We have studies of unvaccinated populations (0+ / 0-)

          They are called history. They show tens of thousands of deaths per year from polio, measles, etc.

    •  Premise is true, example likely not (0+ / 0-)

      There certainly are vaccines that have been (or could be) developed which fall on the wrong side of the risk/benefit line. The chance of side effects may be too great; the rate of successful protection too low. Americans seldom receive the TB vaccination, but residents of countries where TB is still common probably should.

      I haven't independently looked at Gardasil in this respect, but

      1. Mercola is an anti-vax crank quack. BTW, I believe he also says microwaved food is bad.
      2. I trust my pediatrician completely.
      3. A lot of opposition to the HPV vaccine comes from pro-abstinence goofballs who want to make non-marital sex as dangerous as possible.
  •  The lack of Pirates causes global warming. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Munchkn

    Pastafarian Bishop Bobby Henderson proved this in his letter to the Kansas School Board in 2006.  He showed clearly that the number of Pirates in the world has been reduced significantly sionce the 19th century, while the average global temperature has risen:    http://www.venganza.org/...

  •  Rare... and then common(place)... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, 88kathy, Munchkn

    "One man bitten by a shark on one beach becomes cause for alarm; two men bitten by two sharks on two separate beaches becomes an epidemic."

    Shark attacks - like bad effects from vaccination - are incredibly rare.

    But I am moved also to think about the opposite problem: the numbness that comes from the tragic becoming commonplace.  

    Imagine a world where fifteen thousand people are bitten by sharks every year - a shark killing and eating an entire kindergarten class at once would simply make people shrug their shoulders and move on, continuing to affirm the right of sharks to eat whomever they want, and asserting nothing could ever be done about it.

    (Does that sound like I'm talking about Newtown? I'm talking about smallpox. That's what people did about it before there was vaccination.  Tragedy strikes and you shrug, and move on, because imagining a world where it didn't actually happen -- totally unrealistic.)

  •  Human nature. (0+ / 0-)

    Nature evolved us in that direction. It'll always be a tough proposition to sell science because it's disappointing and hard.

  •  All vaccines have risks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrJersey, JayBat, Munchkn, JerryNA

    Almost all have fatalities associated with them.  These are miniscule numbers compared to the number of lives they save, but if that one kid is yours, its cold comfort.

    That's a lot of what drives the freakouts.  What do you mean we don't have a 100.000000% perfect protection against the risks of the world?  That's insane!

    Actually, what's insane is how much we can do against risks. Insanity is expecting perfection and 100% effectiveness in a population of billions.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:37:57 PM PST

    •  Back to the cold comfort issue. (0+ / 0-)

      That is a reasonable thing to contemplate.

      You are asking someone to risk sacrificing their child for the health of yours.

      The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

      Beautiful coming from Mr Spock on Star Trek, but ...

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:05:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, we're asking you to risk 0.00000001% versus 1% (0+ / 0-)

        The diseases are a heck of a lot worse than the vaccines, or else the vaccines would not get approved.  Your statistics blindness is showing, GM.

        •  My child's name is not 0.00000001% (0+ / 0-)

          This is just as important to note for the sake of medical and scientific ethics as the other aspects of this discussion.

          Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

          by GreenMother on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:51:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are making the assumption (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sir Roderick

            that your kid is subject to the 0.00000001% risk of a vaccine but he/she is not susceptible to the 1% risk of a serious complication from a vaccine-preventable disease. This is not reality. It's actually more comparable to someone who refuses to quit smoking because she fears the health consequences of the 5-10 pound weight gain that usually occurs after quitting.

            Risks that are associated with doing something feel worse than risks associated with not doing something, but often the latter risks are worse. There's no reason, BTW, to suspect that even kids who are known to be at increased risk of vaccine complications aren't at even greater risk of complications from the diseases.

            Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

            by ebohlman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:24:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are still gambling with someone's life and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wa ma

              health. No matter how many zeros you put in front of that one. Those are still human beings are are talking about, with families.

              The chances for an adverse event are not equal for all vaccines. And the severity is also not equal for all vaccines.

              Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

              by GreenMother on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:34:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also, the risk is not the same for each individual (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GreenMother

                I think what a lot of parents want is for the medical establishment to do a better job of acknowledging that some children are experiencing adverse events after some vaccines, not so that those families can get compensation, but so those children can be examined and studied to determine what it is in their medical history, their genetics and their environment that might have contributed to a vaccine adverse reaction.

                The vast majority of people with concerns about vaccines do not believe vaccines are all bad for all people. They believe that there are some kids with pre-existing factors that make them more susceptible to a bad outcome from a vaccine. It's the idea that something genetic or environmental can load the gun and the vaccine or vaccines pulls the trigger.

                Many vaccine hesitant parents would like there to be some kind of screening developed that could i.d. kids who might benefit from a schedule that is less aggressive than the current one where some children who have an identifiable risk get vaccines later or spaced out or skip some of the vaccines for less dangerous diseases.

                •  Guillain-Barre syndrom & Mitochondrial conditions (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wa ma

                  are both  issues that can be associated with adverse reactions to vaccines.

                  And remember that MMR Vaccine study that was thrown out? It alleged that the MMR vaccine lead to a leaky gut and affected gut flora negatively which was associated with autism.
                  Here is another study just out, that looks again at Gut Flora as being a contributing factor or perhaps an indicator of risk using mouse models. Probiotics are used to alleviate this condition and reduce the symptoms.

                  Very interesting given the new use of fecal transplants for other conditions.

                  Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                  by GreenMother on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:36:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My daughter has Immune Thrombocytopenia (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GreenMother

                    and Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia which are known adverse reactions to vaccines. I have no idea if vaccines played a role in her developing these conditions because she is a kiddo where genetics would have loaded the gun and something other than vaccines (like a wild type virus) could have been the thing that pulled the trigger.

                    I started really getting interested in this and really digging into it when I read theories about there being a possible immune or autoimmune component to autism and schizophrenia. My girlie has a very high risk of psychosis (her genetic condition has loaded the gun) so I want to do all I can to help her avoid anything that is going to pull the trigger. Yes, I'm one of those moms who wants to hide her kiddo in the herd.

                    I do have her taking probiotics every day too. Of course, that's another one of those tricky things because there are potential issues with them if your immune system isn't functioning properly. So much of the science around these things is still to be discovered.

                    •  I can only imagine the crass course in genetics (0+ / 0-)

                      and auto-immune disorders that you have taken upon yourself all these years, just to grasp what is going on with her.

                      Hats off to you woman. That is some deep reading. I hope you find more answers than questions and I hope they are useful in keeping her healthy, happy and whole.

                      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

                      by GreenMother on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:37:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Well no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        I'm asking the mother to risk a much lower chance of a devastating outcome to avoid a much higher chance of a less but potentially also devastating outcome.

        You're being chased by a cobra. You can jump across a four foot chasm the cobra will not be able to cross.  Do you take the higher chance of dying from the cobra or the lower chance of falling into the chasm by trying the leap?

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:33:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Most of these anti-vacinators (8+ / 0-)

    are too young to have lived before there were vaccines and were vaccinated as children as a matter of course because their parents did experience and remember those times.  History, even recent history, seems to have no meaning for them.  I am 69 and remember polio, for example, and the fear we all lived under.  I have friends who still suffer today because they had Polio as children way back then.  I have no patience with these people.

  •  It's high time to go after these nitwits (7+ / 0-)

    with their own tactics:

    For every story the anti-vaxxers splash across the nets & networks with weeping parents who may have lost a child to a vaccine reaction, we need to put out five or ten or fifty of weeping parents who did lose a child to a disease s/he wasn't vaccinated against.
    Tie those stories around their necks like anchors. One could make a pretty good case that they are accessories before the fact to murder, or manslaughter, or at the very least preventable deaths. Pin that to their worthless arses with nail guns. (Metaphorically of course.) Then toss them overboard.

    Or start playing really dirty. I have at least one idea that I'd probably get shitcanned for, so I'll say no more...but c'mon, folks, kids' lives are at stake!

    I have a friend--a much better progressive activist & probably better person than I'll ever be--with a withered leg who now needs a powered chair to get around thanks to post-polio syndrome. You think maybe in an odd moment of wistfulness he tries to imagine what his life might have been like if one of the vaccines had been approved a couple of years sooner, before he came down with the disease as a child? You think??

    Bastards.

    The greatest trick the GOP ever played was convincing the devil they had a soul to sell.

    by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:59:50 PM PST

    •  And let me explain why this is important (6+ / 0-)

      I spent a couple of years just before the Millenium under contract to run biostatistics for the company that made the anthrax vaccine.

      Not too long before, President Clinton had gotten a briefing on biological warfare that scared the bejeezus out of him, & he pushed for all US forces to be vaccinated against anthrax.

      Pushback from the troops was widespread, vehement & vocal, particularly as word went around of service personnel who'd had bad reactions to the vaccine. Mid-rank officers were refusing the inoculations & daring DoD to court-martial them.

      IIRC the fraction of adverse reactions was not much if at all different from other vaccines they were receiving. The key was that no one really believed there was a threat because no one had ever heard of anyone dying from (or even contracting) pulmonary anthrax. For many of the resisters it was a basic risk-vs-reward assessment: Why risk reactions when there was no discernible reward?

      Then 9/11. Then the anthrax letters. And things got vewwy vewwy quiet. For obvious reasons.

      It needs to be made crystal clear to those socially-challenged parents who don't vaccinate their kids that they are putting their children at risk--maybe it hasn't happened in their community, but it damn well could, & if&when it does it will largely be their fault.

      The greatest trick the GOP ever played was convincing the devil they had a soul to sell.

      by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:16:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is already being done to some extent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Cosmo

      ShotbyShot.org

      Very sad stories here.

      I think that in order to get fifty deaths that you could connect to vaccine refusal they might have to reach out to parents in other countries or get parents whose children had died many years ago.

      I guess they could count kids who died of flu complications but that's a tricky one because of problems with the efficacy of the flu vaccine and I don't think they even produce enough flu vaccine annually to get us to a herd immunity place. Pertussis deaths are tricky too because the CDC isn't even firm in believing that unvaccinated kids have played a big role in some of the epidemics. So many of the kids in the epidemics who got pertussis were up-to-date on their DTaP or Tdap.

      Also, many of the babies who have died after contracting pertussis (and flu) caught it from an adult, not from an unvaccinated child. A lot of adults don't realize they should get a pertussis vaccine and many adults think the flu shots are for people who are most at risk of complications from the flu.

      Fortunately, we have very few deaths of children from vaccine-preventable illnesses in this country.

      •  You're probably right--for the moment (0+ / 0-)

        But if vaccination percentages keep dropping, we're going to lose herd immunity at some point--& things may turn ugly very, very fast.

        The greatest trick the GOP ever played was convincing the devil they had a soul to sell.

        by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:04:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fortunately percentages aren't dropping. (0+ / 0-)

          Vaccination coverage rates for kids are stable or rising. It's only about 1% of kids who are wholly unvaccinated. That means about 99% of kids have had at least one vaccine and they have parents who at least at some point saw vaccines as having some value.

          In the face of increasing outbreaks and epidemics, many parents who have chosen to skip or delay some vaccines will likely change course and get vaccines for their kids due to the change in the risk/benefit calculation.

          The vast majority of people want vaccines for themselves and their children and they're very grateful to have access to them. I know a lot of people feel compelled to defend vaccines but really I think vaccine's results speak for themselves.

          •  The problem is that (0+ / 0-)

            unvaccinated (usually because of irrational fears) and undervaccinated (usually because of economic factors) people aren't spread uniformly (where herd immunity would take care of them); they tend to be geographically clustered, resulting in "pockets" that have too low an uptake rate for herd immunity to work properly.

            Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

            by ebohlman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:31:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Naivety (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrJersey, worldlotus, Munchkn
    I could not go on television and claim that if my daughter died ten days after watching Dora the Explorer, it was clearly Dora the Explorer that killed her.
    Why not? You can go on television and claim that a purple teletubbie makes kids gay.

    Hate Speech must remain legal. It reminds us that the hate is still out there.

    by SmallTownHick on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:14:13 PM PST

  •  This is a very important diary and deserves the (0+ / 0-)

    highest level of exposure and promotion possible.

    Tipping and Rieccing and liking to my FB page pronto.

    And thanks for posting.

  •  There's a lot of scientific illteracy (0+ / 0-)

    but there's more then just the anti vaccination inanity too unfortunately.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:49:31 PM PST

  •  At Princeton University, there is an outbreak of a (5+ / 0-)

    serious strain of meningitis.  The CDC is allowing the use of a vaccine that is not approved yet in the US, but is used in Australia and Europe to combat this outbreak.  The University is offering for free to the student body as a precautionary move.  It will be interesting to see what percentage of the Princeton student body avails themselves of this vaccine, or whether there is an anti vaccine element among the students or parents that rejects this rather commonsense approach to public heath issue.  The first of two injections is likely to be available in a week or two.  

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:50:59 PM PST

    •  People usually see the light when it's not theory. (0+ / 0-)

      There's no atheists in the foxhole, and there's very few antivaccine folks in an epidemic.

      I remember during the H1N1 epidemic, people were demanding the H1N1 vaccine, and when offered the traditional seasonal flu shot along with it, said, "no way.'

      "There is no expedient to which man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking." -Sir Joshua Reynolds

      by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:48:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couric does this stuff for the same reason that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    Winfrey did it. Namely that there is a demographic out there with money; usually white and affluent, which wants to believe that the rules of epidemiology do not apply to them.

    Unfortunately this group is as often left (e.g. Shirley MacLaine lala land) as on the right. It is a case in which logic deprived people live in a realm populated by wishes and not reality.

    Fact is that vaccines have saved billions of lives and the more folks who get vaccinated the better.

    And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

    by shigeru on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:58:28 PM PST

    •  In particular (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shigeru
      Namely that there is a demographic out there with money; usually white and affluent, which wants to believe that the rules of epidemiology do not apply to them.
      They believe that they have somehow merited their way past being subject to the rules of epidemiology. They believe that vaccine-preventable diseases only happen to "those people." Some of them believe they love their kids so much that their love alone would prevent them from VPDs (of course the corrolary is that the kids who did suffer from VPDs had parents (read mothers) who didn't love them enough).

      Everybody is susceptible to control fallacies, but combining them with narcissism and entitlement leads to something particularly toxic.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:05:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And sadly many of those are on this site. See (0+ / 0-)

        the Kennedy campaign against vaccines because of the bogus link between these and autism.

        And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

        by shigeru on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:37:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's a video going around on Upworthy (0+ / 0-)

    featuring Joe Barton, and comparing the fight over identifying tobacco as addictive with the current fight over climate change.
    Even as recent as the mid-90's, mainstream media (ABC) was doing real journalism and asking the important questions.
    Journalism in  America has gone downhill very fast.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:07:10 PM PST

  •  Who Are the Advertisers (0+ / 0-)

    who are paying to broadcast this filth across America?

    Rush Limbaugh is many words that I would not use in a public forum.  His attack on that young lady was appalling.
    He merits condemnation for a large number of things that he has said.

    However, comparing his attack on the young lady with Couric's acts here, it is Couric who is statistically likely to get large numbers of people killed.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:10:45 PM PST

  •  This thread is full of true believers, an anomaly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, norbalish

    on this usually more thoughtful site.

    While I believe Couric did vaccines a disservice with her piece, I'm not on board with all the posts on this thread. There is reason to be cautious about vaccine safety and vaccine carriers. There is reason to question the science that is corporate-funded behind any drug or vaccination.

    But not here.

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. ~ George Orwell

    by 4Freedom on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:27:37 PM PST

    •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

      To which vaccines and sciences behind them are you referring?
      What about the longitudinal Danish study showing, for example, no causality between childhood vaccines and autism?
      Flu vaccines?
      As a 7-year-old I almost died from flu in the 1957 flu epidemic. I caught the flu again in 1976 and almost died again.
      Now I always get a flu vaccination, and so far, so repeat of those awful experiences.
      The only vaccine I had a bad reaction to was a plague vaccination in 1977, given prior to moving to Indonesia, where plague was endemic at the time. The reaction was probably because the vaccine was made from a modified live organism rather than the dead or genetically modified organisms used now.
      When I lived in Taiwan in the early 1980s I saw many people--mainly women--who showed the effects of not having been vaccinated against polio. Not pretty.
      When I was a teacher, one of my colleagues almost died from whooping cough she caught from an unvaccinated student--his parents believed that vaccinations were dangerous and unnecessary. My colleague, an asthmatic, spent six months in the hospital as a result of their decision not to vaccinate.
      In all the times I have commented on this webisite, I have used restraint and tried to understand the point of view of others with whom I did not agree.
      But unless you can come up with some evidence to support your allegations, I think you are being very irresponsible in your comments.

    •  well said! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom
  •  One of the things fueling this phenomenon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    ...is the fact that the vaccine makers and health care providers are making people sign waivers of liability before they receive vaccinations.

    And this little bit of information is widely known but without good context:

    An increased incidence of Guillain–Barré syndrome followed influenza immunization during the 1976-1977 swine flu pandemic; however, epidemiological studies since then have demonstrated either an extremely small increased risk following immunization (under one additional case per million vaccinations) or no increased risk.
    If vaccine-makers and health providers want to maintain that the vaccines are safe and low-risk, they should bear the financial risk of the rare cases of injury that occur.

    Remember that the whole hysteria over vaccines came out of cases after the vaccine-makers were granted immunity from liability by Congress.  And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. bears some responsibility for whipping up this concern.

    Pointing and laughing will not get people more comfortable with trusting major pharmaceutical companies.

    That Katie Couric is incapable of knowing this history of the issue shows why she has been substantially overpaid for decades.  But smarter than Sarah Palin.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:33:41 PM PST

  •  What it is, is murder. When someone dies from (3+ / 0-)

    a preventable disease because someone else decided to not inoculate their children, the conveyance of the idea that vaccines are harmful is murder, pure and simple...it's already happened, it's not a fantasy.  So we regress from the late 18th century when smallpox vaccination became common...

    Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

    by richardvjohnson on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:42:09 PM PST

  •  The human brain is really bad at reasoning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DavidMS, JerryNA

    about probability. Psychological experiments have shown that even students trained in statistics can be lead astray by problems that appeal to their (incorrect) cognitive heuristics. It seems our ancestors were selected not to make correct probability estimates, but incorrect ones that favored survival... no surprise there, from an evolutionary point of view.

    The natural sciences grasped long ago that unless understanding is based on repeatable measurements and careful, mathematically valid calculations, it goes astray. Unfortunately, this is still news to most people.

  •  Couric should have women on with cervical cancer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother

    and people with HPV-related oralpharyngeal, and rectal cancers 95% are caused by HPV) and ask them whether they would have their children vaccinated.

    At a European oncology conference I went to a few years ago, a leading reproductive cancer researcher talked about how cervical cancer would nearly be wiped out someday if even only the girls were vaccinated because of the effects of herd immunity. If boys were also vaccinated, it would happen that much faster.

    And rectal cancer, for all those doubters, is not pleasant. If caught early, when precancerous, treatment is pretty successful but it is not pleasant. More advanced cases (fortunately rare) can involve removal of the rectum and a colostomy bag. Nearly one-third of cases are in people younger than 55.

    Both my sons received the HPV vaccine, and they were fine.

    Please do get your sons vaccinated, too, and encourage other parents of boys or young men you know to get vaccinated. It is worth it and could save more than their own life.

    Also, if you are an older woman who has resumed sexual activity after being monogamous (perhaps after divorce or being widowed), you may want to get tested for HPV and ask for the vaccination.

    Studies have shown a resurgence of cervical cancer in middle aged women. There is some question as to whether it is reactivation of dormant disease or new infection. Nevertheless, studies have shown that although the vaccine is less effective in older women, it does work. It also showed some evidence of helping prevent recurrence in women already treated for cervical cancer, although that study was small and relatively short.

    We may never be able to convince the vaccinephobes, but we can work on herd immunity by encouraging others to take HPV vaccination seriously.

    It is approved for boys and should be given at no cost thanks to Obamacare.

    **Electing Republicans to the government is like hiring pyromaniacs as firemen. They all just want to see everything burn to the ground.**

    by CatM on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:33:00 PM PST

    •  Forgot parentheses. 95% refers to rectal cancer nt (0+ / 0-)

      **Electing Republicans to the government is like hiring pyromaniacs as firemen. They all just want to see everything burn to the ground.**

      by CatM on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:36:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate not having an edit button (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother

      I meant studies have shown a resurgence in HPV in middle aged women.  sorry.

      **Electing Republicans to the government is like hiring pyromaniacs as firemen. They all just want to see everything burn to the ground.**

      by CatM on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:38:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is a very good idea and you should write (0+ / 0-)

      the network that carries her show.

      If she really is interested in portraying the whole discussion.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:51:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You So Much for This, Hunter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rodentrancher

    Conservatives, or at least the 2013 version of the GOP, are anti-science when it comes to evolution and global warming.  But there are plenty of types of anti-science nonsense that know no political labels, or that lean to the left a little.  Anti-vax nonsense is probably in that last category. But it means a lot to me when one of us screams against this type of ignorance.  Thank you.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 06:06:12 PM PST

  •  I am amazed at how (0+ / 0-)

    often even well ducted people believe their fixed preconceptions, or depurate justifications for their beliefs despite actual data. Rich, poor, left, right, does;t matter. they are everywhere. Even here. And by way of a second hand account, Couric is a particularly obnoxious celebrity.

    •  As far as anyone knows (0+ / 0-)

      (the evidence is still fairly preliminary), the human brain has to literally work harder (in the sense of expending more energy) to weaken a belief than to strengthen it. Thus our beliefs tend to be self-reinforcing.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:15:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see it every day (0+ / 0-)

        I have colleges, who have internalized beliefs about teaching and  learning. Yet when presented with a body of evidence that clearly refutes the notion of "learning styles" they stubbornly refuse to change their minds.

        I'm guilty as well.

  •  She should get the same treatment as Lara Logan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Andrew Lazarus

    Sorry, but this is every bit as big a screwup. And unlike Logan's screwup, people will die from it.

  •  I consider myself a rational (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wa ma, norbalish

    person. I'm a lawyer by training and profession. I also have two hairless kids. I also know there are credible reports of Alopecia occurring after the Hepatitis B vaccine. My twin sons BOTH lost all their hair shortly after receiving their 9 month Hep B vaccine. My children were at basically 0% risk of contracting Hepatitis and had NO need for protection at their age and in their circumstances. If I had better educated myself about the need for, and optimum timing of, vaccines my sons might now be normal looking 15 year olds with a full head of hair. But they have been bald ever since, no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no body hair. And I feel lucky. Lucky that a worse autoimmune disorder was not triggered.

    I'm sure most of you think this is stupid. Feel free to make fun of me and my bald kids. They can take it. They have been made fun of before. I'm sure you KNOW it is just a total coincidence that my two kids, fraternal, not identical twins, lost all their hair at the same time. Of course there's no causal factor. Of course the government investigated these claims. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...
    Of course my kids were not included in the very low numbers reported. Our Dr. didn't find it necessary to report it. When I joined an Alopecia organization back in 1999, I met many other people whose children also lost their hair in the same way and whose Dr's also didn't report it. How good are our reporting mechanisms? Is the interest in reporting or in continuing to say there are only very, very, very, super rare unintended consequences?

    I would love to have confidence in organizations like WHO but they make it difficult:

    Hair loss - Hair loss has been reported after routine immunization, especially followinhg hepatitis B vaccine (Wise B et al., 1997). Hair loss is a common event and it is extremely difficult to confirm a causal association with hepatitis B vaccine administration.
    http://www.who.int/...

    Yes, it is just ever so common for 9 month old siblings to suddenly lose their full heads of hair and have no hair ever return even after 15 years. So, when WHO says the same about Gullian Barre and MS how confident can I pretend to be. I end up grateful that my kids are only bald. I have blind faith in none of these agencies or companies. They have an agenda, one they think is good and sound and a benefit to society as a whole. But they do not care about you or me or our children as individuals.

    So I am not as willing to cavalierly tell parents to just go along for the ride and trust whatever the experts tell you. I am more likely to tell them to carefully check family histories for autoimmune diseases that may be triggered in their children, to educate themselves and evaluate risks on their own using their individual circumstances. I tell them it's OK to look out for their own family. And, yes, they may have to take measures to protect others.

    So, does this mean I stopped vaccinating my kids? Yes, for a while. I said WHOA, my kids are at home and at little risk and aren't going to infect others and so I'm delaying any more. I waited until they went to school for the rest. But, you know, I am still pissed. Mostly at myself for not being better educated. For believing what the government and Dr's said. They are talking about statistics and they don't care about YOUR child. If science is so able to predict and explain away all the alleged effects, please tell me what caused my kids to suffer from Alopecia at the same time if it wasn't some effect of the vaccine. No one could of course. But I am supposed to trust they have it all figured out when it comes to promoting more and more vaccines to a captive infant audience. I'm supposed to care more about the HERD than my own kids. I'm not that perfect, Especially when it comes to diseases my kids are at zero chance of contracting.

    I have no idea why I even wrote this here as I know how it will be received. The majority is fortunately able to laugh at all the idiots and their crazy stories. I guess I am still offended at being considered an idiot because of my personal experience. I don't rail against vaccines but neither do I discourage thoughtful consideration. It may not always be so cut and dried as many of you believe. Perhaps a little compassion for people whose vaccine experiences may not have been so benign as yours.

    "If you think you have it tough, read history books." Bill Maher

    by berkshireblue on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:09:13 PM PST

    •  I have to say I'm happy that no one here at (0+ / 0-)

      Kos has called you a liar and/or demanded you show evidence that you've filed a claim for vaccine injury. I was worried that would happen. That's what's happening to each mom on the Katie Couric page who say their daughter had an adverse reaction to Gardasil.

      I'm sorry about what happened to your boys. Thanks for telling your story.

  •  Vaccines may indeed be triggers to bad outcomes (0+ / 0-)

    The idea that vaccines are always good or always bad is too simplistic.  Our immune system is dependent on a number of things that are being altered with modern diet, supplement, and drugs.  

    -Birth control seriously alters the intestinal flora of mothers, who then transfer it to their children during birth.  The vast, vast majority of the immune system is in the gut.  

    -Vitamin D is often limited in the mother and, increasingly, in the children which up-regulates the adaptive immune system(auto-immune disorders) and down-regulates the innate immune system.

    -We are also producing many more children who are unable to process ALA and LA into the fatty acids necessary to form cell membranes, making them unable to produce anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.  We are over activating the PA2 enzyme causing the membranes to be depleted far too early which exacerbates this problem.  

    I could go on and on.  But that a lot of people on this board will not entertain the notion that introducing an antigen into the system of a young child with a damaged immune system may not end well is disheartening.

    I read a lot of posts by people who seem to say, 'Ha, ha, those people don't believe in vaccines.  They are so stupid.'  I am quite well informed on this matter and I will tell you that something is happening to our childrens' systems right now and some are reacting very, very badly to vaccines.  

    I challenge the people of this board to argue with any success at all that injecting a concoction of ingredients including an antigen into the system of a young child with altered gut flora and a damaged immune system is a good thing.

    Thank you and GOOD DAY!

    •  Did you really write this? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher, TFinSF, terrypinder
      -Birth control seriously alters the intestinal flora of mothers, who then transfer it to their children during birth.  The vast, vast majority of the immune system is in the gut.
      Being on Birth Control and being a mother giving birth are mutually exclusive situations.

      "There is no expedient to which man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking." -Sir Joshua Reynolds

      by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:06:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't wait for the crank explanations (0+ / 0-)

      why diphtheria, polio, and measles (all killers) disappeared just when vaccination came in.

      Some of the usual anti-vax crank-arguments, to do a little diary pimping, can be found torn to shreds here.

  •  Send Couric pictures of smallpox victims. (0+ / 0-)

    Same for Jenny "Dirty Love" McCarthy.

    Same for that has-been d-nozzle Bill Maher.

    Remind them of the future that their anti-vac bullshit is inflicting on us.

  •  Well said (0+ / 0-)

    I studied journalism as an undergrad--no stats required, but we were trained to look for authoritative sources of credible information on whatever subject.  Katie and many of her colleagues in today's world of journalism fail to take that simple step time after time, from the simplest to the most complex stories.

    Grad school addressed my own failings in statistics.

    Overseas American? Register. Vote www.VoteFromAbroad.org

    by redstaterabroad on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:54:19 PM PST

  •  Extremely good ... thank you ... (0+ / 0-)

    appreciate the "anecdote" approach/discussion.  "Anti-Science by anecdote vs evidence-based scientific method" is my takeaway.

    Minor quibble:  this is not only about the specific individual who doesn't have the vaccine potentially getting ill, but the potential for a fall of vaccination to enable a wider outbreak that would create health risks even for those who have the vaccine because vaccination doesn't necessary insure against getting the disease (don't know specifics re HPV) as opposed to lowering the risk of contracting and lowering impact(s) if contracted. If vaccinated people are suddenly surrounded by large numbers of carriers, the likelihood that the vaccinated portion of the population getting ill goes up.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:20:34 AM PST

  •  Some say Couric is a ratings whore. (0+ / 0-)

    Me, for instance.

  •  I hate (0+ / 0-)

    that kind of ignorant superstitious bullshit and promoting it just proves how irresponsible our so-called journalistic community is.

    "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

    by lyvwyr101 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:30:28 AM PST

  •  The efficacy of vaccinations aside (0+ / 0-)

    and, Katie Couric's medical credibility totally dismissed -- one colonoscopy on public television does not a medical expert make; the production of vaccines through cultured human cells and chicken eggs does seem a bit Frankenstein. I would alternatively prefer to take a swig from a bottle of a plant-based brew, if such an alternative exists.

  •  Vaccines (0+ / 0-)

    Well, perhaps you should look again!  My daughter decided not to vaccinate.  NONE of her 4 children has ever had an earache...
    The fear that her decision will hurt the vaccinated people just reeks - if the vaccinations are so good, what are you worried about???  I vaccinated her, and she had to get surgery due to the constant ear infections.  I now refuse flu vaccines - I'm not at all convinced by Big Pharma that their offerings aren't poison!  Perhaps you are simply brainwashed by your fear of the "lab coats"???
    The reason they changed the pertussis vaccine is that it was permanently damaging kids.  Vaccines commonly had mercury in them!  And of course, when I hit menopause, I argued with the doctor who wanted to give me hormones - until a few years later, when they all decided those were a bad idea!  Sorry, I reject the unthinking faith in doctors!  Too much counter evidence.
    So who has died because of the anti=-vaccines?

    •  Your family are greedy, lazy free-riders on us (0+ / 0-)

      Your grandchildren are relatively safe because the rest of us are running the risks of vaccinations. They aren't that many sources to catch the diseases from.

      There have already been 175 cases of measles in the USA this year, a big increase. It is true, no one died, as they often did from measles, probably because Big Pharma's antibiotics combat the secondary infections.

      The vast majority of these cases occurred in anti-vax communities. So as soon as someone dies, we can give you names for who the anti-vax cranks have killed. (Indeed, I believe there have been fatal cases of whooping cough recently, but the measles example is better because of the isolation of the disease to the unvaccinated.)

    •  All right Grandma Tess.... (0+ / 0-)

      We routinely vaccinate our pets and our food animals.  And yet, somehow, there is no epidemic of autism in Fido and Pussy, and you never hear of a farmer claiming that the vaccines killed his cows.

      Meanwhile, measles, mumps, and chicken pox, especially in adults, all have a measurable death rate.  Measles and chicken pox cause birth defects if the pregnant mother catches them.  

      Is your daughter willing to be the cause of someone's deformed baby?

  •  dumbing down our science quotient (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wa ma, Gandalfs Beard

    About a year ago, Dr. Oz on his TV show presented the argument that there is too much arsenic in apple juice.  Almost immediately, a dear friend of his, Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the CDC and ABC's science editor, raked him over the coals for spreading junk science.  Less than six months later, the FDA issued the same warning that Dr. Oz had issued.  While this demonstrates that even amongst experts, there is disagreement, It also demonstrates that some experts are not as expert as they think.

  •  who needs statistics (0+ / 0-)

    I am not an anti-vaxxer, but to put forth the above argument regarding statistics without actually citing any is a fail.

    Statistics demonstrate that some people do die from reactions to vaccines.

    But because death by vaccine is such a tiny number in comparison to the lives which are saved by vaccines, the anti-vaxx arguments aren't warranted.

    http://www.hrsa.gov/...

  •  According to South Park, (0+ / 0-)

    the standard unit of measurement for mass weight of feces is the Couric.

  •  Katie Couric on vaccines (0+ / 0-)

    We could look at what happens to the people who are dumb enough to take her advice as part of the culling the herd process.

  •  Here's your counter-argument to the anti-vaxxers (0+ / 0-)

    One word:

    Rinderpest.

    Rinderpest was a disease that was over 95% fatal to the cattle that got it.  It is now eradicated (although they keep vaccinating in case there is a pool of it in the wild somewhere).

    Cattle do not have "improved diet and sanitation" (which is one of the arguments the anti-vaxxers have for why we don't have widespread disease anymore).  If anything, I would tend to say their diet and sanitation is worse.  Yet Rinderpest is gone in the cattle population.

    Every cow is vaccinated for Rinderpest and a host of other things.  And we vaccinate our pets.  Yet in diligent searching I have not come up with a single case of autistic animals...and you never hear of farmers complaining that a vaccine killed their cow.

    •  BTW, the virus that caused rinderpest (0+ / 0-)

      is very closely related to the measles virus; because of this similarity, and the fact that the measles virus only affects humans, there's a realistic possibility of eventually eradicating measles.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 09:38:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can always tell an anti-vaxxer... (0+ / 0-)

    but you can't tell him (or her) much.

  •  What Science? (0+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party has finally succeeded in making elite into a pejorative.  For years they have been telling their adherents that science is wrong; scientists do not and can not offer unbiased opinions and that no one who becomes an expert in any field is to be trusted because that person will only be a shill for the opinions posited by people with "education," another evil condition.  First they claimed schools were corrupting the innocent your minds of the children by telling the truth about American history, then they claimed teachers who wanted to teach evolution in science class were really out to destroy the children's faith in their religion and their parents.  So they supported home schooling where children never have to learn any problematic ideas or mix with people not exactly like them.  From this position of anti-intellectualism, it was really easy to argue that facts are relative and therefore they do not matter,  Beliefs (which cannot really be challenged by proof) were all that mattered.  Since facts are suspect at best and total lies at worst, the only safe position was to act on beliefs or what one wanted to believe, from there it is but a short step to believing as true whatever someone you believe resembles you in various ways, believes is true and to live in fear of someone challenging those opinions.  A nation of sheep will not last long as a democracy.

  •  Another Beck-head... (0+ / 0-)

    Beck likes to do his conspiracy theory routine about vaccinations to rile up his conspiracy theory loving audience.  A couple years ago Beck was riling against flu shots.  Somebody asked him whether he was going to get one.  He said he wasn't going to answer because he didn't want people making the decision based on what he did. Translation: He was going to get a shot, but didn't want other people to know it.

    Bigger Corporations = Smaller Individuals

    by Smeagel4T on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:45:27 PM PST

  •  Chock full o' vaccines... (0+ / 0-)

    My mother was a nurse.  I've been chocked full of vaccines since the day I was born.  I still get a flu shot every year.  I'm the type of person who only has to pass within a mile of somebody with a cold, and I'll catch it.  If I do get the flu shot, I enjoy an entire season of no flu -- even if I travel, fly, etc.  I may still get the common cold, which most ignorant people will think is "the flu", but I never get the flu.  Whenever I cross paths with somebody who obviously has some kind of cold, I always think to myself "I really hope they have the flu -- which I'm protected against -- and not the common cold -- which the flu shot doesn't protect against."

    Bigger Corporations = Smaller Individuals

    by Smeagel4T on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:50:36 PM PST

    •  I hope you don't take this the wrong way (0+ / 0-)

      but when I read your post I thought you might be being sarcastic. Even the most ardent supporters of flu vaccines are aware of the limitations of its effectiveness.

      Here's an article you might be interested in:

      CIDRAP-Strict meta-analysis raises questions about flu vaccine efficacy

      Applying very strict criteria to filter out potential bias and confounding, a US research team sifted more than 5,000 studies and found only 31 that they felt provided reliable evidence about the efficacy and effectiveness of flu vaccines. The findings were published online today by Lancet Infectious Diseases.

      Overall, the researchers found that existing flu vaccines can provide moderate protection from laboratory-confirmed flu, but protection is much lower in some groups and during some seasons. Pooled evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed that standard trivalent inactivated vaccines (TIVs) had an efficacy of 59% in young adults (18 to 65), but the authors found no RCTs demonstrating TIV efficacy in adults 65 and older or children aged 2 to 17. (In the United States, because of the recommendation that seniors should be vaccinated, RCTs of flu vaccination in those over 65 have been considered unethical since the 1960s.)

      For the live attenuated flu vaccine (LAIV)—the nasal spray version—evidence from 10 RCTs showed 83% efficacy in children 6 months to 7 years old, but no RCTs supported its efficacy in older children or adults. The authors' main conclusion is that use of existing flu vaccines should continue, but better ones are needed.

  •  vaccines (0+ / 0-)

    Where in his tirade against Katie Couric daring to present
    views other than those consistent with the rulers--the government, health industry, vaccine makers, who profit greatly from vaccines--is any scientific evidence presented to support the greatness of vaccines? I have read several  
    scientific articles on the dangers of vaccines. Main stream media is owned by companies that profit from lies.  "There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine is unsafe." Really.
    We're supposed to take this Hunter's word for it? Why is Hunter any more credible than Katie Couric or the mother on her show? I I can show you articles that say the HPV vaccine is not safe. As for the flu vaccine I wrote a column defending nurses who were fired for refusing to take it and in my research I found documented cases, in hospitals,
    that the flu vaccine is not safe
    . Anyone who believes
    what officials tell you does so at her own risk.

    •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

      I was thinking the exact same thing! My problem with this tirade is the inflammatory language. Any Scientist worth their salt would not evaluate that way. Through all these comments I see name calling and talk of using the scientific method, but I see no actual scientific method being used.

      I did not watch Couric's show (I have a job). However, can we please state the truth? There are bad reactions to vaccines of varying degrees. It has been decided that the good of vaccinations for the larger population (statistics) out weighs the rarity of the extreme reactions that individuals sometimes suffer from.

      That was my rational statement. That, is a scientific and rational example. Can be backed by comments that I read farther below that contain links to studies of bad reactions to various vaccines.

      Now for the less rational. If any of you stubborn dipshits insisting that there is NO scientific evidence or NO possibility that there are deaths as a result of vaccines ever experienced bringing a perfectly healthy individual for a check up one day and ALL tests come back that the individual is healthy and then they are given a vaccination and four hours later begin to throw up and are dead from total organ shut down within 48 hours than maybe you would understand why people are upset. Because you are sitting there with doctors insisting the acute renal failure couldn't possibly be caused by a vaccination because they have never heard of that, but the ultrasound shows inexplicable inflammatory response surrounding the kidneys and liver.  And you sit there watching the little body do the opposite response to every treatment while continuing to attack itself. Their total complete refusal  to acknowledge the possibility???? Seriously? You dumb asses call that more rational and scientific?

      Let me break down and connect the dots for your little brains.

      Last time I checked, it was commonly known that bodies can have allergic reactions to vaccines.

      What is an allergic reaction? It is a hyper-immune response.  in other words, the body is attacking something it shouldn't. We have seen such immune responses before that cause horrible damage to the body, in some cases the bodies even attack their own organs.

      Therefore, the inflammation around the kidneys and liver could be immune response, couldn't it? I mean, that's what inflammation is!!

      Ipso facto (I don't speak this way normally, i'm making fun of the earlier mean degrading comments that used this): Vaccinations can cause severe allergic reactions that can cause death.

      Now, I do not believe we should get rid of all vaccines. My problem is the fact that my little girl maybe could have been saved had the possibllity crossed the Drs minds that instead of accidental poisening maybe we should have just given her a benadryl the first time I mentioned she was throwing up. The vehemence that people shout quack or uneducated at those who say vaccines kill is the least scientific thing I've seen.

      So instead, say what you friggin mean! The death of my baby isn't worth the potential loss of life in the populace as a whole. I would have more respect for a scientist that would say that. I would also love to know what is in place to see how many reactions might be happening, but are not reported because the vaccine was never even asked about. Why not have it as a routine question? Lets really see how many people suffer from this and stop spouting that "Vaccines are Safe" is the equivalent of 2+2=4! Because it is not. Most surgeries are generally safe, but tons of people die from routine surgery every year and every single one made an informed personal decision that the risk was worth it. The body is NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE. Any biology 101 student knows that.

      I repeat, my solution isn't to get rid of vaccines, but to provide more education so that when a bad reaction happens death is prevented.

  •  The very success of vaccines (0+ / 0-)

    may be part of the problem. Few people living in the west and born within the last fifty year or so have any personal knowledge of diseases like TB, polio, small pox, etc. I have seen many anti-vaccine posters arguing that, in fact, all of these diseases were dying out anyway (they even have graphs and statistics) and the efficacy of vaccines, according to these 'experts' is, thus, way overstated. This ignores, of course, that most diseases appeared and then went into remission for periods of time but they always seemed to come back, often worse than the previous period.

    It is thanks to vaccines that small pox has been completely eradicated, that TB is, for the most part, just a romantic sounding disease in 19th c novels, and that most of us will never experience the horrors of Yellow Fever or malaria. However, there are already resurgences of diseases like measles thanks to the anti-vacciners and this can only get worse as more parents refuse to have their children vaccinated. What is most ironic and hypocritical and dare I stupid is that many of these parents openly admit that they are counting on other parents continuing to vaccinate thus protecting the offspring of the anti-vaccine idiots.

    •  I don't believe there's ever been a vaccine for TB (0+ / 0-)

      that's been widely used in the U.S.

      According to death certificate data, TB mortality fell in the United States during the first half of the 20th century as living standards, public health efforts and TB case finding improved, bovine TB was eradicated and educational campaigns expanded (4, 15, 16). Mortality declined even more steeply after new anti-TB drugs, such as streptomycin (introduced in 1944) and isoniazid (introduced in 1952), were discovered and raised hopes of a dramatic reduction in TB deaths by century’s end (3, 16). However, the mortality decline ended abruptly and unexpectedly in the early 1980s.

      This long-term perspective (Figure 1) reveals the 1980s as a “lost decade” for TB control. The resurgence of TB in the 1980s came at a time of reduced spending on public health and TB prevention (17, 18). Immigration was increasing, with many immigrants coming from countries where TB was endemic (19, 20). Injection drug use was also associated with the rise in TB deaths in some northeastern cities (21, 22) while outbreaks of multidrug-resistant TB contributed to the spread of a more lethal form of TB in crowded institutions (23).

      Most significantly, the resurgence of TB in the US coincided with the HIV/AIDS epidemic that emerged in the 1980s. HIV increases the probability of TB infection, accelerates the progression of TB disease and significantly increases the probability of death in TB patients (24-27). The first signs of HIV/AIDS were noticed in 1981(28) and correlate well with the inflection in the TB mortality trends observed in this analysis.

      The change in TB mortality trend (Figure 1) actually began in about 1979, before HIV was discovered, and earlier than the trend in TB incidence which increased in the mid-1980s (29): unrecognized HIV may have been causing additional TB deaths earlier than previously realized. It is likely that it was the synergy of emerging HIV, reduced public health funding, immigration and drug-resistant TB that played a critical role in changing the dynamics of TB mortality in the US in the 1980s.

      The steady decline in TB mortality resumed in the 1990s as federal funding increased, new clinics opened, HIV treatment improved, directly observed therapy expanded, and contact tracing increased to interrupt transmission (16). Nevertheless, the flat phase of the 1980s had serious long-term consequences. Even allowing for the uncertainties inherent in projections, annual TB deaths may now be double the number that would have occurred had there been no flattening of the trend in the 1980s.

      Trends in Mortality of Tuberculosis Patients in the United States: The Long-term Perspective
      •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

        I was unaware that this was not common in the US. I'm old enough to have received a TB vaccination in school in Canada way back in the 1950s. TB vaccinations became fairly standard in Canadian schools in the 1940s but were discontinued in most of Canada in the 1970s. So thank you for the information.

  •  In the last month (0+ / 0-)

    there has been two studies released stating that the vaccines are causing the disease more time than curing it.  One released by the Lancet (British Medical Journal) stated that the flu vaccine is only 5% effective as it is manufactured 5 months ahead of time and the flu mutates in that time making it almost useless.  Then a week ago, there has been a link between Whooping cough vaccine and people getting whooping cough, while those who haven't partaken of that vaccine are not getting sick.

    There has also been studies released by John Hopkins that HPV vaccine has been shown to cause major side effects among young girls.  The cases are around 54% and rising.

  •  Vaccine (0+ / 0-)

    Very well put. I have seen how this cancer kills and it is not a good thing to see. It shows no mercy and it hits young people. But once again the Religious right will cause thousands of Americans to suffer.

  •  Katie Couric's anti-vaccine episode (0+ / 0-)

    This article is an example of scientific illiteracy as dogma.  It is unfortunate that there are rabid dogs on both sides, so no true scientific discussion is possible.  There are issues with some vaccines, both as to safety and effectiveness, as has been discussed in mainstream medical media such as Cochrane.  To pretend otherwise is every bit as ignorant as hysterically condemning all vaccines.  And yes, I am a scientist.

  •  WAKE UP FOOLS!! (0+ / 0-)

    READ WHAT IS IN THE VACCINE MORONS AND GO TO YOUTUBE AND WATCH SOME DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT THE SUBJECT(S). THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ARE A MULTI-TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY AND OVER 125,000 PEOPLE DIED EVERY YEAR FROM THEIR LEGAL FDA APPROVED DRUGS. MY MOTHER WAS ONE OF THEM.

  •  It's the creationists. (0+ / 0-)

    It’s the creationists. By trying to dumb down biology they’ve succeeded in dumbing down the other sciences as well. What good is astronomy if it shows stars and galaxies that are more than 6000 years old? What good is earth science or geology when mentioning the flood will get you laughed out of class? Ecology? Pointless since it’s the End Times and the environment doesn't matter.

    How can you help but be ignorant under such conditions? Why do you think so many creationists go into law and politics? They’re among the handful of ways they can have and yield power without actually demonstrating intelligence untwisted by bronze age religion.

    I knew one creationist who decided to home school his kids. As part of that endeavor he locked out Discovery, The learning Channel, PBS, basically  any channel that might even be remotely educational. He didn’t even allow his kids near the computer. This was back in the early 90s, I wonder how they turned out.

  •  Sovereignty (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Glen The Plumber

    The real argument of vaccinations is sovereignty. While we have basic vaccines that are affective against measles, mumps, rubella and polio we now have vaccines that are being pushed out that are truly worthless.  If there are over 200 strains of a disease and you're shooting bullets at only one or two the risks, in my opinion, do not outweigh the benefits.
    While the posts here make fun of the aunt Emma syndrome perhaps they have not bothered to read accounts of deaths from vaccines as well as lifetime crippling immediately after receiving a vaccine.  I just met a husband and wife who had a flu shot and they both, at once, came down with the flu the next day. I have an immediate family member who took one pill and ended up crawling in pain and could not walk for the next three months.  There are risks associated with both vaccines and drugs.  We grew up in an era when there were no flu vaccines.  I know of no child throughout my schooling who died from the flu. Why is this so necessary now to be on this crusade to vaccinate children for the flu, our most susceptible of citizens other than it lines the pockets of the drug and medical communities?

    My own mother walked in perfectly healthy for a flu shot and the next day came down with a whopping flu. She refuses to get another and has not had any issues for the past five years.  I am 60 have never had a flu shot and not had flu for over 10 years even when household members have.   I've seen video of an RN who had a bad reaction the day after getting a flu shot and is now in a wheel chair for life and unable to function, putting a tremendous burden on her family.  How does one go from healthy and vibrant to a near vegetable in one day and discredit the possibility that it had something to do with the vaccine she was forced to get?   Flu batches have also been contaminated and caused problems and deaths.  On the CDC website it states there was an increased risk to reaction to children vaccinated for the flu from 2010-2011 causing a high incidence of febril seizures. So, to totally disregard any of this information is ignorant at best and self serving at worse.  It also stated the FDA does not recall vaccines but leaves that up to the companies themselves to do so! Like that is going to happen!

    MY choice is to not do flu shots nor would I give my teenagers the HPV shot. They are both shotguns shooting at a flock of virus strains and are not necessary and not worth the risk.

  •  Couric and vaccines (0+ / 0-)

    So, another media soul-seller.

  •  bad journalism and bad journalists. (0+ / 0-)

    We thought that more media meant more information. The "Information age", we called it. The problem is that in the name of protection of the First Amendment, anyone is allowed to say anything. We used to have filters, and you had to source what you repeated. That is no longer true.
    Case in point: Scott Walker, in Wisconsin, claimed that "teachers only pay 5% in their retirement". (That was his argument for busting Unions: These thugs can get generous contracts that we can't afford, look at their generous pensions...so let's get rid of unions.) The media seized on it right away and hyped up a scandal.. that was not true: As a Teacher in Wisconsin, 5% of each and every paycheck was taken from me and placed in trust (the ETF) for my old age. The State of Wisconsin is forbidden, by law, to add even one penny to our pensions. It is actually one of the few Public Pension Systems which is entirely funded by the workers themselves. All the money I get is what I put in, plus the interests, (and only if the SWIB managed my money well).
    By the time we could debunk that story, however, the harm had been done: The people I met on the streets were furious at us for "being on the dole". All too many papers and lazy journalists repeated the lie, until we were undone.
    We need to check the credentials of these folks and call them to task on the lies and half truths they continuously spout to sell their papers and their "news"

  •  SOCIETAL LAZINESS (0+ / 0-)

    Many people are simply intellectually lazy. (Cough—Teahadists!-cough...)

    How many people don't watch news because they don't want to be bothered? I'll bet even more throw up their hands at science. "It's too ha-a-a-rd!" "It's too complicated, too much work!" Feh. Idiots are missing out on the world's true wonders. There is little so amazing and sane as science!

    Murcans... They insist they are the greatest, that they are exceptional—for merely being born on this land mass and consuming mass quantities of carbs and reality TV. It's a Lowest Common Denominator society, which is why we are DOOMED.

  •  Let me just say (0+ / 0-)

    This is all well and good, and I agree with it for the most part. It is quite startling that so many people can take established scientific evidence and disregard it, such as with climate change. But in when it comes to human health and medicine, I'm somewhat more skeptical of taking anything for granted. Granted, what I say below doesn't necessarily have too much to do with the article, but I feel it needs to be said.

    First off, there are alternatives to vaccination. We're all different, and different things work better for different people. I've never been vaccinated in my life, and few people in my family have. We've never had any problems, and there's a growing community of people who oppose vaccination and other aspects of modern medicine. Not in the same way as the people you discuss in the article, but in an educated, well-rounded way. Many different kinds of medicine and health practices have been around for hundreds of years, and are often these days are grouped under the terms 'holistic' and 'alternative' medicines. Modern medicine is a relative newcomer to the field and has successfully pushed the prior practices out of the forefront, at least in the United States.

    I won't get too much into it, as I'm far from a expert on these matters, but I've talked to a lot of people who are experts and the honest truth is that modern medicine has such a monopoly on public opinion and consumption  in the U.S. because its advocates (big business and doctors) have used the system to effectively block these holistic or 'alternative' practices. Such as government (mis)regulation and misinformation. If you really do your research you can find many blatant lies on behalf of modern medicine, even transcripts of meetings where these corporate interests discussed ways to clear the market of the 'old stuff' so they could rake in profits. This never happened in Europe, and you can still find a much wider variety of health practitioners there.

    People need to stop calling folks who reject modern medicine crazies, and see that there's as much of a vested corporate interest in this area as there is in pretty much every other human problem, like wealth inequality or climate change.

    Anyway, I probably made some errors up there but those are just my thoughts. I feel there needs to be more acceptance of discourse and disagreement on this issue.

  •  Epidemiology is not the only kind of science (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    Based on statistical evaluation alone, we would have to conclude that nobody ever dies of chicken pox.

    Before the chicken pox vaccine existed, millions of people came down with chicken pox every year, and only a few dozen people with chicken pox died - most of whom had co-occuringconditions such as immunodeficiency, HIV, or cancer.  Lots of other people died who didn't have chicken pox.  Using the kind of statistical analysis used to dismiss vaccine reactions as coincidence, one would have to say that since most people with chicken pox didn't die, and most people who died didn't have chicken pox, therefore nobody dies of chicken pox.

    But that is not how chicken pox is analyzed.  We know how to identify chicken pox by the symptoms and by the presence of the virus, not just by statistics.  We know mechanisms by which chicken pox can (very rarely) cause death.

    Adverse reactions to vaccines need to be studied using more than statistics.  There are a variety of ways that vaccines can impact the immune system and the brain.  This needs to be much better understood, in order to figure out who is susceptible to vaccine injuries, why they occur, how they can be prevented, and how they can be treated.

  •  What kind of evidence would you look for? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    Here is some evidence of what actually happened inside the brains of two young women who died after receiving HPV vaccines.

    Death after Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination:  Causal or Coincidental?

    Abstract

    Background: The proper understanding of a true risk from vaccines is crucial for avoiding unnecessary adverse reactions (ADRs). However, to this date no solid tests or criteria have been established to determine whether adverse events are causally linked to vaccinations.

    Objectives: This research was carried out to determine whether or not some serious autoimmune and neurological ADRs following HPV vaccination are causal or merely coincidental and to validate a biomarker-based immunohistochemical (IHC) protocol for assessing causality in case of vaccination-suspected serious adverse neurological outcomes.

    Methods: Post-mortem brain tissue specimens from two young women who suffered from cerebral vasculitis- type symptoms following vaccination with the HPV vaccine Gardasil were analysed by IHC for various immuno- inflammatory markers. Brain sections were also stained for antibodies recognizing HPV-16L1 and HPV-18L1 antigen which are present in Gardasil.

    Results: In both cases, the autopsy revealed no anatomical, microbiological nor toxicological findings that might have explained the death of the individuals. In contrast, our IHC analysis showed evidence of an autoimmune vasculitis potentially triggered by the cross-reactive HPV-16L1 antibodies binding to the wall of cerebral blood vessels in all examined brain samples. We also detected the presence of HPV-16L1 particles within the cerebral vasculature with some HPV-16L1 particles adhering to the blood vessel walls. HPV-18L1 antibodies did not bind to cerebral blood vessels nor any other neural tissues. IHC also showed increased T-cell signalling and marked activation of the classical antibody-dependent complement pathway in cerebral vascular tissues from both cases. This pattern of complement activation in the absence of an active brain infection indicates an abnormal triggering of the immune response in which the immune attack is directed towards self-tissue.

    Conclusions: Our study suggests that HPV vaccines containing HPV-16L1 antigens pose an inherent risk for triggering potentially fatal autoimmune vasculopathies.

    Practice implications: Cerebral vasculitis is a serious disease which typically results in fatal outcomes when undiagnosed and left untreated. The fact that many of the symptoms reported to vaccine safety surveillance databases following HPV vaccination are indicative of cerebral vasculitis, but are unrecognized as such (i.e., intense persistent migraines, syncope, seizures, tremors and tingling, myalgia, locomotor abnormalities, psychotic symptoms and cognitive deficits), is a serious concern in light of the present findings. It thus appears that in some cases vaccination may be the triggering factor of fatal autoimmune/neurological events. Physicians should be aware of this association.

    http://www.greatergoodmovie.org/...

  •  Too many "anecdotes" to be just coincidence. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    There have been a number of very serious adverse reactions to this vaccine reported in various countries around the world.

    GLOBAL CONCERNS ABOUT HPV VACCINES
    http://sanevax.org/...

    The Truth About Gardasil
    http://truthaboutgardasil.org/

    Judicial Watch reports on Gardasil adverse reactions
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/...

    Gardasil and Unexplained Deaths
    http://www.gardasil-and-unexplained-deaths.com/

    “Cervix vaccine issues trigger health notice”
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/...

    “Victims hit cervical cancer vaccines - Paralyzed teens, parents demand subsidized shots be eradicated”
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/...

    Human papillomavirus vaccine and systemic lupus erythematosus.
    Authors
    Gatto M, et al.
    Clin Rheumatol. 2013 Sep;32(9):1301-7. doi: 10.1007/s10067-013-2266-7. Epub 2013 Apr 28.
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