Anti-Vaxers and Their Rights

Was just reading about the anti-vax movement and a thought occurred to me. Perhaps some of you have already considered it (I can be a bit slow at times).

The people who are totally convinced that immunization vaccines are B.A.D. are fighting tooth and nail against those who want to make them mandatory.

Even though numerous studies over the past several years related to this matter have shown there is NO evidence of a link between autism and immunization vaccines, many continue to be swayed by misinformation and insist the government is intruding on their rights. It matters not that individuals who have not been vaccinated are creating a health crisis — to the point that the World Health Organization has declared the anti-vax movement to be a top “global health threat.” All they seem to care about are their “rights.”

YET … while many of these individuals are “up in arms” about the government’s intervention, they consider it “OK” to pass laws that would put prayer back in school, have bibles as part of the reading curriculum, forbid sex (gasp!) education, etc. It’s true none of these actions have health consequences, but the core principle is the same.

The bottom line is we all want to live our lives according to our own standards. And that may be well and good … providing those standards don’t negatively affect (or harm) others.

41 thoughts on “Anti-Vaxers and Their Rights

    • While I totally agree with you, Scottie, I would prefer this post not turn into an “abortion” discussion. There are already too many of them going around … and it’s pretty much an unwinnable battle.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I totally agree, Scottie. The Christian fundamentalist opposition to abortion poses a direct threat to women’s health. I also see their other attempts to destroy America’s secular separation of church and state as harmful to many aspects of our social health.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. There is definitely some hypocrisy there, but I would also point out that the Anti-vaxx movement has at least started by people who typically vote democratic. It originated in Washington State and California by upper-middle class housewives wooed by woo and other pseudoscience. So I’m not sure there is necessarily a strong correlation between anti-vaxxers and Christian conservatives. I do know the story you were talking about I think that was out of Kentucky. It has certainly been adopted by many conservatives who are looking to appear strong against government interference. So there is definitely a lot of hypocrisy by how it’s been taken up politically.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Appreciate the history … but my point is there are individuals (in this case, anti-vaxers) who scream about government intervention… but then think it’s “OK” to insist on the government making it legal for them to insert their religious beliefs and principles into other people’s lives.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Like I said, I agree that there is some hypocrisy, just saying it’s not a straight up cause by conservative Christians. Certainly any conservative Christians who would make such an argument are being hypocritical if they think prayer should be a requirement in public schools.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, the ant-vaxx movement is an equal opportunity one. You can join up regardless of your usual political leanings as long as you’re a full fledged blithering idiot when it comes to the issue of getting vaccinations for yourself and your kids.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Indeed. I think it’s actually kind of interesting that conservatives picked it up…because I think it’s only relatively even now…so at point…some conservatives looked at it and said “These liberals are off their rocker about this anti-vaxx stuff….maybe I can win me some votes if I pick up the anti-government angle” lol

        Liked by 3 people

          • When I found out the origins of the movement I was shocked too. Because it does sound like something conservatives would come up with, but the more I thought about it there is that west coast movement of people who want naturopathy, homeopathy, crystal healing, essential oils…blah blah….who i can see being totally against vaccinations based on them viewing it as impure chemicals being injected into their children.

            Liked by 6 people

            • Good point. I could see Gwyneth Paltrow’s company (Goop?) selling “all natural” vaccine alternative creams to rub on your newborns to ward off mumps. “Don’t Stick ‘Em With a Needle! Rub ‘Em With Oatmeal Cream To Beat The Mumps!”

              Liked by 7 people

  2. I am of several minds about all of this.

    When we were growing up, small pox vaccinations were mandatory. There was no talk about autism, or epilepsy, or anything else that they ’caused’. you didn’t get to go to school until you had the shot, and that was that. When the first Smallpox vaccine was made public the frenzy was much the same as it is now, only people were convinced that it would CAUSE smallpox, not prevent it.

    most of us of a certain age have lived through measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chicken pox. I think of the four, chicken pox is the worst, since you carry the stuff with you forever after, and can infect other people with it long after you’ve grown, or end up with shingles, which can cause blindness. Measles, mumps and whooping cough are one time only infections, and quite frankly I have never heard of anyone going blind or deaf from measles (although it does happen, I know), and rarely now does mumps cause problems of sterility. Probably.

    Here’s where we get into the Press, and the hysterical parents who themselves have probably never had measles… “major outbreak of measles reported, school closed down, an epidemic has occurred…” Makes your toes curl, doesn’t it. Turns out three kids in a school of several hundred, have come down with measles and the press takes that up and runs with it… If all but three of those kids were vaccinated, those three are the only ones who are probably going to get them. And if the vaccine isn’t good enough or reliable enough to prevent more outbreaks, why the hell are they using it in the first place? You never hear about a mumps epidemic, nor a whooping cough epidemic.

    This can be a diffcult topic to discuss, because the moment you start trying see both sides you are labeled an anti-vaxxer and you might as well just leave town. If I were a parent, yeah I’d make sure my kids had the shots, but with the understanding that no shot is 100%, and some kids have bad reactions.
    and yeah, I made sure I got my shingles shot. =)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know that we can damn the press quite that easily, although I agree they do embellish things. However it’s important to note that and outbreak is defined by the WHO as:

      A disease outbreak is the occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season. An outbreak may occur in a restricted geographical area, or may extend over several countries. It may last for a few days or weeks, or for several years.

      So certainly we aren’t seeing something as widespread as the bubonic plague or anything, but given that measles were eliminated in 2000 in the Americas…meaning that measles no longer originates from the Americas, an outbreak may be considered a small number of cases as it is generally unusual to see any cases of the measles at all. As this article points out, reducing the number of vaccinated people can lead to more widespread transmission of the disease.

      Mumps can cause hearing loss and some other long last problems. Measles also can cause hearing loss. And whooping cough kills about 20 babies a year since 2010. Before vaccinations, whooping cough killed 8000 Americans a year.

      Liked by 4 people

    • You never hear about a mumps epidemic, nor a whooping cough epidemic.

      Mumps is not very infectious. There was a serious whooping cough outbreak in Australia a year or two ago (if I recall correctly).

      Measles is a very serious disease. I had both measles and chicken pox. And measles was far worse.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. No evidence? See links.

    Your comment was not automatically posted due to the number of links. All of them appear to be from conspiracy or “health”-related websites, and therefore have little to no relevance. However, I’m allowing them in the interest of open discussion.


  4. Although I would never claim to be an expert on autism, diseases or the effectiveness of vaccines, I will say this: I am a parent. And as a father of four, I will say the risks of not vaccinating far outweigh the risks of something like autism. I would much rather raise a child who is autistic (though there’s no credible link between vaccinations and autism) than be a father who has to bury his child. The diseases that vaccinations prevent are known to be dangerous, especially to young children. Something like measles or the flu can cause great harm to a child.

    Having been through loss many times before, I will do anything and everything I can to ensure the safety of the children I have with me now. The side effects from vaccinations are mild to non-existent in most cases. How mild is the flu to an infant?

    Just because someone has the right to do something or not do something, doesn’t mean that particular something is in the best interest of others.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. We have a small graveyard from the 19th century in my suburb. What struck me when I locked at the grave stones was how many young children were buried their. I thought to myself at the time, this was of course pre-vaccines.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. The reason laws making vaccines mandatory are legitimate is that refusing vaccination creates nontrivial risks to other people, by undermining the “herd immunity” which stops potential epidemics and protects people who can’t be vaccinated (such as babies who are too young). So it’s no more of a real infringement on freedom than the law against running red lights is, and for the same reason.

    Also, in most cases the decision to reject vaccination is being made by parents for children, and in many areas we recognize that parents’ authority over their children isn’t absolute. There are many situations where it’s against the law for parents to expose their children to danger.

    Note that whether the anti-vaxxers in question are left-wing or right-wing, or are religious or not, is irrelevant to these points.

    The law should make no concessions at all to delusional beliefs. If a driver ran a red light and claimed that he believed stopping at red lights causes autism, the judge would be completely unimpressed. The anti-vaxxers’ delusions are equally irrelevant.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. .As I remember it, the original anti-vaxer was a British scientist who either accidentally or purposefully made a mistake in his method or his record-keeping, and announced his erroneous findings before he double-checked his work. The world seemed to be ready somehow for this news, and leaped blindly onto his bandwagon.
    Nowadays, any person who does not vaccinate their children should have to homeschool those children. They are each putting hundreds of people at risk in every gathering they attend, number one of which are schools. Vaccines are available to keep kids healthy. Wanting to risk your own child is bad enough. Wanting to risk the children of friends and neighbours is criminal.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You cannot reason with crazy.

    That said, I’d be okay with the anti-vaxers if …

    (1) They are required to carry liability insurance because of any health issues they cause for other people.
    (2) If they want their anti-vax children to go to public schools, then there needs to be a separate set of schools for them, and they need to pay the full costs of setting up a separate school system.

    Hmm, the cost to the anti-vaxers might already deter most of them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The problem is that those “health issues they cause for other people” can have consequences that no amount of money could compensate for. We don’t say we’re OK with people running red lights if they agree to carry extra insurance to pay off people who get maimed or killed in the accidents they cause.

      No one has the right to expose me to an unnecessary risk of devastating disease just because they can pay me for it later.

      Liked by 7 people

  9. We’re reaping the wisdom of the anti-vaxers right now. Not only are they suffering from the the mosque tragedy, Christchurch is also in the grips of a measles outbreak. What the anti-vaxers don’t understand that there is a section of the community that can’t be vaccinated because they are too young, or their immunity system is compromised or for the simple fact that sometimes a vaccination take not “take” for some individuals. When the immunisation rate drops below a threshold (96% I believe) then herd immunity declines rapidly, and all those who want protection, but don’t have it are at risk.

    Parents who believe it’s better for their own or someone else’s child to die, than be autistic like me really don’t deserve to have kids. There has been no increase in the rate of autism. What has changed is the criteria under which a diagnosis is made. If autism was redefined to what it was in the 1960s, the rate of new autism diagnoses would drop overnight to the rate prevailing then.

    I would note, that if the Christchurch example is typical of other places, it’s quite amazing how many of them want their children vaccinated when they see an immediate risk. The run on vaccinations has been so high that the entire nation’s stock has been depleted, and it’s been necessary to ration who gets vaccinated until new stocks arrive in the country. Again a sign of selfishness: “I’m going to let herd immunity fail, but I demand my Johnny gets vaccinated if there’s an epidemic”.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Aside from the insanity of people/families swallowing hook, line, and sinker the B.S. of proven historical, medical, and social benefits of mandatory vaccinations, the further lack of widespread sex-education for teaching total abstinence and little-to-no Planned Pregnancy & Family Planning programs and funds have equally damaging consequences!

    …they consider it “OK” to pass laws that would put prayer back in school, have bibles as part of the reading curriculum, forbid sex (gasp!) education, etc. It’s true none of these actions have health consequences…

    If I may Nan, I’d like to further define and demarcate the mid-term and long-term affects and damaging consequences forbidding sex education to the public, that is uneducated adults and teenagers in school that typically come from dysfunctional parents and families, or from ultra-conservative religious dogmas. My info, stats, and facts are for Texas — since I wrote a blog-post about this specific social problem in my home state. The same sort of problems exist in many other states as well, particularly those economically challenged or impoverished states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, just to name three. The LACK OF sex-education invariably leads to further convoluted misinformation and controversy about abortion rights for women.

    Unplanned Pregnancies and Births are one of the consequences of poor or no sex-education (total abstinence) for heterosexual men, women, boys, and girls with natural DNA/genetic hormonal urges. It is not the only reason, but it is often one of the big reasons. Here in Texas, a predominantly conservative Protestant state, most legally residing Texans teach forms of abstinence from sex until marriage. Over the last 2-3 decades most of these families and their religious Conservative systems/ideologies via political activism, voting, and governmental legislation have either greatly reduced federal means of and aid for sex-education with devastating results in the Texas population. To contrast, if I may Nan. From my “Influences Upon the Majority” blog-post:

    United States –
    The average American home today looks nothing like it did fifty-years ago, even twenty-years ago. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) 2013-Table 16 p.70, in 1970 of every 1,000 U.S. births by women age 15-44 years old, 26.4% were unwedded, 44.3% in 1995, and 45.3% in 2012. Of those births, 22.4% were unwed teens age 15-19 in 1970, 43.8% in 1995, and 26.7% in 2012. The largest number of unwed women in an age group of those three time-periods were women age 20-24 years old in 1970 (38.4) and 1995 (68.7), but age 25-29 in 2012 at 67.2% — see table below. These are the national numbers and age trends.

    Now for Texas…

    Texas –
    Finding the Texas data was more difficult. Nonetheless, I did manage to find limited hard data for the twenty-two-year period 1990-2012 from the CDC and NVSS (Table 89). Unfortunately, if you’re a die-hard political Texas Conservative, all the unwed childbearing data falls exactly during George W. Bush’s, Rick Perry’s, and Greg Abbott’s times in office.

    In 2000 in Texas, for every 1,000 births by women, 30.5% were unwed and 15.3% of those were teen aged mothers. In 2009 in Texas, 42.4% were unwed and 13.3% of those were teen-mothers. In 2011 in Texas, 35.8% were unwed mothers and according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in Washington D.C., Texas ranks 47th out of 50 in teen-pregnancy rates and ranks 37th out of 50 in rate of decline in teen-pregnancy between 1988-2010.

    Over a 22+ year span, why is Texas not keeping up with well over half the nation in reducing unwed pregnancies and births, especially with teens, and worse REPEAT pregnancies!? The answer? Teaching Conservative religious total abstinence or forms of it rather than total sex-education and birth-control, simply DOES NOT WORK!!!

    Therefore, there actually IS a damaging health consequences of “forbidding sex” and sex-education. It just shows up later in many other forms of health, mental-health, and economic degradation. Ignorance and lip-service are NOT the solution!

    Thanks Nan and great post! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      • Perhaps, but I wanted to respectfully elaborate on this:

        It’s true none of these actions have health consequences…

        Your post is still absolutely valid and spot on about generally taught ignorance and the intent to disseminate misinformation and doubt for the sake of superstitions and unfounded conclusions, yes! I just wanted to point out that there are negative consequences of ‘ignorance in action.’ That’s all Ma’am. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I also am wary of charts showing things like ‘unwed mothers” and the way the figures have climbed in the past X number of years. I’d be curious if that includes women who are living with a partner (and therefore presumed to be adults with choices), or just women who got pregnant, no father named, kinda thing.

    I would love to know what the criteria IS for “unwed mother”…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy, those are good points and implied questions. 👏

      At least for Texas, the precise definition of “unwed mothers” is critically important for Republican Texas governing and socioeconomic ideologies for determining financial accountability — Republicans want to shrink government & gov’t spending in as many ways as possible! — upon biological fathers and mothers rather than government-run, government-funded foster care and orphanages.

      While constantly FIGHTING any federal Planned Parenthood clinics/programs and federally sanctioned abortion clinics for teen women, Texas Republicans have always wanted to push the cost of keeping unwanted births and infants/toddlers or “unwed mothers”… the typically young dysfunctional mother(s) & father(s) that really need those federal clinics/programs in the first place — back onto the biological fathers and mothers by any means necessary… thus avoiding the State and Republican taxpayers from taking the financial responsibility and burden of doing it. For those religiously conservative Texas Republicans, most of the time they remark, “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for other people’s sins and sexual promiscuity!” Those same Texans are now refusing their private business services or products to heathen non-Christians, similar to Hobby Lobby’s founder/owner Steve Green refusing health benefits contrary to his personal religious beliefs via his company’s insurance benefits. See the Texas Atty General’s Office webpage:

      Therefore, at least here in Texas “unwed mothers” has a direct correlation to economic responsibilities for state legal ramifications and pursuits (Medicaid) on unwed, sexually active teens and young adults, not really terminology. Meanwhile, those same Republicans want no federal funding or programs for sex-education, pregnancy-by-rape counseling , or programs/clinics with Pro-Choice behind it AND ALSO not take any government financial responsibility for the ignorance they perpetuate to our disadvantaged sectors of the populace.

      Hope that helps clarify.


    • While I can see your point — especially as a woman who is pro-abortion — I do feel we need to consider how our actions in cases like this may very well affect the health and welfare of others. In other words, does our personal autonomy take precedence over another human being’s well-being … or even their life?

      Consider: if the ebola strain were to enter the U.S. and a vaccination were available to prevent it from spreading, what would be the humanitarian action? Should it be refused simply because you had heard or read somewhere that the vaccination might cause short-term memory loss (as an example)?


Don't Be Shy -- Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.