No, Seriously, Don’t Politicize Anti-Vax Sentiment

It’s Wrong and It’s Dangerous

I read Amanda Marcotte’s recent piece, Vaccination becomes a more partisan issue, with Republicans on the wrong side of it, despairingly. The only thing worse than someone trying to politicize ani-vaccine sentiment is someone doing it with a giant megaphone. With all due respect to the author, her piece has two giant flaws. First, its basic premise is wrong: anti-vax ideology is demonstrably not very well connected to basic left-right ideology or party affiliation. Second, her article is ironically more likely to be harmful than a dozen frothing anti-vax pieces.

It’s Wrong

Anti-Vax beliefs are not rooted in Republican beliefs and desires, as Marcotte suggests. She has a few reasons why she thinks so:

Purity: Marcotte thinks that anti-vax ideology “is rooted in irrational fears of impurity,” and that such fears are more common among conservatives. This is the most persuasive argument to me, because I’m inclined to think that irrational fears about purity are a big part of the anti-vax movement. But what we’re inclined to think is not necessarily what’s true, or even what’s likely to be true.

In fact, researchers have tested this assumption. There’s some legitimate dispute over the data, but the best that I’ve seen indicate that worry about vaccines comes more from a general sensitivity to risk, as opposed to “disgust sensitivity.” They looked at how much people worried about a variety of risks to see how well the fear of vaccines correlates to other fears. Some of those risks had some “purity” connection (like legalizing porn or prostitution), while others didn’t (like operating drones in US airspace or high-voltage power lines). Very generally, people who are worried about vaccines are likely to worry about everything, regardless of “purity.” That is, even people who were terrified of vaccines weren’t overall more likely to worry about prostitution or pornography being legalized.

This doesn’t prove that a concern over purity doesn’t motivate a lot of anti-vaccine sentiment. But when the data don’t support your intuition, it’s time to reexamine that intuition—especially when it’s telling you that people you don’t agree with are bad or stupid.

vacandfriends
Source: The Cultural Cognition Project

Children are property: Next, Marcotte argues that conservatives are less likely to “see children as individuals in their own right who deserve the protection of the commons,” and more likely to see them as “property.” The language is incredibly loaded, which should suggest this is not a careful analysis so much as a diatribe.

If you’re trying to understand someone’s perspective, you can’t stop halfway. You need to really try and see where they’re coming from. Anti-vaxers wouldn’t say that they want to evade vaccination because their kids are property. In my experience, they’re much more likely to agree that kids “deserve the protection” their parents or society can give them. They disagree about whether vaccines actually provide that protection.

To see how this argument trips over its own perspective, flip it around: anti-vaxers often make the same point. They say that pro-vaccine advocates see kids as a thing to be shot full of chemicals, rather than precious people who need to be protected from the neurotoxins in vaccines. Obviously the anti-vax position is bonkers… but logically, it relies on the same assumptions Marcotte is making: that we see kids as people, and they see kids as merchandise.

No. No one sees children as a thing. Everyone sees children as precious.

Seriously, everyone.
Seriously, everyone.

Hostility to public health: Here, Marcotte thinks conservative hostility to “anything that roots the concept of health care in the common good instead of treating it as an individual luxury” draws conservative hostility. Maybe she’s right! But I’m immediately dubious because this is also demonizing conservatives. I’d want to see some evidence, or at least an argument, that conservatives see vaccination as being somehow implicated in the battle over public health. Instead it’s just a rhetorical point, and again, one that goes both ways. She says that conservatives react badly to the idea that “the health care of the elite” should be different from “what the rabble gets”, but that implies that conservatives want “the rabble” to get sick. I’m a progressive myself, but come on—conservatives aren’t blinding peasants for fun. (Maybe in Texas.)

Even if we assume that conservatives only want the elite to get the best healthcare available, with no concern whatsoever for “the rabble,” that doesn’t imply they’d oppose vaccination. Vaccines protect everyone! If I were the richest man on earth, I’d want everyone to get fully vaccinated, even if I were an utter sociopath. It would protect me, effectively and very cheaply, through herd immunity. In this case, other people being healthy not only doesn’t pick the billionaire’s pocket or break his leg, it actively helps him. And it doesn’t cost very much compared to the massive good it does. Conservatives’ hostility to public healthcare just doesn’t lead one to believe they’d be hostile to vaccines generally.

Status signaling: This argument is based on the idea that being anti-vaccine is “a way to signal status.” And again, I agree up to a point. I do think that many anti-vaxers are anti-vaxers as a way to signal their affiliation with a particular peer group. But while Marcotte identifies that group as “the elite,” I think it’s much more subtle than that. People generally want to bind themselves to their friends and neighbors, not just “the elite.” Those groups could be based on wealth, or religion, or language, or micro-culture, or geography, or more likely a spicy blend of all of those things and more. In other words, when Harry Hypothetical opts out of vaccines to signal his belonging to a particular group, he’s trying to impress his neighbors or his book club rather than “the elite.” Those peer groups are likely to be evenly distributed across political lines.

How do I know? Well, I can’t be positive. But again, there’s some good research on this point. When researchers looked into the cultural affiliations of anti-vaxers, they found that “there is no meaningful correlation between vaccine risk perceptions and the sorts of characteristics that usually indicate membership in one or another cultural group.” Many people have a hard time believing this. But as I said before, when your intuitions don’t match the data, it’s probably your intuition that’s wrong.

Anti-science: Finally Marcotte says she “would argue that conservatism is inherently hostile to empiricism,” and that the “Republican Party is anti-science.” And again, I want to agree with her! But I know better. First, I know that writing off an entire party as “anti-science” isn’t doing anyone much good. And in particular, when it comes to vaccines, I know that the actual research doesn’t support this conclusion.

First, just above I cited a study showing that anti-vax ideology doesn’t map very well onto political ideology. But second, Marcotte is essentially arguing that being anti-vaccine comes from being anti-science. While I think that many anti-vax advocates show very poor scientific literacy, what’s true of a few loud mouths isn’t true of the body of people who resist vaccination. Most people who decline to get their kids vaccinated aren’t bloggers or celebrities or firebrands—they’re just trying to help their kids and quietly made a bad decision. And being science-literate is not a defense against making bad decisions. Research shows that “public opinion on the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines is not meaningfully affected by differences in either science comprehension or religiosity.” (The religiosity part isn’t strictly relevant here, but I was surprised that Marcotte didn’t attempt to make that point.)

I don’t want to pick on Amanda Marcotte. Everyone writes an occasional piece that misses the mark, and sooner or later, does so very badly. (I hope this one isn’t mine!) Sticking with the theme of mistakes being bi-partisan, Hank Campbell made the same errors from the right last year in his piece, Science Left Behind 2014: The Anti-Vaccination Update – Science 2.0. Campbell is just as polemical as Marcotte, if not moreso, and just as mistaken, if not moreso.

In particular, Campbell gets very huffy about the difference between Democrats and progressives. It’s not Democrats who are anti-vaccine, he says, just progressives. (You can actually see his lip curl as he writes “progressive.” (Not really.)) What’s the difference? Well, the data don’t support the conclusion that Democrats are generally anti-vaccine, or more anti-vax than Republicans. But progressives, well, Campbell wants to tell you all about those bums. ” Progressive thinking corresponds to anti-vaccination and even anti-GMO beliefs, which is why Washington state, Oregon and California are so prominent in the denial movement and New York State is less so.” But is that a fact, or just something he thinks should probably be a fact?

The research, once again, is not convenient for Campbell’s preferred beliefs. In fact, just like anti-vaccine beliefs, anti-GMO sentiment doesn’t track very well with party affiliation. “Of course,” I can imagine Campbell saying, “that’s why I demonized progressives and not Democrats.” But given how strong the correlation between party affiliation and risk sensitivity is for global warming and fracking, I’m not convinced the distinction makes a difference here. It would be strange for progressives to deviate from their flagship party on just these two issues! Ultimately, I can’t say it any better than Dan Kahan did: “In the case of global warming, left-right outlooks explain an ‘impressively large!‘ 42% of the variance.  For GM food risks, political outlooks explain a humiliatingly small 2%…. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way if you want to keep ‘explaining’ why liberals are so worried about GM food risks!”

Source: Dan Kahan and the Cultural Cognition Project
Source: The Cultural Cognition Project

It’s Dangerous

Aside from the fact that they’re factually wrong, Marcotte and Campbell are shooting
themselves—and the rest of us—in the foot. They both want vaccination rates to stay high. They should pay attention to whether their rhetoric helps achieve that goal or retards it.

I’ve already written about why it’s dangerous to politicize the vaccine debate, so let me quote myself:

It’s a dangerous notion that creates an ideological split where there wasn’t one before. Ironically I was writing about this just around the time Christie was making his comments. As I said then, and as Chris Mooney has since explained, the problem is recruitment. Right now, most people support vaccination and reject anti-vaccine talking points. (I know that can seem implausible, given how visible those hoary anti-science stories are online. But vaccination rates don’t lie—the vast majority of parents reject anti-vax scaremongering.) If we start drawing party lines on top of the vaccine debate, people will start to use their party affiliation to define their position on vaccines. They won’t realize they’re doing it. They’ll honestly think they’re making decisions about vaccines based on the facts. But they’ll be judging those facts based on the community they belong to, the way we all do. So we can’t let those communities be defined as anti-vax communities!

There’s some interesting research on this question. This is a little oversimplified, but basically researchers tested people to determine how concerned they were about risks from things like nuclear power, gun ownership, global warming, and vaccines. They could see how people clumped together or spread apart. Just like you’d expect, climate change and gun possession were divisive, with some people seeing them as very risky and others not so concerned. Vaccines weren’t like that—across the board, people were relatively unconcerned about the risk of vaccination.

Until the researchers showed people a fake editorial politicizing the vaccine debate. The article complained about “Michele Bachmann’s famously idiotic claim, made in a Republican Party presidential debate,” and compared comparing vaccine deniers to climate change deniers and creationists (much more politically-aligned debates). People who were exposed to this article became polarized. Those who were slightly more “anti-vaccine” lost confidence in vaccination and started to overestimate the risk of vaccines compared to the control group. Remember that the variable here is exposure to an article criticizing anti-vaxers. The result was to make more anti-vaxers.

Source: The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School
Source: The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School

The vaccine debate is mostly about parents who are considering the issue for the first time, and/or aren’t completely persuaded one way or the other. (The large majority of people who are sold on vaccines don’t need the debate; the small number of committed anti-vaxers aren’t likely to be persuaded.) Those people will pick sides if you give them enough reason to. Attacking them for being hesitant will do it, but so will attacking people they respect and admire. Also, defining a politician or party as “anti-vax” just signals to people who identify with that person or group that it’s OK to be anti-vax. So for someone who hasn’t been exposed to the debate, letting it get politicized will both make it easier to pick sides and encourage them to do so. We want them deciding based on sound medical advice, not political affiliation—so don’t politicize the debate.

Finally, while I know Marcotte probably didn’t choose the image for her piece herself, and it’s a lot better than many illustrations, it’s not ideal. Glendon Mellow has written about illustrating stories about vaccines with honking big needles and crying babies isn’t good science communication. Marcotte’s article comes under a large photo of an injection, which may be offputting to people who are nervous about shots. I doubt she chose the picture, but we have some precedent for getting such images changed. Vaccination is about protecting children, and images of happy babies are more representative than just shots of shots.

This  is a better illustration of what vaccination is really about. Courtesy of Microsoft stock images, so it's even free!
This is a better illustration of what vaccination is really about. Courtesy of Microsoft stock images, so it’s even free!

Ultimately, Marcotte and Campbell and I all want the same thing: as many kids as possible as healthy as possible. We should be measuring our own rhetoric against one standard: is it probably going to make it easier or harder to achieve that goal? Demonizing the opposition doesn’t help. It may get people fired up, but that’s not what we’re here to do and it may be counterproductive. Fiery rhetoric is especially harmful when it’s wrong, as Marcotte’s and Campbell’s pieces are.

Almost all parents vaccinate. Those who don’t aren’t mostly Republican or Democrat or religious or atheist or any other easily-defined category. They’re just people. They want their kids to be healthy and happy, and made a terrible mistake in trying to get there. Demonizing them, or using them to demonize your political opponents, doesn’t help. Please stop.

48 thoughts on “No, Seriously, Don’t Politicize Anti-Vax Sentiment

  1. heidi June 17, 2015 / 12:01 pm

    Well, I had my daughter get Pertussis the day she got the shot. I do not believe in vaccinations, natural immunity is better, the body becomes stronger to fight these illnesses. But it’s people’s choice. Big problem here on vaccinations is why is politics involved at all, it’s up to the parent, otherwise you are violating constitutional rights

    • Chris June 17, 2015 / 12:39 pm

      I am sorry, but that does not make sense.

      • heidi June 17, 2015 / 12:45 pm

        what doesn’t make sense? I don’t vaccinate for the reason they can give you the illness and two, the decision on whether or not you want to vaccinate should be your decision, keep politics out of it. And you increase natural immunity by not vaccinating.

        • Colin June 17, 2015 / 12:51 pm

          And you increase natural immunity by not vaccinating.

          If natural immunity were enough to defeat all these diseases, then we would never have needed vaccines in the first place. Polio and smallpox didn’t disappear because of better hygiene or random accidents–they plagued us because our “natural immunity” isn’t good enough, and disappeared because vaccines are.

          • caeonamurdoch June 17, 2015 / 6:47 pm

            I think our medical system has gotten better, but it still has a way to go, natural immunity is there for a reason. And its just a matter of opinion, i for one wish i never got vaccinated in grade 6, it feels kinda weird and my intuition does not need physical ‘proof’ cuz its got some faith, but i don’t like putting things i don’t know into my body. I will feed my kids well and grow my own food, and medicine, i think we will be just plain great.

            • Chris June 17, 2015 / 7:08 pm

              “And its just a matter of opinion,”

              Not really, it is a matter of the reality of science.

              How does your “natural immunity” work for measles? Just give us the evidence that growing your own food and medicine is better than preventing it than a vaccine. Remember it is an airborne virus, and it does not care what you eat while one out of ten cases end up with pneumonia, and one out of a thousand encephalitis.

              And here is the big bonus of the measles virus: it weakens your immune system so that your are susceptible to other pathogens with worse outcomes:
              http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/05/measles-vaccine-protects-against-other-deadly-diseases

        • Lawrence June 17, 2015 / 12:54 pm

          SSPE – that alone is why you should vaccinate.

          • heidi June 17, 2015 / 12:58 pm

            Because the vaccine gives you the illness you are trying to prevent, I should vaccinate? my daughter could have died from Pertussis, are you crazy? That is the reason NOT to vaccinate!

            • Colin June 17, 2015 / 2:52 pm

              Do you understand what SSPE is? The measles vaccine prevents it. Just as the pertussis vaccine prevents pertussis.

              Your daughter did not catch pertussis from the vaccine. It’s an inactivated vaccine–it’s impossible to catch the disease from the shot.

              • heidi June 17, 2015 / 3:45 pm

                Fooled again aren’t you, yes you can get measles and pertussis from the vaccine, my daughter got pertussis, stop insinuating I am stupid and lying. Good riddance to you

                • Colin June 17, 2015 / 3:53 pm

                  I do not believe that you are stupid, or that you are lying. Very few people actually know the incubation period of pertussis off the top of their head, or what an inactivated or acellular vaccine is.

                  I do think that you are mistaken. Pertussis takes days or weeks to incubate before symptoms develop; the bacteria just can’t reproduce fast enough to create symptoms in a couple of hours.

                  Please do your own research. When you find out that pertussis has a minimum incubation period of days, will you decide that you may have been mistaken, or blame it on a giant conspiracy? I hope the former.

                  Why do you refuse to believe that it’s possible that your child was already infected with pertussis when she was vaccinated? That’s consistent with your observations (pertussis showing up on the day of the vaccine) and the scientific fact that the disease takes days to incubate, and the fact that inactivated vaccines don’t cause symptomatic infections anyway.

                  You’ve selected one version of events and are insistent that it must be true, not because you have facts that are consistent only with that version of events, but because you want to believe.

                  But the cost of your refusal to engage with the facts is that you’re spreading a false myth. One that’s likely to result in other kids getting pertussis when they don’t need to. Your pride costs them, not you.

                  • heidi June 17, 2015 / 3:59 pm

                    it says 5-10 days. But I am talking about a live bacteria shot directly into the system, there is no answer on incubation where it is already live and I am talking over 20 years ago, vaccines were different than they are now.

                    • Katarina Witt June 25, 2015 / 11:36 pm

                      Pertussis is not a live bacterial vaccine. There aren’t even any whole cells of pertussis bacteria in the vaccine. It’s possible that 20 years ago your daughter got the old whole cell vaccine, but it was still killed bacteria.

        • Chris June 17, 2015 / 12:59 pm

          What part of the constitution allows your beliefs to pick and choose which public health policies you can ignore?

          What part of the constitution guarantees your child’s admission to a public school?

          Also beliefs are not science. Just provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that the DTaP can infect a child a with pertussis several days before it is given since pertussis requires a few days from infection to symptoms…. and that the DTaP is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

          • heidi June 17, 2015 / 1:08 pm

            really? are you a licensed medical doctor? what are your credentials? I have my beliefs and I value them. I was raised in a medical household, dad a doctor, mom a nurse. Get some real data and get off your high horse. I don’t vaccinate, others do, their decision. All I am saying is take it out of the political arena, it doesn’t belong there, we aren’t socialists

            • Colin June 17, 2015 / 3:06 pm

              I was raised in a medical household, dad a doctor, mom a nurse.

              What Chris asked for was whether there are any scientific studies showing that DTaP can infect a child with pertussis. (Especially causing symptoms on the same day, as you said happened.) “My dad was a doctor” is not a scientific study. There’s a reason you’re falling back on that rather than actual data: the actual data don’t support your belief. It’s a myth, not a fact, that DTaP can cause pertussis as you claimed it did.

              • heidi June 17, 2015 / 3:43 pm

                sorry dude you weren’t there. I was, I experienced it and so did my daughter. Don’t say it can’t when it did. You can go on and on how it can’t when it did. You are foolish

                • Colin June 17, 2015 / 3:48 pm

                  You may have been there, but you did not experience a bacterial disease developing spontaneously from a shot that contained no actual bacteria. Nor did you experience the first-ever instance in human history of a disease with a 7-30 day incubation period developing symptoms within hours. Likely you experienced a child who was already infected with pertussis showing symptoms around the same time they got a vaccine, unfortunately too late.

                  I understand that it is very hard to change your beliefs. You feel uncomfortable with the notion that you could be wrong. And yet, the facts are the facts: if nothing else, pertussis has an incubation period that makes your story impossible. Between the odds that you’re mistaken, and the odds that the laws of physics don’t apply to you, it’s reasonable to assume the former.

                  This is a good example of why personal-belief exemptions are dangerous. If you are making decisions based on your guesses, rather than scientific facts, your children are being asked to pay the price for your pride.

                  • heidi June 17, 2015 / 3:57 pm

                    I have checked and asked specific questions, I get a run around and no definitive answer, there isn’t one. I asked for incubation period if the bacillus is directly shot into the system, no answer.
                    Also, how far back are you checking on the vaccines, this was over 20 years ago. Vaccines back then are not the same now.

                    • Colin June 17, 2015 / 4:05 pm

                      I didn’t realize that. Your child may have received a whole-cell vaccine. I have never heard of that causing pertussis, but I don’t know for certain that it’s impossible. But why would that affect the incubation period?

                      You’re using assumptions, that an injection would shorten the incubation period from a week to a few hours, to avoid dealing with the much more probable scenario: your child was already infected. This may give you gratification by keeping you from having to consider that you were wrong, but it requires that you believe and spread anti-vaccine myths. And of course, you don’t pay the price for those myths–other people’s children do.

                      Which do you think is more likely, that your child was already infected or that you experienced an unheard-of acceleration of the incubation period?

                    • heidi June 17, 2015 / 4:48 pm

                      she could have had it. It is not the only reason that I don’t vaccinate. My daughters were and my sons weren’t. My daughters have had more illness than my sons, my sons have been much healthier. All 6 have a natural immunity to Rubella, I had it at 3 and pretty bad case of it. Doctors can only figure it developed into my genes and I passed it to my kids. I did get a vaccine for Rubella and still got it

                    • Chris June 17, 2015 / 4:10 pm

                      From http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/pert.pdf :

                      Incubation period 7-10 days
                      (range 4-21 days)

                      and

                      Acellular pertussis vaccines are subunit vaccines that contain purified, inactivated components of B. pertussis cells. Several acellular pertussis vaccines have been developed for different age groups; these contain different pertussis components in varying concentrations. Acellular pertussis vaccines are available only as combinations with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids.

                      “Also, how far back are you checking on the vaccines, this was over 20 years ago”

                      Ah, that is also included:

                      Whole-cell pertussis vaccine is composed of a suspension of formalin-inactivated B. pertussis cells. Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were first licensed in the United States in 1914 and became available combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (as DTP) in 1948.

                      In 1987 federal legislation was enacted to require that each person receive a Vaccine Information Sheet with each vaccine. If you did not get that, then someone made a grave error.

                      Also, due to scare mongering by Lea Thompson and Barbara Loe Fisher there were pertussis out breaks in many places in the late 1980s and they are still ongoing. My son had seizures so he could only get the DT vaccine in a period where there was a pertussis epidemic in our county over twenty years ago. It is very possible, and definitely more probable, that your child was infected almost a week before the vaccine. In other words: the sentiment you are espousing is the more likely reason for her illness.

    • Colin June 17, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      Well, I had my daughter get Pertussis the day she got the shot.

      It’s a shame she didn’t get the shot earlier, then. (You can know that she didn’t get pertussis from the vaccine because it’s inactivated.)

      But it’s people’s choice. Big problem here on vaccinations is why is politics involved at all, it’s up to the parent, otherwise you are violating constitutional right.

      It’s not actually a parent’s right to do whatever they want with their child. Parents who let a child die from an ear infection because they don’t like modern medicine, for example, should be (and are, increasingly) prosecuted for homicide.

      I have no problem with a parent deciding not to give their kid cough syrup, for example. But a parent does not have the right to decide, against basic physical facts, that the inactivated pertussis vaccine causes pertussis, and based on that to deprive a child of an immunization. The child has rights too.

      Can you tell me what constitutional right, exactly, should prevent children from receiving adequate healthcare, including vaccines?

      • heidi June 17, 2015 / 1:04 pm

        well I can tell you actually don’t care about parental rights. It is the parent’s choice on what they do with their children, you want government to do it then you are a socialist. Constitutional rights, how about freedom of religion, that’s heavily violated.
        How do you know all this, are you a doctor? My child per the schedule couldn’t get the shot earlier. Yes my child has rights and she has a right to live, that shot could have killed her. I also got it from her. Who says that vaccines are adequate healthcare? I determine for my children what is adequate, right now I have 6 very healthy children who have healthy kids of their own.

        • Colin June 17, 2015 / 3:13 pm

          How do you know all this, are you a doctor?

          No. I read the literature, though, and I know what an inactivated vaccine is. The DTaP is aceullular, and can’t infect the recipient. Even if it could, pertussis incubates for days before causing symptoms. Catching it from a vaccine–which, again, is impossible–would result in pertussis showing up a week to a month later, not “the day she got the shot.” You are spreading a myth, not a fact, about vaccines.

          well I can tell you actually don’t care about parental rights.

          I do. But I don’t think that a parent’s right to make foolish choices trumps a child’s right to be safe from dangerous diseases. I’d be more comfortable with letting parents choose whether or not to vaccinate if it weren’t so common for people to do exactly what you’ve done here: pick up on a wrong or impossible fact (getting pertussis from a vaccine, and having it show up on the same day) and refuse to consider that they might be wrong, or that they’re forcing their kids to bear the cost of that error.

          • heidi June 17, 2015 / 3:41 pm

            you know I will no longer have a conversation with you as you are really fixated on being right and can’t look at other viewpoints. Goodbye

              • JerryA June 17, 2015 / 9:22 pm

                Aaaaand Heidi will not catch the true irony of her statement. She comes back with no facts nor studies, insists on being wrong anyway due to a misinterpretation of “parent’s rights”, and says Colin is the one who is fixated. No parent has the right to risk harm and death of kids, hers and others. (There is a reason this is called public health.) This would be laughable if it were not so serious.
                By the way, I’ve been following this blog, both Jennifer and Colin’s writing, because I learn stuff here. Colin has accepted correction based upon reality, with a sense of humility totally missing from all of Heidi’s comments. As a research scientist working with virus proteins for over 20 years, I have found nothing incorrect in today’s blog article nor in Colin’s comments.

                • heidi June 17, 2015 / 9:33 pm

                  Great! I am happy for you. As a parent I have a right to decide if I want to vaccinate or not. Those who feel it should be mandated by the government or being socialistic. I honestly don’t care about your “credentials”, people in authority have a big tendency to lie.
                  I had a doctor try to force me to have an angioplasty to check for blockage i my heart. I know there wasn’t one, but he was willing to shut down my kidneys fully to do it. I refused and two other cardiologists said there was nothing wrong with my heart. So, “authority” doesn’t go far with me

                  • Chris June 18, 2015 / 12:51 am

                    “So, “authority” doesn’t go far with me”

                    Funny, earlier you said was “Constitutional rights, how about freedom of religion, that’s heavily violated.” That sounds like an authority you follow.

                    So what is your religion that forbids vaccination and the webpage that explains that policy?

          • caeonamurdoch June 17, 2015 / 6:53 pm

            Are you a doctor? if your not, where did you read what literature i need proof! Not the internet i hope, and even peer reviewed journals won’t put anything out there cuz they are all owned by corporations or maybe a good reason. Have you read about the difference between newtonian and einstinian science?

            • Chris June 17, 2015 / 7:18 pm

              “Have you read about the difference between newtonian and einstinian science?”

              Yes, but that is because I took a full year of physics in college. The difference is a correction for things that are very small and things that are very large. Newtonian laws of physics work just fine for most things on this planet, including the engineering that I used to do, you don’t need to use the Lorentz Factor. Nor do you need to use non-Euclidean geometry.

              Do you have a point, other to show that you don’t understand physics, nor the history of physics?

              By the way, I posted the article that shows the information Colin was writing about. It is easily available.

              • heidi June 17, 2015 / 8:39 pm

                I honestly don’t care about you knowing physics etc. what does that have to do with whether or not it is a parent’s choice to vaccinate or not? what does physics have to do with the government trying to put control on what parent’s do with their kids. It doesn’t. your high falutin knowledge of physics doesn’t mean crap where people’s freedom to decide what they will or will not decide for their kids, or what they will or will not believe in. Get a life

                • Chris June 17, 2015 / 8:53 pm

                  I’m sorry, I did not know you were caeonamurdoch. I have no idea why caeonamurdoch asked the question, nor do I know why you are offended that I answered the question.

                  Actually, the states (not the federal government) regulate vaccine requirements to go to public school. You are not forced to vaccinate your kids, you just have to find another way to get them educated. And since the DTP vaccine you spoke of was over twenty years, I assume you no longer have that as an issue.

                  By the way what is the religion that you claims does not allow vaccination, and where is the link to their official policy page.

                  • heidi June 17, 2015 / 9:02 pm

                    I apologize, my goof on people. You’re fine, sorry.

                    • Chris June 17, 2015 / 9:11 pm

                      Okay, dokay. No problem.

        • Chris June 17, 2015 / 3:44 pm

          “you want government to do it then you are a socialist.”

          You should probably retake your high school American government class, or at least acquaint yourself the difference between economic based government models and regulatory issues. Especially the difference between federal, state and local powers.

          “Constitutional rights, how about freedom of religion, that’s heavily violated.”4

          Name your religion and link to the webpage that explains its prohibition against vaccines.

  2. Lighten Up June 20, 2015 / 4:52 pm

    When Washington was coming up to a vote on GMO labeling, I asked my book club (a rural group who think of themselves as progressive, but also don’t want the government messing with their wells) about the matter. Shrieks of horror over GMOs, yes we needed front of package labels to scare people off GMOs, etc. My attempts to probe for any sensitivity to various types of GMOs got nowhere.

    Out of curiosity, I also asked about vaccines. The group split half and half, with a couple of people saying they’d pick and choose and spread them out, etc. Again, very dug in to their positions.

    I tend to agree that anti-vaxxers don’t align politically and that there’s nothing to gain by trying to align them with one party or the other. We really don’t need an whole political party moving into an anti-vax position. That would be wretched.

  3. Anonymous June 28, 2015 / 8:12 am

    Just read that in Spain a 6 year old has died from diphtheria , his parents did not have him vaccinated because of the misinformation from anti-vaxxers.

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