I wrote this blog post about 6 months ago, before the recent measles epidemic and all of the vaccination stuff came to the forefront again. As you know, as a reader of my blog, I've been on a high horse about vaccinations for quite a while. When this whole measles thing happened I thought to myself "I'm just so damn sick of having to defend vaccines to these people" so I didn't even post about it. I didn't comment on messageboards, I stayed out of it completely. However while I was writing new posts (yes I will update my blog again I promise haha) I came upon this article I had written but deemed too bitchy to post. Maybe now with the measles/whooping cough outbreaks it's not too bitchy anymore, so I'm posting it! It's mean, condescending, and littered with swear words. But that's how I was feeling when I wrote it and still how I feel about the topic when I see it come up. I realize articles like this are approaching the anti-vaxxers in all the wrong ways, but WTH I'm posting it anyways. Even if it was nice and thoroughly referenced I know the anti vaxxers would ignore it so I might as well put it out there. Maybe someone will agree with me ;)
Why Do I Have to Be Nice to Dummies?
I'm so fed up with stupidity so I'm going to be an asshole in this post. I sure hope you feel no allegiance to be nice to me, otherwise the title would not be applicable. I'm all fired up from a situation that happened a couple days ago and wanted to write a post to talk about it.
First off, there was a debate on the CF FB group for moms about vaccines. You might have realized by now that I am VERY pro-vaccine. Anyways, I was SHOCKED to see that there is an entire group of CF moms that don't vaccinate. Yup, you read that right. So I linked to my past vaccine post, expressed my opinion and posted about the topic as I have a unique perspective with my background (not that any anti-vax person seems to consider that this makes me informed in the slightest....).
Anyways, one of the girls in the conversation had kittens about the whole thing and felt attacked (cough good cough) and made a post complaining about how she wouldn't be part of the message board anymore and she was moving to the holistic naturopath CF boards (um that exists? Good lord...). This kind of idiocy really gets my blood boiling- way past the point where it should. I was intentionally trying to be reasonable but that being said I can get pretty opinionated when dealing with these sorts of people, so if their paper-thin skin was offended than I'm not shocked nor do I really care. You know what offends me? People that are anti vaccination. So there. But the fact that I have to even TRY to be nice and reasonable with these people drives me NUTS. As my title states, why do I even have to be nice to these people? Being nice doesn't get them to listen to reason, being stern doesn't work, so ya know what? I might as well be a jerk about it. Result will be the same.
Vaccines aren't a personal opinion. The safety of vaccines is not up for debate, it is a FACT. You might not want those statements to be true, but they are. Vaccination is perfectly safe. Chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough and the flu are not. When you go on a message board full with moms of chronically ill children espousing the dangers of vaccines you are fear mongering in the worst possible way. If i went on that same message board and said that Pseudomonas infection increases lung fxn I'd be laughed out of town immediately. Why is this any different? They're both equally dangerous, equally false, and equally proven. But no, the anti vaccers spin it so that they are the victims who feel judged about their parenting choices. But you know what? If you choose not to vaccinate your child with Cystic Fibrosis, you totally should be judged because it's a dumb decision.
So. Since I came out of the whole thing looking like a jerk (shocking, I know) I figured I'd go full-on and be a real jerk.
Let me be the one to say what everyone is thinking.
If you don't vaccinate your kids, you're probably an asshole.
As a public service announcement (you're welcome) I have put together the following list explaining why. If you don't vaccinate this is what it says to the world, whether you want it to or not:
1. You don't care about your community.
One argument I hear a LOT is "why do you care about my vaccine if vaccines work so well, huh?". Well, here's why. 1. Not everyone can be vaccinated (newborns, immune compromised, transplant recipients, etc). 2. Vaccines don't work as well in immune compromised individuals (CF patients, for example), which means they can still catch a disease despite being vaccinated, although it does lower the likelihood. 3. Vaccines aren't infallible, they don't work 100%, just like nothing else in the world does. 4. Some vaccines wear off over time and require boosters that don't always happen on schedule as they should.
So there are a bunch of people that you should care about that rely on you and herd immunity to stay healthy.
Another argument I hear is "My kid got the flu and is perfectly FINE. Her immune system is naturally strong because I didn't vaccinate"
That's so awesome for you! Wow, you're such an innovator. But I wonder what happened to all those kids that got sick when your child was contagious (typically people are contagious before they show signs of illness)? How many of them were infected by coming into contact with your sick kid? How many of them made it through? How many needed to go to the hospital? Oh, who cares. Your kid is the only one that matters anyways.
2. You consider being autistic worse than your 2 year old dying from the flu
I have friends that have autistic children and not only do they completely understand the fact that vaccines don't cause autism, they find this entire argument offensive. As they should. When mom's complain about the risk for autism (the imaginary risk, I might add) it implies that they'd rather their child get measles, mumps, or some other horrific disease than autism.
3. You know more than doctors, scientists, researchers, and clinicians-- put together.
The overwhelming majority of the scientific community is in agreement on this, but no, this one mom with a degree in art history knows better than everyone. I've spent my entire career working in research for rare diseases or injectable manufacturers. I've been a scientist for 12 years and I did my graduate studies (including virology) at Brown University. But fuck that. You anti-vacciners know better; you can't take my opinion seriously because I don't *really* know what I'm talking about, I've just been brainwashed. Oh, those countries full of doctors, scientists, and researchers that all agree with me? They're just working for big pharma. You guys know best, because Nature News doesn't have an agenda whatsoever. Keep fighting the good fight, assholes.
PS- I know there are a couple wayward scientists that are anti-vaccine. There are also scientists that don't believe in evolution. Doesn't make 'em right.
4. You like to gamble away your good fortune
Wow you lucky son of a bitch- you have a healthy kid! Hey, I have a good idea! Let's take your healthy kid, not vaccinate them, and see what happens. It looks an awful lot like throwing your good luck down the toilet to us moms with chronically sick kids. Even if you have a CF kid that's healthy-- that's a LUXURY. You are so lucky to have a child that is so healthy, despite such a devastating illness. WHY WHY WHY would you take the risk of these diseases that could wreak havoc in a CF patient?
5. You don't know where good intentions stop and bad ideas begin
The road to hell is paved with good intentions (man I love this quote). Your good intentions based on misinformation have the exact same result as bad intentions. You might want what's best for your child, but you're not doing it.
6. You refuse to learn from the past; you'd rather believe conspiracy
Remember polio? Small pox? I don't. That's pretty awesome, huh? How lucky am I that I never had polio?! I am VERY thankful I was vaccinated. Only one generation ago, people got polio. One generation ago, people were paralyzed and suffocated to death from polio. Vaccines work, and they've worked since the 1800s. The small pox and polio vaccines were considered a miracle at the time. You and I are alive because our parents were wise enough to get our vaccinations. No one is scared of small pox or polio or mumps or measles any longer because no one hears about kids dying from them anymore because the vaccines do. their. job. perfectly.
People are way more apt to believe dumb conspiracy theories than the boring truth. It's fun to believe that big pharma is out to get you because you can then feel superior because you 'figured it out', but the truth is that the scientists that develop these vaccines genuinely care about people's health. The truth is that clinicians researched and tested the shit out of these vaccines before they became available for use. Super boring, I know.
There you have it, my 6 reasons anti-vacciners look like douchebags. Exceptions to the above? Very few. If you CANT vaccinate your kids because of a legitimate health reason that's different and I'm not talking about you. Spacing out your vaccines a little bit? Sure, why not, as long as your kid gets 'em.
Here's a fun question. If you had to go to Syria tomorrow, where polio is making a comeback thanks to children not having access to the polio vaccine, would you vaccinate your child beforehand? Or just leave them to become infected by a perfectly preventable and utterly devastating disease? What's that? You don't want your kid to live the rest of their life in an iron lung? Maybe vaccines aren't so bad, are they?
There- I sure feel better now. Nice to get that off my chest. I'm a jerk too, I get it. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.