The Anti-Vaccination Movement and How it Affects Us All

HOW CHOOSING NOT TO VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN PUTS SOCIETY AT RISK By Liz Gunn || I know this subject has been discussed ad nauseum, and depending on your interest level in this debate  -I may or may not have anything new to offer. But it’s something I can’t help but think of…


liz gunnBy Liz Gunn || I know this subject has been discussed ad nauseum, and depending on your interest level in this debate  -I may or may not have anything new to offer. But it’s something I can’t help but think of often, especially as we enter into flu season.

I took my 14 month old for a flu shot this morning, and my husband I have made plans to get our flu shots over the next few days. Two years ago, I was one of those people who had never gotten a flu shot. I depended on herd immunity to keep me well. Little did I know, I was behaving like one of those people I would grow to be so frustrated with now that I have a child.

Herd immunity is basically what parents of unvaccinated children depend on. I don’t have a problem with that if your child can’t receive vaccines for a legitimate reason. I do however take issue with parents who choose not to take the supposed risk of vaccinating, and put their children as well as others at risk for dangerous, communicable diseases.

I try very hard not judge other families and the decisions they make regarding their children. I want to believe that we are all just trying to do the best we can. You want to give your kids Mountain Dew and Pixie Stix for breakfast? Hey, who am I to judge? But when parents make decisions that they feel are best for their family that in turn affect my own family – then yes, I am going to judge you.

Recently, someone sent me a chilling article written by a mother who has a child with leukemia. Her son, while vaccinated, now has a severely compromised immune system thanks to chemotherapy. The school he attends moved him to a different class because, not one, but two unvaccinated children were in his originally assigned classroom.

How terrible for this mother, who made the decision that she felt would best protect her child, to now have to worry about this (on top of everything else she is dealing with) thanks to others electing not to do the same.

I know the government cannot make people get vaccinations, nor do I believe they should. But I can’t for the life of me understand how a parent comes to the conclusion that not doing so is best for their family. There has been zero, yes ZERO, evidence to support that vaccinations cause Autism, even though Jenny McCarthy (former Playboy playmate, mind you) had no trouble convincing a lot of people otherwise. Turns out her son never actually had Autism either, for what it’s worth.

That’s the standard answer from most “anti-vaxxers”, as they’re called these days. It’s a movement that is on the rise, and likely why we have started to see outbreaks of diseases that were all but eradicated from this country twenty years ago. The anti-vaccination groups will offer you a lot of “studies often show” or “we see a trend”, but rarely back up their decision with proven, medical science.

Someone challenged me once by asking, “Well if you do vaccinate your kids, what do you care if mine don’t get vaccinated?” Well, smarty pants, for a very good reason actually. You see, at the time I had a six month old – which means she was not yet eligible for some important vaccinations –  like Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella – and was not old enough to receive the full dosage of others like Polio, Hep B, DTap, etc.

Parents who think their decision not to vaccinate isn’t making an impact need to think again. It’s not just a coincidence that as of August 22 there had been nearly 600 measles cases reported in the United States this year. That is the most since 1994, according to the CDC.

Measles is most often introduced here by unvaccinated Americans who travel to areas where measles is prevalent. Measles is extremely contagious to both unvaccinated and under-vaccinated people of all ages.

Safe to assume that in the United States if everyone who was eligible got vaccinated, it would hardly matter if Americans traveled to and from places where things like Measles and Mumps still exist. Thanks to vaccinations, the US has all but eliminated these diseases; but, not for long if this anti-vaccine movement continues.

Do I think vaccines are 100% safe and without risk? Of course not. I strongly believe every parent should do their own research. I am very supportive of vaccinations being heavily regulated and continuously studied. Do I believe that the risk of getting my child vaccinated outweighs the risk of my child possibly contracting a life threatening illness? Absolutely not.

Almost any prescription drug on the market has potential side effects, and vaccines are no different. A lot of people with high cholesterol take Lipitor, for example, even though its possible side effects are “unexplained muscle pain, confusion, fever, unusual tiredness, weight gain, increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice.”  Why? Because they’re only possible side effects, not guaranteed. At the end of the day it still beats the alternative.

Standard vaccinations are usually covered by insurance and offered free of charge for those who are uninsured or underinsured. People may not have a lot of faith in the Center for Disease Control right now, but their website is actually a good place to start for the basic information regarding vaccinations. At the very least I urge you to get your information regarding vaccines from reliable, medical sources – not blogs or opinion pieces…even this one.
Liz Gunn is a wife, mom, travel enthusiast, food snob, daydreamer and lifelong Gamecock fan. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.

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FastEddy23 October 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

That’s right! There is a huge groundswell of us anti-flu-shot folks, after a friend of mine had a heart attack from his health care service “recommended” flu shot, (He went in complaining of a serious cold, the HMO doctor recommended a flu shot (even though he was already sick) and two days later, he is in an ambulance on his way to open heart surgery. Week after next he goes back in again for more heart surgery.)

I have become another of these wing-nut anti-establishment, anti-“universal” vaccination zealots. Since I have discovered that several HMO/Healthcare providers’ nurse and nurse unions don’t want them, don’t take them and many openly refuse to let the hospitals force them to. … And if they don’t want any, I don’t want any.

Wing-nut rumor mill: That “mystery” virus that is rampant in the eastern USA (now in 40+ of 50 states = 40,000 children and 20,000 adults) was quite possibly caused by the “universal” flu shots given last year.

Good to know! October 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

It’s good to know that you’re not into forcing people into your belief system.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm

My rants are all based on careful scientific analysis … except when they are not.

“… I have become another of these wing-nut anti-establishment, anti-“universal” vaccination zealots. …” because I see my wife and friends in harms way.

No where in the US Constitution is there a mandate for g’ment to vaccinate our children or the populace at large. In fact, taking the Tenth Amendment into account, that should be the various states responsibilities … or The People.

a face in the crowd October 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I’m no fan of McCarthy, but I don’t recall her being a porn star. To my knowledge, she has posed in the nude, and that’s about it.

I ? Pr0n Starz October 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm

For some church girls, posing in the nude makes you a porn star.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Some church girls hope and pray they’ll be as hot at 40 as Jenny is, too.

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

You’re right – nude model, not a porn star in the true sense of the word. I may correct that.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm


Wood nale.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

And thanks for taking “businesswoman” out of your bio.

Yeah, right October 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Now “food snob” needs to go next. What is it with these silly Mom’s these days?

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm


Yeah, right October 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

After the Eggs Up piece it’s fully revoked. Unless food snob now means “anything new in town”.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:35 am

food snobs don’t eat breakfast? It’s a new restaurant in town. and it’s good. Why not write about it? Head on over to Epicurean if you’re dying to only read about foie gras & tartare. I don’t discriminate when it comes to good food – sorry not sorry.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Listen: I love reading your columns. Keep up the good works. Whether breakfast or a late night dinner, your opinions will be eagerly anticipated. (Please ignore my anti-“universal” vaccination rant for now. But you might check out the milk and poultry industries’ over-load of anti-biologicals vis a vis g’ment vaccination programS.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 3:42 pm

thanks, FastEddy – I don’t plan to stop writing anytime soon, and certainly not because some boy likes to try to push people’s buttons. There’s actually a lot of that here – but I find it wildly entertaining…you know, when I’m at home watching Dr. Phil and eating bon bons all day.

FastEddy23 October 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm

LOL … We cut our cable more than a decade ago. Now all we got is this TV typewriter and coffee can and string to the vast unwashed Internet. (And my doctor won’t let me have bon bons or booze anymore … :>( … So I’ll just sit here and complain.)

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm

thanks for keeping tabs on my ever changing bio…and reading & commenting on everything I ever write.

Gamecock Hall of Fame October 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

While the topic is out there I have a question. Did your status move from “world’s greatest Gamecock fan” drop to “lifelong Gamecock fan” because we are losing some this year?

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

ha. No, I re-wrote my bio as a whole because I didn’t actually write the first one myself. Business woman seemed irrelevant, since I rarely if ever write about business. And the Gamecock thing…well, I just like my wording better. And because I don’t claim to be the best anything…that’s just silly.

Gamecock Hall of Fame October 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I actually like it better too. That was a strong claim in itself but I didn’t really think you were being disloyal.

Last question for Liz: Are you a Suburban or a Sienna mom?

????????? October 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I’m not a suburban mom -we are city people :) we live right down town. I’m not familiar with “Sienna mom”?? Enlighten me!

Gamecock Hall of Fame October 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Vehicles. All the suburban moms around my area have this debate which is better for hauling the kids around. Mini-vans or SUV’s? Perhaps you could do auto reviews.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Better: “Yoga pants-why the obsession?” or “Yoga pants: goes along with everything, at any time of the day?”

“What to do at home, all day, every day, while pretending to look like you’ve done something”

Tiny Cock more like it October 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Some people might say you have a hard on for this chick the way you troll all her articles and comment, so desperately and obviously hoping to get a rise out of her. What -did she refuse to go out with you back in college or something? Norma scorned?

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Lulz..hardly. She was probably like 5 when I was in college.

Frankly, and nothing personal is meant by this, but I think that at best, she’s superficial and typical.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm

How could you mean it personally? You don’t know me, personally.

Don’t take it personally, but I feel sorry for you and how miserable your life must that you have to come here each day to get your thrills by leaving comments only meant to incite and enrage, never really adding anything of value to the conversation. Sucks to be you, I guess…but don’t take it personally.

????????? October 20, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Haha. Well now my original response is hilarious. I drive an SUV. But not a huge one – a Volvo. I love it. But I wouldn’t dare try to write any auto reviews. I bought my car via email. Cars are necessary but they don’t excite me.

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Do you get paid for what you do for Will? (no double entendre intended here)

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I am a paid writer for this blog, yes.

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I assume you are free lance but either way, you have a job and are a businesswoman. Don’t let anybody tell you different.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm

That makes her a “businesswoman” about as much as me selling stuff from my garage on Ebay makes me a “businessman”.

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 3:23 pm

The eBay thing actually might make you more of a bidnessman but my point still stands.

Now I get it October 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Oh is that what you do for a living? It would at least explain why you spend 24 hours a day commenting on this site.

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Conference calls and staff meetings were made for talking writing trash on Will’s website…

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

The Col. gets it. I’m in an AWFUL lot of both of those.

Junk. Any junk. It all sells.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Keep reading Dilbert … :>)

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Yep. I’m a businessman. What are you..the husband?

????????? October 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I don’t owe you a justification of my bio, but I’ve spent the last 12 years working in the corporate world and now I manage my own business. So yeah -I’m sorry to inform you, but I actually am a business woman by most people’s standards. Not sure why that upsets you as much as it does.

E Norma Scok October 21, 2014 at 9:30 am

It doesn’t bother me; I think its funny. What is this business?

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

You think what’s funny…that a woman can be in business? I think it’s funny that after 3 months of writing here you actually read my bio.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

It seems that some lefty loosy, socialist leaning Helots just can’t stand to see anyone make a profit. … They just don’t get that that is where ALL taxes come from … to pay the subsidized mortgage on their GameBoy, fur sure.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

That is does, too.

“If you eat, you are involved in agriculture” – bumper sticker in Planeview Texas.

… same, same with being “in business”.

FastEddy23 October 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I would hope its more than just walking around money.

E Norma Scok October 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

One would think you would actually want that.

Smirks October 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Penn and Teller did a great take on this.


shifty henry October 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm

oooops! — I was too late…..

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 3:40 am

Entertaining and very unintelligent to be sure!

Real Conservative October 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Vaccinations and Common Core are what Obola and the libs want to force on SC. Take your kids out of public school and don’t vaccinate them, if you want them to grow up not being retarded disease free robots.

Ludwig Von Mises October 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I agree with one thing.

You are a “REAL conservative.

:( October 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm

It’s just a matter of time before our masters make it illegal to take our kids away from them. Soon, you won’t even have the right to not participate. For now, you’ll just be vilified.

vicupstate October 21, 2014 at 4:55 am

if you are gullible enough to believe Obama is a Kenyan muslim, it really isn’t much of a stretch to believe any conspiracy theory that some crackpot comes up with. such is the life of a ‘real’ conservative.

Please don’t ask the public to provide any assistance when your child gets a disease for which a vaccine was available.

Profess Your Ignorance October 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

He may or may not be a Kenyan Mooselimb, but he is the Ghost of Columbia.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

That’s really interesting, because my very conservative friends are all pro-vaccine, while the people I know of who are anti-vaccine are very, very liberal.

easterndumbfuckistan October 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm

MMR, Polio, DPT and a few other are important and we probably should still be giving Smallpox vaccines because it’s highly contagious and if it got out we have entire segments of the population with zero immunity. Varicella aka Chickenpox may or may not be important depending on the person receiving it. Most of us old enough to post here got our chickenpox immunity the old fashion way, we itched for a week or so.

Hepatitis vaccines are generally only needed by healthcare workers and first responders, The flu vaccine is flaky at best because they never know exactly what this years flu viruses will be until it’s too late to ramp production so it’s an educated guess. I generally avoid the flu shot.

Said nobody ever October 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I always get my health advice from random dickheads on third world political blogs. Especially when it comes to my kids.

Mike at the Beach October 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm

What, random stay-at-home mommies who write freaking fashion pieces, restaurant reviews, and other assorted nitwittery give you warmer fuzzies when it comes to medical advice? I’ll stick to my own research and what my carefully selected doc tells me.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

I’m not a stay at home mom…but I like the word nitwittery, so thanks for that.

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

There hasn’t been a case of polio in the U.S. in more than 20 years. The odds of a child being harmed or killed by polio in the U.S. is astronomical (1 in several billions).

Even though the polio vaccine is very, very safe (as far as vaccines go), it doesn’t carry nearly as small a risk as the disease itself.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Do you want to take a guess as to why there hasn’t been a case of polio in more than 20 years? V A C C I N E S. My great aunt contracted polio at age 4 and barely survived. She spent the rest of her life (80+ years) confined to a wheelchair. Forgive me if I’d rather be safe than sorry.

euwe max October 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Ignorance is the new smart.

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

And in the “Understatement of the Week Department”, this just in:

“…People may not have a lot of faith in the Center for Disease Control right now…”

By the way, the name of the organization is the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention” maybe if they’d focus on that instead of chubby lesbians (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/disparities/smy.htm) and bicycles (http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Bicycle/) the’d get our faith back

HD October 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Actually, it’s Centers…

The Colonel October 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm

You are correct sir.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 12:50 am

Are you discriminating against obese lesbians where there is a clear pattern in that community of obesity which leads to health problems above and beyond the normal statistical numbers in the average population.

That’s like saying because only black people have sickle cell or Jews have Tay-Sachs disease we shouldn’t bother studying and treating it.

The Colonel October 22, 2014 at 7:00 am

No stupid, the causes of obesity are well established regardless of the sexual orientation of the fat ass.

idiotwind October 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

whoa! don’t you read Ron Paul? we are not a community and have no obligations to each other. we all just happen to live in the same country. if your kids get sick because my kids are unvaccinated i guess we settle it with six guns at high noon. yay libertarians!

????????? October 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I happen to know that even Will Folks’ kids are vaccinated…fwiw!!

Mike at the Beach October 20, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Not surprising at all… libertarians can be all over the map on many issues. Plus, they can always pull the “I’m for it but also for your right no to be” gambit. Of course I won’t directly comment on the kids in question because their parents didn’t interject them into this conversation, you did.

9" October 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Excellent piece.Homeopathy is not a subject I bring up w/certain people.Their intentions may be good,but also dangerous.It’s akin to stopping a child receiving a blood transfusion from a black person,or none at all.Same with anti-GMO activists..

CorruptionInColumbia October 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm

A few years ago, on Coast To Coast AM one night, I heard a great rebuttal for people who demean Homeopathic/Holistic medical practices. They noted (correctly) that when someone has received the best care that modern medicine could provide and they die, most will say something along the lines of “it was just their time”, “It was God’s will”, or similar. If that person were under treatment by way of Homeopathic/Holistic methods and medicines, the comments will often be, “those damn quacks killed him or her” or verbiage to that effect. Thousands of people die each week who were being treated in modern medical facilities. Some die because of gross mistakes by doctors, nurses, or others in the chain of care. It is an interesting double standard.

tomstickler October 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

How is that show now that Art Bell has gone back to Pahrump?

CorruptionInColumbia October 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Haven’t listened to it in quite a while. George Boorey’s programs were getting kind of lackluster a couple of years ago. I caught part of an encore presentation of an old Art Bell show on 100.1 FM the other night when I went out in search of food.

Bible Thumper October 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

What went wrong? He was living in the Philippines with his new mail order bride. He was having trouble getting her a US visa. Too many typhoons in the Philippines?

Soft Sigh from Hell October 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Rats! I meant to post a link I saw a few weeks ago on an organized effort to get homeopathy or another name for alternative medicine recognized officially in some way by the state legislature. I wanted to hear guesses as to why. Access to medical insurance money?

Now I forget where I saw it.

tomstickler October 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Absolutely correct article, Liz.

Prepare for outrage from the usual suspects.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

thank you – and yes, I’ve gotten used to the “peanut gallery” who would argue the spelling of my own name given the chance.

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm

RE: “Do I believe that the risk of getting my child vaccinated outweighs the risk of my child possibly contracting a life threatening illness? Absolutely not.”

Perhaps you’re not risk-adverse with health decisions, but some parents are (including this one). Statistically speaking, the risk of vaccines (with few exceptions) often outweigh the risk of disease.

Take measles:

Risk of serious injury/death from vaccine: 1 in 330,000
Risk of serious injury/death from measles: 1 in 150,000,000

????????? October 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm

you said this already…

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 12:46 am

Proven scientific research is lost on you. Journal after journal, doctor after doctor, health agency after health agency, report after report after report after report clinically proves that getting vaccinated is sound medical protocol.

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 1:11 am

Seems like a lazy response. Think independently, and surely you can do better.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 1:17 am

You’re position is like saying you think the earth is still flat.

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 1:19 am

Lazier still.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 1:28 am

Sorry, of course you’re right. I apologize. I am lazy. An anonymous blogger (you) knows more than the weight of worldwide scientists and research over the last 200 years on epidemiology…cause you know…’Murica.

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 1:43 am

“… no vaccine is 100% safe or effective.”


Straight from the CDC’s own website. If you have any other questions about the “weight of worldwide scientists and research”, just let me know. I’m always happy to help out those who can’t eat unless something is spoon fed to them.

BTW, I’m not even sure what you are disagreeing with … other that wagging your finger and saying I don’t have an appreciation for science (which obviously I do … I have read literally hundreds of pages of scientific research on this subject alone), what exactly are you trying to say?

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 1:47 am

What I’m disagreeing with is…let’s be honest…kooks like yourself. If enough kooks get together and don’t vaccinate their kids…their kids get illnesses that have been dormant for decades. In turn, that compromises the health and safety of the rest of us (let alone endangers your own child for no good reason). That’s my problem.

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 2:13 am

So according to that logic, a massive outbreak of smallpox should be coming any day now.

Better yet, do you realize how few adults above 25 years of age carry immunity against any of these “vaccine preventable” diseases (unless they’ve actually had the disease at some point in their life). Vaccines are rarely effective beyond 18 years, and many are effective for much, much less time than that. Fewer than 30% of the adult population has had boosters in their adult years, and the majority of these are healthcare workers. So in reality, vaccination rates have a very limited impact on both morbidity and mortality of these diseases.

But you’d only know this sort of thing if you took the time to do any research. And you clearly can’t be bothered with that. Your MO is name calling and line towing.

Trust me … if you want to go on a crusade in the name of health and safety, you’re barking up the wrong tree, pal. Where you need to look is the food industry, medical malpractice, the military industrial complex and pollution industries. Those are your main detractors of public health and safety — not a handful of kooky, free-thinking parents who understand the risk equation of vaccines.

Guest November 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Where did you get that figure for measles from?

cabcabal November 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

The figure for vaccine injuries comes from the CDC. Learn more here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr

The figure for measles injuries comes from the CDC also. While they don’t provide the output, they provide the necessary facts for you to calculate the actual risk posed by measles in a given year.

Here’s the information you need:

Over the pass 20 years, there have been an average of 130 cases of measles per year: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

Based on vax rates, waning protection and fail rates, there are roughly 45 million people in the U.S. without measles immunity: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html

There have also been a number of studies that support this conclusion. See them here:

Absence of Seroprevalence for Measles among various U.S. populations:

15.4% (U.S. military recruits)

27% (asthmatics 9 years after vaccination)

17.8% (US Navy and Marine recruits)

That means in an average year, an unvaccinated person in the U.S. has about a 1 in 350,000 chance of getting measles.

The mortality rate of measles can be estimated at 1 in 2,250. This is a conservative number as on the CDC website (pink book link above) you’ll find the following:

“Before 1963, approximately 500,000 cases and 500 deaths were reported annually, with epidemic cycles every 2–3 years. However, the actual number of cases was estimated at 3–4 million annually. More than 50% of persons had measles by age 6, and more than 90% had measles by age 15.”

So the mortality rate, based on what the CDC says, could be as minimal as 1 in 8,000 cases or as high as 1 in 1,000. But we’ll use 1 in 2,250 because that’s what happened in the two most recent outbreaks in first world countries (France and Japan). Learn about the French outbreak here:

“As of May 2011, over 17,000 cases of measles have so far been reported from France between January 2008 and April 2011, including 2 deaths in 2010 and 6 deaths in 2011.”


So that means in a given year, there is a 1 in 787.5 million chance than an unvaccinated person will die from measles in the U.S. You get there by multiplying the infection risk (1 in 350,000) by the mortality risk (1 in 2,250).

You can use a similar method to understand the injury risk, which is obviously much greater since about 1 in 20 cases of measles involves serious complications.

A few caveats about these numbers, though. Not every cases of measles occur in the unvaccinated population, and a number of measles-related deaths involve extenuating circumstances like HIV or parents who refuse all medical intervention for religious reasons (many of the children of these parents die from very treatable pneumonia).

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 12:43 am

In fact, because of whacked out religious beliefs, we are not vaccinating our young girls against HPV with a proven vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer later in life….because you know…it would be a license for them to have sex.

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 1:50 am

Yeah, that one has worked out real well … from the Gardasil website …

“Fainting can happen after getting GARDASIL. Sometimes people who faint can fall and hurt themselves. For this reason, your child’s doctor or
health care professional may ask your child to sit or lie down for 15
minutes after getting GARDASIL. Some people who faint might shake or
become stiff. This may require evaluation or treatment by your child’s
doctor or health care professional.”

Fainting is considered one of “the most common side effects” of Gardisil. Call me crazy, but if something is making you faint, it’s not something you want in your body. Fainting is a form of shock … in other words, it’s a very, very bad thing.

Primum non nocere!!!

Limbaughsaphatkhunt October 22, 2014 at 1:53 am

Cue Michelle Bachmann……

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 2:19 am

“Where do we say that a cell became a blade of grass, which became a starfish, which became a cat, which became a donkey, which became a human being? There’s a real lack of evidence from change from actual species to a different type of species. That’s where it’s difficult to prove.”
-Rep. Michelle Bachmann

Yeah, she almost has something to add to a conversation about science and rational thought.

nitrat October 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Why didn’t you list Viagra and Cialis and their side effects? I love it every time I hear “call your doctor if you go blind or deaf” at the end of those ads. But, I digress.

Like parents allowing their elementary school age children to ride ATVs along the side of the highway and leave their guns out in plain view of their toddlers, the only positive that comes from not vaccinating children is an improvement in the gene pool over time.
Unfortunately, children dying or being crippled en masse seems to be the only thing that may get through to these ‘people’.
I’m old enough to remember going to school with kids in leg braces from polio. Not many because both vaccines came out when I was in primary school. But, it’s why I still give money to the March of Dimes. I don’t understand why the grandparents of the non-vaccinating parents don’t have the influence on their thinking that a TV personality has.

TontoBubbaGoldstein October 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Why didn’t you list Viagra and Cialis and their side effects?

“If you have an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours…”

A man went into a pharmacy and asked to talk to a male pharmacist. The woman he was talking to said that she was the pharmacist and that she and her sister owned the store, so there were no males employed there. She asked if there was something which she could help the gentleman with.
The man said that it was something that he would be much more comfortable discussing with a male pharmacist.

The female pharmacist assured him that she was completely professional and whatever it was that he needed to discuss, he could be confident that she would treat him with the highest level of professionalism.

The man agreed and began by saying, “This is tough for me to discuss, but I have a permanent erection. It causes me a lot of problems and severe embarrassment. So I was wondering what you could give me for it?”

The pharmacist said, “Just a minute, I’ll go talk to my sister.”

When she returned, she said, “We discussed it at length and the absolute best we can do is, 1/3 ownership in the store, a company car, and $3000 a month living expenses.

Rocky October 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

I remember in undergrad school in VA once a guy went to one of them snake handlin’ churches, got wacked in the wrist by a rattler. They had to prty the snake off with a screw driver. He went home and waited for God to heal him, but apparently God was busy with somethin’ else that day. So he died. These people remind me of him.

TontoBubbaGoldstein October 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

“I strongly believe every parent should do their own research.”

“…as long as they come to the same conclusions as I and DO AS I SAY!!!”

David October 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm

The real issue is that no one can say anything absolutely. To say that vaccines are completely safe is arrogant and asinine. There are too many examples of catastrophic events immediately following vaccinations.

We chose to split our draughts vaccines up. The doctors will gladly give them at different stages rather than a jumbo injections covering everything.

The increase in outbreaks can probably be tracked right back to illegal immigrants.

As for the flu shot, last year I met an elderly man at the pharmacy while waiting on medication. He had just gotten out of the hospital after getting a flu shot. It almost killed him. His entire upper arm and shoulder were purple, not bruised, fracking purple! He looked like he had literally been run over. No flu shots for me thank you. They are basically a shot in the dark anyway.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

Like when I said this? “Do I think vaccines are 100% safe and without risk? Of course not.”

Don't Vaccinate Me Bro October 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Right, but you condemn people who choose not to vaccinate throughout the article.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

yes, I do condemn them. If we all chose not to vaccinate our children- we’d all be screwed. They’re relying on the rest of us to take the supposed risk so they don’t have to. It’s condemnation worthy, in my opinion.

You’re an adult (I presume) and you can choose not to get a flu shot. Children don’t get a choice, their parents have to make that choice for them. But it doesn’t just affect them – unlike you not getting a flu shot.

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Since you’re so concerned about minimizing risk for others, I suggest you stop driving your car and using electricity (unless you are on a green grid). Why? Because exhaust from cars and coal burning power plants puts asthmatic children at risk, and they don’t get a choice but you do.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Your other arguments are much better than this one. Don’t be petty.

Dorit Reiss October 20, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Thanks for highlighting the importance of vaccination and the risk to everyone from the misinformation that the anti-vaccine movement spreads and the choice not to vaccinate some parents make.

I hope people listen.

R.w. Foster October 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Rational, logical people, will. The others? Well, “Big Pharma has bought another shill.”

Thomas October 21, 2014 at 6:32 am

Look at the human carnage from HPV vaccines. Look at what the mercury-containing preservative known as Thimerosal, an antifungal and antiseptic agent used widely in childhood vaccines, is doing to those vaccinated. Thimersol was removed from vaccines in 2001, but it is still used in some flu vaccines in 2014! At the end of 2013, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil had generated nearly 30,000 adverse reaction reports to the US government, including 140 deaths.

Parents CAN NOT DO RESEARCH for vaccines if the government in bed with Big Pharma profiteers are pushing unsafe vaccines. We need to look a little harder at forcing people to take vaccines that are not safe. You simply can not take our Governments word for anything. This is the new normal.

Tazmaniac October 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

And yet we have just let thousands of unvaccinated, sick ass kids come across the border.

No Vaccine for Me October 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I’m 43 year years old and the only year I ever caught the flu was a couple of years ago when I chose to get a flu vaccine. So, I will stick to eating 2 oranges a day throughout flu season.

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

The author of this piece says …

“Do I believe that the risk of getting my
child vaccinated outweighs the risk of my child possibly contracting a
life threatening illness? Absolutely not.”

This is certainly valid opinion, but it’s simply not valid fact!

Take measles for instance. The CDC says the risk of serious injury from the vaccine is about 1 in 30,000, and the risk of death is perhaps 1 or 2 occurrences in a million doses.

So the vaccine carries a blended risk of death/serious injury that’s about 1 in 330,000, which is very low risk to be sure.

But what about measles itself?

In the U.S. there are anywhere from 300-600 cases of measles each year. This is an unusual year in that we might even be on pace for 1,000 … so let’s use that number — 1,000 case per year. Now not every case occurs in the unvaccinated population, but let’s assume they do — that population is about 120,000,000 strong (remember, MMR only lasts about 18-20 years, and everyone born before 1991 only got one dose, and fewer than 20% of this population has had a booster … so this number could actually be much higher).

So (very conservatively) there is about a 1 in 120,000 chance of getting the measles if you’re unvaccinated.

What about the prognosis? Not doubt, measles can be dangerous. In fact, about 1 in 500 cases require hospitalization. And in Europe, during the height of WW2, about 1 in every 2,000 cases proved fatal. So even though medicine is a little better than 1942, let’s use that number to arrive at blended risk of death/serious injury of 1 in 1,250.

So when you factor the risk of catching and being killed/seriously injured by measles, the absolute risk is about 1 in 150,000,000.

Hence, the factual risk of the vaccine far, far outweighs the risk of the “life threatening illness” by AT LEAST a factor of 450.

Again, to recap those numbers …

Risk of serious injury/death from vaccine: 1 in 330,000
Risk of serious injury/death from measles: 1 in 150,000,000

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Ha, just noticed this … Fitsnews — “Unfair. Imbalanced.”

That just about sums up this article.

????????? October 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

May I ask why you’re on a crusade to stop vaccinations? You mocked me for caring about others…so why do you care? I care because I feel like the actions (or inactions) of others could affect my family. I can’t see how people getting the recommended vaccines would affect yours. In all seriousness, if I’m missing something – please tell me.

I noticed on your Disqus account it’s the only topic you’ve weighed in on…which explains for very thorough and convenient math.

122,000 people died from Measles (globally) in 2012. I can’t even find a stat for how many people died from getting the MMR vaccine that same year. I’m very hard pressed to believe it exceeds 122,000. Do you know?

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Why do I care? Because at this point in time, vaccines are at the focal point in the fight for personal liberty (especially parental rights), corporate transparency and the future of bioethics (i.e. good medicine and sound science).

Obviously, and as you are well aware, there is a well funded campaign to push vaccines and steamroll any opposition … and it’s occurring across virtually every media outlet from PSB’s sham of documentary to paid content sites like this one here. The agenda is this … get your kid vaccinated. Period. Don’t asked questions, or if you do ask questions, be immediately satisfied with the answers you’re given (however incomplete and/or straight up wrong they might be). And most of all, don’t do any research … we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

I’ve corresponded with a number of experts in this area, including one gentleman who goes by the nickname “Dr. Proffit.” And in all of these conversations, when the subject of vaccine risk versus disease risk comes up, there is a complete shut down and an attitude of “just vaccinate your kid, otherwise you’re a bad parent.” If the so called experts are refusing to engage on the simple facts that come directly off of the CDC website, should it be any wonder that a parent like myself might also be suspicious about other areas of concern when it comes to vaccines? And trust me, there are very real concerns (backed by very good science) about a number of public heath issues concerning vaccines (and not just the red herring known as autism).

I’m guessing you didn’t approach this publisher and say, “Hey, I want to do a piece on vaccines.” I’m guessing they put out a call for a pro-vaccine positioned article. And I don’t mean to be jerk, but you obviously didn’t research the subject matter very deeply, if at all (no, spending a half hour on the CDC website is not real research). Because if you did, you’d quickly land on what is the most disturbing topic of all when it comes to vaccines: safety and efficacy testing. The fact is, there is virtually no independent safety testing, and efficacy testing has turned out to be a joke over and over again.

You want to write a real piece about vaccines — an objective piece? Start there … start with safety and efficacy. Unless, that is, your actually not a journalist but a paid content writer. No shame in that. But If that’s the case, do this research as a parent. Learn about what a mouse-weight-gain-toxicity test is. Read about what a monkey neurovirulence test is and why it’s such a shocking joke. Ask yourself why there’s never been a single well-funded study of long term health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations (and before you throw out the straw man argument about medical ethics, realize there are millions of parents who have voluntarily opted out of vaccines and would be all to willing to share their information).

And you’re right … tens of thousands of people die from measles in the world each year. And if my family lived in Nigeria, Pakistan or Cambodia, I would certainly consider the risk of measles in a very different way. But I don’t live there. I live in the U.S., where the risk of the vaccine is far, far greater than the risk of measles. Furthermore (and God forbid), should the U.S. see 300,000 or 400,000 cases of measles in the near future, I would likely be in favor of giving that same vaccine to my child. Why? Because the risk equation has shifted.

Obviously vaccines have a place in this world. But so does common sense, and a parent’s right to make an informed decision. Wouldn’t you agree?

And if nothing else, than this — Primum non nocere

????????? October 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

Okay, I honestly don’t have time to respond to all of this – sorry, but I’ll have to give you an abbreviated response. I didn’t address the numbers you posted because I’ve spent nearly 15 years in sales/ marketing/ PR and I know how easy it is to manipulate them to tell the story you want. I’m not saying you’re making them up – I’m saying that if I had the time I could find numbers on my own to tell the opposite story.

When I was pregnant, I focused a lot of time & energy on 3 major topics: vaccination risk, SIDS risk and how to get my baby to sleep through the night. (honestly, don’t all moms think about that last one?) In doing my own research, it was difficult to come up with a solid decision for or against vaccines. So I called on trusted sources. I interviewed several pediatricians and asked each one about vaccines, talked to other moms, nurses, other doctors, etc. People who see it first hand, people who are on the pulse of the medical landscape.

Not one of them tried to persuade me not to vaccinate my daughter. Not one. The pediatrician we ended up going with said in 15 years he, nor anyone in his practice (of 10 physicians), has had to file a report of adverse reaction to vaccines (with the exception of the flu shot – and he personally wasn’t 100% sure that those were really related – but they’re supposed to report anyway). He has 3 kids of his own and vaccinated them all. That was enough for me to “pull the proverbial trigger”.

I think it would be different if I knew someone personally who had an adverse reaction or if my doctor had ever even seen that in the last 15 years. It almost feels like an urban legend. I know there is a risk – I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s incredibly rare. If your numbers are accurate – 1/300,000 is still very rare.

The problem I have with your argument is that if you’re able to convince the world that they should stop vaccinating…then your argument at some point has to change. It feels selfish to to say “okay everyone – let’s stop vaccinating this generation…let’s not worry about our kids’ kids, and the fact that by doing away with vaccinating we will likely see a resurgence of these preventable diseases.”. Like the Measles making a comeback all of a sudden as the anti-vaccine movement takes hold. Surely you don’t believe that’s a coincidence?

I did point out in my article (which for the record was 100% my idea…I’m a paid writer for this site with complete autonomy & creative control over my posts) that I do think parents should have the right to choose – it just baffles me when they make that choice. Just like I’m sure it baffles you when people choose the other way. I know I’m not going to change your mind, nor will you change mine – so we’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree.

I wholeheartedly agree that vaccines need better, more regulated testing and that legitimate, independent studies should be going on all the time. Reporting is spotty and correlations are hard to prove. This is a very slippery slope indeed.

I sincerely thank you for the level of intellectual dialogue you’ve offered – and I see where you’re coming from. It’s just not enough for me change view it as a whole. Who knows though – you may have reached someone else, if that was your intent. (Thoughtful, intelligent comments are sometimes rare here!) Thanks for reading and offering your two cents!

cabcabal October 22, 2014 at 10:39 am

I appreciate your (and I’m not being snarky here) mature response. Typically, these conversation get very nasty very fast. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to be good people by being the best parents we can be. Like you, the very last thing in the world I want to see is an innocent child coming to into harm’s way (especially if it is the direct result of one of our decisions).

As for my numbers … even if you could accept them for what they are, would it change anything? If not, why is that? Besides, you need only research 4 pieces of information and I’ll make it as easy as possible for you:

# of measles cases each year (you’ve already done this … ”
as of August 22 there had been nearly 600 measles cases)

# of unvaccinated (admittedly, this is virtually impossible to find … it could range anywhere from 40,000,000 to 240,000,000 … here’s a starting point [http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/coverage/nhis/index.html] … while they don’t include measles [which is very odd], you can certainly infer a rate based on what you see here … fyi the U.S. >25 population is about 210,000,000). And here for children: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/coverage/nis/child/index.html

Risks associated with measles — here’s a starting point … “Before 1963, approximately 500,000 cases and 500 deaths were reported annually, with epidemic cycles every 2–3 years. However, the actual number of cases was estimated at 3–4 million annually.” http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html#adverse

Risks associated with vaccine — another tough one to research … there’s VAERS of course, but that’s a tough one to use by its reporting nature … but start here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.pdf

Two other important points and I’ll leave you be.

First, low vaccination rates leading to a resurgence of measles is a complete and utter fallacy. While rates of infection are increasing, vaccination rates are slightly above historic averages … in fact, since 1980 there have only been 8 years with higher vax rates than 2013.

Here are the facts:


These numbers came from WHO and CDC. I can provide links at your request.

And finally, this conversation is about one thing and one thing only: informed consent. And for whatever reason, the facts are constantly be obscured by nonsense like Jenny McCarthy, “anti-vaxxers,” and emphatic statements about what “the science” does or doesn’t support. The focus should be on the facts, wherever they may lead. Two years ago I came into this topic with zero knowledge. I wasn’t pro- or anti- anything because I never even thought about vaccines. I had no idea there was even a controversy. Then the beauty of parenthood, and this is where my independent research (that’s research of facts, not opinion) has led me.

cabcabal October 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

By the way, I find it interesting that you don’t even acknowledge the core of what I am saying … How can you justify a medical procedure (vaccination) that’s in some cases literally hundreds of times riskier than the alternative?

Same ol' Same ol' October 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I can just see that same look on the little girl’s face when she catches her boyfriend with another girl.


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