Mande Wilkes: Vaccination Debate Needs Healthy Skepticism

IT’S GOOD TO QUESTION “HERD IMMUNITY” || By MANDE WILKES || I bet you remember your experience with chickenpox – how old you were, whether your siblings got infected at the same time, how fun it was to stay home from school.  I remember my own experience pretty vividly, like the…


mande wilkes head|| By MANDE WILKES || I bet you remember your experience with chickenpox – how old you were, whether your siblings got infected at the same time, how fun it was to stay home from school.  I remember my own experience pretty vividly, like the rite of passage it’s always been.

Guess what?  When I someday tell the story to my two-year old, he’ll have no idea what I’m talking about.  He won’t get chickenpox, in all likelihood, because he’s been vaccinated against it.  An entire generation that won’t have chickenpox – can you imagine?  It’s a sign of progress, certainly, but it’s still bizarre to consider what’s changed in just a single generation.

I’m referring on the surface to medical advances, but really what we’re talking about is something deeper: skepticism, and the extent to which it has a role in society.

In case somehow you haven’t heard, measles has reemerged.  The origin having been traced to California’s Disneyland, dozens of kids have been diagnosed with a disease that was once declared dead and gone.

Cue the blame game.  Everyone’s playing politics and hedging bets.  Several presidential contenders have weighed in already.  Predictably, the issue has been framed in terms of right versus left: Republicans are wary of calls to mandate vaccines, while Democrats generally appear to support such a requirement.

Underlying the left’s stance is the concept of “herd immunity” – that is, that a society can eradicate a disease if enough of its people are immunized.  At the heart of this position is the idea that “we’re all in this together” – that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that it takes a village, that the individual must act for the benefit of the group, and that the government ought to be in charge of these sorts of decisions.

Disturbingly absent from this view is any degree of skepticism – skepticism about government, about newfangled medical techniques, about the idea that one should put the “greater good” ahead of oneself.

At my core, I’m a skeptic.  I ask why, always, and I expect a good answer – and if I don’t get it, I’ll go another way.  While skepticism might be annoying, it’s a trait we should collectively cultivate if we want to craft a society that’s not only educated but also well-examined.

And so that’s why I sympathize with those who are skeptical of vaccinations.  I don’t myself believe that vaccines are linked to autism – I think this idea has been sufficiently discredited.  And I chose to immunize my own child, if on a slightly modified schedule.  Still, I understand why some have concerns about shooting serums into their kids’ veins beginning at just eight weeks old.

So-called anti-vaxxers are taking a great deal of heat right now, particularly from the media, and it’s wrongheaded, dangerous, and naïve.  Rather than vilifying skeptics, we should raise them up – and I mean that in both senses of the phrase.  We should laud skeptics, and we should seek to bring up a whole generation of skeptics.

Intuitively we know that it’s good to ask, to probe, to wonder.  We tell kids that that’s a skill, and we instruct them to develop it – until they reach a certain age, and then we expect them to comply and to conform and to go along to get along.

It’s unfortunate, because agreeable people are enjoyable to be around, but they’re not good citizens.  They don’t challenge the status quo and they don’t demand answers or insist on progress.  They sit down and shut up (or in the case of vaccines, they sit down and shoot up).

Come to think of it, that sounds a little like the average American voter …

Mande Wilkes is a wife, mother, businesswoman, author, etc. residing on the South Carolina coast with her family.

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Grant February 9, 2015 at 10:47 am

As a conservative republican I think that every good parent should stop vaccinating their children now. Jesus will take care of them. You’ll see.

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

Same with seat beats. Stop. No need. Jesus will place himself between your child and the dash, the window, the door, whatever, and the other car.

Taylor Brown February 9, 2015 at 10:57 am

I don’t even bother driving. I let Jesus take the wheel, so I can text.

Kudos to you! February 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

lol….that’s pretty funny even though I think people she be allowed to do what they want as long as they aren’t hurting others. Kudos to your for your sense of humor.

If your kid has the measles, you know it, & then expose her/her to other kids you should be able to be prosecuted.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t be forced to vaccinate your kid either.

grandtangosuglydog February 9, 2015 at 11:22 am

Like my grandfather used to say..”shit in one hand, pray in the other and see what fills up first..”

Dilbert February 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm

your grandpappy used to shit in his hand?

CrappyPappy February 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm

While praying? I guess it’s better than poisonous snakes?

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

He prayed to his hand? What, thanking Hand for the great Job? I guess at some level it makes sense. “The Book of Hand says, ” Come to me oh ye of heavy burden and heavy heart I will relieve you.” Makes sense so far

Toyota Kawaski February 11, 2015 at 9:11 am

I think its shit in one hand want in the other and see which fills up faster. But hey Grandpa was Old right?????

grandtangosuglydog February 11, 2015 at 11:15 am

Think your right Toyota..my bad.

Dumb, dumb and dumb February 9, 2015 at 10:48 am

We need a culling of the heard. Go for it, “skeptical, caring parents”. I’m sure your kids will do just fine.

Manray9 February 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

It may not conform to your political worldview, but the reality of life aboard this rock hurtling through space is “we’re all in this together.”

vicupstate February 9, 2015 at 11:10 am

Skepticism is fine as long as it respects factual findings and NOT conspiracy theories.

Bible Thumper February 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

Warning to South Carolina Haters: SC is not on the worst end of these rankings.
If Republicans have a anti-vaxx problem, how come the vaccination rates are lower in blue states?

Look at the map of the measles outbreak map.

MSM perceptions vs. Reality. Think outside the MSM box.
Get rid of your ignorant biases. Republicans support solid science in favor of vaccination. Just because the the MSM cornered a few Republicans and don’t do the same to Democrats doesn’t change the facts. It’s many of the Hollywood liberals who oppose vaccination.

Republicans are more likely to vaccinate there children than Democrats.

More Republicans than Democrats have a college education.

idiotwind February 9, 2015 at 11:38 am

thats true. this is not a partisan issue at all. that appears to be widely known outside of wilkes’ head.

So what February 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm

About time this isn’t at the bottom of a particular ranking. Doesn’t change anything though.

Soft Sigh from Hell February 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Republicans are just more used to being in a herd.

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:40 am Reply
Goobersmacker February 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

Here are some more things to question, Mande dear: gravity, the speed of light, heliocentrism, spherical shape of the earth, quantum mechanics, continental drift, the germ theory of disease. You don’t have to question evolution by natual selection, however, since you are helping to bring it about. The herd will be thinned of the stupid.

You Know My Name February 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

Mande has more common (and uncommon) sense in her toenail clippings than Taylor Brown will ever aspire to have. Too bad many of the commenters on here are on Taylor’s end of the scale and not Mande’s.

If your kid has had all of their vaccinations in lockstep with what Nanny Government requires or would like to require, what skin is it off of your butt if the kid who sits next to them in class has been vaccinated or not?
Will those wonderful vaccinations not keep your kid safe?

Society (IJCSYFM Dept.) February 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Greetings fellow member of society! How are you today? I am here to inform you that your current opinion is misinformed. The MMR shot (immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella) will “protect” your child from illness, however (like birth control, or the annual flu shot) it is not 100% effective in all possible transmission scenarios. In addition to protecting against transmission, it reduces the serious symptoms your child may get from the illness. It makes it harder to get and easier to recover from, but it does not mean it is impossible to contract the illness if exposed. The higher the immunization rate of your local population, the less likely your child is exposed and the less likely they will contract the illness. This public service announcement has been brought you by the “It’s Just Common Sense You F*****G Moron” department of Society. Please make a note of it.

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Bet you don’t (or won’t) mind so much when Nanny Govt sends you those Social Insurance checks to your account every month–and keeps sending them to your widow. Or pay those medical bills, especially the ones in your last year of life. If someone T-Bonz your driver side door and leaves you unemployable I bet you won’t bitch when you get the disability checks either.

You Know My Name February 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Damn straight I won’t mind those SS checks when my time comes, if I live that long. I have been forced to pay significant portions of my income into that system under threat of force for all of my adult life.
Just found out I hat to pay $400 as a “fine”(thanks Justce Sellout Roberts) for not having insurance that I cannot afford, even though I haven’t been to a doctor in over 7 years. Ain’t government just fucking wonderful?

Rakkasan February 10, 2015 at 5:44 am

Significant portions? Really? God, what a burden it must have been. Seems like getting a pension, life insurance, and disability insurance for what you paid is a pretty good deal to me. It’s called social insurance. It’s not just about you

Bible Thumper February 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

Make your Jesus jokes. Ignore the facts. No major religion objects to vaccination. Most of the objections to vaccination are philosophical not religious. Church goers have higher than average vaccination rates.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

Doesn’t fit the narrative, does not compute….

GrandTango February 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

Thanks for pointing that out. That is the case w/ a lot of liberal mythology. They use faith to attack…even when it does not apply in the least…But bigotry against Christians motivates their hateful soldiers…

unclewillie1 February 11, 2015 at 7:29 am

This “hateful soldier” is motivated by “christians”like you who spew hateful attacks against anyone who dares shit in their playpen of deceit and lies.

GrandTango February 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

Care to be more specific.

Or, are you just another Dumb@$$ pop culture jockey who mimics the clichés of the leftwing because you’re too Stupid to originate a thought, and it’s the easy way out for the gutless like you? …You impress me as the type who cares only about getting patted on the back…by corrupt, immoral and dangerous bigots…who are like you…

unclewillie1 February 13, 2015 at 7:54 am

Newsflash: Bit dog hollers- uses pejorative language while spouting vapid thoughts.

GrandTango February 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

An empty-headed Dumb@$$…just like I guessed. Thanks for proving it.

unclewillie1 February 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Hola bit dog… I have gone back and reviewed many of your previous comments and I think I have discovered a theme. Your vituperative statements about homosexuals and use of various forms of the the word ass a common descriptive leads me to the conclusion that you are indeed closeted. I am sure that once you open your heart and you @ss you to will see the light.

GrandTango February 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Big F*#king deal if I were. Are you a F*#king Bigot Hypocrite liberal Homophobe against Gays…???…
Gays have every right to be that..it’s none of YOUR or my business…
Why is it Stupid Redneck, Liberals – like you – try to impress the “sophisticated” Yankees you kneel before, by exalting homosexuals…but you constantly accuse the people you hate of being “gay” in order to insult them..You F*#king @$$-Backward, Dumb@$$…

unclewillie1 February 15, 2015 at 7:47 am

Your brain is obviously so constipated with guilt and hatred — “Free your mind and the rest will follow.”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7iQbBbMAFE

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I think there’s a sense it’s a religious thing because it’s an “uninformed opinion” issue and we are so used to that coming from the religious right (evolution, global warming, HPV…) This one does seem to be equal opportunity for both red/blue, and I think it has more to do with gullibility and misinformation for helicopter-y parents, which spans the spectrum! It’s like the insanity over “stranger danger” which basically is more rare than beating the house in Vegas.

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm

You mean that dog in the trench coat that used to come to my school and told to never get in a car with a stranger unless they gave me candy lied? What has this world come to?

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Yep. You can’t even trust crime fighting dogs. Also, try as I might, I haven’t prevented one forest fire even though that asshole bear kept telling me it was my responsibility.

Oh, and the data: The US Crime Rate is the lowest it’s been since 1967. Well done society!

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Wait..what? They told me I needed to be really really skeerd and that I needed to buy more guns cause the bad guys and pissed off minorities were going to start a war. What’s a patriot to believe?

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Keep the Jesus jokes going. I heard in a sermon that he has a sense of humor. Only sometimes they don’t translate so well to Spanish

SomalianRoadCorp February 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

Skepticism on this topic is easy when millions of people aren’t dying thanks to the solution that you deem as “acceptable” to criticize.

Rocky February 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

Hi, I’m Rob Lowe. And I’m overly paraniod Rob Lowe.

euwe max February 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

What are you up to?

HD February 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

There’s nothing inherently good in skepticism. What matters is whether a skeptic is willing to be persuaded by facts. Remaining a skeptic in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence makes one a skeptic and and idiot.

mamatiger92 February 9, 2015 at 11:49 am

Well said.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt February 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

You’re right, but this is Sakerlina. The earth is not warming, the earth is flat, common core was sent from Karl Marx himself and vaccines are the work of the liberal left.

Science has truthiness February 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

“common core was sent from Karl Marx himself”

Yea, but let’s be honest. If that were true you’d be ok with it.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm


SCBlues February 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm


Limbaughsaphatkhunt February 9, 2015 at 5:34 pm

yeah, cause capitalism is perfect of course.

Science has truthiness February 10, 2015 at 1:49 am

Excellent non-denial.

SCBlues February 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm

“Yea, but let’s be honest. If that were true you’d be ok with it.”
Uh-huh. Let’s be totally honest.
Just like you’re okay with all those idiots that blame natural disasters on divine retribution and probably spend the majority of your time trying to “pray away the gay”.

Science has truthiness February 10, 2015 at 1:51 am

Why are you commenting on gay concerns instead of enjoying my funny observation?

SCBlues February 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

“Why are you commenting on gay concerns instead of enjoying my funny observation?”
You made a funny observation? When and where?

euwe max February 9, 2015 at 11:46 am Reply
? February 9, 2015 at 11:58 am

How you followed the money on the pro mandatory vaccine side? (Hint: It leads to big Pharma)

euwe max February 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Capitalism is good… watch: CAPITALISM IS GOOD!

? February 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Depends on what type of capitalism we are talking about, and what the definition of “good” is. (I feel like Bill Clinton right now)

How about that the free market is the best for an unsolvably imperfect world?


and the geniuses are.... February 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Have you followed the money to the anit-vaccine side? It leads to Jenny McCarthy.

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Sasquatch owns Big Pharma? This goes deeper than I ever suspected

Rakkasan February 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Sasquatch has got the money? Damn.

Crooner February 9, 2015 at 11:48 am

This issue does not break along ideological lines, sadly. At its core, it is simply a public health issue. In a civilized society (to which we aspire) members have obligations to one another. Immunization is one of them. The science proves immunization works. Immunization by those who are able protects those too young to be immunized and that small part of the population medically ineligible.
I read an interesting piece last week that pointed out this same phenomenon occurred back in the 1890s when some folks had the same idea. Of course, when smallpox came roaring back they were quickly discredited.

tomstickler February 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

You will note that due to smallpox vaccinations being mandatory for years, smallpox has been eradicated from this Earth, and today smallpox vaccinations are no longer routinely required.

US military personnel deployed to the Middle East are still required, even though the last case of smallpox “in the wild” occurred in 1977.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm

You know that the reason we got that damn shot was because of the chance that smallpox could be weaponized.

We thought Poliomyelitis was eradicated as well.

Funny February 9, 2015 at 3:12 pm


lmao! Very good.

Some people are incurable.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Having two friends with polio – I don’t see a damn thing funny about it.

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Horrible, and permanently disfiguring.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I guess he thought my using “poliomyelitis” was funny for some reason…

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Yeah, infantile paralysis is so hilarious.

Not so funny... February 10, 2015 at 1:44 am

It was purely my ignorance. I thought it was a play on words. (Elitis)

Please forgive my ignorance and accept my apology.

Victorious Secret February 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm


You clearly are not aware of biological warfare tactics. Just because its not “in the wild,” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist–in a vial–with ample delivery methods available.

Quick history: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/biological_warfare/article_em.htm

Oh..and specifically with smallpox.


tomstickler February 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Au contraire: I am aware that samples of the virus still exist in US and Russian bio labs. Of course, Glenn Beck or Alex Jones may know of other sites.

Fortunately, the current vaccine has some ability to lesson the impact if administered promptly after exposure to the virus.

Mike at the Beach February 9, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Glenn and Alex said they keep much of the secret disease stores in the FEMA death camps. Check there first.

Victorious Secret February 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm


Of course I’m not quoting Glenn or Alex–nor would I–as you’ve seen my arguments a while now.

Rather, I have, in fact, seen intel on the stored cultures at issue. Is it likely that they will be used? Of course not! But in a balancing of risk versus return (or cost vs. benefit), it seems that an ounce of prevention is much better than a pound of cure. No?

By the way…if an infantry unit is clearing buildings during urban warfare…at what point are they supposed to “promptly administer” the current vaccine? (assuming they want to have someone humping the med-kits around the whole time)

I don’t think its a great idea to create an open puncture wound (multiple wounds) in a combat–clearly non-sterile–environment.

Just sayin’

sketchbag February 10, 2015 at 6:00 am

Some military personnel are vaccinated for smallpox, and other diseases not found in a normal vaccination schedule. There have been even new vaccines created for smallpox, one released/approved/used in 2008 or so. and a broader point to idiot authors like ms wilkes, smallpox killed 500 million people. in 1918 the flu (the spanish flu epidemic) killed more people in 24 weeks than HIV/AIDS did in the first 24 years since the diagnosis of Patient Zero. Unfortunately we have no vaccine for HIV. We do have vaccines for flu but the prediction models are not perfect. There is vaccine research into very essential and conserved proteins in the flu virus which will hopefully result in a universal (or very near universal) influenza vaccine.

euwe max February 9, 2015 at 11:57 am

“Sasquatch are real, I’ve seen them, they’re here…” – Bobo.

Mom February 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

“And I chose to immunize my own child, if on a slightly modified schedule.” Mande, you are indeed a skeptic and for that I applaud you. If the government had it’s way, it would require your child to receive the whole heap of vaccines all at the same time. Obviously, you are a conscientious young mother who believes it is better not to overload a child with too many vaccines in one day.

Smirks February 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

MMR does not cause autism. No credible peer reviewed study or paper has linked the two. The one Lancet published got retracted because the dude was a fraud. Yet again the right takes up the banner of anti-science, this time in their inextinguishable thirst for anti-Obama rhetoric.

Measles was never dead either, it was a disease very much controlled until the dumbfuck hippy crunchy mom brigade decided to help open up spots of vulnerability.

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Might look at some of those “dreamers” coming across our southern border as a vector as well.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt February 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Have you got any documented cases of undocumented migrants causing the current measles outbreak…or are you just reciting emails forwarded to you from grandma and grandpa?

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:23 am

Did you read this- flu and pneumonia with vaccinations and “no adverse effects”. No Polio or measles among the thousands checked.

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 4:51 pm

The following list includes some of the interventions, illnesses, and relevant websites that have been identified for the unaccompanied children arriving from Central America.

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm

So while they do not have a patient zero in the measles case, they are operating under the hypothesis that this came from one of 14 countries (which I am having a hard time getting a complete list), whether visiting legally or not. There is documented evidence that the unaccompanied minors from 2014, if they were lucky enough to survive the trip without getting something or other, they were exposed to horrible conditions in the detention centers. It is also possible that someone was exposed to measles via an unaccompanied child and then brought that to Disneyland, one out of many scenarios. I did find this updated document on the spread of the Disneyland outbreak, it is definitely worth a read. And it made me want to go get a booster shot: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/measles/a/measles-outbreaks.htm

Limbaughsaphatkhunt February 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Your first sentence says it all.
All the links to all the stories you sent just talked about “conditions are favorable for a spread of infectious diseases” and shit like that.
Turn your gaze to liberal hippie parents and religious right wing nuts here in the US for the most obvious reason this is happening.

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:24 am

Scenarios…. no data.

SCBlues February 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm

“Have you got any documented cases of undocumented migrants causing the current measles outbreak…or are you just reciting emails forwarded to you from grandma and grandpa?”
Of course they don’t. But that idiot Brigid will post all kinds of crap while foaming at the mouth about it.

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Mexico is better at immunization than we are. The vector has gone the other way since the Disneyland outbreak infected someone visiting from south of the border.

“Mexico’s paternalistic approach has led to a 96% vaccination rate for children ages 1 to 4, compared with 79% of American 2-year-olds.”


Nice try on turning it into an immigration debate, though. Classic trolling. Bra-vo!

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Bollocks. That is from 2002, and is a lie, just look at the death rates from preventable diseases. You’d have to be nuts to believe the Mexican government to being with. Check the CD advisory on traveling to Mexico: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/mexico/

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

This is a link to a pdf, Primary Health Issues
HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) manages the routine medical screening and data collected on illnesses from the unaccompanied children. The following list includes some of the interventions, illnesses, and relevant websites that have been identified for the unaccompanied children arriving from Central America. http://emergency.cdc.gov/children/pdf/cdc-factsheet-ph-uc-08-01-14-final.pdf

The Colonel February 9, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Yeah well we don’t allow “Mehicans” to stay – the kids that came across the border were from a little further south and most of them weren’t kids.

SCBlues February 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm

“Might look at some of those “dreamers” coming across our southern border as a vector as well.”
The “dreamers” are already here.

major major February 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

I doubt most of those “dumbfuck hippy cruncy moms” are right-wingers. Anti-science, yes, but overwhelmingly left-wing.

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Who cares what wing they sit on. If they are being stupid and causing health problems in the greater population, they need to be educated and get their kids immunized. It’s not a partisan issue. It’s a health issue.

BrigidBernadette February 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm

The only anti-vaccers I know are all left-wing loons ad the people with national platforms like Jenny McCarthy are most certainly libs, but yet the right is being blamed for a liberal trend, how in the hell does that work?

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:29 am

Data to prove your assertion? Or just your “guess”?

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:38 am

Maybe this will shut you up about who is anti-vax….”The latest data comes from a survey of 2,316 U.S. adults by a researcher
who works at the universities of Yale and Harvard. While questions
about human-caused climate change divided along political lines–with
liberals believing it is happening and conservatives denying it–there
was no such correlation with anti-vaccine views. The vast majority of
people believe the benefits of childhood vaccinations outweigh the
risks, regardless of their politics. And the survey found anti-vaccine
views are more common among Republicans.
Although the data clashes with some peoples’ perception of the
typical vaccine skeptic, it chimes with previous surveys. In 2009 the
Pew Research Center found almost 50% more Democrats than Republicans
said they would take the swine flu
vaccine. More detailed data emerged last year from a Public Policy
Polling survey of 1,247 U.S. voters. PPP found 12% of people who
described themselves as very liberal believe vaccines cause autism, compared with 22% of hardline conservatives.

What both surveys show is that antivaccination views are held by just
a small minority of people. As the Yale-Harvard report puts it, “a very
large supermajority believes that the benefits of childhood
vaccinations outweigh their risks.” The statement is consistent with
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
data on childhood vaccinations–which shows more than 90% of kids
receive their shots–but not with what many people think. Most
respondents significantly underestimated vaccination rates.”


Just Saying February 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Check out the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund. It is a pool of money created by the Government and pharmaceutical companies to compensate children who suffer adverse reactions from vaccines. These adverse reactions include seizures, neurological disorders such as Gilliane Barre Syndrome (which can leave you partially paralyzed), Stevens Johnsons Syndrome, and even death. The Fund is an acknowledgement by the Government and the pharmaceutical companies that a certain small percentage of the children will suffer serious illness and even death by taking vaccines. It appears that the enlightened elite know about the risk of serious side effects of vaccines and choose to take their chances with the risk of contracting the underlying disease. Why hasn’t the main stream media mentioned the known side effects for these vaccines, instead of discrediting the connection between vaccines and autism? One last thing, unless there is a medical explanation for the austism epidemic, parents are going to remain skeptical about the claim that vaccines have no impact the developmental of children’s brains.

major major February 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm

There is an extremely small, but real, risk of severe side effects (not autism, but the other stuff you mention) to most vaccines. So there is a certain rationality to withholding vaccination and avoiding that small risk while still getting the benefit of herd immunity. The problem is when immunization rates drop below ~92% herd immunity is compromised. Now your unvaccinated kid is at real risk of contracting an avoidable disease, not to mention passing it along to others who aren’t vaccinated for legitimate (too young; immunocompromised) or illegitimate reasons.

Regarding autism, the primary driver of the epidemic is increased rates of recognition and diagnosis, not necessarily a greater actual incidence.

Mom February 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Some mentally retarded children are being labeled as being on “The Spectrum” – yes. However, there ARE more children with true Autism now. I knew of only one child with Autism back in the 1960’s. Explain that.

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Citation needed. The data. Science. The research says there are probably NOT more kids with autism now. Maybe you just didn’t have many friends when you were a kid?

Mom February 10, 2015 at 11:48 am

What “research” are you talking about? Autism is a serious growing problem. There is no cure. No one knows what causes it.

CharlieChan February 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

The research on whether it’s a growing problem or not. It’s not. You’re wrong.

major major February 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Diagnostic criteria for autism weren’t even included in the DSM until the 3rd edition came out in 1980.

Mom February 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

Many diagnoses were not included in the DSM before 1980. However, Autism DID exist. It was not nearly as prevalent as it is now. Just look around…if you know what true autism is, then you know it when you see it.

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Okay… So, just to clarify, you are FOR the “nanny state”?

There is probably no autism “epidemic” any more than there is a link between autism and vaccines. This article from Scientific American explains why you are wrong in your basic assumption of the issue:


“Over time the criteria for a diagnosis of autism have loosened, resulting in the labeling of substantially more mildly afflicted individuals as autistic.”


“As the rates of the autism diagnosis increased from 1994 to 2003, the rates of diagnoses of mental retardation and learning disabilities decreased. It is possible that the overall pool of children with autismlike features has remained constant but that the specific diagnoses within this pool have switched.”

So, there is evidence that a need for a “medical explanation for the autism epidemic” is a waste of time and erroneous. Presented with facts like these, will you reconsider your opinion or jump up and down about Scientific American being a tool of big pharma?

9" February 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm

So all pretty women are stupid?

Mom February 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I didn’t realize you are pretty!

9" February 9, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Just because you fucked all your other sons,doesn’t mean you’ll get your hands on me,baby raper.

mamatiger92 February 9, 2015 at 2:52 pm

The Earth is flat.
**look at me being skeptical!**

CharlieChan February 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

You’re being healthy!

Is that what the Republican heath care alternative is, being healthy through skepticism?

Tisk Tisk February 10, 2015 at 1:48 am

I’m skeptical of your skepticism.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt February 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

This from the woman who proposed that women are to blame in domestic violence cases.

Sen. Ike Turner (R) February 9, 2015 at 3:29 pm

“Womans be thankin’ too much!”

A Widening Fan Base February 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm Reply
SCBlues February 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

I am very skeptical about your skepticism, Mande.
But I appreciate your articles even though I do not always agree.
And I really appreciate that you are not twenty-something.

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:52 am

In 90 seconds an analysis of the debate on autism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdZTZQvuCo#t=79

unclewillie1 February 10, 2015 at 7:52 am

It is by Penn and Teller.

Toyota Kawaski February 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

just to keep up the tradition here at Fits…. Man-D U suck still after this long layoff

Healthy choice January 30, 2023 at 7:36 am

Might look at some of those “dreamers” coming across our southern border as a vector as well.


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