I would like to give this letter lifted from Stop the AVN some more publicity. I don’t imagine the anti-vax loon who, until I adjusted my spam filter, used to post hundreds of abusive and anti-vax comments on this blog, will have the brains to comprehend it but you never know.
An open letter from a pro vaxxer to an antivaxxer. Please read and distribute widely. Originally penned by Megan Cran
You’ve asked on other threads whether or not us pro-vaxxers would be able to empathize and see things from your point of view.
I’ll ask the same of you.
Imagine that you’ve spent 6 + years of your life studying your ass off so that you can understand the mere basics of biology, chemistry, physiology, pathology, immunology, pharmacology, etc. Because you’d like to be a nurse or a physician. And these are the things you need to know to do your job.
Imagine that through your years of scientific training, frequently studying the available evidence, and relying on the educated opinions of those who are MORE educated than yourself on the matter that you have come to the conclusion that the majority of the biomed has come to: that vaccines are safe and effective.
Imagine that while in the course of doing your daily job, you see people who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated become incredibly ill or die of vaccine-preventable diseases and their resulting complications.
Imagine that you then learn that there is a group of people who INTENTIONALLY refuse to vaccinate their kids. Imagine your shock and dismay upon learning this. Imagine trying to engage these people, to find out why they refuse to use what is arguably the greatest innovation of modern medicine.
Imagine that when you engage these people, you hear some arguments that – initially – make you think about vaccination in a different light. They tell you vaccines are poison. They aren’t as effective as you are lead to believe. That the government and big pharma only push them for profits. That they aren’t actually tested for safety. That these vaccines are responsible for causing a myriad of devastating cognitive issues. They’re KILLING KIDS. And you begin to become concerned.
But, at the same time, these people are saying things that you – as a medical professional – know to be untrue. There’s people talking about injecting vaccines directly into the bloodstream when you know that they’re not given intravenous. There’s people saying that there are over 50 different vaccines – when you know that they simply give multiple doses of the same ones. There’s people saying bypass the immune system – when you know that they activate the adaptive immune system in order to confer immunity.
So, you think to yourself “if they’re wrong about these basic things, are they wrong about these other claims too?”
Imagine that you spend a great deal of your spare time looking into the original claims that first concerned you.
You learn that the “toxins” in vaccines are present in our daily environment in much larger quantities than any vaccine.
You learn that while the pertussis vaccine is waning is effectiveness (75% +), all other vaccines are extremely effective in preventing disease.
You learn that the cost to treat the disease is much much higher than it is to prevent it with a vaccine. And that if pharmaceutical companies really were keen to make as much money off of you as possible, they’d LET you get measles.
You learn that vaccines are thoroughly tested before release, each batch is tested and that their safety and effectiveness is constantly re-evaluated. You read about the switch from whole cell to acellular pertussis vaccine – which lowered the effectiveness but upped the safety.
You learn that a myriad of scientific studies from all over the world provide evidence of no correlation between vaccines and ASD. You learn how the changes to the DSM combined with increased awareness of ASD has contributed to an artificially higher rate of ASD. You read about the heritability of ASD and some of the commonly correlated environmental factors (such as maternal obesity and diabetes).
Imagine that you learn all these things. Imagine that not only can you read all these things, but that your medical training allows you to understand and evaluate claims in a way that laypeople cannot.
Imagine that you happily return to these people who had you so concerned. And you’re happy to explain to them how it’s okay, and they don’t have to be afraid of vaccines – and you can answer all of their concerns and questions.
Imagine that when you do answer them, they ignore you. Or they insist that you must be a shill for a pharmaceutical company. Or an idiot. Or a mindless automaton who is incapable of making up their own minds. Imagine that instead of these people being – as you had originally hoped – relieved and grateful that they didn’t have to worry about vaccines anymore, angry and irate that you would dare to contradict them.
Imagine you have to keep dealing with the same mistruths over and over and over. Imagine that you have to explain to people over and over that there is more formaldehyde in an apple than a vaccine. Imagine that you provide people with 20+ studies showing no correlation between ASD and vaccines – and they ignore them.
Imagine that these people start trying to find out where you work. Imagine they send you threatening emails and facebook messages. Imagine that they make up photoshopped pictures just to make fun of you. Imagine that they mass report comments you make to get you banned from facebook. Imagine.
Can you empathize with us? Can you understand why we’re sometimes quick to insult? Quick to react to insults? Can you understand why we may not always treat you with the respect you deserve?
From my point of view, you are intentionally endangering the lives of your loved ones. And my job is to take care of those loved ones
25 thoughts on “Dear Anti-vaxxer”
Great letter, thanks for sharing it.
I’m glad that (apart from Donald Trump) the anti-vaccine movement isn’t really linked to the right. Can you imagine if vaccine skepticism were seized on by the right-wing noise machine? It would spread like wildfire. A third of Americans simply wouldn’t vaccinate their children, insisting that the health effects of vaccination are just a “theory.” Every Republican in Congress would have to sign an anti-vaccine pledge. There’d be movements to make vaccines illegal in the red states, and dispensers of vaccines would be defunded in those states, and their offices would be shut down. Right-wing billionaires would bankroll documentaries linking vaccination to Hitler and eugenicism, and the Fox/talk radio crazies would flock to those documentaries, which would break box-office records. Half the books on the bestseller list would have covers depicting Democratic politicians as Dr. Mengele.
A scientific question: how many apples are equivalent in formaldehyde to how much of which vaccine?
The owner of this blog has always made a point of championing rationalism, but in Science, the qualities the letter writer refers to don’t exist. There is NO empathy or happiness, or any emotion, even when the subject is attacked using e-media (when and who did this, by the way?). In Science, there is no respect, either. These are human attributes, not subject to experiment.
Why should we expect of others what we ourselves disown? That sounds like bullying to me – whichever “side” does it. Just plop the facts at their feet. If people break the law, get the police involved.
If this “upsets” anyone, remember that emotions are UNscientific.
I’ve removed my first dismissive response because I’ve decided to give you one more chance, Leanardo/Confusious (sic).
First of all, if you want me to take anything you say seriously, it’s not a good idea to start a comment with a sentence of codswallop.
The remainder of your comment demonstrates your hopelessly muddled thinking but maybe I should forgive you; we all have to start somewhere.
I’ll try to make things as simple as possible; please read carefully and try to comprehend:
Rationalism is a philosophical position that human beings can choose to adopt or not, while science is a system of acquiring knowledge, which human beings can choose to use or not.
Unlike philosophical positions and systems of acquiring knowledge, emotions are not chosen by human beings. As you rightly say, they are ‘human attributes’ – we all have them. Indeed, it is because of our emotional response to the human suffering caused by false beliefs that many of us put so much effort into combatting them. When I hear of someone dying because they (or their parents) put their faith in something false, when they could have lived if they’d based their decision on reason and evidence, it makes me angry and determined that such needless tragedies be prevented in future.
But rationalists understand – because that’s where the evidence points – that our emotions alone do not tell us what is objectively true. For example, the fact that we find something to our liking – whether it be religion, chocolate, chiropractic, masturbation, carrot juice or any sort of drug – doesn’t necessarily tell us whether it is good or bad (or both or neither) for us. The way to find out what is objectively true about any of those things, is through the scientific method and that’s why rationalists advocate it.
I hope the above isn’t too hard for you to understand but I’m not over-confident. Frankly, your suggestion that, because we advocate the scientific method, we therefore “disown” emotion makes you look more than a bit thick.
As for the attack on someone or something using e-media, I’ve no idea what on earth you are talking about. Care to clarify?
Please don’t bother commenting here again unless you’re prepared to try to engage seriously and intelligently with what I’ve said in this response. My blog is not the place for you to come and spout nonsense, even if it does make you feel better.
“The way to find out what is objectively true about any of those things, is through the scientific method and that’s why rationalists advocate it.” SK
You forget to point out a distinction here and that is that ‘medical science’ is not the same as the rest of science because it still has belief systems about both the cause of diseases and its understanding of why diseases occur.
This often leads to old/modern woo like the vaccine theories we are still subjected to, based on out of date ideas. We are then forced to invent reasons why vaccines don’t work. Whooping cough is a current one, according to the HPA we have the highest whooping cough cases for decades but also the highest vaccine coverage. Any normal scientist can see that the vaccine doesn’t work. The medical scientist just calls for more vaccine boosters!
“I’m glad that (apart from Donald Trump) the anti-vaccine movement isn’t really linked to the right. Can you imagine if vaccine skepticism were seized on by the right-wing noise machine?” SM
Well of course it isn’t, the right gave us credit fraud, big pharma and scams like swine flu epidemics, being anti vax would be pissing on their feet!
The only way to keep the woo of vaccination alive is by dodgy means, there is nothing honest about it.
How can anyone think that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, which was milder than first feared but which still killed 500,000 people, was a “scam”?
Where on earth did you dig up that indtikit vaxx stat? Some pro vaxx site no doubt with guesswork. Poland officially announced it was spending no money on the swine flu scam and its mortality stats were no different to any normal year.
Considering Roche told the BMJ that it had lost the entire data connected to its Tamiflu scam waste of taxpayers money I wonder only a vaccine believer could possibly still believe in that woo.
The Cochraine review on the flu vaccine found evidence for efficacy was ‘implausible at best’ so it surprises me that there is still someone who has faith in this outdated woo.
“milder than first feared” DT’s
Well what a surprise Deetee, like avian flu, like SARS, like most flu woo, once the governments have been conned into signing away claim rights, millions of tax payers money and scared the hell out of morning Britain it all blows away.
The questions you should be asking is how come they are wrong every time and still get paid!
Why are you wasting time worrying about altmed which has no real impact on the public purse when millions are being conned over and over again by vaccination scams.
I think you need to explain yourself because you are in a cultural trance.
How can anyone think that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, which was milder than first feared but which still killed 500,000 people, was a “scam”?
I refer you to my previous answer and suggest you start engaging in a discussion rather than doing a believer shutdown/mantra/cutpaste.
“You forget to point out a distinction here and that is that ‘medical science’ is not the same as the rest of science because it still has belief systems about both the cause of diseases and its understanding of why diseases occur.”
Would you care to explain what these “belief systems” you refer to are?
Well medical scientist believe in flu pandemics, that arthritis is caused by deficiency in analgesics and that everyone needs to be on statins when research shows otherwise.
I could go on……………..
not an unreasonable belief, given that there have been at least 5 major flu pandemics in the last century. And nothing to do with the question I asked.
And those are a couple of strawmen.
I’m sure you could. But can you cite any “belief systems” about the cause of disease that are actually held by ‘medical science’?
” But can you cite any “belief systems” about the cause of disease that are actually held by ‘medical science’?”
There are plenty, but let’s start with one so you can cope. Medical scientists believe that flu virus causes flu. 40 years of RCT’s, lab based with human volunteers, failed to show that flu virus caused flu. The maximum number of subjects who ‘caught the flu’ was 3/32.
Tamiflu is an effective ‘treatment’ for flu. Well we will never know because Roche lost all the data for the last scamdemic when asked for it by the BMJ for a post bull audit.
Cox 2 inhibitors are a good ‘treatment’ for arthritis if that fails TNFI’s are super. RA appears as if by magic to affect some people, we have no idea where it comes from but we still feel qualified to treat.
If 60% of women with the gene for breast cancer don’t get breast cancer we can’t be wrong, that’s just noise in the data. We never interview the ones that don’t get cancer because it would be awkward to find out that the genomic theory of disease causation is puddly fluff.
Some people still believe going to the doctor is the best way to stay ‘healthy’.
“When I hear of someone dying because they (or their parents) put their faith in something false, when they could have lived if they’d based their decision on reason and evidence, it makes me angry and determined that such needless tragedies be prevented in future. ” SK
There are plenty of medications that do this SK but I don’t see you championing that.
More strawmen. Germ theory doesn’t predict that 100% of people exposed will contract a disease; “the gene for breast cancer” confers a predisposition, not a 100% certainty of developing cancer.
Painkillers are indeed a good treatment for someone suffering from arthritis. It is not necessary to know what causes a condition to understand why relieving pain is a good thing.
“There are plenty of medications that do this SK…”
@ Jenson , but if you were in a horrific car accident you would refuse analgesia until there was a medical diagnosis of which bits of you were damaged? Good luck with that.
With regards to arthritis, the potential causes of it are fairly well established. I believe Mojo is just saying “it’s not necessary to know” rather than “the causes are unknown”. Furthermore, some of the drugs used to treat arthritis (particularly rheumatoid) have potentially worse side-effects than just negating the symptoms with painkillers. E.g prednisolone, methotrexate and monoclonal antibodies are all pretty harsh drug regimes, so if a person’s arthritis can be controlled just with painkillers, good on them.
“Vioxx killed 160,000 people worldwide until the insurance payouts overtook the profit from the drug. Doctors knew it was killing people but it was too big to fail.”
And you expect me to “champion” that…how exactly?
“I believe Mojo is just saying “it’s not necessary to know” rather than “the causes are unknown”.”
If Jenson doesn’t understand what I wrote, I am forced to conclude not only that he has never suffered from any painful condition, but also that he has no capacity for empathy with anyone who has.
Painkillers are not meant to be a curative treatment arthritis. They are meant to treat the pain caused by the arthritis. By the way you wont meet a physician who think Tamiflu is some kind of miracle drug. It will only shorten the duration of flu symptoms by about a day and only if administered within the first 72 hours. Everything in life isn’t some giant conspiracy, get a grip.
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I am on TNF blockers. No other therapy produces results.
Without a TNF blocker my major joints feel like they are being drilled with a power drill and I have been reduced to being unable to walk to the bathroom at night, instead having to crawl there. Untreated some of my joints will start to ankylose and eventually fuse.
So: am I pawn in some kind of conspiracy? And if so, should I go off the meds and suffer intense pain and eventually a fused spine because otherwise I’m just a “believer”?
“If my car was making an awful noise and I took it to your kind
of garage would I get ear plugs? Idiot.”
If you needed to use the car for a while, while the mechanics figured out what was wrong with it, would you refuse the earplugs? If so, then I think the signature you use above is accurate.