Analogies can help explain how vaccines work, especially good vaccine analogies.
They can also help explain how folks who do not support vaccines think.
Bad Vaccine Analogies
I wonder if all of their bad analogies will end up on tee shirts…
What do you think of Larry Cook’s analogy?
To be fair, the flu vaccine, in some years, can be as low as 9% effective.
Does that mean you can compare it to using a condom, parachute, or alarm clock that is only 9% effective?
How about this scenario:
You are on a plane that is about to crash and there is something wrong with the only parachute that is left on board. You inspect the stitching but estimate that you only have a 9% chance that it will deploy and get you to the ground safely. There is no backup parachute. Do you use it anyway, jump out without it and see if you can fly, or take your chances in a plane that is barreling towards the ground?
In most other situations, unless it is a life and death situation, you wouldn’t risk using a parachute that was only 9% effective. But what if that was your only option?
What if there is only a 9% chance that the parachute will get you to the ground without any injury, but a 80 to 90% chance that it will get you to the ground without dying? Would you use it then?
Would you use an alarm clock that was only 9% effective? No. I’ll set the timer on my phone to wake me up…
And that’s why we sometimes get a flu vaccine that is far less than 100% effective.
What’s the alternative?
Being unprotected and at a higher risk to get a severe case of the flu.
More Bad Vaccine Analogies
Larry Cook isn’t the only one to come up with bad vaccine analogies.
Of course, vaccinating and protecting your kids is not analogous to giving them a poisoned cupcake.
While vaccines are not risk free, serious reactions are extremely rare.
In fact, for this analogy to make even a little sense, you would have to have one million kids eating one million cupcakes.
Even then, the analogy falls apart.
Who would give their kid a cupcake if there was a chance that it was intentionally poisoned, even if the risk is just one in a million?
What’s the benefit of eating the cupcake?
Is this the last cupcake on earth? Is your child starving and is this cupcake the only thing he can eat? Is it a magic cupcake that can cure them of a life-threatening disease?
We vaccinate our kids, even if there is a one in a million chance of a severe, life-threatening reaction, because of all of the benefits they get from being vaccinated and protected.
How about all of the vaccine analogies about cars and seat belts?
Why don’t we call people who push for safer cars anti-car?
Do these car safety advocates tell people to stop riding in cars or that a safe car can never be made?
Do they say that kids will be hurt every time they ride in a car? Do they tell parents to just drive one day a week or one block a month?
Unlike folks who are anti-vaccine, those who want safer cars generally still drive and ride in cars!
Making Sense of Vaccine Analogies
Have you heard the folks who say that they won’t set their kids on fire to keep someone else warm? They somehow think this is analogous to getting vaccinated and keeping herd immunity levels up to protect those who can’t be vaccinated.
You understand why that’s a bad analogy, right?
In addition to protecting others because your child doesn’t get sick and won’t expose them to a life-threatening disease, by vaccinating and protecting them, your own child doesn’t get sick!
Unlike setting your child on fire, it’s a win-win deal.
Well, it’s a win-win unless you believe classic arguments against vaccines, such as vaccines are poison or that vaccines don’t really work to prevent disease.
And maybe that’s why these bad analogies actually do work very well for some of these folks. They believe the misinformation and propaganda that help prop them up.
More on Bad Vaccine Analogies
- Vaccine Analogies and Metaphors
- Slogans of the Anti-Vaccine Movement
- Decoding Anti-Vaccine Protests
- Dog Whistles about Vaccines
- Anti-Vax Debate Techniques
- Did Police Block an Unvaccinated Girl from Getting Into School?
- 12 Things Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong
- More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic
- What Are the Greatest Tricks Anti-Vaccine Folks Use to Persuade Parents to Skip Vaccines?
- Vaccination, Risks, and Freedom: The Seat Belt Analogy
- Do You Know How Vaccines Work? Here’s a Simple Analogy.
- Poisonous M&Ms: The Irrational Monstrosity of Bigotry
- The Rules of Logic Part 7: Using Consistent Reasoning to Compare Apples and Oranges
- The (Not-So-Thinking) Mom’s Revolution makes an amazingly silly analogy about vaccines
- If stop signs work, why should my refusal to stop hurt you?
- ADL slams RFK Jr. for vaccines-Holocaust analogy
- Person Says He Always Trolls Anti-Vaxxers By Using A Car Seat Analogy And People Love The Logic Behind It
3 thoughts on “Bad Vaccine Analogies”
Analogies aside, your comment is not true: “by vaccinating and protecting them, your own child doesn’t get sick!”
If this were the case, there would not be ANY vaccinated children getting sick with what they are vaccinated against. I guess you forgot that the flu vaccine is only ~9-54% effective… I guess you forgot that about 25% vaccinated get measles… and so on. Of course, there is not really any “valid, scientific, research” that shows a correlation between the vaccinated and the infected.
EVERY vaccine preventable disease has been caught by people who are vaccinated against it, so please don’t make comments that you know are false. In many ways, that’s even worse than shoddy analogies.
Ah, the fallacy of perfection. The stupidest weapon in the hands of the “I miss graveyards full of children” crowd. Since everyone else in the world manages to figure out that reducing risk doesn’t eliminate it, and happily carries an umbrella to reduce the risk of getting wet, without whining that sometimes you get wet anyway, I can only assume that you’re being deliberately obtuse. Good luck with that. Remember – sometimes people who look both ways when they cross the street still get hit by cars. So blindfolding your children before you send them out for a walk along the highway must be fine, eh?
When the highest ranking official in our country gets covid more than once and has had all the vaccines he can get, and the best medical care anyone can get, tells me it doesn’t work. Or am I wrong about that as well?