Tag: hiding in the herd

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has been on TV a lot in his career.

“Parents from around Southern California choose Gordon for his outspoken and controversial stance on vaccinations, driving from as far away as Santa Barbara and Long Beach.

They know he will lend a sympathetic ear to their concerns about the possible adverse side effects of childhood vaccinations — even though several large scientific studies have failed to find a connection.

His openness to alternative approaches has earned him an avid following. With thousands of patients, his practice is so busy that he no longer accepts new patients.”

Los Angeles Times on Doctor Contrarian

Often described as a celebrity pediatrician, partly because he sees many of the kids of Hollywood celebrities, the Los Angeles Times once named him Doctor Contrarian.

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right too, with appearances on Good Morning America, with Cindy Crawford, the Ricki Lake Show, the Doctors, and he was even a regular on ABC TV’s Home Show back in the 1990s.

#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show.
#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show. How many kids ended up getting HPV because their parents listened?

Although he claims he is not anti-vaccine, Jay Gordon has made many other statements over the years that had vaccine advocates shaking their heads.

His main idea is that vaccines should be given on a slower schedule, just one or two at a time and that some shouldn’t be given until kids are “developmentally solid.”

Jay Gordon has no proof or evidence to back up any of his statements.
To clarify my statement, a severe reaction isn’t a reason to stop vaccinating a child all together.

Of course, giving vaccines later just leaves these kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are waiting, without any extra benefit of fewer side effects.

Sure, we would see fewer reactions associated with vaccines, because the same conditions would be occurring, but the kids would not have gotten a vaccine to be associated with it.

Jay Gordon has been at the front lines of taking care of parents who don't want to vaccinate their kids.
His “front lines” are parents in Southern California who don’t want to vaccinate their kids…

Is Jay Gordon an expert on vaccines?

Jay Gordon dismisses the statements of a true vaccine expert.
Jay Gordon lists all of the credentials of Dr. Hotez, none of which he has, and then tells him he is wrong!

It should be clear that he is not.

“I talk much more quietly, because I have no proof.”

Jay Gordon

Talking on TV is not exactly talking quietly…

But let’s take a quick look at some of his statements on Real Time with Bill Maher to help those who might think that he is.

B. Maher: I’m just saying vaccines, like every medicine, has side effects… So let’s not deny that or pretend it doesn’t happen. Which ones? How much? How do we manage this? This is not crazy talk.

Jay Gordon: We don’t do it the way we should do it. Manufacturers don’t put… We don’t manufacture vaccines as well as we could. We have a schedule that is invariable for every single child, one size doesn’t really fit all. The polio vaccine that I would get as a 180 lb. man is the same that I give to a 12 lb. baby. We could do it a lot better. I don’t want to bring polio back. I don’t want to bring measles back. Measles is a nasty illness.

No one denies that vaccines have side effects. The thing is, vaccines do not cause each and every thing that anti-vax folks claim that they do. They don’t cause autism, SIDS, most non-febrile seizures, eczema, diabetes, MS, ADHD, asthma, cancer, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, or POTS, etc.

What about Jay’s comments?

Interestingly, Jay has often said that measles isn’t that bad…

“This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child. And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”

Jay Gordon on Doctor explains why he lets kids avoid the measles vaccine

Healthy kids can just die with measles though. And healthy kids are at later risk to develop SSPE, which is fatal.

And if he doesn’t understand that vaccines aren’t given based on the weight of the child or adult, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Jay Gordon believes that his middle of the road approach gets more kids vaccinated.
If you are scaring parents away from getting vaccinated, then giving vaccines on an alternative schedule may mean that you are anti-vaccine…

If he doesn’t understand the consequences of his slow vaccine schedule, especially if more parents actually started listening to him, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Mostly, he seems to be an expert on pandering to parents who already have fears of vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Jay Gordon's middle of the road approach only works because his kids can still hide in the herd, getting protected from everyone else who vaccinates and protects their kids.
The kids that are vaccinated at “a different pace and thought process” are simply hiding in the herd. They don’t get sick because the rest of us are vaccinated and protected, but that system breaks down if more people start listening to Dr. Jay.

And what he has never understood, even if he does get some of these parents to vaccinate on a slower schedule, his rhetoric likely gets many more parents started on the road to thinking vaccines are harmful or not necessary.

Jay Gordon has been wrong before, as you can see in the way he has changed his stance on the HPV vaccine, which he says he now gives, and he is wrong now.

Why is Jay Gordon still in the AAP?

And his advise is indeed contrary to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which makes you wonder why he is still allowed to be a member.

“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a chil​d at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer. 

Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”

Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics​

Maybe its time that Doctor Contrarian stopped thinking everyone else is wrong and he takes a long and hard look at his own views on vaccines.

“Nothing I do is free. I feel like I should give you a little bit of a discussion before I recommend Tylenol, because of the impact on the liver. A discussion about ibuprofen, because of the impact on the kidneys. And when someone gets antibiotics from me, I talk to them. You know, there could be a yeast infection. You could get diarrhea and a rash. Sorry about the diarrhea and the rash. But with vaccines, the discussion is closed.”

Jay Gordon

Health care providers are hopefully all giving their patients a vaccine information sheet and informed consent, so the discussion is certainly not closed when they give kids vaccines.

Does Jay discuss the potential risks of delaying or skipping vaccines?

Will he say sorry about the rotavirus, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are very necessary.

Although he thinks he is taking the middle road, Jay Gordon simply helps fuel the modern anti-vaccine movement.

To be sure though, along the way, he certainly has been in the middle of things…

Jay Gordon was named Doctor Contrarian way back in 1997.
March 1997 article in the LA Times describing how media savvy “skeptics” were attacking vaccines.

From his appearance on Good Morning America in 2000 to discuss why Cindy Crawford wasn’t vaccinating her baby, just as Wakefield was getting started, to testifying against SB277, California’s vaccine law, that didn’t work because doctors simply started writing unnecessary medical exemptions, he has been there. And let’s not forget that he was Jenny McCarthy‘s pediatrician!

“I’m just saying, ‘we don’t know shit,’ that’s why when doctors, when you get a diagnosis, the other doctor gives you another one. They say, right away, get a second opinion.”

Bill Maher

Bill Maher was right about one thing, if you are going to Jay Gordon for advice about vaccines – get a second opinion.

More on Jay Gordon and Bill Maher

What Makes Your Healthy Unvaccinated Child a Threat?

Folks who intentionally skip or delay their child’s vaccines and try to get away with hiding in the herd always seem to wonder why we consider their kids to be a threat to everyone else.

What happens when she grows up and learns who really kept her out of school?
What happens when she grows up and learns who really kept her out of school?

How can a healthy child be a threat?

What Makes Your Healthy Unvaccinated Child a Threat?

Of course, kids that are truly healthy aren’t a threat, as long as they stay healthy.

What would turn them into a threat to others?

A healthy child who got measles, chicken pox, or other vaccine-preventable disease and exposed others, putting them at risk, including those who are

  • too young to be vaccinated
  • too young to be fully vaccinated
  • unable to be vaccinated because they have a true medical exemption
  • susceptible because their vaccine didn’t work

And which kids, even if they are healthy, are most at risk to get measles, chickenpox, or other vaccine preventable diseases?

That’s right.

Kids who are unvaccinated and unprotected!

If you intentionally choose to not vaccinate your kids, that shouldn’t mean that others have to lose their choice to send their own kids to school without worrying that they will be exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease.

More On Unvaccinated Kids

Who Are the Medically Fragile Children?

As SB 276 becomes law in California, one thing we have been hearing about from some folks is how it will affect medically fragile children.

No one is coming to take the medical exemptions from medically fragile children.
No one is coming to take the medical exemptions from medically fragile children…

Will SB 276 or vaccine laws in other states take away the medical exemptions from medically fragile children?

Of course not!

Who Are the Medically Fragile Children?

The first thing to understand is that when folks like Rob Schneider talk about medically fragile children, they are using the term differently than when medical professionals and most parents do.

“Medically fragile” means having an acute or chronic health problem which requires therapeutic intervention and skilled nursing care during all or part of the day. Medically fragile problems include, but are not limited to, HIV disease, severe lung disease requiring oxygen, severe lung disease requiring ventilator or tracheostomy care, complicated spina bifida, heart disease, malignancy, asthmatic exacerbations, cystic fibrosis exacerbations, neuromuscular disease, encephalopathies, and seizure disorders.

2005 California Health and Safety Code Sections 1760-1761.8 FACILITIES HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 1760-1761.8

The medically fragile kids as defined by the California Health and Safety Code, who require skilled nursing care, are not typically the kids who are getting routine medical exemptions.

Sure, some of them might need one. A child with severe HIV disease or a malignancy being treated with chemotherapy would likely get a medical exemption for live vaccines, etc.

A child with an acute encephalopathy or uncontrolled seizures would also qualify for a medical exemption.

And since vaccines aren’t 100% risk free, there might be some kids with a vaccine injury among these medically fragile kids. It is likely not a high number though, as severe reactions to vaccines are very rare.

“CMC {children with medical complexity} are likely increasing in prevalence because of increased survival rates of infants born prematurely, those born with various congenital anomalies, and/or those with chronic conditions, as well as improved treatments for acute illnesses in fields such as intensive care and oncology.”

Cohen et al on Children With Medical Complexity: An Emerging Population for Clinical and Research Initiatives

In most other cases, medically fragile kids wouldn’t need a medical exemption and would greatly benefit from being vaccinated and protected!

They would also greatly benefit if everyone around them was vaccinated and protected, especially if they did have a medical exemption.

Again, no one is coming to take their necessary medical exemptions if they have one though.

More on Medically Fragile Children

Which Part of the Herd Gets Protected by Community Immunity?

You are a part of the herd.

“I don’t care that you call people a herd. And I don’t care that some people consider themselves to be part of a herd. I am not in a herd. I am not a farm animal.”

Del Bigtree

Of course, we are talking about herd immunity.

Which Part of the Herd Gets Protected by Community Immunity?

What if you aren’t vaccinated and protected?

Del Bigtree is a "free thinking human being," who whether he appreciates it or not, benefits from herd immunity protections.
Del Bigtree is a “free thinking human being,” who whether he appreciates it or not, benefits from herd immunity protections.

Then you are protected by those who are!

“A situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. Even individuals not vaccinated (such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.”

CDC Vaccine Glossary of Terms

That’s what herd immunity is all about.

In a community, “the herd” includes those with immunity and those trying/needing to “hide in the herd:”

  • those with natural immunity
  • folks who are vaccinated and protected
  • some people who are too young to be vaccinated or fully vaccinated
  • the people who’s vaccines didn’t work
  • anyone who can’t be vaccinated, because they have a medical contraindication

And it also includes those who are intentionally unvaccinated. The free-riders. Those who could be vaccinated, but simply choose not to, often because they have been scared by things they have heard or read about vaccines.

Baby deer need protection from the adults in the herd, but that doesn't mean that they aren't a part of the herd too.
Baby deer need protection from the adults in the herd, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a part of the herd too.

This all makes even more sense when you think about it as community immunity, the term that is more commonly used today.

Don’t want to think that you are in the herd?

That’s OK.

The herd still protects you. At least it does if enough folks in the herd are vaccinated and protected.

More on Community Immunity