Tag: risk perception

Getting Vaccinated to Protect Those Who Can’t Get the Vaccines

Most people get vaccinated because those vaccines have the direct benefit of reducing their risk of getting a life-threatening vaccine preventable disease. Protecting those who can’t get vaccines is a secondary benefit.

Should you get vaccinated to protect those who can't get the vaccines?
Does rationalizing your decision in anti-vax Facebook groups help you feel better that you are putting kids with cancer at greater risk to get sick?

A secondary benefit that anti-vax folks go to great lengths to convince themselves isn’t real and justify their decision to leave their kids unvaccinated and unprotected..

Getting Vaccinated to Protect Those Who Can’t Get the Vaccines

Of course, none of their explanations really hold water.

None of the vaccines that are routinely used on the CDC immunization schedule are a risk if you are around kids with cancer or other immunodeficiencies, except for FluMist and those with severe issues, like being in a bone marrow transplant unit.

One of the biggest misconceptions though, is that in getting vaccinated, parents are putting their own kids at great risk to protect someone else.

Don't set your kid on fire to keep mine warm!
Don’t set your kid on fire to keep mine warm!

Of course, that’s not true.

Remember, vaccines are safe, with few risks.

That why the analogy of setting their own kids on fire to keep others warm doesn’t make any sense.

After all, unlike vaccinating their own child, setting their child on fire offers them no benefit!

And they should understand that the one and only reason that their kids don’t get more vaccine-preventable diseases in this dog eat dog world is because the vast majority of us vaccinate and protect our kids.

Herd immunity is indeed real. In addition to protecting those who can’t be vaccinated, it protects the free-riders, those who just don’t want to get vaccinated.

What about the idea that it is unrealistic for folks who are immunocompromised to expect that they can lead normal lives and avoid infections?

You can't avoid all risks of infection, but why not avoid those that you can?

While it is true that there are other infections out there besides those that are vaccine-preventable, wouldn’t you want to at least reduce those risks that you can?

But could it be, as much as they seem to believe in shedding, that they think they are being altruistic in not vaccinating their kids?

Anti-vax folks are all about the shedding...
Anti-vax folks are all about the shedding

They aren’t.

In most cases, there are no restrictions on vaccinating people who have contact with those with immune system problems.

What about the idea that vaccines cause cancer?

Vaccines prevent cancer!
Vaccines prevent cancer!

That isn’t true. In fact, there are several vaccines that prevent cancer!

What other misconceptions do they have?

Most of the reasons folks use to avoid vaccines have been refuted a thousand times.
Most of the reasons folks use to avoid vaccines have been refuted a thousand times.

Let’s look at those last few issues…

  • vaccines are not associated with autism
  • vaccines aren’t perfect, but they do work very well
  • vaccines do help those with immune system problems, sometimes directly and more often because of herd immunity
  • people who have cancer are often vaccinated before they have chemo, but that protection gets wiped out during treatment and they can’t get caught up until after they have completed all of their treatments
  • kids with cancer might get some vaccines, but typically don’t get live vaccines

What about the idea that your unvaccinated child isn’t sick, so can’t get anyone else sick?

While that is a very common argument among anti-vax parents, it is very important that if your child is unvaccinated, then they are at much greater risk to catch a vaccine-preventable disease. And since you are often contagious even before you show symptoms, they might unknowingly expose many other people before they even realize that they are sick.

Hopefully you now understand it was never really a question.

That's why you get vaccinated, to protect those who can't get the vaccines!

Vaccinate and protect your kids.

If you don’t, in addition to putting them at risk to get sick, you put everyone around them at risk, including some who are at very high risk for severe complications from vaccine preventable diseases.

More on Risks from Unvaccinated Kids

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

Risks and Benefits of Vaccines – Anti-Vax Edition

Anti-vax folks like to say that they are doing their research, even collecting that research into handy binders. And they like to think that they are looking at both the risks and benefits of vaccines when they make their decision to skip or delay their child’s vaccines.

When anti-vax folks look at the risks and benefits of vaccines, they see lots of risks and few benefits.
When anti-vax folks look at the risks and benefits of vaccines, they see lots of risks and few benefits.

Like their research, their method of considering the risks and benefits of vaccines is very flawed

Risks and Benefits of Vaccines – Anti-Vax Edition

What’s the first thing you notice when you look at Ashley Everly‘s chart?

She doesn’t have a column for when a child Should Be Vaccinated!

Although there are no optional vaccines, there are some situations in which getting vaccinated and protected is truly essential, including:

  • a child bitten by a dog, coyote, or bat with rabies
  • a completely unvaccinated teen who gets a deep puncture wound while playing in a field
  • a baby born to a mother with hepatitis B
  • an unvaccinated older teen living in a dorm on a college campus where there is an ongoing outbreak of meningococcemia
  • a preschooler with a cochlear implant
  • an unvaccinated 1st grader who’s sibling is starting chemotherapy for leukemia
  • unvaccinated kids traveling out of the country to parts of the world where vaccine-preventable diseases are still endemic
  • a child with asplenia

Does she really think that the benefits of the rabies vaccine don’t outweigh the risks? Does she understand what happens if you get rabies, even if your child has access to nutritious food, clean drinking water, and emergency medical care?

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

What else is wrong with Ashley Everly‘s risk and benefit chart?

Most of the things on her list of who should not be vaccinated are not true contraindications.

Of course, the one about having a “previous vaccine injury or serious reaction” would likely be a reason to not get that vaccine again, as long as the injury or reaction was really caused by the vaccine.

Are there situations in which the potential benefit of vaccination might not outweigh the vaccines risks?

“Events or conditions listed as precautions should be reviewed carefully. Benefits of and risks for administering a specific vaccine to a person under these circumstances should be considered. If the risk from the vaccine is believed to outweigh the benefit, the vaccine should not be administered. If the benefit of vaccination is believed to outweigh the risk, the vaccine should be administered. Whether and when to administer DTaP to children with proven or suspected underlying neurologic disorders should be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

ACIP Contraindications and Precautions

Those situations are called precautions.

Fortunately, most are temporary, such as having a “moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever.”

These precautions do not include having a family history of cancer or autoimmune disease.

When Vaccination May Be Unnecessary

Are there any situations in which vaccination may be unnecessary?

There are a few, including:

  • when a disease is eradicated
  • when you aren’t at risk to get a disease and there is little risk that there will be an outbreak in your community or a return if folks stop vaccinating – that’s why we don’t routinely vaccinate against yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid fever, etc. in the United States
  • when you get sick and develop natural immunity

Vaccination is still necessary if a child’s mother is breastfeeding (which doesn’t protect against most vaccine-preventable diseases), has natural immunity to wild type infections (passive immunity quickly wears off), and even if the child has access to nutritious food and clean drinking water.

Nearly two months in the ICU vs getting a tetanus shot… How do the risks and benefits stack up now?

And yes, getting vaccinated and protected is even necessary if a child has access to emergency medical care.

What to Know About the Risks and Benefits of Vaccines

While you should certainly consider the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated, understand that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and very necessary.

More on the Risks and Benefits of Vaccines

More Anti-Vaccine Protest Signs

Anti-vaccine folks think that they have come up with a winning tactic, especially as they get kicked off of more and more social media platforms.

They are taking it to the street, literally, to protest their kids needing vaccines to protect them from life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases and attend school.

More Anti-Vaccine Protest Signs

Fortunately, like their signs, this is a very black and white issue.

Just like other anti-vaccine signs we have seen, these signs are made up of classic anti-vaccine talking points and misinformation that we have refuted a thousand times.

First things first though.

Why are these protestors dressed up like they are about to head to a 50’s sock hop?

That’s easy.

They still think kids only got 3 to 5 shots in the 1950s and 1960s.

5 in 1962? Have you looked at an immunization schedule from the 1960s?

Although kids did get many more vaccine doses than they imagine back then, most of these folks likely long for days when kids still got measles, pneumococcal meningitis, epiglottitis, mumps, and all of the other now vaccine-preventable diseases.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these other signs are just as easy to explain and debunk…

  • 4 Billion Paid by Us Government for Vaccine Injuries and Deaths – yes, $4,060,857,713.42 has been paid by the Vaccine Court for 6,355 compensated claims for vaccine injuries since 1989, during which time billions of doses of vaccines have been given
  • Vaccine Ingredients Animal Blood Pig Gelatin Monkey and Dog Kidney Rabbit Brain Insect Cells Human DNA + More – scary stuff until you learn what’s really in our vaccines
  • Keep the Road to Informed Consent and Medical Freedom Open – these signs are a perversion of the idea of informed consent, as they not only misinformed people about vaccines, but they also leave out all of the risks of not getting vaccinated and protected
  • Understand the Risks Allergies Seizures Brain Damage Paralysis Autoimmunity ‘Classic’ Vaccine Reactions – folks should understand both the real risks of vaccines and the risks of delaying or skipping vaccines and getting a vaccine preventable disease, which can be life-threatening
  • The Same Industry That Has Half The Nation Addicted To Opioids Wants To Mandate Vaccines – it shouldn’t be surprising that many of these signs simply reflect ideas about Big Pharma conspiracy theories
  • The CDC Vaccine Schedule Is Turbo Charged. Do Your Research.turbocharged to protect us from 16 vaccine preventable diseases that used to kill our kids?
  • Pharma Profits Should Not Outweigh Individual Rights – more Big Pharma
  • No Shots No School Not True. Get an Exemption. – yes, all states allow medical exemptions for vaccines and some allow non-medical exemptions, but that leaves your kids unvaccinated and unprotected
  • Vaccine Makes Are Exempt From Liability – this is not true
  • Vaccine Science Is Not Settled. It’s Corrupt. – more Big Pharma
  • Parents in the Driver’s Seat on Vaccines. Not the Government. – since there are no forced vaccinations, parents always make the ultimate choice on whether or not to vaccinate their kids
  • Sounding the Alarm on Vaccine Science. Science is Never Settled. – sure, let’s replace vaccines science with anti-vaccine pseudoscience
  • Vaccines Can Cause Injury and Death – although possible, it is extremely rare for vaccines to cause serious, life-threatening injuries
  • Get Charged Up About Protecting Medical Freedom. Forced Vaccines Are Not American. – since vaccine mandates don’t actually force anyone to get vaccinated, this sign doesn’t really make sense
  • Ready… Set… Know… Vaccines Are Not Placebo Safety Tested. – except for all of those times when they are, including saline placebos
  • Vaccines Reactions Are Not Rare. They are Rarely Reported. – while mild vaccine reactions may not be rare and may be under-reported, serious vaccine reactions are very rare.
  • Put the Brakes on Vaccine Mandates. – if these folks weren’t out scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids, we wouldn’t need new vaccine laws and mandates!
  • Aluminum. Good for Cars. Not for Vaccines.aluminum salts in vaccines work as an adjuvant so that we can use fewer antigens and still get a good immune response.

If you see any of these signs, now you will know what they really mean.

Put the brakes on misinformation about vaccines.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and they are obviously necessary.

More on Anti-Vaccine Protest Signs