You can continue to share and spread anti-vaccine propaganda, helping scare other folks away from vaccinating and protecting their kids, or you can stop.
Choose to Stop Spreading Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
Why is the above meme anti-vaccine propaganda?
For one thing, there aren’t 200 vaccines in the pipeline!
There are actually very few new vaccines being developed that have any chance of making it onto the immunization schedule anytime soon. Many of the so-called vaccines in the pipeline are either not for infectious diseases (many are therapeutic vaccines for cancer!) or are for the same disease.
Even more importantly though, removing non-medical vaccine exemptions, which are often abused, doesn’t force anyone to vaccinate their kids.
Vaccine mandates are laws about getting vaccinated to attend daycare and school, etc. You still have a choice if you don’t want to get vaccinated.
What’s the problem that some folks have?
They don’t like their choices!
They want to be able to skip or delay their child’s vaccines and be able to send them to daycare or school.
“…the increased risk of disease in the pediatric population, in part because of increasing rates of vaccine refusal and in some circumstances more rapid loss of immunity, increases potential exposure of immunodeficient children.”
Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation
And they want to take away everyone else’s choice to decrease their risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease.
You don’t have a right to do that though!
Are you still spreading anti-vaccine propaganda?
Then you are part of the problem. You just don’t realize it yet.
And you are the reason that rates of vaccine-preventable diseases are going up and why Legislators are having to tighten the rules to prevent exemption abuse.
More on Choosing to Stop Spreading Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
Even as some schools and communities continue to face outbreaks of measles, chicken pox, and other vaccine-preventable diseases, there is a very good chance that your kids are in a school where you don’t have to worry about them getting sick.
There is also a good chance that you have no idea who made that possible.
Who was Betty Bumpers?
Sure, a lot of it has to do with all of the parents who are making the right choice in vaccinating and protecting their kids.
But there was a time when we had many vaccines and kids still weren’t getting protected.
“I don’t think that there is anything more important than immunizing our children and preventing unnecessary suffering. We’ve seen too much of that and it’s been so exciting now to see immunization rates going up. Betty Bumpers and I have worked on this for a long time, but Betty Bumpers is the real hero. She has done more for immunizations than any one person in this whole country.”
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
That changed in the early 1970s, when Betty Bumpers, as the First Lady of Arkansas, worked to raise immunization rates in her state, with the Every Child By ’74 campaign.
She didn’t stop in Arkansas though.
“I believe our program, based upon volunteers and government agencies already in pace, has been tremendously successful.”
In 1975, she told a Senate subcommittee that her immunization program could serve as a model for other states too.
“Measles incidence declined dramatically after large vaccination campaigns, but transmission was not interrupted. The licensure of rubella vaccine in 1969 led to mass campaigns to immunize children to avert an anticipated repeat of the tragic epidemic of 1964–65, which resulted in the births of approximately 20,000 infants with congenital rubella syndrome. The rubella campaigns diverted attention and funding from measles, resulting in a resurgence of measles. Federal funding for Section 317 declined during the early to mid-1970s. Immunization coverage fell, and disease increased.”
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Immunizations, and MMWR — 1961–2011
A few years later, President Jimmy Carter announced the National Childhood Immunization Initiative of 1977, a program that was stimulated by the efforts of Betty Bumpers, with Rosalynn Carter.
In addition to increased spending on immunization programs, we soon had laws in every state requiring students to be vaccinated before they could attend school, and not surprisingly, measles cases quickly dropped.
It didn’t last.
In the year’s that followed the Carter administration, Federal support for vaccine programs reached a low point, as rates of children living in poverty and without health insurance also increased.
To help combat this rise in vaccine-preventable disease, Betty Bumpers, again with Rosaylnn Carter, launched Every Child By Two – Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization.
Founded in 1991, Every Child By Two, now Vaccinate Your Family, has worked to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated on time and on schedule. This was especially important at the time, when many preschool age kids weren’t getting vaccinated. And it still is, as misinformation about vaccines continues to scare some parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
She also worked with her husband, Senator Dale Bumpers, to encourage Bill Clinton’s administration to develop the Childhood Immunization Initiative, which he proposed in 1993, and to pass the Vaccines for Children Program, which was created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
In addition to her work helping get kids vaccinated, Betty Bumpers:
She is truly a hero and should be remembered for all of the work she did.
Whether folks understand it or not, it is because of the work of Betty Bumpers that even as some folks skip or delay their child’s vaccines, the outbreaks they cause are eventually contained before they get out of control.
Betty Bumpers was a champion in our efforts to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases among children in the United States. She played a major leadership role as 1st Lady of Arkansas in improving immunization in that state and was inspirational in launching the first major Presidential Initiative on Immunization during the late 1970s. She continued to be a major immunization advocate through much of her life launching “Every Child By Two (ECBT)” which she chaired along with Mrs. Rosalyn Carter, now “Vaccinate Your Family”.
That work will continue to save the lives of millions of children, at least it will as long as we don’t let folks chip away at it, allowing them to abuse exemptions and spread propaganda, scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
Analogies and metaphors are a good way to explain things, including that vaccines are safe and necessary.
Here are some of my favorite vaccine analogies and metaphors.
Getting vaccinated is like:
applying sunscreen before going to the beach
applying insect repellent before going camping in the woods
making sure that your kids are wearing a seat belt or sitting in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat when you get in the car
installing anti-virus software on your new computer
When do you put on your seat belt? When you get in the car, before you get in an accident. Just like a vaccine. You get it before you get sick. Yes, some vaccines do work after you have been exposed to an illness, but they don’t work after you are already sick.
There is a problem with these metaphors though; they don’t include the risks to other people.
taking driver’s ed and getting your license before driving
taking swimming lessons before going in the water without a life jacket
putting your gun in a locked safe
putting a fence around your backyard so that no one in your neighborhood can drown in your pool
making sure folks don’t text and drive
Vaccination equals protection.
And not just protection for the person getting vaccinated. Being unvaccinated puts others at risk too, as you might start an outbreak.
Getting your kids vaccinated is like taking them to swimming lessons instead of just throwing them in the lake. Either way they can learn to swim and have protection/immunity from drowning. But one method (throwing them in the lake) is much more dangerous than the other.
“Vaccines are a like a wanted poster, they just show your body what the bad guys look like, so when faced with them for real you are ready, prepared, and able to stop them before they cause harm.”
Can vaccines overwhelm the immune system?
Are there analogies that explain the idea of free-riders – folks who intentionally don’t vaccinate their kids and attempt to hide in the herd?
“If all my child’s friends are vaccinated, won’t he be protected by herd immunity? Why should I put my child at risk for vaccine reactions if all the other children around him are already immune?
This is like riding in a carpool where everyone contributes each month to pay for gas, repairs and parking. One morning, a new neighbor shows up and says, “I think I’ll ride along with you. But I’m not going to pay, since you’re going downtown anyway and you have an empty seat.” If enough people choose to take a free ride on other children’s immunity, herd immunity will soon disappear.”
“I have found that it sometimes helps to give parents an analogy. I ask them the following: If they were to put gas in their car and then later got a flat tire, would that mean putting gas in the car had caused the flat tire? No. The two events were just a coincidence.”
There are plenty of other good analogies that help to explain the importance of vaccines.
“Clusters of unvaccinated people are like patches of dry grass that, with a single match, can start a wildfire that will burn not only dry material, but sometimes wet as well. The match could be a student who returns from a trip abroad with measles or a train commuter with whooping cough.”
It’s also important to remember that anyone, even those who are well prepared, can get burned in a wildfire. That’s why the analogy works so well.
“Vaccinating one’s children is like paying taxes. We all have a moral and a legal duty to pay taxes because we have a moral and a legal duty to contribute to the upkeep of our society and to its public goods (e.g., a good public health system, national defence, etc.).”
Vaccine Refusal Is Like Tax Evasion
Why are we concerned about those who are unvaccinated if our own children are fully vaccinated?
“Think of camping as an analogy. If everyone at a campground properly stores their food, bears won’t be enticed to come around. If even one person leaves their food unprotected, it invites bears in to investigate all the campsites for opportunities to eat.”
How does choosing not to immunize affect the community?
“Being intentionally unvaccinated against highly contagious diseases is, to carry Holmes’ analogy a bit further, like walking down a street randomly swinging your fists without warning. You may not hit an innocent bystander, but you’ve substantially increased the chances that you will.
One might usefully analogize the risk of disease to a crapshoot. A person’s chance of being infected is, as Dr. Singer acknowledges, a matter of luck. But is it really OK for the unvaccinated to load the dice to increase the odds against other people? If so, by how much?”
Ronald Bailey on Vaccines and the Responsibility To Not Put Others at Risk
Of course, there are plenty of bad vaccine analogies and metaphors that anti-vaccine folks push:
“genes load the gun but the vaccines pull the trigger”
vaccine manufacturers are like tobacco manufacturers
I won’t set my child on fire to keep yours warm (this doesn’t work as a vaccine analogy, mostly because there is no benefit to setting your child on fire. Would an anti-vaxxer let their child start a campfire to keep their friends from dying in the cold?)
getting a vaccine is like eating a handful of M&Ms out of a big bowl when you know that a few have been poisoned
getting a child vaccinated is like giving 1,000 kids 1,000 cupcakes, telling them to pick one and eat it, knowing that one of the cupcakes is poisoned (it’s maybe like letting a child with a severe peanut allergy choose a cupcake, knowing that there is a one in a million chance that the cupcake he chooses has been made with peanuts…)
I want safer cars, but that doesn’t make me anti-car
You understand why the anti-car one is a bad analogy, right? Folks who want safer cars generally still drive and ride in cars!
Have you heard any good or bad analogies or mataphors about vaccines?
Getting your kids vaccinated and protected is a good idea.
Vaccines are safe, necessary, and they work.
Why do we need posters and slogans to help educate people about their benefits?
Maybe because as long as there have been vaccines, there have been anti-vaccine slogans scaring parents away from them.
Immunization posters are also a good way to raise awareness of new vaccines and new recommendations for getting vaccinated.
Educating Parents About Vaccines
In the early 1980s, vaccine preventable diseases had come roaring back as folks in England and other countries got scared to vaccinate and protect their kids with the DTP vaccine.
It is reported that “public confidence in the pertussis vaccine collapsed in the early 1970s as a result of widely publicised concern about its safety and campaigns for compensation for children damaged by the vaccine.”
It got so bad that as vaccination rates fell to less than 30% in 1978, there were at least 154 deaths and 17 cases of brain damage in the UK because of pertussis infections, even though the concerns about the pertussis vaccine were widely unfounded.
“While You Make Up Your Mind About Whooping Cough Vaccination, Thousands Of Children Are Holding Their Breath” was an effective poster at this time. It highlighted the fact that you could sometimes wait too long to get your kids vaccinated, as pertussis cases and deaths grew during the outbreaks.
Vaccination rates eventually went up again, as parents made up their mind to vaccinate and protect their kids.
Immunization Posters and Slogans
Other immunization slogans and posters that have been used, including many historical posters, include:
Although you hopefully already know all about all of the vaccines that your kids need, if you see a new immunization poster or slogan, ask your pediatrician for more information.