Tag: vaccine choice

What Makes Someone Anti-Vaccine?

Few people like to call themselves anti-vaccine.

Even Jessica Biel says that she isn't anti-vaccine...
Even Jessica Biel says that she isn’t anti-vaccine…

They instead choose other labels for themselves, such as pro-safe vaccine, pro-vaccine choice, pro-informed consent, or that they are a vaccine skeptic.

What Makes Someone Anti-Vaccine?

Don’t be fooled though.

Most people think that Jessica Biel is anti-vaccine.

Most of these folks are clearly anti-vaccine.

Do you think Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine?
Do you think Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine?

How can you tell?

Folks who are anti-vax push myths and misinformation about vaccines.

Whether it is because they believe that vaccines aren’t safe, aren’t necessary, or that they don’t work, they work to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“You don’t have to dig far to know that vaccines have caused tremendous harm. Have they had benefits? Absolutely. Which is why I remain somewhat on the neutral side in saying that I am not anti-vaccine,” said Dr. Paul Thomas. “I’m pro-safe vaccines. I’ve progressed along to the point where I now don’t believe there is such a thing.”

Still not sure of the differences?

Does that sound like he isn't anti-vaccine?
Does that sound like he isn’t anti-vax?

You can typically tell if someone is anti-vaccine by how they answer common questions about vaccines. Ask about shedding, MTHFR, or SV40, etc.

Even Jim Carrey said that he wasn't anti-vaccine!
Even Jim Carrey said that he wasn’t anti-vax!

Remember when Kat Von D said she was going to raise her baby without vaccinations?

“Just to set the record straight from the beginning, I just want to say I am not anti-Semitic, and I am not an anti-vaxxer.

Kat Von D

Does that mean she is now vaccinating her kid?

“What I am is a first-time mother. I am one of those moms that reads everything. Anything that is going in my baby or on my baby, I research like a complete and total nerd. After doing a bunch of research and reading the ingredients, naturally I experienced some hesitancy.”

Kat Von D

Nope.

“Since then, we have decided as parents to consult with our pediatrician and just let him educate us and guide us. But, unlike before, I have learned my lesson and I am choosing not to make our decision or any of our baby’ s health records public.”

Kat Von D

Hopefully she chose a pediatrician who isn’t anti-vaccine…

Celebrities Who Say They Aren’t Anti-Vaccine

Who else has said that they aren’t anti-vax?

  • Robert “I’m not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines.” DeNiro
  • Mayim “we are a non-vaccinating family… but I’m not anti” Bailik
  • Jenna “I’m not anti-vax” Elfman
  • Kirstie “I’m not ANTI vaccines but we MUST take responsibility 4 choosing which ones WE give OUR children & ourselves. They aren’t ALL harmless” Alley

Anyone else?

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Decoding Anti-Vaccine Protests

Yes, even in this age of recordbreaking measles cases, there are some anti-vaccine folks protesting because they want to keep their kids unvaccinated and unprotected.

Decoding Anti-Vaccine Protests

What reasons do they have to intentionally not vaccinate their kids?

Who's protecting us from the people protesting against vaccines?
Who’s protecting us from the people protesting against vaccines?

As many reasons as there are anti-vaccine talking points…

What is truly disturbing though, is that today’s anti-vaccine protestors are co-opting many symbols, language, and slogans and using them to get attention.

Del Bigtree wasn't the only one to wear a yellow star during anti-vaccine protests.
Del Bigtree wasn’t the only one to wear a yellow star during anti-vaccine protests.

Remember when anti-vaccine folks had to be called out for using Holocaust imagery to protest against vaccines.

How Did These Become Anti-Vaccine Slogans?

That’s not all they are doing though.

Did you know that they are also using:

If you do not consent, you won't get vaccinated and protected.
  • Me Too – a movement to support survivors and end sexual violence, anti-vaccine folks use it to when they talk about vaccine injuries.
  • I do not consent – typically about limiting searches when police don’t have a warrant, the anti-vaccine movement abuses it for something that they do have to consent for – getting vaccinated! If you do not consent, you won’t get vaccinated and protected.
  • Informed consent – again, this is something anti-vaccine folks abuse, as their decisions are being influenced by myths and misinformation, so it is not informed consent. It’s more like misinformed consent.

And then there are the anti-vaxxers who use “choice” as their argument.

If you weren't aware, this post makes it obvious where the choice argument comes from. No, it's not AoA, but from the pro-choice movement.
If you weren’t aware, this post makes it obvious where the choice argument comes from. No, it’s not AoA, but from the pro-choice movement.

Anti-vaxxers are only pro-choice for not vaccinating their kids though. They don’t care if we have a choice about wanting to be protected from being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dog Whistles for Refusing Vaccines

What’s the big problem with choice as an argument for anti-vaccine folks?

Parents already have a choice to leave their kids unvaccinated and at risk for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

They already have choices!

No one is forcing them to vaccinate their kids.

Of course, what they want is more choices. They want the option to send their intentionally unvaccinated kids to daycare and school, where they would pose a risk to others. They want to limit our choices for decreasing the risks of keeping our kids safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.

How? Their intentionally unvaccinated kids are at greater risk to get measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, which they can then spread to others.

What does all of this really mean?

Just realize that all of these slogans are being co-opted and are being used as dog whistles for the anti-vaccine movement, diluting their original meaning.

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12 Things Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong

Anti-vaccine parents who skip or delay their child’s vaccines think that they are doing the right thing for their kids.

Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies…
Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies…

They aren’t.

What Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong

There are no benefits to skipping or delaying vaccines – only extra risks.

What’s the biggest risk? That their child will get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are unprotected.

And the risks aren’t only to their own children. Being unvaccinated and unprotected, they can get sick and put others at risk of getting sick too. This includes those who are too young to be vaccinated, too young to be fully vaccinated and protected, and those who may have a compromised immune system and can’t be vaccinated.

Mostly though, anti-vaccine parents have wrong ideas about:

  • the benefits of vaccines – while vaccine advocates admit that vaccines are neither 100% safe nor 100% effective, you rarely see anti-vaccine folks admit that vaccines have benefits, as that would create too much cognitive dissonance for them
  • shedding – everything you have read about vaccine shedding and “shedding season” likely isn’t true
  • the risks of vaccines – although vaccines are not 100% safe, as I have already said, anti-vaccine folks typically overstate their risks, making you think that they cause all of the vaccine injuries and vaccine-induced diseases that you read about online
  • the benefits of natural immunity – while natural immunity is great, it is important to understand that it comes with a cost – you have to survive a disease to get those benefits, and not everyone does, at least not without some complications
  • forced vaccination – a vaccine mandate to attend school is not forced vaccination
  • the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases – most folks don’t understand the true risks of vaccine-preventable diseases anymore because vaccines work so well to keep them under control, but it is important to remember that these are life-threatening diseases and we will see more outbreaks and more deaths and complications if they continue to come back
  • the risks of getting sick – if you are unvaccinated and unprotected and hiding in the herd, you are at risk to catch a vaccine-preventable disease
  • Big Pharma conspiracies – it is silly to think that we have been able to keep a global Big Pharma conspiracy about vaccines a secret
  • toxins – there are no toxic ingredients in vaccines
  • the risk of getting others sick – who else is going to get sick if you start an outbreak? Someone who is too young to be vaccinated or can’t be vaccinated because they have a problem with their immune system?
  • vaccine choice – since there is no forced vaccination, talk of vaccine choice is simply anti-vaccine folks complaining because they don’t like all of the choices they have been given, even as they are very happy to take away the choice of the rest of us to not have to worry about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases
  • placebos – although they are now fixated on this, it is important to keep in mind that a placebo doesn’t have to be saline or an inert substance, a standard that is only set by anti-vaccine folks

What else do anti-vaccine parents get wrong?

They are very wrong if they are making the right decision in skipping or delaying their child’s vaccines.

More on What Anti-Vaccine Parents Get Wrong

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

Plenty of folks claim to be experts on vaccines.

Some are experts because they study epidemiology, others because they study immunology or infectious disease.

And then there are the experts in vaccination ethics.

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

With a Ph.D. in the history of philosophy of science, Dr. Art Caplan went on to co-found The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute.

Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.
Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.

He has since written dozens of books and nearly a thousand articles in peer-reviewed journals, working most recently at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, where he is the founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics.

“When politicians ignore the evidence, fail to cite appropriate medical authorities, and rely on hearsay and rumor, with the result that people — out of ignorance or error — don’t vaccinate their children, we can and should deny them elective office. When a doctor does so, we should demand that he forfeit his right to use his medical degree to misinform, confuse or lie.”

Arthur L. Caplan on Revoke the license of any doctor who opposes vaccination

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Art Caplan has a lot to say about vaccines.

“Faulty ethical thinking is to blame. We are elevating parents’ rights to make misinformed decisions over the rights of children to get important vaccines. Infants and young children are blocked from receiving their routine childhood immunizations by parents who espouse an aberrant ideology of choice or are being duped by anti-vaccine groups. In so doing, they are violating children’s rights to health, welfare and equal opportunity.”

Arthur L. Caplan and Peter J. Hotez on Anti-vaccine misinformation denies children’s rights

He also has a lot to say about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases, and how to get control back before these outbreaks turn into true epidemics.

“What should we be doing to protect our communities, our children, and ourselves? We should halt the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation and take steps to stop nonmedical vaccine exemptions. We need to restore vaccines and vaccinations as the “new normal” in America.”

Arthur L Caplan on Let’s Treat Measles Seriously

Are you still thinking about skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines?

After reading some of Dr. Caplan’s work, you should know that it’s not safe, has no benefits, and isn’t the ethical thing to do.

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