Anti-Vaccination Agitation

One way to look at it is this – a small minority now has the ability to hijack public health policy by waging their own shadow campaign on social media. They are accountable to no one. They can force the expenditure of limited public health dollars just to minimize the effect of their own campaigns. This is also an asymmetric campaign, because it is much easier to spread fear than proper information. At the very least it is reasonable to filter out their harmful misinformation from private platforms. Panels of experts can be used to provide the filter, and fair processes can be made available for appeals. At the very least these options need to be explored.

Sciencebasedmedicine.org
Sciencebasedmedicine.org

This article was about Gardasil. The vaccination worked, but social conservatives hated it because it gave women permission to be promiscuous. Think about what that means. They wanted people to suffer and die from a preventable cancer rather than vaccinate them against the cause of that cancer on the grounds that sex outside of marriage is bad and should be discouraged. They used vaccine fear to wage a war against this vaccine, and this isn’t even the first time, nor was it the last.

facebook/Stonekettle

That is the Conservative-Republican-Trumpist line now about the coronavirus vaccine:

Oh, we’re not anti-vax. We just don’t think vaccines work.

…Strangely, it is the same argument they offer about their obvious racism. What their resistance is about now is still religion. Their religion of conservatism. Their invented Republican Jesus, the one who loves capitalism and profit more than he does the poor and the sick. Their belief that government can’t do anything good in the world.

I’ve heard this pushback from dozens of sources now. They just object to this one vaccination, not the general idea that vaccinations work. Either the science is real, or it isn’t. Either we have stopped Small Pox, Polio, etcetera through vaccination, or the entire business is a sham. A con job. Pick one side people, because it can’t be both sides at the same time. The vaccine works. It works and you should get it.

Editor’s Note

This was originally posted as a quote on January 11, 202o, I have advanced and appended the quote with the current coronavirus crap.

A Vaccine Eliminating Cervical Cancer

The World Health Organization’s calls to eliminate cervical cancer “may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage can be achieved,” said Marc Brisson, a biostatistician at Laval University in Quebec and one of the study’s authors.

NYT Science
The Skepticalraptor

Doctors Discuss 7 Common Vaccine Myths

If I had a nickel for everyone who has told me ‘I got the flu from the flu vaccine’ I’d be a very wealthy man. Hell, I believed it once myself.

Gardasil

Back in 2005 a few different vaccines became available that purported to prevent almost all cases of cervical cancer in older women. This was achieved by vaccinating teenage girls against the variations of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that could be spread through sexual contact. Since we had a daughter that was at precisely the right age to be eligible for it, we wanted to get her vaccinated. We understandably wanted to prevent her possible suffering and death from this cancer if it was something so simple that a vaccination could achieve it.

We failed in this task because the vaccine cost far more to purchase than we had to spare at the time, and we never managed to get the right amount of money together at the same time that the vaccination was available. The far too frequently seen trials of life on a fixed income.

Governor Perry put one of the vaccines, Gardasil, on the list of mandated vaccines for Texas, but Christianists objected to this on the grounds that it would keep god’s wrath from descending on those evil children who are just waiting to have wonton sex:

As they flex their political muscle, right-wing Christians increasingly reveal their condescending view of women as moral children who need to be kept in line sexually by fear. That’s why antichoicers will never answer the call of prochoicers to join them in reducing abortions by making birth control more widely available: They want it to be less available. Their real interest goes way beyond protecting fetuses–it’s in keeping sex tied to reproduction to keep women in their place.

Virginity or Death! by Katha Pollitt  (archive.org/thenation.com)

The kinds of wonton sex that these constipated tightwads never got to enjoy and so consequently don’t want others to have. The vaccination that would avert nearly all cases of cervical cancer if given to girls before they become sexually active, saving the state of Texas untold millions of dollars and preventing the painful deaths of thousands of women, removed from consideration as a mandatory vaccination because it might make those orgasms less costly to pursue. Christianists don’t like the idea of saving anyone from their God’s righteous wrath, so they were foursquare against the vaccine.

Of course these Texas Christianists were granted their wish by their personally anointed state legislature, and the only thing Governor Perry has done during his time in office (that I’ve agreed with) was voted out. Go figure.

This meant that we also couldn’t count on the state to make the vaccination affordable and therefore available to our teenage daughter, and so she never got it. We did manage to get our son vaccinated with it as it was made available for free as part of the regularly scheduled vaccinations that all children should get. So at least he won’t be spreading the virus and giving his girlfriends cervical cancer. It’s the small victories in life that are worth celebrating. It gives you something to do every day. Our daughter remains susceptible to getting cervical cancer at some point in the future because of the backward thinking of the people who control the leadership in Texas.

Fast forward to yesterday. Dude on Facebook posts a link to a Science Based Medicine article on the subject of vaccinations:

Most people have not lived in a time of plagues or remember their effects. Most people do not read history or look at the morbidity and mortality of vaccine-preventable illnesses in the third world. But the reality is that vaccine-preventable illness are still there and the barriers to prevent their return are surprisingly fragile. It doesn’t take much thinning of herd immunity to allow vaccine-preventable illnesses to come storming back. We are always skating close to the edge of infectious outbreaks and not aware of the danger. But reality don’t care if we think vaccines do not work or cause autism or that we give too many too soon. Stop vaccinations and it is not if but when we will see the infections return. We think we are safe from vaccine-preventable illness. We are not.

sciencebasedmedicine.org

In the comment thread his idiot brother chimes in with:

“Except for Gardasil, that one is deadly”

I have argued with these two several times in the past. He was a friend from my Libertarian Party caucusing days. I’ve never met his idiot brother, which I consider a mercy. Gardasil is not deadly. There is ample evidence that Gardasil and the other HPV vaccines are lifesaving interventions that do prevent cancer. I posted a couple of links refuting the deadliness of Gardasil, finishing up with this article on the Guardian:

The HPV vaccine is case in point. As this latest study proves, it’s asinine to think that a vaccination is a gateway drug to sex. I have a difficult time seeing “Hey baby, I’m vaccinated” proliferating as an effective pick-up line in the middle-school cafeteria. The vaccinations-lead-to-sex argument also assumes that teenagers are delaying sex specifically because they fear HPV. It probably is true that some teenagers delay sex because they don’t want to contract a whole host of sexually transmitted infections. That’s good and fine, and we should encourage teenagers (as we should everyone) to avoid sexually transmitted infections by both practicing safer sex and delaying sex until one is capable of having a thorough conversation about sex and safety with one’s partner.

theguardian.com

I link that one last because I’ve been in an argument with these two before, and I know them for the anti-abortionist / sex is for procreation / no avoiding god’s wrath types that they have presented themselves as in the past.

When I logged back on this morning, there were a series of counter links from the brother appended to the comment thread, including one to a Huffpo interview with a former Merck researcher. All of them, just FYI, bullshit. Bullshit refuted in my previously linked articles.

Except for the one about the Merck researcher, which was something I hadn’t seen before. So I dug up a rebuttal article for that specific subject:

I strongly believe in cervical cancer prevention and the effects of the HPV vaccine. The vaccines will give you a higher chance of a normal screening.

Diane Harper (revised article)

…and I added a comment for the person whose wall the conversation was on, pointing out that the vaccinations effectiveness against HPV cancers is well documented.

There then proceeds a back and forth concerning the need for vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases (diseases that just happen to cause cancer) and ends with his observation “do you ever have conversations where you aren’t derisive?” To which I responded “only when the subject merits it.” He had one more wisecrack after that which was so vacuous it escapes me, and then he unfriended and blocked me, once again instructing me on the merits of arguing on my own wall so that I can retain my own witticisms for later self mortification. The real usefulness of all internet conversation.

Anyway. The point of this is the unanswered last question of mine to him. Considering that sexually transmitted diseases are by far some of the most common diseases humans will be exposed to, I ask the question again: “why wouldn’t we make vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases mandatory if said vaccinations were actually created and shown to be effective?” The insistence that because the disease is transmitted through sex removes it from the preventative treatment regimen strikes me as one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve come across.

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Yes. How dare I? How dare I speak with derision on a subject which I deemed merited it? When the counter argument highlights a distinction without difference? When the opposition couldn’t win an argument with a wet sock? Pour piss out of a boot with directions on the bottom? Find their ass with both hands? How dare I be derisive when your arguments are so pathetic they can’t even stand up under a little sunlight?

The Origins Of An Epidemic: How Right-Wing Religious Communities Give Measles A Chance To Spread

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God is an Iron

FFrF Radio: Atheists in the Pulpit

Podcast link.

January 12, 2008Atheists in the Pulpit: Ministers Who Lose Their Faith

Discussion of HR 888 “American Religious History Week” Talk2Action says:

Falsified American history has already been taught to 190,000 American public school students via an elective Bible class curriculum with bogus American history ( here’s Chuck Norris and his wife, in a short video, to tell you about it) and on an even larger scale via falsified history – attacking church/state separation no less – that’s been inserted in the Army’s JROTC curriculum taught at public high schools nationwide.

This issue concerns more than a House Resolution endorsing fake history ; the core function of the falsified “Christian nation” historical narrative – which is built from many little history lies and distortions (and some big ones too) is to support Christian nationalism (link to an essay I did on how I think that works. What’s Christian nationalism ?)

The fight over the American historical record is a battle about whose version of history will be the dominant narrative that will get to shape the historical understandings of the next generation of Americans. The falsified narrative of the Christian right has been gaining ground for decades but now – with the letters and phone calls people right here on this forum have sent and made to their representatives in Congress – the fightback, to protect the integrity of the historical record, is truly underway.

The guests this week were Tom Reed (second appearance) and Dan Barker. They were both featured in the Psychology Today article An Atheist in the Pulpit. The episode also features audio of Dan Barker’s appearance on Oprah. This is also the second time Dan has guested on his own show. Two of Dan’s songs are featured towards the end of the episode.


2007 Archive episode.

January 13, 2007 – Katha Pollitt – She’s on next week (this year) as well. This episode she’s discussing Virginity or Death, concerning the HPV vaccination that will avert nearly all cases of cervical cancer if given to girls before they become sexually active. Of course, the religious right don’t like the idea of saving anyone from god’s righteous wrath, so they are foursquare against the vaccine.

Another issue I’ve discussed before, just not on this blog. Suffice it to say I was on the fence when it comes to requiring the vaccination by state law, as Texas nearly did. But then I’m on the fence about requiring any vaccination by state law. Otherwise, I don’t see the point in not requiring the vaccination, if you are going to require others. Of course, the Religious Right got their wish, and the only thing the sitting governor has done that I’ve agreed with was voted out by the legislature. Go figure.

There was a lengthy list of Freethinkers in the media at the end of this episode. Of special note was Ernestine L. Rose.

“Do you tell me that the Bible is against our rights? Then I say that our claims do not rest upon a book written no one knows when, or by whom. Do you tell me what Paul or Peter says on the subject? Then again I reply that our claims do not rest on the opinions of any one, not even on those of Paul and Peter, . . . Books and opinions, no matter from whom they came, if they are in opposition to human rights, are nothing but dead letters.”

Ernestine Rose, responding to religious heckler at Seventh National Woman’s Rights Convention
Postscript

Freethought Radio compilation posts. I have not checked links in these articles since posting them. They probably won’t work.

Requiring vaccination by law is now a baseline for me, given the rise of the stupidity of the anti-vaxx movement. You will vaccinate yourself and your children or we will prosecute you. This should be how we deal with these scofflaws.