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The Anti-Vaccination Movement is One Outcome of Profit-Driven Medicine

In the past few years, media has spent a lot of time focusing on a small but rapidly growing number of parents refusing to follow the ‘expert’-approved vaccination schedules for their children. Even many self-proclaimed normal people (stupid morons) like to demonstrate their “normality” by condemning parents who do so without trying to understand what is the major driving force behind this newish phenomena.

But why is the modern anti-vaccer movement a newish phenomena? Haven’t there been anti-vaccers since the original smallpox vaccine was introduced in the 1800s?

And this brings me to my first point. While there have been ‘anti-vaccers’ as long as there have been vaccines, the traditional ones opposed vaccinations for reasons that are quite different from most of those who do so today. The traditional anti-vaccers saw vaccines as un-religious, un-traditional, immoral or somehow opposed to their mental model of the universe. While people like that are still around, the majority of anti-vaccers today are driven by a very different set of concerns about vaccinations.

These concerns are based on a very realistic assessment of the intentions of those who promote an ever-expanding vaccination schedule than pleasing an imaginary skydude.

The real conflict is not about the science behind vaccination. Sure, you will always come across a few especially loud and fervent believers in invisible sky-dudes. But the majority of anti-vaccers today are not scientifically illiterate or any more delusional than the ‘experts’ who oppose them.

The conflict is about which vaccines are suitable for general use based on a realistic evaluation of the risk-benefit ratio of that particular vaccine.

Let me explain that point with a few examples. How many of you have been vaccinated against botulism (all subtypes), anthrax, epidemic typhus or yellow fever? Effective human vaccines against these diseases have been around since at least the mid-1940s. So why don’t we vaccinate everybody against these diseases along with diptheria, tetanus, whooping-cough, chickenpox etc? Or what about rabies? We have multiple extremely effective human vaccines against that disease, yet they are used almost exclusively as post-exposure prophylaxis. People who work with lots of wild or domesticated animals such as veterinarians or people who hang around bats are among the few who take it pre-exposure. Or what about smallpox? Why did we stop mass vaccination against smallpox once the disease was eradicated?

It is about the benefit-risk ratio of a given vaccine versus the probability of encountering that pathogen in the real world.

For example, the bacteria that cause tetanus or diptheria are found in soil and can survive without human hosts. We simply cannot eradicate them. In the absence of vaccination they can cause life-threatening and often fatal disease at a level serious enough to prominently show up on the mortality statistics. The same is true about whooping-cough, though it is more about the morbidity than the mortality. Even less problematic diseases without an inanimate reservoir (chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella) can be problematic because of their hyper-infectiousness and ability to travel across the world inside their human hosts.

But what about pathogens (Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae type B) that are uncommon? what about pathogens that are not endemic (Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B) to entire countries? Should we vaccinate everybody against these diseases or just restrict ourselves to epidemiologically defined high-risk groups? It certainly makes a lot of sense to vaccinate teenagers attending university or joining the army with the meningococcal vaccine. Similarly vaccination against HepA and Hep B make a lot of sense if you are going to visit a country with low levels of sanitation. But why everybody?

Then there is the issue of partially effective vaccines such as those against especially pathogenic stains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, HPV and rotavirus. While few doubt that vaccines against the worst rotaviral strains reduce the risk of severe diarrheal illness in children, they are often pushed by the medical profession to be far more effective than they really are. The same is true of vaccines against HPV. While the vaccine will certainly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer it won’t have much effect on the less problematic stains of HPV that also cause genital warts. However it is frequently pushed as an anti-genital warts vaccine rather than as one to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

Let us also talk about vaccines that work as designed, but not as well as intended. Vaccines against Influenza A are the best example of this peculiar and problematic class. While they do indeed elicit a good immunologic response against the strains utilized in their creation, the antigenic drifts characteristic of influenza epidemics make many of them partially or totally ineffective by the time the epidemic reaches the vaccinated individuals. Sure, you can get some cross-protection if the strain infecting you is similar to the one you were vaccinated against- but that is about it. Yet each year, we spend tons of money and resources on vaccinating people against influenza. It certainly does not help that a lot of people vaccinated against influenza go on to later fall ill from strains they were not vaccinated against.

The problem with the public image of vaccination has little to do with the science behind it. Instead the problem lie in human follies such as trying to make the maximum amount of money by pushing vaccines for uncommon diseases and promising stuff that is based in marketing rather than hardcore science.

It certainly does not help that the healthcare education system is some countries, such as the USA, selects for people who make decisions based in monetary and legal considerations to the exclusion of patient welfare. It is a game of who can extract the most money while still looking good and legal, irrespective of whether they are helping the patient or not. While not all physicians are like that, the ones who end up on committees and expert panels are frequently the worst suited to be on them. The defensiveness and misplaced elitism of physicians also does not help the cause of promoting evidenced based medicine, including vaccination.

In conclusion, the modern anti-vaccination movement is a reaction to the almost exclusively profit driven and legalism ridden medical systems seen in countries such as the USA.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. High Lord Keynes
    October 7, 2013 at 1:43 am

    1. Forced vaccination schedule stimulates aggregate demand for pharmaceuticals.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    lzolzozzloz

  2. hans
    October 7, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Actually the REAL concern is what other crap those motherfuckers have mixed into the vaccine.
    But a society that allows ant-poison as a “healthy” additive to sugar-free lifestyle beverages and treats people who dare question this insanity as “weirdos”, well frankly I could care less what these nutsos pump into each other or their spawn.

    Until they try this shit with me, of course.

  3. Bossom Jones
    October 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Why would anyone purposely put crap in vaccines? A major reason why people don’t vaccinate their children is a false belief they cause autism due to a dodgey article published in the lancet a couple decades back. This has now been thoroughly disproved. Not sure what the sitch is in the states but in most other countries basic vaccinations are free and there are still groups of people that don’t want them, so I don’t think it is a rebellion against cost or the ‘market’. The issue is that if enough people don’t vaccinate there will be a loss of herd immunity, and then all unvaccinated children will be at a dramatically increased risk. Not vaccinating yourself is up to you, but not vaccinating your children is more morally dubious given their inability to make their own decisions and the clear documented evidence of benefit it offers them.
    As an adendum; I have nothing to gain financially from vaccinations, and I do not want people to be hurt. Also, hans, you’ll find that the medical community that advocates for vaccinations is the same one that advocates against soft drink consumption and the consumption of highly processed foods. Generally speaking they have health at heart and are not co-conspirators with the profit driven capitalist community, which generally don’t.

    • Héctor
      October 18, 2013 at 7:37 am

      It’s incredible the gulibility in your post. If you sincerely believe your own distorsions and lies, I can understand why the elites want to exterminate the “useless eaters”.

    • rachel
      March 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      wow! there seems to be a rebellion against being educated about epidemiology and public health. People work tirelessly saving lives and risking their own to get children and at risk people vaccinated. The costs to the health-care industry, the missed days at work and school and the experience of some of these illnesses by the child is very traumatic and even scarring and if not caught early, can result in unexpected death.
      More school districts are requiring more vaccinations and more doses of these vaccines. It is not to make money. It is to save lives and long term optimum health. Vaccines are preventative medicine.
      Also, as more places have single-payer or more government funded health insurance programs, requirements for vaccines will increase because it will decrease health-care costs and high vaccination rates can get these diseases eradicated from the population. Advocating against vaccination and disease eradication with vaccination requirements is closer to nazism because the weakest and most immunocompromised, which include people on immunosuppressants like cortisone (asthma patients, autoimmune disease patients, elderly), and infants and HIV patients will be the most likely to suffer and die. Go to school and start honoring the educated instead of celebrating brute ignorance and hatred of science, doctors and medicine.

  4. hans
    October 9, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Bossom Jones :
    Why would anyone purposely put crap in vaccines?

    Seriously?
    The capacity of “pajama people” like you to ignore the obvious playing right in front of your eyes once amazed me.
    Now I could care less, especially about trying to educate your naive ass.

    But of course you types don´t stop there, don´t you.
    Here is where we´re getting a problem fella.
    You can regurgitate your rote learned “herd immunity” and “think about the children” stick all day, but when the Health Nazis come you´re the first traitors in line to rat out the “unbelievers” for acting and thinking dangerously.

    Well, we´ll see.

  5. EvilOne
    October 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    The real question is how much ‘evil’ can be simulated by people and institutions looking out for their own interests first – blind watchmaker style.

    Quite a lot.

  6. May 11, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Lets us not forget giving newborn babies the Hep B vaccine, even though it’s useless for people with undeveloped immune systems and even dangerous for babies. Some babies have died from complications stemming from this vaccine.

    Gardasil has caused a few deaths and while it may immunize against some strains of HPV (which have never been proven to actually cause cervical cancer), other strains take their place. HPV infections clear by themselves and there’s over 40 strains of the virus; you can’t nail them all.

    For a more detailed account of the science behind vaccines and why they’re unnecessary for most people, you can check out the Dr. Joseph Mercola site http://www.mercola.com

    I’ll give you a brief rundown: infectious disease epidemics were already on the decline in terms of both frequency and severity long before vaccines or antibiotics were introduced. Improvements in public housing, public sanitation, personal hygiene and nutrition all helped curb deadly diseases. That’s why we don’t need to be vaccinated against cholera, typhus, bubonic plague and other pathogens that caused killer epidemics; we even have immigrants from countries were those diseases are still endemic and they seldom make waves here.

    As for other disease like mumps, measles, chickenpox, etc. it’s just a normal part of growing up. Those diseases are relatively harmless for children but can be serious and even life-threatening in adults, so it’s best to get them as a child (measles parties) and then enjoy life-long immunity.

    Vaccines are often contaminated with other viruses and nanobacteria, plus have neurotoxic chemical additives like aluminum and thimerosol, so link to autism can’t be ignored.

  1. October 13, 2013 at 2:29 am
  2. December 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm

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