Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vaccines and Anti-Vaxxers

Image result for vaccine imagesI'm guessing that everyone has heard of the Disneyland measles outbreak at this point. And you probably realize that measles, a preventable disease that was more or less eradicated from the United States a few years ago, is continuing to pop up across the country. This has led (finally) to some serious scrutiny of the anti-vaxxers...those people who choose not to vaccinate their children.

For some reason science and data hold little water in this debate. It has been repeatedly shown that vaccines are safe, and that they do not cause autism, as was once suggested by a man who had financial reasons for claiming that they did. Study after study has shown that vaccines are safe and effective. But studies don't matter, apparently, because we scientists are just bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies. We're all a part of some great conspiracy.

Except not.

I am a highly trained scientist. I am also trained in public health. I receive no money from the pharmaceutical companies, although heaven knows I pay them an unbelievable amount every month. I am not brainwashed, I'm not a part of a conspiracy, and I don't actually know any scientist who would knowingly put a child at risk for the sake of profit. (I'm sure there are some; there are bad apples in any group, but I've never met someone that depraved). And yet here I am, firmly on the side of those advocating for vaccines. Because they work. Because they are safe. And because your choice not to vaccinate your child puts me at serious risk.

I am extremely immunocompromised. I take multiple drugs designed to kill my immune system before it kills me. This leaves me susceptible to infection. I've received every vaccine my doctors have recommended, which includes some normally only given to older people, but there's no guarantee that my immune system will be strong enough for these vaccines to help me. So the best way for me to avoid life-threatening diseases is to avoid being exposed to them. And the best way for me to avoid being exposed to them is if everyone around me is smart and considerate and vaccinated.

I hear people say "It should be my choice to vaccinate my child because a parent knows best." First of all, how is it possible for a parent to choose anything other than protection for their child? And secondly, why do you get to choose whether or not I am exposed to a preventable disease? By not vaccinating your child, you are putting me and a whole lot of people like me at risk. I'm not your child. You have no right to put my life at risk.

As I said before, it is clear that all the data in the world is not enough to sway opinions. The debate has devolved into a battle of the babes...Food Babe (a bat-shit crazy woman with a degree from Google University and no science background or understanding who thinks that vaccines have "chemicals" and are therefore bad) and SciBabe (an analytical chemist who realizes that diseases are bad and avoiding diseases is a good idea). For some reason, people listen to self-styled babes when they won't listen to data. So I hereby dub myself Lupus Babe, and throw my weight behind SciBabe. That, by my math, is two babes against one. Since this is the level of the debate these days, go with the larger number of babes and get your kids vaccinated. Please.

Lupus Babe says vaccinate your kids!


  1. Making a deadly (truly!) serious subject funny to make the point. Go Lupus Babe!

    1. Feel free to share the link if the subject comes's ridiculous that we've gotten to this point, but we have.

  2. Love it! And you are totally babelicious in that photo so we must believe you! <3