Polio, Pertussis, and Free Riders

By: Chris - February 17, 2006

Recently, the health department and schools in the area have sent out notices that pertussis has been identified in our county. Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. While it often mimics the symptoms of a cold, it is highly communicable and especially dangerous to children. There have been documented deaths related to this outbreak. Children receive an inoculation against pertussis in conjunction with tetanus and diphtheria.

Also in the news recently has been the outbreak of Polio in an Amish Community in Minnesota. The polio virus was a scourge throughout the world. Polio is a virus which paralyzes muscle groups of the body and can be fatal. Polio was the virus that Dr. Jonus Salk discovered could be attacked through inoculation, i.e. the prophylactic immunization of the population. Through immunization, it was hoped that polio could be wiped off the face of the earth.

The question must be asked, if this is the case, why are there outbreaks of pertussis and polio? The answer is complicated. Come to find out that the pertussis inoculation only remains effective for 5 to 10 years. Ongoing boosters are required for continuing protection. However, if widespred inoculation for pertussis were carried out, the bacteria could be eliminated. As for polio, the common serum used for polio inoculation until 2000, the oral serum, used a greatly weakened strain of the virus. It caused the virus in very rare cases (one in every 13 million doses). The fight against polio has been deemed a success because most of the population are inoculated, thus limiting the transfer of the disease and making outbreaks rare.

The prophylactic immunization of populations has been credited with the extermination of smallpox and greatly increased the life expectancy and quality of life worldwide.

Since the year 2000, however, the United States has used a serum which utilizes a dead form of the virus). The virus which infected the Amish children in Minnesota was the same strain as the oral virus strain. The question remains, why did they get polio in the first place? The answer is clear…they were never inoculated. There has been a minority of people who refuse to inoculate their children. They cite the unproven negative or negligible effects that are possible (like the infection rate of 1 in 13 million doses). The fact remains, they and their families are being protected by the rest of the community who do get inoculated and thus limit the transfer. Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is a small minority of these people.

In political science, those people who take advantage of public goods without contributing to the cost or partaking in the risk are called free riders. The problem is, if everyone was a free rider, there would be no public good. From a political science perspective, these people are typically taken care of through group pressure or force of law. While most communities require inoculations in order for children to attend schools, many have opted out of inoculation programs citing religious or family beliefs. From a gospel perspective, what of these people? They are selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society. Is this consistent with the teachings of the savior?


  1. I completely agree! One of my older sisters is not protected by certain vaccinations–her body does not respond correctly and she doesn’t get the immunity. So she is protected by “herd immunity”. However, because of these outbreaks (measles, rubella, etc), she has to be extra careful when she is pregnant, so she doesn’t contract the diseases. It is frustrating to me to see people choose to forgo the tiny risk, therefore increasing the risk for the rest of us.

    Oops. I’ll get off my soapbox now. But I agree that there are some spiritual implications to the selfishness involved.

    Comment by Keryn — 2/17/2006 @ 2:49 pm

  2. Whoa, Craig…Cast iron ones, my brother. You know how to pick ‘em. Let me be among the first to flame the fires of this topic by issuing a generalization about parents who refuse to immunize their children: In my mind, it is one step short of neglect, if not outright neglect. Except for a few rare exceptions because of immunodeficiencies or allergies, all children should receive the recommended vaccines required in their areas of residence. There is a mountain of data supporting the safety and efficacy of their use, and none that is sufficient to justify refusal. We are a social people. We live together, work together, worship together and share pathogens together. Despite our best effort, diseases will be passed from person to person until either the bug is gone or all the hosts are dead or immunized. Unnecessarily exposing yourself and your children to potentially fatal diseases is stupid. Moreover it is selfish and irresponsible–maybe even neglectful and abusive.

    For those wanting to drag Wakefield’s assumptions about MMR and autism into the argument, don’t bother. It has been blown so far out of the water that it is positively Saharan. There is no (clarify: none, zip, kein, nic, nada) evidence supporting a link between vaccinations and autism, inflammatory bowel disease or anything else except disease prevention.

    If you are LDS and you refuse immunizations, then shame on you. There is nothing in Church doctrine that supports withholding vaccines. As faithful members of the church, we should know better.

    That is enough for now. If you want references, I will be happy to take a few days and provide a few hundred.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/17/2006 @ 3:03 pm

  3. So a parent doesn’t get their child vaccinated, and then the child contracts polio. How can you say that this family doesn’t bear any risk? Seems like they bear more risk than those of us that do get vaccinated. For whatever reason, they’re willing to take that risk.

    There are arguments to be made against non-vaccinators, but I don’t see selfishness as one of them.

    Comment by Matt Jacobsen — 2/17/2006 @ 3:25 pm

  4. I understand herd immunity. We weren’t allowed to update some of my son’s immunizations while he was on chemo because the vaccine posed a risk. From 33-months to almost age six we counted on everyone around us being vaccinated and thus not exposing him to those diseases. It worked out well.

    He got caught up not long after the active chemo ended.

    We were worried about how his body would rebound after such a long period of immune-suppression (or if some of the vaccinations he got early in life had lost efficacy after being cooked in the cancer-fighting cocktail his bloodstream became) but last year’s bout with chicken pox produced a whopping six sores.

    Remembering what chicken pox was like when I got them at age six, I’ll go with the vaccines, thank you very much.

    Comment by Chad Too — 2/17/2006 @ 3:33 pm

  5. Where does the 1 in 13 million infection rate come from? By that standard there should only be a couple dozen Americans who have suffered ill effects from immunizations. If that were so, then how astonishing it is that I have encountered two such cases. About seven years back, I saw my old teachers’ quorum advisor at a wedding reception. In catching up with each other it came up that his daughter had died not so long before from a DTP immunization. In my current ward lives a young woman with the capabilities of an infant who was a normal child until an immunization damaged her brain. Now, in neither case have I heard anti-immunization rhetoric from the families of these unfortunate girls, and I don’t wish to promote any either. I simply don’t want those who have suffered for our safety to be dismissively ignored. We immunized people are the free riders on their death and disabling.

    Comment by John Mansfield — 2/17/2006 @ 3:49 pm

  6. No so, We all (those who immunize while knowing the risk) take a share of the risk and burden. Let me be clear, I do not want to belittle those that do suffer from immunizations. There are medically confirmed risks. Having said that, the relatively few who do suffer complications compared to complete extinction of peoples seems to make the arguement in favor of immunizaqtions clear.

    The 1 in 13 million figure was taken from the cited washington post article. I’m sure Chris, who is a pediatrician and neonatologist, can give us better stats. Those stats, will i’m sure reinforce the thrust which is that the occurance of side affects is astronomically small compared to the benefits to society.

    Comment by Craig — 2/17/2006 @ 4:21 pm

  7. President Hinckley has (numerous times) praised the fact that our society has access to vaccines for a variety of diseases that used to be a scourge, even in his lifetime. That should be reason enough for any Mormon to get off their conspiracy horse and just immunize the damn little buggers.

    Comment by Steve — 2/17/2006 @ 9:27 pm

  8. I have personal knowledge of a missionary who refused to serve where he was originally called on his mission due to the requirement for immunizations.

    Assuming you believe in the calling of missionaries by inspiration, then isn’t refusing to serve where called apostacy?

    Comment by anon — 2/17/2006 @ 9:40 pm

  9. Craig, has Splendid Sun lost traffic recently? It seems that topics are being posted that have been traditionally volatile in the Bloggernacle.

    While the link between MMR and autism has publicly been discredited, unfortunately, other side effects have not. I received the MMR vaccine when I was young, but since I could not find no record of such, I was required to receive it again before my mission. Shortly after, I started getting pain in my ankles, and as my mission drew on, the pain grew worse. By the time I was married, the pain was in my knees and hips, but too a lesser degree.

    Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with arthritis (two years ago, I had it confirmed by another physician). Some time later, I discovered that the Institute of Medicine concluded in 1991 that the rubella part of the vaccine can lead to chronic arthritis.

    Some people sacrifice girlfriends, careers, scholarships and family to serve a mission. I like to believe that I sacrificed my health for my vaccine.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/17/2006 @ 10:32 pm

  10. “I like to believe that I sacrificed my health for my vaccine.”

    Which, of course, should read “I like to believe that I sacrificed my health for my mission”.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/17/2006 @ 10:33 pm

  11. This is a pretty volatile topic. I agree that people should immunize their children. Our family is a big proponant – we even had our boys participate in the rotavirus development trials.

    It does seem, however, that vaccinations have been controversial in Mormonism for some time. The illustrious Justin wrote a a great review of the Mormon resistance to Small Pox vaccination. It is really worth the read.

    A couple of very interesting pieces of that history from my comment on that thread:

    Joseph F. Smith Improvment Era 1908 vol. 11 No.9

    I believe that we should exercise wisdom in our labors. We should be cautious about running into danger. We should shun danger and flee from evil. We should avoid making mistakes and falling into error, and, so far as we can, every appearance of sin. When I was on missions I was called to administer to the sick, who were ill with almost every kind of disease. It was not uncommon that we were called to administer to those who were sick with small pox. For myself I dared not turn away from the call of the sick, and I administered to some of them, when, owing to their appearance, it was almost impossible to tell that they were human beings, for they had the disease in its worst form. My guardians had taken the precaution, in my youth, to have me vaccinated. I took the disease, but had it in mild form, so that it did not leave even a mark upon my body. I am as satisfied as I can be that had it not been for vaccination, I would have had the disease in very bad form. I believe that our elders ought to be vaccinated. Now, I know that this will not be in accordance with some people’s views. We receive word that many of our elders, who have failed to attend to this matter, are exposed to the disease and become affected with it; and recently a number of them have had to be taken to the pest-houses to be cared for.

    Here is another great one:

    Improvement Era 1906 vol. 9 no. 9
    This brings to mind the subject of vaccination. It is generally conceded that all of our missionaries should be vaccinated ere their departure from home. While this is not obligatory, nor to be forced upon any one against his wishes, yet it is advised, and the counsel should be observed in every instance, that elders thus exposed, especially in a foreign country, can be safeguarded by this great discovery of the immortal Jenner. From this time on, the elders will be invited to receive vaccination prior to the time that they report themselves ready to start on their missions. I must quote again here the requirements of one of our great rail-road corporations; namely, the Oregon Short Line. They require today of their laborers that they be vaccinated, or produce a medical certificate that they have already been successfully vaccinated, or that they have had smallpox, thus making them immune to that very dangerous disease, before being employed upon their line; and the Church considers also that every safeguard should be thrown around our missionaries, especially those who go to foreign lands.

    The 1853 Small Pox Epidemic and its effect on Hawaii.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/17/2006 @ 11:00 pm

  12. Kim,

    Sorry if I am rehashing overdone topics, as I am fairly new to the Bloggernackle (having been ensconced in graduate school and knowing nothing but my own limited worldview). I am perhaps choosing topic which have been done (read pugilism of an expired equine). As a college professor I see my calling as introducing and encouraging the free exchange of ideas. I feel that those topics which people have the greatest feelings about are the ones most appropriate for continued discussion.

    Comment by Craig — 2/17/2006 @ 11:09 pm

  13. Perhaps there is a little bit of hubris…I guess I feel I may have something new and important to add as well

    Comment by Craig — 2/17/2006 @ 11:11 pm

  14. No need to apologise. I was being somewhat facetious.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/18/2006 @ 12:06 am

  15. there are more reasons to resist vaccinations than so-called religious reasons, or arbitrary concerns about side effects, or whatever else. we have not vaccinated our 11-month-old son for the simple reason that we don’t believe one thing should be applied to everyone. prevention is best, yes. for those children who have weakened immune systems, allergies, severe health problems, or for people who live in diseased countries, vaccination should surely be the rule. we’re not opposed to vaccinations on religious, social, scientific, or moral grounds. i think if people want to vaccinate, more power to them and thank goodness we live in a time and place when vaccinations are, for the most part, available. but for my husband and i, who are very health-conscious, prevention lies in daily living — eating healthily (we’re vegan), living by the WoW, being active, avoiding people who are sick but still maintaining a broad social network, praying and reading the book of mormon, helping those less fortunate than us, and having regular blessings. my son is unbelievably healthy and i don’t see any reason to expose him to potential problems when the chance of him becoming ill from the vaccine itself is higher than him catching whatever condition the vaccine is supposed to prevent. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. if he was a sickly child, my priorities would be different. as i said i’m not opposed to vaccinations; i think it’s a choice and a right. but we’ve chosen the right to not accept them. when the time comes for his mission, he will be the one to make the decision whether or not to become vaccinated, and hopefully he will choose to become so if it is necessary to go on a mission — but the choice will be his, his body, his agency.

    to craig: i must say that it makes me absolutely sick when people call on the name of our Savior to pass judgment on others. do it in your own name; not His.

    Comment by maia — 2/18/2006 @ 12:31 am

  16. Maia,

    But doesn’t your child take advantage of the herd immunity provided by the rest of society. If everyone felt that way, no one would be protected. That is a classic free rider situation.

    I believe that the phrase I used was “they are selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society. Is this consistent with the teachings of the savior?”

    The statement, “They are selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society” was my own statement of judgement. The rhetorical question “Is this consistent with the teachings of the savior is just that, rhetorical, meant to facilitate though and/or discussion. Methinks thou protests too much…

    Comment by Craig — 2/18/2006 @ 9:36 am

  17. “they are selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society. Is this consistent with the teachings of the savior?”

    I think so, at least generally speaking. How would this be different than someone who is poor? We have received many scriptural admonishing to help the poor, despite that help being, strictly speaking, a response to someone taking an advantage of the rest of society. I think it’s a stretch to say that someone who does not vaccinate does not follow the teachings of the Saviour.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/18/2006 @ 9:46 am

  18. I was focusing more on the selfishness question…is selfishness in line with His teachings? Is taking advantage of the risks/costs of others without participating in line with his teachings?

    Also, the poor have no choice…

    Comment by Craig — 2/18/2006 @ 10:04 am

  19. I agree with what Chris has said above. During this past winter I have cared for two children with pertussis. Thankfully they both fared well, but it could have ended differently. What we don’t know is if others they were in contact with were adversely affected. I asked one of the parents about who else had been in contact with their sick child and their response was (paraphrased) “that shouldn’t matter because they were probably all vaccinated” – so, she chose not to give her child a vaccine but wasn’t worried about the effects on others because she assumed everyone else would be unaffected. As mentioned above, there are those who can’t get vaccinated or who are vulnerable despite prior vaccinations (cancer patients, etc). The very act of bringing their child to the hospital (where many are immunocompromised) for treatment of pertussis (which could have been avoided) puts many at risk.
    As for Craig’s question about selfishness, yes, I think the above parent I mentioned WAS acting very selfishly. I’m not certain that all who refuse vaccines are hoping to benefit without risk, but I’m quite sure they don’t fully understand the risks they are forcing upon others in society.
    To maia and others, yes, you have every right to make those choices. However, to make them with the assumption that your child is at a LOWER risk of health problems by avoiding vaccines is incorrect. Do people have adverse reactions to vaccines? Certainly. You’re trading risks – the risk of getting a potentially life-threatening illness for the much smaller risk of any potential side-effects of the vaccine.
    I will say, that BECAUSE so many people have been vaccinated, children who are not vaccinated are at a lower risk than they were when widespread vaccination was not available. However, if more people choose not to vaccinate then we’ll have more epidemics and the risks will be great. We don’t live our lives in isolation and we should act accordingly.

    Comment by C. Swinton — 2/18/2006 @ 11:03 am

  20. This was a good thread for me to read. My daughter, who is married to the midwife’s son, is struggling with yet another issue in this convoluted family. None of them has been vaccinated. They don’t believe in it. So far they’ve all had their babies at home and the children do not see doctors and are not vaccinated.

    Our family believes differently. I am worried sick at what my grandchildren might go through. I’m worried they won’t be allowed to have friends or go to school. I worry about their health. But I’m going to share this with Sarah. Thanks, you guys, for sharing.

    Comment by annegb — 2/18/2006 @ 12:23 pm

  21. I want to make sure we are not ganging up on Maia. I REALLY dont want anyone to feel we are personally attacking them. I hope for freedom of expression and I offer you, Maia, my sincere appology if you feel slighted. By all means state your opinion. I’m sure evryone else will too!

    Comment by Craig — 2/18/2006 @ 1:33 pm

  22. In general, I think vaccines are the best thing since sliced bread. But there are a few caveats to that statement that I think are worth knowing before we condemn everyone who chooses not to vaccinate or to delay vaccinations. (FYI: We delay Hep B.)

    (1) By the time my first son was three years old, he had been given three vaccines that had later been changed or discontinued (DTP changed to DTaP–if I remember, oral polio changed to injectible, and rotavirus removed). While I get the idea that science progresses and we make the best decision at the time, it is, to say the least, disconcerting, to have had this experience on my precious baby. Especially since all of the risks of the three mentioned above were KNOWN when my son was born, but it just took a while to filter through the system. I think there is some hubris in the system and some parents are reacting–perhaps overreacting–to that. But suffice it to say that when it comes to vaccines, informed consent is a joke–and that doesn’t inspire confidence, either. (For example, oral polio was NEVER supposed to be given if there was an immunosuppresed person in the baby’s home but this was NEVER even mentioned to me.)

    (2) I think some parents are right to question the calculus behind the decisions for the schedules. For example, when the chicken pox vac was introduced, one of the points raised was how much money the US would save from parents who lose work to stay home with sick kids. I find that reasoning reprehensible, and not even relevant in my case. Again, that doesn’t inspire confidence. Another exampe is Hep B–a disease that a newborn is not likely to get. But they are vac’d for it because it is easier to get a newborn in the hospital than to round up sexually active 14 yos. That is the one (the only one) that we chose to delay. Interestingly, after scrawling REFUSE across the consent form in the hospital, and explaining to my ped that we’d need to do it in a year or two, he said that their office prefers to do it that way. I asked why we were given the consent form in the hospital when they knew that the baby was his patient, and he said that it is just easier for them to do everyone and they figure that if the parents care enough, they’ll object.

    And less you think me a nut for delaying Hep B (sometimes I wonder–I don’t have a medical background, and am certainly not an expert), a friend who has a PhD in epidimiology (a word I can’t even spell!) and worked for the CDC before having children also delays Hep B for her kids.

    Another issue is that while any one vac might be reasonably safe, the sum total of doses given to a teeny tiny baby may cause a problem in itself.

    To sum: In general, vaccines are good and conspiracy theories are nuts. But in a small number of cases, delaying or denying might be justified and the dogmatic statements on this thread are overblown.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/18/2006 @ 2:52 pm

  23. Maia–That has to be the lamest excuse yet to refuse vaccines. The major reason the US is not a disease-ridden cesspool is because of immunizations, and to think that vaccines are for the sick and feeble is the pinnacle of ignorance. It is the sick that benefit most from everyone else getting vaccinated. Is your family above contributing to the welfare of your neighbor? In addition, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and Measles kill healthy children quite easily. (This is much nicer than the original version. My wife made me clean it up.)

    Kim—The institute of medicine found a possible link between the rubella vaccine and arthopathies in adult women. Later studies evaluating this association could find no such connection. A large retrospective cohort study in JAMA addressed this: JAMA 1997; 278(7): 551-556. I’m sorry you have been suffering from a degenerative joint disease, and if you believe it to be a sacrifice, so be it. But I cannot believe it to be a result of your MMR.

    John—There have been no documented deaths as a result of the DTP vaccine. The other potential side effect of brain injury is so unbelievably rare that no causal relationship has been established. Vaccinations are so common that bad things can be temporally related to vaccine administration, but they rarely have anything to do with each other besides timing. It’s like saying that watching TV causes car accidents. TV viewing is so universal that nearly everyone who was in a car accident watched TV that day. Unless you were actually watching TV while driving, it would be very creative thinking to associate the two.

    Julie—I will admit that Hepatitis B vaccine is given at birth as a matter of convenience rather that actual need in the childhood years. The reasoning is that you can get most young children immunized, but by late childhood, many are lost to follow-up and will never be seen by a physician unless badness happens. It has to do with compliance. It may sound like overkill, but it’s better than hepatocellular carcinoma. If you can guarantee that your child will get it later, or that he/she will never be sexually active or receive blood products or use IV drugs, then everything is swell. And as far as a tiny baby receiving so many at one time: there is no evidence to even suggest that immunocompetence is compromised by this practice—quite the contrary.

    If anyone is interested, the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov/nip/default.htm, has very candid information about vaccines, schedules and potential adverse reactions.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/18/2006 @ 5:05 pm

  24. Chris S.–

    Of course I can guarantee that they get it later–when I take my 2 or 3 yo to the doctor. I think your statement “as a matter of convenience rather that actual need” is a good example of the kind of thinking that makes some parents nervous–not many people are interested in their child being given something ‘as a matter of convenience’ instead of need when the science is progressing so rapidly (evidenced by the fact that my 8 years of parenting have seen recommended vaccine schedules change almost every year) that I may be subjecting my child to a greater risk by getting the Hep B vac this year instead of waiting a few years–when the vac itself or the recommendations surrounding it may very likely have changed.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/18/2006 @ 5:18 pm

  25. well, thanks for calling me lame and ignorant and honoring my thoughts in a respectful manner.

    i find it very interesting that the same parents who extoll the virtues of one-size-fits-all social requirements are also often those who feed their kids cola and hot dogs and use the tv as a babysitter. talk about free-riders with kids who will someday live on the government teat for their psychological, social, intellectual, and emotional problems. seems rather hypocritical to me and yet, in my experience, that is the way most people act who are most resistant to the idea of thoughtful, intentional parenting.

    as for the rhetorical comment about home birth, i should mention that i am a student midwife, and this is a prime example of the science losing out to popular opinion. not a single study has ever shown that hospital birth is safer than home birth. in fact, for women and babies who are healthy (90%), home birth has been shown unequivocably in every study ever done to be safer, not to mention more respectful, satisfying, and economically far less expensive. and before you attack me, i hope you will do the research on that.

    i do not doubt that vaccines are wonderful. i do not doubt that we have made incredible advances in medicine and that all of these advances are to be praised and used whenever possible. i do not doubt that cruel diseases have been more or less wiped out because of vaccines. and i know that healthy kids get sick from vaccines and also from not using vaccines. in fact, to the person who evidently did not actually read my post, i said that we’ve not avoided vaccinations because of concerns of side effects. we’ve avoided them because we believe in prevention in daily life. almost inevitably, when a child catches and dies or is disfigured by a disease for which there is a vaccine, the child is sickly or has some other health problems that put them at risk. this is not always the case, true, but it is much more common.

    if i were a mother with breast cancer, and i had a daughter, would i ask her to have mastectomies at puberty? no. and i don’t see this as being any different. prevention is much more than getting a shot or taking a pill. sadly, i doubt that many people take as much time or put as much energy into keeping their kids healthy as we do. just because we go about it a different way doesn’t mean that it’s inferior to you or anyone else. i don’t think that people who vaccinate care any less about their kids or are any more selfish, although i think a lot of anti-vaccination advocates feel that way. i try to be respectful of every manner of life and i’d appreciate the same consideration.

    it’s not about selfishness. it’s about the fact that each person needs to evaluate the situation, all situations, for themselves and actually make a decision, not just go along with what’s expected. if my son becomes sick with one of these illnesses, you can bet we’ll isolate him and pay for his care ourselves. he is vaccinated against polio because of the recent outbreaks, and if something else comes up, we’ll take care of that too. i have never passed judgment on parents who have chosen to vaccinate after educating themselves, because they made the choice in an intentional, conscious way — just as we have.

    and i must say that it is just this sort of nasty, intolerant attitude that is making us leave utah in three months. but thank you, craig, for your considerate response halfway down the page.


    Comment by maia — 2/18/2006 @ 8:02 pm

  26. “But I cannot believe it to be a result of your MMR.”

    That’s fine, and it’s probably a good thing it wasn’t you who diagnosed my arthritis.

    “I hope for freedom of expression”

    Unfortunately, given the general consensus in the comments here and past response in like threads, don’t expect much diversity in that free expression.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/18/2006 @ 8:36 pm

  27. kim — i found your blog fascinating. i’m happy to find a forum where mormons can have truly inquisitive thought without fear of reprimand or derisive comments. i’ll be returning often to that one, if not to this one.

    Comment by maia — 2/18/2006 @ 9:47 pm

  28. Maia

    Thanks :) Come visit our blog anytime. We have a lot of similar ideas (used to be a student midwife myself, but switched my focus to childbirth education. We are also homebirthers).

    Vaccinating is definately a prayerful and personal choice, but they don’t always “work”. A few years ago, one of my (much younger) cousins was one of 100 babies born at a hospital in the Okanagan (B.C.). 98 of those babies contracted Whooping Cough. All except one were vaccinated against it (who contracted it and were hospitalised for it). Well, I believe now they are immune, even if they weren’t after being vaccinated against it. Anecdotal yes, but even so, it happened.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/18/2006 @ 11:33 pm

  29. Chris, lets make sure we are keeping this post as civil as possible!

    I do appreciate the links to studies. It seems that there are alot of assumptions flying around, so good peer reviewed studies are really appreciated.

    That is not to say that science is right all the time. However, it is the best we have at the current time. While mistakes are made and theories disproven, through time, it is my belief that we come closer and closer to truth, which is unchanging.

    Comment by Craig — 2/19/2006 @ 8:20 am

  30. Intolerant, opinionated, judgemental? Guilty as charged. Nasty? Hmmm…maybe on a bad day. Freedom of expression is not freedom from criticism. If someone disgrees with me, please show me the errors of my ways with good hard data. I am happy to report that I have been wrong on many occasions, and consider them valuable learning experiences. This is a blog. Everyone is free to post their opinions. Likewise everyone is free to respond. Because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean your freedoms have been compromised.

    Sorry, Craig. I’ll try to play nice.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/19/2006 @ 9:41 am

  31. Chris, I didn’t see anything uncivil in your post, but I read quickly.

    I forgot to tell you guys that my little grandson isn’t immunized because after the first few times, he showed syptoms of autism, so they quit giving him the shots and he’s in pretty good shape now. Nothing is black and white.

    Maia, I have to question your statistics. I think there must be some numbers that reflect positively on hospital birth, probably home birth. But I’ve talked to three women who had major problems with their birth, one is a registered nurse, all three hemoraghed, however you spell it, and would have died, along with their baby, if they hadn’t been in a hospital. That’s not rhetoric, I know them all.

    In my daughter’s case, her mother-in-law is not only NOT a nurse, she is barred from the hospital for some reason I’m not aware of. I don’t know what she did, but she’s nuts and not just because of the home births either. She thinks she sees demons. You know, if you put, the home schooling, the immunization and doctor thing, and the birthing thing, my daughter has married into a crazy family.

    Which is beside the point, but scary for me. I keep thinking this woman will think my daughter is a demon and attack her.

    Well, anyway, Maia, I disagree with you. I don’t think it’s possible to track this issue statistically because most issues are theoretical, such as, “if I’d been home, I’d have died” or “if I’d been at the hospital, I wouldn’t have experienced the joy of childbirth.” Do you follow me? Because how can one compare?

    Comment by annegb — 2/19/2006 @ 3:29 pm

  32. Perhaps we ought to force abortion of second pregancies also to prevent any ‘free rider’ problems? It is selfish to have more than one child you know.

    FORCE, in all its ugly forms, is a doctrine of the devil, not the Savior. IMO you are twisting Christs teachings to fit your own preconceived notion of how society ought to operate.

    Comment by ed — 2/19/2006 @ 9:21 pm

  33. Who is talking about Force? IMO it is selfish to take advantage of the sacrifice of others without contributing.

    I dont get the connection between inoculation and second children!?

    Comment by Craig — 2/19/2006 @ 10:52 pm

  34. Related to Craig’s previous post, I have a few times asked homeschool parents about the drawbacks of homeschooling. Some will candidly discuss the trade-offs of their choices. Others insist there are no drawbacks, couldn’t possibly be, and I then know that the zealot before me has little information that could benefit me.

    I have seen the CDC disclaimers of death that Chris S. pointed to, and they make me highly suspicious. All these warnings about fevers and such are issued, and I’m supposed to believe that matters have never escaped control? The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the costs, especially for those of us who haven’t born the costs, but the absolutist positions, the instant dismissal of the notion that our freedom from infectious diseases could have a cost have a familiar sound.

    Comment by John Mansfield — 2/19/2006 @ 11:00 pm

  35. Good point, John. I suppose that in my endorsement of immunizations I have been absolutist. Zealot…ugh…that’s a dirty word. There certainly are adverse effects to immunizations. My point is that before one can be legitimately ascribed to a shot, it needs to be documented. Fevers, pain, swelling and even febrile seizures are openly recognized as common to uncommon events. Permanant disabilities like brain damage and death haven’t panned out. There is no conspiracy here. What gets pediatricians and epidemiologists in a tissy is the false sense of security that we in the US occasionally develop when it comes to public health issues. “No one in our country gets polio any more so why should we immunize?” Similar logic prevailed in Peru in 1991 when routine chlorination of the drinking water was discontinued “because of potential risks” and then more than 300,000 people got cholera. Yes, it’s an over-simplification, but you get my point.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/20/2006 @ 1:22 am

  36. Is this (http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller15.html ” A User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule” ) reasonable?

    A 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC decides which vaccines should be on the Childhood Immunization Schedule. It calls for one vaccine, against hepatitis B, to be given on the day of birth; 7 vaccines at two months; 6 more (including booster shots) at four months; and as many as 8 vaccines on the six month well-baby visit. Before a child reaches the age of two he or she will have received 32 vaccinations on this schedule, including four doses each of vaccines for Hemophilus influenzae type b infections, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis – all of them given during the first 12 months of life. Seven vaccines injected into a 13 lb. two-month old infant are equivalent to 70 doses in a 130 lb. adult.

    The schedule states, “Your child can safely receive all vaccines recommended for a particular age during one visit.” Public health officials, however, have not proven that it is indeed safe to inject this many vaccines into infants. What’s more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurologic and immune system disorders in our nation’s children.

    Comment by wilma — 2/20/2006 @ 10:48 am

  37. Wilma,

    Show me the data.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/20/2006 @ 2:00 pm

  38. “From a gospel perspective, what of these people? They are selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society. Is this consistent with the teachings of the savior?”

    I assume “this” means free riding in general. So you are asking if ‘free riding’ (A free rider is someone who benefits from a product or service but who doesn’t pay for it) is consistent with Christs teachings?

    Public education and government wealth redistribution receipients (welfare and warfare) are the biggest free riders – Are you equally irate with them?

    Paying off a credit card every month is free riding, so is buying only a loss-leader at the local market – WWJD?

    How about occasionally listening to PBS without donating? Going to church without paying tithing? How about not serving in the military, aren’t those free riding?

    Hmmm, itemizing my taxes means I pay less, which is selfishly taking advantage of the rest of society (which are too lazy or ignorant to itemize). WWJD?

    Comment by Daylan — 2/20/2006 @ 10:09 pm

  39. To understand the answers to the questions you ask you must understand that there are many costs that you are contributing too without overtly making the decision. For example, do you pay taxes? Then you are contributing to the armed forces who protect the country as well as to PBS.

    Too poor to pay taxes? Then for a time you are a free rider, but society has engaged mechanisms to reduce this as well. Certainly there will always be free riders, but as you look at the Church’s welfare system, free riders are not tolerated.

    The credit card is a business contract and as such not applicable towards a public good.

    I don’t think you really have thought through your arguments or have an understanding of the concept of public/common good and resulting free riders.

    Comment by Craig — 2/20/2006 @ 11:02 pm

  40. Chris S,

    Prove to me that vaccines are safe!

    Again from the article:

    Like central planners everywhere, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) promulgates a self-serving, one-size-fits-all vaccine policy. Members of this committee have ties to vaccine makers, such that the CDC must grant them waivers from statutory conflict of interest rules. Even so, and with little evidence to show that it is safe to subject young children to the ACIP’s crowded immunization schedule, states nevertheless dutifully make its vaccine recommendations compulsory.

    Comment by wilma — 2/21/2006 @ 10:08 am

  41. I am writing this from the bunker in my basement where I keep my arms cache while wearing an aluminum hat to keep the government from controlling my brain. All my lights are off because I don’t want the black helicopters to see me…

    The CDC link I provided above contains very thorough and comprehensive references to peer reviewed studies about vaccine safety and efficacy. If you can’t believe those studies, then there is nothing more I can add. But since you asked, the following articles address the safety of multiple vaccinations or the possible effects on immune diseases. Enjoy:

    Anderson HR, Poloniecki JD, Strachan DP, Beasley R, Bjorksten B, Asher MI. Immunization and symptoms of atopic disease in children: results from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. Am J Public Health. 2001;91:1126–1129.

    Asher MI, Weiland SK. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). ISAAC Steeriing Committee. Clin Exp Allergy. 1998;28 Suppl 5:52–66; discussion 90–91.

    Black SB, Cherry JD, Shinefield HR, Fireman B, Christenson P, Lampert D. Apparent decreased risk of invasive bacterial disease after heterologous childhood immunization. Am J Dis Child. 1991;145:746–769.

    Blom L, Nystrom L, Dahlquist G. The Swedish childhood diabetes study. Vaccinations and infections as risk determinants for diabetes in childhood. Diabetologia. 1991;34:176–181.

    Burstein JL, Fleisher GR. Does recent vaccination increase the risk of occult bacteremia? Pediatr Emerg Care. 1994;10:138–140.

    Classen JB. The timing of immunization affects the development of diabetes in rodents. Autoimmunity. 1996;24:137–145.

    Davidson M, Letson GW, Ward JI, Ball A, Bulkow L, Christenson P, Cherry JD. DTP immunization and susceptibility to infectious diseases. Is there a relationship? Am J Dis Child. 1991;145:750–754.

    DeStefano F, Mullooly JP, Okoro CA, Chen RT, Marcy SM, Ward JI, Vadheim CM, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Davis RL, Bohlke K. Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Pediatrics. 2001;108:E112.

    EURODIAB. Variation and trends in incidence of childhood diabetes in Europe. EURODIAB ACE Study Group. Lancet. 2000;355:873–876.

    Farooqi IS, Hopkin JM. Early childhood infection and atopic disorder. Thorax. 1998;53:927–932. Feudtner C, Marcuse EK. 2001. Ethics and immunization policy: Promoting dialogue to sustain consensus. Pediatrics. 107(5):1158–1164.

    Fisher BL. On behalf of National Vaccine Information Center. Letter to Kathleen Stratton. November 5, 2001.

    Gellin BG, Maibach EW, Marcuse EK. 2000. Do parents understand immunizations? A national telephone survey. Pediatrics 106(5):1097–1102.

    Grant EN, Wagner R, Weiss KB. Observations on emerging patterns of asthma in our society. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999;104:S1–9.

    Griffin MR, Taylor JA, Daugherty JR, Ray WA. No increased risk for invasive bacterial infection found following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization. Pediatrics. 1992;89:640–642.

    Heijbel H, Chen RT, Dahlquist G. Cumulative incidence of childhood-onset IDDM is unaffected by pertussis immunization. Diabetes Care. 1997;20:173–175.

    Hiltunen M, Lonnrot M, Hyoty H. Immunisation and type 1 diabetes mellitus: Is there a link? Drug Saf. 1999;20:207–212.

    Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H. Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000;23:81–90.

    Hyoty H, Hiltunen M, Reunanen A, Leinikki P, Vesikari T, Lounamaa R, Tuomilehto J, Akerblom HK. Decline of mumps antibodies in type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic children and a plateau in the rising incidence of type 1 diabetes after introduction of the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine in Finland. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia.1993;36:1303–1308.

    IOM (Institute of Medicine). 1991. Adverse Events Following Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

    Jacobson DL, Gange SJ, Rose NR, Graham NM. Epidemiology and estimated population burden of selected autoimmune diseases in the United States. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1997;84:223–243.

    Karvonen M, Cepaitis Z, Tuomilehto J. Association between type 1 diabetes and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination: Birth cohort study. BMJ. 1999;318:1169–1172.

    Karvonen M, Viik-Kajander M, Moltchanova E, Libman I, LaPorte R, Tuomilehto J. Incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes worldwide. Diabetes Mondiale (DiaMond) Project Group. Diabetes Care. 2000;23:1516–1526.

    Kemp T, Pearce N, Fitzharris P, Crane J, Fergusson D, St. George I, Wickens K, Beasley R. Is infant immunization a risk factor for childhood asthma or allergy? Epidemiology. 1997;8:678–680.

    Kollman T. T Cell Immunity in Infants and Immune System Overload Hypothesis. Presentation to Immunization Safety Review Committee: Seattle, WA. 2001.

    Kristensen I, Aaby P, Jensen H. Routine vaccinations and child survival: Followup study in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. BMJ. 2000;321:1435–1438.

    Leslie D, Lipsky P, Notkins AL. 2001. Autoantibodies as predictors of disease. J Clin Invest 108(10):1417–1422.

    Mannino DM, Homa DM, Pertowski CA, Ashizawa A, Nixon LL, Johnson CA, Ball LB, Jack E, Kang DS. Surveillance for asthma—United States, 1960–1995. Mor Mortal Wkly Rep CDC Surveill Summ. 1998;47:1–27.

    Marrack P, Kappler J, Kotzin BL. Autoimmune disease: why and where it occurs. Nat Med. 2001;7:899–905.

    McPhillips H, Marcuse EK. 2001. Vaccine safety. Curr Probl Pediatr 31(4):91–121.Nilsson L, Kjellman NI, Bjorksten B. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of pertussis vaccines on atopic disease. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152:734–738.

    Notkins AL, Lernmark A. 2001. Autoimmune type 1 diabetes: Resolved and unresolved issues. J Clin Invest 108(9):1247–1252.

    Offit PA, Quarles J, Gerber MA, Hackett CJ, Marcuse EK, Kollman TR, Gellin BG, Landry, S. Addressing parents’ concerns: Do multiple vaccines overwhelm or weaken the infant’s immune system? Pediatrics. 2002;109:124–129.

    Otto S, Mahner B, Kadow I, Beck JF, Wiersbitzky SK, Bruns R. General nonspecific morbidity is reduced after vaccination within the third month of life—the Greifswald study. J Infect. 2000;41:172–175.

    Parham P. 2000. Overreactions of the immune system. Parham P. The Immune System. First ed. New York: Garland Publishing. Pp. 269–297.

    Rook G. Hygiene Hypothesis. Immunization Safety Review Committee Meeting: Seattle, WA. 2001.

    Rook GA. Clean living increases more than just atopic disease. Immunol Today. 2000;21:249–250. Strachan DP. Family size, infection and atopy: The first decade of the “hygiene hypothesis.” Thorax. 2000;55 Suppl 1:S2–10.

    Wickens K, Crane J, Kemp T, Lewis S, D’Souza W, Sawyer G, Stone L, Tohill S, Kennedy J, Slater T, Rains N, Pearce N. A case-control study of risk factors for asthma in New Zealand children. Aust N Z J Pub Health. 2001;25:44–49.

    Wills-Karp M, Santeliz J, Karp CL. The germless theory of allergic disease: Revisiting the hygiene hypothesis. Nature Rev Immunol. 2001;1:69–75.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/21/2006 @ 3:14 pm

  42. Egad! I was looking for my aluminum foil hat! Chris has stolen it!

    Nice lit. review Chris!

    Comment by Craig — 2/21/2006 @ 4:45 pm

  43. Chris S., I picked one of your titles at random and googled it. Here’s part of the abstract:

    “In August 1991, the Institute of Medicine released a report entitled Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines . . .The committee found that the evidence indicates a causal relation between DTP vaccine and anaphylaxis . . .The committee also reported that the evidence indicates a causal relation between the rubella vaccine and acute arthritis in adult women. The committee found the available evidence weaker but still consistent with a causal relation between DTP vaccine and two conditions–acute encephalopathy and hypotonic, hyporesponsive episodes–and between rubella vaccine and chronic arthritis in adult women.”

    Once again, I think that *in general* vaccines are very safe and wonderful things, but I also think that sometimes their proponents overstate their benefits and minimize their risks, as you have done here.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/21/2006 @ 8:34 pm

  44. Umm, that’s why you need to read the whole article and not pull excerpts.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/21/2006 @ 9:26 pm

  45. Chris, explain yourself.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/21/2006 @ 9:31 pm

  46. By way of explaination, the above articles were amassed by the Institute of Medicine for the purpose of issuing a statement about the safety of giving immunizations en masse in infancy and about the possibility of them influencing autoimmune diseases (like type I diabetes and arthritis). In creating such a statement, which will be quoted my the medico-legal community, the issuers must address all concerns, both real and theoretical. The articles are a review of the current literature (as of 2002) and contain mention of the concerns that have raised over the decades.
    After reviewing the literature, the committee (a panel of 15 or so physicians)issued the following statement:
    “A review of the possible biological mechanisms for any adverse effects of multiple immunization on immune function does not support the hypothesis that the infant immune system is inherently incapable of handling the numbers of antigens presented during routine immunization. A review of the clinical and epidemiological literature suggests that multiple immunizations do not lead to risk of infection or type 1 diabetes, and that the possible role in the risk of allergy is indeterminate. Meanwhile, the biological evidence that immunization might lead to infection, autoimmune disease, or allergy is more than only theoretical. This literature base is somewhat limited, however, and the concern is great among a significant minority of parents. Therefore the committee recommends limited but continued public health attention to this issue in terms of exploiting current research efforts. No recommendations for policy change are made, but the committee does recommend considering new frameworks for immunization policy, particularly as the number of licensed vaccines increases.”
    As you can see, there is a lot of CYA-speak (cover your…asphalt) in the statement, leaving open the possibility of future data that might call into question other adverse events. Nevertheless, as these things go, it is a very conclusive statement. My point to all this is that if you look through the literature and only pull out those thing you want to see, then you can prove anything. It needs to be evaluated as a body of research, and not a few lines at a time.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/22/2006 @ 10:01 am

  47. No, Chris, it doesn’t necessarily need to be evaluated as a body of evidence. I assume that if you had a dreaded disease, you wouldn’t be terribly concerned about ‘the body of evidence’ but rather what was relevant to your particular case, given whatever unusual factors you brought to the table. I think that the disagreement between you and I on this issue (which is, in real terms, slight) boils down to the biggest problem that I have with vaccinations: some people want to view it solely from a public health perspective and forget that needles go into the bodies of individuals. As the mother of three individuals, I want to take individuals into account. It may (I’m speaking theoretically here) be reasonable for someone with a strong family history of arthritis to delay or avoid a specific vaccination. I don’t know. But I do know that there’s no reason to make ‘en masse’ decisions on this issue when we don’t do that for other health care issues.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/22/2006 @ 1:22 pm

  48. “I am writing this from the bunker in my basement where I keep my arms cache while wearing an aluminum hat to keep the government from controlling my brain. All my lights are off because I don’t want the black helicopters to see me…”

    “Egad! I was looking for my aluminum foil hat! Chris has stolen it!”

    Do you consider yourselves typical Mormons? Do you (Mormons) ridicule everyone who disagrees with you?

    Comment by Danny White — 2/22/2006 @ 4:11 pm

  49. Danny,

    Read all of the posts! No, I DO NOT consider myself a typical mormon, And No I do not ridicule everyone who disagrees with me (again, please read all of the posts). For those of you who fail to do so, I believe that Chris, and I know that I, was engaged in friendly banter–you know, a sense of Humor?

    Comment by Craig S. — 2/22/2006 @ 6:01 pm

  50. Julie,

    I don’t follow your logic. Immunization is as much a public health issue as it is a personal health issue. Preventiative health measures are always most effective when widely applied and fail when not. Vaccinations by far have the greatest risk/benefit ratio of any intervention in health care. As the father of 2 (soon to be 3) individual humanoids, their health and safety is my utmost concern, and their immune status is best protected when not only they get vaccinated, but when everyone else does, too.

    Are those who refuse vaccines free riders? Yes. But what’s worse, is that by refusing immunizations, they not only compromise the health of their own children, but they increase the risk on society. There are those who may think that by clean living they will be safe, and that they can handle treating their child should he/she get sick with a preventable disease. But can they answer to the parent of the former premature infant who gets pertussis from their unimmunized child and ends up on a ventilator in the ICU?

    Why am I so aggressively outspoken on this issue? Because I have to discharge those premature babies to homes that I know are less than optimal, and it is the least we can do as a community to provide as safe an environment as possible. And as a parent, I would never forgive myself if my own child got tetanus and I had to watch as spastic paralysis overwhelmed her body. As yet, no one has posted an argument worth a crap to not immunize.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/23/2006 @ 2:43 pm

  51. Chris,

    You seem to have missed my point. Go back and reread my comments on this thread.

    (Hint: I’m not the one who thinks that ‘clean living’ will prevent pertussis. I’m the one who thinks that when it comes to vaccines, informed consent and scheduling and transparency and individual accomodation are wanting.)

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/23/2006 @ 3:16 pm

  52. Julie,

    *sigh* I got your point, I just don’t get it. The first paragraph pertained to you–sorry I didn’t clarify the change in audience. The latter two were an attempt to bring the thread back to the original post about free riders.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/23/2006 @ 4:36 pm

  53. #48 Danny: Yeah. Pretty much. We’re a tough crowd. And we address each other in the names we use to do it, too. Like: “Roasted Tomatoes, your hypothesis about the resolution of refusal to innoculate is extrapolated in this journal, if you can read.”

    The trick is not to take it too seriously, which is harder than it sounds when you’re arguing with somebody named Sultan of Squirrels or–sorry, Roasted tomatoes.

    For me, anyway. Because then I get mad and start cussing and making threats to peoples bodies and stuff like that. Not about inoculation, but like slapping people and stuff like that.

    And then it gets all uncivil and I get gentle reminders from blog boss guys and it just falls apart at that point.

    Comment by annegb — 2/24/2006 @ 8:33 am

  54. Chris, so if nobody can come up with an argument not to immunize, what is the next step? Government mandated immunizations? Government taking away your child if you refuse to immunize?

    Comment by Daylan — 2/26/2006 @ 1:06 pm

  55. we believe vacinations are good, but we use our own schedule, to space them out and delay the lowest priority ones. Our eldest had reactions so we like to give one at a time, to monitor the response and give the immune system time to recover before the next hit.

    There is a public health issue here, but also private risks and benefits- when the AAP recomends 3 shots in one visit, their goal is an immunized population, and they don’t trust all parents would bring the kid back for one shot a month, so they bundle 3 together to get the job done. as a contientious parent, I’m willing to drive over extra times.

    We’ve dealt with 4 pediatricians who’ve been happy with our plan- whenw e go in, I’ve researched what shot I wnat to be next, and I ask the Dr “if you could give just 1 shot, what would it be” and they tell me which would benefit my kid most- when we agree, we’re set. THAT is responsible and informed consent.

    I get mad when my friends don’t even know what shots their kids were given or why. The risks are low, but ignorance of your own kids care is just dumb.

    Comment by cchrissyy — 3/1/2006 @ 10:58 pm

  56. That sounds like wisdom to me Ccrissyy!

    Comment by Craig — 3/2/2006 @ 8:49 am

  57. Looks like that thorny issue of “free agency” has reared it’s ugly head again! It seems many times that people like to debate symptoms, but rarely the cause of a problem. I think that might be because solving a problem in many instances may be seen as worse than continually dealing with the “problem.” I mean, most social or political issues get the average person’s attention for just a short time, then it’s down the memory hole and on to other things.

    I have seen some of this matter up close. In the early 1990s my employment enabled me to visit two fine medical institutions, the Cleveland Clinic and the University and Women’s Hospital campuses, in the Cleveland, Ohio area. As an aside, whatever you think about Cleveland or the rustbelt in general, they still have some fine medical care available. Anyways, at both places, on several occasions, I saw several Amish people in the waiting areas. Further inquiry revealed that they received medical care at both places, free of charge! Apparently this was an arrangement of long standing, as the Amish in Ohio are centered in Holmes county,only about 90 minutes away (by modern car).I was confused, as I thought the “old order” Amish who shunned modern technology would never go to such a place, but I guess emergencies will do that to you. I don’t know if this was straight charity care, or if medicaid was somehow involved.

    While I think the political theory behind the “free riders” idea is inherently flawed, I do know a “freeloader” when I see one. Lets not make this rocket science, folks. For whatever reason, some groups in our society seem to be able to demand more than others. Once again, free agency comes into play. If you are willing to live your life in a society that seems to idolize primitive life, yet then totally place yourself at the mercy of the “outsiders” you usually avoid or shun when something bad happens, you’ve got a problem don’t you? I also find it strange that nobody thinks it odd that Amish communities aren’t expected to sell or mortgage any of their extensive land holdings (worth millions) to pay for many of these expensive medical situations, many preventable I am sure.

    Now we have finally gotten down to the tough part. We can’t stop with looking at the Amish, though. Many social groups in the U.S. contribute a lot less than they provide or share. The mass media don’t like to talk about it, but you all know what I am referring to. Anybody in the medical field who has worked in an Emergency Room can relate a story about ambulances rushing a couple of shot up gangbangers to the hospital. They consume hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources, yet provide only a snarl or a string of expletives as thanks. They were almost certainly unemployed, noncontributing people before their arrival, and will likely stay the same if they survive. Most would agree that this type of thing shows few signs of slowing down. Is there a solution to these social pathologies? Of course. Will the solution be pursued? No, not unless a majority of the productive, contributing citizenry decide to make and stick with some very hard choices. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that those who live on the charity of others, be it public assistance or otherwise, will cease to exist and reproduce if they do not adapt to changed social circumstances. Tough love, if you will. I see no Christ-centered concern or charity in helping to enable ignorance and failure at public expense. However, I think most people prefer the status quo, even if it gets ever more costly and dangerous.

    Unfortunately, this is how civilizations perish, the governing classes pursuing evermore power and empire, with the tacit support of the noncontributing subjects getting the subsidized bread and circuses. Only the impoverished citizenry (i.e. middle class), overworked and overdrawn, will wonder as to how things got this way.

    Comment by DB — 3/3/2006 @ 4:22 pm

  58. http://www.a-champ.org/documents/geier%20Early%20Downward%20Trends%20JAPS%203-1-06.pdf

    Hopefully some of you might find this interesting. It’s valid too.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 3/4/2006 @ 9:51 pm

  59. Been gone for some time…
    I know this is an old thread, but I came across this article while reading in the latest volume of Pediatrics. Unlike the above opinion piece, this is a peer-reviewed retrospective epidemiologic cohort study with an impressive n.

    PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 1 July 2006, pp. e139-e150

    I don’t usually like to play the dueling article game, but this is a very well done study that draws very valid, solid conclusions.

    Comment by Chris S. — 7/7/2006 @ 4:25 pm

  60. Oops. Not so good with the italics and the link thing.

    Comment by Chris S. — 7/7/2006 @ 4:27 pm

  61. This is an interesting read:


    Comment by Melissa — 7/15/2007 @ 9:40 am

  62. One need only see who the author is to measure the credibility of the article.

    Comment by Chris S. — 7/15/2007 @ 9:58 am

  63. Since someone else opened the thread, I just wanted to post something in regard to #23.

    I just came across a study done in 2005 (or rather published in 2005).


    It suggests that there are rare occurrences of autoimmune diseases (including arthritis) in those who have had HepA, HepB, MMR, flu or polio vaccines.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 9/11/2007 @ 7:43 pm

  64. The above quoted study was a literature search of case reports of auto-immune diseases with possible associations to vaccine administration. It is important to note that no cause-effect relationship could be established from the material reviewed. Case reports are the lowest class of evidence and are therefore an unreliable method of proving said relationship. When more rigorous mothods were used, there was no such evidence. To quote from the abstract itself:

    “Whenever controlled studies of autoimmunity following viral vaccines were undertaken, no evidence of an association was found.”

    If you look hard enough, you can find enough case reports to call anything into question. If you undertake a controlled study with true equipoise, it’s not so easy.

    Comment by Chris S. — 9/11/2007 @ 8:44 pm

  65. That being said, the study does conclude that very few people develop autoimmune diseases, not that no one develops them.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 9/11/2007 @ 11:31 pm

  66. Likewise, it concludes no link to type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS) or inflammatory bowel disease could be found.

    Both of those statements imply then that some (even if few) may develop autoimmune diseases such as arthritis after having had certain vaccines.

    The point being, of course, is that I’m not convinced one can absolutely disregard the relationship.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 9/11/2007 @ 11:33 pm

  67. The thing is, Kim, that people just develop autoimmune diseases. For example, if you looked at any group you will find the occurrence of such diseases. Whether there is a relationship in the occurrence of them with other factors is fairly easy to tell.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 9/12/2007 @ 3:28 pm

  68. Kim, you keep digging for excuses and cherry picking your sources to substantiate your choices. You can continue to ignore the mountain of evidence to the contrary and speak out against immunizations. That is your right in a free society like ours. It is also your right to be completely wrong. I don’t expect that to change any time soon, and I have no expectation of convincing you otherwise. I will, however, speak up when I hear support for a cause that is harmful to children I am obligated to protect.

    Comment by Chris S. — 9/12/2007 @ 9:32 pm

  69. Chris,

    I wasn’t pointing out the study to substantiate a choice. I was pointing out the study to try to explain what happened to me (since no one else has been able to, and I am not referring to this thread). I certainly didn’t choose to get arthritis.

    It’s really all moot anyhow. I got arthritis when I was 20, and I have to deal with it. Period.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 9/18/2007 @ 3:26 pm

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