Anti-vaccination crap undermines attempts to eradicate measles

Anti-vaccination crap undermines attempts to eradicate measles

A paper in medical journal The Lancet last week shows that poor vaccination uptake in some European countries has lead to measles outbreaks across Europe, with just five countries in Europe accounting for 85% of cases. The growing 'exportation' of measles from Europe to regions thought to be clear of measles has undermined immunity elsewhere and setback the worldwide eradication program.

After the previous discussion of the measles outbreak in Cheshire, a timely paper in The Lancet last week highlighted how daft anti-vaccination nonsense is.

Measles in Europe: an epidemiological assessment1

The study collated data (inc. incidence of measles and vaccination rates) from 32 European countries in 2yrs, 2006 and 2007, and found that 5 countries of the 32 account for 10,329 (85%) of a total of 12,132 cases of measles.
Most cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children; however, almost a fifth were aged 20 years or older. (table below)

The majority of 'imported' cases in Europe in 2007 were from other European countries (Switzerland the highest) and typically from countries with the highest measles occurrence rate - those of course mostly occurring in children not vaccinated properly, or at all. (figure below)

New Scientist also summarizes the report noting that measles has been imported into areas previously declaring eradication, like Latin America. Effectively, anti-vaccination campaigns in European countries have undermined collective immunity in other regions due to vaccination uptake in some countries - including Germany, the UK and Italy - being too low to stop the spread of measles.

The commentary on the paper lists various reasons for incomplete vaccination uptake in different countries:

The UK is only slowly recovering from its unsubstantiated scare that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination was linked to increased risk of autism.5 Also, the suspension of the National Measles and Rubella Vaccination Campaign in the Ukraine6 shows how vulnerable vaccination is to unfounded reports of side-eff ects. Whereas Germany has its anthroposophic communities and measles parties, the Netherlands struggles with religious objectors in the bible belt, which, after the last outbreak in 1999–2000 is again moving towards critical numbers of susceptible individuals, suffi cient to sustain a larger outbreak.

The goal of eliminating measles by 2010 seems a lot longer off due to the failure to achieve universal uptake.
Well done the anti-vaccination lot. Twats.

note: anyone curious to see full-text I'll email you a pdf

Comments

Choccy
Feb 3 2009 15:09

Bad Science has some anti-vaccination gold up on here. Christ listen to the shit in the mp3

Choccy
Feb 9 2009 00:31

The Times is claiming that not only was Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper that sparked the UK MMR scare misleading, but that the data might have been faked.

Moral Order
Feb 21 2009 00:51

Ahhh, anarchists with billy clubs forcing the masses for their Vaccinations, operating as the thug bully boys for the State. How interesting. So choice is just a can of crap when the anarchists want something to happen? Stalin would be proud.

Perhaps you'd like to shovel some GM foods and DDT down us as well?

888
Feb 21 2009 03:59

Reporting on the results of people not getting vaccinated is "forcing the masses for their vaccinations"? You are a fucking cretin.

Jenni
Feb 21 2009 16:25
Moral Order wrote:
So choice is just a can of crap when the anarchists want something to happen?

No, choice is a can of crap when we're talking about individuals' actions having a serious negative effect on the rest of society. This debate has been had before here, perhaps give that a read before coming out with misinformed rubbish about bully boys and billy clubs.

Mareika
Feb 21 2009 22:03

IMO, you need an anti vaccination movement to keep regulations in place.

I have noticed groups are having a hard time getting autism looked at. It seems you have to constantly fight for the well being of the human race. The parents and supporters of Autistic children are demanding certain things be eliminated from vaccinations.

Vaccinations to me are putting one poison in someone's system to eliminate another poison. Often vaccinations are put forward for monetary capital gain from pharmaceutical companies and monetary or non monetary capitalism from political parties.

There is research for and against many things we do but at the end of the day, the one who wins is the one that gets used by the state for the states benefit. Sometimes it is a matter of who paid money or gained votes supporting political parties. The politicians owe their supporters. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours is still the business whether money changes hands or not.

Mareika
Feb 21 2009 22:54

Hi Jenni,

Quote:
No, choice is a can of crap when we're talking about individuals' actions having a serious negative effect on the rest of society. This debate has been had before here, perhaps give that a read before coming out with misinformed rubbish about bully boys and billy clubs.

I study social business and there are major concerns about group bullies.

Sometimes they are great. When Africa wanted to buy a cheaper vaccination (oops had to come back and change this word. There is no vaccination out yet for Aids. The word should just be medicine) for AIDS many pharmaceutical companies got together to take South Africa to court. But they were aware of the lobby groups who would open this up to discrimination of a poor country. Instead they devised for one of their many trusts to pay for it. This way the capitalists still survived and care for AIDS still progressed.

Environmental groups and ethnic groups and gender groups can have such an impact on the state, business and even the community that many theories are coming forward as how to combat them on issues that do more harm than good.

We have research and information like never before that can give an unbiased accurate picture of the needs of the human race. But we can't seem to at this moment in time stop the people's collective voices or the rich.

Jenni
Feb 21 2009 23:04
Mareika wrote:
I have noticed groups are having a hard time getting autism looked at.

That's because it's been repeatedly shown that the link between vaccine (MMR in this case) and autism is completely non-existent.

Quote:
Vaccinations to me are putting one poison in someone's system to eliminate another poison.

That's not what a vaccine is. It's either a weakened form of a virus or bacteria that stimulates the body to make its own antibodies, or antibodies given directly - either way it means you're protected from a disease. Doesn't sound particularly oppressive, does it.

Quote:
Often vaccinations are put forward for monetary capital gain from pharmaceutical companies

Yes, everything that is made under capitalism is produced for profit. Tough shit. Should we also avoid all medicines because they're made by pharmaceuticals? There's extensive research carried out without conflict of interest for every vaccine to make sure they're effective and safe before use.

Quote:
I study social business

Good for you. I study medicine, so I'm probably in on the conspiracy tbf.

Quote:
When Africa wanted to buy a cheaper vaccination for AIDS many pharmaceutical companies got together to take South Africa to court.

There isn't a vaccine available for HIV yet, so I don't actually know what you're talking about.

Quote:
Environmental groups and ethnic groups and gender groups can have such an impact on the state, business and even the community that many theories are coming forward as how to combat them on issues that do more harm than good

We have research and information like never before that can give an unbiased accurate picture of the needs of the human race. But we can't seem to at this moment in time stop the people's collective voices or the rich.

None of this even makes sense.

Stop with the conspiratorial shit - nobody's trying to poison anybody. Or would you prefer everyone to die from preventable diseases?

Jenni
Feb 21 2009 23:16

Also;

Quote:
The parents and supporters of Autistic children are demanding certain things be eliminated from vaccinations.

Don't tar all parents of autistic children with the same brush as the anti-vax lobby, most of them know their kids' autism was nothing to do with the vaccine and support its continued use.

Mareika
Feb 21 2009 23:34

Hi again Jenni, this is going to be fun to work out how to quote you as well as put my quotes in.

I say:I have noticed groups are having a hard time getting autism looked at.

Quote:
You say: That's because it's been repeatedly shown that the link between vaccine (MMR in this case) and autism is completely non-existent.

Then you are going to hate groups asking for Mercury to be taken out of vaccinations.
national autism association

They have a good argument IMO.

Vaccinations to me are putting one poison in someone's system to eliminate another poison.

Quote:
That's not what a vaccine is. It's either a weakened form of a virus or bacteria that stimulates the body to make its own antibodies, or antibodies given directly - either way it means you're protected from a disease. Doesn't sound particularly oppressive, does it.

Check this one link out.

Often vaccinations are put forward for monetary capital gain from pharmaceutical companies.

Quote:
Yes, everything that is made under capitalism is produced for profit. Tough shit. Should we also avoid all medicines because they're made by pharmaceuticals? There's extensive research carried out without conflict of interest for every vaccine to make sure they're effective and safe before use.

That's a very naive statement. Do you seriously think you won't find members as directors on boards that are on other boards to benefit the first board.

Even women's refuges board members are on child services boards.

BTW, I am not against medicine.

I study social business

Quote:
Good for you. I study medicine, so I'm probably in on the conspiracy tbf.

Great that we can communicate.

When Africa wanted to buy a cheaper vaccination for AIDS many pharmaceutical companies got together to take South Africa to court.

Quote:
There isn't a vaccine available for HIV yet, so I don't actually know what you're talking about.

I noticed I wrote that. Hopefully fixed it.

Environmental groups and ethnic groups and gender groups can have such an impact on the state, business and even the community that many theories are coming forward as how to combat them on issues that do more harm than good

We have research and information like never before that can give an unbiased accurate picture of the needs of the human race. But we can't seem to at this moment in time stop the people's collective voices or the rich.

Quote:
None of this even makes sense.

That is why we are lucky to connect.

Quote:
Stop with the conspiratorial shit - nobody's trying to poison anybody. Or would you prefer everyone to die from preventable diseases?

Why do you think we have regulation in the first place? It is to stop being poisoned.

Do you want to talk about your study material and conspiracy? I would love to.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 13:22

It is up to the individual to accept or reject any medical treatments such as vaccination. Does Jenny imply that the individual is obligated by society to be vaccinated as Moral Order suggests? If not, then I don't see how this debate is related in anyway to libertarian political ideas.

radicalgraffiti
Feb 22 2009 13:39
peter mcgrath wrote:
It is up to the individual to accept or reject any medical treatments such as vaccination. Does Jenny imply that the individual is obligated by society to be vaccinated as Moral Order suggests? If not, then I don't see how this debate is related in anyway to libertarian political ideas.

so we should ask the babies if they want to be vaccinated?

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 16:24
peter mcgrath wrote:
It is up to the individual to accept or reject any medical treatments such as vaccination. Does Jenny imply that the individual is obligated by society to be vaccinated as Moral Order suggests? If not, then I don't see how this debate is related in anyway to libertarian political ideas.

How can you possibly spell my name wrong on a message board?

I'm not implying it, I'm stating it. People can't always have absolute individual freedom to choose to act one way or another when it has serious negative effects on society. Obviously I would support educational efforts to increase vaccination uptake first, and only support compulsory vaccination as a last resort. But if vulnerable people (e.g. those who are immunocompromised, or babies too young to receive vaccinations) are dying from vaccine-preventable diseases because others are refusing to be vaccinated or vaccinate their children, thus compromising herd immunity, then something is wrong. It is no more compulsive or oppressive for the state (under liberal democracy) or councils of workers/consumers (under libertarian communism) to enforce vaccination than it is for minority groups refusing immunisation to enforce infection on those made vulnerable when social immunity is compromised.
[edit: I am aware of the problem of conflating the state with any democratic decision made under communism. It's fairly irrelevant to my point though which is that a minority should not be allowed to compromise the health of the majority using 'individual choice' as justification.]

This isn't even theoretical or hypothetical - in April of last year a teenage boy died from measles, which was the first mealses fatality since 2006. He was immunocompromised because of a congenital illness, and so couldn't have been vaccinated. He relied on herd immunity built up by childhood immunisation programmes, and so the decision of parents not to immunise their children against measles was the cause of his death. Is THAT libertarian? No, it's a stupid and preventable waste of a young life.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 16:46
Quote:
so we should ask the babies if they want to be vaccinated?

I think anyone could agree that it is those who have the duty of care to the baby who would make such a decision rather than the child itself. Obviously a baby is not capable of making such decisions by itself.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 17:04

Jenni - I don't see how your desire to force medication onto people can be reconciled with any libertarian ethic. You could quite as easily argue for the blanket prohibition of cars or drugs using the same utilitarian logic - that use of these things eventually harms others in the same way the refusal to accept vaccination may harm others. Either people have a right to make these judgements for themselves, or some self-appointed authority must make these decisions for them and impose them regardless of the will of those subjected to such decisions. Do you seriously propose sanctions such as imprisonment for those who refuse medication?

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 17:26
peter mcgrath wrote:
Jenni - I don't see how your desire to force medication onto people can be reconciled with any libertarian ethic. You could quite as easily argue for the blanket prohibition of cars or drugs using the same utilitarian logic - that use of these things eventually harms others in the same way the refusal to accept vaccination may harm others.

No, I'd argue for blanket prohibition of drink driving or drug driving. Which funnily enough already exists.

Quote:
Either people have a right to make these judgements for themselves, or some self-appointed authority must make these decisions for them and impose them regardless of the will of those subjected to such decisions.

I think we can safely assume that the vast majority of people do not want to be at risk from preventable diseases. Yeah, the state would be the one enforcing compulsory vaccination in this sort of society (if all educational efforts had failed to increase vaccine uptake to a safe level), which is problematic, but essentially not acting against the wishes of the vast majority. Under communism a democratic decision for vaccination to be compulsory if a similarly dangerous situation occurred would have to be upheld in the same way that any other law would be.

Quote:
Do you seriously propose sanctions such as imprisonment for those who refuse medication?

I'm not actually sure how compulsion would be enforced practically. Certainly not imprisonment, what would be the point? In America kids aren't allowed to start school without their vaccinations being up to date, so maybe something like that would improve immunisation rates in the UK too. I do see that this is unfair on those children with anti-vaccination parents because it's not their fault, but one would hope that social pressure would get parents to change their minds and have their kids vaccinated. Another idea would be financial sanctions on not immunising children, however then you could buy your way out of immunisation if you were rich enough.
Ultimately in cases where parents still refused to vaccinate their kids (which I imagine after extensive educational efforts to make people aware of their safety and necessity would be very rare) it would culminate in a court case to determine whether the parents (a) had any reasonable concern about the child's suitability for vaccination and (b) had any right to endanger their child and other vulnerable individuals by not vaccinating.

You haven't responded to the point about that kid dying from measles. Do you think it's fair that people being allowed to choose not to vaccinate results in the death of people like this? How about kids who are too young to be vaccinated? Only a matter of time until a measles case among this demographic results in death. And how about the children of anti-vaxxers themselves? Why should parents be allowed to put their kids at risk of diseases that can cause serious disability and death? What's the difference between this and parents failing to take their child to hospital if they have an accident or refusing to let them take antibiotics for an infection?

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 17:39

Just to emphasise - Before 'forcing medication' on anyone, I would support and potentially help organise, if I could, a massive educational initiative to combat the misinformation and media-fuelled hysteria that surrounds MMR vaccination. I'm not really blaming parents in this case. With the amount of scaremongering and untrustworthy news reports on vaccination safety, it's not surprising that many are still shit scared of harming their kids with vaccinations. But at the end of the day, if such measures fail, people dying as a result of broken herd immunity simply can't be tolerated and something more immediate would have to be done. After-the-fact vaccination campaigns to deal with increasingly common outbreaks of measles are both financially unsustainable and unable to affect numbers of new children being born and not immunised.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 18:05
Quote:
No, I'd argue for blanket prohibition of drink driving or drug driving. Which funnily enough already exists.

My point was that your utilitarian argument for forced vaccination could also be used to prohibit cars, particuarly in inner city areas. Airborne pollution causes preventable diseases, for instance it is now accepted that there is a causal link between airbourne pollution and childhood asthma. Most people would see car-banning on this basis to be illiberal and disproportionate, which is how I see enforced medication/vaccination. In fact, banning someone from using a car within a given area for the sake of preventing the harm caused by pollutants in car exhaust seems far less authoritarian that essentially claiming ownership over another individuals body in the name of society and forcing medication onto them. 'Society' and the greater social good are abstractions that can be invoked to justify practically anything. To specifically deal with your example of the kid who died of measles the short answer is that I don't accept that I have a duty of care to actively prevent such a thing from happening by being vaccinated. To say otherwise is to say that some authority must have the right to arbitrary impose itself over my body, which could also be used to justify other similar impositions such as criminalising abortion and such. People either have a right to decide for themselves as individuals, or they don't, ie; they are slaves to a measure utility decided upon and imposed by somebody else.

I agree with you that by and large social pressure and access to good information will tend towards people acting for a social good, but that is a far cry from saying that people must be violently coerced into doing such regardless of their will, which is what you are advocating if universal vaccination is to be realistically enforcable.

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 18:17
Quote:
To specifically deal with your example of the kid who died of measles the short answer is that I don't accept that I have a duty of care to actively prevent such a thing from happening by being vaccinated.

Then I guess we have a fundamental difference of opinion, and I'm not sure how to take this any further with debate.

Quote:
To say otherwise is to say that some authority must have the right to arbitrary impose itself over my body, which could also be used to justify other similar impositions such as criminalising abortion and such.

Abortion deals with the relative importance of a woman's right to control her own fertility, and a foetus' 'right' to life. A foetus is not a person, it is a potential person. Those harmed by non-vaccination are actual persons. The comparison can't be made, imo.

Joseph Kay
Feb 22 2009 18:33
peter mcgrath wrote:
banning someone from using a car within a given area for the sake of preventing the harm caused by pollutants in car exhaust seems far less authoritarian that essentially claiming ownership over another individuals body in the name of society and forcing medication onto them.

well we're talking about kids, so someone other than the recipient is deciding on the vaccination; in this instance it's no more inherently authoritarian to vaccinate than not to, putting the child at risk. i don't see an a priori reason why the parent's wishes should be invioble - if parents wanted to prevent their kid having a life-saving operation for religious reasons i would see that as manslaughter at the very least, and hardly any less authoritarian than the operation being done against the parents wishes.

now obviously third parties deciding what's in someone's best interests can be problematic - but with kids in particular it's unavoidable. then there needs to be an accountable, evidence-based capacity for wider society to intervene, imho. in the case of MMR, now one of the most studied vaccines, there's basically no reputable evidence of a link to autism - it's a fabricated media scare which has compromised herd immunity and is now harming people for no good reason.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 19:00
Quote:
there's basically no reputable evidence of a link to autism - it's a fabricated media scare which has compromised herd immunity and is now harming people for no good reason.

I thought the controversy was about the use of thiomersal as a preservative in the MMR vaccine, which is not a necessary requirement of the vaccine but is used to reduce cost. The link you posted makes no mention of this.

Joseph Kay
Feb 22 2009 19:01

well the point is a systematic review of all the studies of MMR/autism found no link. with no effect to explain, you don't need to find a cause. the 'controversy' is entirely fabricated (much like the 'controversy' over 'intelligent design').

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 19:06

edit: never mind JK got there first.

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 22:15

There's no evidence that any thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism anyway. Whilst it was still considered a possibility, mercury products were removed from childhood vaccines apart from trace concentrations, and it failed to produce a decrease in autism diagnoses.
A critical review of thimerosal/autism studies has shown there to be no link. I'll repost the results and conclusions instead of linking to it because you need either a subscription or institutional access to read it:

Pediatrics Vol. 114 No. 3 Sept. 2004 wrote:
Results. Twelve publications that met the selection criteria were identified by the literature search: 10 epidemiologic studies and 2 pharmacokinetic studies of ethylmercury. The design and quality of the studies showed significant variation. The preponderance of epidemiologic evidence does not support an association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD. Epidemiologic studies that support an association are of poor quality and cannot be interpreted. Pharmacokinetic studies suggest that the half-life of ethylmercury is significantly shorter when compared with methylmercury.

Conclusions. Studies do not demonstrate a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD, and the pharmacokinetics of ethylmercury make such an association less likely. Epidemiologic studies that support a link demonstrated significant design flaws that invalidate their conclusions. Evidence does not support a change in the standard of practice with regard to administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines in areas of the world where they are used.

peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 19:21

Do you think it is unreasonable to practice the precautionary principal with regards to compounds such as thiomersal? The EU are apparently phasing out the use of this compound in vaccinations, despite there being no hard evidence that it causes autism in children. I think that it is not unreasonable that parents might not want their children exposed to toxic chemicals whether or not their is a proven causal link with autism.

Jenni
Feb 22 2009 19:25
peter mcgrath wrote:
Do you think it is unreasonable to practice the precautionary principal with regards to compounds such as thiomersal?

See the link I just posted.

WebMD News Archive wrote:
Jan. 7, 2008 -- Autism rates continue to go up despite removal of thimerosal, which contains a form of mercury, from nearly all child vaccines, California data show
peter mcgrath
Feb 22 2009 19:32

Yeah, sorry I posted that before seeing your post. embarrassed

Mareika
Feb 22 2009 22:10

I think at the end of the day, autism is a terrible disorder. If your child has severe Autism, you are basically having to care for them round the clock and till they die.

Research comes from both sides.

In fact, Pharmaceutical companies go to a lot of trouble to be found innocent. And why shouldn't they. They could be sued millions.

I think we should always be looking at the risks and keep the risk programs we have going.

Do you all know of Thalidomide? It took a lot of work to get that taken off the market. (yes, yes, I know it is back on for cancer treatment but under strict regulation)

Quote:
Thalidomide was thought to have been developed by German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal in Stolberg (Rhineland) near Aachen although this has recently been challenged by Dr Martin W Johnson, director of the Thalidomide Trust in the UK[3]. It is thought that thalidomide was developed by the Nazis as an antidote to nerve gas such as sarin.

It was sold from 1957 to 1961 in almost 50 countries under at least 40 names, including Distaval, Talimol, Nibrol, Sedimide, Quietoplex, Contergan, Neurosedyn, and Softenon. Thalidomide was chiefly sold and prescribed during the late 1950s and early 1960s to pregnant women, as an antiemetic to combat morning sickness and as an aid to help them sleep. Before its release, inadequate tests were performed to assess the drug's safety, with catastrophic results for the children of women who had taken thalidomide during their pregnancies.

[edit] Birth defects

From 1956 to 1962, approximately 10,000 children in Africa and Europe were born with severe malformities, including phocomelia, because their mothers had taken thalidomide during pregnancy.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide

Sadly, this drug was not completely taken off the market till the early 80's. So children were born with these defeats 20 years after independent research showed it to be harmful.

Mareika
Feb 22 2009 21:04

Another good example of corporations putting profit before health is the tobacco industry.

It has been hard for the people fighting them and near impossible to get the tobacco industry to acknowledge independent research. They fight back themselves with research that denies harm.

Joseph Kay
Feb 22 2009 21:48

nobody disputes that corporations are motivated by profit, that's a truism. the point is with tobacco and thalidomide evidence was either suppressed or not collated (meta-analysis of thalidomide data may well have spotted problems much quicker). this is an argument for peer-reviewed, double-blind RCTs with full disclosure of conflicts of interest etc (i.e. scientific norms), plus openly available non-proprietory datasets (should be a scientific norm but isn't, largely cos of commercial interests). the problem is the profit motive distorting science, not science itself.

it's not simply a case of 'conflicting research' resulting in some kind of relativist free-for-all of choosing what to trust on a hunch; if there's open publication of datasets, methodology etc flawed/rigged studies can be exposed as such and disregarded for the purpose of meta-analyses/systematic reviews. that is to say science can be subversive when the establishment is based on deceit; dismissing science on account of thalidomide is like dismissing mathematics on account of Hiroshima.