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Medicine Science

Study Finds Unvaccinated Students Putting Other Students At Risk 1025

New submitter haroldmandel writes in with a story about the increase of certain diseases in school-age children due to parents not having their kids vaccinated. "Parents nervous about the safety of vaccinations for their children may be causing a new problem: the comeback of their grandparents' childhood diseases, reports a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Despite the successes of childhood immunizations, wrote Penn Nursing researcher Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, in the American Journal of Public Health, controversy over their safety has resulted in an increasing number of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated and obtaining legally binding personal belief exemptions against vaccinations for their children."
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Study Finds Unvaccinated Students Putting Other Students At Risk

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  • They're stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neo8750 ( 566137 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:12AM (#41107479) Homepage
    That is all i have say.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:23AM (#41107557) Homepage

      I think there is a Vaccine for that. Maybe that is the problem, the parents missed their vaccinations?

      • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

        by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:05AM (#41108821)

        Actually, the anti-vaxxer movement could be a fantastic way of getting dumbfuck retards out of the gene pool. Unfortunately, as can be seen by TFA, anti-vaxxing doesn't affect only its adepts but also innocent people around them. Too bad.

        Here in my own country, we have a vaccination plan with quite a few mandatory vaccines. Everybody has a little booklet we call the Vaccination Bulletin, where the nurses keep track of all the vaccines we take. We go to a Health Centre and get vaccinated for free. Kids can't attend public school unless they show their Vaccination Bulletin and prove all the mandatory vaccines are in order. Everybody vaccinates their kids. The only exceptions I can think of is ghetto people who may not do it, out of neglect. And anyway, only a very small minority of them.

        Maybe you could institute a similar policy in the USA. If the nut heads don't want to vaccinate their kids, they should home school them. That would keep their little walking petri dishes away from normal children. Yes, for an American this may sound like anti-freedom, but I think my freedom of not getting infected with a bunch of crazy diseases far outweighs the rights of other people to be dumbfucking stupid. And I believe the anti-vaxxer crowd is a very small minority, even in the USA (here they're non-existent). Why should they have the right to hurt the vast majority of normal people?

        Vaccines protect people in the developed world from a huge bunch of diseases that were eradicated decades ago or only exist in third world countries. Do you Americans really want to become Uganda in the name the freedom to be stupid? Get a fucking grip, already!

        • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Informative)

          by Archimagus ( 978734 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:11AM (#41108911)
          I am an American, and I fully agree with this comment. And I don't know when this changed. When I went to school it was the same thing. The school wouldn't let me in if I didn't have all my vaccines, as it should be. As the old saying goes, "Your freedom to swing your arm ends at my nose." The same should apply here. You can't use your freedom to get me sick.
          • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @12:43PM (#41111411) Homepage Journal

            >Your freedom to swing your arm ends at my nose

            It seems that very often one cannot take a walk on a street without touching someone's overstretched nose.

        • Re:They're stupid (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2012 @11:23AM (#41110075) Homepage Journal

          That's the policy everywhere I've lived in the US, too, except that there are personal belief and medical necessity exemptions. The former is an obvious loophole; the anti-vax idiots just claim that they're religiously opposed to shots or something like that. The second is kind of problematic and I'm not sure how to solve it. There are certain people that can't receive particular vaccines for immune deficiency or allergy reasons. That's fine. The problem is that any doctor seems to be able to issue these exemptions. That unfortunately currently includes chiropractors, who seem to be opposed to vaccines for trade reasons (because chiropractic theory and disease theory aren't compatible).

          The obvious first step would be to limit medical exemption forms to only being issued by MDs (and maybe DOs? I think they're also pro-science), but then you'll have the chiropractic lobby complaining that they're being treated as second-class citizens.

          For the record, I love me a good chiropractor for back pain relief. They just don't have any business involving themselves in the vaccine non-controversy.

      • I think there is a Vaccine for that. Maybe that is the problem, the parents missed their vaccinations?

        Unfortunately, no. There's no vaccine against stupid.

        Although some people work at stupid so hard, a lobotomy would actually make them smarter.

    • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:52AM (#41107853)

      And that's why they need educated. And the education system itself is to blame for this. Too much rote learning, and not enough learning how to learn and learning how to think. It's not terribly difficult to sit down and think for a second and realize that if you dont get vaccinated, you're dependent on everyone else still getting vaccinated in order to not get sick. And even then, that still leaves "outside the herd" sources of infection, as well as diseases that arent transmittable (and have no herd immunity effect), such at Tetenas (spelling, I know).

      But that requires thinking and reasoning skills, and too many people seem to only have the ability to yell at the tv "Stupid conservatives/liberals".

    • It may be the anti-vaccine crowd, or it may be you. There is evidence that catching things is good for you long term and that vaccines may not be as effective at building the immune system as natural disease. Notice that I'm sidestepping the issue of vaccine safety and still making an argument. Now I'm a fan of eradication programs - I've got a small-pox vaccination scar and think it's great that the disease has been eliminated. I think it's great that we may soon see an end to polio. I'm up for eradicating
    • by mrjb ( 547783 )
      Stupid eh? Go ahead, make vaccines mandatory. But that doesn't restore the faith in vaccines. I'm all for vaccination (my kids are both vaccinated, the first one has autism), but you know what? I think parents have a point when they're acting suspicious. Call it paranoia, but vaccines ARE being short tracked by big pharma so they're first-to-market. You think there's not a lot of profit to be made in vaccines? Think again. Everything that potentially can be sold to every new baby born on the planet amounts
    • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stripe7 ( 571267 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:43AM (#41109433)
      I would leave it up to the insurance companies, let the insurance companies charge extra or not pay for treatment of people who get sick from diseases they should have been vaccinated for.
      • Re:They're stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DeadCatX2 ( 950953 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @12:22PM (#41111079) Journal

        You know, I find it completely immoral that an insurance company might choose to deny payment for a necessary medical treatment...

        and yet I find myself agreeing with you wholeheartedly that insurance companies shouldn't be obligated to pay for a disease that an individual acquired by intentionally denying routine vaccinations.

        Ouch! The cognitive dissonance! It burrrns us!

  • Because... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jongalbreath ( 1621157 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:15AM (#41107493)
    everyone's best friend should be Polio.
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:15AM (#41107497) Homepage

    This is why vaccinations need to be mandatory. If you want to live in society, you have to follow society's rules and that includes rules that keep you from putting others at serious risk.

    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:19AM (#41107525)

      Agreed. The only exemptions should be for allergy or other medical problems - those are sufficiently rare that herd immunity should not be compromised.

    • by sensationull ( 889870 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:22AM (#41107549)

      Agreed, parents who don't should be forced to wear dunce hats in public as they are usually to thick to even have a remotely reasonable reason why.

    • by sargon666777 ( 555498 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:24AM (#41107559) Homepage

      This is why vaccinations need to be mandatory. If you want to live in society, you have to follow society's rules and that includes rules that keep you from putting others at serious risk.

      Wow what a slippery slope that is... So for instance should H1N1 vaccinations be required? What about flu shots? If everyone got the flu shot we would likely run out before the high risk people (the young and elderly) had a chance to get it. Not to mention the potential side effects of many vaccines. Personally I and my children are vaccinated for everything I consider a serious disease (polio, etc.), but not H1N1 for instance because the chance of death is practically non-existent. In a free society you have the choice to be stupid... If you take away that choice then its no longer a free society.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @09:22AM (#41108223)

        It's not a slippery slope. Vaccination recommendations and requirements (yes, you are quite rightly required to be immunized in some places, for some things), are based on a quantitative risk/benefit analysis.

        It actually amazes people from outside the US that children unvaccinated for things like whooping cough would be allowed into a public school.

    • by Hardhead_7 ( 987030 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:30AM (#41107607)
      I don't think they need to be mandatory, but I think what *should* happen is we need to publicly shame these parents. Every time a kid dies of Whooping Cough, those parents need to be on the news the same as if they'd drowned their kid in a bathtub.
      • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @09:41AM (#41108477) Homepage

        Unfortunately, the ones that suffer aren't only the kids of the parents who don't vaccinate. If it were only those parent's kids, I'd be in favor of vaccination being voluntary. However, when Parent A doesn't vaccinate his/her kids, they increase risk of infection for Parent B's baby (too young for vaccination), Parent C's child (can't be vaccinated due to valid medical reason such as allergies), and Parent D's child (vaccine didn't take). A person's rights to raise their kids how they want don't extend to putting other kids at risk.

    • Tough on the kids, but if the flat earthers want to devolve back to their Garden of Eden fantasy, let's get the party started.

      The only real question is which group is going to end up as the Eloi and which the Morlocks. Me, I'm not that keen on the sun.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:49AM (#41107813) Homepage
      I don't doubt that this is going to go through the upper reaches of legal system sooner or later, but initially at least, I think the solution is probably more in your second sentence than the first; non-vaccinated kids are putting other kids at risk, so perhaps the schools and local authorities need to start thinking about this in terms of risk and liability. Say one of the non-vaccinated kids is shown to have introduced a serious illness into a class, which then rips through the non-vaccinated pupils in that class and probably also picks up a few of the vaccinated ones too since vaccination isn't always 100% effective. If fatalities and/or life-changing debilities result it's probably just a matter of time before someone decides to sue their school board for gross negligence in failing to adequately protect little Johnny from what ails/ailed him, regardless of whether little Johnny was vaccinated or not.

      Not a lot a school is going to be able to prevent that from happening, particularly since some particularly nasty diseases are contageous before the symptoms become visible. Segregating the non-vaccinated kids individually clearly isn't going to be viable, so that really just leaves a choice between a school insisting on its pupils being vaccinated or them being unable to attend. Of course, neither of those options are likely to be palatable to the parents who strongly believe in the non-vaccination of their kids, even if the school provides them with some suitably frank educational material [], so the courts are still going to get involved.
  • by VendettaMF ( 629699 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:20AM (#41107529) Homepage

    Every reputable medical doctor, along with every pundit even slightly knowledgable about medicine or even basic biology has been warning of this issue ever since the antivaxxer morons got their idiotic campaign going.

  • There's a shock... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:22AM (#41107539) Journal

    I suspect that, rather than "Despite the successes of childhood immunizations", it would be because of those successes that the 'controversy' is presently raging...

    Because of the effectiveness of widespread childhood vaccination, we've had at least a generation of people with minimal firsthand exposure to all the wacky pathogenic fun that used to be quite common. Plus, depending on the herd immunity requirements for a given pathogen and vaccine, being part of the first n% of opt-outs is basically cost-free. It isn't until you get closer to herd immunity breakdown that being unvaccinated starts to carry any serious additional risk of infection.

    If you have a situation where people's knowledge of the risks is largely historical and the odds are pretty good that you can free-ride your way past them in any case, it (sadly) seems only to be expected that there would be room for assorted controversy to flourish.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:30AM (#41107615) Homepage

    At its core, the anti-vax movement is bad risk assessment for a few reasons. First of all, the horrors of the diseases that most vaccinations prevent against haven't been seen in a few generations. People my age (30's) with kids have never lived in a world where you could get polio or mumps at any moment and wind up dead, on an iron lung, deaf, scarred for life, etc. They score the risk of these infections as low because they don't see them. (The fallacy here being that the *reason* they don't see them is because of vaccines.)

    Then, they hear scare tactics from certain people (Wakefield, McCarthy, etc) who claim that vaccines contain mercury/fetal tissue/generic toxins/etc that will harm their child. One shot and suddenly your child will catch The Autism. (Picture that in a much scarier font and cue a woman screaming off camera.) This would be so horrible and so, they conclude, we must stop all vaccinations until they are proven 100% safe.

    The fallacy with this last one is that 1) there has never been a proven link between vaccines and autism, 2) even if there was, the diseases vaccines prevent are far worse than autism, and 3) no medical procedure is 100% safe. In fact, nothing anyone does is 100% safe. Driving in to work? You could get in a car crash and die. Better not commute to work until they can design cars that are 100% safe. Walking down the street? You could trip, hit your head, and die. Better not walk until they design 100% safe sidewalks.

    The fact is that risk that vaccines pose is minuscule (and mainly limited to allergic reactions or slight fevers) and the threat these diseases pose is huge should they make a comeback. It is only bad risk assessment that makes vaccines look like a bigger threat than the diseases.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:31AM (#41107625)

    Jenny McCarthy body count []

    “I do believe sadly it's going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it's their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They're making a product that's s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.”

    Jenny McCarthy in Time Magazine, April 2009

  • by Geeky ( 90998 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:52AM (#41107861)

    How about letting choice run both ways? If you choose to refuse vaccination for your child, the school can choose to refuse to allow them in? Exemptions only allowed in the case of provable medical conditions such as allergies.

    That way, if your community decides that it wants vaccinations, you can either go along with it, find an alternative school somewhere else or choose to home school.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @09:01AM (#41107941) Journal

    ... from his buddy Donald Trump who recently claimed:

    “Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism spread shots over long period and watch positive result.”

    That's almost as bad as Akins "legitimate rape" comment (note: Romney's running mate co-authored the anti-abortion bill by the Republicans.). If you think this thinking is restricted to "just" a potential senator and vice-president please note the Republican platform REMOVED the clause allowing for abortions in case of Rape or Incest.

    Judge them not (just) by what they say but what they do.

  • by NeoMorphy ( 576507 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:58AM (#41109689)

    Malaria caused a selection for sickle-cell anemia. The ability to survive does not have to mean survival of the fittest.

    One of our strongest attributes is supposed to be our brains and the ability to work out solutions and/or create tools to help us survive adversity. It should be clear by now that if we were to try and survive in the wild without using even the most primitive of tools or our capacity to reason, most of us would fail. Though eventually selection of the physically stronger, faster, tougher and more vicious would probably make us more like our primitive ancestors.

    Another consideration is that the children who "SURVIVED" grew up with immunity to diseases like chicken-pox. I chose the vaccine for my daughter because I did not want her to be one of the few who died. It's stupid lottery to play.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.