Off the Record (OTR)

I’ve had it with the anti-vaxxers

Before I get started, I’d like to be clear that I don’t care who I offend with this. If you want to shoot heroin, go for it. I don’t care. You want to drink five cans of soda every day? Other than being a slight drain on our healthcare system, I don’t care. But, your decision to not vaccinate your children because you read a website and/or saw a movie? Now, you’re affecting everyone. Now, I have a problem. A big fucking problem.

Like everyone else, I sift through my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds quite a bit and see tons of opinions on a variety of topics. With the elections here, I get to read memes and links to news stories about why Donald Trump is a crackpot and Hillary Clinton is a crooked liar. Fine, it’s political season. I have my own opinions and who really cares? None of this really bothers me; I can handle a good political debate.

What really irritates the living hell out of me is people arguing facts. To quote the great Neil deGrasse Tyson, “the good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

I’m not sure why the people who are pro-science and pro-vaccine are so quiet. I’m not sure why that it seems like nine times out of 10, when the topic of vaccines comes up, it’s the anti-vaxxers doing the talking. This shit has to stop. And let me be clear: I am no doctor. I am not a doctor in any way, shape or form. I have three semesters of physical therapy school under my belt, and I did poorly to quite poorly at that.

I keep hearing the cacophonous echo from the anti-vaxxers of “do your research!” God, this pisses me off for so many reasons. Did you do 100 Google searches when the brakes on your car made noise? Or did you just take it to an expert? Did you comb through tons of articles on when your tablet kept shutting down without warning? Or did you take it to an expert?

SIDE NOTE: Why do the anti-vaxxers constantly speak out against vaccines, but if you call them an anti-vaxxer they all say, “no, I’m not anti-vaccine! I just…[insert some bullshit not founded in fact]”

VaccineI did my research. It’s called listening to doctors who went through years and years and years of medical training and schooling. The anti-vaxxers love to rail on “big pharma,” saying that vaccines are a multi-gazillion dollar conspiracy for the pharmaceutical companies to make money. Do vaccines make these companies money? Sure. Is it their livelihood? Pffft!

Vaccines are about 2%-3% of the pharma industry worldwide. Whoa! They are out to get us for profit! They are buying boats!

Can we use some simple logic for a couple of seconds? Wouldn’t these companies profit way more from the ongoing treatment of the diseases that vaccines prevent? The money isn’t in being healthy, it’s in treating the sick. Sick people are the fucking customers! Christ, this makes my head hurt. How much money does Apple make? Are iPhones a conspiracy?

Vaccines save lives, people. Vaccines have eradicated diseases that used to be a serious problem. Know anyone with Polio? Did you know kids don’t get Chicken Pox anymore? I’m only 39 and every single kid got it growing up. That’s not that long ago.

Again, your awful decisions affect me, they affect my daughter. If you don’t understand what herd immunity is, read about it here. That link is to PBS, not the terrifying liars at the CDC who are out to get you. I can vaccinate the hell out of my daughter (and I have! Proudly!), but that doesn’t mean she’s completely protected. Not when we have a large faction of people that think they know more than doctors because they logged onto the website for the National Vaccine Information Center (Tip: do not get any medical information from this site or or any other site that isn’t a legitimate media outlet or medical resource. Do your research!).

While we’re on this topic, let’s look at people like Barbara Loe Fisher of the NVIC. How about Dr. Joseph Mercola? Andrew “not a doctor anymore” Wakefield? Jenny McCarthy’s pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon? These people are cranks. Google them. Do your research. Where the anti-vaxxer crowd gets it wrong – way wrong – is the “do your research” bullshit. Yes, you should do your research, but not into the medical science of vaccines. Unless, you know, you want to go to actual school for 12 or so years.

Do your research into the anti-vax movement. Do your research into these nutjobs that are spreading this garbage. That information is easy to come by. Google is a search engine, not a university. Closely analyze their “research.” It’s pretty much all anecdotal. “My daughter was perfectly normal, then she got a vaccine and started having headaches and blah blah blah.” That’s an anecdote. That’s not clinical research.

You don’t know more than your doctor. Jimmy Kimmel said it best. To paraphrase, if you’re anti-vaccine, why would you ever go to a doctor for any reason? Why would you go see someone who knows less than you do about medicine?

That’s what I don’t get. So, your doctor is lying about vaccines, what else is he/she lying about? They are lying about the MMR schedule. They are lying about getting the vaccines that are absolutely crucial to your child’s health and well being and the general health of society. If those crooks will lie about that, why wouldn’t they also lie when they tell you about your cancer options? Why wouldn’t they lie about those strange bumps on your arm? Why do you trust them then?

Personally, if someone lies to me about something, I don’t go back to them for other information. Period.

And what’s a doctor’s incentive to lie? If you think they get kickbacks from the pharma industry, then it’s safe to say you don’t know jack about our current medical system. They get nothing out of it. Nothing. Again, sick people are the customers.

And for the love of god, vaccines don’t cause Autism. There is zero evidence. Zero. Andrew Wakefield’s paper in The Lancet was so thoroughly discredited that it was retracted and he lost his medical license in the U.K. Will this Danish study of more than half a million kids prove anything? How many more need to be researched?

The vaccine topic isn’t a debate. There aren’t two sides to the argument. This is right and wrong. This is science.

Penn and Teller break down why, even if they did cause Autism, vaccines would still be worth it to our society (again…they don’t):

SIDE NOTE: Feel free to say “oh, you’re listening to comedians.” I’m not. Not on medical science I’m not. Kimmel’s segment is based on high-level doctors and Penn & Teller are looking at numbers. Oh, and you think we should get our medical information from Robert De Niro, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carey and Alicia Silverstone. “I’ve been violently ill for four straight days now and can’t get out of bed…someone please call Robert De Niro!” Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Well then…

HomeopathyThe bottom line is that we’re seeing a resurgence of previously eradicated diseases. Why? You guessed it! We have people that know more than doctors and don’t want to vaccinate their kids! I read an article! I watched the documentary “Vaxxed” and got a medical degree as I left the theater! I didn’t bother to look into who the actual people were that were telling me this bullshit!

Polio is back in Africa! Measles is spreading like wildfire at concerts in the U.K.! Hooray for Pertussis outbreaks! Thank god you did your research! This happy couple did their research, and now they have been convicted in the death of their child! Hooray!

You don’t know more than doctors. You didn’t go to med school. You don’t know when kids should get what vaccines and when. You don’t know the appropriate vaccine schedule. Are vaccines perfect? No, but they are by far the best we have. The idea that parents should make their own decisions is absolutely laughable. It’s not “your” decision when your ill-informed choice affects the rest of us – not the least of which is your own child. When you get your legitimate medical degree through an accredited university – not Google – then you can make your own decisions.

Until then, listen to your fucking doctor and vaccinate your children.


  1. Ian

    August 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Why don’t you listen to the unedited audio recordings from William Thompson? This is the ‘science’ you are relying on.

    • Robert

      August 14, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      I hope you’re not saying that vaccines come with zero risk of serious side effects for the individual receiving them.

      Here is current the scientific response: “A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction or even death. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small.”
      And for some vaccines, such as the commonly administered DTaP and MMR, this for example: “Several other severe problems have been reported after a child gets MMR vaccine, including: Deafness, Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness, Permanent brain damage. These are so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.”

      We won’t go into the VAERS-reported cases of hospitalization, disability, death or life-threatening illness numbering 1,500-2,500 per year, or the average 155 claims the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program pays out every year, since these indicate only correlation not necessarily causation. But if even a fraction of those correlated numbers were actually causal, the risk factors could be much higher than the 2-per-million rare severe cases commonly accepted now.

      Am I anti-vax? No, I vaccinate my children, and after being in the military have myself been vaccinated for just about everything there is a vaccination for (Anthrax was the most fun).

      However, there is a risk, with serious consequences, and for those that are not willing to subject their children to that risk, your attempt to jam it down their throat will certainly fall on deaf ears. If the current estimate of risk is only 2 per million that will have a serious adverse reaction, that’s about the same risk as bungee jumping. Since 2013 the CDC recommends 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age six. So you are effectively asking parents to tie an elastic cord to their 2 yr old child and throw them off a bridge 14 times and do it for the benefit of “the herd.” If you want to do that without parental consent, all I can say is fuck you: not a chance.

      Did you notice the less-than-confidence-inspiring “hard to tell” comment from “the scientists” above? We cloned a sheep 20 years ago, finished mapping the human genome 15 years ago, and within the past 3 we developed CRISPR-Cas9, which should herald a whole new era of individualized medicine. Mars rovers, Higgs boson, a planet orbiting 3 stars 320 light years from earth. Machines building machines, electric cars that drive themselves, real-time language translation from a pocket cell phone. “Hard to tell” translates to “I don’t care enough to find out.” This vaccination method hasn’t changed much since the 1850s. It served its purpose well. But you are now the one who is stuck in antiquated reasoning. If “the herd” doesn’t like people opting-out, then it’s up to “the herd” (yeah, this means you) to come up with a better way.

      The positive side of the anti-vax movement is that it puts a laser-lens on the very real and undeniable risk issue, rattling the cages of medicine to force attention, which should in-turn result in having a zero-risk option at some point. Until then, feel free to call people names and kick and scream all you want: that will change nothing.

      • Sue Rosalie

        August 15, 2016 at 10:58 pm

        Dear Robert, VAERS reports are unverified reports that can be made by anybody. Any time. You can do one right now. Among the reports of “vaccine injury” are: tripping over; fainting before getting the shots; breaking bones; pregnancy and yes turning into the Incredible Hulk. The VAERS database is monitored for possible trends or patterns which are then investigated. Also, there are several other avenues for reporting suspected vaccine reactions. What do actual investigations and statistical analysis show? That vaccines are overwhelmingly safe, effective and successful in protecting the individual and halting disease transmission through the community.

    • Robert

      August 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Sorry Ian. Meant to post my reply to the main article, not your comment.

  2. Nicki

    August 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Yes, yes all of this! Thank you for saying what has been rattling around in my brain every time somebody anti-vaxx-rants!


    August 15, 2016 at 5:11 pm


  4. MI Dawn

    August 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Robert: What’s the FIRST thing you have to click on when you go to the VAERS database? Correlation does not equal causation! Yes, there were deaths after X vaccine. Did the vaccine cause drowning? A car accident? Suicide? FFS.

    I’m not denying vaccines have risks. So does taking a shower, driving a car, eating food, walking down the street. However, the RISKS of a bad effect are lower from a vaccine than any of those others I listed. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than have an adverse vaccine reaction!

    Vaccines save lives. Period. No, they are not perfect. Yes, we would all like them to be more perfect. But we don’t live in a perfect world.

    Vaccines have less risk than the disease. Sure, the DEATH rate (mortality) of diseases was dropping before vaccines. But the OCCURANCE (morbidity) of the diseases didn’t drop until AFTER the vaccines. And no, diseases were not just “renamed”. Polio can be tested for. Flaccid paralysis is not polio, by definition. Chicken pox is chicken pox, not smallpox.

    I’m up to date with my vaccines. I’ll continue to get them, because I do care about myself and those around me, who perhaps can’t be vaccinated.

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