Vaccine Refuseniks

Immune to evidence


Responding to scares peddled by anti-vaccine charlatans, thousands of American parents refuse to have their kids immunized. Now frustrated physicians have begun telling vaccine refusers to take a hike. 

A survey of 133 Connecticut pediatricians, reported in the July/August 2011 issue of Public Health Reports, found that 30 percent had declined to treat children whose parents refused to vaccinate them. A survey of Midwestern pediatricians the same year found that 21 percent had similar policies. 

Vaccine refusers are not just endangering their own kids. In February, The New England Journal of Medicine noted that California's lackluster immunization rate helped fuel a whooping cough epidemic of more than 9,000 cases in 2010, the highest incidence since 1947. Ninety percent of the cases occurred in infants, who depend on herd immunity—the broad protection that comes when enough members of a population are protected by vaccine or other immunity—because they are too young to be vaccinated. Ten of those infants died of the disease.

NEXT: Citizens United Redux

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  1. Seems like some real reporting might investigate WHY parents are increasingly declining vaccines. Such might turn up that up to 80% of those who caught pertussis in CA in the 2010 outbreak were “fully vaccinated” and that PBS in San Diego did a lengthy report on the mutation of the disease that is rendering the vaccine ineffective. Or that while 10 babies died from pertussis, 44 babies died from the pertussis vaccine. Or that more than 60 published papers support the theory that vaccines can cause autism. Or that the current vaccine program is completely untested as a whole, that once children are injured by vaccines, they have no legal right to sue for damages, and that vaccine injured families are treated like crap by the medical profession that does not want to deal with the unintended consequences of a one size fits all vaccine program that has unjustifiably tripled in size in 25 years.
    Would not a more appropriate story for the libertarian Reason be one that examined the fact that all Americans have had their legal rights to due process removed for vaccine injury? Or that Pharma and the AAP are leading efforts in state after state to force families to vaccinate against their conscience by removing their rights to enter schools or receive services unless they comply?
    No libertarian reading this could possibly believe that this is a real article. Writing that praises doctors for bullying people out of their freedoms does not belong in Reason Magazine.

    1. How is would a doctor be a bully for refusing to treat unvaccinated children? A doctor making this choice is doing what he has deemed necessary for the health and safety of his practice. Just as parents make an active choice in refusing to vaccinated their children, the doctor should also be allowed to make choices concerning himself, other patients, and his practice.

      If a doctor does not wish to treat an unvaccinated child, then take your child to a physician who will. That is what freedom is about. Libertarian principle is based on freedom of choice, NOT FREEDOM FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF THOSE CHOICES.

      Now, if we were talking about government mandating the denial of treatment for the unvaccinated, well that is a different story… This would limit the freedom of both parents and doctors.

      1. Should have explained that a bit more. Typically what happens in those practices where they refuse to treat children, is that they DO bully parents in the office. The experience of parents is not that doc says, “oh… by the way, this is our policy, let us know if it works for you and if not, we can recommend some other docs” It is that parents who even have questions are bullied and insulted, THROWN out of offices and docs even refuse to point them toward another doctor that will treat. Which is an ethical problem in itself, and certainly coercive if a parent cannot find another doctor in the area.

        The AAP newsletter famously (and in contradiction to their own ethical guidelines) reprinted a letter from one pediatric practice to their clients that fired all that would not vaccinate according to the CDC schedule, which said such parents are “selfish,” “self-centered”, “complacent or lazy,”
        are often “emotional” decision makers
        and have “Unacceptable attitudes.”

        That is how that bullying works.

      2. Link to the letter.…..-will.html

  2. This article seems completely out-of-touch with reality. We are not vaccinating because either we have seen our own children damaged by vaccines or those of people we know. My daughter was given the hep-B vaccine at birth, without asking permission and even though I had told her doctor I absolutely didn’t want her to get it, as I had read even in 2000 that it often caused autism. She reacted with four days and nights of endless screaming, vaccine-induced encephalitis, and was later diagnosed with autism. Tens of thousands of American children who had been developing normally, walking, talking, socializing, have regressed into autism after getting the MMR at one year old. The pertussis vaccine is the major cause of asthma (Manitoba study 1998, and many others).

  3. I misguidedly allowed my baby to get the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, and she got pertussis anyway at nine months old, and gave it to me, because it’s a very ineffective vaccine. 91% of those who got it in California two years ago had been appropriately vaccinated. The disease is no longer as severe as it was a hundred years ago, and is not usually at all dangerous to those over four months old. Those younger should be quarantined for their protection, as cocooning vaccination doesn’t work (the Australian government just stopped their program for adults, saying that scientific studies showed the vaccine just didn’t work). On the other hand, the vaccine causes asthma, allergies, SIDS, seizure disorders, and autism. Of course people are refusing the vaccines. I have MS as a consequence of a vaccine reaction. I can assure you that we will never take another vaccine. I have a Ph.D. and a law degree, I have read dozens of books on the subject. The vaccines are much more dangerous than the vaccine-preventable diseases, which are either mild in children or very rare.

  4. This is so out of character for Reason Magazine! How is compelling people to inject their children with vaccines for the sake of the collective, a libertarian position?

    If the risk to an individual child of catching the disease and dying or being crippled by it, is smaller than the child’s risk of dying or being crippled when taking the vaccine, the logical choice for the individual is to refuse the vaccine and take his or her chances with the disease.

    A study…
    shows that in developed nations, the more vaccines administered, the higher the infant mortality rate.

    The only thing that needs to be added is that doctors, clinics, and hospitals are compensated by Medicaid and Medicare in part based on what percentage of their patients are vaccinated. 19 million of 71 million children, or a little more than 1/4, are covered by Medicaid. Vaccine-rejecting doctors are pressured by the economics of increasingly-socialized medicine, and governmental licensing boards which will yank the license of any MD who refuses to vaccinate his/her patients. The best a vaccine-skeptical MD can do is to administer vaccines to the majority of his/her patients and allow parents who refuse vaccines to do so, taking the financial hit; any other option is professional suicide.

  5. There is evidence supporting the fact that the use of aborted embryonic cells in vaccine production as contributing to cases of autism.

    “Data from a worldwide composite of studies show that an increase in cumulative incidence began about 1988?1990. The new version of the measles,
    mumps, rubella vaccine (i.e., MMR II) that did not contain
    Thimerosal was introduced in 1979. By 1983, only the new
    version was available. Autism in the United States spiked dramatically
    between 1983 and 1990 from 4?5/10,000 to 1/500. In
    1988, two doses of MMR II were recommended to immunize
    those individuals who did not respond to the first injection. A
    spike of incidence of autism accompanied the addition of the
    second dose of MMR II. Also, in 1988, MMR II was used in the
    United Kingdom, which reported a dramatic increase in prevalence
    of autism to 1/64 (noted above). Canada, Denmark,
    and Japan also reported dramatic increases in prevalence of
    autism. It is important to note that unlike the former MMR,
    the rubella component of MMR II was propagated in a human
    cell line derived from embryonic lung tissue. The MMR II vaccine is contaminated with human
    DNA from the cell line. This human DNA could be the cause
    of the spikes in incidence. An additional increased spike in
    incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chicken pox
    vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.”…..Review.pdf

  6. Thank you pro such an amazing article again.

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