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How to make a difference – Responsible vaccine advocacy

I lost a patient this season, an infant, to pertussis.  After falling ill he lived for nearly a month in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, three weeks of which was spent on a heart/lung bypass machine (ECMO) due to the extent of the damage to his lungs, but all our efforts were in vain.  The most aggressive and advanced care medicine has to offer couldn’t save his life; the only thing that could have saved him would have been to prevent him from contracting pertussis in the first place.

He was unvaccinated, but that was because of his age.  He was part of the population that is fully dependent on herd immunity for protection, and that is exquisitely prone to a life-threatening course once infected.  This is a topic we’ve covered ad nauseum, and I’m not inclined to go into greater depth in this post.  Suffice it to say his death is a failure at every level; we, both as medical professionals and as a society at large need to do a better job of protecting our children from preventable diseases.

Different approaches are required if we hope to improve our rates of vaccination.  Though we devote a great deal of time and effort on this blog addressing the various issues surrounding vaccination, none of us are so deluded (believe it or not) as to think that our posts will be persuasive to all of our readers, much less the general public.  In fact, I’d broaden that statement further, and say that the medical community in general is delusional if we think we can resolve the public health threat posed by the undercurrent of distrust in the vaccination program on our own.  No number of studies, consensus statements, or ad campaigns by the CDC, WHO, AAP, AAFP, etc (not to mention countless blog posts) will be sufficient to maintain the public trust in the vaccination program.  We need public support as well.

I’m not saying the work done by the medical community has been a wasted effort, far from it.  The vaccination program (along with the rest of modern medicine) must continue to be held to the highest possible scientific standard, we must perpetually re-examine our practice and recommendations, and we need to improve the communication between the public and medical communities.  These projects are absolutely essential.  However, the fact remains that no matter how strong the science may be, how large and uniform the expert consensus, how eloquent the argument, people are far more likely to be swayed by the opinion of a trusted friend, the actions of their peers, or the words of a celebrity, and we are fools to ignore that fact.*  Sometimes, different approaches are required.

Here is one example of a different approach: this Sunday, Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” closed out their season by addressing the anti-vaccination movement.  Orac provided a review of the episode on Respectful Insolence, and I don’t have much to add to his analysis.  The show is characteristically blunt in their opinion, heavily slanted toward entertainment rather than informational content, and doesn’t shy from ad-hominems… in other words, you won’t find a transcript on SBM any time soon.  On the other hand, most of their arguments were sound, well grounded in science, and they didn’t even consider creating a false-balance.

I am certain Penn & Teller’s finale will do nothing to sway hardcore anti-vaccinationists, and its style is likely to turn off some others, but nevertheless the show has its place.  There is a fraction of the population for whom a blunt statement of fact and righteous anger (and Penn can provide both in spades) is exactly the type of presentation they need to see.

Here’s another example, and one that, while less flashy than Penn & Teller’s effort, is likely to have a broader appeal and greater impact in the long run.  In Atlanta, Georgia this September is a rather sizable (~40,000 people) convention called Dragon*Con.  Our skeptic friends at Skepchick.org and the newly formed “Women Thinking Free Foundation” are launching their their “Hug Me! I’m Vaccinated” education campaign at Dragon*Con, and have organized a local pertussis vaccination clinic during the event.  In coordination with the local health officials, they are providing free TDaP vaccinations for any Dragon*Con participant, as well as information and educational materials.**

I love this type of project.  As a public outreach effort Skepchick and Women Thinking Free Foundation are doing everything right by:

  • Choosing to address an issue, pertussis, that is currently in the public eye
  • Finding a venue with people from all over the nation (and world), thus reaching multiple communities with their message
  • Coordinating with the local public health service to provide accurate information and safe services
  • Targeting a population, primarily young adults, that represent a primary reservoir of pertussis and that have or will soon have children requiring vaccination
  • Going out to the people to provide cost-free vaccines, thus eliminating the barriers that finances, a lack of access to health care, or even sheer apathy may present
  • Providing a positive example as both parents and peers, and in doing so filling a gap in public communication the medical community can never fill on its own

That last point is perhaps the most important, and the easiest to emulate.  It doesn’t take access to a TV show or a Herculean effort to coordinate a vaccine drive to make a difference.  It doesn’t even require a confrontation.  You have more influence over the people in your life than any public health official or blog will ever have.  Just speak up, let people know you got your kids vaccinated today, let them know you got vaccinated!

As we strive to improve the quality of care and communication from the medical community, seeing concerned citizens stand up to make a difference in whatever way they can, no matter how large or small their sphere of influence, gives me hope.  Hope that maybe, just maybe, this might have been the last child I’ll ever fail to save from pertussis.

* I can see some accusing me of hypocrisy here for advocating the use of celebrity and personal anecdotes to provide support for vaccination.  It’s been said before, but let me be clear: Jenny McCarthy (as an example) is not wrong because she’s a celebrity, or a mother, because she’s not medically educated, or because she’s providing her own personal anecdotal experience.  She’s wrong because the basis for her arguments and anecdotes begins and ends at her celebrity/motherhood status instead of with facts and evidence; she is wrong because she misrepresents the state of objective reality.

** If you feel inclined to help, the Women Thinking Free Foundation is accepting donations on their website linked above to offset the cost of this and future outreach and educational projects.

Posted in: Public Health, Science and Medicine, Vaccines

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44 thoughts on “How to make a difference – Responsible vaccine advocacy

  1. RedBear says:

    Thank you for sharing your loss, and your clear thoughts on this issue. I love the idea of Dragon•Con as a venue for targeted vaccine advocacy outreach by the Women Thinking Free Foundation!

    I am currently divorcing my wife of 19 years who has gone over the edge of irrational thinking in more areas than I can track: astrology, numerology, psychics, pyramidiocy, reiki, applied kinesiology, etc. We disagreed on the anti-vaccination issue when our children were young, and you can believe I will review their immunization records before they return to school this fall (including Tdap).

    My high-school aged daughter is leaning towards studying medicine, and I will do everything I can to encourage her to do so with an open mind while maintaining a firm foundation in science-based reasoning. I am grateful for all the contributors to this blog.

  2. TimonT says:

    Excellent post! Thanks you.

    I’d be interested in learning more about public education efforts regarding vaccination and other public health concerns. Have any studies been done on the effectiveness of various types of campaigns, ways of formulating messages, etc.?

  3. hippiehunter says:

    I live near the AVN in Australia and beleive the tolerance for woo is linked to the rejection of vaccination.
    Vaccinations here, if not internationally are opposed by alternative medicine practitioners.
    As a community we have allowed alt med to flourish with an attitude of live and let live and lowered herd immunity and preventable deaths of children is the result.
    I believe we are ‘pissing into the wind’ if we think we can counter the antivaxx liars without addressing the root cause of the movement.
    In short, as long as we show tolerance and respect towards medical frauds like homeopaths, acupunturists and chiropractors we will suffer from the influence of these frauds.
    Its about time we started putting the blame for the misinformation that results in these preventable deaths where it belongs, we need to stop the snake oil salesmen that are killing our children.
    They have no place in a rational world and should be held accountable for the harm they do.

  4. Good Article – You know it’s funny, it never even occured to me that just mentioning getting vaccinated or getting the kids vaccinated could make a difference to other’s opinions. But, you are right, in a lot of the play group, after school, soccer socializing, opinions are based on just that sort of thing.

    “Targeting a population, primarily young adults, that represent a primary reservoir of pertussis and that have or will soon have children requiring vaccination”

    Maybe this is hairbrained, but this sentence just made me wonder if a possible rise in pertussis couldn’t be related to people having children later in life. Meaning a parent who has a child later would have less immunity to pertussis and could be more likely to pass it on to younger children because of their child’s social circle… Don’t know if that’s really relevant, though.

    I’m not sure if I’ve been vaccinated for pertussis. I’ve been vaccinated for typical international travel, and my doctor is always good for recommending tetanus and flu vaccines, put we’ve never discussed pertussis. I will have to check into it.

  5. squirrelelite says:

    @michelleinmichigan,

    If you’ve recently been vaccinated against tetanus, there’s a good chance you were also vaccinated against pertussis.

    But, you should definitely check your shot record or ask your doctor.

    Last winter I suffered an accidental injury from one of our dogs and needed a tetanus booster and they gave me the TdAP shot.

    Having children when we are older may be a partial factor, but mostly we are just a victim of our own success.

    As I understand it, when pertussis was a common childhood disease, adults who had suffered through it as a child were continually reexposed and their immune systems kicked in to protect them. This boosted and prolonged their immunity.

    Since childhood pertussis vaccination rates have been reasonably high for a long time, this wild circulation boosting process mostly doesn’t happen and adult immunity wanes. Hence, the need for adult boosters.

    I applaud skepchick and the Women Thinking Free Foundation for what looks like a well targetted effort!

  6. Jann Bellamy says:

    Great post — and a sad one.

    I checked the Skepchick website — they have the vaccines and everything else needed to carry out their vaccination campaign BUT they still need money to rent the space needed to do this. They are close to their goal so please donate (I did) — it would be a shame if they couldn’t do this due to the lack of a few hundred dollars.

    @hippiehunter
    “In short, as long as we show tolerance and respect towards medical frauds like homeopaths, acupunturists and chiropractors we will suffer from the influence of these frauds.”
    Well said!

  7. Epinephrine says:

    @micheleinmichigan: you probably have been. It’s a component in many of the polyvalent vaccines out there – it’s the aP in TDaP, for example (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis).

    Vaccination is a big issue, and certainly must be addressed from multiple sources in as many ways as possible. There are some interesting papers on the game theory behind vaccination, in that vaccination resembles a many-player prisoner’s dilemma game. If sufficient people vaccinate, you gain very little by vaccinating, and you take on a risk. One of the very important points brought up by these papers is that decision making is based on perceived costs/risks, and the anti-vaccination crowd has very successfully lied about the risks of vaccines, making the perceived risk of vaccination higher, and as a result making the payoff for defecting seem higher.

    The decisions aren’t rational, either. Hearing that more people are choosing not to vaccinate should make one more likely to vaccinate, since it increases the risks of not vaccinating – but I suspect that instead it causes the public to assign greater risk to the vaccine and less of a risk to not vaccinating (otherwise, why would people be doing it?).

    So, how does one influence people to choose vaccination?
    1) You need increase the perceived safety/payoff of vaccines. This doesn’t work, since vaccines are safe, and we have studies that show the safety. The opponents can lie and make vaccines out to be as dangerous as they want, while we can’t make the claim that they are any safer than we’ve been claiming.

    2) You need to increase the perceived risk of not vaccinating. Unfortunately, hard to do as well – examples of the dangers of non-vaccination in our society are fortunately uncommon. The anti-vaccination crowd is doing this work for us, in that they are driving vaccination rates down, with the result that we’ll see more vaccine-preventable disease.

    Option 2 may be the way to go – get the attention of the news, do human interest stories on children who died to pertussis and their grieving families. Statistics don’t speak to people.

  8. Zoe237 says:

    “In short, as long as we show tolerance and respect towards medical frauds like homeopaths, acupunturists and chiropractors we will suffer from the influence of these frauds.”

    I’m not sure that will work. There will always be a large alt med crowd for whatever harebrained reason. It would be nice that even if they don’t give up their weekly adjustment, they still vaccinate their kids. Chiropractors, I’m finding, are used by a huge portion of the population, most of whom are really pretty normal. I think you can probably convince most of these people that not vaccinating is in an entirely different crazy category than going to the chiropractor.

  9. gaiainc says:

    When parents get concerned about immunizations, I tell that what I am doing for their child is not different in any manner, shape, or form from what I do for my own child. That gets a lot of people’s attention.

    The idea of perceived risks and benefits is crucial. I put myself and my child into a car every day. There were 35000+ traffic fatalities last year. The risk of myself or my child dying in traffic is far greater than an adverse reaction from an immunization (not just death but all adverse reactions). It would be foolish and illogical of me to drive myself and my child in a car and not immunize my child as well.

    Of course that is the problem. This is fundamentally about fear and lack of logic. That is a harder battle to fight.

  10. Fredeliot2 says:

    Incidentally last night’s episode of Royal Pains on the USA network made the point that pertussis vaccination is important for both adults and children. Although the show is summer entertainment it did sneak through an important message.

  11. Dawn says:

    Just called my md office for my annual exam and asked to have it scheduled so I can get the flu shot and, if needed, the TDaP also. I don’t recall what I got last year.

  12. cervantes says:

    I think we don’t devote enough effort to diagnosing the problem. We need to work hard at understanding why people find particular irrational or unsupported beliefs attractive; just yelling the same facts at them over and over again obviously isn’t working. It’s analogous to how doctors talk to patients about medication adherence — they scold people for not taking their pills, reiterate over and over that if they don’t take the antihypertensives or ARVs or whatever they are likely to get sick and die, etc. Well, the people have already been told this, many times. Lack of hearing that information obviously is not the problem. It turns out there are many reasons why people don’t take their pills that don’t have much to do with the information they have been given.

    I expect there are various reasons why people are attracted to anti-vax nonsense. Of course parents of autistic children want to have a reason for what has happened, they want something and somebody to blame. But for others it can’t be that simple.

    People distrust medical science and the pharmaceutical industry in part for credible reasons — there have been plenty of major screwups in medicine’s past, and plenty of cases of outright deception by drug companies unethically pursuing profit. Even short of fraud, pecuniary interest does distort the practice of medicine. People may focus their understandable worries and distrust inappropriately, in some cases.

    Other people may have had unsatisfactory experiences with physicians. The extra time and perhaps more empathic attention they get from “alternative” practitioners has a lot to do with their appeal, as is well known and I believe has been acknowledged here.

    And so on. Anyway my point is, don’t assume you are engaged in a straightforward argument over facts. There are other processes behind this, and we need to engage with what is really going on in people’s heads, not project our own form of rationality onto everybody else.

  13. Sid Offit says:

    @squirrelelite

    If they thought you had a tetanus prone wound (did they?), and your immunity was thought to have waned – hence the need for a booster, why didn’t they give you the TIG
    ———————–

    @gaiainc
    It would be foolish and illogical of me to drive myself and my child in a car and not immunize my child as well.

    Driving has benefits

    Do you have to stick a needle into your child to release an ignition interlock

  14. Sid Offit

    “Do you have to stick a needle into your child to release an ignition interlock” ?

    Only if you drive a Toyota*… Look for your next recall notice in the mail for information. :)

    *I am from Michigan you know.

  15. weing says:

    “If they thought you had a tetanus prone wound (did they?), and your immunity was thought to have waned – hence the need for a booster, why didn’t they give you the TIG”

    Why not go old fashioned and use horse serum anti-toxin?

  16. DanaUllman says:

    Although I’m a homeopath, I’m not an anti-vaxer, though I’m also not a pro-vaxer. There IS a middle-ground…but that is not the point of my question…

    The fact that this infant was exposed to whooping cough before the pertussin vaccine is recommended for infants, are you suggesting that every adult get vaccinated to provide this herd immunity?

    I have frequently heard people rightfully bemoan the fact that infants die…but I’m wondering if the “solution” of having every adult get the DPT vaccine will carry its own problems, both the small number of incidences of side effects and the large costs of vaccinating the 100+ million adults…

  17. Maz says:

    Dana,

    What does it mean to not be pro-vaccination? The people that come to your for treatment obviously trust you. When they ask you about vaccination, what do you say? A responsible healthcare provider would encourage all their patients to take proactive steps to maintain their health. Getting vaccinated is just as important a factor in good health as exercise and diet

    Remaining neutral on such a one-sided issue IS taking a stance.

    For instance, it would be silly to say that you aren’t anti-seatbelt or pro-seatbelt. Seatbelts have such an heavily weighted benefit:cost ratio that it is absurd for anyone to remain neutral on the issue.

  18. squirrelelite says:

    I think they were simply following the recommended adult immunization schedule for 2010, which states:

    “Substitute one-time dose of Tdap for Td booster; then boost with Td every 10 years”

    for adults 19-64 years.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5901-Immunization.pdf

  19. cervantes,

    In my limited circle of friends and acquaintances, the people most likely to be heavily into magical medicine are single mothers.

    If this correlation is real, RedBear suggests one explanation (women into magic may drive away reality-based partners).

    My preferred account is that single mothers as a group are people for whom the real world isn’t working very well. We brightly explain that everything that happens is exactly the way that democracy and free-market capitalism are supposed to work and that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Single mothers may be forgiven for judging that this dominant discourse in a subject that they understand intimately – the politics of poverty and sexual oppression – represents a failure of imagination at best, at worst a deliberate protection of established private interests. It’s not surprising if they carry skepticism of the dominant discourse into other areas as well.

    Obviously there are some very priviledged people who are devotees of woo. But I suspect this is one group.

  20. hippiehunter says:

    @ DanaUllman YES it does mean vaccinating EVERYONE who can be safely vaccinated….. that would be a great thing.

    You rightly stated thated that their would only be a very small number of adverse effects , the cost would be offset by the money saved treating infants in ICU.

    Is that a small enough description to be a powerful influence on homeopath ?

  21. Alison “In my limited circle of friends and acquaintances, the people most likely to be heavily into magical medicine are single mothers.”

    Huh, I don’t know hardly anyone who is openly anti-vax. Possibly I’m just not kind of person that folks share their anti-vax views with. Of the two, possibly three folks I know, they are all couples or the married mom. Single mom’s I know are all professionals and I’m guessing see vaccination as equal parts safety and convenience.

    Locally, I believe local day care and before/after school care are more strict on vaccination requirements than public schools which have a kinda easy vax exemption policy.

  22. bluedevilRA says:

    Dana, please explain what you mean by middle ground. Do you mean vaccinate some people and not others? That is a very expensive way to never acheive herd immunity. Granted, certain people cannot be vaccinated, but a vast majority can and should be vaccinated. There is no animal reservoir for pertussis. If enough people were to get vaccinated as we did with smallpox, we could, in theory, eradicate this disease. Then there would be one less vaccine for anti-vaxers to complain about.

    I briefly saw Jennifer Lopez run a PSA about pertussis vaccine. maybe a year or two ago. It was well done, but very short lived. Does anyone know why this did not last very long?

  23. DrDownUnder says:

    I think you can persuade people about the benefits of immunization by being forthright and vocal about getting your own kids vaccinated. It was a strategy I used when my son attended the local Rudolf Steiner school – I said to one of the other mothers that I was taking my baby to get his shots that day. She said, “really? Everything I’ve heard about it here is that it’s bad.” So I just calmly explained the myths about immunization and the benefits, and her response was that she’d always thought that I was really smart and sensible, and that if I was that sure about immunizations, then she would get her son vaccinated (which she did the next week).

    I also made sure I told other mothers with young babies about the rotavirus vaccine as soon as it became approved (but before it was put on our vaccination schedule).

    There will always be a small proportion of the population who will not get vaccinated (no matter how many babies die of pertussis), but there’s a bigger group who can be persuaded either way, and often the way they get persuaded is by their friends/associates and what they say. So if those of us who are pro-vaccine are more vocal about what we do, then we can have an effect.

  24. ErikD says:

    There’s something much simpler than game theory at play here: such dose-insensitive fear of toxins is a type of magical thinking that’s probably hard-wired into our brains.

    Rule #2 of sympathetic magic is the Law of Contagion, which Paul Rozin and his colleagues have shown operates as a cognitive heuristic tied to our disgust responses. Because of this, once we’ve got it lodged into our brains that a substance is dangerous, it’s extremely difficult to dislodge that belief. (We just did a piece on this over at Skeptic North if you’re interested – http://bit.ly/a6WzBw )

    People will only stop fearing vaccines when they start fearing the actual disease more, and we can help them to develop such a fear. Our risk decisions are made largely by cognitive heuristics — esp. the availability and affect heuristics — that can be spurred into action by vivid, repeated stories that illustrate risk. For such purposes, it doesn’t get better than dying children. Every death from a vaccine-preventable disease needs aggressive media attention.

    Is this ethical? I’d say it’s no more dishonest than any of the 100 advertisements we see every day. There’s no actual lie here, just some advocates using what we know of the brain to help us persuade people.

    Or you can think of it as a form of “white magic” we’re deploying in defense — two wrongs for individual decision making a right for public health.

  25. halincoh says:

    Excellent, excellent job of reminding everyone that multiple approaches is the best collective approach. If we each play to our strengths, who knows, maybe can make a difference.

    As you know , Joe, my career in pediatrics has ended, but if I am aggressive with getting my adult patients vaccinated with Tdap I can continue the fight against pertussis for our children.

    And finally, I’m sorry for your loss. I admire and repect you tremendously for fighting the fight as a PICU doc. Your wins are humbling. Your losses haunting. Thanks, Joe.

  26. S says:

    @bluedevilRA: Just a layman here; i thought i’d read that B. parapertussis was thought to play some role in recent outbreaks and that there was no vaccine for it. Is B. parapertussis infection less of a threat to infants than B. pertussis?

    Such a sad story. My husband checked his records to make sure he’d been vaccinated recently (he had), and i will be checking mine.

  27. squirelelite and epinephrine – thanks for the tip. I’m not sure If I got TD or DTaP for my last round. It would have been about 3.5 years ago. I’ll have to dig out the record or call the office.

  28. Draal says:

    Hi Dana! Long time no see. :)
    Herd immunity is typically effective at a 85-90% or higher vaccination rate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity
    The risk-to-benefit ratio is so in favor of vaccinations, that the very very small incidents of adverse effects pails in comparison to the benefit of being protected against the infection one is vaccinated against. (are you implying that an infants life isn’t worth protecting?)
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046738.htm

    Let’s say a vaccine costs $60. That’s equivalent to one and a half trips to the gas station to fill up. What would it cost if you were to actually get sick and have to take time off work? Would you not pay $60 to prevent all infants from getting sick because they are too young to be vaccinated yet? Plus, most individuals have health insurance and most health insurances cover vaccinations. On top of that, Local Heath Departments provides vaccinations for little of no cost (especially for those without insurance or insurance that does not cover vaccines). For example: http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2942_4911_4914-233767–,00.html

  29. Alexie says:

    Medical and scientific types always assume – wrongly – that more and better information will make people rational. A huge number of alt-med believers are well-educated, middle class professionals who believe they make decisions rationally.

    If you want to get the population to do something, I suggest doing what politicians do when they want something – use the 10% rule. If you can persuade 10% of people of something, they will influence another 80% of the population. There will be a hard core of 10% of people who can’t be influenced.

    So get prominent politicians, celebrities and sportspeople behind vaccination. The power of this can be seen by the damage Jenny McCarthy has done – and the awful damage done in Britain when Tony and Cherie Blair refused to reveal whether or not their newborn son had been given the MMR vaccine, leading people (naturally enough) to conclude that the Prime Minister didn’t consider it safe enough for his son.

  30. Draal says:

    “If you can persuade 10% of people of something”

    And there is the rub. How do you convince the first 10%? If not through education, then what?

  31. MKirschMD says:

    There are still vocal and impassioned folks who believe that certain vaccines and their components cause autism. Much of ‘alternative medicine’ is faith based potions that have never endured scientific scrutiny. This is not the case with the alleged autism allegations. Thisa question has been studied scientifically and any causative association between vaccines and autism has been rejected by medical evidence and by the courts. Vaccinations represent one of the towering medical milestones of the medical profession and save millions of lives every year all over the world.

  32. red says:

    I would wear a “Hug Me, I’m Vaccinated” T-shirt or button…where can I get one?

  33. Chris says:

    red, you can buy the button here:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/surly

  34. gaiainc says:

    Sid, immunizations have definite benefits far beyond what my car provides me at a risk that is substantially less than the risk if using my car. This includes the fact that needles can make me faint. I have not found anyone’s argument against immunizations persuasive, including yours. I have a feeling that we will never agree.

  35. wales says:

    “Herd immunity is typically effective at a 85-90% or higher vaccination rate.” That has already been achieved among infants and young children in the US. CDC estimates show vaccination coverage for kindergartners of the 2008-2009 school year exceed 90% for all vaccines except influenza. http://www2.cdc.gov/nip/schoolsurv/nationalAvg.asp

    These posts and discussions about vaccination always focus on encouraging parents to vaccinate their infants and young children. That is not the problem, yet inevitably the comment threads emphasize it. It’s the adults who need to be encouraged to get themselves vaccinated.

    Regarding pertussis: Dr. J. Cherry estimates there are 800,000 to 3.3 million cases of pertussis in the US each year, pertussis is not going to disappear without duplicating the existing high rates of kindergarten vaccination coverage among adults. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/116/3/755

  36. wales, I think that’s a good point. Just from self-observation, I would guess that a good part of getting adults to immunize is cost concerns and the nuisance factor.

    In one office I worked a lot of the employees got vaccinated for the flu. There was a flu clinic day in the office next door with shots for $10. We’d pop over there for a long break and chat while we waited in line. It was very convenient and kinda festive actually.

  37. Free jello shot* with your DTaP vaccination? I think it’s an idea who’s time has come.

    *or wine tasting, or possibly jello wine shots…

  38. Did anyone hit the DragonCon link from the article? Love the artwork on the homepage. Put a hypodermic instead of a knife in the little guys hand and you’d have a great “Vaccinate Today!” poster.

  39. Chris says:

    wales, that is why this Dragon-Con program is using the Tdap and targeting young adults.

  40. zed says:

    Jello Wine shots won’t work, they’d never set up….;.)

  41. Sad. I was thinking of a possible on sangria concoction.

    Perhaps sno cones would make a better draw for a vaccination party. You can hold the sno cone on your owie and you can offer alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

    mojito sno cones…

  42. zed says:

    Margarita sno cones maybe, but not mojito…LOL

  43. ebohlman says:

    wales: The calculations determining what level of vaccination is needed to provide effective herd immunity assume that the unvaccinated are uniformly distributed geographically. If they’re clustered into “pockets”, which seems to be the case with the anti-vaxers, then you can get localized outbreaks even with an otherwise-effective vaccination rate. If 90% of the people in a community are vaccinated but the other 10% all live in one neighborhood, you’re in trouble.

  44. Benedict says:

    Joseph; As a good personal friend of Dr. Andrew Wakefield I can assure you, Mercola isn’t all wrong, and I would rather see you challenge Wakefield’s research. You should really see this entire interview, of which this is part 8 of 10:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENY_M1XEW4s

    You would *never* even consider the truth regarding certain kinds of vaccination, and I know these tactics all too well. You seem to simply be actively protecting your (probably disproportionally high) income. That’s why I don’t trust this website.

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