Saturday, February 02, 2013

Orthocuban on parents and vaccinations ...


All too many parents are basing their decision on statistics. That is, the chances of their child getting a particular childhood disease is negligible, therefore they are safe in waiting to vaccinate their child, or in not vaccinating their child. But, that is a terrible misunderstanding of epidemiology. In epidemiology, that negligible chance of contracting a particular disease is based on the assumption that children will continue to be vaccinated at highly compliant rates. If children are not vaccinated at that highly compliant rate, then the statistics are not applicable. The rising rate of measles infections is clear evidence of this tenet of epidemiology.

Which could be rendered as saying that when every American assumes his or her family is the exception to a statistic they change the nature of what can be measured and what happens.  If you feel the statistics say it won't happen to you then you decide something in a way that puts you in the risk category rather than the risk-reduction category.

Orthocuban has written at infrequent but somewhat steady intervals on this topic over the years.

As he's put it, on this topic he is uncharacteristically blunt:

... In other words, this is a well researched area. What is boils down to is that if most of a herd is vaccinated, then those diseases that are transmitted through things like airborne droplets, feces, etc., will have their chains of transmission broken by the high number of immune individuals. For most of the transmissible diseases, that threshhold is around 85%, though some require a higher threshhold. In other words, if 85% or above of a community is immunized, the chances of your unimmunized child getting one of the childhood diseases is close to nothing. So, those early rejecters of vaccination saw their children grow up and not catch a childhood illness. This fed the myth that vaccinations were nowadays unnecessary.
Needless to say, there are those who also reject the concept of herd immunity. You need only search in Google to find those individuals whose arguments appear to destroy the idea of herd immunity. They call it yet another conspiracy to get you vaccinated. But, the proof is in the pudding.
As you know, I work in a hospital. This means that periodically I go to infectious diseases continuing education. And guess, which diseases have numbers that are beginning to climb? Both influenza caused by Haemophilus and meningitis caused by Neisseria bacteria are beginning to climb among children in certain parts of the country. Which parts are those? The parts in which the percentage of vaccinated people has fallen below the threshhold for herd immunity. [Wenatchee: it may be worth noting that skepticism about vaccination can happen with secular progressives just as it happens with homeschooling Christian sorts]
In other words, the theory of herd immunity is being proved upon the bodies of our unvaccinated children.
Because we are dealing with children, I am going to be uncharacteristically blunt. No major Christian group has a statement about children not being vaccinated. If you decide to not vaccinate your children, please do not say that this is a result of your Christian beliefs. Please attribute it to something else. And, to be even more blunt, if your unvaccinated child gets ill of a preventable childhood disease, do not blame God or ask Him why this happened. It happened because of you.

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