Saturday, June 3, 2017

Don't follow the Idiot off the Cliff: Nancy Campbell's Anti-Vaxx Stupidity

Hello all!

Nancy Campbell decided to crib a bunch of anti-vaxx shit from the internet to show why we shouldn't vaccinate children.

She's an idiot.

Let's look at some current statistics from the USA involving diseases that children are vaccinated against:

  • 1 in 4 people who contract measles will be hospitalized.
  • 1 in 1,000 will die.

  • 13 in 100 sufferers will die. 
  • Cannot be eradicated since the bacterium lives in the environment
  • Half of all cases do not involve either a deep wound or puncture wound

  • For people between 5-40 years of age, the death rate is 10% or 10 out of 100 people who get sick.
  • For kids under 5 and adults over 40, the death rate is 20% or 20 out of 100 people. 
  • Fairly harmless in men and children, but women who get rubella are at a much higher risk for arthritis.
  • If contracted during pregnancy, the virus can cross the placenta and do severe harm to the developing fetus.
  • There is a large population of deaf people in the USA who were born between 1968-1970 during a massive rubella outbreak; they were the lucky one since rubella can also cause fetal death.
These are not minor illnesses; they cause real suffering, disabilities and death.

So how did Nancy Campbell get so confused?  Well, a heaping dose of scientific illiteracy always helps.

Let's look JUST at the first paragraph.  She links to an article on  I decided to humor her since I wanted to read the actual study.  When I clicked on the link, I'm re-routed through Facebook - which is a tad annoying.  I do get to eventually.
On the actual website, the article she cited is categorized under "Big Government" which is an odd category for a health site.  On the other hand, it sells organic goods in the header, too!  The article is titled "Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children: First Study of It's Kind Shows Alarming Health Differences".  I generally don't trust writers who don't know that "it's" is a contraction for "it is" while "its" is the pronoun that should be used in this case.

The article links to a real published study from American Pediatrics.  The purpose of the study is to compare the health problems in publically insured vs. privately insured kids in the US.    The first problem with using data from this set for all kids in the US is that including publically insured kids will skew the number of severely ill kids in the set.  This is because any child who spends more than 30 consecutive days in the hospital automatically qualifies for Medicare - which brings all of the micro-preemies and children with severe congenital abnormalities.

Next problem: The study looks at 20 chronic health conditions plus two potential risk factors.  Nancy never bothers to separate the two - but the two potential risk factors are overweight/obesity and risk of developmental delay.

Let's take a look at the "chronic health conditions" that Nancy is freaking out about:
Over 20% of parents responded that their kids have:
1 )Overweight/Obesity (environmental risk factor)
2)Risk of Developmental Delay (environmental risk factor)
3)Environmental Allergies (excluding food)

Over 10% of parents responded that their kids have:
4) Learning disability

Over 5% of parents responded that their kids have:
7)Chronic Ear Infections (3+ in last year)
8) Conduct or Behavior Disorders
10) Speech problems
11) Developmental Delays that affect learning rate

Over 2% of parents responded that their kids had:
12) Food/Digestive Allergies
14) Depression
15) Bone, Muscle or Joint Problems
16)Hearing Problems

Over 1% of parents responded that their kids had:
17) Vision Problems
18) Autistic Spectrum Disorder
19) Epilepsy

Less than 1% of parents reported that their kids had:
20) Diabetes
21) Brain Injury or Concussion
22) Tourette's Syndrome

Of the 22 conditions listed, only four are presumed to be caused by problems with the immune system: environmental allergies, asthma, food/digestive allergies, and type 1 diabetes.

To make any claims about the effects of vaccinations on those four conditions, Nancy would need to produce data that shows that the number/percentage of children affected by these conditions has changed after routine childhood vaccinations have started OR that the severity of the conditions has increased after routine childhood vaccinations started.  The study she cited doesn't include that type of information since the study was looking at a completely different area of interest.

Additionally, Nancy - or the researchers if I wanted to be accurate - would need to exclude the effects of changes in our environment and medical treatment before claiming that vaccines alone caused any increase.  To start, diabetes treatment was in its infancy in the 1950's and 1960's.  Reasonably purified insulin was available, but there were no methods for testing blood sugar at home except urine tests that showed a rough range of possible sugar amounts.  With nearly instant blood testing available at home, a variety of insulin types available, and medical equipment like insulin pumps that were non-existent then, the survival rates of childhood diabetics has improved noticeably over time.  This wonderful change in survival rates has also increased the percentage of kids who have diabetes since fewer kids with diabetes die.

On a personal note, I'm watching my son kick his chubby little legs with two bandaids on them from his 6 month immunizations.  When he was born at 26 weeks gestation and was the size of a single-serve pop bottle, he had a 1 in 10 chance of dying.   Within a month, he was down to a 1 in 100 chance of dying - or less.  I was willing to risk permanent liver and kidney damage to give my son a better shot at survival - and I feel angry that I couldn't trade damage to my body in return for less pain and suffering for him.   (I know that medicine doesn't work like that; Jack and I weren't two separate systems yet so damage to my organs would poison him.  I get it; I don't have to like it.)

What kind of mother would risk giving their child a 13 in 100 chance of dying from skipping a tetanus vaccine?   What kind of mother would risk a 20% chance of their child dying and 100% chance of a miserable hospital stay from diphtheria?

I want my son to live.  That's why I vaccinate.  That's why Nancy Campbell is an idiot.


  1. Yep. Vaccines are very, very good thing. Even though they aren't always 100% effective, they are a good thing. My daughter caught chickenpox (at a public play area, no idea who, just that they were contagious). Because she had been vaccinated, she just developed a few spots, which the doctor told us were chickenpox vesicles. The spots were gone in less than a week. And that was it. I don't think she even noticed. I doubt she would have been so lucky if she hadn't been vaccinated.

    I don't really understand why people think risking epidemics of these diseases that kill people is a good idea. Sure, there are a few people who have adverse reactions to vaccines. And there are people who are immuno-compromised. That's all the more reason for those of us who can to get vaccinated, so we don't spread those diseases those who are vulnerable.

  2. Also maybe Nancy doesn't really care about ever seeing anywhere outside the US, but there are countries that you can't enter without certain vaccines, and there are countries that you shouldn't enter without certain vaccines. It's a major headache if you decide to travel at age 30 and realize you need a ton of shots because your parents thought they were too smart for science back when you were a kid.

  3. Just seeing the name NANCY CAMPBELL nearly sent me into PTSD flashbacks. [shudder]

    Lisa @