Kids These Days Open Thread: Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Edition

Anything originating on Reddit must be closely inspected for “intent”, but if this is true, it seems like the most counter-intuitive method of trolling one’s parents since the early days of Straight edge:

Ethan Lindenberger, frustrated by years of arguments about his mother’s anti-vaccination stance, staged a quiet defection on Reddit.

The Norwalk, Ohio, teenager needed advice, he said, on how to inoculate himself against both infectious disease and his family’s dogma. At 18, he was old enough, Lindenberger explained. He wanted to get vaccinated. But he didn’t know how…

As anti-vaccination movements metastasize amid outbreaks of dangerous diseases, Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance.

At least three self-described teenagers from different states told Reddit they have a common problem: Their parents are staunchly opposed to vaccination, and they fear for their health if they do not take action. Different state laws affect how old minors need to be to make their own medical decisions…

For Lindenberger, the tension over vaccines started years ago after he began to notice his mother posting anti-vaccination videos on social media, he told The Washington Post on Sunday. His friends were getting vaccinated. So what was happening in his house?

Lindenberger read scientific papers and journals. He pulled up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on his phone at the dinner table, hoping his mother would relent and get him and his four younger siblings — now ages 16, 14, 5 and 2 — vaccinated.

“I looked into it; it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,” he said.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, resisted; she claimed there were autism risks from vaccines, a common argument used by anti-vaccination groups that has been widely debunked.

Wheeler was angered by his pursuit, she told Undark, an online science magazine. “It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it,’ ” she told the site.

Wheeler did not respond to a request for comment from The Post…

Second major media siting:

116 replies
  1. 1
    Mike in NC says:

    Sure are some stupid parents out there.

  2. 2
    Yarrow says:

    A teen rebelling against his parents by getting vaccinated is the most 2019 headline I can think of.

    So true! More power to these kids. If it’s legal in their states it can’t be that hard for them to get vaccinated can it? Local health clinic or something? Seems medical folks would be happy to help out.

  3. 3
    humboldtblue says:

    In a political and social climate in which outrage and anger are a near-constant reaction, there are few things more fucking infuriating than an anti-vaxxer.

    What fucking bugs me to my core is these stupid-ass women and men are fucking vaccinated and they were protected by a whole host of diseases that ravaged the generations that came before them.

    I’ve said it before, but every abuela, grandma, bubbe, nonna, whatever name they went by in my grandmother’s generation, lost at least one child to what are now preventable diseases. The fucking arrogance on display is enough to make one want to do violence.

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    I heard Ethan’s interview over the weekend. His mother is now trying the guilt trip on him. Shame on her. “It was like him spitting on me.” Give me a break.

  5. 5
    chris says:

    On Reddit r/vaxxhappened is worth a look. It aggregates FB posts, tweets etc. from anti-vaxers. There is some laughter but commenters are generally appalled. With good reason.

  6. 6
    aliasofwestgate says:

    I was in school as a kidlet in the early 80s, when whooping cough and chicken pox were still a thing. I got infected in a chicken pox outbreak in 3rd grade too. Those were yearly things for us to look out for. Now there’s an actual vaccine to prevent chicken pox! Holy shit if it existed when i was little, Mom and Dad would have gotten it for me ASAP. I may not have had any autoimmune diseases but there were other kids around me that did, and the science has always been sound. Anti-vaxxers infuriate me, and its not just because i’m a former Pharmacy Technician.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Isn’t Trump himself an anti-vaxxer? Or at least a vax-skeptic? I seem to have some vague recollection that during the GOP debates in 2015-16 he told some story about a beautiful healthy baby who went to the doctor and got vaccinated and instantly “came down with autism,” in Donald’s telling.

  8. 8
    debbie says:


    Not to mention you will face the risk of shingles.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    cain says:

    It’s unbelievable how much fear they have about getting autism.. I mean shit man.. you aren’t going to get autism when you’re in your goddam teens. Also, fuck you Jenny McCarthy for starting this whole thing, you asshole.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    “It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it,

    A bit harsh towards ones mom perhaps, but accurate.

  12. 12
    Pogonip says:

    I had measles at 3. The day before the fever broke, my parents were calling funeral homes for prices.

    My father had diphtheria at 2; of course he remembered nothing about it, but he always knew he’d had a narrow escape. Diphtheria has a 40-50% mortality rate.

  13. 13
    Sab says:

    Even if you believe the antivax nonsense, aren’t they pretty much out of the woods for autism by age 5? So vax the older kids. Childhood diseases are even more dangerous if get them as adults.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    I’m glad you saw that WaPost story on the kids getting themselves vaccinated. Hoped this would come up for discussion.

    State laws vary. Some suggest that 12 be the age to consent to vaccines.

    Also: an interesting NPR story from 2015: Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine. I don’t know if the science still holds. Anyone know?

    In a nutshell, researchers suggest that having measles wipes out the immunities to disease that victims already had. For two or three years after. It’s like immunity amnesia. They studied epidemiological data from the US and UK in the 1940s. They’d noticed that vaccinating a population with measles vaccine meant other infectious diseases also waned. Less childhood deaths from causes beyond measles.

    Also, the kid in the NPR story photo is a dead ringer for young Peter Gabriel. Uncanny. Right down to the Big Time expression on his face.

  15. 15
    jacy says:

    I hate anti-vaxxers more than I hate libertarians. That’s saying something.

    (Repeating from below — I’m having an art sale, any Jackal can get 20% off their total order by using the coupon code Jackal20. And I can do any piece of art on a t-shirt or mug, just set it up as a special order and I’ll create the listing for you to purchase. )

  16. 16
    piratedan says:

    @debbie: well if he did spit on her, now that’s he’s been vaccinated, she has nothing to worry about in regards to coming down with an illness….

  17. 17
    aliasofwestgate says:

    @debbie: The vaccine for that i can’t get unless i pay full price for it, with the age specific restrictions on it. Meanwhile i’ve had Uncles that were my age when they had their first bout with Shingles. I’m 41 now. I’m glad it’s there. I just wish i didn’t have to wait until i was at least 55 to get it. Ah well.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    Special shout-out to RFK Jr., who does his best to ruin the good family name. Punchline is in the article’s very last sentence.

  19. 19
    Fair Economist says:

    Just your periodic reminder that the research claiming vaccines were related to autism is completely totally 100% fraudulent. The “researcher” simply made it all up.

    The anti-vax research is all lies without the faintest excuse.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    What I hear from associates of my anti-vaxx friend is they are concerned about so many vaccines at one time for babies.

    Also, Big Pharma.

    FWIW, my anti-vaxx has an adult son with autism. I think guilt drives her convictions. Guilt that she need not feel, but …

  21. 21
    Duane says:

    @humboldtblue: If we had a vaccine to prevent stupid, anti- vaxxer’s are too stupid to get it. History, science, doesn’t phase them. No cure for stupid indeed.

  22. 22
    sukabi says:

    @Yarrow: I would think Planned Parenthood would be a resource if not for the vaccination then on where to get one…also free health clinics.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Anne Laurie, if you’re still around:

    Do you have any idea what happened last night to your “Horrorshow” open thread, and why it disappeared, and when (if ever) we might hope to see it again?

  24. 24
  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    You’re right! Yet another excellent reason to toss a few coins in PP’s tin cup. Thanks for this.

  26. 26
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:


    Anti-vaxxers infuriate me

    They make me so angry I really can’t even argue rationally with them, because I want to KILL THEM BEFORE THEIR IDIOCY KILLS SOMEONE ELSE.


    @debbie: Yup, I had chickenpox long before there was a vaccine. I’m not looking forward to getting the shingles vaccine because it hurts and I’m a chicken about needles, but I’m going to do it anyway and be grateful it exists. I was too young to remember having chickenpox but I sure as hell remember having mumps, and that suuuuuucked. My kid? is vaccinated for everything under the sun.

  27. 27
    gwangung says:

    @Elizabelle: Big Pharma? Big bullshit.

    Vaccine making is labor intensive, low margin. You think that’s a desirable business segment for a corporation?

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I hate anti-vaxxers more than I hate libertarians. That’s saying something.

    Boy goddam howdy, I would love to see that Venn diagram.

  29. 29
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:


    I can do any piece of art on a t-shirt or mug

    Hey! I just ordered the awesome tabby cat mug! Cats and caffeine, all in one lovely package. Go get ’em, jackals – jacy’s stuff is gorgeous.

  30. 30
    Sloane Ranger says:

    I had measles when I was about 8. I had a temperature of 105. The first thing I remember when the fever broke was my father standing over my bed. I will never forget the look of relief on his face. My mother was absent because my younger brother had whooping cough at the same time.

    They must have gone through hell.

  31. 31
    debbie says:


    They’ve lowered the age to 50, if that helps a little it. I’m still wavering on getting it, hoping they’ll fix it so the side effects are less horrible than I’ve heard they are.

  32. 32
    Pogonip says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Maybe she forgot to have it vaccinated?

  33. 33
    gene108 says:

    Anti-vaxxers are a symptom of a breakdown in our society.

    A large part of people under 40 do not trust our institutions as being authoritative on subjects, and therefore seek their own answers.

    We have basically screwed up, and I wish I knew how to change course, but I think the forces causing this are beyond me to tackle.

  34. 34
    debbie says:


    There are a billion CVSs and most have Minute Clinics.

  35. 35

    There’s also some interesting evidence that measles specifically is extremely pernicious. When measles vaccine first became available, it had the odd effect of not just protecting kids from measles but also of drastically reducing deaths from other childhood diseases. There was always an argument about whether this was a sign of some kind of general medical improvement when the vaccine was introduced, but there is now good evidence that measles does long-term damage to the immune system. It even seems to cause the immune system to lose its memory, so people who get it can lose the immunity to other diseases they got, either through getting those diseases or through immunization. So if you’re gong to pick a vaccine to skip, measles is an especially bad one to choose, since getting measles may undo the benefit of the other vaccines.

  36. 36
    UncleEbeneezer says:

    At our Indivisible meeting yesterday we discussed the rollout of Swingleft’s 2019/2020 strategy. The strategy is focussed on “Super States” and will be a combination of Voter Registration and GOTV via handwritten letters try to take back the Presidency, Senate, and State Govts that will be crucial for Re-Districting and fighting gerrymandering. The voter registration will focus on getting young and minority voters registered as well as formerly registered Dem voters who’s registrations have lapsed since relocating.

    My Indivisible group was part of a coalition effort that sent out 20,000 postcards to voters in CA-25 and 39 for the Midterms. It was real easy to do, fun and according to follow up reports, very effective. Wherever you are, I would highly encourage your group to get involved in the effort. Obviously there will be a great need for canvassers in the Super States, but those of us outside of them can still lend a huge helping hand.

  37. 37
    gene108 says:


    Do you have any idea what happened last night to your “Horrorshow” open thread, and why it disappeared, and when (if ever) we might hope to see it again?

    Maybe the disappearing is part of the horror show.

  38. 38
    Ivan X says:

    I share everyone’s outrage towards the antivaxxers, but not because they’re irrational. It’s because their particular strain of irrationality is irresponsible and immoral. But I pretty much shrug about the inevitability of their existence, or something equivalently moronic and awful. I mean, very smart people are irrational all the time. The belief system is just much more powerful than reason. I have a very smart friend who is convinced the moon landing is a fake. What can you do? I believe in God, and I know that’s nonsense. Will Storr’s The Unpersuadables is a tremendously good and entertaining read on why facts don’t work.

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @Ivan X:

    Mandatory vaccination laws work. Who cares whether they believe in it?

  40. 40

    @Elizabelle: My friend who works for big pharma, told me that there is no money in vaccines.

  41. 41
    gene108 says:


    Probably a supply issue, at this point, with the shingles vaccine.

    I remember, when the flu vaccine came out, it was reserved for the elderly. I think the pneumonia vaccine still is.

  42. 42
    Ivan X says:

    @Baud: Couldn’t agree more. We don’t have to accept the acts of bad actors just because their existence is inevitable, and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. I think I was just speaking to the difficulty of convincing humans of even sky-is-blue evident things.

  43. 43
    HeleninEire says:

    The kids are alright.

    And on an OT personal note. I am just not ready to change my nym. I also haven’t changed “Lives in Dublin, Ireland” on my FB page.

    I am truly thrilled to be back. Saw my Dad on Sunday. Right now sitting in my favorite restaurant in the world. Had brunch with 3 of my favorite people on earth yesterday. But emotionally removing myself from Dublin may take a little bit of time.

  44. 44
    gene108 says:

    @Ivan X:

    I believe in God, and I know that’s nonsense

    Which God? Maybe I can recommend more powerful deities, who you will feel are not nonsense…

  45. 45
    Baud says:


    Spell check issue. He meant to say, “I believe in Baud!, and I know that’s nonsense.”

  46. 46

    This is one of the big problems with having a for profit medical system: things get done based on their profitability, not their social benefit. Prevention has the greatest social benefit of any kind of medical intervention, but it gets short shrift because it’s a one-time thing that doesn’t make some drug company rich.

  47. 47
    zhena gogolia says:


    They’re horrible but not for very long. I’m the biggest wimp there is, and if I could stand it, anyone can.

  48. 48
    Anotherlurker says:

    @debbie: I’m 66 and I have been dealing with 3 outbreaks of Shingles this year. 8 months has passed an d it looks like the latest outbreak (November) has passed. However, I’m still more fatigued and I still get some annoying symptoms of the worst aspects of the disease. I’ve been told by my MD, that these can last months, years or permanently, after the Shingles Virus subsides.
    Dealing with Shingles is the sickest I have ever been. For a non-life threatening condition, it will make you wish you sere dead.
    Please, get the vaccine and put up with the few days of possible unpleasantness. It is so much better that a real life case of Shingles

  49. 49
    HinTN says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    I’m not looking forward to getting the shingles vaccine because it hurts

    This was not true of the original (90%effective) shingles vaccination I got five or six years ago. Just a little parallel run in, barely under the epidermis. No pain at all. I’m scheduled for the more effective (99%) new version in March.

  50. 50
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @HinTN: I can tell you that I did not have fun with the new Shingrix.

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Ivan X:

    I believe in God, and I know that’s nonsense.

    This is my favorite Balloon Juice comment in many a moon.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You guys don’t have to convince me re the value of vaccines.

    Just reporting what my anti-vaxx friend says.

  53. 53
    HinTN says:

    @debbie: I had no side effects from the original vaccine. I know someone who had shingles. Go get vaccinated.

  54. 54
    bobbo says:

    I have to think there is a strong overlap between anti-vaxxers and gun fanatics. They both fight for the FREEDOM to die or get sick, or let others die or get sick, in ways that are easily preventable.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This is one of the big problems with having a for profit medical system: things get done based on their profitability, not their social benefit. Prevention has the greatest social benefit of any kind of medical intervention, but it gets short shrift because it’s a one-time thing that doesn’t make some drug company rich.

    One of the single greatest contributions to health and prevention has been sanitation systems. None of this made drug companies rich.

  56. 56
    FlyingToaster says:


    Probably a supply issue, at this point, with the shingles vaccine.

    Not according to my PCP. My insurance (ymmv) won’t cover it until I’m sixty, even though one of my cousins and my spouse both came down with shingles at 56. GRRRRR. Most MinuteClinics and Walgreens have signs out advertising shingles vaccines.

  57. 57
    Dan B says:

    @debbie: I’ve had the Shingles vaccination and it wasn’t bad – achy arm for a day. I’ve got a pock mark from Chickenpox and stories from my parents that I hollered, “I itch. I itch. I itch.” for hours.

  58. 58
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Really? Did they say why not? Given the fact that they are usually administered to large numbers of people I’d have thought they would be a good and steady earner.

  59. 59

    Good for Ethan for getting himself vaccinated. I don’t think I know any anti-vaxxers personally, but I see them online. I’ve read they tend to be on the liberal end of the political spectrum. Sigh.

  60. 60
    J R in WV says:

    So. I’m on vacation right now, in Tucson where I spent today browsing at the Gem and Mineral shows that blanket Tucson this time of year.

    I’m back in a favorite old-fashioned hotel, thick adobe walls, SW style little buildings with 2 or 4 or so rooms in them, Kiva-style fireplaces in many rooms, great restaurant, desert plantings of cactii of all types, and a big lawn with no desert plants and a big sign, Chidren’s Play Area.

    And I get a call on my cell phone, guy says he’s calling for the CDC with some questions. I asked if I had any children at home 4 or under, nope, and then if we had youngsters from 4-18, again nope.

    They were looking for parents (we’re not parents) to ask about vaccinations and attitudes about vaccinations. I told the guy that it ought to be illegal for people NOT to be vaccinated, as it damages herd immunity and endangers people who have auto-immune diseases and CAN’T be vaccinated themselves.

    Don’t think he had a place to record that opinion, but at least the Republicans haven’t yet made it illegal to study beliefs about vaccination, like they have studies of gun deaths.

  61. 61


    Probably a supply issue, at this point, with the shingles vaccine.

    I’m not sure about that. I vaguely remember hearing something about worries the shingles vaccine is only effective for a limited time before you need a booster and that it loses its effectiveness with subsequent boosters. So they want people to put off getting the vaccine as long as possible so it’s effective when they’re most vulnerable.

  62. 62

    @FlyingToaster: My son had shingles and he’s 42. I don’t know that getting it is age related. Maybe they’re just more concerned about older people suffering more seriously from the disease? I don’t know.

    I got the old vaccine. I still mean to get the new one but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  63. 63
    smintheus says:

    Is it really rebelling if you just don’t want to die?

  64. 64
    HinTN says:

    @Gin & Tonic: May be but in getting it anyway.

  65. 65
    Steeplejack says:


    It has been back up since about 5:00 p.m., at least for me (Win10, Firefox).

  66. 66
    Bobby Thomson says:

    What do we want? Death to our children and yours from an agonizingly painful and traumatic but wholly preventable disease!

    When do we want it? Big Pharma!

    ETA: edited for accuracy.

  67. 67
    joel hanes says:


    My friend who works for big pharma, told me that there is no money in vaccines.

    There’s not much money in new antibiotics, either, which is one of the three reasons that we’re going to be in big trouble in a decade or two.

  68. 68
    Gravenstone says:

    @debbie: Almost any parent will tell you that they hope their children turn out smarter/better than they themselves did. There are obviously notable exceptions …

  69. 69
    gbbalto says:

    I’m old enough that my parents ensured that I caught measles and chickenpox when I was too young to remember. That was the safest way to deal with diseases that had no vaccine, and just were more dangerous the older you got. I do remember mumps, which I got a little later, not by my parents’ doing. No excuse for exposing your children when there are good vaccines available.
    ETA – I understand that antivax parents are doing what mine did, but mine would never have done that if effective vaccines had been available.

  70. 70
    Gravenstone says:

    @cain: McCarthy wasn’t the instigator, but she sure as shit did entirely too much to popularize the stupidity.

  71. 71
    Steeplejack says:


    Also showing up now with Chrome on Android.

  72. 72

    I think the anti-vaxxers genuinely want the best for their children; they’re just too wrapped up in nonsense to know what the best thing is. That’s part of what makes them so frustrating. They have all the zeal and energy of people who genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing.

  73. 73
    Gravenstone says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Had chicken pox as a kid (that was two weeks of pure suck). Watched my mother wracked with shingles when her immune response cratered near the end of her life. I’ll gladly take the pain and inconvenience of the shingles vaccine before I’d endure what she had to.

  74. 74

    @Sloane Ranger:It has something to do with patents.

  75. 75
    frosty fred says:

    I had shingles in my mid-30s and gave my daughter chicken pox, and she had shingles in her early 30s. I’ve had the first shingles vaccine and am on a waiting list for the second (I’m 70), I understand it is a supply problem.

  76. 76
    Steve in the ATL says:


    Right now sitting in my favorite restaurant in the world.

    Did you go Big Mac or Quarter Pounder?

  77. 77
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    If you are willing to say, how is your sister Mary doing? Have you been to see her yet?

  78. 78
    Ruckus says:

    I was a child when the first polio vaccine became available. I was 5. Parents and the whole family stood in line at a bank, where they were giving out sugar cubes with drop(s) of the vaccine. Everyone turned out, the chance not to get polio was overwhelming. People knew what getting polio meant. They knew what getting all the other childhood diseases (sometimes not just children) meant as well. But then I was born in the 40s and everyone I went to school with got all those nasty diseases, some had some pretty shitty side effects. I knew 3 people with polio as a kid.

  79. 79
    sukabi says:

    @Steve in the ATL: hey, she’s not drumpf you know!

  80. 80
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Cool, thanks. Wonder wtf that was all about.

  81. 81
    debbie says:


    I hear you. I know I should.

  82. 82
    Tim C. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Both belief systems involve a hell of a lot of magical thinking, wish fulfillment and ego-centrism to the point of madness…. so yeah, I’d say that diagram is a circle.

  83. 83
    Krysalix says:

    @aliasofwestgate: I’ve had the first shot of the two shot shingles vaccine. It swelled and was a little sore for a couple of days but not bad really. Way better than shingles for sure!

  84. 84
    PIGL says:

    @humboldtblue: I don’t want to kill anti-vaxxers…that is, I kinda totally do, but it’s not necessary to indulge my lust for bloody retribution to mitigate the evil they cause. What’s needed is to forcibly apprehend their children….as would be done, for example, to parents who wilfully refused to connect their homes to sewage disposal systems, and left their children to moulder in shit. There is no difference.

  85. 85
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Ruckus: I also waited in line for that sugar cube. It was an eye-opener.

    I didn’t know sugar could be made into cubes, and with the liquid vaccine in it, it melted in my mouth.

    I thought it was the most exquisite thing I had ever eaten and I was willing to go to the back of the very long line to get another one. Alas, my mother told me it was one per person.

  86. 86
    HeleninEire says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yes. She is fabulous. I think that was a false alarm. Thank the Goddess. She is doing wonderfully. Thank you for asking.

  87. 87
    PIGL says:

    @jacy: I like your designs.

  88. 88
    Sab says:

    @Ohio Mom: @Ohio Mom: Good thing too. My husband had a classmate who did get back in the line for a second cube, and she got polio from it.

  89. 89
    HeleninEire says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Don’t laugh. I LOVE fast food. A few weeks ago there was a post here about how Super Mac”s in Ireland sued McDonalds over the Mac name. McDonald’s lost. I didn’t comment here cuz I saw the post very late. BUT. Not for nothing but Super Mac’s food is a billion times better than McDonalds. And I LOVE McDonald’s.

    Yeah fight me.

  90. 90
    Another Scott says:

    @gene108: There’s a car down the street with an anti-fluoridation bumper sticker. I look forward with great expectations for the day when that’s as popular as anti-vaxxing. Not.



  91. 91
    Ruckus says:

    I got shingles about 15-16 yrs ago.
    For anyone who hasn’t had shingles but had chicken pox, get the vaccine. I’ve had to have antibiotic shots to cure e-coli infections from biopsies, twice. The second time they went all in and gave me a shot that I swear was made of concrete. They shot what felt like about a pound of it in my butt after heating it in a microwave for about an hour. At least that’s what it felt like for several days. That case of e-coli and the shot was far more fun than the shingles.
    Get the vaccine.

  92. 92
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Kids these days experimenting with their life saving drugs.

  93. 93
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Did you ever call efg?

  94. 94
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Anti-vaxxers come from both ends of the political spectrum. There are many who started out mad at Hillary, for her First Lady campaign about early children vaccination. The campaign had catchy name I can’t remember, so maybe it wasn’t very catchy after all.

    And for what it’s worth, there were/are actually two different anti-vaccine “theories.” One was the Andrew Wakefield promoted one, that the MMR damaged the intestines, thereby allowing large molecules (of what I don’t recall) to cross into the blood stream and into the brain, where havoc was wrecked. Wakefield was exposed as a fraud who made his research up, and stripped of his medical license.

    The other was that the mercury used as a preservative in vaccines caused heavy metal poisoning, akin to lead poisoning (mercury was never included in the MMR formula). Different preservatives are now used in childhood vaccines, although I understand that the panic is now directed at those preservatives.

  95. 95
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @HinTN: Oh, sure. Just fair warning.

  96. 96
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This is one of the big problems with having a for profit medical system

    And as Brad Delong as pointed out this isn’t an “unfortunate defect” of the market — it’s a deep rule, impossible to remove without fundamentally changing the market (as if that were a bad thing *grin*).

    The desires of those who have the least need for goods and services therefore get the greatest weight. The market thus has a very interesting “operationalization” of the principle of “the greatest good of the greatest number”:

    The problem with vaccines (as opposed, say, to heartburn treatment) is that not merely is everybody equally in need of vaccines, but they only need it once (ok, a small fixed # of times). If we could only find a way to make vaccines less effective on the wealthy [so they’d need weekly booster-shots] then we’d be onto something.

    This on vertical demand curves from emptywheel was good, too

  97. 97
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Sab: I am pretty sure we’ve stopped using the oral polio vaccine in this country all together because as a “live” vaccine (not really live) it can cause polio in VERY rare circumstances. So no more sugar cubes for anyone.

  98. 98
    Sab says:

    @Ohio Mom: Yes. I certainly wasn’t trying to jump on the antivax bandwagon. I know some polio survivors.

  99. 99
    Barbara says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Shingles is a condition that increases in overall incidence and severity as people age. Side effects, duration and after effects are all likely to be worse, probably related to decreased immunity. I had shingles that were mild but I still feel tingling in my arm sometimes. That can be much worse if you are older, or so my doctor told me.

  100. 100
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ruckus: In fact the first polio vaccine to be widely distributed (Salk) was given via injection – drop-on-a-sugar-cube was the later Sabin version. I had the shot when I was in first or second grade.

    When the news broke that the Salk vaccine was safe & effective, parents broke down en masse weeping tears of joy. Every one of them was terrified of polio before then.

    I wish I could put any anti-vaxxer with half a brain in touch with my college friend near Santa Fe, who contracted polio age 20 months in 1950. He got on reasonably well for many years on one good leg – but he is now deep into the late bitter fruit of the virus, post-polio muscular atrophy, & cannot move more than a few feet without the aid of a motorized chair. Do you think he might just have something meaningful to say about vaccinations to prevent crippling & debilitating illnesses?

  101. 101
    Keith P. says:

    I’m soliciting medical advice – November 1, my AV fistula ruptured in my sleep. If it wasn’t so loud that it woke me up, I would have bled to death. I needed 5 units of blood in the hospital (the attending ER physician couldn’t even figure out how to stop the gushing once the paramedic’s wrap was taken off).
    I developed a staph infection on it, for which I got a couple of antibiotics for a couple of weeks, but it never got better (and I tell the medical staff this every week). My vascular surgeon told me to expect a call when they figure out what to do. That call came a full 3 weeks later (I’m pretty sure they forgot to call me back), with them telling me to just go to the ER (again). In the ER, my blood pressure was also through the roof, but my doctor would not answer texts requesting approval for medications. After 12 hours I discharged myself and went to *another* ER. They knocked me out with some blood pressure drugs, and I woke up to them telling me I had to leave since they needed the bed.
    Next, my doctor referred me to another wound car center, and after 2 hours of QA with nurses, the doctor came in and said “I can’t do anything for you”, and made an appt with another vascular surgeon. After not getting the promised for confirmation call (and I *begged* them to call me back given my history of not getting callbacks), I called them today, and they told me that (again) someone would call me back. I told my nephrologist today, and he just said “We need to get that taken care of” and walked off. I’ve even called the dialysis company to ask them what to do, but they said all they can do is take a complaint.
    The gist of things is that this is a very dangerous infection, and I have a really bad feeling that at some point in an easily addressable timeframe, this infection will turn south, and I will wind up dying from this. I am *extremely* upset because I have been seeing doctor after doctor but it just seems like nobody want to even treat me (which is fucked up because how to I have someone treat this *before* it’s a life-threatening ER emergency?
    Anyone have some suggestion as to who to call (other than the local news stations once I completely lose my capability to think rationally)? I am really losing my mind here because I am having to cold-call doctors now (which doesn’t even work, since they all want referrals) I feel like I’m in some bad dream but am worried about how bad this situation is going to get.

  102. 102
    Chris T. says:

    @Sab: Actually, that varies from one disease to another.

    Adult-onset whooping cough, for instance, is very rarely fatal. You may break your own ribs from the coughing, you will almost certainly barf a lot, and you’ll be utterly miserable for three months, but you won’t die from it. Three-year-olds will.

  103. 103
    joel hanes says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Salk … Sabin

    I got both: Salk when first available, when I was too young to understand.
    Sabin a few years later, when it was given free to every student at my school;
    I remember wondering why a couple of the older teachers were weeping.

  104. 104
    satby says:

    @Keith P.: whichever hospital you go to probably has a patient ombudsman or patient advocates. Call them, or ask to be referred to their social worker. Emphasize you need an urgent treatment management, *and that your family is urging you to contact the news media*
    * Not intended to be a factual statement, but they don’t need to know that.

  105. 105
    The Pale Scot says:


    Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine.


  106. 106
    Shana says:

    @Anotherlurker: Amen. Hubby had shingles while we were dating, he was about 24(?) and it was awful, incredibly painful. The most mild-mannered person you can imagine and he threw a lamp across the room and shattered it because of the pain. Get the shingles shot.

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    Have a friend who is on the tail end of the no chicken pox vaccine era. He’s in his mid 30s and has had shingles. Why they think that one has to be over a certain age to be vaccinated is beyond me, especially the over 60 folks. At best the lower limit should be 50, not 60-65.

  108. 108
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Keith P.: I am wondering where you live and what hospitals you have to choose among. It’s my understanding that university-affiliated teaching hospitals are usually a cut above the others.

    Is there a medical center known for wound care and/or vascular surgery? People do travel great distances to get the care they need.

    Does your health insurance have a Nurse line? I have never found the ones I’ve talked to very helpful but maybe you’ll be luckier. They stand to save money if they get you better sooner.

    I like Satby’s ideas too.

    I wish I had better suggestions. Please keep us posted. And when you are better, please fire your primary care doctor, who is clearly not your advocate.

  109. 109
    LuciaMia says:

    @jacy: Jacy, a bit o/t, but in last weeks e-newsetter, Submittable, they mentioned the magazine Granta was open to general art and photography submissions ( no fee) I thought your style might be a good fit.

  110. 110
    Richard Patrick says:

    @Ohio Mom: I live in Houston, TX, which somehow has some of the greatest hospitals in the world. But I’m in the suburbs and haven’t been referred (or called in) to the Med Center (yet) So far, I’ve been going to hospitals close to home or work.

  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Richard Patrick: Did you mean to use what seems like a real name in this post? Maybe a cleanup is needed?

  112. 112
    John Fremont says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: My older brother caught Russian measles when he was about 5. It then caused meningitis which resulted in brain damage. He spent most of his life having seizures and was prescribed dalantin to control it. However, by his early 30’s he had developed a tolerance for the drugs and there was nothing that could control his seizures. In the 80’s he was part of an experimental surgery program at Yale med school which successfully removed the damaged brain tissue. Barring that, he wod be in assisted living to this day.

  113. 113
    gene108 says:

    @Keith P.:

    I am at a loss other than talk to your GP, if your nephrologist isn’t working to get you admitted to the hospital and have your GP try and get you in to hospital that can coordinate for the infection, wound care, and vascular surgery.

    From earlier posts, are in the Houston area? If so, there should be some large hospitals that have all the necessary staff employed.

    From my experience, smaller hospitals have specialists on call and coordinating care can be difficult, as the hospital has to call the specialists private practice to confirm availability

    Also, going to the local media might not be a bad idea to light a fire under someone’s ass

  114. 114
    gene108 says:

    @Keith P.:

    Are you eligible for peritoneal dialysis?

    Someone at the dialysis center I went to had his AV fistula rupture, like yours did, and he eventually opted for PD.

  115. 115
    Ruckus says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:
    Dead thread, been gone for a while..
    OK, all I remember is standing in the line for the sugar cube and hearing the word vaccine so I wouldn’t get polio.
    And yes I saw parents so over joyed that their kids might not have to suffer polio. One of those three people I knew was a girl I went to school with till HS graduation. She wore braces, used crutches for most of that time, towards the end of HS she only needed crutches. She came to our 10 yr reunion and strutted in with no braces, no crutches, giving the kids who’d treated her as an outcast for being different the side eye. She’s one of my life heroes. I was hoping that she’d make the 50 yr we had 1 1/2 yrs ago, but I didn’t see her there so I have no idea how she’s doing. The other 2 were friend’s moms. One had an iron lung in their dinning room.

  116. 116
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Richard Patrick: Stop dilly dallying and go into the city to a good hospital. It’s not like you are stuck in the middle of Montana, you have great choices.

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