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First Measles Death in US Since 2003 Highlights the Unknown Vulnerables

Shocking news today out of Washington state: For the first time since 2003, a resident of the United States has died of measles. If you wondered, based on my last post, what happens when measles infects unvaccinated people and travels with them in an untrackable manner, this is the answer: It sickens and kills people who are vulnerable for reasons over which they have no control.

As the Washington State Department of Health reported today, the victim is a young woman from Clallam County, which is the northwesternmost point of the state. (The county is pretty thinly populated—most of its area lies within Olympic National Park—so to preserve her privacy, the state department is not giving out too much information.) Because of other health problems, which the department hasn’t specified, the woman was taking drugs that suppressed her immune system. Drugs such as those also suppress immune protection to measles from vaccination or from having had the disease.

The woman was getting medical care at a local facility in Clallam County (update: according to further state information, a local community health clinic), and crossed paths there with another patient who later developed the telltale measles rash—but, because this is how measles unfolds, was capable of infecting others before the rash developed. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted last week, while investigating a case in which someone was infected just by walking through a gate at an airport, measles is extremely contagious. Any one case of measles can infect on average 18 other unvaccinated/unprotected people; the equivalent number for HIV is 4, and for Ebola is 2. (The American Academy of Pediatrics, not known for being alarmist, calls measles “one of the most highly communicable of all infectious diseases.”)

According to investigative work by the state department, the woman had been vaccinated, though spokesperson Donn Moyer told me her mother was not able to locate a vaccination record. (Update: According to further state info, the woman learned she might have been exposed to measles; had her degree of immune protection checked, and discovered she would have had enough immunity to protect against measles if she had not been taking the immune-suppressing drugs.) Nevertheless, because of the immune suppression, she became infected. And, also because of the immune suppression—this is important—once the disease developed, she did not experience the characteristic rash. Instead, she developed pneumonia. That was one of the chief causes of death from measles in the pre-vaccine era. But measles pneumonia is now so rare—because measles itself is rare, though not as rare as it was—that it is not the first explanation that leaps to mind when a case of pneumonia occurs.

The actual cause of the woman’s illness was only revealed after she had been hospitalized at a second medical facility, and died, and underwent an autopsy. According to the state health department: “The cause of death was pneumonia due to measles.”

Infographic courtesy CDC.gov; original here
Infographic courtesy CDC.gov; original here

I asked Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, her thoughts about the Washington case.

“Measles can be serious, even deadly, and in this case it was,” she said by phone. “As we have been telling people, we need to achieve very high rates of measles vaccination to protect the most vulnerable: babies and people who are immunosuppressed. While measles can be deadly in anybody, it is more likely to cause this kind of complication in people with immune-suppressing conditions.”

It’s no secret that the protection afforded by measles vaccination is crumbling in the US, thanks to parents who have been given bad information turning away from the vaccine. Last year—a year in which the US experienced a record number of measles cases—CDC research found this: “Despite a national MMR vaccination coverage level of 91.9%, one child in 12 in the United States is not receiving their first dose of MMR vaccine on time, underscoring considerable measles susceptibility across the country.”

When people prevent or delay their children’s vaccinations, it isn’t only their children they put in danger. The fence of protection that vaccine-induced immunity throws up around all of us protects not only those who are vaccinated, but those who can’t be: infants too young to get the vaccine and anyone who, like the Washington woman, possesses an immune system undermined by medical treatment or biological hazard. (And, most of the time, older people whose immune systems are decaying—but not in the case of measles, because anyone born before 1957, when measles was common, has natural immunity to the disease.)

Those unknown vulnerables represent a lot of people: cancer patients undergoing treatment, transplant recipients taking anti-rejection drugs, people living with HIV, anyone with an inborn immune deficiency, anyone getting high doses of steroids—and the 4 million children in the United States who at any point are less than 12 months old, the recommended age for the first dose of measles vaccine. As New York physician Kelly A. Chiles said on Twitter, hearing about this case:

If any vulnerable child were infected in a clinic or a waiting room by another, unvaccinated child, that death would be horrific, because it would have been preventable. Perhaps the legacy of this woman’s sad death will be to make that horrific possibility less likely.

Going forward, a great resource for understanding parents’ vaccine hesitation is journalist Tara Haelle. For further news about this case, a good person to follow will be JoNel Aleccia, the excellent health reporter at the Seattle Times. And for the sad story of why parents turned away from  vaccines, you cannot do better than Seth Mnookin‘s book The Panic Virus.

51 thoughts on “First Measles Death in US Since 2003 Highlights the Unknown Vulnerables

  1. But I would rather my child get measles so I can prove to the world that my essential oils can cure measles.

  2. I was born in 1953, and I contracted the measles in 1988 during the epidemic when I lived in Chico, CA. I assumed my entire life that I’d been vaccinated or that I’d had the measles at an early age. I was 35 years old and developed encephalitis. I was unable to care for my small children at the time, and I had to drop them off at the babysitter’s where they stayed an entire week. My life changed forever. Now I learn slower, and become easily frustrated. Some things I just don’t understand, and I have learned to accept that. I don’t understand why people think they can let their kids go unvaccinated. It’s a devastating disease, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    MM: I’m so sorry that happened to you, but thank you for sharing that testimony.

  3. It is a sad state of affairs when individuals declaring a “right to refuse immunization” results in the direct or indirect death of another individual, especially if they themselves are able to survive the disease, while spreading it to the vulnerable.

  4. This is what infuriates me the most about the parents in California screaming against the new law (and hopefully it will be signed into law soon). I would be willing to bet they were, at least most of them, vaccinated as children. The ones who will suffer the most from their parents ignorance are the children of those parents! They will be unprotected and exposed to everything that comes down the pike.

  5. unbelievable in this day and age, how far science has come to prevent this and yet people refuse and cause other people to get sick with those decisions

  6. I wonder if the person who exposed her was also vaccinated. If they were, then how did they get it? Were they immunosuppressed too?

    MM: The Washington State DOH says the vaccination status of that person is “unknown.” To be clear, they know who the person is, but the person can’t produce a record to confirm a vaccination took place.

  7. This photo looks like that of a little girl, not a young woman. Terribly tragic and preventable. I was born in 1951, when we were all sent to play with people who had chicken pox, measles, mumps, etc. Brutal, but it worked for me. Vaccination is better.

    MM: Thanks; this photo is not of the person who died, it’s a child with measles from the archives of the federal Public Health Image Library.

  8. I don’t immunize and I still think one of the above comments is the most mind numbingly stupid thing I’ve ever seen. 1 who would wish measles on anyone let alone their own kid. Oils?? Really??? :P. 2 it’s comments like that that kill anyone else’s credibility – what ever a pro vaxxer may conceive us non vaxxers to have.
    Measles sucks. And it’s brutal for the people who want the ‘protection’ from it but can’t have it. Don’t be so narrow minded, we are all of the same tribe, have a little compassion (and maybe think before you type next time).
    My 1 complaint with the article; the front cover is of a child. You’d think natural geographic could stick to the facts about the woman who died, that’s horrible enough. Don’t put an image of a child on the cover, it’s falsifying what the article is about. We non vaxxers don’t need to be scared, we’d be morons to not be scared. Everyone is. Don’t stoop to fear mongering.

  9. I wasn’t immunized for MMR due to an extreme allergy to eggs, which this vaccine was cultured in. My system is hypersensitive. I have more allergies than many people. I can’t live in a bubble, however I take precautions wherever possible. This is a very real threat for me, since the only anti-inflammatory I’m not allergic to is Steroids, which suppress the immune system. This situation is very sad. Immunize your children, please! I’ve had, and continue to receive any and all, except those cultured in eggs.

  10. I do not think that the title of this article is accurate. My understanding is that there were 2 measles deaths in 2012, 2 in 2010 and 2 in 2009.

    For example, the CDC published the National Vital Statistics Report for 2012, and it shows 2 deaths. This can be found on page 20 of the following document:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_09.pdf

    MM: The judgment that this is the first (laboratory-confirmed) death comes from the CDC. There are some deaths that have been claimed in the past few years by local or state health departments but were not lab-confirmed; that is, the word “measles” was put on a death certificate but there was no proof. There also have been some number of deaths from a neurologic syndrome called SSPE, which can occur a decade or more after measles infection, but those aren’t counted in the same way since they are so far removed from the original infection. Tara Haelle’s blog (linked in the last paragraph) has more on this.

  11. If there are vaccines that proven effective and safe for diseases that are highly contagious, such as measles, then I think it is within a community’s right to insist that its population be immunized, unless a person would be harmed by the vaccine (allergy, other disease or compromised health). However, it is up to the community to prove its safety and to provide for those who are harmed by it, should a reaction occur. It is also the right of people to leave said community if they do not want to be immunized. I am concerned about ‘vaccines’ that are rushed to market without adequate testing and then forced upon the public. I am equally concerned with vaccines for diseases that require significant contact to acquire, such as STDs. These vaccines should be voluntary because the risk may out weigh the reward and/or can be avoided by lifestyle choices.

  12. I was working at Century Communications in 1996, one of the guys came in and said his son had chicken pox. I was 39 yrs old, was vaccinated. I had them in my lungs…I was in bad bad shape.

  13. If my child, due to issues beyond my control, couldn’t be vaccinated, and contracted the virus from another child who could be vaccinated, but bc the parents are ignorant and selfish didn’t, died, I’d press charges for involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, neglectful parenting and a slew of other things. It is selfish and irresponsible to no vaccinate your child if they are fully able to receive it. Luckily my child is vaccinated (and developing ahead of her age, go figure) but let it be all those parents conscious if something where to happen bc they didn’t vaccinate their child!

  14. People who do not want to vaccinate their children are probably vaccinated themselves and have not lived through the horror of some of these diseases. Measles now, what’s next, polio? I had measles as a small child and nearly died. The vaccine had just come out when my daughter was 2 but my doctor thought it was too new and refused to vaccinate her. She got such a severe case of measles, she was hospitalized, then while in hospital she contracted chicken pox. At age 40, she got a severe case of Bells Palsy which doctors attribute to the chicken pox virus which stays in your body the rest of your life. She now has such severe damage from Bells that she is in pain all the time except when she can afford botox at $900.00 a treatment. Anti-vaxxers have no idea what they are exposing their children to.

  15. I had cancer treatment this last year, including a stem cell transplant using my own cells. My entire immune system was wiped out and even now I have to be very careful not to pick up a germ somewhere. It is several more months before I can begin to have all my vaccinations again–like a child. People who refuse to vaccinate are setting the rest of us up for very serious–and possibly fatal–diseases. It is not only foolish and dangerous for your own child not to vaccinate them but also incredibly selfish to the public at large.

  16. Please be aware that Barry’s comment is sarcasm?? He is deliberately making a snarky remark that destroys credibility for people on both sides of the argument. People who don’t vaccinate usually make that choice for very valid reasons, for which I have a lot of empathy. And, I have been convinced that vaccination is actually the most globally responsible choice.

  17. Bee: check at your local health board. I was able to be vaccinated for the MMR. I know your rubber ball against the world.

  18. The picture with the article is of a person who displays the characteristic spots.
    The article is about a woman who *cannot be named* so obviously putting her picture on social and national media wouldn’t be acceptable. In addition, she didn’t develop the characteristic spots, which is part of the point of the story. I’m wondering what accompanying picture would be accurate and helpful in this case. Perhaps none. But research suggests that people respond more to pictures. So, it’s a dilemma.

  19. See Debra Jasinski above.

    For a community to have a right to insist anything is to lose all freedom. Freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. What good is freedom if the majority can insist? Are we willing to sacrifice freedom for “safety?”
    I’ve got a real problem with pharmaceutical companies not being held legally liable for adverse reactions.
    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf
    It leaves a lot of questions:
    How do we let that go, and isn’t that cause for a healthy dose of skepticism?
    We know vaccines have bad toxic stuff (Aluminum – toxic, Mercury – toxic, Formaldehyde – carcinogen). Sure I’ve seen studies stating it is safe from every mainstream media outlet. My question is how the hell could this be studied – ethically? Give some kids aluminum until 5% drop dead. The dose prior to the lethal dose was the answer for which we were searching.
    Plus, where is the raw data, how was the sample population chosen, were the results statistically significant compared to placebo, was a placebo even used or was the alternative some other vaccine derivative? The pertinent information is always left out because we’re too dumb to see it all. Don’t some members of the public have training in mathematics/statistics?
    Why are there drug recalls if it is so scientific?
    http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugRecalls/default.htm
    Should I expect every 20th vaccine to kill me since then there would be a 95% pass rate, right?
    Do you believe that every doctor is going to correctly correlate adverse reactions to the vaccine and not some other cold/disease? Will they report adverse reactions as such? What is the accuracy of diagnosis and how does that affect reporting?

  20. To the person who said when they were children, they were sent to play with kids infected with disease in order they might contract it. Yes…that happened with chicken pox…but measles? I really doubt that. Roseola (baby measles), maybe. German measles? Very unlikely, as everyone knew the risks if a pregnant woman contracted it. Mumps? Probably. Everyone wanted it to happen to young children, as older children and adults suffered so badly with it and had so many complications. But measles? No way. It’s always been feared. I think so many people don’t know the difference between the different rashes, that they assume all spots to be measles. It’s a dangerous misconception…and it spreads faster than the rash!!

  21. I was not vaccinated but my brothers were. We all got measles at the same when I was around 4 or 5. It was gone in less than a week and I recovered very well. I am so grateful for having had natural measles becuase when my 5 month old infant got it during the 2008 outbreak she was protected by antibodies in my milk. she also recovered well.

    Measles is not the deadly disease that your Govt wants you to think it is. In very, very rare instances it can be – but in a healthy, well nourished child it is a mild and harmless illness.

  22. Bronwyn says, “Measles is not the deadly disease that your govt. wants you to think it is.” Measles is mild for some people and horrible for others. It is unpredictable so why take the chance? I had measles when I was four back in the 50’s before the vaccine and I have never forgotten it. It is my first memory. How lovely. I remember being plunged into a tub of cold water to bring my fever down and the terrified looks on my parent’s faces. So many kids were sick parents didn’t take their kid to an emergency room automatically for a high fever as they do now. Then I got a secondary ear infection and the pain was so excruciating that I have never forgotten it. I was literally screaming in pain. The doctor prescribed a narcotic pain reliever ( for a four year-old!) and it was delivered by the pharmacy. I can still remember the door opening and the man handing it to my mother. The pain relief was so wonderful. I remember going limp and falling asleep. I survived and fortunately did not have any damage to my hearing (a possibility) but many did not. Is this what you want for your child’s first memory? I think not. Get your kid vaccinated!

  23. I contracted measles in Europe where we were not vaccinated. I came down with encephalitis and was very sick. To this day I remember the headaches and the motor problems I had for years afterwards. 10 years ago I came down with West Nile Virus and again contracted encephalitis and meningitis. I was unable to properly walk for many months and was not able to take care of my family or work for a year. Some lingering effects will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was told that one of the reasons why I got so sick with West Nile was because of the encephalitis I had as a young child. Although I have two children who have been diagnosed with classical autism and I work as a teacher with children on the Autism spectrum I would always vaccinate my children. The risks are too high!

    MM: Thank you for sharing your experience, especially as a parent of kids with autism.

  24. Measles is NOT a mild disease if you are a healthy child. I had a great-aunt and uncle whom I never had the pleasure of knowing because they died from the measles in 1903. I have a cousin whose hearing was impaired from getting the measles in the 50s, when he was a toddler. If you think your breast milk is a magic elixer against this disease, you are profoundly misinformed.

  25. Bronwyn please google Measles death rate.
    It is estimated that the death rate for Measles is 2-3% with the Vaccination saving the lives of approximately 5 million children every year. Despite the highly effective vaccine 150 000 people still die from it every year.

  26. I had a person come into work “because he had to get work done” while still having open Chicken Pox lesions. Yep, I got it and who knows how many other people got the disease because of his arrogance. These type of people are equivalent to terrorists in my opinion.

  27. I have to wonder if we are not creating Superbugs with the vaccines. We all know that no medication or vaccine is 100% effective. That they never kill off 100% of the virus or bacteria.

    Since only the strongest viruses and bacteria survive, only the strongest are reproducing. Creating even stronger generations each time. This is a known fact. It is happening with antibiotics daily.

    Does it not make sense that these new outbreaks are because of vaccine resistant viruses? Every time there is an outbreak, it gets blamed on anti-vaxers. Yet almost every time the virus trail is followed, no unvaccinated person is found to be Patient X. Why?

    For all those saying how horrible it was in the 1950’s and ’60’s, you seem to forget that 70 years of medical advancement has taken place. Most hospitals back then were not much more than current doctor offices. Management of serious diseases has improved so much that had you gotten the same treatment 70 years ago, you likely would not even recall being sick.

    I have had serious illnesses result from annual flu shots. I seem to always contract pneumonia shortly after each flu shot. So I stopped taking the flu shot. I was given the pneumonia vaccine. Guess what? It didn’t work. Last summer I came down with the second worst bout of pneumonia I ever had. Both lungs full of fluid. Weeks of antibiotics and steroids to clear it. I will never get another vaccine.

    Two years ago I contracted mrsa after a simple foot surgery. It took five months to clear the infection. My foot will never fully recover.

    I was put on a statin for several years. Not because my cholesterol was high, it was only 190, but for “prophylactic” reasons. To prevent problems. Guess what that statin did? It ate the myelin shealth off my nerves. I now have severe neuropathy in my lower legs and increased chronic pain. Irreversible.

    We as a people are too easily convinced that something is safe. Our government is not one to trust with repeated failures of approving medication and vaccines only to recall them when they kill 1000% more than “studies” initially showed.

    It is time to wake up and truly look at what vaccines are doing to us. If they are causing more harm than good, we need to stop.

  28. I contracted German measles at the age of five. That was in 1943. I remember it to this day. My mother read Raggedy Ann and Andy books to me while I lay in bed. I was so ill that I had seizures and the temp was so high I was packed in ice to try and bring it down. I have had hearing loss all my life (not complete) from that little bout with the mild disease Browyn describes. I vaccinated my four kids for everything possible and it hasn’t affected their brain power in any way. They are all successful, intelligent adults. Protect your children, not your extreme beliefs.

  29. I have a child on the autism spectrum. I highly doubt that he “caught” the autism bug by getting vaccinated since it seems to run in my family. However, if for some reason he did (which there is no science to prove it), I would rather have a child with autism, than a very sick or dead child. Just saying…

  30. Jim Boylan Jr. In your comment you said
    “I was put on a statin for several years. Not because my cholesterol was high, it was only 190, but for “prophylactic” reasons. To prevent problems. Guess what that statin did? It ate the myelin shealth off my nerves. I now have severe neuropathy in my lower legs and increased chronic pain. Irreversible.”
    I would just like to say I understand the severe neuropathy that you are dealing with, because I, myself, deal with it everyday from head to toe. I have Multiple Sclerosis and my own immune system attacks my nervous system and eats away my myelin. Because of this I have to keep my immune system suppressed.
    You haven’t had any luck with vaccines, go have an allergy test done. I am with everyone out there that agrees you should be vaccinated and vaccinate your children. I have 3 babies that I want to watch grow up, graduate from high school and college, have their babies. But people not vaccinating their healthy children, I run the risk of not being able to experiencing any of that. I was diagnosed at the age of 25, and now I’m only 31 and have days of not being able to walk, or waking up completely or partially blind.

  31. I do believe that unvaccinated children should not be brought to traditional medical clinics who routinely see individuals with depressed immune systems. In truth, why would seek care for your child if they are sick if you truly embrace a natural outcome. Death may be the best natural outcome. (Certainly from a global perspective with the overpopulation) Also, I agree with Mr. Boylan. You should know that the same companies that make vaccines make all other medications, too. So be prepared to give up your Vicodin and your birth control.

  32. Jim… so… you would be against the use of antibiotics then too, I assume?

    Do you realise there are diseases that have been literally wiped out? They don’t exist in nature anymore. I’m just curious whether or not you know that’s a thing.

  33. We all are against spreading disease. However, through no fault of their own some people cannot tolerate vaccines without horrendous and life-threatening adverse reactions. My son was almost killed by a DPT shot as an infant. I would’ve been an irresponsible parent to give him another DPT shot. Measles has caused one death in a woman on immune-suppressing drugs. Do you realize how many die each year from colds that progress to pneumonia? I have asthma and am susceptible. Should we insist those with colds be quarantined? I had measles as did my classmates and neighborhood friends without deaths or permanent injury. Can measles be serious? Yes..in some cases as in colds. If you can tolerate the vaccine fine..but if you can’t you are not a menace to society. There are some real risks to the MMR and every medication should be taken considering the risk to benefit ratio to others and to the patient receiving it who is taking the risk.

  34. “I got sick a lot so vaccines must be BS!”

    Listen, illness is horrible. Perhaps you have a vulnerable immune system yourself? But the proof that vaccination has been protecting us isn’t debatable. You know what is debatable? The link between autism and vaccines, and the toxicity of vaccines.

    There have been multiple studies showing no link between autism and vaccines. The “toxic” elements in the vaccines are extremely miniscule. We ingest more of it in our day to day life than we receive from a vaccine.

    The fear mongering is killing our people. It has to stop.

  35. People are arguing that chances of occurance of measles vaccination injury are minute, yet can be deadly.
    People are arguing that chances of occurance of measles infection injury are minute, yet can be deadly.
    Both seem accurate but one side is pushing for total vaccination and one side is pushing for freedom of choice.

  36. There are a lot of vaccine preventable illnesses out there. While any one disease’s injury may not seem that significant to some, add them all together.

  37. Angie, I can only imagine how bad your MS pain is compared to mine. I have a friend with it and he suffers much more than I do. I would not wish MS on anyone, especially a young person. I have undergone several allergy tests, no allergies were found.

    Cai, I am not against antibiotics or vaccines. I am against forcing anyone to take either. I am also against the over use of antibiotics. For years, any time a person was feeling crappy, they saw the doctor and the doctor automatically prescribed antibiotics. Now we have huge problems with superbugs, I know that first hand. Because we created an artificial environment in our bodies that led to only the strongest viruses and bacteria surviving. We also forced the viruses and bacteria to mutate in order to survive.

    Do you know there are no diseases that have been totally eradicated in this world? We thought smallpox was gone, except for samples kept by governments but just last year a never before seen smallpox virus was discovered in the country of Georgia. Guess what? It was pretty resistant to treatment. Hmm, maybe because it had spent 50 years mutating and evolving into what finally infected cattle and humans?

    In 2011, the US suddenly saw cases of Whooping Cough spike. A disease that was almost eradicated. Samples collected from a dozen children, all of whom were vaccinated, were collected. Guess what? Yeap, a vaccine resistant strain of Whooping Cough had infected the kids. It started several states to see huge numbers of cases of Whooping Cough. Washington state, where I live, was one of them. But the first thing media mentioned was anti-vaxers were likely to blame. Then it was the high migrant worker population who didn’t receive vaccines. By the time the truth came out, vaccine resistant virus, the epidemic was only a memory and no major media outlet reported the truth.

    Now we are seeing measles pop up again. Yet again, there is no unvaccinated patient X, the person “where X marks the spot” for the source of outbreak. We only hear the media report how hundreds of people refuse vaccines annually now and they must be responsible. Yet everyone getting measles was vaccinated? If the vaccine worked, why did they get the disease? Not even half of the cases were immunosuppressed people.

    Vaccines are only good for as long as the virus is unchanged. Look at flu shots too. We have almost eliminated one type of flu, only to be hit with a dozen others now. Bird, swine, etc are all starting to mutate to the point of infecting humans, if they didn’t already, and are resistant to vaccines and treatment. The vaccines are only good for a few strains and the government has to “guess” what strain of the flu will pop up.

    But when we had that vaccine shortage, do you remember hearing it takes a year to grow the vaccine? But then just recently after a flu epidemic, vaccines were cranked out in three months. Hmmm.

    Where we started going wrong was when medicine left the realm of treating people and entered money making. Companies decided that they needed to combine three or four vaccines into one vaccine so they could make more money. They decided to use different ingredients for the same reason.

    Sher, there are HUGE numbers of cases linking what vaccines do to people. It’s called Vaccine Court. A special court that protects all drug companies who make vaccines from civil liability. A court that beats families down until they settle so that the one clause that could actually take a drug company to civil court is never reached.

    There are also studies showing links between autism and vaccines. One very thorough study was done by a prominent doctor. The study was pretty much rock solid. Then all of a sudden, instead of trying to disprove or debunk the study, people went after the doctor. They said he was a conflict of interest because he had patented a vaccine that treated only the one specific disease instead of three. They said he received funding from anti-vaccine groups etc.

    Why not debunk the study? Prove the study was wrong by repeating it. Was it maybe done and showed the same results so they tried discrediting the doctor? Maybe. Maybe not.

    It is not fear mongering to tell people to not trust vaccines, drug companies or what our government tells us about safety of anything. These very same agencies saying a product is safe, is the very same agencies that stand to benefit from it being safe. Where’s the screams of conflict of interest?

    If you want to vaccinate, go right ahead. But don’t tell me I must also vaccinate. And don’t blame me for when the virus mutates and you come down with the disease, because odds are very high you got it from someone else who was also vaccinated and also because YOU were the petri dish that allowed the virus or bacteria to mutate.

  38. There are many of us who are adults, including aging adults, who are immunocompromised. We are seriously at risk, and dependent on herd immunity to lower that risk. Personally, I cannot have an MMR vaccination for another year, and it won’t be as effective were I not compromised. I do tell you: YOU MUST VACCINATE, if you are able. There is the old saying that your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Likewise, your right to shed infectious virus particles also ends at my nose.

  39. James, but what happens when your vaccine induced superbug infects me? Do I have the same right to avoid your shedded superbugs? Don’t I have the RIGHT to avoid the risk of a vaccine? How many thousands of people have been harmed by vaccines? I’m no longer willing to accept that risk to my body. I have been burned too many times, so I stopped touching the pretty fire.

    There is a reason why you hear so many tv commercials advertising new medications saying to avoid people who recently received a vaccine. Because those people are shedding all kinds of stuff.

    I’m sure you take extra precautions when you go out somewhere due to your immunosuppressed system. I do, even though my immune system is not severely suppressed.

    I also take precautions when I go places I KNOW will have illnesses floating around. Doctor offices, hospitals, pharmacies and pharmacy sections of stores etc. I’m sure you do as well. Those precautions should be enough to keep us safe.

    But forcing vaccination has no safety precautions for those who get harmed by the vaccine.

    Your right does not supercede my right and vise versa. So each of us needs to be responsible enough to protect ourselves however we see fit.

  40. The CDC chart is probably way off. It says only 1-4 cases in NY. I guess those are ‘reported cases’ but I know of 3 more cases in a public elementary school in upstate NY (Ulster County) since may 2015 alone.

  41. I have read conflicting new accounts that differ from your account on this.
    I’m hoping you can clear up a few issues. By the way I did hear you on NPR and that is how I found this.
    1.) – a statement released by the WA Dept of Health in Callaham County https://websrv7.clallam.net/forms/uploads/PHalerts20150313135804.pdf
    states – “Because of increased effectiveness of more recent vaccines, for people who have received just one dose of vaccine and that dose was given during the timeframe of 1957-71, we are recommending getting the current MMR vaccine.”
    The fifth and newest case had received one dose of measles vaccine in the 1970s.
    One dose is what the CDC recommend.
    There was no vaccine for measles in 1957.
    This 1957 keeps being repeated but it’s not appear to be accurate.
    http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150313/NEWS/150319984
    The man with the fifth confirmed case of measles had been inoculated against the highly-contagious disease but with a vaccine that was used from 1957 to 1971 and does not protect people as well as present immunizations, health authorities said.
    According to the CDC, even past 1971, single use dose was recommended and a “catch” dose was not added until the late 1980’s and later changed to adjust for age, so not really being fully implemented until the mid 90’s.
    From the CDC It was first licensed in the combined form in 1971 and contains the safest and most effective forms of each vaccine.
    If the statement from the local Health Dept is accurate, that would also mean those who received one dose past 1971 should have two, no?
    The statements appear to be contradictory to what the CDC is saying, could you please clarify?
    This appears as preventable and due to lack of vaccination by many, but was there not a vaccine failure if the person that was vaccinated spread the disease to this young woman? Vaccine failure is not the same as not vaccinating.
    2.) You have added that the young woman who died was vaccinated and had antibodies. In other news account it states she was on medications that prevent her body from fighting off the measles. Without disclosing private information, could you elaborate on why the decision was made to continue her on the medications knowing it would render her unable to fight the measles? Correct if wrong, but it appears the medical community knew she was exposed, tested her antibodies and concluded to have her on medication anyways.
    I look forward to hearing if you get clarification.
    Thank you.

  42. Society will harrass the hell out of parents for allowing kids to walk by themselves to the playground, but sit idle while parents allow their children to play chicken with deadly diseases. Wake up.

  43. Well, when your anti-vaxxer-induced fantasy infects you, that will be your fault.
    Meanwhile in the real world, there was recently a death of an immunocompromised adult in the State of Washington from measles. In the real world, people can and do die because of anti-vaccination nonsense that results in the failure of herd immunity to protect those of us who face actual risks.
    But there is presently no way to force adults to be vaccinated anyway; and in only three states is there a rigid requirement that children be vaccinated before attending schools. So my right to be protected depends only on the moral feelings of adults who have such feelings.

  44. I was born in 1964 and received all vaccinations available to me. I did get the chicken pox and so did my sister but a boy in my neighborhood died from complications. I do not think the MMR booster was available when I was 12 so I did contract the measles. IT WAS HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!!! I would not EVER want my children to go through that. I had an older cousin that suffered with Polio and he really suffered. I would not want to go through that and not my children either. I was so relieved each time my children got the vaccines because I new I was doing what was best. My children did not receive the varicella vaccine because it came out and my children got the chicken pox at that same period of time. They have been vaccinated (in addition to required vaccines) for flu, pneumonia, H1N1, and HPV. As far as the autism “link” goes-it has never been scientifically proven. I would say that the “unclean” food we eat is a much higher risk. Look at all the ingredients that are in the food we eat. I have worked with autistic children and also parents having a child after having a child diagnosed with autism. It is very difficult. Very. BUT…I would much rather have a child with autism than a child DEAD from side effects of an illness that I could have prevented.

  45. You obviously did not read my earlier comments. I do not care if you want to have vaccines. I do care when you tell me I MUST get a vaccine.

    All the “herd mentality” does is create superbugs. And lead the “herd” over the cliffs to a death on the rocks below. That is not anti-vaxer induced fantasy. That is fact. What is fantasy is belief that vaccines prevent you from getting a disease, virus or bacteria. Nothing is 100%. Never will be.

    And one last point. Seems to me most of the people who are dying are from receiving vaccines, getting infected from people who were vaccinated and when their vaccine failed failed to protect them.

    My morals have nothing to do vaccines. However, forcing anyone, especially children, to face potentially deadly side effects of vaccines, side effects that have killed hundreds of more children than the diseases themselves have during same period of time, by mandating vaccines shows a serious lack of morals in my opinion.

    Would you rather kill 100 children and harm ten of thousands by forcing a vaccine or would you rather allow those who want vaccines the choice to get them and let those children who don’t get a vaccine who do get sick only suffer through the course of the illness, knowing the illness has not killed any otherwise healthy person in decades?

    I would much rather put my trust in a hospital treating the disease than trusting any pharmaceutical company that is cranking out vaccines known to kill and harm people.

    That is my CHOICE. You have yours. We will see ultimately what the right one is one day.

    1. You obviously didn’t read my posts. I CANNOT have a measles (MMR) vaccine for at least about a year, and if I can then, it won’t be as effective as it would for someone not immunocompromised. As to your anti-vaxxer nonsense, I see no need to respond to such an anti-science screed.

      Is anyone else besides Boylan interested in this topic? If not, I see no reason to stay engaged on this site.

  46. Jim, that’s not how vaccines work. You can’t create a vaccine-induced superbug like you can with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, and some bacteria can become resistant to them. Vaccines don’t kill viruses. They introduce weakened or dead viruses to your immune system. The immune system then remembers these viruses and attacks them if your body is exposed to a live virus later.

  47. I was born in 1964 and received all vaccinations available to me. I did get the chicken pox and so did my sister but a boy in my neighborhood died from complications. I do not think the MMR booster was available when I was 12 so I did contract the measles. IT WAS HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!!! I would not EVER want my children to go through that. I had an older cousin that suffered with Polio and he really suffered. I would not want to go through that and not my children either. I was so relieved each time my children got the vaccines because I new I was doing what was best. My children did not receive the varicella vaccine because it came out and my children got the chicken pox at that same period of time. They have been vaccinated (in addition to required vaccines) for flu, pneumonia, H1N1, and HPV. As far as the autism “link” goes-it has never been scientifically proven. I would say that the “unclean” food we eat is a much higher risk. Look at all the ingredients that are in the food we eat. I have worked with autistic children and also parents having a child after having a child diagnosed with autism. It is very difficult. Very.
    BUT…I would much rather have a child with autism than a child DEAD from side effects of an illness that I could have prevented.

    1. The immunocompromised woman who died in Washington was “asymptomatic” — didn’t develop a rash. It was only on autopsy that it was determined that she died of measles.

      The “autism” claim has long been debunked, and the journal retracted the paper in which the link was claimed. That, however, does not keep anti-vaccine people from continuing to spout the lie.

      Yes, vaccines can cause serious reactions. Any medicines that we put into our bodies can cause more-or-less serious reactions. To be a medicine, a substance has to have effects on the body, and effects will differ. The issue is the relative risk. The risk of serious diseases like measles is much greater than the risk of reactions to the vaccine. However, in the case of a person who has had a serious reaction to a vaccine, that is reason for a medical exemption from the requirement to take that vaccine — and the three states (California being the latest) that do not allow philosophical or religious exemptions DO all, of necessity, allow medical exemptions. In fact, it is the children with medical exemptions (and exemptions are needed mostly for children because most requirements are for children entering school) that are at high risk if others aren’t vaccinated. They are among those of us, old people and younger adults as well as children, who are most reliant on herd immunity in the population.

      And the superbug argument is bogus. Not everyone at all times needs an antibiotic, so it’s important to not overuse antibiotics with those who don’t need them, because disease organisms can develop immunity to antibiotics. However, even if a disease organism could develop immunity to an vaccine (which can happen with live-virus vaccines, where there are sometimes mutations that cause the disease from the vaccine — that is why live-virus polio vaccines are no longer used in developed countries), it is not logical to “prevent” this by not vaccinating. If we don’t vaccinate, it doesn’t matter whether immunity to the vaccine could develop; but if we don’t vaccinate, we cannot effectively fight the disease anyway. Don’t worry about a “superbug” — if you don’t vaccinate, the regular, old non-super bug can get you.

      And all the blather about an adult’s not being forced to vaccinate is also bogus. The only adults who are required to be vaccinated are those entering medical fields or into environments where disease spread is likely (e.g., requirements for college students to be vaccinated against meningitis, which finds many of its victims among college students). Otherwise, there are not requirements for vaccination of adults.

  48. Anti-vaxxer nonsense, maybe you should take remedial english because clearly you are not reading or understanding what I wrote. So I will repeat for the tenth time, I am not anti vaccine. If you want to do it, fine. If anyone wants to get a vaccine, fine. I have no problem with that.

    I may feel that you are creating superbugs by getting vaccines, just as over prescribed antibiotics did, but I know there is no chance of stopping vaccines. In fact, I hope that one day a vaccine will actually be 100% effective. BUT…

    I am anti FORCING ANYONE to get a vaccine. Your right to live does not supercede my right to live. You do not get to tell me how to live my life, and I don’t tell you how to live your life. Period.

    As for science, here is science. http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.php

    This allows you to search the Vaccine Adverse Reaction Searchable Database. Click died, then find. You will see almost 6000 people died from what was deemed a reaction to a vaccine. 61% of the dead were children. Most under 3 years old.

    If you only click “serious” and find, you will get over 67,000 cases, SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, reported cases of serious reactions to vaccines. Over 54% of them children, again, most under 3 years old.

    Does your right to live give you the right to kill children? Does your right to live give you the right to seriously harm children? Not in my country it doesn’t. But if you force everyone to get vaccinated, you WILL KILL CHILDREN. You WILL SERIOUSLY HARM CHILDREN. The numbers are right there for you. There is no denying that fact. Even one child killed or harmed by a forced vaccine is too many.

    If you are so afraid of catching a virus or bacteria because you are immunosuppressed, stay home! Obviously you have a computer or online access, so you can easily order anything you want delivered right to your door and can suit up and disinfect every package should you want. Otherwise, do like everyone else does and take the chance of getting sick.

    Also, you must remember that even the CDC says these numbers are UNDERREPORTED. No one knows the true number of people who had serious reactions to, or died from, vaccines.

    This is UNDENIABLE SCIENCE. From the very people pushing vaccines.

    To me it is an UNACCEPTABLE risk. I will not take any chance of another vaccine. If you don’t like that, too bad. I have no say over you or anyone else getting vaccinated and potentially creating more superbugs. Superbugs that may infect me.

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