Who could have seen this coming? Oh, yes… EVERYONE.


Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    My wife was telling me about this article in the LA Times this morning.

    My response: “If they are all so rich, how come they are so dumb?”Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      They didn’t make their money. their daddies did.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      It’s a good thing they’re rich. Anybody that dumb who’s poor would starve.

      More seriously, rich people aren’t necessarily any smarter than not-rich people, except (possibly) about money. You don’t see a lot of millionaires winning the Fields Medal.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Err, it’s a play on the old chestnut, “If you are so smart, how come you ain’t rich?”

      I don’t really think they are necessarily all that smart.

      What blows my mind is when I see people with advanced degrees, people who should understand confirmation bias & how to assess the validity of a source, buying into the anti-vac hype.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    A lot of diseases that we eliminated or got under control are coming back because of the anti-vaccination crowd. If we are lucky maybe state paternalism can come back because a lot of people need protection from their own stupidity or their parent’s stupidity.

    Note to Damon, this is a collective problem and requires a collective solution. When people refuse to vaccinate the kids, it hurts everybody and will lead us back to the world of epidemics and pandemics. I’d rather not go there even if the state nees to use force to comply people to do the right thing.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Since we can trace the origins of a disease (patient zero, as it were) pretty accurately, I say we start providing a liability statement to every one of the conscientious abstainers that basically says:

      “If your kid is not vaccinated, and becomes a vector for a disease that is passed onto a person with a compromised immune system, a person who is vaccinated but still becomes ill, or a person who could not be vaccinated for other medical reasons, then you can be legally liable for any & all damages to the persons your decision has harmed.”Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        That doesn’t really help the person who had been harmed by getting a preventable disease much. Especially if they suffer a serious health problem.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Not every harm can be prevented. It’s a little hard to imagine our society accepting obligatory vaccinations, but liability would at least change the incentives in the right direction.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I think knowing that you may face severe civil &/or criminal penalties if your choice causes harm will cause all but the most ardent of true believers to just shut the hell up & vaccinate their kids.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        If people risking there own child’s health, especially if they feel its related to having a strong faith, then legal and financial penalties are not going to be there primary concern. It also leaves open the really difficult task of tracing how an outbreak happens. Most of the time they can’t be traced to a person at all.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        It’s amazing what people will risk when the cost is less tangible, versus the threat of a nasty judgement.

        Case in point, here in WA we had a whooping cough outbreak last year, thanks to people avoiding vaccinations. The affected counties switched over from an opt-in method to an opt-out method for vaccinations & (I believe) required all who opted out to talk to a physician. I recall reading that a lot of the parents who opted out had a poor understanding of herd immunity & once it was explained to them (along with the risks of getting immunized), gladly opted-in.

        Now imagine if those who still opt-ed out got a legal notice that they could potentially be liable for the financial loses if their kid infects their classmates, I bet even more would weigh the risks a bit heavier & opt-in.

        And yes, we can trace a disease source with enough data. Perhaps one of the doctors here can elaborate as to how much is needed.Report

      • Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

        MRS, I would suspect that depends on how well you can genetically match this patient’s viral load to someone else’s. Something that mutates with some regularity might be easier to track than something that doesn’t. Although then you have something that’s hard to make a vaccine against.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I think it depends on how common such a disease is in a given area.

        A measles outbreak in an area that sees maybe one or two cases a year should be (I would think) easy to track back to patient zero.

        However, that is not my wheelhouse, so I can’t speak to it with any authority.Report

    • Avatar James K says:

      I can’t speak for Damon, but I’m happy to accept communicable diseases as a legitimate theatre for government policy.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I muse with the idea that there ought to be no public subsidy of health care rendered for diseases that could have been prevented with vaccinations. If we were going to protect you from this, easily and cheaply, and you insisted on no-no-no-no-no going alone, you should bear the entire cost of the consequences of your grievous error in judgment.

    I didn’t say “adopt” or “advocate.” I’m sure the unintended or magnified consequences of that line of reasoning will wind up in a place I don’t like very much. Just sharing an idle thought.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I read that there was an outbreak of one of these diseases usually prevented by vaccines among the Satmar population in Brooklyn; they typically do not vaccinate their children.

    The Satmar population in my area, many of whom frequent the same ped as us, often travel to that area of Brooklyn. There was a sign up in the officer recently imploring them to get their children vaccinated if they travel to Brooklyn. The tone of it was basically saying, “This shit is real. Your kids will get sick. It will be awful.”

    I’m really curious how many heeded the call.Report