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Help Re-establish the Herd Immunity of Nevada! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Joe Albietz   

tamyspeakeralbietzTAM 7 is fast approaching and those of you who have already signed up may have noticed something a bit different at the bottom of the registration page.  This year the JREF is working with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to provide vaccinations for the children in Nevada.

Nevada has one of the worst vaccination rates in the nation.  The reasons are multifactorial.  Though there is a significant fraction of children who remain unvaccinated because of the distrust of vaccine safety spread by the current anti-vaccination movement, lack of health insurance, a large transitory population, and poverty (Las Vegas unemployment is now over 10%) also play a large role in its dismal vaccination rate.

Nevada has recognized this problem and has instituted the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which is federally funded and provides vaccines at no cost to VFC eligible children, and the state health department holds both standing and roaming health clinics to provide vaccinations to children.

Though the vaccines provided through the VFC are free, their administration is not.  Due to financial restrictions, the SNHD has had to charge an "administrative charge" to families to cover the overhead of vaccine administration.  They charge $16 for the administration of one shot, and $25 for multiple vaccinations.  This cost is small, but represents a significant financial barrier to families living below the poverty line, and an excuse for those above it.

Many of us in the scientific and skeptical communities have been active speaking out against the claims of the anti-vaccination movement.  Yet in spite of a mountain of evidence exonerating vaccines some parents still elect not to vaccinate their children; vaccination rates in many areas are below the threshold needed to impart herd immunity and we are seeing the return of vaccine preventable diseases.  Clearly evidence and talking are not sufficient to minimize the impact of the anti-vaccination movement.

What more can be done?  We can limit the collateral damage of Jenny McCarthy's destructive bile.  We can help protect the innocent.  We can lower the barriers to vaccination so that the only people unvaccinated are either those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or health, or those who for whatever misguided reason choose not to vaccinate.  Herd immunity needs to be reinforced or in some cases re-established, and it must be done one child at a time.

That is where our current project comes in to play.  The JREF is going to fully subsidize the cost of vaccination to families who go to the SNHD clinics for as long as our donations last.  Not only will this remove any financial barriers to vaccination, but it will also serve to heighten the awareness of the services provided by the SNHD.

You don't need to attend TAM 7 (although you should) in order to help.  Go to the TAM 7 registration page, and at the very bottom you will find the donation links.  For $25 the Vaccine Fair Donation - One Series will cover the entire cost to a child regardless of the number of vaccines administered that day, and the Vaccine Fair Donation - One Vaccine covers the cost of a single vaccine for $16.  Add as many as you like to your cart and check out.

A while back, a friend relayed a conversation he'd had with a group of skeptics who were bemoaning the way in which we as skeptics were publicly cast in a negative light, maligned, even hated.  His response: "What have you done to be loved?" This is a chance to give him an answer.

 

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Anti-anti-vax
written by Michael K Gray, June 23, 2009
The anti-vax maniax are sowing the seeds of a world-wide pandemic of infant slaughter.
Excuse me for moderating my tone here, but the minor misdemeanors of the Uri Gellars of the globe pale into insignificance compared to these willful baby killing anti-science bastards.
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And then there's Nimbin...
written by BillyJoe, June 23, 2009


Maybe the Australian Skeptics can do the same for Nimbin in northern New South Wales where only 66% of the children are vaccinated. However, this old resting place for The Flower People of the seventies and their children and grandchildren, who pride themselves on going natural in more ways than one, may prove a fairly resistant target for their efforts.

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written by garyg, June 23, 2009
My own nephew, an M.D., delayed vaccinating his son a few years ago. I think it was because the child's language skills were slow to develop and there was some possibility that the combination vaccine (?DTAP?) might negatively affect his development. I presume he eventually got all his shots.

Just to indicate that there are sometimes valid medical reasons for postponing (as opposed to declining) childhood vaccinations
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written by CasaRojo, June 23, 2009
Excellent! FWIW, the unemployment figures for the county in which I live in FL are 10.3% and we don't have a "tent city" like LV.
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Michael K Gray
written by Griz, June 23, 2009
"The anti-vax maniax are sowing the seeds of a world-wide pandemic of infant slaughter.
Excuse me for moderating my tone here, but the minor misdemeanors of the Uri Gellars of the globe pale into insignificance compared to these willful baby killing anti-science bastards."

Once again, I have to point out that this statement is just as inaccurate and just as sensationalistic and just as hyperbolic as the arguments and pseudo-science that the non-vaccination crowd use. Irresponsible sweeping generalizations like this do nothing but turn it into a religious war where both sides hunker down in their "knowledge of the TRUTH" and refuse to acknowledge objective science.

As for the article itself;

"Though there is a significant fraction of children who remain unvaccinated because of the distrust of vaccine safety spread by the current anti-vaccination movement"

Joe Albietz, let's not use made up statistics that you can't support. You don't need to, it's a good thing to get vaccination rates up in Nevada. You guys all seem hell bent to back people right in a corner. You've got a good argument for vaccinations, why bring your credibility into question with made up stats and militant hyperbole? I don't get it.
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written by BillyJoe, June 23, 2009
Why is Griz's comment hidden?

He has a point.
In Australia at least the commonest reason for not vaccinating is "laziness", "forgetfulness", "too busy". Influence by the anti-vaccination crowd comes down the list.

BJ
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written by Amos M., June 23, 2009
How is "a significant fraction of children" a made up statistic he can't support? Granted, it's almost vague enough to have come from the mouth of a cold reader, but it's nonetheless almost guaranteed to fit with the truth in some way or other. Certainly not made up, and very supportable. Also, if raising vaccination rates in Nevada is a good thing, then how is calling the anti-vaccination movement unscientific and pointing out the harm they're causing "militant hyberbole"? I'll grant you that "willful baby killing anti-science bastards" might be going a bit far (Though not so much if it were referring to so-called Christian Scientists), but going after Joe Albietz, who was in fact pointing out that anti-vaxers are not the only problem, seems entirely ridiculous and unnecessary.
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written by BillyJoe, June 23, 2009
But why is his comment hidden?
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written by Kuroyume, June 23, 2009
I don't think Griz's comment should have been removed either (unless requested by Griz) but I agree with Amos M. that 'significant fraction of children' is not a statistic - and definitely not a 'made up statistic'. It is a general statement based upon the impact on herd immunization because of anti-vaccination proponents. Now, some lack of vaccinations could definitely be targetted at laziness or cost but, in the US anyway, there is definitely an impact from anti-vax rhetoric. If nothing else, it has made an increasing problem worse by providing ill-advised instruction.

And I again agree with Amos M. on the hyperbole issue. Too often we marginalize the impact of these side-shows only to see their real impact later on (it is already being seen!). To quote Piccard in 'First Contact': "The line must be drawn HERE! This far, no FARTHER!" How long shall we suffer fools? As short a time as possible. Be gone with her (J.M.) and 'off with her head'.
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Hidden comment
written by Griz, June 24, 2009
There's some function of the system here that will hide low rated comments. I've seen it on other boards. The idea is if a comment if rated low then it means the majority of board readers would consider irrelevant or noise. The system doesn't seem to work very well on this board. I've seen other comments that appeared to be hidden for no particular reason. Maybe there's someone in power here that can set a comment to be hidden and does so for ones he doesn't like, but I doubt that. I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories smilies/smiley.gif I think it's probably a bug.
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Amos M, Kuroyome
written by Griz, June 24, 2009
One of the things that really exasperates me about the JREF is the tendancy to retreat into hair splitting when someone gets called on something. Everyone who read the section that I refered to knows exactly what Michael was trying to say. If you agree with it, if your opinion is that there IS a significant number of kids not being vaccinated, just say so.

To make an inflamatory statement intended to swell the bosom with righteous indignation and then when called to justify it explain it away to mean nothing is exactly the sort of bullshit rhetoric employed by cold readers, pscyhics, and televangelists. You don't need to do that with this issue. Just say, "vaccination rates are low in Nevada, we are working to raise them." You can with all verifiable truth say that vaccinating kids makes them safer and healthier. That's all you need.

When you try to shout down someone who's shouting you down, then you look just as shaky as they do. Everyone knows that trying to shout down your oppoenent using weasel words and inflammatory rhetoric is just a cover for somone who's not so sure about their position.
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PS
written by Griz, June 24, 2009
I hate people that post three times in a row, but when I first unhid my comment it showed votes 0, but not it shows -7, so the hiding comment thing is probably working. I think the voting thing is pretty damn juvenile and I ignore it, but I've kept that opinion to myself until now. It is a little disconcerting, though, that we can gang up on the dissenters and silence them. It really reinforces that ivory tower group-think elitism that this site moves closer to every day.
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Voting on comments
written by Ancyent, June 24, 2009
Griz's comment about voting persuaded me to register after several years of reading stuff here. As a statistician, what I find annoying about the voting is that only the net total is shown. So one doesn't know whether a +0 is because no-one has felt strongly enough about a comment to vote on it or because an equal number of people have voted up and voted down. A +0 because of no votes is not the same as a +0 because of 20 voting up and 20 voting down.
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Interesting
written by Griz, June 25, 2009
Now my posts have to be reivewed by an admin?
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Hmmm
written by Griz, June 25, 2009
Only in certain threads.
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Why the negative comments?
written by garyg, June 25, 2009
Was I so unclear in my post that garnered 3 negative comments? I wasn't defending anti-vax people. In fact, I argued strenuously with an expectant mother who insisted that "healthy babies don't need vaccines". I was
ONLY pointing out that sometimes there are valid medical reasons for postponing vaccinations, that's all:

written by garyg, June 23, 2009
My own nephew, an M.D., delayed vaccinating his son a few years ago. I think it was because the child's language skills were slow to develop and there was some possibility that the combination vaccine (?DTAP?) might negatively affect his development. I presume he eventually got all his shots.

Just to indicate that there are sometimes valid medical reasons for postponing (as opposed to declining) childhood vaccinations
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@ garyG
written by BillyJoe, June 25, 2009
I don't understand it either.
Your point was certainly valid.
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written by knitwit, June 27, 2009
garyg - the reason I voted your comment "down" was that you made your nephew's reason to delay vaccination sound as though he had a medical reason. From what you say, he did NOT. Sounds like he was treading into woo territory if he was concerned about "development". You will have to give more details as to the nephew's specific reasons for delaying vaccination.

I have four children and one of them had his vax delayed several times because of illness (flu, ear infection), but the delay was only a few days while he got over the immediate illness. One was vax'd twice because the school lost her shot record and one had the MMR really early before that was changed--with no ill effect and I can't remember if he had if a second time.

But to say that your nephew (the MD, which makes it even worse) was concerned about "development" sounds as though he wants to make sure his kid doesn't become autistic after vax. I don't think that is probably what you meant, after reading your additional post, but that's the way I read it initially.
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Follow up on Garyg's nephew's son...
written by BillyJoe, June 27, 2009
My own nephew, an M.D., delayed vaccinating his son a few years ago. I think it was because the child's language skills were slow to develop and there was some possibility that the combination vaccine (?DTAP?) might negatively affect his development. I presume he eventually got all his shots....Just to indicate that there are sometimes valid medical reasons for postponing (as opposed to declining) childhood vaccinations


Contraindications to Vaccinations*

For all vaccines:
- previous severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or vaccine component (eg egg)

For attenuated vaccines:
(measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken-pox))
- immunodeficiency due to any cause.
- pregnancy.

HIB vaccine
(Haemophilus Inluenza B - a bacterial cause of pneumonia)
- age < 6 weeks

DTP vaccine
(Diptheria/Tetanus/Pertussis(Whooping cough))
- Encephalopathy (coma or decreased level of consciousness; prolonged seizures) within 7 days of administration of previous dose of DTP or DTaP
- Progressive neurologic disorder, including infantile spasms, uncontrolled epilepsy, progressive encephalopathy; (defer DTaP until neurologic status clarified and stabilized).


Hmmm...so, I guess, unless GaryG's nephew's son satisfied the criteria bolded above, it seems there was no need to delay his vaccinations and he was unnecessarily placed at risk of childhood infections.


*Summarised from this source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/re...s-vacc.htm


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My nephew is not a quack
written by garyg, June 27, 2009
He's never said or done anything to suggest he believes in or supports quackery. While I don't know all the details of his immediate family's medical history (which they keep private: I only learned about his wife's miscarriage from my sister some time later). The only specific area of retarded development I know of was in the boy's language ability. Again, the vacciations were only delayed, not avoided, and based on the best medical knowledge he could obtain (his specialty is not pediatrics).
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written by BillyJoe, June 27, 2009
The only specific area of retarded development I know of was in the boy's language ability.
I said "unless GaryG's nephew's son satisfied the criteria bolded above". In other words, perhaps they felt his language delay might represent the first signs of a "progressive neurologic disorder".

Again, the vacciations were only delayed, not avoided, and based on the best medical knowledge he could obtain (his specialty is not pediatrics).
I did acknowledge your mentioning that the vaccinations were only delayed.

regards,
BillyJoe
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