Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

Eliminating school vaccine mandates is the antivax endgame

The endgame of the antivaccine movement has always been the elimination of school vaccine mandates. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the timeline for them to accomplish this.

Arguably one of the most successful public health policies of all time has been school vaccine mandates, a policy that has been common in states dating back a very long time; indeed, it was in 1827 when Boston first required smallpox vaccination prior to school enrollment, with Massachusetts following suit in 1853, with most of New England requiring smallpox vaccination by the end of the 19th century and such mandates being commonplace during the 20th century. In the wake of the development of the polio vaccine, school vaccine mandates expanded to include the polio vaccine and new vaccines that followed.

The idea behind school vaccine mandates is amazingly simple simple. States don’t actually force children to be vaccinated. Instead, in order to protect children in a place where they congregate together every day, states do require a slate of vaccines before a child can be enrolled in school. Exemptions to such mandates have traditionally been allowed for medical and religious reasons and, more recently, for reasons of “personal belief.” By and large school vaccine mandates have been very successful, as well, and have ensured a high degree of vaccination in most localities without resorting to government-ordered “forced vaccination.” As a result, most states now require vaccines before school enrollment based on the CDC’s recommended birth through 18 years of age immunization schedule.

Antivaxxers have long opposed vaccine mandates of any kind, but in particularly they’ve always despised school vaccine mandates. During the pandemic, this opposition predictably spread to opposition to vaccine mandates for health care workers or by any private company, whether mandated by government or decided upon by a private entity. What a lot of people who only started paying attention to the antivaccine movement don’t know is that this opposition to vaccine mandates is nothing new. Indeed, it’s been a feature of the antivaccine movement since long before I ever started paying attention. The endgame of the antivaccine movement has always been the elimination of all vaccine mandates, including school vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, I fear that that endgame might be closer than ever before, given this news report:

Not long ago, Kansas showed strong bipartisan support for vaccines as a tool to support a robust public health system.

But bills with language expanding religious exemptions for childhood vaccine requirements were passed by the state Senate in March and now face the House when the legislature reconvenes April 25.

They are among the more than 520 vaccine-related bills introduced in statehouses nationwide since Jan. 1, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those bills, 66 specifically relate to childhood vaccine requirements in 25 states.

Prior to around a decade ago, school vaccine mandates had long enjoyed a status that was as close to apolitical as any policy has ever enjoyed in the United States. At the very least, they enjoyed broad and strong bipartisan support and were relatively uncontroversial for decades, representing a reasonable compromise between public health and freedom. There was no compulsory vaccination, but if parents refused vaccines for their children there were consequences in terms of not being able to access public schools and daycare facilities. Because of the privileged position religion has always had in the US as a belief system, there were always religious exemptions. Then, more and more states started allowing more and more nonreligious “personal belief” exemptions, which then led to problems with low vaccine uptake in a number of states, which led states to start trying to make such exemptions harder to obtain or banning them altogether. Indeed, a decade ago I was writing about how pertussis returned in my state due to lax standards for personal belief exemptions, although as early as 2006 I wrote about how pertussis was making a comeback in states with lax laws regarding such exemption and how by 2012 that problem was getting worse.

Enter the Disneyland measles outbreak during the 2014 Christmas holiday season, which was due to low MMR vaccine uptake and galvanized California state lawmakers. In 2015, they passed SB 277, a law that, for all intents and purposes, eliminated nonmedical religious and “personal belief” exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Unsurprisingly, the antivaccine movement strongly opposed passage of the law and during the battle over SB 277 figured out that framing resistance to school vaccine mandates as a matter of “freedom” and “parental rights” could attract the support of right wing groups opposed to government regulation. Within a couple of years, the issue of school vaccine mandates had become hopelessly politicized, with right wingers and Republicans coming down on the side of making exemptions easier to obtain and weakening school vaccine mandates.

In the process, Republicans started backing all sorts of bills to make measles great again and becoming more and more opposed to public health interventions of any kind intended to control infectious diseases, justifying their opposition with bromides like “freedom” and “personal responsibility.” This led to attempts to pass laws like the one in Michigan that would have make personal belief exemptions easy to obtain and even restricted public health officials from being able to bar unvaccinated children from school in the middle of an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease. Although fortunately this bill never became law, it’s hard not to see it as a precursor to the many bills proposed by Republicans during the pandemic that would strip authority to issue emergency public health orders from governors and state and local public health authorities.

In the process, during the last decade or so, Republicans have gone from just pandering to antivaxxers without really having their hearts in it because right wing activist groups were opposed to vaccine mandates to many of them openly expressing antivaccine conspiracy theories themselves. For example, in 2018 one of the Republican candidates held an antivaccine roundtable in my congressional district. It featured the usual conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and other nonsense promoted by a local antivaccine group. I documented it all by attending as a mole. Elsewhere, a number of statehouses accumulated a distressingly large contingent of antivaccine-pandering (or outright antivax) legislators; i.e., Ohio and Oregon.

What’s described in the news story that I cited above, though, is a renewed assault on school vaccine mandates beyond what I have ever seen before during the two decades that I’ve been writing about the antivaccine movement. I first warned about this last fall, when a Florida legislator—because of course it had to be Florida!—proposed reviewing all vaccine mandates, including school vaccine mandates. Although that “review” didn’t go anywhere, it was nonetheless symptomatic of how the anti-COVID-19 vaccine activism has spilled over to facilitate an assault on school vaccine mandates. It’s an effort enabled by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which antivaxxers joined forces with—and thereby become subsumed in—the broader anti-government forces arrayed against public health interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as masks and “lockdowns,” including the far right.

One way of looking at it is that the antivaccine movement, having enticed the right into opposing school vaccine mandates on the basis of “personal freedom” and “parental rights,” has now found itself just a part of a larger right wing ecosystem of QAnon-based conspiracy theories and resistance to the administrative state and public health. On the other hand, I like to quip, “Come for the freedumb, stay for the antivaccine conspiracy theories.” The idea is that the antivaccine movement has seen its conspiracy theories rise to become a key component of the whole right wing attack on the administrative state. Antivaxxers might now be just a part of a larger right wing enterprise opposing public health, but their movement is clearly a very important part. It’s probably a deal they don’t regret, as they have more cachet than ever, and their endgame, long thought to be impossible, looks more and more possible.

Unsurprisingly, the antivaccine movement sees this maelstrom of resistance to government as a golden opportunity, and they’re trying to take full advantage of it. I’m not the only one who knows what the endgame is:

In Missouri, for example, legislators are considering a measure exempting private school students from vaccine requirements. In Louisiana, a bill in the House would prohibit vaccinations on school property and at school-sponsored events.

Fewer than 10% of the bills will likely gain any traction, but the volume of attempts to roll back vaccine requirements is alarming, said Rekha Lakshmanan, director of advocacy and public policy at the Immunization Partnership, a vaccine education organization.

“Those are all chipping away at one of the end goals for anti-vaccine activists, which is completely doing away with school requirements,” said Lakshmanan. “That’s what people need to be paying very close attention to.”

Lakshmanan is absolutely correct, and this is what I’ve been warning about long before the pandemic. Of course, before the pandemic, even I didn’t think that antivaxxers had a chance of success, except maybe occasionally here or there in individual states. Now I’m not so sure, and neither are a lot of vaccine advocates:

To be sure, anti-vaccine activists have existed as long as vaccines. And legislation to limit requirements to vaccinate against diseases such as polio, measles, and meningitis are not new. But, according to public health experts, the movement has gained momentum amid the coronavirus pandemic, boosting the reach of high-profile anti-vaccine activists.

“If you had told me that a pandemic — and what I would consider a miraculous vaccine for that disease — would trigger an anti-vax surge, I would never have believed it,” said Tracy Russell, executive director of Nurture KC, which works to improve children’s and family health in the Kansas City area of Missouri and Kansas. “But that’s exactly what happened.”

There was a time when I thought the way that Russell thought. I used to think that a deadly pandemic would destroy the antivaccine movement. However, even before the pandemic hit, I was coming to see that I was being hopelessly naive. What led me to this realization was a confluence of events beginning with the Disneyland measles outbreak, which didn’t budge the needle of belief among antivaxxers at all, to the reaction of antivaxxers to the deadly measles outbreak in Samoa right around the time that the very first cases of a novel coronavirus disease were popping up in Wuhan, China, but before the new disease had infected enough people to become major international news. Despite the death toll, antivaxxers doubled down, denied that measles was deadly, and even tried to blame the measles vaccine for the deaths. As a result, I started to realize that even a deadly pandemic countered with a safe and effective vaccine would not change antivaccine beliefs, although I will confess that even I didn’t foresee just how much antivaxxers would double down and become more influential than ever.

And they haven’t.

Also, even though the antivaccine movement has been subsumed in a larger right wing movement, to paraphrase and co-opt Pete Townsend, likely they’d call that “a bargain, the best I’ve ever had,” given this:

One pending Kansas bill would mandate that vaccine exemption requests be accepted without scrutiny if based on religion or personal beliefs. Currently, the state leaves it to day care centers and school districts to accept requests for religious exemptions.

State Sen. Mark Steffen stands behind amendments he pushed nullifying Kansas’ childhood vaccine requirements. The Republican, who said he is “not an anti-vaxxer in any shape or form,” lamented mandates he said were a vestige of a “kinder, gentler time” and suggested that individual rights supersede mandates designed to protect public health.

Steffen, an anesthesiologist who said he is under investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for prescribing ivermectin to covid patients, said suggestions that a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases could occur if vaccination rates fall amount to fearmongering by people paid off by the pharmaceutical industry.

As an aside, here’s an observation. If you feel a need to strenuously deny that you are an antivaxxer, chances are very good that you are, in fact, an antivaxxer. Also, if you invoke the pharma shill gambit to characterize vaccine advocates who oppose your attempts to dismantle school vaccine mandates, you are almost certainly an antivaxxer. It’s also utterly unsurprising that Steffen is quack claiming that ivermectin can treat COVID-19 even though the evidence from a number of clinical trials is now very clear that it is ineffective. For example, just a couple of weeks ago, he wrote a letter to Kansas hospitals:

Ivermectin-supporting anesthesiologist and politician Sen. Mark Steffen told health care providers last week that he considers early treatment with off-label drugs to be the “standard of care” for COVID-19.

“The standard of care is early treatment with FDA-approved medications regardless of their labelled uses,” Steffen wrote in a March 31 letter addressed to health care providers on his official Senate office letterhead. “Delays in institution of these treatments are no longer acceptable.

“The Healthcare Provider has a legal duty to ensure facilitation of treatment as expeditiously as possible. Delayed treatment worsens outcomes.”

Again, ivermectin does not work, and yet another large randomized controlled clinical trial has failed to find a benefit attributable to it. Dr. Steffen is a quack.

None of this is new, either. Dr. Steffen was denying the severity of COVID-19 back in 2020:

He’s also worked with another hard-core antivaxxer who’s made a name for himself since the pandemic started:

He’s also touting a naturopath (and antivaxxer) who has supported his efforts:

Not-a-doctor Colleen Huber is a “naturopathic oncologist”; i.e., a quack. She’s also used legal thuggery to attack critics with SLAPP suits. Unsurprisingly, she’s an antivaxxer as well.

And, of course, he is making the same nonsensical attacks to move the goalposts regarding the studies that failed to find efficacy for ivermectin in treating COVID-19:

Here’s another advantage for antivaxxers in having let themselves be absorbed by the larger right wing conspiracy ecosystem:

The similarity of bills from state to state raises red flags to vaccine advocates because it suggests that a coordinated effort to dismantle vaccine requirements and public health infrastructure is underway.

“Because the anti-vax movement is becoming aligned with the far right, I think those information-sharing channels are becoming more sophisticated,” said Northe Saunders, executive director of the SAFE Communities Coalition, a pro-vaccine organization. “Their ability to attract far-right politicians who see vaccines as a cause has grown. That gets them attention, if not votes.”

Efforts are definitely being coordinated, along with efforts to fight mask and vaccine mandates in schools and to “reopen” America (which, oddly enough, hasn’t really been anything resembling closed or “under lockdown” in a long time). Antivaxxers were coordinating efforts before the pandemic, just as right-to-try advocates were coordinating efforts going back ten years to try to pass legislation to weaken the FDA. They just have far more resources and sophistication than they used to. Admittedly, not all Republicans are antivaccine or willing to pander to antivaxxers, but these days even “not antivaccine” Republicans seem to have put aside whatever qualms they once had in order to support—or at least to avoid opposing outright—bills like this in the name of “freedom.”

Eliminating school vaccine mandates, indeed vaccine mandates of any kind, was always the endgame of the antivaccine movement. Unfortunately, the pandemic has not only made what once seemed impossible appear to be potentially within reach, at least in some states, but it has accelerated the timeline beyond even the most wildly optimistic timeline for eliminating school vaccine mandates that antivaxxers could ever have imagined. While it is unlikely that even in this environment antivaxxers will succeed everywhere, nonetheless, their endgame has begun.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

122 replies on “Eliminating school vaccine mandates is the antivax endgame”

Yup. Just like the endgame of the anti-“CRT” movement and the don’t say gay bill is to defund public schools. They both have a common route – most people (myself included) don’t know a world where vaccines have mitigated the worst effects of a great many diseases, and they likewise don’t remember time before public schools. I’m not sure what the ultimate end game of antivaxers is…I certainly don’t want to believe that they just want people to die of preventable diseases. I can see the end game of defunding education, however – dumb down the population in order to ensure a steady stream of worker drones.

“dumb down the population in order to ensure a steady stream of worker drones.”

That is what the public education system currently does, so what’s your point? The real question is who controls the curriculum. In the United States, that would be the capitalists and their brainwashed enablers. The CRT “debate” is just a distraction to keep the plebes pointing fingers at one another instead of uniting to oppose the oppressive, self-serving policies of the ruling class (capitalists). Pretending “equality” is achievable while ignoring the class struggle is idiotic.

As for the “endgame of the antivaxxers”, for once I believe Orac got something right: end mandates. Informed consent is the only ethical approach to medical intervention. There are way too many open, unanswered questions to justify the use of force and coercion. After all, if the intervention protects those who opt-in, why on earth is it any of their business whether or not others opt-out? And if it does not, how ridiculously absurd is it to mandate something that is ineffective. (Merely repeating the words “safe and effective” ad nauseum does not make the claim true, nor does it refute evidence to the contrary.) The quackcine (see? I can play word games too) “debate” is yet another way to keep the 99% blaming each other for their problems rather than the inept authoritarians controlling policy. Example: “We can’t end lockdowns until enough people are vaccinated.” Meanwhile, incidence rates of SARS-CoV2 per 100,000 are as high if not higher among the vaccinated in places that deign to release their case data. (Naturally, places that were releasing it have stopped–Scotland, for example.) Pro tip: if you have to use a stick to convince people, you probably don’t have a very good argument supporting your position.

As for the “endgame of the antivaxxers”, for once I believe Orac got something right: end mandates. Informed consent is the only ethical approach to medical intervention. There are way too many open, unanswered questions to justify the use of force and coercion.

You used the wrong term. When antivaxxers use “informed consent,” what they really mean is “misinformed refusal,” in which the risks of vaccines are vastly exaggerated and the benefits downplayed or even denied to the extent that people refuse based on a warped version of the risk-benefit ratio based on fear mongering. It’s not as though I haven’t written about what I’ve called “misinformed consent” or “misinformed refusal” many, many times going back long before the pandemic. Here are some relevant tags that will bring up a number of posts:

After all, if the intervention protects those who opt-in, why on earth is it any of their business whether or not others opt-out?

Another antivax classic trope: “If vaccines work, why do you care if my children are vaccinated or not?” As I like to say, it’s such a dumb argument that it’s the antivax equivalent to the creationist trope, “If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys”?

And if it does not, how ridiculously absurd is it to mandate something that is ineffective. (Merely repeating the words “safe and effective” ad nauseum does not make the claim true, nor does it refute evidence to the contrary.)

Merely repeating that the vaccine is ineffective ad nauseam does not make the claim true or refute the evidence to the contrary, which shows that, even after the rise of new variants, the vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

Seriously, your antivax game is not very impressive.

“That is what the public education system currently does”

Once again, the fact that you managed to reach your current age without learning jack shit isn’t a reflection on schools, it’s on you.

“Informed consent is the only ethical approach to medical intervention”

How is that possible? Your average anti-vaxxer already believes that everything they are being told is a lie. Their preferred approach is to make up their mind, based on whatever is most convincing to them, and call it being ‘informed’.

“After all, if the intervention protects those who opt-in, why on earth is it any of their business whether or not others opt-out?”

Because people who can’t be vaccinated exist. Most of them are babies. When you choose to not vaccinate your child (already the person making the decision is not the person taking the risk), you are putting other people’s children at risk as well.

That is why. Because infectious diseases are infectious and they spread to other people.

Pro tip: if you have to use a stick to convince people, you probably don’t have a very good argument supporting your position.

How many other laws would you apply this to? Traffic laws? Murder laws? Fraud laws?

All of these involve a ‘stick’ to convince people to do the right thing.

Indeed. Basically most laws “use a stick” to convince people to follow them. (Some use the carrot, but most use a stick.) Sure, many laws are the sorts of laws that good people follow anyway because they are good (don’t steal, don’t murder, etc.), but a lot of laws, like traffic laws, that are to some extent arbitrary, require the “stick” to get people to follow them. That makes CI’s argument deeply stupid, rather like CI.

School is a shared environment. Parents can choose not to protect their children under our law, unless there’s something unusual. Claiming that forcing that risk on their child’s classmates is part of informed consent is going quite a bit further.

I can see the end game of defunding education, however – dumb down the population in order to ensure a steady stream of worker drones.

Possibly worse than that. Two of Michigan’s biggest embarrassments, hillsdale “college” and betsy devos are working on opening hillsdale sponsored charter schools, with the most recently announced location being Tennessee, with hillsdale’s racist philosophy joined with a large amount of conservative christian indoctrination.

It looks like the rest of the world is going to have to start demanding proof of vaccination for any US traveller who wants to enter the country. Great, one more thing to hold us up at immigration.

Can’t you just upload it ahead of time? I don’t think it will be an issue in the countries most people travel to.

None of can predict the future but it’s intriguing to me that there might be a regional aspect to anti-vax and anti-PH brewing in the US:
I like to look at maps about political choices ( Brexit, US Presidential, now how France votes- the regionality of which surprised me) as well as Covid infection and vaccination rates ( one frequently updated source is supplied by the Mayo Clinic).

Even Orac proclaims; ” Florida!” and I noticed that Kansas is another flashpoint for anti-PH today which is predictable given their history ( What’s the Matter with Kansas?). As I watched those Covid/ vaccine maps over the past – is it really?- 2 years, certain trends emerge that seem to mirror general political trends. States that experienced Covid early and initiated PH measures seem to be doing better and have higher vaccination rates ( NE, West Coast) and more rural, interior and southern states have lower rates of vaccination. Whether it can all be boiled down to politics or the urban/ rural dimension is, of course, possible BUT the organising principle of right leaning voters these days seems to be personal freedom including freedom from taxes.

The alties I survey rail against cities and liberal enclaves who over tax and “waste” money ( people who have internet businesses selling woo probably have higher taxable income than any of us at RI, including the doctors): they advise followers to move to places that aren’t restrictive especially Florida and Texas where they can experience “freedom”. Much of the anathema against cities follows the Fox model about crime and homelessness but I detect a hint of suggested white flight away from a diverse populace and immigrant culture as well as ( perhaps) greater acceptance of LGBTQIA people. They may whisper SF and NYC but some of us hear The Castro and Chelsea, The Village etc.

I suggest that people search Mayo Clinic Covid 19 Vaccine tracker which will show that all of the states in the darkest green for highest rates of vaccination ( save one- Florida) are blue.
Mayo Clinic also shows current infection rates.

And even Florida likely has inflated numbers. Lot of snowbirds and vaccine tourists got their shots there.

What could possibly go wrong when an experimental medical product fails so miserably at preventing infections and transmission of a disease yet is so aggressively mandated and useless vaccine passports are rolled out?

What could possibly go wrong when the President of the US lies about this massive problem with the product on National TV and will not pull the mandates back even though many people can’t even count the number of people they know double vaxxed and boosted who got Covid anyway?

Joe Biden CNN Town Hall – Wednesday July 21, 2021

“We don’t talk enough to you about this, I don’t think. One last thing that’s really important is, we’re not in the position where we think that any virus, including the Delta virus, which is much more transmissible and more deadly in terms of unvaccinated people, the — the various shots that people are getting now cover that. You’re OK. You’re not going to — you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

This is a great article about Richard Pan and the recent Defeat the Mandates Rally in LA :

‘It is standard operating procedure for politicians to ignore their critics and if this is not possible, to dismiss them as extremist fringe dirtbags not welcome in polite society or any society.

A closer look at the attendees at the day-long rally might have produced a more nuanced view. They included: Biden voters, Trump voters, old-school Democrat liberals disenchanted with the party’s new-found Stalinist impulses, Jews, Muslims, evangelicals, Mama Bears (and lots of them too), truckers who’d been to D.C. and back, union tradespeople, cops, nurses, esteemed physicians, ex-employees who had lost their jobs simply because they chose not to get the jab, inspired Latino activists, immigrants of all races, families, retirees, the unvaccinated and in a new twist, vaccinated Californians who are simply saying that enough is enough.

These people are not fringe; they represent an emerging new movement that is building across the land. Finding a public opinion poll these days that favors the Democrats in the 2022 vote is like the search for the Dead Sea Scrolls. They’re out there, but you have to dig hard to find them. Like virtually all incumbents in the state legislature Pan has been in a safe seat, and he is termed out at the end of 2022.

But his ideas and those of his aggressive-minded associates are certainly on the table, and lots of very motivated voters don’t like them. With the strange but determined figure of Captain Pan at the helm, even in blue California, the Democrats may come to resemble the Titanic upon its first sighting of an iceberg. After all, what could go wrong?‘

These people are not fringe; they represent an emerging new movement that is building across the land.

These “Defeat the Mandates” people aren’t fringe????

They’re every bit as fringe now as Jenny McCarthy and her crew were 14 years ago, and a couple of them are even the same people.

Yes, I know my post was about the first “Defeat the Mandates” rally, but the second one in LA was just a weaker retread of the first one that didn’t even bring in nearly as many people as the first. If anything, the LA event was even more fringe than the one in DC in January.

Oh, also, regarding the one in DC:

BUT Orac!, Del is claiming victory ( The, yesterday, opening) because those ten evil California bills are GOING DOWN! ( well, some, sort of) .
20,000 people attended ( despite what news people and Prof Dorit say)
AND most important of all, events like these cost money – one million USD, to be exact and FLCCC contributed
BUT ICAN must step up the challenge
( 10-14 minutes in) they want to have events in NY and Colorado.
Freedom isn’t free: people’s uprisings cost major cash. Send it.

For F’s Sake, Orac. The “Defeat the Mandates” rally in DC was chock full of people way more fringe than Jenny McCarthy:

Proud Boys and “Patriot” militiamen, QAnoners and other Alex Jones-style conspiracists who blithely indulge in … many of them, including speakers, encouraging and threatening violence…[quote pulled from your link on the DC rally above}

You might want to ask Former Top Democrat; President of the NJ Senate Stephen Sweeney how fringe this movement is after his Vaccine Bill to eliminate religious exemptions collapsed. (He was a sponsor of the Bill)

Sweeney went on to lose to Republican furniture truck driver Edward Durr in the general election on November 2, 2021 who ran on a shoestring budget in one of the biggest political upsets in New Jersey history.

Durr’s latest state financial disclosure form attested that he had raised about $10,000 for his campaign and spent $153 of it, of which $66.64 went to a Dunkin’ in Upper Pittsgrove

You might also want to contact the DNC and tell them that the memo from Impact Research is wrong and the Democratic Party should double down on mandates and restrictions.

“The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people’s lives because of it,” the Impact Research memo reads, “the more we turn them against us and show them we’re out of touch with their daily realities.”

Impact Research, was founded by President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign pollster, John Anzalone, compiled the memo.

(*State Financial Disclosure can be looked up at ELEC State of New JerseyNew Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission)

That the right wing and the Republican Party have been taken over by the fringe does not make it mainstream. (You bore me.)

I believe the composition of the NJ State Senate was 26 Democrats 13 Republicans with a Vacant Seat when Sweeney’s removal of religious exemptions bill collapsed.

The Fringe must be taking over the Democratic Party as well if they didn’t have enough votes.

Talking about miserable failure, there is a paper about vaccination rate and IFR:
Chapman LAC, Barnard RC, Russell TW, Abbott S, van Zandvoort K, Davies NG, Kucharski AJ. Unexposed populations and potential COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths in European countries as per data up to 21 November 2021. Euro Surveill. 2022 Jan;27(1):2101038. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2022.27.1.2101038. PMI
IFR does down when vacccination goes up.
Actually, DNC is wrong COVID does disappear just because nobody mentions it.

That memo does show Democrats are out of touch… but not in a good way. More like a fucked-up, capitalistic, business before health kind of way.

Perhaps ending religious exemptions really is unpopular, but it is still the right course. Or should we instead institute religious exemptions to mandates, such as driver licenses or taxation? How about professional certification? It is simply loony that unverifiable beliefs can negate important steps for the common good.

I am constantly amazed that the pro disease vaxholes aren’t campaigning to:
BRING BACK RINDERPEST (because why should we leave out the animals?)
After all, both diseases were wiped out by those Evil Vaccines.

Parents have had ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE figuring out how to manage working with their children at home learning remotely for MONTHS and MONTHS on end over the past 2 years.

They were waiting for the golden ticket in the form of the Miracle Vaccine.

The group think dominating social media during that time was that the advent of this miracle vaccine would be analogous to what was engaged to wipe out polio.

If one questioned it; pointing to the breakthrough infections happening very early on they were labeled a quack, lunatic, right-wing conspiracy theorist, J6 Capitol rioter who was spreading misinformation and should be banned from all platforms.

Fast forward to the rollout for children and we started seeing double vaxxed kids coming down with Covid several weeks after their second shot having to quarantine at home for a week.

There was even a single mother we know whose child had symptomatic Covid confirmed with a PCR test TWICE this past winter/spring having to quarantine for a week each time.

She wouldn’t know anything about the economic impact of her child staying home.

I sure hope this Miracle Covid Vax is mandated in schools for kids as soon as possible!

After all; look what The Mayo Clinic has to say about it:

‘Research has shown that this vaccine is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 12 through 15.’

Actually, teachers do remote learning, not parents.
You as usual, you seem to think that if vaccines are not 100% effective, they must be 0% effective, Preventing 19/20 of infections is quite a thing, I would say


‘Prevention of 19/20 Infections is quite a thing’ saith the Delusional Follower of the Cult of ORAC.

Since January not even Fauci, Bourla and (then acting FDA) Woodcock
have spewed this BS.

Was Pfizer CEO Bourla ? Lying?

“Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any.” – Bourla speaking to J.P. Morgan Healthcare 1/10/22

Was Janet Woodcock Lying? ?

“It’s hard to process what’s actually happening with now, which is most people are going to get COVID,” Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the FDA, said to a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing. – 1/11/22

Was Tony Fauci ? Lying? ?

“I think, in many respects, Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will, ultimately, find just about everybody,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci (1/11/22) during a “fireside chat” with the Center for Strategic & International Initiatives.

Fauci’s comment came one day after the U.S. set an all-time record for daily infections, at 1.4 million, and also for test positivity, at 26%, per Johns Hopkins University.

Also, how many responsible parents leave they young elementary school age children home alone?

Not all parents have extra cash for babysitters or nannies to care for their children at home remote learning while the parents go to work.

You are even more out of touch than the DNC.

@Xam Nargon You ourself are a deluded antivaxxine cultist. You cited data data showed 91% efficacy in some groups and 100% in other, Do the average,
Boosters are needed, because virus wwas allowe to mutate. There is data from Singapore, again:
Check the table showing people in ICU by vaccination status.
Your random citations do not delude anybody, Offer real effiiency data.


BTW – The Data in the Singapore link you provided regarding the ICU shows ‘Non-Fully Vaccinated’ not Unvaccinated.

@Xam Nargon As I said, boosters are needed. UK data of course says nothing about negative efficiiency wiith double dose, it is about lowering of efficiciency.
There is study about boosters:
Chenchula S, Karunakaran P, Sharma S, Chavan M. Current evidence on efficacy of COVID-19 booster dose vaccination against the Omicron variant: A systematic review. J Med Virol. 2022 Mar 4. doi: 10.1002/jmv.27697. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35246846.
You know, the virus mutates. Both natural and vaccine immiunity suffers
Do you think that non.vaccinated are better protected ones reived only one dose ? How this is possible ?

Before anyone opts out of getting their kids vaccinated someone should ask them how many sick days they get (not many, in the US) and ask them what they will do when their child is again too sick to go to school with some vaccine preventable disease.
Because if school mandates go away they should expect that all of their kids will get all of the VPDs, and possibly not all at the exact same time, so even if the mumps only takes the kids out for a week, if you’ve got two or more kids that’s very likely more than two weeks when the kids will need care during the day.

The stark economics should be part of their decision making.
(This is just one way in which the anti-vax movement is anti-women. As the pandemic has shown us, even in the modern age of two working parents, mothers are still expected to do the vast majority of child care. So who will be forced out of work over sick kids? Anti-vaxxers want to roll back the clock in every way they can.)


Parents have had ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE figuring out how to manage working with their children at home learning remotely for MONTHS and MONTHS on end over the past 2 years.

They were waiting for the golden ticket in the form of the Miracle Vaccine.

The group think dominating social media during that time was that the advent of this miracle vaccine would be analogous to what was engaged to wipe out polio.

If one questioned it; pointing to the breakthrough infections happening very early on they were labeled a quack, lunatic, right-wing conspiracy theorist, J6 Capitol rioter who was spreading misinformation and should be banned from all platforms.

Fast forward to the rollout for children and we started seeing double vaxxed kids coming down with Covid several weeks after their second shot having to quarantine at home for a week.

There was even a single mother we know whose child had symptomatic Covid confirmed with a PCR test TWICE this past winter/spring having to quarantine for a week each time.

She wouldn’t know anything about the economic impact of her child staying home.

I sure hope this Miracle Covid Vax is mandated in schools for kids as soon as possible!

After all; look what The Mayo Clinic has to say about it:

‘Research has shown that this vaccine is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 12 through 15.’

Nice copy pasta. I’m guessing you got it from elsewhere since you posted it twice verbatim. Try thinking for yourself.

I did copy the Mayo Clinic’s Misinformation twice verbatim.

Will you be the sole person commenting on this blog besides myself to acknowledge this profound disinformation and call them out?

Here it is a 3rd time verbatim since nobody cares to address it:

‘Research has shown that this vaccine is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 12 through 15.’

The rest is from me. The reply tabs sometimes post above, sometimes below and sometimes all the way at the bottom of the thread (as you can see here when I gave a 2nd reply to @JustaTech.

This is yet another article where I am pointing this out.

The blog seems to have a technical glitch that needs to be fixed; (much like the mRNA vaccines preventing infections/transmission which you decline to comment on)

At least the CDC acknowledges it even though they changed the definition of vaccine and stopped tabulating breakthrough cases in May of 2021.

I guess it was too difficult to keep up.

Xam, before there were vaccines against things like measles and mumps and rubella and chicken pox and diphtheria, children who got sick were still quarantined and not allowed to go to school. In some instances the whole family was quarantined.

Also, more than a few people have gotten COVID twice, which indicates that humans don’t build durable immune memory to this virus. That’s hardly the vaccine’s fault.

What would you have these parents do, send their children to school sick?


Mandating Covid Vaccines for children to go to school is useless and vaccine passports requiring someone to take and prove that they have injected this failing experimental product is illogical unless you want to truly monitor how bad it is at preventing infections and the transmission of Covid.

BTW – Do you approve of the Mayo Clinic’s Misinformation?

100% effective at preventing Covid-19 in 12-15 year olds!

“ A week after the second dose was given, there were no cases of COVID-19 in the 1,005 children given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Among 978 children given the placebo, there were 16 cases of COVID-19. None of the children had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. The results suggest that the vaccine is 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 in this age group.”

So, as predicted, I went and looked and there was NO profound misinformation. Of the 1,005-no cases. Period. Was that coincidence? Maybe. Are there variables they didn’t control for? Maybe. Could they have pushed the time window out to behind a week? Sure. Misinformation? Absolutely TF not.

@Xam Nargon If you read the Mayo Clinic article, it says that, in other age groups, efficacy is 91%, Parhaps this is actual research.
Another thing is that it is 100% among 2000 children. This does not mean that it 100% always, though it would e very high,
Failed experiment does not producer this kind of results.

@aarno @medicalyeti


Brought to You by Serial Felon Pfizer in the form of a low-powered ogenblik study (add in Maddie De Garay only having a stomach ache and you get a bigger idea of how low they can go).

Killing and maiming African children in a clinical trial for the meningitis drug Trovan which is toxic to the liver wasn’t enough.

What could be even more pathetic?

A trial testing antibodies on 140 kids being used as evidence for a booster for 25 million 5-11 year olds!

Science!! Brought to You by Pfizer!!!

@Xam Nargon Actual citation for COVID vaccine and 5 to 11 year old:
Emmanuel B. Walter, M.D., Kawsar R. Talaat, M.D., Charu Sabharwal, M.D., M.P.H., Alejandra Gurtman, M.D., Stephen Lockhart, D.M., Grant C. Paulsen, M.D., Elizabeth D. Barnett, M.D., Flor M. Muñoz, M.D., Yvonne Maldonado, M.D., Barbara A. Pahud, M.D., M.P.H., Joseph B. Domachowske, M.D., Eric A.F. Simões, M.B., B.S., D.C.H., M.D., et al., for the C4591007 Clinical Trial Group*
Efficacy was 90%.Immunogenity was reported, too, but this is another matter.
Clinical trial is going on


Look another False Claims Lawsuit!

Thanks for the link! Pfizer is continuing that great business model.

Pfizer, Ventavia and ICON “deliberately withheld crucial information from the United States that calls the safety and efficacy of their vaccine into question

“Defendants concealed violations of both their clinical trial protocol and federal regulations, including falsification of clinical trial documents.
“Due to [the] Defendants’ scheme, millions of Americans have received a misbranded vaccination which is potentially not as effective as represented.”

“From 2020 to the present, Defendants [Ventavia and Pfizer] knowingly made, used, or caused to be made or used, false records or statements that were material to false and/or fraudulent claims paid or approved by the United States [Department of Defense, or DoD]. These false records or statements include the clinical trial protocol Pfizer submitted to the United States and the falsified source documents and data behind Defendants’ trial results and EUA application.

“By creating and carrying out their fraudulent schemes, Defendants knowingly and repeatedly violated … the False Claims Act. Defendants’ false records were material to Pfizer’s claims for payment for the vaccine at issue. The United States DoD would not have paid Pfizer if it knew that the clinical trial protocol was not complied with by Defendants, because the protocol violations call the integrity and validity of both the entire clinical trial and Pfizer’s EUA into question.

“Defendants’ false records also went to the very essence of the bargain the United States contracted for. DoD contracted to purchase vaccines found effective by a valid clinical trial conducted according to the protocol submitted by Pfizer. The integrity of the entire clinical trial was compromised by the trial protocol violations, false source documents, and the false data that resulted, which calls the vaccine’s EUA into question. Had the United States DoD known of Defendants’ false records, it would not have paid Pfizer.

“Defendants’ use, or causation of use, of material false records was a foreseeable factor in the United States DoD’s loss and a consequence of Defendants’ schemes. By virtue of Defendants’ actions, the United States DoD has suffered actual damages and is entitled to recover treble damages plus a civil monetary penalty for each false and/or fraudulent claim.”

The end-game of the antivaxers is totally subsumed within the endgames of the larger far-right-wing movement that have adopted antivax as a strategy.

The big ultimate endgame of this movement is to establish a new ruling order in the US — largely echoing Russia under Putin — defined by Christian Nationalism, racism, kleptocracy and rampant corruption, a select group of uber-weathy oligarchs serving and protected by a take-no-prisoners dictator… If you think this sounds far fetched, look closer at Florida, where Ron DeSantis is creating his won police force, wielding state power against corporations that deviate from the party line, and using a rejection of math texts to simultaneously gin up culture wars around a CRT boogieman AND insure that K-5 book contracts go to the publisher owned by VA Governor Glenn Younkin’s firm, which just happens to be the only source of books that passed through the “anti-woke” filter. Look also at how the Red State regimes seek to enforce their restrictions against whatever they disapprove of: by creating tip lines for MAGAs to narc on libtard deviants or their communities, bring lawsuits against feminazi-baby-killers, and other mechanisms to amplify us-v.-them conflict.

Moving down the list of endgames from the general toward the specific: The right aims to completely dismantle any institutions of the state that might serve the public good, the general welfare. The essence of the Progressive movement of the early 20th Century, which spanned across all political parties, was to take an active role in fostering a social order conducive to economic and governmental stability, remediating the rampant inequalities of the Gilded Age and the attendant crises they engendered (e.g. the Haymarket Riot, McCormick strike, Triangle Waist fire, etc.) However, the Progressives faced some fierce opposition in their day – exemplified by the underlining dynamics of the Scopes trial. As Jill LePore writes in The New Yorker, the trial wasn’t so much about the facts of human biology as about the power of the state to educate children for the benefit of the child and the society.

“Public schooling was not just one more progressive reform among many but a major—perhaps the major—public response to tensions between democracy and capitalism.” Capitalism divided the rich and the poor; democracy required them to live together as equals. Public education was meant to bridge the gap.

A lot of new policy came along with the goal of providing a decent basic education to all: mandatory school attendance laws, laws abolishing child labor (freeing the kiddos to go to the schoolhouse), and (wait for it…) compulsory vaccination so the classrooms wouldn’t turn into disease camps interrupting instruction. All of which were opposed with “parents right!” rhetoric eerily similar to what we hear today. Thus, LePore writes of the Scopes trial:

Anti-evolutionists weren’t simply objecting to Darwin, whose theory of evolution had been taught for more than half a century. They were objecting to the whole Progressive package, including its philosophy of human betterment, its model of democratic citizenship, and its insistence on the interest of the state in free and equal public education as a public good that prevails over the private interests of parents.

LePore’s proximate topic is the ideological panic over “CRT”, which she interprets as just the latest play in a “long game, a hundred years’ war: the campaign against public education.” In part by looking at the historical dynamic of the opposition to Progressivism, we might offer as a shorthand that the right is against public education because it’s against public anything. Or more, deeply, that it simply doesn’t acknowledge the validity or even the existence of a “public”. We might postulate, then, that It’s all about individuals to them, but while their ideology may claim that, we can see that’s not really true if we “look at what they do, not what they say.” Better to characterize it the right does not recognize the validity of any human collectivity outside of patriarchal hierarchies defined by concepts of ‘blood’: family, clan, nation.. The idea of “public” is not just exclusive of these, but is their enemy.

So the next enveloping endgame step closer to antivax is, as you might have guessed, the destruction of public health institutions. This goes way beyond the campaign to eliminate school vaccination mandates, to an attempt to erase the ability of the administrative state to take any action in support of public health. The most important sign of this was the recent SCOTUS decision against the OSHA vaccine mandate, which advanced the so-called “major questions doctrine”, which would drastically limit government agencies from doing much of anything without explicit direction from Congress. Then just this week, we have the jaw-droppingly anti-science ruling striking down the CDC’s transportation mask mandate, which sets a precedent limiting the CDC’s ability to institute any public health measure, but which various legal observers are cautioning against the Feds appealing for fear the (conservative) Appeals Court or SCOTUS will affirm the initial ruling, thus setting the precedent more-or-less in stone. Bye bye CDC. ( and FDA, and OSHA and EPA, etc. etc.)

I’m not saying any of this is necessarily present in the hearts or minds of individual antivaxers, especially of the old-school variety who opposed childhood vaccines before the pandemic, before Trump, before Twitter. I’m saying this is the tiger they’re riding now, whether they know it, or admit it, or not.

Soooo… the latest Republican ‘thinking’ is: force the pregnant woman to have the child, so it can subsequently die from a vaccine-preventable childhood disease.

Have I got that right?

No, no, no. The child doesn’t have to die from a preventable disease at all. It also has the option to be shot by a gun-fondler, choked by a racist cop, or executed for a crime it didn’t commit.

Well, sure. I’ve come to believe that antivaxxers pivoted to right wing talking points about “freedom” and “parental rights” all those years ago looking for new allies, and they found them with their new message. In fact, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. While the forces seeking to destroy the regulatory and administrative state were rising before the pandemic and antivaxxers were peripheral to them, the pandemic supercharged those forces. Now the antivax movement has been swallowed by the larger right wing movement, but they don’t care. They’re a very influential part of it now, and they have more pull than they’ve ever had before.

I agree they don’t care, and are happy as a clam. But I’m not sure how much influence the ‘pure’ antivaxers have, despite the fact antivax /COVID-denialist sentiment has become embedded enough as a culture war theme that the neo-fascists are going to have to kow-tow to it in some form for the foreseeable future. IOW, I’d say the ideology has purchase, but not necessarily any of the figures we would associate with old-school antivax, who are most likely considered disposable useful idiots by the powers that be.

I read something interesting (if quite long) this morning that may, in a roundabout way, help illuminate the apparent shifting politics of some old-school movement antivaxers away from a kind of lefty anti-Big-Pharma/anti-corporate/anti-establishment perspective toward fascism. It’s from Vanity Fair, an account of a sort of young, hipster, intellectual New Right circulating around Peter Thiel and his ‘idea man’ Curtis Yarvin, extending to Thiel-backed politicians — most notably the now-Trump-endorsed J. D. Vance.

I won’t try to characterize this particular strain of kookery, but I will remind RI readers that one of Thiel’s projects back in 2017 was to get Trump to appoint one of his tech cronies, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, as head of the FDA — which is even giving a passing mention in the story.

While it may take a very different route to get there from the know-nothing-ism we might associate with Red State MAGAs, the article has a lot of resonance with the opposition to ‘progress’ and ‘common good institutions LePore discusses. Back in 2012 Yarvin proposed the acronym RAGE—Retire All Government Employees—”as a shorthand for a first step in the overthrow of the American ‘regime’.” What we need, he said is a “national CEO, [i.e.] what’s called a dictator.” And here’s J. D. Vance:

We need like a de-Baathification program, a de-woke-ification program… I think Trump is going to run again in 2024, I think that what Trump should do, if I was giving him one piece of advice: Fire every single midlevel bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people. And when the courts stop you, stand before the country, and say—the chief justice has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it…. If we’re going to push back against [‘the regime’], we’re going to have to get pretty wild, and pretty far out there.

I will note that none of the figures of this movement — Thiel, Vance, Yarvin, AZ Senate hopeful Blake Masters — appear to be much interested in vaccines. The article even suggests Masters was disappointed, after a campaign event in which he spoke about treating tech companies like common carriers, to have the crowd’s questions focus on “the usual ones about the supposedly stolen 2020 election, the border wall, vaccine mandates.” It just occurs to me that something parallel in some ways to this could be at work in that section of antivaxers that fits a similar demographic profile: higher income, well-educated, white, young, highly-tech-literate, etc.

Not entirely OT but not exactly On either..

I hoped that Orac and his minions would the recent US ruling** concerning dropping mask mandates on public transportation that will be appealed….
I skipped around Del’s latest Highwire and was shocked to see his compilation of videos of airline travellers applauding and yelling when the change was announced. According to a new poll, 56% support continuing the mandate and 24% oppose. Who are these people and where are they flying to and from? I can only guess.

-btw- I appreciate the most recent comments here. Take a bow.

** and its underpinnings

Hahaha, dead wrong.
Sitting in B terminal right now at ORD
watching the people walk by.

In reality 5-10% are wearing masks. Maybe less.

Did you read the details of the poll!?

Probably not… you had to clean up the cat puke on the dining room wall.

While I knew this information that you are trying disseminate was complete misinformation, I wanted to see it for my self

Genchi Genbutsu

Don’t astroturf.

Read the article that sad mar linked recently, you might learn something.


I don’t know if anyone else saw Bill Maher last night but he seemed happy that the public transportation mask mandate was lifted.
The audience applauded and his two panelists commented about how masks weren’t all that effective, “science was wrong” etc.
Watching him is becoming more a hate watch thing for me lately.

Last fall Orac posted about a dopey antivax column in the Chicago Reader (an alt-weekly) by the paper’s co-owner.

Now the Washington Post reports that in the fallout between a staff-ownership conflict over the column, the paper faces “financial ruin”.

I am not willing to subscribe to the Post to get past the paywall, so anyone who wants to elaborate based on the article, feel free.

Here’s a link to a Chicago Tribune article reporting that members of the for-profit board of the Chicago Reader have held up appointments to a non-profit board, with what seems to be a subtext (pretext?) of protecting the antivax co-owner’s interests. The conversion of the paper to non-profit status is supposed to be urgently needed, to prevent it from going out of business.

Left unexplained is why the Chicago Reader didn’t publish a column responding to the co-owner’s antivax piece.

You can get past the paywall if you have a second web-browser you don’t mind clearing history/cookies/etc. on. Or, on a smartphone, if you use Firefox Focus or some other ‘privacy’ browser.

The Reader didn’t publish a response to Goodman’s column because he’s the owner and he nixed it, with support from his cronies on the board. The sequence appears to be as follows: As co-owner, Goodman’s columns appear to go up more or less directly without editorial oversight. Once the vaccine column went live,

Reader staff raised concerns about the scientific accuracy of some of his claims and the publisher [Tracy Baim] hired a fact-checker to investigate them… Baim said the external fact-checker she hired (“a normal process of fixing something after it was up,” she said) deemed more than a dozens of Goodman’s assertions to be false or misleading, including some that relied on debunked or non-peer-reviewed studies. But Goodman resisted Baim’s suggestions to rewrite the column or run the fact-checker’s report, which he called tantamount to censorship.

After which the board, threatening to scotch the move to non-profit, demanded (and received) Baim’s resignation. If you think Goodman’s complaint about “tantamount to censorship” is WTF, it gets worse.

“If they think it’s journalistic par-for-the-course to rewrite and edit an article because it’s unpopular, they should go back and review the First Amendment,” Reader board member Sladjana Vuc[k]ovic told The Washington Post.

If you scroll down a ways through the ‘Most Liked’ sort of the comments thread, you’ll find a response to that from yours truly.

It’s interesting to read about that Michigan antivax panel four years later:


blockquote>Finally, I really, really, really had to restrain myself when Perry-Emery started claiming that herd immunity does not exist, that it’s a myth.<\blockquote>

Do you think they realize they’ve made a 180, or have they managed to rationalize it away?

Consistency is a sign of small-mindedness.

Bob Altemeyer’s work on authoritarianism shows that many people can compartmentalize ideas in that it is possible to hold diametrically opposing beliefs though this one seems to be pushing it a bit. OTOH, is there not that famous study where conspiracy theorists manage to believe that Princess Diana is a) alive & b) was murdered by MI5 or MI6?

Orac writes,

“If you feel a need to strenuously deny that you are an antivaxxer, chances are very good that you are, in fact, an antivaxxer.”

MJD’s two cents,

If you feel a need to strenuously apply respectful insolence to a provaxxer, chances are very good that you are, in fact, an antivaxxer.


In addition, many of the children we know who got Covid were beyond a one month window after the 2nd dose and the parents were still masking themselves and their kids; so ‘risky behavior’ cannot be factored in.

Let’s call it what it is; vaccine failure.

Who here commenting on this blog is going to call the Mayo Clinic out on their misinformation?

I am tiered of the glee I hear from the anti-vaccine chorus at every sick person. I would think that we would all want to do everything in our power (within reason) to prevent death. But what I hear is that this willingness stops at people’s wallet (or their freedom to go to a restaurant).

Antivaxxers are all about celebrating death and injury. This behavior goes back for years, as when they gloried in the fact that Japan stopped one routine vaccination, and disease then killed more children than were suspected of having been hurt by their imaginary “vaccine reaction.” Here on Orac’s blog, we’ve had antivaxxers describe pox-covered children as “attractive” and other antivaxxers giggling in delight at the agonizing deaths of children from SPSE. And of course other antivaxxers cut out the middleman and just kill their children directly

You may of course give some citation. Are you just making thingd up ?

We sprayed kids heads and inside their clothes with DDT dust and cities would spray it in neighborhoods,schools,churches,pools, restaurants and according to the EPA over 1.3 billion tons of the stuff was sprayed between 1946 and 1962 in just the US alone. Scientist told people it could kill mosquitoes and end polio
Why did they stop?
Because someone questioned the science

I question your sanity. Therefore, by your logic, you are insane. Must’ve been the DDT that did it.

Mosquitos do not spread polio, they spread malaria. Nokids were involved

Mosquitoes don’t carry polio and never have (and I don’t think anyone ever thought that they did). Mosquitoes carry malaria and yellow fever and a ton of other terrible diseases, but not polio.

Oh, and would you look at what diseases we don’t (currently) have in the US due to an extensive mosquito eradication campaign? Yellow fever and malaria.

Maybe the spraying stopped because the need ended and because people raised very reasonable concerns about the use of that much spraying of insecticides.

Are you on drugs? Scientists told us that DDT was dangerous, not people with bigger mouths than brains. If you miss the diseases that vaccines have eliminated, you’re more than welcome to them – just leave the normal people out of it.

In addition to the above; thus comes straight from the EPAs website:

“ In 1972, EPA issued a cancellation order for DDT based on its adverse environmental effects, such as those to wildlife, as well as its potential human health risks. Since then, studies have continued, and a relationship between DDT exposure and reproductive effects in humans is suspected, based on studies in animals. In addition, some animals exposed to DDT in studies developed liver tumors. As a result, today, DDT is classified as a probable human carcinogen by U.S. and international authorities. ”

You’ll note that it was stopped before any “children” came forward with cancer, which-before you cry foul-was clearly your implication.

I guess this the bill that McCoullough and Huber are crowing about.

It was opposed by the KU Medical School and one of the major medical groups in Wichita where KU also has a medical school.

I wonder how many hospital patients were actually taking these smuggled drugs?

There might be a poetic justice if pharmacists were forced to fill prescriptions for Plan B or abortion pills.

On the antivax physician front, I wonder if many of them might simply be less enthusiastic because of the so-so protection against infection. It might have been good to have a targeted follow-up questionnaire for part of the responders to find out how they felt about protection against infection, durability of antibodies, protection from hospitalization and death, etc. And also some questions about safety concerns.

Daniel Griffin in TWiV 892 mentioned a big rise in children missing vaccinations which may be a bleedover from the Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy. That could have really bad results in a few years.

I believe you all made my point

“Maybe the spraying stopped because the need ended and because people raised very reasonable concerns about the use of that much spraying of insecticides.”

“Because someone questioned the science”

and yes at that time they believed mosquitoes did carry polio

Sadly, Kay, no. No one made your point. What you seem to fail, consistently, to comprehend is that science is NOT static.

Your clear inference here is that someone is going to come along in ten or fifteen years and call us know-nothing barbarians for the covid vaccines akin to the DDT matter.

It’s a totally invalid analogy because of how much the relevant science has advanced. We can predict, with fabulous accuracy, the way proteins in the body fold, interact, and behave. This is new in the last 10-15 years with advances in computing. It is getting better by the day. Not long ago, AI at MIT found a new class of antibiotics in orphaned drugs. In the 1950s, no one could have predicted how DDT would behave in vivo without an observational study.

The day will come in the next few decades where drug safety trials will happen in moments on a supercomputer. You’ll be long-since dead for want of modern pharmaceuticals that could have prevented your stroke or heart disease. I’m sad for you.

at that time they believed mosquitoes did carry polio

Funnily enough, though, the Atlantic article you link to doesn’t mention mosquitos at all. However, it does mention spraying DDT, and this article clarifies why:

Between the end of World War II and the early 1950s, researchers, municipal officials, and individuals from Georgia to California employed DDT to stop polio by killing flies, a suspected but debated actor in the disease’s transmission.

Polio, DDT, and Disease Risk in the United States after World War II

That also explains where the DDT was sprayed, as stated in the Atlantic article: “Tanker trucks sprayed DDT, singling out the open pit toilets”.

Just oubting is not enough. You must have some facts. In case of DDT, ecological effects were proven, it was not just that someone was questioning science..

A few days ago I wrote an extended comment in reply to a certain commenter on this thread. It would have rivaled Joel. Unfortunately, I neglected my suspicion that I should copy it to Word first and it got gobbled in a web server glitch. Since they keep bringing up one of the same points, I’ll give a quick summary version.

One is the distinction between how scientists need to phrase points in talking to a general audience versus all the caveats and disclaimers that are included when talking to fellow scientists. They referred to a news show interview that was done the day the first results on actual infection protection were announced. The announcer was certainly aware that the results of that study did not show that the vaccines were 100% effective in protecting against infection because those were not the numbers that were announced from the study. And yet they said in the interview that the vaccine protected against infection and protected you from spreading the virus to contacts.

You would think this commenter never heard a TV drug ad.

And yet despite a year and a half of results showing long term protection against serious disease, hospitalization and death, this commenter keeps arguing the vaccines are worthless. The essence of the Nirvana fallacy.

I suggested a reliable source of information. They changed the spelling of his name unless they somehow listened to a different source. And they called him an idiot without citing any comments he made that were factually wrong. Considering he is the lead author of a major publication on the features of Covid-19, I don’t think he is a complete idiot. Rather the opposite.

And now they keep going back to a Mayo summary of the published results of the vaccine trial in 12-15 year olds. It was a fairly small trial and no one in the vaccinated group got symptomatic disease so they announced the calculated protection rate of 100%. But I know the people on TWiV did not expect that to hold up when we started vaccinating millions of children. And no knowledgeable medical expert would expect that either. Although I rather wish Prasad and his friends would base their childhood vaccine recommendations on that number.

And yet they seem to think medical authorities like the Mayo clinic are deliberately trying to mislead them.

It is pointless to try to lead this horse to the water trough.

You’re still working from the assumption that these people care about truth. They don’t. They care about Power.

This is why they lie to your face, already knowing that you’ll call out their lie and take your time to correct it, and immediately lie straight to your face once again. They do it to prove</em they hold power over you and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. It is 100% calculated; malicious, deliberate, planned. Your anger, frustration, and eventual exhausted despair feeds their personal pleasure.

I’ll keep repeating this: Everyone needs to go read up on Narcissistic Abuse, both the basic theory and real-life examples. School bullying, domestic violence; abusive relationships in general. Behavioral reinforcement. Abuser + Enabler + Victim dynamics. This is not to armchair diagnose the precise nature of their pathologies, but to provide a practical working guide as to how and why pathological people can so easily—gleefully—think and behave in ways so unintuitive and inhuman to us, what to anticipate from them, and how (and how not!) to effectively counter. None of this is remotely new, despite its newness to you. It is well trodden, documented terrain. Learn from those who’ve already survived it and apply their insights to what you’re dealing with now.

Don’t engaging them the way you’d engage someone like yourself. It’s what they expect you to do; want you to do. They know how to game it; to make you work to defeat yourself.

You can’t educate them. You can’t change them. You can disrupt them. Make the individual look weak and humiliated in the eyes of her peers. Their pack has strength in unity, so present them an easier meal in their midst. Never let up. Never let go. And never pull your punches. That is the language they do understand. Use it against them. And use them against themselves.

The must disgusting part about all of this is that politics was not always like this. I can remember Reagan admitting a mistake on the evening news. I can very distinctly remember McCain disagreeing with his own party on policy and stating that his idiot running mate for the presidency was “wrong” when she had obviously lied about something.

This is Trump. This is what he does. Say whatever you want to win an argument, facts be damned. Accuse everyone else of being misinformed or lying. Talk over anyone who disagrees with you. Belittle them. Now the rest of the gop is doing it.

MedicalYeti, I have to disagree with you about Reagan. He is the grandfather of todays republican right; he pushed the “welfare queen” crap, supported his preferred right-wing terrorists on two continents, pushed for policies that would have given law enforcement to detain and convict criminal offenders by denying them bail and by allowing prosecutors to use illegally seized evidence in court, put the lie to the notion that republicans actually cared about government spending and growth with his budgets — he was essentially trump without the friendly social media to amplify his voice to the loyal core.

But Reagan set all of this rolling, and it’s coming to roost here in MI now (and other states, I’m well aware). The republican candidates for Secretary of State and attorney general are both Qanon backers, both push the “election was stolen” line. The attorney general believes (as did all of the republicans vying to be the nominee) that the law legalizing both control for couples should never have been passed and should be repealed. The woman who wants to be Secretary of State also says Ariana Granda and Beyoncé are placing children under a satanic delusion. She says Beyoncé is working to Black Americans [her term] into paganism, and that that Jay-Z is a satanist.

Not that long ago she would have rightly dismissed as a nut — now she’s mainstream enough for the right to be a candidate.

Mostly I agree. Quite a while ago I figured out that with some commenters it is pointless to continue to engage with them because you are just indulging them.

So at that point, I have been choosing to switch to addressing remarks to the general audience including the regular commenters and lurkers. Which is what I did in this case. Since some of these people are obsessed with getting in the last word, it also helps to phrase an ending comment to note that I am choosing not to reply to further comments and do NOT accept their validity regardless. I did that on the other thread where XN was posting and made this a new comment on the thread, not a reply to one of their comments for that purpose.

There was one thread on SBM several years ago where I was finally driven to express open anger. But mostly I prefer to take a Joe Friday “just the facts” approach.

A lot of my comments are really written as a way to discover things and work them out in my own mind. I hope others appreciate them, but I benefit from going through that process even if I’m the only one who I is interested.

@ldw56old: “He is the grandfather of todays republican right”

Nah, that was Barry Goldwater. While Joe McCarthy may have been spiritual ancestor to them all, it was Goldwater and Nixon’s Southern Strategy that formally committed to selling out the Party of Lincoln’s principles in trade for naked raw power.

The Gipper was a B-grade actor, latterly a senile meat puppet. Hardly A-list leadership material, although he played it on TV. Happy to engage in mutual embrace of the white evangelical Right then finding their political voice and ambitions, but how much of that was Reagan himself being happy to grab votes versus the party machine behind him progressing its longer-term plans.

Gingrich and Fox really sealed it in the 90s by ensuring their audience would never again have to listen to personal criticism or an unpleasant truth, safely secure in their impenetrable Red Mist, at which point the fix was fully in. But I’m inclined to think of Reagan as more lazy self-gratifying opportunist and the GOP’s first real figurehead; a lucky dumb shmuck of low morals who happened to land at a grand convergence of compatibly venal interests by incident of timing as much as anything else. A hollow man for hollow fans, prerequisite props to the Grand Old Potemkin party.

It is reported that upon signing 1964’s Civil Rights act, Lyndon B Johnson remarked to his aide that the Democratic Party may have “lost the South for a generation.”

With US Democracy itself now hanging on threads, and the rest of the world’s embattled democracies hanging from that, never let it be said that the Dems aren’t world masters of gross understatement.

“I feel that the prospect of Senator Goldwater being president of the United States so threatens the health, morality, and survival of our nation that I can not in good conscience fail to take a stand against what he represents.” — Martin Luther King, Jr

From has:

Nah, that was Barry Goldwater.

You could make that argument — there is no doubt goldwater was another in a long line of terrible people on the republican side. I went with Reagan because he had the presidential pulpit — his words received instant, or as nearly instant as there could be in the early 80s, attention. There’s also one other point that, for me, would drop goldwater behind reagan as a danger: goldwater was one of the people who told nixon he would have to go.

The Gipper was a B-grade actor, latterly a senile meat puppet.

Again, no argument from me, but that didn’t limit his support at the time and it is now completely overlooked by current right-wingers who hold him up as someone to be revered.

I think the safest summary is that the right has been “blessed” with extremists like goldwater, mccarthy, nixon, reagan, trump, and the rest of the modern “leaders”.

I don’t know that LBJ actually said the exact words you reference (I’ve never seen an affirmative statement about it) but in his book “In America” Bill Moyers wrote (he was an LBJ speechwriter at the time)

When he signed the act he was euphoric, but late that very night I found him in a melancholy mood as he lay in bed reading the bulldog edition of the Washington Post with headlines celebrating the day. I asked him what was troubling him. “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come,” he said.

@MedicalYeti: “This is Trump. This is what he does. Say whatever you want to win an argument, facts be damned. Accuse everyone else of being misinformed or lying. Talk over anyone who disagrees with you. Belittle them. Now the rest of the gop is doing it.”

It’s a Power move. Bog-standard Abuser tactics. I would say the transgression, while empowering, is secondary: its primary purpose is to make the Victim feel helpless and impotent, unable to do anything to prevent it. They want you to push back directly against that abuse, exhaust and demoralize yourself beating yourself against that relentless front, until you accept you’re a failure and acquiesce to their rule. As I’ve noted before, the abuser’s goal is not to abuse you—it’s for you to apologize for it.

I suggest you try looking past the abuse and ask yourself: what are they hiding? When someone repeats the same Attack move every single damn time, is that because it’s overwhelmingly effective or because it’s the only one that they know? Do they even know how to Defend?

The magician wants you to watch his hands. That’s why he waves them before you. Watch his pockets.

The pervert that flashes you wants you to jerk back in revulsion. Proclaim instead, as loud and innocent as you possibly can, “Why it looks just like a Peanut!”

Same with the GOP. Y’all are smart people, unafraid to admit and learn from your own past errors. You ought to be thinking circles around these tactless, tacticless, turds.

“Because someone questioned the science”

…like Trofim Lysenko, Andrew Wakefield and all the victims of Nobel Disease.

Trofim Lysenko, Andrew Wakefield represented the ‘science’ at the time.

Opponents of Lysenko could not question the science because of his political power he was able to discredit and even imprison people who challenged him or labeled enemies of the state because he was the ‘science’

Because science was able to question, Wakefield it was finally retracted.

Andrew Wakefield did not reresent science. He wrote a fraudulent paper for trial lawyers suing.

Poor Kay, missing the point as usual.

“Questioning science” can be laudable, but not when dishonestly done in the service of crackpottery (Lysenko, Alexis Carrel, various disgraced former Nobel Prize winners) or monetary gain (Wakefield). Too many people like you cling to “brave mavericks” long after their corrupt activities have been exposed, because it suits their agenda.

Speaking of Lysenkoism, it’s had a revival of sorts in various state legislatures, where Republicans are ignorantly trying to dictate medical practice when it comes to prevention and treatment of Covid-19. Example: the Ohio House bill aimed at forcing health care professionals to promote failed treatments (i.e. ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine).

They think they’re boldly questioning science; we should question their sanity.

@DB: “They think they’re boldly questioning science; we should question their sanity.”

Please don’t do that. It’s lazy, disrespectful to those with real mental illness, and irresponsibly minimizes the true problem you’re facing. Most of these people are NOT mentally ill, though many might be personality disordered; NPD, psychopathy, and sadism in particular. Having their faculties is what makes them so dangerous. They know full well what they’re doing and why they are doing it; they just aren’t neurally wired to care who it injures. Pure predators; no empathy to limit their behavior. Approach them as you would great white sharks, and don’t clown about. You’ll live longer.

I get the intent but kind of agree with Has. I could easily have said the same thing myself. One thing I’ve gained from years of reading RI and SBM is a broader understanding of the nuances of psychological and psychiatric conditions.

Nevertheless, questioning is integral to science. Did they do the work right? Does their data show what they claim it did? How does this match with other relevant research? etc.

This is the essence of the skeptical method, not mere nay-saying as so many commenters and pundits try to pretend.

What Kay misses is that science is broader than any one person’s claims about it.

has: “Most of these people are NOT mentally ill, though many might be personality disordered; NPD, psychopathy, and sadism in particular.”

Well, that’s a whole lot of disrespectful off-the-cuff diagnoses* from someone styling himself as a patron of the mentally ill. 😉

An accepted definition of sanity is “the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner”. If you want to believe that these legislators (and people like Sherri Tenpenny who think that vaccines magnetize people and cause metal objects to stick to them) are normal and rational folks, have at it. But consider sticking your faux outrage where the sun don’t shine.

*All of those conditions you mentioned are in fact included in the DSM-V, which if you didn’t know it, is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of _mental disorders_.

@DB: I am a lifetime card-carrying member of the Legion of Mad Fellows, thank you.

Personality disorders aren’t illnesses though. That implies some imbalance or injury, as in depressions, psychoses, and dementias. PDs are basic neurological wiring; a product of infanthood primarily, and how those infants were raised by their parents or guardians.

Clinical narcissists and psychopaths are normal; in that they are operating exactly as designed. What they aren’t is entirely human: if by “human” we mean possessing empathy, guilt, and a normal fear reaction in addition to intellect and other emotions. Their normal is different; and it is made, not born or caught. The wiring for empathy is simply not present; thus they cannot care about others, and nothing anyone can say or do can possibly change that. Although high-functioners can learn to mimic it, often very well, easily passing for years within society. Which makes for supremely effective con artists, and abusers in general.

This is another reason it is so important to distinguish personality disorders, because tactics for dealing effectively with those are entirely different to those for mental infirmity. You cannot “fix them” because they are not broken; just different. What is required is public exposure combined with public education; empowering everyone to recognize and protect themselves from threats in their midst. Damage containment. You deal with abusers by depriving them of targets: their Victims to abuse, and their Enablers who’ll support it.

This is pop psychology; not hard to understand. What is hard to understand is a modern, developed, civilized society ostensibly educated and mutually caring so easily and often allows such individuals to do all the damage they do. Then again, these are spectrum disorders too. And many more will turn a blind eye to what makes them uncomfortable or demands direct action; just good old base selfish animal survival. Look at how easily conservative cultures can close ranks to ostracize a victim and protect the abuser; from Larry Nassar to Josh Duggar, via the Catholic Church.

You can’t stop true Abusers (short of prison or lead). You can, however, smash their support networks. Understand what it is their Enablers are really protecting (hint: it’s not the Victim nor the Abuser) and how far they are willing to go to protect it, and you’ll know their limits and whether or not you can crack them.

Or, you can keep calling these arch-abusers “insane” if you want. Just don’t complain as they coldly overrun you in November, having played you all for tractable fools.

Think of them as real-world vampires, and approach accordingly. We’ll all live longer the sooner you do.

I would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was genuinely interested in looking for an etiology or questioning the prardigm if he did not have a massive conflict of interest in that he was working for the lawyers of families trying to sure over vaccines and he was trying to develop his own vaccine that was enteral through his own company that he would profit from BEFOREHAND.

Stop letting assholes like this turn you into one of their cheerleaders. They are dirty scumbags who never deserved their titles, academic or otherwise, who would have ripped you off like they ripped anyone else off. This is is not, and never was, a “Luminary.” If I could hang him from a tree every morning just to have him reanimate so I could do it again the next morning for 100 years, it still would not make up for the damage he did to public health. All so he could grab a few dollars.

…Sound like anything YOU like to accuse US of??

@MedicalYeti: “Stop letting assholes like this turn you into one of their cheerleaders. They are dirty scumbags who never deserved their titles, academic or otherwise, who would have ripped you off like they ripped anyone else off.”

That is excellent advice for those who are genuinely suckered, i.e. Victims.

Kay, Lucas, et al are not Victims. They are Enablers and/or Abusers.

The sooner progressive advocates realize this is a three-way fight, not a simple “Bad vs Good”, and switch to tactics that fit, the sooner they stop being handed their asses quite so easily by these other two groups.

Enablers have powerful reasons for allying with the Abusers they enable. Simply telling them they are “wrong” or on the “wrong side” won’t do squat, except maybe hunker down further. While telling Abusers this will (rightly) get you laughed at.

Once again, I refer everyone to the URLs on narcissistic abuse I’ve been posting. I don’t care that it’s a gross over-simplification, only that as an accessible template of what and what not to do it is robust and field-proven.

Yeti, of course the science changes, unless you suppress the opposing science, Lysenkoism did just what is being advocated. 23 papers cited Wakefield’s papers basically in support of it, until others questioned the paper/science.

With the government now forming a a Disinformation Governance Board, do you really think government will stop at elections ?

“It doesn’t stop infection or transmission…. it is therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy.”

“What they (vaccines) can’t do anymore is prevent transmission”

Which statement got banned from Twitter

Kay, you are being blatantly dishonest.

“It doesn’t stop infection or transmission…. it is therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy.”

“What they (vaccines) can’t do anymore is prevent transmission”

The vaccines significantly reduce transmission, and as for that “limited window of efficacy”? The vaccinated are less likely to get breakthrough infections than the unvaccinated, less likely to need hospitalisation if they get breakthrough infections, and less likely to die if they need hospitalisation.
It is a lie to claim that the vaccines are almost useless.

Yeah, it’s the Nirvana fallacy, the logical fallacy that is base on concrete, black-and-white thinking that cannot deal with anything other than binary outcomes. Basically, the Nirvana fallacy leads to thinking like: If an intervention isn’t perfect then it’s useless. So if a vaccine isn’t 100% efficacious in preventing disease, hospitalization, and transmission, the fallacy leads people to mistakenly claim simply that it “doesn’t prevent” disease, hospitalization, and transmission—as if it doesn’t prevent them at all. Ditto safety. If a vaccine isn’t absolutely, completely 100% safe, then the fallacy leads to the statement that it’s “not safe.”

The Nirvana fallacy was a common fallacy to which antivaxxers fell prey long before the pandemic; so it’s no surprise that it’s been supercharged during the pandemic.

Wakefield’s paper was fraudelent. People did not know that, before a real journalist exposed him.
Lysenko was Stalin’s henchman. Change of goverment was needed to end lysenkoism.
What you mean with “Disinformation Governance Board” ? Twitter is a private compnay and can publish what it want.

The first statement was made by Alex Berenson on twitter 6 months ago

“It doesn’t stop infection or transmission…. it is therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy.”

The second statement was made by the CDC directory Rochelle Walensky on NPR

“What they (vaccines) can’t do anymore is prevent transmission”

You should go for a number and research papers. Vaccine efficiency is not 100%%, but it is not 0% either

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