Here are some basics on herd immunity, and here is some more technical research if you’re interested in the details! 

Condensing all of our additional commentary!

From @palavra-valise

Herd immunity is even more important than that, actually. Those three people who are vaccinated when nobody else is could still get the disease (doesn’t necessarily work with protection against zombies themselves so I’m not going with the theme here) because with more unvaccinated people, there are more opportunities for bacteria or viruses to mutate, so the strain included in the vaccine would be too different from the circulating strain for it to offer much, if any, protection. That’s why each and every one of us has a responsibility to keep up our vaccines, for the good of EVERYONE in our society.

Basically, the unvaccinated people in the mostly vaccinated population are safer than the fully vaccinated people in the mostly unvaccinated population. That’s why, if anyone says “Why do you care? You/your kid are/is fully vaccinated,” you should punch that person in the face and then give them a 20-minute lecture about herd immunity and not being a self-absorbed twit and about our responsibility to society unless we choose to live on, idk, an island floating in space.

This is a really good point! 

I should also point out that vaccination is still important even for diseases that don’t show up in the human population a lot any more (or even just the local population), because often those diseases still exist in reservoir species that can transmit the disease, or in human reservoirs in other parts of the globe - which is how we’ve gotten the recent measles outbreaks in unvaccinated kids.

We should also point out (as other people have on this post - you guys are awesome!) that the vaccine-autism link has been repeatedly debunked by sound studiesand that the original paper it was based on has beendisavowed and was deeply scientifically and ethically unsound in the first place.

Also, @madeofpatterns brings up a good point - there’s variation in people’s responses to the flu vaccine in particular, according to the CDC, (just based on age, general health, etc, not the quality of the vaccine) which makes it even more important for a lot of people to get vaccinated, to build up that buffer to protect people who aren’t immune. 

Given that a lot of people are curious about vaccine safety and the vaccine testing process (and some of you have mentioned this - thanks to @randomguy319 !) we’ve got a bunch more information on the vaccine development process and their safety.

Here is a really good overview piece that explains the years of development that go in before a vaccine hits the market, and here and here are more from the CDC with lots of good links.

Both the CDC and the FDA have a TON of information on vaccine safety.

Bottom line: Every vaccine on the market or that will come onto the market goes through years and years of testing before even being tested in humans, and then goes through multiple rounds of testing in humans, before being approved by the FDA and continually checked for product quality and for any instance of side effects. Therefore, vaccines are really very safe. 

India was just declared polio-free THIS WEEK. How the hell do you think that happened, unicorn farts and Whole Foods? No, the goddamn polio vaccine.

Do us all a favor — if you choose not to vaccinate your children, keep them inside forever because they, and you, are a goddamn danger to those who can’t get vaccinated for health reasons or age.

Your opinions are not based in science or reality, and therefore are not valid. They are fucking dangerous and causing outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases. If there were some way to criminally charge anti-vaxxers with reckless endangerment or manslaughter, I would support that completely.

People are suffering and dying because it has become fashionable in the anti-science circles to deny the truth. The truth is that vaccinations save lives and reduce human misery. The truth is that the diseases our great-grandparents knew are still out there, and we should not be playing chicken with them. Don’t be afraid. Get vaccinated. We already know how to protect ourselves. We can stop the next outbreaks of scarlet fever, rubella, diphtheria and so many other miserable and deadly diseases before they even start. We just need to stop listening to people who don’t “believe” in science. Because the thing about science is that it’s real and true whether people want to believe it or not.

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines. After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

Why isn’t it required by law that children get vaccinated?

Because, in general, we acknowledge the sanctity of a person’s bodily autonomy over the desires of the general populace. This isn’t necessarily true in cases of imminent danger (i.e. we will forcibly restrain and confine a person who is a known and immediate danger to the lives of others), but not getting vaccinated doesn’t place other people in immediate jeopardy.


Watch on www.thebiopsy.com

Perhaps the most enjoyable vaccination video I’ve ever seen. Have you seen a health care provider ever do this? I should add it to my repertoire. 

“The President is a lizard!” is funny. Other conspiracy theories? Not so much.

5 Ways Every Conspiracy Theory Makes the World Worse

#4. People Are Dying

So when 99 percent of scientists agree that, for example, the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks, it becomes boring background noise. But when, in 1998, medical journal The Lancet published a single solitary study that showed a possible link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism, it created a worldwide panic that’s still raging 16 years later. … So, as a result of parents not vaccinating children against diseases, we’re seeing increased numbers of diseases such as whooping cough and measles. In 2012, the U.S. suffered its worst outbreak of whooping cough in 70 years; in Washington state, there were over 2,520 cases of the disease, a 1,300 percent increase over the previous year, all because the state has the highest rates of parents refusing vaccination.

Read More


Because I’ve seen way too much support for the anti-vaccine movement on Tumblr and elsewhere.

I’m hoping that if people supporting the movement here on Tumblr actually understood how vaccines work, they might reconsider.

I don’t normally outright ask people to reblog things I post, but I hate the fact that right now there are people who don’t understand how vaccines work, and as a result think it’s a safer bet to let their children or themselves go unvaccinated.




Sorry to dump the rains of reason down on your intellectual bonfire here, but if the shoe fits, by all means, wear it. If you want to deny facts and science, that’s your business, until you’re putting other people’s lives at risk. Which you are. Should any of your children get an illness preventable by a vaccine you blithely skipped, I hope you’re charged with child abuse. If they don’t survive, I hope you’re criminally charged with their deaths.

However, I don’t wish any of that on your family, because it happened to my grandparents. My Aunt Sharon died before her tenth birthday of polio, shortly before the vaccine was introduced. My grandparents saw their firstborn go from a vibrant young girl to a shell incapable of breathing without an iron lung. My grandmother never really talked about her much. Having lost your child in such a horrific way is nothing I’d want to wish on anyone, but you’ve apparently made peace with it. Good for you!


You should meet Kathryn Riffenburg. Her nine-week-old son died of whooping cough, an easily preventable disease that he was unable to be vaccinated for because he was too young. Previously, herd immunity protected wee ones like him. Instead, his mother chose a closed casket funeral because the suffering his little body endured made him unrecognizable. 

But I suppose his death was just a scare tactic, yeah? And about Big Pharma supposedly making a profit off of vaccines — it’s much more profitable for you and yours to be UNVACCINATED, what with so many serious illnesses requiring long-term, chronic care having been virtually eliminated — until now. So maybe YOU’RE the tool of Big Pharma! DUN-DUN-DUN!

Or maybe you’re just a big tool. Hopefully, this whole going irresponsibly unvaccinated thing works out for your family and you’re never left sitting at a gravesite wondering why you thought it was a-OK to play Russian roulette with your child’s life. One in 1,000 who get measles will die. I suppose it’s more likely than not that you’ll be lucky, but I’d also venture that not everyone who would come into contact with your walking disease vectors children would share the same luck.

In summary, if you ever accidentally follow me again, here’s a handy guide:



There is a confirmed mumps case in Kid A’s room at daycare.

It is 2014. There is a confirmed mumps case in my 2-year-old’s daycare room, because some people don’t understand science or risk.

It’s entirely possible, even likely, that the kid with mumps is appropriately vaccinated.  The first dose of MMR is given at 12-15 months, but you don’t get the second until age 4, and one dose is insufficient for protection in outbreak conditions.  Even two doses are only 88% effective at protecting against mumps (though 99% effective against measles, which is more virulent and has higher rates of complications).  Herd immunity is CRUCIAL to protecting the entire community.

I have the remains of a stress migraine because I got the email about this yesterday too late to call our doctor’s office, and then spent several hours freaking out about my NEWBORN possibly being exposed to mumps before reading up and determining that passive immunity (obtained in utero through the placenta) lasts up to at least 2.5 months—it’s unclear if the studies I read account for immunity transferred via breast milk.

Interesting fact I learned about vaccine schedules: The first shot of MMR is given at 12-15 months because prior research suggested that passive immunity lasts for an average of about a year, and immune response to the vaccine is more effective if you wait until passive immunity has mostly worn off.

However, it now looks like infants born to people who were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, rather than actually having the diseases, have a shorter period of passive immunity.  This is sometimes grossly misinterpreted by anti-vaxxers as an argument against vaccination, but it wouldn’t be a problem EXCEPT that anti-vaxxers give these diseases footholds and allow them to spread far beyond where they would reach if the entire community were appropriately vaccinated.  This puts basically all kids under age 4 at risk, especially infants, as well as people who are medically unable to vaccinate.

So we may, in the future, see the schedule for MMR pushed up, in order to provide better protection in a world where a small segment of the population undermines the herd immunity that SHOULD be protecting everyone.

Mumps complications include: sterility, encephalitis, hearing loss, and first trimester miscarriage.  On the other hand, ~1/3 of cases are completely asymptomatic, which allows it to spread much more easily (it also has a REALLY long latency period—the time between exposure and becoming symptomatic—and is contagious before it’s symptomatic).  Only 30-40% of cases display the “characteristic” swelling, which also contributes to its spread—many cases display only generic respiratory symptoms similar to a cold (source: CDC).

In Wisconsin, the law is incredibly lax in regard to vaccination status.  People can provide a vague statement of “personal belief” objecting to vaccination and be exempt from vaccination requirements for public school and daycare enrollment.  This policy has been shown to increase rates of vaccine-preventable disease.


Watch on medical-gal.tumblr.com
Vaccines and Herd Immunity

Measles cases are at 20-year high. Thanks anti-vaxxers

According to the study, 90% of those infected were either unvaccinated or did not know their vaccination status. And 280 out of the 288 cases were related to importations of the disease from at least 18 countries.  

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said in a release that “the current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the United States and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated.”

Read more | Follow @policymic