Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Granolahead, Anti-Vaccination Right Wingers and what motivates them

I've done this "off grid" thing for about five years now. In the beginning, I thought most "off grid" folk were of the Green persuasion. You know, Ralph Nader with overalls. Real Mr. and Mrs. Green Jeans. I was wrong. In fact, it is really kind of hard to find an off gridder that actually believes in effective government action to improve people's lives.  I work with an RN, a Supervisor, who I thought shared my values; you know, she loves to garden. Has a place in the country. Turns out she doesn't think much of me and my values. I've had arguments with her regarding vaccinations. The fact that I actually believe that vaccinations are a positive thing will send some Anti-Vax back-to-the-landers into hysterics.

RN's who advise people not to get their kids vaccinated particularly scare me.

To them, Vaccines cause autism and they will dig up parts of studies to prove it (along with the discredited Wakefield study that kicked this whole movement onto the radar back in 1998). Anti-Vaxers think vaccines are poisonous and ruin health. They don't believe in the flu shot. My friend the Supervisor's fear extends to big pharmaceutical companies and, indeed, government itself. She homeschools her child and not getting your child vaccinated is quite common amongst those who participate in that movement. There are legions like her.

They seem to be split between some sort of Granola Anarchism and a Granola Libertarianism. Some have deep spiritual beliefs, mostly of a fundamentalist persuasion. Some have been frightened and bullied by misinformation. But the one thing that unites their anti-vaccination beliefs is their belief that Government is not effective at solving problems. The roots of this can be found in those who (still) question putting fluoride in public drinking water.

Public Health Campaigns work. And if they don't work, we have vast amounts of people reporting on the problems. Public vaccination campaigns work. Millions of lives have been saved so I just don't get it when these seemingly, and otherwise, good professionals buy into a bunch of hokum that could lead to some serious unneeded deaths.

The only answer I can come up with is that their need for Government to be ineffective is greater than the objective data that 1. Vaccines work and 2. Vaccines side effect profile is generally safe and does not include Autism.

Forty years ago, this unfortunate man died of Small Pox. Because of vaccinations, this disease will never kill again. The same was almost true for measles until the anti-vaccination people used faulty science and irrational fear of public health campaigns to stop the progress. As health professionals, we need to talk back to those who lie about vaccines.


  1. just found your blog recently and am liking it very much. this entry is particularly interesting. i was raised by an RN in the time before vaccinations existed for most of these childhood diseases, i experienced most of them largely because of her intervention.

    she made me eat, sleep, and drink after a girlfriend with german measles because there was no vaccination and she did not want me potentially contacting it as a pregnant woman. i appreciate her efforts and we both appreciate that my children have better options. the anti-vax crowd drives me batty.

    yer neighbor down the hill,

  2. Thanks for your reply Faux. And thanks for reading. I've been particularly whiney lately due to a work injury. Hopefully I'll move on to some other topics, eventually. I remember when we got the polio vaccine in my smalltown in Minnesota. The gym was full of kids and adults who wanted the vaccine. About 13 years before that, the whole school year was canceled when 10 or 11 kids came down with polio. Those memories were still fresh and people were so thankful to get the vaccine. Anti-Vaxers certainly can ask questions, but they go too far when they talk people out of getting the vaccines. Frankly, for an RN to recommend against getting the vaccine constitutes malpractice in my book. Thanks for reading.