Why are you unvaccinated?

~Neil Peart, 1991.

Faith is cold as ice
Why are little ones born only to suffer
For the want of immunity
Or a bowl of rice?

Well, who would hold a price
On the heads of the innocent children
If there’s some immortal power
To control the dice?



Dr. Peart, as always, delivers.

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Alternately, if that’s too much bother, just go down to the clinic and get (re)immunised.

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I can sometimes occasionally find the documents if I know that they exist and I have some idea where I might have put them. I don’t know whether my parent ever had any record of what shots I’d had in childhood, or where they would have put it. I know I never had any records of what shots I’ve had in adulthood.

You seem to be assuming everyone can handle such complex organization. I had been assuming noone could handle such complex organization. We were both wrong.

You also attack my honesty. You also seem to suggest that if we can’t do these things we shouldn’t be able to participate in society. Honestly I am not always able to participate in society, because of the sensory bombardment and the lack of accommodations, but more demands for more documentation will leave even more people unable to participate in society.

I was wondering how the @#$% anyone is supposed to know if they are vaccinated.

No one ever taught me, true.

I have a bunch of folders for the last few years, and it gets more disorganized before that.

I have a bunch of bins for various story and game projects.

I tried scanning things, but the attempt worsened my arm pain and didn’t get more than a tenth of the way through.

I know because I went to college in the US where we have to show that we’ve been vaccinated so whooping cough doesn’t make the class of 2003 skip an entire semester.

As my parents didn’t keep my records I got all new vaccinations, even if I’d gotten them before getting them again wouldn’t hurt because then I certainly had the knowledge. And I know to get a tetanus booster in 2016 because that’s the year I got married and the last one I’d had before that was when I injured myself at a jobsite for the 1996 Olympics.

You should think about just getting them again and then not worry about it anymore. Keep the records next to your passport or birth certificate. It would certainly cease your worrying about it.

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Not sure that keeping track of this type of stuff rates as complex organization for most folks. There is nothing new about having to demonstrate a record of vaccination for various institutions.

I questioned whether you were trolling or not. Your response to very rational and informative answers to your questions about “knowing vaccination” status were childish at best.

I did not suggest that if you can’t do these things you shouldn’t be able to participate in society, but rather that there are plenty of cases where a similar level of organization is required. You could just have easily asked, for example, “How am I supposed to know what addresses I have resided at for the past five years?” for a rental application.


I’m likewise tested and all filled up with vaccines for the same reason. And if we don’t keep our Influenza and Hepatitis boosters up to date, Occupational Health people come and talk very seriously to us at length until we succumb.

I’ve ended up getting completely unnecessary boosters because the one needed was in a triple vaccine with no single shot available. No ill effects so far.

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And yet it is fully possible for a competent adult to have complete and organized records of tax forms, paystubs, mortgage payments, automobile registrations, and various insurances filed away in a shiny, grown-up-looking cabinet, and yet possess no immunization records. I know, I’m one of those people. My job requires no immunization record, and I’ve worked in this field for over twenty years. I got all my shots when I was a kid, and a few boosters besides, but not only do I have no physical record of that, I couldn’t obtain any without getting new shots. I had zero health insurance between 1988 and 1998. I couldn’t tell you who any of my doctors were before 2006 if my life depended on it. It’s never been useful or necessary paperwork for me in my particular life. And that’s the key thing: I’ve needed to look up my tax records for previous years, because I wanted to mortgage a house. I’ve needed a great many of my records, and been glad I kept them. But I never needed my vaccination records, so I never bothered to keep them handy. Has it cost me? Not yet, not in the least. If I have to travel abroad, by golly I’ll get new shots, or hope that my current medical provider has some kind of record.


You thought she was a troll because she lacks basic organisational skills…?! Better mark me down as one too, then, because hers are infinitely better than mine. Organisation is a concept of which I have zero - and I do mean ZERO - comprehension. None whatsoever. I lack basic skills of any description - and, yes, I have completely withdrawn from society, because that is something else of which I’ve no understanding.

I’m very sorry that you’re so close-minded and parsimonious that you can’t comprehend people like Marja and I exist.

The only thing I ever learnt at school was fear. I’m not going to say anything more, lest it sees me banned, because the truth is so fantastic that nobody will believe me. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt when I’m accused of trolling, or lying, when I speak the truth, but it happens so often these days I’ve developed immunity.


It was the response to other folks that sounded like trolling, not the lack of organizational skills.

From here, it is your response to my questions, your questioning y honesty, etc. that looks like trolling.


All I got to say is good luck to you folks. Sounds like you need all you can get.

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Marja (and anyone else unsure)

If you don’t know if your vaccines are up to date, go to a doctor and get your titres measured. Sometimes it might be easier to get a “booster” than to get tested (for tetanus vaccine, for example). Othertimes (hepatitisB) the titre may be easier than getting a new vaccination.

If you don’t trust your physician to know what vaccines your require, go here http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/ to the CDC’s vaccine schedule webpage. Figure out if you are a “Health Care Provider” or an “Everyone” and click the link to your age group. This will show you what vaccines are recommended. They even parse it down to giving the reasons some vaccines are available but not recommended for everone (for instance, pneumonia vaccines are availabe but not recommended for all people, based on risk stratification and past history).

If you live in a large enough city or county in the US, your health department may provide vaccine testing for cheap or free.

You are able to access and read the internet. That means you are smart enough to perform some complex tasks. You should have no trouble figuring out what vaccines you have had, and/or getting boosters of vaccines that fit your risk profile.


Thanks for the suggestions, I may be able to follow up on them at some point. But the ability to use the internet doesn’t say much about the ability to access health care.

A doctor’s appointment can pose accessibility problems due to trying to schedule it [if they require phone calls, for example], trying to travel to it [if there is no public transportation, or no accessible public transportation, for example], trying to get into it [due to mobility issues, for example], trying to sign in to it [if they cancel your appointment], trying to function in the office [due to allergies, stress issues such as ptsd, sensory issues, communication issues, etc.], and so on. I know that’s not comprehensive, but that’s the barriers I know of [several of which I hve encountered].

I would never discount the importance of being vaccinated, but I’m starting to think that the media is just a little too delighted to have this wonderful soft target to whale upon and bring in the page views.

…By the way, have any of you taken the Twinrix vaccine for Hep A and Hep B? It’s not free even here in Canada and is a little too easy to dismiss as a frivolous expense.

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I’ve been vaccinated against smallpox, colera and tuberculosis, I think. Oh, and tetanus. When I was small the MFR vaccine wasn’t invented yet, so I’ve had measles, chickenpox and rubeola. My kids are vaccinated against all those, and some more I can’t remember.

On the other hand, I refuse to get vaccines for common flu. My employer offers them for free, but normally I never get sick anyway (touch wood).

You don’t have to be symptomatic to still be able to spread the flu. For a lot of people who get the flu, it doesn’t make them appreciably more sick than a cold. But you can still end up spreading the infection to small children and the elderly, and those who have immune system issues.

Might as well get the flu vaccine. It has practically no side effects (people with egg allergies exempted) and even if you wouldn’t “get sick” any way, there’s a broad spectrum of how the flu actually could affect you, and you could be passing it along to vulnerable people without knowing if you forgo the vaccine. And hey, it’s free. Why not?


Thanks! Though I think I’ll get it when the health authorities of my country actually recommend the vaccine (as they do tuberculosis, MFR, tetanus, smallpox, colera, hep A etc.). As it is now, they only recommend it to the elderly (65+), heavily obese (BMI > 40), chronically diseased and pregnant people - for the rest, it’s not supposed to matter.

I’m not a doctor so I don’t know about the epidemiological risks, but I suppose that if that was a grave concern they’d make it part of the popular vaccination programme like tuberculosis etc.

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Just trying to do my part. While technically only recommended by the CDC for the elderly, and those younger than 18, the CDC still says it’s a good idea to get the flu vaccine if you can. If we have a particular stellar match this year, and everyone who can get the flu shot does, it provides a lot of herd immunity for those who can’t get the flu vaccine at all.