Woo with a body-count: measles epidemic follows anti-vax scare


Tracing the comment down to its source runs into the WSJ paywall before it becomes substantive.

Here we go again. Seriously the sensational headlines you have been using lately remind me more of fox news than the typical quality I have come to expect from boingboing. So far the “body-count” of this “epidemic” totals 1.

Predictable and Preventable

A better source. And yes, the ‘body count’ stands at one. I stand by my position that vaccination is a low-stakes decision.

To be fair, one is a number.

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I think you overstate your case here. Polio and Smallpox are not low-stakes. Having people make vaccination decisions based on fantasies is a serious issue that may kill one person now and hundreds of millions in the future.


Measles is much more serious in adults, causing death, deafness, or neurological damage.

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And to be specific, the Wikipedia page on Smallpox claims “Smallpox was responsible for an estimated 300–500 million deaths during the 20th century”

Last case, 1977 - no more since because of vaccination.

Them there stakes are pretty high…


aaaaaand redacted

The ‘dead child’ you refer to was 25. Which is not less tragic, but does suggest that there is more than one person here who didn’t read the article.

please excuse my outburst, but you are also attempting to minimise and trivialise

one could say that we witnessdarwinism in action

Hence my use of the present tense. I was vaccinated for smallpox in 1970something; I was one of the last American cohorts for which that was a sensible decision. Today polio is a similar case. But most of the diseases that we vaccinate for would not exact a large toll on a modern and healthy population; as public health issues they would be dwarfed by smoking, heart disease, diabetes, and a myriad other problems. Which is why I’m always mystified at the tremendous outpouring of rage that accompanies this particular issue, as opposed to something like cigarette labeling policy, or government dietary recommendations.

If it were only those who refused vaccines that died, then I wouldn’t find this quite so annoying. However, herd immunity protects small children who have not yet had their vaccinations, those who are immunocompromised, those for whom the vaccine didn’t provide full protection, the elderly. That plus the long ugly history of “darwinism” applied to people.


As I said, measles is much more serious in adults so the importance of vaccination should not be underestimated by writing it off as “childhood illness.”

If the antivaxxers had their way, someday we would see measles sweeping through nursing homes and taking a heavy death toll.

If smallpox ever sweeps the US, we will really be nation of immigrants again. immigrants are the population where the smallpox vaccination scars are really prominent and as big as a quarter.

I’m sure Jenny McCarthy sleeps more soundly knowing this.

Okay, then tell us WHICH diseases shouldn’t be vaccinated against. Stop talking in the hypothetical. Explain your reasoning. How about diphtheria? Or pertussis or tetanus?

Edit: Here is a vaccine schedule for young children (PDF). Tell me which ones aren’t important diseases to vaccinate against.


Things are awfully bad when diseases have a better reputation than the medical community.