So NaturalNews, that bastion of pseudoscience, alt-med quackery, and anti-vaccination fear-mongering, has just announced (and by announced I mean copy-pasted almost verbatim from HuffPo) that the United States is heading for one of the worst epidemics of whooping cough in recent memory, and it’s all the fault of vaccines. Here’s the thing: the United States really is heading for a bad year for pertussis, but the idea that it’s the fault of vaccines is beyond ludicrous; it’s dangerously ignorant. I think I’m getting how NaturalNews operates: Whip up hysteria about vaccine ‘dangers’ based on Jenny McArthy and a fraudulent medical paper, encourage people to stop vaccinating (and to stop taking their boosters), then wait for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness, and finally claim that such an outbreak is ‘proof’ that vaccines don’t work. Wow. Fucking Classy.
NaturalNews claims that the outbreaks are occurring among vaccinated populations, not among children who aren’t vaccinated but here’s what they’re not telling you: unvaccinated children are still somewhat protected by herd immunity, thanks to the high rates of vaccinations against pertussis found among school-aged children. Also, these doucheweasels also forgot/never bothered to mention that the outbreaks are occurring in populations with reduced immunity due to lower rates of vaccine boosting, something that is pretty damned important when it comes to pertussis vaccination. Mysteriously, NaturalNews also forgot to mention that unvaccinated children have an eightfold greater risk of contracting the disease than their vaccinated peers. I’ll just quote a paragraph from this CDC document:
Investigation of the Washington epidemic demonstrates multiple B. pertussis strains causing infection, primarily in vaccinated persons. Given the high transmissibility of B. pertussis, a proportion of vaccinated persons remains susceptible and can become infected during a pertussis outbreak. Unvaccinated children have at least an eightfold greater risk for pertussis than children fully vaccinated with DTaP (7). However, because in most of the cases the patients were vaccinated, the 4.5% of Washington school children who were exempted from vaccination during 2011–2012 represented only a small proportion of those at risk for pertussis in the state. Although vaccinated children can develop pertussis, they are less infectious, have milder symptoms and shorter illness duration, and are at reduced risk for severe outcomes, including hospitalization (8–10).
One of the most frustrating things about the shitheels that ‘report’ at NaturalNews is that they cite studies and papers at the bottoms of their articles that directly contradict the assertions being made in the posts that cite them. In this case, the scientific articles that are cited by NaturalNews all absolutely, without reservation, accept and affirm that vaccinations are the key to preventing outbreaks of whooping cough. Are the folks at NaturalNews just lazy – too lazy in fact to bother reading the articles they are citing – or are they inept? Are they merely linking to the first paper coughed up by Google Scholar? Or do they know that these papers contradict their baseless claims, but don’t care because they know full well that most people who read their posts won’t bother to fact-check them?
PS: The Pertussis vaccines are short term – they require boosters in high school, and later in adulthood (where the rates for booster shots sit at around 8%), so the argument that vaccines are useless or worse at fault for the outbreaks is ridiculous; more ridiculous in fact when we see that the outbreaks are happening in high-schools – places where students are at the tail end of vaccine efficacy (hence the need to ‘boost’ them at this age) and among infants too young to receive the vaccine in the first place.
This shit makes me tired.