04 February 2015

Anti-vaxxers of the 1930s


In related news, this Salon article: "GOP senator: Don’t make employees wash their hands after going to the bathroom, because freedom."


  1. It is a very troubling behavoir pattern (refusing well proven vaccinations and arguing others should.)
    I'd like to point out that a history of sinister behavoirs by government (think The Tuskegee experiment as an example) and various overbearing behavoirs probably contribute to the opposition. The plainly visible regulatory capture and rent seeking in american medicine give one pause.

    So what to do? I wonder if pro-vaccination programs would be more successful if (a) they were put forward by pastors, members of local service clubs, and other entites with OUT government association, and (b) the costs were covered so that people weren't scrambling to pay for a government mandated thing - breeds opposition and (c) it could be proven that no large corporate entity was making large profits on them.

    But I fear nasty outbreaks of polio or the like may be what is actually required.

  2. I had no idea that anti-vaxxers went back that far.

    What we need is a program of massive education and advertising, like we had with drink driving, to change the culture around vaccination. Could we persuade Kate Middleton to use her children's vaccinations as a photo opportunity, for example?

  3. To be fair, vaccination back then brought to mind police-state tactics:


    As an aside, I don't think the current trend of turning anti-vaccination people into villains is the right way to go. This is a matter of education, and in any learning environment it's very important to keep it non-hostile, lest the people you're trying to reach just put their fingers in their ears and ignore you.

  4. Hmm.. regarding the Tillis quote, you might go read the full quote and discussion, which was from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2015/02/03/the-next-public-health-debate-hand-washing/

    Quote from the WP blog is as follows
    >>Tillis said he was at a Starbucks in 2010 talking to a woman about regulations and where businesses should be allowed to opt out. His coffee companion challenged him, asking whether employees there should be required to wash their hands.

    >>“As a matter of fact I think this is one where I think I can illustrate the point,” he recalled telling her. “I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says we don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that. It’s one example.” (Is requiring a sign not a regulation?)

    >>Tillis, who told the story with his right hand raised for emphasis, concluded that in his example most businesses who posted signs telling customers their food workers didn’t have to wash their hands would likely go out of business. Ah, the free market!

    Note, the Senator was making a point, providing what was obviously meant to be a humorous example. Now, the open question here isn't to make fun of a Republican about a view, but to maybe discuss at what point are regulation required. I believe that vaccinations should be required, since it is not voluntary that you get a disease that may be prevented by public vaccination. However, in other areas, we have a lot of regulations which I'm not so sure are helpful. For example, the requirement proposed that all skiers should wear protective safety helmets (proposed and passed in at last one state), or that surfers should wear life jackets (proposed and passed in another state, but vetoed by the governor).

    1. If you are at all familiar with food-borne illness, you wiill realize that the senator's view that an employee not washing hands after toileting only endangers the customers who ignore the sign and eat there is very short-sighted. The handful of could-care-less customers who eat there could get shigella or salmonella or whatever and then it passes out of the restaurant into the community. It's analagous to anti-measles people putting more than just their own children at risk. That's quite different from surfers without life jackets or skiers without helmets (who endanger only themselves).

    2. Also regulation is a way to provide a guideline for and take an interest in businesses, it legitimizes businesses by giving them a "best practices" way and puts them in touch with public health professionals. Obviously no city or state is interested in punishing those businesses or ruining them, unless they are a danger to public health.

      Hygiene in the food industry and restaurants is a constant struggle and a matter of degree, believing that an unregulated (essentially black) market, would take care of that is ludicrous. Even though this nonsense is still taught on university level.
      It's easy to imagine why deregulation would breed a general distrust of restaurants, favoring only a few "trusted" brands.

      Deregulation became a thing in US politics, because it's a tool to protect the profit margins of big business from competition, it is the very opposite of a truly free market.
      Freedoms are created by writing them down as laws and enforcing them, not by abolishing law or slowly eroding it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...