Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Croatian Constitutional Court Upholds Mandatory Child Vaccination

In the words of the courts and Google Translate: The child's right to health is more than the rights of parents to the (wrong) choice.

Croatia's vaccine mandate has been to the great benefit of the country's public health:

No occurrences of diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), measles, parotitis and poliomyelitis often called polio or infantile paralysis have been registered in recent years, while tetanus rates have been reduced by 97%, tuberculosis by 93% and hepatitis B, with mandatory vaccination against this disease introduced in 1999, by 65%.

No measles? You're beating America. But anti-vaccination movements are on the rise everywhere that science-averse reactionaries possess a modicum of paranoia and spare time: 28 children in Croatia weren't vaccinated in 2012, then 143 in 2013, and this court decision is the result of a petition signed by 10,000 people who think that "the vaccination of healthy children poses a threat to their health." Superstition, besting science since the beginning of time.

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This happens to be one of a few issues where I just have zero nuance: I don't think there should be any exceptions to vaccination, I think it should be part of the price you pay for living in a society.


@stonefruit Yep. Unless you're legit allergic to it, you need to take one for the team.


@stonefruit yes! GO CROATIA


ahhh sorry I forgot my usual caveat, which is: this is true unless your child is immuno-compromised/suppressed, in which case, follow your doctor's instructions!

But your average run-of-the-mill healthy munchkin: vaccinate that little person.



also it's getting to the point where - you know how people ask the parents of their kids' friends if there are guns in the house? I'm beginning to think that any putative children of mine will not be allowed to play at houses of non-vaccinated children. Too dangerous.


@stonefruit: I have a six year old and we live in an area that tends not be super prone to guns in the home, but definitely prone to anti-vaxers (while sorting donated books for a sale at school I threw away 5 copies of Dr. Jenny McCarthy's book). I absolutely make sure I know where these parents stand on vaccines before I let my child anywhere near their child. I don't want her to catch Mumps, Rubella, Whooping Cough or (and possibly most dangerous of all) stupid.

Sarah Rain

In defense of anti-vaxers, there have been a number of vaccines that were pulled because of bad side effects. While I personally trust the track records of all the vaccines currently used in the US, past history leads some legitimacy to fears. (Remember that vaccines were the ONLY way people got polio in the US for a while, until they moved to the current dead vaccine.) When you know about those sorts of issues, and your cousin's kid coincidentally developed health issues after the MMR or whatever, and your kids' personal risk of ill effects from contracting measles are vanishingly low, there is a logic to their choices.


@Sarah Rain Fear of the past is not a legitimate reason to ignore current science, though, and it should be the job of doctors and the CDC to explain to people that they do not have a choice, because vaccines are save, and by not doing it, they will endanger everyone else.

Sarah Rain

@Ophelia Isn't it? If government scientists in the past said various vaccines were safe, and it turned out they weren't, isn't it logical to assume they could be mistaken again?

Again, I believe in vaccine safety and their statistical benefits, but don't think it's illogical to question it. And believe that requiring vaccines would be a nightmare and lead to further fear and distrust of the government.


@Sarah Rain "(Remember that vaccines were the ONLY way people got polio in the US for a while, until they moved to the current dead vaccine.)"

What time period are you referring to here? I'm not sure this is accurate; for example, the 1916 NYC epidemic was before any of the vaccine trials, right?

Sarah Rain

@stonefruit Yes, big epidemics were before vaccines! In the period between when wild polio was eradicated in the US and the inactivated vaccine was widely utilized, the only cases were vaccine-induced. Im guessing 1970-2000 on dates. It's incredibly rare, but another case when there were legitimate reasons for individuals to opt out of vaccination even though it probably still benefited the population as a whole.


@Sarah Rain so I'm not an epidemiologist, and I really truly don't mean to pick on you here, but I'm not seeing anything about vaccine-induced polio from 1976 on? The only thing I've been able to dig up that's close to that was in 1955 when one of the vaccine manufacturers used faulty production methods and there was an outbreak (11 deaths, hundreds paralyzed). Is that what you're thinking of? If not, if you have any ideas as to when that actually happened, I'd be really interested to hear about it! (I am a little bit of a polio history nerd b/c my grandfather was friends with Jonas Salk.)

Sarah Rain

@stonefruit It is interesting! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9433057 is one citation, 8-9 cases per year caused by OPV after wild virus eradicated. (IPV now used so it's not an issue in the US but is in some countries.)


This weekend I was chatting with some new friends, who all happened to be youngish mothers, and one mentioned filing "no-vax" paperwork or something at her kid's school. I was horrified, but also felt really awkward, as the only childless person in the group, and had no idea how / whether to say anything about it. (I kept my mouth shut.) On the one hand I think it's none of my business, but on the other, it's *everyone's* business. Especially other people with babies. What do you say in situations like that?


@ru_ri I say all sorts of terribly rude things, like "I hope you only kill your own child, not someone else's cancer patient with your stupid decision." Generally this means I don't have a lot of friends who don't vaccinate, which I am fine with.


@lemonadefish A+++++++ answer would give again. All the thumbs up.

Sarah Rain

@ru_ri I might go for, "Reducing herd immunity puts infants and immunocompromised people at risk, so I don't think it's an ethical decision."


@Sarah Rain That is a much more mature response than I would be inclined to give (see my first comment, re: my lack of nuance on this issue), and I salute you for that. Thumbs up to you, too!


@Sarah Rain Thank you.

and it's not even my birthday

SOMEONE just lost out on all the collective tourism dollars of Jenny McCarthy's twitter following...

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@and it's not even my birthday I guess the Hairpin will need to post articles about like, Botox and loud noises to get them back.

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