By: Erin K Costello
Ok, let’s tackle MAM’s latest attempt to assure herself and her readers how she’s smarter than everyone else in areas of medicine, children’s health, virology, immunology, infectious diseases, etc…. But, before I get into using cited articles as my debunking tools I’d like to first point something out. I am not a scientist, medical professional, a chemist, biologist, or any kind of an expert in such fields. I am not a college graduate, although I do audit a course or two every few months. Some in science, some in math, most in sociology and psychology, and once I audited a creative writing course. That one I hated though. So, with all this being said, after reading this latest ridiculous post of hers, I already knew several ways in how she was wrong, and I have no doubt that most logical people can figure this out as well. Once I began looking for sources on her claims, and sources on actual data, studies, and analyses, I learned many other facts that prove her claims to be either void or bullshit. My point here though is this, if your post can make an uneducated person such as myself see and realize how very wrong you are without having to read sources first, then you have no fucking business posting this shit to any size audience, let alone when you have one the size of MAM’s.
Let’s start at the beginning, “Pro-vaxxers like to say something like this..."Worldwide, measles kills tens of thousands every year! That's why we need to vaccinate.’ Basically, they use *worldwide* numbers to make the argument that we need to vaccinate in developed countries.”
Yes, PVers will point out worldwide VPD (Vaccine Preventable Diseases) rates and figures. And we do use these facts as reasons to support vaccinations. They aren’t manipulative tactics though. They are examples of proven science. When countries that have low vaccination rates have higher disease and death rates than the countries that have higher vaccination rates, it shows us all that vaccines fucking work! We point out that by not vaccinating you are risking our disease and death stats to rise and become comparable to other counties in the world. So yes…that is why we need to vaccinate! We need to prevent our country from turning into a less developed nation in terms of disease and death.
I also wonder is she’s considered the fact that Americans often travel to all parts of the world, and all parts of the world travel to our country. It’s almost as though she believes these diseases will stay behind in these foreign nations and not travel with it’s citizens, or with their American tourists.
My son got me hooked on this game about a year ago called Plague Inc. It was an app I downloaded onto my iPad and iPhone but I believe it’s available for android and for the computer as well. You can play against the app itself or against another real live player. Basically you try and infect the world with some plague that you make up. You design it, evolve it, and try and spread it around. The opposing force will try and quarantine areas, and create cures. It’s actually a really fun and challenging game. I suggest everyone check it out. My point about the game here though is that this is exactly how a plague can or could happen today. Even Ebola made it to the US a few years ago. Just because something is far away doesn’t mean it can’t reach you.
The next manipulative point of hers makes the following claim; “These diseases ARE much more deadly in third-world countries...but it's not from lack of vaccines. It's because of lack of food, malnutrition, lack of water or contaminated water, etc. These things make a HUGE difference in susceptibility and likelihood of complications and death.”
Never mind the fact that the diseases that are much more rampant in underdeveloped countries due to the reasons she’s listed above aren’t all VPD. Yes, some are more common in some areas partially due to such reasons, and the death rate is usually higher in these areas partially for her reasons mentioned. However, it’s largely and mostly because these children (and even adults) are not vaccinated! These countries aren’t living in villages resembling 1400’s London with sewage running through the town streets and sidewalks, or people often coming in contact with the waste products of many other humans. Some don’t have as sophisticated infrastructures as most the western countries do, but they aren’t bathing in or ingesting the shit of all the other villagers either. Finding water is more of an issue for many of these areas than avoiding living in sewage waste.
Another point I feel I should make involves India. Not to imply that India is some nation with dirty contaminated water, but there are parts of India where their water is kind of dirty or contaminated. Don’t get me wrong, the same can be accurately said about the US! So I don’t mean this as judgement. Giving this information though however, the WHO reported in 2017 that India’s measles cases had dropped 43% between 2015-2016! For granted, India still trails behind many other countries with achieving low rates of measles and other VPD, but the cause for the amazing 43% decline was due to the country ramping up their vaccine covered population to 88%!
Staying on her above claim, almost all examples of people having been exposed to VPD through living conditions, as well as being exposed to diseases without vaccines, are due to a natural disaster of some kind according to UNICEF. Earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, famine, but mostly through floods. How many severe flooding events has the developed nation of the USA had to endure in the past 20 years, or even just the past few years? How many more such events are we predicted to experience in the coming years due to climate change? You still think your kids are or will be safe here in our civilized western society? You still think such problems are only going to happen to those who don’t have as many sewage run off systems as we do?
Malnutrition is also a key factor in succumbing to any disease, even VPD. So is poor health and a weak immune system. When she hears of such hardships faced by children, does she only picture the “save the children” commercials from tv? Not that these kids don’t deserve the attention, but they aren’t alone in suffering from lack of food, water, or health care. According to 2016 census stats for the US, 12.7% of Americans were living in poverty. That’s about 40.6 million people who are not able to afford the necessities in life such as health care, proper nutrition, and likely live in areas where their drinking water is contaminated to some degree (Flint, MI anyone?). According to the USDA 2016 nutrition statistics there were 7.4% households with low food security (about 9.4 million US households), and 4.9% of households with very low food security (about 6.1 million US households). These disease causing catalysts she points out aren’t at all foreign to our nation. They are a big part of our nation, and can mean the difference between life and death to millions of Americans in the event of an outbreak. For these Americans their biggest protection from such an outbreak are vaccines when it comes to VPD. When a disease reaches outbreak status, or epidemic proportions, it’s no longer just the most susceptible who become at risk. It’s everyone, even the vaccinated. You don’t just vaccinate to protect children in third world poor villages, or even just to protect the millions of families living in poverty in our own country, you vaccinate to prevent an outbreak or epidemic that will surely harm those most as risk, but will also threaten your own previously low at risk children. An outbreak hurts everyone.
This next part she makes actually does have a point, “If someone is trying to scare you into vaccinating by using these worldwide numbers, ask, "What are the numbers for just developed countries?" If they don't know, won't answer, or give some vague response, do not take advice from them!” She’s right that most people will not know the rates or stats for developed countries, not even for our own country. Where she attempts to use this fact to skew the mind of the reader into believing this lack of knowledge is due to nefarious purposes, she ever so conveniently leaves out WHY it is that most people don’t know these figures off the top of their heads. Most people don’t pay attention to numbers representing threats when those numbers are quite low both in totality and in percentages. They also don’t bother to keep up to date with recent VPD data in developed countries because such diseases haven’t been a looming threat to us for so long because of……….yup, you guessed it! VACCINATIONS! The very fact that she points this lack of prepared knowledge out, and the fact that the figures are so low, is nothing short of proof that vaccines fucking work!
Another part I do agree with her on this section is the whole “do not take advice from them!” Please, don’t take advice from MAM, from me, from strangers on-line, or from Facebook fighters who can’t rattle off stats when you put them on the spot. I beg you, please don’t listen to these people or myself! Instead, ask, inquire, reach out, discuss, be advised, and hold value in your family physician, pediatrician, and or an accredited scientist in the related fields of medicine, virology, biology, immunology, pharmacology, chemistry, infectious diseases, and other similar fields not mentioned.
This is one of my favorite parts to her post, “Honestly, if you have to purposely skew statistics to make something seem scarier than it is, what is your agenda?” She doesn’t even mention any stats here to begin with, not her own stats or these supposedly “skewed” stats that were designed to install fear. The only skewing of information I have seen in this post is her implying that lower VPD rates in the US are caused by our nation being healthy, well fed, having access to clean water, and modern sewage rather than the fact that most people have been vaccinated and have an immunity in place to prevent the spread of disease. I was born in 1975. I remember our sewage system in our city and our clean drinking water being comparable to both today’s plumbing and water. I also remember having good hygiene, showers, baths, and even being made to avoid friends who were ill at the time. Yet for some reason myself and almost everyone I knew while growing up still ended up contracting chicken pox! How is that possible with all these first world perks that surrounded us all? And furthermore, how is it that hardly any children ever catch chicken pox any longer? Did our plumbing, water, or hygiene suddenly reach the peak of perfection? OR…..is it more likely due to another cause? Could something else actually be preventing the spread of such a previous common illness such as the chicken pox? Like, maybe a vaccine? So really, who is skewing what here?
And lastly, “Ask yourself that next time you see the worldwide numbers in US publications (media does this a lot)….”.
What does the media, specifically US media, do a lot of? Report on global matters? Provide statistics of diseases that effect humans as a whole in the world? What a bunch of manipulative assholes they are! She also, again, ever so conveniently fails to mention how many media sources, US and otherwise, provide disease stats for individual countries, and they especially provide these stats for the US. They’ll even go as far as to break the information down into areas of the US like for specific states, counties, or cities. How else does she believe the country learned of the measles outbreaks in MN and from Disneyland in California?
She is now becoming so outrageous with her posts and beliefs that I can’t help but to think of her as the Donald Trump of medical claims and advice (I mean no disrespect to any Trump supporters. I am only referring to how Trump is about as anti-presidential of any president we’ve ever had, and in that same respect MAM is about as anti-accurate as any self proclaimed expert as we’ve ever seen.) Her claims aren’t based on science, accurate or complete data, decades of proven history showing the safety and efficacy of vaccines, or the lack of proof and the frequent proven lies of alleged “vaccine injuries.” She almost admits to making claims for the sake of going against beliefs and thoughts that others have lived by simply because she believes popular held thoughts and actions are her enemy. The word “mainstream” comes across like venom every time she says it or even types it. She is oddly angry and prejudiced against anything that is common knowledge and routinely used because it almost always proves effective. One can’t help but to wonder what it is that drives this hatred and anger of hers towards effective treatments. It isn’t because she cares about kids, because as we all know these are all mostly effective treatments and vastly improve the life and health of kids, yet the very suggestion of them in her facebook group is against her rules. She claims her kids are the pinnacle of excellent health so this can’t be personal for her. This doesn’t seem to be caused by a bad experience with modern medicine in her past either. She has often said her mom wishes she’d vaccinate her kids so she wasn’t raised this way. So, I can’t help but to wonder. Is this just a case of narcissism? Or is this a case of needing to inflate one’s ego using the means with the least amount of exertion? Could it be just a simple case of Dunning-Kruger? Or, and this one I wonder about often, is she enjoying the admiration she has been given by thousands to the point that she’s now displaying typical behaviors found in cult leaders? I don’t have the degree to even attempt to reach any conclusions here, but I do have the exposure to MAM and the understanding of such personalities to at least ponder the possibilities, just as I’m sure that most people also have enough understanding to wonder such things. I am a realist though and consider all possibilities, so I also wonder if I’m wrong and she truly believes the shit she sells. Although, I’m not too invested in this wonderment of mine at this time.