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  • Whooping Cough

    Posted by Shannon Love on May 11th, 2008 (All posts by )

    The video is underlit. Just listen to it.

    That wrenching gasp for air at the end of a suffocating jag of coughing gives whooping cough its name. This spasmodic coughing usually lasts for a month and can last as long as two. Some infants die of exhaustion. Even those that survive can suffer permanently reduced growth and development.

    Instapundit links to a story about a breakout of whooping cough in a private school in the San Francisco Bay area. Given that the parents of the students are almost certainly secular, left-leaning, college educated individuals, I can only conclude that they refused to protect their children because the anecdotal images of children who suffered real or imagined side effects from vaccinations emotionally overpowered any intellectual awareness they possessed of the effects of the diseases the vaccines protect against.

    Too many people, even “highly educated” ones, make decisions based on emotional hunches programmed by immediate graphic images. They simply cannot process numerical information or the concept of tradeoffs. They conceptualize things as either entirely good or entirely bad based on their degree of exposure to negative images.

    Since vaccination and antibiotics have almost completely driven fatal communicable diseases from our lives, these mentally undisciplined people simply never see any images of children suffering from these horrific diseases. In their minds, that automatically means that vaccinations pose a greater danger than the diseases the vaccinations protect against.

    We can educate these emotive people by exposing them to images such as the one above. If these people see enough images of the consequences of the diseases, their emotive “reasoning” will make them view the diseases as the threat and not the vaccines.

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    14 Responses to “Whooping Cough”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Let us not pull our punches. It is the East Bay Waldorf School, based on “anthroposophy and the educational philosophy initiated by Rudolf Steiner.”

      I cannot begin to imagine how hippy-dippy the school and the parents are. The real wonder would be if any of the schools graduates learn to read and write at the school. I am loath to say that any portion of humanity is unfit for self government, but the parents who send their children to that school are very close to being fit only for institutional care.

    2. Devilbunny Says:

      I’ve had pertussis – ye olde whooping cough – as an adult. I caught it during medical school on a pediatric rotation. I didn’t put the pieces together until, a few months later, I was studying for exams and read the symptoms.

      It’s ghastly. For two months I had spasmodic coughing that would not stop until I ran out of breath, at which point I would usually retch. Attacks came randomly; I might be symptom-free for a whole day before being struck with it twice in ten minutes.

      And yet it’s not life-threatening to healthy adults. Miserable, but you’ll get over it. In a child, though, the airway swells – and shuts.

      Though they don’t know it, these people are both fools and sociopaths.

    3. B. Durbin Says:

      My husband got whooping cough as a child— he had been vaccinated. Some of the anti-vax forces look at cases such as his and say, “See? Vaccines don’t work!”

      The truth of the matter is that there is a failure rate in vaccines that can be anywhere from five to fifteen percent. That means that five to fifteen percent of vaccinated people will not develop an immunity to the disease— which is exactly WHY we need to have widespread vaccination. The disease gets stopped when it gets to somebody who’s protected, and preferably gets stopped before it gets to somebody who is NOT protected.

      The worst I had was chicken pox. (And yeah, I’m all in favor of that vaccine.) But my parents had to deal with polio and mumps and my father had a younger sister die from measles. Unlike some people, I listen to my elders. Vaccines are marvelous, wonderful things, and they would be even if there were an actual link to autism. Autism-fearing people who refuse to vaccinate annoy me for two reasons— their inability to understand the scientific method, and their worries as though autism were the worst thing in the world.

      I’m personally of the opinion that a dead child is a worse consequence than an autistic one. Is it just me?

    4. Bob N Says:

      “That wrenching gasp for air at the end of a suffocating jag of coughing gives whooping cough its name. This spasmodic coughing usually lasts for a month and can last as long as two. Some infants die of exhaustion. Even those that survive can suffer permanently reduced growth and development.”

      That of course is not “emotional hunches programmed by immediate graphic images”.

      What about my son, who was permanently brain damaged due to the Pertussis vaccine? Should I include pictures of him? Should I try this vaccine on my other son?

      Bob N

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Bob N,

      That of course is not “emotional hunches programmed by immediate graphic images”

      No, that is exactly what it is. I explictly made the point that such graphic images are the only means of educating people who think emotive anecdotes. Since they never see the consequences of communicable diseases, all they can see is the consequences of vaccination.

      The ugly truth is that toll of communicable diseases is so horrible that even if every case of autism was triggered by vaccination, we would still save far, far more lives by vaccinating than without. Even a casual perusal of medical history will show that.

      Frankly, the brutal truth is that even if vaccination caused you sons condition, he’s still statistically better off than he would have been in a previous era. Would you rather have listened to him cough and gasp like the girl above for over a month as he slowly wasted away, slowly suffocating as his lungs swelled shut? I’ve spoke with people who watched children die that way and it is hell like no other.

      Life is ugly. We often must make difficult choices. Reason and empiricism save lives.

    6. Ari A Says:

      The only ugly truth I see is that people spend so much time judging others rather than taking care of their own personal responsibilities. I am a mother at the East Bay Waldorf school, and although I choose vaccination for my children, I have read the RESEARCH (non-emotional) that supports not vaccinating. In fact, pertussis is difficult to contain even with 99% vaccinations. We are not the only school that ever had to be shut down in the last few years due to pertussis and the other school was not Waldorf, nor had a low vaccination rate. Vaccination does NOT equal immunity. Only time will tell for sure whether vaccination and antibiotics was really the way to go. Nature has a way of controlling the population no matter what measures we humans take.
      Why “punch” Waldorf schools at all? The primary philosophy of the Waldorf school is to teach children to become happy, peaceful, loving, successful adults. And, as an added benefit the children have the pleasure of growing up gracefully and organically. They love the learning process and are just as able to go to college as any other child (maybe more so emotionally.) Many beautiful whole highly educated adults come from Waldorf upbringing. I admit I am “hippy-dippy,” but I would rather be that than righteous and abusive of power which is what our society seems to be cultivating these days.
      Save your “punches” for someone who deserves it, Robert. If you don’t like Waldorf, don’t send your kids to a Waldorf school.

    7. John D Says:

      the children have the pleasure of growing up gracefully and organically.

      I’m sorry, what the hell does that even mean?

      What’s going to happen to these kids when they leave school, and the shelter of their “hippy-dippy” parents and have to deal with real people in the real world?

      Answer: They’re either going to adapt (become normal), be crushed, or be so disillusioned that they run off to find themselve a la Jihad Johnny.

    8. Shannon Love Says:

      Ari A,

      The only ugly truth I see is that people spend so much time judging others rather than taking care of their own personal responsibilities.

      When people see others needlessly hurting children through negligence born of a combination of arrogance and a lack of mental discipline, they do indeed speak out as they should. Instead of being upset that other judge the parents harshly perhaps you should be happy that people take concern for the well being of the children of strangers.

      …I choose vaccination for my children, I have read the RESEARCH (non-emotional) that supports not vaccinating.

      Then you did not make an undisciplined emotive decision.

      In fact, pertussis is difficult to contain even with 99% vaccinations.

      Which is why it is important to get as many people as possible vaccinated. The more resistance in the population the slower the spread of the disease and the lower the chance that a vulnerable individual will encounter enough of the pathogen to become infected. My neice and nephew are violently allergic to the vaccine. Their only protection lays in reducing their exposure to the pathogen. Every unvaccinated person they meet is a biological weapon pointed straight at them.

      Only time will tell for sure whether vaccination and antibiotics was really the way to go.

      I’ll take millions of children saved from wretched protracted deaths or permanent maiming over any theoretical concerns any day. If you want to go Darwin on your kids why don’t you just kick them out into the wild with a flint blade and well wishes?

      Altering and controlling our environment is the natural way for humans to survive. Our entire bodies are built around that.

      Why “punch” Waldorf schools at all?

      I didn’t criticize the school itself directly. Rather, the nature of the school tells me about the characteristics of the parents who put their children at risk.

      The primary philosophy of the Waldorf school is to teach children to become happy, peaceful, loving, successful adults.

      Unlike, all the other schools which set out to teach children to be unhappy, violent, hateful an unsuccessful adults. Do you not understand how arrogant and contemptuous you sound when you imply that your school is special because it seeks good things for its children while other schools and parents do not?

      If you want people to stop being angry with you I suggest you start by not rhetorically punching them in the face.

      I have known people like you all my life. People so drowning in their own arrogance and self-righteousness that they put the people around them at great danger. Your belief that your small little group of Waldorf parents comprise an intellectual and moral elite is what drove those parents to place their children at risk.

      In short, they placed their children at risk in order to differentiate themselves from the majority of society and thereby demonstrate their own individuals moral and intellectual superiority. They acted from the most selfish and narcissistic reasons possible.

      If that is the kind of person your school seeks to create, I suggest you burn it the ground now.

    9. AutismMomandProud Says:

      For B. Durbin. I have a child with autism. I had him vaccinated on schedule. The two have nothing to do with one another. And autism is by no means the worst thing ever. So I agree 100%. As far as whooping cough is concerned. We have to start thinking about what is good for the majority of society….and the vaccine program has been, by far, the most successful national health program to date. So even if my child was “damaged” by a vaccine, I would never advocate for anyone to not vaccinate their child. It is irresponsible.

    10. sol vason Says:

      The Pertussus vaccine is only 80% effectives, The smallpox vaccine was 100% effective. This means that out of every herd of 100 million children who are vaccinated there will be 0 cases of smallpox and 20 million cases of pertussis (the actual historical average).

      A pertussis vaccine that confers absolute immunity is needed. Right now we are using mass pertussis vaccinations with a semi-worthless vaccine to breed a super pertussis virus that, like the AIDS virus, cannot be stopped.

      But an army of tort lawyers pray (prey?) for the day some one will develop a new vaccine. The only way to have vaccines that work is to eliminate tort lawyers. That coughing sound you recorded was not caused bt pertussis, it was caused by law schools.

    11. Charles D Quarles Says:

      Sol,

      Pertussis is not a virus. It is caused by bacteria (Bordetella pertussis in the old days…not sure if it has been renamed). If suspected early enough, regular antibiotics like amoxicillin or erythromycin shorten the course of the illness. Typically, though, the best time for giving antibiotics has passed before the victim is aware of it because the early symptoms are so similar to minor respiratory viral illnesses. Once you’ve started the ‘whooping’ stage, antibiotics don’t help. This is why vaccination is so important. Nothing is 100% in medicine (and the smallpox vaccine wasn’t 100% effective either because it was based upon cross reactivity until later versions that actually used the killed smallpox virus).

      All living things alter the environment to enhance their survival. Our actions are just as much a part of the natural world as that of any other organism.

    12. Shannon Love Says:

      Sol Vasson,

      The Pertussus vaccine is only 80% effectives, The smallpox vaccine was 100% effective.

      The effectiveness of a vaccine depends wholly on the nature of the pathogen, specifically the proteins it expresses on its surface. The body doesn’t create antibodies to the pathogen as a whole but only to specific proteins and more precisely to specific versions of the protein. (Indeed, some vaccines are nothing but individual proteins from pathogens)

      The more vital the protein and the more specific the version of the protein the pathogen requires, the more effective the vaccine. The simpler the organism, the fewer proteins it has and the more restricted the choice of proteins. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, viruses are more restricted in their range of possible proteins than are bacteria. That makes viral vaccines generally more effective.

      Antibodies against small pox form against proteins that allow the virus to penetrate cells. The virus cannot alter the protein without destroying its own ability to reproduce. An entire family of virus uses this mechanism. That is why you can vaccinate against smallpox using the related cowpox virus.

      Conversely, viruses that are not dependent on a specific external protein, such as the Rino viruses that cause the common cold, evolve around any particular vaccine before the vaccine can even be created in the lab. Unfortunately, the HIV virus also shares this attribute.

      Summation: Improvements in the effectiveness in vaccines are minimal. The degree of immunity conveyed by a previous infection strongly predicts the effectiveness of any vaccine. For diseases for which immunity last only a short time, no long vaccine will ever be found.

    13. Sabryna Says:

      Well, Ms. Shannon Love,

      I see your relentlessly scathing comments also serve to demonstrate your perceived intelectual and moral superiority. Whether or not these are for purely narcissistic reasons or mixed with actual Love, I’m not qualified to judge.

    14. Sabryna Says:

      Well, Ms. Shannon Love,

      I see your relentlessly scathing comments also serve to demonstrate your perceived intellectual and moral superiority. Whether or not these are for purely narcissistic reasons or mixed with actual Love, I’m not qualified to judge. I find it true, however, that you are what you hate; for we hate in others that which we hate in ourselves.

      I just read the June 2nd article of Time magazine on “The Truth about Vaccines.” Well, as always, Truth is multidimensional and never clear cut. People choose not to vaccinate for many reasons, be they religious or philosophical or other. There were mercury in all the vaccines prior to 2001, according to Time, but their connection to autism it says, may be more due to genetic predispositions combined with exposure to the vaccines. The risk for the collective is for those who can’t receive these shots, such as newborns and cancer patients with suppressed immune systems. However, the article does not specify what percentage these folks make up, and how many of them are impacted by diseases spread by those who willingly choose not to vaccinate.

      I chose the middle ground for my daughter by delaying her vaccines until she was three, when I felt her body was grown enough to handle any funky chemicals they put in the vaccines alongside disease protection.

      It’s a very serious choice parents face who are rightfully dubious of the safety stamp from the Food and Drug Administration, that regularly puts unsafe, barely tested drugs out on the market, only to recall them after sometimes horrifying consequences. Beyond critique of the FDA, we are simply babies ourselves trying to understand the human body and the long term effects of ANY drug newly created in a lab.

      This Waldorf community, of which I am a part of, rightfully questions the safety of recent technologies that have swept down to create progress in our society. Well…some have been helpful and some have been absolutely devastating to the point of our current global crisis. I believe this is because too much of our understandings and core beliefs about the nature of the world have been spoon fed to us by our society since we were babies. Though this community may swing too far to one end of the spectrum in your perception, we no longer live in a sleeping age that can judge groups of people as a whole without considering an individual’s balance. There is a necessity for discernment and even judgment, but to condemn others for thinking unlike you is to equate yourself with the mind of God. I find your sweeping judgments self indulgent, narcissistic and simple minded.

      This community is more naturally minded than most, trusting the wisdom of centuries of Spiritual energy wisdom, herbal medicine, and other time tested ancient remedies over more recent technologies. Though yes…in nature, the consequences can be terrible and cruel, just as much as they are sublime and exquisite.

      We now live in the age of discernment. The Age of Truth. We must decide the Truth for ourselves, as individuals. To take on this responsibility is HUGE, because it means sifting through a huge amount of information, and getting your head and your heart to align. (Not easy in this heady culture!)

      As a parent trying to decide whether or not to vaccinate, I had to consider the possibility that my child did get some serious disease like Hib, or pertussis. What would I do? What could result? By deciding to delay, I had to take on the responsibility to get seriously educated of how to identify diseases and care for my daughter if she did catch one of these diseases, and how I might minimize her exposure to them, and her exposure to non-vaccinated kids.

      When I finally did vaccinate her, I had to take on the responsibility that these shots might contain some chemical that could have known or unknown long term effects, like the serious collective chemical exposure we all experience in this country, that the masses might not even be aware of. It might compromise her immune system in the long run. I may be robbing her of the much more effective natural immunity that comes from the body’s immune response to the actual disease, rather than this weakened version. I may be contributing to speeding up a mutated form of these diseases, as they fight to take hold despite vaccinations, that in the future we might not be able to immunize by riding this herd immunity in this moment in time.

      In the end, I did not feel prepared for the consequences of some of these nasty diseases, and chose a weakened immunity when I felt my daughter’s body was strong enough to handle it, over none at all. I would never judge another’s decision to do so or not, for either way, in my experience, it is a very serious and difficult decision. The parents of children and adults who contracted whooping cough, whether they immunized or not, are living out the consequences of their actions one way or another, as they freely chose, combined with the inevitable unexpected turns of life. Every consequence has a origin of many dimensions and factors, of which none but Spirit is capable of Judging. Let’s do ourselves a favor and not try…..Let’s not add insult to injury. Like everything, it is what it is, and you’ll learn more about a thing if you choose to keep you mind open to study it, rather than be certain of a thing, and close your mind in judgment.