Today I met someone that told me that they were not going to vaccinate their child because it causes autism. Sometimes I get really tired of this type of person and I know some of you do too.

I was wondering if anyone else has been in this situation and how did you handle it. Me, I just walked away from that particular person.

Tags: advice, autism, examples, vaccines

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I've run into that situation before. In my case, I brought up that they were using outdated information and that numerous studies had shown that vaccination and autism are not linked. Having read up on the subject, I was able to point her to various studies that showed that there was no correlation between the two, explain the difference between the various types of mercury (always a favorite talking point of the toxin crowd), make a couple useful analogies about how correlation does not mean causation (I often use the example that going to high school and entering puberty are highly correlated, but no one thinks high school causes puberty) and inject some humor with some interesting side points that further disarm the 'vaccines cause autism' claim. (Such as one study finding that having linoleum floors are more highly correlated with having an autistic child than being vaccinated)

For most people I've personally encountered, they're making the decision based on bad information and if you can give them good information in a manner that doesn't imply that they were bad people for making their original decision, they'll update their views. It's the true believers that reject all conflicting information, they're much harder to talk to.

I agree with Dave. When I find myself in a situation with someone who is misinformed about an issue, I try to gently point them in the direction of the facts without sounding condescending. People simply make the best decisions they can based on the information they have, particularly when it comes to the welfare of their children.

After years of entering into these types of discussions, I have many statements from leading world health organizations memorized. It's certainly hard to not get frustrated sometimes and I certainly walk away from willful ignorance, but if you have the patience and the knowledge, attempting to stop the spread of misinformation is the best possible action.

Penn & Teller do an amazing job refuting anti-vaccination propaganda on Bullshit! Check them out. For starters, the origin of that myth is a guy who was paid off to write a bogus medical report discrediting vaccination. I'd tell you more, but my memory is hazy, and it's for you to look up anyway ;)

Love that show.

Ditto.  We used to watch that on break at work.  What a job.

This is one of those things that really pisses me off. All these selfish people are soo willing to put not only their own kids at risk but everyone else. It makes me lean to the idea that these people's kids should not be allowed in school unless there is a valid medical reason such as cancer or conditions that caused suppressed immune systems etc. All these waivers for faith reasons are horse shit...

Very nicely noted everyone.  I especialy like the Penn & Teller reference from Stuart.  I have responded to that claim simply and directly.  As a sidenote, I lost my respect for a licensed chiropractor I know, who specialized in children's chiropractics, when he was publicly fueling this awful claim on Facebook. I stopped associating with him when I realized part of his practice was based on this quackery... The FUD factor... Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt... it has been making money for people for way to long.  It isn't just a Republican tool.

What I said to a parent whom I knew, "That isn't true - you should really look into that false claim.  Get all the facts.  By not vaccinating your child, you are putting your child at serious risk - Do you really want to do that?"  I was direct, but, I didn't have the time to dilly dally and as a former coach, I appreciate treating people with a directness that certainly hasn't won 100% of my arguments, but, I've been told by some they appreciated.  Go with what works for your personality and what would be construed as genuine.

I live in an area with a low vaccination rate and I am a Pre-K teacher. I hear the whole autism thing ad nauseam. I have a notebook of well written articles detailing the benefits of vaccination and the consequences of not vaccinating that I hand out to my parents. At a certain point though, especially with religious objectors it doesn't matter what you tell them you'd get further talking to a brick wall. I honestly think that schools should require children to be vaccinated I think it's totally unfair for people to put my and other people's health at risk because of their religion or because of their ignorance.

It's not only vaccination I hear about on an almost daily basis. I get to hear about astrology, aliens, ghosts, ESP, homeopathy, "natural" remedies, body cleanses and so on. Whenever people start telling me about this stuff I just look at them and say "I can't believe you take that seriously" or "You know what they call natural remedies that have been proven to work? Medicine" or "I've found no evidence that that is true, I'd love to see your source"  ... It's rare that I'm very nice about this stuff anymore.

I hate the natural remedies bs.  I have an incurable, under-researched disease and it pisses me off that I have to wade through all of this bs when looking at what other people do to manage the disease.  I understand the desperation of some people to get "a cure" but...who has the time to waste, the money give, and the will to further endanger their health by trying quack alternative medicine?

At work the other day a woman told me she lived with two ghosts!!!  Late that day she told me she was "off [her] meds."  Not sure if the two statements were related but I feel they ought to have been.  In this culture, it's not a given!

I agree with your idea but not so much the frustration. The problem is that pharmaceutical companies are monstrously evil, I cant blame people for not trusting them. They use their political influence to increase profits at the expense of citizens time and time again. If they could somehow turn a buck by killing your kids they would do it, they wouldn't even bat an eyelash. The best way to get people to vaccinate their children, in my opinion, is to change the drug system because the people controlling it are no better then common crack dealers.  

Anytime I hear a 'Big Pharma is evil incarnate' argument, I roll my eyes. Yes, the pharmaceutical companies are out to make a profit. Yes, there are unethical practices that happen in the industry, However, blanket accusations of unrelenting evil or claims that they are happy to indiscriminately slaughter children to make a little more cash ranks right up there with the claims that the auto industry has been hiding the 200MPH carborator or that the Elders of Zion are secretly controlling the world financial market.

There are certainly people in thedrug industry who are unethical. However, there are also a great number of people who are in the business because they want to help people. Trying to paint everyone with the same monolithic brush is irrational and does not conform to the facts.

...the auto industry has been hiding the 200MPH carborator or that the Elders of Zion are secretly controlling the world financial market.

No, God controls all that stuff.  


Duh!

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