Anti-vaccine tweets correlated with affluent white women in five states

anti-vaccine tweets

Although there’s evidence that the anti-science beliefs surrounding vaccines cross a broad political spectrum, I’ve always wondered if rich white liberal women were the center of the anti-vaccine universe – this is based on my own personal anecdotal evidence, so let’s just consider that a belief than a fact. A recent analysis of anti-vaccine tweets may or may not confirm my beliefs about these rich white liberals.

There has been a dramatic increase, over the past few years, in the volume of tweets that claim that life-saving vaccines are linked to autism. Anyone who reads this blog knows that that claim is demonstrably and scientifically false. Despite the science, the belief that vaccines cause autism remains. And this view is promulgated on various locations on the internet.

Like with a lot of other controversial topics, the Twitter outrage about the danger of vaccines doesn’t actually reflect a sudden surge in anti-vaccine beliefs amongst the general population. According to a recently published peer-reviewed article, most of increase in these anti-vaccine tweets represent a very specific demographic. Individuals from affluent, populated areas in five states – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania – seem to be the backbone of this sudden increase in anti-vaccine tweets.

Let’s take a look at this new paper. It could provide us with some information about the who is pushing the anti-vaccine narrative. Continue reading “Anti-vaccine tweets correlated with affluent white women in five states”

Why we vaccinate–mandatory flu vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization

flu-shot-smiley-face

Updated 28 November 2014.

According to the unsurprising results reported in a new study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in areas where laws mandate that children receive a seasonal flu vaccination, before entering preschool or day care, the rate of flu-related hospitalizations drops significantly. In this study, after Connecticut enacted a law that mandated the vaccine, the rate of children requiring hospitalization because of the flu declined by 12%.

Connecticut’s regulation for flu vaccination (pdf), which took effect in 2010, increased the uptake of childhood flu vaccinations from 67.8% to 84.1%. According to Dr. James Hadler, the lead researcher for the study, “That difference, we feel, has resulted in children attending daycare being better protected against influenza and its severe complications.”

Even though Connecticut’s regulations for flu vaccination allows for some exemptions (the child has a scheduled appoint for the shot soon after the start of school, medical contraindication, or religious belief), it’s obvious that the effort was highly successful in driving up the level of uptake of the flu vaccination, a vaccine that is often ignored by parents for occasionally odd reasons. Continue reading “Why we vaccinate–mandatory flu vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization”

Connecticut reduces influenza rates with a simple step–vaccination

On January 1, 2011, Connecticut mandated that any child between 6 and 59 months old must be vaccinated for influenza if they are to be enrolled in a licensed Connecticut day care center.  So the vaccination rate for kids in that age group went from around 54% in 2009-10 to 85% during the 2010-11 flu season.  

Emergency department visits for flu and flu-like illness dropped from 34% in 2008 to 30% in 2011, or around 72,000 visits.  There was also a 30% decrease in emergency department visits for children in the 6-59 month age range.  Like many of these diseases there’s a myth that they are not that dangerous.  Except a significant portion of these kids who contract the disease will have other, more serious, issues like pneumonia or even death. 

The vaccination program benefits both children and adults that come in contact with the children (though it would be better if the parents were vaccinated too).  And vaccines save lives.  Period.  End of debate.

via Conn. flu rates decline after new vaccine requirement | Vaccine News Daily.