Meryl Dorey is a pip. "Free speech" and "two sides" my ever-loving backside. It's not a free speech issue at all, and when it comes to reality, there aren't two sides. Especially when it comes to the grossly wrong and very, very dangerous misinformation she spreads.
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I just can't understand a sane, literate person finding a rationale in any anti-vaccination propaganda.
In the autism case, people want to have something to blame besides genetics.
+Lisa Borel The problem is that even sane, rational people are irrational at times, and antivaxers tend to prey upon the fears that turn normal, intelligent humans into blubbering piles of crazy. What I think we have to remember is to be compassionate, but firm, with these people.
Do people really think genetics reflects on them personally? That kind of thinking reminds me of physiognomy.
This is a case where ignorance is not bliss: immunizations prevent plagues. These people should educate themselves, not spread propaganda.

Fruitcakes, all of them.
What gets me is the common misconception about free speech. Sure, you're free to spout whatever crap you want to say, but just because you have the right to say it doesn't mean there won't be some sort of consequences, especially if the things your spouting are flat out lies and misinformation.
I don't know how free speech works in Australia, but in the U.S. it only means the government cannot suppress you. It says nothing about the myriad ways that other people and the private sector have to shut your ignorant ass up.
+Emma Cating Compassionate? Firm? No ... you do whatever it takes to make them understand that they are going to get people killed, including children. You treat them with all the disrespect they have earned until they get their heads out of their collective nether regions.
+Lisa Borel Yes, they do. Innumeracy (especially the inability to handle even basic statistics) is a plague upon all our houses.
I attended Skeptical this past weekend (it was great) and there was a woman there who believed in homeopathy--after a very thorough explanation, which should have been easily understood by a 10 year old, she raised her hand to say the presentation should have had someone from the other side to present their argument. She didn't quite get the 'there is nothing to it'. Unsurprisingly, she also turned out to be antivax. 'Skeptic' doesn't mean what she thinks it means... I heard she asked for a refund..
+James Karaganis I agree - I simply think that the best way of convincing most of them is by being compassionate and firm. People are more willing to listen when they aren't busy being defensive. That's all. I certainly don't think we should allow them to put others in danger, I simply think there are effective and ineffective ways of attempting to convince them.
Someone should do a study as to whether listening to such uninformed drivel causes brain damage or not. :)
+James Karaganis Lol! I would guess we would end up with a hydra if we were to chop off heads. Maybe burn them?
+Emma Cating Antivaccination people aren't defensive. They have an agenda, and they're pushing it aggressively. It's also important to remember that what they're pushing is nothing less than the return of smallpox, polio et al, for EVERYONE'S kid. And you think they should be treated with compassion????
+Gwenn Olson in general, if it works on a zombie, it will work on these types. Neither group has much use for higher cognitive functions anyway.
+James Karaganis, in the US the government can still stop you if you are falsely yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater. And I think they are doing just that.
A single shotgun blast to the head will usually do the trick.
+Darren James the people PUSHING anti-vaccination may be, however I do believe that most of the parents who do not vaccinate their children truly believe they are doing what is best for their kids. Clearly, they are incredibly and dangerously misinformed, but I don't believe that the average antivaxer parent has any agenda except the misguided attempts to protect their child. Again, I'm not excusing their behavior or their actions, but I think that it is important to bear in mind that the best way to convince them may be to be compassionate. And firm.
+Darren James , Fortunately, Smallpox has been eradicated. It is funny that Rinderpest has been eradicated from the earth, even with the problems of vaccinating wild populations....and yet thanks to misguided parents, we still have measles. The people who remember how bad the 'childhood' diseases were are (like me) getting older. Even the epidemics we have now are no where near what they were when I was a child...I'm afraid our Luddites are dragging us back there as fast as they can.
+Darren James well in that case, I disagree. Not everyone who doesn't vaccinate their children has some kind of agenda.
Some are just careless, some uninformed and think they are doing the best for their children, and some of the children have acute or chronic diseases and cannot be vaccinated, and thus are even more dependent on heard immunity to keep them safe.
+Emma Cating Indeed. The problem is that scaremongerers abuse the fact that pretty much all parents want to protect their children by telling them that they will be hurt by vaccination/WiFi/western medicine in order to sell them books/tinfoil hats/homeopathy medicine. Compounded by the fact that you can find "information" on anything being dangerous on the Internet, it's always an uphill battle.

Of course, maybe a solution is to inform them about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide(DHMO).
LMAO, More people are injured and killed by DHMO than all vaccines combined!
I am talking of course of people who choose not to vaccinate because they believe nonsense such as referenced above. Whether or not they sit at home twirling their moustaches is a nonissue. By not vaccinating they are pushing the agenda of antivaccination. Which is to get people not to vaccinate. I don't see how it's possible for you to disagree with that.
Wrong wrong wrong wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong! The stories are NOT anecdotal, the diseases ARE still in the environment, unvaccinated people DO get infected. Until recently, we has several restaurant hep A outbreaks every year. It is endemic in the water in the south, and some people are silent carriers. Hep B us endemic in Asia, rates in the US have dropped by 60% since we started vaccinating infants. As a PICU RN, I have cared for Pertussis infants who DIED, and HIB mortality and morbidity was very common when I started as a nurse, only stopped after the vaccine was introduced. I've cared for kids with both measles and chicken pox encephalitis and measles pneumonias in the ICU. I have NEVER taken care of an infant/child in 25 years who was admitted for a vaccine reaction.
Have you LOOKED at the Jenny McCarthy body count website? Those deaths are not anecdotes, and the number doesn't include the days lost at work when your child is sick or contagious. The money list when the parents have jobs that don't pay sick leave, or don't have insurance coverage, or the children who CAN'T be vaccinated that are infected by these parents. 
+Gwenn Olson
I'm tired of looking up unknown acronyms from posts...
What is PICU, HIB?
It is highly unfortunate that the CDC only releases deaths and infections. It does not list the number if children who had to be hospitalized, and after we drag an infant or child back from death's door, with every piece of equipment and knowledge at our disposal, to send home after 6 weeks for another 6 months on oxygen. Those are simply listed as infections, when in actuality, they were SO much more.
The CDC has NUMBERS of infections and deaths going back for DECADES. The numbers are NOT anecdotal. They are real children.
+James Karaganis As far as I'm aware free speech is not a constitutionally protected right in Australia. However many Australians learn about law from American TV, so they frequently cry about their right to free speech when they in fact have none.
The antivax people use the same "two sides" argument as the creationist crackpots who insist that ghost stories be given equal time to evolution.
+Emma Cating Sane rational people are irrational sometimes? Rationality is a fight for everyone, and the areas we're not fighting for it are where the craziness creeps in. Humans are not rational animals.
+Kathy Applebaum The yelling "fire" limitation on free speech really really does apply to this crazy arse anti-vaccer shit. They are a danger to others and need to be stopped.
Two sides of all arguments, but generally there's only ever one reality, and when the argument is over, only crazy people stick to the loosing side.
Sue H
The real issue is that people are [a] bad at statistics ~ just look at how many will buy a lottery ticket yet feel they will never be in a car accident [b] we live in a fault finding culture and [c] are massively protective of their own children first.

If you read that there is a 1 in 100,000 for seizures post MMR yet there were "496 laboratory-confirmed cases [of Measles] were reported from January to May 2011" you might think, no, even 1 in 100,000 is too high a risk and 496 cases in the UK is very very low AND the risk of really bad side effects from measles is low, so I won't.

Of course I am NOT comparing like figures* and you can begin to see why the ordinary parent may think, I won't do my child because I might do more harm than good.

BTW, I am very pro-vaccination but (bar some choice idiots) would prefer to actually think WHY people are so afraid and reluctant ~ and that just saying they are dumb, evil, etc is making things worse.

The numbers I quoted are found from the UK NHS website, although different pages leading off this one:
+Sue H I think a lot of it is that some people can't bear to be responsible for "doing something" that might harm their child, although the chance and severity of harm is vastly lower than the protection it gives. Compared to a "natural occurrence" (and don't get me started on naturalistic fallacy) of some virus, they feel it's better to not do harm themselves and let nature (here I have to resist saying kill their child) choose the outcome. It's not smart, but it satisfies their need to not be the ones to blame.
Sue H
1) In my experience most provaxers say that “my parents/grandparents saw how deadly this disease could be, and how many died, so agreed with vaccination“ rather than using it as anecdata. So it explains why people THEN made the choices they did, in the same way people now might say “Measles, Mumps and Rubella are childhood diseases and I don’t know of anyone dying from them so I don’t see why vaccination is a big deal anymore”.

2) I agree that companies & people (including Doctors) make money from their product whether that is pharmaceuticals or homeopathy. I disagree with how useful those products are based on the evidence available, and how much governments/doctors etc lie to us but that is a different argument.

3) The information you based your choice on (to not vaccinate) is not necessarily wrong but the real issue is that the more people who agree and follow your choice the greater the chance of the data changing. Specifically that the fewer people who are vaccinated the more likely it becomes to have outbreaks and therefore for your child, in the future, to become sick because they were not vaccinated. Check out the Wikipedia Herd Immunity article:
+Sue H Yup, Herd Immunity makes a huge difference, especially for the less effective and "can't be given to the at-risk group" vaccines like Whooping cough. The real at-risk people are very young children, who can't get the vaccine, and the vaccine is not 100% effective (although it got better some ten years ago). Which is why diseases like whooping cough are the first to spread into these anti-vaccer communities.
Excellent. Good job. The anti-vaxers really need to get a grip and stop putting lives at risk with their scare-mongering.
Sue H
+Doughal Payne Yup. And herd immunity is the first thing to be lost when too many people make self-centered choices that are, as stand-alone choices, perfectly acceptable but are not OK en mass.
+Brooke Johnson Please look up "herd immunity" , or someone explain it to her... The only reason these diseases rates Are Low is because people get vaccines. By not Vaccinating, you not only threaten your children, but everyones, Vaccinated or NOT. If some of these disease mutate enough through natural uncontained spread, it threatens the permanant effectiveness of the vaccine and puts millions of lives at risk.

The side I am on is "Pro-Science". Please feel free to falsify any fact I present. But I see some serious nonscientific Demogogary among the "ProVax" camp here that sounds borderline Denialist. Public Health measures would well benefit from adopting the constraint found in Environmental Science. By constraint, mean caution in how vaccinations are done, ( Not by stopping them ! ) And recognize that no person is served, by lack of transparancy in vaccine ingredients, sheltering corporations that may take dangerous corner-cutting measures , nor introducing endogenous mammal viruses into the human population. Can we all agree these are NOT Preferred?

Yes, its insane alarmism to blindly assert that "vaccines cause cancer". But this sounds suspiciously like a strawman. Some types of vaccines can cause tumors. It is a FACT, that some humans have gotten cancers , from both endogenous retroviruses and previously unknown viruses ( from the animal tissues ) the vaccines were cultured in . I don't think glossing over concerns over potentially harmful unnecessary ingedients or animal tissue cultures is a Conspiracy. Its institutional stupidity, of the same of order that Semmelweiss faced when attempting to get surgeons to wash their hands. OK, I take it back, its several orders worse, since we have the germ-theory of disease, and know about cancer causing viruses.

Lest I be attacked, I do get Vaccines frequently, and have never heard of Meryl Dorey. Neverthless I would prefer a more open industry, with stricter constraints. I also would prefer a massive rollout of the HPV vaccine which is just as deadly as throat and anal cancer in Men. More Science, Less Demogogery...
How do people get away with making these claims? Seems to me that's the bigger enemy.
I personally went to school with people who'd had polio and walked with crutches or braces because of it. I was born the year the polio vaccine came out. My parents knew people who'd died of polio and were very happy there was a now a way to protect their children. We almost had polio eradicated, just as smallpox was. Now there are areas where people are refusing to allow their children the vaccinations and the disease has come back. Luckily, it has not reached the US....yet.
Yeah...if these "antivaxers" (nice term, btw, I had no idea there was a term for these people) had ever watched a loved-one suffer from the diseases prevented by the vaccines they campaign against, they wouldn't be antivaxers. It's a movement of naivete and ignorance, and it's tragic because the victims are innocent children that don't have the ability to choose for themselves.
+Desiree Archibald I wish it were so easy. It is like telling a smoker cigarettes cause cancer etc.. They always believe the deaths will happen to someone else, or like Meryl Dorey, think the doctor is lying on the death certificate to cover the 'real' cause.
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