Invitation to a pox party in my news feed

I know that mothers are battling to get hold of the chicken pox vaccine at the moment, but I was horrified to see a mother (who is a nurse) post that her child has chicken pox, who wants to come around for a pox party. Initially I thought she was being facetious, but no, people began commenting - some that they were ill and couldn’t cope with sick kids right then, others that they were interested. When she liked their comments and indicated she’d chat further with them, I realised she was serious.

I don’t understand the logic behind not vaccinating your child but then attempting to infect them with the actual disease. Why?

I know that complications from chicken pox are fairly rare and that the chicken pox vaccine is on the EPI and not the government schedule, but I’m annoyed with the whole lack of logic in deliberately attempting to infect your child with a vaccine preventable disease, and that a nurse (who works for a medical aid - though not the big blue one, but a big one none the less) is recruiting children to be infected. For shame!

I’ve noticed our country’s anti vaxxers getting more and more organised, and although I know that we don’t have the problems the USA does with anti vaxxers, they’re getting their message out with facebook groups which sell themselves as sharing information on vaccines and not being anti vaxxine.

I’m feeling quite irritated right now, and I’ve clicked the unfriend button - promptly, I gave up reasoning with nutters long ago, I got tired of the attacks in my personal messages and on twitter, so I still post informative information on vaccines, but I just don’t respond to attacks from the vocal minority of anti vaxxers (which sadly seems to be growing).

I think the reasoning behind pox parties is just to get it over and done with: if you have three children, you go infect them all and they get the disease and get it over with. Also, the older you are when you get chicken pox, the more unpleasant the symptoms, or so they say.

But the disease isn’t risk free, and it’s probably better to get your child vaccinated.

This is the problem. Chicken pox just doesn’t go away; it can reappear in later life as shingles–very unpleasant indeed. No parent should deliberately expose their child to this virus.

wtf, Gosh I’ve heard of them before, I’m sad to here the idea has spread here, now.

It appears that it is not because of the anti-vaxxers that people fail to vaccinate against chickenpox. At least, judging by the Wiki article on the vaccine, I do not get the impression that there is much controversy over it, at least not of the same sort as there is surrounding the MMR vaccine:

I think most people just do not realize that chickenpox is potentially dangerous, or that it can cause shingles years later.

The antivaxxers I come across are anti all vaccines, not just MMR, all vaccines in their entirety are seen as a big conspiracy theory, big pHARMa profits you see. Natural immunity (getting the disease and risking serious complications) is seen as preferable to injecting “toxins” into their special snowflake and despite relying on herd immunity, there is denial that community immunity exists. Yes, people seem to forget about shingles.

If you want to see what insanity prevails in the SA antivaxxers, have a look at Vaccine Awareness South Africa

Here are links to their FB page and their closed group.

If you have a look on any FB parenting group, any comment about vaccines draws comments about how there is formaldehyde in the vaccine, point out it is less than in a pear and the reply is that a pear is not injected into the blood stream (surely once digested the nutrients end up in your blood stream? I just took biology to matrix, maybe I missed something?) and so the comments go on, with the reasons for rejecting vaccines getting more ridiculous and more easily debunked until the ad hominems start. It is frustrating dealing with fact averse people.

I certainly wouldn’t expose my children to feeling rotten for two weeks, itching like mad, risking the small risk of death, getting scars, and being at risk of shingles just to get it over with, when it could just vaccinate them.

P.s how do I get the yellow block around quoted text? Is it ok and readable to copy and paste in italics and with quotation marks. Sorry, I’m new here.(actually, think I’ve figured it out.)

<blockquote>Here are links to their FB page and their closed group.</blockquote>

Gives me

Here are links to their FB page and their closed group.

The forward slash “/” indicates the end of the quoted block. You can also click “Insert quote”/“Quote” at the top right of a post to get it pre-formatted for you. Often I’ll do this and cut the text down to the part I really wanted to quote.

You can also have nested quotes, and newlines are ignored:

<blockquote><blockquote>Here are links to their FB page and their closed group.</blockquote>

Bunch of nutters!</blockquote>

Gives us:

Here are links to their FB page and their closed group.

Bunch of nutters!

Thank you :slight_smile: and apologies for my ignorance.

Bunch of nutters!
Sadly they’re rather dangerous as they spread their lack,of understanding and half truths around.

Damn, did it wrong. I will keep trying!

Recent research has indicated that when you give such people a bunch of dry facts, they are in fact LESS likely to be convinced. There is apparently no point arguing with them, except in so far as it might show potential converts to their position that they are nuts.

Lucky thing we at least have Darwin on our side… :slight_smile:

That rather nonchalant saying missed the greater reason why we upset with people not vaccinating there children.

In the end it’s innocent kids paying the price for there parents stupidity
or actually other kids in there community paying the price for ignorance.

If somebody started a group to combat anti vaccination in this country
I would donate, It does need somebody who knows how to do these things properly.

Recent research has indicated that when you give such people a bunch of dry facts, they are in fact LESS likely to be convinced. There is apparently no point arguing with them, except in so far as it might show potential converts to their position that they are nuts."

I’ve read articles on how some of the attempts to clarify mistruths result in reinforcing them.

“If somebody started a group to combat anti vaccination in this country
I would donate, It does need somebody who knows how to do these things properly.”

I’ve got the organisational skills to start something, but I’m not from a science or medical background (I’ve done commerce and psychology - science lite?) so would have to have help for fact checking. Much of the misinformation is spread on Facebook and Twitter and then filters out to parenting groups, but I find that often at the real life groups, if someone makes an uninformed anti vaccine comment that there is usually someone who gently responds with better information (or a look of horror). On Facebook and Twitter, if you post anything positive about vaccination or respond to misinformation, there is usually a vicious back lash and posts to all sorts of nonsense to support the argument - you tube videos, natural news, etc. I’ve managed to make a few friends who I can tag who have statistical knowledge (mine is um, sketchier than it should be, but enough to know the anti vaxxers are wrong), and can debunk their interpretation of graphs and figures. Unfortunately many of the anti vaxxers suffer from severe Dunning-Kruger effect, so it really is like talking to a brick wall, but it is the others who are reading and following and perhaps sitting on the fence who are really being spoken to. Unfortunately many of the reasonable people who do have the knowledge and information get tired of the ALL CAPS RESPONSES and the ad hominems and just tired of debunking the same nonsense over and over. So long as I had back up, I could set up a page and a group.
I think it needs time and expertise donation rather than monetary donation. There are some excellent resources available overseas, we just need to tailor it more for an SA market.

As I’ve typed, I think I’ve realised I must go ahead and set up and then let you know ;D and others who are interested can help me from there.

"Lucky thing we at least have Darwin on our side… :-)"Indeed - however, the problem is that there are people who cannot be vaccinated because of illnesses they have or other reasons who rely on community immunity and there are people who don’t have an immune response to the vaccines and can be affected by our Darwin Award Winners decisions. Look at what has happened in Wales and the USA with whooping cough and measles. The problem with these people as well is that they spread the misinformation, which can sound quite reasonable - especially as they tend to quote from package inserts (with complete lack of understanding of what they’re reading - don’t trust big pharma, but big pharma’s package inserts are infallible proof ???) what I’ve read is that the first doubters tend to be those with undergraduate degrees and then it starts to spread out from there until you have pockets of mothers who all subsist on kale, coconut oil and avoiding vaccines.

I’ll find some links to the American sites that exist to combat some of this nonsense and see what can be used to fuel ideas for local conditions.

I know someone who didn’t want to vaccinate her children because of her fears bred from the information she’d heard, but decided that becasue we have such poverty problems and that if others caught the diseases from her children she would feel guilty, she vaccinated them. If only that attitude could prevail amongst all anti vaxxers - but sadly it doesn’t seem to, there seems to be such encouragement that everyone should forego vaccines - and when you’re relying on herd immunity, that is a rather silly thing to be encouraging.

Ok, here are a few of the good sites out there (the first two are Facebook):!/RtAVM?fref=ts

This one corrects all incorrect memes, including anti vaccine ones:!/LDLMemes?fref=ts

I was requested to write articles for these two sites, but mine are very weak compared to what other mothers have written. These are both parent based blogs. However, both have medical panels who check through posts before they’re posted. I think we have too few people who would be willing to write regularly enough for running anything like these.

I have noticed some really good articles on vaccines in You Magazine, the Clicks Club Card Magazine, Child Magazine and Your Baby quite recently, which is a good start. Unfortunately some time ago Living and Loving did one which included quotes from homepaths which said they weren’t anti vaccine, but suggested their nosodes were vaccines, and well, we know what would appear on a homeopathic product’s ingredients list don’t we?

There are then wonderful links I’ve found and use when seeing bull (of course their tone is found to be at fault if someone doesn’t like what they say).
Here is one as a sample.

There are plenty of resources that are publicly available to refer people to, I think what is really needed is a Facebook page that puts the information together and is easily accessible to South African parents, and a group where they can post questions or check things they’re concerned about. Many of the anti vaxxers make people fear asking doctors these quesstions. I’ve been quite horrified since becoming a parent, to discover how gullible some very intelligent people are - how they will question and seek information on some topics, but on others blindly follow what some person who thinks preservatives in vaccines are evil toxins but happily uses botox tells them.

I had a pox party for my son’s friends twenty odd years ago, its by no means a new phenomenon. AND both my sons were vaccinated, they still got the bug, along with many of their friends.

As far as I know you still cannot enrol your child in primary school without the innoculation chart from your clinic, which is probably a good thing…

I know: the inoculation doesn’t take with everyone, and such kids rely on herd immunity, which goes to hell when too many antivaxxers fail to immunize. The grim Darwin will reap us all.

… and herd immunity especially won’t help if people are infecting their children on purpouse.

“I had a pox party for my son’s friends twenty odd years ago, its by no means a new phenomenon. AND both my sons were vaccinated, they still got the bug, along with many of their friends.”

No, pox parties are not a new thing, and long ago, there might have been some benefit to having chicken pox while still young as I’ve heard anecdotes that children seem not to get it as badly as adults do (though I know a few children who have had it pretty badly), but since there is no a vaccine, why put your child through that?

An what is next? Measles parties (they do happen in some other countries), polio parties? pertussis parties? TB parties?

I’ve been reading up again on the backfiring of pro vaccine messages. It seems that what is backfiring is when attempts are made to refute anti vaccine messages, but it does still work to have accurate information available. The other thing that seemed to backfire is having overly “sciencey” information - it goes over people’s heads, plain language seems to work best. Since the anti vaxxers have facebook pages and groups with lots of made up nonsense, I think something that is easily available to South African parents, and points to reliable web sites to read, not just the ones that the vaccine “awareness” pages are touting - as those are what people find easily so those are the things they read and believe.

I talk openly about vaccinating my children, I always post a status update when we’re off for vaccines. I’ve had a few friends and even relatives phone me and ask me questions because they’re unsure. I know this is anecdotal, but sorry, its the best I have. What I get told is that they know the anti vaxx information is biased but they’re afraid. They know that so and so’s baby had febrile convulsions after vaccines (I do point out that if baby got a temperature, which is a normal side effect and a low grade fever isn’t dangerous, that if prone to convulsions and the temperature rises too fast that any temperature that baby got that did this would possibly result in febrile convulsions, so it wasn’t from the vaccine strictly speaking (although that incident was). They tell me that they are afraid to ask questions on any of the more science based pages, as people assume they’re an anti vaxxine troll and they get mocked for answering a question that is similar to what anti vaxxers spout - but the question is asked in a genuine desire to know the answer. They daren’t ask on an anti vaxx page, because they don’t wasnt to be associated with it. I know a few friends who delayed vaccines - measles, pertussis, BCG because of their fears, though most have now caught up and their children didn’t come to harm.

I think we do need a place easily accessible to SA parents with factual information written in plain language (fact checked by those with more knowledge than me of course) and where people can ask quesitons with the assumption always being that it is a genuine question and not a troll (though there will of course be plenty of those), but if the responses are always reasonable and only the troll is getting hyped up, people can draw their own conclusions (and common sense seems to previal there - people don’t like or trust a shouty person).


ps. I am just indenting and italicising my quotes, I need to sit and play aroudn with the formatting some more, so please bear with me as I learn.

Australia seems to have had some success in getting their equivalent of VASA to change their name to something that doesn’t imply they’re providing accurate information on vaccines.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our crack pots had to change their name to “antivaxxers of SA” or something that is genuinely descriptive of what they do?

How would I go about doing something meaningful to stop the prmotion of this nonsense under the guise of not being anti vaccine but pro safe vaccines and acces to unbiased (read only nonsense allowed) information?
Would the department of health intervene or are their bigger issues for them with primary health care than middle class parents who won’t vaccinate their children (might not be a huge issue now, but if their message keeps spreading, it is the poor who pay the price int eh end as if and when their children get these diseases, just getting to treatment facilities is difficult).