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Vax ot Anti-Vax or Neutral?

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 Cobra_Head 07 Jan 2021

Hi All, canvassing opinion on this piece below, I can't work out if this is equating anti-vaxers with the person mentioned, or if it's just a neutral piece of work.

"On 7 January 1886, Joseph Hiatt of Hook Norton was brought before the magistrates for failing to have his 2-year-old daughter Annie vaccinated against smallpox. A comfortable High Street draper and outfitter, Hiatt was represented by his solicitor who informed the magistrates that Mr Hiatt was a conscientious objector against vaccination, and was unlikely to change his mind. The Bench made an order for Annie to be vaccinated within 14 days. Most resistance against vaccination was a reaction to its compulsory nature than to the vaccination itself. It was in this context that the phrase "conscientious objector" first came into common parlance. Once compulsion was withdrawn resistance dwindled, and smallpox was eventually eradicated in the 1970s. That's… er… 90 years…"

It this line that's bothering me most. "Once compulsion was withdrawn resistance dwindled, and smallpox was eventually eradicated in the 1970s."

Am I being over sensitive?

Cheers, Jimmy xx

In reply to Cobra_Head:

Think you may be overthinking it, reads slightly strangely but think it is about the origin of the term consciences objector and how making the smallpox vaccine voluntary lead to a greater up-take. Interestingly it took another 90 years to eradicate and it did not mutate.......

 marsbar 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

I don’t know if you’ve ever met anyone with PDA, but I can see how they wouldn’t be forced into anything, even if they’d do it anyway left to their own devices.   

As for the piece of writing, it appears to me to give fact (story about Annie) followed by entirely unsubstantiated opinion that is unconnected to the story, followed by fact (date of smallpox eradication)

As someone aware of the “shit sandwich” management technique, (complement, criticise complement)  to present a criticism without so much hassle, I’m deeply suspicious that the writer of that piece is using a similar technique to present their unsubstantiated opinion as fact. 

They may be anti vaxx or they may be one of those people who put individual freedoms higher than overall benefit to society.  Impossible to say.  

 marsbar 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> Smallpox is a unique example of an infant vaccination programme that was shut down in Britain....... A procedure that had been made compulsory in England and Wales in 1853 was discontinued in 1971. The chief reason for the end of smallpox vaccination was fairly obvious. The disease had been all but eradicated, and had ceased to be endemic in the United Kingdom since the 1930s.

> Gareth Milward Vaccinating Britain. 

So you were right to pick up on that, it’s utter nonsense.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545992/?report=reader

Post edited at 23:38
 mondite 07 Jan 2021
In reply to HighChilternRidge:

> Think you may be overthinking it, reads slightly strangely but think it is about the origin of the term consciences objector and how making the smallpox vaccine voluntary lead to a greater up-take.

It doesnt actually say that though. It says resistance dwindled which is what you would expect if it was no longer compulsory.

A quick google would indicate that the takeup, unsurprisingly, dropped heavily and it would seem the eradication 90 years later was as much as anything due to it being eradicated throughout the world.

In reply to Cobra_Head:

I prefer a Henry...

 Cobra_Head 08 Jan 2021
In reply to All:

Cheers everyone.

I thought it was bogus, and I thought it was all about the term "conscientious objector" too at first.

It was my highlighted sentence that puzzled me.

In that I worried that there's an equivalence being drawn between anti-vaxers now and what was in the OP. There also the suggestion that, removing compulsion equals more take up of vaccinations, which is blatantly wrong.

At a time when we need as many people vaccinated against this virus, while at the same time there are so many fake news items and false information about how dangerous vaccines are, it could be taken by a few to bolster their baseless beliefs and support the refusal of vaccines, as an historic and worthy cause. It was neither.

There were serious reasons why you might not want vaccinations in the 1880's, insanitary conditions and unknown dosages to name a few.

What actually happened was there was a number of deaths from smallpox, a vaccination program which quelled it for a while, then as now people decided it wasn't necessary, therefore another outbreak. then people realised it was maybe a good idea, and they worked out how to make things a bit safer and more sterile, so people could see it was a good idea. Not the removal of compulsion, simply better administration and the obvious benefits, which people could see.

 Cobra_Head 08 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> So you were right to pick up on that, it’s utter nonsense.  


Cheers, for the link, interesting stuff.

 Cobra_Head 08 Jan 2021
In reply to HighChilternRidge:

> Think you may be overthinking it, reads slightly strangely but think it is about the origin of the term consciences objector and how making the smallpox vaccine voluntary lead to a greater up-take. Interestingly it took another 90 years to eradicate and it did not mutate.......


I wasn't sure, and I'd probably have not given a second thought apart from the highlighted sentence, which seemed incongruous and a bit "woolly".

Still cheers, for the input.

 henwardian 08 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> As someone aware of the “shit sandwich” management technique, (complement, criticise complement)  to present a criticism without so much hassle, I’m deeply suspicious that the writer of that piece is using a similar technique to present their unsubstantiated opinion as fact. 

I'm glad you put your finger on that. I was left with the impression that the author was trying to justify an anti-vax rhetoric but couldn't immediately explain why!

 henwardian 08 Jan 2021
In reply to mondite:

> It doesnt actually say that though. It says resistance dwindled which is what you would expect if it was no longer compulsory.

Hmm.... There are a few things that spring from that statement.

- people do still do a lot of resisting of things which are not compulsory, just think about abortion, same-sex marriage, teaching creationism in schools, etc. etc.

- resistance dwindling isn't the same thing as uptake increasing and when it comes to things that are in the common good, uptake being low can be a major problem (e.g. paying your taxes, driving on the left side of the road, sending your kids to school, etc. etc.)

- when something is compulsory, it might help to concentrate resistance into a short initial period, after which people simply accept it, rather than resistance grumbling on for longer. Possible example might be breathalyser tests for drunk drivers.

 henwardian 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> At a time when we need as many people vaccinated against this virus, while at the same time there are so many fake news items and false information about how dangerous vaccines are, it could be taken by a few to bolster their baseless beliefs and support the refusal of vaccines, as an historic and worthy cause. It was neither.

There will be a significant proportion of the population who refuse the vaccine, even more significant in the USA, Covid-19 will be with the world for a long time, probably longer than your lifespan, and I expect you might see a lot of countries listing vaccination against it as a requirement for entry/visa (like many countries all over the world already do for various other diseases).

It will be very interesting to see how things progress from here because in my view it depends a lot on how quickly the virus mutates to become resistant and how good we are at keeping up the vaccine race. We have a head-start as there are 2 vaccines that work a bit differently already and I think a good chance 1 or 2 more might get approved in the next few months, so the virus might only become resistant to one vaccine...... after this I am wildly speculating, you would need to know a fair bit about coronaviruses and viral mutation to even make an educated guess about how this race will play out when 1 in 4 people are not vaccinated (or 1 in 2 if we are talking about the USA).

 Andy Gamisou 08 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I prefer a Henry...

I used to like the Vax-11/780.

In reply to marsbar:

> So you were right to pick up on that, it’s utter nonsense.  

The source you quote goes on to clarify the timeline of compulsory vaccination.  Apparently compulsory from 1853, the right to conscientiously object recognised in 1907, the principle of compulsory vaccination abolished in 1946/7, official policy for infants (ie recommended and routine) from 1948 to 1962.

In practice, back in the 60s and 70s at least, compulsion wasn't an issue because the level of trust (actually deference) was such that very few parents would refuse the routine vaccinations for their children.  My left shoulder is a testament to the smallpox, diphtheria and BCG immunisations I received (and many more since).  When our daughter was born in South Africa in 1995, she was given a BCG immunisation against TB within days of birth.  This isn't done here, but the risk of tuberculous meningitis there was significantly higher than the risk of the immunisation.

As I recall, it was still a requirement for travel to some areas into the 1970s and still required for some laboratory researchers in the late 80s (working on vaccinia-based vectors).

As it happens, I was working regularly in the Birmingham University medical school shortly before the smallpox outbreak there in 1978.  The woman who died had actually been vaccinated as a child but hadn't received a more recent booster.  

Britain’s public health responses to smallpox were well established, and the medical profession was confident that it could deal with any infection that arrived.10 Vaccination had been used as a public health tool since the early nineteenth century in three distinct ways. First, routine vaccination of children was seen as the best way to prevent outbreaks from occurring. This led to compulsory childhood vaccination in 1853, causing well-publicised resistance from some quarters. Vaccination rates declined significantly after conscientious objection was permitted from 1907.11 Still, from 1948 until 1962 official policy was to vaccinate infants (children under the age of 12 months). Revaccination was then encouraged in school children and adults.12 Second, ring vaccination was used on people likely to have been exposed to the virus through contact with known cases. This was designed to stop the spread of disease by stopping the chain of transmission. Finally, mass vaccination was used across a large population during times of epidemic when other forms of public health control – such as routine and ring vaccination, quarantine and isolation – had failed.13 This was never considered necessary in the post-war outbreaks, although many people presented themselves for vaccination when smallpox was detected in their area.

Vaccination, as with other public health reforms in the nineteenth century, reflected the growing power of national government over what had traditionally been local matters, and the imposition of compulsion was resisted in many quarters.14 Conscientious objection was introduced in 1898 and made easier to obtain in 1907.15 The Vaccination Acts were repealed completely by the National Health Service Acts of 1946 and 1947. In many ways, this was an administrative clean-up – conscientious objection had effectively ended compulsion anyway, and with many health services now being pulled together it made sense to unify the legislation. But it was also a response to the success of the diphtheria immunisation programme during the war. Programmes in Britain and elsewhere had deliberately chosen to make diphtheria immunisation optional, as it was felt that education and persuasion would work better with parents.16 Practice had shown this to work, and the British government hoped that it could rehabilitate the reputation of smallpox vaccination by promoting it alongside diphtheria and the soon-to-be-available whooping cough vaccine.17 The decision to end compulsion was largely ignored by the press and Parliament and, as this chapter will show, was rarely mentioned even when outbreaks occurred.

Post edited at 09:45
 marsbar 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

The bit that is definitely nonsense is the rather bizarre suggestion that resistance dwindled when it wasn't compulsory.  They are trying to suggest that compulsory vaccination would decrease rates.  I'm not convinced there is any evidence for that.  I wouldn't want to have to go back to that, but maybe it will be necessary if education and persuasion is undermined by the paranoia of the anti vaxxers. 

I did get the dates wrong, I misunderstood, thanks for clarifying that.  I found something elsewhere looking for rates and then fell asleep before I had chance to post again and sort out my error.  

Post edited at 10:15
 jkarran 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> It this line that's bothering me most. "Once compulsion was withdrawn resistance dwindled, and smallpox was eventually eradicated in the 1970s."

> Am I being over sensitive?

A caveat about correlation and causation wouldn't go amiss. Personally I suspect in reality uptake improved as it became clearly beneficial and a social norm with evidently little risk, prevalence falls and compulsion could then be reduced accordingly.

Taking a position on this indicates the writer perhaps takes a view or perhaps they just didn't think very hard and were up against a deadline or word-count. Can't really say without more context. Applying Hanlon's razor might put your mind at ease.

jk

Post edited at 10:28
 mondite 08 Jan 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> - people do still do a lot of resisting of things which are not compulsory, just think about abortion, same-sex marriage, teaching creationism in schools, etc. etc.

Yes but pretty irrelevant here. If same sex marriage was compulsory then you would have a lot of people resisting but once it was optional then only the bigots who want to control other peoples lives would be impacted.

> - resistance dwindling isn't the same thing as uptake increasing

That is precisely my point. The claim made by HighChilternRidge was wrong. They confused the two.

 mondite 08 Jan 2021
In reply to jkarran:

> A caveat about correlation and causation wouldn't go amiss. Personally I suspect in reality uptake improved as it became clearly beneficial and a social norm with evidently little risk, compulsion could then be reduced accordingly.

Again it doesnt say that. Its says resistance dwindled and, if you check other sources, so did uptake.

Logically if something isnt compulsory then resistance against it will drop since anyone who just isnt keen on it for themselves wont have any reason to object anymore and just leave the subset who want to ban it entirely for whatever reason (if that subset exists).

 jkarran 08 Jan 2021
In reply to mondite:

> Again it doesnt say that. Its says resistance dwindled and, if you check other sources, so did uptake.

I took it to mean uptake was initially poor despite legal compulsion. Effective compulsion requires effective enforcement. For a modern example consider speeding or for an example where we're more convinced of the benefit, closer to eradication, drunk driving.

jk

 Cobra_Head 08 Jan 2021
In reply to All:

Thanks again.

To Mondite,

Logically if something isn't compulsory then resistance against it will drop since anyone who just isn't keen on it...........

I think your correct, but I'm not sure it was meant to say that, because you are correct it doesn't make sense.

I think she was trying to suggest take up was more once compulsion ended.

Ironically, she wrote this when I'd queried her post. I asked what she was trying to say, meaning the compulsion / take up statement, but she picked up on the "conscientious objection" bit, that might have been my fault not being specific.

"And I'm not sure why you think I am "trying to say" something? I am a professional historian. I report what happened in the past. And I don't say that exemption was invented in the 1880s; I say this is when the phrase "conscientious objection" first came into common parlance, i.e. people in the street began to use it. Trust me, there's nothing like a severe training at Oxford to make you choose your words with care!"

 Cobra_Head 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> I used to like the Vax-11/780.


The one we had almost set on fire, it we brand new and after a few days started billowing black smoke out the back, which took quite a long time to notice since the thing was behind me.

I had a hell of a job getting my money back, from Comet, they wanted me to deal direct with Vax.

My favourite is our Hitachi.

Post edited at 11:47

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