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#1 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Measles Maths

I like Maths (I teach it even to our undergraduates at times), and the statistics of the measles epidemic are being misquoted all over (in fact often done), so I thought I'd do a bit of measles maths (math if you like) here for you. We can even calculate the efficacy of the measles portion of MMR (under some assumptions)!

@teacozy posted this visualisation of the recent CDC release of statistics about the Disneyland Measles cases:

https://www.mothering.com/forum/47-va...l#post18482578

The link to the primary source is this: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwr...=mm64e0213a1_e

I'm going to ignore the undocumented cases, and consider the 49 cases in unvaccinated individuals, and 13 in those with one or more doses of MMR.

Lets say that 90% of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles get measles (that leaves 10%, or 1 in 10 not catching it if unvaccinated and exposed, which I think is probably fair, but I can do this for a different fraction if you find evidence of a reason to).

If 49 unvaccinated people caught measles that means 54 were exposes (49/54 = 90%).

Typical vaccination rates in the US (averaged) are 92% with >1 dose of MMR (that's from here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-mana...nis/index.html

So if there were 54 unvaccinated people exposed to measles at Disneyland, and 92% of the population are vaccinated that means (that assuming this wasn't a pocket of unusually high or low vaccination rates at Disneyland that day) 681 people in total were exposed to measles (54 unvaccinated, 627 vaccinated, 627/681 = 92% vaccinated).

Of those 627 vaccinated people exposed to measles at Disneyland, 13 got measles. That's 13/627 = 2%. So 98% of people who got 1 or more doses of MMR were protected from measles. That's actually better I think than the reported efficacy.

It's claimed here (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/...-vac-risks.htm) that 95% of people given MMR with be immune to measles - if that was correct an extra 18 vaccinated people at Disneyland should have got measles.

Hope you liked my measles maths.
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#2 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 07:41 AM
 
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Have you heard of the term garbage in garbage out?
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#3 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 07:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EMRguy View Post
Have you heard of the term garbage in garbage out?
Well judging by the absolutely atrocious math you've posted before on these forums I'm not surprised you characterized this as "garbage in garbage out". I guess even basic elementary math can be difficult for some.

Quote posted by EMRguy for reference:

"Your own articles say the vax doesn't work.

90% of the cases were vaccinated... As one of the comments said:
"Would you buy this product?
Product—90% failure
Price— $74.25 to $262.75 ($14.85 to $52.55/shot x5 doses)
Liability/Warranty—None
Most stores couldn’t give a product like this away…..
I am confused as to why we taxpayers are paying for this product?"

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#4 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 08:01 AM
 
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Thanks for taking the time to do that PSM, I found it really interesting seeing it broken down that way
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#5 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 08:05 AM
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Great! Just ignore and magic takes over!

Sure this will help convert the masses!

Garbage is garbage but hey I'm sure this convince so many to vac up!!
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#6 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
Well judging by the absolutely atrocious math you've posted before on these forums I'm not surprised you characterized this as "garbage in garbage out". I guess even basic elementary math can be difficult for some.

Quote posted by EMRguy for reference:

"Your own articles say the vax doesn't work.

90% of the cases were vaccinated... As one of the comments said:
"Would you buy this product?
Product—90% failure
Price— $74.25 to $262.75 ($14.85 to $52.55/shot x5 doses)
Liability/Warranty—None
Most stores couldn’t give a product like this away…..
I am confused as to why we taxpayers are paying for this product?"
Hahahahahahahaha! that wasnt my math, but good try!
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#7 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 09:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EMRguy View Post
Hahahahahahahaha! that wasnt my math, but good try!
"Your own articles say the vax doesn't work...90% of the cases were vaccinated"

Was your quote and is an example of not understanding elementary math.

The rest you copy/pasted from an anti-vaccine comment to further expand your point that the vaccine "doesn't work". Again, math fail.

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Last edited by teacozy; 02-16-2015 at 09:31 AM.
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#8 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 09:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
"Your own articles say the vax doesn't work...90% of the cases were vaccinated"

Was your quote and is an example of not understanding elementary math.

The rest you copy/pasted from an anti-vaccine comment to further expand your point that the vaccine "doesn't work". Again, math fail.
The math is right, and my comment still applies, garbage in garbage out.
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#9 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 10:09 AM
 
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To me this highlights how difficult it is to discuss the issue because different groups have completely different ways of understanding the world. To me, science is the most powerful way of understanding.


If basic math and basic science is considered "garbage" then I don't think there is much point to dialogue.
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#10 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
To me this highlights how difficult it is to discuss the issue because different groups have completely different ways of understanding the world. To me, science is the most powerful way of understanding.


If basic math and basic science is considered "garbage" then I don't think there is much point to dialogue.
I agree. This reminds me of a quote I read by Sam Harris, a neuroscientist from UCLA:

"Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, “Well, that’s not how I choose to think about water.”? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn’t share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?"
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I don't think that math is "garbage", but where do those with unknown vax status come in?

For the record, I think the vaccine is pretty effective-but am concerned about waning immunity.
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#12 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
To me this highlights how difficult it is to discuss the issue because different groups have completely different ways of understanding the world. To me, science is the most powerful way of understanding.


If basic math and basic science is considered "garbage" then I don't think there is much point to dialogue.
I didnt say her math skills is garbage, I asked if she know the GIGO term.
Using the efficiency of MMR as the point of the math makes it garbage since there is reason and law suits to believe that number is false.
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#13 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 11:47 AM
 
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I didnt say her math skills is garbage, I asked if she know the GIGO term.
Using the efficiency of MMR as the point of the math makes it garbage since there is reason and law suits to believe that number is false.
But the efficiency of the MMR vaccine has been her 'output', not her 'input'. It's the variable she has solved for.

The assumptions she made:
1. 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed to measles will contract it.
2. 92% of the population are vaccinated against measles.

She didn't make any assumption on the efficacy of the MMR vaccine.

About the undocumented cases: It is likely that some of the 'missing' vaccinated people that contracted the disease hide among them.
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#14 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 11:50 AM
 
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"Using the efficiency of MMR as the point of the math makes it garbage since there is reason and law suits to believe that number is false."

You realize the lawsuit is only about the mumps portion of the vaccine right? Her post was about measles.

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#15 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 11:50 AM
 
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Y'all are talking past each other.

I think the maths offered get off on the wrong foot by tossing out half the data or more.

Math is very solid. But just like anything else it can be misused and one of the easiest ways to misuse it (something I've actually observed in vaccine studies) is to exclude data for what may be specious reasons.

Math can also be misused by applying it to situations where it doesn't fit. For example, as I pointed out on another thread, the claim that "more people will die without the vaccine" might be mathematically and scientifically correct, but it isn't actually a justification for vaccinating on a moral/ethical level. Except for one stream of philosophy, it isn't a valid approach to forming a moral conclusion.

Some folks may not get what I'm talking about, so I'll give an example. In a particular culture it is believed that every few years someone has to be sacrificed to appease the gods. The system is totally fair in that the person who gets killed is chosen by a completely objective lottery process with no prejudice and no dirty dealing. Since everyone in the culture agrees that this process is necessary for the Greater Good, everyone is willing to go along. Except for the unfortunate who gets the chop and his friends and family. Is this a moral system? Ethical?

Since science is not infallible, the claim that vaccines are based on science and that makes it okay to sacrifice an occasional person for the greater good is absurd.
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#16 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 12:11 PM
 
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I don't think that anybody believes statistics and probability calculus alone will solve all problems. They are tools and can be used and mis-used, as you said.

However: I'd rather argue that math is underused when it comes to people making decisions. Humans don't have an intuitive grasp on statistics. There has been a lot of psychological research showing this (behavioral economy). As an example, people tend to exaggerate/overestimate both unlikely risks and unlikely gains (the latter being the reason why lottery is still very popular although it is a rigged game).
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I agree, risk assessment is difficult for people to grasp. Personal experience plays a role. Someone who hasn't had a vaccine reaction, or doesn't believe they're possible, is likely to assess the risk vs reward favorable to vaccination. One who's "antecdotal" evidence of witnessing/experiencing a vaccine reaction, is likely to assess the risk as unfavorable to continued vaccination.

I also love math,so heres a fun one. Take an inventory of all the VAERS data, from its inception, that reports adverse reactions to the MMR. Cross check those as valid reactions as stated by Merck in the vaccine inserts. Cdc acknowledges that VAERS accounts for less than 10% of reported reactions, so extrapolate your findings by that factor. Then do a risk assessment of adverse reactions following mmr. For many parents, that risk is too great for their child, and in the end, concern for the greater good goes out the window. Regardless of how we assess risk vs reward,live and let live, for there will always be a dichotomy of beliefs.
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#18 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 01:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Y'all are talking past each other.

I think the maths offered get off on the wrong foot by tossing out half the data or more.

Math is very solid. But just like anything else it can be misused and one of the easiest ways to misuse it (something I've actually observed in vaccine studies) is to exclude data for what may be specious reasons.

Math can also be misused by applying it to situations where it doesn't fit. For example, as I pointed out on another thread, the claim that "more people will die without the vaccine" might be mathematically and scientifically correct, but it isn't actually a justification for vaccinating on a moral/ethical level. Except for one stream of philosophy, it isn't a valid approach to forming a moral conclusion.

Some folks may not get what I'm talking about, so I'll give an example. In a particular culture it is believed that every few years someone has to be sacrificed to appease the gods. The system is totally fair in that the person who gets killed is chosen by a completely objective lottery process with no prejudice and no dirty dealing. Since everyone in the culture agrees that this process is necessary for the Greater Good, everyone is willing to go along. Except for the unfortunate who gets the chop and his friends and family. Is this a moral system? Ethical?
Your analogy is leaving something important out, though, which is risk assessment. Since you used an example where you and I both know that the sacrifice isn't really going to appease any gods, nor benefit the society in any way, of course it doesn't seem reasonable to kill people randomly. If you believe that no vaccine prevented a disease ever, then I guess that's a comparable situation. The truth is, our society uses technology all the time that has and will continue to kill individuals, for the benefit of all of us. Car travel. Air travel. Energy production. Building construction. All of these things kill people, and yet we continue on with them because as a culture we feel we need to get places, stay warm & have lights and internet, and live in buildings. The fact that using this technology is risky for some doesn't even slow us down.

Quote:
Since science is not infallible, the claim that vaccines are based on science and that makes it okay to sacrifice an occasional person for the greater good is absurd.
No technology is infallible. If infallibility is your requirement, then I think you need to be prepared to give it up altogether.
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#19 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 03:25 PM
 
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It's not just about risk of disease, it's about the benefits too. But we can't know what all the benefits are when all disease is perceived as bad and more research goes into trying to prevent childhood diseases than understanding its role in our physiology. For example: If it were to be shown definitively that having mumps can confer protection against reproductive cancers then I think most parents would want to know that benefit when weighing the risks.
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Originally Posted by Apfelstrudel View Post
I don't think that anybody believes statistics and probability calculus alone will solve all problems. They are tools and can be used and mis-used, as you said.

However: I'd rather argue that math is underused when it comes to people making decisions. Humans don't have an intuitive grasp on statistics. There has been a lot of psychological research showing this (behavioral economy). As an example, people tend to exaggerate/overestimate both unlikely risks and unlikely gains (the latter being the reason why lottery is still very popular although it is a rigged game).

Numbers and maths sure look different to those who experience harm from vaccination. Suddenly 1 in a million, or even 1 in 10,000 doesn't seem so rare. Numbers and maths sure look different to those who've been damaged by medical interventions, treatments, or pharmaceuticals deemed "safe" by research.


Maths sure don't mean squat when the whole logic and circumstances behind the history of vaccination are explored, and those researching are left scratching their heads about how the "missing forest for the trees" phenomenon even happened.

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Originally Posted by littlebear3 View Post
I agree, risk assessment is difficult for people to grasp. Personal experience plays a role. Someone who hasn't had a vaccine reaction, or doesn't believe they're possible, is likely to assess the risk vs reward favorable to vaccination. One who's "antecdotal" evidence of witnessing/experiencing a vaccine reaction, is likely to assess the risk as unfavorable to continued vaccination.

I also love math,so heres a fun one. Take an inventory of all the VAERS data, from its inception, that reports adverse reactions to the MMR. Cross check those as valid reactions as stated by Merck in the vaccine inserts. Cdc acknowledges that VAERS accounts for less than 10% of reported reactions, so extrapolate your findings by that factor. Then do a risk assessment of adverse reactions following mmr. For many parents, that risk is too great for their child, and in the end, concern for the greater good goes out the window. Regardless of how we assess risk vs reward,live and let live, for there will always be a dichotomy of beliefs.

I don't love maths, lol, but I have taken statistics at both the undergraduate and graduate level (and passed! ;-P). I have also worked in medical research (women's health, HIV and HPV).


The more that non-vaxers and vaccine critics "discuss" the vaccination issue with those who support it, the more it seems that no middle ground will be found. I'm trying to find my optimism, but it's hard. It doesn't seem possible that those who don't vaccinate will find a way to penetrate the other side's "beliefs" so that there is understanding that agreeing to disagree is really okay.

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Originally Posted by Dear_Rosemary View Post
Your analogy is leaving something important out, though, which is risk assessment. Since you used an example where you and I both know that the sacrifice isn't really going to appease any gods, nor benefit the society in any way, of course it doesn't seem reasonable to kill people randomly. If you believe that no vaccine prevented a disease ever, then I guess that's a comparable situation. The truth is, our society uses technology all the time that has and will continue to kill individuals, for the benefit of all of us. Car travel. Air travel. Energy production. Building construction. All of these things kill people, and yet we continue on with them because as a culture we feel we need to get places, stay warm & have lights and internet, and live in buildings. The fact that using this technology is risky for some doesn't even slow us down.

No technology is infallible. If infallibility is your requirement, then I think you need to be prepared to give it up altogether.
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Originally Posted by samaxtics View Post
It's not just about risk of disease, it's about the benefits too. But we can't know what all the benefits are when all disease is perceived as bad and more research goes into trying to prevent childhood diseases than understanding its role in our physiology. For example: If it were to be shown definitively that having mumps can confer protection against reproductive cancers then I think most parents would want to know that benefit when weighing the risks.

Why can't the phrase, "The risks out weigh the benefits (for my family)." be enough of an explanation why some choose not to vaccinate (at all, or selectively). Why must those who support vaccination assume if you don't vaccinate, that you must not be able to understand the science or the math.


It's concerning to me that those who strongly believe in vaccination want to take away our right to make personal decisions about our health and bodies.


Why are the numbers and maths made to be paramount in this?

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#21 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 04:38 PM
 
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It's not just about risk of disease, it's about the benefits too. But we can't know what all the benefits are when all disease is perceived as bad and more research goes into trying to prevent childhood diseases than understanding its role in our physiology. For example: If it were to be shown definitively that having mumps can confer protection against reproductive cancers then I think most parents would want to know that benefit when weighing the risks.
Sure, but researchers don't just throw resources around based on wild conjecture...they have to have some previous research that would indicate that this might be the case. And what would likely happen is that they'd try to find the mechanism for why (in your example) mumps helps prevent reproductive cancer, and replicate that in a safer way that just letting wild mumps run rampant, which is uncontrolled and has its own risks.
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Here's the only math that matters to me: I have three nephews, all of them have autism. This was relevant in MY decision when my son was born. Period. Couldn't care less about any other stats.
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Oh, one more stat that mattered to me: my parents and all eight aunts and uncles had the measles. 100% survived with zero complications.
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#24 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 07:25 PM
 
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The math that mattered to me:

The list of ingredients in a vaccine + no personal/professional liability on the part of the administering doctor and/or manufacturer + list of side effects, small and large + cost + having to attend unnecessary pediatrician appointments + unknown long term results to the immune/neuro and gastro system = Not on my watch

I'm with SkiBum..My mother came from a family of 6, all had measles, none went to the doctor for it, my dad from a family of 7 and same deal. Their parents before them survived, and all the siblings and family off spring.

In fact, the only deaths my family can find before general health decline issues in aging were: one second cousin died from anesthesia at the dentist, and there were a couple of farm accidents, one steel mill accident, one alcohol related death involving a train, and a couple of very not-talked about still births way back.

The family had more and more children the further back it can be traced. None lost to any childhood illness.
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#25 of 92 Old 02-16-2015, 07:46 PM
 
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Numbers and maths sure look different to those who experience harm from vaccination. Suddenly 1 in a million, or even 1 in 10,000 doesn't seem so rare.
"When the vaccine adverse event happens to you, the risk is 100%." - NVIC.
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Paraphrased from "Forrest Gump".

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#26 of 92 Old 02-17-2015, 07:35 AM
 
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PSM - I think your math is solid. I strongly suspect that many of those listed as unknown vax status were vaccinated - they just cannot prove it or do not remember. While one would expect to be able to know the vaccine status of most kids, many of those who got measles in the Disneyland outbreak were adults. Adults do not typically have solid records at their fingertips.

That being said, I suspect we might be looking at waning immunity system wide with regard to measles. Arguements in favour of this theory?

1. A slight but steady increase in measles cases in the last 3-4 years.
2. The fact that many measles cases are now in adults.
3. Mathematical modelling that shows that measles cases will increase in time as those with superior wildly acquired immunity pass on, and becasue the lack of wild measles around has meant the lack of immune boosting opportunities, which keeps immunity high. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19324753

Arguments opposed to this theory?

The 3-4 years of higher measles rates in the USA are just a coincidence. This is very plausible. 3-4 years is not a very long period. This could be a blip. OTOH, if the increase continues over the next few years, we really do need to call a spade a spade and look at what is going on. I do not suspect decreased vaccination - vaccine rates are high and stable. I do not highly suspect "pockets" of low vaccination, as there have been pockets of low vaccination forever but rates are just increasing now. I do think pockets can play a part in some outbreaks (the one in the Frasier Valley in BC comes to mind) but am uncertain how large an effect this will be over years country-wide. Travel to places with large scale measles epidemics could be at play - but once again, have travel rates increased over the past few years? (no) Has travel specifically to places where measles cases are widespread increased? Maybe.

In any event, if the measles vaccine is highly effective (and I suspect it is, overall, despite my concerns that we might be looking at early waning immunity) then get the vaccine if you want it and are satisfied with its safety record. You probably will not get the measles if exposed. If you do not think MMR is worth the risk, then do not get it. It is as easy as that.
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#27 of 92 Old 02-17-2015, 07:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by oaksie68 View Post
Numbers and maths sure look different to those who experience harm from vaccination. Suddenly 1 in a million, or even 1 in 10,000 doesn't seem so rare. Numbers and maths sure look different to those who've been damaged by medical interventions, treatments, or pharmaceuticals deemed "safe" by research.

This is exactly the point I wanted to make. Thank you. Our personal experience (both good and bad, although 'bad' seems to be more influential) compromises our ability to properly assess risks or opportunities.

Assume you participate in a gamble. If you bet 1,000 dollars, you have a 1:1,000 chance to win 100,000 dollars. Will you take the bet?
If you do the math you realize this is a bad idea, because the odds are stacked 1:10 against you.

Now assume that you know somebody personally who either
a) took the bet and won $100,000
b) took the bet and lost $1,000
How will that change your decision on whether to take the bet or not?

Studies show that although these personal 'experiences' are completely irrelevant for risk assessment (they do not change the odds), scenario a) will induce people to take the bet, whereas scenario b) will decrease the number of people taking the bet.

Last edited by Apfelstrudel; 02-17-2015 at 08:38 AM.
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#28 of 92 Old 02-17-2015, 07:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Apfelstrudel View Post
This is exactly the point I wanted to make. Thank you. Our personal experience (both good and bad, although 'bad' seems to be more influential) compromises about ability to properly assess risks or opportunities.

Assume you participate in a gamble. If you bet 1,000 dollars, you have a 1:1,000 chance to win 100,000 dollars. Will you take the bet?
If you do the math you realize this is a bad idea, because the odds are stacked 1:10 against you.

Now assume that you know somebody personally who either
a) took the bet and won $100,000
b) took the bet and lost $1,000
How will that change your decision on whether to take the bet or not?

Studies show that although these personal 'experiences' are completely irrelevant for risk assessment (they do not change the odds), scenario a) will induce people to take the bet, whereas scenario b) will decrease the number of people taking the bet.
Good solid explanation if we know the numbers, however we don't. Vaers is not used, and physicians diminish or ignore complications. Also keep in mind the most of the time when you call a doctors office, you are getting a front desk person without any training that thinks because they work there for 1+ years they are qualified to say "its a normal reaction" or you will get a nurse to say the same thing.
Happens all the time.
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#29 of 92 Old 02-17-2015, 08:26 AM
 
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Why are the numbers and maths made to be paramount in this?
I think that should be why are some numbers made to be paramount.

The fact is the majority of people will contract these childhood diseases and be fine and even benefit; a stronger immune system, lifetime immunity, immunity to pass on to infants and perhaps protection from some chronic diseases and some acute ones too. But those numbers are ignored.
(I'm not ignoring the few who don't do well. But if resources are finite then wouldn't it make sense to study the few that do not instead of spending resources on the many that don't need it?)

And we are to ignore the growing numbers of children with chronic diseases-asthma, anaphylactic allergies, cancers, diabetes, immune dysfunction etc.
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#30 of 92 Old 02-17-2015, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I do not suspect decreased vaccination - vaccine rates are high and stable. I do not highly suspect "pockets" of low vaccination, as there have been pockets of low vaccination forever but rates are just increasing now.
They have been steadily increasing. See this map:



"Back in 2000, only 0.77 percent of California kindergartners had personal belief exemptions from vaccines. By 2013, that percentage had more than quadrupled to 3.15 percent.

The scale on these maps tops off at 5 percent. But in some individual school districts, the actual PBE rate is much, much higher. At River Springs Charter School in Temecula, California, nearly a quarter of the 556 kindergartners had personal belief exemptions this year. A third of the kindergartners at the Visions in Education public school in Carmichael hold PBEs, as do 51 percent of kindergartners at Ocean Grove Charter School in Boulder Creek. At a handful of private schools, the PBE rate is 75 percent or more."

From another article:

"Hundreds of thousands of students attend schools — ranging from small, private academies in New York City to large public elementary schools outside Boston to Native American reservation schools in Idaho — where vaccination rates have dropped precipitously low, sometimes under 50%. California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia also were included in the analysis.

The 13-state sample shows what many experts have long feared: People opposed to vaccinations tend to live near each other, leaving some schools dangerously vulnerable, while other schools are fully protected.

The clusters create hot spots that state immunization rates can mask. In the 32 public elementary schools in Boise, Idaho, for example, vaccination rates for measles in 2013-14 ranged from 84.5% at William Howard Taft Elementary to 100% at Adams Elementary, just 4 miles away.

One of the biggest reasons for low vaccination rates is the increased use of non-medical exemptions, led by states such as Arizona and California, which both had increases of nearly 70% in exemptions from 2009 to 2013. Nationally, philosophical or religious exemptions have increased 37%, according to the CDC.'

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2...ates/22840549/

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