Vial of Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. (Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images)
Vial of Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. (Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images)

Julie Schiffman is a mother of two in Marin County. The choice to not vaccinate her kids, now 6 and 8, was a long and difficult one, she said. But deciding whether to intentionally expose them to measles was easy.

“I would never do that to my kid,” she said.

She was approached recently by a friend who knew her kids were unvaccinated. The friend offered to help set up a play date with another child who was sick.

“She said, ‘I know someone who has the measles, would you like to be connected with them?’” Schiffman said.

Measles parties and chicken pox parties are practices that developed in eras before vaccines for those diseases were available. Both viruses are known to cause greater, more dangerous complications in adults. So some parents would intentionally infect their kids when they were young to work through the illness in its milder form, then retain immunity.

“People did this with chicken pox all the time,” said Art Reingold, an epidemiology professor at UC Berkeley who worked at the Centers for Disease Control in the 1980s. “Parents would have kids lick a lollipop and give it to other kids, or mail it to other kids.”

The chicken pox vaccine was licensed for use in 1995; for measles in 1963. Today, some parents are still deliberately getting their kids sick because they don’t believe in vaccines.

“The basic notion is ‘this is my opportunity for my kid to get immune the old fashioned way, the way God intended,’” Reingold said. “’The way nature intended.’”

Pockets of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and rural areas in the far north of the state have an unusually high number of parents who opt out of vaccinating their kids. Public health officials are worried about what might happen if parents take it upon themselves to infect their children with measles.

“It unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread of the outbreak,” the California Department of Public Health said in an email, adding that it “strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles.”

Thirty percent of people with measles in the current California outbreak have been hospitalized. While measles is most dangerous in children under 5 and adults over 20, there can be serious consequences for kids, including pneumonia or hearing loss. A small number die.

Reingold says hosting measles play dates or parties is ill-advised.

“To me, it’s looney tunes,” he said. “We have a safe, effective vaccine, why would you do it?”

Julie Schiffman says she and her husband are willing to reconsider vaccinating their kids, but no evidence has surfaced to change their minds yet. She says she respects the choice of other parents who decide to expose their unvaccinated kids to measles. But she and her husband declined the opportunity.

“I would want that to be something they decide on their own, when they’re older and are more capable of assessing the risks and dangers,” she says.

“When they’re teenagers, I’d say, ‘okay, you have a choice, you can get vaccinated or you can get the measles, what would you rather?’” she said. “Then they have more say over what they do with their bodies. And I would respect their choice, whatever it was.”

  • Damiana

    How come parents deliberating exposing their children, or offering to expose other children, aren’t being charged with child endangerment? People deliberately trying to infect others with HIV have been prosecuted. Is the difference the intent?

    • Jeremiah Reagan

      It would definitely fit the criteria for biological terrorism.

      • Damiana

        I doubt it would fly as a fed use, so no DHS involvement, but as a state issue?

        • boonfrisker89

          The flu kills tens of thousands of people in the US every year. Do we prosecute people for “biological terrorism” for bringing our kids into public spaces where they will be exposed to people with the flu?

          • Damiana

            No, and I never said prosecuting for biological terrorism would work. Someone else did.

          • boonfrisker89

            You queried whether it could be done at a state level.

          • Damiana

            So what.

      • Lizzietish81

        But see, they’re white, so it’s ok

      • boonfrisker89

        Really? Could you quote the relevant statute?

  • intergalacticSpartacus

    “’The way nature intended.’” — Nature couldn’t care less weather one lives, dies, or remains crippled for life.

    • loopyduck

      As for “the way God intended”, I’m pretty sure I didn’t see anything in the Bible about x-rays, painkillers, or antibiotics being approved either. Think any of them would turn that stuff down?

      What a bunch of hypocrites.

      • mmmum

        Or cars. Or clean, treated water. Or electricity. Maybe we should stop vaccinating all our pets for rabies too and let all the rabid animals run loose, as they would in nature – that will really toughen our kids up.

        • boonfrisker89

          Odd that you mention cars, since those are far-and-away the number one killer of US children (and young adults) after infancy. Measles has killed exactly 4 US kids since 1999.

          • ka9q

            And before the vaccine nearly wiped it out in the US, 500 kids died of measles every year. About 100,000 per year still die around the world because it’s still endemic in many places, and travelers often bring it back to the US — as happened in Disneyland in December. That’s why it’s still so important to be vaccinated.

          • boonfrisker89

            “And before the vaccine nearly wiped it out in the US, 500 kids died of measles every year.”

            The measles vaccine was first licensed in the US in 1963. The US death rate from measles for the ten years prior to that was 0.255 per 100,000. The US death rate from motor vehicles over the latest 10-year period is 13.12, or over 51x the pre-vaccine measles death rate.

            And since we have very high vaccination rates (MMR2 rate for US kindergarteners is 94.7% (far above the herd immunity minimum threshold), the thought that the US could in any conceivable scenario get anywhere near pre-vaccine death rates for measles is ludicrous. So bringing up death numbers from pre-vaccine eras is moot.

            “Anti-vax” parents make up far less than 1% of the population. Their herd immunity free riding has no meaningful statistical effect. Not on case counts, not on death rates.

          • ka9q

            So it’s okay for kids to die from the measles as long as more kids still die from auto accidents? Just wanted to make sure I got that right.

            94.7% is hardly “far above the herd immunity threshold”. In any event, average vaccination rates over a wide area are not very meaningful when you have significant pockets with much lower rates in which the disease can easily spread. The recent measles outbreaks are proof of this.

          • boonfrisker89

            “So it’s okay for kids to die from the measles as long as more kids still die from auto accidents?”

            What more kids have died from measles? Point them out. Last year we had a record number of post-elimination cases (644) and no one died. Which is to be expected, seeing as the death rate per reported US case is roughly 1 per 1,000.

            The last time a child died from the measles in the US was 2005. About 420,000 US kids died from other causes since then.

            “94.7% is hardly “far above the herd immunity threshold”.”

            The threshold starts at 83%.


            “In any event, average vaccination rates over a wide area are not very meaningful when you have significant pockets with much lower rates in which the disease can easily spread. The recent measles outbreaks are proof of this.”

            Really? You have specific evidence of “pockets” being the “cause” of “recent outbreaks”? The biggest outbreak post-elimination was last year – more than 3x the size of the current one. It was among Amish people in Ohio and it was a freak accident. It may be a “pocket”, but it certainly doesn’t conform to the stereotype consistently pushed by demonizers of liberal hippie Californians who listen to celebrities. The largest outbreak prior to that one was the year before in Brooklyn among people in a Jewish community. Again, not seeing the liberal hippie California pocket thing.

            Let’s see what the CDC says.

            “Q: Why have there been more measles cases in the United States in recent years?

            A: In 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014, there were more reported measles cases compared with previous years. CDC experts attribute this to:

            more measles cases than usual in some countries to which Americans often travel (such as England, France, Germany, India, the Philippines and Vietnam), and therefore more measles cases coming into the US, and/or

            more spreading of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people”

            Are you seeing what they listed first? You know, the people actually in charge of public health in this country?

            What that means is that one can simply explain the change in case counts recently based upon US travel patterns and where the outbreaks have been occurring around the world. 1/2 of the US Filipino population lives in California – 1/2 – and the Philippines is where the largest outbreaks have occurred recently. Over a million people travel between the countries annually. Even at a 100% vaccination rate here, the disease would still come back since it’s not 100% effective.

            If you look at where the latest outbreak started, it was Orange County – a Republican county. Not a liberal dippy place. And of course the most cases are in Orange County, because the disease will be most prevalent around where it first occurs. That’s why only 2 Marin County cases have occurred, and those were caught in Orange County, not in Marin. And zero cases spread there. Regardless, Marin ranks 15th among PBE rates among California counties and plenty of states have far higher non-medical exemption rates than California. Yet all the bashing is directed at that northern California stereotype. The heart of the California liberal stereotype, San Francisco? Zero cases.

            “Pockets” only matter if the disease can actually get to them. And in every makor outbreak that’s concentrated in a specific pocket, it’s nearly always a conservative, Judeo-Christian pocket — not the “anti-vax” stereotype.

            I know it’s hard to be rational when one has an axe to grind, but please try.

          • ka9q

            Give it time. With the rate it’s spreading, there will probably be deaths. We’re already on track to go far above last year. A quarter of all those infected have had to go to the hospital, and we don’t yet know how many of them will have permanent complications. But I suppose that’s perfectly acceptable to you as long as more people still die in auto accidents.

            It’s funny that you would quote a CDC document to “support” your position yet reject everything they actually say about the importance of being vaccinated for measles. And thanks for citing a source that confirms that 94.7% is hardly “far above the herd immunity threshold” for measles.

            Thanks also for confirming you have no idea how herd immunity actually works and why it’s so important. The recent outbreaks happened precisely because someone brought the disease into the US and encountered susceptible people during his/her infectious phase. When the expected number of such contacts is greater than 1, the number of cases grows exponentially with time. When the expected number is less than 1, there can still be a few cases but the overall number will decrease exponentially with time; the disease will die out. The immunity percentage required to keep that number less than 1 depends on the infectiousness of the disease and the number of people an infected person encounters during his/her infectious period. Not only is measles the most infectious disease known, an infected person in a densely populated area might contact many more people than average during his/her infectious period. The vaccination coverage required for herd immunity in a situation like that is much higher than it would be for the population as a whole. And that’s why it’s no surprise the outbreak began in a place like Disneyland.

            It’s precisely analogous to a nuclear chain reaction. When the average number of released neutrons per fission that causes another fission is above 1, the reaction grows. When it’s less than 1, it decays.

            if the disease is no longer occurring in pockets, it’s only because so many people are skipping vaccinations that the disease is now able to spread in the general population.

            And what gave you the idea that I think political beliefs are involved? Measles doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative. It only cares if you’ve been vaccinated. Same here. Grow up, get over your childish fear of needles, and get the damn shot. It only hurts for a few seconds.

          • ka9q

            I found it curious that you would cite a CDC presentation on smallpox that celebrates the eradication of that disease through a concerted global vaccination campaign.

            Measles, like smallpox, has no non-human reservoirs so we could conceivably eradicate it as well. Unfortunately, the disease still has powerful allies: wars, natural disasters and anti-vaxxers, be they imams in Africa who label vaccination as a western plot to sterilize Muslim men or sheltered Americans who are equally out to lunch. Measles doesn’t care why you don’t get vaccinated, only that you don’t.

            If measles could be eradicated, then we would no longer have to vaccinate against it, just as we no longer routinely vaccinate people against smallpox. Wouldn’t that make you happy?

          • boonfrisker89

            I find it hilarious, that despite your endless bloviation, you think I’m against vaccination. Try listening, try learning, then speaking.

          • ka9q

            Well, I’m reading, not listening. And I find that when people make the arguments you have and *then* say they’re not against vaccination, it’s usually because they’ve realized their anti-vax position is untenable and now they’re backpedaling from it.

    • Austinite

      Agreed. If nature intended something here, it would be “Survival of the Fittest”. Cull the weak and/or the morons from the herd, thereby making the herd stronger.

      “The way nature intended”. If we followed that creed, we’d still be living in trees or caves…

      I know it’s not good to antagonize these antivaxers because it further alienates them, but seriously, they are absolute morons.

  • DottieWingo

    Surely I am not alone in thinking the last two paragraphs of this story are beyond ridiculous. Why does Julie Schiffman think that it is her teenagers’ decision as to whether or not they are vaccinated? When you have children, you parent them. There are certain things that you are responsible for, one very important responsibility is keeping them safe. I have two teenagers and I hardly trust them to make life decisions. And that is not unique to my teens. I certainly hope the decisions the Schiffman’s are choosing to make – or not make – don’t prove devastating for them in the future.

    • Antiantivaxx

      You are not alone in thinking this. I’m surprised more people haven’t chimed in at the inanity of this woman. She doesn’t seem to understand or care about a couple of really basic facts, including that she cannot choose if her unvaccinated kids get measles, and that by not vaccinating them, she is putting her whole community at risk.

      I actually think KQED was pretty irresponsible the way they presented this story. They make it seem like the measles party people are loony, whereas they act like it’s a rational choice not to vaccinate your kid. It isn’t. What KQED should have said was: by not vaccinating your kid, you are effectively creating a measles party whether you like it or not.

      • boonfrisker89

        “that by not vaccinating them, she is putting her whole community at risk.”

        She’s putting her whole highly-vaccinated community at risk, a vaccine with at least 99% efficacy after the second dose?

        Vaccination rates for measles haven’t gone down since measles was eliminated in the US in 2000. Not nationally, not in California. This school year alone saw a 21% drop in the personal belief exemption rate among incoming kindergarteners, thanks to legislation passed by California Democrats and signed into law by Governor Moonbeam himself. The new law did protect religious objections from needing any confirmation or consultation from doctors, though, but no one goes there, now do they?

        What’s irresponsible about KQED is passing off a myth as fact, debunked by the very person they based this ridiculous piece on.

        • ka9q

          Yes, she *is* putting her community at risk. Kids can’t be vaccinated until age 1, so they depend on everyone else being vaccinated to protect them until then. So do I, since I recently went through a bone marrow transplant for cancer that wiped my immune system. Check out the PBE numbers for California kindergartens. Some of the numbers are above 50%, which is utterly insane. There should be *no* exemptions except for bona-fide medical reasons.

          • boonfrisker89

            “Yes, she *is* putting her community at risk.”

            Do you think smoking should be outlawed? Secondhand smoke kills 41,000 Americans per year.

            Motor vehicles are a thousand more times dangerous to pedestrians than bicycles. Do you lambast people for owning motor vehicles, putting their community at risk?

          • ka9q

            Second-hand smoke is precisely why so many jurisdictions have outlawed smoking in public places.

            The use of motor vehicles is highly regulated by both federal and state law precisely to minimize the threat of injury and property damage to others. Any set of regulations has to balance its goals against practicality and economic factors, and the same is true for vaccination requirements. But unlike cars, vaccines are extremely cheap and provide huge public benefits with negligible risk so the regulations can properly require them for everyone except those with legitimate medical reasons not to be vaccinated. Religious and “personal” beliefs are not legitimate medical reasons.

          • boonfrisker89

            This comment perfectly demonstrates your actual lack of concern for the principle you like to think you have – namely, that people should be excoriated and/or punished for making decisions that increase the harm to others. You just brushed off hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past decade in this country alone and are utterly obsessed with 7 deaths in 10 years.

            Despite your droning rationalization, motor vehicles are not a necessity – individually and societally. They are a choice. And even within that choice, over the course of doubling the number of motor vehicles in this country, roughly 90% or more of that increase was in trucks, SUVs, and vans. Studies show that higher weight and higher profile increases human injury and death to others on the order of 70%. But we as a culture actually celebrate choosing bigger, heavier vehicles as being responsible.

            The whole point of this is that people are using this as a bashing exercise against a group of people they don’t like, because it’s certainly not a contextualized consideration of actual risk and causation.

          • ka9q

            If you think motor vehicles are a choice, you obviously don’t live where I live (southern California).

            Who said I don’t like you or want to punish you? I just want you to jettison some utterly delusional beliefs and get your damn shots for the benefit of everyone you come in contact with. Especially the immune-compromised like me.

          • boonfrisker89

            “If you think motor vehicles are a choice, you obviously don’t live where I live (southern California).”

            A person who thinks a car is an existential necessity is insane.

            Keep rationalizing real-world carnage and obsessing over 1 in 440 million probabilities. It shows how little you care about suffering and death and how much you care about self-aggrandizement.

          • ka9q

            In some parts of the world, cars simply *are* an existential necessity. And I know a lot of perfectly sane people who agree. That doesn’t mean we *like* it, or consider the “real-world carnage” to be at all acceptable. I for one would very much like to see more public transit, especially rail, and safer, more energy-efficient transportation in general. I already drive an EV, and if the train were available I’d use it.

            People tolerate auto casualties because our economy is currently heavily dependent on automobile transportation. I.e., automobiles have a big upside. So like it or not, they make a tradeoff.

            But there is *no* upside to not vaccinating (except for legitimate medical conditions) so there is no tradeoff to be made here. You simply get the shot and the problem is solved.

    • Tendernob

      You are totally right. Her statement: “I would want that to be something they decide on their own, when they’re older and are more capable of assessing the risks and dangers,” is a head-scratcher. The whole point of being an adult and a parent – in charge of raising children who are younger and less-educated than yourself – is so YOU can make the responsible decisions and assess the risks and dangers on their behalf. This idiot woman has missed the entire point of parenting!

  • Postone

    These are Millennials (Millennials, are stupid people, who don’t use common sense, are lacking in the brain cell department, many of which never grew up) of which many are in power in this country!


    • Lavon Young

      Notice how they continue to go on and on. They pay attention to what they want to pay attention to. What is that!

    • ecr

      I’m sorry to tell you this, Postone, but I have small children, which has given me the opportunity to know a bunch of these people. They are not just Millennials. Generation X (my peers) are very, very well represented here, unfortunately.

      • Postone

        Okay, I stand corrected. 🙂

        • Sue Brennan

          This is also an area wherein Right and Left come together.

  • Andreas_J

    I wonder if they’d be happy with not recieving medical care for their sick kid?

    I mean, you opt out of protecting your kid from Measles by not vaccinating them, then if they get sick, why would you get to be treated?

  • Lavon Young

    Would people continue to involve themselves in such nonsense if they made themselves aware by definition that measles are tapeworm larvae. Put a watch on your dairy products.

    • oblivion328

      Measles is a virus. Or do you just mean hypothetically?

      • Sue Brennan

        I think Lavon Young meant it hypothetically. I’ve also read the suggestion that we tell them that Measles Contain Gluten.

  • Kelly

    I think this is lunatic behavior! I can’t believe the unvaccinated, measles infected kids’ parents aren’t being charged with child endangerment or something. And to have a party to get other kids sick?!?! Why don’t they just have Ebola parties too! You know the natural way, the way God would have it? Stupidity at its best right here in this story!

  • AK

    “To me it’s loony toons, he said. We have a safe, and effective, vaccine why don’t you do it?” wasn’t aware mercury and aluminum was safe. If they simply removed CRAP like this from vaccines everyone would use them. Find an old thermometer, break it and play with the mercury. I’ll give you 3-5 months before you are deathly ill. Better yet let’s put it in a needle and shoot it up, now that is loony toons.

    • Dede

      Have you ever looked up the type of mercury in vaccines. It’s ethylmercury, that is removed from the body of adults in 18 days and 14 days in infants. It does not bio-accumulate nor has it been found to cause any type of biological problem. Mercury in thermometers is METHYLmercury. If you want to use facts to back up your claims, make sure they’re right.

      • ka9q

        Mercury in thermometers is elemental mercury metal. That’s why it’s shiny. It’s actually not very toxic compared to, say, methylmercury. Its chief hazard is in case of a spill. It slowly evaporates to a vapor that can be breathed in.

    • Wooooow

      You’re so stupid, it hurts. Go do research on how much mercury is actually in a vaccination and you feel hit yourself repeatedly with a hammer for your own ignorance. In case you are too slow to use The Google Machine, I’ll help you: the amount of mercury in a vaccine is so minimal that it would never kill you, let alone even HURT you.

      • pianoman

        Its the wromg type mercury anyway.The mercury in vaccines is processed out of the body almost instantly.

    • Tendernob

      Ah, finally! An anti-vax nutter has joined our party!

      My dear idiot, if you would only actually consult the CDC website before you make a fool out of yourself on the internet. Mercury and thimerosal were REMOVED from all childhood vaccines in 2001. Googling is hard, I know, so here, let me do that for you:

      That was nearly a whole generation ago. But your ilk keep pandering the same old message-board hysteria about “mercury in vaccines,” blithely unaware that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Good day to you – now go read some books.

      • boonfrisker89

        “Ah, finally! An anti-vax nutter has joined our party!”

        Thank goodness a minority can come along so we can all gang up on them and feel superior. The day is now complete.

    • ka9q

      Mercury preservatives were removed from single-dose vaccines 15 years ago, not because they were harmful but out of an abundance of caution. They’re only in some multiple-dose vaccines, which are far cheaper and easier to use in developing countries. The people there don’t need your imaginary fears because they know what these diseases are like and they know that vaccines prevent them.

      Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust after oxygen and silicon. It’s by far the most plentiful metal, found in hundreds of types of rocks (which produce soil and ordinary household dust). It’s everywhere, and it’s harmless.

  • Just my opinion

    These parents are fricken morons! Who the hell would expose their children to deadly diseases on purpose? There is no way in hell that God intended for children to get sick and die! That is why God made people who were smart enough to make vaccines to protect our children!

  • boonfrisker89

    Excellent journalism. Latch onto the hearsay of one person about one supposed party, then turn it into an article, with “health officials” telling people not to do something which isn’t even happening, nor would have a statistically likelihood of being able to happen.

  • commenter233463456

    Notice the absence of a citation or reference for any official warning from any actual actual state health agency. No name of any official publishing a warning – no link to any notice on an official site, nothing more than just the author’s unsubstantiated claims. QED. Get your kids vaccinated. Anyone that doesn’t is ignorant, delusional, or criminally insane.

  • Lizzietish81

    Next up, Rubella, coolness will be decided by how many miscarriages you can cause.

  • pianoman

    Forget the child endangerment charges, these idiots are trying to intentionally start an infection cluster, and that is terrorism. The Feds need to move in and arrest every last one of them.

    • boonfrisker89

      Arrest non-existent parties from non-existent events for terrorism, which of course doesn’t even apply even if it were true? Great idea. Very American.

      • pianoman

        If they have one of these “parties” they are no longer “non-existent” are they?

        • boonfrisker89

          No such parties are going on, nor have gone on. The story has been debunked by multiple media outlets based on interviewing the woman, Julie Schiffmann, from whom KQED inaccurately started this rumor.

          Should one start demonizing you personally based upon tossing out there that “pianoman” is potentially a pedophile? Then demonize “pianoman” as a pedophile without any evidence that “pianoman” has actually engaged in acts of pedophilia? Would you consider an NPR affiliate to be engaging in responsible journalism by speculating such nasty things about you personally? Or would that be something you’d consider grossly unethical and irresponsible?

          “Measles parties” are a total fabrication. Good job falling for it and rationalizing getting worked up at a group you wish to negatively stereotype.

          • pianoman

            I have yet to see one mainstream media outlet “debunking” anything. However, I do personally know an “anti-vaxer” who has been trying to arrange such a party.

          • boonfrisker89

            “I have yet to see one mainstream media outlet “debunking” anything.”

            Perhaps you should sharpen your search skills:

            “However, I do personally know an “anti-vaxer” who has been trying to arrange such a party.”

            You’re lying.

          • pianoman

            No, I am not lying. And, even if the current story turns out to be false, the damage has been done – the “seed” has been planted in the minds of the idiot anti-vaccine crowd. These “parties” will happen, sooner or later.

          • boonfrisker89

            “No, I am not lying.”

            Oh, well, that settles it. Please provide the name of the person you know planning such a party. Go ahead. You’ll be famous.


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  • boonfrisker89

    Multiple media outlets have debunked the extraordinary claims made in this piece. Examples here:

    When will KQED issue a formal retraction of this piece and its claims, which have since made their way to the likes of Reuters, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, ABC, Fox News, Think Progress, Time magazine, and many many others?

    It’s bad enough they got it wrong, but even as reported it’s essentially just thin hearsay from one source. That’s not proper journalism.

    • Sue Brennan

      Even if they haven’t actually happened yet, I think pre-emptive warnings are necessary. I would not put it past some people to try this.

      • boonfrisker89

        Should we give pre-emptive warning about other nonsensical flights of imagination which have no basis in fact or history? Then based on these imaginary happenings demonize groups of people we feel like bashing?

        That’s some impressive rationalization for lying and unsubstantiated demonization.

        “Fat Republicans in Dallas are rumored to be eating babies. What should we do about the public health menace of fat Dallas Republicans?”

        Would that be an appropriate thing for a respected public radio outlet to engage in? For anyone?

    • amc

      What is worse, Marin only had two children with measles – both in the same family. Falsely suggesting that family tried to arrange play dates for their children looks close to libel.

    • ka9q

      Just as soon as the anti-vaxxers formally repudiate their extraordinarily bogus claims.

      • boonfrisker89

        Again, an impressive rationalization for lying. Other people are misdirected, ergo this gives you permission to lie and demonize.

        If you want people to listen to you, make a bare attempt to live up to the standards you’re demanding of others. Otherwise, haranguing will make things worse, not better.

        But it’s not about that. It’s about that fleeting sense of superiority one gets by playing the blame game.

        • ka9q

          The only one doing any rationalizing here is you, e.g., by claiming it’s okay for kids to die from the measles as long as more die in car crashes.

          I don’t expect to change your mind. Beliefs arrived at without evidence cannot be changed with evidence. What I do hope is that the legislative proposals to eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions will pass, and then people like you will simply become irrelevant.

          • boonfrisker89

            “The only one doing any rationalizing here is you, e.g., by claiming it’s okay for kids to die from the measles as long as more die in car crashes.”

            When you need to repeatedly resort to strawmen, you should stop talking.

          • ka9q

            How is it a straw man? You keep minimizing child deaths from measles by comparing it to the death rate in automobiles. Since even one child death or injury from measles is completely unacceptable, and since there is no downside to vaccinating, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to point out that your comparison fails.

  • Sue Brennan

    JULIE SCHAFFER says she wouldn’t take her unvaccinated kids to a Measles party to intentionally expose them — but every time she sends them to school or takes them anywhere, she is INTENTIONALLY exposing them and every person they encounter!

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  • boonfrisker89

    KQED still hasn’t issued a retraction. Will they ever take responsibility for creating this baseless myth?


April Dembosky

April Dembosky is the health reporter for The California Report and KQED News. She covers health policy and public health, and has reported extensively on the economics of health care, the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act in California, mental health and end-of-life issues.

Her work is regularly rebroadcast on NPR and has been recognized with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists (for sports reporting), and the Association of Health Care Journalists (for a story about pediatric hospice). Her hour-long radio documentary about home funerals won the Best New Artist award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009.

April occasionally moonlights on the arts beat, covering music and dance. Her story about the first symphony orchestra at Burning Man won the award for Best Use of Sound from the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Before joining KQED in 2013, April covered technology and Silicon Valley for The Financial Times, and freelanced for Marketplace and The New York Times. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Smith College.

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