Irresponsible Mom Writes Anti-Vaccine Children’s Book Touting The Benefits Of Measles

61bNGvoLVYL._SS400_If anyone was dying to find a children’s book that totally debunks science and belittles advances in modern medicine – you’re in luck!

From its description on Amazon.com, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles takes children on a journey to learn about the ineffectiveness of vaccinations and to know they don’t have to be scared of childhood illnesses, like measles and chicken pox.”

A children’s book teaching kids that they don’t have to fear measles and other childhood illnesses? I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, the story line, or the image of the young girl dancing on the cover – apparently delighted to be free of immunizations that children around the world so desperately need.

First of all, don’t compare measles to chicken pox. Measles is responsible for the deaths of thousands of children each year. In some parts of the world, there are female vaccination workers who risk their lives walking miles through treacherous slums and villages so children can get the vaccinations they so desperately need. It seems the author, Stephanie Messenger, has taken her own personal wounds and launched a crusade around them.

One of her children died of what doctors expected was complications from “Alexander’s Disease.” This child underwent routine vaccinations – her other children did not. She blames the death of her child on adverse reactions to the vaccinations. This led her to launch her anti-vaccine crusade, beginning with a book called Vaccination Roulette and culminating with Melanie’s Marvelous Measles.

I’m fortunate to not know the pain of losing a child. I don’t like to judge parents that have experienced this hell. But I do believe that the pain of losing a child coupled with being duped by the anti-vaccine movement leads grieving parents on crusades that they have no business pioneering.

2011 was the worst year for measles in the last 15 years thanks to low vaccine rates. 2012 was the worst year for whooping cough in six decades thanks to vanishing herd immunity. We have a serious problem. We are turning against the most important scientific advances of modern civilization and opting to return to a time when sickness was a given for children – and for what reason? There has been no proven scientific evidence that vaccinations cause anything except immunity from disease. Yes, there are rare adverse reactions, but they do not trump the benefits of herd immunity against such diseases as small pox, polio, measles and whooping cough.

I’m sorry the author lost a child – I really am. But it doesn’t excuse the incredibly irresponsible tactic of spreading anti-vaccination propaganda to kids.

(photo: Amazon.com)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Blueathena623

      My friend who works in public health has a very simple request for those who don’t believe vaccines work:
      Go to a graveyard. Count the number of children’s graves before vaccines became prevalent. Count the number of children’s graves after vaccines became prevalent. Now discuss how vaccines don’t work.

      • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

        correlation, or causation? What other factors, other than vaccinations, could have lead to lower death rates in children? Factors such as hygiene, nutrition, education, better prevention, etc. ;) going to a cemetery is not “proof” that vaccinations work. It is a thought-provoking point though!

      • Blueathena623

        Changes in hygiene, nutrition, and education are slower and not as direct. Of course, going through the records of cause of death will show the statistically significant decreases in childhood mortality of vaccine-preventable deaths, but since most people aren’t up to perusing that information, going to a grave yard is a quick and dirty approach.

    • Ordinaryperson

      I think that if you want to have the luxury of unvaccinated children, then you should move yourselves away from the rest of society. It’s so so so unfair to let your little germ bags go around infecting other kids that are too young to even get the vaccines yet. I just think it’s an extremely selfish move.

    • Ordinaryperson

      I think that if you want to have the luxury of unvaccinated children, then you should move yourselves away from the rest of society. It’s so so so unfair to let your little germ bags go around infecting other kids that are too young to even get the vaccines yet. I just think it’s an extremely selfish move.

    • Blueathena623

      Also, as a side rant, I’m so tired of the mommy-intuition-do-your-research mentality. The vast majority of people are not qualified to actually find legitimate research and know how to interpret the findings and understand the limitations of the studies. People think they are doing research because they read a blog article that sometimes quotes from something else that seems like its a research article. That is not researching.

      • bluebelle

        Here here!

      • Blueathena623

        It’s like people treat major medical decisions the same way they would look at amazon reviews to “research” which night light to buy. Here’s a hint — the best medical journals usually aren’t free, so if you aren’t paying for at least part of to the research, you probably are not doing high-quality research.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

      I can see that this is a sensitive topic for you… When it comes to our children’s health, we would do anything to protect them. I have an issue with you calling this mom names however (as is often my issue with commenters but less often with the bloggers themselves). Just as you will do your best with the information that you have to protect your children, these women will do the best that they can with the information that they have to protect their children themselves. I know I will most likely be downvoted by many, perhaps insulted, but from the research that I have been doing (which I don’t think is enough yet but I try to keep an open mind either way), I’m still on the fence about SOME vaccines (but not all).

      For example, in the MMR vaccination, I find it appalling that there is mercury used as a preservative, and the only research that was done to make sure that this substance is not harmful to humans dates from the 1930s, and is a lot less than empirical.

      I take issue with the fact that pharmaceutical companies pay a fortune in lobbying, and do a hell of a lot to make sure that their vaccines, which could be ameliorated but at a cost, are put on the shelves and forced on as many people as possible, when there are possibilities that the vaccines as they are can have certain effects on some people. I take issue with the fact that when researchers actually want to research these effects in the most empirical ways, these researchers are made to be pariahs by the pharmaceutical companies. I have issue with the fact that much of the “research” shown to prove that they are safe are financed, directly, or indirectly, by the pharmaceutical companies themselves.

      Now you say that measles have come back, yet no one has died from it in 2012. What does that say? If as a parent, I am considering whether or not to give the MMR vaccination to my child, I can acknowledge that, yes, maybe my child and others will catch the disease. However, with modern medicine, it can be treated, and the chances of my child and others dying is extremely slim. What do I do? I have to say that I have yet to have the answer to this question. I know that many vaccinations nowadays do not all immunize a child 100% of the disease in question, that a lot of viruses are transforming themselves and that the vaccines are becoming more and more ineffective with them, that often times, a vaccination is released on the market before it can be properly tested.

      Yes, my child is 2 months old, and is going for her first vaccinations next week. I take it very seriously and do want the best for my child and others, which is why I will do my best to research this issue… But I do have to admit, I am a skeptic!

      Ok, now you can stone me all if you want ;) but I’m sure that other mothers feel the same way as I, and perhaps they will feel encouraged by my own reflections. But please, always remember that, even if you disagree with me, I have a right to be respected. There is no need to call me names – it will definitely not compel me to change perspectives on the matter.

      • Blueathena623

        What science degrees do you have? What background do you have in research? The studies you read, do you subscribe to these peer reviewed journals (because you only use peer reviewed sources, correct?) or do you get the information second hand?
        How exactly would you like to test the mercury? What preservative would you use? What do you think of all the peer-reviewed studies that show the mercury is not harmful?
        If you are against pharmaceutical lobbying, I am thankful you don’t take any medication, as that would be hypocritical.
        Why do you go to a doctor at all if you don’t trust pediatricians? I mean, medicine is based on the same scientific research that you don’t agree with.
        There is no such thing as a right to be respected, just FYI. You can think my viewers are harsh and wrong, and I can think your views are harsh and wrong. I don’t have to respect you and you don’t have to respect me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

        Actually a have a degree in research psychology thank you very much

      • Blueathena623

        A degree in research psychology or a degree in psychology with a research background? And what about all of the other questions?

      • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

        lol you should give me time to write. I would ask you, blueathena623, to please, remove your butt from that high horse of yours ;) we’re not in a competition. there is no need to try and push me under water to prove that you are more intelligent, knowledgeable or forceful than I am. I am not here to fight you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

        But in any case, I don’t believe that we’re here to flaunt our university degrees. We’re here to have intelligent discussions. And discussions and debates can only take place when there is mutual respect. And yes, I do believe that everyone on this planet is entitled to respect. Now that that’s said, I find it sad that your anger has blinded you from understanding the point that I have attempted to make. Nowhere did I state that I do not trust doctors or medications, and that I refuse to vaccinate. I opened up about my questions, doubts and hesitations. I have made myself vulnerable to a community of other mothers, hoping to gain other people’s opinions without being exposed to behaviours resembling arrogance.

        How can you, in one breath, say that most of the people on this planet are not “qualified” to find adequate empirical research and shouldn’t just trust any source, but then tell me that I need to trust doctors? That because I use medication, that i must not therefore question side effects of certain medications because that would be “hypocritical”… I find that quite contradictory on one hand. On the other hand, I do not treat empirical research as all-knowing truth. Since you seem to know a lot about empirically-based and pier-reviewed articles, we could start a whole debate about sample sizes, statistical manipulations, financing, methodological errors, etc. We could talk about how, even in the scientific community, “experts” more often than not disagree with each other and are all able to support their own hypotheses. Yes, science is a complicated field. True, most people have not received the education, or even have the interest, to go out there and read these dense articles. In fact, most people do not even have access to these journals, unless they pay the expensive fee for specific articles by looking through google scholar, or going to their local university library and reading them from the shelves. FYI, do journals finance research? I don’t think so because that would lead to bias. It’s not because you pay for an article that you will be encouraging researchers to do their research. Therefore they rely on different people to translate these findings for them.

        Not going into a library to read 100+ articles written in the last 50 years, and in 5 different languages doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to question things and express opinions. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out and blindly accept your doctor’s opinion, because even in the medical community there is no 100% agreement. And it doesn’t mean that as a regular person, just reading a forum, you are not allowed to discuss things, and question certain opinions.

      • Blueathena623

        But yet you believe the MMR has mercury in it, so where have you been doing your research?

      • jessica

        My god. You have the right to your opinion, I guess, even if it is grossly uninformed.

      • jessica

        And you should trust your doctors because they have attended 10+ years of classes in virology, organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology, genetics, biochemistry, etc and you have not. Unless you are willing to actually put in the time and effort to really learn all of these things like doctors do then you should take their word for it. And no, you cannot adequately obtain all of this knowledge from the internet. The human body really is that complicated. I am a nurse and I will not hesitate to admit that doctors do know a lot more about I do because they have a lot more specialized education than I do.

      • Blooming_Babies

        Baa…. Feel free to be a sheep but not everybody has to follow.
        The idea that being against pharmaceutical lobbying makes taking medication hypocritical is so far from reality I don’t even know where to begin.
        Doctors are not without faults, peer reviewed studies are proven wrong all the time.
        Vaccinations that have been proven “safe” are pulled off the shelves for killing people, check the CDC website it’s all there. The government funds payouts for people injured by vaccinations, because it is a reality.

      • Poogles

        “The government funds payouts for people injured by vaccinations, because it is a reality.”

        Yes, we have a special “court” set up for the people who are unlucky enough to be the ones to experience a severe vaccine injury (which are quite rare, but definitely exist -which no one has denied). What exactly do you think this proves?

        We have set up a fund for compensation when someone ends up on the “wrong” side of the odds regarding vaccination. Seeing as vaccines save lives and prevent morbidity at a rate far, far higher rate than any serious adverse reactions, but need herd immunity to do so, it only seems fair to have an easy way for those few who are adversely effected to seek compensation.

        It was initially created because vaccines are NOT big money-makers for the pharma companies and when those who experienced adverse effects sought compensation by suing the companies directly, many of the companies were planning to drop production of vaccines, because it was becoming too costly. To protect herd immunity, and thus, society, the federal gov’t stepped in and created the VICP so that compensation could easily be sought (it is much, much easier to “win” in the vaccine court than it would be if you sued the company directly) and vaccines would remain available.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        I absolutely agree with the points you are making. You are totally right when you say it is a “sensitive” topic for me – I remember being in your shoes with an infant a few months old who I was terrified to vaccinate because of the numerous stories out there that blame routine vaccinations on everything from autism, to asthma, to death.

        I, too, am skeptical of the FDA and I did extensive research on vaccinations before I agreed on a schedule with my pediatrician. At the end of the day, I am not a doctor and I believe in the advances we have made that make our children safer and healthier. Mercury has not been used in vaccinations since 2001. I found a group of pediatricians that I trusted and followed their advice.

        I’m sorry if you think calling this woman “irresponsible” is name-calling, but try to remember that this is an opinion piece – just one mother’s opinion about people who refuse to vaccinate their children.

      • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique VĂ©ronique Houde

        Thanks for your response!! I appreciate reading this – as I have said, it’s not that I’m anti-vaccine, and I’m glad that you have been through the same types of reflections. I am meeting my daughter’s pediatrician for the first time next month (here in Quebec we have a very difficult time finding doctors) and will have a discussion with her about it. It’s great to be able to have sites like these where we can challenge each other. However, being an opinion piece doesn’t imply that it’s all of a sudden ok to label people just because they don’t have the same opinions as you.

        In her own way, whether anyone agrees with this woman or not, she is going out of her way to act according to her convictions, and hence, is probably seen as being very responsible by people who have the same opinions as her. That’s why I take issue with reading that you call her like that… Perhaps there are more effective ways of getting an opinion across without having to use negative labels when talking about people…

        I think that, if we want mothers to become more united, if we want to stop these so-called “mommy-wars”, we need to rise above the name calling, even more so when we are REALLY ANGRY at someone. I guess that’s why I always seem to get into these debates, I sincerely hope that by me saying something, we will all learn to talk to each other more respectfully and then be able to model online behaviour to our children, because cyberbullying is such a serious topic, and change starts with us. I myself have found myself flinging insults to others, and name calling, online, and am trying actively to stop doing this.

      • lea

        “For example, in the MMR vaccination, I find it appalling that there is mercury used as a preservative, and the only research that was done to make sure that this substance is not harmful to humans dates from the 1930s, and is a lot less than empirical.”

        If I can take issue with two things about this statement:

        1. The MMR vaccine does NOT contain mercury, or thimerosal (the mercury based preservative) and hasn’t since about 2000/2001

        2. Some research HAS been done since the 1930s with regard to the safety of very small amounts of mercury in vaccines as a preservative (and they’ve all found it to be safe)

        The fact that you didn’t come across this information in your research yet leads me to agree with you that you haven’t done enough research to be making a truly informed decision.

        That said, I do agree with you that the name calling, closed mindedness, fear mongering (on BOTH sides of the debate) and questions about objectivity (again on BOTH sides) make this a difficult issue to navigate.

        I’m a microbiologist and an immunologist so obviously I think that anybody who disagree with the effectiveness and worth of using vaccines as a principle is ill informed, naive and just plain wrong. The science is out there, we can explain how the immune system responds and why the vaccines are protective etc etc- this is just not a debatable issue- it is proven

        BUT discussions over how vaccines are made, what preservatives and adjuvants are used, who should have them, when they should be delivered etc etc are all valid conversations to be having. Conversations we SHOULD be having.

        I think it is a shame that people are unable to separate the basic science and the questions they have of individual vaccines. Just because one vaccine might not be great, doesn’t mean they all aren’t.

        Its akin to saying I won’t take any pain medication because I know someone who had a bad reaction to paracetomol. They are all different drugs (or vaccines) and should be discussed as such.

        As a scientist, I can understand why other scientists and health care professionals are reluctant to discuss any shortcomings of vaccines, because their words can be misconstrued and used to mean that we should have no vaccines. A very dangerous message.

      • Spiderpigmom

        What a great post, I wish I could upvote it more than once. You managed to be factual, polite and nuanced at the same time. I wish everyone (including me) was able to communicate like that on the internet.

      • lea

        Thank you for your kind comment, I’m blushing :)

      • SunnyD847

        “No one died from it”? Tell that to all the parents in developing countries who have lost children to measles. They would love to have access to the vaccines that parents here refuse. Also, the amount of mercury in all childhood vaccines is less than the amount in one tuna fish sandwich.

    • Diana

      I had Measles. I live and breathe still.

      • Diana

        It wasn’t marvelous… But I wasn’t near death at any point.

      • Katie

        I had measels and I was hospitalised for 2 months. I was near death.

        See, here lies the problem with anecdotal evidence vs scientific evidence. Not everyone gets the same severity of illness. Measels is not an “okay illness” just because you had a mild case.

        My Grandfather has a mild heart attack, should we stop worrying about heart health just because his heart attack was mild and didn’t kill him?

      • Makabit

        My father had cancer. He recovered. Ergo, cancer is safe?

      • CrazyFor Kate

        And millions of people have had measles and died of it. Your point is?

      • scooby23

        Hey, you know some people survive stabbing and gunshot wounds. Should we just let murderers run amok because some people survive their attacks?

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

      If you think vaccines across the board aren’t useful and important then go remove yourself from society. Seriously–regional epidemics that killed lots of people used to be common. Now a days? Much less common thanks to the dual wonders of hygiene and vaccines.

      I can understand calling for quality control to be improved, and I can understand wanting vaccines spread out more than they are for kids, but to be actually anti-vaccine beggars belief if you’ve read accounts of illnesses like the plague, or smallpox, or Spanish flu decimating cities and countries.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Parents: Unless your specific child has a specific condition that prevents them from receiving vaccines (and no, “My mommy reads a lot on the Internet” is not a condition), vaccinate your kids for the good of everyone else. People can have immune issues, be too young for a vaccine, or just not have it take (no treatment is 100%), and they rely on the fact that almost everyone is vaccinated. How would you feel if your speshul snowflake picked up some preventable illness, got through it okay, but passed it on to someone else who died? Or if your speshul snowflake died because some paranoid parent’s little snotrag gave them something bad?

    • K.

      hmm…Trafford Publishing…never heard of it.

      Yep, self-published. Maria, I’m in agreement with you, but this is a bit like taking the guy wearing the sandwich boards and passing out flyers on 6th Avenue seriously. This isn’t a Penguin-House bestseller. It’s not written by a medical doctor. Responding to self-published books–which are self-published because their content is already ‘fringe’ at best–being sold over the Internet is only helping to legitimate them.

      • N

        I agree with your point but this book by an Australian author was picked up after it’s inital self-published run by an American publisher, who then started selling it through Australia’s largest online bookstore. It hit the news cycles in Australia because this move brought the book into the mainstream arena. Incidently, the bookstore has since removed the listing due to backlash created by the news coverage.

    • Emily

      On a side note from the vaccination debate, the title of this book is in horrifically poor taste. Using a callback to George’s Marvelous Medicine, is, considering that Roald Dahl’s daughter died from measles, thoughtless and cruel. Awful woman.

      • jessica

        Woah. Didn’t know that. Horrible.

      • Blueathena623

        Holy crap. Heartless.

    • Justme

      Don’t vaccinate your children against the measles? My grandmother would have killed for the opportunity to vaccinate my aunt against the measles sixty years ago. Perhaps it would have stopped the measles from going to her brain and causing her to be in a coma-like state for 23 years. Just perhaps.

    • Bianca

      I would love to ask my cousin about how marvelous her measles were… Oh wait… I can’t. Because she’s dead.

    • moethebartender

      Here’s how that book should end: “When Melanie was finally well enough to get out of bed, she went to the playground, where she walked right past a newborn and a young cancer patient on chemotherapy. They both caught Melanie’s marvelous measles and died marvelous deaths.”

      • ADS

        YES! I LOVE this comment.

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