Doctors Share Their Worst Experience With ‘Know It All’ Anti-Vaxxers
We’ve all seen the vicious war between pro-vaccine individuals and anti-vaxxers, but these doctors have literally seen it all. Some parents watch their children suffer and die when they could have easily prevented it. They simply refuse to accept the wealth of conclusive scientific data that proves all of their opinions to be wrong. Even people in medical or nursing school can be anti-vaxxers.
Despite all the evidence, there are a handful of people who steadfastly believe that vaccines will cause problems for their children, and they are somehow more willing to risk the lives of their loved ones than to turn on their ridiculous convictions. Be prepared to roll your eyes as you read these most ridiculous stories of the most extreme anti-vaxxers out there.
#1 I Think They Read That Article Wrong
I’m not a doctor, but a veterinary technician. I’ve had someone ask me if vaccines are going to give their dog autism.
#2 What Did You Think Was Going To Happen?
My stepmom is a pediatrician at a major hospital here in Italy. She told me the worst thing she saw was an anti-vaxxer mom wailing and screaming after her 12-year-old son died of meningitis (the mother didn’t let the son get the meningitis vaccine). Apparently, as soon as she walked in the room after getting called for an emergency, all of her son’s limbs had gone necrotic, and he was bleeding from practically every crevice in his body including his eyes. His blood couldn’t even congeal anymore. She told me she felt so angry at the mom. This was all preventable.
#3 Your Kid Is The Real Danger
There was an anti-vaxxer mom who brought her kid into the emergency room and demanded the doctor tend to them first because he “couldn’t be around all the sick kids.”
#4 Nearly Destroyed This Baby’s Life
I had a one-year-old infant in the NICU with HIB meningitis, which is a vaccine-preventable illness. I didn’t actually have the heart (or felt there was any reason at the moment) to explain to the parents that what was happening to their child was fully preventable.
Long story short: their child came into the emergency room, quite febrile, and non-responsive. The whole work-up was done, and he was diagnosed with HiB meningitis and sepsis. He was then admitted to the NICU. Unfortunately, he was already fairly advanced into the course of his illness and went on to develop multiple awful complications. Despite being started on the kitchen sink’s worth of antibiotics, he developed multiple brain empyemas (large collection of pus and bacteria that fill the skull), requiring multiple drains to be drilled into his skull to relieve pressure. To make things worse, the kid incurred multiple ischemic strokes and also developed hydrocephalus (the brain has its own “circulatory” system which can get clogged with pus and bacteria, causing fluid to build up and exerting pressure on the brain).
Against all the odds, this tiny baby survived the ordeal. You can have your own ethical debate over whether a child that neurologically compromised should have lived since they will be so profoundly disabled that they will likely require full-time nursing care, but that was the situation.
#5 Presenting A Danger To All Around Them
I had a seven-year-old showing sign of a serious illness. Her teachers initially noticed it before anyone else. The child had been sick for a few days, which then turned into a couple of weeks. The teachers told the parents over and over that something was wrong. The parents ignored the signs and claimed it was just was a cold or something minor.
They finally came to me, and the child showed signs of measles. Within about 15 minutes, I indicated that what their child was experiencing was definitely not cold. To confirm, I examined the child’s inner cheek and did a full body exam. The child pointed out a rash that confirmed the measles.
The parents indicated that they did not believe in vaccines because their previous doctor told them it was unnecessary as long as the child ate healthily and stayed active (it was a family friend who worked in naturopathic medicine, not a licensed doctor). After making the diagnosis and having a very tough informational session with the parents, I provided them with prescriptions to help with the measles and bring as much comfort as possible to their child. I had to break down that their child could have infected children and families with a very dangerous but preventable disease. Even worse, I told them she could have easily died.
The child had measles for at least a month before seeing me. To stress how serious this is, measles does not show signs or symptoms in some cases for 10 to 14 days. Because they refused to vaccinate their child, at least two to three weeks of exposure to other kids and teachers occurred. Somehow, they were able to bypass school district requirements for getting vaccines (they did not have a religious exemption).
#6 This Literally Changes Lives
I worked in a pediatric ED for many years. I had a young boy come in, maybe eight or nine, who was obtunded and stiff as a board. We took him to the resuscitation room and did a full workup, including a spinal tap. It was a lot of work to try and position him because he was so stiff.
I was assisting with the tap. The fellow was able to get into the intervertebral space, and a milky fluid literally shot out of the needle and onto her chest. She hooked up the manometer to measure the pressure, and the fluid climbed all the way to the top, even with the extension added to it. I had never seen that before, having done hundreds of taps. As you can imagine, the boy’s pressure was astronomically high. We got the kid as stable as we could and transferred him to the PICU.
He ended up living but lost three of his extremities due to sepsis. He also suffered a severe cognitive impairment as a result of the high pressure. Cultures showed H flu meningitis, which is the most common form of meningitis. He was never vaccinated. The HIB vaccine is over 95% effective in preventing meningitis. It was sobering to watch the parents realize their decision to withhold a vaccine had unimaginably altered the course of their lives and the life of their child.
#7 Just Take The Advice
I was in medical school when this happened. I was seeing a new patient to establish care. She was a nine-year-old girl. I got into the room, and she was on the table wearing glasses. Then, I noticed she had strabismus (cross-eyed). I talked to the mother to get a better history.
It turned out; she was born with strabismus. Now, there is a relatively easy way to fix this. It involves surgery and then wearing an eye patch for a short period. For most people, this fixes the issue, and their vision is unaffected.
The mother was against the surgery, but someone finally convinced her that it would help, so she got it done. The patient was sent home, and the mother was given specific instructions—keep the eye patch on constantly, give her lots of rest, etc. Well, guess what? The eye patch wasn’t exactly comfortable, and the kid got fussy all the time about it, so the mom decided not to make her wear it — the strabismus returns.
By the time I saw her, the patient’s vision was terrible, and she was almost legally blind (she could read the big E on the eye chart, nothing else, and that was with one-month-old glasses). She was cross-eyed. I informed the mother that they could get the surgery again, as it will help prevent her vision from worsening, but the mother said the surgery was cosmetic and that the eye patch was too bothersome.
This nine-year-old girl is on track to become legally blind in the next couple of years. She will remain cross-eyed for the rest of her life, all because her mother couldn’t be a parent and force her to wear an eye patch for a couple of months.
#8 What Else Do They Believe?
I work for a vaccine manufacturer, and my title is Raw Material Engineer (that is, I work with vaccine ingredients for a living). When anti-vaxxers ask me if I know what’s in a vaccine, I basically cackle and crack my knuckles.
They also don’t seem to have an answer for why I give my children the same vaccines if Big Pharma is trying to poison people.
#9 How Do You Deal With That?
A 19-year-old comes on a gurney in a deep coma, with respiratory depression and foam issuing from the lips. The mother is frantic. The EEG reveals the pattern typical of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a sequela of common measles.
It’s preventable, people. But not curable. They buried him a few weeks later.
#10 Not Any Different For Vets
I’m a veterinarian. Every day, I have to convince some reluctant pet owner that I’m not in the pocket of “Big Rabies” and I’m making recommendations for preventative care based on state law, medical research and good judgment.
The memorable people are the ones who listen to me but still blame me for some misdeed. My advice saves their pet’s life in one way or another, and they’re still angry about it.
“Your dog definitely needs a Lyme vaccine.”
“Why? It’s not perfect.”
“Your last dog died of Lyme nephritis like two months ago. This vaccine is 93% effective.”
#11 Mixed Up Priorities
“Yeah, I’d rather my child get sick naturally than be exposed to chemical vaccines.” A parent said this after I spent 10 minutes describing to her in graphic detail all of the ways preventable diseases could maim and kill her infant.
#12 Must Be Karma
Not a doctor, but my eighth-grade English teacher was an anti-vaxxer and pregnant at the time. She would constantly tell us about how bad vaccines were. So one day, the science teacher spent an entire lesson just talking to us about how vaccines are actually good for us and don’t cause autism. A few years later, I was talking to my friend from eighth-grade who still talked to our science teacher, and he said that the English teacher’s baby had autism and despite not being vaccinated.
#13 Seriously, Who Gave You A Degree?
I was previously in a position where I hired RNs.
One of the candidates I was interviewing spoke wholeheartedly against vaccinations and went on to paint pretty much all of Western Medicine as “hocus pocus.” I think she takes the “laughter is the best medicine” phrase literal.
I just wanted to say, “Why did you go to school for this profession? AND DID YOU NOT LEARN A THING?!”
#14 View From The Other Side
My mom did not vaccinate me as a kid, and as of two days ago, I officially have rubella.
#15 Because They Hated It?
I had a patient come to the hospital for a possible heart attack. I asked if they had gotten a flu shot or the pneumonia vaccine. They went into a long rant about how vaccines are poison and how they don’t take any medication because they swim in the ocean and it purifies all the toxins that they acquire. Then they started having chest pains, so I gave them a nitroglycerin pill… They spat it out because they hated it. Well… You don’t take your meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol you will have a heart attack. So they weren’t just anti-vaxxers, but fully anti-medicine.
Yes, the pneumonia vaccine is a thing. It’s technically called the Pneumococcal vaccines, which protects from the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. Their use can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. The hospital asks everyone over 65 if they have had one.
#16 Cornered By A Stranger
I’m not a doctor, but I do have mild autism. I made the mistake of saying that I was autistic in a public place to my friend. This lady heard and came up to ask if I was vaccinated. I said that I was, and she had the most triumphant look on her face. I realized my mistake and left right away with my friend.
17 They’re Not Just Sick
While discussing vaccines with a mom one time and bringing up my experience working with the immunocompromised population, she said, “I don’t care if someone else’s kid has cancer. That’s their problem, not mine.” And that right there is a huge part of the problem: selfishness. I vaccinate my children not only for their own health but for the health of others.
#18 Death Of The Pack
Veterinarian here. I had a client years ago who bred Salukis, and who refused most medication because she claimed that “chemicals are bad.” She also didn’t believe in vaccination.
One of her dogs was exposed to parvo, so she brought it back to the kennel. She tried to treat it homeopathically herself at first, so by the time we saw it, the dog was already pretty far gone.
Then, the next day, she brought in another sick dog.
And the next day.
And the next day.
All in all, after $6,000 in bills, 12 beautiful dogs died of a disease she could have prevented for $120.
#19 Wrong On So Many Counts
Pediatrician here. As a medical student, I watched a baby die from Rotavirus because the mom thought vaccines cause Alzheimer’s (yeah, not Autism, Alzheimer’s). She didn’t think he needed to go to the hospital when he hadn’t kept down a feeding for 12 hours because “sometimes kids just do that.”
My current “winner” is a mom who refuses vaccines for her kids because she thinks they cause autoimmune disorders. According to her, her two sisters acquired chronic Lyme disease and her brother got scoliosis, all due to those “nasty vaccines.” Also, her grandpa and dad both died from heart attacks because they had had the flu vaccine the previous season… All of these autoimmune disorders in one family, I just don’t know what to do! She likes to bring me articles from Mercola and Health Nut News to prove her point.
#20 You Really Believe That?
I work in an urgent care clinic. I had a mom come in complaining about her son having nasty eye infections lasting several weeks. She was vehemently against vaccinations, and when I asked if she had been giving her son over the counter meds, she said: “Well, I read online that breast milk would work so I’ve been just pouring it in his eyes and I don’t know why it’s not working!”
#21 It’s Not Just About Your Kid
After I sent out invites to my kids birthday party, I found out one of her friends from dance class was unvaccinated. My daughter’s best friend is in remission from leukemia and is immunocompromised. An unvaccinated kid could kill her. I uninvited the unvaccinated kid and very nicely explained the situation. Her mother lost her mind and tried to get us kicked out of the dance school they attend.
The dance school owner then implemented a new rule that students had to be up to date and the unvaccinated kid had to find a new dance school. I felt bad for the kid, but her mother is a sociopath.
#22 There Are More And More Of Them
Pharmacist here. All of my patients are 18 or older. I have had a few loons with the mind control conspiracy and a few, “Vaccines do nothing but cause problems, and I can tell you all about it.” My staff and I laugh at them after they walk away. Then I die inside because it is becoming more prevalent.
#23 Oh, The Conspiracies
I had a guy recently who called me a Big Pharma shill because he believed the flu vaccine I administer is part of a massive conspiracy to make people sick. I told him that the injected flu vaccine literally cannot give you the flu and that I get the injection every year myself, but he got more obnoxious. With people like that, there’s no point in arguing, especially with Mr. “I’m Going To Speak With Your Manager!”
Thankfully, he’s one of a vanishingly small minority, and most of my patients are sensible regarding vaccines, but this guy was the first I’ve had to be really conspiracy-oriented. I get more pushback from people when I tell them Oscillococcinum is useless.
#24 Death Or Vaccination?
I went to a school that is known for its nursing program, so we had a lot of student nurses and RNs who would come back from their internships and jobs with anti-vaxxer stories. The worst one by far was a mother, who also happened to be in nursing school, that explained she would not be vaccinating any of her children and was mad she had to get a tuberculosis vaccine to work in a hospital. The student spent about 30 minutes trying to explain to this mother that she could easily kill her kids, to which she told her: “At least they’ll die naturally and not of mercury poisoning.”
#25 Nothing You Can Do?!
I had a kid on a ventilator with a preventable illness at a major research hospital in California. The mom was an anti-vaxxer. The kid began to deteriorate, and the mom spent a lot of time reaching out to her anti-vaxxer community. One visited her in the hospital and said, “Honey, there was nothing you could do.” I lost it at that point.
#26 Not Getting Caught Up In The Herd
We had neighbors that have become life-long family friends. They have a daughter the same age as my sister, and she got diagnosed with autism shortly after getting her MMR. A couple of months after her diagnosis, a paper came out saying vaccines caused autism, and the mom believed it. It was new information, so no one really was sure what to believe. Anyway, fast forward four years and the mom is pregnant again. She agonized over getting her new baby vaccinated with the MMR. She did, because, in her words, “I’d rather have another autistic child than one in the ICU.” The new baby is completely typical and she now doesn’t believe in the anti-vaxxer stuff.
My point is, even at the height of the autism being caused by vaccine scare, she was smart enough to get her kids vaccinated, and I will never understand why people don’t protect their kids.
#27 Just Trying To Help
I commented on a blatantly false post about vaccines on Facebook (it was something about mercury in vaccines I think? Now there’s only mercury in the flu shot, and you can request a dose without it).
She sent me an article on how God doesn’t want you to vaccinate children. She said she felt like God was leading her to spread anti-vaxxer “information.” Yikes.
Pretty sure God would want less dead kids, but ok.
#28 Everyone Is Affected
I went with my cousin when she took her grandkids to get vaccinated.
I was sitting outside the doctor’s office when two women greeted me and started the whole “vaccines are the devil’s way of harming the children” argument. They had a clearly mentally-impaired man with them and the older of the two grabbed the man and showed him to me. She said that he was her son and because of vaccines he became retarded.
I then pretended to speak in a different language because I did not know how to disengage from that without starting a storm.
#29 Sounds Like Quite The Argument
I’m an EMT and pro-vaccine. My ex-wife is an anti-vaxxer. We are constantly arguing about vaccinating my son, but thankfully, I have custody of him, so he gets his vaccines.
She also thinks the government puts fluoride in the water to control our minds.
#30 Could Have Had All His Limbs.
Student nurse here. The most heartbreaking case I ever saw was a three-year-old who was facing all four limb amputations because he had meningitis and it entered his bloodstream, all because mom didn’t vaccinate him. His limbs were completely necrotic. He couldn’t eat and stopped speaking. You could tell he felt lonely and scared. He couldn’t play with the other kids on the unit because he didn’t know how to play without his hands. It crushed my heart.
#31 Throwing Both Kids In The Lion’s Den…
One child had an absolutely horrible time with chicken pox, to the point that I thought he might not make it.
So what does the mother do? Intentionally expose her other child to it.
#32 He Tried!
My dad’s a doctor.
He told me that one time, a mother came into his office with her son for a checkup. He recommended that her six-year-old get vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella because she hadn’t vaccinated him yet.
Just four weeks later, she came in with her son, and he had measles. She yelled at my dad for not curing him in the hour and a half they were there.
She got angry and went to the ghetto pediatrician who sold her the same medication.
Later, she still didn’t vaccinate her son because of “aluminum” and “toxins.”
#33 Quite The Family Conflict
My dad is an anti-vaxxer. I’m 18, and he always tries to convince me not to get vaccines. When I was a kid, my mom would have to take me in secret. My dad doesn’t know I’ve gotten vaccines; it’s always been a secret. I wish I could convince him otherwise, but he doesn’t trust any official research.
He wasn’t always like this. He became a weird conspiracy theorist after 9/11 (the year after I was born). He now knows I’ve gotten vaccines because last time I got them I was very adamant about how they are helpful and not a government conspiracy.
#34 What Research Doesn’t She Have?
I work in a NICU and occasionally float out to the term nursery. Our neonatologists also work as pediatricians in the hospital and see the newborns on top of the NICU kids. The neonatologist went to see a mom who was refusing the initial vaccines. When the doctor told the mom the vaccines were recommended by the AAP and asked for reasons of refusal, the mom laughed and told her to do her research.
She told this to a doctor who is both a neonatologist and pediatrician. Double-board certified. She also is our medical director, has a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering, and is a mother herself.
My eyes nearly rolled out of my head.
#35 Killing. People.
So I’m a doctor. My worst experience is always related to parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children against STDs like HPV. The numbers of HPV infection rates among sexually active people are off the charts. HPV is related to cervical cancer, throat cancer, and other health problems, but every time we tell anti-vaxxer parents to vaccinate their child while they still can, we hear: “This is stimulating kids to have intimacy early on.”
No, it’s not. We don’t care at all about when your child will be intimate; we care about how more than half of the world population has HPV and how this is killing people.
#36 That’s Not How It Works
Medical professional and MPH student here. I’m visiting my family in a rural part of the U.S. after a couple of years of being away. Explaining to them why they need their flu shots and why my two-week-old niece should be vaccinated has become completely exhausting. “I haven’t got the flu shot in years, and I never get sick.” That’s… not how it works.
#37 The Lord Won’t Protect You When You Don’t Protect Yourself
I’m still a medical student, and this story comes from a professor: A woman had given birth and declined vaccinations. She also declined the vitamin K injection, which she perceived to be another type of vaccination. The oral form was offered, which she declined as well. She said, “We’ve decided to let the Lord protect our child.”
Her baby had a rare genetic condition that resulted in a brain bleed, which would have been prevented by the vitamin K injection. The baby suffered permanent brain damage.
The parents did not change their mind about vaccinations afterward.
#38 Do You Know What Chemicals Are?
I’m a doctor. Two months ago, as I walked out of the hospital, I saw a woman frantically dialing a number on her telephone.
She proceeded to yell into her phone: “They want to put all those nasty chemicals into him! They say if he’s going to be in the hospital he needs to be vaccinated to protect other kids! It’s poison! I’m going to take him somewhere else!”
#39 Could Have Been Prevented.
A kid comes in after getting scraped by some rusty nails. Surprisingly, he is okay after the fall. We want to give the tetanus vaccine since that’s common to do after a high-risk exposure to make sure she doesn’t get it. We learn she’s never been vaccinated. The mom refuses. We called CPS, but mom is connected to some big shot government official. Kid goes home without the vaccine.
Three weeks later, the kid came back in with tetanus unable to breathe. She suffered irreversible brain damage. Now, she is wheelchair-bound and needs to be fed through a tube.
#40 They’re Not Open To The Opposing Sides
I was teaching a course this semester that covers how to appropriately conduct research in a variety of ways, as well as how to perform personal (not publication-worthy) research. I remember hearing one of my students say that they were anti-vax at the beginning of the semester. It didn’t really bother me because I realized that they were also part of one of my courses where I just so happen to have a lecture planned to analyze Wakefield’s MMR-Autism paper. I planned to find points of major error and bias, determine the severity of the errors, how to fix them, and discuss his methodologies and results while being compared to the dozens of studies released after his that utterly destroyed his paper.
After that lecture, I never saw the student again.
Unfortunately, this taught me that when you deal with this group of people, there isn’t really a way of convincing them otherwise. They have been brainwashed, and they like their “confirmation caves”.
#41 Never Going Back To That Chiropractor
I went to a chiropractor one time to fix some lower back pain. They had posters all over about how harmful vaccines are and that having your back adjusted regularly, (even as an infant) could help fight off those kinds of diseases.
I asked the receptionist if they actually believed that and she gave me a 10-minute lecture trying to justify it. I told her to remove me from the patient list because what she told me was the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
#42 Absolutely No Protection
I’m a medic. I had a kid fall down onto a hot radiator heater at home. He got second- to third-degree degree burns all over his back. The kid was screaming in agony, but I managed to place the line in and sedate him. We were off to the burn center, with a police escort in place, and I started asking his mom about his medical history. She said that they didn’t do vaccines because that would kill the baby.
We got to the burn center, and the doctor there lost it when he heard that kid hadn’t been vaccinated. He said that the mother successfully just gave her son every contagious disease in that place.
#43 Dental Vaccination?
Dental student here. I had to kick a parent out of my operatory for wanting to “make sure I wasn’t trying to vaccinate her child.” I was only checking for cavities.
#44 Sure, Obama Gave You Measles
I’m not a doctor but a nurse. I had a whole family with measles, and they blamed the government and Obama for their illnesses.
#45 A Nurse’s Quick Save
Pediatric nurse here. This patient left a mark on me. An 18-month-old was admitted to a community hospital’s pediatric unit. Respiratory symptoms were evident. I noticed right away that the kid was working hard to breathe. She started getting worse. I started to worry—kids don’t give warning when they crash, they just crash fast. I talked with the other nurse and mention that she’s unvaccinated. As soon as I said it, I realized it could be epiglottitis. I remembered in nursing school learning about how dangerous epiglottitis was, and the professor saying they used to see it all the time. Kids would drop dead, but how we would never see it because kids are often vaccinated against what causes it.
I called the doctor and said what was on my mind. She needed to put in for a transfer. She thought I was just overreacting. I don’t wait. I called the children’s hospital and said, “Send the helicopter, now.” The doctor found out I did this and said it was overkill.
The mom asked if this is her fault. The other nurse I was working with looked this woman in the eye and said, “Yes. This is your fault.”
I sincerely hope that led to this kid getting vaccinated. She did live. She was incubated upon arrival to the children’s hospital and spent two weeks in the PICU.