A new way to get rich quick.

It’s time for some fun with math!  Everyone likes math, right?  Right?  Well, too bad.  Because the math is coming at you whether you like it or not.

But!  I know you like money.  I know it.  I bet you’ve even bought a lottery ticket once upon a time to try and get some quick money…  Haven’t we all.

But the lottery has terrible odds of winning at around 1 in 176 million.

That’s no good.

For a fun comparison, did you know the odds of becoming President are only 1 in 10 million?

I know!  I was shocked too.  It’s more likely you’ll become president than you’ll win the lottery.

But!!  You know what you have an even greater chance of?

Being injured by a vaccine and receiving a payout:

“From 2006 to 2013, over 2.2 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. according to the CDC. 2,903 claims were adjudicated by the Court in this time period and of those 1,709 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated.”

1 in a million.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  Unless you are that 1…

Oh, and to bring us back to the money aspect:

“Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.1 billion.”

So, go get your vaccines and you could be one of the “lucky” ones.  That payday is more likely than winning the lottery.


Did you know the odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 6,700?

Comparatively, that’s really high.

Wouldn’t it be a better use of our time, energy, and resources to work on making it safer to use our preferred method of transportation, especially in a state (California) where commuting is such an integral part of our lifestyles?

Only considering the chance of risk, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend funds fixing our “car problem?”  Think of all the lives that could be saved.


Vaccine injury compensation information: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data.html#

Odds information: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/30/15-things-more-likely-to-happen-than-winning-mega-millions.html#


Yes, before you attack me in the comments, I can see the hypocrisy in my two arguments. They work against each other.  I understand that.

But, they still make my point.

At least, I think they do…

And, they raise a few questions.

At least, I hope they do…

In a state that has already achieved herd immunity among school age children, why are additional laws needed to make vaccines mandatory to enter school?

The public outreach and laws already on the books seemed to be doing a good job of making sure our children are vaccinated.

And, does anyone else find it odd that this bill, which impacts public and private schools, was introduced in response to an outbreak that happened at Disneyland rather than at a school?

This new bill won’t make it any “safer” for kids in school, or at Disneyland.

Besides, we are probably all going to die in car accidents anyway.  They odds aren’t in our favor.


71 thoughts on “A new way to get rich quick.

  1. Well… I don’t think herd immunity by its nature is really a long-term plan, because it has to break down sooner or later. But I totally agree that putting time and effort to the more riskier behaviours would make so so much more sense. For instance, my scotch habit. Why do I do it? Increases the risk of all kinds of things, and the cost of abatement lands on our (admittedly Canadian) public health care system. Ban alcohol, I say… I can’t believe I just said that. I’m going to go suck on a bottle for a while and cry in the corner.

    Or cigs. What’s up with that? No safe level of use, but totally legal. That’s a bit bonkers. Put the money there, eradicate, expunge, go to the gym instead.

    Anyway, I love my maths, Matticus, and I think I am going to go start my campaign for the White House. It’s either me or D-Trump, and you’ve got me thinking my odds aren’t as bad as I thought. On that note, I buy a lottery ticket every five years. For no reason I can think of. I bought one a month ago, and didn’t know how to check it. So I went into a grocery store today and did one of those scanning machine things. And guess what. I won a free ticket. This has got to mean something…

    • Your free ticket is going to lead to even better things. I can feel it.
      And I can’t believe I didn’t think to bring up cigarettes! How are they still legal?!? They kill the user and the people around them. Perhaps there should be a vaccine for them as well?
      And, you have my vote for President.

    • Ban alcohol…and im probably an alcoholic. i can drink a fifth of vodka in six hours and be up the next day…ban cigs? that too…it’s about the money, honey. vacs make tons for pharma…no offense if you are in pharma. im probably gonna take hate but oh well.

      • What’s a fifth of vodka? I measure my mickeys – 12 ounces. I can unfortunately destroy a mickey without much feeling it.

        Vaccines may make money for pharma, and pharma may be sort of evil (because any large infrastructural corporation is) but even evil things can do good things. My old boss told me that there’s nothing wrong with making money AND making the world a better place; they’re not mutually exclusive. I would imagine that vaccines have done inordinately more good than bad… while making some people very rich. I’m okay with that.

        Cigs… I don’t know about that one. I think cigarettes should carry the true cost of the downstream consequences… each pack should incorporate the downstream health care costs. So, like, $200 a pack or something. Similarly, I think products should carry end-of-care costs… so the cost one day to get rid of the car after it’s toast should be in the purchase price. This is pretty much a great big “suck it” to us all, but somehow we have to understand the cost of what we do. And we really really don’t.

      • That’s an interesting strategy… and impossible to carryout without being able to see into the future. But, interesting all the same. I guess we could do “best guess” cost add-ons, and structure it like insurance.
        I hate insurance.

      • There’s something called Extended Producer Responsibility that’s already used for products in some States and Provinces, where producers are required to carry the cost of end-of-live in their sales price. It’s a crapshoot, but it basically means they have to take back the responsibility for the product once it’s through. It’s meant to force them, for instance, to reduce the amount of packaging they put around stuff. Or to use more efficient materials, or to recycle at end of life more. Overall, a positive, but just an incept system. I think this strategy could be applied to many things, though.

        In Canada, 75% of our health care costs are attributed to 5% of our population. And health care is our single largest cost as taxpayers (and boy do we ever pay taxes). What is up with that 5%? Who are they? I’m sure many are elderly. Others are simply sick. But some are in that category because of self-imposed excesses, and I don’t get that. We have to help them, of course, but why are we paying so bloody much money because someone wants to put a smoke-stick in their mouth? Why should I absorb that? Why shouldn’t they absorb more of that cost each time they light up? If you want the habit, pay the true cost of it.

      • Hers an interesting question…? Why must we pay the cost for their choices? If they smoked, and they didn’t save money for health care when the habit caught up to them, why do we have to help them? If we let people die, wouldn’t this problem eventually take care of itself? Those who didn’t care about long life would continue to abuse their bodies, and the rest of society would learn how to live healthier…

      • We don’t have to pay for their choices. The question is: will we? Do we have it in us to take care of others, even if they do stupid things? I think we have to, unfortunately, if we are going to continue as a species. Because we all do stuff that is stupid and I think we would all appreciate if that wasn’t held against us. I think every human life has the chance to be precious – and each started that way, no matter how people turned out. But I hope a lot of things, and I don’t know if that’s the most productive way to look at the world. I just hope that it is!

  2. Talk abut risky behaviour – what about guns? In 2010 there were 19,392 gun suicides and 11,078 gun homicides in the US (total= 30,470 gun deaths) – and that’s just deaths, not injuries. That’s 98.5 per million per year (2010 US pop was 309.3 million). If you live 70 years the chances of being killed or killing yourself is 1 in 145. Vaccines are one shot deals – the risk happens and is gone forever. Gun deaths are year after year after year after year, ad infinitum. In Canada it works out that in 70 year life, a person has a 1 in 649 chance of being killed by a gun. -about 1/5 of the chance of an American.

    Risk can be ameliorated if those responsible choose to do so. Chances of that are slim. 😀

  3. Vaccines and antibiotics are among the greatest scientific achievements of humankind. Vaccines stop working when people stop using them, and they stop working if they are not given to 95 percent of the herd.

    I work in drug safety — with folks who look for an analyze the problems that can come to patients taking drugs, vaccines and using medical devices. Folks who try to prevent and manage those side effects. If you’re into odds, the odds of a child having a serious adverse effect from a vaccine are incredibly slim.

    Many of the claims you mention are folks claiming that their child’s autism is related to the MMR vaccine. That theory was not simply disproven, but proven to be a lie perpetrated by Dr. Andrew Wakefield who made it up and then served in litigation as an expert witness. He has lost his medical license, and the Lancet, the publication where this was first printed rescinded and retracted the article. Scientific theories need to be tested and replicated in order to be deemed correct — Wakefield’s theory was NEVER replicated.

    The chances of a healthy child suffering from an adverse reaction to a vaccine are way slimmer than the chances of them being injured or developing a serious (non-vaccine related illness). The chances of an already sick person contracting and dying from any of the illnesses that are vaccine preventable, however is very high.

    I am among them because of my Crohn’s disease.

    Vaccines work. They are safe and everybody should vaccinate their children. That’s how we take care of everybody, including those who cannot be vaccinated because of other illnesses.

    And personally, I applaud Governor Brown. We need to take care of each other.

    • I agree with this, wholeheartedly. I remember that Wakefield douchebag, who seems to backstop the Jenny McCarthy’s of the world… that’s our new authority on science, I suppose. I think there was a mass study just a few months ago that categorically showed no statistical link between MMR and autism. It’s just a bunk notion that some celebrities and pseudo-scientists have taken a hold of. I think it’s vaguely-similar to the group of ‘academics’ that came out originally saying that smoking was fine… or that climate change isn’t happening. They work in fear, and try to polarize people without a meaningful bit of scientific evidence.

      My uncle had polio when he was a kid. Believe that, polio? He still suffers consequences. They could have been avoided.

    • I don’t disagree about the benefits of vaccines and antibiotics to society as a whole. I do disagree about applauding Brown… Encourage? Yes. Educate? Yes. Mandate? No.

      • If so many people hadn’t gone on the anti-vaxer bandwagon, I might agree. But people took crap science to heart, didn’t listen to the experts who actually knew what they were talking about, and threatened the lives — literally — of folks in their communities who had enough health problems without adding measles, whooping cough, etc. to the mix.

        If you didn’t give a sick child a needed antibiotic, you could (and should) go to jail for endangerment.

      • I’m not sure how we got on antibiotics… doesn’t really matter though. I understand the point you are trying to make.
        Humans sure are fascinating animals, aren’t we? Looking at the same data when can come to different conclusions about what it means, and how it applies.
        I would never not give my son antibiotics if he was sick in a way that needed them for him to get better.

      • Of course you wouldn’t.

        And I raised antibiotics. Because, like vaccines, they are life savers. Only unlike vaccines, there aren’t many people out refusing to use them.

        One point I keep forgetting to make about those claims.

        In order to get compensation, one generally has to prove one’s claim. But since most of the claims relate to autism, well, there’s no money going towards them. It all depends on how you look at it.

      • Don’t you worry about antibiotics being over subscribed? I would never deny my son access to them, but I do worry about the their overuse and the ever crazier superbugs showing up that have mutated and developed resistance to our antibiotics…

      • Yes, it is a huge concern, but a big part of the problem is their use in animals. People are starting to understand that if the doctor doesn’t prescribe you an antibiotic, there’s a reason for it.

        That said, I am a big culprit in this. I have to take antibiotics long term as part of my treatment. But without them, I am very sick indeed. What’s a sickie like me to do?

        The educational campaign has been fairly successful in cutting antibiotic use, though. except of course in me…

      • Educational campaign? I haven’t seen any of that. And everyone I work with pops antibiotics every time their throats get a tickle…

      • Oh, and the education campaign is mostly directed at doctors — so that they do prescribe less than they used to. Non docs can’t get an antibiotic w/out an RX …

        But there are probably pamphlets all over the doctors’ office and at pharmacies.

  4. Everything Elyse said, pretty much. My son’s half-siblings are immuno-compromised. Medical reasons should always be an exemption, but it is because herd immunity can and will thin out quickly. Without that those who can’t have them will be the first to fall.

    As for M, I did have concerns, so I put him on a delayed vaccination schedule. I can’t remember what the exact order was now, but I know I refused to let him have more than one shot at any time during a doctor’s visit and over a period of time to be sure he wouldn’t have a reaction until we found out he likely didn’t have Crohn’s or related immune system issues. I think that was around 5 years old for him since getting him into Kindergarten wasn’t any problem.; as I mentioned though, his siblings showed those signs early (failure to thrive, low birth weight, chronic gastric issues) so I am not sure if they ever finished their vax schedules or not.

    The year he went into middle school I think was the first year that VA required all rising 6th graders to have the DTaP (or whatever, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) booster to be enrolled in a public school. His elementary school offered the vaccine, with permission, in 5th grade through county health but if your kid didn’t get it then or have a doctor’s note AND copy of the immunization chart on the first day of 6th grade, they got sent home immediately. The first year was a mess, but the following year it seemed the message was clear on how they were going to handle this.

    • We are doing the delayed schedule to, because that’s what makes sense for our family.
      My problem with mandated vaccines is, what happens when they go from requiring vaccines to enter school to requiring you follow the “recommended” schedule to get into school?
      Perhaps I’m a conspiracy whacko, but I don’t trust our government to be content with just this. They will try to take more.

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