Antivaxxers must be stopped! NOW.

By Phil Plait | August 22, 2008 2:30 pm

Antivaxxers are people who think vaccinations cause health problems, most notably autism. This is despite study after study showing them to be wrong; there simply is no link between vaccines and autism. While there can be isolated reactions to vaccines, they are very rare, and the overall health benefits of vaccines vastly — vastly — outweigh the negatives.

But these antiscience crusaders are starting to have an effect, and it’s a bad one: measles outbreaks in the U.S. are on the rise. In the first seven months of 2008 there have been seven outbreaks — a typical year has just one — with over 130 reports of measles infections, compared to just 42 last year in total. Of these cases, 122 children were either unvaccinated or have unknown vaccination status. That’s 93%.

As it happens, there have been no deaths from these outbreaks yet, though over a dozen kids were hospitalized.

The overall vaccination rate in the U.S. probably hasn’t dropped significantly, but these outbreaks are probably due to pockets of people not vaccinating their kids. Some are from home-schoolers, others due to religious reasons… but I will guarantee that a lot of this is due to the antivaxxers spread of lies, and smearing of the medical community. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again.

This part of the article is telling:

The nation once routinely saw hundreds of thousands of measles cases each year, and hundreds of deaths. But immunization campaigns were credited with dramatically reducing the numbers. The last time health officials saw this many cases was 1997, when 138 were reported.

Vaccinations work, and they save lives. Don’t believe the lies. Do the research yourself. I did, and I’m convinced the antivaxxers are wrong. And in some cases, they’re dead wrong.

Help stop them. Educate yourself, and talk about this with people. If you have a friend who is considering not vaccinating their kids, send them here, or here, or especially here. Give them the facts. They need it, to fight the onslaught of antiscience they are likely to find elsewhere.

Fight. Literally, kids’ lives depend on it.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind

Comments (283)

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  1. Too bad there’s no vaccine for the antivaxx stupidity syndrome… An antivaxx vaxx, I suppose…

  2. Indeed, this is precisely what antivaxxers have been warned about. Forming pockets of people who aren’t protected by vaccines.

    Side note Phil: Are you going to have a separate blog for skeptic stuff vs. astronomy now that you’re president of JREF?

  3. Davidlpf

    How about relocating all the ones that won’t vaccinate.

  4. Lawrence

    Exactly – it isn’t about a single child, it is about have unvaccinated children around kids that might be too young to have had all of their regular vacinations. You’re putting other people’s children at risk – seriously, this is definitely a case of the benefits so outweighing the risks.

    I would never subject a child to the horrors of measles, mumps or the other host of diseases that used to kill hundreds, if not thousands of children every year. We are lucky, for the most part, to not be old enough to remember what polio-scares were like or the mass outbreaks of measles.

  5. amphiox

    More than just benefits outweighing risks. It’s about civic responsibility. It is about willfully putting other people, innocent children mostly, at risk.

    This is child abuse.

  6. Dick Dawkens

    You are wrong. They haven’t proven there is no link between vacinations and autism. This is incomplete logic.

    It sounds like you are on a crusade against home-schoolers. Show some proof that they are worse than public school.

  7. I was reading about this yesterday and was hoping that you’d post about it.

    @Lawrence — I agree 100%. Everyone should be outraged at the unnecessary risks these children are being exposed to.

  8. Mitch Miller

    The bolded 93% is irrelevant without more info on percentage of people that are vacinated or not. And lets not get carried away with the civic responsibility tripe, a person should have the right to make their own choices in medicine except for extreme cases. This does not qualify.

  9. There has also been reporting on NPR, I caught part of one story en route to work. Here’s a link, with more at the bottom of the page:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93866209

    J/P=?

  10. StuV

    Dick,

    They also haven’t proven there is no link between autism and the decline of the green-billed parakeet on Sumatra. Or the decline of carburators. You can’t PROVE a negative… but you can look to prove the positive and miserably fail time and time again, which has happened with the vaccine-autism link.

    Also, who the hell said that home-schoolers are “worse” than those in public schools? Non-vaccination is more common amongst home-schoolers, that’s all. No need to get that defensive, thank you.

  11. StuV

    Mitch:

    A person has the right to make their own decisions as long as they do not endanger others. Unvaccinated people endanger infants too young to be vaccinated as well as immuno-depressed of all ages.

  12. This was a flashpoint for an argument I had with my mother this week (click my name above for juicy details). I am sure she and Phil Plait would be each other’s mutual worst nightmares. We’ve had fights about evolution, homosexuality, and everything else she’s wrong about, but after this latest meltdown, I think I can really put her behind me for good.

  13. Brian

    I know I’ll get hammered here, but really, truly, I have researched both sides and am continually trying to keep reading up on the topic and I still remain unconvinced that the benefits outweigh the risks. The thing is, for me, the fear of vaccines has never been about autism. At least not ONLY autism. Mercury has likewise never been my fear since anyone who knows anything about anything knows that mercury is no longer in the shots. It’s not the heavy metals or the formaldehyde or the aborted fetuses or anything like that that concerns me.

    My biggest fear is two-fold. 1) the unnatural injection of contagion into the soft tissue, especially so many contagions all at once, somehow screws with the developing immune system which can lead to any number of OTHER problems (autism only being one of the possbilities). In my research I can’t seem to find any official double-blind or whatever study being done on this type of thing. All you hear about are the stories in the admittedly anti-vax literature about kids having really harsh reactions (of varying types) right after they get their shots and the doctors telling them, “Oh no, it COULDN’T POSSIBLY be the vaccines.” So nobody researches THOSE cases. Instead, the research seems to be almost totally focused on Autism… Which I admit is as much the fault of the anti-vax camp. I’ve said in the past that I think the anti-vax folks have kind of gotten in their own way with overemphasizing the Autism/mercury link.

    And my #2 fear is that the mass vaccination program has essentially robbed us of gaining NATURAL IMMUNITY. I read Phil’s post and how horrible it sounds that these hundred-plus un-vaccinated kids got measles, but I hear that and I think GOOD. Those kids will NEVER get measles again. Whereas the vaccinated kids who didn’t catch the disease will be at GREATER risk as they get older. What are the longer term effects going to be of vaccinating everybody and losing generation after generation of natural immunity? Does anybody know?

    Before you begin the slaughter, please just let me assure you, I am open to your ideas. I’m not one of those people who is just shutting my ears and going “la la la la”. Thanks in part to an exchange between myself and Orac on this blog a couple months back I truly am trying to re-examine my stance on vaccines. But invariably the discussion just keeps coming back to autism and the nuttiness of the anti-vax camp. So please, be civil. I really am listening.

  14. So Brian, what is the risk for gaining immunity to measles naturally?

  15. Riemann

    My mother had Polio as a child. The vaccine was newly available at the time but they were poor and she kind of slipped through the cracks. I suppose she is lucky to be alive. But in any case in addition to nearly dying as a child polio left her with one leg severely disabled. She has required a brace and a cane to walk her entire life. In addition she is, in her 50s, still developing several health problems (generally lumped together as “post polio syndrome”) as a result of the disease.

    People who do not vaccinate are sick. They are wrong. When not outright delusional they are downright evil.

    At least with most forms of child abuse (and not-vaccinating should definitely qualify) the negligent parent is only harming their own child. Not vaccinating endangers their entire community. Every baby they have contact with too young to have been vaccinated. Every immune-compromised adult.

  16. rob

    a cynical person would point out that eventually a new equilibrium will be met wherein the anti-vaxxers will have killed themselves off with BCG, Buruli ulcers, Caliciviruses, Cholera, Dengue, Diphtheria, Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Epstein Barr, Helicobacter pylori, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis E, Herpes type 2, Haemophilus influenzae type b, HIV/AIDS, Human papillomavirus, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Leishmaniasis, Malaria, Measles, Meningococcal meningitis, Mumps, Parainfluenza 3, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Rabies, Respiratory syncytial virus, Rotavirus, Rubella, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Schistosomiasis, Shigella, Streptococcus group A, Streptococcus group B, TB, Tetanus, Tick-borne encephalitis, Tuberculosis, Typhoid and West Nile.

    but hey! on the bright side, the antivaxxers are safe from a lethal ebola vaccination. at least until one is developed for human use.

  17. Dick Dawkins, I have a better idea: show me any evidence whatsoever you have that I am on a crusade against home schoolers.

    [crickets]

    I don’t say anything negative here about them — just that they are a category of non-vaccinators in this particular case — and I don’t think I have ever mentioned it before on this blog.

    And yes, it’s very clear there is no link between vaccinations and autism as claimed by the antivaxxers. Read the links I provided. If there were a link as obvious as they claim, the data would be screaming it out. They don’t, so the antivaxxers are wrong.

  18. StuV

    Brian: you need to do a bit more research on how vaccines actually WORK.

  19. infidel

    Seriously, Phil, you need to stop stating things that are not scientific. Previously you point to a study that says “thimerosal does not cause autism” and that gets inflated in your head to “vaccines do not cause autism”. This time you point to a report that says “MMR does not cause autism” and again you inflate it to “vaccines do not cause autism”.

  20. StuV

    So where would you like to put the goalposts then, infidel? Be careful, you only get to do this once.

  21. Jenny McCarthy and her ilk are mere Trojan horses and useful idiots for Big Pharma. Think about it. As someone who has had a relative suffer from polio, I can vouch that Big Pharma made a ton of money providing treatment, assistance, and pain killers to my relative over the decades she suffered from polio. To be quite frank, it was a never ending gravy train of cash for them until her death a few years ago.

    On the other hand, I will never get polio. Big Pharma made a few dollars off my vaccine, but that is nothing compared to the amount of money big pharma banked from my relative.

    Yet, McCarthy and her kind want us to believe that Big Pharma is part of a plot to force dangerous, even deadly, vaccines upon us. This is sheer lunacy and no corporate board or group of shareholders would tolerate such a plan because of the money they would lose.

    So, not only has McCarthy endangered decades of public health and standard of living improvements, she is empowering Big Pharma by providing undermining legitimate, educated activists and their work and by creating conditions for Big Pharma to roll back vaccines and boost their profits while we, the general public suffer. Thanks Jenny.

  22. Brian

    @MarkP

    So Brian, what is the risk for gaining immunity to measles naturally?

    Here is a list of complications of Measles from the Mayo Clinic site. It doesn’t seem to indicate if these are complications generally experience by people HERE or in third world nations. I’ll assume they mean ANYBODY with measles.

    According to Phil’s post there were 122 CASES of unvaxed kids getting measles. According the NPR article above, 15 have been hospitalized. Their symptoms were high fever, dehydration and pneumonia. In the grand scheme (and I fully realize that I am perhaps being a little too cavalier here) it seems like a relatively minor thing to go through to gain lifelong immunity.

    Perhaps this is due to better overall health and nutrition in the country that these kids didn’t suffer the more extreme symptoms. Then again, perhaps not. My head honestly spins with the “yeah buts”.

    ———————

    Measles usually lasts about 10 to 14 days. In some parts of the world, the disease is severe, even deadly. In Western countries, that’s usually not the case. People with measles may become quite ill, but most people recover completely. However, complications may include:

    * Ear infection. Measles causes an ear infection in nearly one out of every 10 children.
    * Encephalitis. About one in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by a viral infection, which may cause vomiting, convulsions and, rarely, coma. Encephalitis can closely follow measles, or it can occur years later during adolescence as a result of a slow virus infection. The late form, called Dawson’s encephalitis, is rare.
    * Pneumonia. As many as one in 15 with measles gets pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
    * Diarrhea or vomiting. These complications are more common in infants and small children.
    * Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
    * Pregnancy problems. Pregnant women need to take special care to avoid measles, because the disease can cause miscarriage, premature labor or babies with low birth weights.
    * Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets — the type of blood cells that are essential for blood clotting.

  23. Brian

    @MarkP

    So Brian, what is the risk for gaining immunity to measles naturally?

    Here is a list of complications of Measles from the Mayo Clinic site. It doesn’t seem to indicate if these are complications generally experience by people HERE or in third world nations. I’ll assume they mean ANYBODY with measles.

    According to Phil’s post there were 122 CASES of unvaxed kids getting measles. According the NPR article above, 15 have been hospitalized. Their symptoms were high fever, dehydration and pneumonia. In the grand scheme (and I fully realize that I am perhaps being a little too cavalier here) it seems like a relatively minor thing to go through to gain lifelong immunity.

    Perhaps this is due to better overall health and nutrition in the country that these kids didn’t suffer the more extreme symptoms. Then again, perhaps not. My head honestly spins with the “yeah buts”.

    ———————

    Measles usually lasts about 10 to 14 days. In some parts of the world, the disease is severe, even deadly. In Western countries, that’s usually not the case. People with measles may become quite ill, but most people recover completely. However, complications may include:

    Ear infection. Measles causes an ear infection in nearly one out of every 10 children.

    Encephalitis. About one in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by a viral infection, which may cause vomiting, convulsions and, rarely, coma. Encephalitis can closely follow measles, or it can occur years later during adolescence as a result of a slow virus infection. The late form, called Dawson’s encephalitis, is rare.

    Pneumonia. As many as one in 15 with measles gets pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

    Diarrhea or vomiting. These complications are more common in infants and small children.

    Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).

    Pregnancy problems. Pregnant women need to take special care to avoid measles, because the disease can cause miscarriage, premature labor or babies with low birth weights.

    Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets — the type of blood cells that are essential for blood clotting.

  24. justcorbly

    Why not legislate that homeschooled children must receive the same set of vaccines before they can legally be homeschooled? Religious objections should not enter into it; a public health hazard is a public health hazard.

  25. Brian

    @MarkP

    So Brian, what is the risk for gaining immunity to measles naturally?

    ARGH, I’ve been trying to post the complications of measles info from the Mayo Clinic site but it fails to post. Maybe it makes my post too long. Let’s see if it will take the short version. The site doesn’t seem to indicate if these are complications generally experience by people HERE or in third world nations. I’ll assume they mean ANYBODY with measles.

    According to Phil’s post there were 122 CASES of unvaxed kids getting measles. According the NPR article above, 15 have been hospitalized. Their symptoms were high fever, dehydration and pneumonia. In the grand scheme (and I fully realize that I am perhaps being a little too cavalier here) it seems like a relatively minor thing to go through to gain lifelong immunity.

    Perhaps this is due to better overall health and nutrition in the country that these kids didn’t suffer the more extreme symptoms. Then again, perhaps not. My head honestly spins with the “yeah buts”.

    ———————

    Measles usually lasts about 10 to 14 days. In some parts of the world, the disease is severe, even deadly. In Western countries, that’s usually not the case. People with measles may become quite ill, but most people recover completely. However, complications may include:

    Ear infection. 1 in 10.

    Encephalitis. 1 in 1000

    Pneumonia. 1 in 15

    Diarrhea or vomiting.

    Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup.

    Pregnancy problems.

    Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).

  26. Davidlpf

    Rob, the thing is that the antivaxxers aren’t killing themselves and the is no guarrantee the children would be as stupid as there parents so there is no guarantee of getting rid of the stupid.

  27. Bandsaw

    Brian,
    From wikipedia:
    There was a pandemic of rubella between 1962 and 1965, starting in Europe and spreading to the United States.[25] In the years 1964-65, the United States had an estimated 12.5 million rubella cases. This led to 11,000 miscarriages or therapeutic abortions and 20,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome. Of these, 2,100 died as neonates, 12,000 were deaf, 3,580 were blind and 1,800 were mentally retarded. In New York alone, CRS affected 1% of all births

    Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is associated with increasing deaths in the U.S. The number of deaths increased from 4 in 1996 to 17 in 2001, almost all of which were infants under one year.

    Diphtheria may remain manageable, but in more severe cases lymph nodes in the neck may swell, and breathing and swallowing will be more difficult. People in this stage should seek immediate medical attention, as obstruction in the throat may require intubation or a tracheotomy. Abnormal cardiac rhythms and can occur early in the course of the illness or weeks later, and can lead to heart failure. Diphtheria can also cause paralysis in the eye, neck, throat, or respiratory muscles. Patients with severe cases will be put in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) and be given a diphtheria anti-toxin. Since antitoxin does not neutralize toxin that is already bound to tissues, delaying its administration is associated with an increase in mortality risk.

  28. Apparently Antivaxxers don’t mind killing children?

  29. Brian, I nearly died of measles when I was a child–I was too young to be vaccinated. I wonder who gave it to me? What are the symptoms for infants too young to be vaccinated generally?

  30. Pseudolus

    Here’s an interesting cartoon relating to the topic.
    http://www.nearingzero.net/screen_res/nz370.jpg

  31. Mark Hansen

    Brian, isn’t a slightly painful needle an even more minor inconvenience? Plus, you don’t require further medical treatment, unlike pneumonia and the other delightful side-effects of “natural” immunity.

  32. viggen

    researching both sides

    Gotta be careful on that account. Some people support their claims with very pretty lies and distortions. I too have spent a lot of time researching and, as a professional researcher, I’m not too impressed with the quality of argument that the other side passes as reasonable. From what you have written, it sounds as if you’ve given the lies and poor quality research as much credence as the actual facts and strong research from reputable sources.

    For one thing, don’t kid yourself: the return of all these old vaccine preventable diseases can return us to prevaccination mentality. In other words, autism will be the last thing on anybody’s mind next to illnesses like Measles and Polio that can have permanent and horribly debilitating complications.

    In my opinion, people in the US have forgotten just how awful these diseases were. We’ve had it so good. I have an uncle who was lamed by an outbreak of Polio when he was a child in the fifties. It still impacts his life. Gain natural immunity to measles? What if the sequalae are encephalitis and retardation? At least an autist can learn how to function like a normal person (not mentioning the fact that reputable research overwhelmingly favors Autism not being caused by vaccines).

    There is also that pesky little fact that the world population has increased by a lot and that illnesses like Influenza spread from one place to another by the ease with which people can now travel. Can you imagine what would happen in the modern world in the case of another Spanish Flu pandemic? That illness killed more people than World War I did and we would spread it several times more quickly now and have less capacity to quarantine the afflicted from the healthy because of how much our economy relies on specialization of indivduals. That’s a big part of why bird flu popped up in the newspaper headlines so frequently there for a while. Vaccines are the most potent weapon we have against that kind of an illness. In the modern urbanized world, a disease like Polio will wreak utter havoc: Polio got really bad in the twentieth century because of globalization and vaccines have been the counterbalance. If you want to talk about getting rid of vaccines or reducing vaccination, you need to also talk about dispersing cities and decentralizing populations so that one illness like Polio won’t manhandle an entire country, which is basically what was happening in the fifties.

    With six billion plus people on the planet, if such a disease got loose without vaccination available to help stop it, you would see a level of death and economic collapse that would make the Black Plague look like a happy time. It would overshadow everything else in our previous history. We are at terrific risk in the modern world because we have such a large, dense population and we survive because we vaccinate heavily. Without literally thinning our population out to create geographic quarantine buffers, we cannot afford to not vaccinate.

  33. Lawrence

    As soon as dozens of children start to die of diseases they could have easily been vacinated against, how much do you bet that there will be a public uproar?

    I, for one, don’t feel the need for the “sacrificial lambs” before I feel outrage – don’t you dare put my child at risk because you have a “feeling” that vaccines aren’t necessary.

    Again, none of us really know the horrors that children were exposed to in years past – families loosing 4 of 5 children from mumps or measles, plus the annual polio scares. It is easy to forget what was out there in the past, and could be out there in the future if this continues.

  34. Brian

    @Mark Hansen

    Brian, isn’t a slightly painful needle an even more minor inconvenience? Plus, you don’t require further medical treatment, unlike pneumonia and the other delightful side-effects of “natural” immunity.

    Absolutely its less of an inconvenience. But it doesn’t provide lifelong immunity. I may be wrong about this but I also believe it does not allow you to pass along your immunity to your offspring. Again, my fear is that once the immunity of the vaccine wears off, we’ll be in even worse shape if we get it as adults.

    @viggen

    From what you have written, it sounds as if you’ve given the lies and poor quality research as much credence as the actual facts and strong research from reputable sources.

    I try to be as skeptical as I can about both sides, ESPECIALLY when they start whipping out their statistics. As the adage goes, “the numbers don’t lie but they can confused.” For instance, one of my disconnects right now is how the anti-vax side shows that the death rate from certain diseases went to almost non-existant BEFORE the vaccine was introduced. But then the pro-vax camp shows you another graph that shows how the CASES of that same disease only went down AFTER the vaccine. What is the story BETWEEN those two extremes of thought? If the deaths go down, wouldn’t that seem to indicate that the EXTREME cases also probably went down? Were the high number of cases mostly minor cases where somebody got diagnosed with (say) measles but then got over it with no complications? Nobody seems to keep numbers that thoroughly. It’s either deaths or ALL cases.

    I guess my question is this. The anti-vax camp says that gaining natural immunity gets passed on to your offspring. Is that complete BS? And if it’s not, aren’t we crippling future generations by not giving their immune system the tools it really needs to fight off the stronger stuff coming down the pike?

    And just to reiterate because you brought it up, Autism is not really my concern. Never has been.

  35. amphiox

    Brian, the natural development of children’s immune system was irrevocably screwed the moment the first H. erectus learned to wash his or her hands. There is a theory out there with some support (more evidence than the vaccine-autism link by far) that the increasing rate of debilitating auto-immune disorders (like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, etc) in first world countries is linked to the lack of exposure children now have to environmental microbes in things like soil. By your logic, should we abandon all modern sanitation because of this possible link?

    You know what NATURAL IMMUNITY means? It means an average lifespan of 25 years. It means women dying post-partum from puerperal fever. It means not naming your children until their first birthday (as a fair number of ancient cultures did) because you did not want to invest to heavily emotionally in them until you were sure they had a decent chance of surviving, infant mortality from infectious disease being THAT HIGH.

    It also means a large, actively replicating population of infectious disease organisms, increasing the probability they might evolve into more virulent forms.

    As for my comment on civic responsibility, I was deliberately being mild. Civic DUTY is more appropriate. If you do not vaccinate, and someone you contact gets measles, or rubella or whatever, and that person dies, you are guilty of negligent homicide in my book.

    As for the argument that most measles cases are mild, SO WHAT? Autism falls on a spectrum from mild to severe as well. So do the real complications of vaccines. EVERYTHING falls in a spectrum from mild to severe. In the western world, most people do recover completely from measles. BUT THEY REQUIRE TREATMENT. How many resources must be used for this treatment? Resources no longer available to be used for something and someone else? Do you know how expensive it is to contain the outbreak of a infectious disease, not only in the hospitals where the patients are treated, but the community at large as well? In contrast to this, vaccination literally costs cents and prevents the problem from occurring in the first place.

  36. Brian

    @amphiox

    By your logic, should we abandon all modern sanitation because of this possible link?

    Actually no, I think certain measures make absolute sense. Not drinking one’s one SH** via untreated water is definitely a good thing. Eating a steady supply of varying foods that boost the immune system that older cultures wouldn’t have had access to is a good thing. Washing hands when you get something particularly disgusting on them is a good thing. But I actually agree with you that the germophobia thing that’s been going on lately is a bad thing too. I think kids SHOULD be allowed to get germs the old fashioned way by digging in the dirt and drinking out of each others’ cups and sucking on pennies they find on the ground (out of their parent’s direct vision of course :-) ). I also think my four year old should get chicken pox the old fashioned “man this sucks” way.

    I’m not completely luddite and hippie in my thinking. I’m not QUITE as suspect of the medical community as others, though I do try and limit my own consumption of medicine if I don’t feel I really need it. I prefer to let my fever run its course rather than taking tylenol. I don’t wash my hands every ten minutes. And I don’t take antibiotics unless I actually have a bacterial infection. I hesitate to say I’m not anti-vaccines (since I clearly am and I know that drives you guys crazy) but I am certainly open to the idea that I might be horribly wrong and misled.

    If you do not vaccinate, and someone you contact gets measles, or rubella or whatever, and that person dies, you are guilty of negligent homicide in my book.

    Devil’s advocate, don’t you put younger children in your household at risk every time one of your older children gets a shot since they are contagious for upwards of a week after. (I’m really not trying to sound confrontational with that. I assure you I’m not asking a smarta** rhetorical question).

  37. amphiox

    Brian, didn’t see you last post before posting mine. To answer your questions there, the difference in deaths and cases is a result of improved medical treatment and sanitation reducing transmission prior to the advent of vaccines. But which is the better scenario, to get the disease and require treatment, which is successful, or not to get ill in the first place? In which does the patient suffer more? Which deprives society of more contributions from productive citizens, and which costs society more to deal with? All these factors must be (and were!) considered when the risk-benefit ratios of universal vaccination were investigated.

    Natural immunity most certainly does NOT get passed on to your children, except for that immunity that is provided by the antibodies a woman secretes in her breast milk, and that is only for breast feeding children, and it is only temporary (the child cannot make these antibodies, so the immunity vanishes the moment breast feeding ends). At any rate this immunity is also granted by vaccination.

    There is NO difference between “natural” immunity and the immunity provided by vaccines. The longterm immunity in both cases is produced by the same mechanisms. In some cases the immunity provided by vaccines does not last as long as that which would be provided by a natural exposure because we do not use live microbes in the vaccine, for obvious reasons. These dead microbes (or sometimes just pieces of their proteins) don’t replicate inside our bodies (among other differences with the live natural version), so our immune system sees less of them and the immune response is less strong, and so the immunity memory doesn’t last as long.

    A vaccination is nothing more than a controlled infection, in which we seek to obtain the immunological benefits without exposing ourselves to the normal risks. If we wanted lifelong immunity we could do it easily, just vaccinate with fully live and unattenuated microbes, but the whole point of vaccination is to avoid being exposed to a live and unattenuated microbe!

    One really has to examine each vaccine separately as individual medications. When a new vaccine hits the market, we should consider it with the same skepticism we regard with any new medical product.

    The corollary of this argument is that things like mercury, contaminants (or any other component of the vaccine that does not directly contribute to the development of immunity) is completely irrelevant to the question of vaccination in general. If one or more of these are implicated in side-effects, the proper response is simply to change the composition of the vaccine and continue to give the new vaccine.

    But for the older vaccines, the ones that most people talk about when we talk about universal vaccination programs, the evidence in favor has accumulated over decades. Skepticism on these amounts to idiocy. Antivaccination for these is social irresponsibility.

  38. amphiox

    Brian – I actually agree with you on the chickenpox. I’ve posted that several times on prior threads.

    As for exposing my hypothetical younger children when my hypothetical older children get a shot, sure it is a risk, BUT the big difference is that the risk is much, much, much smaller than the alternative situation. There is always risk. I would expose my hypothetical children to the risk of being run over by a car every time I open the door and let them play outside.

    Also, as I said before, a vaccination is a controlled infection. This means I know exactly when the exposure occurred, and can plan accordingly to further reduce the risk. I cannot do this with a natural infection, as most of them have asymptomatic incubation periods.

    I most certainly would not be able to do anything if it is my neighbour’s kid, who, not vaccinated, gets the disease and exposes my hypothetical children to it.

  39. Brian Greer

    Hmmm… Why is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program already at a new record in number of awards? By their own data they are at 121 when they never got above 82 in previous years. They may not break last year’s record of $91,449,433.89 in compensation, but they are at $74,104,517.63 right now. Clearly something is going on…

    If vaccines are completely safe, then why is there a secret court where they seal the information and don’t put it out on the table for everyone to read? I’m all about it, but I don’t like it when secrets are kept. Let’s go back and put 100% of the data out there for everyone to see and read about. I wouldn’t buy that aviation was safe if the government kept accident information under lock and key, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do it either. Let’s have 100% disclosure and then we can have a real discussion.

  40. amphiox

    Just to point out even more blatantly the sheer self-destructive lunacy of the autism-vaccine argument, we can do the cost-benefit assessment using the assumption that there actually is a proven, certain link between autism and a certain vaccine. We could then determine the minimum autism risk above which that particular vaccine would no longer be recommended.

    I’m pretty sure the risk would have to be extremely high, over 1/1000, perhaps over 1/100, (varying depending on which vaccine and disease the association with autism was linked to) before we could even think of modifying the vaccination schedule and consider it justifiable, let along not vaccinating at all.

    Which is to say, even if there IS a link between autism and vaccines, for everything except chickenpox and HPV, you should still vaccinate. And society should still vaccinate universally.

  41. Brian

    @amphiox

    To answer your questions there, the difference in deaths and cases is a result of improved medical treatment and sanitation reducing transmission prior to the advent of vaccines. But which is the better scenario, to get the disease and require treatment, which is successful, or not to get ill in the first place?

    Honestly, my mind still goes to the thought that it’s better to get the disease and have a crappy week or two, but which gives your immune system the “practice” it needs to become stronger. I don’t know if there’s ANY scientific merit to this line of thought, but it seems like the more disease it fights off an wins against naturally would strengthen the overall immune system to fight other things off, including diseases we don’t or can’t vaccinate against, or most especially against diseases that have yet to mutate and pop up that we don’t even know about.

    Perhaps to my detriment, I like to quote a George Carlin routine where he talks about America’s constant fear of germs and how people are trying to eliminate all possible contagions in their life: “What are you going to do when some super virus comes along and turns your vital organs into liquid S***? I’ll tell you what you’re gonna do, you’re gonna get sick, and you’re gonna die and you’re gonna deserve it, cuz you’re f’in weak and you’ve got an f’in weak immune system.” I know George isn’t exactly an authority figure in this debate but it does make ME wonder if there is some merit to that idea of giving the immune system actual practice on diseases that it can actually fight off for the sake of strengthening it for down the line.

    On a side note, thank you for remaining non-confrontational in your posts. Seriously, I’ve seen how easily people in the pro-vax camp can get pretty antagonistic of people like me, so I sincerely appreciate your non-condescending academic approach in this discussion. I truly am trying to get to the bottom of this whole thing in my head and it’s much easier when I’m not being cut ad hominem to pieces just for asking questions. So thank you.

  42. Vaccines ARE practice for the immune system.
    And, due to the elegant specificity of the immune response, building immunity to one virus gives you zilch protection from a different virus. It can, however, be weakened – taxed by an infection – which can open up the risk of a severe secondary infection.

  43. CanadianLeigh

    I get a flu vaccine every year in December. I have been doing this for the last 15 years. I have only had one bad case of flu in the last 5 years, and even then I only missed 2 days of work. I have also found the colds that I have caught are milder than others seem to get. I know that the vaccine does not cover all the possible strains in any given year, yet it seems to have given me added protection. I certainly have never become ill from the vaccine as some people have told me when I suggest they get a flu shot. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  44. RL

    Much of the anti-vaccination movement may be driven by the fear that vaccinations cause autism. (My impression). The only way that the issue will be done away with is when science can figure out what does cause autism. Until then, people will be afraid (not necessarily stupid) and make the wrong choices in an attempt to protect their child. Hopefully soon, the cause will be isolated.

    Education and training for parents (and healthcare workers on how to gain parents trust) is needed.

  45. Dick… living up to your first name.

  46. Sorry BA, but, I get sick of these idiots…

  47. Quiet Desperation

    It’s a global problem. Parts of the Islamic world have gotten a bug up their rears over polio vaccines. As a result there areas where children are being crippled by polio when it just doesn’t need to happen. Countries where polio was eradicated have started seeing cases again. This is a *direct* result of muslim clerics and imams issuing fatwas warning against the vaccinations. International health workers are denied access to some areas, and in some cases are beaten. But, hey, Allah is good and great and all that.

    http://vaccine.immunodefence.com/2007/01/muslim-urged-to-shun-unholy-va.html

    We really have to get these folks hooked up with the Christian Scientists. Together they can pray their ailments away.

  48. HCN

    Brian said “Honestly, my mind still goes to the thought that it’s better to get the disease and have a crappy week or two, but which gives your immune system the “practice” it needs to become stronger.”

    BZZZT… wrong. It is a nasty disease, and even if you survive there are other long term health issues caused by the full disease. Things like deafness, blindness, and even SSPE… and sometimes full on brain damage (okay, I posted a long thing with Munged URLs twice, but I got caught, so this is why I am listing the paper):
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309. “Impact of Specific Medical Interventions on Reducing the Prevalence of Mental Retardation”… which says “Approximately 1 in 1000 children with clinical measles develops encephalitis. Although most children with encephalitis recover without sequelae, approximately 15% die and 25% of survivors develop complications such as Mental Retardation. We assumed that approximately 1 in 5000 cases of measles leads to Mental Retardation.” (modified for clarity)

    Now please, show me the real scientific literature that shows the MMR is riskier than measles. Not an opinion, not a news report, definitely not a comedians opinion and not an anecdote. Real science, something like this paper of the number of deaths from the last major outbreak of measles in the late 1980s and early 1990s:
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
    Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002 …” We estimated that 259 measles deaths actually occurred; the reporting efficiencies were 64% for the NCHS and 71% for the NIP. Overall the death-to-case ratio was 2.54 and 2.83 deaths/1000 reported cases, using the NCHS and NIP data, respectively.”

  49. Brian

    @BudgetAstronomer

    And, due to the elegant specificity of the immune response, building immunity to one virus gives you zilch protection from a different virus.

    Is that actually true? Sure, getting measles maybe doesn’t give you IMMUNITY to, say, polio, but doesn’t it give your immune system the equivalent of a full body workout, making it stronger so that if and when polio does come along it can battle it more effectively? Have there been any studies that type of thing?

    @RL
    Much of the anti-vaccination movement may be driven by the fear that vaccinations cause autism.

    I totally agree and as a non-vaxer that drives me crazy because I feel like the whole argument ends up being about how vaccines do or don’t cause autism that we don’t address the other concerns… or when we do, anti-vaxxers get accused of moving goalposts.

  50. Quiet Desperation

    And my #2 fear is that the mass vaccination program has essentially robbed us of gaining NATURAL IMMUNITY.

    Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, how do you think vaccines work in the first place? They train your own immune system by introducing a dead, inactivated or attenuated versions of a virus without the risk of the full blown thing.

    Newer vaccines insert key elements of a virus’ DNA into a human or animal cell. This triggers recognition and a response by the immune system. They are experimental, but hold promise being very easy (read: cheap) to create and store, and supposed last a long time.

  51. Planet 10

    Honestly, my mind still goes to the thought that it’s better to get the disease and have a crappy week or two, but which gives your immune system the “practice” it needs to become stronger.

    Tell that to HIV positive folks. Idiot.

  52. Brian

    @HCN

    Now please, show me the real scientific literature that shows the MMR is riskier than measles. Not an opinion, not a news report, definitely not a comedians opinion and not an anecdote.

    Will you settle for another couple of questions? :-)

    Approximately 1 in 1000 children with clinical measles develops encephalitis.

    Just so I’m clear, is “clinical measles” different from regular measles? Or is “clinical measles” another way of say somebody who actually got hospitalized due to the disease? Because that would greatly change how I would interpret that 1 in 1000 stat.

    It is a nasty disease, and even if you survive there are other long term health issues caused by the full disease. Things like deafness, blindness, and even SSPE… and sometimes full on brain damage

    Sure, but aren’t these worst-case scenarios that don’t really happen all that often? Because you could give worst case scenarios about anything in life. According to that Mayo Clinic thing I posted earlier, the odds of getting anything worse than just a fever aren’t all that terribly high. Sure you MIGHT get those worse symptoms, but generally speaking, wouldn’t they tend to affect primarily people whose immune systems were already compromised by some other factor like unsanitary living conditions or the like?

    The thing I also have a hard time with is the inability to know how many people catch the disease and never realize they have it. You know, it just feels like one suck of a cold for a few days and then they’re over it. The way it is now, we can only know about the “reported” cases. And if somebody is reporting it, it obviously has progressed to a point where they felt they needed medical attention. How many other cases never go reported because the body fought it off. Do 1 in 1000 people with measles get encephalitus… or do 1 in 1000 people who actually come to the doctor for measles get encephalitus? I wonder what the ratio is of EVERY case, reported and unreported, of measles and the side effects they get. I know there is know way to know this, and again, I assure you I’m not just being willfully difficult here. It’s just that every answer brings up more questions.

    Actually this seems like it would be a really interesting study for somebody to conduct. Start testing people who have never been vaccinated and see which diseases they have developed immunity to. Have there been any studies like that. I bet the results would be pretty intriguing no matter what they were. It might shed some light onto which of these “cases” are major and which ones passed by with barely more than a sniffle.

  53. Brian

    @Quiet Desperation

    Newer vaccines insert key elements of a virus’ DNA into a human or animal cell. This triggers recognition and a response by the immune system. They are experimental, but hold promise being very easy (read: cheap) to create and store, and supposed last a long time.

    I haven’t heard of this. Can you give me a link… if the blogger software let’s it get by.

  54. HCN

    Read the paper… and clinical measles is the same as regular measles but has been positively identified.

    And measles in a reportable disease, so if they go to the doctor it gets identified, but it is usually pretty clear.

    Stop stalling, answer the questions, or better yet — do some real reading from reliable sources about the disease. I would post the URL, but seems to be a big no-no. Read the measles chapter of the CDC Pink Book, it has explanation of the symptoms, how it is identified and complications. Just google “cdc pink book measles” (first link).

    Or read up on Roald Dahl, find out how is oldest child died. She seemed to have a worst case scenario, don’t you think? (sorry can’t link to it but it is easy to find)

    Oh, and the blogger software is not letting my links in, even though I munged them. What you need to do is just put the word “pubmed” into your browser, you will immediately directed to an index of most of the medical research that occurs on this planet. Then put in words that you think will get you to interesting information, like “dna vaccine”, and you should find some interesting stuff (oh, if you put the paper title in the search bar you will get an abstract, with a link to the right to the actual paper).

  55. Brian

    Thanks for the leads HCN. I will check them out and get back to you.

  56. You will never win against these people, or rather, the people who promote this stuff not the people who fall for it. To them it isn’t about facts, knowledge, research, or common sense, it is about what they believe and there is nothing you can say to change it. This goes for young earth creationists, etc. Instead of trying to keep them from doing what they are doing, we should try and win the people they are trying to convert. I am glad to see that you agree.

  57. TiggerMommy

    @ Brian
    Just so I’m clear, is “clinical measles” different from regular measles?

    “Clinical measles” would be an actual health care provider diagnosed the illness. As opposed to going on WebMD, reading the list of symptoms, and saying, “Oh, my kid has measles.”

    Sure, getting measles maybe doesn’t give you IMMUNITY to, say, polio, but doesn’t it give your immune system the equivalent of a full body workout, making it stronger so that if and when polio does come along it can battle it more effectively?

    No, it just allows your body to protect you from the full-blown, miserable, possibly life-threatening or hospitalization-required illness. However, if you don’t have any immunities to anything, you’re opening your (or your child’s) body to a slew of minor illnesses that accumulate into something major.

    And as for the Carlin bit, I always took that as slamming these germophobes who want to turn their kids into a version of the sterile animals at Notre Dame’s labs that have NO immunity and therefore can never leave their cages, as the common cold could kill them. He didn’t mean not to vaccinate, he meant not to keep your kids in a hamster bubble. Not to obsessively wash your hands and Purell your world to death.

    You seem to think that pneumonia is nothing. My dad (who’s in his mid-50’s and in excellent health) almost DIED due to pneumonia earlier this year. Just because it’s not something that is a widespread outbreak of death due to, doesn’t make it any less lethal. Not trying to be mean (if it comes off that way, it was not my intention) just trying to add in my 2 cents. ^_^

  58. BethK

    Why my 15yo daughter got four shots a couple of weeks ago. My 13yo son got two.

    I held off getting the HPV vaccination for my 15yo daughter. I wanted to hear about problems. I reviewed the adverse effects. But then decided I’d feel very guilty if she later developed cervical cancer and I could have prevented it. Shot #1.

    I don’t like to see my (generally very healthy) kids sick. Chicken pox isn’t fun. Some of the neighbors kids had it when my daughter was born. Good thing she was a few days late. Otherwise, they would have visited before showing symptoms. Chicken pox is dangerous for infants. My nephew has permanent scars on his face. You can’t tell a kid under one to not scratch. So my kids got that vaccine as soon as they could. And they just got the booster. Shot #2.

    I had a friend die suddenly of bacterial meningitis when we were both about 12. Shot #3.

    And I keep us all up-to-date on the tetanus. Shot #4.

    My daughter didn’t like getting four shots, but at least at 15 she understands why. It’s harder to explain to an 18-month-old. Her arms didn’t feel good for a few days. She’ll need more HPV shots.

    But I’d much rather they ache in their arms than run high fevers and have seizures, be covered with itchy spots that may leave scars, miss a week or more of school, or even die. Life is risky. Maybe they’ll have a bad side effect. But that’s very unlikely especially with healthy kids. Maybe the chicken pox vaccine doesn’t give lifelong immunity. But it gives some immunity now, and then they get a booster.

    And in the meantime, they aren’t sick with preventable diseases. And they aren’t spreading those diseases while they are contagious but not symptomatic. Chicken pox is contagious 48 hours before spots appear. Measles is contagious four days before spots appear and 90% (!) of an infected person’s close contacts who aren’t immune will catch it. By keeping my kids immunized and healthy, I help them not spread the diseases to others. It’s part of being a responsible member of the community.

  59. I have been following this discussion and appreciate that Brian’s earnest questioning has lead to (mostly) earnest conversation on vaccine safety and risk/benefit analysis. Most conversations on this topic are much uglier.

    Amphiox,

    You said that, “But which is the better scenario, to get the disease and require treatment, which is successful, or not to get ill in the first place?”, which touches on something that seems to be missing from this conversation.

    One of the difficulties in discussing this is that people who are pro-vaccination instantly label people like me, who believe vaccines cause serious damage, including autism, as into-vaxxers and move forward through the debate as if vaccination is an all or nothing proposition.

    I realize that Brian’s line of questioning is a vaccinate or not vaccinate question, but other parts of the discussion seem to ignore that there is a middle ground between fully vaccinating according to the CDC’s recommended schedule.

    One other very important distinction that also needs to be made here is that the risk/benefit ratio from vaccination is not only different for each vaccine, (which you touched on when you said that new vaccines should be assessed) but it is different for every person.

    Vaccination is not safe for all people any more than antibiotics or any pharmaceutical is safe for all people. Or even any single food is safe for all people. Strawberries and peanut butter can kill people.

    But while no one here would argue for one second with a parents who withholds a prophylactic antibiotic from a child who is likely to have an adverse reaction to it, parents doing the same with a vaccine are being called truly horrible things by many on this list.

    No one here seems to be arguing with the fact that vaccines can cause serious injury, and even death, to some. Yet you are still saying that everyone should be vaccinated universally.

    What you have done in that policy is to sentence a subset of the population, that is genetically vulnerable, to life long illness, disability and death. Before they even take a their first breath.

    The vaccine program is failing because the CDC and AAP are being blatantly dishonest and parents can sniff out their BS. My son suffered an autistic regression after his 18 month shots, four years ago, and since then I have been reading research and trying to get specific answers from health authorities (and docs) on the massive holes in vaccine safety research, and when they hear those questions they scatter like roaches in the kitchen when the lights go on.

    Until they start being honest about vaccine injuries, the vaccine program will just continue in a downward slide and more measles cases will pop up.

    And until they start screening to see which children are vulnerable to vaccine injury, we will just know that they don’t actually give a rats a** on which kids are getting hurt. They have decided that our children, who are at the bottom of the genetic bell curve, are disposable, and when medical professionals treat people’s children that way, they stop trusting them.

    If the vaccine program is important to you guys, then encourage open discussion about the problems vaccines cause and put measures in place to screen for them, and treat them IMMEDIATELY.

  60. Brian,

    You also need to factor in that the measles vaccine can also cause encephalitis.

    I won’t try to post the link as no one has been successful, but if you google Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, you will get the HHS site and there is a link to the list of vaccine injuries.

    Note that MMR can cause measles and encephalitis.

    also note the symptoms:

    Loss of eye contact
    Not responding to stimuli (except for loud shouting)
    Seems detached from the world around them
    Often accompanied by seizures.

    THAT is a description of a child that would be diagnosed with autism. (I know you are not a fan of the autism diagnosis focus, but that is the life I am living, so there you go… sorry).

    That was also a description of my son when I took him into his pediatrician and said that he had been like that from since his shots (his was DTaP which also causes encepalopathy). He got an “Autism” diagnosis and it was not until a year later until I knew to take him to a doc that would actually examine him and treat his physical symptoms. And when we did, he got better. (not all the way, but he came halfway home).

    The problem is that pediatricians are NOT taught that children can get neuro-inflammation from the vaccine, but only from old school viral exposure. They are not taught to look for vaccine induced encepalopathy. I have talked to two young docs finishing up med school recently and neither one of them had ever heard of vaccine induced encepalopathy.

    ANY child taken into almost ANY pediatrician in this country tomorrow, that displayed the above symptoms (as long as seizure was not one of them) would be slapped with and autism label, and their case would not be medically investigated. And if mom said, “he has been like this since his vaccines”, she would be told that vaccines don’t cause autism and that she was just, “looking for someone to blame”.

    So health officials can continue to claim that severe neurological vaccine reactions are “rare” because they are all being misdiagnosed as “Autism” which has “no known cause or cure”.

    So while you need to factor in the MMR encepalopathy, you can’t actually get an accurate incidence rate for it, just that it exists and that parents who claim vaccine induced autism after MMR may actually have MMR induced encepalopathy.

  61. Adela

    Another good reason not to have active reservoirs of any virus out there is they evolve. I do not want some random mutation that makes the disease worse to pop up in someone just because selfish idiot didn’t vaccinate. Every infection is a chance for the virus to change into something new.

  62. MammaApple

    THANK YOU GINGER!!!

    I, too, have been following this discussion, and your comments were just what this discussion needed; input from someone who has a child who was sadly and unfortunatly injured by a vaccine. We have heard from others who “knew someone” who had “vaccine-preventable” disease, but your outlook is personal, current and should hopefully cause people to THINK.

    This is exactly my issue with vaccines. I’m not saying they don’t work!!! They probably do offer some/much immunity to the diseases they are intended to prevent. But NOONE is looking at the risks! They are being dismissed and affected children and their families are led to believe that if their problems truly were vaccine related, that is was for the better good of the community. And what’s worse is that these risks are not even discussed before the injection.

    I would be more likely to accept the risks of vaccination if they were actually discussed. If they are finally brought out into the open, rather than parents having to FIGHT with doctors, CORONERS, judges etc that they were VACCINE RELATED INJURIES, then maybe they would actually be researched. It is impossible to say that vaccines cause NO damage if there has not been any research done!!! Having no evidence does not prove they are safe, it only means that the cries and pleas of mourning parents have been ignored and swept under the rug for the “greater good”.

    Only when these injuries can be actually researched and modifications can be made and tested (has anyone heard the term “peer-reviewed randomized control trial”????? Apparently not vaccine makers…) will I be reassured that my child is not being used as a guinea pig. Perhaps we allow more than one company to develop vaccines. Then we the consumer can CHOOSE whose vaccine we give our kids. (That’s how we got mercury out of vaccines… by consumer demand) This will force vaccine makers to actually uphold safety standards that they claim they have.

    Again, I am not saying that vaccines don’t work. I’m not saying they haven’t benefitted the community greatly (though I do have questions about the validitity of some studies). I just want the suffering to come out into the open so people can see for themselves the damage vaccines CAN do. After there is an outcry, then maybe vaccines will be produced that are SAFE AND EFFECTIVE. And then, I will vaccinate my children.

    And be careful before you call me a “sick, wrong, delusional, downright evil, stupid idiot who doesn’t mind killing children.” (as per previous posts) According to all my research, I should be saying that to you.

  63. The “natural immunity” argument suffers from the fact that there’s nothing natural about most childhood diseases. For the overwhelming majority of human evolution, our population was too small and dispersed to support a disease like measles that confers essentially lifelong immunity. People may have contracted it here and there, but it certainly would not have been a rite of passage.

    After the development of agriculture, c. 10,000 years ago, human birth rates and population densities soared. Now, measles, mumps, etc. could circulate continuously in the population. In fact, their high prevalence, combined with lifelong immunity, is what made them childhood diseases. (The more likely something is, the younger you’ll be, on average, when it happens to you.) But this only occurred around 10,000 years ago — probably much less for some diseases. We didn’t evolve with this stuff; if anything, childhood infections seem to damage our later health. (Read http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/health/30age.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2 ) Jared Diamond’s book _Guns, Germs and Steel_ has an excellent analysis on the phenomenon.

    Our immune systems do apparently need contact with certain germs and parasites. Read _Good Germs, Bad Germs_ by Jessica Snyder Sachs or Google “hygiene hypothesis” to learn more about this. Some soil bacteria are on this list. If you want your kids to develop good immune systems, encourage them to play outside, adopt a dog, and don’t be too strict about handwashing. (This, of course, is in addition to good nutrition and enough sleep.) But skipping vaccines won’t help.

  64. GingerTaylor:
    Maybe MMR can cause encephalopathy/encephalitis, but isn’t measles far more likely to do so? I had encephalitis (from an unrelated cause — something transmitted by ticks) as an infant and have permanent impairments of balance and muscle control, enough that I use a power wheelchair for mobility. Any disease that can cause encephalitis as a complication should NOT be taken lightly. (BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised if encephalitis sometimes caused autism.)

  65. HCN

    Ginger Taylor said “You also need to factor in that the measles vaccine can also cause encephalitis.”

    In what rate compared to the actual disease? The disease causes encephalitis at a rate of 1 out of 1000 (with about 15% of those ending in death, and another 25% of them ending in permanent neurological damage).

    Now give us the real scientific evidence that the rates of encephalitis with the MMR is more than with measles (and mumps and rubella). Something on the order of what I cited earlier, which you must have missed. Here, I’ll cut and paste it for you:
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309. “Impact of Specific Medical Interventions on Reducing the Prevalence of Mental Retardation”… which says “Approximately 1 in 1000 children with clinical measles develops encephalitis. Although most children with encephalitis recover without sequelae, approximately 15% die and 25% of survivors develop complications such as Mental Retardation. We assumed that approximately 1 in 5000 cases of measles leads to Mental Retardation.” (modified for clarity)

    Also, for your benefit Ginger, I give you a cite showing what the rate of death was with the last major outbreak in the late 1980s and early 1990s:
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
    Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002. … “We estimated that 259 measles deaths actually occurred; the reporting efficiencies were 64% for the NCHS and 71% for the NIP. Overall the death-to-case ratio was 2.54 and 2.83 deaths/1000 reported cases, using the NCHS and NIP data, respectively. ”

    That is a death rate of over 1 in 500 cases.

    Now here is some other fun facts, the numbers difference in 50 years for measles in seven years (from Appendix G of the CDC Pink Book, the underscores for spacing — though the proportional font makes it difficult):
    Year____Cases____Deaths__Year____Cases____Deaths
    2000_______86______ 1____1950___319124____468
    2001______116______ 1____1951___530118____683
    2002_______44______ 0____1952___683077____618
    2003_______56______ 1____1953___449146____462
    2004_______37______ NA___1954___682720____518
    2005_______66______ NA___1955___555156____345
    2006_______55______ NA___1956___611936____530
    Total______460______3 or more____3831277___3624

    So what you see on the bottom is the total for seven years. In the 1950s the USA population was half of what it is now (see the Wiki article on Demographics_of_the_United_States). So if we stopped using the MMR (which has been used in the USA since 1971, and has never contained thimerosal), those numbers of cases and deaths could double, not to mention the permanent neurological disabilities (matching and exceeding your definition of autism, because they might also be blind, paralyzed or deaf along with severely impaired mental ability).

    Why do you want us to go back to the days of hundreds of children dying from measles?

    Why do you think what has happened in Japan and the UK will not happen in the USA? In Japan last year almost a hundred schools were closed to step an outbreak of measles. From BMJ 2007;334:1292 (23 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.39248.481701.DB …”An outbreak of measles in Japan has led to the closure of more than a hundred schools and universities in the past month and to calls for a new push to eradicate the virus completely. Japan is one of the few industrialised countries yet to eliminate the disease.”

  66. HCN

    Jane said “(BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised if encephalitis sometimes caused autism.)”

    Actually, the “R” part of the MMR is for rubella. Congenital Rubella Syndrome (what happens to a baby when a pregnant woman get rubella) is one known cause of autism (along with stillbirth, mental retardation, blindness, deafness and a bunch of other stuff).

  67. Autumn

    Ginger Taylor,
    I am truely sorry for your child’s condition, but you have given only the barest hint of an impending logical argument that it had anything to do with vaccines. A young child on the regular vaccine schedule is being given shots every year or two, so any condition that pops up before the age of six is going to be “right after” a vaccination.
    You mention that you have asked doctors questions, but practicing medical doctors are NOT medical researchers, they have nurses to hunt down their information, should they need anything beyond what they can get through a quick google, and they will “scatter like roaches” if a tough question is asked because it is better to save face by being absent than to admit that they don’t know of the latest Lancet article, which it is not their job to know.
    Ask a PhD in epidemiology what they think of the vax schedule.
    Ask a PhD in Biology about the immune system (Brian).
    MD’s are trained and educated to follow procedures, so even if they didn’t know a thing about “vaccine induced encephalopathy”, they would know the symptoms of encephalopathy, and would test for and treat it, whatever its cause.

  68. Jane and HCN,

    As I mentioned at the end of my previous post, because docs are not schooled in it, it is not being correctly diagnosed, so we don’t know what the actual rate is for comparison’s sake.

    But when health officials say, “benefits outweigh the risks”, they are not adding vaccine induced encepalopathy into the risks (how many other real world risks are they leaving out of that assessment? Type 1 Diabetes, juvenile arthritis, asthma? All are increasing and all are autoimmune disorders, we know that the adjuvants in vaccines can cause autoimmune disorders. Has a relationship been properly assessed?).

    And we will not be able to make good risk assessments until everyone tones down the rhetoric, comes to the table and faces the fact that vaccines cause serious damage in some and that it is time re-evaluate the current vaccine schedule.

    I know that many blame “parental fears” for the drop in vaccinating, but I put to you that the “public health officials fears” that admitting the truth about vaccine injury will cause people to completely quit vaccinating is causing them to make foolish and unsupported safety statements that parents can see right through.

    HCN…

    I thought we had already established a 1 in 500 death rate from measles infection? Perhaps that was on another thread. Never mind.

    CDC reports .2 death rate and .1 encepalopathy rate, just so we are working from the same numbers.

    “So if we stopped using the MMR… Why do you want us to go back to the days of hundreds of children dying from measles?” I don’t think you read my two posts completely. (And can we loose the drama please).

    Again, there is a middle ground between universal vaccination and abandoning vaccination, and a myriad of different ways to vaccinate someone. What we should be doing is coming up with methods of determining who is at risk for vaccine injury and making vaccine decisions according to risk/benefit analysis guidelines to be applied to EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD according to their risk factors and vulnerabilities.

    Remember, it is a physicians ethical obligation to make determinations on what to recommend for a child’s medical treatment based on what is in that child’s best interest, not in the best interest of those in the waiting room or the general population. If a pharmaceutical is likely to make a child sick, it does not matter how beneficial it is to everyone else, it should not be given to that child.

    If we can wipe out a disease with a vaccine, then great! But we can’t allow a even a small percentage of the population to be harmed to do so.

    We are NOT currently threatened with a viral epidemic. This is not 1918 or the 1940’s. NOW is the part of the history of vaccines where we have the breathing room (and the public demand) to make vaccines safer and more individualized.

    Finding those risk/screening mechanisms BEGINS with finding a true incidence of any given vaccine side effect and comparing that rate to those not given the vaccine. Since the medical profession has not even sniffed in this direction (CDC refuses to do vaccinated v. unvaccinated population studies) then children who should not be vaccinated will continue to be needlessly injured by vaccination, and other children who could be safely vaccinated will go with out them because parents do not trust health authorities and their poor risk assessments.

    One last point. If “autism” really is largely vaccine encepalopathy, then we need to start figuring out the death rate from “autism” (because autism does kill children, usually because they do not see the dangers around them and become accident and assault victims).

    This year my son was in autism class of three 6 year olds, (all vaccine injuries). One child died when she got out of her parents yard and drowned in the neighbors pool in May. That was 1/3 of my child’s class lost to accidents that were a direct result of autism symptoms.

    Now I know that the accident rate is not that high, but no one is keeping track of how many children with autism die untimely deaths from merely going outside their home as compared to the general population of children, and how many are abused and can’t report it leading to their deaths.

    If we want to know the real risks, we have to factor in all the precious little ones were not safe because of their “autism”.

  69. Naomi

    Good timing. This article was front page news today. It’s a story about a couple of parents who are on the run with their two-day-old child because they were so paranoid about the aluminium that was supposedly in the Hepatitis B vaccine. The mother has Hep B, and they reckon that they can treat it more effectively than any ‘neurological damage’ from the vaccine. He’s also refused to have his three-year-old vaccinated – or even screened for it! Both kids have as high as a 40% chance of having Hep B – would they rather subject a kid to THAT rather than one little vaccination?

    I do admit, I sympathise with them wanting to do some research first, but they’ve HAD time. The mother has had Hep B for YEARS – that’s plenty of time to do some research! And in the mean time, they’re subjecting both kids to SERIOUS health issues.

  70. Sticks

    Some are not Anti vaccine, just anti MMR

    Parents want the choice to have the injections done separately instead of all at once. Is that so much to ask?

  71. HCN

    And the evidence that seperate vaccines are safer is where?

    Also, that argument does not hold water in the USA. Americans have been able to obtain the single vaccines for ages (well, until the manufacturer decided to stop making the single mumps vaccine recently)

  72. And Jane… of course any disease that causes encephalitis should not be taken lightly… nor should any vaccine.

    But taking it seriously does not mean an unwise jump to blanket vaccination with out knowing what the fall out can be.

    And I would add, part of this problem is that something in us arrogant humans actually believes that we can control nature and wipe out diseases. And part of becoming wise will be realizing that we just can’t.

    We have to make the wisest choices we can, and ALWAYS be humbly learning.

    I am convinced that in a hundred years people will look back at our vaccine program now and shudder. We are hammering kids with vaccines, and not just the serious illnesses, but chicken pox and rotavirus.

    American reasoning… if three are good, then 30 will be ten times better!!!

  73. HCN

    Ginger, I told you to give me the evidence, not anecdotes. Try harder.

    Oh, and yeah… my middle child is a lifeguard, he has had to jump in the pool to rescue kids who decided to swim when they could not. They are not autistic.

    Give me real evidence, not anecdotes.

  74. @ Ginger

    > If we can wipe out a disease with a vaccine, then great! But we can’t allow a even
    > a small percentage of the population to be harmed to do so.

    While your point (that research determining which people are at particular risk for vaccine related injuries is a good idea) is valid, I’m afraid I must disagree with this conclusion.

    Smallpox, for example, is a dire threat to a human population. Vaccinating essentially the entire human population has virtually eradicated the disease… and yet there were side effects of the smallpox vaccination. See the CDC web site if the link doesn’t show up:

    (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/vaccination/reactions-vacc-public.asp)

    Risk/benefit analysis that are centered entirely upon the individual are as unbalanced and unjust as those that are centered entirely upon the population. There are times when the advantage to the population outweighs individual risk.

    The important factor is not the riskiness of the vaccination, per se, but the relative advantage and disadvantage of the vaccination in comparison to the disease.

    If 1 person in every 10,000 is killed by disease “foosnarticus”, and only 1 person in every 500,000 people is killed by the vaccine, *and* the disease is significantly virulent… well, there’s 6 billion people on the planet, give or take, forced vaccinations are a death sentence for 12,000 people. Of course, if we don’t vaccinate everyone, not everyone will get the disease for various other factors (foosnarticus may only have a transmission rate of 10%, for example).

    However, crunching numbers, assuming a 10% transmission rate and a possibly exposed standing population of 300 million, that would mean that 30 million people could be infected, of which would result in 3,000 deaths.

    Which one is better? On a simple “causing death” analysis, it would seem to sway in the favor of *not* vaccinating, right?

    Or does it? In the first case, we know that the survivors of the vaccination *aren’t* going to get the disease. We can re-task resources. The variability factor is removed. The disease won’t crop up elsewhere, where resources for dealing with an outbreak may not be present. The second case doesn’t allow for ancillary deaths (in any large outbreak of disease, lots of people are going to die for reasons other than infection).

    On an individual basis, most people wouldn’t even bother to do a real risk analysis here, they’d be scared to death of the disease and a one in half-million shot that you draw the black queen is pretty long odds.

    On a broad basis, even forced vaccinations is probably a net benefit to the entire population in most cases.

    All that aside, its evident that you have decided that your child’s autism was caused by the vaccination (from your quote “This year my son was in autism class of three 6 year olds, (all vaccine injuries”). And yet you have not stated why you believe this to be so, other than the fact that he started displaying symptoms of autism after being vaccinated (which can simply be a correlation implies causation fallacy on your part).

    also @MamaApple

    You may have a point in that there is a lack of studies showing (with a level of evidence with which you are comfortable) that there is no link between autism and vaccines (Phil certainly thinks otherwise, I haven’t bothered to exhaustively research it myself), but that’s not properly germane to your argument. What studies have been done that show a causal relationship?

    Aside from “they haven’t proved vaccinations are safe”, what evidence do you have that supports your assertion that vaccines caused your son’s autism? What is the foundational cause for your suspicions? Why do you assume vaccines are responsible for your son’s autism, other than… well, other than any other possible environmental, viral, bacteriological, genetic, etc. source?

    Every “antivaxxer” that I’ve seen has relied upon either anecdotal evidence or complaints about the rigors of pro-vaccine studies. I have yet to see a credible study that shows some supposed high correlation between vaccines and autism, and I have heard no physiological or biological reference that explains a plausible causal link between the two.

    While attacking the credibility of your opponent’s evidence is important in any scientific debate, you need to have some sort of foundational evidence supporting your own.

  75. The Madsen study (linked by Phil at top, reference here: http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=84662#mmr) seems to be pretty compelling in its own right. Admittedly, I’m not going to bother to read the entire study itself and examine the methodology (and there’s always the possibility of error), but on the basis of this alone speaking simply as a mathematician, it’s statistically impossible that there is link between autism and vaccinations.

  76. chemdude

    Ginger

    I’ll have to point out that us “arrogant humans actually believes that we can control nature and wipe out diseases” DID. Small pox has been wiped out, save for a few samples under human control.

  77. Thanny

    90 years ago a single type of virus killed 50 million people in about one year.

    If another virus of that lethality were to emerge (and its knocking on our doorstep – the H5N1 avian flu virus), and we were to develop a vaccine against it, anyone objecting to its mandatory deployment would be a criminal.

  78. There was an article in my local paper this morning (link: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/parents-on-the-run/2008/08/22/1219262525169.html) about a mother who has Hepatitis B who has been ordered by a court to have her baby vaccinated against that disease. In this article, the parents say they “do not have enough information about the possible effects of aluminium in the vaccine” to make the decision whether to vaccinate. The child’s grandfather is said to be a member of the Australian Vaccination Network. According to the Australian Vaccination Network’s website, the risk of adverse reactions to the Hep B vaccine is estimated at less than half a percent (4 in 1000). Yet the parents of this child are prepared to take a five to 40 per cent risk that the child will catch Hep B from its mother, leading to a further 30 per cent risk of debilitation and early death, according to the figures given in the article. I agree, this is child abuse.

  79. jtradke

    Ginger: “If we can wipe out a disease with a vaccine, then great! But we can’t allow a even a small percentage of the population to be harmed to do so.”

    That is absurd, to say the least. If fewer people are negatively affected by a treatment than by the disease it treats, the treatment is a net benefit to humanity. I cannot comprehend how someone could see it any other way, unless operating under some sort of sociopathic worldview in which it’s OK for a larger portion of the population to suffer, so long as YOUR kid’s okay. Please understand that there’s an entire world outside of your house wherein vaccines have caused a net benefit.

  80. Hank

    How about not using the term antivaccinationist? I much prefer the term preventable and possibly deadly disease-proponent.

  81. JP

    Thought I might throw in a couple of things I’ve seen recently in Australia:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/23/2344344.htm
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/23/2344537.htm (Couple remain in hiding to avoid immunising baby)
    (“The baby’s mother suffers from Hepatitis B, but both parents believe the illness can be managed more effectively than any potential damage from the vaccine.”)
    34% of girls are not getting the HPV vaccine because parents are concerned that it makes them promiscuous. (The West Australian Sat/August 23rd – not the worlds best rag, but its all we’ve got!)
    There are a few others, but I haven’t been able to find them again.

    Once again, we’re seeing aluminium in the vaccine argument coming up… at least the health department are trying to do something about it, but they’re probably not going about it the right way!

  82. JerWah

    I know I am late to the thread but with regards to the Chicken Pox virus is in some cases it flares up in later life as the “Shingles” and is excrutiatingly painful. My stepfather went through it in his mid 30’s about 15 years ago and even today he still suffers from pain/nerve damage caused by the virus. Even NATURAL immunity for chicken pox declines over time and some people get it a second time. This is particularly dangerous for our elder community who may also suffer from weakened immune response. So take your non-vaccinated child to go visit grandma at the nursing home, wipe out 1/3 of the population…

    If this were a pure Darwin Awards Nominee thing where the anti-vaxxers were just making themselves suffer, and kill their own children then so be it, but it’s not. Their “life-decision” can potentially have catastrophic affects for the rest of us and those around them. Someone way above said this was negligent homicide. I don’t think that’s strong enough.

    IANAB (Biologist) but I find myself thinking that increase outbreaks, also increases the risk of mutation, which may be vaccine-resistant. So the scenario goes something like this. The classic disease takes foothold in an anti-vaccine community, as it runs it’s course those people come in contact with vaccinated individuals, however it seems reasonable to me to suppose that the walking talking anti-vaccinated petri dishes are culturing scores of the little buggers and a mutation which is vaccine proof manages to make the leap into the broader population.

  83. Brian Greer

    Is there any truth to this data:

    Probability of someone (no vaccination) catching measles in the US: 1:300,000,000
    Chance of Autism (based on rate of Autism diagnosis) in the US: 6:300,000,000

    Just curious. I don’t know if that data is accurate or not, but so many of you here contend you are experts so I pose the question to you.

  84. Lawrence

    I’ve yet to find a doctor that wouldn’t listen to a parent’s concern & be open to modifying the vaccination schedule in such a way as to space them out a bit, but still meet the requirements of immunity.

    My wife and I put off the Hep-B vaccine in the hospital, because we felt our baby had quite enough shots for a two day period. The doctors had no problem with our request & we felt completely justified in our decision.

    Over the past nine months, we’ve been on a very good schedule – getting all of the shots required, in a pace that we (and our doctor) has been comfortable with. Parents should feel comfortable speaking with their doctors about all concerns they have about their child’s health – and listening to the advice of certified medical professionals.

  85. Kryth

    This isn’t going to change until a famous person’s child dies because of this crap.

  86. Nigel Depledge

    Dick Dawkens said:

    You are wrong. They haven’t proven there is no link between vacinations and autism. This is incomplete logic.

    No, Dick, you are wrong. It has been proven that there is no link between vaccination and autism. Studies have been carried out that would certainly have detected any putative link, and they did not. Therefore, there is no link. It is not a case of there not being enough data – the research has been done, the data are in and there is no link.

    You have obviously been listening to the antivax propaganda. Maybe it’s time you investigated the actual science instead.

  87. Nigel Depledge

    Mitch Miller said:

    And lets not get carried away with the civic responsibility tripe, a person should have the right to make their own choices in medicine except for extreme cases. This does not qualify.

    No, Mitch, you are wrong.

    By not vaccinating your children, you really are putting other people’s children at risk. That is frakking irresponsible at best, or criminally negligent at worst. And what about the kids themselves? They are too young to be able to make the choice for themselves, and must rely on their parents to do what is best for them. Any parent that doesn’t get their kids vaccinated as appropriate is risking their child’s health and wellbeing.

    I live in the UK, and I am old enough (just) to remember a time when you could not send your kids to school if they had not been vaccinated against a range of viruses (including polio and several others, but I cannot recall which ones). Because of the high density of population in modern towns and cities, vaccination is essential if we are to prevent the resurgence of viral infections on a huge scale.

  88. Nigel Depledge

    Infidel said:

    Seriously, Phil, you need to stop stating things that are not scientific. Previously you point to a study that says “thimerosal does not cause autism” and that gets inflated in your head to “vaccines do not cause autism”. This time you point to a report that says “MMR does not cause autism” and again you inflate it to “vaccines do not cause autism”.

    OK, infidel, maybe you should go and do some background reading. MMR is the principle (if not only) victim of the autism-association smear campaign. Since it has been demonstrated that MMR does not cause autism, and no other vaccine has seriously been suggested to cause autism, vaccines as a whole do not cause autism. BTW, the mechanisms giving rise to autism are poorly understood at present, but there is no credible candidate mechanism that is linked to vaccination.

  89. HCN

    Brian Greer said “Probability of someone (no vaccination) catching measles in the US: 1:300,000,000″

    There are a bit over 300,000,000 people in the USA. At this time over 130 have caught measles (most were not vaccinated) during the first seven months of 2008. So the ration of those who have actually caught the real disease is now 130:300,000,000 — So I would guess your numbers are already shown to be silly.

    Why did you pose that question to us? Did you not read the article about the over hundred people (mostly not vaccinated) have caught measles in the USA this year and think that only one person in this country could get measles? The reason for the low numbers has been traditionally high vaccination rates, with herd immunity. Most of the outbreaks have spread in populations of people who avoided the MMR vaccine. Like those who attended a charter school in San Diego, a church group in Washington State (many are homeschooled, others were in church based schools and eight were from one family), and the group in Illinois was described by the CDC as “The remaining 29 cases were in persons aged 8 months–17 years, including 25 (83%) school-aged children, all of whom were home schooled and not subject to school-entry vaccination requirements. Because of their parents’ beliefs against vaccination, none of the 25 had received measles-containing vaccine.” (from the CDC MMWR, August 22, 2008 / 57(33);893-896, “Update: Measles — United States, January–July 2008″).

    Actually, the chances of getting measles if you are not immune (from getting it and surviving as a child, or vaccinated) and are exposed to the virus are greater than 50%, and pretty close to 90%. It is a very communicable disease, with a high probability of disability and death. That is one reason why there is a vaccine.

  90. HCN

    Nigel Depledge Says: “OK, infidel, maybe you should go and do some background reading. MMR is the principle (if not only) victim of the autism-association smear campaign. Since it has been demonstrated that MMR does not cause autism, and no other vaccine has seriously been suggested to cause autism, vaccines as a whole do not cause autism.”

    Actually, it has been both thimerosal and the MMR. A bunch of silly people with limited medical training (a banker, a chemical engineer, a nurse, etc) wrote a paper and paid to get it published in “Medical Hypothesis” called “Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning.” Then a group called Generation Rescue used that to claim autism was mercury poisoning from the little bit of thimerosal that was in vaccines until 2001 (and never in the MMR). They also promoted chelation, sometimes through an “Autism-Mercury” Yahoo Group, which lead to the death of a little boy at the hands of Dr. Roy Kerry (who after that clean kill qualified as a DAN! doctor, a way to make money off of desperate parents).

    And even though thimerosal was essentially removed from pediatric vaccines (even the flu vaccine is available without thimerosal), there are those who still claim there is mercury in the vaccine. Even Ginger (who commented above) has tried chelation on her child who was born AFTER 2001. So now they are claiming it is aluminum (ignoring the aluminum that is in baking powder, pickles or even from drinking out of cans).

    Oh, and David Kirby’s silly book “Evidence of Harm” claimed it was thimerosal. He claimed autism rates would go down after 2004, or was it 2006… he keeps changing that time when the autism rates still go up.

    The MMR bit came up after a lawyer in the UK paid Wakefield to come up with specific results in support of a lawsuit in the late 1990s… even though the MMR vaccine has been used in the USA since 1971, and has never contained thimerosal.

    The MMR bit is mostly in the UK, though occasionally you’ll find some clueless soul saying something inane like “autism is caused by the thimerosal in the MMR”. Just yesterday on Orac’s blog, Respectful Insolence on Scienceblogs, on the increase of measles in the USA some idiot started spout off about thimerosal.

  91. sketchy

    “…but these outbreaks are probably due to pockets of people not vaccinating their kids. … but I will guarantee that a lot of this is due to the antivaxxers spread of lies, and smearing of the medical community.”

    That is not very scientific at all.

    I am 100% on board with almost everything I’ve read on this blog, but that statement is dangerously close to the hysterical ravings of the anti-vaxxers. There is plenty of evidence to support the side of logic and reason, conjecture and opinion are not necessary.

  92. I love the cost-benefit analyses.

    We know the costs of a lack of vaccinations: thousands of child deaths per year, tens of thousands of life-altering permanent effects of disease, etc.

    So far, even the claimed risks of vaccination look pretty feeble by comparison–never mind the ones that we can prove scientifically.

    If you’re counseling against vaccinations, I want to hear about thousands of kids who get to live as a result who otherwise wouldn’t, as well as tens of thousands of kids who won’t get a life-altering, crippling ailment caused by vaccinations.

    And the cause has to be a slam-dunk scientifically, as clear as the link between, say, polio and severe physical handicaps.

    Doubt won’t cut it. There is no doubt that vaccinations save lives. There needs to be no doubt that vaccinations kill, and at the same or higher rates as the diseases they stop, before the case against vaccination is even remotely plausible.

  93. RickK

    Late to the discussion, but here is an excellent blog outlining all the major vaccines and their benefits (and the diseases and their harm).

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=186

  94. HCN

    Jeff Licquia, you might be interested in this paper, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144. “Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001″ … “Results Routine childhood immunization with the 7 vaccines was cost saving from the direct cost and societal perspectives, with net savings of $9.9 billion and $43.3 billion, respectively. Without routine vaccination, direct and societal costs of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, H influenzae type b, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, hepatitis B, and varicella would be $12.3 billion and $46.6 billion, respectively. Direct and societal costs for the vaccination program were an estimated $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively. Direct and societal benefit-cost ratios for routine childhood vaccination were 5.3 and 16.5, respectively. “

  95. Brian, you might wish to read Diane Griffin’s testimony to the Autism Omnibus hearings about measles. She has contributed the chapter on measles to the standard text Field’s Virology for some time and she edits it.

    Griffin gave a compelling and very clear account of the immunosuppressive effect of measles on the immune system and the reasons why it leaves people vulnerable to secondary infections or other illnesses for up to a year later. Measles can wipe out the immune system for some time: oddly, if they can, that is why the vaccinate children who are HIV+, to take advantage of their immune system while they can and to prevent them from the knockout blow of measles.

    There was some intriguing research that needs to be confirmed/explored further. Researchers suggested that the measles virus might be relevant to lung cancers:

    Their study included 65 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, of whom more than half had evidence of measles virus in tissue samples taken from their cancer.

    “Measles virus is a ubiquitous human virus that may be involved in the pathogenesis of lung cancer,” says lead author Prof. Samuel Ariad from Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel. “Most likely, it acts in modifying the effect of other carcinogens and not as a causative factor by itself.”

    It has to be said that an obvious first step would be establishing the presence or absence of measles virus are in lung tissue from healthy people (however, given that the indications that, with age, many of us have lung tumours that are non-progressive in smokers but progressive in smokers – it will be interesting to disentangle that).

  96. Adela

    Measles vaccine came about in 1963.
    Autism existed before our vaccines so my logic concludes something else causes autism.

  97. @Hank
    “How about not using the term antivaccinationist? I much prefer the term preventable and possibly deadly disease-proponent.”

    How about “Epidemic supporter” or “vector by choice”…

  98. HCN,

    “Ginger, I told you to give me the evidence, not anecdotes. Try harder.”

    For the third time… because doctors are not properly diagnosing it, there are no good numbers.

    There are giant holes in the research that would answer these questions. The medical establishment won’t do them.

    I will give you hard evidence of that for this very topic.

    again.. not going to try to post the link, but google, “age of autism vaccine induced encepalopathy” and you will see a piece I wrote on the call that the CDC’s Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network put out for subjects for a study on Vaccine Induced Encephalopathy.

    When I saw it I actually got excited and thought they were earnestly going to study it. Then I read the exclusion criteria:

    A history of medical disease
    A history of congenital problems
    A history of developmental delay
    Any immune system dysfunction
    Any family history of immune dysfunction
    Fevers and Seizures with in 72 hours

    So they were actually going to only study HEALTHY kids whose encepalopathy didn’t result in any damage to their body in any way.

    This notice was up for four years and the day I posted this article, the notice came down. Along with the entire vaccinesafetydotorg site, which was pretty much just that study and the home page that linked to that study.

    So do you see why your “show me the evidence” is not so much a good tactic to show that I am wrong, but shows that the Department of Health and Human Services is corrupt? They quietly admit and pay for vaccine induced encepalopathy, but won’t teach docs about it so they can avoid, properly diagnose and treat it and they won’t commission actual studies that show indigence and real world outcomes for it.

    They won’t even let the families who have been paid for in in the VICP have information on it! Jon Poling has been trying to get the HHS documents on his daughter Hannah’s case for months and they will not give them to him. He got a concession letter and cannot get an explanation of why they conceded the case or their reasoning behind it.

    Is that representative of a transparent health administration that actually wants the medical community to know about this problem so that they can treat it?

    They have set up a system where they are their own watchdog, don’t have to share information even with the people who have been seriously harmed by it, can keep the disorder in the dark and all they have to do to achieve that is just not study the problem. And then people like you can shout, “No research to prove it!”

    And then we can get into the whole absence of evidence is not evidence of absence thing… but I am sure you have heard that a million times.

  99. indigence should be incidence. Sorry

  100. HCN and Jane…

    … and it just occurred to me that had Jane’s encepalopathy been a result of vaccines and not another source, she would be excluded from this study.

    Hannah Poling, whom the government has PAID for her vaccine induced encepalopathy that caused her “autistic symptoms” would have been excluded from this study, along with every other person that the VCIP ever paid for ANY damage from vaccine induced encepalopathy.

    Do you see the problem here?

  101. Craig Willoughby

    Look, all of the poking fun and snickering aside, this whole measles “epidemic” is getting blown way way WAY out of proportion by the media and the vaccine activists. Out of 300 million Americans, you have less than 200 cases and 0 deaths. Wow. I’d better call the guy with the cow bell from Monty Python and have him roll down the street with his body cart yelling, “Bring out your dead!”

    Of course, this could be a scare tactic from the Pharmaceutical company so that we can all be good little sheeple and go get our medicine.

    So many people blame the Pro-safe vaccine crowd for this epidemic. Well, here’s a news flash; many of these people you blame HAVE vaccinated their children. Your health and safety and “herd immunity” were bought at the expense of my son and many children like my son.

  102. Will. M

    Actually, we have an annual outbreak of a so-far untreatable illness every year in the U.S. which affects children in greater numbers than adults, and it is the common cold. This outbreak can be seen in every public school in the country (and most probably private schools and home schools, too) and causes countless days lost from classes by the kids who have parents who can keep their kids home. Many parents are unable to do that, so they send their kids to school sick and those sick kids spread the illness to the entire school population. I wonder how many folks would vaccinate their children against this illness were such a vaccine available, and how many would choose to “let the infection run its course” since there’s no really serious side effects to the illness anyway?

  103. Harold McTestes

    Couldn’t a ‘Darwinism in action” argument be made here? Don’t get me wrong- I feel for the kids, but the reality is that they’ll likely grow up and be just as retarded as their parents anyways.

  104. Patrick,

    Quickly as my family is waiting for me to leave. (so please don’t read this as harsh)

    “Risk/benefit analysis that are centered entirely upon the individual are as unbalanced and unjust as those that are centered entirely upon the population. There are times when the advantage to the population outweighs individual risk.”

    Not in this country.

    Here the rights of the individual outweigh the good of the many. I can refuse vaccination.

    Once you star using greater good arguments to push forced vaccination, you open a door to greater good arguments to be used to violate your rights in a bigger way.

    My husband and sons get in a car accident and all need vital organ transplants, you are a match and can fulfill all their needs with your insides. I kill you and save my family. I have traded one life for three. Greater good served!

    See how ugly and illegal that is?

    As for evidence of vaccines causing autism, if you go to my blog and look on the right hand side there is a link for “No Evidence of Any Link”. That is a page with about 35 studies on it. It is my no means comprehensive, but it is the start of a list.

    As for the mechanisms of how vaccines cause autism, that is VERY complicated, (and varried as what is diagnosed as, “Autism” is not simply one physical syndrome, but several that all result in the same behavioral patters… which is part of the problem with the research as it lumps anyone with those behaviors in one category and studies them) but if you are interested I would be happy to take the time. Let me know.

    As for my son’s vaccine link, the association is not just temporal but that is also a long story.

    All three of the kids in the class are vaccine injuries according to their parental reports. Ashley, who died, was in the VICP pipeline for compensation. We didn’t file simply because we were so messed up with the diagnosis and spent all our energy trying to get him healthy again, but the time we were together enough to file the three year statute of limitations had run out. That is the case with most families.

    better response later… gotta go

  105. HCN, I see a lot of monetary figures, but nothing about deaths or permanent casualties. So I’m a bit confused about what is supposed to be interesting about that paper.

    It’s good to know that vaccination makes economic as well as moral sense, but I’m not sure it would matter if it didn’t. The moral case is compelling all by itself.

  106. Quiet Desperation

    @Brian

    http://biology.kenyon.edu/slonc/bio38/scuderi/partii.html

    There’s also wiki and, you know, google.

    Ginger said: ” I would add, part of this problem is that something in us arrogant humans actually believes that we can control nature and wipe out diseases. And part of becoming wise will be realizing that we just can’t.”

    Or is it arrogant for one individual to try and declare limits to what humans can accomplish as a species? We wiped out smallpox, and the only thing preventing the eradication of polio is funding and brain damaged religious leaders around the world who tell their ignorant flocks that the vaccine causes impotence, which I suppose carries more weight that autism under such misogynist belief systems.

    I am convinced that in a hundred years people will look back at our vaccine program now and shudder.

    Or maybe they will be glad we didn’t listen to defeatists like you; remembered that our sentience, ability to reason and critical thinking skills are the most powerful tools ever to evolve; and continued pushing the science forward.

  107. Ginger,

    First of all, I still don’t see your numbers for dead/crippled kids to compare with those from the 1950s.

    Second, I think your problem can be summarized in a nutshell with your own quote:

    “For the third time… because doctors are not properly diagnosing it, there are no good numbers.”

    I’ll take that claim at face value, although I’ll note that I am not convinced of that claim.

    We have two choices: vaccinate our kids, or not. On the side for vaccination: well-known, very high risks. On the side against?

    “…there are no good numbers.”

    So press for those numbers. Ask the questions. But you still vaccinate your kids in the meantime, and advise everyone else to do so as well. Because while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it’s not evidence of presence, either. And the evidence that vaccinations save lives is indisputable.

    I find it ironic that you talk about the horror of killing someone else to save your kids, when your advice, according to all the evidence we have today, will result in more dead kids.

    Life is full of trade-offs. I have no problem with identifying risk factors in vaccinations, and improving our ability to find them, and then withholding vaccinations from children with known risk factors. But if you don’t know that you have a risk factor for vaccinations, and you refuse to vaccinate your kids out of some unfounded fear, you are putting your kids and the kids around you at risk of death for no good reason.

    And your experiences, tragic as they may be, are not grounds for spreading even more misery through bad advice. I consider it monstrous to lead people to get sick in an attempt to make sense of your own suffering.

    I finally note the following:

    “As for the mechanisms of how vaccines cause autism, that is VERY complicated…”

    So complicated, in fact, that no scientist has yet to find it. But you–you’re way smarter than any mere scientist. Smart enough, in fact, to promise us the explanation science can’t.

    Talk about an extraordinary claim needing extraordinary evidence!

  108. David

    From Jeff Licquia:
    “We have two choices: vaccinate our kids, or not. On the side for vaccination: well-known, very high risks. On the side against?
    ‘…there are no good numbers.'”

    What this reminds me of was the parents who would drive their kids to a more distant school because their kids’ current school was near high voltage lines. They traded a known risk (the more miles you drive, the more likely you are to die or be injured in an auto accident) for an unknown (EM fields might cause cancer).

    And sadly, after years and years of studies that show no link between EM fields from high voltage lines and cancer, you still have people who are convinced that there is a link.

  109. Brian Greer

    Why did I pose the question? Because I had a question. Also, just because 130 people have measles right now does not change the probability of it happening. Do you understand math at all? If I won the lottery twice in a row, it doesn’t change the probability of me winning it.

    I had read those probabilities and wondered where they stood. If you aren’t capable of understanding probability, then don’t bother to respond.

  110. Thomas Siefert

    @Harold McTestes Says:
    Couldn’t a ‘Darwinism in action” argument be made here? Don’t get me wrong- I feel for the kids, but the reality is that they’ll likely grow up and be just as retarded as their parents anyways.

    That’s a bit strong, it could have been your own parents that had been misinformed….

  111. Daffy

    “Also, just because 130 people have measles right now does not change the probability of it happening. ”

    130 people with measles certainly does increase the chances of those around them getting measles…and those around them, and so on and on. That’s how epidemics happen. The chances of a person living alone in the mountains getting that strain of measles are not as great as the chances of someone living around those 130 people.

    Or maybe I just don’t understand math.

  112. “Here the rights of the individual outweigh the good of the many. I can refuse vaccination.”

    What about seatbelts?

    “My husband and sons get in a car accident and all need vital organ transplants, you are a match and can fulfill all their needs with your insides. I kill you and save my family. I have traded one life for three. Greater good served!”

    Ya. Right.

  113. Brian Greer

    Daffy…

    Yes, it changes after that point, but I am talking about the probability of the first person to get it without leaving the US. That’s the number I am trying to dig up.

    What is the probability of one person w/o vaccination getting measles inside the US? And how does that compare to the probability of a person w/ vaccination getting it?

    We can get into these other numbers once we establish these baseline probabilities for the conversation to start. Are these numbers posted somewhere that I have overlooked?

  114. Daffy

    “What is the probability of one person w/o vaccination getting measles inside the US? And how does that compare to the probability of a person w/ vaccination getting it?”

    Since the US is not isolated from the rest of the world (far from it) I don’t see how your question can be answered. It depends on a lot of factors, not just living in the US.

  115. Thanny

    Brian Greer wrote:

    “Why did I pose the question? Because I had a question. Also, just because 130 people have measles right now does not change the probability of it happening. Do you understand math at all? If I won the lottery twice in a row, it doesn’t change the probability of me winning it.

    I had read those probabilities and wondered where they stood. If you aren’t capable of understanding probability, then don’t bother to respond.”

    Sorry, Brian, but it seems you are the one who doesn’t understand probability. You seem to think there’s some kind of mathematical model that quantifies your chance of getting the measles. There isn’t. That means any value of probability for contracting the disease is, by necessity, descriptive. That means you divide the average number of people who actually contract the disease over a given period of time by the total number of people in the area of interest.

    That does, in fact, make the numbers you presented look ridiculous on their face.

    In reality, the odds are actually much higher than the first approximation of 130 in 300 million, because the vast majority of people are innoculated against the measles. The correct ratio must be based on the total unvaccinated population, which makes the denominator something like 6 million, not 300 million.

    So, if we conservatively use an estimate of 100 people per 6 million per year, the odds are 1:60000 for contracting the measles if you have not been vaccinated.

    But the virus spreads quite easily, so that number is obviously the result simply of isolation. Increase the number of unvaccinated people, and you increase the opportunities for transmission, which will make those odds skyrocket in the wrong direction.

  116. Brian Greer

    Then give me the numbers with and without various factors. I would be very surprised if something with such sound science behind it does not have probability calculations generated somewhere. If the risk is entirely generated from those without vaccination, and is commonly associated with international travel, then perhaps those people should either (1) not be allowed to travel without getting the shots, or (2) institute mandatory quarantine of about 8 days each way (since, according to my reading, it is only communicable for 4 days before the rash appears and 4 days after).

  117. Brian

    “How about not using the term antivaccinationist? I much prefer the term preventable and possibly deadly disease-proponent.”

    How about “Epidemic supporter” or “vector by choice”

    Or how about your realize that talk like that doesn’t do ANYTHING to further the discussion or convince anti-vax people that they’re wrong. You’re being no better than a Christian who uses that “you’re an evil sinner who’s going to hell” as a way of “converting” people. Doesn’t work for them. Won’t work for you. Maybe you’re right. But do you want to be right or do you want to change minds?

  118. Brian Greer

    Thanny:

    Ok, if there are no baseline probability numbers available anywhere, I suppose you may be right. I am more than a little surprised that this isn’t available, but I will have to take your word for it until I can find otherwise.

  119. mary

    I’m guessing most of these people have been vaccinated because they sound brain damaged. Mercury causes brain damage. Keep getting vaccinated and those of us who are not vaccinated will rule the world.

  120. Kate

    Oh, look… People “feel” things are a certain way, but are too lazy to actually provide facts to back up those “feelings”…. but we should all listen to them because they “feel” things are a certain way.

    Uh-huh. Yeah. Whatever.

    Well, next time I “feel” the speed limit is too low, or that traffic lights are just “Big Traffic’s” way of keeping me down I’ll cite all the idiots who “feel” vaccination isn’t about civic, social and personal responsibility.

  121. Daffy

    Wow…I was vaccinated as a child and now Mary says U am brain damaged. That sucks…I’d better let all my clients know so they can quit using my services.

    Thanks, Mary; I had no idea. But, then, I wouldn’t, right? I’m braim danaged.

  122. Amy

    Another side effect of the anti vaccination movement is people who are older and didn’t have the chance to get vaccinated and never caught measles/mumps/rubella/whopping cough etc as children can now get infected as adults.

    In Northern Ireland in 2004 there was a mumps epidemic in people aged 18-25 who where vaccinated against the measles and rubella, but where born before the MMR vaccination was offered.

  123. amphiox

    Brian Greer: The risk for a non-immunized person to contract measles or any other disease that is vaccinnated against is directly dependent on the number of people who are actually vaccinnated for it. The risk is currently low only because most people are vaccinated for it.

    Ginger Taylor: Of course vaccines have risk. Everything has risk. Some of those risks are serious. Everytime I breath there is a chance I will inhale a deadly pathogen and die. Should I stop breathing because of it? Or live my life in a bubble?

    And that is the whole point. Collective immunity is a communal resource from which we all benefit. Arguably we derive more net benefit from the collective immunity than we do from our individual immunity because the collective immunity impacts the functioning of the entire society, upon which we depend. Consider two scenarios, one in which a majority are immunized, with only a few susceptible, and another in which only a few a immunized, and the majority are susceptible, and a severe epidemic hits both populations. Who will far worse, the few people who fall ill in the immunized population, who get cared for and treated within the context of a still fully functioning modern society, or the few who do not fall ill in the non-immunized population, who must cope with a society crippled by the fact that over 90% of its citizens have fallen seriously ill or died?

    Vaccines have real risks. Exposure to these risks is my contribution to the collective immunity. In a real sense, it is my payment for the benefit of the collective immunity. Those who do not vaccinnate, but still hope to benefit from the collective immunity (which creates the low incidence rates for diseases such as measles that Brian Greer, for example, wants to benefit from), not only weaken the communal resource upon which I depend, but are also trying to exploit this resource which I have paid for, for free. They are stealing from me, and from everyone else who has agreed to receive a vaccine.

    I am perfectly within my rights to wish to protect my investment in this resource, and seek some means of controlling the behavior of the exploiters, just as I am within my rights to ask my society to establish a police force to control the behavior of individuals who wish to rob my home.

  124. amphiox

    My thought on the “human arrogance” arguments. It is baloney.
    It is not “human arrogance” it is “human nature.”

    Our species survives only because we constantly seek to alter and improve on our environment through the appliation of our intelligence.

    Was it “human arrogance” to make a stone tool, because we weren’t satisfied with the puny teeth and fingernails that nature provided for us?

    Was it “human arrogance” to learn to control fire, because we weren’t satisfied with the digestive system nature gave us, and decided we wanted to predigest (cook) our food to obtain more net calories from it?

    Was it “human arrogance” to try to drive the sabretooth cats away from our camp, so our children would not have to fight them the way we did in our youth? After all, the cats were there first.

    Was it “human arrogance” to decide to farm, so that we were no longer completely dependent on natural availability of food sources?

    Is it “human arrogance” to drive a car because we want to get from A to B faster than a cheetah?

    Is it “human arrogance” to take an antibiotic for a tooth abscess?

    The day we stop trying to modify and improve our environment (improvement here being measured soley from the perspective of human quality of life) is the day we go extinct.

  125. Peggy Rose

    Why is it that when ever this topic of not vaccinating comes up the converstaion always turns to the dreaded deadly diseases like smallpox and polio. Here is the problem as I see it. Vaccinating for killer diseases like small pox and polio are most likely worth the risks in certain circumstances. Today we are vaccinating children with every vaccine that rolls of the pharma conveyer belt. They were not horrible diseases until the vaccines come out. The comment about the family running from the law to avioid the HepB vaccine is one thing. The fact that every day old infant is being injected with this shot is rediculous. Now all you hear is the vaccine benefits outweight the risks of the disease on every vaccine they want to mandate. The chickenpox vaccine was not mandated because it was a deadly disease. It was mandated to keep the parents in work. Now small children are coming down with shingles because of this vacccine and they are not even denying it. Are they concerned about the complications from the shingles? No! Now they have developed a shingles vaccine that they will mandate for the horrible complications of the shingles. Lets face it. Only a few of these dieases are horrible killers, and in my opinion measles is not one of them. The FDA,CDC are not in the least bit interested in public safety. These agencies are as corrupt as they come and I wouldn’t trust a study coming from them if it was sitting on a stack of bibles. If the dam shots are so great then you take them, and if they worked only the unvaccinated would be at risk. The lies that have been told about the safety,and efficiency of vaccines is finally coming to light. It’s about time.

  126. Daffy

    Peggy, you might make your point a little more eloquently if you use spell check.

    Just saying.

    Dam shot? (Sudden image of a wounded Hoover Dam.)

  127. Brian

    Okay, time for more questions after reading some journal articles. This is a passage from an article on pediatrics (dot) com showing that the MMR does not contribute to autism. I’ll try to post the link in a followup comment. But here is the quote that confuses me:

    To understand the hypothesized association between MMR vaccine and autism, the panel reviewed how adverse events have been assessed for causal relationships with vaccines. Individual case reports or collections of case reports of adverse events after immunization do not constitute evidence of a causal association unless the vaccine involves use of a live infectious agent that is identified in the affected tissue. For example, measles vaccine virus has been isolated in lung tissue from immunocompromised children with pneumonia

    Okay, couple questions. First off, hasn’t everybody been saying that vaccines are NOT live viruses? So if they’re only looking at vaccines that involve a live infectious agent then… how ‘dat work?

    Also, if you are only looking for that live virus in the affected tissue, how exactly would you identify the virus in an autism patient unless you took brain samples?

    Am I just grossly misunderstanding that paragraph?

  128. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Peggy Rose

    Lets face it. Only a few of these dieases are horrible killers, and in my opinion measles is not one of them.

    Well, quite fortunately for the rest of us, the decision that measles is a more than serious enough health concern for there to be a vaccine against is not based on your opinion.

    I suggest you read up on the real harm these diseases can and have done, Peggy, before making such rash statements of opinion.

  129. Brian Greer

    @Daffy…

    You would have a point if there were not typos made in here by the “pro-vaccine” crowd. Strawman, perhaps?

    @amphiox
    (which creates the low incidence rates for diseases such as measles that Brian Greer, for example, wants to benefit from)

    Whoa there… I am merely raising questions that there should be answers for. Applying a scientific method to this, there must be data that explains the risks of contracting measles, else you can never know what acceptable risk from a vaccine is worthwhile. Nobody can expect any entity, business or individual, to enact a safeguard unless it represents less risk than doing nothing.

  130. Brian Greer

    Nobody should be asked to take on risk to help somebody else. There must be data that proves it is in their own self interest to do it. No business would install a firewall, for instance, solely because it makes other businesses safer if they only have a minute chance of facing the risk that the firewall would mitigate/prevent. So, therefore, it stands to reason that an individual MUST face more risk from the disease than they can find acceptable in order to accept any risk that the vaccination brings with it. There must be data out there that proves this, which we can put out in the open. Absent of that, you are faced with making emotional arguments and there is no real place in a scientific discussion for arguments that are based on emotion.

  131. Peggy’s little rant is entirely wrong, but some parts are more notable, like:

    “Only a few of these dieases are horrible killers, and in my opinion measles is not one of them.”

    Contrast that with:

    “According to new data from WHO, global measles deaths fell from an estimated 873,000 deaths in 1999 to 345,000 in 2005. In Africa, the progress has been even greater, with measles deaths falling by 75 per cent, from an estimated 506,000 to 126,000.”

    That’s a press release from that notorious tool of Big Pharma, UNICEF.

  132. jtradke ,

    So by your reasoning then, if you were allergic to antibiotics, and even if you knew for a fact that taking them would give you an anaphylactic reaction that would cause your death, and the CDC decided that EVERYONE had to take them because of a spreading bacterial illness, you would have no problem stepping up and swallowing that pill?

    If you are my neighbor, should I have you arrested if you say no because you put me and my children at risk?

    And Thanny, if I advocated for jtradke to NOT to have to take the pill because it would harm him, would I be criminal?

    There seems to be a disconnect in this arguement between what someone has an actual ‘right’ to and what some one does not.

    While it is great that we have pharmacuticals that can mitigate and prevent diseases, we do not have a legal right to be free from disease. You have no more of an expectation that you have the right to be free from the effects of a virus any more than you have a right to be free from the effects of gravity or the wind or any other force of nature.

    But you do have a right to be free from forced medication, of any kind, with out due process to remove those rights. If we could force medicate people for the “greater good” then we wouldn’t have much of a homeless problem. A significant portion of the homeless population have mental illnesses that would be managed by medication. But because some people would rather refuse medication and suffer the consequences. And that is their right.

    I don’t know if you guys have really thought through what the legal precedent of forced vaccination means.

    It means we would enter into a form of government where individual rights no longer exist and the government will decide who gets what. That is actually communism, where the good of the many will outweigh the right of the individual.

    Where does that removal of individual rights stop then?

  133. and jt…

    “unless operating under some sort of sociopathic worldview in which it’s OK for a larger portion of the population to suffer, so long as YOUR kid’s okay”

    Isn’t this the exact same point you are making to me? It is ok with you for my child to suffer as long as yours doesn’t catch a virus?

  134. Bart

    Ginger:
    “Here the rights of the individual outweigh the good of the many.”

    Budget Astronomer:
    “What about seatbelts?”

    And motorcycle/bicycle helmet laws, child/infant car-seat laws, mandatory education, construction regulations and building codes, proof of automobile insurance for vehicle registration and driver licensing, etc. And that’s just part of the list of things one MUST do, ignoring the list of things one MUST NOT do.

    Ginger:
    “My husband and sons get in a car accident and all need vital organ transplants, you are a match and can fulfill all their needs with your insides. I kill you and save my family. I have traded one life for three. Greater good served!”

    Not a good example, because vaccination is a prevantative measure, not a treatment. Consider: Your husband and sons catch the measles and all are hospitalized. Because all beds at that hospital have been filled, the ambulance must drive me many miles to another hospital, and I am left crippled because treatment for my stroke was too slow. Yet your family all recover. Greater good served? Perhaps. Yet how much greater the good if your family had never been hospitalized to begin with? What if it were three ambulances turned away?

    These are not easy questions, and unfortunately those who have been directly affected are seldom capable of making a rational decision of what constitutes the greater good or even the best personal choice, because the only clear answer (in hindsight) for their specific case is to have acted differently.

  135. HCN

    Jeff Licquia, you are welcome to look at the Appendix G of the CDC Pink Book, it unfortunately just lists cases and deaths:
    Now for measles:
    Year____Cases____Deaths__Year____Cases____Deaths
    2000_______86______ 1____1950___319124____468
    2001______116______ 1____1951___530118____683
    2002_______44______ 0____1952___683077____618
    2003_______56______ 1____1953___449146____462
    2004_______37______ NA___1954___682720____518
    2005_______66______ NA___1955___555156____345
    2006_______55______ NA___1956___611936____530

    Then if you want more information on disabilities, look for information on Pubmed. There is a paper that evaluates the impact some medical interventions have had on levels on mental retardation… but you can find separate papers on things like rubella (there was an epidemic in the 1960s, which caused lots of still births, and children who survived with deafness, blindness and severe neurological problems.), Hib, mumps, polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.

    Brian, measles is very infectious. It has been explained that the outbreaks were in clusters of under vaccinated populations (charter school, one large family, church groups and a cluster of home schooled students — and despite the “home” bit, most home schoolers I know gather together for group learning experiences). When the virus runs out of vulnerable people, then it stops spreading. The reason it runs out of vulnerable people is because of herd immunity.

    You said “Okay, couple questions. First off, hasn’t everybody been saying that vaccines are NOT live viruses? So if they’re only looking at vaccines that involve a live infectious agent then… how ‘dat work?”

    The MMR, polio and varicella vaccines are all live virus vaccines. They are attenuated so they are not as potent as the full virus. This is why they do not have thimerosal. If you read “Polio, an American Story” by Oshinsky and “The Cutter Incident” by Paul Offit you will get a clearer understanding on both the weakening of the virus, and what happens when it is not done properly.

    Brian, you have revealed that you are new to this debate. You need to do some catch up reading to get you up to speed. I would suggest you read for the Vaccine stuff both “Vaccine” by Arthur Allen and “Vaccinated” by Paul Offit, and then for the history of autism and personal stories with some science thrown in you should really read “Not Even Wrong” by Paul Collins and “Unstrange Minds” by R.R. Grinker. Also, go to Scienceblogs and look at the Respectful Insolence blog for lots stuff on this, and more recently to the ScienceBasedMedicine blog (which recently had an entry by Mark Crislip, an infectious disease doctor).

    Ginger Taylor is living in a fantasy land. For some reason she has in her mind that the 0.0000001 chance of encephalitis from the MMR is worse than the 0.001 chance of encephalitis of actually getting measles. I am confident she does not know how to interpret the zeros to the right of the decimal point. She refuses to provide real evidence, and kind of neglects to mention that while she was pregnant she was on medication that possibly has been linked to autism (terbutaline). She also delights when an internet squatter bought up domain names of certain bloggers (including Orac’s). Ignore her.

  136. Brian:

    “Nobody should be asked to take on risk to help somebody else. There must be data that proves it is in their own self interest to do it.”

    Is this where I get to deplore the sad state of humanities education that would lead people to make such confused statements? :-)

    The reason you can safely choose to skip the risks is because most of your peers do not. If we all followed your (hypothetical) example, we would revert to the 1950s, whose drawbacks in terms of childhood health should be obvious.

    At this point, I refer you to Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Wikipedia’s summary should give you the gist (since links seems to be difficult). In short, what you propose is immoral.

  137. Brian Greer said:

    “Chance of Autism (based on rate of Autism diagnosis) in the US: 6:300,000,000″

    The CDC reports that the rate of autism in children is 1 in 150. The Department of defense reports that the rate of autism in military dependents in 1 in 88.

    It is growing at a rate of 10 to 17% a year.

  138. Rob

    Phil, you have missed an opportunity here. You advocate a very sensible position: vaccinations work, and they save lives. Your argument goes: a measles outbreak exists; antivaxxers exist; most of the people who got measles weren’t vaccinated; “I will guarantee that a lot of this is due to … lies and smearing.” In another non sequitur, you note that “there have been no deaths,” but the antivaxxers are “dead wrong” and “lives depend on” the fight to “stop them.”

    Data on infectious diseases, including measles, are compiled by the CDC. An update this week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report seems to have prompted the Associated Press story you linked in your post. In particular you overstated the influence of the antivaxxers: the number of measles patients who were unvaccinated for “philosophical or religious reasons” was 63, including two adults, half the total you reported. Overstating your case calls everything you write into question.

    What I was expecting to find here was the sort of “don’t be fooled by conditional probability” argument that Brian Greer asks about a couple of posts up. Measles seems to mostly infect people under twenty, and there are about eighty million people under twenty in the US. Of those about one in 150 will be diagnosed with autism, a rate of about 25,000 new diagnoses per year. The news here is that measles infections in the first part of 2008 have quadrupled, to 1% of the autism rate.

    I’m not terribly familiar with the autism-vaccine argument; my wife and I satisfied ourselves that we ought to vaccinate our children, and we did. But in my little corner of physics, people try hard not to say “there is no effect”; instead we say “we looked so many times and didn’t see anything, so if there’s an effect, we have such-and-such confidence that it’s smaller than something.” The studies in the literature review you link to looked at 500 autistic children (Taylor) and 500,000 children total (Madsen). If the sample in the second study had the same autism incidence as the general population, it would have contained about 3300 autistic children, 600 of whom were unvaccinated. If some vaccine effect raises the chance of an autistic diagnosis by five percent, the statistical noise in this group would have hidden the effect.

    Let’s give the antivaxxers the benefit of the doubt: suppose vaccines are linked to 5% of autism cases, a total of about 1200 a year in the US. If that were true, the roughly 8% of children who are unvaccinated would reduce the number of autism diagnoses by about 250 a year. If there are only about 50 measles infections a year, as there were from 2002-2007, skipping the vaccine seems like a reasonable self-interested thing to do. But if the effect is not as big as possible — maybe 1% of autism cases are vaccine-related — skipping the vaccine has no benefit. And the 2008 measles outbreaks, 130 infections in seven months, are big enough to outweigh the autism risk that hasn’t yet been ruled out.

    If you want to fight antiscience, please fight with science. No exaggeration or name-calling required.

  139. HCN: thanks very much.

  140. Brian

    @HCN

    Brian, you have revealed that you are new to this debate. You need to do some catch up reading to get you up to speed.

    Not sure if you’re talking about me or Brian Greer, but actually I did a ton of research on the debate back when my first daughter was born and decided not to vaccinate. I have recently decided to re-examine my decision so I’m essentially starting from scratch. But I”m hardly new to the arguments on both sides. I’ve actually been over to Orac’s blog and unfortunately, I find it to be a lot more “preaching to the converted” than actually explaining things in a non-confrontational way in the hopes of convincing anti-vaxers the errors of their ways.

    The fact is, everybody has a link and a book and another study for you to look at. As a lay person you read as much as you can, but there’s always going to be another person saying, “well have you read THIS report.” No I probably haven’t but I’ve read a ton of others that people have given me that have still failed to answer the questions I have.

    And it doesn’t really help anybody that the forums like this one always turn so quickly to contention. I know it’s human nature to get defensive and then offensive, but ideas don’t get changed that way.

  141. d ayoub, md

    That is right, we have an epidemic of measles. In 2008, 1 in 12,000,000 developed measles and no one died. Lets vaccinate everyone, so drug companies who own public health and FDA/CDC regulators can squeeze the last dime possible out of us. Or we can look at this rationally.

    1) vaccines kill children and adults, the peer review literature is filled with cases. Only recently we had a recall of a rotavirus vaccine for killing infants. Swine flu vaccine, whole-cell pertussis,now Gardasil. Japan stopped using a combined MMR vaccine in the 90s because of several deaths from aseptic meningitis.

    2) the fact that vaccinated kids get measles tells you how marginal the science is that concludes humoral immunity is the ONLY immunity that counts….it is absurd.

    3) measles and measles-related deaths declined over 95% BEFORE the vaccine was introduced. Comparing death rates in the 1950s with death rates today from measles is like comparing death rates after bypass surgery 50 years ago—alot has changed. As far as infections-sanitation, food and water improvements have done more than a vaccine could ever do.

    4) Infants are getting measles when they should be protected by maternal antibodies. Moms now are MMR recipients and thus have an inferior immune system, natural immunity being far superior.

    Herd immunity is bogus, but herd mentality is alive and well. Don’t chase every newspaper title with hysteria. Most doctors haven’t figured out the truth, journalists don’t fare any better.

  142. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    I get the concept, really, but most of those issues are more tangible than “you might get measles.” If I decide to disregard red lights, stop signs, etc, for my own selfish reasons, I can easily grasp the risks because there is data available. We have data about how many accidents were at particular intersections before the stop sign was installed, before the traffic light was installed, etc. Risk analysis to determine where traffic controls are installed and which ones are used. If there is not sufficient risk to justify the expense, those things don’t tend to show up. Sure, some people still die or get hurt at that intersection, but they won’t upgrade to traffic lights until it crosses a certain threshold.

    I just want full disclosure. If I am supposed to believe it is completely safe, it would be nice to know all the circumstances around every award given in the VICP so that every parent could factor that into their decisions. How people are supposed to make an informed, non-emotional, decision when information is intentionally hidden from you is beyond me. Anytime information is kept hidden, you should expect growing suspicion and skepticism about that particular industry/program/initiative/etc. If full disclosure is already available, then I would love to be pointed to it. More than anything, I want information freely and readily available for all to be completely informed. The way to address concerns people may have is not to talk down to them, ridicule them, or hide information from them, it is via full disclosure of all information and education. Anything short of that is not going to turn the tide, other than attempting compliance at gunpoint, of course…

  143. HCN,

    “Even Ginger (who commented above) has tried chelation on her child who was born AFTER 2001.”

    My son is still undergoing chelation. Because he has metal poisoning, both mercury and lead.

    What you seem to leave out of you statement is that parents who are chelating their children are doing so because they have toxic metals in them.

    When a child, especially a child who already has developmental delays, is found to be carrying a body burden of metals that do neurological damage, it is UNETHICAL to leave them in.

    Chelation has been the standard medical treatment for lead poisoning for half a century.

    And in this comment, you are kinda getting the cart before the horse.

    It is not as direct as mercury causes autism. It is that many children who are diagnosed with autism actually have ‘efflux’ disorders and cannot process mercury or any of these metals out of the body.

    In the last test my son had he was carrying lead, mercury, aluminum, uranium, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, thallium, tin and tungsten.

    My son is a little metal sponge and whatever goes in, stays in.

    The theory is that many cases of what is diagnosed as “autism” is a toxic injury that sets off an autoimmune response in the body that causes neuroinflammation which causes the symptoms of autism. That toxin can be mercury, but it can also be a number of other substances (epecially aluminum because the whole reason that it is in the vaccine is to jump star an immune system response).

    And there are kids with “autism”, who have never even been vaccinated, yet have these high toxic loads. So vaccines are not the only culprit, but they are the biggest bolus dose of these toxins and when dumped into a child who cannot process them out, on top of all the other environmental toxic insults that they child has suffered from pollution in air, water and food, THAT is the bail of hay that breaks the camels back.

    And the truly tragic thing is that if the medical establishment would actually start properly researching this, autism prevention MIGHT turn out to be as simple as giving a child a test at birth to check glutathione levels (the amino acid that most of our kids lack that cleans the toxins out of their body), when they found kids that were not producing glutathione depleted, simple supplementation could take place and autistic regressions due to toxic injury could be stopped all together. You might even be able to vaccinate some of these kids using much safer, much less toxic means.

    But rather than working with the non vaccinating autism community, and solving both our problems, you would rather just bully us and insult us.

  144. Ginger:

    “But you do have a right to be free from forced medication, of any kind, with out due process to remove those rights.”

    And you think that, by posting nonsense science and hysterics, you encourage the preservation of that right?

  145. oh… and by the way… chelation works. My son is not only dumping metals, he verbal skills, socialization and functioning have shot way up! Yay for Chandler!

  146. Bart

    Ginger:
    “So by your reasoning then, if you were allergic to antibiotics, and even if you knew for a fact that taking them would give you an anaphylactic reaction that would cause your death, and the CDC decided that EVERYONE had to take them because of a spreading bacterial illness, you would have no problem stepping up and swallowing that pill?”

    Of course not. There are two flaws in that strawman: (1) “knew for a fact” and (2) one can’t get antibiotics by transmission from an infected carrier, and therefore no one can unintentionally cause a reaction to antibiotics in someone else. The primary thing known for a fact about vaccines is that they cause the same immune reaction as the disease they’re designed to treat, without the severe symptoms. And one clearly can get the disease, and therefore the severe symptoms, by transmission, and also unintentionally pass them along.

    “It is ok with you for my child to suffer as long as yours doesn’t catch a virus?”

    Unfortunately that’s too simple a statement of the question. The question is more along the lines of, “Is it OK to put 100 children at slightly greater risk of suffering if that means 100,000 children will have significantly less risk of suffering?” Can you answer that objectively if you believe your child is already one of the 100? I don’t think I could.

  147. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    And you think that, by posting nonsense science and hysterics, you encourage the preservation of that right?

    I suppose you think that your attitude lends more credibility to your position? Hardly. Acting this way doesn’t actually help you make friends and influence others, as Dale Carnegie could tell you in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

  148. Brian Greer:

    OK. For the record, I’m in favor of full disclosure as well.

    I suppose I just don’t understand what more you’re looking for. We know the costs of abandoning vaccination society-wide, and we know the benefits of vaccination. We know that it’s immoral to coerce others to take the risks so you don’t have to.

    That’s why I was asking for evidence that vaccinations caused anything like the epidemics pre-1960. If vaccinations caused something as serious as that, wouldn’t it be fairly obvious? People didn’t need complex studies to tell them that smallpox and measles kill children, after all.

    And if it’s not all that obvious, how could it be serious enough to cause doubt as to whether vaccination was worth the risk?

  149. “I suppose you think that your attitude lends more credibility to your position?”

    If my “credibility” is the determining factor in this debate, then we have already lost it.

  150. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    I wouldn’t throw everybody else under the bus, Jeff, you can just throw yourself there.

  151. Nigel Depledge

    Brian Greer said:

    I suppose you think that your attitude lends more credibility to your position? Hardly. Acting this way doesn’t actually help you make friends and influence others, as Dale Carnegie could tell you in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

    Fortunately for those of us who live in the real world, Brian, facts do not give a monkey’s about any individual’s attitude or “credibility”. No-one on the side of reality is asking you to accept their word for it*. They are simply asking for you to look at the facts and either accept them as expounded in the consensus view of mainstream science or become sufficiently informed that you are able to make your own judgement. This means reading the science, not the antivax proaganda.

    *This behaviour (i.e. expecting or demanding your trust) is characteristic of the antiscience campaigners.

  152. Jeff,

    You have been INCREDIBLY presumptuous about what my recommendations for vaccinating are!

    Please point out, here, on my blog, or anywhere else where I have recommended that ANYONE not vaccinate!

    You have missed my point entirely.

    Vaccines are not a one size fits all proposition any more than ANY PHARMACEUTICAL is. Vaccine decisions should be made based on the best interests of that child taking into accounts the relevant threats to their health and their specific medical picture!

    I am sorry to use so many exclamation points, but I keep repeating myself over and over and I don’t feel like you guys are reading what I am actually writing, but what you have decided I must be saying.

    Please go back and read what I wrote again.

    Thanks.

  153. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    That’s why I was asking for evidence that vaccinations caused anything like the epidemics pre-1960. If vaccinations caused something as serious as that, wouldn’t it be fairly obvious? People didn’t need complex studies to tell them that smallpox and measles kill children, after all.

    Of course. It was much simpler. However, what we may not fully understand is the effect these vaccines may have on small segments of the population. Some unintended consequences that are out there. Sure, anything that would effect a severe minority of the population is not going to have the same “epidemic” effect that these other diseases had prior to vaccination. However, to say that these links would have turned up clearly by now is more than a little absurd. I would like to see the both sides admit that there are consequences, sometimes severe, for those on the other side, and be open to more education/information. The ultimate answer is not going to be found through fear and scare tactics, for either position. It would also be nice if there were a little more acknowledgement of the fact that humans are very complex creatures that we do not completely understand, so therefore it stands to reason that we would not understand how anything is going to effect 100% of the population.

  154. Brian Greer

    @Nigel Depledge

    This behaviour (i.e. expecting or demanding your trust) is characteristic of the antiscience campaigners.

    That may be true, but I am not antiscience (despite what you may have imagined). I want more information, not less. I’m not burying my head in the sand. I’m also not believing everything I am told by a system that keeps secrets.

  155. HCN

    Ginger said “oh… and by the way… chelation works. My son is not only dumping metals, he verbal skills, socialization and functioning have shot way up! Yay for Chandler!”

    It is called growing up. My kid also gained in verbal skills, socialization and functioning by leaps and bounds as he received appropriate speech, occupational and educational therapy. Big deal. He was totally non-verbal at age three, and is presently in community college.

    By the way, the testing of the “metal dumping” is often by dubious challenge methods by not so reliable labs.

  156. also… HCN:

    “Even Ginger (who commented above) has tried chelation on her child who was born AFTER 2001.”

    Because even though he was born in 2002, he still got mercury in his vaccines. Because even though everyone likes to claim it was gone by 2001, as many of our babies medical records prove, it wasn’t.

    Even the “low dose” shots were still over newborn weight limits and Chandler’s first vaccine reaction was to just such a Hep B shot at only three weeks old. When, of course, I didn’t have Hep B and he was not at risk for Hep B.

    (Did I mention that he was born a month early, and even though vaccines are not tested on early babies, they give them to them anyway? Could this by why the autism rate is higher for preemies? They started giving Chandler shots before his due date.)

    Then his docs kept giving him the same shot, because again, they do not take vaccine reactions seriously, even though the package insert says that a child who reacts to the shot should not get the shot again. He regressed after the 4th time they gave it to him.

    Made all the more painful for me when I found out that 90% of children gain the necessary antibodies for immunity the first time they are given the shot.

    So my beloved boy was given a shot for what is largely a sexually transmitted disease, which his mother didn’t have, at only three weeks old, suffered three months of crying and fevers, and two years of bowel problems, got the shot that he probably was already had the immunity for three more times, which when given in combination with five other vaccines at 18 months, caused encepalopathy and autistic regression.

    So now I can’t give him the MMR, because they gave him four Hep B shots.

    Do you see a problem here? Do you think that we might have gone a bit overboard with the vaccine schedule?

    Did I mention that Hep B vaccine only lasts 5 years and that by the time he old enough to be at risk he will not be covered for the illness? And that he will not be able to get the vaccine then because he has an autoimmune disorder and aluminum is a contraindication for him?

    Do think that there might have been a better, wiser way to vaccinate my special boy that might not have put him in the position that he is in now?

    Do you see why I say there is a middle ground between 36 vaccine in 18 months starting sometimes on day one of live, and non vaccination?

  157. HCN

    Brian said “Not sure if you’re talking about me or Brian Greer, but actually I did a ton of research on the debate back when my first daughter was born and decided not to vaccinate.”

    My apologies, I thought you were the same person.

  158. “Nobody should be asked to take on risk to help somebody else. There must be data that proves it is in their own self interest to do it.”

    Your get the vaccine for your benefit – protection from a serious illness. The fact that it benefits me as well, by reducing the chances that I will be exposed to that illness. Likewise My immunity benefits you. So everyone benefits. It is not about sacrificial lambs.

  159. Brian:
    “What is the probability of one person w/o vaccination getting measles inside the US? And how does that compare to the probability of a person w/ vaccination getting it?”

    When CDC reports measles cases in an MMWR report like this, they sometimes report how many of the cases are vaccinated and how many are unvaccinated. But I have not seen any studies that give the percentages that you are looking for. Those are also studies that we would like to see done.

    For example, even when vaccine uptake is at its highest, there are still something like 15,000 cases of pertussis a year. The vaccine is just not that effective. But if CDC does the kinds of studies that you are looking for, and many people who get sick are seen to be fully vaccinated against the illness, it shakes confidence in the efficacy of vaccines. IMHO i think that is why they avoid doing those studies.

  160. Ginger:

    “Vaccines are not a one size fits all proposition any more than ANY PHARMACEUTICAL is. Vaccine decisions should be made based on the best interests of that child taking into accounts the relevant threats to their health and their specific medical picture!”

    Well, OK. You’re right; I was presumptuous.

    But one thing I still don’t get is how your case (as you describe it) is relevant to anything besides classic medical malpractice. Your baby’s doctors didn’t follow procedure in multiple steps; how is the procedure then at fault?

    And it seems to me that we’re arguing on your behalf. If your doctors don’t think it’s safe to give your child the MMR vaccine, then your child is the stated reason why we think fear-mongering with vaccines is wrong: your child is then put at unnecessary risk.

  161. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    Sorry about what I said earlier about the bus. If I could remove it, I would. It was a momentary loss of reason.

  162. Brian Greer

    Ginger Taylor

    But I have not seen any studies that give the percentages that you are looking for.

    I am still rather stunned that probability estimates are not available. There are probabilities of somebody being hit by lightning, being in an airplane accident, a car accident, falling off a building, etc, but none about contracting measles?

    Obviously those other ones can be influenced by what is happening around you. Like regardless of the probability of dying in a car accident, you have zero chance if you never go near cars. They still come up with those probabilities anyway, which gives people a useful guide regarding their chances of experiencing that.

  163. Brian Greer:

    “However, what we may not fully understand is the effect these vaccines may have on small segments of the population.”

    Well, I’m certainly all for continuing research. On the other hand, I still don’t see how that research could affect the moral calculus.

    Let’s take the autism thing, for example. We have cites of a 1 in 150 rate for autism in this thread. Taking that at face value, that’s about 500,000 kids in the USA with autism.

    Now there were 21,000 cases of polio in 1952 alone. Extrapolate that across a 12-year spectrum of children, and you end up with 250,000 crippled/dead children. Picking just one disease, we’ve come up to half of autism’s total.

    Also elsewhere in this thread, we see nearly 700,000 cases of measles in the USA that same year, and cites of 500,000 in all of Africa in 1999.

    So even if you could link vaccines to autism with the strongest link possible, the risk of autism with vaccination would still be less than the risk of these diseases. And, as has been observed before, we can’t demonstrate that any link exists at all, much less a link strong enough to suggest that vaccines are the sole cause of autism.

    So OK, maybe it isn’t autism. But what is it, then? If it’s so difficult to identify, how could it possibly be more risky than measles or polio?

  164. Amphiox,

    “Those who do not vaccinate, but still hope to benefit from the collective immunity (which creates the low incidence rates for diseases such as measles that Brian Greer, for example, wants to benefit from), not only weaken the communal resource upon which I depend, but are also trying to exploit this resource which I have paid for, for free. They are stealing from me, and from everyone else who has agreed to receive a vaccine.”

    I am sure that you probably don’t mean this to be an offensive post, but I have to tell you how upsetting it is for the mother of a vaccine injured child, who will spend the rest of her son’s life caring for him and grieving over what was taken from him, for you to claim that you have “paid” for your immunity.

    You have paid absolutely no price. You got a shot and walked out of that office and nothing in your life changed. MY SON has paid the price so that you would not get sick.

    Our country declared a war on viral diseases, and drafted my minor child into that war. And he took the bullet.

    My child has been considered the “acceptable loss” in this. What exactly have you paid or suffered for your piece of “herd immunity”?

    In your analogy, my child should be the war hero that everyone is grateful to. When we walk down the street, he should get grateful thanks and pats on the back. The school system should be thrilled when he walks in the door and give him whatever he needs to be able to thrive as best he can because his neurological disorder was the price that was actually, “paid” so most of the kids at that school would not have to battle a dozen diseases.

    People on this list would say, “wow… we know it must be hard for your family, and thanks for enduring this burden”.

    But please read back over this thread and read all the insults that have been hurled at me for merely stating that vaccines are not as safe as they are touted to be, and that we have a responsibility to protect the rights of individual children and vaccinate with far more caution and tailor them to children’s health needs.

    Please come to my son’s next IEP meeting and see how hard we have to fight to get the school system to just obey the law in educating our kids.

    Come for a visit and we can show you our taxes where the year that my son was diagnosed we earned only a quarter of what we did the year before because we had leave our careers to care for him.

    Take a look at the news over the past few months and read the stories of how little tolerance society has for our kids in planes and restaurants.

    Put the words “autism” and “autistic” in your google alerts for a few months and read the stories of abuse that our kids suffer at the hands of institutional care givers and that die premature deaths.

    I am sure you are not a jerk, and I am sure that you don’t mean to be hurtful, but you have to understand that it is kind of an a-hole comment to tell the mother of a vaccine injured child that you have “paid” and that anyone who does vaccinate is stealing from you.

    You have not paid. We have paid.

    If anyone has been stolen from, it is my son.

  165. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    Well, I’m certainly all for continuing research. On the other hand, I still don’t see how that research could affect the moral calculus.

    Aside from having more open minds about determining who is at risk of experiencing bad effects from the vaccination program, it would be nice if those on the ‘gung ho at any cost’ side would truly be remorseful of the tragedies that befall some good families who only tried to go along with the system.

    Just like malpractice lawsuits are decreased when medical professionals show remorse for unintended bad things that happen, it might go a long way if people didn’t just shrug their shoulders and take the attitude that some have to be irreparably injured/killed for the good of the rest of us. If these people didn’t have to file lawsuits and spend money fighting the system over it. If we could take the attitude that any life lost or irreparably damaged by diseases OR vaccinations is a terrible thing and something we all should strive to avoid.

  166. Jeff,

    I have a blog (see above) in which I have been writing about the vaccine/autism connection (and its mechanisms) for the last four years. If you would like direction on where to start email me and I will be glad to get you going in the right place.

    You can start with looking and the vaccine induce encepalopathy comments I have written on this list.

    The autism research institute has hours and hours of lectures from doctors on how it works and how to treat it.

    And entire branch of medicine has spring up around it.

    Please do at least a cursory amount of research before you declare that information does not exist.

  167. I have lost the stomach for this conversation today. The insults are really starting to be discouraging and I don’t really want to keep reading.

    If anyone has earnest questions that I have not answered that you would like addressed, please feel free to email me directly.

    And thanks to Brian for being open and working earnestly on this.

  168. Sara

    I’m so glad that the overwhelming majority of my friends and family have looked into the issue and do not vaccinate anymore and the ones that actually saw what happened to my child after vaccines damaged her didn’t need any convincing at all. The idiots are the ones that can’t look past what the doctors with such a narrow view tell them. No percentage of children is expendable. For those that don’t agree I suggest that you move out because we live in America. Thank goodness we have a choice.

  169. Get a clue!

    How many of the adults on this board has had a recent booster? You’re so worried about those who don’t vaccinate their children. What about you? Immunity doesn’t last forever you know. You’re far more of threat. Hypocrites.

  170. Brian:

    “Aside from having more open minds about determining who is at risk of experiencing bad effects from the vaccination program, it would be nice if those on the ‘gung ho at any cost’ side would truly be remorseful of the tragedies that befall some good families who only tried to go along with the system.”

    Well, I tend to be more sympathetic with people who don’t use their tragedy as an excuse for spreading misinformation, especially misinformation that causes more tragedy.

    You saw a lot of support for Amanda Peet, here and elsewhere, who has an autistic child and who still stood up for vaccinations.

    I suppose we could wait for some kid to die from measles and have a “grief match”. But doesn’t that seem a little perverse? Why not just discuss the facts, and do the right thing before kids start dying from bad advice?

  171. Ginger:

    I see on your blog lots of discussion over heavy metal poisoning, and its relationship with autism. I’m prepared to believe that.

    I also saw lots of issues with the handling of autistic children in the school system, government agencies, etc. This, too, I’m prepared to believe.

    But the links Phil gave in the original post are clear: no link can be detected between autism and vaccines, by any mechanism. If metals delivered in the vaccine (thimerosal, aluminum salts, etc.) were a cause, that should come out in any study that doesn’t assume a particular cause.

    If you come back, please explain the discrepancy.

  172. HCN

    Ginger Taylor said “I have lost the stomach for this conversation today. The insults are really starting to be discouraging and I don’t really want to keep reading.”

    So says the very Christian woman who crowed with delight that Orac got “punked” when JB Handley squatted on several internet addresses, and then decided to help Kirby reveal the pseudonym of an author.

    Is it an insult to reveal what you had actually done? Just check her blog for “Orac Gets Punked” and “The California Numbers: Autism Declining Among Three Year Olds” (search for “chew”).

  173. SLC

    It should also be pointed out relative to chicken pox that having chicken pox as an adolescent can lead to the development of very unpleasant diseases such as Herpes Zoster (shingles) in later life.

  174. Mary

    StuV Says:
    A person has the right to make their own decisions as long as they do not endanger others. Unvaccinated people endanger infants too young to be vaccinated as well as immuno-depressed of all ages.

    Ok: Leave the unvaccinated alone who only cause 131 cases of measles of 304,000,000 in the US and no deaths and go after the 4.6 million congestive heart failure due to tobacco and the 43,000 per year DEATHS. And don’t forget the women who are pregnant and smoke and the overweight smokers with children. Vaccinated children with smoking parents have a lot more to worry about.

  175. Gustav Nyström

    “Ok: Leave the unvaccinated alone who only cause 131 cases of measles of 304,000,000 in the US and no deaths”

    That’s when most people are vaccinated, imagine what will happen if most people didn’t vaccinate. Or, better yet, look at the statistics provided by HCN above about millions of cases and thousands of deaths in the 50’s.

    “Vaccinated children with smoking parents have a lot more to worry about.”

    Not anymore than unvaccinated children does. What prevent you from vaccinating your child and not smoking while pregnant, or advocating for this?

  176. BethK

    Get a clue asks “How many of the adults on this board has had a recent booster? You’re so worried about those who don’t vaccinate their children. What about you? Immunity doesn’t last forever you know.”

    Way back on this page I noted that my 15yo got four vaccinations two weeks ago: chicken pox booster, Tdap booster, HPV, and meningitis. My 13yo got two: chicken pox booster and meningitis. I’m current on all my vaccinations and get the flu shot every year. In grad school, I participated in the nasal flu vaccine trials. A few years later in grad school, I received an extra MMR booster because there was a measles outbreak. I stated up there why I believe the risks of the diseases outweigh the risks of the vaccines for my healthy kids who have had no adverse reactions.

    Brian has asked for probabilities for contracting measles. Reportedly, 90% of the non-immune people exposed to an infected person will get measles. If you aren’t near anyone who has measles, you won’t get infected. Given that a lot of the population is immune, your odds of contracting it aren’t high. According to a Medscape paper about measles immunity (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/408098_4), the immunity rate in the US is about 93%. If that’s the case, in a group of 100 people, 7 of them are not immune. If they were all exposed to someone with the disease and the infection rate is 90%, we’d expect 6 of those 100 to get the disease. But in some areas where people are not vaccinating their kids, you may have much lower immunity rates. A group of 100 kids might have a 50% immunity rate. If one of those kids has been exposed to measles and is contagious, we’d expect 90% of the 50% non-immune kids to get the disease. That’s 45 kids with the disease.

    I don’t like my kids to be sick. The risks of the vaccinations are far lower than the risks of the diseases. If there is an adverse reaction, the follow-on vaccinations shouldn’t be done. Good doctors know this. I can see why Ginger is angry and on a crusade. I hope that her son continues to get better. But kids (and adults) need to be vaccinated unless there are reasons they shouldn’t be.

    Occam’s razor (when there are multiple explanations, the simplest is often the correct one) suggests that vaccinations are not what is causing autism. Studies also show that is the case, but many people don’t believe the studies. Avoiding the vaccinations exposes kids (and the people around them) to the effects of the diseases. Are you putting your kids at greater risk by leaving them unvaccinated especially if you hang around with people who feel the same way?

  177. Winston Smith

    Force vaccinations on our children, and receive a free “vaccination” of lead.

    It’s this simple: people no longer believe the multi-billion dollar drug industry.

  178. amphiox

    With regards to comments about adults getting or needing booster shots due to waning immunity, it is not necessary to get the booster shot in every case. You can test for the presence of the pertinent antibodies in your blood. If the antibodies are present, you are immune, and you don’t need a booster no matter how long ago your last vaccination was. If you don’t have the antibodies, then you are not immune, and need the booster. To my knowledge these tests are available at least for Hep B and MMR, and probably several others as well.

    Autism is not so much a disease as a symptom complex, as are probably the majority of the complex psychiatric conditions. What we today call autism in all likelihood consists of many different diseases with many different causes, and will require many different treatments.

    There is also a spectrum of severity from mild to severe, and the mild end blurs with the spectrum that is accepted as “normal.” A significant proportion of the so-called “epidemic” of autism is a result of this moving of the diagnostic goalposts, where patterns of behavior previously accepted as a variation of normal are now being labeled as a disease, and in my opinion unjustifiably so.

    It is impossible to completely prove a negative. We can never say that no vaccine will ever be linked to some subset of the spectrum of disorders that is today called autism. But we can determine limits of risk. With every negative study we can say that the risk must be less than a certain threshold, because if it was higher we would have seen it in the study.

    The weight of evidence tells us that the risk is vanishingly tiny, and shrinking with every subsequent negative study.

  179. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    I suppose we could wait for some kid to die from measles and have a “grief match”. But doesn’t that seem a little perverse? Why not just discuss the facts, and do the right thing before kids start dying from bad advice?

    Poor Jeff, bound and determined to bring up strawman positions.

    Try to belittle my point all you want, but there is a reason that hospital administrations have told their Doctors that they need to make sure the family and loved ones know they are sorry when things go wrong. It is because studies show that those people are less likely to chase down some money with attorneys when there is a human (rather than mechanic) response to the situation. Maybe these people that refuse to deal with the science behind vaccinations will be less likely to dig their toes in, when they run into trouble, if they are confronted by a humanist response and not a jerky ‘holier than thou’ attitude. I suspect the old saying that you get more with honey than vinegar is actually true more often than many want to believe.

    If you truly cared about this cause, you would be able, and willing, to consider that the way the message is delivered can sometimes be more important than the message itself. I know that science types think the facts can speak for themselves and that other people should be able to just accept it, but that isn’t the way human beings in general are wired. I’ve had a hard time learning that myself, because I’ve always had a “just the facts” attitude and figured it was somebody else’s problem if they didn’t like it. It is completely the wrong way to approach anything that you hope will change someone else’s point of view. Right or wrong, if you say it the wrong way you do more harm to your cause than if you had said nothing at all. Dig your toes in and pretend that the world doesn’t work that way, if you really want to, but it won’t change reality.

  180. Brian Greer

    Just to add to that, if human beings were wired to just accept the facts without compromise, we would never have invented religion/mythology, and we certainly would not have it around today. That, by itself, demonstrates that it takes more than just a “these are the facts” approach to convince many human beings. There is no science that supports a claim of heaven, hell, God, Satan, etc, but nonetheless quite a few people buy into it readily.

  181. Calli Arcale

    amphiox sez:
    “To my knowledge these tests are available at least for Hep B and MMR, and probably several others as well.”

    I can attest personally that the MMR test is available. Well, I know there’s a test for rubella immunity, anyway. The test is routinely administered to pregnant women. If you fail the test, they recommend getting MMR immediately. This is because rubella is a major cause of miscarriage and preterm birth in unvaccinated or otherwise non-immune mothers. It is also a major cause of certain birth defects. I failed the test, alas, despite having received MMR years earlier; I was one of the unlucky few for whom the shot had failed to induce the correct immune response. I was given an MMR shot. Fortunately, this time it took; when my blood was drawn during my second pregnancy, rubella antibodies were detected.

    Now, my firstborn does qualify for services under the autism spectrum. (That’s an educational determination. We’re on the waiting list for a medical evaluation.) I do not think that vaccines are to blame. For one thing, her behavior is far too similar to a lot of family members going back a couple of generations. Autism has been around for a very long time. We just called it by different names back then.

  182. @ Ginger

    > Not in this country.

    On the contrary, absolutely in this country.

    > Here the rights of the individual outweigh the good of the many.

    No, they don’t – this is a laughable statement, I’m sorry. Witness the fact that I filled out a draft card when I turned 18, and until 2006 could be required under threat of incarceration to serve in the military (theoretically, it could still happen if they raised the draft age, I suppose). Witness the fact that I’m required to wear a seatbelt, drive sober, acquire a license to own a gun, obtain certification and a license to perform electrical contracting work, pass through a rigorous process to acquire an M.D., etc. Obviously the individual has rights, but the collective has rights as well; to pretend otherwise is simply disingenuous.

    > I can refuse vaccination.

    Yes, this is currently the case.

    > Once you star using greater good arguments to push forced vaccination,
    > you open a door to greater good arguments to be used to violate your
    > rights in a bigger way.

    Self-admitted slippery slope argument there, practically speaking, as greater good arguments are already used to violate my individual rights on all of the topics already mentioned above. I concede the point, but dismiss the relevence.

    > My husband and sons get in a car accident and all need vital organ transplants,
    > you are a match and can fulfill all their needs with your insides. I kill you and
    > save my family. I have traded one life for three. Greater good served!

    This presupposes that “life” is the ultimate quantity in which the “greater good” is measured; very few pure Utilitarian thinkers would regard this as so (in any event, I’m not a big believer in pure utilitarianism). There is a very simple counterargument to this hypothetical situation: no society would tolerate such an arrangement out of self-interest (you would never know when your type would match up with >1 accident victim) and would self-destruct.

    This does not correspond directly to “forced” vaccination in any event. Involuntarily harvesting my organs will kill me, the individual. Involuntary vaccination is extremely unlikely to cause me much in the way of significant harm.

    Regardless of whether or not forced vaccinations are ethical, the most important part of this discussion is the science.

    I checked out this post on your blog, and I find some of your description of Verstraten’s study particularly damning. However, I find absolutely no reference for your claims, and they are extremely severe claims. You’re accusing a scientist of falsifying a study with the complicit assistance of the Center for Disease Control. Certainly scientists have made false claims and falsified studies in the past, and operational branches of the U.S. government have committed atrocities, but if you’re going to make this sort of accusation, I expect references, not merely a descriptive story (controlling for confounders, on the other hand, is normal and I fail to see how removing high-risk subjects from the study is in any way bad science).

    (http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2005/08/heres-why-disdain.html)

    Your page of supporting evidence does not summarize the information in an easily parsed format:

    (http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2007/06/no-evidence-of-any-link.html)

    In order for me to determine how relevant those articles are to your overall position, I’d have to read every single one of them; you don’t link them together in a complete argument. Autistic children may have a higher incidence of toxic metals; that in no way implies that the exposure to those metals comes from vaccines. You can get mercury introduced into your system from fish, the local water supply, and any one of dozens of other vectors.

    The studies on the side effects of Thimerosal are not all completely cited – where were these published? You include references concerning autism risks with exposure to air quality, what does this have to do with vaccinations? The single strongest piece of evidence in your collection is the publications by Geier/Geier, however review of these studies shows the methodology is flawed; moreover Dr. Geier is not a research biochemist. There is no causal hypothesis, and as pointed out by critics, the sampling methodology is suspect at best. More on his standing (or lack thereof) here:

    (http://www.neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/97/)

    I agree that your point (that autism is a complex disease that may have many contributing factors) may very well be valid; however the epidemiological studies (which you – by your own admission – admittedly disdain) seem to fairly clearly indicate that when *controlling for these other factors*, vaccines simply have no correlation with autism. Without a correlation, there is legitimately no reason to fund additional research, which probably explains adequately the lack of studies investigating your claim.

    At best, a brief summary scanning of the articles you present leads me to the opposite conclusion that you seem to have reached: vaccines are a best a statistically negligible component of autism, and in comparison to other environmental factors can essentially be disregarded as a contributor.

    It seems fantastically more likely that your son was damaged by any one of a number of other vectors. I myself have two children, and have interacted with mentally challenged adults and children, and I can say that you have my deepest sympathies. However, you have made the bald statement that *vaccines*, in particular, are what injured your child multiple times without any sort of supportive evidence beyond your belief.

    You cannot ask me to base public health policy upon someone’s convictions, however horrific their personal circumstances.

  183. jtradke

    Ginger: “and even if you knew for a fact that taking them would give you an anaphylactic reaction that would cause your death,”

    Ginger, if you know of a way to predict which individuals will be affected adversely by a vaccination, please describe that procedure here. I don’t think you or anyone else knows of anything like this, and yet you’re acting as if it exists.

    If we could predict these things with any accuracy, then I would be in favor of very selectively foregoing particular vaccinations for persons who display such risk factors. Without that kind of ability, however, I don’t know what you’re arguing for. A crystal ball that tells us who it will help and who it will not? We have no such device, and so we MUST rely on statistics over your intuitive feelings.

    Let me put it to you this way: Faced with a one in a million chance that your child will die from a vaccine, and a one in 100,000 chance that he or she will die, at some point, from an infectious disease that the vaccine effectively prevents, what would you choose? It’s a crappy choice, I know, but it’s unavoidable. Which do you choose?

  184. JennyW

    Unfortunately I don’t have time to read all 190 responses, but I wanted to make people aware that some of us homeschoolers are very pro-vaccination. We homeschool for educational reasons, not religious ones, and we’re not the only ones.

    Thanks, Phil, for taking a stand about this issue. And to those who feel that Phil is making some kind of homeschool statement, I think he’s just repeating the facts that were in the article (I also read it on CNN.com).

  185. Autumn

    We do, jtradke, selectively select individuals to not be vaccinated, e.g., those with supressed immune systems. Were there any evidence at all in the many studies done that a certain group of children or adults were at an abnormally high risk for side effects, these people would also be advised not to vaccinate.

    Ginger, and I know that you are asleep, and also unable to see through your anger, did you eat any cereal for breakfast just before your boy was diagnosed? Almost all parents of autistic children report having cereal just days before their child started to exhibit symptoms.
    Of course, Big Grain has stifled any research into this, but it is true that there is a definite corollation between eating cereal and autism.
    Big Grain says it is safe to eat cereal, and I’m not saying that cereal is the only cause, but shouldn’t we be questioning the cereal companies saying that cereal is good every day?

    I am not trying to be an ass, but the argument I have used above is EXACTLY THE SAME ARGUMENT THAT YOU ARE USING!
    You have shown no cause, but assumed one which you will never give up. You have zero evidence for the corollation, but refuse to consider alternative explanations.
    My argument is actually stronger statistically than yours, but it is obviously silly.
    Yours is, however, only slightly less silly.

    I feel even more sorry for your son now, as I have ascertained that he has another developmental disability: his mother.

  186. drksky

    I find it endlessly funny that anti-vax people constantly fall back to “the CDC and other governmental institutions are horribly corrupt” as part of their arguments.

  187. Brian

    I find it endlessly funny that anti-vax people constantly fall back to “the CDC and other governmental institutions are horribly corrupt” as part of their arguments.

    When discussing matters of such controversy, anybody who doesn’t consider the fact that there may be spin and/or self-interest in a report is just delusional. Maybe the reports are completely unbiased, then again, maybe not. But it’s hard to know who you can trust in this day and age.

  188. Melissa

    Really – vaccines don’t harm children? Oh please. Come spend a day at my house or the homes of my friends. We all have children who have been damaged by vaccines so they wouldn’t get diseases like the chicken pox (which I had) or the measles (which my dad had) – we are both fine by the way. Personally I’d take any of those diseases every day of the week over the autism we live with DAILY. It was caused in part by my son’s immune system not being able to handle all the vaccines. If you think vaccines are so wonderful, then by all means get them for your kids. If vaccines are so great then your kids will be safe. But don’t tell me what to do with mine. He’ll never get another. Funny how all the research to back up vaccine safety is funded by the people who create or are in some way financially linked to the industry. Maybe one day when all of the pro-vaccine people have a child, grandchild or close relative with vaccine induced autism they’ll realize they’ve been had…

  189. @ Brian

    > But it’s hard to know who you can trust in this day and age.

    Granted, but this level of conspiracy would require extremely strong motivation. I can only think of two great enough: religion and money. Since I doubt anyone thinks of Big Pharma as an incarnation of the Almighty, I’m going to go with money as the possible motivator.

    Now, while it’s certainly possible that someone might bribe an elected or appointed government official, let’s look at the two possible candidates for financial interest in the evidence trail presented thus far: the members of the CDC, and Geier. While I grant you that it is possible to bribe (or, possibly, apply incredible amounts of political pressure to motivate) necessary members of the CDC to pull off such a scam, there are quite a few individuals involved here. On the flip side, we have Geier/Geier, who (from reports) have engaged in documented ethically suspect behavior and according to reports have direct financial incentive, as their work is cited in lawsuits and the good doctor at least works as an expert witness and fundraiser.

    The two don’t necessarily conflate to “hack who disseminates false information in order to keep his gravy train running”; it’s entirely possible that Geier is convinced that his science is good, and he works in this field because he has honest belief in his claims. However, I would regard it as *much* more likely that he is not a reliable source.

    In order to believe such a conspiracy on the CDC side, you’d have to assume that several scientists could be suborned simultaneously with political or financial incentives to actually go *against* their profession and their ethics while deliberately suppressing evidence that harms children. With no leaks.

    Which is more likely? That an individual is either misled or corrupt, or that a group is corrupt? I’m most inclined to believe the “misled” theory, but then perhaps its just my optimistic human nature.

  190. Brian Greer:

    “Poor Jeff, bound and determined to bring up strawman positions.”

    How is this a strawman?

    I have no problems with questions and discussion, even about the supposed evils of the medical industry. But the message is going out that children are safer without vaccines than with vaccines. That message is wrong. There is absolutely no way that any facts could support such a conclusion.

    Yet you have doubts. Why? What could possibly cause you to believe, in your words, that “the benefits don’t outweigh the risks”?

    You talk to me about compassion for suffering people. What is compassionate about telling parents to do something that puts their kids at real risk? What is compassionate about “doubting” something, for no good reason, that saves lives?

    Isn’t the better part of compassion about preventing suffering when you can?

  191. And, I hasten to point out, I do support exceptions to the “vaccinate everyone” for real, recognized medical risks. But fears of autism do not qualify without scientific evidence, which doesn’t exist at this time.

  192. Dave Hall

    Brian Says:
    When discussing matters of such controversy, anybody who doesn’t consider the fact that there may be spin and/or self-interest in a report is just delusional. Maybe the reports are completely unbiased, then again, maybe not. But it’s hard to know who you can trust in this day and age.

    So you are saying there is such a thing as Justifiable Paranoia?

    (before you answer, look up paranoia)

  193. Common Sense

    It is amazing how the insults seem to fly at those who question certain vaccinations (or the entire vaccination schedule). As many of you know, I would guess that the vast majority of those who are now questioning vaccinations are those whose children or family members have been INJURED. Get it? It isn’t because we are tree-hugging hippies (although I do love trees) or random conspiracy nuts – it is because we were burned by the system. Period. To call people ‘anti-vaccine nuts’ after these people actually DID VACCINATE their children (and the children were injured) is rather silly, isn’t it?

    And to HCN:

    HCN was kind enough to list the vaccinations that he/she did receive in childhood. We should all make note that HCN did not receive the following vaccinations (they weren’t out yet):

    Chicken Pox, Hep B, MMR, HiB, Prevnar, Rotavirus, Flu, Hep A …

    Somehow HCN managed to survive his/her childhood relatively fine (unless I hear differently). So, HCN… perhaps we all just want our kids to turn out as great as you did :)

    I suggest you run out today and get all the above vaccinations for yourself… you never know when you may be in contact with an infant… Since you weren’t vaccinated you could be a danger to these infants… Couldn’t you? Please go do the right thing and leave my family (who have been shown to be susceptible to vaccine injury) alone. Thank you.

  194. Brian Greer

    I have to laugh when I read/hear somebody’s claims that such and such could not be a conspiracy or fraud perpetrated by the government. I don’t suppose any of you have read histories of the kinds of things the US government has done over the past several decades (since the Eisenhower administration). Sure, our government would never test nerve agents on its own people without their consent and deny it for decades, they would never put unconsenting adults through mind control experiments involving dangerous drugs and therapies and deny it for decades, they would never corrupt free elections, assassinate fairly elected leaders, help drug lords keep power and even get their drugs into the US, etc. I don’t say this in order to put forward a theory that the CIA is up to something with vaccines, but simply to say that this government has lied about nefarious activities for as much as 50 years before the truth really came out. Only people with ignorance of these dark things would say there is no way that government corruption can be successfully hidden from view (I doubt it can be kept hidden forever, but clearly half a century is not out of the question). If you further consider that the FDA has a history of approving things based on questionable science funded by industry (clear conflict of interest), everyone should be skeptical of anything the government says. Even consider that the debacle with Enron was directly enabled by people in key government positions that had either been on Enron’s payroll in the past or would join up with them after leaving those positions. There is a healthy reason to be concerned about anything the government is engaged with because there is a history of shady unethical activity following it around everyday.

    @Jeff Licquia

    I appreciate the discussion and your responses have given me more to think about.

    Ultimately, I suppose I am still in the camp of wanting full and complete disclosure. I don’t accept anything on faith, and certainly aren’t keen on accepting a picture that is clearly missing a few pieces. If there really is nothing to fear from vaccines, why would the government ever desire to keep secrets about it? Logic says they keep secrets when that knowledge would damage their position on the matter, doesn’t it?

    Can you, Jeff, or anyone else here, give me a solid scientific reason as to why what happens with the VICP should have no impact on trust of the vaccination program? Also a sound scientific reason for keeping those records sealed, while you’re at it. Perhaps if I can be told how science needs to keep secrets sometimes I will understand why it is a good idea that I not have 100% access to all of the information about something I am supposed to willingly inject into little children.

    And, I hasten to point out, I do support exceptions to the “vaccinate everyone” for real, recognized medical risks.

    So, who gets to determine what the good reasons are and who has them? The government? A local medical professional? I suppose you certainly feel the parents should have no say in the matter, or am I wrong?

  195. Andrew

    Melissa writes: “Maybe one day when all of the pro-vaccine people have a child, grandchild or close relative with vaccine induced autism they’ll realize they’ve been had”

    My child has autism; not vaccine-caused, of course, because there’s no such thing, but real autism. I find it revealing that you wish more children to get autism – I guess that fits in with your general attitude that children should get all sorts of diseases.

  196. Don Snow

    Frankly, I get my flu vaccination every year.

    However, whatever happened to freedom of choice?

    Those that die are part of local natural selection.

    Some of our ramping overpopulation is caused by childhood vaccinations. People should either stop complaining about metropolitan overpopulation, or stop complaining about childhood deaths from no vaccitions. No way should people complain about both. Just one, or the other.

    People should remain free to choose for themselves and for their children. If such freedom of choice bothers you, there are lots of other countries with much less freedom of choice than the US of A, for you to choose to reside in. Just don’t suffocate real freedom of choice, here.

    Freedom to choose over 900,000 infant deaths per year, here, before they’re ever born. And some people get frantic over a few hundred deaths, after they’re born.
    That’s not very consistent.

  197. Brian

    @ Dave Hall

    So you are saying there is such a thing as Justifiable Paranoia?

    I don’t view it as paranoia, which (after looking it up) is “baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.” I consider it justifiable cynicism of anybody who has a good deal of power and clout. If anybody knows anything about history as well as current events, evidence of corruption is all around. I don’t hold to the *paranoia* that the medical community is *knowingly* poisoning people with vaccines. First of all, I don’t know if vaccines are really even poisoning us at all. But when you hear enough anecdotes about doctors who refuse to pass along information after a kid has an apparent bad reaction, it does make you wonder how entrenched in their own way of thinking they are to consider other ideas. I’m not using the anecdote as EVIDENCE, but they sound familiar enough to at least make me justifiably suspicious. To me that isn’t baseless or excessive.

  198. drksky

    Until you know _first hand_ that an anecdote is truthful, I wouldn’t use them as any sort of indicator of malfeasance. I wouldn’t be more suspicious of the anecdote than the of the situation it is describing. Anecdotes are just that, stories related to you, not necessarily by persons involved, that may or may not contain facts. You never hear all of the information nor both sides of the story.

    Ever hear of the party game called “grapevine”? Purple monkey dishwasher…

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m too trusting? Until someone shows me that the CDC is corrupt and has been lying to us, I’m going to tend to trust their collective expertise. And I’m not talking about “someone told me that his friend’s brother’s cousin” type of thing.

  199. drksky

    Arrrghghgh….where’s the edit??

    Post above should be I WOULD be more suspicious of the anecdote…..

  200. Brian:

    “I don’t accept anything on faith, and certainly aren’t keen on accepting a picture that is clearly missing a few pieces.”

    Clearly? What parts are missing? What parts are we supposed to take on faith? Thousands of kids died in 1950 before vaccines; that number is now in the lower double-digits per year, after vaccines. I don’t see what’s controversial, unclear, or missing about that.

    “Can you, Jeff, or anyone else here, give me a solid scientific reason as to why what happens with the VICP should have no impact on trust of the vaccination program?”

    I already did. Vaccines would still be worth the risk if we could prove that every single case of autism in the US was caused by vaccines. For the numbers, see my comment above.

    And remember, currently, the percentage of autism cases linked to vaccines is not 100%, but 0%.

    Or are you concerned with some other issue? Let us know what, specifically, is a problem for you.

    “So, who gets to determine what the good reasons are and who has them? The government? A local medical professional? I suppose you certainly feel the parents should have no say in the matter, or am I wrong?”

    You are. :-) I don’t see a problem with the system we have now, where the government basically can’t force anyone to be vaccinated.

    As long as we are not telling parents to be scared of vaccines, that system should work well. I hope you aren’t advocating that we start scaring parents, thus encouraging the government to take that choice away.

  201. Brian

    Anecdotes are just that, stories related to you, not necessarily by persons involved, that may or may not contain facts. You never hear all of the information nor both sides of the story.

    That’s exactly the point I’m making. It is SO FREAKING HARD to know who is telling the truth and who is lying (whether intentionally or because of misinformation they have received). But with vaccines, I can’t UN-give them. And IF it turns out that there really IS something wrong with them and something DID happen to my kids, I would never be able to forgive myself. So far in the last few years, very few people who have gotten the actual diseases have died or had any lasting damaging effects. If that starts to change, I can always decide, “Okay you know what, it’s time to step up and vaccinate.” In the meantime though I don’t want to make an irreversible decision until I can do enough research to calm down the little voice in the back of my head and the knot in the pit of my stomach over the fear that something bad might happen to my kid.

  202. amphiox

    If we could know who exactly is at risk for an adverse reaction to a vaccine beforehand, we could do so much more than just selectively not giving vaccines to those people! We could study those individuals, and find out what it is about them and about the vaccines that cause the reaction. And if it turns out that the culprit is not the immunity generating part of the vaccine, we could develop new vaccines that these people could take that would not generate the adverse events in question.

    But this level of scientific certainty, which certain posters here seem to be demanding, will likely never be obtained, because the kind of rigorous experiments necessary to settle the question to that level of certainty would not be ethical to perform on human beings. We cannot deliberately give a substance to a study population for the sole purpose of generating an adverse reaction, and determining who is and is not at risk for getting said reaction! We can thus only look at adverse events obliquely in historical studies, or as part of studies whose primary goal is to investigate interventions meant to benefit the participants. But this means that the various confounding factors that might affect our data regarding adverse events can never be ideally accounted for, and we must accept this level of imperfection in our experimental design.

    Barring a wholesale change in our views of what is and is not ethically acceptable (which I hope will never happen) or some serendipitous breakthrough in experimental methods or techniques, we must make our decisions for today with the evidence we have available today, imperfect as it is.

  203. Dave Hall

    I was thinking more along the lines of this defintion: “Paranoia is a disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.”

    As someone who has taught history, I can say there are plenry of stories of corruption and collusion, and many of them are true. However, in these days of the Intertoobs and Faux News, conspriacies, corporate cabals and coverups are tuppence a dozen and most of them are fiction.

    Anecodtes are not facts. Most are what Jan Harold Brunvand, a professor of folklore called “Urban Legends.” If a doctor is reticent to supply information to the parents of a child who had a vaccine reaction, what is the motive? Coverup? Conspiracy? How about fear of a multi-million dollar malpractice suit because the doctor cannot guarantee 100% safety and success in treatment.

    “But with vaccines, I can’t UN-give them. And IF it turns out that there really IS something wrong with them and something DID happen to my kids, I would never be able to forgive myself.” But will you forgive yourself IF you kids die of or are crippled by an easily preventable disease?

    “So far in the last few years, very few people who have gotten the actual diseases have died or had any lasting damaging effects.” Why is that so? Is it that the diseases are not as virulent? Or is it because maybe medical treatment is more effective? Will you turn down treatment for a disease because there isnt a 100% guarantee you will be cured with no side effects?

    Thousands more people die or are crippled each year from auto-pedestrian accidents than vaccine related issues. Do you never cross the street? Thousands more die each year from slips and falls inside their homes. Do you never get out of bed?

    Life is risk. The best we can hope for is to minimize those risks. And that includes risks to ourselves, our families and our society.

    Sheesh, BA! You opened up a Number 10, Costco-sized can of worms with this topic!

  204. Dave Hall

    As someone who has taught history, I can say there are plenry — Er PLENTY.

    Danged trifocals!

  205. (other) Brian:

    “So far in the last few years, very few people who have gotten the actual diseases have died or had any lasting damaging effects. If that starts to change, I can always decide, ‘Okay you know what, it’s time to step up and vaccinate.'”

    Right. So you, and lots of other people, decide that herd immunity isn’t important enough compared to “that little voice in the back of your head” until kids start actually dying.

    A few questions:

    – Will it be any easier to forgive yourself if your kids happen to be unlucky enough to be the leading-edge deaths?

    – Will it be any easier to forgive yourself if your kids survive, but pass the disease on, and someone else’s kid (or, perhaps, more than one kid) dies?

    – Will it be any easier to forgive yourself if your buddy’s kid dies–you know, the buddy who asked you what you thought, and you told him your fears, and he agreed with you?

    Sometimes, there’s no such thing as a zero-risk choice. That’s life.

  206. Brian Greer

    @Jeff Licquia

    I already did. Vaccines would still be worth the risk if we could prove that every single case of autism in the US was caused by vaccines. For the numbers, see my comment above.

    And remember, currently, the percentage of autism cases linked to vaccines is not 100%, but 0%.

    Or are you concerned with some other issue? Let us know what, specifically, is a problem for you.

    I don’t recall ever mentioning Autism in here. For me, it is not about Autism being caused by vaccines. It is about vaccines causing any damage at all and that information apparently being covered up via the VICP. I don’t care if it is 0.1% of those receiving vaccines or not, let’s have full disclosure so people can make decisions based on the entirety of information available. Not just the information that people want to share.

    If Chevrolet releases a model where 0.1% of them have a tendency to blow up, I would want to know about that when I go car shopping. It’s not about whether it is likely to happen or not, it is about having all the information available to make a fully informed decision. As long as some other entity is filtering out information (and if VICP isn’t, please show me where this information is being published), we are not being allowed to make fully informed decisions.

    Clearly? What parts are missing? What parts are we supposed to take on faith? Thousands of kids died in 1950 before vaccines; that number is now in the lower double-digits per year, after vaccines. I don’t see what’s controversial, unclear, or missing about that.

    What is missing? Again, if I am wrong, we’re not getting full disclosure on every incident that the VICP pays an award on. That would be useful information that, as best I have determined, is disappearing into a vault somewhere. I hope I am wrong and can be corrected on this point. Once again, it has nothing to do with more people dying or being hurt before vaccines and has everything to do with people being hurt by the vaccines and potentially not getting those details. They love to spread details about outbreaks of measles, because it furthers their cause, but are they giving equal attention to every time VICP has to pay somebody?

    <i?You are. :-) I don’t see a problem with the system we have now, where the government basically can’t force anyone to be vaccinated.

    As long as we are not telling parents to be scared of vaccines, that system should work well. I hope you aren’t advocating that we start scaring parents, thus encouraging the government to take that choice away.

    Sounds good to me. If we can have full disclosure, without any spin doctoring, then I will be completely happy with the situation. Until that day comes, I will not be.

    When I was growing up, I never heard about the flu or chicken pox being a terrible epidemic that threatened our lives and was sure to kill us all if they could not find a vaccine for it. Since vaccines have debuted, the FUD involving them has been amazing. They attempt to make it seem as if civilization itself might collapse if you aren’t joining in. I have little problem with the grave concern for the real diseases that once killed and maimed very many people, but it certainly hurts their credibility with the carrying on about influenza and chicken pox (it begins to remind me of the boy who cried wolf, which unfortunately casts doubt on the really helpful vaccines by association).

    Is it really good science for 5 and 6 year old children to be given the flu vaccine every year? Apparently New Jersey has decided they are going to force it for any child attending licensed child care centers. I’m just curious about whether this is really based on solid science or not, and whether vaccine supporters are worried that the support and credibility of the program may suffer when every new vaccine (no matter what it is for) is trumpeted as the solution to a new major epidemic (that was never portrayed as a serious threat to your life prior to the introduction of the vaccine)?

  207. Brian Greer

    Crap… Bad editing… It should have looked like this…

    :-) I don’t see a problem with the system we have now, where the government basically can’t force anyone to be vaccinated.

    As long as we are not telling parents to be scared of vaccines, that system should work well. I hope you aren’t advocating that we start scaring parents, thus encouraging the government to take that choice away.

    Sounds good to me. If we can have full disclosure, without any spin doctoring, then I will be completely happy with the situation. Until that day comes, I will not be.

    When I was growing up, I never heard about the flu or chicken pox being a terrible epidemic that threatened our lives and was sure to kill us all if they could not find a vaccine for it. Since vaccines have debuted, the FUD involving them has been amazing. They attempt to make it seem as if civilization itself might collapse if you aren’t joining in. I have little problem with the grave concern for the real diseases that once killed and maimed very many people, but it certainly hurts their credibility with the carrying on about influenza and chicken pox (it begins to remind me of the boy who cried wolf, which unfortunately casts doubt on the really helpful vaccines by association).

    Is it really good science for 5 and 6 year old children to be given the flu vaccine every year? Apparently New Jersey has decided they are going to force it for any child attending licensed child care centers. I’m just curious about whether this is really based on solid science or not, and whether vaccine supporters are worried that the support and credibility of the program may suffer when every new vaccine (no matter what it is for) is trumpeted as the solution to a new major epidemic (that was never portrayed as a serious threat to your life prior to the introduction of the vaccine)?

  208. Oh, and one more thing:

    “It is SO FREAKING HARD to know who is telling the truth…”

    No, it isn’t. Go read any history book, and they will tell you about the horrors of these diseases, and how they were finally conquered.

    Start with smallpox.

  209. David

    Ginger Taylor states:

    “The CDC reports that the rate of autism in children is 1 in 150. The Department of defense reports that the rate of autism in military dependents in 1 in 88.
    It is growing at a rate of 10 to 17% a year.”

    The last line stands out. Is the rate of vaccination also growing at a rate of 10 to 17% a year?

  210. Lawrence

    Brian, I would suggest you pick up a copy of “The Great Influenza” – if anything close to Spanish Flu came back, you’d go running kicking and screaming to the CDC to find a vaccine or a cure. I believe there was something over 500,000 deaths in the United States and over 40,000,000 worldwide before the flu burnt itself out.

    The irony was the majority of the deaths were the young and healthy (people 18 – 30) while the very young and old were spared.

    In general, preventative medicine is much more effective and saves far more lives than reactive medicine. Vaccines have resulted in a huge increase in both the quality of life and longevity of the average person. Within reason, without performing unethical studies on human subjects (like the Tuskegee Syphilis study), the current crop of vaccines have gone through testing process, tweaked now and again when necessary, but there is no way to be 100% certain of absolutely safety.

    You say that people need to be informed, well, after my son was born, we were given several booklets that detailed vaccinations in general, known risks, different schedules that could be selected, and when it came time for the shots, we were encouraged to ask questions. So, the process seems very transparent to me.

    And in the case of any cover-up or conspiracy, you have to assume that of the hundreds or perhaps thousands of people involved, none of them would have any kind of conscience that they might be hurting children. I, for one, have more faith in humanity than that.

    When something bad happens to a child, especially your child, you look for any and every reason that might have caused it – the knee jerk reaction is to blame yourself, or the doctor, or the medicine, etc – but most of the time, it is far more complicated than that & is a combination of many factors, most of which are outside of any outside intervention to help or prevent.

    And as far as general information goes, there is plenty – whole libraries of information on vaccines, risks, etc – just because it isn’t beamed into your house on a daily basis or plastered on billboards doesn’t mean it isn’t in the public domain. A bit of research, or just plain going out and cracking a book will do wonders.

  211. Brian Greer

    Lawrence, so you’re telling me that the pertinent details ARE available regarding the VICP payouts? We can find out what the actual injuries were, as opposed to just whether they lived/died and which vaccine was involved?

  212. Brian Greer

    I will look for that book and see if it convinces me that each season’s flu truly requires everyone to get shots.

  213. Brian Greer:

    “It is about vaccines causing any damage at all and that information apparently being covered up via the VICP.”

    Happy to help. A quick Google took me to a page with the per-year breakdowns of petitions filed and granted. According to that, 1020 payouts were made between 1989 and today. That would be about two week’s worth of polio cases in 1952.

    So now you know that the costs, as recorded in the VICP, cannot even begin to approach the benefits from vaccination.

    Anything else?

    “When I was growing up, I never heard about the flu or chicken pox being a terrible epidemic that threatened our lives and was sure to kill us all if they could not find a vaccine for it.”

    I actually agree about chicken pox, but not about the flu. The flu killed between 50 and 100 million people between 1918 and 1920, including between 500,000 and 700,000 Americans. The most recent serious outbreak happened in 1969, and killed about 1 million people.

    Even in a regular year, about 30,000 Americans die of influenza.

  214. Brian Greer

    I already knew about those breakdowns, Jeff. What I want to know is…what were the injuries that justified VICP payout? Shouldn’t everyone want, and be able to get, that information?

  215. drksky

    A little looking around on the HRSA web site shows you what injuries are covered by the VICP program. Another page has the breakdowns for injuries paid per year grouped in several ways One of which is by vaccine. You may have to do a little cross-referencing yourself, but hey, research isn’t easy.

    The one thing I find curious is that until 2001, there were no petitions filed for autism injuries. Is this around the time the anitvaxxers started to try and blame the vaccines, looking for someone that might have deep pockets?

    Folks here have said that the CDC and others are covering up this stuff because of fear of losing dollars. That gate swings both ways, methinks.

  216. Lawrence

    “The Great Influenza” by John M. Barry

    In 1918, a plague swept across the world virtually without warning, killing healthy young adults as well as vulnerable infants and the elderly. Hospitals and morgues were quickly overwhelmed; in Philadelphia, 4,597 people died in one week alone and bodies piled up on the streets to be carted off to mass graves. But this was not the dreaded Black Death-it was “only influenza.” In this sweeping history, Barry (Rising Tide) explores how the deadly confluence of biology (a swiftly mutating flu virus that can pass between animals and humans) and politics (President Wilson’s all-out war effort in WWI) created conditions in which the virus thrived, killing more than 50 million worldwide and perhaps as many as 100 million in just a year. Overcrowded military camps and wide-ranging troop deployments allowed the highly contagious flu to spread quickly; transport ships became “floating caskets.” Yet the U.S. government refused to shift priorities away from the war and, in effect, ignored the crisis. Shortages of doctors and nurses hurt military and civilian populations alike, and the ineptitude of public health officials exacerbated the death toll. In Philadelphia, the hardest-hit municipality in the U.S., “the entire city government had done nothing” to either contain the disease or assist afflicted families. Instead, official lies and misinformation, Barry argues, created a climate of “fear… [that] threatened to break the society apart.” Barry captures the sense of panic and despair that overwhelmed stricken communities and hits hard at those who failed to use their power to protect the public good. He also describes the work of the dedicated researchers who rushed to find the cause of the disease and create vaccines. Flu shots are widely available today because of their heroic efforts, yet we remain vulnerable to a virus that can mutate to a deadly strain without warning. Society’s ability to survive another devastating flu pandemic, Barry argues, is as much a political question as a medical one.

  217. Brain Greer:

    “What I want to know is…what were the injuries that justified VICP payout? Shouldn’t everyone want, and be able to get, that information?”

    I have no problem with that. For the purposes of this discussion, though, I couldn’t care less.

    It’s like the autism numbers. Assume the worst case; how would it change an “informed decision”?

    For the non-essential vaccines, it could make a big difference. But for the essential ones–MMR, polio, tetanus, diptheria, etc.–I don’t see that it makes any difference at all.

  218. Karen Atlanta

    Hello-
    I would like to introduce myself.
    I am a “vaccinated” risk to the herd.
    I had a the measles as child and was the daughter of a nurse who ran “well baby” clinics.
    I also had the measles shot and a booster just in case.
    Oddly, upon applying for a volunteer position at a Children’s hospital I found I had no immunity to measles in a titers test. Despite having the vaccine, twice. Not to mention the full blown measles.
    I was encouraged to have yet another shot.
    I declined because I was pregnant.

    Pregnant with a child who would get 277X the EPA allowable amount of Hg in his infant vaccines. 100X over the EPA allowable amount by 1 month…of the 2nd most toxic substance on earth.
    Boy was I glad I did not get that measles shot while pregnant! Later I was told by an MD that vaccines do not 100% insure immunity. Since then I have met dozens of health care professionals that had also shown no immunity to their required Hep B shot.
    You are fool if you think vaccines are 100% effective. A simple study of every outbreak will show vaccinated numbers in the stats. The VAERs database keeps records of adverse reactions. There are so many the CDC has a 21million dollar contract with Constella Corp just to store the data. There are 9000 adverse reports just for the new HPV Vaccine alone- including death.
    The World Health Organization has declared that the leading cause of global death now is Chronic NOT infectious disease.
    Could we have ruined a beautifully designed immune system with too many toxic shots?
    Just something to think about before you round up all those seemingly ignorant people hesitant to vaccinate.
    Incidentally my child with Autism…
    has recovered when we removed the Mercury from his body.
    He was born totally healthy and regressed after shots were doubled like Hannah Poling.
    Whom the government conceded in federal court to have vaccine induced Autism.

  219. Dave Hall

    Thiomersal:
    It was developed and registered under the trade name Merthiolate in 1928.

    Hell, every kid with a skinned knee in the 1930s through the 1960s was at risk for autism! I cannot tell you how many times I had a cut or scrape painted with Tincture of Merthiolate. Almost every kid in my school, (Emerson Elementary 1960-1967) had scrapes and cuts painted with the stuff by the school nurse, their family doctors or parents. And that dosage had to be a lot more than the miniscule amount in the vaccine.

    There should have been a rise in Autism seventy years earlier than what is reported.

    The rise in reported cases started in 2001. Hmm what else happened back then that may be a factor? When did Chinese-made toys, infant supplies and so forth surpass American-made products?
    Wouldn’t it be something if the rise in Autism in America is someday linked to the increased purchases of lead, mercury, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, thallium, tin, tungsten and malamine contaminated goods from China available at your neighborhood Wal-Mart?

  220. Dave Hall

    Oh,and before I forget: For those of you over thirty; remember that stinging flourescent red stuff your mom put on your owies? That was Mercurochrome, another mercury-based antisceptic. Developed in 1919, it soon became popular among parents and doctors for everyday antiseptic uses and it was very commonly used for minor injuries in the schoolyard. That is until the FDA effectively halted its production in 1998.

    How did we ever survive?

  221. Karen Atlanta

    Dave Hall:
    In God we trust… the rest must bring data. The FDA halted production because Mercurochome was put on umbilical chords and infants died in Toronto.
    Please volunteer to drink thimerosal if you dare. You could win the 20K a West Coast doctor has been offering for years, to anyone who will ingest it. No takers thus far.
    One of many toxicology studies beyond your skinned knee:
    Mitochondrial Mediated Thimerosal-Induced Apoptosis in a Human Neuroblastoma Cell Line (SK-N-SH)
    Michelle L. Humphreya, Marsha P. Coleb, James C. Pendergrassc and Kinsley K. Kininghama, ,
    aDepartment of Pharmacology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, 1542 Spring Valley Drive, Huntington, WV 25704-9388, USA
    bGraduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA
    cAffinity Labeling Technologies, Inc., Lexington, KY 40508, USA
    Received 6 December 2004; accepted 25 February 2005. Available online 24 May 2005.
    Abstract
    Environmental exposure to mercurials continues to be a public health issue due to their deleterious effects on immune, renal and neurological function. Recently the safety of thimerosal, an ethyl mercury-containing preservative used in vaccines, has been questioned due to exposure of infants during immunization. Mercurials have been reported to cause apoptosis in cultured neurons; however, the signaling pathways resulting in cell death have not been well characterized. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify the mode of cell death in an in vitro model of thimerosal-induced neurotoxicity, and more specifically, to elucidate signaling pathways which might serve as pharmacological targets. Within 2 h of thimerosal exposure (5 μM) to the human neuroblastoma cell line, SK-N-SH, morphological changes, including membrane alterations and cell shrinkage, were observed. Cell viability, assessed by measurement of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in the medium, as well as the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, showed a time- and concentration-dependent decrease in cell survival upon thimerosal exposure.
    In cells treated for 24 h with thimerosal, fluorescence microscopy indicated cells undergoing both apoptosis and oncosis/necrosis.
    To identify the apoptotic pathway associated with thimerosal-mediated cell death, we first evaluated the mitochondrial cascade, as both inorganic and organic mercurials have been reported to accumulate in the organelle. Cytochrome c was shown to leak from the mitochondria, followed by caspase 9 cleavage within 8 h of treatment. In addition, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) was cleaved to form a 85 kDa fragment following maximal caspase 3 activation at 24 h.
    Taken together these findings suggest deleterious effects on the cytoarchitecture by thimerosal and initiation of mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis.

    Keywords: Mercury; Thimerosal; Mitochondria; Neurotoxicity
    http://www.mercurypoisoningproject.org/pdf/atsdrmarch92.pdf for more data or simply pick up the Material Safety Data Sheet on Thimerosal. It is classified in CA to cause birth or reproductive defects. It is mutagenic.

    Full strength Hg was in my child’s Hep B given 2nd day of life then again in his DTaP and HIB series. In 2002 it was still in his siblings shots when I requested the insert.
    It is STILL in 11 shots still today.
    Please answer why a infant who is not authorized by their pediatrician, to have solid food i.e. cows milk, eggs, peanut butter or honey until 12 months should get 9mcg of toxic Hg in a flushot? You would have to be a 500lb man to assimilate that much poison.
    It beggars belief.

  222. Rob

    Undangled italics.

  223. re: VICP payouts

    > We can find out what the actual injuries were, as opposed to just whether
    > they lived/died and which vaccine was involved?

    I can’t imagine that this would possibly be legal currently under HIPAA. A patient’s right to privacy would dictate that this information could not be disclosed. There’s no cover-up there, except an intentional one put in place for an entirely different purpose.

  224. a simon
  225. a simon
  226. a simon
  227. a simon

    <i:-) test test test

  228. a simon

    yes finaly, sweet victory

  229. Anders

    Dr House on not vaccinating kids because it feeds Big Pharma:

    House: You know another really good business? Teeny tiny baby coffins. You can get them in frog green or fire engine red. Really. The antibodies in yummy mummy only protect the kid for 6 months, which is why these companies think they can gouge you. They think that you’ll spend whatever they ask to keep your kid alive. Want to change things? Prove them wrong. A few hundred parents like you decide they’d rather let their kid die then cough up 40 bucks for a vaccination, believe me, prices will drop REALLY fast.

    Are you accusing Dr House of being in the pocket of Big Pharma?

    :=)

  230. Anders

    On a more serious note, here’s a study from Denmark showing NO evidence for multiple vaccinations weakening the immune system:

    Hviid A, Wohlfahrt J, Stellfeld M, Melbye M (2005). “Childhood vaccination and nontargeted infectious disease hospitalization”. JAMA 294 (6): 699–705.

    Here’s a study concluding that aluminium in vaccines poses no threat to humans:

    François G, Duclos P, Margolis H et al. (2005). “Vaccine safety controversies and the future of vaccination programs”. Pediatr Infect Dis J 24 (11): 953–61.

    Here’s a systematic review showing NO causal link between mercury, or MMR, and autism. The study also found NO evidence that chelation therapy works:

    François G, Duclos P, Margolis H et al. (2005). “Vaccine safety controversies and the future of vaccination programs”. Pediatr Infect Dis J 24 (11): 953–61.

    ONE study has found a link between MMR and autism – the one by Wakefield et al from 1998:

    Wakefield A, Murch S, Anthony A et al. (1998). “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children”. Lancet 351 (9103): 637–41.

    However, this study has been heavily criticized, and several peer-reviewed articles have failed to find such a link. 10 of the 12 co-authors have publicly stated that they do not share Wakefield’s interpertation.

    A systematic review by the Cochrane Institute finds that, state that although design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies are largely inadequate, there is no reason to believe that the MMR vaccine causes autism, and that MMR has prevented diseases that still carry a heavy burden of death and complications, and that the lack of confidence in MMR has damaged public health.

    Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti A, Price D (2005). “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children”. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 19 (4).

    In summa, all the available science states that vaccines and autism are not linked; that chelation therapy does not work for autism; and that the debate about the MMR vaccine has seriously damaged public health.

    Furthermore, chelation therapy can kill, especially if given by SCAM*-artists who do not follow the proper methods. Three deaths have already been reported. More will come as news of this bogus cure spreads.

    *SCAM=Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  231. Joanne Antonetti

    So what is so bad about getting the measles (and getting NATURAL immunity as a side benefit from it)? And what is so bad about getting chicken pox, which is an inflammatory condition designed to mature the immune system? What is so bad about the flu?

    I am a nurse who has studied this topic extensively for many years. My conclusion is that we vaccinate for “diseases” which are not only NOT life threatening, but are conditions necessary for the body to experience for natural immunity and overall strength of the system.

    The vaxers stance is, “yes, we must sacrifice the few who will die or become permanently damaged from vaccines, for the good of the many” but they are aghast when the anit-vaxers stance is, “yes, outbreaks may claim a few of the children with underlying diseases or whose parents do not provide them with proper nutrition, but overall, in terms of neurological, degenerative and chronic conditions, vaccines do more harm than good.”

    We have traded chicken pox for asthma, measles for diabetes, the flu for autism. We have traded treatable acute conditions for life-long chronic disease. Overall our children are chronically sicker than they have ever been in history.

    Vaxers always pit this as science/medicine against parents. You are leaving out the fact that anti-vaxers have hundreds of physicians, research scientists, toxicologists, chemists, etc on their side. They just don’t make it to the pharmaceutically controlled mainstream media so their voices (and the science that backs them up) are virtually unheard.

    You can’t see what you REFUSE to look at.

    My two cents.

  232. amphiox

    I would like to point out also, that as far as I am aware, the smallpox vaccine (based on cowpox), as vaccines go, had a comparatively bad adverse effect profile.

    But we used it anyways. And we wiped out smallpox. (Barring some lunatic military reintroduction or colossally negligent release from a military lab)

    Granted, smallpox, being a large DNA virus, is particularly vulnerable to vaccination compared to say, influenza, but still. We wiped out smallpox as a clinical disease.

    If something as virulent and prevalent as smallpox once was were to appear again, I would be completely in favor of compulsory vaccination of everyone for that entity (but just that one hypothetical disease – the response must be compensurate with the threat).

  233. Tom Marking

    “but I will guarantee that a lot of this is due to the antivaxxers spread of lies, and smearing of the medical community”

    Antivaxxers smearing the medical community? Huh? In many cases they ARE the medical community. Consider the following:

    Andrew Wakefield, M.D.
    Bernard Rimland, M.D. (deceased – founder of ASA and DAN!)
    Stephanie Cave, M.D.
    Doreen Granpeesheh, M.D.
    Arthur Krigsman, M.D.
    Bryan Jepson, M.D.
    Carol Stott, M.D.
    Melissa Olive, M.D.
    Michael Allen, M.D.
    etc., etc.

    There are hundreds of DAN! doctors who believe that vaccinations cause autism.

  234. Todd W.

    @Tom Marking

    I noticed that you start out your list with Dr. Wakefield. Perhaps you may not have come across the facts that his research was fatally flawed and his premise of an MMR-autism connection unfounded, not to mention serious ethical and conflict of interest violations in his research.

    Haven’t had a chance to look into those other docs yet, but Wakefield is definitely not one of the people you want to list in support of a “vaccines cause autism” argument.

  235. Tom Marking

    “I noticed that you start out your list with Dr. Wakefield. Perhaps you may not have come across the facts that his research was fatally flawed and his premise of an MMR-autism connection unfounded, not to mention serious ethical and conflict of interest violations in his research.”

    You miss the point entirely. Is Wakefield a medical doctor or is he not? If he is then what is this “medical community” that the BA claims is being smeared? Isn’t Wakefield part of this “medical community” along with the hundreds of other DAN! doctors? If so then isn’t it the “medical community” smearing itself?

  236. Dave Hall

    According to AMA sources, there are currently approximately 900,000 practicing physicians in America, of which, the AMA only represents 135,300 (15.0% of the United States practicing physicians).

    You listed nine (I won’t count those named etc) and claimed there were hundreds of DAN! doctors. By any standards that is a very small minority.

    I hate to say this, but isn’t it obvious that IF there was a real threat, a few hundred thousand doctors (not merely in the hundreds range) would be involved in opposing vaccinations?

  237. Todd W.

    @Tom Marking

    Wakefield is on the outs, as far as the medical community goes. In Britain, there are (or perhaps they’ve already finished) proceedings against him to basically kick him out of the club. So, again, not a good choice.

    Furthermore, I believe that Phil was referring to the mainstream medical community, rather than a handful (in a relative sense) of fringe doctors whose specialties may or may not be in infectious diseases, cognitive sciences and/or epidemiology. I might be wrong, but I would not say that a group of fringe doctors constitutes the medical community smearing itself.

  238. TheProbe

    A nurse said: “So what is so bad about getting the measles (and getting NATURAL immunity as a side benefit from it)? And what is so bad about getting chicken pox, which is an inflammatory condition designed to mature the immune system? What is so bad about the flu?

    I am a nurse who has studied this topic extensively for many years. My conclusion is that we vaccinate for “diseases” which are not only NOT life threatening, but are conditions necessary for the body to experience for natural immunity and overall strength of the system.”

    You are playing the typical anti-vax false dicotomy of disease or death. In between those is life long disability due to, e.g. measles encephalitis. Do go back to nursing school for some education.

  239. Todd W.

    @TheProbe

    “disease or death” reminds me of Monty Python’s “Cake or Death” skit. Umm…I’ll take the cake, please. Hehe.

  240. Some “nurse” tossed off: Overall our children are chronically sicker than they have ever been in history

    You are kidding right? I suppose in some bizarro world you could say that because child mortality now is so considerably less than decades or a century ago that children are staying alive long enough now to get sick from diseases they didn’t live long enough to contract in the past.

  241. Todd W.

    @shane

    Good point. I’d also like to see the data that shows chronic illness rates now, compared to several points in the past several decades and centuries.

  242. Medical doctors that are anti-vaxers reminded me of Project Steve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve). When the discotute came up with a list of scientists that doubted evolution the NCSE came up with a list of scientists that was considerably longer that supported evolution and who had the given name of Steve.

  243. Dave Hall

    Karen Atlanta Says:
    Dave Hall:
    In God we trust… the rest must bring data.

    Thanks for the interesting citations. I’ll check them out.

    I knew why Merthiolate and Mercurochrome were banned, and good riddance to them.
    I am the safety officer at my job. When we got rid of the last of our mercury filled thermometers and sphygnomanometers there was much rejoicing. One less dangerous substance spill kit to maintain, one less MSDS section, and all in all a safer work environment.

    All I was saying is the widespread use of those mercury-saed medicines should have raised some levels of mercuric poisoning.

    Now, If you’ll excuse me, I have lots of reading to do.

  244. Rich

    There has been a lot of fuss about the higher incidence of auto-immune disorders (like certain kinds of asthma) among today’s children. From the limited data I’ve seen it appears to be restricted mostly to the U.S. and is tentatively thought to be caused by an “over-sterilization” affect. Whereby mommy and daddy are so worried about germs that they have junior in a house scrubbed weekly with anti-bacterial cleaners and they have little Johnny and Jane washing up with anti-bacterial soap several times a day and using hand sanitizers non-stop. The hypothesis is that kids aren’t getting enough exposure to virii and bacteria (those icky germs) in small every day doses by doing things like going outside and playing in the dirt because mom and dad are scared to death of all those germs we see in the commercials and scare stories on forensic medical shows. The important thing is that there is no definite causal link demonstrated yet, but a correlation in some of the studies being done between over sanitization and the incidence of auto-immune disorders. Shouldn’t be too hard to find this stuff, there were several article in the MSM the last few weeks (MSNBC comes to mind).

    BTW – Wasn’t the “cake or death?” thing Eddie Izzard, or was he just paying tribute?

    -Cake or Death?!?!

    -I’ll take the cake please.

    -Sorry, fresh out of cake. Had a bit of a run on cake.

    -Ummmm, so my choices are ‘or death’?

    -Yes.

    Of course he had a good bit in the pronunciation of ‘herbs’ as well. But this is a family friendly site so I’ll let the punchline on that one go.

  245. Lawrence

    Ummmm…gotta really disagree with the flu being harmless. Over 60,000 people die every year of the flu (in an average season). God forbid we have another Spanish Flu – you could see well over 1,000,000 dead in the US alone, even with our advanced medical system. So, I’d rank flu as something I’d rather avoid, if possible.

  246. Rich

    Sorry, the first part of my last response was directed to Shane. But I’ll add that there is no indication that vaccines have any link to the stuff I wrote about (at least as far as I have read). And Shane is right, you’d have to be pretty far out there to think that we (humanity as a whole, at least in the developed world) are sicker today than at any point in history. It such an easy point to prove really two data points can do it for you – infant mortality and life expectency. Are these higher or lower than at any previous time? What are the trends? Are more children living or dying today than in the past? Are people living longer than in the past or not?

    You could make an argument that the incidence of some diseases or chronic illnesses seems higher only because we can keep a sick person alive for longer or manage a chronic illness to allow an individual a productive life; when such individuals would have been dead 50, 80, 100, 200 years ago. Some part of what we are seeing today is the result of better treatment and better medicine (not to mention plain old leaps and bounds in public sanitation). As we keep more people productive and alive, that would have been dead or chronically ill before, we increase the percentages of “sick” people in our population data. After all, you can’t be counted as a sick or ill data point if you are already dead! It seems that the lesson some take from this would lead us full circle. I hope we don’t have to re-learn the lesson when the data looks “better” because we have attrited the sick and the weak through lack of preventative medicine.

  247. Karen:

    “Full strength Hg was in my child’s Hep B given 2nd day of life then again in his DTaP and HIB series. In 2002 it was still in his siblings shots when I requested the insert.
    It is STILL in 11 shots still today.
    Please answer why a infant who is not authorized by their pediatrician, to have solid food i.e. cows milk, eggs, peanut butter or honey until 12 months should get 9mcg of toxic Hg in a flushot? You would have to be a 500lb man to assimilate that much poison.
    It beggars belief.”

    It sure does, given that I don’t believe it. “In God we trust…”

    How do you explain the lack of metal poisoning in the population, given that vaccination rates have been over 75% for decades? All that thimerosal, and no general epidemic of mercury poisoning.

    And when I had contact lenses in the ’80s and early ’90s, you could buy contact lens solution with or without thimerosal. Where are all the cases of mercury poisoning among contact lens wearers?

    As with Ginger, I have to question whether, if the facts surrounding your kids are correct, you don’t just have a classic medical malpractice situation. Which happens, and is tragic, and should be dealt with, but which does not say anything about vaccination in general.

  248. Joanne:

    “I am a nurse who has studied this topic extensively for many years.”

    Then you missed a few things in your studies. In 1918, flu killed *one million people per week* at its height, in what some people consider to be the most deadly epidemic in world history. Even in a good year, tens of thousands of people die per year from the flu. If you could get a single flu shot that covered all flu, like other vaccines, I dare say it would be part of the standard vaccination program.

    Measles wasn’t quite that bad; only a few tens of thousands of kids hospitalized, and a few thousand dead, per year. Still, given how rare problems with vaccines are, and how difficult it is to detect some of the links that have been mentioned, you don’t need to save very many lives to make vaccines worth it.

    “The vaxers stance is, ‘yes, we must sacrifice the few who will die or become permanently damaged from vaccines, for the good of the many’ but they are aghast when the anit-vaxers stance is, ‘yes, outbreaks may claim a few of the children with underlying diseases or whose parents do not provide them with proper nutrition, but overall, in terms of neurological, degenerative and chronic conditions, vaccines do more harm than good.’ ”

    And that would be because the “vaxers” statement is true, while the “anti-vaxers” statement is false. The truth and falsehood of their respective statements have been dealt with in these comments over and over, please go read them for the relevant statistics.

  249. Barbara L

    Not just measles…
    Pertussis (whooping cough) shots were first available when I was a child, and I have always been thankful my mother got us them before I started first grade. Two children had whooping cough and were out of my first grade for six weeks (1942). They returned pale and shaky.
    A boy down the street had it: his family never recovered, although he did. His Mom had a major medical problem; his Dad had to tend all, including holding the kid’s head while he ‘whooped’ in the night. His Dad was exhausted and came down with TB.
    My grandmother & her two year old had TB when my aunt was newborn. My grandfather referred to it during his extreme old age as ‘the one bad time in my life.’ Sometimes my grandmother blamed my aunt’s obnoxious personality on the lack of attention in her infancy – who knows?
    Most people have never heard of anyone sick with whooping cough, since the vaccinations were routine after 1942. Believe me, you don’t want it and you don’t want to tend a child sick with it.

  250. Barbara L

    I’ve known people with children with autism; that’s awful. One friend had a child born ~1960: my friend thought (but the doctors couldn’t or wouldn’t confirm) it was due to a difficult forceps delivery.
    There are definite too many children now with it. Some apparently have come down with it a couple of years after birth. The cause needs to be identified. I haven’t seen any reason for the 10 fold increase given other than vaccinations.

  251. Rich

    Barbara, there are many factors that could lead to an increased REPORTED incidence of autism:

    – Wider parameters diagnose a greater number of people with the disorder, people who might have fit into other categories including “normal” in prior times.

    – Better diagnostic tools allow for cases that would have gone un- or under-reported to be considered now.

    – Over reporting on borderline or misreported cases that are being made to fit the criteria by compliant doctors and over-stressed parents.

    These are just three potential explanations for an increase in reported incidences. The first two are particularly likely culprits.

    You say: “I haven’t seen any reason for the 10 fold increase given other than vaccinations.” Yet we aren’t even sure that incidence or autism is even going up or whether the reporting is just going up (see my first two examples above). You haven’t seen any “reason”, but a reasonable person sees no evidence that vaccinations are the cause, there isn’t even a good correlative link between vaccinations and autism. Evidence is needed of such a link before we consider widely dropping a program as beneficial as vaccinations to quality and length of life. Other posters have pointed out the ad hoc proper hoc fallacy at work in many of the anti-vaccination crowd’s thinking. We could just as well say that, “I haven’t seen any reason the increase in reported incidence of autism other than automobiles.” After all nearly 100% of children who are diagnosed with autism rode in a car before symptoms were evident… often many dozens of times. Car seats may be at work too. As car seat laws have forced parents to put their newborns and toddlers (up to 7 and 8 year olds in many states now) into car seats for any auto journey car seat use has skyrocketed. Is it only coincidence that autism rates have reportedly increased at the same time? Exposure to the plastics and unnatural fibers in car seats may be the factor at work here. We all know those manufacture plastics and fibers are coated in other chemicals… chemicals your children may ingest as they sit for hours a week in car seats, even licking and biting the toxic parts. We should stop using car seats immediately until this correlative link can be explored and car seat manufacturers prove that their products aren’t making children autistic!

    Of course, such a move would be crazy. Car seats surely save the lives of more children and spare them from serious injury or brain damage in the event of car accidents. Why don’t people follow this line of logic though? It makes just as much sense (maybe more since the toxins in plastics and other manufactured goods can cause neurological disorders). Because people understand the dangers associated with not using car seats. Car accidents are real and they make sense. The epidemics that used to plague us even 40-50 years ago that vaccines prevent aren’t understood by most people who haven’t lived through them. It’s not a real danger to individuals who haven’t lost children, friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents to such unscary sounding diseases as “measles”. Especially among today’s generation of new parents these things are ancient history. Unfortunately, a danger that you don’t understand isn’t any less deadly.

  252. Todd W.

    @Rich

    I think you’re right, it was Eddie Izzard. Don’t know where I pulled Monty Python out of.

  253. Brian Greer

    @Patrick Cahalan
    I can’t imagine that this would possibly be legal currently under HIPAA. A patient’s right to privacy would dictate that this information could not be disclosed. There’s no cover-up there, except an intentional one put in place for an entirely different purpose.

    No, it does not prevent discussion of medical conditions, per se, it merely is supposed to prevent the correlation with personal identity information. If they do not publish names, addresses, SSNs, etc, then they shall not fear crossing HIPAA.

  254. Brian Greer

    @Rich
    Car seats surely save the lives of more children and spare them from serious injury or brain damage in the event of car accidents.

    Actually, recent studies cast doubt on the claims that kid car seats (and even booster seats) make any real statistical difference regarding injuries in car accidents. They found the same statistical likelihood of injury in tests with and without the child restraints. Oddly enough, it has also been found that European child seats are much safer than American ones. Bet you didn’t know that. Some good Google searches will help reveal this secret that, despite happening well over a year and a half ago, has eluded many people so far.

  255. Brian Greer

    @Anders (taken from “House”)
    The antibodies in yummy mummy only protect the kid for 6 months, which is why these companies think they can gouge you.

    Are you able to clarify whether this a breastfeeding mother who has continued to breastfeed beyond 6 months? I’m pretty sure that antibodies continue to be expressed via breastmilk, even after the child is older than 6 months.

  256. Anders

    @Brian Greer
    “Are you able to clarify whether this a breastfeeding mother who has continued to breastfeed beyond 6 months? I’m pretty sure that antibodies continue to be expressed via breastmilk, even after the child is older than 6 months.”

    I have no idea – it is taken from a TV show. But a guess is that the baby’s digestive system kicks in and destroys the antibodies at about that time. As I said, this is a guess. It may even be a goof from the producers (although they had doctors on the writing staff.)

  257. My eldest son was born at the peak of the anti-MMR hoax in the UK. I had no hesitation having him vaccinated because I took a look beyond the tabloid headlines. It only takes a quick peek behind the metaphorical curtian to realise the truth about the Great Oz, after all.

    The links shown in the research were tenuous (even if true), showing only a possible link to something which had a possible correlation with autism. The risks of not having him vaccinated far outweighed the risks of adverse reactions. My youngest will also have his MMR when the time comes.

    Having dug into this a bit more, it seems obvious to me that the mountain of data amassed on this topic shows no (none, nada, nil, zip, zilch, zero) evidence of a link between vaccination and autism, although like any medical treatment there are occasional side-effects.

    Now the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Is it the vaccinated kids who are getting sick? No. It’s the kids whose parents placed the hysterical reports in the media above their doctor’s best advice who are suffering. Medical neglect? Probably not. Symptom of credulity? Certainly.

  258. Ignorance must be bliss, isn’t it? You tell me because I wouldn’t know.

    Too many of us out there learned the hard way by having our children pumped full of these – many of them only minimally studied before release – drugs only to watch our children literally disappear into the chasm of autism. I love it when people such as the author here claim “study after study” show vaccines do not cause autism and then have the audacity to only produce one or two links to studies.

    Seriously, get your head out. You won’t find a person out there who is more knowledgeable and up-to-date and educated on different studies out there than a spectrum parent.

  259. Having followed this discussion for a while now I had to point out a couple of huge facts the pro-vaxxers have overlooked:

    Measles was already in decline before the vaccine was introduced. In England and Wales the annual death rate of children (under age 15) from measles declined from over 1,100 per million in the mid-neneteenth century, to a level of virtually 0, by the mid 1960’s.

    and also that you get measles outbreaks in areas with complete vaccination
    (Boulianne N, et al.(1991) [Major measles epidemic in the region of Quebec despite a 99% vaccine coverage]. Can J Public Health. 1991 May-Jun;82(3):189-90. French. PMID: 1884314; UI: 91356447)

    So what is the point of a vaccine which cannot be said to have reduced incidence or death from the disease or stop you from getting it.

    Brian was onto something before, Catching the disease gives life-long immunity. Vaccines at best give 10-15yr protection. Meaning what would be a harmless disease in childhood (such as mumps with 0 deaths in childhood) you are more succeptible to in adolesence or adulthood (mumps can cause infertility in young men)

  260. Just another mother

    To all those people that keep citing their personal experience with their child being vaccintated and said child also having autism (which, I must point out, occurs in children who aren’t vaccinated as well…) the knife cuts both ways. For all your regret that you ever gave your children vaccines, I know one set of parents who will forever regret NOT giving their child said vaccines. You see, this little eight year old contracted polio and will never walk again. His dreams of being a real cowboy have forever gone up in smoke.

    I am sorry for the pain and sorrow you and your families will endure dealing with a child who has autism.

    I am also sorry for those whose children suffer the ultimate consequences of not being vaccinated.

    I am happy that your child is still alive and that my friend’s son has survived as well.

    But the scientific evidence remains not only that autism exists outside vaccinated individuals (and therefore, at least, has other causes), but that there is no established connection between vaccines and autism.

    I am actually a proponent of the personal choice of parent to vaccine their children or not. I do not, however, support the spread of misinformation.

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