An unvaccinated child has died from a preventable disease

By Phil Plait | January 24, 2009 5:35 pm

[This story is important to me. Please Digg it if you agree.]

This story is so sad, and what makes it worse is that it was preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control has put out an alert: in Minnesota in 2008, there were five confirmed cases of Haemophilus influenzae type b (or Hib) among children younger than five years old. Of these five cases, three of the children were unvaccinated, one had started the series of vaccines but did not complete the series due to shortages, and the fifth — who had been fully vaccinated — had an immune deficiency.

Five cases may not sound like a lot… until you learn that one of the unvaccinated children died. This was a baby, just a seven-month-old infant.

I can barely type that sentence out; my heart is aching so. I can only imagine what the parents are feeling. I literally have nightmares about such things.

There are several things to note about this incidence of Hib:

1) It’s the largest number of cases in one year since 1992 in Minnesota, when 10 cases were reported. In the intervening years, between 0 and 4 cases were reported per year (1994 saw four cases, the average is about 2). These are small number statistics, so 5 cases may just be a normal statistical fluctuation. But the stakes are very, very high here.

2) We do not know why three of the five children were unvaccinated. It may be due to the antivax crowd, or it may be due to any number of other factors; the report doesn’t say (however, see (5) below).

3) Out of three unvaccinated children, one died. The historical rate of death from Hib, once infected, is about 1 in 20, so this is something of a fluke. But 1 in 20 is still way, way too high… and of the ones who do survive the infection, 1 in 5 will suffer deafness, blindness, or severe, permanent brain damage.

Russian roulette has better odds than 1 in 5; do you want to play that with your baby? If that sounds harsh, good. We’re dealing with babies’ lives here. The best thing you can do is make sure they don’t get the disease in the first place.

4) Getting a vaccine does not guarantee not getting the disease. We don’t know how many babies were vaccinated, and how many weren’t that didn’t get the disease. But with 1 in 20 odds, I know which way I fall.

5) There is a shortage of Hib vaccines right now, and it’s expected to last for a few more months. However, according to the CDC report, there are adequate supplies to have infants inoculated and complete the primary three-dose infant series.

Data were reviewed for 25,699 children born between November 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008… Among children aged 7 months, 3-dose primary Hib series coverage was 46.5%, which is lower than the age-appropriate coverage for children who had received pneumococcal conjugate or diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccination. In contrast, data from the 2007 National Immunization Survey, conducted prior to the shortage, showed that Hib vaccination coverage among children in Minnesota aged 19 months to 35 months was high and did not differ from the national average, suggesting that coverage has declined as a result of the shortage.

So there has been a decline in coverage due to the shortage, with roughly half the children in the survey being vaccinated.

Putting this all together is difficult, with so many unknowns. But to belabor the obvious, we do know one thing: of the three unvaccinated children who got Hib, one died. The doctors from the CDC add this editorial comment:

Before development of Hib conjugate vaccines, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children aged <5 years. Since implementation of the Hib conjugate vaccine immunization program in the United States in the early 1990s, the incidence of Hib disease has declined from a peak of 41 cases per 100,000 children aged <5 years in 1987 to approximately 0.11 cases per 100,000 in 2007.

In other words, the infection rate among infants dropped by a factor of nearly 400 after the Hib vaccination was developed. This recent increase may reflect a loss of herd immunity, meaning too many kids are not getting vaccinated.

Folks. Please. Vaccinate your children. The science is in, the tests have been done, the results are solid: vaccinations do not cause autism. What vaccines do is save the lives of thousands of children who would otherwise be suffering the effects of preventable diseases… and one of these effects can be death.

Save your kids’ lives. Take them to a doctor and get his or her advice on this. And if they recommend vaccinations, then do it.

My thanks to Dr. Joe Albietz for providing me with some of the numbers in this article.

Comments (150)

  1. when will people learn, vaccines SAVE lives!

  2. The last time I had a check up, I asked if there were any vaccines I should consider. He said Hep B, so now I can add that to the list of things that science has protected me from. He also wished more people would ask that question.

    BTW, insurance did not cover the vaccine, which was a couple hundred dollars. They would have covered the many thousands it would have cost if I was infected.

  3. quasidog
  4. :( That is indeed very sad. When in doubt, try science. It works!

  5. I am agog at the nonsense perpetuated by the morons in the anti-vacc camp. So much so, I wrote a livid blog about it last nighthttp://tinyurl.com/awksge.

    It’s sad and perhaps a little palmface when a full grown adult falls victim to the stupidity of some alternative medicines but when it involves children and babies, there are no words to describe it. Unfortunately this continues to happen. In Australia, we recently had the court case of the brain damaged father who destroyed his daughter with Mannatech supplements http://tinyurl.com/6srz4d. Awful.

  6. People often rely on anecdotal evidence to assess risk, giving particular weight to any examples that easily come to mind. The more readily a person can recall a story of a death due to being unvaccinated, the more strongly they’ll feel that it will result in death if a person goes unvaccinated.

    While it may not be the most scientifically responsible way to communicate, sharing the story of the infant’s death may do more to persuade people to vaccinate than sharing the results of epidemiological studies. So there is a practicality here. The antivax people rely heavily on anecdotes of children getting sick shortly after immunization. The story here can have a similar impact in the other direction.

    p.s. Hi Jeff Wagg

  7. Elise

    So very sad. I cannot even imagine losing one of my kids. I have a friend who refused to get her kid her shots done due to the book by Kevin Trudeau. I also know another person who refused a shot thinking it would give her child autism. I wish people who think more thoroughly about these huge decisions before they make them. Children depend on their parents to make the right decisions for them, not knowing that the wrong decision could kill them. So sad

  8. HIRH

    Your data is skewed. Doctors don’t vaccinate children under 1 with the flu vaccine because of the greater risk of them developing the flu from the vaccine. That is probably why these young children are dying. There would be a greater risk of them dying from getting the flu FROM the vaccine itself.

  9. Tomas

    Jeff Wagg: It’s really sad, but the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want people to be healthy (that’s why they wouldn’t cover the Hep B vaccine).

    Bill Maher hit the nail on the head here: ” There’s no money in healthy people, and there is no money in dead people. The money is in the middle, people who are alive … sort of.” http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rHXXTCc-IVg

  10. This is a terrible thing. It’s possible that this isn’t due to the anti-vaxxer movement, but if it is due to it, then the movement is wrong. Even if vaccines do cause autism… Would you rather have an autistic kid? Or a dead one?
    My neighbor believes in this stuff too. Her kid hasn’t been vaccinated. He’s a toddler, always running around and playing with his grandpa. He’s a nice kid. But whenever these stories come up, I get worried.

    And Larian, in response to your comment, I have to say that I’m proud to own the following shirt: http://store.xkcd.com/#StandBackScience

  11. Jim

    It’s sad that a child died from a disease. What’s worse is that the media turns it into a fear tactic to scare parents into vaccinating. I think it is shameful to exploit the death of a child in this way.

  12. Cryo

    This is really sick!
    How many dead children will be required for people to realise that not vaccinating is just plain stupid? Or will they switch to prayer as a preventive measure? Who will they blame then? God? I doubt it.

    More likely, some woo-doctor will claim that some nearby vaccine substance transferred it’s evil “energy” over the ether and disturbed the chakras. Or did the vac somehow hop out of a vial and force itself into the unknowing child thus “infecting” it?

    Like Trudeau, McCarthy et. al should be punished severely for what they have done. Claiming that quack medicine cures cancer and that legit, tested vaccines cause autism is borderline criminal in my humble opinion!

  13. And the sad part here is that the anti-vaxxers are reducing the “herd immunity” effect as well – so not only are they risking their own children’s lives, they’re risking everyone else’s as well. (Hence the vaccinated children that contracted the disease – and the 1 in 20 death rate and the 1 in 5 brain damage rate.)

    It’s too bad you cannot prosecute on negligent homicide charges when a child dies because they (or another child) was not properly vaccinated.

  14. HIRH: I do not think the CDC would recommend vaccines for infants if they had a higher chance of dying from the shot than from the disease itself. From where are you getting your data? I got mine from the CDC itself.

  15. Radwaste

    “The last time I had a check up, I asked if there were any vaccines I should consider. He said Hep B, so now I can add that to the list of things that science has protected me from.”

    At work, for a DOE contractor, the standard is that vaccinations are recommended for first-responders when exposure to bodily fluids has occurred. That way, the company doesn’t pay for unnecessary coverage of 8,000+ people, and takes advantage of the fact that a HepB attack is slow, making vaccination upon exposure practical.

  16. Jim

    I am a 42 year old adult who has never been vaccinated against these new diseases. Since I haven’t been vaccinated with anything for the past 38 years, it is unlikely that I can be a part of “herd immunity”. Most middle aged adults and seniors are not part of herd immunity”.

  17. Cryo

    @HIRH, in some countries Hib vaccination cycles start two months after birth because newborns have the highest risk of being infected.

  18. José

    @Jim
    It’s sad that a child died from a disease. What’s worse is that the media turns it into a fear tactic to scare parents into vaccinating. I think it is shameful to exploit the death of a child in this way.

    You’re right. When I had my son, I was appalled at all the people using scare tactics in an attempt help my son not suffocate in his crib. It’s just like how they try to get people to stop smoking by talking about people dying from lung cancer. Media scum.

  19. Jim

    It’s sad that a child died from a disease. What’s worse is that the media turns it into a fear tactic to scare parents into vaccinating. I think it is shameful to exploit the death of a child in this way.

  20. Joe Albietz

    HIRH, a few things. You begin by stating the BA’s data is skewed. There are several bits of data he addressed. To which do you refer?

    Second, you are confusing the influezna virus and its vaccine for what the BA is discussing in this post, Haemophilus influenza type B, a bacteria, and its vaccine. They are completely unrelated, as are their vaccines.

    Third, the current AAP and CDC recommendations are to vaccinate all children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months against influenza (the virus), and to strongly encourage all other children over the age of 6 months, so your statement “Doctors don’t vaccinate children under 1 with the flu vaccine” is incorrect.

    A factual mistake is understandable, but your reasoning is flat-out wrong. There is no chance of contracting influenza from the killed virus vaccine administered to this age of child. Zero. Your statement “Doctors don’t vaccinate children under 1 with the flu vaccine because of the greater risk of them developing the flu from the vaccine” is worse than wrong.

  21. Tinaa

    My daughter is in EMT training. We’ve made an appointment to get meningococcal vaccine and HAV. If there are any other vaccines, she’ll have those too!

  22. One of the standard production techniques for making vaccines involves the use of chicken eggs – a foodstuff to which, unfortunately, many children are allergic. Hopefully better techniques will be developed in time but it is currently a significant problem for many of us pro-vaccination parents who cannot get certain shots for our allergy prone children.
    I don’t know whether the child in this article was similarly affected – or even if the hib vaccine is one of those that contains allergenic egg proteins – but the lack of herd immunity due to the anti-vaccination brigade greatly increases the risk of disease to far more than their own children.

  23. Tomas

    Jeff Wagg: It’s really sad, but the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want people to be healthy (that’s why they wouldn’t cover the Hep B vaccine).

    Bill Maher hit the nail on the head here: ” There’s no money in healthy people, and there is no money in dead people. The money is in the middle, people who are alive … sort of.” http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rHXXTCc-IVg

    Reading all this stuff about kids pointlessly dying from deseases for which we have vaccines makes me think that vaccination should just be mandatory.

  24. WebMD reported: The other three cases — including the death — were in infants whose parents refused to vaccinate them.

    Child murder. Pure and simple.

    The growing acceptance of the anti-vaccination crusade is demonstrative just how bad science education is in this country.

  25. Grand Lunar

    This ought to be a wake up call to the antivax crowd.

    It really isn’t scare tactics. It’s simply fact.

  26. Jim

    Cyro, if this was your child, you would feel differently. This news is very specific to a certain child. If a child is heatlthy, the parent should have the right to decline a medical procedure that may have complications.

    “Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  27. Brad G

    I’m really surprised this is a Discover article. I know very little about the antivax crowd, or about Hib, so please don’t make the mistake of labelling my position a political one. But I do know that this article presents, as unfortunate as it is, anecdotal evidence. One shouldn’t use the information presented here to decide one way or the other, as it has been presented.

    It would be far more informative to understand 1) death *rates* of the unvaccinated attributed to the disease(s) the vaccine is designed to prevent in a given age group 2) death rates of those vaccinated in a given age group attributed to the vaccine itself and 3) death rates of those vaccinated attributed to the disease(s) the vaccine is designed to prevent. All along with sample sizes, etc. You know the drill.

    Anything less is just opinion–which is fine, but hardly worthy of a science magazine.

    Just my 0.02,
    -Brad

  28. Brad, I got my statistics from both a pediatric ICU doctor and the CDC article itself. That’s not anecdotal, it’s research- and evidence-based.

  29. FreeSpeaker; I have two issues with the WebMD article:

    1) They give no citation for how they know the parents refused to give their kids vaccinations. They also don’t state why the parents refused.

    2) As Dr. Albietz pointed out to me, calling this an “outbreak” may be a misnomer because we don’t know if the cases are related. They may be, but the CDC report doesn’t say. That’s why i didn’t use the word in my article.

  30. charfles

    Jim: Jefferson died 40 years before Pasteur’s germ theory of disease and, as a scientist, would probably be appalled at you quote mining him to support your pseudoscientific views.

  31. Jim

    FreeSpeaker

    More like Tyranny Speaker. Murder? What do you say to all the parents that lost their child due to a vaccine reaction? Who gets the murder charge there?

    The Federal government VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) was established by Congress under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. It receives about 11,000 reports of serious adverse reactions to vaccinations annually, which include as many as one to two hundred deaths, and several times that number of permanent disabilities.

  32. Jim

    Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  33. Jodi

    I am sorry that baby died. No telling why that baby really died from the illness. Probably had a weak immune system maybe not getting the nutrition the baby’s body really needed to fight off infection. I am not putting poison into my child’s body through another shot. If these people were not going to vaccinate then they should have at least figured out how to keep their baby healthy through nutrition. IT IS POSSIBLE! Until they use vaccines that don’t contain poisonous metals no more for my child. The last round of shots made my child become very ill and her legs became swollen for 4 days and she could not walk or even eat. No no more until they are COMPLETELY made safe for children. Do not tell me they are safe bull crap. All children and their systems are different and should be treated as such. I don’t want any one’s self righteous non-sense about of ati-vac people are ignorant. Maybe you should do some real research on both sides point of view to understand them before judging them. Any one who wants to reject a treatment or procedure darn well should have the right to do so.

  34. Dr. Joe is the man. Thanks for this info…

  35. I am a 42 year old adult who has never been vaccinated against these new diseases. Since I haven’t been vaccinated with anything for the past 38 years, it is unlikely that I can be a part of “herd immunity”. Most middle aged adults and seniors are not part of herd immunity”.

    This isn’t a “new” disease we’re talking about but a disease that’s been around for quite some time. Babies dying from infectious diseases in the US is now incredibly rare because we have vaccines and antibiotics, just look at the historical data to be truly frightened. You’ve probably been exposed to it and have immunity naturally just like you probably have immunity from chickenpox by having had it as a child. This does make you part of herd immunity. Being vaccinated isn’t the only way to develop immunity, it’s just by far the safest.

    By the way if you haven’t had any vaccines at all in the last 37 years I really hope you never cut yourself on some rusty metal. Tetanus is a truly nasty infection.

  36. Jodi, if you are not vaccinating your children, then you are putting them at risk of death or serious illness. It’s really that simple.

    You can have the best nutrition in the world, but Hib will still kill 1 out of 20 kids who contract it, and give the survivors those horrible problems I wrote about.

  37. kryth

    It seems to me that even if vaccines caused autism that the cost would still be worth the millions or billions of lives it would save from death.

  38. Lyr

    Regarding mortality realated to vaccine reactions:

    There is a difference between an accidental death and death caused by willful negligence.

  39. Lyr

    And regarding vaccine reactions in general…

    I would rather be sick for a few days from a vaccine reaction than be sick for weeks (or die) from a disease I wasn’t vaccinated for.

  40. Luke

    I do not think we can ever know if vaccines are dangerous or not. Considering (I am making this up) 99+% of us get at least one vaccine in our lifetimes it is impossible to say if an adverse reaction was pure chance or from the injection. Also the rise in genetic disease may be a real thing or just better medical knowledge and more access to referral centers.

    The other problem is areas with no vaccination programs also are poorer and lack modern medical facilities which make accurate records next to impossible.

    This is why we all need to weigh the risks and benefits of a vaccine. For me Hep B was stupid because I will wait till I am married to have sex and don’t use IV drugs. For others it is good to get because of their lifestyle. Since I will be a geologist and doing field work vaccines for exotic diseases may be in my future.

  41. Julian

    “For me Hep B was stupid because I will wait till I am married to have sex and don’t use IV drugs. For others it is good to get because of their lifestyle.”

    Everyone says they’re going to wait. Everyone says they’re going to get their partner tested. Everyone. You’d think with all this certainty we’d have wiped out VDs by now.

  42. Joe Albietz

    Freespeaker, VAERS is a system set up identify any possible adverse reaction from vaccines, and requires no proof of causation. It receives 11,000 reports of events that correlate with the administration of a vaccine, not adverse reactions from vaccines. The difference is subtle but important. Recognize that this is 11,000 adverse events in a field of approximately 3,000,000 children receiving the full schedule of vaccines per year. It would be remarkable if random illnesses and even a few unfortunate deaths didn’t correlate with vaccine administration.

  43. Joe Albietz

    Luke, it is possible to know whether vaccines are dangerous, and whether or not they are correlated with any particular event. Natural control groups exist for vaccinated populations, both historic and currently unvaccinated populations. Due to the widespread use of vaccines, this translates into data sets with numbers in the millions. Your statement is only true in a data set of one.

    Your statement regarding unvaccinated populations is also untrue. Third world populations are not the control against which vaccine efficacy nor ongoing safety is judged. Unvaccinated populations exist within the US, and within every region, race, and socio-economic class, and are more than adequate to serve as the controls you desire.

    Your statement about Hep B is also flawed. It is true that Hep B is primarily contracted through sex and IV drug use. However, approximately 30-35% of all new cases of Hep B have no risk factors whatsoever. We currently have 1,000,000 carriers of hep B in the US, many of which have no idea they have the disease. I am glad you are choosing to reduce your risk through lifestyle choices, but your risk is not as greatly diminished as you hope.

  44. Luke

    My point is the vaccinated population is so huge, that pinpointing down on variable (vaccination rate) is impossible. Nor is it possible to say that vaccines cause birth defects (via transmission from parents) As the differences in lifestyles between the vaccinated crowd and the non vaccinated crowd will be the same.

    It is just one of those things we have t take for granted that it is safe as the benefits far outweigh any conceivable risk. This however isn’t true for many of the fringe vaccines like anthrax and rabies which do carry some higher risks.

    Saying 30-35% of Hep B have no known risk factors is also suspect as people lie and don’t remember every detail of their past. I am sure many people can get hep b from casual contact. I even think it was hep B that was on green onions at sizzler a while back which caused a minor outbreak.

    I have already posted in the past I have a real problem with the HPV vaccine and its marketing strategy as it is called a cancer vaccine instead of what it really is a cancer vaccine and an std vaccine. But direct marketing of prescription drugs is a whole other can of worms.

  45. molly

    @ Jodi I’ll go Phil one further and assert that by not having your child or yourself vaccinated against preventable deadly illnesses, you are not only putting him at risk, but you are also putting OTHER PEOPLE at risk. So, thanks for that.

  46. Joe Albietz

    Jodi, your post is so chock full of misconceptions, factual errors, unsupported assertions, and disproven theories it is difficult to know where to start, and I suspect no matter what I say, no matter how overwhelmingly strong the evidence I present, you will remain unmoved. There are no “sides” to take nor evaluate in this topic. There are statements supported by evidence (Vaccines are both effective and safe) and statements made without or indeed in spite of evidence. The totality of your post falls in the latter category.

    For anyone else, then who reads these comments and has been at any time concerned by any of the statements made by Jodi, I recommend you start with the book “Vaccines: What You Should Know” by Paul A. Offit, M.D. and Louis M. Bell, M.D. Dr Offit’s follow up “Autism’s False Profits” addresses the specific concerns of toxins, poisons, risk and benefits of vaccines, and the definitively debunked link between autism and vaccination.

  47. Mu

    Until someone with enough money to sue the Jenny Careys of this world out of the media, these tragedies will continue to happen. Trying to explain science and reason to the followers like Jody is just wasted time.

  48. wench

    The one that makes me see red is the crowd who won’t get their girls vaccinated against HPV. Because, you know, it’s an STD, and their girls either shouldn’t know about sex yet or shouldn’t be having sex or are too good for that sort of thing or whatever.

    This is a personal comment, so if you’re not fond of people who overshare on the internet skip now. But it is relevant to my argument.

    HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer. Ask me how much it sucks to see someone die from that over an 8-year period sometime, if you think you’re feeling too cheerful. I cried when I heard they had a vaccine for it. People who put their children at risk for that sort of disease out of some squeamish aversion to the s-e-x need to rethink their life strategy.

  49. Cryo

    Jim,

    I would feel bad indeed. But I’d feel a lot worse if I could have prevented it and had chosen not to.
    If I had a healthy child I’d want to make sure it stayed that way and if I compare the current odds of survival in that stage of life with vaccination to the odds before these were developed, the logical choice for me is to chose medicine.

  50. JW

    It drives me absolutely crazy that so many of my friends don’t vaccinate their children. They are otherwise intelligent people!

  51. Joe Albietz

    Luke, retrospective studies will have a difficult time splitting correlation from causation, true. However, prospective, controlled studies are able to do exactly what you rightfully demand to know of vaccines. We have these studies. In spades.

    Concern about vaccination induced birth defects is important, but it is difficult for me to tell exactly what you are implying. Regardless, it is simple to demonstrate that a birth defect is not associated with any particular vaccine. Take two groups of mothers, one vaccinated with the vax of your choice, the other not. Study the incidence of birth defects in their offspring.

    Without a doubt, people will conceal embarrassing risk factors such as sex and drug abuse. We would expect to see a uniform occult source of infection from all similarly transmitted diseases, would we not? Yet this is not always the case. Furthermore, you are ignoring the occurrence of Hep B in children, in whom we can safely rule out significant IV drug abuse, and in whom we can test and rule out parents for Hep B as potential sources. Your doubts aside, the facts remain.

    And no, it was likely Hep A at the Sizzler. A virus infecting the liver, but not the same as Hep B.

  52. Cryo

    Wench,
    excellent point.

    Ignorance like this is a major problem. Pretending that this kind of problem does not exist or does not apply to your kid is a great way to cause grief later.
    And often, after the worst has happened, the blame is put on, guess, someone else.

  53. Pete

    If anecdotal evidence counted, I’d be proof that the measles/rubella vaccine causes chicken pox. I contracted the pox the week after being vaccinated.

    Do I think the vaccine caused it? Hell no.

    Another factor – children who are not vaccinated grow into adults who are not immune – and the effects of most “childhood” disease are far worse when adults catch them. And the larger pool of unvaccinated people means that those vulnerable adults are more likely to be exposed to those diseases.

    So the anti-vaxxers are not only harming children, but risking the lives of adults.

  54. HIRH

    I wanted to respond to the comments left regarding my previous post.
    First of all, yes I am aware the Hib and the general flu vaccine are different vaccines. However, they are so similar to eachother and when you take the flu vaccine and apply it to this debate it helps to make light of the inconsistencies and skewed aspects of your argument.

    I enter this discussion/debate with equal ears on both sides of the issue. I hear your concern regarding “typical” children and the necessity of vaccines given to children in order to avoid potentially fatal infections/diseases. I agree that taking the stance that vaccines save the lives of the many at the risk to the few is rational. If this is your world view then you’re ok making the statements that I’ve read above blaming and chastising the parents that choose not to vaccinate.

    When it’s your child that’s in the minority and is at increased risk for potentially fatal (or worse) side effects from getting the vaccine… I think they you would be more lenient in listening to the minority voice.

    I agree that those who forego the vaccines are making decisions based on fear, but you are also. Having had enough of he said/she said CDC, FDA, medical community, parents debate which had no clear cut answer in either direction that wasn’t financially or emotionally motivated, I decided to research the potential causes of Autism.

    I hope this seemingly growing population of children with this disorder never happens to your children. It is devastating. The medical community doesn’t have an answer yet. The FDA has removed all thimerosal from vaccines, except for the flu vaccine but does make a thimerosal-free vaccine for those who request it. The gov’t has passed a law stating no parents can sue the vaccine manufacturers for damages resulting from thimerosal in the vaccines. Thimerosal crosses both the blood-brain barrier and the placenta. It also has a half life in the body of 4 days. Children were recieving much more in their first year of life than any adult should recieve. If that child is in any way compromised it could have devastating effects on the CNS.

    My research paper weeded through similar genetic disorders, symptomology and it’s connection to other similar disorders as well as looked at how autism occurs on a spectrum, with children falling somewhere on a continuum of symptoms/behaviors/abilities. Autism can be epigenetic, it can be a reaction to environmental factors, it can be triggered by exposure to thimerasol if the child is already at an increased risk. Just as stress and use of some street drugs can trigger a schizophrenic break. I believe the medical researchers haven’t controlled for certain conditions and instead are still looking at “children as a whole” because they haven’t identified which part of the slide to examine. Personally, I feel they should look at the most common physical representation which is low muscle tone. Those with severe muscular dystrophies have a higher incidence of Pervasive Developmental Disorders than the general population.

    Statistics regarding Hib infections: Approx 54% of those infected yearly have atleast begun vaccinations on time and are up to date, of those 54%, approx 26% have completed the series of vaccinations (which means are over 1 year old). That leaves approx 44% that havent recieved vaccinations in a timely manner. So being vaccinated is not a sure bet that you won’t contract the disease. Babies are so much more likely to die from ANYTHING we can contract, and we can’t even protect them from the flu, another seamingly innocuous preventable treatable disease (going back to my original statement) until after they are a year old.

    I’m asking you for tolerance and understanding. As a parent, I make decisions every day that impact my children. I don’t expect myself to be perfect. I certainly don’t expect anyone to make a life changing decision based on my belief system. Yes, we want to protect our children, but we’re not all going to go about it the same way.

    Taking a pre-natal with folic acid is just as important as vaccinations and yet I dont hear you attacking mothers for not remembering to take their vitamin everyday.

    In case anyone was wondering and felt like attacking me… My daughter is vaccinated, with all the vaccines recommended. I watch for signs of autism everyday. As a professional in the field and having a brother with Aspergers I can appreciate the devastation a child with autism can bring to a family.

    We did hold off on the first HepB vaccine until our daughter was a month old… because as a learned person I knew that a baby’s immune system doesnt even begin working until atleast a week after birth. Basically the hospitals want you to have that done so you can’t sue them if the baby contract HepB in the hospital (which is the most likely place they would, I researched this as well). But again, we know that vaccines are not a guarantee your child wont get sick… it’s a gamble and some parents choose to gamble in the opposite direction.

    Flame away…

  55. HIRH

    Pete: Actually most vaccines lower your immune system for approx a week… so, you may have contracted the pox because you had a shot. LOL

  56. charfles

    Pete: Actually most vaccines lower your immune system for approx a week… so, you may have contracted the pox because you had a shot. LOL

    Care to cite?

  57. perpetualsecond

    HIRH: Two statistical addendums to your comment regarding your paragraph about Hib infections. I apologize if I’m misrepresenting your stance in some way, I’m more looking at this as a case where statistics could be used to mislead someone.

    Firstly is looking at the infected group where we have approximately 54% vaccinated to some degree and approximately 44% (to use your figures) unvaccinated. At first glance it doesn’t look like the vaccines are doing that well. The thing to note is that the vaccination coverage in developed nations is around 90%. So that 44% of the infected group comes from only 10% of the population. My sources are from several years ago, so they can’t take into account the effect of the Hib vaccine shortage. But I very much doubt it’s reached a level of 60% coverage that would allow for someone to say the vaccine had a minimal appreciable effect.

    Links for my statistics.
    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs294/en/
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036448.htm

    Secondly the most important statistic regarding the Hib vaccine comes from the article Phil linked to. Before the vaccine was in widespread use the rate of infection was 41 cases per 100,000 and since it has come into use the rate of infection has become 0.11 cases per 100,000.

    There are certainly cases of the vaccine failing to work, 54% of the yearly infections attest to that, and no amount of statistics about the good that vaccines do are going to comfort someone whose child is sick of one of these diseases. But vaccines do work on the whole, and I’m sure there are a number of statistics of other commonly vaccinated diseases where you see a drop to 5% or less of the infection rate once vaccination began (Hib is dropped to 0.27% its previous rate if I did my math right).

    It’s easy to mislead with statistics, I hope that I kept my own misleading to a minimum

  58. Geoff

    Best (or worst, if one chooses to totally ignore the humor of people being so easily deluded) part about all this is that autism is still being treated almost as if it is some sort of deadly disease when autism, fundamentally, describes the state in which a person communicates in a non-standard way. I particularly like this:

    http://autism.change.org/blog/view/the_dynamics_of_communication

    article, which I find describes the effects quite thoroughly (and, if one reads the very first comment, ironically as well). Several of my other readings on this subject have brought about the very interesting observation (again, by an autistic person) that the autistic do not have trouble communicating with the autistic. I’d love to see a study . . .

    Assuming that there really is fluid communication between the autistic, perhaps the best policy would be to treat autism as a separate culture rather than as a disease; this would still give recognition to the idea that there are some ways in which an autistic person would struggle to communicate (much as someone speaking a separate language might struggle), but would not carry the connotation that there is something fundamentally ‘wrong’ with the person.

  59. Joseph

    The very idea of using killer germs to kill germs is pathetic. Many children have suffered significant side-affects from this medical tactic. While in percentage terms the number is “not significant”, try telling that to the parents of thousands of children.

    The other “stupid tactic” is to swear off vaccinations without replacing it with a different health strategy. Infection occurs when the nervous system is weakened to some degree. It makes much more sense to work towards strengthening the body field/nervous system than to wage germ warfare to protect people (no different than the strategy of war vs one of peaceful initiative).

    This country, and the world for that matter, has a lot of maturing to do. Our medical systems are medieval. We spend enormous sums of $$$, yet continue watching a world struggle with health and well-being. Obviously something needs to change if this trend is going to reverse itself.

    Yet, if you poll 1,000 people, I suspect very few of them are employing health strategies directed to strengthening the system vis-a-vis protecting it. Our evolution continues, albeit ever so slowly.

  60. charfles

    It makes much more sense to work towards strengthening the body field/nervous system than to wage germ warfare to protect people

    Joseph what the hell does that even mean? Wanna cite us some peer reviewed studies of your “body field strengthening”? I love how you compare our medical systems to medieval times.

    Perhaps we should return to those times? Maybe start again? I’m sure everyone here agrees a 30 year lifespan was just fine. I mean, they were much more organic and in touch with the “body fields” in the 1200s. Can’t go wrong.

  61. Gonzo

    Jim says: If a child is heatlthy, the parent should have the right to decline a medical procedure that may have complications.

    If a child is heatlthy, the parent should have the right to decline a medical procedure that may have complications kill their children.

    Fixed that for you.

  62. Grump

    Now come on, everybody. A parent must have the right to choose. After all, there are risks to either having or not having vaccinations, and without a priori knowledge of whether a particular child is susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccines, each parent is taking a risk.

    So, given the high risk of infection of a new-born, with a moderate risk of resulting death, versus the tiny risk of a negative reaction, with the even tinier risk of death, some parents consider the latter to be the bigger threat.

    These are the same parents that would, if forced to play Russian Roulette, and given a choice between a gun with one bullet, and a gun with five, select the latter option.

    In other words, they’re blithering idiots.

  63. Chris

    @Phil,

    Timely post. We just took our 2-month old to the doc and found out that they were out of Hib. Any details on why they are short this year? Did everybody follow our lead and have extra babies or something? It seems like the vac makers ought to be able to estimate birth rates fairly easily and produce the right amount.

    Oh and to the anti-vaccine people out there. If this theory is true:

    “This recent increase may reflect a loss of herd immunity, meaning too many kids are not getting vaccinated.”

    . . . then I have no time, pity or patience for you. If you want to play Russian roulette with your kid, that’s on you. But when unvaccinated kids start putting others at risk, playtime is over. The moment you put my Lily at risk you become my enemy.

  64. M.J.

    I think we’re in the trough of an historical wave cycle. When people get comfortable and complacent, they get stupid(er). It will take a lot more dead infants before they realize that they need to vaccinate. Fortunately, people will begin to vaccinate their children and deaths will significantly decrease, only to allow parents to become comfortable and complacent and the cycle starts all over again.

  65. So what do antivaxxers say when you mention 2 little words – “Small Pox”? [sarcasm]They’re probably greatful that at least the evil small pox vaccine can’t cause any problems any more… and how lucky we are that they’ve raised awareness about vaccines like the polio vaccine. The silly medical profession thought they almost had polio licked. But the antivaxxers know they’ve saved all those kids that would have got the polio vaccine from the complications of the vaccine itself.[/sarcasm]

  66. This makes me ill. I just went to hold my five year old daughter after reading this. She has a little lump on the back of her neck and her Dr. has ordered a biopsy. They’ll be putting her under, which makes me nervous. But I trust her doctors and am following their advice.

    Thanks for posting this, Phil.

  67. :shiver:

    Reading stuff like this, and the antivaxxers’ comments, has the effect of making me want EXTRA shots for myself and my family! Fortunately, we’re all up to date on our vaccines AND our booster shots (yes, adults need them approximately every 10 years). I love the sciences of infectious disease medicine, which has brought us awesome lifesaving vaccines, and epidemiology, which allows us to demonstrate scientifically that these awesome lifesaving vaccines DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.

    Sheesh!

  68. Todd W.

    A quick thought on medical choice. Even in the case of vaccines, people should have a choice as to whether they or their children receive a shot or not. If the child has some condition that is contraindicated for a vaccine, then they should be able to refuse that vaccine. Even in kids who are apparently healthy, if they have certain negative reactions to vaccines, the parents should have the right to refuse further vaccinations. However, along with those rights, they also have the responsibility to really find out if the vaccine was to blame, and if so, the likelihood of further negative reactions, all in consultation with their doctor. The labeling for vaccines lists conditions and reactions that call for a halt to using the vaccine or related vaccines.

    @Jodi

    I don’t know the details of your case or how much work you put into investigating the actual cause of your child’s injury, so I will not comment on that. It may have been an allergic reaction. It may have been due to some other aspect of the vaccine. It may have been coincidental. I don’t know. However, your call for vaccines to be made completely safe will never come true. All medicines carry some risk with them. Anything that affects the chemistry of the human body also carries with it the chance for something bad to happen. Also, no one will say that vaccines are 100% safe. In your case, if, after careful consultation with your doctor, you determine that your child’s reactions really was due to the vaccine, and that reaction is contraindicated for other vaccines, then by all means, don’t get any more vaccinations for her. However, if there are vaccines that do not carry that contraindication, and your doctor feels would be safe for administration to your child, then get the vaccinations!

    By the way, which “poisons” do you feel are in the vaccines?

  69. Todd W.

    @HIRH

    I’m curious as to your source of information that thimerosal triggers autism. Could you provide a reference link, please?

  70. One thing that I wonder about: if the child who died had parents who read that there was a scarcity of vaccines and thus didn’t vaccinate? If so, then the press needs to be much more proactive about making sure that when they report vaccine shortages they also make it clear that there is supply for infants and the elderly. Sometimes in an excess of zeal to report a breathless story, the “practioners” of the reporting arts fall down on the job and don’t report everything.

    Jody, I also call on you to tell us what “poisons” are in the vaccines. If you’re going to make that claim, have the intellectual honesty to do your research and tell us exactly – based on facts, not suppositions or “i heard” or “the evul medical establishment does this or that”, but actual facts from citable, reliable medical journals (not feel-good new age magazines or publications from slanted anti-vax “journals” and hearsay) about just what it is that’s in those vaccines. It’s the honest thing to do — both for your own reputation as well as the rest of us who have to read your (I suspect) unsupported and unreasonable suppositions.

    Get the facts, ma’am… nothing else will suffice. TO do totherwise is NO way to salvage the pain you are going through on your child’s account.

  71. bensmyson

    Two of the three WERE vaccinated. What were the exact reasons the parents of the three that weren’t vaccinated gave to excuse their children? Could it have been the children had low immune or were already sick? Did you not read that Merck pulled the vaccines because THEY feared the vaccines were CONTAMINATED? Exactly how many of you in the herd have actually looked at the FDA cautionary advisory notice of each of the vaccines you allow to enter your child’s body? FROM THE CDC WEBSITE: What are the risks from Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine? A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing SERIOUS PROBLEMS, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of Hib vaccine causing serious harm or death is extremely small. How small? As small as say death from a spider bite? Would you allow a Black Widow spider to bite your child? Think people! What if!

  72. RickK

    @Joseph:

    “The very idea of using killer germs to kill germs is pathetic.”

    What does that mean? Vaccines aren’t “killer germs”. Vaccines are merely an instruction manual to teach our own internal defenses to do this more effectively:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_xh-bkiv_c&eurl=http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/11/top-10-amazin-1.html

  73. RickK

    @Grump

    Not all parents that avoid vaccinations are blithering idiots. But ALL of them, every single one, has had the luxury of growing up with nearly zero exposure to almost all nasty infectious diseases.

    What I find ironic is that the same parents that withhold vaccinations out of fear of adverse reaction are likely the same parents that (in the old days) would have kept their child locked in their room for six months because a kid 3 towns over was diagnosed with polio.

    I wonder how many anti-medicine, anti-science parents have been exposed to any infant mortality at all. I’ve lost friends and family, but I don’t know anyone who has lost a child to anything other than car accidents.

    Imagine what our great grandparents would say to that. Imagine what they’d say to the anti-vaxxers.

  74. Todd

    Sadly, the only way that the antivax crowd is going to be beaten back is by a virulent disease, like H5N1, killing off a fairly sizable chunk of the population. Five children in Minnesota isn’t going to do it. A measles outbreak in San Diego isn’t going to do it. We need a 1918 outbreak, with bodies piling up in morgues, to cut through the nonsense of germ theory denialism. When 20% of otherwise healthy children in this country are put into body bags because of parents right to make uninformed medical decisions, the antivaxers will continue to be viewed favorably by the public at large.

  75. Colin

    Any child who becomes ill because their parents did not have them vaccinated not only runs the risk of dying or being damaged for life but also may pass the potential killer disease to other children. Your unvaccinated child is a potential killer of other peoples children and you, as parents are the ones responsible!

  76. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    Yeah, it always takes something like a “Pearl Harbor” to shake people out of their complacency!

  77. @ Joseph
    “The very idea of using killer germs to kill germs is pathetic.”

    WTF? The purpose of a vaccine is NOT to introduce killer germs to the body. The purpose is to introduce pieces of killed germs to the body. This is like showing a piece of clothing to a bloodhound – it exposes the body’s immune cells to identifiers (called antigens) specific to that infection, so that those cells can proliferate and be better prepared to attack a real infection, should it occur later.
    Since the vaccine triggers an immune response (the cells do not know the infection is inactive, they attack anyway), there can be a reaction in some people to some vaccines. A vaccine reaction can make you feel lousy for a couple days. I would still rather feel lousy for a couple days than come down with an actual infection that could cause serious and possibly permanent damage. Or worse.

  78. Michelle

    @Teacherninja: oh gosh. I hope she’ll be okay and that it is nothing to worry about.

    I can’t believe some people would do this to their kids. Science is there! Medicine WORKS! And even if it supposedly causes autism (which it DOESN’T), it’s not as if the streets are swarming with autistic children you know. You can make an allergic reaction to anything you eat, does that mean you’ll stop eating peanut butter?

    If I had to choose between a vanishingly small risk and the life of my kid, I think I’d vaccinate my kid.

    Of course… I don’t HAVE to cuz VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.

  79. AJ

    Well, this is… just sick.

    I wish I could say my own country is pretty much OK on this front… sadly, we had that thing with the MMR jab. So we’ve got people just as stupid :-(

  80. AJ

    @ Todd: “We need a 1918 outbreak, with bodies piling up in morgues, to cut through the nonsense of germ theory denialism. When 20% of otherwise healthy children in this country are put into body bags because of parents right to make uninformed medical decisions, the antivaxers will continue to be viewed favorably by the public at large.”

    Sadly, that’s probably so… though I think you meant “… the antivaxxers will no longer continue to be viewed… etc.”

  81. @teacherninja: *big hug* I can’t imagine how scary this must be for you and your daughter. I hope everything goes well.

    @Todd: That prospect scares the hell out of me. We will have another flu pandemic at some point, it’s one of those things that happens periodically that we can do nothing about. Now we now have ways to minimize the impact and there will be people who will die because of anti-vax nonsense.

  82. Jim says: If a child is heatlthy, the parent should have the right to decline a medical procedure that may have complications.

    Jim says: It’s sad that a child died from a disease. What’s worse is that the media turns it into a fear tactic to scare parents into vaccinating. I think it is shameful to exploit the death of a child in this way.

    Jim says: The Federal government VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) was established by Congress under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. It receives about 11,000 reports of serious adverse reactions to vaccinations annually, which include as many as one to two hundred deaths, and several times that number of permanent disabilities.

    The VAERS website says: (http://vaers.hhs.gov/info.htm)
    When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause and effect relationship has been established. VAERS is interested in all potential associations between vaccines and adverse events. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.

    You have to see a huge page of detail explaining that reported incidents to the VAERS system are not necessarily correlated – and then click an “I understand…” button before being allowed to view their data.

    DoctorAtlantis Says: Jim, I don’t like to be told what to do. I’m from the South and my rebelliousness knows few bounds. And from your quotes of Jefferson, it seems you too favor liberty. But Jefferson was a rationalist, and I can’t see how he wouldn’t have found the efficacy of vaccinations as self-evident as the right to freedom.

    Jim Says: I am a 42 year old adult who has never been vaccinated against these new diseases. Since I haven’t been vaccinated with anything for the past 38 years, it is unlikely that I can be a part of “herd immunity”. Most middle aged adults and seniors are not part of herd immunity”.

    DoctorAtlantis Says: Jim, you don’t know what Herd Immunity means. It isn’t something you are a part of – it the general effect of being protected when the majority of the population IS VACCINATED. All those folks who DO get vaccinated provide you with herd immunity.

    A lot of your comments seem ignorant to me, Jim. However, you’re reading a science magazine so maybe you’re more open to evidence than it seems like you are. You should skip all the anecdotal evidence and stories and conspiracy sites and hit some hard, confirmed, peer-reviewed studies. And if find yourself thinking – “oh no, that’s just what big Pharma wants me to do…” then you may have to go on with the herd immunity protection whether you know what it is or not.

  83. Todd

    AJ, should have been ‘until’ instead of ‘when’.

  84. Heinz Pierce

    @ Todd: “We need a 1918 outbreak, with bodies piling up in morgues, to cut through the nonsense of germ theory denialism. When 20% of otherwise healthy children in this country are put into body bags because of parents right to make uninformed medical decisions, the antivaxers will continue to be viewed favorably by the public at large.”

    Unfortunately, I doubt something like this would change anything. As we have seen way too often, no matter what evidence is presented, the anti-vaxers would just claim the evil government/big pharma caused the outbreak so they could scare people into getting vaccines.

    There’s nothing worse than blind self-induced ignorance.

  85. Pete

    @HIRH

    perhaps I did contract chickenpox because my immune reactions were lowered, perhaps not – I think the incubation time for CP is longer than the interval between my shots and my symptoms.

    However, by the antivaxxer logic, the shot must have directly caused CP, post hoc, ergo propter hoc. They ignore the basic fact that autism diagnosis is predicated upon the child showing enough delay/difference to be visible, and that does not show before the age that they start to speak; that happens to be coincident with vaccinations.

  86. Cryo

    Ok, so vaccines can have side effects. Some people have reactions others don’t. Others might have complications that, in combination with the meds, lead to strange – and unpredictable – results.
    So, do these statements here invalidate ALL vaccines?
    I don not think so. Think of the alternative.

    Ignorant people like McCarthy who employ scare-tactics will never see this. And when she is brought down, she will still be blind.

  87. @HIRH
    From a doc: The flushot is not given to kids under 2 only because of the egg content. It is not a live vaccine and cannot cause flu. The dodos (my mother included) who say it causes flu usually catch a cold somewhere after the flushot, and flu only protects against proper influenza, not the snotty nose and sneezing that characterise winter in the northern hemisphere.

    The current schedule in most jurisdictions is pediacel: haemophilus B, polio, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis; and prevnar (pneumococcus) at 2, 4 and 6 months. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and menjugate (meningococcus) at one year, prevnar and varicella (chicken pox) at 15 mos and MMR and quadrucel (all but HiB from pediacel) at 18 mos.

    Live vaccines: MMR, varicella. Nothing else.

    The shots don’t lower one’s immune system, they cause a mild activation, which is whay lots of people get a low grade fever for the next day or so. If you get something, too bad, so sad, it was coming anyhow, and you probably weren’t immune.

  88. pcarini

    bensmyson @ 8:18 said:
    “Think people! What if!”

    Yes, and What If they’re injecting mind control agents into our children instead of vaccines! What If it’s all a Reptilian plot?

  89. Cryo

    @pcarini,

    you forgot to write THEY in caps…
    And I hope your comment was meant sarcastic.

  90. Todd

    HP – “Unfortunately, I doubt something like this would change anything. As we have seen way too often, no matter what evidence is presented, the anti-vaxers would just claim the evil government/big pharma caused the outbreak so they could scare people into getting vaccines.”

    I’m under no delusion that the antivaxers will go away. What I do think will happen in a serious epidemic is that the general public will no longer pay much attention to these quacks. When people are dying in large numbers, it tends to focus people’s attention on things that work. Vaccines work. The difficultly is buying time to get enough people vaccinated in an outbreak. Frankly, I don’t think we will be prepared for a serious infectious disease outbreak, but the aftermath will definitely diminish the appeal of germ theory denialists for quite awhile.

  91. Pieter B

    By the way if you haven’t had any vaccines at all in the last 37 years I really hope you never cut yourself on some rusty metal. Tetanus is a truly nasty infection.

    Tetanus is not caused by rust, it’s caused by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani,
    which lives in the gut of various animals, notably horses. The reason for the association of tetanus and rusty nails is that rusty metal provides crevices for C tetani spores to hide in. A hundred years ago horse manure was everywhere, therefore so were C tetani spores. A puncture wound, as from stepping on a nail, provides an ideal environment for the growth of anaerobic bacteria.

    A cousin of C tetani, C botulinum, causes botulism. The two bacteria produce what truly are “the most toxic substances known to man,” despite the efforts of many to apply that label to stannous fluoride, dioxins or plutonium. One gram of crystalline botulinum is enough to kill a million people, which means that a bit more than half a pound of it could wipe out the entire population of the USA. But it’s “natural” and “organic.”

  92. Lisa

    Jodi,

    I’m sorry your child has problems that were possibly due to a vaccine, however, would you rather she have a few days of problems or be dead or disabled for life because of a preventable disease?

    Parents who do not vaccinate, and the child dies then the parent should be prosecuted for child abuse. If your child got cancer would want them to get treatment? Or would you let them die because of possible complications from the chemo. My mom died of complications from chemo, but if someone in my family got cancer I want them to have a fighting chance at life. There are risks in every medical procedure, but I bet you still take them to the doctor when they get sick.

    It’s selfish and irresponsible not to protect your child. I want to know, do those of you who won’t protect your child, are you vaccinated? You don’t have to worry about getting some of these diseases, but your child does and they will be the ones to pay…along with all other people they will infect along the way. It seems to me those parents are trying to push an agenda or prove a point at the risk of their own child.

    My son was 8 weeks early and I was concerned about all the shots he was getting. He was so small and the needle seemed so big, but there is NO WAY I was going to deny him the protection, especially since he was so vulnerable to infections.

    As for autism, the science has spoken, let it go. There are signs of autism that can be detected as early as infancy. I saw a show on PBS about this a few years ago and I wish I could remember the name of it.

    Life is risky and you really need to understand that BEFORE you have kids. As a parent you need to do what you can to reduct those risks and vaccinating is a very good way to start.

  93. Lettie

    Pete said:
    “Another factor – children who are not vaccinated grow into adults who are not immune – and the effects of most “childhood” disease are far worse when adults catch them. And the larger pool of unvaccinated people means that those vulnerable adults are more likely to be exposed to those diseases. So the anti-vaxxers are not only harming children, but risking the lives of adults.”

    Did you know that most adults are not immune to the diseases that they were vaccinated against as children…the vaccine does not give you life long immunity. Only getting the actual “disease” gives you life long immunity. That’s why the drug companies are doing a big push now to sell you more vaccines to older children and get a “booster” shot.

    I was vaccinated and still got measles. They just told my mother that it must have been a bad batch. Whatever, my sister was 4 years younger than me and had them right along with me.

    Oh and by the way, Pete and anyone else who thinks they’re immune…you should avoid being around any child that’s been vaccinated for at least a week–even the supposed “dead” viruses come back to life once they hit the human blood stream. They’re actually only in a suspended state, that’s what the formaldehyde is for. So, it’s not the unvaccinated children that are the biggest threat for outbreaks..its the one’s running around with live viruses exposing everyone to those diseases.

  94. Todd W.

    @Todd

    It would be nice if we could find some way to mitigate the influence of the anti-vax crowd before such a huge outbreak occurs. It seems like the media is helping somewhat, though. I’m not sure if there is greater coverage of cases or if cases are truly on the rise, but hopefully increased media attention will help to increase vaccination rates.

  95. amphiox

    Lettie: You can’t make blanket statements like you do and pretend they apply to all vaccines. Each vaccine is unique. Many will provide lifelong immunity to most people, while some will not for most people. (Yes, that’s right, individual people will also have their own unique responses to vaccines.)

    But that whole argument is irrelevant, because you can test yourself for immunity, at any time. For most of the diseases in question, a simple blood test can determine if you have the antibodies to the disease in question in your blood, and if the levels are high enough to provide immunity. If they are not, you need to get a booster, if they are, you don’t. So don’t worry about any nasty pharmaceutical company trying to “push” unnecessary boosters. The existence of these tests means they will only succeed if the large proportion of the population is willfully stupid (and if we are, then we deserve it).

    As for viruses supposed “coming back to life” in the human blood stream, I’d like a citation for that claim. Particularly since a fair number of these vaccines are not even “dead” viruses, but just the viral surface proteins that trigger immunity.

  96. amphiox

    Joseph: I hate to burst your bubble here, but the “nervous system” has nothing to do with immunity, other than being responsible for the placebo effect, as yet unproven mumbo jumbo concerning “positive thinking boosting your immune system” not withstanding.

  97. JoeSmithCA

    Reading some of these arguments against vaccines reminds me of some historical articles I read about vaccines are similiar to articls I found about vaccination worries through out the decades, most follow a similiar theme. My favorite has always been “never got sick in my whole life” and “I don’t want them injecting me with a virus.”

    I need to find a citiation for this but “never got sick in my whole life” is not true, you’re actually fighting off viruses and bacteria every momment of your life. An unseen war that rages in your body from the time your are in the womb until the day you die. The truth is, if you haven’t been sick, you probably have, its just that your body didn’t produce an immune reaction you felt.

    As for not wanting to be injected with viruses, check whats actually being injected in you. Most are just protiens or dead viruses.

    For those truely worried about a vacciniation, treat it like reading all the hard to read fine print that comes with your medical perscriptions. If you’re worried about something you’ve read or heard talk to your doctor. If you don’t trust your doctor, talk to another. Research (and not sites like here or Anti-vax sites). Check with the World Health Organization if you don’t trust the CDC.

  98. amphiox

    A few thoughts on the HPV vaccine:

    1. HPV infection is very, very common, perhaps almost ubiquitous, in sexually active adults. But the vast majority of infected women will not develop cervical cancer. So it is fairer to say that HPV infection is one of many risk factors for cervical cancer, not a cause.

    2. The vaccine doesn’t provide blanket protection from all strains of HPV, only the most common few, which are responsible for about 80% of the infections in the general population (this number may have gone up with newer, improved versions of the vaccine, but it’s the one I remember). So the vaccine will not protect you from fully one fifth of the HPV strains that you might be potentially exposed to. (And we can anticipate that if the vaccine becomes widely used, the frequency of those “common” strains will drop, and that 20% of strains that the vaccine does not target will rapidly become more than 20%, thanks to natural selection)

    So we’re talking about mitigating about 80% of a single risk factor of a multifactorial disease that strikes in later life.

    This is one case where I don’t think the evidence is sufficient to support a routine vaccination program for infants and young children. Leaving it as matter of personal choice for the parents and/or the young women in question is in my opinion reasonable, for this case.

    (These arguments apply only to the HPV vaccine. For things like polio, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, Hib, etc, vaccination is a no-brainer.)

  99. amphiox

    If you investigate the potential complications and side effects of any medication, including vaccines, you will find for pretty much every one of them at least one pretty scary, devastating complication.

    To reject the vaccine because of this without consider the likelihood of these rare side effects occurring is idiocy. It’s like saying something terrible could happen to me if I go out and try to cross the street (I could get run over by a bus a killed, oh no!), and therefore I must never, never leave my house and cross the street, even if it means not going to buy groceries and starving.

  100. Naomi

    I’m rather grateful for the existance of vaccines. My little brother nearly died of Hib when he was a year old – he had to be hospitalised, it was awful. That was in 1990, three years before the vaccine was introduced in Australia. If he had been vaccinated, we (as a family) would have avoided a lot of unneccesary trauma.

  101. mezzaluna

    the vaccine for chicken pox can indeed cause chicken pox within a couple weeks of the shot. usually a very mild case of it. check the CDC FAQ – http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/vac-faqs-gen.htm – it can cause a rash, and that person is more likely to be contagious with chicken pox if they have the rash following the shot.

    1 in 20 kids die of Hib? i doubt it – probably just 1 in 20 of the cases that are serious enough to be diagnosed. if you’re going to add up risks on both sides, be careful in calculating your risks.

    i learned a lot from the Dr. Sears Vaccine Book – it’s pro-vax but cautious about aluminum and some other components. he does actually recommend the Hib more strongly than most because it’s a relatively clean and simple vaccine without all the preservatives and adjuvants that others contain. for me i’m still concerned about the effects of the vaccination process on the immune system, which he doesn’t touch on as much.

  102. Todd W.

    Just a quick note on preservatives. The reason they are used, either in the production process or in the final product, is to keep bacteria or other contaminants from growing in the medicine. This is one factor in how long a medicine can be kept and still be used safely. If these contaminants have a chance to grow in the medicine, and for some reason it gets used, the patient can be in store for some really, really bad times.

    Regarding aluminum, there are a few vaccines that contain aluminum salts. The purpose of these salts is to stimulate the immune response so that less of the vaccine is required.

    @mezzaluna

    The varicella vaccine, I believe, uses live virus, though the potency is greatly mitigated, preventing a full-blown case. I’ll need to double-check that against the info on the vaccine at FDA, but I believe that’s correct.

    @Phil

    I just heard on the news as I was writing this that there was a study in Europe that was just published finding that thimerosal does not have a negative effect on brain function in children. The study compared the brain function in children who received large amounts of thimerosal vs. those who received low or no amounts of thimerosal.

  103. Several points.

    Phil: I agree that the WebMD article fails to provide a source for that. However, none of the other articles that address this case do, either.

    Jim: Several points. First, as for VAERS, it take any and all reports. Several years ago, Dr. Jim Laidler, the parent of an autistic child, and the AutismWatcher, reported “side effects” consistent with the child turning into the Incredible Hulk. The report was accepted, and, only later, due to its outlandishnees, was questioned. VAERS is a surveillance tool, nothing more.

    And, do not fall for the false issue of comparing death rates. The wild diseases are far better at causing disability than the vaccines.

  104. Heinz Pierce Says:

    @ Todd: “We need a 1918 outbreak, with bodies piling up in morgues, to cut through the nonsense of germ theory denialism. When 20% of otherwise healthy children in this country are put into body bags because of parents right to make uninformed medical decisions, the antivaxers will continue to be viewed favorably by the public at large.”

    Unfortunately, I doubt something like this would change anything. As we have seen way too often, no matter what evidence is presented, the anti-vaxers would just claim the evil government/big pharma caused the outbreak so they could scare people into getting vaccines.

    There’s nothing worse than blind self-induced ignorance.
    —–

    I with you both on this. However, as Heinz points out, it will not help. The ignornace has set in, and there are those people who follow the anti-vaccination leadership like lemmings off the cliff.

    At one time, I felt that society would benefit from them not vaccinating because the Darwin Effect would cull the herd. However, I changed my mind, since I learned that the mechanism of death during the 1918-1919 World Wide Flu Pandemic (which claimed my paternal grandparents and two of their children) was an incredibly robust immune response that killed the host. The healthier they were, the more likely they were to die.

  105. José

    @FreeSpeaker
    Dr. Jim Laidler, the parent of an autistic child, and the AutismWatcher, reported “side effects” consistent with the child turning into the Incredible Hulk.

    Which vaccine is the Hulk one? It’s not for me. I’m asking for a friend of mine.

  106. Brandi

    There’s an interesting post on the UPenn Center for Bioethics vaccine ethics blog that raises the question of legal liability in vaccine refusals. Specifically, can the parents of vaccinated children injured/infected by unvaccinated children sue parents who refuse immunizations?

    The UPenn Center published a paper in the Michigan Law Review online companion addressing this issue, coming to the conclusion that “Holding parents of unvaccinated children liable to those whom their children infect would greatly exacerbate tensions, confusion, and controversy over vaccination, jeopardizing the public trust that vaccination has long deserved and on which the success of U.S. vaccination policy relies.”

    Their conclusion is reasonable, and the last things America needs is to become a more litigious society. But with the number of vaccination exemptions/refusals on the rise, how effective can public information campaigns from the AAP and others be to increase trust in the U.S. vaccine system? As someone who works in health communications, trust me that achieving individual behavior change solely through communications channels is a very tough business. What is needed is a coordinated effort by the CDC, AAP, and pediatricians to address anti-vaccination parents’ concerns in a science-based, empathetic way and diffuse all these ridiculous conspiracy theories/pseudo-science. If not, we could turn into a society where parents sue each other for getting their kids sick.

    http://blog.vaccineethics.org/

  107. Enkidu

    Shane: “So what do antivaxxers say when you mention 2 little words – “Small Pox”?”

    Unfortunately, I’ve been around enough anti-vaxers to know the answer to this question. They say that smallpox was “dying out” before the vaccine was introduced, largely because of increased sanitation. So yes, they deny that the smallpox vaccine played a major role in eradicating the disease.

  108. On what Geoff said, regarding the equation of “autistic” with “broken” …

    I’ve done some reading recently on disability rights, and I gotta tell you, it’s an eye-opener. It’s important to remeber that autism spectrum disorder(ASD) is just that — a spectrum, and many people with autism or asperger’s are able to communicate perfectly well (even to us “neurologically typical” folks!) and have been using the internet (there was also a recent article in Wired) to push for acceptance of ASD as a sort of alternative way of thinking (I’m not really phrasing that correctly, I understand, so I’d appreciate any correction on that from anyone in the peanut gallery! I’m trying to do too many different things right now so I’m also kind of composing this in pieces!). I’m not sure what I think about that yet, since I think the science still has a way to go in describing exactly what these differences are and what they mean. What I am SURE of, however, is that we shouldn’t be treating people — human beings — with ASD as though they are defective, broken, to be avoided at all costs.

    I remember a poster at PZ’s saying once, in relation to a thread on anti-vaxxers, that they had ASD and it hurt them every time they read something about anti-vax woo, because what they heard is “I’d rather my child die of a preventable disease than be like you.”

  109. Joseph

    Wow. Believe what you will. America, despite its longevity and significant outlays in medical expense, is basically an over-weight, medicated society. Many senior citizens take an assortment of medications simply to function.

    Disease is a function of poor food, unsanitary conditions, and an unhealthy environment. The Plague moved through Europe because of filth in the cities. By contrast, living holistically, eating organic foods, refraining from unhealthy eating habits such as excessive coffee, sugar etc., being smoke-free, breathing clean air, making healthy life style choices (this includes receiving on a regular basis body-centered wellness therapies such as acupuncture, cranio-sacral etc.), sleeping well are all important aspects in maintaining a healthy state of being. The above applies to anyone, regardless of age.

    Judging from the comments, I suspect many of the posters here have never experienced any sort of wellness body modality such as cranio-sacral therapy, acupuncture, etc. My niece, who is 15, has never been vaccinated. Eats organically. Exercises frequently. She is very healthy. Rarely misses school. If she has a fever, her body usually is off-line for no more than 24 hours. From the get-go she has received body-centered therapies. Seems this approach is a lot sounder than relying on serums that have side-effects to somehow keep the body safe from these “killer bugs”.

  110. Chris

    Joseph said “My niece, who is 15, has never been vaccinated. Eats organically. Exercises frequently. She is very healthy. Rarely misses school.”

    The plural of a anecdote is not data. Anyway, the only reason she has not had many of these diseases is due to herd immunity.

    Also, cranio-sacral therapy is just a homeopathic head massage. Very silly stuff.

  111. Joseph

    “cranio-sacral therapy is just a homeopathic head massage. Very silly stuff.”

    http://www.dynamicwholeness.com/article01wholeness.html

    Please, Chris, if you are going to make a “very silly stuff” statement, at least try do it with some degree of intelligence.

  112. Todd W.

    @Joseph

    Thank you for providing that insightful, scientific, evidence-based explanation of cranio-sacral therapy.

    Joseph, if you want your statements to be taken seriously around here, you are going to have to produce evidence based on science, rather than feel-good glurge about some Divine Intelligence (need some proof for the existence of that, too) and some plan it has.

    Regarding your niece, your anecdote and personal observations do not constitute sound evidence that that particular lifestyle is any better than a lifestyle different from that. As a child, I received my vaccinations, I ate stuff that had sugar or caffeine in it, ate plain ol’ regular food without any “organic” label and higher price, didn’t exercise much, and, guess what, I rarely missed any school, and when I did I was only down for about a day or two. Never had acupuncture or cranio-sacral therapy. I guess that proves that my type of lifestyle is fabulous and should be followed by everyone!

    Please note, I am not arguing that a life full of sugar, caffeine, grease, sofa-sitting, and so on is a good idea. But your argument that all a person needs to be healthy is a holistic, organic lifestyle is not supported by quality evidence. Provide some, then we may listen to your arguments.

  113. ND

    Joseph,

    “killer bugs”

    what did you mean by that?

  114. Please check out my Mommy Wars Bingo card. Parents should have the right to weight he benefits and risks of medical treatments for their children. Not vaccinating is not the same thing as child murder. Please watch your exaggerating and hostile language.

    Many parents have many good reasons for not vaccinating. I personally know someone whose child died from a vaccine reaction. I have done research. Believe it or not, I am in medical school! My board certified pediatrician agreed with me that vaccinating was not worth the risks for my children, and we are sticking with our educated decisions.

  115. Oh, and as for small pox, we don’t have to give that vaccine anymore because the risk is not there. Polio does not exist in the United States right now, either. I am not saying all vaccines are awful, but we need to look at the risks and benefits. That 1 in 20 number assumes getting infected in the first place, which is incredibly, incredibly, incredibly rare.

    Here’s a good article:

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Vaccines/11881

  116. Chris

    Joseph, you are still being very silly. Seriously.

    Here is a suggestion, learn some real science. Perhaps by taking a basic Biology 101 class at your local community college. It might help you learn the difference between reality and something invented by someone who could say “ooh, this sounds good — I bet I can wave my hand around someone’s head for ten minutes and earn $50!”

    Yes, I know what craniosacral therapy is, an extremely light head massage, pressure is homeopathic in strength, and effectiveness, it was invented by a whacked out osteopath named Upledger. It is right up there in the anti-logic world with curing cancer by pushing coffee up one’s bum and thinking a remedy gets stronger by diluting it more (example: 200C is a dilution to more parts than there are atoms in the known universe).

  117. Joseph

    Todd:

    “But your argument that all a person needs to be healthy is a holistic, organic lifestyle is not supported by quality evidence. Provide some, then we may listen to your arguments.”

    LOL. Science is wonderful at establishing baselines of certainty until something comes along to upset the proverbial apple cart. Quantum theory is one example. Information from Hubble/Spitzer, much of which has yet to be disseminated or understood, would be another. Many scientist think they know, but truly, they are guessing (Medical doctors also guess) based on what can be perceived in that moment. The upshot is to rely on a system of “proven” evidence and defend it, until something comes along to disprove it.

    Regarding the benefits of a healthy life style, the only way to know something is to experience it. While you may see my “anecdote” about my niece as lacking “sound evidence”, you miss the point. I’m merely pointing you to a door. It’s up for you to experience a different way yourself.

    Divine intelligence (certainly not a religious term or belief) describes the organizing force that motivates and supports the flow of life force. Jill Taylor, a noted brain scientist, took a ride into a rabbit hole one unexpected morning (certainly not of her own doing) to experience divine intelligence. Her experience altered her perspective immensely about the power of the body’s innate intelligence. If you are interested to hear about it (in her own words) have a look: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

  118. MomTFH, the reason we don’t have small pox any more is because the WHO tracked down nearly every single at risk person on the planet and vaccinated them. The reason we don’t have small pox is because of the biggest single eradication program in history. We nearly got polio licked too, and you’re right there are very few cases in the USA but it is on the rise in the third world because a very nasty rumour going around that says the vaccine is part of an American/Western plot to sterilise the Islamic, for example, world.

  119. Todd W.

    @Joseph

    If Divine Intelligence is an “organizing force”, then I would assume that there is some way to detect and measure it? You have a study, I presume, that shows how this is done?

    It’s up for you to experience a different way yourself.

    Personal experience is most definitely not a very good way to go about investigating something. It allows personal biases to creep into your interpretation of those experiences, leading to mistaken assumptions and incorrect conclusions. Let me give an example. You are sitting in a darkened room. It is very quiet. You have been told before hand that the place is haunted. As you sit there, you suddenly feel a chill pass over you. You think, “Aha! A ghost!” when in reality, all that happened was that a cool breeze wafted in from a drafty window to your right. You walk out of there and spread your story about how you encountered a ghost. You are absolutely convinced that you are right, because you experienced it. The only thing is, you’re wrong. You interpreted the events and stimuli incorrectly. Just because you experience something does not mean that your interpretation is actually what happened.

    So, again, the lifestyle I led as a child is, by your reasoning, just as valid to support my contention that a “sugared-up, caffeinated, non-organic lifestyle” is a swell way to stay healthy. I experienced it, therefore it must be true, right?

  120. Chris

    Joseph, again the plural of anecdote is not data.

    You are providing quite a bit of comedy. If that was unintentional and you are not a doing a “Poe”, I would sincerely suggest you work on improving your science literacy.

    Poe’s Law here:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Poe's+Law

  121. Brandi, I believe you are referring to the Michigan Law Review article written by Dr. Jay Gordon, Jenny’s pediatrician. Let me suggest that you visit Orac at Respectful Insolence for a full understanding of Dr. Gordon.

    Note that there are many errors in his article. The most glaring one being that you cannot trace back the disease to the person who infected the kid. It is readily done, done all the time, and, with the recent measles outbreak in CA, done there quite well.

    Make no mistake, Gordon is anti-vac.

  122. Todd W.

    @MommyTFH

    My board certified pediatrician agreed with me that vaccinating was not worth the risks for my children, and we are sticking with our educated decisions.

    On a case by case basis, that is appropriate. Certain individuals may be at greater risk of injury from vaccines, and thus should probably not receive them. The problem is that the anti-vax types are against all vaccines, saying that they are dangerous, not just in certain specific cases, but across the board. There are also those in the anti-vax crowd that say they are not against vaccines, yet their arguments and behavior has the same effect as if they called for an end to vaccinations. They need to be more careful in their rhetoric.

    You will not find any argument against parents weighing the risks and benefits for their kids. You will find arguments that such decisions should be based on sound evidence, rather than emotional anecdotes.

  123. Suzanne

    Why aren’t you asking the question about the vaccinated child with an immune deficiency — Was that immune deficiency caused by the Hib vaccine itself? I myself was vaccinated in the early 70′s – I am now 39 — but back then the vaccination schedule was 1/3 of what it is now. I got the Hep A and B vaccine three years ago when I was 36 – under the strong advice from my doctor — before traveling to India for a vacation. I knew I was sensitive to all medications so asked if I can get the two shots on different days — the doctor assured me that all would be fine and not to worry that the vaccines were “safe” — well within a day after the vaccines I wasn’t feeling well and within two weeks I couldn’t walk -I was in bed for 3 weeks – crawling to the bathroom was all I could muster. I lost 1/2 of my full thick curly hair – and I started to slur my speech – I had tingling in my head, arms and hands and mental discombobulation. I got a severe case of chronic fatigue. I couldn’t work – and my mom flew in from India to take care of me. The doctors couldn’t find anything “wrong” so to speak and would not own up to it being the vaccines. I had been a very healthy strong ideal weight 36 year old — I was lifting weights 3 times a week with a trainer, swimming 2 times a week and doing yoga 3 times a week. I was in very good shape and doing very well — that is — until the vaccines — and that was with only one round of the Hep A and B vaccines — I opted out for the 2nd and 3rd. I went to 6 doctors — then eventually saw a Homeopathic doctor that put me on a juice fast and special drops to get rid of the toxins that were in the vaccines. Within two days of juicing I was walking again – albeit slowly — it took me 6 months to recover —– so all of you that have not had a reaction to a vaccine and are so Pro Vaccine — be careful to judge those that make the decision not to vaccinate their children — they may have very good reason. I have since had a healthy baby girl when I was 38 that I have chosen not to vaccinate. If i couldn’t walk as a result of the vaccines as a healthy 36 year old — I can’t imagine what all the vaccines would do to her — I love her more than life itself – and because I do – I am not vaccinating. She is breast fed and when she begins to eat she will have only whole live foods that will keep her healthy.

  124. NeverAgain

    First rule of medicine “First Do No Harm”. Medical decisions involve weighing up the benefits of treatment against the the risks of a disease. Vaccines are different it is an inherently risky procedure on an otherwise “healthy” infant. Therefore morality demands that vaccines should be guaranteed 100% risk free until then no one, government doctor or opinionated bloggers have the right to demand that any child be vaccinated. In deciding whether to vaccinate or not the parent assumes the responsibility of their childs health and its they and their child that will live with the consequences. Demanding mandatory vaccines is a fundamental breach of human rights and freedom. Incidentally where is the logic for the statment “that parents of vaccinated children should be able to sue parents of unvaccinated kids”? Surely if the vaccines are effective there is no risk to a fully vaccinated individual? Or does that mean that there is room for doubt at the efficacy of the holy grail of medicine?

    I am a parent to a vaccine damaged son so I know what its like to live with a child who has suffered as a result of vaccine. Unfortunately a child who suffers post vaccine regression and multiple immune system problems who also has the diagnosis of autism does not qualify for compensation.

    I am taken aback at this cold hearted evil statement:

    @ Todd: “We need a 1918 outbreak, with bodies piling up in morgues, to cut through the nonsense of germ theory denialism. When 20% of otherwise healthy children in this country are put into body bags because of parents right to make uninformed medical decisions, the antivaxers will continue to be viewed favorably by the public at large.”

    what kind of a person wishes for the death of innocent children in order to prove a point?

    I highly recommend looking seriously at alternative medicine, it will give you a viable and healthier option to the “Problem, Reaction Solution”, monopoly that the drugs companies have over our health. But of course there will be demands for references, facts studies (big pharma and the FDA refuse to fund studies on alternative health methods) because to sanction and recognise the efficacy of alternative medicine threatens their obscene profits because AM keeps people healthy, and healthy people dont make very good cash cows!

    Whilst we are at it why do so many drugs/food companies allow dangerous substances and toxins such as monosodium glutmate, aspartame and flouride to contaminate our food and water supplies?

    The stranglehold that these corporate monopolies have over our health are coming to an end and one day the truth and agenda behind the vaccination programme will be exposed.

    Until then its up to parents to decide. Unless you think that freedom of choice has no place in a democratic society?

  125. J.Williamson

    I am a teacher and ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT VACCINATE my children! After suffering shocking health problems myself due to vaccinations, watching my daughter convulse violently and go into a series of seizures after being vaccinated against my wishes when she was in the care of her grandparents who are against my beliefs ,and also because I have worked at a school where every child there started out life as normal perfect infants, only to end up irreparably damaged after so called routine vaccinations. If children can end up so badly damaged as a result of vaccination, it stands to reason that there are degrees of damage that we may not even realise are a result of and directly attributable to vaccination. ie learning difficulties through to ADD, behavioural problems etc.
    Vaccination might be ok for some but it most definitely is not ok for all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with researching before making a decision to vaccinate your child. You should not be made to feel as though you are engaging in a criminal act by not doing so if it is in your childs best interests! Remember most people blindly follow the herd and vaccinate, those who choose not to are usually the educated ones that have actually gone to the trouble of researching and asking the hard questions first. Medecine in the west is driven by Pharmaceutical companies who produce all sorts of damaging overprescribed medications as well as vaccines.
    The angry backlash against anitvaxers from pro vaccination parents is often a knee jerk reaction that comes from a place of fear that perhaps they are in fact doing wrong by their own children by blindly following the herd. Why not encourage open dialogue when it comes to vaccinating our kids instead of suspicion of the people who care enough to question the so called authorities on this topic. Instead of expressing anger because of your own lack of knowledge about the problems of vaccinating, against others who are doing something different than you, why not check into it carefully/objectively. Instead of wasting energy trying to lay guilt trips on parents who care enough to ask the hard questions and really find out the facts, make your own decisions in life. Education is the key!

  126. Rae

    to J.Williamson – did you ever think that us pro vaccinatiors have researched it and are not just “blindly” following the crowd. I have done a lot of research in to the vaccines and what are in them right from the CDC and Nat. Network for Immunization Information websites. I work for doctors and have for years, different doctors and offices, and one of them has prescribed a med that was not needed for a patient, not even an antibiotic for a suspected urinary tract infection, they wait for the culture to come back and prescribe what is suggested from lab that will work. As far as what is in the vaccines, the additives, all in trace amounts and all have a purpose for being there – just go to CDC’s website they explain it all – not the pharmaceuticaul’s websites. Learning disorders, ADD, behavioral issues, no one can say vaccines caused that – they very well could have those same problems without being vaccinated. Tell you the truth I much rather have those problems and worse then no child at all. Hib, pertussis and measles all can cause death in healthy children and are horrible deaths, even chicken pox can be fatal in healthy children.

    So yes I’ve done research and educated myself thank you. I still choose to vaccinate my children to keep my children and the children around mine safe. I hope I don’t come into contact with your children before mine have been fully vaccinated to all the above mentioned deadly illnesses.

  127. skeptic

    have any of you looked at the ingredients in the vaccines? though in small amount, kids get so many vaccines these days and those harmful ingredients could build up in their system. go to this site and see what is in the vaccine.
    http://www.vaclib.org/basic/vacingredient.htm

  128. AMH

    Almost everyone here needs to do a little more research before we all get on the sheeple bus and just do what everyone else is doing. There is so much research on what is in vaccinations and what it is doing to our healthy babies that are born with these perfect little bodies. Let’s inject our babies bodies with fake antibodies made from aborted fetal tissue (okay not so much anymore…) and expect that child’s body to be able to fight off an infection that it did not get vaccinated for. A BODY DOES NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH A FOREIGN SUBSTANCE (aka disease, autoimmune disorders) IF IT’S IMMUNE SYSTEM IS USED TO DEPENDING ON FAKE VACCINATIONS. A baby is an hour old and it gets it’s first vaccination, before the immune system even has a chance to develop fully, we have already completely ruined it. Just do me a really huge favor and before we all just assume this is the best because of a few cases, look at all the cases of BEING vaccinated and do a little research, stop being “sheeples”.

  129. Y’know, I rarely resort to ad hominems, AMH (#141), but basically I can safely ignore any argument made by anyone who unironically uses the word “sheeple”.

    And you’re wrong. I might even say dead wrong. The links I provide in all my antivax posts show that very clearly.

  130. Emma

    Well, worst case scenario; the anti-vax parents have a child with autism, which seems unlikely.

    Instead, that poor baby who didn’t have a choice has died.

    And these anti-vax websites are so biased, how can you expect to sway someone with that?

  131. Christina

    Yeah Emma, and all those medical papers aren’t backed by drug companies. No bias there. Give me a break.

    Have you looked who works with the CDC – who sits on the board of both the CDC and FDA? Former employees of MERCK. Yup, they’re such a swell company. They didn’t leave a drug on the market for YEARS even after showing it killed people.

    Use a better argument.

    And what does someone who posts an anti-vax paper get out of it? Nothing.
    I know what those who post papers on the GOOD of vaccines get…. money, money.. and oh yeah, more money.

  132. cjp

    Doctors can only practice what they’ve learned. The people controlling the information being taught(colleges) are ALL funded by the big pharmaceutical companies. You will never see the complete reverse of any disease because there is too much money to be made. Someone above stated ‘would they rather have a child with autism, or a dead child’. This is clearly someone who does not have a child with autism, because if they did, they would know the lifelong struggle that will be to not only that child, but to the child’s family, and ultimately taxpayer’s dollars when the family is elderly and can no longer change their adult autistic son’s diapers. Would I rather my son be dead? No, of course not. But this is certainly not the life I’d want anyone to have either. I’ve done my research. If my son, or any of my other unvaccinated children died from something they contracted naturally, I would be devastated and heartbroken beyond words to be sure. But if my children died because of a toxin that I allowed to be injected directly into their bloodstream–to PREVENT something, no less, I could not live with myself. The risk may be small, so many will say, but to he child and the family who did have an adverse reaction to a vaccine, the risk is 100%. That’s a gamble I will never take. What I have noticed within my own family, is what I base my decisions on, and that is my right. I have one vaccinated child who, as a baby, was happy. Was smiley. Laughed. Was walking, babbling, saying words. Was vaccinated, and then I could only stand by and watch as my child walked into darkness and never returned. has never smiled since. Not even once. That vaccinated child was sick constantly with ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia…a whole slew of endless illnesses. Every single other child I gave birth to was not vaccinated at all. And has never…and I mean EVER…had anything more than a very infrequent common cold. That alone is enough for me to be 100% happy with my decision. I am so thankful that it’s well within my right to choose what’s best for my own children. And when this country decides to attempt to force that upon me…well, that will be the day I GLADLY become a citizen of another country who respects my rights as a parent, and a human being.

  133. Stacey

    Listen up: Hep B can only be trensmitted by blood or body fluid…same as AIDS. So unless your baby is in a high risk group (mother w/hep b, has sex or shoots iv drugs) you have nothing to worry about. I find it interestimg that the vaccinated baby died-
    Do your homework folks, on everything they try to inject into your baby! By ther way, all these pushers on this site, who have been shooting up there kids, uumm, are you all fully (3 by 2 yrs old) vaccinated? You people have the gall to inflict injury on your babies, who cannot even defend themselves, cant tell you if they feel sick prior to a shot, or how they feel after, why dont you get those 38 shots YOURSELVES? You dont have the balls to do it to yourself, bullies- I am the mom of an infant that has never had 1 shot! She is almost 9 mos old, and has never been sick, or had any of the allergy or digestive, sleeping issues that my friends vaccinated babies have had. This country feeds off the innocent. the pharma industry and the health depts are all in business together making our kids sick with things that require meds….ADD, ADHD, Asthma, Allergies, Yada Yada Yada…….WAKE UP People…Do you really think there is a risk, when parents in the families of babies are unvaccinated, and prior to the babies vaccines they are exposed to each other???? Surely the parents and adults in this country would all be dying of these dreadful things daily!
    I mean the kids arent born fully vaccinated…It doesnt even make common sense, let alone medical sense…….

  134. Evelyn

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-29/india/29596453_1_vaccine-deaths-aefi-deaths-public-sector-vaccine-units

    128 kids die after being vaxed…..govt cant say why??? hmmmm, i read stories all the time where a baby received a shot and died within 24 hrs and its labeled coincidence……kids slip away into another world called autism and you say its better to have that than be dead….in essence an autistic child is dead. my friends son has autism which occured at 5 right after he updated shots to enter school….now he has to attend a special school lost his ability to communicate effectively, plays alongside not with, she already lost her son—and has to live with that daily. now the govt gets money from the meds he now has to be on.

    what sickens me is that people uproar over a death they say could be prevented, what sickens me is all the sids and kids dying and developing other diseases…seriously who his really being negligent???

  135. syb

    It’s funny that the people that are pro vaccines are calling people who question things dumm and stupid ,and the people that questions things just want other people to get more info and then make up their minds of what to do …..

  136. Lisa

    And what about the tens of thousands of death (and that’s putting it mildly) each year caused by medical errors? This doesn’t include those who are injured from medical errors. Just curious, why is this not a hot topic of discussion?

    It seems like someone is trying to take our focus off of what is really going on.

  137. Heather

    This article is old, but Jodi stated her daughter had a reaction. Even a doctor would tell a parent to hold off or even quit vaccinating if the child has an adverse reaction. If you don’t believe me, look it up. I’m guessing most of you do not have children. And also, you’re all sheeple. Keep pumping money into Big Pharma! I’m sure they love taking it ;)

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