A few shots at vaccines

By Phil Plait | April 1, 2009 6:22 pm

There’s been quite a bit of vaccine news the past day or so, so here’s a roundup:

1) Time magazine "sparred" with public health hazard (and 2008 Pigasus Award winner!) Jenny McCarthy; I put that in quotations marks because it kinda sorta pokes at her, then completely drops the ball when it comes to followup. She is a mass of fallacious reasoning, and I’m sure her new book, Healing and Preventing Autism, will also be chock full o’ nonsense (since we still don’t know what causes autism, though we do know it’s not vaccines). But we do get this quote from her:

[Time:] Your collaborator recommends that parents accept only the haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) and tetanus vaccine for newborns and then think about the rest. Not polio? What about the polio clusters in unvaccinated communities like the Amish in the U.S.? What about the 2004 outbreak that swept across Africa and Southeast Asia after a single province in northern Nigeria banned vaccines?

[McCarthy:] I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

Brilliant. If those diseases come back — and they’re trying — it’s not the pharmaceutical companies’ fault, it’s that of the antivax movement. And she’s the face of the antivax movement.

Orac, of course, has more.

2) Speaking of diseases coming back, there’s a measles alert in Pittsburgh. Terrific.

3) A study in Sweden shows an interesting, though statistically highly uncertain, connection between autism and environment, specifically vinyl flooring, smoking, and bad home ventilation. The scientists involved are very careful to note that this link is extremely tenuous (they weren’t specifically looking for it, so they can’t ascribe any reality to it just yet), but worth following up. I expect to hear from the antivaxxers about this very loudly soon, but we’ll see.


Comments (83)

  1. Nice total abdication of any reponsibility Ms. McCarthy…


  2. MadScientist

    ‘Pigasus’, sooeeet!

    I thought that was a New Zealand thing; ask them to say “pegasus” and they invariably say “pigasus”. A student once asked me if I had any pigs I could lend her so she could do her laundry; it took me a while to figure out what pigs had to do with laundry.

    Jenny MacCarthy is a moron. Let’s pretend that she’s right (which she isn’t) and say that vaccines *do* cause autism. Now how many people are saved by vaccines? How many people allegedly develop autism from vaccines? And Jenny wants people to avoid vaccines? Jenny McCarthy, You are a *bleeping* MORON.

  3. James

    If her brains were as big as her boobs, then she’d be a genius. Alas, I feel they are exerting a huge gravitational force that is messing with her higher brain functions.

  4. Jeff Keogh

    “A few shots at vaccines”


    I see what you did there.

  5. Davidlpf

    She wrote a book?

  6. Jenny should be a politician. Brilliant evasion of the question asked.
    Pity there isn’t Jennybodycount.com

  7. Flip

    Didn’t you hear? It is now vinyl flooring that causes autism.


  8. Adrian Lopez

    “I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe.”

    I doubt pharmaceutical companies have the necessary skills to develop the kinds of vaccines Jenny McCarthy would consider safe. When most of the dangers are strictly imaginary, no change to the vaccines themselves can possibly lead to “safe” vaccines.

    I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back directly into Jenny McCarthy’s circle for her to realize that she needs to change and develop a better sense of reality.

  9. Mikey

    Wow, it’s an interview with Time magazine! Why is she cussing like the late stages of a flamewar?

    She’s a real-life troll.

  10. Davidlpf

    I predict trolls anytime now.

  11. Richard Welty

    I’m just flabbergasted at the polio thing.
    I’m an active Rotarian, and anyone who is involved with Rotary International is well aware of the amount of energy and money that have been involved in the 20+ year effort eradicate Polio. It’s down to 4 countries and about 1300 new cases last year, finally close to the end, and we end up hearing stuff like this.

  12. Stewart

    This sounds like that Republican congressman who wanted a few more terrorist attacks so that we could all appreciate what a good job Bush was doing to protect us. (can’t find the link at the moment).

    Things have to go bad in order for us to see how well things are working? Huh?

  13. I still think it’s odd that Jenny McCarthy is so anti-vaccine but is a big fan of Botox: http://www.techydad.com/?p=449

    Me? I’d worry about injecting myself with neurotoxins just to ward off a few wrinkles much more than injecting some vaccines to keep myself from getting some nasty illnesses.

  14. @Davidlpf
    with names like… littlejohnniesmum or arealdad or icareaboutkids….

  15. First of all two recent cases that were heard by the US Government’s “Vaccine Court” found that vaccines caused the child’s autism.

    Bailey Banks vs HHS – February 2009 – Special Master Abell found that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine caused brain damage in this child, which led to his diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) an autism spectrum disorder. Bailey will likely receive over $3 million in compensation to cover a lifetime of autism care and treatment.


    Hannah Poling vs HHS – February 2008 – Medical personnel at the Health Resources and Services Administration conceded that this girl’s autism (and epilepsy) was caused by “vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves.” Hannah had a mild case of mitochondrial dysfunction, and received nine vaccines in one day at age 19 months. She now has full blown autism and a very serious seizure disorder.

    Ever look on the VAERS site to see just how many victims of vaccines there are?

    I know this is Autism Awareness Month and I know how important it is to protect your children against diseases most of us had when we were younger, such as the measles. We wouldn’t want to scare people into some sort of panic by all this talk about autism and how dangerous vaccines can be if not properly administered or tested. Measles, although fairly benign when I was growing up, can cause serious injury or even death. I know exactly how much damage the measles can cause the brain of a 12 month old, I know this because by some coincidence my son Ben got the measles the day he got his vaccines and he still has it 2 years later. By the way, my son also has characteristics of autism, of course by coincidence.

    There are some other interesting coincidences currently in the news, the Somalis in Minnesota having autism by epidemic proportions, the Chinese same thing, neither of the countries have a word for autism because they have never seen it, and of course the injuries and deaths of young girls caused by the HPV.

    Vaccines such as the MMRV ProQuad, has 8 deaths related to it on the VAERS (government vaccine adverse reaction reporting agency) database. Two of those death reports Merck, the manufacturer, reported themselves, two years after it was taken off the market.

    VAERS ID 331196, 331195, 331194 on the ProQuad deaths.

    Vaccines are not safe, it says so on the box the vaccine comes in. You have to educate yourself about spreading the jabs out, make sure your child’s immune system is intact, and look at the allergies your child might have. Children with allergies to chicken eggs should not be given the HepB vaccine, it says so on the box, and yet this vaccine is injected into children at birth, in some cases minutes after birth.

    Yes vaccines save lives, but at what cost? Is it OK that my son was injured so that 100,000 others won’t get a fever and break out in a rash? Better to answer that question when it is your son or daughter whose brain was wrecked by a vaccine.

    Last year half the 180 people that contracted a wild form of measles, only a handful of those people who got measles had to go to the hospital, the rest, just like me and all those I grew up with, missed a few days of school and felt like crap for a couple of days. Meanwhile I dump Motrin down my son’s throat to ease the discomfort created from his encephalitis and pray his fevers and seizures don’t kill him or cause him further pain.

    Jenny body count? Name one, one person that died or was seriously injured as a result of ANYTHING said or done by Jenny McCarthy. Dr. Paul Offit, pro-vaccine crusader and patent holder of RotaTeq, a Rotavirus vaccine manufactured by Merck has a body count of at least three. A review of the data by Dow Jones Newswires shows there were at least 375 reports of intussusception in RotaTeq recipients–-including 3 resulting in death-–between the vaccine’s launch in February 2006 and June 2008.

    McCarthy – 0
    Offit – 3 (that we know of)

  16. Jeff Keogh

    And Shane wins the internet!

  17. Rob

    Watch this week’s Family Guy: http://www.hulu.com/watch/64995/family-guy-not-all-dogs-go-to-heaven
    I think the BA may have been one of the writers!

  18. Davidlpf

    Shane has it tonight.

  19. MadScientist

    Yep, the trolls have arrived. The usual pathetic excuse: “oh, but the courts say”. Hahaha; as if a judge or jury can say anything about vaccines. Besides, most court cases have resulted in a dismissal due to lack of evidence that vaccines cause autism. In Australia a few years ago a female judge hearing an appeal to a rape conviction absolved the rapist – the judges excuse? The rapist was drunk. Yeah, courts are good for establishing truth.

  20. Sounds like McCarthy would be raising her kids to speak like the Osbournes anyway.

  21. The Jigsaw Man

    “Yes vaccines save lives, but at what cost? Is it OK that my son was injured so that 100,000 others won’t get a fever and break out in a rash? Better to answer that question when it is your son or daughter whose brain was wrecked by a vaccine.”

    Yes. Yes, it is OK. It sucks for you, I know. Sucks worse for him. But you know what would happen if everyone chose not to get vaccinated. It is impossible to say that everyone else has to get vaccinated, but not MY precious child. It leads directly to no vaccinations at all, and then 1,000 parents will have to bury their child. And you might be one.

    Pardon the harshness. But these decisions must not be made from the viewpoint of the person receiving the painful side effects.

  22. Ya know, I had been sort of assuming that Jenny was either ignorant or in denial about things like polio and the measles coming back. I’m ready to believe any estimate of her dummy-hood, so it wasn’t much of a leap.

    But now I discover that she’s actually bright enough to see what’s going on with these diseases returning, but she just doesn’t CARE.

    Makes me sad.

  23. Autumn

    Okay, so the anti-vaxers are like somebody saying, “No, I won’t go outside on New Year’s Eve, because a bullet fired in celebration may come down and kill me. Sure it’s a long shot, but it could happen. Anyone who goes outside is acting foolishly. Everyone should do as I do, and stay inside playing Russian Roulette.”

  24. sunny

    ahh what a world we live in. people ignore scientific evidence and a whack job loony with no scientific background gets to publish a book on autism. id have no problem with that if it went straight to the fiction section. oh well at least Jenny McCarthy is a living rebuttal to the intelligent design “theory”. luckily we don’t have whack jobs like that here in Australia, we outsource them to you guys (looking at you ken ham).

  25. flawedprefect

    If her kids aren’t going to be vaccinated, and die of some simple disease, I guess it’s simply proof of natural selection. She shouldn’t be allowed to pass on her genes before an innocent life has to pay her price for stupidity.

  26. Trolling, trolling, all through the BA blog…..


  27. TMB

    flawedprefect: I think we need to make a concerted effort to cut out the “natural selection” jibes. It promotes the idea that they’re only doing harm to their own progeny, whereas the single biggest problem is that it affects other people via loss of herd immunity.

  28. Jon Bastian

    All I can say is… I got stuck with every possible vaccination as a child, and I’m not autistic. I also only ever got chicken pox. No measles, no mumps, no polio, no small pox.

    Jenny McCarthy is a f_____ idiot and she’s full of s___. When can we bury pseudo-science in the same grave with intelligent design and let the smart people run the planet for once?

  29. That motrin bensmyson says he’s pouring down his kids throat is more dangerous than vaccines. Look up how many children die every year from overdosing on over the counter pain medication. There is no such thing as a 100% safe ANYTHING. Every medication, vaccines, food, plant, rock, etc. on this planet has a certain risk associated with it.

    It’s terrible that any kid suffers a side effect of a vaccine but it isn’t possible to make one that doesn’t carry at least a small risk and when the risk of serious side effect is much lower than the death rate of the disease it’s worth it. Smallpox is a perfect example, 1 in a million people getting the vaccine died with 1 in 1000 suffering a serious side effect. That’s a pretty high rate of complications for a vaccine but the death rate for smallpox was around 25-30% so the risk was definitely worth it.

  30. Na

    This morning I was on Yahoo Answers, and happened across a question about the cause of autism. 5 out of the 7 answers included vaccines/toxins as the cause, although they also mentioned genetics. The other two were reasonable and mentioned only genetics or environmental factors (in fact one of them was very well informed and science based). One of them was so overtly anti-vaccine I thought I was here or on McCarthy’s website. I couldn’t helped myself, and answered, with a link to Science Based Medicine and the excellent round up. Those who can’t get enough of debunking here or on other sites should head over to YA and combat the idiocy there too.

    I still find it weird that people would rather believe a former Bunny than an actual doctor.

  31. CS

    There are some other interesting coincidences currently in the news, the Somalis in Minnesota having autism by epidemic proportions, the Chinese same thing, neither of the countries have a word for autism because they have never seen it…

    What an strange claim. Since when countries don’t have names for diseases that do not affect them?

  32. MadScientist


    Well, that’s right but it does sound cruel. Many adverse reactions are known and any decent physician should report such reactions if encountered in a patient. Most adverse reactions are a nuisance rather than a threat, but there are the very rare debilitating and the deadly ones. In rare cases a person can be tested to determine if they will have an adverse reaction; I think that is the case for one type of Hepatitis B vaccine in which having a certain gene sequence is very bad news, but I’m working with what a physician has told me about 15 years ago. (The same HepB vaccine, as it turns out, is ineffective for me – just no immune reaction whatsoever – and it’s one of the most effective HepB vaccines.)

  33. MadScientist

    @flawedprefect: The poor kids shouldn’t have to suffer or die just because their parents are morons. I’ve seen too much of that in third world countries and the parents of course are so upset about losing their child, but the kids certainly have no picnic. Ignorance is deadly.

  34. lexcarter

    Every year sisce 2007.April 2nd has been an international autism day.
    I just thought i would bring that up.Have a nice thursday everyone.

  35. Christian

    How about Gardasil? Hurry, hurry to market.

  36. Christian

    all you ‘shoot from the hip’ bozos attacking people on this blog wouldn’t care about the facts of some of these vaccines until it was your child sacrificed on the altar of populational health.

  37. wouldn’t care about the facts of some of these vaccines

    The irony, it burns.

  38. T_U_T

    it was your child sacrificed on the altar of populational health.

    And what is populational health ? All people. Included children, Included you. Included your child.
    And, you know, polio is not quite a healthy thing to get.

  39. Mark Hansen

    All you pro-disease bozos attacking vaccines on this blog wouldn’t care about the effects of preventable diseases unless it was your child dying or permanently disabled on the altar of celebrity stupidity.

  40. I am not against vaccines, I realize they save a lot of lives. What I am against is the propaganda out there saying vaccines are 100% safe, that they can cause brain injuries that lead to autism. I am against the REQUIREMENT to vaccinate, this should be a parents decision (if you have been vaccinated what fear do you have that an unvaccinated person could infect you?) AND I want the public to hold the FDA accountable for failing to protect the public.

    MadScientist Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Yep, the trolls have arrived. The usual pathetic excuse: “oh, but the courts say”. Hahaha; as if a judge or jury can say anything about vaccines. Besides, most court cases have resulted in a dismissal due to lack of evidence that vaccines cause autism.

    Fool, Vaccine Court has no judges, no juries, the plaintiff can’t even get discovery from the defense and yes, most cases have been dismissed due to lack of evidence. Why don’t you try to put on a case against a multi-billion dollar industry with your 2 dollar expert witnesses and your $40 clinical trial study. These people going up against these corporations are seriously outgunned, attorneys bill, on average $20,000, for the representation of the plaintiff/victim. I just spent 5 grand on an attorney to go over a business contract. How much do you honestly think $20k gets you with a world class legal firm? 20 hours? 30? Does that include travel time?

    Admit it, the death of someone else’s kid for the betterment of the population, collateral damage, serves you well. Even when disease runs it’s course in nature and we build natural immunities over a couple of generations time.


  41. CJ

    There are some misperceptions about the anti-vaccine crowd. Jenny McCarthy may be the (crazy/militant) face of the movement, but she is far from representing “average” person. Most non-celebs concerned about vaccinations simply want to be more careful with vaccines. Our two children have received all of their vaccines, but not in massive one-day injections. We carefully planned it out so that they received no more than two vaccines per visit and no more than one vaccine visit per month. This allowed us to carefully monitor for reactions and reduced the likelihood of vaccine interactions. We ended up with a few extra visits to the doctor, but nothing unreasonable, and we were never more than a couple months behind the “standard progression.” By age 2 1/2, we no longer were behind at all.

    Studies have cast serious doubt that any one vaccine causes autism, but it’ll take a lot more research to prove that certain combinations of vaccines don’t cause autism. Until we have enough research to definitively eliminate that concern, it is prudent to avoid giving 4-8 vaccines in one doctor visit.

  42. RL

    I saw this today. Like all initial scientific claims, more research is needed to verify but the impact could be huge in the areas of autism prevention/correction and vaccines.


    The paragraph at the end is very insightful.

    OK, everyone can get back to their name calling now.

  43. A.K. Hard

    I am very proud of Jenny McCarthy for standing up to our corrupt and twisted medical system. Most people have no idea how corrupt it really is. AMA is so tied into the drug companies that doctors are trained in a way that makes drug companies profit. It is all about getting people hooked on drugs. Doctors are in bed with the drug dealers. And many doctors are too brainwashed to see how the system is using them. Most of the drugs are very poisonous to our system. Including vaccinations. Vaccinations contain MERCURY a known POISON. Why is this happening? Follow the money. It is profitable to keep people sick. The drug companies are that powerful. Yes, vaccinations contribute to Autism AND many other issues. My guess is they “powers that be” rationalize keeping people sick because if the entire planet was healthy, it would not last another 50 years. Can’t argue with that. I found out about the corruption after researching my own health issues. I cured my depression and anxiety naturally. I got rid of dental problems including cavities, naturally. Alternative natural therapies are amazing and do work. There is a great backlash against them. Who is behind the backlash? The drug companies and medical community. I will never set foot in a doctor’s office again if I can help it. All they did was make me sicker. In fact, I was healthy before I ever set foot in a doctor’s office. Yes, they can do good, but they can also do very, very bad. Research. Find out the truth for yourself.

  44. Todd W.


    Wow…so much wrong. Where to start. Let’s see, how about with the language claims:

    Chinese word for autism: 自閉症 自闭症 zì bì zhèng
    I couldn’t find a decent English-Somali dictionary online that actually worked, so I need to pass on that one.

    Now, court cases:
    Hannah Poling – Had a mitochondrial disorder which was made worse by the vaccine, according to the court. The court ruled, however, that the vaccine did not cause autism.

    Bailey Banks – Suffered acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which, last I checked is not an autism spectrum disorder. Note this bit from the decision: “The
    limited available evidence suggest that children with PDD-NOS probably come to professional attention rather later than is the case with autistic children, and that intellectual deficits are less common.” In other words, not a finding of a vaccine causing autism. You also got your date wrong for the case. The ruling was filed July 2007, not Feb. 2009.

    You may want to look at the original sources, rather than relying on HuffPo articles by RFK Jr. and David Kirby.

    Ever look on the VAERS site to see just how many victims of vaccines there are?

    Yup. There are a lot of reports. However, VAERS record adverse events whether or not they are causally related to the vaccine. It is not a source of scientific information on causality. What it can do, at best, is suggest where more research might be warranted.

    the Somalis in Minnesota having autism by epidemic proportions, the Chinese same thing

    Citations, please.

    Name one, one person that died or was seriously injured as a result of ANYTHING said or done by Jenny McCarthy.

    While I can’t prove a direct connection, the anti-vaccine sentiment espoused by McCarthy was responsible for the death of a child in Minnesota from Hemophilus influenze type B (Hib) because the parent refused the vaccination. There were 5 kids infected, three of whom were unvaccinated because their parents refused the Hib vaccine. One of those three died. (children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20090123/hib-outbreak-kills-unvaccinated-child)

    In Germany in 2006, two children died from measles in a major outbreak, again, because the parents refused vaccination. That outbreak probably was not due to McCarthy, but rather to Wakefield, but it illustrates the kind of damage that can result from drops in vaccination. In that outbreak of 614 victims of measles, over 80% were unvaccinated, including the two children who died. (who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/2/07-050187.pdf)

    So, while I can’t show a direct connection to McCarthy, there is definitely a connection to the anti-vaccine/pro-disease ideology. I’m sure there are more, but there’s 3 for you. Then there are also the hospitalizations (see that Germany case for more info on that, including the costs associated).

    Which reminds me. One of the big arguments is that the vaccine manufacturers are greedy, and so they use the vaccines to make people sick. Take a look at the study of the German outbreak and just how much money was sucked up by treatment of measles and their complications. It seems to me that there is far more money to be made by not vaccinating.

  45. Todd W.


    Oh, and to echo what MadScientist said, the courts do not operate on a scientific level of rigor. The NVIC uses a standard of “more likely than not”. In other words, the plaintiff only needs to show that there is at least 50% + a hair likelihood that the vaccine caused the injury. Science, on the other hand, requires a somewhat higher level of confidence in the results (usually around 95%). Further, the NVIC cases are individual cases and as such don’t have statistical power to relate the results to a broader population.

  46. Ahhh, always good to see celebrities make their points eloquently and without cussin’. Oh, wait, that wasn’t her.

  47. alfaniner

    Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are on Larry King Live on Friday, Apr 3. The show blurb says we will hear “both sides” of the controversy. I can bet who will get more air time…

  48. Many people in my family live in Pittsburgh — neice, nephews, etc. Hope they’re able to contain the measles.

  49. Robert Carnegie

    My mother caught polio. Apparently there is doubt that what FDR had was polio. Jenny McCarthy should get polio, and then drive around in an electric motorised wheelchair controlled by twitching like Stephen Hawking. For the sa+e of population health.

    I wouldn’t swallow mercury neat, but there’s little or none in current vaccines of all kinds. There is some in Surf ‘N’ Turf. Your choice.

  50. Todd W.

    @Phil Plait

    Phil, bensmyson’s post made me aware of some recent news articles, which the pro-disease groups appear to be touting as evidence that vaccines cause autism. From a NY Times article:

    In November, J. B. Handley, a founder of Generation Rescue, which advocates treating autistic children with wheat- and dairy-free diets, vitamins and chelation to remove mercury, wrote an open letter to “Courageous Somali Parents.”

    He warned them not to trust the state health department and suggested they slow down their children’s shots and get exemptions to school vaccination requirements. He also offered to pay for some to attend an antivaccine conference.

    The appeal has had an effect. Many parents, including Ayub’s, now say that their children’s autism began after seizures that started after they got shots.

    The full article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/health/17auti.html?ref=science&pagewanted=all

  51. @CJ,

    I agree with some sections of your post and disagree with others. Like you, we space out our vaccinations. This is mainly because our children have had febrile seizures (latest was just under 2 weeks ago). Scariest thing I’ve ever been through, seeing your child turning blue/stopping breathing. These can be brought on incidentally by vaccines. I say “incidentally” because it isn’t the vaccine itself that causes the seizure. It’s a high fever that the vaccine causes. Still, febrile seizures are harmless. Scary, yes, but harmless in the long run. Still, to reduce their occurrence, we space out vaccines that are known to cause fevers (like the MMR) and give our kids Motrin + Tylenol at the first sign of a fever.

    That being said, I disagree about the “well, one vaccine doesn’t cause autism, but a combination might” argument. That’s moving the goalposts in my book. The anti-vaccine movement first argued about mercury in vaccines. When that was disproved, they argued that the vaccines themselves caused Autism. When that was disproved, they moved on to the schedule/number of vaccines being the supposed cause. Meanwhile, they have no scientific proof to back up their claims. Just theories plucked from thin air which they then “require” scientists to disprove to back up giving vaccines to children. Given that vaccines are shown to reduce the incidence of life threatening illnesses, I would think that it would be the anti-vaccine crowd who should show some evidence instead of another batch of wild speculations.

  52. MartinM

    Bailey Banks vs HHS – February 2009 – Special Master Abell found that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine caused brain damage in this child, which led to his diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) an autism spectrum disorder. Bailey will likely receive over $3 million in compensation to cover a lifetime of autism care and treatment.

    It’s interesting you should bring up this case. As Todd W. states, the Banks family claimed that the MMR vaccine caused a condition called ADEM, which in turn caused a non-autistic Pervasive Developmental Delay (not the same thing as PDD-NOS). Let’s leave aside the issue of the low standard of proof required in the case and assume that the Banks family is correct in every detail.

    Do you know what else causes ADEM? Viral infection. Specifically, the measles virus is known to cause it. The MMR vaccine is claimed to cause ADEM at a rate of 1 in 1,000,000 cases. Measles is known to cause ADEM at a rate of 1 in 1,000 cases. So even if everything you say is true, the net effect of the MMR vaccine is to prevent PDD, not to cause it.

  53. Todd W.

    @A.K. Hard

    Vaccinations contain MERCURY a known POISON.

    Umm, you seem to be using rather out-of-date sources. The majority of vaccines no longer contain thimerosal/mercury. Those that do have thimerosal-free versions available. Take your own advive: do your research.

  54. Gary Ansorge


    Here’s another theory of autism cause:

    DOES THE VITAMIN D THEORY BEST EXPLAIN AUTISM?The theory that vitamin D deficiency, during pregnancy or childhood, causes autism is just a theory. However, the theory has a plausible mechanism of action, explains all the unexplained facts about autism, subsumes several other theories, implies simple prevention, and is easily disprovable—all components of a useful theory. A genetic lesion (abnormality) in some component of the vitamin D system—a lesion vitamin D’s unique pharmacology could overcome—would explain why monozygotic (identical) twins are highly affected while fraternal twins are not. Varying brain levels of activated vitamin D during later life would explain why some identical twins get severe disease while others are barely affected. Falling vitamin D levels over the last 20 years due to sun-avoidance explain autism’s rapid increase in incidence during that same time. The very different effects estrogen and testosterone have on vitamin D metabolism may explain why boys are much more likely to get it than girls are. Lower vitamin D levels in blacks may explain their higher rates of autism. The vitamin D theory has tenable explanations for all the epidemiological features of autism.

    At least this one makes a bit of sense,,,

    GAry 7

  55. The Chinese didn’t recognise autism until 2006.

    “For decades, autism went largely undiagnosed in China even as in the West awareness was growing of the condition. China only recognised autism as a disability in 2006.

    “Autism is very unknown in China. If you ask people on the street, 90 percent of them have never heard of it,” said Tian Huiping, the founder of China’s pioneering school for autism, Stars and Rain, in the suburbs of Beijing.

    Some provinces have also begun to set up state-backed schools, in a sign that autism, known in Chinese as “lonely syndrome”, is finally getting recognition.”


    MPR: Report : Higher rate of Somali kids in Mpls autism programs
    Mar 31, 2009 … There is no word for autism in the Somali language. And as far as Abdull knows, there are no cases of autism in Somalia. …


    Poling and Banks both have autism and that’s a fact. Bank’s case was HEARD in July of 2007, the decision wasn’t announced until last month.

    HIB Vaccine Recall
    December 17, 2007

    Comment Tell A Friend
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    US pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co and its China importer have recalled 104,930 vials of a children’s vaccine against meningitis and pneumonia after they were found to be defective, China’s top drug watchdog said yesterday.

    Hib is a vaccine for under-five children against meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections.

    The vaccines were distributed in eight Chinese municipalities and provinces, including Beijing and Tianjin, and Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan and Sichuan, said a statement on the State Food and Drug Administration’s website (SFDA). But there have been no reports from any of these places of a child falling ill after vaccination.

    In fact, Merck has recalled 1.2 million vials of Hib across the world after finding sterilization defects in the lot made at its Pennsylvania factory on Wednesday.

    Baby dies after being given Hib vaccine

    A FOUR-MONTH-OLD baby died after receiving a pneumonia and meningitis vaccine in east China’s Shandong Province, an official with the local health bureau said yesterday. The baby was vaccinated against Haemophilus… …from Shanghai Daily on Sun, Oct 26 2008

    Febrile seizures are extremely scary. When my son initially had his seizures the doctor said (over the phone) they were febrile seizures. I wonder how he could tell the difference between febrile seizures or meningitis over the phone.

    A child having a febrile seizure may:

    * Have a fever usually higher than 102 F (38.9 C)
    * Lose consciousness
    * Shake or jerk the arms and legs on both sides of the body
    * Rigidity
    * Roll his or her eyes back in the head
    * Have trouble breathing
    * Lose urine
    * Vomit
    * Cry or moan

    Possible symptoms of infant meningitis:

    * Fever
    * Headache – often hard to detect in an infant
    * Irritability
    * Poor feeding
    * Refusing feeds
    * Fretfulness
    * Dislike of handling
    * Neck stiffness – though difficult to identify in newborn except by other behaviors like neck retraction or back arching.
    * Retracting neck
    * Arching back
    * High pitched crying
    * Whimpering
    * Lethargy
    * Tiredness
    * Difficulty waking
    * Staring expression
    * Vomiting
    * Bulging fontanel
    * Seizures
    * Poor muscle tone
    * Jaundice
    * Diarrhea

    Of course a misdiagnosis could mean death or as in my son’s case, a serious brain injury.

  56. Gary Ansorge
  57. VITAMIN D ?

    I’m not too sure this has anything to do with my son’s case. His problem developed immediately after he received his vaccines at 12 months of age. His immune system was out of wack the day he got his shots, his doctor saw nothing unusual in his seizures, fevers and fits of screaming at the top of his lungs. He lost his language he developed, lost eye contact, social interaction, stopped eating real foods and stayed sick. His doctor said his immune system was equal to that of an AIDS patient.

    Ben was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, caused by the measles. Unless I allow a brain biopsy or a lumbar puncture we will not know for certain if the measles is from a wild strain or a vaccine. Right now it is just a coincidence that he became so sick after the vaccine.

    I have no idea what caused he autism in other children, I just know a brain injury caused my son to have characteristics of someone with autism.

    Based on my clinical study of one child, autism is caused by a virus. Vitamin D, testosterone, mother smoking, vinyl flooring, pesticides, older parents may all be connected by weakening the protection mechanism guarding the area of the brain that is sensitive to viral infections. This can happen in the uterus or out, who knows.

    I just know what happened to my son and I believe it to be vaccine related.

  58. icareaboutkids

    Personally, just me and what I’d do if I had kids (I teach kids though), would find the parents that didn’t vac their offspring, and then try to make the financially responsible for destroying the herd immunity. If I could, I’d report them for child endangerment.

    But I’m just mean that way.

    Oh and Shane, thanks for the great “Name” for this post.

    Chris J

  59. Gary Ansorge

    Unfortunately, belief is no substitute for evidence. The vit D theory links back to prenatal vit d levels as well as concurrent vit d levels. Further research MAY be warranted. It is, after all, a theory which MIGHT connect to both environmental effects and genetic interactions,,ie, IF one is susceptible to a particular virus AND is exposed at a particular neural developmental stage THEN there may be significant effects. Knowing which does what and when is, as you can imagine, very complicated,,,

    Gary 7

  60. mike burkhart

    This is why I don’t listen to clebertys the never know what ther talking about Jeny Mcarthey has no MD and so is not expert on medical maters any more Pat robertson is an expert on eveolution or the big bang

  61. Gary Ansorge


    I use iMac and it has a great spell checker. Makes me look a lot smarter than I am,,,

    GAry 7

  62. Gary Ansorge

    Also, punctuation is really useful.

    GAry 7

  63. Todd W.


    The Chinese didn’t recognise autism until 2006.

    “For decades, autism went largely undiagnosed in China even as in the West awareness was growing of the condition. China only recognised autism as a disability in 2006.

    “Autism is very unknown in China. If you ask people on the street, 90 percent of them have never heard of it,” said Tian Huiping, the founder of China’s pioneering school for autism, Stars and Rain, in the suburbs of Beijing.

    Some provinces have also begun to set up state-backed schools, in a sign that autism, known in Chinese as “lonely syndrome”, is finally getting recognition.”

    You seem to be equating having no diagnosis for it as meaning it didn’t exist. The one does not necessarily equal the other. Before the disease description was even developed in the West, it most certainly existed, but it was called other things, mental retardation among them. You should also note that the article you linked to mentioned the big problems with recognition (due to no developmental milestone comparisons between siblings) and a lack of diagnostic tools. Simply put, autism may have been just as common there as anywhere else; they just didn’t have the tools or knowledge to look for and correctly diagnose it.

    At any rate, you said they did not have a word for it. I showed that they did. You moved the goalpost, but still used faulty logic.

    Regarding the Somalis in Minnesota, you should note that the articles (and the NY Times more so than the NPR one) state that the cause of the high rates of autism in the Somali population are unknown, but that there are many different contenders, such as vitamin D deficiency, inbreeding, effects from the civil war, and so on. The article does not support the argument that vaccines are in any way connected.

    Poling and Banks both have autism and that’s a fact.

    Wrong. Poling has complications of a mitochondrial disorder. Banks has acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Neither of these is autism, though their symptoms may be similar.

    In fact, Merck has recalled 1.2 million vials of Hib across the world after finding sterilization defects in the lot made at its Pennsylvania factory on Wednesday.

    Good for Merck for picking up on the defects and taking appropriate actions to avoid patient injury. This event, however, still does not show that vaccines in toto are bad and evil and simply tools of a money-grubbing corporation. In fact, it contradicts the “Big Pharma’s trying to make us sick” argument.

    Regarding the Hib vaccine death in China, do you have a link to the story?

    Of course a misdiagnosis could mean death or as in my son’s case, a serious brain injury.

    And, misdiagnosis is the fault of the vaccine how?

    His immune system was out of wack the day he got his shots

    Wait, wait, wait. Was he already sick the day that he got his shots? IIRC, most vaccines warn against administration of the vaccine if the patient is sick, on antibiotics, and so forth. If your son was sick that day, then his doctor is at fault. But then, your comment that his doctor diagnosed his seizures over the phone rather than calling for him to come in to be examined already speaks to his ineptitude.

    You have my sympathies for what happened to you and your son. However, I think you are placing the blame in the wrong spot. In general, vaccines are safe (and yes, there’s always some level of risk). There are situations where they should not be administered, though, such as when the patient is ill, is allergic to one of the excipients (e.g., eggs), and so forth. These are spelled out in the labeling. Any physician that doesn’t follow the indications in the labeling is putting their patient at increased risk.

  64. MartinM

    Poling and Banks both have autism and that’s a fact.

    Poling may well be autistic, but the claim actually made before, and accepted by, the NVIC was that vaccination caused a regressive encephalopathy with features consistent with an autistic spectrum disorder. The decision in the Banks case clearly describes his condition as a non-autistic PDD.

    Bank’s case was HEARD in July of 2007, the decision wasn’t announced until last month.

    False. The decision was filed on 20/07/2007, and made publically available shortly after.

    Why weren’t the anti-vaxxers talking about it earlier? Because the Banks case is pretty weak. There’s no solid evidence that MMR causes ADEM, no solid evidence that ADEM causes PDD, there’s even some question as to whether Bailey Banks actually had ADEM, and of course, there’s the minor detail that PDD is not autism. And even if all those weak links turn out to be solid gold, the fact remains that measles is known to cause ADEM at a rate one thousand times greater than that claimed for MMR. If the Banks case is true in every respect, then it is an argument for vaccination, not against.

  65. Elmar_M

    McCarthy is so full of s___. I hope she learns how to keep her f______ing, foul mouth shut, because only s____ is coming out, when she opens it.
    What kind of f____ing language is that anyway? Did she grow up on a f____ing farm in the dump for pig s___.

    Ahh, that feels much better!


    What is the difference between autism and PDD?

    The term “PDD” is widely used by professionals to refer to children with autism and related disorders; however, there is a great deal of disagreement and confusion among professionals concerning the PDD label. Diagnosis of PDD, including autism or any other developmental disability, is based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC, 1994), and is the main diagnostic reference of mental health professionals in the United States.

    According to the DSM-IV, the term “PDD” is not a specific diagnosis, but an umbrella term under which the specific diagnoses are defined.



    Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders)

    What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), cause severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. These disorders are usually first diagnosed in early childhood and range from a severe form, called autistic disorder, through pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), to a much milder form, Asperger syndrome. They also include two rare disorders, Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.


    Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is a ‘subthreshold’ condition in which some – but not all – features of autism or another explicitly identified Pervasive Developmental Disorder are identified. PDD-NOS is often incorrectly referred to as simply “PDD.” The term PDD refers to the class of conditions to which autism belongs. PDD is NOT itself a diagnosis, while PDD-NOS IS a diagnosis. The term Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also referred to as “atypical personality development,” “atypical PDD,” or “atypical autism”) is included in DSM-IV to encompass cases where there is marked impairment of social interaction, communication, and/or stereotyped behavior patterns or interest, but when full features for autism or another explicitly defined PDD are not met.

    It should be emphasized that this ”subthreshold” category is thus defined implicitly, that is, no specific guidelines for diagnosis are provided. While deficits in peer relations and unusual sensitivities are typically noted, social skills are less impaired than in classical autism. The lack of definition(s) for this relatively heterogeneous group of children presents problems for research on this condition. The limited available evidence suggest that children with PDD-NOS probably come to professional attention rather later than is the case with autistic children, and that intellectual deficits are less common.


    And my bad, Banks’ parents were awarded a lump sum of more than $810,000 plus medical-care compensation by the vaccine court in February 2009. It took over a year and a half to come up with the money. Special Master Richard Abell ruled that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that “the MMR vaccine at issue actually caused the conditions from which Bailey suffered and continues to suffer”.

    My son’s doctor was indeed an idiot and a great deal of the responsibility for his injury lays at the feet of this doctor and his partners in his practice for failing to follow the simplest of protocols. But many children present to the doctor’s office with no symptoms and a normal range of red blood cells that are actually too sick to be getting the vaccines. How do we as parents know any better if the doctors don’t? How do we as parents know to be cautious about vaccines when we are constantly told not to worry, it is those crazy Jenny McCarthy antivax people looking for excuses. How do we as parents know that some vaccines, such as ProQuad, has clinical trials showing serious adverse reactions, including death when it doesn’t make the evening news? But what does make the news is crap like this: “Recently, Offit set off a flurry of angry postings when he said that a baby’s immune system could handle as many as 10,000 vaccines. Then he upped the ante, saying it was probably “closer to 100,000.” http://www.newsweek.com/id/165644/page/2

  67. As a parent of two ASD children who were normal BEFORE vaccines and another child who almost DIED from vaccines, I am discussed at this one sided pro-vaccine article.
    Vaccines have NOT been proven safe or effective and do have serious side effects. It should be up to the parents to make the decision for their child. Vaccines should not be a one size fit all for every child.
    As for Polio, the OPV vaccine actually SPREAD the disease after it was already on a natural decline. That has been scienfically proven but you don’t report that side of it! ANY LIVE VIRUS VACCINE CAN AND OFTEN DOES SPREAD DISEASE. Go read the vaccine inserts.
    I will no longer be watching the Discovery channel and am canceling my magazine subscription.

  68. Todd W.


    You’re using scare tactics and distorting things. Let’s put your comment about the polio vaccine into perspective. The following information is from chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=75724 (add www to the front):

    In the early 1960s, when immunization rates in this country were low, contact immunity was an important feature of OPV. However, despite OPV’s 40 years of success, there was an extremely rare but frighteningly dangerous side effect: permanent paralysis. Paralysis caused by OPV occurred in about one of every 750,000 people after taking the first doses of the vaccine. Since 1979, the time when natural polio was eliminated from the United States, OPV caused about six to eight cases of paralysis each year.

    The IPV form, now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), does not, and cannot cause paralysis. But the original IPV, made in 1955, wasn’t a very good vaccine. A few people immunized with at least two doses of the old IPV still caught polio. In the early 1980s, due to advances in protein chemistry and protein purification, a much better inactivated polio vaccine was made. This new IPV obviated concerns about the old IPV and has been the only polio vaccine recommended for use in the United States since 1998.

    And from the CDC:

    Before polio vaccine was available, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year in the United States. These annual epidemics of polio often left thousands of victims–mostly children–in braces, crutches, wheelchairs, and iron lungs. The effects were life-long.

    Okay, so we have 6-8 cases of paralytic polio from OPV per year versus 13,000-20,000 cases of paralytic polio per year without the vaccine. The OPV-induced cases suck, yes, but compared to the alternative, just a slight improvement, wouldn’t ya say? Also, regarding “spreading the disease”, note the bit about contact immunity above.

    Vaccines have NOT been proven safe or effective

    Uh, yes, they have. Otherwise, FDA would not allow them on the market. No proof = breaking the law.

    do have serious side effects

    Yes, but the serious side effects are extremely rare. As with any medicine that has an effect, there is the potential for serious side effects. The question then becomes, do the risks outweigh the benefits, or do the benefits outweigh the risk? In answering that question, one must look not only at the risks from the vaccine, but also the risks of not vaccinating. For example, here are the risks from the disease vs. risk from the vaccine (info from cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm):

    MMR –

    Pneumonia: 6 in 100
    Encephalitis: 1 in 1,000
    Death: 2 in 1,000

    Congenital Rubella Syndrome: 1 in 4 (if woman becomes infected early in pregnancy)


    Encephalitis or severe allergic reaction:
    1 in 1,000,000

    DTaP –

    Death: 1 in 20

    Death: 2 in 10

    Pneumonia: 1 in 8
    Encephalitis: 1 in 20
    Death: 1 in 1,500


    Continuous crying, then full recovery: 1 in 1000
    Convulsions or shock, then full recovery: 1 in 14,000
    Acute encephalopathy: 0-10.5 in 1,000,000
    Death: None proven

  69. Numbers are what you make of them. Prior to ProQuad® (MMRV) being introduced into the marketplace the fall of 2005, Merck completed a trial that showed roughly 2.2 children per 1,000 developing seizures as a result of the vaccine. The FDA allowed Merck to market the vaccine with a condition for them to do a broader study looking into the seizures. In 2007, the same year Merck removed ProQuad® from the market, the study was completed and showed 7.9/1000 developed seizures. There is a huge disparity between the two trials conducted by Merck and as it relates to the seizures resulting from an MMR+V. The MMRV has twice as many seizures as an MMR+V. It was also the second study completed in 2007 that caused the FDA to make Merck include an adverse warning label about encephalitis.

    The average wholesale price (AWP) for ProQuad® is $153.31 per dose. Between 2oo5 when it was introduced on the market until summer of 2007 when it was removed, Merck took in over $250,000,000 per quarter in revenues on the vaccine. That’s roughly 3 billion dollars. It was the second highest grossing vaccine.

    FDA inspectors spent a total of 30 days at the West Point plant between Nov. 26, 2007, and Jan. 17, 2008. In April of 2008 an FDA report showed 49 problems at the Merck vaccine plant in West Point, Pennsylvania. The report cites cases where bulk lots of PEDVAX and ProQuad were contaminated, that measuring instruments were were not calibrated properly and that unwanted “fibers” were found on the vial stoppers. Also the report noted defective vials had to be rejected twice to be discarded, and that one internal quality investigation went on for more than a year unresolved.

    Several experts said no single finding was horrendous but that the overall pattern was troubling. “It’s the sum of many small things that puts the whole operation in question,” said a 25 year veteran consultant.

    He also said, “I would not judge the plant as being out of control. There are numerous issues where they failed to comply with their own documentation and SOP [standard operating procedure] requirements. This suggests insufficient staff. There are other instances where the validation was insufficient. This also looks to me like overwork of the available crew. Sometimes in a plant where everyone feels overburdened . . . they give up trying to do everything and just try to keep their heads above water.”

    Then there is this, as if you need anymore proof that just because the FDA gives their stamp of approval doesn’t mean it’s safe.

    FDA ignored debris in syringes
    Complaints of filth came in 2005; plant’s microbiologist was a teenage dropout

    RALEIGH — Months before an Angier company shipped deadly bacteria-tainted drugs, the federal Food and Drug Administration received numerous complaints about sediment and debris in the medicine.

    The FDA received reports about AM2PAT as early as 2005, but not until December 2007 did the agency issue recall notices to pull the drugs off the market.

    Although they are supposed to be inspected every two years, plants such as AM2PAT have instead gotten site visits about once every five years, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Between 2002 and 2007, FDA inspectors visited only about one-quarter of the 5,616 registered plants per year, the GAO report states.

    From 1988-2007, the FDA was mandated to enforce 123 new laws. Taking inflation into account, it lost $300 million in funding during the same period. Staffing has remained roughly the same for 15 years.


    I realize that my son’s injury is a one in a million event. But with the proper oversight and adherence to proper protocol my son’s injury could have been prevented. And of course, had I have known then, what I know now, I would have never allowed my son to be vaccinated. But then, according to most of you, he still would have developed autism when he did because vaccines don’t cause autism.

  70. Sally

    December 2, 2005

    On October 14, the major media outlets shrieked a report of “the first outbreak of polio in the United States in 26 years,” occurring in an Amish community in central Minnesota. The specter of hundreds of children in braces and iron lung machines lining the halls of hospitals immediately danced through the air, and directly into the minds of parents who have chosen to not vaccinate their children.

    More than a month later, phone calls and emails from concerned parents continue to pour in. The fears surrounding this “outbreak” need to be put to rest.

    First of all, there wasn’t an “outbreak of polio.” There was only the discovery of an inactivated polio virus in the stool of four children. The first confirmation was in a 7-month old Amish infant, presumably hospitalized, with severe immune deficiency. The “find” prompted screening of other children in the community; four children were confirmed positive. None experienced any type of paralysis.

    Part of the panic can be blamed on inaccurate reporting. The virus that was identified was not “wild polio.” It was a virus that is found only in the oral polio vaccine (OPV). Oral vaccine-strain viruses are inactivated with formaldehyde and are generally considered by the CDC “too weak” to cause disease. Even though the OPV is still used extensively in Third World countries, it has not been used in the United States since 2000. How did children in an isolated Amish community, with no exposure to foreigners, become exposed to vaccine-strain polio virus? That remains a mystery.

    The unasked question is why was finding this strain front-page news? My suspicion is that it was because it was an Amish child; a large number of the Amish choose to not vaccinate their children. A confirmation would serve a dual purpose: to make an ”example” of the Amish and scare parents into believing polio still being ”in circulation,” when in fact, it is not.

    A review of polio is important to alleviating the fears about the disease. Keep in mind that the last case of “wild type” polio virus in U.S was in 1979; the last case the Western Hemisphere was in the Peru, in 1991.

    Polioviruses are transient inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract. Up to 95% of all polio infections are completely asymptomatic. Approximately 5% of polio infections consist of a minor, nonspecific illness consisting of an upper respiratory tract infection (sore throat and fever) and gastrointestinal disturbances (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea). This influenza-like illness, clinically indistinguishable from the myriad of other viral illnesses, is characterized by complete recovery in less than a week with resultant life time immunity.

    Less than 1% of all polio infections result in paralysis. Most importantly, the vast majority of individuals who contract paralytic poliomyelitis recover with complete—or near complete—return of muscle function. Any weakness that is still present 12 months after onset of paralysis is usually considered permanent.[1]

    The take home message from the “Amish outbreak” is this:

    1. Polio is not a synonym for paralysis.
    2. The presence of vaccine-strain polio identified in the stool of 4 asymptomatic children is not a “polio outbreak.”
    3. There have been no wild polio viruses identified in the Western hemisphere since 1991.
    4. The WHO certified the Western hemisphere “polio free” in 1994.

  71. Todd W.


    I realize that my son’s injury is a one in a million event. But with the proper oversight and adherence to proper protocol my son’s injury could have been prevented.

    The information you posted illustrates the fact that FDA is understaffed and underfunded. That, and the political interference from time to time, are the big problems I see with the FDA. That is not to say, however, that every single thing they approve is bad. The PA case you cite is a good example of FDA doing their job well and getting a dangerous product off the market.

    I would suggest that instead of putting your efforts into saying that vaccines are dangerous (they’re generally safe, though mistakes do happen and dangerous products slip through the cracks), advocate for Congress to provide more funding to FDA. That would help to ensure they have enough staff to conduct site visits in a timely manner and catch those bad things sooner. It would also decrease reliance on fees paid to the agency by industry.

  72. Dogs are dangerous, automobiles are dangerous, chemotherapy is dangerous my problem is the CDC and the media says vaccines are NOT dangerous when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    I have no idea whether or not the FDA needs more money to do their job, all I know is that they have failed repeatedly to protect the public from injuries that should have been caught early on. Case in point is the Pennsylvania plant’s contamination issues that took 6 months to catch and the Heprin case which of course someone at the FDA should go to prison for. Remember now that Merck was allowed by the FDA to put ProQuad on the market PRIOR to answering some serious questions about seizures and brain injuries and coincidentally once those answers came forward from the NEW study Merck pulled the product off the market just before the investigation began into the contamination at the Pennsylvania plant. ProQuad was not put on the market to fight some horrible outbreak of a new epidemic, it was put on the market as a convenience to the pediatricians. Four shots in one. Something that should have been thoroughly investigated prior to it’s release.

    Of course this is all my opinion and speculation and hand full of straw in one father’s attempt to piece together an understanding of what happened to a perfectly developed 12 month old little boy. Who knows, maybe all this is the result of a flea bite or an exposure to some common household cleaning solution but his measles titers and the rest of his blood work tend to point a finger in a different direction and if it can happen to my son, it can happen to others and that, I believe, is science. Whose fault it is, I guess, lays at my feet for allowing the vaccination to take place. But I can’t help but think that had there have been one headline, one news story that said anything other than how wrong people are to question the safety of vaccines I might see this in a completely different light. I can’t help but think we aren’t getting the truth and if we aren’t getting the truth about this, what else are we being lied to about? Yellow cake anybody?

  73. Todd W.


    The CDC, FDA, manufacturers, etc. do not say that vaccines are 100% without risk. However, they are, all other things considered, relatively safe. Every one of them, if one cares to look, state what the risks are for each vaccine. The media, on the other hand, I would say is more likely to distort this. Of course, there is also a misunderstanding by the public who hear “safe” and think it means 100% without risk. When talking about any kind of medicine, “safe” is a relative term and depends on examination of the benefits and risks involved.

    As to funding for the FDA, several years ago, through the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, industry began paying the FDA for every market application filed. The purpose of the fees was to provide added funding to hire more investigators to improve review quality and shorten review times. The necessity of this act, which has been renewed every year, was due to a lack of funding by Congress. FDA is still among the least-funded agencies in the government. I recommend the book Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation by Philip Hilts for a good history of the FDA and drug regulation. It provides insight into how it came about, how it has changed and the varying pressures to which the FDA is subject.

  74. Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation by Philip Hilts


  75. Sally

    The United States has the highest number of mandated vaccines for children under 5 in the world (36, double the Western world average of 18), the highest autism rate in the world (1 in 150 children, 10 times or more the rate of some other Western countries), but only places 34th in the world for its children under 5 mortality rate. What’s going on?
    Context: There is an intense debate over the correlation between rising autism prevalence and the United States vaccine schedule. The vaccine schedule for children aged 5 and under has nearly tripled in 25 years. In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control recommended 10 vaccines for this age group. Today, the recommendation is 36 vaccines. Calls by advocacy organizations for a “safer and leaner vaccine schedule” have been dismissed, with health authorities implying that mortality rates from childhood diseases would materially increase.

    Objective: To compare vaccine schedules, autism rates, and under 5 mortality rates of the United States to other countries to see if any differences emerge.

    Design: A full publication and literature review was completed to determine vaccine schedules and under 5 mortality rates for 30 countries, including the United States. The 29 other countries all had lower (better) under 5 mortality rates than the U.S. Additionally, autism rates were compared for certain countries with reliable, published autism prevalence data.

    Results: The United States mandates the most vaccines in the Western world (36), double the average of the 30 countries studied (18). All countries with lower vaccine mandates have better under 5 mortality rates and many have materially lower autism rates.

    Conclusions: The analysis lends credibility to the relationship between vaccines and autism and challenges the public view of both the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics that more vaccines is always positive for public health.


  76. Todd W.


    Age of Autism is not a credible source of information, sorry to say. As an example, I offer their support of Andrew Wakefield.

    At any rate, the information you posted is incomplete and sounds an awful lot like cherry-picking data. Was this study published anywhere? If so, in what journal? What was the title? Was it reviewed by independent third-parties? Has anyone else replicated the study? How were the other countries selected? What were the causes of infant mortality in each of the countries examined?

    There is so much left out of your little blurb, that it is basically useless, and certainly does not, in and of itself, carry any scientific weight.

    Following the link at the end and scrolling through the AoA site until I found the full blog entry where you got that, I noticed that the study was published by Generation Rescue, another pro-disease/anti-vaccine group who, before even knowing all the details involved in the autism rates among Somalis in MN, started canvassing the families saying that vaccines caused their kids’ autism.

    The authors created a table showing the number of vaccinations next to the mortality rate for under-five children, even though the United Nations report from which they got that data does not specify causes of death. It is misleading, therefore, to suggest that higher number of vaccines equals more deaths. I find it interesting that they do not show the number of mandated vaccines in any African countries next to those countries’ mortality rates. Also, even their table suggests that there is no correlation between # of mandated vaccines and under-five mortality, seeing as there are countries with more mandated vaccines and yet lower mortality rates than countries with fewer mandated vaccines.

    Before I ramble on any more, the study you posted has serious flaws and is quite simply bad science.

  77. TheBlackCat

    I will no longer be watching the Discovery channel and am canceling my magazine subscription.

    I can find no evidence of any affiliation between Discovery Channel and Discover Magazine.

  78. Zyggy

    @ (#3) James: Too bad no one has invented BRAIN implants. Someone seems desperately in need.

    (edit:) After reading the rest of the comments, it seems that you have (again) attracted quite a few wackos, Phil.

    NICE JOB! Hopefully a few of them will find that elusive animal called “reason” here.


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