Antivaxxers make me sick

By Phil Plait | April 24, 2009 1:19 pm

OK, so out of some masochistic need to destroy any will to live I have left, I decided to see what else the Huffington Post has to say about autism and vaccinations. Given the incredibly inaccurate and misleading article penned by Jim Carrey, and knowing that leading antivaxxers David Kirby and RFK Jr. also write for HuffPo, I was expecting to see things I wouldn’t be terribly happy about.

But I had no idea.

This article was just posted supporting Jenny McCarthy and her campaign, which, if successful, will bring back measles and polio to our children. Read it if you dare.

It was so transparently antiscience that I had to know who wrote it, and what do I see? "Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald". Oh great, I thought. A doctor. So what’s her specialty?

Why, click her bio! It says she’s "a licensed acupuncturist, certified clinical nutritionist, and a homeopath. She has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine."

kaBLAM!

Yup. When I read that my brain asploded*.

I am embarrassed I ever wrote anything for HuffPo, which is now a cesspool of misleading misinformation. Funny though; I still get people asking me "What’s the harm in believing in things that aren’t real?"

What’s the harm?

Polio.

Smallpox.

Pertussis.

Mumps.

Measles (with possibility of encephalitis and permanent brain damage).

Hib.

Death.

Death. That’s the harm. The antivax movement, the people who promote homeopathic water, the people who want you to poke you with needles… they are peddling nonsense that doesn’t work. And worse, when they convince someone that their fantasy is correct and the entire scientific and medical establishment is wrong, that person will be denied treatment that may actually do some good.

These folks may honestly care about others, and may be honestly trying to help. I’m sure that’s the case for Fitzgerald, who seems sincere.

But sincerity doesn’t make you right. And in the case of the antivaxxers it can make you — and everyone else — sick. Very sick indeed.


*I keep wondering how you get a doctorate in homeopathy. Maybe the less you study the more powerful your learning is. Or you could grind up the people who passed the exams the year before, mix one molecule of them with water, and drink up!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind

Comments (178)

  1. Ad Hominid

    Speaking of pertussis, Dr. Leila Denmark, who was co-developer of the vaccine for that disease in the 1920s ,is still alive.She turned 111 on February 1st.

  2. Dayna

    “Maybe the less you study the more powerful your learning is.”

    That is full of awesome.

  3. Frelghra

    To paraphrase Futurama, she’s got a Doctorate in Baloney.

    How depressing.

  4. Jason

    In the absence of nature’s inability to work through normal means of natural selection, we present you anti-vaxxers. Enjoy.

  5. Dave

    Mr BA. you are a scientist. Why are you not letting natural selection take its course?

  6. Vaccine rejectionism is unethical

    http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/2009/04/vaccine-rejectionism-is-unethical.html

    There is a moral dimension to vaccine rejectionism that deserves attention. Vaccination is like many other aspects of living in a society: it has benefits and risks. Free-riders are people who elect to take the benefits, but refuse to accept the risks.

  7. I saw that article too, and was saddened by it as well. No more Huffington Post for me. Time to switch to a real news organization.

  8. Sounds like you need to write more for Huffpo.

  9. Sam

    Wow…. It’s interesting to me, reading the article, that I got NONE of the feeling you did. It talked a bit about the autism/vaccination link, but I didn’t see it “rah-rah”ing that it *was* the cause.

    Your stance in judgement is rather off-putting. I don’t know your history with chronic disease, but with a little compassion, it’s easy to see how someone with no hope might grasp at straws that point to a solution. Maybe it’s the wrong solution, and maybe placing blame post-diagnosis isn’t the way to go, but maybe helping people toward the right solution instead of judging those whose intellect you feel is beneath yours would be a better tack to take.

    Just sayin’.

    Oh, and P.S. – People die all the time. Ironically, it’s called “life”.

  10. Branden

    Definitely – I read HuffPo daily because it’s a great aggregator of news. But I get sick every time they have the stupid anti-vaxxers on.

    I probably feel the same way as some generic republican does when Drudge, et all, have a successionist article or something similar.

  11. Rift

    What is sad is what will happen to this thread when Debora, Dona, John Best, and Elaine, Brigit (et al) find it….

    I’m all for them having the freedom of speech, that’s their constitutional right. They have the freedom to be stupid. I’m all for listening to the other side, that’s how science works, that’s how skepticism works.

    But they are the most insulting, vicious, childish posters I’ve seen in a long time, and that’s saying something. Plus they plug their ears, ignore statistics and keep rehashing the same old same old without addressing claims against their claims. Sounds like umm, familiar, doesn’t it. Mars face, moon hoaxers, Planet X, creationists, Alien Conspiracies, they all border (or cross over) into religious-like belief, denial, and fervor.

    I’m still personally insulted that Debora insinuated that my parent’s poor parenting skills are the reasons I have pock marks on my face from getting the chicken pox in the very early 60s and stating that the several cousins i had that died from chicken pox, measles, or mumps were from other causes.

    Now she seems to be blaming everything including depression, childhood obesity, diabetes, and probably dishpan hands on vaccines.

    They don’t promote science, or are even close to it, it has turned into a religion and all of us not on their side are infidels.

    While we, I, still think they have every right to state their mind. But I will point out they are wrong at every opportunity and am greatful Phil and posters like Todd W (and others) are gutsy but civil and far more patient (and civil) then I am.

    I had no idea there was even an pro-disease movement until Phil’s Blog filled me in.

    Gee, thanks, Phil.

  12. zaardvark

    Wouldn’t you grind up the people who failed?

  13. Another vaccine people should take: the annual flu vaccine. In an average year 30K+ healthy Americans die of the flu. They were not chronically sick patients or the elderly – those people bother to get the vaccine every year.

    Truly frightening. I know a handful of antivaxxers, their children are all sick with P.A.N.D.A.S. autism, sensory integration disorders or chronic immune deficiency/inflammatory diseases. Imagine that. My child has amazing immunity is fully functional, shakes off viruses in quickly and has had all of the vaccines available to her.

    I was unaware that a person would have enough to study to seek and achieve a doctorate in homeopathic medicine. I suppose the majority of the curriculum centers around marketing and persuading people to buy useless products.

  14. While I understand why you’re so much against this movement, you should become pro this movement. Click on my name for it! You’ll know why!

  15. Ad Hominid

    Yes, indeed, the pro-disease nuts have the legal right to be gullible and stupid. The Constitution does not, however, guarantee a right to be immunity from criticism or opposition, the right to the private forum of one’s choice, or the right to be taken seriously.

  16. Ben

    Thanks for pointing this out, this is truly sickening. I have removed the HuffPo from my bookmarks. I used to read mostly the articles about politics and economics, but I do not want to support a site which publishes this kind of nonsens.

    Ben

  17. SkepticalGal

    And hepatitis B, and HPV, and chicken pox, don’t forget. They kill people too, and we now have safe, proven vaccines for them, too. I can’t understand antivaxxers. Why in the world would you risk your child’s life on a conspiracy theory?

  18. @Larian

    Thanks for posting the links for me. I’ve been so busy with debora in the other thread that I missed this one being posted.

  19. Has anyone every confronted Ariana Huffington about those posts by Kirby, RFK JR., McCarthy and Carrey?

  20. Wayne

    You know, if there was a vaccine against anti-vaxxers, you wouldn’t be sick.

    Sorry, had to.

  21. I did the exact same thing yesterday. After reading the article I looked at the “doctors” bio. She studied homeopathy and acupuncture!!!!

  22. BJN

    Don’t be embarrassed about contributing to HuffPo. At least you’re diluting the irrational by a few molecules.

    Placebos are very effective. I have little doubt that the expensive water that homeopaths dispense is just as effective as any other placebo. Unfortunately, the nonsense alternative treatments often work. What’s scary is when the placebo effect doesn’t work and legitimate medical treatment isn’t given a chance.

  23. Brian M

    No more than I’ve come to expect from Huffington. Maybe I missed it in the string above but I don’t think anyone mentioned smallpox, which would still be killing and disfiguring by the truckload without the vax program that erradicated it.

  24. Jeremy

    @ChaosRu

    Flu vaccines are substantially more hit-or-miss than the kind of childhood vaccines generally discussed, simply because they require a prediction on the part of the formulators as to which flu strains are going to be dominant in a given year. This is not to say they aren’t a good idea, but the distinction bears making.

  25. I vote that since you post on HuffPo, Phil, you might post on HuffPo a scathing diatribe on why Jim Carrey’s latest article is wrong. And, do it every time the HuffPo posts such articles. After all, it is rare that you have the opportunity to state objections in the very same venue as the claims were made. I see a lot of value in it in that you would be reaching the same audience to which the erroneous claims were made. That is so much stronger than posting here about something someone said on TV or in a newspaper, etc (though, of course, I’m not saying don’t post here too).

  26. I always figured being called a certified quack was an insult. Little did I know that some quacks actually do get themselves certified. Convenient.

  27. Jeremy

    PsyberDave raises a good point. If they’ll let you, the sensible thing to do is use the same venue through which misinformation is being spread to debunk said misinformation. HuffPro is undeniably higher profile than your blog, Phil, much as we might wish it were otherwise. :)

  28. Craig

    At least we won’t need to worry about Death from the Skies!!! Phil, perhaps you need to write a new book “Death from Ignorance!”

  29. Doc

    I think people with advanced degrees in Homeopathy should be styled “Doctor of Practically Everything” – that way they’ll have “DoPE” after their name.

  30. Mchl

    Please people! I’m in a grave need! Does anyone know of homoeopathic contraceptive?

  31. Ad Hominid

    MCH sez
    “Please people! I’m in a grave need! Does anyone know of homoeopathic contraceptive?”

    Should be easy to mix one up, but if you do, be sure and stock up on diapers and baby food.

  32. Mike

    So here’s thought for you to chew on. If the HuffPo crowd are such uncritical thinkers regarding vaccines (and they are), why do you hold their political views in high regard? When I look at their politics, I see the same naivete that they bring to science.

  33. dave

    Second that. I’m sure if this was in a conservative paper, the article would have a long rant about how conservatives are crazy. But it’s in a liberal paper so–silence.

  34. @those of you who are dropping your HuffPo bookmarks or vowing to never visit the site again:

    Are you telling them why you’re leaving? Quietly boycotting them may slightly drop their click rates. It may even reduce their ad rates. But it won’t tell them why they’re losing readers (assuming they even notice). Telling them why you’re leaving on your way through the door will help drive the specific point home.

  35. You’re right, Rift. I don’t think i can handle another day of hard-to-decipher ranting and based on allegations and straw grabbing that have been discounted a hundred times over. Todd W, again your patience is as impressive as it is appreciated. I have no idea if Ariana Huffington has been confronted, but i damn well would if i could.

    Can’t we all say we have multiple Doctorates in Homeopathy? I’d submit that if Fitzgerald actually attended a homeopathy class, she’s no longer qualified. Or is that joke angle flogged to death? I’ll shut-up now.

  36. dre

    While I understand why you’re so much against this stupid, you should become pro this stupid. Click on my name for it! You’ll know why!

  37. The more I read about homeopathy and antivaxxers, it saddens me that my girlfriend wants to go into naturapathy.

  38. BGC

    Phil,
    Maybe instead of taking the “fight fire with fire” approach of posting to HuffPo, you should organize a media campaign to get on MSNBC and fight fire with water. I’m thinking that you or other vocal and knowledgeable people could, singly or as a group, approach Olbermann’s or Maddow’s shows and challenge them to take up the story. Maybe Ed Shultz too. The reason I pick MSNBC is, of course, that they loves them some Adrianna and to push back on her TeeVee friends (even if unsuccessful) might just have an impact by calling into question her integrity, etc. But you don’t even have to make it about HuffPo or its Queen at all… Take the talking heads to task for not calling the antivaxers on the carpet like they do for their respective political targets. If they can spend the time to bring down the climate deniers in congress, why not the antivaxers too? As a scientist and a parent, I’d think you and other similarly placed bloggers could make a persuasive case that the story has merit.

  39. Tiki Idyll

    “I have a degree in Homeopathic medicine!”
    “You have a degree in baloney!” *Firehose!*

  40. khan

    FIDs: Friends of Infectious Disease.

  41. Mchl Says:
    Please people! I’m in a grave need! Does anyone know of homoeopathic contraceptive?

    Bah! You’ll never find water with a nonexistant amount of baby in it.
    (Or is that semen?) Oh, how close we teeter to the edge of Phil’s comment policy.

  42. John Powell

    To be fair to the Huffington Post, it also supports this guy’s blog:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-dickerman/vaccine-denial-scientific_b_180026.html

  43. IVAN3MAN

    From the Huffington Post article:

    Every 20 minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism. In a study of select populations around the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that one in 150 children has the condition. According to the Autism Society of America, this is the fastest growing developmental disability with a 10-17% annual growth rate.

    At Least 11% of American Women Smoke During Pregnancy

    The negative effects of nicotine exposure to their fetuses and newborns are significant.

    Huffington Post:

    Throughout Healing and Preventing Autism, Jenny passionately reminds us that she and her dedicated army of advocates for autism are in this for the long haul:

    Thousands of parents, like me, have learned so much and the only reason we won’t shut up is to teach YOU, so you don’t have to walk in our shoes. Dr. Jerry and I want to arm parents with all the tools and information necessary to have the healthiest baby you can. The next generation of kids is counting on it!

    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!
    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!

    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!
    Jenny McCarthy STILL SMOKING!

    Make of that what you will.

    :cool:

  44. David D

    Oh no! The Left has teh stoopid?

    Is that possible?

  45. drow

    don’t forget to read the skeptical view, written by jacob dickerman on the same web site…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-dickerman/vaccine-denial-scientific_b_180026.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-dickerman/why-do-anti-vaccinationis_b_181557.html

    the first one, in particular, should be required reading for breeders.

  46. Oded

    # Tiki Idyll Says:
    “I have a degree in Homeopathic medicine!”
    “You have a degree in baloney!” *Firehose!*

    hahahaha awesome.When I first saw it I was blissfully ignorant of homeopathy and did not understand that bit. This is the first time I’ve noticed it :)

  47. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I keep wondering how you get a doctorate in homeopathy.

    I see that Orac calls it “quackademic medicine”.

  48. I, too was surprised by the amount of lunacy on the Huff. I just thought it was a hangout for partisan back-slapping. Boy was I wrong!

    More here: http://godlessintexas.blogspot.com/2009/04/huffington-post.html

    -Lexrst

  49. thaneb

    8:17 PM 04/23/09, the following email to the Huffington Post–
    Subject: Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, Wellness Editor
    HuffPost is doing its readers a disservice.
    You provide a blogging presence and title of Wellness Editor to one who holds herself out as Dr. yet you provide no information on her credential or its source so that your readers may assess credibility. It actually appears laughable: On Dr. Fitzgerald’s web page, that you provide, if one clicks on the “Show full bio” options there is nothing more than if “Hide full bio” is enabled. Perhaps this is an oversight on the part of HuffPost. However, on her own commercial site (which you link to) Dr. Fitzgerald provides no background information on her credentials (of which, one would think, she would be proud).

    The title Doctorate conveys authority. The title of Wellness Editor provides the imprimatur of the Huffington Post and international forum. As an ethical journalism outlet It is your duty to your readers to provide this necessary information on your Wellness Editor, Patricia Fitzgerald, if she is to continue to hold herself out as Dr. Given the inclusion of a link to her commercial site, an “advertisement” disclaimer might also be warranted.

  50. IVAN3MAN, mind emailing me the HTML on that post? :)

  51. MadScientist

    Hang on – she’s misrepresenting herself as a DOCTOR? She needs to go to jail – no passing ‘go’, no collecting on that $200. Calling yourself ‘doctor’ and running what claims to be a medical practice without having an MD and license to practice in whatever state is a felony; since she’s a practicing homeopath she’s actually practicing without a license. Someone lock up that mad cow.

  52. mommyof7

    for a second i thought she was the doctor from the liquid goddess lubricant commercials!
    lol she could use some liquid goddess!

  53. papabear

    lol you are sooo right, man i love that stuff. okok back to the topic at hand

  54. JimB

    Wait.

    homeopathic water

    Isn’t that redundant?

  55. Scott

    When you have your children you get to make decisions over their well-being. Vaccinations is one of many, many decisions one must weigh. Your sickness over antivaxxers, of all the crazy stuff, is just a sign of your intolerance.

  56. IVAN3MAN

    @ Larian LeQuella,

    It’s been sent! Check your in-box, mate. :-)

  57. nano

    My goodness, how very open minded of you all. Just because something doesn’t fit into the neat little box of current scientific understanding you call it “anti-scientific”. This is one step away from calling something scientific heresy.
    If you want to debate the power of placebo there is ton of evidence for you to argue until you are blue in the face.
    If you want to argue about a parents right to to choose what does or does not go into their child then step back and realize how scary the other edge of that sword is.

  58. Lawrence

    Wow – just wow…..just wait, here come the CRAZIES!!!!

  59. Remember – homeopathy isn’t a placebo! It provides a vital, life-sustaining compound that our ancestors have known about for generations. It aids digestion, relieves many headaches, and unquestionably increases a sense of overall well-being.

    …I’m talking about water of course – what did you think I meant?

  60. Ugh, not the “let’em kill themselves off!” gambit.

    Hoping evolution will cull the human herd of this nonsense is a bad idea. The fewer people we vaccinate for smallpox, the more smallpox virus is present in the population. The more virus is lurking around, the faster it’ll adapt to the environment. Smallpox will be more likely to mutate into a new form that dodges our vaccines, and that’s bad news for those of us with immunity.

    In addition, not everyone can be vaccinated. Some people have immune problems that prevent it, others simply don’t pick up the antibodies within the vaccine. Are you willing to kill these people off as collateral damage?

  61. # Craig Says:
    At least we won’t need to worry about Death from the Skies!!! Phil, perhaps you need to write a new book “Death from Ignorance!”

    or Death From These Guys?

    J/P=?

  62. jaycee

    Measles is a serious disease. I was unfortunately not immunised against measles and caught it as a child. I suffered from meningitis as a result, and was made permanently deaf as a result of that. I have met several people during my life who were also made permanently deaf as a result of measles.

  63. theo

    I avoid the HuffPo because it’s full of celebrity tripe and makes me dumber for reading it, compared to other political websites I could be spending time with.

    But I don’t see anything unusual about Phil calling them out. When major liberal websites push anti-science quackery, that’s man-bites-dog newsworthy and worth criticizing.

    Unlike when conservative websites churn out their daily anti-science article; there it’s dog-bites-man and hardly worth the pixels to mention it.

  64. Charles Boyer

    Like I said, I always turn to Hollywood personalities for scientific insight. Their lack of training and lack of rigor in their assertations give them a refreshing perspective that one simply cannot find in stale and boring traditional science research, especially since the Hollywood folks are sexy by definition and therefore have a higher state of being than you or I in the hoi polloi. Furthermore, their insight is so keen they have no need for boring old data or experimentation — they just know things…things that we are lucky that they share with us via the great peer reviewed journals like Huffington Post.

    In fact, I look forward to Jenny and Jim’s next great lecture, it is certain to be on Hollywood Insider or TMZ any minute now.

  65. @ Jim B

    > homeopathic water

    No, it’s not redundant. It’s air. Homeopathic air, of course, is vacuum.

  66. Mark Hansen

    @Mchl,
    Please people! I’m in a grave need! Does anyone know of homoeopathic contraceptive?

    You don’t need one. The less contraceptives you use, the more effective they are. That’s why people that never use contraceptives don’t have kids. That’s right, isn’t it?

  67. silencer

    She is against the additives in vaccine solutions and the blanket vaccinating for everything.
    It’s too bad that you have no ethics or you could have avoided using deliberate falsehoods like “pro disease”.
    Once again you prove yourself to be a moronic hack who sullies the discover magazine name.

  68. Steve H

    Keep in mind Ms. Huffington is a reformed Republican, and she still maintains one particular attribute of them. Mainly, she’ll sell out the site for hits. Lately the Huffpost has repeatedly posted misleading or inflammatory headlines about liberals, usually linking to a post in the conservative ring of redundancy.

  69. Steve Case

    Some people have a good reason not to want vaccines because they modify us positively, negatively, or both. Other people don’t want people to have them because they’d like to see some population control. And the last group who has an opinion doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  70. Rift

    @ nano

    i’m all for the rights of a parent to choose what they think is right for their child. But unvaccinated kids are a proven hazard to other parent’s kids. That’s when they become a public hazard.

    We have a mountain of scientific evidence on our side, you have a few anecdotes and celebrities on yours.

    Who’s being open minded and who’s being closed minded now?

    Prove to us they aren’t a health hazard and I promise we’ll shut up and go away.

  71. @Jeremy,
    True about the flu vaccine, an unexpected variant can circulate without warning.

    However we have become better at making vaccines that target many likely variants at once, this year’s vaccine targeted two A-Type H1N1 variants and a B.

  72. Chris

    silencer said “She is against the additives in vaccine solutions and the blanket vaccinating for everything.”

    But has she put forth any evidence that there are dangerous additives in vaccines, or that we are vaccinating for “everything”? Do we vaccinate for tuberculosis, cholera, yellow fever typhus and typhoid in the USA? Do we still vaccinate for smallpox?

    Why should we take the word of a homeopath on anything? Do you know what kind of silliness is involved with homeopathy (the dilutions are do the point of extreme stupidity)? (did you notice this particular blog entry was about a person named Fitzgerald?)

  73. Tim G

    Looking at my toilet, a thought entered my mind. If water has memory, then homeopathy is full of sh*t.

  74. Jim

    Amanda Peet! Does Amanda Peet write?

  75. gss_000

    Phil, if you really want to fight this, you should respond with an article on Huffington Post. Withdrawing from the debate is not going to help fight this. What you do here at your blog is needed, but it really is just at most half the battle. All you do is talk to your base, which does nothing to expand your position to those who need it most: those parents who are reading those stupid arguments and considering not vaccinating their children. You’re just preaching to the choir here.

    Everybody could be writing in, but you have a better in than the rest of us actually having written for the site. You could get a rebuttal piece in. You have some name recognition and authority that also makes your words have more weight (see your post on celebrity endorsements). I’ve seen contradictory articles on HuffPo, so an opposing stance may be missing because of a failure to respond.

    You care about this issue and you have an easy way to save lives. I know I wouldn’t mind a few days without posts if it meant an article there that could change people’s minds.

  76. Shattered Mind

    As I learned very quickly in the Marines, all thats needed for them to change their minds and realize they are stupid is a death or two, except in this case the number of deaths will be in a much larger scale.

  77. Chris

    Oh, by the way, I should have clarified… there are or were vaccines for tuberculosis, cholera, yellow fever, typhus and typhoid. I have actually been vaccinated for three out of that list. I did not just name random diseases. I didn’t even list all of the diseases that there are vaccines for, like Japanese Encephalitis.

  78. csrster

    A homeopathoc doctorate – is that like a millisecond of learning spread out over five years?

  79. Who births stupid people like Jenny McCarthy?

  80. Jeffersonian

    Q#1: Isn’t claiming you have a doctorate -when you don’t hold a degree from an accredited university- a crime in most states? A felony, even?

    Q#2: Is there such a degree as a Doctorate in Homeopathy?? Who provides this program of study and at which hospital do they do their internship??

    Q#3: Phil, do you still have an “in” with submissions at HuffPo? (hint)

  81. Keith

    I continue to be angered and disgusted by people who plug their ears and shout “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA” when presented with the reams of scientific evidence refuting the autism/vaccine link, but who readily listen to that stupid skank Jenny McCarthy.

  82. Sili

    *I keep wondering how you get a doctorate in homeopathy. Maybe the less you study the more powerful your learning is. Or you could grind up the people who passed the exams the year before, mix one molecule of them with water, and drink up!

    When will you people get this right?!!

    It’s like cures like. This is not allopathy!

    You have to take someone who failed the exam and grind them up!

    Sheeeeessssh.

  83. T_U_T

    A homeopathoc doctorate – is that like a millisecond of learning spread out over five years?

    No. Planck time of learning pread out over entire age of universe ?

  84. All I do know is that our lives changed on September 27, 2001 when our daughter had her 4 month vaccines. She had her first seizure a few hours after the vaccines. The doctors were all of the “no big deal” opinion. From the first nano-second, they all said “no way, now how” were the vaccines related.

    No more seizures until the day we received vaccines at 8 months. That’s when all hell broke loose in the seizure department. Since then 320 or so seizures. Again, no way, no how was this related to the vaccines according to the docs. We spent about a week in the hospital and she was having 7 or 8 seizures per day.

    The verdict is far from in on vaccines and autism. Just because a few studies on specific ingredients or specific types of vaccine; didn’t find the link, does not mean there is not one.

    I personally think it is some combination of genetics, weakened immune system at time of vaccine and/or related to antibiotics use at the same time.

  85. sailor

    Please people! I’m in a grave need! Does anyone know of homoeopathic contraceptive?

    Well here is how homeopathy works – you start off with the thing that causes the symptom, dilute the hell out of it and then take it. In this case, if you are a woman, you take some sperm, successively dilute 10 to 1 thirty times, shaking very well each time, then apply it as you would sperm if you had wanted to get pregnant. It will work exactly as well as any other homeopathic medicine.

  86. Mchl

    John Paradox says:
    Death From These Guys

    Splendid!!! O had to read it aloud to hear it in all awesomeness!

  87. Ryan

    People who receive vaccines get some of these diseases too. Our daughter’s pediatrician said he saw Polio once, and that it was CAUSED by a vaccine. If you could go back in time, would you give that kid the vaccine or not?

  88. Pieter Kok

    I agree with the people that call for you to post on HuffPo about this, Phil. It is a tremendous opportunity for some antidote.

  89. Ryan, if we knew everything beforehand or could medicate without risk, that would be a fair question. Yet in reality, anything that works, will have side effects. You are asking the wrong question, it should be ‘given this rare incident and given that no medical procedure is without risk, should we stop giving polio vaccines?’ Your question implies knowledge that is not available at the time pertinent to the question.

  90. Fielding, a few things should not have happened:
    – assuming the vaccines were not the cause
    – assuming the vaccines were the cause
    – overseeing the possibility the direct cause was indirectly linked to vaccines (chain reaction)
    – overseeing the possibility that the direct caused could have been triggered by vaccine but might as well be triggered by something else, and may have been
    – overseeing the possibility the vaccine was one factor in a complex and ommitting might or might not have been crucial
    – overseeing the possibility that not given the vaccine might have prevented it but cause another grave situation in the future

    If this sounds complex, I say that this is an oversimplified respresentation.

    Anti-vax likes to correlate things one-on-one, yet that is not realistic. There are no easy answers.
    Also, in the light that nothing is without risk, we, as a society should do more to support to people that meet with that risk. You can’t go out into the world and go forward without getting a bloody nose and we, as humanity, cannot progress if we don’t hand a handkerchief to those who get their noses bloodied.

  91. David Harmon

    And… it looks like McCarthy, Carrey, and their ilk are about to have a chance to kill lots and lots of people!

    A new, nasty, swine flu strain has been hit Texas and California, and apparently active in Mexico.

    CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm58d0421a1.htm
    CDC Press Briefing: http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/2009/t090423.htm
    WHO: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_24/en/index.html

    Countdown till the antivaxers start claiming it’s better to die “naturally” of flu, than be contaminated by those evil vaccines….

  92. Matt

    Thanks for speaking the truth on this. I was shocked first that Carrey is that stupid that he believes anything conceived by Jenny Retarded, and even more shocked Huffington posts that crap. Now twice, unreal!

  93. zar

    I like how Jenny McCarthy freaks out about the (very trace) amount of (benign) mercury in vaccines, but exposes herself to the bad kind of mercury by eating SUSHI (click the username).

    Maybe the mysterious unnamed oogy-boogy toxins in the fish she ate while pregnant caused her son’s autism. Or the toxins in her breast enhancements. Or the toxins she regularly has injected into her forehead.

  94. Strixus

    These people terrify me. I’m one of those unfortunates whose MMR vaccine didn’t take completely – I have no immunity to Rubella. I’ve had the MMR jab 4 more times now, trying to get it to take, after it was realized IN MY LATE TEENS that it didn’t take. Still no luck.

    If one of your children gives me Rubella because YOU didn’t get the kid vaccinated, I swear I will have you brought up on charges. ANY charges I can find.

  95. Michael D. Hafer

    Everybody attacking HuffPo should realize they also publish pro-vaccine bloggers as well.

  96. Aquatic

    I am amazed!
    How about an overall picture?
    How come the long term effect of primitive chinese medicine forces their government to restrict child birth?
    A shot in the foot? Keep it low! Keep it low!
    regards aquatical thinking.

  97. @ Fielding J. Hurst

    The correlation seems remarkable to you, Mr. Hurst, because anomalies always seem remarkable when they happen to you. However, what you need to understand is that in the context of the 360 million people in the United States, anomalies are actually not only expected, it would be remarkable if they didn’t occur. Here’s a back of the envelope explanation why (from the other comment thread and my own blog post here http://padraic2112.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/my-last-vaccination-post-for-a-while/):

    There is a simple reason why this is not relevant, take the following facts…

    * children take vaccines
    * autism displays its first symptoms in childhood
    * children under the age of 5 make up ~7% of the population
    * there are ~360 million people in the U.S.
    * about 80% of children are vaccinated entirely

    (editor’s note: I didn’t make those numbers up, you can find them with a couple seconds and a web browser)

    This means 360 x 0.07 x .8 = 2 million children (roughly) have been vaccinated. With the vaccination schedule being what it is, then, there are somewhere around 100,000 children getting a shot every month (that last one is hand-wavey, it assumes a lot about frequency distributions, but that’s not really germane to my point). Autism rates are estimated at anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 150 children, that means we have about 17,000 diagnosis of autism. If every single one of those autism diagnosis was given to a vaccinated child (they’re not, but again for our sake here it introduces very small error), and those 17,000 have a scatter distribution of vaccination patterns, that means not one, not dozens, not hundreds, but *thousands* of those diagnosis came within days or weeks of a vaccination.

    (edited to address your personal situation): yes, this means that dozens will occur within an hour of a vaccination.

    Put those thousands of people together on a message board (and since autism is hard to deal with, a very high percentage of these family *do* bond together, like SMA sufferers or MS or cancer or any other family-impacting disease), you’ll have a few thousand people all saying to each other, “Gee… MY kid got a shot right before her symptoms started showing, too! There are thousands of us! THAT CAN’T BE A COINCIDENCE.”

    But you can see, it actually *isn’t* a coincidence… it’s exactly what we would expect to happen.

  98. MartinM

    The antivax movement, the people who promote homeopathic water, the people who want you to poke you with needles…

    Possibly not the best choice of phrase, given the topic.

  99. Hung up in moderation, so re-commenting less the URL:

    @ Fielding J. Hurst

    The correlation seems remarkable to you, Mr. Hurst, because anomalies always seem remarkable when they happen to you. However, what you need to understand is that in the context of the 360 million people in the United States, anomalies are actually not only expected, it would be remarkable if they didn’t occur. Here’s a back of the envelope explanation why, from the other comment thread:

    There is a simple reason why this is not relevant, take the following facts…

    * children take vaccines
    * autism displays its first symptoms in childhood
    * children under the age of 5 make up ~7% of the population
    * there are ~360 million people in the U.S.
    * about 80% of children are vaccinated entirely

    (editor’s note: I didn’t make those numbers up, you can find them with a couple seconds and a web browser)

    This means 360 x 0.07 x .8 = 2 million children (roughly) have been vaccinated. With the vaccination schedule being what it is, then, there are somewhere around 100,000 children getting a shot every month (that last one is hand-wavey, it assumes a lot about frequency distributions, but that’s not really germane to my point). Autism rates are estimated at anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 150 children, that means we have about 17,000 diagnosis of autism. If every single one of those autism diagnosis was given to a vaccinated child (they’re not, but again for our sake here it introduces very small error), and those 17,000 have a scatter distribution of vaccination patterns, that means not one, not dozens, not hundreds, but *thousands* of those diagnosis came within days or weeks of a vaccination.

    (edited to address your personal situation): yes, this means that dozens will occur within an hour of a vaccination.

    Put those thousands of people together on a message board (and since autism is hard to deal with, a very high percentage of these family *do* bond together, like SMA sufferers or MS or cancer or any other family-impacting disease), you’ll have a few thousand people all saying to each other, “Gee… MY kid got a shot right before her symptoms started showing, too! There are thousands of us! THAT CAN’T BE A COINCIDENCE.”

    But you can see, it actually *isn’t* a coincidence… it’s exactly what we would expect to happen.

  100. actuator

    Got an idea for Jenny McCarthy. Since you don’t want kids vaccinated, if you have any, expose them to various disease organisms. If they are strong enough to survive hurray. If they die or become less than fully functional due to the diseases they acqire, so be it. It’ll be just like the “good old days” when humanity was primitive.

    I like to think that human brain development should be used to make life more humane, not less.

  101. Shannon

    I just had a bout with pertussis this October-December. My parents were vaccinators but I had a severe allergic reaction to the initial pertussis vaccine (usually given in a series of shots over a few years) and so was unable to get the subsequent vaccines.

    The problem with being unvaccinated and catching a disease that doctors widely believe to be gone is that they’re unlikely to think of the disease early on–for me, until it was too late.

    I was in and out of hospitals four times over a period of three months, and it took that long for my nurse practitioner to ask me if I’d had the pertussis vaccine. Not one of the four ER docs I saw even bothered to ask. They all sent me home with what they thought was a “bad cold.”

    I’m 20 and healthy, and even so pertussis hit me so hard that I was basically non-functional for weeks at a time. I lost over 15% of my body weight in coughing fits that were so severe that they induced vomiting.

    I go to a school with many international students, and my pertussis turned into an outbreak. Two students suffered cracked ribs from coughing so hard and several had to withdraw for the semester.

    Pertussis is on the tamer side of diseases we vaccinate for, and still, after going through it myself I can say that no one should ever have to suffer through that–especially vulnerable people like babies and the elderly.

  102. Gonzo

    I just fired off an email explaining my personal boycott of the HuffPo site. Everyone who agrees should do the same, here’s what I wrote, if you want to use it as a template or whatever. (Hopefully I didn’t screw it up) :-)

    I will no longer be reading your material. I love the site, I love the political coverage and I am a loyal progressive but I can’t reconcile my viewpoints with your strident embrace of anti-science drivel in the form of anti-vaccination activists. Understand, there is NO link between vaccines and autism. You are endangering the health and welfare of everyone when you publish this misinformation. Haven’t you ever been introduced to the concept of herd immunity? Can’t you realize just how dangerous these people are? I will continue to boycott your site, and tell everyone who will listen to do the same. My influence is considerable. Our voices are getting louder. Your continued ignorance of science is not going to be tolerated by your loyal readers. We will leave. Please stop.

  103. Aquatic

    Personal interest is not necessarily national interest,
    national interest is not necessarily global intertest!
    and the present global interest is not necessarily long term human interest either!
    Are birth restrictions not a sign of succes of whatever medicine was practiced in the past and that we have not done comparitively well ?
    One can advocate whatever one pleases, but someone practicing chinese medicine is backed by the number of survivors!

    The question should be: will faxing eventually lead to birth restriction?
    Like the famous Lou once said: The flood will only occur after me!
    regards aquatic thinking.

  104. Pete

    British meningitis cases at an all-time low, including Meningitis C cases dropping for 700/year to 1/year
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8015138.stm

  105. newscaper

    aquatic said, re China “Are birth restrictions not a sign of success of whatever medicine was practiced in the past and that we have not done comparatively well ?”

    Historical nonsense.

    China’s population really began accelerating as they began incorporating some *Western* ideas into farming a 100 years ago, resulting in fewer famines — if you don’t count the later Maoist-caused ones in the 50s and 60s (curiously absent from the ‘didn’t do as well’ non-communist West). Adoption of more Western-style sanitation in the larger cities probably didn’t hurt either.

  106. I found out yesterday that a dear friend of mine is an anti-vaxxer. Strangely he is also an atheist. And every other decision I have ever seen him make has been based on logic and reason. Until now. So he is putting his child at risk and endangering the entire community.

    I’m not sure what impact this will have on our friendship.

    Heck, I’m a filthy Neo-Pagan theist and I support vaccines.

  107. bwhancock

    Looks like being anti-science isn’t just for Republicans.

  108. Watch this video from “Sunday Night” TV program from Australia. It may enlighten you or maybe save your child’s life:
    http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/video/-/watch/13165619/

  109. kansas tarhell

    Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine….

    Bwahahahahah…. roflao…

  110. Na

    I’ve been catching up on my reading so forgive me if this has already been addressed somewhere in the comments.

    Todd, I think there’s some points to be added to your preemptive summary:
    1. There should probably be a sentence or two about the rights of parents to vaccinate/not vaccinate in regards to the law and the consequences. A lot of anti-vaxxers seem to believe that their rights as parents are being taken away, etc.
    2. It seems a lot of people don’t seem to get the concept of risk/benefit. Perhaps a definition of what it is in relation to vaccines and why to use them would be good to clarify things.
    3. A sentence on why a conspiracy is impossible due to the global nature of science and the number of people/organisations involved.
    4. Something on Gardasil, since that seems to come up a lot.
    5. Addressing the “there’s never been a proper controlled study of vaccines” theme.
    6. Addressing #5 in relation to the counter argument that studies are worthless/biased/whatever (ie. I’ll never believe in vaccines until there’s been a proper study, oh but those studies you pointed out are worthless…)
    7. Probably need something in there about chelation
    8. This should probably be number one, but anyway. Adding in a phrase about anecdotes not being data, and that any anecdote for autism=vaccines can be countered with autism doesn’t equal vaccines
    9. Something refuting the “Galileo” theme; that science was on his side
    10. Amazingly, I think this is so important and surprised you missed it: that vaccines don’t give 100% immunity 100% of the time, but that vaccines are the best way to reduce the risk of getting the disease.

    Again, apologies if this has been covered somewhere. It takes me ages to read all these comments…

  111. Na, thanks! I’ll see about adding that stuff in. I’ll email Todd and we’ll see about coming up with that.

  112. Na

    Oops. Left one off:

    That doctors should and do talk to parents about their child/ren about allergies, etc. and recommend vaccines/schedules as per the child/s needs. It’s not a blanket policy, as per what anti-vaxxers think.

  113. Na

    @Larian

    No worries. Glad to help :)

  114. Okay. Fine.

    If vaccines are NOT the cause of autism….

    …as the father of three autistic sons….

    PLEASE TELL ME, WHAT *IS*?

    This crappy syndrome hasn’t exploded for no reason whatsoever. And it ain’t just genetics, otherwise we’d have noticed autism 100 years ago.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    We *really, really, really do.* Not to sue anybody, but to cure our children.

    Those (like the loathesome Charles Johnson of LGF) who snark about “anti-vaxxers” haven’t taken into account the fact that this condition really, really sucks and we parents left holding the bag need to find out why it occurs. And soon.

  115. Aquatic

    Quick fixing.
    Do I hear Adolf speaking here?
    Science here is partly theory, no one knows the long term effects of relying on faxing on a massive scale.
    Why display so much fear for the non immunised if you and your children are protected? Are you not sure?
    Science is reliable? the chemical industry is reliable?
    Do you taste your food before you ingest it? Why taste it, have you no faith in the food industry?
    Why not rely on the system and gobble up whatever is presented?
    Without food you die for sure, but you still taste it and check the use by date, even if the cook happens to be a scientist, why?
    Atheist will die, immunized believers will survive because they are protected, so why worry?
    As said, the chinese are in danger of extinction because of their shoddy medicine!
    We will last with our alternatives!
    regards quatic thinking

  116. joe

    Ya know, I have no problem with STUPID ati-wax people and the sooner they die, they reproduce fewer idiots like themselves…. so I say, yeah if they think it’s the way to go, let them.

    Why would you want to ‘save’ these idiots?
    They just dilute a good genepool.
    Am all for ‘natural selection’ and the sooner the better.

  117. Tinypirate

    Jenny McCarthy is a Scientologist, I expect nothing less from her anti-science ilk.

  118. Julian

    “This crappy syndrome hasn’t exploded for no reason whatsoever. And it ain’t just genetics, otherwise we’d have noticed autism 100 years ago.”

    Oh really? You mean during the time period when anyone who behaved a little kooky was taken and thrown in a mental institution (who’s poor condition I shouldn’t have to mention)? Same period when they were just trying to figure out diseases, didn’t know squat about nutrition, you know back when little kids played with dead horse bodies in the streets.

  119. Ann

    Dear Phil,

    If your head is exploding (KBlam) then it isn’t science. It’s personal. Speaking as a member of the public who was vaccinated as a child and have always been grateful to be spared from diseases like polio, you lost me on this one. And you lost me for a reason. Sneering is never becoming even when done for the glory of science. You take the tone of some idiot trying to convince people that the Jews are poisoning the wells. Antivaxxers. Antivaxxers. They want to eat your babies. No, they don’t. I did read Jim Carry’s article. It didn’t persuade me completely or anything but at least his tone was that of trying to persuade through argument and some of his argument rang true. Ask any Vet and they will tell you that pet vaccinations can and have had bad effects on some pets. I went through just such an episode with one of my pets. His immune system went right into the crapper right after he got a shot to protect his immune system. He developed a huge tumor at the exact location of where he received the shot. What’s more, some of your response is ridiculous. I mean, where do you think pharmacology developed from in the first place. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did it involve, initially, finding the chemical reactions that came about in the body from the ingestion of some beneficial herbs and synthesizing those chemical reactions in the lab. Am I mistaken? Did not scurvy kill many a child before one doctor got the idea to check the kids diet and give them some fruits and vegetables? Rhetorical question. The answer is yes.
    What came across in Jim Carry’s article is that he is open to being proven wrong. He asks for more studies involving the cumulative affect of a regimen of shots and that doesn’t sound in the same ballpark of unreasonable as “The earth is 6000 years old” and ” You should never get your child vaccinated, EVER.” If people are interpreting it that way then they are interpreting wrong. What’s more, doctors often warn about the bad affects of mixed medications. Is it such a stretch to think that something similar might be possible in vaccination methods.
    One more point. Dennis Quaid nearly lost his newborn twin daughters due to an error in dosage in the hospital. There have been reports about this and they all say that there is some outrageous number of children that this happens everyday in the hospitals in America and the outcome is not so sunny as with his children. Usually, the babies don’t survive. This isn’t even something that there is any dispute on. It is pure negligence and an outrageous number of children die from it everyday. Where’s the scoreboard? One more word for you. Thalidamide. As in Thalidamide babies. And of course, the beneficial affects of estrogen therapy. Pardon the skepticism, but western medicine and pharmacology have pulled some boners and some of them, as in the pushing of estrogen therapy, did involve a fair dose of conflict of interest. It may not be true, but it is not in the realm of crazy that deserves ridicule and no reasoned response like, Oh I don’t know, lets do some studies run by people who all can agree have no conflicts. What’s the harm in that. Not believing in things that aren’t true but being sure beyond a reasonable doubt that what you say is true. More studies where impartiality is beyond dispute would seem to me to be the answer and maybe meeting with the man and get a joint campaign going like: Educate but Vaccinate. They really aren’t saying don’t vaccinate as such. But I could see how parents could be made afraid of vaccinating if they saw them on one of those talk show. So request that you can make a joint appearance. Request that they let you make a pitch for vaccinating against the big diseases you mentioned. I think you’re current approach is destructive and stupid and this is from someone who likes and admires you. Well, your blog anyway. Peace. Out.

  120. ccpetersen

    That’s thalidomide, Ann. Might want to do a bit more reading about it before lumping it in with vaccines, etc.

  121. Bob Lane

    The rampant anti-Semitism of HuffPo did not alienate you, but the anti-vaccinationism did?
    Que sera sera.

  122. @ Ann

    > What came across in Jim Carry’s article is that he is open to being
    > proven wrong.

    No, he’s not. Almost every claim he made in his editorial has already been refuted, several times over. He has patently ignored this.

    > He asks for more studies involving the cumulative
    > affect of a regimen of shots and that doesn’t sound in the same
    > ballpark of unreasonable as “The earth is 6000 years old” and
    > ”You should never get your child vaccinated, EVER.” If people
    > are interpreting it that way then they are interpreting wrong.

    No, they’re not. He is claiming, “more studies are needed, they’re not doing any”. He does not explain what studies he would like to see, precisely. He gives no particular hypothesis he would like to be tested. He doesn’t say what empirical result he would accept as “proof that vaccines are safe”. It’s a false goal. Since he doesn’t offer particular questions, we can never meet his burden of proof. Every experiment that is done can be met with, “That’s not enough, we still need more”. Oh, and there are open studies right now, as referenced on the CDC website (not to mention all of the scientific journals on immunology), which he should clearly know about. He’s ignoring them.

    > It didn’t persuade me completely or anything but at least his
    > tone was that of trying to persuade through argument and
    > some of his argument rang true.

    His tone included, among other things, several outright fallacies, thinly veiled accusations of unethical behavior on the part of Dr. Offit, an implied claim that the CDC, FDA, and the entire medical research community was in bed with Big Pharma, who are entirely motivated by profit (which, as many people have pointed out on this and other comment threads makes no sense whatsoever, since treating a disease with drugs is usually more profitable than preventing it in the first place, and vaccinations are not a major profit maker for drug companies. Remember how we run out of the flu vaccine every other year? That’s because it doesn’t yield enough profit to create a surplus.

  123. Pat

    The problem is, doubt is a perpetuum mobile, you can keep it going forever. Also, people are much more fearful for being proven wrong at standing behind what a goverment, a big company or a scientist says than anyone with a wishy-washy feel-good emo-tugging doubt-filled standpoint.

  124. Philip Grey

    I remember the impassioned screed of one young woman in a college history class not too many years ago: “I won’t bring a child into this poisonous world, with poisoned air, food, and water!” She then went on to detail the deleterious effects of many things that most sane students of history would regard as great advancements.
    Watching others in the room who were nodding agreement, I waited for a pause and inserted the fact that the average lifespan of an American had increased by more than a quarter-century since 1900 – from 50 to 78 years. I doubt that fact did much to dispel her laboriously constructed world view (very likely she is firmly in the anti-vaxx camp at this moment), but I did hear from a fellow student some years later that it had altered his viewpoint. Sometimes a mountain of unreason can be bulldozed flat with one big, fat fact.

  125. Tatterdemalian

    Yeah, we all have our blind spots. A good technique that has worked for me is to immediately ignore anyone who declares their belief in “consensus” science. That’s politics, not science. You can repeal the law of gravity, by unanimous vote of all the people in the whole wide world, but you’ll still go splat when you jump off a building.

  126. Aquatic

    Many years ago my father prevented one of our neighbours to jump of a building to fly a delta shaped contraption he had build. As a result of his lunatic ambition the man was locked up for his own safe keeping. My father was the hero untill years later the hangglider was adopted. sure the man may have gone splat or he may have had the first usable hangglider.
    The moral: Someone may have to put live at risk perhaps just to defy gravity!
    After all the law of gravity is just as relative as all else!
    As the man said: it is not de speed that kills but the sudden deceleration!
    As a note; Reasoning should not stop at conclusions! Regretfully, that is what our lazy brain makes us do!
    Many “conclusions” are merely points at where reasoning halted!
    regards aquatic thinking

  127. Darrin

    Funny, I always thought the Huffington Post was just a far-left cesspool of partisan rambling and incredibly hateful spite. And yet, somehow, they manage to add “anti-science new-age bull” to that wonderful list of traits.

    Way to go, HuffPo!

  128. Andrew Hackard

    Apologies if this is a repeat, but: to get a doctorate in homeopathy, all that is required is that you walk by the building in which classes are being held. The residual educational energy field will impart all the learning you need.

  129. cosmic

    A click on the webpage of the “Dr.” Patricia Fitzgerald’s Santa Monica Wellness Center pops up an image of a dolphin and mermaid in a tranquil seascape. Gag!!!

  130. Ann

    To CCPetersen: Yes, I know about thalidomide, I just can’t spell it. I remember it very well. It was given to pregnant women to prevent morning sickness and resulted in many babies with flippers as opposed to arms. Though these babies seem to have adapted quite well. The point I was making is that suspicion of the medical establishment is rooted in past experiences when trust in what they told you was a given and what they told you was way wrong. It has been a while since polio stalked the land. We have never experienced it. Thalidomide was in my lifetime. You may think this is a scientific issue. But it is really a political one. You are talking about the right to control your own medical treatment and the medical treatment of your child. Do you really think Jim Carry is responsible for what is going on in Australia? Really! I don’t think so. So Jim Carry and Jenny McCarthy, as such, are not really the problem. Nor is the Huffington Post. It isn’t “the evil among us”, it is the predictable aspect of human nature that will judge the world through the prism of its own experience. And on that level, it seems to me that your approach is not working. The emotionality, understandable though it is, is probably not helping. It suggests that you are losing this one. So, consider a change in tactics. A minor change at that. The Huffington Post is hardly the only forum that Jim Carry and Jenny McCarthy have put their message out on. Let’s see, there’s Oprah, (good luck with trying to villify her) , Ellen Degeneres ( again, good luck with that). If you want to really reach the parents that are making these health decisions, you have to work with these outlets, not against them. As I said, contact the Oprah show and see if you can’t get your message on there. Dr. Oz, maybe. Convince him and you might get some real message mileage. And if you are right , that shouldn’t be that hard. And of course, you will have to stop the head exploding stuff. I don’t see that it accomplishes anything other than your head exploding. Why not, instead of that crap, provide a point by point refutation to the Huffington Post. Even if you do not convince people that there is no risk to vaccination, you might hit home by pointing out the public health aspect of herd immunity and that it is important to get these vaccinations for public health reasons. As in look what happened to Native American populations when presented with a simple cold virus for which they had developed no immunity. You current approach, I think, is only reaching people who already agree with you. Unless you can get a law passed making vaccination mandatory, you are going to have to persuade people who don’t agree with you and for that you need your head intact.
    Peace. Out.

  131. @Ann

    Quick note on Thalidomide. It was a member of the FDA (a member of the scientific and medical community) that raised the alarm about thalidomide in pregnant women, thus keeping it from being approved for use in treating morning sickness in the U.S.

    As to Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, I agree that they are not the only cause of a decrease in vaccinations in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. They do contribute to it, however, because they are well-known and they are putting a lot of effort into their message. They contribute to the efforts Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, David Kirby, RFK Jr. and Andrew Wakefield, among others. So, it’s right to call them out when they are spewing misinformation and lies.

  132. greatzky

    if you are vaccinated then you need not worry about getting sick from people who aren’t vaccinated.
    Do you know how much mercury is in most vaccines that we are required to take to get into school and then later in college?

    It is your choice to vaccinate your kids and your choice to get vaccinated. Let people make up their own mind and stop being sheep.

    If i don’t want to get vaccinated that is my choice… and you shouldn’t worry about getting sick from me if you are vaccinated. Get a life and leave your life to yourself.

    i’d rather live 50 years and have a healthy mind and be able to focus then live 78 years with some disability, mental incapacity, or make my kids suffer from illnesses that could be prevented by not vaccinating them.

  133. Greg in Austin

    @greatzky

    What right do you have to risk giving measles to my child before he/she is old enough to receive the vaccine? What right do you have to pass along whooping cough to me if I have a weakened immune system? And what will you do if you are not vaccinated against a disease, and the guy next to you on the plane or bus has it?

    “Do you know how much mercury is in most vaccines that we are required to take to get into school and then later in college?”

    Yes, I do. Do you? Look it up.

    “i’d rather live 50 years and have a healthy mind and be able to focus then live 78 years with some disability, mental incapacity, or make my kids suffer from illnesses that could be prevented by not vaccinating them.”

    So, instead of vaccinating, you’d rather your child die painfully from:
    Anthrax, Cervical Cancer, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus, influenzae type b (Hib), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Influenza (Flu), Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Lyme Disease, Measles, Meningococcal, Monkeypox, Mumps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Pneumococcal, Poliomyelitis (Polio), Rabies, Rotavirus, Rubella (German Measles), Shingles (Herpes Zoster), Smallpox, Tetanus (Lockjaw), Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Varicella (Chickenpox), or Yellow Fever

    If I had to guess, I’d say you are an American, between the ages of 18 and 25, have never been to a 3rd world country, nor have you even heard of, much less seen the effects of, over half of these diseases. Nonetheless, you don’t sound like you really know what you are talking about.

    8)

  134. “Do you know how much mercury is in most vaccines that we are required to take to get into school and then later in college?”

    Unless you count flu vaccines, which are always optional:

    NONE

    NEXT!

  135. Aquatic

    Who assumes that not getting sick means not passing on?
    A big list but small thinking, you names only a persentage of the possible disceases one can pass on.
    Do you assume the right to pass on the rest and also the derivatives of the ones that did not make you sick?
    We existed a long time before modern day medicine, coping with many more pathogen for which your body is now immune thanks to those who suffered before you, by taking needles this natural process is interfered with. obviously you are not prepared to do your bit for those in the future who cannot possibly be expected to needle for every twist of nature!
    As you have noticed the list has expanded already and will eventually fill books!
    As Lou once said “the flood after me!”
    regards aquatic thinking.

  136. by taking needles this natural process is interfered with</blockquote?

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

  137. Aquatic

    Do you suggest that you will pass-on omminity from needling?

  138. @Aquatic
    We existed a long time before modern day medicine, coping with many more pathogen for which your body is now immune thanks to those who suffered before you, by taking needles this natural process is interfered with

    Your ignorance is astounding. Check out the link below and look at the average life expectancy up until the early 20th century.

    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

  139. Chris

    Aquatic:

    We existed a long time before modern day medicine, coping with many more pathogen for which your body is now immune thanks to those who suffered before you, by taking needles this natural process is interfered with.

    In the days before modern medicine a family could have a three out of ten children born into the family live past age five. My grandmother had two sisters and two brothers. Both brothers died before the age of six (one was 10 months old). If you look at a list of children in genealogical records of families, you will multiple children with the same name: that is because the younger child was named for a child who had died. Look at the biographies of some famous people: Mary Shelley (she wrote the Frankenstein book) gave birth to several babies, and only one lived to adulthood; Mozart and his wife had several children (I think six) and only two lived longer than Mozart.

    The number of children who did not make it past their fifth birthday is from this very excellent podcast (URL munged to escape moderation, just replace “(dot)” with, well a dot!):
    www (dot) quackcast (dot) com/spodcasts/files/48f9db861d8a83f764792aa4b77990f8-29 (dot) html (statistic given is at about 29 minutes into the podcast). You should also his posts at ScienceBasedMedicine (dot) org blog, Dr. Crislip is an infectious disease doctor. He knows germs.

    Since most of the diseases are still around, and they tend to come back when vaccination goes down (like measles, mumps, and pertussis) the numbers of children not making it to their fifth birthday will go up. Granted, not in the numbers of the past due to medical intervention like supported breathing.

    So are you really willing to see (pulling a number out of my head that is less than the 19th century figures of one out of three) at least one child in ten not make it to their fifth birthday?

    Also, since vaccination was started in beginning of the 19th century, one could start to say modern medicine started at about that time. So perhaps you want us to go back to the way things were in the 1700s.

    Oh, and death is not the only option: measles and mumps can both cause serious neurological damage in excess of one in a thousand cases. The Hib can cause it at least one in ten.

    Of course, if you are telling us to eschew modern medicine, then you are hypocrite for using any modern technology. That would include availing yourself to the clean water and waste management services in your community, cooking your food on a stove, keeping your food cold in a fridge, using any transportation mode that uses an internal combustion engine and sitting in front of that computer screen and posting nonsense via a keyboard.

  140. Aquatic

    Do you suggest that you will pass-on immunity from needling?

  141. Barb

    you are a bunch of blockheads. have any of you tried homeopathy? perhaps it is not a single vaccine that contributes to autistic spectrum disorder, it is the total assult on the system. there is no conceivable reason to give a 2 day old infant hep b vaccine since this is a blood borne/sexually transmitted pathigen. And how many kids have died of chickenpox? Polio and tetnus are perhaps worth immunizing but not all of the ones they pile on our children. sorry but we can choose all, some or none – free choice.

  142. @Barb

    This blockhead drinks a homeopathic preparation everyday. It is called tap water. Delicious.

    Do you know anything about chickenpox? Maybe you should enlighten yourself here…
    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenpox

  143. Chris

    Aquatic:

    Do you suggest that you will pass-on immunity from needling?

    Actually there is between an 80% to 95% chance of getting immunity from selected diseases from the use of needles. Though there is an option influenza immunization through inhalation, and the rotavirus vaccine is oral (and a version of the polio virus). No needles.

    Beth:

    you are a bunch of blockheads. have any of you tried homeopathy?

    We do that everyday when we drink the water that comes out of the faucets in our homes. That stuff has been exposed to every molecule, and been shaken through the system to purify it and deliver to your home! Recipe for NatMur I found on the Internet at the end of the message.

    I love how you call us “blockheads” when you both cannot spell (it is “tetanus”) and do not know that HepB is not only transmitted through blood and sex — oh, yeah, there are other bodily fluids, a good percentage of childhood transmissions are through unknown sources!. By the way, before the varicella vaccine about a hundred children per year died from chickenpox, something you would know if you read up on the diseases that the vaccines are for.

    Recipe for Nat Mur or Natrum Mur or Natrium Mur or Natrum muriaticum:

    1) Take ½ teaspoon of sea salt and dissolve into 1 cup of distilled water in a bottle.
    2) Shake well.
    3) This is a 1C solution (ratio 1/100).
    4) Take ½ teaspoon of the 1C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 1C solution.
    5) Shake well.
    6) This is a 2C solution (ratio 1/10000).
    7) Take ½ teaspoon of the 2C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 2C solution.
    8) Shake well.
    9) This is a 3C solution (1/1000000).
    10) Take ½ teaspoon of the 3C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 3C solution.
    11) Shake well.
    12) This is a 4C solution (1/100000000).
    13) Take ½ teaspoon of the 4C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 4C solution.
    14) Shake well.
    15) This is a 5C solution (1/10000000000).
    16) Take ½ teaspoon of the 5C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 5C solution.
    17) Shake well.
    18) This is a 6C solution (1/1000000000000).
    19) Take ½ teaspoon of the 6C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 6C solution.
    20) Shake well.
    21) This is a 7C solution (1/100000000000000).
    22) Take ½ teaspoon of the 7C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 7C solution.
    23) Shake well.
    24) This is an 8C solution (1/10000000000000000).
    25) Take ½ teaspoon of the 8C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 8C solution.
    26) Shake well.
    27) This is a 9C solution (1/1000000000000000000).
    28) Take ½ teaspoon of the 9C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 9C solution.
    29) Shake well.
    30) This is a 10C solution (1/100000000000000000000).
    31) Take ½ teaspoon of the 10C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 10C solution.
    32) Shake well.
    33) This is a 11C solution (1/10000000000000000000000).
    34) Take ½ teaspoon of the 11C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 11C solution.
    35) Shake well.
    36) This is a 12C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000000000000000).
    37) Take ½ teaspoon of the 12C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 12C solution.
    38) Shake well.
    39) This is a 13C solution (1/100000000000000000000000000).
    40) Take ½ teaspoon of the 13C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 13C solution.
    41) Shake well.
    42) This is a 14C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000).
    43) Take ½ teaspoon of the 14C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 14C solution.
    44) Shake well.
    45) This is a 15C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000).
    46) Take ½ teaspoon of the 15C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 15C solution.
    47) Shake well.
    48) This is a 16C solution (1/100000000000000000000000000000000).
    49) Take ½ teaspoon of the 16C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 16C solution.
    50) Shake well.
    51) This is a 17C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000000000).
    52) Take ½ teaspoon of the 17C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 17C solution.
    53) Shake well.
    54) This is an 18C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    55) Take ½ teaspoon of the 18C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 18C solution.
    56) Shake well.
    57) This is a 19C solution (1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    58) Take ½ teaspoon of the 19C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 19C solution.
    59) Shake well.
    60) This is a 20C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    61) Take ½ teaspoon of the 20C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 20C solution.
    62) Shake well.
    63) This is a 21C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    64) Take ½ teaspoon of the 21C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 21C solution.
    65) Shake well.
    66) This is a 22C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    67) Take ½ teaspoon of the 22C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 22C solution.
    68) Shake well.
    69) This is a 23C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    70) Take ½ teaspoon of the 23C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 23C solution.
    71) Shake well.
    72) This is a 24C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    73) Take ½ teaspoon of the 24C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 24C solution.
    74) Shake well.
    75) This is a 25C solution (1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    76) Take ½ teaspoon of the 25C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 25C solution.
    77) Shake well.
    78) This is a 26C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    79) Take ½ teaspoon of the 26C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 26C solution.
    80) Shake well.
    81) This is a 27C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    82) Take ½ teaspoon of the 27C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 27C solution.
    83) Shake well.
    84) This is a 28C solution (1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    85) Take ½ teaspoon of the 28C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 28C solution.
    86) Shake well.
    87) This is a 29C solution (1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
    88) Take ½ teaspoon of the 29C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 29C solution.
    89) Shake well.
    90) This is a 30C solution (1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).

    And then you are done! You can make up other remedies by knowing what the mother tincture is… For instance “Nux Vomica” (or Nux Vom) is from the Nux Vomica plant which contains the poison strychnine, Nux Sulph uses sulpher, and the stuff advertised on the radio for colds, Oscillococcinum is from duck liver.

  144. Aquatic

    Bad, very bad indeed but wij only give figures?
    Did they have the same space as you have now and did they have the same standard of hygene did they not have regular contact with animals opf all kind not being looked afte by a vet, were they as free of insects? Was the local dump not just round the corner or even in the back yard?
    The sources of infection were nearby and more numerous, important because of the following.
    The survival rate depends much on the initial infection! A few bugs will have a hard time but even the least harmfull ones can kill if invading by the million.
    The normally harmless bugs on your skin can be as deadly as the the ones you fear so much. that is why dispersion and hygene have had such beneficial effect for you.
    Go back to their conditions and see how effective the needle really is.
    You can now add swine flu to your list and there are many more to come each with a little risk, how many needles are we going to give to the newborn in the future?
    At present the negatives seem few but as the list grows there must come a point where they will outweight the benefits and no change in hygene or living space would then improve that situation.
    A quick fix may seem tempting but large scale repetition multiplies the risk not only of the immunisation itself but also of the emergence of resistant bugs.
    Go have the needles and get protection but do not assume a heavenly outcome in the long run!
    As long as we remain sensible sensible and respective of other opinions things will work out!
    regards aquatic thinking

  145. papageno

    greatzy

    It is your choice to vaccinate your kids and your choice to get vaccinated. Let people make up their own mind and stop being sheep.

    If i don’t want to get vaccinated that is my choice… and you shouldn’t worry about getting sick from me if you are vaccinated. Get a life and leave your life to yourself.

    You are a very selfish and narrow-minded person.
    The people in favor of vaccinations are worried about those that do not have the choice of getting vaccinated. If you choose not to get vaccinated, you increase the likelihood of an outbreak and therefore risk the life and health of people that did not get immunity from vaccinations.

  146. Aquatic

    Yes, I can read their concern, with great difficulty as they express themselfs
    as Adolf Hitler used to do.
    aquatic

  147. Chris

    Aquatic has now evoked Godwin’s Law… he has nothing else, and has lost.

  148. Aquatic

    Nice try!
    If you are by any chance sitting on a stock of vaccines or bought shares in the companies involved you will sure be laughing, as they went up by 60 percent!
    You may not but a few people are.
    It is not all about concern for someones health is it?
    To those fiddling with numbers; do not forget to multyply by the number of different vaccinations.
    Do it again next year as there will be a few more and more each year after that It looks like we are already on a treadmill.
    How many can there be? Check on how many pathogen there are and on the rate their number tends to increase.
    Will you take all the vaccinations as they become available or are you going to prove yourself wrong and join the enemy of now?
    regards aquatic thinking

  149. Daffy

    Barb: “you are a bunch of blockheads. have any of you tried homeopathy?”

    Why do I have to keep putting chlorine in my pool? Surely the water “remembers” the hundreds of gallons I have put in over the years.

    Why is there no homeopathic whiskey?

    Why can’t terrorists murder people with homeopathic Cyanide? Or Anthrax?

    Because it doesn’t work, that’s why.

  150. john

    It all boils down to: do you have faith in the government?

  151. Aquatic

    yeah it is the percentage that counts!
    Why do you not get drunk on o.2 percent alcohol contents but that much chlorine works fine in your pool?
    Are poisoning and healing at par? A bit of arsenic is essential, a bit more will kill. Terrorist are not the people you expect to want to improve your health, unless they are fighting for you of course, they will be good terrorists!
    There are good and bad terrorrist but all would like to administer something to their enemy.
    Their dream is that their enemies will take that volontarily!
    Dont like this? It proves that scare mongering is easy and often pleasurable to all!
    regards aquatic thinking

  152. Dilapidus

    Honestly.. most of you are idiots.

    It’s quite clear that many of you did not read the article and are childless.

    Hep B for a child with no risk? And why is mercury in there at all? It’s there so they won’t have to find a better preservative or use refrigerators. We can’t find a better preservative?

    The article quite rightly notes that parents should understand exactly what is being given to their children and why, and that vaccinations have a very important role in a healthy society.

  153. Daffy

    Aquatic, if I understand your tortured syntax correctly (and there is room for doubt), you need to read up on the claims made by proponents of homeopathy. It is not a small percentage of anything…the water is pure, but has the “memory” of other ingredients.

    I stand by my comments.

  154. Mark Hansen

    Dilapidus, how much mercury is in the MMR vaccine? How much has ever been in the MMR vaccine? Are there thimerosal-free alternatives for vaccines (such as the flu vaccine) that do have thimerosal?

    To save you the time of looking it up, the answers are, in order: None, None, Yes.

    What do you call a person that makes statements that are so easily disproved and that have been disproved repeatedly? I’ll let you work that one out yourself…

  155. @Dilapadus: Way to ignore every refutation in this thread. ::roll::

  156. tim

    “her campaign, which, if successful, will bring back measles and polio to our children. Read it if you dare.”

    That’s where I stopped reading your rant.

  157. Aquatic

    If you are right now you still be right in the future.
    That means you have to accept all the vaccinations that are to be added, otherwise you eventually have to join the enemy?
    Where is your limit?
    Some are saying that the list is long enough right now, an that it will be wise to take our winnigs and walk!

    This blog appears to be a scaremongering competition!
    Adolf Hitler was the first succesful media misuser, being a specialist in scaremongering.
    This enabled him to criminalize and eventually irradiate his targets.
    Can you see the trend in this blog?
    regards aquatic thinking

  158. Dilapidus

    @Mark Hansen
    I’m not sure what claims you think you have disproved. But the answers are, in order: None.

    I did not make any claims about the MMR vaccine, and the article that I read talked about vaccines in general for the most part. It made good points about understanding exactly what is put into your child’s body and why. It is possible to read my note as suggesting that Hep B vaccines contain thimerosal. You could make that claim and I’d gladly clarify. In fact, I have gone ahead and clarified anyway.

    Mr. Hansen, I know better than to expect rigor here, but is MMR the only vaccine your children got? Not mine, that’s certain. I mentioned Hep B, did your doctor give your child a Hep B vaccination despite the mother not having Hep B or any risk factors?

    @drksky
    What ‘refutations’ are to be found here? I find little more than vitriol from people who didn’t bother to read the article. The article never says don’t vaccinate, it says understand exactly what is in each vaccination and why. It suggests that you, as a parent, have final responsibility for your child’s health as well as a solemn duty to the community.

    I realize this is just a blog, but Mr. Plait’s knee jerk irresponsible description of Mr. Carrey’s article is far beneath the standards of Discover magazine.

  159. @Dilapidus
    I’m not saying don’t eat chocolate cake. But do you know what goes into chocolate cake? You owe your family to find out what is in each chocolate cake. It is your duty to your family and community to know what goes into chocolate cake.

    So something like that isn’t framed to scare people from chocolate cake?

  160. Mark Hansen

    Dilapidus, I didn’t claim to have disproved them; I said that they had been disproven. That is, by others, previously, in other vaccination threads.

    By the way, you do realise that needle-stick is another way that Hep B can be transmitted, don’t you? And that addicts aren’t the most tidy of people when it comes to disposing of their needles? So a child is at risk especially as they aren’t the most discriminating at what they touch or pick up.

    Out of curiosity, which brands of the Hep B vaccine contain thimerosal? According to http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/Thimerosal.htm none of the vaccines for Hep B, whether singly or in combination, contain thimerosal.

  161. Chris

    Aquatic:

    Adolf Hitler was the first succesful media misuser, being a specialist in scaremongering.

    Godwin! You lose.

  162. @dilapidus: How about the third post in the comments by Larian LeQuella? Start there.

    tim Says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 9:37 pm
    “her campaign, which, if successful, will bring back measles and polio to our children. Read it if you dare.”

    That’s where I stopped reading your rant.

    What about that line made you stop reading? The fact that it’s the truth and already happening?

  163. Freelance Minion

    I agree that I’ve been unhappy with those anti-vax posts on Huffington Post, especially by Kennedy (who otherwise is a very good advocate for the environment and social justice, but he’s nuts on this vaccination thing).

    But I think rather than dismissing HuffPo you should try to get published on it. It is am increasingly important media outlet, other than those anti-vax articles it has many excellent writers and posts, and I think YOUR particular writing style and your advocacy or true science would be welcome by its readers.

  164. GQ Bess

    I feel really, really bad for all the autistic kids who are growing up now, and will soon read how their parents would have rather they died than be the people they are.

  165. Wow you are a scientician. what university did you conduct your peer reviewed research that proves this ?

  166. Aquatic

    The one that is open to all, this one!
    Peers calore!

  167. J.

    Calling people unethical, make you sick, etc., because they choose differently than you with THEIR property and THEIR persons should make ANY reader wary– actually, any reader should be wary concerning statist inclined researchers regardless of prestige or political standing.

    Don’t allow the “antivaxxers make me sick” nonsense to dissuade you from thinking independently. If you do your own research and come to the same conclusion that vaccinations are beneficial, great, if not, great. The point is to think for yourself; not to allow others to think for you irregardless of their inability to tolerate your self-governance.

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