Vaccine safety

By Phil Plait | April 29, 2009 12:00 pm

In my recent post about Jim Carrey’s nonsense, BA commenter Todd W. posted an excellent response with all sorts of data about vaccine safety. Urged by other commenters, he has posted this online at Anti antivax. What it amounts to is a must-read FAQ about vaccines and the claims of the antivaxxers.

Given the nonsense and outright lies spouted by commenters in every antivax post I make, I strongly urge everyone to read that page first before commenting here. Considering what’s at stake — babies are dying — if you’re an antivaxxer it’s the very least you can do before urging people to put their childrens’ lives, and those of others, at stake.

The lies must stop.

Tip o’ the needle to Skeptic Dad.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience

Comments (152)

  1. locke

    Law and Order Special Victims Unit’s show last night (in the U.S.) was on this topic and did an extremely good job at it. Melodramatic, of course, that’s their job; Mommy Wars to the nth degree? yes again (showing the ultimate stupidity of Mommy Wars very well). More effective in educating people than a thousand “educational” videos? yes again.

  2. Hey! Thanks for the shout out! :)

  3. Who hoo! Go Todd W., go Todd W. You’re famous mate! Actually Eric TF Bat posted it there. Todd W., IVAN3MAN, and a few others are collaborating on a web page that will have more than just the essential FAQ for folks to go to. <3

  4. I posted this in another comment thread, before I saw this one. Here it is again:

    April 29, 2009 – Researchers find common genetic variations in autistic people – LA Times
    (click on my name to read the story)

  5. @Larian

    Actually Eric TF Bat posted it there.

    Yep. He made my original post all nice and purty and much easier to read, though he did give me the password to edit it as necessary. :)

    Again, Eric, thanks for your work.

  6. Ian

    I posted a link to this as well in my blog that nobody but my mom looks looks at, but since my mom is 100% woo maybe it will help.

  7. Great article, thanks.

    BTW, there is a typo in the 3rd bulleted item under “other vaccine additives” that says “Blow are the vaccines containing aluminum”. I assume the first word should be “Below”?

  8. @Ken B

    Thanks. I’ll fix the typo.

  9. Mchl

    Way to go gentlemen.

  10. Michigan Gardener

    Longtime lurker here, and I love your blog, but I have one nitpick that just irritates me whenever your do a post about vaccinations. You always mention that the antivaccers are putting the health, and lives, of babies and children at risk. While that’s true, they are also putting the health and lives of adults at risk! I am one of those adults; I don’t have immunity to measles, despite repeated vaccinations. Measles in adults is very serious and can be deadly.

    Maybe in the future you can mention that the antivaccers are putting the health of people of ALL ages at risk?

  11. Cheyenne

    Really great job Todd (and the others that worked on it). I hope that webpage gets a lot of hits. Particularly from new parents.

  12. “Of course, Todd W. is just a pawn of Big Pharma, and his article is the one that’s really full of lies.”

    Oh, just in case… :-)

  13. @Ken B

    Heh. Thanks for getting that out of the way. I could use the money from Big Pharma. Alas, I have no ties at all.

  14. diogenes

    Law and Order SVU did a show on this last night. Very fact based and very, very effective.

  15. Geoff

    Good work Todd. Thanks.

  16. Nick

    I just saw an awesome episode of Law and order Special Victims Unit last night that dealt with the dangers of not immunizing kids. They went as far as trying to prosecute a lady for not immunizing her kid who got measles and then proceed to infect a baby at a park leading to her death. Didn’t get the conviction but, was a good episode all around.

  17. Thanks Todd! I posted the link on my Facebook page, and would like to post a link to it on my blog with your permission.

  18. @Michael L

    Go ahead! The wider the spread, the better!

  19. Kirk

    @Nick

    Law and Order SVU had a previous episode taking on the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” crowd, another group willing to spread death and disease rather than admit their ideology is flawed. I wrote them a nice e-mail about the episode after watching it, since depictions of rationality in popular culture should be encouraged.

  20. coolstar

    Yep, I saw the SVU show last night. Very, very effective and showed the ultimate stupidity of the Mommy Wars.

  21. rbelyell

    todds contribution seems quite thorough, but there are two things that cause me concern:
    1-for people who describe themselves as wanting to put ‘facts’ out there, how can you all keep characterizing those who have doubts about the data ‘pro disease’? who the heck is ‘pro disease’?! do you think those who have the temerity to doubt the infallability of the scientific community are actually FOR the spread of disease? that is just nonsense, and it is tiresome that every debate we have in this country has to devolve to foolish name calling. THAT has to stop.
    2-again, i am not an infallible scientist, just someone trained as an attorney (with no dog in this race–i have no children, nor am i involved professionally in this controversy) but can it not be that, while individually these vaccines do not present problems, that the combination of so many of them in a short span of time may indeed be too much for infant bodies to absorb without incident? is that too far beyond the pale for you guys to entertain? todd had listed a dozen separate vaccines that are given, usually over the span of a month, to the same infants who cant even take aspirin!!

    again, i do not have empirical data, just common sense. anecdotally, in my childhood we had not 12, but maybe 6 vaccines to take, and they were given over a period of YEARS not weeks or months. that was the 1960′s and i dont recall any outbreaks of anything that would account for both the doubling of vaccines and the compressed time period for vaccination. indeed, there was an increase in rubella measles, but that led to the mandating of vaccine BEFORE attending school–when kids were 5years old, not 5 months old.

    is this contention so out of whack that we cannot look at what possible effect doubling vaccines and compressing the time period has had on our population, especially when all i am advocating is spacing out these vaccines in a more reasonable way. whom would that harm–except possibly the infallible scientific community?!

  22. Jarrad T

    @ Todd W.

    “Go ahead! The wider the spread, the better!”

    Careful now, you don’t want the antivaxxers to think your on their side! Ha ha ha.

  23. I also saw that episode of SVU. Was very good

  24. I’ve always hated this one….

    Pro-disease anti-vaxers claim the Amish do not vaccinate and do not have autism. This stems from a lie by Dan Olmsted from Age of Autism. The Amish do, in fact, vaccinate, and it appears that their rates of autism may be lower than in the general population.

    I dont think it is a good response. Reason being, while they do vaccinate, they vaccinate at a lower rate (70% or even way less) and they have a lower rate of autism. Antivaxxers will look at this and think “See? less vaccinations – less autism!”. When in reality, they are two completely separate statistics, since they have less swimming pools too, but no one is blaming swimming pools for autism.

    I’m not sure what the right way is to delineate that they have nothing to do with each other (aside from the rest of the excellent list), but I don’t think this one is written well enough.

  25. @rbelyell

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll think on the “pro-disease” bit and see if I should add a clarifying statement to the beginning or replace it entirely. The reason I use it is that those who advocate against vaccines are, intentionally or not, advocating for the return of the diseases prevented. Jenny McCarthy is even on record as saying that she hopes those diseases do make a comeback!

    Regarding the interactions between vaccines, I’ll do some research into it as I find time and try to incorporate information on that into my document. It’ll take a while, though, seeing as what I have now was many months in the making.

  26. rbelyell :
    that the combination of so many of them in a short span of time may indeed be too much for infant bodies to absorb without incident?

    Todd W. addressed this concern as did some of the links he pointed to. An infant fends off thousands of immunological attacks every day. Adding 2-3 more antigens to this number hardly is of concern.

    Note, I DID spread out my daughters vaccines a bit. For the first round of shots, we only did one per visit (and we had more visits). The only reason we did this is that there is a small chance of severe allergic reactions. If she was going to get a bad reaction, I wanted to know which shot did it. Once she had been through everything once, we now vaccinate normally. BTW, since antivaxxers love anecdotes….my daughter doesnt have autism.

    I understand you about the pro-diease title. I hate the moniker pro-life and pro-choice as if the members of the opposite group doesn’t like life or having a choice. However, in this case, unlike the abortion issue, we are talking about unquestionably alive people dying as a result of intentionally delivered misinformation. Further, one parents choice to not vaccinate their kid can seriously affect the health of someone else’s kid (again unlike the choice to have an abortion). For this reason I’m cool with using pro-disease. I find it rather disgusting what these people are trying to do.

  27. mk

    Todd W…. you rock. Congrats and thanks.

  28. Even the re-imagined Battlestar tackled this in the Season 3 Episode, “The Woman King”, where a group of people become ill and refuse vaccinations based on religious grounds, instead turning to traditional remedies.

  29. Craig

    You have probably seen this, but just in case, here is where you can see a map of cases of measles, whooping cough and other diseases. Swine flu, too.

    http://healthmap.org/en

  30. tarrkid

    Isn’t there something, too, about how autism rates have risen as the definition of autism has broadened, something the antivaxxers don’t bother to mention?

  31. @ Todd W.: Very well written article!

    I’ve posted a reference to it in my Blog, as well to a general description of the Antivaxers.

    http://ungaman.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/influenza-gripe-y-vacunacion-vs-anti-vacunacion/

    Sorry… is in Spanish, but the problem is not only for the US, GB and Australia. Here in Latin America we have those ghosts and wraiths haunting our medical and health systems.

    Nations bond to natural medicine due the lack of education, information and high costs of medicine are there, going South.

    We keep the good fight down here!

  32. CryoTank

    YAY Todd W, this is most helpful :)
    Great job!

  33. todd, that is very nice of you to address those issues. obviously you are much more knowledgeable about this than most, certainly more than i. jenny mccarthy aside, i do think that there is a lot of concern out there for the unaccounted for increase in autism among our young–especially the constant stories where symptoms seem to have arisen out of nowhere.

    have you any info on the other pts i made, like the sheer number of vaccines given now vs in the 1960′s, and the time period over which they were comparatively delivered?

    i understand techskeptic’s point about how he dealt with his children, and thankfully none have developed autism, but w all due respect, his good fortune is as irrelevant to the debate as someone else’s bad fortune. and his comments implied that typically these numerous vacccines are given in a very compressed time period.

    todd, what would the risk to the public be if we spaced these vaccines out over a period of years–as i hope you can confirm was done in the 1960s? did such a spacing cause any public health problems then that i was/am not aware of? if not, wouldnt scientific method militate in favor of factually determining if increased spacing of vaccines would have a positive effect on the autism rate?

    i would really appreciate your thoughts on these issues.

    thanks

  34. @tarrkid

    Isn’t there something, too, about how autism rates have risen as the definition of autism has broadened, something the antivaxxers don’t bother to mention?

    Very likely. However, I haven’t done much research, yet, to see if any studies have been done examining this. There was a study in CA that suggests that the changes in definition are not the reason, but it had some flaws in its design.

    One thing that was brought up in a discussion recently was that autism “didn’t exist before 1931 [when thimerosal was added to vaccines]“. I need to add that to my list of myths. The formal scientific definition of autism did not exist before around 1943, I think, but that is not the same thing as it not existing. There’s one study that looked at very detailed case reports from the 1880s England where patients exhibited symptoms that would have earned them a diagnosis of autism today.

  35. @rbelyell

    todd, what would the risk to the public be if we spaced these vaccines out over a period of years–as i hope you can confirm was done in the 1960s? did such a spacing cause any public health problems then that i was/am not aware of? if not, wouldnt scientific method militate in favor of factually determining if increased spacing of vaccines would have a positive effect on the autism rate?

    I’m not certain, but I will look into it. One aspect to keep in mind is that a good number of the vaccines that are available today were not available in the ’60s (e.g., varicella and HPV). So, as vaccines were developed and added to the schedule, the schedule got more crowded.

    One downside I can see (though I don’t have studies to hand to verify this) is that as you space out the vaccines, you open the window wider to allow infection in. Nearly all of the vaccines require multiple doses to achieve the necessary success rate for immunity (e.g., some vaccines have an average efficacy of around 85% [pulling a number out, as I don't have the study to hand] after the first dose, but that average jumps to 95% or better after the second or third dose). I’ll see if I can get in touch with someone at the CDC to see what the reasoning is behind the schedule. My guess is that it reflects the minimum amount of time you should have between vaccinations, according to the vaccine labeling.

  36. RbellYell,

    Please read this.

    …especially the constant stories where symptoms seem to have arisen out of nowhere

    What usually happens is that the parent, like most human beings, have a poor sense of chronological memory. Further, virtually no parent is trained on what to look for with regard to symptoms of autism. Often they don’t know what is normal and what isn’t. Many who do know a difference (because they have a previous child or educated themselves), know, well in advance that “there is something special” about the autistic child. Anyway read that article. the author is described in Phil’s link to Skeptic Dad above.

    My sentence about anecdotes was supposed to be a joke with respect to Jenny McCarthy who thinks that being a parent and having one autistic kid makes her an expert on autism. Just like my having a computer makes me an expert on circuit board design… well thats a bad example for me…but you get the idea.

    tarrkid and todd, That link above (stolen from skeptic dad) addresses the definition of autism and how this has lead its rise. It also points out that in South Korea they have a lower incidence of autism, but they have something called Reactive Attachment Disorder, which, it just so happens, has symptoms that we identify as autism. Again its just catagorical.

    You can go to Skeptico’s site and look up john Best who tried to pull the “didn’t exist before 1931″ canard. It was a hilarious dialog. By that reasoning, schizophrenia didn’t exist before 1908 and germs didnt exist before Pasteur.

  37. again, thank you for your reply. yes, there are many more vaccines today that in the 1960s, thus my point–then we had half as many spread out over 4-5 years. today we have doubled the number and cut the time frame down by 90% to 4-5 months. again, i’m not a scientist, but aren’t those points alone enough to scare the heck out of anyone? i seriously wonder how one could look at those differences and NOT intuitively feel there must be some link with increased autism rates. if not autism, one would almost necessarily predict that SOMETHING negative would result.

  38. numsix

    I would just like to add my “Good Job!” To all those involved in ToddW’s site.

  39. Gavin Flower

    In Babylon 5, there was an episode where an entire intelligent species died because they refused to accept the need for proper medical treatment of a disease – avoided even producing a vaccine!

  40. @ rbelyell (awesome song BTW),

    Regarding the number of autism cases, many people do claim that autism is on some sort of WILD upswing, and is an epidemic of sorts. While I cannot say if there is a rise or not for sure, one thing is quite certain: The autism spectrum is much more understood in this day and age. We are able to correctly identify someone as autistic as opposed to mislabeling them as troublesome, distant, aggressive, impulsive, etc. There is a certain selection bias involved with the autism diagnosis increase claim.

    And for all those people who have anectdotal stories remember that the correlation may seem remarkable to you 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 another blogger that frequents BA 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: 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.

  41. Lawrence

    @rbelyell – one item to consider is that the vaccine schedule was not just conjured out of thin air. Careful consideration & studies were made over the course of the past few decades to help determine the best possible approaches to maximizing the benefits, while minimizing the window of possible illness.

    That’s not to say that the schedule is perfect – and modifications due occur quite frequently. Also, the schedule is quite protracted still – my son received his first set at the hospital, some at 3 months, another couple at 6 months, another at a year, and now is ready to go in for his 18 month boosters – with no ill effects & I know he’s protected against a whole host of potentially life-threatening diseases.

    As for your last point, one could compare your statement to cars. Forty years ago, they were big, clunky & not very efficient. Someone could look at cars today – most are smaller, weigh less, etc & say that they obviously aren’t as safe, right?

    Well, technology advances – which means that cars today are safer than they used to be. Same for drugs (including vaccines) – the more we learn, the easier it becomes to deliver more for less (in this case, more drugs, less time) for the same results.

    I remember my booster shots when I was a child – they were freakin’ elephant needles and they hurt like heck. Nowadays, things are much improved.

    Just my .02 on the subject.

  42. Thank you Todd. It is so very much appreciated. @tarrkid-yes the definition has expanded-very much. Autism is a spectrum disorder.

  43. SLC

    One really has to get a kick out of the accusations by the anti-vax nutcases that those advocating vaccination are shills for big pharma. The fact is that the pharmaceutical companies make very little profit on vaccines and thus have little incentive to bribe people to advocate vaccination.

  44. Dawn

    @rbelyell: you may not remember all the vaccines you received. I just pulled out my vaccine record (my mom was cleaning closets a few years ago and gave her kids all their stuff – baby books, etc- that she had. My vaccination record was in there)

    In 1962, I received:
    DTP at 2 months, 3months, 4 months, boosters at age 10yrs and 16yrs
    OPV (oral polio) at 4 months and 5 months, booster at 2 yrs and 17 yrs
    Measles vaccine 2 1/2 years old, boosters with MMR at 14yrs and 17 yrs ( I never developed measles antibodies)
    I had rubella, but got the MMR at 14yrs.
    I had mumps, but again, had the MMR at 14 yrs

    Not very many vaccines, compared to today’s children, but then, they don’t have to deal with some of the diseases I had to deal with. I nearly was hospitalized for chicken pox, and rotavirus made me very, very ill. (Again almost ended up in the hospital…isn’t the way I’d choose to lose 15 lbs in 1 week, especially as an average weight teen). A vaccine would have been much better than THAT illness.

    I had what was probably pertussis a few years ago, and I’d rather have 200 vaccines then go through that again: coughing until you are breathless, vomiting, in agony from rib/muscle strain, unable to speak because it makes you cough again, unable to sleep because of the coughing…and this lasted for WEEKS. I can’t imagine watching a baby go through what I went through.

  45. Pieter Kok

    Well-done Todd, and Eric the Bat for starting the dedicated site.

    Personally, I would rephrase the “pro-disease”. Even though it is technically accurate, it also feels a bit like rhetoric, which may actually be counter-productive with undecided parents. It is probably more effective to start with a brief statement why we vaccinate in the first place.

    But again, thanks for the effort!

  46. PhilB

    SLC, I’m always amazed at this as well. While I don’t have the facts on hand, it’s well understood that prevention is far cheeper than treatment. If anything we should wonder if “Dr. McCarthy” is the one in bed with Big Pharma.

  47. Davidlpf

    Well heres another well done for yor you Todd.

  48. dawn thank you, and i know what you mean about preferring vaccination over disease–no quarrel w that. but i do think you actually helped make my point. factually, you received 2 kinds of vaccines until you were 2 1/2-DPV and polio. thats it. look at what lawrence said about his kids: a SET at 3 months, another SET at 6 months, another SET at 1yr! that’s a huge difference in the life of a little thing that cant tolerate adult aspirin!

    and lawrence, i do understand that things change as technology improves, but that presupposes the conclusion here–we are debating whether this rather huge change in both doubling the number of vaccines and cutting the time of vaccination by 90% IS OR IS NOT an improvement. again, i ask todd or lawrence or dawn to list the public health problems that resulted from the elongated vaccination schedule of the 1960s. i really am ready to hear some fact about how that schedule created some negative public health issue, but i have not heard any as of yet.

    lawrence, things dont always change for the better–btw, i think cars used to have a lot more character 40 years ago–at least they didnt all look the same!

  49. PhilB

    rbelyell, Cars may have had more character 40 years ago, but they were also less fuel-efficient, more polluting, heavier and more dangerous. Additionally, older cars by being more “solid”, transferred more energy to the passengers in a crash. Sorry to nitpick, but apparently “change-for-the-better” depends on what your priorities are.

    /Prefers the look of 50′s and 60′s cars too
    //Still would rather drive my Honda Insight though

  50. Hi Todd.

    Great job. I added it to the links page on http://www.JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com

    -Derek

  51. True, cars of 40 years ago had a lot more character, but that doesn’t meann they were “better”. What about airbags, safety belts, GPS, fuel efficency, better suspension, etc. Nostalgia isn’t as great as it used to be. ;)

    The CDC Pink Book has an appendix G with lots of statistics on cases and deaths (if that s what you are looking for). Here are some of the data for measles:
    Disease: Measles in the USA
    Year__Cases___Deaths
    1961__423,919_434
    1962__481,530_408
    1963__385,156_364
    (^^ first vaccine licensed)
    1964__458,083_421
    1965__261,905_276
    1966__204,136_261
    1967___62,705__81
    1968___22,231__24
    1969___25,826__41
    1970___47,351__89
    1971___75,290__90
    (^^^ MMR licensed)
    1972___32,275__24
    1973___26,690__23
    1974___22,690__20
    1975___24,374__20
    1976___41,126__12
    1977___57,245__15
    1978___26,871__11
    (^^^ Measles Elimination Program started)
    1979___13,597___6
    1980___13,506__11
    1981____2,124___2

    Pertussis still kills over a dozen American babies every year.

    Anyway, about the silly “money trail”… Which makes more money for “Big Pharma”: selling vaccines or by providing supplies and medication to hospitals for those who have been hospitalized due to pertussis, measles, mumps, Hib, etc? Be sure to provide real actual factual evidence of the type I can find in my local medical school library. Something like this:
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Dec;159(12):1136-44.
    Economic evaluation of the 7-vaccine routine childhood immunization schedule in the United States, 2001.

    “RESULTS: Routine childhood immunization with the 7 vaccines was cost saving from the direct cost and societal perspectives, with net savings of 9.9 billion dollars and 43.3 billion dollars, respectively. Without routine vaccination, direct and societal costs of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, H influenzae type b, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, hepatitis B, and varicella would be 12.3 billion dollars and 46.6 billion dollars, respectively. Direct and societal costs for the vaccination program were an estimated 2.3 billion dollars and 2.8 billion dollars, respectively. Direct and societal benefit-cost ratios for routine childhood vaccination were 5.3 and 16.5, respectively. CONCLUSION: Regardless of the perspective, the current routine childhood immunization schedule results in substantial cost savings.”

    Links to support with actual DATA!

    The economic study: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136
    The California experience with the 1990 measles epidemic: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=8855680
    Another study on the impact of medical interventions on mental retardation, it notes the effect of measles, Hib an rubella: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/160/3/302
    The CDC Pink Book: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/default.htm
    And the Appendix G:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/appdx-full-g.pdf Just the cases and deaths: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf

  52. Hmm…

    That’s weird. I hit “submit” but nothing came up, not even a “pending moderation” sort of thing. Here’s hoping that this won’t be a double post.

    Todd, great job. I added your page to the links page on http://www.JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com

    -Derek

  53. SLC

    Re rbelyell

    lawrence, things dont always change for the better–btw, i think cars used to have a lot more character 40 years ago–at least they didnt all look the same!

    The reason why cars all look the same is that they are designed using wind tunnels to reduce air drag, and thus improve gas mileage. Further, technologically speaking under the hood, todays’ cars are light years ahead of those of only 30 years ago. They are nearly twice as efficient, putting out twice as much power per unit of engine displacement and thus are able to get far better gas mileage. My Honda Civic EX gets better then 40 mpg on the highway and it’s not a small car. 30 years ago, no car of any size got that kind of mileage.

  54. that’s a huge difference in the life of a little thing that cant tolerate adult aspirin!

    Yuck. horrible analogy. The vaccine schedule may be bad because high doses of a poison is bad for baby? that makes no sense. Those are completely different medicines, at completely different doses, that produce completely different responses.

    we are debating whether this rather huge change in both doubling the number of vaccines and cutting the time of vaccination by 90% IS OR IS NOT an improvement.

    You left out the fact that todays vaccines contain far far less virus or antigen than the vaccines of the 60′s. That is becuase we now ad adjuvants that make them more effective.

    Since kids get autism whether or not they have vaccines, then it doesnt matter what rate the vaccines are administered (other than to address immunological concerns), with respect to autism. Its as simple as that.

    More vaccines is an improvement. It means we are preventing more suffering.

    cars used to have a lot more character 40 years ago–at least they didnt all look the same uhhh they all had fins! Hummers don’t look like Crossfires.

  55. thanks slc, but tech advancement has nothing to do w ‘character’ which is what i said. wearing grey poly-something clothing designed in a wind tunnel may be a huge tech jump from armani, but i’ll take italian clothes and a ’69 GTO over space-duds and a honda!

  56. I sometimes try to go up against anti-vaxxers. The problem is that I can only work with facts and logic. I try but I have trouble with the insinuations, the barrage of ‘facts’ which they then demand to be addressed (I heard of a name for that tactic that stems from creationism debates) and the simplistic ‘I don’t believe that’ dismissals.

    The latter method became clear to me from a different angle. In online poker there are a lot of people claiming online sites rig the deck, creating action hands, by which the sites earn more rake (I won’t bore you with more details). Then someone, on his blog, took the time to compare tens of thousands live and online hands, going into great detail, explaining what to expect and what really happened. Online hands turned out to be slightly more statistically correct (explained by the concept of sticky cards in dealing live hands).
    Hours of painstaking work, with a detailed explanation that would make a math fan jump for joy. Within half an hour a response came ‘I just know the sites rig the deck’. And that is exactly one of the methods of anti-vax/anti-science. They just know. If humanity always would have sticked to ‘just knowing’, we’d still be cave dwellers, with a well-developed natural health system and a life expectancy of maybe 30.
    I avoid pro-disease because that is an effect of their actions, not the action itself but I think anti-science is reasonable

  57. @rbelyell

    You said, “we had half as many spread out over 4-5 years. today we have doubled the number and cut the time frame down by 90% to 4-5 months. again, i’m not a scientist, but aren’t those points alone enough to scare the heck out of anyone?”

    We also increased the number of cars dramatically, and the speeds we travel in them since the 1960s. It doesn’t scare the heck out of me. It just so happens this is the way we do things now.

    You say you’re a lawyer. You’re familiar with some Latin then. Let me tell you the motto of the toxicologist, “Sola Dosis Facit Venenum”. Roughly: Only the Dose Makes the Poison.

    You said, “but can it not be that, while individually these vaccines do not present problems, that the combination of so many of them in a short span of time may indeed be too much for infant bodies to absorb without incident? is that too far beyond the pale for you guys to entertain?”

    It has been entertained, and dismissed- not summarily, but after consideration and study. The only real differences in the vaccines are in the active ingredients, which are antigens, attenuated pathogens, or even live pathogens. The other stuff tends to be simply part of the mechanics of perserving the vaccine in terms of shelf-life. In other words, all vaccines tend to share the same inactive ingredients. These ingredients tend to be the same types of things we use to preserve and protect food.

    Phil Plait has a problem as an astronomer. He keeps getting stories about aliens, and time and time again, he finds he has to refute them. Not because he discounts the possibility of intelligent life, but because he knows that most people don’t actually spend a lot of time looking at the sky, and when they do- they’re usually quick to misinterpret it. I have the same problem as a chemist- no one reads the ingredients on anything anymore, and when they do, they reach all sorts of conclusions that don’t make sense.

    Vaccines, like most drugs, are mostly filler by volume. Most of a bottle of cough syrup is water, most of a tablet is actually lactose, etc. When you’re getting a shot, most of the stuff in the syringe is just water. The actual level of exposure you get to active and inactive ingredients isn’t that great. That’s because vaccines don’t need that much to kick your immune system into gear vis-a-vis the selected pathogens. Now comparing giving babies vaccines to giving them aspirin is completely apples to oranges. There are other drugs we can and do give children- think about teething medications. Vaccines work in completely different ways and use completely different substances.

    Even though it’s no longer used in vaccines, primarily because of public fear stirred up by the media, thiomersal is a good example of how something that sounds harmful turns out to be far less harmful: The mercury atom in the molecule isn’t an electrolyte. That’s to say it doesn’t just float off- its chemical properties make it so that it forms what is called an organometallic complex.

    If and when it does come off of thiomersal, it cleaves off from a sulfur bond leaving us with ethylmercury. Ethyl mercury isn’t something you would want in your system in large amounts but as stated before the amount is tiny and it doesn’t accumulate in the body- infants and adults alike will dispose of it when they go to the bathroom. This is why we can give multiple vaccinations to children in the way you describe in some of your other comments. Methyl and dimethyl mercury are true and dangerous poisons, but there is no way to obtain that from thiomersal. Well, there are ways in the lab, if you tried, but for it to happen spontaneously in the human body? Never.

    Other substances of conern are simply non-issues, we put propylene glycol in food. You have to understand that the reason ethylene glycol (from anti-freeze) is harmful, is that it leads to the creation of oxalic acid in the body, which will kill you (the antidote, in case you come across someone who happened to drink some and is conscious, is to get them to vomit first, then get them to drink vodka until the ambulance arrives. Don’t bother with activated charcoal) The next time you get BBQ honey mustard packets at the Chick-fil-A, read the ingredients. The reason you can consume small amounts of the stuff is that while it does form a byproduct in your body it’s pyruvic acid, not oxalic. This brings me to my next point.

    Your body has also formed various ways of dealing with various substances that it produces on its own. This is the reason drinking a beer won’t kill you- your body forms alcohol naturally and has a method of dealing with its buildup. The same goes for pyruvic acid (which I just mentioned), ammonia, and formaldehyde. They vary in harmfulness and your body’s ability to deal with them, but we understand the thresholds on these very well, and stay far away from liminally harmful doses. When you read the warning on a can of diet soda: WARNING: PHENYLKETONUERICS- CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.” it’s because some people have genetic disorders where they can’t breakdown certain substances (we test for phenylketonuria almost at birth).

    The other thing to remember, and I never hesitate to emphasize this because it’s true: The very same people who are making vaccines are actual, living, breathing people with children of their own. They aren’t worried about vaccination and aren’t scared by the schedule- I trust them.

    Going back to the fact you’re a lawyer, would you advocate people have at least a cursory understanding of law? Yes. Would you guarantee that you are always right about the law. No. Do you guarantee success, ever, even if the facts are on your side? I hope not. So why should I listen to a lawyer, or seek representation?

    The answer is that as a layman, a little bit of knowledge can be very dangerous instead of useful, and I haven’t spent years in law school and in court getting intimately acquainted with the law. What you learn in law school in two years (if it’s anything like what you learn in a science degree program) you couldn’t discuss with a layman on equal terms. Yet at this stage, people who have been working in law for years could still pat you on the head, give you a lollipop, and laugh at how naive you are. So what if I’m taking a lawyer’s expertise on faith? Does this mean that I could get in trouble for overestimating what he/she could do for me? Yes, but I still put my trust in a lawyer anyway, because if anyone has the law right, it’s going to be a lawyer- not some pundit on TV, celebrity, washed out law-school dropout, or anyone else. I don’t think it’s arrogant to ask people to trust the scientists on the science- even if we get things wrong sometimes.

  58. Charly

    Re: rbelyell

    You keep making a point about an infant not being able to tolerate adult aspirin. You are correct, however, there are medications specially designed for infants, not aspirin (b/c of Reyes syndrome) but definitely Tylenol and other pain killers. My son required surgery at 2 months. He was given anesthesia and pain killers, just not aspirin. So, making that analogy doesn’t hold water. The meds he received, just like the vaccines, were designed to be given to infants. He also had to take antibiotics beginning the first day of his life – but again, those safe (relatively, as mentioned before, nothing is 100% risk free) for infants. As with the medicines and his surgery, the risk from the meds and surgery were significantly smaller than the risk of not performing the surgery and giving him the meds. Same thing goes for the vaccines.

    One poster mentioned that some of these vaccines had not been invented in the 1960s. I would also point out that because of our highly-mobile lifestyle and the frequency and speed of jet travel, we are exposed to much more than we were in the 1960s. We need to protect our children against what we can.

  59. Whoops! The reason I ask you to read the ingredients at chick-fil-A is that the sauce I mention specifically contains ethylene glycol. Phil, can we has preview button naow? Or at least a bigger text window.

  60. Oh and I completely forgot! Go Todd et al!

  61. Tiffany

    I think life causes autism. Someone should tell these anti-vaxers that being born is more closely related to autism than vaccinations.

  62. PeterC

    rblyell:

    You make one point which I feel I must argue with. You state:
    ” i seriously wonder how one could look at those differences and NOT intuitively feel there must be some link with increased autism rates”

    The problem is that, as the continually quoted saying goes, correlation does not equate to causation.

    If you draw a graph showing the increase in vaccinations against the reported cases of autism, I’m sure it does show a scarily impressive line. But I’m willing to bet that so does the following:

    Rise in use of pre-bottled baby food against autism.
    Rise in use of disposeable nappies against autism.
    Rise in use of gasoline against autism.
    Number of telecommunications satellites in orbit against autism.
    Number of internet web sites against autism.

    All these things have gone up over the last few decades. They will all show some sort of “as this goes up, so do the number of cases of autism”. This does not mean that the internet causes autism, though it may be responsibility for a certain number of other mental issues :)

    There’s one thing I would show an interesting relationship, and one I suspect really is causually related: the rise in cases of autism verses the fall in cases of people classified as “retarded”, “spastic”, “morons” and “village idiots”. The issue also must include the fact that we no longer tend to accept that some people are “slow” – we acknowledge that there is a greater issue behind their apparent lack of ability.

  63. Davidlpf

    I seem to remember a person who had alot of media attention being called a “moron” or “village idoit” but he seems to have dropped the medias radr screens over the last couple of months. But I think he was special case and comments were mor insults then a classification.

  64. John Phillips, FCD

    Todd W. and Eric, good work. I shall use it as a vaccination against the lies and irrationality of the pro-disease lobby with much thanks.

  65. SLC

    Re rblyell

    I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on the subject of cars. INHO, the only thing a car is good for is to get one from point A to point B. To me, it has no other value. Now bicycles, that’s a whole nother story. That’s all about upmanship. Mr. rblyell may find it hard to believe but a top of the line road racing bike can set one back as much as $10,000. Now that’s what I call conspicuous consumption!

  66. Dawn

    @rbelyell: Before I go on, I forgot one additional vaccination: Smallpox. I will carry the scar from this vaccine for life. Kids these days don’t have to worry about that one, because we managed to eradicate the disease in the public through vaccinations.

    Yes, there were far fewer vaccines when we were children. We got sick a lot more, with more serious illnesses. However, many of us had mothers who could stay home and care for us.

    But, there were still autistic children. The child not have had the diagnosis at that time. I can clearly recall a boy in my kindergarden class who would fall under a moderately autistic diagnosis now. He was never violent to us, but we were all afraid of him because of his “tantrums” as we called them: he would begin flapping, push chairs out from the desks and crawl under them and sit there. Over the years (without any therapy, as he was just seen as a “strange, difficult” child) he improved; he was in my 6th grade class and was a much more “normal” child. I also have a family member who, through descriptions in letters, would now be diagnosed as autistic.

    These days, many children are in daycare because their parents both have to work. They can’t afford to say in quarantine with an exposed child, or home for a week with a sick one on a regular basis (I can recall the wait with the mumps: I caught it first. My mother was house-bound (since she’d never had them as a child, although the rest of her family did) with me, then had to stay home another 2 weeks in case she caught it…during that time my brother broke out with mumps so it added weeks to her quarantine time. She was going NUTS by the time she could leave the house.)

    I don’t know, personally, if the current vaccine schedule is the VERY BEST one. It is the best one we have at this time. It is under regular scrutiny and adjusted as needed for the common good. I have had my children fully vaccinated, I will keep my own vaccinations up to date, and advise others to do so. For the common good.

  67. Keith

    I still like the idea of calling them “pro-disease”, as perjorative as that sounds. I would also like to see parents who don’t vaccinate subject to criminal prosecution, as in the Law and Order episode previously mentioned.

    @rblyell: Let me give you another example of why associating vaccines with autism is spurious. Last Friday, my cat accidentally scratched me on the arm. The next day I began developing symptoms of a cold. If I go around claiming that I caught cold from the cat scratch, I would be committing the fallacy of confusing association with causation. I would be wrong to do so. I could have caught it from a myriad of other sources–the doorknob on my front door, the checkout girl at Wal-Mart, one of my co-workers. I could go on, but I think the point is clear.

    It is the mistake all antivaxxers make, and sadly many become single-minded about it.

    I would really like to see President Obama make a statement about this issue, and encourage parents to do the right thing and vaccinate their kids. If parents heard the leader of the free world saying this, I believe the effect would be profound.

    I think the current swine flu crisis brings home the need to protect ourselves and our children against diseases that can kill. Perhaps when the dust from this settles more people will get the message and vaccinate like they should.

  68. wow! thanks for the latin lesson; now here’s one for you ‘non-sequitor’-it means giving a response that has nothing to do with the previous conversation. while sometimes interesting, your diatribe doesnt address any of the points i made, but emulates the worst of what the world thinks of lawyers: throw enough technical jargon at the laity and hope you overwhelm them with words to your opinion.

    i’m sure you are a very knowledgeable person, but smarts is not sufficient for anyone to trust you with the lives or well being of other human beings. your argument that scientists have kids who follow the present vaccine regimen is patently absurd in trying to persuade that the current regimen has no negative effects. were those same scientists all childless who for years argued that smoking had no direct causal link to cancer??!! please. scientists are not to be believed whole hog all the time just because they’re scientists. scientists are not infallible and we all have been witness to numerous examples of the science fact of one day turning into the science fraud of another day. chemist, my education taught me critical thinking–not latin, but i suggest you look it up and think about where, when and to whom you want to abdicate your judgement in issues of life and death.

    peter c–i get that just because 2 things increase at the same time does not conclude the issue of causality. i never said it did. but certainly injecting matter into someone’s body is much more likely a suspect for that person’s subsequent failing health than increased gas consumption.

    what really honest to gosh amazes me is that in all the responses to my position, none have disagreed with any of my premises:
    1 there is an unaccounted for increase in autism in our children over the last 20 years
    2 over the same time period we have injected this same class of people as infants with over twice the number of vaccines over a 90% shorter time period than we did 30 years ago
    3 there seems to be no public health reason for the compressed vaccination time period–there has not suggested that any outbreak of any kind occurred 30, 40 even 50 years ago that would merit the compression of this time period so drastically
    4 all that being the case, and assuming we are all followers (though not all syncophants) of science, no one has been able to state a viable public health reason for increasing the vaccination time period back to near where it was and then measuring the concomittant effect on autism rates. that was what we used to call ‘scientific method’.

    to slc, thanks for your good humor, and if i had $10k i’d buy an old el camino!

  69. Keith

    The Chemist makes a great point about thiomersal and ethyl mercury. Mercury by itself is poisonous, but this chemical compound and the miniscule amounts that were present in pre-2001 vaccines are not enough to do any harm.

    This may not be the best example, but take the components of salt. Sodium is a metal so reactive that it could produce an exothermic reaction when interacting with airborne moisture. Chlorine is a gas so deadly even a concentration of a few parts per million will kill you. Yet combined, it seasons and preserves our food, and helps stave off dehydration in arid climates. Too much of it can kill you, but in nominal quantities it is harmless.

  70. Damon

    Didn’t vaccines end up killing more people than they saved in the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak?

  71. Lawrence

    @rbelyell -

    1) there is an unaccounted for increase in autism in our children over the last 20 years

    Increase compared to what? In the past, many autistic children were mis-diagnosed. Plus, current statistics include the entire range of autism – which spans quite a range (including many children which are almost functionally normal).

    2 over the same time period we have injected this same class of people as infants with over twice the number of vaccines over a 90% shorter time period than we did 30 years ago

    Can you back this up with the two vaccine schedules? You also need to compare the actual composition of the different vaccines over time, which have become substantially safer since the 1960s.

    3 there seems to be no public health reason for the compressed vaccination time period–there has not suggested that any outbreak of any kind occurred 30, 40 even 50 years ago that would merit the compression of this time period so drastically

    If a 4 month old infant contracts Whooping Cough & dies before they are vaccinated – then yes, there is a public health reason for changing the schedule. The same thing applies to the entire range of diseases – including measles, mumps, pertussis, etc. The sooner an infant can be vaccinated, the better – especially in this age of people refusing to immunize their kids. Imagine going to the doctor’s office with your infant & getting exposed to an older child with the measles.

    4 all that being the case, and assuming we are all followers (though not all syncophants) of science, no one has been able to state a viable public health reason for increasing the vaccination time period back to near where it was and then measuring the concomittant effect on autism rates. that was what we used to call ’scientific method’.

    There have been plenty of studies. Todd W has great links – you should check them out.

  72. Lawrence

    @Damon – yes, it was an unfortunate situation. But, the public demanded the vaccination, so it was rushed into production before the scientists could complete their studies. We do learn from our mistakes.

  73. McK

    @ Peter C – I recall seeing recently on a website a graph that shows exactly what you postulate — the rise in autism cases corresponds almost perfectly to the decline in diagnoses of mental retardation.

    @everybody – check out Mark Crislip’s Quackcast podcast on vaccination from earlier this year. It has a lot of the same compelling data, albeit in a different medium, less easy to reference when debating anti-vaxxers

  74. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
  75. sylva333

    Todd~
    Thank you for the web page. I put it up on Facebook (it might be useful there since I have a lot of friends with young kids or will have kids some time in the near future). I’ve never posted anything that got responses so fast! People had given it the thumbs-up and commented on it with in minutes!!!
    It’s useful to have a good short and to the point link!!! I am keeping it for future use!

  76. I have personal experience with the polo epidemic. Several friends had it and my Mother was a nurse in a county polo ward in in the early 50′s. I was first in line for the Salk vaccine and took the next one also. Numbers do not lie. Better hygiene? Polo tended to hit the ones that lived in the cleaner places. How much safer than where FDR must have lived could you be

  77. Cairnos

    @rbelyell “3 there seems to be no public health reason for the compressed vaccination time period–there has not suggested that any outbreak of any kind occurred 30, 40 even 50 years ago that would merit the compression of this time period so drastically”

    Hi, I hope your not feeling jumped on here but I thought I might loosely address this point of yours which I think is a pretty good one.

    First a warning: Readers beware, the following contains loose theorising, anecdote, and is not supported by either quoted facts or references. Any serious deviation from reality is the fault of the author.

    That said, I often hear (yes, I can practically feel you all cringing already) of children who get the first of a series of vacciantions but never get the complete set because, well the parents just never get around to it and theres always something else that needs doing. I would guess (and here we leave the quicksand of anecdote and plunge into the wild uncharted jungle of theory) that the more stretched out the sequence is, the greater the chance of it being discontinued at some point. If this is the case then a compressed sequence increases the chance of the entire series being taken.

    Now I haven’t shown any evidence of an outbreak in the past but if you look at the figures Larian posted above on the number of measles cases over time you can see that the number of measles cases has continued to drop. This could of course be due to improvements in vaccines or greater coverage of vaccination programs but it may also possibly be due to more children recieving the complete program.

    I shall now abandon this exercise in wooly thinking before some of the more rigorously scientific folk here burst a blood vessel :-)

  78. Cairnos

    @Keith “This may not be the best example, but take the components of salt”

    My personal favourite example is this. The Hindenberg gave us an excellent example of why Hydrogen and Oxygen are especially dangerous when mixed so only a fool would argue that a molecule containing both should be left sitting in a cup on your desk right. And imagine the insanity of throwing a bucket of the combined molecule directly onto a fire. I mean water MUST be explosive right?

  79. throw enough technical jargon at the laity and hope you overwhelm them with words to your opinion.

    I was actually doing my best to keep jargon down to a minimum- believe me, if you wanted me to get technical I could bring down a wall of text the likes of which you have never seen (MWAHAHAHAHAHA!). Seriously though, I got carried away, I know it. By the way, I never claimed it wasn’t opinion- I said I believe the scientists that make the vaccines and their claims. I of course use the knowledge I do have at my disposal, but ultimately biology is not my specialty (it was at one point- but that’s another story).

    I should have worked harder to be more lucid. It’s not a non-sequitor if you consider the gestalt of my statement- once again a failure of style on my part. When I write things, even by hand, I’m Nabokovian- I place salient points in various paragraphs and then rearrange them in an order that makes sense- then edit it down to make sense further. I was rushed to finish my comment and get off the computer- then the whole thing went to pieces.

    Fundamentally though, arguing the science with you was pointless and ultimately a manic and cathartic exercise. I knew that when I started writing. My experience has been that in science, history, politics (as a study), or other specialized fields that may have a direct impact on a person’s worldview, there is a strong tendency to fill the gaps between discrete bits of knowledge with things that ultimately suits your ideology. I’ve known people who agree with evolution, but have no idea how it really works (you’d be surprised how many people don’t)- their worldview was a post-hoc acceptance of evolution based on their loss of religious faith. My belief in evolution, by contrast, is the experience of a religious person who was forced to come to terms with the evidence- dragged kicking and screaming, “But… thermodynamics!”

    I’m not going to try and decode your epistemology- I don’t know you. but I don’t think that where you’re at in terms of your worldview is going to allow you to see the fundamental errors of your position. Yeah. That sounds pretty arrogant, but it is emminently true.

    So why don’t I turn the argument back on myself and say I’m blind to the alternatives and ways of knowing you present? Well, because my experience with the scientific way of knowing has been so consistently and subjectively (yes, I mean subjectively) self-affirming. I’ve been spending a lot of time learning exactly how we know what we know. I have all sorts of stories that are testaments to the value of the scientific method, and fundamentally you are arguing for a phenomenon that would be fundamentally at odds with that method. You are coming to us and telling us that the hole in the ozone was caused by us poking holes in it with rockets (I’ve heard this idea from an actual person). Like it or not, that’s a completely equivalent statement as far as the science is concerned. I’m telling you this with a straight face and without exaggeration. Do you honestly expect us to agree when you are so far off the mark from our highly empirical worldview? You are a heretic, though sometimes that’s a good thing.

    Infidels, madmen, and heretics have changed the course of history- but in my experience they mostly yell obscentities on the subway. You want to be one, fine. Just don’t be so earnest in expecting us to take you seriously. Science is hostile to innovation- that’s how it works. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t, and we’d still be in the dark ages.

  80. Mark M

    @rbelyell, you’re use of Aspirin as an example something familiar and relatively harmless but advised against is a tactical flaw. Aspirin is contradicted in children because of Reye’s Syndrome. It can be potentially fatal to give a child Aspirin.

    In your comments, you seem to be saying because we don’t have complete information, we should be cautious. True. But who is it that is lacking information? The vaccination schedule hasn’t been mashed up arbitrarily. To you, and to many others, it may look mysterious but it really isn’t. And thankfully it is being managed by professionals who have a better understanding of causality/statistics than what is commonly found.

    Which brings me back to Aspirin. You present it as something that is commonly considered harmless but is not to be given to children. Next, your logic leaps to a few vaccines might be harmless but many might not. The flaw, besides the logic leap, is that there is a very very good reason not to give a child Aspirin: it could kill or damage him. It’s not arbitrary. It’s been studied. But because of your lack of knowledge about a simple and common drug, you present it as you do. Your lack of knowledge, or perhaps willful ignorance, is the common root in your arguments.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reye's_syndrome

  81. HCN

    LarianLeQuella Says: … a bunch of stuff that looked very familiar!

    :-p

    It’s okay, spread it around! (I actually have a text file with that stuff on it).

  82. sylva333

    why does it say that my comment is being moderated?

    I just wanted to say that Todd is awesome, love the link!

  83. HCN

    It seems that comments with URL links automatically get put into moderation.

  84. Lars

    @the webmaster: In addition to a Preview button, I would very much like links to be encoded instead of breaking when they contain “special” characters like ‘, (, ), or whitespace. Thanksalot.

  85. My mom’s an antivaxxer (good word–I’ve never heard it before), and I saw the episode of SVU this week. It prompted me to write a blog post about it…in case anybody reading this cares to comment on it.

    http://blog.deltawerx.com/?p=133

  86. Ema Nymton

    Well, rbelyell, I’m not to sure exactly what conclusions to draw from your rambling rants, other than to note that you seem to suffer an extreme lack of mental acuity.

  87. MarkW

    Great stuff Todd. In my bookmarks as a go-to for when I talk to antivaxxers.

  88. According to many sources (search google news for “gene autism” links ranges from reuters, bbc to miami herald :D ) scientists made a breakthrough in identifying a new gene link to autism

  89. scientists made a breakthrough in identifying a new gene link to autism
    [mummy mode]Oh that is for other peoples babies… mine was definitely injured by a vaccine.[/mummy mode]

  90. Nigel Depledge

    Rbelyell said:

    dawn thank you, and i know what you mean about preferring vaccination over disease–no quarrel w that. but i do think you actually helped make my point. factually, you received 2 kinds of vaccines until you were 2 1/2-DPV and polio. thats it. look at what lawrence said about his kids: a SET at 3 months, another SET at 6 months, another SET at 1yr! that’s a huge difference in the life of a little thing that cant tolerate adult aspirin!

    This is quite interesting, as it highlights a common misconseption about drugs.

    What are drugs?

    Typical drugs – things like aspirin, paracetamol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen, penicillin, amoxicillin, econazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, vancomycin, methicillin, codeine, acyclovir and so on and on – are small molecules (molecular weights less than 500 g/mole) that have a biological activity. The biological activity will typically be something along the lines of inhibiting something that the body does normally (as in painkillers and anti-inflammatories) or being specifically toxic to a microorganism (as in antibiotics and antivirals). Unless you are unlucky enough to develop an allergy, these do not activate your immune system in any way.

    So, the typical drug has an activity that depends on dose, and it is all by itself in your body in having that activity. Doses of these drugs will typically be in the range of 1 mg – 1 g for an adult.

    What is a vaccine? Well, ultimately, a vaccine is a substance that activates your immune system to neutralise an infectious pathogen. Most commonly, vaccines are used to prevent viral infections.

    Vaccines could be killed virus, or attenuated virus (viral infectivity is attenuated by passaging [growing multiple generations of] the virus through a non-human host cell or tissue – as the virus adapts to become more specifically able to infect its new host, it becomes less effective at infecting human cells) or recombinant viral surface proteins. The dose of a vaccine required to activate an immune response varies hugely, but will all be substantially less than the dose of a “normal” drug. Some vaccines may be dosed at around 1 µg or less. (If any clinical immunologists out there know a bit more about vaccine doses, I’d be mopre than happy to have some of these gaps filled in.)

    What does the hard work is your own immune system. Once a vaccine has activated your immune system, the response becomes amplified through a sequence of cellular and molecular interactions that I cannot recall in detail. Ultimately, antibodies raised against a vaccine will hugely outnumber the original dose of vaccine.

    These antibodies do not linger for very long, though, because your body should only need to make these proteins when they are needed.

    This is the clever bit. If you receive a second dose of vaccine while your body has these antibodies in the bloodstream, it activates a different type of immune response, in which special cells (known as “memory” cells) are formed. These cells reside in your spleen (IIRC) and are what can confer lifelong immunity to a virus. If the virus enters your bloodstream years later, the memory cells will rapidly trigger an immune response that wipes it out before it really has a chance to get going.

  91. Nigel Depledge

    Rbelyell said:

    lawrence, things dont always change for the better–btw, i think cars used to have a lot more character 40 years ago–at least they didnt all look the same!

    OK, I challenge you to show me another car that looks like the Fiat Multiplas. Now, how sure are you that all modern cars look the same? Or did you refer only to those design classics with which we are still familiar?

  92. Cass_m

    Thanks Nigel for your very complete but easily understood post on the difference between a drug and a vaccine. That is something that should be clearly posted on every antivax rebuttel site.

    To me Rbelyell is the perfect example of an intelligent person you want to address on anti vax websites. Quick bits that answer the questions he asks addressed at a basic level of knowledge. The anti-anti-vax website could grow to include this information.

    I find content that is made specifically to address specific events to be not as effecting as those that just give information. For instance, Why evolution is true is not as effective for me as Your inner fish because Coyne seems to have an agenda where Shubin is just enthused about science and cool connections.

    Thanks for all the work on the anti-anti-vax site.

  93. SLC

    Re rbelyell

    Just to carry my previous discussion a little further, a top of the line bicycle racing tire can cost more then even a quality automobile tire (e.g. a Michelin or a Goodyear).

  94. Rachel D.

    Just a little story here about my vaccinated son:
    When he was 4 months and 2 weeks old, we discovered he had a diaphragmatic hernia (hole in his diaphragm) and he required immediate emergency surgery to save his life. He spent 3 days in the Pediatric ICU recovering from major abdominal surgery, with me at his side. In the next room was a boy with whooping cough (pertussis). I’ll never forget that seal bark cough that you could hear in the entire *wing* of the PICU. Every time I heard that barking cough, all I could think was “Thank God my son had his DTaP 2 weeks ago!”
    What if I had delayed that shot, as is recommended by Psycho Jenny? My son was exposed to a deadly disease during a very fragile time in his health at the tender age of 4 months old, and had he not been vaccinated, he could easily have caught pertussis and died thanks to his already weakened state from the surgery.
    Vaccinate and save lives!

  95. but certainly injecting matter into someone’s body is much more likely a suspect for that person’s subsequent failing health than increased gas consumption.

    1) why?
    2) that doesn’t happen like that.

    I’m starting to suspect you don’t actually read the reponses that people are giving you here. controlled studies with hundreds of thousands of participants have been done to check this exact correlation for causation. It doesnt exist. Its certainly time to move on and start looking at promising areas such as genetics and other environmental factors.

  96. what? a profanity filter? Whats with the Overmind?

    we can haz preview now?

  97. @rbelyell

    Until I get additional study information added to my document, a good source for more information is clinicaltrials.gov. It is a repository of tons of clinical trials that have been done, are planned, or underway in the U.S. While the results may not be listed there, you can get the study title, then look it up on PubMed.

    @TheChemist

    Loved the summary of how chemicals work in the body. Mind if I nab some of that for future use?

  98. Bill Nettles

    The reason I ask you to read the ingredients at chick-fil-A is that the sauce I mention specifically contains ethylene glycol.

    I think you’ve got another typo there. The package says propylene glycol, and that would agree with your argument. Now we’ve got to trust that the product isn’t made in China, in which case they probably would say “glycol is gycol…who cares how many carbons.”

    All in all, an excellent argument, Chemist.

    I would add to everything you say that the anti-vax group never addresses what would happen to their child at 6 months if they became infected with measles from another child. That would be an overwhelming assault on their immune system.

    Also, the general trends coming from immunological and allergy research show that small challenges to the immune system in childhood are important in developing healthy immune systems and also reduce severities of allergies. Avoiding “germs” can have pathological consequences later in life. Making mud pies is good if the immune system is not congenitally debilitated.

  99. Ernest

    Trusting a vaccine-making company is like trusting a government – protected-&-paid-for serial killer with a machine gun to your head that he will not harm you. Read the following and you’ll understand why no one in his right mind would accept to be vaccinated by these guys…

    From: http://www.prisonplanet.com/swine-flu-debacle-of-1976-is-recalled.html

    Big Pharma Protects you!

    April 27th, 2009

    In 1976, the Federal Insurance Company advised Merck that all liability, indemnity, and defense costs associated with claims arising from the new swine flu vaccine would not be covered by its insurance plan. Having absorbed the embarrassment and the economic losses caused by the polio vaccine in 1955, the pharmaceutical industry and their insurance providers were determined that would not happen again.

    This time, there are no worries. Drug companies have completely covered their tracks, and when reports of adverse event and deaths from the new swine flu vaccine start to roll in, they will be smiling all the way to the bank.

    Flu shots were added to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Table in 2003, meaning, if anyone is injured, a claim needs to be filed through the Federal Court of Claims and it will be years before it is adjudicated. And that is just the basic layer of protection. All the drug companies have to do is whisper that this may be a “terrorist attack” and they are home free.

    Before he was voted out of office in 2006, then-senator Bill Frist (R-TN), a physician, drove through a bill that gave drug companies more immunity than any bill ever passed by Congress. The legislation, referred to as “Division E” was tacked to a Defense appropriations bill during the final minutes of the congressional sessions before the Christmas recess. This bill provides at least four sweeping provisions:

    1. Immunity from liability for all drugs, vaccines, or biological products deemed as a covered countermeasure against bioterrorism in the event of an outbreak of any kind. The proposal is not only limited to new drugs or vaccines developed under the umbrella of “bioterrorism” or “pandemic” protection. The proposal is so broad that it could include drugs like Tylenol, Advil…and would have applied to Vioxx.

    2. Immunity for any product used for any public health emergency declared by the secretary of HHS. The authority to declare an emergency now rests completely in the hands of the secretary of HHS—an appointed, non-medical person who has no accountability to the general public. The president’s hand-picked person that is part of his inner circle will have the power to mandate vaccines and other medications given to the American people.

    3. Immunity from accountability. No matter what a drug company does wrong, they are protected. Even if the company’s dirty facility created a batch of contaminated vaccines that resulted in death or injury to thousands of people, the drug company will not be held accountable.

    4. Immunity from law suits. A person who suffers any type of loss will be prohibited from suing the drug companies. Vaccine manufacturers have immunity from almost everything, perhaps even murder. The bill provisions provide a mechanism for filing a lawsuit, but the language explicitly prevents frivolous suits by setting a standard for liability more rigid than any known standard of negligence.

    In simple terms, if a claim is filed by a plaintiff it can go forward only if the injured party can prove that the company performed an act of “willful misconduct” resulting in an injury or a death. In other words, the injured party would have to prove the vaccine maker intentionally caused him harm.

    Division-E goes even one step further. Unbelievably, even if a pharmaceutical company knowingly harms people, the company will be immune from legal prosecution unless the U.S. attorney general initiates “enforcement action” against the drug company in the name of the claimant. This means the U.S. government would have to go to bat for the injured party for the lawsuit to move forward, as unlikely as the current swine flu fiasco being an unplanned pandemic.

    New Vaccines Ready to Roll Out

    The swine flu outbreak is going to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. Share prices have already risen for two of eight public traded companies in the firm’s portfolio of Pandemic and Bio Defense investments. BioCryst, up more than 26 percent, to $2.21 per share, and Novavax, maker of viral vaccines, escalated 75 percent to $1.42 per share on the first announcement of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico.

    Novavax uses genetic information and “recombinant, virus-like particle technology” to rapidly engineer a vaccine. Its technology has only been through Phase II clinical trials but might be released prematurely. Novavax’s CEO, Rahul Singhvi announced Friday, “There is an emergency authorization avenue that is available that would allow us to use the vaccine in an emergency without further testing.” The Division-E provisions would protect the company from all liability.

    In the fine print of the Division-E legislation, (available for download at http://www.DrTenpenny.com so you can read it for yourself), there is a suggestion that a massive, bioterrorist vaccination program could be “voluntary.” Will the media make everyone aware of the one-line provision that potentially gives us the right to refuse?

    Will government mandates override State exemption laws? The future is unclear but this has been suggested. Your personal rights are growing very thin and activism has never been more important. A quote by U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) says it all: “When we give government the power to make medical decisions for us, we, in essence, accept that the state owns our bodies.”

  100. Bill Nettles

    Oooo…that Honey Mustard BBQ sauce is good stuff. Seriously.

    Now to the facitious…it also has calcium disodium EDTA. That EDTA stuff is a chelate which means it will purify your system (that’s what chelates do isn’t it?) and prevent heart attacks and all kinds of cancer. No more visits to the chiropractor to get the toxins flushed out through your feet.

    Eat more chikin! (trademark of Chick-fil-A)

  101. Gary Ansorge

    Todd w:

    Excellent work.

    One might also point out, as far as no medicine being perfect, that anti-biotics can have lethal side effects, but the diseases they are being used to treat are also lethal, at a MUCH higher rate than those caused by the anti-biotics. When one has contracted pneumonia, refusing anti-biotic treatment because it might kill you makes as much sense as refusing vaccination for the same reason.

    Gary 7

  102. Bill Nettles

    Gee, folks, I might be wrong, but Ernest sure sounds like a plantiff lawyer who got shut out of his payday. That’s reasoned speculation on my part. Why should we trust him?

  103. @Ernest

    The article briefly mentions the 1976 flu vaccine, but does not give any context for what happened. Here’s the backstory for those who don’t know.

    In 1976, several soldiers in one company at Fort Dix showed symptoms of flu. Preliminary tests suggested that it was swine flu, and fears were high both in government and in the public that this might turn into another pandemic. Memories were still fresh of the epidemics of the ’50s and earlier, when thousands died from the flu. The public and government put on the pressure to develop a vaccine as fast as possible. The vaccine was produced and the lots tested for quality. That test passed. However, the company made a subsequent change (I forget the reason at the moment) and, rather than delay the vaccine any longer for fear of an epidemic, the lots with the new change were not tested.

    The government, acting on both internal and public pressure, initiated a vaccination program and many people were vaccinated. However, due to a taint in the vaccine, episodes of Guillain Barre Syndrome started popping up, which were eventually linked back to the vaccine. Meanwhile, further tests were ongoing with those soldiers. It eventually turned out that the strain of flu was not one that would lead to an outbreak.

    This is certainly something to keep in mind with the current fears of the swine flu originating in Mexico, but it can hardly be compared to vaccines in general. The lessons to be learned are that 1) we need to know the facts before reacting and 2) quality control protocols and regulations must be followed correctly.

    As to the bill from Sen. Frist, I’ll take a look at it and follow up later.

  104. Daffy

    I was given the swine flu vaccine in 1976 and had a pretty severe reaction to it (lost the use of my right arm for several days). The whole thing was, IMO, a hysterical reaction to a possibility of repeating the 1918 epidemic that killed millions. But what everyone failed to take into account was the advent of modern medicine and antibiotics against secondary infections. The message being that hysteria does nothing good—how many are aware that the current strain of swine flu has symptoms that are milder than “standard” flu?

    All that said, I am completely for vaccinations in general; they have clearly saved millions and millions of lives and quality of life against fatal/crippling diseases. Let’s just avoid hysteria about the swine flu, shall we?

    Panic never accomplishes anything good (can you say 9/11?).

  105. Charles Boyer

    The last pandemic was the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu.

    There is a very interesting article on it, the perception of it and how it relates to modern times and hyper mass media

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/134206-historically-pandemics-wreak-less-market-havoc-than-feared

  106. @Ernest

    I did a little looking around and found that Sen. Kennedy, Harkin and Dodd, along with others, called for the repeal of Sen. Frist’s addition. Here is the bill they filed:

    thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.2291:

    Here is a follow-up bill they filed:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.3982:

    I’m not entirely familiar with the Senate web site, so I’m not sure if Frist’s amendment was actually repealed eventually or not. I’ll keep looking, though.

  107. Daffy

    “The last pandemic was the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu.”

    I remember that one…it was a nasty variant. I caught it and was very lethargic for over a month. I mainly remember it because my mom was totally convinced that the lethargy was caused by hard drug use (which I was not doing); I was 13 years old.

  108. @Bill nettles: Oops! Rookie mistake. You’re right, I did mean propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is also in hand sanitizer. I’ve tasted hand sanitizer, and don’t recommend it- long story.

    @Todd W. sure you can steal some of my comment. Just email me at chemicaljourney “at” geemail dot com with the portions you want to use so I can make sure they don’t have errors. My Chick-fil-A ethylene glycol screw up has me wanting to double check what I wrote.

  109. SLC

    Re Ernest

    Actually, former Senator Frist was not voted out of office. He decided not to run for reelection in 2006, after having made a fool of himself during the Terry Schiavo affair.

  110. ndt

    Kirk Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 1:22 pm
    @Nick

    Law and Order SVU had a previous episode taking on the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” crowd, another group willing to spread death and disease rather than admit their ideology is flawed. I wrote them a nice e-mail about the episode after watching it, since depictions of rationality in popular culture should be encouraged.

    They ran this as the Wednesday night rerun last night. I think somebody read your letter!

  111. Gret web page, but it would be much more useful if it had references.

  112. @Ed Falk

    The references are in the hyperlinks in the text. I can add a references section for clarity, though.

  113. A well written and clearly thought out article. Unfortunately if the intent was to educate it had a terribly fatal flaw, calling people pro-disease or even anti-vax immediately puts the people you are trying to educate on defense. Now if the whole point of the article wasn’t to educate, but to show how misinformed, uneducated and/or scared stupid some people are…seems like a waste of an otherwise excellent article.

  114. Charlie Young

    @slc

    …and if I had $10,000, I’d get a $5000 bike and many other goodies to go with it (nice wheels, pedals, saddle, computer, clothing, etc.). That $10,000 bike is going to cost you 15 grand once you start getting the other stuff.

  115. Ernest

    @ Tood W.

    But wait. This gets better…

    From: http://www.infowars.net/articles/april2009/270409Baxter.htm

    Baxter To Develop Swine Flu Vaccine Despite Bird Flu Scandal

    The fox has been given the duty of guarding the henhouse

    Steve Watson – April 27, 2009

    A U.S. based pharmaceutical company that just weeks ago was involved in a scandal involving vaccines tainted with deadly avian flu virus has been chosen to head up efforts to produce a vaccine for the Mexican swine flu that has seemingly migrated into the U.S. and Europe.

    Baxter confirmed over the weekend that it is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb the deadly swine flu virus that is blamed for scores of deaths in Mexico and has emerged as a threat in the U.S., reports the Chicago Tribune.

    Baxter has previously worked with governments all over the globe to develop and produce vaccines to protect against infectious disease or potential threats from bioterrorism. After 9/11 Baxter helped supply stockpiles of a smallpox vaccine and in 2003 the company was contracted to develop a vaccine to combat the SARS virus. In 2006 the UK Government announced plans designed to inoculate every person in the country with Baxter’s vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic. However, Baxter has a very recent and most disturbing connection to flu vaccines.

    As reported by multiple sources last month, including the Times of India, vaccines contaminated with deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus were distributed to 18 countries last December by a lab at an Austrian branch of Baxter.

    It was only by providence that the batch was first tested on ferrets in the Czech Republic, before being shipped out for injection into humans. The ferrets all died and the shocking discovery was made.

    Czech newspapers immediately questioned whether the events were part of a conspiracy to deliberately provoke a pandemic, following up on accusations already made by health officials in other countries.

    Initially, Baxter attempted to stonewall questions by invoking “trade secrets” and refused to reveal how the vaccines were contaminated with H5N1. After increased pressure they then claimed that pure H5N1 batches were sent by accident.

    Since the probability of mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible, this leaves no other explanation than that the contamination was a deliberate attempt to weaponize the H5N1 virus to its most potent extreme and distribute it via conventional flu vaccines to the population who would then infect others to a devastating degree as the disease went airborne.

    The fact that Baxter mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses is the smoking gun. The H5N1 virus on its own has killed hundreds of people, but it is less airborne and more restricted in the ease with which it can spread. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which as everyone knows are super-airborne and easily spread, the effect is a potent, super-airbone, super deadly biological weapon.

    Indeed, some have already suggested that the current scare could represent the use of such a weapon.

    Now it has been announced that Baxter is seeking a sample of the potentially lethal never before seen form of swine/avian/human flu virus in order to assist the World Health Organization in developing a new vaccine, reaping billions in the process.

    Why should Baxter be trusted, when they have already been proven to be at the very least criminally negligent, and at worst a prime suspect in attempting to carry off one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind?

    The company has already put the safety of the entire human race at risk, and now, just a few weeks later, we’re expected to invest our confidence in them and take their shots with a smile and a still tongue?

    As Mike Adams of Natural News has commented, “If you mail an envelope full of anthrax to your Senator, you get arrested as a terrorist. So why is Baxter — which mailed samples of a far more deadly viral strain to labs around the world — getting away with saying, essentially, ‘Oops?’”

    WHO officials are reportedly still closely monitoring the investigation into Baxter’s contaminated flu vaccines, seemingly they are not too concerned. Perhaps we should be…

  116. @Corey J Feldman and others

    I’ve added a note to the beginning to clarify my use of “anti-vax” and “pro-disease” until I come up with something the doesn’t rub people the wrong way. Please let me know if you think that it suffices for now.

  117. @Ernest

    The article starts off okay, talking about a potential problem with one manufacturing site. Then it leaps off into conspiracy theory land with no evidence to support the accusation that the company tried to

    deliberate[ly] attempt to weaponize the H5N1 virus to its most potent extreme and distribute it via conventional flu vaccines to the population who would then infect others to a devastating degree as the disease went airborne.

    Without knowing the safety protocols in place at the offending manufacturing site, such a conclusion is not only premature, but grossly unethical journalism. I’m sorry, but it will take more than a piece of yellow journalism to show that this incident was anything more than a quality control SNAFU.

    Other than paranoid talk amounting to “I can’t believe it could be an accident, so it must be intentional” (argument from personal incredulity logical fallacy), what evidence is there that it was not an accident?

    Please, Ernest, do try to select sources with actual supporting evidence, and stop scare-mongering.

  118. Ernest

    @Todd W

    Quality control SNAFU?

    Baxter International adheres to something called BSL3 (Biosafety Level 3) – a set of laboratory safety protocols that prevent the cross-contamination of materials.

    As explained on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosaf…):

    “Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone. All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features.”

    Under the BSL3 code of conduct, it is impossible for live avian flu viruses to contaminate production vaccine materials that are shipped out to vendors around the world.

    Possibly, Baxter isn’t following BSL3 safety guidelines or is so sloppy in following them that it can make monumental mistakes that threaten the safety of people. And if that’s the case, then why are we injecting our children with vaccines made from Baxter’s materials?

    Paranoïa? Scare-mongering? I leave that to the MSM and the way they cover the swine flu story. Have you watched the headlines lately?

  119. sailor

    Ok, Everyone wants to know what is cauding autism and what to do about it. One small factor may be the floors you kids are crawling around on.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=link-between-autism-and-vinyl

    There is also this one:
    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/05/05/a-link-between-parents-mental-health-and-autism/

    In both cases, the evidence such as it is, is MORE than anything linking autism to vaccinations. On the mental health issue I wonder if, in recent years, modern drugs have enabled people with some mental health problems to have a normal life, which includes marriage and kids, whereas in times past, they would have been more incapacitated.

  120. @Ernest

    I know what BSL3 entails. I also know that the protocols are enacted by people. People make mistakes. It is therefore possible for someone to have made a mistake, albeit a horrendous one, in that particular site. While this casts doubt on products from that manufacturing site, it does not automatically condemn the entire company or products from other sites. And, it certainly is illogical, rash and, yes, scare-mongering, to jump to the conclusion that it is a deliberate attempt to weaponize a virus.

    What you and the author of that article are doing amounts to “This apple has a worm, therefore all apples have worms. Don’t eat apples!”

    As to the mainstream media, I agree, some of them are being irresponsible in their reporting of the swine flu, though I’ve noticed on the news that I watch that they keep reinforcing that the public should not panic; at least one news source is trying to keep things realistic.

    I suggest you, too, try to keep things reality-based.

  121. Ernest

    @Todd W.

    “People make mistakes. It is therefore possible for someone to have made a mistake, albeit a horrendous one, in that particular site. While this casts doubt on products from that manufacturing site, it does not automatically condemn the entire company or products from other sites. And, it certainly is illogical, rash and, yes, scare-mongering, to jump to the conclusion that it is a deliberate attempt to weaponize a virus”.

    Could be, but downplaying it is not helping either. We’re talking about biohazard, hazmat here. A mistake is a luxury we cannot afford in this case. Don’t you agree?

    “What you and the author of that article are doing amounts to “This apple has a worm, therefore all apples have worms. Don’t eat apples!”

    Do I sense a strawman here?

    “As to the mainstream media, I agree, some of them are being irresponsible in their reporting of the swine flu, though I’ve noticed on the news that I watch that they keep reinforcing that the public should not panic; at least one news source is trying to keep things realistic.”

    I’d rather say MOST of them are being irresponsible. You said one source is trying to keep things realistic. Which one would that be?

    “I suggest you, too, try to keep things reality-based.”

    Well, then, I will quote your own words from a previous comment in this thread:

    “In 1976, several soldiers in one company at Fort Dix showed symptoms of flu. Preliminary tests suggested that it was swine flu, and fears were high both in government and in the public that this might turn into another pandemic. Memories were still fresh of the epidemics of the ’50s and earlier, when thousands died from the flu. The public and government put on the pressure to develop a vaccine as fast as possible. The vaccine was produced and the lots tested for quality. That test passed. However, the company made a subsequent change (I forget the reason at the moment) and, rather than delay the vaccine any longer for fear of an epidemic, the lots with the new change were not tested.

    The government, acting on both internal and public pressure, initiated a vaccination program and many people were vaccinated. However, due to a taint in the vaccine, episodes of Guillain Barre Syndrome started popping up, which were eventually linked back to the vaccine. Meanwhile, further tests were ongoing with those soldiers. It eventually turned out that the strain of flu was not one that would lead to an outbreak.”

    As they say, reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. And those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

  122. ndt

    2-again, i am not an infallible scientist, just someone trained as an attorney (with no dog in this race–i have no children, nor am i involved professionally in this controversy) but can it not be that, while individually these vaccines do not present problems, that the combination of so many of them in a short span of time may indeed be too much for infant bodies to absorb without incident?

    That’s possible. Which is why scientists studied the issue and found that combining vaccines does not increase the risk of health problems.

  123. Karl Withakay

    Thanks for the link to an excellent page.

    I have a another link for my “Good Points” bookmark folder under “Space & Science”. I’m going to have to reorganize again soon, both of those folders are starting to get very crowded.

  124. ndt

    rbelyell Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 2:47 pm
    again, thank you for your reply. yes, there are many more vaccines today that in the 1960s, thus my point–then we had half as many spread out over 4-5 years. today we have doubled the number and cut the time frame down by 90% to 4-5 months. again, i’m not a scientist, but aren’t those points alone enough to scare the heck out of anyone?

    No. I don’t see why anyone would be scared by that.

    i seriously wonder how one could look at those differences and NOT intuitively feel there must be some link with increased autism rates.

    Because there’s no reason at all to think they’re connected.

    if not autism, one would almost necessarily predict that SOMETHING negative would result.

    Why would you predict that?

  125. ndt

    The Chemist Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 4:47 pm
    We also increased the number of cars dramatically, and the speeds we travel in them since the 1960s.

    I don’t know where you live, but in the US we drive slower now than we did in the 1960s. In the 1960s many expressways had 85mph speed limits.

  126. @Earnest-

    Um, hate to break it to you, but the avian flu thing is in part due to the fact that the vaccines are grown in chicken eggs (hence the egg allergy warning you sign when you get one- if you get one). What kind of flu was contaminating the vaccine? Bird flu. Good thing chickens aren’t birds, then that would shoot your whole theory to pieces- Oh wait!

    BSL3 is not a guarantee that endemic pathogens will not be present in the supply chain, that’s why rigorous QC protocols have to be in place- which is why the vaccine didn’t make it out into the world. The BSL3 is mostly designed to keep the live pathogens being worked on from getting out of the lab, in this case the issue was with pathogens from eggs themselves getting into the product. Next thing you know you’re going to complain that salmonella’s getting injected into our eggs and that it’s a conspiracy designed so that you can’t have a meringue.

    Give me a break. No bid contracts and business interests polluting government doesn’t require a cabal, it merely requires the inequitable distribution of power through the instrument of capital as a basis for wealth. Duh, everyone knows that. It doesn’t mean that these people have their hearts set on watching the world burn.

    Infowars is a mostly terrible website, BTdubs.

    @ndt, sorry, I wasn’t going back far enough I guess, I should have gone back as far as the 1920s, my point was simply that the technology got to a certain point, and we’re there with it.

  127. SLC

    Re Charlie Young

    Actually, the $10,000 figure includes everything and assumes all Campagnolo components except for a King headset (a local bike shop had a Serotta Ottrott with Shimano Dura Ace components for $9000; the salesman estimated an extra $1000 for all Campagnolo components) .

  128. Charlie Young

    @SLC

    Nice dream machine (human powered, of course). I’m kinda partial to Pinarello.

  129. Ernest

    @The Chemist

    “Um, hate to break it to you, but the avian flu thing is in part due to the fact that the vaccines are grown in chicken eggs (hence the egg allergy warning you sign when you get one- if you get one). What kind of flu was contaminating the vaccine? Bird flu. Good thing chickens aren’t birds, then that would shoot your whole theory to pieces”

    I see. And I guess the chickens are coming home to roost, aren’t they?

    Have a look at this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg-52mHIjhs

    “Give me a break. No bid contracts and business interests polluting government doesn’t require a cabal, it merely requires the inequitable distribution of power through the instrument of capital as a basis for wealth. Duh, everyone knows that. It doesn’t mean that these people have their hearts set on watching the world burn.”

    Sure.

    “Next thing you know you’re going to complain that salmonella’s getting injected into our eggs and that it’s a conspiracy designed so that you can’t have a meringue.”

    Yeah. Next thing you know you’re going to complain that AIDS is getting injected into our vaccines and that it’s a conspiracy designed so that you can’t have a vaccine.

    Your call.

  130. tsisageya

    I assume no one has ever heard of Dr. Robert Mendelsohn. Sure, he’s DEAD now, but I like him.

    Discredit him at your peril.

  131. Earnest, are you seriously linking to the hemophilia blood products (which are transfuse material from blood donors unrelated to vaccination) 20 years ago as relevant to vaccines? Not only that, a video put up by whale.to specifically citing relation to vaccines? The words to describe your level of stupid here are just beyond me.

    Go do some research on the outbreak of AIDS and get educated about the disease before you infect someone. (Unless you don’t think AIDS exists or is something set up by the CIA- in which case I recommend you abstain from any activity that might put you at risk of breeding.)

  132. Earnest, my comment is in moderation because there’s a link in it. I’ll give you the gist of it: You have no idea what you are talking about, and need to find something you’re good at, and go with that. Leave the rest to the professionals, please. Seriously, do they not teach about HIV in sex ed?

  133. Ernest

    @ The Chemist

    Here are a few excerpts from the Wiki link you added:

    “During the late 1970s and early 1980s, large numbers of hemophiliacs throughout the world became infected with HIV after receiving tainted clotting substances made by Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter International and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation.[1] Estimates range from 6,000 to 10,000 hemophiliacs in the United States becoming infected with H.I.V.[1][2]”

    Notice whose name has popped again? Baxter International, as in Baxter To Develop Swine Flu Vaccine Despite Bird Flu Scandal. Rings a bell?

    “The United States Food and Drug Administration helped to keep the news out of the public. In May 1985, the FDA’s regulator of blood products, Dr. Harry M. Meyer Jr., believing the companies had broken a voluntary agreement to withdraw the old medicine from the market, called together officials of the companies and ordered them to comply.[4] Cutter’s notes from the meeting indicate that Dr. Meyer asked that the issue be “quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public”[5] while another company noted that the FDA wanted the matter solved “quickly and quietly.”

    Talk about ethics, accountability and transparency! Can you blame people for asking: what else should we know that they are not telling us?

    “Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group, which has been investigating the industry’s practices for three decades called them “the most incriminating internal pharmaceutical industry documents I have ever seen.”[4]

    I tend to agree with him.

    “In 1993, top executives of three companies (Baxter International, Rhône-Poulenc and Alpha Therapeutic) met with leaders of the hemophilia community to outline the terms of a $125 million offer.[1] Rejecting the offer, David Shrager, a plaintiffs’ lawyer, filed a class action lawsuit with Jonathan Wadleigh as lead plaintiff on behalf of American hemophiliacs.[1] Shrager had previously negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of Canadian hemophiliacs and then established a panel of claimants, led by Wadleigh, to advise him and other lawyers.[1] In early 1995, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago decertified the lawsuit, saying it might bankrupt the industry.[1]”

    It might bankrupt the industry… It all boils down to money. No wonder someone in the Senate pushed for a legislation that gives big pharma immunity from liability, accountability and lawsuits.

    I also had a look at Baxter’s entry on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baxter_International

    More problems here for our potential swine flu vaccine developer:

    Two quality issues in less than two years:

    1. 2008 Chinese heparin contamination.

    “In 2008, the quality of blood thinning products produced by Baxter was brought into question when they were linked to 19 deaths in the US.[2] Upon inspection one of the raw ingredients used by Baxter were found to be contaminated – between 5 and 20 percent – with a substance that was similar, but not identical, to the ingredient itself. Enough for them to be considered sub-potent and thus unsuitable for use. Baxter identified the issue by detecting an unusual increase in allergic-type reactions. It worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), initiated a voluntary recall, temporarily suspended the manufacture of heparin, and launched an investigation to understand the cause of the reactions.”

    2. 2009 avian flu contamination

    I won’t repeat the story here, because it’s been listed in a previous comment on this thread.

    And we should trust these guys to inoculate the population? Better you than me.

    Look, the point I want to make is for people not to go on blind faith with the pharma industry and do a bit of research. You’d be surprised with what you can come up with.

    As for the rest of your comment:

    “Go do some research on the outbreak of AIDS and get educated about the disease before you infect someone. (Unless you don’t think AIDS exists or is something set up by the CIA- in which case I recommend you abstain from any activity that might put you at risk of breeding.)

    You have no idea what you are talking about, and need to find something you’re good at, and go with that. Leave the rest to the professionals, please. Seriously, do they not teach about HIV in sex ed?”

    Thanks for the advice, but I suggest you keep your patronizing to yourself.

  134. Mark Hansen

    @tsisageya,
    Why? Does he make house calls zombie-style?

  135. @Ernest

    1. 2008 Chinese heparin contamination.

    “In 2008, the quality of blood thinning products produced by Baxter was brought into question when they were linked to 19 deaths in the US.[2] Upon inspection one of the raw ingredients used by Baxter were found to be contaminated – between 5 and 20 percent – with a substance that was similar, but not identical, to the ingredient itself. Enough for them to be considered sub-potent and thus unsuitable for use. Baxter identified the issue by detecting an unusual increase in allergic-type reactions. It worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), initiated a voluntary recall, temporarily suspended the manufacture of heparin, and launched an investigation to understand the cause of the reactions.”

    Okay, so the provider of the raw material had contamination issues and Baxter discovered the problem, issued a recall on its own and suspended production until they could figure out the problem. Sounds like a responsible action on the part of company, rather than a blemish.

    2. 2009 avian flu contamination

    I won’t repeat the story here, because it’s been listed in a previous comment on this thread.

    Yeah, and we already responded to it. Sorry that what we’ve said goes against your conspiracy think.

    Look, the point I want to make is for people not to go on blind faith with the pharma industry and do a bit of research. You’d be surprised with what you can come up with.

    I agree. People should educate themselves, but they should get their info from legitimate web sites, rather than ones full of unfounded conspiracies and misinformation. Here’s a tip, whale.to is not a reliable source of info. Likewise infowars.

  136. Ernest

    @Todd W.

    The quotes I referred to in my previous message are taken from Wikipedia. Are you suggesting Wikipedia is full of unfounded conspiracies and information as well? That would be ironic, because it appears to be a reference of choice on this blog.

    “Sounds like a responsible action on the part of company, rather than a blemish.”

    Keep downplaying it all you want, Todd. The fact is Baxter is a CRIMINAL organization. They were one of the many pharma companies that KNOWINGLY sold AIDS tainted blood products in the U.S. and around the world.

    Quotes from Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contaminated_haemophilia_blood_products :

    “Estimates range from 6,000 to 10,000 hemophiliacs in the United States becoming infected with H.I.V.”.

    These are only estimates.

    “By June, a Cutter letter to distributors in France and 20 other countries said that “AIDS has become the center of irrational response in many countries” and “This is of particular concern to us because of unsubstantiated speculations that this syndrome may be transmitted by certain blood products.”[4] France continued using unheated concentrate through August.[4]”

    My emphasis on the words “irrational response” and “unsubstantiated speculation”. Sounds familiar?

    “Several months later, once hemophiliacs in Hong Kong began testing positive for HIV, some local doctors began to question whether Cutter was dumping “AIDS tainted” medicine into less-developed countries.[4] Cutter denied the allegation, claiming that the unheated product posed “no severe hazard” and was in fact the “same fine product we have supplied for years.”[4]

    A fine product indeed. And, no, it does not “Sound like a responsible action on the part of company, rather than a blemish.” This is especially true when we know the following:

    “In January 1983, the manager of plasma procurement for Bayer’s Cutter Biological division acknowledged in a letter that “There is strong evidence to suggest that AIDS is passed on to other people through … plasma products.”[4] By March 1983, the situation got so bad that the CDC warned that blood products “appear responsible for AIDS among hemophilia patients.”[4] By May 1983, a Cutter rival began making a heated concentrate and France decided to halt all clotting concentrate imports until it could figure out what to do.[4]

    “Cutter feared losing customers, so according to an internal memo, Cutter “want to give the impression that [they were] continuously improving our product without telling them [they expected] soon to also have a heat-treated” concentrate.[4] The heat-treatment rendered the virus “undetectable” in the product, according to a government study.[4]”

    All the company cared about was the possibility it could lose market share. They did not give a damn about peoples’ lives. Do you still want to call this a responsible action? I call this MURDER and GREED.

    “On August 22, 2003,[6] MSNBC’s Scarborough Country had Bayer on their “Rat of the Week” segment.[5] Speaking with Mike Papantonio, a legal advisor to the show, they discussed the 2003 New York Times article referenced above, saying that the product (known by Bayer to bear the risk of contamination) was “dropped … in Japan, Spain and France.”[5] As of 2003[update], the United States Justice Department has yet to investigate any corporate executives.[5]”

    Not only hasn’t the USJD investigated any corporate executives of “Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter International and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation.[1]“, but the same companies are now being shielded from liability, accountability and lawsuits in the U.S. thanks to our “let”s put the people first” politicians. What do you have to say about that?

    Back to Baxter. “The companies’ failure to follow US federal law and conduct tests against viral hepatitis increased the risk of plasma containing HIV entering plasma pools”. Not my quote, but Wikipedia’s (you know, the non legit and full of unfounded conspiracies and misinformation site?).

    So here we have a company, that has a history of selling tainted blood that has led to the death of thousands of Americans, that has been involved in blood thinning products contamination that were linked to 19 deaths in the US, and that has distributed contaminated vaccines with deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus that could have been a disaster had it not been for the vigilance of Czech doctors. And yet, according to the Chicago Tribune
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-baxter-swine-flu-27-apr27,0,3579388.story,”Baxter seeks swine flu sample to begin work on vaccine. Deerfield-based Baxter has a speedier way to make vaccines than old method”. Speedier, perhaps, but is it going to be safer?

    So what happened to the old “three strikes and you’re out” principle? This company, BAXTER, should be put out of business before another “accident” happens. Not only is this not the case, but they are now in line for a most lucrative vaccine manufacturing contract. I’m appalled!

    Are you guys willing to get a vaccine and let your children get a vaccine that has been manufactured by a company with such a track record? Do you think this is conspiracy nonsense and hogwash? Think about it.

  137. Look up Odwalla and their violations and corporate fines. Juice must be a horrible thing. What point are you making? That corporations frequently screw up and and screw people over? We know. Once again, HIV in hemophiliac blood supplies has NOTHING to do with vaccines and fundamental safety issues involved in their unerlying mechanism. I love how conversations with kooks always go off topic so quickly when they run out of information on the immediate facts. Brass tacks, we’re talking about whether or not vaccines cause autism, not whether or not companies that manufacture them are often negligent. It’s not companies saying vaccines are safe, it’s independent doctors and scientists.

    All of these things you mention are QC and corporate responsibility issues, not issues involving scientists withholding evidence from the public. Nothing stays secret in the world of S&T, reverse-engineering runs rampant. That’s why there’s patent squatting. Think: How long did it take before the iPhone was cracked by hackers? Scientists and technologists have a mentality where they’ve been taking things apart to see how they work since childhood. Scientists, as a rule, CANNOT FUNCTION AT THEIR JOBS if they work in isolation from the community and without one eye on what everyone else is doing. Only cranks masquerading as scientists work in isolation.

    You don’t want to trust Baxter- fine. Hell, I don’t trust them and never have trusted any pharmacuetical company as being honest, but it doesn’t change the fact that vaccines are made to cure disease by mechanisms we’ve understood well for a long time now. The fact that you can’t make your own vaccine at home, and are forced to get it from a single major coporation doesn’t mean that the vaccines don’t work, or are on the balance more harmful than not vaccinating- it means so far, any movement to shift the balance of power away from corporatist interest have failed.

    Frankly, I blame people like you, who are completely anti-reality, but inevitably pollute any movement which seeks to bring power in check. I’ve seen too many otherwise perfectly good political platforms and viable community organizations that go off the deep end because someone gets it in their head to take on unrealistic anti-science positions that do more harm than good. I’m sick of this moronic, archaic, ridiculous, reactionary, post-enlightment romatic mindset that acts under the guise of post-modernism. You may not realize this is your position and that this is the role fulfill in society: But oh- it is, and it’s great news for the very people you despise. People who don’t have a firm grip on reality make excellent enemies.

    If you find this information too patronizing, too bad. I’ve been arguing with you people for a while now and have progressively lost the desire to explain things in calm detail. I’m sorry, but people who act like fools get talked down to. It’s a real thing that happens sometimes. Get over it and conjure up enough raw knowledge that you can patronize back, or come to the realization that you’re out of your depth here.

  138. @The Chemist

    Minor correction:

    it doesn’t change the fact that vaccines are made to cure prevent disease

  139. ndt

    Amazing how Baxter knowlingly sold products contaminated with AIDS before anyone knew AIDS existed.

  140. Ernest

    @The Chemist

    Er… you talking to me?

    If so, well, I respect your opinion, although I disagree with you.

    But, tell me, honestly, how does your rant help this debate go anywhere? How do strawmen and ad-hominem contribute to further this issue?

    You’re going to have to do better than that. I would say it is rather you who are going to make a lot of enemies among your peers if you use colourful metaphors to characterize them or their position each time they differ from yours.

    Young man, go West! Graduate and see what life has to teach you. Look, listen and learn, kid!

  141. @Ernest

    They were one of the many pharma companies that KNOWINGLY sold AIDS tainted blood products in the U.S. and around the world.

    As ndt points out, how could they knowingly sell blood products in the ’70s tainted with AIDS if the virus wasn’t even discovered until 1983 and adequate testing tools were not available until several years after that?

    A fine product indeed. And, no, it does not “Sound like a responsible action on the part of company, rather than a blemish.”

    Why are you applying my statement about Baxter’s heparin contamination to not only a different company, but an entirely different product?

    “The companies’ failure to follow US federal law and conduct tests against viral hepatitis increased the risk of plasma containing HIV entering plasma pools”. Not my quote, but Wikipedia’s (you know, the non legit and full of unfounded conspiracies and misinformation site?).

    Apparently you missed this sentence at the beginning of the wikipedia article:

    The medicine was made using pools of plasma from 10,000 or more donors, and since HIV at that time couldn’t be screened out, the plasma carried a high risk of passing along the disease.

    Also, I find it interesting that you make it seem like I said Wikipedia was full of conspiracy theories when I never said any such thing. What I did say was that the author of the article about “weaponizing” avian flu and you were engaging in conspiracy thinking.

    So here we have a company, that has a history of selling tainted blood

    At a time when HIV had not even been discovered and there was no way to test for it.

    that has been involved in blood thinning products contamination that were linked to 19 deaths in the US

    And instituted its own voluntary recall and halted production of the product while the source of contamination (from one of its suppliers, not within the company itself) was investigated.

    and that has distributed contaminated vaccines with deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus that could have been a disaster had it not been for the vigilance of Czech doctors.

    A horrible QC mistake at one of its facilities, and one for which they should be held accountable for corrective action. Luckily, the vaccine never made it out to the public, thanks to scientists at their Czech distributor.

    So what happened to the old “three strikes and you’re out” principle? This company, BAXTER, should be put out of business before another “accident” happens.

    I would agree with you if the company had not corrected its procedures in each of those instances to ensure that those particular problems do not happen again.

    I agree with you, also, that any product they produce for the swine flu should be carefully scrutinized and tested before being distributed. You’ve cited three QC problems that occurred over the course of 30+ years, and we’ve shown that, in the first instance, they could not have known, in the second they acted responsibly by issuing a recall and halting production, and in the third instance, we don’t yet have the details about why or how the contamination happened in one of their facilities, and therefore cannot jump to conclusions.

    Again, stop jumping to conclusions and twisting things to fit your conspiracy theories against Baxter. Are they spotless? No. Are they some evil conglomerate out to destroy the world? No.

  142. Ernest

    @ndt

    I like your blog. And the quotes you put up on your home page, especially this one: “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government”–Edward Abbey.

    Cool stuff!

  143. @ Ernest

    Who are you? Travis Bickle?

    Go look up ad hominem. I refuted you, then I insulted you. I didn’t say you’re wrong because you’re stupid. I showed how you were wrong, and then I called you stupid. That’s not ad hominem. Perhaps poor form, but not ad hominem. Also check again, I’ll be damned if I wasn’t be completely literal, I don’t think you’re aware of what a metaphor is. (Also a statement of fact, not ad hominem, which would be attacking your knowledge of language by calling you an idiot, instead of pointing out that you completely missed the mark on what a metaphor is.) I really hope your high school English teacher didn’t get paid.

    Respect for someone’s opinion is a meaningless concept when it’s about factual matters rather than personal preference. You like the color mauve? I respect your opinion. You think aliens stole your brain? That’s another story, and you don’t “contribute” anything by insisting on the point. In every argument I’ve seen a request to agree to disagree is an act of contrition and/or weariness. You don’t want to have this argument anymore? That’s your preference. I respect that.

    “Young man, go West! Graduate and see what life has to teach you. Look, listen and learn, kid!”

    Also, if you’re going to patronize me, at least try to show some originality, flair, zing (if you will). The old “Ah, you’re still young.” cliche was worn thin when the Greeks started using it.

  144. SLC

    Re Charlie Young

    I ride a Colnago myself.

  145. gail

    Hang on a moment…
    Eric TF Bat?

    ERIC THE FRUIT BAT?!?!!!

    I think my world just got a LOT smaller. Shout out to Eric TF Bat, from Gail the MUCS filker! And I just cross referenced it. Yes it is. PHIL you are explding my brain again, stop it! :)

  146. My question about vaccines is not about the vaccines themselves, but about the question of how vaccines are used and produced. Since Bayer and Baxter (the world’s largest vaccine makers) have both been caught with questionables in their vaccines, such as AIDS and Swine Flu (mainstream media, not kook press), I have a hard time trusting vaccines sources.

    Further, the question of vaccination often comes down to whether we should be required to do it under some circumstances or all of the time. I see this as a real freedom issue, well beyond the science question of vaccines.

    Science, for centuries, believed that the earth was flat, that the animals and plants of earth just magically appeared here, and that the sun revolved around the earth. Science also believed that disease was caused by sin, voodoo, bad mojo, and association with various societal elements.

    Someday, science may find that vaccines are relatively ineffective or that they are not as safe as we think or something else entirely. Sciece-as-fact/religion types can’t fathom the idea that science is questions with tentative answers, not facts as dictated by the God Science.

    So if it’s a question of freedom, I choose to make my own choices. I have taken the oath that if anyone tells myself or my family that we are to be vaccinated, no matter what we say about it, I will die stopping that from happening. It’s not about the vaccines, it’s about the freedom of choice.

    Further, my wife is a Gulf War veteran and received an experimental vaccine for Anthrax during her tour. She has spent the majority of her life fighting the effects of that vaccine on her body. Until recently, the government claimed it was “all in her head” and “all due to PTSD.” Now they are beginning to admit that it could be a mitochondrial infection thanks to that vaccine. Good luck getting the VA to give up their research on that, though. It literally took me two years to find the research.

    Of course, you won’t see that on MSNBC or Fox News either. Not even in Discover Magazine. Oh well.

    Back to the freedom issue, here is how it spells out: my body is MINE. No one should have the right or ability to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body. This is the fundamental of freedom and liberty. If you don’t have the freedom to choose for you own body, you have no freedom.

  147. @Aaron

    Since Bayer and Baxter (the world’s largest vaccine makers) have both been caught with questionables in their vaccines, such as AIDS and Swine Flu (mainstream media, not kook press)

    The HIV bit with Bayer was at a time when adequate screening and processing methods for detecting and eliminating the virus from blood products (not vaccines) were not available. They did engage in questionable blood-collection practices, for which they should be (and were) held accountable. As to the Baxter bit, first, it was materials for lab use only (again, not vaccines) and never intended for human use. Second, it was a strain of avian flu that was the contaminant, not swine flu.

    Science, for centuries, believed that the earth was flat

    False. Unless, of course, you’re talking about pre-ancient Greece. Since the time of the Greeks, the educated types knew that the Earth was round. There may have been some disagreement on the size, but not whether the Earth was flat or round.

    that the animals and plants of earth just magically appeared here

    A religious notion, not scientific.

    that the sun revolved around the earth

    Okay, I’ll give you this one, but with a caveat that this was also partly religious in origin.

    Science also believed that disease was caused by sin

    Religion.

    voodoo, bad mojo

    Religion, religion.

    and association with various societal elements.

    Possibly some truth to this. But you’re talking about different times.

    Someday, science may find that vaccines are relatively ineffective or that they are not as safe as we think or something else entirely. Sciece-as-fact/religion types can’t fathom the idea that science is questions with tentative answers, not facts as dictated by the God Science.

    Who here is saying that science does not arrive at tentative answers? Perhaps it may be found that vaccines are ineffective or not as safe, but the evidence that we have right now points to very strong efficacy and a pretty decent safety profile (though work should always be done to make them even safer than they already are).

    So if it’s a question of freedom, I choose to make my own choices. I have taken the oath that if anyone tells myself or my family that we are to be vaccinated, no matter what we say about it, I will die stopping that from happening. It’s not about the vaccines, it’s about the freedom of choice.

    Okay. Just remember that the freedom to choose also comes with some responsibilities. You need to be responsible for the consequences of your actions. If you or your family becomes ill with a vaccine-preventable disease, then you have the responsibility to quarantine yourself or take whatever other measures are necessary to prevent transmission of the disease to other people. That becomes a bit tricky when you contract a disease that is transmissible before symptoms appear or after they have subsided.

    Further, my wife is a Gulf War veteran and received an experimental vaccine for Anthrax during her tour. She has spent the majority of her life fighting the effects of that vaccine on her body. Until recently, the government claimed it was “all in her head” and “all due to PTSD.” Now they are beginning to admit that it could be a mitochondrial infection thanks to that vaccine. Good luck getting the VA to give up their research on that, though. It literally took me two years to find the research.

    I have big issues when it comes to drugs and the military. While I can understand the rationale behind forced administration of drugs (protect the troops from anything the enemy/theater of battle might present), I still feel that the soldiers should know what they’re getting and that what they’re getting should be adequately tested before mass use.

    Back to the freedom issue, here is how it spells out: my body is MINE. No one should have the right or ability to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body. This is the fundamental of freedom and liberty. If you don’t have the freedom to choose for you own body, you have no freedom.

    Yep. And everyone around you has the right to not be infected by you. Bear in mind that the issue is not quite so simple as “my body, my choice”. There are other people (infants, elderly, transplant recipients, HIV/AIDS patients, those with allergies to vaccine ingredients, those for whom the vaccine just didn’t take, people with Lupus, etc.) to be considered. While I agree that you should have the right to choose, you also better have a pretty damn good reason (supported by proper science) why you refuse a vaccination.

  148. minerhealthy

    study confirms what many are observing – the highly vaccinated have higher infant mortality and more vaccines do not equal better health outcomes http://het.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/05/04/0960327111407644

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »