Antivax kills.

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2009 10:00 am

Writing these posts is getting tougher and tougher. The comments get shriller and less rational from the antivax crowd; they scream their own personal anecdotes, they tell long-debunked lies, and do everything they can to avoid the fact that solid, rock-hard evidence shows no link at all between vaccines and autism.

And in the meantime, babies die because of the antivaccination movement.

If you think Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and the rest of the ignorant antiscience antivax people are right, then read this story. I dare you. David McCaffery writes about his daughter, Dana, who was four weeks old when she died. Too young to get vaccinated herself, she contracted whooping cough because vaccination rates in that part of Australia are too low to provide herd immunity. This poor little girl died in her father’s arms, and the blame rests squarely on the antivaccination movement. That’s not an anecdote, that’s data.

The McCafferys on Australian TV
David and Toni McCaffery on Australian TV.

After Dana’s story was told on the Australian TV show "Sunday Night" there was such a reaction that Channel 7 decided to hold a forum about vaccinations. Richard Saunders and Rachael Dunlop from The Australian Skeptics were there — you can read Rachael’s personal account of the forum — and Richard has posted video from the forum.

This is heartbreaking, and made worse by Meryl Dorey, the biggest antivax mouthpiece in Australia. Listening to her makes my blood boil. She is a typical antivax promoter: she has no real data, so she manipulates and spins. She throws baseless accusations at the doctor on stage, and uses all sorts of tactics like that to convince people she’s right.

She isn’t. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Vaccinations have some small risk, but it’s far, far less than the danger from measles, rubella, whooping cough, and all the other easily preventable diseases.

Then listen (at 6:30 into the video) to the woman who didn’t vaccinate her son. She herself says she doesn’t know enough about the issue to say much in response to another woman in the audience who was concerned over her own son’s safety. She admitted she doesn’t have all the facts, but she still decided not to vaccinate her kid.

Wow. The antivax movement thrives on ignorance like that.

Then, at about 7:00 into the video, the McCafferys speak. It tears my heart apart to hear them talk about their baby daughter.

The only good thing here is that Meryl Dorey had her arguments eviscerated by the doctor on stage. That’s because her arguments have no substance, no science, no real data behind them. All the antivaxxers have is panic and fear and lies.

Talk to your doctor, and if they recommend it, vaccinate your kids. You may be saving far more than just their lives; the sad truth is that if more parents in Australia had gotten vaccinations for their children, Dana McCaffery would still be alive today.

If you fight against vaccines, then keep that fact in mind.

And please, contact the people at "Sunday Night" and send them some support. They did a great job exposing the antivax movement and getting some real information out to the public. The producer’s name is Rebecca le Tourneau and she is happy to get international support about this.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Science

Comments (251)

Links to this Post

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  1. Stonez

    “……….!”

  2. Worse, not only do parents opposed to vaccination…not vaccinate their kids, but many more hesitate so long they are caught up by the virus at the curb. Heard in an (anonymous) ER from the mother of a severely sick teenager whom I’d just asked whether he was vaccinated: ‘Well, with all you hear we didn’t really know, but we were just thinking we’d vaccinate him next year…’
    !
    It is very, very difficult to stay calm and remember that the parents are also victims here.

    For the French-reading among you, see also: http://forumethix-ch.blogspot.com/2009/02/rougeole-une-epidemie-dignorance.html

  3. Urgh, I forgot to watch! I saw the ad for the show and planned to watch it, but I completely forgot! I’m glad to hear they did a good job about it though!

    Interestingly enough, the same show (at least, I’m about 99% sure it was the same show) did a piece the week before the first Antivax show about UFOs (related to the CNN stuff that was going on that week or thereabouts). I had also planned to watch that one, but rolled my eyes at their tagline – “the REAL X-Files” – and decided I could be doing something more productive. I’m not sure whether it was a “good” show or not. Any other Aussies catch that one?

  4. C

    You might be interested in this article from the Austin American Statesman about how insurance companies are denying millions in claims from autism clinics. http://www.statesman.com/search/content/news/stories/local/05/03/0503autismclinic.html

    Our local problem with anti-vaxers has gotten worse since Andrew Wakefield moved here (I’m sorry, most of us don’t like him and are ashamed that he’s in our city), but at least these so-called clinics that treat with chelation therapy and other treatments are finding out that insurance companies won’t reimburse for measures that don’t do any good and may in fact do harm. I’m sure the insurance companies are just happy to find another way to turn down a claim, and I feel terrible for the parents who are looking for some hope, any hope for treating their kids, but hopefully these actions will discourage others from opening up similar clinics.

  5. RAF

    Jenny is getting her own talk show “courtesy” Of Oprah.

    Now she’ll have a daily “platform” from which to spread her ignorance…

    I suggest a “pre-emptive” boycott of ANYTHING advertised on Jenny’s show. If there’s one thing that advertisers “understand” it’s money.

  6. So sad.

    If you are against vaccines, please, before you post your comments, give a read to this: antiantivax.jottit.com. You can also get to that link by clicking my name.

    Also, since my linked article doesn’t cover Gardasil or the recent Baxter brouhaha, please give a read to the “Vaccine Safety” thread.

    Thanks for posting this, Phil. It gives a human face to the tragedy of arguing against vaccines.

  7. I feel really sorry about little Dana.

    Herd immunity is SO VITAL AND IMPORTANT!

    And for Rebeccas and her Team: Keep the Good fight!

  8. Lawrence

    Wow….just wow.

    Vaccinate your kids, people!

  9. One more thing, that teenager with measles I mentioned in my previous comment actually lived in an area where herd immunity is not that bad; it’s ‘just’ that there are pockets even within well vaccinated populations where outbreaks can start, if enough people within a smaller area are not vaccinated. Herd immunity is even more important than is usually stated: stopping at 95% overall will get take care of the larger outbreaks, but would not have spared that kid.

  10. The Mutt

    What’s the over/under on how long it is before Jenny McCarthy has Sylvia Brown on her talk show?

    I’d say three weeks. They can talk about Indigo babies and crystal children.

  11. Jason

    There is simply nothing we can ever do or say that will convince scared parents, especially with the availability of mouth pieces to spout off unscientific nonsense.

    Parents will blame vaccinations for autism simply because there is no other explanation for it. Rather than seek answers from the scientific community (a process that follows long years of testing, observation and so on) they jump to the most immediate and often false conclusion.

    We don’t even fully know the effects of autism on the brain, for instance autistic savants, or the varying degrees to which it affects us. If these parents want solutions or answers to the conditions of their children, they should first dedicate themselves to treatment and management of the symptoms, then afterwards to finding the cause. This requires donations, it requires allowing certain parents to put aside their fears and allow for some scientific study on their children.

    Even -if- and I say that with such a tremendous hypothetical I am reluctant to say it, vaccinations in some distant way are linked to autism, that is still no reason for parents to vaccination their children. I would much rather have an autistic child, than a dead child.

  12. Jason

    I messed up that last bit bad. Still no reason for parents to -not- vaccinate their children. Oi.

  13. c

    That’s a terrible, infuriating story, but it is still an anecdote . . .

  14. Lawrence

    What really gets me is this notion in the “anti-vacc” movement about “Acceptable Losses.” Although never stated directly, all of their arguments revolve around accepting the deaths, maimings & other side-effects of childhood diseases – all in the name of “fighting autism.”

    So, they are asking parents to risk the lives & health of their children, all in the name of this pseudo-science BS.

    So, remember that the next time someone tries to convince you not to vaccinate. Do you really feel like sacrificing your child for them?

  15. c

    That’s a terrible, infuriating story, but it is still an anecdote.

  16. Thanks for spreading this news Phil.

    As Chris Owen said above, Channel Seven is not known for portraying the rational side of life. In fact, it thrives on promoting all manner of nonsense from fuel devices to child psychics – and yes, UFOs (it was boring Chris but Richard Saunders discussed it the next day on Sunrise – check youtube for video.) This is the same channel that produced “The One”, Australia’s “psychic” talent show.

    However, Seven’s tendency toward credulity makes this program all the more “miraculous” and Rebecca Le Tourneau (Maddern?) and even host Mike Munro deserve heaping helpings of credit.

  17. Interesting, thanks for the post.

  18. Why is the default position, when you are ignorant on this subject, to fail to vaccinate your child?

  19. @TechSkeptic

    Why is the default position, when you are ignorant on this subject, to fail to vaccinate your child?

    Just taking a stab at this, but it may be a combination of a few things. First, most parents in the non-vaccinating group probably have memories of these diseases being annoying, but not fatal or leading to long-term or permanent injuries. So, diseases like chicken pox and measles are “mild” to them. Second, autism is a mysterious, scary disorder. The more emotional stories tend to talk of the children being “taken away” from the parents, emotionally.

    So, we have people spouting off that vaccines cause this horrible disorder vs. personal selection bias that vaccine-preventable diseases are mild and not dangerous. The former has a greater apparent risk than the latter. Therefore, the “safe” position is to avoid the vaccines.

    Humans are abysmal at risk assessment.

  20. Charles Boyer

    Well, now we know that Channel 7 is in the employ of Big Pharma. (I’m kidding, but others won’t be.)

    Predicting a flock of loons landing here with lies and fear to spread and spare in 9, 8, 7, 6…

  21. @Charles Boyer

    Hopefully they’ll read Phil’s post and be moved, read my link and learn, and the combination will hopefully inoculate the thread against irrationality.

  22. “Talk to your doctor, and if they recommend it, vaccinate your kids.”

    IF they recommend it? I would hope they would recommend it! If not, find a new doctor, unless the doctor has good reason to believe the vaccination will cause a harmful allergic reaction of some sort, which is rare.

  23. BigBadSis

    To TechSkeptic: I think parents must default to not vaccinating because it’s much easier to say no to someone sticking your child with needles and watching them scream, and injecting a substance they don’t understand, not to mention the cost of the co-pay (I pay a $25 co-pay even at healthy baby visits) and missing work just to schedule and make the appointment. It’s so much easier to just say no and avoid the whole thing. The needles won’t have to “hurt” their baby, even though that’s exactly what they are doing when they don’t vaccinate. The doctors and scientists have an uphill battle working against this easy, uneducated decision to say no. Also, government education programs are going to bring out the skeptic in parents as the government (at least in America) has a terrible history of malpractice as seen in the Tuskegee experiments that people still remember. We often don’t trust politicians and “Government.”

  24. James Windibank

    This is not about astronomy. It’s your prerogative to write on this if you wish, but I’d request you start a vaccine blog or join some parenting site to do so. I’m very close to removing your feed from my reader. Love the astronomy stuff, though.

  25. DenverJuggler

    Is she really saying don’t vaccinate? Or is she saying make sure there aren’t any extra ingredients so it’s not an issue? I’ve read where we don’t have mercury any more, but I’ve also seen where we had it pretty recently in the vaccinations.

    I think it’s complicated because I’ve met parents who saw the symptoms of Autism within hours or days of the vaccination. I understand there are studies saying there is no causal relationship; but I’m curious if you were a parent (and maybe some of you are) of a child who had autism and got it right after a vaccination if you would feel the same way? Is it wrong to try and want to stagger vaccinations? Combine less of them? I understand there was a recent genetic link to autism for some cases and as more knowledge on this is understood that’s wonderful.

    I’m just saying I’ve seen her talk about this and she didn’t say don’t vaccinate; she asked if we could do things to make sure other things aren’t causing the problems in a vaccination.
    If you aren’t already; maybe put yourself in their shoes before decrying them as some sort of advocates for medieval medicine or something.

  26. AndyD

    @Lawrence, it’s no longer just about autism – it’s the very act of vaccination that AVN target. If you look at their website you’ll also note they sell alternative health and lifestyle books and subscriptions to an alternative lifestyle magazine, of which AVN president, Meryl Dorey is editor (astrology, homeschooling, chiropractic, osteopathy…). AVN also have an affiliate program where they’ll pay you to promote their products and memberships.

    I’m not sure why none of AVNs supporters declare this a financial conflict of interest as they do with doctors who receive government incentives to vaccinate but I guess there’s no such thing as a CAM-shill.

    They claim to be pro-choice and in support of informed parenting but sell T-shirts that read “love them, protect them, NEVER inject them”

    They promote homeopathy without question, despite the fact homeopathic remedies are made from things like wild duck heart (which I imagine contains formaldehyde along with all those wild duck proteins). Okay, we know it contains nothing but water – but theoretically it contains potentised duck heart!

    AVN seems to be less about warning parents about the perils of vaccination and more about directing them to CAM practitioners and publications – as I see it.

  27. schmidt349

    The Tuskegee experiments weren’t conducted or sanctioned by the “government,” whatever on earth that means. They were largely the brainchild of Ray Vonderlehr under the aegis of the US Public Health Service, which shuttered the project after Peter Buxtun made the public aware of Vonderlehr’s atrocities.

    I hate this blanket use of the word “government” as though it’s a single malevolent brain in which every part knows exactly what every other part is doing.

    Obviously no one should assume that government agencies are completely altruistic, but it’s equally naive to assume that every government employee and agency is part of a Big Damn Conspiracy. Evidence, please! It’s the great bane of the conspiracy theorist.

  28. IVAN3MAN

    I have some appropriate choice words from the English language against those so-called ‘humans’ who wrote hate-mail (WTF?!) to that grieving couple, Dana & David McCaffery, but I can’t post them here because those words will violate Phil Plait’s commenting policy. :|

  29. Let’s be very generous. Let’s posit that this utterly unsubstantiated and implausible link between autism and vaccination exists.

    What’s the rate of incidence? There’s 6 in 1,000 people that have some sort of autism spectrum disorder. 2 in 1,000 have true autism. We’ll work with that number. Let’s assume that every member of this 0.2% is properly diagnosed and the disease was caused by a vaccination.

    Now, let’s look an measles. In an vaccinated person in a developed country, 3 in 1,000 people die- 0.3% fatality rate. In underdeveloped nations, it’s closer to 280 per thousand. In immunocompromised patients, like AIDS victims or cancer patients, it’s in the same neighborhood- about 300 in 1,000.

    And that’s just measles. And that’s just deaths- we’re not counting complications like corneal scarring- yes, measles can blind you.

    So, even if we grant the most generous possible claims made by the anti-vaxxers, their arguments don’t stand up. Measles, alone, is a more credible threat than vaccine induced autism, even if every autism case was caused by a vaccine. Even if we take the absurd claims at face value, the argument doesn’t hold up.

  30. lit

    dumb question, just jumping in: what is the motive for antivax leaders? do they sincerely believe their own claims or is there money to be made by inhabiting that niche? just curious.

  31. Oh, let’s keep going. Whooping cough kills 600,000 people a year of the 10-90 million it infects. Why the big range? It occurs mostly in third world countries where it’s hard to get good statistics. Let’s pick in the middle- say, 60 million cases. That’s a 1% fatality rate. Heck, even if we go out to 90 million, we’re still looking at a 0.6% fatality rate- which is the same rate of autism spectrum disorder in the population.

    Between measles and whooping cough, we’re talking a 0.9% fatality rate. Wanna start adding diseases? Polio isn’t extinct, you know.

  32. tacitus

    I think the biggest problem caused by anti-vaxers is that they play upon the natural and understandable fear that parents have about taking an overt action that will result in harming their child.

    Psychologically, when you’re trying to assess the risk of doing something over not doing something, it’s just easier not to do it when the risks are both small. (And yes, even if the risks are 1:10,000 vs 1:1,000,000, they are both seen as small, even if one is much greater than the other).

    I’ve already seen people saying they won’t be getting the swine flu vaccination this fall because of the problems with the 1976 swine flu vaccine. I looked up the numbers, and it turned out that there was a 1 in a million chance of a serious adverse reaction to that vaccine, but because so many people were vaccinated, and that outbreak didn’t turn into an epidemic, more people ended up suffering from the side effects of the vaccine than died of the flu. Tragic for those affected, but the flu vaccine was being administered before they knew whether or not the 1976 swine flu would be a killer pandemic or not, and if it had been, there would have been a much greater risk of death or injury from the flu than the vaccine.

    But those predisposed to distrusting the government/big pharma are already saying there is no way they will take the flu vaccine, even though the risks from the flu vaccine are even smaller than they were in 1976. If the swine flu does return next season and starts killing enough people, some will change their mind, but by then, for others (and their children), it could be too late.

  33. Davidlpf

    JENNY MCCARTHY IS GETTING HER OWN SHOW.

    That might set me off tv altogether. Soon there will be one boob to many on tv. But there are shows that sneak the right message into their scripts. One thing I may not be a daddy but I have two nieces who I love very much and if anything happened to them because of idoits like McCarthy I do not know what I would do.

  34. DenverJuggler

    Are the AVN against all vaccines?
    I agree with the posters that say this isn’t a good thing.

    As far as autism goes, for the parents who think there is a causal relationship (I understand there are studies saying that is not the case) isn’t it 2 vaccines that are at issue – not all series?
    Again I don’t know if not combining could help too.

    For what it’s worth I wanted to mention that my kids are vaccinated and it happened before the trend of more diagnosed cases of autism and they don’t have autism. I’m not implying a causal relationship; I’m just saying my kids were vaccinated before that casual relationship was thought to have exist.

  35. dhimes

    @t3knomanser Of course, you are also assuming that vaccinations are the ONLY cause of autism, which is quite unlikely, so the antiVAX case is even weaker than you allow.

  36. tacitus

    dumb question, just jumping in: what is the motive for antivax leaders? do they sincerely believe their own claims or is there money to be made by inhabiting that niche? just curious.

    I don’t think money is the main motivating factor for most people, and yes, the vast majority do believe they are correct. In fact, I think that’s the key reason why they are so adamant about their cause. They believe that they have tapped into some special knowledge that others have missed or have been deceived into rejecting.

    They’re akin to UFOlogists, 9-11 truthers, anti-pharma people, AGW-opponents, Moon hoaxers, Face on Mars believers, and so on. Just like that woman in the video who claimed to be an expert despite having no qualifications just because she’s “studied the subject for 20 years”, they have the self-belief that their superficial, unscientific collection of anecdotes combined with their personal bias and skepticism of authority is superior to years of medical and scientific training and rigorous research and double-blind studies.

    It gives them a sense of superiority (we know better than the ignorant masses who believe everything the “so-called experts” and government tells them) and, in this case, it is coupled with the belief that they are saving lives, which makes them doubly dangerous.

  37. @lit

    what is the motive for antivax leaders? do they sincerely believe their own claims or is there money to be made by inhabiting that niche?

    I’m sure that there are some who sincerely believe that they are doing the right thing. However, there is some money to be made. Let’s look at some examples:

    * Book sales – David Kirby and Robert Kennedy Jr. both have anti-vax books out, so it is in their interests to promote the anti-vax message so that their books will sell more.
    * Homeopathy – A number of homeopathy providers claim to have homeopathic vaccines, so arguing against real vaccines will benefit them.
    * Office visits – Some “doctors” like the woman in the video offer practices that cater to people who are nervous or distrustful of vaccines. The greater that message spreads, the more patients they’re likely to see.
    * Talk shows – Those like Jenny McCarthy and her boy Jim Carrey gain fame and money by appearing on talk shows and promoting their message. The wider the message spreads, the more likely they’ll be to get bookings to talk about it, meaning more money for their time.
    * Big Pharma – Yep. By spreading the anti-vax message, Big Pharma can reap in the profits for the medicines and medical devices they produce to treat the diseases that are prevented by vaccines. In fact, there is more potential money to be made if people stopped vaccinating against these diseases than if everyone vaccinated. Perhaps these people claiming pro-vaxers are in the pay of Big Pharma are the ones who are really getting the BP money. (Aren’t conspiracies fun?)

    There may be others who can profit from the anti-vax message. Those are just the big ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

  38. Two things. One really bugs me. Why in the world did a couple who lost their child to a PREVENTABLE disease get hate mail from antivaxxers? Because they went on TV to highlight something that should have not happened? It’s just shameful and it shows the level of bias and persecution these folks are willing to dish out.

    And…it’s clear to me from doing a bit of searching on Google and listening to the clip that folks and doctors who support vaccination are not doing enough to get solid information out there. It’s there if you dig for it. It’s all about marketing. Good job Phil for bringing this to my attention.

  39. @DenverJuggler

    As far as autism goes, for the parents who think there is a causal relationship (I understand there are studies saying that is not the case) isn’t it 2 vaccines that are at issue – not all series?

    It started with the MMR vaccine and a study by fraud Andrew Wakefield. When his study was ripped apart and other, larger, more well-controlled studies failed to find any correlation between MMR and autism, the focus shifter to thimerosal, because it breaks down into ethylmercury. Again, many large, epidemiological studies failed to find any correlation between thimerosal and autism. So, the focus shifted again to thimerosal-containing vaccines combining with MMR. Again, no evidence of any connection, so they move the goalposts again to formaldehyde (no link) or aluminum (no link) or overloading the infant’s immune system (fewer antigens in vaccines than in average daily exposure to the environment) or “something else”.

    Every time one thing is shot down, the goalposts shift and some new thing in the vaccines pops up as the purported cause.

  40. For those who are interested in the topic, I’ve written a summary of the biggest points brought up by anti-vaxers, broken down by topic. Click my name to see it.

  41. Jean-Denis Muys

    I heard on the show something that makes me react strongly: the doctor on the scene said that no vaccine is 100% safe. This honest fact is the scapegoat that the antivaxxers clang to. This together with the call for freedome of choice.

    So in order not to be accused of hiding reality, wouldn’t it be possible to show a side by side quantitative comparison of the risks of 1/ vaccinating. and 2/ not vaccinating. I imagine some sort of stacked bar chart.

    When parents see the risks are so much higher, then the choice becomes obvious.

    Todd, maybe you could set up something?

  42. Jen

    @Jason – I have a child with autism. I fully agree that I would rather have a child with autism than a dead one.
    In no way do I believe her vaccinations caused her autism.

  43. r

    Don’t say there is nothing that you can do to convince scared parents to vaccinate. I knew one. Her doctor didn’t blow her off and act like she was crazy. She answered all of her questions, explained the risks and benefits, ….and the child is vaccinated.

    I think that some people have a perfectly well founded distrust for medicine. Our modern medical knowledge saves many lives, but far too often the medical community has been WRONG about something, either individually or as a community. We look back on the medical knowledge 100 years ago and think the beliefs they held were laughable. Likely 150 years from now we will think the same of the current era. No one wants their child to be the casualty of that ignorance if they can help it. Remember, they thought Thalidomide was safe, that nothing could cross the placental barrier…that was only 50 years ago.

    The way to get scared parents to vaccinate is to thoroughly research their concerns, and then educate them appropriately, not only about the research, but about what vaccination actually is, how it works, what is IN the vaccine, and the risks they take by either course of action. Don’t make them feel stupid for their concerns. And most of all, don’t pretend that you know everything.

  44. @Jean-Denis Muys

    The CDC actually already has a comparison of the risks of injury from a vaccine vs. risk of injury from the disease being prevented on their page about vaccine misconceptions. It’s available here: cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm#risk (copy and paste into your browser address bar, adding www to the beginning)

  45. Some additional stuff that will be on a consolidated page soon to add to Todd W.’s information. Many of thise posts are “borrowed” from other posters.

    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 ~306 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 306 x 0.07 x .8 = 1.7 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.

    Some additional reading:
    The CDC Pink Book has an appendix G with lots of statistics on cases and deaths. 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

    An Interesting article on some possible connection to Vitamin D and autism: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=vitamin-d-and-autism&sc=DD_20090424 I would caution reading too much into this though since it is very preliminary. After all, there have been correlations of autism with linoleum floors too!

    One final addition to the discussion. Many people 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.

  46. Layman

    It’s strange to hear Phil talk about one case as “data”. It’s not data, it’s an anecdote, tragic as it is. Data are the result of carefully controlled studies involving large numbers of people. It should be pointed out that the provaxxers rely on data, not just the tragic story of one child.

  47. Wayne

    The McCaffrey’s story is terrible (I have a three month old myself), but I’m still working on how it is data while the autism stories are anecdotes. Here’s my best take on how they are different:

    With the Autism stories, there is no obvious causal link to vaccines, just a perceived link that could be coincidental, plus the scientific studies that find no link.

    With Dana McCaffrey, there is a well-established causal link between herd immunity and the safety of unvaccinated babies. Therefore, even if you can’t prove that her particular illness was passed from an unvaccinated child, that is the statistically likely cause.

    Does that sound reasonable to everyone? Clearly, a single case is not reason enough in itself to vaccinate, but assuming it’s part of an overall pattern showing a net benefit to vaccination then it is a valid data point.

  48. Todd,

    Just taking a stab at this…

    Was that supposed to be punny?

    I agree that humans suck at risk assessment. However the data is there. We shouldn’t be so rotten at it when data is in front of us. It always amazes me. I have a good friend who thinks this way also. She isnt dumb, she has had a lot of thinking that government and corporations are out to get her and this fits in nicely with that thinking. She is totally into every other scientific understanding, like GW, and evolution, and so forth..but this… nope!

    BigbadSis,
    That would be sad. That tells me that if they are simply not looking into this then their childs health is less important than their convenience. I love my kids far more than that.

  49. Dennis

    http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/show_page/198
    They’ve been promoting this show for a few weeks now – I think it’s finally going to air this Wednesday.
    I’m not sure why I really want to see it – I guess I’m looking forward to a smackdown.
    But I know Jenny and her crackpot friends won’t change their minds, so I’m expecting to be left as disgusted as ever.

  50. I have a child with autism. I fully agree that I would rather have a child with autism than a dead one.
    In no way do I believe her vaccinations caused her autism.

    Now, we can’t have any rational postings from someone with an autistic child here… (kidding!).

    I’m not trying to make light of you or your child, but your is, sadly, such a small voice in a cacophony of shrill screeches.

    Maybe you should go on J McC’s new TV show.

  51. tacitus

    There may be others who can profit from the anti-vax message. Those are just the big ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

    I don’t doubt that anti-vaxxers look for ways to make money out of their cause, and it certainly serves to reinforce their belief that they are on the right side of the issue when they see the money rolling in. But I don’t believe that money is the primary motivational factor for these people to get behind the anti-vax movement.

    I just don’t see any of them cackling evilly and rubbing their hands with glee at the poor deluded souls who send them money while they themselves are getting their kids vaccinated.

  52. @tacitus: I’d be more apt to believe that if they started donating large amounts of cash to autism research.

  53. @TechSkeptic

    Was that supposed to be punny?

    Heh. Nope. Serendipitous humor.

    @tacitus

    I agree that money probably is not a primary motivating factor, just like it probably is not the primary motivating factor among pro-vax docs. My point was just to show that anti-vax is not all lily white when it comes to money and conflicts of interest.

  54. ndt

    Michael L Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 11:04 am
    “Talk to your doctor, and if they recommend it, vaccinate your kids.”

    IF they recommend it? I would hope they would recommend it! If not, find a new doctor, unless the doctor has good reason to believe the vaccination will cause a harmful allergic reaction of some sort, which is rare.

    There are a variety of rare health conditions that can make vaccinations dangerous.

  55. Caleb

    Sad story. My thoughts/prayers go out to David McCaffery for his loss.

    Interesting that you mention how this was caused by the lack of vaccinations causing the lack of “herd immunity”.

    I look at the anti-vax or anti-science movements as also being caused by the lack of “herd immunity”. Except that this immunity isn’t immunity from a physical disease but a neurological/social disease or disorder. When you think about it, misinformation, spin, propaganda, and other fallacious arguments act themselves like viruses. They spread, grow, mutate, and are dependent on a host to survive. As long as a certain percentage of your population is susceptible to misinformation, spin, propaganda, and other fallacious arguments the herd will not be immune.

    Looking at it this way, I see the solution is to focus on teaching critical thinking skills to “immunize” the population against misinformation, spin, propaganda, and other fallacious arguments. The problem is that our society has drifted from the focus on educating our society how to think for themselves to teaching what to think. Place the emphasis in education (Elementary/HS/College) back on critical and independent thinking skills and we’ll achieve “herd immunity”.

    Part of the problem is that it’s hard/impossible to put a number on or precisely measure one’s critical thinking skills. And in a society bent on pegging a students abilities to a numeric scale, critical thinking skills just don’t fit into the curriculum.

  56. Some additional reading:
    The CDC Pink Book has an appendix G with lots of statistics on cases and deaths. 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

    An Interesting article on some possible connection to Vitamin D and autism: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=vitamin-d-and-autism&sc=DD_20090424 I would caution reading too much into this though since it is very preliminary. After all, there have been correlations of autism with linoleum floors too!

    One final addition to the discussion. Many people 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.

    Now, one of the places that a lot of this pro-disease nuttery is coming from is the Huffington Post (proving that woo and delusions know no political boundaries). So a good man who goes by IVAN3MAN happened upon this:

    From the Huffington Post article:

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

    At Least 11% of American Women Smoke During Pregnancy

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

    Huffington Post:

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

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

    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!
    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!

    Jenny McCarthy SMOKING!
    Jenny McCarthy STILL SMOKING!

    Make of that what you will. And this is the lady that likes to inject one of the most deadly neurotoxins into her face, but thinks vaccines are bad… Wow… Just wow!

    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 ~306 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 306 x 0.07 x .8 = 1.7 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.

  57. Michael: It is an “if” a small number of children shouldn’t be vaccinated at all due to compromised immune systems (for example cancer patients and those on anti-rejection dugs for transplants), and a larger number of children shouldn’t get certain vaccines due to allergies to components such as eggs. This is part of the reason herd immunity is so important, to protect those who can’t be vaccinated due to being too young, too sick, etc.

  58. Muzz

    As mentioned it’s surprising and interesting that Channel 7 of all places is taking this tack on the issue. Good on them for that. But it was still a pretty crappy segment, more interested in the existence of the controversy than the substance of it. None of the evidence from either side was discussed in any detail. I think any parent or would be parent who hadn’t heard of any of this would only take away that “wow , there’s a whole group of people who think vaccines are really dangerous. Hmm”
    It’s a start I suppose. If it gets whipped up enough maybe the hardcore like Four Corners will take a swing at it.

  59. My heart goes out to the McCafferys. I’ve had three times in my life when I thought one of my sons was dying. Each case involved febrile seizures after which my sons were fine. In one, my son (then 11 months old) turned blue and stopped breathing. In another, my youngest son (then 9 months) turned *GREY*, stopped breathing, and didn’t start again on his own until my mother-in-law did rescue breaths. I hope no parent here *EVER* has to see their child lying lifeless while rescue breaths are being performed! (I couldn’t watch. I gave myself the “job” of watching for the ambulance. It made me feel like I was doing something other than just looking at what might be my dead son.) I’ve tasted the tiniest fraction of the horror of losing a child and it is not something I ever want to taste again.

    As the scientist in that clip said, vaccines have kind of become a victim of their own success. Parents nowadays don’t remember measles or polio epidemics so when they are “weighing the risks” of vaccines, they don’t properly weigh how truly awful those diseases are. They put the disease risk at something like a bad cold and then buy into the antivax hype of the vaccine risk. The vaccine risk, however, is little to none and the disease risk is huge. Hopefully more education is done to let parents know what the *REAL* risks are.

    Note: My sons came out of each of their febrile seizures just fine (latter case after 4 days in the hospital), but we need to watch fevers *VERY* closely. They get medicated with a Motrin + Tylenol combination at the mere hint of a fever.

  60. Andrea

    The thought of mandatory vaccines frightens me more than the decisions that other people make for their families. My kids are vaccinated btw.

  61. Kevin

    Before I get flamed, I want to state that we vaccinate our kid. That being said, really in terms of blindly following a belief the, “always trust what the doctor and the drug companies say,” are as bad as the anti-vaccination crowd. Should people get vaccinated, of course they should, but people should also do research into the potential side effects of any drug that they or their child takes. (To answer your question, yes, my wife and I do review articles about potential side effects. To answer your next question our child did get vaccinations for Measles, Mumps and Rubella, but not the three in one vaccination which the controversy surrounded.) The simple truth is this, no one should ever blindly trust what someone tells them. Doctors and drug companies make mistakes, and drug companies have been known to lie on numerous occasions. (Remember that whole heart defibrillator and pacemaker debacle with Guidant?) Anti-vaccination people want whats best for their kid, and I can’t fault them for that. Should they do more research? Absolutely, but at the end of the day they have to make a decision as to what to do, and they have to live with their decision.
    Having a family member who was diagnosed with Autism right around receiving a booster shot sends a really alarming wake up call about potential causes (this was before Wakefield was found guilty of committing fraud). I know correlation does not imply causation, but it still makes you think, and it makes you worry about what would happen to your child. Our child was almost diagnosed with Autism. His doctor at the time didn’t say it was related to vaccinations, and we didn’t think it was….but it’s still a crushing conversation to have. We questioned the doctor’s reasoning and left her to find a new doctor. It turns out she was dead wrong, but this goes to show that doctor’s don’t know everything, and you should definitely ask questions about what they are saying and prescribing. Another doctor killed my great uncle, because he just assumed that he wasn’t on a particular drug and the interaction killed him. It was on his sheet in the hospital that he was taking it. It only takes one irreversible mistake.
    I don’t know how it is in Australia, or other places around the world, but what I can tell you is that doctors in the U.S. receive incentives from drug companies to prescribe their drugs. It may not be in the form of money, but there are lunches and “business” trips and tons of other things which are placed in the hands of physicians. Doctors, drug companies and hospitals are in the medical profession to serve their own best interests which do not necessarily align with someone’s wellbeing. That is the reason people should be cautious about blindly trusting what doctors give to people’s children. Vaccinations are about statistics and nothing more. Does a doctor have a higher chance of being sued by not prescribing something that is potentially dangerous vs. prescribing something that’s “approved” to be used regardless of the outcome. 99 out of 100 times the courts will back a doctor who did the “approved” treatment even thought it caused the detriment of the patient.

  62. Interested Party

    Well, the thing is, the mother should have passed on immunity to her daughter for about 6 months. Looks like someone wasn’t vaccinated against pertussis…

  63. @drksky

    Let me add mine. If done it before and keep doing it: my son has high-functioning autism, my daughter is A-OK (my son too, but you know what I mean), they had all vaccinations and will complete the program. It’s tough enough he is an autist but I can handle that. What I don’t need is a preventable disease added to that.

    I need a bumpersticker: I don’t break for anti-vaxxers.

  64. unquiet_mind

    Caleb said:
    Looking at it this way, I see the solution is to focus on teaching critical thinking skills to “immunize” the population against misinformation, spin, propaganda, and other fallacious arguments. The problem is that our society has drifted from the focus on educating our society how to think for themselves to teaching what to think. Place the emphasis in education (Elementary/HS/College) back on critical and independent thinking skills and we’ll achieve “herd immunity”…

    Very good point.

    I’ve been thinking about this issue recently in somewhat similar terms. I’m currently in a master’s program for library+info. science (and scheduled to finish *knock on wood* in <2 months!!). The library field talks a lot about things like 'information literacy,' which includes, among other things, one's ability to find/access the information needed, and especially, to judge the accuracy, validity, etc. of information, which depends in part on an objective determination of the reliability of the source, and so on….

    General consensus is that even the well-educated tend NOT to be “information literate.” The digital age, and corresponding “information overload” has not been a help. People still don’t get that just b/c it’s on teh internets doesn’t mean its true…

    Just a few thoughts from another perspective…

  65. Caleb

    @unquiet_mind

    I think you’d enjoy the following read (short URL to research paper on the lack of teaching critical thinking skills to US students in impoverished areas):
    ncane.com/exh

  66. Caleb

    Sorry, I meant to include one of the big takeaways from the research paper:

    “Studies have shown that schools serving impoverished areas often focus on remediation and repetition rather than higher order thinking skills. The emphasis in many schools is on basic skill levels, and in doing so, this has lowered teacher expectations and created a less challenging curriculum (Waxman & Padron 1995). Students are often times treated as “empty vessels”, treated as cognitively and linguistically remedial, or taught from a “deficit model”, where remedial skills are emphasized (Lee 2003, Resnick and Hall 1998). Schools in impoverished areas often employ instructional styles that do not encourage interaction; Haberman (1992) calls this the “pedagogy of poverty”. The pedagogy prevalent in low-income schools is taken from the direct instructional model where the teacher is responsible for “making” the student learn. Knowledge is the property of the teacher, whose job is to distribute this to the students. Students are addressed as a whole, not as individuals. This emphasizes lecture, drill and practice, and instruments such as worksheets which rely on repetition. This also may include other types of repetitive or non-interactive “busy work” such as doing homework in class. According to Haberman, this style leads to passive resentment and compliance on the part of the student, as well as teacher burnout. This also causes a lack of motivation on the part of the student (Haberman 1992, Waxman & Padron 1995). This style of instruction is also prevalent in part due to high stakes testing, and the increasing pressure teachers are put under to “teach to the test”, precluding abstract thinking endemic to critical thinking pedagogy.”

    http://ncane.com/exh

    In other words, we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing in our education system for decades.

  67. Anon

    Do they fluoridate water in Australia? If so, there’s your answer.

  68. You might be interested to know that the anti-vax lobby found my interview with Rebecca LeTourneau in last week’s sceptic zone and once again went hysterical. The claims, and hold you breath folks, are that she is on the take from Big Pharma and it was a propaganda piece from Channel 7. Also it was marketing for Big Pharma not journalism.

    As a result, they have written to “Media Watch”our media watch dog programme to ask them to expose on Ch 7 and Rebecca Le “Turncoat” (yes, that’s is what they are now calling her) for the schills that they are. They are also writing to “Insight” on SBS (a forum/discussion show) to ask them to hold another debate, but this time do it “properly”.

    If anyone cares to shoot an email to either of these shows to tell them the real story, then please do.

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/contactus.htm

    http://news.sbs.com.au/insight/suggest

    For those of you who have not read my others numerous posts on the topic, you might be interested to know that I sat alongside David McCaffery throughout the debate. We both overheard one of the anti-vax crowd say “It’s only one baby”. To which David’s response to me was, “It was my my baby”. They have no remorse for what happened to Dana. Meryl Dorey could not even pronounce her name properly. Despicable.

    Thanks for your continued support on this issue Phil. Sad news that McCarthy will get her own show. Oprah, head desk.

  69. YA

    That’s data? One case of a little girl dying? I know a guy who won the lottery so I guess we should all play and we would all win the lottery. That’s data.

    Vaccines are great. Nobody’s asking to chose between “yes vaccine” or “no vaccine”. The problem is that there is no real study showing how vaccines mix together, how early and how often and how many we can give children safely. Medications have side effects. You can’t always mix medications without expecting combined effects. Yet there is no study about that. In the US, we give twice as much vaccines to kids as they do in Europe. Why? No one answers that. The main difference is the power of pharmaceutical companies in the US. They’re very well connected politically. So these are valid questions. Blaming Jim Carrey is fun, but if we can’t answer simple valid questions then you have no business mocking others for their lack of scientific approach.

    And also, anyone who bring one data point, one story of one little girl, and tries to build a scientific argument around it should probably consider a new line of work.

  70. silencer

    Another anti-science post from someone who thinks the universe is 20 billion light years wide.
    You just keep shouting “burn the witch” while the rest of us laugh at you and the poorly educated people who read your science harming “blog”.

  71. Jack

    I have no particular position on this subject (I only read this because it made the Digg front page), but I will say I found the following vaguely interesting:

    “She admitted she doesn’t have all the facts, but she still decided not to vaccinate her kid.

    Wow. The antivax movement thrives on ignorance like that.”

    It implies that people who decide the opposite — to vaccinate their children — do have all the facts, that they are not as ignorant as this lady.

    If there was a rule where one could not make this decision without being genuinely informed on the subject, hardly anyone would be vaccinated. We just do it because we’re told to so for our own good. In other words, both sides “thrive on ignorance”.

    That’s not my opinion, that’s a bunch of words!

    (did I do that right?)

  72. Jenny McCarthy Body Count. Post it here. Post it there. Post it everywhere. I really hope to start seeing this site coming up on the first page of Google searches for her name.

    @silencer, calling Phil’s blog anti-science is absurd and I think you know it. Either you are trying to get a rise for your sad perverted satisfaction or you are an ignorant troll.

    I know the main rule here is “be nice”, but fools like this deserve to be called out.

  73. Pac

    @Silencer

    Tell that to the parents of the poor girl.

    In addition where were you educated again? What degrees do you hold?

  74. Jeff

    Maybe stop putting mercury in the vaccines and provide concrete that vaccines do benefit the quality of life for the child.

    I used to work in the IT department of a hospital, and because of that I had to take many vaccines quarterly. Never before did I have to call in sick so much. I had the flu like clockwork every year, and one of my co-workers got the measles from a vaccine.

    Since I’ve worked at my current job (almost 5 years), I’ve only had to call in sick maybe twice (when I was actually sick), and I have not had a flu vaccine since I stopped working at the hospital.

    It will be very hard to convince me of the benefit of vaccines.

  75. Jeff Fite

    @drksky:

    I’ll raise my hand as well. And for the record, you can make light of my boy any time he deserves it–I sure do! ;-) Heck, 14-year-old boys are nothing if not amusing. Especially if you remember being one.

    That being said, though, nobody–nobody–but me can call him “stimboy.” Can I get a shout-out from ASD Dads on that one?

  76. Walk_the_walk

    You anti-antivax folks are really short on your facts and long on angry rhetoric!

    For starters, vaccines don’t always prevent the disease – sometimes they actually cause the disease for which the immunization is given, such as in the case of the polio vaccine.

    Secondly, most anti-vaxers, myself included, are opposed to Thimerosal and the harm caused by Thimerosal-containing vaccines, BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT OUR CHILDRENS HEALTH!!! Some also object, like myself, for religious reasons, because they do not believe that modern medicine has all the answers.

    But the postings here sound like rantings and ravings of a lunatic fringe. Again, how about some facts, please.

    For example, have any of you anti-antivaxers ever read the paperwork (insert) that comes with the vaccine? Are you aware of the number of vaccines that were recalled? How about the disastrous swine flu vaccine of the late 70s that paralyzed many recipients who contracted Guilliane Barre syndrome from the vaccine? How did they and their parents feel? And, why is this kind of problem considered an acceptable risk in a “first do no harm” medical culture?

    One child in 166 gets autism now and many believe it comes from the mercury in Thimerosal, a vaccine preservative. WHY IS THIMEROSAL still in the FLU vaccines even now if there is any doubt about its safety??

    Last, but not least, can you explain the results from this brand new, just-released peer-reviewed study? Please explain to me how anyone should accept a vaccine with Thimerosal in it, or ever take the word of a doctor about the safety of a vaccine, after you read something like this. FINALLY, BE SURE TO READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH of this Study Abstract:

    ********************
    Induction of metallothionein in mouse cerebellum and cerebrum with low-dose thimerosal injection.

    Cell Biol Toxicol. 2009 Apr 9.

    Minami T, Miyata E, Sakamoto Y, Yamazaki H, Ichida S.

    Department of Life Sciences, School of Science & Engineering, Kinki University, 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashi-osaka, Osaka, 577-8502, Japan, minamita@life.kindai.ac.jp.

    Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury compound, is used worldwide as a vaccine preservative. We previously observed that the mercury concentration in mouse brains did not increase with the clinical dose of thimerosal injection, but the concentration increased in the brain after the injection of thimerosal with lipopolysaccharide, even if a low dose of thimerosal was administered. Thimerosal may penetrate the brain, but is undetectable when a clinical dose of thimerosal is injected; therefore, the induction of metallothionein (MT) messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein was observed in the cerebellum and cerebrum of mice after thimerosal injection, as MT is an inducible protein. MT-1 mRNA was expressed at 6 and 9 h in both the cerebrum and cerebellum, but MT-1 mRNA expression in the cerebellum was three times higher than that in the cerebrum after the injection of 12 microg/kg thimerosal. MT-2 mRNA was not expressed until 24 h in both organs. MT-3 mRNA was expressed in the cerebellum from 6 to 15 h after the injection, but not in the cerebrum until 24 h. MT-1 and MT-3 mRNAs were expressed in the cerebellum in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, MT-1 protein was detected from 6 to 72 h in the cerebellum after 12 microg/kg of thimerosal was injected and peaked at 10 h. MT-2 was detected in the cerebellum only at 10 h. In the cerebrum, little MT-1 protein was detected at 10 and 24 h, and there were no peaks of MT-2 protein in the cerebrum. In conclusion, MT-1 and MT-3 mRNAs but not MT-2 mRNA are easily expressed in the cerebellum rather than in the cerebrum by the injection of low-dose thimerosal. It is thought that the cerebellum is a sensitive organ against thimerosal.

    As a result of the present findings, in combination with the brain pathology observed in patients diagnosed with autism, the present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.

    *************************

  77. Caleb

    The post by David McCaffery mentions that the immunization rates for babies in that area is 66%, but he doesn’t mention whether this number has been declining due to recent activities in the anti-vaccination movement. Does anyone we have historical data for this area’s vaccination rates to see if there is a correlation here?

  78. Lindsay

    I’ve vaccinated my children, but I spaced the vaccinations apart to give their little immune systems time to recover between each shot. I only decided to do this after reading about the Gulf War vets who had maybe nine injections at the same time. Seeing the reaction my kids sometimes have to one shot – tiredness and sometimes a small fever – I think it’s the prudent thing to do.

  79. Marie

    I’d much rather have my 4 year old son responding well to his IBI therapy than dead because of an entirely preventable disease!! Considering the preservative they link to autism hasn’t been used or inserted into my son; I can’t fathom how they can make that leap! Ontario hasn’t used thermosil in vaccines since 1994! Yet we still have this argument based solely on one very disputed paper!

    Jenny, please, as one “mother warrior” to another, for the love of God or whatever stop this smack-talk on vaccines and argue for more Intensive Behavioural Intervention. You KNOW woman, you KNOW that’s what has helped! Hell, THAT’s what studies have shown works. Not one, like your thermosil, many and repeated. With similar results. That’s science.

  80. mike yadon

    at it again, phil? how much are you being paid to promote vaccinations. i’d like to really know what’s in it for you. because it has become crusade like. and what exactly does an astronomer know about the immune system anyway.

    all you need to do folks is look at the ingredients in the vaccines. look at every ingredient and then for each ingredient look up toxicity levels, toxicity symptoms, etc..

    for example. most every vaccination has over 100mcg of aluminum. the aap and the fda both set the threshhold for toxicity at 100mcg. 6 shots in a day, you are receiving 6 times the daily limit. this in a small child whose immune system easily becomes overwhelmed by being flooded with foreign compounds and proteins.

    your blog is a joke and your digg campaign is very obvious. make the post and send out the trolls to re-inforce your message. your despicable.

  81. Caleb

    Sorry for so many comments…

    Phil, you should get some hard data on correlations between the rise in conscious objectors to vaccinations (both individuals and the parents of children), and add a section to the “Herd Immunity” page on wikipedia on this phenomena.

  82. Rick

    Just curious here, but I’m wondering why identifying the real cause of autism has proven to be such an impossible task? What are some areas where researchers are searching for answers? Are there any timetables on when we’ll know if a specific path shows promise?

    Thank you in advance for any light anyone can shine on this area of the discussion … and thanks to everyone for such an intelligent conversation about this extremely frightening topic.

    RICK/Atlanta

  83. Caleb

    @mike

    I’ll agree that Phil has been covering this more and more. But he’s doing so because people are dying from this.

    Phil doesn’t argue that all vaccinations are 100% safe and that it is impossible to have a vaccination that can cause problems. If there’s a vaccine out there that can be shown to systematically cause adverse effects then you’d better believe that it would be ripped from the market (and no, simply stating that people would profit from it staying on the market isn’t proof that such a conspiracy exists to keep it in the market).

    As to the toxicity levels, please include a citation. What vaccination are you talking about? Where are you getting your “6 shots a day”? Very often with these things, the devil is in the details and citations to reliable, objective, sources help to sort the details out.

  84. George E Martin

    Mike Yadon said:

    “… your despicable.”

    Mike, your ability to write in the English language is despicable!

    George

  85. Jeff

    This controversy will go away when one of two things happens: someone will either prove that the incidence of autism has not, in fact, gone up, or someone will offer a viable explanation for the increased rates of autism that does not involve vaccines.

    As far as I know, nobody is actually making the argument that autism rates haven’t gone up. I think everybody is in agreement that they have, and in certain groups like the immigrant Somali community, the autism rate is at unheard-of levels.

    So, if we’re all in agreement that autism rates have risen, then the only way to kill this controversy is for someone to come up with a viable explanation that does not involve vaccines. Until this happens, then from a scientific point of view at least, vaccines are NOT off the hook. And, of course, an alternative explanation never seems to surface in these discussions.

    I believe children should get vaccinations, because right now evidence says that vaccinations are less of a risk than no vaccinations. But I find it exasperating when people on the pro-vaccination side (my side!) belabor their point with violations of basic logic. I’m sorry, but no proof of a link is NOT proof of no link. It wouldn’t fly in Logic 101, and it won’t fly here.

  86. Peter B

    Mike Yadon said: “most every vaccination has over 100mcg of aluminum. the aap and the fda both set the threshhold for toxicity at 100mcg. 6 shots in a day, you are receiving 6 times the daily limit.”

    So you’re disputing the data that Todd W has presented at his antiantivax web-site?

  87. Peter B

    Jeff said: “This controversy will go away when one of two things happens: someone will either prove that the incidence of autism has not, in fact, gone up, or someone will offer a viable explanation for the increased rates of autism that does not involve vaccines.

    “As far as I know, nobody is actually making the argument that autism rates haven’t gone up. I think everybody is in agreement that they have, and in certain groups like the immigrant Somali community, the autism rate is at unheard-of levels.

    “So, if we’re all in agreement that autism rates have risen, then the only way to kill this controversy is for someone to come up with a viable explanation that does not involve vaccines.”

    My understanding is that autism is simply more likely to be diagnosed these days than in the past. In other words, autism isn’t more prevalent now than before, it’s just that what was previously diagnosed differently is now diagnosed as autism.

    “Until this happens, then from a scientific point of view at least, vaccines are NOT off the hook. And, of course, an alternative explanation never seems to surface in these discussions.

    “I believe children should get vaccinations, because right now evidence says that vaccinations are less of a risk than no vaccinations.”

    It’s good to hear you say that. In all this discussion, a lot of people seem to forget that the diseases we vaccinate against can have death rates of 1 in 100, which I understand is higher than the rate of autism in the community.

    “But I find it exasperating when people on the pro-vaccination side (my side!) belabor their point with violations of basic logic. I’m sorry, but no proof of a link is NOT proof of no link. It wouldn’t fly in Logic 101, and it won’t fly here.”

    A good point on its own. But may I ask you how else one might interpret a study of 500,000+ children in which the rate of autism is the same in the vaccinated and unvaccinated children?

  88. Peter B

    Mike Yadon said: “at it again, phil? how much are you being paid to promote vaccinations. i’d like to really know what’s in it for you. because it has become crusade like.”

    You realise that arguments like that work both ways, don’t you?

  89. Jeremy

    My parents very nearly had the same experience, but I was lucky – after months in hospital I survived, having stopped breathing due to this horrible disease. AntiVax parents need to be reported to DOCS and have their children removed.

  90. I’m with Jeff, right now the problem is that scientists don’t know what causes autism and it is very scary to make a decision that you are afraid might destroy your child’s life. It is also difficult because the pro-vaccination side of the issue tends to be condescending towards those who are overly-cautious and until forced, wouldn’t even consider vaccinations as a possible cause. Only when the public began avoiding vaccinations at an alarming rate did they even attempt to assuage the concerns of these parents.

    I also saw someone here accuse the anti-vax groups of believing in “acceptable losses.” That is actually exactly what the pro-vax groups promote. Every parent gets a handout when they have their kids vaccinated (here in the U.S. anyway) that details the adverse reaction fund that is set up to compensate families who have serious problems from adverse reactions to the vaccination.

    I’ve seen my kids reactions to the vaccinations and while they haven’t had seizures, it is scary to watch your kid go through high fevers and obvious discomfort because of a shot that is supposed to be absolutely safe – most of the time.

    I also see people saying, “Why wouldn’t you trust the doctors?” Well, unfortunately the doctors don’t have a sterling record. I personally was given tetracycline as a child. Look that one up sometime… I’ve spent my whole life dealing with it because doctors “didn’t know” at the time.

    In the end, as a parent it is terrifying (if you have any sense) to make the decision either way. You are trying your best to make the best decision for your child. My solution was expensive, but I felt it provided the best compromise of still giving my kids their vaccinations and not putting them at risk to adverse reactions from a bunch of shots at once. We spread our shots out over a longer period of time and more visits. For instance, if we were at month 4 and needed DTAP and HIB, we would do DTAP at month 4 and HIB at month four, week 2. And maybe another one at month 5. That way we didn’t significantly delay our child’s vaccinations, but we did lower the amount of immune response that he/she had to work up at any given time.

    That’s another thing the pro-vax side tends to ignore. It is absolutely a medical reality that some people have an immune system that can over-react to a perceived illness and that over-reaction is as dangerous or deadly (perhaps even more-so) than the illness itself.

    Another strike against the pro-vax side is the insistence on having our kids get vaccinated for things that just don’t matter. There are some bad bugs out there that it makes sense to vaccinate for, but rotavirus isn’t one of them and chicken pox probably isn’t either.

    In the end, calling anit-vaxxers stupid won’t solve the problem. Treating their concerns with respect, trying to find solutions that address their very real concerns and trying to find out what is causing the alarming increase of autism are things that are far more likely to get them back on board.

  91. Greg in Austin

    mike yadon said,

    “for example. most every vaccination has over 100mcg of aluminum. the aap and the fda both set the threshhold for toxicity at 100mcg. 6 shots in a day, you are receiving 6 times the daily limit. this in a small child whose immune system easily becomes overwhelmed by being flooded with foreign compounds and proteins.”

    What is your source for this claim?

    8)

  92. Greg in Austin

    Jeff said,

    “So, if we’re all in agreement that autism rates have risen, then the only way to kill this controversy is for someone to come up with a viable explanation that does not involve vaccines. Until this happens, then from a scientific point of view at least, vaccines are NOT off the hook. And, of course, an alternative explanation never seems to surface in these discussions.”

    Actually, SUV’s cause autism. Everyone agrees that there has been a rise in people buying SUV’s in the past 20 years. And how many parents of kids with autism drive SUV’s? The only wall to kill this controversy is for someone to come up with a viable explanation that does not involve sport utility vehicles.

    See what I did there? I took one completely unrelated thing and made it look like it was the cause. Same thing you did.

    8)

  93. Jeremy

    mike yadon, you are a murderer and child torturer. Better hope we don’t meet, mate.

  94. mike yadon

    I cannot believe you people have lost all respect for common sense. These vaccinations have dangerous ingredients. These ingredients at toxic levels are being injected. There are never any long term studies done on any of this. Our children are being used as guinea pigs.

    You folks think you can just scare people with boogey man diseases and claims of antivaxxers being murderers. How dare you assault common sense with that rubbish? Go get a lick of common sense and you’ll come to the same conclusion i have.

    The chance of contracting one of these diseases is slim. So minutely slim, really pretty much none. A. Because the majority of the diseases are fake. Aids is fake. Polio is fake. Swine flu is fake. It’s all fake. Basically Germ theory is a fraud. B. The human body is so much more miraculous than the drug companies would have you believe. You can heal most anything via diet modification, herbs&spices appropriately chosen, and lots of fresh water.

    So, if there is a group of us out here who have woken up to the power of the human mind and the human body and chose to go a different route than those of you that chose to intervene and play god with your shots and needles.

    so be it. i chose my way. you chose yours. i guess there’s no sense in arguing further with you folks.

  95. @mike yadon
    Because the majority of the diseases are fake. Aids is fake. Polio is fake. Swine flu is fake. It’s all fake. Basically Germ theory is a fraud.

    I presume anything from mike yadon should be ignored from now on yes?

  96. Greg in Austin

    @Shane,

    Agreed. Don’t feed the trolls, they only get crazier.

    8)

  97. Jeremy

    The gloves are off. I have had enough of reason and sense in the insensate – notice to all antivaxers – I am coming after you via government, your professional bodies, and pubic ridicule. You will see it as “the system” coming after you, so be it, you reap what you sow. You are a threat to national security, the economy, and human happiness. I will not rest until the last of you are sent to an early grave, destitute and outcast. I nearly died, and not another child should suffer as I did because of your stupidity. I have started today. Watch out.

  98. Davidlpf

    Also don’t get the trolls wet, oops sorry thats gremlins.

  99. Dr Rachie has a link over on her blog to a guide from the Aussie Govt on vaccine myths and misconceptions for providers. It is well worth a look.

    http://www.scepticsbook.com/2009/05/02/some-light-reading-whilst-i-blog-the-debate/

  100. Mark Hansen

    Yadon is certainly the MUD* pin-up boy (or at least he’d like to be). Diseases are made up. That’s right, made up! Even the ancient Egyptians knew there would be vaccinators one day so they made up polio. Damn, but this conspiracy goes all the way to the top and the past and probably the future as well. Is there nothing the NWO/Illuminati/Fourth Reich/{Insert other secret society here} won’t stoop to?

    But there is one thing his advice will cure:
    “…You can heal most anything via diet modification, herbs&spices appropriately chosen, and lots of fresh water.…”
    That’s a great cure, so long as most anything means hunger and thirst.

    *MUD = Made Up Disease.

  101. Jeff

    @Greg in Austin:

    Thank you for your wonderful explanation of the real cause of autism. I’m sure parents all across the country are grateful and relieved that such a brilliant and serious mind as yourself was here to explain the cause of this debilitating condition. Your amazing insight is matched only by your sensitivity.

    Nope, I guess SUVs can’t be totally ruled out as the cause of autism either (notice that I’m the skeptic here, not you), but I’ve yet to hear any personal anecdotes from parents involving SUVs.

    Correlation is not causation, but it can be a hint. I have never said that I have any proof that vaccines cause autism. I actually said that kids need to be vaccinated. I am just bothered by this rush to exonerate vaccines without either explaining anything or looking deeper. It’s one thing to say that the best available evidence states that you should vaccinate your child. It’s quite another to say something as broad, final, and unscientific as “Vaccines are safe”.

  102. Paul

    I’m pro-vax and consider myself fairly skeptical. I found that this article was as much an anecdotal emotional appeal as the anti-vax propaganda. Hyperbolic claims like “the sad truth is that if more parents in Australia had gotten vaccinations for their children, Dana McCaffery would still be alive today” are probabilities stated as facts.

    Maybe this kind of sad story is the only way to fight back. It helps bring home to the average person that this is a social decision with consequences for society, not just those who chose to take the risks of avoiding vaccinations.

    Still, let nobody be fooled: propaganda by your own side is still propaganda.

  103. @Jeff
    Vaccines are safe but no one says they are 100% safe. Subtle distinction. Nothing is 100% safe. No drug, no treatment and no vaccine. What is certain is vaccines do not cause autism.

  104. Rodney

    Yeah,

    I’ll admit that I like the “kooks”. I’m small enough that their delusions make me feel better about my own, soul crushing, mediocre life. I make fun of them because I’m just that big of a jerk.

    I come up on this website especially to seek them out, and laugh at them. Normally, they’re just the kind of crazy that makes me feel better about my own failed life.

    But when it comes to the “anti-vaxers” there are dead people involved.

    Innocent, never did nothing to nobody, less than two years old, dead people.

    It’s not funny anymore,

    rod

    I may be a 50 year old cripple, but I’ll give Jim Carry Four rounds, for charity, anytime he’s man enough. His bitch can hold the round cards. (She’ll only need one).

  105. IVAN3MAN

    ERRATUM: I have some appropriate choice words from the English language against those so-called ‘humans’ who wrote hate-mail (WTF?!) to that grieving couple, David & Toni McCaffery, but I can’t post them here because those words will violate Phil Plait’s commenting policy.


    My apologies for the name error in my original post above. Watching and listening to that stupid cow, Meryl Dorey, in that video earlier on, made my blood boil too!

  106. More on this story on the next Skeptic Zone Podcast.

  107. I had chickenpox as a child (I believe the vaccine didn’t become available until after I contracted the disease. I was what should have been a “last-waver”,) so I had been in the self-selecting “this is a mild, largely harmless disease” camp. No more. I saw my girlfriend at the time undergo a case of adult-onset chickenpox, despite having had a mild case as a child. It’s an excruciating disease that the relative safety of youth onset and the soft memories of my youth had shielded me from. The significant risks of later complications from an “immunizing” case of the pox are rather frightening. Nothing quite brought this home to me like watching David Letterman discussing his own case of the shingles, a consequence of childhood chickenpox that surfaces in later adulthood, on his show.

    Those are all anecdotes, but some anecdotes have more evidenciary value than others. A SINGLE CASE disproves a sweeping negative like “nobody dies from the measles” or “having chickenpox once makes you immune.” A single, well-documented case may therefore constitute evidence. While there is no such case for a vaccine-autism link (the confounding factor of simple coincidence can’t be ignored, and invalidates any anecdotal suggestion of a link) a single case proves that whooping cough is neither extinct nor harmless.

    Vaccination is about as safe as medicine gets. Compared to nearly any other therapy, it’s almost shockingly safe and effective, especially in these modern times. As a side note, it’d be funny, if it weren’t so sad, to see homeopaths rail against the closest thing real medicine has to their pre-scientific understanding.

    Governments need to do more. Education, while a fine (I would say essential) thing, is not enough. For public health reasons, non-vaccination for non-medical reasons (to say nothing of other forms of anti-medical woo)should be criminalized. This is (like smoking) a matter of public health, NOT personal choice. Non-vaccination IS child-endangerment.

    Government should also do more to remove those barriers to vaccination. Co-pay on vaccination? That should be covered. Time off work for vaccination visits? That should bloody well be covered.

    Governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens from all enemies, foreign or domestic. That includes diseases. And antivaxxers.

  108. @Shane, following some comments I got on my blog last night, I might try to condense some of the Australian Government’s info from the “guide to” into a more easily digestible form and distribute it at local markets, leave it in coffee shops, pin it on notice boards, send it to Mother’s groups etc.

    Someone suggested our message is not getting to the community, where it matters – this is how the AVN do so much damage. Do you know they give lectures to lectures expectant mothers through Byron Community Health? I don’t have time to go scaremongering full time like Meryl Dorey, but perhaps this would be a start.

    I will at least put it in a post and see if some journos I know want to pick it up. @Todd W, perhaps a collaboration is in order, with your impressive website http://antiantivax.jottit.com/ providing some of the facts?

  109. Nick B

    Pretty common tactics for $item ban proponents. Hopefully folks will realize they’re all the same, looking for power/fame/whatever, not trying to help you.
    Nick

  110. Citizen of the Cosmos

    Vaccinations saves lives. Yes they are not always effective on every person, but limited immunity and herd immunity are two things that are better than a population that is not vaccinated at all. We all know that.

    In Sweden, large scale vaccination against polio began, and in 1965 it ceased to exist here. That’s just one example of how public vaccination programmes save lives and reduces suffering.

    Also, I too am surprised to hear that apparently these parents got hate mail from antivaxers. That’s weird. I mean, their child died because people refuse to vaccinate their children. To refuse vaccination is exactly what they want us to do. What’s their problem, then? Were the consequences unpredictable? No, it can’t be that.

  111. Citizen of the Cosmos

    I meant to say polio vaccination began in 1957.

  112. gail

    Vaccination should not be a choice, it should be mandated and it should also be obvious to everyone via education that it is the safest thing to do for our children.

    By “choosing” to not vaccinate you are removing MY choice TO vaccinate. You are removing the herd immunity for people whose choice was removed from them (either by being allergic to the ingredients – it happens – or those who are immunocompromised and who RELY on herd immunity).

    That is unfair and short sighted and selfish and just plain DANGEROUS no matter how you slice and dice the numbers.

    If you care about your kids, you WILL vaccinate because it is the right thing to do. There is no argument here. None. Only selfish judgemental busy bodies trying to tell me what is wrong without an ounce of intelligence or understanding to back it up; bloody mindedness when confronted and scare tactics tantmount to emotional terrorism when left to their own devices.

    For heavens sake – it’s PARENTS AND CHILDREN we are talking about here. If you can convince a parent it might possibly even slightly harm their child, of course they are going to leap to the worst conclusion, and antivaccers have fallen prey to this logical fallicy, this misunderstanding of probability and are selfishly propogating it.

    The AVN and the movement in general is 100% emotional terrorism and it disgusts me.

  113. grizzedram

    i don’t know if anyone pointed this out, but people like jim carrey aren’t anti-vaccine. they don’t say that getting one vaccine will make your baby autistic. they say that getting the 30+ vaccines now available in such a short time is what causes the autism.

    Also, to the writer of the article, you don’t help your side by calling everyone “ignorant antiscience antivax people”, many of whom are doctors and not unintelligent people.

    so the people who don’t get the vaccines to whooping cough, etc. are probably making a bad choice. but its also bad to give so many in such a short time.

  114. Jeremy

    Time for action everybody!

    Gizelle Cook should be the first cab off the rank, given her high public profile. I would like to encourage everybody to lodge formal complaints about this woman to the NSW state Medical board and the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). We should all work to have her suspended and then deregistered so she will learn the consequences of her actions.

    The AVN are registered as a charity – the first step is to try to get their tax-free status removed. They are also a serious treat to national security, one I think the homeland security guys need to get their heads around.

    The time for discussions is ended – its time to chop these idiots out at the root. Come on people, let’s just do it!

  115. Jeremy

    I don’t think Cooke is registered as an actual medical doctor after searching the state registration boards, so she might be in a spot of trouble representing herself as a “doctor”. The Dr on a title means you either have a Phd or you are registered to practice.

    Dr Giselle Cooke
    M.B., B.S.(NSW), Dip.Ac., D.B.M

    Dr Cooke practised wholistic & integrative medicine since graduating from the UNSW in 1979. After training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, western herbalism, nutrition and Ayurveda, she founded the multidisciplinary clinic, Pymble Grove Health Centre in 1989, which still operates as a centre of excellence in integrative medicine on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. In 2003 she opened The Modern Apothecary, herbal dispensary & teahouse, which is a unique concept in retail naturopathic services offering professional advice to customers in a natural pharmacy setting. Adjacent is her CAM practice, Health Alchemy, which houses a team of six CAM practitioners, along with her wholisitic and preventive medicine practice. In 2009 Giselle will take CAM to Macquarie St, Sydney, the bastion of conservative medicine, to create a centre of excellence in integrative medicine and rejuvenation, education and clinical research. Giselle is the author of two books and innumerable health articles. She appears monthly on a national ABC talkback radio program, She has lectured at universities and naturopathic colleges and delivered countless papers on CAM at national and international conferences. She is a strong proponent for alternative health care choices, hoping to one day make natural medicines more accessible and affordable for all Australians.

  116. Jeremy

    http://www.themodernapothecary.com.au/ this is cookes “integrated” medical business.

  117. Confusing anecdote with data isn’t helping your case. The reason people make these misjudgements in the first place is because they have a hard time telling outliers from a pattern – and that distinction is perhaps more important than the particulars of the antivaccine case; it underlies a great many such misjudgments based on rare events.

    Please, update your post and make clear that McCafferty’s example is one of a trend, and that the trend is what should inspire confidence in the reasoning, not the specific anecdote.

    Specific examples can be very helpful in understanding how something works, but they should not be mistaken for trends.

  118. Jeremy

    Cooke is registered in NSW. Game on.

    MPO: 137217
    First Name: Carolyn
    Middle Name: Giselle
    Last Name: Cooke

    Sex: F
    Suburb: NEUTRAL BAY ( View explanatory notes )

    Qualification: BACHELOR OF MEDICINE BACHELOR OF SURGERY
    Award Institution: UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
    Year Of Award: 1979

    Year Of First Registration: 1979
    Due Date: August 23rd, 2009 ( View explanatory notes )
    Registration Status: Registered ( View explanatory notes )
    Registration Category: GENERAL ( View explanatory notes )

  119. Matthew Miller

    Like Todd W. said earlier, the CDC (Center for Desease Contol) has lots of information on their website about vaccines, the risks involved, etc…and that is just one website from one government. I am sure every country as a similar website with similar information that they can go to that will give them a lot of this same information. When I typed in just “vaccines” into Google I got basically nothing but websites that seemed respectible, and when I did “vaccines and autism” all I found were sites that said there is no link between the two, so how is it that these parents are saying that they can’t find any good information on the internet when a 10 sec Google search showed me otherwise?

  120. sdfaf

    Evolution at works. Maybe Darwin Awards should be given also to people who lost all their children due to stupidity?

  121. Mike Yadon

    I’ll accept your game on, Jeremy. Let’s play.

    Here are the current levels of aluminum per shot of the following vaccines, as listed on each vaccine’s packaging:

    * DTaP (for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis): 170-625 mcg, depending on manufacturer
    * Hepatitis A: 250 mcg
    * Hepatitis B: 250 mcg
    * HIB (for meningitis; PedVaxHib brand only): 225 mcg
    * HPV: 225 mcg
    * Pediarix (DTaP-Hepatitis B-Polio combination): 850 mcg
    * Pentacel (DTaP-HIB-Polio combination): 330 mcg
    * Pneumococcus: 125 mcg

    In other words, a newborn who gets a Hepatitis B injection on day one of life would receive 250 mcg of aluminum. This would be repeated at one month with the next Hep B shot. When, at two months, a baby gets its first big round of shots, the total dose of aluminum could vary from 295 mcg (if a non-aluminum HIB and the lowest-aluminum brand of DTaP are used) to a whopping 1225 mcg (if the Hep B vaccine is given along with the brands with the highest aluminum contents). These doses are repeated at four and six months. With most subsequent rounds of shots, a child would continue to get some aluminum throughout the first two years. But the FDA recommends that premature babies, and anyone with impaired kidney function, receive no more than 10 to 25 mcg of injected aluminum at any one time. The aap on the other hand –

    the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who in 1996 published a policy statement, “Aluminum Toxicity in Infants and Children,” that made the following points:

    * Aluminum can cause neurologic harm.
    * A study from 30 years ago showed that human adults increase their urine excretion of aluminum when exposed to higher levels of the metal, which suggests that adults can clear out excess aluminum.
    * Adults taking aluminum-containing antacids don’t build up high levels of aluminum in their bodies.
    * Reports of infants with healthy kidneys show elevated blood levels of aluminum from taking antacids.
    * People with kidney disease who build up bloodstream levels of aluminum greater than 100 mcg per liter are at risk of toxicity.
    * The toxic threshold of aluminum in the bloodstream may be lower than 100 mcg per liter.
    * The buildup of aluminum in tissues has been seen even in patients with healthy kidneys who receive IV solutions containing aluminum over extended periods.5

    ——

    so, that’s 100mcg per liter as the toxic threshhold. Newborns have about .25 liters of blood. So one shot alone is enough to cause serious damage.

    This is straight from the sources who want you to take these shots. Snap out of it folks, you are blindly being led to the slaughter.

  122. Dr. Steve

    The chance of contracting one of these diseases is slim. So minutely slim, really pretty much none. A. Because the majority of the diseases are fake. Aids is fake. Polio is fake. Swine flu is fake. It’s all fake. Basically Germ theory is a fraud. B. The human body is so much more miraculous than the drug companies would have you believe. You can heal most anything via diet modification, herbs&spices appropriately chosen, and lots of fresh water.
    ==============
    Find a vial of Ebola virus. Take a few days to optimized you diet and mind-set. Then drink it.
    If you survive that will be proof enough of your concept to change my mind.

  123. Jen

    @Paul:
    “I found that this article was as much an anecdotal emotional appeal as the anti-vax propaganda.”

    I had that very same thought.

  124. Katie

    i’d rather have an autistic child than a dead child.

  125. ::mwah::

    If the mother had breastfed her daughter, Dana would have received immunity from her mother’s breastmilk. So you can blame lack of herd immunity or you can blame the mother – they’re both equally “worthy” of your vengeful wrath on behalf of the victim, Dana.

  126. @Jeremy,

    I received information tonight that the AVN have “interest” from Media Watch and are hurriedly collecting evidence of Ch 7 bias to present to them. I don’t know how genuine this in, but may I suggest that people zip an email off to Media Watch in Australia to advise them that this crowd is the lunatic fringe and should be treated with extreme caution. Their idea of biased reporting is for Ch 7 to not perpetuate misinformation and lies about the safety and efficacy of vaccination, thereby putting children’s lives at risk.

    I fear that the reseachers at Media Watch do not know who the AVN are or what damage they have already done.

    PLEASE send an email to mediawatch@your.abc.net.au to advise them of this.

  127. skrell

    i’d like one of you arrogant wannabe-scientists to comment on walkthewalk please! I think he/she is pointing to some interesting research.

  128. @Caleb:
    Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  129. Mark O'Leary

    To address one mistaken argument, namely that it is ‘prudent’ to only administer one vaccine at a time ‘to give time for their little immune systems to recover’…

    Presumably such parents also only allow their kids to play in gardens with one type of plant in it? only breathe air with one kind of pollen? Only eat one kind of single ingredient food per week?

    The everyday environment presents billions of separate challenges to the immune system in a normal active day. Some few of those will be disease conditions that the immune system successfully fights off without you ever becoming ill or aware of being at risk of illness. The immune system has evolved to work in parallel, selecting populations of immunocytes to greater or lesser extents for all the inumerable foreign substances they encounter minute by minute. As I understand it, only in life-threateningly malnourished or immunocompromised individuals would a substantial immune challenge present a measurable drain on their resources to an extent that it would undermine other parallel immune responses.

    I’m not aware of any research supporting a synergistic effect of multiple simultaenious challenges being more ‘dangerous’ than the same vaccinations spaced out over time. Why is spacing them out considered ‘common sense’? The immune system is educated by exposure; it should get workouts the same as your muscles, teaching the same as your brain. I believe that kids that play in mud end up healthier long term than kids kept in sterile environments through their childhoods.

    Put another way: any reading of an undergrad text on immunology would leave a parent unable to sustain the concept of ‘spacing out’ vaccines as being somehow preferable; you either do the work to act from an informed opinion, or you follow an appropriate expert on trust. ‘Common sense’ doesnt work for systems you don’t understand- critical thinking 101.

    (author is not a medic; has worked on immunogenetics at a postgrad level – don’t beleive what I say, go check it out for yourselves!)

  130. @mike yadon

    Ah, you’re back. So, how’s that trial going where you purposely infect yourself to prove that the diseases are made up?

    I noticed you dropped your 4ppm argument for aluminum after I showed you to be wrong there. On aluminum dosage, from the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 21 Section 610.15(a), microgram conversions added in brackets after each mg measure:

    The amount of aluminum in the recommended individual dose of a biological product shall not exceed:

    (1) 0.85 [850 mcg] milligrams if determined by assay;

    (2) 1.14 [1,140 mcg] milligrams if determined by calculation on the basis of the amount of aluminum compound added; or

    (3) 1.25 [1,250 mcg] milligrams determined by assay provided that data demonstrating that the amount of aluminum used is safe and necessary to produce the intended effect are submitted to and approved by the Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research or the Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (see mailing addresses in 600.2 of this chapter).

    Can you provide a source for your claim that 100mcg/L is the toxic level? So please provide your source and cite something other than that host of hogwash, whale.to.

    Some information on aluminum exposure, from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mrls/index.html). This site lists the Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for exposure to hazardous substances. The MRL is defined as

    an estimate of the daily human exposure to a hazardous substance that is likely to be without appreciable risk of adverse noncancer health effects over a specified duration of exposure.

    For aluminum, the MRL for intermediate exposue (>14 -364 days) and for chronic exposure (>365 days) is 1mg [1,000 mcg]/kg/day.

    More information on aluminum in vaccines can be found in the paper “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Vaccines Contain Harmful Preservatives, Adjuvants, Additives, or Residuals?” (available at pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/112/6/1394).

    As you can see, then, the amount of aluminum in those vaccines is lower than the ATSDR exposure guideline, and, in most cases, lower than what FDA regulation states. Only the Pediarix vaccine comes close to that allowed by FDA, but then it decreases the overall number of shots needed, thereby reducing aluminum exposure.

  131. Greg in Austin

    Jeff said,

    “I am just bothered by this rush to exonerate vaccines without either explaining anything or looking deeper. It’s one thing to say that the best available evidence states that you should vaccinate your child. It’s quite another to say something as broad, final, and unscientific as “Vaccines are safe”.”

    Thanks for playing. Just trying to throw a little humor into an otherwise sad situation.

    You make the false assumption that nobody has performed properly controlled scientific studies looking for a link between vaccines and autism. They have, and the conclusions showed no link. So, that’s one lie you can quit spouting.

    businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/611489.html?chan=top+news_top+news+index_lifestyle

    cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/26/health/main4753608.shtml

    Do a google search for “vaccine autism study.”

    Nobody said vaccines, or anything, is 100% safe. Water is not 100% safe. Salt is not 100% safe. Life is not 100% safe.

    Laboratory studies have shown that laboratory studies cause cancer in rats.

    8)

  132. @mike yadon

    My response to you is awaiting moderation, but I just wanted to point out that the 100mcg/L figure you found in that study is for children with renal failure, not for healthy children. If you take a look at the sources cited for the 100mcg number, you’ll see that all three studies examined children with impaired kidney function.

  133. Muzz

    Shouldn’t anyone twig to the fact that, given the number of children worldwide who go the full vaccination course (ie. most in the developed world), babies should be dropping like flies if all that “serious damage from one shot” aluminium biz were correct.
    Oddly, they’re not.

  134. @Jeff (from way up the thread)

    Maybe stop putting mercury in the vaccines and provide concrete that vaccines do benefit the quality of life for the child.

    Click on my name for some information about vaccines. Also, refer to the CDC, FDA and AAP web sites for information regarding the safety of vaccines. You can also search clinicaltrials.gov or PudMed for articles about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

    I used to work in the IT department of a hospital, and because of that I had to take many vaccines quarterly. Never before did I have to call in sick so much. I had the flu like clockwork every year, and one of my co-workers got the measles from a vaccine.

    Okay, there are a couple things wrong with your reasoning here. First, the flu vaccine does not prevent every strain of flu. Rather, researchers examine data to determine which flu strains are likely to be most prevalent in the coming flu season. They then develop the vaccine based on that information. Sometimes they guess right. Sometimes nature throws them a curve ball. Second, given that you worked in a hospital, it is likely that people presenting with the flu involved a wide range of strains, including some that would not be in the vaccine for that year. As to the measles bit, it is possible that your coworker contracted measles before vaccination, or that the vaccine did not take.

    Since I’ve worked at my current job (almost 5 years), I’ve only had to call in sick maybe twice (when I was actually sick), and I have not had a flu vaccine since I stopped working at the hospital.

    Let’s see, you stopped working in an environment with lots and lots of opportunities (more than the average person) to be exposed to a flu virus, and your rate of flu infection dropped. There might be a connection there somewhere…

  135. @Walk_the_walk

    What interests me about the study you posted is, why did they inject lipopolysaccharide along with thimerosal? The abstract does not explain why this was done, and I was unable to find the full text of the study. As far as I have been able to tell, no vaccines contain both thimerosal and a lipopolysaccharide.

    As such, it is premature to use that study as validation of a thimerosal-autism link.

  136. @Dr Rachie said “Todd W, perhaps a collaboration is in order, with your impressive website http://www.antiantivax.jottit.com providing some of the facts?”

    Crikey, that is a collaboration I’d like to see.
    Can big pharma support the both of you? ;-)

  137. Dunc

    Here are the current levels of aluminum per shot of the following vaccines, as listed on each vaccine’s packaging:

    Except that none of those vaccines contain Aluminum – they contain Aluminum compounds, such as Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate. You might want to learn some basic high-school chemistry to understand the difference. For example, Sodium reacts explosively with water and would be extremely hazardous if ingested, yet Sodium Chloride is common table salt. Completely different

    Since you clearly lack even the basics of chemistry, I’m betting that you haven’t found out the molecular weight of the salts in question in order to work out exactly how much Aluminum is actually in there, and have just given the amount of the salt as the amount of the metal. In fact, I’m betting you don’t know the difference. So, in the interests of education:

    The molecular weight of Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate is 138.96 g/mol. The atomic weight of Aluminum is 26.98 g/mol. So a vaccine shot containing 250mcg of Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate only actually contains 48.54mcg of Aluminum. Not that it matters, because it’s not free metallic Aluminum anyway.

    Antivaxers fail high school chemistry.

    Your remarks about the amount of Aluminum in the bloodstream are also false in a second, unrelated way, because vaccines are not injected directly into the bloodstream. It seems antivaxers fail anatomy too.

  138. Maybe stop putting mercury in the vaccines and provide concrete…

    Hmmm, interesting idea. I’m not sure about the preservative characteristics and viscosity of concrete though. Keep up the good work. :-)

  139. @::mwah::

    If the mother had breastfed her daughter, Dana would have received immunity from her mother’s breastmilk. So you can blame lack of herd immunity or you can blame the mother – they’re both equally “worthy” of your vengeful wrath on behalf of the victim, Dana.

    Breastfeeding does not guarantee immunity. Also, I was looking for information on whether or not pertussis immunity is conferred via breast milk, but was unable to find anything. The closest I got to information on what antibodies were present in breast milk was this (emphasis added):

    Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother’s antibodies to disease. About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Breast-fed babies are protected, in varying degrees, from a number of illnesses, including pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and German measles.

    from fda.gov/fdac/reprints/breastfed.html.

    We don’t know whether she breast fed or not, but even if she did, it is not a guarantee that her baby would have been protected from pertussis.

  140. @Dr. Rachie

    I’m working with Larian LeQuella and IVAN3MAN on a web site to host my summary info, among other stuff. Send me an e-mail (linked at the bottom of the antiantivax site) and we can discuss collaboration.

  141. @Shane

    Crikey, that is a collaboration I’d like to see.
    Can big pharma support the both of you?

    I’m sure they probably have some money available. I’ve yet to be contacted by them yet, though. More’s the pity. I could use some extra spending money.

  142. Paxalot

    You do a great disservice to the debate by demonizing anti-vaxxers (not a term they agree with). There is a near universal contempt for any parent who dares question the wisdom of big-pharma and their indoctrinated doctors. The real herd mentality is in articles like this. The pro-vax herd will blindly follow whatever orders come from their government, their doctors or their mega-corporations. The reality that hysterical articles like this avoid is that anti-vaxxers are NOT anti-vaccine. They are not! They want rigorous controls, honest fatality and toxicity stats, no-thermisol and single dose vaccines. They do not want vaccines administered before the recommended age. And blaming one child’s death on one family that did not vaccinate is absurd. It is Nazi-quality propaganda. Kids die every day from various illnesses. Vaccines do not give you 100% immunity. The HRSA – National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was create to help families devastated by the injurious effects of vaccines. Medical science gets thing wrong i.e. the real cause of most ulcers. There is room for debate on the vaccination issue – like it or not.

  143. As Dunc said aluminium salts aren’t aluminium anyway but I found this gem from the the Canadian Centre For Occupational Health and Safety on just how much aluminium we consume in a day:

    Aluminum is a normal component of the human diet and the normal daily intake of various aluminum compounds is significant. In adults, daily aluminum intake has been estimated at about 9 to 14 mg (2) in one reference and 1 to 100 mg (mean 5 mg) (3) in another. It can be much higher (1000 mg or more (4)) in individuals taking antacids containing aluminum hydroxide. An unconfirmed animal toxicity value indicates that oral toxicity is low. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

    I also read a couple of articles by doctors “concerned” by the toxicity of aluminium in vaccines. They usually start off talking about aluminium hydroxyphospate but with in a few words refer to it as just aluminium. Talk about deceptive. It would be like talking about table salt and then continuing to reference table salt as chlorine.

  144. sophia8

    The paper that Walkthewalk quotes has just been published in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19386279?log$=activity) It’s a study of ethylmercury on mouse cerebellum ganglia, so I’m not clear on how the authors reach their “thimerasol causes autism” conclusion. Or indeed why they bothered with testing thimerasol when it’s now out of nearly all vaccines.
    Could somebody with the appropriateknowledge, and access to Pubmed, throw some light on this?

  145. @Paxalot

    They want rigorous controls, honest fatality and toxicity stats, no-thermisol and single dose vaccines.

    I agree that they want thimerosal-free and single dose vaccines (i.e., measles, mumps and rubella as separate shots rather than the combo MMR), even though single shot vaccines would increase the total number of shots a child receives significantly (something they argue against), additionally exposing them to greater amounts of the substances they say are toxic. Seems a bit of a paradox, no?

    I would argue that they do not want honest fatality and toxicity stats, because when we present such stats, they reject them, rationalizing their dismissal by saying that the stats, the research, or the person presenting them must be in the pay of Big PharmaTM. What they want is information that agrees with their a priori assumptions.

    Please note, we are not arguing against every parent that does not vaccinate their kid. We are arguing against the people who are actively spreading misinformation and who, like Jenny McCarthy, are advocating for a return of preventable diseases (she’s on record on Larry King as saying that she thinks it’s a good thing if these diseases come back). In arguing against people like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, Meryl Dorey, David Kirby, RFK Jr., Andrew Wakefield, everyone at Age of Autism, the National Vaccine Information Center, Generation Rescue, and the like, we are hoping that parents who do now know the truth or who are on the fence will see how wrong the anti-vaxers are.

    The pro-vax herd will blindly follow whatever orders come from their government, their doctors or their mega-corporations.

    There are some who will blindly follow what the docs, etc. say, but many of the people who advocate for vaccines are following the evidence. We have numerous studies that routinely rip apart claims made by antivaxers. They, on the other hand, have no well-designed studies to support themselves.

  146. zar

    Paxalot:

    You do a great disservice in demonizing doctors. I don’t understand how so many people can hold contempt for doctors. Do you really think they’re mindless drones? Do you really think they don’t look up the science behind what they do, what they administer? Do you really think they follow orders blindly? You speak of them as though they aren’t human beings. Most doctors really like helping people. They like saving lives and curing the sick, they hate to see people suffer. They’re not clueless or dumb. They spend years and years learning about the human body, not just in medical school but in life experience.

    It is the height of arrogance to assume that these smart, experienced people are just mindless dupes because they have the audacity to disagree with your opinions. How dare they know more about medicine than you! How dare they act as though their understanding of the human body, developed by years of intense schooling and life experience dealing with an incredible variety of people and illnesses trumps your gut feeling!

  147. Dr Rachie

    “We both overheard one of the anti-vax crowd say “It’s only one baby””
    Which is in line with McCarthy’s comment that it might be just as well that some kids die so (and this is my reasonable interpretation) they can blame that on Big Pharma as well. Big W00-Woo stops at nothing.

    These people are cold-hearted with a friendly smile. Much like, oh, your garden variety sociopath serial killer everyone thought to be the friendly neighbor who did a lot for charity.

  148. @Paxalot

    OK, then, bitchfight. I feel great for my daddy instincts can beat Jenny’s mommy instincts.
    As opposed to science-minded people, who regularly call out fraudsters or those that are even a bit wrong, the (I was looking for a friendly word that makes you feel all fuzzy) alternative-minded people never do that but defend them to (their own) dead.
    The reason that this (errors from the science-minded community) is not always on the frontpage is that these people are corrected through peer review, double blind studies, or -believe it or not- through their own findings. Trying to prove yourself wrong after proving yourself right is normal in scientific procedures. It is not secret either, read science literature and if you think science-minded people come hard on alternative-minded people, that’s nothing compared to how they watch each other. Einstein and Bohr for example
    http://tron.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200504/images/einstein_bohr_cartoon.jpg

    Do they (dem science people) make mistakes? You bet. Looking through alternative-minded sites, they are almost always right from the start. Or so it seems.

  149. Jason

    There are obviously plenty of ignorant people out there on both sides of this issue, who also get easily scared and moved by emotional stories no matter what the substance is. But what gets me is that the pro vaccination crowd and some ignorant ones in the anti vaccination crowd have somehow perpetuated that autism is DIRECTLY caused by autism. Obviously it has been proven that vaccinations ALONE are not the only cause but it is definitely a factor. It is just one part of a largely unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle everyone is living these days.

    It’s no w0nder that some children will get sick when unvaccinated, but that is simply because their immune systems and other body systems are still woefully incapable of handling a disease when acquired through human contact. We need to be asking the real questions here, like how do we strengthen these body systems so that we can naturally handle and acquire a real immunity to bad diseases. Is it breastfeeding? Is it our diet? These are the real issues. Thinking vaccination is the end all cure to keeping these diseases away sh0ws ignorance too!

    By the way, at risk of responses to my post only being a flame to what I’m about to say….

    My daughter was not vaccinated and it was not because I was scared of anything. I was confident in the research I had done and none of it came from pop culture icons like Jenny McCarthy. Not sure if it means much to you, but our family rarely gets sick and my unvaccinated daughter is ONE year old and hasn’t been sick once. I haven’t met too many children who escaped their first year unscathed, and I don’t ask anyone whether their children have been vaccinated or not.

    Just sayin.

  150. @ Jeff, Tom

    > I’m with Jeff, right now the problem is that scientists don’t
    > know what causes autism and it is very scary to make a
    > decision that you are afraid might destroy your child’s life.

    Yes, this is the problem. Actually, this is two problems; one, it is very scary to make a decision that might destroy your child’s life… and two, most people have no actual awareness of how often they do this.

    You are thousands of times more likely to make a decision that leads to your child’s death if you buckle them into a car seat and take them for a ride than you are if you get a vaccination. You are hundreds of times more likely to make a decision that leads to your child’s death if you own a handgun than you are if you get a vaccination. You are thousands of times more likely to make a decision that leads to your child’s death if you *don’t* get them vaccinated than if you *do*.

    Even the smallpox vaccine, which is off-schedule now because the odds of getting the disease is very low and the adverse affects of the vaccine are very, very high (relatively speaking) only killed 1-2 out of 1,000,000 people who were vaccinated and had less than 100 serious adverse reactions out of 1,000,000. Virtually every other vaccination that I’ve looked at has a adverse reaction rate lower than that.

    With 360 million people in the U.S., and ~7% of the population under the age of 5, that gives us ~25 million children under the age of 5 (source, CIA factbook). The under-5 mortality rate in the US is 11 children per 1,000 (source: Unicef), or 25,000 deaths.

    Let us assume some really bad scenarios: that every vaccine has as bad of a fatality rate as the smallpox vaccine, and go one order of magnitude jump higher and say that 100 out of 1,000,000 die from the combined effect of vaccines… that gives us a theoretical “bad result” of 2,500 deaths in the absolute worst-case.

    In 2003 (the year for which I was able to find a nice breakdown of causes), we had 2,857 deaths from pertussis alone (source, Child Health 2003, Dept of Health and Human Services), and another ~850 from other vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Any way you slice it, having children is scary. Choosing to do something that might kill them is scary. Choosing NOT to do something that is *less* likely to kill them than doing it is just bad risk analysis.

  151. Lawrence

    @Pat – check your math. Current US population is only 306,361,395 (per the Census population clock).

    But the underlying math is correct. Good work!

  152. Greg in Austin

    Jason said,

    “My daughter was not vaccinated and it was not because I was scared of anything. I was confident in the research I had done and none of it came from pop culture icons like Jenny McCarthy. Not sure if it means much to you, but our family rarely gets sick and my unvaccinated daughter is ONE year old and hasn’t been sick once.”

    Jason, what would happen, if your daughter, at age two, had to go to the emergency room for some reason (say she fell and cut her hand and needed to go to the emergency room for stitches) and a child was in the waiting room with smallpox, or whooping cough, or measles. How exactly could you protect your child from catching one of those deadly diseases? Also, if my child goes to the same day care as your child, how can you justify putting my child at risk if your child is carrying one of these diseases?

    I think whatever research you did was terribly (possibly fatally) misleading.

    “Obviously it has been proven that vaccinations ALONE are not the only cause but it is definitely a factor.”

    Prove it.

    8)

  153. Jason

    I meant “…have somehow perpetuated that autism is DIRECTLY caused by vaccines”. Sorry.

  154. Jason

    If at any age my daughter had a cut requiring a suture that only emergency room personnel could give, and if by that same chance there happened to be a child waiting nearby with any number of communicable diseases, I would first wonder why that child hadn’t been quarantined(something scared medical personnel seem like they should have done) and then I would take common sense steps to reduce or prevent her contact with that child. Of course in your scenario, I can only imagine we have no idea which child is waiting around with such a disease, so limiting contact is useless at that point.

    Ultimately, however, if she caught the disease, the idea is that with the strength of her immune system up to this point, that her body will be able to effectively gain a natural immune response to that disease, after fighting it off, and then she will not get it again. I’m not entirely sure that will satisfy even the most hardcore vaccination believers, but there is plenty of truth to that situation.

    As far as daycare goes, at least in my specific situation, I have not put her in one and will not be putting her in one and in reality that is more for her safety than the safety of other children but I wouldn’t be able to justify putting your child at risk, thats part of the reason she isn’t in daycare. Also, if your child is vaccinated already, and the vaccination works so well, there should be no risk when your child comes into contact with mine. Also, if my child is currently suffering from a disease like that, I have sense enough not to showcase her to the world while she is getting over it. She’ll be at home fighting it off, not sneezing and coughing on your kids or anyone elses.

    Prove it? Prove what? If you are asking me to prove that vaccinations have any correlation to the rise in cases of autism, then I will do my best….

    This argument is only as it regards thimerosal(mercury). I know you can get plenty of vaccines now thimerosal free but the flu shot still has it and a lot of the time, the thimerosal is being replaced with aluminum which is just as toxic in certain doses.

    Mercury is a fat soluble metal and is an accumulative poison. 60% of the brain is made up of fat, which makes it a common site for mercury storage. Mercury can easily pass through the blood brain barrier. The most rapid period of brain maturation, synaptic development and brain pathway development is during the last three months of pregnancy continuing until two years after birth. Even at age 6 the brain is only 80% formed!

    Post-natal brain development, that is from birth to age six or seven, involves the fine tuning of synaptic connections, dendritic development and pathway refinement, all of which prepare the brain for more complex thinking. These brain elements are very sensitive to toxins and excessive immune stimulation during this period.

    The brain develops over 100 trillion synaptic connections and tens of trillions of dendritic connections during this highly sensitive period. Both dendrites and synapses are very sensitive, even to very low doses of mercury and other toxins. It has also been shown that subtoxic doses of mercury can block the glutamate transport proteins that play such a vital role in protecting the brain against excitotoxicity. Compelling studies indicate that damage to this protective system plays a major role in most of the neurodegenerative diseases and abnormal brain development as well.

    Recent studies have shown that glutamate accumulates in the brains of autistic children, yet these experts seem to be unconcerned about a substance (mercury) that is very powerful in triggering brain excitotoxicity. The Journal of Neurotoxicology states that anything above 10ug is neurotoxic. The WHO in fact states that there is no safe level of mercury.

    Mercury, for example, even in low concentrations, is known to impair energy production by mitochondrial enzymes. The brain has one of the highest metabolic rates of any organ and impairment of its energy supply, especially during development, can have devastating consequences.

    In addition, mercury, even in lower concentrations, is known to damage DNA and impair DNA repair enzymes, which again, plays a vital role in brain development. Mercury is known to impair neurotubule stability, even in very low concentrations. Neurotubules are absolutely essential to normal brain cell function.

    Mercury activates microglial cells, which increases excitotoxicity and brain free radical production as well as lipid peroxidation, central mechanisms in brain injury. In addition, even in doses below that which can cause obvious cell injury, mercury impairs the glutamate transport system, which in turn triggers excitotoxicity, a central mechanism in autism and other neurological disorders. Ironically, aluminum also paralyzes this system.

    So not only does mercury from any source have a major impact on a developing brain, here comes an example of another serious player, fluoride!

    Metals can act differently in biological systems than as an ion. When fluoride is combined to aluminum, it forms a compound that can destroy numerous hippocampal neurons at a concentration of 0.5 ppm in drinking water. It seems that aluminum readily combines with fluoride to form this toxic compound. With over 60% of communities having fluoridated drinking water this becomes a major concern.

    It has also been learned that fluoroaluminum compounds mimic the phosphate and can activate G-proteins. G-proteins play a major role in numerous biological systems, including endocrine, neurotransmitters, and as cellular second messengers. Some of the glutamate receptors are operated by a G-protein mechanism.

    Too many people are being blinded by the idea that vaccinations = autism or that non-vaccination = death. The real issue is not that a child will necessarily die or have immediate negative reactions from getting vaccines, but that their neurodevelopment can be seriously affected for the worse, which is never good for a society wanting to be on the cutting edge of knowledge and intelligence.

  155. Jason

    To Dunc, who said makes the case for aluminum being safe…

    Aluminum is a significant neurotoxin and that it shares many common mechanisms with mercury as a neurotoxin. They are both toxic to neuronal neurotubules, interfere with antioxidant enzymes, poison DNA repair enzymes, interfere with mitochondrial energy production, block the glutamate reuptake proteins (GLT-1 and GLAST), bind to DNA, and interfere with neuronal membrane function.

    Toxins that share toxic mechanisms are almost always additive and frequently synergistic in their toxicity. There is absolutely no data, including animal data, about the potential for synergy, additively or antagonism, all of which can occur in binary metal mixtures.

    A significant number of studies have shown that both of these metals play a significant role in all of the neurodegenerative disorders. It is also important to remember, both of these metals accumulate in the brain and spinal cord. This makes them accumulative toxins and therefore much more dangerous than rapidly excreted toxins.

  156. Lawrence

    @Jason – so if your child contracts measles & happens to go blind as a side-effect, I guess that is ok – since he/she won’t be getting measles again, right?

    Also, if they contract mumps & become sterile, that’s ok too, right?

    Add pertussis, polio, plus a variety of other diseases that can be contracted from a variety of sources. I for one, am not going to take that chance. And neither should you – if vaccines were so horrible, why aren’t children dying by the tens-of-thousands?

  157. Jason

    I am not one of the people who posits that vaccinations cause death and I stated as such, so your last question is not relevant to me. Obviously thousands of children have not died. I didn’t say that vaccines are horrible. But they are not nearly as safe as the pro-vaccine crowd says they are, and are not as deadly as the anti-vaccine crowd says. It is somewhere in between.

    Overall, my point is that if we cannot make a vaccine that is safe enough for everyone to agree on, why don’t we just spend our time and money on informing the public how to live healthier so that their immune systems and body functions perform normally as they should, so that these diseases can be beat naturally instead of with vaccines? So that the extreme side effects of these diseases when contracted are minimal, and not blinding or sterilizing as you posit?

    There has to be a better way and it doesn’t come by focusing only on vaccinations and autism, and by saying that one side knows everything and the other doesnt. The scope and focus of this is too narrow. Instead of demonizing and browbeating on the vaccination issue, let’s all live healthier and work towards an effective body system as a whole, which would render disease moot.

  158. Lawrence

    @Jason – these side-effects are fact. They happen & they can happen to anyone, regardless of diet, etc. Vaccines are, by a wide margin, much safer than the diseases that they prevent.

    No one here has ever said Vaccines are 100% safe or 100% effective. In general, the herd immunity that we enjoy prevents these diseases from gaining a foothold in the community – potentially mutating into much stronger and vicious strains.

    You are more then welcome to create a community that tries to build up their immune systems naturally. In fact, please do – as an experiment. I would be very interested to see what happens if a typical disease is introduced into a non-vaccinated population. But, my preference would be for it to be all adults – at least you have a choice, your children do not.

    I am very annoyed by the fact that it is the very parents who were spared these childhood diseases because their parents had them vaccinated, who are now placing their own children at risk by sheer complacency.

    As a father, I could no deny my child the same protections that I received. And Jason, Smallpox was around for thousands of years and killed hundreds of millions of people during the time it was active in the human population – if we weren’t able to evolve a natural defense over 5000 years, I seriously doubt you will be able to beat measles, mumps, rubella, polio, etc with a diet.

    What would you have us do, abandon all medical research into drugs, in the hope that we could find some “all-natural” way to beat disease?

  159. Greg in Austin

    @Jason,

    You have no way of knowing if that person on the bus, or at the grocery store, or at the mall or at your work has the flu or something worse. And the fewer number of people getting vaccinated means the greater number of people out there who can carry a deadly disease. And they can carry that disease for days before showing any symptoms.

    Some of your statements show you haven’t read anything Phil, Todd W. or the rest of the posters have put here. You are mouthing off the same anti-vax falsehoods regarding mercury, aluminum, etc. that McCarthy and the others are pushing. I know you said that you didn’t use that in your research, but the similarities are uncanny.

    You apparently have no idea how the diseases like polio and measles actually affect humans. We are not talking about the common cold where you sneeze for a couple of days and get over it. We are talking about diseases that at best leave people (children and adults) permanently damaged, and at worst kills them.

    Start with Todd W’s information, and follow his advice to look at the CDC and other world-wide sources of info. I think you will find some of that information interesting.

    antiantivax.jottit.com/
    cdc.gov/
    who.int/en/

    8)

  160. Jason

    I understand that those side effects are fact, in that they have surfaced in people with said diseases. What I meant was, it is quite possible that if one lived as healthy as they could, with all the knowledge of natural health out there, that the side effects of any disease contracted may not be nearly as severe. Unless you know of someone who lived that way and still received the most severe effects of those diseases, you can’t say that it would happen to anyone.

    As for building an immune system naturally, it is a bit of a misconception there, because what I advocate is that in its natural state, our immune system IS strong enough to handle disease, it’s the negative things we do to it that make us susceptible. So we wouldnt need to have a so called community of immune system builders, we should just all stop negatively affecting our natural immune abilities.

    Abandoning all medical research into drugs is a completely separate issue for me, but finding an “all-natural” way to beat disease is just to not invite it in the first place with things like vaccines, drugs, heavy metals, and the list just goes ON AND ON.

  161. Lawrence

    @Jason – I would recommend reading “The Great Influenza” by John Barry.

    It might just give you a sense of what things used to be like before modern medical science.

    And if “All-natural” is the way to go, I can recommend about 100 third world countries you might want to travel to, to get a sense of how “natural” living is doing for them.

  162. Greg in Austin

    @Jason,

    I am a healthy person. I exercise daily. I ran a marathon this year. I eat healthy foods, I don’t drink very much, and I can’t remember the last time I was sick.

    If I cut my foot on a rusty nail, or get bit by a stray dog, do you think I need to get that rabies shot?

    If I were going to travel to Africa tomorrow, do you think I’ll be OK if I go ahead and skip out on all those shots that are recommended before I travel?

    By your logic, I’m so healthy that my immune system should be able to handle anything thrown at it, right?

    8)

  163. Greg in Austin

    Jason said,

    “but finding an “all-natural” way to beat disease is just to not invite it in the first place with things like vaccines, drugs, heavy metals, and the list just goes ON AND ON.” [emphasis mine]

    Wait, WHAT?!? So you think vaccines CAUSE diseases?

    8)

  164. TheBlackCat

    @ Jason: You are simply wrong. If you were right, wild birds would not come down with influenza, wild raccoons would not come down with rabies, and wild chimpanzees would not come down with Ebola and SIV (the chimpanzee version of HIV). Parasites, like viruses, and their hosts are in a constant arms race, the host always evolving better defenses and the parasites always evolving ways to cope with them. These diseases long predate human history, if the “natural state” was enough to protect against them they would never have survived up to this point in the first place.

    The fact is that vaccines are a “natural” way to trigger an immune response. All a vaccine means is that you give someone the disease so their immune system can learn about it without giving them any of the symptoms or the ability to pass it on to others. Everything that the immune system would get during a “natural” infection, everything it would need to learn about the disease, is still there. It is just that the disease cannot actually hurt the person. And hurt the person it does.

  165. senorglory

    I have indisputable scientific-like evidence that Autism is caused by… breast implants. Over the last 30 years there’s been a dramatic increase in breast implants, and guess what, there’s also been a dramatic increase in Autism. Coincidence? Absolutely not! Just look at Jenny, she has big fake hooters and her kid has autism, and yet, I just saw a skinny-chested lady on the bus, and her kid didn’t have Autism. So there you go. Breast implants = Autism.

  166. senorglory

    BTW, I don’t have formal medical “credentials,” but I have studied this matter for several minutes, and I don’t believe that one need have an M.D. to have a kidney, or a liver, or whatever other organ is required for theorizing and stuff.

  167. @Jason

    the thimerosal is being replaced with aluminum which is just as toxic in certain doses.

    Not sure where you got this information. Thimerosal is an antimicrobial preservative. It prevents bacteria and fungi from growing in medicines and raw materials used in medicines. The aluminum compounds used in vaccines (salt forms) are adjuvants, which stimulate the immune response. This means that fewer antigens are required per vaccine, and fewer jabs are required.

    I have a question for you. In your research into mercury, did you take account of the differences in the various mercury compounds? Thimerosal metabolizes down to ethylmercury. This compound behaves very differently than other forms of environmental mercury, like methylmercury, which is present in fish, among other sources. Also, ethylmercury is far less toxic than other forms of organic mercury, as well as being eliminated from the body faster. The levels that used to be present in vaccines (pre-2001) were far below toxic levels. There is even less now.

    What I meant was, it is quite possible that if one lived as healthy as they could, with all the knowledge of natural health out there, that the side effects of any disease contracted may not be nearly as severe.

    A couple questions. First, what is “living as healthy as one can”? What does this entail. Second, how do you get the entire population to stick to such a lifestyle? Keep in mind, we’re talking millions of people just in the U.S. More importantly, how does this apply to an infant? Do you have any evidence (e.g., several scientific studies) that such a lifestyle for an infant/toddler will prevent the serious injuries that can arise from diseases like measles, pertussis, etc.? What about those diseases that are worst among people with robust immune systems, like certain flu strains? Your proposed lifestyle would, it seems, make people more susceptible to such diseases.

    And just a quick note on how vaccines work vs. “natural” immunity. With natural immunity, the body is assaulted by hundreds of antigens per day for the duration of infection. During this assault, the body produces antibodies to fight off the infection. All of the symptoms that are experienced during the infection are the result of the antibodies fighting the virus or bacteria off. In addition, the body produces memory cells that tell the body how to fight the infection should the person be exposed in the future, thereby avoiding the often debilitating symptoms and side effects of the illness.

    Vaccines, on the other hand, expose the body to a few dozen antigens per shot. Those antigens are weakened or dead, so they don’t produce the full-blown effects of natural infection, while still triggering the production of memory cells.

    Please read the page linked through my name, which Greg suggested reading.

  168. Jason

    Lawrence, as convenient as it is to use Third World countries for your example, we don’t live in one so it’s not exactly comparable because although they may be living “naturally” they also don’t have plenty of things we do that are good for your health, like their sanitation systems and hygienic practices and clean water….plenty of things that keep disease thriving. If I can find the book you mention, I’d be glad to read it.

    Greg, I don’t know anything about rabies. When you say by my logic, well yes, technically that is what I mean. But I don’t know anything about you or your health. Just mentioning that you exercise and eat healthy foods doesn’t really say much. In general, I’m saying let’s try to find ways to promote a strong immune system that works the way it is supposed to, and at that point, yes, you probably could skip out on those vaccines for your trip to Africa – but whether or not you want to should be your decision. That’s probably why they are recommended.

    Also, I’m not necessarily saying vaccines cause disease – what I meant to posit was that when we do a whole host of things to break down our immune system’s natural ability to do what it needs to do – we invite disease. Vaccinations are just one thing that can contribute to the breaking down of an immune system, it may effect it a lot or maybe just a little but vaccines do have an effect on the way things naturally would work otherwise.

  169. Jason

    Todd – about ethyl/methyl mercury, yes I did look at that and about it…

    There is very little pharmacokinetic data on ethylmercury, the form of mercury in thimerosal. There is no data on excretion, the data on toxicity is sparse, yet it is recognized to cause hypersensitivity, it can cause neurological problems and even death, and it is known to easily pass the blood-brain barrier and the placental barrier.

    On the topic of outbreaks and the like, most deaths seen when measles outbreaks occur in the United States occur either in children in which vaccination was contraindicated, the vaccine did not work or in children with chronic, immune-suppressing diseases.

    In fact, in most studies these children catching the measles or other childhood diseases have been either fully immunized or partially immunized. The big secret is that anywhere from 20 to 50% of children are not resistant to the diseases for which they have been immunized.

  170. Lawrence

    @Jason – no, vaccines work in EXACTLY the same way as the nature immune process. They expose the body to a disease, without all of the nasty side-effects of actually GETTING that disease. We get the benefits, without, say dying.

    If vaccines are such a problem, why have most of the vaccinated-against diseases almost been eliminated (and things like Smallpox, which until the last 100 years was the #1 disease killer of humans)?

    Don’t try to claim hygene – because it has been proven, time and time again, in even the most un-hygenic 3rd world country, when vaccines are introduced, the total number of disease cases drops dramatically.

    You’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Obviously, you have no idea how bad things used to be – the polio summers, the quarantines & parents watching their children die by droves during mass outbreaks.

    You should do some research into the history of vaccines and how they actually work, because obviously you’ve gotten some bad information along the way.

  171. TheBlackCat

    I’m saying let’s try to find ways to promote a strong immune system that works the way it is supposed to, and at that point, yes, you probably could skip out on those vaccines for your trip to Africa – but whether or not you want to should be your decision.

    Do you know any ways that we can “promote a string immune system” that is both strong enough for infants to be able to fight off deadly diseases like polio and at the same time won’t trigger an autoimmune response? If so, what are there? If not, what makes you think they even exist?

    Also, I’m not necessarily saying vaccines cause disease – what I meant to posit was that when we do a whole host of things to break down our immune system’s natural ability to do what it needs to do – we invite disease. Vaccinations are just one thing that can contribute to the breaking down of an immune system, it may effect it a lot or maybe just a little but vaccines do have an effect on the way things naturally would work otherwise.

    What makes you think that vaccines can “contribute to the breaking down of an immune system”? As both Todd and I explained, all vaccines do is trigger the natural immune response without the corresponding life-threating risks the diseases pose. How does that hurt the immune system in any way? The immune system is responding to the exact same things it would respond to if you got the real disease. So where does the harm come from?

  172. TheBlackCat

    And Jason, I suggest you look up “heard immunity”. No, vaccines are not 100% effective. No medication is. And yes, not everyone can get them. That is why keeping vaccination levels up high is important. As long as the number of immunized individuals is high enough, the virus cannot move through the population. It just can’t go far enough before encountering an immune individual to spread. This keeps the people who are at risk safe. That is the whole point of the post, and the reason why anti-vaxxers are so dangerous. They are not only putting their own childrens’ lives at risk, but the lives of other peoples’ children as well.

  173. Jason

    Todd – on being unsure where I got the info about aluminum being replaced by mercury….

    It was about the same time that got rid of mercury that they started putting aluminum in… even Dr. John Clements (WHO vaccine advisor) said “Aluminum is not perceived, I believe, by the public as a dangerous metal. Therefore, we are in a much more comfortable wicket in terms of defending its presence in vaccines.” Why didn’t he say it was safe?

    Every vaccine has two components, the agent that you’re seeking to elicit an immune response to, such as a measles virus, and an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury. The purpose of immune adjuvants is to boost your immune system, or to make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible.

    Unlike a natural immune boost that would come from, say, eating healthy and exercising, artificial immune adjuvants can be dangerous in and of themselves. Studies have shown that these adjuvants, from a single vaccine, can cause immune overactivation for as long as two years. This means that the brain microglia remain active as well, continuously pouring out destructive chemicals. In fact, one study found that a single injection of an immune activating substance could cause brain immune overactivation for over a year.

    When you are injected with a vaccine, the aluminum compounds it contains accumulate not only at the site of injection but travel to your brain and accumulate there. In your brain, aluminum enters neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and microglia). Studies have shown that aluminum can activate microglia and do so for long periods, which means that the aluminum in your vaccination is priming your microglia to overreact.

    The next vaccine acts to trigger the enhanced inflammatory reaction and release of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid. Meanwhile, if you come down with an infection, are exposed to more toxins, or have a stroke or head injury of any kind, this will magnify the inflammatory reaction occurring in your brain due to the vaccines. Research has shown that the more your immune system remains activated, the more likely it is you’ll suffer from a neurodegenerative disease.

    The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, and the cocktail for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and meningitis, has been clearly linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson”s, (Lou Gehrig”s disease), and Alzheimer”s. Scientists discovered the link after injecting mice with an anthrax vaccine developed for the first Gulf War. After 20 weeks, a fifth of the mice developed a skin allergy, and memory problems increased by 41 times compared to a placebo group. Also, inside the brains of mice, 35 percent of the cells that control movement were destroyed.

    There is overwhelming evidence that chronic immune activation in your brain is a major cause of damage in numerous degenerative brain disorders, from multiple sclerosis Alzheimer”s disease, Parkinson”s and ALS, which might explain the link between aluminum-containing vaccines and these diseases.

    Late last year a team of scientists also found that vaccination involving aluminum-containing adjuvants could trigger the cascade of immunological events that are associated with autoimmune conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome and macrophagic myofasciitis, a condition that causes profound weakness and multiple neurological syndromes, one of which closely resembles multiple sclerosis.

    Even a study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, admitted that “Aluminum is now being implicated as interfering with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and in other tissues.”

  174. Greg in Austin

    @Jason,

    Have you ever run a marathon? What kind of health do you think you would have to be in to run as fast as you can for 3-4 hours, without stopping? Do you think there has ever been a marathon runner who got the flu?

    Have you ever taken a biology class, or a course on human physiology?

    If you don’t know what rabies is, or how vaccines work, then there’s really no point in continuing this discussion until you do.

    8)

  175. Jason

    Greg, I know how vaccines work – I just don’t agree that they are as safe as you say. I have taken a biology class and I have run a marathon. I don’t know if a marathon runner has ever gotten the flu but we’ve all seen a few them drop dead mid-race. That isn’t really the point though.

    Also, about rabies – I worded it wrong. I don’t know anything about the rabies vaccine but that’s because since it isn’t normally pushed on people unless they get into an animal bite situation, I never really looked into that particular vaccine. But I do know what rabies is, lol.

  176. Jeremy

    Media Watch notified of reliability of AVN, we shall see what will happen. It’s such a juicy story, I suspect they will not be able to resist.

  177. What is not an anecdote are the graphs showing illnesses and deaths in the population as a whole. These charts show illnesses dropping when vaccines are introduced. The British Green Book has a whole raft of such graphs, which show the drop in deaths as well, for some diseases. Each disease has its own chapter in PDF. You can see a couple of the graphs here: “Immunization against infectious diseases.”

    I was interested to read today that the all animals produce (and break down) formaldehyde as part of their metabolism. We have efficient means to keep it from reaching toxic levels as long as we’re not sniffing it. The concentration of formaldehyde in vaccines is so low that vaccines are actually diluting the formaldehyde that’s naturally in the body.

    There is now some evidence that lack of Vitamin D causes autism, as it is turning up in dark-skinned people who move to northern climates.

    To cheer you up, here’s Kathleen Seidel’s article on “The Autism-Vaccine Courtroom Knockout Team, 2008-01-23“: [In the U.S.,] “parties to a federal case must demonstrate that the scientific studies or data upon which their experts rely are trustworthy… and… relevant.” She also reminds us to follow the money in “The Commerce in Causation.”

  178. Jeremy

    follow http://twitter.com/jabssavelives , love this comment box but time to take this wider.

  179. senorglory

    Sometimes it seems that our collective memory is short. Not long ago, Polio, Measles, etc., were very real concerns for our grandparents, great grandparents; my guess is that for each of us, if we asked them, our Nanas could come up with a story of how one of those diseases directly affected our family. We are lucky to live in an age of vaccines.

  180. Jeremy

    Jason, I think you have a deluded idea about “healthy immune systems”. I would say I have “healthy immune system” – I was rarely sick as a child. In my twenties I was a fit vegetarian. That said, I got a very bad dose of mono that put me out of action for 6 weeks, and my doctor told me there was a small chance it could kill me or leave me with permanent liver damage. As a tiny child I nearly died from a vaccine preventable bacterial infection, and was in hospital for months. I was no “sickly child” before or after. Vaccination does not 100% stop your child becoming infected, but does reduce transmission enough to make an outbreak “flame out” quickly, and thus prevent most infections before most children are exposed – that is why it works, and why it fails because of people like you. It is a statistical mechanism, not a treatment, like washing your hands before eating or public sanitation. All vaccines are tested via the most rigorous process possible, and monitored after that. Unlike “alternative medicine”, medicine withdraws unsafe treatments all the time, even one that are hugely profitable. If mass immunization was causing brain damage, it would show up, just like it did for lead, people have looked! Vaccinate your children mate, and tell your friends! You owe it to your community.

  181. Greg in Austin

    Jason said,

    “I know how vaccines work – I just don’t agree that they are as safe as you say.”

    How safe did I say they were?

    “I don’t know if a marathon runner has ever gotten the flu but we’ve all seen a few them drop dead mid-race.”

    A simple google search will lead you to thousands of accounts of runners who get sick from the flu before, during and after training for a marathon. And the rate of heart disease related deaths during a marathon are way below national average for any disease, and that has nothing to do with vaccines.

    So, your claim that we can, “just spend our time and money on informing the public how to live healthier so that their immune systems and body functions perform normally as they should, so that these diseases can be beat naturally instead of with vaccines,” is complete nonsense. That is a statement from ignorance, which leads me to the conclusion that you do not know what you are talking about.

    8)

  182. Jason

    Okay Greg, marathon runners who get the flu begets my statement of opinion being wrong. That is pretty ignorant, you are right. And naturally, that means I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  183. The lawyers for the “vaccines cause autism” side in the Omnibus case have just submitted an interim bill for $2,180,885.29 for fees and costs. They’ll be asking for more later. So it’s obviously a lucrative field in which to keep stirring up trouble.

  184. After hearing about a runner who dropped dead during the New York Marathon, I once calculated the average death rate from heart attacks and concluded that the same number of averagely fit people just standing around would have four deadly heart attacks. It was just a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but instructive.

  185. TheBlackCat

    @ Jason: do you have any citations for these papers?

  186. Jason

    Eastman CL, et al. Increased brain quinolinic acid production in mice infected with a neurotropic measles virus. Exp Neurol 1994; 125; 119-124

    Blaylock RL. Interaction of cytokines, excitotoxins, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species in autism spectrum disorders. JANA 2003; 6: 21-35.

    Tavares RG, et al. Quinolinic acid stimulates synaptosomal glutamate release and inhibits glutamate uptake into astrocytes. Neurochem Int 2002; 40: 621-627.

    That should be all for now.

  187. Mari

    It’s truly tragic how immunization programmes have become victims of their own success.. their effectiveness in reducing what were once common deadly and disabling diseases is causing complacency and skepticism among parents… we don’t see the diseases that kill and harm children, so we start questioning the very tool that has reduced the incidence of disease, what logic!

    This thinking is then furthered by the propagation of false, scientifically inaccurate information by these anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately the Internet is allowing them to effectively spread their misinformation, fooling and frightening the increasing number of parents turning to the internet for health information.. and these groups are very successful: last year alone, here in Europe, 423,000 kids didn’t get their DPT shot, and 650,000 didn’t get protected against measles (which still kills nearly 600 kids a day)..

    Please people, think.. not only of your child’s health, but that of others, particularly children who can’t be vaccinated due to immunity issues and need our heard immunity!.. check out this clip from WHO that spells this out well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGKrs1ED_rw

  188. Dunc

    To Dunc, who said makes the case for aluminum being safe… [blah blah blah]

    No, I did not make the case for aluminum being “safe”, I made the case for aluminum hydroxyphosphate not being the same thing as aluminum, in the same way that table salt is not sodium. Try reading more carefully.

  189. Lawrence

    @Jason – you obviously have no idea how vaccines & herd immunity actually work. You – probably being vaccinated as a child by your parents, are taking advantage of your own immunity as a means to push this so-called “Healthy Living Immunity” garbage.

    All you have to do is look at the results of the 1918 Flu Pandemic – it was the healthy 20 – 30-somthing adults that died in droves. The old and the young, who would typically bear the brunt of the disease, instead were preportionally much less affected.

    Again, it is the complacency that the last fifty years of successful vaccination programs and advances in medical science that has led to this. I’m afraid that we may all look back on these “Golden Years” when faced with a resurgence of diseases we all thought (wrongly) were gone for good.

  190. Dana's mother

    I’m trying to stay calm and should ignore the blogs, but I want to protect my daughter and my sanity.

    We went public to raise awareness of how dangerous Pertussis is and how prevalent it is on our area. We never anticipated a backlash.

    When Dana died in March, 8,041 children and adults caught Pertussis in the first three months of 2009 – that’s a 517% increase on the 1,554 people infected at the same time last year. In the North Coast region of NSW, there has been 549 cases so far this year. The risk is stated that 1 in 200 may die – but there is no way of knowing if your baby is ‘the one’.

    Dana was one of four babies from this area sent to intensive care (incubated) within a four week period. The other three are now home, but are very sick.

    The epidemic is raging for two main factors:
    – low herd immunity due to low childhood vaccination rates – and more importantly most adults do not know they need a booster (this did not come across in any of the programs)
    – The Area Health Service was not warning people (again not raised in the programs) – I was not warned by any doctor or while in hospital, the health service had a ‘system breakdown’ and was not applying the warning stickers, and very few women knew they needed to get boosters before they fell pregnant or after the birth. The government wrote to new parents and provided free boosters the day AFTER Dana died.

    Re these two comments

    1.Well, the thing is, the mother should have passed on immunity to her daughter for about 6 months. Looks like someone wasn’t vaccinated against pertussis…

    2.If the mother had breastfed her daughter, Dana would have received immunity from her mother’s breastmilk. So you can blame lack of herd immunity or you can blame the mother – they’re both equally “worthy” of your vengeful wrath on behalf of the victim, Dana.

    Nice…

    The day before Dana’s funeral I was watching TV and an ‘expert’ said just this. Wonderful for a grieving mother who feels like she didn’t do enough to save her child – and was not even warned she may need a booster.

    We spoke with paediatricians and intensive care specialists about this – and they said a mother cannot pass on adequate antibodies through breastmilk to protect their child from Pertussis. This is why Professor McIntyre has started trialling vaccinations at birth for babies in Australia.

    These comments are also the very reason we went public, and also because certain groups were claiming Dana did not die of Pertussis – but because she had the HiB vaccine at birth and Vitamin K.

    It is not a finger pointing exercise. Pertussis is that contagious you would not know who you got it from, but it wasn’t from us. And even if it was, everyone is a victim.

    At the moment, I am really wondering why we went public at all…

    The facts are Pertussis is potentially fatal for babies, is on the rise, and people just need to know what to do to protect their babies. No-one in our family had Pertussis and it was most probably my daughter’s childcare centre – because people ran out for testing after Dana died and there are up to 8 confirmed cases there.

    I was in there for 5 minutes…

    Since we went public, the babies have stopped going into hospital because most mothers have been keeping them at home. And that’s a good thing.

    BTW – I am immunised

  191. Keith

    The fact that Ms. Dorey’s group sent HATE MAIL to the McCaffreys should tell you something about these people.

  192. @Jason

    an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury.

    Apparently you did not read my post very closely. Thimerosal, the only compound in vaccines that contains mercury, is a preservative, not and adjuvant. Aluminum salts are adjuvants, not preservatives. Therefore, there is no substitution going on. The functions of the compounds are completely different.

    Also, you still have not answered the other questions I asked, as well as addressing my comments on how vaccines work. I’ll copy them again here so you don’t need to scroll back up:

    A couple questions. First, what is “living as healthy as one can”? What does this entail. Second, how do you get the entire population to stick to such a lifestyle? Keep in mind, we’re talking millions of people just in the U.S. More importantly, how does this apply to an infant? Do you have any evidence (e.g., several scientific studies) that such a lifestyle for an infant/toddler will prevent the serious injuries that can arise from diseases like measles, pertussis, etc.? What about those diseases that are worst among people with robust immune systems, like certain flu strains? Your proposed lifestyle would, it seems, make people more susceptible to such diseases.

    And just a quick note on how vaccines work vs. “natural” immunity. With natural immunity, the body is assaulted by hundreds of antigens per day for the duration of infection. During this assault, the body produces antibodies to fight off the infection. All of the symptoms that are experienced during the infection are the result of the antibodies fighting the virus or bacteria off. In addition, the body produces memory cells that tell the body how to fight the infection should the person be exposed in the future, thereby avoiding the often debilitating symptoms and side effects of the illness.

    Vaccines, on the other hand, expose the body to a few dozen antigens per shot. Those antigens are weakened or dead, so they don’t produce the full-blown effects of natural infection, while still triggering the production of memory cells.

    Additionally, here are a few studies that examine the elimination of ethylmercury from the body, compared to the elimination of methylmercury:

    * Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, Umido V, Clarkson T, Cernichiari E, Zareba G, Gotelli C, Gotelli M, Yan L, Treanor J. “Mercury levels in newborns and infants after receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines.” Pediatrics. 2008 Feb;121(2):e208-14. (available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18245396?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)
    * Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J. “Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: a descriptive study.” Lancet. 2002 Nov 30;360(9347):1737-41. (available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480426?dopt=Abstract)
    * Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T. “Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal.” Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Aug;113(8):1015-21. (available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16079072?dopt=Abstract)

  193. skrell

    Jason, i agree with many of the points you’ve made. I am particularly interested in this statement:

    The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, and the cocktail for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and meningitis, has been clearly linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson”s, (Lou Gehrig”s disease), and Alzheimer”s. Scientists discovered the link after injecting mice with an anthrax vaccine developed for the first Gulf War. After 20 weeks, a fifth of the mice developed a skin allergy, and memory problems increased by 41 times compared to a placebo group. Also, inside the brains of mice, 35 percent of the cells that control movement were destroyed.

    Where can i get more information on this?

  194. skrell

    also, to all you vaccine’s are god, mindless, nutjobs :

    “As a result of the present findings, in combination with the brain pathology observed in patients diagnosed with autism, the present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.”

    source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19357975?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

  195. @Jason

    Eastman CL, et al. Increased brain quinolinic acid production in mice infected with a neurotropic measles virus. Exp Neurol 1994; 125; 119-124

    Blaylock RL. Interaction of cytokines, excitotoxins, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species in autism spectrum disorders. JANA 2003; 6: 21-35.

    Tavares RG, et al. Quinolinic acid stimulates synaptosomal glutamate release and inhibits glutamate uptake into astrocytes. Neurochem Int 2002; 40: 621-627.

    That should be all for now.

    What are you trying to show in relation to vaccines with these studies? The first and third studies don’t even mention vaccines or aluminum salts. The second study is not a clinical or experimental trial, but rather a descriptive/literature article and contains a lot of speculations without clear substantive evidence.

  196. Roger

    This is just an anecdote. Where’s the science?

  197. Greg in Austin

    Jason Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 7:44 pm


    “Every vaccine has two components, the agent that you’re seeking to elicit an immune response to, such as a measles virus, and an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury. The purpose of immune adjuvants is to boost your immune system, or to make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible.”

    I thought this sounded familiar. Its actually copied, word for word, from:
    survivingthemiddleclasscrash.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/mercury-in-vaccines-was-replaced-with-something-even-more-toxic/

    Jason, the next time you try to plagiarize an article from the web, you may want to at least change the words a bit. Your credibility, already pretty low, has just been flushed down the toilet.

    8)

  198. @Dana’s mother

    Thanks for sharing your story. It takes guts, the way some anti-vaxers can be so filled with vitriol.

  199. Jason

    Greg, unless a person has done the scientific study themselves, they obviously get their information from somewhere, no? Sorry that I don’t have the funds or the backing to do my own research and that I rely on that info from other people.

    And you are wrong. I did not copy my information from that website. Your simple Google search shows that you are skilled in finding websites that have similar information. Have you not noticed that that website often takes their information directly from other sources?

    I find my information from Russell Blaylock, MD who is a board-certified neurosurgeon with little or no conflict of interest. Instead of picking fights, why don’t you give me a breakdown of why what he says is incorrect, that might help someone join your cause.

  200. TheBlackCat

    @ Jason:
    The first paper deals with injecting live, functioning viruses directly into the brain. In fact they used a vaccine of the same virus as a control, indicating that it was the actual infection that caused the damage. So rather than supporting your conclusion, this paper indicates that vaccines are much safer than getting the disease naturally.

    The third paper doesn’t have any relationship to viruses or any of the substances you claimed were dangerous parts of vaccines.

    The second article isn’t published in a recognized peer-reviewed research journal, redefines “autism” to include just about any behavioral disorder, and contains a bunch of outright false statements popular with SCAM proponents and anti-vaxxers. It has no credibility whatsoever.

  201. TheBlackCat

    I find my information from Russell Blaylock, MD who is a board-certified neurosurgeon with little or no conflict of interest.

    Hahahaha! Russell Blaylock makes his living off of promoting this stuff. His entire livelihood depends on it. He has an massive conflict of interest.

  202. @Jason

    I noticed that Dr. Blaylock is on the editorial staff of the Journal of the American Neutraceutical Association, the journal in which the study you cited above appears (info from russellblaylockmd.com/). That would cast some doubt on the merit of his study. He is also paid by the Fluoride Toxicity Research Collaborative as a medical consultant, which places doubt on anything he might say about how fluoride is bad.

    He has several books for sale. He also has a “Brain Repair Formula” that he is selling at newportnutritionals.com/, a “nutritional supplement” for which he makes statements that are awfully close to being medical claims, for example this passage:

    The powerful, anti-inflammatory supplements that I use in my newly developed O3 Balance Brain Repair Formula, when combined with a brain healthy diet, will maximize your brain’s ability to heal and reduce inflammation (a central mechanism of these devastating neurological disorders).

    I have added nutrients that are known to promote the repair of brain cells and their connections, called synapses. Reducing chronic inflammation also reduces both the risk of brain degeneration and suppresses the central mechanism of neurodegeneration.

    This formula also includes a number of nutrients that have been shown to aid in the repair of damaged brain cells, such as: specific phospholipids, antioxidants, vitamins and special brain metabolic stimulants. Finally, I have added a mixture of nutrients known to promote DNA Repair, since damage to DNA is widespread in all neurodegenerative disorders.

    Now, this product is not an approved drug, being rather a “nutritional supplement”. That means he’s not required to put it through clinical trials to validate a single thing it does. His “Research” link on the supplement page lists a bunch of studies, but none of those appear to have used his particular product. In short, he’s shilling snake oil.

    Note, also, that his supplement and a number of his books discuss nutrition. This appears to be an area outside his expertise as a neurosurgeon. His bio does not specify anything about formal training in nutritional medicine.

    So, yes, I look at Dr. Blaylock’s work with a skeptical eye.

  203. Greg in Austin

    @Jason,

    I’m sorry you feel like I’m picking on you personally, or picking a fight at all. I’m simply trying point out the errors of your claims.

    You said,

    “Greg, unless a person has done the scientific study themselves, they obviously get their information from somewhere, no?”

    Absolutely, but on this site, if you post information that is clearly not your own, you should cite your source. Otherwise, readers may think, like I did, that what you posted was your own words. Its called ethics, and yours are clearly lacking.

    So, if you had posted information that was not your own and shown the source of the information, I could have gone to the source, and then we could have a discussion on whether or not I agree with that data. Maybe I would agree with it. As it turns out, not only is your information wrong, but your credibility is shot. Why now should I accept anything you say as fact?

    8)

  204. gail

    @Jason
    “Prove it? Prove what? If you are asking me to prove that vaccinations have any correlation to the rise in cases of autism, then I will do my best….”

    *facepalm*
    Correlation is NOT Causation. *sigh*

  205. @ skrell

    > the present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility

    In scientific language, that’s not a smoking gun there, my friend.

  206. Toni: thank you for posting here, and being so gracious in the face of unbelievable vileness, especially with what you have been through. I have just made a special post pointing out your reply, and added some good news to show that we can fight these people so intent on spreading lies about such an important issue.

  207. @skrell

    “also, to all you vaccine’s are god, mindless, nutjobs…”

    … you present a study done on mice about 10 years after thimerosal was removed from vaccines and focused on encoding mRNA sequences, saying nothing real or substantial about how it affects the nervous system in trace amounts. So in other words, it was a study on a non-existent issue on a non-human host with human doses.

    Tell me skrell, do you eat fish? Because fish have a lot of mercury, more than any vaccine would’ve had in 1999 and before…

  208. Vincent

    Reading the comments left by these anti-vaxinationists confirms the almost pathological way these people think. There seems to be some disconnect between factual evidence being presented to them, and their acceptance of it. We see this time and time again, the same old rehashed arguments, the same old discredited, weak or nonexistent studies. The true problem here is that while the anti-vax movement does kill, the anti-vaxinationists won’t be convinced of it because they have ‘righteousness’ on their side. Everyone else is ‘ignorant’ or a ‘coperate shill’. They, however, are the ‘light’.

    It’s the same with 9/11 truthers, same with homeopaths, same with creationists. When science comes up against the tiny, rubbery ball of ideology inside the mind, it takes more then facts to remove it. That alone should tell you that this is an uphill battle we are facing.

    I am convinced that it is not futile. We have the facts on out side. @Dana’s mother, you lamented going public at all. You shouldn’t have to defend yourself, but you have done so admirably. By speaking out, you have shown more courage then the entire anti-vax movement. I think you’ve done a fantastic job.

    And remember kids; Cults never prosper.

  209. Fritz

    This is the one thing I noticed that really sums up the antivaxxer’s arguments.

    Meryl Dorey says something along the lines of: “…they’re saying that these diseases kill, that they’re fatal, but where is the evidence. There is no evidence to support any of this.”

    All this while she’s sitting across from two people whose daughter just DIED from whooping cough. Yes Meryl, believe it or not, diseases can be fatal.

    And to the McCafferys: I express my deepest condolences at your loss. I can only hope that your daughters death can help raise awareness and save other children from this terrible fate.

  210. Brango

    @Dana’s mother: It is nothing short of disgraceful that you have to endure the sick and pathetic comments spewed from the poisoned minds of pro-disease hooligans. You have the utmost respect and admiration from this total stranger for going public with your story. On behalf of the continuation of my species, I thank you.

    @Pro-diseasers: You have been identified as a threat to humanity. Please leave the gene pool immediately.

  211. Electro

    @Toni McCaffery:

    Your willingness to bear up under the most base viciousness the public eye has to offer humbles me.

    It is important to note that going public with your family’s tragedy has already saved lives and will continue to do so long into the future.
    It is very small group indeed, amongst all those who have ever lived, that can claim that credit.

    Live well

  212. Angela

    @ Dana’s mother: Your courage and fortitude are amazing. I can’t even begin to imagine what you and your family have gone through; you’re in my thoughts. It’s appalling that you’ve received hate mail and such vile comments regarding your immunity and breast feeding. No one should have to endure such ridiculous attacks. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Autism has been around for ages, but it was known as different names. Kids with autism were called stupid, imbeciles, touched, mooney, or even considered to have been switched at birth with an elf/ troll/ gremlin/ whatever baby. We didn’t understand autism or how if functioned, so children with the low functioning forms of it rarely survived to adulthood because people were afraid of them. So yes, rates of autism have increased dramatically because now we can define and diagnose it. So while I don’t doubt that the statistical diagnoses of autism have increased, I doubt that substantially more children have the spectrum of disorders today (with vaccines) than in yesteryear (before vaccines). We can just diagnose it now.

    The same is true of ADD and ADHD. I’m not denying that this conditions exist, but they existed when I was a child too without having that name. Kids with those types of disorders were just called lazy, stupid, inattentive, etc. The ability to name something coveys great power. We can name autism now; that doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist in comparable numbers before we began naming and counting it.

    The same holds true for a number of other ailments. Way back when, people died of “wasting” disease. Now, we know that probably refers to a whole host of diseases including TB, cancer and diabetes, among many others. So we don’t say that people die of a wasting disease, they die of a specific aliment. They die of metastatic breast cancer or kidney failure from diabetes. So the number of people with those diseases are (obviously) much higher than 200 years ago before we knew they existed. That doesn’t indicate causation or correlation, just better understanding of disease. Does anyone truly think that bacteria didn’t exist until we had the Germ Theory, or that people didn’t did of cancer before we called it cancer? Of course not; of course these diseases existed. The same is true for autism.

    Of course vaccines aren’t 100% off the hook. But the vast preponderance data supports the hypothesis that vaccines do NOT cause autism. It will only take one well-designed study to have scientists reconsidering, but as yet there have been no replicable, reputable studies to find a link between the two. So my children, should I ever have them, will be vaccinated.

  213. anon

    Historically some children have been harmed by some vaccines. Public health officials will say that these instances are rare, which may be true, but is of little consolation to the child affected, or his or her parents.

    Mocking celebrities and parents is not sufficient though to beat concerned parents into submission. It is also necessary to ignore credible health officials, researchers and professionals who argue that the existing state of science does not actually disprove any connection between vaccines and autism. While Jenny gets much ink from the “vaccines are sacred and shall not be questioned” crowd Dr. Bernadine Healy and Dr. Jon Poling who have stated that some vulnerable children may incur autism from vaccines are all ignored. While the vaccine court decisions in which no vaccine autism connection is found are trumpeted far and wide …. and loudly, the cases like Banks and Poling, where the government folded their hand and settled before a media attracting court decision could ensure are ignored.

    I am not convinced that vaccines, and their ingredients, cause or contribute to instances of autism although I suspect they might be in some cases just as I suspect other environmental triggers might be involved. I am no longer convinced though, as I once was, by public health official statements that the science is complete, that all the research has been done and that vaccines are not, and never are, involved in causing or triggering autism. When people like Dr. Bernadine Healy and Dr. Jon Poling argue that some autism cases might result from vaccination of some vulnerable children I am not inclined to disregard their comments.

  214. @anon

    Historically some children have been harmed by some vaccines. Public health officials will say that these instances are rare, which may be true, but is of little consolation to the child affected, or his or her parents.

    True. As with every medicinal product, there is a risk of harm. And I would agree that telling that to an injured person or their parent/family is of little consolation.

    Mocking celebrities and parents is not sufficient though to beat concerned parents into submission.

    Who is “beat[ing] concerned parents into submission”?

    It is also necessary to ignore credible health officials, researchers and professionals who argue that the existing state of science does not actually disprove any connection between vaccines and autism.

    Here’s where your logic fails. Researchers cannot approach the issue, stating the problem as: “Prove that vaccines don’t cause autism”. That is impossible. The best that can be accomplished (as has been done) is to show that if vaccines were truly involved in autism, it is so exceedingly rare that such a connection has never shown up in any of the studies that has looked at it; therefore, while still possible, it is highly improbable. The correct way to approach it is to attempt to prove, not that vaccines do not cause autism, but that vaccines do cause autism. You’re asking the wrong question.

    While Jenny gets much ink from the “vaccines are sacred and shall not be questioned” crowd Dr. Bernadine Healy and Dr. Jon Poling who have stated that some vulnerable children may incur autism from vaccines are all ignored.

    That’s because all they have offered is opinion. They have not offered evidence.

    While the vaccine court decisions in which no vaccine autism connection is found are trumpeted far and wide …. and loudly, the cases like Banks and Poling, where the government folded their hand and settled before a media attracting court decision could ensure are ignored.

    Interesting that you should bring up Banks and Poling, the two cases that anti-vaxers love to trot out. First, let’s look at the Poling case. This is the latter of the two cases, but the one that anti-vaxers first trotted out. The flaw with using this case is that the court decision was not that vaccines caused autism, but rather, that vaccines worsened an already existing mitochondrial disorder (MD) (note: not autism). Bear in mind that MD and autism do not go hand in hand. There are those with MD who do not have autism, just as there may be others like Hannah Poling who have MD and have been diagnosed with autism. Likewise, there are those with autism who do not have MD, and others who may have it.

    The Banks case was only brought out after it was shown that the Poling case did not support the anti-vax argument. In fact, IIRC, it was several years after the Banks case that anti-vaxers started citing it. In the Banks case, remember, it was a finding that a vaccine cause acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is listed as a rare side effect in the vaccine’s packaging. Again, ADEM is not autism.

    These two cases are not ignored. Rather, it is continually pointed out that they are not examples of the courts handing down a “vaccines cause autism” ruling.

    When people like Dr. Bernadine Healy and Dr. Jon Poling argue that some autism cases might result from vaccination of some vulnerable children I am not inclined to disregard their comments.

    Well, when they produce some science to back up their opinions, then I’ll take a listen to them. Until then, they are not helping anything. Indeed, they are just fanning the flames of the anti-vax movement.

  215. beware of the new world order

    i think people are very dumb and brained washed about vaccines do you ever read what poisons they put in them like mercury and embalming fluid many more !go read what is in vaccines ,vaccines can kill and really cause damage in some people !they run no test first to even see if you are allergic to it!!!!!like baby ian and the hep b vaccine.i say read what is in the vaccine first and i know you will have second thoughts !big pharma makes billions off this !its profit they need you sick to make money wake up!

  216. beware of the new world order,

    i think people are very dumb and brained washed

    Or maybe it is just you.

  217. Randall Wilks

    YouTube has removed the video because of “terms of use violation”. Is this video posted anywhere else? It needs to be seen by a great many people.

  218. Shani

    Bidbadsis, I can’t believe that you would assume parents would risk thier childrens lives because they don’t want to stick them with a needle. How ridiculous. As a parent myself I think every medical decision should be thouroughly reserched, and every parent should be allowed to make their own decisions. No procedure should be undertaken blindly. This basic right should NOT be taken away from parents.
    As a small child my eldest brother suffered a SEVERE reaction to one of his immunisations and almost died, so don’t give those poor eople who are afraid of the same thing happening to thier child such a hard time !

  219. Lord Death

    A realization:

    Intelligent people shouldn’t be doing anything against the antivax movement.

    No.

    We should be ENCOURAGING IT.

    How about them apples, you idiotic delusional religionists? Go right ahead and deny vaccines to your children.

    I want you to.

  220. Is It True

    As a young teen girl with Aspergers, I can say this: having done plenty of my own studies about what autism is and how it works and so on and so forth, I have reached the obvious conclusion that vaccines don’t cause autism. How could it? How could a bunch of half-dying microorganisms that the body attacks with vigor, cause a NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER that affects the brain while it is still developing IN THE WOMB? Are these bacteria capable of time-travel?

    Knowing the ignorance and stupidity of the anti-vaccination crowd, I’m certain that a few would stand up and say “maybe!”. Please. I might be autistic, but I’m not dead, blind, paralyzed, deaf, constantly sick, on a respirator, on a dialysis machine, looking for an organ donor…

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