Bill Gates lays it on the line about vaccines

By Phil Plait | February 7, 2011 7:00 am

Geez, a ton of vaccination related news came in the past few days:

1) The big story folks are talking about is Bill Gates’ very outspoken comments on the antivaxxers and Andrew Wakefield:

Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

This is a very delicate situation, with parents making heart-wrenching decisions about their kids — and as a parent, I know how tough those decisions can be. But a huge number of people against vaccinations out there believe in it for the wrong reasons, thinking there are toxins in the vaccines, or they cause neurological disorders, or a host of other provably wrong ideas. As we’ve seen with most alt-med related topics, this is not really an intellectual issue, it’s an emotional one. And ironically, people like Jenny McCarthy, Barbara Loe Fischer, and Andrew Wakefield can talk about evil conspiracies trying to hurt your kids, but when we on the side of reality point out that low vaccination rates results in children dying, we are the ones castigated as uncaring and unfeeling.

Baloney. Last Friday would have been Dana McCaffery’s second birthday. Read that, click the links, and tell me how uncaring we are.

Bill Gates is right. Low vaccination rates result in children dying. If you’re the parent of an infant, talk to your doctor and get the facts.


2) One vaccine fear that’s been around a while is that they can cause a nervous disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. A new study has been released which shows no connection between the two, at least for the seasonal flu shot.


3) Wherever I go shopping I see those bottles of vitaminwater for sale. They claim to have all sorts of vitamins and also claim your body needs them, which may or may not be true, but when they claim you can drink this stuff instead of getting a flu shot, they’ve crossed the line. I know the ads are supposed to be humorous, but with the huge push for alt-med nonsense in the media and health claim benefits from products that are clearly outrageous, this is simply too far.


4) More health organizations are speaking up against the antivaxxers, and I love it when they target specific promulgators of nonsense as a health columnist for Canoe.ca did. Jenny McCarthy’s claims are dangerous, pure and simple.

Tip o’ the syringe to Joe Abietz, Robert Tapp, and Robert Estes

Comments (70)

  1. Messier Tidy Upper

    When it comes to the vaccine issue, this song :

    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xw0Ob5bqs

    just about says it all.

    Well said Bill Gates. QFT. :-)

    Memo to Jenny McCarthy – Stick to being a playboy bunny that’s what you were good for. Science ain’t your strong suit – listen to the medical doctors, they’re qualified, they’ve put in the real time and effort to earn those degrees that you don’t have & they know what they’re talking about.

    Rest in peace Dana McCaffery – gone but never forgotten. We’ll never know who & what & we missed because of the anti-vax stupidity. Nor, sadly, is she the only victim. :-(

    Let’s just hope – and work hard – to stop the anti-vax idiocy from claiming any more lives.

  2. Kevin

    About the Vitamin Water?

    I’ve seen in available for pets in some of the local stores. Pets!

  3. Tony

    You know, I wonder how long before someone sues the living crap out of Jenny McCarthy for her obviously negligent speech. You have the freedom to say what you want in this country, but not when doing so creates a clear and present danger. As a father of a (now fully vaccinated) 20 month old, I can tell you I was most afraid of him catching something before he was vaccinated than in any harm the vaccines may have caused.

  4. Other Paul

    AOL wants to buy the Huffington Post. Now that must be rather a tough way to find out that you must have been rubbish for quite a while. It seems unnecessarily cruel, and one almost sympathises with them. But, on the other hand, the Huffington Post seems to happily endorse Anti-Vax ‘journalism’.

    The AOL kiss of death obtains. Let nature take its course.

  5. Bubba

    Ignorance of scientific findings aside, those who keep reading about what doesn’t cause Autism still find absolutely no information about about what DOES cause Autism. Without ever knowing what is the cause, who can blame those who worry about the only known, rather, accused,…uhh…causes.

  6. OmegaBaby

    I hate to say this, but if you really want to convince ‘the people’ that vaccines are safe, then they have to hear it from people they trust, like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz.

    Ugh….I’m going to have to take a shower now.

  7. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Omega Baby : But .. but .. this *is* Dr Phil’s blog! ;-)

    Dr Phil Plait that is.

    Is there any other non-bad Astronomical Dr Phil??? ;-)

  8. davidlpf

    A good way to get HuffPo to disappear from the net is to let AOL buy them.

  9. Scott Belyea

    “…an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids”

    Fine on “absolute lie,” but “thousands of kids”? That doesn’t sound close to being credible to me.

  10. amstrad

    Damn it. I drink Vitamin Water Zero at lunch because it’s a tasty zero calorie alternative to soda.

    Now I’m going to have to boycott it.

  11. Gus Snarp

    It’s important to keep getting the facts out there. Some of the anti-vaccine people have a pretty high profile, and some distrust of the modern drug industry is warranted, which makes it very difficult to get people to listen to the facts. I myself was taken in by the Rolling Stone article, but thankfully when my pediatrician looked at me like I was from Mars I got my son the shots. Then I found this site, and I’m so glad both my kids are vaccinated. Keep up the good work. This information was really hard to find when I was first checking out that Rolling Stone article, I imagine it’s a lot higher in search results now, and the importance of that cannot be overstated. Had I found this site when I did my first search on the subject, I’d have very quickly found it resonating with my skeptical side. Also, try to use the word thimerosal a lot so it comes up in searches.

  12. In Woowooland there exists the Conspiracy Fantasy that Gates is part of a NWO conspiracy to kill off 90% of the world population.

    Some people are just beyond hope.

  13. Well, that’s disconcerting. I was kind of hoping to work my way to the WWO table and have some power over the pitiful throngs.

  14. Lawrence

    @9 Scott – Gates isn’t just talking about the US & Western Europe. The Imans in Nigeria (who claim the polio vaccine is actually meant to sterilize good muslims and was invented by Israel) will sometimes point to the anti-corporate & anti-government messages spread by Western Antivax groups as a pillar of truth, supporting their own deluded beliefs.

    I really hope Gates can pull this off – because it would mean one less vaccine that we’d all have to worry about (and isn’t that something the anti-vaxers should be supporting?).

    Regardless of what people might think of Gate’s history with Microsoft, he’s certainly putting his money where his mouth is now & between him and Buffett, are actually using their money to make a difference in a world where most governments are completely indifferent.

  15. tacitus

    Sadly, the more people speak out about anti-vaxxers, the more the deluded will conclude that it’s all part of a big-pharma, or New World Order conspiracy against them. (That’s not to say people should not speak out, since not everyone who rejects vaccines is that deluded, and they can be reached.)

    I saw some examples of this a few years ago, when I went along to see Dr Dean Edell, the radio doctor, do a live show from my home town in Austin, TX, as part of a promotional event for a local radio station. He went on stage immediately after George Noory had been interviewing Alex Jones (local conspiracy theory nut), so you can imagine the number of deluded people in the audience.

    Edell spent most of his two hours taking questions from the floor, and I would say that at least 25% of the questions were conspiracy theory related — anti-western medicine, anti-vaxx, pro-natural “cures”, “the drug companies just want to keep us alive, not cure us”, and so on. Edell, who is an eloquent speaker, tried his best to dispel the fears and delusions with calm, reasoned, and very clear explanations as to why it doesn’t make any sense to believe these things, but the same questions kept coming until you could tell he was getting quite exasperated by it all.

    Head — meet brick wall.

    Still, you cannot stop trying — lives are a stake.

  16. Robert E

    I thought his directness and bluntness was nice: “they kill children.”

    However, some of the CNN comments reflect the belief mentioned by Halcyon Dayz that he just want to kill off most of the population, or that it was some sort of paid commercial piece and poor journalism.

  17. Joe Alvord

    Iligitimum non carborundum.

    Educating people in the face of woowoos like Jenny is a neverending job. I make sure that my students get the straight information, even if their parents disagree.
    On another note, there’s now a place where one can earn a doctorate in homeopathy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-malerba/homeopathy-college_b_815188.html

  18. Re: the lie having “killed thousands of kids”

    Yes, Gates was engaging in a bit of hyperbole there. The anti-vaccine sentiment, in general, has, as pointed out by Lawrence, is responsible in varying degrees for the deaths of many, many kids (and adults). However, Gates seems to be speaking more directly about Wakefield and his fraudulent claims. That particular lie has probably not been responsible for thousands of deaths, at least not directly. Lawrence’s interpretation also kinda fits, but Gates was careless in his phrasing of his statement, at least in terms of which lie(s) to which he refers and how many actual deaths have occurred as a result. Still and all, good message.

    It’s great that the media and big name figures are starting to speak out against the anti-vaccine nonsense. True, there will always be some resistance and even aggression toward vaccines, but one can only hope that the efforts of folks like Phil, Orac and others will continue to have a powerful effect. It would be great if my site wasn’t needed anymore. Sadly only a dream.

  19. Brian

    I think it’s safe to say that if you get your medical advice from an actress (or in the case of Ms. McCarthy, a nude model) then you are an idiot.

    Sorry, but you are.

  20. whoschad

    I’m ALL FOR vaccinations.

    But isn’t Bill Gates pretty much the equivalent of Jenny McCarthy in regards to this matter? Why is it more ‘scientific ‘ and ‘reasonable’ to quote Bill Gates on the subject? Because he is associated with computers? Isn’t this falling prey to the exact same mentality that listens to celebrity endorsements?

  21. @Joe Alvord,

    Do they puree your degree, dilute it a thousand-fold and then hand you a vial of the result? ;-)

  22. Alan D

    Bill Gates equivalent to Jenny McCarthy?! That fails on so many levels, I just don’t know where to begin.

    Think about it a little.

    Clear skies, Alan

  23. @whoschad,

    Bill Gates may have made his fortune from computers, but he’s been spending it via his charitable donation. One of the places he spends his fortune is medical care. According to the Wikipedia article ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation#Global_Health_Program ), his foundation spends $800 million a year in world health initiatives. It has donated over $1 billion in vaccine-related causes just based on what is listed on Wikipedia. (I’m guessing there are a lot more that Wikipedia doesn’t list.)

    I doubt Bill lets his foundation donate money to a cause based on a fad. He likely does extensive research (or has talented people do research for him). While I wouldn’t take medical advice solely from Bill or Jenny, I’d be much more willing to accept Bill Gates’ opinion (pending confirmation) than Jenny’s.

  24. tacitus

    But isn’t Bill Gates pretty much the equivalent of Jenny McCarthy in regards to this matter? Why is it more ‘scientific ‘ and ‘reasonable’ to quote Bill Gates on the subject? Because he is associated with computers? Isn’t this falling prey to the exact same mentality that listens to celebrity endorsements?

    (assuming you’re not joking…)

    Seriously? McCarthy is a bubble-headed model/actor with zero credibility (actually, if the scale went negative, she’d be on it) on any scientific issue, whereas Bill Gates has studied the issues and invested billions of his own money directly into scientific efforts to fight the causes of childhood disease and poverty all around the world. His foundation has a full-time staff of highly motivated experts (including top scientists and health experts) to advise him, and are leaders in the drive to provide affordable health care solutions to third world countries.

    So, what were those similarities you were talking about again?

  25. @whoschad,

    Just to follow up on my previous comment (which is awaiting moderation as I type this so you might read this first), the article states that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 billion over 10 years to both develop new vaccines and to get them delivered. His goal is to reduce annual childhood deaths by half. One does not toss that kind of money around without first doing serious research and having talented people advising you. (At least, someone like Bill Gates doesn’t toss that kind of money around like that.)

  26. SLC

    Interesting that, so far, we haven’t had the Microsoft is evil so don’t listen to Bill folks who are infesting Dr. Oracs’ blog.

  27. whoschad

    Again, I’m ALL FOR vaccinations.

    Here’s what I’m saying: Instead of saying “Even BILL GATES says anti-vaxxers kill babies”, shouldn’t we be more interested in citing the actual data? What about BILL GATES saying it makes it that much more scientific? If Bill Gates says that Wendy’s is healthier than Burger King would it really matter at all? Isn’t the thing that matters the actual research behind it?

    If Jenny McCarthy cited the best research on the subject, then listen to Jenny. If Bill Gates, then Bill Gates. I merely trying to say that there is nothing intrinsic to Bill Gates that makes him an authority on everything he speaks about. Quoting him in such a way betrays the same adherence to celebrity as the other side. I’d listen to anyone who cited the best research. I fully believe that Bill Gates IS citing better research, but the fact that it’s Bill Gates should make no difference.

  28. Joseph G

    Hey Phil, just wanted to let you know that BA is a featured link on http://www.stopjenny.com. As far as I can tell, it’s the only one that’s not a single-purpose autism or vaccine site. You’re really getting the word out :)

    Also, big ups to Bill Gates! As many Microsoft jokes and rants as I’ve made over the years, he’s that rare specimen that has:
    (A) A good head on his shoulders
    (B) A heart in the right place to match
    (C) The resources to do a huge amount of good, and the willingness to use them.

  29. Joseph G

    @#14 Lawrence: The Imans in Nigeria (who claim the polio vaccine is actually meant to sterilize good muslims and was invented by Israel) will sometimes point to the anti-corporate & anti-government messages spread by Western Antivax groups as a pillar of truth, supporting their own deluded beliefs.

    *facepalm*
    Meanwhile Israel has more medical inventors and Nobel Prizes in medicine then just about anywhere on earth. Cripes.
    I really want to put my fist through a few choice faces when I hear that gobbledygook about a sinister “population control” conspiracy involving people who are trying to bring health care to the poor, particularly in regards to vaccination. Don’t these people read their history? The best way to drastically reduce the population would be to convince everyone to ban vaccines.

    Sometimes stuff like that just makes me want to throw my hands in the air and go “Fine! Live in ignorance. Cast out those evil westerners with their poison syringes. Crank your average life expectancy down into the 30s, for all I care.”
    Of course, then I realize that the majority of the victims would probably be children, and I get very sad.

  30. Joseph G

    @whoschad: I think you may be missing the overall thrust of the media attention that this is getting. The story isn’t “Vaccines are good because Bill Gates says so”, the story is that Bill Gates is willing to stick his neck out and make enemies by actively taking on the people who spread nonsense, and holding them accountable for the actual, quantifiable deaths that they cause.

  31. Andrew

    I can completely accept that there’s no link between modern vaccines and GBS for the population at large. However, unless a similar study was performed for those with a family history of it, I’m fine with passing up flu vaccines and relying on the rest of you pincushions for herd immunity.

    For the 99.9999% of humanity who doesn’t have any history of GBS in their family following the ’76 vaccine, there’s absolutely no harm. But us tiny remainder (though at present I speak only for my own family) would rather not tempt fate without some specific reassurances.

  32. Paddy

    We cannot precisely quantify the damage done by Andrew Wakefield’s claims, because it’s hard to quantify what proportion of parents, politicians etc. have been influenced into deciding against the use of vaccines by such claims.

    However, if his claims were responsible for even one in a thousand of measles deaths worldwide since they were published (ignoring the effect on uptake of all other vaccines etc.), then the total for which he’d be responsible would indeed come into the thousands. (In 1999, measles deaths stood at 873,000 worldwide; now they’re down to 164,000, thanks to increased vaccine roll-out in most of the world; take a rough stab at the average of 500,000 deaths per year over that period, and a pure guesstimate of 0.1% for the proportion he’s responsible for, and you’re talking about 500 Wakefield-attributable deaths each year, or over 5,000 total).

    So yeah, thousands doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. The trouble is, with such a diffuse impact, there’s no way anyone can prove it.

  33. Wade

    Andrew Wakefield will be on CoasttoCoastAM on Wed night(2/9/11). It would be nice to have as many reality based folks as possible call in to counter the crap he will be spewing.

  34. CB

    @ 33:

    Oh man, for a second I thought he was going to be on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Now that would be worth tuning in for!

  35. danvilledad

    Various news articles have mentioned that FDA is suing Coca-Cola over deceptive labeling pratices for Vitamin Water.

  36. Lawrence

    LOL – he might actually have more credibility going on with Space Ghost!

  37. Keith Bowden

    @whoschad:
    I completely get what you’re saying, basically: what weight does one celebrity/public figure’s statements have over another?

    Logically of course the answer is none; the weight is in the source data they’re referring to.

    But since McCarthy’s influence is emotional and perceptual, there needs to be a counterbalance to her, and for now, Gates is it.

    Though I’d argue that Gates does have the scientific background to lend more credence, though naturally this is not his field (computer science, which I suppose he’s largely abandoned in order to focus on business), so he has more verisimilitude.

  38. From what I heard when I had it, GBS is believed to be a consequence of infection. Vaccines *might* trigger it, I suppose, but you’d expect it to be at a much lower rate than actually getting the flu — much like with the chickenpox vaccine and shingles. I’m pretty sure when I ended up in the hospital for six days, it was a good old-fashioned seasonal flu that convinced my immune system that my nervous system was a bad thing.

    Based on my experience there, I wholeheartedly recommend seasonal flu shots, and I seriously need to start getting the ol’ seasonal jab myself.

  39. The Gates Foundation is pouring an incredible money into worldwide vaccination efforts (including a massive effort to wipe out polio.) Bill Gates may never be able to clean the money-stains from his soul, but at least he’s doing good things with his ill-gotten gains.

  40. DeirdreB

    I lived the ’50’s when LIFE magazine reported on the large number of abortions being done because women had been exposed to measles while pregnant. My mother spent 2 years in an Iron Lung because of Polio. I lost friends to Polio, saw others crippled. I had meningitis at 6 and spend 2 weeks in isolation, my only contact white suited doctors and nurses who looked like space aliens. Imagine being 6 and having no contact with your family for two weeks. Vaccinate my children and grandchildren? You bet I did.

  41. Joseph G

    @39 JediBear: Bill Gates may never be able to clean the money-stains from his soul, but at least he’s doing good things with his ill-gotten gains.

    So one one side of the moral balance you have a program that may save hundreds of thousands (even millions) of children’s lives, and on the other side you have aggressive business practices.

    Yeah, I’d say it’s about a wash.
    *tongue firmly in cheek*

  42. Carter

    Isn’t it spelled Bologna not Baloney?

  43. Joseph G

    I just found out that the 60 dollar transaction that mysteriously overdrew my checking account was my X-Box live subscription (which I thought I’d cancelled) renewing itself.
    Stuff like this makes me believe that there is a God, and that he has a wicked sense of irony.

  44. Anders

    Pfft, Bill Gates is just after the money from “Big Pharma”!

    …right?

  45. @#40 – You say “aggressive business practices” I say “promoting poverty and economic ruin through the collection of monopoly rent.” *shrug*

    Besides, no matter what you may have learned from gaming, morality isn’t a balance. Good works can’t be balanced against bad ones and wipe them away. An otherwise good man who kills in cold blood is still a murderer. A robber baron who contributes to the survival of millions is still a robber baron.

    @#41 – “Baloney” is an accepted spelling (the dominant spelling?) when the product in question is dubious notions sold as facts. Bologna is the meat product.

  46. Nic

    Aaargh! This anti-vax nonsense boils my blood!
    Dr Phil in many posts has explained in lucid detail about the people who are into this rubbish and I truly thank Phil for that – it was an pseudo-science area I was not aware of before I began reading this great blog many years ago.
    Glad to hear Mr Gates is equally vocal and correct, I can’t say I like his OS but never mind, clearly a decent and thoughtful fellow.

    Keep it coming Phil (I know you will), these guys may never be utterly defeated (murderous stupidity seems to be a basic human trait, like war) but stuff like your post, and Simon Singh’s success and so forth should push em against the wall. People like Phil, Randi, Simon Singh and many others do the world an eloquent and valuable service.

    N

  47. me

    dammit, i’ll have to forgive him for windows vista now…
    might take him a few lifetimes of such behaviour to be forgiven for windows millennium edition though ;]

  48. CB

    Hey, you know, few people hate Microsoft as much as I do (being an Free Software hippie and a computer engineer well versed in their detrimental effect on the computer industry over the last 30-ish years).

    But the Gates Foundation has been doing phenomenal work around the globe. And the Gates Foundation listens to research, and conducts its own research, to best figure out how to do that work and have a positive effect.

    Which means the “Well Gates is just another celebrity, what really matters is where they get their information from” argument is, to use computer parlance, a no-op (short for ‘operation’): It does nothing, changes nothing, just occupies some space and time to read it, recognize it as nothing, and move on. :)

  49. Thanny

    Microsoft is definitely evil, and seriously retarded advance in the personal computer industry. Bill Gates and his cronies displayed very dubious ethics in how they dealt with competition, and even their own business partners (e.g. how they handled OS/2 with IBM).

    But as far as I’m concerned, all that’s forgiven, on account of what Gates is doing with all those ill-gotten gains through his charity.

  50. Joseph G

    @45 JediBear: Poverty and economic ruin? What, you mean the software companies that he muscled out of business? Apple fanboys whose day in the sun he pushed back by several years?
    I just don’t see how business practices, no matter how sneaky and underhanded (and don’t kid yourself, the rest of the corporate world pulls the same stuff when given the opportunity) can in any way be even remotely considered to be comparable to the life and death of impoverished children. It’s not just apples to oranges, it’s apples to neutron stars. If you want to stay bitter, that’s fine, but I think it’s naive to look at the corporate malfeasance that surrounds us all, stuff now that makes Microsoft look like the neighborhood kids’ lemonade stand, and keep snarking about Bill Gates’ part in it.

  51. Joseph G

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m a Linux fanboy all the way. I’m all for promoting open-source alternatives to commercial products – I do it all the time (much to my family’s annoyance).
    I’m just tired of the moral equivalancy that I see not just here, but everywhere – among the anti-vaxxers, for instance (eg, “people have died from medical mistakes, therefore mainstream medicine is evil”). It’s true that two rights and one wrong don’t make a right, but we need to have some damn perspective. Some wrongs are so wrong, and some rights are so right, that they pretty much obliterate all other considerations.

  52. Michael

    Oprah needs to come out and retract her stance on this. She also got the anti-vax rolling when she applauded McCarty’s views on her show.
    She really needs to tell us what she thinks in some form or other. It wouldn’t quite be the same as giving away cars to audience members, but something much much bigger for the whole world.

  53. Nick L

    You know, I would pay good money to see an anti-vaccine nut screaming that Bill Gates was bought off by Big Pharma followed by someone calmly pointing out that with the money he has, he could buy Big Pharma followed by the nut trying to put that fact into their world view.

    Joe Alvord Said:
    “On another note, there’s now a place where one can earn a doctorate in homeopathy. ”
    You can get people to pay thousands of dollars to learn how to make watered down Kool-Aid? I’m in the wrong line of work.

  54. Stargazer

    The vitamin waters that are so popular nowadays are largely pointless unless you suffer from some sort of deficiency and need supplements. That’s fine, but there are already vitamin pills to take, instead. No need to create even more plastic bottles that needs to be transported and recycled. A lot less plastic necessary for a hundred vitamin pills that lasts for months, instead of a whole bottle that lasts for giving you vitamins enough for one day. Eat a banana or something.

  55. Charlie

    The hot blond is just avoiding the reallity to her son’s disease. It’s understandably.

  56. DennyMo

    I know Mike Adams (aka “The Health Ranger”) gets no respect in these parts, but every once in a while he uncovers a real gem. (Go ahead, cue the “blind squirrel/acorn” jokes…) In a post discussing a lawsuit filed against Coke for its advertising of vitaminwater, he quoted Coke’s lawyers:

    In response to a recent lawsuit against Coca-Cola filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Coke’s attorneys replied in court briefings that, “…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”

    http://www.naturalnews.com/029425_vitaminwater_Coca-Cola.html

  57. Gonçalo Aguiar

    I’m not an Anti-vax supporter, as I took all vaccines that were mandatory for me to get in school, but one thing is for sure: vaccines, like everything else in the world, are a business.

    The Influenza A so called pandemic of 2009 was a joke. Millions of euros (if not billions) were spent on vaccines and hand washing products, and it turned out that it wasn’t that big of a pandemic.

    Who profited with all this?? I didn’t took such vaccine, and hey… I’m alive and well until now.

  58. @Stargazer,

    I completely agree. And if, for some reason, you can’t stand the taste of plain water, put some lemons or other fruit into a big pitcher of water and stick it in the fridge for a few days. Then pour the water into reusable bottles (e.g. Nalgene) for consumption on the go. Less waste than disposable bottles and probably healthier too.

  59. @Gonçalo Aguiar,

    I wouldn’t call it a joke. It wasn’t the “end of mankind virus” that some media outlets hyped it up to be but it was a pandemic. There are a lot of people who didn’t get the vaccine that aren’t alive and well now. In my household, my sons got it (dangerous for my younger son since he tends to have febrial seizures with high fevers) and my wife got it. I, somehow, was spared. My wife’s lungs still haven’t fully recovered.

    Luckily, Oxford University is working on a Universal Flu Vaccine. If this works, you’ll get one jab and be protected against all flu strains. No more trying to guess which flu will come out this year. We can have actual herd immunity against the flu. Hopefully, my grandkids will think “Hey the flu couldn’t have been that bad… probably just a bad cold” because they will never have encountered an actual flu in their lifetimes.

  60. ND

    TechyDad,

    “Hopefully, my grandkids will think “Hey the flu couldn’t have been that bad… probably just a bad cold” because they will never have encountered an actual flu in their lifetimes.”

    Let’s hope not cause that’s the sort of arguments anti-vaxers are making today.

  61. Bahador

    Itzhak Perlman (violin virtuoso) wrote a letter about polio to New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08letters-POLIOINTHEBA_LETTERS.html?_r=2&ref=science

    “I was 4 when I contracted polio. Six decades later, I get around with crutches and a scooter, and deal with access issues on a daily basis. No child born today should have to face the challenges I and so many others suffered.

    If we stop the fight to end polio now, the virus will spread again. There is no excuse for a single case of polio anywhere. We have a powerful new vaccine and growing global support to achieve eradication.”

  62. Anyone can present their own point of view. Only education concerning all sides and facts of the vaccination issue or anything else, could allow each person to make their own decisions based upon the most current information. Each person will often eventually learn the validity of each good or bad decision of theirs. In time one will often learn how to make better decisions.

    The government has already decided that for entry into public schools various vaccinations are required for new students for the protection of all. Only can parents avoid childhood vaccinations for a few private schools, most also require these vaccinations. Anyone has the right to present information why it might be thought that one or another vaccine might be a problem in the long run.

  63. Aly

    Well personally I dont know what all the hysteria is about even if thousands of children have died due to lack of vaccines. It isnt like the world is running short of them, is it? I know, so cruel. Its also true.

    We arent finished with evolution just yet, people. Parents make choices, and sometimes children die because of those choices. Children get sick from many things, and some of them die. Adults get sick and die too. Its how it goes. When we get down to around 100 million humans, then I will worry.

  64. Leon

    Finland health authorities have just now verified the link to last year’s flu vaccine used in Finland and the narcoleptic cases in people up to 20 years of age. They have admitted some of the ingredients used in the vaccine were not tested before being given to people.
    The government have given the vaccine companies immunity to prosecution and are telling the families of the victims they cannot sue for damages. The families are angry at this decision and are looking into how they can claim compensation for the damage done.

  65. JF

    @Leon (#64)

    Got some links or proof for that?

  66. Just thought I would add this.
    There’s currently a relatively large outbreak of measles in Denmark (the same amount of diagnosed cases in just two weeks, as there were in the entire 2010) and most of the infected persons are unvaccinated young adults. http://t.co/zGV6NVd.
    There has also been a downwards trending rate of MMR vaccinations in Denmark lately with a negative spike around the late 90’s and the (faked) autism link.

    When will people learn? This is our lives at stake here, not some stupid political ideal.

  67. Craig

    @ JF

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-swine-flu-vaccine-child-narcolepsy.html

    I sent the Physorg article to Phil on Feb 1. I hope he’s not simply ignoring it. It does no service to vaccination awareness to hide anything. As I wrote there about the story:

    This news is disturbing.

    If true, the anti-vaxxers will rally around this and use it to bolster other unsupportable claims and fear-mongering. This will ultimately result in more children dying due to low vaccination rates.

    What I’m sure will be completely ignored by the anti-vax movement is the fact that, at the slightest shred of credible link between a vaccine and an unwanted side-effect, the scientific/medical community, governments, and whatever other bodies supposedly controlled by ‘Big Pharma’, have taken immediate action to resolve the issue.

    There’s no cover up, no attempts to sweep anything under the rug, only a dedication to the truth and to the wellbeing of our species.

  68. Ben H.

    If you compare Vitamin Water’s label to Gatorade, it’s essentially the same stuff but with vitamins. It’s a sports drink. I drink it because I’m an athlete and they sponsor my club sports team (yes I know, conflict of interest). There’s nothing WRONG with the product and it’s a good sports drink. But just like Gatorade, people who aren’t athletes drink it for the wrong reasons. If you drink it when you’re not exercising, you’re just filling your body with carbs just like drinking soda. The product is fine, I think their marketing is kind of off, but the flu shot add is funny. It’s public education that needs work, more than lawsuits against Vitamin Water.

  69. xoxo

    Sanitary conditions prevent disease, disease die out naturally, there is no proof vaccines work no double blind placebo study has ever been done…why? based on a false germ theory, bacteria eat dead things not living things, nuerotoxins cause brain damage, doctors are funded by pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines, if you want to know the truth it’s out there, everyone has access to it. Aids came from the monkeys they used to make the vaccines. the rate of Autism has increased with the increase in the vac schedules, stats don’t lie, ever seen a kid have a seizure after a vaccine? I have, ever passed out after a shot of penecillan? I have…if you want to help people make the water clean and chemical free, support real natural medicine, support organic agriculture, stop monsanto and gmo’s, but that’s not what this is about now is it….

  70. Andrew

    xoxo: Yep, those are all lies told by anti-science nutcases. But you missed chemtrails.

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