Stop antivaxxers. Now.

By Phil Plait | December 29, 2011 7:00 am

There are times when reality is so obvious, so clear, so rock-solid 100% amazingly in-your-face incontrovertible, that it is beyond belief that anyone could deny it.

And yet, antivaccination groups exist.

Let me be very, very clear: they are wrong. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines save millions of lives. And not just directly, like they did by wiping out smallpox, a scourge that killed hundreds of millions of people. But also, through herd immunity, vaccines save infants too young to be vaccinated, the elderly with weak immune systems, and people whose immune systems are compromised due to chemotherapy, genetic issues, or because they are taking immunosuppressants for other illnesses (like arthritis).

Vaccines don’t cause autism. Vaccines don’t contain dangerous levels of mercury. Vaccines don’t contain fetal tissue. Each of these – and many, many more — is misinformation spread by antivaxxers, statements that are easily proven wrong (like, in order, here, here, and here). But many antivaxxers continue to use them.

What does that say about their willingness to tell the truth?

Yesterday, in Australia, one of the most vocal antivaxxers alive, Meryl Dorey of the grossly misnamed Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), spoke at the Woodford Folk Festival about her beliefs. However, she didn’t get quite the chance she had hoped for. Once the news got out that she was invited to the festival, the group Stop AVN went into action. A protest cry went up, and the venue was changed from her speaking solo, to her participating in a panel with a series of experts — actual, real experts — on vaccines. As I write this, I have a window open on Twitter, and I’m watching the tweets using the hashtag #StopAVN flow by. It’s a thing of beauty. Dorey’s arguments are being destroyed, 140 characters at a time.

The bottom line, repeated over and over again: Vaccinations save lives. That statement of fact is so simple, so powerful, that Stop AVN put it on a banner and had it flown behind a plane at the festival.

Wonderful! My congratulations to my friends Down Under for this impressive campaign.

But we here in America cannot rest easy. We have antivaxxers here; loud, wealthy, ones, who won’t hesitate to spread the same kind of misinformation; dangerous misinformation that poses a serious health threat.

The National Vaccine Information Center is one such group. They have a long history of antivax rhetoric, remarkable only in its breathtaking inaccuracy, and their ability to get it into the mainstream. And they’re at it again: they’ve put an ad on ABC’s digital 5000 square foot screen in Times Square in New York City, a place that will be packed with people celebrating the new year. To top it all off, Jenny McCarthy — who dispenses incredibly dangerous and incredibly wrong advice about vaccinations and other health safety issues — is slated to be a guest on ABC’s New Year’s Rocking Eve with Dick Clark… and she has stated she plans to promote her dangerous nonsense on the show.

Skepchick has an excellent post about this. My friend Jamie Bernstein has started a petition on change.org to get the ad taken down. I signed it.

Again, let me be clear: these antivax groups pose a public health threat. If you don’t believe me, then read this account by someone who knows.

And if you wonder why I feel so strongly about this, then I suggest you steel yourself — seriously — and read this account written by the parents of Dana McCaffery, who lost her life to pertussis when she was four weeks old. She was too young to be vaccinated. Because vaccine rates were so low in her area, pertussis had a place to grow. She was infected, and she died.

You want to know why I feel so strongly? This is why. She is why.

Talk to your board-certified doctor about vaccines. Find out what you might need — being an adult doesn’t mean you’re exempt from childhood vaccines; you may need a booster — and if your doctor approves, then do what needs to be done.

The solution against the antivaxxers is to make sure their misinformation is countered by facts. It’s one of life’s great ironies that vaccines have helped these people live as long as they have to spread their nonsense about vaccines. We can speak up to stop them… and at the same time get vaccinated to make sure that they — that everyone – gets a chance to be wrong for a long, long time.

Comments (476)

  1. thetentman

    You go get em’ Phil. Atta Boy!

  2. Chief

    Isn’t there something about dispensing medical advice without a degree. As I’ve said before, why can’t we go after them for causing a death (indirectly) due to willingly provide false information for gain of fame or cash.

  3. The NVIC really ought to be renamed the “National Vaccine Misinformation Center” — their “information” on vaccines is garbage (the usual “toxins” talk etc). It’s a little surprising, but if you type “vaccine” into Google, they come up high on the first page of results (for me, anyway) — not far behind the CDC.

  4. Dragonchild

    Phil, I get your point, but in citing Dana you are using the “appeal to emotion” fallacy, which is the strongest weapon of the political extremists you despise. The anti-intellectuals are always shamelessly throwing blood and guilt in our faces. It gets them what they want, but in your case this can have unintended consequences. Singling out an individual to put a face on statistics can have an immediate impact, but it’s more often used for misguided or deceptive purposes that cause an undesireable misallocation of resources. Basically, if the facts don’t provide a convincing case, just accuse your doubters of hating children. For example, grieving parents who lost a child to disease A can show a picture of their deceased child. Greiving parents who lost a child to disease B can do the same. They’re both cute kids who died horrible deaths! What do we do? Spend equal resources to cure both? Sounds fair. But now what if I told you that disease A killed three children in the last ten years, whereas disease B killed 500,000 last year alone?

    I am not downplaying Dana’s tragic death or accusing you of anything. I just think you spoke from the heart and it was an unfortunate mistake. Using Dana in this way causes the very sorts of irrational human behavior that you most want to avoid. Jenny McCarthy can put her own tragic faces on her cause, even if her conspiracy theories are totally wack, because just mentioning a tragedy causes humans with empathy to abandon logic. This is precisely why we must use disciplined appeals to reason, even if it’s the hard road. It’s tempting to appeal to emotion, but that leaves people vulnerable to misinformation and frankly we’re just not as good at it as propaganda artists and professional victims.

    I’m not asking you to temper your passion so much as control it, as this is what we need others to do. Please reconsider your tactics; we’re on the same side here but my worry is that you’re playing into your opponents’ hands.

  5. An interview with four key members of the protest at Woodford Folk Festival now features on the Token Skeptic podcast.
    Jason Brown, Dave The Happy Singer, Daniel Raffaele and Robin Hilliyard of the Vaccinations Save Lives tow-banner campaign.
    http://tokenskeptic.org/2011/12/29/token-skeptic-special-episode-stop-the-avn-fly-by-at-woodford-folk-festival/

  6. SkyGazer

    Facebooked.
    This post should spread like a virus.

  7. ahwala

    I couldn’t agree more with what Dragonchild said.

  8. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I hate how clinical “misinformation” is. I prefer “lies”.

  9. SkyGazer

    Maybe a “tomatino” would be nice.
    The moment she comes on that 5000 ft screen throw tomatoes.
    Turn that screen into something dripping red…

  10. Blake Helgoth

    Also, if it is so good for everyone, then why do big pharmaceuticals make so much money off of them, even when they are woefully ineffective, like the flu vaccine?

  11. @Naked Bunny: Amen.
    My daughter goes to a school where things are a little more “free-thinking” (it’s a Waldorf school) and things like homeopathy tend to thrive. I am thankful, though, that vaccination seems to be a little beyond the pale to parents there and I believe that kids are fully vaccinated. Regardless, my daughter is because I don’t want my infant son, who’s only just started getting his vaccinations, to catch something that can kill him. It’s why I got my DTaP booster a few years ago and why we’ve asked anyone who was going to come into contact with him to get one as well (grandparents, etc.) – and they all respected our wishes.
    This is a scary thing and we need the “respected authorities” (Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil – *shudder*) to take up these causes and make the average American understand why it’s important to vaccinate. The media’s sad belief that “equal time = fair and balanced” is causing far more harm than good. If someone were to talk about a flat earth, should we give them equal time to someone who believes the world is round? Seems like we should, in the media’s perspective, because that’s what they’re doing here.
    My Christmas wish (yet to be fulfilled) is that the media begins to take back the mantle of “journalism” and discard the mantle of “megaphone”.

  12. Jenny Tait

    There’s a good book out from Penguin (ask your editor to grab you a copy) called Pox. It’s about smallpox and the birth of the antivaccine movement that surrounded the smallpox vaccine.

    My mother recently told me that if she had it to do over again, she wouldn’t have had me vaccinated. I can’t get through to her about this. At least there are no more kids in her future. And I’m REALLY glad she doesn’t have it to do over again.

  13. nobody

    Dragonchild is right. Bad Science comes in many forms. Such as saying anything is 100% rock solid. 99.99999% may be a bit more accurate. There are known side effects including serious allergic reactions. Be accurate and let the truth speak for itself.

  14. pumpkinpie

    @Bill Devoe
    “…I believe that kids [at your daughter’s school] are fully vaccinated. Regardless, my daughter is because I don’t want my infant son, who’s only just started getting his vaccinations, to catch something that can kill him.”
    I would say “believing” isn’t enough. I wonder if it wouldn’t be against privacy issues to ask for the vaccination rate at that (or any) school? Not needing the who, but the how many. Then one can make an informed decision about sending/keeping a child at a school. If certain schools are lax on vaccination policies, maybe more of us speaking up about not sending our kids to a school for that reason, and publicly advising others not to (with the facts of course), will lead to schools revisiting and revising their policies.

  15. @Bill DeVoe,

    Sadly, this “need to tell both sides of the story” thing has been going on for awhile. When I was in college, the school newspaper ran a Holocaust denier’s ad. When I asked the staff why they ran it, I was told “We need to present both sides of the debate.”

    Not everything is up for debate. You wouldn’t debate whether that giant fireball in the sky is a miasma of incandescent plasma or Apollo riding his chariot across the sky. You wouldn’t debate whether Gravity keeps our feet on the ground or whether invisible, magical gnomes sit on our feet weighing them down.

    The anti-vaxxers made claims, fine. They had concerns that vaccines were causing autism. If proven true, they would have been serious concerns. (Not enough to stop vaccinations, but serious nonetheless.) However, study after study disproved any link. Then, the anti-vaxxers moved the goal posts to constantly shift just why they were claiming that vaccines were bad. At every step of the way, they’ve been proven wrong. If you need to alter your arguments as you are proven wrong a dozen times, perhaps you need to re-examine your basic premise. (In this case “Vaccines are bad for you.”)

    Any debate that happened is over and done with. Has been for awhile. Vaccines save lives and promoting the same disproven arguments over and over isn’t “giving both sides of the story”. It’s putting lives at risk by spreading lies.

  16. Robin Byron

    Misguided, prolix rant on Appeal To Emotion in the comments duly ignored, I signed the petition in memory of Dana and for my newborn great-grandson.

    You endanger my kin, I will roll over you like your aren’t even there. How’s that for emotion?

  17. I saw Jenny McCarthy on an anti-bullying show recently. She was talking about being bullied growing up. (A subject that’s close to my heart since I grew up being mercilessly bullied.) At one point, the host asked her whether she thought her son would be more of a target thanks to his autism. I winced wondering if she’d veer into anti-vax territory. I’m not sure if they told her to stay on topic or what, but thankfully she didn’t veer. (She said it likely would make him more of a topic.)

    If she wants to speak about bullying, that’s fine. She (apparently) has personal experience with that and I welcome as many public figures as possible coming out against bullying. (Yes, even Jenny McCarthy!) But she has zero credibility when she spouts medical opinions that have no legitimate, scientific backing.

  18. Dragonchild, Dana McCaffery merely stands for the children who will die or suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases. Undervaccination against measles in Europe has resulted in an epidemic, with nine deaths, including six in France, and 7,288 hospitalizations. That’s a fact.

    Bill DeVoe: Anthroposophy (the philosophical underpinnings of Waldorf) is explicitly anti-vaccine. As Bernard Dixon wrote in Microbe (the Journal of the American Society for Microbiology)

    http://www.microbemagazine.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1579:measles-target-missed&catid=399:animalcules-and-forum&Itemid=481

    “Steiner believed that febrile illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever were related to a child’s spiritual development. Adherents assert that the use of vaccines (especially measles vaccine) deprives infants of the opportunity to benefit from the experience of having those diseases.”

    (You can read a 3-part take-down of the Steiner/Waldorf philosophy at David Colquhoun’s DC’s Improbable Science, starting here http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3528.)

  19. @Dragonchild,

    While to a degree, bringing up Dana is “appeal to emotion”, the back story is exactly what we’re fighting for (or against, really). Dana contracted and died from Whooping Cough. By all rights, nobody should be getting that anymore as we have a vaccine for it. (Or, at least, it should be extremely rare.) Dana was too young to be vaccinated and had to rely on everyone else being protected. However, the anti-vaccine folks have convinced enough parents to skip vaccinations that herd immunity was damaged. Dana contracted Whooping Cough and died as a result.

    Even after her death, the anti-vaccine folks didn’t stop. Meryl Dorey tried claiming that “nobody dies from Whooping Cough” and suggested that Dana died of something else. (Because, of course, Meryl was more qualified than Dana’s doctors who actually examined Dana.)

    Yes, it’s appeal to emotion, but it’s appeal to emotion with facts right alongside it.

  20. Kirk

    A picture of a dead baby unicorn would be an argument from false emotion. Why run from a specious charge of an appeal to emotion? The Limbic system evolved for just that purpose. No one cares enough to get up off the couch unless this completely necessary response to danger kicks in. Evolutionary Psych WIN. The charge is ‘false equivalence on stilts’ because only a FALSE or MALADAPTIVE appeal to emotion fits the template of cognitive bias. Paging Trivers, Pinker, Dennett… Everyone should care enough (see figure 1 – care is an emotion) to read about how minds work to, well, learn about how minds work. The stupid…it hurts.

  21. For readers fairly new to the anti-vaccination movement, I recommend several books: Seth Mnookin’s The Panic Virus (on the anti-vaccination movement) and Paul Offit MD’s books Deadly Choices, Autism’s False Profits, and Vaccinated.

    Readers may not be aware of the large body of pro-vaccine talking points available on the web:

    I want to start with ToddW.’s The Truth About The Evils of Vaccination, since it was prompted by a comment here:
    http://antiantivax.flurf.net/

    There are a number of active pro-science bloggers who have taken on NVIC’s lies. For example:

    Orac at Respectful Insolence
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/medicine/antivaccination_lunacy/

    the category Vaccine at Science-Based Medicine;
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/category/vaccines/

    L. Shaka’s The Vaccine Times
    http://www.vaccinetimes.com/

    Catherina & The Science Mom’s Just the Vax
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/

    Todd W.’s blog, Harpocrates Speaks
    http://silencedbyageofautism.blogspot.com/search/label/anti-vaccine

    The blog run by Every Child by Two, Shot of Prevention:
    http://shotofprevention.com/

    That’s a start — there are more.

  22. Kris Mitchell

    The appeal to emotion bit up there- I don’t see it as illogical or hypocritical. I see it as human. Just had to insert that preface.

    And in that vein, I feel very sad for humanity when this sort of defiant ignorance and misinformation spreads like this. When there are those who would forsake the common good of humanity for some misplaced belief. When, despite so much science saying otherwise, people continue to choose ignorant dogma about any number of subjects. But the most inhuman part about this anti-vax campaign, is it doesn’t kill adults. It hurts the children, and the elderly. Jenny McCarthy, who keeps going on about anti-vaccination, isn’t very much likely to be harmed by her preaching. But the children and the infants, like Dana, who are unfortunate enough to end up in what breeding grounds pop back up for these preventable viruses are almost bound to suffer from this.

    If science is a conspiracy, why don’t the vaccinated suffer from any of these conditions anti-vaxxers talk about?

  23. Chad

    My sister’s doctor recently suggested my niece not take certain vaccinations. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. Is there any way to tell if her doctor is an anti-vaxxer? I have to say that my sister should listen to her doctor more than me, but if her doctor is saying that some vaccines aren’t safe for my niece, then maybe I’m wrong?
    I’m looking for some guidance. Are all vaccines all safe? My sister said that the main reason was because of my niece’s existing complications with seizures. She sent me this link from the CDC which says that there is an increased risk of seizure from certain vaccinations: (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/MMRV/qa_FebrileSeizures.html)

    Could someone help me out here? The CDC seems like a reputable source. I’m just trying to figure out where to draw the line, not stir up controversy. Ultimately, I want my niece to be immunized, and also seizure-free. Can we have both?

  24. I have lupus, and that by itself has me immunocompromised, even without being on medication. If I need to go on a round of prednisone, I will almost always end up ill. If I end up needing to have Cytoxan therapy, well, that’s even worse. However, if I get something as simple as the flu, there’s a risk that I could have organ failure. It’s a small risk, but it’s there because my body simply doesn’t do what it should do. The fact that some people try to tell me I shouldn’t have a Hep B vaccination is ridiculous. Not only did I work in a nursing home before I was diagnosed with lupus, but some medications (like the Cytoxan) puts me at an increased risk of contracting it. I’m sure my immune system would love that.

    Unfortunately, my in laws, who have two young boys, believe that vaccines are dangerous. They don’t spend any time teaching their kids, so they decided the boys must be autistic, and it must’ve been their vaccines that did it. It just amazes me that they won’t even research what they’re doing.

  25. Maggy

    Here’s the mercury numbers Phil. To say that, “vaccines don’t contain dangerous levels of mercury” just shows you are completely out of touch with reality.

    0.5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Kills human neuroblastoma cells (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140).

    2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water (http://www.epa. gov/safewater/ contaminants/ index.html# mcls).

    20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).

    200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste based on toxicity characteristics.
    http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/mercury/regs.htm

    25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose, Hepatitis B vaccine vials, administered at birth from 1991-2001 in the U.S.

    50,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 8 times in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age and currently “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu, meningococcal and tetanus vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi-dose vials.

  26. Anon

    A relative of mine almost died from the pertussis shot. Milk allergy is a known contraindication, but who knows if a two-month-old is allergic to milk?

  27. “My daughter goes to a school where things are a little more “free-thinking” (it’s a Waldorf school) and things like homeopathy tend to thrive.”

    Why? It is difficult to be more out of touch with reality than the anthroposophic crowd. It is complete woo. Steiner was also very racist, in absolutely no uncertain terms.

    Granted, many people who send their children to such schools might not be aware of what is really behind it (which might be the case of certain parents who send their children to faith-based schools, though they are certainly a minority here), but that is really no excuse.

    Anthroposophy, anti-vax and homeopathy tend to go together (although historically they arose for different reasons, though all were “against the establishment”).

    To address another common argument: Saying that vaccines must be bad since pharmaceutical companies make money from them is like saying food must be bad because farmers make money from growing it.

  28. @Maggy,

    Were those final 2 figures the total amount of mercury in all vaccines given to all children in that time frame? Or to each child during that time frame?

    If the former, you do understand that you can’t just add up individual exposures to a substance to figure out whether it was toxic, right? If a million people were exposed to 1ppb of mercury, that’s not the same as one person being exposed to a million ppb.

    If the latter, you do understand that mercury doesn’t just stay in your system, right? The human body is very good at flushing out toxins. The kind of mercury used in vaccines only stays in the human body for a few days. IIRC, 1-4 days, but I could be off. Even assuming it stays in your system for a week, by the time the child gets a second shot, the mercury from the first shot will be completely gone. If a child gets ten shots within a two day period each containing 1ppb of mercury, you might be able to say that the child was exposed to 10ppb of mercury. But if the child gets those ten shots once a year over ten years, then the child was only exposed to a maximum of 1ppb.

  29. @Anon,

    Allergies are a valid reason for not getting vaccinated (at least for the vaccinations that would trigger the allergy). While it is sad that your relative had a bad reaction and almost died from the pertussis shot, those reactions are rare. It (and other vaccinations) save far more lives than it puts at risk. Perhaps in instances like this, a skin test should be performed to check for allergic reactions, first. That would cut down on these side effects while still allowing the vaccines to be given to as many people as possible.

  30. @Phillip Helbig,

    Straying a bit off-topic, I know, but I love how homeopathy folks rail against “Big Pharma” for making money off of drugs, but have no problem with big homeopathic remedy companies making a lot of money off of their offerings. (Selling sugar pills must have a high profit margin… Curse you ethics for keeping me from getting rich quick!)

  31. Coda

    @TechyDad (#29)

    Looks like the numbers that Maggy (#26) provided are copied and pasted from a letter by Kenneth Stroller to the Pediatrics journal:

    “Autism, Birth Weight & Heavy Metals”
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/121/4/758.short/reply#pediatrics_el_37311

    Hope that helps you (or someone) find out more…

  32. @Maggy, wouldn’t dosage be a more relevant measurement than concentration? Consider how many glasses of water (or other liquids containing water) you drink in 90 days vs. the amount of liquid in a single shot.

  33. Blake Helgoth

    Tried to post this earlier, but obviously failed.

    The real questin here is wether the masses are more important than the individual. Does a parent have more responsibility to protect her child than the masses? If a vaccine has a significant chance to sicken or kill a percentage of people who recieve it, then why would a parent allow their child to be exposed to that risk? Or, is it ok for 5 – 10% of people who recieve a vaccine to be permanently injured or killed for the sake of the masses? These are the hard questions that must be answered first.

  34. Eric

    @Maggy, are you confusing ethyl mercury with methyl mercury?

  35. Jordan

    Dana’s story is tragic, but the vaccine would not have saved her. The pertussis vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission. All it has ever been designed to do is lessen the symptoms. You can be fully vaccinated and STILL transmit the disease.

    Source: The Center For Disease Control

    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/5/00-0512_article.htm

    “The whole-cell vaccine for pertussis is protective only against clinical disease, not against infection (15-17). Therefore, even young, recently vaccinated children may serve as reservoirs and potential transmitters of infection.”

  36. Digital Atheist

    My mother just died Tuesday morning, after a long hard life. As a child she survived having polio, but always had lung problems related to that polio. I can promise you, any person who thinks a polio vaccine (or any of the others) is something that isn’t needed, that person needs to step back and see what the actual effects of the disease are, both short and long term.

    I despise the criminally negligent buttwipes who are willing to endanger everyone around them because they are too stupid to get all the facts. Famous STAR A says vaccination is bad so it must be bad. Tons of doctors and scientists say there is always a possiblity that a vaccine may cause some problems but in most cases it will be okay are full out liers because some damn dumb uneducated braindead moron offers up “nuh-uh” as counter-evidence.

    Get your kids vaccinated! Trust me, seeing my mother and waht she went through during the 44 years I was given to know her, vaccines are a miracle of science to be cherished and applied as needed.

  37. pumpkinpie

    @ Chad
    “Could someone help me out here? The CDC seems like a reputable source. I’m just trying to figure out where to draw the line, not stir up controversy. Ultimately, I want my niece to be immunized, and also seizure-free. Can we have both?”

    A good doctor would make a recommendation based on risk. If that were the case here, the doctor would think that the risk of your niece having a seizure from getting the vaccine(s) is higher than the risk that she would get infected/sick/die from the disease(s) addressed by the vaccine.

    Of course, I cannot say that’s the reasoning behind this doctor’s recommendation. Maybe a good idea would to get a second or third opinion.

  38. Matt

    @Maggy

    I appreciate how you gave references the for fact based numbers, and then followed that up with unreferenced completely made up numbers.

    Here’s some facts in a similar light:

    LD50 of NaCl (Table Salt) – 3g/Kg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_lethal_dose#Examples)

    Extrapolated Lethal dose of salt for your 20lb baby starting solid food – 27g

    Gerber pureed carrots baby food – 80mg salt

    80mg x 4 million babies per year x 3 meals a day x 365 days per year = 350400000g of salt PER YEAR

    Ergo: Gerber is killing our babies with carrots.

    Statistics can be fun.

  39. ragnar

    @ Maggy,

    1. The mercury compound exposure numbers you reference are based on Methyl Mercury. The mercury compound used in Thimerasol is Ethyl Mercury, and it has quite different effects (as well being processed and eliminated faster) than the methyl compounds. So you get no points for that half of your argument.

    2. The vaccines you reference have either never had Thimerasol in them, or have not had any since about 2000. So you again get no points for the other half of your argument.

    http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm096228.htm#tox

    Really, if you’re going to wave the anti-vax flag at least have valid data. As it is your weak argument is skewered with ease because you not only used the EPA exposure numbers for the wrong mercury compound, but you also used old information for the vaccines themselves. I suspect you did so on purpose, since the real information is easily available.

  40. Ben

    @Chad

    Ask why he recommends against it, and if he always recommends against vaccines. If he normally recommends them but in this case thinks it’s too much of a risk, it very well may be, and here’s to hoping for some good herd immunity in the area. It the doctor is normally against vaccines, well, now you know. Personally, I’d find a new doctor, but that’s your sister’s decision.

  41. amphiox

    The real questin here is wether the masses are more important than the individual.

    No it is not. Because the benefit of vaccination is TO THE INDIVIDUAL. And the benefit is substantially GREATER THAN the risk TO THE INDIVIDUAL. The benefit to the “masses” from herd immunity is simply a bonus side effect.

    If a vaccine has a significant chance to sicken or kill a percentage of people who recieve it,

    If.

    then why would a parent allow their child to be exposed to that risk?

    Because the risk of NOT vaccinating is GREATER, for the INDIVIDUAL child, than the risk associated with vaccination.

    Or, is it ok for 5 – 10% of people who recieve a vaccine to be permanently injured or killed for the sake of the masses?

    It would be if 10 – 20% of the people who DO NOT receive a vaccine are permanently injured or killed BECAUSE of not receiving the vaccine.

    But your numbers are imaginary. Scale the risk of vaccines back by a factor of about 100 and you’d be closer to approximating reality.

    These are the hard questions

    No they’re not. They are easy questions. Because they are irrelevant. Vaccination is about benefit FOR THE INDIVIDUAL. There is NO masses vs individual conflict here. Vaccination benefits BOTH the individual AND the masses, and we do it FOR THE SAKE OF THE INDIVIDUAL. The benefit for the masses is simply a bonus that makes it an EVEN BETTER IDEA. The benefit of herd immunity for the masses could be EXACTLY ZERO AND IT WOULD MAKE NO DIFFERENCE. Vaccination would still be justified.

    that must be answered first.

    And they’ve already been answered decades ago.

  42. Kimberly

    pumpkinpie – I know a parent asked our nurse this question and our nurse was able to tell her that only 3 kids out of 567 at our school are not vaccinated. 1 only doesn’t get one vaccination because the child is allergic to an ingredient, 1 has a suppressed immune system, 1 was antivax parents (but older sister has all her vaccinations bit of a puzzle.)

    Chad – not all doctors that modify vaccination schedules are antivax. I shudder to think what my childhood doctor would say to a parent who refused to vaccinate their child. (He was quite blunt with my parents about the their smoking). He put me on a slightly modified schedule, because of medical conditions. In my case when I received a new to me vaccination, he had my mom and me stay in his office for a period of time to make sure I didn’t have an immediate allergic reaction. If several new to me vaccinations were due they were spread out over several weeks. He flat out refused to give me the smallpox vaccination. (It wasn’t required 4 years later when sis entered school, so I was in one of the last groups to receive) it A few years ago I found the paperwork to register me for elementary school. 3 different doctors had to sign off that I have atopic dermatitis, that smallpox vaccination is not given to people with atopic dermatitis. The dermatologist, and 3rd doctor I didn’t recognize were quite clinical. My childhood doctor – Kimberly [last name ] suffers from atopic dermantitis. I refuse to give her small pox vaccination because it will kill her. (Like I said he was very blunt. )

  43. amphiox

    There is nothing inherently wrong with an appeal to emotion, so long as IT IS SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.

    The problem is an appeal to emotion made WITHOUT support of evidence, IN CONTRADICTION TO EVIDENCE, and WITH THE GOAL OF OVERRULING EXISTING EVIDENCE.

    And Baby Dana’s case is not just an appeal to emotion anyways. It’s also a datum of evidence.

  44. @Dragonchild

    You stated “…you are using the “appeal to emotion” fallacy…”. I respectfully disagree–it is certainly appeal to emotion, but not every appeal to emotion is a fallacy. Yes it is emotional–my kids were infants when Dana died and I can’t even think about her parent’s horrible story without getting upset.

    It is, however, valid logic–vaccination rates were low, herd immunity broke down, and this baby died as a result. This is a real, tangible effect of not maintaining herd immunity. Many people can ignore logic and numbers–not many can ignore the real effect of ignorance. Use any high school debating language around most people and they instantly shut you out–tell a story and they’ll at least hear you out.

  45. Bob

    An appeal to emotion is not a logical fallacy. It is a persuasive strategy. Whether or not the emotions are warranted, well that’s the important part.

  46. mymanhume

    Yeah, I can’t believe that these people are allowed to say things that are likely untrue. It’s almost as though they think they have some right to free speech. We have to quash everything anyone says that does or might possibly cause some harm to people.

    It’s about time that they did away with that notion that the antidote to speech was more speech.

  47. @Maggy

    “Since 2001, with the exception of some influenza (flu) vaccines, thimerosal is not used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines.”

  48. Daniel J. Andrews

    Maggy. Those numbers are for methyl mercury and NOT the form of mercury found in some vaccines.

    But even if you and your source hadn’t confused the two and people are injecting methyl mercury into children, then think about those numbers for a bit.

    At 0.5 ppb, mercury kills human neuroblastoma cells. So what do you think it will do if it is 100,000x that concentration (i.e. 50,000 ppb)? Or at 2,500x that concentration (the level at which neurite membrane structure is destroyed, i.e. 20 ppb).

    At those doses, it will kill you.

    E.g. for one example using ppb measurements in various body tissues, see sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0300483X76900172 which shows 3-15 ppb concentration in body tissues.

    If we were to take your numbers at face value, we’d be administering several thousand times the lethal dose with the vaccines.

    So, what sounds more reasonable to you: That the levels of mercury in vaccines are at well above lethal levels (or the very least highly highly dangerous and damaging), or that you do not understand the science behind those numbers (e.g. ppb vs amounts in body tissue, methyl mercury vs ethyl mercury, residence times in body, etc)?

    If you wish to begin to cure your misunderstandings start with Liz Ditz’s post @19 and follow the links. E.g. here’s Todd’s page on mercury. Be sure to follow his links to the source too.
    antiantivax.flurf.net/#Thimerosal

    And if you think there’s a conspiracy to hide the truth, at least think about the numbers you have listed and ask yourself if it sounds at all reasonable.

  49. JackT

    amphiox,

    This is absurd. You can always find somebody negatively effected by a cause. There are plenty of young children who have also died from vaccines (probably due to allergies). What you need to do is approach the issue rationally, investigate how many deaths are caused by vaccines and how many deaths are caused by the associated diseases. For nearly all vaccines the benefits DO outweigh the detriments, and this is what people should focus on. Posting a tragic image of a child is appealing to emotion and shouldn’t be tolerated in a scientific blog.

    It is also important to note that you cannot just say vaccines are good. Should we still be getting the smallpox vaccine? Vaccines are good right? You need to weigh the benefits of the vaccine to its side effects. There is risk when getting vaccinated, to pretend otherwise is foolish and misleading. Pro-vacciners, people who I very much agree with, have a tendency to simplify the issues.

  50. Dragonchild

    @14. nobody
    It’s rather rude and cowardly to use someone else as your mouthpiece. Speak for yourself.

    @17. Robin Byron Says:
    “You endanger my kin, I will roll over you like your aren’t even there. How’s that for emotion?”

    Well, thanks for the teachable moment. I thought it was pretty clear I’m quite pro-vaccine, but your blind emotions compelled you to misidentify an ally as an enemy. I hope your preference for emotion over reason doesn’t put your great-grandson in otherwise preventable danger. If you’re so emotional that you can’t distinguish allies from enemies, you might find that protecting your kin from the entire world is a rather Herculean undertaking.

    @19. Liz Ditz
    @20. TechyDad
    I’m not disputing the facts. There’s no question who’s right here. The problem is that Phil is using an unreliable method of persuasion that frankly the other side is just flat-out better at, and for no reason I can see other than he just got worked up. Appealing to emotion when you already have facts on your side isn’t unethical, per se. Rather, it’s dangerous. This is like patching a car’s cracked hose with duct tape. It gets fast results for minimal effort, but overall it’s weaker than a complete fix, and left as-is it will backfire when you least expect it.

    Reason inoculates people against fallacy. It’s a painstaking process, but once inoculated people are resistant to deception by misguided agendas. I don’t need to be convinced by a picture because I saw overwhelming evidence. Phil may sway a few wavering individuals using the face of Dana, but without reason it’s a short-lived victory. Armed with just a face to pity, Jenny McCarthy can easily confuse them just by waggling a picture of autistic children.

    @23. Kris Mitchell
    I agree that it’s human. I’m not calling Phil a hypocrite; I’m saying an appeal to emotion from a skeptic is hypocritical. The difference is that I doubt it was intentional.

    @33. Blake Helgoth
    The question isn’t hard at all; the answer is. This is controversial to say, but America has a very misguided view of what freedom is right now. The goverment wants to control speech while happily giving back health policy to the people. The people are applauding this. And it’s totally backwards.

    It’s the business of the parent to care for, sacrifice for and grieve the loss of an individual. Shed as many tears as you want over that relative who died of that super-rare disease; it’s understandable. But the government should not spend $10 billion to save a few lives when people are dying in much more common and preventable ways. Resources are limited, and it’s the business of the government to weigh the needs of the many over the needs of the few. (The problem with today’s government is that it increasingly does the opposite.) That sometimes requires running roughshod over individual choices — especially when such choices are dangerous. That’s not tyranny. For example, a parent is not “free” to abuse a child; a government that serves the people is well within the scope of its proper purpose to intervene on behalf of the child’s inalienable rights over the parent’s sick idea of “freedom”. Vaccination may sooner or later harm that one kid in a million, and the parents will be rightly upset. What’s dangerous is when we allow the emotions of two grieving parents to override the best interests of society. You don’t honor the dead by burying them under an even larger pile of corpses.

    When smallpox was eradicated in the 19th century, the people didn’t exactly thank the government with flowers and open arms. Many fiercely resisted. Governments had to pass MANDATORY vaccination laws. The process took decades. The result was the eradication of a cruel, deadly disease. This is not to say that “Big Brother knows better”. Rather, it’s that proper use of democracy promotes a free SOCIETY, not a free individual. There’s a fine line marking that difference, which is that you are NOT free to threaten my own right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberty is nothing without life, vaccination is a social health issue that saves lives, and antivaxxers represent a sort of tyrannical libertarianism where individual behavior trumps that of a free, prosperous state. If antivaxxers had their way in the 19th century, people would still be dying horrible deaths by the millions to a disease we had a working vaccine for. Oh, they’d be “free” to die a horrible death, but a state where beneficial policy is suppressed in favor of individual ignorance is an offensive mockery of “freedom”. At that point you might as well have anarchy because the government isn’t doing a lick of good.

  51. mymanhume

    To those of us who think matters like vaccination should be decided in accordance with the dictates of reason, appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy. Those of you who think how people feel about things should dictate matters like public health policy, then perhaps you look at that as persuasion instead of nonsense. But let me tell you, to those of us who decide based on reason, facts and good reasons are what persuades us, and there is no need to soil sound arguments by tugging at our hearts.

    Anti-vaxxers could just as easily show us a photo of a child who died from a vaccination reaction (and there is no dispute that those occur, just at a much lower rate), and then where would we be? Would we decide the right thing to do based on our emotion? Based on whichever baby was cuter? Thanks, but I’ll adhere to reason.

  52. Dragonchild

    @44. amphiox
    @45. shawmutt
    You’re kind of missing my point. Don’t get too caught up in whether or not Phil’s appeal to emotion is a fallacy. I’m not here to win some sort of semantic debate.

    Let’s say you’re 100% right. Phil is NOT using a fallacy. My concern remains unaddressed. The problem with using appeal to emotion is that it works both ways. I see political extremists use the exact same message every damn day. The sad fact is that this doesn’t feel any different. To the unconvinced, then, the best result that can be hoped for is obfuscation, which is a stalemate the other side is more than happy to accept (“teach the controversy”).

  53. ausduck

    Maggie, the EPA references to what is considered contaminants for water is for inorganic mercury. This is NOT what was contained in childhood vaccines nor in today’s multidose vials. Look up ethylmercury.

    I haven’t checked your journal references yet but the titles, as they involve cells and cellular membranes, make me strongly suspect that this involves in-vitro research ie cells in a petri dish subjected to direct insult from a mercury solution. There is a difference between looking at cells and looking at humans. But there is absolutely no argument that inorganic mercury is highly toxic, and the organic mercury compounds vary in their bioaccumulation and toxicity – remember though, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

    As for the ppb in vaccines mentioned – citation needed.

    No one has ever claimed that vaccines are 100% risk-free or 100% effective. There is a small possibility of a severe reaction to a vaccine. My sister had a severe anaphylaxis to the old ‘triple antigen’ shot in the 1970s and we almost lost her. Today she relies on herd immunity for protection. And her children are vaccinated – she discussed her reaction with her doctor and the kids were kept under observation for a bit longer than most post vaccination (they are all fine, btw). I myself do not respond to the TB vaccine or the Hep B vaccine – I don’t develop antibodies for some reason. So I’m a tad reliant on others too.
    Anecdotal, I know, but used to illustrate a fact.

    Vaccinations do save lives. That is accepted scientific fact. There is no debate, no ‘two sides’ – the ‘debate’ is manufactured in order to let the antivaccination organisations spread their dogma and rhetoric.

    @Phil, thank you for noticing, then watching, our tweets yesterday, and for this blog post.
    Wendy W

  54. Daniel J. Andrews

    Quick add-on to my comment above. If children were injected with those levels, and if by some magical means they didn’t die, then you have to explain how the EPA decided to use such low levels when levels thousands of times higher aren’t killing or disabling almost every child given a vaccine. And you have to explain why mercury levels in people are almost always well below the recommended amounts when they are tested.

    E.g. jama.ama-assn.org/content/289/13/1667.short

    Incidentally, Maggy’s post is just a copy and paste job. You will also find the identical comment is thrown into the comment sections of newspapers, science blogs, that have run an article on vaccines. Chances are she just wanted to distribute misinformation and isn’t interested in actually learning why she (and those numbers) are misleading.

  55. Mog

    This line confuses me…

    “vaccines save infants too young to be vaccinated”

    If they are too young to be vaccinated, how does a vaccine save their life?

  56. @Dragonchild,

    The problem is that some people only respond to appeals to emotion. There are too many people who, if one side is giving “boring old facts” and the other side is giving flashy, emotion-based arguments, will go with the emotion. I see no reason why appealing to emotion would cheapen our argument so long as we’re careful to not many any emotional appeals that aren’t backed up by facts. For example, saying “This baby (picture of Dana) died, in part, due to a drop in whooping cough vaccination rates” can be factually supported. Saying “Every time a child isn’t vaccinated, a cute puppy (insert photo here) is killed” wouldn’t be.

  57. John Paradox

    I have BA on my RSS Feed (Google Reader), right next to the Tucson Weekly RSS… and so the it only made sense that I would see this posting and this article: Hot Shots – Anti-immunization holdouts are putting all Arizonans at risk

    Available online at: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/hot-shots/Content?oid=3203179

    J/P=?

  58. Michael Fitzpatrick

    @Dragonchild.
    Problem is, Dana was a real child with real parents, who really died due to low vaccination rates. Pointing this out is not fallacious. It is a sad fact.

  59. Peter

    The Australian Vaccination Network is a dangerous anti-vaccination pressure group and people should read the wiki page
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Vaccination_Network
    to find out just what they get up to. Meryl Dorey leads this dangerous misinformation group.

  60. Mercury IS TOXIC. So is fluoride. All technicalities and/or statistics aside that is a fact and yet we involuntarily and uninformed consume these substances everyday. If you want to look at statistics try cancer rates. How about checking into the financial records of our beloved author to see if he cashed a check from any pharmaceutical co lobbyist recently?

  61. Asraiya (61): Everything is toxic. What’s important is dose. Even water will kill you if you drink too much of it.

    And the accusation of being paid by pharmaceutical companies is too precious. I mean, seriously? That’s your go-to accusation? I guess when you can’t use facts, you use smear tactics.

  62. Dragonchild:

    Of course it’s an appeal to emotion. But as others have said, it’s not a fallacy. And in fact, as a skeptic, I think it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter that antivaxxers use appeals to emotion as well. What matters is how it’s used.

    For example, antivaxxers use it to irrationally scare parents, saying for example they are putting toxins into their babies. Clearly, this is an emotional appeal, but it’s also misinformation — but it works, as Asraiya’s comment (#61) above shows.

    I used an appeal to emotions as a way to show what happens when we let our reason be blinded by emotion. Ironic, I know. However, as we have seen many times from arguing with creationists, global warming deniers, and a host of other antireality warriors, facts don’t matter. What matters is twisting the truth to fit your ideology, and using emotional arguments to blind people’s reason.

    But that does not mean appealing to emotion is always wrong.

    Humans are emotional creatures, and we are not always swayed by facts. To deny that is irrational, and unskeptical. Being a skeptic does not mean being an unemotional robot. An emotional appeal can be used to motivate people, and that’s how I used it. Not as an end unto itself.

    I stand by what I did, and why I did it. People need to see that babies are dying due to low vaccination rates. It’s one thing to simply state a number, and another thing entirely to see the face of a child who died because of those numbers.

  63. I got my booster shot this last fall.

  64. A. Nuran

    Not one of those claims by vaccine skeptics is “misinformation”. Not a single solitary one.

    They are lies. The people who come up with them are liars. To say otherwise weakens the message.

  65. Chief

    I don’t see a problem with Phil’s post coming from an emotional direction. Human beings will make a emotional response (however brief) to any first approached idea and then may carry on on that level or sit back and measure the pros and cons of that information may have to their worldview.

  66. Kelly L.

    @Mog,

    How vaccines save children too young to be vaccinated: by keeping everyone around them from getting the diseases in the first place. If the child doesn’t come into contact with the disease–if there’s no one to transmit it to him or her–the child doesn’t catch the disease during that vulnerable window between birth and vaccination age.

  67. Erin

    Your comment about vaccines not using fetal tissue is true, though incomplete. And that incompleteness is what matters to prolife Catholics like myself, though I suspect perhaps you know that. Your link clearly states that you know some vaccines are made using the cell lines of fetuses who were the victims of abortion – an intrinsic evil. As a Catholic, I am morally obligated to use ethical alternatives where available, which I do (vaccines developed with cow or chicken cell products, for example) and to urge their development where they are not. I am also morally obligated to protect my children, and vaccines absolutely do this. So I am in an ethical quagmire wherein I must allow an evil (the use of vaccines made with fetal cell products) for the health of my children. I know there are many who will say they couldn’t care less about the ethical implications of the development of vaccines, but it forces me to materially support an intrinsic evil, and it doesn’t need to be that way. Ethical alternatives can and should be available.

  68. The proofs presented as evidence for pro-vaccination can be said to be lying with statistics. Not to say that the ANTI-vaccination people don’t do the same thing.

    Saying “facts don’t matter” implies that what one is presenting are facts, when they have merely been accepted as fact by the VIPs in their scientific field.

    The problem here, like in many fields of science, is that of a need for mathematical rigidity in our proofs. None exists.

    So, the pro- will try to stop the anti-, and vice versa. Meanwhile, what about one’s right to be left alone and follow their own beliefs on what is right or wrong?

    That sort of thing seems to have been trampled on enough in the name of someone’s concern, as though that concern were more important than someone else’s beliefs– however right or wrong they may seem to others.

    I assert my rights. I insist others do the same.

  69. CraterJoe

    @Asraiya
    Who is to say YOU are not a paid employee of a pharmaceutical company?

  70. Blargh

    @ Dragonchild:
    Yes! Thank you!
    I fully acknowledge that I might be quite a bit more cynical than most, but I consider the Kid Picture the Godwin of causes. I don’t care if whatever its caption says is true or not; it’s base emotional manipulation, and anyone using it has just lost. And I’m sick and tired of it. Any cause – even one that I would have considered donating to/supporting – that throws a picture of a kid (usually sad, almost always monochrome) in my face to get its point across gets to bugger off empty-handed.

  71. @56. Mog:

    It protects those not vaccinated by herd immunity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity

  72. Steve D

    Here’s a question I haven’t seen asked yet. With all the concern about vaccines and autism, is it at all possible we’re seeing a rise in autism because we increasingly encourage children to fixate on themselves and their own needs? And because so many parents do it, too? Could autism be a social disease, not in the old euphemistic sense, but a symptom of a messed up society?

    Now, of course, in many, probably most, cases the answer is certainly no, but a lot of the anti-vaxers strike me as exactly the kind of people who could create a child rearing environment perfectly suited to creating a child unable to relate to anything outside itself.

  73. Well said, Phil. Done my part in sharing this post around. This may be a good place to mention that the Journal of Are You F*cking Kidding (thejayfk.org) is still running their American Red Cross Holiday Vaccination Drive to help the ARC vaccinate children around the world against measles. It costs a dollar per vaccine, and it saves lives.

    Direct link to the ARC donation page

    Help out if you want. Ignore if you don’t. :)

  74. Autum

    I use to think like you guys until I started to do my own research with my family and doctors and what I found, I have decided not to vaccinate and since then my son is never sick except for the common cold. I dont judge people who chose to vaccinate so I expect the same respect. All I do say is before you say we are wrong do your research and start by asking your doctor to see the vaccine insert and read all the harsh chemiclas on it then go in the cdc website and look up those chemicals and you will read that no amount is safe, so why is it in our vaccines?????If they make vaccines without harsh chemicals I will be the first mommy to take my babies back in and get them vaccinated, but until then its good hygine and good nutrient and just plain old good life style.

  75. Jessica reeder

    what the crap, us anti vaxxers are here for a reason. my child is NOT receiving any kind of poison what so ever. these useless vaccines are more harm than good. as an American I have the freedom to do what I want, and If I choose to not give my child vaccines. then she is not receiving them. vaccines = poison. the CDC has the ingredients on their website. look them up. that alone to me made me think twice.

  76. Autum

    Oh also if you look over at other countries where the disease rates are up high, its not because of lack of vaccines but its because poor water, poor medical, poor nutrient and ect…Look up the side affects of the diseases and then look up the side affects of the vaccine, the side affects of the vaccine are way worse. The diseases can be treated, with medical care and good nutrient, but a side affect from a vaccine cant be reversed. I think our medical professionals and government should be teaching us about good hygine and good eating habits, because with these two things so much illinesses and diseases can be prevented.

  77. PayasYouStargaze

    I still refuse to buy Red Alert 3 because Jenny McCarthy is in it. It’s a shame because I love that series of games.

  78. Joseph G

    @34 Blake Helgoth (and an aside to Dragonchild) regarding: The real questin here is wether the masses are more important than the individual. Does a parent have more responsibility to protect her child than the masses? If a vaccine has a significant chance to sicken or kill a percentage of people who recieve it, then why would a parent allow their child to be exposed to that risk? Or, is it ok for 5 – 10% of people who recieve a vaccine to be permanently injured or killed for the sake of the masses? These are the hard questions that must be answered first.

    That’s still a false premise, though. The situation you describe where a choice is given between individual health and public health doesn’t exist. Before vaccines, it was not uncommon for MOST human beings to die young from preventable illnesses. That’s the amazing thing; realizing just how deadly these diseases can be. All things being equal, even if vaccines did have a 5-10% chance of causing disability or death (which they don’t – this number is ridiculously high by at least 3 orders of magnitude) you would still be much safer from harm taking the vaccine then avoiding it. The only reason the choice isn’t crystal clear to everyone is because those who are unvaccinated are (often) protected by herd immunity. But that immunity has limits, and it’s cracking around the edges, as we’re seeing from cases of pertussis. If vaccination rates get low enough, anti-vaxxers will be definitively proven wrong, anyway. Only problem is, this proof would come at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

  79. Phil, very nice post, and many congratulations to the folks down under. Also thanks to Phil and others for the links.

    For Dragonchild and others who think that telling Dana’s story is a logical fallacy or that we shouldn’t use emotional tactics, I’d counter that bringing the human story into view is very important. Especially since many people today have very little idea of what these diseases can do. In fact, I highly recommend the site ShotByShot.org, which tells the stories of those affect by vaccine preventable diseases. Be warned, though. Some of the videos and stories are, understandably, rather disturbing.

  80. Joseph G

    @63 Phil Plait: Of course it’s an appeal to emotion. But as others have said, it’s not a fallacy. And in fact, as a skeptic, I think it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter that antivaxxers use appeals to emotion as well. What matters is how it’s used.

    For example, antivaxxers use it to irrationally scare parents, saying for example they are putting toxins into their babies. Clearly, this is an emotional appeal, but it’s also misinformation — but it works, as Asraiya’s comment (#61) above shows.

    This!
    If an entire argument is based on appeals to emotion, clearly it’s fallacious. But your own position, and that of the “reality-based community,” is supported by mountains of facts and hard data.
    As you pointed out, people are extremely protective of young children – call it adorable-ness or call it evolutionary psych, it’s powerful. This protectiveness is used in the case of the anti-vaxxers to steer parents away from reality. It’s only fair that we point out the real harm that comes to real children from this fallacious ideology (and that’s exactly what it is, an ideology).

  81. jen

    Here’s my question, how many kids who haven’t been vaccinated have autism? If we don’t know what causes autism then how can we say vaccinations don’t cause it? Why is it in communities where there is a large number of invaxers is there no autism ie the amish? I’m on the fence on this but I do think people should have to right to say no to it and not have the gov knock on their door telling them they’re horrible parents.

  82. Ahmed Kazikian

    Moral relativism kills.

  83. Free

    Say anything enough, people will believe it…true or not, proven or not.Vaccines are safe,nearly everyone says it, ‘knows’ it, believes it but the proof is certainly not clear.
    That is why I will prefer to go by instinct as I discover for myself the truth. My children are my responsibility, no one else will have to care for them if they get sick, whether by a childhood illness or a vaccine injury.

  84. Nance

    http://www.advancedhealthplan.com/bhvaccineingredients.html hmmmm, thimerosal, acellular pertussis adsorbed formaldehyde (they EMBALM u with this!!), human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue (note the ABORTED), aluminum phosphate,
    ammonium sulfate, and thimerosal washed sheep RBCs (aluminum causes Alzheimers!!)

    http://gaia-health.com/articles451/000485-pertussis-more-virulent.shtml more virulent strain of whooping cough CAUSED by a vaccine!!!!

    this baby DIED because of a vaccine!!!!!!! http://iansvoice.org/default.aspx

    this child was SERIOUSLY INJURED by a vaccine!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSjVZx4jnuY&feature=player_embedded

    DO UR RESEARCH PPL!!! DO NOT just blindly trust!! there ARE risks, ur children ARE WORTH doing ur research instead of u being gullible! aren’t they???????

  85. Andrea

    In the USA in 1986, 90% of 1300 pertussis cases in Kansas were “adequately vaccinated” (Neil Miller, Vaccines: Are They Safe and Effective?, p. 33) In 1993, 72% of pertussis cases in the Chicago outbreak were fully up to date with their vaccinations. (Chicago Dept. of Health). Swedish epidemiologist B. Trollfors’ study of pertussis vaccine efficacy and toxicity around the world found that “pertussis-associated mortality is currently very low in industrialized countries, and no difference can be discerned when countries with high, low and zero immunization rates were compared.” He also found that England, Wales and West Germany had more pertussis fatalities in 1970 when the immunization rate was high, than during the last half of 1980 when rates had fallen.

  86. Nick B

    @64 Phil Plait
    I think the misunderstanding here comes from Dragonchild using the formal definition of logical fallacies. In the formal definition, even if an Appeal to Emotion is backed by fact it is still classified as a Red Herring and invalidated in an argument. This, however, does not invalidate the argument as a whole, just the premise that was the Appeal to Emotion.
    Quotes:
    “But showing how one argument in a complex thesis is fallaciously reasoned does not necessarily invalidate the proof; the complete proof could still logically imply its conclusion if that conclusion is not dependent on the fallacy”
    Or in much more plain text:
    “Recognizing an argument as an appeal to pity does not necessarily invalidate the conclusion or the factual assertions. There may be other reasons to accept the invited conclusion, but an appeal to pity is not one of them”
    Using deductive arguments is the staple of any logical thinker, but as David Hackett Fischer said, “All great historical and philosophical arguments have probably been fallacious in some respect.”

  87. Renea

    Oh please. Spare me how Right you are and go us on pro-choice. Everyone is permitted to make their best judgement in raising their children…and I don t vaccinate mine, but I do Not judge all of u for injecting ur children with poison…..it’s all in what we feel is best. Grow up.

  88. Nick B

    @79. PayasYouStargaze: Be thankful you didn’t buy Red Alert 3, it was a terrible game that brought shame to the series.

  89. Dragonchild

    @63. Phil Plait
    Thanks for replying. I’m not denying people are emotional (it’s kind of on full display here), nor condemning it. And I have to concede you, TechyDad et. al. are right in that sometimes people only respond to emotion. I’m just worried that delving in appeal to emotion can lead to getting blindsided by false equivalence. mymanhume (#52) sums that up well. Also, if you win with appeal to emotion, be careful that posts like #17 and #59 start damaging your side’s credibility. People aren’t binary; skeptics can be emotional but some emotional people are capable of reason. As long as the truly hysterical are impossible to win over anyway, I’d rather try to flip the switch in people’s heads.

    That’s just me, I guess. I could be wrong and just worrying myself in circles. I wrote with a concern; I’m not seeking a redaction per se. My goal isn’t to get Phil Plait to say “I was wrong to do that” on his own blog. I’m just saying that message and framing are so, so important. No, you can’t convince everyone with facts. But I think, to an extent, this is overstated because many skeptics think that the purity of JUST facts presents a convincing case by itself and skimp on framing the message. THAT is irrational. (Not saying you do it; I’m just saying there’s a hell of a middle ground between a bland fact dump and raw emotion.) Post an 80-page report conclusively debunking the antivax crowd and most people won’t even read it! But that’s where people like you come in. You’re indispensable as a liaison between “boring facts” and laymen.

    To cut to the chase, I’m being extremely critical because we’re on the same side, so I want this message as convincing as possible. . . and, well, guh. Might as well be honest. I’m hardly the best writer in the world, but I can’t help but think there was a better way. It read like “argument, fact, argument, fact, argument, now LOOK AT DEAD BABBY!” Seriously, when I got that reaction, I didn’t feel right dismissing it. I mean, you posted this to convince doubters, right? If so that’s damn ambitious, but if not, then this is just a rant.

    Was it a fallacy? Was it wrong? Frankly, I don’t even CARE; I’m not judging you. I just think we both really care more about the results than anything, and reading it from the various mindsets of people I know. . . I felt it won’t work. The people who will most strongly disagree with me will invariably be already in the choir. You can’t win everyone over in a single statement, but sometimes you only get one chance to convince as many people as possible, and I don’t know any vaccine doubters I could forward this to expecting it would sway them. Anyone who responds to emotion isn’t going to click on the links, so if Dana’s face doesn’t work, what do I do with this? I’m not trying to be some smug critic; it really bothered me! I basically said to myself, “This message is important but (argh) I can’t use it. I need something better.” Saying that might get me despised here but that’s what got to me. I don’t get this worked up over posts about the Apple Pie Nebula because if the stakes WEREN’T this unforgivingly high I wouldn’t have anything negative to say about how you write. This fight, however, I feel has a brutally narrow margin for error.

    Society desperately needs people like you to be as good as possible at this sort of thing. I don’t mean just good; I mean if today’s brouhaha results in you getting any sharper at message and everyone here deciding I’m an arrogant jerk, well, it’d suck for me but the benefit to society would be worth it. I’d like to be pals with everyone here but this is a tough, tough, tough fight.

    (Ugh, this is gonna be the toughest “Submit Comment” click I’ve made on this blog, by far.)

  90. Tum

    But vaccines contain Retroviruses!!!11!!!ONE!!ELEVEN!!
    http://treatingxmrv.blogspot.com/2011/12/tunnel-vision.html

  91. Darek

    Choosing Pertussis to make an example is pretty foolish, for the vaccine does nothing to prevent the disease from spreading or from outbreaks occurring. Pertussis is cyclic, it has outbreaks every 3~5 years. The vaccine helps to lessen serious symptoms from pertussis, but does nothing to prevent the spread of the disease.

    Pertussis outbreaks occur regardless of vaccination rates. There are also strains of pertussis that the vaccine doesn’t protect against despite 10 years of warning from the scientific community, like B.parapertussis.

    Back to the drawing board?

  92. Steve D. @74 asks, seeing “a rise in autism because we increasingly encourage children to fixate on themselves and their own needs?”

    The short answer is no. Autism is poorly named. Autism, the disorder, doesn’t mean “excessively self-absorbed”. It’s characterized by the “triad of impairments” (named by Wing and Gould in 1979):

    1. Social impairment;
    2. Verbal and non-verbal language impairment; and
    3. Repetitive/stereotyped activities or behaviors

    This triad manifests to greater or lesser degree in each autistic individual. The cause of autism is unknown, but genetic and prenatal factors appear to be dominant. There may also be neurostructural differences in autism. (In other words, post-natal, developmental experiences cannot “make someone autistic”. )

    The second part is: are we really seeing a rise in autism, or is the alleged “rise” really comprised of a collection: a shift in diagnostic categories, plus a broadening of criteria, plus greater awareness.

    The subject is too broad, and too off-topic, to go into here. There’s no easy one-stop shop for questions about autism, but I’d recommend (to avoid comment moderation) searching for leftbrainrightbrain autism. It’s a website run by two autism parents and is heavy on the science.

  93. Adam

    1. Hepatitis B Vaccination of Male Neonates and Autism

    Annals of Epidemiology , Vol. 19, No. 9 ABSTRACTS (ACE), September 2009: 651-680, p. 659

    CM Gallagher, MS Goodman, Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY

    PURPOSE: Universal newborn immunization with hepatitis B vaccine was recommended in 1991; however, safety findings are mixed. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Workgroup reported no association between hepatitis B vaccination at birth and febrile episodes or neurological adverse events. Other studies found positive associations between
    hepatitis B vaccination and ear infection, pharyngitis, and chronic arthritis; as well as receipt of early intervention/special education services (EIS); in probability samples of U.S. children. Children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) comprise a growing caseload for EIS. We evaluated the association between hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and parental report of ASD.

    METHODS: This cross-sectional study used U.S. probability samples obtained from National Health Interview Survey 1997-2002 datasets. Logistic regression modeling was used to estimate the effect of neonatal hepatitis B vaccination on ASD risk among boys age 3-17 years with shot records, adjusted for race, maternal education, and two-parent household.

    RESULTS: Boys who received the hepatitis B vaccine during the first month of life had 2.94 greater odds for ASD (nZ31 of 7,486; OR Z 2.94; p Z 0.03; 95% CI Z 1.10, 7.90)
    compared to later- or unvaccinated boys. Non-Hispanic white boys were 61% less likely to have ASD (ORZ0.39; pZ0.04; 95% CIZ0.16, 0.94) relative to non-white boys.

    CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD; risk was greatest for non-white boys.

    2. Porphyrinuria in childhood autistic disorder: Implications for environmental toxicity

    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2006

    Robert Natafa, Corinne Skorupkab, Lorene Ametb, Alain Lama, Anthea Springbettc and Richard Lathed, aLaboratoire Philippe Auguste, Paris, France, Association ARIANE, Clichy, France, Department of Statistics, Roslin Institute, Roslin, UK, Pieta Research,

    This new study from France utilizes a new and sophisticated measurement for environmental toxicity by assessing porphyrin levels in autistic children. It provides clear and unequivocal evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders are more toxic than their neurotypical peers.

    Excerpt: “Coproporphyrin levels were elevated in children with autistic disorder relative to control groups…the elevation was significant. These data implicate environmental toxicity in childhood autistic disorder.”

    Abstract: To address a possible environmental contribution to autism, we carried out a retrospective study on urinary porphyrin levels, a biomarker of environmental toxicity, in 269 children with neurodevelopmental and related disorders referred to a Paris clinic (2002–2004), including 106 with autistic disorder. Urinary porphyrin levels determined by high-performance liquid chromatography were compared between diagnostic groups including internal and external control groups. Coproporphyrin levels were elevated in children with autistic disorder relative to control groups. Elevation was maintained on normalization for age or to a control heme pathway metabolite (uroporphyrin) in the same samples. The elevation was significant (P < 0.001). Porphyrin levels were unchanged in Asperger's disorder, distinguishing it from autistic disorder. The atypical molecule precoproporphyrin, a specific indicator of heavy metal toxicity, was also elevated in autistic disorder (P 2-fold, (3) and produced a delayed and persistent rise (≥2-fold) in baseline Ca2+. THI (100nM, 5min) recruited more ATP responders, shortened the ATP-mediated Ca2+ transient (≥1.4-fold) and produced a delayed rise (≥3-fold) in the Ca2+ baseline, mimicking Ry. THI and Ry, in combination, produced additive effects leading to uncoupling of IP3R and RyR1 signals. THI altered ATP-mediated IL-6 secretion, initially enhancing the rate of but suppressing overall cytokine secretion in DCs. DCs are exquisitely sensitive to THI, with one mechanism involving the uncoupling of positive and negative regulation of Ca2+signals contributed by RyR1.

    3. Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes—A review

    Journal of Immunotoxicology, January-March 2011, Vol. 8, No. 1 , Pages 68-79

    Helen V. Ratajczak, PhD

    Autism, a member of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), has been increasing dramatically since its description by Leo Kanner in 1943. First estimated to occur in 4 to 5 per 10,000 children, the incidence of autism is now 1 per 110 in the United States, and 1 per 64 in the United Kingdom, with similar incidences throughout the world. Searching information from 1943 to the present in PubMed and Ovid Medline databases, this review summarizes results that correlate the timing of changes in incidence with environmental changes. Autism could result from more than one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms. Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination. Therefore, autism is the result of genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain. The inflammation could be caused by a defective placenta, immature blood-brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to infection while pregnant, a premature birth, encephalitis in the child after birth, or a toxic environment.

    4. Uncoupling of ATP-mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated IL-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal

    Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2006.

    Samuel R. Goth, Ruth A. Chu Jeffrey P. Gregg

    This study demonstrates that very low-levels of Thimerosal can contribute to immune system disregulation.

    Excerpt: “Our findings that DCs primarily express the RyR1 channel complex and that this complex is uncoupled by very low levels of THI with dysregulated IL-6 secretion raise intriguing questions about a molecular basis for immune dyregulation and the possible role of the RyR1 complex in genetic susceptibility of the immune system to mercury.”

    Abstract
    Dendritic cells (DCs), a rare cell type widely distributed in the soma, are potent antigen presenting cells that initiate primary immune responses. DCs rely on intracellular redox state and calcium (Ca2+) signals for proper development and function, but the relationship between these two signaling systems is unclear. Thimerosal (THI) is a mercurial used to preserve vaccines, consumer products, and experimentally to induce Ca2+ release from microsomal stores. We tested ATP-mediated Ca2+ responses of DCs transiently exposed to nanomolar THI. Transcriptional and immunocytochemical analyses show murine myeloid immature and mature DC (IDCs, MDCs) express inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphosphate and ryanodine receptor (IP3R, RyR) Ca2+ channels, known targets of THI. IDCs express the RyR1 isoform in a punctate distribution that is densest near plasma membranes and within dendritic processes whereas IP3Rs are more generally distributed. RyR1 positively and negatively regulates purinergic signaling since ryanodine (Ry) blockade (1) recruited 80 percent more ATP responders, (2) shortened ATP-mediated Ca2+ transients >2-fold, (3) and produced a delayed and persistent rise (≥2-fold) in baseline Ca2+. THI (100nM, 5min) recruited more ATP responders, shortened the ATP-mediated Ca2+ transient (≥1.4-fold) and produced a delayed rise (≥3-fold) in the Ca2+ baseline, mimicking Ry. THI and Ry, in combination, produced additive effects leading to uncoupling of IP3R and RyR1 signals. THI altered ATP-mediated IL-6 secretion, initially enhancing the rate of but suppressing overall cytokine secretion in DCs. DCs are exquisitely sensitive to THI, with one mechanism involving the uncoupling of positive and negative regulation of Ca2+signals contributed by RyR1.

    5. Gender-selective toxicity of thimerosal.

    Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2009 Mar;61(2):133-6. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

    Branch DR, Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Abstract
    A recent report shows a correlation of the historical use of thimerosal in therapeutic immunizations with the subsequent development of autism; however, this association remains controversial. Autism occurs approximately four times more frequently in males compared to females; thus, studies of thimerosal toxicity should take into consideration gender-selective effects. The present study was originally undertaken to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of thimersosal in male and female CD1 mice. However, during the limited MTD studies, it became apparent that thimerosal has a differential MTD that depends on whether the mouse is male or female. At doses of 38.4-76.8mg/kg using 10% DMSO as diluent, seven of seven male mice compared to zero of seven female mice tested succumbed to thimerosal. Although the thimerosal levels used were very high, as we were originally only trying to determine MTD, it was completely unexpected to observe a difference of the MTD between male and female mice. Thus, our studies, although not directly addressing the controversy surrounding thimerosal and autism, and still preliminary due to small numbers of mice examined, provide, nevertheless, the first report of gender-selective toxicity of thimerosal and indicate that any future studies of thimerosal toxicity should take into consideration gender-specific differences.

    6. Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal

    Environmental Health Perspectives, Aug 2005.

    Thomas Burbacher, PhD [University of Washington].

    This study demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in the brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish. This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the “safe kind.” This study also delivers a strong rebuke of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation in 2004 to no longer pursue the mercury-autism connection.

    Excerpt: “A recently published IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation [of studying mercury and autism] as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal [of removing mercury from vaccines]. This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants.”

  94. gt_bike

    Phil, first off I’m sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter, I cannot imagine the loss of a child. That being said please understand that your generalities about generalities omitted other facts about “herds” and specifics about perstussis.

    1. Vaccines don’t eliminate all viruses or their ability to be passed from a vaccinated person to another vaccinated person and finally to one who is not. Meaning: your daughter could have contracted pertussis from a vaccinated person.

    2. Pertussis is one of the most vaccine resistent viruses in the range of diseases in the usual vaccine regimen. Some scientists say that Pertussis vaccines may be as low as 2 years for efficacy and up to 6 years at best. Yet the CDC recommends boosters every 10 years…

    3. Vaccinated people can still carry the disease and not know it or have a mild form of it even when they are vaccinated. Some people are rendered immune to severe forms of diseases but still catch mild cases of the disease. Pertussis and Varicella (chicken pox) are two specific ones where this is not uncommon.

    4. “Toxins” is a different thing to many people. For some penuts, bee stings or nuts are deadly toxins. My wife has a corn in any form allergy and while it’s not deadly the effects from exposure or ingestion are mild to severe. Gluten intolerant people would tell you that gluten is toxic to them.
    a. So saying a vaccination does not introduce a prejudicial “toxin” to some people (if not many) is scientifically inaccurate. Even “herd immunity” allows for some occurance of diseases. The emotional aspect of your position may be obfuscating the scientific stance you are hoping will prevail. Scientifically/statistically speaking there are people who are harmed by vaccines let alone those who know they are (i.e. I got Measles and Reubella from the vaccine). That there is a wholesale denunciation of those who know this as a statistical probability then those who peddle the science “proving” them wrong or portraying them as crackpots ought to consider that their position is as dishonest and the anti-vaxers.

    The pro vax campaign simply has a single answer to all who have concerns: Vaccines do not, cannot and don’t cause x shut up and take them. Well then: those nut, bee and gluten allergic people must be Jenny McCarthy crazy with overactive imaginations too because those toxins are safe for a majority of the herd.

  95. Michelle

    there are ‘cute baby pic’ on both sides of the issue….Your kid can die from a disease or from a vaccine…pick your poison. I see both sides as right and both as wrong. There is no black or white here….
    There are vaccines that HAVE wiped out things like Polio…But there are so many kids that, with in hours of getting a vaccine, had severe reaction and have become mentally/physically injured and some have died.
    “The US childhood immunization schedule specifies 26 vaccine doses for infants aged less than 1 year—the most in the world—yet 33 nations have lower IMRs.” (IMR=infant mortality rate) (taken from http://het.sagepub.com/content/30/9/1420)
    Why do babies get a Hep B shot at BIRTH? Hepatitis B Is a sexually transmitted disease….why are we injecting THAT in a newborn??
    The number of vaccines has risen to about 3x what I got as a kid…and in the past 10 yrs+ or so there has been an alarming rise in child disorders: Autism, allergies, asthma, ADD/ADHD….(and that is just in the A’s)…I scratch my head and wonder…how can it NOT be related??
    Anyway, my kid was happy and bright and ahead of the curve for every milestone, until her 18 month vaccines….then she went down hill in all areas of development. Is it related…I dont know…but do I want to take the chance and put more chemicals in her and chance it….no thanks.

  96. @Nance

    Your body is producing formaldehyde right now. Lots of it, in fact. Significantly more than you’ll find in any vaccine that contains it (not all do). Guess what else is in vaccines that is also in embalming fluid (and in fact is the greatest constituent of each by volume)? Water! Does the fact that they use water as part of the solution used to embalm corpses mean that water is bad?

    You bring up thimerosal. Are you aware that nearly every childhood vaccine is thimerosal-free? And that even those vaccines that use thimerosal (only flu vaccines) have thimerosal-free alternatives? Perhaps you could enlighten us about the dose of thimerosal that is actually harmful? How does it compare to the amounts in vaccines? Before you answer, perhaps you should read some of the links that Phil and Liz Ditz provided.

    In fact, I highly recommend that instead of going to places that spout misinformation with no regard to truth, try looking at the scientific literature instead. Pay a visit to the CDC’s web site, which has a lot of very useful, truthful, information. Who knows. You might learn something.

  97. MA

    Did the baby you reference have any vaccines at ALL? Any?

    Babies die, they die from natural disease and they die from vaccines. Your article is written purely on emotion with NO facts to back it up. There is NOTHING to prove that vaccines are safe. Nothing.

  98. MA

    @ Todd, flu vaccines have thimersol (sp) as do the Rhogam (sp) shots that they force on pregnant women. They wanted me to take THREE shots with my last baby, which would have given him copious amounts of mercury before he was even born.

    He is vaccine free and the healthiest kid in his class.

  99. Jen @83 asks, “how many kids who haven’t been vaccinated have autism? If we don’t know what causes autism then how can we say vaccinations don’t cause it? Why is it in communities where there is a large number of invaxers is there no autism ie the amish? ”

    I’m going to take those questions in the reverse order.

    You have been lied to, repeatedly. The Amish do vaccinate, and they do have autism. The other thing you need to know is that the Amish, because of their marriage practices and because of their lifestyle differences, aren’t a good model for vaccine decision-making. For the backstory on the Big Amish Don’t Vaccinate and Don’t Get Autism Lie, try searching for “Autism News Beat”+ “Amish Do Vaccinate”.

    On to your question, “If we don’t know what causes autism then how can we say vaccinations don’t cause it?” There are a couple of issue: 1. the issue of vaccination and autism has been extensively studied, and no correlation found. 2. We don’t know exactly what causes autism, but as I said to Steve D., it appears that neurostructural changes may be involved, and there’s no reason to suspect vaccination (any combination of ingredients) to be able to cause that kind of change. 3. There’s a lot of irresponsible reporting around autism causation. For a list, try searching for “This just in: Being alive linked to autism”, by Emily J. Willingham, a biologist, and by the way, an autism parent.

    I’d like to go into more depth, but I’m about to lose my internet access.

  100. @Jen

    If we don’t know what causes autism then how can we say vaccinations don’t cause it?

    If we don’t know what causes autism, then how can we say that whack-a-mole games don’t cause it?

  101. Amanda

    This article is a joke. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I am disappointed I wasted my time with your ignorant and intolerant post. Do some research and independent thinking…who do you think pays for the “research” that you claim proves vaccines are totally “safe” … Respect others decisions and parenting choices

  102. Amanda

    Try reading the ingredient lists for your beloved vaccines….that should scare you.

  103. Jason

    Oh god… the anti-Fluoride people have shown up. Reasonable discourse is doomed.

  104. pat

    as sad as the loss of anyone is (let alone a baby) please explain why it is ever necessary to put even a trace of mercury in any vaccine. go ahead…..waiting…..

  105. Karen Parker

    If you are positive science supports your views, you are mistaken. A segment of science supports your views.

    The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the
    United States in the Twentieth Century

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/76757994

    JOHN B. McKINLAY AND SONJA M. McKINLAY

    Department of Sociology, Boston University, and Massachusetts General
    Hospital; Department of Mathematics, Boston University, and Radcliffe
    Institute, Harvard University

    “. . . by the time laboratory medicine came effectively into the picture the job had
    been carried far toward completion by the humanitarians and social reformers of the
    nineteenth century. Their doctrine that nature is holy and healthful was scientifically
    naive but proved highly effective in dealing with the most important health problems
    of their age. When the tide is receding from the beach it is easy to have the illusion
    that one can empty the ocean by removing water with a pail.”

    R. Dubos, Mirage of Health,

    New York: Perennial Library, 1959, p. 23

    The modern “heresy” that medical care (as it is traditionally conceived) is generally unrelated to improvements in the health of populations (as distinct from individuals) is still dismissed as unthinkable in much the same way as the so-called heresies of former times. And this is despite a long history of support in popular and scientific writings as well as from able minds in a variety of disciplines.

  106. Chad @24 wrote,

    My sister’s doctor recently suggested my niece not take certain vaccinations.

    Here is the CDC’s guide to contra-indications and precautions for vaccines.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/vac-admin/downloads/contraindications-guide-508.pdf

    It may hold some answers for you. And others.

  107. CliffD

    Wow! A lot of you have certainly consumed more than your share of the KoolAid!
    First, I don’t really care how you want to slice it: Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. It is a known neurotoxin. Period.
    Second, who says it is just the mercury in vaccines that’s the problem? Ever study cell and molecular biology or immunology? Injection/innoculation of foreign protein stimulates an immune response. Add a (toxic) adjuvant, and stimulate an exaggerated immune response. Now, go to the CDC’s website and look up the list of foreign proteins contained in the ‘soup’ used to produce the vaccine. Now, tell me that the human body can look through all of the multitude of proteins and say “ahh, that one right there; that’s the one I need to focus on at the exclusion of all the others.” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
    Autism is most likely an epigenetic (not genetic) response to environmental trigger(s). In some, but not all cases, that trigger is one or more immunizations.
    I feel for the author for the terrible loss of a child. I truly do. But just like your child is gone, so is mine, in a sense. My child recieved an MMR vaccine, and two days later, following fever and malaise, was gone, replaced with a non-verbal child in near constant pain with chronic GI, behavioral, and sleep issues.
    If I had it to do all over again, I would NEVER vaccinate my son. It destroyed him. And in case you think I have no training or background ‘other than that,’ I practice emergency medicine. One thing my education and training has tought me is to carefully scrutinize information. And I have. Vaccines are based on junk science, and promoted by an industry predicated not on helping people, but on sheer GREED.

  108. Dawn K

    Great article but you need some supporting evidence! You cited no sources and just used a cute baby to support your cause. All I kept thinking is as I read it was “I think I agree with what he is saying, but I wish I knew if it were factual.” You need studies, journal articles, etc.

  109. avalon

    I bet all you vaccine pushers like to mutilate your children’s genitals too.

  110. Amanda

    It’s unfortunate that your friends baby died, but it’s not the antivaxers fault. Pertussis has been going around, and it’s the vaccinated getting it. I have several sets of vax’d friends that got it. My unvax’d household did not. (i have 4 children ranging from 8 years to 3 months old) A pediatrician told me recently that the reason the diseases are still going around in spite of people being vax’d is because the disease mutates. Vaccinations are proven worthless and nothing more than shooting up with toxins. Do your research with an open mind and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been misinformed about. :). Proud antivaxer here!

  111. VinceRN

    Probably just my own prejiduce. but I would have expected everyone involved in something called a “Folk Festival” to be firmly in the antivax camp.

    All this argueing with antivax types seem quixotic. You are using science to argue with religion, they aren;t talking about God, but they have an absolute religious belief in their position. Being right doesn’t help you in this case. Faith will always trump knowledge in people who go in for faith.

  112. @89 – About time someone brought up DHMO. Clearly the most dangerous ingredient in vaccines and other medicines. It should be banned.

    My name is linked to a site with a lot of research on this for those unfamiliar with it, though I imagine most of the regulars here are.

  113. To add to Liz Ditz’s insightful post, there was a rather famous study done by Madsen et al. in over 500,000 children. The rates of autism among vaccinated and unvaccinated children were identical. There were several other studies showing similar results. You can read more about them here:

    http://skeweddistribution.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/vaccines-and-autism-and-nonsense-oh-my/

    Madsen et al., A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.

  114. Alan Collingwood

    I’ve been vaccinated for measles, mumps, tetanus, etc. I haven’t developed autism, which is too bad in a way. It might be a refreshing change from reality.

  115. brittbey

    Ah, so the company who makes the vaccine lied on the package insert.. clearly says human cells.

  116. @Asraiya,

    Anything is toxic if you consume enough of it. Drink enough water and you’ll die. The difference between death, injury, or simply your body flushing it out is a matter of how much of the substance you get for how long. If you consume 1 cup of water every 30 seconds for 24 hours straight, you will die. If you consume that same 2,880 cups of water over the course of 4 months, you’ll be fine.

    The same is true for mercury. With the trace amounts that are in vaccines, the mercury gets flushed from a child’s system long before their next shot rolls around.

  117. Nearly 100 posts and still so much misinformation going around about people who think vaccines are poison… I have my couple of links for you all:

    A nice infographic that may help: http://vaccines.com/_img/body/1-0/1-1_infographic_01.gif

    My standard: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php

    Check out some basic math about coincidence: http://factsnotfantasy.com/coincidence.php

  118. @Jen,

    First off, study after study has shown no correlation between autism and vaccines. So while we might not know exactly what causes autism, we’ve ruled out vaccines. As for the Amish/Autism link, that’s a falsehood. The Amish *do* vaccinate and they *do* have autism. (Again, this doesn’t show a link between the two. It just shows that the statement “well, the Amish don’t vaccinate and they never get autism” isn’t true.)

    If anything, the autism/vaccination link should be disproven by the recent drop in vaccination rates. Given the drop, you’d think that autism rates would drop also. Instead, they’re climbing. So something else must be at play here.

    Finally, I’m all for parents raising their kids as they see fit and keeping the government out of our lives as much as possible. This is a public health matter, though. If I have a baby that is too young to be vaccinated, your unvaccinated kids could transmit a virus to my baby and make him/her sick. Vaccines protect more than just those who get the shot.

  119. Tom Callahan

    @26 Maggy:
    “ppb” and “ppm” are not valid measures for this kind of thing — they’re concentrations — in other words percentages. I could drink a gallon of water with 1ppm of a substance, or one teaspoon with 1ppm of the same substance, and get vastly different amounts of that substance.

    So yes, a low concentration in drinking water which you would routinely consume a large amount of on a regular basis for an extended period of time would be a problem because over time your exposure would be very high, but a high concentration in a tiny, tiny amount of something you consume a few times in a lifetime would not be.

    You throw a bunch of numbers out there without knowing what they mean (or intentionally not clarifying…). Thanks for the perfect illustration of the problem with anti-vaxxers.

    @34 Blake:
    You asked: “If a vaccine has a significant chance to sicken or kill a percentage of people who recieve it, then why would a parent allow their child to be exposed to that risk? Or, is it ok for 5 – 10% of people who recieve a vaccine to be permanently injured or killed for the sake of the masses?”

    First, your first question supposes that the person being asked actually believes that the vaccine in question is risky and implies that anybody vaccinating their children is knowingly risking their lives in a significant way — I, as a parent, am incredibly insulted by that, especially since NOT vaccinating is by far a more significant risk unless your child has a known underlying complicating condition that contraindicates vaccination.

    Show me one vaccine that ACTUALLY has a significant chance to sicken or kill a percentage of people that receive it (your 5-10% number is ridiculous) and I will be the first to say that no, that specific vaccine should not be used. But I’m not going to throw out the whole science of vaccination over it! (And you can’t show me such an example unless you use intentionally distorted numbers).

    Second, yes I do think it’s OK for there to be an EXTREMELY small chance of adverse reaction to the vaccine for the greater benefit of the wider population. Virtually (or actually) eliminating diseases that have killed millions of people at the cost of a few lives is completely acceptable at the cost of even hundreds of lives, and it would be horribly irresponsible to say otherwise. Yes, it’s very tragic to be one of the few affected, and if there is a PROVEN safer vaccine, or better yet a safer non-vaccine alternative method to the same end then by all means we should adopt that, but in the absence of such a solution how selfish would you have to be to say those few people should have lived even at the cost that millions of others would die?

    There are many example of individual cost for the greater good, for example firemen risking their lives to save others — yes we should do what we can to minimize that risk and cost to the individual (training, equipment, etc.), but ultimately the societal benefit of having those people put themselves at risk far outweighs the negatives of not having them. We feel bad, rightly so, when something happens to them but when a fireman saves a house full of people but is killed as a result, you don’t hear anybody saying we should no longer have firemen — not having them would result in more people dying in fires and fires spreading out of control since there’s nothing there to stop them. Sound familiar? In the case of vaccines the risk mitigation is handled by testing, monitoring, and continued advances through research, and instead of saving a houseful of people, it’s thousands — or even millions.

    And yes I have kids, yes they’re vaccinated, and no I’ve never felt that I was somehow putting them at risk or intentionally harming them by doing so — quite the opposite in fact. I am very much in favor of limiting the amount of foreign substances put in our bodies — our household is essentially vegetarian, mostly organic, and I am very much against overuse of antibiotics and xrays.

    I am not the type of person that insists that all science and technology is inherently and automatically good, but on this issue I am completely and totally convinced that with our current level of medical knowledge and technology, vaccines in general are the best available option.

    It’s incredibly unfortunate that people like yourselves have caused even a small movement against what is probably the single most important advance in medical prevention in history, except maybe for the idea of basic cleanliness. I only wish that your shortsighted, closed-minded attitude had been focused on something that affected only you personally instead of damaging the world around you, and that you kept your misinformation to yourself.

  120. @ Autum

    “I dont judge people who chose to vaccinate so I expect the same respect.”

    Why do you expect the same respect? My vaccinated kids pose no risk to others, but your unvaccinated children sure do. Further, your opinion on this matter is not based on any factual evidence whatsoever. I do not understand why people think their opinions must be respected when said opinions are formed out of ignorance.

    “If they make vaccines without harsh chemicals I will be the first mommy to take my babies back in and get them vaccinated, but until then its good hygine and good nutrient and just plain old good life style.”

    Actually, it’s good old herd immunity that will protecting your children “until then”. Not that I have anything against good hygiene or anything. But it’s not going to keep your little anklebiter from getting measles if another child attends school with the disease.

  121. As the father of a boy with Autism, I applaud your blog. It hurts me whenever the ignorant around me ask if vaccinations caused him to be “retarded” (their words not mine.

    I have railed against Anti-vaxxers for years, but a few months ago I had to take a step back from it all. The arguments just never end no matter how many times you point out facts and actual logic.

  122. Messier Tidy Upper

    In this context I suggest and recommend watching :

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

    Penn & Teller on vaccines – making a good point visually and factually.

    WARNING : swearing. (As you kinda expect with P & T.)

    Note Penn & Teller are strong outspoken Libertarians For Whatever That’s Worth.

    Better yet is this Vaccine Song :

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

    which sums up the issue very well – spot on. Both these and also this one :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/06/16/pertussis-can-kill-and-you-can-help-stop-it/

    have appeared on the BA blog before with the BA introducing me to them here but are well worth watching if you haven’t seen them before – or if you have and want your memory refreshed. :-)

  123. NoIDontVax

    I can not believe how many out right lies are going on in these comments! To the author of this “blog”…… You claim that a baby getting a shot is NOT getting toxins in their bodies… What is aluminum? What is formaldehyde? Those ARE toxins, and those ARE in the vaccinations! I think this is WAY to over simplified. I have 4 unvaccinated children, 1 of who is aspergers (autism spectrum). Obviously I do not believe vaccines are the sole cause of autism. I believe assaulting a child’s body with toxins is dangerous, and can cause who knows what to happen (and I asked my childrens pediatrician when she *fired* us if she could assure me that NOTHING would happen to my children if I gave them shots, and she said No, she could not.). The government has a fund for people damaged by vaccines. Please, stop spreading misinformation about the safety of vaccines when there are risks involved!

  124. 97. Tom Callahan Says:

    @97. Tom Callahan

    “Second, yes I do think it’s OK for there to be an EXTREMELY small chance of adverse reaction…”

    I would say that as long as the number of people adversely affected is substantially less that the number of people that would die of the disease otehrwise, we’re in good shape. So far as I can tell in every case the rediculous claims of the anti-vax folks are miniscule if compared to the deaths we used to have from the diseases the vaccines prevent. Even if their absurd claims were true, most vaccines would still be a good deal.

  125. Messier Tidy Upper

    @84. Ahmed Kazikian : “Moral relativism kills.”

    Yeah, okay, I’d have to agree with you there but how is that relevant here in this case? Please elaborate.

    @87. Dragonchild :

    Anyone who responds to emotion isn’t going to click on the links,

    Er .. why not? I respond to emotion, sometimes, (most humans do respond to both emotion *and* reason!) & I’ll click links if they sound interesting or informative. I’m not sure what your basis for saying that actually is.

    I basically said to myself, “This message is important but (argh) I can’t use it. I need something better.” Saying that might get me despised here but that’s what got to me. I don’t get this worked up over posts about the Apple Pie Nebula because if the stakes WEREN’T this unforgivingly high I wouldn’t have anything negative to say about how you write. This fight, however, I feel has a brutally narrow margin for error .. [snip!] .. I’d like to be pals with everyone here but this is a tough, tough, tough fight. (Ugh, this is gonna be the toughest “Submit Comment” click I’ve made on this blog, by far.)

    Fair enough. I do not despise you for having this opinion and very much doubt many if any others here do. I, for one, am happy to be pals with you. I can – and do – respect you even when we disagree which is rare but bound to happen once in a while. I appreciate your courage, thinking and integrity here and see, I think, where you are coming from even though I don’t agree with you on this specific point.

    @64. Phil Plait :

    Humans are emotional creatures, and we are not always swayed by facts. To deny that is irrational, and unskeptical. Being a skeptic does not mean being an unemotional robot. An emotional appeal can be used to motivate people, and that’s how I used it. Not as an end unto itself. I stand by what I did, and why I did it. People need to see that babies are dying due to low vaccination rates. It’s one thing to simply state a number, and another thing entirely to see the face of a child who died because of those numbers. [Emphasis added.]

    Quoted for truth. Well said and seconded by me.

  126. Lola M

    Congratulations on both sides! This sounds more like a discussion more than a sh-t throwing contest with a bunch of drunken construction workers.

    I don’t want to get vaccinated because I used to work for the pharmaceutical industry ensuring that drugs are manufactured properly. If anything goes wrong beyond the work that we do, we depend on reports from physicians as back up. I never saw anything bad happen when I was working, but I did see some things that were suspicious and questionable. Also, my seniors would regularly tell me that they would never consume pharmaceutical products after some the things that they have seen. I didn’t believe them.

    In order to truly ensure safety, the system is dependent on physicians being diligent reporting possible unusual reactions to drugs. No job is fool proof and even though everyone I had known including myself tried to do a good job, it is not unfathomable that things could go wrong as we were often called in when things did go wrong. I still trusted pharmaceutical industry because I thought physicians were doing their part in reporting….Until I had to take an injectable drug from one of the companies I had worked for…. quickly developed flu-like symptoms and violent vomiting. I was surprised I was never asked about the batch number of the product I had used and no doctor considered the possibility that the drug had been faulty even though I had clearly stated that this occurred immediately after using the product. That’s when I changed my mind about pharmaceuticals altogether including vaccines.

    After this experience, I see things like Glaxo-Smith-Klein forced to pay close to a billion dollars for drugs that they were knowingly manufactured defectively. I am shocked that the way it came out was because of a whistleblower from the inside had to say so. But the safety net that I thought was there is not there. These defective drugs were dispensed over several years where the result of administering these defective drugs came unnoticed to the FDA and physicians alike. Some of these drugs included diabetes drugs and Paxil which are known to cause serious reactions including death if not taken as prescribed or if the dosage is off.

    When I see the studies for these drugs, including vaccines, and the results come out as if everything is fine, I can’t help but ask myself: Are THESE physicians reporting their results accurately? Are they brushing off potentially serious side effects as something else like they did to me? I wonder how many studies came out that Paxil was safe and that Avandia was safe during the time the defective drugs were being dispensed?

    I have never met a parent whose child died drowning. I have never met a parent whose child has died choking….But I have met a classmate whose child was confirmed dead as a result of a vaccine. I really don’t know what to believe about published studies. There may be some truth. But in the end, I have seen both sides bending the truth. I know what I have seen in my life and what I have observed first hand. And that leads me to reject pharmaceuticals and vaccines alike. I truly believe I am healthier and safer that way.

    Please let me choose what I think is right for me.

  127. maurinemeleck

    To vaccinate or not is a choice in this country. Get used to it cause it ain’t going away.
    Course many of us did vaccinate early on and children suffered vaccine injuries.. re you going to take responsibility for that and pay for the costs for our children?
    Thank you jenny McCarthy. We love you. cannot wait to see you on New Years and the Times Square sign.
    Vaccine choice, parental consent-the cornerstone of our democracy.
    Maurine Meleck, SC Canary Party.

    grandparent of 2 vaccine injured children-one recovered

  128. VinceRN

    @64 – The Bad@$$ Astronomer

    It is another thing to see the face of a child that died because of it, but that isn;t a useful, or convincing arguement. It is one anecdotal case, that someone says died for that reason. It proves nothing. The other side can do the same, and it means nothing.

    The numbers are what matter. How many died historically from the disease, how many unimunized people die from it these days? Compare those numbers to worst case numbers for real problems from the vaccines and do the math. In every case (so far as I can tell), vaccines win by a huge margin.

    This sort of thing should be decided 100% on reason. If we appeal to emotion then people will decide by whichever side’s emotional appeal they see first, or maybe by whichever side has better psychologists designing the presentations to manipulate emotions.

    I suppose an emotional appeal on top of the pile of data presented is probably harmless, but it seems possible that making it an emotional issue, even in part, weakens our position, or makes it look weaker to some.

    Of course I’m only going by how I look at arguements. I might just be weird.

  129. Lola M

    Was Dana breastfed? That’s how infants get protection after all…Anything can kill them, not just pertussis. And parents are told that precautions should be taken with infants such as not taking them into crowds and sanitizing things. I wonder if that was done.

    It is certainly a sad story. But forcing people who have a history of vaccine reactions to get vaccinated is not good either. Additionally, vaccines are not 100% effective. So even if all people get vaccinated as you suggest, that would still allow for outbreaks to occur. Recent measles outbreaks in vaccinated children is a clear example of this.

    I’m surprised you aren’t writing about the benefits of breast-feeding and the consequences of not doing so instead.

  130. aRealisticVoice

    Vaccines have their place, but only when they are proven (a) not to have harmful chemicals like mercury in them, (b) when the problem warrants a vaccine (if they offered a vaccine for the common cold, I would probably seek death from a thousand cuts for the creator), and (c) harmful side-effects occur in less than 0.1% of the individuals being vaccinated.

    Even if everyone was vaccinated, some people would die from disease. Do we have accurate statistics that show that a vaccine stops the problem 99.9% of the time and has no life-changing side effects? For pertussis, you bet we do. For many of the newer vaccines, they have not been tested in a cogent fashion and should be re-evaluated.

    Let’s just use a little common sense and patience when we think about a vaccine and the damage that it can cause.

  131. @Lola-in the United States this year, we have had more cases of measles than we have had in over a decade. Approximately 90% of those cases were unvaccinated. It seems rather obvious that the measles outbreaks are occurring in, and because of, the unvaccinated, not the vaccinated.

    Additionally, it is completely inappropriate, inaccurate, and frankly absurd to imply that Dana may have died from pertussis because she was not breastfed. You don’t even know whether or not she WAS breastfed. Only one thing is certain: if she had not been exposed to pertussis she would not have died from pertussis.

  132. In answer to 132 Lola M. Yes Dana was breastfed until she became so sick that she had to be ventilated. Breastfeeding does not protect against infectious diseases. It infers some of the mother’s immunity. You can’t breastfeed a dead baby.

    To thee person who refused Rhogam because it contains thiomersal – you must’ve been lucky and had an Rh -ve baby. If you had an Rh+ve baby and it was not your first pregnancy pregancy – your baby would’ve been likely to have been born with severe anemia, jaundice, brain damage,or heart failure in a newborn or died in utero from Rh disease.

    I personally don’t have a problem with parents refusing Rhogam and Vitamin K because their stupidity will not affect anyone else except their own child.

    Vaccines however are a public health issue.

    133 aRealistVoice – so you are of the opinion that if vaccines are not 100% effective they are 0% effective. Do you not see the problem with that logic?

  133. Lola M

    It is also certain that if she would have been protected she would not have died either…That’s why I was asking…Breastfeeding is known to protect infants from infectious disease. But even so, if her mother did not have antibodies to pertussis, she may have breastfed the child and she may have not been protected.

    In this case there would be several reason the breastfeeding did not provide protection. 1) Mother’s vaccine did not work 2) Mother’s vaccines were not up to date 3) Mother never had vaccine nor exposure to pertussis.

    Presuming that the baby was breastfed, it is interesting to note that if the mother had never gotten vaccinated and had had a full exposure to pertussis she would have been able to ensure full protection for her infant baby. Furthermore, if the child was with the mother during exposure, the mother would have produced antibodies that could have protected the child then through the breast milk.

    So it would seem she was not breast fed. Because even when the child was sick, the mother could have been exposed to her child’s disease and still produced antibodies to help her baby survive the disease…

  134. amphiox

    Try reading the ingredient lists for your beloved vaccines….that should scare you.

    No it doesn’t. Only those completely ignorant of the most basic principles of pharmacology would be scared.

  135. bugly

    How can anyone with a scientific mind intellectually accept the claim that Vaccines are not toxins but bee stings, gluten and nuts are deadly to some in the population? These 3 things are not toxic in and of themselves and are for the majority of the human herd either beneficial or at least not deadly.

    What about those who react badly to other stimulants, foods etc…?

    Statistically and scientifically we know disease causing viruses kill, maim, blind, harm etc…yet the vaccine for any of these dangerous diseases are exonerated 100% from being linked to tragic outcomes like autism, brain damage or retardation? That anyone can accept this as an absolute truth or fact is honestly scary. The whole purpose for vaccination is to inoculate large numbers of populations for the purpose of avoiding mass trauma to human populations. Even herd immunity theory allows for some to still get diseases in spite of the herd immunity. Surely the introduction of a form of the disease in some people will result in a negative reaction a few times.

    Read up on LYMErix. It was known that 30% of people with a specific gene were highly susceptible to developing a severe form of treatment resistant rheumatoid arthritis. Once it actually started happening only then was the vaccine attacked sufficiently to get it pulled from use. And GSK is still disputing these victims claims.

    And yet increases in Autism, onset of symptoms right after vaccination are all dismissed, no genetic testing to see if there is a commonality like the one found in the LYMErix is done but test after test on nearly universal compulsory vaccines turn up the exact opposite…these aren’t the causes you were looking for.

    High fevers can trigger seizures, sustained ones; brain damage. Vaccinations often are accompanied by increased fevers. In fact, doctors are taught to not give vaccines during the time children have illnesses characterized by fevers (I’ve spent time in pediatric offices where this is ignored).

    The data says vaccines do not “cause” autism and that is the exclusive word used which seems to be some factual way of allaying blame from vaccines. Causing rheumatoid arthritis may be scientifically different than “triggering” or contributing to it. Yet it still happened.

    There are numerous vaccines no longer in use due to prejudicial reactions and few if any in the pro-vax crowd seems aware of, is proof of them accepting whatever is told them even when it is mathematically improbable that no permanent damage occurs.

  136. @26 Maggy re: mercury concentration levels.

    Your data indicates that there is as much mercury in a 0.5 ml DTaP shot as there is in 12.5 liters of drinking water. A child gets 5 such shots by the age of six. By that age a kid has consumed far more than 62.5 liters of water, and gets mercury from countless other sources. Vaccinations are not a significant sourceof mercury, the make up a barely measurable percentage of the total amount of mercury a child takes in.

    Dunno why I’m pointing this out. Waste of time as you have a belief based only on faith and no arguement can shake that.

  137. amphiox

    Vaccines have their place, but only when they are proven (a) not to have harmful chemicals like mercury in them,

    The mercury in modern vaccines is not harmful, in form or concentration.

    (b) when the problem warrants a vaccine (if they offered a vaccine for the common cold, I would probably seek death from a thousand cuts for the creator),

    Not withstanding that the common cold (being caused by several highly variable types of viruses which do not necessarily resemble one another that much) is almost impossible to produce a vaccine for, if a vaccine did exist, and it’s side effect and risk profile is LOWER than the risks associated with the symptoms of common cold, why should it not be offered to the people who want it? Even if rarely fatal or medically serious, the common cold causes SUFFERING (and economically costs millions in lost days of work).

    and (c) harmful side-effects occur in less than 0.1% of the individuals being vaccinated.

    And where did you arbitrarily pull that 0.1% number from? If the risk of catching the disease and having harmful symptoms from the disease were 10%, then any vaccine with harmful side-effects occuring less than 9.9% of the time is justifiable. Indeed, if we were in the middle of an epidemic with a disease that had a 100% transmission and 100% mortality, a vaccine with even a 50% serious side effect rate would be welcomed with open arms.

    And as a matter of fact, historically, our smallpox vaccines never got better than about 1% risk of serious side-effect. And guess what? We used them, and it was WORTH IT. And there isn’t any smallpox around anymore (outside of military labs).

    That’s also why we don’t routinely vaccinate against smallpox anymore. Thanks to the eradication of natural smallpox, the risk of the vaccine isn’t worth it anymore.

    It’s really that simple. Risk versus benefit. The absolute values don’t matter, it’s all the relative comparison between the two. And you cannot talk about the one without also considering the other.

    And actually, for most of our current vaccines, the rate of harmful side-effects is less than 0.1% by at least an order of magnitude.

  138. amphiox

    Breastfeeding is known to protect infants from infectious disease.

    The protection is not absolute. Even if a child was getting antibodies via the mother’s breast milk, that does not GUARANTEE that the child will not get the disease if exposed. It only lowers the risk.

    In this case there would be several reason the breastfeeding did not provide protection. 1) Mother’s vaccine did not work 2) Mother’s vaccines were not up to date 3) Mother never had vaccine nor exposure to pertussis.

    And 4) There WERE antibodies in mom’s breast milk, but there weren’t ENOUGH to protect fully from a particularly large exposure to the disease virus.

    Because even when the child was sick, the mother could have been exposed to her child’s disease and still produced antibodies to help her baby survive the disease…

    No. From a naive exposure, even a healthy adult immune system takes a couple weeks or so to ramp up antibody production, and this would have been too long to have helped the child for a disease like pertussis.

    And breast milk contains mainly one kind of antibody, IgAs, which are optimized to protect against disease exposure but just one route – penetration through mucus membranes. It’s a good system that has stood the evolutionary test of time (mucus membranes being the most likely source of exposure for infants) but it is not perfect.

    The immunity provided by vaccination is far, far more effective than the immunity transferred via breast milk.

  139. Reba

    I have chosen not to vaccinate. This was not a decision that I made without carefully & painstakingly researching. This is my right as a human being to refuse a medical procedure. I am truly sorry & my heart breaks for all parents out there who have experienced both vaccine injury & injury due to “vaccine preventable” diseases. I am fighting for my right & others to be able to choose and have access to the science in order to make the decision that is right for me.

  140. amphiox

    @26 Maggy’s mercury numbers are completely misleading and dishonest anyways. The ppb toxicities are all for METALLIC mercury. The mercury in vaccines is mostly mercury SALTS. Compounds of mercury with DIFFERENT properties from elemental mercury (which are chosen partly because they are not absorbed much and rapidly excreted).

    It’s like trying to argue that table salt (NaCl) is a terrible thing because metallic sodium (Na) explodes when in contact with water, and elemental chlorine (Cl) is a deadly poison.

  141. Lola M

    Breast milk is not 100% but vaccines are not 100% effective either and, thus, even if someone was vaccinated the person could still be harboring the disease and the infant would have contracted it just the same…

    Its important to keep kids away from crowds and sanitize. These things will keep happening no matter what you do. I don’t think imposing vaccines on those who are at risk of reactions is right. Those kids can and may die as well. I met a woman whose child was vaccinated and died from being vaccinated. Neither of those deaths are negligible.

    Individuals should have the right to chose. It would not be the first time the authorities say “whoops! we were wrong. These drugs DO cause significant and serious harm! Sorry!” Then what? We can’t turn back time…

  142. Hevach

    @138 “If the risk of catching the disease and having harmful symptoms from the disease were 10%, then any vaccine with harmful side-effects occuring less than 9.9% of the time is justifiable.”

    This is only the case if the harmful side effects are equal to the disease. Even among harmful side effects, most are not as severe as the disease being prevented.

    My great-grandfather loved to talk about the immunizations he got when the Army shipped him out in WWII. Has a scar on his arm from it that’s almost as bad as the bullet scar on the same arm. Almost half his unit was nauseous after it, and due to contamination several developed jaundice. Jaundice while still in the US was a lot better than tetanus on the battlefield where there was a high risk of dirty wounds going without proper treatment for hours or even days, let alone some of the more exotic diseases covered in those vaccinations.

    Jaundice is worse than most of the side effects modern vaccines actually cause.

  143. ALF

    What exactly does this have to do with Bad Astronomy? Heck, knowing you’re such a right winger on this topic makes me never really want to return to this blog again. Yes vaccines are good, but maybe the greedy pharmacorp types are a little too enthusiastic in pushing them. Balance is good too. Get back to space sciences or loose readers.

  144. STAR

    Ever try to grow bacteria or virus in an alkaline solution? It doesn’t work. Eating veggies and living healthy overall is so underrated.

  145. Fred

    The author of this piece sounds like a religious zealot, something something he or she (where it the name of the writer?) disdains. I don’t take vaccines. I did when I was child and in the service. I had no choice in either case. I have no idea what was pumped into me. Most people don’t know that military vaccines don’t go thru the 20 year or so process that vaccines release to the public go thru in trials. This isn’t a case of negligence or bad intentions, some things have to be done fast during wartime.The intentions here are good, the idea is protect, but sometimes service personal are injected with stuff that is basically experimental. I don’t buy this guys (woman’s? again, who wrote this piece?) argument. If I had it to do again at my behest, I’d have not taken any vaccines, even the polio vaccine. I haven’t had a vaccine since I was in my mid twenties and I’m nearly sixty now. Statements like this one from the writer:

    ………..”Again, let me be clear: these antivax groups pose a public health threat. If you don’t believe me, then read this account by someone who knows”.

    …………..are so blatantly written from a heart of zealotry and bigotry it may have well come from a newsletter of the Westboro Baptist Church. The person who wrote this article is an idiot who most likely profits from some sort of medical association.

    And why is this article in the “Bad Astronomy” section? When did giving vaccines happen in space? The only answer to this is that someone at Discover has his head up Uranus. Or rather, his anus.

  146. Lola M I just told you that Dana was breastfed. I know this for a fact. The fact that you question this seems to be shifting the blame to her mother. Breastfeeding does provide some protection against infection but nowhere near as much as vaccines.

    The best thing that parents can do to protect newborns from pertussis is “cocooning” – ensuring that everyone around the baby – parents, grand parents and sibling all up to date with their pertussis boosters.

    There are clinical trials being conducted now studying administering pertussis vaccines to newborns.

    People who are at high risk of reactions to vaccinations because of their medical history or their parents’ medical history can be still vaccinated at high risk clinics with split dose vaccination.

    How could anyone not do all they can to protect their child from this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAkDrcZoWwQ

    I don’t agree that these thing will keep happening no matter what you do. That implies that theres is nothing you can do so why vaccinate. The reason these things keep happening is because of people who refuse to vaccinate their children because of fear mongering by strident anti-vaxxers an people who do not have their boosters when they should.

    Noone is trying to impose vaccines – although I think it is personally irresponsible not to, we are trying to stop people from dissuading people who would have vaccinated from vaccinationg. That is why people like stoptheavn of whom I am a proud member, have to be active to counter the misinformation.

  147. STAR

    From the recollection it appears the Dana got the disease from the hospital she was at. Hospitals are known for harbouring all kinds of serious infectious diseases. Regardless of whether the entire population is being forced to be vaccinated, there is still going to be infectious disease in hospitals and pertussis would not be an exception. Hospitals hold people who have weakened immune systems and do not react well to vaccines. You can vaccinate all you want, they are still going to harbour disease. Perhaps this hospital problem should be addressed in a different way instead of forcing vaccines on everyone.

    Things like not giving birth at a location where many of the sickest people reside come to mind.

  148. Greenman

    Remember the Swineflu vaccine? They had it up and about in a matter of weeks. They claim to have no knowledge about it before it hit. Yet, they somehow had a stockpile available that in the end, noone wanted to have.
    I have no problem with vaccinations. It is all the other junk that gets piled into the shots that I personally find disturbing.
    As far as ‘herd immunizations’, the recent number of Shingles cases seem to be going up, since children are being vaccinated against Chicken Pox.
    The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not vaccinate. Has there been any studies done about their community?

  149. Elizabeth

    Oh the happy deluded. nothing will protect you more than natural good health. There are hundreds of places to find information on how vaccines and the decrease in social diseases is coincidental and even some places where even the immunologists have stated quite clearly that vaccines don’t work.Humans survived for 1000s of years before vaccines came along and what really baffles me is pro vaxers failure to fathom that there are now more vaccines than ever but people in proportionately more sick than ever. maybe not with the diseases ppl are vaxed against, but degenerate

  150. Elizabeth

    Hadn’t finished. but degenerative diseases that cannot be healed. it.s staring you all in the face, yet you can’t see it.

  151. Elizabeth

    Was that baby Dana breastfed? Breastmilk is not 100%? you should have your own show. Will and Grace Move over!

  152. Health Freedom

    The government has paid out over 2 billion for vaccine inducd deaths, and permanent harm. The government admits that vaccines are not safe every time they pay out a claim! Thanks to President Regan, vaccine manufacturers are not liable, so there is no reason to prove safety. Any research that has been provided as proof of safety has been funded by the pharmaceutical industry, which is a conflict of interest. Most vaccine reactions are under reported because parents are not warned about the risks, therefore, parents are not able to identify a reaction in time to get the necessary treatment. Then the whole thing gets swept under the table. Virtually hundreds of thousands of people every day have been effected.

    You must ask this questi0n when a child dies of diptheria, how many vaccines did they receive prior to this diagnosis? This question is never posed, never documented, and never disclosed to the public. When you get a tetanus shot and then get tetanus, they just tell you that you did not get the shot soon enough…sound familiar? It was cleaner water and better sanitation that irraticated disease, not vaccines. Don’t be spoon fed by the CDC and FDA who are funded by big pharma. The FDA Commisioner defended mercury in dental fillings and vaccines because the commissioner was a stock holder in mercury. A clear conflict of interest. Do your own research, and start talking to parents whose children died right after a multi-dose shot. The rise in autism is in direct corollation with the increase of the 66 shots that are now recommended. You do the math! Corruption exists!

  153. Despina

    @Lola
    You need to get off the breast feeding hobby horse. Better still, read Dana’s parents’ story on their website – they did get booster vaccinations and she was breastfed

  154. None

    Here’s the same industry that pushes the flu vaccine on, well, everyone. Find one accurate study showing the flu shot protects anyone from the flu. 16 % v 14 % is not a benefit.

    The entire industry is fraudulent.

  155. Adam

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/25/cbsnews_investigates/main4296175.shtml?tag=mncol;1st;2

    They’re some of the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit.

    But CBS News has found these three have something more in common – strong financial ties to the industry whose products they promote and defend.

    The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters. The totals are kept secret, but public documents reveal bits and pieces.

    A $342,000 payment from Wyeth, maker of the pneumococcal vaccine – which makes $2 billion a year in sales.

    A $433,000 contribution from Merck, the same year the academy endorsed Merck’s HPV vaccine – which made $1.5 billion a year in sales.

    Another top donor: Sanofi Aventis, maker of 17 vaccines and a new five-in-one combo shot just added to the childhood vaccine schedule last month.

  156. Adam

    Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (JIB-08876)

    Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?

    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are serious multisystem developmental disorders and an urgent global public health concern. Dysfunctional immunity and impaired brain function are core deficits in ASD. Aluminum (Al), the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant, is a demonstrated neurotoxin and a strong immune stimulator. Hence, adjuvant Al has the potential to induce neuroimmune disorders. When assessing adjuvant toxicity in children, two key points ought to be considered: (i) children should not be viewed as “small adults” as their unique physiology makes them much more vulnerable to toxic insults; and (ii) if exposure to Al from only few vaccines can lead to cognitive impairment and autoimmunity in adults, is it unreasonable to question whether the current pediatric schedules, often containing 18 Al adjuvanted vaccines, are safe for children? By applying Hill’s criteria for establishing causality between exposure and outcome we investigated whether exposure to Al from vaccines could be contributing to the rise in ASD prevalence in the Western world. Our results show that: (i) children from countries with the highest ASD prevalence appear to have the highest exposure to Al from vaccines; (ii) the increase in exposure to Al adjuvants significantly correlates with the increase in ASD prevalence in the United States observed over the last two decades (Pearson r=0.92, pb0.0001); and (iii) a significant correlation exists between the amounts of Al administered to preschool children and the current prevalence of ASD in seven Western countries, particularly at 3–4 months of age (Pearson r=0.89–0.94, p=0.0018–0.0248). The application of the Hill’s criteria to these data indicates that the correlation between Al in vaccines and ASD may be causal. Because children represent a fraction of the population most at risk for complications following exposure to Al, a more rigorous evaluation of Al adjuvant safety seems warranted.

  157. MikeK

    @Dragonchild
    Phil’s argument did NOT contain an ‘appeal to emotion’. He cited that case as the reason for his crusade against these whacko’s, not as evidence of anything, or in support of the factual arguments he made throughout his article.

  158. @NoIDontVax.

    I asked my childrens pediatrician when she *fired* us if she could assure me that NOTHING would happen to my children if I gave them shots, and she said No, she could not

    If you send your child to school can you be 100% assured that nothing will happen to your child? Perhaps they’ll fall off a slide at recess and break their arm. Perhaps they’ll meet a stranger near the school who offers them candy from their van. Perhaps a bully will beat them up. Perhaps they’ll get hit by a car while crossing the street after being dropped off by the bus.

    There’s a lot that can go wrong in this world. Nothing is ever 100% safe. You need to learn how to manage the risks. The risks from vaccines are minuscule. The reactions from the diseases they prevent are severe. I vaccinated my kids because I want them to have the best possible defense against the horrible diseases that vaccines prevent. Their worst reactions to the vaccines have been mild fevers and sore arms/legs (depending on where the injection was).

  159. @None,

    Who pushed the flu vaccine on you? Last I checked, that was still optional (though highly recommended). Ok, for certain medical personnel, employers might require it, but the government hasn’t added it to the yearly schedule for children.

    As far as the flu vaccine’s effectiveness, there are two factors at play that make it less effective than the MMR or other vaccines. First of all, there are a lot of variants of the flu. They can only include so many variants in the vaccine so they need to guess way ahead of time which ones will be prevalent. This is inexact at best. I’ve heard rumblings of a universal flu vaccine that would protect against all variants. This would be ideal.

    Secondly, there’s the amount of people getting the shot. Even if they get the flu variants right, not that many people get the flu shot. A quick Google search showed that only 40% of kids age 6 months – 17 years got it in 2009-2010. The percentage for healthy adults age 18-49 was a 28%. This is far from enough to begin to provide herd immunity. I’d wager that, were these percentages to rise to 95% or more, the incidence of the flu would dramatically decline.

  160. thinker

    I thought alot about the commentary above….and wondered when did we become a “herd”?. why is there a vaccination compensation program for disability and death from vaccines? why does the government pay the damages associated with vaccine? this means we pay as tax payers for a product that is unsafe..otherwise why have a compensation program? how come the drug companies dont pay the damages …they developed the product?where are all the iron lungs?? how come there ha been renaming of polio?GBS can cause paralysis is there a vaccine for that? what is the vaccine for scarlet fever, typhoid? is there an epidemic coming of mmr,dpt? why are the vaccinations tied to school admisson? why didnt Dr.OZ get the flu shot for hisfamily ?how comethe pathlogists are finding SV40 in brain cancer patients? I ve read that vaccines dont cause autism…why did my neighbors twins become autistic the next day after receiving the shots? expalin that to me…his boys are damaged. there is no doubt his mind his kids were normal..now not so much….just my thoughts.

  161. Stathis Dimopoulos

    Somewhere Pasteur and Salk are spinning in their graves. Before polio vaccines in the US alone there were approx 50000 polio infections annually and 10000 deaths and many more crippled for life with various degrees of neural damage from a slight limp to wheelchair up to iron lung. And yet there are some criminally insane that dispute the benefits of vaccinations.

  162. bbmcrae

    Am I accurate in thinking that the antivax arguments here could be bolstered by fewer spelling mistakes, fewer exclamation points and fewer blunt, hysterical accusations?

  163. SkewedD

    @bbmcrae: I was just thinking the same thing.

    @Adam: The paper from which you copied and pasted the abstract is so wobbly as to be disregarded. First, anti-vaxxers always like to claim that anyone writing a paper on the safety and efficacy of vaccines is a shill for pharma, thus indicating that you folks have zero tolerance for what you perceive as a conflict of interest. If you are going to adhere to that standard, then you should completely throw out the Tomljenovic paper that you posted, because it was funded by anti-vaccine activist groups, thus presenting a massive conflict of interest.

    In addition, the paper itself is garbage. It uses correlational data, the weakest type of evidence available, to make sweeping statements with no legitimate source material. For instance, they make the claim that it has been demonstrated that vaccines cause autism. This could not be further from the truth, as mentioned several times in the comments section of this piece. If anything, it has been demonstrated that the one thing we know that does NOT cause autism is vaccines. Further, there are many instances in the paper of misinterpretation of data from other papers, which I downloaded and read for myself.

    @Lola. That is correct. Breastfeeding does not confer 100% protection from VPDs. That is also why parents expecting newborns should encourage everyone around them to get a pertussis booster in order to protect their infant. It is also why all medical personnel should be required to be up-to-date on vaccinations. Further, vaccination is, for now, a choice. But hopefully the original blog post and the anti-anti-vaccination movement will be working to change state laws such that only medical exemptions will be allowed, since anti-vaxxers are destroying herd immunity and causing disease outbreaks.

  164. Lola M

    No actually, you are not accurate in your thinking.

    Forcing people at risk of vaccine reactions to get vaccinated when the disease this infant acquired was from a hospital is….hysterical. The most sickest people with the most infectious diseases reside at a hospital where there are people whose immune systems are too weak to respond appropriately to a vaccine. Because these people are so weak, they could have been vaccinated, but they may still get sick with the disease no matter what. I am not sure how vaccinating would have prevented this situation from happening again.

    I am not sure how that would lead anyone to the conclusion that vaccinating people are risk of vaccine injury would help the situation.

    What seems hysterical is that we live in a society where women go to give birth where the sickest people live and then they decide to make an elaborate scheme to blame other people for the result. It simply makes no sense to expose an infant like that. There is no amount of vaccines that shall make up for such a horrific mistake.

    This is not much different than the time when Semmelweis was around. Its now common sense that you should at least wash your hands after touching dead people…especially when you about to treat woman who is about to give birth. But for some reason it has not yet come to reason that children should not be born in a facility where the most infectious diseases reside. What did you think would happen?

  165. SkewedD

    @ thinker I honestly don’t know why I am going to take the time to address some of your “deep thoughts” because I have a feeling that you will disregard my answers completely. However, I feel compelled to try.

    “I thought alot about the commentary above….and wondered when did we become a “herd”?. why is there a vaccination compensation program for disability and death from vaccines? why does the government pay the damages associated with vaccine? this means we pay as tax payers for a product that is unsafe..otherwise why have a compensation program? how come the drug companies dont pay the damages …they developed the product?”

    We became a “herd” when, at one point, human beings looked after one another. This seems be on its way out of vogue, however. To answer your other question, the government pays for adverse events from vaccination for one simple reason: we live in a litigious society. Remember McDonald’s coffee lady? Yeah. Now think of all of the frivolous lawsuits that were being filed against companies who make vaccines, most of which got thrown out but not before costing those companies a heck of a lot of dough. Therefore, fewer and fewer companies in the U.S. wanted to make vaccines. In order to protect the supply of SAFE, EFFECTIVE vaccines made in our country, the government took steps to protect public health by creating the VICP. The VICP, by the way, has a threshold for “burden of proof” that is a lot lower than any tort lawsuit would EVER require.

    “where are all the iron lungs??”

    Um, because of vaccines, polio is currently not present in the United States. I’m waiting, however…if the anti-vaxxers keep it up, it won’t be long before it’s back.

    ” how come there ha been renaming of polio?”

    Stop believing everything you read on anti-vax sites. This is just more garbage they want to feed you.

    ” what is the vaccine for scarlet fever, typhoid?”

    Um, there is a vaccine for typhoid. You want to get that one, too? Go to a local travel clinic. Scarlet fever is simply a strep infection that can be treated effectively with antibiotics, so why would there be a vaccine?

    ” is there an epidemic coming of mmr,dpt?”

    Yes, there is an epidemic coming out of mmr, and it was started by Andrew Wakefield. It’s a virus called tinfoilhatitis that spreads by visual contact with the internet.

    “why didnt Dr.OZ get the flu shot for hisfamily ?”

    Short answer: Who gives a cluck? Long answer: Because he’s a gigantic wuss who lets his wife make medical decisions for her family based on her “mommy instinct” rather than using his medical training for something other than being a mediawhore.

  166. CraterJoe

    For all those anti-vaccine people out there freaking out about the evil poisons in vaccines. Do any of you live in a large city? How do you go about the day breathing or eating? On a daily basis you are exposed to: Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Radon, Copper, Lead, Mercury (organic and inorganic), Silicates, Thorium, Radium, Potassium-40, polonium… Everything has some sort of toxicity. The deadliest thing you voluntarily use everyday is your car! I’d rail against all the chemicals and metals “Big Oil” uses in their petrolium products or the car manufacturers for exposing you to all sorts of metals and chemicals. Don’t get me started on pollen, fungal spores and viral particles…

  167. Ow…my head hurts from all the stupid that is buring through this thread. Can someone please vaccinate me against it?

  168. Kirk

    Do we know who will be advertising on New Year’s Rocking Eve? It might not be a bad idea to contact each of them and ask if they still plan to finance McCarthy’s anti-health message, or if they’d rather not be associated with her.

  169. @thinker

    when did we become a “herd”?

    Well, you see, a long, long time ago humans started to congregate together into groups: families, villages, towns, cities. Oh, it’s the comparison to sheep and cattle that you don’t like? Fine, think of it as “community immunity” if you like. The concept behind it is still the same: protect enough individuals in the group from infection and those who are not directly protected will be protected by those who are.

    why is there a vaccination compensation program for disability and death from vaccines?

    Because, like all things, there is some risk involved. It is small, but there are times when something bad will happen. Are you saying that when something bad does occur that the injured party shouldn’t be compensated?

    why does the government pay the damages associated with vaccine? this means we pay as tax payers for a product that is unsafe..otherwise why have a compensation program? how come the drug companies dont pay the damages …they developed the product?

    Back in the 1980s, there were a lot of frivolous law suits against vaccine makers. People tried to claim all kinds of damage from vaccines, regardless of whether or not the vaccines were related at all. This resulted in manufacturers deciding that vaccines were not worth the trouble. A lot closed up shop altogether. Others simply dropped vaccines from their product lines. Given that vaccines are a huge boon to maintaining public health and preventing mass outbreaks of disease, the government, whose job includes protecting its citizens, stepped in to give injured parties a way to receive compensation while mitigating the risk to companies, thus encouraging them to continue providing a critical tool for ensuring a healthy citizenry. The program was designed in such a way that manufacturers had to contribute to the compensation pool, allegedly injured parties did not need to pay for their legal costs whether they won or lost and did not need to meet the Daubert standard for scientific evidence of the causal relationship between the vaccine and their injury, and if the people did not like the court’s decision, they could then try their luck in the tort system, where standards of evidence were significantly higher. Does that answer your question? (By the way, these answers are readily found by going to the VICP web site.)

    where are all the iron lungs?? how come there ha been renaming of polio?

    Like SkewedD said, the iron lungs are now in museums, since vaccination eliminated polio from the U.S. Also, technology moved on. We now have ECMO instead of iron lungs. Oh, and polio was not renamed. Polio is still the disease caused by the poliovirus. There are things that may have similar symptoms, but, if they are not cause by poliovirus, then they are not polio.

    GBS can cause paralysis is there a vaccine for that?

    Nope, because GBS is a syndrome with multiple different causes. It is also quite rare, making figuring out just exactly what causes it very difficult. We do know, however, that infectious diseases, such as influenza, are on occasion followed by GBS. Thus, preventing infections seems like a good way to minimize the risk of acquiring GBS.

    is there an epidemic coming of mmr,dpt?

    Quite possibly, yes. There have been more than the usual number of cases of measles in the U.S. this year, most of which were among the unvaccinated. Similarly, there has been a huge outbreak of measles in Europe, with tens of thousands of cases. Again, waning immunization rates play a significant role. There was also a recent case of rubella in Europe. Rubella has not been seen there in years and was considered eradicated. We will probably see more cases. In the same vein, pertussis rates have been on the increase, partly due to people being unvaccinated and partly because the vaccine, just like the disease, wanes in protection over time.

    why are the vaccinations tied to school admisson?

    Because schools are full of lots and lots of children, who are at greatest risk of complications from communicable disease. In order to prevent an outbreak of disease, giving as many children as possibly immunity seems like a good idea.

    how comethe pathlogists are finding SV40 in brain cancer patients?

    And which pathologists would these be? I know, I know, you’re probably “just asking questions”, but you should have some solid evidence when you say stuff like this.

    why did my neighbors twins become autistic the next day after receiving the shots?

    I know you won’t like this answer but, in short, coincidence. The symptoms had likely been there a while, just not noticed. You know. Yesterday I had some pizza. Today a coworker called me with a question. By the logic in your question, the pizza must have called my coworker to call.

  170. And again, I will tell all of those “just asking questions” about vaccines, pay a visit to antiantivax.flurf.net, which Phil and some commenters linked to. A lot of the questions you ask have been addressed there. There are even links to supporting evidence and more information!

  171. Lola M

    @ Todd W.

    I’ve looked back a the thread and no-one is asking these questions. This is spamming.

    But I do have a question that I did not find the answer to in your website. Why is it that women go to give birth in hosptials where infectious diseases are rampant? Even if everyone in the hospital is vaccinated, weak sick people will still carry serious infectious disease, including pertussis, no matter what. In light of account and research her parents made, it is evident the infant got the disease from the hospital as there was an outbreak of the disease at the hospital. And another question.

    Who in their right mind would take an infant to a facility that holds the sickest people and the most serious infectious diseases in the county and then complain about the result of doing so?

    How do you reach the conclusion that forceful authoritarian vaccination of children with a history of vaccine injury would help resolve this lack of judgement?

  172. QuietDesperation

    Well I got my flu shot this year.

    And my vacation has been ruined by a bad head cold. On Christmas. Still got it.

    C’mon with the cold vaccine already. How many millions of man hours of suffering per season could be mitigated? I read two years ago they had decoded most of the strains and were finding vulnerabilities. Does big pharma have any idea how much I’d have paid to avoid this rotten, snot soaked Christmas? More than than what the Nyquil and Claritin-D cost me.

    Ah, I’m just fever dreaming now. Yay vaccinations, but let’s get going on filling in some of the gaps. Are sequenced genomes turning out to be not all that and a bag of chips?

  173. @Lola M

    Why is it that women go to give birth in hosptials where infectious diseases are rampant?

    Well, I’d hardly say “rampant”. Delivery wards are, I am given to understand, kept rather clean. Now, why do women go? Perhaps because hospitals are where the highly skilled individuals are with the necessary equipment in the event that the delivery goes bad?

    Oh, and regarding your whole blame the victim thing, you’re aware, aren’t you, that Dana’s parents live in a part of Australia with a much lower than average immunization rate? And that the community in which they live had a higher number of cases of pertussis as a result?

    Who in their right mind would take an infant to a facility that holds the sickest people in the county and then complain about the result of doing so?

    Let’s see, you’re saying that Dana’s parents took their child to the hospital for no reason, and then she got sick? Usually, it’s the other way around: you get sick, then you go to the hospital where the people with the skills and equipment to give the best chance of survival are located.

    How do you reach the conclusion that forceful authoritarian vaccination of children at risk of vaccine injury would help resolve this lack of judgement?

    Well, you’re asking the wrong question here, aren’t you? Mass immunization results in fewer infections among the populace and significantly reduces the risk of an outbreak. Fewer infected individuals in the populace means fewer infected individuals in the health centers, which, therefore, means a lower risk of acquiring the infection in either the community or in the hospital. Did you actually think about your question before you asked it? Because, it doesn’t seem like you did.

    (And by the way, why would I address going to a hospital to give birth, when my site is about myths and misconceptions about vaccines?)

  174. Chris

    Lola M:

    Why is it that women go to give birth in hosptials where infectious diseases are rampant? Even if everyone in the hospital is vaccinated, weak sick people will still get the these disease no matter what.

    [citation needed]

    How do you reach the conclusion that forceful authoritarian vaccination of children at risk of vaccine injury would help resolve this lack of judgement?

    Please innumerate that risk for us. Show us the title, journal and dates that give the rate of vaccine injury versus the rate of injury due to disease. You can keep it simple and choose one vaccine, something like either the MMR or the DTaP vaccines. Just be sure that the papers are indexed in PubMed, done well and clearly compare the risks between the vaccines and the diseases. Thank you.

  175. Lola M

    @ Health Freedom

    Even more interesting is that when certain vaccines are discarded they required to be discarded as hazardous waste due to their mercury content…but it is not hazardous when it is injected into an infant’s body…Right…I get it… Its only bad if fish eat it and stuff…But injecting it into your body is virtually 100% harmless. Damn! I hate common sense! I should just listen to what everyone else says and stop thinking. They can’t be wrong. There’s no way these pro-vaxers are wrong…No seriously, they are backed up by solid science. Its just that it doesn’t match up with reality…but its damn solid…really. They keep telling me it is.

  176. QuietDesperation

    Why is it that women go to give birth in hosptials where infectious diseases are rampant?

    My guess would be that being in a hospital in case of complications outweighs the risk of infection. How rampant can it be if millions of babies are born in hospitals perfectly healthy every year?

    There is no zero risk situation. You have to go with the odds.

    You know, you have a vast network at your fingertips. You can look this stuff up yourself.

  177. Lola M

    @ Todd W.

    The kid is dead. Consequently, it is clear that no supportive birthing equipement or services were of any use for her. What would have helped the kid is not to get exposed by going to a hospital where are the sick and infectious diseases are.

    You are complaining because she was needlessly exposed to the disease. I can’t think of a more needless exposure than taking an infant to a hospital.

    History repeats itself. Ignaz Semmelweis was prosecuted because he wanted physicians to wash their hands after handling dead bodies so that the pregnant women they were treating later in the day would not die….But the ‘authorities’ argued that it was inconvenient to make such busy intellectuals bother with such things….Today doctors and hospital facilities can’t be inconvenienced with creating a separate facility for birthing mothers. Even though these infants are put at risk from the high concentration of disease at hospitals…

  178. QuietDesperation

    Even more interesting is that when certain vaccines are discarded they required to be discarded as hazardous waste due to their mercury content…but it is not hazardous when it is injected into an infant’s body…

    Yes, hundreds of doses contain an aggregate sum considered to be toxic as opposed to a single dose.

    Is this stuff really that hard to figure out? I’m half delirious with fever and happytime cold medicines and I can handle these without Googling them.

    You’re also confusing ehtyl mercury with methyl mercury. You could start you own voyage of discovery by Googling that. Or Bing it if that’s your preference.

  179. Lola M

    @QuietDesperation

    So then, what I don’t understand is if people are willing to risk infectious disease for birthing services, then where does vaccinating all children at risk of vaccine injury come into play? The vaccines aren’t going to help any in hospital acquired disease…The people are sick, that’s why there are there!

    According to you, this is just a case of bad luck where the small statistical risk of catching the disease became a reality for the little girl, but according to you the benefits still outweigh the risks because she got birthing services…I’m still not getting where the vaccines come in…

  180. Sean

    Do doctors test for disease immunity before administering the vaccines?

  181. bbmcrae

    @ Lola M.

    Sorry, Lola, I was asking if the antivax arguments made here are being undercut by spelling mistakes and hysterical, accusatory tones. You answered by bringing up some point about hospitals being full of sick people, and that being a bad thing. (Even though that’s where all the doctors, medicine, and equipment are.)

    I was just wondering what one thing had to do with the other. Otherwise, you get an A for spelling, and another one for making my point about hysterical arguments.

  182. QuietDesperation

    Reaching back to the 1800s for an analogy is really weak, but you plucked out an example that avtually contradicts you.

    The failure of 19th century medicine (such as it was) to recognize Semmelweis’s ideas is one of the things that led to to the evidence-based medicine we have today. The same evidence based science that says unhesitatingly that vaccines win.

  183. Lola M

    @QuietDesperation

    How many hundreds of doses are harmful for the environment exactly? Because hundreds of doses is not far from what a person needs to take for an entire life time. Don’t you think that perhaps these hundreds of doses that you acknowledge to accumulate and cause harm in the environment could do the same inside the human body which is much much smaller? Common sense people…

  184. QuietDesperation

    So then, what I don’t understand is if people are willing to risk infectious disease for birthing services, then where does vaccinating all children at risk of vaccine injury come into play?

    o_O

    Well, you were the one who brought it up as a question you saw no one asking. I was waiting for *you* to make the connection as I passed the time between fever spikes.

  185. Bruce of Canuckistan

    Karen @ 107

    I’m sorry, you lost me at “Department of Sociology”

    Lola @ 180

    The subject of this thread is not the wonders of midwifery. Re in or out of hospital birth, I looked into the subject of homebirth in detail before my first child’s birth, and the statistics show a higher rate of death in out-of-hospital births when comparing mothers *in the same risk category*, including a higher rate of infant death due to infection after homebirth. Points for enthusiasm and blame-the-victim ideology, but while midwives can be skilled and useful, the world of midwifery is not always a source of truth.

    And there’s more – an avalanche of nuttery on this thread. With all the posting of quack studies, talk of making your body “alkaline” to prevent disease, and inane jabbering about “toxins”, it’s obvious an anti-vax site has directed its activists here. Does anybody know which site?

  186. Lola M

    @Sean

    I know in the military they don’t. Many people even came in with their current records for their vaccines and were forced to get vaccinated again for the same vaccines. That’s just criminal.

    I have never had a doctor check for antibodies before sticking me. I really don’t think it happens unless you have a smart physician and you probably have to ask for it specifically.

    What I would like is that they also check to see for antibodies AFTER they apply the vaccine to see if it worked! I know I got vaccinated for Hep B, also in the military, and I got tested two years later and I tested negative for antibodies. The vaccine didn’t work. And there I was assuming that it did. I even had a job handling blood products and I hopeful that the vaccine I had gotten would help protect me from increased exposure. I could have easily contracted Hep B from my job because I was never checked to see if the vaccine had worked. I was only tested when I had possible symptoms of the disease, only to find out I had never been protected by the vaccine.

    Vaccines are not 100% effective–seemingly far less than that. Everyone that I have ever personally known to have contracted polio had also gotten vaccinated for the disease. The vaccine didn’t work for them and there they are going to school and thinking they are safe only to be sadly mistaken. Taking the vaccine is not a guarantee you won’t get the disease. It would be very helpful for people to know with certainty whether or not they are actually protected or not.

  187. QuietDesperation

    @188

    Again. Ethyl mercury versus methyl mercury. The amount and type from vaccines does not accumulate in the body. Endless studies have shown it to be safe.

    What more do you want? An entire world of peer reviewed and real world proven science disagrees with you. What would it take to convince you?

    Bleah off to bed. Have fun, folks.

    @191

    Exactly. Nothing is 0% and nothing is 100%. The side of science is the first to admit this. You play the odds, and vaccines are one of the best plays we have against these diseases.

  188. Lola M

    ‘talk of making your body “alkaline” to prevent disease’…

    Actually if the body’s pH level is not regulated, people die and for more than one reason. And bacteria only live in acidic environments. So diet and lifestyle does have a lot to do with whether you contract or even transmit disease to others–its not all about the vaccines…

  189. Bruce of Canuckistan

    >Actually if the body’s pH level is not regulated,

    Lola, you are losing credibility. Human blood PH is extremely tightly regulated, you cannot control it via diet. “Alkalize” woo is just about the nuttiest concept around.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/your_friday_dose_of_woo_acid_base_or_woo_1.php

  190. Lola M

    @192

    “The amount and type [of mercury] from vaccines does not accumulate in the body.”

    But you just admitted that they do accumulate in the environment. Meaning, small amounts of it are harmful to living beings…Yet you keep insisting that it is not harmful to humans. And I should just believe you…

    You also stated that it is not one vaccine, but hundreds of vaccines on the environment that accumulate and cause harm. Yet, if a person takes all the recommended vaccines all the way through adulthood, they will be taking HUNDREDS of doses of vaccines. Bad for fish and the environment, but okay to inject into humans. That just doesn’t add up.

  191. SkewedD

    It seems that Lola’s anti-vax religion is so ingrained that she simply cannot be swayed. Cognitive dissonance, Lola. Look it up. Regardless, I shall try one last time.

    “Vaccines are not 100% effective–seemingly far less than that. Everyone that I have ever personally known to have contracted polio had also gotten vaccinated for the disease.”

    Anecdote. Not a valid argument. Try try again. I mean, aren’t you the one who claimed that the current measles outbreaks are occurring among those who are vaccinated, which I demonstrated was entirely incorrect? Reader beware: just because L-O-L-A Lola claims something is true does not mean it is so.

    “Taking the vaccine is not a guarantee you won’t get the disease. It would be very helpful for people to know with certainty whether or not they are actually protected or not.”

    Quite right, it’s not a guarantee. However, a vaccination plus having those around you vaccinated–on schedule– is as close to a guarantee as you are going to get. The one thing we do know is that people who are not vaccinated are not protected, period.

    Your diet and lifestyle is not going to save you when measles comes knocking. The unvaccinated are 22 times more likely to contract measles than the vaccinated, with all other factors controlled for. Further, your attitude is completely ridiculous when it comes to public health. In Lolaworld, everyone can afford a homebirth with a midwife who is probably not covered by insurance, is able to breastfeed because they either have enough money to be a stay at home mother or they work for a company progressive enough to allow breastfeeding/pumping breaks (and a place to do so), has the sheer good luck to live in a place with a constant clean water supply, and have the money and education to purchase and prepare foods in line with food guide pyramid. Anyone else deserves what they get, right Lola? I mean, you can’t seem to get past blaming Dana’s mother for her death, so desperately do you want to believe that vaccines don’t work. Sit down and think about that for a moment, will you?

  192. Will

    Lol safe levels of mercury, and we wonder why everyone is mildly retarded.

  193. Mark Hansen

    Lola, how many times do you have to be told that 1) there is a large difference between ETHYL mercury and METHYL mercury and 2) that there isn’t any mercury in any shots except the flu shot and there is a mercury free alternative for that? Do you have a reading disability or are you just being deliberately obtuse?

  194. Anne Ominous

    I have to agree with those who have chastised Dragonchild. Appeal to emotion is not, by itself, a logical fallacy. It can be, but only when used fallaciously.

    I have seen, time and again, a similar false claim used: that “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy. But it is not. The “slippery slope fallacy” only comes into play when the “slippery slope” argument is used falsely. The fact that there is a fallacy named after it does not imply that slippery slopes do not exist, or that it is not a valid argument. It is only a “fallacy” when used improperly.

  195. Gaythia Weis

    I am concerned, that in focusing solely on the easy and somehow seemingly amusing to joust with anti-vaxxers, we are neglecting to deal with other quite serious but perhaps more uncomfortable to deal with health issues.

    Jumping up and down and pointing at those bad people over there seems satisfying. But what if health care meant that we, ourselves, needed to take responsibility, and not only see to it that as individuals we are covered, but also that we are creating a society in which health care is available to all?

    Much of the pertussis in the US has to do with our lack of inclusive and comprehensive health care. In the case of a lot of us adults, even with health insurance, there is no generally accessible means for testing for continuing immunity for pertussis, nor active programs to ensure that we receive boosters. Of the people reading this how many of you have had your immunity checked or received regular boosters for pertussis and other diseases?

    With the difficult economy, more and more people are uninsured. And even if insured, cost pressures are decreasing services. In my experience, as a matter of cost, some private doctors are no longer stocking vaccines in their offices. This level of health care availability is a far cry from the in school nurses and regular public immunization campaigns that were a feature of my childhood.

    Areas that have newly stringent anti-immigrant regulations are a real health threat to all of us, by driving people “underground”: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/11/alabama_top10_public_health.html

    If the objective is health, in addition to active refusers, we need to look at other solutions to access and care.

    Programs that focus on these sorts of issues can have a large positive impact: In California’s Central Valley, and in Texas, it was discovered that primary sources of pertussis infection for infants frequently included non-immunized or no longer immune parents or other adult care-givers. A program there that emphasized creating a “cocoon of safety” around too young to immunize infants has met with success. http://www.texaschildrens.org/carecenters/vaccine/programs.aspx

  196. Chris

    Lola M, why should we believe anything you say when you refuse to support any statement you made with actual scientific evidence? Again, please just post the title, journal and date of studies that show that either the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella, or that the DTaP vaccine is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and that the IPV is more dangerous than polio. If you choose another vaccine, please make sure it is one presently on the American pediatric schedule. Thank you.

  197. Lola M

    It simply common sense. If it is bad for other living beings. It certainly must to cause harm to humans. There is a discrepancy that is simply not going away.

  198. Lola M

    Dana got the disease because there was an outbreak at the hospital where other infants also got the disease…I don’t see how those who didn’t vaccinate are at fault for the death of this infant. And I don’t see how forcing vaccination on children who have a history of vaccine reactions is going to help any. That’s just a hate crime. “My kid dies from a hospital borne illness then I want to go hurt those who are at risk vaccine injury because it must be their fault.”

  199. A Country Farmer

    Here is a much more two-sided view of the issue from the Institute of Medicine. Clearly, some vaccines do have rare adverse effects, so you use to much hyperbole. But yes, overall, vaccines probably save more lives than they kill, but you should have a much more nuanced view, and ultimately, be careful about forcing people to do things — use logic, reason, and evidence, and most people will respond. Once you recommend force (or the threat thereof), that is actually what turns a lot of people overly skeptical.

    “The committee finds that evidence convincingly supports a causal relationship between some vaccines and some adverse events—such as MMR, varicella zoster, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and tetanus-containing vaccines linked to anaphylaxis. Additionally, evidence favors rejection of five vaccine-adverse event relationships, including MMR vaccine and autism and inactivated influenza vaccine and asthma episodes. However, for the majority of cases (135 vaccine-adverse event pairs), the evidence was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship. Overall, the committee concludes that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.”

  200. CraterJoe

    @Lola M.
    Yes, organic mercury (Google it, there is a silly amount of data that details the process) does accumulate in the human body but it is removed quite rapidy. You are simply not going to accumulate a harmful dose in your body unless you try purposly injecting large amounts in order to commit suicide. However, if you look at the CDC website you will see quite a few vaccines no longer use thermisol.

    http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#guid

  201. SkewedD

    No one is talking about forcing vaccinations on children who have previously had a serious adverse vaccine reaction, Lola. That’s why medical exemptions exist. It’s funny how you keep moving the goalposts of your argument as every aspect of it is destroyed. As Chris said: show us some data, or pipe down. Injecting hysteria into the argument is counterproductive, and you have provided absolutely nothing of any value to this conversation. It should be easy for you to grab some scientific papers since you are so sure of your opinions. Where are they?

    @Gaythia, you bring up excellent points about the other side of the unvaccinated coin. Most health departments do provide free immunization for children, but it is entirely true that once you are past childhood, you are usually on your own in terms of requesting vaccinations and paying for them. And certain laws in states like Arizona are forcing people to avoid any type of government office, which in turn leaves children unvaccinated. Finally, I did want to comment that I don’t find any aspect of the anti-vaccination movement amusing. I find it as unenjoyable as the thought of people who can’t afford to get vaccinations.

  202. Lola M

    Okay now ‘fess up. Who has stocks in the vaccine industry? They just keep going up! Great investment. Wouldn’t want to compromise those stocks!

    There are a lot of people who dont ever vaccinate but don’t say so openly because they want their stocks to keep going up. There’s is nothing creepier than watching Bill Gates talking about population control through the use of vaccines…His organization GAVI has been brought up on criminal charges after it became blatantly evident that the vaccines were killing kids and causing serious disabilities. Similarly is happening in other places…But don’t worry, the vaccine YOU are getting is safe…or so they say…

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/293191/vaccine-nation-globally-supported-company-is-funding-fatal-polio-shots/

    I’m sure Bill Gates will tell you he vaccinates. The reality is likely different. At least I’m sure he’s not using the same vaccines he pushed on those kids in Bosnia.

  203. Gaythia Weis

    Anti-vaxxers have been with us as long as vaccines have. See: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/history-anti-vaccination-movements

    In fact, in the face of the devastating polio epidemic, one of the points in favor of the live polio vaccine was that it’s reach went beyond those actually vaccinated.

    In my opinion, too rigid a stance, one that does not allow for gray areas, risk and ambiguity, is likely to drive average, relatively uninformed members of the public away from vaccination and towards the anti-vaxxers. The anti-vaxxers themselves may be unreachable, the objective needs to be to make them be the ones who are clearly being unreasonable as seen by the public at large.

    For example, Lola’s comment at 203 above may be true. Studies have shown that hospital employees are not always immunized as they should be: See for example: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/502320. Plus it is true that those who have a history of vaccine reactions, or certain medical conditions, do need to be careful about future immunizations. Additionally, vaccine information leaflets usually contain warnings about allergies. Our current process of vaccinating for many things at once may be efficient, but it also makes it more difficult to sort out reactions. All of this could be worked out if patients really did have doctors whom they trusted and were given the time to ask questions and get answers. All of these points need to be acknowledged. If they are, I believe that the public can understand that vaccines are still important. If they are not, some credibility may be lost.

    Besides, we also need to admit that vaccine decisions, while made with the “best available’ medical advice, are not perfect. Politics, and pharmaceutical lobbying really do have an effect, as does cost.

    Sometimes the opposite attitude takes effect. In Fort Collins, Colorado, in the face of a meningitis epidemic that caused 3 deaths, the local health department initially insisted that vaccines were too expensive to give out and not necessary. This has resulted in an ongoing fundraising campaign that has been quite successful in sustaining a vaccination program: http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=141670 This experience leads me to believe that there really is a large reservoir of public vaccine acceptance.

    If we want to get people to employ science based decision making we need to both provide the means to acquire such information and acknowledge it’s complexity ourselves.

    Phil Plait himself is one of the last people I would imagine accepting “because the government told him to” as a reasonable answer.

  204. Dave B

    If vaccines are so effective and free of possible side effects then why did the government have to bribe the pharmaceutical companies into continuing manufacturing the vaccines with zero liability to any adverse outcomes. And then levy a tax on each vaccine sold paid for by the consumers to pay for the vaccine injury compensation process?
    And why have so many vaccines been banned in many countries outside of the US for the reported adverse reactions being so overwhelming?
    Having got bored of reading all the Pro Big Pharma BS and someone stated inanely that everything is toxic including water. Then why does the EPA suggest daily limits on mercury exposure when the dose of the mercury in all of the flu vaccines except the nasal spray exceed the EPA daily limits for mercury exposure unless you weigh in excess of 265lbs. You must be drinking too much fluoridated water if you think I’m gonna give my 20lb child in excess of 10 times the EPA guidelines of mercury.

  205. Lola M

    @205

    Doesn’t matter what kind of mercury it is. If it is considered harmful for fish and the environment, it is harmful to humans. I’m not just going to blindly follow what you say…

  206. “146. ALF Says: Get back to space sciences or loose readers.”

    Yes! Loose readers… Preferably a list – with contact details, broken down by sex and location. (Because there’s no one more broken down by sex or location than me… Badaboom-tish)

    That makes sense Alf… :-D

  207. Pat

    Enough about mercury being poisonous. I just found about another insidious chemical. It’s made up of a poisonous gas — one that was used to KILL people during the first World War! — and a substance THAT EXPLODES ON CONTACT WITH WATER.
    I would’ve suggested that people stay far away from it, but Big Nutriment has been lacing food with it for decades, so deep does the conspiracy go. In fact, you have detectable levels of it in your body right now, enough that it exudes from your very pores.
    Stay away from this chemical, this sodium chloride. I will!
    Just my two grains of salt.

  208. Bruce of Canuckistan

    I think it’s pretty clear at this point that lola is an unhinged conspiracy theorist, scientifically illiterate and prone to mistruths. Do not feed the troll.

  209. Lola M

    It seems pretty evident at this point that Bruce will call people names… lots of them. And for no apparent reason. Perhaps he can’t argue on any other level.

  210. Lana

    My nephew had whooping cough, about two years ago. He is fully vaxxed. What if he were around a newborn, unvaxxed baby? Couldn’t he have transmitted the illness to her? The boy was VERY sick, yet of course he was around people, including me. His parents just thought he had a bad cold and a really bad cough. How do we know this baby did not die because of a vaxxed person who had whooping cough? I know it’s possible because of my nephew. In all my 35 years he is the only person I have ever known to have whooping cough. Go figure.

  211. Bruce of Canuckistan

    Lola, when people cite actual evidence and/or chemistry to refute your mistruths, you simply shift to other, more dramatic mistruths.

    Example 1:
    “It simply common sense. If it is bad for other living beings. It certainly must to cause harm to humans”

    Absolutely nuts. For a trivial example, chocolate could kill my dog but has no such effect on me. Another example that has been pointed out to you above, many times, chlorine is lethal but salt (sodium chloride) is not. Chemistry matters. You have repeatedly displayed scientific illiteracy, and a deliberate refusal to learn the most basic facts.

    Example 2:
    “Dana got the disease because there was an outbreak at the hospital where other infants also got the disease…I don’t see how those who didn’t vaccinate are at fault for the death of this infant”

    Pertussis is not an endemic hospital infection like MSRA can be. It’s a childhood disease. It got in to the hospital from a well-publicized outbreak in the surrounding community. Their community had low vaccination rates, the root cause of the outbreaks of pertussis. The pertussis vaccine controls the spread of the disease by the simple means of reducing the number of people coughing up infectious droplets. Yet again, you are promoting a mistruth.

    Example 3: Bill Gates is a supervillian, out to control population by killing children with vaccines!
    Well, no. What he has said, is that if you reduce child mortality and reduce poverty, people tend to have fewer children because they can feel confident in their children’s survival. This is human development 101. As it turns out, empowering and educating women and providing education for children also results in voluntarily lower birthrates, for similar reasons; parents can feel secure their children will survive and thrive. Will you next claim women’s rights is a conspiracy to forcibly control population? Your smear against Gates is not merely a crazed conspiracy theory, you’re promoting a vicious lie .

  212. Lola M

    How does dog equate to environment in your analogy?

    In Dana’s recollection, an outbreak was described–Among infants. So it is the infants that were not vaccinated. That’s how it became an outbreak. Where did the pertussis come from. The hospital. She never left the hospital her entire life. Thus she got the disease from the hospital. Pertussis may or may not be common in hospitals. But, no doubt, that’s where she got it.

    You can read the link about the deadly vaccines GAVI is administering. Its right there. And the injured and deaths as a result are not isolated incidents.

    You want to blindly protect vaccines. I understand. And you want to seek vengeance on those who are prone to vaccine injury because you are upset about the little girl Dana. You think someone needs to be punished for this and you want to punish children who are prone to vaccine injury by forcefully vaccinating them…Its not right. We all should have a right to choose.

  213. Me

    Every medication that has ever been recalled was once approved by the FDA

  214. Gaythia Weis

    @Lola, #214 and 209 it still seems to many of us that you are missing key points regarding risk analysis.

    As Phil Plait pointed out way back at #62, toxicity depends on dosage.

    We are all exposed to low levels of potentially toxic materials every day. The key is understanding appropriate dosages, and corresponding risks. Along with the alternative risks of inaction.

    I believe that the following post gives a good analysis of the relative risks of vaccines, the materials used in them, and the diseases they prevent, using diphtheria as an example:
    http://puffthemutantdragon.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/do-vaccines-contain-toxic-chemicals/

  215. The world is already vastly overpopulated as it is, so I’m hardly going to concern myself about ignorant people extincting themselves in this way. We need more of this kind of thing, not less!

    Oh, and as long as I’m posting to this forum of science worshippers, allow me to share one of my favorite quotes by the prophet Lovecraft:

    “Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.”

    Try to get your mind around this simple fact: human intelligence is *not* a survival trait, and scientific enlightenment leads directly to self-extinction. I give scientific civilization another 50 years tops before the terminal dark age sets in. Have a nice day…

  216. Bruce of Canuckistan

    “How does dog equate to environment in your analogy?”

    What is poisonous to other organisms is not necessarily so to human beings. Many things kill bacteria, but do not harm us.

    “In Dana’s recollection, an outbreak was described–Among infants. So it is the infants that were not vaccinated. That’s how it became an outbreak. Where did the pertussis come from. The hospital. ”

    Really? The bacterium spontaneously materialized in the hospital? It didn’t walk in the door via an infected member of the surrounding community, one with a low vaccination rate and known pertussis outbreaks?

    “You can read the link about the deadly vaccines GAVI is administering. Its right there…”

    In a tabloid from Pakistan, one of the craziest and most corrupt nations in the world, where islamic radicals have conspiracy theories that would put you to shame. There is far more going on there than a medical issue.

  217. Lola M

    @SkewedD

    Yup, there is a cost to breastfeeding and keeping your kid healthy. It means being educated enough to find a good paying job to work from home or any other set of possibilities that all involve money. This really isn’t anything new. Making more money equates good health…and poverty equates bad health. In the end, the health of your baby depends largely on your wealth. The more educated you are, the less sick you child will be. And, coincidentally the more educated you are the likelier you are to not get vaccinated… Don’t want your kid to get sick? It means you have to live on the rich side of town where the cement factory is not blowing smoke in your face…It means eating the right foods from the organic garden in the backyard…It means making food from scratch because mommy has a maid to clean up the kitchen….

    Breast-feeding is actually very practical and it is something that has kept the human race on earth for thousands of years. You are not going to convince me that vaccines replace the benefits of breastfeeding. The human race survives all this time and now it is vaccines that are going to save us from being erased from the face of the earth–not breastfeeding. Yeah right.

  218. fedra

    I’m totally convinced, due to numbers, that vaccines have brought to humanity many more advantages than problems. This said, I would strongly encourage any research trying to lessen the percentage of adverse reactions they cause, in the short or long term, and the same applies to any drug. Generally speaking, I think that today we – at least in the Western world – have overcome many serious or death-causing diseases thanks to the incredible progress of the medical science, including vaccines. Yet, today we are much more prone to chemical pollution, improper lifestyle (e.g. overfeeding) and factors like these might be the source of several “second-order” diseases. I am personally struggling with fibromialgic syndrome and nobody can tell me exactly what it is, why it arose and how to cure it, but at least I’m glad I had no polio. Cheers from Italy, and sorry for the messed-up concepts (it’s very late, here!).

  219. Lola M

    Bruce, you don’t seem to understand. Analogies look good on paper, but they are just that. Analogies. If I feed arsenic to the cat and I eat the arsenic we will both get sick…That’s also an analogy. There. Now I win with this analogy idea…Now what?

    Hospitals are have high concentrations of infection. Most likely the only healthy people there are the ones giving birth and being born–that is–if they don’t contract infectious disease from all the other sick people.

    …okay…so the Pakistani accusations to GAVI are all fake. I’m sure that’s also the case for the parents disabled children in Bosnia who brought up criminal charges against GAVI for dispensing the defective vaccines that disabled them…oh and we know there’s some serious Islamic radicals in Japan, kids there died too as a result of GAVI vaccines…they must have totally made that up too for no apparent reason. Just entertainment…

  220. Gaythia Weis

    Lola, I have one post above #208 that got through moderation so slowly that you may not have read it.

    I think that your point about hospitals is a good one, EXCEPT that I think it highlights failings of our health system, including how we approach immunization. Health workers should be immunized and we should also pay much more attention to infection control in hospitals.

    I agree with you that in most cases breast feeding is excellent. It does enhance immunity in some cases, but certainly does not guarantee it. However, you are neglecting to note the high levels of infant and maternal mortality that occurred in the past.

    But you are also not addressing the point I raised above in #219. In the example linked to there, Diphtheria is deadly because the bacteria involved produces a highly lethal toxin. The vaccine actually does have risks, but these are very much less than the risks of the disease. Figuring out which choice is better or worse shouldn’t be that difficult.

  221. Lola M

    Gaythia, the choice is not difficult for you. But for those who suffer vaccine reactions making that choice means life or death. It means the possibility of being crippled for the rest of your life. Kudos to you for not having such a hard time with it.

    But what this article is imposing is that everyone get vaccinated regardless of whether they believe it is right for them or not. I have had my slew of medications and side effects and I have seen doctors brush aside obvious serious side effects and move on. I was even once prescribed a cancer drug and wasn’t told that it was chemo. Then the prescribing doctor couldn’t seem to figure out why the heck I was throwing up all the time…I had to go to three doctors for someone to say, that chemo must be what is making you puke! I was never even informed that the drugs I was prescribed were chemo. Is it any different with vaccines? No and thats where the informed consent comes in. What is it that’s going into the body? Is it safe for me, my child or my conditions? People need to know these things. Very few are ever told. I’ve never been told.

    So I have had serious side effects from vaccines. But with medical exemptions I am only allowed to get an exemption if I can convince a physician to write one. Regardless of whether I have records to prove the existence of vaccine reaction or not, the chance of me becoming seriously ill from a vaccine is still the same…Just let people choose what they think is right for them. I am not the only one that has had serious vaccine reactions that have gone unreported. Thus, you question how statistics are flawed? Doctors don’t report. They don’t have the time or it simply becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy for them: ” If you don’t believe vaccine reactions exist, then we won’t look for them and attribute whatever happens to something else.”

    Say a doctor unknowingly administers a bad batch of vaccines to 20 children. The all get sick. Given the statistics the physician has been taught, the chance of a bad reaction is very small. He doesn’t want to look like an idiot in front of everyone saying 20 out of 20 children had serious and rare side effects….He would even question his initial instincts given the ‘studies’ he has been taught to follow. Plus he doesn’t get paid for doing the work of reporting and there is no consequence for looking the other way and not doing anything. And so the monster feeds itself…

  222. @Lola

    Let’s see if you can answer a couple of questions. What is the risk of encephalopathy when naturally infected with measles? What is the risk of encephalopathy from the MMR vaccine?

    Think you can answer those clearly and succinctly?

  223. Gaythia Weis

    Lola, as someone with allergies, I certainly understand bad reaction fears.

    In the case of vaccine allergies it is generally the method of production (like with eggs) or the media in which the vaccine is carried, that are the problems. This takes a bit of research, but frequently substitutes can be made.

    However, it is those that cannot take individual vaccines themselves that are most dependent on a society with herd immunity to remain healthy, so I don’t see how that position is consistent with being anti vaccination overall.

  224. Pat

    @222
    “You are not going to convince me…”
    You could’ve saved us a lot of trouble if you’d said that in your first post. Your mind’s made up; facts will only confuse you.

  225. Dexton7

    Vaccination is good science and I agree with that. But why is nobody really talking in depth about the additives, preservatives and adjevuncts that have been proven to cause auto-immune disorders, sickness and even death in some individuals. Even the CDC admits that Thermerisol and Formaldehyde that are in many of the vaccines is ‘bad’ for you – and yet these ingredients are still present in most vaccines. Due to suspected neurotoxic effects, Thimerosal has been banned in the European Union in 2001, so why is it still being used here in the US? http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

  226. Lola M

    Gaythia, I am not sure how you get the idea that vaccine reactions are only allergies. And for me, I am not interested in trying again and gambling what the outcome might be this time around.

    Like you, I also wondered what would happen if I stopped getting vaccinated. But my immune system does very well. I don’t get sick all the time like I used to. I always had a cold virtually 3/4 of the year. Now that I don’t vaccinate I hardly ever catch anything. And I’m not a germophobe, so I get plenty of exposure. And I have shared drinking glasses with people with nasty nasty bugs such as encephalitis and even SARS when I was in China. It didn’t bother me. I do well not getting vaccinated. For others, it might be different story and they can choose what is best for them.

    I’m not against vaccination. I am opposed to having vaccines imposed on me. I want the right to choose. This article is about forcing vaccines on those who are at risk of vaccine injury. That is not right.

  227. Gaythia Weis

    I guess that we would have to have Phil Plait chime in here, I don’t see anything in what he says above that should be interpreted as saying “This article is about forcing vaccines on those who are at risk of vaccine injury.”

    And, you are still not answering my question. If you are, in fact, someone who cannot take some vaccines, then, in my opinion, you should be more interested, not less, in the overall vaccination rate and societal herd immunity. Because that is what protects you.

    I can’t imagine that you want to live in a community where diseases like polio are still rampant. Some people in remote places like parts of Pakistan do. See: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/17/world/la-fg-pakistan-polio-20111017 I’m old enough to have friends with leg braces and now, years later, new weaknesses. Not wanting to control that due to some fear of small risk strike me as incredibly naive. If we were able to eliminate polio (as we did smallpox) then the need for this particular vaccine would be eliminated also. To do that, we need to have a world wide vaccine effort that stamps out the disease.

  228. Lola M

    218 is so right.

  229. Mark Hansen

    Nice one Lola. Your argument comes apart so start the old “Yer in Big Pharma’s pocket, ain’t ya?” canard. How’s your stocks in Big Homeo?

  230. rlschulz

    Vaccinations may work in some cases. However would you put a newborn in a sewer? Vaccines are viruses, some dead, some not. to test on adults one vaccine at a time and then give 30+ to a newborn is bad. To say they are a cure all is stupid. They generally do not work that well. Most diseases that they were said to have stopped were either already on there way down or nearly gone. I would not say I am totally against vaccines, but they have made a lot of false claims.

  231. Gaythia Weis

    @233 and @218 You are both correct, but… One thing about science is that it is always a work in progress. That includes medical science. I would be in agreement with you in that each of us needs to be aware of our own needs, and to carefully weigh medical advice. It is true that such advice can be wrong.

    And @234, even as a chemist, I would still give some weight to a “Big Pharma” arguement. Our market sytem does have it’s imperfections, and corporate greed can be one of them.

    But if there is an implication here that we need to discard medical science, and not recognize it for the marvelous achievement that it is, then I would be in disagreement. Even if our knowledge is imperfect, it is a big improvement on what was known before.

  232. The antivax groups remind me of something I learned in my first college math class. The professor said “When your premise is false you can draw any conclusion you want.”

    What really scares me is that when (not if) the next epidemic/pandemic hits, these antivax groups will have the general population so confused that people will be unwilling to accept the remedies for prevention.

  233. Lola M

    @Denton7

    Yup. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. And who knows what else it does.

  234. Rachael M

    I’m in healthcare. There’s an appropriate time and place to get vaccinated, but one size doesn’t fit all. It’s so easy to rely on vaccinations as a substitute for taking proper care of ourselves. Whipping the body into a frenzy to boost the immune system isn’t entirely “pro-life.”

  235. Mark Hansen

    Lola, formaldehyde is also present in bananas, pears, and many other fruits and vegetables. Shouldn’t we be banning these deadly things? Or would that hurt your stocks in Big Farmer?

  236. Lola M

    @Gaythia

    Herd immunity? How about my own immunity? I am much healthier now and I hardly ever catch anything now. Why would I want to force vaccines on others because it may (or may not) be beneficial for me. If other people’s bodies are anything like mine, then it is for the interest of society that they do NOT get vaccinated as they will be sick all the time spreading all kinds of germs and may not even develop a proper response to the vaccine anyway. But everyone’s bodies are different. This is the land of the free. I think they should chose what they think is best for them.

    Example. I got chickenpox when I was a kid and it was a mild illness, really not a big deal. And the illness certainly does not compare with the tragedy vaccines have brought upon me. But I have met people who say they got chicken pox and it was horrible and that vaccines pose no harm for them. Why tell people what to do? The answer is obvious in both cases.

    I have found my body tolerates all infectious disease very well. As I mentioned before among the many exposures I have had, I’ve been exposed to confirmed cases of SARS and encephalitis. And I have never come down with them. So to answer your question. No. In my interest, I don’t care about this vaccine-induced heard immunity you are referring to. It does not appear to affect me.

    But I’ll humor you. Exposure to infectious disease for those who cannot get vaccinated isn’t unfathomable. In this case it is still not appropriate to force vaccinations. They are going have to respect other people’s rights and do what is best for them within that spectrum. Some people are so allergic to peanuts they can’t even walk into a room where there are peanuts. Under the same principle they could try to tell me I can’t have peanuts ever again because I live in the next apartment. Perhaps it would be best for all for them to make their own arrangements so they can be safe. Get a single family home with lots of land perhaps…Or try to improve the condition by healthful means such as vitamin D, diet and exercise. Not easy, but no-one should be forced to be the next martyr.

  237. Gaythia Weis

    @238, 207 and others that may be following along: Did you read the link that I put up at #219? This specifically addresses the issue of formaldehyde in vaccines.

    To skip the moderation process, go back to 219 for the link, here’s a quote from the blog, “Puff the Mutant Dragon”:

    “Formaldehyde in a vaccine might sound unnerving. Isn’t formaldehyde a toxic chemical? But toxicity is a more slippery concept than popular culture would have you believe. (See my earlier post, “What Does ‘Toxic’ Really Mean?”) When we talk about toxicity, there’s a number of things we have to think about — how does your body metabolize the compound, how quickly is it excreted, and how much is too much? There’s an old saying that “the dose makes the poison”, and it’s certainly true in this case, because small quantities of formaldehyde are being generated by ongoing processes in your body right now.”

    Please note the “small quantities of formaldehyde are being generated by ongoing processes in your body right now” part.

    Again, as Phil Plait pointed out above in #62 toxicity depends on dosage.

  238. Messier Tidy Upper

    @214. Lola M : December 30th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    It seems pretty evident at this point that Bruce will call people names… lots of them. And for no apparent reason.

    No apparent reason? On the contrary, it is evident to me that you, Lola, have been trying – – whether you are consciously aware of this yourself or not – to derail the thread by constantly going off topic and bringing up side issues that are not relevant. This thread isn’t about breastfeeding or home births or the right PH balance for the human body and whether that can be changed by diet. Those are topics for another thread and are specifically irrelevant to the case of Dana McCaffery. Please stop trying to shift the focus or, IOW, take the thread off the rails of the actual topic.

    Perhaps he can’t argue on any other level.

    This sounds a bit rich coming from someone who implies (@ #207. ) that anyone accepting the science is corrupt and has “Big Pharma” stocks – again an irrelevancy and the attributing motivations logical fallacy.

    Plus it amounts to conspiracy theory slurring the scientists involved here and is just wrong.

    (FYO. I have no stocks or shares whatsoever. Also I’m an Aussie FWIW.)

    Hint : We’re skeptics – we look into those things from both sides and put a bit more clear thought into it than you seem to have. Conspiracy theories don’t usually fly welland will always be checked and need to be backed by extraordinary evidence seeing as they are extraordinary claims.

  239. Gaythia Weis

    The history of vaccines post that I link to in my comment #208 above indicates that REQUIRING vaccine compliance has led to resistance,while allowing some leeway and individual decision making actually gave greater compliance.

    Also in that comment, I give a link to an example in Fort Collins, wherein having the local county health department tell people that they didn’t need vaccinations actually led to a full blown non profit organization that now conducts yearly fundraisers to pay for vaccination clinics.

    Humans sometimes confuse contrarianism with true informed skepticism. Both Lola and rlschultz above exibit a bit of “I’m not against vaccination but… behavior.

    Going back to my very first comment, I think that science blogs have made a mistake in focusing on a vaxx/anti-vaxx jousting match. I believe that we would be better off focusing on health care access and such things as hospital immunization and infection control. Since vaccination has been quite successful, we also need to remind people of the seriousness of these diseases. It is true that, generally speaking, chicken pox, for example, does not lead to complications. But perhaps many have lost sight of the fact that the risk that it might, is much greater than the risk (for the majority of people) of the vaccinations.

    Pediatricians themselves need to come up with better mechanisms for dealing with patients in the short time periods insurance companies allow them. And patients need the flexibility to select a doctor they can trust. One of the things medical professionals need to do is to allow more space between total acceptance of that particular medical professionals word for it and complete denialism. And if they don’t have time or the inclination themselves to communicate, they need to set their offices up with assistants who can perform much of that function.

  240. Lola M

    @ Gaythia

    Dioxin is also a naturally occurring compound that is produced after forest fires. Products with dioxin were assumed to be safe because they occur naturally. Now we know that is not the case. Both Dioxin and Formaldehyde are known carcinogen according to the NCI.

    Apparently in fruit it is okay since fruit is known to prevent cancer…and the human body can produce many substances that in light of the biochemical chain reaction it is involved in, makes sense and is good. Still this is what the NCI says regarding this confusing issue you are describing:

    “Formaldehyde undergoes rapid chemical changes immediately after absorption. Therefore, some scientists think that formaldehyde is unlikely to have effects at sites other than the upper respiratory tract. However, some laboratory studies suggest that formaldehyde may affect the lymphatic and hematopoietic systems. Based on both the epidemiologic data from cohort and case-control studies and the experimental data from laboratory research, NCI investigators have concluded that exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans.”

    The kind of formaldehyde the NCI is referring to is that which does not come coupled with protective qualities such as fruit and the kind naturally produced your own body in conjunction with other biochemicals. But I think you should know that. You are a chemist.

  241. @241. Lola M : December 30th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Example. I got chickenpox when I was a kid and it was a mild illness, really not a big deal.

    To *you* because you were lucky.

    But for other people things can be very different! Remember chicken pox is contagious and can be a serious disease or result in later problems.

    From Wikipedia :

    Some parents believe that it is better for children to contact chickenpox than get the vaccine. They even go the extent of exposing their children to others who have the disease – even by taking them to “chicken pox parties.” Doctors counter that children are safer getting the vaccine, which is weakened form of the virus, than by getting the disease, which can be fatal. [snip] Infection in otherwise healthy adults tends to be more severe and may be fatal.

    From what I vaguley recall chickenpox actually helped exterminate the indigenous populations of much of the world when introduced to them by European explorers. It is still dangerous and nasty for many and occassionally leathal.
    Your argument here is essentially one of selfish disregard for others much like choosing to drive on the wrong side of the road while drunk because hey, you did that once and got away with it okay. (To use a somewhat extreme example to prove my point – but I think the analogy holds.)

  242. Lola M

    @243

    No seriously. I am not against anyone getting vaccinated IF they want to do so.

    Or perhaps what you are saying is that I am not in favor of forcing vaccinations on others who are at risk of vaccine reactions. This is true.

  243. ND

    Lola: “Or perhaps what you are saying is that I am not in favor of forcing vaccinations on others who are at risk of vaccine reactions. ”

    Who is forcing people with known vaccine reactions to get vaccinated? Where is this happening?

  244. Gaythia Weis

    @243 It all comes back to risk analysis.

    There is only one kind of formaldehyde. Naturally occurring formaldehyde may also pose some risk. People do age and die naturally after all.

    Perhaps both of us had distant ancestors who found a dry cave and built a fire towards the front of it to keep out the sabre tooth tigers. They might have even coughed or noticed that the smoke irritated their throats. But if we had been there to explain dioxins or lung cancer to them, they would have been right to ignore us.

    We live in a time in which risk analysis is much finer grained. But still there is not really any such thing as perfectly safe. Still, relative risks and benefits for individuals and societies can be scientifically evaluated.

  245. @ 241. Lola :

    Again from Wikipedia’s chickenpox page (again linked to my name here) with emphasis added :

    Non-immune [incl. unvaccinated – ed.] pregnant women and those with a suppressed immune system are at highest risk of serious complications. Chickenpox is believed to be the cause of one third of stroke cases in children. The most common late complication of chickenpox is shingles, caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus decades after the initial episode of chickenpox. Chickenpox has been observed in other primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas.

    So *you* were lucky Lola. Whether you realise how lucky you were or not.

    Other people – including those you and your children or the ones swayed by your claims have infected & will infect - may NOT be so fortunate.

    Don’t *they* have rights too and don’t *you* have a sense of responsibility to them?

    Please think about that. Really think about it.

    Death from chickenpox or complications may not be common – but it can and does still happen.

    You cannot forget – lawyers won’t allows us to nor our consciences – that your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose as the saying or quote goes.

    Incidentally, on a less serious but still significant note, another childhood illness was responsible for changing the crew of Apollo 13 as you may know from seeing the movie or knowing your history. Back up crew astronaut Charlie Duke unwittingly exposed both crews to german measles – and that led to Ken Mattingly missing out and his spot going to Jack Swigert instead.

    So exposing people to illnesses – even ones we know view as relatively trivial (for most although they can still be deadly to some groups) – can have serious, even historic and astronomical real world consequences!

  246. Pat

    @Lola M
    Out of curiosity, what sort of evidence would you need to see to be convinced that vaccination is more beneficial to people than the lack thereof? What kind of proof would you need in order to change your mind? I’m not saying that you would change your mind — I’m just wondering what you’d consider to be acceptable proof.

    Please be specific.

  247. Lola M

    Pat, there is no evidence that will convince me that vaccines are good for me as an individual since I have already used them and I have been injured as a result.

    As for everyone else, they must be at liberty to judge what kind of evidence they find fit for their choice in vaccination–As they should. Forcing persons at risk of vaccine injury to be vaccinated is wrong.

    But for me as an individual there is only one choice. Perhaps vaccines may evolve and become ‘safer’ but I am doing well without them even when exposed outside this vaccine-induced herd immunity some people describe and don’t plan to use vaccines ever again.

  248. PayasYouStargaze

    @90. Nick B

    I feel a lot better now. FOR THE UNION!

  249. PayasYouStargaze

    Lola M:

    Perhaps this analogy will help you understand the concept of dosage. If I kick a football to you – and I’m not being mean, let’s say we’re playing a game and you’re expecting it – even if you fail to catch it you won’t be killed or even seriously injured. Now if we played the game every day and I kicked that ball to you every day for the next 5 years without fail, you would not have any real risk. Now imagine instead 1,825 men kicking a football at you at the exact same time. It would result in a tragic yet hilarious incident. What the antivaxers do is pretend that all footballs are made of solid lead (on fire, covered in razorblades) and that even a friendly game in the park will result in death and mutilation.

    If my example seems absurd it is only as absurd as your own arguments.

  250. mailman

    As one commenter stated, this article relies heavily on the ‘appeal to emotion fallacy’ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_emotion ), a persuasion technique which instantly torpedoes any credibility the article might otherwise have had in my view. It is the same tactic that conspiracy theorists, advertising agencies and political parties use to coerce people into buying into whatever they are trying to sell. In the interests of balance I would also like to draw people’s attention to just one example of the now widely recognised but hugely under reported swine flu vaccine scandal of two years ago:

    Narcolepsy link to swine flu vaccine investigated
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16109424

  251. QuietDesperation:

    I removed your comment telling people how to get around the automatic spam software on my biog. I obviously don’t take kindly to that – as you should know, given you list your email as nspam@nspam.com. You also did it specifically to get around the moderation — which is me — saying "Don’t let the mods get wind of it. I figure it’s safe down here in the 250s.". I already spend way too much time every day moderating comments on this blog, and you purposely and specifically told people how to make it harder for me.

    I’m banning you from the comments. Do not leave any more comments on this blog.

  252. @Gaythia,

    I agree with a lot of your points regarding vaccine mandates causing increases in the anti-vax movement. However, in the modern era, the literature has shown that the easier it is to obtain a vaccine exemption, the higher the exemption rate will be in that state (Omer, JAMA, 2006). So there are other factors at work here as well which are not well-understood. Public health practitioners need to work to end the easy exemption process while allowing for medical exemptions in severe cases. They also need to work to provide funds for vaccinating underserved populations.

  253. mailman (255): And as I pointed out using an appeal to emotion is not necessarily a fallacy. It depends on how it’s done.

    And “in the interest of balance” is not a valid claim when it comes to antivax claims. As I have pointed out over and again, while nothing, not even vaccines, are 100% safe, their benefits hugely outweigh their drawbacks. You are not balancing the discussion, you are overblowing and exaggerating something small — and I’ll note that in the article you mention, there is no connection confirmed. It’s just suspected. So that’s not balance at all; it’s simply fear mongering until a link is actually established.

    It’s like two people arguying arguing over what 1+1 equals. One person says 2, the other says 3. So the second person says, “In the interest of balance, we’ll call it 2.5.”

  254. Gaythia Weis

    What if our major focus was on controlling and eliminating these diseases?

    Compared to emphasizing vaccination of infants born to mothers who are not Hepatitis B carriers, the following approach based on reaching those groups that are most likely to be carriers might be a better application of more of our public health dollars:

    http://www.hepb.org/hepb/transmission.htm

    If we want to eliminate transmission of Hepatitis B, I believe we should direct our greatest efforts at identifying and treating those who have chronic Hep B infections, and immunizing those closest too them. This is especially true for those women at risk who are or might become pregnant.

    Worrying too much about anti-vaxxers in this instance is, in my opinion, getting diverted by a sideshow.

  255. Gaythia Weis

    @257 With regard to exemptions, I am only familiar with the procedure used here in Colorado. It is impossible on the form to distinguish between a selective exemption and a generalized one. But it is a fairly easy process.

    Colorado has instituted a system of tracking immunizations. This is something that was done by school nurses in my childhood. For people who have switched health insurance carriers, and thus needed to change doctors, those who have moved, or those who do not have a regular personal physician, tracking immunization records can be difficult. In the past, this problem has sometimes resulted in children receiving multiple immunizations for the same thing.

    Signing off on this form could simply be a matter of needing to get kids to school on time on the first day, without remembering where the immunization records might be. It could be a matter of not affording a doctors visit. It could be figuring that medical records, even though available, were really none of the government’s business. It could be a decision to avoid, or even simply delay, a single shot.

    It does not necessarily reflect a dedicated denialist position.

    I really do believe that positions of those like Lola seem more enticing to others if people feel that they are being coerced into something rather than persuaded. I also thing that our current health care Pediatrician set up is not good, in that it frequently does not allow for adequate communication, or time to build trust and individualized care. Applying force is not the right solution, and as I pointed out above, has been demonstrated to be counter productive.

  256. bbmcrae

    Force, persuasion, reason, facts, common sense…none of it matters to an anti-vaxxer.

    Ultimately what Lola is saying, as she shifts her arguments and points around with nearly every post, is she FEELS vaccines are dangerous and that is that. She enjoys sitting in the dark and doesn’t need any light.

    Once somebody believes a conspiracy theory, it is near-impossible to divorce them of it.

    Meanwhile, back in the 21st century….on Earth….

  257. Gaythia Weis

    @261 In my opinion, the dedicate anti-vaxxers themselves are not significant, only the impact of their sphere of influence.

    That sphere of influence I believe, can be reduced by using improved methods of public risk communication, for example as described by Dr. Brian Zikmund Fisher here:
    http://umrscblogs.org/2011/01/23/public-health-needs-humility-to-address-vaccination-fears/

    “Public health officials must acknowledge the reality that they can neither compel vaccination nor pretend that there are no arguments against vaccination. ”

    ” We must acknowledge that each parent has the right and the authority to make his or her own choices, and that it is our failing (either in the quality of our vaccines or the persuasiveness of our message), not theirs, if we have failed to convince them that vaccination is the better choice.
    We must acknowledge that we have the best chance of convincing a skeptical public when we put the weaknesses of our arguments and the risks of our interventions front and center and acknowledge the fears that they evoke.”

  258. @rlschulz

    Vaccinations may work in some cases. However would you put a newborn in a sewer?

    Vaccines work in most cases. Some implies a very high rate of failure, which is not the case (though there are some vaccines with very low efficacy, like BCG). And are you equating vaccination with putting kids in a sewer? In what world are the two even remotely similar?

    Vaccines are viruses, some dead, some not.

    Not quite. Vaccines are made from dead bacteria, “live viruses”, in activated viruses or parts of bacteria or viruses (e.g., surface proteins).

    to test on adults one vaccine at a time and then give 30+ to a newborn is bad.

    I totally agree with you. That process would be bad. Which is why no one does that. Vaccines are tested in the populations for which they are intended. There are these things called regulations which state that manufacturers cannot label their product for use in any population (e.g., children, adults, elderly, renally impaired, etc.) unless they actually test their product in that population in controlled clinical trials. Furthermore, it would be a significant waste of resources for a company making a pediatric vaccine to test it in adults if they are never going to market the product for use in adults.

    Manufacturers must also test their vaccine in combination with other already approved vaccines to make sure that their combined use does not increase the rate of adverse events nor decrease the efficacy of any of the vaccines.

    I suppose I can forgive you for not knowing the regulations, since it is kind of a specialized area of knowledge. However, if you were to actually read the package inserts for the vaccines, you would very quickly find out how the vaccines were tested, which includes the subject populations in the trials, as well as what other vaccines they were tested with.

    To say they are a cure all is stupid.

    Agreed. Again, that is why no one says they are a cure. Cure implies that they make you better after you have the disease. Instead, vaccines prevent you from ever actually getting the disease. Depending on the particular vaccine, there may still be a chance, of course, that you will get a disease, but the course of illness is generally much milder than if you had no immunization to begin with.

    They generally do not work that well.

    [citation needed] Most of the childhood vaccines work remarkably well, but their efficacy varies depending on the vaccine (e.g., mumps vaccine is less effective against mumps than the measles vaccine is against measles) and the individual. There are some vaccines that have very close to 100% efficacy, while others may have efficacy around 50%-60%. However, all of the vaccines are well above 0%, which is the protection you have without them.

    Most diseases that they were said to have stopped were either already on there way down or nearly gone.

    Not really. Take a look at measles as an example. While the death rate was declining before introduction of the vaccine (thanks in part to better medical intervention post-infection), incidence (i.e., number of new cases) remained pretty steady until the vaccine began to be used. Once mass immunization against measles was implemented, incidence plummeted. You can find the statistics for this on the CDC web site.

    I would not say I am totally against vaccines, but they have made a lot of false claims.

    You have not demonstrated a single false claim about vaccines. Instead, it seems like you have simply read some negative claim about vaccines on some anti-vaccine web site, like Age of Autism, Mercola-dot-com, NaturalNews of the National Vaccine Information Center. Those sites have been repeatedly shown to omit key facts, as well as distort or even outright lie. Because of that, I highly recommend that you check original sources to verify anything they might say (something you should do for any site, really). In particular, visit PubMed and see what the published studies have to say.

  259. Lola M

    When the only form of vaccine exemption is medical exemption, that forces those who have known vaccine reactions to pay a doctor for the sole purpose of writing a vaccine exemption. As anyone can imagine, it is not easy to get a medical vaccine exemption. I have shown my information to different doctors, some have agreed that I should never be vaccinated ever again and some disagree. So if you don’t happen to live in the same town for 50 years and have the same doctor all along you are going to have to come prepared with documentation and do some serious explaining. Regardless of whether I the resources to convince a physician that vaccines will cause me harm every time, the reality of becoming severely ill or dying from vaccines remains the same. Furthermore, the medical conditions I that were induced by vaccines have not allowed me to get health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. So I have had to make do without medical assistance for some time and I have gotten used to it. I have no regular doctor. I don’t know how to apply for vaccine injury compensation and but what I do know is that it is a very long process and very few people are compensated. And for most people, including myself, we were so sick that collecting crucial information for a lawsuit or compensation was the last thing on our minds…

    So now, here I am. Vaccine injured and I have to deal with these injuries for the rest of my life. I am already very burdened financially and physically because of the illnesses that have been induced. Now it is being proposed that I should be forced to spend money I don’t have shopping for doctors who will take the time to look at my medical records and understand how my immune system has been damaged as a result of vaccines. And I have them decide for me whether or not a new vaccine is something I should gamble…

    Therefore, imposing vaccines on others who are at risk of vaccine injury is wrong. Medical Exemptions let doctors, who want to make 200 dollars in less than 5 minutes, make the decision for me. I have had my share of vaccines, I know they are bad for me.

    It is fascist to further force vaccines on me and others at risk of vaccine injury or continuously put me on trial over and over again every time I need would need the proposed medical vaccine exemption. I didn’t do anything wrong. Why am I being punished? I just don’t want to be hurt again. I don’t want to die.

  260. Chris

    Lola:

    It simply common sense. If it is bad for other living beings. It certainly must to cause harm to humans. There is a discrepancy that is simply not going away.

    So if you are only depending on “common sense”, can you tell us if this planet flat or a sphere, and does the sun come up as it goes around while we sit still? Remember this is an astronomy blog.

    So now, here I am. Vaccine injured and I have to deal with these injuries for the rest of my life. I am already very burdened financially and physically because of the illnesses that have been induced.

    While compelling, despite the lack of specific information,your anecdote only applies to you. And if you have a valid exemption from vaccination you need protection by other people vaccinating, so all of your posts here make no sense. You are reducing your personal protection.

    But still your story is just an anecdote. The plural of anecdote is not data. You still need to support your statements with real evidence. So please just pick a vaccine in the present American pediatric schedule, and then post the title, journal, and date of the studies that show there is a greater risk by getting the vaccine than the disease(s) that it targets.

  261. Gaythia

    Maybe Lola’s case is more of a testimonial to what it is like being on the margins of our health care system without real access. Perhaps her time would be better spent attempting to improve the health care system and finding a place within it that meets her needs rather than latching onto anti-vaxx ideologies. Perhaps rather than the typical vaxx/antivaxx jousting match, we’d be better off trying to figure out how to identify and meet the real needs of such people.

    Another quote from Dr. Brian Zikmund-Fisher in the link given in my comment #262 above:

    “We live in a world with too much information, a conflicted, overwhelming morass of data that most people simply do not try to understand. In the face of such confusion, it is hardly surprising that people gravitate towards the compelling narratives of those who argue against vaccination. A narrative that is about what might happen more than what is happening. ”

    It seems to me that Lola’s fears about the “discrepancy that is simply not going away” is not really about vaccinations at all. Its about risk, and about not feeling well while not feeling one is getting real answers that meet her needs.

  262. SkewedD

    @ Gaythia:
    “Signing off on this form could simply be a matter of needing to get kids to school on time on the first day, without remembering where the immunization records might be. It could be a matter of not affording a doctors visit. It could be figuring that medical records, even though available, were really none of the government’s business. It could be a decision to avoid, or even simply delay, a single shot.”

    Yes, that is my point. Vaccine exemptions obtained for the sake of convenience need to be eliminated. The way to do this is to disallow any personal belief or philosophical exemptions, and if needed, religious exemptions as well. Regardless, it is not clear that the increase in these exemptions is due to convenience; in fact, the data seem to argue against this. There are clusters of vaccine exemptions within states, particularly among the middle class, which strongly suggests that this is not a convenience issue at all.

    There was a time when I agreed with your suggested approach-that we need to take the time to discuss vaccination with patience and respect. For a small subset of parents who are on the fence about vaccination, this approach is valid and should be employed whenever possible. However, due to the explosion of the anti-vax movement online, for other groups that time has passed. Many proponents of vaccination are now working to get laws changed within states for this reason, and if anyone is interested in changing vaccine exemptions the first thing to do is to determine what your state allows, and if you don’t like it, work to change it. The state of Washington recently made their vaccination exemption laws more stringent. Ideally I’d like to see every state do the same, if not even more strict. I don’t agree with you that vaccine exemptions are not worthy of serious attention. The percentage of exemptions is significantly and directly associated with risk of pertussis, for example. There was a time when anti-vaxxers were a fringe group, but that is not the case anymore. This a group that is growing in numbers and undermining public health.

  263. Lola M

    The truth is my case has never been reported and many other people’s severe reactions has never been reported. So quoting statistics is not representative of what is really going on.

    My situation may be only one. But the point I was making was is the the argument to force vaccinations on those at risk of vaccine injury is wrong. And it is fascist. Limiting only to medical vaccine exemptions is also fascist. Putting the vaccine injured on trial every time they need a vaccine exemption is a fascist act.

    Let the individual choose and become informed about what they think is best for them!

    NVIC is not an anti-vaccine group. If you care to read their ads or even their website, their role is to inform people of the possible risks since physicians rarely care to inform their patients of these risks. What could possibly be wrong with being informed? Regardless of whether you think the substances in vaccines are safe for you, they may not be safe for everyone else. It is a good idea to read the insert and become informed. Why is that so bad? Why are people so angry at the idea of being informed?

    A simple thing like eggs might be the problem. A good number of people are allergic to eggs. So then is it wrong to encourage them to inform themselves about the risk of injecting eggs into their body through the use of vaccines?

    I have not seen anyone who questions the use of vaccines asking for vaccines to be abolished. But what I have seen is people asking for the right to choose. And for others to have the right to be informed of the risks and contraindications that are involved with vaccine use.

  264. Chris

    Lola M:

    The truth is my case has never been reported and many other people’s severe reactions has never been reported. So quoting statistics is not representative of what is really going on.

    Why? Who diagnosed you?

    If NVIC is not an antivaccine why do they still discuss the whole cell pertussis vaccine on their whooping cough page, when it has been replaced with the DTaP and Tdap vaccines? And why is the list of references on that page missing the following more updated papers (even though it was revamped less than a year ago):

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53. Epub 2011 Nov 12.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

    Vaccine. 2007 Jun 21;25(26):4875-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
    Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis.

    Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84.
    Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future.

    By the way, allergy to eggs is a valid reason for exemption from certain vaccines, not all.

    Above you see examples of posting of papers that are indexed in PubMed. You should use that as a template to answer my question. Here it is for a third time: So please just pick a vaccine in the present American pediatric schedule, and then post the title, journal, and date of the studies that show there is a greater risk by getting the vaccine than the disease(s) that it targets. For example, what is more dangerous, the MMR vaccine or actually getting measles?

    To help you, the following paper is free online and can be accessed through PubMed. It explains the dangers of measles, and from there you should be able to find something that shows the MMR vaccine is much more dangerous:
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S4-16.
    The clinical significance of measles: a review.

    Here is one part of a paragraph that you should pay attention to:

    Postinfectious encephalomyelitis (PIE) occurs in 13 per 1000 infected persons, usually 3–10 days after onset of rash [39, 131]. Higher rates of PIE due to measles occur in adolescents and adults than in school-aged children (table 2 [124, 132, 133]). PIE usually begins with the abrupt onset of new fever, seizures, altered mental status, and multifocal neurological signs [131, 134]. Although measles virus was found in cerebrovascular endothelial cells in a person who died during the first few days of rash [135], the virus usually is not found in the central nervous systems of persons with PIE. PIE appears to be caused by an abnormal immune response that affects myelin basic protein [61, 136]. As many as 25% of people with PIE due to measles die, and ∼33% of survivors have lifelong neurological sequelae, including severe retardation, motor impairment, blindness, and sometimes hemiparesis [39, 131].

    Good luck with your research. We anxiously wait for your results.

  265. Lola M

    If this is an issue of public health that you are discussing then and you think vaccines are good for you. Then go get the shots. If vaccines really do what they say they are supposed to do, there is no threat to the vaccinated. In the recent outbreak of measles we found that children who had been vaccinated also got the measles at some unexpectedly high rates. Perhaps it would be a good public health initiative to test those who got vaccinated for antibodies to see if the vaccine is, in fact, providing protection it promises. Its your concern, its your job to follow through and do the job right instead of blaming everyone else.

    In fact, in baby Dana’s case it would have been the responsible thing for the family ensure their vaccines really worked before coming in contact with baby Dana.

    The case of baby Dana is that she got the infection at the hospital from an outbreak among unvaccinated infants. Perhaps instead of taking a stance to force vaccines in on the vaccine injured…what they should be doing is appealing to how the hospital system works in preventing outbreaks among infants through proper sanitation since these infants are, as you say, unprotected and breast milk is…um… ineffective?

  266. RobC

    Phil,
    First a thank you for taking on this issue.
    Fortunately the anti vax thing has died down a bit but it is still there.
    It’s amazing how people will just ignore facts. Ethyl mercury is not the same as methyl mercury some just ignore the fact others move the goal post to formaldehyde or aluminum.

    I had a mom of a patient ask me about the anit-vaccine propaganda the other day. I asked her how professional an answer she wanted. She said what ever I wanted to say I told her “There is BS and there is BS that gets children killed and this is the kind of BS that gets children killed”

    Erin, if you are still out there the Roman Catholic Church and other pro-life groups have stated they are not opposed to the use of MMR and varivax (chicken pox ) vaccines made from fetal tissue.

    As a member of the Pennsylvania chapter American Academy of Pediatrics Immunization Education program one of the talks I give is on vaccine safety. Vaccines have a extensive pre and post license testing and monitoring.
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccine_Monitoring/Index.html

    Still there are always those who will ignore the fact the anti-vax movement is nothing new, see Gillray cartoon at : http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/smallpox/sp_vaccination.html

    Again Phil thanks for the help,
    Rob

    Robert Cordes, DO, FAAP

  267. Chris

    Lola M:

    In the recent outbreak of measles we found that children who had been vaccinated also got the measles at some unexpectedly high rates.

    [citation required]

    Because on this description of one of the largest outbreaks in the USA:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 Sep 2;60(34):1169.
    Notes from the field: Measles outbreak–Indiana, June-July 2011.

    It says that “Of the 14 patients, 13 were unvaccinated persons in the same extended family. The nonfamily member was a child aged 23 months who had received 1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine 4 months before illness onset.”

    I don’t know, but by my math (and I was just an engineer) thirteen is lots more than one.

    Plus:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 Dec 2;60:1605-10.
    Increased transmission and outbreaks of measles – European region, 2011.

    This says “France reported the largest number of cases (approximately 14,000), predominantly among older children and young adults who had not been vaccinated or whose vaccination history was unknown. Overall, the primary reason for the increased transmission and outbreaks of measles in EUR is failure to vaccinate susceptible populations.”

    Do you have some other outbreaks in mind? And could you please post the title, journal and date of those (similar to above), and also which ones show that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles. As you can see from the paragraph I posted above that there is bad outcomes for several out of a thousand cases.

  268. Lola M

    One thing I found interesting about the baby Dana recollection is that it says that neither the mother or Dana’s siblings came up positive for the disease when they got tested for it. It does not say whether it was an antibody test, but most of these tests to assess exposure are antibody tests.

    Why this is worth noting is because the mother said she breast fed the child, but she didn’t get exposure to make antibodies? And both the mother and the siblings said they were vaccinated. That means all of them should have had antibodies had the vaccine worked.

    If this is all true. It means that the family did not give the disease to baby Dana. But it also means they provided her with NO protection from the vaccines they were so careful to use and could have potentially spread the disease to the baby had they contracted it as they did not have protection themselves…

  269. Chris

    Lola M:

    . If vaccines really do what they say they are supposed to do, there is no threat to the vaccinated.

    This is nicely answered by Todd W, I suggest you read his blog, especially this post:
    http://silencedbyageofautism.blogspot.com/2011/12/vaccine-awareness-week-if-vaccines-work.html

  270. Chris

    Lola M:

    Why this is worth noting is because the mother said she breast fed the child, but she didn’t get exposure to make antibodies?

    Please stop playing the blame the victim game.

    How is researching for the scientific evidence that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than getting the disease?

  271. Lola M

    All these statements are always general statements for the greater good. But as an individual one would like to be sure the vaccine worked.

    I went to go work handling blood products where I was told I needed a vaccine for Hep B. I had already had the vaccine two years ago. Unfortunately shortly thereafter I was tested for Hep B antibodies and it turns out I did not have any. Although I did get very sick from the vaccine! I got much of the risk and none of the benefit. That’s me. I am an individual. Not a statistic. That goes for everyone else. We are individuals who will have different reactions to vaccines. Regardless of whether the statistics say that they are safe, they are not safe FOR ME. It may or may not be different for other individuals.

    As an individual I want to know whether I am safe or not. I am not just a statistic. Dana is not just a statistic and her mother and siblings tested negative for antibodies to the vaccines they and so faithfully used. Had they known the vaccines did not work perhaps they would have known well enough to take additional precautions.

  272. Chris

    Lola M:

    We are individuals who will have different reactions to vaccines. Regardless of whether the statistics say that they are safe, they are not safe FOR ME. It may or may not be different for other individuals.

    Do you know why there is a field of studies called “statistics”, or even “probability”?

    Since measles can cause encephalitis at least one out of a hundred cases, and one quarter of those can die, surely you’d have some real sure fire evidence that the MMR is more dangerous.

  273. Lola M

    Dana’ mother says she breastfed Dana. But had it been true that she had breastfed, it means it is likely that she would have had enough close contact with her daughter to test positive for antibodies when they decided to check their exposure. Yet she tested negative. She tested negative in spite of getting the vaccine and in spite of being close to her baby who had the illness and died from it…

    I question whether this whole story was fabricated. And whether her mother lied and said she breastfed when she really did not.

  274. Chris

    So what, Lola? Are you now going to go ask all ten mothers of the infants who died from pertussis in California if they breastfed?

    My daughter was fully breastfed when she got chicken pox as a six month old baby. Even you say breastfeeding is not 100%.

    Now stop the blame the victim game, and answer questions with real data. Or just go away.

    Again, what evidence do you have that the MMR vaccine causes injury more than one out of a thousand doses? Just post the title, journal and date, and make sure it is not from a researcher or an associate of a researcher whose credentials have been revoked due to fraud.

  275. Lola M

    Chris you don’t understand what I am saying.

    The mother got tested after the baby died to see if she had given the disease to the baby. Her test came out negative. The way that exposure is assessed is through antibody tests. Now it is all pretty that the mother did not have exposure and seemingly did not give it to the baby. But what IT MEANS is that the mother was also NOT exposed to her own baby who had the disease. Had she breastfed like she said she did, she would have had antibodies at least after the fact. Additionally, her vaccine didn’t work either as her antibody test showed that it was negative. The same went for Dana’s sibilings who had also gotten vaccinated.

    Its just too much. This is seemingly a fabricated story to somehow make it just to force vaccines on those who do not want them.

  276. Mark Hansen

    So what Lola is saying is that the because Dana’s mother didn’t test positive for pertussis then she was nowhere near her any time after she contracted pertussis. It then follows that Dana’s mother not only didn’t breastfeed her, she didn’t even feed her by bottle. Or change her. Or even cuddle her. See, if Lola doesn’t like the story, Lola changes / reinterprets the story to fit her own preconceptions and bias. Lola’s next claim will probably be that Dana was allowed to die through neglect. Or that it wasn’t really pertussis but something, anything, other than a vaccine preventable disease (shades of Meryl Dorey). Or that Dana didn’t even really exist and it’s all a Big Pharma hoax. Lola’s a real piece of work. If you can’t blame vaccines, blame the parents. Anything but face the truth, eh Lola?

    EDIT: Sorry, missed the bit in Lola’s comment where she did suggest that it was a hoax. My bad.

  277. Chris

    And you don’t seem to understand why what you are saying is neither relevant, nor appropriate. Stop blaming the victim.

    Now, I will demand that you post a real scientific study that shows that the MMR vaccine causes severe harm more than once out of a thousand doses.

  278. Lola M

    How is it not appropriate to discuss the issues that were involved in Dana’s death?

    You want to force vaccinations on the vaccine injured because of this story. But you don’t want to talk about the facts that led her death?

    If you don’t think it is appropriate to talk about Dana’s death and how it happened, then you should not be pushing vaccines on the vaccine injured for her cause.

  279. Jim Allen

    I’m surprised by the amount of effort decent people are putting into responding to Lola who is clearly as eccentric as a march hare. Ignore her.

  280. Lola M

    According to the story, IF it is true, it says that the mother and the siblings were vaccinated against pertussis. After Dana died they all decided to test for pertussis. All their tests came out negative. These people did not have antibodies to pertussis even though they had the vaccine. If the story is true…The vaccine failed all of them.

  281. Chris

    Because she was not a vaccine victim, but a victim of the actual disease. She was too young to be vaccinated.

    Now where is that evidence that the MMR vaccine causes severe harm more than one out of thousand doses?

  282. Lola M

    I find it shocking that the vaccine failed the entire family in Dana’s story and people are taking this up as a cause to push vaccines on the vaccine injured.

    They all tested after Dana’s death and all the tests came out negative even though they had been vaccinated. It means the vaccine did not work on her siblings nor her mother.

  283. Chris

    Mark Hansen:

    See, if Lola doesn’t like the story, Lola changes / reinterprets the story to fit her own preconceptions and bias. Lola’s next claim will probably be that Dana was allowed to die through neglect. Or that it wasn’t really pertussis but something, anything, other than a vaccine preventable disease (shades of Meryl Dorey).

    I noticed that. She is also ignoring that Dana was not the only baby to die from pertussis in Australia, and the ten infants in California, plus more that were around the country. The CDC feature page on pertussis says:

    In 2010, 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S.—and many more cases go unreported. Twenty-seven deaths were reported – 25 of these deaths were in children younger than 1 year old.

    Why are those deaths more or less suspicious than Dana? Does Lola want the full medical files on all of them?

    And will Lola go up thread and read the link in my now approved comment at “December 31st, 2011 at 3:27 pm”?

    And does she understand that measles is much much more dangerous than the MMR?

  284. Lola M

    What you are not understanding is that using Dana’s example to push vaccines on the vaccine injured is wrong.

    The vaccines that were used to protect the family and Dana from the vaccine did not work. They tested after her death and they did not have the antibodies.

    If you were genuinely interested interested in preventing deaths like Dana’s in the future, you would also be interested in testing individuals for antibodies against the vaccine after it is administered. The truth is the family did not have the protection the had so faithful sought from vaccines regardless of whether they gave her the disease or not.

  285. Chris

    Lola M, then you need to clearly describe how to protect babies from pertussis. And you can’t just spout your opinion, but post the title, journal and dates of the papers that show your method actually works. Show us the solution, and stop blaming the victim.

  286. Lola M

    You are standing by Dana’s case as an example as to why to force vaccinations on others. When in fact if vaccines played any role in Dana’s case it was because they were not effective and failed to protect the family as they were promised it would.

  287. Chris

    Lola, you are repeating yourself. How would you protect babies dying from pertussis? Explain very clearly and provide supporting evidence.

  288. Lola M

    Chris, you are repeating yourself too.

    This post is about baby Dana who died. This article commands the hating and bashing of others who chose to practice their human right to refuse drugs and refuse drug experiments.

    It would certainly not be the first time an FDA has approved and then recalled because further studies showed something different. This reminds me of the case when my mother was yelled at by her doctor because she did not want to take hormone replacement therapy. She was told she would die a painful death of osteoporosis if she did not pop the pills. She was called irresponsible…But now it is accepted that hormone replacement therapy has a significant risk of breast cancer. And that’s the reason my mother did not want to take it.

    Despite only limited studies at the time suggesting that hormone therapy causes cancer, she decided not to take the drug based on that limited evidence. It turns out she was right. Had her doctor been authorized to make that decision for her, she may have breast cancer right now as a result. And you can’t just turn back time…

  289. Chris

    I am only repeating the question you refuse to answer. How would you prevent babies dying from pertussis? If you don’t know, just say “I don’t know” and then go away.

    This article is just not about one baby dying. In fact, I noticed that you have ignored all of the other babies who have died from pertussis. How would you prevent that kind of tragedy? Why don’t you care?

    Dr. Plait mentioned the talk at a folklife festival in Australia where there was a discussion, plus and airplane. Then the less than honest NVIC, and I asked you why if the NVIC is not anti-vaccine why they left off crucial information about the DTaP from their page.

    And you have yet to provide any real evidence that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases, or are even much of a risk.

  290. Lola M

    If it was my infant, I’d breastfeed and I wouldn’t take my infant out to public places and do some basic sanitation. That’s what I would do for my infant. Vaccine reactions run in families and despite there being a risk of infection, I don’t believe vaccines would help protect my individual infant that has unique genetics closely related to mine. I truly honestly believe that the risks would greatly outweigh the questionable benefits for MY infant.

    For me, vaccines pose a far greater danger then the disease itself. Now you may say that it is because of this thing you call vaccine induced herd immunity, but I have traveled outside where these so-called circles exist and have been exposed to confirmed cases of diseases I did not have vaccines for….And I’m fine. So most certainly, in my individual case, vaccines are far worse than the disease!!

    Now if it was someone else’s body or someone else’s infant. I don’t consider I have a right to impose either way what is right for them or not. Their bodies may be different than mine. They most certainly should judge for themselves what is right for them.

  291. Chris

    Now, how would you keep everyone away for a full year? Would you keep the baby and yourself away from the father, grandparents and other siblings? Would you keep everyone at home, with other children skipping school and no one going to work? How would you get groceries? By delivery, making sure that they were left on your porch?

    What do you have that shows this is a valid method?

    It also looks like you have never had a child, because you obviously do not understand what is required. And since you have been caught lying more than once on this thread (like the more vaccinated had measles lie), we cannot take your word for anything. You must provide real evidence.

  292. Lola M

    No seriously, I’d just breastfeed, do some basic sanitation and avoid taking the infant to crowded public places. I did not say anything about quarantine.

    And no. I will not run experiments on my infant to deem whether your method or someone else’s is better. I already know vaccines are harmful for me and vaccine reactions run in families. As my infant would have unique genetics closely related to mine I deem the risk of taking a vaccine would outweigh the questionable benefits.

    The real evidence lies in the fact that I have had a vaccine injury. Several of them. Why do you want to keep bashing me because I had a vaccine injury and I want to defend my right choose what is right for me?

    Why do you think it is good to force vaccines on those who have had vaccine injuries?

  293. Chris

    You really don’t have a clue. It does not take a crowd to infect an infant, it just takes one person. That person does not have to be part of the family.

    It could be the person behind you in the check out stand, it could be the child visiting, it could be an aunt with a tickle in her throat.

    I mentioned your vaccine injury only to tell you that is was an anecdote. What you are doing is making sweeping statements based on one data point, yourself. That is not sufficient.

    You keep making statements that are pulled out of thin air and not based on reality. I see you have not corrected you statement: “In the recent outbreak of measles we found that children who had been vaccinated also got the measles at some unexpectedly high rates.” that you made on. December 31st, 2011 at 3:08 pm. You even did not answer my question about which outbreak you were referring to.

    You keep making the claim that vaccines are forced on people. Not in the USA. There are requirements to attend public school, but there are philosophical exemptions in all but two states. And even in those two states there are private school and homeschooling. So you need to stop repeating that lie.

    You were told multiple times that there is a difference between ethyl and methyl mercury. And that is a non-issue since every single pediatric vaccine in the USA comes in a thimerosal free version.

    And never, even once, have you provided any kind of real evidence for your claims. There is no reason to believe you. Especially after you posted a fantasy on how to protect an infant. Sanitation does not prevent air borne pathogens from floating in the air.

  294. Lola M

    This article is suggesting that vaccines be imposed on those who do not want them. This is wrong. Forcing drugs or drug experiments on people violates human rights.

    Whatever it is in vaccines that the EPA considers is harmful for the environment is also going to be harmful for humans. Its a logic issue. You can love ethyl mercury all you want. But there’s no way you or anyone else is going to convince me to inject hazardous waste into my body.

  295. Lola M

    Much like in the example with Dana’s family who did not produce antibodies to the vaccine. This has been illustrated also with recent measles outbreaks.

    The measles occurred at unexpectedly high rates among those vaccinated. Researchers claim that the currently imposed vaccine schedule is to blame. Whatever the reason, these children who got the measles and were vaccinated thought they were protected when they in fact were not.

    These is just one example discussing numbers of a measles in an outbreak in Canada:

    *Measles among vaccinated Quebec kids questioned*

    “…So the discovery that 52 of the 98 teens who caught measles were fully vaccinated came as a shock to the researchers who conducted the investigation.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/10/20/measles-quebec-vaccine-schedule.html

    AND here is a medpage article talking about the same thing with slightly different numbers:

    *IDSA: Outbreak of Measles Raises Vaccine Questions *

    “unvaccinated…with half of the 98 cases…On the other hand, there were 41 cases among the 1,111 students with complete vaccination”…meaning 41 out of the 98 cases were occurred in fully vaccinated kids. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/IDSA/29238

  296. Lola M

    One thing you must also consider is that there is not one just one single strand of these illnesses. Vaccines only protect against some of them, but not all.

    It appears the new outbreaks of pertussis like the one baby Dana died from are not associated with the vaccine at all except to say that the vaccine does not protect against these particular strands.

    This publication from the CDC considers that lack of immunization may or may not be a contributing cause to these epidemics. In fact, they acknowledge that the rates may not be going up at all. Its just that with improved technology and increased surveillance they get higher results than before. Thus swaying the statistics and making it appear as if the rates were going up when, in fact, they are not.

    Here is what this article says from the CDC website:

    “…In the 1990s, a resurgence of pertussis was observed in a number of countries with highly vaccinated populations…The reemergence of pertussis has been attributed to various factors, including increased awareness, improved diagnostics, decreased vaccination coverage, *suboptimal vaccines*, waning vaccine-induced immunity, and pathogen adaptation.”

    Bordetella pertussis Strains with Increased Toxin Production Associated with Pertussis Resurgence: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/8/08-1511_article.htm

  297. Mark Hansen

    And now Lola just descends into the realm of pure BS with:
    …This article commands the hating and bashing of others who chose to practice their human right to refuse drugs and refuse drug experiments…
    Where is the hating and bashing commanded or even promoted, Lola? Where is it said that people must be forcibly injected, Lola? Where does it say that people must be forcibly experimented on, Lola? Your statements are all lies, Lola; all dished out by you. Must make you proud. The only reason it is worth responding to you is that hopefully people reading this will be made aware of your deception.

  298. Lola M

    This article is demanding that people who do not want to get vaccinated get vaccinated. This is wrong.

    As the study from the CDC illustrates, the cause of the the pertussis that killed baby Dana may have nothing to do with vaccination rates at all. It may very well have to do with the fact that the vaccine is not protecting against new strains.

    “Pathogen adaptation is supported by several observations…We provide evidence that expansion of strains with increased Ptx production has contributed to the resurgence of pertussis…” http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/8/08-1511_article.htm

  299. Lola M

    Dana’s siblings tested negative for the vaccine antibodies even though they seemingly had their current vaccines.

    “Dana contracted Pertussis in the first weeks of her life…No one else in our family has tested positive for Pertussis or had a cough. We have tortured ourselves with questions: Was it in the hospital? Was it from our son’s school or daughter’s childcare centre? …”

  300. Chris

    Lola M:

    This article is suggesting that vaccines be imposed on those who do not want them. This is wrong.

    Oh, do go up and cut and paste the words Dr. Plait wrote that made you think that.

    I interpreted him as saying that misinformation needed to be challenged.

    And as far as Quebec, the percentage of immunized kids got measles than the un-immunized kids. That is because there are far more that were fully immunized, than un-immunized. The thing you have to remember is the denominator of the fraction. This is explained by an epidemiologist at Respectful Insolence:

    So which is bigger, 52/900 or 46/100? Don’t strain yourself (Julio), 46/100 is .46 while 52/900 is 0.06. In this theoretical population (based on an actual outbreak), children with measles are 7.6 times more likely to be un-immunized (if we do a case-control study). You can replace any number, really…

    And Quebec is now questioning its MMR vaccination schedule. Unlike the USA, Canada has an option for both MMR vaccines to be given to children between their first and second birthday (in the USA it is typically the first MMR between age 1 to 2, and the second between age 4 to 5).

    And please, as an American married to a Canadian, do not think that Canada is just a suburb of the USA. It is a different country, with different laws, and a completely different vaccine schedule.

  301. Chris

    Also, have you bothered to read Todd W.’s blog post on “if vaccines work”? Do give it a try, I gave a link, and the link to his blog is in his name.

    Now I looked at your links, and absolutely none of them show that the vaccines cause more problems than the illnesses. They do show that they are not perfect, which is why herd immunity is required. So instead of harping on that, if you cannot be vaccinated, you need to be telling everyone else to get a Tdap to protect yourself from pertussis!

  302. Lola M

    “And please, as an American married to a Canadian, do not think that Canada is just a suburb of the USA. It is a different country, with different laws, and a completely different vaccine schedule.”

    So when I cross the border–does that mean that disease ceases to behave in the same way??

  303. Lola M

    According the CDC, the case is that baby Dana’s her death most likely could not be prevented from vaccines that were at hand. Authorities believe vaccine resistant strains are the cause of these new deadlier pertussis outbreaks. The argument that vaccines could have saved Dana’s life or that it could save mine is likely invalid.

    It a human right to choose to take a drug or not. It is not my right to impose it on others. If other people’s immune systems behave the way mine does, vaccine induced immunity is unlikely and–if any–forcing the vaccine on people like me could pose a threat to society. Therefore, in my own interest and in the interest of society, I would never seek to impose vaccines on others.

    Those who believe vaccination is benefial should rightfully do what they think is best for them.

    And this is according to the CDC:

    “Pathogen adaptation is supported by several observations…We provide evidence that expansion of strains with increased Ptx production has contributed to the resurgence of pertussis…” http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/8/08-1511_article.htm

  304. Lee

    Lola keeps claiming that Dana’s family members were tested after she died, and that ‘the immunization failed them’ because there were no detectable antibodies.

    Immunization often confers lasting disease resistance even when the circulating Ig antibodies have cleared. Memory B and T cells mediate an immune response, and prevent infection. The fact that someone has no circulating antibodies years after a pertussis vaccination does not mean that the vaccination is not working for them.

    Here is one cite:

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/30110372

  305. Lola M

    Once again showing that Dana’s death was likely not preventable by a vaccine, this article from FOX 8 News reports 100% of the young children in this school were properly vaccinated when they got whooping cough.

    “It’s not yet clear how whooping cough, or pertussis, got into the school…. However, none of the students at the school were given exemptions for vaccinations.

    ‘A lot of people might think that the reason there’s a pertussis outbreak is that children haven’t been vaccinated appropriately. In fact, 100 percent of the children in B. Everettt Jordan have been vaccinated,’ Shapley-Quinn said.”

    http://www.myfox8.com/news/wghp-four-more-whooping-cough-cases-at-alamance-co-school-20111229,0,7370793.story

  306. Messier Tidy Upper

    @256. Phil Plait :

    Please can I respectfully ask you to reconsider and relent on the ban on Quiet Desperation?

    I understand why you’re angry at him and agree that he was completely wrong to do what he did there but QD has been a regular positive commenter here whose contributions in the comments on various discussions here I – and I think others – often enjoy and find thought-provoking and interesting.

    Please? If you keep the ban I’ll understand but I do feel that penalty is a little bit harsh and I will miss him if he really is gone for good.

    *****

    PS. This is totally my own initative and I haven’t been contacted by him or anyone else to ask this. I only know Quiet Desperation from his comments here.

    PPS. Just a suggestion but it might be nice to have somewhere a specific post on your policy for links and how the moderation system works here (equivalent to your rules one and one on religion, poliics and the blog) plus what is and isn’t allowed or prefered here by you.

  307. Messier Tidy Upper

    @302. Mark Hansen – December 31st, 2011 at 9:34 pm :

    And now Lola just descends into the realm of pure BS with:
    …This article commands the hating and bashing of others who chose to practice their human right to refuse drugs and refuse drug experiments…
    Where is the hating and bashing commanded or even promoted, Lola? Where is it said that people must be forcibly injected, Lola? Where does it say that people must be forcibly experimented on, Lola? Your statements are all lies, Lola; all dished out by you. Must make you proud. The only reason it is worth responding to you is that hopefully people reading this will be made aware of your deception.

    (Emphasis original. Italics added.)

    Seconded by me. Very well said. :-)

    @Lola M : I notice that you have ignored my earlier comments #246 & #250 directed at you as well as making no comment on the three items linked at comment #125 :

    I) The Vaccine Song

    II) Penn & Teller’s clip onYoutube about vaccines

    &

    III) The ‘Pertussis can kill, and you can help stop it’ blog post here incl. a ’60 Minutes’ show clip on the Dana McCaffery story and the anti-vax liars.

    Have you seen these three items?

    If not, please do so. If so, please tell me what you think of them and why specifically they are wrong assuming you somehow think they are.

    Please stop adding rudeness in ignoring me to your other flaws here. Note that I am being civil and polite to you and will hope & expect you to return the same courtesy.

    As the BA, Phil Plait, (& btw the Bad Astronomer which do you prefer we use?) notes at the end of item (III) :

    Getting the booster may not save your life, but it could very well save the life of an innocent infant too young to be otherwise protected. Go see your doctor, ask them about it, and if they recommend it, get the booster.

    Watch that clip. Please. Especially the last five minutes & at the 12 minute 5 second mark. Think about it. Please Lola, really.

    Oh & FYI, yes I’m vaccinated myself too – just like my pets! ;-)

  308. Steve Metzler

    287 Lola M Says:

    I find it shocking that the vaccine failed the entire family in Dana’s story and people are taking this up as a cause to push vaccines on the vaccine injured.

    289 Lola M Says:

    What you are not understanding is that using Dana’s example to push vaccines on the vaccine injured is wrong.

    No one here is suggesting that we force vaccines on people who have previously been injured by vaccines. That’s a lie that you made up, Lola. But then you change your tune/move the goalposts again just several posts later:

    303 Lola M Says:

    This article is demanding that people who do not want to get vaccinated get vaccinated. This is wrong.

    But why do they not want themselves and their children to get vaccinated? Is it because of the disinformation that people like you and the anti-vaccine organisations spread? If so, job well done, Lola. Give yourself a big pat on the back for helping to make the world a worse place to live in. You just don’t get the concept of herd immunity, do you?

    As has been said many times up-thread, the risk posed by vaccines is much, much less than the risks posed by contracting the diseases they prevent.

  309. Messier Tidy Upper

    Once again for Lola M’s convenience and with one different link see :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/06/16/pertussis-can-kill-and-you-can-help-stop-it/

    Note that as this BA blog post points out :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/09/15/pertussis-claims-a-ninth-infant-in-california/

    Its not only the McCaffery family who have lost their babies to whooping cough (pertussis) either.

    & see here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/30/penn-and-teller-take-on-vaccines/

    For Penn & Teller’s vaccine clip. WARNING : Swearing. (As always with P&T.)

    Plus I’d recommend folks click on the antivax tag right under the date at the end of the Opening Post / blog article for more.

  310. jfb

    Erin @ 69:

    Your objection would carry more weight if fetuses were being aborted for the specific purpose of creating those cell lines being used in vaccines; they are not. Even in a perfect world where there were no elective abortions, there would still be abnormal pregnancies such as ectopic (tubal) pregnancies that are simply not viable and cannot be allowed to go to term without risking serious harm or even death to the mother.

    Put another way, development of vaccines does not drive abortions. There is no moral quagmire here.

    Yes, there are risks associated with vaccinating your child. They are significantly outweighed by the risks of not vaccinating your child. There are children who, for one reason or another, cannot be vaccinated. Herd immunity is a real effect, and it protects those who cannot be vaccinated for whatever reason.

    While they aren’t the only factor, vaccines helped bring down child mortality rates significantly in the 20th century.

  311. SkewedD

    Lola, your complete and utter misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the article on measles that you yourself posted is simply outrageous. Here is the most important part of the article.

    “Only 4.7% of the students in the school were unvaccinated, he noted, and they bore the brunt of the outbreak, with half of the 98 cases and an attack rate of 82%. On the other hand, there were 41 cases among the 1,111 students with complete vaccination, for a much lower attack rate of 3.7%.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/10/20/measles-quebec-vaccine-schedule.html

    Exactly as in the U.S., the measles outbreaks are occurring and being spread primarily by the UNVACCINATED. A total of 82% of the unvaxxed students got measles. Only 3.7% of the vaxxed got measles. The attack rate is the issue here. We already know that there is vaccine failure in a very small subset of the population at a rate almost exactly in line with the percent of vaxxed who got the disease in this example. This is but one reason why herd immunity is important. So these data should come as no surprise to anyone, actually. But I’m sure you neither understand nor care about epidemiology.

  312. SkewedD

    To simplify the numbers for Lola, I might add that if none of the students were vaccinated, and with an attack rate of 82%, there would have been over 900 cases of measles among the students instead of only 98. Thank goodness for the vaccinators, who kept a massive outbreak from occurring.

  313. OrganicDiva

    “Atta boy Phil” keep spouting your own misinformation.

    To Liz Ditz,
    There was a recent “study” (survey) done in the Amish community that indicates the majority are not vaccinated or have only had 1 or 2 vaccines. Your comments are misleading at best.

    And to say that the leftbrainrightbrain blog focuses heavily on science gave me a giggle. That blog is just a copy and paste of the Gorski minions who do their best to keep parents uninformed of the vaccine facts and continue to deny basic informed consent.

    IMO, parents should be required to keep their contagious kids at home for 6 weeks after they are given a live virus vaccine in order to protect the other kids from shedding. Curious that no one mentions the fact that these vaccines can render recipients illness and germ spreaders in the community and none of the folks here have an issue with that.

    How exactly does making a child contagious to others “prevent” the spread of illness?

  314. SkewedD

    @Organic Diva-can you please provide a link to the “study” of the Amish? Thanks.

    The “shedding” concept has gone too far and has little basis in reality. Some live vaccines may, in fact, shed. The problem with your thesis is that you are confusing shedding with transmission, the latter of which is not going to occur via casual contact. Measles, however, will be transmitted by casual contact.

  315. Chris

    SkewedD:

    The “shedding” concept has gone too far and has little basis in reality. Some live vaccines may, in fact, shed.

    The only vaccines I have found any real documentation in regards to shedding were the smallpox and oral polio vaccine (OPV). Neither of those are on the pediatric schedule in the USA nor in Canada (which uses the DTaP-IPV). If Organic Diva has a citation for actual disease transmission from vaccines on the present American pediatric schedule, she should be willing to post the title, journal and date of those papers that are indexed on PubMed.

    I have asked countless times for citations from Lola, but I have come to the conclusion that she lives in a fantasy world. We should ask that she not force her fantasy on to our reality (pertussis can only be transmitted in crowds?).

    It looks like Organic Diva lives in the same fantasy world. The Amish are not a valid comparison, since they are insular family groups with their own genetics with higher numbers of certain genetic disorders possibly due to the founder effect. Perhaps, Organic Diva would like to tell us how a low vaccination rate (which is mostly due to not being part of mainstream society) is a factor in their increased rates of Maple Syrup Urine Syndrome, and why there is a disorder named Amish lethal microcephaly .

  316. Lola M

    This article from Fox 8 News found that 100% of on the children in this school system had been vaccinated against pertussis. Yet these children still got came down with pertussis. http://www.myfox8.com/news/wghp-four-more-whooping-cough-cases-at-alamance-co-school-20111229,0,7370793.story

    The CDC speculates that appears the problem is a associated with the fact that current vaccines do not protect against these new and possibly more deadly strains. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/8/08-1511_article.htm

    Vaccines only provide protection against single particular strains. Those who choose the vaccine only acquire protection against these individual strains. Those who do not get the vaccine and are capable acquiring the full disease and gain protection against many more strains for many more years. Meaning, those who did not get vaccinated would have and provided more protection to various vaccine resistant strains through natural herd immunity than those who got the vaccine.

    It appears new strains of a vaccine resistant pertussis were involved in baby Dana’s case. It is possible that collective vaccine use was the cause of her death and instead of the other way around.

  317. Organic Diva @319 wrote

    There was a recent “study” (survey) done in the Amish community that indicates the majority are not vaccinated or have only had 1 or 2 vaccines. Your comments are misleading at best.

    You’re doing it wrong. It’s your obligation to provide a citation and a summary of the information. Otherwise you are just blowing hot air.

    And to say that the leftbrainrightbrain blog focuses heavily on science gave me a giggle. That blog is just a copy and paste of the Gorski minions who do their best to keep parents uninformed of the vaccine facts and continue to deny basic informed consent.

    Again, you are doing it wrong. I actually know Sullivan, who writes almost all of the science content, in real life. To call the large blue one a “Gorski minion” is laughable. Copy and paste? What, Sullivan plagiarizes Respectful Insolence? Hardly.

    The LeftBrain/RightBrain article titles for December, in reverse order

    Oxidative Stress and Down Syndrome: A Route toward Alzheimer-Like Dementia
    Los Angeles Times: Discovering Autism
    Happy Holidays from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network
    XMRV paper withdrawn
    Chronic fatigue syndrome scientist finds a temporary home
    Rats Show Empathy, Too
    Autism Memoir Headed For The Big Screen
    Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: The Autism Book You’ve Been Waiting For
    Judge awards Robertson Co. bullied teen $300K
    The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: The Book
    From a comment on a LA Times article to a tiny Streisand effect
    Gang of nine who beat autistic teenager so badly she was off school for 10 months escape without ANY punishment
    Epilepsy Foundation Touching Lives fundraiser
    Advocates Push Federal Law Allowing Same-Sex Parents to Adopt
    Autism Frequently Missed in Children With Epilepsy
    Ignorance adds to stigma, again.
    ASAN Seeks Autistic People as Federal Grant Reviewers
    Is Mark Geier finished as an expert witness in the vaccine court?
    Michele Bachmann Loves Vaccines After All
    Mother who ‘smothered baby because she feared he was autistic was insane and had postpartum depression’
    Lower birth weight indicates higher risk of autistic traits in discordant twin pairs
    ASAN Symposium on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Autism Research
    95 Disability Rights Groups Call on CMS to Issue HCBS Regulations
    Autism Speaks launches “Visual Supports” tool kit
    Autism Science Foundation “Recipe4Hope” Campaign Will Raise Funds for Pre- and Post-Doctoral Autism Research Fellowships

    By contrast, the article titles for December at Respectful Insolence:

    At the top of the list of the worst doctors of 2011
    One last example of crank magnetism for 2011
    A “personal case” for homeopathy, part 2
    A young antivaccine propagandist develops
    Two examples of “antivaccine”
    Jenny McCarthy plans to ring in 2012 with antivaccine propaganda on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve
    On leaping to conclusions about a neurosurgeon and Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski
    Merry Christmas…one last time
    Happy Holidays to all!
    The campaign against the HPV vaccine
    A “personal case” for homeopathy?
    For shame! Nature shills for traditional Chinese medicine
    Steven Best and “Negotiation Is Over”: Closer than Best wants you to know
    A lesson in communicating vaccine science to the public
    One more lesson on what “antivaccine” means
    Quoth Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Vaccines are “disease matter”
    Seven years…
    Dr. Burzynski and the cult of personality of the “brave maverick cancer doctor”
    Now I’ve seen it all: An anti-vaccine children’s book
    NCCAM in the news: Why does it still exist?
    What Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski doesn’t want you to know about antineoplastons
    Blame Comcast, Xfinity, or whatever it is it’s calling itself these days!
    And global warming is caused by the decrease in the number of pirates or: Why an inorganic chemistry journal should not publish a vaccine epidemiology paper
    So chemotherapy does work, after all
    An anti-vaccine activist destroys my irony meter…
    It’s a part of my anti-vaccine fantasy; it’s a part of my anti-vaccine dream…
    When “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy” really means “making it up as you go along”
    Mr. Michael Dochniak, meet Prometheus
    A “homeopathic physician” in Arizona versus science
    SafeMinds tries to frighten pregnant women into skipping the flu vaccine

    One cannot maintain that the blog posts at LeftBrainRightBrain are a slavish copy of the blog posts at Respectful Insolence.

    who do their best to keep parents uninformed of the vaccine facts and continue to deny basic informed consent.

    Doing it wrong for the third time. As Bernard Baruch said,

    Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.

    In order for consent to be “informed”, the information has to be factual, which is far from what either the Australian Vaccination Network or the National Vaccine (mis)Information Network provide.

  318. Angie Anti-Vax

    We do not vaccinate. There are many reasons.

    First, the chemicals, aborted human fetus tissue, animal tissues, and other ingredients in vaccines scare me.
    http://www.novaccine.com/vaccine-ingredients/

    These ingredients, like aluminum, formaldehyde and mercury are directly injected into the veins and cross the blood-brain barrier. These are known toxins, cited by the CDC and FDA as being toxic to humans, and yet we are injecting them right into our brains.

    Second, there are no long-term (months or years) safety studies on any childhood vaccine in use today.
    http://vran.org/about-vaccines/general-issues/doctors-speak/vaccine-safety-tests-what-are-they-why-do-we-need-them-why-are-they-not-being-done/

    Also, the vaccine safety and labeling standards are low and need to be raised by the federal government. http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/back-to-basics/how-are-vaccines-evaluated-for-safety/

    I believe that vaccines are not safe. http://vaccines.mercola.com/

    Third, the decline of diseases we see isn’t really due to vaccines. It’s due to the modernization of society (cleanliness, modern toilet systems, etc.).

    http://www.whale.to/a/bystrianyk3.html

    http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/

  319. Angie Anti-Vax

    Fourth, I believe that vaccines impair the immune system. http://www.thedogplace.org/VACCINES/Genetic-Impact-10073_Jordan.asp

    http://www.lightparty.com/Health/HealingRegeneration/html/DoVaccinesImpairImmune.html

    Fifth, I believe that vaccines cause terrible side effects and devastating diseases, and that the benefits do not outweigh the risks for my family.
    http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-site-search-result.aspx?q=side+effects

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/20/david-ayoub-interview-february-2010.aspx

    “In the latest attempt to “prove” vaccines don’t cause autism, the Institute of Medicine ended up admitting that standard childhood shots can cause just about everything else.

    This mainest of all mainstream medical bodies — the same group that rejects vitamin D supplements and sets recommended nutritional intakes ridiculously low — says there’s “convincing evidence” that common vaccines can cause seizures, brain inflammation, infection, body encephalitis, pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis and more. But not autism.” http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2011/10/03/doctors-against-vaccinesmainstream-admits-to-vaccine-faults/

    Sixth, I am not sure that vaccines work well. In recent Pertussis outbreaks, up to 2/3 of those affected by the outbreak were up to date on their vaccines (http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2011/01/11/2377/) and there is a new, vaccine-resistant strain of pertussis CAUSED by vaccine use. http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/06/29/deadlier-whooping-cough-epidemic-likely-caused-by-vaccine/

    Finally, I believe that the chances of getting a debhilitating disease is lower than getting hurt by vaccines. I also believe that, many times, the disease the kids do get is mild (unless they’ve been vaccinated- see immune system impairment) and it it’s not mild, we have great treatements that we did not have last century. (see The Vaccine Book)

  320. Angie Anti-Vax
  321. Angie Anti-Vax

    100% Vaxed kids hit with Pertussis: http://www.myfox8.com/​news/​wghp-four-more-whooping-cou​gh-cases-at-alamance-co-sc​hool-20111229,0,7370793.st​ory

    n the recent outbreak in Suffolk County NY (2011), all 179 cases had been previously vaccinated for the disease. Also, before 2008, there were 3 outbreaks in the last 19 years. In 1993 there was an outbreak in Ohio, where 82% of the cases occurred in people who had already received the vaccine. In 1996 there was an outbreak in Vermont, where 74% of the cases occurred in people who had already received the vaccine. In 2003 there was an outbreak in Cyprus, where 79% of the cases occurred in people who had already received the vaccine. So, how well is this vaccine actually working AND then take into consideration the damage the actual vaccine is doing. For instance, “70% of children who have died of SIDS received the pertussis vaccine within 3 weeks before death.” Within this 3 week time period after receiving the vaccine, children’s breathing patterns became stress induced, wreaking havoc on their respiratory systems, suggesting that some of these cases labeled as SIDS have a known cause, vaccination side effects. (Miller 120 and 121). AND http://​raisingnaturalkids.com/​2011/10/27/​whooping-cough-outbreak-vac​cinated-or-not-were-all-in​-the-same-boat/

    According to the VAERS and CDC sites, the vaccine for pertussis kills more than twice as much babies as the disease. I think in 2009 it was 11 deaths by the disease, and 41 or so by the vaccine.

  322. Steve Metzler

    Vaccines only provide protection against single particular strains. Those who choose the vaccine only acquire protection against these individual strains. Those who do not get the vaccine and are capable acquiring the full disease and gain protection against many more strains for many more years. Meaning, those who did not get vaccinated would have and provided more protection to various vaccine resistant strains through natural herd immunity than those who got the vaccine.

    It appears new strains of a vaccine resistant pertussis were involved in baby Dana’s case. It is possible that collective vaccine use was the cause of her death and instead of the other way around.

    Citation required, please, from Lola The Misinformed™ But, of course, this will not be forthcoming, from the person who so obviously sidesteps any challenge to her ‘facts’.

  323. Steve Metzler

    326. Angie Anti-Vax Says:

    These ingredients, like aluminum, formaldehyde and mercury are directly injected into the veins and cross the blood-brain barrier. These are known toxins, cited by the CDC and FDA as being toxic to humans, and yet we are injecting them right into our brains.

    Zero credibility. This is all emotive, new agey, anti-science fluff.

    ETA: do you people not understand that the computer you are typing the incredibly vacuous vitriol you are spewing was developed by the same kind of scientists that have so far not found any link between vaccines and harm/autism? Geez, give it up already. This is a science blog.

  324. Angie Anti-Vax

    329. “Zero credibility.”

    Citations, please. And please use double-blind research studies that show there is zero credibility to those ingredients being toxic.

  325. cia parker

    Wow, you’re saying that you want to prohibit free speech? My daughter was given the hep-B vaccine the day she was born, she reacted with four days and nights of endless screaming (vaccine-induced encephalitis), and was later diagnosed with autism. This is a fact. They didn’t even ask my permission, just gave her the shot that damaged her for life. So you’re against even an ad that says it’s your family, your choice? Is it not your family, your choice? Are you saying the vast increase of autoimmune diseases like asthma and allergies are not often caused by vaccines, when there’s so much evidence, including many impeccable scientific studies, that say they are? Are you saying that people shouldn’t be allowed to hear about that, that everyone must be forced to submit to eighty injections by the time they’re 18 without having any right to choose or reject? Do you realize how fascist and totally indifferent to human suffering that sounds? They can’t even see an ad in Times Square that says Your family, your choice? Whose choice is it, the CEOs of the pharmaceutical companies?

  326. Health Freedom @155

    The government has paid out over 2 billion for vaccine inducd deaths, and permanent harm. The government admits that vaccines are not safe every time they pay out a claim!

    That factoid — the $2 billion for vaccine injury proves vaccines are dangerous!–irritates me every time I read it. So I ran the numbers.

    No medical intervention is without risk, including vaccines. There have been, and there will be, people who suffer permanent, significant, adverse consequences from vaccination.

    Since its founding in October 1998, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid out $2,213,229,050.37 to 2,810 people, as of the December 1, 2011 statistics report. The standards of proof for NVICP are very low — “50% and a feather” — and it’s likely that

    1,452 cases of the 2,810 (43%) were for pertussis-containing vaccines. It’s likely that a significant chunk of the 1,452 actually have a genetic condition, Dravet Syndrome, rather than actually being vaccine-injured. of the 1,452 cases, 1,266 (87%) were for the whole-cell pertussis vaccine, which is no longer in use.

    What’s important is the risk.

    The rate of compensated vaccine injury is about 1.3 per million doses of vaccine. The collective costs work out to less than $0.99 per dose of vaccine.

    I’ve linked to my post — just click on my name. Citations and sources there.

  327. Robert

    Here is an example of a horrible vaccine injury. Thousands more like this. http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/CAMPBELLSMITH.%20DOE77082710.pdf

    I am actually getting a legal opinion about all the pro vax bloggers and media groups who swear to the safety of vaccines without having a medical degree. From what several attorneys have told me, the bloggers and media who push vaccine safety do have legal exposure, when someone does suffer a vaccine injury and they neglect to leave both sides of safety off their blog or news article, as they are not the vaccine maker or the doctor actually giving the vaccine so they are not protected by the Vaccine Injury court.

  328. Chris

    Angie Anti-Vax, it doesn’t work that way. You made the claim that the ingredients in vaccines are toxic (including one that is used in cell metabolism in your body), so it is up to you to prove it with real evidence. Though please be sure to sure they are toxic in the quantities actually used, and do not confuse IV fluids with vaccines.

  329. Oh for FSM’s sake. Or $Deity.

    Angie Anti-vax comes into a science blog and …. fills the anti-vaccination bingo straight out of the box!

    Angie, here’s a clue: Scopie’s Law: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately.”

    Angie, you haven’t cited a single creditable source. Of your sources

    The Vaccination Risk Awareness Network is the brainchild of Edda West, whose science background is that she’s a lactation consultant.

    The website novaccines (laughably titled the “World Association for Vaccine Education”) is the creation of a collection of anti-vaccination cranks and pseudoscience profiteers including Boyd Haley, Kenneth Stoller, and Sherri Tenpenny.

    The (equally laughably named) International Medical Council on Vaccination is repeats some of the same names, and adds William C. Douglass jr, another quack profiteer.

    Mercola never met a woo product he wouldn’t push on credulous, health-fearful folk.

    Come back with real citations, from real scientists, published in real, peer-reviewed journals.

    While you are at it, learn a little immunology. For example, for some diseases neither natural infection nor vaccination confers life-long immunity.

    Natural infection with the pertussis bacterium confers immunity which wears off in 4-20 years. Vaccination with the modern, acellular pertussis vaccine confers immunity which wears off in 4-12 years. Citation: Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61. Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination. Wendelboe AM, Van Rie A, Salmaso S, Englund JA.

    And while you are doing your research, you might check into “Pablo’s First Law of Internet Discussion”.

  330. SkewedD

    “This mainest of all mainstream medical bodies — the same group that rejects vitamin D supplements and sets recommended nutritional intakes ridiculously low …”

    I don’t want to change the subject, but the IOM is exactly right with their review of the vitamin D literature. I have to giggle a bit that you, Angie, seem to believe that you know more than these researchers about the subject, however. And please, don’t link to quack sites. Journal articles only, or no one will take you seriously, nor should they.

    @ Chris, re. shedding: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5213a1.htm
    Agree though, this is not a valid argument against any type of vaccination…and Lola is not worth your time.

  331. Robert (333), if bloggers that support the use of vax are liable for vaccine related injuries, surely that would mean that anti-vaxers would be liable for deaths from vaccine preventable diseases?

    If not, then I’m very please not to live in the jurisdiction of your appalling legal system.

    I can’t see why a blogger is worried by not being covered by the Vaccine Injury Court, unless they are the one administering vaccines. Surely it is up to the prescribing medical practitioner to explain the risks to the patient?

  332. Ken

    Robert@333:

    Can anyone else hear or see those lawyers, or only you?

    I’m not a scientist. I mostly write about junk science from the free speech and abuse of the legal system angle. But I can’t help but notice that the side quickest with the harassing subpoenas, the lawsuit threats, and the junk-legal censorious babble is the junk science side.

    It almost makes me wan to write more about vaccines so somebody like you will come after me with some hack lawyer, Robert, so I can do my small part in stomping censorious people like you like cockroaches.

  333. Karen

    When I became a mother for the first time, I did what everyone does, vaccinate! I never once researched the vaccines, never once did I question them!! When my close friend decided not to vaccinate I thought she was nuts! So I decided to do some research and the information that I found and the facts that I learned changed my life and definitely my kids lives!! I have made an EDUCATED decision to NOT vaccinate my kids EVER!!! I also have changed products that I use on them, example, I will NEVER EVER EVER USE JOHNSON &JOHNSON PRODUCTS ON MY INNOCENT CHILDREN!!! I used to be naive and ignorant to many things and believe me IGNORANCE = BLISS! Doctors are not even taught in their very expensive medical school anything about vaccines. What they are taught is how to manipulate the parents into vaccinating!! I am disgusted at the world we live in!! I hope new parents will do their research before making any life changing decisions for their innocent babies. As I am sure all of us did not purchase a home without inspecting it first or purchasing a car without test driving it, so why do we willingly hand over our children to our trusted doctors and don’t even ask or question what is being injected into them!!! Just a thought for all of you.

  334. Angie Anti-Vax

    I can’t spoon feed your research to you. Click on the vaccine ingredients link and then click through each individual ingredient for research on it.

    We should all come together and realize that there are serious problems with vaccines (including, but not limited to, toxic ingredients, serious side effects that occur as often as- or more often than- the diseases they purport to protect against, the lack of true, pier-reviewed double blind safety studies PROVING safety, and the government’s role, and investment, in vaccines).

    I am not here to be rude to you, but to respectfully state my opinion as to why I do not vaccinate (hence my prefacing with “I believe.”). Look at the list of vaccine ingredients, do your own research- just for your own edification- on the dangers of vaccines (it’s out there). You don’t have to turn “anti-vax,” but you will certainly understand the anti-vax argument better. The Sanctity of Human Blood is a good book to read.

    We should be collectively pissed off rather than divided.

  335. Angie Anti-Vax

    Here are some other books, if anyone is interested, on vaccines.

    The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library) by Robert Sears MD (He’s not anti-vaccine, so it’s a pretty good balance)

    Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Shots by Mayer Eisenstein

    Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective by Neil Z. Miller

    Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, 2nd Edition: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection – Paperback (Dec. 1, 2009) by Neil Z. Miller and Russell Blaylock

    Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland

    Raising A Vaccine Free Child by Wendy Lydall

    The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults by Randall Neustaedter

    What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave and Deborah Mitchell

    Saying No to Vaccines by Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny and NMA Media Press

    The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher

    How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn

    A Shot in the Dark by Harris L. Coulter

    Just A Little Prick by Peter and Hilary Butler

    From One Prick to Another by Peter and Hilary Butler

    The Truth about Vaccines: How We Are Used as Guinea Pigs Without Knowing It by Richard Halvorsen

    Fear of the Invisible by Janine Roberts

    Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine Induced Encephalitis – Are Parents Being Falsely Accused? by Harold Buttram M.D. and Christina England

    Evidence of Harm by David Kirby

    The Sanctity of human Blood- Vaccination is not Immunization

  336. Chris

    Sorry, those are not proper cites. A quick sampling of why they are not valid:

    David Kirby was a travel writer who was paid to write Evidence of Harm, I do have a copy of that book. I paid half a dollar at a charity sale for it.

    Buttram made a living keeping people who shook babies to death out of jail. It is despicable that you would support the killing of babies by shaking them, and then blaming a vaccine.

    Harris Coulter’s PhD was in Russian studies and political studies, that has nothing to do with biology or medicine

    Neither Butler has any kind of scientific training.

    Mary Holland is a lawyer who failed to get an IRB for a study she did.

    Only thing good about that list is that those are books to avoid if one wishes to avoid brain rot.

    Angie Anti-Vax, just post the title, journal and date of the papers that are indexed in PubMed of the studies that support your statements. I’m sorry, but if you made a claim you must support it with real scientific evidence. Not your Gish Gallop of questionable reading material.

  337. Jennifer

    It’s simple.
    Provide vaccinations in the form of a pill.
    Provide a list of all ingredients. (As we do with food labelling).
    Then ask any parent if they would ‘feed’ this to their baby or child.
    Any intelligent parent would refuse – just as they would preservatives and additives in food.

    It is factually documented that grave diseases were on the decline PRIOR to the introduction of vaccination – due to improved sanitation, hygiene, running water and electricity.
    Sure, there may be a need in 3rd world countries, but their health would be improved dramatically with improved living conditions as the first intervention.

    Why on earth would anyone vaccinate a newborn baby with Hep B – which is transferred by intravenous drug use and sexual activity?

  338. PayasYouStargaze

    It would make an interesting study into what goes on inside someone’s brain that makes them reject a proven, effective medical treatment that can only benefit themselves and those that they love*. Vaccination does not require a heart of gold, only that you care for your own health. The protection of others is a bonus. In fact it goes beyond mere rejection to more of a state of war against the medical community. What must have gone wrong in these people’s lives that turns them into such twisted zealots?

    *And in some cases it’s clear that those that they love are themselves only.

  339. Mike Stanton

    Antivax Angie refers to “pier-reviewed.” Did she mean pier revue as in this end of the pier show? http://occamstypewriter.org/cromercrox/2011/05/05/measles/

  340. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ Lola The Misinformed™ (#328. Steve Metzler – thankyou) :

    What no response to my comment directed to you at #313 (& #315 & my earlier comments #246 & #250) yet?

    Nothing to say – no answers and just being rude is it from you?

    Oh well, its not like I expected better from you – sad to be proved right.

    @Angie Anti-Vax : Would you care to take over Lola Misinformer’s dropped baton and respond as you seem to share her views here?

    Have you seen the clips mentioned in #313 and linked at #315 & 125? Can you show me how and where they’re supposedly incorrect – supported by real evidence?

  341. Messier Tidy Upper

    @333. Robert : January 1st, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I am actually getting a legal opinion about all the pro vax bloggers and media groups who swear to the safety of vaccines without having a medical degree.

    Bwah-ha-ha-ha. LOL. You let us know how that turns out for ya, ‘kay. ;-)

    I’m no doctor but I think its safe to say that medical opinion is against smoking, against eating junk food and becoming morbidly obese – and strongly in favour of getting vaccinated.

    @322. Lola M : “This article from Fox 8 News..” (Emphasis added.)

    You’re quoting Fox news as a reliable and worthwhile source of info to a group of generally well informed and generally liberal skeptics here? Really? :roll:

    @ 339. PayasYouStargaze (January 2nd, 2012 at 3:25 am) asks :

    What must have gone wrong in these people’s lives that turns them into such twisted zealots?

    Politics and falling for a particular ideology? Accepting misinformation from friends, family or those in the media who are badly informed or misled? Extrapolating incorrectly from personal experience (ie. the “anecdata” fallacy*) without understanding the full story? Some combination of many of these plus others varying amongst individuals? :-(

    The same question could be equally asked for many anti-science groups such as HIRGO** contrarians, creationists, Moon Hoax Conspiracy Theorists, etc ..

    For me, I think the important question isn’t necessarily how did they get to believe in anti-science idea X so much as how do we convince them to stop believing in the anti-science and accept the scientific reality view instead?

    ———————

    * That being that the plural for anecdote is NOT data as somebody (forgotten who) once famously put it.

    ** HIRGO = Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating.

  342. Karen

    It is very sad to sit here and read what the the pro vax have to say. It is obvious that you have NOT read the literature and read the facts about the side effects of vaccines. Do you all think the pharmaceutical companies actually care about us? I find it amazing that when PROOF comes out a certain vaccine , the pharmaceuticals claim it to be fraudulent!!, they can’t afford for this info to become public or ignore this because they will lose BIG MONEY!! Some one earlier mentioned that the ingredients in vaccines are safe!! Are you kidding me!?!? Do you know how to read? If yes, then pick up a pamphlet from a vaccine and read it!!! I know of two families that lost their babies shortly after their MMR VACCINE! I know of six families that their children had serious reactions to the vaccines. If any doctor claims that there are no risks, then they are just idiots, they are just puppets working for the pharmaceutical companies and at the end of the day just getting a NICE FAT PAY CHECK!!! Like is said earlier IGNORANCE=BLISS!

  343. Today at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: an interview with Seth Mnookin, author of the The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Autism-Vaccine Myth a smart, compassionate, detailed history of vaccine misinformation and distrust. The interviewer is Shannon Rosa, the parent of a boy with intense autism. Rosa once believed in the autism-vaccine connection; now she does not.

    The interview covers “the book’s intended audience; the critical and oft-misconstrued distinctions between vaccine court rulings and scientific proof; the role of programs like VAERS and NVICP; and how pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and parents themselves can all contribute towards improved — and best — vaccine information practices.” Click on my name to go to the interview.

  344. @Lola

    You keep going on about Dana’s family not testing positive for pertussis and then claiming that because their tests were negative, that clearly shows that the vaccine did not work, that it was a vaccine failure.

    Yet that’s not what Dana’s parents’ account says. They were tested for Pertussis. The account does not state they were tested for the vaccine strain of pertussis. One assumes that they were tested for the wild type, since they were concerned that one of the family members may have given the disease to Dana. Diagnostic testing can differentiate the strain that caused the infection. Identifying the strain is very important, as it can help track its spread. The validity of testing is also highly dependent on the timing of the test. If too much time has passed, it may come back negative.

    So, Lola, you’re reading more into the account than is actually there in your attempt to blame Dana’s family for her death, rather than the disease that actually claimed her life.

  345. @Karen

    Tell me something. Are pharmaceutical companies faceless monoliths, or are they composed of thousands of individual human beings? Do the people that work at these companies have children? Are you suggesting that they are so callous that they would cover up adverse reactions to products that, at the very least, a majority of their children would be receiving?

    Man, pharmaceutical workers must be the most heinous, evil creatures in all of existence, to put their own children at risk simply to turn a buck. Verily, you have opened my eyes to their villainy!

  346. Karen

    @Todd

    The thousands of individual employees are just as brainwashed as we all are or used to be. Come on do you really think that they would give out this information. It is amazing how some people take something you wrote and laugh at it. Like I said IGNORANCE =BLISS and in some cases stupidity.

  347. Chris

    Jennifer:

    Provide vaccinations in the form of a pill.

    Sure, can you please tell us how that is supposed to work, and be sure to explain exactly how the immune system for respiratory pathogens is supposed to get signals from your digestive system. Please explain what the difference is between measles and rotavirus. Oh, and we found that there were too many (one in a million) cases of polio spread from the Oral Polio Vaccine, so we now use the IPV. So you’ll have to explain how that works.

    Provide a list of all ingredients. (As we do with food labelling).

    And do you wish to remove all the formaldehyde from your body, it is created in your cells.

    And do you refuse to eat pickles because they might have alum?

    Any intelligent parent would refuse – just as they would preservatives and additives in food.

    Why would an intelligent parent want their child to get tetanus, pertussis, mumps and measles?

    It is factually documented that grave diseases were on the decline PRIOR to the introduction of vaccination – due to improved sanitation, hygiene, running water and electricity.

    The following is a table of the rate of measles from census data in the USA. Please tell us what sanitation measures improved so greatly to cause measles morbidity to drop by 90% between 1960 and 1970 in the USA:
    From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

    Karen:

    It is very sad to sit here and read what the the pro vax have to say. It is obvious that you have NOT read the literature and read the facts about the side effects of vaccines.

    Okay, do tell give us the title, journal and date of the PubMed indexed papers that show that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella. Please no more anecdotes (unless you can link to the actual Vaccine Court files), give real scientific studies. Like the following:

    West J Med. 1996 Jul-Aug;165(1-2):20-5.
    Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.

    West J Med. 1993 Oct;159(4):455-64.
    Measles epidemic from failure to immunize.

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S210-5.
    Measles hospitalizations, United States, 1985-2002.

    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S69-77.
    Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

    Vaccine. 2011 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

  348. Chris

    Karen:

    The thousands of individual employees are just as brainwashed as we all are or used to be.

    Prove it. Explain very clearly why we should accept your claims without a shred of supporting evidence.

  349. SkewedD

    Thousands of brainwashed people, people! Wow. I’ve never heard of a conspiracy that big surviving the first five nanoseconds.

    I have to admit that it really gets my goat when the anti-vaxxers make claims about those who support vaccination such as “It is obvious that you have NOT read the literature and read the facts about the side effects of vaccines”.

    It is actually obvious to me that a good many of the pro-vaccination posters here are eminently qualified to discuss this subject. In addition, it is quite clear that not only have these folks read the scientific literature in detail, but they have been able to produce references to said literature, unlike a single one of the anti-vaxxers who have displayed their plumage here.

    @LizDitz, fantastic! I will be over to check out the interview!

  350. Jennifer

    Chris,

    You are fantastic at ‘cherry picking’ data – hey, I can too. My area of research is vaccination in Australia.

    Refer to http://www.whale.to/vaccines/decline1.html

    There are graphs showing disease decline (Australia & UK) before the introduction of vaccines.

    “The decline in infectious diseases in developed countries had nothing to do with vaccinations, but with the decline in poverty and hunger.”–Dr Buchwald, M.D.

    “Up to 90% of the total decline in the death rate of children between 1860-1965 because of whooping cough, scarlet fever, diptheria, and measles occured before the introduction of immunisations and antibiotics.”—Dr Archie Kalokerinos, M.D.

    Your data from the US Cenus does not provide SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that disease reduction was attributable to vaccination!

    You addressed everything I wrote except for HepB for newborns – why is that?

    Could you please provide scientific justification on how bypassing the respiratory tract (or mucous membranes) is advantageous and how directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream enhances immune functioning and prevents future infections?

    Could you please provide one double-blind, placebo controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

    Could you please provide scientific evidence on ANY study which can confirm the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

    Could you please explain how the safety and mechanism of vaccines in the human body are scientifically proven if their pharmacokinetics (the study of bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of ingredients) are never examined or analysed in any vaccine study?

    Could you please provide scientific justification as to how injecting a human being (baby/toddler/adult) with a confirmed neurotoxin is beneficial to human health and prevents disease?

    GOOD LUCK

  351. Karen

    “Again, let me be clear: these antivax groups pose a public health threat.”

    Just a question, how are the people who choose not to vaccinate a threat to the public? If you are vaccinated, then aren’t you protected??

    I will not waste my time to prove or educate people when the information is available to all. I took my time and did all my research and I am happy and at peace with myself knowing that my children are happy and healthy. I have four children and my first one is vaccinated only (but only a few vaccines) and she is the one that has skin issues, always catches colds and has allergies. My other three might get a cold once or twice a year and it lasts maybe 24 hours. Maybe it is a coincidence, I will never know but I am happy with my decision.

    If you want to vaccinate, then do it. But if you choose not to, then don’t. There is no reason why we should be crucified for our decisions and as a non-vaccinator we are not a public threat!!

    I cannot hear rubbish any more, it makes me sick to read all theses stupid comments. What I have been doing for my family works for us. Vitamins, fruit and vegetables and organic meats and fish. We stay away from processed foods (fake foods), sodas, food coloring, cow dairy, etc. and if people think that I am harming my family, then so be it.

    May you all have a happy and healthy 2012! Now I must get back to what is important – my family!!

  352. Mark Hansen

    Todd, Lola reads into the account whatever supports her particular version of what happened.

    V 1.0 called into question whether Dana was breastfed.
    V 1.1 was even if she was breastfed her mother didn’t have antibodies so it’s her fault and probably she wasn’t breastfed anyway.

    V 2.0 dropped breastfeeding and suggested that she contracted the disease in hospital and that it’s the parents fault for taking her anywhere near a hospital.
    V 2.1 adds that there was definitely an outbreak at the hospital. Where that came from only Lola knows.
    V 2.2 adds that Dana never left the hospital her entire life so that proves she got it there! Sorta goes against V 2.0 but nobody’s perfect. Also goes against what the family actually posted on their website but why should Lola believe what they say?

    V 3.0 New version required. The 2.x wasn’t working. Let’s start by suggesting that her family wasn’t vaccinated and if they were that they didn’t check whether the vaccine had worked.
    V 3.1 Hey, might actually have something here. Her family didn’t test positive for the disease. So maybe we can blame the mother after all.
    V 3.2 Yep, we’ll go after non-working vaccines coupled with “if they knew the vaccines hadn’t worked they could have done something else”. Not sure what – delayed birth for a few more months or perhaps a year just to be sure.

    V 4.0 The whole thing is a Big Pharma™ hoax. There never was any baby called Dana.
    V 4.1 Well, maybe she did exist. But maybe the family is lying about being vaccinated.
    V 4.2 Well, maybe they aren’t lying. But it must be due to a new/different strain of pertussis. Haven’t got any evidence that it really was the cause but it’ll do until V 5.0. And we’ll suggest that there’s a vaccine death squad grabbing people off the street and beating them up until they vaccinate.

    V 5.0 (Only Lola knows what that’ll be)

    BTW, any anti-vaxxers that suggest I have made all of this up are invited to read all of Lola’s comments above. I may have presented them in a humorous style but all of the versions are there.

  353. Rob

    “The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.” A rose is still a rose…

    http://childhealthsafety.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/attkisson-cbs-hrsa-email-exchanges-autistic-conditions-vaccines.pdf

  354. Why the United States mandates Hep B at birth: rephrasing and extracts from Joseph Albietz MD’s article at Science-Based Medicine. You can get to the article by clicking on my name. I’m doing it this way since I think many of the vaccine-fearful and vaccine-misinformed don’t bother to go read posts.

    It’s not true that HBV is only spread by sexual contact or IV drug abuse. The disease is spread person-to-person, by infected bodily fluids contacting the bloodstream or mucous membranes. For example, it has been spread by sharing a toothbrush

    The vaccine is recombinant–it contains HBV proteins, but not the virus, so cannot cause HBV infection. The vaccine is both highly effective and safe (side effects reported are minor, such as soreness at the injection site).

    Children infected with Hepatitis B virus:

    Though ~90% of infected children are initially asymptomatic, they are rarely able to clear the virus. 90% of infants and 25-50% of those 1-5 years old will become lifelong carriers.

    Chronic Hepatitis B infection is a serious problem. Beyond the ability of most chronic carriers to spread the virus throughout their lives, ~ 20% of people with chronic Hepatitis B develop cirrhosis, a condition where the liver cells are lost and the liver becomes progressively more fibrotic and dysfunctional.

    Worldwide, HepB is a significant health risk and health burden. Humans are its only reservoir, so it conceivably, like smallpox, be eliminated. The only way to eliminate it is through vaccination.

    Though the burden of disease from HBV in the US is relatively low compared to say, heart disease, it remains a significant public health threat only partially addressed through screening, education, and preventative measures, and with limited treatment options. This makes it an ideal target for vaccination.

    There are three possible vaccine control strategies
    1. Only vaccinate those at high risk
    2. Vaccinate the entire population at the time of highest risk of exposure
    3. Vaccinate the entire population in infancy

    For the US, given our population structure, #3 was the most effective choice.

  355. Steve Metzler

    Wow. What anti-vax site sent all the conspiracy theory loons here? You could be playing Whack-A-Mole™ for days. It’s like a wall of pseudo-scientific, anecdotal noise.

    The same thing happened on the last AGW thread :-( No, make that the last dozen AGW threads.

  356. Chris

    Jennifer:

    You are fantastic at ‘cherry picking’ data – hey, I can too. My area of research is vaccination in Australia.

    I did not cherry pick data. I specifically asked about rates of measles incidence, also known as morbidity. Not deaths, also known as mortality.

    Your comment specifically said “It is factually documented that grave diseases were on the decline PRIOR to the introduction of vaccination”, which is describing morbidity, not where in that comment did you say “death” or “mortality. You cannot change the subject to mortality, just because you don’t know the difference in definition:

    morbidity: rate of disease incidence
    mortality: rate of death

    There is a big difference.

    You made the specific claim that measles incidence declined before the introduction of vaccines, so you must support that claim by answering my question before I attempt yours, as part of an honest and open dialog:

    Why did the rate of measles plummet by 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? Do not change the decade, nor the country, nor the outcome of incidence to death. Do not link to random websites, but just provide the title, journal and date of PubMed indexed papers to support you claim on what caused the decline of the rate of measles incidence in ten years.

    How come you claim to do research when you failed to understand the vocabulary of the question, and did not provide any supporting evidence using real scientific data, and refused actual government census data? Instead you brought up a questionable website. One that invokes Scopie’s Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

    Rob:

    Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.” A rose is still a rose…

    Since I have a kid who had encephalopathy due to infant seizures before getting any disease, I beg to differ. Encephalopathy is not autism.

    My son also had seizures due to having a now vaccine preventable disease. Now I need to give me the title, journal and date of the PubMed papers that show that vaccines cause more seizures than the diseases. Here is an example:

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

    Vaccine. 2011 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

  357. ND

    Karen,

    “Just a question, how are the people who choose not to vaccinate a threat to the public? If you are vaccinated, then aren’t you protected?? ”

    How about babies who are not old enough to be vaccinated yet?

  358. Jennifer

    Chris, Answer your own questions with scientific evidence, you raised them. You specifically mentioned the measles. You chose US census data. You mentioned ‘death’ not ‘decline’ in diseases. (Thanks for the vocab lesson, I am well aware of the difference – apparently you misread my quote from Dr Buchwald MD).

    Perhaps then you may like to respond intelligently to the five questions I presented at Comment #357. (include the title, journal & date as you insist). Once again, GOOD LUCK!

    Liz Ditz, thanks, I visited the link you suggested. My concern here, is the fact it is given routinely in Australia and the US to newborn babies. I believe the age at which this is administered should be raised, peak incidence in Australia is 20 -24 years and occurs predominantly in high risk groups.

    It is also important to note that not all contraindications are ‘minor’ as in localised ‘soreness’ as you suggested. The toxicity of the Hep B vaccination is highlighted in the article below from Child Health Safety April 25, 2011 –

    US Government Concedes Hep B Vaccine Causes Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

    The claimant in this case was dead when the damages were awarded. Tambra Harris died on November 9, 2009. Tambra’s mother and Administratix of her estate, Louvonia Deniece Harris, was substituted as petitioner, and an amended petition was filed on October 15, 2010.

    Hepatitis B vaccine is given to US infants at birth for a disease which they are not at risk of.

    Why? At risk groups are intravenous “recreational” drug abusers and those who practice unsafe sex – which rules out new born babies.

    “Whilst the risk factors for babies have changed little, there is now impressive evidence that for a preventive measure, hepatitis B vaccine is remarkable for the frequency, variety and severity of complications from its use. The toxicity of this vaccine is so unusual that, even if crucial data are regrettably concealed or covered by Court order, scientific evidence is already far higher than normally needed to justify severe restrictive measures.”

    Quote from French expert Dr. Marc Girard.

    Whilst other evidence is embargoed by the French Courts, Dr Girard has been able to publish a scientific review of the unembargoed evidence from the French Courts of the vaccine’s hazards (Autoimmun Rev 2005; 4: 96-100). Dr Girard shows that French health authorities suppress studies demonstrating serious risks. Hepatitis B vaccine has been shown in many peer reviewed research papers (including from Harvard University) to be associated with numerous infant deaths in the USA and Europe, multiple sclerosis and numerous chronic auto-immune disorders.

  359. Chris

    Karen, does the cat have your typing finger?

    So who do you protect a baby under age one from measles? Or a newborn from pertussis?

  360. Chris

    Jennifer:

    Perhaps then you may like to respond intelligently to the five questions I presented at Comment #357. (include the title, journal & date as you insist). Once again, GOOD LUCK!

    I’m sorry, you made a claim, so you must support it. I chose only to address your first claim, so you must answer that first. So you quoted: “The decline in infectious diseases in developed countries had nothing to do with vaccinations, but with the decline in poverty and hunger.”–Dr Buchwald, M.D.

    So really, what big changes in poverty and hunger caused the rate of measles incidence to decline by 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? Obviously that would be well documented, so would you be so kind as to post the titles, journals and dates of the studies showing that measles infections went down due to reducing poverty and hunger? Thank you.

  361. Chris

    Jennifer showed how well she researches vaccines:

    Could you please provide scientific justification on how bypassing the respiratory tract (or mucous membranes) is advantageous and how directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream enhances immune functioning and prevents future infections?

    First you must tell us exactly which vaccines are injected directly into the bloodstream. And which viruses are used in the vaccines for haemophilus influenzae type b, pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumococcal and meningococcal disease? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Could you please provide one double-blind, placebo controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

    Only after you explain how it can be done by complying with the Declaration of Helsinki and Belmont report. Read about them here (please read all the articles in that link). The point is that no child should be injured by getting an actual disease because they were unknowingly in the placebo group.

    Could you please provide scientific evidence on ANY study which can confirm the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

    Could you please explain how the safety and mechanism of vaccines in the human body are scientifically proven if their pharmacokinetics (the study of bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of ingredients) are never examined or analysed in any vaccine study?

    Could you please provide scientific justification as to how injecting a human being (baby/toddler/adult) with a confirmed neurotoxin is beneficial to human health and prevents disease?

    Knock yourself out (this is a link, I would first suggest you figure out your big error in how vaccines are given).

    Now answer my question on why the rate of measles incidence declined by 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970.

  362. Jennifer

    Chris, You obviously chose 1960 – 1970 as your yardstick knowing that the measles vaccination was introduced to the US in, I believe, 1963.

    As I stated previously, the decline in grave diseases (not just the measles) due to improved sanitation and living conditions (which obviously took place in preceding decades) was well underway before vaccines were actually introduced. That is my point.

    So, I can not provide any such documentation regarding changes to poverty and hunger in the US in that decade.

    In Australia, to see what impact vaccination had when it was introduced, figures for death from various diseases, going back as far as 1907 can be found in the Commonwealth Year Books. Population figures are available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Yes, I am referring to ‘death’ statistics now.

    The death rate by measles reduced by 98% in the twentieth century, BEFORE the vaccine was even made available, which, in Australia, was 1970.

    I trust this response will satisfy you. Once again, I invite you to respond to the five questions I presented in #357.

  363. Chris

    Jennifer:

    In Australia, to see what impact vaccination had when it was introduced, figures for death from various diseases, going back as far as 1907 can be found in the Commonwealth Year Books.

    Why are you still confusing incidence rate of measles with death rate? I asked specifically about incidence rates. Using Australia is only valid if you can post the incidence rate of measles. Until then you are comparing apples with oranges.

    I have a comment in moderation that addresses your five questions because it has links. But the following one says something that makes me want to know: How do you research vaccines?

    Jennifer

    Could you please provide scientific justification on how bypassing the respiratory tract (or mucous membranes) is advantageous and how directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream enhances immune functioning and prevents future infections?

    Are you in a university research program working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree? Or is you research only by reading a selected group of websites? What are those websites, and why are they more valid than the papers I posted?

    Do you know what you wrote that makes me question your education in vaccines? (please, folks, do not help Jennifer even after my moderated comment comes online, it does contain a hint)

  364. Chris

    My comment is out of moderation. Jennifer, knock yourself out. And please remember the difference between morbidity and mortality. It is time to turn off the laptop, good night.

  365. @312 Messier Tidy Upper: Please can I respectfully ask you to reconsider and relent on the ban on Quiet Desperation?
    I understand why you’re angry at him and agree that he was completely wrong to do what he did there but QD has been a regular positive commenter here whose contributions in the comments on various discussions here I – and I think others – often enjoy and find thought-provoking and interesting.
    Please? If you keep the ban I’ll understand but I do feel that penalty is a little bit harsh and I will miss him if he really is gone for good.
    *****
    PS. This is totally my own initative and I haven’t been contacted by him or anyone else to ask this. I only know Quiet Desperation from his comments here.
    PPS. Just a suggestion but it might be nice to have somewhere a specific post on your policy for links and how the moderation system works here (equivalent to your rules one and one on religion, poliics and the blog) plus what is and isn’t allowed or prefered here by you.

    Phil, respectfully, I just wanted to echo Messier’s sentiments. I certainly understand why you’re angry, particularly given the time it must take to moderate these comments (honestly, I’m amazed you can find time to do it at all), but could you please find it in your heart to at least consider a temporary – instead of permanent – ban? If it were someone who never contributed anything, I’d say good riddance, but on balance I think he’s contributed quite a lot to these discussions. I’d quite miss the goof if he were gone for good.

  366. Won’t let me amend the last post. I was just gonna add that like MTU, this is just an observer’s opinion, and I don’t know QD personally or have any other contact with him.

    Also, this may be a really bad time to ask about this, but have you thought about appointing volunteer moderators? I’d like to think there are a few regulars here (MTU comes to mind) who could be trusted with mod powers. I honestly wasn’t even aware you did the moderation yourself – wishful thinking perhaps, but I figured that somewhere at Discovery Mag there’s a room full of professional moderators, busily combing all the blogs. But that’s just my fantasy job, I think ;)

  367. Nigel Depledge

    Blake Helgoth (10) said:

    Also, if it is so good for everyone, then why do big pharmaceuticals make so much money off of them, even when they are woefully ineffective, like the flu vaccine?

    This makes no sense.

    First off, why should the providers of effective medical care not make money from what they do? After all, you wouldn’t ask doctors to work for free, would you? Yet you seem to be implying that a good vaccine shouldn’t make its manufacturer any money.

    BTW, the magnitude of Big Pharma profits is a separate issue.

    Second, the profit margin on most vaccines is actually pretty slim. For the big pharma companies, vaccines only make money through the sheer quantity of sales. IIUC, several major pharma companies don’t make vaccines at all because the profits are too small.

    Third, flu vaccine isn’t ineffective – but it is specific. At any time, there will be at least half a dozen different strains of flu floating around at different proportions among any population. Health authorities are faced with the challenge of identifying the prevalent flu strain for vaccine production months ahead of the actual use of the vaccine. Sure, you could manufacture vaccines against all of the identified strains that exist at the time you make the decision, but that multiplies the cost of your vaccination programme by the number of flu strains you can identify.

    If you are vaccinated and encounter one of the less-prevalent strains, then you have no protection from that particular strain and will thus be vulnerable to infection. What you cannot know for sure is how many potential infection incidents are prevented by someone having been vaccinated – although you cna make a pretty good estimate by comparing incidence of the disease before the introduction of a vaccine with the incidence of the same disease after the introduction of the vaccine.

    Additionally, no vaccine is perfect (do you expect perfection from the provider of any other service for which you pay? Discuss). If a vaccine is 99.9% effective, then out of (say) 10,000 people vaccinated, 10 will not be immune to the pathogen. In a population of millions, you could therefore find thousands who did not have immunity conferred by vaccination. But that is not a reason not to vaccinate.

  368. Nigel Depledge

    Jennifer (370) said:

    As I stated previously, the decline in grave diseases (not just the measles) due to improved sanitation and living conditions (which obviously took place in preceding decades) was well underway before vaccines were actually introduced. That is my point.

    And your point is just as false now as it was when it was first turned into a talking point by antivaxxers 15+ years ago.

    First, you have no evidence to support your assertion, whereas the evidence supporting vcaccination is overwhelmingly convincing.

    Second, your point applies only to diseases that are transmitted through some mechanism that is addressed by sanitation and “living conditions” (whatevere this last phrase is supposed to mean). Cholera is a good example, being transmitted through drinking water contaminated with faeces. The incidence of diseases such as cholera has indeed been reduced by improved sanitation and so on (e.g. reduction in contact with vermin that might serve as disease vectors in the home).

    However, diseases such as smallpox, measles, rubella etc., that are transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact (or are airborne), cannot be affected by improving sanitation, or by reducing contact with vermin disease vectors. They can be controlled only by three things – quarantine, vaccination or natural immunity (and natural immunity is only obtained through survival of the infection itself). In every instance, a modern vaccine is safer by far than catching the disease.

  369. Nigel Depledge

    @ MTU (312) and Joseph G (373) –
    Regarding Phil’s comment #256, I can see why Phil has banned QD, as opposed to instigating some other penalty. Phil has the blog comments set up as they are (i.e. with moderation for posts containing linkys, or for multiple comments from a new source, or whatever) for a good reason, and for QD to have posted how to evade the setup feels wrong.

    Regarding QD’s contributions to the blog – I do recall a time when his contributions were positive and informative, but I’ve noticed a trend towards cynical negativity over the last year or so, and I no longer feel he makes substantial, worthwhile contributions to the discussions.

    So that’s my twopenn’orth.

  370. ND

    Jennifer,

    What is your medical and/or scientific background? You’re screaming at people about how wrong they are about vaccines and diseases and demanding scientific evidence. Just wondering.

  371. bbmcrae

    Jennifer, it took me two Google clicks to find out your questions were just a cut-and-paste of the antivax “9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims”.

    Here’s a site that answers those questions, so you won’t have to bother with spreading propaganda: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/nine-questions-nine-answers/

    I can’t cite various scientific studies offhand. But I can think with my own brain, which is exciting. Try it and stop spewing the party line.

  372. @Jennifer

    In Australia, to see what impact vaccination had when it was introduced, figures for death from various diseases, going back as far as 1907 can be found in the Commonwealth Year Books. Population figures are available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Yes, I am referring to ‘death’ statistics now.

    Ah, but what is the incidence during the same period? I took a look at the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (established in 1991). When looking at measles, it gets a bit tricky, since the government stopped recording incidence from the late 1948 to the mid-1980s, meaning there is a long period where we have no real idea what was the trend of new infections. What’s worse is that there were no mandatory reporting requirements until 1991 or standard case definition until 2004. Sometime during that period, however, something happened which brought the incidence from around 1,500-2,000 per 100,000 people to total notifications of only tens to hundreds per year. Since sanitation has no effect on measles (it being an airborne pathogen, and all), what were likely causes for the drop in infection rates? And, although the vaccine was introduced in 1969, it took quite a long time to get immunization rates up above 80%, let alone the 90+% needed for herd immunity.

    This study has a very interesting table of measles-associated hospitalization data from 1962-2004. It is only after introduction of the measles vaccine that hospitalization rates dropped and stayed low. Although the study is primarily looking at the WHO’s definition of measles elimination, it contains some rather interesting reading, such as the fact that the 2006 measles outbreak featured a majority of cases connected to the tour of foreign spiritual group which was opposed to vaccination.

    Food for thought.

  373. Rob

    363. Chris said “Rob:

    Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.” A rose is still a rose…

    Since I have a kid who had encephalopathy due to infant seizures before getting any disease, I beg to differ. Encephalopathy is not autism. ”

    Chris, please read the quote more carefully. It says “MAY be accompanied…” In my son’s case, he was a vibrant, extremely talkative and outgoing boy. ONE DAY (less than 24 hours) after receiving the MMR shot, he completely withdrew into himself, stopped talking, and became totally introverted. He was diagnosed with autism. My pediatrician said he has seen it happen before.

  374. Chris

    79. bbmcrae:

    Jennifer, it took me two Google clicks to find out your questions were just a cut-and-paste of the antivax “9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims”.

    I was just about to post that, since they do look familiar. It even has the incredibly stupid fallacy on how vaccines are administered. But it was written by an “ND”, which we all know means “Not a Doctor”, so it is a given that the guy was medically clueless.

    I can add Dr. Crislip’s absolutely wonderful Quackcast based on that Nine Questions article. The tone he used appropriately the way one should treat anyone who invokes Scopie’s Law:
    mp3 of Quackcast #44: Nine questions, Nine answers. An ND suggests there are 9 questions that pro-vaccine proponents can’t answer. Ha. My 12 year old can find the answers..

    Rob:

    In my son’s case, he was a vibrant, extremely talkative and outgoing boy. ONE DAY (less than 24 hours) after receiving the MMR shot, he completely withdrew into himself, stopped talking, and became totally introverted…..

    The plural of anecdote is not data. Unfortunately seizures can happen for no apparent reason, and correlation is not causation. My kid had seizures two days after he was born, therefore by your logic: being born caused his seizures. (by the way, he is 23 years old, he did not have the HepB vaccine at birth!)

    And you still need to answer my question: What vaccines cause more seizures than the diseases? Just list the title, journal and date of any PubMed paper of studies that answer that question on any vaccine in the present American pediatric schedule. Please use the format I used in posting PubMed papers when I first asked for this information.

    To help you figure out what level of seizure and encephalopathy to aim for, here is some selections from The clinical significance of measles: a review:

    Postinfectious encephalomyelitis (PIE) occurs in 13 per 1000 infected persons, usually 3–10 days after onset of rash [39, 131].

    and

    As many as 25% of people with PIE due to measles die, and ∼33% of survivors have lifelong neurological sequelae, including severe retardation, motor impairment, blindness, and sometimes hemiparesis [39, 131].

    Oh, and that last part is related to this paper: Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation. What it says about measles:

    Approximately 1 in 1000 children with clinical measles develops encephalitis.36, 39 Although most children with encephalitis recover without sequelae, approximately 15% die and 25% of survivors develop complications such as MR.39 We assumed that approximately 1 in 5000 cases of measles leads to MR.

    And of course, the MMR prevents rubella. Here is what that paper says about rubella:

    Infection with the rubella virus during pregnancy may lead to CRS. The association between maternal infection and fetal disease was first detected by Gregg59 in 1941, and 2 years later, Swan et al60 confirmed the occurrence of central nervous system abnormalities in affected infants. When maternal infection occurs during the first month of pregnancy, 50% of children will later be diagnosed with MR; overall, 10% of all of the cases of CRS result in MR.61 Because neonatal mortality in CRS is approximately 10%,62 we assumed that 9% of children born with CRS would later be diagnosed with MR.

    Now, Rob, you have your work cut out for you. In addition to the papers I provided you before, I added two very informative reviews. Do please tell us exactly what real evidence of the same quality shows that there is a vaccine in the American pediatric schedule that causes the same level of neurological damage.

  375. Joseph Paul

    Rob,

    But don’t you know they will tell you that the plural of anecdote is not data?

    That this is just coincidence or chance?

    That they’re sorry for your loss, but the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?

    That study after study shows the “safety” of vaccines?

    You know what? I bet your terrible ordeal has never happened to them, or should it have happened, they would have kept a stiff upper lip in public, insisting their decision was the right one, but would have privately wept the bejesus out of themselves in private.

    I, sincerely, and insist on this word, sincerely, am sorry for your loss. As a father and soon to be grandfather, I truly sympathize with you.

    How’s that for appeal to emotions, Dr. Plait et al. ™?

  376. Ali

    You are sadly misinformed and everything you said can be proven WRONG just by reading the insert to the vaccine. Vaccines are not safe, they do contain all of the above mentioned in them and they cause death, injury and heart ache on a daily basis. How sad that you feel you must drastically lie and harm people.

  377. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Ali : Exactly *what* lies have the pro-vaccination side uttered here in your view? Examples and citations please.

    @374. Joseph G :

    I’d like to think there are a few regulars here (MTU comes to mind) who could be trusted with mod powers.

    Aw shucks. [Feels head swelling as he types.] Thanks. :-)

    @377. Nigel Depledge : I disagree there regarding Quiet Desperation but fair enough. Its the BA’s blog, he sets the rules and I agree that he did the wrong thing there. But I’ve always enjoyed reading QD’s views and comments here just like many of the other regulars here even when we’ve disagreed and, as I said, I’ll really miss him. I wish the BA would reconsider and show some mercy in this instance. I also really wish the BA would respond on this. Still, what else can I do? :-(

    @ 359. Mark Hansen : January 2nd, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks. Great summary of the now seemingly vanquished Lola the Misinformer here. :-)

  378. Gunnar

    One of my favorite things about Phil Plait posting about subjects like this is how it results in so many anti-science nuts and anti-vaxxers coming out and inadvertently exposing just how ignorant and foolish their position really is. It is tragic, though, that they are so blinded by their own confirmation bias that they can’t or won’t see just how foolish their position is, and that too many of the more gullible and ill-informed will wind up being persuaded by their arguments.

    Many of these people are apparently advocates of homeopathy and/or other alternate medicine practices almost as stupid and fraudulent as homeopathy. For such people (especially homeopaths) to claim that “big pharma” should be automatically suspect merely because they make a profit from their products is the most outrageous example of a “pot calling the kettle black” that I ever heard of. What could be more profitable than charging what they charge for their own remedies in which, even by their own admission, the claimed active ingredient is so highly diluted that its detection by chemical analysis is not even theoretically possible? That their “active ingredient” is not detectable by any conceivable method of analysis should alone be sufficient grounds for convicting these despicable charlatans of fraud!

  379. Chris

    Joseph Paul:

    You know what? I bet your terrible ordeal has never happened to them, or should it have happened, they would have kept a stiff upper lip in public, insisting their decision was the right one, but would have privately wept the bejesus out of themselves in private.

    Ali:

    Vaccines are not safe, they do contain all of the above mentioned in them and they cause death, injury and heart ache on a daily basis.

    And it is obvious that neither of you read any of the replies on this thread. You would have learned that the inserts do not list the relative risk. Go up and read what I wrote to Rob. Go up, read it. Don’t worry, we will all wait.

    Now, you just need to prove that you can think for yourself and show us exactly how the MMR vaccine causes more “death, injury and heart ache” than the actual diseases of measles. Before you answer you might want to click on the link I provided Rob called “The clinical significance of measles: a review.” You will notice that the postinfectious encephalomyelitis is only one of the things that can happen with measles.

    We all await anxiously for your reply. Especially me, since we just left our son at the hospital overnight to test what might have been either a severe migraine, a focal seizure or a minor stroke, all indicated by his disordered speech and misuse of words while having tachycardia. They will know better after his MRI test. (and no he did not have a vaccine in the last three months)

    So I hope that when we come back from the hospital tomorrow both of you will have found the PubMed papers showing us exactly how dangerous the MMR vaccine is compared to measles… and you know the drill: by posting the titles, journals and dates of those studies.

  380. Gunnar

    It has long been obvious to me, and I am sure it has occurred to many others, that much of the current suspicion of and opposition to the findings of science comes from religious fundamentalists who are bound and determined to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible (or whatever other religious text or tradition they were brought up to believe in), and that their subjective religious faith trumps (or ought to trump) evidence and reason (no matter how seemingly incontrovertible), whenever they conflict with it. Thus they are desperate to find any examples they can, where science might have been mistaken or is less that 100% slam dunk certain, so they will feel more comfortable and righteous about dismissing out of hand any scientific finding that seems to cast legitimate doubt on their faith-based convictions in which they would rather believe.

  381. Chris

    Gunnar, at least until a loved one collapses and they need to call 911.

    I don’t believe any of our anti-vaccine true believers have ridden in a ambulance (I had my fourth ride today, unlucky me), nor have they spent much time in an emergency department (about five hours tonight), nor have left a child overnight in the hospital (oh, about the sixth time in 23 years)… or paid the difference that the actually very good insurance from a big multinational company actually pays (I suspect we will pay a few thousands ourselves).

  382. Nigel Depledge

    Rob (381) said:

    In my son’s case, he was a vibrant, extremely talkative and outgoing boy. ONE DAY (less than 24 hours) after receiving the MMR shot, he completely withdrew into himself, stopped talking, and became totally introverted. He was diagnosed with autism. My pediatrician said he has seen it happen before.

    Sad as this case is, it is not evidence for anything.

    Studies of up to 500,000 children at a time have shown no link between MMR and autism. Whatever caused your son’s condition, it was not the vaccine.

    Here are some of the reasons why your claim does not prove anything:
    1. What records do you have to link his change of behaviour with the period durting which he was vaccinated?
    2. If you have no records, how can you be so certain that the temporal association was really as close as you think it was?
    3. Were you primed to be looking for certain behaviours after he was given the shot, but that might have been present and unnoticed beforehand?
    4. Even if there was a genuine temporal association between the onset of symptoms and the administering of the MMR vaccine, because you have no control group, your conclusion relies on the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy.

  383. Gunnar

    @Chris
    I have little confidence that even experiencing what you are experiencing right now would change the minds of most die-hard anti-vaxxers.

    I sincerely hope that the doctors can find and fix whatever is ailing your son! I know first hand what it is like to lose a child!

  384. Nigel Depledge

    Ali (384) said:

    You are sadly misinformed and everything you said can be proven WRONG just by reading the insert to the vaccine.

    So, how does a vaccine insert contradict (for example) the fact that vaccines save millions of lives?

    You can’t make a sweeping assertion like that without some serious backup. Well, I guess you can because you just did, but you cannot expect anyone to take your claim seriously without explaining why and how Phil is wrong, backing up your argument with sound reasoning and solid evidence.

    However, since both sound reasoning and solid evidence are anathema to the antivax movement, I don’t expect you to even know how to do this.

    Vaccines are not safe,

    Neither is crossing a street. Whoever claimed vaccines were perfectly safe? No-one here that I have noticed.

    However, what has been proven is that vaccines are orders of magnitude safer than catching the disease against which a vaccine protects.

    they do contain all of the above mentioned in them and they cause death, injury and heart ache on a daily basis. How sad that you feel you must drastically lie and harm people.

    Actually, the lie is that vaccines contain all of the unspecified “toxins” as you claim.

    I work alongside people who make vaccines (for clinical trials in this case, not launched product), and I know exactly how much care and attention goes into ensuring that a vaccine (like any other medicine) is as safe as is practicable and is made to the exacting standards demanded by legislation.

    Why do you feel the need to commit libel against so many of my colleagues when you have not the first idea of how they go about their work?

  385. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (385) said:

    I wish the BA would reconsider and show some mercy in this instance. I also really wish the BA would respond on this. Still, what else can I do?

    Well, I guess you could threaten to leave and promise never to read the blog again, and then return about 3 days later. ;-)

    But I suspect that isn’t your style. :-)

  386. Nigel Depledge

    Karen (258) said:

    Just a question, how are the people who choose not to vaccinate a threat to the public? If you are vaccinated, then aren’t you protected??

    No-one has ever claimed that vaccines are 100.0000000% effective. Additionally, there are people who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons e.g. newborn babies or those with allergies to vaccine components (e.g. people with egg allergies cannot receive the flu vaccine because of the way it is made).

    You may have noticed the term “herd immunity” mentioned a few times in this thread. Did it never occur to you to find out what it means?

    Briefly, it is the fact that, with a population containing a significant number of immune individuals (typically of the order of 90%), an infectious agent cannot retain a presence. In order to live in a population, a virus must move from host to host (as one host develops immunity, the virus is eliminated from their body, so the virus needs to infect new hosts all the time to remain in that population). Thus, in a population with sufficient vaccination rates to ensure herd immunity, those who cannot be vaccinated are unlikely to encounter a carrier of the disease.

    People who choose not to be vaccinated but who could receive the vaccine depress the vaccination rate and threaten herd immunity. The spread of antivax lies has caused a drop in the uptake of many vaccines in many parts of the world, and this makes new outbreaks of these diseases possible.

    About a decade ago, polio had almost been eradicated worldwide. If not for the activity of antivax propagandists in Nigeria, it would have been eradicated. A few years later, polio returned to India after a brief time in which India had been free of polio. Now, the incidence of polio in India has once again been reduced and is on the verge of eradication due to a new vaccination campaign. The WHO is once again talking about eradicating polio worldwide in the near future.

    I will not waste my time to prove or educate people when the information is available to all.

    And clearly, since the information is overwhelmingly that vaccination saves lives, and that receiving a vaccine is far safer than catching the disease against which the vaccine protects, your idea of education is different from that of the rest of the world.

    I took my time and did all my research and I am happy and at peace with myself knowing that my children are happy and healthy. I have four children and my first one is vaccinated only (but only a few vaccines) and she is the one that has skin issues, always catches colds and has allergies. My other three might get a cold once or twice a year and it lasts maybe 24 hours. Maybe it is a coincidence, I will never know but I am happy with my decision.

    It is overwhelmingly likely that either (a) you got lucky or (b) that you benefited from the herd immunity because many of the people with whom your children interact have been immunised. Your anecdote certainly isn’t evidence that choosing not to vaccinate is a safe option.

    Let me draw you an analogy. People occasionally get injured while skydiving. Skydiving requires the use of a parachute. Therefore, parachutes cause injury. Right?

    No, of course not, but the “reasoning” is exactly the same as what you are doing. What you have chosen to do is analogous to throwing your children out of the aircraft without parachutes.

    (Yes, I know the analogy is limited, because it has no parallel for herd immunity and because catching a disease such as measles is not uniformly fatal, but I hope you can see past the limitations to the core point).

    If you want to vaccinate, then do it. But if you choose not to, then don’t. There is no reason why we should be crucified for our decisions and as a non-vaccinator we are not a public threat!!

    Yes you are, because you are jeopardising herd immunity and therefore being a threat to those who cannot be vaccinated, or to those few in whom the vaccine did not work.

    I cannot hear rubbish any more,

    It looks like you’ve already listened to, and latched onto, far too much rubbish, and you have close your eyes to the facts. I pity your children. After all, it is with their health that you are gambling, not your own.

    it makes me sick to read all theses stupid comments.

    So perhaps you should read only those that refer to the facts, and ignore the ones that advocate not vaccinating, hmmm?

    What I have been doing for my family works for us.

    Thus far.

    And you have very probably been the unwitting benefactor of herd immunity because the people around you take their responsibilities more seriously.

    Vitamins, fruit and vegetables and organic meats and fish.

    This illustrates that you really have not understood any of what you have read about this stuff. With a properly balanced diet, there is no need for vitamin supplements. All you are doing is dissolving those pills in water and throwing them down the toilet.

    We stay away from processed foods (fake foods), sodas, food coloring,

    This is a good idea, but not for the reasons you seem to think.

    cow dairy, etc.

    Etc.? What is the “cetera” to which you obliquely refer?

    Also, what’s wrong with beef and cow’s milk (and cheese, yoghurt and so on) in moderation?

    and if people think that I am harming my family, then so be it.

    You’re as likely to be harming other people as your own family. There are several viruses (I cannot recall which ones exactly) that can infect a host without producing symptoms. Your unvaccinated children could be asymptomatic carriers of several diseases right now. And, if they encounter people who cannot be vaccinated, they could cause an infection. I grant that this scenario is not very likely, but that does not change the fact that it is possible.

  387. Nigel Depledge

    Lola M (276) said:

    I went to go work handling blood products where I was told I needed a vaccine for Hep B. I had already had the vaccine two years ago. Unfortunately shortly thereafter I was tested for Hep B antibodies and it turns out I did not have any. Although I did get very sick from the vaccine!

    Yes, this can happen. But surely this is better than having hepatitis, isn’t it?

    I got much of the risk and none of the benefit.

    Not so, because you almost certainly gained immunity against Hep B in the process.

    That’s me. I am an individual. Not a statistic.

    Actually, you are both. Statistics are the aggregate of individuals.

    That goes for everyone else. We are individuals who will have different reactions to vaccines. Regardless of whether the statistics say that they are safe, they are not safe FOR ME.

    Wait, what?

    Are you saying that you have Hep B?

    Or are you exaggerating, comparing your reaction to the vaccine to infection with Hep B? Although your tale is very light on detail, I surmise that your “sickness” (reaction to the vaccine) was temporary, not lifelong. Whereas Hep B infection (IIUC) usually is lifelong.

    If the vaccine had only a temprary effect, then it was indeed safe for you, but you had an adverse reaction to it. Unless, of course, you have some permanent effect from that reaction that you failed to mention?

    As an individual I want to know whether I am safe or not.

    And how do you propose we should ascertain this information without giving you a vaccine?

    Medicines of all kinds elicit different responses in different individuals. This is why Phase III clinical trials are required by law to include a sufficient number of individuals to lend the study adequate statistical power. It is also why medicines are monitored after they are licensed to be marketed. No-one on Earth could design and stage a Phase III trial that includes the billions of people that would be needed to ensure that we know how it will behave in any individual.

    What you request is unreasonable. It is unreasonable because it is unfeasible.

    I am not just a statistic. Dana is not just a statistic and her mother and siblings tested negative for antibodies to the vaccines they and so faithfully used. Had they known the vaccines did not work perhaps they would have known well enough to take additional precautions.

    So, are you saying that she was infected by her parents?

    And what if immunisation rates had been high enough in that region to ensure herd immunity and therefore no circulating population of infectious virus?

  388. ND

    It seems Jennifer has gone quiet. So has Karen. Funny, they had so much to say.

  389. @Nigel Depledge

    Whereas Hep B infection (IIUC) usually is lifelong.

    It depends on when you are infected with Hep B. Children are at a much higher risk of chronic infection, whereas adults tend to have acute infections (though it is possible, of course, for an adult to get a chronic infection). The younger the child, the greater the risk that an infection will be chronic, which thus increases the risk of liver cancer, cirrhosis and liver failure. Oh, and death.

    The CDC Pink Book chapter on Hepatitis B is a very good resource for more info.

  390. @393 Nigel Depledge: Why do you feel the need to commit libel against so many of my colleagues when you have not the first idea of how they go about their work?

    I’ve always wondered how people can assume the most horrible things about researchers, and yet when quacks show up selling $90 vials of water, they’re presumed to be the most virtuous people imaginable.

    Well, I guess you could threaten to leave and promise never to read the blog again, and then return about 3 days later.

    You totally should, MTU.
    In fact, if QD isn’t allowed back, I swear, I’ll do it! I’ll leave and never come back! You’ll all miss me SOOOO much! You will! Everyone will be all “Where’s Joseph!? We didn’t appreciate him when he was around, but now everything is so boooring!”
    And I’ll be like “Ha!”
    Yeah :-P
    /in case some of you didn’t guess, I’m joking. It does crack me up sometimes when people publicly announce that they’re leaving because they’re peeved about something. I’m surprised more of the antivaxxers haven’t done just that in this thread. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  391. Chris

    Myself:

    So I hope that when we come back from the hospital tomorrow both of you will have found the PubMed papers showing us exactly how dangerous the MMR vaccine is compared to measles… and you know the drill: by posting the titles, journals and dates of those studies.

    Well, I spent most of the day at the hospital. I came home late in the afternoon to help my high school daughter with some things like get supplies for a new class this quarter, but son is still at the hospital. Spouse just got home, there were some abnormalities with the MRI, so they are keeping son in the hospital for one more night even though he feels fine. AAargh!

    I see no one has posted any actual evidence that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles. Well that is interesting.

  392. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Chris : Interesting perhaps – predictable certainly. Because there is NO such evidence.

    Really hope things work out well for your son & he gets well soonest btw. My sympathies and best wishes for whatever they’re worth.

    @393. Nigel Depledge : January 4th, 2012 at 5:35 am

    MTU (385) said: I wish the BA would reconsider and show some mercy in this instance. I also really wish the BA would respond on this. Still, what else can I do?
    Well, I guess you could threaten to leave and promise never to read the blog again, and then return about 3 days later. But I suspect that isn’t your style.

    What you only “suspect” it isn’t! You should *know* me enough to know that its not! ;-)

    Doing that sort of thing is, I think just silly and utterly unhelpfully pointless.

    @398. Joseph G : Glad you’re joking – I’d miss you if you left here. :-)

    I’ve always wondered how people can assume the most horrible things about researchers, and yet when quacks show up selling $90 vials of water, they’re presumed to be the most virtuous people imaginable.

    ^^^ This!!! Quoted for truth. I think its total ignorance and lack of thought and empathy on their part. Because they don’t stop and think : “Hang on, researchers (even “Big Pharma” CEOs & executives) have children too and have ethcis and have some humanity like the rest of us.” What motve would the researchers have to commit such alledgaed acts knowing that kids would die and why would other scientists not detct such nastiness in peerreviews. Of course, then the anti-vaxeer conspiracy theorists will then say that everyone of them is in on it seemingly not realising just how many thousands of people that is, how unlikely that is and how the larger a conspiracy becomes the harder it has to be to keep it secret and thus the less plausible it becomes. Yeesh. :roll:

  393. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ MTU : Continued, corrected, expanded :

    Because they don’t stop and think : “Hang on, researchers (even “Big Pharma” CEOs & executives) have children too and have ethics and have some humanity like the rest of us.”

    What possible motive would the researchers have to commit such alledged acts knowing that kids would die and why would other scientists not detect such nastiness in peer reviews, etc.. All this implausible conspiracy theory bunkum for what suggested reason? Money and greed? For all of the thousands of researchers? Globally? Enough to make someone who presumably goes into such a career with at least some ethical thought to *forever* shrug off the consequences of getting things like vaccines wrong? What the.. ! Really? Yeesh. :roll:

    @396. ND : “It seems Jennifer has gone quiet. So has Karen. Funny, they had so much to say.”

    Indeed. One letter at a time in Karen’s case! ;-)

    Plus Angie Anti-Vax & Lola the Misinformer have disappeared too it seems and yet I was so looking forward to Lola M’s reply to how those linked video items might possibly be shown to be wrong in her eyes as well. ;-)

  394. Gunnar

    We can only hope that the reason Jennifer, Karen, Angie Anti-Vax and Lola et al have left is because they have finally, honestly reconsidered their positions in the light of the abundant evidence provided, and realized how badly misinformed and wrong they were, and that they now do or will come to share our anger and disgust at the charlatans who so badly misinformed and duped them.

  395. @Chris: I’m sorry about all your family is going through. We’re thinking of your son.

  396. Mark Hansen

    MTU @ 401.
    …What possible motive would the researchers have to commit such alledged acts knowing that kids would die

    Lola provided one possibility in one of her posts. She did suggest that although Bill Gates provides the money and sundries for vaccinating and would most likely be vaccinated, you don’t actually see him get vaccinated therefore if he says he is vaccinated, he’s lying. So by a modest expansion of her hypothesis all of Big Pharma’s™ shadowy puppeteers don’t vaccinate themselves or their kids so that with the eventual dying off of the rest of the population, they can take over the world!!!!!11!!!!eleventy

    Gunnar @ 402, it’s a nice thought but I doubt that it’s what happened. Still, I can only hope that I’m wrong and you are right.

  397. @402 Gunnar: We can only hope that the reason Jennifer, Karen, Angie Anti-Vax and Lola et al have left is because they have finally, honestly reconsidered their positions in the light of the abundant evidence provided, and realized how badly misinformed and wrong they were, and that they now do or will come to share our anger and disgust at the charlatans who so badly misinformed and duped them.

    Bahahahahaha! AHHHAhahahahahahahahahahahaha! Heeeeehee bahahahahahahahahaha! Ahhhhhhh…
    Funny, funny stuff!

    Yeah, I’m cynical as all ****. Why shouldn’t I be?

  398. @400 MTU: Glad you’re joking – I’d miss you if you left here.
    Awww shucks. Well, that makes one person at least ;)

    What possible motive would the researchers have to commit such alledged acts knowing that kids would die and why would other scientists not detect such nastiness in peer reviews, etc.. All this implausible conspiracy theory bunkum for what suggested reason? Money and greed?

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no doubt that greed can and does cause people to rationalize away all manner of really unethical behavior (as an example, see the investment bankers coming up with these ridiculous destabilizing financial instruments that fall apart after causing havoc, who then turn around and proclaim themselves to be productive, economically vital job-creators instead of just opportunists). **
    But the rationalization is usually a lot more indirect then “Pump poison into children, profit!” You’d need to be several orders of magnitude more evil to even try to rationalize that sort of business model. And as many have pointed out, vaccines just aren’t all that profitable compared to many other pharmaceuticals. When was the last time you saw a pharma corp spend tens of millions of dollars producing lovely TV ad campaigns pushing a vaccine? I suppose there are rare exceptions, but still… And of course, that’s just the people on the business end. The scientists at places like the WHO and CDC have absolutely no profit motive whatsoever compelling them to bias their conclusions in favor of vaccines. This reduction of science to one or two spokespeople also seems to be a big theme in HIRGO deniers. Sure, it’s plausible that a single public figure like Al Gore might be pushing nonsense, but they seem to be forgetting the tens of thousands of independent researchers who would also have to be “in on it” for no personal gain, and at the risk of their own self-respect and professional reputations.

    ** There’s a great (and extremely uncomfortable) book I’ve been reading recently, called “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)”. I don’t recall the author offhand, but it’s an in-depth look at the way humans rationalize their actions, without even realizing it in most cases, and how even the most awful acts can be justified to oneself if given some time and the right circumstances.

  399. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (400) said:

    What you only “suspect” it isn’t! You should *know* me enough to know that its not!

    Well, in part I didin’t wish to presume to speak for you, and in part I was pulling your leg.

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Unless someone shoots holes in it, in which case it was never my story in the first place.*

    * Debating tactic stolen from – well, take your pick: Creationists / Antivaxxers / Moon hoaxers / Whomever.

  400. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (401) said:

    What possible motive would the researchers have to commit such alledged acts knowing that kids would die and why would other scientists not detect such nastiness in peer reviews, etc.

    Well, there’s a lot of commercial research that never sees peer review. Where I work, we are not permitted to divulge details of a customer’s molecules or processes, because these are proprietary information. True, it’s usually protected by patent, but knowledge of the details might allow a competitor to change a process just enough to avoid patent infringement and yet still be first to to market.

    Having said that, the broader point still stands. Not only are commercial possibilities most likely with stuff that actually works, but Vioxx – for example – is a lesson to all Pharma companies, that if you try to hide unfavourable data, it will come back and bite you big-time. Even though our customers are responsible for what they do with the data we give them, we still have a duty of care to advise for or against any particularly critical aspects of a biopharmaceutical production process that impacts product quality and hence on patient care.

    At the end of the day, it serves no pharma company to kill their customers!

  401. Nigel Depledge

    @ Todd W (397) –

    Thanks for that correction.

    It looks like I should have said “Hep B infection can easily be lifelong”.

  402. Angie Anti-Vax

    I have not left, I have just decided that I have better things to do with my time (including caring for a vaccine-injured child) than to go around in circles in a stable full of horses with blinders on.

    “If you argue with an idiot, there are two idiots” – Robert Kiyosaki

  403. Chris

    But you have not answered our questions with anything other than silly badly written books by buffoons. Angie Anti-Vax, just post the title, journal and date of the papers that are indexed in PubMed of the studies that support your statements. I’m sorry, but if you made a claim you must support it with real scientific evidence. Not your Gish Gallop of questionable reading material.

    Oh, and I also have a letter of complaint to write to the hospital. I noticed the gift shop was selling issues of “Autism File”, a magazine that has dubious treatments for autism, and discourages vaccination. It even had an article by ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield’s wife! I don’t think they really want people refusing vaccines in a hospital that does organ transplants, treats cancers and other conditions that make people immune compromised.

  404. Angie Anti-Vax

    —“Since excessive accumulation of extracellular glutamate is linked with excitotoxicity, our data imply that neonatal exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines might induce excitotoxic brain injuries, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22015977

    —Low-dose inorganic mercury increases severity and frequency of chronic coxsackievirus-induced autoimmune myocarditis in mice.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21984480

    —A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535

    —The results of this study agree with a number of previously published studies. These studies have shown that there is biological plausibility and epidemiological evidence showing a direct relationship between increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, and measles-containing vaccines and serious neurological disorders.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14976450

    —Hypothesis: conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993250

    —Low-dose exposure to inorganic mercury accelerates disease and mortality in acquired murine lupus.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12896845

    —Mercury (Hg) has long been recognized as a neurotoxicant; however, recent work in animal models has implicated Hg as an immunotoxicant. These results suggest a new model for Hg immunotoxicity, as a co-factor in autoimmune disease, increasing the risks and severity of clinical disease in the presence of other triggering events, either genetic or acquired.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16023690

    Let’s see if I can post the rest later… This list keeps getting marked as “spam.”

  405. Angie Anti-Vax

    Possible temporal association between diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis vaccination and sudden infant death syndrome.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=sids%20baraff

    The first known cause of autism was rubella virus. So not only is New Scientist an unreliable source of information, this cause of autism has been known since the 1960s. And rubella virus is one of the three live viruses in the MMR vaccine.

    … rubella (congenital rubella syndrome) is one of the few proven causes of autism.“ Walter A. Orenstein, M.D. US as Assistant Surgeon General, Director National Immunization Program in a letter to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer 15 February 2002.

    —rubella virus is one of the few known causes of autism.” US Center for Disease Control.

    rubella can cause autism” The Pediatrician’s Role in the Diagnosis and Management of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children – PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 5 May 2001

    Journal references:

    Chess, S. Autism in children with congenital rubella. J Autism Child Schizophr. 1, 33-47 (1971).
    Chess S. Follow-up report on autism in congenital rubella. J Autism Child Schizophr. 1977;7:69 –81
    Ziring PR. Congenital rubella: the teenage years. Pediatr Ann. 1997;6: 762–770

    —Committee Chairman and vaccine promoter Prof Louis Cooper stated in a CDC report:- However, concern was expressed that ……. there are not enough studies of possible adverse effects of new vaccines in combination with existing vaccines. Therefore, as the number of vaccines increases, the number of unresolved hypotheses which need new studies might also increase. Who will be responsible for prioritizing and doing these studies? Another point raised was that post-marketing research results may not necessarily be included in the vaccine package insert unless they are submitted for FDA review by the manufacturer.” http://web.archive.org/web/20060620191520/http://www.cdc.gov/od/ads/brpr/brprsumm.htm

    —Mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism recorded by general practitioners: a time trend analysis http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7284/460.full

    —Peer Review of Data

    The data and analysis shown here has been through a process of peer review. Publication is responsible to bring it to public attention.

    —Japanese & British Data Show Vaccines Cause Autism

    The peer review process included presenting this information to:-
    •Professor Sir Michael Rutter, author of the main paper which this analysis critiques. Result: – no comment, rebuttal or answer [although correspondence sent was received] – Main paper “No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2005)]
    •Hideo Honda correspondent author of the main paper. Result – no comment, rebuttal or answer [correspondence twice sent to address for correspondence on the paper];
    •Professor Tony Charman, Editor of the publishing journal. Result:- refusal to comment, rebut, answer or publish a correction or retraction [although correspondence sent was received];
    •UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Chairman Professor Andy Hall. Result: no comment, rebuttal or answer [although correspondence sent was received];
    •Head of UK Health Protection Agency. Result: no comment rebuttal or answer [although correspondence sent was received];
    •the publishers Blackwell Publishing. Result: no comment, rebuttal or answer [although correspondence sent was received].

    It has also been presented to others including an expert in the assessment of adverse drug reactions who confirmed data showing such a close correspondence is remarkable in post marketing surveillance and rarely if ever seen – probably unique. (citations are within this articlehttp://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/japvaxautism/)

    Ok, I am going back to my busy life now. I will no longer be visiting this page.

  406. ND

    Angie,

    “Ok, I am going back to my busy life now. I will no longer be visiting this page.”

    In other words you don’t want to stick around to the analysis of your references.

    I have no medical background nor experience in science research in general but I’ll pick one from your gish gallop.

    “Possible temporal association between diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis vaccination and sudden infant death syndrome.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=sids%20baraff

    That study is from 1983! Not only that but the study is titled “Possible temporal association…” Meaning the study does not make a solid connection between vaccines and SIDS. Correlation does not imply causation. Here’s a link to newer studies that do not show relationship between vaccines and SIDS:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/sids_faq.html

  407. Steve Metzler

    Shorter Angie: here’s my final dump of copy-and-paste screed that I don’t even understand. So sorry for wasting your time with all those nice, rational, explanations you gave that I didn’t bother to read. G’bye now!!!1!!111!!!

    *sigh* there is no other way these one-way ‘discussions’ will ever end :-( These people are not teachable/reachable. They have made up their minds before they even visited this site.

    I’m afraid it’s the same with anyone who denies any aspect of concrete science: evolution, global warming, anti-vax, and any other conspiracy theory you could name. You cannot get through to a conspiracy theorist, however hard you (we) try. But for the sake of the fence sitters, we keep on trying.

    Oh… Happy New Year!

  408. Chris

    Vaccine. 2007 Jun 21;25(26):4875-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
    Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis.

    The answer is yes. Vaccines cut SIDS risk in half.

    Oh, and the MMR vaccine has been around for over forty years. There are studies on it dating back to the late 1960s. It has been studied, and actually prevents rubella. Go figure.

  409. AliCali

    @415 Steve Metzler

    “These people are not teachable/reachable. They have made up their minds before they even visited this site…”

    But please remember there are a lot of lurkers, and if comments that sound like vaccines are bad go unanswered, the lurkers will be left thinking there’s something to that.

    So everyone, please continue to post the counterpoints to those claims, even if the original claimant does not want to challenge their conceptions. Others are watching.

  410. Anti Vax Angie

    1. The peer reviewed study “Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes—A review” Helen V. Ratajczak Journal of Immunotoxicology, 2011; 8(1): 68–79. The study includes the statement that:-
    Documented causes of autism include …….. encephalitis following vaccination.”

  411. Anti Vax Angie

    2. vaccine inserts (from the horse’s mouth): http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm

  412. @412 Angie: When you say your child was “vaccine injured,” what do you mean by that? Are you referring to autism?

    Regarding your links, I see a few potential problems.
    For instance, the G Delong study was performed by an economics professor. That’s typically a red flag, when someone from an entirely different field uses their academic credentials to publish on a subject they have no experience with. A more in-depth look at that study can be found here:
    http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/05/vaccines-cause-autism-until-you-look-at.html

    A response to statistical problems with the Geier study can be found here:
    http://autismnaturalvariation.blogspot.com/2006/04/curious-errors-in-earlier-geier-paper.html

    Then there’s pubmed/21993250, which is a hypothesis, published in a journal called Hypotheses.

    Several other links are irrelevant as they do not deal with autism and/or vaccination.
    And the last link you give regards chronic environmental exposure to elemental mercury, as opposed to acute exposure to mercury salts, as through some vaccines. If you think that the difference between chronic and acute exposure or between elemental and ethyl mercury is splitting hairs, then you really have no business commenting on a subject like this.

  413. @415 Steve Metzler: I’m afraid it’s the same with anyone who denies any aspect of concrete science: evolution, global warming, anti-vax, and any other conspiracy theory you could name. You cannot get through to a conspiracy theorist, however hard you (we) try. But for the sake of the fence sitters, we keep on trying.

    This is a subject that fascinates me (the evolution and change of personal opinions), and I’d caution you against throwing in the towel too soon.

    In my own younger days, I was a hardcore conspiracy theorist. Oh yes, I knew it all. Greys, reptilians, Roswell, Area 51, the Trilateral Commission, the Masons, the Rosicrucians, the CFR, the Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, HAARP, “chemtrails”, MK Ultra, electronic mind control, “false flag operations”, the New World Order, and yes, teh ebil vaccines – I could rant about all that bulls**t and more, for hours! Pasting together bits of things I thought I knew with gut feelings and self-righteous anger.

    But somehow, at some point, I left all that behind. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and I can’t point to a single person or argument that made me have some kind of epiphany, but in the end I’ve come a long way from there to here. It may well have been the patient repetition of the importance of evidence over conjecture that ultimately changed my mind.

    I have no evidence of this (har), but my gut tells me (hee) that while you may not cause a believer to do an instant 180, your words may contribute to an eventual change of heart. Like filling a bucket one drop at a time.

  414. @Angie Anti-Vax

    Regarding your diatribe about rubella, yes, it is a known cause of autism, when the mother is infected while pregnant. That might be the reason why the MMR vaccine is contraindicated for (meaning, don’t give it to) pregnant women. From the package insert:

    Do not give M-M-R II to pregnant females; the possible effects of the vaccine on fetal development are unknown at this time. If vaccination of postpubertal females is undertaken, pregnancy should be avoided for three months following vaccination

    Rubella is not known to cause autism in infected individuals.

    Mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism recorded by general practitioners: a time trend analysis http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7284/460.full

    Did you even read the stuff you cite? The conclusion from that link (emphasis added):

    Because the incidence of autism among 2 to 5 year olds increased markedly among boys born in each year separately from 1988 to 1993 while MMR vaccine coverage was over 95% for successive annual birth cohorts, the data provide evidence that no correlation exists between the prevalence of MMR vaccination and the rapid increase in the risk of autism over time. The explanation for the marked increase in risk of the diagnosis of autism in the past decade remains uncertain.

  415. Jean-Pierre

    @ Chris Re: Comment 382. You said:

    “I was just about to post that, since they do look familiar. It even has the incredibly stupid fallacy on how vaccines are administered. But it was written by an “ND”, which we all know means “Not a Doctor”, so it is a given that the guy was medically clueless.”

    Chris,

    I’m new to this blog and my mother tongue is not English. You’ll have to forgive any misspells or grammatical errors.

    Chris, it is true that some N.D.’s deserve the designation of “Not Doctors”. It is also true, you will certainly agree, that some M.D.’s deserve the designation of “Miserable Doctors” and some Ph. D.’s deserve the designation of “Phoney Doctors”, as evidenced here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not93-177.html and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct#Alleged_cases.

    IMHO, it’s just not fair to lump everyone because of the questionable actions of certain individuals.

    May I suggest you have a look at the following regarding naturopathy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturopathy and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Naturopathy

    I more specifically call your attention on the following statement by Dr. Julie Jacobson, MD, which I find particularly relevant and enlightening:

    “I found your article on naturopathic medicine [Atwood KC. Naturopathy: a critical appraisal. Medscape General Medicine. [March 5, 2004];] to be slanted and inflammatory. Naturopathic physicians have an extensive medical education (at accredited schools), including all of the basic sciences and pharmacology in addition to multiple other healing traditions. People who go into the field of study of naturopathic medicine study it for the same reasons as allopathic medicine. I think that many of the millions of people who seek care from naturopathic physicians could list the many horrible and unfair things that allopathic physicians have done to them, as our failures frequently seek these practitioners. I think it is senseless to think we have all of the answers and make the only right decisions. If we have all of the answers, why is there chronic disease?

    I think that there is much we need to learn from these other healing professionals, and this extremist view of “us vs them” with “them” all being quacks out to hurt patients, is destructive. We need to learn from the things that both professions have to offer to work toward better, more patient-centered, integrated care. Just as there are bad MDs there are bad NDs. NDs now have national accreditation, and we should work to support that so that patients have access to people who are properly trained and can be allies in improving patient care.

    I myself am ashamed of all I was not taught in medical school. My nutrition training consisted of primarily of biochemistry, severe deficiencies, and TPN. I learned very little about promoting health and taking the time to council patients, as our 10-minute patient visits don’t allow it. I think the time has come not to fight among ourselves, but to work toward a system that will help us and our patients not only combat disease but attain and promote health.”

    Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1140740/

    Here are Dr. Jacobson’s credentials (she appears to be legit): http://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-julie-jacobson-2f23s

    In case you’re wondering, I’m not an N.D. I’m just a B.A. (with Honours in Linguistics). The reason I felt compelled to intervene is just for the sake of balance. Thank you for having read this thus far.

    I understand that you may have had a couple of bad days of late, and I sympathize.

    Take care and au revoir.

  416. @Angie Anti-Vax

    “Since excessive accumulation of extracellular glutamate is linked with excitotoxicity, our data imply that neonatal exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines might induce excitotoxic brain injuries, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22015977

    A study in rats using doses of thimerosal given in 4 doses over 8 days at 240 mcg/kg (i.e., at least 9.6 times! the level found in any vaccine) per dose. How is this comparable to 1 vaccine given no earlier than 6 months and no subsequent dose until at least 6 months later? Know what they found at 12.5 mcg/kg doses (the amount found in some thimerosal-containing flu vaccines) given four times in a similar period?

    Four injections of thimerosal at a dose of 12.5 μg Hg/kg did not alter glutamate and aspartate concentrations at microdialysis time

    Huh. Interesting. Doesn’t seem to support your protestations against thimerosal (which is really a moot point considering all childhood vaccines are devoid of thimerosal or are available in thimerosal-free formulations.

  417. SkewedD

    Chris, I hope your son is doing well. And while I’m not a regular poster here, I would love to hear of the reaction to your (hopefully strongly-worded) letter regarding the “Autism File” fishwrap at the giftshop!

    Now, to do my bit for Angie, who flounced out so gracefully, I found myself particularly puzzled by this reference:

    “Mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism recorded by general practitioners: a time trend analysis http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7284/460.full

    The conclusion by the authors of this paper was:

    “Because the incidence of autism among 2 to 5 year olds increased markedly among boys born in each year separately from 1988 to 1993 while MMR vaccine coverage was over 95% for successive annual birth cohorts, the data provide evidence that NO CORRELATION EXISTS between the prevalence of MMR vaccination and the rapid increase in the risk of autism over time. The explanation for the marked increase in risk of the diagnosis of autism in the past decade remains uncertain.”

    (emphasis mine as all-caps are frowned upon in scientific abstracts)

  418. Robert

    Vaccines generated revenue of $27 billion in 2009 alone, despite difficult economic times for the pharmaceutical industry. By 2012, vaccines are expected to bring in more than $35 billion in revenue.”

    Gee – do ya think they can afford any propaganda?

    No incentive to manipulate clinical studies here

    No incentive for corruption here

    The love of money is the root of the vaccine paradigm!

  419. ND

    I am also Not a Doctor.

    Sincerely ND

    :)

  420. Messier Tidy Upper

    @408. Nigel Depledge :

    At the end of the day, it serves no pharma company to kill their customers! [Emphasis addded.]

    ^ This!! Why do anti-vaxxers assume malevolence and not stop and think for a minute?

    .. there’s a lot of commercial research that never sees peer review. Where I work, we are not permitted to divulge details of a customer’s molecules or processes, because these are proprietary information. True, it’s usually protected by patent, but knowledge of the details might allow a competitor to change a process just enough to avoid patent infringement and yet still be first to to market.

    Yes, good point – but whilst it may not be peer-reviewed it still gets rigorously tested and has to pass a lot of procedures, reviews and stages and animal and volunteer trials before its is allowed to be used on the general public.

    Companies developing vaccines – and medicines generally – are in t for profit, sure, but theyalso have legal and ethical obligations as do their workers. What works well is most effective and user-friendly with least side-effects sells best too. If a vaccine didn’t work or resulted in lots of harm to those taking it then it wouldn’t sell and would damage the companies reputation and thus its profits. Therefore is in the companys own interests -hip pocket and otherwise – to make sure its product is as good as possible, as safe and efeftive as possible. Covering up and being caught out equals huge trouble, potentially huge losses and permanent repuation stains.

    For something like vaccines which have been used for decades and have a known good and successful record plus FDA approval, to make the sort of claims the anti-vaxxers do is just ludicrous.

    @407. Nigel Depledge : January 5th, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Well, in part I didin’t wish to presume to speak for you, and in part I was pulling your leg.

    No worries. I figured as much. ;-)

    @Anti Vax Angie : Still no response to the links I gave you? Why am I disappaointed but not one little bit surprised? :roll:

  421. Chris

    Jean-Pierre… the fate of the “Not a Doctor” was sealed when he totally screwed up how vaccines are given. Did you miss that? If that is unclear, download and listen to the Quackcast I linked to.

    Oh, and I had a relative who once decided that an ND knew more than a county psychiatrist. I have copy of the letter she wrote to that ND asking why she had to pay for expensive homeopathic remedies that did nothing. Due to that ND telling her to substitute homeopathy for her actual medication she died an early death. So really, do try harder (actually use more relevant scientific articles and stay away from Wiki articles and random websites).

    Jean-Pierre, you are scoring exactly zero points. ND still stands for “Not a Doctor.” Call us when the NDs start passing the medical boards in each state, just like the ODs (osteopathic doctors, like the one who saw my son in a recent visit to a hospital emergency department).

  422. Chris

    Angie Anti-Vax:

    1. The peer reviewed study “Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes—A review” Helen V. Ratajczak

    Actually, if there was any peer review of this, it was minimal. There was more done here. Which is where “homologous recombinaltion tiniker” became a facetious catch phrase. This is how Orac responded:

    There’s only one phrase to describe this idea: The stupid, it burns. It sears. It scalds the skin off my flesh. It opoptoses my neurons.

    I am still waiting for Angie Anti-Vax to tell me why, with real medical literature, the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than actually getting measles. So far, she had failed, even with that last valid but pointless Gish Gallop.

    SkewedD, I will post the results of my complaint letter later. My son came home from the hospital this evening, and I will pass my wrathful comments by some trusted friends first. Though I will ask anyone who is near a hospital to check the gift shop for similar questionable anti-reality literature (other than entertainment magazines that specialize in fantasy). Thanks.

  423. PayasYouStargaze

    413. Angie Anti-Vax:

    I will no longer be visiting this page.

    418. Anti Vax Angie:

    1. The peer reviewed study…[etc]

    Can’t be honest about anything, can you?

  424. Nigel Depledge

    Angie Anti-Vax (413) said:

    The first known cause of autism was rubella virus. So not only is New Scientist an unreliable source of information, this cause of autism has been known since the 1960s. And rubella virus is one of the three live viruses in the MMR vaccine.

    … rubella (congenital rubella syndrome) is one of the few proven causes of autism.“ Walter A. Orenstein, M.D. US as Assistant Surgeon General, Director National Immunization Program in a letter to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer 15 February 2002.

    —rubella virus is one of the few known causes of autism.” US Center for Disease Control.

    rubella can cause autism” The Pediatrician’s Role in the Diagnosis and Management of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children – PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 5 May 2001

    So, if contracting rubella is a known cause of autism, wouldn’t that make it all the more important to immunise against rubella?

    And, BTW, if MMR contains live rubella virus, that virus will have been passaged to hell and back so as not to cause the disease against which it provides immunity.

    You really cannot draw a link with the attenuated virus in a vaccine and an (unusual) outcome of the relevant disease without some actual data. For instance, does MMR cause rubella? (hint – no, it doesn’t*, and this alone blows your contention out of the water). Have any of the very large studies on MMR found a link between it and autism? No.

    Was Andrew Wakefield (the guy who first gave MMR a high profile in the media) a scheming evil man who abused autistic children to discredit a perfectly acceptable vaccine so that a company in which he had an undeclared interest could market its alternative vaccine? Yes.

    * I should qualify this. MMR is not AFAICT a cause of rubella.

  425. @ Jean-Pierre: The wiki article you linked to really doesn’t give me any confidence in NDs at all; on the contrary it illuminates precisely where the “Not a Doctor” gag comes from.
    Quoting just a few of tidbits from the entry you linked:

    Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation…
    _____
    …Naturopathy is practiced in many countries, primarily the United States and Canada[verification needed], and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance. The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.[9]
    _____
    The philosophical and methodological underpinnings of naturopathy are sometimes in conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine (EBM).[10] Many naturopaths have opposed vaccination based in part on the early philosophies that shaped the profession…
    _____
    …The term naturopathy was coined in 1895 by John Scheel,[6] and purchased by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy”.[7] Lust had been schooled in hydrotherapy and other natural health practices in Germany by Father Sebastian Kneipp; Kneipp sent Lust to the United States to spread his drugless methods.[17] Lust defined naturopathy as a broad discipline rather than a particular method, and included such techniques as hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy, as well as eliminating overeating, tea, coffee, and alcohol.[8] He described the body in spiritual and vitalistic terms with “absolute reliance upon the cosmic forces of man’s nature.” …
    _____
    …K. C. Atwood writes, in the journal Medscape General Medicine, “Naturopathic physicians now claim to be primary care physicians proficient in the practice of both “conventional” and “natural” medicine. Their training, however, amounts to a small fraction of that of medical doctors who practice primary care. An examination of their literature, moreover, reveals that it is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and potentially dangerous practices.”[57] In another article, Atwood writes that “Physicians who consider naturopaths to be their colleagues thus find themselves in opposition to one of the fundamental ethical precepts of modern medicine. If naturopaths aren’t to be judged “nonscientific practitioners,” the term has no useful meaning. An article by a physician exposing quackery, moreover, does not identify its author as “biased,” but simply as fulfilling one of his ethical obligations as a physician.”

    @428 Chris: I’m not saying that Wikipedia is an impeccable source, but I also don’t see how anyone can read the Wiki entry on Naturopathy and walk away with a positive impression of it. Not unless one is already heavily predisposed to a disbelief in science.

  426. ND

    Angie Anti-Vax,

    Any thoughts on the comments made regarding on your links?

  427. @Angie Anti-Vax

    Time to take a look at some of those other citations you provided.

    —Low-dose inorganic mercury increases severity and frequency of chronic coxsackievirus-induced autoimmune myocarditis in mice.
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21984480

    This study looked at inorganic mercury, not any form of organic mercury (e.g., ethylmercury). No mention was made of vaccines, doses were very high (200 mcg/kg every other day!) and again, it was a study in mice, meaning the relevance to humans is questionable.

    —A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population.
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535

    Joseph already took on this “study” from Gail DeLong. Bad study design and worse statistics.

    —The results of this study agree with a number of previously published studies. These studies have shown that there is biological plausibility and epidemiological evidence showing a direct relationship between increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, and measles-containing vaccines and serious neurological disorders.
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14976450

    Ah, the Geiers, who have a a competing interest (the sale of their Lupron protocol services, which hinges on there being a mercury connection). The father, Dr. Mark Geier, had his license to practice medicine suspended in 6 of 13 states, as well as having his application in another one of those 13 states put on hold because of the numerous suspensions. In this study, they went anomaly hunting. In other words, they started with a premise (thimerosal causes autism) and went hunting for data to support their belief. It’s like shooting an arrow, then drawing the target around it after the fact and claiming you got a bullseye.

    —Hypothesis: conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders.
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993250

    Not a study. It is an hypothesis. There is no data. Basically, the author is saying, “Hey, here’s a question that I think should be studied” and then not actually bothering to study it. Also, Medical Hypotheses is not regarded as a quality journal when it comes to citations.

    —Low-dose exposure to inorganic mercury accelerates disease and mortality in acquired murine lupus.
    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12896845

    Another study in mice looking at inorganic, rather than organic, mercury using high doses again (20 or 200 mcg/kg every other day). This study has no relevancy for vaccines or thimerosal.

    —Mercury (Hg) has long been recognized as a neurotoxicant; however, recent work in animal models has implicated Hg as an immunotoxicant. These results suggest a new model for Hg immunotoxicity, as a co-factor in autoimmune disease, increasing the risks and severity of clinical disease in the presence of other triggering events, either genetic or acquired.

    www dot ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16023690

    Another mouse study with doses far beyond what humans would receive from any vaccine. And you left out this bit of the abstract (emphasis added):

    In particular, Hg has been shown to induce autoimmune disease in susceptible animals with effects including overproduction of specific autoantibodies and pathophysiologic signs of lupus-like disease. However, these effects are only observed at high doses of Hg that are above the levels to which humans would be exposed through contaminated fish consumption.

    Again I ask, did you actually read any of the citations you provided? If you had, you might have saved yourself some embarrassment.

  428. Chris

    Jean-Pierre and Joseph G, the bit about “ND means Not a Doctor” is a favorite with Dr. Mark Crislip. If you go to his articles on the Science Based Medicine blog you will find more articles that use that phrase. You will also see some more on naturapathy education by the other authors, especially Dr. Kimball Atwood.

    Unlike MD that were called “miserable doctors”, NDs have limited medical and scientific training. All you have to do is look at the courses of any naturopathic college and see pseudoscience being taught, like homeopathy. Which is exactly what an ND prescribed a relative of mine after she got out of the county’s psych ward to replace the real medications that were finally working for her. Even she realized that the expensive powders full of nothing did not work!

    So, Jean-Pierre, wander over to the Science Based Medicine blog. Many of the articles there are quite entertaining.

  429. @435 Chris: That’s just awful!!! I’m so sorry about your relative.
    This sort of thing is close to home for me as well, as I volunteer with an organization dedicated to suicide prevention and mental illness awareness. As if these issues weren’t difficult enough to address, these asshats coming along convincing people to abandon perfectly good medications in favor of water… Damnit. It makes me want to stab someone in the face. Someone who deserves it, of course.

  430. Steve Metzler

    Damnit. It makes me want to stab someone in the face. Someone who deserves it, of course.

    Now, now. Have you instead considered employing either:

    1. A poke in the eye with a plastic daff?

    or:

    2. A slap in the face with a wet mackerel?

    Both equally as effective in conveying your point, and somewhat less violent :-)

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the way you feel. I hope it works out for Chris’ relative as well.

  431. ND

    Speaking of fish slapping:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhJQp-q1Y1s

    This also summarizes many a debate on this blog.

  432. @438 Steve Metzler: Not sure what a plastic daff is, but I suppose a fish-slap would suffice!
    I’m thinking perhaps a lionfish, stonefish, or maybe a jellyfish (of the man o’ war variety) ;)

    @439 ND: Haha! I daresay that the antivaxxers are represented by the guy on the right.

  433. Juan

    Did you know that the typical flu shot contains 25 micrograms of mercury- or 50,000 parts per billion? The EPA classifies a liquid with 200 parts per billion of mercury as HAZARDOUS WASTE. The LIMIT for drinking water is 2 parts per billion. Why are we then allowed to inject 50,000 parts per billion into our BLOOD and BRAIN?

  434. Steve Metzler

    Juan. Did you not bother to read the thread before posting? Big difference between ethyl mercury as employed in vaccines (which is used as a preservative, and leaves your system in a few days), and methyl mercury (yep, that’s the pernicious stuff that the EPA is talking about).

    But, thanks for playing.

  435. Also, there’s huge difference between 50,000 ppb in a tiny amount of liquid you take once (a shot) and >2 ppb in water that you eat, drink, bathe in, and do laundry in by the gallon each day, every day.

  436. Robert

    It is more than curious and very telling that none of the postings by the jabbers here contain a single article or testimony extolling the efficacy of vaccines and yet articles written about the dangers and insanity of vaccines are ubiquitous as the majority of comments here reveal.

    I also find it telling that most all the jabbers subscribe to the same bizarre conspiracy theory that there are these tiny invisible organisms that are invading our bodies and making people sick and unless we shell out money for some snake-oil elixir that we will become victims of these shape-shifting invisible aliens.

    Conspiracy theories, shape-shifting, invisible aliens, snake oil elixirs – does any rational thinking person actually take these people seriously? It sounds more like a scam that would be worthy of someone like Bernie Madoff!!

  437. Juan

    “442. Steve Metzler Says:
    January 7th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Juan. Did you not bother to read the thread before posting? Big difference between ethyl mercury as employed in vaccines (which is used as a preservative, and leaves your system in a few days), and methyl mercury (yep, that’s the pernicious stuff that the EPA is talking about).”

    Ethyl Mercury does not immediately leave the body. “In general, mercury in tissues and blood following TM treatment was predominantly found as Ino-Hg, but a considerable amount of Et-Hg was also found in the liver and brain. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386881

    “Major databases (PubMed and Web-of-science) were searched for in vitro and in vivo experimental studies that addressed the effects of low-dose Thimerosal (or ethylmercury) on neural tissues and animal behaviour. Information extracted from studies indicates that: (a) activity of low doses of Thimerosal against isolated human and animal brain cells was found in all studies and is consistent with Hg neurotoxicity; (b) the neurotoxic effect of ethylmercury has not been studied with co-occurring adjuvant-Al in TCVs; (c) animal studies have shown that exposure to Thimerosal-Hg can lead to accumulation of inorganic Hg in brain, and that (d) doses relevant to TCV exposure possess the potential to affect human neuro-development. Thimerosal at concentrations relevant for infants’ exposure (in vaccines) is toxic to cultured human-brain cells and to laboratory animals. The persisting use of TCV (in developing countries) is counterintuitive to global efforts to lower Hg exposure and to ban Hg in medical products; its continued use in TCV requires evaluation of a sufficiently nontoxic level of ethylmercury compatible with repeated exposure (co-occurring with adjuvant-Al) during early life.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21350943 (peer reviewed)

    “The evidence presented here shows that the occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorders following thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines does not appear to be coincidental.”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14534046?dopt=Abstract (peer reviewed)

    “We, therefore, propose that…Thimerosal (ethyl mercury) in individuals with pre-disposing HLA molecules, bind to CD26 or CD69 and induce antibodies against these molecules. In conclusion, this study is apparently the first to demonstrate that dietary peptides, bacterial toxins and xenobiotics bind to lymphocyte receptors and/or tissue enzymes, resulting in autoimmune reaction in children with autism.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14611720 (peer reviewed)

    “An association between neurodevelopmental disorders and thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccines was found.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12773696?dopt=Abstract (peer reviewed)

    “Mercury concentrations were determined in various tissues from 6 … infants /exposed to topical applications of 0.1% thimerosalfor the treatment of exomphalos . Mean tissue concentrations in fresh samples of liver, kidney, spleen, and heart ranged from 5152 to 11,330 ppb, suggesting percutaneous absorption from repeated topical applications.” This is topical only. Injecting into the blood is safer? Nope.
    [Goldfrank, L.R., Flomenbaum, N.E., Lewin, N.A., Weisman, R.S., Howland, M.A., Hoffman, R.S., Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies 6th Ed. (1998)., McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., p. 918] **PEER REVIEWED**

    ” To prevent microbial growth during storage, the protein A columns are primed with thiomersal, which contains toxic ethyl mercury, which may be released during the procedure and potentially begin to accumulate and become toxic. To reduce the thiomersal-related mercury release during immunoadsorption treatment, we introduced a modified rinsing solution containing N-acetylcysteine, which is an avid mercury scavenger. The post-treatment values of total blood mercury exceeded the upper safety level of 5 ng/g in all 17 immunoadsorption treatments. The results of our study showed an increase in total blood mercury and ethyl mercury levels during the immunoadsorption treatments, suggesting mercury release from thiomersal-primed columns despite the addition of N-acetylcysteine to the rinsing solution.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15967001

  438. Juan

    When an anti-vaxer makes a claim, s/he must support this claim by concrete, well-researched evidence, correct? Let us hold the writer of this article to the same standard.

    “There are times when reality is so obvious, so clear, so rock-solid 100% amazingly in-your-face incontrovertible, that it is beyond belief that anyone could deny it… Let me be very, very clear: they (anti-vaxers) are wrong. ”

    Prove it. And I am talking about double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the SAFETY of each and every vaccine you speak of. Please list EACH vaccine separately followed by the studies.

  439. SkewedD

    When something is considered “common knowledge”, it doesn’t need to be referenced in scientific writing. Hence, the statement that “anti-vaxxers are wrong” requires no further elaboration. However, if absolutely forced to provide a reference that proves it, I recommend the “Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children” Facebook page. Everything you need to prove that anti-vaxxers are wrong is nicely laid out for you there. Enjoy!

  440. Nigel Depledge

    Juan (441) said:

    Did you know that the typical flu shot contains 25 micrograms of mercury- or 50,000 parts per billion? The EPA classifies a liquid with 200 parts per billion of mercury as HAZARDOUS WASTE. The LIMIT for drinking water is 2 parts per billion. Why are we then allowed to inject 50,000 parts per billion into our BLOOD and BRAIN?

    First of all, do you have any idea that there is a difference between mercury the element and a compound containing mercury, such as methyl mercury or ethyl mercury?

    Your comment is analogous to observing that Strychnine is toxic and then concluding that the elements carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon are equally toxic.

    While some vaccines may still use thimerosol as a preservative, this is rapidly metabolised to ethyl mercury which is then cleared from the body with (IIUC) negligible effect. However, check that your source is not out of date, as many of the vaccines that once used thimerosol no longer use it.

    Additionally, drinking water is – by definition – something to which a person is chronically exposed. Limits for chronic exposure are very often several orders of magnitude lower than for acute exposure. Note that a vaccine is an acute exposure (typically one, two or three shots in a person’s lifetime) so will have a different pharmacokinetic profile from something to which a person is exposed every single day.

    In short, your comparison is meaningless.

  441. Nigel Depledge

    Robert (444) said:

    It is more than curious and very telling that none of the postings by the jabbers here contain a single article or testimony extolling the efficacy of vaccines

    This is wrong, for two reasons.

    First, several commenters have indeed linked or referred to papers in the primary literature that illustrate that vaccines are effective, adequately safe (no medicine is perfectly safe, after all) and certainly orders of magnitude safer than catching the disease against which a vaccine protects.

    Second, water is wet but I don’t feel compelled to waste my time selecting a handful of articles to demonstrate this effect. That vaccines are effective has long been established. If you wish to challenge this conclusion, then the burden of proof is yours, and the responsibility is yours to understand the evidence that supports the idea you are challenging. Anti-vaxxers do not do this. That vaccines are adequately safe is demonstrated in the hundreds of clinical trials involving vaccines that have been carried out over the last few decades. Part of the significance of this evidence is the sheer quantity of it. Why should I waste my time selecting a few out of the many possible reports for you to then not read?

    and yet articles written about the dangers and insanity of vaccines are ubiquitous as the majority of comments here reveal.

    And they are ubiquitously wrong. As has been demonstrated by other commenters, either these articles don’t actually say what the anti-vaxxers claim they say, or they have already been shown to be fallacious.

    I also find it telling that most all the jabbers subscribe to the same bizarre conspiracy theory that there are these tiny invisible organisms that are invading our bodies and making people sick and unless we shell out money for some snake-oil elixir that we will become victims of these shape-shifting invisible aliens.

    Ah, this is a Poe, right?

  442. Nigel Depledge

    Juan (445) said:

    “Major databases (PubMed and Web-of-science) were searched . . . The persisting use of TCV (in developing countries) is counterintuitive to global efforts to lower Hg exposure and to ban Hg in medical products; its continued use in TCV requires evaluation of a sufficiently nontoxic level of ethylmercury compatible with repeated exposure (co-occurring with adjuvant-Al) during early life.”
    www[dot]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21350943 (peer reviewed)

    Have you read the full article, or just the abstract?

    By following your linky, I couldn’t find even a link to the full article online, and I don’t currently have access to a library that subscribes to Neurochem Res. There’s plenty of stuff claimed in the abstract, but not any way of getting to any supporting information. Do you expect us to take it on faith?

    Even if thimerosal does have some neurotoxic effect, it is still (a) being phased out of use anyway; and (b) not sufficiently toxic to justify not vaccinating.

    If thimerosal in vaccines had any kind of noticeable effect in humans, then the incidence of said effect would be decreasing in correlation with the decreasing use of thimerosal. E.g. if it causes autism, then autism rates would be decreasing. I notice that none of your linked articles deals with human epidemiology. Maybe that’s because the animal models imperfectly model the toxicity of thimerosal in humans, did you think of that?

  443. Nigel Depledge

    Juan (445) said:

    “Mercury concentrations were determined in various tissues from 6 … infants /exposed to topical applications of 0.1% thimerosalfor the treatment of exomphalos . Mean tissue concentrations in fresh samples of liver, kidney, spleen, and heart ranged from 5152 to 11,330 ppb, suggesting percutaneous absorption from repeated topical applications.” This is topical only. Injecting into the blood is safer? Nope.

    This is chronic exposure. Is it relevant to acute exposure? Nope.

    Also, because ethyl mercury is non-polar, it may actually pass into the body quite easily through skin (in fact, the article you cite pretty much demonstrates this). Therefore, it’s not much different from injection. Also, I think you’ll find that the concentration of thimerosal in that topical treatment is somewhat higher than is used as a preservative in vaccines. Did you even bother to look it up?

  444. Juan

    I posted those article (more than 2, Nigel) because everyone is taking about EM. But the more relevant discussion should be aluminum, as it is replacing EM as one of the vaccine preservatives.

  445. @Juan

    Aluminum is not replacing ethylmercury as a preservative. Aluminum is an adjuvant, not a preservative. EtHg prevents the growth of contaminating agents, like fungi and other bacteria. Aluminum induces a more robust immune response, meaning less antigen is required in the vaccine.

  446. @Juan

    Oh, and to add to everything that Nigel said, I just wanted to comment on this bit from you:

    Why are we then allowed to inject 50,000 parts per billion into our BLOOD and BRAIN?

    Who is injecting any into the blood or brain? Last I checked, vaccines, whether they contain thimerosal or not, are injected below the skin, into the muscle, swallowed or inhaled. Not one is injected into the blood, and certainly not a single one is injected into the brain. Do provide evidence to support this assertion, though, if you feel so strongly that you are right.

  447. Aaron

    I’m sorry but this article is a perfect example of propaganda. They don’t cite a lot of the sources for all of these claims and all they do is bash the opponent. Here’s a fact: THEY CAN’T FIND ONE PERSON WHO HAS LIVED IN THE AMISH COMMUNITY THEIR ENTIRE LIFE WITH AUTISM (the exception being adopted children who were already vaccinated.) I’m a numbers guy and to me they don’t add up. Once you put money in the picture they do though. Having people livei in fear is financially profitable. They herd like sheep when they’re scared and they even call it “herd immunity”. Like all these idiots getting vaccines are saving my sons life. HA! My son has never been vaccinated and will never be vaccinated. He has also never been sick other than a runny nose. Coincidence? I think not. I don’t coddle him either. He goes out and plays and he goes out in public with me. I’m very loud and proud I don’t vaccinate and I think anyone that doesn’t vaccinate should be proud as well. This is getting ridiculous and I’m not endangering my child to satisfy all you “vaxxers” illegitimate fears.

  448. PayasYouStargaze

    Can’t believe this is up to 455 comments and there are still new health hazards joining the discussion.

    @Aaron, by not vaccinating your child you are endangering him and those around him. I find it disgusting that someone could be so proud of that. Chances are the only reason your son is healthy is because of the herd immunity of your community preventing him from being infected. The majority of your post is projection. It is the antivax crowd who “don’t cite a lot of the sources for all of these claims and all they do is bash the opponent”. It is the antivax crowd who “herd like sheep when they’re scared”. To reject a wonder of modern medicine in the manner you do is unfathomable.

    Remember, with vaccination we were able to eradicate smallpox. Who knows what other terrible diseases we could eradicate without your mindless, twisted “propaganda”.

  449. Mike Drake

    “Why are we then allowed to inject 50,000 parts per billion into our BLOOD and BRAIN?”

    Someone needs to look up what PPB means in relation to quantity versus concentration. Of course, it only refers to concentration, no matter how small the quantity…
    So if I were to inject ONE ATOM of mercury into myself, i would be injecting something that is ONE BILLION ppb … except it’s only one atom, and wouldn’t make a lick of difference. The same holds true for vaccines of course – the small quantity (especially considering the EM compound) makes the concentration totally irrelevant.

  450. I find it remarkable that the anti-vaxxers are so behind the times. Not only is Thimerosal not in most vaccines, but the only reason it was taken out of those vaccines in the first place was because people were (wrongly) blaming it for the number of cases of autism that we see. The new formulations were more expensive, and caused a slight temporary decrease in overall vaccination rates, but if Thimerosal were really dangerous, this would be a small price to pay, right?

    In a way, this is one of the most massive informal medical studies ever undertaken.
    The hypothesis: Thimerosal causes autism/autism spectrum disorders.
    Expected result if hypothesis has merit: Without thimerosal-containing vaccinations, we’d expect a massive an immediate drop-off of diagnosed ASDs.
    Observed result: ASD diagnoses continued to rise at the same rate seen previously, with no substantial deviation at all in numbers coinciding with the removal of thimerosal.

    In other words, the very advocacy of those who blame mercury in vaccines for autism has led to us implementing policies that provides perhaps the strongest evidence yet that their position was always utterly wrong.
    And yet, they’re still at it. Why?

  451. @456 Payasyoustargaze: @Aaron, by not vaccinating your child you are endangering him and those around him. I find it disgusting that someone could be so proud of that. Chances are the only reason your son is healthy is because of the herd immunity of your community preventing him from being infected. The majority of your post is projection. It is the antivax crowd who “don’t cite a lot of the sources for all of these claims and all they do is bash the opponent”. It is the antivax crowd who “herd like sheep when they’re scared”. To reject a wonder of modern medicine in the manner you do is unfathomable.

    I second all of that!
    Granted, “herd immunity” is indeed an unfortunate term. Personally I’d prefer “community immunity” but that’s a bit of a mouthful.

    I’d also add that the Amish thing is a huge canard. The Amish do indeed vaccinate, and they do indeed experience autism, though their numbers are small enough that it’s difficult to tell whether their autism numbers are normal or not.

  452. Nigel Depledge

    Juan (452) said:

    I posted those article (more than 2, Nigel)

    Yes, so what?

    Since you didn’t read or link to the full article on your first one, why should I bother to follow all the other links?

    Do you even know what support those papers provide to the claims made in their abstracts?

    IOW, why should I waste my time looking up what your argument was supposed to contain?

    because everyone is taking about EM.

    Yes, in case you had not noticed, many antivax “arguments” hinge on people not noticing that ethyl mercury is not elemental mercury. Oh, look, you made that same conflation in your comment #441.

    But the more relevant discussion should be aluminum, as it is replacing EM as one of the vaccine preservatives.

    As Todd points out, this is not a preservative. I’ll point out that it’s also not elemental aluminium, but a salt, typically aluminium hydroxide. And it’s not relevant, it has been safely used for decades.

  453. Nigel Depledge

    Aaron (455) said:

    My son has never been vaccinated and will never be vaccinated. He has also never been sick other than a runny nose. Coincidence? I think not.

    Agreed.

    This is almost certainly an example of proptection provided by herd immunity.

    I don’t coddle him either. He goes out and plays and he goes out in public with me. I’m very loud and proud I don’t vaccinate and I think anyone that doesn’t vaccinate should be proud as well.

    You’re proud of gambling with your child’s health? What kind of twisted individual are you?

    This is getting ridiculous and I’m not endangering my child to satisfy all you “vaxxers” illegitimate fears.

    So, what are you saying here? That smallpox never existed? That polio does not exist? That measles never kills, or rubella never caused birth defects, or what?

    I’m not sure “fear” is the correct word here. If I’m given a chance to prevent my child from catching a highly communicable disease that used to be common, endemic and harmful (and could come back), I will of course take that chance. It is only prudent to do so.

    It is your fear of vaccination that is illegitimate.

  454. ND

    Vaccination is in some sense a victim of its own success, given how some people think vaccinations don’t work based on a myopic view from today’s lack of diseases eradicated by vaccines.

    Not only is there scientific evidence for the success of vaccinations, but I’m sure there are scientific papers and studies on the psychology of people like those that deny vaccines work. I’ll just have to google for it :)

  455. Phil needs to post more vaccine stuff so that we aren’t stuck commenting on a post from last year :)

    Also, ND, too true. I think all anti-vaxxers should be required to travel to one of the few parts of the world where new polio infections still exist, and care for those victims (who in many cases were not vaccinated because of fear-mongering and conspiracy theories).

  456. Gunnar

    What is most amazing to me about the anti-vaxxers who have posted here is how oblivious they are to how devastatingly and thoroughly their arguments have been refuted– in a few cases by some of the very sources they cited in the mistaken belief that they supported their position! It is truly mind boggling! Even some of the arguments by die-hard flat-earthers on the Flat Earth Society website are more reasonable!

  457. Chris

    Juan:

    Did you know that the typical flu shot contains 25 micrograms of mercury- or 50,000 parts per billion?

    Which ones? Because according to this, at least half of the pediatric influenza vaccines are thimerosal free. So exactly which one is the “typical flu shot”? Please provide the sales data to show that the most used influenza vaccine for children include thimerosal.

  458. Andrew

    “Ok, I am going back to my busy life now. I will no longer be visiting this page.”

    It’s telling how pro-children blogs like this one allow anti-vax ‘information’ to be posted freely, while pro-disease sites (like mothering.com and AOA) have explicit rules prohibiting the posting of any pro-health information. I guess people like Phil realize that when both the truth and lies are discussed openly and honestly, the truth will win out – and I guess the antivaxxers realize that too. Antivax Angie was wise to run away when she did – it must be brutally difficult to keep up belief in a lie if one reads the truth too often.

  459. Mark Hansen

    Joseph G @ 463, whenever Phil does post anything that isn’t at least 100% astronomy related, you get:
    <cue Grieg Op. 54, No. 3>
    Concern trolls descending upon the blog, warning Phil of the dire consequences of not posting astronomy related subjects. Dire consequences include, but are not limited to:

    • concern troll threatening to never return to this blog again, even though it is their first post.
    • concern troll threatening to cancel subscription to Discover magazine, whether said subscription exists or not.
    • concern troll moaning on each occasion “I thought this was an astronomy blog” or words to that effect.

  460. Yo, we’re doctors and we’re pro-vaccine. Keep spreading the work brutha!

    Here are our contributions:

    http://zdoggmd.com/2011/02/immunize/ (a music video parody ridiculing the antivax movement)
    http://zdoggmd.com/2011/04/immulies/ (ditto)
    http://zdoggmd.com/2012/01/big-pharma/ (a parody of becoming a “Big Pharma Shill”

  461. Gunnar

    @Andrew #466

    “I guess people like Phil realize that when both the truth and lies are discussed openly and honestly, the truth will win out – and I guess the antivaxxers realize that too. Antivax Angie was wise to run away when she did – it must be brutally difficult to keep up belief in a lie if one reads the truth too often.”

    Hopefully at least a few of the anti-vaxxers who have contributed to this thread have enough integrity and humility to honestly examine the abundant and compelling evidence provided that shows how badly they have been duped, and are now willing to at least consider the possibility that they were mistaken.

    I predict, though, that the next time Phil Plait posts on this issue, many of the same anti-vaxxers will be back in force, repeating the very same often and devastatingly refuted arguments, and making fools of themselves all over again. It is probably only because this thread is so far from the top that they have stopping posting here for now.

  462. Gunnar

    Whoops! I meant to write “…have stopped posting here for now.”

  463. Shae

    Hi all have been reading all the comments. Very interesting & some great points. Just thought I would share an opinion. I have two boys both fully vaccinated & both autistic. Do I believe the autism was caused by the vaccinations?! No not at all. I have alot of families with kids with autism & it is scary to see how many of us have two or more in a family with it. Seems the answer to autism is genetic. Just like cystic fibrosis & other diseases.

  464. tony ansell

    I could not agree LESS with Dragonchild, people need to see and feel the consequences of their actions (or inactions).

    It’s not propoganda when it’s right!

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