Tag: vaccines

Who's Not Vaccinating?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 20, 2010 4:22 pm


Matthew Lacek become stricken with a rare bacterial infection, which is prevented through vaccines.

Must read from CNN:

The rate of vaccination for kids covered under private insurance fell 4 percentage points in 2009, according to a nonprofit association that certifies health care organizations. It was the first time a drop had been seen.

There are theories that the recent whooping cough epidemic, which has killed ten in California, is a result of lagging vaccinations. In California, 320 new whooping cough cases have been reported this week. Health authorities urge booster shots for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age and health care workers who are in contact with pregnant women or infants.

A small subset of the population, typically well-educated, white and in the upper-middle class, have grown skeptical of immunizations, said Jason Glanz, a senior scientist and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Research.”

There is no conspiracy over vaccines. The often cited paper by Andrew Wakefield from 1998 involved just 12 children and had conflicts of interest. It was later retracted and may have been fraudulent.

The real research? A recent study of 70,000 children born between 1994 and 1999 confirmed that there is no link between vaccines and autism. For more information see Nestor Lopez-Duran’s terrific blog post about this study*.

The dangerous storm of misinformation and pseudoscience regarding vaccines infuriates and saddens me because we are losing children to diseases that had been mostly eradicated. Short and simple, vaccinate your kids.

* Citation:  Price, C., Thompson, W., Goodson, B., Weintraub, E., Croen, L., Hinrichsen, V., Marcy, M., Robertson, A., Eriksen, E., Lewis, E., Bernal, P., Shay, D., Davis, R., & DeStefano, F. (2010). Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of AutismPEDIATRICS, 126 (4), 656-664 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-0309.

Delightful Smears from the Anti-Vaccine Folks

By Chris Mooney | March 20, 2010 12:06 pm

I get smeared sometimes. As a journalist who has actually written on conflict of interest, it can be amusing to watch–but rarely this amusing:

Chris Mooney’s Pharmaceutical Influence

By Jake Crosby

He is the drug industry’s newer, trendier go-to guy in the media, replacing the role of Arthur Allen, who took a break to write about tomatoes. An ex-patriot of “Science”Blogs who now blogs for Discover, and contributing editor to Science Progress, Chris Mooney is perhaps Pharma’s newest writer who has taken on the task of spoon-feeding its message to the public.

From there it is smears all the way down. You can read the whole thing here. My favorite sentence:

Yet despite the previously described mingling with obvious denialists and plagiarists, Chris Mooney is perhaps most notorious in the autism community….

You complete the sentence. But make sure to include the word “Pharma” at least twice….

PS: Orac has more on Jake Crosby’s endeavors…..written pretty kindly, as I think this particular case deserves.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Unscientific America, vaccination

Yesterday's "Morning Joe" Segment With Dr. Nancy Snyderman

By Chris Mooney | February 16, 2010 7:54 am

You can watch it here. No “balance”–the guests, Dr. Snyderman and myself, strongly agree that vaccines don’t cause autism. Enjoy!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Once again, link to the segment can be found here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Media and Science, vaccination

My First Point of Inquiry Show Is Up–Paul Offit on the Costs of Vaccine Denialism

By Chris Mooney | February 12, 2010 1:14 pm

You can listen here, and I also strongly encourage you to subscribe via iTunes from the same page.

The show introduction starts like this:

Recently, there was another nail in the coffin for vaccine skeptics. The British medical journal The Lancet took the dramatic step of retracting a 1998 paper that lies at the root of modern vaccine denialism. Authored by a doctor named Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues, it was heavily touted as having uncovered a new cause of autism—the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, or, the MMR vaccine.

Not so fast. Twelve years later, there are more problems with the paper than you can count—and yet somehow, it managed to spawn a movement.

In this conversation with host Chris Mooney, Dr. Paul Offit discusses the state of the vaccine skeptic movement in light of this latest news. In particular, Offit explores why the tides may be turning on the movement—as well as the grave public health consequences of ongoing vaccine avoidance.

Again, listen and subscribe here. And don’t forget to buy Paul Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets if you don’t already own it…


Paul Offit Will Be My First Point of Inquiry Guest

By Chris Mooney | February 11, 2010 6:07 pm

autism-false-prophets-258x400For those of you waiting with bated breath…

I’m happy to announce that, following last week’s news about the Lancet’s retraction of the 1998 paper that started the modern vaccine-autism scare, I decided to focus my first Point of Inquiry episode on this topic–and secured a guest who’s probably the best in the business for that purpose. I’m referring to Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, life-saving inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, and most important for our purposes, the author of the single best book on the whole autism-vaccine fiasco, 2008’s Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure.

I’ve now read Offit’s fantastic book twice, and greatly enjoyed the conversation we had about it for the show. (Minus the gazillion technical hoops I had to jump through to learn how to record the program, which will hopefully get a lot easier.) I won’t tip my hand about the show any further–it airs tomorrow, please listen then–but I’m confident that listeners will enjoy and learn much from it (even though, given that this is my first show as a radio host, utter perfection is hardly to be expected).

I’ll have a post tomorrow as soon as the show is up and available for download.

Will the Vaccine-Autism Saga Finally End?

By Chris Mooney | February 3, 2010 10:40 am

My latest Science Progress blog post riffs on the news about Andrew Wakefield and the Lancet yesterday. In case you didn’t hear:

The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, has now gone to the extreme of fully retracting a notorious 1998 paper by gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues, purporting to show a shocking new cause of autism—the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Wakefield and his team studied digestion in 12 children with various types of behavioral disorders, nine of whom were autistic, and found inflammation in the intestines. The vaccine was blamed for letting toxins loose into the bloodstream, which not only caused the intestinal problems but, it was conjectured, then also affected the children’s brains.

The 1998 paper hit the British public like a thunderclap, triggering a decline in use of the MMR vaccine as well as a resurgence of the measles. It was the opening shot in the vaccine-autism controversy that still rages today (albeit in varied forms, not all of which still focus on the MMR vaccine). But the credibility of Wakefield’s work has since taken a steady stream of hits, culminating in this last devastating blow.

The post then goes on to relate the whole Wakefield story, and to extrapolate: Now that we know this study has been pretty much totally discredited, whence the vaccine-autism controversy, which the study kicked off back in 1998? Shouldn’t it, too, go away?

Sadly, I’m not optimistic about that happening. You can read why here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Unscientific America, vaccination

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