Respectful Insolence

I’m about to head home from the conference; so I don’t have much time to do one of my usual posts. However, there is a brief bit that irritated me regarding the Hannah Poling case, and it comes from Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

I want to continue the discussion today. Couple of points. First of all, it seems as if parents bring up concerns about vaccines, they are automatically portrayed as anti-vaccine. Why is that? Is it possible to completely believe in the power and benefits of vaccines, but still have legitimate and credible concerns?

This statement shows that Dr. Gupta is rather clueless about the true nature of the “debate.” It’s also a massive huge straw man.

All but the most loony antivaccinationists preface their complaints about vaccines with the obligatory, “I’m not antivaccine,” “vaccines have saved many lives,” etc. Not doing so, they know, would reveal themselves as too clueless to be taken seriously, although, make no mistake, there are a few truly loony ones out there who think that vaccines do more harm than good or that they are a population control plot by the Illuminati. The latter category, however, are generally not the antivaccinationists who get in the media, at least not revealing the full extent of their lunacy. When I (and most others) refer to antivaccinationists, we are not referring to parents who “bring up concerns about vaccines.” Many, if not most, parents express concern about vaccines at some point during their children’s upbringing. We are referring to people, be they parents or not, who have shown that no amount of evidence for the efficacy and safety of vaccines will make them change their mind: people who hold up signs with a syringe emblazoned with a skull and crossbones as they demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the American Academy of Pediatrics; clueless celebrities who, having attended the University of Google, spout the most idiotic nonsense about “toxins” in vaccines; people who, time and time again, use pseudoscience, badly designed “studies,” and distortions of existing studies to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines, including physicians who use the claim that mercury in vaccines cause autism to push a panoply of quackery to “detoxify” and cure autistic children. Yes, and we are including people who are jumping all over the Hannah Poling case as slam-dunk “evidence” that the government has “conceded” that vaccines cause autism, when it has, in fact, not.

In short, we are talking about vaccine denialists, and they are out there in droves. Dr. Gupta, in his cushy CNN medical consultant position, has probably not seen what these antivaccinationists say and write. I have. But Dr. Gupta’s getting an education. The very first comment after his post repeats a common antivaccinationist “toxic myth” about vaccines.

I have no idea whether Dr. Poling is a vaccine denialist. I’ve gotten the impression from a couple of interviews I’ve seen with him that he’s uncomfortable with the position that he is and that his wife may have drunk of the antivaccination Kool Aid far more than he has. However, they are both apparently willingly allowing their case to be used for propaganda purposes by the antivaccination movement. Whether they are simply dupes or sympathize with the mercury militia, I have no way of saying. What I can say is that Dr. Gupta is clueless if he thinks that all it takes is “expressing concerns” about vaccine safety to be labeled antivaccine. It takes a whole lot more than that.

Comments

  1. #1 Amy Alkon
    March 16, 2008

    Do you think there’s a chance that “herd immunity” for a particular disease may disappear or be challenged soon due to parents eschewing vaccines for their children?

    I’m an advice columnist — not an expert, by any means, on how many people are getting their children vaccinated or not these days — but it’s something I wonder about. From time to time in my life, I’ve seen people who’ve suffered from polio as children, and it would be really terrible if diseases like that came back into the population.

  2. #2 ERV
    March 16, 2008

    ROFL!! Thats the front mothering.com uses: “We arent ANTI-VACCINE! We just want to teach the controversy!”

    lol! Why dont we send Newbie Gupta a link?

  3. #3 ERic
    March 16, 2008

    “I’m not anti-vaccine but…” is just as hollow a cloak for blind ignorance as “Some of my best friends are gay/black/jewish!”

  4. #4 marion
    March 16, 2008

    I think we’re already seeing herd immunity falling by the wayside in certain cases – I know there’s a resurgence in measles in England, and I seem to recall that whooping cough is on the upswing in Colorado. However, I’m guessing that the vast majority of people who contract measles and whooping cough will live – I, like Amy, wonder about if and when herd immunity from the super-dangerous diseases such as polio may be seriously threatened. That worries me.

    And it’s been pretty clear to me that when antivaccinationists are discussed here, you’re not talking about, say, the parents who decide to hold off on getting the Hep B vaccine for their sickly preemie or those who hold chicken pox parties rather than getting a vaccine. That having been said, I do wonder about the interactions in pediatricians’ offices. I can certainly see pediatricians losing their tempers after having to defend vaccines ad infinitum to the point where they’d have a hard time separating out legitimate concerns – does my kid who reacts poorly to vaccines really need a Hep B shot? – from loony ones, because pediatricians are human. I’ve run into physicians before who were simply not all that inclined to explain things in depth – after all, shouldn’t the patients just trust them? Match that with increasing numbers of parents researching everything themselves, and I can see where you’d have problems where vaccinations of children are concerned. If parents feel their concerns about vaccines – or anything else – are being dismissed rather than legitimately countered, they may well seek out alternatives. I think this is a bad idea, but I also think the majority of these parents are well-meaning.

    Too bad we don’t have a time machine to take everyone back to a polio ward. Seeing pictures of kids in iron lungs and reading about the kids in _All-of-a-Kind Family_ having to stay inside because of concerns about polio convinced *me* at an early age that vaccines are good stuff, but I have an overactive imagination…

  5. #5 Ms. Clark
    March 16, 2008

    Even if it doesn’t get to the point of herd immunity waning in an area, what happens is that the parents making the decisions about vaccinating their kids are tortured by this nonsense. They live on pins and needles trying to decide if they should vaccinate their kid or not, because, after all they might be condemning their kid to a fate worse than death. But I think the herd immunity will start to fail. The antivaxers have been hammering this a lot and I think people will just avoid early childhood vaccines until right before Kindergarten or until a deadly outbreak happens in their community.

  6. #6 Suska
    March 16, 2008

    Did anyone read the open letter Dr. Poling wrote to Dr. Steven Novella??

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/03/dr-jon-poling-o.html

    It sounds to me like he is suspicious of vaccines. IMO I think Dr. Poling holds the same views about vaccines as his wife, he is just more quite and camera shy about it.

  7. #7 daedalus2u
    March 16, 2008

    Reading the comments on ageofautism just dropped my IQ by 20 points. I had to stop by here to raise it back up.

    You might want to read Dr Novella’s blog and the responses there

    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=203

    If we could extract even a tiny fraction of the energy in all that burning stupidity, we could solve global warming.

  8. #8 BB
    March 17, 2008

    Then there are the blithering idiots who spout how thimersol preservative in vaccines causes autism-when thimersol was phased out years ago. Autism rates haven’t decreased though.

  9. #9 Anonymous
    March 17, 2008

    A couple of concerns:

    “We are referring to people, be they parents or not, who have shown that no amount of evidence for the efficacy and safety of vaccines will make them change their mind…”

    — Where are you getting this supposed vast amount of evidence for the efficacy and safety of vaccines? We haven’t seen it (hence, the issue). I guess you have made the decision that you have enough evidence (through Fombonne and the Danish studies, I suppose). Many of us understand the problems with those studies and still have concerns.

    “people who hold up signs with a syringe emblazoned with a skull and crossbones as they demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the American Academy of Pediatrics…)

    — God bless them for doing that. Why would you have an issue with holding up skull and bones signs in front of the AAP? Afterall, thimerosal has skull and bones on its label… I fail to see a problem with pointing out the facts… AAP has allowed a toxic ingredient in vaccines administed to children. I fail to see a problem.

    “badly designed “studies,”

    — As bad as Fombonne and studies out of Denmark? Just curious.

    “Yes, and we are including people who are jumping all over the Hannah Poling case as slam-dunk “evidence” that the government has “conceded” that vaccines cause autism, when it has, in fact, not”.

    — Right, vaccines simply cause autism-like symptoms, right? Cool.

    What’s up with all these “skeptical” doctors (ie yourself and this “Novella” dude… You guys seem better suited for the Star Trek crap that you post — leave the real issues to those with a clue.

  10. #10 Anonymous
    March 17, 2008

    “Then there are the blithering idiots who spout how thimersol preservative in vaccines causes autism-when thimersol was phased out years ago. Autism rates haven’t decreased though”.

    What, pray tell, is THIMERSOL? The blithering idiots are dying to hear all about it.

  11. #11 The Integral
    March 18, 2008

    Hi there Orac…..

    It’s nice to see people in the medical profession speaking out about myths concerning causes of autism!

    Thimerosol (sp?) is a preservative added to injection solutions to make it last longer (have a longer shelf life) and so that it can be stored in large bottles rather than in individual dosage vials (I think……not sure about that one.)

    And, anonymous, the “blithering idiots” comment refers to people who automatically believe that vaccines cause autism(because of the thimerosol) , even when there is no hard scientific evidence to suggest a link. It doesn’t necessarily mean “people who have no clue what thimerosol is in the first place.”

    That’s what I got from it anyhow………

    TI

  12. #12 Hemant
    March 18, 2008

    CRAP

  13. #13 Anonymous
    March 18, 2008

    “And, anonymous, the “blithering idiots” comment refers to people who automatically believe that vaccines cause autism(because of the thimerosol) , even when there is no hard scientific evidence to suggest a link. It doesn’t necessarily mean “people who have no clue what thimerosol is in the first place.”

    Really?? Who knew… Again, what is thimersol and thimerosol for that matter?? WHO are the blithering idiots… The ones who have researched the topic in depth enough to know how to spell it OR the morons who can’t be bothered to get the correct spelling of the word.

    To put this in context (as an example) … Imagine me, someone without a clue about cancer treatments, coming onto a blog and offering up suggestions about a certain drug (either good or bad) which is against the “norm” for this blog. As I go on … you notice that over and over again, I can’t even spell the drug that I am touting or maligning as the case may be. I would be laughed at(rightly so)… Yet, there are nitwits here who consider themselves worthy of commenting on the topic who can’t be bothered to research enough to learn how to spell the word they are touting the safety of… Shame, shame…

  14. #14 notmercury
    March 18, 2008

    Dear ThimeroSue,
    Maybe you should dust off that Google degree of yours and contact these other blithering idiots.
    http://www.vaccinetruth.org/safety_studies_done_on_thimersol.htm

  15. #15 Go Drink Thimerosal
    March 18, 2008

    They are not “blithering idiots”. They understand that toxic ingredients should not be in vaccines. That’s easy. The blithering idiots are the ones who claim that it is safe to inject said toxic ingredients into children. Are you that stupid?

    Who’s Sue?

  16. #16 notmercury
    March 18, 2008

    Sue, can’t you help them with their spelling.

  17. #17 Go Drink Thimerosal
    March 18, 2008

    Hey mercury lover,

    Why would I help them with their spelling… they are smart enough to know that injecting toxic substances into children is bad… no issues with them. I worry more about the blithering idiots who pretend to know what they are talking about when they have no idea. I actually think that they posted a great letter – perhaps I should thank them instead of correct their spelling. Here’s a few points:

    “1947 – Article received by Lilly: “No eruptions or reactions have been observed or reported to merthiolate internally, but it may be dangerous to inject a serum containing merthiolate into a patient sensitive to merthiolate.”

    “1948 – Article received by Lilly: “Merthiolate is such a commonly used preservative for biologicals, plasma, cartilage, etc., that it would seem important to determine whether harm would result following its subcutaneous or intravenous injection in skin sensitive individuals.”

    “1950 – New York Academy of Science article, “Mercurials as Antiseptics:”It (merthiolate) is toxic when injected parenterally and therefore cannot be used in chemotherapy.”

    “1972 – British Medical Journal reports case of skin burns resulting from the chemical interaction of thimerosal and aluminum. “Mercury is known to act as a catalyst and to cause aluminum to oxidize rapidly, with the production of heat.”The manufacturers who supply us with thimerosal have been informed.” [Thimerosal is being used in vaccines which also contain aluminum]“.

    “1/5/82 FDA’s advance notice of proposed rule making regarding thimerosal:

    “At the cellular level, thimerosal has been found to be more toxic for human epithelial cells in vitro than mercuric chloride, mercuric nitrate, and merbromim (mercurichrom). “It was found to be 35.3 times more toxic for embryonic chick heart tissue than for staphylococcus areus.”1950 study showed that thimerosal was no better than water in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal infection.”

    “The Panel concludes that thimerosal is not safe for OTC topical use because of its potential for cell damage if applied to broken skin and its allergy potential. It is not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriastatic action can be reversed.”

    “12/8/99 Lilly MSDS regarding thimerosal:

    “Primary Physical & Reproduction Effects: Nervous System and Reproduction Effects”

    “Effects of exposure include fetal changes.

    “Mercury poisoning may occur.”

    “Exposure in children may cause mild to severe mentalretardation… .”

    “Hypersensitivity to mercury is a medical condition aggravated by exposure.”

    CERCLA Hazardous substance? toxic waste disposal.

    Now, of course, none of the above is new for me but some of your “blithering idiot” friends who don’t have a clue may be interested in reading the information (clearly they could use some remedial study information). So, thank you ML for the link.

  18. #18 dalia.carr
    March 18, 2008

    Autism is an epedimic whether vaccines are to be blamed or not. I face my autistic son on a daily basis and wished with all my heart that I could of helped him. A failing marriage that ended up with years of betrayal from my husband not finding out till after he was dead produced many questions. If our son could of gotten just a little bit of help it would of helped relieved the pressures that dealing with an Autistic child puts on a family relationship. I just want people and parents to know that as times goes on things do not get better. Your choices might change but not your priorities your cildren over rule that decision. Lets work at the problem and try to better educate ourselves so that we can believe that we are doing the best possible effort for our children because they are the future even if they are handicapped we must be prepared to sacrifice our children for Medical Theories even if it hurts our own. As humans we have always sacrificed ourselves for answeres on cancer,aids,polio.measles what have you .

  19. #19 DanioPhD
    March 18, 2008

    Right, Sue, because once you learn how to spell a word, you automatically know everything about the physical properties, uses, risks and benefits of the matter or phenomenon that word represents. Your CV must be impressive indeed. You’ve opened up all kinds of new horizons for me–today I think I’ll become an expert in floccinaucinihilipilification.

    Got any pointers?

  20. #20 Laser Potato
    March 18, 2008

    The latest date on those (rather suspicious-looking) cites is 1999, and the last few ones aren’t even attributed to any sources.

  21. #21 HCN
    March 18, 2008

    dalia.carr said “I face my autistic son on a daily basis and wished with all my heart that I could of helped him.”

    Families who have children harmed by the actual diseases also face those challenges. Autism is not unique in that regard. See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1055533.ece

    Perhaps you should have known about IDEA, Childfind and other services available to disabled kids. My son has a lifelong communication disorder which may or may not be related to his history of seizures, plus he has a genetic heart condition. He started out in a special ed. preschool when he was three, and has received speech therapy services from a charitable organization. His classmates parents have received services from the state’s dept. for disability services (including respite care). He is presently in community college with disability services.

    These services are available, why did you not take advantage of them? Did you not know they existed? Perhaps you need to connect to other parents, try here:
    http://www.autism-hub.co.uk/

  22. #22 Joseph
    March 18, 2008

    Who’s Sue?

    Some other person obsessed with the Danish studies and incorrect spelling.

  23. #23 Joseph
    March 18, 2008

    Autism is an epedimic whether vaccines are to be blamed or not.

    What is the basis of the claim that autism is an epidemic? Special education data? Studies that look at number of diagnosed cases only?

    The last part of what you said, dalia.carr, sounded scary. Are you suggesting that autistic kids today need to be sacrificed in medical experimentation so that future autistic kids can benefit?

  24. #24 Anonymous
    March 19, 2008

    “Right, Sue, because once you learn how to spell a word, you automatically know everything about the physical properties, uses, risks and benefits of the matter or phenomenon that word represents. Your CV must be impressive indeed. You’ve opened up all kinds of new horizons for me–today I think I’ll become an expert in floccinaucinihilipilification.

    Got any pointers”?

    Pointers? Sure, Mr. PhD… (since you asked). If you have a real interest in floccinaucinihilipilification… study up on the topic. Make sure that you don’t spell it incorrectly when speaking with those who do know about floccinaucinihilipilification. When you go onto a blog discussing the topic… you stick out like a sore thumb when you can’t spell the word that you are discussing. This should be common sense to a smart PhD holding expert like yourself. If this isn’t common sense for you … you should turn in your degree.

  25. #25 Anonymous
    March 19, 2008

    This is what we call “death by vaccines”:

    http://www.proliberty.com/observer/20080214.htm

    “Vance received a shot of Pediarix, a 5-in-1 shot for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and polio; a shot of Prevnar, seven pneumococcal viruses plus diphtheria toxoid and; Rotateq, the new rotavirus vaccine given orally and containing four viruses associated with infant diarrhea. That adds up to 19 different pathogens given to a four-month-old infant in less than 15 minutes when you consider that Pediarix contains three polio strains”.

    Oh, the Pediarix AND Prevnar — that’s asking for trouble. I feel so bad for these parents… They knew right then and there that it was the vaccines. Tragic. I wonder what the percentage of “SIDS” babies are really vaccine related? I’m sure it’s pretty high. Death by vaccine… for the sake of the “herd” (the sickly herd).

  26. #26 Jose
    March 19, 2008

    I wonder what the percentage of “SIDS” babies are really vaccine related? I’m sure it’s pretty high.

    On what basis? Hint: “Because I hate vaccines” is not a satisfactory answer.

  27. #27 ozzy
    March 19, 2008

    “Vance received a shot of Pediarix, a 5-in-1 shot for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and polio; a shot of Prevnar, seven pneumococcal viruses plus diphtheria toxoid and; Rotateq, the new rotavirus vaccine given orally and containing four viruses associated with infant diarrhea. That adds up to 19 different pathogens given to a four-month-old infant in less than 15 minutes when you consider that Pediarix contains three polio strains”.

    Anon, before you go around excoriating on poster’s spelling you should perhaps examine what you have posted. The definition of a pathogen is defined as “a living microorganism such as a bacterium, virus or fungus that causes disease.” There are no pathogens on your list. There are a bunch of single protein antigens, such as Hep B. No AnonSue the vaccine does not include anything that resembles a complete virus, just a single HepB protein cannot cause disease. There are also inactivated baceterial toxins, inactivated viruses and bovine-human reassortant viruses, meaning they have bovine DNA with a human viral coat and are functionally inactive, included in this list. Therefore I don’t see one PATHOGEN on this list.

    I loved your propaganda piece you linked to. Really intelligent and cogent.

    “In the meantime, Shelly Walker is one mom on a mission – sharing her story as a means of alerting other moms to the real dangers inherent in all vaccines. She has made several copies of an article by Dr. Tedd Koren, “Crib Death or Vaccine Death?” in which he cites that SIDS is the second most common cause of infant death with 10,000 deaths annually. On top of the article she has links to the FDA warning on the intravenous use of vitamin K injections for newborns followed by a link to Vaccination Liberation’s Model Birth Plan letter.

    Following this article she presents information on the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Her cover sheet has a picture of Vance followed by a quote from Scripture (Ephesians 3:17-19) and a short summary of her story.”

    Actually, SIDS is the third leading cause of death in 2004 (most recent data) with 2109 deaths attributed to it. But that 10,000 number just sounds so much more flashy.
    http://www.dhs.ca.gov/chs/OHIR/tables/datafiles/vsofca/0109.pdf

    By the way, what happened to the cluster of SIDS that the article alluded to. They only talk about a single case of SIDS. What the unfortunate parents of the other SIDS victims didn’t feel like being exploited by a bunch of idealogues and fearmongerers?

  28. #28 Soylent Scream
    March 20, 2008

    AnonSue,

    How much mercury should be allowed in a soy protein bar? The same ratio as could kill neuroblastoma cells in culture? How about 10 times higher ratio? What fraction of the EPA designation for toxic solid mercury waste should be allowed in a soy bar like one of these?
    http://www.genisoy.com/products/bars/genisoy-bars/
    Should the company be required to test every batch for heavy metals?

    I think they should be. They are selling soy protein bars that contain mercury.

  29. #29 Anonymous
    March 20, 2008

    “On what basis? Hint: “Because I hate vaccines” is not a satisfactory answer”.

    Ah, ever heard of VAERS? Spend some time going through the system… There is a column for “Child Died” (or some similar phrase)… Check that out and see how many babies died and were listed as “SIDS” within 1-3 days of vaccination.

  30. #30 Anonymous
    March 20, 2008

    “I loved your propaganda piece you linked to. Really intelligent and cogent”.

    Propaganda piece? Since when is a newspaper story about a baby who was killed by vaccinations considered a “propaganda piece”? Would you consider it a better idea to ignore the fact that the medical professionals in the US killed this kid? That won’t help. When kids are killed by vaccinations… we need to know that, otherwise, you get the morons who don’t believe that vaccinations can and do kill and injure children. This is really simple.

  31. #31 Anonymous
    March 20, 2008

    “They are selling soy protein bars that contain mercury”.

    Hey Soy Screamer,

    You are on your own… I don’t care about these bars – if you are, feel free to do some more research and do whatever you feel needs to be done. Can you post again if you find out that they are grinding up soy bars and injecting them into babies? Thanks in advance.

  32. #32 ozzy
    March 20, 2008

    Hey Anon,

    I just looked at those vaccine-SIDS deaths you were talking about and during almost every death the baby died of SIDS while co-sleeping with their parents. Additionally, a number of kids died of asphyxiation while co-sleeping with their parents. But, of course, it must be the vaccine.

    Yeah, that unvalidated VAERS database is really reliable. A parent can report an “event” themselves. The CDC includes the following warning:
    “When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause and effect relationship has been established. VAERS is interested in all potential associations between vaccines and adverse events. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine.”

    I’m going to make an observation regarding this SIDS-vaccine link based on the VAERS database. A number of kids died of SIDS while co-sleeping with their parents or were asphyxiated while co-sleeping with their parents. I would be willing to state that co-sleeping parents are: 1. A minority in the US and 2. more likely to live an “altie” lifestyle than non cosleeping parents. Hence, I would be willing to bet that a cosleeping parent would be more likely to believe in altie fearmongering regarding vaccine-induced death than non cosleeping parents. Therefore, in their minds the fact that they were cosleeping had nothing to do with the babies death but it had to be the vaccine and will therefore be more likely to report this to VAERS. When in reality, it is more than likely that the fact that the baby died near a vaccination was a coincidence and that asphyxiation due to co-sleeping or just SIDS during co-sleeping was the cause. It’s interesting that these SIDS-vaccine events were reported while co-sleeping at a much higher rate than what the overall rate of cosleeping would be expected to be in the US*. You would expect much more SIDS during non co-sleeping situations than co-sleeping situations if vaccines truly were the cause and this wasn’t due to biased observations.

    *Observation totally based on personal experiences. Of the 30 or so couples that I know that have had children, I know of 2 co-sleeping parents.

    I don’t know why I waste my time doing this…

  33. #33 Joseph
    March 20, 2008

    I went and searched VAERS as well. In the neighborhood of 50 SIDS deaths are entered into VAERS every year. There are a total of 2,500 SIDS deaths a year in the US. So even assuming that all those reported in VAERS are actually attributable to vaccines (which is dubious) we’re talking about 2% of SIDS cases. It’s not the “pretty high” percentage AnonySue suspects.

    To further put that number in perspective, about 90 deaths a year in the US are attributed to lightning strikes. About 40,000 deaths a year are due to vehicular accidents.

  34. #34 Anonymous
    March 21, 2008

    “I just looked at those vaccine-SIDS deaths you were talking about and during almost every death the baby died of SIDS while co-sleeping with their parents. Additionally, a number of kids died of asphyxiation while co-sleeping with their parents. But, of course, it must be the vaccine”.

    Really, Ozzy? You are telling me that you went to VAERS and in the VAERS report you found that “almost every death” happened while co-sleeping with parents… Really? Prove it. I’ve done that research and I can’t recall seeing information about co-sleeping. Give me the VAERS #’s so that I can check them out. Thanks! (Not to say that there aren’t a few reports of co-sleeping deaths…) I would like to see evidence of “almost every death”. You would need to back that up. That sounds like a blatant lie to me.

  35. #35 ozzy
    March 21, 2008

    Alright, I exaggerated a little bit. So after going back and reviewing all of the SIDS deaths in the VAERS (a search of the FDA’s VAERS .csv datafile (not the Medalerts.org search website) with keyword SIDS revealed 28 records) 15 died of SIDS when sleeping with parent. Now two of these were Cat. II SIDS which is stated when overlaying (parental “smothering” while sleeping) is suspected. So that means 54% of the deaths were during co-sleeping. Way more than the 13% infant co-sleeping rate estimated by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in 2000 (I think that’s a little high.) I don’t feel like listing the numbers they are all in there. A typical example is:

    271451 – “Hospital Infection Control/Risk Management Nurse called clinic to advise patient died in ER and parents think the shots were the cause. Body was sent to Medical Examiner. 3/15/07 Received autopsy Report which reveals COD as SIDS while cosleeping w/adults.”

    This is a clear example of the inherent bias of the VAERS database.

  36. #36 Joseph
    March 22, 2008

    Another point is that we could easily be looking at coincidence in the SIDS VAERS reports. Let me explain. There are 2,500 SIDS deaths a year in the US. This means there are 6.8 SIDS deaths every day. Now, an infant gets vaccinated multiple times a year. It’s obvious that many SIDS deaths will occur the day after or a couple days after a child receives their vaccination every year. Arithmetically, it’s easy to see how the VAERS reports could be fully accounted for by coincidence.

  37. #37 Alexis
    March 22, 2008

    It’s a bit of a straw man, but there’s some point in there. Clearly, there’s no arguing with the anti-vaccine loonies (I’m a fairly crunchy parent, so I’ve seen my share). But your typical parent, trying to “do their research”, is easy to confuse, and there isn’t much out there that seriously, thoughtfully, and thoroughly (but comprehensively) debunks anti-vaccine claims and shows why they’re wrong. I would dearly love something like that, and I haven’t found it.

  38. #38 HCN
    March 22, 2008

    Alexis, use the search box on the left of this page to see where Orac has posted papers that have demolished the anti-vaxers over and over and over again (some are titled “Another bad day for the…”).

    Then head on over to http://www.immunize.org/safety/ and click on the links which will give a a long list of journal papers and other writings.

    And that is still not enough, check out what I found many years ago when I first started to deal with the loonies at least ten years ago:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

  39. #39 Anonymous
    March 22, 2008

    “Alright, I exaggerated a little bit”.

    Shocking. Here’s another idea (which I had mentioned previously). Go through VAERS and look under the column of: child died… You will see plenty who died soon after vaccination. Healthy at well-baby visit and died soon after vaxx’s – that’s no mystery.

  40. #40 Anonymous
    March 22, 2008

    “Alexis, use the search box on the left of this page to see where Orac has posted papers that have demolished the anti-vaxers over and over and over again (some are titled “Another bad day for the…”).

    Yeah, right… you can read all about how Orac loving glows about the scientific methods of Fombonne of “I don’t know the difference between Quebec City and Montreal” fame. I have yet to see Orac “demolish” anything that has been put forth by those questioning vaccines.

    “And that is still not enough, check out what I found many years ago when I first started to deal with the loonies at least ten years ago:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

    Yeah, right… I’m going to take medical advice from this guy:

    http://www.pathguy.com/lectures.htm

    Come on now… nice muscle shirt.

  41. #41 ozzy
    March 22, 2008

    Anon,

    Of course you dodge the whole SIDS-cosleeping observation but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately kids die and sometimes the reasons why they die are unknown.

    There are 100 deaths in kids 5 and under in the 2007 VAERS database. Have you actually gone through and read the history. There are a number of examples of previously unknown congenital heart defects leading to cardiac arrest that happened anywhere from 0-7 days after vaccine admin, bacterial infections that resulted in death anywhere from 7-14 days after vacc, the previously discussed SIDS (by the way, I found 2 more co-sleeping SIDS so we’re up to 17 out of 28, even more proof of bias), etc which are just plain coincidences. On the other hand, the database includes a few anaphylactic shock deaths which, unfortunately would be expected. Until you show that vaccinated kids die more frequently than non-vaccinated kids the VAERS deaths mean nothing more than coincidence.

  42. #42 Joseph
    March 22, 2008

    I have yet to see Orac “demolish” anything that has been put forth by those questioning vaccines.

    Sue: Did you see how I “demolished” GR’s phone survey? Google “generation rescue phone survey”. Second entry. Yet, not a single response to my analysis. Disappointing really.

  43. #43 HCN
    March 22, 2008

    If Common Sue/Anony Sue/Clueless Sue would actually learn to read for comprehension (which may be impossible because she ignores anything that defies her preconceived conclusions), she would see that the posts I was referring to were about published journal papers that demolished her feeling that vaccines are the root of all evil (like autism, celiac disease and diabetes… for newbies, Clueless Sue does not have autistic children but one child with diabetes and another with celiac disease).

    Anyway, here is one of such posts:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/02/yet_another_really_bad_day_for_antivacci.php

    Selected quotes:
    “Basically, the investigators tested the hypothesis that measles vaccination is involved in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD. One prediction of such a hypothesis is that signs of a persistent measles infection or abnormally persistent immune response shown by circulating measles virus or raised antibody titers would be found in children with ASD who had been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) as compared with controls.” and
    “So what did Baird and her colleagues find?

    “No correlations, nada, zip. There was no correlation between ASD cases and controls for measles antibody response and no dose-response correlation between autistic symptoms and concentrations of anti-measles antibody.”

    By the way, she likes to belittle me and my health impaired son. She finds the fact that my son never received the pertussis vaccine (he only got the Dt) due to his seizure history as a way to tell me that I am hypocritical. My response is that the fear-mongers endangered by son by restricting pertussis vaccines to seizure prone children at a time when pertussis was at epidemic levels in my county. Then she thinks it is silly that I claim that my son’s last seizures were due to a NOW vaccine preventable disease: rotavirus. During a severe gastrointestinal bug (rotavirus?) where he was dehydrated because of rivers of diarrhea he had a seizure (with a trip to the emergency room by ambulance). Her response… it was something about a vaccine for hangnail.

    So, remember, AnonySue/CommonSue/CluelessSue is what one can expect from your basic anti-vaxer: clueless with absolutely no empathy for anyone else…

    Which means they are proud that they can be leeches on society by relying on herd immunity for several diseases (something that recently broke down in San Diego, CA).

  44. #44 isles
    March 23, 2008

    I wonder if any pregnant or breastfeeding women are eating those mercury-laden Genisoy bars. Maybe there should be a cautionary label.

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