Respectful Insolence

The cult of antivaccinationism

Whenever I’m looking at fringe scientific claims, I’m always on the lookout for things that help me conclude whether I’m looking at “legitimate” fringe ideas or pseudoscience and woo. One observation that I’ve found helpful in leading me in one direction or the other is to look for certain dead giveaways that what we’re looking at is almost certainly pseudoscience or woo is the presence or absence of conspiracy-mongering based on unverifiable “evidence.” I find a lot of it, and the other day I found one of the best examples of it I’ve ever seen. It comes, not surprisingly, from Dan Olmsted, the former UPI reporter who has become completely convinced that vaccines cause autism. In fact, it was so egregious that I seriously question why he even bothers to call himself a reporter anymore.

First, get a load of how Olmsted characterizes his bit of evidence:

One of the benefits of living around Washington, as I do, is that you hear the darnedest things – not because someone said them on C-SPAN or at a press conference, but because a neighbor chit-chatted in the produce section at Whole Foods with a senator’s aide who said a little too much, or someone’s wife let slip at a cocktail party something she didn’t realize was that big a deal to someone who realized it was … and so on.

That’s how I came across the following tidbit of hearsay – and make no mistake, that’s what it is. But there is hearsay and then there is hearsay. None of it is admissible in court, but some of it simply feels more reliable, given the source and the circumstances. I think this falls in the latter category … but that is up to you, Dear Reader.

That’s right; Olmsted is going to relay hearsay, and this is the hearsay:

So this week I had lunch with my “source” – not some bigwig sitting down with Tim Russert, but the mother of an affected child who lives nearby, and me, blogger and troublemaker extraordinaire. She is a well-respected member of the community who believes that vaccines were central to her son’s regression. And I – well, everybody knows where I’m coming from and can judge accordingly.

I wanted to hear her story again and make sure I got it right and see what holes I could poke in it, playing devil’s advocate. So here, over a four-cheese pizza and a salad (me) and a mozzarella-and-tomato sub and fries (she), is the tale she told:

A friend of hers is a Mormon who attends a local church that is also attended by Mike Leavitt, the secretary of Health and Human Services.

This friend of hers also has an affected child, and she is interested in but not totally convinced about the vaccine-autism link. For one thing, both her friend and her friend’s husband have the engineering/math bent and they suspect that played a role.

So, this friend of hers runs into Secretary Leavitt in the parking lot of their church after services and she says to him: What do you think is causing all the autism, or What’s going on with autism – that kind of thing, according to my friend, who freely says she’s not sure of the exact formulation of the question. But she is crystal clear about how her friend says Secretary Leavitt responded:
“We know it’s the mercury.”

In other words, a “friend of a friend” heard that the Secretary of HHS himself said that “we know it’s the mercury.” (Cue dramatic and scary music.) Olmsted spends the rest of his post justifying why he believes this story, despite the fact that the original person who supposedly had the conversation with the Secretary of HHS is out of the country and cannot be interviewed and that Olsted doesn’t think she would necessarily confirm the story anyway.

Folks, this is about as blatant a case of an urban legend or rumor as it gets. This story is no more convinincing than the innumerable stories of X-Files-style government conspiracies in which “they know” about the aliens and UFOs. In fact, it’s exactly the same thing. How many times have we heard conspiracy theorists claim that they knew a “friend of a friend” (or a “friend of a friend of a friend”) who heard a high-ranking official admit that, yes, the conspiracy exists, the government knows that aliens have been abducting people, that Bigfoot is real, and that there really is a Masonic-Illuminati conspiracy to keep the U.S. perpetually at war. It’s no coincidence that these sorts of rumors always come from true believers and virtually always come from secondhand or third-hand sources that can’t be verified. They’re the urban legends of the credulous, nothing more.

And that’s all it takes to convince the “reporter” Dan Olmsted that this story “feels right,” just as all it took to convince him that unvaccinated children don’t get autism was the unscientific and undocumented recollection of woo-sympathetic physicians from a crunchy practice in the Chicagoland area and the it took to convince him that the Amish don’t get autism because they don’t vaccinate apparently (and conveniently) left out a visit to the major center for developmental disorders in Amish country as well as bothering to look at studies that show that the Amish do vaccinate.

When you see the sort of desperate rumor-mongering that Olmsted posted (and that true believers seize upon to demand investigations), it’s a good indication that you’re probably dealing with a cult not unlike those who believe in alien abductions and government conspiracies to cover them up.

Comments

  1. #1 randy
    April 10, 2008

    One of the problems with being a Mormon is that I have to put up with stupid Mormon politicians. I would not be surprised if Leavitt did indeed say that, but guess what Olmstead, Leavitt is not a scientist, he is a policy wonk, and comes from a region that has long been suspicious of govt. conspiracies. Utah didn’t (doesn’t) add fluoride to water because it was a commie conspiracy, and Utah is the leader in accepting Woo medicine (but for completion sake, the church REQUIRES full vaccination of all missionaries)

  2. #2 kristina
    April 10, 2008

    I know this has nothing to do with anything, but regarding what Olmsted’s source and he himself ate—

    “over a four-cheese pizza and a salad (me) and a mozzarella-and-tomato sub and fries (she)”

    —- a lot of gluten and casein that would send any child on the diet (as reported by parents) into some interesting behaviors.

  3. #3 DonZilla
    April 10, 2008

    Orac, is this post indirectly questioning the wisdom of motherhood? Because EVERYONE knows mothers of “affected children” are the EXPERTS!

    On Life, the Universe, and EVERYTHING!

    More importantly, don’t forget to catch “The Sarah Jane Adventures” on SciFi.

  4. #4 Orac
    April 10, 2008

    More importantly, don’t forget to catch “The Sarah Jane Adventures” on SciFi.

    Actually, I’ve already seen the entire first season, thanks to BitTorrent. (This was months ago, and I had no idea that SciFi would pick the series up.)

  5. #5 mwb
    April 10, 2008

    I always enjoy when someone admits that their position has no intellectual merit but then proceeds to promote it anyway.

    So what about other nations? Are their officials part of the global vaccination conspiracy? Why don’t we go ask their neighborhood grocers if they’ve heard them admit to the terrible, awful truth. A truth so horrible that no one but random people in parking lots must know, lest the whole house of cards collapse.

  6. #6 Joseph
    April 10, 2008

    What a competent reporter would do in this case, I’d imagine, is to contact Secretary Leavitt and try to confirm. If Leavitt is unwilling to answer the question or gives a different answer, why would he give the original answer to a random person on the street in the first place? The story is clearly implausible and no doubt an urban legend.

  7. #7 Daryl McCullough
    April 10, 2008

    Here’s my theory: If it becomes commonplace for children to die of preventable infectious diseases, then parents will go out of their way to get their children vaccinated. If deaths due to preventable infectious diseases become rare, then parents will tend to slack off in their diligence to get their children vaccinated, and will entertain alternative theories in which vaccinations are harmful or unnecessary. When children are no longer dying from measles or becoming crippled through polio, parents find reasons not to vaccinate their children.

    If my theory is correct, then it is the success of vaccination programs that allows the rise of anti-vaccination cults.

  8. #8 Regan
    April 10, 2008

    Why is it not surprising that this “feels right” to Dan Olmsted? Geesh, I tell my daughter who works for the HS newspaper about this kind of reporting and she asks, “Mom, don’t they fact-check their stories? We’d be in hot water with our journalism teacher if we did this.”
    (I’ll have to spend more time hanging out at local watering holes to see if I can find random friends to tell me hearsay for the local paper.)

  9. #9 Nan
    April 10, 2008

    Daryl, I concur. Most of the people who are parents of infants now have never seen first hand just how serious measles, mumps, and whooping cough can be as illnesses. They no longer see the diseases as being real threats, but, thanks to the media, they do see autistic kids on a regular basis so the autism becomes the bigger threat.

    As for Leavitt, even setting aside the huge honking urban legend red flags, I’d find it hard to believe that a politician would state anything so clearly and succinctly. The first rule of political survival is to never say anything that can have only one interpretation.

  10. #10 KeithB
    April 10, 2008

    Of course, the question could have been “What makes thimerosol in vaccines dangerous to kids?” or maybe it was phrased as “Why do people *think* there is a link between Autism and vaccines?”

    Then his answer would be more or less correct.

  11. #11 Ms. Clark
    April 10, 2008

    This isn’t journalism, for sure. And the sad part of it is, it’s not even good gossip-blogging.

    What I thought was funny was that Olmsted needed to try to flesh out the story so he took gossip mom to lunch, and to give details about something he tells what they ate for lunch. The only details he has about Leavitt’s comment is that it was from him and that he said it in a parking lot outside of a Mormon church.

    And why not contact Leavitt? Well, you can’t contact him, it would tip him off and he’s part of the USVICTMS
    *ULTRA SNEAKY VAST INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY to THIMEROSAL MANUFACTURERS SHIELD.

    Of course, it goes without saying that this proves that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is part of the conspiracy and the “Moroni” is really just a shape shifting part-lizard alien being. That would explain the Joseph Smith. (I’m being facetious here.)

  12. #12 Elf M. Sternberg
    April 10, 2008

    Article in the Canada Free Press, today:

    The main reason conservatives rallied against [a bill requiring HPV vaccinations] was because, except in the event of a possible plague or massive outbreak, parents have the right to protect their children from unsafe, minimally tested vaccines whose long term effects are impossible to document. And that’s aside from the dangers of over-vaccination in general, dangers that go well beyond mercury content.

    The stupid, surely it burns.

  13. #13 Sastra
    April 10, 2008

    Well, I can’t get specific and name names or anything, but someone I know told me that one of her cousins is married to a guy whose brother knows Olmstead personally, and at a party once Olmstead got a little drunk and said something like “the vaccine-autism link is quite simply a crock of sh*t.”

    But don’t tell anyone it was me that told you.

  14. #14 John Best
    April 10, 2008

    Those os us who had measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough don’t see them as serious threats either. But, we do see autism as a serious threat.

  15. #15 DanioPhD
    April 10, 2008

    Well, I have it on good authority that the director of the CDC hooked up with a beautiful woman one night and awoke the next morning to find a broken thermometer floating in a bathtub full of ice and the words “Welcome to the wonderful world of mercury poisoning” scrawled on the bathroom mirror–in Mercury! It’s totally true.

    Those os us who had measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough don’t see them as serious threats either. But, we do see autism as a serious threat.

    Easy for you to say, jackass–you clearly lived to tell the tale. Countless others were not so lucky.

    The downside of the blog topics this week is that JB seems to have brought all his camping gear, and he’s been digging himself a massive latrine pit.

  16. #16 PalMD
    April 10, 2008

    Hey, I’m used to reading Best’s idiocy, but just for the others who may stumble upon his fuckwititude, what one guy thinks isn’t very important.

    And I wouldn’t be too sure Best didn’t suffer a little brain damage from measles encephalitis.

  17. #17 Liesl
    April 10, 2008

    Yeah? Well someone my cousin knows once ate a tooth in a chicken McNugget that had a filling in it that had mercury in it and woke up the next day in a tub of ice surrounded by gang members who wanted to kill him to get into the gang so that the gang could join the illuminati so that they could make lots of money off of unsuspecting parents and doctors and pharmacists and everyone else and then he ended up with autism. But it ended up being ok because Bill Gates is sending him one million dollars for forwarding an email about Michelle Obama’s thesis.

  18. #18 Calli Arcale
    April 10, 2008

    Don’t worry, DanioPhD. He appears to be filling that latrine pit up quite handily, so we won’t have to worry about tripping into that big pothole later. We’ll just want to get some sod to put over it later, since it doesn’t smell very nice.

    A friend of mine was vaccinated against rubella, but later found out that the batch of vaccines was no good. Unfortunately, this was discovered when there was a rubella outbreak, and she was one of the unlucky ones who demonstrated that the lot was no good. She recovered.

    I was vaccinated by the same lot of vaccines, so I got revaccinated. When I got pregnant, I was tested for rubella antibodies, and none were found, so it was concluded that the second shot didn’t take either, and I was vaccinated a third time. That’s uncommon; most people, it works on the first try. But stories like these demonstrate why herd immunity remains important.

  19. #19 notmercury
    April 10, 2008

    Olmsted’s friend of a friend is either lying or the quote was distorted along the way. Leavitt would never say that because he simply doesn’t believe it. (According to my source, of course.)

  20. #20 ozzy
    April 10, 2008

    “over a four-cheese pizza and a salad (me) and a mozzarella-and-tomato sub and fries (she)”

    Total fabrication. What journalist describes what they ate when they interviewed a source. It’s a dead give away that Olmstead is lying. He’s trying to make you think he’s honest and thorough. When you look at the stories written by those journalists who would make up sources (can’t remember their names)they always included way too much detail. He could have just said over lunch with a source. The pizza, salad… stuff is a distraction.

  21. #21 Liz Ditz
    April 10, 2008

    Thank you, Orac, for the splendid deconstruction of the particularly gormless Olmsted article. I made a stab at it but stopped because my brain was melting. What’s that word that means cell death? Oh, yeah, I was in danger of cerebral apoptosis. Reading Orac on a regular basis makes you smarter.

    Also, my congratulations to Sastra, DanioPhD, and Liesl for their excellent mastery of the urban myth idiom.

    Those naive about John Best should read Joseph’s list: John Best’s Greatest Hits and my own The Cyberbully John Best.

  22. #22 Jim RL
    April 10, 2008

    So, I guess the point is that HHS has done a bunch of secret independent research concluding autism is caused my mercury in vaccines. This research probably cost millions of dollars and was done in absolute secrecy, but the secretary of HHS would freely blab about it to a random churh member? That doesn’t quite pass the bullshit test now does it?

  23. #23 Todd
    April 10, 2008

    John Best’s blog made it onto Portal of Evil a couple of weeks ago.

    Congratulations John! I see the forum posters weren’t too kind to you. You might want to head over there and defend your honor. The regulars would love to have chat with you. My favorite was the guy who called you a the lord god king of douchenozzles. Good times.

  24. #24 Laser Potato
    April 10, 2008

    Oh yeah? Well my cousin’s godson’s grandma knew this guy, who knew this guy, who knew this guy, who knew this guy, who knew this guy, who knew this guy, who knew…
    *3 HOURS LATER*
    …who knew this guy, whose dog got a rabies vaccination and two days later it turned into a zombie and they were both abducted by aliens! The aliens revealed that they created “rabies” as a ploy to turn all our pets into thier zombie slaves by injecting them with mercury.
    When the man woke up, there was a BLOODY HOOK on the side of his bed and the Mothman had stolen all his underwear!
    IT’S TROOOOOOOO!!!111one!

  25. #25 Dan
    April 10, 2008

    Elf M. Sternberg wrote

    Article in the Canada Free Press, today:

    The main reason conservatives rallied against [a bill requiring HPV vaccinations] was because, except in the event of a possible plague or massive outbreak, parents have the right to protect their children from unsafe, minimally tested vaccines whose long term effects are impossible to document. And that’s aside from the dangers of over-vaccination in general, dangers that go well beyond mercury content.

    The stupid, surely it burns.

    Actually it is not stupid. When Big Pharma was trying to push for laws to force parents to vaccinate their daughters at close to $500 I would have been angry at public health forcing something else down our throats. The uproar of angry parents was so great in my state (Maryland) that Big Pharma rapidly stopped their campaign to force a law requiring them. Have have a son, not a daughter, but if I had a daughter I would have campaigned against it. I am not part of the mercury militia and my son is vaccinated. But I cannot stand when public health uses force of law to force things down my throat. Examples, include trans fat bans, smoking bans, forced vaccinations, etc. If public health wants me to vaccinate a daughter for HPV, convince me by showing it is safe, why it is needed, etc and I would have it done. But force me and I will rebel. The only exemption to having children vaccinated is claiming a religious reasons. Thus Atheists, like myself, would have to claim a phony religious reason to avoid it. But comments like yours without understanding parents concerns, I assume you do not have children, are just as stupid.

  26. #26 Jesse
    April 10, 2008

    Dan: Thus Atheists, like myself, would have to claim a phony religious reason to avoid it.

    …yet you had your son baptized recently…. Am I missing something or is this an excuse to not appear to be an antivaxxer?

    If public health wants me to vaccinate a daughter for HPV, convince me by showing it is safe, why it is needed, etc and I would have it done. But force me and I will rebel.

    So if you were forced to have a vaccine that has been proven to be 100% safe in all people of all ages to eradicate a lethal disease (i.e., HIV/AIDS) you would rebel? There’s being a ‘libertarian’ and there’s being a ‘moron’.

  27. #27 Timj
    April 10, 2008

    I saw the Mike Leavitt reference and was all excited to leave an insightful comment…and the first posted comment said exactly what I was going to say.
    Why, oh why, don’t they make the head of the HHS an actual scientist or doctor?
    By the way, only parts of Utah don’t add fluoride to their water. Salt Lake adds it.

  28. #28 Dan
    April 10, 2008

    Jesse wrote:

    Dan: Thus Atheists, like myself, would have to claim a phony religious reason to avoid it.

    …yet you had your son baptized recently…. Am I missing something or is this an excuse to not appear to be an antivaxxer?

    Please note that their are two people that use the name Dan on this sight. You must be confusing me with the other one. My son is nine, and yes he is baptized, but not recently. He will have first holy communion in two weeks. This is not my doing, but is done out of respect for my wife. If my son asks me about god, I will refer him to his mother, or simply tell him I do not believe. To answer your question regarding HIV/AIDS vaccine, yes I would object, because I do not lead a life style where it would be necessary. I only have one partner, my wife, and I am pretty sure she is faithful to me. However, if I lived a different life style and a vaccine were available I would use it. But it should be my choice.

  29. #30 John Best
    April 10, 2008

    Liz,
    That cyberbully blog was very nice. Thank you.
    It fit right in with all of the other lunacy that accompanied Kev’s bogus excuse to take a break from blogging.

    Since we sane folks all know that anyone opposed to curing autism is a complete idiot, the idiocy in support of Kevin and Kathleen is exactly what we expect.

    Every time one of you disingenuous trolls insults me, it gives me a really good feeling about myself. So, thanks again.

  30. #31 Patience
    April 10, 2008

    I suppose the idea of a cut or even deliberate attempts at infection (there was a case in Florida where a dentist infected a number of people) is foreign to you, Dan. You might be surprised to know that heterosexual women are the fastest growing carrier group of HIV/AIDS in the US. It’s not about being black or gay. It is about being human.

    HPV vaccines are necessary because they can prevent the four largest strains of HPV, which coincidentally cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die, and most adults are exposed to HPV numerous times in their lives. Many men never present symptoms. Your wife may have it right now. I cannot fathom why parents wouldn’t at least consider protecting their children.

  31. #32 CanadianChick
    April 10, 2008

    at the risk of appearing repetitive, John Best – you are a raving looney.

    I really am beginning to believe that if you did have any of those diseases that they did have lasting repercussions…

  32. #33 Dan
    April 10, 2008

    Patience wrote:

    I cannot fathom why parents wouldn’t at least consider protecting their children.”

    I never said that or if I did I did not mean to imply that if I had a daughter that I would not consider getting her vaccinated on her doctors advice given all the facts and possible side effects. What I object to is Big Pharma pushing for laws requiring vaccines. Give me the information to convince me and I am fine with making an informed decision given all the facts. Force me and I will rebel. My understanding of the HPV vaccine is that is just came on the market. No sooner that it did the Governor of Texas tried to force all girls to have it. Here in Maryland, Big Pharma, tried to force a law with no public debate that would have taken 2 or 3 shots costing around $200 each. Paid for with tax payer money for those that could afford it and by the parents of those that could. A voter backlash happened and Big Pharma was forced to back off. Now they air advertisements explaining the benefits and for those who want to vaccinate they can have it. That is a much better way of dealing with the issue, don’t you think. Ones doctor suggesting it goes a long way, rather then public health trying to use force of law. To think otherwise is stupid and probably is what caused the mercury militia to begin with.

  33. #34 HCN
    April 10, 2008

    Dan, you need to review your county’s public health department and their issues on vaccines. In my county, if the public health agency approves the vaccine that also means they will PAY for the vaccine.

    It does not mean it is mandatory… it means that they are willing to pay for the vaccine.

    It does not mean that the child MUST get the vaccine.

    Though, considering the recent news out of Texas where girls were forced into “spiritual marriages” the moment they enter puberty… the HPV vaccine may not be a bad thing. :/

    Oh, yeah… like I every boy looking at my beautiful daughter is thinking about her brain! No, I think they are all evil… and I am willing to protect her! Not only with telling her what to be aware of, but by vaccinating her. (even though, right now, this child who wrote a book report on something written by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_from_Underground as an 8th grader and who wears mostly black decorated with skulls and has variously colored hair, and who thinks boys are basically idiots is basically safe… there is the chance that something bad can happen).

    In the double standard of this world, a young lady who waited until marriage (or the “One”) can be infected her husband who as a the young man contracted the virus while he sowed his wild oats (during which he became more of a “man”).

    Oh, wait… with a name like “Dan” you must be a guy. You didn’t have to grow up being told that you had to be good and pure, all the time having to forgive future suitors their infidelities. You know, the one where “boys will be boys”, but where the girls must be aware of their “reputation!”

    I only have one thing to say to you: Keep your sons away from my daughter!

  34. #35 Jay Gordon
    April 11, 2008

    Dave–

    I have been trying to email you some articles and links but I only have your old email address. I’m genuinely interested in whether or not Zimmerman’s work is relevant and respected.

    Please email me so I can reach you before throwing the articles into the lions’ den.

    Thanks.

    Jay

  35. #36 bastion
    April 11, 2008

    Snort. Olmstead was purposely misled and misfed information by The (very sneaky) Illuminati.

    Here’s the real story as I heard if from my sister-in-law:

    My SIL’s great-uncle’s neighbor’s baby-sitter’s regular dry-cleaner was a highly ranked officer in the North Korean Army before escaping to the U.S. and being granted asylum by the U.S. government.

    Late one afternoon, the baby sitter, an American Studies major at Georgetown U., took her beige, long-sleeved, v-neck, beaded, cashmere sweater to the dry cleaner because the sweater had become stained with several drops of a lush Pinot Noir which had been spilled on her at a glitzy D.C. nightclub by a highly paid lobbyist who counts among his clients some of the biggest military suppliers in the county.

    The dry-cleaner asked the sitter how she’d gotten the stain, and when she told him, the dry-cleaner said in a very hushed voice: “I knew that man (the lobbyist) long ago, when he was earning his living as an exotic animal smuggler. One very wealthy Texas billionaire paid the smuggler to obtain for his exotic animal ranch one of the rarest creatures on earth: a great tufted albino pandagator, an animal which was created by Chinese scientists in a secret lab located to the southwest of Zhengzhou. Only seven great tufted albino pandagators are believed by experts to exist.

    “By bribing highly placed officials in the Chinese Laboratory Cleaner’s Union, the smuggler was able to obtain a pandagator, and smuggled it into the U.S. on a cargo ship in a crate marked ‘Lead-free toys for above-average American children,’ and deliver it to the delighted billionaire.

    “But the billionaire didn’t know that the diet that the Chinese scientists fed the pandagator was heavily laced with a highly toxic ingredient–fluoride, and every time the pandagator pooped, it pooped fluoride contaminated poop. And the pandagator, being a great pandagator, pooped a great amount of poop.

    “The billionaire’s gardener, Miguel, believed that the pandagator’s poop would make excellent fertilizer for the billionaire’s prized topiary, and spread the poop high, and often. As the poop was dried by the hot Texas wind, the toxic pandagator poop dust was blown across the entire eastern half of the U.S. And the rest of the country was contaminated when planes flying from the eastern U.S. to other sections of the country flew through the dust and carried the dust with them.”

    The babysitter was highly shocked when she heard the dry-cleaner’s story, and when she got back to her dorm, she used her mighty Google skills to verify what he had told her. But because she was so proficient at Googling, she was able to not only confirm the dry cleaner’s story, but also to piece together even more shocking information:

    The FAA, FDA, USDA, CDC, CIA, FBI, and EPA all knew of the contamination, and they all knew that the toxic poop dust would have terrible effects on certain susceptible individuals, but they decided, in concert with pharmaceutical and chemical corporations, to keep the toxic poop dust and its terrible effect highly secret.

    And the horrible effect that the babysitter discovered?: A select group that might include a former UPI reporter, a former Playmate Bunny of the year, and the wife of a prominent shock jock, would become blithering idiots.

    Please send a copy of this story to everyone you know! And don’t breathe the air!! It’s contaminated!!

  36. #37 Patience
    April 11, 2008

    I suppose the idea of a cut or even deliberate attempts at infection (there was a case in Florida where a dentist infected a number of people) is foreign to you, Dan. You might be surprised to know that heterosexual women are the fastest growing carrier group of HIV/AIDS in the US. It’s not about being black or gay. It is about being human.

    HPV vaccines are necessary because they can prevent the four largest strains of HPV, which coincidentally cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die, and most adults are exposed to HPV numerous times in their lives. Many men never present symptoms. Your wife may have it right now. I cannot fathom why parents wouldn’t at least consider protecting their children.

  37. #38 Jolene Jolene
    April 11, 2008

    This is strictly entré nous, but my ex-sister-in-law’s third cousin-twice removed lives right next door to this Dr. Jay guys’ talent agent and is able to lip read totally fluently. She said that she say the agent said that Dr. Jay has accepted an offer from MTV to do a totally sick reality TV series. It’s going to be called “Pimp My Baby’s Vaccine Schedule.” My sources are totally reliable, why would they make up something like this? The other news I heard was that MTV also made an offer to David Kirby for his own show, tentatively called, “Pimp My Community’s Odds of Suffering an Epidemic of a Vaccine Preventable Disease Which Could Kill Many Babies and Children and Those with Compromised Immune Systems.” I hear they are negotiating to get Julie Gerberding and members of the NVPO to provide on site expertise on herd immunity and morbidity and mortality rates to be expected your basic bacterial or viral free for all, since Kirby’s nothing more than a talking head and wouldn’t know a case-control study if one walked up and bit him.

  38. #39 Doc Strange
    April 11, 2008

    “Every time one of you disingenuous trolls insults me, it gives me a really good feeling about myself. So, thanks again.”

    …and he enjoys forcing unproven and potentially harmful medical treatments on his son!

    masochism and sadism!

    Bring on the black leather and whips, Best-man is ready to party!

  39. #40 Lexin
    April 11, 2008

    From John Best…Those os us who had measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough don’t see them as serious threats either. But, we do see autism as a serious threat.

    I (not some friend of a friend) had measles before the vaccines came in. I nearly died. My brother also had it at the same time, and he nearly died. My cousin caught it, and she did die.

    Measles can kill. So forgive me if I view measles as a much larger problem than autism.

  40. #41 Raphael
    April 11, 2008

    Dan wrote

    “…Big Pharma…
    [...]
    Force me and I will rebel.
    [...]
    …Big Pharma… …Big Pharma…”

    Grow up. You’re not thirteen anymore.

  41. #42 John Best
    April 11, 2008

    “I (not some friend of a friend) had measles before the vaccines came in. I nearly died. My brother also had it at the same time, and he nearly died. My cousin caught it, and she did die.

    Measles can kill. So forgive me if I view measles as a much larger problem than autism”

    If you comment in favor of this blog, you’re probably a liar. You’re still here so, your close call is no big deal. I nearly had a head on car crash, many times, so what. The point is that the vaccines should be made safe so they don’t cause autism. And, despite what one of you nitwits claimed, SIDS is caused by vaccines.

  42. #43 Lexin
    April 11, 2008

    you’re probably a liar

    Er…no I’m not.

    People like you really worry me. You sailed through it and that’s great, but measles like a lot of these ‘childhood’ illnesses is serious and potentially fatal. Children like my cousin died of them within living memory – within my living memory – and I’m only middle aged. Measles wasn’t a bowl of cherries for me what with fever-induced hallucinations and my mother terrified she was going to lose her daughter.

    Even if you were right about the risks of vaccination (and I haven’t found any credible evidence which would make me believe that you are) nobody would want to return to that.

  43. #44 James W
    April 11, 2008

    Wait…

    I thought that Autism was caused by vaccines. Now they are causing SIDS as well?

    Wow, I must be really behind the times.

    Maybe my tinfoil hat’s reception is being jammed.

  44. #45 Orac
    April 11, 2008

    I have been trying to email you some articles and links but I only have your old email address. I’m genuinely interested in whether or not Zimmerman’s work is relevant and respected.

    Please email me so I can reach you before throwing the articles into the lions’ den.

    Come on, Dr. Gordon. My e-mail address is quite easy to find on this blog, you know, under that super well-hidden “Contact” tab at the top of the blog.

    Tweaking you aside, links to PubMed or the peer-reviewed journal page containing the abstract will suffice. If I don’t have institutional access to the particular journal the article appears in, then I’ll let you know.

  45. #46 bones
    April 11, 2008

    LMAO, Doc Strange …I was thinking the exactt same thing!!

  46. #47 bones
    April 11, 2008

    LMAO, Doc Strange …I was thinking the exact same thing!!

  47. #48 daedalus2u
    April 11, 2008

    If the Zimmerman article mentioned is the one on acute fever causing a temporary relapse of autism symptoms,

    http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/120/6/e1386

    it is completely valid, completely consistent with my low NO hypothesis of ASDs, and I have an extensive analysis on my blog.

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/01/resolution-of-asd-symptoms-with-fever.html

    It is higher NO from iNOS that causes the acute resolution of autism symptoms.

  48. #49 ilikesubpoenas
    April 11, 2008

    Lexin

    “I…had measles before the vaccines came in. I nearly died.”

    How do you know that you nearly died? Did you have an “out of body experience”? How do you nearly die?

  49. #50 vlad
    April 11, 2008

    “The point is that the vaccines should be made safe so they don’t cause autism. ” Ok I’ll bite. How does one do this? So the mercury has been reduced by orders of magnitude. It’s also the other ingredients that help, as per you statement. So you want a preservative free vaccine.

    I’m all good with the in hospital Auto vax unit that creates the vaccines right there and does not require preservatives. Give the availability of micro and nano manufacturing it’s quite possible and (my opinion only) not that difficult to do. So two question my anti pharam friend. Why haven’t you acquired the capital to do it, this would would if implemented prove the argument one way or the other? Are you willing to pay thousands of dollars per vaccination? While this can be done it would require several things (list not all inclusive): 1) Each location keep a supply of LIVE viruses under proper quarantine. 2) Trained BL3 or higher teams at each location to handle the viruses and prevent out breaks 3) A BL3 or higher lab to store them. 4) Frequent calibration to make sure that live viruses did not survive the process 5) Constant cleaning with some pretty nasty stuff to keep the equipment safe and sterile. The cost of one vaccination would go from 500 to 10k or more at least initially. The company that makes this device would have to be insured to the ears, if one tech makes one mistake it’s a 100k plus liability and they can’t control the techs. Now picture this device in a badly under funded hospital, A BL3 lab in an understaffed and under funded hospital.

    Polio is a BL3 virus as per the World Health Organization.
    http://www.who.int/biologicals/publications/final_polio.pdf

  50. #51 Jesse
    April 11, 2008

    Dan (the ‘Magic’ geek): To answer your question regarding HIV/AIDS vaccine, yes I would object, because I do not lead a life style where it would be necessary.

    Ok, you’re officially a closeted anti-vaxxer. Are you so stupid that you think the only way to contract HIV is through sexual contact?

    Ever hear of a kid named Ryan White?

  51. #52 vlad
    April 11, 2008

    “Ok, you’re officially a closeted anti-vaxxer.” I don’t know sound more like he just has a deep anti-authority streak.

  52. #53 Patrick
    April 11, 2008

    Really too bad that one doesn’t see vocal stress and inflection patterns in the written word. For all I would be able to figure out, he could have said begrudgingly (Like a tween/teen might respond ‘oh do I really have to do that Now Dad?’) “We know, …. ‘It’s the mercury.’” when presented with what appeared to be one of the same expressions he’s seen on 8 thousand other ‘enlightened’ individuals countenance.

  53. #54 bones
    April 11, 2008

    “Every time one of you disingenuous trolls insults me, it gives me a really good feeling about myself. So, thanks again.”

    FYI, John Best will appearing in a new autobiographical documentary entitled, ’50 Thousand Leagues Under the Half-Wit’

  54. #55 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    April 11, 2008

    Best and ilikesubpoenas

    you two are the best kind of idiots, because you continue to support your idiocy by acting like you know something yet demonstrating an utter lack of ability to find any real information on the subject.

    I googled “measles epidemic” and one of the first few entries was this in PubMED.

    In most developed countries, measles is often now regarded as an uncommon and not very serious childhood illness. The situation in developing countries is totally different; many children get measles, and the consequences can be severe. The main factor accounting for this difference is the much greater availability of vaccination against measles in developed countries. Globally, approximately 410,000 children under the age of 5 y die of measles each year. In developing countries, the death rate among children with measles is 1%-5%, but in refugee situations and among malnourished children, it may reach 10%-30%. The complications of the disease include pneumonia, diarrhea, encephalitis, and corneal scarring, which can lead to blindness. It costs less than US$1 to vaccinate a child against measles but, tragically, it remains the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children.

    My emphasis.

    you morons

  55. #56 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    April 11, 2008

    PLoS not PubMEd sorry corrected.

  56. #57 Prometheus
    April 11, 2008

    Again with the “mandatory vaccines” canard!

    If any of the commentors could please direct me to the government agency that mandates that people get vaccines (the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines excepted), I would be most grateful.

    The CDC publishes a list and schedule of recommended vaccines.

    Most (if not all) public schools (this includes most – if not all – public colleges and universities) require either proof of vaccination or a written statement of religious or philosophical objection (note: not all states accept “philosophical objection”, but none – as far as I could find – have ever challenged a “religious” exemption).

    This is not “mandatory vaccination”, since you can also choose to submit a written statement of objection or enroll in a private school that does not require vaccination (or a statement of religious objection).

    The schools have the responsibility to look out for the welfare of all of their students and they have – for now – decided that having their butts covered by signed statements of religious/philosophical objection is good enough. Those who don’t want to sign the form can have their children vaccinated. It’s as simple as that.

    So, let’s not hear any more about “mandatory vaccination”, shall we?

    Prometheus

  57. #58 The Christian Cynic
    April 11, 2008

    If you comment in favor of this blog, you’re probably a liar.

    Show of hands: Who’s not surprised to see JB poisoning the well?

  58. #59 Ktesibios
    April 11, 2008

    If you comment in favor of this blog, you’re probably a liar. You’re still here so, your close call is no big deal. I nearly had a head on car crash, many times, so what. The point is that the vaccines should be made safe so they don’t cause autism. And, despite what one of you nitwits claimed, SIDS is caused by vaccines.

    Wow. A more perfect example of callous disregard for the suffering of others would be difficult for a world-class writer to craft. I have to admit I’m impressed.

    Why is it that maimed, authoritarian-follower personalities like Best feel compelled to parade their symptoms on the Internet?

  59. #60 sophia8
    April 11, 2008

    “Lexin
    “I…had measles before the vaccines came in. I nearly died.”
    How do you know that you nearly died? Did you have an “out of body experience”? How do you nearly die?”

    Perhaps his mother said that to him, just like my mother said it to me. Of course, I don’t remember and she may have been exaggerating. But I certainly did spend 10 days in hospital, so I must have been a bit more ill than the average kid with measles.

  60. #61 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 11, 2008

    How do you know that you nearly died? Did you have an “out of body experience”? How do you nearly die

    It’s a stupid stupid stupid question that has little to nothing to do with reality or bearing on this subject.

    People do die from measles. Less people will die from a large variety of infectious diseases if more people are given vaccines. No more or less people will have autism as a result of being vaccinated or not vaccinated. This is just another derailment attempt by tweedle dee.

  61. #62 has
    April 11, 2008

    “Wow. A more perfect example of callous disregard for the suffering of others would be difficult for a world-class writer to craft.”

    I hear that DSM-V is currently taking submissions. We should drop them a note. They could probably get a whole new axis out of JB.

  62. #63 John Best
    April 11, 2008

    “Wow. A more perfect example of callous disregard for the suffering of others would be difficult for a world-class writer to craft. I have to admit I’m impressed”

    Thanks ktesibios but I don’t think I could ever be as callous as Kathleen Seidel claiming that treatments that can cure autism are quackery.

  63. #64 John Best's gay inner child
    April 11, 2008

    Johnny don’t fight your feelings anymore. Come out of the closet! Society is so much more enlightened now and accepts us for who we are. So bring out your Village People and Judy Garland albums. Besides you know that at least a few of your golfing buddies are closeted and would learn from your example. Most strident anti-gay ranters secretly hold the same feelings you do. You go girl!

  64. #65 John Best's inner inner tapir
    April 11, 2008

    “And, despite what one of you nitwits claimed, SIDS is caused by vaccines.”
    Prove it is.
    (SPOILER: He won’t.)

  65. #66 Dan
    April 11, 2008

    For all those that are attacking me for have some skeptisim regarding public health. My points are as follows:

    Elf M. Sternberg: provided an article that said in part:

    The main reason conservatives rallied against [a bill requiring HPV vaccinations] was because, except in the event of a possible plague or massive outbreak, parents have the right to protect their children from unsafe, minimally tested vaccines whose long term effects are impossible to document. And that’s aside from the dangers of over-vaccination in general, dangers that go well beyond mercury content.

    and he went on to say:

    The stupid, surely it burns.

    To bring this in context, I am a government scientist who works for the Department of Defense and my father was a career soldier. I am a military brat and was in the 4th grade in Munich during the 1972 Olympics. I lived behind the Iron Curtain (Berlin Wall) during the outbreak of the swine flu. For those of you that do not remember or if it was before you were born, all military personal were require to get the flu shot. Here is what wikipedia says:

    On February 5, 1976, an army recruit at Fort Dix said he felt tired and weak. He died the next day and four of his fellow soldiers were later hospitalized. Two weeks after his death, health officials announced that swine flu was the cause of death and that this strain of flu appeared to be closely related to the strain involved in the 1918 flu pandemic. Alarmed public-health officials decided that action must be taken to head off another major pandemic, and they urged that every person in the U.S. be vaccinated for the disease. President Gerald Ford was confronted with a potential swine flu pandemic. The vaccination program was plagued by delays and public relations problems, but about 24% of the population was vaccinated by the time the program was cancelled. [9]
    An immunopathological reaction to the vaccine in some people is believed to have caused about 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome resulting in death from severe pulmonary complications for 25 people. More people died from the vaccine than died from the swine flu itself.[9] Other influenza vaccines have not been clearly linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome.[10]

    More people died from the vaccine then did the virus. If you are going to criticize me for being skeptical or you want to force laws to get new vaccines out on the market, this will hopefully get you to understand where I am coming from. Our soldiers had no choice, they were all ordered to take it. If I had a daughter, I would not want her to be a Guinea Pig for the HPV vaccine. Do not force a law on me. Those of you that do have faith, go get it, and after 5 years or so, if there were no problems then yes.

    Regarding my Atheism, I come from a Catholic background, but have not believed in God since the 6th grade. But my family in strongly Catholic and so is my wife. Thus I married Catholic, had my son Baptized, and he will be receiving 1st holy communion in 2 weeks with his Grandmother coming to Germany to witness it. This does not make me less of an Atheist. For those married folks, who do not wish to get divorced, you know what I mean. Sometimes you have to keep your family happy.

    HCN wrote:

    I only have one thing to say to you: Keep your sons away from my daughter!

    I do not think this will be a problem as my son is not yet interested in girls. Yet the girls he plays with are interested in him. At least 4 consider him their boyfriend. More likely you will have to keep your daughter away from him.

    Raphael wrote::

    Dan wrote
    “…Big Pharma…
    [...]
    Force me and I will rebel.
    [...]
    …Big Pharma… …Big Pharma…”
    Grow up. You’re not thirteen anymore.

    Yes in the state of Texas the Governor tried to force all parents with daughters to get them vaccinated. See my comments regarding swine flu above. This was without the Legislatures approval. Here in Maryland they, Big Pharma, tried to get a bill pasted through our legislature. People irregardless of political affiliation rebelled and rightly so. No information was provided other the profit margins.
    Jesse wrote:

    Ok, you’re officially a closeted anti-vaxxer. Are you so stupid that you think the only way to contract HIV is through sexual contact?
    Ever hear of a kid named Ryan White?

    No, you are the stupid one. You want to be a Guinea Pig for new drugs or vaccines in the market with Big Pharma forcing them. Be me guest. My son receives on the vaccines he is suppose to have on the advice of his private doctore.

    Vlad wrote:

    I don’t know sound more like he just has a deep anti-authority streak.

    Now we are talking. You are most correct. Both my mother and father lived through the aftermath of NAZI Germany. Yes from the horror stories I heard, I am very suspicious of Government. Part of the problem with Public Health in the inability to communicate with the common folks. The working class. While I am educated, I do come from a religious working class family and can understand the concerns and skepticism regarding science especially when it is forced upon them.

    Finally, I am a regular reader of Orac’s site, MarkH’s site, PZ Myers’ site, the Bad Astronomers site, Skepchick, Revere’s site, but mostly hang on Dr. Michael Siegel’s site. I do not post often, but when I do, I do not expect to have me character attacked as happened here.

  66. #67 HCN
    April 11, 2008

    Dan said “I am a military brat and was in the 4th grade in Munich during the 1972 Olympics. I lived behind the Iron Curtain (Berlin Wall) during the outbreak of the swine flu.”

    I am also an Army brat. During that time I was living in what was then the Panama Canal Zone. There was an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the interior, so whenever we ventured into the Republic of Panama we were instructed to keep our shot record with us. If we were caught without it (and Torrijo’s Guardia Nacional liked bullying American teenagers!), the Guardia would haul you into the local clinic and force a Yellow Fever vaccine on you.

    I do not see that happening with the HPV. I don’t even see the HPV being a requirement to attend school. The only thing I see is the approval of the state’s and/or county’s public health department to help pay for the vaccines.

    (by the way, you are very close to evoking Godwin’s Law)

  67. #68 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    HCN thanks for letting me know about Godwin’s Law. But I did not invoke that to make a point. As a military brat, I have had all my shots. It was required, depending on where you were stationed (where your parents stationed). Most of our posts where in Germany, but other then Berlin (which I lived 3 years), we stationed no longer then 1-2 years before having to move again. But I remember the swine flu thing very well. With the HPV vaccine in Maryland, there was a push to make it a requirement, but not to attend school. It was a public health issue. I do not have anything against the vaccine. I have a problem with laws requiring it. Thus after having been proven effective with no side effects, I would have no problem. As an Army Brat, that is not necessary an option. You do as you are told or as your soldier sponsor it ordered.

    Regarding Godwin’s Law, my parents really did live through the after mass of NAZI Germany. One of my Grandfathers (both were dead before I was born) died on the Eastern front. My father was part of the Hitler youth, but was born in NY, thus American citizenship. I do not believe this is invoking Godwin’s Law. Other then my immediate family, the rest are all German and live in Germany. To make Orac happy, my wife’s oldest brother is an MD, PhD.

  68. #69 HCN
    April 12, 2008

    Dan said: “With the HPV vaccine in Maryland, there was a push to make it a requirement, but not to attend school.”

    Then how is it enforced? You are claiming some mandatory requirement, but it is not to attend school! Are the Maryland State Patrol going to check vaccination records? So if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, are they going to ask to check for your children’s vaccination status? Do you get some kind of Maryland income tax break if your kids have all the required vaccines?

    How is it enforced?

    By the way, don’t try explaining Army life to me… I graduated from the 9th school district I attended (in three countries). I also graduated a year early to avoid going to a third high school (my older brother graduated from the fourth high school he attended).

  69. #70 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    HCN said:

    Dan said: “With the HPV vaccine in Maryland, there was a push to make it a requirement, but not to attend school.”

    Then how is it enforced? You are claiming some mandatory requirement, but it is not to attend school! Are the Maryland State Patrol going to check vaccination records? So if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, are they going to ask to check for your children’s vaccination status? Do you get some kind of Maryland income tax break if your kids have all the required vaccines?

    How is it enforced?

    You got me on that one. I do not know. What I recalled, if accurate, is that the company that makes the vaccine pushed for the legislature to pass a law for it. By means testing it would have been paid for (meaning tax payers) and those with the means would have to pay for it. Please understand that this is from recall memory and not looking things up. For those that could afford to pay, it would have been something like $150 per shot for three shots. Either way through taxes or otherwise, the cost is mine. Who ever makes the vaccine backed off. Now there are ads advising parents abouts the benefits of HPV to prevent cervical cancer. As a parent this give me a choice. PUBLIC HEALTH, do not force things upon me with a law. INFORM ME. Badly written, but whatever. I am a terrible writer. I speak two languages but suck at them both.

  70. #71 HCN
    April 12, 2008

    Dan said “Please understand that this is from recall memory and not looking things up.”

    Next time you make a statement like it was a fact, check it out! Use Google or go to your state’s website and search for the actual wording of the law.

    You don’t even have a daughter in the age group that would receive the vaccine! How do you know what it costs?!

    Oh, wait… now that you realize that the state/county is paying for the vaccine, you are now moaning and groaning about your tax money is paying for the vaccine for those of us who had the audacity to give birth to girls! (yeah, I know it is a stretch, but it is not a Godwin!)

    What a maroon!

  71. #72 Azkyroth
    April 12, 2008

    Am I the only one who’d be very interested to see John Worst matched up against the PCL-R?

  72. #73 John Best's Inner Tapeworm
    April 12, 2008

    I would love to see John Best Jr and his allies such as his boss JB Handley, Kelli Ann Davis, Mark Blaxill, Judy Hart and Kim Stagliano be administered the MMPI. No only would they fit on the proposed new axis (@ has) exemplified by John Beats, they’d probably all get a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder or maybe conduct disorder since they all act like “bad seeds”. Skagliano would probably get a psychiatric dx of delusional disorder, erotomanic type. I would also expect several of the big names in the mercury mafia would get an accurate dx of Munchhausen’s by proxy.

  73. #74 sophia8
    April 12, 2008

    Dan wrote:
    No, you are the stupid one. You want to be a Guinea Pig for new drugs or vaccines in the market with Big Pharma forcing them. Be me guest. My son receives on the vaccines he is suppose to have on the advice of his private doctore.
    And private doctors are well-known for making no money at all out of presribing drugs and giving vaccinations.

  74. #75 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    HCN wrote:

    Next time you make a statement like it was a fact, check it out! Use Google or go to your state’s website and search for the actual wording of the law.

    It was almost 3 am in the morning when I made that statement. The issue had gone away as our law maker backed down. I was going from recall. If that is what it takes to be a moron. Hey, then thats me. Anyways a simple google search led to this link:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/30/AR2007013001611.html
    for which we get:

    The decision to drop the measure comes as questions are being raised about drugmaker Merck & Co.’s involvement in getting bills introduced in Maryland and across the country.

    Please read as tell me where my recall memory was wrong. Unlike you I will not resort to name calling.

    sophia8 wrote:

    And private doctors are well-known for making no money at all out of presribing drugs and giving vaccinations.

    My point was force of law. Getting a private doctors consultation is not the same as force of law.

  75. #76 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    HCN here is a second link. I was wrong about the cost. The story say $360 for the 3 shot series. Apparently my memory was not to far of. For the story click link:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,248222,00.html

    Again some parents can the the vaccine for free. But there is nothing for free. What they mean is at tax payers expense. That means, if a had a daughter, given my income I would have to pay for her and then again for those unable to afford the 3 shot series. Hey, that said, we can just add another dollar to the cigarette tax to pay for it. That way only working class smokers have to pay or quit. But wait, I am a smoker and my taxes were raised by a dollar per pack in addition to raising the sales tax. Nothing to do with HPV vaccine, but hey, lets raise the sin taxes and anyone who does not have sins (junk food, alcohol, smoking, etc.) can get a free ride. Here in Maryland they were going to have a snack tax, until Fredo Ley, who they lured into the state with tax incentives threatened to more elsewhere. Do you need me to provide a link for that too?

  76. #77 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    HPV is a leading cause of cervical cancer. From the CDC web site

    All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women aged 30 years and older. In 2004,* 11,892 women in the United States were told they had cervical cancer, and 3,850 died from the disease.

    Do all americans need to pay $350 just to prevent 4000 deaths per year and line the pockets of Merck? Again not checking into to it, but in my family there is no history of cervical cancer. My guess is there is also a genetic link. HCN, do you want me to pay for your daughters shots? Come on more people die in car accidents. Yet big Pharma is pushing for laws to line their pockets to prevent 4000 deaths per year at great cost. My point, no laws are needed. Parents who are concerned about their daughter’s health, especially those where there is a genetic link to cervical cancer, can vaccinate their children vaccinated and feel good about it. Parents that think the risk is not that great do not have to. Again, my point, no law needed. My issue is force of law. Now fellow military brat, HCN, make a better argument. After all skeptics are known to change there minds in the the face of evidence. I believe I have made me case without name calling.

  77. #78 sophia8
    April 12, 2008

    Dan:My point was force of law. Getting a private doctors consultation is not the same as force of law.
    But your only other point seems to be that Big Pharma is pushing vaccination. Why do you assume that private doctors are immune from Big Pharma?

  78. #79 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    sophia8 wrote:

    But your only other point seems to be that Big Pharma is pushing vaccination. Why do you assume that private doctors are immune from Big Pharma?

    You are right. However, I get to choose my doctor, if I do like like him/her I can find another. This is the doctor/patiant relationship. If the doctor sucks, I can choose another. That said, I do find it problematic that all doctors (that I have visited) have Big Pharma items in their offices (pens, notepads, free samples, etc.) The perscriptions they perscribe seem to be the most costly name brand ones. Usually the pharmacist fixes this or the insurance company fixes it as they will only pay for generics (if available). I also find it problematic that over 50% of the ads I see on TV are for Drugs. Go see your doctor. A pill fixes all. That said, it is important to find a doctor who you can personally trust. Not an easy task. Pardon my spelling, I am on another computer where spell checking does not work.

  79. #80 Raphael
    April 12, 2008

    Dan, don’t you think that by now, people who were in 4th grade in 1972 should be old enough to stop using loaded buzzwords like “Big (Something)” all the time? But yes, you’ve made your position clear: For you, 4000 deaths a year are irrelevant compared to the importance of upholding your philosophical principles about “the forse of law”. And 4000 deaths a year are less important than saving money, too. Especially if it’s a kind of death that you personally don’t have to worry about. Thank you for your honesty. As for letting the parents decide- do you think that parents should be allowed to decide for themselves wether they want to rent out their children to get raped, too?

  80. #81 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    Raphael wrote: “Dan, don’t you think that by now, people who were in 4th grade in 1972 should be old enough to stop using loaded buzzwords like “Big (Something)” all the time? But yes, you’ve made your position clear: For you, 4000 deaths a year are irrelevant compared to the importance of upholding your philosophical principles about “the forse of law.”

    I use the term Big Pharm (BP), because of tobacco control (TC) use of the word Big Tobacco (BT). With BT out of the way BP is (in my mind) doing all the BT used too. I sorry if the term offends you.

    You farther wrote: “For you, 4000 deaths a year are irrelevant compared to the importance of upholding your philosophical principles about “the forse of law”. And 4000 deaths a year are less important than saving money, too.”

    I cost/benefit analysis always has to be done. For every parent with a 9 year old daughter to have to pay $350 to Merck does not sound right. The money could be spend saving more lives elsewhere. How about Africa? The fact that we have a vaccine for HPV is great. For those that feel the need to get it, it is readily available. Problem solved. But why does Merck feel the need to push our states to force the issue. The concerned of parents should not be dismissed (see swine flue in previous post on this thread). Each death is a tratagy (spelling?). We do not like to see children die. But with cervical cancer deaths do not happen until after age 30 and it is rare compared to other deseases (spelling?). Anyone concerned can get vaccinated. We do not need a law lining the coats of Merck to do so. Shame on them for pushing the issue and wisely they backed off. They had a public relations nightmare. If I failed to make it clear, this was the point of all my posts. I am not anti-vacs as some here seem to claim. My son recieves all needed, tried, and true vaccinations and sees his doctor regularly. No woo here. No mercury militia. However, I believe even with the other vaccines, which my son had, a parent should be able to refuse them (however fooless), and then the issue would go away. Then we can hand out Darwin Awards for stupidity. Sorry to sound so harsh. But we all die. Some sooner then later.

  81. #82 Liesl
    April 12, 2008

    Dan wrote: “I cost/benefit analysis always has to be done.”

    How do you determine the cost of a human life? And what do other diseases and the prevalence of them versus cervical cancer have to do with the vaccination question?

  82. #83 bones
    April 12, 2008

    I get it, Dan. I don’t agree w/ everything you said, but I get it. I’m not so sure I would rush out at the drop of a dime every time a new vaccine came on the market. I would probably hold off approx a year or so, and follow its progress/adverse event reports.

    As for govt enforced vax policy. I do think it’s necessary…to a degree. Some people are just too stupid to know what’s good for them (eg John Best). On the other hand, I understand the hesitation when it come to trusting the govt.

    I’m a bit of a cynic myself.

  83. #84 Dan
    April 12, 2008

    I am dropping out of this discussion. I have nothing farther to add and I do not want this science blog (one that I enjoy) to become a topic of political philosophies. While you may not agree with me, with respect to what public health should be, I certainly agree with most our gracious host’s (bow with respectful insolence here to Orac) views, but not with his views regarding to the dangers of second hand smoke (SHS). I will go back to doing what I do best, lurking. I enjoy this site and usually visit daily. I just did not realize that I would have to defend my position this much. I do not have the time; however, I will enjoy reading your comments on other threats here, even if I do not participate. Best wish to all.

  84. #85 Laser Potato
    April 12, 2008

    “I am dropping out of this discussion.”
    When a troll says this it’s almost garunteed that he’ll return within a few hours…

  85. #86 trrll
    April 13, 2008

    Dan writes:

    More people died from the vaccine then did the virus.

    Isn’t this kind of dumb?

    Think about it. Wouldn’t that be the true for any vaccine that worked really well? After all, no vaccine is going to be entirely without risk–so if a vaccine is perfectly effective, nobody would die from the virus, so all deaths would be from the vaccine. This is certainly the case for polio in the US today. Is that really a reason to argue that we should give up vaccinating for polio and return to the good old days of iron lungs and leg braces?

  86. #87 trrll
    April 13, 2008

    But with cervical cancer deaths do not happen until after age 30 and it is rare compared to other deseases (spelling?). Anyone concerned can get vaccinated.

    Isn’t this also kind of dumb? After all, 80% of sexually active teenagers are infected with HPV (and about half of teenagers are sexually active by the time they finish high school). The fact that the cancer doesn’t show up until age 30 is irrelevant–once somebody is infected, the horse is out of the barn.

    Oh, and by the way: http://www.dictionary.com

  87. #88 Dangerous Bacon
    April 13, 2008

    “Do all americans need to pay $350 just to prevent 4000 deaths per year and line the pockets of Merck?”

    When antivaxers are willing to acknowledge harm from vaccine-preventable diseases they tend to cite only deaths from those diseases. The other casualties get ignored.

    Needless suffering, non-fatal but potentially life-altering complications, time lost from school and work and other consequences are ignored.

    For instance, the human papillomavirus causes millions of cervical infections resulting in the need for continuing surveillance and/or treatment of women through Pap tests, cervical biopsies (including more extensive cone resections) and hysterectomies. Infected women have to live with the anxiety, inconvenience and pain that come with HPV. Wouldn’t it be great if a large proportion of that disease could be eliminated through immunization?