Respectful Insolence

In the leadup to Jenny McCarthy’s little antivaccination-fest tomorrow, it appears the the medical community has at least roused itself enough to write an open letter to Congress about immunizations. It’s not much, but at least it’s something. I hope all the signatories are ready for a P.R. blitz to counter Jenny McCarthy.

That’s enough about this for now. I don’t plan on blogging about it tomorrow unless something really interesting comes up. Maybe I’ll do an all-science Wednesday instead after I get back from ASCO this afternoon.

THE “GREEN OUR VACCINES” COLLECTION:

  1. The Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey rally to “Green Our Vaccines”: Anti-vaccine, not “pro-safe vaccine”!
  2. An Open Letter to Congress on Immunization
  3. “Green Our Vaccines”: Further skeptical reading
  4. “Green Our Vaccines”: Serendipity and schadenfreude as antivaccinationists go to war
  5. “Green Our Vaccines”: Best comment EVAH! Or: How to preserve biological diversity through not vaccinating
  6. “Green Our Vaccines”: Celebrity antivaccinationist ignoramuses on parade. Or: I didn’t know that Dumb & Dumber was a documentary
  7. “Green Our Vaccines”: “Pro-safe vaccine” or anti-vaccine? You be the judge!
  8. “Green Our Vaccines”: “Pro-safe vaccine” or anti-vaccine? You be the judge! (Part 2)
  9. “Green Our Vaccines”: The fallacy of the perfect solution

Comments

  1. #1 Cain
    June 3, 2008

    Are any of the DC rational thinkers planning on holding some sort of counter-protest? I can leave work early for a good cause such as that.

  2. #2 grenouille
    June 3, 2008

    I have thought about it (since I do live in the DC area), but frankly, I fear for my sanity and my safety around such people. I saw an anti-vaxxer post somewhere that he might not go because he had been getting so much frightening email from various wingnuts who were attending the rally. Not a good sign.

    Mother nature may cooperate, however. Big storms are forecast–let’s hope Jenny and her wacky posse get rained out.

  3. #3 BA
    June 3, 2008

    I know of a few service providers and psychological organizations that would likely be willing to sign the open letter. Anyone know of a contact?

  4. #4 ebohlman
    June 3, 2008

    I found it interesting (but not surprising) that the American College of Pediatricians wasn’t on the list. The ACP is pretty much to the AAP as the AAPS is to the AMA (they broke away from the AAP after the latter took the position that children aren’t harmed by being raised by same-sex couples). They’re pretty popular in fundie circles (partially because they don’t believe that corporal punishment that leaves marks is necessarily abuse).

  5. #5 Art
    June 3, 2008

    “Are any of the DC rational thinkers planning on holding some sort of counter-protest? I can leave work early for a good cause such as that.”

    Certainly a worthy enough cause.

    But it might not be without risk. DC is a young city with a large poor population and a large number of transients. Pretty much where the rubber meets the road for communicable disease.

    Then you stuff in a a large number of people who are road tired, jet lagged and exhausted in their efforts to organize their numbers effectively. And, the kicker, none of them are immunized.

    A large herd with lowered immunity, stuffed into confined spaces, lacking immunizations being exposed to large numbers of poor immigrants and people coming in from overseas. If it wasn’t risky to be around this group, for fear of catching something, it sounds to me like someone needs to study them. This might be a perfect population to study how disease moves through immunized groups and how woo addicts cope with their kids coming down with a preventable disease.

    A measles outbreak centered on a mass antivax rally in Washington DC would be more poetic justice than I could handle. Tragic and sad, but fitting.

  6. #6 Epi Wonk
    June 3, 2008

    I wish we could sign the open letter as science bloggers, but somehow I don’t think Orac or Epi Wonk would mean much to Congressmen/women.

  7. #7 DLC
    June 3, 2008

    Hm. Well, it’s of little value, but non-blogging DLC will append his signature to it.

  8. #8 anonalek
    June 3, 2008

    Orac – I feel like that letter doesn’t really address the issue that McCarthy brings up. They aren’t anti-vaccine, they just want “safer” vaccines. I feel like the letter, by describing how much vaccines have helped us, is mostly a straw-man.

    Vaccines, of course, are not dangerous at all (in terms of Autism), but I have to play the devil’s advocate…

    They could have done better with this by countering actual arguments that McCartney and her “gang” are making.

  9. #9 HCN
    June 3, 2008

    You didn’t happen to see the post previous to this one, did you?

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/the_jenny_mccarthy_rally_tomorrow_antivaccine.php

  10. #10 anonalek
    June 3, 2008

    HCN: Woah, don’t know how I missed that. That sums it up. Still, maybe that open letter could have dissected their claims a little bit more, and given reasons why specific ingredients are present in the vaccines.

    Speaking of which (I’m new to the vaccine controversy), why is there mercury inside vaccines? Is this a preservative? A manufacturing thing?

  11. #11 HCN
    June 3, 2008

    A preservative, here is a history and lots of stuff:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    There is a very large cost issue. Vials with more than one dose of vaccines need thimerosal to keep them safe. The thimerosal free ones are typically one use per (live virus vaccines like MMR as a powder that are reconstituted with sterile water and need to be used before a set amount of time). Organizations like the World Health Organization need to use vaccines with thimerosal because of cost and issues with storage conditions.

  12. #12 Uncle Dave
    June 3, 2008

    EpiWonk wrote;
    “I wish we could sign the open letter as science bloggers, but somehow I don’t think Orac or Epi Wonk would mean much to Congressmen/women.”

    Who knows stranger things have happened. Maybe an off the beaten path national news piece about the proliferation of science blogs having greater influence in the public arena.

  13. #13 YLJ
    June 5, 2008

    HCN said; “Organizations like the World Health Organization need to use vaccines with thimerosal because of cost and issues with storage conditions.”

    HCN also said; “The thimerosal free ones are typically one use per (live virus vaccines like MMR as a powder that are reconstituted with sterile water and need to be used before a set amount of time).”

    HCN, So cost and storage conditions should over rule possible safety concerns while vaccinating people in third world countries?

    The MMR powder is good for 10 days once reconstituted. The WHO can’t bring in sterile water and MMR powder?

    HCN, where are the “peer reviewed” safety studies on Thimerosal?

    If Thimerosal has not been “peer reviewed”, what is it doing in our vaccines?

  14. #14 HCN
    June 5, 2008

    YLJ said “The MMR powder is good for 10 days once reconstituted.”

    Actually, idiot, it is hours. And the powder needs to be kept at certain temperature conditions because it is LIVE (since I am at my two URL limit, I will just tell you this is from the CDC websiet on fact): …vpd-vac/combo-vaccines/mmr/faqs-mmr-hcp…. Which says:
    BEGIN QUOTE:
    A box of MMR vaccine (undiluted) was left at room temperature for 3 hours. Is it okay to use?
    If you suspect that this vaccine or any vaccine has been mishandled, you should contact the manufacturer for guidance on its use. This is particularly important for labile live virus vaccines like MMR and varicella. Unfortunately, errors in vaccine storage and handling are common.

    Once MMR vaccine has been reconstituted with diluent, how soon must it be used?
    It is preferable to administer MMR immediately after reconstitution. If reconstituted MMR is not used within 8 hours it must be discarded. MMR should always be refrigerated and should never be left at room temperature.

    I misplaced the diluent for the MMR dose so I used sterile water instead. Is there any problem with doing this?
    Only the diluent supplied with the vaccine should be used to reconstitute any vaccine.
    END Quote

    YLJ continued “HCN, where are the “peer reviewed” safety studies on Thimerosal?”

    Knock yourself out (they are easy to find, just go to PubMed, put in thimerosal and vaccine in the search box and ignore anything written by the Geiers). I found this one by narrowing it down by hitting the “Review” tab:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/114/3/793

    Plus from WHO:
    http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/thiomersal/questions/en/index.html (not peered review, but they comment on that)

    YLJ continued with “If Thimerosal has not been “peer reviewed”, what is it doing in our vaccines?”

    I am at the two URL limit… But I don’t have to use it, because all you have to do is go up thread and read the URL I posted at 11:20 on June 3rd. Read it and come back and tell us what happened in Australia in 1928. Also, notice that that page contains a bibliography (do I have to define that last word for you?).

    Now before you go and ask stupid questions, could you at least do a little bit of reading. The WHO website has lots of documentation and a fairly decent search function. You came in here with a bunch of unsubstantiated crap aimed at me for posting a website URL that you clearly did NOT READ!!! (it even has a bibliography on the safety of thimerosal!) By stating that the MMR vaccine can be kept for days makes you look like you have never looked at anything but anti-vax or AIDS denialist websites for information. Have you even heard of PubMed? Do you know its URL (hint: it ends with dot gov)?

  15. #15 YLJ
    June 6, 2008

    HCN, So I was off by a couple of hours on the MMR powder.

    Your link to Pubmed “Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data” does not answer my original question of “HCN, where are the “peer reviewed” safety studies on Thimerosal?

    If Thimerosal has not been “peer reviewed”, what is it doing in our vaccines?”

    You can shove your peer reviewed PubMed.gov BS up your total lack of social skills engineering ass pipe!!!

    HCN, Pubmed is a joke and so is your mother and the child she gave birth to!

    You live and die by PubMed but then you say “ignore anything written by the Geiers” You constantly point me to PubMed.

    HCN says, “real evidence would be written up in a paper indexed at http://www.pubmed.gov.” .

    PubMed is only gospel to you when you agree with it. You and your cohorts like to throw out comments like, “a quick search of pubmed reveals nearly 6,000 articles, and I wasn’t even trying.” and, “ there are over 2500 articles on this issue at PubMed” but you pick and choose the authors that fit your view and the rest you label as quacks or now labeled as cranks.

    Was Edward Jenner a quack? Jenner undertook a daring experiment in 1796: he infected a young boy with cowpox in hopes of preventing subsequent smallpox infection. After allowing the boy to recover fully from cowpox, Jenner – in an experiment that would be considered unethical by today’s scientific community – intentionally infected the boy with smallpox by injecting pus from a smallpox lesion directly under his skin. As Jenner had predicted, the boy did not contract smallpox. Jenner’s process came to be called “vaccination,” after “vacca,” the Latin word for cow, and the substance used to vaccinate was called a “vaccine.”

    Edward Jenner didn’t need PubMed or the system of peer review; ” the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.”

    You can shove your arrogant peer reviewed PubMed BS up your totally lacking of social skills, arrogant engineer ass pipe, you idiot!

  16. #16 HCN
    June 6, 2008

    YLJ said “HCN, So I was off by a couple of hours on the MMR powder.”

    Ummm… how is 10 DAYS off a couple of hours from 8 hours?