Respectful Insolence

The organizers of the “Green Our Vaccines” rally yesterday went to great trouble to keep repeating a mantra that they “aren’t anti-vaccine” but rather “pro-safe vaccine” (or, as Jenny McCarthy likes to put it, “anti-toxin”). I’ve argued that it’s all a cynical ploy to hide their true agenda. What do some of the signs carried by marchers tell us?

You be the judge! (Pictures below the fold.)

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Here’s one that I predicted would show up:

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And here’s the one to top them all:

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That’s right. To these marchers, vaccines are weapons of mass destruction!

Of course, that’s because this is the real reason behind the march:

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Claims otherwise are nothing more than disingenuous smokescreens.

Finally, here’s an interview with one of the marchers “in the wild,” so to speak. She spouts a lot of antivaccination canards and even seems to think that the execrable Generation Rescue phone survey is valid evidence as she rambles on about how scientists know nothing and “parents have all the science.” She also makes the nonsensical claim that “now that mercury has been reduced in vaccines the aluminum has really been ramped up.” See how many antivaccinationist canards you can spot in the interview:

What say you? Was the “Green Our Vaccine” rally antivaccinationist? How many antivaccinationist canards can you spot in the interview above?

How can we possibly reach such people and show them that they are horribly mistaken on a medical and scientific basis?

ADDENDUM: Lots more pictures here. I placed links on some of the pictures above that lead to more clear pictures of the same signs found in Ginger’s collection of 140 photos. Sadly, the amount of misinformation and lies on many of the signs is truly astonishing. Some more examples:

Autism wasn’t in my destiny. I had too many vaccines too soon.
Poisoned and forgotten
Mother of a vaccine-injured child
Silenced by vaccines
RNs & MDs say NO to toxic vaccines! (I find this one disturbing, because it indicates that health care professionals can fall for this pseudoscience.)
What God made (This one is particularly disturbing.)
Vaccine damage is an epidemic
Stop poisoning our future
Stop poisoning our babies

More still can be seen on video here.

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 Catherina
    June 5, 2008

    You could try to write:

    “The Science Book” from the “Orac Family Library”. I just read “The Vaccine Book” from the “Sears Family Library” which made me appreciate just *how* simple your language needs to be to be read by A LOT of parents. (and aren’t we looking forward to “The Autism Book” from that same source that Dr. Bob will bring out in 2010?!)

    Honestly – the rallyers and you (and me, sigh) do not share the same language. It is unlikely that you will ever reach them.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    June 5, 2008

    Honestly – the rallyers and you (and me, sigh) do not share the same language. It is unlikely that you will ever reach them.

    I’m afraid it’s much, much more basic than that.

  3. I approve of the first demonstrator implying that Kentucky is Hell, but I fail to see what vaccines have to do with it.

    And what’s with the “CDC sucks” shirt? Someone spent good money to purchase this? Wow.

  4. #4 BB
    June 5, 2008

    “Preserve our children, not vaccines?”
    Give these people unpreserved (include refrigeration) food, please.

  5. #5 IBY
    June 5, 2008

    “when really parents have all the science and scientists have nothing” that is…. I don’t have a word for it. I have a horrible headache right now, … not logical.

  6. #6 Joseph
    June 5, 2008

    Sometimes they slip up. The following is what a commenter on LB/RB said:

    “Until people wake up and get a clue as to how many have been truly affected people will continue to vaccinate their babies.”

  7. #7 Scytale
    June 5, 2008

    Perhaps if the manufacturers were to put a little Malachite Green in the vaccines that would be sufficient!

  8. #8 Shirah
    June 5, 2008

    can’t.take.stupidity.must.kill.

    Seriously? If I would cut off my feet I wouldn’t have foot problems? I’d much rather deal with bunions than with polio. Oh, I also think it’s a marvelous idea to wait until children are in HIGH SCHOOL to vaccinate. Lets just forget all those years when children play that game where they rummage up their noses and then touch anything they can get their hands on. Yep. Immune systems that are not yet fully developed will handle that *really* well.

    And of *course* you will link Autism and vaccines; children get a whole slew of them around the same time Autism normally exhibits symptoms! Besides, why are they so quick to blame vaccines? Maybe something went wrong in the pregnancy! Perhaps Mommy didn’t know she was already preggos when she smoked that joint, or chugged an entire keg.

    And my favorite: “Oh, they did research…there’s a chart, somewhere…about something…that sort of proved that we’re not wrong…”

    Jeez. Get a brain.

  9. #9 _Arthur
    June 5, 2008

    How much money have they raised for safer vaccines research ?

    My WAG: around $0M.

  10. #10 chris
    June 5, 2008

    And what’s with the “CDC sucks” shirt?

    I guess they have a thing against the CDC, like they should be doing something about this “epidemic”. I saw Jenny on the Chelsea Handler show on E! about a week ago. She was all fired up about Julie Gerberding and wanted the audience to call their Congressperson and demand that she be fired. Jenny even had a big sign board about 5 feet across with the main switchboard # for the Capitol that she waved around. Sadly, Chelsea not only didn’t call Jenny on her dimwittedness, she stated she had just donated 5k to Generation Rescue. Sigh.

  11. #11 Jesse
    June 5, 2008

    These people are tragic.

    Not because of their ‘mission’ but because of their woeful understanding of chemistry, immunology, and medicine. The dishonesty in those signs makes me cringe.

    I think that, however, for all their efforts, the drive to blame vaccines will go nowhere.

    ‘Green our vaccine’ is to ‘anti-vaccine’ just as ‘intelligent design’ is to ‘creationism’. Same mission, same misinformation, new marketing firm.

  12. #12 Warren
    June 5, 2008

    How can we possibly reach such people and show them that they are horribly mistaken on a medical and scientific basis?

    You can’t. They’re as immune to reason as anyone infected with religion — and, I think, for largely the same reasons.

  13. #13 PalMD
    June 5, 2008

    now that mercury has been reduced in vaccines the aluminum has really been ramped up

    The only thing “ramped up” is the hysteria.

  14. #14 alan
    June 5, 2008

    Unfortunately these folks with the signs remain in the gene pool – they were vaccinated.

  15. #15 khefera
    June 5, 2008

    if you makes you feel any better, orac, tons of those signs were still junking up trash cans in front of all of the house of reps office buildings this afternoon. they’re so “concerned” about being green they couldn’t even reuse their signs at the next march of the st00pid.

  16. #16 Sunshine
    June 5, 2008

    WOW! There are a lot of misinformed, brainwashed folks posting on this board.
    Do your own homework people! It is not just about autism. That is one of the many tragedies. We do not anyone else to join our club that is why we are fighting the good fight.

    When a child is injected (unnaturally) with a vaccine filled with a killed or live virus and other ingredients such as heavy metals, formaldehyde, neomycin/antibiotics, etc. it bypasses the “built in” immune system and the foreign “intruders” cause the body to go into a state of confusion and continuous inflammation–the TH1/2/3 cells are not activated properly, causing autoimmunity–the body, in essence, attacks itself, resulting
    in illnesses like asthma, allergies, autism/ADHD, eczema, lupus, etc. Consider that vaccines never provide true immunity, which is why vaccines “wear off” and children need continuous boosters–and why disease epidemics often occur in fully or near-fully vaccinated populations.

    You can start your education at http://www.nvic.org
    Or you can stay blissfully ignorant and call names and hopefully this will never effect you, but unless something changes you may have a unwanted invitation to this enlightened club.

    God Bless.

  17. #17 Landru
    June 5, 2008

    And you enjoy your open invitation to both reality and a host of vaccine-preventable diseases, there, Sunshine. Oh, and do the rest of us a favor and stay the fuck out of the gene pool.

  18. #18 StuV
    June 5, 2008

    There are a lot of misinformed, brainwashed folks posting on this board.

    In this thread, only one so far.

    What an epic Poe-worthy bucket of fail, Sunshine. Keep your invitation, and keep your children away from mine.

  19. #19 Orac
    June 5, 2008

    Indeed. There’s so much misinformation in Sunshine’s comment that I really am having a hard time deciding where to start or if it’s worth fisking it all. Probably not, given that one of the biggest antivaccinationist crank sites of all, nvic.org is Sunshine’s source.

  20. #20 The Christian Cynic
    June 5, 2008

    I need a second opinion: does anyone else think this picture looks horribly doctored? If so, then that strikes me a rather pointless thing to do. After all, if the evidence of harm is so overwhelming and so many people are coming out with (what appear to be) legitimate signs about their evidence, why does this one have to be fabricated?

    Methinks the smell of desperation is thick in D.C.

  21. #21 RJ
    June 5, 2008

    Wow sunshine! You’ve got it all figured out! Great “theory”. I suggest you present your findings at an upcoming immunology conference…you know, the kind with Ph.D.’s and M.D.’s who have been involved with this kind of work for decades. I’m sure your research, data, and analysis to back up your “theory” will be on-par with all of the work that has been and continues to go on.

    I’ve been dropping into Olmsted’s “Age of Autism” site periodically to read what some of their following have to say. To date, I have not heard 1 single poster who has any clue about science or the scientific method. They do not understand immunology (rather than a couple definitions coupled with “natural immunity” BS) or even basic chemistry (elements like mercury are not the same as compounds like thimersoral). It is, as one poster noted, just like “intelligent design” folks trying to explain their “theory” in the wake of decades of overwhelming evidence. And the weirdest part…their theory seems to change everyday, from mercury, to aluminum, to MMR, to combinations of vaccines, to immune overload (what the heck is immune overload anyway? As if children aren’t exposed to dozens of antigens everyday in their food, water, air, and cuts/scrapes). And finally, a total absence in understanding of history. Vaccines have been so successful, they have no clue about the diseases that have been eradicated (for now) because of their use. No clue whatsoever.

    These people are definitely some of the scariest I’ve ever come across anywhere. It’s a shame they are totally unaware of their own ignorance and the damage they are doing to society.

  22. #22 uknesvuinng
    June 5, 2008

    Autism/ADHD? Since when were those so similar?

    Vaccines to these people appear to be some kind of reverse panacea, causing all kinds of completely unrelated diseases. Hell, I’m surprised cancer wasn’t listed, as it tends to be a popular outcome of mysterious “toxins”. Vaccines probably even turn people into newts.

    I feel sorry for all these naive parents that are the unwitting marketing arms of chelation and other snake oil scams, but the arrogance still annoys me. Get over yourselves and actually help your kids. Stop playing the blame game and trying to harm other kids. You anti-vaccinationists are becoming accessories to murder as children die of diseases that could have been prevented with a simple vaccine, or in efforts to “cure” autism with chelation, a treatment known to be of no use for autism, as well as very dangerous to just use willy-nilly. Your actions are leading to the deaths of children, and that is inexcusable, however desperate and emotionally-turmoiled you may be.

  23. #23 D. C. Sessions
    June 5, 2008

    No, it looks like a totally undoctored photo of a woman holding up a cardboard cutout of a child’s photo.

  24. #24 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 5, 2008

    Opinion for Christian Cynic:
    That picture actually looks like the woman is holding a blown-up photo of a child with the words printed on the photo (as opposed to the shirt). I wonder if it was meant to be some sort of placard. If it’s being presented as an actual child being held by the woman, that is one of the lamest Photoshop fakes I have ever seen.

  25. #25 Liesl
    June 5, 2008

    “These people are tragic.

    Not because of their ‘mission’ but because of their woeful understanding of chemistry, immunology, and medicine. The dishonesty in those signs makes me cringe.”

    The biggest tragedy is the way they’ve pimped out their children for their own pathetic needs for attention. They are not human. Clearly.

  26. #26 CanadianChick
    June 5, 2008

    so much energy that could be put to use in a positive way…

    and so much ignorance that it really does make me want to cry…from the pain caused by that much stupid in one place.

    Sunshine, I only see one brainwashed person posting…

  27. #27 RJ
    June 5, 2008

    “The biggest tragedy is the way they’ve pimped out their children for their own pathetic needs for attention. They are not human. Clearly.”

    They are angry and hurt. They are looking for a reason for their situation. Many need someone to blame. And, of course, they are going to look everywhere but themselves.

    Lawyers know this. There is a big pot of money that was, in good faith, set up to help families with legitimate medical issues from vaccines. What a fantastic opportunity for an ambulance chaser to cash in on someones misery. They will find anything and everything to provide some sort of “link” in the hopes they will hit it big. The sad part is that the vaccine court pays attorney fees regardless of the outcome. Those poor people, being used.

    This is what happens when one assumes they are right…as in they assume they know more than the scientific and medical community. There is a word for people like this: suckers.

  28. #28 _Arthur
    June 5, 2008

    About aluminium in vaccines, here is http://www.immunizationinfo.org/vaccine_components_detail.cfv?id=61
    (The CDC has similar info)

    “Adjuvants serve to:
    bring the antigen–the substance that stimulates the specific protective immune response–into contact with the immune system and influence the type of immunity produced, as well as the quality of the immune response (magnitude or duration);
    decrease the toxicity of certain antigens; and
    provide solubility to some vaccines components.
    Studies have shown that many aluminum-containing vaccines cause higher and more prolonged antibody responses than comparable vaccines without the adjuvant.

    There are three general types of aluminum-containing adjuvants:

    Aluminum hydroxide
    Aluminum phosphate
    Potassium aluminum sulfate (often called “Alum”)

    Not all vaccines contain aluminum salts because an adjuvant may not have been needed, was not expected to increase the desired immune response, or was going to cause an imbalance in the immune response. For example, inactivated Polio Virus (IPV) vaccine, measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), varicella vaccine, Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccine, and influenza vaccines do not contain aluminum salts.”

    Follows the list of children vaccines containing aluminium salts advuvants,
    notably DTP and DTaP.

    What’s supposed to be toxic about aluminium ? We get exposed routienly to aluminium salts each time we use antiperspirant.

    Antiacid preparations like Maalox also are made partly of aluminium salts.

  29. #29 Dr. T`
    June 5, 2008

    Unfortunately, when it comes to the CDC and vaccines, the protesters have a point about failed CDC policies, though the biggest failure has nothing to do with toxicity or autism. The CDC has made vaccine recommendations that are unsupported by evidence, that are harmful, and that 33 states adopted automatically because they require adherence to CDC guidelines. I am referring to hepatitis B vaccination of newborns and infants. As we physicians who remember our immunology know, newborns have only passive humoral immunity and cannot make their own antibodies for 2-3 months. That explains why, until recently, no vaccines were administered to infants until they were at least two months old. The CDC, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, recommended vaccinations of preschool children against a blood-borne or sexually transmitted disease, a very bad idea since hepatitis risks occur much later in life. (Now, teenagers who got the vaccines still need boosters to restore immunity.)

    The same trio of CDC, AAP, and AAFP later recommended that the hepatitis B vaccine series start at birth. They completely ignored immunology (newborns cannot make antibodies) and the fact that developing immune systems must distinguish between self antigens and foreign antigens. If hepatitis B antigens from the neonatal vaccination are still circulating at 2 months, then the infant’s immune system may consider those antigens to be ‘self’ and fail to develop antibodies. Even if this does not happen, the vaccination of newborns can cause only harm.

    The CDC advocated this policy of ‘first do harm’ in the late-1990s. It’s impossible to undo the damage from that, and most states still mandate hepatitis B vaccination of infants.

  30. #30 Dr. T
    June 5, 2008

    Sorry for the repeat posts. Each time I clicked the Post button, my browser displayed a blank page with the message “Bad response from server.” I did not know that my comments got through.

  31. #31 The Christian Cynic
    June 5, 2008

    DC, T. Bruce – that’s precisely it. I knew there was a reason that photo didn’t look right, and that makes perfect sense now that I look at the image again. Still a little strange, though, but not because it’s doctored.

  32. #32 Robster, FCD
    June 5, 2008

    Dr.T, hit back and refresh to see if your comment posted.

    ——–

    The official signs stay on message, but the home made ones are full of the old anti-vaccine line.

  33. #33 nanoAl
    June 5, 2008

    So stupid its just hard to believe…
    It parallels the creationism battle really nicely (ID isn’t creationism, its just anti-evilution!) the difference is that its not very clear to me what exactly they are trying to accomplish. Who stands to benefit from there being no vaccines? Anyone know?

  34. #34 Robster, FCD
    June 5, 2008

    nanoAl, Nobody gets a real benefit, but antivaxers get a warrantless good feeling from “saving” babies, not knowing the harm they are really causing. —– Also, Jenny McCarthy gets a few more seconds tacked on to her already stale fifteen minutes. I used to find it kind of charming that such a beautiful woman could pull off a good fart joke. It almost always sucks to find out how painfully dim so many celebrities are.

  35. #35 D. C. Sessions
    June 5, 2008

    I used to find it kind of charming that such a beautiful woman could pull off a good fart joke.

    That was a sneaky one.

  36. #36 Tex
    June 5, 2008

    Pro-safe or anti-vaccine? I would go with the third option: Freaking Insane.

  37. #37 ozzy
    June 6, 2008

    “Dr.” T
    The reason for infant HBV vaccination is that childhood infection with HBV means a very high chance of chronic infection. Adults who are infected either clear it or respond to treatment at a very high rate. Lateral transmission of HBV can and does occur between young children (HBV+ kid cuts himself, bleeds on desk, toy, etc; toy is not disinfected; HBV very stable -weeks- exposed to air, another child pick up toy and is possibly infected). Considering the current global “economy” and the worldwide childhood infection rates, infant vaccination makes a lot of sense.
    I think you need a little refresher in your immunology. First of all, newborns are fully capable of generating both a humoral and cellular response to pathogens. How else would they survive once exposed to the thousands of pathogens encountered outside the womb?
    Fadel S, Sarazotti M. Cellular immune responses in neonates. Int Rev Immunol. 2000;19:173-193
    Siegrist C-A. Neonatal and early life vaccinology. Vaccine. 2001;19:3331-3346
    Second, B cell selection does not occur following exposure to free floating Ag. Also, you are forgeting the role of helper T cells in the generation of a humoral response and these cells are selected in the thymus, an organ which has a nice little thymus-blood barrier.

    I think you need to stay a little more current with the literature or stop hanging out with Sunshine.

  38. #38 RJ
    June 6, 2008

    “newborns cannot make antibodies”

    Uh…I think you missed something in med school there doc. Yes they can.
    At the humoral level the newborn has low or nonexistent levels of the immunoglobulin antibodies IgM, IgE, and IgA. The neonate is born, however, with IgG antibodies acquired from the mother, which confer protection from some specific diseases. There is a slow rise of immunoglobulin levels after 3 months of age to levels of older children.

    “If hepatitis B antigens from the neonatal vaccination are still circulating at 2 months, then the infant’s immune system may consider those antigens to be ‘self’ and fail to develop antibodies.”

    OK. Sure. I would love to see the data that supports this one. Funny, how when they titer children who have received the HepB series, they have antibodies by the last booster.

    Where did you come up with this nonsense?

  39. #39 Liesl
    June 6, 2008

    RJ:

    They may be suckers, but they’re suckers who are hurting their children and using them in predatory ways. There must be a difference between a grieving parent and a parent who harms their child. Anyone who has ever been a human pin cushion knows the harm that kind of thing can cause; add in the international attention they are drawing to their “hell” and “damaged” children, what do you have? A person who is responsible for the pain they’ve caused and will continue to cause their children. Not that you didn’t know any of this; I’m still pissed off and ranty.

  40. #40 nanoAl
    June 6, 2008

    Robster:
    That’s sort of what I was thinking, but at the same time “Let’s undo centuries worth of medicine! It’ll make me feel all warm and fuzzy!” sounds just a little insane. Actually, come to think of it, that explains a lot. I’m pretty sure I learned some of the basics about vaccines in grade three(or at least elementary), enough to refute a lot of this garbage. that people are able to work themselves into such a state that they fall for it is unbelievable. the cultural view of autism really needs to be changed, the autistic kids i knew while growing up always struck me as a little weird, but not ‘broken’ as such. These crazies really need to accept these children as who they are.
    Maybe we just have an odd perspective on autism here in the great white north, a while back i saw an article(i’ll find it later) that (seriously) discussed the idea that autism was part of evolution, and that many great inventors were probably autistic. I’m not sure which is more crazy, but t sounds a lot less dangerous.
    he’s not broken, hes one of the X-men! now thats better.

  41. #41 DLC
    June 6, 2008

    The need to have a target to focus blame on, coupled with the need to feel as if they’re doing something, combined with a strong dose of ignorance and disinformation and you get the typical anti-vaxer parent. I have sympathy for their situation, but I do not have sympathy with the craziness.
    This is much like the man who has a tornado blow his house in blame the government for not controlling the weather.
    weak analogy, but the closest I can come to. . .

  42. #42 has
    June 6, 2008

    Does wishing a bunch of exceedingly nasty vaccine-preventable diseases upon these people make me a bad person? Or how about shipping them all off to some third-world scumhole for a lesson in how the other half lives and all too frequently dies? Because I can’t think of any other way to convince them how dangerously wrong they are when it isn’t their own lives on the line.

    Like SUV drivers doing 90 through a school zone, I fear that the only way they’re going to stop themselves is when the windshield is finally grown too thick with others’ blood for them to steer any further.

  43. #43 tommyD
    June 6, 2008

    Okay, so these wackos have bought into a conspiracy theory for any number of reasons, some quite ugly, but then why wouldn’t they? After all, the track records of the experts telling people “there is nothing to worry about” is not good. Anyone remember tetra ethyl lead? Chlorofluorocarbons? The entire damn tobacco industry?

    My memory isn’t so great, so feel free to correct me, but I seem to recall that, years ago, when some noted the presence of mercury-based preservatives in vaccines, and also noted that toxicologists were learning there is no safe level of mercury exposure for children, the reaction of the pharmcos and the government was not to dump mercury-containing vaccines, even tho there were safer alternatives, but to stonewall so the inventory could be sold and profits protected. I remeber govt and industry types claiming the amount of Hg in the vaccines was SO much samller than the Hg exposures caused by coal-fired power plants…

    Of course this is NOT an argument that Hg preservatives are safe, it is an argument that Hg-spewing power plants should be cleaned up or shut down. So how many coal-fired power plants have been cleaned up or shut down?

    We can’t complain too much about irrational theories of conspiracy, when history is full of examples of ACTUAL lies and deceit by the people we’re expected to trust.

    So, you folks wishing this nasty stuff on these deluded parents, understand that part of the blame lies with the scientific and regulatory community. So how ’bout we ship you all off to some first-world scumhole like Minamata or Love Canal…

  44. #44 Momma
    June 6, 2008

    So, even if you don’t believe there is a link between toxins in vaccines, and potential damage that can be done, why would you want to keep the toxins? Wouldn’t it make sense to look for a safer alternative? What harm is really being done here?

  45. #45 Bronze Dog
    June 6, 2008

    Momma, “toxins” is a marketing buzz phrase the way these woos use it. Everything is a toxin in large enough doses. The doses in vaccines are small enough to be negligible for the most part, and we know there are risks with some of them, like with egg allergies. Vaccines are very safe (but not perfect), and there is currently no safer alternative proposed, yet.

    What the “I’m not really antivaccine” people are proposing is the perfect solution fallacy: “Seatbelts aren’t perfect, therefore we should just flounder and complain uselessly instead of using the best we have to the best of our ability.”

    It’s about risk and benefit. The benefits of vaccines vastly, vastly outweigh the risks. If you can come up with some better vaccination method with less risk, we’ll be all ears. Of course, instead of doing risk/benefit analysis, alties love to slam people with TV advertisement fallacies.

    As for toxins, please spare us the inevitable hoodoo-voodoo homeopathic crap about single molecules being unforgivable. It’s the same “logic” behind the people who complain about the acidity of Coca Cola while drinking a glass of citric acid-filled organically grown orange juice. Alties love to instill that fear because it allows them to maintain the environment of terror about everyday life so conducive to their business.

  46. #46 DT
    June 6, 2008

    Momma, surely you realise that it is the dose that makes the poison. Spewing words like “toxins in vaccines” is completely meaningless, unless you also talk about the toxins in food, air, water, face creams, cups of tea, etc.

    And the formation of the “toxin” is highly relevant. When did you last sprinkle salt on your popcorn? That vile toxic chemical chlorine used as a poison in the first world war, and that corrosive/explosive element sodium that is so dangerous it has to be kept submerged in oil? And you want a combination of these toxins on your food?

    Many of the constituents in vaccines are there for a reason. Take hydrochloric acid, for example, which is a component of some vaccines. This is in fact a pH stabiliser, so that the vaccine which would otherwise be slightly alkaline has added to it a source of hydrogen ions to balance it to a neutral pH which will avoid any reaction once it is injected. It is entirely harmless. But what do brainless antivaxers like McCarthy shout about….?
    “Evil vaccinators poison our kids with injected hydrochloric acid! Green our vaccines!”

    Of course we should seek safer alternatives to current vaccines. But today’s strident antivax message is usually that we should throw the baby out with the bath water, and stop vaccines completely.

  47. #47 Bronze Dog
    June 6, 2008

    tommyD

    My memory isn’t so great, so feel free to correct me, but I seem to recall that, years ago, when some noted the presence of mercury-based preservatives in vaccines, and also noted that toxicologists were learning there is no safe level of mercury exposure for children, the reaction of the pharmcos and the government was not to dump mercury-containing vaccines, even tho there were safer alternatives, but to stonewall so the inventory could be sold and profits protected. I remeber govt and industry types claiming the amount of Hg in the vaccines was SO much samller than the Hg exposures caused by coal-fired power plants…

    1. By your twisted logic, we’d all be dead. There are safe exposure levels to mercury. There are safe levels of exposure to almost everything. You’re asking us to believe the entire field of toxicology is wrong. Oh, and breast milk contains more raw mercury than any vaccine. It’s a wonder there are any mammals living at all if there are no safe levels for children.

    2. You’re engaging in alchemy, as far as I can tell. You might as well complain about the explosiveness of water or that table salt is a green poisonous gas used in chemical warfare. Unless you can show me how Hg2+ ions break out of those compounds, I don’t see much reason to take you seriously.

    3. If the government and pharmaceutical companies cared only about profit, they wouldn’t manufacture vaccines at all. Margins are too low, especially when you add on the logistics of a worldwide conspiracy involving millions of people that would have to be kept silent. Conspiracies get expensive very quickly. That’s why all the real world’s conspiracies tend to involve only small numbers.

    4. Even if the thimerosal was dangerous to a portion of the population, what do you think would happen if they dumped them all? They can’t magically replace them with another type overnight. Vaccination is the biggest thing keeping us healthy. Think about it: There’s negative evidence against a danger, and you’d throw away very safe vaccines without any regard for the danger because you rely on TV ad logic. That reckless abandon for the sake of avoiding a highly improbable danger is what’s got us thinking of the dangers your rhetoric poses to the children.

  48. #48 DT
    June 6, 2008

    Momma, surely you realise that it is the dose that makes the poison. Spewing words like “toxins in vaccines” is completely meaningless, unless you also talk about the toxins in food, air, water, face creams, cups of tea, etc.

    And the formation of the “toxin” is highly relevant. When did you last sprinkle salt on your popcorn? That vile toxic chemical chlorine used as a poison in the first world war, and that corrosive/explosive element sodium that is so dangerous it has to be kept submerged in oil? And you want a combination of these toxins on your food?

    Many of the constituents in vaccines are there for a reason. Take hydrochloric acid, for example, which is a component of some vaccines. This is in fact a pH stabiliser, so that the vaccine which would otherwise be slightly alkaline has added to it a source of hydrogen ions to balance it to a neutral pH which will avoid any reaction once it is injected. It is entirely harmless. But what do brainless antivaxers like McCarthy shout about….?

    Of course we should seek safer alternatives to current vaccines. But today’s strident antivax message is usually that we should throw the baby out with the bath water, and stop vaccines completely.
    “Evil vaccinators poison our kids with injected hydrochloric acid! Green our vaccines!”

  49. #49 Orac
    June 6, 2008

    So, even if you don’t believe there is a link between toxins in vaccines, and potential damage that can be done, why would you want to keep the toxins? Wouldn’t it make sense to look for a safer alternative? What harm is really being done here?

    The dose makes the poison. DT already mentioned one of the most egregiously dishonest “toxin” gambit ploys, namely the demonization of hydrochloric acid. Antivaxers make it sound as though the vaccine is made up of nasty acid, when in reality hydrochloric acid is just used to adjust the pH of the vaccine to a neutral 7.4. I can top him though. Ken Heckenlively over at the Age of Autism actually mentioned that there is–gasp!–sucrose in vaccines. He then mentioned that sucrose is sugar and that excessive consumption of sucrose rots the teeth and makes you fat. It made me wonder whether he thought that babies were eating vaccines in large quanitities, given that the amount of sucrose in a single shot (or series of shots) is very small.

    In any case, of these “toxins” are not at the dose given. Take formaldehyde, a favorite bogeyman of antivaccinationists. It’s a pretty scary-sounding chemical, isn’t it? Yet you’re exposed to far more formaldehyde just from living in a house with plastic products, floor and furniture finishes, and, if you live in the city, from auto exhaust than is in any vaccine. Moreover, formaldehyde is produced in the body in small amounts just through metabolism a baby’s body is perfectly capable of taking care of it in small amounts. Of course, antivaxers with any background in chemistry or biology know this already, but they know that most people don’t know this and that it sounds scary. Also, the reason formaldehyde is present in trace amounts in vaccines is because it’s used to inactivate virus used to make the vaccine. If formaldehyde isn’t used, some other chemical inactivator would have to be used–maybe not as safe.

    Sometimes they’re downright dishonest about the “toxin” canard. My favorite example of this is the claim that there is “antifreeze” in vaccines. There isn’t. There is, however, polyethylene glycol, a commonly used in a number of products, like creams and lotions, laxatives, and as fillers in medicines. But “polyethylene glycol” sounds like “ethylene glycol,” which is the major component of antifreeze. They’re not the same, but antivaxers either mistake the two or outright lie about it so that they can claim that there is “antifreeze” in vaccines.

    Another favored gambit is the “monkey cells” or “fetal parts” gambit. There are no monkey cells or fetal parts in vaccines. Some viruses are grown in monkey kidney cells, but the cells are removed when the virus is purified. Ditto a human cell line derived from an aborted fetus some 45 years ago, which is a very different thing than actually using aborted fetuses. Even the Catholic Church, whose opposition to abortion is unrelenting, says that it’s morally acceptable to be immunized. The “fetal parts” gambit is nothing more than a lie designed to fire up conservative Christians opposed to abortion.

    I wrote about this extensively before. Please read Cries the antivaccinationist: Why are we injecting TOXINS into our babies?. I finished with a question:

    I’d love to get an antivaccinationist like Jenny McCarthy who makes the claim that she is not “antivaccine” but “antitoxin” or “pro-vaccine safety” into a discussion and ask her this hypothetical question: If formaldehyde, “antifreeze,” aluminum, thimerosal, and every chemical in vaccines circulating in all those lists on antivaccination websites that so scare you were somehow absolutely removed from the standard childhood vaccines so that not a single molecular remained (just like homeopathy), would you then vaccinate your child? The only thing that would remain is buffered salt water and the necessary antigens, be they killed virus or bacterial proteins, or whatever.

    My guess is that she’d say no.

    And that’s that–because it’s the “toxin” that makes vaccines work that really scares her.

    The “toxin” gambit is nothing more than a cynical, scientifically vacuous technique designed to scare parents about vaccines. Indeed, it reveals a shocking level of contempt for parents in that it intentionally assumes your ignorance and relies entirely on how scary-sounding chemicals can be to those without a background in chemistry or science.

  50. #50 DT
    June 6, 2008

    OOps sorry. I backspace and refreshed (honest!) and still got nowhere, and a double post emerged. Sigh….

  51. #51 Wayne
    June 6, 2008

    It is a shame these anti-vaccine conspiracy nuts can’t comprehend that there is much more potential for profit in treating disease and symptoms than preventing disease. That polio vaccine laced sugar cube I had as a child prevented decades of potential medical treatments and profits. Vaccinating me was a very poor business move for the “Evil Pharma”. Good thing they didn’t understand the profit potential of alti-med placebos – if you don’t actually cure the patient, the treatments can continue much longer.

  52. #52 wfjag
    June 6, 2008

    Orac:

    This has been an excellent series of posts. I think you’ve gottn over 200 comments. Some are snarky (I realize that I’m guilty of that), some are innanely ignorant, but quite a few have been thorough, well-reasoned and sometimes provide links or references. Very informative.

    Still, watching Jenny and Jim calls to mind some Monty Python skits. (Sorry, being snarky, again).

  53. #53 lsw
    June 6, 2008

    Does any one know of the Simpsonwood report they spoke of? I’ve never heard of it and am curious to hear if there is a flip side to the story.

  54. #54 Jrowe
    June 6, 2008

    Could someone please tell me what is so wrong about asking the vaccine companies to take the toxins out of vaccines? Whether or not you believe they cause autism, do you want to be injected with crap that hasn’t been proven safe?
    Do you think it would be good for the auto industry to inspect their own cars and tell us that they are safe?
    How about the food industry? Do you think Hormel should be in charge of telling us how safe their products are instead of food and drug?
    Then why is it okay that big pharma gets to rate the safety of their own products?
    These people are not crazy. They have been through a lot. Some of them are probably radical, yes. But most are not anti-vaccine.
    I am one of them. I was there. I believe in vaccines…..but I don’t believe they are 100% safe. Until they prove it to me, my child is having no more.
    And to the guy who wants me to keep my autistic child away from his, I don’t want my child around your snotty brats anyway.
    Keep your head stuck up your ass. Maybe if you’re lucky, one of your future kids will develop autism, too.

  55. #55 Angela S.
    June 6, 2008

    As a parent of a vaccine injured child I want to thank you for sharing these pics with your readers. You don’t realize it but you are actually helping us by giving this beautiful day even more exposure! Keep it up!

  56. #56 ozzy
    June 6, 2008

    Hey JRowe,

    Mind telling us people with our heads up our ass what in the world is 100% safe? Not getting your children vaccinated is definitely not 100% safe. I’m sure you’ll never let your kids eat a pear again since there is vaccine-level amounts of formaldehyde in it. Or perhaps you’ll just stop living since your body is producing vaccine levels of formaldehyde every single day. I’m sure you’ll never let your kids play in the dirt or eat vegetables (yes, even organic) since they will be exposed to aluminum from the dirt.

  57. #57 Dr. T
    June 7, 2008

    Ozzy, you are the one who needs a refresher in infant immunology, not me. Newborn babies acquire their humoral immunity by placental transfer of IgG antibodies from the mother. Those circulating IgG antibodies are all the newborn has until the plasma cells mature and crank out all the antibody types (IgG, IgA, IgM and IgD) starting at ~2 months of age.

    Ozzy, you also need to learn some hepatitis B epidemiology. The prevalence of hepatitis B among young children is nearly zero. The risk of transfer from cut-to-cut or scrape-to-scrape is so low that I have never heard of a case. Almost all young children with hepatitis B acquired it transplacentally, and most of those cases were known at birth. These kids get treated during infancy, and the ones who go to school are unlikely to be contagious.

    The CDC has refused multiple requests to break down hepatitis B case data by age. I was able to see the data from Canada. The likelihood of non-vaccinated children acquiring hepatitis B between ages 1 and 12 was essentially zero: one case (a sexually assaulted girl) in five years.

  58. #58 HCN
    June 7, 2008

    Toxins in vaccines! Are any worse than spasmogenic toxin or tetanospasmin?

  59. #59 Mary Parsons
    June 7, 2008

    lsw – Orac has written about Simpsonwood a number of times: this post contains most of his links.

  60. #60 chrisD
    June 7, 2008

    Ozzy, you also need to learn some hepatitis B epidemiology. The prevalence of hepatitis B among young children is nearly zero.

    Is that in vaccinated or non-vaccinated children?

  61. #61 Kristjan Wager
    June 7, 2008

    Then why is it okay that big pharma gets to rate the safety of their own products?

    I don’t know how it happens in the alternative world you live in, but here in the real world, it’s not the pharmaceutical companies that rate the safety of their own products. That’s done by government agencies around the world. Some times it even happens that these agencies disagree with each other, which is why certain types of medicine can be legal in some countries and not in others.

  62. #62 Orac
    June 7, 2008

    I am one of them. I was there. I believe in vaccines…..but I don’t believe they are 100% safe. Until they prove it to me, my child is having no more.

    My response to your invocation of the perfect solution fallacy.

  63. #63 ozzy
    June 7, 2008

    Dr. T

    I do know my HBV epidemiology. It is important to remember that 30% of all infections occur in the absence of any identifiable risk factors. HBV can and is laterally transmitted either through household contact or daycare/school exposure, albeit at a lower rate than at birth. But the facts speak for themselves. The HBV infection rate among children aged 0-4 has dropped by 94% (~1.6 down to ~0.1/100,000) following the initiation of HBV vaccination. And another thing, how many women actually get tested for HBV before they get pregnant. I would guess that number is fairly low. Worldwide, HBV is endemic in many regions and with the rate of immigration and travel, vigilance is warranted. HBV treatment in children is not very effective.

    OK, I was off by about two months. You got me on that one. But I still would like to know more about your wild idea of autoimmunity and free floating Ag. I think your understanding of B-cell selection is way off.

    Newborns are perfectly able to mount antigen-specific T cell responses at birth. These HBV surface Ag-specific T cells will be primed and ready to amplify the humoral response to subsequent vaccinations. That’s probably one of the reasons that infant HBV vaccination is so effective.

  64. #64 Pamela
    June 8, 2008

    I think you guys are missing the point. These people did vaccinate their children and then watched their children’s health decline. If they were fundamentally anti vaccine they would have never vaccinated their children to begin with.

    No where, in the above comments, did I see anyone address the reason for the rally, cleaning up the vaccines and spreading out the current schedule. Do any of you think that shots containing mercury, aluminium, anitfreeze, formaldihyde and more are really good for your babies?!? really?? Do you think that the administration of 5 shots containing 7 vaccines in one day at 2, 4 and 6 months old is a smart thing considering there have been absolutley no sutdies testing the safety of doing so. And think about how many shots you received as a child…only a fraction of what we are administering today. If any of you can find a study out there testing the safety of multiple vaccines in one day I would love for you to post it.

    Another question, in 1983 we had 10 vaccines in the schedule today we have 36. Was there some terrible scurdge of disease in the 1980′s that neccessitated the number of boosters we are giving today?

  65. #65 ozzy
    June 8, 2008

    Pamela,

    You have shown your true colors. Antifreeze is NOT in vaccines. The amount of formaldehyde contained in vaccines will barely raise an infant’s natural blood levels. We are constantly exposed to aluminum naturally, as it is the third most common element on earth and mercury has been removed to below trace levels and these levels are no more than a can of tuna fish.

  66. #66 Catherina
    June 8, 2008

    Actually, Ozzy, since infants rarely eat tuna, a more appropriate comparison would be breastmilk levels of mercury. Current mercury levels in a vaccine (if contained at all), are about as high as in a cup full of breastmilk.

    Pamela – I recently looked up infant mortality in my home country, Germany. In 1983, over 10’000 infants under 1 year died in Germany. In 2007, less than 2’000 infants died, although the number of premature babies has vastly increased. We know that age appropriately vaccinated children have a reduced risk of dying, we also know that children who suddenly die, often are infected with pertussis and other bacteria.

    If vaccines were this terrible agent poisoning our babies, why do we have so many more surviving infants today than we had 25 years ago?

    Apart from that, it is noteworthy that in the 60ies, babies would get live bacterial vaccines (BCG) and virus vaccines (smallpox) with hundreds and hundreds more antigens than they are receiving today. Also, infants were receiving whole cell pertussis vaccine preserved with (full dose) thimerosal. Both antigen load and mercury load in the 60ies were higher than today.

  67. #67 keblu
    June 10, 2008

    I have read all of your comments, and I didn’t know there were such nasty people out there.
    The people that were at this Rally are not anti-vaccine (as someone already posted), they were at this Rally because of vaccine damage.

    When any of you have a perfectly normal child, and get them vaccinated at 18 months with the series of shots that include the MMR, and you watch your child taken from you – then you can spout your nastiness to me. When you have a child that is loving and active and talking, and then they stop talking, regress into themselves, don’t want to be talked to or they scream, don’t want to be touched because it hurts, can’t handle crowds of people and loud noises send them into fits. They only want to do repetitive actions, are very particular in their diet (when they didn’t used to be), most foods cause them to have diarrhea, and they won’t let you hold them, and you may never hear the word “mommy” again…When your own Pediatrician will no longer look you in the eye..then you can spout your nastiness. Until then, keep your narrow minded ignorance to yourself.
    By the way, check out your flu vaccines – they are full of thimerosal.

    The only studies that were ever done to test the link between autism and vaccines were done by pharmaceutical companies. Do you seriously think they were done with the best interest of the people, or their own pocket books?

    And to the ignorant person that said we should keep our kids away from your kids..why? Your kids are vaccinated, remember? What’s it going to hurt? Your irrational way of thinking? And our kids are vaccinated too. Remember? That’s the whole point to the Rally – DAMAGE.

  68. #68 GREEN OUR VACCINES
    June 26, 2008

    Have you been told your six month old son had a stroke? Have you stood by his hospital crib and watched him almost die? Have you look into his eyes as he blankly stares and doesn’t recognize you? Does your child have permanent brain damage?
    I can answer yes to all of this. It happened ONE WEEK after he received EIGHT vaccines. I am a responsible, college educated mother. I would rather be reading a novel right now that doing my DAILY research. It has been over a year. We are lucky my son is doing well. Unfortunately, my research has shown there is something wrong with vaccines TODAY. The ingredients, the volume, the cocktails. They are NOT the same as they were when WE were kids.
    I do not stand up for future children for my personal satisfaction. I do it so no future mother spends five terrifying days staring into her infants beautiful blue eyes wondering if he would live. Until you spend the time that I have researching I will consider you ignorant and uneducated. I will not be back to read any nasty replies…I have better things to do.
    Signed,
    A blessed & smart mom and child advocate

  69. #69 Orac
    June 26, 2008

    Unfortunately, my research has shown there is something wrong with vaccines TODAY. The ingredients, the volume, the cocktails. They are NOT the same as they were when WE were kids.

    It’s true that vaccines are not the same. They’re better than when we were kids. Much better.

    There are many fewer antigens than there were 20 years ago, even though more vaccines are given, because there are fewer and more specific antigens in each vaccine. Even that feared bogeyman mercury has been reduced to trace levels in all but the flu vaccine.

    I’m sorry your child had this devastating problem. I really am. But at the risk of being charged with a lack of compassion, I have to point out that there’s nothing you’ve told us that provides any evidence that it was the vaccines that caused this stroke.

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