Respectful Insolence

Whatever you think of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, there’s one thing that I, at least, am happy to learn about it:

Vice President Joe Biden announced today that the Obama Administration will make $2.3 billion available for crucial health and human services programs that help to provide care for children and prevent disease. States will receive $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to support child care for working families. The administration also plans to make $300 million in vaccines and grants available to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.

[…]

In addition to funding for child care programs, an additional $300 million in Recovery Act funding and grants will help to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need. The Vice President’s announcement came as Americans mark National Public Health Week.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the majority of these new resources will be used to purchase vaccines, which will be distributed through the HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Section 317 immunization program to all 50 states, several large cities, and U.S. territories. Funding will also be used to support national public information campaigns regarding vaccines and support grants to states that demonstrate innovative new ways to ensure more Americans receive the vaccines they need.

“Vaccines help keep children healthy, prevent costly stays in hospitals, and fight diseases that can lead to serious illness or death” added Biden. “The Recovery Act will help to vaccinate more Americans, cut health care costs, improve public health and save lives.”

More information regarding the child care and vaccine programs is included below. To see a list of state by state funding for child care programs, visit http://transparency.cit.nih.gov/RecoveryGrants/grant.cfm?grant=childcare. To see a list of state by state funding for vaccine programs, visit http://transparency.cit.nih.gov/RecoveryGrants/grant.cfm?grant=vaccines.

This is about as great a use for some of that Obama stimulus cash as I can think of. State vaccination programs have been underfunded for a long time. Moreover, there’s funding there for education:

Nearly $32 million in Recovery Act funds will be used to increase information, communication and education and strengthen the evidence base for immunization. This will include activities to increase national public awareness and knowledge about the benefits and risks of vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Funds will also help provide tools and education for health care providers and to monitor and assess the impact and safety of licensed vaccines routinely recommended for use in the United States to ensure that national vaccine policy is appropriate and effective.

Although such an effort is long overdue, unfortunately no amount of education is likely to change the minds of the die-hard antivaccinationists of Jenny McCarthy’s ilk. No amount of science, no amount of appropriate education about vaccination will ever convince them that vaccines don’t cause autism. However, I remain optimistic that their misinformation-filled propaganda campaign can be countered.

Comments

  1. #1 CulturalIconography
    April 10, 2009

    I agree that this is good news. As you have made very clear in your blog, we shouldn’t give a rat’s behind what the antivaccine movement likes or dislikes. It’s time to stop paying any attention to those clowns and get on with the business of protecting people from vaccine-preventable diseases. We have safe and efficient vaccines to prevent suffering and death. It’s time to stop tiptoeing around the extremists.

  2. #2 Rogue Medic
    April 10, 2009

    While this may do nothing to convince the fear mongers, it is an important step in convincing parents that vaccines are safe. Combine this with Jenny Measles McCarthy calling for a return of preventable diseases and a lot of people will realize just how crazy it is to take medical advice from her.

    Even when Jim Carey gave her $50 million to kill children, there was little coverage that the Gates Foundation donated many times that amount for vaccines in Africa. We need to remind people that non-profit, charitable organizations recognize the importance of prevention. Prevention means vaccination. These organizations have a responsibility to use their money wisely, unlike Jenny’s Measles Marketing and Botox Shop.

    These real charities use their money to save lives, while the prodisease movement uses their money to sell more books and alternative treatments. Their motto should be changed to Greed the Vaccines. That seems to be all that Handley, Wakefield, and the other charlatans do. Corner drug pushers are more honest.

  3. #3 Azkyroth
    April 10, 2009

    Although such an effort is long overdue, unfortunately no amount of education is likely to change the minds of the die-hard antivaccinationists of Jenny McCarthy’s ilk. No amount of science, no amount of appropriate education about vaccination will ever convince them that vaccines don’t cause autism.

    You could no more change Jenny McCarthy’s mind than you could spay Jim Carrey, and for the same reasons.

  4. #4 eddie
    April 10, 2009

    Hi Orac,

    This is slightly OT but I think you’d be interested. I’ve noticed that I’m now recieving spam emails offering anti-virals (and not the software kind).

    I can’t think of anything more irresponsible. A sample;

    Innovative anti-virals!Thursday, 9 April, 2009 12:14 AM
    From: “Nita Monjaras” Add sender to Contacts
    To: ***
    You got more quality and less spending! Diseases will be destroyed!~

    If disease attacks and you can’t find defence: All you need in on place!~

    http://xfhruhdr.w.interia.pl

  5. #5 James Thomas
    April 10, 2009

    I’m all for funding wider availability of vaccines for the underserved. But why is this part of the economic stimulus package? As valuable and important as vaccine funding is, funneling funds from the stimulus package to fund it is dishonest.

  6. #6 iRobot
    April 10, 2009

    Economic stimulus can come from many angles. If you fund a program to provide vaccines you get a double benefit. Someone has to give the vaccines and inform the public. That is a person who would be laid off by the state as most states are broke. Of course you get a benefit by more people being vaccinated. I think its a great idea. Put money it categories that are being cut by the states, provides jobs and the benefit that was cut. I dont agree with everything the President has done, but I like most of it. It is such a nice change from the last guy who was stupid, mean and a criminal.

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 10, 2009

    Yes this is indeed good news. At this point there is really no point in putting much effort to try and convince the Anti-Vax crowd. Exposing their idiocy is really all that can be done “for” them.

    The point should be to educate those who are on the fence or are just ignorant on the subject.

  8. #8 Missfifi
    April 10, 2009

    Good news!
    Perhaps these folks who buy McCarthy’s BS should have watched the Autism special on Discovery the other night. Dare I say, they used the word GENETICS!!

  9. #9 Cynical Pediatrician
    April 10, 2009

    I keep going back and forth whether we can win this fight, or whether we’re destined to slip back into a resurgence of infectious diseases, morbidity and mortality.

    Earlier this week I saw a mom who was adamant about not giving her newborn any shots. She regurgitated just about every lie from the AoA/JMcC/JBH playbook (including the newest, “we get more shots in this country than anywhere else on earth”); when I called her out and corrected her on each point, it didn’t matter–no shots.

    And yet today I saw another mom who decided to start immunizations for her 2 yr old girl. Grandma had been preaching the anti-vax misinformation, but mom finally decided it wasn’t worth the risk. She wants to go ahead and get her daughter protected, even as this will probably also create a rift in the family.

    As much as it may seem like we’re banging our heads against a wall, every once in a while the message gets through. And since the alternative–throwing in the towel–isn’t an option, we just gotta keep doing what we’re doing. Of course, that extra $32 million for education should help.

  10. #10 Scott
    April 10, 2009

    James,

    As far as stimulus is concerned it doesn’t matter all that much *what* the money is spent on. Spending it at all is the main point. The economy can be effectively stimulated by paying people to dig holes and then fill them back in again.

    Naturally, you want to spend the money beneficially too – but this unquestionably is beneficial in its own right.

    The one possible gripe is whether vaccination funding provides the most economic bang per stimulus buck (i.e. how good is its multiplier effect), but that’s not a question of honesty or dishonesty.

  11. #11 gpmtrixie
    April 10, 2009

    Cynical Ped,
    Keep trying! I’m just a nobody mom of 3 kids who doesn’t use Botox, so Larry King will never have me on his show so I can tell people how wrong dumbo Jenny and her sidekick Jim are. But I did get a chance the other day to talk mom to (almost) mom to a coworker who is expecting her first child in a few months. I was giving her my old breastpump and talking up breastfeeding and she then asked me about vaccines. Did I get them all for my kids, did I space them out? I immediately said, “No, we got them all according to the schedule, I am way more scared of the diseases than the vaccines.”

    I told her that I was very worried for my little one until she got her full first round of everything because I know that compliance is going down. Not like it was 12 years ago when my older 2 were babies – everyone got their kids vaccinated. I also mentioned the Hib deaths in Philly. (Yeah, I felt a little bad about the scare tactic, but sometimes it’s needed!) So I hope, one by one, discussions like this can make a difference.

  12. #12 AnnR
    April 10, 2009

    If vaccinations help a low-income Mom keep her children healthy and avoid time off of work with a sick kid (and childhood diseases to result in relatively long illnesses) it’s helped her maintain her income — and helped the rest of their community maintain theirs.

    If she doesn’t have to travel to six clinics looking for the one that still has supplies you’ve upped the chances she’ll vaccinate and again – kept her at her job instead of riding the bus around.

    The “stimulus” bill was not totally focused but there is a lot of pent-up demand for things that need to be done.

  13. #13 Chris Krolczyk
    April 10, 2009

    gpmtrixie:

    Did I get them all for my kids, did I space them out? I immediately said, “No, we got them all according to the schedule, I am way more scared of the diseases than the vaccines.”

    Good.

    If the anti-vax rhetoric I’ve seen is any indication, I should be a lump of twitches and psychoses instead of the somewhat (?) normal human being typing this right now. All of my vaccinations were done according to schedule when I was a kid in the late 60’s and early 70’s, so if the current-day vaccination formulas are so damn toxic, why weren’t earlier varieties of Polio, Rubella and DPT vaccines? Was the stuff actually safer back then, or does the JenniMonster actually remember that she had to get her shots just like every other kid back in the day?

  14. #14 Jake Crosby
    April 10, 2009

    “This is about as great a use for some of that Obama stimulus cash as I can think of. State vaccination programs have been underfunded for a long time. Moreover, there’s funding there for education.”

    I could have predicted that, unfortunately your little celebration is two months too late.
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/02/history-suggests-hhs-candidate-not-unbiased-on-thimerosal-vaccine-issue.html#comments

    “No amount of science…will ever convince them that vaccines don’t cause autism.”

    “Amount” doesn’t matter. A million “studies” claiming the Earth were flat wouldn’t make it true. Likewise, pseudostudies claiming no association to autism consistent with overwhelming evidence of a CDC-cover up will only further convince me that vaccines cause autism.

  15. #15 ababa
    April 11, 2009

    Jake, so you are basically saying the more studies that prove that vaccines do not cause autism then the more you will be convinced that they do?

    Wow. Seriously. Step. Away. From. The. Keyboard.

    Mom and Dad could do a world of good for you if they simply pull the plug and stop letting Dan and Kim tell you that you are damaged goods.

    The conspiracy theory is a favorite for the paranoid. It is a convenient answer when the numbers just don’t add up. It takes no real proof, and as you said the absence of proof is just proof it exists!

    I know that the AoA crew may seem nice and caring and really interested in your troubles, but when you grow up a bit you might figure out that con artists can be nice too.

    If the vaccine “issue” doesn’t exist then all of those people at AoA and GR are out of a job. That seems like a decent conspiracy theory right there. Prove me wrong!

  16. #16 Militant Agnostic
    April 11, 2009

    Rogue Medic said

    Corner drug pushers are more honest.

    And they do less harm to society.

    And Jake Crosby joins Cooler in the ranks of people who can’t use Occam’s razor because they aren’t allowed to have sharp objects. The fact that these AofA clowns believe that that the CDC staff would be vile enough to engage in massive cover up shows who vile their own character is.

  17. #17 Azkyroth
    April 11, 2009

    I’m all for funding wider availability of vaccines for the underserved. But why is this part of the economic stimulus package?

    All other things being equal, the economy does better when employees are neither too sick to work nor too worried about their sick children to focus and be productive.

  18. #18 Paul Murray
    April 11, 2009

    [quote]”Amount” doesn’t matter. A million “studies” claiming the Earth were flat wouldn’t make it true. Likewise, pseudostudies claiming no association to autism consistent with overwhelming evidence of a CDC-cover up will only further convince me that vaccines cause autism.[/.quote]

    Damn straight. They try to tell me that the UFOs are not real, but who are you going to trust? The consesus of the scientific community? I trust “Bob”. He tells me that Jehovah *is* and alien and still threatens this planet! I got my salvation – paid my $30 to the church. Come X-Day, I’ll be escaping on the pleasure-vessels of the space godesses, and all the pinks will be consumed with firey *wrath*. Praise Bob!

  19. #19 Man Called True
    April 11, 2009

    Ah, finally some sanity from the government. So nice to see they haven’t fallen into the trap that’s snagging so many (presumably) otherwise reasonable people.

    Jake: Care to show us some evidence of this “CDC coverup”? And why would the CDC cover anything up anyway? Don’t give me that “bribes from Big Pharma” garbage, they get more money in one government grant than any pharmacutical could hand them.

  20. #20 John Fryer
    April 11, 2009

    1.7 MILLION USA children are autistic.
    And no one knows why?
    I think they do!
    The CDC know!
    The 2003 Pediatrics study by them admitted that one member was their current employee. He was in fact moved to a top job in a vaccine company and prevented from telling the TRUTH.
    His original data condemning vaccines have been lost, stolen or burned.
    But the CDC are happy to go along with increasing the number of autism cases by another million rather than admit for example that the work of vaccines pioneers like Charles Richet are correct and exact a 100 years later.
    In the same way the data has been LOST; so too the word ANAPHYLAXIS or death/injury from vaccines has been all but eliminated and replaced by the weasel word ALLERGY.

  21. #21 John Fryer
    April 11, 2009

    To Cynical Ped

    Your comment makes me think of the old boss of mine.

    “He didnt mind how hard he worked -”

    “other people.”

    Current CDC advice is that many vaccines only last for 5 years.

    So I hope that when you got those vaccines for your children that you got the same for yourself?

    I happen to believe in the science of years ago where repeats of the same vaccines led to ANAPHYLAXIS. See work of Nobel Prize winner Charles Richet.

    If you look at the rising number of deaths to young virgins you will see that that none of them die after their first vaccine.

    Charles Richet’s work in action again?

  22. #22 John Fryer
    April 11, 2009

    ” – new ways to ensure more Americans receive the vaccines they need – ”

    So what is the new HIGHER figure of AUTISM that is being aimed at in the USA?

    ONE in ONE?

  23. #23 Joseph
    April 11, 2009

    1.7 MILLION USA children are autistic.

    @John Fryer: You never learn, do you?

    Let’s see. The number of children in the US as of 2006 is 73.9 million.

    At the consensus prevalence of 0.6%, there would be 443,000 autistic children in the US.

    Even at a prevalence of 1% there would be only 739,000 autistic children in the US.

    Now, the number of children 6 to 17 actually identified as autistic in the US special education system as of 2007 is 242,787.

  24. #24 Dedj
    April 11, 2009

    “I could have predicted that, unfortunately your little celebration is two months too late.”

    Two months too late for what?

    Did it never actually occur to you that Sebelius was listening – but discarded the vaccines=autism link on the grounds of the absolute piss-poor quality of the evidence available to it?

    You don’t have a right to be believed just because it’s your opinion. You’re basically criticising her for going with the evidence.

    Go sulk in a corner somewhere else.

  25. #25 llewelly
    April 11, 2009

    Note the antivax crowd will be pummeling Biden and Obama with rabid antivax email. That should be countered with emails of thanks and congratulations.

  26. #26 Ciaphas
    April 11, 2009

    1.7 MILLION USA children are autistic.
    And no one knows why?
    I think they do!

    Yep. Changes to the way the diagnosis is made so that children formerly labed as mentally retarded are now considered autistic. That is what you meant, right?

  27. #27 Dave Robinson
    April 12, 2009

    For John and Jake:

    The statement that “if we stopped vaccinating children there would be fewer children with autism” can actually be defended. After all, if we stopped vaccinating children there would be fewer children – and any percentage of a smaller number is a smaller absolute figure than the same percentage of a larger number.

    Even if vaccines caused autism – they don’t – I still think “small chance of autism” is better than “large chance of death.”

    I’m a parent, I want my child to live.

  28. #28 Rogue Medic
    April 12, 2009

    John Fryer,

    In the same way the data has been LOST; so too the word ANAPHYLAXIS or death/injury from vaccines has been all but eliminated and replaced by the weasel word ALLERGY.

    Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction. Allergy is not replacing anaphylaxis in the medical literature. Search PubMed for anaphylaxis. 90 of the first 100 results are from 2009. Anaphylaxis is real. Anaphylaxis is not common. Anaphylaxis is not being hidden.

    I happen to believe in the science of years ago where repeats of the same vaccines led to ANAPHYLAXIS. See work of Nobel Prize winner Charles Richet.

    Science is not about belief, but about evidence.

    Repeated exposure to an allergen may cause an allergic reaction. This is not limited to vaccines. Using your logic, you would never eat the same food twice, because you would be causing anaphylaxis.

    Clearly you have had some kind of reaction to nuts, just not the nuts that are food.

    Why do Luddites remember the past as wonderful? Especially the past that was before they were born. The past that they could not remember. It would be nice if we could return them to that time.

    If you look at the rising number of deaths to young virgins you will see that that none of them die after their first vaccine.

    That is great news.

    John Fryer is telling us that after their first vaccine, young virgins do not die – none of them.

    Why he is only concerned with the health of virgins is something that he may only share with his confessor, or with a cellmate.

  29. #29 Calli Arcale
    April 16, 2009

    Arguably, “allergy” is a better term than “anaphylaxis” because it encompasses more potential side-effects. Anaphylaxis is just the most severe allergic reactions (if I understand the terms correctly). It’s also far more likely to be understood by the general public, so contrary to it being a “weasel word”, it’s actually much clearer.

  30. #30 The Perky Skeptic
    April 16, 2009

    Also, Calli, aren’t most of what people commonly refer to as “allergies” actually more properly called “sensitivities?” I got taken to task on a forum one time for my persistent inability to keep those terms straight. :D All for my benefit, however, as I remember now!

  31. #31 John Fryer
    April 22, 2009

    Hi

    Many comments on my comments.

    First thing to say. My comments are given in sincerity and from a base of much and long considered reflection.

    No one can be 100 per cent correct all the time and I am as fallible as the next person.

    The disuse of the word anaphylaxis is fact and if you do a survey you will find that most people understand allergy but few people understand anaphylaxis. Yes, it is on the net but this isn’t the same as common parlance.

    I would be happy to see the results of anyone who checks everyday usage or understanding of the two words but even for me anaphylaxis was a new word a few years ago but I have been looking at allergy for twenty years and more.

    Can the same thing happen just by eating food. Obviously not in general. But anaphylaxis after vaccines is FACT and Charles Richet actually demonstrated this to a disbelieving scientist more than 100 years ago. Needless to say he was convinced.

    Today this anaphylaxis is overcome by giving tylenol or other medications to the baby. How often does the doctor say take the medicine to overcome anaphylactic reactions? NEVER!

    Thr ‘rogue medics’ comments about my comment on virgins shows his knowledge may be superficial.

    The gardasil is for virgins and the many dozen deaths have occurred largely on the third vaccine and not the first or second vaccine. To me this is significant in the light of the work of Charles Richet and anaphylaxis.

    No one will deny the values of vaccines but we do have studies that show delayed vaccinations are giving less adverse effects.

    In general adverse effects in the past have been 1 in 50 million but we are talking today of those adverse effects at just under a quarter of a million but as many people are suggesting here that other neurological effects are being called autism the potential for harm from vaccines if it is proven could already stand at over 6 million victims.

    My problem therefore is how come we have moved from safety of 1 in 50 million to that of millions of sick children?

    The death of 6 per cent in last years vaccine trial shows to me MONEY and PROFIT are being placed ahead of SAFETY for our children.

    The death of Harry Clark 6 hours after his first vaccine shows the promise of safety after vaccines from vaccine preventable illness is not without risk to some people.

    We are facing intolerable levels of AUTISM and we have no idea of the cause.

    This is unacceptable.

  32. #32 notmercury
    April 22, 2009

    John Fryer:

    “We are facing intolerable levels of AUTISM and we have no idea of the cause.”

    It seems like you have very clear ideas concerning cause. Haven’t you stated that vaccines are responsible for an increase in autism diagnoses, or are you a different John Fryer?

    “This is unacceptable.”

    Accept it or don’t. No one cares.

  33. #33 Zetetic
    April 24, 2009

    Fryer said:

    I would be happy to see the results of anyone who checks everyday usage or understanding of the two words but even for me anaphylaxis was a new word a few years ago but I have been looking at allergy for twenty years and more

    That’s funny…. I’ve know about anaphylaxis for at least 25 years, and I’m not even a doctor. Odd how it’s been a big secret to just you.

    As for Charles Richet, you stated…

    Obviously not in general. But anaphylaxis after vaccines is FACT and Charles Richet actually demonstrated this to a disbelieving scientist more than 100 years ago.

    Funny how that’s not quite what he actually demonstrated….
    The Nobel Prize Biography website

    In 1913, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his researches on anaphylaxis. He invented this word to designate the sensitivity developed by an organism after it had been given a parenteral injection of a colloid or protein substance or a toxin (1902). Later he demonstrated the facts of passive anaphylaxis and anaphylaxis in vitro. The applications of anaphylaxis to medicine are extremely numerous. Already in 1913, over 4000 memoirs had been published on this question and it plays an important part nowadays in pathology.

    Wow! There has been such a big conspiracy to cover up his research in anaphylaxis that he got the Nobel Prize for it! No wonder nobody has ever heard of him and his work before!

    Strangely, you also seem to have skipped over this detail about him…

    In experimental therapeutics Richet showed that the blood of animals vaccinated against an infection protects against this infection (Nov. 1888). Applying this principle to tuberculosis, he did the first serotherapeutic injection done in man (Dec. 6, 1890).

    Funny how there is no mention of creating an anaphylactic reaction from a vaccination, as you stated. The closest thing to what you stated was his research showing that an anaphylactic reaction can be created by repeated exposure to the same antigen. That’s somewhat different from what you stated, and something that vaccinations try to avoid.

    Then Fryer stated…

    Today this anaphylaxis is overcome by giving tylenol or other medications to the baby. How often does the doctor say take the medicine to overcome anaphylactic reactions? NEVER!

    That is a gross distortion of why Tylenol is used, yes Tylenol is given to lower the increase in body temperature that occurs as an immune response to the antigens in the vaccine, but that is not what is medically considered an anaphylactic reaction (which is defined as a severe allergic response). Rather it’s reducing a fever caused the immune system responding to what it falsely perceives as an infection, which is what the vaccine is supposed to do. If a person was having an actual anaphylactic reaction, it would take more than a small dose of Tylenol to make a significant difference.
    Definition of Anaphylaxis

    an⋅a⋅phy⋅lax⋅is
    –noun Pathology.
    exaggerated allergic reaction to a foreign protein resulting from previous exposure to it.

    Saying that giving Tylenol is to prevent an anaphylactic reaction, is like saying that doctors having a drinking fountain in their office is to prevent death from dehydration from cholera. It’s an extreme exaggeration.

    Yes there is a very small portion of the population that have an allergic reaction to some components of some vaccines (egg white proteins for example) but the small percentage is far outweighed by the benefits (as Charles Richet himself helped to prove) and there are modified versions of the vaccines for the small percentage of people where the risks are a legitimate concern.

  34. #34 HCN
    April 24, 2009

    Zetetic, don’t waste your time… John Fryer is a known liar. He just makes up stuff for no apparent reason.

  35. #35 Zetetic
    April 24, 2009

    @HCN
    I know…I’ve been lurking for a little while now. Thanks for the warning though, the thought is appreciated.

    It’s like arguing with a flat Earth believer, it’s usually pointless to try to change their mind with logic and facts. It’s more just an exercise for those “on the fence” that may read the post. I’m under no illusion that he’ll try to learn anything from it, he seems to have a bad case of “Morton’s Demon”.

  36. #36 Graham
    April 29, 2009

    Sadly, the Anti-Vaxers are going to like this. Channel 7 Australia has a current affairs program called ‘Sunday Night’ which airs at 6:30pm on that day.

    The next program is going to have a segment on how harmful vaccines are including cases that will “…stun the experts…”.

    I’m not going to be able to watch it for various reasons, but if anyone else in Australia reads this it might be worth looking at.

    Especially just who turns up in the segment and what they say.

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