As 2009 ended and 2010 began, I made a vow to myself to try to diversify the topics covered on this blog. Part of that vow was to try to avoid writing about vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement for more than a couple of days in a row. Unfortunately, even in the middle its very first full week, 2010 has already conspired to make a mockery of any “plans” I thought I might have for the blog, with a flurry of vaccine-related news items relevant to the pseudoscience that is the anti-vaccine movement coming fast and furious. Oh, well. I might as well just go with the flow and do what I do best–at least for now.

When I wrote the other day about the libel suit brought by the grand dame of the anti-vaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, against the man whom they view as the Dark Lord of Vaccination or even Satan himself, Dr. Paul Offit, I mentioned that lawsuits against prominent defenders of vaccines could be a strategy to intimidate them into silence. Including the reporter who quoted Dr. Offit (Amy Wallace) and the publisher of the magazine in which the article appeared (Condé Nast, publisher of WIRED) also struck me as a rather transparent attempt to discourage reporters and publishers from writing about the anti-vaccine movement.

The reason I made this latter conclusion is that 2009 was in general a great year for the media’s waking up and examining the anti-vaccine movement in a much less positive light. Whether it was Amy Wallace’s article that provoked Barbara Loe Fisher’s lawsuit, Brian Deer’s expose of Andrew Wakefield’s scientific fraud, or Trine Tsouderos’ expose of Mark and David Geier, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, and the autism/a> biomed movement, 2009 marked the year that the mainstream press started to realize that the harm the anti-vaccine movement is doing to public health is actually the story, not scorned parents bucking the system in a Lorenzo’s Oil frenzy of crushing existing paradigms no matter what science and medicine think about the issue of whether vaccines cause autism. This is a very good thing indeed.

And the anti-vaccine movement does not like it at all.

Another excellent example of such journalism appeared in, of all places, USA Today, yesterday, starting this way:

Brendalee Flint did everything she could to keep her baby safe. She nourished her with breast milk; she gave her all the routine vaccines. But Flint never realized how much her daughter’s health would depend on the actions of her friends, neighbors and even strangers.

By 15 months old, Flint’s daughter, Julieanna Metcalf, was walking, exploring and even saying her first few words. Then one day in the bath, while fighting what seemed like an ordinary stomach bug, Julieanna became so weak and floppy that she couldn’t hold up her head.

“She couldn’t say ‘Help me,’ but her eyes were begging me to do something,” says Flint, 35.

It turns out that Julieanna had severe Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis. She was one of the victims of the recent Hib outbreak in Minnesota, which was linked to pockets of unvaccinated children. She still has serious sequalae from her bout of meningitis that will likely be with her for the rest of her life. Because Julieanna has a rare immune deficiency, vaccines don’t work in her; she depends on herd immunity:

That worries moms such as Flint, who learned that her daughter has a rare immune deficiency only after she contracted Hib. Because Julieanna doesn’t respond to vaccines, she depends on other parents to keep germs out of circulation by vaccinating their kids, a phenomenon called “herd immunity.”

Then there was this mother, whose daughter died of invasive pneumococcal disease:

The most shocking part of this video is that the dead girl’s doctor didn’t believe much in vaccinations and in fact encouraged her parents not to vaccinate. My recommendation: Sue the doctor for malpractice. Given that I’m one of the “tribe” and have just as intense a loathing for malpractice attorneys and malpractice suits as any other physician, you can be sure that if I say that about another doctor I really mean it and really consider the offense to be egregious. Any pediatrician who discourages recommended vaccines is very likely committing malpractice. In this case, a girl died as a result; so there is demonstrable injury as a result of this physician’s negligence. Sue his ass. Maybe if more parents started doing this when their children suffer or die from vaccine-preventable illness because their doctors discouraged vaccination fewer doctors would be so cavalier about such advice not to vaccinate.

Worse, the rationale for not vaccinating can border on seriously burning stupid:

Parents such as Rebecca Estepp of San Diego decided not to vaccinate her younger son after his older brother was diagnosed with autism. When measles broke out in Southern California in 2008, “I had to decide, ‘Would I rather have him get the measles or risk having him get autism like his brother did?’ ” says Estepp, national policy manager for Talk About Curing Autism. “My husband and I decided we’d rather he get measles.”

Because of fear of a vaccine that is, by any measure, incredibly safe, Estepp decided that she’d put her her son at extreme risk of contracting measles, which, contrary to the misconception, is not a benign disease. Worse, she did it because she believed in a myth, a lie promulgated by the anti-vaccine movement, namely that the MMR vaccine causes autism. It is not a choice of “measles versus autism.” It is a choice of preventing measles at a very low risk versus the risk of getting the measles and its potential complications.

The USA Today article then goes on to describe how pockets of low vaccine uptake are placing us at risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Certainly, they are, and, unlike in the past, when areas of low vaccination rates tended to be associated more with poverty and poor access to health care, these days pockets of low vaccine uptake tend to be more associated with upper middle classed “worried” parents who have never seen the ravages that vaccine-preventable infectious disease can cause. Protected by herd immunity, they see only risks and no benefits from vaccines, and these risks are exaggerated by the anti-vaccine movement to the level where even rational parents might take pause. But what if herd immunity fails?

The USA Today article is, I hope, a continuation of the trend begun in the mainstream media in 2009, namely telling it like it is when it comes to the anti-vaccine movement and pointing out how (1) it is not based on any science and (2) its adherents are frightening parents into not vaccinating, a decision that can result in death.

I can only hope that, in April (which is Autism Awareness Month, a month I’ve come to dread every year now) dim and dimmer Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey start showing up on Larry King Live to hawk the latest propaganda angle of pseudostudy from Generation Rescue, when vaccine “skeptics” such as Dr. Jay Gordon or Dr. Bob Sears start repeating the brainless “too many too soon” mantra, when J.B. Handley slimes his way onto various TV shows to trumpet his usual nonsense, there will be real skeptical journalists there instead of lapdogs to challenge them on the facts.

Your children’s health is at stake.

Comments

  1. #1 Dangerous Bacon
    January 9, 2010

    DB: So what is this “whole” that you think disproves the eradication of smallpox and the key role that vaccination had in eliminating the disease?

    anon: “I’m not disproving anything, as I am not making the assertion – try as you may to stuff your own words in my mouth.”

    Nope. I’m reminding you of your own words earlier in this discussion, when you referred to the history of the successful fight against smallpox as a “misnomer”, then went on to say:

    anon “Because I think there has been a lot of obfuscation surrounding this disease, the vaccine, and it’s declared eradication.”

    Obviously you were trying to insinuate that smallpox hasn’t really been eradicated. So why the protest now that I’m putting words in your mouth? Either you think the medical establishment boogeymen didn’t really eliminate smallpox (thanks largely to the vaccine) and have engineered a massive worldwide coverup, or you accept that despite the damage this success story does to your loathing of immunization, you’re willing to accept the truth. Which is it?

    All the dodging and insinuating just makes you look like someone without the courage of their convictions. And for an antivaxer who airily dismisses evidence because it comes from “the medical establishment” (the WHO is wrong, the CDC is concealing things, etc. etc.), where’s your evidence? Got facts – post them. Don’t hide behind innuendo.

    Stop pretending you’re trying to “engage the scientific community”. The way to do that is with convincing evidence, not with rumor-mongering and conspiracy theorizing.

    Try some compassion too. It’d be terrific if parents of vulnerable kids and other patients at risk didn’t have to fear the mass return of preventable infectious diseases, due to the misinformation campaigns of antivaxers.

  2. #2 a-non
    January 10, 2010

    anon,

    I see you take them humbly. You are free to continue to incorrectly psychologically profile me and anyone else that disagrees with you if you think it adds heft to your argument. At the end of MY day, attempts to engage the scientific community, will remain fruitless.

    Yeah, the person who thinks he/she is “engaging the scientific community” by making fact-free assertions about the ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccination programs is lecturing others on humility.

    Look, let me break down your entire argument. It is that we cannot prove that vaccines aren’t harmful. Is is that you cannot prove that some other external mechanism eradicated endemic diseases other than vaccination. You are asking us to prove a negative, which is the oldest, lamest logical fallacy in the book.

    And yet you suggest we take you seriously. Please.

  3. #3 Anónimo
    January 10, 2010

    Truckloads Of Unused Swine Flu Vaccines
    http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/new_york_state/100108-Unused-Flu-Vaccine

    When you come up with bogus pandemics and then rush to market unproven vaccines like the H1N1, you just alert more people to take a second look at vaccinations and then they wonder is this vaccine or that vaccine really necessary?

  4. #4 Anonymous
    January 10, 2010

    Former CDC Head Dr. Julie Gerberding Lands Vaccine Job At Merck

    http://www.postchronicle.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=175&num=274608

    That’s wrong and that’s one of the reasons why I don’t trust vaccines or the people that make them.

    Don’t give people like me anymore shit about my fear of vaccine side effects until you tell the people at big pharma to stop making in-your-face moves such as the hiring of the former head of the CDC to head their vaccine division. It just wreaks of a conflict of interest!

  5. #5 Chris
    January 10, 2010

    Exactly how would the H1N1 vaccine have protected the two little girls that were mentioned in this blog posting? Do you really think that each vaccine is identical to another?

  6. #6 gaiainc
    January 10, 2010

    I should be in bed, but I’ve just spent some ungodly amount of time reading through the comments and trying to understand anon. My head hurts.

    Anon, just a suggestion. Try calling the CDC and ask them where they get their numbers. Seriously. I’ve had to call them asking questions and have gotten a great response each time, even when my first contact goes, “huh… no idea… let me send you to this person. She/He should know”.

    800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day

    People vaccinated shedding pathogen… just to be clear, the only live vaccines that are used in the US schedule are the MMR, varicella, rotavirus, and the nasal version of the flu vaccine. Dtap, Hib, Prevnar (for seven serotypes of strep pneumoniae), polio, HPV (four serotypes of HPV), the flu shot, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B do not contain live virus or bacteria. They contain proteins bits (for lack of a better term) or killed/dead/deceased viruses or bacteria. I believe meningoccocal is either protein bits or dead bacteria (since you can give to pregnant women), but the VIS does not state, and I can’t find the link yet on the CDC website. I will try to look and find later.

    How to monitor for adverse reactions… I wonder how anon would like us to do that. For all patients who get the H1N1 vaccine this year, each have had to fill out a form that is sent to the public health department. For all my pediatric patients, when I give immunizations at my clinic, the information gets dumped into a statewide database. 1-2 times a year, a very nice lady comes to the clinic and lets us know how we’re doing on our immunizations, mainly to conjole us to do better. Every time one of my patients get an immunization, they get a copy of the latest VIS which lists through reactions, advises them strongly to let their clinician know if there is a reaction, and even has information on the vaccine court. What more would anon like to see?

    To the poster at 203 and 204, if BLF and the other members of the disease promotion league weren’t screaming about how the H1N1 was a new untested vaccine and how scary vaccines are in general and ohmigod you can’t trust the guvmint nor anyone including your clinician except me because I’m such a maverick and THE TRUTH is so being suppressed and OHMIGOD it’s so awful you just can’t imagine about just how horrible these vaccines are, then maybe people would get the vaccine and we wouldn’t have a surplus. You know… just a thought.

  7. #7 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 10, 2010

    Don’t give people like me anymore shit about my fear of vaccine side effects until you tell the people at big pharma to stop making in-your-face moves such as the hiring of the former head of the CDC to head their vaccine division. It just wreaks of a conflict of interest!

    First of all, you mean “reeks”. Second, if you weren’t coming into this thing with a bias against “Big Pharma” you probably wouldn’t think there was anything unseemly about someone who needs a new job (I personally think Obama should have kept her on, but it was his decision to ask her and several others to step aside for the people he wanted to put in) seeking a new job in a field she’s already familiar with. I mean, is there any company which could make full use of Dr. Gerberding’s skills and experience which you couldn’t push into the pigeonhole “Big Pharma”? What, were you thinking she should change her career focus from infectious disease to automobiles and try to find a job at Chrysler, just so that you won’t perceive a conflict of interest?

  8. #8 anon
    January 10, 2010

    DB: Obviously you were trying to insinuate that smallpox hasn’t really been eradicated.

    Uh, no. I wasn’t. I’ll be more clear, since your attempts to pin me down are failing and that appears to be your focus and source of contention. My use of the word misnomer directly applies to the obfuscation surrounding the incidence reporting of adverse reactions, contraction of the disease because of the vaccine and deaths attributed to the mass use of this vaccine. Dating back farther than 40s, there are allegations of misconduct, record alteration etc… Is it true? Well I don’t know… but I’m not going to stick my head in the sand and pretend they aren’t there.

    You are simply attempting to make me take a position on this topic for your amusement and engagement, and I won’t do it.

    All the dodging and insinuating just makes you look like someone without the courage of their convictions.

    Perhaps to you, because you have unsuccessfully been able corner me and wrap me up in aluminum foil. I don’t profess to have any novel conviction, despite repeated attempts to give them to me.

    And for an antivaxer who airily dismisses evidence because it comes from “the medical establishment” (the WHO is wrong, the CDC is concealing things, etc. etc.), where’s your evidence? Got facts – post them. Don’t hide behind innuendo.

    Innuendo? I’m not the one espousing statistics. When someone gives me statistics, I’m sorry, I like to verify them. A lot of the statistics quoted by public and international health agencies are very difficult to verify, at best. I haven’t professed to having any facts, and have only tried to verify those that have been given to me. You seem to be incapable of understanding this very significant point.

    The way to do that is with convincing evidence, not with rumor-mongering and conspiracy theorizing.

    I’m not even sure I know what rumor-mongering is. And the tin foil hat is certainly predictable. Let me try again.

    I am unable to fully verify the statistics brought forth in favor of your argument (s). You are free to continue to boast the eradication of small pox, I will not stop you, nor did I. By and large I didn’t even disagree with you, only discussed the confusion that can be a result of this discussion. You will not be able to get me to join you by using statistics that are based upon mathematical modeling, or estimation. Why you are insistent upon sparring, I’m not exactly sure.

    Try some compassion too. It’d be terrific if parents of vulnerable kids and other patients at risk didn’t have to fear the mass return of preventable infectious diseases, due to the misinformation campaigns of antivaxers.

    Compassion is a two way street. It would be terrific if parents of vulnerable kids and other patients at risk didn’t have to fear the destruction of the health of their future children, by participating in a program that places the lives others above their own.

    I’m not opposed to vaccination. I’ve conceded the benefits, as I see them. I just don’t have tunnel vision and am capable of realizing that risks and benefits cannot be properly measured with the system we have. Vaccinating the very young is a practice that is in total infancy. No innuendo or conspiracy needed.

    a-non: making fact-free assertions about the ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccination programs is lecturing others on humility.

    This is almost laughable. I provided several citations to the only person that has engaged me in a thoughtful manner. I have simply called into question the current dogma surrounding the definition of immunity, and I’m using your OWN facts to do it. If you weren’t so concerned with exposing my “true identity” and agenda by using skeptical talking points – you could see that.

    is that you cannot prove that some other external mechanism eradicated endemic diseases other than vaccination.

    I’m not making an assertion that vaccination is responsible for said eradication, therefore, I am not responsible for proving it.

    You are asking us to prove a negative, which is the oldest, lamest logical fallacy in the book.

    See previous statement. Perhaps you’re just so determined to reveal debating flaws and appear to be ever so wise, that you’ve missed the part where DB claimed the eradication of small pox due to vaccination, then posted unverifiable statistics, and asked me to disprove the assertions made therein. If I make an assertion, then I’ll do my best verify what I portray as fact. Since I don’t pretend to have all the facts, and am simply questioning those being presented to me inadequately ad nauseum, I’ve not needed to do much.

    Clearly you are not taking me seriously. Perhaps you should reconsider your stance, if you care to convince those that agree with me.

    gaiainc @206: I’ve just spent some ungodly amount of time reading through the comments and trying to understand anon. My head hurts.

    You are certainly, in no way, obligated to do so. It’s apparent that some of those so determined to prove me wrong have selective reading, I guess I’ve come to expect it. And since you said:

    How to monitor for adverse reactions… I wonder how anon would like us to do that.

    I’ve already stated that a mandatory reporting system for all outcomes is a fine place to start. Those continuing to espouse the rarity of adverse reactions should want the same.

    I’m clear on which vaccines are live, attenuated viral vaccines. Bacterial vaccines have their own issues, that we haven’t really discussed, with the exception of pertussis (we did discuss a little bit). That was the only one I was requested to address. And I did. Replacement disease / serotype replacement is a real issue. I also question the necessity to continue to use diphtheria in conjugate vaccines, even though I understand why we do it.

    Every time one of my patients get an immunization, they get a copy of the latest VIS which lists through reactions, advises them strongly to let their clinician know if there is a reaction,

    Do you screen any of the lots you administer prior to doing so to see if they’ve been reported as “hot”? Do you administer motrin or tylenol prior to administering vaccines? I read a post on a parenting forum where the mother stated she called ahead of time to ask for the lot numbers so she could research them herself prior to getting the shots and she was admonished and then subsequently treated very unprofessionally for doing so.

    Another parent said her child presented with an acute infection, was advised to get the shots anyway. (The subject of another post earlier, where I also present another fact-free assertion according to a-non, links and all) Four hours later the child was crying non-stop. When she called to report the problem to the doctor, they told her it was normal. Obviously, it’s not. This incident went unreported – and is reprehensible. It not only demonstrates, rather adequately, that our current system is not indicative of revealing true adverse events, but that there is no desire to change it. That kind of crying, may likely contraindicate further administration of a vaccine – but when you give 6 of them… how do you know which is the culprit?

    If people are incapable of grasping this very rudimentary issue surrounding side effects, this problem will only get bigger.

  9. #9 Pablo
    January 10, 2010

    AF – I, too, am trying to understand what’s wrong with Gerberding going to Merck.

    The anti-vax claim is that the CDC is being controlled by Big Pharma. But this is the exact opposite happening – Big Pharma is being run by someone from the CDC!

    Jeez, what else could you ask for? Here is a case where she can use her insight with the CDC regarding the big national health problems that the CDC is trying to solve to get Merck to help solve those problems. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what we want our companies doing? Trying to solve the problems faced by our national health programs?

    Who do they want instead? Some MBA with no public health experience but with lots of expertise in the fields of marketing and sales? Someone who’s #1 focus is on profitablity? That would be a far bigger concern than bringing in a public health expert.

  10. #10 Dangerous Bacon
    January 10, 2010

    anon: “Is it true? Well I don’t know…You are simply attempting to make me take a position on this topic for your amusement and engagement, and I won’t do it.”

    It’d give you some credibility if you admitted to your antivax beliefs and provided facts to back up your baseless insinuations. Your lack of willinginess to do so fatally damages your attempt to pose as a credible source.

  11. #11 JR
    January 10, 2010

    In the past month I’ve had seasonal flu and H1N1, and tetanus at a regularly scheduled Dr appointment. Never felt any adverse symptoms other than a very small amount of tenderness at the Tetanus injection site.

    Following the news of H1N1, I was horrified to realize that evidently in England they have come to refer to a vaccination as a Jab! What a negative way to refer to a lifesaving medical intervention.

    It is a solid fact that the most advanced medical treatment as far as saving lives is vaccination. Diseases have indeed been eliminated from the face of the earth (in the case of smallpox) or nearly so in the case of polio.

    Polio would be gone – except for local politicians and shamans using UN vaccination programs as a fear-monger tool to manipulate voters in Africa – sort of like anti-vaccination zealots around here. Most of them are either unable to grasp the facts (terrified moms mostly, a little hard to blame them) or are deliberately using a big-lie technique for their personal profit.

    These last ones, they are in-human in their lack of empathy, ruled by greed, lacking in morality, twisting truth to profit from lies.

    DNACopernicus or whatever your tagname is, you are wasting your time studying biology or bio-technology. You won’t be hired because you aren’t vaccinated, which is a good thing, as you are too stupid to be good at hi-tech anyway. If you can’t understand the world-wide racial benefits to humanity that modern medicine – including vaccinations – provides, you’re going to be a burger-flipper. Until the boss tells you that a vaccination will be necessary, to protect the buger buying public.

    Personally, I get every vaccination I can. It’s good for you to stimulate your immune system. I believe everyone should have every available vaccination to protect their fellow humans. When I was a kid there were annual polio outbreaks. I had classmates who’s very bones were twisted, who wrote illegably because their hands were so bad. The teachers gave them extra time, and worked with them individually to understand what the kids had written.

    Thinking back, it was medieval horror, iron lungs, braces and wooden crutches – so my folks had me take the polio shots, and then when Sabin’s oral vaccine came out, we did the whole series over again. Because being crippled and twisted was the GOOD outcome!! The bad ones were total paralysis or death.

    My wife’s family had a neighbor over for dinner in the early 50s while his wife was out of town. He didn’t eat much, didn’t feel so hot. The next DAY he died from polio!

    So you anti-vaccination freaks, screw you guys, you’re immoral, stupid, endangering everyone around you because you are deluded cowards! You deserve to die from easily preventable diseases, to flush the burning stupid out of the human race! Anon, that’s you right there, Sid, you too!

    I hope I haven’t been confusing about where I stand in the vaccination debate, or left any doubt in anyone’s mind about the local opinion about today’s health care debate here at the Respectful Insolence blog.

    Thanks for the venue!

    JR

  12. #12 a-non
    January 10, 2010

    anon,

    The premise that vaccines are safe, effective, and the primary reason diseases like smallpox have been eradicated is well-accepted by any credible science. Your questioning of those claims quite frankly falls under “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” umbrella. Therefore, it is up to you to show why these things to be untrue, and no, suggesting that some of the evidence may or may not be verifiable does not meet that standard. Nor is the posting of anecdotes about alleged hot lots and vaccine reactions.

    You might think you’re clever, but at its core everything you’re putting out there is just a variant of the “I’m just asking questions” fallacy, where someone throws out a bunch of unprovable assertions (“how do you know that vaccines really eradicated smallpox”) and when called out on it claim that you’re “just asking”.

    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/JAQing_off

    Let’s repeat. You. Are. Fooling. Nobody.

  13. #13 gaiainc
    January 10, 2010

    Anon, a mandatory reporting system for all outcomes. Really? OK… how? Seriously. How do you propose to do this? Have parents/guardian report in? Have clinics ask patients who have received the vaccine how they did? Have someone from public health call all patients? If the latter two, how do you propose to fund the time necessary to make the phone calls? My office staff don’t have down time until they have lunch. What if the patients don’t have a working phone? Do you propose a written survey? If so, what if the survey comes back as undeliverable or no address? What if the patients don’t respond to the survey? Whose responsibility will it be to make sure that the information is captured?

    As for an adverse outcome, how would you define it? A sore arm? A fever (and if so, what is your cut-off)? A redness around the injection site? Not feeling right? More crying? I’m going to guess that my definition of an adverse outcome or event is not going to be the same as yours.

    As for a lot being “hot” what do you mean? A lot that should not be given? Any reports of lots that should not be given go through my clinic manager and my hospital system and are caught at those levels. If they are not caught, incident reports are filed, patients are notified, and we do what we can to rectify the situation.

    Tylenol or ibuprofen administration prior to immunizations is up to the parent. I am neither for nor against it. For the record, my son doesn’t get anti-pyretics or analgesics before he gets his immunizations.

    Your anecdote above? Parents can report to VAERS if they so desire. 4 hours of crying versus coming down with a vaccine-preventable disease? I’d take the 4 hours of crying, please. Thanks.

    As for replacement disease/serotype substitution being a real problem, I need a citation, something, other than your assertion. The reason I need something more than your assertion is anecdotal, but to me it is powerfully anecdotal. I have never seen a case of invasive H influenzae type b disease in over 14 years of being in medicine. I take care of kids. Considering the pre-vaccine era incidence rates, I should have. I have studied at, trained at, and worked at tertiary care centers, regional medical centers, and medical centers that have dedicated children’s hospitals. Taking out Hib hasn’t seemed to cause the problems your assertion alludes to. This is the one situation of which I can think. Do you have a specific example instead?

  14. #14 medrecgal
    January 10, 2010

    Orac,

    Didn’t know where else to put this, but I noticed something rather strange when I clicked onto your blog today: the ads that are cycling through on the side of the page, one of them is for “Autism Speaks”. That struck me as incredibly weird and oddly ironic. Just thought you might want to be aware of this, since you’ve done such fantastic take-downs of these types of autism organizations in my years reading this blog…

  15. #15 Dangerous Bacon
    January 10, 2010

    “You might think you’re clever, but at its core everything you’re putting out there is just a variant of the “I’m just asking questions” fallacy, where someone throws out a bunch of unprovable assertions (“how do you know that vaccines really eradicated smallpox”) and when called out on it claim that you’re “just asking”.

    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/JAQing_off

    Let’s repeat. You. Are. Fooling. Nobody.”

    Well said – but with the qualification that intelligent, rational people are not fooled. The kind who lap up what Glenn Beck and Jesse Ventura are saying might think anon‘s “questions” make sense and that it’s up to physicians/public health experts to prove her/him wrong, not knowing or caring about the scientific method that requires that such assertions (especially ones that fly in the face of evidence and reason) be proved by the person making them*.

    That’s how you “engage the scientific community”.

  16. #16 bellastarkey
    January 11, 2010

    @ JR

    In australia and the UK we have always called them “jabs”, with no negative connotations. Actually i think calling them “shots” like in the US is far more negative.

  17. #17 DNACopernicus
    January 11, 2010

    @JR 211

    DNACopernicus or whatever your tagname is, you are wasting your time studying biology or bio-technology.
    ————————————————————
    …Or whatever your tagname is?!
    That’s hilarious. Typing out my entire tagname then writing “or whatever your tagname is” just right off the bat makes you seem childish and downright nonsensical.
    How old are you? 53, 54 yrs old? Am I close?
    I sense that you’re a scared, bitter older guy that is too shortsighted to see the other side of any issue.
    But I get it.
    I have an idea where you’re pigheadedness is coming from.
    You’ve seen devastation from horrible diseases such as (Polio) firsthand and you’re frightened.
    It’s okay little guy.
    Keep getting every vaccine that comes out.
    Make sure that you’re up-to-date on all your boosters too.
    Old Guys Rule, right?
    ———————————————————-
    Personally, I get every vaccination I can. It’s good for you to stimulate your immune system.
    ———————————————————-
    It’s real good for your immune system. Moron.
    Your cells are about as intelligent as you are. Ha.
    If vaccines are SO GOOD FOR YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM then why are vaccinated boys and girls 120% more likely to have asthma than non-vaccinated?
    That’s just one aspect of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated.
    I’m a burger flipper, right?
    I’m just providing facts.
    ———————————————————–
    So you anti-vaccination freaks, screw you guys, you’re immoral, stupid,
    ———————————————————–
    I’ll just stop you right there. Immoral?!?
    Who the hell are you to judge who is righteous or unrighteous? You’re a simpleton.
    Wait, what? Did you say that parents who choose not to vaccinate are stupid? Wow. Now, I’m confused because the majority of people choosing not to vaccinate are wealthy, white and college educated. I think the reason is because the highest percentage of children with Autism and ADD belong to the wealthy, white, college educated.
    Need more studies?

    Read and learn

    That’s all I do is provide new, concrete evidence and Orac, MI Dawn & co. are missing in action.
    Rather than calling me a burger-flipping moron why don’t you try to dispute my statistics?
    What’s the matter docksider…don’t have the stamina to duke it out with pure facts? So you insult a college student instead? Bravo guy. Well played.
    Take your dull thoughts and dim brain activity elsewhere Tommy Bahama.

  18. #18 anon
    January 11, 2010

    a-non@212: The premise that vaccines are safe, effective, and the primary reason diseases like smallpox have been eradicated is well-accepted by any credible science.

    To this, I would agree. If you are suggesting that the “credible” science put forth is conclusive, I would disagree. The valid questions that have been put forth, have poked too large a hole for me to blindly dismiss. Obviously, I’d be the minority in this venue.

    “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” umbrella.

    You will need to elaborate. I’ve merely discussed the medical definition of vaccine-induced immunity eg. titres, subclinical presentation etc…

    but at its core everything you’re putting out there is just a variant of the “I’m just asking questions” fallacy, where someone throws out a bunch of unprovable assertions (“how do you know that vaccines really eradicated smallpox”)

    You are seeing that, because that is what you want to see. I believe they call it confirmation bias. I didn’t bring up smallpox, DB did. I have far too many questions for me have a conclusive opinion on it and tried to tell DB that before he/she engaged me on the topic. It just goes back an forth and back and forth. It’s very difficult to verify information that was presented prior to 1900, I have taken painstaking steps to do so. At most, what you’ve engaged me with, are your perceptions of logical fallacies. What you really want to say is: stop asking questions and roll up your sleeve. You are focused on a very small percentage of what I’ve said here, this speaks volumes to me.

    DB @213:Well said – but with the qualification that intelligent, rational people are not fooled. The kind who lap up what Glenn Beck and Jesse Ventura are saying might think anon’s “questions” make sense and that it’s up to physicians/public health experts to prove her/him wrong, not knowing or caring about the scientific method that requires that such assertions (especially ones that fly in the face of evidence and reason) be proved by the person making them*.

    Jesse Ventura is nutters. I don’t watch Fox out of principle, so I can’t attest to much about Glenn Beck either, except that he appears to be on the soft side of conspiracy promotion. That said, I am FULLY aware of the scientific method, its operational use, and its limitations. What you and a-non, hell bent on using purely tactical maneuvers and trying to expose debating flaws, are continuing to misrepresent, is that the person making the assertion… is the person doing the proving. I make no assertion, merely question your own and show you why others do also.

    gaiainc @21: How do you propose to do this? Have parents/guardian report in? Have clinics ask patients who have received the vaccine how they did? Have someone from public health call all patients? If the latter two, how do you propose to fund the time necessary to make the phone calls? My office staff don’t have down time until they have lunch. What if the patients don’t have a working phone? Do you propose a written survey? If so, what if the survey comes back as undeliverable or no address? What if the patients don’t respond to the survey? Whose responsibility will it be to make sure that the information is captured?

    Thank you for asking. There should be a follow up visit after receipt of vaccination specifically for this purpose. The follow up visit needn’t take that much time, and it is in the very best interest of all involved. If there is no liability or duty to care, then the program is utterly flawed. As to capturing the data, obviously not the government, nor insurance companies… we already tried that, and we’ll never get a look at that data again. Many agencies would fight to do the job, I can assure you.

    As for an adverse outcome, how would you define it?

    I think the current definitions that define adverse events are suitable, no need to re-invent the wheel.

    As for a lot being “hot” what do you mean? … If they are not caught, incident reports are filed, patients are notified, and we do what we can to rectify the situation.

    Yes, a lot that’s been associated with an unusually high number of serious adverse events. Either voluntarily announced by the vaccine maker or otherwise. What do you do to rectify the situation?

    Tylenol or ibuprofen administration prior to immunizations is up to the parent. I am neither for nor against it.

    Somehow I think you not having a stance on this topic will be a-okay, whereas my inability to commit to the one DB wants me to will not. Is this practice scientifically justified? I’d have to say no. The absence of clinical data showing this to be beneficial or harmless apparently is not an issue. These are the kinds of consistencies that do NOT exist, and when they are called into question… “You’re just pulling the [I’m just asking questions gambit]”

    Hypocritical, at best. (that wasn’t for you directly gaiainc, as you can tell, this thread is approaching close to epic length)

    Parents can report to VAERS if they so desire.

    How does that help to accurately portray adverse events?

    4 hours of crying versus coming down with a vaccine-preventable disease? I’d take the 4 hours of crying, please. Thanks.

    Your choice. Inconsolable crying is highly indicative of encephalopathy and certainly would contraindicate further vaccines – if you could figure out which one created the problem. Being sick sucks. But since there’s no way to know whether or not being vaccinated will have prevented being infected anyway (been reading a lot about mumps primary and secondary vaccine failure lately) this decision should be left to a parent. Not a public health agency.

    As for replacement disease/serotype substitution being a real problem, I need a citation, something, other than your assertion.

    Glad to offer it. I wasn’t even really talking about Hib. The majority of what I’ve read is related to prevnar. And here PMID: 15183627 –

    A trial with a 7-valent pneumococcal-conjugate vaccine in children with recurrent acute otitis media showed a shift in pneumococcal colonisation towards non-vaccine serotypes and an increase in Staphylococcus aureus-related acute otitis media after vaccination.

    or here: JAMA. 2004;292:716-720.

    Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage, specifically of vaccine-type strains, is negatively associated with S aureus carriage in children. The implications of these findings in the pneumococcal vaccine era require further investigation.

    Sorry I didn’t link the above, the last time I had more than one it got stopped in moderation.

    As to Hib, well… this is an interesting topic no doubt. I will certainly concede that in a subset of people it can become invasive and damaging. But the problem with bacterial vaccines is that you can’t just wipe a bacterium off the planet without adverse effects. Like here: PMID: 17304452

    Nontypeable H. influenzae disease accounted for the greatest proportion of cases (35.8%-61.5%) in all but 1 age group. The number of cases of invasive nontypeable H. influenzae disease increased by 657%, from a low of 7 cases in 1996 to a high of 53 cases in 2004; as a proportion of annual cases, nontypeable H. influenzae disease increased from 17.5% in 1996 to 70.7% in 2004.

    657%.

  19. #19 historygeek
    January 11, 2010

    anon

    i would like to ask a qustion about the whole smallpox thing. if vacnines played such a small role then where did it go. i want some details ie evidance. i want to know what the mechinism was. even in history if u want to turn conventional wisdom on it’s head we need prof and all i have so far is the statics are funny. that is not enough for me. there has to be mechinism that would be global that existed outside of the WHO vacine progame and i just don’t see what that would be. please enlighten me

  20. #20 anon
    January 11, 2010

    Hi history geek,

    I didn’t say that vaccines played no role, a strawman that I didn’t find the need to call DB on earlier.

    i want to know what the mechinism was. even in history if u want to turn conventional wisdom on it’s head we need prof and all i have so far is the statics are funny.

    I wish I had better answers for you. I didn’t try to turn conventional wisdom on its head. All I did was try to verify what I was being told, and I couldn’t – statistically and biologically (recombination of pox viruses, etc…) It’s really that simple. What I found is certainly not conclusive enough to dispute DB’s evidence, but it’s just enough to give me pause. Why isn’t this acceptable?

  21. #21 MI Dawn
    January 11, 2010

    @DNAC: Gee, I didn’t know you would miss me so much. Unfortunately, I was quite busy this weekend, so couldn’t respond. I’ll look at your posts and try to respond when I have time at work today or this evening.

  22. #22 Calli Arcale
    January 11, 2010

    anon@208:

    DB: Obviously you were trying to insinuate that smallpox hasn’t really been eradicated.

    Uh, no. I wasn’t. I’ll be more clear, since your attempts to pin me down are failing and that appears to be your focus and source of contention.

    I humbly suggest to folks that since anon has now expressly stated that he/she has no intention of saying what he/she actually means, he/she is clearly not interested in actual discussion. It is therefore not worth attempting to engage in discussion with this person, since they don’t appear to understand the point of exchanging ideas and instead apparently see it as some sort of contest. Which is rather sad, really.

  23. #23 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2010

    anon: “As to Hib, well… this is an interesting topic no doubt. I will certainly concede that in a subset of people it can become invasive and damaging.”

    Here is some “interesting” data on Hemophilus influenzae b, from the CDC:

    “Sequelae
    3%-6% of cases are fatal; up to 20% of surviving patients have permanent hearing loss or other long-term sequelae.

    Yes, death, permanent deafness and other complications can be regarded as “damaging”.

    Here’s the impact vaccination has had on this once relatively common disease:

    “Due to routine use of the Hib conjugate vaccine since 1990, the incidence of Hib disease in infants and young children has decreased by 99% to fewer than 1 case per 100,000 children under 5 years of age. In the United States, Hib disease occurs primarily in underimmunized children and among infants too young to have completed the primary immunization series. In developing countries, where routine vaccination with Hib vaccine is not widely available, Hib remains a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children.”

    anon wants to scare us by highlighting a very small number of cases attributed to non-vaccine strains of Hib (miniscule compared to the number of illnesses suffered by children before the Hib vaccine era).
    The Hib vaccine has been an outstanding success story. anon detests that and wants to obfuscate the issue, as with the eradication of smallpox by vaccination.

    anon: “I make no assertion, merely question”

    As well as misinform and mislead, to support a blatant antivax agenda.

  24. #24 Todd W.
    January 11, 2010

    @anon

    As to capturing the data, obviously not the government, nor insurance companies… we already tried that, and we’ll never get a look at that data again.

    Citation to support your claim that “we’ll never get a look at that data again”. As far as the government goes, VAERS is a public database. Further, any other additional information not protected by HIPAA or other privacy laws can be obtained through a FOIA request.

  25. #25 anon
    January 11, 2010

    calli arcale: It is therefore not worth attempting to engage in discussion with this person, since they don’t appear to understand the point of exchanging ideas and instead apparently see it as some sort of contest.

    That would suit me fine, what I’ve said here has been largely ignored anyway… If you think that not engaging me is the best way to prove the points made by those whom you agree herein, by all means. I disagree. The only ones trying to “win” here, are those that are focusing on debate strategy and telling me to disprove their points.

    DB: Here is some “interesting” data on Hemophilus influenzae b, from the CDC: “Sequelae
    3%-6% of cases are fatal; up to 20% of surviving patients have permanent hearing loss or other long-term sequelae.

    Yes I know. I’ve read it. I also tried to validate it.

    The Hib vaccine has been an outstanding success story. anon detests that and wants to obfuscate the issue… wants to scare us by highlighting a very small number of cases attributed to non-vaccine strains of Hib (miniscule compared to the number of illnesses suffered by children before the Hib vaccine era).

    Detests? Your word, not mine. Yes, that’s right… I’M obfuscating. Ignoring the changes and prevalence of non-typeable strains is obfuscation

    In addition to the proportional increase in cases of non-type b Haemophilus influenzae disease in the post-H. influenzae type b vaccine era, the incidence of invasive H. influenzae disease was found to be approaching the rates of H. influenzae type b disease that were documented in the prevaccine period. Fifty-six percent of invasive disease now occurs in individuals aged >10 years.

    Don’t like that, how about the Pink Book?

    They are approaching pre-vaccine estimates. Why might that be? Certainly can’t blame non-vaccinators for that. Refusing to acknowledge the repercussions of an action is extremely common within the skeptical community. Then lecturing the lurkers about engaging the person addressing them is sure to follow.

  26. #26 Todd W.
    January 11, 2010

    @anon

    Yes I know. I’ve read it. I also tried to validate it.

    How? Did you contact the agencies involved to find out their sources/source data?

  27. #27 anon
    January 11, 2010

    Hi Todd,

    As far as the government goes, VAERS is a public database.

    Yes it is, but since it is a passive system and doesn’t represent the true amount of adverse events, I’m not entirely sure what good a FOIA request would be. As I understand it, this database is combed fairly regularly anyhow. If anyone can make a claim, for any reason, in an uncontrolled environment, I don’t see how it helps to clear up the confusion or concerns over those who claim to have experienced injury or show more true numbers. Obviously, people should also be able to submit claims – but they should be identified as being submitted by the patient, etc… My argument is that VAERS is failing the program and many people like me agree.

    I also understand that access to the vaccine safety datalink is not granted based on exemption from such regulations. I’d be most happy to be wrong here too. Based on the last Congressional briefing covering this topic, release of possibly relevant information still appears discretionary.

    How? Did you contact the agencies involved to find out their sources/source data?

    Yes. I was given direction to WHO, (also unable to validate), MMWR and the Pink Book. For the most part, the numbers are difficult to verify and will rely upon accurate incidence reporting within the states. Some states use estimation, or epidemiological disease models. When you put people on high alert for a disease, you will obviously report more cases.

  28. #28 Todd W.
    January 11, 2010

    @anon

    You didn’t really answer my question. You claimed that we would “never get a look at that data again”. I asked you for a citation to support that assertion and provided a couple of ways of finding that data (e.g., exploring the VAERS database, including looking at followup case reports, FOIA requests for data that is not freely accessible online, etc.)

    Obviously, people should also be able to submit claims – but they should be identified as being submitted by the patient

    Where the identity of the reporting person is known, VAERS reports list something along the lines of “report received from patient (or physician, etc.)”.

    My argument is that VAERS is failing the program and many people like me agree.

    No argument that VAERS needs improvement (e.g., mandatory reporting by health care providers, not just manufacturers), but that was not the topic of discussion. Your claim that we would “never get a look at that data again” was where I was questioning you.

    Yes. I was given direction to WHO, (also unable to validate), MMWR and the Pink Book. For the most part, the numbers are difficult to verify and will rely upon accurate incidence reporting within the states. Some states use estimation, or epidemiological disease models.

    Where you had difficulty verifying the data, did you contact the appropriate organization again to request clarification? Did you submit any FOIA requests?

  29. #29 Abigail
    January 11, 2010

    just in case anyone missed the fact that japan solved the question… they said “wow! autism is caused by vaccines?” and immediately took steps to save their children… having no result because vaccines do not, in fact, cause autism. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7076
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2005/12/04/the_secret_truth/

  30. #30 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2010

    anon‘s misinformation campaign continues.

    The only working link in your last post is to an abstract of a study in Manitoba. We can’t tell exactly what it’s referring to, but there’s a statement in the abstract about H. flu invasive disease in persons greater than 10 years old (H. flu is an uncommon pathogen in adults, and mostly affects the immunosuppressed).

    For good information on the significance of serotype replacement in H. influenzae, here’s a report that talks about H. flu incidence before and following the introduction of the vaccine in the group most severely affected by H. flu.

    “Before a vaccine became available in 1988, the annual attack rate of invasive Hib disease was estimated at 64-129 cases per 100,000 children younger than 5 years. By 2000, the number of cases in children younger than 5 years decreased by more than 99%. With the success of the Hib conjugate vaccine, at least half of invasive H influenzae infections are now caused by the nonencapsulated (less virulent) strains, and Hib meningitis has almost disappeared in the United States and Canada.

    In 2006, the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Report for H influenzae infection reported the following prevalences in 10 studied states (with a total study population of 35,599,550 persons):

    Hib infection – 0.04 cases per 100,000 general population
    Non-Hib infection – 0.36 cases per 100,000 general population
    NTHi infection – 0.99 cases per 100,000 general population (NTHi infections accounted for 353 of the 551 H influenzae infection cases reported in this series.1 )
    The prevalence of Hia infections has increased in some countries since the advent of the Hib conjugate vaccine. However, in the United States, the number of Hia infections reported has remained constant.”

    So – before the vaccine, invasive Hib infection was responsible for 64-129 cases per 100,000 children. That number dropped to 0.04 cases by 2006. And the nontypable Hib cases not covered by the vaccine, which you’d have us believe are such a problem? 0.99 cases per 100,000.

    The Hib vaccine has been a spectacular success.

    anon will probably counter now that she/he can’t “verify” this information from the Big Bad Medical Establishment (though it’s interesting that she/he cited a BBME research paper that superficially seemed to offer support to her/his antivax views). Or we’ll hear more about how anon isn’t asserting anything, “just asking questions”.

    Calli Arcale: “I humbly suggest to folks that since anon has now expressly stated that he/she has no intention of saying what he/she actually means, he/she is clearly not interested in actual discussion.

    Sadly true. anon‘s “contributions” have however demonstrated clearly the callousness and disregard for human suffering that permeates the mindset of antivaxers, which was the central focus of Orac’s article. Highlighting this attitude should be an important part of future efforts to educate the public about immunization and its opponents.

  31. #31 gaiainc
    January 11, 2010

    From anon:

    Thank you for asking. There should be a follow up visit after receipt of vaccination specifically for this purpose. The follow up visit needn’t take that much time, and it is in the very best interest of all involved. If there is no liability or duty to care, then the program is utterly flawed. As to capturing the data, obviously not the government, nor insurance companies… we already tried that, and we’ll never get a look at that data again. Many agencies would fight to do the job, I can assure you.

    *facepalm* So your solution is a second visit. Really? With whom? Will this be covered by insurance? Paid for out of pocket by the patient? When should they come in? A day? Two days? Four days? A week? Do the patients have to put in a co-pay? If yes, my patients are not coming in. Do they actually have to show up and thus take off more time from work? If yes, my patients are not coming in. If they can just phone in instead of visiting, when do you expect my office staff to take the phone calls on top of the phone calls that they already take?

    I have no idea why you think there is no liability or duty to care. There is.

    And what agencies do you think are going to fight for the job? I would love to know whom you think is going to jump all over this and how you think they aren’t going to swallow up the data and never let it out. How do you propose to fund the increase in resources that are going to be necessary to keep track of all this new data or even do anything with the data?

    Your proposal from my POV as a clinician in a busy clinic is onerous and likely to lead to the clinic not giving vaccinations or patients not receiving vaccinations, which really, I think is horrible.

  32. #32 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2010

    Here’s the article that’s the source of the Hib statistics in my last post.

  33. #33 Sid Offit
    January 11, 2010

    I can’t believe you guys are still at it. Anyway as to JR:

    Polio would be gone – except for local politicians and shamans using UN vaccination programs as a fear-monger tool to manipulate voters in Africa

    Maybe you can tell me about these massive polio outbreaks that were plaguing the people of Africa before the UN vaccine program. I’m not saying they didn’t happen. I just can’t find anything about them.

  34. #34 diatom
    January 11, 2010

    Orac gives the death of a young girl as an example of “the price exacted by the anti-vaccine movement”. Though it is a sad story, is this death really attributable to the anti-vaccine movement? Upon closer examination the answer appears to be no. As always, it pays to heed the fine details.

    After watching the video of the bereaved parent I note that some significant details are lacking and those that are revealed do not justify vilification or legal action directed at the dead child’s pediatrician. The mother states the child died in February 2001, 2 weeks shy of her 6th birthday. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was licensed in 2000. It was not added to the ACIP Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule until January, 2001. (The PCV was not recommended universally for all children under 5 until 2008.)

    The child who died was almost 6 years old (about 5 years, 10 months) when PCV was first added to the recommendation schedule in January, 2001, and therefore she would not have been in either of the under 5 recommended age groups (unless she was at high risk): the 2-23 month group for universal vaccination or the 24-59 month group for those at high risk. It is not revealed if she was at high risk. Note that the 2001 immunization schedule doesn’t specify timing for “catch up” vaccination, but the 2002 schedule shows the “catch up” period for PCV ends at age 5, so she would not have been included in the catch-up group. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is recommended only for older children in certain high risk groups.

    The mother says her pediatrician encouraged them not to vaccinate. Unless the child was in a high risk group, the pediatrician was following ACIP recommendations. Figure 1 of this article http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/571344 shows the pre-vaccine rate of invasive pneumococcal disease in 4 years olds (no stats for 5 years olds) was about 20 per 100,000, or 0.02%. A doctor who recommended not vaccinating with a new vaccine for which the child was not in the recommended vaccination group and for which there was only a 0.02% risk of contracting the disease can hardly be called negligent.

    Who generated this video? Are we to presume the woman wearing a stethoscope is a physician (or is she an actor portraying a physician)? It doesn’t appear that this video was produced by a news agency, there is no identification of the source.

  35. #35 Sid Offit
    January 11, 2010

    @ diatom

    It’s from an organization called PKIDS. They have a whole series of videos like this. Not surprisingly it’s funded by drug companies and has, you guessed it, Paul Offit as a board member

    http://www.youtube.com/user/PKIDsOrg#p/c/C1905FD178342E83

  36. #36 diatom
    January 11, 2010

    My link above for IPD stats requires registration. Here’s a free link to the same information, figure 1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5706a2.htm

  37. #37 diatom
    January 11, 2010

    Oh yeah, a whole series of those videos, some with the same actress/physician….watched the pertussis clip, shame on the mother who blames the unvaccinated friend of her son for giving her pertussis and then saying “it was completely preventable” without acknowledging that she could have prevented it by getting herself vaccinated. Shifting the blame from herself to a child while admitting that her childhood immunization had “worn off”. It is well known that pertussis is endemic in the adult population, and that the vaccine is only 85% effective at best. I don’t think I can stomach watching anymore of those set-pieces. The emotional manipulation while omitting key facts is nauseating.

  38. #38 bensmyson
    January 13, 2010

    “Chance of encephalitis from a measles shot: 1 in 1,000,000.
    Chance of death from getting the measles: 1 in 2,000.”

    What’s the odds of a 12 month old child getting injured riding down the road in the back of a pick-up truck? Or one standing in the middle of a field during a thunder storm? Odds are you wouldnt allow your child to do either, yet you’d shoot toxins into it with no problem.

  39. #39 Todd W.
    January 13, 2010

    @bensmyson

    “Chance of encephalitis from a measles shot: 1 in 1,000,000.
    Chance of death from getting the measles: 1 in 2,000.”

    What’s the odds of a 12 month old child getting injured riding down the road in the back of a pick-up truck? Or one standing in the middle of a field during a thunder storm? Odds are you wouldnt allow your child to do either, yet you’d shoot toxins into it with no problem.

    A couple questions:

    1) What are the specific “toxins” involved with the measles shot? Please be detailed, explaining how each ingredient with which you have issue is toxic, providing citations to quality scientific studies that show the ingredient to be toxic in the amounts found in the vaccine.

    2) Why would you allow your child to contract encephalitis and/or die from measles, rather than prevent the disease? Please provide citations to quality scientific studies showing the risk (both probability and magnitude of harm) from the measles vaccine is greater than the risk (again, both probability and magnitude of harm) from measles infection, as you appear to claim.

    When you reply, please do not use anecdotes. I already know a bit about your background, and that you believe your son was injured by a vaccine. While I do feel for you, your story, by itself and without any access to complete knowledge of your son’s case, does not carry scientific weight, unfortunately.

  40. #40 diatom
    January 13, 2010

    Todd, what do you have against anecdotes? Just out of curiosity. Orac used the PKIDS video link pneumococcal anecdote as a example of anti-vaccine related death, which was erroneous upon closer examination. Yes, “access to complete knowledge” is key when examining anecdotes.

  41. #41 Chris
    January 13, 2010

    Todd W.:

    While I do feel for you, your story, by itself and without any access to complete knowledge of your son’s case, does not carry scientific weight, unfortunately.

    Exactly, because it seems when the full story comes out there seem to be important bits of information missing. One case was recently published on the US Federal Court Autism Omnibus site. Reading it one can see that the poor child had more obvious reasons for his developmental delays than vaccines, especially this paragraph:

    He was delivered by a cesarean section because labor “failed to progress.” Id. at 46. during delivery, Andrew’s “skull reportedly became wedged,” Pet’r ex. 6 at 4, and Andrew required resuscitation at birth, id. His APGAR scores were three at one minute and eight at five minutes.

  42. #42 Todd W.
    January 13, 2010

    @diatom

    Todd, what do you have against anecdotes?

    While anecdotes can be useful to suggest avenues of research, they are not adequate for establishing anything as true or false. There are several reasons for this:

    1) Sample size is too small to determine whether it was a fluke or fact.
    2) No controls to distinguish between coincidence, correlation and causation.
    3) No controls to prevent biases to creep into the report. I.e., people make mistakes in observation, in recall, etc. They remember what fits with their preconceived notions and ignore what does not fit or what is not deemed important. Sometimes, they even make up (though not necessarily intentionally) memories of what happened.

    Put more simply, anecdotes are not reliable.

  43. #43 Chris
    January 13, 2010

    While it is very true that the PKIDs videos are just anecdotes, they are reminders of what the diseases cause. Plus they are backed up by real science, there are plenty of studies that show that the vaccines are safer than the diseases.

    Also, it should be made clear what the letters in PKIDs stand for: Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases

  44. #44 diatom
    January 13, 2010

    While it may be true that the PKIDS videos are somewhat “backed up” by science, that doesn’t justify the significant gaps of information as presented which serve to support the biases of the funding organizations. The pneumococcal death was not attributable to ant-vaccine sentiments or physician negligence as the child was already past the ACIP recommended age for vaccination and for catch up vaccination. The pertussis mother blames another child for the fact that she passed pertussis to her new born, attempting to assign responsibility to another parent rather than taking responsibility herself as an undervaccinated parent. The undervaccinated adult population and the 85% vaccine efficacy rate are the significant factors perpetuating endemic pertussis in the US, not undervaccinated children in a population with >95% kindergarten vaccination rates. This is why all anecdotes, even those “backed up” by science, should be approached with caution.

  45. #45 diatom
    January 13, 2010

    PS As a sometime reader of this blog and a believer in the practice of respectful insolence, I am becoming wary of Orac’s sometimes premature and vitriolic judgments based upon questionable citations. As Todd says, and as Orac undoubtedly knows, anecdotes are unreliable. Yet Orac recommended a malpractice suit against the dead pneumococcal child’s pediatrician based upon the “unreliable” and incomplete information contained in an anecdote. He also repeated his recommendation to “sue his ass”. Either Orac didn’t watch the video, or most probably, because Orac is neither a pediatrician nor an infectious disease specialist, he didn’t understand the importance of the dates in the anecdote. This is one important reason for doctors to stick to their own specialties when it comes to passing judgment on other “members of the tribe”.

  46. #46 Renee Wyler
    January 17, 2010

    I don’t understand why you don’t get it. I am the mother of Desiree Jennings, the NFL cheerleader who has neurological damage after having the flu shot. The damage to her was caused by Mercury/Thimerisol in the vaccine. Unknown to many is the undiagnosable auto-immune disorder of my youngest who was injected with 7 vaccines in one day. The Polio vaccine contained “acceptable levels” -what a joke – of formaldahyde and 2-phenoxyethenal. You cannot tell me that these are not toxins! Both of my daughters had life threatening illnesses caused by not being able to tolerate dangerous toxins injected into their bodies. I am not an “anti-vaccine nutcase”. I just want the toxins eliminated from the nations vaccine supply because some people cannot tolerate “acceptable levels of “poison”. The mothers who don’t vaccinate their children do run risk of their children being harmed, however, many of them feel that this risk is less than the risk of injecting their child with toxins. I don’t understand why you have to be so hateful to those who object to the vaccines. They are not ignorant people like you would easily categorize them as. If the dangerous toxins were removed, maybe then the public would consider vaccinations. Until that time, you will continue to have to attack those who don’t want to vaccinate their children. Is this really what you want to spend your time doing? It is obvious to many that this is driving you “crazy”.

  47. #47 Pablo
    January 17, 2010

    The damage to her was caused by Mercury/Thimerisol in the vaccine.

    On what is this claim based?

  48. #48 MI Dawn
    January 17, 2010

    I guess, Ms Wyler, that you are not aware that our bodies make much higher levels of formaldehyde than your child would EVER get through vaccination. And that our bodies can process and eliminate it quite well. And that many foods also contain much higher levels than any vaccine. Are you/did you (since Ms Jennings is fully adult) raising/raise your children in a bubble? They never played outside and got hurt? One scratch from outdoor play equipment can inject many many more “toxins” than any vaccine contains. Heck, one scratch from an artificial fingernail can inject innumerable “toxins”, far more than a vaccine contains.

    Please, give me a break. Go to Todd W’s page and read and learn. (And I won’t even ask for the proof that you ARE Ms Jenning’s mother).

  49. #49 DLC
    January 17, 2010

    Pablo @ 247 and MI Dawn @ 248:

    “Renee Wyler” is about as genuine as a 33.00 bill.
    The claim that the damage was caused by thimerosol/mercury in the vaccine is based on the impostor’s poor reading skills.

  50. #50 Johnny
    January 17, 2010

    Renee Wyler – are you sure it was the vaccine that caused the problem for your youngest, and not a “undiagnosable auto-immune” problem?

    There is a story on this page that suggest that Splenda might have caused her problems… http://www.splendaexposed.com/articles/2006/07/how_to_report_a.html about 3/4 down it says –

    Posted by: Renee Wyler on November 24, 2006 12:23 PM
    My five year old daughter broke out in red welts and splotches after having ice tea and cheesecake with Splenda in it. We took her to the emergency room since the welts were taking over her entire body. She had continual runny stools and could not sleep at night. After she was put on steroids to try and control the rash (benadryl didn’t work) we tracked it back to the Splenda my husband and I had used on the South Beach diet. My husband also had numbness in his tongue and trouble sleeping. This is a very dangerous product that we fell in love with until we realized it was poisoning our bodies. South Beach diet recommends Splenda.

    In fact, Splenda might have caused Desiree’s problems if she was exposed to it.

  51. #51 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 17, 2010

    Renee Wyler @ 246 —

    If you are the mother of Desiree Jennings, then you will be able to greatly enhance her credibility simply by answering a simple question we’ve never gotten an answer to:

    Who are the mainstream doctors who diagnosed her with dystonia and said it was induced by the flu shot?

    We keep getting assured that this in fact happened — that it was “doctors at Johns Hopkins” or “doctors at Fairfax Inova” or “doctors at the Mayo Clinic”. But if we never find out who those doctors were, we can never confirm that it actually happened. We are left with the conclusion that the only doctor who ever thought that your daughter had dystonia and that the flu shot was responsible was Rashid “Prettybeads” Buttar, who has very little credibility to begin with and especially lacks credibility when he diagnoses “mercury toxicity“.

    I don’t understand why you have to be so hateful to those who object to the vaccines. They are not ignorant people like you would easily categorize them as.

    Oh, but some of them definitely are. Remember, “Ignorance is the state in which one lacks knowledge, is unaware of something or chooses to subjectively ignore information.” Many of those who object to vaccines definitely lack important knowledge about vaccines — for instance, those who insist that any amount of formaldehyde or mercury in a vaccine must be toxic frequently are unaware of the fact that a can of tuna contains more mercury and a pear has over 50 times more formaldehyde. And there’s no question that many of those who argue against vaccines choose to willfully ignore information, such as those who completely ignore the death and misery caused by diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, HiB, tetanus, and polio, just so that they can argue that the risks of the vaccines are greater.

    If the dangerous toxins were removed, maybe then the public would consider vaccinations.

    No, that wouldn’t happen. What actually happens is called “moving goalposts.” The anti-vaccine contigent screams “Such-And-Such is a dangerous toxin! It’s causing all this autism! We demand that you take this dangerous toxin out! When it comes out, you’ll see that it was responsible for all that autism because autism rates will plummet!” When that doesn’t happen, the anti-vaccine contingent doesn’t do the responsible thing and say “Wow, we were so sure it was Such-and-such, but we were wrong. What else are we utterly sure of that we may be wrong about?” Instead, they just say “It must be Thus-And-Such that’s the dangerous toxin doing all the damage! You’re responsible for all this misery because you haven’t taken it out of the vaccines!” Even if every ingredient except the antigens was taken out of vaccines (which would make them far more expensive, less effective, and almost unusably impractical) then anti-vaccine activists would simply declare that it’s getting too many antigens that are making people sick (despite the fact that with advances in vaccine technology, vaccines actually contain fewer antigens than they did before.)

    It is obvious to many that this is driving you “crazy”.

    Which “many” are you referring to? The same “many” who think that measles and mumps and HiB are no big deal, who even throw “pox parties” to try and induce “natural immunity”? Good Lord, am I expected to care whether Rashid “gemstone energy medicine” Buttar thinks I’m “crazy”? Sorry, I only care about people’s opinions if I have reason to respect those opinions.

  52. #52 FreeSpeaker
    January 17, 2010

    Dear Mom: You said “Unknown to many is the undiagnosable auto-immune disorder of my youngest who was injected with 7 vaccines in one day.” Elsewhere, you mentioned that this was when she was 5 years old so you could have attend school. As far as I am concerned, this is an outright admission that you ARE an anti-vaccinationista, and, the rest of your woefully uninformed comments only prove it.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.