Respectful Insolence

If there’s one thing about the anti-vaccine movement I’ve learned over the last five or so years, it’s that it’s virtually completely immune to evidence, science, and reason. No matter how much evidence is arrayed against it, it always finds a way to spin, distort, or misrepresent it to combat the evidence. Not that this is any news to readers of this blog or other skeptical blogs that make combatting anti-vaccine propaganda one of its major themes, but it bears repeating often. It also bears repeating and emphasizing examples of just the sort of disingenuous and even outright deceptive techniques used by promoters of anti-vaccine pseudoscience to sow fear and doubt about vaccines among parents. These arguments may seem persuasive to those who have little knowledge about science or epidemiology. Sometimes they even seemed somewhat persuasive to me; that is, at least until I actually took the time to look into them.

One example of such a myth is the claim that “vaccines didn’t save us.” The anti-vaccine website Vaccine Liberation has archived a set of graphs purporting to show that the death rates of several vaccine-preventable diseases, including whooping cough, diptheria, measles, and polio were falling before the vaccines for each disease were introduced. The website quotes Andrew Weil:

Scientific medicine has taken credit it does not deserve for some advances in health. Most people believe that victory over the infectious diseases of the last century came with the invention of immunisations. In fact, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, etc, were in decline before vaccines for them became available – the result of better methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, and distribution of food and water.

Bill Maher has said similar things about vaccines, and the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit is a staple of anti-vaccine websites, being spread and parroted hither and yon throughout the blogosphere by credulous anti-vaccinationists. One particularly idiotic blogger wrote:

The mythology surrounding vaccines is still pervasive, the majority of the population still believes, in faith like fashion, that vaccines are the first line of defense against disease. The true story is that nutrition and psychological/emotional health are the first line of defense against disease.

Vaccines are a concoction of chemical adjuvants and preservatives coupled with virus fragments and have clearly been implicated in the astounding rise in neurological disorders around the world, yet the ‘popular’ media has embedded itself as a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical cartel and simply does not report in any responsible way the real situation.

Ah, yes, the truly brain dead “toxins” gambit. Of course, it is true that better sanitation is a good thing and has decreased the rate of transmission of some diseases for which sanitation can do so, many infectious diseases are transmitted person-to-person through the air from aerosolized drops of saliva from coughs and sneezes or from being deposited on objects that people touch frequently, like doorknobs and other fomites.

The “vaccines didn’t save us” strategy is a distortion, as I will show. The best way to demonstrate this is to go on to the very first website that currently shows up on a Google search for “vaccines didn’t save us.” Although the post is from November, it’s the main post that’s been spreading this lie since then. Entitled Proof That Vaccines Didn’t Save Us, it’s one of the most breathtakingly spectacularly intellectually dishonest posts that I’ve ever seen. I say that not because it uses a common anti-vaccine distortion, but rather because it ups the ante by adding a new one clearly designed to address the criticism of the old one. It hides it in plain sight, too, which is why I have to give the blogger props for sheer chutzpah. Actually, I have to give props to the person who devised the graphs used in this post, Raymond Obomsawin, PhD. They represent the classic anti-vaccine lie, combined with some very clever cherry picking. I won’t take them all on in this post. Maybe I’ll take some of them on in a future post. What I will do, however, is to take on the first several, because they represent a common anti-vaccine theme that is very similar to the one archived by the Vaccine Liberation website.

In fact, let’s look at the Vaccine Liberation page first. Notice that there are six graphs, four of which are for vaccine-preventable diseases for which widespread vaccination was undertaken, two for which it was not. All of them show decreasing death rates from the diseases. Wow! It seems like slam dunk evidence, doesn’t it? Vaccines didn’t save us! After all, death rates were declining years before the vaccine, and they were declining for the diseases that didn’t even need a vaccine!

Death rates.

Here’s the problem. It’s not surprising that death rates were declining before introduction of the vaccines. Medicine was improving. More importantly, supportive care was improving. For example, take the case of polio. Before the introduction of the iron lung and its widespread use, for example, if a polio patient developed paralysis of the respiratory muscles, he would almost certainly die. The iron lung allowed such patients to live, some for decades. No doubt improved nutrition also played a role as well. However, if you want to see the impact of vaccines, take a look at this graph from the CDC of measles incidence, not death rates:

i-f6905b6b8f63d7f3bb8681fd75515a67-Measles_incidence-cdc.gif

Similar results were seen most recently from several other vaccines, including the Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, as the CDC points out:

Hib vaccine is another good example, because Hib disease was prevalent until just a few years ago, when conjugate vaccines that can be used for infants were finally developed. (The polysaccharide vaccine previously available could not be used for infants, in whom most cases of the disease were occurring.) Since sanitation is not better now than it was in 1990, it is hard to attribute the virtual disappearance of Haemophilus influenzae disease in children in recent years (from an estimated 20,000 cases a year to 1,419 cases in 1993, and dropping) to anything other than the vaccine.

In the post to which I referred, the most intellectually dishonest graph is this one:

i-665bde018572420f2a9a8fe6b71a0e7c-Measles-thumb-450x594-43696.jpg

Note how this graph, unlike all the other graphs used to make the claim that “vaccines didn’t save us” actually uses incidence data, in this case from Canada from 1935 to 1983. I was immediately suspicious of this graph, though. The reason should be obvious; the decline in measles incidence is far too smooth. Measles incidence typically varies greatly from year to year. Fortunately, in his chutzpah, Obomsawin included a link to the actual source of the graph. Naturally, I couldn’t resist checking it out, and I found that the link leads to the Canadian Immunization Guide section on the measles vaccine. And this is the actual graph from which Obomsawin allegedly extracted his data:

i-a4547faab26bf00c7bd8960a69e7c58e-MeaslesCanada-thumb-450x296-43699.gif

Note how Obomsawin left out a section of ten years (1959 to 1968) during which measles was not nationally reportable. Also note how he’s, to be charitable, cherry picked the years to produce the impression of a smoothly declining measles incidence from 1935 to 1958. As I said, it doesn’t get much more intellectually dishonest than that, nor does it get much more intellectually dishonest than this description of Obomsawin:

He has produced academically and/or professionally over eighty-five (85) articles, reports, policy documents, presentations, and publications.

A search of Pubmed reveals only one peer-reviewed publication from 1978, and it’s only a commentary. In any case, apparently served as Director National Office of Health Development of the National Indian Brotherhood (AFN); Founding Chairman of NIB’s National Commission Inquiry on Indian Health; Executive Director in the California Rural Indian Health Board; Supervisor of Native Curriculum, Government of the Yukon Territory; and Evaluation Manager – Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. None of these are scientific positions. More tellingly, he is “currently engaged with government funding as Senior Researcher relative to establishing a Public Sector Policy on Traditional Medicine in Canada.” My translation? He’s somehow managed to get a government grant to try to promote “traditional medicine” in Canada. Apparently, the Canadian government has its own problems with government money going to promote unscientific and pseudoscientific nonsense of the type that NCCAM promotes. In any case, besides Obomsawin’s disingenuous and intellectually bankrupt distortions of incidence data used to serve his apparently anti-vaccine agenda, he has no qualifications to speak of with regard to science or epidemiology that I can find.

It also turns out that Dr. Obomsawin has some other–shall we say?–unconventional beliefs as well. For instance, he is approvingly featured on that aggregator of all things quackery and woo, Whale.to, where he expresses anti-vaccine views, HIV/AIDS denialism, and admiration for Royal Rife. So what we have here is a woo-meister using cherry picked points on a graph to give a false impression that the measles vaccine was not responsible for the dramatic decline in measles incidence in Canada in the 1960s. Quelle surprise!

Another rebuttal to the idea that vaccines didn’t reduce the incidence of the diseases against which they were designed comes from the simple observation that, as vaccine uptake falls, the disease vaccinated against returns. Always. This is described by the CDC quite well:

Finally, we can look at the experiences of several developed countries after they let their immunization levels drop. Three countries – Great Britain, Sweden, and Japan – cut back the use of pertussis vaccine because of fear about the vaccine. The effect was dramatic and immediate. In Great Britain, a drop in pertussis vaccination in 1974 was followed by an epidemic of more than 100,000 cases of pertussis and 36 deaths by 1978. In Japan, around the same time, a drop in vaccination rates from 70% to 20%-40% led to a jump in pertussis from 393 cases and no deaths in 1974 to 13,000 cases and 41 deaths in 1979. In Sweden, the annual incidence rate of pertussis per 100,000 children 0-6 years of age increased from 700 cases in 1981 to 3,200 in 1985. It seems clear from these experiences that not only would diseases not be disappearing without vaccines, but if we were to stop vaccinating, they would come back.

The United Kingdom is an excellent illustration of this trend. Back in the mid-1990s, it declared measles as under control, thanks to the vaccine. Then came Andrew Wakefield and a credulous, sensationalistic British press to spread his message that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The result was that measles came roaring back in the U.K. to the point that two years ago measles was declared endemic again there.

The Vaccine Liberation graphs and the even more deceptive graphs produced by “Dr.” Obomsawin are typical of anti-vaccine arguments. First, they contain enough of a grain of truth to them to sound plausible. After all, better nutrition and better sanitation have decreased the incidence of many infectious diseases. But they were not enough. Indeed, part of the reason we vaccinated against some diseases is because sanitation wasn’t enough. Was sanitation so much worse in the late 1980s before the Hib vaccine was introduced than it is now? No. Was it probably even that much worse in the 1960s, when the measles vaccine was introduced? Probably not. Yet, such is the myth that the anti-vaccine movement would have parents believe. Such is the intellectually dishonest nonsense they promote.

Truly, they are the pro-disease movement, more than anything else.

ADDENDUM: Steve Novella has pointed out that there is a better version of the graph in this reference, and he was kind enough to send it to me, given that, for whatever reason, my university doesn’t have a subscription to the relevant journal:

i-216374d910c4a36793787896003bce23-measlescanada-thumb-450x312-43766.jpg

(Click for full-sized version.)

Note how this graph looks at raw case numbers and shows 40,000 cases the year before the ten year interruption in the data. All in all, it’s a much clearer representation of the data than the first graph, showing a clear drop that occurred during the ten year period, in the middle of which the measles vaccine was introduced. It also shows another obvious drop in measles incidence later on in the 1990s, when the two-dose measles vaccine program was started. As for why it appears that there is a steep dip in the first graph before the ten year gap, that appears to be an artifact. There is no data for 1959, but the line appears to go to a datapoint at 1959 or 1960. My guess is that whoever made the graph simply set the value for 1959 to . In other words, the graph is a rather poor representation of the data, and the Canadian government would do well to replace that graph on its website with something more like the second graph, which makes the point much more clearly.

Comments

  1. #1 Ruth
    March 29, 2010

    Sanitation hasn’t improved much in Africa, but measles and polio vaccines have dramatically reduced death rates.

  2. #2 DT
    March 29, 2010

    The usual smoke and mirror stuff we are unfortunately quite used to seeing in the antivax propaganda war.

    A good rejoinder is this paper in JAMA which describes the fall in morbidity and mortality of vaccine-preventable diseases in the USA.
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/298/18/2155

  3. #3 Todd W.
    March 29, 2010

    This is one of those things I need to address over at AntiAntiVax. It’s also a variation on one of the nine questions that will supposedly stump pro-vaxers, namely, “Could you please provide scientific evidence which can prove that disease reduction in any part of the world, at any point in history was attributable to inoculation of populations?”

    Here are two studies (out of many) showing the efficacy of 7-valent pneumococcal vaccine, to pick just one vaccine:
    * Immunization with the 7-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine: Impact evaluation, continuing surveillance and future perspectives. Angela Bechini, Sara Boccalini, Paolo Bonanni. Vaccine, Volume 27, Issues 25-26, Vaccines, Immunisation and Immunotherapy, Sixth World Congress of Vaccines, Immunisation and Immunotherapy, 26 May 2009, Pages 3285-3290 (PubMed 19200829)
    * Indirect Effect of 7-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine on Pneumococcal Colonization among Unvaccinated Household Members. Eugene V. Millar, James P. Watt, Melinda A. Bronsdon, Jean Dallas, Raymond Reid, Mathuram Santosham, and Katherine L. O’Brien Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008 47:8, 989-996 (PubMed 18781875)

  4. #4 Dangerous Bacon
    March 29, 2010

    Here’s a CDC link which has graphs showing the decline in vaccine-preventable diseases after immunization was introduced.

    Antivaxers commonly use that trick of showing abridged graphs selected to begin at one of the cyclical low points of incidence of a disease to attempt to demonstrate that the disease was on the way out before vaccination. An honest presentation would demand that they show how incidence rates had been cyclically rising and falling for many years before the vaccine was introduced, and after that declined to extremely low numbers (or in the case of diseases like polio, were eradicated altogether).

    But then, honesty has never been a requirement among the antivax crowd.

  5. #5 Rene Najera
    March 29, 2010

    If pressed, I could make a chart that showed how tomatoes are decreasing the incidence of anything… But only people who see evidence without a critical eye would believe it. And that is the problem. Much like the antivaxxers claim that the media has had a hand in promoting vaccines, that same culture of having talking heads interpret data for us is what makes antivaxxers claims seem reasonable to the untrained mind.
    If you really want to blow their mind, you’d plot incidence on a log scale, and then see a “ginormous” drop in cases. But that would be dishonest, and we don’t play by their rules.

  6. #6 Scott Cunningham
    March 29, 2010

    I was going to find any web site associated with Dr. Obomsawin I could where I could address his anti-vax distortions, but I have to run to class. I’ll check the National Office of Health Development later, after my exam. For now, at least the NAHO conference site that mentions him also links to a government site promoting vaccines.

    The home page thereof
    http://www.getimmunized.ca/

    Safety specifically
    http://www.getimmunized.ca/node/29

    That’s linked from an aboriginal health conference website by others. I still want to see what anything he himself commands looks like, to see if he preaches the anti-vax propaganda from his official positions in a public, online way, besides the usual duck nests.

  7. #7 Anton P. Nym
    March 29, 2010

    It makes my head hurt to see the anti-vaxxers claim that sanitation is more important than vaccination. Hey, surprise, one doesn’t replace the other, kids! I mean, breathing may be “more important” than eating, but that doesn’t make starvation a good idea. (Cue the pro-anna and airimentarian twits…)

    — Steve

  8. #8 James Sweet
    March 29, 2010

    . The best way to demonstrate this is to go on to the very first website that currently shows up on a Google search for “vaccines didn’t save us.”

    Not anymore. It’s now this post.

    For Science!

  9. #9 bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    Yes vaccines help prevent communicable diseases, just as nuclear weapons and their use deter death.

    I do have a question though, we have been around on the earth for many many years right? And vaccines are just a recent development. Do you suppose there have been a few diseases that have become extinct prior to vaccines? Is the human body able to build their own defense, perhaps over generations?

    I know, I know, there are more people and disease spreads easier, but we are also well fed, sheltered, and have advances in medicine to counter the symptoms and deal with the complications. Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?

  10. #10 Rene Najera
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson
    Yes, we would have survived as a species, just by simple math. However, entire societies and cultures would perish or be slow in growing because these (now) preventable, communicable diseases would have taxed them in resources and lives time and time again.
    What would Europe be without all those epidemics of smallpox? What would different kingdoms and cultures be without tuberculosis, influenzas, poxes?
    You have a son… How many children would have grown up to be great leaders, scientists, presidents, had they not succumbed to polio?
    Yes, we got through, and we will even if antivaxxers bring vaccine practice to its knees, but just think of the possibilities that would never get to be.

  11. #11 Omri
    March 29, 2010

    Apropos Africa, they’re still using thimerosal over there.

  12. #12 Todd W.
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Question: Is it better to stop a fire quickly or prevent it from occurring in the first place?

    The problem with a “sit and wait” approach, apart from the deaths and injuries that take place while waiting, is that at the same time humans develop ways to counter diseases, the bacteria and viruses that cause the diseases are developing new ways to get around the defenses. It’s a little thing called evolution, and every living thing does it in their attempts to survive. Vaccines (in general) are able to prevent infection a lot faster than the germs can mutate to get around the vaccine. A notable exception is influenza, but then, natural immunity doesn’t fare much better.

  13. #13 LK PhD
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson
    I would add that you’ve made a classic error here. It’s not in the interest of a pathogen that depends upon a host for its spread and survival to wipe out that host completely. Humans and pathogens are constantly co-evolving.

  14. #14 Pablo
    March 29, 2010

    Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?

    Wow.

    I’m not sure I understand this. I am trying to figure out if you are being disingenuous, intentionally misrepresenting the pro-health position of vaccines, or under the delusion of a massive strawman.

    Seriously, if this the bar you work for? Disease is ok as long as it doesn’t wipe out the human race?

  15. #15 James Sweet
    March 29, 2010

    Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?

    No, not at all! That is perfectly correct!

    In addition, I’m pretty sure if we got rid of airbags, seat belts — fuck, traffic lights and stop signs, even — we would still survive as a species.

    Come to think of it, these silly laws against stealing and rape and murder… I’m pretty sure we survived as a species for millennia without them, and I’m pretty sure it would be just about the same now.

    We’d probably also survive as a species without the anti-vaccine movement… so maybe you should sit the fuck down before the stoopid makes your hair catch on fire.

  16. #16 James Sweet
    March 29, 2010

    Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?

    No, not at all! That is perfectly correct!

    In addition, I’m pretty sure if we got rid of airbags, seat belts — hell, traffic lights and stop signs, even — we would still survive as a species.

    Come to think of it, these silly laws against stealing and rape and murder… I’m pretty sure we survived as a species for millennia without them, and I’m pretty sure it would be just about the same now.

    We’d probably also survive as a species without the anti-vaccine movement… so maybe you should sit the fsck down before the stoopid makes your hair catch on fire.

  17. #17 Dangerous Bacon
    March 29, 2010

    Equating vaccines and nuclear weapons is a good example of how horribly twisted the antivax mindset can (and often does) become.

    To recapitulate a classic ’50s quote: At long last, have you no shame?

  18. #18 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    bensmyson @ 9:

    I do have a question though, we have been around on the earth for many many years right? And vaccines are just a recent development. Do you suppose there have been a few diseases that have become extinct prior to vaccines? Is the human body able to build their own defense, perhaps over generations?

    Yes, populations can evolve defenses over a period of generations. One of the more interesting is sickle cell anemia. It’s really not a good condition to have except for one thing: it renders the person less vulnerable to the parasite which causes malaria. Since the condition itself is painful and can be debilitating, it isn’t selected for outside of regions with endemic malaria (and indeed, not all human populations in malaria-prone regions ever developed the defense in the first place).

    But it’s slow, imprecise, and usually just improves the odds rather than actually making anyone invulnerable to the disease. People with sickle cell anemia, for instance, can still contract malaria. They’re just far less likely to do so, and they pay a fairly heavy price for that protection. Part of this is because the pathogens evolve too (generally far more quickly than us, since their generations are counted in minutes rather than decades), but part of it is because our evolution is more constrained. Most of the genetic changes available to us result in non-viable humans, or humans crippled in some way.

    Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?

    No, it’s definitely not wrong. We survived as a species without vaccination for a very long time. We also survived as a species without a great many other things: the Internet, electricity, indoor plumbing, pasteurization, general anesthesia, concrete, domestic animals . . . .

    There’s never any guarantee of species survival; anybody can go extinct. But we have a pretty good capacity for surviving. The Black Death killed a quarter of the population of Europe — but it didn’t empty Europe entirely, and the population rebounded within a few centuries. Smallpox killed off huge numbers of Native Americans — but most tribes did survive, even if severely depleted. (And now that they were getting regular smallpox exposure, there was some degree of herd immunity. Not sufficient to prevent outbreaks, but sufficient to prevent devastation.)

    So yeah, we can certainly survive as a species without vaccination. There’s a lot of stuff we could give up and still be fairly sure of there being H. sapiens on the planet in a thousand years. Vaccination, even though the strategies focus on herd immunity, is really about saving individuals — and saving cultures. Europe survived the Black Death, but greatly changed. Whole villages died; the entire power structure changed. Indeed, it was a major factor in the decline of feudalism and the rise of the merchant class, by creating the appropriate power vacuums at the right time. Plagues are an awful thing to go through. Yes, our species will survive, but at a terrible cost. Vaccination gives us the chance to avoid that cost, and survive on our own terms.

  19. #19 JohnV
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    wow. just wow.

  20. #20 Militant Agnostic
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    By your logic we shouldn’t put seat belts, airbags, crush zones, child seats, dual circuit brakes, rollover protection etc. in cars because without them most people would still survive driving. You have reached a new level of stupid.

  21. #21 Tracy W
    March 29, 2010

    Yes vaccines help prevent communicable diseases, just as nuclear weapons and their use deter death.

    Let me guess, you think virii are intelligent beings who, when they read in the newspaper that a vaccine for their strain has been introduced, refuse to infect us because of fear of mutually-assured destruction (MAD)?

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    March 29, 2010

    Really. I have a 1960 copy of a compilation of *major* 1950′s articles from Prevention magazine(FYI- my relative works for Rodale’s daughter and son-in-law in a totally respectable, *non* wooful enterprise)which shows exactly the same arguments: “better sanitation and hygiene” plus “proper nutrition” being Rodale’s thesis.Demonstrating the *evolution* of anti-vax “science”(well, actually,its *absence* and non-existence ),Null posts similarly themed graph-heavy “white papers” at his eponymous site,as do Mike(the “Typhoid Mary” of health misinformation)Adams and Mercola.This triumvirate of internet woo stress the importance of “getting out in the sun”, sans sunscreen,(Health Tips @ HealthRanger recommends “one hour daily”!),Mercola sells tanning beds,then in nearly the same breath, talk about anti-aging medicine(sic) and “looking younger” longer.(All three woo-meisters claim huge followings)Seriously,Vogue magazine has been a more realistic source of health information concerning sun exposure.

  23. #23 SLC
    March 29, 2010

    Re Calli Arcale

    I may be uninformed here, not being either a biologist or physician, but it was my understanding that the sickle cell anemia gene is recessive and that it must be present on both chromosomes in order for the individual to suffer the condition. It was also my understanding that having the gene on one chromosome was sufficient to provide resistance to malaria. I was under the impression that this provides an explanation for the continued presence of the gene as individuals not having it in areas with high incidences of malaria leave fewer descendants and individuals having it on both chromosomes also leave fewer descendants. Thus, in such regions, individuals having the gene on one chromosome would have a selective advantage and thus leave more descendants. If I am incorrect in this impression, I would appreciate being corrected.

  24. #24 MikeMa
    March 29, 2010

    You all keep using the auto examples: seatbelts, airbags, etc without remembering that anti-vaxers will just drive real carefully. No need for the extra expense.

    Loons are everywhere. The sentiment above was an actual reason to be against healthcare reform. They didn’t need insurance. They would just drive really carefully to prevent accidents. Anti-vaxers are the same. They will just breathe really carefully or eat really carefully so they don’t need vaccines.

  25. #25 bluemaxx
    March 29, 2010

    @23: of course, to continue to use the automotive example..
    antivacc’ers will continue to drive on the same streets as the rest of us… but without routine preventive maintenance on their “vehicle” that enhances the general level of safety for all motorists on the road, by ensuring that preventable mechanical failures can be avoided…
    how do you spell HERD IMMUNITY moving violation,. officer?

  26. #26 Bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    Thanks for your time to answer my questions, most of you were helpful, others just attacking me once again. I do love the, “so maybe you should sit the fsck down before the stoopid makes your hair catch on fire.” line.

    I have to address the nuclear weapons thing. I use this because some people object to nuclear weapons because they have the potential to kill millions of people, as do communicable diseases. Vaccines on the other hand only kill a handful. I just find it odd that people can calculate the number of deaths of innocent people weigh it against the number of lives saved and determine the value of the weapon in terms of acceptable collateral damage. I mean what is the magic number? One life for 1,000?

    Again I know vaccines save lives, but questioning the safety of vaccines is an important and legitimate part of human nature, especially by parents who subject their children to these vaccines.

    The United Kingdom is an excellent illustration of this trend. Back in the mid-1990s, it declared measles as under control, thanks to the vaccine. Then came Andrew Wakefield and a credulous, sensationalistic British press to spread his message that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The result was that measles came roaring back in the U.K. to the point that two years ago measles was declared endemic again there.

    Orac, it may be Wakefield and then again it may be the news headlines of the time that said vaccines killed children.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3336455/Secret-report-reveals-18-child-deaths-following-vaccinations.html

    Or more recent headlines

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/156662/Vaccines-kill-two-children-every-year

    I really dont think the cause of people rejecting to comply with vaccine schedules is because of Wakefield’s paper, it has to do with a lack of trust in the pharmaceutical industry and the agencies that should be protecting us against abuses and injuries.

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/03/25/gabapentin-ubc.html

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2009/02/25/94385/fda-ignored-debris-in-syringes.html

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/16/1531156/psychiatrist-gets-warning-from.html

  27. #27 sheldon101
    March 29, 2010

    Infectious disease viruses can only evolve if they infect a host, change and then infect someone else with the evolved virus.

    High rates of vaccination mean that the virus is not going to have much less chance of evolving into something that the current vaccines will not stop.

  28. #28 Todd W.
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    I like how you once again use the psychiatrist case as a reason to condemn industry and FDA, when, in fact, FDA were the ones taking action against the psychiatrist, and industry was not involved at all.

    Getting to your “making vaccines safer” line, you need to be a bit more specific. What is “safe” to you? Do you argue that if something does not meet your criteria for “safe” that it should not be used at all?

    Vaccines are relatively safe, and companies are working to make them safer all the time. It’s part of why we’ve moved from OPV to IPV, for example. Or why RotaShield was removed from market.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    March 29, 2010

    Perhaps there is a solution: let all the anti-vaxxers move to a health freedom- friendly place,a state designated a “health freedom zone”-that’s what’s proposed today by Mikey at NaturalNews.

  30. #30 Orange Lantern
    March 29, 2010

    Great post. No matter how often I see it, it’s hard to believe people will make these kinds of claims. Two questions about the Canada graph, though.

    First, why was measles not reportable for eight years? I tried a quick Google but didn’t find a reason. And second, is that supposed to be a data point in 1959, or is that just a dropping off from lack of data? I could see why a person would look at that and think that incidence was dramatically falling off prior to the vaccine licensure.

  31. #31 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    SLC @ 22: That is correct; it is a regressive trait, and just carrying the trait gives you some protection against malaria. I didn’t go into adequate detail, but it was only meant as an example. In any case, the point is that it’s an awfully steep price to pay for malaria resistance. I understand some people, if they can’t get medications for it, turn to illegal drugs to get some relief from the symptoms.

    (BTW, I’m not a biologist or physician either, so I would not be surprised if I’m still wrong!)

    Thalassemia is another genetic blood disorder which appears to confer some protection against malaria. While sickle-cell anemia is most common among Africans, Thalassemia mainly afflicts Mediterraneans (or people decended from Mediterraneans). It’s a bit more complex than sickle-cell anemia, and there are both dominant and recessive forms of the disease.

    It’s possible that similarly protective effects may be discovered for some other genetic disorders; sometimes people point towards these anemias when warning against eugenics programs and abortion following genetic testing of the fetus or the selection of test-tube embryos based on whether or not they carry such traits — the point is that we don’t know just what it is we’re removing from our gene pool.

  32. #32 rob
    March 29, 2010

    argh. sometimes i get all misanthropic and wish that all the anti-vaxxers would contract horrible vaccine preventable diseases.

    but that won’t be happening any time soon cause all those asstards have been VACCINATED.

  33. #33 Pablo
    March 29, 2010

    First, why was measles not reportable for eight years? I tried a quick Google but didn’t find a reason. And second, is that supposed to be a data point in 1959, or is that just a dropping off from lack of data?

    That is my interpretation. Others can correct me if I am wrong, but the US CDC does not actually have the 8 year gap. And on that plot, it is bloody obvious where the line of demarcation occurs. That is why, I think, this clown used the Canadian data, because more was missing and he could be more deceptive.

    I know I’ve seen the CDC plot

    here’s one

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/images/measles_incidence.gif

  34. #34 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 29, 2010

    One thing that I always wish would work against this particular antivax meme is asking them to show me the common effect across diseases of sanitation and nutrition. After all, we’ve seen some really dramatic decreases in the rates of these diseases over the past century, haven’t we? And if it really is advances in sanitation and nutrition that caused those dramatic decreases, then when we select an individual advance in nutrition/sanitation, we should be able to look at the graphs for all diseases and see the rates falling precipitously within a reasonable time after the widespread introduction of that advance. Right? I mean, if it was the addition of French fries to school lunch menus that wiped the floor with polio in the 1950s, and not the polio vaccine, then surely French fries should have also been wiping the floor with measles, and mumps, and rubella, right?

    But sadly the kind of people who would respond to that argument, who wouldn’t take refuge in some delusional special pleading about “rubella just took longer to respond to French fries”, would not be the kind of people who’d present the “vaccines aren’t what caused the declines in these diseases” delusion in the first place…

  35. #35 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Pablo:

    That is why, I think, this clown used the Canadian data, because more was missing and he could be more deceptive.

    It might also be because he is Canadian.

  36. #36 Hypocrisy knows no bounds
    March 29, 2010

    @orac: Was sanitation so much worse in the late 1980s before the Hib vaccine was introduced than it is now? No.

    I find it amusingly contradictory that you are posting about being intellectually dishonest and insert that which you criticise. The majority of people carried Hib harmoniously, it was a small subset of people in which it became invasive. What has happened to nontypeable HI since Science decided to remove B from the environment?

  37. #37 Todd W.
    March 29, 2010

    @Antaeus Feldspar

    You raise a good point. Those who claim that improved sanitation or nutrition are the reason for declines in deaths and that vaccines do nothing are always a bit cagey about which specific advances contributed to the declines. For example, what specific advances occurred before the decline in measles in the 1960s? Why did they have no impact on Hib? And what specific advances occurred to cause the decline of Hib in the past couple decades?

  38. #38 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Parents of Ben, sensationalistic newspaper articles are not considered scientific evidence. Funny how you are claiming vaccines cause death, when you admitted that the diseases cause death. And it seemed you would have preferred Ben to die from a disease than to be autistic.

    Until you can show that the vaccines cause more harm than the diseases you have nothing. Also, if you pull out the very dishonest call for a “vax versus unvax” study, just keep asking Handley, Blaxill, Redwood and friends to fund that study.

  39. #39 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    bensmyson @ 25:

    I have to address the nuclear weapons thing. I use this because some people object to nuclear weapons because they have the potential to kill millions of people, as do communicable diseases.

    The problem with your analogy is that you didn’t compare nuclear weapons to communicable diseases — you compared them to vaccines. Furthermore, unlike vaccines, nuclear weapons are designed specifically to kill large numbers of people. It shouldn’t be surprising that this comparison bothered people, because it implies that you think vaccines were designed specifically to kill people. They weren’t. That a very small number of people have been injured by vaccines (far fewer than alleged by the anti-vax contingent, which is prone to the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy) is not evidence that they are designed to kill. The fact of the matter is that accidental deaths happen all the time, from every intervention ever designed. If someone falls down a manhole and dies, is this an indictment of municipal water supplies? Of course not, even though that person would be alive today were it not for municipal water supplies.

    Really, you cannot reasonably compare nuclear war (or even the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction) with vaccination. So this reasonably leads some to wonder if you were intending to inflame. I rather suspected you were, which is why I initially ignored the comparison. I did not believe it was intended for the purposes of actual debate, but just for stirring the pot.

    I really dont think the cause of people rejecting to comply with vaccine schedules is because of Wakefield’s paper, it has to do with a lack of trust in the pharmaceutical industry and the agencies that should be protecting us against abuses and injuries.

    Of course it’s not just Wakefield, and I don’t see any reason to accuse Orac of saying it’s just Wakefield. Orac writes often about *many* voices in the anti-vaccination movement, and has also discussed that the movement has been around for a very long time indeed — since long before Wakefield was even born. Wakefield is just one of the recent voices.

    There is definitely a lack of trust in the pharmaceutical industry, and the agencies assigned to watch over them. But this is not neccesarily a sign that there is something wrong in either. They’re not perfect, but there also is not the vast conspiracy that is often alleged. The autism connection is actually a relatively new player in the anti-vax thing. Older claims usually are more along a eugenics line. In Africa, for instance, the most common anti-vax claim came from Islamic fundamentalists arguing that the polio vaccine was actually a secret attempt by Christian nations to sterilize African Muslims. It wasn’t, of course. But over there, Christian colonialism is a serious bogeyman. Here, it’s mainly the government and big corporations that are the bogeyman, and so they are the ones pointed to.

    Bottom line: just because some people are afraid of something is not evidence that their fears are justified. But not everybody notices that, and if people who are afraid get together, they feed off one anothers’ fears and become even more afraid. And sometimes people (such as Wakefield but certainly not limited to him) take advantage of that situation, because such people are vulnerable to exploitation.

  40. #40 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 29, 2010

    @Orange Lantern:
    I haven’t been able to find numbers, but here’s another graph that seems to be a little clearer: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/meas-haut/mu_n-eng.php

    You will notice that the incidence in 1959 is about 200/100,000 which is within the range seen in the years between outbreaks previously. There is a slow trend downwards since WWII which probably reflects better living standards during this time. However, the difference in incidence once reporting was resumed is profound.

  41. #41 Scott
    March 29, 2010

    I just find it odd that people can calculate the number of deaths of innocent people weigh it against the number of lives saved and determine the value of the weapon in terms of acceptable collateral damage.

    I find it odd that anyone would do anything else (leaving aside the use of inappropriate terminology e.g. ‘weapon’, ‘collateral damage’). Lives saved and injuries prevented vs. lives lost and injuries caused (and cost) is pretty self-evidently the proper evaluation. It’s what’s used for all medicine, and indeed there’s no credible alternative approach.

    It is amusing that you’d make this argument, though, in the context of an analogy with nuclear weapons. With nukes, you can’t in any meaningful way quantify lives saved, and there have been no lives lost since 1945. There’s just no meaningful similarity.

  42. #42 James Sweet
    March 29, 2010

    I just find it odd that people can calculate the number of deaths of innocent people weigh it against the number of lives saved and determine the value of the weapon in terms of acceptable collateral damage.

    So what you’re saying is, if there’s ever a decision to be made where either choice results in some harm coming to some people, the appropriate response is to curl up in the fetal position and start crying? Any effort to make a decision is cold and calculating and “acceptable collateral damage”?

    The reason that “acceptable collateral damage” has become a dirty word is because it refers to civilian deaths in the course of accomplishing a military aim, and many people might argue with the benefits of that military aim. But if you are talking about reducing the total number of civilian deaths…. how is that “collateral damage”?

  43. #43 James Sweet
    March 29, 2010

    questioning the safety of vaccines is an important and legitimate part of human nature, especially by parents who subject their children to these vaccines.

    This is more or less true, but if you really believed that, then the person you should be most pissed off at right now is Obomsawin, because he is lying to people who are just behaving in a way that is part of human nature.

    If you really believed that, then we are not the enemy, the anti-vax movement is. They prey on fears that are, as you point out, perfectly natural and expected. You are correct that it is unsurprising that many parents worry about this sort of thing… that just makes them good parents.

    It is this movement which exploits those fears to propagate itself, using misrepresentations and half-truths and outright lies in order to intensify the natural fear that people feel, that’s the problem.

    If you really believed this rhetoric about “questioning” and “human nature”, you would feel a burning hatred for the anti-vax movement. So I can only assume that either a) you don’t really believe that and this is just mealy-mouthed apologetics, or b) the anti-vax movement has succeeded in exploiting your fears and turning your own human nature against the best interests of your child. In which case maybe someday you’ll wake up and hate them for the unnecessary suffering they have caused you.

  44. #44 Bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    “Until you can show that the vaccines cause more harm than the diseases you have nothing. “

    More harm? Well there’s a new one for me. Usually the line is the benefits outweigh the damage. So if the measles kill 10,000 a year and vaccines kill 9,000 vaccines are a good thing? Really? Is that what you mean? Kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000?

    My problem is any death is one death too many.

    #31

    argh. sometimes i get all misanthropic and wish that all the anti-vaxxers would contract horrible vaccine preventable diseases.

    but that won’t be happening any time soon cause all those asstards have been VACCINATED.

    Posted by: rob | March 29, 2010 12:49 PM

    Rob, this is exactly why I pose these questions. You want me dead yet I pose no direct threat to you. (not that Im anti-vax but am perceived as such) On the other side, vaccines cause an indirect threat to many, yet I wish no one dead because of that. One serious injury, much less death, is too many to ignore.

    Seriously where do you draw the line, how many brain injuries and deaths from vaccines are too many?

  45. #45 Jud
    March 29, 2010

    Bensmyson writes: I just find it odd that people can calculate the number of deaths of innocent people weigh it against the number of lives saved and determine the value of the weapon in terms of acceptable collateral damage. I mean what is the magic number? One life for 1,000?

    [Sigh.] Look, Bensmyson, you will really have to learn to think more precisely about these things. The nuclear weapon/vaccine analogy doesn’t hold. What would make it a good analogy is if millions of people were being killed by radiation from, e.g., neutron bombs every year, and a technology was developed that reduced that number to hundreds.

    Diseases such as malaria kill millions each year. There were other diseases that used to do so until vaccines were developed for them. Now the numbers killed by those diseases are small, small percentages of the former tolls.

    Do some people die from vaccines? Try finding, from reliable scientific sources, reports of fatal vaccine reactions in, say, the last two decades in a country that keeps such records.

    Even if you do manage to find a very few, why exactly should this induce us to hand-wringing about “innocents”? Hint: Bacteria and viruses don’t attack only the “sinful.” Cutting death tolls and the incidence of other terrible effects by millions is a prospect before which we ought to hesitate? Whatever on Earth for?

  46. #46 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 29, 2010

    @Hypocrisy:
    You asked what happened to non-b H. flu since the vaccine.
    Answer: Nothing.
    Non-b H. flu is an uncommon pathogen, and has shown no increase in incidence since immunization of type b was introduced. Here’s an example:
    “Among Navajo and White Mountain Apache children a relatively high incidence (20.2 cases per 100,000 population aged <5 years) of invasive disease with serotype a strains is observed, but with no absolute increase in numbers in the period after vaccination against H influenzae type b.” (p. 637, Manual of Clinical Microbiology, Murray et. al. 2007)
    Noncapsulate H. flu still causes infections in children, however, these are mostly otitis media and sinusitis in healthy children. Meningitis is rare and occurs in children with underlying health issues such as VP shunts.
    I know of no increase in these infections since Hib vaccine was introduced.

  47. #47 DT
    March 29, 2010

    @Bensmyson

    It just comes down to risk-benefit at the end of the day.

    You may not like the teleological philosophy that preventing thousands of deaths (at the risk of harming some children) is a coherent and desireable outcome.

    But then the deontological philosophy (rather thousands die than one child be put at risk)that is deployed by the antivax tag teams is plain wrong.

  48. #48 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 29, 2010

    Aaauuuuggghh!!!

    Part of my previous comment got eaten during posting – I have no idea what happened. Here it is again:

    @Hypocrisy:
    You asked what happened to non-b H. flu since the vaccine.
    Answer: Nothing.
    Non-b H. flu is an uncommon pathogen, and has shown no increase in incidence since immunization of type b was introduced. Here’s an example:
    “Among Navajo and White Mountain Apache children a relatively high incidence (20.2 cases per 100,000 population aged less than 5 years)of invasive disease with serotype a strains is observed, but with no absolute increase in numbers in the period after vaccination against H. influenzae type b.” (Murray et.al., Manual of Clinical Microbiology 2007, p 637-8)
    Noncapsulate H. flu still causes infections in children, however, these are mostly otitis media and sinusitis in healthy children. Meningitis is rare and occurs in children with underlying health issues such as VP shunts.
    I know of no increase in these infections since Hib vaccine was introduced.
    BTW, what was your point again?

  49. #49 Scott
    March 29, 2010

    More harm? Well there’s a new one for me. Usually the line is the benefits outweigh the damage. So if the measles kill 10,000 a year and vaccines kill 9,000 vaccines are a good thing? Really? Is that what you mean? Kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000?

    Yes, since “kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000″ is wrong. 10K deaths vs. 9K; the latter is clearly superior. Since vaccines are in fact orders of magnitude less risky than these figures, they’re even better.

    My problem is any death is one death too many.

    Better abolish cars, drinking water, farming, and everything else in existence, then. Everything has risks; for virtually everything those risks include death.

    Seriously where do you draw the line, how many brain injuries and deaths from vaccines are too many?

    When they’re more than the lives saved and injuries prevented, of course. And in the real world, they are in fact several orders of magnitude less.

    In all seriousness – do you not see that NOTHING any human does, or indeed has ever done, would be an acceptable activity under the standards you’re applying to vaccination? Or if you do see that, how in the world do you justify the double standard?

  50. #50 Neil Craig
    March 29, 2010

    The anti-vaccine movement never got as much political support, mainly because vaccination is a government programme so they aren’t against it, to achieve “consensus” status. Thus you don’t quite have to be a guanphrenic to oppose it.

    However in pure scientific terms I would be interested to know how it is intellectually honest to oppose something purely on the basis that it is not state approved?

    Alternately what “evidence, science, and reason” is there in catastrophic global warminmg, passive smoking killing, the LNT radiation theory, polar bears being endangered, peak oil, acid rain, HIV-AIDS, salt being dangerous, cholesterol & the numerous other “scientific consensii”, politically correct because promoted by those in charge, scares which are not denounced here?

  51. #51 Neil Craig
    March 29, 2010

    The anti-vaccine movement never got as much political support, mainly because vaccination is a government programme so they aren’t against it, to achieve “consensus” status. Thus you don’t quite have to be a guanophrenic to oppose it.

    However in pure scientific terms I would be interested to know how it is intellectually honest to oppose something purely on the basis that it is not state approved?

    Alternately what “evidence, science, and reason” is there in catastrophic global warminmg, passive smoking killing, the LNT radiation theory, polar bears being endangered, peak oil, acid rain, HIV-AIDS, salt being dangerous, cholesterol & the numerous other “scientific consensii”, politically correct because promoted by those in charge, scares which are not denounced here?

  52. #52 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Seriously where do you draw the line, how many brain injuries and deaths from vaccines are too many?

    If you’ve ever taken any course in introductory ethics, you’d understand why this is a stupid question. Maybe “stupid” isn’t the right word, but it’s a meaningless question that is often thrown into ethical debate to demonize the other side, and those who use it are almost always stupid. I am not saying this is the case for you, but that’s the only circumstance I’ve seen it under.

    The REASON it’s a meaningless question is that ALL CHOICES will inevitably end up with someone dead – in medicine far more so. Saying that one death is one too many is a foolish standard to hold anything up to. No reasonable policy or decisions can be made if 100% foolproof safety is the bar set for success. From a purely utilitarian standpoint, your example of 10,000 lives saved at the cost of 9,000 lives is completely justified. Furthermore, you’ve inflated the number of lives lost due to vaccines by a factor of about 90,000 (given that risks due to vaccines are stated in the 1/100,000 population range).

    The proper way to ask the question is “how much of a return on investment (or risk) is conscionable to society?” To answer that question in the specific case of vaccines, we must look to analogues. Society is perfectly comfortable with auto manufacturers (to extend the analogy) not having 100% safe products; we don’t outlaw plane travel because some crash; we permit a certain level of contamination in our food supply; we allow our kids to go to public schools even though some people are child murderers. There are any number of examples where society seems to be comfortable with an “acceptable” amount of risk. That acceptability threshold can change from year to year and from society to society, but when the small risk of adverse effects (claiming that brains are injured due to vaccines is begging the question, and the literature is pretty clear that brain injury is a much rarer side effect than the autism/vaccine folks would have us believe) is compared to the less small risk of infection, the choice is pretty easy to make. I have no ethical concerns with vaccination, and I’d imagine anyone who does either doesn’t know about vaccines or doesn’t know about ethics.

  53. #53 bluemaxx
    March 29, 2010

    as posted at #43 by Ben-my-son
    *** More harm? Well there’s a new one for me. Usually the line is the benefits outweigh the damage. So if the measles kill 10,000 a year and vaccines kill 9,000 vaccines are a good thing? Really? Is that what you mean? Kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000? ***

    ACTUALLY… BEN old chap…that would be rather ineffective vaccine… and quite likely not approved or used, BUT… if a vaccine was to be given for XXX disease, that killed 10,000 people out of, for arguments sake, 25,000, and it resulted in the SAVING of 1000 additional lives of people that would have died, I am not sure what sort of moral objection you might have???? You can get into arguments about how many is worth it…but I guess you said it best yourself when you posted(please allow me to paraphrase just a tad)
    “My problem is any (preventable) death is one death too many. ”
    or are you making an argument that 1,000 saved isnt enough to warrant saving anyone?

    And I don’t wish you, or any of the antivaccine mob to be DEAD… I just fervently wish you “SMARTER, WISER, BETTER INFORMED” and the parents of healthy, protected children… or until then, much less strident and vocal.

  54. #54 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 29, 2010

    @Neil Craig:
    In the interests of time and energy, I will suggest the following –
    Since you are an HIV denialist, you are a loony and should be ignored.

  55. #55 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Ben’s parents, measles has a known level of a encephalitis of about one in 1000. That outcomes in that 1 in 1000 are known to be deafness, blindness, paralysis, mental retardation and death (and actually, during the last major outbreak in the USA the death rate was more than 2 per 1000).

    Mumps is also known to cause meningitis, deafness, and sterility along with other things, including death, at a level less than measles.

    Now, come up with some numbers with evidence that the MMR vaccine causes death at a rate greater than measles. That means you have to show that at least one person per 1000 getting the MMR has died. Since there are thousands of MMR vaccines given per week, that should be an easy number to find if it actually does happen.

    Also show that the MMR has caused these deaths every year since 1971.

  56. #56 JohnV
    March 29, 2010

    “You want me dead yet I pose no direct threat to you. (not that Im anti-vax but am perceived as such) On the other side, vaccines cause an indirect threat to many, yet I wish no one dead because of that.”

    Aside from your attempts to destroy herd immunity you may not pose a direct threat to anyone, I guess. Except if some poor misguided soul sees you people in all your ignorant outrage about the evils of vaccines and decides not to vaccinate his or her children, you are a direct threat to them (the kids).

    Despite that, I still don’t wish vaccine-preventable diseases on you people. After all, that just gives the pathogens in question more of a chance to mutate and potentially evade the vaccines we do have.

    You may not think you’re wishing people dead but you’re advocating for a return of infectious diseases to the general population. I realize that you appear to consider a return of infectious disease to a glorious and noble goal (just like nuclear disarmament) but you’re still wishing death on people.

  57. #57 Free Lunch
    March 29, 2010

    Neil Craig appears to be a reality denialist. Only a fool would care about Neil’s opinion. Presumably, Neil cares about his own opinion, I do not.

  58. #58 Greg Fish
    March 29, 2010

    …it’s virtually completely immune to evidence, science, and reason. No matter how much evidence is arrayed against it, it always finds a way to spin, distort, or misrepresent it to combat the evidence.

    You can say the exact same thing about every anti-scientific movement that ever existed and will ever exist. It’s the denialist mindset: science is wrong, therefore when it presents evidence that it’s right, it must mean that the evidence is wrong.

    This perfectly circular logic based on a faulty premise locks the woo faithful in a loop of paranoia and hatred for science as long as they remain woo faithful.

  59. #59 Dan Weber
    March 29, 2010

    It wasn’t, of course. But over there, Christian colonialism is a serious bogeyman. Here, it’s mainly the government and big corporations that are the bogeyman, and so they are the ones pointed to.

    I read a story — I think it was Dave Barry, but he was writing perfectly serious at the time — of how a sheriff told him that 100 years ago, his office would get phone calls that a neighbor was pointing an invisible ray gun at them to interfere with their perceptions. When UFO abduction stories came about, there was a large shift away from ray-guns and towards their neighbor being a secret alien in disguise.

    The mental disorder never changed, just how it was expressed.

  60. #60 HealthEd
    March 29, 2010

    The only response I can think of to counter these lame arguments—one word, smallpox. It damn well didn’t eradicate itself, and has been eliminated from places on the planet which still face huge deficits in nutrition and sanitation.

    Also, @6 Scott Cunningham … as a bird lover, I ask that ducks not be associated with this (pun intended) loon. :)

  61. #61 trll
    March 29, 2010

    I do have a question though, we have been around on the earth for many many years right? And vaccines are just a recent development. Do you suppose there have been a few diseases that have become extinct prior to vaccines? Is the human body able to build their own defense, perhaps over generations?

    Undoubtedly, we would survive as a species without vaccines. Vaccines enhance individual survival and greatly reduce human suffering; they probably don’t do much for our survival as a species. A species can survive massive die-offs (as our species has done in the past). The survivors tend to have mutations that render them less susceptible to that disease, although often there is a price to be paid (e.g. resistance to malaria at the price of an increased frequency of child death from sickle cell disease.) And we are so abundant that there is lots of genetic diversity in the human population.

    Note also that is is generally not to the benefit (evolutionarily speaking) of a disease organism to wipe out a host, so there is selective pressure on some disease organisms to evolve toward lower virulence (although this may not apply when we are only one of several hosts, such as with flu).

    Don’t count on the human body building defenses over generations, however. Disease organisms have shorter generations than we do, so they evolve much faster than we. That is an evolutionary arms race that humans will nearly always lose. Our immune system carries out a kind of simulated evolution within the body, but it’s still relatively slow–often you are already dead before your body is geared up to fight the disease. Hence vaccination, to give your body a head start.

  62. #62 Scott Cunningham
    March 29, 2010

    @ Niel Craig,

    That’s really a full bag of denialisms. HIV denialism is pure nonsense, as is denying the second hand smoke cancer link. And you’ve mixed acid rain in there, which was real and solved long ago by Brian Mulroney and George Bush I by cutting Sulfur emissions by 50%, which I honestly would have expected you to know. The polar bears are a bit of hyperbole because AGW got politicized but dumb stage antics aside, the scientific premise still stands.

  63. #63 trrll
    March 29, 2010

    Again I know vaccines save lives, but questioning the safety of vaccines is an important and legitimate part of human nature, especially by parents who subject their children to these vaccines.

    Questioning the safety of vaccines is important, yes, but it is important to realizes that this is done all the time by medical professionals. Quite a few vaccines have been removed from use because of complications that were rare, or in some cases merely suspected and never definitively established (for example Guillain-Barré paralysis).

    It seems to many of us that vaccines are being held to an impossibly high standard. There are many things that we allow, and even encourage children to do that carry much greater risk, and save few if any lives:

    Riding in automobiles for non-essential reasons (going to a movie, for example).
    Engaging in childhood sports such as softball, football, hockey, soccer, wrestling, cheerleading, skiing, skating, bicycling, skateboarding.

    So the more appropriate question is, “What is it about vaccines that makes some people believe that it is reasonable to insist on a standard of near-absolute safety that we do not demand of much of anything else?”

  64. #64 Scott Cunningham
    March 29, 2010

    @HealthEd

    You must admit, the man quacks.

  65. #65 David N. Brown
    March 29, 2010

    I have given a lot of thought to sanitation over a long period of time, and here are some of my thoughts:
    1. A historical example given for the effects of sanitation is Medieval and Rennaissance Jews, who were thought at the time and since to have had a lower rate of bubonic plague deaths. However, the Jews’ own records show that even they suffered many, many deaths. My judgment is that, if there was a difference, it was strictly relative.
    2. Sanitation practices evolved faster than medical practices. Approximately modern sewers were in place by ca. 1900, and after ca. 1950 it’s hard to point to any new developments.
    3. Sanitation is never uniform throughout a society. Thus, it has and always will benefit some more than others. Publicly-funded vaccination, on the other hand, is provided to people of all classes, and can benefit them all equally.

  66. #66 Vicki
    March 29, 2010

    Bensmyson–

    Yes, without any medicine at all, the species survived and probably would continue to do so. But many individuals would die, and more would be left with permanent injuries.

    If one death is too many, why are you prepared to accept tens of millions?

    If one child left disabled is too many, why are the many born disabled because of rubella not too many for you?

    You see your one child, and think you know why he’s sick. What you don’t see is the very real chance that, without vaccines, you wouldn’t have a disabled child, you would have a cemetery plot you could visit.

  67. #67 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 29, 2010

    Safety vs. cost is an everyday calculation. Let’s look at the aviation industry. Flying is safer than driving. It can be made safer, though, but at what cost?

    For a while the FAA considered mandating that children under two be required to have a seat and be in an approved car seat rather than being allowed to fly as a lap child. The increase in cost would have caused a certain number of families to drive instead of fly and in the end more people would have died in cars than would have been saved in plane crashes.

    No, vaccines are not perfectly safe. But they are going to harm far fewer people than the alternative. Perhaps they can be made safer, but we don’t have infinite resources. Perhaps after we’ve solved some more pressing health issues. Like finding the ACTUAL cause of autism.

    One outcome of MAD is that it prevented the US and USSR from going to war directly, but it created a number of proxy wars. How many Koreans, Vietnamese, Afghans, and others died in these wars over the decades? I’m pretty sure those countries don’t feel MAD was a particular benefit to them. There were still plenty of others conflicts that had nothing to do with the Cold War. Did MAD actually save lives overall? Only if you assume a nuclear war would have happened without it.

  68. #68 Archangl508
    March 29, 2010

    @61

    “Our immune system carries out a kind of simulated evolution within the body, but it’s still relatively slow–often you are already dead before your body is geared up to fight the disease.”

    Maybe that is true of some of the stronger, more pathogenic viruses and bacteria out there, but our immune system does a great job protecting us from a multitude of things that would kill us otherwise. AIDS patients don’t die from things that we would vaccinate against, but rather they die from pneumonia caused by the yeast (Candida albicans) that normally lives in our skin, mouth, and GI tract. They also quite often die of cancer that would normally be eliminated by our immune system.

    But you are right in that we won’t be evolving mechanisms to escape smallpox, measles, or polio anytime soon. I would imagine that is partly because there wouldn’t be enough of an evolutionary pressure from any of those diseases to drive human resistance to those viruses.

  69. #69 Dangerous Bacon
    March 29, 2010

    benmyson: “So if the measles kill 10,000 a year and vaccines kill 9,000 vaccines are a good thing? Really? Is that what you mean? Kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000?”

    This is another example of what Orac judiciously referred to as “intellectual dishonesty” – inventing numbers to make a false argument. The ratio of lives saved to deaths attributed to vaccines is vastly greater than that, as you must be well aware.

    “My problem is any death is one death too many.”

    No – your problem is that you must magnify and exaggerate every possible bad outcome that can be blamed on vaccines – while ignoring or minimizing deaths and injuries that used to be commonplace due to diseases now controlled or eliminated by vaccines.

    This is yet another example of dishonesty, along with your suggesting that you weren’t really trying to equate vaccines with nuclear weapons.

    It also constitutes projection – you argue that we shouldn’t trust government agencies and pharmaceutical companies, while you and other antivaxers consistently tell blatant lies about immunization.

    There is always going to be a minority who think government and scientists are all evil monsters conspiring to conceal the truth from us. Increasingly, antivaxers who spread easily refutable falsehoods are limiting themselves to appealing to this minority – who are loud, but self-marginalized and very limited in influence.

  70. #70 Raging Bee
    March 29, 2010

    I have to address the nuclear weapons thing.

    No, you don’t: “the nuclear weapons thing” is completely irrelevant to the issue of vaccines.

    Again I know vaccines save lives…

    Again you admit that vaccines save lives, and again you go on demonizing people who want to use vaccines to save lives.

    …but questioning the safety of vaccines is an important and legitimate part of human nature, especially by parents who subject their children to these vaccines.

    I notice you don’t say that questioning the safety of vaccines is warranted by facts, observations, or reason. Thank you, once again you’ve just admitted that a) you know damn well that vaccines save lives; and b) You’re just going to go on spewing your stupid self-righteous emotional nonsense all over the place anyway.

  71. #71 bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    “Better abolish cars, drinking water, farming, and everything else in existence, then. Everything has risks; for virtually everything those risks include death.”

    All the these analogies relate to things that are participated in voluntarily, there are open discussions about vehicle safety and sports related injuries and no one accuses those asking the questions as anti-baseball or anti-automobile. Vaccines are different, they are said to be “safe” and they are not. Vaccines are required, vaccines are a product, a profitable product, vaccines are issued by the government and encouraged via billion dollar campaigns to immunize the public. Vaccines are required by law for children entering school and as brutally illustrated by more than one post here, if you dont vaccinate you should be killed. Tell me Ford Motor Company and Merck are the same thing again, I dont quite get it.

  72. #72 Raging Bee
    March 29, 2010

    My problem is any death is one death too many.

    Right — you’ve already admitted you don’t care about kids dying from vaccine-preventable illnesses, and you still pretend “any death is one death too many” for your oh-so-delicate sensibilities. There’s no sense in trying to reason with such a blind, uncaring, shameless, self-serving, self-righteous hypocrite.

  73. #73 Scott
    March 29, 2010

    All the these analogies relate to things that are participated in voluntarily, there are open discussions about vehicle safety and sports related injuries and no one accuses those asking the questions as anti-baseball or anti-automobile.

    Drinking water is a voluntary activity, then? There aren’t open discussions of vaccine safety (such as, for example, all the pre-approval testing)? And I’d love to see anyone whose position is that baseball should be banned because it carries a risk of injury – such people most certainly WOULD be called “anti-baseball.” (Note that those labelled “anti-vaccine,” like yourself, are NOT “asking questions”. They are claiming to have the answers to said questions, but are quite wrong.)

    Vaccines are different, they are said to be “safe” and they are not.

    Vaccines are NOT presented as perfectly safe; indeed, there’s a concerted effort made to understand and communicate the risks involved. The only sense in which vaccines are said to be “safe” is in the sense that the benefits vastly outweigh the risks (not what you seem to mean). And in that sense, they most certainly are exceedingly safe.

    Vaccines are required, vaccines are a product, a profitable product, vaccines are issued by the government and encouraged via billion dollar campaigns to immunize the public. Vaccines are required by law for children entering school and as brutally illustrated by more than one post here, if you dont vaccinate you should be killed. Tell me Ford Motor Company and Merck are the same thing again, I dont quite get it.

    Not one letter of this has any relevance to anything at all.

  74. #74 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    bensmyson @ 44:

    Really? Is that what you mean? Kill 9,000 to save the lives of 1,000?

    Of course not. The objective is to have no one die of a vaccine while saving the lives of all of those who would otherwise have died of the vaccine-preventable disease. Obviously, this is the real world, and the real world is imperfect; sometimes bad things happen. But vaccines are constantly being improved to make them both safer and more effective. It’s not a matter of killing 9,000 to save 1,000. It’s more a matter of regrettably causing a handful of deaths and a somewhat larger number of disabilities to save 10,000. The number saved is vastly larger than the number injured, and as vaccines get better and better, the odds keep improving.

    No doctor wants to hurt children (or adults, for that matter, as the same ethics applies there). Nor do any pharmaceutical corporations want to hurt people. Sometimes mistakes happen, and people do get hurt, and that’s always tragic. They must always strive to improve. But it will never be perfect. That’s just a fact of life.

    My problem is any death is one death too many.

    Then you should be absolutely in favor of vaccination, because not vaccinating causes a much higher death toll.

    Some of the old-school anti-vaccinationists argued that natural disease was better not because it produced better immunity but because we aren’t all meant to live. Some were religiously motivated, others by eugenics. Either illness was divine will, not to be questioned, or it was a culling of the herd. (Actually, the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.) They consciously chose to allow deaths. It was the vaccinators who felt that one death was too many.

    People don’t have to die of measles or HiB or tetanus. We have it in our power to prevent that.

    Seriously where do you draw the line, how many brain injuries and deaths from vaccines are too many?

    Is there a particular reason you don’t turn that around and tell us how many brain injuries and deaths from measles (for instance) are too many?

    I would argue like you: in an ideal world, the number should be zero. This is not an ideal world. But the number needs to be very low. Fortunately, it is.

  75. #75 Pablo
    March 29, 2010

    Quite a few vaccines have been removed from use because of complications that were rare, or in some cases merely suspected and never definitively established (for example Guillain-Barré paralysis).

    It’s always funny when the anti-vax loons (not you) bring up GBS with the swine flu vaccine. You know how many people actually got GBS due to the swine flu vaccine back in the 70s? Best estimates are 30 – 40. Out of millions of people who got the vaccine, 30 – 40 got GBS. It was something on the order of 1 in 100 000 vaccinated people got GBS.

    What is flabbergasting to me is that people actually brought up GBS as an objection to the recent H1N1 vaccine. This was a virus that killed something like 1 in 100 pregnant women who got it, which was something like 1 in 100 of all pregnant women. Hundreds of otherwise healthy pregnant women died from H1N1. And yet, they were more concerned that 36 people developed GBS from a different vaccine nearly 40 years ago.

  76. #76 Pablo
    March 29, 2010

    Quite a few vaccines have been removed from use because of complications that were rare, or in some cases merely suspected and never definitively established (for example Guillain-Barré paralysis).

    It’s always funny when the anti-vax loons (not you) bring up GBS with the swine flu vaccine. You know how many people actually got GBS due to the swine flu vaccine back in the 70s? Best estimates are 30 – 40. Out of millions of people who got the vaccine, 30 – 40 got GBS. It was something on the order of 1 in 100 000 vaccinated people got GBS.

    What is flabbergasting to me is that people actually brought up GBS as an objection to the recent H1N1 vaccine. This was a virus that killed something like 1 in 100 pregnant women who got it, which was something like 1 in 100 of all pregnant women. Hundreds of otherwise healthy pregnant women died from H1N1. And yet, they were more concerned that 36 people developed GBS from a different vaccine nearly 40 years ago.

  77. #77 triskelethecat
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson: how many children do you have? You gave birth to a child who most likely will live to a ripe old age, thanks to modern medicine, vaccines, sanitation, and diet.

    Do you understand WHY people had large families back in the day? IIRC, 1 in 5 children didn’t live to see their first birthday, and out of the remaining children, 2 in 5 died before age 5 or so. (my numbers can be off; it’s been a while since I did this research). Epidemics would sweep through a family and kill the most vulnerable. Visit any old graveyard and see how many parents buried several of their children, often all at the same time during an epidemic (and maybe along with mother…whose health was often more stressed due to frequent childbearing. Lots of men went through 2 or 3 wives).

    Sanitation definitely helped decrease those disease that were enteric – i.e. cholera, typhoid – but it had little effect on the airborne pathogens like measles. Fewer children DIED of measles after sanitation improved, but just as many GOT the measles. The vaccine decreased the incidence of measles entirely.

    And, just as a comment re: sickle cell. There is sickle cell trait, where a person has only 1 of the genes. They can be asymptomatic generally, but more resistant to malaria because their red blood cells are often abnormal in shape but not the severe “sickle” shape of those with sickle cell anemia (which takes the 2 recessive genes)

  78. #78 Pablo
    March 29, 2010

    Sorry for the double post. Blame my ISP (it’s a bad day for them)

  79. #79 Todd W.
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Again, I ask you, what is your definition of “safe”? If something does not meet this definition of “safe”, then do you argue that it should not be used, at all?

    If you don’t like the auto analogies, how about eating? Eating is not really voluntary (I mean, you could starve yourself if you wanted to, but that would be kinda stupid). Food is a profitable industry that is heavily marketed. Food is said to be safe. Yet there are people who die every year from eating food (allergies, choking, contaminated, etc.), not to mention other adverse health effects (and I’m not just talking about “processed” foods, either…I’m including healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables). If any death is one death too many, then should we stop eating?

    And you didn’t respond to my fire analogy. Is it better to extinguish a fire quickly, or to prevent the fire from happening in the first place?

  80. #80 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    It’s almost as though bensmyson (whichever of the pair is posting) is looking at the state of affairs today and creating the history of it out of thin air. There’s a REASON why vaccines are mandatory: they WORK! That’s also why they’re profitable. Before they were mandatory, there was widespread infectious disease. After vaccines were made compulsory, the disease was so rare in the population that we adjusted our expectations of what was “acceptable risk”, and then all of a sudden “vaccine injury” became the monster of the day. However, if you remove the vaccines, the number of deaths will spike astronomically from what they are today.

    If you’re going to plead that you’re not “anti-vaccine” and you just “want them to be safer”, then you can join the club. We ALL want vaccines to be safer. Just like we want cars to be safer and planes to be safer and sports to be safer and drinking water to be safer. People work every day to make medications safer. It’s this same drive to remove uncontrollable danger from every-day life that caused vaccines to be invented in the FIRST place.

  81. #81 Prometheus
    March 29, 2010

    Bensmyson takes the “nuclear option”:

    “Yes vaccines help prevent communicable diseases, just as nuclear weapons and their use deter death.”

    While it is arguable that the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of lives – US and Japanese – that would have been lost in a conventional invasion of Japan, I think you’re stretching it to say that their use “deter[s] death”. Perhaps the threat or possibility of their use has deterred some nations from using their own nuclear arsenal, but you can’t say that their existence “deters death” (for example, see: Korean War, Vietnam War, Kashmir Conflict, etc.).

    Bensmyson continues:

    “I do have a question though, we have been around on the earth for many many years right? And vaccines are just a recent development. Do you suppose there have been a few diseases that have become extinct prior to vaccines? Is the human body able to build their own defense, perhaps over generations?”

    and:

    “Im just curious, is it wrong to think that even without having everyone vaccinated if we would survive as a species?”

    The genus Homo has been around for about 2.4 million years. For most of that time, we have been without vaccines. Our sub-species – Homo sapiens sapiens – arose about 200,000 years ago. For most of that time, we were without vaccines. Clearly, our innate and adaptive immune systems were sufficient to prevent us from becoming extinct due to infectious disease.

    Our genome contains clues to virus pathogens that we have overcome through evolution. There is a retrovirus (PtERV1) that has over 100 inactivated copies in the chimpanzee genome and no copies in the human genome. It appears that a protein – TRIM5-alpha – in humans mutated to make us resistant to this primate retrovirus about 4 million years ago (before we were Homo but after our lineage split from the chimpanzee). Unfortunately for us here and now, while the chimpanzee TRIM5-alpha renders them immune to HIV1 (the causative agent of AIDS), our mutated version does not.

    Another thing to consider is that many of our current crop of infectious diseases were picked up relatively (in an evolutionary sense) from other species. The reason that some of them are so virulent is because they haven’t had time to adapt to us. These zoonotic diseases are usually much more lethal, since we (and they) haven’t evolved together. Ebola, Yellow fever, Hantavirus and Influenza are all zoonotic diseases that cause little or no illness in their “native” species but are “pathogens” in humans.

    Measles also appears to be a zoonotic disease. Molecular phylogeny of the currently circulating measles virus strains (wild-type) suggests that they diverged from rinderpest (a similar virus found in cattle) about 1,000 years ago, with rinderpest being the “older” (ancestral) strain. Thus, the virus we call measles came from cattle. [BTW, cattle probably also got it from another animal, we just don't know which one.]

    It is also possible that measles transferred from cattle to humans on several occasions, since there are reports of measles-like diseases from about 1,200 years ago. What measles “needs”, in order to perpetuate itself, is about 250,000 to 300,000 non-immune individuals, so human measles wouldn’t have been “self-supporting” until the population density (and birth rate) were sufficient.

    Anyway, that’s the long way of saying that, yes, we humans do evolve an innate immunity to diseases, but we have a longer generation time than bacteria or viruses (12 – 20 years vs a few hours), so we evolve a lot slower than our pathogens. If it weren’t in their “best interest” to evolve to not kill us, we would be extinct. Also, the current large population and massive genetic diversity of humans makes it likely that some people would survive even a “super-bug”.

    Just to make a point – there are a lot of “dead” branches of the genus Homo, including four or so (there is some argument) that existed at the same time Homo sapiens sapiens (us) did. Perhaps they weren’t so lucky with pathogens as we were.

    However, this is all rather beside the point. While the fossil and historical record make it clear that Homo sapiens sapiens did not become extinct without vaccines, it is also clear that vaccines prevent a great deal of death, misery and disability. A connection between autism and vaccines is not supported by data, so that argument is moot.

    If, instead, you want to argue that the risk of the vaccine is greater than the risk of the disease, or that vaccines are ineffective, the data also don’t support those “hypotheses”. About the only anti-vaccine (or “pro-safe-vaccine”) argument that holds any water is that some people – generally those without education in biology or medicine – have an unsupported fear that vaccines are unsafe.

    And I don’t see any indication that this “fear” is amenable to education (e.g. Bensmyson).

    Prometheus

  82. #82 JohnV
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson
    While I continue to avoid doing my job today, perhaps you can explain how the same person can say this

    On the other side, vaccines cause an indirect threat to many, yet I wish no one dead because of that

    and then later say:

    “Sued? SUED? I want an eye for an eye, I want criminal charges brought against PEOPLE. We pay all pay the judgements in higher costs. Also if the corporations were held accountable it would be the stockholders to have to pay. Nope I want someone to sit in prison for 29 years, right after they are horse whipped. In China a corrupt head of a drug company that sold tainted product was taken outside after he was found guilty and shot. Sounds reasonable to me, his product killed babies.

  83. #83 travesti
    March 29, 2010

    Antivaxers commonly use that trick of showing abridged graphs selected to begin at one of the cyclical low points of incidence of a disease to attempt to demonstrate that the disease was on the way out before vaccination. An honest presentation would demand that they show how incidence rates had been cyclically rising and falling for many years before the vaccine was introduced, and after that declined to extremely low numbers (or in the case of diseases like polio, were eradicated altogether).

    But then, honesty has never been a requirement among the antivax

  84. #84 trrll
    March 29, 2010

    All the these analogies relate to things that are participated in voluntarily, there are open discussions about vehicle safety and sports related injuries and no one accuses those asking the questions as anti-baseball or anti-automobile. Vaccines are different, they are said to be “safe” and they are not. Vaccines are required, vaccines are a product, a profitable product, vaccines are issued by the government and encouraged via billion dollar campaigns to immunize the public. Vaccines are required by law for children entering school and as brutally illustrated by more than one post here, if you dont vaccinate you should be killed.

    Voluntarily? Really? When I was in school, I don’t think that anybody told me that there was anything voluntary about participating in PE sports and other activities, most of which are massively more dangerous than vaccination. I suppose that my parents could have fabricated some kind of phony religious excuse to keep me out of PE, or kept me home and home-schooled me. But then that’s true for vaccination, too, isn’t it?

    Besides, as a parent, you make the decisions for your child, whether it is to get vaccinated on the recommended schedule or to get a bike. When you are a child, not much is actually voluntary.

    The question isn’t whether anybody accuses those asking questions of being anti-baseball, because not much of anybody is crazy enough to demand such an impossible standard of absolute safety, even for activities that are merely recreational.

    So it seems to me that you are evading the issue: What is it about vaccination that makes it reasonable, or even sane, to demand a higher safety standard for vaccinations that might save your child’s life than you require for other activities that you allow or even encourage, and that offer little benefit other than enjoyment?

  85. #85 Jud
    March 29, 2010

    Bensmyson writes: Vaccines are different, they are said to be “safe” and they are not.

    They’re not? Please cite scientific evidence, and compare “safe” to the full effects of non-vaccination: Not only potential illness for those capable of making an (ill-)informed choice, but loss of herd immunity for the public, including other people’s children.

    Vaccines are required

    Yep, herd immunity, so the requirement is for public health reasons. Do you think about the implications of what you are saying beyond sloganeering? Public health and safety is one of the core functions of government, thus the requirement has the force of legal sanction.

    vaccines are a product, a profitable product

    Incorrect. They bring Big Pharma little to no profit compared to patent-protected drugs. When was the last time you saw a pharmaceutical company television ad for a vaccine, as contrasted to one of their big-selling, big-profit drugs? Y’know, it wouldn’t take much thought for you to figure out where your “facts” are wrong. You should try it sometime.

    vaccines are issued by the government

    My local CVS is part of the government? Where are they on the ballot? Again, I urge just a little thought about what you have heard before you uncritically regurgitate it here.

    and encouraged via billion dollar campaigns to immunize the public. Vaccines are required by law for children entering school

    Would love to see the actual dollar figures behind these “billion dollar campaigns.” Once again, the encouragement/requirement is for public health and safety, just like the laws, publicity campaigns, etc. behind the [gasp!] Vast Seat Belt Conspiracy.

    and as brutally illustrated by more than one post here, if you dont vaccinate you should be killed.

    Oh, please. Been on the Internet much?

  86. #86 BLUEMAXX
    March 29, 2010

    RE: A truly fine post by PABLO at 75 (and 76 )

    AND… there was a validated CORRELATION/ CONCURRENCE between increased incidence of GBS with those that received Swine Flu vaccine Circa 1976, BUT… no actual CAUSE and EFFECT relationship was found… despite all these years of analysis.

    FROM CDC WEBSITE: Q: Why did some people develop GBS after they received the 1976 swine flu vaccine?

    A: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a thorough scientific review in 2003 and concluded that people who received the 1976 swine influenza vaccine had a slight increased risk for developing GBS. Scientists have multiple theories on why this increased risk may have occurred, but the exact reason for this association remains unknown.

    of course…that is either due to the fact that the slight increase in incidence ( added approximately 1 per 100,000 cases) was not able to be shown to be directly and clearly caused by the vaccine, OR… because of a huge 30 year global conspiracy perpetrated upon the people of the US and the world, by the friendly World Government BigPharma folks in the black helicopters…. Mulder, is that you?

  87. #87 trrll
    March 29, 2010

    Orac, glad to see the correction to your graph. When I saw the abrupt drop before the gap in the one you originally posted, I thought, “Even with the big fluctuations in earlier years, it seems unlikely that it would happen to drop that much just before the vaccine was introduced; I’ll bet it isn’t real,” but I didn’t have time to check.

  88. #88 Bronze Dog
    March 29, 2010

    The Nirvana Fallacy, AKA the Perfect Solution Fallacy:

    “It’s not a 100% absolutely perfect solution, so let’s not bother with solving the problem.”

    I think the automotive analogy is spot-on. Years ago, I remember taking part in a similar discussion over here with a mother who couldn’t seem to grasp the idea that driving her kids to practice also carried risks with it, probably far greater than the risk of vaccine injury, since she probably drives them on a daily basis.

    Everyone lives with everyday life and death risks. We have to make all sorts of decisions every day. Unfortunately, not everyone acknowledges that. There’s no magical difference between those sorts of risks, so why do the cranks keep going on about the tiny risks of vaccines when there’s far more dangerous things they’ll do without batting an eye? Why do they draw artificial lines?

  89. #89 Hypocrisy knows no bounds
    March 29, 2010

    JUD @ 85:

    You quoted: Vaccines are required, and said: Yep, herd immunity, so the requirement is for public health reasons.

    You state this as if all vaccines are equal in both how they achieve ‘immunity’ and efficacy. As if we need or can achieve herd immunity to c. tetani by being exposed to tetanus toxoid.

    You quoted: vaccines are a product, a profitable product and said: Incorrect. They bring Big Pharma little to no profit compared to patent-protected drugs.

    Right… And vaccines are patent protected? My Gawd Man.

    Exactly how much money did the USA put toward the swine flu pandemic? Where did that money go? Yes, it went to pharmaceutical companies for manufacture of vaccine, paid for by taxpayers and exempt from product liability… and then recommended by the agency that both oversees safety and is responsible for uptake.

    I saw a commercial for a meningitis vaccine yesterday. I saw JLO playing the dreadful tape of a child whooping and telling me to get vaccinated to protect others. One Less Gardasil ads run pretty regular on HGTV and other networks. I can likely safely assume that other states have initiatives like mine, called Immunize Texas – where they tell me that vaccines are like hugs and everyone should get one. Only in the USA does this horrid kind of advertising exist, and people wonder why drugs cost so much. This is one area that would reduce their overall cost enormously, and possibly free up mainstream media outlets from being held under the thumb of the drug industry.

  90. #90 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    You state this as if all vaccines are equal in both how they achieve ‘immunity’ and efficacy. As if we need or can achieve herd immunity to c. tetani by being exposed to tetanus toxoid.

    Tetanus is the oddball among the routinely recommended vaccines; the vaccination has no effect whatsoever on herd immunity. This is the one vaccine whose benefit will be *exclusively* for the person who is vaccinated. (Well, unless you count the expense of treating a person with tetanus. And that treatment ain’t pretty. They give you curare to paralyze you so your rigid diaphragm is no longer making it impossible to inflate your lungs, and then intubate you, all the while pumping you full of anti-tetanus immunoglobulin to try to destroy the toxin before it stops your heart.)

    Tetanus is such an awful and highly deadly disease that it boggles my mind that anybody would rather take their chances with it than get vaccinated.

  91. #91 Matthew Cline
    March 29, 2010

    I have to address the nuclear weapons thing. I use this because some people object to nuclear weapons because they have the potential to kill millions of people, as do communicable diseases. Vaccines on the other hand only kill a handful. I just find it odd that people can calculate the number of deaths of innocent people weigh it against the number of lives saved and determine the value of the weapon in terms of acceptable collateral damage. I mean what is the magic number? One life for 1,000?

    “The nuclear bombing of Japan saved lives” line of thought would only be ethically equivalent to “vaccinations save lives” if:

    1) You’d give vaccine X to John Doe even if you knew it would kill him.

    2) Vaccines only saved the lives of those who didn’t take the vaccines, and never saved the lives of those who did take them.

    Since neither of those is true, there’s only a superficial resemblance between the two “saves more lives than it kills” arguments.

  92. #92 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Actually it is a falsehood to say that vaccines are mandatory in the USA.

    True, many are required to attend public school. But exemptions are available in all but two states, and even in those states there are private schools.

    To the ever morphing troll who shall be called Hypo: where are the meningitis and HPV vaccines mandatory? Be sure to link to the pertinent state legislation as evidence.

    You dislike advertising of vaccines? You must really hate that the county public health department not only pays for ads for the H1N1 vaccine, for people to wash their hands and especially for this video ad!

  93. #93 Old Rockin' Dave
    March 29, 2010

    As long as we’re going around about “one death is too many,” let’s look at another medical procedure: heart surgery. Two years ago, I had two heart valves replaced. I faced certain disability and a very premature death if I did not have it done. I also, as I remember the odds quoted to me at the time, faced a 1 – 2% risk of death on the operating table. I am still here, so you know what my choice was.
    So, do we ban that known killer, thoracic surgery? Or do we judge that the lives saved or vastly improved outbalance the lives that will inevitably be lost in the operating room?
    By the way, my surgeon would agree that any death in the OR is one too many. That is why he is constantly trying to improve his skills, his techniques and the general state of knowledge…as most people who practice medicine do.

  94. #94 Prometheus
    March 29, 2010

    Dovetailing onto “Old Rocking Dave”, there is a statistic that should be even closer to the hearts of those who are concerned about vaccine safety: maternal mortality.

    As of the last CDC report I could find, the (2003) maternal mortality was 12.1 per 100,000 live births. That’s a lot higher risk than vaccines, by a factor of 1000 or more, yet it is – in the US, anyway – a voluntary act (getting pregnant and giving birth may not be, but carrying the child to term is still voluntary in all 50 states).

    How about infant and neonatal mortality? Those rates (in 2005) were 6.9 and 4.5 (respectively) per 1000 live births. Just being born is risky….and way less risky than vaccines.

    Risk is largely a matter of perception and comparison. Risky in comparison to what?

    Prometheus

  95. #95 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    Is someone recommending tetanus vaccination in childhood? Did I miss that one?

    And you’re totally right about Gardasil. Who ever heard of anyone dying from HPV? What a ridiculous thing to promote.

    *Ring ring* Hello? Oh… really? Virtually ALL cervical cancer would be prevented you say? But surely only a handful of… many independently replicated studies? That’s all well and good, but the drug companies make more when they… $120 for a vaccine? And it’s HOW many tens of thousands of dollars to treat a case of cervical cancer?

    Hey Hypocrisy guy, this person on my phone thinks you’re full of shit.

  96. #96 Militant Agnostic
    March 29, 2010

    Raymond Obomsawin has 3 named Sunrise, Sunbeam and Sundown. These names sound much more new agey than First Nations. He doesn’t look very native, but probably has just enough native ancestry get on the government gravy train and not enough to experience racism.

  97. #97 Medicien Man
    March 29, 2010

    I don’t think vaccines saved me. I haven’t taken most vaccines – especially the dangerous mankiller H1N1 swine flu shot. I did not take it and I turned out okay. So did millions of others. Not only that but I plan to not ever take this deadly vaccine.

  98. #98 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    I don’t think seatbelts saved me. I rarely use my seat belt – especially the dangerous mankiller… seatbelt (WTF MANKILLER? Are you SERIOUS?) I do not wear it and I have not gotten into a single accident. So have millions of others. Not only that, but I plan to not ever wear my seatbelt. Or drive sober. Or cook my food before I eat it. Or use a condom. Or not smoke copious numbers of cigarettes.

    Medicien Man, do you have a beeper that reminds you when to blink and swallow?

  99. #99 Karen Ullman
    March 29, 2010

    Hey, Orac – interesting article. I went on to the NVIC website and don’t see the graphs you posted. Can you please post the links so we can read what NVIC says about these data?

  100. #100 Hypocrisy knows no bounds
    March 29, 2010

    Ian,

    Mistake #1 – Never assume you know the sex of the person you are engaging, it only makes you look full of shit. There is no evidence that cases of cervical cancer are going to be mitigated by the use of this vaccine that wouldn’t be addressed by routine care.

    To HCN, I mean Chris: To the ever morphing troll who shall be called Hypo: where are the meningitis and HPV vaccines mandatory? Be sure to link to the pertinent state legislation as evidence.

    Sounds like you’re the one morphing. From my statement regarding advertising of vaccines into your ridiculous straw man regarding mandates that you’d like me to refute.

    You dislike advertising of vaccines? You must really hate that the county public health department not only pays for ads for the H1N1 vaccine, for people to wash their hands and especially for this video ad!

    I dislike direct to consumer advertising for all drugs. Yes, this includes vaccines… cos they’re drugs and they inadequately address risk. In order for risk assessment to occur, you have to actually have a mandatory reporting system for adverse events. Otherwise, you cannot calculate it.

    Calli: Tetanus is such an awful and highly deadly disease that it boggles my mind that anybody would rather take their chances with it than get vaccinated.

    I said nothing of the actual condition, only that Jud said vaccines were required for herd immunity. A dubious argument not supported by fact. I appreciate that you fear this disease (otherwise you wouldn’t refer to it as deadly and colorfully describe treatment options) but it probably is worth noting that 95% of tetanus fatalities occur in the over 50 age group. My point was that it cannot produce herd immunity, and it’s probably best if skeptics stop generalizing about vaccines and be specific. And… see above. Our shoddy reporting system holds FAR more reactions from tetanus vaccine, than actual cases. If you’d like to continue to tell me the risk of reaction from the vaccine is “rare” and less than that of the disease, we’ll have to actually pay attention to those reporting AEs in order to demonstrate that.

  101. #101 Medicien Man
    March 29, 2010

    Some food does not need to be cooked before eating it. I wear my seat belt. If you choose not to that’s your individdual personal freedom and choice. Driving sober is a choice. I never have tasted alcohol, so I always drive sober. Alcohol is not allowed on my property. Cigaretts kill, but so does vaccines. Yes, some vaccines are mankillers. Yes I am serious. The swine flu vaccine will never enter my body. It is a mankiller. No I do not have a beeper. I find always being able to be contacted at all times very annoying. I never take my cell phone inside of a store or hospital. I leave it in my truck. I do not own annoying devices like beepers. However, i would love to own a cell phone blocker to walk around with in my pocket at the mall and in restaraunts. People yapping on those things are pesky. My uncle owned a beeper one time. Every time he went fishing that thing annoyed him. I told him to throw it in the lake and keep fishing. It was his day off.

    In review:

    1) some vaccines are mankillers
    2) alcohol is evil
    3) I forgot # 3

  102. #102 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    @Hypocrisy guy

    Yeah, I’m going to keep calling you guy. Not because it’s some gender thing, but because “hypocrisy lady” lacks poetry.

    There is evidence that Gardasil reduces the incidence of CIN-3 lesions to nearly zero. There is evidence that malignant tumours do not form spontaneously from cervices that are lesion free. The risk of developing malignant cervical disease from a CIN-1 or CIN-2 lesion is incredibly small. The only question that remains is whether or not the vaccine will maintain its efficacy over time, and while it is too early to tell, the precautionary principle tells us that it is better to use the vaccine now while it has some use than to do nothing until we know the long-term usefulness.

    I wish you an unusually mild and windless spring out there on your limb.

  103. #103 Nick
    March 29, 2010

    Medicien Man, do happen to administer the site timecube.com? I see a similarity in your language formation and creative logical structure as those seen on the very prestigious timecube site.

  104. #104 Zetetic
    March 29, 2010

    @ bensmyson:
    Really now you’re sounding more and more like a broken record (remember those?) We’ve already explained all of this to you before, yet you still keep repeating the same refuted positions. Not to mention you still can’t seem to make a valid analogy if your life depended on it.

    Comparing Nukes to Vaccines?!?!
    Really?
    That’s just pathetic. Do you ever think anything through before you type it?

    Also, we already explained to you how nobody claims vaccines are 100.000000000000000000000000000000000000000% safe. We’ve already explained to you that the risks are so small in relation to the benefit that they are the only logical and ethical choice, when compared to allowing a potentially lethal disease to run unchecked.

    BTW has it ever occurred to you that people also die when building and maintaining the same sanitation projects that you think are the answer to all disease? By your own logic we should abandon sanitation as well since “any death is one too many” by your own irrational standard.

    Tell me Ford Motor Company and Merck are the same thing again, I dont quite get it.

    What you never heard of the Pinto? Or how about automakers opposing mandatory seat-belts? The list goes on.

    As was already explained to you before (repeatedly) just because there is some corruption in an industry or some bad products…doesn’t mean that they are all bad or should be abandoned, especially when they have a proven track record of relative safety and effectiveness by multiple independent sources over a long period of time.

    You just can’t stop resorting to the Genetic Fallacy can you? I guess it because you know that it’s all you really have.

  105. #105 Sid Offit
    March 29, 2010

    @Jud

    When was the last time you saw a pharmaceutical company television ad for a vaccine

    It’s called Gardasil Jud.

  106. #107 Looking for Reason
    March 29, 2010

    Your links –”sounded by the NVIC” and “graphs” — early in your comment lead to vaclib.org, not NVIC. Most people who are familiar with both pro- and anti-vax people know that vaclib and NVIC are run by different people with different goals. And, several of your comments refer to groups that have nothing to do with NVIC, even though you attribute them to NVIC. If you’re going to shoot at something like this, you need to point your arrows in the right direction. Also, I went to nvic.org and found absolutely nothing with graphs or articles about vaccines not saving us… please show me the proof that NVIC printed these.

  107. #108 Sid Offit
    March 29, 2010

    Ian

    Is someone recommending tetanus vaccination in childhood? Did I miss that one?

    Is that a joke? DTaP 2 months, then boosters into perpetuity.

  108. #109 Calli Arcale
    March 29, 2010

    Ian:

    Is someone recommending tetanus vaccination in childhood? Did I miss that one?

    It’s definitely recommended in childhood, and is included with the pertussis vaccine. But it is not mandatory for public school enrollment because the only person who might suffer if you don’t give it to your child is . . . your child.

    Hypocrisy @ 100:

    I said nothing of the actual condition, only that Jud said vaccines were required for herd immunity. A dubious argument not supported by fact. I appreciate that you fear this disease (otherwise you wouldn’t refer to it as deadly and colorfully describe treatment options) but it probably is worth noting that 95% of tetanus fatalities occur in the over 50 age group.

    My point was partly that tetanus is the one and only vaccine for which herd immunity is irrelevant. It’s like saying fruits are useless because limes don’t prevent scurvy. (Limes are one of the very few fruits which don’t contain vitamin C, a lesson which some intrepid explorers learned the hard way. Long and rather fascinating story, actually.) You glossed that part over completely.

    It’s true that fatalities are mostly in the over-50s in the US. Do you think there’s any coincidence that over-50s are also the group least likely to stay current on their tetanus vaccinations? (You need a booster every decade.) They’re also the least likely to tolerate the interventions, which are extreme. Why aren’t you interested in the statistics from countries which don’t vaccinate widely against tetanus? In those countries, surprise surprise, tetanus is a very common childhood killer.

    I’m also interested in how deftly you dismiss the seriousness of tetanus. Do you not believe it is a serious disease? It’s not a disease you can avoid purely through sanitation; the organism is probably living in your own backyard. In the first world, mortality is about 11%, and that’s with access to first-class ICUs and respirators.

    Also, did you know that if you catch tetanus and managed to survive, you will not become immune to it? Only the vaccine can produce immunity. It’s a real bastard of a disease to catch.

  109. #110 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    Hahaha, apparently I DID miss it. My bad. Stupid me.

  110. #111 Sid Offit
    March 29, 2010

    Calli Arcale

    t’s definitely recommended in childhood, and is included with the pertussis vaccine. But it is not mandatory for public school enrollment because the only person who might suffer if you don’t give it to your child is . . . your child.

    Tetanus is mandatory in California
    http://www2.sduhsd.net/tp/immunization.html

    —————————————-

    Why aren’t you interested in the statistics from countries which don’t vaccinate widely against tetanus? In those countries, surprise surprise, tetanus is a very common childhood killer.

    Because I don’t live in a country where umbilical cords are cut with rusty knives

    Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) killed at east 200,000 newborns and 300,000 mothers worldwide in 2001 alone. It is caused by unhygienic and unsafe childbirth practises. Tetanus bacteria can enter the infant at birth if the umbilical cord is cut with dirty instruments or if contaminated dressings are used.
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=77745

  111. #112 Orac
    March 29, 2010

    Hey, Orac – interesting article. I went on to the NVIC website and don’t see the graphs you posted. Can you please post the links so we can read what NVIC says about these data?

    Actually, the link went to the Vaccine Liberation website. My bad. The text has been corrected.

  112. #113 Dangerous Bacon
    March 29, 2010

    Sid, we realize you don’t give a rap about people dying of preventable infectious diseases in Third World countries.

    You don’t have to keep constantly reminding us of your gross insensivity.

  113. #114 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 29, 2010

    @Medicien Man

    Where are your stats on the “mankiller” H1N1 vaccination?

    All four of us in the Misanthrope clan (1, 6, and, um, very late 30′s x 2) had it and as of 0100Z 3/30/2010 all are still alive. And none of us got the flu either.

  114. #115 Karen Ullman
    March 29, 2010

    I have the same question as Looking for Reason. I can’t find that stuff anywhere on NVIC’s website. I don’t think those graphs were produced by NVIC.

    Orac, I think you blew it and got your facts wrong. You need to fess up and say so. :-) If you’re going to trash an organization at least trash them using facts. Isn’t this what science is about?

  115. #116 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Oh noes! Orac was caught making a mistake. Then he admitted, and corrected it!

    Has the AoA ever corrected several of their errors? Has NVIC updated their pertussis info page with references less than twenty years old?

  116. #117 Orange Lantern
    March 29, 2010

    Three men in my family got it (two of them twice). None dead. Not an especially good mankiller, is it? Is it a mankiller in the same way that Wile E. Coyote is a roadrunnerkiller?

  117. #118 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Karen Ullman, look up a couple messages above yours.

  118. #120 Orac
    March 29, 2010

    Orac, I think you blew it and got your facts wrong. You need to fess up and say so. :-) If you’re going to trash an organization at least trash them using facts. Isn’t this what science is about?

    Ah, yes. I make one mistake that has no bearing on the actual substance of my post. I correct it promptly when it’s pointed out to me, but I still get this?

  119. #121 phoenixwoman
    March 29, 2010

    Karen Ullman @ 115 — see Orac @ 112, then apologize.

    On another note: Why is it that antivaxers think brain damage or death from measles is better than autism, to the point where they keep believing the garbage pushed by Andy Wakefield — a guy so skeevey even Thoughtful House finally cut off his welfare payments?

  120. #122 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Ben’s parents, that is one case report. How does that show that the MMR vaccine has caused more harm than the actual diseases?

    Ms. Ullman, the bibliography here follows:
    Baraff, L.J., et al. 1983. Possible temporal association between diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis-vaccination and sudden infant death syndrome. Pediatric Infectious Disease 2(1):7-11.

    Barkin, R.M., and Pichichero, M.E. 1979. Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine: Reactogenicity of commercial products. Pediatrics 63(2):256-60.

    Berg, J.M. 1958. Neurological complications of pertussis immunization. British Medical Journal (July 5), 24,-27.

    Byers, R.K., and Moll, F.C. 1948. Encephalopathies following propylactic pertussis vaccination. Pediatrics 1(4):437-56.

    Cavanaugh, N.P.C., et al. 1981. The possible adjuvant role of bordetella pertussis and pertussis vaccine in causing severe encephalopathic illness: A presentation of three case histories. Neuropediatrics 12 (4):374-81.

    Champsaur, H., et al. 1982. Virologic, immunologic, and genetic factors in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of Pediatrics 100(1):15-20.

    Cockburn, W.C. 1951. Whooping cough immunization. Practitioner 167:232-36.

    Cody, C.L., et al. 1981. Nature and rates of adverse reactions associated with DPT and DT immunizations in infants and children. Pediatrics 68(5):650-60.

    Coulter, H.L., and Fisher, B.L. 1985. DPT: A Shot in the Dark, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

    Dick, G.W.A. 1967. Reactions to the pertussis component of quadruple and triple vaccines. International Symposium on Combined Vaccines, Masburg. Symposia Series in Immunobiological Standardization 7:21-28.

    Basel and New York Karger.

    Gerathy, K.C. 1984. DPT Immunization and SIDS. Journal of Pediatrics 105:169-170.

    Globus, J.H., and Kohn, J.L. 1949. Encephalopathy following pertussis vaccine prophylaxis. Journal of the American Medical Association 141(8):507-9.

    Halpern, S.R., and Halpern, D. 1955. Reactions from DPT immunization and its relationship to allergic children. Journal of Pediatrics 47:60-67.

    Hanik, C.A. 1969. Major reactions after DPT-polio vaccination in the Netherlands. International Symposium of Pertussis, Bilthoven. Symposium Series on Immunobiological Standardization 13 161-70: Basel, Mughen, New York: Karger.

    Hannik, C.A. and Cohen, H. 1978. Changes in plasma insulin concentration and temperature of infants after pertussis vaccination. International Symposium on Pertussis, 297-99.

    Hennessen, W., and Quast, U. 1979. Adverse reactions after pertussis vaccination. International Symposium on Immunization: Benefits vs. Risk Factors, Brussels. Developments in Biological Standardization 43:95-100.

    Basel: Karger.

    Hinman, A.R., and Koplan, J. 1984. Pertussis and pertussis vaccine: Reanalysis of benefits, risks, and costs. Journal of the American Medical Association 251(23):3109-13.

    Hopper, J.M. 1961. Illness after whooping cough vaccination. Medical Officer (October 20), 241-44.

    Kalokerinos, A. 1981. Every Second Child. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats.

    Koplan, J.P., et al. 1979. Pertussisvaccine –An analysis of benefits, risks, and costs. New England Journal of Medicine 301(17):906-11.

    Kulenkampff, M., et al. 1974. Neurologic complications of pertussis inoculation of pertussis inocualtion. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 49 46-49.

    Linthicum, D.S., et al. 1982. Acute experimental autoimmune encephaloyelitis in mice. Cellular Immunology 73:229-310.

    Low, N.L. 1955. Electroencephalographic studies following pertussis immunization. Journal of Pediatrics 47: 35-39.

    Madsen, T. 1933. Vaccination against whooping cough. Journal of the American Medical Association 101(3):187-88.

    Mortimer, E.A., Jr. 1980. Pertussis immunization: Problems, perspectives, prospects. Hospital Practice (October), 103-18.

    Pittman, M. 1970. Bordetella pertussis – Bacterial and host factors in the pathogenesis and prevention of whooping cough. In S. Mudd, ed. Infectious agents and host reactions: Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 239-70.

    Pollack, T.M., et al. 1984. Severity of whooping cough in England before and after the decline in pertussis immunization. Archives of Disease in Childhood 59:162-165.

    Robinson, D.A., et al. 1981. Whooping Cough – a study of severity in hospital cases. Archives of Disease in Childhood 56:687-91.

    Steinman, L., et al. 1982. Murine model of pertussis vaccine encephalopathy: Linkage to H-2. Nature 299: 738-40.

    Stewart, G.T. 1977. Vaccination against whooping cough: Efficacy vs. risks. Lancet (January 29) 234-37.

    Stewart, G.T., et al. 1981. Pertussis vaccine and acute neurological disease in children. British Medical Journal (June 13), 1968-69.

    Strom, J. 1960. Is universal vaccination against pertussis always justified: British Medical Journal (October 22) 1184-86.

    Strom, J. 1967. Further experience of reactions, especially of a cerebral nature, in conjunction with triple vaccination: study based on vaccinations in Sweden, 1959-1965. British Medical Journal 4:320-23.

    Taranger, J. 1982. Mild clinical course of pertussis in Sweden. Lancet (June 12), 1360.

    Torch, W.C. 1982. Diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: A potential cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), American Academy of Neurology, 34th Annual Meeting, April25-May1. Neurology 32(4):pt. 2.

    Trollfors, B., and Rabo, E. 1981. Whooping cough in adults. British Medical Journal (September 12), 696-97.

    Trollfors, B., et al. 1984. Bordetella Pertussis Whole Cell Vaccines: Efficacy and Toxicity. Acta Pediatrica Scandinavica 73: 917-923.

    Valman, H.B. 1980. Contraindications to immunization. British Medical Journal (May 3), 1138-39.

    Werne, J., and Garrow, I. 1946. Fatal anaphylactic shock occurrence in identical twins following second injection of diptheria toxoid and pertussis antigen. Journal of the American Medical Association 131(9): 730-35.
    ________________________________________________

    What is the most recent reference? Did you notice it was a book? Do any of those references have anything to do with DTaP? Do they contain any recent papers like:
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

    or

    Am Fam Physician. 1996 Jul;54(1):185-93.
    An update on vaccine safety.
    Zimmerman RK, Kimmel SR, Trauth JM.

  121. #123 Bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    Phoenixwoman-

    Autism is brain damage and a slow death in many cases.

  122. #124 Looking for Reason
    March 29, 2010

    Just throwing this out for the purposes of analogy… if you were, say, eating candy and somebody pointed their finger at you saying you stole it, when really it was the kid next to you eating stolen candy (and you paid for yours) would it matter if the accuser said, well, so what if I pointed at the wrong person, the principle of the thing is somebody is eating stolen candy? I think it would matter…

  123. #125 Medicien Man
    March 29, 2010

    Ask youselves this one question. Why was Polio the last disease cured? Well, techncally a vaccinination is not a cure, it is a preventative. Yes I have had a tetnus shot once when i cut my bare foot on a rusty nail when I was playing outside as a kid. The shot never harmed me.

    However, most of these kind of vaccinations are harmless. it is the ones that Merck and others derived from human fetal cell lines that are mankillers. Quite anumber of people were paralyzed and some even died from the swine flu shot itself.

    In 2005, there was shortage of flu vaccines becuase the company in Alabama was using human fetal cell lines manufacture the vaccine and in the process screwed it up and caused a delay in production. These tyoes of manufacturing processes are not scrutinized by the FDA, but for some unknown reason the FDA seems to want to take away my Vitamin C and cold medication. Now, what is wrong with that picture? Can you say BACKWARDS?

    Oh and by the way, I am glad to see NewMax reporting what the leftist media refuses to report: Big money deals made with pharma companies through the healthcare bill. Gee, I wonder whose stocks soared when that peice of crap legislation was passed? Obamites always talk about big profits from big companies, but they always seem to forget big pharma is the largest profit sector in the world. Some manufacturers are charging 20 times what it costs to produce a drug and yet the lefties turn their eyes toward insurance companies. Gee, I suspect insurance wouldn’t be so expensive if big pharma and hospitals weren’t ripping everone off including the insurance companies. Not even the oil companies rip people off that much.

  124. #126 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Ben’s parents, you both really hate Ben. I am so terribly sorry.

    But there is no real evidence that vaccines cause autism.

  125. #127 AussieMarcus
    March 29, 2010

    @121

    Because vaccination wasn’t what eradicated measles, remember? It was all that sanitation and clean water and eating green leafy vegetables and stuff, dontcha know?

  126. #128 AussieMarcus
    March 29, 2010

    @124

    You mean all vaccines are Evil except those ones that prevent you personally getting a disease?

  127. #129 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 29, 2010

    @bensmyson #119

    Proving what? That one kid had a reaction 9 months after his MMR that MAY be related to his MMR? What was the clinical outcome of this case? Have there been others? Just because he wasn’t KNOWN to have had a immune problem doesn’t mean he didn’t develop one that allowed the infection.

    Everyone here acknowledges that some vaccine injury occurs. You keep harping on this and claiming that one person injured by a vaccine is too many. Sometimes people have bad reactions to antibiotics, but if they didn’t take them they could well have died of their infection. People die on operating tables all the time, but would have died without the surgery. Have you ever driven somewhere you could have flown to? How could you have taken such a horrible risk when flying is safer?

    Vaccines are orders of magnitude safer than the diseases they protect against. Measles should have been eradicated years ago like smallpox, but peoples’ unreasonable and unfounded fears get in the way. By delaying the eradication of measles and the subsequent cessation of vaccination, anti-vaxxers have caused deaths by measles in outbreaks and needless vaccine-related complications.

  128. #130 Hypocrisy knows no bounds
    March 29, 2010

    Ian: the precautionary principle tells us that it is better to use the vaccine now while it has some use than to do nothing until we know the long-term usefulness.

    There have been more than 10,000 adverse events reported (all coincidence I’m sure) and near 20 deaths of young women. Precautionary? You’re joking aren’t you?

    Calli: Why aren’t you interested in the statistics from countries which don’t vaccinate widely against tetanus?

    Neonatal tetanus in countries that have bizarre customs of using cow dung on the umbilical cord of an infant don’t really apply to the US.

    Do you not believe it is a serious disease? It’s not a disease you can avoid purely through sanitation; the organism is probably living in your own backyard. In the first world, mortality is about 11%, and that’s with access to first-class ICUs and respirators.

    Of course it can be a serious disease, and I’d agree it’s probably present in my backyard since I have farm animals and dogs. First world mortality is also limited to the age group I previously noted. Most people have a knee jerk reaction of putting a bandaid on any superficial cut / laceration and thereby limiting oxygen exposure, so it’s certainly plausible that any anaerobic organism may proliferate in this kind of environment. Wound management is probably useful knowledge for any person caring for others and concerned about tetanus.

    Only the vaccine can produce immunity

    How do you become immune to a toxoid? (genuine question)

  129. #131 phoenixwoman
    March 29, 2010

    Because vaccination wasn’t what eradicated measles, remember? It was all that sanitation and clean water and eating green leafy vegetables and stuff, dontcha know?

    Whenever someone tries that gambit, it’s always nice to point out that deaths decreased in the developing world as well — and the developing world is nowhere near as sanitary as the US. (Hell, Europeans think that Americans are weirdly obsessed cleanliness freaks. What, shower every day?!? How gauche!)

  130. #132 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 29, 2010

    How do you become immune to a toxoid? (genuine question)

    If you knew anything other than antivax propaganda about vaccines and immunology, you wouldn’t ask such a dumb question.
    The short answer, the same way you become immune to any other antigen.

    Most people have a knee jerk reaction of putting a bandaid on any superficial cut / laceration and thereby limiting oxygen exposure, so it’s certainly plausible that any anaerobic organism may proliferate in this kind of environment.

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
    You’re kidding, right?

  131. #133 AussieMarcus
    March 29, 2010

    @130

    I’ve seen that argument many times, and the anti-vaxxers always refuse to engage with it. Can’t imagine why…….

  132. #134 bensmyson
    March 29, 2010

    #125

    Ben’s parents, you both really hate Ben. I am so terribly sorry.

    Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2010 9:53 PM

    This is the best you can do? There are 4 or 5 people posting here that have some of the most well written retorts Ive ever read, they have gained my respect. Wonderful posts, then there is this…

  133. #135 Dianne
    March 29, 2010

    Seriously where do you draw the line, how many brain injuries and deaths from vaccines are too many?

    Ever heard of the smallpox vaccine? Know why it’s no longer recommended as a routine childhood vaccine? Because enough people were vaccinated such that smallpox was no longer endemic in the world and even the tiny risk of the vaccine was greater than the now non-existent risk of the virus.

  134. #136 Chris
    March 29, 2010

    Ben’s parents, I did not know you were running a comment contest. I really don’t care about your judging criteria.

    Right now, I know you do not care about many of us, our kids, the data or your son.

  135. #137 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    @Hypocrisy person (ugh, so pedantic)

    Yes. I am joking. Cancer jokes are hilarious. They’re funny because they’re true.

    10,000 adverse reactions. That sounds like a really big number. I’m totally impressed by that fact. Wait, hang on, my phone’s ringing again.

    *Ring ring* Hello? Oh hey, good to hear from you. What’s that? An ‘adverse reaction’ includes local skin responses to vaccination, mild-moderate nausea, and transient low-grade fevers? Huh, that’s weird. The way she called them “adverse reactions” impressed me with its snininess, but the way YOU describe it, it sounds like the things you’d expect from pretty much ANY medical procedure.

    What’s that? You go ON to say that stating a numerator without a denominator is about as useful in a scientific discussion as tits on a nun? That a number like 10,000 at a population level can actually be quite small in comparison to the total number of people vaccinated? Hang on a sec, so you mean that not only is the number potentially insignificant, but it’s completely MEANINGLESS out of context? Wow, it’s a good thing you know some basic scientific principles there, person on the phone; otherwise I’d sound like a total asshole, as opposed to just a smug patronizing dickhead.

    Uh-huh, okay, I’ll tell her. Bye. *Click*

    Hypocrisy human person, I think you’re all right but this guy on the phone thinks you’re a stat-mining, disingenuous, ignorant douche. However, he does agree that 20 deaths is very sad. Almost as sad as all of the people who die of cervical cancer every year.

  136. #138 RJ
    March 29, 2010

    Ian,

    You are hilarious!

  137. #139 Ian
    March 29, 2010

    I know, RIGHT?

  138. #140 Enkidu
    March 29, 2010

    An anti-vaxer once told me that any data and statistics I showed her regarding vaccine reactions were meaningless, because the CDC has said that 90% of vaccine injuries go unreported. I cited vaccine trials, which are monitored, and she complained not only about their small size but also that they are “controlled by Big Pharma” and can’t be trusted.

    Ironic that the CDC quote that she is relying on is the same CDC that she distrusts and demonizes… until they provide her with something she can use to further her own agenda. Arguing with these people is so incredibly frustrating.

  139. #141 Jacksonskepticalsociety
    March 29, 2010

    Oy. The comments.

    But I was wondering as was someone else waaaaay back there – why the hell DID Canada stop taking stats on measles from 59 to 68?

    I’d like to know that. Were there no reported cases? Or a mistake in the formatting? (Happens all the time, right?)

    Makes for a bad graph. And gives a goon a good chance to make things look the way they want.

  140. #142 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    I did a quick look at Canadian history in my twenty year old encyclopedia. In the late 1950s there was a big change from a liberal to a progressive conservative control of the government, plus some economic issues.

    It looks like the lack of reporting was due to both a change in political and economic priorities.

  141. #143 DLC
    March 30, 2010

    It’s easier to repeat old lies over again in hopes no one will notice you haven’t got anything new to say.
    Sorry antivax loons, but turning it up to 11 does not make you right. Further, there is no denying the fact that you keep doing the same thing and failing over and over again makes you insane.

  142. #144 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    Am I the only one fearing for the safety of Ben?

  143. #145 Crommunist
    March 30, 2010

    Yep, probably.

  144. #146 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    Thank you. Perhaps more hated children ended up growing up to adulthood than I imagine. Certainly not Katie McCarron or Mason Scott. So Crommonist, do you really think it is healthy that Ben’s parents think he would have been better dead from a disease than having autism.

    Even though there is no real evidence that shows autism is associated with vaccines, but some evidence that it is connected to genetics?

    Please tell me with some evidence.

  145. #147 Crommunist
    March 30, 2010

    And here we see the rare “pro-vax nut”. Note the similarity in mastery of the English language.

    To answer your first question, no I don’t think it’s healthy that Ben’s parents think he’d rather be dead. However, I don’t think they’ve ever said that. Furthermore, the question you ORIGINALLY asked was ‘do I think he’s in danger’ and the answer is still no. I have no evidence (and guess what, neither do you) that bensmyson abuses or neglects their child. From reading their blog, I’d be more likely to think that they love the shit out of the little booger-miner.

    To address your second issue, I’m not sure what evidence you want me to provide. You want me to provide evidence that I’m not worried? Or that you shouldn’t worry? Or prove that they don’t beat their son? I don’t know these people, and as callous as it is to say this I don’t really care about their son (except insofar as I care about any other random person on the planet). As a result, I have no evidence to suggest that they are abusive. I think belief in Christianity is stupid: there’s no evidence for it, and many people have died as a result of it. Is your argument therefore that children raised by Christian parents are at some great risk of abuse?

    It’s cute that you’re trying to bring an absurd ad hominem attack that you’re conjuring out of thin air against people you’ve never met. However, when I do it it’s whimsical and cute. When you do it, it’s just creepy.

    For the record, I think the entity known as ‘bensmyson’ is stupid, and insofar as stupidity is not good for a child’s well-being and development then I am concerned for Ben. However, I see no reason to assume they’re child abusers simply because they’re anti-science.

  146. #148 Crommunist
    March 30, 2010

    Also, I’m assuming that this isn’t any of the people called ‘Chris’ that USUALLY post here, because at least one of the Chris’ here is a smart dude.

  147. #149 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    Thank you for your considered response. Did you even try to find out what happened to the two children mentioned?

  148. #150 Zetetic
    March 30, 2010

    Looking for Reason @ #124:

    Just throwing this out for the purposes of analogy… if you were, say, eating candy and somebody pointed their finger at you saying you stole it, when really it was the kid next to you eating stolen candy (and you paid for yours) would it matter if the accuser said, well, so what if I pointed at the wrong person, the principle of the thing is somebody is eating stolen candy? I think it would matter…

    Even though you weren’t very clear about it, you seem to be referring to Orac, so I’m going to respond accordingly. If I’m in error about the intent of your comment please let me know.

    To make your analogy accurate you would have to add a few details. Such as the child that did in fact steal the candy tends to run around town telling lies about everyone else, and has a long history of pathologically stealing every thing he/she can. Also, to fit your analogy the person that wrongly accused you, upon discovering the error promptly apologized for the mistake and immediately corrected it, by publicly withdrawing the accusation against you and correctly pointing out the true thief.

    My response in such a situation would be to accept the apology and to avoid the other child lest he/she steals my things as well. I would also accept that the error didn’t change the fact that the guilty child stole the candy. Apparently your response to such a situation would be to ignore the other child’s constant lies and stealing, and allow the guilty child to get away with more of the same while laying blame on the person that had already apologized and corrected the error. Does that sound reasonable to you?

    What exactly do you think Orac should do in regards to the error? Apologize and correct it? Already done well before you posted.

    A suggestion…you can look for reason all you want, but you’ll never find it unless you use your own capacity to reason first.

  149. #151 Sid Offit
    March 30, 2010

    Ben’s parents, you both really hate Ben. I am so terribly sorry

    Chris, you’re an ASSHOLE!!!

  150. #152 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 30, 2010

    Autism is brain damage and a slow death in many cases.

    …a slow death. Really?

  151. #153 Carax
    March 30, 2010

    First I need to point out that I’m not anti-vaccine, since some may infer that from my following question. What do you think would be the purpose of making H1N1 vaccines with adjuvants and those without? Last year in Germany there was an outcry over this because, according to Der Speigel, vaccines without adjuvants were being offered only to high officials in German government, like Angela Merkle. To placate the conspiracy theorists she said she would take the vaccine with adjuvants. Creating two vaccines like this without any explanation to the public would only feed the fear.

  152. #154 Dedj
    March 30, 2010

    “However in pure scientific terms I would be interested to know how it is intellectually honest to oppose something purely on the basis that it is not state approved?”

    As intellectually dishonest as opposing something because it is state approved.

    I.E. not very.

  153. #155 Jud
    March 30, 2010

    Heh, so in answer to my point re required vaccination as a public health measure due to herd immunity, Hypocrisy-etc. gleefully points out, “What about TEH TETANUS?” As others replied later, there is no legal requirement for childhood tetanus vaccination, so the tetanus example has nothing whatever to do with my point.

    Re my attempt to inject (heh) a bit of sanity into yet another repetition of the canard that drug companies push vaccines because they are such big moneymakers, it’s been mentioned that folks have seen ads for flu vaccines and Gardasil.

    First, ask yourself how many ads you’ve seen for these products versus “the little purple pill,” any of a number of cholesterol medications, Plavix, etc. Second, if anyone can disprove my guess that the total drug company (as opposed to government) marketing budget for H1N1 vaccine ads amounted to a fraction of a percent of their marketing budgets for their few moneymaker “blockbuster” drugs, please have at it. Third, yes, I’ve seen print ads for Gardasil (though I haven’t run across any on TV, in contrast to the frequent, unavoidable ads for the big drugs), but (a) I am unaware of any government requirement for vaccination with Gardasil, and (b) Where exactly is it written that a drug company must keep quiet about the availability of an efficacious treatment for a terrible disease? There is plenty of information out there from which parents and young women can make an informed choice regarding whether or not to have the vaccine. (Speaking of plenty of information, does anyone have confirmation of, and particularly context for (the “numerator”) the death-from-vaccine numbers that have been bandied about here regarding Gardasil? Even the alleged number is a tiny fraction of the death toll from cervical cancer, but I would like to deal with verified statistics here insofar as possible.)

  154. #156 Neil Craig
    March 30, 2010

    I note that as examples of intellectual honesty of the argument the only 3 people on here who feel they can dispute it Bruce McNeely & “Free Lunch” depend entirely on ad hominum arguments. If I were to rise to them I would point out that both are confessed child rapists & suspected of child murder & should thus be ignored – however, unlike them I have no certain knowledge that this would be a lie.

    Scott Cunningham is slightly more complex he admits I am 1/9th right, claims without reasoning or evidence that I am 2/9ths wrong, lets 5/9th pass by default & produces some reasoning to suggest acid rain was genuine. He is, of course, wrong on the last as well, but I do not blame him for his ignorance – the truth was censored by virtually the entire media. http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2008/08/acid-rain-iis-good-for-trees.html

    Clearly I am entirely correct to point to the hypocrisy of, on 2 days, denouncing anybody who uses evidence to dispute any “consensus” & then denounces anybody who has supported what, for a short while, became close to a “consensus”, certainly in the media, over vaccination.

  155. #157 John2
    March 30, 2010

    Phoenixwoman wrote

    “Hell, Europeans think that Americans are weirdly obsessed cleanliness freaks. What, shower every day?!? How gauche!”

    I am not sure if you are joking about this, but, sadly, there really are some people in the US who believe that in Europe we wash less often. Just to set the issue straight, both in the UK and in mainland Europe it is normal to shower or bath every day, just as it is in the US.

    The areas where we think that the US can be a bit weird is in the regular use of vaginal douching, and in the (at times obsessive) drive to kill all bacteria on every surface that a person may come into contact with. I wouldn’t be the first person to point out that there may well be good reasons for us to doubt the good sense of trying to ensure that young children have extremely low exposures to environmental pathogens (but I’d also expect that if it was shown to be good practice then we’d adopt it here, too).

  156. #158 Dunc
    March 30, 2010

    If one death is too many, why are you prepared to accept tens of millions?

    Bensmyson is clearly arguing from an ethical system where acts of omission and commission are weighted very differently – this is what leads him to conclude that millions of deaths due to non-action are less objectionable than a handful of deaths as a predictable but unintended consequence of action. It’s not strictly speaking illogical if you accept the premises, but most people don’t accept those premises. However, those of us on the anti-anti-vax side need to recognise the underlying thought process if we’re to argue against it effectively.

  157. #159 Andrew
    March 30, 2010

    Clearly I am entirely correct to point to the hypocrisy of, on 2 days, denouncing anybody who uses evidence to dispute any “consensus” & then denounces anybody who has supported what, for a short while, became close to a “consensus”, certainly in the media, over vaccination.

    Go on then, point to it. You haven’t shown it in either of these posts though.

    As for reason in Linear No Threshold model: it’s a reasonable conservative assumption to make in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary. I think you’re extremely misguided if you think LNT is the reason for anti-nuclear scaremongering, by the way. If LNT were disproved, would Greenpeace (a)renounce their opposition, or (b)dismiss the evidence as industry propaganda?

  158. #160 John2
    March 30, 2010

    Perhaps Bensmyson is also going beyond the omission/comission weighting, as he seems to be hinting at the idea that we are going to kill one specific group to save another specific group, in which case it would be true to say that many of us would want a different weighting to 1:1 for the moral threshold between action and inaction. For example, if vaccination saved 10% of the general population, but killed 15% of women, then we’d likely not take the utilitarian view of approving that treatment.

    That’s the only way I can imagine that he could jump from the “kill 9,000 to save 10,000″ that he presented to “kill 9,000 to save 1,000″, although that still needs some invalid mental contortions.

    And, of course, this is not any fair representation of how vaccines work. If there was a defined subgroup for whom vaccination was contraindicated, then we would not vaccinate that group, even if it came at a cost to herd immunity.

  159. #161 JohnV
    March 30, 2010

    @bensmyson

    You seem to have missed my question. What caused the 180 degree turn in your attitude? One day you say:

    “Sued? SUED? I want an eye for an eye, I want criminal charges brought against PEOPLE. We pay all pay the judgements in higher costs. Also if the corporations were held accountable it would be the stockholders to have to pay. Nope I want someone to sit in prison for 29 years, right after they are horse whipped. In China a corrupt head of a drug company that sold tainted product was taken outside after he was found guilty and shot. Sounds reasonable to me, his product killed babies.

    Then a couple of days later you say:

    On the other side, vaccines cause an indirect threat to many, yet I wish no one dead because of that

  160. #162 Scott
    March 30, 2010

    What do you think would be the purpose of making H1N1 vaccines with adjuvants and those without?

    Because those with can be made in greater volumes (due to requiring less antigen per dose), while there are certain loons who flip out over the adjuvants. So it seems superficially reasonable to offer the nutjobs a choice, but as you note they don’t actually take advantage of said choice and instead turn it into propaganda.

    EXACTLY the situation with thimerosal, really.

  161. #163 phoenixwoman
    March 30, 2010

    John @ 157 — Yeah, I was exaggerating for effect. But as your examples show, Americans are far more obsessive about cleanliness (even, as with frequent doucheing, where it can do far more harm than good) than just about any other major culture on the planet.

    We scrub more, we all but outlaw lead in our gasoline and in other products (a very good thing), we pasteurize our cheese (the raw-milk cheeses Europeans enjoy are illegal here), we refrigerate our eggs, we use hand sanitizer like it was going out of style, we work to keep our food-grade plastics safe, etc., etc. So if autism is a result of toxins and nastiness, America should have had less of it over time than any other place on the globe. Doesn’t seem to work out that way.

  162. #164 Calli Arcale
    March 30, 2010

    Sid Offit:

    Tetanus is mandatory in California
    http://www2.sduhsd.net/tp/immunization.html

    I’m sorry, I don’t keep up with the recommendations in all 50 states. Here in Minnesota, it is only on the schedule because it’s packaged in with the pertussis vaccination. Td boosters later on are recommended here, but not obligatory for school enrollment. It’s a good idea to get it done. Kids are kids; they *need* to be able to play outside and have fun, and that puts them at risk of tetanus, the best protection against which is the vaccination.

    And as for why you do not care about tetanus being a common childhood killer in countries without tetanus vaccination:

    Because I don’t live in a country where umbilical cords are cut with rusty knives

    I wasn’t talking about neonatal tetanus. I was talking about *childhood* tetanus. You know, tetanus that occurs during the eighteen years between birth and adulthood? The umbilical cord has nothing at all to do with that. Playing outside has a great deal to do with it, however, and it would be unconscionable to forbid children from playing outside. They *need* to play if they are to grow up healthy, and they need to play outside. This puts them at risk of tetanus, no matter what country they live in.

    BTW, it’s an old wives’ tale that tetanus is associated with rust. It’s associated with *dirt*, not rust.

  163. #165 Ian
    March 30, 2010

    @Chris #149

    Did you even try to find out what happened to the two children mentioned?

    Considering that neither of the names you mentioned are children of bensmyson, I assumed it was some kind of smokescreen (well THESE people did something bad, therefore ALL anti-vaxers are child abusers). So I ignored it and went to sleep. And a dreamt such a wonderful dream. In it, people were conscious of the irony of showing up on a message board about intellectual dishonesty and making intellectually dishonest arguments. Also, I could lactate ice cream. That part was weird.

  164. #166 Dangerous Bacon
    March 30, 2010

    Enkidu: “Ironic that the CDC quote that she is relying on is the same CDC that she distrusts and demonizes… until they provide her with something she can use to further her own agenda. Arguing with these people is so incredibly frustrating.”

    It’s the same dishonesty that underlies cherry-picking of the medical literature in support of homeopathy, chiropractic or any sort of woo. Find any sort of published paper – from a tiny non-blinded trial, published in a hack journal – and it’s “science supports us, we must be right!”. The larger-scale, well run trials that refute the woo are instantly dismissed. Science suddenly is meaningless because Big Pharma or government are undoubtedly involved (even if they aren’t).

    You can’t argue with people who are dishonest and have closed minds. You can persuade some of their potential victims however.

  165. #167 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    Ian, neither of Ben’s parents have denied what I said about how I perceive their attitude towards their son. The curebie culture is actually quite dangerous to children.

  166. #168 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “Autism is [...] a slow death in many cases.”

    Considering that the anti-vac brigade often have no qualms with pinning any adverse reaction onto a vaccine even if it was given months (or years, or even generations) prior, I feel it is only reasonable to point out that LIFE is a slow death in all cases. I mean, honestly, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if anti-vacc parents with autistic children blamed any death of their children on the vaccine, regardless of reality.

  167. #169 Pablo
    March 30, 2010

    Ever heard of the smallpox vaccine? Know why it’s no longer recommended as a routine childhood vaccine? Because enough people were vaccinated such that smallpox was no longer endemic in the world and even the tiny risk of the vaccine was greater than the now non-existent risk of the virus.

    Just think of the all the PROFITS the Big Pharma are giving up by not pushing a smallpox vaccine on us!!!!

    I thought Big Pharma was All Powerful and was Forcing Dangerous Vaccines on Us just to Make a Profit? So why aren’t they forcing the smallpox vaccine on us?

  168. #170 Ian
    March 30, 2010

    And their failure to deny your allegations of child abuse constitute proof in your mind that they’re abusive? If they DID deny it, would that settle the matter for you? What if they’re just ignoring you because you’re being a jackass?

    As I described before, there are many groups that have members that abuse children. Ben is unlucky to have such stupid parents. However, it’s quite a leap to infer, without ANY confirmatory evidence (lack of denial isn’t evidence) that members of a given group all behave in a manner stereotypical to that group.

    If you were looking for allies by accusing people of being child abusers, I think you picked the wrong audience. If you were actually concerned about Ben, you wouldn’t voice that concern here, you’d call Child Services wherever they live (of course they’d tell you you’re full of shit so you’d be back to square one). However, if you were a person with some kind of bizarre axe to grind who uses innuendo and group discrimination in place of rational thought, then you’d behave in a manner quite consistent to your already-stellar performance here.

    Nobody knows these people well enough to call them child abusers. Concern about curebies is noted. Here’s a piece of hard candy so you don’t choke on your own tongue.

  169. #171 Mu
    March 30, 2010

    Chris, the ben’s are stuck in denial for a very simple reason: They don’t like the answers science is giving them. With autism most likely being partially genetic and/or partially very early prenatal development they have no one to blame but themselves. Genetics point to some imaginary flaw, and if there is an environmental trigger that contributes (probably before the parents are even aware of the pregnancy) they actually might have done something wrong. This, combined with the realization there’s no miracle cure if you can’t reverse a trigger, leads to an irrational “can’t be” reaction, and with hundreds of other parents in the same dilemma, they circle the mental wagons and form their own reality.
    And I agree that there are parents out there who do harm their kids in the name of “the cure”, no idea of the Ben’s are part of them, I don’t really keep track of all their statements. I’m not too worried about the hard core non-communicative cases, there’s probably not that much potential to destroy, but I wonder how many “on the spectrum” kids that could benefit from good behavioral therapy and schooling are instead “treated” with diet, chelation and lupron because it’s the “therapy of the month”.

  170. #172 Todd W.
    March 30, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Still waiting for an answer to my questions:

    Again, I ask you, what is your definition of “safe”? If something does not meet this definition of “safe”, then do you argue that it should not be used, at all?

    I really am curious. Knowing your answers to these questions will help us understand where you are coming from.

  171. #173 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “They don’t like the answers science is giving them. With autism most likely being partially genetic and/or partially very early prenatal development they have no one to blame but themselves. Genetics point to some imaginary flaw, and if there is an environmental trigger that contributes (probably before the parents are even aware of the pregnancy) they actually might have done something wrong. This, combined with the realization there’s no miracle cure if you can’t reverse a trigger”

    To be fair, I would point out that (at least one of)Ben’s parents already feels personally responsible even with the vaccination-as-the-cause belief because they had to take him to the doc and sign the papers and “hold him down” for the shot. Perhaps they would feel more responsible if it was genetic, but it’s hard to know that for sure.

    Personally, I think it has more to do with expectations and the second part of what I quoted above – no “miracle” cures. Like most parents lucky enough to be living in a “developed” country, there were expectations about their “perfect” child – and then he wasn’t. And no one in the medical field claimed they could “cure” him, so they look elsewhere.

    Please note, however, that is purely my own theory, and I am not making claims about how much it actually represents reality (especially the specific reality for Ben and his parents).

  172. #174 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “As of the last CDC report I could find, the (2003) maternal mortality was 12.1 per 100,000 live births. That’s a lot higher risk than vaccines, by a factor of 1000 or more, yet it is – in the US, anyway – a voluntary act (getting pregnant and giving birth may not be, but carrying the child to term is still voluntary in all 50 states).

    How about infant and neonatal mortality? Those rates (in 2005) were 6.9 and 4.5 (respectively) per 1000 live births. Just being born is risky….and way less risky than vaccines.”

    Of course, there is a pretty substantial overlap between the parents/mothers that don’t vaccinate and the ones who opt for Homebirth. They simultaneously downplay the increased risk of this act as the medical community “scaremongering” and “playing the dead baby card” while greatly inflating the risk of vaccines.

    Probably because giving birth out of a hospital and with no drugs is “natural,” just like catching diseases instead of gaining immunity through vaccines is “natural.” Of course, increased death from these behaviors is also “natural.”

  173. #175 Pablo
    March 30, 2010

    Personally, I think it has more to do with expectations and the second part of what I quoted above – no “miracle” cures. Like most parents lucky enough to be living in a “developed” country, there were expectations about their “perfect” child – and then he wasn’t. And no one in the medical field claimed they could “cure” him, so they look elsewhere.

    I agree more with this, but in a more cynical sense. They want the quick and easy fix, and don’t want to put in the work that it will take to raise a developmentally delayed child.

    What? I have to have patience, and spend a lot of time working with my child in highly repetitive behaviors? Can’t I just give them a pill or something and make it better?

  174. #176 Luna_the_cat
    March 30, 2010

    @Mu:
    I’m not too worried about the hard core non-communicative cases, there’s probably not that much potential to destroy

    Ok, I do take serious issue with that. Our boy could be considered one of the “hard core non-communicative cases” for most of his life — but he is still a human being, perfectly aware of his surroundings, certainly able to feel discomfort and pain, and he was able to develop (with time, patience, growth and consistency) first good sign language skills and then even some language skills in late adolescence. You seem to be implying that chelating him or treating him with Lupron would have been ok, even with the potential neurological damage that chelation could cause, even with the impaired bone growth and extremely high risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis (both dangerous and painful) that Lupron does cause. Would you like to rethink that…rethink that now, if you please.

  175. #177 John
    March 30, 2010

    Phoenixwoman @163

    The differences between the US and the UK are certainly interesting on things like this. I’d never seen douches in a pharmacist before I lived in the US, and people’s behaviour in the office toilets seemed most bizarre (ass gaskets, liberal use of not only washing but of gels, and using a paper towel to open the door to avoid touching the handle).

    The extremely diligent hygene always seemed to be in strange contrast to the practice of having the stalls built with a two foot gap at the bottom (which I only later discovered was to facilitate senators playing footsie with neighbours).

    We do have some strange habits in that department in Europe too, though. I was in Austria recently, and the airport toilets are designed so that your crap does not fall into the water, but instead sits out on a shelf in the air, where it can be closely examined before being flushed away. This has the delightful effect of allowing a large deposit to pile high enough to touch the buttocks.

  176. #178 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    I apologize. I am sure they are not abusers. But really, I am quite annoyed about Ben’s parents contention that autism is a slow death.

  177. #179 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “people’s behaviour in the office toilets seemed most bizarre (ass gaskets, liberal use of not only washing but of gels, and using a paper towel to open the door to avoid touching the handle).”

    Oh, you can’t forget using your foot to flush the toilet (assuming it’s not an automatic flush)- is that one you would think extreme? I do and I’m American, lol – I mean, really, you’re going to be washing your hands in about 30 seconds (and possibly using a sanitizer on top of that!), would it kill you to touch the handle?

  178. #180 Anton P. Nym
    March 30, 2010

    “Sanitation is the cure, not vaccination.”

    “One death to vaccine complications is one too many.”

    Alright, then. Let’s look at American fatal complications of sanitation for the 2001 calendar year:

    – 341 drowned in the bathtub
    – 55 died due to scalds from tap water

    (Alas, I can’t readily break out the number of fatalities from slip-and-fall accidents in the bathroom from the general slip-and-fall rate, but that has to be higher than zero. I’d suspect that the figure would lie between the two above, but that’s a guess; the total number slip-and-fall fatalities reported that year was 565.)

    Remember, the above is just the fatalities… the number of injuries is vastly greater. And remember that “even one is too many”.

    (I’m not against bathing. I’m for *safe* bathing. Yeahh…)

    — Steve

  179. #181 Lawrence
    March 30, 2010

    Yes, but isn’t life in general a “slow death?”

  180. #182 Pablo
    March 30, 2010

    (I’m not against bathing. I’m for *safe* bathing. Yeahh…)

    Dude, that’s awesome!!!

  181. #183 Ian
    March 30, 2010

    @Chris #178

    That’s fair. Their rhetoric is of a particularly poor quality and it’s pretty offensive to describe ASD as “a slow death”. But let’s keep the arguments to what we know rather than inventing stuff.

    @Poogles 174

    I’m not sure about the home birth thing being more dangerous than hospital delivery. A research project I did a few years ago suggested to me that for normal (non-complicated) births, home delivery actually has BETTER outcomes for both mother and child. This has a bit to do with reduced birth anxiety and decreased risk of hospital-borne infection. Then again I was looking at midwifery literature, so you can take that how you want. I realize that wasn’t the central point of your argument, but I think it’s fair to point out that they aren’t both (home birth and non-vax) high-risk activities.

  182. #185 John
    March 30, 2010

    Poogles wrote

    “Oh, you can’t forget using your foot to flush the toilet (assuming it’s not an automatic flush)- is that one you would think extreme? I do and I’m American, lol – I mean, really, you’re going to be washing your hands in about 30 seconds (and possibly using a sanitizer on top of that!), would it kill you to touch the handle?”

    Oh yes, I’d say that that one was extreme. I admit, though, that people over your side of the water would probably be appalled to know that here having a sleep in the toilets is not unheard of if there’s been a miscalculation the night before about what time it made sense to leave the bar.

    From the americans on here who’ve spent some time living over here in Europe, do we have sanitary habits that just seem wrong in US eyes?

  183. #186 Calli Arcale
    March 30, 2010

    Ian, the answer is complex. Part of the problem is that while home birth can have better outcomes for non-complicated births, you generally don’t know ahead of time which births are really going to be non-complicated. You can get a feel for the odds, but there’s just too much you can’t predict, like a prolapsed cord. That makes it very difficult indeed to do a really fair comparison of the two. (Let’s be careful about getting into that discussion, though, because it’s a highly emotional one that has a tendency to overwhelm topics.)

  184. #187 DT
    March 30, 2010

    @Carax 153

    The german swineflu events appeared bad, but were purely an unfortunate conjunction of circumstances.

    The German govt originally organised a contract the year before with Baxter to provide flu vax for essential public health personnel such as govt. employees and the armed forces if the need arose.

    When the possible scale of the pandemic became obvious during the summer, it was realised that the country would need very large quantities of vax, and it organised new contracts with GSK who could produce the vaccine quicker.
    There was no foreknowledge that vaccines might differ in their makeup and there were no scientific concerns about either vax. However, soon totally untrue stories hit the media to say, without any factual basis, that the GSK vaccine was riskier (having squalene in it). In fact there is no risk from squalene.

    But the appearances were that the vaccine planned for govt. was somehow “safer” than that for the rest of the population.

    The conspiracy reached full fruition.
    In summary, antivaxers had disseminated untrue propaganda about the safety of the vaccines, then later they were able to point to differences in vax supplies to “prove” there was a conspiracy to give inferior vax to the public.
    Game set and match to the antivaxers. And they really enjoyed the mayhem they created (thank god the flu was less bad than predicted).

    But still, many people (young, pregnant, vulnerable) died in Germany after going without vaccination. And the antivaxers are real proud of that achievement too.

  185. #188 DT
    March 30, 2010

    @Carax 153

    The german swineflu events appeared bad, but were purely an unfortunate conjunction of circumstances.

    The German govt originally organised a contract the year before with Baxter to provide flu vax for essential public health personnel such as govt. employees and the armed forces if the need arose.

    When the possible scale of the pandemic became obvious during the summer, it was realised that the country would need very large quantities of vax, and it organised new contracts with GSK who could produce the vaccine quicker.
    There was no foreknowledge that vaccines might differ in their makeup and there were no scientific concerns about either vax. However, soon totally untrue stories hit the media to say, without any factual basis, that the GSK vaccine was riskier (having squalene in it). In fact there is no risk from squalene.

    But the appearances were that the vaccine planned for govt. was somehow “safer” than that for the rest of the population.

    The conspiracy reached full fruition.
    In summary, antivaxers had disseminated untrue propaganda about the safety of the vaccines, then later they were able to point to differences in vax supplies to “prove” there was a conspiracy to give inferior vax to the public.
    Game set and match to the antivaxers. And they really enjoyed the mayhem they created (thank god the flu was less bad than predicted).

    But still, many people (young, pregnant, vulnerable) died in Germany after going without vaccination. And the antivaxers are real proud of that achievement too.

  186. #189 Mu
    March 30, 2010

    Luna, I wasn’t trying to imply that the hard cases are somehow not human or worth less, but that I can see a “desperate situations require desperate measures” approach for them. But there is no good therapeutic system in place for them, while a lot of what I think of more as delayed or uneven developing kids have shown reasonable improvements with therapy. And those are the ones that are most in danger (IMO) from biomed woo instead of SBM.

  187. #190 Pablo
    March 30, 2010

    I’m not sure about the home birth thing being more dangerous than hospital delivery. A research project I did a few years ago suggested to me that for normal (non-complicated) births, home delivery actually has BETTER outcomes for both mother and child.

    That’s kind of tricky, however, because you have to define what you mean by “home births.” As you note, if you restrict it to “no complications,” then you are basically defining the problem away. Because when a home birth gets iffy, it immediately gets shipped to the hospital. So indeed, the births that actually occur in homes end up being as safe as in a hospital, but that is because they didn’t have any problems that would cause them to go the hospital. It’s like saying, “If you don’t count the births with complications, then homebirthing is safe”

    So the statement basically boils down to, “When births go without a hitch, they can be done at home as safely as in a hospital.”

    If you count all those _attempted_ homebirths that ended up in the hospital due to complications, how does it compare to the hospital?

  188. #191 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 30, 2010
    Only the vaccine can produce immunity

    How do you become immune to a toxoid? (genuine question)

    A minor correction: the tetanus vaccine actually makes you immune to the toxin; the toxoid is the deliberately and carefully weakened version of the toxin. So the question is “how do you become immune to a toxin?”

    And the answer is pretty much the same in principle as it is for viral vaccines: you become immune by presenting your immune system with a deliberately and carefully weakened version of the agent you want immunity to. Because the agent presented to your system is deliberately and carefully weakened, it does not pose an actual threat, but the immune system still “sees” the antigens, “recognizes” the agent as a foreign invader, and gears up to deal with a full-on attack by that invader.

    If you do then get a full-on attack by that invader — if, say, two weeks after getting the tetanus shot you step on a sharp nail that punctures your foot and introduces a flood of tetanospasmin-manufacturing Clostridium tetani into your system — then instead of invading a body with an unprepared immune system that it can race through and devastate, it’s facing a system that says “Hey, I know you. And I’ve got a large army that knows you. And we’re all patrolling the body, looking for you, ready to kick your ass.”

    Like any other vaccine, a toxoid vaccine is about giving the body’s immune system a head start, so that it can clobber the invader before the invader can clobber the body.

  189. #192 Luna_the_cat
    March 30, 2010

    @Mu:

    Behavioural therapy and something that strongly resembles occupational therapy work well for “hard cases”, actually. Of course these are problematic and demanding anyway, not to mention extremely difficult for families to deal with at times — but I would say that the very “desperate situations require desperate measures” attitude is what puts THESE kids at the most risk from the the “biomed” treatments. “Oh, I can see how it would be ok to try anything at all, in order to get little Billy verbal again.” Or, do you think that cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis in a 17-year-old would genuinely be ok if that kid were still pre-verbal?

  190. #193 Ian
    March 30, 2010

    @ Calli Arcale #186 and Pablo #190

    I guess, just as in all things, it comes down to the risk/benefit calculation. If there’s no reason to suspect a priori that a complication is likely, it comes down to weighing up the risk of spontaneous complication to the risks associated with in-hospital delivery.

    Personally I don’t feel strongly one way or the other. Unless something outrageously dramatic happens in the next 20 years in the field of embryology and fertility, I’m not going to be getting pregnant.

  191. #194 Mu
    March 30, 2010

    Please don’t ask me what my opinion is on people that do chelation, anti-vaxers etc. It gets me kicked off blogs. I was writing that as a position an affected parent might take that I could understand (without agreeing to the measures taken).

  192. #195 Sid Offit
    March 30, 2010

    @Calli

    In those countries, surprise surprise, tetanus is a very common childhood killer.

    I assumed you were talking about neo-natal tetanus becasue that’s the only form of the disease that would make it a “very common childhood killer” anywhere.

    http://www.emedicinehealth.com/tetanus/article_em.htm
    The annual worldwide incidence is between 500,000-1 million cases. The majority of new cases worldwide are in neonates in Third World countries.

    Additionally, even in the pre-vaccine era, when we all lived on farms, tetanus was rare and even rarer in children.

    I looked at the Minn. requirements. Out of curiousity what leads you to say I could just bypass the tetanus requirement if I could find a DP shot?

  193. #196 Pablo
    March 30, 2010

    I guess, just as in all things, it comes down to the risk/benefit calculation. If there’s no reason to suspect a priori that a complication is likely, it comes down to weighing up the risk of spontaneous complication to the risks associated with in-hospital delivery.

    Right, and if there are no complications, then the birth is going to be safe. But that is tautological.

    Hospital births without any complications are also perfectly safe, too.

    I just don’t know how to compare homebirth stats with hospital stats, because, as I said, actual homebirths only take place in cases of minimal risk and where no complications arise. When complications actually arise during delivery, they are shipped out as often as possible. This isn’t based on risk, this is based on actual complications. So if the fetal heart rate drops during a home delivery, the mother is transferred to the hospital if possible for an emergency c-section. It gets recorded as a hospital delivery, with complications.

    As I said, the complication rate of homebirths is pretty meaningingless, since, almost by definition, it discounts cases where complications occur. IOW, homebirthing is basically 100% safe, if you don’t count those cases that have to get transferred to the hospital due to complications.

  194. #197 Passerby
    March 30, 2010

    Prometheus was the only poster here that even came close to the central argument: measles is a relatively modern disease; the most recent ancestor does indeed reflect rise in URBAN population necessary to sustain measles-like infection in immunologically naive youngsters, about 1100 years ago. The modern form is *really recent*, estimated to have emerged in the early 20th century.

    Virology Journal 2010, 7:52doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-52

    Before this recent emergence, crude serological techniques were used to induce natural immunity. You can read a reasonably well constructed set of posts, a week-long blog set devoted to measles, in Mystery Rays from Outer Space. The blog author is an immunology assistant prof.

    Day 1 introduces recent history of measles morbidity (this is the important one) and total and infant mortality with graphics showing a much longer national registry record for the UK and US. If you look elsewhere, you can find similar trends in morality reduction in Europe.

    Unfortunately, sanitation is give short shrift as an important reason for the reduction. That ignorance arises from the blog authors lack of knowledge of modern sanitation science, put into broad practice first in Europe and then in the US, but having its antecendent movement in the mid-1800s.

    Natural drop in mortality can be ascribed to (1) major improvements in urban sanitation, (2) early efforts to develop broad population immunity using antisera, (3) co-reduction in major infectious diseases that are typically prevalent in cold weather seasons, (4) reduction in residential crowding with concurrent reduction in number of residents per home, and (5) improved general nutrition and medical intervention, including the rise of modern medical practice and access to general practice clinics and hospital care.

    Morbidity rose and fell with environmental factors that affected susceptible populace density, and here ease of population movement with the development of modern modes of transportation following the rise in general wealth is an important factor in 20th century measles epidemiology.

    There is no doubt that the modern version of measles, a seasonal infectious agent, is different from its immediate ancestor.

    At heart, a number of factors are responsible for the resurgence in recent outbreaks of measles, mostly in young adults with an average age of 17-21, associated with a rising number of naive and quasi-naive, susceptible individuals in close-crowding conditions, a pattern that began to manifest circa 2005-06 in Europe and North America.

    The outbreaks of mumps, measles, and chickenpox among university students predates the decade-old mania against vaccination and also largely pre-date the practice of booster use (’96-97). Many university students who reported contracting these childhood infectious disease had been vaccinated, once. Few reported being multiply vaccinated.

    This subpopulation, and their junior counterparts who have also contracted mumps, measles and chicken pox in public schools, have been shown to have reduced levels of vitamin D and have generally poor nutrition status and crappy sleep hygiene that impairs immune system function. They are subject to chronic stress that is not helped by a generally sedentary lifestyle. Many share communal sanitation facilities in schools and dorms, and they are socially active.

    There is also suspect complacency among parents in the past 20 years, because large outbreaks these childhood disease had become relatively rare prior to recent teenager multinational epidemics. They needed only to hear community rumors of vaccine-health developmental effects that arose after the publication of suspect study, to reconsider the need for the 42-shot immunization series for infants.

    Just as in the case of notable spike periods in measles morbidity during the first half of the 20th century (observed in the US charts), there are underlying environmental causal factors that are also reflected in the rise in general respiratory diseases with immune dysfunction, like seasonal allergy and asthma, particularly among the young in the past 15 years.

  195. #198 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “I guess, just as in all things, it comes down to the risk/benefit calculation. If there’s no reason to suspect a priori that a complication is likely, it comes down to weighing up the risk of spontaneous complication to the risks associated with in-hospital delivery.”

    I agree. For me, personally, perhaps what changed my mind the most (I had planned on HB’s for my future children, as well as not vaccinating…thanks again skeptics and science!!) was learning more about the complications that can go undetected or occur without a moment’s notice that can mean death if there’s not a team of competent people to attend to you and your child. Granted, this particular kind of scenario is somewhat rare, in the grand scheme of things, but it was sufficiently sobering enough for me to take my head out of my ass and decide my children will have any medical care they may need immediately available to them during and after birth.

  196. #199 Calli Arcale
    March 30, 2010

    “I looked at the Minn. requirements. Out of curiousity what leads you to say I could just bypass the tetanus requirement if I could find a DP shot? ”

    The fact that Td boosters are not required is an awfully big hint. You need those boosters if the tetanus immunity is to mean anything.

    You still want to deny that tetanus is a problem for children. It is a common killer abroad. Number one killer? No, but I did not intend to imply that. A hell of a lot of things are common killers in other countries. Polio. Cholera. Starvation. War. Occupational injury in countries without a minimum age of employment. I don’t think we should consider any of them acceptable if there is an alternative.

  197. #200 Chris
    March 30, 2010

    John:

    From the americans on here who’ve spent some time living over here in Europe, do we have sanitary habits that just seem wrong in US eyes?

    No.

  198. #201 moto_lib
    March 30, 2010

    I’m glad that you changed your mind Poogles! I had an unmedicated childbirth in a hospital with a certified nurse midwife. It was a textbook birth, until I started bleeding out after the placenta was delivered. I was rushed to the OR to have a cervical laceration repaired. I nearly had to have a blood transfusion. Although I never would have considered a home birth even before this, my experience drove home the fact that serious complications cannot always be predicted. I would be dead had I not been in a hospital.

    As a new parent, I am so glad that I have found Orac’s blog, because it gives me ammunition in the fight against anti-vaxxers. I always try to be kind to parents who are on the fence, but I also point out the holes in the arguments against vaccinations.

  199. #202 phoenixwoman
    March 30, 2010

    RE: the troll with Sid’s name –

    This can’t be Stone Deaf Sid. He’s actually got some new arguments this time around. Last time I saw him his response to being utterly debunked was to wait until his debunkers had gone away, then repeat his original horsepucky as if nothing had happened (hence his nickname “Stone Deaf Sid”).

  200. #203 Poogles
    March 30, 2010

    “As a new parent, I am so glad that I have found Orac’s blog”

    I always tell my hubby that I am SO GRATEFUL I went through the whole anti-vacc, homebirth, “natural is always best” phase before I ever even got pregnant. If I had not started looking into any of this stuff until we started trying or after I was already pregnant, I more than likely would have stayed in that mindset indefinitely, instead of coming out the other side realizing how mislead I had been. At least my crazy baby fever had one good result, LOL.

  201. #204 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 30, 2010

    @Pablo #169

    I guess there is still a little money to be made from smallpox vax. The US military has been getting it for about 5 years now.

    @John #185

    I still don’t know the proper technique of using a bidet, but I give it a try when on the Continent (not due to incontinence), but trying to conscientious (hygenically speaking).

    @Poogles

    A coworker lost his first child during homebirth due to some issue with the cord. I don’t know for a fact that the outcome would have been different in a hospital, but the odds would have been better.

  202. #205 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 30, 2010

    @Neil Craig:
    I wasn’t actually arguing anything with you, so the accusation that I was using an ad hominem argument is kind of beside the point. I was merely stating that attempting a logical discussion with someone so bereft of reasoning ability that they would consider HIV denialism seriously is a completely pointless exercise.

  203. #206 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 30, 2010

    Unfortunately, sanitation is give short shrift as an important reason for the reduction. That ignorance arises from the blog authors lack of knowledge of modern sanitation science

    Passerby, thank you for bringing us a link to what seems a very interesting series of blog posts which I for one will enjoy checking out.

    But no thank you for condescendingly declaring that only “only [one] poster here … even came close to the central argument” and that the post displays “ignorance [which] arises from the blog authors [sic] lack of knowledge of modern sanitation science” when you are displaying ignorance of an issue the blog author specifically highlighted and explained.

    You keep explaining the factors behind the decrease in the fatality rate of measles, but if you had read the original post carefully, you’d have seen that Orac carefully distinguishes between reduction of the death rates and reduction of the incidence of the disease (as, in fact, the author of “Mystery Rays From Outer Space” does!) and notes that anti-vaccinationists are intellectually dishonest to give factors which may have reduced the fatality rate, such as sanitation and better nutrition, credit for reducing the incidence, which is what vaccination did.

    This is not an unimportant distinction, since measles has a lot of nasty consequences it can inflict apart from death; someone who lost their sight, their hearing or their fertility to the infection would certainly tell you that living through a bout of the measles is a poor second best to not getting the measles.

  204. #207 Passerby
    March 30, 2010

    I provide explanation not only for the multi-factor decrease in infectious mortality in the 20th century, I also note the historical change in *morbidity* and point to it’s importance, attributable quasi-vaccination and other measures listed that impact both individual and subgroup infectious susceptibility and symptom severity.

    The steady, stepwise decline in morbidity is also shown in a brief graph, Part II, Mystery Rays from Outer Space blog, although he doesn’t comment on it, as his point was to show seasonal patterns of morbidity continued to occur alongside steep declines in measles mortality.

    In the brief section on the effects of sanitation, part III, he states:

    ‘Measles is a classic respiratory disease; it doesn’t need water to spread, and sanitation doesn’t stop it from spreading.’

    Well, that is patent nonsense. Measles spreads by fomites, and that includes GI complications that are notable in rinderpest-infected cattle and in measles infected infants and youngsters.

    Moreover, morbidity is strongly effected by recent previous infectious disease in humans and animals, including the bacterial GI infectious agents that frequently and seriously weakened infants before modern drinking water treatment started approximately 1915. That pattern was directly due to contaminated surface and shall well water supply in urban centers.

    The key sanitation engineering factors were the reduction in suspended matter and disinfection steps in water supply, primary wastewater treatment, and the separation of water and sewage piping systems (rather than use combined systems designed not for wastewater but for storm-water conveyance) that also directed wastewater for outfall disposal, away from urban centers.

    In fact, while you’re at it, if you look at the Wiki page on Rinderpest, you’ll see that, ironically, the efforts to inoculate cattle against rinderpest predated efforts to induce seroprotection in humans:

    ‘The first written report of rinderpest inoculation was published in a letter signed ‘T.S.’ in the November 1754 issue of Gentleman’s Magazine,[1] a widely-read journal which also supported the progress of smallpox inoculation. This letter reported that a Mr. Dobsen had inoculated his cattle and had thus preserved nine out of ten of them, although this was retracted in the next issue as it was apparently a Sir William St. Quintin who had done the inoculating (this was done by placing bits of material previously dipped in morbid discharge into an incision made in the dewlap of the animal). These letters encouraged further application of inoculation in the fight against diseases. The first inoculation against measles was made three years after their publication.[1]‘

    Prometheus was the only poster to point to the recent TMRCA estimates and suspect zoonotic origin paper, the probable rise of an exceptionally recent seasonal infectious agent in modern times (which may be associated with early seroprotection efforts), part of the complex story behind the reduction in broad group of infectious disease decline in in the past 90 years.

    Vaccination plays an important role in the eventual eradication of seasonal infectious disease, and I am not disputing that point.

  205. #208 squirrelelite
    March 30, 2010

    poogles 168,

    You beat me to it!

    Since we all die eventually, all life is a slow death. I hope Ben’s death is slower (and less unpleasant) than average, but like many other commenters, I worry that something they do to try to rescue him from his autism will make it less slow than it would otherwise be.

    Is that sufficiently obfuscatory?

    As for medicien man, I wonder if they are unconsciously channeling one of their Medici ancestors? I understand they were also very into toxic substances.

    I don’t know what “toxoids” are, but if they are chemical poisons like most biologically produced toxins (and not living organisms like bacteria and viruses), I don’t think the mechanisms of the immune system would react to and protect from them. Thus, priming the immune system with a vaccine against the toxoids probably wouldn’t work either.

    Human biology isn’t my real area of expertise, so my understanding is a bit cursory. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can clarify it.

  206. #209 punter
    March 31, 2010

    Can anybody here please explain then why it is just a coincidence that when the polio vaccine was introduced a brand new disease with the exact same range of symptoms as polio (viral meningitis, amongst others such as Guillian Barre) cropped out of nowhere and started infecting large numbers of people. Is it also an astonishing coincidence that chicken pox and shingles were always considered harmless until such time as the small pox vaccine supposedly eradicated that disease.
    Could you also please explain why it could only be coincidence that the exact same thing happened for diphtheria (regarding severe tonsillitis) or, well pretty much every disease really that has supposedly been eradicated by vaccination.
    Is it always just a coincidence that whenever a vaccine is introduced a brand new disease springs up with the same symptoms as the “eradicated” disease or is it – as Occam’s razor would have us conclude – that the diseases were just relabelled and the vaccines were useless.
    And again, I will ask. How do vaccinations work? How do T-cells, B-cells, antibodies or whatever remember things? I recently asked a senior lecturer in immunology and he confessed that nobody actually knew, but maybe he is wrong and someone on the board here will help me out.
    Thanks in advance for your explanations.

  207. #210 Chris
    March 31, 2010

    Sure, as long as you provide evidence that anything in your rant actually happened.

    Especially since polio and viral meningitis are not the same, nor do they have the same symptoms. The same goes for diptheria and severe tonsilitis (do kids even get severe tonsilitis anymore?).

    Try to make them real data, and not whale.to or any clone of that website. I have read about those same “coincidences” over and over again from John Scudamore (he does whale.to) on Usenet about ten years ago.

    How do vaccines work? Well, first you get a good grounding in basic Biology 101 (your local community college should offer a class), and then go to http://www.virology.ws/virology-101/ , watch the lectures and read the notes. Then you will learn that there is a big difference between the virus of polio, smallpox, varicella and others.

  208. #211 DT
    March 31, 2010

    @punter.
    I see you are one of the “just asking questions” trolls.
    You want to learn about the immune system, and how vaccinations work? Don’t ask people here, go do a bit of background work yourself. There are numerous sources of proper scientific/medical information. When you have looked at them, and when you have a specific query, then ask.

    As Chris has pointed out, the diseases you describe as “new” are quite unrelated to and easily distinguishable from the vaccine-preventable illnesses. They are not “new”, either. Viral meningitis and chicken pox were recognised as distinct medical conditions before smallpox and polio vaccines were introduced. They did not crop out of nowhere.

  209. #212 Neil Craig
    March 31, 2010

    Bruce McNeely you are the very definition of a troll. Not a term I use lightly but nothing else fits.

  210. #213 DT
    March 31, 2010

    Passerby, you responded to the fact that measles has a classic respiratory transmission route and that sanitation has nothing to do with it by saying “Well, that is patent nonsense.” Your posts display ignorance about the means by which measles is spread (hint, it is by inhalation of respiratory droplets or droplet nuclei containing virus) and has virtually nothing to do with what you describe as “sanitation”).

    The fact that one analysis suggests the modern virus seems to have diverged in the 11th century from an ancestor that also gave rise to rinderpest virus (rather than much earlier) is of interest, but contributes nothing to our current understanding of measles transmission.

  211. #214 Dangerous Bacon
    March 31, 2010

    The part of punter‘s nonsensical rant that I enjoyed the most is the bit about how smallpox vaccine “supposedly eradicated that disease”.

    Ooo, do you suppose that smallpox epidemics are still killing millions of people around the world, and the gummint is quarantining and hiding them in FEMA camps?

    What other juicy conspiracies are they feeding you on whale.to and Curezone?

  212. #215 Dianne
    March 31, 2010

    @214: Technically, the smallpox virus does still exist in freezers at the CDC in Atlanta and probably in a number of other places as a reserve backup biowarfare agent, so punter is technically correct in saying that it isn’t eradicated. However, I doubt that that’s what s/he meant.

  213. #216 Seb30
    March 31, 2010

    @Punter 209

    “I recently asked a senior lecturer in immunology” and he didn’t have the answer? Then I’m sorry, he is incompetent. Or you didn’t ask the question correctly.

    Just because it’s you, I’ll try to remember my immunology courses, from 15 years ago. I’m sure we know more now, but immunology is not my field anymore.
    Note to immunologists here: it’s oversimplified. I hope it’s mostly right.

    T-cell and B-cell don’t remember anything, it’s the immune system who remember things, as a whole. B/T-cell are highly specialized cells, which will produce a single antibody. B-cell release it, T-cell keep it on their cell surface to attach to infected cells (or tumor cells).
    The tricky part is, each cell will produce a different antibody (well, different on its epitope, the part recognizing a foreign molecule), because of a series of randomizing processes during B/T-cells’ maturation.
    The organism will triage newly formed T/B cells in the thymus: if the antibody they produce recognizes a protein from the human body, the cells are destroyed (sometimes one such cell escapes, and you got an auto-immune disease)
    Then the remaining cells will just patrol the organism. Most of them will never encounter a molecule matching their antibody, and will eventually die.
    But some of them will find their match, and as a result they will start proliferating. Part of the cells will produce antibodies (if B-cells) or go hunting for cells to kill (if T-cells). But part of these cells will be memory cells – cells which will live longer, and will physically keep around an antibody which was proved to be matched to a known threat.
    And the next time the same molecule or bug comes around, your organism will have plenty of cells which are matched to fight it. And because there are more of them, and they have been selected for the fitness of the match, the immune system will be faster at putting down the threat. It’s that vaccines do: select the cells to have a faster reaction next time. Or if you prefer, target practice.

    Re: how to be immune to a toxoid?
    Antibodies have many functions (target recognition, activation of complement), and one of them is competitive inhibition. By connecting to the molecule they recognize, antibodies could block the access of this molecule to other molecules (they are in the way, quite simply).
    By connecting to the part of the toxin which recognize your nerve cells and inject the part which will destroy your neurons, an antibody prevents the toxin effect. Long enough for a white cell to come by and swallow antibody and toxin.

  214. #217 JohnV
    March 31, 2010

    “Occam’s razor would have us conclude – that the diseases were just relabelled and the vaccines were useless.”

    Yeah Occam thinks that you’re full of shit.

  215. #218 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 31, 2010

    Bruce McNeely you are the very definition of a troll. Not a term I use lightly but nothing else fits.

    You got me. You got me good.

    Thanks for confirming that you are indeed an HIV denialist.

  216. #219 Militant Agnostic
    March 31, 2010

    @212

    Bruce McNeely you are the very definition of a troll. Not a term I use lightly but nothing else fits.

    Project much?

  217. #220 Calli Arcale
    March 31, 2010

    punter @ 209:

    Can anybody here please explain then why it is just a coincidence that when the polio vaccine was introduced a brand new disease with the exact same range of symptoms as polio (viral meningitis, amongst others such as Guillian Barre) cropped out of nowhere and started infecting large numbers of people.

    I’ve had viral meningitis. (Well, probably. Long story, but the actual organism was never identified in my case. Clinically, it looked viral.) It ain’t polio. Neither is Guillain Barre. GBS is actually a pretty interesting disease — it’s not an infection. It’s an autoimmune disorder that seems to be triggered by fever. Any fever. You can get it after a vaccination, or after a natural infection, or possibly even a mechanical fever. It can strike months after the triggering fever, making it nearly impossible to definitively identify the trigger. It certainly existed before it was clinically recognized (probably throughout human history); it’s such an oddball ailment that it took a long time for scientists to work out what was going on. It’s a neurological disorder — but it ain’t polio. It’s definitely a distinct disease.

    Is it also an astonishing coincidence that chicken pox and shingles were always considered harmless until such time as the small pox vaccine supposedly eradicated that disease.

    Chickenpox and shingles were never as deadly (or as contagious) as smallpox; smallpox probably did somewhat eclipse the public perception of less lethal poxes. But only somewhat; chickenpox has never been a particularly good disease to have, and it’s always killed a percentage of those who contract it. Shingles, likewise, has always had a certain rate of serious complications, and that hasn’t changed. What has happened is that now there is a way to prevent it.

    People tend to be blase about the things they can’t control, because it’s much easier to cope with life that way. Are you worried about being struck by a meteorite? Probably not; after all, it’s not likely, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it anyway, so what’s the point in worrying? That’s how people thought about chickenpox before the vaccine. (Well, for the most part; people still found chickenpox dangerous enough to be worth carefully exposing their child in hopes of contracting it when the odds of avoid death are more in their favor. Not an entirely stupid idea, but vaccination lets you control the odds much more effectively.) Now that astronomers have the means to detect potentially hazardous asteroids, and now that engineers have come up with possible methods of deflecting them, people are starting to worry about the really big meteorites. It’s not that asteroids have suddenly become more dangerous; it’s that now, for the first time, there is the possibility of doing something about them.

    Could you also please explain why it could only be coincidence that the exact same thing happened for diphtheria (regarding severe tonsillitis) or, well pretty much every disease really that has supposedly been eradicated by vaccination.

    Diptheria remains a serious threat in other parts of the world, where people are not routinely vaccinated against it. And people there get tonsilitis too. It’s not a replacement diagnosis. Tonsilitis is a condition that can be caused by many things. I’m not a doctor; I don’t know whether diptheria is one of them. But it’s certainly not the *only* one, and never was.

    You ask if it is a coincidence that new diseases spring up as vaccinations are introduced, but there is no coincidence to explain. No new diseases* are springing up; the things you are suggesting as replacements actually coexisted with those diseases for a very long time. Syndromes like GBS are probably ancient; just because scientists discover it in the 20th century doesn’t mean it never happened before. It just means they hadn’t formally described it yet. One must remember that medical science as a systematic discipline is relatively young, so one should expect that there are lots of things still unknown to it.

    * Well, actually there are new diseases springing up all the time, evolution being what it is, but they’re totally novel. They’re not sneaky replacements for old diseases. Of course, many of these novel diseases aren’t as novel as we think; though West Nile Virus was first isolated in 1937 (and arrived in North America just a decade ago), genetic analysis suggests it actually emerged about a thousand years ago. Maybe it was sickening people sporadically during that time, and maybe it was just hanging out in wild animals and thus went unnoticed.

  218. #221 Sauceress
    March 31, 2010

    #209 punter

    And again, I will ask. How do vaccinations work? How do T-cells, B-cells, antibodies or whatever remember things?

    Here ya go punter…scroll 2/3 way down that page to “Immunological memory”.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=imm&part=A1322#A1372

    Better still, if you are genuinely interested in learning how the immune system functions, read that entire page…at least. (Note that this text cannot be browsed…you must use the search function if you want to look up other immunology concepts…they’re all there :)

    I recently asked a senior lecturer in immunology and he confessed that nobody actually knew

    Just out of curiosity, was that perhaps at one of those anti-evilutionist places that teach “Creationist Science” ?

  219. #222 Calli Arcale
    March 31, 2010

    Random thought….

    What do those who adhere to the theory of vaccines causing autism make of the fact that autistic children tend to have larger heads (in proportion to their bodies) than the general population? It’s one of the more peculiar correlations found with autism. It’s not predictive; more people have big heads and are non-autistic than have big heads and are autistic. But autistics are quite a bit more likely to have big heads than everybody else is. If you are a person who believes vaccines cause autism, how do the large skulls fit into it? Remember that this is not some sudden growth; these children have large skulls the day they are born. (Much to their mothers’ chagrin, I imagine. I was fortunate; my babies were born by c-section, so my eldest’s large crown was not a problem. But I wince when I think of my mother giving birth to me, with my big ol’ noggin! Good thing I was early!)

  220. #223 Todd W.
    March 31, 2010

    @Calli Arcale

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they also tend to have larger hands and ears, as well?

  221. #224 Calli Arcale
    March 31, 2010

    I only know about the head thing, but that’s quite possible. I’m not sure if my daughter’s hands are larger than normal, because I don’t know what’s average for a girl her size, but mine sure are. Ears . . . well, in my family that may be masked by another situation. We tend to have Ross Perot/Prince Charles ears. Radar dishes on the sides of our heads. ;-) My parents had mine tacked back as a child, but my eldest did inherit them. She luckily picked up wavy hair from hubby’s side of the family, so they don’t show too much. We’re letting her decide as she ages if she wants them “fixed”. (Otoplasty.) Right now, anyway, she’s not getting picked on for them or anything, so we’re letting them be.

    I was unconscious when she was born (emergency c-section) and I remember a brief moment of uncertainty as they brought her in to the recovery room. I had not seen her born; how would I know this was my child? I pulled back the blanket, saw the ears, and knew this was mine. ;-)

  222. #225 Dianne
    March 31, 2010

    But autistics are quite a bit more likely to have big heads than everybody else is.

    IIRC, head circumference is larger at birth and in early childhood for autistics but is about the same in adolescence and adulthood. But the difference is there before vaccination. So what’s next to blame? Vaccination of the mothers? Cell phones? Unspecified toxins?

  223. #226 Ian
    March 31, 2010

    Obviously it’s pre-natal exposure to Mr Burns’ brain tonic. There’s an article about it on whale.to

  224. #227 Neil Craig
    April 1, 2010

    So nobody at all disputes that what the author of the thread says is indeed dishonest 7 hypocritical.

    Fair enough.

  225. #228 Luna_the_cat
    April 1, 2010

    Neil,

    You remind me of http://wondermark.com/606/.

  226. #229 Not really
    April 1, 2010

    Neil Craig:

    So nobody at all disputes that what the author of the thread says is indeed dishonest 7 hypocritical.

    Fair enough.

    Or… Nobody’s interested in engaging with a batshit lunatic like yourself. Cheerio!

  227. #230 triskelethecat
    April 1, 2010

    @Neil Craig: anyone who can call T. Bruce McNeely a troll deserves to be ignored. Anyone who is an HIV denier deserves to be ignored. So why should we discuss your nonsense?

  228. #231 Luna_the_cat
    April 1, 2010

    I was trying to point out to Neil that he reminded me of the Wondermark comic #606 — http://wondermark.com/606/ — but my original link got hung in moderation.

  229. #232 Jen in TX
    April 1, 2010

    “But autistics are quite a bit more likely to have big heads than everybody else is.”

    Interestingly, some studies have suggested that a larger head circumference is associated with allergic disorders, as well.

  230. #233 Andrew
    April 1, 2010

    Neil Craig:

    You’re confusing contempt with defeat, but see post 159.

  231. #234 Dedj
    April 1, 2010

    “So nobody at all disputes that what the author of the thread says is indeed dishonest 7 hypocritical.

    Fair enough.”

    It was made abundantly clear in the “consensus” thread that Orac was not dismissing opposition to consensus on the basis of evidence, but was discussing opposition to consensus on the basis of opposing the idea of consensus.

    Thus your basis for proclaiming ‘hypocrisy” was established as false in the original thread. This was established by the end of the 24th.

    In effect, your claim was established as clearly false nearly 5 days before you made it.

    Please keep up or shut up.

  232. #235 Prometheus
    April 1, 2010

    Neil Craig [#227] commented:

    “So nobody at all disputes that what the author of the thread says is indeed dishonest 7 [sic] hypocritical.”

    I’m sorry – I wasn’t paying any attention to you. Were you referring to this bit of nonsense:

    “Alternately what “evidence, science, and reason” is there in catastrophic global warminmg, passive smoking killing, the LNT radiation theory, polar bears being endangered, peak oil, acid rain, HIV-AIDS, salt being dangerous, cholesterol & the numerous other “scientific consensii”, politically correct because promoted by those in charge, scares which are not denounced here?”

    or were you asserting that “revising” historical data on infectious diseases and/or presenting it in a distorted and deceptive fashion is “OK” in your world view?

    Was there a point in your comments? There didn’t seem to be.

    Prometheus

  233. #236 Neil Craig
    April 2, 2010

    So 6 posts all saying they cannot or will not debate. You rarely see apathy applied with such enthusiasm.

    When the only possible defence is trolls making ad hominum atttacks the point is clearly made.

  234. #237 triskelethecat (MI Dawn)
    April 2, 2010

    @Neil Craig: you are obviously confusing apathy with scorn. You are the one making the ad hom attacks, and as a liar, you are prime. And now you have just become the 2nd person in my killfile. Congratulations for your achievement.

  235. #238 Dedj
    April 2, 2010

    “When the only possible defence is trolls making ad hominum atttacks the point is clearly made.”

    It’s not an ad hominem to point out that your arguement was demonstratably false days before it was made.

    You failed to debate that. Thus, by your own logic, it must be true.

    Do not confuse seeing you as a unworthy participant (and thats giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are merely confused or incompetant and not a deliberate manipulative liar) with being unable to address your (already addressed days prior to making them) concerns.

    You have been told before that refusal to play your silly little games is not the same as admitting defeat. You are the one that has to substantiate your claims. You have failed to do so on each and every request. We have no responsiblity to address any of your questions until you demonstrate them to be supported and rational.

    You are not worthy, as you have amply demonstrated multiple times. It’s time for you and your ego to realise that.

    As you want to play by silly pedantic rules, you will, in your next post, provide direct quotes from the original threads that substantiate your claims. Failure to do so will be taken as evidence of lack of competance and understanding.

    These are the rules you have laid down for others. You will now be held to them.

  236. #239 Prometheus
    April 2, 2010

    Neil Craig whinges:

    “So 6 posts all saying they cannot or will not debate. You rarely see apathy applied with such enthusiasm.”

    It’s not that I’m unwilling to “debate”, just that I’m unclear what you are proposing as your position. Is your position that all scientific consensus is invalid or is your position that Orac and/or the regular readers of this ‘blog are mindless adherents to “scientific dogma”?

    Or did you have another, entirely different position?

    The problem is that your arguments are so poorly constructed that it is nearly impossible to tell what you are arguing.

    Try being clear and concise. Be prepared to support your position with data. If you do that, people might listen to you and treat you like an adult.

    Prometheus

  237. #240 Graeme Bird
    April 6, 2010

    Testes testes one two three.

  238. #241 Chris
    April 6, 2010

    Testes can swell.

  239. #242 Anonymous
    September 3, 2011

    If vaccines are so great for children’s health why has the US become 40th in the world in infant death? we are now up to some 68 vaccines for children (thi$ i$ nothing but greed). With all these vaccines we should have the best infant health on the planet if these vaccines worked. There is a standing offer to any doctor or pharmacist -$10,000 to take complete round of childhood shots in a adult size proportion. No one has voluntered-let me know if there are any takers.
    amt of mercury allowed in water 2 ppr billion
    amt of mercury considered toxic waste (requiring hazmat cleanup) 200 ppr billion
    amt of mercury in thermerisol 2,500 ppr billion
    amt where thermerisol is a trace ingredient 300ppr billion.
    most individuals are able to metabolize and eliminate some of the mercury but some do not do this efficiently. Mercury when combined with aluminum and formaldehyde (like in vaccines) creates a toxic synergy greater than the sum of the parts.
    WHY INJECT TOXIC WASTE OF THE WORLD’S MOST DEADLY SUBSTANCES? Is this do no harm? Or is this to maximize profit? Once you kill the immune system you have lucrative patients for life.
    peanut oil used as an adjuvant in vaccines is highly suspect in the 2% of the population to have severe life threatening peanut allegies (okay if you claim it isn’t the vaccines what explains the drastic rise in peanut allergies) PROTEINS from egg and peanut (in vaccines) should NEVER be injected directly into the bloodstream.
    Wake up NEVER put protein in the blood system.
    homeopathy is hard to wrap your mind around-it seems counterintuitive-but it works. Homeopathy is the only natural therapy approved by the FDA. In it’s 200 year history of use no one has ever been harmed. homeopathy works really well for flu-both to prevent and treat.During the 1918 flu epidemic 30% treated with allopathic medicine
    (drugs/vaccines) died. Only 1% treated with homeopathy died.
    Homeopathy is the second most practiced form of medicine on the planet-only second to Chinese herbalism, ahead of allopathic medicine. Homeopathy, as I mentioned has been around for 200 years and does have extensive provings and research to support it’s effectiveness. Allopathic drugs are really the new experimental “kid on the block”.
    DO NO HARM-USE NATURE FIRST. DISEASE IS NOT CAUSED BY A
    MERCURY-FORMALDAHIDE-ALUMINUM DEFICIENCY! There is strong correlations to these injections and extensive damage and death.

  240. #243 Gray Falcon
    September 3, 2011

    [citation needed]

  241. #244 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    September 3, 2011

    The Anonymous necromancer troll’s overwrought, nearly content free diatribe is overwrought and nearly content free.

    During the 1918 flu epidemic 30% treated with allopathic medicine (drugs/vaccines) died. Only 1% treated with homeopathy died.

    Citation needed. Also, please inform the group why you believe medicine has made no progress in 94 years and give citations.

  242. #245 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    amish kids do not have peanut allergies (unless they are vaccinated)
    pharmaceutical companies are some of the most unscrupulous corporations in the world, seems like satan himself is on their board of directors. have been caught purposely spiking vaccines w/ illness causing substances
    do no harm has been replace with maximize profit.

  243. #246 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    [citation needed]

  244. #247 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    as a former business student i understand that corporations exist, first and foremost, to make a profit.
    when you ask almost any US doctor about anything related to alternative medicine they say none of it works and it can be dangerous. in Germany they have the german commission e.
    this is the advising board to m.d. that makes therapeutic suggestions for using herbal medicine (before trying drugs). european doctors will use nature first. that is not to say that there is not a place for pharmaceuticals but they should be one of the last treatment protocols not the first. drugs do have side effects-so need to be used with great caution. plants (herbs) are the safest substance (long track records of use-in some cases thousands of years) on the planet and often times work better than drugs without side effects. why are these being bad mouthed by MD in the US, not like they might be suggested in europe?
    G R E E D !
    drugs (vaccines) can be patented and are highly profitable.
    as i said maximize profit has replaced do no harm.
    money corruption is systemic to our medical system.
    only when greed is removed will medicine become honorable.
    otherwise sirs you have no credibility and have alot of blood on your hands from needless suffering.

  245. #248 Gray Falcon
    September 3, 2011

    Any evidence for your accusations?

  246. #249 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    The following is an extract from an article entitled “Homeopathy In Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony” by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920.

    Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the average old school mortality is 30%.

    Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.

    In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not drugged to death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.

    I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD, Providence, Rhode Island.

    Fifteen hundred cases were reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of the District of Columbia with but fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%.-E. F. Sappington, M. D., Philadelphia.

    I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to the Scotch-Irish-American! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.

    One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many cases. “Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies.” The Doctor replied: “But that is homeopathy.” “I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost a
    single case.” -W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh.

    There is one drug which directly or indirectly was the cause of the loss of more lives than was influenza itself. You all know that drug. It claims to be salicylic acid. Aspirin’s history has been printed. Today you don’t know what the sedative action of salicylic acid is. It did harm in two ways. It’s indirect action came through the fact that aspirin was taken until prostration resulted and the patient developed pneumonia. -Frank L. Newton, MD, Somerville, Massachusetts

    Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious. In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought
    to be prohibited. -Guy Beckly Stearns, MD, New York

    Three hundred and fifty cases and lost one, a neglected pneumonia that came to me after she had taken one hundred grains of aspirin in twenty-four hours. -Cora Smith King, MD, Washington, DC

    I had a package handed to me containing 1,000 aspirin tablets, which was 994 too many. I think I gave about a half dozen. I could find no place for it. My remedies were few. I almost invariably gave Gelsemium and Bryonia. I hardly ever lost a case if I got there first, unless the patient had been sent to a drug store and bought aspirin, in which event I was likely to have a case of pneumonia on my hands. -J. P. Huff, MD, Olive Branch, Kentucky.

    In reading the accounts of the epidemic it seems that most of the deaths were caused by a virulent pneumonia that was especially devastating to those who depressed their system with analgesics-the most common being aspirin.

    The Physician from whom I first learned homeopathy, Raymond Seidel, MD, HMD, said that he decided to be a homeopathic doctor during the flu epidemic when he was working as a delivery boy for a homeopath in New Jersey. Raymond Seidel told me that he decided to become a homeopathic doctor when he was a ten-year old delivery boy for a local homeopath. He said, “I saw that the people who were taking aspirin were dying, about half those who were drinking a lot were dying, and those that received homeopathic remedies were living.”

  247. #250 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    you asked for citations and when i try to provide them you block my entries. is this fair? or do you just not happened to like what i am saying even if it is true?
    i can back up everything i am saying if you don’t censor me

    who talks like this anyways…..

    “The Anonymous necromancer troll’s overwrought, nearly content free diatribe is overwrought and nearly content free.”
    lol

  248. #251 liady
    September 3, 2011

    gee guys you hooked a live one here…a genuine necromancing factoid-filled troll who things his dreck is poetry…in the style of E.E. Cummings.

    as a (failed) “former business student” who could not cut the mustard in legitimate business circles, sam now is quite successful peddling herbs and sugar water to his “marks”…sorry we are not buying them and not buying his unique retelling of history.

  249. #252 Gray Falcon
    September 3, 2011

    If you’ve got more than one link, then the post will be held for moderation. Still, you should post on a more recent article.

  250. #253 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    search Bayer knowingly sold HIV contaminated vaccines
    search Biological weapon? Live avian flu virus placed in
    Baxter vaccine materials sent to 18 countries

  251. #254 TBruce
    September 3, 2011

    SH:

    I did the search – hundreds of sites screaming about Bayer selling HIV contaminated vaccines. Only problem is that it wasn’t a vaccine – it was a clotting factor for treatment of hemophilia. Absolutely nothing to do with vaccines.

    You really are an idiot.

  252. #255 Bronze Dog
    September 3, 2011

    One thing that should be pointed out: “Allopathy” is pretty much an irrelevant issue to science-based medicine. I’ve been reading comments for a long time on this blog, and I’ve never met an “allopath.”

    Though I suppose I can imagine some crank from the other side of the planet marketing allopathy as “Ancient Western Wisdom” in a fallacious appeal to the exotic, like many quacks do over here with ancient “Eastern” treatments. I’m pretty sure I’ve read about some doing the same for homeopathy in China or Japan. I consider the tactic to be pretty racist, of course.

    Homeopaths, however, will insist on using “allopathic” as an anachronistic catch-all code word for The Other. It really doesn’t have much effect on people like us, who don’t share the same assumptions or believe in the same false dichotomies.

  253. #256 TBruce
    September 3, 2011

    SH:

    I did the other search – it appears that a lab error resulted in contamination of a seasonal flu virus sample with avian flu virus. This was detected by standard QA procedures before any vaccines were distributed. It was not “placed in the vaccine materials”.

    When we ask for citations, we don’t mean semi-literate bullshit from naturalnews.com or whale.to.

  254. #257 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    i guess it is a bullshit site if you say it is.
    thanks for the link to the bs site Whale.com
    I didn’t know about that one. Seems like this BS site is stacked with MDs who are critical of vaccines. I guess if it doesn’t fit your thinking it is bs.
    i would like to see your source that said the Baxter vaccines were not distributed. If naturalnews.com said it was shipped to 18 countries than someone is not telling the truth.
    Bayer isn’t that the same company that use to do research in Nazi Germany?
    excuse me for mixing up a drug w/a vaccine. I guess that makes me a real idiot. Always easier to attack the messenger than the message.
    Hey if you don’t believe me read the warning vaccine inserts on how they do cause sterility, cancer, death

  255. #258 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    What message?

    Seroiusly, SH, why did you choose to try to educate us from this old article? Why do you think your barely literate incoherent ramblings are so valuable?

    So how are you faring with that whole lawsuit against Boiron that oscillococcinum is worthless? I know that Hahnemann wrote in his Organon that remedies became stronger when they were more diluted, but he never proved it.

  256. #259 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    What message are you giving us, SH? That you are barely literate and not coherent?

  257. #260 TBruce
    September 3, 2011

    i would like to see your source that said the Baxter vaccines were not distributed.

    Here it is. The seasonal virus sample was contaminated and then distributed. A vaccine was developed from it and found to be defective in routine testing. All work was stopped and the vaccine was not distributed.

    If naturalnews.com said it was shipped to 18 countries than someone is not telling the truth.

    Naturalnews.com NOT telling the truth? No way!

    excuse me for mixing up a drug w/a vaccine. I guess that makes me a real idiot.

    Let me elaborate. Anyone can mix things up if they’re talking about stuff they know little or nothing about. However, you claim all sorts of knowledge about homeopathy, vaccines and other medical issues – but you don’t know the difference between a blood component product and a vaccine? I’d say that makes you a real idiot.

  258. #261 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    Yeah, no way naturalnews.com could be telling the truth
    below is the link you provided – Wikipedia entry for Baxter int.
    “in 2008 the company supplied contaminated heparin;
    in 2009 lethal H5N1 avian flu virus was delivered to laboratories across Europe mixed with seasonal influenza vaccines;”

    Am I missing something how is this not distributed?

    “lethal to 60% – H5N1 in Bexar vaccines delivered to 18 countries impossible to “accidently” show up in a vaccine and you are wrong it was distributed as shown in the source you sited.

  259. #262 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    The idea that modern medicine is somehow superior science and that everything else is quackery is based on a limited minded programming that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
    What do you think has more testing a drug rushed to market w/no long term safety data and a rubber stamped approval by the industry-stacked-friendly FDA or an herb that has a history of 5,000 years of safe and effective usage?
    My challenge stands.
    If anyone feels so strongly about giving these injections to pregnant women and 68+ injections to babies they should be willing to use themselves as a test case and volunteer to take the 68+injections given to babies, in an adult-sized adjusted dosage. ORAC R U game? If you are wrong about this being safe you bear a huge responsibility
    so it is only right that you do this to demonstrate the safety. Let me know when you will be starting these trials.

  260. #263 Narad
    September 3, 2011

    What do you think has more testing a drug rushed to market w/no long term safety data and a rubber stamped approval by the industry-stacked-friendly FDA or an herb that has a history of 5,000 years of safe and effective usage?

    Say, have you met Jacob?

  261. #264 Gray Falcon
    September 3, 2011

    Tell me, what did that ancient medicine do for smallpox?

  262. #265 lilady
    September 3, 2011

    There were a number of blood banks that removed clotting factors from donated blood and they proved to be lifesavers for hemophiliacs as well as other bleeding disorders such as *von Willebrand Disease (vWD)* Unfortunately, there were instances of hemophiliacs who used the blood factors before reliable blood testing for hepatitis C and the HIV became available and some hemophiliacs became infected. Some blood banks were sued by hemophiliacs for infected them with theses viruses.

    I checked into Sam’s slur against Bayer at the “Hoaxes and Urban Legends website and found this:

    “The following email is one such hoax. It claims that a drug called “FACTOR AID” or “FACTORED” manufactured by Bayer is infected with HIV and is spreading AIDS. The truth is that blood clotting agents known as “Factor VIII” were produced from donated blood and some such products were tainted with HIV before proper screening was introduced in the mid-1980s.

    HIV infections did result in many countries. However, current blood clotting agents made by Bayer are not made from donated blood (see Recombinant factor VIII), so there is no risk of HIV infections.”

    Of course Sam, who receives such emails purportedly implicating Bayer in the deliberately sale of tainted blood factors, immediately hits the “forward” button to send the email on. Perhaps Sam also saw the video on the internet or read Mike Adams Health Deranger’s commentary on the video that adds to the hoax.

    Sam, claiming innocence then states, “excuse me for mixing up a drug w/a vaccine. I guess that makes me a real idiot. Always easier to attack the messenger than the message.”

    Well Sam in the 1980′s there was a vaccine manufactured from human blood. It was the first subunit viral vaccine developed in the United States and was manufactured from the surface antigen of (shudders) gay men who were infected with the hepatitis B virus. It was called **Heptavax B vaccine** and it was clinically tested within the gay population of New York City…people who volunteered to be guinea pigs for the sake of science. It was administered to millions of health care workers and other people at risk (sex partners and household contacts of individuals already infected with the hepatitis B virus), for acquiring this chronic often deadly virus. Guess what Sam, there has never been a documented case of HIV, hepatitis b or any other blood borne pathogens being transmitted by the Heptavax B vaccine.

    * My sister who has vWD Type II received Factor VIII and von Willebrand Factor (VWF) via IV infusion when it was derived from blood…it saved her life and she didn’t get infected with HIV.

    ** My son received the Heptavax B vaccine in 1985, never got infected and had high immunity against the virus until his death nineteen years later.

    “Hey if you don’t believe me read the warning vaccine inserts on how they do cause sterility, cancer, death”

    Let me fix that sentence for you Sam:

    Hey if you don’t believe me read up on the diseases and read up up on the vaccines that prevent these disease and how the diseases do cause sterility (mumps vaccine), cancer (hepatitis B vaccine, HPV vaccine), death (all the recommended childhood vaccines, recommended adult vaccines and “travel” vaccines).

  263. #266 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2011

    european doctors will use nature first.

    Now that really is bullshit.

  264. #267 augustine
    September 3, 2011

    Falcon

    Tell me, what did that ancient medicine do for smallpox?

    You tell me how many people in the world did NOT get the small pox vaccine during its extinction in the world?

    I just want to see if the numbers match up.

  265. #268 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    i am sorry i am wasting my time with a bunch of losers that will not debate me seriously but can only attack me personally or use the very scientific rebuttal “that’s bullshit”
    Challenge any of my info. the person who said that their beloved baxter made an honest mistake provided a link that supported what -I- said so that is hardly a rebuttal just a lame attempt to put frosting on a pile of sh*t!
    go ahead ingest mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and tell me this is what people need to be healthy. prove to me that this isn’t giving people cancer-YOU CAN’T!!!!! give rats these substance I guarantee they will get cancer and everything else! then claim how scientific you are.
    excuse me for stooping to your level but the only bs here is from those who are trying to push their poisons on us.

  266. #269 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    SH, you’d find people will debate you when you learn to write coherently, and actually support your statements with evidence.

  267. #270 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    I would like to tell you what one could do for smallpox but i might get swat teamed for practicing medicine without a license. You think I’m kidding-I am not!
    I am 62 years old and have never done a pharmaceutical drug in my adult life-so know that there are safe, effective alternatives.
    We didn’t vaccinate our 2 kids who are now in their 20s. the number of times they took antibiotics or any drugs I could count on half a hand. My father avoided all drugs even aspirins. He died at 92. We all are far better off for trusting in God and not M.D.s and their dangerous drugs and surgeries. Those family members who did put trust in MDs are either dead or VERY unhealthy from side effects. Doctors killed my mother and my brother-in-law with their safe, scientific drugs. They gave my mom cancer when they “practiced” their “safe” medicine on her with unopposed estrogen. Opps they didnt relize that everyone getting unoppossed estogen (without progesterone) was also getting cancer. Cervical cancer in her early 70s. Amputation, morphine and a year of suffering before she passed. I’ll spare you the eqally horrible death of my brother in law directly caused by your safe scientific drugs.

  268. #271 lilady
    September 3, 2011

    I’m going way out on a limb here about Sam’s rant against Baxter and “suggest” that Sam is a regular reader of:

    Alex Jones Infowars:

    Journalist Fired over Flu Pandemic Lawsuit

    The “journalist” is Jane Burgermeister a real nut case from Austria, who first made the allegations of a world wide conspiracy to infect people with H5N1 virus and the deliberate contamination of influenza vaccine by Baxter.

    Most of the CAM websites have already taken down her videos but there is a video on You Tube:

    Jane Burgermeister-The Turning Point

    It seems Burgermeister who has instituted lawsuits against the U.N. and many governments is facing some “hard time” in an Austrian prison.

    (I have a rather long posting stuck in moderation for Sam regarding vaccines and blood factors) I’m not too surprised that Sam is locked into conspiracy theories and woo medicine, now that I know his “sources” (viral emails and Alex Jones).

  269. #272 Andrew
    September 3, 2011

    “i am sorry i am wasting my time with a bunch of losers that will not debate me seriously but can only attack me personally or use the very scientific rebuttal “that’s bullshit”"

    When all you provide is your unsupported word, and you name yourself after a famous profiteering quack, what do you expect, unquestioned adoration?

  270. #273 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    all you got is to call people names (nutcase, conspiracy theorist). back it up with taking the 68+ baby vaccines in an adult dosage, to demonstrate the safety, then you will have some credibility to talk.
    How do you dispute that even Baxter admits to delivering the vaccines with the contaminated deadly H5N1? this was impossible to happen accidentally and even Baxter admits they did it. no penalty for Baxter for nearly “accidentally” killing 60% of the earth’s population. Instead they were rewarded with very lucrative contracts to product H1N1 vaccines for the WHO. can you explain this to me as other mentioned on this sight i am not too bright. how do you almost kill 60% of the earth population and then get no penalty and instead get rewarded with billion dollar contract? Do you really know who you are defending here?

    I listened to the link from Jane Burgermeister. Rather than just dismissing her as a nut case what specifically did you not agree with. The fact that she is being harrassed by authorities doesn’t mean she is wrong.
    In Detriot a women was swat teamed for choosing to not give her daughter a dangerous drug-that it turned out she didn’t need after all. Just because medical goons are swat teaming anyone who doesn’t go along with your medical fascism.

  271. #274 TBruce
    September 3, 2011

    SH:

    The part of the reference you so gleefully quote is in error. If you scroll down the page, the paragraph about Baxter clearly states that a viral sample was contaminated and distributed, not a vaccine. For more information, try here.

    Incidentally, cervical cancer is not caused by estrogen replacement. Just thought you should know.

  272. #275 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2011

    I am 62 years old and have never done a pharmaceutical drug in my adult life

    Can’t help wondering how much experience Samuel Hahnemann actually has with doctors in Europe, to be claiming so blithely that they “will use nature first”.

  273. #276 Samuel Hahnemann
    September 3, 2011

    GOT PEANUT ALLERGIES?
    SEARCH AMISH DON’T HAVE PEANUT ALLERGIES UNLESS THEY ARE VACCINATED
    NOW 2% OF US CHILDREN HAVE PEANUT ALLERGIES. VACCINES USE PEANUT OIL AS AN ADJUVANT. NO PROOF JUST SAYING…
    US HAS DROPPED TO 40TH IN THE WORLD IN INFANT MORTALITY.
    MAYBE THEY HAVE ANOTHER VACCINE FOR THAT~!
    FOR THE GUY WHO MALIGNS MY NAME SAKE, AGAIN MORE NAME CALLING. SEE MY POST ABOVE DOCUMENTING 1% DEATH RATE USING HOMEOPATHY DURING THE 1918 FLU PANDEMIC VS 30% DEATH W/ALLOPATHIC. BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM-NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR CHILD-LIKE, NARROW MINDED NAME CALLING.

    I AM STILL WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO TAKE UP MY OFFER

  274. #277 Andrew
    September 3, 2011

    “NO PROOF” – I’m not surprised.

  275. #278 Krebiozen
    September 3, 2011

    Samuel Hahnemann,
    I think your caps lock is stuck on.

    I guess if it doesn’t fit your thinking it is bs.

    You have to understand that we have heard the same claims a hundred times before, and they are all either lies, distortions, half truths or misinterpretations of the truth. I have spent too much of my time looking into these allegations, and in every case I find they are baseless. It gets a bit wearing when yet another person pops up with the same tired old unsubstantiated nonsense, and starts insulting us when we point this out.

    By the way, babies are not given 68 vaccines, though I suppose if you added every vaccine that might be given to someone from birth to 18 years old, assumed they got a flu vaccine every year and counted MMR and DTaP as 3 vaccines each it might add to 68, but an 18-year-old is hardly a baby.

    The amounts of mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum in vaccines are tiny – did you know that a single drop of water weighs about 35,000 micrograms, and the largest amount of mercury in any vaccine was 25 micrograms (in 50 micrograms of thimerosal). There is at most 0.1 mg of formaldehyde in any vaccine. There is 3 mg (100 mmol) of formaldehyde in every liter of any normal person’s blood produced from normal metabolism. As for aluminum, anyone with normal kidney function is perfectly capable of excreting vastly more aluminum than there is in any vaccine. It is ridiculous to suggest these amounts of these substances will cause cancer in rats or humans.

    I would happily accept the full childhood vaccination program, scaled up for my weight, over a period of 18 years just as children get them, if you paid for them and paid me the $10,000 at the end. However, I suspect you want someone to take them all at once, which might possibly amount to a toxic dose of some constituents. Would you be prepared to consume all the “harmless” supplements, herbal medicines or even homeopathic remedies you have consumed over the past 18 years all at once?

  276. #279 Instructions
    September 3, 2011

    Here’s how adult conversation works:

    If you make a claim, it’s your job to provide evidence – until you do, there’s no reason to take you seriously.

    Responding to requests by saying that it’s someone else’s job to provide evidence for your case, or using CAPITAL letters is not providing evidence for your claim – it’s providing evidence that you’re not serious.

  277. #280 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2011

    i am sorry i am wasting my time with a bunch of losers that will not debate me seriously

    And yet he persists here, against his will! I can only suppose that Orac is coercing him to comment here, through some form of blackmail or mind-control.

  278. #281 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    Or perhaps the solvent in his homeopathic remedies is ethanol.

  279. #282 Militant Agnostic
    September 3, 2011

    herr doktor bimler

    Orac is coercing him to comment here, through some form of blackmail or mind-control.

    Must be black mail. I doubt that even a super computer could control something so tiny and closed.

  280. #283 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2011

    article entitled “Homeopathy In Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony” by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920.

    That citation is particularly convincing: A list of testimonials, from homeopathists, elicited by an homeopath, about the success of homeopathy.
    The rationale seems to be that the more you dilute the evidence with imagination, the more convincing it becomes.

  281. #284 sh
    September 3, 2011

    What now you have rules about when I can use capital letters.
    I can not believe you guys. This will be my last post, this site is a waste of time. I will no longer cast pearls before swine.
    I am not a vaccine denier. I think there is some verifiable benefits that can be demonstrated in history. However as many have pointed out I am not an expert but I do think that it doesn’t take a rock scientist to know that something is very wrong with our health system when cancer, heart disease and diabetes is off the charts. I am not a doctor nor an expert on drugs. I just think we are doing way too many vaccines and that a whole number of very questionable ingredients in vaccines and their effect need to be addressed. I did read the tests they did on thermerisol and how it is metabolized out of the body. However as person mentioned above not everyone can metabolize and eliminate this dangerous toxic waste efficiently.
    I know that petro chemicals tend to be stored in fat cells and are harder to eliminate.
    I am going to sponsor a race for the cause. Forget race for the cure I want to know why everybody is getting cancer. DON’T YOU? The prevalence of toxic materials everywhere is strongly suspect. Do you want to argue for injecting even more poisons in babies and pregnant moms? Just because the drug companies say it is safe, I don’t believe them and everyone should be very skeptical and questioning of their motives. Why can’t they make “clean” vaccines w/ non toxic ingredients? That is my question to anyone.
    are we overdoing it with all the childhood vaccines-I think so. these are not as safe as may be portrayed as and may be implicated in our rapidly rising childhood mortality rate.

  282. #285 Chris
    September 3, 2011

    So how long do your conversations with people in real life last? Do you ramble incoherent accusations like you did here? Do they hang around long when you start shouting and telling they have to prove what you said?

  283. #286 A geologist
    September 3, 2011

    it doesn’t take a rock scientist to know that something is very wrong with our health system

    Hey, leave me out of this.

  284. #287 herr doktor bimler
    September 3, 2011

    cancer, heart disease and diabetes is off the charts

    This puts me in mind of one of those Renaissance maps, but instead of “Here be Dragons & Tygeres” at the edges, warning the reckless mariner against cancer, heart disease & diabetes.

  285. #288 Narad
    September 3, 2011

    I don’t believe them and everyone should be very skeptical and questioning of their motives. Why can’t they make “clean” vaccines w/ non toxic ingredients?

    Clearly, you are just another germ-denialist and infection promoter. When’s the next “clean” pox party?

  286. #289 Matthew Cline
    September 3, 2011

    I would like to tell you what one could do for smallpox but i might get swat teamed for practicing medicine without a license. You think I’m kidding-I am not!

    Oh, wow, that’s a convincing excuse!

  287. #290 TBruce
    September 3, 2011

    SH:

    I don’t know if you’re still with us, but I have a comment stuck in moderation which disputes a couple of things you claim.

    Regarding my Wikipedia reference, the sentence you cherry-picked is incorrect. If you read further on, the Baxter situation is explained as I have stated. A reference in the article elaborates on this and makes it clear that the material sent was a seasonal flu virus culture contaminated with bird flu virus. No vaccine was distributed.

    You also blame estrogen replacement for your mother’s cervical cancer. There is no association between cervical cancer and estrogen replacement therapy.

    As for the rest of your comments, you might get a better reception if you dial down the Crayzee.

  288. #291 Militant Agnostic
    September 3, 2011

    I want to know why everybody is getting cancer.

    Everybody? – If this is your experience it doesn’t speak well for the herbs you and your friends are using.

  289. #292 Militant Agnostic
    September 3, 2011

    You also blame estrogen replacement for your mother’s cervical cancer. There is no association between cervical cancer and estrogen replacement therapy.

    Apparently SH is unaware that cervical cancer is caused by all-natural viruses.

  290. #293 Todd W.
    September 3, 2011

    @sh

    Why can’t they make “clean” vaccines w/ non toxic ingredients?

    First, define “toxic ingredients”. Keep in mind that the dose is important. For each ingredient you consider to be toxic, please specify the dose at which toxic effects begin.

    Second, if you want to know why the various ingredients are used, I suggest you take some chemistry classes to learn how they work, what their purpose is and how they are diluted out of the final product.

    As for the Baxter contaminated virus material bit, I suggest you try reading the linked article again. Here is the text:

    In early 2009, samples of viral material supplied by Baxter International to a series of European laboratories were found to be contaminated with live Avian flu virus (Influenza A virus subtype H5N1).[18] Samples of the less harmful seasonal flu virus (subtype H3N2) were found to be mixed with the deadly H5N1 strain after a vaccine made from the material killed test animals in a lab in the Czech Republic. Though the serious consequences were avoided by the lab in the Czech Republic,[19] Baxter claimed the failed controls over the distribution of the virus were ‘stringent’ and there was ‘little chance’ of the lethal virus harming humans.[20]

    Baxter distributed viral material, not vaccines. Labs in the recipient countries used the material to produce vaccines. One of these labs, in testing the resultant vaccine that they produced using the viral material sent by Baxter, discovered that it was tainted. Vaccines made using the viral material were never administered to humans.

    Before you continue any of your diatribes, I strongly recommend that you a) brush up on your reading comprehension, b) learn proper grammar so people will take your posts slightly more seriously, c) get your information from fact-based sources, rather than conspiracy mongering drivel distributors like Infowars and d) learn how to count (no child gets 68 vaccines, let alone all at one time).

  291. #294 LW
    September 4, 2011

    How do you dispute that even Baxter admits to delivering the vaccines with the contaminated deadly H5N1? this was impossible to happen accidentally and even Baxter admits they did it. no penalty for Baxter for nearly “accidentally” killing 60% of the earth’s population.

    So you believe not only that this happened (which, as has been explained, it didn’t), but that it happened deliberately. 

    How do you think that was going to work?  It’s not like they were going to be able to vaccinate the entire human population, with 60% falling dead in the wake of the shot. No matter how homicidal and powerful you believe Bayer to be, people wouldn’t keep lining up for the shots under those conditions. No, the only way Bayer could “accidentally” kill 60% of the Earth’s population would be to trigger an epidemic via the vaccine. 

    How, exactly, would Bayer expect to profit from doing so? The social upheaval that would follow a lethal pandemic like that would destroy monetary systems worldwide (read about the effect of the Black Death — which only killed 30% of Europeans — for some idea of the results). It’d be a bit hard for Bayer to profit when its ill-gotten gains turned into bits of colored paper. Not to mention the fact that the epidemic would almost certainly be traced back to them and the management of Bayer would be lynched on the spot by hysterical mobs.  Not to mention that they themselves would be at risk of dying of the disease. 

    Have you ever actually thought through this scenario?    

  292. #295 LW
    September 4, 2011

    Sorry, Baxter, not Bayer. It’s too late at night to be commenting.

  293. #296 lilady
    September 4, 2011

    @ LW: “Sorry, Baxter, not Bayer. It’s too late at night to be commenting.”

    The reason you got confused is that Sam did make a comment about Bayer and vaccines tainted with the HIV virus…when disabused of that factoid he segued in Baxter International:

    “search Bayer knowingly sold HIV contaminated vaccines
    search Biological weapon? Live avian flu virus placed in
    Baxter vaccine materials sent to 18 countries

    Posted by: Samuel Hahnemann | September 3, 2011 2:17 PM”

    Sam was then corrected about Bayer not selling vaccines but developing of methods to separate certain blood factors (Factor VIII) for hemophiliacs and other bleeding disorders.

    I wrote a long posting about this…probably messed up again due to poor techie skills…but here is the gist of my “lost posting”:

    I always check certain web sites that validate or debunk “certain” emails and I found where Sam most likely got this factoid from at the Hoaxes and Urban Legends website regarding a viral email that slurred Bayer for developing of processes to remove and combine donor blood Factor VIII.

    Before the development of effective blood screening tests for the HIV virus, certain units of blood caused transmission of the HIV to the blood recipient; Tennis Champ Arthur Asch was one such person and he died of complications from AIDS related to a contaminated unit of blood.

    Hemophiliacs and people with other bleeding disorder such as *von Willebrand Disease (vWD)* who received Factor VIII as life saving treatment were at greater risk due to the extraction of Factor VIII from pooled blood donations. Ryan White a young hemophiliac was a person who contracted AIDS through Factor VIII being contaminated with the HIV virus.

    Certain blood banks which produced the Factor VIII before reliable HIV testing of the blood supply were sued…Bayer was never sued and never implicated in distributing (unknowingly or deliberately) contaminated Factor VIII.

    Here is the article from the Hoaxes and Urban Legends website about this “viral” email:

    Hoaxes and Urban Legends: Bayer drug contains HIV
    Whenever you receive an email that urges you to immediately forward that mail to everyone you know, there is a very good chance the email is a hoax. Please take the time to verify the message by doing a Google search before you send it on to anyone else. In most cases when you take an arbitrary sentence from the message and google for it you’ll end up with many hoax warning pages as the result.

    The following email is one such hoax. It claims that a drug called “FACTOR AID” or “FACTORED” manufactured by Bayer is infected with HIV and is spreading AIDS. The truth is that blood clotting agents known as “Factor VIII” were produced from donated blood and some such products were tainted with HIV before proper screening was introduced in the mid-1980s. HIV infections did result in many countries. However, current blood clotting agents made by Bayer are not made from donated blood (see Recombinant factor VIII), so there is no risk of HIV infections.

    Furthermore, the first hepatitis B vaccine **(Heptavax)** was developed using the hepatitis B surface antigen from homosexual men who were chronically infected with the virus. When it came to field trials to test the safety and efficacy of Heptavax, it was the homosexual community in New York City that offered themselves up as human guinea pigs, for the sake of science.

    Haptavax vaccine was used very effectively for a number of years to protect health care workers and others (partners and household members of infected people) who were at very high risk to contract the virus. In spite of the millions of people immunized…there has never been a reported case of the vaccine infecting any recipient with HIV, hepatitis B or other blood-borne pathogens.

    * My sister who has vWD received Factor VIII and von Willibrand Factor (vWF)…both manufactured from pooled blood and it saved her life

    ** My son at age nine received Heptavax vaccine and never got infected with any pathogen and had a high titer against Hepatitis B until his death nineteen years later.

    I think that the “viral” email is where Sam got this misinformation about Bayer and AIDS in vaccine and rather than researching it on the internet or perhaps at the library…he just hit the “forward” button to all his friends who are just as uneducated and just as gullible as he is.

  294. #297 TBruce
    September 4, 2011

    The people at Baxter don’t care about profit. They all went to Evil Medical School. It’s what they do!

  295. #298 Matthew Cline
    September 4, 2011

    Baxter, like all of Big Pharma, thinks like the Underpants Gnomes:

    1) Kill 60% of humanity.
    2) ?????
    3) Profit!

  296. #299 augustine
    September 4, 2011

    Todd W.

    no child gets 68 vaccines, let alone all at one time

    No child has been harmed by 10,000 vaccines let alone one vaccine.

    Parents of children should not be given a choice. The children’s health decisions are the rights of the medical societies enforced by the governments of the world.

    Therefore, since there really should be no choice, then education should not be aimed at informed consent. It should be aimed at getting maximum compliance without invoking government means.

    If someone starts giving “education(we call it misinformation)” that could possibly lead to a second alternative choice then we should enact the government forces, regulatory agencies, political bodies, and medical societies to silence this second alternative.

    But it’s really the people’s choice. Wink! Wink!

  297. #300 Erwin Alber
    October 3, 2011

    As far as I am concerned, vaccination is an organised criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention by means of junk science. Vaccines have never prevented anything apart from health, sanity and common sense.

    http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=55

  298. #301 Reuben
    October 3, 2011

    @Erwin

    You’re right. Millions of people are in on the conspiracy. Each of them has been fooled into thinking that vaccines have eradicated diseases like smallpox and rinderpest. They have also fooled the rest of humanity into not being able to see the obvious outbreaks of smallpox out there. And, out of all those millions, not a single one has had the cojones to come forth with a check stub, a bank deposit receipt, a picture, a text message, an email, a letter, or even a post-it note whereby Big Pharma (or the Illuminati, Reptilians or whatever) tell them what to do. Quite the organized criminal enterprise, if you ask me.

    Better than the drug cartels, which have been found out and have had many of their heads put in jail (or cut off, hahahaha).

    What I’m saying is that there is not a shred of evidence of what you’ve just written, and that link of yours… Laughable. I can manipulate data with Excel as well as the next guy.

    What I can’t do is deny the science.

  299. #302 Chris
    October 3, 2011

    There is Mr. Alber true to form resurrecting an old thread. Oh, look! He is bringing a series of graphs that have very little meaning! Death is not only bad outcome.

    Here is an example of Mr. Alber believing a graph is true because it conforms to his anti-vax notions, even though it has been badly altered by MS Paint: Erwin Alber and VINE: Intellectually Bankrupt. Where he responds with:

    “People have different takes on reality, and sometimes some of them approximate, or even match, actual reality. To me the graph is real, to you it is a fake. To each his own”

    Do you think that Mr. Alber, blackheart and Th1Th2 all live in the same town on Htrae?

  300. #303 Reuben
    October 3, 2011

    @Chris

    Yes, only one village is missing its idiots.

    That said, I’d add Jake Crosby to the mix since he seems to desperately want to become bizzaro epidemiologist, to whom OR <1.0 show increased probability of being exposed and everything OUTSIDE the confidence interval is fair game.

  301. #304 Denice Walter
    October 3, 2011

    @ Chris and Reuben:

    If all the idiots cluster in one place, we might have to ask- is it purely chance? or is there some reason for the cluster- either something that causes idiocy itself or causes them to flock there- like a juice bar?

  302. #305 Th1Th2
    October 3, 2011

    What I can’t do is deny the science.

    This is coming from a germ denialist. I see.

  303. #306 Chris
    October 3, 2011

    Denice and Reuben, have you heard about Htrae?

    It is also known as Bizarro World, which is a cube where everyone does the opposite of earth (which explains the backwards spelling). It is from the Superman comics.

    As you may notice, the main anti-science folks are not just contrary, but live on a completely different planet.

  304. #307 Denice Walter
    October 3, 2011

    @ Chris:

    I know. However my vocation as evangelist requires that I must present directionality to the unseen lurkers who seek enlightenment in these parts whenever apropo. I shall spare you the diagramming.

  305. #308 Chris
    October 3, 2011

    I see. Just as long as we don’t have a Bizarro version of Lord Draconis.

  306. #309 Anonymous
    May 15, 2012

    Your Disclaimer says this:
    “In addition, Orac has been funded over the last decade by institutional funds, the Department of Defense, the National Cancer Institute, and various cancer charities. For the first time ever, in 2011 Orac received a little bit of pharmaceutical money in the form of a seed grant. Unfortunately, it’s not enough money for his lab to live on and will soon be gone. What that means, though, is that for the next several months Orac will no longer be able to use his favorite joke before talks, namely that no pharmaceutical company is interested enough in his research to want to give him any money. Even with that little bit of pharma lucre, like most biomedical scientists in academia, Orac must still beg the NIH and other granting agencies for the money to keep his lab going. Being a “pharma shill” doesn’t seem to pay as much as supporters of alt-med think it does.”

    If you admit to being paid by Big Pharma, it is biased so why should we believe it?

  307. #310 Lawrence
    May 15, 2012

    @Anon – I don’t think you understand the words coming out of your mouth…..or the gist of what Orac actually wrote…..

  308. #311 Matt F
    May 15, 2012

    @anon
    I really think you need to work on your reading comprehension and you detection of sarcasm.

  309. #312 Kelly M Bray
    May 15, 2012

    @Anon, do you think the fortune Mercola makes shilling his fake remedies might make him biased also?

  310. #313 Anonymous
    May 17, 2012

    Kelly Bray: Mercola selling products is also biased because he convinces you of something in an article, and then at the bottom of the page he offers to sell it to you, and he makes money off of it. And this man, I question the motives of ANYONE who admits being “pharma shill”. Look up what a shill is, they get paid to convince people on behalf of who is employing them. I imagine he would WANT people to take him seriously and not question that he may be writing in the best interest of the Pharma company/companies that pay him.

  311. #314 Anonymous
    May 17, 2012

    In response to Kelly Bray: Mercola selling his products is also biased because he convinces you of something in an article, and then at the bottom of the page he offers to sell it to you, and he makes money off of it. And as with this man, I question the motives of ANYONE who admits being “pharma shill”. Look up what a shill is, they get paid to convince people on behalf of who is employing them. I imagine he would WANT people to take him seriously and not question that he may be writing in the best interest of the Pharma company/companies that pay him.

  312. #315 Anonymous
    May 17, 2012

    (sorry about the double post)

  313. #316 Lawrence
    May 17, 2012

    @Anon- there is a huge difference between receiving a funding grant for research & being paid to go out and convince people of a certain type of view…..

  314. #317 Kelly M Bray
    May 17, 2012

    Hey anon, I knew what the word “shill” meant in the third grade. I know how to use it, and you know how to misuse it. In the end, it’s not always who is doing the research, it’s how they are doing the research.

  315. #318 W. Kevin Vicklund
    May 18, 2012

    It’s amusing that anon is complaining about Orac being a pharma shill on a post that was written a year and a half before Orac received any money from any pharmaceutical company.