Respectful Insolence

Having followed the anti-vaccine movement continuously for nearly six years now, I had come to think that I had seen it all as far as deceptive strategies for frightening parents about vaccines. Obviously, becoming too complacent is foolish, because, as misguided and scientifically ignorant as they are, many of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement (Jenny McCarthy excepted) are not stupid. In fact, some of them are damned clever; otherwise, they wouldn’t be so successful at demonizing vaccines and promoting the scientifically discredited myth that vaccines cause autism. Every so often, the anti-vaccine movement demonstrates a flash of cleverness and creativity that surprises even me. Of course, what amazes me is usually the deceptiveness or disingenuousness of whatever latest propaganda ploy they come up, but one still has to give props where props are deserved–before demolishing the propaganda, of course.

The latest bit of anti-vaccine propaganda to come to light to me, albeit rather late, comes from a source other than the usual merry band of anti-vaccine loons over at Age of Autism. Surprisingly, it comes from an older and formerly more famous anti-vaccine organization, one that’s been supplanted by Generation Rescue since it became “Jenny McCarthy’s Autism Organization.” I’m referring to Barbara Loe Fisher’s hoary old National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), and the propaganda ploy to which I refer is what the NVIC calls its Vaccine Ingredients Calculator (VIC):

href="http://www.vaccine-TLC.org/index.html?id=LinkToVIC_001" rel="nofollow"> src="http://www.vaccine-TLC.org/VaccineIngredientsCalc.jpg"
alt="Visit
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I’ll also grant you that I only noticed the NVIC’s VIC last week, even though it’s been around for several months. Better late than never, I say, though, particularly since the NVIC started touting a major “update” and “upgrade” to its little calculator last week:

NVIC has always pushed and explored many avenues and opportunities to protect your right to make voluntary informed vaccine decisions. As the oldest and largest consumer organization advocating the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections, NVIC is proud to announce recent updates to the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator (VIC).

Just in time for going back to school, this powerful tool has been updated with the most current information available on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for 2010/2011. This “push” adds to your ability to plan a vaccine choice based on available ingredient calculation information and is featured on our homepage. Features include:

  • Built-in safety protections notifying the user of invalid vaccine combinations and appropriate age-based vaccine use;
  • Graphs comparing vaccine ingredients to federally established safe exposure levels (when available);
  • New links to ingredient information resources;
  • A growing library of video tutorials on using the VIC;
  • Calculates exposures to aluminum, bovine protein, egg protein, formaldehyde, mercury (Thimerosal), mouse protein, phenol red, phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80 and yeast protein;
  • Vaccination Plan printout to assist in parent/physician dialogue.

Wow! It sounds like a really useful tool, doesn’t it? The key word is “sounds” and then only to the uninformed. As we will soon see, this particularly pernicious little “tool” relies on a fallacy that has been at the heart of the fear mongering about the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal that was at the heart of mid-decade campaigns of fear and loathing against vaccines that blamed them for autism. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, lest’s see how this tool was created:

The database that drives the VIC is built from information contained in vaccine manufacturer package inserts posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. The VIC is a free, public, open source project created and maintained by Chris Downey and already enjoysuse by an enthusiastic and diverse group committed to vaccine safety that range from PhD’s who explain the chemistry of ingredients, to busy moms who help test the VIC.

The open source code for the VIC can be found here. Before I test out the calculator, taking it out for a spin, so to speak, I think it’s worthwhile to see what we can find at the open source project. Naturally, since I’m not a code jockey, I decided to go to the wiki and see what I can see. One section entitled Ingredient Categories was rather revealing in that it listed these ingredients:

toxic aldehydes and ketones (include formaldehyde, gluteraldehyde, propiolactone, and whatever else the vendor may use in the future)

  • surfactants (Polysorbate-80 is but one of several that are currently being used)
  • antibiotics
  • excitotoxins
  • “all forms of glutamate” (and other neuro-stimulants/intoxicants/disruptors)
  • adventicious viruses
  • Thimerosal
  • Aluminum
  • Animal and human DNA/protein
  • Microorganism/Yeast

I love it! It’s the “toxin gambit” writ large and writ into code, so to speak! Even better, there’s the dreaded animal and human DNA and protein! Oh, noes! Don’t let that DNA and protein anywhere near me. Oh, wait. There’s DNA in every cell in our body, and whatever DNA there may be left over from the vaccine manufacturing process will have been degraded or crosslinked by the treatments used to inactivate the virus. It also amuses me to no end that the creator of this wiki apparently can’t spell “adventitious” viruses, which are viruses that may (quite rarely) contaminate viral preparations used to make vaccines. Indeed, the ranting about “pig virus contamination” of the GlaxoSmithKline rotavirus vaccine that we heard from the anti-vaccine movement was due to adventitious DNA from the porcine circovirus. Lost in the fear mongering was the context, where the porcine viral DNA sequences were detected using sequence-independent amplification (deep sequencing). This is a powerful technique that can find minute amounts of sequence that would have been difficult to detect without specifically looking for it. Moreover, the presence of viral DNA in a preparation does not necessarily mean that the virus is present. Usually it does not, and it is the virus that would be of concern. In any case, modern techniques like deep sequencing will increasingly be used to prevent contamination of biologicals with adventitious viruses.

Perhaps the most irritating thing about the VIC is the deceptive way that it compares exposures to these “toxins” in vaccines to maximal recommended safety exposures. Let’s take a look. When you open the VIC, you get a page that looks like this.

i-4e5f6cd49be53a342e9185b71e9d8d8c-calc-thumb-450x583-55093.jpg

I’ve entered some data for a typical one-year-old, whom I’ve named Oracspawn and set at a weight of 10 kg. I’ve also picked a selection of vaccines that a typical child would receive within a couple of months before or after his first birthday. What we end up with is a series of graphs that look like this. Here’s aluminum:

i-eddd6fc0b77a11206dcca7ab102022f8-aluminum-thumb-450x582-55096.jpg

And for formaldehyde:

i-d5beec8951a8fd8975283f78e6709327-Formaldehyde-thumb-450x588-55099.jpg

Similar graphs can be made for bovine protein, egg protein, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 80, and yeast protein. At least the NVIC appears to have finally–finally!–recognized that there is no more than trace thimerosal in any of these childhood vaccines. Even so, these graphs are extremely deceptive. They use a fallacy that Dad of Cameron dubbed the “EPA Mercury Limit” canard, except that apparently the NVIC no longer harps on mercury. Aluminum, apparently, is the new mercury; so I’ll discuss aluminum.

If you click on the link in the graph, you’re taken to this:

The “?” denotes the lack of a safety standard for injected aluminum. There is data on risk levels for ingested aluminum from food, but almost no data on risk levels for injected aluminum. [1]

In The Vaccine Book, Dr. Bob Sears researched aluminum and found that no studies mention vaccines, only IV solutions and certain injectible medications. [2]

The gray bar denotes an “unknown safety limit.” However, no appropriate safety standard for injected aluminum exists. [3][4] It is included here because it provides a comparison that may or may not be useful in informing decisionmaking related to injected aluminum.

1 VACCINE 20 (2002) S1-S4 (view PDF)
2 http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/vaccine_faq.asp
3 Aluminum in Vaccines (VIC)
4 Aluminum and Vaccine Ingredients (NVIC)

What we have here is a lot of dancing around that does in essence what the NVIC used to do for mercury. If you peruse the links there, particularly the Dr. Sears link, you’ll find a lot of dubious comparisons and idiotic statements. One example is where Dr. Sears writes:

Now, none of these documents or studies mention vaccines. They only look at IV solutions and injectible medications. I’m not sure why that is. Nor is it clear why the FDA does not require aluminum warning labels on vaccines when they do require it on all other injectible medications. Vaccines apparently have some sort of exemption.

Perhaps it’s because IV solutions and injectable medications, unlike vaccines, are injected straight into the vein. Direct IV injections will produce a rapid spike in aluminum levels, while continuous infusion will produce prolonged increases in aluminum levels, this latter reason in particular explaining why IV fluid solutions are emphasized (particularly in children, whose kidneys and developing central nervous systems may be more sensitive to the effects of aluminum) is because IV fluids are often given continuously over many days, sometimes even weeks or months. In fact, what the NVIC is doing with aluminum in its VIC is in essence a variation on the “EPA Mercury Limit.” Let me explain. Most of safety standards for various metals or chemicals tend to be estimated for chronic, daily exposure or for single dosages that can be observed to produce measurable harmful effects. Anti-vaccine advocates at the NVIC are doing now for aluminum what they did for thimerosal. They’re looking at a one-time dose given in one day and given intramuscularly, to published safety recommendations for chronic daily dosages expected to be given, well, daily over long periods of time or daily exposures over a lifetime. Compare that one time-dose of, for example, the Infanrix vaccine, to what the daily estimated safe dose is for aluminum, and of course it will look scary.

I haven’t looked closely at whether the actual numbers used for the amount of these “horrific” metals by the VIC to calculate its dosages are accurate. For purposes of the deception it’s actually better if they are; so I will assume that they are. After all, then the creators of the calculator will simply say that their numbers are “accurate” and that they are giving “information” to parents. The problem is, the “information” they provide, when taken in context, where not only is aluminum listed, but formaldehyde and all the various other scary-sounding vaccine ingredients that are present in at most trace amounts and/or known to be harmless in the dose received through vaccines, paints an intentionally frightening and misleading picture. Remember how I slapped down one antivax-sympathetic pediatrician to the stars’ children and crunchy rich people from Santa Monica and Malibu for using the “formaldehyde gambit”? The NVIC calculator is no different than what Dr. Jay Gordon did.

You know, I wonder if “our side” can counter this. I wonder if it’s possible to come up with a similar open source project, in which we can have a calculator that shows the increased risk of getting specific diseases from not vaccinating. For example, as I pointed out above, it’s been documented that children who are not vaccinated against pertussis face a 23-fold increased risk of contracting pertussis. Now that would make for one scary graph.

Comments

  1. #1 René Najera
    August 27, 2010

    Oh, no! Aluminum!

    So now they have one more addition to the curricula of “Google University”. I can’t wait to face someone who uses this tool as a reference. And by “tool” I mean Barb Loe Fischer.

  2. #2 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [It's been documented that children who are not vaccinated against pertussis are at a 23-fold increased risk of contracting pertussis. Now that would make for one scary graph.]

    And that is Relative risk. It has to be to come up with that type of number juggling. The absolute (real risk) showed that 10x more vaccinated came down with pertussis.

    I know, I know… but I’ll wait for Chris to whip out her homemade Ross Perot type charts for demonstration.

  3. #3 Greg Fish
    August 27, 2010

    I wonder if it’s possible to come up with a similar open source project, in which we can have a calculator that shows the increased risk of getting specific diseases from not vaccinating.

    Sure. Calculators like this are among the simplest programs anyone can make, and when it comes to source code, all you have to do is copy/paste from the IDE, or just upload the class and project files to a server.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    August 27, 2010

    How about the actual image – the bar graph- as a scare tactic in *itself*? A large, thick, “red-alert” red bar revealing *big* numbers – nearly 900!!( BTW,*micro* is written in very *small* letters, sideways)and who can ignore that ominous, preternaturally black question mark? and “Unknown safety limit”!!!(( Oh! lock the doors! Hide the bebe! Unknown limits!!))

  5. #5 Todd W.
    August 27, 2010

    I noticed a while ago that antivaxers were comparing the amount of aluminum in vaccines to FDA exposure limits for aluminum. What they failed to disclose is that the only exposure limits the FDA has for aluminum is for Large Volume Parental nutrition products. I cover it over at antiantivax.flurf.net (in a paragraph below the table in that link).

    Hint to antivaxers: LPVs are given daily over the course of days, weeks or months. The total exposure from these products is significantly higher than what one receives from vaccines.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    August 27, 2010

    Well, as it’s open source, some coders could just add a function to show the effect of not vacinating.

    We all know what will happen, though, don’t we?

  7. #7 Orac
    August 27, 2010

    Maybe a parody calculator, then? :-)

  8. #8 Doazic
    August 27, 2010

    Don’t you mean “Ingenuously deceptive”? Otherwise you’re saying they’re being disingenuous about their deception.

  9. #9 Scott
    August 27, 2010

    And that is Relative risk. It has to be to come up with that type of number juggling. The absolute (real risk) showed that 10x more vaccinated came down with pertussis.

    Now, see, if you actually knew what relative and absolute risk were you wouldn’t have embarrassed yourself that way. Specifically, the absolute risk is the percentage chance of contracting the disease. “10x more vaccinated” is a ratio between two absolute incidences. It is not a measure of risk.

    Here’s your homework problem. Assuming that 10 times more vaccinated individuals contract the disease, and that the relative risk of contracting the disease is 23 times greater in the unvaccinated, what percentage of the population is vaccinated? Do we need to know the absolute risk of contracting the disease in order to perform this calculation?

    I don’t expect augie to actually do this, of course, but those actually interested in the subject may.

  10. #10 Lawrence
    August 27, 2010

    Well, since it is only a matter of time before augie chimes in – I’ll proactively ask the question: What doesn’t he/she also take to task individuals from the other side of things that “dogmatically” cling to ideas without any sort of rational basis?

    I’m eagerly awaiting the response (though I doubt he/she will say anything)?

  11. #11 justawriter
    August 27, 2010

    Someone could add the dose of aluminum one receives from alum used in pickles and baking powder. Imagine the headline, “Vaccines hundreds of times safer than bran muffin.”

  12. #12 Todd W.
    August 27, 2010

    @justawriter

    Someone could add the dose of aluminum one receives from alum used in pickles and baking powder.

    Ah, but that leaves open the critique that aluminum is not well-absorbed through the digestive tract (unlike methylmercury, which has about a 90%-95% absorption rate).

    Some small portion is absorbed, though (can’t recall off the top of my head). Granted, there are also lots of foods that contain aluminum, so even a tiny bit can build up pretty quickly. Then there’s also exposure via the airways (that devious dust in the air that you breathe in).

  13. #13 Squillo
    August 27, 2010

    If Dr. Bob would like a demonstration of the difference between IV and subcutaneous (or IM) injection of a substance, perhaps he could try a small bolus of insulin both ways and see how it turns out.

    (Spoiler alert: I’ve seen the results of this in action; it ain’t pretty.)

  14. #14 Tacroy
    August 27, 2010

    Do these people not understand simple dimensional analysis? “Micrograms” is not equivalent to “micrograms per hour”! It’s as simple as that!

  15. #15 Richard Smith
    August 27, 2010

    Well, I wrote a quick & dirty program in BASIC the other day (not VB, QB – in DOS… no easy access to Java at work, and COBOL on the mainframe can only do so much before the hamsters start to hyperventilate on their little wheels), handling a closed population of up to 6000 (ooo!), with variables controlling aspects of the disease and population. Pure thought experiment, but still showed a distinct advantage for inoculations.

    Of course, the antivaxxers would claim the same sort of problems with a program like that as the IDers do about the “Methings…weasel” evolution program; having an in-built bias for the “disputed”[1] “theory”[2] ([1]-pretty much only by the anti-science side; [2]-use of this term is also “disputed”[1]).

  16. #16 Elizabeth R
    August 27, 2010

    My 9 year old got pertussis (culture confirmed) and so did several other vaccinated kids at her school. This vaccine doesn’t work worth much at all. While it wasn’t benign, she recovered just fine and it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as people make you think it is. Never was I ever afraid for her safety. I was tired from waking up at night, but all in all, not a big deal. I know that isn’t true for little ones and it can be so much worse. I hate that those who promote pertussis vaccination can’t openly admit the shortcommings up front. What are they afraid of? I think we should be telling parents of young babies everywhere DON’T GET A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY just because your baby has the pertussis vaccine. Keep them away from adults and kids with chronic coughs. In reality, pertussis isn’t too bad for older kids and adults so if they don’t get the vaccine, they will probably be jsut fine. Make the drug company come up with a better product rather than making us all go get an extra vaccine. Parents with young babies need to be told the truth about how unreliable this vaccine is and not to think their kid is automatically protected. Honestly, it almmost seems like they need a better vaccine for babies and leave the teens and adults out of this because the vaccine works like crap.

  17. #17 Luke
    August 27, 2010

    @ Scott

    Let me take a crack at your math problem:

    Assuming that a non-vaccinated individual is 23 times more likely to contract the disease, there would have to be a ratio of 23 vaccinated individuals to 1 non-vaccinated individual to make the number of individuals with the disease EQUAL between the two groups.

    In order for there to be 10X as many vaccinated individuals with the disease, there would therefore need to be 230 vaccinated individuals for every 1 non-vaccinated individual.

    Thus, 1 out of every 231 individuals is NOT vaccinated, and 230 out of every 231 ARE vaccinated. 230/231= 0.9957.

    Answer: If a non-vaccinated individual has 23 times the risk of disease, and 99.57% of the population is vaccinated, then there will be 10 times as many vaccinated individuals with the disease as there are non-vaccinated individuals with the disease.

    To put this in perspective: Assume a population of 1,000,000. 995,700 of these people are vaccinated. It may be true that only 10 non-vaccinated individuals are sick, while 100 vaccinated individuals are also sick. HOWEVER, this means that any given vaccinated individual has only a 0.010% chance of getting sick; a non-vaccinated individual has a 0.233% chance of catching the same disease.

  18. #18 evilDoug
    August 27, 2010

    http://pen.sagepub.com/content/32/3/242.abstract
    notes that infants of less than 3kg were found to be receiving 30 to 60 micrograms per kilogram per day of aluminum from parenteral nutrition products. This would mean that a 3kg infant would receive an amount of aluminum equal to the approx. 900µg contained in the two vaccines shown in the graphs in 5 to 10 days of intravenous “feeding”.
    Direct comparison based on total dosage alone is clearly dubious, but given that such parenteral feeding, presumably for quite long periods, has been and is far from rare, it would seem that if a correlation between injected aluminum and “harmful effects” were to be found, it would be pretty obvious in such cases.

    ~~~
    How much aluminum can be found on the nipples of women who use antiperspirant deodorants?
    ~~~
    Why hasn’t “mcg” as an abbreviation (for microgram, except when it means millicentigram) been stomped into the dirt forever and for always? I’ll admit mu can be a bit of a problem to display properly, but at least it isn’t subject to order-of-magnitude error problems.

  19. #19 Scott
    August 27, 2010

    @ Luke:

    That is indeed the calculation I had in mind.

    @ Elizabeth:

    I hate that those who promote pertussis vaccination can’t openly admit the shortcommings up front. What are they afraid of?

    Care to point out such an individual? Everybody here so admits.

    You also seem completely unaware of the fact that the very young – those at the greatest risk of death – cannot be vaccinated against pertussis. The ONLY way to protect them is for everyone ELSE to be vaccinated. Which means that your entire argument falls flat on its face.

  20. #20 Todd W.
    August 27, 2010

    @Elizabeth R.

    This study found that using a strict definition of pertussis (PCR-verified infection), the vaccine is about 92% effective. Using a less-stringent definition of pertussis, the vaccine was about 63% effective. Even 63% means that you are more likely than not to be protected from infection. Do you have any evidence that it is less effective than that? (BTW, no one says that vaccines are flawless.)

    While it wasn’t benign, she recovered just fine and it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as people make you think it is.

    Well, the older one is, the less serious pertussis is. No one disputes this. Usually when discussing how bad it is, we’re focusing on the infants, who have a pretty high risk of dying or suffering permanent problems from it.

    Keep them away from adults and kids with chronic coughs.

    Easier said than done. If you take your child out of the house, you do not know who has a chronic cough. Moreover, you may not know someone has a cough until you are already in close proximity to them (e.g., on a bus/subway, in line at the store, in a waiting room).

    In reality, pertussis isn’t too bad for older kids and adults so if they don’t get the vaccine, they will probably be jsut fine. Make the drug company come up with a better product rather than making us all go get an extra vaccine.

    Why does it have to be one or the other? Companies should be working all the time to improve safety and efficacy. But just because something is not 100% does not mean we shouldn’t use it.

    Also, the concern regarding adult immunization is not to protect the adult, since, as you’ve pointed out, it is not anywhere near as serious as in infants, but rather so that the adult does not become infected and become a vector for spreading the disease. Adults are pretty notorious for thinking that the cough they have is “just a cold”…at least until it’s persisted for over a month. Even then, they may not think that they have pertussis.

    Parents with young babies need to be told the truth about how unreliable this vaccine is and not to think their kid is automatically protected.

    You make it sound as if the vaccine is absolutely useless, which is not true. I agree, though, that parents should be told that although their child has been immunized, there is still a small chance that the child could become infected.

    Quick question for you: does wild-type infection result in life-long immunity?

  21. #21 Elizabeth R
    August 27, 2010

    @ Scott
    I was referring to PSAs, health department websites, brochures from my pedi, etc. not you guys. Because the little ones are so vulnerable, those in the public eye need to do more to let parents know to get those babies in for help right away if they start seeing symptoms even if they are vaccinated because the vaccine is no where near a sure thing. My doc won’t even do a culture if you suspect pertussis in your child if the’ve been vaccinated. I had to demand the culture because I suspected it based on her symptoms. I was right he was wrong. We did antibiotics right away and stayed out of school for 6 more days. Like I said, it wasn’t too bad, but I do worry about the babies and parents need better education from their doctors about the limitations on the shot so they can care better for their kids if they do get sick.

  22. #22 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [Now, see, if you actually knew what relative and absolute risk were you wouldn't have embarrassed yourself that way. Specifically, the absolute risk is the percentage chance of contracting the disease. "10x more vaccinated" is a ratio between two absolute incidences. It is not a measure of risk.'

    Thanks Kettle

    signed, Pot

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/123/6/1446

    156 pertussis cases for this study
    138 were vaccinated
    18 unvaccinated

    89% of pertussis cases occurred in the vaccinated for this study.

    Vaccine’s lookin good. Real good.

    “Yup we’re gonna have to dice these numbers all up and get some percentage’s and THEN divide them percentages. This’ll fit with our preplanned agenda that we set out to do before the study was conducted.”

    Conclusion before study was designed:

    “develop strategies for conveying the risks and benefits of immunizations to parents more effectively.”

    This folks is not science, it’s called propaganda.

  23. #23 colmcq
    August 27, 2010

    Augie #mathsfail

  24. #24 Todd W.
    August 27, 2010

    @Elizabeth R

    Your comment at #20 was much more reasonable than your first one, and I agree with pretty much all of it. There does need to be a better approach to informing people of the limitations of vaccines to dispel the “100% safe and effective” idea that people get into their heads.

    I also agree that doctors should be more diligent in ruling out infectious diseases like pertussis if there is suspicion, particularly considering the potential consequences if they get it wrong. Good on you for asking for confirmation, and I’d recommend finding a different doctor who is less blase about their patients.

    All that said, though, your initial post still sounds like you are saying that the pertussis vaccine is absolute rubbish and we shouldn’t be using it.

  25. #25 MI Dawn
    August 27, 2010

    @Elizabeth R: I agree, pertussis isn’t as bad in older children/adults. However, coughing till you vomit for 4-5 weeks, fractured ribs, being unable to work because you start to cough after 1-2 words for weeks, being unable to sleep because you are coughing so hard every night IS difficult for an adult.

    And, did you realize perhaps that your daughter had a milder case of pertussis BECAUSE you were sensible and had her vaccinated as an infant? The vaccine can last up to ~15 years, which is why they are now recommending that young adults and older persons be vaccinated if they will have contact with newborns/infants. Even though the vaccine didn’t prevent your daughter from going through the misery (and, BTW, good for you for insisting on a culture!), it probably DID give her antibodies so the illness was less severe.

  26. #26 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [The ONLY way to protect them is for everyone ELSE to be vaccinated.]

    It’s not working.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5503a1.htm

    “Pertussis, an acute, infectious cough illness, remains endemic in the United States despite routine childhood pertussis vaccination for more than half a century and HIGH coverage levels in children for more than a decade”

    “Since the 1980s, the number of reported pertussis cases has been steadily increasing, especially among adolescents and adults”

    Your vaccine doesn’t work the way you think it does. Unless you make up something like “the Jenny McCarthy effect started in the 1980s”. But that doesn’t support the evidence. So what do you do anyway to get compliance. Blame educated mothers, call them selfish, and say ALL pertussis outbreaks must be because of you. IT could never be a problem with our vaccine and our theory.

  27. #27 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [Dawn: And, did you realize perhaps that your daughter had a milder case of pertussis BECAUSE you were sensible and had her vaccinated as an infant?]

    Nice try. Shooting from the hip? I thought you championed evidence instead of rationalizing explanations. What else are you wrong on that you think is “evidence based”?

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/123/6/1446

    “There were no significant differences in the reported duration of cough, symptoms, or sequelae between the vaccine refusers and vaccine acceptors who contracted pertussis (data not shown).”

  28. #28 Tom D
    August 27, 2010

    Orac, you ask: ‘You know, I wonder if “our side” can counter this. I wonder if it’s possible to come up with a similar open source project, in which we can have a calculator that shows the increased risk of getting specific diseases from not vaccinating.’

    While not exactly what you were looking for, I do recommend the games Pandemic and Pandemic2:
    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/360724
    http://www.kongregate.com/games/DarkRealmStudios/pandemic-2

    They are fun.

  29. #29 DaveH
    August 27, 2010

    evilDoug, #17:

    Why hasn’t “mcg” as an abbreviation (for microgram, except when it means millicentigram) been stomped into the dirt forever and for always? I’ll admit mu can be a bit of a problem to display properly, but at least it isn’t subject to order-of-magnitude error problems.

    It was my understanding (quick check on wikipedia says the same thing) that μg wasn’t used because it has a tendency to get reverted to mg upon export of the file, resulting in a 1000-fold overage; mcg is used instead, and used in handwriting as well for consistency.

    Note: In the (biology, not medical) lab I work in, we use uL when typing up protocols for this reason.

  30. #30 Scott
    August 27, 2010

    I was referring to PSAs, health department websites, brochures from my pedi, etc. not you guys.

    Interesting. Whenever I see such, they do mention it. Certainly if you’re seeing ones which do not, I would agree that they ought to.

    And a pediatrician who firmly rules out pertussis because the child has been vaccinated should be ashamed of himself. MDs CERTAINLY ought to understand that efficacy is not 100%.

  31. #31 DrWonderful
    August 27, 2010

    Whoa. I am shocked to hear that anyone with an agenda in health care would stoop to fear mongering and deception. Simply shocked.

  32. #32 Orange Lantern
    August 27, 2010

    Elizabeth, thanks for discussing this with us.

    Because the little ones are so vulnerable, those in the public eye need to do more to let parents know to get those babies in for help right away if they start seeing symptoms even if they are vaccinated because the vaccine is no where near a sure thing.

    Keep in mind that antibiotics do not do much, if anything, to improve outcomes in pertussis. It is primarily to limit the contagious period. It is far safer to prevent pertussis in an infant than treat it, no matter how early you catch it. Up to 90% efficacy may not be a “sure thing” but it’s pretty good bet.

    It is not good practice to not consider testing for pertussis in a vaccinated individual, if the symptoms fit. However, your doctor likely did not put your child at significant risk by missing the diagnosis, rather, he increased the risk that other children would be exposed to it.

  33. #33 Scott
    August 27, 2010

    I wonder if Idiot Not A Doctor will actually have anything to say this time.

  34. #34 Orange Lantern
    August 27, 2010

    Interesting. Whenever I see such, they do mention it. Certainly if you’re seeing ones which do not, I would agree that they ought to.

    The VIS that is handed out in most clinics for DTaP does not mention efficacy, though the risks are discussed in detail. I would agree that at least a sentence relating the fact that no vaccine is 100% effective, or a bullet under “Risks” that mentions that one risk is that there is a chance that the vaccine may not “take” might be appropriate.

  35. #35 W. Kevin Vicklund
    August 27, 2010

    More augie #mathFAIL:

    Over 11% of the children were unvaccinated. That means under 89% were vaccinated. That means that it was 8x, not 10x. Correcting for augie’s error, Luke’s comment works out as follows (changes in bold):

    Let me take a crack at your math problem:

    Assuming that a non-vaccinated individual is 23 times more likely to contract the disease, there would have to be a ratio of 23 vaccinated individuals to 1 non-vaccinated individual to make the number of individuals with the disease EQUAL between the two groups.

    In order for there to be 8X as many vaccinated individuals with the disease, there would therefore need to be 184 vaccinated individuals for every 1 non-vaccinated individual.

    Thus, 1 out of every 185 individuals is NOT vaccinated, and 184 out of every 185 ARE vaccinated. 184/185= 0.9946.

    Answer: If a non-vaccinated individual has 23 times the risk of disease, and 99.46% of the population is vaccinated, then there will be 8 times as many vaccinated individuals with the disease as there are non-vaccinated individuals with the disease.

    To put this in perspective: Assume a population of 1,000,000. 994,600 of these people are vaccinated. It may be true that only 10 non-vaccinated individuals are sick, while 80 vaccinated individuals are also sick. HOWEVER, this means that any given vaccinated individual has only a 0.008% chance of getting sick; a non-vaccinated individual has a 0.185% chance of catching the same disease.

  36. #36 W. Kevin Vicklund
    August 27, 2010

    I just knew there’d end up being an html fail in there somewhere. Too much code for there not to be.

  37. #37 Andrew S.
    August 27, 2010

    OT, mostly: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 3-0 vote, today upheld the vaccine court’s ruling in Cedillo v. HHS, which was the first of the autism omnibus cases to be heard. Parsing through the legal mumbo-jumbo (it’s a 35 page ruling), the court said that the Special Master properly weighed the evidence and that there’s no legal reason to overturn the verdict.

    This is the second of the omnibus cases to reach the appeals court, with the same result. No word on whether either (or both) will be appealed to the Supreme Court (or if the Supreme Court would accept the case, since it seems pretty cut and dried)

  38. #38 Ougaseon
    August 27, 2010

    @4, not only is the graph bold red and scary but it also clearly shows that there’s the same amount of formaldehyde as aluminum in the vaccine! Oh wait, they covertly altered the tiny numbers on the y-axis…

    Do the bars for all the ingredients go all the way to the top of the scale?

  39. #39 Gizmo
    August 27, 2010

    Elizabeth,

    My 9 year old got pertussis (culture confirmed) and so did several other vaccinated kids at her school. This vaccine doesn’t work worth much at all.

    I think that’s a premature dismissal of the vaccine. Given how contagious Pertussis is, you don’t know how many other children at the school were exposed to the bacteria but were protected by vaccination. Like the old saying about news goes “You don’t read stories about all the banks that didn’t get robbed yesterday.”

  40. #40 Colin Day
    August 27, 2010

    @Todd W.
    #5

    What they failed to disclose is that the only exposure limits the FDA has for aluminum is for Large Volume Parental nutrition products.

    Did you mean Parenteral?

  41. #41 Matthew Cline
    August 27, 2010

    @augustine:

    And that is Relative risk. It has to be to come up with that type of number juggling. The absolute (real risk) showed that 10x more vaccinated came down with pertussis.

    Wait, wait, wait. Are you saying that getting the vaccines makes it more likely that you’ll catch pertussis?

  42. #42 Science Mom
    August 27, 2010

    Do the bars for all the ingredients go all the way to the top of the scale?

    Ougaseon, I suspect that they scale each excipient amount to appear as the high end.

  43. #43 Todd W.
    August 27, 2010

    @Colin Day

    D’oh! Yes. Large Volume Parenteral nutrition. Thanks for the correction.

  44. #44 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [Wait, wait, wait. Are you saying that getting the vaccines makes it more likely that you'll catch pertussis?]

    No, I wouldn’t say that. I’m just saying what is.

  45. #45 a-non
    August 27, 2010

    I love it when augie provides a link that he thinks champions his cause yet says:

    [blockquote]Children of parents who refuse pertussis immunizations are at high risk for pertussis infection relative to vaccinated children. Herd immunity does not seem to completely protect unvaccinated children from pertussis. These findings stress the need to further understand why parents refuse immunizations and to develop strategies for conveying the risks and benefits of immunizations to parents more effectively. [/blockquote]

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/123/6/1446

    Cherry pick much, genius?

  46. #46 Sauceress
    August 27, 2010

    @36 Andrew S.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 3-0 vote, today upheld the vaccine court’s ruling in Cedillo v. HHS

    Thanks for that news Andrew.

    *grabs popcorn & fold up seat…heads over to AoA*

  47. #47 Orange Lantern
    August 27, 2010

    [Dawn: And, did you realize perhaps that your daughter had a milder case of pertussis BECAUSE you were sensible and had her vaccinated as an infant?]

    Augustine: Nice try. Shooting from the hip? I thought you championed evidence instead of rationalizing explanations. What else are you wrong on that you think is “evidence based”?

    Unlike yourself, Augustine, MI Dawn is unlikely to be shooting from the hip, and more likely to be aware of studies like this one that looked specifically at DTP and DTaP and their efficacy in reducing clinical severity.

  48. #48 Orange Lantern
    August 27, 2010

    I, on the other hand, am definitely html-ing from the hip. Try:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12955637

  49. #49 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [Unlike yourself, Augustine, MI Dawn is unlikely to be shooting from the hip, and more likely to be aware of studies like this one that looked specifically at DTP and DTaP and their efficacy in reducing clinical severity.]

    thank you sockpuppet for dawn,Orange Lantern. Looks like there is conflicting evidence.

    Dawn: “Yeh, Yeh, that’s the ticket! That’s the one I was talking about.”

    Real Science. Real Science.

  50. #50 Sauceress
    August 27, 2010

    Nope nothing at AoA so far. Perhaps tomorrow the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the frothing at the mouth and the excretion of bile will begin.

  51. #51 augustine
    August 27, 2010

    [anon: Cherry pick much, genius?]

    You don’t like that do you? Should those statements have been left out of the article? Why don’t you write the author and complain.

  52. #52 Sid Offit
    August 27, 2010

    @Scott

    The ONLY way to protect them is for everyone ELSE to be vaccinated.
    ————————
    Or the parents can get vaccinated if they’re worried since it’s estimated 50% of transmission comes from parents

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4384/is_6_39/ai_n29191482/

    And they can keep the baby off the subway
    ——————————-
    Todd W
    If you take your child out of the house, you do not know who has a chronic cough.

    You can recognize someone with a “cough” by the “sudden noisy expulsion of air from their lungs clearing their air passages

    This is a link to a coughing person:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR4fr7jEoXI&feature=related

  53. #53 DLC
    August 28, 2010

    @40: more did if you consider that the ratio of vaccinated to unvaccinated is probably on the order of 100,000 to one.
    So, over entire populations, more raw numbers will get pertussis. but a wildly smaller percentage of the total will.
    Try not to blame Augie too much, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  54. #54 Sauceress
    August 28, 2010

    “Try not to blame Augie too much, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

    No he’s not…more of a spoon really.

  55. #55 NZ Sceptic
    August 28, 2010

    What are your thoughts about immuno-compromised children in the community Sid/Augie? For example those with childhood leukaemia – having chemo – who can’t be vaccinated. If your child gives them whooping cough and they die (and I say this as someone who lost an adult friend with lymphoma to measles in the UK a year or two after Wakefield’s ‘effect’ kicked in)are those kids just unfortunate statistics in your war against vaccines? Somehow I suspect you’re going to say ‘yes,’ and if you say anything else I’ll know you’re lying!

  56. #56 Matthew Cline
    August 28, 2010

    @augustine:

    No, I wouldn’t say that. I’m just saying what is.

    Then what do you mean by:

    The absolute (real risk) showed that 10x more vaccinated came down with pertussis.

    That the pertussis vaccine is completely ineffective? That it’s effective, but much less so than claimed by vaccine proponents? That it’s effective as claimed, but [fill in the blank here]?

  57. #57 MI Dawn
    August 28, 2010

    Oh now, that’s really funny! I unkilled Augie’s comment to see what he’s mouthing off about and see that he’s accusing Orange Lantern of being my sockpuppet. Augie: In case you are oblivious, we have very different writing voices, if you haven’t noticed. But let me just pat you on the head and say, “there, there, I know it’s hard when your stupidity is being put on display, but if you can’t keep your mouth shut and learn something, you deserve it.”

    As for sockpuppeting: no. I don’t do it. The only problem I have, and the only time I don’t use either Dawn or MI Dawn on Sciblogs is when I have signed in to comment for Pharyngula and it decides to use that signon for all my Sciblogs posting. So…triskelethecat is also me. But I usually try to either sign those posts or admit to it being me in a following post. Not sockpuppeting, Augie. Sorry to disappoint you.

  58. #58 Epinephrine
    August 28, 2010

    And that is Relative risk. It has to be to come up with that type of number juggling. The absolute (real risk) showed that 10x more vaccinated came down with pertussis.

    First of all, that’s not how absolute risk is calculated. Absolute risk is the number of cases in the population divided by the number in that population.

    If V is “vaccinated” and P is pertussis, absolute risks are p(P|V) and p(P|~V).

    The ratio of these is the relative risk.

    All that you have shown with your “10x” figure is that there are more vaccinated people than non-vaccinated.

    By your logic, the “absolute risk” for children without Down Syndrome of getting killed in car crashes is huge, since I could look at all the car crashes for an area, and most of them (99.9% or so), involve children who DON’T HAVE DOWN SYNDROME! Gasp! That means, by your faulty math, that non-Down syndrome children are 800-1000 times more likely to be in car crashes.

  59. #59 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 28, 2010

    As long as we’re on the topic of risk, according to a poll by Progressive Insurance 83% of automobile accidents occur within 20 miles of home. Presumably you could avoid a great many accidents by staying far, far away from home.

  60. #60 Orange Lantern
    August 28, 2010

    MI Dawn, I doubt Augustine knows what a “sockpuppet” is. It’s one of a long list of words Augustine doesn’t understand, including “incidence”, “prevalence”, “risk”, and “syntax”.

  61. #61 Orange Lantern
    August 28, 2010

    [obligatory]It keeps using those words. I do not think they mean what it thinks they mean.[/obligatory]

  62. #62 Vicki
    August 28, 2010

    I’m starting to suspect Sid of being a Poe: yes, I can recognize a cough. Has he ever tried to spend time in a populated area and avoid every single person with a cough? In particular, has he tried keeping a child away from all those people before they cough near the child? You cannot realistically ask everyone in line at a store “do you have a cough?” and go to a different line if someone says yes. (For starters, they might cough on your child while you’re asking the question.) Nor can you control who gets into line behind you, or walks past you while you’re selecting onions, or gets on the bus once you and your child are seated.

  63. #63 LW
    August 28, 2010

    Also, for many diseases spread by coughing and sneezing, infectious material can spread a long way (can you avoid someone coughing twenty feet away?) and linger for minutes to hours (can you avoid a place where someone coughed ten minutes before you walked in?).

  64. #64 AnthonyK
    August 28, 2010

    I don’t think Sid’s a Poe. He’s been appearing on this site too long for that. I do wonder about the mentality of trolls like Sid and Augie though – I mean why would anyone want to continue an internet argument with people clearly smarter then themsoves, getting both whopped and insulted? Is it a form of intellectual masochism? I mean, all their posts can be anwsered in 3 ways 1)vaccines are extremely safe; 2)vaccines have been extraordinarily effectives in controolling/banishing infectious diseases and 3) “we” don’t say so because we are paid to do so by Big Pharma.
    But still they oontinue, learning nothing, being by turn stupid and boring.
    Very strange.

  65. #65 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    @Sid

    Todd W
    If you take your child out of the house, you do not know who has a chronic cough.

    You can recognize someone with a “cough” by the “sudden noisy expulsion of air from their lungs clearing their air passages< ?blockquote>

    Oh, Sid. I’ll try to spell this out for you simply, using small words so that you might better understand.

    A chronic cough is a cough that a person has had for a very long time and that will not go away. This is a sign of pertussis. An acute cough is a cough that does not linger. Acute coughs are mostly found with minor colds.

    Now, if you see someone cough, can you tell if their cough is acute or chronic?

    Also, you kinda missed the point I was trying to make by ignoring the very next sentence, where I said:

    Moreover, you may not know someone has a cough until you are already in close proximity to them (e.g., on a bus/subway, in line at the store, in a waiting room).

    But then, we already knew that you like to cherry pick quotes and take them out of context in a silly attempt to make your point.

    There, I hope that was simple enough for you to understand. Please ask questions, though, if you don’t.

  66. #66 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    D’oh. Navigated away before my comment finished posting. Let’s try this again…

    @Sid

    Todd W
    If you take your child out of the house, you do not know who has a chronic cough.

    You can recognize someone with a “cough” by the “sudden noisy expulsion of air from their lungs clearing their air passages< ?blockquote>

    Oh, Sid. I’ll try to spell this out for you simply, using small words so that you might better understand.

    A chronic cough is a cough that a person has had for a very long time and that will not go away. This is a sign of pertussis. An acute cough is a cough that does not linger. Acute coughs are mostly found with minor colds.

    Now, if you see someone cough, can you tell if their cough is acute or chronic?

    Also, you kinda missed the point I was trying to make by ignoring the very next sentence, where I said:

    Moreover, you may not know someone has a cough until you are already in close proximity to them (e.g., on a bus/subway, in line at the store, in a waiting room).

    But then, we already knew that you like to cherry pick quotes and take them out of context in a silly attempt to make your point.

    There, I hope that was simple enough for you to understand. Please ask questions, though, if you don’t.

  67. #67 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    D’oh. Navigated away before my comment finished posting. Let’s try this again…

    Or maybe I just screwed up my html. (eye roll) Here’s what was supposed to come after the blockquote. Terribly sorry for the multiple posting:

    Oh, Sid. I’ll try to spell this out for you simply, using small words so that you might better understand.

    A chronic cough is a cough that a person has had for a very long time and that will not go away. This is a sign of pertussis. An acute cough is a cough that does not linger. Acute coughs are mostly found with minor colds.

    Now, if you see someone cough, can you tell if their cough is acute or chronic?

    Also, you kinda missed the point I was trying to make by ignoring the very next sentence, where I said:

    Moreover, you may not know someone has a cough until you are already in close proximity to them (e.g., on a bus/subway, in line at the store, in a waiting room).

    But then, we already knew that you like to cherry pick quotes and take them out of context in a silly attempt to make your point.

    There, I hope that was simple enough for you to understand. Please ask questions, though, if you don’t.

  68. #68 Skeptico
    August 28, 2010

    augustine #21

    156 pertussis cases for this study

    138 were vaccinated

    18 unvaccinated

    89% of pertussis cases occurred in the vaccinated for this study.

    From your own link:

    We identified 156 laboratory-confirmed pertussis cases and 595 matched controls. There were 18 (12%) pertussis vaccine refusers among the cases and 3 (0.5%) pertussis vaccine refusers among the controls

    So there were 751  (156+595) children, and 21 (18+3) were unvaccinated. So 730 (751-21) were vaccinated.

    138 vaccinated got the disease. 18 unvaccinated got the disease.

    Percentage of vaccinated who got the disease:

    138/730 = 19%

    Percentage of unvaccinated who got the disease:

    18/21 = 86%

    So unvaccinated are 4.5 more likely to get the disease than vaccinated.

    Vaccine’s lookin good. Real good.

    Yes it is.

  69. #69 jen
    August 28, 2010

    Hey, I say good for NVIC to come out with such a gizmo. Pharma has all their slick bullshit charts and propaganda based on their pretty meaningless, self-serving data ( and no vacc VS unvacc studies). So, good for NVIC to help consumers make more informed decisions. Like now maybe people will be aware of not giving three fricking combo vaccines at once (off-label probably anyways). Because, and I know this is hard for some of you to believe, there are lots of mercury containing vaccines being given to babies, probably pregnant women, vaccines being given to sick children etc. When I hear of the sheer number of vaccines given to some children in one go it makes me shudder (flu vaccine, chicken pox, and mmr all at once for example). Frankly, I think the pharma people need to kept far more on their toes since obviously parents are starting to question the whole damned concept.

  70. #70 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    @jen

    So, good for NVIC to help consumers make more misinformed decisions.

    Fixed that for ya.

    Because, and I know this is hard for some of you to believe, there are lots of mercury containing vaccines being given to babies, probably pregnant women, vaccines being given to sick children etc.

    Seeing as the only routine vaccine that contains thimerosal is the flu vaccine, which is also available without thimerosal, your evidence for this claim would be…what, exactly?

    Frankly, I think the pharma people need to kept far more on their toes since obviously parents are starting to question the whole damned concept, thanks to lies and misleading nonsense spread by fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists like the NVIC.

    Fixed that for ya, too.

  71. #71 Science Mom
    August 28, 2010

    Because, and I know this is hard for some of you to believe, there are lots of mercury containing vaccines being given to babies, probably pregnant women, vaccines being given to sick children etc.

    It’s hard to believe because it simply isn’t true jen dear. It would help your argument if you actually qualified your statements. As for vaccinating sick children, well, that is quite a spectrum now isn’t it? Again, qualify your statements.

  72. #72 Kristen
    August 28, 2010

    NZ Skeptic

    What are your thoughts about immuno-compromised children in the community Sid/Augie?

    IIRC Sid has said before that such children should be kept away from anyone who might be sick. Sid has also said it is not his responsibility to protect the weak.

    Augustine has said that they (immunocompromised persons) are ‘a very small percentage of the population’. Which, I assume means they are unimportant.

  73. #73 Pablo
    August 28, 2010

    Because, and I know this is hard for some of you to believe, there are lots of mercury containing vaccines being given to babies, probably pregnant women, vaccines being given to sick children etc.

    My wife is 8 months pregnant. In that time, guess how many mercury vaccines she has received?

    None. Not a one. Not that it would matter if she had, but jeez, talk about fail!

    Even if she had been at the time of a flu shot, she could have gotten one without mercury if she wanted (it doesn’t matter)

    And there aren’t a lot of other vaccines that mature adults get routinely.

    So no, pregnant women probably are NOT getting vaccines, with or without mercury.

  74. #74 AnthonyK
    August 28, 2010

    Oh, and of our longterm trolls, Jen is perhaps the most stupid. She really does imagine she’s talking to the wasps’ nest of the global conspiracy to poison children.

    Because, and I know this is hard for some of you to believe, there are lots of mercury containing vaccines being given to babies, probably pregnant women, vaccines being given to sick children etc.

    Stupid, stupid moron. What a shame that malignant idiocy leaves one’s communication facilities almost intact!

  75. #75 NZ Sceptic
    August 28, 2010

    Yes, that’s what I suspected Kirsten. What a ghastly, selfish, uncaring attitude. And so at odds with the picture anti-vaxers like to paint of themselves as being somehow more caring than other parents. This of course on the basis that they’ve googled, found a few sites telling lies about vaccines, and believed them!

    The behaviour of Meryl Dorey over in Australia puts this callous cruelty into sharp perspective. Here’s a statement from a family whose child died of whooping cough, and were then harrassed by a bunch of anti-vaxers. They’d already suffered an appalling tragedy but Meryl and her gang just piled on more pain anyway.

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=76305414878&topic=21150

  76. #76 augustine
    August 28, 2010

    [Augustine has said that they (immunocompromised persons) are 'a very small percentage of the population'. Which, I assume means they are unimportant.]

    It is UNETHICAL to medicate one group for the theoretical (or actual) benefit of another. The group medicating also assumes the risks.

    Ex. it is unethical to vaccinate children for the purpose of protecting the elderly because the vaccine does not work very well in the elderly and the children are not at much risk. ie influenza.

  77. #77 Bronze Dog
    August 28, 2010

    Even if she had been at the time of a flu shot, she could have gotten one without mercury if she wanted (it doesn’t matter)

    Pet peeve: Don’t give the deceivers an inch by calling thimerosal “mercury.” They want to undo the fundamental principles of chemistry (like the fact that compounds are different from the elements that make them up) so that they can continue to spread fear for profit. We can’t let them win the war on honest, accurate language.

  78. #78 jen
    August 28, 2010

    How wonderful for you and your wife, Pablo, but many people would not even think to ask the nursey at Walmart if the frickin’ vaccines have thim in them. Sorry guys, and sick kids are vaccinated and given too many at once (although admittedly I have no stats- though they should be available by looking at records).

  79. #79 augustine
    August 28, 2010

    Chris, Science Mom, Vicki, Kristen:

    You wouldn’t have such troll envy if would just “activate” your tight pants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1c2KzJbcGA

  80. #80 Science Mom
    August 28, 2010

    Sorry guys, and sick kids are vaccinated and given too many at once (although admittedly I have no stats- though they should be available by looking at records).

    Then why don’t you run along and acquire such statistics before rectally sourcing your ‘information’. While you are at it, where are your stats for all of this thimerosal that pregnant women and children are receiving?

  81. #81 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    @Science Mom

    where are your stats for all of this thimerosal that pregnant women and children are receiving?

    My guess is that she just recently read a bit of nonsense by Master Jake over at AoA. He apparently threw down some idiocy that there were still thimerosal-containing vaccines after 2002. Sheldon has a comment about this over at Vaccines Work, including a link to a letter from the FDA stating that all thimerosal-containing vaccines that would have been on the market expired by 2002 at the latest.

  82. #82 Todd W.
    August 28, 2010

    I should clarify…all TCVs for routine childhood immunization, with the exception of the flu vaccine.

  83. #83 David N. Brown
    August 28, 2010

    I did a post about Fisher’s widget last fall:
    http://evilpossum.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/2/2/2622709/nvic.pdf

    Something interesting I found is that the flu vaccine with thimerosal isn’t supposed to be given to children under 3 (which is when autism diagnoses tend to be made). I also found that, when I used data about clinical poisonings, and jacked weight down to 20 lbs, I came up with five times the amount of mercury in a flu vaccine to bring blood levels up to what would require treatment.

  84. #84 Dedj
    August 29, 2010

    “Ex. it is unethical to vaccinate children for the purpose of protecting the elderly because the vaccine does not work very well in the elderly and the children are not at much risk. ie influenza.”

    There is no mechanism by which informed consent to a fully-legal and clinically indicated process can become illegal or unethical merely because of the identification and announcement of a benefit which has no effect on the process or the user receiving the service, and which was not used to co-erce the service user.

    As no one is suggesting that we vaccinate children for the exclusive purpose of protecting vulnerable people, your opposition is irrelevant as well as invalid.

  85. #85 augustine
    August 29, 2010

    [As no one is suggesting that we vaccinate children for the exclusive purpose of protecting vulnerable people, your opposition is irrelevant as well as invalid.]

    Yes there are. It’s part of the moving the goalposts strategy. It’s inherent in the mass vaccinating flu strategy. All a healthy person has to say is “I’m not at much risk of flu complications”. Since it is true then it invokes the moving the goalpost strategy and the mass vaccine proponent says, “but you could infect a vulnerable elderly person.”

    There are studies which look at this strategy of vaccinating children to look at it’s effect on herd immunity. It is EXACTLY suggesting what you claim that “no one suggest”.

  86. #86 Kristen
    August 29, 2010

    Thanks Augustine. My kids loved that video (especially the 4 year old).

    I am flattered at the comparison, but alas, I can’t dance. Why did you have to pour salt in that wound? :’(

  87. #87 augustine
    August 29, 2010

    [Dedj: As no one is suggesting that we vaccinate children for the exclusive purpose of protecting vulnerable people, your opposition is irrelevant as well as invalid.]

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200103223441204

    “Vaccinating schoolchildren against influenza provides protection and reduces mortality from influenza among older persons”

    I have no proof but this shifting of strategy is what I suspected was behind the media hype of the H1N1 vaccine.

    IMO, The purpose of the pandemic hype was to get more children children vaccinated for seasonal influenza in subsequent years. Even though children are not at much risk from death of influenza. The largest age group of childen who are at relative(which is not real risk) risk are the 2 and under. The vaccine is not effective in this age group. It is also not very effective in the very old (the real at risk group).

    Now look at this years flu recomendations following a mild flu season:

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/primarychanges.htm

    “Primary Changes and Updates in the 2010 ACIP Recommendations”

    “Routine influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older. This represents an expansion of the previous recommendations for annual vaccination of all adults aged 19—49 years and is supported by evidence that annual influenza vaccination is a safe and effective preventive health action with potential benefit in all age groups.”

    I have no doubt that money and politics are involved in this “scientific” decision. It is unethical.

  88. #88 augustine
    August 29, 2010

    [Kristen: I am flattered at the comparison, but alas, I can't dance. Why did you have to pour salt in that wound? :'(]

    C’mon, you can do it. “Activate”. Just tell your children to watch out for your high kicks and body rolls.

  89. #89 Jarred C
    August 29, 2010

    Augustine said: [Dedj: As no one is suggesting that we vaccinate children for the exclusive purpose of protecting vulnerable people, your opposition is irrelevant as well as invalid.]

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200103223441204

    “Vaccinating schoolchildren against influenza provides protection and reduces mortality from influenza among older persons”

    Interesting case study. Did you bother to read past the first sentence (I’m assuming no, because you didn’t even bother to quote the entire first sentence, leaving out, “…and those with medical conditions that place them at high risk for complications of influenza.”)

    Reading on to the second paragraph of the “Background section” gives us more background:

    Only one country, Japan, has ever based its policy for controlling influenza on a strategy of vaccinating schoolchildren rather than elderly persons. The Asian influenza epidemic of 1957 had a powerful effect on Japan. After both winter and summer epidemics, the number of deaths attributed to influenza reached approximately 8000 — by far the largest death toll from influenza ever recorded in Japan. There were widespread school closures, with attack rates as high as 60 percent in some areas. It was clear that school attendance played an important part in amplifying the epidemic. In the aftermath, official policy on influenza vaccination in Japan was changed; the new recommendations stated that “because schoolchildren are the major disseminators of the disease, they should be immunized. Young children, elderly, high-risk patients, pregnant women and workers of essential community services may be immunized as possible.

    Their program started in 1962, and officially ended in 1994. Interesting how you base your criticism of some of the commenters here on what one country did back in the 60s.

    Some more information on Japan during that time:

    - The elderly often lived with the young school children, with rates of up to nearly 70% of elderly living with schoolkids.
    - During the same time period, the infamous Minamata disease happened (mass methylmercury poisoning). When the fishermen started protesting against the company (and government) about the mercury dumping into the Minamata Bay, the officials blamed the entire incident on the fishermen, because if they hadn’t of complained, then the issue wouldn’t be known to the public, and the company and government wouldn’t have had to deal with the problem.
    – In the 50s and 60s, many Japanese businessmen had no problem working their workers to death, because there were always more people looking for work.

    Basically, the culture of Japan in the 1950s and 60s was vastly different from the culture today, and even more so than the American culture of today, which you claim is wanting to mandate the vaccination of schoolchildren solely for the protection of the elderly.

    Also, for some odd reason, you seem to think that death is the only factor when looking as disease prevention. You seem to ignore the misery associated with disease (both temp and permanent), lost time in work and school, medical costs for treatment of disease, and others. Why is that?

  90. #90 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 29, 2010

    @Augustine

    It is UNETHICAL to medicate one group for the theoretical (or actual) benefit of another.

    Says who?

    Even though (in your example) children are at relatively low risk of complications of influenza, being immunized will reduce the risk of the normal symptoms of the disease. If the child gets sick, they should refrain from their normal activities including school, sports, field trips, babysitting, and so on. Thus being immunized can benefit the child in actual wellbeing, education, cultural experience, and even financially.

    When a child is sick, a parent may need to stay home to care for that child (as leaving a child home alone is considered neglect in many areas). This may impact the family’s finances (both short and long term), which could also affect the child.

    And finally, I can’t see what’s so bad about making sure you don’t give Grandma the flu.

    So – I’m not sure I agree with your statement of ethics (especially as there’s no mandatory flu vaccination at this time) and even if I did agree, your example doesn’t involve medicating one group strictly for the benefit of the other.

  91. #91 snerd
    August 30, 2010

    @Elizabeth R: I hate pertussis last year. It was the least pleasant experience of my adult life, and required a trip to the emergency room. It’s not just a cough; it’s a rib-breaking, spine-racking orgasm of unbearable coughing, and it lasts for months at a time.

    I’ve seen a lot of people claiming that they’ve had pertussis and hey, it ain’t so bad, but I suspect they’ve not done a titre to actually make the diagnosis.

  92. #92 maydijo
    August 30, 2010

    Pertussis (or measles, or chicken pox, etc.) “not so bad” . . . I hate it when my kids get a normal run of the mill cold. I just hate it when they’re sick; it’s miserable for them and it’s no bowl of cherries for me. If I can do something that can significantly cut the chances of them getting sick, what sort of monster would I be not to do it?

  93. #93 augustine
    August 30, 2010

    [MEMPHIS O BRIEN: Thus being immunized can benefit the child in actual wellbeing, education, cultural experience, and even financially.]

    And the benefits get fuzzier and fuzzier. This is a “move the goal post” strategy. Is this what you call hard science?
    Vaccine are sold using fear of disease with death numbers used to reinforce the fear. When the evidence isn’t there to rationally justify the fear for a group or individual then the goal is shifted to something like this. Shifting from hard numbers to fuzzy subjectivity. Sometimes the hypothetical financial loss numbers are used to make it still seem like hard science but those are stretched in ways that would make an ENRON accountant proud.

    This happens everytime. It’ pretty predictable by mass vaccine proponents.

  94. #94 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 30, 2010

    @92 – LOL – you made my day.

  95. #95 augustine
    August 31, 2010

    [Memphis: @92 - LOL - you made my day.]

    Your laugh is a bluff.

  96. #96 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    September 1, 2010

    @augustine 93:
    The cake is a lie, but the laugh is not a bluff.

    You set the terms of the discussion when you said “It is UNETHICAL to medicate one group for the theoretical (or actual) benefit of another.” That statement isn’t exactly hard science, so I saw no need to attempt to refute it on that basis. I pointed out that a) you don’t cite any authority or reasoning to back up your statement and b) that in the example you, yourself gave there were clear benefits to “medicating” the group that were NOT related to benefiting another group.

    I have never stated that the only significant benefit to be gained from not getting a disease is avoiding death. I don’t recall anyone but Sid Offit saying that, and I suspect most people would disagree with that.

    If you’d care to back up your original statement or say just exactly why there’s no benefit to the child from avoiding the flu by being immunized, we can talk. As it was, your response appeared to be a satirical use of the term “moving the goalpost.”

    You’re the one who set the goalposts – if you’re not going to defend your goal you’ve resigned from the game.

  97. #97 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    September 1, 2010

    Or to put it another way:
    THERE! I’ve run rings around you logically.

  98. #98 jeanmarie
    November 7, 2010

    Thanks for this post Orac, thanks for those who battle the trolls’ propaganda so I don’t have to, and thanks to Scott, Luke, and especially Skeptico for (solving) the math problem that effectively elucidated the relative risk issue:
    “Percentage of vaccinated who got the disease:
    138/730 = 19%
    Percentage of unvaccinated who got the disease:
    18/21 = 86%
    So unvaccinated are 4.5 more likely to get the disease than vaccinated.”

    That’s pretty clear, and in line with reporting I’ve read elsewhere.

  99. #99 Nakarti
    July 14, 2011

    What do you mean the Aluminum Falcon destroyed the Death Star?
    WTF is an Aluminum Falcon?!

    If I had time (and appropriate programming skill,0 I would volunteer to write the Vaccination Risk Calculator.
    Should have separate columns for each potential symptom of the vaccine, and it should be in the same stupid lowest-risk = small dot, highest risk = huge dot, even if the highest risk is .001%

    Seriously, they have a large red dot (Quick View) for 4mcg of salt. I eat that much if I lick my fingers!

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