Respectful Insolence

Here’s a chance for some skeptical activism if you happen to live in New York and its environs. It’s book promotion event for the most recent anti-vaccine propaganda piece, Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland. Naturally, the propaganda blog for all things anti-vaccine, Age of Autism, is furiously pimping away in a histrionic post entitled Is it Ethical to Kill Children to Save Children? Friday Night NYC Event Explains:

Should the government promote a medical intervention that undeniably causes death and serious injury to a minority in order to save the lives of the majority?

Vaccines are credited with saving the lives of millions of people from many diseases, but they have also taken lives. In Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, authors Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland explain that the current vaccine program stakes the life of one child over another. No parents should be compelled to take actions that could cause their child to live a life of suffering, or even die.

Bill Gates recently stated on CNN that people who question the safety of vaccines are liars who are killing children: “So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids… the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children.” In reality, it is the people who fail to question the safety of the current vaccine program who may be allowing innocent infants and children to suffer serious injuries, and even death. Could some of these injuries and deaths have been avoided?


One wonders if Habakus and Holland are opposed to mandatory seatbelt laws. After all, in a small proportion of crashes, seatbelts and airbags can actually cause serious injury–or even death. I’ve even seen a handful of cases myself, back when I was a general surgery resident rotating on trauma cases. The constellation of injuries due to seatbelts is actually well characterized. What is also well-known is that seatbelts save far more people than they injure. If you’re in a car crash, your chances of surviving are much, much higher if you are wearing your seatbelt properly in a car with a good airbag system than they are if you are not. These anti-vaccine propagandists might as well rephrase the question: Is it ethical to kill drivers to save drivers? We could even point out that the same argument applies for infant and child car seats. A few will suffer injuries from the belts and car seat, even though the car seat will dramatically decrease the risk of a child’s dying in a crash. Should we therefore eliminate all mandatory child car seat laws and just let parents decide whether or not to strap their children in? It’s basically the same argument the anti-vaccine movement is making for vaccines. There may come a point where vaccines have become so effective and so many people are vaccinated that the risks of vaccines become equivalent to the risk of the disease (much diminished by vaccines), but then in that case the problem is that if enough people stop vaccinating the disease will come roaring back. There could be an interesting moral debate there on whether, as Spock put it in my favorite Star Trek movie of all time, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few–or the one,” but that is not what the anti-vaccine movement is about. It’s about claiming that vaccines hurt and kill children.

Don’t get me wrong: Any death is tragic, but when AoA asserts, “People die from vaccines just as people die from infectious disease. Life is sacred, and one child’s death is not more tragic than another’s.” I want to point out that the converse is true, and that it is not the pro-science-based medicine side that is minimizing the importance of the deaths of children; rather, it is the anti-vaccine side. Indeed, just in the last week we had a commenter who basically said that children dying in Third World countries didn’t matter to him because they don’t affect his calculations of risk-benefit ratios. I doubt you’ll ever see such a callous attitude from anyone on “our side” regarding children who suffered (or may have suffered) legitimate vaccine injury of a kind for which there is scientific evidence. The callousness infests the “autism biomed” movement as well. Indeed, another question to retort would be: Is it OK to kill children with chelation therapy in order to save children? Remember, when Tariq Nadama was killed with the quackery known as chelation therapy, the anti-vaccine cranks came out of the woodwork to say, in essence (if you’ll excuse my French), “shit happens.”

Personally, though, I love how Habakus and Holland assert:

Vaccine Epidemic is pro-human rights, pro-science, and pro-justice for those injured by vaccination. The book is not anti-vaccine; it upholds the right to choose and affirms the international human rights standard of free and informed consent to all medical interventions.

Which is a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. I’ve read one chapter from the book, e-mailed to me by the publicist. It’s a defense of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent research leading to his infamous, now-retracted Lancet paper in 1998. It’s chock full of the typical misrepresentations, attacks on Brian Deer, and other nonsense that we’ve come to know (and have contempt for) coming from Wakefield groupies. In any case, the claim that all Habukus and Holland are arguing for is “informed consent” brings me back to the concept of “misinformed consentm,” which is in reality what they are arguing for.

Misinformed consent is consent (or, perhaps more accurately, lack of consent, because the goal of those pushing misinformed consent is to frighten parents into refusing to vaccinate) based on misinformation about the true magnitude of the risks versus benefits of an intervention. Anti-vaccine activists cherry pick and torture existing scientific data to present a picture of vaccines as being very risky (causing autism, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, and a veritable panoply of adverse outcomes) while at the same time being ineffective. A rational person, if she believes this picture because of ignorance or an insufficient background in science to recognize, well, B.S. when she sees it, would be making a rational decision to refuse vaccination because the information used to promote misinformed consent paints a picture of a dangerous procedure with little benefit, a picture that has no relationship to reality. The problem is, the picture’s all wrong, hence the concept of misinformed consent. The “autism biomed” movement does the same thing in the opposite direction by cherry picking, misrepresenting, and torturing the data for their quackery du jour as being effective and then downplaying the risks. So when parents agree to chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, or even stem cell injections into the cerebrospinal fluid of autistic girls.

The bottom line is that many medical interventions, in particular preventative interventions, carry risks. Interventions carried out on healthy people have a very high bar to leap when it comes to safety, and vaccines can easily clear that bar. However, the risk is never zero. It’s a question of relative risk, something anti-vaccine propagandists have a serious problem understanding. Antivaccine loons like Habakus and Holland demand absolute, 100%, complete safety from vaccines, a standard they don’t demand of anything else, even activities that do not provide the health benefits of vaccines.

ADDENDUM: I am aware of Sherri Tenpenny’s gloating that I haven’t commented on this book yet. Perhaps I will ask the book’s publicist for a copy. I’m busy writing grants until the March 5 NIH resubmission deadline, though; so there’s no way I could try to read it before then. I also haven’t finished Seth Mnookin’s The Panic Virus yet (which is excellent thus far, by the way), and that has to come first. It’s all a matter of relative priorities, and taking on Vaccine Epidemic and the misinformation contained within is simply not important enough to me to justify carving time out of my insane schedule between now and March 5 to get started on it now. It certainly doesn’t mean enough to me to buy a copy, particularly given that doing so would enrich anti-vaccine loons and contribute to the book’s sales figures, if even by a tiny bit.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul
    February 18, 2011

    It may be worth mentioning that ‘The Panic Virus’ is also available as an audiobook. Handy for busy people who drive.

  2. #2 Nicolas
    February 18, 2011

    Great post as usual! One question though: do you think the rates of vaccination will rise, fall or remain constant in a near future?

  3. #3 Lawrence
    February 18, 2011

    I bet you’ll see a rise in vaccine rates over the next few years – the reports of new disease outbreaks, coupled with the discrediting of the anti-vax arguments, is bringing a lot more people back to their senses.

    Of course, when the true cause of autism is finally discovered, it’ll demolish the anti-vax stance entirely.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    February 18, 2011

    Yes! my neck of the (non) woods again!

    BTW, the NJ measure to tighten up the religious exemption failed ( see AoA).

  5. #5 Mike B
    February 18, 2011

    As a simple Brit, I’m rubbing my eyes as the anti-vaccine nonsense above. Although we produced the ghastly Wakefield, public discourse here has never included this form of extreme, catch-all anti-vaccine rhetoric (why is it so bad in the US? I only ask…)

    I recently caught part of a TV history documentary that used shots of smallpox victims to illustrate the perils of living in the Middle Ages. Perhaps there are worse sights in medicine than a severely infected child with smallpox but there can’t be that many. And the vaccine stopped it. Completely. Have these people heard of smallpox? I honestly don’t understand how anyone, even a Tea Partier or a Kentucky Snake Handler, could be so blinkered.

  6. #6 Pareidolius
    February 18, 2011

    My, but they’ve turned the bathos up to 11 with this one.

  7. #7 Brad
    February 18, 2011

    Yeah, people are innumerate. An approximately equivalent way to phrase the question:
    If you are forced by the game of life to play one round of Russian Roulette, how many bullets would you like loaded into the six-shot revolver?
    6
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    Flip a coin 16 times, if it comes up heads _every time_, load 1 bullet, otherwise zero.

    That last answer (WAG)is somewhere around the risk of vaccines. In the past, and still in much of the world, the risk of being unvaccinated is somewhere around the 1 or 2. And it could go up that high again even in the western world, if herd immunity breaks down.
    Disclaimer: Not a doctor, epidemiologist, statistician or the like. But I think the relative odds arre not that many orders of magnitude off.

    Brad

  8. #8 JayK
    February 18, 2011

    @Lawrence(3)
    Please don’t treat or think of autism as if it has a singular cause. It is a spectrum and most likely has a spectrum of origins. I believe that if the media and doctors referred to them as causeS it would help weaken the anti-vax argument.

  9. #9 Lawrence
    February 18, 2011

    Absolutely – my mistake there. I believe genetics will prove to play a big part, but since the spectrum is so large, I’m sure there will be more than one root cause.

  10. #10 autismandoughtisms
    February 18, 2011

    The argument that one child is being sacrficed to save others, completely ignores that the direct function and purpose of the vaccine, is to save the child that receives it. They get so caught up in the herd immunity point (which, in my experience, they misunderstand and over-estimate), that they forget that the act of vaccinating a child is first and foremost about protecting *that* child.

    Yes, most vaccines have side effects, some very unpleasant, and a very few life-threatening. But this risk calculation – vaccine vs the disease it is made to prevent – is openly presented to parents, so they can make that decision. Parents are not told by the people administering the vaccines that they have no side effects, quite the opposite, they are actively warned to watch out for the documented side effects.

    As a parent, indeed as an adult, you have to learn to make risk calculations on a daily basis. From deciding whether to get out of bed in the morning, to whether to jump out a plane for fun, to whether you can make that gap in the traffic. Yes it is even harder and more emotional when we have to make these decisions for our children too. Sometimes you have to cause a little bit of harm to the people you love, to save them much more harm in the future. It’s hard, sure. It breaks your heart to see your child crying when they’re injected, and sometimes suffer that fever or pain afterwards. But it would break my heart a heck of a lot more to see my children severely disabled or dead because I refused to take smaller risks to gain huge benefits.

    My child has autism, and it is not mild, it is at times quite devastating. But presented with the option of dead child or autistic child, I’m keeping my son alive, thank you very much.

  11. #11 kittywhumpus
    February 18, 2011

    I recently finished “The Panic Virus,” and I was quite impressed, especially at how even-handed I feel the author was and how extensively he interviewed people. He managed to portray those on the anti-vax side of the fence as being purely, if incorrectly, motivated. I felt I could understand them a little better, especially given my own experience.

    I just started “Deadly Choices,” which is quite riveting. So far, I was especially struck by the point Dr. Offit makes about the “worthy targets for a consumer advocate” (regarding vaccine safety) that the NVIC could have taken on but didn’t, instead choosing to attack every new vaccine that came onto the market.

  12. #12 Sid Offit
    February 18, 2011

    @Orac

    I haven’t commented on this book yet. Perhaps I will ask the book’s publicist for a copy.

    For god sakes man, step up to the plate and buy a copy. Use some of that pharma-shill money.

  13. #13 Richard Smith
    February 18, 2011

    Food is credited with maintaining the lives of billions of people, but it has also taken lives. No person should be compelled to take actions that could cause them to live a life of suffering, or even die.

    True, nutrition is an important part of life, but so is breathing, and thousands of people die each year from choking on food. Even more suffer, and even die, from a broad spectrum of food-borne illnesses. Why should we be forced to eat when it presents us with so many dangers?

    And who’s behind this big push to keep us eating, regardless of the danger? Big farmer, of course!

  14. #14 autismandoughtisms
    February 18, 2011

    (I should perhaps clarify my last sentence. The choice between dead child and autistic child when it comes to vaccines, is an irrelevant choice because the two are not related. My sentence was just meant to be addressing the frequent claim from the anti-vaxers that people with autistic children think death from a disease would have been kinder.)

  15. #15 deetee
    February 18, 2011

    I’ve used the seatbelt analogy many times, when pointing out the value and necessity of an intervention but how it can sometimes rarely cause harm as distinct from preventing it.

    It’s very useful, but not wholly equivalent to vaccines, since wearing a seat belt doesn’t also stop others from getting injured in accidents (there is no herd immunity aspect to them).

  16. #16 Todd W.
    February 18, 2011

    @deetee

    Seat belts do have some protective effect on others. For instance, if I’m not buckled in and I have passengers, or there are pedestrians/people in other cars, in an accident, there is a risk that my body will go flying into someone else, injuring them.

    Not quite equivalent, but there is some protective effect for other people to my wearing a seat belt.

  17. #17 Chris
    February 18, 2011

    I looked through a copy at my local Barnes and Noble. Wow, it is a crappy book. Not just the content, but the design, binding and printing. The tag at Amazon of “complete crap” is quite appropriate.

    It is mostly a series of essays by such luminaries as Boyd Haley, Ginger Taylor, Andrew Wakefield, Bob Krakow and others (some I have never heard of) along with Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland.

    It has a section of high quality color pictures that try to show how horrible the vaccines are, including pictures of one young lady who seemed to change (according to them) over night from the HPV vaccine.

  18. #18 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 18, 2011

    Seat belts do have some protective effect on others.

    I’ve also been told (though I have no studies to back it) that being belted in can help the driver retain or regain control of the vehicle after a violent maneuver, skid, or collision which can reduce the damage done to others.

  19. #19 jen
    February 18, 2011

    Nicolas, I bet that there will be an initial rise in recommended vaccines and relative to that amount people will opt out of lots. Eventually, I think enough good (less biased) research will show less child health problems for countries that vaccinate less and this will influence the American schedule to gear down. Reviews on vaccines like flu shots by Cochrane etc. will influence people when they see evidence-based medicine show a vaccine to be ineffective. Also, people will realize that even though the package insert states ALOT of possible problems due to vaccines, vaccine court will not support them. Word like that gets around, and, rightly so, scares people. Also, I think that the neurodiversity movement to try and minimize things like people with autism wandering (topical at recent IAAC meetings) will work against them.

  20. #20 lilady
    February 18, 2011

    Orac, your minions in the New York area will report back to you if this “media event” is covered on local TV. I was overjoyed recently to see that Dr. Holly Phillips whose woo medicine was in your blog “Media Medicine Arghh” (April 12 2007), has left CBS TV local news…it appears to be a very hush, hush change without any announcement. Dr. Max Gomez, quite a competent physician has returned to the program.

    It’s hard to believe what that lawyer/science teacher Heckenlively put his daughter through to “cure” the child’s autism. Chelation for aluminum toxicity…I first heard about the theory of aluminum toxicity causing elderly dementia, due to aluminum cooking utensils, forty years ago. Chelation for mercury toxicity from toxic vaccines; he’s lining the pockets of the “chelation” specialists and putting his child at medical risk.

    I don’t think his child got any stem cells, but I would be worried about the invasive procedure and any “harmless” substance that might have been infused. I’m betting that she had the non-procedure in a “treatment room” and that the Costa Rican practitioner bandaged the base of the spine.

    In a prior post, I mentioned that physicians must provide individual VIS (Vaccine Information Sheets) to parents before children are immunized. I suggested in that post that the VIS(s) be provided to parents before the birth of their children. During my public health career, I was always delighted to hear from pregnant women about their concerns about vaccines and mailed them each of the VIS(s) along with my direct telephone number to discuss the content of the sheets and to answer any questions they might have. Now, more than ever, we need mechanisms to reach parents with reliable information about vaccine-preventable diseases.

  21. #21 augustine
    February 18, 2011

    The seatbelt gambit again! This little booger is a staple of the mass force vaccinators. Each time it is given it’s like a little light bulb has went off in the head of it’s user. They think they have thought of it all by themselves and how clever they are. It’s a byproduct of propaganda that fails to recognize the harm that is inherent in vaccine use.

    If seatbelts were to cause seatbelt induced febrile seizures before ever operating the vehicle then I think many in society would justly consider not using that safety function.

    It would be a shame that someone would die from clicking on there seatbelt While others would say “It’s just temporal association” or “they would have died in a seatbelt preventable crash anyway”.

  22. #22 Beamup
    February 18, 2011

    Eventually, I think enough good (less biased) research will show less child health problems for countries that vaccinate less and this will influence the American schedule to gear down.

    And here we have it. Facts don’t matter, evidence don’t matter, jen just KNOWS.

    Augie again demonstrates his complete inability to understand the simplest analogies, too, I see.

  23. #23 Heliantus
    February 18, 2011

    “before ever operating the vehicle”

    Do you mean you can park your children on the sideway and shut down their little engine?
    Last time I checked, children are already “operating” when they receive vaccines. It’s not as if you really have the choice to stop them moving around.

    The decision to fasten your seatbelt is based on the fact that you are at risk of accident while driving. And sometimes, you don’t have a choice, but to drive.
    The decision to vaccinate is based on the fact that you are at risk of encountering a contagious disease while living. And unless you contemplate suicide, you don’t have a choice, but to live.

    Now, if you can prove that seatbelts have a tendency to strangulate their users, they should be replaced by something better. If they only strangulate people from a minority, e.g. those who are too short, well identify these minorities and dispense them from using the seatbelt.

  24. #24 NZ Sceptic
    February 18, 2011

    A few years ago I asked in a local forum if anti-vaxers cared at all about a child in my family who was having chemo and couldn’t have his 3 year old shots.

    A local member of Mr Wakefield’s Travelling Circus stated quite catagorically that she didn’t care. She said her own children were all that mattered to her – and that his leukaemia was undoubtedly caused by vaccination anyway.

    I’m pleased to report that the little boy is totally clear of cancer and doing well – thanks to chemotherapy !

  25. #25 Vicki, Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief
    February 18, 2011

    Jen,

    If you had a list of possible but unlikely side effects for everything in your life that was as thorough as a vaccine package insert, and worried about it as much, you probably wouldn’t get out of bed. Except that never getting out of bed also has the potential to kill you.

    I wish all the medications that my loved ones and I needed were as low-risk as vaccines.

  26. #26 augustine
    February 18, 2011

    Last time I checked, children are already “operating” when they receive vaccines. It’s not as if you really have the choice to stop them moving around.

    Risks are not homogenous. Every child will not encounter every vaccine infectious disease and they will not all have severe disease or sequelae. Therefore if they get a serious reaction from a vaccine for a virus/bacteria that they have yet to encounter that is equivalent of getting injured by a seatbelt while the car is still in the garage. Also they are not totally helpless. Healthy immune systems can handle many antigens.;)

    You’re playing a lowest common denominator numbers game called public health. You’re assuming the worse for every single individual. Therefore you are justifying the use of potentially damaging invasive medical procedure for which the majority do not need (NNT in the millions). This assumption is factually wrong and philosophically based.

  27. #27 nybgrus
    February 18, 2011

    Auggie, please, please stop writing. Every time you do, I am forced to read at least a little of what you write and I feel mentally violated in a very lascivious way. You’re inherent level of ignorance and inanity literally causes me mental pain – I think for every sentence I read a neuron undergoes apoptosis in protest. And when you become smugly self-contradictory, with a winky face to boot, a whole brigade of my neurons just say “OK, we’re done” and immolate themselves.

    “Healthy immune systems can handle many antigens ;)”

    Yes, doofus. That is PRECISELY why vaccines work so well and are so incredibly safe.

    Now, I need to go wipe my nose of the dripping gray matter you have caused.

  28. #28 dedicated lurker
    February 18, 2011

    So, auggie how do you calculate the risk of getting a disease? You’ve said before probability is useless, so how does it work?

    And by the way, “febrile” means “fever” and those seizures are common in childhood even if the infant/child has not gotten a vaccine. Fevers are common.

    I’m thinking you should meet Th1Th2. Maybe you can marry each other.

  29. #29 Candy
    February 18, 2011

    I was just going to beg Auggie to stop saying idiotic things for a while, but nybgrus said it better, and with more humor. A lot more humor. I was going to wax shouty. Thanks, nybgrus.

    Honestly, I don’t know who is more annoying, Jen or Auggie. Jen, probably; she’s brighter and you get the feeling that it might be possible to get through to her, eventually – although that possibility does seem vanishingly small – which makes it that much more annoying that she seems so willfully ignorant.

  30. #30 Sharon
    February 18, 2011

    I would be interested to know how many anti vax mothers had epidurals during their labours. I recall in some foggy detail having to sign consent forms during my labours prior to the insertion of an epidural, and having to listen to the aneasthetist drone on about all the potential risks.

  31. #31 nybgrus
    February 18, 2011

    Thanks for the compliment Candy. And apparently one of the neurons that committed seppuku was in my grammar and language processing center. That should be “Your inherent level…” not “You’re inherent level…”

    See what you do to me Auggie?

  32. #32 Jen
    February 18, 2011

    Re. 19, I should have written IACC. Sharon, I don’t know about others but I was pretty adamant on doing without an epidural-I didn’t feel it would be particularly good for me or my babies. I really didn’t end up having much choice, though, because I ended up having “precipitous labour” in both cases which made an epidural not really an option, given the speed of the labour (3hours).

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    February 18, 2011

    @ nybgrus: I understand your pain – as disconcerting as it is at first, gradually you will become systemically de-sensitived and psychologically inured to woo. The feeling of violation will be replaced with one of familiarity with its absurdity; you will become capable of the most astonishingly facile feats of verbal comprehension and creativity despite recent exposure to woo; eventually, you may even greet its imminent approach with sniggering and gleeful, delighted laughter. Not to mention, sarcasm. I can assure you from personal experience (11 years) and reading accounts from other “old hands”** who have also “fallen into the puddle of woo”, survived, and written about it, often humourously. You are in good company, young person! Welcome aboard!

    ** not that I’m old. Neither are they.

  34. #34 nybgrus
    February 18, 2011

    Denice, than you for the kind words. It does cause me pain to read this not because of Auggie himself, but because I see the foundations for such thought in many people, even educated people. I spent the past year in very dedicated reading and research into all such facets of pseudoscience – from anti-vax to creationism to religion itself – and find it has all the same roots. There was a time when a went to my friend who introduced me to this world of woo (an old hand at it himself and a fellow medical student) and threw my hands up asking why we even bother killing ourselves in medical school with people like Auggie and Sid and Th1 and Jay Gordon, etc etc out there. He smiled and said, “Because of all the other people you can help and educate. Besides, what else would you do with your life?” So here I am, still reading and posting, and trying to have fun with a little snark and sarcasm, all the while endeavoring to try and understand the very fundamental nature of the beast so I can ultimately do my best to thwart it throughout my life and my career as a physician. And I can tell you, every time one of my classmates asks “What’s the harm?” or “What is so wrong with homeopathy” I actually have an answer. And a really good one thanks to sites like this and commenters like yourself, Prometheus, Dangerous Bacon, and many others I am leaving out. And most often they are intrigued and realize they have never thought about the problem like that and then I smile. And when a woo apologist makes claims I can counter them and have a much better chance at a convert since I know how best to engage in conversation with them. So I guess what I am saying, is thank you to the bloggers and commenters here, at SBM, NeuroLogica, etc that have taught me all so much.

    It is good to be welcomed into such rarified company. :-D

  35. #35 Michael R
    February 19, 2011

    I attended the event and will hopefully be posting a series of articles at The Vaccine Times covering the highlights soon.

  36. #36 Matthew Cline
    February 19, 2011

    @augustine:

    This little booger is a staple of the mass force vaccinators.

    The only thing even close to “mass force vaccinators” I’m aware of are those who support the policy of requiring children to be fully vaccinated before they’re allowed to attend publicly financed schools. Is that what you mean by “mass force vaccinators”? Or maybe you mean people who want health workers to be required to get the flu vaccine?

  37. #37 Angel
    February 19, 2011

    Why do you keep maligning the dingoes?

  38. #38 Daniel
    February 19, 2011

    “Should the government promote a medical intervention that undeniably causes death and serious injury to a minority in order to save the lives of the majority?”

    If the case was as clear-cut as stated here, then BY ALL MEANS YES!

    Let me think:
    “Was it a good idea to bring fire into the cave? I mean, it keeps us warm and lets us boil food, but it also has risks…” Some people would probably rather live in trees.

  39. #39 Dangerous Bacon
    February 19, 2011

    “mass force vaccinators”

    I want the T-shirt!!

  40. #40 sadpanda
    February 19, 2011

    Don’t know if anyone’s seen this, Dr. Paul Offit talking about his new book Deadly Choices: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/DeadlyC

  41. #41 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    February 20, 2011

    jen: “Eventually, I think enough good (less biased) research will show less child health problems for countries that vaccinate less and this will influence the American schedule to gear down.”

    jen, you’re an idiot. Piss off!

    augustine: “It would be a shame that someone would die from clicking on there seatbelt While others would say ‘It’s just temporal association’ or ‘they would have died in a seatbelt preventable crash anyway’.”

    You fuckwit.

    For every home-schooled genius that exists, there are probably four totally imbecilic pieces of shit like you to contend with. But then again, your home-schooling wasn’t done because you had any propensities towards being a genius, was it? It was done because your parents were total fucking religious maniacs who didn’t want their little one’s mind* polluted with all that ‘science’ stuff.

    * mind? what fucking mind?!

  42. #42 Broken Link
    February 20, 2011

    Friday, and before the “book launch”, Vaccine Epidemic was about 600’s on Amazon. This morning, post book launch, it’s at #1318. It seems to have already peaked in sales. All the true-believers have already bought it.

  43. #43 Harold L Doherty
    February 20, 2011

    “Of course, when the true cause of autism is finally discovered, it’ll demolish the anti-vax stance entirely.

    Posted by: Lawrence | February 18, 2011 11:20 AM”

    Interesting statement. If the true cause of autism is not yet discovered how does Lawrence know what impact it will have on any theory of autism causation?

    (I know this is really a vaccine promotion site, not an “autism” site but does the reader know that there is an emerging view that there are mulitple “autisms”, autism disorders, with a probability of multiple causes of autism disorders?”)

  44. #44 triskelethecat
    February 20, 2011

    @Harold: no, I haven’t heard that there are multiple “autisms”. I have heard that the range that identifies someone as having an ASD has expanded. I know that there is probably not one unique cause of autism and ASDs. Can you give a link to your information? Thanks.

  45. #45 Enkidu
    February 20, 2011

    @39 Dangerous Bacon: “”mass force vaccinators” I want the T-shirt!!”

    Slightly OT, but I purchased a “Hug me I’m vaccinated” t-shirt for my daughter, and a group of ani-vaxers saw it and told me it was obnoxious, ignorant, rude, and insulting. They really got bent out of shape about it! Of course, they also said it was promoting “hospital propaganda.” ::eyeroll::

  46. #46 Matthew Cline
    February 20, 2011

    I purchased a “Hug me I’m vaccinated” t-shirt for my daughter, and a group of ani-vaxers saw it and told me it was obnoxious, ignorant, rude, and insulting.

    All that from “Hug me I’m vaccinated”? Wow.

  47. #47 Lawrence
    February 20, 2011

    Harold – of course I am fully aware that the autism spectrum is very wide (and there has been a corresponding decrease in the diagnosis of metally-challenged children, almost completely matching the so-called “rise” in instances of autism).

    Since so much research has been done – debunking the autism-vaccine connection, it would behoove us to concentrate on other areas that hold much more promise for early diagnosis & also putting more funds towards the overall treatment of autistic children.

    I recently read that higher levels of testosterone may play a part, but I believe that is preliminary. So, researchers are continuing to look at areas that hold much more promise than the “vaccine-autism myth.”

    Why don’t the various autism organizations, some of whom have very deep pockets & celebrity endorsers, put their money where their mouth is and start spending the money they now normally spend on “scare-tactic” ad campaigns on actual medical research?

    You guys claim you want to see more studies, but isn’t it a contradiction of your own beliefs to demand these studies from the same organizations (CDC, NIH & educational/research institutions) that you claim are nothing more than pharma-shills?

  48. #48 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 20, 2011
  49. #49 Denice Walter
    February 20, 2011

    AoA reports today that over 300 attended. Whoa!

    Let me fill you in: it is mind-numbingly simple to attract a crowd in NYC. Twenty-somethings playing Beatles’ standards in the street would get over 300. Maybe 500. GNC handing out free samples of granola bars would get 300 in 20 minutes flat.

    In addition:

    1. Kuo Habukus has an anti-vax group -just “across the crik”- in NJ who are celebrating their recent victory squelching state legislature which would have imposed limits on religious exemptions.

    2.Participants include a number of moderators and panelists. I assume, each has his or her own personal entourage.

    3.Women come to see supposed-hottie, Andy.

    4.The event was talked up on Gary Null’s radio program. He has a massive- and devoted- NY metro audience. Kuo Habukus, lawyer Krackauer, and Andy have been frequent guests.

    5.LKH’s MA is in marketting. Need I say more?

  50. #50 Ted
    February 20, 2011

    Attorney MH’s parents are renowned oncologists. Her uncle was head of the FDA (!) and was CHAIRMAN if Wyeth (where her half-sister spent her whole career). Some serious family issue there.
    LKH is next-door neighbor to Jon Bon Jovi. Guss it’s the wealty on their meesianic kick, right?

  51. #51 DW
    February 20, 2011

    Correction : mine @ 49. That should be “state *legislation*”. Terribly sorry.

  52. #52 Ted
    February 20, 2011

    correction: mine @50. Typos-issues. Guess, wealthy, messianic. My apologies.
    Needless to say, the authors are willing to trade the deaths of those unvaccinated to the health of their own children. Perverse, greedy “utiltarianism”
    Oh, in addition, one of MH’s brothers runs infectious diseases – at the NIH! Again, a psychiatrist would have a field day with these family issues! Sadly, human lives are at stake.

  53. #53 Kevin Poynter
    February 20, 2011

    This is a very interesting article about how superfoods can heal.
    check it out…

    http://superfoodology.blogspot.com/2011/02/lets-get-started-talking-about.html

  54. #54 Broken Link
    February 20, 2011

    Vaccine Epidemic now at #1,072 on Amazon. Deadly Choices now at #5,097 despite having sold respectable numbers since December.

  55. #55 Everbleed
    February 20, 2011

    Congratulations are due again Dr. Orac.

    Respectful Insolence made it for less than one second on the NBC Dateline special aired at 7:00Pm PT February 20, 2011 featuring the ultra-idiot Suzanne Somers. If you didn’t know Respectful Insolence, you wouldn’t have noticed the flash of the RI page when Dr. Nancy mentioned blogs being critical of the bubble headed, bubble brained Suzanne. I did notice.

    One second is one fifteenth of what Andy Warhol said you should get Dr. O, but it is a start.

    And I for one, celebrated… loudly.

    Go get ‘em Dr. O. And if you run into Dr. Nancy Snyderman on the way… give her a hug from me and the rest of your fans. Frankly, I don’t know of another doctor who is representing sanity as much as she. Besides you of course.

  56. #56 Chemmomo
    February 20, 2011

    augustine:

    You’re assuming the worse for every single individual. . . This assumption is factually wrong and philosophically based

    Tell me, then, what philosophy would you prefer to use to protect public health?

    And please note I am talking about public health, not individual health.

  57. #57 Broken Link
    February 21, 2011

    There is a mass book buying event for “Deadly Choices” today. If you were thinking of purchasing a copy, or a second copy to donate to your local library, autism organization or school, today would be a great day to do this. See the link on my ‘nym.

    At 9AM (Eastern), Deadly Choices was at #535
    At 10AM #167

    When Vaccine Epidemic was being heavily promoted by AoA and the other anti-vaxers, it never broke #100, although it did come close. Right now it’s at #1,056.

  58. #58 augustine
    February 21, 2011

    @Chemmomo

    Tell me, then, what philosophy would you prefer to use to protect public health?

    My family is healthy. The individuals in my family are healthy. That promotes public health.

    I’ll await your Fire Marshall Bill “suppose you…” scenarios.

  59. #59 augustine
    February 21, 2011

    Tell me, then, what philosophy would you prefer to use to protect public health?

    If I were a medical czar, with a skeptic’s view of nature, in charge of the amorphous blob called public health. Then I would do everything necessary for the amorphous blob even it meant having casualties to the individual people who made up that amorphous blog. My duty would be to the blob. If the individual benefits from that then so be it. If the individual doesn’t benefit then so be it.

  60. #60 Sid Offit
    February 21, 2011

    Dr. Nancy? Isn’t she in Wisconsin writing fake doctor’s notes?

  61. #61 Everbleed
    February 22, 2011

    Sid Offit…
    What are “fake doctor’s notes”. And I read on Wikipedia she lives in San Francisco.

  62. #62 wfjag
    February 22, 2011

    Almost off point:

    In a 6-2 decision, the US Supreme Court in BRUESEWITZ ET AL. v. WYETH LLC, FKA WYETH, INC., ET AL., US Supreme Court (Decided February 22, 2011), http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf held that the Vaccine Court created by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (NCVIA or Act) is the exclusive forum for seeking damages for alleged vaccine caused injuries, and the NCMIA provides the exclusive remedy. Accordingly, tort suits for damages in state courts in such cases are barred.

    Can hardly wait to read the commentaries on this decision. Will probably make the comments on the Citizens United decision look civil.

  63. #63 jay
    February 23, 2011

    “And please note I am talking about public health, not individual health. ”

    I am strongly pro vaccine, but this is one spot where I have a problem with ‘enforced communitarianism’ that some in public health seem to espouse. It might be nice for people to be concerned about ‘herd effect’ but it becomes downright, and unacceptably intrusive for the government to use that as a basis for coercion.

    My obligations are primarily to myself and any of my children… not to ‘the herd’

  64. #64 Vicki
    February 23, 2011

    Jay,

    By your logic, my obligations are primarily to myself and my family. On that basis, why should I not be able to insist that they be vaccinated or quarantined to protect me and my loved ones?

  65. #65 Bill
    February 25, 2011

    “Every child will not encounter every vaccine infectious disease”

    sure they will, if herd immunity has suffered (as in the U.K.)

    once herd immunity is compromised diseases like measles and polio are so contagious there is nothing one can do to avoid being exposed

    no matter how ‘healthy’ they think they are they’re going to have to suffer the disease.

  66. #66 augustine
    February 28, 2011

    no matter how ‘healthy’ they think they are they’re going to have to suffer the disease.

    No they don’t. Methinks your imagination is running wild from propaganda.

    Even 90% of polio infections exhibited no symptoms at all.

    once herd immunity is compromised diseases like measles and polio are so contagious there is nothing one can do to avoid being exposed

    Exposure does not equal infection nor does it equal permanent negative consequences.

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