One of the most common retorts that antivaccine activists like to make, usually in the most wounded, self-righteous tone with the most wounded, disgusted expression on their faces that they can manage, is that they are “not antivaccine but rather pro-safe vaccine.” There may be a tiny minority of antivaccinationists who really are “pro-safe vaccine,” but if they exist I have yet to encounter one yet. In any case, what maes an antivaccinationist and antivaccinationist is an unrelenting hostility to and fear of vaccines, coupled with an even more unrelenting refusal to admit that vaccines do any good and ann amazingly slippery avoidance of answering the question of what, exactly, it would take to convince them that vaccines are safe enough for their children. Periodically, I like to provide examples that help illustrate this difference and why the claims of antivaccine activists that they are not, in fact, anti-vaccine are nearly always bogus. So it was that I came across the website and this gem of a post Excuse Me Waiter – There’s a Fly in My Vaccine Soup!

A more blatant example of the “toxins gambit” with so much idiocy concentrated in one post that it’s a veritable black hole of antivaccine information at least as dense as the last black hole of vaccine misinformation I encountered. Maybe the two of them will consume each other. Rationale people and the children endangered by antivaccine rhetoric should be so lucky.

In any case, it’s hard not to consider how hilarious the name “VacTruth” is in the context of what is actually on the website in general and this post in particular. To get an idea of the “quality” of this article, just check out the first couple of paragraphs:

We can laugh at the waiter’s reply to our complaint about the fly in our soup: “- Never mind, it won’t eat much!” However it is no joke that vaccines may contain residue from insect cells, yeast, mouse brains, tissue from pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, calf lymph, hens’ eggs, chick embryos, monkey kidney and testicle cells, retinal cells, aborted human fetal cells and cancer cells!

These are amongst the many substrates present in the huge cultivation soup tanks which are used in vaccine production. The implications may be horrendous.

Apparently, VacTruth’s definition of “horrendous” is different than my definition of “horrendous,” just as an antivaccinationist’s definition of “toxins” is different from a scientific definition of “toxins,” which neglects all consideration of basic pharmacology (i.e., dose-rsponse). What vaccines do do is to prevent childhood diseases at an incredibly low risk. Arguably vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention conceived by the human mind. Yet that doesn’t prevent the author of this post, written by Sandy Lunoe, from laying down huge swaths of napalm-grade flaming stupid. She trots out the old “monkey virus in the vaccines” canard. It’s an old and favorite tactic used to sow fear and doubt about vaccines that sometimes works because it has a grain of truth. But it’s just a grain, a grain that the antivaccine loons who parrot this canard try to make that grain grow into a whole farm full of wheat. It doesn’t work.

Basically, it’s true that the SV40 virus was identified in early polio vaccine in the injected form of the vaccine. In fact, SV40 was completely removed from the seed strains used to grow the vaccine viruses in the early 1960s. In fact, extensive measures were taken to make sure that SV40 was eliminated:

SV40 was completely removed from the seed strains of the vaccine viruses in the early 1960s.The polio vaccine currently used in the U.S. (inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV) is no longer prepared in primary rhesus monkey kidney cells. It is produced in human or African green monkey cell lines that have been extensively tested for contaminants, including SV40.The poliovirus used in IPV is killed with formaldehyde. This procedure also kills viral contaminants, such as SV40. Formaldehyde was also used in the SV40-contaminated vaccine, but in 1961 researchers found that the process killed 99.99% of SV40 and 1 in 10,000 SV40 particles survived (Hilleman, 1998).Today’s testing methods are better. Any live SV40 would be detected by these methods.

Add to that the conflicting evidence regarding whether SV40 even causes cancer in humans or not, and this is a non-issue. Basically, it’s a story of scientists finding a potential problem with vaccines that might compromise their safety and then going to a great deal of trouble to eliminate that problem. It’s also a story from 50 years ago. Vaccine safety and production techniques have advanced considerably since then. The 50 year old story of vaccine contamination says very little about how vaccines are manufactured today or how safe they are today, other than that it demonstrates that scientists are indeed very careful about vaccine safety and, when a potential problem is found with vaccines, they act to correct it. It’s very much unlike the parody that antivaccine activists paint of scientists concerned about nothing but money or ideology. Moreover, since the early 1960s, polio virus stocks have been tested for the presence of SV40, which is not hard to do using modern techniques.

Next up, Lunoe invokes a more recent (and, quite frankly, brain-dead) antivaccine trope, namely the claim that there”s actual–gasp!–DNA in the HPV vaccine. This, too, is a highly brain dead antivaccine gambit as well, one that I had considerable fun deconstructing it a few months ago. To make a long post short, basically a pathologist named Dr. Sin Hang Lee claimed to have found a more sensitive test to detect HPV DNA in Gardasil and to have used this test to find, well, HPV DNA in Gardasi. Even assuming that Dr. Lee did what he claimed, the worst that could be said about the HPV vaccine is that a new, highly sensitive test found something that couldn’t be detected using previously used methodology. Alternatively, Dr. Lee used nested PCR in order to produce a false positive, probably inadvertently.

Next up on the antivaccine hit parade is the dreaded “aborted fetal cells” gambit, in which it is claimed that there is “aborted fetal tissue” or that there are “aborted fetal cells” in vaccines. This is, as I have described many times before, a distortion, an intentional misunderstanding of how cell lines are generated. It is true that some vaccine viral stocks are grown in human cells derived from an aborted fetus. However the cell lines involved were isolated back in the 1960s and passaged (allowed to double) many, many, many, many times since then. Moreover, there are no cells left in the vaccines, even though the vaccine viral stock might have been grown in these cell lines isolated 40 or 50 years ago, but that is not the same thing as there being “fetal cells” in vaccines. Let’s put it this way. Even the Catholic Church has stated that until there are alternatives, Catholics should vaccinate. If even the Catholic Church can reconcile itself to the use of these cells, it’s hard not to view the bleats of antivaccine groups as anything more than pure cynicism.

Lunoe finishes with a bunch of fear-mongering quotes that are so over-the-top that I can’t resist quoting them verbatim, for the edification of my readers:

” – DNA is used from such organisms as animals, animal viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It has been documented that injecting foreign DNA in a human may cause it, or a portion of it, to be incorporated into the recipient’s DNA. The horrendous implications for the unborn defy the imagination.

“- most vaccines are contaminated with a number of known and yet-to-be discovered viruses, bacteria, viral fragments, and DNA/RNA fragments. And, further, our science demonstrates that these contaminants could lead to a number of slowly-developing degenerative diseases, including degenerative diseases of the brain.

“- The risks of residual retinal DNA and stray viral contaminants from the animal tissues getting into flu shots are real. DNA snips are classified as either “infectious” or “oncogenic” (tumour causing) by researchers who worry that the stray DNA is being incorporated into the recipient’s DNA …”

Interview with Dr. Suzanne Humphries. (Regarding contaminants from 33 minutes):
“- DNA particles from disease matter can get into our DNA and alter us and in my opinion these vaccines are turning us into genetically modified organisms.”

Rather dubious sources, don’t you think? Rabid antivaccine loon Sherri Tenpenny and Dr. Suzanne Humphries (one of whose videos I had some fun with a while back). Particularly amusing is the claim by Tenpenny that the “vaccine, no doubt, contains snips of insect DNA. No doubt she’s trying to conjure up images of The Fly. Certainly Lunoe is. She even makes it almost explicit in the title of her post and the parroting of Tenpenny’s claims about “insect fragments” bypassing the “body’s intricate defense mechanism.”

It’s definitely a hunka hunka burnin’ stupid.

As this post by Sandy Lunoe demonstrates once again, these sorts of arguments are purely antivaccine, not “pro-safe vaccine. The fear mongering is all designed to sow fear and doubt about vaccines. Whatever notion people like Lunoe come up with, it’s always first and foremost all about the vaccines, which are portrayed as the root of all evil. Always.

If that isn’t antivaccine, I don’t know what is.


  1. #1 lilady
    February 6, 2012

    Hmmm, I guess Offal hasn’t had any sex education, or training in the routes of transmission for STDs, as well:

    From Offal’s Facebook page, February 1, 2012:

    “American Academy of Pushers goes against the science and recommends the cervical cancer vaccine to those without a cervix.”

    (I think Offal is referring to the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for boys to receive the HPV vaccine)

    How’s that radio career working out for you Offal? Any more bookings? (hint) Do not supply your “agent” with your debut radio commentary…you came off like a fool, talking about “freedom of choice” and the mailing of infectious lollipops.

  2. #2 DW
    February 6, 2012

    Attention: Collectivist Fearmongers!

    Meeting/ Dinner Tuesday @ 7
    @ the New Taj Mahal ( across from Kreb’s lab)
    BYOB, gentlemen ( ladies, bring your gorgeous selves)
    Topic for discussion: GSK ( what else?)
    Be there or be square.

  3. #3 Ren
    February 6, 2012

    As a White conservative libertarian, Señor Schecter has probably never heard of men getting throat cancer from HPV from, you know, doing “that”.

    I’d suggest he look up the definition of vector, as in “Penises are good vectors for HPV infection in women.” Not every parent cares enough to check the boyfriend’s junk before letting their daughters out of the house. At least, I won’t.

    That’s right, I wrote “penis” but had a hard time mentioning “that”.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    February 6, 2012

    @ Ren:

    And there is the matter of that *other* sort of cancer that they can get via the same vector. Now there are two words that you can avoid mentioning.

    -btw- please don’t judge all the whities by him: some of us realise that whiteness is merely a trick nature that played upon us even tho’ it probably benefits us economically.

  5. #5 Th1Th2
    February 6, 2012

    So I take it you are happy that since vaccines are almost always harmless, that’s how they should be classified?

    You are an infection promoter, that’s how you should be classified. And you’d think people will be happy?

  6. #6 lilady
    February 6, 2012

    @ Ren & Denice: Adolescents and teens who are “technical virgins”…whether or not they take the “chastity pledge”, are still at risk for HPV infections.

    Wearing a condom or using a dental dam affords some protection against the virus. Sexually active people still become infected in the oral cavity, their rectum and the areas surrounding the vagina and the penis (I wouldn’t want to use those “other” words)

  7. #7 Chris
    February 7, 2012


    As a White conservative libertarian, Señor Schecter has probably never heard of men getting throat cancer from HPV from, you know, doing “that”.

    Now you made me feel sorry for his wife. It looks like he is more of a “bing-bang-thank-you-mam” kind of guy.

  8. #8 lilady
    February 7, 2012

    @ Chris: Even when you are a modern parent and you provide good education about “that” and you question your teens about “that”…teens lie You know when your teens are lying, if their mouths are moving.

  9. #9 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    lilady, exactly. All I ask is that they are very careful.

    Though it is a pity about Mrs. Schecter.

  10. #10 lilady
    February 7, 2012

    Mrs. Offal must be very understanding…one never knows when Mr. Offal will be called away “at a moment’s notice” for a fire emergency.

  11. #11 Master Sock Puppeteer
    February 7, 2012

    The level of class found on this forum in absolutely wonderful.

  12. #12 Ren
    February 7, 2012

    Alright. I’ve been admonished by the wife about making things personal and commenting on assumptions about people’s sexual lives. I must respect Bob for not pulling a Mr. X after all this time sparring with me over the years, so I’ll keep it to the subject at hand. That written, I still believe that to not vaccinate the vectors of HPV is a lack of understanding of human sexuality and infectious disease.

  13. #13 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Hey! Science peeps, when can we expect a safe-the-world vaccine?

  14. #14 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Whoopsie, *save. LOL

  15. #15 lilady
    February 7, 2012

    @ Ren: I started the thread about Offal, referring to his Facebook commentary.

    Why does he have to name the AAP as the American Academy of Pushers and why is he unaware that the HPV is an STD?

    Indeed, why does he use the ‘nym of one of our most respected physician/researcher in the field of immunology?

  16. #16 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Thanks Chris! You’re such an intelligent individual!! Keep up the good work!!!!! We’re one step closer to saving the world! Yippeeeeeeeeee

  17. #17 Ren
    February 7, 2012

    Because he knows it annoys us? Because he doesn’t know better? Take your pick. But my wife says, and she’s right, that starting to talk about Schecter’s sex life – or lack thereof – is just a little bit too much… A lot like “Stagmom” joking about a certain TV physician correspondent giving oral sex to someone at a dinner where a baby was about to be eaten. Just not cool.

  18. #18 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Ohhh Chris, you’re too kind! *blushing*

  19. #19 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    Well, there are other reasons to feel sorry for Mrs. Schecter. And even their child, who may end up paying for his views later on in life.

    I would hate to see a child injured by the anti-science views of their parents, but Schecter, Belkin, Stagliano, Handley and others are actively reducing the herd immunity that protects their children.

  20. #20 augustine
    February 7, 2012


    Well, there are other reasons to feel sorry for Mrs. Schecter. And even their child, who may end up paying for his views later on in life.

    I would hate to see a child injured by the anti-science views of their parents…

    YOUR child is the one you need to worry about.If the world is that dangerous to you then put him in a bubble. Sad. You’ve shown on here that you don’t give a rats @ss about anybody else’s child except for your own. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or not doing.

    Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry
    Mama’s gonna make all of your
    Nightmares come true
    Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you
    Mama’s gonna keep you right here
    Under her wing
    she won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
    Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
    Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe
    Of course Mama’s gonna help build the wall
    -Pink Floyd

  21. #21 Anton P. Nym
    February 7, 2012

    Augie, stop drinking the bong water.

    — Steve

  22. #22 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    Dana, have you ever considered living in the real world? Perhaps you should actually think very hard about your silly question.

  23. #23 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Hey lilady, can we be friends in real life? You seem really confident and down to earth, right up my alley!

  24. #24 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    This video is about a family that learned the hard way about vaccines. The mom even says “We made the wrong decision.” And this video is how a doctor gave the family deadly advice.

  25. #25 augustine
    February 7, 2012


    This video is about a family that learned the hard way about vaccines.

    Anecdotal stories are powerful aren’t they Chris? But now you’ve caused yourself a skeptic’s dillemma. When are anecdotes OK to use?

  26. #26 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    So, is this a another visit from cannabis troll?

  27. #27 Chris
    February 7, 2012

    Dana = banned troll.

  28. #28 Dana
    February 7, 2012

    Hey lilady, can we be friends in real life? You seem really confident and down to earth, right up my alley!

  29. #29 Lawrence
    February 7, 2012

    Damn Chris – thanks for that link. I’m sure it will come in handy at some point. Again, people forget that these diseases are still out there & do either seriously hurt or even kill children that contract them.

  30. #30 lilady
    February 7, 2012

    @ Dana: Orac is busy right now…but he will be checking your posts and applying the sock puppet ban hammer.

  31. #31 Mad, But not as in Hatter.
    February 7, 2012

    Why are @therefusers following me on twitter?

    I’m proud to be autistic and their lyrics have a reading age of 9.

  32. #32 Frank The Tank
    February 7, 2012

    Anyone care to check out these sources and debunk them? Be my guest.

  33. #33 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 7, 2012

    Frank –

    Orac’s addressed those graphs: The intellectual dishonesty of the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit.

    If you have similar questions about other sources, try typing the name (such as “Obomsawin”, in this case) into the search box on the left-hand side of the page. If Orac has already debunked those claims, you can find that debunking quickly.

  34. #34 Mad, But not as in Hatter.
    February 8, 2012

    No chris, I’m that.

    Get a grip man.

  35. #35 Troll?
    February 8, 2012

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    There are a lot of trolls on here. Maybe “lilady,” “Chris,” “Ren,” etc should look in the mirror. Iiiiiiidiiiiiiots

  36. #38 lilady
    February 8, 2012

    ha…ha…ha… Who let the troll smelly sock puppets in?

    -FTFY Sock Puppets!

  37. #39 shauna
    February 11, 2012

    “…a tiny minority of antivaccinationists who really are ‘pro-safe vaccine,'” *cough, raises hand*

    Although I’ll admit, my definition of a ‘safe’ vaccine is probably a bit different from most anti-vaccinationists, so that might account for it. For the most part, I’m coming at it from the perspective of someone with allergies the excipients added to some vaccines.

    It takes a lot of research, a lot of planning, a lot of help from doctors, and sometimes, I still can’t have a vaccination. There simply isn’t a vaccine for some conditions made without the excipients I can’t tolerate.

    I really do have a proven, medically determined reaction to some vaccines. Most anti-vaccinationists don’t have that. However, even if every single concern of theirs was valid. Even if vaccines caused autism in all non-breastfed kids or whatever, there is still usually this…thing…going on, with almost all anti-vaccinationsists I know. And I know a lot. There’s a lot of cross-over in the allergy crowd and anti-vaccinationist crowd. It seems to be a lack of awareness of the nature of reality, essentially.

    I have heard more people than I can count say that they shouldn’t be vaccinated because a disease is so rare that the vaccination is more risk than getting the disease would be. They seem to forget that the risk of catching this disease is lower now BECAUSE of the vaccine. It is not a naturally lowered value, and if people stop getting vaccinated, the risk is going to go back up.

    Just because one doesn’t trust vaccines – for whatever reason – does not in any way negate their positive effects on the eradication of disease.

    I have a hard time understanding how people think that their decisions to not vaccinate are essentially freebies in terms of consequences. Yes, by avoiding a vaccine, I avoid a potentially life-threatening reaction (me, personally, I mean). I’m making that choice, because, you know, I choose life. But I have to accept that this means I may catch more diseases AND I could pass them on to anyone I know who might be vulnerable, and I’d better be prepared to accept responsibility for that. Take precautions. Plan ahead.

    I had a friend who grew up in the back-end of nowhere, China, who was crippled by Polio. I had family members from the small village where my mother grew up who suffered from the same condition. I’ve seen the consequences. It bothers me more than I can say when I talk to folks in the USA who think that somehow, because they are NOW living in a much more disease free environment, that means that it will always be that way, no matter what anyone does.

    The whooping cough epidemic in Los Angeles in 2010, where a chunk of the increase was seen in counties where more parents were opting out of the vaccine, is a clear example of what a fallacy that is.

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