Respectful Insolence

Joe Mercola is antivaccine, through and through, and, unfortunately, his website is one of the largest repositories of antivaccine quackery on the Internet. While it’s true that, unlike the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, Mercola doesn’t limit his advocacy of quackery to just antivaccine quackery, he has recently teamed up with Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and the grande dame of the antivaccine movement. Indeed, Mike Adams has got nothing on Joe Mercola when Joe decides he wants to go on an antivaccine tear, which he did yesterday in a full-throated, lame-brained, full frontal assault on the pertussis vaccine, entitled Mounting Evidence Shows Many Vaccines are Ineffective and Contribute to Rise of Outbreaks Caused by Mutated Viruses. The article is a black hole of antivaccine misinformation, innumeracy, and pure pseudoscience, all rolled up into a vile little package designed to “go viral” on antivaccine websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds everywhere. Basically, against all evidence, Mercola tries to blame outbreaks of pertussis on the acellular pertussis vaccine itself.

I kid you not.

Mercola starts with the 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California. It was one of the largest pertussis outbreaks in 50 years and very worrisome. Of course, to Mercola, conspiracy theorist that he is, all the public health measures to encourage vaccination are a “scare campaign” that was “launched in the California by Pharma-funded medical trade associations, state health officials and national media, targeting people opting out of receiving pertussis vaccine, falsely accusing them of causing the outbreak.” While it is true that the pertussis outbreaks depend upon more than just the number of children left unvaccinated (for instance, pertussis outbreak tend to be cyclical in nature, and there is the issue of waning vaccine-induced immunity in older children and adults), it is also true that having pockets containing large numbers of unvaccinated children to serve as reservoirs for the organism, Bordetella pertussis, that causes whooping cough is not a good thing because it contributes to outbreaks, regardless of other factors that might or might not contribute.

To Mercola, however, it is always simple (and simple-minded). To him, the vaccine does not work. To support his claim, he cites a study published last March examining the California pertussis outbreak by David J. Witt and colleagues at Kaiser Permanente and commenting on the shorter-than-expected duration of immunity from the acellular pertussis vaccine. I note that I had to figure out for myself which study Mercola was citing because Mercola has a really annoying habit of not including is citations, either as links or reference links. He does, however, include a list of “Internet Resources,” which include the usual suspects of antivaccine websites, such as that of the NVIC.

In any case, here’s how Mercola spins the study:

In fact, the study showed that 81 percent of 2010 California whooping cough cases in people under the age of 18 occurred in those who were fully up to date on the whooping cough vaccine. Eleven percent had received at least one shot, but not the entire recommended series, and only eight percent of those stricken were unvaccinated.

Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), Mercola is being disingenuous here. For one thing, the authors stated quite clearly:

In reviewing cases confirmed at our medical center during this outbreak, we noted effective protection of younger children.

Basically, this study found that the vaccine was highly effective in children between 6 months and five years of age but that its effectiveness waned, such that vaccinated children between 10 and 12 were as likely to develop pertussis during this outbreak as unvaccinated children:

Among the 58 cases of pertussis in children aged 10-12, 55 (95%) had received five or more doses of pertussis vaccination. Eight of these 58 (14%) children had received their sixth booster-dose prior to onset of disease. In the 13-18 year age group and in the entire cohort of those 2-18 years of age, there was a highly significant increase in cases in unvaccinated children (p = 0.009 and 0.01 respectively). See table 1.

It should be noted that in all age groups, the attack rate in the unvaccinated and undervaccinated groups were higher than in the fully vaccinated group, but that this difference only reached statistical significance in the 13-18 year group, where the attack rate was nearly five times higher in the unvaccinated/undervaccinated group. Moreover, when taken as a whole, the attack rate was also statistically significantly higher in unvaccinated/undervaccinated children from ages 2 to 18. In other words, the vaccine works, but there is a period (age 10-12) during which there appears to be a hole in the coverage, such that waning immunity after the last dose results in decreased protection, protection that is reactivated by the booster dose at 12 years. Indeed, there was a very strong correlation between the interval between onset of pertussis and last acellular pertussis vaccine dose, with the interval peaking at 11 years. The authors conclude:

In the case of the recent California epidemic, it appears that the effectiveness of the current vaccine schedule, when paired with the imperfect vaccination rate, may be insufficient to prevent an epidemic. Earlier vaccine booster doses may be required to provide adequate herd immunity, absent an increase in vaccination rate, efficacy, or durability. Earlier booster doses could prevent immunity from waning, and address disease in the 8-12 age group.

In other words, this study doesn’t show that the vaccine doesn’t work. Rather, it suggests that immunity from the vaccine wanes sooner than expected, that this region of California doesn’t have a high enough vaccine uptake rate to prevent epidemics, and that the vaccination schedule should probably be changed to provide earlier boosters in order to protect older children and teenagers. Indeed, an accompanying editorial by Dr. Alfred DeMaria, Jr. agrees:

Continued widespread outbreaks of pertussis in the United States, with disruption of school and work, as well as with the significant threat to infants, begs the question of more effective use of Tdap on a population level. Experience with Tdap vaccine has diminished concerns about adverse events [12], but the duration of protection with Tdap is not yet known. Reasonable consideration should be given to the suggestion of earlier, more frequent booster doses, as well as the replacement of Td by Tdap as the routine adult “tetanus shot” [13, 14]. With US adolescent Tdap coverage of 69% [15], there is still more to do to achieve full implementation of current recommendations.

Indeed, a study by Winter et al just published this month in the Journal of Pediatrics more or less agrees. Basically, it found similar results, specifically a stepwise increase in pertussis among children aged 7-10 years who had completed the DTaP series but who had not yet received the Tdap booster recommended at age 11-12 years, along with a stepwise decrease in cases among adolescents from ages 11 to 14. The authors concluded that preadolescents are susceptible to waning immunity with the current schedule and that the adolescent Tdap dose is effective in protecting younger adolescents.

Again, the conclusion is not that the vaccine doesn’t work, but rather that our current vaccination schedule is probably not aggressive enough, particularly in children aged 6 to 10, where another booster would likely be a good idea. Moreover, what Mercola completely ignores is that, although vaccinated children can still be susceptible to pertussis, they are less infectious, have milder symptoms and shorter illness duration, and are at reduced risk for severe outcomes, such as requiring hospitalization. In any case, if you want to see a statement that’s so wrong it’s not even wrong, get a load of what Mercola concludes from all this:

So, as clearly evidenced in this study, the vaccine likely provides very little, if any, protection from the disease. In fact, the research suggests those who are fully vaccinated may in fact be more likely to get the disease than unvaccinated populations.

In a word: No.

Mercola then leaps and cavorts about in his usual merry way, attacking the pertussis vaccine. First, he cites an article (which, alas, I can’t seem to access now because the server is down) that lists several potential reasons for “inflated” estimates of the efficacy of the acellular pertussis vaccine, namely that less severe cases were excluded in the definition. The author of the paper, J.D. Cherry, sounds like someone with a bit of an axe to grind, at least if the excerpt cited by Mercola (again, without a link to the actual paper) is any indication. In any case, milder cases of pertussis are not the main concern. What we as physicians want to prevent with the vaccine are the severe cases, the cases that land babies and children in the hospital, the cases that kill infants. Consequently, it is not unreasonable to have a definition of the disease that requires laboratory confirmation and 21 days of paroxysmal cough. In this, I would tend to trust the judgment of pediatrics infectious disease experts rather than a woo-loving D.O.

From there Mercola goes his merry way to cherry pick an article critical of the varicella vaccination program and claim that the pertussis vaccine is creating “superbugs” by giving B. parapertussis, which can also cause whooping cough and is not protected against by the vaccine, free rein. Of course, the solution to that problem, if problem it even is, is to develop a pertussis vaccine that covers both organisms. Finally, Mercola makes fun of a study suggesting that the HPV vaccine might already be reaching levels that contribute to herd immunity. The particularly hilarious thing about this particular mocking of a study is that Mercola doesn’t believe herd immunity really exists. At least, he doesn’t think vaccines can confer herd immunity. Oh, no. To him it has to be “natural” herd immunity. Of course, one can see the difficulty achieving “natural” herd immunity if greater than 90% of the population have to get the disease and recover from it in order to achieve it? In any case, Mercola quotes BLF going straight for the naturalistic fallacy:

The fact that manmade vaccines cannot replicate the body’s natural experience with the disease is one of the key points of contention between those who insist that mankind cannot live without mass use of multiple vaccines and those who believe that mankind’s biological integrity will be severely compromised by their continued use.

… [I]s it better to protect children against infectious disease early in life through temporary immunity from a vaccine, or are they better off contracting certain contagious infections in childhood and attaining permanent immunity? Do vaccine complications ultimately cause more chronic illness and death than infectious diseases do? These questions essentially pit trust in human intervention against trust in nature and the natural order, which existed long before vaccines were created by man.

This is, of course, a classic false dichotomy. Vaccines complications are very rare, and there is no evidence that vaccines cause chronic illness, much less more chronic illness and death than the diseases they protect against. In fact, vaccines are among the very safest of medical interventions, with serious adverse reactions being very rare. None of this stops Mercola from ranting about how it is a massive pharma conspiracy driving the movement to limit nonmedical exemptions to vaccine mandates.

Unfortunately, as badly argued, badly reasoned, and full of cherry-picked and misrepresented scientific evidence as Mercola’s article is, it will probably sound superficially persuasive to many. That’s because Mercola’s a slick propagandist. He knows how to come up with the big lie and repeat it relentlessly until it seems like the truth, at least to those who don’t know any better.

Comments

  1. #1 Michael
    July 31, 2012

    I’m thinking of financing a competition that gives a free trip to the slums of India for whoever thinks that it’s better to get the illness than the vaccines.

  2. #2 Lawrence
    July 31, 2012

    I believe Blindness, Sterility, Deafness, disability due to encephalitis, and congenital birth defects from rubella would also qualify as “chronic” health conditions…..but Mercola must love them, because they come from the “natural” diseases.

  3. #3 T.
    July 31, 2012

    Michael, I have often thought the same.

    I was wondering this morning on how anti-social antivaxer are. I’ll try to explain. I am taking the HPV vaccine. I do this because:
    A. I know it is good for me since, of course, it will prevent me from getting HPV.
    B. I know it is good for the society at large. It is something I can do for my fellow Italians, since I contribute to the herd immunity

    Now, for me, B is more important than A. Meaning that I accept to take the (veeeery small but present) risk on account that it is more important that society is protected than me being protected.

    Anti-vaxers are antisocial, since they don’t want to take any risk for the benefit of society as a whole.

  4. #4 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2012

    From the CID editorial:
    Continued widespread outbreaks of pertussis in the United States [...] begs the question of more effective use of Tdap on a population level.

    * Grinds teeth, bites tongue *

  5. #5 delurked lurker
    July 31, 2012

    Hi Michael

    Just a tad racist don’t you think ?

  6. #6 MikeMa
    July 31, 2012

    @delurked,
    Michael is accurate, not racist. Here is a global map for polio. Only S. Asia and Africa are involved and the vast majority of cases are in India due to population density, fear and a host of other reasons.

    World Polio Map

    One factor is that India considers that earning 20 Rupees per day is sufficient to preclude government assistance. That is less than 50 cents US.

  7. #7 Krebiozen
    July 31, 2012

    Mercola’s claim that “contracting certain contagious infections in childhood” leads to “permanent immunity” is far from certain. When a disease is endemic in a population people are naturally exposed to it on a fairly regular basis, which may act as a natural booster. Once nearly everyone is vaccinated in childhood we are no longer expposed to these natural boosters and the immunity of those of us who had the disease may also wane. It’s another of those unexpected consequences of vaccination, like the possible rise in the incidence of shingles in populations where children are vaccinated against varicella, because the natural boost in immunity older people get from being exposed to chicken pox no longer occurs, so a zoster vaccination is advisable. Vaccination is a public health measure that has to be done fully, with boosters as necessary, or not at all, as half-assed measures can have unfortunate consequences.

    P.S. I hope you enjoyed the film at 10 Orac.

  8. #8 Cynical Pediatrician
    July 31, 2012

    Mercola: “… [I]s it better to protect children against infectious disease early in life through TEMPORARY immunity from a vaccine”

    What is your definition of “temporary?”

    Estimated half-life of humoral immunity after immunization:
    Rubella 114 years
    Mumps 542 years
    Measles 3014 years

    upper limit of 95% CI on all of above: infinity

    Source: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa066092#t=articleResults

  9. #9 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    July 31, 2012

    Mercola is a champion of pulling numbers and figures out of his ass, polishing them and showing them off.

    He also neglects to mention that ‘natural’ immunity isn’t necessarily lifelong either. You can have chickenpox more than once, whooping cough more than once, and my HS biology teacher had rubella 3 times – (and it was documented).

    Of course, the elephant in the room – by vaccinating, you don’t have to suffer the disease.

    Ignorance is bliss, and Mercola is damn blissful.

  10. #10 Krebiozen
    July 31, 2012

    Cynical Pediatrician,
    Interesting study, though most of the subjects had natural infection, only a handful were vaccinated but their humoral immunity persisted for almost as long as that in those naturally infected . It seems I was partially incorrect in my last comment, as the authors state that, “For mumps and rubella antigens, spikes in antibody titers were infrequent,
    suggesting that asymptomatic reboosting of immunity by circulating natural or wild type viruses is relatively rare.”

  11. #11 elburto
    July 31, 2012

    Michael – I want to fly Joe here to the UK, see if he dares to spew his “protection via infection” sh¡te to the parents of dead and sickened kids.

    Pertussis is rampant here at the minute, and the likes of Wakefield, Loe and Mercola have blood on their hands as far as I’m concerned.

    The country’s also full of international athletes and sports fans, so the potential for the resurgence to spread worldwide is pretty high right now.

  12. #12 MikeMa
    July 31, 2012

    I went to the London Olympics and got a lousy t-shirt and a vaccine preventable disease. And I share!

  13. #13 palindrom
    July 31, 2012

    Herr Doktor Bimler @6:23 — Is this the reason for your tooth-grinding and tongue-biting?

  14. #14 Squillo
    Perpetually in Coventry
    July 31, 2012

    Is there some kind of internet law that says if you don’t link to the actual study, you automatically lose the argument? If there isn’t, there should be.

    Because it can only mean that the writer doesn’t want the reader to, you know, read the actual study.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    July 31, 2012

    Because I steep myself in woo-meisterly propaganda, much of which involves vaccines, I can tell than Dr Joe is amongst their brightest stars.

    They believe that because a vaccine’s effects might wane over time, it is not comparable to ‘natural immunity’ . As Gary Null would whine,” Vaccination is not immunisation”.
    Flu vaccines only last a year, therefore, they’re useless. He manufactures new articles on the assembly line that is the Progressive Radio Network ( video, audio, print).

    They tell you that the risk is not worth it: HOWEVER their concept of risk includes the “one in 88″ cases of autism ’caused’ by vaccines that didn’t exist prior to the expanded vaccine schedule of oh, about 1994. ( see Age of Autism)

    They inform us that the childhood diseases weren’t really so bad. I’d tell you about my experience with measles but for some reason, I can’t seem to recall much other than being stuck in a dark room coughing, however, much older cousins relate that I missed about 3-4 weeks of school.

    Then, they terrify their audience with tales of horrendous injuries and deaths *especially* those surrounding the HPV vaccines- which didn’t HAPPEN. If a girl died from an undetected malignancy or an accident around the time she had been vaccinated, she’s included.

    If they had reality on their side, they wouldn’t need to LIE so much. Prevarication, fixing data and twisting numbers until they shriek and cry out for respite: they do this because they want their potential customers to mistrust the medical establishment and rely upon them instead.

    All of these guys are selling *a* product, as well as products:
    they are selling “Natural Health”. SBM ( and reality) is in direct competition with them for patients and their money.This fiction exists as an ideal that they spread around like a virus whilst confabulating visions of ancient days when all our ancestors lived long lives naturally in nature- free of disease and contamination by modern toxins like pharmaceuticals. Sounds like Atlantis, which also never existed.

    In other anti-vax news:

    today @ AoA, Jake Crosby displays his unique talent for harassing and subjecting SB professionals to his rather meaningless questions. Now, it’s Dr Francis Collins’ turn.

    @ TMR, Mamacita fears vaccination *shedding* prior to the start of school.

  16. #16 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 31, 2012

    From the J.D. Cherry editorial:

    The first reason, and perhaps the most important one, is that our estimates of vaccine efficacy have been inflated because of case definition.3–11 At the time of the pediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine efficacy trials in the early 1990s, it was hoped that a universal case definition could be developed so that the results of the various trials could be compared. To this end, the World Health Organization (WHO) case definition was developed.3 The primary case definition required laboratory confirmation and $21 days of paroxysmal cough. I was a member of the WHO committee and disagreed with the primary case definition because it was clear at that time that this definition would eliminate a substantial number of cases and therefore inflate reported efficacy values.4–11

    He is correct, however it is not expected that DTaP or Tdap will prevent transmission but rather attenuate disease severity down to even asymptomatic. He also states that B. parapertussis infections underestimate vaccine efficacy. Mercola, as usual is cherry-picking and a dishonest jerk for warping data to suit his purposes.

  17. #17 THS
    cool cloudy morning
    July 31, 2012

    The anti-vaccine “movement” (is that an appropriate term? Do I have a scatological pun?) astonishes me. But I’m in my early 60′s. Polio hit my family hard in the early ’50′s. That was before the Salk vaccine. I recall the relief of adults when that vaccine was introduced. There was one kid I knew who scoffed at vaccines. His parents were fundies & John Birchers. I thought he was an exception, with outlandish ideas that would never be taken seriously.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    On the cliffs, northern hemisphere
    July 31, 2012

    ( semi-OT)

    I sense a disturbance in the Force:
    there has been much frantic, spittle-drenched ranting @ PRN about the “Quackbusters” (sic) of late ( all lovingly archived at their swamplike mis-informational website) and an article trashing Dr Barrett by pseudonymous bots has been re-posted @ Gary Null.com,
    all of which informs me that something is afoot . Perhaps the *ne plus untra* de Woo is being sued or is in some other type of dire straits and he’s preparing his audience. I am not an oracle, I only report.
    We’ll see.

  19. #19 Narad
    July 31, 2012

    The euphony really isn’t with the Central and Mountain zones.

  20. #20 Krebiozen
    July 31, 2012

    What’s with the “Film at 10″ changing to “Film at 11″ (in the blog post title)? I assumed it was a ‘note to self’ that Orac left, but perhaps I’m mistaken.

  21. #21 Narad
    July 31, 2012

    Now, that was odd. It’s as though the four-minute error was changed to a three-minute one as I posted. (The comment immediately above Krebiozen’s was a reply to it.)

  22. #22 Mrs Woo
    July 31, 2012

    It is at a point that if Mr Woo hears the “v” word he immediately says, “Yes. It is terrible that our government is mandating injecting a half dozen needles with poisons and contaminants in a new-born child.” I then reply, “No, dear, there is only one vaccination given at birth.” He then assures me I am wrong (because he heard the real truth on the radio/internet, etc.). I even went to the CDC and pulled up the vax schedule (which he refused to look at) and then was redirected to the types of poisons, blah blah blah…

    The rhetoric against vaccination must be a bit louder in woodom than normal, because two or three weeks ago he was perfectly okay with vaccination and said many of them were very beneficial.

    Barbara Loe Fisher’s quotes in the article just about drove me nuts, too. I was going to ask if they were accurate and block quote them, then realized that you guys were pulling them out of the argue and deconstructing them and calling them Joe’s assertions.

    I feel terrible for any parent of the rare vaccine-injured child. There has to be nothing more terrible than having the unpredictable happen and watching your child suffer like that. Rare things do happen – children are accidentally injured/killed by cars, serious playground accidents, bicycling… we cannot predict every risk or prevent it. In the end you need to have a logical analysis of the risks a real knowledge of the benefits, and in the case of vaccination, you need to realize how the eradication of disease through vaccination works.

    It seems like a lot of people lured by the siren of anti-vaccination rhetoric put their hands over their ears repeatedly shouting “not listening” when someone who knows more than they do (and more than those who misled them) attempts to share the actual, scientifically researched, honest truth with them.

    Thank you, Joe Mercola, Mike Adams, Barbara Loe Fisher and all the rest for creating false propaganda of conspiracy theories to be sure to poison otherwise rational people against one of the easiest medical interventions in history.

  23. #23 DaveD
    July 31, 2012

    This article, which I saw a couple of days ago, intrigued me. Do other readers think it’s plausible?

    http://blogs.plos.org/bodypolitic/2012/07/26/a-forgotten-but-crucial-cause-for-the-pertussis-epidemic/

    (the author is arguing that unvaccinated adults are forming a seriously large pertussis reservoir)

  24. #24 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    July 31, 2012

    @DaveD

    Anyone whose immunity has waned (‘naturally’ acquired or vaccine acquired) is a potential reservoir for ANY vaccine preventable disease. Those of us who have not had the adult booster TDaP are certainly contributing to the transmission rates.

  25. #25 Narad
    July 31, 2012

    The adult reservoir is “forgotten”? There’s an odd hed.

  26. #26 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 31, 2012

    One pleasant surprise was the number of antivaxxers who called Mercola out on his “most pertussis cases were in the vaccinated ergo vaccination must actually increase the risk of pertussis” BS in the comments section. Several of them explained it rather well and were appropriately severe with Mercola, calling those claims of his “lies” (correctly, of course.) It’s a very, very nice change from the alties we’re familiar with, who seem willing to believe EVERYTHING that isn’t from Big Pharma and The Man, no matter how self-contradictory all of that is.

  27. #27 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2012

    Is this the reason for your tooth-grinding and tongue-biting?

    Misuse of “begging the question” makes the Babby Jesus cry.

  28. #28 Krebiozen
    July 31, 2012

    @Narad.

    The comment immediately above Krebiozen’s was a reply to it.

    Now I’m even more confused.

    @HDB,
    Since it is more often misused than used correctly, asking if he will be weeping a lot is indeed begging the question..

    On topic, whooping cough is caused by pertussis, but pertussis infection does not always cause whooping cough. i.e, pertussis does not equal whooping cough, and the vaccinated and unboosted may contract pertussis but are unlikely to get whooping cough. It took me a while reading pertussis vaccine studies to figure that out, but perhaps that’s just me.

  29. #29 Rose
    July 31, 2012

    HDB
    Makes me cry too.

  30. #30 Spectator
    July 31, 2012

    OK, grant him that vaccines are the devil’s spawn and all those old diseases are just great for you.

    Suggest:

    1. See if Mercola has himself vaccinated. I would not be surprised if he routinely gets vaccinated himself before traveling, etc. Such people are not stupid; they’ve made quite a comfortable nest for themselves.

    2. Expose him to a couple doses of each of the diseases for which we have vax. In his theory, that’s good for you as it builds up natural immunity.
    3. Popcorn.

  31. #31 bad poet
    July 31, 2012

    Short version for us vaccionationistas: If you love your kids, shoot ‘em. If you don’t care, don’t bother.

  32. #32 lilady
    July 31, 2012

    Well this is good news. I just heard about Stony Brook Hospital’s plan to offer Tdap boosters to all new parents of infants born in their hospital:

    http://www.noodls.com/viewNoodl/15348274/stony-brook-university/stony-brook-long-island-childrens-hospital-to-lead-other-ho

    Apparently there is new NY legislation that all birthing hospitals in the State must offer Tdap boosters to parents and caregivers of newborn infants.

    (My personal “ideal legislation”…or best practice… would be to have the vaccine offered to expectant parents during the last trimester, perhaps by obstetricians or when parents attending birthing classes).

  33. #33 Kathryn
    Valley of the Heart's Delight
    July 31, 2012

    I know this is OT, but the most recent on-topic thread seems to be dead.

    Dr. Harriet Hall posted at SBM about the military hiring acupuncturists and suggested we complain to our congresscritters. I turned it into a Change.org petition.

    Here’s the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-u-s-senate-protect-our-troops-from-fake-medical-procedures

  34. #34 jre
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog
    July 31, 2012

    Ah, good Herr Dr. B:
    I did once make some lemonade from the question-begging lemons. Due to an unfortunate hiccup in domain domain, the live version is down at the moment. All hail the Wayback Machine!
    http://web.archive.org/web/20090104031518/http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=21

  35. #35 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 31, 2012

    Is domain domain like Humbert Humbert?

  36. #36 Ross Coe
    Canada
    July 31, 2012

    ORAC means one thing, Pharma-paid stooge. Thinks that using labels to critique educated, intelligent, respected people is all it takes to prove them wrong. Very immature, and ineffective.

  37. #37 Lawrence
    July 31, 2012

    @Ross – wow, that’s all you got? We’re used to a slightly higher class of troll around here…..you aren’t even trying.

  38. #38 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 31, 2012

    ORAC means one thing, Pharma-paid stooge.

    Thinks that using labels to critique educated, intelligent, respected people is all it takes to prove them wrong. Very immature, and ineffective.

    Oh the irony.

  39. #39 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    July 31, 2012

    Mr. Coe, you have returned! I have asked you this several times, so perhaps you now know the answer. Exactly why can’t Roald Dahl’s oldest child tell us about her experience with measles? Do tell us all about it.

  40. #40 jre
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog
    July 31, 2012

    Is domain domain like Humbert Humbert?

    Not quite as pathetic, and a bit more detached from reality. Kind of like Major Major Major Major.

  41. #41 novalox
    July 31, 2012

    @ross coe

    Yawn, the old pharma shill gambit, the last resort of illogical anti-vaxers.

    So much irony in your statement.

    Next time, do try a little harder at your half-witted attempts at insult, m’kay?

  42. #42 Narad
    July 31, 2012

    Kind of like Major Major Major Major.

    Yet police police police police police police.

  43. #43 Von Krieger
    August 1, 2012

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. :D

  44. #44 Kelly M Bray
    Third circle, lower left, row c, seat 11.
    August 1, 2012

    I have been off fighting the good fight on HuffPo. I see the quality of trolls has not improved in in meantime.

  45. #45 lilady
    August 1, 2012

    @ Kelly M. Bray: Where on the Ho-Po are you?

  46. #46 Kelly M Bray
    Third circle, lower left, row c, seat 11.
    August 1, 2012

    I have been annoying birthers. They are just as dumb and annoying as antivaxers

  47. #47 CURLY BOB
    Houston
    August 1, 2012

    What is sacred about “natural”? The following are natural: cyanide and male bovine excrement.

  48. #48 Mark McAndrew
    August 1, 2012

    Every time I encounter another paranoid, uneducated, Epsilon-minus semi-moron frothing about ‘Big Pharma’, all I can think of is South Park’s ‘They took err jerbs…’

    Gotta watch those paid shills, though. You know, like Andrew ‘caught red-handed making it up for money’ Wakefield…

  49. #49 lilady
    August 1, 2012

    @ Flip: How about dysgraphia? Something that I suffer from occasionally, while pecking away on my laptop:

    http://www.ldinfo.com/dysgraphia.htm

    When I served on my school’s districts Committee on Special Education reviewing reports and kids’ IEPs…sometimes we provided students with the services of an amanuensis:

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-amanuensis.htm

  50. #50 lilady
    August 1, 2012

    @ Kelly M. Bray…I just posted back at you…in moderation.

  51. #51 elburto
    August 1, 2012

    Chris – I was hoping he’d returned to answer that.

    I think you’ve scared him away now.

    /sadface

  52. #52 flip
    August 1, 2012

    @lilady

    Somehow I think you posted on the wrong thread…

    At any rate, I definitely don’t have dysgraphia. My problem is usually about not being able to *turn off* the writing ;)
    I am willing to bet Orac and I could go word for word in a writing competition!

    I think in all likelihood the problem I have with maths stems from plain bad teaching in my primary years and a propensity to be interested in more creative endeavours.

  53. #53 Redloh
    August 1, 2012

    Dr Oz is slobbering over Dr Mercola as I type.

  54. #54 Shay
    The third circle of hell
    August 1, 2012

    Our dept has a booth at the county fair this week. We are vis a vis with a chiropractor shilling those foot detox strips and right next to the county Tea Party.

    I’m working the 4-8 shift tomorrow. Give me strength, Lord.

  55. #55 Middle Roader
    United States
    August 2, 2012

    “These questions essentially pit trust in human intervention against trust in nature and the natural order, which existed long before vaccines were created by man.”

    Um, you mean back when the life expectancy was significantly lower? Like say 55 years? And child mortality was so bad that some cultures didn’t even name their kids until they were 2yo?

  56. [...] Mercola was doing what he seems to do best these days and attacking vaccines, basically pulling out every antivaccine trope in the book to try to convince his readers against all science, reason, and evidence that the acellular [...]

  57. #57 Mrknowitall
    August 3, 2012

    A word about the respondents to this piece of trash article.

    I guarantee not a single person here has even rudimentary understanding of the CDC’s data involving the Salk vaccine. I encountered the same ignorance when I told my children’s doctor we are not vaccinating. He told me vaccination was the “right” thing to do. After engaging him and giving him the opportunity to convince me, it took about 30 seconds to realize he had absolutely no genuine understanding of the subject he was promoting. I was embarrassed for him just as I’m embarrassed for the nincompoops responding here who think they are informed.

  58. #58 Chris
    At lunch...
    August 3, 2012

    Mrknowitall:

    I encountered the same ignorance when I told my children’s doctor we are not vaccinating.

    Then impart your greater knowledge onto us, oh great Mrknowitall! Do provide us that data, and increase our understanding of the “CDC’s data involving the Salk vaccine.”

  59. #59 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    August 3, 2012

    @Mrknowitall

    What relevance does Salk’s vaccine (and the CDC’s data regarding it) have with the vaccine schedule of today?

    The methodology for creating, testing and monitoring vaccines and their safety and efficacy has changed since Salk’s days.

    Or do you still drive a Studebaker, too?

  60. #60 Captain Quirk
    August 3, 2012

    I though the title said, “Mercola attacks vacations again”. Which actually fits, considering that if you don’t get vaccinated and then vacation, it’s promoting getting vacations where you contract and spread preventable diseases which is an attack on vacations.

  61. #61 buckthewowser
    August 8, 2012

    So if Mercola is a fraud how do you equate GSK being convicted of exactly that to the tune of 3 billion in a fine Orac?

    don’t see Joe being sued

  62. #62 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 20, 2012

    buck, it’s not clear what point you’re trying to make. Are you seriously trying to argue that no matter how blatantly false the information Mercola provides is, it somehow isn’t false unless he’s sued for it? Baloney; even many of his own anti-vaccine readers called him out on his “if most people who came down with pertussis were vaccinated, that means that vaccination actually promotes pertussis” fallacy.

  63. #63 Taz2012
    Arizona
    August 30, 2012

    I have to disagree about the effectiveness and safety of vaccinations. I have never (except, maybe as an infant, been vaccinated for anything. The only childhood diseases I have ever had was measles and chickenpox and I never had them again. I am allergic to eggs so I cannot take a flu shot (not that I am all that anxious to have neurotoxins, detergents and antifreeze injected into me) . Vitamin supplements are all I use to prevent infections. At 58 years old I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had the flu and I rarely catch cold! I also received exemptions and have never had my two children vaccinated for anything except polio and diphtheria and NO boosters! My children are now grown and have always been healthy. The human immune system DOES NOT need artificial means to work! Vaccines are poison and only create resistant strains of whatever disease they are meant to prevent–that’s if they don’t outright kill you! Dr. Mercola is right about vaccines.

  64. #64 Travis
    August 31, 2012

    It seems pretty obvious that Dr. Mercola is onto something about the inefficiency of the vaccine if the numbers state as you note that 85 to 90% of the people who came down with the disease had been vaccinated. Ten to fifteen percent had not been vaccinated. Most likely this is the breakdown of the population in general vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated. So it seems that he is accurate in stating that the potential risks of getting the vaccination (potential chemicals, etc. in your body, bad reactions) is worse and more costly then not getting it. No real benefits, so why bother. Everyone can debate all you want but almost all the people who die are super young children and very sick people already. I have news for you all, it’s called nature and there’s probably a million people dying today. We can throw all the $$$ in the world at it and make some investors and insurance companies and drug manufacturers rich. But we are all going to get sick. And we are all going to die, sorry to inform you of such an obvious fact.

  65. [...] of the acellular pertussis vaccine doesn’t mean the vaccine doesn’t work. It means the vaccine schedule needs to be adjusted. Does all this seem concerning to parents? Sure. Could it cause confusion? Sure. That’s the [...]

  66. #66 flip
    September 1, 2012

    @Taz2012

    Two words: herd immunity.

    Actually here’s a few more (and aimed at Travis too): did you bother to read this post, or any other post about vaccines on this site? Or did you just skip to the comments?

  67. #67 lilady
    September 1, 2012

    @ Taz: Did you parents attempt to “opt out” of all childhood vaccines as well? You were born ~ 1954 and you received DPT vaccines as well as the smallpox and polio vaccines prior to be allowed to attend any school…public, private or parochial.

    You also received single antigen rubella vaccine and single antigen mumps vaccine before the MMR vacine became available. You “parents” would probably have had to provide a physician’s note to the school stating that you had a physician-diagnosed case of measles…even though more current regulations “presume” that anyone born 1957 or earlier has immunity to that disease from contracting a “wild strain” of the measles virus.

    Your “allergy” to eggs in no longer a contraindication to receiving yearly seasonal influenza vaccines.

    You really don’t know anything about how vaccines are manufactured do you? Show us citations from reliable sources that “neurotoxins, detergents and antifreeze are injected when you receive a vaccine”.

    I’m wondering where your doctor secured a single antigen diphtheria vaccine…care to enlighten us.

    So your study (n=3), is not valid. Nor is your statement (that)
    “Vaccines are poison and only create resistant strains of whatever disease they are meant to prevent–that’s if they don’t outright kill you!”

    ” Dr. Mercola is right about vaccines.” No, he is not right, but credulous people like you just lap up his pseudoscience.

    @ Travis: See my comments above, directed to Taz.

  68. #68 Margot
    September 5, 2012

    For people who claim to be more educated that the ignorant non-vaccinating masses, you sure throw around a lot of unflattering labels and insults. Sort of defeats the goals of critical thinking and thoughtful, rational conclusions, don’t you think?

    Think I’m going to get a t-shirt that says “human reservoir.”

    I may be “credulous,” “dumb,” “annoying,” “paranoid,” “uneducated,” “Epsilon-minus semi-moron[ic],” etc., but at least I have a sense of humour about all my shortcomings.

  69. [...] a month ago, I deconstructed a typically dishonest and deceitful attempt by that Overlord of Quackery on the Internet (in my opinion, of course), Joe Mercola, to claim that [...]

  70. [...] in March, 2012. Or should I say “misreferencing.” Because, as Orac said in Joe Mercola attacks vaccinations again. Film at 11., “Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), Mercola is being disingenuous here. For [...]

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!