tracy-measles-transferframe1491

Imagine, if you will, a time machine capsule going all the way back to the earliest days of this blog, back in 2005 and 2006. Now consider the antivaccine movement, which somehow I became very interested in very early, an interest that continues to this day. Do you remember one theme that I kept hitting again and again? Besides the pseudoscientific quackery often promoted by antivaccinationists, that is? That theme was false balance. Back when I first started blogging, no matter what the angle of the story, when the press reported about the topic of vaccines—or the topic of autism, for that matter—the story would almost always contain a quote from an antivaccine activist or even full interviews with the likes of Jenny McCarthy. Yes, I’m referring to the false balance the press often provided on stories about vaccines.

Those were heady days for the antivaccine movement. It got to the point where in one sense I used to dread every April, because I knew that during Autism Awareness Month the antivaccine loons would come out to play. We”d see the likes of J. B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy and her then beau Jim Carrey, Andrew Wakefield, and various other luminaries of the antivaccine movement featured on various talk shows as though they had something worthwhile to say to juxtapose with what real experts say. In another sense, as much as I hated this, from a blogging standpoint I kind of used to look forward to April, because I knew I’d have stuff to blog about, but the false balance was irritating to me and many other pro-science advocates.

Then something happened. It seemed to coincide with the complete implosion of Andrew Wakefield’s then lucrative career as the public face of the antivaccine movement, in which first he was stripped of his UK medical license, then his infamous 1998 Lancet case series that sparked the MMR scare was retracted, and then he was basically fired from his position as the medical director of Thoughtful House, the antivaccine quack clinic dedicated to “recovering” autistic “vaccine-injured” children. False balance started to go away. Oh, sure, it still pops up from time to time, but it appears to be much less frequent than it did ten years ago, or even five years ago. News stories do the “false balance” thing far less frequently, apparently having finally realized that in some scientific issues there are not two sides of an issue and that citing or interviewing antivaccinationists for “balance” is akin to interviewing geocentrists for stories about astronomy, HIV/AIDS denialists for stories about AIDS, or moon hoaxers for stories about NASA ande space exploration. You’d think that during a major measles outbreak like the Disneyland measles outbreak that’s still raging the press would be even more careful not to give false balance to the antivaccine side.

You’d be wrong.

First, there was this awful article in the New York Times by Adam Nagourney and Abby Goodnough from a week ago entitled Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland Rise, and Debate Over Vaccinations Intensifies. In amongst the rest of the article discussing the Disneyland measles outbreak, I was disheartened to find

Organizations that have led the campaign of doubts about vaccinations suggested that it was too soon to draw such a conclusion. The groups cautioned parents not to be pressured into having their children receive vaccinations, which the organizations say have been linked to other diseases. Health professionals say those claims are unfounded or vastly overstated.

“It’s premature to blame the increase in reports of measles on the unvaccinated when we don’t have all the facts yet,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group raising concerns about inoculations. “I do know this: Fifty-seven cases of measles coming out of Disneyland in a country with a population of 317 million people is not a lot of cases. We should all take a deep breath and wait to see and get more information.”

A handful of doctors seem sympathetic to these views. Dr. Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica pediatrician who has cautioned against the way vaccines are used, said he had “given more measles vaccines” than ever before but did not like giving the shot to younger children.

“I think whatever risk there is — and I can’t prove a risk — is, I think, caused by the timing,” he said, referring to when the shot is administered. “It’s given at a time when kids are more susceptible to environmental impact. Don’t get me wrong; I have no proof that this vaccine causes harm. I just have anecdotal reports from parents who are convinced that their children were harmed by the vaccine.”

Oh, bloody hell! Citing Barbara Loe Fisher? Seriously? She’s the founder of one of the oldest antivaccine organizations currently in existence. She’s the friggin’ grande dame of the modern antivaccine movement, and here the NYT is citing her alongside real scientists and doctors like Dr. Jane Seward, the deputy director of the viral diseases division at the CDC and Dr. Eric G. Handler, the public health officer for Orange County. As I’ve discussed on more occasions than I can remember, Barbara Loe Fisher spews pseudoscience and quackery about vaccines with the worst of them, having even collaborated with über-quack Joe Mercola.

The article gets worse than that, though. Barbara Loe Fisher wasn’t enough. Oh, no. Next up, Dr. Jay, who’s been getting his posterior handed to him in the comments of this post and this post. A week ago, he was being interviewed by the NYT and said:

A handful of doctors seem sympathetic to these views. Dr. Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica pediatrician who has cautioned against the way vaccines are used, said he had “given more measles vaccines” than ever before but did not like giving the shot to younger children.

“I think whatever risk there is — and I can’t prove a risk — is, I think, caused by the timing,” he said, referring to when the shot is administered. “It’s given at a time when kids are more susceptible to environmental impact. Don’t get me wrong; I have no proof that this vaccine causes harm. I just have anecdotal reports from parents who are convinced that their children were harmed by the vaccine.”

I have only one question for Mr. Nagourney and Ms. Goodnough: what the hell? If Dr. Jay doesn’t have any evidence to support his viewpoints other than his confirmation bias-laden anecdotes to support his “concerns” that vaccines are given at a time when kids are susceptible to environmental impact and that the MMR vaccine causes harm. He even knows that there’s no scientific evidence, but he keeps repeating the same information that’s not just wrong but spectacularly wrong.

And the NYT gave him a national outlet for spreading fear about vaccines. Worse, so did CBS News, which featured an interview with Dr. Jay himself just two days ago.

It’s a painful interview to watch. Worse, Dr. Jay pulls the old antivaccine trick of trying to convince CBS viewers that the measles is no big deal. He out and out says that he doesn’t think that the measles outbreak “poses any risk to a healthy child.” Seriously, he said that. In fact, in response to a question about a child with measles walking into his office, Dr. Jay doubles down:

If somebody with measles walked into Dr. Gordon’s office, 90 percent of the unvaccinated people who come in contact with them would get measles. I asked Dr. Gordon to explain how that type of contagion isn’t a risk.

“You just said it, they’d get measles,” Dr. Gordon replied. “Not meningitis, not the plague, not Ebola, they’d get measles. Measles is almost an always a benign childhood illness.”

Ah, yes. Dr. Jay is repeating once again a variant of argumentum ad Brady Bunchium, just as he did four years ago. His arguments were dumb then, and they’re even dumber now in the middle of an outbreak. As I pointed out, measles is not a benign disease, contrary to Dr. Jay’s delusions otherwise. The past and present rebuke Dr. Jay for his delusions and tell him he is wrong, wrong, wrong.

We also learn from the interview that Dr. Jay has signed hundreds of personal belief exemption forms. In response to a question over whether he feels any personal responsibility for helping to bring measles back, Dr. Jay becomes even more delusional:

“Individual parents making that decision are not the ones bringing back measles,” answered Dr. Gordon. “Measles isn’t coming back. We have 70 cases of measles right now and we have 30 million Californians.”

Yes, that’s how it starts, fool. The number of cases can be zero. It should be zero. Measles had been all but eliminated from the US, until the last few years when pockets of non-vaccinating parents drove MMR uptake rates below the level of herd immunity in areas where the patients of Dr. Jay (and, of course, Dr. Bob) live. The elimination of measles is an achievable goal, an achievable goal being undermined by useful pediatrician idiots to the antivaccine movement like Dr. Jay. Yes, that’s not Respectful Insolence. It’s not-so-Respectful Insolence, but it’s what Dr. Jay deserves right now.

Indeed, if you don’t believe me, then check out Dr. Jay’s Twitter feed. I did, and I was utterly appalled at his recent activity. Take a look:

And:

Which is, of course, an example of Dr. Jay’s monumental ignorance on the topic of measles. After all, it’s not the overall vaccination rate over the entire state that predisposes to outbreaks. It’s the low uptake in localized areas that drive MMR uptake down to the point where herd immunity is weakened to the point where outbreaks become possible. As I’ve said before, it’s not surprising that there are outbreaks in California, because there are large pockets of unvaccinated children providing the raw material for such outbreaks.

He also bears a share of responsibility for things like this:

Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.

Now, there’s a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.

Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection — what’s known as herd immunity.

But Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., a county with the dubious honor of having the highest rate of “personal belief exemptions” in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of children in Marin have a personal belief exemption, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more.

Which has led to:

Now Krawitt and his wife, Jodi, have emailed the district’s superintendent, requesting that the district “require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated.”

Carl Krawitt provided me with Superintendent Steven Herzog’s response. Herzog didn’t directly address their query, instead saying: “We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students.”

That’s right. Thanks to antivaccinationists, aided and abetted by pediatricians like Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Bob Sears, there are parents of children with leukemia who are terrified to send their children to school because there are too many children with philosophical exemptions to school vaccine mandates.

This is what scientifically ignorant pediatricians like Dr. Jay have wrought. How pediatricians like Dr. Jay and Dr. Bob can live with themselves, I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

Most of all, I don’t know what the hell CBS News and the NYT were thinking when they decided that Dr. Jay has anything of value to say about vaccines.

Comments

  1. #1 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2015

    During the year 2000 internet bug scam

    Perhaps the gibes at Y2K scammers would be better directed at Mike Adams, celebrated Millennium-bug grifter before the clock ran out and he switched to supplement fraud.

    https://www.facebook.com/osteopathandacupunctureessex/posts/918853164822072

  2. #2 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2015

    Philip Hills is also a raving misogynist.
    He seems to have had second thoughts about his choice of tasteful image for the clinic’s FB page:
    https://www.facebook.com/osteopathandacupunctureessex/photos/a.829944673712922.1073741826.260535883987140/916806291693426/?type=1&theater

  3. #3 JGC
    February 6, 2015

    So if a homeopathic remedy was 3% effective what would that tell us?

    I’d say the homeopaths preparing it must have got their dilutions/sucussions wrong.

    If placebo is 20% surely it would be safer and more effective to give everyone a saline injection and tell them they are protected against flu.

    If it were 20% effective it wouldn’t represent a placebo, by definition.

  4. #4 JGC
    February 6, 2015

    Who is predicting this JVC, is this another cornerstone of vaccination – prediction as well as guesswork?

    Why are you asking me, pop? You’re the one who linked to the article.

  5. #5 Politicalguineapig
    February 6, 2015

    JP: If this Trauma is nice and pretty, you’d have a lot of competition from me.
    Trauma Queens sounds like a band I’d listen to, actually.

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2015

    Philip Hills is also a raving misogynist.
    Lilady and other female commenters seem to bring out his inner sex offender. @277:

    ‘And, what are your qualifications to post comments about vaccines and V-P-Ds’ pants akimbo

    Ladypants your ability to quote the lord is very impressive. Are you sure that you are not a disciple of Bishop Oracus, your ability to disengage is palpable.

    So if ‘Bill Gates variant Polio’ is determined to be by ‘other causes’ lady pants let’s see who says so!

    He handled himself particularly badly (IYKWIMAITYD) when commenting on Josephine Jones’ blog.

  7. #7 JP
    February 6, 2015

    @PGP:

    Nice and pretty, not so much, I don’t think. Mostly, like, y’know, traumatic.

    I was sitting in the computer lab around this time last year, and a colleague started ranting about how “scholarship on Yiddish literature, it is all only trauma, trauma, trauma! I don’t even understand all this…. this…. trauma theory!” My friend Vlad was sitting nearby and told her, “You should ask Jamie about it, she’s the trauma queen.” “Jamie? I do not believe you! She is always laughing!” And I laughed. Really loud.

    (This same colleague now, bast a certain point of booziness, often tries to turn her parties into “trauma parties,” which she has taken to claiming is old Polish tradition. This is when I typically make my exit.)

  8. #8 Narad
    February 6, 2015

    Why don’t you do something about your asthma? I assume you are in the UK.

    Like acupuncture, Philip Hills?

  9. #9 pop sucket
    February 7, 2015

    So all in all, vaccination discussions don’t happen here because none of you seem to read your own peer review citations. No surprise that take up is falling away really.
    If you happen to bump into Phillip apologise on my behalf.

    keep up the 3%

  10. #11 Colonel Tom
    February 7, 2015

    King Phillip of Measledonia, I don’t see the point you are trying to make. If anything, it proves that charges and claims are reviewed with oversight, and if efficiency was overstated or there was any indication of autism that eventually it will always come out.

  11. #12 pop socket
    February 7, 2015

    Oh it’s just come out too that doctors and vaccine manufacturers knew as early as last summer that flu strains had mutated but carried on regardless. So 3% was planned and known way before. On Merck Col Tom, just interesting that this seems not to be on the main news when it’s in court especially when it’s looking bad for them.

  12. #13 Politicalguineapig
    February 7, 2015

    JP: Ah, fun with malaprops. Nothing like it.

    sucker pop: I just saw your post on anti-virals. Do you really think docs hand ’em out like candy? I’ve had flu a few times, and I’ve been on anti-virals one time. Not for flu, for Bell’s Palsy.

  13. #14 Narad
    February 7, 2015

    Have fun with this

    Leave it to Philip Hills to choose the dumbest fυcking source imaginable, Lawrence Solomon, in an attempt to barf up a distraction about Krahling & Wlochowski (who are in it for the money, remember?).

  14. #15 herr doktor bimler
    February 7, 2015

    This caught my eye, from back when Philip Hills had discovered the joys of anonymity and was stalking Liz Ditz:

    Oooh looks like Pooper misposted this from his porn site

    Given how much of Hills’ oeuvre can be characterised as “projection”, I am worried how he spends his time on the Intertube when he is not spamming skeptic websites. His wife would do well to check his browsing history.

  15. #16 Narad
    February 7, 2015

    His wife would do well to check his browsing history.

    Presuming that she’s not the reason he stumbled across the term “trauma dyke,” of course.

  16. #17 TBruce
    February 7, 2015

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html
    Have fun with this

    Oh, I’m having fun alright. Using professional ignoramus Lawrence Solomon as a “reference” is always good for a great big bellylaugh.

  17. #18 Politicalguineapig
    February 7, 2015

    To clarify, that was the only time I’d ever been given anti-virals. I had never been offered them before or after. Also, they are one of the most difficult to swallow pills I ever encountered- try dry-swallowing a triangular pill.

  18. #19 JP
    February 7, 2015

    @Narad:

    He seems to have made up “trauma dyke,” a phrase I find highly amusing. I’ve never heard it before, and it doesn’t bring up any results in the Google.

  19. #20 Colonel Tom
    February 7, 2015

    I was on an anti-viral for shingles, which I had self-diagnosed as flesh eating bacteria. I don’t remember which anti-viral I took, but it was effective.

  20. #21 Narad
    February 8, 2015

    I’ve never heard it before, and it doesn’t bring up any results in the Google.

    I’m merely calling feeble “Anton Chigurh” territory.

  21. #22 lilady
    February 8, 2015

    Colonel Tom: You were prescribed one of three anti-viral medications:

    http://www.uptodate.com/contents/shingles-beyond-the-basics

    Think about getting a shingles vaccine.

  22. #23 herr doktor bimler
    February 8, 2015

    professional ignoramus Lawrence Solomon
    As a professional obfuscator, Solomon qualifies for the title ‘ignorabimus’.

  23. #24 Colonel Tom
    February 8, 2015

    @Lilady Yes, I suspect I was prescribed one of the three standard treatments. I am just, disappointed, with my memory that I can not remember which one. Just as an aside, people with hypercholesteremia like myself sometimes develop plaques in the cerebral arteries also. There is a kind of dementia that can develop. I often worry when I forget something. Having lost parts of my mind during cardiac artery rerouting and rota-routing, I likely pay too much attention to forgetting even the smallest detail.

    Back to point. I am not 60 yet, nor was I 50 when I had my breakout. Insurance will not pay for shingles vacc, even with the previous flare-up. My doctor has talked me out of the cost of the shot. That is almost certainly the most profitable tact for the insurance company to take.

    I really was convinced that it was a hospital spawned bacteria, I had just gotten some cardiac testing prior to the flare-up so exposure was there. Small painful sores that did not respond to over-the-counter antibiotic cream.

  24. #25 liz merrill
    calif
    February 8, 2015

    I would like to see a simple statistic re the measles outbreak in disney land world, whatever: of the children/individuals etc that
    are fighting measles, what is the percentage of those that were vaccinated? What is that %? obviously a hidden fact, that blows the vaccine movement out of the water! All the studes re new drugs, where is a study/ or studies re vaccines and their adverse effects and their efficacy before “approval”? cite me one study, if you can!!

  25. #26 pop socket
    February 9, 2015

    Col Tom, differences aside why don’t you check this short film out showing that most cardiovascular diseases are in effect entry level scurvy. You can do a lot to change your prognosis and start now. Try liposomal vitamin C, you can make your own or buy it. 1gm is equivalent to 10g iv. Good luck.
    http://www.credence.org/video/heart/
    Used to be able to watch this without registering but it is worth the time and you can always insubscribe.

  26. #27 pop socket
    February 9, 2015

    Yes Liz, a stat like that would be very interesting. Why on earth are these stats not collected? Some ethics committee decided that for reasons of cloak and dagger that vaccines could not be tested with a control group of no vaccine because vaccines are supposed to protect and ‘not protecting’ would be unethical. This is broken logic, the vaccine being ‘tested’ has nothing to text it against and it assumes, wrongly, that the vaccine already works!

  27. #28 Lawrence
    February 9, 2015

    @liz & pop – that “sooper sekret” information is publicly available and published on a weekly basis by the CDC.

    Wow, conspiracy-minded much?

  28. #29 TBruce
    February 9, 2015

    Wow, conspiracy-minded much?

    Meanie. Now you’ve gone and spoiled their fun.

  29. #30 Lawrence
    February 9, 2015

    Just freakin’ annoying that they would be asking for information that not only had been published here, but is also publicly available via the CDC website & updated weekly.

    And they say they “research….” What a crock.

  30. #31 Lawrence
    February 9, 2015

    @liz – and the clinical trial process for any new drug is public knowledge as well….what, do you live in a cave?

  31. #32 doug
    February 9, 2015

    Given that measles is extraordinarily contagious, if the proportion of vaccinated people that were still susceptible were not very very small, we would expect to see thousands, if not tens of thousands, of cases by now (i.e. from the Disneyland outbreak).

  32. #33 Colonel Tom
    Land of Meadows
    February 9, 2015

    Actually, I take additional Vit C, have for the last 40 years. Apparently I must not have been holding my mouth correctly as I still developed heart disease. Increased C does nothing for my HDL, my LDL or any other measurable risk factors. Nor is there any credible studies to link it to changing any labs and only a minor effect noticed in one out of two large studies.

    The real shame about being on warafin is that I used to love grapefruits. I remember eating them with my father, peeling and eating them in the chair covered by the hide of the wild nagga. (test your memory for that reference). Before my pacemaker replacement I had to go off the rat poison, and I went to visit my father’s bones and eat a grapefruit over the ground that absorbs his last back into creation.

    Vitiamin C does not stop heart disease, it is like trying to stop an elephant with pocket knife. To claim otherwise, is to show yourself a fool and liar.

  33. #34 Narad
    February 9, 2015

    why don’t you check this short film out showing that most cardiovascular diseases are in effect entry level scurvy.

    Quite amusing, coming from Mr. “Catastrophic Heart Rupture.”

  34. #35 Colonel Tom
    February 9, 2015

    Obviously, while I have been taking elevated amounts of Vit C for 45 years, my single anecdotal event disproves without a doubt the “entry level scurvy” theory.

  35. #36 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 9, 2015

    I would like to see a simple statistic re the measles outbreak in disney land world, whatever: of the children/individuals etc that
    are fighting measles, what is the percentage of those that were vaccinated? What is that %? obviously a hidden fact, that blows the vaccine movement out of the water!

    Actually, no. That “simple statistic” could not tell you anything meaningful by itself.

    Suppose you were told that in a particular community, everyone either belonged to the Foo group or to the Bar group. You have no idea what percentage of the population is Foo and what percentage is Bar. If you are given a statistic such as “30% of the money raised by the charity drive was donated by Foos”, can you safely conclude “Foos are more generous than Bars”? No, you cannot. If Foos happen to be 30% of the population, that means that Foos and Bars contributed the same amount per person, on the average. If Foos make up 80% of the population, yet they only contributed 30% of the charity totals, suddenly the Bars look like the generous ones. But then the picture changes if we find out Foos are only 2% of the population; suddenly they look amazingly generous!

    When it comes to outbreaks, the non-vaccinated are almost without exception the “generous” ones when it comes to giving us disease cases (though it’s a generosity no one wants!) Time after time, outbreak after outbreak, the nonvaccinated account for a percentage of the cases that is FAR above the less than 10% they make up of the general population. Do you realize what it means that in some outbreaks, the unvaccinated cases actually do constitute the greater percentage of the total outbreak cases? You have to have a relative risk factor in excess of 500% for that to happen!

  36. #37 liz merrill
    February 14, 2015

    @liz & pop – that “sooper sekret” information is publicly available and published on a weekly basis by the CDC.

    Wow, conspiracy-minded much?

    SO PLEASE POST THE LINK, IF YOU CAN, DON’T SHOOT YOUR MOUTH OFF, WHERE’S THE LINK IN THE CDC SITE THAT SHOWS THE RESEARCH?

  37. #38 Lawrence
    February 14, 2015

    Wow – all CAPS. I must have struck a nerve.

    I wasn’t going to bother, but since I was able to find this in about 2 secs, I thought I would post it:

    http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

  38. #39 novalox
    February 14, 2015

    @liz

    Your lack of internet search skills as well as your bizarre postings says a lot about you.

  39. #40 MarkN
    February 14, 2015

    Here’s the MMWR:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm64e0213a1.htm

    Up to about 12% infected may have been technically on schedule, with floating rates of 1 to 3 shots — 1% had 3 shots. Combined 88% unvaccinated & unknown, with 67% “personal beliefs” exemption status.

    What it doesn’t tell you is titers before infection of those on schedule, and of course how many exposed that were vaccinated didn’t develop symptoms, which you could Ro it from the infected at the 18 exponent.

  40. #41 MarkN
    February 14, 2015

    A couple other numbers jump out — median age at 22.
    Of the 84 symptomatic to the ER, the hospitalized (bad enough to be actually admitted) was at 20%.

    An underestimated disease process by those who should have the education to avoid this problem, but still made a bad decision in playing the odds.

  41. #42 Sarah A
    February 14, 2015

    …and of course how many exposed that were vaccinated didn’t develop symptoms, which you could Ro it from the infected at the 18 exponent.

    Indeed you can. Since measles infects 90% of susceptible people exposed, 49 unvaccinated cases means that 54 unvaccinated people were exposed. Since the vaccination rate is about 90%, 54 unvaccinated exposures means that 490 vaccinated people were exposed. Of those, 12 developed measles (if you lump all the vaccinated cases together), meaning that vaccinated people had a 2.4% chance of developing measles, compared to a 90% chance for unvaccinated people.

  42. #43 MarkN
    February 14, 2015

    Arguably, you could support an even lesser chance of developing symptoms — at 1% if up to date on everything as an adult.

    As I said “technically” on schedule, some kids may be on schedule, but at 1 shot, the effect is an avg 93%, the 2nd shot gets you to 97%, and the third to 99%, on avg. So a floating scale, but all the vaccinated adults should be under that typical std deviation percentage 2.4-2.5% for a normal distribution.

    Splitting the hypothetical hair.

    Also, some may not have the mutation booster from the late 1980’s, so that could play a confounding role.

    Anyway, that MMWR pretty much puts the writing on the wall for everyone to see the true deleterious community health effect from the “personal belief” exemptions.

  43. #44 Sarah A
    February 14, 2015

    Yeah, I thought it was interesting that nearly half of the vaccinated cases had only had one dose – I imagine that population would be quite small, since it would mostly be kids between the first and second doses. That definitely argues for a greater efficacy for the second dose compared to the first. I wish they had also published the vaccination status of the people who were hospitalized, since one of the things antivaxers frequently ignore when arguing that vaccines are useless because they’re not 100% effective is that breakthrough infections are generally less severe.

  44. […] was played for laughs. It’s the claim, echoed by antivaccine pediatricians Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon that the measles just isn’t that bad. Wrong, wrong, wrong, […]

  45. #46 liz merrill
    February 16, 2015

    how many people have died from measles ? what is the death rate per 100k?

  46. #47 liz merrill
    February 16, 2015

    conspiracy theories aside, do you really trust pharmies? who knows what’s in the vaccine formulation, really cmon, if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines?? fear is a great motivator.

  47. #48 liz merrill
    February 16, 2015

    During 2011, a provisional total of 222 measles cases were
    reported from 31 states (Figure 1). The median age of the
    patients was 14 years (range: 3 months to 84 years); 27 (14%)
    were aged <12 months, 51 (26%) were aged 1–4 years, 42
    (21%) were aged 5–19 years, and 76 (39%) were aged ≥20
    years. Most patients were unvaccinated (65%) or had unknown
    vaccination status (21%). Of the 222, a total of 196 were U.S.
    residents. Of those U.S. residents who had measles, 166 were
    unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status,no deaths were reported. 26% of these cases were vaccinated and yet acquired the virus..

  48. #49 JP
    February 16, 2015

    conspiracy theories aside, do you really trust pharmies? who knows what’s in the vaccine formulation, really cmon, if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines?? fear is a great motivator.

    You seem to be having difficulties with the understanding, usage, or both, of the word “aside.”

  49. #50 TBruce
    February 16, 2015

    who knows what’s in the vaccine formulation, really cmon, if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines?? fear is a great motivator.

    Fear is a great motivator, which the antivax loons use to the max. For instance, consider your preceding sentence.

    BTW, since your name isn’t e e cummings, you don’t get to ignore the shift key without looking pretentious.

  50. #51 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 16, 2015

    @liz merrill:

    how many people have died from measles ? what is the death rate per 100k?

    From Wikipedia:

    Measles affects about 20 million people a year, primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia. It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013 down from 545,000 deaths in 1990. In 1980, the disease is estimated to have caused 2.6 million deaths per year. Before immunization in the United States between three and four million cases occurred a year. Most of those who are infected and who die are less than five years old. The risk of death among those infected is usually 0.2%, but may be up to 10% in those who have malnutrition.

    As for

    [W]o knows what’s in the vaccine formulation[?]

    Every single medication on the market has to be checked by the FDA. You are beginning to look like a conspiracy theorist.

    if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines??

    Actually, scratch the “beginning to look like”. You are now in full conspiracy theory mode.

  51. #52 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 16, 2015

    if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines?

    Well, since you ask, I think the following would be better ways to control the masses than through vaccines:
    – Political speeches
    – Religion
    – Appeals to ancient prejudices and hatreds
    – Using words to mean something other than their actual meanings in order to trick people into doing what you want

    The problem with using vaccines to control the masses is that you’ve got no end game. Someone gets the vaccine – and s/he is no longer under your control. However, if you work to convince people something untrue about vaccines so that they’ll believe your theory about how the government, business, and the medical-industrial complex are trying to control them via vaccines, you can get them to do all kinds of things. Things like, well, donate money. Or write letters to the editor. Or even comment on someone’s blog.

    Thanks for asking!

  52. #53 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 16, 2015

    Note: if you really meant

    f you really wanted to control the measles, what better way than thru vaccines?

    but were foiled by spell check, then I would agree with you.

  53. #54 herr doktor bimler
    February 16, 2015

    who knows what’s in the vaccine formulation

    Anyone who cared enough to take a sample to a laboratory. If conspiracy theorists can’t be arsed getting it analysed, I guess they don’t really care.

  54. #55 LIz Ditz
    United States
    February 16, 2015

    Sigh. False balance at NatGeo:

    Aquino sounds conflicted too. She’s certain she is doing the right thing by her children. But when asked how she would respond to parents who might say her unvaccinated children are endangering their children, she swings between angst and reproach.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150214-vaccine-family-doubt-measles-california/

  55. #56 MarkN
    February 16, 2015

    wow Liz, there’s nothing like letting the world think you’re a fool, than to speak out and confirm it.

  56. #57 MarkN
    February 16, 2015

    446-448 (for point of reference of my comment)

  57. #58 liz merrill
    February 20, 2015

    From my comment 448, taken from cdc site, “26% of these cases were vaccinated and yet acquired the virus..”
    If you think you think you’re up to it, explain the stat, without diversion, and attacking my intelligence, if you can.

  58. #59 liz merrill
    February 20, 2015

    why are you people giving a rat’s a s s with regards to measle vaccination, when smoking is the big killer??

  59. #60 liz merrill
    February 20, 2015

    forced / mandatory vaccinations with penalties, and ban the sale of cigarettes, Allright!!

  60. #61 JP
    February 20, 2015

    26% of these cases were vaccinated and yet acquired the virus.

    That’s easy, Liz. It’s pretty basic math.

    Let’s say that 95% out of 100 people are vaccinated. The measles vaccine is 99% effective, which means that slightly less than one person out of the cohort of 95 vaccinated people when exposed to the measles. Let’s round up and say one person.

    We’ve got 5 vaccinated people, of whome fully 90% will contract measles if exposed to it. That’s 4.5 people. Let’s round down to 4.

    Out of a group of 100 people, we’ve got 5 measles cases, 1 in a vaccinated person and 4 in unvaxxed people. That already gives us 20% of cases in vaxxed people. Figure in the fact that “vaccinated” could refer to babies who’ve only received one dose of the vaccine, and you could easily end up with 26% of measles cases in vaccinated individuals.

  61. #62 JP
    February 20, 2015

    ^ one person out of the cohort of 95 vaccinated people when exposed to the measles will come down with it.

    No explanation for my old-timey spelling of “whom” but butterfingers.

  62. #63 herr doktor bimler
    February 20, 2015

    if you really wanted to control the masses, what better way than thru vaccines

    No, no, you must control the spice.
    What are they teaching kids at school today?

  63. #64 JP
    February 20, 2015

    why are you people giving a rat’s a s s with regards to measle vaccination, when smoking is the big killer??

    I see no reason why a person can’t be concerned with both smoking and with the measles.

    forced / mandatory vaccinations with penalties, and ban the sale of cigarettes, Allright!!

    Oh, is that your position? Personally, I don’t think an outright ban on the sale of cigarettes has any chance of going anywhere. Taxing the heck out of them seems to be fairly effective, though.

  64. […] The media seem to be learning, although the Disneyland measles outbreak has unfortunately somewhat resurrected false balance or even explicitly antivaccine […]

  65. […] tendencies, to apply the concept of “balance” to scientific stories, turning it into false balance. While telling both sides is usually a good thing when it comes to the majority of stories, in […]

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