One of the odd things about having been a blogger as long as I have been is that, occasionally, posts that I wrote years ago rise up to bite me long after I’ve forgotten that I even wrote them. Actually, that’s usually not the right way to put it. Blogging is a very short term activity in that most posts are very ephemeral. They’re usually (but not always) about something immediate, of the moment. Don’t get me wrong. There are quite a few posts that I’ve written that aren’t so ephemeral and could be read now without reference to the events or news that inspired them and be just as good now as they were then. But most posts are firmly rooted in the moment they were written. Actually, what usually happens is that someone finds and old post of mine, is offended by it or otherwise unhappy, and then writes an article or a blog post in response.

So it was yesterday, when a post from three years ago was resurrected for the sake of complaining about how very, very unfair and mean I am about antivaccinationists and how I should never, ever have called a man by the name of Mark Largent “clueless” even though what he wrote was, in fact, evidence of cluelessness. Those of you who’ve followed the antivaccine movement along with me for a while will know, upon seeing the title of the article (What if not all parents who question vaccines are foolish and anti-science?, with the subtitle It is not completely unreasonable for parents to ask about safety concerns) just how problematic its contents likely will be. The first indication that the author of the post is attacking a straw man is right there in the very title! No one, least of all I, says that all (or even most) parents who doubt vaccines are antiscience and antivaccine. Rather, we recognize that the leaders of the antivaccine movement tend to be profoundly antiscience because science doesn’t support their antivaccine views. Indeed, I long ago lost track of how many times I’ve said this and added that it is at the fence sitters and the parents who have doubts that I aim my deconstructions of antivaccine pseudoscience. I don’t blame the author of this piece, Alice Dreger, for not reading some of the other posts I’ve written on the subject. No one expects that. But it would have been nice if she actually read the post that she uses as an example of “pro-vaccine zealots” supposedly mindlessly label all parents who express doubts about vaccines as “antivaccine,” because nowhere in that post do I recognize her characterization of my arguments.

Indeed, Dreger arguably missed the point entirely when I pointed out that the fears of vaccines are almost always rooted in pseudoscience. They are, but, as I’ve pointed out more times than I can remember, to someone who is not knowledgeable enough about the topic to recognize the pseudoscience, those irrational pseudoscientific arguments seem rational. If you mistakenly believe the misinformation, it is rational, based on what you know, to start to fear vaccines. It’s concept I’ve referred to as “misinformed consent” not to vaccinate. If you start to believe the misinformation of the antivaccine movement claiming that vaccines are dangerous and that they don’t work that well, then of course you’re going to start to become worried and fearful! That’s what we’re fighting, the misinformation that poisons the decision-making process of these parents who are vaccine-averse!

Let’s take a look at Dreger’s complaints. Before she launches into her harangue directed at me (and other skeptics who battle antivaccine pseudoscience), she very explicitly (and defensively) tries to inoculate herself against charges of being “antivaccine” by holding up her 15 year old son as an example, wielding him like a shield by emphasizing that she always kept him “exactly on the vaccination schedule required by our state of Michigan” and bragging that at age 15 he is “fully vaccinated according to public health recommendations.” All of this is well and good, but none of it means that the arguments she makes are a good ones, nor does it necessarily inoculate her against charges of being “antivaccine,” particularly given that she definitely comes across as trying too hard when she goes on to relate how she pesters her doctor about whether there are any vaccines she’s missing and how she got the HPV vaccine, even though it’s not specifically recommended for women in their 40s, because she thought it would give her more authority when she urged young people to get it. After all, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of the most vociferous antivaccinationists out there over the last decade, risibly describes himself as “fiercely pro-vaccine” and brags about how he vaccinated all his children—while neglecting to mention that his youngest child was born five years before he started publishing antivaccine articles and likening vaccination to the Holocaust. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think she is antivaccine. Rather, like Largent, she is merely ignorant about the antivaccine movement and a little too enamored of her self-proclaimed “reasonableness” because she’s not a “zealot.”

This brings her to the crux of her complaint:

But I suspect all that testimony won’t matter given what else I’m about to say. Because as soon as one questions anything about vaccines – as soon as one expresses any doubt or concern about any vaccine practice – one risks being labelled an “anti-vaxxer”. Or at least represented as a kind of gunrunner to the anti-vax camp.

Or, as Warren Zevon put it and Linda Ronstadt sang it so long ago, Poor, Poor Pitiful Me. Let’s just put it this way. Express pro-vaccine advocacy and criticize antivaccine pseudoscience, and you’ll be labeled a corporate shill, an unfeeling monster who attacks mothers of special needs children, or even downright evil. You might even be subjected to campaigns to get you fired from your job. Oh, wait. I was! On multiple occasions!

This segued into her account of a meeting with Mark Largent, author of Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America, which Dreger describes thusly:

In his work, Largent refuses to take sides with either a) the anti-vaxxers, who think vaccines cause disorders such as autism, or b) the anti-anti-vaxxers – let’s call them the vaccine zealots – who think any parent who resists any vaccination is a dangerous idiot. Even though Largent is easily as “pro-vaccine” and pro-science as I am, among the frenzied zealots his sympathy for resister parents has marked him out as a heretic.

And Dreger wonders why Largent catches flak. She should look no further than her own description of him. Then she should go back and look at what I actually wrote about him in a post whose title should tell you where I’m coming from: Respecting parental concerns versus pandering to antivaccine fears. What pediatricians do when discussing vaccines, even with vaccine-averse parents, is to respect parental concerns and try to address them. What people like Largent and Dreger seem to think we should be doing is to pander to antivaccine fears, as you will see. Ironically, in her post, Dreger even describes an example of how a pediatrician should respect parental concerns even as she’s complaining about a nurse whom she perceived as not doing that. (See below.)

Note the framing of the issue by Dreger. She couldn’t be more blatant (while claiming to be even-handed) if she tried. To Dreger, Largent is oh-so-reasonable because he refuses to take sides between the “antivaxers” who think vaccines cause autism and the “anti-antivaxers,” who are portrayed as being “zealots,” the implication being that they are just as unreasonable as the antivaxers. It’s the appeal to moderation (a.k.a. the fallacy of the golden mean) writ large. Where people like Largent and Dreger go wrong is in the assumptions inherent in this fallacy, which are that (1) extreme positions are never reasonable or correct and (2) the correct answer lies between the two extreme positions somewhere. An excellent example to illustrate the problem with this fallacy can be found here, where an example is provided:

Bob wants to exterminate all the termites in the house. Alice doesn’t want to exterminate them at all. Therefore, the correct course of action is to kill exactly half of the termites.

This is an exaggeration to make a point, of course. Sometimes the “golden mean” will involve killing 75% or 25% of the termites. The point behind the fallacy is that it is never, ever correct in the minds of those appealing to moderation to take one side or the other. Unfortunately for Dreger and Largent, for some questions of science there are actually right and wrong answers. The answer to the “debate” between science and pseudoscience is not halfway between the two. It’s science. This is the fundamental problem with the sorts of arguments Largent and Dreger make.

Also, as I said before, none of this means that one can’t respect parental concerns without compromising on science, but that’s the fundamental false dichotomy on display here. To her, Largent is a brave maverick historian because he “thinks differently”:

Largent also bucks the usual trend among the sometimes self-righteous zealots by refusing to see public-health vaccine recommendations as a purely scientific prescription. In fact, he calls the recommended childhood vaccination schedule “a political artefact” – not a simple blooming of the science but a wrangled set of mandates and recommendations that it is not unreasonable for parents to question.

Which shows that, when it comes to who is and is not “antivaccine,” Dreger is just as clueless as Largent. (Yes, I’m intentionally using that word.) She’s attacking yet another straw man. First of all, no one has said that it’s completely unreasonable for parents to question the recommended vaccine schedule or claim that the CDC-recommended schedule is a “simple blooming of science.” However, when you compare the claims of antivaccine zealots (to steal Dreger’s term shamelessly) with the CDC schedule, only one is supported by science. (Hint: It’s not the claim of antivaccinationists.) In fact, as I read through Dreger’s article, I couldn’t help but thinking of a term I once heard: A pyromaniac in a field of straw men. It’s a good description.

Dreger relates an incident that gives an idea where she’s coming from. Basically, it’s all about the needles and how some health care professionals deal with parents. Dreger starts by lamenting how in the first 18 months of life children receive 25 vaccinations and how that was too much for her, at least, to process:

I remembered with some surprise that I could have reasonably been labelled a “vaccine-anxious parent”. My maternal instinct was riled with every new round of shots and cries and tears: I remembered one particular visit to our paediatrician when my gut instinct had a sharp argument with my brain. I can’t even remember what the vaccine was; I just remember that Gut was yelling, “Enough already! Stand between our baby and that needle!” Trying to stay calm, Brain answered: “Vaccines are safe, and necessary not just for our baby’s health but for the health of those around him, especially children more vulnerable than him . . .”

That one time, I asked the nurse if I could see the written literature on this vaccine. I wanted more information not because I was going to refuse the shot, but because I wanted Brain to shut Gut up. She looked shocked and annoyed and told me testily that there wasn’t any information available. The jab was just compulsory.

No pamphlet in the box, for parents? I asked.

No, she said.

I suddenly regretted even asking. Would I be labelled a “worried” mother, or worse, a “non-compliant” one?

At this point the doctor came in the room and addressed her fears, printing out information sheets about the vaccine. In other words, she encountered what sounds like an impatient nurse, who might have been a bit more snippy than she should have been with a patient’s mother. Then the doctor came in and was more patient and allayed her fears. I’m sure scenes like this play out in pediatricians’ offices all over the country. And who knows? If the doctor isn’t effective in allaying the fears or isn’t as understanding as Dreger’s pediatrician was, they probably contribute to antivaccine views. Moreover, contrary to Dreger’s straw man portrayal, it is also these parents that I’m worried about because they are the very ones who are susceptible to the blandishments and pseudoscience promoted by the antivaccine movement. They’re the ones who have doubts that can be inflamed by the misinformation promoted by the likes of Jenny McCarthy.

Largent and Deger go especially wrong in giving way too much benefit of the doubt to a leader of the antivaccine movement. I’m referring, of course, to Jenny McCarthy, whom Largent doesn’t label as an “antivaxer.” That, of course, is truly clueless as well. I’ve discussed on many occasions how Jenny McCarthy’s claim that she is “not antivaccine” but rather is “pro-vaccine safety” is disingenuous and not convincing (it is, after all, one of many antivaccine tropes), and her knowledge of science that she uses to justify her antivaccine views is epically woeful. Let me quote Jenny McCarthy again:

People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines. Please understand that we are not an antivaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins. If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the fucking measles.

If that’s not antivaccine, I don’t know what is. So is this post by Laura Hayes, hot off the presses on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, in which she asks questions like:

  • What mother willingly poisons her own child?
  • What mother would allow something that could cause cancer, say asbestos, to be injected into her child?
  • What mother would allow something that could cause life-altering and life-threatening asthma and allergies to be injected into her child?
  • What mother would allow something that could kill her baby to be injected into her otherwise healthy child?
  • So then, what mother willingly poisons her child with the vaccines recommended by our nation’s CDC, which are then mandated by the state in which she lives?

And then she makes it very clear:

Please help stop this vaccine madness, this vaccine holocaust against our children.

In case you think she doesn’t know how ridiculous her exaggeration is or what the Holocaust was, she defines it parenthetically:

(The definition of a holocaust is destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, which is exactly the effect that our nation’s vaccine program is having.)

There’s another post on the very same day (today) that very much like that by William Gaunt entitled The Elephant in the Living Room. The post is built around a metaphor involving a two-year-old child found in the living room with his head crushed. In the room there is also an elephant whose “hooves” are dripping with blood. This happens as the police are examining the crime scene:

The younger detective says, “What about the elephant? It seems clear that…” His older partner interrupts him and takes him aside. He says, “If you want to keep your job, you will disregard the elephant as a suspect. It is an absolute career killer to accuse an elephant of anything bad. The CDC has funded several scientific studies which show that elephants are safe and effective and above reproach. Take it from me, you don’t want to go there. We can come up with any cockamamie story we want but it is totally politically incorrect to even mention the possibility that the elephant had any role in this child’s death.” The younger detective said, “Sorry. I didn’t know.”

That’s right. To this naturopath, using a metaphor in which vaccination is likened to an elephant crushing a toddler’s head but not being suspected because of a religious or ideologic belief that the elephant can’t do anything wrong is perfectly “reasonable.” And you know what? That post on AoA sounds not unlike what Dreger is claiming when she accuses us “vaccine zealots” of this:

But as Largent has been learning, you can’t say these things. You have to subscribe to vaccine exceptionalism – vaccines are all necessary, safe and effective and should never be questioned! – or risk being crushed. In the zealots’ eyes, in the battle to vaccinate the world, moderates must be crushed so that children can be saved.

It’s eerie how much Dreger sounds like Gaunt, isn’t it? Hers is exactly the same complaint as Gaunt’s (that you can’t criticize vaccines, no matter what), minus Gaunt’s nauseating dead child metaphor.

Elephants aside, what would Largent or Deger call someone like Hayes, who likens the vaccine program to the Holocaust and means it. She’s not alone among these “vaccine-averse” parents, either. As I alluded to above, no less a luminary of the antivaccine movement, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has used that very same analogy at least twice that I know of. RFK, Jr. is not alone, either. Perhaps the most offensive example of this sort of behavior comes from Heather Barajas, one of these “vaccine averse” parents, who unironically donned a badge with a syringe with a red line through it and juxtaposed that image with Jews during the Holocaust being forced to wear a badge with a yellow Star of David on it. Indeed, I have a whole running series of posts called Annals of “I’m not antivaccine” in which I’ve documented these “vaccine averse” parents likening vaccines to human trafficking, rape, and other evil as varied as the Oklahoma City bombing and the sinking of the Titanic. This series has been going on for five years now and is up to installment #17, with no sign of running out of material. I could go on and on if I want to.

I wonder whether Largent or Dreger has ever asked one of these “vaccine averse” parents like Jenny McCarthy or one of the merry band of antivaccinationists at, say, Age of Autism or The Thinking Moms’ Revolution a couple of very simple questions:

  • Is there a vaccine that you consider safe and effective enough to give to your child? (The answer will either be no or consist of dodging the question.)
  • What would it take to demonstrate to you that vaccines are safe and effective? (The answer will inevitably be levels of evidence not attainable in the real world.)

That’s because, as I point out from time to time, aside from a few refreshingly honest and self-aware antivaccine zealots, no one wants to be perceived as “antivaccine.” So antivaccinationists tell themselves that they aren’t “antivaccine” but rather “pro-vaccine safety” in order to deflect that charge.

Not surprisingly, Dreger, as pro-vaccine as she is, can’t resist agreeing with certain antivaccine tropes. She points to the varicella vaccine as unnecessary because chickenpox is a “a minor disease for most healthy children.” (Don’t mind those kids who suffer encephalitis or secondary infections.) Yes, it’s uncommon, but Dreger seems to be echoing the appeal to The Brady Bunch argument, which downplays the seriousness of measles based on an old sitcom, only with a different disease. She goes on and on about pharmaceutical company influence (yawn). She cites the anthrax vaccine as an example of an unsafe vaccine, as if public health scientists and physicians don’t weigh the risk-benefit ratios of the various vaccines in the pediatric schedule, which by any stretch of the imagination are incredibly safe.

Make no mistake, Dreger paints pro-vaccine advocates as being fanatics. She uses the word “zealot” repeatedly to describe them, adding to them on occasion the descriptors “frenzied” and “self-righteous.” I respond, at least to the charge of self-righteousness: Pot. Kettle. Black. Dreger’s article oozes self-righteousness out of every paragraph. Just look at the way she repeatedly takes great pains to contrast herself and Largent to those self-righteous frenzied pro-vaccine zealots, painting them as being unfairly attacked for daring to be different and speak The Truth because those damned vaccine zealots are too dogmatic to be able to see that they really are pro-vaccine. In Dreger’s mind, she and Largent are clearly oh-so-reasonable (and therefore oh-so-superior to those of us who take a stand), while “pro-vaccine zealots” (like me and, presumably, many of my readers) are fanatics who subscribe to a black and white view of everything and view her and Largent (who, of course, can see the “shades of gray”) as “heretics” against what she refers to as the “deeply embedded dogma.”

Indeed, I find it amusing how much she complains about my language when her post drips with language every bit as loaded as anything I’ve ever written. I mean, seriously. Her whole point in this article is to portray us as religious zealots, the implication being that our beliefs are more akin to religion than science. This leads me to ask: Is it any less hard core to portray someone you disagree with as a self-righteous zealot subscribing to unscientific beliefs who can’t see shades of gray than it is simply to label someone clueless about the realities of how the antivaccine movement operates? I say no. In fact, I ask you to go back and read my original article. See if you don’t agree that, in many ways (other than the use of the word “clueless” to describe Mark Largent in one paragraph), its language is more nuanced and less loaded than Dreger’s article. Let’s just put it this way. If she thinks that we don’t know that vaccine guidelines are not pure science or that public health recommendations involve making hard tradeoffs, it is she who needs an education.

In the end, Dreger’s problem is obvious to me. She doesn’t seem able to properly differentiate between real vaccine-averse parents, whom those of us who are pro-vaccine completely sympathize with, from the hard core antivaccine movement whose face has been Jenny McCarthy. While it’s true that the line between the two is not always a sharp one, Dreger seems all too willing bend over backward to draw the line deep in antivaccine territory, to the point where she is willing to agree with Largent that Jenny McCarthy is not antivaccine. As I point out frequently, the normal run-of-the-mill vaccine-averse parent isn’t antivaccine, but she does have fears. These fears often flow from the same primal instincts that led Dreger to recoil at having her baby stuck with needles, but they are stoked by the pseudoscientific propaganda promoted in the media by Jenny McCarthy and multiple antivaccine blogs, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts.

Dreger mentions an observation by Largent that the number of hard core antivaccinationists (the ones who refuse all vaccines) has remained steady at around 3% for the last century (as if we don’t know this), further noting that he doesn’t include “people who resist particular vaccines or who deviate from the mandated schedules.” What Dreger doesn’t seem to recognize is that we don’t count those people as antivaccine either. We worry about them because they are the ones influenced by the hard core antivaccinationists, who, thanks to the Internet, have far more easy outlets to spread their misinformation and stoke the fears of these parents about specific vaccines. It is not these parents at whom our criticism is primarily aimed. It’s at the 3% who make up the population who maintain blogs like Age of Autism, publish books like Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury–a Known Neurotoxin–from Vaccine make movies like The Greater Good, and publish false antivaccine research like Mark and David Geier or Andrew Wakefield.

And, no, we do not hold back when attacking these antivaccinationists.

Comments

  1. #1 Broken Link
    June 5, 2015

    On our favorite hive this AM, there is a post by one Dr. William H. Gaunt, a retired naturopath, who compares vaccination to a rogue elephant with hooves dripping with blood. People like Gaunt are embraces by the hard-core antivaxers because that is what they really believe.

  2. #2 Christopher Hickie
    June 5, 2015

    Spot on, Orac. Self-righteous columns like Dreger’s (which also plugs her new book (“Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science”) ) feed the false middle ground between the solid science of vaccination and the pseudoscientific nonsense of anti-vaccinationists. In that sense Dreger stand in this “middle” with the likes of Largent and Drs. Gordon and Sears. That “middle” unfortunately creates a bridge which allows anti-vaccinationists to convince well-meaning parents into not vaccinating their children–and for that I truly despise those in this “middle” at least as much if not more than those who are 100% anti-vaccine. Those who create this “middle” do so either out of some misguided sense of justice (with “justice” being (to me) wrongly-placed word in the title of Dreger’s book as science is not at all about “justice”) or purely for profit and fame (i.e. Sears and Gordon, those two glory-hounding quacks responsible for the low vaccination rates in Southern California which triggered the Disneyland measles outbreak).

    Those who work to create this “middle” in the false “debate” on vaccination deserve attack as well, both for an ignorance of science that’s almost on par with that of antivaccinationists, as well as being “gunrunners” (or “bridge builders”) for antivaccinationists.

  3. #3 Orac
    June 5, 2015

    On our favorite hive this AM, there is a post by one Dr. William H. Gaunt, a retired naturopath, who compares vaccination to a rogue elephant with hooves dripping with blood. People like Gaunt are embraces by the hard-core antivaxers because that is what they really believe.

    Great minds think alike. As you were writing that comment, I noticed that post on AoA and added a couple of brief paragraphs to note how eerie the similarities between a passage in Dreger’s article on how antivaxers must be “crushed” and Gaunt’s post. Go back and take a look. 🙂

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    June 5, 2015

    Hayes et al. demonstrate why Godwin coined his eponymous law. And let us recall the convention stated in that law: the party that brings up the Nazi analogy is considered to have lost.

    Of course there are areas of medical science which are subject to debate, and I’m sure Orac and others actively debate these subjects at conferences. Vaccination is not one of these areas. We know that vaccines prevent certain diseases which are known to have nasty effects, up to and including death. We also recognize that certain individuals (far fewer in number than the AoA types want us to think) cannot or should not be vaccinated, and we provide ways for these people to be exempted from vaccine mandates, but we vaccinate as many others as we can to provide these people with herd immunity. If somebody thinks they have a better way of implementing the goal of preventing these diseases, we might be able to talk, but for now vaccines are the best available tools, and the burden of proof is on the people claiming to have a better method.

  5. #5 Eric Lund
    June 5, 2015

    [Dreger] also plugs her new book (“Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science”)

    From bad to worse. They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at Bozo the clown.

  6. #6 palindrom
    June 5, 2015

    In his work, Largent refuses to take sides with either a) the anti-vaxxers, who think vaccines cause disorders such as autism, or b) the anti-anti-vaxxers – let’s call them the vaccine zealots – who think any parent who resists any vaccination is a dangerous idiot.

    To paraphrase some guy from long ago, “Upon this strawman I will build my argument.”

  7. #7 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 5, 2015

    Writers like Dreger and Largent are particularly annoying because they do burn a whole lot of straw to portray themselves as paragons of balance. I wonder if they would lend such false balance to issues that they had more familiarity with but didn’t agree with a “particular side”.

  8. #8 Orac
    June 5, 2015

    Yep. You nailed it. BTW, I see Dreger mentioned you on Twitter. 🙂

  9. #9 Lancelot Gobbo
    June 5, 2015

    I’m not sure why refusing to take sides might be presented as a positive attribute here. It is desirable in judges and referees, but when faced with an important issue which requires a decision we are to admire the man who votes ‘Don’t Know’? Surely a reasonable person learns all they can and makes their best judgement rather than simply refusing to have an opinion.

  10. #10 Chris Hickie
    June 5, 2015

    Today’s abhorrent post on Age of Flatulism by Mr. Gaunt is the type of burning stupid that I think only a few parents would buy into if there were none of these “middles” like Dreger who mistakenly think antivaccinationists must have something of merit if only because their numbers are growing and they’ve learned how to make pretty web sites.

  11. #11 brian
    June 5, 2015

    There is an elephant standing near the body. It’s hooves are dripping with blood.

    Yet more evidence that Mr. Gaunt is rather disconnected from reality: elephants do not have hooves.

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    June 5, 2015

    Actually at least one group of anti-vaxxers- TMR- is taking pains to insure that they aren’t perceived by readers as wild-eyed rebels, despite their name and the general direction of their activism, incessantly flailing towards paradigm shift.

    The Prof, Zoey O’Toole- who sat in for MacNeil- ran the Writers’ Workshop, instructing would-be bloggers to be very careful by not insulting their audience with snark, not defaming anyone, by appealing especially to readers who are ‘on the fence’ AND by always presenting reliable evidence for claims they make. They should ‘tone it down’.

    Now it may be PURELY a coincidence, but after viewing perhaps 8 of their videos over a few days I seem to have developed a headache and ear problem as if my innermost being were crying out for relief: “Please don’t subject me to that nonsense any more!”

    SO I’ll take a rest from videos since I’ve already spoken out..

  13. #13 Orac
    June 5, 2015

    Funny, but that advice sure doesn’t seem to have seeped into the TMR hive mind.

    Of course, their idea of “evidence” involves the purest pseudoscience. They do, after all, seem to have a thing for homeopathy and reiki, in addition to their antivaccine proclivities.

  14. #14 Delphine
    to the left
    June 5, 2015

    I despise the middles. The seemingly thoughtful, reasonable middles. The Dregers of the world represent about 90% of the anti-vax parents I’ve encountered. The other 10%, the hardliners, they are either a. so far off the wagon trail that few people outside of their own kind find them to be even remotely credible or b. raving paranoiacs.

    The middles, they’re just looking for common ground! They’re just asking questions, you guys.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    June 5, 2015

    True. In fact in their “recovery panel”, homeopathy and GFCF/ MAPS dietary woo were the treatments most frequently mentioned. We should remember that their sisterhood also includes a channel, Laura Hirsh( Oracle) and a c@nnabis curebie, Thalia Michelle ( Tex)

  16. #16 Dangerous Bacon
    June 5, 2015

    What’s so wrong with compromising between pro and anti-vaccine views?

    Just give half the recommended vaccines. Or at half the recommended dosage. What’s the problem?

    Similarly, to counter fears of too much antibiotic use, just give antibiotics to half the people who develop a serious infection. Or halve the dose.

    When you have experts recommending a course of action and those uneducated in the field recommending another path, split things right down the middle and go with what mediocre minds are saying. There’s nothing wrong with mediocrity, as that great sage Roman Hruska once told us.

  17. #17 Eric Lund
    June 5, 2015

    They’re just asking questions, you guys.

    There is a fairly obvious (to people who know colloquial English) but NSFW line that applies to these folks.

    instructing would-be bloggers to be very careful by … always presenting reliable evidence for claims they make

    Which will happen approximately when hell freezes over. If the “Thinking Moms” had any reliable evidence, we would have seen it by now.

  18. #18 Demodocus
    June 5, 2015

    “My maternal instinct was riled with every new round of shots and cries and tears: ” and this is why I no longer take my husband with us when the toddler is due for an immunization. The crying is just too much; even his son was giving him weird looks.

  19. #19 Ruby Tuesday
    June 5, 2015

    “What would it take to demonstrate to you that vaccines are safe and effective? (The answer will inevitably be levels of evidence not attainable in the real world.)”

    This really stood out for me, because these folks are willing to use all of their naturopathic/homeopathic (or worse, things like MMS) which have NEVER been tested, and certainly wouldn’t meet their high standards if they were. Think about it – they would put bleach in their child’s colon before they would use a vaccine which has decades of safety testing, on MILLIONS of people, behind it. Amazing.

  20. #20 Demodocus
    June 5, 2015

    Also, the elephant in our living room isn’t dripping blood, She’s coated in cookie crumbs. She’s been my18mo son’s bff for a whole year so he shares.

  21. #21 Delphine
    friday friday is a good time to shine
    June 5, 2015

    @#18 Thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all week.

    One thing I’ve found about the middles is that it’s about elitism fueled by narcissism, to a certain extent. I had one delayed/select Mom tell me that “I exclusively breastfeed, I don’t do daycare, I don’t take my babies out to Walmart, I’m confident in my vaccine choices.” I have heard several variations on this theme from upper-middle class Moms in describing their “thoughtful” vaccine decisions.

    In other words, my choices, which are inherently superior, are what will protect my child from, let’s say, an airborne VPD. I am able to make choices that separate me from the great unwashed, and these choices confer protective benefits.

  22. #22 Orac
    June 5, 2015

    One thing I’ve found about the middles is that it’s about elitism fueled by narcissism, to a certain extent.

    Indeed. and self-righteousness, wherein there is clearly assumed to be not just intellectual superiority (“I’ve considered both sides and taken a middle ground, unlike those zealots”), but moral superiority in not being on one of the “extremes,” and, above all, in being so very, very “civil.”

  23. #23 palindrom
    June 5, 2015

    Delphine @21 —

    I don’t take my babies out to Walmart,

    Because “everyone knows” that people who shop at WalMart are unclean.

    Ugh, As the Onion reminds us, stereotypes are a real time saver.

    Demodocus @20 — That’s adorable! (Or as my daughter would have said when she was little, “a doorbell!)

  24. #24 Delphine
    June 5, 2015

    Those were her words, verbatim. She can afford to make different choices. Her “middle” vaccine position is just another lifestyle choice designed to show the world she’s privileged.

    She had no idea that you actually had to be immune to a VPD in order to confer benefits to the fetus/baby via the placenta/breastmilk. “I wasn’t aware of that, but I do know there are a lot of good things in breastmilk that can’t be replicated…”

    Orac, at Delphinette’s preschool, there’s a child who attends sporadically due to the fact that she is recovering from leukemia. She is not UTD on her vaccines at this point. Every other child, save one, is UTD.

    One parent refuses to immunize for varicella, because in her words, “I have done the other vaccines, but chicken pox is not a big deal and the shot hasn’t been around long enough for me.”

    This preschool is a co-op, parents met to discuss, and determined that the child would either need to be immunized for varicella, or leave the preschool. The parent reacted by asking why we can’t all just work this out. She was very civil, very polite. She expressed a great deal of surface empathy for the sick child. She refused to get her own child a safe shot that could prevent this sick child from suffering serious illness or even death. But she’s very reasonable.

  25. #25 GWD
    June 5, 2015

    I am disappointed at her definition of vaccine zealotry, A vaccine zealot would probably be a person who believes that there are no allergies to ingredients in vaccines and that people with certain kinds of cancer should also get vaccines. This is because a zealot would always think vaccines were safe regardless of the studies just as anti-vaccine people think vaccines cause negative side effects despite all the studies.

  26. #26 Sarah A
    June 5, 2015

    Funnily enough, last week my therapist and I were discussing my tendency to try and define things in black-and-white terms. “You have to learn to cope with the fact that most of life is made up of gray areas” she said. I responded, “Sure, but if you look at those gray areas real close, you often find that they’re actually made up of black and white pixels.” I was only half joking – I think a lot of the time the invocation of “gray areas” or “lets agree to disagree” is used as an excuse to avoid looking at an issue more closely, whether out of laziness, to avoid conflict, or out of fear of having to change one’s views in light of new information.

  27. #27 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 5, 2015

    I was going to say that Dreger’s position is similar to the Old Testament’s King Solomon, but it’s not really a good analogy. She’s similar in that she is essentially calling for the baby (vaccine schedule/policy) to be cut in half, but that’s where she stops. Her position doesn’t follow through to the end, where the liar is revealed.

  28. #28 Orac
    June 5, 2015

    You know, it just occurred to me. I knew I had heard of Dreger before, other than a brief mention on my blog a long time ago in an unrelated post. (Search for it if you’re curious.) She’s the professor who live-Tweeted her son’s abstinence-based sex ed class:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/17/what-happened-when-a-medical-professor-live-tweeted-her-sons-sex-ed-class-on-abstinence/

    http://www.thestranger.com/features/feature/2015/04/15/22062331/i-sat-in-on-my-sons-sex-ed-class-and-i-was-shocked-by-what-i-heard

  29. #29 Sarah A
    June 5, 2015

    One parent refuses to immunize for varicella, because in her words, “I have done the other vaccines, but chicken pox is not a big deal and the shot hasn’t been around long enough for me.”

    Funny you should mention that – just today I learned that Japan was using the varicella vaccine for 30+ years before the FDA would approve it. They wanted to see if it would make vaccinated adults more susceptible to shingles before they let it be used in the U.S. Apparently, vaccines in general are easier to get licensed in European countries (plus Japan), so most of the vaccines we use in the U.S. were used in Europe first.

  30. #30 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 5, 2015

    @Sarah A

    Well, IIRC, varicella vaccine was developed by the Japanese, so it makes sense before it gained widespread use in the U.S. And I think your numbers may be slightly off. It was approved in Japan around 1988 and in the U.S. in 1995.

  31. #31 Chemmomo
    Waiting for the sun to stay out from behind the clouds
    June 5, 2015

    Re Delphine’s patient @ 21

    I don’t take my babies out to Walmart

    In 2015, more people came down with measles contracted at Disneyland than at Walmart.

    And being “confident in my vaccine choices” isn’t going to help her much when her entire delayed vaccine playgroup ends up with pertussis or chickenpox.

  32. #32 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 5, 2015

    You know, it just occurred to me. I knew I had heard of Dreger before, other than a brief mention on my blog a long time ago in an unrelated post. (Search for it if you’re curious.) She’s the professor who live-Tweeted her son’s abstinence-based sex ed class:

    Well that doesn’t sound very balanced to me and completely unfair to the teacher who firmly believes in abstinence-only sex education who is unfairly being branded a heretic by Ms. Dreger. Why it’s almost as if Ms. Dreger is rather zealous about this issue.

  33. #33 Sarah A
    June 5, 2015

    @Todd W.

    I was just repeating what one of my professors said in class – I should have looked it up first but I wanted to mention it before 50 more comments were put up and it was no longer relevant. Apparently the vaccine was initially developed in 1974 – so I guess he meant that they were waiting to see if the adults used in the early clinical trials were more susceptible to shingles before licensing it (that’s still only 20 years, though – I wonder if he was thinking about the 2006 ACIP recommendation that added the second dose to the routine schedule.)

    It’s been fascinating learning about vaccine development from people working in different aspects of the field, but it’s also frustrating because they’re often speaking from experience so there’s either no source or the source is some obscure, not-terribly-informative technical document. I’m trying to distill everything I’m learning into a sort of “vaccine development for dummies” version that I can use to refute the antivax trope that vaccines aren’t regulated or studied thoroughly enough, etc. My favorite example so far: not only are there SOPs for every aspect of the clinical trials right down to using a pipette, there are actually SOPs for writing SOPs!

  34. #34 Delphine
    under the sea
    June 5, 2015

    @#31

    She doesn’t do Disney. For some parents, saying you’re going to Disney is worse than admitting you let your child drink juice. http://www.thestuffparentslike.com/2014/01/being-against-juice.html

  35. #35 Dorit Reiss
    June 5, 2015

    We work hard in law school to teach our students to see and anticipate the arguments the other side will make, because in legal context there will be a different view, and understanding their argument is often crucial to being able to respond to them – or knowing when to cede. But what Orac is highlighting so well is that understanding what the other side says and understanding there is another dude making argument does not automatically translate into thinking those arguments are correct or have merit. Sometimes, only one side has merit – and one of the thing we also want to teach students is to identify those situation and know when there’s no argument because good lawyers also need to be able to advise clients when there is no case and they shouldn’t waste time and money on a doomed claim.

    This author seems to have missed those latter parts. I liked Orac’s termite analogy.

    I’ve also recently been explaining gravity to my son, not yet five, and I think that’s another example: if I was willing to treat my son’s view that maybe if he gets the right costume he will be able to fly up, we would have a problem.

    From his point of view, given TV shows etc’ it’s not unreasonable. It’s just clearly wrong, and accepting it would be dangerous. No middle ground.
    Here neither.

  36. #36 lsm
    June 5, 2015

    Slightly off topic, except that it’s about an anti-vax zealot. Regarding the recent finding from UVA, published online and soon in print in Nature, showing that the lymphatic system is directly connected to the brain http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-06/uovh-mlf052915.php#.VWzrrUM7T6Y.mailto :

    The science has already been slaughtered by VRM, aka Vaccine Resistant Movement (“We Won’t Get Fooled Again”).
    http://vaccineresistancemovement.org/?page_id=14408

    I fear this is just the beginning of the pseudoscience to be tortured out of this discovery.

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    June 5, 2015

    That elephant/ crushed head metaphor bothers me:
    alright, it IS disgusting but so f@cking unsubtle as well.

    It reminds me so much of metaphors, analogies and embarrassingly impotent attempts at scathing sarcasm / targetted joking by various woo-meisters and anti-vax mothers whom we all know and love.

    Just hit readers over the head with your overwrought comparisons will you?. These folks believe that vaccines cause ASDs which are – to them- brain damage so the metaphor uses the physical image of a crushed head to imply autism. Yiiiii.

    We know that kids’ writing/ creative efforts go from the very physical like slapstick comedy to -eventually- more verbal and finely honed, articulated usage of language and imagery. Obviously a shift occurs around the time of adolescence with the development of abstraction in formal operations/ executive functioning in the symbolic realm, Not everyone gets to that level, AS we know all too well.

    Think a little about Mikey’s well-known cartoons or jokes: why does he always aim for the most obvious or most outlandish example he can find? Why is it always N-azis?
    Why is it always poisons being injected into innocents?
    Now he claims to have ‘aced’ educational testing as a teenager ( see Health Ranger bio) so why does he sound so incredibly childish? People who have high scores on verbal tests should as a matter of course be able to create more subtle and appropriate expressions.

    But he doesn’t. And neither does Gary Null, who unceasingly reminds us of his genius and great erudition as he blithely mispronounces common words and malapropises wildly.

    Occasionally, hyperbole can be effective in jest but seriously, these people have little else at their disposal.

    And don’t we all judge a person’s abilities based upon how they speak and write? There’s a reason for that..

  38. #38 Denice Walter
    June 5, 2015

    @ Delphine:
    Ha!
    But by now you should know that ADULTS should be living on juices- mostly green, loaded with ground nuts, berries and superfoods- and not ever eat anymore.

  39. #39 Eric Lund
    June 5, 2015

    For some parents, saying you’re going to Disney is worse than admitting you let your child drink juice.

    I’ll admit to some sympathy to this point of view, but it’s not so much the sort of people who go to Disney[1] as Disney fatigue on my part. I grew up in Florida, so Disney World was the standard out-of-town trip, and I’d be happy if I never visited Disney World again. And fruit juice, like so many other comestibles, is something that’s fine in moderation–just don’t overdo it.

    Sometimes, only one side has merit

    I’m sure you’ve heard this old saying. When the law is on your side, pound on the law. When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. When neither is on your side, pound on the table. It’s similar in science, except that the law and the facts normally coincide in science.

  40. #40 shay
    June 5, 2015

    it IS disgusting but so f@cking unsubtle as well

    This is the kind of person who uses, with a perfectly straight face, the Holocaust analogy — what else can we expect?

  41. #41 Narad
    June 5, 2015

    I’ve also recently been explaining gravity to my son, not yet five, and I think that’s another example: if I was willing to treat my son’s view that maybe if he gets the right costume he will be able to fly up, we would have a problem.

    When I was a kid, I received one of these for Christmas. I remember it well. What I don’t remember is what followed, i.e., the eyewitness reports that I was inconsolable after it did not actually allow flight.

  42. #42 Robert L Bell
    June 5, 2015

    It’s always the same.

    Every crackpot begins by swearing to his love of Science. Every antivaxxer wails that his own children were vaccinated.

    It’s just that he has questions. Maybe more research is needed – is that unreasonable to wonder? What if this, what if that, what about that horrible thing fifty years ago?

    Maybe he has an appealing story to tell, for a few paragraphs, to get you nodding in agreement and to lull your skepticism in slumber, before he slips in a few oddities.

    Which, should you fail to bail out that point, leaves you in the company of the True Believers when he goes full bore lunatic and cranks the crazy to eleven.

  43. #43 Kiiri
    June 5, 2015

    To agree with Delphine I have also met my share of moms who claim that through their own ‘healthy’ choices their children are magically immune from pathogens. I was not aware that a trip to a Disney park is now equated with the borderline child abuse of letting a kid drink some juice. My husband has been counting down days practically until he gets to take ours to Disneyworld. I also laughed out loud (really) at Demodocus. I sympathize, my husband is extremely (EXTREMELY) needle phobic to the point where I took my son to all of his immunization appointments because the very sight of the needles gave the hubby the screaming heebie jeebies and I didn’t want him to cue small child into screaming. Actually, my son handled most of his injections really well, he really hated being held still, but once the shot was over, and no more restraint he was generally smiling at the nurse before she finished leaving the room. Needles don’t bother me in particular having done two rounds of fertility (each lasting about a year) I have injected myself numerous times, and I am a notoriously hard blood draw. Personal best of four sticks before they found a vein that would hold up. The self-righteous ‘middle ground’ group bothers me as well because really when you are dealing with science there is an answer. I have had the same argument with raw milk middle grounders who think that well it might be a bit risky but its really their choice. No, its a dangerous risky product (lots of data backs this up) and increases illnesses and deaths, so no it should not be legal!

  44. #44 herr doktor bimler
    June 5, 2015

    There is an elephant standing near the body. It’s hooves are dripping with blood.
    Yet more evidence that Mr. Gaunt is rather disconnected from reality: elephants do not have hooves.

    It was probably a PONY.

  45. #45 Chris
    June 5, 2015

    Orac: ” It is not these parents at whom our criticism is primarily aimed. It’s at the 3% who make up the population who maintain blogs like Age of Autism, publish books like Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury–a Known Neurotoxin–from Vaccine make movies like The Greater Good, and publish false antivaccine research like Mark and David Geier or Andrew Wakefield.”

    Because this is the result of their efforts:
    Parents of diphtheria-stricken boy feel “tricked” by anti-vaccination groups

  46. #46 Krebiozen
    June 5, 2015

    I knew that silly elephant ‘hoof’ analogy sounded familiar. I came across Dr. Tenpenny spouting something very similar just recently. In this case it is Blue Foot Syndrome, which parents report happens after a frozen turkey is dropped on their child’s foot:

    “Tisk, tisk,” says the doctor. “We have proven that frozen turkeys have no link to Blue Foot Syndrome. In a study of more than 4 million kids, the number who developed a blue foot after being struck by a frozen turkey was statistically insignificant. We have determined something else must be causing Blue Foot Syndrome.”

    Just as foolish and just as disingenuous as the elephant tale. As if a large epidemiological study would find no link between blunt force trauma and injury.

  47. #47 Narad
    June 5, 2015

    Because this is the result of their efforts:
    Parents of diphtheria-stricken boy feel “tricked” by anti-vaccination groups

    Compare and contrast:

    Yes, young teenagers that have not received the tetanus shot should be banned from school cause they could give tetanus to the rest of the school.

    Hmmmmm, well really.

    They thought about that one and combined the whooping cough and diphtheria in with it. Cause Diptheria is still around – right?

  48. #48 Chris
    June 5, 2015

    “They thought about that one and combined the whooping cough and diphtheria in with it. Cause Diptheria is still around ”

    Ugh.

    Diphtheria in the former Soviet Union: reemergence of a pandemic disease.
    Successful Control of Epidemic Diphtheria in the States of the Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: Lessons Learned

  49. #49 palindrom
    June 5, 2015

    blithely mispronounces common words and malapropises wildly.

    I was once catching up with a friend after some time, and it turned out he had been dumped by his girlfriend. He said that she had “come up with a whole catalog of malapropisms against me.”

    He claims to this day that this was intentional.

  50. #50 Ren
    June 5, 2015

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… Anyone who treats vaccines as a sacred cow is not pro-science. In fact, Dr. Paul Offit has voted against some vaccines to be used because they’re just not needed, e.g. the smallpox vaccine. He didn’t make that decision lightly, and I hope no one with his credentials ever does. Instead, a person of science looks at the evidence, weighs the risks and benefits, and then makes the decision. Anti-vaccine people look at false evidence, exaggerate the risks, diminish the benefits, and then not only make the wrong decision for themselves but try to encourage others to make the same wrong decision. What’s the sacred cow then? For them, the sacred cow is vaccine injury. Anyone who questions a vaccine injury is deemed a heretic. That’s not a “middle ground.”

  51. #51 LIz Ditz
    The Great State of California
    June 5, 2015

    Infectious disease experts: am I correct in thinking that the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a common part of the human microbiome, and only causes disease in susceptible individuals? In other words, that it isn’t a candidate for elimination (unlike smallpox, rinderpest, polio, and possibly measles)?

    The Pink Book implies that it is endemic in less-industrialized tropical countries.

  52. #52 Dr. Chim Richalds
    June 5, 2015

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this Fallacy of the Golden Mean seems to play a significant role in the creation of integrative medicine programs around the country. This trend towared quackademic medicine clearly comes from the misguided belief that there must be something to all these “alternative” approaches to medicine, and we should combine the best of both worlds. Bad logic that leads to the integration of bad science.

  53. #53 Denice Walter
    June 5, 2015

    @ Ism:

    Apparently Ann Dachel is already on the case.

    Before long there should be explanations of how this research profoundly affects the microbiome and/or geopolitics courtesy of Conrick and Gamondes, respectively,

  54. #54 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 5, 2015

    @ Liz, C. diphtheriae carriage is common where endemic so not really in the U.S. or Western Europe. The interesting thing about the organism though is that it can acquire a bacteriophage which encodes a tox gene and causes C. diphtheriae to produce the diphtheria toxin. The non-tox strain can also cause illness but pathology is different. But you are correct that it is not going to be eradicated any time soon as it’s a soil microbe too.

  55. #55 Narad
    June 5, 2015

    Infectious disease experts: am I correct in thinking that the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a common part of the human microbiome, and only causes disease in susceptible individuals? In other words, that it isn’t a candidate for elimination (unlike smallpox, rinderpest, polio, and possibly measles)?

    IANAIDE. Carter Center (pdf):

    Chief obstacles to eradication: Difficult diagnosis; multiple-dose vaccine

    Conclusion: Not now eradicable”

    PMID 16989265:

    “While improved coverage of children in developing countries with diphtheria toxoid has led to progressive decreases in diphtheria; eradication is unlikely in the foreseeable future and gaps in immunity among adult population exist or are developing in many other countries.”

    I’d suggest looking into whether the commensals are diphtheroids.

  56. #56 Eliot
    June 5, 2015

    Actually it’s on the schedule that I find it hardest to really argue ‘the case’ for science. That is, I’ve had quite a few conversations with parents who partially vaccinate, but skip one or a few, mainly the lower risk of exposure/consequence (yes I get the hide in the herd problem there) or those which are later or not listed in other countries (can’t remember the specifics – I’m in Australia, and I think UK and Japan have lesser items?)

    If seeking to not marginalise or radicalise someone in this camp, it does seem a bit dogmatic to argue for ‘the science’ when countries vary. Or when a particular one – I think hep B at birth – might be justified as due to maternal risks, or in our case, regional travel risks, which make sense as population level advice but not necessarily at an individual level.

    From this there is a problem of arguing the middle ground, but I don’t think it’s really so simple an argument as ‘trust the schedule, it’s following the science’. Even if public health professionals are making risk/benefit assessments, these again are population calculations. I can understand for example, parents not taking heb B at birth, but following the rest of the schedule ( and perhaps a little late, not as per following a quack schedule, but accounting for periods of sickness etc)

    I have a problem where now the govt here is denying standard tax benefits to parents in such contexts. Firstly, these benefits were never set as part of a social contract of this nature. Secondly, it’s enough to push people to trust the state less, and then move towards the pseudoscience.

    Any thoughts on discussing with the vaccine wary in this case?

  57. #57 brian
    June 6, 2015

    it does seem a bit dogmatic to argue for ‘the science’ when countries vary

    Why would you expect the pediatric vaccine schedule to remain constant when the spectrum of vaccine-preventable diseases varies in populations?

  58. #58 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    I don’t. But nor am I sufficiently informed to argue the context with any conviction or substance. The vaccine wary parent will assume that another government is more cautious, and perhaps more correct, on the risk side. And I think that is an entirely understandable point of reference.

    I think it akin to the differences between USA and Europe in precautionary principle, at least in perception.

  59. #59 Chris
    June 6, 2015

    Eliot: “I think it akin to the differences between USA and Europe in precautionary principle, at least in perception.”

    How about different regions of the USA itself? You bring up HepB, It is a disease that is actually endemic in Asia (that includes teeny tiny children!), and there is a portion of the USA with a great deal of communication and contact with that part of the world. Do you know where that might be? Do you think there might not be contact between preschoolers in that region with other preschoolers who came from where HepB is endemic?

    Despite our best efforts, no one has been able to prevent children under age five to not injure themselves so they don’t bleed on other kids. I assume that problem has been solved where you lived… along with making sure persons who live where certain diseases are not endemic do not ever leave your local airports.

  60. #60 Eric Torrence
    June 6, 2015

    What is the name for accusing someone else of doing the thing that you, yourself are doing?

  61. #61 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 6, 2015

    Actually it’s on the schedule that I find it hardest to really argue ‘the case’ for science. That is, I’ve had quite a few conversations with parents who partially vaccinate, but skip one or a few, mainly the lower risk of exposure/consequence (yes I get the hide in the herd problem there) or those which are later or not listed in other countries (can’t remember the specifics – I’m in Australia, and I think UK and Japan have lesser items?)

    Eliot, you have posted a thoughtful comment. As brian has stated, different countries have different schedules for different reasons. It is not a science-based decision to pick a countries’ vaccines schedule (say Sweden) for a child living in the U.S. simply because a parent likes it more. The endemicity of diseases is different and the healthcare scheme is different. Parents choosing another countries’ vaccine schedule are not taking such parameters into account because, at the risk of sounding condescending, most parents don’t have the background to consider these factors.

  62. #62 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    Chris, my point and question was “Any thoughts on discussing with the vaccine wary in this case?”

    And this was put in the context of a set of understandable concerns, perceptions and rational (but not fully informed) views.

    This is a question about communication style as much as about key points of local context/evidence.

    To take the one example…

    I understand the contextual risks of HepB contraction (Australia being in Australasia), and thus the reason for it being on the schedule here. I’ve not really convinced anyone of merits on that basis alone however – their focus is not on this point.

    Rather it is on:
    a) a sense of this alone not justifying a newborn jab for their minutes-old child – who isn’t travelling or going into care any time soon (nor drugs, unprotected sex etc, as per ‘high risk of HepB’ materials)
    b) an interest in the risks of the vaccine – based in part on the misinformation of Mercola et al, but bolstered by the fact it’s only on the UK NHS for high risk groups
    c) general wariness of the state. with our government I can understand this – they are both anti-libiterian and there has been local vaccine scares before (a flu vax for under fives that caused hospitalisations a few years back in western Australia), which stay in the memory, not in the specifics but in the general sense of a less than adequately managed health system.

    So an argument from authority (the health authorities) is not very persuasive in this context. I feel a bit stuck at this point – something I’m expressing here, as, as Orac says, his aim is not to change the minds of the hard liners but the wavering.

    I’ve had similar points raised on another vax, can’t remember which, but it isn’t on the Japanese schedule or has been taken off. The parents there aren’t asking whether this was because of lower need for it there, rather they are asking ‘what are Japanese authorities concerned about that ours are ignoring’?

    This same set of concerns extends to things like neonics banning in Europe – hence my comparison. Where another government is seen as more balanced/precautious, and thus more trustworthy, it further weakens the ‘argument from authorities’ line.

  63. #63 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    Thanks for the comment Science Mom. No they don’t have the background – and nor do I, although I’m probably a bit less naive given I’ve spent my reading time here (and I’m not Dunning Kruger enough to call this reading time research!)

    My points above about trust of the state are equally relevant to this aspect. when I speak with someone parent to parent, we aren’t debating as public health professionals. These other more nebulous and emotive aspects, like ‘trust’ of the state come into play. Plus it’s not socially appropriate to argue as one might in an online context. I already ruffle feathers in my non-apologetic rubbishing of bad ideas and their purveyors on Facebook!

  64. #64 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    To cap my points – its the nature of communication style that I’m raising, and reflecting that ‘pro-vax’ are seen as zealots – unable to countenance any variation from the state script – by considered, educated parents (I’m thinking to a conversation with a scientist-parent just last week who said as such).

    I sometimes wonder if it’s better, strategically, to duly acknowledge concerns – not as an argument of the false middle ground, but to loose the battle to win the war, so to speak. That is, to increase confidence and trust at the broader scale.

    The science is correct, but public policy and public opinion aren’t engaged purely on these grounds.

    It’s for these reasons that I think the new Oz government’s tax benefit exemption policy (no jab, no pay) is terrible public policy. I suspect that while further cementing the total anti vaxxers, its more likely to drive people on the fence to the hardline camp, than achieve any real uptake.

  65. #65 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 6, 2015

    My points above about trust of the state are equally relevant to this aspect. when I speak with someone parent to parent, we aren’t debating as public health professionals. These other more nebulous and emotive aspects, like ‘trust’ of the state come into play.

    And therein lies (lays? I can’ keep them straight) the problem. For the vax-anxious parents who are made fearful by full-on anti-vaxx contingents, it is difficult to unscare them. There is also another cultural shift which needs to be addressed (how, is another matter) and that is self-entitlement and ignoring the social contract that pervades our first-world society. We could borrow a page from the Netherlands there. There is work to do on that front to keep the fence-sitters from being swayed by nefarious groups but to bring it back to the OP, pushing this false-balance isn’t an effective tactic.

  66. #66 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    Totally! And the elitism that accompanies the breach of the social contract… (its alright for the sheeple but not for me). Pisses me off no end.

  67. #67 Bill Openthalt
    Luxembourg
    June 6, 2015

    self-entitlement and ignoring the social contract that pervades our first-world society

    Ironically, it is the extension of the role of the state in providing welfare that has reduced the awareness of the importance of family and community, and the social contract as a whole. As long as one has to rely on family and the immediate community for help in difficult moments, there was a reason to invest in them. If you need your parents to mind the children, you’re not going to live far away, even if that far away has better job opportunities. When you have your first child post 35, like your mum, your parents (if they’re not living in sunnier climes) are post 70, and probably not the best source of child care. So why would you live/stay close to them especially in a society that believes financial independence (heaven forbid you depend financially on your spouse) is paramount? It’s a tough choice because the state as organiser and provider of social services is exactly what makes a secular, tolerant society possible.

  68. #68 Eliot
    June 6, 2015

    Perhaps on the whole, Bill, but isn’t it in some micro-communities (tree changing areas, home school networks, Steiner schools) where there is a reasonably close-knit community, that we see the very low rates? Or am I playing the stereotype too hard…

  69. #69 Denice Walter
    June 6, 2015

    More ado about that UVA study Ism linked to above:

    it seems that Dan ( AoA, today) believes that he and Mark were aware of that connection YEARS ago-:for they were
    ” characterizing the cause of autism as a ‘rash on the brain’ from overstimulation of its immune cells due to, for example. the mercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines”
    ” yeah, we already had the basic idea a lot clearer than the experts”

    Then he goes on about vaccine injury from Gardisil reported by the Independent ( UK).

  70. #70 Orac
    June 6, 2015

    Damn it. I was trying to avoid that study because it doesn’t really say a lot and has been, if anything, supremely overhyped, but I knew eventually the antivaxers would latch on to it.

  71. #71 Orac
    June 6, 2015

    Maybe I should wait until Sayer Ji at GreenMedInfo butchers the study before I comment.

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    June 6, 2015

    @ Science Mom:

    I would agree about entitlement as well as overly ambitious self-regard *a la* Dunning Kruger.

    From my observations, it seems that many in the anti-vax contingent are enamoured of the cult of celebrity. After watching TMs and other presenters at AutismOne, it is only too apparent how much swanning and posturing accompanies their words of wisdom. They even had a red carpet event at their Saturday gala.

    They tell their tales of woe dramatically and in great detail, each triumph and tragedy catalogued on facebook, complete with multiple photos and videos. Advice emanates from their vast repertoire of dietary and quasi-medical lore and invitations abound to newcomers to follow their lead. Some of them find nirvana via Skyhorse when their intimate revelations and science are published as books- guides to life and memoires as well as detective novels.

    So right, they exude entitlement. I wonder how much is a result of their age group? ( 30s- 60s) And how much of their persevered focus upon their children’s every move is because they HAVE less children usually and have them later. Interestingly, people may have had less children initially because vaccines saved so many.

    Then there’s feminism and access to higher education but I won’t address that imbroglio here as I’m a supporter of both despite their imperfection.

  73. #73 Denice Walter
    June 6, 2015

    OOOOOh. I’m so sorry Orac.

    I read Dan’s dreck to rest my brain from the AO videos-
    the Kerri Rivera one ( including instructions against recording) was the proverbial straw that broke both the sceptic’s attention span and peace of mind.
    And I only watched 15 minutes.

  74. #74 shay
    June 6, 2015

    I read Dan’s dreck to rest my brain from the AO videos

    Gad. Cocaine would be safer. Or Harlequin romances.

  75. #75 Denice Walter
    June 6, 2015

    @ shay:

    Don’t worry, I’m immune to audacious ignorance.

    Altho’ the *applause* for RIvera did make me rather ill.

  76. #76 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    June 6, 2015

    @ Christopher Hickie (#2)

    The bell shaped curve is a healthy diagram for vaccine safety:

    Anti-vaccine (left side), Questioning vaccines (middle), and Pro-vaccine (right side)

    Thank goodness for the middle, allowing humans to more readily adapt and evolve!

  77. #77 Bill Openthalt
    Luxembourg
    June 6, 2015

    Eliot —

    but isn’t it in some micro-communities (tree changing areas, home school networks, Steiner schools) where there is a reasonably close-knit community, that we see the very low rates?

    The micro-communities you mention often unite around (amongst other causes) the appeal to nature fallacy, so it stands to reason they would eschew vaccination.

  78. #78 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 6, 2015

    @ Michael J Dochniak:

    Anti-vaccine (left side), Questioning vaccines (middle), and Pro-vaccine (right side)…Thank goodness for the middle

    Not when the questions have been asked and answered hundreds of times before, but the “middle” rejects the answers.

  79. #79 Sarah A
    June 6, 2015

    @Elliot

    Re: HepB, about 30% of people who have it don’t have any obvious risk factors, and the earlier you get it, the more likely it is to become chronic. That’s why they try to vaccinate all babies regardless of whether the Mom is positive – vertical transmission is by no means the only way for an infant or young child to get HepB. Here is a PDF list of some cases of unusual transmission – it’s not the most comprehensive source but it conveys the point: we don’t always know how people get HepB, which is why we want to make sure everyone is protected as early as possible.

    As for your other points, you’d have a hard time finding anyone here to disagree with the idea that we should acknowledge parents’ concerns, etc. One of the things that makes vaccine advocacy so difficult is that you’re dealing with two very different populations: on the one hand you have concerned parents who just want to do what’s best for their kids, and on the other you have individuals and organizations who deliberately spread misinformation to further their own ideological and/or financial agendas. What Very Serious People like Mark Largent and Alice Dregar don’t seem to get is that Orac et al‘s not-so-respectful insolence is aimed at the latter (I charitably hope this is simply because, not being in the trenches of the “vaccine wars,” they are unaware of the existence and/or true nature of groups like VacTruth, AoA, etc.)

    To tell the truth, if I were in a situation where a parent was determined to vaccinate by an alternative schedule or not at all, I’d be inclined to say “better late than never.” But there are several important reasons why, if I had kids, I’d vaccinate them according the CDC’s recommended schedule (I live in the U.S.) The most obvious, of course, is that delaying vaccines prolongs the period during which the child is susceptible to disease. But even more worrisome to me is the fact that deviating significantly from the schedule is essentially performing an uncontrolled medical experiment on your kids. It’s one thing to delay a vaccine by a month or two because your child is sick (that’s why the schedule gives an age range for each vaccine, after all,) but it’s a different thing entirely to completely rearrange the schedule based on false premises like the assumption that its safer to give single vaccines, or to give them when the child is older. For example, delaying the measles vaccine actually increases the chances of febrile seizures compared to giving it one time. Lastly, of course, is the simple fact that spreading out the schedule means more doctor visits and more shots, which means more unpleasantness for the child, even if you manage to make all those extra appointments (most parents can’t, which is another reason why alternative vaccination schedules tend to be the purview of those with more money and free time than sense.)

  80. #80 Sarah A
    June 6, 2015

    Poo – neither of my links worked. Let’s try that again: here is that article on HepB transmission, and here is the Pediatrics article showing that delaying the measles vaccine increases the risk of febrile seizures.

  81. #82 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 6, 2015

    and Pro-vaccine (right side)

    Thank goodness for the middle, allowing humans to more readily adapt and evolve!

    I hate to break this to you Latex boy but we, as pro-vaxx advocates, do constantly question vaccine safety and efficacy and strive to improve both.

  82. #83 Mary M
    June 6, 2015

    I don’t understand the chicken pox arguments at all. Maybe it’s just the genetics of my family, but I’ve seen shingles cause the beginning of the real decline of several seniors in my family. Previously active seniors who are in serious pain, becoming less active in their social circles, and then starting to withdraw from other activities including self-care. Most recently my 90 year old healthy and active aunt was hit.

    I cannot wait for the shingles vax (I’m still technically too young) and I wish I had been able to be protected from it as a kid with the chicken pox vax. I seriously dread shingles.

  83. #84 Lawrence
    June 6, 2015

    Anti-vaxers just can’t face facts that vaccines today are far safer than they were a few decades ago – manufacturing techniques get better, tests for safety get better, and companies are able to use less to achieve more (just looking at the amount of antigens used today vs. 30 years ago).

    Improvements in quality continue – and anti-vaxers just don’t like it.

  84. #85 Roger Kulp
    June 6, 2015

    Eliot@62 A little reading for you.

    Japan Pediatric Society Vaccine Schedule

    Why Japan Banned MMR Vaccine

    The triple jab was banned in Japan in 1993 after 1.8 million children had been given two types of MMR and a record number developed non-viral meningitis and other adverse reactions.

    Official figures show there were three deaths while eight children were left with permanent handicaps ranging from damaged hearing and blindness to loss of control of limbs.

    The government reconsidered using MMR in 1999 but decided it was safer to keep the ban and continue using individual vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella.

    The British Department of Health said Japan had used a type of MMR which included a strain of mumps vaccine that had particular problems and was discontinued in the UK because of safety concerns….However, he admitted the MMR scare has left its mark. With vaccination rates low, there have been measles outbreaks which have claimed 94 lives in the last five years.

  85. #86 Lawrence
    June 6, 2015

    It was the Mumps strain used in that particular MMR that caused the problem….Japan uses the MR, with a separate vaccine for Mumps, I believe.

  86. #87 Chris
    June 6, 2015

    Eliot: “The parents there aren’t asking whether this was because of lower need for it there, rather they are asking ‘what are Japanese authorities concerned about that ours are ignoring’?”

    The issue Japan had with their MMR was the use of the Urabe mumps component, which does cause some aseptic meningitis. It the reason that the UK removed two of the three MMR vaccines they were using in 1992.

    In fact the UK never approved a single mumps vaccine, the three MMR vaccines they introduced in 1988 were the first time they vaccinated for mumps. Then in 1998 Wakefield announced in a news conference with any actual evidence that parents should opt with single jabs. So some enterprising private clinics offered them, but the only way they could get single mumps vaccines was to import then. The irony was that was both illegal and it was the same strain, Urabe, that caused problems years before. It prompted this warning: MEDICINES CONTROL AGENCY TO OBJECT TO IMPORTATION OF UNLICENSED SINGLE URABE STRAIN MUMPS VACCINE

    And the Japanese bending backwards to satisfy their anti-vaccine population had serious consequences. See:
    Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan

    Emphasis added to this quote:

    The Immunization Law in Japan has been providing children with measles vaccination since 1978. Since Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was introduced into Japan in 1989, a number of cases of post-vaccination aseptic meningitis have been reported and these have been attributed to the use of Urabe Am9 mumps vaccine [8]. In 1993, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) withdrew the domestically produced MMR vaccine [9]. As of 1994, an amendment to the Immunization Law made vaccination voluntary and not mandatory. According to the present law, a single dose of measles vaccine is recommended for children over one year of age. Children are eligible to receive measles vaccination after 12 months following birth but not beyond 90 months. Until January 2004, adminisiration of measles vaccine was recommended between 12 and 24 months of age, instead of between 12 and 15 months when children have the greatest risk of contracting measles [10]. In Japan, measles vaccine coverage has remained low, and either small or moderate outbreaks have occurred repeatedly in communities. According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months.

    By the way another appeal to the “Japan did something” is how they stopped pertussis vaccination for babies. They did that and the results were disastrous:
    Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84.
    Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future.

    Which says: “An antivaccine movement developed in Japan as a consequence of increasing numbers of adverse reactions to whole-cell pertussis vaccines in the mid-1970s. After two infants died within 24 h of the vaccination from 1974 to 1975, the Japanese government temporarily suspended vaccinations. Subsequently, the public and the government witnessed the re-emergence of whooping cough, with 41 deaths in 1979. This series of unfortunate events revealed to the public that the vaccine had, in fact, been beneficial.”

    The lesson here is to not do what Japan does, which was to make decisions based on politics and not science.

  87. #88 Lawrence
    June 6, 2015

    Yes, it does appear that the only result that occurs when politics gets in the way of sound science is that children needlessly suffer and die from diseases that they could have been easily vaccinated against.

  88. #89 Roger Kulp
    June 6, 2015

    Orac @ 70
    I don’t care to read the AoA and Greenmedinfo posts,but you don’t even need to read their rantings.We all know how the antivaxers will take any discovery about the genetic/congenital nature of the medical problems in autism and twist it around to where they see it as “vaccine damage”.There is a very real autoimmune subtype of autism,in families where there is a very strong family history of both autoimmune disease and mental illness.

    Mary M@83
    I tell this story a lot,but here it goes again.

    I had chicken pox when I was eight years old.I had severe heart complications,and spent two weeks in the hospital.I nearly died.When I was in my thirties,I had shingles,twice.I was very very sick and in incredible pain for months on end each time.I had a pre existing polyneuropathy which only made things worse.I believe adults should have the choice of having a shingles vaccine as early as their twenties.Even if they do not have a medical diagnosis that might warrant such a vaccine.My mitochndrial/metabolic diseases,and secondary cellular immune deficiency were not diagnosed at the time I had shingles.That would come years down the road,as the science unfolded.All that was known was I had an autism diagnosis,and many mysterious medical problems.

    I really wish doctors would recommend the shingles vaccine to all of their younger patients.60 is too damn late.

  89. #90 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    June 6, 2015

    Lawrence says (#84),

    Improvements in quality continue – and anti-vaxers just don’t like it.

    MjD says,

    There is continuous improvement, can you elaborate on what are the rate limiting steps in these quality improvements?

    Everyone wants improved quality results now, that’s not a unrealistic expectation in my opinion.

    Important information – Refuse vaccines that have a natural rubber latex warning.

  90. #91 Ernie Gordon
    June 6, 2015

    Probably way off topic, but I’m just recovering from shingles and while I have had the usual adult conditions/medical procedures (plus an incredibly uncomfortable scrotum repair surgery), this was the most painful and debilitating six weeks I have ever experienced. If I were an anti-vaxer and 1) got shingles and 2) knew there was a vaccine that would likely prevent/minimize recurrence then 3) I would be clamoring for it. It is most unfortunate, but it will likely take a lot of sick children to shake those a lot closer to the center than Dreger into getting their kids vaccinated.

  91. #92 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 6, 2015

    If I were an anti-vaxer and 1) got shingles and 2) knew there was a vaccine that would likely prevent/minimize recurrence then 3) I would be clamoring for it.

    This is what (more or less) happened to me IRT the flu shot. I had to get one yearly in the Air Force, and after that, I’d get one if it wasn’t too inconvenient. Sure, I didn’t want to get sick, but it was just the flu.

    Then I came down with the flu. In bed with chills and fever for a week (plus another that I felt as weak as a kitten) and every muscle felt as if it had been hit with a ball peen hammer.

    Now I’m first in line when they are available each year.

    I’ve also seen mom and dad deal with shingles, and at 59 I’ve another year until insurance will cover the shot. I have been, and am still considering, paying for it myself.

  92. #93 shay
    June 6, 2015

    Johnny, I was able to convince my primary care provider to write me a scrip since I’ve gotten them 2x in the past four years. Got the shot at the health dept.

  93. #94 shay
    June 6, 2015

    The other result of Japan’s ban on the MMR was that it offered a couple of researchers the opportunity to study autism rates six years after and conclude that the rate still continued to rise.

  94. #95 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    June 6, 2015

    I believe that some of the problems that Japan had were related to the country’s protectionist policies. They wanted to develop their domestic pharmaceutical industry in spite of high quality vaccines that could be imported from the US and Europe. This story goes back to the 1970s and 80s, and I don’t know what the current situation is now in terms of Japanese vaccines, although we know that there are now first rate pharmaceutical companies in Japan.

  95. #96 Chris
    June 7, 2015

    Bob G: “They wanted to develop their domestic pharmaceutical industry in spite of high quality vaccines that could be imported from the US and Europe.”

    Indeed, the varicella and DTaP vaccines used in the USA are the ones developed in Japan. They were also key in the development of statins and colonoscopies. I assume all of those things are okay dokay for the alt-med crowd because Japan only has “eastern medicine.”

    I believe they were also the ones the created the cheaper but troubled Urabe mumps vaccine strain. A perusal of the PubMed index does show that medical persons in Japan are not too happy with the political decisions that made their country an importer of measles to the USA, and that there was in increase of mumps in their country that resulted in hearing loss:
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):173-5. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31818a8ca8.
    An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.

    and…
    J Travel Med. 2008 Mar-Apr;15(2):82-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00183.x.
    Measles exportation from Japan to the United States, 1994 to 2006.

  96. #97 Eliot
    June 7, 2015

    Thanks to Sarah A, Chris, and Roger Kulp for the additional information. It does strike me how far removed parental conversations and decisions are from this level of information.

    Not that, in my observation, parents are necessarily latched onto the personalities and ferment of AoA etc as an alternative source of reading. But at a distance from such level of dedication to the topic (reading on either side) the Bob Sears types come across as rather reasonable at a glance. The ‘golden mean’ is an easy one to land on.

  97. #98 Sarah A
    June 7, 2015

    @ Eliot

    Yep, this is definitely one of those situations where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. “Good parents” know that their child’s health is too important to leave to the experts, so they decide to “do their own research.” Unfortunately, in order to make a truly informed decision you’d need to have at least a basic understanding of how the immune system works, how vaccines work, the process by which vaccines are tested and approved, etc. The acquisition of this kind of basic knowledge takes way more time than the average parent has to invest. This is precisely the kind of situation in which pseudoscience had a huge advantage over real science: a catchphrase like “too many, too soon” is short, snappy, and appeals to “common sense.” Any serious attempt to explain why it’s BS is inevitably long, boring, and likely to come across as condescending. I don’t know what the solution is – I’m still trying to work out the most efficient way of getting the facts to the people who are actually likely to be influenced by them. I’ve often thought it would be nice if there were something like talk.origins for vaccine info, but unfortunately I don’t have a sugar daddy paying my bills (*cough*Drinking Moms*cough*), so I’m limited in how much time I have to contribute to the cause.

  98. #99 Chris
    June 7, 2015

    Sarah A: “This is precisely the kind of situation in which pseudoscience had a huge advantage over real science: a catchphrase like “too many, too soon” is short, snappy, and appeals to “common sense.””

    It is also complicated with those who misrepresent the science. I first encountered this when a screed titled “Dispelling Vaccination Myths” by a law student, Alan Phillips, was being tossed around UseNet and other portions of the very young internets over twenty years ago. It is still floating around, and Mr. Phillips is now a lawyer whose practice includes helping people avoid vaccines.

    This was one bit that was tackled by a blogger many years ago:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

    This is where I first learned about the blatant lie that when Japan stopped vaccinating infant for pertussis they no longer had SIDS deaths. Wrong. From the above link:

    The anti-immunization activist author goes on with inflammatory, unreferenced stuff. After doing a computer search of the literature back to 1965, I am convinced that some activist simply made up the business about SIDS in Japan. He follows it with rhetoric about the need for a massive study of the whole business, not telling his readers that this has already been performed and that no correlation has been found.

    April 10: Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright wrote me about the explanation for the Japan SIDS business.

    JAMA 257: 1375, 1987: “In Japan, the problem of vaccine-associated SIDS was eliminated not by the introdution of acellular pertussis vaccines, but by the change of immunization from 3 months to 2 years.”

    The rate of SIDS in Japan did not change, but because the immunization schedule was changed, people stopped blaming the vaccine.

    I have spent a lot of time looking for this often-cited Japanese evidence, and have found so little that I must believe that the story originated with the misinterpretation of one person and spread like wildfire (as all the really “good” stories do). The rate of SIDS, I recall, did not change over the time-frame when this vaccination schedule shift occurred… Clearly it is the “vaccination-associated” classification of SIDS that went away; not SIDS itself.

    6//7/00: A correspondent shared an account of the SIDS in Japan business. An online account of further deceptions involving vaccines and SIDS is also down.

    The Japan saga on pertussis is included in Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story and:
    Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84.
    Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future.

    Actually many babies died from pertussis due to a political decision.

  99. #100 herr doktor bimler
    June 7, 2015

    This was one bit that was tackled by a blogger many years ago:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

    Interesting how many of the fabrications documented by Dr Friedlander, a decade or so ago, continue to re-surface — e.g. the “tetanus shots = birth-control” story. They do not feel the need for fresh material.

  100. #101 Chris
    June 7, 2015

    This is why I like to bring it up every so often.

  101. #102 Sarah A
    June 7, 2015

    @ Chris

    Wow – I knew the antivax movement pre-dated Wakefield, but I never realized just how hoary some of those PRATTs really are. Its interesting to read a pathologist’s pre-2010 opinion of Wakefield’s paper- it seems his evidence wasn’t that convincing even before it was revealed as an out-and-out fraud. I wonder what he (the author of the blog) meant by saying he “gives himself out as” a Christian. Is he just trying to be humble?

  102. #103 Barefoot Beachcomber
    Biosphere 3rd Rock from the Sun
    June 7, 2015

    Shocking lies abound, but the truth will out and we can prevail in the public debate on vaccine safety. It is when they start blathering on about parental choice and medical freedom and religious freedom that the going gets a bit rockier.,Most people like to hear what they want to hear but the minute they think they are being conned and their kids are in harm’s way, they can turn on the quacks with pitchforks and torches. Maybe even to the point of grand jury investigations and/or prosecutions of the likes of Wakefield for blatantly lying. Child endangerment?

  103. #105 Roger Kulp
    June 7, 2015

    The Anti-Compulsory Vaccination Hymn (1902

    Sample lyrics
    Brothers, we’re marching onward/Progress lies on before;/Fain would the hand of terror/Close up the burning door./Seizing our new-born infants,/Blighting their lives with pain;/Filling their veins with poison,/Tainting each tender brain

  104. #106 herr doktor bimler
    June 7, 2015

    I wonder what he (the author of the blog) meant by saying he “gives himself out as” a Christian. Is he just trying to be humble?
    Looking at the antics of many people who advertise their Christianity as loudly and frequently as possible — usually in the context of “send me money” and “you should hate these other people” — I can understand why someone might regard his actions as important (which are judged by other people), rather than what he calls himself.

  105. #107 Barefoot
    USA
    June 7, 2015

    On the other hand, I recall researching the interesting factoid that there was an attempt in the early XX century at Lambeth to get the Episcopal Church to become a bully pulpit (literally) for antivax, and it was overwhelmingly defeated. Something like one or maybe a few votes.

  106. #108 Denice Walter
    June 7, 2015

    Eliot said
    ” parents are necessarily latched onto the personalities and ferment of AoA etc”

    Believe me, you’ve hit upon it:
    the cult revolves around *personalities* who are *parents*.

    Awhile ago, Jon Brock ( Cracking the Enigma) described a panel done in the UK where it was shown that parents preferred vaccine information that came from other parents more than that which came from professionals.

    -Thus readers may identify with TMs or Kim & co- as they’re all mothers/ parents.
    – In addition, these proselytisers each work very hard at creating a specific persona that will be attractive and with which readers will relate easily. The TMs especially take great pains with their personae as expressed by those miserably awful ‘nyms.
    – As the research which Orac discussed previously has shown, they represent particular demographics and lifestyles:
    I’ve yet to read about a TM who has financial difficulties, altho’ a few b!tch about money.
    – They often display a particularly nauseating feisty-ness or warrior spirit as well as martyrdom and self-worship- perhaps not so incongruously because they worship their own qualities including competitive self-sacrifice before an audience. Not to mention love of intoxicants**’ and luxury.
    – They are rebels who rage against the vaccine machine: their targets of choice are SBM, corporations, the government and the media- which puts them in the same camp as well-known woo-meisters-
    they are alternative media and alternative health experts because the real experts and media won’t buy what they’re selling
    SO they must rely upon ALL of the above- personality, audience identification, demographics, rebel status and ‘unique’ voices that sound suspiciously similar.

    Some people have data, some have style.

    ** I know it can be a way to deal with stress

  107. #109 Barefoot
    Cali
    June 7, 2015

    Den – I prefer a more segmented analysis. Yes there is a certain Tiger Mom- affluent, not unattractive for her years, educated – and such types tend to get the spotlight. But then there are the male hangers-on, possibly a different psychology on many levels, and the less-glamorous “victim-moms”, add to the mix the pandering politicians. What frightens me is if they develope a formula to draw in disparate, hereto-fore univolved cohorts. The merger of Alex Jones style rightish propaganda with granola-munching-GMO-obsessed liberals could be a powerful and dangerous force, analogous perhaps in many respects to fascist coalitions.

  108. #110 JP
    June 7, 2015

    The merger of Alex Jones style rightish propaganda with granola-munching-GMO-obsessed liberals could be a powerful and dangerous force, analogous perhaps in many respects to fascist coalitions.

    You know about Mike Adams, I presume?

  109. #111 Sarah A
    June 7, 2015

    @ Barefoot

    I don’t know if I’d characterize male antivaxxers as “hangers-on” – a lot of the “leaders” of the movement (i.e., the ones making serious money off of it) are men – Wakefield, the Geiers, Drs. Bob Sears and Jay Gordon, etc. There seems to be a similar dynamic in alternative medicine – the patients are overwhelmingly female but the big-name practitioners are mostly male. Ironically, all of the “girl power” rhetoric employed by both movements seems to be little more than a way to distract the women from the fact that they’re actually being exploited.

  110. #112 Denice Walter
    June 7, 2015

    @ Barefoot:

    Sure. The men are quite another story altho’ there are martyrs amongst them as well:
    just off the top of my head, they include business-y types intent upon throwing the weight of their MBAs/ money against ASDs, Brave Maverick Scientists ( with or without children on the spectrum) and editors in search of a job.. I’m sure you know to whom I refer cryptically.

    And about that disturbing blend of right and left:
    both Adams and Null have been broadcasting that since the Great Recession-
    they appeal to Nature whether it be that of Lovely Green Gaia or G-d’s Green earth.

    Both prefer small government, lower taxes ( right, they’re rich), less regulation, less interference with alt med practitioners but they value socially enlightened values
    ( supposedly).They’re feminists and anti-racist. Null calls it “progressive libertarianism” as opposed to the ‘corporate’ left or right.

    They spout their swill perpetually at NN and PRN. Articles and shows reflect political as well as health oriented ‘news’..

  111. #113 Denice Walter
    June 7, 2015

    @ Sarah A.

    Totally agreed.

  112. #114 Barefoot
    California
    June 7, 2015

    “patients are overwhelmingly female but the big-name practitioners are mostly male” -Excellent point, and I never saw amore transparent use of the “girl power” trope than RFK Jr’s blandishments during the Sacramento rally last month.

    Speaking of which, they will be back at it Tuesday. Funny that AJW doesn’t show up at those. Guess he holds out for $60/plate.

  113. #115 Peter Dugdale
    June 8, 2015

    Roger Kulp, and er, The Washington Post –
    Many thanks, fascinating material. Follow the links and ca. 1890 see them playing with cancer statistics the same way our modern versions play with autism figures.
    Attitudes are interesting: “cancer is: Almost absent in the savage,” (Snow, 1891)

  114. #116 ChrisP
    June 8, 2015

    I have spent a lot of time looking for this often-cited Japanese evidence, and have found so little that I must believe that the story originated with the misinterpretation of one person and spread like wildfire

    That one person was Vera Scheibner, retired micropaleontologist.

  115. #117 Narad
    June 8, 2015

    I don’t know if I’d characterize male antivaxxers as “hangers-on” – a lot of the “leaders” of the movement (i.e., the ones making serious money off of it) are men

    Which reminds me that D’Ohlmsted still seems to be catching flak from the commentariat for failing to universally condemn vaccines, to the point that – when I looked a couple of days ago – John Stone, who condones rubella vaccination if one hasn’t been fortunate enough to contract the disease* before the Age of Fertility – stepped in in absentia.

    * Not lifelong, as I vaguely recall from recently looking at diphtheria, for which vaccination appears to be superior absent fresh cohorts of babies to provide yummy “natural boosters.”

  116. #118 Lawrence
    June 8, 2015

    The leadership over at AoA has always had the problem of wrangling the “crazies” who believe that vaccines are part of Agenda 21 / NWO / Chemtrails / etc. vs. attempting to appear to be somewhat reasonable & trying to pitch the line of “safer” vaccines.

    Only time will tell if they can hold the line, or if they all get pulled down the same rabbit hole.

  117. #119 Roger Kulp
    June 8, 2015

    Sarah A@
    You make a very valid point about high profile anti-vaxers making money off of desperate families of disabled children mostly being men,but Sherri Tenpenny and Kerri Rivera seem to be making inroads in the movement for women.

    You forgot Robert F. Kennedy Jr.How far the mighty Kennedy family has fallen.

    Just out of curiosity does anybody know how much money Wakefield charges for a speaking engagement?

  118. #120 Roger Kulp
    June 8, 2015

    Lawrence.they don’t reign them in.AoA gives the “crazies” equal time.Adriana Gamondes makes Alex Jones and David Icke look like paragons of sanity by comparison.That AoA publishes so much from Ms. Gamondes is a clear sign they have gone off the deep end.

    More opportunities for women here. 😉

  119. #121 Orac
    June 8, 2015

    I know. It seems that they’re publishing more by Adriana Gamondes, not less. Her last ten-part “epic” would make Alex Jones say, “WTF?” if he were to read it. And, geez, the two posts I linked to, one going on about the Holocaust and the other likening vaccination to an elephant that crushed a two-year-old’s skull, are just vile and crazy by any stretch of the imagination.

  120. #122 Chris
    June 8, 2015

    ChrisP: “That one person was Vera Scheibner, retired micropaleontologist.”

    Must be. She started going on about in the early 1990s, before there was much of an Internet.

  121. #123 JGC
    June 8, 2015

    Thank goodness for the middle, allowing humans to more readily adapt and evolve!

    Know what’s required for a population to evolve, Michael? A large number of its member’s failing to survive, such that allele changes conferring increased fitness become

  122. #124 JGC
    June 8, 2015

    let’s fix that:

    A large number of its member’s failing to survive, such that allele changes conferring increased fitness become fixed.

    Not something I recommend we embrace voluntarily.

  123. #125 JGC
    June 8, 2015

    a sense of this alone not justifying a newborn jab for their minutes-old child – who isn’t travelling or going into care any time soon (nor drugs, unprotected sex etc, as per ‘high risk of HepB’ materials)

    And of course who will never come into contact with anyone–a friend of the family, relative, etc.– who has not been tested and shown not to be an asyptomatic carrier of Hep B, right Eliot?

    http://shotofprevention.com/2010/05/06/why-infants-should-receive-the-hepatitis-b-vaccine-at-birth/

  124. #126 Dan Andrews
    Canada
    June 8, 2015

    Now-a-days, about the only people who don’t compare themselves to Galileo are actual scientists. Comparing yourself to Galileo is the “red clown nose indicator”…you see the nose and you don’t have to see the rest of the costume to know you’re likely dealing with a clown.

  125. #127 johnny
    June 8, 2015

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14690341

    “The incidence of atopic dermatitis increased after measles, mumps and rubella vaccination and measles infection, which is surprising in view of the hygiene hypothesis.”

    That is because the pro vaxx hygiene hypothesis is bullshit straw.

    So considering you are 13 times more likely to end up atopic after the MMR and far more people die in the western world from atopy than they do from measles that is a damn good reason to tell your medical rep to shove his vaccine where the sun shines.

  126. #128 johnny
    June 8, 2015

    You certainly are not right wing and self righteous, you are all fook wits

  127. #129 Shadowflash
    June 8, 2015

    (Truth + Lies)/2 = Half-Truth != Truth

  128. #130 TrUTH
    June 8, 2015

    Evolution of the full-on Twitter assault:
    http://www.wired.com/2015/06/antivaxxers-influencing-legislation/

  129. #131 has
    June 8, 2015

    TrUTH@128: man, the liars are out in force on that one. Could really use a vaccine against cretinous scuzzbags right now.

  130. #132 L. A. Julian
    June 8, 2015

    FYI, the diphtheria outbreak in Spain is spreading: eight more children have been diagnosed with it.

    http://www.thelocal.es/20150608/eight-more-children-infected-with-diphtheria

    Patient Zero had just gotten back from a school trip, so there are many others who were potentially exposed.

  131. #133 L. A. Julian
    June 8, 2015

    One of the things that I hadn’t known about diphtheria before now was that it is possible to be an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria as well, without even realizing one ever contracted it in a sufficiently mild case. So someone could think they only had a bad sore throat, and never realize what a brush with death they had, and never get immunized or boosted.

  132. #134 Chris
    June 8, 2015

    “One of the things that I hadn’t known about diphtheria before now was that it is possible to be an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria as well.”

    I knew this about the strep bacteria. We had one horrible spring when two of the kids kept getting strep throat. They would do a round of antibiotics, be fine and in another week get strep again!

    The doctor had everyone in our family to get a throat swab for an old fashioned “grow this stuff in a dish over the weekend” test instead of the quick strip. Turned out the “healthy” child also had a strep infection, but no symptoms. So all three kids had another round of antibiotics, and the cycle was stopped.

  133. #136 johnny
    June 9, 2015

    Well well, no one picked up that the MMR makes you 13 times more likely to be atopic. So considering more people die in the Western world from atopy than measles that’s one in the balls for the idea that having the MMR is safe, protective or useful.

    How many of you doctors tell their patients that they have a strong chance of becoming atopic after the MMR – answer Zero because you are all vaccine believers.

  134. #137 johnny
    June 9, 2015

    Did you also see the quite recent systematic review of HPV vaccine that was unable to find a single case of prevented cervical cancer or produce any evidence that it had prevented a single death? Even the claimed safety has absolutely no basis in fact either.

    Proud to be in continual moderation, at least I know I am on the right track – to scary to be published.

  135. #138 johnny
    June 9, 2015

    the chances of dying from one of your ‘vaccine preventable’ illnesses is much much lower than the chances of being killed or permanently disabled by the associated vaccine if you live in the west.

  136. #139 Chris
    June 9, 2015

    johnny: “the chances of dying from one of your ‘vaccine preventable’ illnesses is much much lower”

    Total logic fail.

  137. #140 Mrs Woo
    June 9, 2015

    @johnny – um… just curious – so we quit vaccination entirely because it’s “so much worse” and all those diseases come roaring back…

    and we have children who are made deaf by it, men/boys who are made sterile from mumps, severe brain damage from a really bad case of measles…

    It is nice to blame vaccines, and nice to opine people should skip them – but sooner or later, too many skip and there is NO ‘hiding in the herd’ and diseases that used to require parents to spend weeks quarantined at home with their kids (that’s a firing offense a lot of places I have worked recently), and people end up seeing real injury that we have eradicated with these diseases.

    Then they’ll say, “Wait, maybe vaccines weren’t so high risk, after all…”

  138. #141 ChrisP
    Australia
    June 9, 2015

    Then they’ll say, “Wait, maybe vaccines weren’t so high risk, after all…”

    This is something that ‘johnny’ and his various sock puppets won’t say. That is because ‘johnny’ in real life is an ignorant, anti-vaccine chiropractor. Other than pointing and laughing, there is no point taking any notice of their lies.

  139. #142 herr doktor bimler
    June 9, 2015

    tell your medical rep to shove his vaccine where the sun shines
    Friends don’t let friends drunk-comment .

  140. #144 Barefoot
    June 9, 2015

    Previous URL is misleading as the actual article it links to is different and announces the failure of the antivaxxers:

    Mandatory vaccine legislation easily clears Assembly health committee

    SACRAMENTO — An incendiary bill that would reverse California’s liberal vaccine exemption law was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by the state Assembly Health Committee, the sole Assembly panel that will take up the measure.

    Before a chamber packed with hundreds of opponents to the legislation, the 12-6 vote followed five hours of public testimony from experts,

  141. #145 Mrs Woo
    June 9, 2015

    Does this put johnny as a regrettable and pitiable “true believer,” or a more likely snake oil salesman who peddles all of this junk to make a buck while assuring himself that the quack miranda printed on his office flyers will be enough to make his marks er, umm, patients… no, still not right – customers! There we go… does he pretend to believe after lying to his customers for years that he has the only true healing that when something life-threatening comes up they will still go to a real doctor?

    Murderers in waiting, raking in cash hand over fist, pretending doctors get kickbacks (they can’t and don’t) while they make profits from supplement sales and little machines that go, “Bing!”

    There goes ever giving him any benefit of the doubt again.

  142. #146 Mrs Woo
    June 9, 2015

    If that was too evil on my part, you can delete it Orac. Sorry to get so angry.

  143. #147 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 9, 2015

    Well well, no one picked up that the MMR makes you 13 times more likely to be atopic.

    Did you also see the quite recent systematic review of HPV vaccine that was unable to find a single case of prevented cervical cancer or produce any evidence that it had prevented a single death? Even the claimed safety has absolutely no basis in fact either.

    Be a good boy johnny and provide some actual links. Strangely, your say-so just doesn’t suffice.

    Proud to be in continual moderation, at least I know I am on the right track – to scary to be published.

    No actually you’re just too dumb to provide a consistent email addy.

  144. #148 Barefoot
    Fighting back antivax zombies
    June 10, 2015

    Not sure time spent arguing with trolls is well invested. Here the antiscience mobequates Dr Pan with Pol Pot…note the racism…https://twitter.com/APICASac/status/608456502295277568

  145. […] be people like Sarah Fallon, who in their desire to appear “reasonable” über alles in comparison to (apparently) us pro-vaccine advocates aid and abet the antivaccine […]

  146. #150 Allie P
    June 10, 2015

    I often think that if all vaccines were administered via cherry-flavored lollypop, it would cut the legs off the anti-vax movement. There are a lot of people out there afraid of doctors, needles, and making their kids cry, and they want an excuse to avoid it.

  147. #151 Dangerous Bacon
    June 10, 2015

    And if we could ensure that those cherry-flavored vaccine lollipops were produced by kindly-faced grandmas in their home kitchens, it’d demolish the Big Pharma angle.

    “it would cut the legs off the anti-vax movement.”

    Yeah, but I get this image of the Monty Python knight reduced to a legless, armless torso, still demanding the surrender of his opponent.

  148. #152 Dangerous Bacon
    June 10, 2015

    And if we could ensure that those cherry-flavored vaccine lollipops were produced by kindly-faced grandmas in their home kitchens, it’d demolish the Big Pharma angle.

    “it would cut the legs off the anti-vax movement.”

    Yeah, but I get this image of the Monty Python knight reduced to a legless, armless torso, still demanding the surrender of his opponent.

  149. #153 Renate
    June 10, 2015

    I’m pretty sure they would complain about the sugar in the lollipops.

  150. #154 johnny
    June 10, 2015

    “@johnny – um… just curious – so we quit vaccination entirely because it’s “so much worse” and all those diseases come roaring back…

    and we have children who are made deaf by it, men/boys who are made sterile from mumps, severe brain damage from a really bad case of measles…” Pile of woo

    But that assumes they work, the HPV doesn’t work and it’s so called safety profile is non existent. It only works in your vaccine fantasy – the research tells us it’s a dead duck.

    As for MMR, far more people die from atopy than they do of Measles mumps and Rubella so your supposition is as woo as your avitar. Period

  151. #155 johnny
    June 10, 2015

    “As for MMR, far more people die (in the western world) from atopy than they do of Measles mumps and Rubella so your supposition is as woo as your avitar. Period”
    The ones who die in the third world do so from mainly waterborne diseases because the sanitation is ‘crap’ and malnutrition.

    Why are you 13 times more likely to be atopic after the MMR if it is such a marvel? Ask anyone who has to carry an epipen how they feel about not being told by their proper doctor about that risk.

  152. #156 johnny
    June 10, 2015

    What is with the constant moderation – scared of facts, I love the idea you have to have a meeting to decide whether these posts are ‘suitable’.

  153. #157 johnny
    June 10, 2015

    “Be a good boy johnny and provide some actual links. Strangely, your say-so just doesn’t suffice.” non science fag wooster

    the links are there, look at the first post 127 for MMR causing 13 fold increase in atopy
    HPV vaccine failure to prevent a single case of cervical cancer and its safety claims are based on flawed and biased research studies
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23016780

    This is classic vaccine spin in a downward spiral. The antivax position is not about arguing over for and against, it is about proper evidence. Here the evidence is clear – get the MMR and your risk of atopy increases, considering the massive increases in life threatening atopy what has been the benefit of the sodding vaccine when in the western world measles mumps and rubella is not producing any where near the mortality and misery in numbers that the MMR is.

  154. #158 johnny
    June 10, 2015

    “Be a good boy johnny and provide some actual links. Strangely, your say-so just doesn’t suffice.” non science fag wooster

    the links are there, look at the first post 127 for MMR causing 13 fold increase in atopy
    HPV vaccine failure to prevent a single case of cervical cancer and its safety claims are based on flawed and biased research studies
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23016780

    This is classic vaccine spin in a downward spiral. The antivax position is not about arguing over for and against, it is about proper evidence. Here the evidence is clear – get the MMR and your risk of atopy increases, considering the massive increases in life threatening atopy what has been the benefit of the sodding vaccine when in the western world measles mumps and rubella is not producing any where near the mortality and misery in numbers that the MMR is.

  155. #159 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 11, 2015

    Everybody, ignore johnny’s PubMed link. It’s Tomljenovic and Shaw, again.
    johnny, put “Tomljenovic” or “Shaw” into the search box at the top of the page. That cite isn’t what you think it is.

  156. #160 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 11, 2015

    “Be a good boy johnny and provide some actual links. Strangely, your say-so just doesn’t suffice.” non science fag wooster

    the links are there, look at the first post 127 for MMR causing 13 fold increase in atopy

    No idea why you’re calling me a cigarette but in light of the fact you produce such a copious amount of spittle-flecked dreck, not surprising. As for your ‘study’. You may want to read particularly the methods. Parental questionnaires are not adequate and also no other parameters were examined. One can find an association with anything.

  157. #161 shay
    June 11, 2015

    This is the sort of thing anti-vaxxers hate. It was on CIDRAP yesterday.

    “After rotavirus vaccination was implemented in 2006, hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis among US kids younger than 5 years dropped by 31%, and hospitalizations attributed specifically to rotavirus dropped even steeper, according to a study yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

    Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data on 1,201,458 hospital cases of acute gastroenteritis in that age-group from 2000 to 2012, of which 199,812 involved a rotavirus diagnosis.”

  158. #162 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 11, 2015

    And it’s a Letter to the Editor you numpty.

  159. #163 Krebiozen
    June 11, 2015

    johnny,

    Well well, no one picked up that the MMR makes you 13 times more likely to be atopic.

    Citation? The best evidence I can find suggests that vaccines do not increase atopy. Getting measles seems to lead to just as much contact dermatitis as MMR, so what do you suggest?

    So considering more people die in the Western world from atopy than measles that’s one in the balls for the idea that having the MMR is safe, protective or useful.

    Atopy is inherited, not acquired, fatal allergic reactions to vaccines are vanishingly rare, and vaccines do not cause the kinds of allergic reactions that kill people, like insect sting and food allergies.

    How many of you doctors tell their patients that they have a strong chance of becoming atopic after the MMR – answer Zero because you are all vaccine believers.

    No, zero because it isn’t true.

    Did you also see the quite recent systematic review of HPV vaccine that was unable to find a single case of prevented cervical cancer or produce any evidence that it had prevented a single death?

    It takes 15 years for HPV to develop into cervical cancer, and a few more years to kill. How could a vaccine that was introduced less than a decade ago be expected to have prevented any cases of cervical cancer? We know that HPV vaccines very effectively prevent the development of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, and we know that surgical removal of cervical intraepithelial neoplasias very effectively prevents them from developing cancer.

    Even the claimed safety has absolutely no basis in fact either.

    That’s another flat lie.

    Proud to be in continual moderation, at least I know I am on the right track – to scary to be published.

    Your easily refuted misinformation and rambling nonsense is truly terrifying.

  160. #164 Mrs Woo
    June 11, 2015

    @Krebiozen – I couldn’t figure out how he got what he did out of his link, but wasn’t familiar enough with all the research to make assertions. Relieved to have others around with more knowledge.

    An interesting artifact of social media and the internet in general: patients and families of patients with rare conditions find each other readily, and it makes a disease with a 1 in 100,000 (or even rarer) occurrence seem like it is much more prevalent than statistics say, or maybe increasing. This I know from experience from my own illnesses and my familial disease.

    Just because it seems to be less rare doesn’t make it true.

  161. #165 Barefoot
    Woo Woo District, Land of Woo
    June 11, 2015

    #164 Interesting point: Amplification of Anecdotal Evidence via Internet. Hmmm.

  162. #166 johnny
    June 11, 2015

    “Atopy is inherited, not acquired,” Krebby pants

    Well that is the most clinically dumb statement I have read for at least two posting by you lot! LOL

  163. #167 johnny
    June 11, 2015
  164. #168 johnny
    June 11, 2015

    I don’t know why you think I am a healer – I’ve never healed anyone. Unless you consider plumbing a kind of healing?

  165. #169 johnny
    June 11, 2015

    how’s the requiem for medical peer review coming on, I don’t see an invite to the funeral.

    Now the cats out and we all know we can quote what we like to support our beliefs, I love the idea that the ex editor of the British Medical journal said that medical peer review was like poetry.

    I mean NobRed and Julian do write a kind of applied manure most of the time, the rest is just supposition. Are you sure you aren’t all homeopaths in disguise, the language is so similar?

  166. #170 johnny
    June 11, 2015

    In contrast, these vaccines failed to provide protection in challenging impoverished settings (pooled efficacy = 20%; 95% CI = <0 to 39) where the vaccine would be most critical to saving lives.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322519/

    Contrast this to the claimed results in squeaky clean labs and rich middle class populations. Again we find the vaccine 'works' in high GDP areas and fails in poor countries, time and time again.

    When are you guys gonna shake the cotton out your boxes and realise that the vaccines are irrelevant. Maybe the real trial would be to put the average African on $40,000 per anmum and then give them the vaccine against same people with no income. I can guess the result.

    live oral vaccines can be less immunogenic and efficacious in developing world settings as compared with industrialized countries.
    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01886833
    OOOOH look another study, can't understand why the vaccine isnt working in poor people. Perhaps the makers are all white middleclass 4×4 drivers, how compelling. Do you really want this kind of person making up health policy. Maybe if the vaccine came with a 'windfall cheque' it might work as a kind of adjuvant. or immune booster?

  167. #171 Gray Falcon
    June 11, 2015

    Remember, this is the same johnny who tried to disprove germ theory by pointing out eggs going rotten, and demanding where the germs came from.

  168. #172 johnny
    June 11, 2015

    Your turn, don’t want to hog the limelight. try and discuss the above without dissing the people that did the studies – it is getting rather boring just seeing more research trashed.

    Next you will be telling us they got rid of smallpox and also polio from India with a vaccine and it will get silly.

  169. #173 Gray Falcon
    June 11, 2015

    johnny, this is a direct quote from one of your articles:

    Thus, while rotavirus vaccines still continue to be less effective in the most impoverished settings compared with rich populations, efficacy of the current vaccines has substantially improved in the past decade, possibly due to improvements in vaccine type, study design, age at vaccination, number of doses, or outcome measures studied. Moreover, despite the lower efficacy, the trials have unequivocally demonstrated that the absolute reduction in severe disease is greater in developing country settings than more affluent settings with higher efficacy.48

    Why are you lying to us?

  170. #174 shay
    June 11, 2015

    fake ‘johnny’ posts cites without reading them? I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

  171. #175 Roger Kulp
    June 11, 2015

    Also from Johnny’s link,the problem is not so much the efficacy of the vaccine,but the external conditions of the country.

    Immune responses to rotavirus vaccination also vary between infants in developed and industrialized settings, with a trend of reduced immunogenicity in countries with the lowest income level.While immunogenicity data do not directly correlate with efficacy, they may offer some further evidence of impaired immune response in the children from the poorest regions. For example, after immunization with RV1, infants in high income countries, where the pooled efficacy of second generation vaccines was 85%, had substantially higher concentrations of IgA antibodies (mean titers = 206 U/mL; seroconversion = 86%) compared with vaccinated infants in low-income countries (mean titers = 68 U/mL; serocoversion = 63%), where pooled efficacy was 51%. These variations in immune response are not surprising given the differences in epidemiology of rotavirus disease between the developing and developed countries, and could possibly reflect differences in force of infection, host characteristics (e.g., level of nourishment, breastfeeding), circulating strain patterns, and presence of other enteric pathogens.Rotavirus disease in poor tropical countries is often year round, likely reflecting the higher force of infection. Although immunogenecity may not perfectly correlate with efficacy, experience from clinical trials with first and second generation candidate rotavirus vaccines suggests that field performance of these vaccines is also less optimal in developing countries than in more affluent settings. Several findings from these efficacy studies in developing countries could shed light on future use of currently licensed vaccines in these settings. Our review highlights the difficulties in comparability of study results, particularly for the first generation vaccines, due to differences in study design, such as number of doses administered, age at vaccine administration, outcome measures of severity, and time of followup. While these differences in study design could have partly explained differences in observed efficacy between developed and developing regions, the consistency of the decrease in efficacy across multiple studies and oral vaccines supports the contention that host factors among children in developing countries are likely to play a role in lower efficacy.

    Johnny isn’t lying,so much,as seeing what he wants to see in the study to confirm his antivax bias.

    Typical.

  172. #176 Ben
    June 11, 2015

    Johnny, I don’t think you even bothered to read the studies you linked. I expect you just Googled something to the effect of “vaccine failure” and plucked links with titles that sounded like they supported your argument.

  173. #177 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 11, 2015

    “Atopy is inherited, not acquired,” Krebby pants

    Well that is the most clinically dumb statement I have read for at least two posting by you lot! LOL

    And yet all you can provide is a Letter to the Editor about a questionnaire to support your ridiculous claim.

  174. #178 doug
    June 11, 2015

    regarding the Spanish boy with diphtheria:

    The mother and father of the six-year-old who is fighting for his life at the Intensive Care Unit of Barcelona’s Vall de Hebron hospital are “destroyed and feel cheated” by the anti-vaccination movement that convinced them not to immunize their son.

    Pop over and see Mike the Mad Biologist for the link.

  175. #179 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 12, 2015

    @johnny with a little “j”:

    So what is your problem with Tomljenovic and Shaw Julian, is he not of the cloth?

    To repeat myself: there is a search box at the top of the page under the heading “search this blog”. Put “Tomljenovic”, “Shaw” or both names into the search box then click “Search”. Orac has written about them both before. Numerous articles dealing with their dishonesty will be returned. Suffice to say, they’re not credible.

  176. #180 johnny
    June 12, 2015

    With regards to diptheria, more people have died from the vaccine than the disease itself in modern times. Yes you can drag an emotive appeal from somewhere, of course that is a tragedy but to link it to no vaccine is one two three banana.

    Like the Disney measles story, the only death in Germany, that virus got on a plane? was in a kid with serious underlying health problems.

    I am sure the unfortunate Spanish parents would like to blame someone else for their misfortune, that is natural and I am sure the doctors would be looking for an opportunity to promote vaccine snake oil. So thank you for pointing out that appalling vaccine marketing tool at work again.

  177. #181 johnny
    June 12, 2015

    Orac’s opinion is anecdotal, why on earth would I believe someone who thinks that discussions on vaccination are somehow ‘not allowed’?

    Please list his credentials, if it is anything like medical peer review then I insist on paying higher for a different answer.

  178. #182 johnny
    June 12, 2015

    “Atopy is inherited, not acquired,” Krebby pants

    Well that is the most clinically dumb statement I have read for at least two posting by you lot! LOL

    And yet all you can provide is a Letter to the Editor about a questionnaire to support your ridiculous claim. Whitchy mom

    Well, the idea that you can pass atopy on is rather funny, at least a letter to the editor is a real event.

  179. #183 johnny
    June 12, 2015

    “Johnny, I don’t think you even bothered to read the studies you linked. I expect you just Googled something to the effect of “vaccine failure” and plucked links with titles that sounded like they supported your argument.” Ben the boner

    Well that is what medical peer review is, I am just following your lead – it’s fun. Shame I am not paid for it. O is really good at plucking crap from chicken’s derrieres and posting, I know he is a professional and I am an amateur, but you have to learn somewhere.

  180. #184 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 12, 2015

    johnny with a small “j”:

    With regards to diptheria, more people have died from the vaccine than the disease itself in modern times.

    Citation needed. Also, you need to compare the number of lives saved by vaccinating against your claim of deaths caused by the vaccine.

    the only death in Germany, that virus got on a plane? was in a kid with serious underlying health problems.

    The falsity of this claim has been shown before. You are flat out lying.

    Orac’s opinion is anecdotal, why on earth would I believe someone who thinks that discussions on vaccination are somehow ‘not allowed’?

    1) Actually, no. Orac backs up his claims with evidence, which you’d know if you’d bothered to read his articles of Tomljenovic and Shaw.
    2) Discussions on vaccination ARE allowed. Lies and distortions about the risks of vaccines don’t pass unchallenged here, though.

    Please list [Orac’]s credentials

    Click on Orac’s name. You will learn his credentials for yourself.

  181. #185 Helianthus
    June 12, 2015

    Well that is what medical peer review is

    In the world of naturopaths, maybe.
    From the mouth of PR spokepeoples, occasionally.
    Not in proper science

    Please list [Orac’]s credentials

    Coming from I’m-not-Philip-Hills johnny, this demand for credentials is hilarious. And hypocritical.

  182. #186 Krebiozen
    June 12, 2015

    It’s like cleaning up after an effluent spill here sometimes.
    johnny,

    “Atopy is inherited, not acquired,” Krebby pants
    Well that is the most clinically dumb statement I have read for at least two posting by you lot! LOL

    I suspect this just means you don’t understand what ‘atopy’ means and have conflated it with specific allergies. No surprises there.

    Well, the idea that you can pass atopy on is rather funny, at least a letter to the editor is a real event.

    Yup, I thought so. Atopy is the genetic tendency to develop allergic disease and is inherited, as inherited tendencies so often are. An allergy to a specific allergen is acquired, but you have to be atopic in the first place. Nothing, not even vaccines, can render a person atopic, as far as I know.

    In contrast, these vaccines failed to provide protection in challenging impoverished settings (pooled efficacy = 20%; 95% CI = <0 to 39) where the vaccine would be most critical to saving lives.

    Oops, you accidentally cut off the next part of the sentence:

    however, trials of the second generation vaccines yielded substantial improvements in efficacy in developing countries (pooled efficacy of 51%), leading to a global recommendation for rotavirus vaccine introduction by WHO.

    That’s better, unless a 51% reduction in a life-threatening disease is of no consequence to osteopaths (the idea they could do as well really is funny).

    Well that is what medical peer review is, I am just following your lead – it’s fun.

    No, this is yet another concept you have utterly misunderstood and run around laughing at, not realizing that you are the butt of the joke.

  183. #187 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 12, 2015

    And yet all you can provide is a Letter to the Editor about a questionnaire to support your ridiculous claim. Whitchy mom

    Well, the idea that you can pass atopy on is rather funny, at least a letter to the editor is a real event.

    Oh I see, “I read so it must be for realsies”. Poor johnny Phillip Hills, business must be slow.

  184. #188 Helianthus
    June 12, 2015

    @ Krebiozen

    It’s like cleaning up after an effluent spill here sometimes.

    Lately, our visitors have been of the 3-year old incontinent variety, with the impulse control of a 5-year old. Unfortunately, they also bring the (mis-)handling of facts of a 7-year old and the contempt toward girls of a 9-year old.
    Not a good combination.

    And apologies to real-life children, who occasionally are able to show some sense of ethics.

  185. #189 johnny
    June 12, 2015

    “You make a very valid point about high profile vaxers making money off of desperate families of diptheric children mostly being men,” Roger pulp fiction

    don’t worry Roger, it’s a tactic borrowed from the other side – appeals to emotion are common among the vaccine believers

  186. #190 Johnny
    June 12, 2015

    “Nothing, not even vaccines, can render a person atopic, as far as I know.” foxy pants # 186

    Well you know not a lot sir. So according to your ‘logic’ suddenly there was an 13 fold increase of atopy because lots of atopic people decided to multiply! what are you a creationist or something.

    Never been the hilly one, and have no intention of doing that

  187. #191 Johnny
    June 12, 2015

    Why don’t we just refer to the ‘O’ one, or the nought

  188. #192 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 14, 2015

    So according to your ‘logic’ suddenly there was an 13 fold increase of atopy because lots of atopic people decided to multiply!

    Citation needed for the 13 fold increase in atopy. Evidence required that the increase is genuine and not as a result of better detection.

  189. #193 shay
    June 14, 2015

    Julian, I’ll bet you’re one of those denialists who believe that the only reason we’re seeing more breast cancer than we did 50 years ago is because of mammograms. Or something.

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