If you think measles is always a "minor" disease...

...Dr. John Kiely, a.k.a. EpiWonk, will school you otherwise. (I had to attend a function for work last night; so no new insolence for you right now. Maybe later. Hard as it is to believe, I do sometimes have to let my job interfere with my blogging. Fortunately, I've been meaning to plug Dr. Kiely's post since it came out.)

After telling the harrowing story of his brush with serious complications from the measles as a child, he sums up the current day know-nothing, "green our vaccines" antivaccination movement succinctly and accurately:

Meanwhile, the modern anti-vaccination movement, which has become a hobby of upper-middle-class activists and Hollywood celebrities with no time to learn the basic tenets of epidemiologic methods (or even of the scientific process), has used pseudoscience and misinformation to gain far too much influence on our public discourse on child health.

Exactly. There's also the bankrolling of propaganda organs like Age of Autism by wealthy businessmen and, now, by the dollars that Jenny McCarthy's D-list celebrity and her boyfriend Jim Carrey's A-list celebrity can bring in through Hollywood and celebrity fundraisers that disguise Generation Rescue, for example, as an "autism" charity ("We're raising money for an autism charity! Isn't that wonderful?"), instead of what it really is: An antivaccination organization. Somehow, "We're raising money for an antivaccinationist fringe group!" doesn't sound as good, but that's what's happening now that Jenny McCarthy has become the celebrity face of the antivaccination movement.

Don't be shy about heading over to EpiWonk to show Dr. Kiely some love.

More like this

Over the last year and a half, Jenny McCarthy has been, unfortunately, a fairly frequent topic of this blog. There is, of course, a reason for this. Ever since she published her first book on autism back in the summer of 2007, she has become the public face of the antivaccine movement and autism…
There once was a time not so long ago--oh, say, four our five years--when the anti-vaccine fringe was looked upon as what it was: a fringe group, a bunch of quacks and quack advocates, all in essence one big conspiracy theory movement, in which vaccines are the One True Cause of Autism. At the time…
In the celebrity vaccine wars, as we all know, Jenny McCarthy has become the de facto leader of the "vaccines-cause-autism" lunatic fringe. However, apparently she has managed to recruit another celebrity to help her out. Her choice is amazingly appropriate: Britney Spears, who was seen at a…
There's an old saying, so old that it's devolved into cliché: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. I'm sure the vast majority of my readers, if not every last one of them, have heard this saying before. Certainly, it has a lot of truth to it. Sometimes it even applies to blogging.…

Your usage of know-nothing is not quite historically accurate, but you bring up a good point- celebrity. We need a better celebrity than Amanda Peet. Granted, I love hot, Ivy Leagure history majors as much as the next guy, but we someone harsh, effective, and angry- in short gentlemen, we need Mr. T.

This is kind of a weird place to ask this question but I keep seeing in articles and such parents claiming their child received 8,9, even 12 vaccinations in one visit. The Poling case quoted 9 vaccinations. I have tried to figure out how on earth a child could even receive that many vaccinations in one visit. Using the typical Immunization Schedule, and assuming some are missed and made up for, I cannot figure out why that would occur. Can anyone enlighten me as to how a child could receive 8+ immunizations in one day? I'm finding it difficult to find a way to give more than 6. And also, if anyone has some experience in these matters, should a child be receiving that many immunizations?

One easy way to inflate the numbers would be to, say, count MMR as three instead of one. I don't know whether that's the explanation or not, but it may be involved.

I'm more than happy to have the vaccinations combined so several are delivered with one jab. The most needle-sticks my boy has ever had to have in one sitting was four, and that's enough for any kid to have to endure in one day. I think if one counts the number of vaccinations delivered in those four shots, it was probably around nine or ten.

Is there an Autism charity that isn't tainted with antivax hysteria?

I believe you are right, Scott and The Perky Skeptic, that they're counting each disease covered in the vaccine rather than each injection. Because, after all, it sounds much scarier and much more torturous for the poor kid that way.

I've never seen more than four shots at one go either, though as the rotavirus vaccine is oral, I suppose they could get five administrations of vaccine in one visit. Six if they got the flu shot the same day. But that would be unusual, I think.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 10 Oct 2008 #permalink

lol yeah, Todd, There's that one that it appears plain old doesn't (yet) want any one with Autism to Speak with authority for themselves. But I would hardly call the multimillion dollar fundraising 'parties' they throw a charitable cause, there is lots of blow by money that never actually makes it out the door to help the general ASD population.

McCarthy, roll eyes, is now using other people's dilemmas to try and keep her own publicity up. While I realize the attention and support some of her other acquaintances get are likely well deserved, some of them have at least dealt with acceptance in reality, whereas the would be awareness champion McCarthy keeps laying the blame on some unproven toxicity or woofest yeast invasion.

If the toxicity releif care Providers could actually get all the background data they need together to prove the point, then I wish they would do it. I tire of having to read about VICP/OAP this and that and overcharging by the PSC, or rather their illustrious leader.

Hannah Poling received:
One injection of MMR
One injection of Varivax
One injection of DTaP
One inactivated Polio
One injection of Hib

This is "9" vaccines in total.

Epiwonk is another site that, like Photon In the Darkness, does not update super often, but is pretty much always worth reading when updated.

By Karl Withakay (not verified) on 10 Oct 2008 #permalink

Hannah Poling received:
One injection of MMR
One injection of Varivax
One injection of DTaP
One inactivated Polio
One injection of Hib

This is "9" vaccines in total.

Ah, so that is how they're getting it up to nine after all. I wouldn't have thought of such slight of hand. It does sound much more dangerous when you say the kid received 9 vaccinations versus 5 shots.

Mr. T has insufficient breastitude for a pro-vaccination celebrity spokesperson.

I am nominating Salma Hayek for our camp. She's already promoting a polio vaccination project. She's also a better actress than Jenny McCarthy, with a much more gorgeous rack. I would also bet she breastfeeds.

By Rogue Epidemiologist (not verified) on 10 Oct 2008 #permalink

Mr. T: Mr. T's level 70 Night Elf Mohawk safely vaccinates all of his children!

Jenny: T? There's no such thing as a safe vaccination..

Mr. T: Shet up, foo! Vaccines are a primary tool in Mr. T's world heath initiative!

Jenny: T, vaccines cause autism!

Mr. T: Well maybe Mr. T. perused the scientific literature and found no link between vaccines and autism. Maybe Mr. T. is pretty handy in the library. Had that occurred to you, Miss Condescending Nutcase?

By Silverloc (not verified) on 10 Oct 2008 #permalink

Is there an Autism charity that isn't tainted with antivax hysteria?

Well, there's the National Autistic Society in the UK. There used to be the National Alliance for Autism Research in the US, but that got merged into Autism Speaks, which unfortunately has antivaxers in some of its top offices. (Scientists of Autism Speaks, revolt!)

There are a few grass-roots groups like the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the Asperger's Association of New England. I don't know whether they actively fundraise, though. There are also plenty of non-woo-ified academic autism research centers that would probably love to get donations.

One link leads to another and I found myself reading some stories of SSPE (Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), if that's not enough to scare a person into getting vaccinated I don't know what is.

Absolutely horrible stuff.

Mr. T says: "No more jibber-jabber! Just get jabbed!"

@silverloc: 10/10. Sign here, here; Initial here... and there's your teh internet. Congratulations on winning it! :D

I can just see the A-Team saving some poor kid from a chelation clinic. And at least Mr. T calls her foo' to her face.

Arnold could play the Vaccinator.

I think that you're probably being generous in calling Jim Carrey an "A-list celebrity" at this point. Maybe right after "Eternal Sunshine", but I don't think that he's A-List anymore.

Todd, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/) is registered as a non-profit, and they do a lot of good work.

In Canada, the Autism Acceptance Project (http://www.taaproject.com/donate/) is also very good.

I'm in Canada, so we tend to funnel our charitable giving mainly towards things that are going to help my autistic kids (local groups, funds for playgrounds, building projects etc.) I don't donate to very many large groups at all.

Maybe Salma Hayek could help a bit with some provaccine publicity.
It's tetanus she's supporting, not polio.
I wouldn't get to excited by the prospect of her taking on all-comers in any debate, though - her spoken english is fairly poor, and I don't really think she has a grasp of the science (she talked about tetanus being due to a "virus")

Good article, thanks for the pointer.

I agree that there needs to be more publicity on the science-based medicine side. Maybe MR T. has some library skills, indeed.