Measles outbreaks, religion, and the reality of the antivaccine movement

If there's one thing antivaccinationists hate having pointed out to them, it's that they are antivaccine. If you really want to drive an antivaccinationist up the wall, point out that they are antivaccine. Sure, there are a few antivaccinationists who openly self-identify as antivaccine and are even proud of it, but most of them realize that society frowns upon them—as well it should given how antivaccinationists are responsible for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease. Moreover, most antivaccine activists really believe that vaccines are harmful. They're wrong, of course, but that doesn't make them any less true believers. They really believe they are doing good as they do evil. Part of the reason that they believe that they're doing good is because they manage to convince themselves that they are not actually "antivaccine," but rather "pro-safe vaccine" or "pro-vaccine safety." Of course, it's fairly easy to put the lie to that claim. All you have to do is to ask them which vaccines they recommend, or if there are any vaccines that they would give to their children; alternatively, you can ask them what, specifically, it would take for them to start vaccinating their children. In the first case, the usual answer will be that no vaccine is recommended. In the second case, the response will usually be so convoluted and with so many conditions as to be virtually impossible for any vaccine to meet. For example, absolute 100% complete safety will be demanded before vaccination would even be considered.

Another thing that belies the claim by antivaccinationists that they are not "antivaccine" is how so many of them seem to be proud of discouraging other parents from vaccinating. For instance, I once pointed out that J.B. Handley, the founder of the antivaccine organization Generation Rescue, gloated over how his band "held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees." Now, Anne Dachel, "Media Editor" for the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism is doing the same thing in a post entitled Google News Search on Vaccines, Exemptions Turns Up? All of Us:

Forget the autism issue. Just go to Google News and look up "Vaccines, Exemptions." It's a really big topic. Parents aren't buying all the claims that vaccines are safe.

Despite a massive effort by health officials and doctors, parents continue to fear that vaccines can do more harm than good. Stories about more parents exempting their children are everywhere. I can't help but notice that there's special concern about the vaccination rates for kindergarten kids. If the youngest students are more likely to be exempted, that can't be good for the vaccine promoters.

And I'm sure the pro-vaccine people don't like to see these stories out there. If more parents are opting out, they may have good reasons. It causes other parents to be concerned too. If they start to really look into the issue, there's plenty of info out there to scare them out of vaccinating.

Did you get that? Let me repeat it: Scare them out of vaccinating. That is the goal of people like Anne Dachel and her ilk. It is not to improve vaccine safety. It is, rather, the classic denialist desire to foment fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about vaccines. The end result of this FUD is to scare other parents out of vaccinating. Anne Dachel is antivaccine and proud of it, claims otherwise by various bloggers at AoA notwithstanding. To demonstrate that, as befits her position as the "media editor" of AoA whose main job appears to be to list stories on vaccines on AoA in order to send her flying monkeys swooping down into the comments of such stories to flood them with antivaccine pseudoscience, Dachel lists multiple stories about "concerns" over vaccines. One story notes that the state with the highest rate of vaccination among kindergarteners is Mississippi, at 99.9%, while the state with the lowest rate is Colorado, with only 82.9% of kindergarteners adequately covered by vaccines. Meanwhile, Vermont has the highest rate of non-medical exemptions.

I discussed another example of how antivaccine activists are not "pro-vaccine safety" just yesterday. I'm referring, of course, to the truly despicably deceptive claim that shaken baby syndrome is a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury. I hadn't planned on revisiting that claim or the posts that I used as a jumping off point to talk about this most vile of antivaccine claims. However, it was pointed out to me just how much commenters after version of the story I discussed posted at back up my assertions that there is indeed an "antivaccine movement," and that most antivaccinationists are not "pro-vaccine safety" but rather truly antivaccine. For example, one commenter called Free People writes:

You know Glad, what this proves is the party is over for the Medical Cartel and its Vaccine Klan who have become so greedy for the $$$$..they don't care who they kill, maim and disable. Their agenda is now blatantly obvious due to excessive greed! The numbers are astronomical, worldwide, so high and no way to keep track and count the dead and sick due Quackery of the highest order that provides ZERO immunity to any of these diseases. That's the saddest part. So many precious lives lost and sick for a vaccine 'experiment' that still doesn't work (except for diabolic evil).

If saying that vaccines don't work at all, cause horrible health issues, and are only used because of corporate greed isn't antivaccine, I don't know what is.

Another commenter called Gladiatoro writes:

When poison is taken by the mouth, the internal defense system has a chance to
quickly eject some of it by vomiting, but when the poisons are shot directly
into the body via VACCINES bypassing all the natural safeguards, these dangerous poisons circulate immediately throughout the entire body in a matter of seconds and
keep on circulating until all the cells are poisoned.

And another commenter called Nancy responds:

The only "point" to vaccines is to kill, maim, and sicken children, and they certainly perform this deadly function.

And when one parent foolishly states that she's had her children vaccinated and criticizes antivaccine parents for leaving their children unprotected, a commenter by the name of Sherry Pulford Land rebukes her:

Tat, it seems to me you ARE ramming your beliefs down your childrens throats!! Better check yourself!! They know why you don't want what you want, but they have no say so?

That's right. According to these people, parents who vaccinate their children are "ramming their beliefs down their children's throats." They also believe that vaccines are pure evil, entities whose only purpose is to kill, maim, and sicken, although why scientists who develop vaccines would want to kill, maim, and sicken children is never really explained. Usually it's some sort of vague conspiracy theory in which these scientists and pediatricians, usually in the thrall of big pharma, want to ensnare children for the rest of their lives in pharma dependency, such that they have to take pills for diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and various other chronic health conditions. These are the people who are trying to influence others into not vaccinating. They are fanatical, and they are relentless. Indeed, they are very much like a religion.

Speaking of religion, there is a church that is demonstrating just how dangerous antivaccine views can be. It's been in the news for several days now, and I had meant to blog about it, so I thought I'd seque into mentioning them because 21 cases of measles have been linked to this church:

A Texas megachurch linked to at least 21 measles cases has been trying to contain the outbreak by hosting vaccination clinics, officials said Monday.

The outbreak started when a person who contracted measles overseas visited Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, located about 20 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. Officials with area health departments said those affected by the outbreak range in age from 4-months to 44-years-old. All of the school-aged children with measles were homeschooled, and majority of those who were infected had not been vaccinated.

This case turns out to be very instructive about vaccines and the price in public health that we pay when antivaccine sentiments get out of hand. The first lesson is that, for highly contagious vaccine-preventable diseases such as the measles, it doesn't take much to degrade herd immunity to the point where outbreaks can occur. The second lesson is that there is no such thing as "local" anymore. After all, the origin of the outbreak appears to have been a church member who traveled to Indonesia and became infected with the measles. That church member then returned and spread it to the largely unvaccinated church congregation. Even though the overall rate of MMR uptake in the county in which the Eagle Mountain International Church is located is generally high (around 98%), all it takes for an outbreak to occur is a pocket of people with low vaccine uptake, and the church represented just that.

This particular church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. (Terri Pearsons is Kenneth Copeland's daughter.) If you want to get an idea of what Copeland thinks of vaccines, take a look at this video of Copeland's show. Check out the segment beginning around 20:30. It's preceded by a whole bunch of "natural healing" woo that you could easily find at, and then Copeland brings up how with the birth of his great grandchild he noted the issue of "all these shots" hitting home:

I knew this was going on but then it came to be personal when it came to him and talking to Jeremy and Sarah about him [Copeland's first great grandson] and all of these shots and all this stuff that they wanted to put in his body and him this big. Wow, I got to looking into that, and some of it is criminal. Now, I'm harder on them than you are, but you got to live with 'em and I don't. You're not putting hepatitis—what is it?—hepatitis B in an infant. It's crazy, man. It's a shot for a sexually transmitted disease. What? In a baby? Come on, now. You've stirred up the fighting side of me, coming at my child, or my grandchild, or my great grandchild with this whole list. As parents we need to be a whole lot more serious about this and be aware of what is good and what isn't. You don't take the word of the guy that's trying to give the shot about what's good and what isn't. You better read the can or read the thing. Find out what's going on there and get the information, because I'm telling you, it is very dangerous the things that are happening around us all the time.

Copeland then talks with his guests, apparently Dr. Don Colbert, who starts pulling out antivaccine tropes, such as babies getting "38 shots" before they're five, and ranting about "fifteen different vaccines." He then quite rapidly trots out the "autism epidemic" trope about how autism prevalence has skyrocketed since 1985 and—surprise! surprise!—relates it to the vaccine schedule. Colbert then starts telling tales of autistic regression after the MMR vaccine. He then trots out the "toxins" gambit as well as the "too many too soon" trope, the "aluminum" gambit, and the ever-dreaded "monkey diploid cells" gambit, all while Copeland nods approvingly and agrees.

Not surprisingly, I conclude based on his statements on Copeland's TV show that Dr. Colbert is a certified, grade-A antivaccine loon. Others agree about his quackery. He's also published various screeds about mercury in vaccines. Just check out his Divine Health webpage. It's a veritable cornucopia of woo, including supplements,

Sadly, like the whole of the U.K. paid for Andrew Wakefield's anti-MMR fear mongering, the Eagle Mountain International Church is now paying the price for Kenneth Copeland and Terri Pearson's fear mongering about vaccines, not to mention their complete embrace of faith healing quackery, which combined with standard antivaccine fears of autism to produce a disastrously low rate of vaccine uptake among the children of church members. Not surprisingly, among the people sickened by measles, most were either unvaccinated or undervaccinated. So is the Netherlands, which is currently in the middle of a massive measles outbreak, with over 1,100 cases reported thus far, thanks to the prevalence of religion-inspired antivaccination views. So are Jews in Brooklyn, where there was also a major outbreak of measles (58 cases) tied to a group of families that refused to vaccinate.

The interesting part of the story of this latest outbreak is the reaction of the Eagle Mountain Church to the outbreak. The leadership of the church appears to be doing an about face on their stand against vaccination. Indeed, Terri Pearsons herself is now urging church members who haven't been vaccinated to be vaccinated:

Some people think I am against immunizations, but that is not true. Vaccinations help cut the mortality rate enormously. I believe it is wrong to be against vaccinations. The concerns we have had are primarily with very young children who have family history of autism and with bundling too many immunizations at one time.

Pearsons correctly concludes that the risk of getting measles during an outbreak far exceeds the risk of vaccination. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to understand that the risk of the MMR during normal times is also far less than the risk of getting measles. (She also recommends 1,000 units of vitamin D a day for children, 2,000 units for adults.) Still, it's a start. Sometimes it takes actually experiencing the disease for a community to realize that it's dangerous. Such a brush with a highly contagious disease like the measles can, as they say, put the fear of god into antivaccinationists. Sadly, it rarely lasts, and even outbreaks don't deter the religion of antivaccinationism.


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@Orac - when I saw this, I was saddened by the fact that while children in 3rd World Countries are the focus of massive vaccination programs, done by volunteers risking their very lives (and in some cases, like Nigeria & Pakistan, losing their lives) to help reduce the massive mortality and suffering from VPDs like Measles........yet here, in one of the most affluent countries on Earth, in one of the most affluent states, in a very affluent local community, children are left defenseless against these very same diseases because of shear stupidity.....

The irony is, this sucks.

Dr. Colbert is a certified, grade-A antivaccine loon

Ha. According to his entry in the Encyclopedia of American Loons, this particular godgrifter's "claims are generally too loony to be caught by Quackwatch, Orac or the like."

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

A small comment on the Dutch situation: even though presently most measles cases can be traced back to a specific religious group, the largest number of non-vaccinated people in the Netherlands are actually the antroposophists (which could be seen as religious, I know). Although there is a note to that, too: they generally do vaccinate against "dangerous" diseases (such as polio), but much less against diseases like measles.

Well, well, well. Hepatitis B as a sexually-transmitted disease. I admit, haven't seen this one before. At least over here it is treated mostly as a hospital infection, so you need to show you're up to date with your shots if you want to undergo a planned surgery (nowadays, it is included in vaccination schedule for children, but I'm of an older generation and I had to pay for my shots myself, and quite a lot to boot).

I read that it is possible to get Hep B by eating contaminated food, e.g. raw fish. Is that true?

The one that is considered to be an STD over here is Hep C. For which there is no vaccine and no cure.

Is there a vaccine for Hep A?

@pris - yes.

Pris: Contaminated food can give you hepatitis A (fecal-oral route). Hepatitis B and C are less environmentally robust and are mostly transmitted by exposure to infected bodily fluids.

It's possible these church leaders changed their song out of lawsuit fear as well. Texas is a tort reform state when it comes to medical malpractice, but if a congregant sued this church, it would not be a malpractice case, so possibly the damages could have been higher.

I have had parents of patients who have grown up in countries where diseases such as tetanus, measles, mumps and whooping cough are much more prevalent shake their head in disbelief at the parents in the US who won't vaccinate their children.

I despise these antivaccinationists. They directly put all my kids at risk. And I wish the large medical organizations like the AAP, AAFP, AMA and CDC would openly come down on these antivaccinationists, instead of waiting until we have even more deaths (than those neonates who've died from pertussis) before jumping in.

@ pris--there was a recent Hep A outbreak here in the southwest US, due to contaminated pomegranate seeds from Turkey in a frozen berry mix sold at Costco. Of note, of the 90 cases of Hep A, only one was a child (who had not been vaccinated against Hep A). I had eight phone calls to my practice from families who had been notified by Costco of having bought this berry mix, and all those families had vaccinated their children for Hep A, and none of them got sick.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Moral of the story for #8--if you haven't had your Hep A vaccine series, you should go get it.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Religion is a psychosis. Organized religion is mass/shared psychosis. In some developing countries religion is used as a shackle to keep people in the "dark ages." That many religions send “missionaries” to spread the “good word” are a disservice to humanity. People need tangible goods; food, shelter, medicine, education etc. These “missionaries” tie in goods with empty words and promises. That these curable diseases still exist in 2013 is perplexing and vexing. That people will believe the dribble spewed forth from these mental midgets at AoA and their sheep is unnerving and what they get is deserving. Unfortunately they put people at risk who are not able medically to be themselves vaccinated. This of course leaves my mind irritated. Their argument against vaccination is a dead horse. But I guess given how little they understand about science it is par for the course.

By oldmanjenkins (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Another anti-vaccine-related health risk: parents refusing the neonatal Vitamin K shot. VitK isn't a vaccine, but prevents neonatal bleeding, or hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDNB)

Joe Mercola has been spreading fear about the Vitamin K shot (just serch for "Mercola Vitamin K"). It has become a "natural parenting" trope that it's unnecessary and bad for the baby. Result:

4 babies in Tennessee suffered totally preventable brain bleeds.…

Chiropractors also preach against the Vitamin K shot in favor of "natural prevention" (search for "Dr Ben Kim Vitamin K").

Don't even get me started on hep C. A woman from my family got infected with it, either during C-section or when she had a tooth implant. Fortunately, she got enrolled on a clinical trial (all legit, an efficiency test of a new drug), so at least she gets very good medical care free of charge.

BF found a News of the Weird article the other day about one of those indoor playground places (ball pits, crawl tubes, etc) being rented out after hours by a swinger club, to..."frolic" in. So I think that squares away any doubt as to whether small children can benefit from a shot for a disease that gets around as an STD. I guess a person wouldn't have to be an out-and-out whackaloon to start the series along with the two month shots instead of at birth, if the whole household tests clean, but they should definitely finish the series by walking-and-getting-into-things age, because, quite plainly, wherever they go to play, you don't know who played there first.

I also think there should be a limit on the number of face-saving revelations a church can have and still keep its tax privileges, because that seems like cause to question their sincerity about their beliefs in general if they can flip that fast when it's convenient.

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Oh and today at the anti-vaccine site Age of Autism

However the U.S. Public Health Service is failing to meet the terms of this agreement. According the following CDC web sites, the U.S. Public Health Service, 14 years after the agreement to remove Thimerosal, still allows the CDC to buy and distribute preserved multi-dose flu vaccines for children that contain the heavy metal mercury.

Liz- I can virtually guarantee vaccine refusal if I get a family that refused the vitamin K shot (fyi, they usually refuse the erythromycin eye ointment as well--I guess they think vaginal delivery is a sterile event). And, of course, they are absolutely convinced that hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is not going to happen to their infant. It's that same stupid, magical thinking when parents tell me they aren't vaccinating because their kids eat healthy and exercise and "don't go out much".

I searched "what does the vitamin K shot do for newborns" on google and mercola comes up first with a bogus scare article, followed next by a factual article from the State Government of Victoria (Australia). Given that so many people seem to go only by "Dr. Google" nowadays, it would be nice if there were a requirement (?law) that search engines list valid (as in public health or health groups like the AAP, AAFP, etc) for health-related searches first. If people are going to believe whatever they read in the first two or three hits on a search engine, then maybe the top search results need to be directed to factual sources.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

@ Marco,
That the largest population in the Netherlands that are not vaccinated are antrosophists is not true. I don't know if you can understand Dutch, but here you can find some facts:…
Just 0.03% of the Dutch are members of an antrosophist organisation.
I think most people who don't vaccinate in the Netherlands are influenced by anti-vaccinationists who are asked to give their views in the media, because the media think they should bring a balanced story about vaccins, so if one asks people who are promoting vaccinations, they think they should also ask people who are anti vaccins.

Emily Dickinson had it right:

“Faith” is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency!

Swap Vaccination for Microscopes.

@Liz - the lack of basic chemical understanding among the anti-vax set is amazing (and truly and indictment of our educational system where adults are unable to comprehend the difference between an element, a molecule and a compound).

re: comment #10 - the article on vitamin K refusal for neonates - I was going to post that but you beat me to it. Can anyone comment if vitamin K refusal is common in the anti-vaccine movement? Or is it its own special brand of woo?

re: vitamin K shot refusal

People have very little concept of risk. They claim that the 1/100 000 chance of a child having a vitamin K deficiency is not big enough to worry about. However, they are not aware that it is actually 5 times higher than the chances of a drunk driver getting killed in an accident.

Considering that the only actual downside of the vitamin K shot is that the baby gets an ouchy, it is mind boggling that you would not do it. Our society goes to all sorts of efforts to prevent drunk driving, but hey, don't want to give my baby a booboo!

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Thank goodness, God, science, immunologists, whoever (quite frankly, I don't think it is relevant who or what anybody believe in this case, as we all know the majority of religions have no qualms about vaccinations) the church is doing a heel-face-turn on its previous stance. What's unfortunate is it took as event like this to open people's eyes.
What's also unfortunate is that it's not just anti-vaccine nuts whose eyes are being opened by these terrible outbreaks. There are many people who fully support vaccines that don’t understand how damaging the movement is. This issue is much closer to my heart and mind because of my profession (Infection Prevention in a cancer center), but I can't tell you how many other people in my life just don't have the slightest idea how harmful misinformation is and that one misinformed decision can wreak havoc on all of us. They aren't anti-vaccine, they have fully vaccinated their children and get their flu shots, they know vaccines work and don't question the science, but then brush off vehement anti-vaccine nut jobs as if they were just someone else promoting a harmless juice cleanse. "Oh, they just have different beliefs." "Oh, such and such and so and so is funny, and pretty (you know who I'm talking about), so she thinks something stupid! I don't agree with her, but each to her own!” Everyone knows he/she is nuts! Anybody who listens to her deserves what they get." NO! They don't understand my searing rage, sometimes over a Thanksgiving table when a cousin or other relative brought an individual with opposing views and they can brush it off. I'm young enough that the only childhood disease I explicitly remember is chicken pox, which I had (and have recently had to get a booster for after titers showed I lost my immunity), and so are the majority of people I spend my time with outside of work are as well. They just don’t remember, and don’t think the crazies warrant worry. Outbreaks like these open the eyes of those who aren't antivaccine, support vaccines, but still seem to think it's just a matter of opposing belief systems. Until something is on the news, until it affects them personally, it's of non-importance. Maybe I'm militant, but in my mind, silence and looking the other way can be just as harmful. Jenny McCarthy may be a wonderful, funny, helpful person outside of her anti-vaccine views, but she does irreparable damage that outweighs all of that. They honestly don’t realize the damage usually doesn’t end up hurting the ones making the decision, it hurts those who weren’t given the choice. Silence from the reasonable majority is the greatest ally of the quack minority.
Also, I like getting the "20-some cases? And a 4-month-old? Wow. Who knew it really still can happen!" questions from people. Yeah, I respond, you want to know how much it happens in places without the vaccine?

@Liz and @Lawrence when confronted with mercury vs. thimerosal vs. ethyl vs. methyl vs inorganic vs. organic vs. elemental, especially in regards to that infant monkey study, I quickly suggest we share a toast of methanol. If mercury is just mercury, as is their logic, isn't alcohol just alcohol?

By Indianadelae (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

@EndoDoc - while it isn't extremely prevalent in the anti-vax world, you will see some serious screeds against Vitamin K from certain groups & individuals.

How many of the people mentioned in this article who contracted measles died? Or we're otherwise left changed for the worse healthwise, mentally etc, once the measles had cleared their bodies?

Trish @23 -- To paraphrase the radio announcer at the Hindenburg crash -- "Oh!! The inanity!!"

By palindrom (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Religion is a psychosis. Organized religion is mass/shared psychosis.

As a defrocked member of the clergy, I suggest you invest in a smaller brush, Jenkins.

"Hepatitis B as a sexually-transmitted disease. I admit, haven’t seen this one before."

I have. It was one of the tropes my shitwit cousin would trot out in her antivaccine screeds on Facebook... I don't know where that one started. Yes, you can get it via sex, but you can get it other ways, too, particularly mother-to-baby. On top of that, HepB is an very robust virus - it can live outside of the body in dried fluid on surfaces for a week or more...

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink


Or we’re otherwise left changed for the worse healthwise, mentally etc, once the measles had cleared their bodies?

The four month old baby now has a high chance of getting SSPE and dying in a few years.

And what kind of idiocy thinks death is the only bad thing that happens with measles? It means a very high chance of getting pneumonia, which is the main reason one out of a hundred cases of measles need very expensive hospital care. Plus there is a one in a thousand chance of encephalitis, which can cause permanent neurological damage from blindness, deafness, paralysis and loss of cognitive function.

Here's an amusing video from a group that suggests naming storms after politicians who are vocally against climate science (specifically global climate change):

This gives me an idea. Contagious disease outbreaks are currently named after their geographic origin. How about naming them after antivax activists? The Wakefield Measles or McCarthy Mumps has a nice ring. We could extend that to other non-infectious conditions, such as Mercola Syndrome for hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

I do believe sadly it's going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it's their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They're making a product that's s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.

--Jenny McCarthy, 2009 (Time Magazine interview)

I've never understood her logic. Somehow diseases coming back were supposed to make us believe her views on autism causation?

She built the blame-shifting into her statement. "It's their fault!" But it isn't. It's her fault. She spread fear. She called vaccines shi_. She called them unsafe, based on bad science and just plain misinformation.

I've searched sites like Generation Rescue and NVIC for a definition of safe. They never give one.

The reality, as we see above, is that the diseases come back and the people who believed Jenny McCarthy are rushing to get vaccinated.

By the way--the church in question is doing a poor job of covering their actions. If they were only concerned about autism they would have recommended the MMR be given later. And by later I don't mean, "now that there's an epidemic".

But, hey, a group that believed her misinformation about the MMR (and other vaccines) is now paying the price. But it's not her fault. She told us so.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink


In my area, churches invite public health flu clinics to set up in their buildings to *encourage* people to get the vaccine.

@Chris - yeah, funny that they never can provide a definition of safe.....not to mention that they claim not to be "anti-vaccine" yet they can't name one vaccine they are in favor of (up to and including the easy answer, rabies).

God forbid any of them go on the record supporting even a single vaccine, right? All you need to do is look at the comments at AoA about the Pediatric Practice that has the "safe" vaccine schedule & see how anti-vaccine they really are.....

This gives me an idea. Contagious disease outbreaks are currently named after their geographic origin. How about naming them after antivax activists? The Wakefield Measles or McCarthy Mumps has a nice ring. We could extend that to other non-infectious conditions, such as Mercola Syndrome for hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

All the California outbreaks should have Sears or Gordon appended to in Sears San Diego measles 2008 or Gordon Ventura County Measles 2013.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

What’s unfortunate is it took as event like this to open people’s eyes.

What is perhaps the most ironic part is how churches like this also teach the story of Doubting Thomas. You know, "You believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who believe without seeing"

It's real easy to be caring and concerned when it happens to someone you know. However, were we able to be just as caring and concerned about people we don't know....

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink


Thanks a lot for tarring all religious people with the same brush. I consider myself religious, and yet I possess common sense enough to get all my shots. And so, I presume, do most religious people.

It's only wackaloons like these that pull crazy (and potentially lethal) stunts like this. Unfortunately, it's wackaloons like these that make all the news. Religious people who get the message, OTOH, don't seem to get their message heard.

I guess that's why they call it the "silent majority."

@17 Ruth...

Was that your son I saw proudly displaying his artwork in the St. L P-D the other day? If so, congrats! What a great program.

Bob Sears MD on Ask Dr Sears:

Whose idea was it to begin vaccinating ALL NEWBORNS for a sexually transmitted disease? I had an interesting discussion with a doctor who used to work for the public health department. She told me that when her whole staff heard about this decision during the 1990s, they were dumbfounded. They saw no sense in it at all. But, they had no choice. The "powers that be" had made the decision, and they had to follow orders.

But given the fact that this disease is virtually unheard of during infancy or childhood (unless an infected mother passes it along to her newborn baby during the birth process, a situation that is preventable with proper screening and treatment), and also given the fact that the vaccine can cause fever, lethargy, poor feeding, and irritability in infants (according to the vaccine's product insert), making them appear to have caught a severe bacterial infection that requires IV antibiotics and invasive testing (when all it really is is a vaccine reaction), again I must ask, WHY?

I cannot tell you why. But I can tell you that by delaying this vaccine until your child is a few years old (according to my Alternative Vaccine Schedule), you avoid risking a severe reaction in your newborn that will put him in the hospital.

@Liz - more proof that Dr. Sears doesn't have a single idea of what he's talking about.....

The Healthy Home Economist recommends skipping the Vitamin K shot and has a "natural" alternative *

Let’s start with the vitamin K used in the shot itself. Is it a natural form of vitamin K such as would be found in leafy greens (K1) or butter (K2)? No, it is a synthetic vitamin K – generic name phytonadione. Synthetic vitamins should be avoided as they can cause imbalances in the body and have unintended consequences. For example, synthetic vitamin A actually causes the type of birth defects that natural vitamin A prevents!

How much synthetic vitamin K is in the shot? Shockingly, the national standard mandated by most states for US hospitals to administer is over 100 times the infant’s RDA of this nutrient. Since studies have linked large doses of vitamin K with childhood cancers and leukemia, this large dose of synthetic K administered within minutes of birth seems questionable at best....

If that isn’t enough to scare you, Midwifery Digest, Vol 2 #3, September 1992 estimated that the chance of your child developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is about one in 500! This means that the risk of developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is much higher than the risk of bleeding on the brain which the vitamin K shot is supposed to prevent!

Does any of this make any sense to you? It makes absolutely no sense to me. How could anyone say that this shot is safe and effective for newborns?

How about this for an alternative – eat lots of leafy greens in the weeks before your due date (I drank a cup or two of nettle tea every day in the final weeks which is loaded with vitamin K1) to make sure your blood is high in vitamin K and of course, this will transfer to your baby as well. Make sure you breastfeed your child as the probiotics in breastmilk will seed your baby’s digestive tract with the right type of good bacteria which will produce naturally occurring vitamin K immediately after birth.

*I am loving

I know very well that hep B is a very robust virus. My mother (now retired) was a nurse and once I asked her "what's this fuss with hep B, don't you sterilise all your equipment?" And I got a lenghty and enlightening lecture then.
And so, I got a vaccine, and since it turns out I'm one of those people who have a relatively small immune reaction to the shot (my antibody titers were very low), I also get boosters every five years. Not this year though, my titer is finally in the "safe" range.

Am I the only one who thinks this pastor is actually full on anti vax but decided to put up a respectable facade when her church becoming a nexus for preventable infection became a national story?

I mean yeah, she gave a lukewarm endorsement for *some* vaccinations, but in the same statement she gave two anti vaccine talking points. She fully supported "too many too soon" and seemed to imply that it was fully accepted that a family history of autism is adequate reason to not vaccinate your kids.

I mean yeah, it's nice that she seems to get that her church being a disease breeding ground isn't a good thing, but while trying to do a little damage control she couldn't keep from spouting anti vax sentiment.

Well, he's capitalized the words "Alternative Vaccine Schedule". It must be good.

Next we will see "Alternative Vaccine Schedule(tm)"

It looks like Dr. Bob doesn't give MMR until age 5. No need to go on, we've seen how well that worked out.

Dr. Bob is on my list of doctors whom I would never chose to treat my family.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Good thing it's only the measles. Nothing to worry about

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Aaaaannnnndddd....right on time, here comes our racist friend.

@ Liz #36: I guess Dr. Bob lives in a lilly white world where teens don't have sex and a mother-to-be couldn't possibly contract Hep B between her prenatal screening for it (wayyyyback in the first half of the pregnancy) and the time of delivery.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Mr. Schecter, do you like seeing kids suffer and die from SSPE? Does this make you happy:

*I am loving

...and conversely, here comes S.O. from a feculent subdomain of, where all the antivaxxers hail.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

According to Jay Gordon: The "risks outweigh the benefits" when you are providing hepatitis B vaccine in early childhood. The usual blather that hepatitis B is transmitted through risky behavior; IV drug use, involvement in the sex trade and homosexual sexual practices. He acknowledges that vertical transmission exists and infants exposed at birth will require the vaccine and HBIG. "The chances of a two-year-old contracting hepatitis B is zero", according to Dr. Jay.

"Horizontal transmission occurs in teens and adults who indulge in that risky behaviors (risky behavior; IV drug use, involvement in the sex trade and homosexual sexual practices."

@ Alia: It is not necessary to "boost" your immunity against hepatitis B, as long as you have a positive hepatitis B surface antibody in the therapeutic range (anamnestic response), and as long as you do not have an immune compromising disorder:

I'd like to create a floor-to-ceiling poster of various risks to post in my medical office. At the top, 100% is "dying eventually." At the bottom, 0% is "waking up dead today." Along one side, I'd list some common risks: dying of heart disease, dying in a car wreck, becoming a parent, getting at least one "cold" per year. On the other side, I'd put some less commonly known results: dying in a plane crash, getting type 2 diabetes, getting hit by lightning twice, and getting a lasting adverse effect from a vaccine.
That way, when people want to discuss the risks of one thing, we can compare it visually to some things they might relate to.
Does anyone know where I can find a listing of many known risks for adults in the US?

lilady: “The chances of a two-year-old contracting hepatitis B is zero”, according to Dr. Jay.

“Horizontal transmission occurs in teens and adults who indulge in that risky behaviors (risky behavior; IV drug use, involvement in the sex trade and homosexual sexual practices.”

I certainly hope that Jay wrote to the editors of Pediatrics to demand they retract this article:

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Estimated annual rates of infection ranged from 24 per 100 000 in non-Asian children to 2580 per 100 000 in children of Southeast Asian immigrant mothers. These rates indicate that by the early 1990s, HBV was infecting 16 000 children who were younger than 10 years (8700 non-Asian children and 7300 Asian-American children) annually. The total estimate, not including perinatal infections, ranged from 12 000 (95% confidence interval: 5500-27 700) to 24 900 (95% confidence interval: 16 700-42 300) infections and depended on how the estimated rates were applied to the population data.

Dr Bob lives not far from "Little Saigon", by the way. As I recall, the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. I suspect that the average resident there does not spend the extra cash for a Dr. Bob.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Dangerous Bacon,

looks like we had the same idea, eh?

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

I'm surprised there are crazies against vitamin K. In alt med aren't vitamins the cure to everything?

By Wafflemaster (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Re: writing the AAP about Scooby Doo would say, "Rotsa ruck, Shaggy" (but I'm more than happy to sign on to anything to the AAP about what a bunch of quacks Gordon and Sears truly are).

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Interesting. In my experience, most of the anti-vaccine YouTube commentators I have argued with admit to being anti-vaccine.

By Enopoletus Harding (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Marco @ 3

the largest number of non-vaccinated people in the Netherlands are actually the antroposophists (which could be seen as religious, I know).

Watch out for the Steiner/ Waldorf schools as well.

By lmachintelligence (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

AdamG@49 - I looked at the American Council on Science and Health website, and while the information they present is at least fact-based -- you're more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than anything else -- I have to admit I'm a little skeptical of them in general. They have strong recommendations from the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, which suggests that they exist largely to downplay any legitimate concerns people may have about exposure to industrial chemicals and the like.

Please don't think I'm some kind of patsy to the naturalistic fallacy, or anything like that, but this organization seems to have some DNA in common with, for example, the huge number of all-sciency-sounding global warming denial sites, and the ideologically-driven scientists who weigh in on such matters (there's a small stable of pet scientists that get trotted out by the global warming denialists, and I'm sure the chemical industry has a similar, or possibly larger, stable).

By palindrom (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

Quoth Dr. Jay...

(Now that Thimerosal has been removed from vaccines), Dr. Jay is concerned with aluminum adjuvants (which have been reported as implicated) "in Lou Gehrig's Disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer diseases". Dr. Jay then qualifies that statement by stating "all speculative, but interesting".

Dr. Jay then provides us with reasons for not immunizing against measles, mumps and rubella...

"There is a huge increase in autism and learning disabilities caused (in his opinion), by the confluence of environmental 'stuff' which has led to a change in brain function"

More of Dr. Jay's statements...

"I do believe that mercury in vaccines contributed to autism".

"Say no to MMR vaccine if there is a family history of autism, family history of multiple sclerosis or other neurological or immune system issues".

Dr. Jay also stated that if a patient was going to go to Haiti, Africa or another foreign country where measles is endemic, he would provide the MMR vaccine. Coincidentally, he mentioned the 33 case measles outbreak in Indiana, 2005, when an unvaccinated missionary went to an Eastern European country, was exposed to measles and returned to Indiana to infect other adult church members who were deliberately unvaccinated and babies too young to have received MMR vaccines:

I don't expect that Dr. Jay will be posting here anytime soon after the butt whupping he received on the SBM blog.…

(More of Dr. Jay's memorable quotes and opinions about vaccines to follow...stay tuned)

Just an FYI off topic. There are banner ads on your main page on the top header. Today it was for a Patrick Cobb MD, oncologist talking about Neulasta. When I went to the doctors website his clinic listed Naturopathy as a modality...

"At St. Vincent Frontier Cancer Center, we understand that some patients may elect to incorporate naturopathic therapies in the treatment of their cancer. In fact, naturopathic medicine is in keeping with our view of treating the whole person-not just their disease. That is why we work with leading local naturopathic physicians who specialize in using nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and other therapies to strengthen immune systems, decrease side effects and improve overall health, hope and well-being."

This garbage is everywhere!

By Kelly M. Bray (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

We are currently trying to control a measles outbreak here in Australia. Qantas airlines is being covered in all news media due to an infected person traveling by air. Tracking of other passengers has begun but some apparently have already left the country. We knew it would happen eventually but still infuriating nevertheless.


On topic, great post (as always Orac)

Off Topic:
@21 "“Oh, such and such and so and so is funny, and pretty (you know who I’m talking about), so she thinks something stupid! I don’t agree with her, but each to her own!”"

Kind of funny, I picked up on the whole ecig fad over the last 6-8 months as I try to ween myself off of cigs (jury's out on the ecigs for me, but so far so good, we'll see. I've gone doen from the higher concentration "18mg" down to "6 mg" nicotine).

Anyway, that blu brand was my go-to brand. Sold next to my office, quick easy and curbed my craving. Once I saw the person you mention as the new promoter, I completely stopped buying their product. 100% based on her promotion of woo (which as Orac commented on previously is quite ironic) Which has turned out well, I ended up getting one of the re-fillable types (as opposed to the disposable and "reusable" types blu sells).

The reason why - less waste (well NO waste, minus the bottle the liquid comes in), and now I actually know what I am inhaling, as many of the liquid (not all) actually list their ingredients. Pure Nicotine and Vegetable Glycerol (both claim to be of highest grade), made 100% in the US for me.

Now hopefully we don't find that inhaling VG vapor is horrible for you.

"I looked at the American Council on Science and Health website, and while the information they present is at least fact-based — you’re more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than anything else"

Might this be because we are preventing diseases due to vaccinations, and we can't vaccinate against heart disease?

It's along the lines of cancer is more common today because people are living long enough to get cancer.

More "gems" from Dr. Jay

(Benefits-Versus-Risk regarding vaccines)

"Benefits (of vaccines) have decreased because of herd immunity"

"Breast feeding to boost the immune system is so much more important than vaccinations."

"Measles affects you if you have poor nutrition and have Vitamin A deficiency."

(Hypothetically if he had a newborn child) "Personally, I would not give my newborn any shots, because of herd immunity."

Dr. Bob isn't the only pediatrician that advocates being a free rider.

Sorry, Jay, but back in the days before baby formula, infants who had to be breast fed died quite often from diseases we now prevent by vaccination.

There is a small cemetery a mile from where I live in Vail, AZ (southeast of Tucson)--3 graves from the early 1900's. Two graves are infant graves and one is a toddler under age 2. The history here is a reminder of why we need to keep our children vaccinated (…

Life was hard in Arizona Territory, especially for the very young. In 1900 17% of children did not reach their first birthday. A bout of diarrhea causing dehydration could cause death within a matter of days. Infants Lillian and Edna, along with the little girl Mera, have been at rest along the northern bank of the Pantano for over 100 years. Mera’s parents Alma and Florence had made the almost two hour wagon ride to Tucson with their little girl hoping the doctor there could help. Despite their efforts the toddler whose laughter had delighted them as she played with her brother Bob would join her cousin Edna and Lillian at the little cemetery overlooking the Pantano..

Sounds really nostalgic there, right Dr. Bob and Dr Jay?

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

@lilady - I know that generally you don't need to get booster shots of hep B vaccine. But the thing is, my response to the first 3 doses of the vaccine was almost nonexistent and I needed booster shots twice to get it within the therapeutic range. I consulted a pediatrician who is also a specialist in vaccinations (and I mean the recommended schedule, not any alternative) and that was her decision based on my antibody titers.

@Chris Hickie - my husband's great aunt died as a baby of tuberculosis. Her mother had tuberculosis, so she decided not to breastfeed and fed her baby cow's milk (these were 1920s.) And it turned out that the cow was also infected.

Does anyone have any info on how many were exposed to measles at Eagle Mountain International Church. I expect it will be quite high given that it is a megachurch. 1000? more less, just a guess. I just have antivaxxers arguing that nearly half of those sick with measles were vaccinated. I just want to have my numbers down pat before I explain the math. Again. and again.

By Harriet Huestis (not verified) on 28 Aug 2013 #permalink

@35 Michele

I have all girls, but I think the art program for special needs kids is a great program. There is so much more available here now for kids with autism-much more than when we were first diagnosed.


I think it a case of: in circumstances in which there is no evidence to show that vitamins are helpful, they're a panacea, but if there's scientific evidence showing that their use might be necessary, they're pure evil. A lot of alt-med seems to involve simple contrarianism; taking what the evidence says and advocating the opposite. Hence the large numbers of people who make a lot of noise about 'toxins' in vaccines which are present in far too small a quantity to be harmful, while at the same time gushing enthusiastically about the health benefits of drinking concentrated solutions of chlorine dioxide (as one example). The more science they reject, the more they're sticking it to Big Pharma and their evil lizard overlords.

@Harriet - as long as a certain percentage of exposed individuals weren't vaccinated (or otherwise immune) then the disease has the opportunity to spread - even among the vaccinated (if, for example, the original vaccine didn't take).

Diseases like the Measles, which is airborne, spread very fast when they have a reservoir of hosts - and in this case, if as few as 50% of the Megachurch population weren't immunized (probably a higher percentage of the children - who are, of course, the most vulnerable) then it would be the perfect environment for Measles to spread.

Think of it this way, Measles was a very contagious disease at a time when everyone was getting it naturally - meaning that a significant percentage of the population was getting it & was then immune - this means that in today's world, even with high vaccination rates (which mimic the percentage of natural infections) Measles can get out of control rapidly.

Sorry, off topic. I've never understood this. You have the "Supplements and vitamins are wonderful" naturalistic fallacy crowd (particularly when recommended by some unqualified snakeoil salesman wingnut, usually in doses that risk toxicity). But then they are usually the ones who also eschew vitamins when given by a doctor for a clear medical indication (eg Vit K for prevention of Hemmorhagic Disease of the Newborn).

Twisted whackjobs, the whole lot of them. Whatever happened to rational/critical thinking? No-one do that stuff anymore?

Harriet, assume vaccination is around 95% protective following exposure (so 5% are vulnerable). And assume that exposure results in 80% of unvaccinated developing measles (low estimate)

If you have a population of 100 unvaxed and 100 vaxed who get exposed, you would see around 80 cases of measles in unvaxed people, and around 4 cases in the vaccinated (80% of 5%).

If you had a population of 190 vaxed and 10 unvaxed, then the numbers would be as follows:
8 cases of measles in the unvaxed, and about 8 cases in the vaxed. Hey presto! As many vaxed get measles as unvaxed. The vaccine is clearly useless!

(This is why outbreaks in populations with fairly high vaccine coverage are always used by antivaxers to argue the vaccine doesn't work)

“Benefits (of vaccines) have decreased because of herd immunity”

I'm amazed that Dr. Jay can say --apparently with a straight face--that the benefits of vaccines have decreased because of a benefit of vaccines.

Harriet, you've asked the wrong question. The question isn't are the infected vaccinated. The important question is are uninfected but exposed vaccinated.

I saw this story and knew right away what the witch-doctor's excuse would be. I'm not even psychic. Damn, there goes my JREF Prize.

According to Dr Jay,

"There's a very large TB industry and the pharmaceutical companies that manufacturer antibiotics have resulted in cases of TB that are resistant to all drugs."

"We are getting more vaccines, including a diarrhea vaccine. There was a rotavirus vaccine that caused fatal bowel obstructions"

(Dr. Jay provided only two sources for the audience for vaccine information and his slide show listed them; and "There's a lot of extraneous stuff on, but good information on and"

More to come...stay tuned.

Dr. Chris:

There is a small cemetery a mile from where I live in Vail, AZ (southeast of Tucson)–3 graves from the early 1900′s.

Earlier this month I was down in Sierra Vista (also southeast of Tucson). We went to visit the cemetery in Ft. Huachuca. Just past the gates are the older headstones.

Many are just marked "Infant." There are a couple of elaborate but small graves, which are children. It seems most of the graves near the gate are children.

All you need to enter Ft. Huachuca, an active Army base, is some identification. Also be sure to visit the museums:

"There’s a lot of extraneous stuff on"

Yeah. That's one way to call satanic ley lines, levitating dolphins and anti-Semitic propaganda.

By I. Rony Meter (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

"This is why outbreaks in populations with fairly high vaccine coverage are always used by antivaxers to argue the vaccine doesn’t work"

There used to be a Generation Rescue person (their "government liason" as I recall) who would ask, "so, here's a population that is undervaccinated and they haven't had any epidemics. Doesn't that show that vaccines aren't necessary."

By I. Rony Meter (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

@Chris-I will have to visit there next time I am down that way. There are a lot of interesting small cemeteries around southern AZ (I like to geocache and oftentimes geocaches are placed near cemeteries).. I completely spaced and forgot there's also a slightly larger graveyard about 1 1/2 miles from where I live that is also mostly children:

It is speculated that the cemetery dates to the 1800s, and may possibly contain victims, mostly children, of a smallpox or flu epidemic. Or they could be railroad workers who died or were killed on the job. Or they are possibly early settlers in the Vail area who did not survive illness or the heat. Whatever their origins and eventual fate, they are at rest.….

Both graveyards I've mentioned do have geocaches near them. Interestingly, there is a middle school right next to the larger graveyard, and a federal health clinic just opened not a stone's throw from that graveyard as well (which, like all healthcare clinics will help prevent child graveyards from ever happening again)

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

I’m amazed that Dr. Jay can say –apparently with a straight face–that the benefits of vaccines have decreased because of a benefit of vaccines.

Given the examples of his bloviating that have appeared on this blog, nothing Dr Jay says with a straight face should amaze you.


Isn't that a bootleg of his $9.00 disasterpiece? I remember seeing a preview of it on youtube a few months ago and actually shelled for legit access to it from his web site (I had to take a shower after doing that), but I haven't been able to make it through more than a few minutes at a time before I have to turn it off--it's that bad. Or maybe Dr. Gordon is now spreading lies and misinformation for free. Man, that could be bad news Dr. Bob's revenue pipeline.

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

@ Dr. Chris: You saw Dr. Jay's streaming webinar video purchased here. It's a newer edition (2011) of Dr. Jay's opinions about vaccines.

Why should I contribute a dime to Dr. Jay, when it is the same old sh!t, different year?

And I'm sure when he notices those endorsements of and, he'll say how shocked, shocked I tell you, he is that that slipped by his editorial process.....or some such disingenous rot.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

Chris Hickie @ 15

Makes a mockery of Googles motto to do no evil. Google I believe is in a great part responsible for the flood of woo that is sweeping the world today. Couple that with its ads for woo cropping up in SBM cancer support sites I really think they need another motto.

Anyone care to come up with one?

By Delurked Lurker (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

I am a daily reader of this blog, but have never commented before. I am not a physician, but I am married to one. My medical training is as a combat medic, so I frequently have to ask my wife about some of the details of posts on this blog. Anyhow, much of my work these last few years has been bringing humanitarian aid to West and East Africa, Southeast Asia, and other non-touristy places. It is so hard for me to see firsthand the horrific effects of preventable diseases, then come home to Asheville, NC and listen to people drone on and on about their anti-vaccine views and homeopathic cures for this and that. Often this is when I am sitting with other parents at karate lessons or soccer games or whatever. My wife tells me that it is very unlikely that I could carry anything home with me. But sometimes I want to hug the blonde, dreadlocked anti-vax lady next to me and say " I was in West Africa three days ago in a tent filled with victims of Polio and Hemorrhagic fever. What do you think of vaccines now?". I know that is unrealistic and over the top, but these people live in such an artificial, fragile world. I find it maddening. Thank you for letting me vent. toad

By toadboy65 (not verified) on 29 Aug 2013 #permalink

@ toadboy65: What an interesting comment. I don't know why you haven't commented before.

A lot of the commenters here are "civilians" with none of your training and your experience as a combat medic; we all share a great interest in good medicine, a knowledge base in CAM/alt "treatments" and in childrens' welfare...especially when it comes to vaccines and the anti-vaccine, anti-science groups and their dangerous "treatment/cures" for autism.

(Speaking of which) It is time for lilady's Media Update of Dachel's Media Update:

Hepatitis B an STD? Hardly.

Before the advent of HB vaccination, in parts of New Zealand (Bay of Plenty, East Cape, Hawkes Bay?) 50% of school age children had antibodies consistent with previous HB infection. Presumed to be transferred in playground cuts and scrapes.

(Sorry no reference, I'm recalling preclinical lectures from a couple of decades ago).

Not only did Dr. Jay state that "the chances of a two year old contracting hepatitis B is zero", he also stated (because Jay wants parents to eliminate all gluten from all grains, all dairy products and all sugars from childrens' diets...that..."you should be more worried about giving your child a 64 oz. 'Big Gulp' drink than you child's chances of contracting hepatitis B".

I don't know any little kids who ingest 2 quarts of a sugary drink...but I know the risk, as Dr. Jay should, for an unvaccinated two year old to become a lifelong carrier of the hepatitis B virus. Did Dr. Jay forget that I was the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program cordinator for my County health department?…

Dr. Jay also complained about the "Big Business of TB care with pharmaceutical companies responsible for cases of multi-drug resistant TB." He should also remember that I was a TB Control Case Manager and that I saw active and latent TB patients in 2 public health clinics. So, why doesn't he contact the CDC about the multi-resistant cases of TB caused by "Big Busines TB Antibiotic drug manufacturers?

I'm still waiting for Dr. Jay to prove to us that an earlier, since removed from the marketplace rotavirus vaccine, (Rota Shield) caused infant deaths from bowel impactions.

I find it interesting, that over at AoA, there is an article about a company that specializes in job placement for autistic adults - offering them the opportunity to live better, more productive lives....yet no one on AoA has bothered to all.

But, mention vaccines & they post and post and post to their hearts' content....I thought they would be more interested in something that offered a very tangible benefit to their community. Guess not.


there is an article about a company that specializes in job placement for autistic adults – offering them the opportunity to live better, more productive lives


By Julian Frost (not verified) on 30 Aug 2013 #permalink

O/T But that documentary that Wakefield about Alex Spourdalaxis life and murder was scheduled to be broadcast on CBS This Morning TV show.

According to AoA…

Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?

CBS and Autism Media Channel present a prelude to tragedy

When: Friday August 30, 2013, 8.00 am EST

In an unprecedented insight into the apparently senseless and violent death of Alex Spourdalakis, a 14 year-old boy with autism, CBS in collaboration with Austin-based Autism Media Channel presents a game-changer – intimate documentary footage of the unfolding crime.

In a country where 1 in 25 children born today will develop autism, this compelling story is certain to create universal debate. Alex’s tragedy is a story of our time, pitting the old against the new, capturing the iniquity of autism when perceived as a psychiatric oddity rather than a medical disease - an epidemic in an unprepared world. Using exclusive footage that followed Alex’s journey leading up to his death, CBS and Autism Media Channel present a story, unique in documentary history – one whose outcome should have been prevented; one that will change perception.

Polly Tommey, autism advocate, Autism Media Channel director, and founder of The Autism Trust, says the answers are staring us in the face. "Alex was one of millions of children at risk," she said. "Without a complete overhaul of our approach to autism treatments, therapies, and services, tragedies like this are inevitable."

For interviews with Autism Media Channel and professional enquiries please contact Ryan Parmenter at Modern Panda Pubic Relations on 512 797 2219 or email

MISSED IT! Watch it now at

See also: The Autism File magazine free at

I'll be off line for a few hours. If anyone views that documentary, please provide a link. Thanks

@lilady - what a disgusting bunch of ghouls. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch it without sending my blood pressure into the danger zone.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 30 Aug 2013 #permalink

@toadboy65 - hello! I'm glad you commented, and thank you for the humanitarian work you are doing. I hope you post again, I think you have a unique perspective that will add much to the discussion here. I agree that the entitled attitude of the antivax crowd is infuriating. They're completely uninterested in the welfare of anyone outside their special snowflake bubble of privilege.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 30 Aug 2013 #permalink

I was in West Africa three days ago in a tent filled with victims of Polio and Hemorrhagic fever. What do you think of vaccines now?”

As much as I would love to be a fly on the wall when you said that to your warrior-mommy neighbors, your children would probably wind up paying a price.

@ toadboy65:

You sound like a most excellent person.

Comment more; we're lovely to SB folk.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Aug 2013 #permalink

I am back and I just viewed that CBS "This Morning" video; the reporter on the video is our old pal Sharyl Attkisson. Here it is, with interviews with Polly Tommey and Ari Ne'eman and a small segment with Arthur Krigsman who scoped Alex when the bio-meddlers drove Alex through the night to Krigsman's office in New York.

I posted weeks ago that the b@st@rd Wakefield had an 18 minute documentary that he was shopping around network TV about Alex's life and murder. I'm p!ssed that CBS aired this video slanted toward the mother who "had no options" for
Alex's care.

I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with "Rachel" at CBS This Morning at 212-975-3247.

I lodged a complaint about Attkisson even considering airing this segment and provided the background of AoA running the story in multiple posts, the meddlers and Tommey's connection with Wakefield supposedly having an 18 minute documentary that might have already be sold to CBS for an airing.

You all can email CBS This Morning at:

You can write to CBS Chairman Jeffrey Fager c/o CBS News, 524 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019.

There's a short window, open now to register a telephone complaint (until 3:30 PM) EDT, at the phone number I provided above. Thanks.

Yes, Kristin, it buggers the imagination that when vaccines make sure children have a chance to grow up, then people tend to have fewer children.

The best way found to reduce over population is to educate women, and to give them to tools from food to medicine to make sure their children have a better chance to grow up. If you look into your own family history you will see that your great-great grandmothers had several children, and buried a few. Family sized in the USA have dropped over the past century due to education and medical advances. Let's hope it happens in Africa, and other developing areas.

A new MacBook Pro (new computer) cookie please.


@ Alain ( and other minions):

I have noticed an eerie- but blessed- silence of late @ RI- and couldn't quite put my finger on it- suddenly it dawned upon me- we have several threads about vaccines and no Greg!

As I flipped through the television channels, simultaneously recalling a deadly serious conversation I hadwith friends yesterday, a hypothesis formed, slowly but surely, that may explain his absence:
he's watching tennis matches- it's the last Grand Slam of the year, it's months until AUS.

So perhaps we should thank Mssrs Djokovic, Nadal et al and Mlles Williams, Sharapova et al for entertaining him enough to keep him away..
Them and Orac's moderation policy.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Aug 2013 #permalink

Indeed, it's pretty much silent here and I'd comment more but I can't pin down many on-topic comment or off topic much.


Well, I had good news from my medical doctor today, my cuts are healing very well and are looking good and my only problem right now that is literally ruining my life is my allergies which are running mad....



"Breast feeding to boost the immune system is so much more important than vaccinations.”

Our buddy Dr. Jay is really grabbing at straws. I mean - if Mom hasn't had measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc (and is unvaccinated) - how is she going to pass along any maternal antibodies to her child?

She can't pass along what she doesn't have.

His logic failures never cease to amaze me.

I know a three-year-old who, as a newborn, had some slight health issues that resulted in a few days' stay in the NICU and frequent bloodtests. They stuck needles in his little feet so often for a while there that he went through a phase where he would start screaming in anticipation of pain the moment someone took one of his socks off. It was rather heartbreaking.

This *may* be the root cause of his slight reluctance to be barefoot, ever, under any circumstances, but... he's a highly intelligent, healthy, generally delightful (and vaccinated) child.

I acknowledge that this is single-instance anecdote, and all, but it's the standard of proof most anti-vaccination anti-other stuff people require, and I would argue that "aww, baby gets a booboo" is not justification for avoiding any recommended medical procedure beneficial to a child's health. This much-needle-stabbed boy came through just fine, thanks.

Again, I don't understand how parents, who tend to freak out when their kid gets a cold, seem perfectly happy for their children to suffer through incredibly serious diseases like Measles, Mumps or even Rubella (or Chicken Pox) - when those diseases can be easily avoided with'd think they would jump at the chance for a vaccine for the common cold, right?

Wacko Wakefield's latest is a masterpiece. He and his team of Tommey and Krigsman persuade Alex's mother that her son has an incurable bowel disease, on top of his other issues, she becomes distraught and kills her son, and Wakefield, Tommey and Krigsman make a promotional video for themselves.

Why does death and suffering (British kids, Somali families, Alex) follow these people around?

#111 Sami

Poor little buddy.

Just remember, even shots in the feet are better than hospitalization for something like tetanus or pertussis, both of which are horrific even if they *don't* kill the kid.

I never, ever want to see a kid stiffening like that, or making *that* desperate-for-air sucking cough.

@ Jeff1971:

I'm sure you've seen Olmsted's piece @AoA today complete with scope results.

AoA/ TMR contibutor Cat Jameson / Mamacita provides her own views on being a parent of a vaccine injured child ( @ TMR).

I've also scanned parental how-to responses concerning vaccine evasion @ The Vaccine Machine FaceBook. An endless array of pseudo-science and conspiracy tales.

Reading this material ordinarily doesn't affect me but today I think that the cumulative effect of those 3 sites is taking me near my limit:
fortunately I have a gentleman standing here who wants to go down to the waterside for a few hours so I'll start my engine and escape vax-mania world.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 31 Aug 2013 #permalink

DW: Isn't airing a minor's medical records illegal? Or does HIPA not apply to the dead?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 31 Aug 2013 #permalink

@pgp: Medical records are confidential...even before the implementation of HIPPA . The obvious answer is that the murdering mother gave permission for Krigsman to show what was reported to be Alex's stomach ulcers. Murdering momma also gave permission to Wakefield and Tommey at the Autism Media Channel to videotape the scenes in the hospital that were used for that 18 minute documentary produced by the Autism Media Channel, that were put up on YouTube and that were used for AoA's serialization of Alex's time in the hospital.

Wanna bet that Wakefield who visited murdering momma, the murdering caretaker and Alex in his hospital room, had the legal documents already drawn up and in his pocket to sign up momma for that documentary?

@lilady - it is very sad that these individuals use a brutal murder to try to justify their own the end of the day, this boy didn't have to was available, but it didn't fit into the "narrative" that AoA was crafting, thus we ended up with what happened....those people have blood on their hands in this instance, directly I would also believe.


“Breast feeding to boost the immune system is so much more important than vaccinations.”

Our buddy Dr. Jay is really grabbing at straws. I mean – if Mom hasn’t had measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc (and is unvaccinated) – how is she going to pass along any maternal antibodies to her child?

She can’t pass along what she doesn’t have.

His logic failures never cease to amaze me.

Understand that Mom is the source of 2 types of immunity for babe, which often get confused.
First is the transplacental passive IgG antibody transference of immmunity to those infections Mom has previously had or been vaccinated against. This immunity primes the baby's defenses for the first 6 months or so after birth.

However, merely by breast feeding, some passive immunity is given to the baby. That is because breast milk is rich in IgA, which acts as a non-specific way of countering some infections the baby may encounter. This works independently of any transplacental immunity (which is what you were referring to).

So Dr Jay (lots of irrelevant letters after name) is correct in *one* sense. But this breastfed-conferred immunity is quite minor when compared to the specific and far greater effect of transplacental immunity. If a baby were exposed to something like measles, you can bet they would catch it.

Medical records are confidential…even before the implementation of HIPPA . The obvious answer is that the murdering mother gave permission for Krigsman to show what was reported to be Alex’s stomach ulcers.

The legality of this is not clear to me. The question would seem to turn on whether Dorothy, having, you know, admitted to the murder, retains the ability to act for the decedent, which appears to be a matter of state law. (To answer PGP's question, yes, PHI is still protected by HIPAA after death.) Even then, the reason for the disclosure seems to come into play.

I'm not sure that I am following this whole story... Some nimrod from AoA'a media arm teamed up with (a) the people whose bad medical advice encouraged a mother to commit murder, and (b) the filicidal mother herself, to record a work of advocacy, whitewashing (a) and (b) while shifting blame onto hospital staff who are prevented by medical confidentiality from defending themselves? And CNN decided to broadcast this advocacy piece, before the case has been tried?

Something seems irresponsible about all this but I can't quite put my finger on it.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 31 Aug 2013 #permalink

@ Narad: I too, am questioning why that signed release to videotape Alex while he was still in effect, now that the child is dead, murdered by his mother. (Unless, Minos, Alex's father signed a release for Polly and Andy to use the video footage for that 18 minute documentary).

You're spot on, herr doktor bimler, except for the fact that the offensive video segment was aired by CBS...not CNN. :-)

P.S. Narad: Where have you been..I'm missing all your legal opinions and clever comments.

This (the video of Alex Spourdalakis) get discouraging. I have little to comment on but what to do when faced with this; it dawn on me that Wakefield et al. can parade with relative impunity and I'd like to do something but I fail to see what I can do.


P.S. Narad: Where have you been..I’m missing all your legal opinions and clever comments.

Long story, and it ain't quite over yet. I may be running thin in the cleverness department for a while.

@ Narad: I *sensed* from your last few (and far between) comments that your life is in transition. Hang in there, buddy.

Somebody should call the mother's defense attorneys and also the DA and tell them about Wakefield's involvement. His book even begins with a story dramatising a mother killing her child.

If anything is likely to explain her state of mind, was it being worked up into a frenzy by Wakefield, Tommey and Krigsman?

@Jeff - I would expect that you could possibly make the case that Wakefield, Tommey & Krigsman were accessories or at minimum, get them into Court to testify (i.e. what exactly did they do to either "encourage or discourage" the mother from accepting medical assistance for her son).

I am very curious as to what exactly they said or did that would ultimately put the mother on the path she chose.

There is a whole lot more to the story here - given the conflicting stories told even by members of the family as to the exact condition of Alex......either he was a joyful soul who loved music and was kind and gentle. or he was completely infantile / non-verbal & extremely aggressive....I just don't get it.

I am very curious as to what exactly they said or did that would ultimately put the mother on the path she chose.

There is the "anonymous donor" who came forth after Wakefield's appearance, purportedly allowing Alex to be removed from the hospital. This event prefigures this bit of self-congratulation from AoA, which given that it's supposed to be channeling Dorothy, is rather oddly worded if one is to take the following comment from here at face value:

One reason that immediately springs to mind for the prosecution to be interested in talking to this axis is that, by virtue of effectively publicizing a subset of the medical records on national television, they've de facto affected any potential jury pool.

@ Lawrence:

Oddly, the anti-vaxxers will not be blaming Alex's death on his mother, his caretaker and opportune enablement via the usual suspects ( AJW, writers @ AoA &TMR et al) but instead blame ( with variations):

-SBM ( whose vaccines caused his initial problems)
-the hospital and doctors, nurses et al who worked there
-the system ( including police, judicial etc) which has to keep the status quo operational
-government, industry and their handmaiden, the mainstream media
-bloggers who support SBM
and probably
- us.

@ Narad:

I hope you're doing better: it could always be WORSE, at least you're not in Syria.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Sep 2013 #permalink

@ Lawrence:

Oddly, the anti-vaxxers will not be blaming Alex's death on his mother, his caretaker and opportune enablement via the usual suspects ( AJW, writers @ AoA &TMR et al) but instead blame ( with variations):

-SBM ( whose vaccines caused his initial problems)
-the hospital and doctors, nurses et al who worked there
-the system ( including police, judicial etc) which has to keep the status quo operational
-government, industry and their handmaiden, the mainstream media
-bloggers who support SBM
and probably
- us.

@ Narad:

I hope you're doing better: it could always be WORSE, at least you're not in Syria.

Hope this doessn't double

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Sep 2013 #permalink

Crap, it did double-
Narad, re # 129-
my thoughts exactly.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Sep 2013 #permalink

by virtue of effectively publicizing a subset of the medical records on national television, they’ve de facto affected any potential jury pool.

Yes, I can see why the people who enabled and encouraged the young man's murderers have an incentive to make a self-exculpatory 'documentary' about the case, contaminating the pool of jurors and making it harder to arrange a fair trial. Still surprised that CBS went along with the manoeuvre.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 01 Sep 2013 #permalink

Six weeks ago Andy was interviewed on a anti-vax radio show and he announced he had an 18 minute documentary on Alex Spourdalakis that he was trying to sell to Network TV...I think he found a buyer at CBS.

Six weeks ago Casa Wakefield in Austin was for it is not. Coincidence?

@ Narad: Please tell us you are not in Syria. :-)

Narad: Please tell us you are not in Syria.

I'm not in Syria. In fact, I wanted to change my FB photo to an IWW "General Strike" image, but seeing as I actually have to buy a mattress tomorrow, that was off.

... [Trackback]...

[...] Read More: [...]...

Every time I see one of those "mortality" graphs, I am amazed at the shear stupidity of people who can conflate mortality with incidence.....

Kinda sorta OT, but I'm not sure where else to put this....

Out of sheer curiosity, I took a peek at Crosby's blogthing today (I do that about twice a month, it's a car wreck I can't tear my eyes from) and, FSM help us all, he's gone and got his epidemiology degree... Quoting below.

Dear Readers,

It is now official; I have earned a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my readers for their continued support and incite – those who have followed my work and continue to follow my work even after I began my own website. You have contributed to an interactive and lively discussion here at Autism Investigated that is badly needed, but sadly not possible at other blogs.

In the meantime, I am a Ph.D. candidate concentrating in epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health. It is regrettable that posts have been quite sparse over the past month – the reasons being largely due to travel and becoming adjusted to my new program. However, rest assured that Autism Investigated is still alive and well and will continue to deliver independent investigations uncovering the who, what, where, when and why of the autism epidemic.


Jake Crosby, MPH

I congratulate Jake on his achievements, both getting his masters degree and being accepted to a Ph.D. program.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Sep 2013 #permalink

Young Master Crosby finally graduated from GWU and is now pursuing a Ph.D-Epidemiology at U-Texas.

A favorite saying that Jake invokes when he is sliming people on AoA and on his own blog "Bob's your uncle". How about "Alex is your uncle"?

Perhaps someone will be so kind as to explain to Jake that he isn't a PhD candidate until he passes his comprehensive examination about the midpoint of his studies. And I'd love to see him explain away his (so not) six degrees of separation from someone who could influence his admittance as well as successful completion of the programme.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 09 Sep 2013 #permalink

Science Mom - as someone who has not been in school in, er, some time, and who has a bachelor's degree (in Science!), may I please call myself a PhD candidate? After all, some day I may apply to and pass a master's program then apply to and be accepted by a doctoral program....

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Sep 2013 #permalink

MO'B, I believe by Jake's "logic" and ignorance of the process, you certainly could and hey, you don't even need to do the MS, you can just forge straight ahead to a PhD.

If that little tosspot scored a teaching or research assistantship, it would be such a slap in the face to actual qualified applicants who were denied a spot because of him.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 09 Sep 2013 #permalink