Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree: Privileged white males harming African-Americans with antivaccine propaganda

There's always been a major thread of distrust of the medical profession in the African-American community, understandably so given the history of abuses such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which the natural progression of untreated syphilis was studied in African-American men for 40 years. It’s not just that experiment that’s responsible, either. During the time of slavery, slaves often served as the subjects of medical experimentation. Dr. Crawford Long, for instance, conducted most of his early experiments with ether on slaves, while Dr. Walter F. Jones used slaves to test a treatment for typhoid pneumonia that involved pouring boiling water on the spinal column. One of the more famous examples is that of Dr. Marion Sims, who is now considered the father of gynecological surgery. He perfected his techniques for gynecological surgery on slaves, after having addicted the women to narcotics in order to sedate and immobilize them postoperatively. He even performed the surgery repeatedly on the same women. The examples during and after slavery are numerous. Even today, there are large disparities in medical care disadvantaging African-Americans in terms of access to the most advanced treatments. Just last month a new study of medical students made the news that suggested that white medical students tend to rate the pain of an African-American patient as less than severe as the pain of a white patient in the same circumstance. Given that I practice in Detroit and slightly over half of my practice consists of African-Americans, I’ve seen this phenomenon myself. I do as much as a relatively affluent middle-aged white guy can to try to mitigate this distrust, but history is long, and old attitudes are not easy to overcome. That’s a major reason why investigators at our cancer center study doctor-patient interactions to try to identify behaviors that contribute to patient distrust.

Given this long and well-documented history, the last thing we need is something that can contribute to the worsening of the general distrust that many African-Americans feel toward the medical profession. That's why it's so despicable of Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree to throw gasoline on the fire with their antivaccine movie VAXXED or its promotion of the "CDC Whistleblower" myth that the CDC somehow "covered up" evidence showing that the MMR causes autism in African-American boys and of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to peddle the myth that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism (or that the MMR vaccine causes autism) to the African-American community with the help of the Nation of Islam. I discussed the “CDC whistleblower” case in more detail just yesterday; so I won’t recount that here in similar detail. For purposes of this post, the important thing is that the “CDC whistleblower” myth involves a false claim that the CDC covered up data from a study that showed a strong correlation between MMR vaccination and autism in African-American boys. Of course, it matters not at all that there was not a hint of a whiff of such a correlation in any other subgroup and that, in essence, Brian Hooker’s incompetent “reanalysis” of the study proved Andrew Wakefield wrong.

None of that matters to Del Bigtree, Andrew Wakefield, and Polly Tommey, who are furiously promoting their antivaccine documentary VAXXED, which tells the story of the CDC whistleblower. In doing so, they’re producing videos that range from hilarious to despicable. Before I get to how Wakefield and crew are spreading antivaccine lies and fomenting distrust of the medical profession among African-Americans, I can’t help but show you the ridiculous:

The interview starts out with misinformation, namely that the DeStefano et al study in 2004 was the last study looking at the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism funded by the CDC, which is not quite true, as there was at least one more published in 2008, not to mention several CDC-funded studies since 2003 studying what became in the early 2000s the favorite antivaccine idea, the claim that thimerosal in vaccines caused the “autism epidemic.” Moreover, there were a lot of other studies not funded by the CDC that failed to find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Not surprisingly, Bigtree repeats the lie that William Thompson, the “CDC whistleblower,” accused the CDC of “manipulating data.” As I’ve explained many times, at worst (for the CDC) there was a scientific disagreement on whether to report a result (the result in African-American males) that was almost certainly spurious, a conundrum for which arguments can be made on both sides. At worst (for Thompson), Thomspon went off the deep end and personalized a relatively minor scientific disagreement. Moreover, contrary to what Bigtree said, Thompson never said there was a causal link. Indeed, he said the opposite. By the time Bigtree got to the pharma shill gambit and advocating an unethical “vaxed vs. unvaxed” study done, I was laughing at his idiocy. Yes, Bigtree is an idiot, but he is a useful idiot for Andrew Wakefield and a dangerous idiot for public health.

Here’s where the danger lies. Take a look at this Facebook video that Bigtree posted (YouTube link). It is of an appearance the VAXXED filmmakers made in Compton:

I sat and listened to the whole thing, all 55 minutes of it. Disappointingly, the Mayor of Compton, Aja Brown was in attendance. It was more than just having the mayor in the audience, however. The screening was free and the mayor sponsored it. Indeed, the Twitter feed for the City of Compton promoted it:

Yes, this session was supported by the City of Compton and clearly designed to target the African-American community with a story almost custom made to take advantage of the aforementioned distrust of the medical profession that runs rampant in the African-American community, particularly poorer African-American communities.To bolster that appeal, as has happened before for antivaccine rallies, the Nation of Islam was in attendance, and Rev. Tony Muhammad was there to give a talk. Local newspapers published pretty much all credulous accounts and reviews of the movie screening, like this one.

It all started out depressingly, with Andrew Wakefield invoking Nelson Mandela and his statement that some ideals are worth dying for. The wag in me can’t help but suggest that Wakefield act on that belief, but I know that would never happen. If faced with any sort of threat to his life based on his beliefs, I highly doubt that Wakefield would respond by doing anything other than acquiescing or running. Come to think of it, I doubt he’d even risk his wealth for his beliefs. That’s just the kind of guy Wakefield is. None of this, however, stopped him from invoking the CDC as a powerful and dark force not unlike Samaritan on Person of Interest intent on controlling people. He even invokes the ridiculous conspiracy theory that’s been going around about how shadowy pharma forces are killing “natural healers,” with antivaccine quack Jeff Bradstreet and cancer quack Nicholas Gonzalez being the most prominent members. (Never mind that Bradstreet committed suicide and Gonzalez appears to have died of a heart attack.)

There might be hope, though, as Bigtree makes some astoundingly ignorant arguments. For example, at around 35:00, after a little rant wondering why there aren’t more religious leaders lobbying for religious exemptions to vaccines (maybe because practically no religions have an objection to vaccination because their leaders know that vaccines are safe and effective, an objective good, and the only reason the Nation of Islam is willing to sign on with Wakefield is because it's a fringe religion now associated with Scientology), Bigtree opines:

This entire country was founded on the First Amendment, on freedom of religion, on freedom of belief. But you want to know the craziest religion you ever heard of. Let’s take 13 different vaccinations. Think of a lottery ticket with five numbers. You mix those up all different ways. Your odds are millions that you’re going to come up with the answer. And when they tell you we’ve proven vaccines are safe, take 13 numbers and try to calculate all the ways those vaccines could be interacting inside of a child. Then make each child different races, different ages. There is no way you could ever do enough computations to prove those numbers land and prove something is safe.

The. Stupid. It. Burns. It. Burns. Real. Bad.

I’m sorry. There’s just no other way to put it. Does Bigtree have any idea how clueless he sounds? Even Wakefield, on the far left, looked as though he were either bored or biting his lip and looking away in embarrassment. Here’s a hint: vaccination schedules are not numbers, and they are tested for safety. Each new vaccine undergoes randomized clinical trials against the background of the existing vaccine schedule, leading to an iteratively tested vaccination schedule. Moreover, contrary to Bigtree’s mathematically and scientifically ignorant example, the vaccine schedule is evidence-based. All Bigtree is doing is making a completely inappropriate analogy. Of course, Bigtree is not antivaccine, as he likes to say. He just likens the current vaccination schedule to the “craziest religion you ever heard of” and bases that characterization on an example that does nothing but illustrate his innumeracy and scientific ignorance, while basically arguing that there is no way ever to demonstrate that the vaccination schedule is safe.

Unfortunately, this tack is likely to be more effective, as it got a much more positive response from the audience:

So we’re left with faith of a theory put out by the pharmaceutical industry and our doctors. We’re left with faith that the pharmaceutical industry that makes billions of dollars is actually looking out for our health, not for their stockholders and their bottom dollar. We’re left with faith that our doctors are actually looking into these studies done by the pharmaceutical industry themselves, done by the CDC and people who walk off and get better jobs with the pharmaceutical industry when they’re done. We’re left with faith that my baby needs a sexually transmitted disease injected into them on day one because it’s going to make them healthier somehow. And I’d say with faith like that we have to call medicine what it is. It’s a religion. And I should be allowed to deny that religion just like you can deny mine, and we have freedom of religion in this country, and we should be allowed to stand in that religion, wherever that takes us, fully vaxxed, semi-vaxxed, non-vaxxed, eating healthy food, eating Doritos, it doesn’t matter. It’s your choice.

Knowing the history of how the medical profession has treated African-Americans, I can see how this is a very powerful message, particularly in the context of a film that seemingly confirms the conspiracy theory that pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of the African-American community through mass vaccination to the point of covering up evidence of harm to protect their profits. Coming from a dorky middle-aged white dude like Bigtree, this message might not have been so powerful—although the fact of fairly wealthy white people, one of whom has had success as a television producer, telling them that the wealthy white medical establishment is out to get them might actually have made it more powerful. Whatever the appeal of Bigtree as a messenger, immediately afterward, Rev. Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam got up to reinforce the same points and try to explain why religious leaders weren’t pushing harder for more religious exemptions. Not surprisingly, his explanation involved pharmaceutical companies buying off not just white politicians but black politicians as well. He even called them “sell outs” who should be brought up on “charges of treason” for “what’s going on with our boys” and ended by announcing that he and Minister Farrakhan would be holding the 21st anniversary of the Million Man March in Atlanta to “shut down the CDC.”

Worse, an African-American mother of an autistic child named Sheila Ealey, who was featured in VAXXED, followed up by urging the crowd to avoid medicine and take their children to chiropractors. She had also invoked the example of Dr. Sims, an example of the use of too much radiation on African-American patients in the 1960s, and, of course, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment early in the Q&A as an example of why African-Americans should not trust the medical profession. She then directly linked the current day vaccine program to these medical atrocities, calling the “autism epidemic” that she blames on vaccines a “holocaust.” Given the audience, I can see how this would be disturbingly effective imagery, and it was. There was considerable applause when Ms. Ealey urged the crowd to take their children out of the schools and doctors’ offices and not get them vaccinated.

Of course, I also note, as I have before, that the frame of portraying vaccines and medicine as a religion is a powerful one for denying science. After all, science is based on evidence, experimentation, and careful observation. Religion is based on faith, with no evidence necessary. Indeed, faith is valued above evidence. When that’s the case, then facts don’t matter. Science doesn’t matter. clinical evidence doesn’t matter. If medicine and the vaccine schedule medicine recommends are a religion, then you don’t need a reason to reject them other than having a different set of beliefs. More importantly, if the frame is accepted it puts antivaccine pseudoscience on equal footing with real science, which is exactly why the frame has to be rejected and torn apart, which is what I’m doing here.

One more time, after reading Bigtree’s blather above, I have to state unequivocally: Del Bigtree isn’t antivaccine. He just thinks vaccines and medicine are a religion whose dogma is dictated by the pharmaceutical companies and priests in the CDC who leave to serve big pharma, aided by doctors who don’t care. He just thinks that the neonatal dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is “injecting a sexually transmitted disease.” It’s a common antivaccine trope that vaccination is “injecting disease.” It’s one that Bill Maher, for instance, has used. In my book, if you use that trope, you are antivaccine. Ergo, Del Bigtree is antivaccine.

So is Andrew Wakefield. Around 48:00, he is asked if vaccines are safe.

The mortality and the morbidity—that is, the illness associated with infectious disease—of virtually every infectious disease—measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, chickenpox—was coming down dramatically before vaccines were ever introduced. The morbidity and mortality from measles had come down by 99.6% before vaccines were introduced. If we had not introduced vaccines, would they have come down to zero? We’ll never know, because we intervened with vaccines, and they claim it was vaccines that caused the improvement. It was nothing to do with vaccination. OK, that may have produced an incremental improvement. Are they necessary for life? Absolutely not!

Seriously? The claim that morbidity and mortality rates were going down before vaccines were introduced is a profoundly intellectually dishonest gambit that I like to call the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit. (I also can’t believe it was over six years ago that I wrote about this gambit.) So is the claim that vaccines are not necessary for life. Obviously, they are not. Neither are antibiotics, modern antihypertensives, anesthesia, surgery, or any of a host of medical interventions that make our lives better and last longer. People lived thousands of years ago without all these things. Of course, in (for example) ancient Rome, half of them died before age 10, but people did live without antibiotics and vaccines. The point is, modern medical interventions, particularly vaccines and antibiotics, contributed massively to the increase in life expectancy that occurred over the last 100 years. As a society, we could live without vaccines, but why on earth would we want to, given that many of us would die who didn’t have to?

What Bigtree, Wakefield, and Tommey are doing here is particularly despicable. They clearly knew that the African-American community is more likely to be receptive to the message of VAXXED than average. So, fully using their privilege as affluent white males, they play to the distrust of the African-American community towards medicine to promote their film and its antivaccine misinformation. Even more despicable, Bigtree, Wakefield, and Tommey are targeting the very people who would suffer the most if there were a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases in their communities, the very people whose relative lack of access to the highest quality medical care will result in more children suffering and potentially dying than there would be in the usual affluent white communities where antivaccine beliefs run rampant. If that isn't cynical, I don't know what is.

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And it's not as if they're going to be there to help if their efforts bear fruit and measles comes back.

The Bigtree video above was cringe worthy. The Atlanta study is more important than studies in tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands? Has he looked at the other studies? Why does he think so? I don't want to dismiss the Atlanta study, but it's one of the smaller MMR and autism studies in that collection, and really only part of it.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Yep. It does, however, appear to be the last MMR study funded by the CDC, which appears to have pivoted after that to study thimerosal in vaccines, as evidenced by the several CDC-studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines since 2004. My guess is that the CDC, looking at the totality of evidence after DeStefano et al, concluded that the question of whether MMR causes autism had been answered very firmly in the negative by the numerous studies that already existed and decided to use its resources to look at another vaccine safety question. Part of the reason was likely that MMR fear mongering appeared to be more of a British thing without much traction in the US compared to thimerosal in vaccines, which was the American vaccine bogeyman.

I would like to see Mr. Bigtree explain why that makes it especially important. I mean, if the CDC can't be trusted, aren't studies they didn't find or make even more important?

Wow.

I thought morbidity and mortality rates are actually different, and it's the morbidity rates of measles that went down once the MMR is administered. I'm not studying medicine, but I do recall how important it was to distinguish between morbidity (occurrence) and mortality (death).

Anyway, I don't want to give them ideas, but Ben Carson would complete the picture, don't you think?

Oh, and I wonder if the audience are convinced or it just happens to be a large group of anti-vaxxers. I'm hoping it's the latter. Nevertheless, it's unfortunate that these people are playing on the emotions and tragic history of the treatment of African Americans just to ultimately put them in more danger.

By L.G. Mario (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

After watching the entire barrel of tripe they laughingly call a video, the thought struck me that here are 3 white, affluent people telling ( mostly) less well-to-do ( mostly) black people that yes! the white establishment is manipulating and using your families to their OWN advantage WHILST they use and manipulate them to their own advantage.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

He just likens the current vaccination schedule to the “craziest religion you ever heard of”

His imagination and his lack of theological knowledge are as striking as his innumeracy and his scientific illiteracy. Religions get very crazy indeed--in some cases you hear about them on the news because of the things that their religion motivated them to do, but others are just out there in the background.

Maybe Del Bigtree knows a thing or two about the film industry. I have seen no evidence that he knows anything about anything else.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Wait, did they use city funds for this? Don't tell me those 3, rich, white people did it for free...

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

From Orac's article above:
"Bigtree opines: ... take 13 numbers and try to calculate all the ways those vaccines could be interacting inside of a child. Then make each child different races, different ages."

The racism is just stunning. I've seen this over and over from the anti-vaccine cult. African Americans and race are alluded to as, essentially, the "Other" as if they were some form of alien life compared to the Caucasian anti-vaccinationists.
Bigtree and the anti-vax loons implicitly imply that AA physiology, biochemistry, etc. is 'different' than the rest of humanity. Apparently Nigerian or 'other' African kidneys, livers, pituitaries, bone marrow, etc. perform a different function or operate in a different manner than Irish and European organs.
It is especially ridiculous in this era of interracial marriage. Just who, exactly, is an African American? Do vaccines measure 'blood quanta' to discover if the recipient is fully African or ¼ or ½ or ...?
Reminds me of the segregationist and old south where AAs were considered human, but a different, lesser and inferior form of humanity.

I wonder if med schools have their textbooks in different racial versions.

Just another example of the vile and sleazy demented mentality leading the anti-vaccine cult.

(Yes, I realize that certain genetic conditions are more common in different racial groups.)

@Reality: I see what you're saying and tend to agree with respect to what Bigtree and Wakefield are laying down. However, I do have to point out that there are differences in disease susceptibility, response to medication, and the like, that vary depending on race, differences that are becoming more appreciated as we study them more. Perhaps the most famous are sickle cell anemia in blacks and the susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer due to deleterious BRCA mutations in the Ashkenazi. Such differences are also why the guidelines for treating hypertension are different for treating African-Americans than they are for Caucasians; certain etiologies for hypertension are more prevalent in African-Americans.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/740380

None of this, of course, means Bigtree has a point. He's just taking advantage of the relatively recent emphasis on personalized medicine and waving his hands in a big appeal to ignorance to frighten his audience. As far as I know, adverse reactions to vaccines do not vary significantly among racial groups.

I wouldnt be too concerned about the impact this will have on the Black community. By using the Nation of Islam he is showing his ignorance. It's a fringe group, they dont have much support. The government in Compton are trying to move out lower income people and replicate what is happening in Oakland. I dont see many people rallying behind the Mayor of Compton and the Nation of Islam.

I'm aware that the Nation of Islam is a crank religion that most African-Americans don't think that much of, but consider this: It isn't necessary to get African-Americans to "rally" behind the Nation of Islam; there just has to be enough of a seed of mistrust of vaccination planted that enough of them stop vaccinating their children for the tactic Wakefield and Bigtree are using to be dangerous. Because humans are story-telling creatures who respond best to compelling stories and tend to believe people like themselves over people not like themselves, having an African American woman like Ealey is a very compelling way to persuade.

Unfortunately, the alt med loons I survey use similar methods to manipulate African Americans and lure them into their following:

- Mikey lately has been focusing upon medical 'mistreatment' of black women in Detroit. Although he sometimes says things/ creates videos that border on racism, he also tries to get them as followers.
- Gary Null visits schools and churches where most attendees are black/ Caribbean in order to teach them about health and how badly they've been treated by Whitey.
According to photos, many of his retreat patrons are black but most likely not very low income because the cost is 2000-2500 USD a week -
altho' there is reduced price 'workstudy' - pay less and serve food and clean up after the other guests.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

I'm waiting for the new Andrew Wakefield album, "Straight Outta North London", in which he raps with the Geiers, Sherry Tenpenny and Suzanne Humphries (sample tunes: "Needles And Pins", "They Say It's Your Birthday (Time For A Blood Draw)" and "I Can Get My License Back But I Don't Wanna").

Oh wait, we already have one awful antivax pop music outfit (The Refusers), we don't need another one.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Denice is right: live blood quack Errol Denton also tried to get NoI on his side - he also made frivolous complaints of racial harassment to police and employers of skeptics who reported his fraudulent claims to authorities.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

That tactic hasnt worked very well for the Republican Party. Its still a group of priveleged white males entering an African American community to tell them what is best for them. The mistrust of the healthcare system doesnt just come from past abuses, it gets renewed each generation. It also a mistrust of the government in general. That seed was planted a long time ago.
Kind of off topic, I worked in a school/residential facility in East Oakland for children with severe mental health issues. I rarely had a problem with parents refusing to vaccinate their kids. I wasnt even aware there was much of a problem until I moved to the Seattle area and worked in a mostly upper middle class white community. Its strange to see parents that take medications for just about everyrhing complain about childhood vaccinations and flu shots.

That tactic hasnt worked very well for the Republican Party.

It has worked well enough that Republican candidates tend to get about 10% of the African-American vote. Which isn't such a big deal in politics (the places that have a large enough African-American fraction for this to be a noticeable fraction of the vote tend to be reliably Democratic by more than enough to offset this effect). However, when it comes to vaccination it is a big deal, because that is close to the threshold at which herd immunity breaks down. Some people are unvaccinated for legitimate medical reasons (compromised immune system, allergy to the vaccine, or babies too young to have been vaccinated), and in others the vaccine doesn't take. As long as the pool of susceptible individuals is small enough, there is little risk of the disease spreading. But as the unvaccinated fraction gets bigger, it becomes more likely that an index case will infect other susceptible individuals. We see this in recent measles and whooping cough outbreaks.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Excellent point. All it would take is a few percent to be influenced to do serious harm to public health.

I often wonder if the true voices pushing the anti vaccine message have ever stopped a moment to realize what the world would look like if they were successful. The only reason their precious snowflakes have the miraculous immunity to infectious diseases that most vaccinate for is that they are hiding in the herd. If they get a broader support for not vaccinating, regular outbreaks will become the norm, and the serious outcomes will be included in that.

Recovering from surgery so I have been wandering into woo and reading. I can see how easy it is to play on the fears of an anxious new parent. When you imply that dangers are being ignored because of race and that it is on purpose...

I have often wondered if it ever occurs to the anti-vaccine person that there are all these studies that are made up of, "This possible side effect has shown up after licensing - is the vaccine (or treatment) to blame?". Does it not occur to them that some aren't even complaints that have gotten a lot of publicity and still, researchers look for these issues and continue to try to make vaccines and other things safer. If that is happening as a matter of course with thousands of researchers, how/why could there be a huge conspiracy working to keep things as they are almost twenty years now to damage more than one percent of children?

If that is happening as a matter of course with thousands of researchers, how/why could there be a huge conspiracy working to keep things as they are almost twenty years now to damage more than one percent of children?

Your average conspiracy theorist doesn't care about trivial details like logical consistency. The more people who know about something, the harder it is to keep it a secret--as you add more people to the conspiracy, the probability that somebody will spill the beans rapidly approaches 1.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Mr Wakefield said:

" The morbidity and mortality from measles had come down by 99.6% before vaccines were introduced"

Mr, Wakefield did:

"In June 1997 - nearly nine months before the press conference at which Wakefield called for single vaccines - he had filed a patent on products, including his own supposedly "safer" single measles vaccine, which only stood any prospect of success if confidence in MMR was damaged"

http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm

ahem

If you mention Louis Farrahkan and his association
To Vaxxed on any Vaxxed page they will delete you.
How is that for partners. Or they don't know who
He is. There are no pics of him with Wakefield he gets no credit
For his work. But what does Louis care he is waiting
On the mothership to return and destroy all non NOI
Members

Sheila Ealey, who was featured in VAXXED, followed up by urging the crowd to avoid medicine and take their children to chiropractors.

As if there weren't already too many crack pushers preying on the children of Compton...

Speaking of the shadier history of medical science; I recall hearing that what we know of how to treat hypothermia and frostbite came about from Nazi doctors and their experiments on camp prisoners (like seeing if a slow, gradual warming or just an instant dump into a vat of hot water has the best results).

Phlebas beat me to it. Wakefield is keeping very quiet about his involvement with that vaccine.

Eric @ 16: you beat me to it.

All that has to happen, is for these monsters to have about a 5 - 10% success rate in black communities, and byebye herd immunity.

To which I'll add, people may tend to blame members of the communities where outbreaks originate or where they are most severe. That means the potential for outbreaks to fuel covert or overt racism.

We have got to go seriously proactive on this and get ahead of the loons.

In black communities, churches and schools are the places to start.

This means personal introductions to teachers and pastors, and meeting with them to discuss in depth, and having information at our fingertips that is understandable to laypeople. It means being prepared to get it right the first time, or risk looking like a fool and not getting invited back. When speaking with Christian and Muslim clergy, particularly about NOI's involvement, it helps to have real knowledge of the respective religions and the particular denominations involved.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

@ Amethyst

Tangentially OT

I recall hearing that what we know of how to treat hypothermia and frostbite came about from Nazi doctors and their experiments on camp prisoners

I dunno about hypothermia, but I recall a retired US rocket engineer posting on Ben Goldacre's Bad Science website about how there was this moral conundrum about using nazi research on what happens to (live and unwilling) human bodies dumped down a mine shaft. Should post-WW2 rocket scientists use the data on human body resilience to acceleration and shock to design better rockets, or should the experiments be done again with goats? They finally decided to use the data.
There was also the WW2 Japanese unit 731, which did research on hypothermia on prisoners the way you describe it. As I understand it, these Japanese researchers were very thorough in studying all the ways a human may come to harm.
Warning: that's not an article you want to read over lunch.

Trivia: I first read about this awful unit in a Harry Dickson graphic novel.
It's easy to overlook some of the horrible things done in our recent past. Understandably, the responsible countries don't advertise it much, usually.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

there was this moral conundrum about using nazi research

R. D. Laing mentions a similar quandary in one of his books. You will be shocked to learn that Laing found himself to be far more moral than everyone else in his class at med-school.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

Hey, is the nuking of Skidmark Schecter's comment going to be a permanent feature?

Like the Japanese, the Nazis also did experiments on freezing and hypothermia, partly to see how they could prevent their soldiers on the Eastern from suffering from it. They were also the first to show a link between lung cancer and smoking long before the West did but a lot of the stuff they did was truly horrific. Search Wiki for Nazi Human Experimentation if you really must see some of the horrors they perpetrated on their prisoners.

By John Phillips (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

I remember reading somewhere (don't remember where) that some of the first ideas about how to treat hypothermia came from the disastrous return of Napoleon's Grand Army.
Something about how the soldiers who weren't strong enough to push right up to the bonfires were the ones who lived.
Hadn't heard the Nazi angle.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@Just a Tech, wouldn't surprise me if it didn't have some significance after Napoleon was so disastrously caught out by the Russian winter. Though Hitler, like Napoleon, thought it would all be over before they got caught out by the weather.

; Nazi Human Experiments Section 1.4.

By John Phillips (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

As an Australian, the whole CDC conspiracy theory confuses me, are these people aware that other countries have also conducted many studies and found no link between vaccines and ASD? Even if the CDC was responsible for some kind of cover up, wouldn't other countries have discovered that by now? Or is big Pharma supposedly paying off every country in the world? Hoping someone can enlighten me :)

As an Australian, the whole CDC conspiracy theory confuses me, are these people aware that other countries have also conducted many studies and found no link between vaccines and ASD? Even if the CDC was responsible for some kind of cover up, wouldn’t other countries have discovered that by now? Or is big Pharma supposedly paying off every country in the world? Hoping someone can enlighten me :)

It's obvious: they are *all* in on the conspiracy. It's like the Cancer Industry™ Every single doctor, medical researcher, scientist, academic, health regulator, epidemiologist, nurse, politician and NGO, wherever they are from - the US, Cuba, Japan, Russia - all of them are part of the conspiracy.

The only honest brokers are the ones selling alternate vaccine schedules, "detox" treatments and the like. They sell these not out of commercial motives but as a public service. That's why they all live modest and self-effacing lifestyles.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Laurenak (not verified)

Laurenak, is that a retorical question? Do you really think that there is a reasonable explanation for the silly, misguided, disproven, and stupid conspiracy theories that the anti-vaxers have taken to heart? Do you think that any reasonable person could dumb down their brain power enough to understand the broken thinking that leads these mental midgets to their conclusions?

Well, there is, actually. 'Vaccines are bad' is all they think about. Anything and everything that reenforces that idea is fine with them, and will be accepted as true, even when it is in conflict with other anti-vax proposals. As long as it's anti-vax, it's fine with them.

Thanks for sharing my video! Even bad press is good press!

@laurenak #32

Actually, no, your garden variety crackpots in America don't waste a second worrying about stuff that foreigners might or might not be doing. Some of us find this quite amusing, of course, but this is our God Given Right As Americans.

If they thought about Wakefield being from Britain... I kid! I kid! If they thought about it, they wouldn't be crackpots.

By Robert L Bell (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Thanks to everyone who responded, it seems I've been trying to use logic to understand ideas which are not logical :) My reasoning against the whole government conspiracy theory is this:
1. In Australia, the government pays for all mandatory childhood vaccinations, I'm guessing at considerable cost.
2. The government also provides funding for early intervention for children with ASD to access speech therapy, psychology and occupational therapy etc, again at considerable cost (although not nearly enough for what is needed sadly)

Therefore, if vaccines caused autism, the government would definitely want to know because there is no way they would want to pay for something that would increase the need for early intervention funding and decrease the number of potential tax payers. I'm pretty sure no amount of 'big Pharma' money could make up for that.

Also, I know there are always corrupt people in all professions but I imagine most doctors and scientists go into those fields because they want to help people. There are plenty of other careers where you could earn more for less effort if you just wanted to make money.

Lauranak, my apologies for not seeing your cogent contribution earlier.

To add fuel to the fire of how governments choose to spend their money, I present these USA focused PubMed indexed economic studies (some are free to read online):

Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):577-85.
Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Mar;160(3):302-9. Review.
Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.

J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.
An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.

Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.
Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.

For those with a sense of humour, posted on the Vaxxed website Andrew Wakefield opines about herd immunity.

According to the good St Andy, back in the good old days when measles was natural and rampant, the community had high levels of herd immunity and so almost no-one caught the disease and no one died from it.

But then the vaccine came along and replaced good natural herd immunity with unnatural quasi-herd immunity. This means that increasing numbers of vaccinated get measles.

And apparently it is essential that all young people catch chickenpox in order to protect their grandparents from the shingles.

I kid you not. If our host is at a loss of something to get all insolent about, this might just be it.

By Chris Preston (not verified) on 29 May 2016 #permalink

"The mortality and the morbidity—that is, the illness associated with infectious disease—of virtually every infectious disease—measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, chickenpox—was coming down dramatically before vaccines were ever introduced."

What a lying toad.
He cannot say that the morbidity of these illnesses declined before vaccines were introduced - their incidence did not decline, so the illness they caused did not decline.

The assertion that we should "let the kiddies get chickenpox to protect the adults from shingles" infuriates me. If preventing shingles required me to get yearly boosters, I'd do it rather than condemn the children around me to an illness which can be serious, and which puts them in the same position of being subject to shingles. I can't even understand the reasoning (for want of a better term) of those who want children to suffer for their comfort.

And aren't these generally the same people who say that children shouldn't be vaccinated if the effect of the vaccine is to protect others, namely those who can't be vaccinated or can't respond to vaccination?

Re: chicken pox and shingles. I had a (very short) conversation with a young woman who most seriously and earnestly explained that nobody ever heard of shingles before the chicken pox vaccine was invented. It was very short because I no longer suffer fools gladly, especially those who think history began the day they were born.

@Laurenak #38

My reasoning against the whole government conspiracy theory is this:
1. In Australia, the government pays for all mandatory childhood vaccinations, I’m guessing at considerable cost.
2. The government also provides funding for early intervention for children with ASD to access speech therapy, psychology and occupational therapy etc, again at considerable cost (although not nearly enough for what is needed sadly)

Therefore, if vaccines caused autism, the government would definitely want to know because there is no way they would want to pay for something that would increase the need for early intervention funding and decrease the number of potential tax payers.

I can apply the same reasoning to France ; no doubt it is also the case for other countries.

In a book titled, Benjamin Franklin (Inventor, Statesman, and Patriot) author R. Conrad Stein writes,

In 1721, Boston had been hit by an epidemic of smallpox.

Vaccine to combat this disease existed, but little was known about the mysterious process called inoculation.

Ben Franklin's brother James Franklin owned a newspaper (The Courant). One day, in 1722, an article that was critical of the government and vaccines appeared in the newspaper.

James Franklin was jailed and this made Ben Franklin furious.

Although Ben disagreed with his brother, Ben was shocked that the government had the power to throw someone in jail for merely expressing his opinion.

Ben Franklin wrote in the newspaper, "Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech."

R. Conrad Stein writes, "Some fifty years later the spirit of writing such as this would spark the American Revolution."

MJD says,

I wonder how Ben Franklin would feel today about the California law SB277 wherein a poor child, not fully vaccinated, is denied a public-funded education?

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

And apparently it is essential that all young people catch chickenpox in order to protect their grandparents from the shingles.

WHAT?!? Does he even know what shingles is?

That hurt to read.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

In other news...

AoA features Justin Somebody ( see also Reuben at The Poxes) who has been podcasting interviews with several woo-fraught individuals ( Bigtree amongst them- Conte and Holland etc soon) and Brian Deer. I heard the first two.*Quel contrast*.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

WHAT?!? Does he even know what shingles is?

Oh, he knows:

The virus frequently establishes latent infection in the cell bodies of sensory nerve roots where it has the potential to episodically reactivate and cause shingles, a very painful and debilitating condition. Shingles can cause blindness.

It's just that preventing immunization -- against any disease -- is far more important than protecting against "a very painful and debilitating condition [that] can cause blindness."

@MJD:

I wonder how Ben Franklin would feel today about the California law SB277 wherein a poor child, not fully vaccinated, is denied a public-funded education?

Your comment is fractally wrong as well as being a non-sequitor. First, SB277 eliminates NON-Medical exemptions. Second, a child can catch up on vaccinations. Third, it is the wealthy, not the poor, who use philosophical exemptions. Fouthly, this is not a free speech issue but a public health issue.
Amazing just how much wrongness you managed to pack into one sentence.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

Benjamin Franklin lost a four-year-old son to smallpox in 1736, and wrote later that he "bitterly regretted" not having had him inoculated.

@mjd

Dude, Franklin was one of the biggest proponents of inoculation, even going so far as to say it should be required by law, which much stricter consequences than today. The fines were huge in their money.

All the Founding Fathers were heavy proponents. In fact, some theorize that had Washington not ordered the Inoculation of Valley Forge, we wouldn't have won the war.

People need to stop invoking the Founding Fathers when they really don't have the first clue about the Founding Fathers' thoughts on things.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

nobody ever heard of shingles before the chicken pox vaccine was invented.

This is why it was named with a late-Middle-English word.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

@53 I really did try to explain the origin of "shingles" to describe this ailment, but she told me I had been brainwashed by Big Pharma and recommended some silly website I didn't bother visiting.

Big Dictionary is part of the conspiracy.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

"Yep. It does, however, appear to be the last MMR study funded by the CDC,"

Not sure if this was covered yet, but Hornig et al. was CDC funded and CDC participated. That's 2008.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.000314…

Another point probably also made--2004 was when De Stefano et al. was published. It's also the year that it was made public that Wakefield's study was rife with misrepresentations and unethical behavior.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 02 Jun 2016 #permalink

By the way, Bigtree is being disingenuous on the funding in other ways (I know, you are shocked).

The government has continued to throw money at the MMR question. This study, for example, was HHS/NIH funded.
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2275444

The question isn't whether CDC has not done enough on MMR and autism, it's how many millions of dollars have been wasted because of Wakefield's unethical faux research.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 02 Jun 2016 #permalink

I'm confused about this part: How is it unethical to do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study? Isn't that how science determines outcomes and efficacy of theories and how pharmaceutical drugs get licensed? Control groups and all?

That aside, feel free to actually read the ingredients list for vaccines, on the CDC website. And then go through each ingredient and determine whether or not they are considered safe for humans. Not the CDC statement that they are used as adjuvants, stabilizers and/or are in trace amounts, etc. Do your own independent research of these ingredients. CDC has made it easy: Sorted by vaccine: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipi…

Also, make sure you are up to date on your adult vaccine boosters [the ones science keeps 'increasing', because it turns out that the earlier vaccines 'wore off'.] You'll need those to protect us with that herd immunity. It's for the greater good and think of the immunocompromised, too!

In the meantime, I'll continue to exercise my inviolable right to informed consent in terms of personal health care freedom. Cheers!

I’m confused about this part: How is it unethical to do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study?

Randomized and prospective? You have to withhold proven medical interventions. For that matter, are the antivax crazies going to volunteer their kids for a 50:50 chance of being vaccinated?

Now, if you want to "put on a study" with existing children, all you have to do is specify what difference between the two groups would convince you that there is no effect to get your sample size. Well, that and figure out where all the unvaccinated kids are going to come from.

Do get right back with that percentage.

@Irm: if you're not a hit and run troll:

It's unethical to withhold standard medical care from someone. Vaccines are considered the standard of care.

Next: the gold standard is a double-blinded test. People are randomly put into groups. Some get vaccines, some don't. BUT - their parents have no say in which group they are put in. Which means that a parent wanting no vaccines may have their child put in the vaccine group. And vice-versa. Because no one knows - not the doctor, not the parent, not the child - which group they are in.

Would YOU be agreeable to have your child in the vaccinated group? I certainly would NOT want my child in the unvaccinated group!

And yes, I'm almost completely up-to-date on my vaccines. I need the MMR again because my body doesn't develop antibodies against the disease. So much for the "have the disease, it's better and you'll be immune for life" crowd. I'm old enough to have had them, and I'm still not immune. Vaccines give me immunity for some time. Which thanks to the antivaxxers around here, is needed because of all their little virus carriers spreading measles and mumps.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to exercise my inviolable right to informed consent

I'm sure the informed consent acknowledgment for entering one's child into a prospective trial would be fascinating, BTW.

That aside, feel free to actually read the ingredients list for vaccines, on the CDC website. And then go through each ingredient and determine whether or not they are considered safe for humans.

I have, and I found that they definitely *are* considered safe for humans at the doses administered. But then, I actually did my research. I investigated each of these things to understand what they are and looked up the available science on safety for each of them.

Have you? Or did you read a website that told you they are scary? Did you consider the doses? I very much doubt you have, but would love to be proven wrong. I mean, you're absolutely right that the CDC has made it easy to do this, so honestly you have no excuse for accepting fearmongering instead.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

Irm: "feel free to actually read the ingredients list for vaccines, on the CDC website."

Why would you trust what the CDC says? Maybe the actual ingredients are holy water and healing vibrations.

"Also, make sure you are up to date on your adult vaccine boosters [the ones science keeps ‘increasing’, because it turns out that the earlier vaccines ‘wore off’.] You’ll need those to protect us with that herd immunity. It’s for the greater good and think of the immunocompromised, too!"

Yes, protecting the immunocompromised is a major reason I and others working at my hospital get a flu shot every year. But I gather you as a patient would be fine with hospital workers declining vaccination and hand washing/sanitizing* as part of their "inviolable right to informed consent in terms of personal health care freedom".

*no reason they should be required to expose themselves to triclosan or other antibiotic Toxins just to keep from spreading virulent germs like MRSA to their patients.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

I have a question.

If a simple but nonstandard C/D3/nutrient protocol changed your uptake rate of vaccinations amongst the sporting class, such that 20% - 40% - 60% (some number) of your holdouts took more vaccinations, under what circumstances would you accept it?

@ prn, you need to do an awful lot of work before making such a vapid attempt at a Tu Quoque.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

Im sorry u cant accept the reality that the CDC falsified a study that showed a causal link between autism and the mmr vaccine, particularly amongst children under 3 and african american boys, but it's true. Just like Tuskegee. Have u SEEN the movie or r u writing about a film u have yet to see? The evidence is compelling, and verfied by every parent who has witnessed vaccine adverse reactions in their children for decades, only to b told they were crazy, basically. Dorit Reiss is a paid lobbyist for the oharmaceutical industry. U play right into their hands when u accept what ur told and dont look deeper than the surface. The unbiased studies r compelling. But if u dont read them, ull continue to b brainwashed by the marketing scheme the wealthy industry with zero legal liability for harming American citizens wants u to believe. Dont b fooled. Research this issue VERY thoroughly. If nothing else, u will learn the actual risks and benefits before u inject these toxins into urselves and ur children.

By Shelley Croal (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

I've seen the movie, again.

But our esteemed host and many of the commentators have been following the CDCwhistleblower manufactroversy - I think our host coined the term - from its start. That's how we know there's nothing there. It's a great idea to research this. You can start with the Thompson documents, provided by Dr. Carey here:

https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/01/04/the-william-thompson-docum…

Here is an overview with links to many, many posts on this, many of them by our esteemed host: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2014/09/mmr-cdc-and-brian-hooker-media…

As to being a paid lobbyist, that's news to me. Can you point out to where I'm registered as a lobbyist? Or which pharma company I'm getting paid by? I'd like to write to them and see where they sent those checks, because they certainly haven't reached me.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Shelley Croal (not verified)

@Shelley Croal

if u dont read them, ull continue to b brainwashed by the marketing scheme the wealthy industry with zero legal liability for harming American citizens wants u to believe.

I guess you probably do believe all that, which is sad. Also ironic given that the major source of this kind of crap is the highly profitable alt-med industry.

For the record:

1. Vaccines are not very profitable. That is actually the entire reason the vaccine court exists - frivolous lawsuits and capricious awards were on the verge of causing manufacturers to pull out entirely.

2. Marketing of vaccines is not really done by the industry, it's a public health promotion activity and usually done by health departments, especially outside the US.

3. There absolutely is liability. The manufacturers fund the vaccine compensation fund for no-fault compensation - which has a fairly low bar. Negligence would not be covered, neither would malfeasance. If there is evidence of fault, then the no-fault scheme is clearly not appropriate.

4. The vast majority of claims of harm are not compensated, not because of some evil conspiracy but because they are baseless (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedillo_v._Secretary_of_Health_and_Human_…). The idea that courts are in the pockets of big pharma is trivially falsified, look at all the suits thery lose.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Shelley Croal (not verified)

I'm trying to figure out what prn even means. What is the "sporting class"? How do you identify members, and why are we to be concerned about them especially? How would a "nutrient protocol" increase vaccination uptake? Is prn suggesting that members of the "sporting class" would get their "nutrient protocol" instead of a lollipop if they didn't cry or faint while getting vaccinated?

Shelley:

Im sorry u cant accept the reality that the CDC falsified a study that showed a causal link between autism and the mmr vaccine, particularly amongst children under 3 and african american boys, but it’s true.

No, it isn't true. I'm sorry you have been led to believe that reading what a website tells you is the same thing as "researching for yourself".

The study in question was not falsified. What happened was they found a statistical anomaly. One of the researchers, not trained in statistics, had some difficulty understanding why this group was not considered statistically meaningful. Years later, he ran afoul of antivaccinationists who saw an opportunity in him, and groomed him into what they wanted: something they could call a whistleblower. Except he blew no whistle, not really, because there was nothing ever hidden.

You see, even if we assume Thompson to be totally right, that we should believe that statistical anomaly to be representative of the truth, it would only even show a very mild effect in just one population: young black males. How is this parlayed into showing that autism is always caused by vaccines? By people who know exactly how little people like you will actually dig. They know you aren't ever going to actually read the study; they trust confidently that you will just believe what they tell you about it.

And they're right.

U play right into their hands when u accept what ur told and dont look deeper than the surface.

The irony of this statement is probably lost on you.

The unbiased studies r compelling. But if u dont read them, ull continue to b brainwashed by the marketing scheme the wealthy industry with zero legal liability for harming American citizens wants u to believe.

The unbiased studies? You mean, the ones that tell what you wish? And please, do tell me which studies *you* have read. I find it a little difficult to believe you have done so, considering your rather eccentric use of the English language here. Perhaps your reading level is greater than your writing level, but suffice it to say I am not very confident in your ability to read scientific papers.

Dont b fooled. Research this issue VERY thoroughly. If nothing else, u will learn the actual risks and benefits before u inject these toxins into urselves and ur children.

Excellent advice. Have you considered taking it yourself?

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

And research for urself

I realize that realtors are rightly considered in society to be sources of neutral evaluation based on arduous training in thorough research and full disclosure, but is "urself" actually valid Textbonics?

Shelley Croal:

The word is you.

I'm sorry, but I can't believe that you have read and understood any scientific studies (from the CDC or otherwise) enough to find them compelling when you cannot be bothered to spell out two- and three-letter words within your comments.

If you want your opinions addressed seriously, please write them that way.

Love it, love it wonderful article, just goes to show how paid for science blogs is. Hilarious stuff. Can I repost this article? Its just so blatantly anti science, called scienceblogs Wow, who runs this site, Monsanto, Merck, GSK, or all three! Well done.

By angela coral e… (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

@angela coral eisenhauer: Ah, the "pharma shill gambit", the tool of choice for charlatans suffering cognitive dissonance. Well done.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by angela coral e… (not verified)

@ Shelley Croal

the marketing scheme the wealthy industry with zero legal liability for harming American citizens

1 - you can sue the vaccines manufacturer. There is a state-sponsored special vaccine court you are supposed to go to first, but if you don't like the result you can still go straight for Merck or its pals.
And Merck doesn't own the judicial system. They are just about to lose a trial this week (not vaccine related - it's a dispute over a patent).

2 - " American citizens". What are we, chopped liver pâté?
There is a world outside the US, and we vaccinate, too.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

There is a state-sponsored special vaccine court you are supposed to go to first, but if you don’t like the result you can still go straight for Merck or its pals.

No. Could we (tinw) get this straight? Post-Bruesewitz, tort actions in the 50 U.S. states are preempted.

@Guy Chapman: don't worry about Angela. She's silly enough to believe there is only 1 entity in the entire world with the initials CDC, and that anyone who works for such a company, no matter where it is in the world, is a pharma shill. She's very amusing, but wrong.

@Shelley Croal: I'd find what you posted more likely if you actually used proper English and didn't misrepresent what actually happened at the CDC. But, the actual research papers about the CDC report are all available, thanks to Matt Carey at Left Brain, Right Brain. Feel free to read them yourself. (Yes, the famous papers that Wakefraud and friends got and never released.)

" Post-Bruesewitz, tort actions in the 50 U.S. states are preempted."

Not if (for example) a company making a vaccine was to cause harm by an error in the manufacturing process.

"who runs this site, Monsanto, Merck, GSK, or all three!"

Correct. And every comment generates $50 in PharmaBucks for the host. Thanks for your support!

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

Not if (for example) a company making a vaccine was to cause harm by an error in the manufacturing process

If I understand correctly, they can be sued for "failure to warn" as well, which is why they cover their @sses by including every reported side effect that's remotely theoretically plausible on the package insert, much to the confusion of antivaxxers. The vaccine court only gives protection against "design defect" claims, e.g., people who've never set foot in a lab arguing that if we wanted to we could design a vaccine that stimulates an immune response without, you know, stimulating an immune response.

@DB: while the regular minions know you are joking, pointing out the miniscule amount of PharmaBucks comments generate for our host might annoy the upper eschelons. And there's a new group of hatchlings coming soon....

Narad: actually, Helianthus absolutely can sue them, since he's in France and therefore none of that applies to him. ;-) (Of course, neither does NVICP.) More to the point, the limitation on vaccine lawsuits in the US I believe only applies to design defect claims. If you are claiming a manufacturing defect, you're still free to sue the manufacturer directly.

But the biggest point of all is t hat NVICP is actually *better* for the consumer. If you really are injured by a vaccine, you are far more likely to get adequate compensation through NVICP than you would through the regular court system, because it accepts a lower standard of evidence -- while the civil courts would require you to prove that you were probably injured, NVICP basically only needs you to prove that the injury was plausible. If you suffer a condition which is listed as a table injury (that is, there is evidence it may be caused by a vaccine) and you can demonstrate you received a vaccine in the right timeframe for it possibly to have caused the condition, you *will* be compensated.

Of course, there still has to be evidence that you do suffer the condition, that it didn't start before the vaccination (because duh), and there has to be evidence that the condition can be caused by vaccination. Since there is no credible evidence that autism can be caused by vaccines, NVICP won't issue compensation for that. Some take this to mean you can't sue for vaccine injury, but the truth is you can't sue just for believing you've been injured. There has to be evidence. And some take it personally that there isn't. Not wanting to face that truth, they presume elaborate conspiracies -- the fact that they just might be wrong cannot be entertained.

And that, incidentally, is why antivaccinationism is truly unscientific. Not because of the nature of the belief, but the unwillingness to consider a null hypothesis.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

Ms. Croal: "Here is something u might like to watch… And research for urself…"

All I got was "File not found."

First of all I would like to thank you for this absolute horrible review but for also showing our babies heros video and sponsoring the greatest documentary ever made. You sir, are very misinformed and I'm sure you were paid quite a bit to write this.Go you! I hope it will be worth all the pain you will insure in the future from mothers and father's all around the world with a vaccine injured child. I'm sure you will regret it later because the truth is spreading like wildfire and news stations and radio stations are fighting for time with this wonderful group of HERO'S! I'm sure most people are so sure that "vaccines are safe and effective" because that is what they are told. That's called nothing more than obedience. If you do not question what you are taught/told you are only learning how to obey. Well, have any of you ever looked at a vaccine insert? Any of them? I assume nothat according to all the misinformation on this article. You should and you should also go watch #Vaxxed it could save your life or a life of an infant. The only thing provax is based on is theory and the conclusion to their hypothesis is that autism has a missing piece to the puzzle. Well folks let me tell you...antivax science or what I should just call it what it really is REAL SCIENCE is 10 steps ahead of provax science. We not only have a conclusion to our hypothesis but also a solution. We found the" missing piece" to the puzzle and also found a way to cure some cases. DETOX. So while the provax is still scrambling to find that so called money making "missing piece" of the puzzle our good thorough science has their finished puzzle hanging on the wall in a room that great homeopathic doctors guide vaccine injured patients on their journey to recovery. Some actually fully recover too!! That how great our science is!! So keep spreading lies like the vaccinated people keep spreading disease. The truth is right in front of you. All you have to do is look up.

@Randi

Pharma shill blah blah conspiracy blah blah detox blah. Your incoherent and barely legible comment serves only one purpose, which is to warn us that you have no rational contribution to make here.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Randi (not verified)

Paragraphs, people, paragraphs.

If you want anyone to be able to read your post, it needs paragraphs!

By JustaTech (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

Should've mentioned that in addition to generating $50 in PharmaBucks for our host, every comment made here also results in a five-cent kickback to Orac's shills and minions.

So this thread alone has made me over four bucks, and adding up revenue from the other discussions, I will have enough for a margarita at dinner tonight and can raise a toast to Randi for his perspicacious observations.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

Randi, when the H7D3 (imaginary) virus strikes the world; you will be unaffected. You lack what it needs to attack.

@JustaTech - I'd settle for coherent sentences, myself.

A post to a skeptic blog using the nym 'Randi' asserts homeopaths are curing autism with "DETOX"? (With what? 30C muscovy duck heart'liver enemas?) And calls Vaxxed "the greatest documentary ever made"?
I smell a Poe.

Everybody knows this is the greatest documentary ever made.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBwYvMcqRmI

Well, have any of you ever looked at a vaccine insert? Any of them? I assume nothat according to all the misinformation on this article.

And you assume wrong. You only demonstrate that you do not know what the side effects mentioned in inserts really mean, or that it is not sufficient to read a list of scary looking ingredients to deduce something is dangerous.
@Sadmar : well, the CEASE therapy is homeopathy, so...
But yes, if that guy isn't a Poe, "Randi" is a pretty ironic name.
And the "look up" in the end make me think of chemies... O_o
So in the end, "don't know if Poe or crank magnetism".

If you want anyone to be able to read your post, it needs paragraphs!

Paragraphs are protection against real graphs.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 10 Jun 2016 #permalink

My youngest was ousted from a clinic when I refused to consent to the Chickenpox vaccine. Come to find out later with a simple TITER test (blood work) my son already had immunity from me, and it would continue as long as I nursed him. The clinic would not hear of that, it was not enough protection even though he was rarely outside the home, and he was not in daycare. They didn't even want to do a TITER test; it was cheaper than the vaccine.

That gave me time to decide and research more. Apparently you can do this TITER test for a lot of things. I found out about them because my dog needed treatment. My dogs doctor was more insightful than my kids doctor. WOW

When do you test your child for allergies? Do they have an allergy to egg or soy? Do you know this at three months, six months? What is in the vaccines could be harming the kids, NOT THE VAX. Don't just read the side effects, read the ingredients. We do this for food now.

It's not just food that has GMO, these vaccines are made as cheaply as possible to increase $$$ for stockholders. I want to see a study that shows the difference in a vaccine from 50 years ago compared to now. How is the vaccine different? How is the process different? Wouldn't that have an effect on children too?

Now how does that effect children, children who have undiagnosed allergies, undiagnosed genetic conditions. Where are THESE tests. Test these vaccines with GMOs then give parents the data. Do we really need to ask for more testing. This should be done before anything is administered.

How many countries have banned GMOs? Can that have an effect on why vaccines are reacted to differently around the world. I would like to see that test, too.

My children were fully vaccinated, and I thank my God that I was late for their dosing scheduales, questioned every reasoning the doctors gave me for getting two, three, four shots (with multiple vaccines in each) at each visit, spread them out, or refused them, which is why we were ousted from the clinic.

My heart goes out to every parent who must see their child, not born retarded but, retard before their eyes. You are the strong ones.

My youngest was ousted from a clinic when I refused to consent to the Chickenpox vaccine. Come to find out later with a simple TITER test (blood work) my son already had immunity from me, and it would continue as long as I nursed him. The clinic would not hear of that, it was not enough protection even though he was rarely outside the home, and he was not in daycare. They didn’t even want to do a TITER test; it was cheaper than the vaccine.

So, you decided not to vaccinate, and they pushed back. Then you got a non-standard test beloved of antivaxers, and found that your child would have temporary immunity, and you used this as an argument for continuing to reject evidence-based advice on vaccines.

Yup, I can see why they don't want you as a patient. If you're going to put more faith in Dr. Google than in their physicians, why on earth would they want you as a customer?

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Sonya (not verified)

Oh good grief, Sonya. 1) come to a current thread and 2) quit with the insults and pharma shill nonsense.

I thank my God that I was late for their dosing scheduales, questioned every reasoning the doctors gave me for getting two, three, four shots (with multiple vaccines in each) at each visit, spread them out, or refused them, which is why we were ousted from the clinic.

There's a term in clinical medicine: the heartsink patient. That's someone who makes your heart sink when you see his or hers name on the appointment sheet. Just sayin'...

Sonya:

My youngest was ousted from a clinic when I refused to consent to the Chickenpox vaccine. Come to find out later with a simple TITER test (blood work) my son already had immunity from me, and it would continue as long as I nursed him.

First off, the clinic is right that it's not enough protection. I presume you do not intend to nurse him right into adulthood? That would seem rather awkward. Or perhaps you are more concerned about a momentary inconvenience now than the rest of his future?

When do you test your child for allergies? Do they have an allergy to egg or soy? Do you know this at three months, six months? What is in the vaccines could be harming the kids, NOT THE VAX. Don’t just read the side effects, read the ingredients. We do this for food now.

You can test for allergies at any time. However, you can only detect allergies to things the child has already been exposed to, and bear in mind that allergies can come and go -- it may be many exposures before the child actually reacts to an allergen. However, the tests are not cheap, at least not the reliable ones, and the most reliable test of all is rather unpleasant for the patient. I've had it done myself twice, and have no desire to go through it again.

I want to see a study that shows the difference in a vaccine from 50 years ago compared to now. How is the vaccine different? How is the process different?

You don't need to study it to find the answer -- all that stuff is already well documented in the FDA approval process. It's different for different vaccines; some are made in a way virtually identical to 50 years ago, others are not. There has been work to find new growth mediums as well. You mentioned egg allergy; the reason that's a problem is that chicken eggs are a popular antigen growth medium because they're abundant and easy to work with. They're only useful for pathogens that can infect birds, but that includes influenza of course. Otherwise, it's often immortal cell lines that are used to grow vaccine. These are less likely to provoke an allergic response, but are a lot more expensive. There are egg-free alternative vaccines that are grown in this way; a friend of mine with a deadly egg allergy had to get those specially ordered. (She also has severe asthma, so she never wanted to take her chances with influenza.)

Wouldn’t that have an effect on children too?

Of course; that's actually generally why various changes have been made to vaccine composition and manufacturing process. To make the vaccines both safer and more effective. Not always successfully; the switch to the acelluar pertussis vaccine produced a vaccine that was safer but somewhat less effective. Mind you, the old one wasn't that much better, and even natural pertussis infection is a bit hit-or-miss on producing immunity; that one seems to be a real challenge to try and solve.

Now how does that effect children, children who have undiagnosed allergies, undiagnosed genetic conditions. Where are THESE tests.

Now you seem to be asking for an extroardinary amount of testing. How much blood do you think these children contain, to be able to draw blood for all of these tests? How many children will be subjected to unnecesary blood draws to satisfy you that they do not suffer extremely rare metabolic disorders? You will *cause* more harm with that approach. And you'll bankrupt the system as well.

Hmm -- you have accused people of shilling. Are you shilling for testing companies?

My children were fully vaccinated, and I thank my God that I was late for their dosing scheduales, questioned every reasoning the doctors gave me for getting two, three, four shots (with multiple vaccines in each) at each visit, spread them out, or refused them, which is why we were ousted from the clinic.

I'm confused -- how are your children both fully vaccinated and you refused vaccines?

My heart goes out to every parent who must see their child, not born retarded but, retard before their eyes. You are the strong ones.

Oh, you are full of heart, aren't you? For parents, but not for children. It's the changeling balderdash all over again.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 24 Jun 2016 #permalink

There's something to be said about labelling people with the retard label and brandishing the faux philosophy of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger: eugenicist, like the rest of the antivaxxer.

Al

pULLING SOME DAMN RACIST LABEL? GOD THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BOYS GOT AUTISM FROM THE VACCINES AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE, SO YOU GONNA HIDE THIS RESULT, AND SAY IT IS A RACIST RESULT? GOOD GOD, GROW UP!

By angela coral e… (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Alain (not verified)

It's not a TITER test; it is a test to determine the titer of a specific antibody in the blood. It's not a specific or brand name test, it's not an acronym. It's just a word to describe the results you get from the test.
You can get the titer of a lot of things in the blood: specific antibodies, viral load.
You are correct that it is usually used to measure a person's current immunity to a specific pathogen.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 24 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ angela

GOD THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BOYS GOT AUTISM FROM THE VACCINES AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE,

I dunno. Do they?
I mean, in the real world, do we have three times more autistic boys in the black community than autistic boys in any other community, all things considered?

Also, don't look now, but your all-caps key is stuck.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

pULLING SOME DAMN RACIST LABEL? GOD THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BOYS GOT AUTISM FROM THE VACCINES AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE, SO YOU GONNA HIDE THIS RESULT, AND SAY IT IS A RACIST RESULT? GOOD GOD, GROW UP!

Um, no. I'm suggesting that Del Bigtree, Andrew Wakefield, and Polley Tommey are racist for exploiting the African-American community with their "CDC whistleblower" misinformation and lies.

Orac,

I think that comment in all caps was directed at me, but, not so sure either way...probably for the label of eugenicist if I have to explain.

Al

Btw, it was meant as a statement of fact, regardless, it can trigger some rage attack.

Al

@ Alain

If that's the case, angela needs a thesaurus along a new keyboard.
Eugenics and racism could often share the same territory, but they are very distinct beasts.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

Mayo Clinic Discovers African-Americans Respond Better to Rubella Vaccine
http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-discovers-afri…

Greg Poland talks about genetic differences, but there are also microbial differences based on ancestral diet. Microbes regulate immune response to vaccination. Microbial predisposition may lead to hyperactive immune response.
http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/gut-microbiota-and-infant-vacc…

By Keith Bell (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

Helianthus,

Agreed, the probability would weight more with the main article but the screeds made me doubt. Don't forget a heavy part of shame, add to that my labelling and then you have the perfect recipe for such an incoherent screeds and the emotions behind it.

Alain

I think that comment in all caps was directed at me

It seems more likely that she simply has a poor grasp on that whole "reply" concept.

Mr. Bell, do you have more porcine manure stuffed between your ears than? It seems to make your ignorant to the fact that even though Hooker tortured the data, he still proved that those who get the MMR vaccine on time did not have an increased incidence of autism: even if they had darker skin.

The only ones that he seemed to get from a teeny tiny study sample were those who were vaccinated late. More than likely they were diagnosed, and then vaccinated to be admitted special education programs.

Mr. Bell, do you have more porcine manure stuffed between your ears

Don't feed it, I beg you.

Also, don’t look now, but your all-caps key is stuck.

Looking at Angela's contributions elsewhere on the intertubes, I can see how she wore it out.
And the punctuation keys.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink

@116 I wish I hadn't looked. "Pre-vaccinating" unborn babies so they die at birth? Definitely need to go and stare at some kittens for a while.

Narad: "Don’t feed it, I beg you."

Sorry, but the idiots were just too repugnant.

Off Topic (autism):

I did a USPTO search to determine the male:female ratio of inventors on patents having the word "autism" in the title.

There were 134 male inventors and 33 female inventors (4:1 male/female ratio).

A 4:1 male/female ratio is also present in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

@ Keith Bell (#111),

It appears that gender may also affect the future incidence and prevalence of autism through patented therapeutic- interventions.

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 #permalink