Posted by: Ticktock | May 25, 2008

TIME MAGAZINE: VACCINES

 

Time Magazine has a responsible feature article on vaccines in their latest issue.  The article reports the facts on vaccines honestly and does little pandering to the anti-vaccine activists.  The author, Alice Park, offers several good points, which I’d like to feature here just because many of her facts are worth restating:

  • 77% of America’s kindergarten children are completely vaccinated (many more are just short of being completely vaccinated).  This is important to remember because no matter how scary mandatory vaccines may seem, you don’t see even close to 77% of children with autism.  Vaccines don’t cause autism, or we would all have autism – a simple fact that vaccine activists generally ignore, or write off with an explanation that brings them back to square one: a genetic component causes the autism.
  • Hannah Poling, the Georgia girl awarded money from the vaccine court, had a pre-existing cellular disorder that was aggravated by vaccines, which caused “autism-like symptoms”.  We are talking about one girl, who had a mitochondrial disorder weakening her immune system, and the vaccines aggravated that original condition.  Two of her symptoms were on the spectrum of autism.  It isn’t true to state that she has autism, nor is it true that her problems were due entirely to vaccines.
  • Outbreaks of measles and other diseases in America are occuring in several unimmunized populations, where not vaccinating has become trendy.  Parents who don’t vaccinate their children are faced with the reality that they are exposing their offspring to painful and horrible diseases.
  • Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the man who first suggested a link between autism and vaccines, was abandoned by 10 of the 13 authors of their original study; they retracted their hypothesis within the decade since the paper was published.
  • Autism rates did not decline after mercury-laced thimerosal was pulled from most vaccines.  This put a wrench in the works of vaccine bashers until they could adjust their goalposts.
  • Antivaccine activists claim that the quantity of shots required are now dangerously high, but their fears about the vaccination schedule are a red herring.  It only matters how many antigens are in the shots, which actually have been significantly reduced over time.
  • The CDC estimates that vaccines save 33,000 lives, prevent 14 million infections, and save $10 billion in medical costs.
  • Rates of disease in Nigeria increased 30-fold after religious and political leaders convinced the population not to vaccinate.

I just finished watching a disc from Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica, in which the Saggitarian colonists refused vaccination because it was against their principles.  It turns out the Saggitarians were partly right – the doctor they accused of deliberate murder was purposefully killing them with a bad vaccine because he thought they were stupid.  I watched that episode, read the Time magazine article, and wrote this blog post.  I started thinking about anti-vaccine activists, and I realized that their claims amount to one thing – science fiction, only this is the type of sci-fi that can endanger us all.  Vaccinate your kids, people!  Be responsible and vaccinate your kids! 

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Responses

  1. The problem with this theory is that autism rates have continued to climb incredibly high even since thimerosal was removed from the vaccines — and recent news articles (http://www.sunherald.com/447/story/569713.html) have indicated a clear link between vaccines and autism regardless of the specific mechanism.

    No one is saying ‘don’t vaccinate against anything’ — but seriously, polio isn’t a realistic threat and the majority of diseases we vaccinate against aren’t even disabling, much less lethal. My kids are getting a tetanus shot — tetanus is dangerous and ubiquitous — but I don’t want to do anything to increase the already-absurd 3-in-25 chance of my child being autistic.

  2. News articles are not where you should be getting your information. Scientific studies indicate a link or no link… not the media. Not only is there not a clear link… THERE IS NO LINK. There have been numerous studies investigating a relationship between vaccines and autism, but not one of them has proved this connection. In fact, multiple studies disproved the theory.

    People ARE saying ‘don’t vaccinate against anything’. There are examples in the Time Magazine article I reference in this very post of American children who have not been vaccinated at all… some of whom ended up with diseases that could’ve been prevented.

    You clearly have never known anyone who died of polio, which is a horrible and crippling disease that you wouldn’t want on your worst enemy.

    That statistic of 3-in-25 chance of autism is absolute crap and completely absurd. Common sense will tell you that your facts are completely bogus. I’m assuming you mean that your children are ONLY getting three tetanus shots out of all the possible shots. So, despite all evidence that PROVES no link between vaccines and autism, you are giving them a 100% chance of whooping cough, hepatitus, shingles, etc.

    Wow.

  3. Ill take whooping cough and hepatitis over autism any day…try living with a kid with autism genius

  4. The symptoms of hepatitis include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Sounds like fun!

    There are an estimated 300,000 plus deaths annually from whooping cough (pertussis). But at least they didn’t have autism, right?

    Your comment is an insult to individuals with autism. Your unstated premise is that vaccines cause autism, which has not been proven in any way by science. So, essentially, you are saying that you are taking the risk of those diseases AND autism – probably not the smartest move in the world.

  5. I bought the Times magazine yesterday at the airport just for the story on vaccinations. While the author brings up some good points (e.g. the herd theory) and some interesting data, I have a difficult time swallowing the idea that vaccines are completely safe. I have a 10 month old and have done some research on the issue in an effort to make an informed choice for my son. It is hard sometimes to find information that is clear and accurate and not bent to satisfy some agenda (on both sides mind you).

    Both my husband and I want to see science-based cause and effect information/data and to not only rely on correlational information. It seems to me there is a lot of attacking of parents for not vaccinating their children. I understand the point that their decision to not vaccinate can put others at risk. What I do not understand is why there is a lack of empathy towards those parents who are trying their best to be good parents. But most of all, I do not understand why the attack falls on them (most often anyway) rather than re-examining the safety of vaccines and/or answering specific questions about the vaccines. To only state that all vaccines are safe will not do much to change parents’ minds whom do not vaccinate. Education is the key. I just want to find accurate, complete, unbiased information, which is difficult to find on either side.

    Lastly, my aim is to make an informed, safe choice for my son. Parents do not have to fall on one side or the other. So far I have decided that it is not in my son’s best interest to follow the vaccine schedule as is. This includes no antibiotic ointment in the eye at birth (completely unnecessary for our situation) and no Rotivirus (too new, esp. after the last one was off the market for some time) and no Hep B (my son at this time does not fall into any high risk group). Hep B later? Yes, probably. Perhaps even most of them. At this point my fear stands at the vaccine cocktails given all at once combined with the young age and concern over toxic ingredients in the vaccines.

    On some of the comments posted, who wants any of the above???!?

  6. To say that you have a “difficult time swallowing the idea that vaccines are completely safe” is an ‘argument from incredulity’. Just because the idea of safe vaccines are hard for you to believe doesn’t mean that they are unsafe. In fact, we know that vaccines are not completely safe from their possible side-effects, in the same way that we know that many other things in life carry risks. In this case the benefits of immunizing children far outweigh the risks (and autism is an unproven assumed risk- not an actual one).

    We didn’t do the eyedrops either. We also spaced out our vaccines just to be extra safe, although I personally know that there is no science to back up our decision to do that.

    I get my science based vaccine info from http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=36. These are people who are all professionals, who know how to analyze the quality of studies, and are willing to change their mind if proven wrong. Of course, it’s easy to say that so-and-so is in the pocket of big pharma, or whatever, but those accusations are often unhelpful speculations.

    If the parents feel like victims here, they should realize that they are responsible for the health and safety of their children who can’t decide for themselves. The decision not to vaccinate affects the lives of those who are too young to make that choice, therefore it falls on the parents to act responsibly on something so important.

    Also, the reason that I personally argue in favor of vaccination is because the recent trend not to immunize can quickly spiral into something larger and potentially dangerous.

    • Can I ask that you send me a copy of how you spaced your immunizations. I’ve looked all over the website you listed to find this information, and cannot. Thanks!!

  7. [...] medicine, vaccines |   I just discovered a great blog written by a scientist/dad. Colin has a brilliant post about vaccines and the (non-existent) associated risk of [...]

  8. In your praise for the Time magazine article, you list two consecutive points I have copied below:

    “Autism rates did not decline after mercury-laced thimerosal was pulled from most vaccines. This put a wrench in the works of vaccine bashers until they could adjust their goalposts.”

    “Antivaccine activists claim that the quantity of shots required are now dangerously high, but their fears about the vaccination schedule are a red herring. It only matters how many antigens are in the shots, which actually have been significantly reduced over time.”

    In one breath, ‘vaccine bashers’ are busy ‘adjusting their goalposts (sic). In the next breath, the article (as you highlight) makes mention of the reduction of the number of antigens found in the shots over time. Vaccine advocates get to adjust their goal posts, while those who question vaccines are held to a higher standard (?).

    It is one thing to ‘adjust goal posts’ when it comes to discussions–but quite another when you are messing with the health of a child.

    Vaccines, we are told, are completely safe. Why, then, do they keep adjusting them. Please don’t tell me it is due to pressure from ‘vaccine bashers’ (nice choice of adjectives, by the way).

    Finally, in the interest of working toward a common solution to this issue (I truly believe we all want the best for our children), you may want to steer clear of divisive language/insinuations. I am choosing not not vaccinate my child based on countless hours of research (from many different angles), not because I feel it is ‘trendy’.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could finally engage in a discussion of a controversial issue without making it into an ‘all or nothing’ situation or a haggling session where everyone is afraid to surrender an inch of turf for fear that it is a sign of weakness…..

  9. I don’t see how “adjusting their goalposts” needed a (sic). Would you rather me have said “moved their goalposts”? The spelling is correct.

    You are not held to a higher standard. You are welcome to accuse me of “adjusting or moving my goalposts (sic)” also. However, your argument doesn’t disprove the safety of vaccines. You are pointing out one of the benefits of science, that it can improve over time given better information or more knowledge. Conspiracy theorists and antivaccine activists, such as yourself, are only trying to justify their baseless accusations when they move their goalposts. They don’t actually care if there is any validity to the new argument. They just don’t want to be wrong. Good scientists always admit when they are proven wrong.

    What would it take for you to believe that vaccines are safe? How many scientific studies? How many ingredients must be removed until you believe in vaccines again?

    I would think that vaccines are adjusted over time for a variety of reasons. Despite the fact that you told me not to say this (I can say what I want), the reason might be that vaccine “bashers” were a threat to the vaccine program, and that removing the thimerosal would be an easy way to appease them. I honestly don’t know and don’t really care. As we can all see, nothing has changed. Thimerosal is out, but the bashers are still boycotting vaccines despite the continued rise in autism.

    I’ve used divisive language in the past, but I hardly think that “bashers” and “trendy” are indicative of language that ruins quality dialogue. If you did countless hours of research, perhaps you can list the quality scientific studies that reinforce your decision.

    I surrender turf on this blog to people who prove me wrong via science, examples of logical fallicies, and actual mistakes. Other than that, I consider comments that challenge my post to be open to debate. I think that’s fair.

  10. Sorry for the goal post comment. Apparently it can be spelled both ways. Didn’t mean to make it a big deal….

    As for the rest of your response, I think you have misunderstood me to some extent. Firstly, none of this controversy would exist if our government stopped mandating the dozens of injections currently required by most states (for a variety of benefits, most notably entrance into public schools). My interest in this discussion is not to ‘prove’ that science is wrong, but rather to question why there is such a push in the scientific community to coerce everybody to do as they are told. It is when I am told I cannot send my child to school unless he receives shots A,B,C,D (and so forth) that I start to sit up and take notice.

    I am not sure how I (as a non-vaccinating parent) am a threat to the vaccination program. I understand that vaccines rely on herd immunity for much of their effectiveness. I also understand that if enough people are not vaccinated, then the rest of the vaccinated public is placed at risk. If vaccines are so great, however, then they should be able to withstand the conscientious objection of small groups within the general public. If they require 100% compliance (or 78% or whatever the latest figure is for a given vaccine), then perhaps a new solution should be sought.

    You asked what it would take for me to believe that vaccines are safe. I don’t want to revisit my last post, but again, I feel that the recent track record of vaccines leaves plenty of room for skepticism. I look back at the past 50 years and realize that vaccines have done wonderful things for our world. Millions of people have benefited from them. This is a point I do not dispute. My concern, however, is for the thousands (hundreds of thousands?…) of people who have been injured and/or killed as a result of these programs. I suppose what I would like to see is a solid, proven track record of vaccinations without any side effects. Until this happens, however, I will never allow my infant to be injected with a foreign substance…. especially for diseases which pose absolutely no risk to him (see Hep B) or which can easily be cured with antibiotics or basic home care (see measles, chickenpox etc.)–the risk (small or large–doesn’t matter to me) is simply not worth it. While I realize that this is a very high standard I am holding science to, remember that I am not the one pushing to make vaccines mandatory for all members of our society.

    Another point: You mention ‘conspiracy theorists’ in your last post. I never considered myself to be one, but if questioning the connection between vaccine manufacturers, lobbyists, and government policy makes me a ‘conspiracy theorist’, then I suppose you are correct.

    Finally, not to go tit for tat, but….I would never presume to tell you how to manage your blog. I am happy that you have taken the time to create it and respond to your reader’s comments. If you look back at my post, I was very careful to simply suggest you steer clear of divisive language. Of course you are free to write what you want…I was just suggesting that the effect on your readers could be the opposite of what you intended. I will ‘tell’ you, however, that I am truly looking for a balanced blog on this issue–one that does not have an axe to grind (for either side) and one that does not infuse inflammatory labels into each paragraph . If I should spend my time elsewhere, please let me know.

  11. Thanks for the polilte response. The blogs can be an open opportunity for people to unleash their agression in the form of heated opinion. I’m still getting used to receiving feedback; this blog is only a few months old.

    My blog certainly has an angle of science-based skepticism. I don’t know if I have an axe to grind, per se, but I admit to being agressive on this topic and certain others. The degree of my attitude often depends on the seriousness of the topic, and I find this topic to be extremely important to society. I’ve noticed that other skeptic blogs receive a lot of hostility from “believers” in the comments, and as a result the divisive language escalates before anyone thinks about it. I know that I’ve been guilty of this here too.

    I’m happy to have differing opinions here, so long as the language is mild and the arguments aren’t entirely ad hominems. I can’t change my opinions on the relevant topics, and those very opinions, by their very nature, might offend. Other than that, I welcome debate and discussion, and I open this blog to everyone, no matter if they disagree.

  12. The article in Time magazine seemed a little biased. I tried to make an argument for vaccines but after doing some research, it’s tough. If you look throughout history, there have been many instances where scientific research has deemed something safe and ended up causing thousands of deaths or malformations.

    Just to refute a couple of argument in that article, there have several outbreaks of measles in 100% immunized schools and communities. Also to say that mercury has been removed from vaccines is false. Besides the fact that mercury is still being used in some vaccines manufactured today, it is my understanding that doctors are still allowed to use vaccines from old stockpiles until 2009. It should also be noted that based on my research, even mercury free vaccines still contain trace amounts. That being said, I’m not saying that vaccines cause autism, just that there is much to be learned about human immunity and if in fact vaccines do anything since it has been proven time and time again that antibody production has little if anything to do with immunity. And before injecting a two-month old infant with that much of anything is at the very least questionable.

    Journal of the American Medical Association, November 21st 1990, stated: “Although more than 95% of school-aged children in the United States are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur in schools, and most cases in this setting occur among previously vaccinated children”

    “Raymond Obomsawin, MD wrote the following in his book, Universal Immunization: Medical Miracle or Masterful Mirage?
    “[W]e find that upon investigating unexpected and unexplainable outbreaks of acute infection among ‘immunized’ persons, mainstream scientists have begun to seriously question whether their understanding of what constitutes reliable immunity is in fact valid. For example, a team of scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine provide evidence for the position that immunity to disease is a broader bio-ecological question than the factors of artificial immunization or serology. They summarily concluded: ‘It is important to stress that immunity (or its absence) cannot be determined reliable on the basis of history of the disease, history of immunization, or even history of prior serologic determination.’
    “Despite these significant shifts in scientific thinking, there has unfortunately been little actual progress made in terms of undertaking systematically broad research on the multiple factors which undergird human immunity to disease, and in turn building a system of prevention that is squarely based upon such findings. It seems ironic that ….[we] must still raise the following basic questions: Why doesn’t medical research focus on what factors in our environment and in our lives weaken the immune system? Is this too simple? too ordinary? too undramatic? Or does it threaten too many vested interests?”
    It is clear that immunity does not come from antibodies or even ‘memory cells’, although memory cells may play a small part in the much larger processes of protecting health. If a person is healthy, first time natural exposure to a virus does not necessarily result in disease. In fact, the majority of first time exposures result in no symptoms but do result in ‘antibodies’ which ‘prove the exposure’ but also prove that immunity was present before the exposure. Total body health is the only true immunity. The concept that immunity comes from ‘memory cells’ is none-the-less valuable in that it points out that booster shots are totally unnecessary. Knowing that total health equals immunity is a basic key to understanding that vaccinations are unnecessary and ineffective.

    The science of immunology is on a fast track due to recent advances in molecular biology and genetics research. Though there is still much to be learned, it is become evident that artificial immunity, stimulated by vaccination is not even close to duplicating immunity received from natural exposure and may actually work in an immune suppressive fashion. Pressed by advancing technology and consumer demand, health care is slowly changing its focus from disease treatment to performance enhancement. Accompanying this will be an increased emphasis on nutrition, exercise, and structural integrity of the human frame, all of which maximize the body’s innate healing power”

    As to financial incentives, Dr. Offit was quoted in that article touting the safety of vaccines, he may be correct, or he may have other interests.
    “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a 15 member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Secretary for Health the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases

    Dr. Offit is also one of the patent holders of the rotavirus vaccine (Patent Application number 353547), and the recipient of a $350,000 grant from Merck for its development. Additionally, he is a consultant to Merck Pharmaceuticals.
    Talk about conflict of interest”From what I understand, the only cases of Polio since the 70s were from the vaccine.

    Many other diseases were nearly eradicated before vaccines due mainly to clean drinking water and hygiene. Tetanus for example is produced in the digestive system of horses, the advent of the automobile may have something to do with decreases in Tetanus infections since there is no horse manure every street.

    Skeptical Dad should be skeptical and so should everyone.

  13. Vaccines have been safely used for years. It is your burden to prove your hypothetical accusation that vaccines may cause widespread death and malformations. But, since you are being hypothetical, it makes it kind of hard to debate your point.

    A 2002 study of a few hundred pediatrician offices showed that only 2% of the stock (of the three vaccines that originally had mercury) actually had thimerosal-containing vaccines, and all of those had an expiration date of 2002. Your claim that doctors can use old stockpiles is outdated and not valid anymore. How much stockpiles do you think doctors have? Even if your point did hold water, mercury has been eliminated from vaccines in countries way earlier than the U.S., and multiple studies have shown that their rates of autism did not decrease. *

    I would like to see your proof (time and time again) that antibodies do little to boost immunity.

    You use an argument from authority from a man who is not a medical doctor, did not graduate from a reputable school, and from his public comments seems to be a fundamentalist christian and HIV denier. I do not recognize Ray Obomsawin as an expert on the subject.

    Dr. Offit admits his conflict of interest in his published papers. He should be held to closer scrutiny because of this conflict, but it doesn’t invalidate his arguments.

    Tetanus is found in the digestive system of horses (and other animals), but the idea that it originated there is erroneous. Mothers who have not been immunized for tetanus risk their newborn children getting it and quickly dying soon after. “In some less developed countries, tetanus is still one of the ten leading causes of death, and neonatal tetanus accounts for approximately one-half of the cases worldwide. In less developed countries, approximate mortality rates remain 85% for neonatal tetanus and 50% for nonneonatal tetanus. This is an unfortunate situation because with adequate immunization, tetanus is a completely preventable disease.”

  14. Actually, the way I see it, if our government is mandating vaccines, the burden of proof is on them to show that vaccines are completely safe. If they cannot prove this (they haven’t, as far as I am concerned), then they need to keep vaccination voluntary. Also, do vaccines need to cause ‘widespread death’ before we start to question them–or is one death too many? I favor the latter.

    On another point, how is it that you can ignore the arguments posed by Ray Obomsawin (who is not an MD), but accept the argument of Dr. Offit (who has a major conflict of interest).

    The quote from Obomsawin is not an ‘argument from authority’ as he is simply reporting what other scientists have started to question. The quote may as well have been me (definitely not an MD, or even a trained scientist–but an interested individual). Are we only allowed to quote specific scientists and doctors here? Just scientists? Which ones? I am not trying to be difficult, but I am reluctant to dig for evidence to further my argument only to have it refuted because someone does not pass your litmus test for admissible evidence.

    I am a high school teacher. Does that mean that I am not allowed to do independent research and connect dots on any matter not dealing with classroom education? Again, not trying to be a pain, but I do want to see that we are all on the same page here.

  15. Actually, the CDC does investigate the safety of vaccines:

    Are Vaccines Tested and Monitored for Safety?
    Yes. Before vaccines are licensed, the FDA requires testing to ensure safety. This process can take 10 years or longer. Once a vaccine is in use, the CDC and FDA monitor its side effects through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Any hint of a problem with a vaccine prompts further investigations by the CDC and FDA. If researchers find a vaccine may be causing a side effect, the CDC and FDA will initiate actions appropriate to the nature of the problem. This may include the changing of vaccine labels or packaging, distributing safety alerts, inspecting manufacturers’ facilities and records, withdrawing recommendations for the use of the vaccine, or revoking the vaccine’s license.

    It’s estimated that vaccines save 33,000 lives. So yes, I would think that 33,000 hypothetical saved lives trumps the one hypothetical death. The reason that it is mandatory is because your germs can kill my child. Mandatory vaccines save lives… as has been proven since the beginning of vaccination.

    Take a look at Paul Offit’s page on wikipedia, and you can see why his credentials matter. He is an internationially known expert on infectious disease, has been published multiple times in peer-reviewed journals, written many books on vaccines, and of course is a medical doctor who graduated from a reputable university. You ignore that I granted your argument for greater scrutiny of Offit, and you also ignore that his peers (scientists and doctors) agree with Offit. Instead, you offer the opinions of somebody who is educated at a polytechnic university, somebody who is not a doctor, and somebody who seems to be a crank conspiracy theorist.

    Let’s say that you are a high school teacher who wants to connect dots about a 9/11 conspiracy (or insert any example of a claim that refutes known facts), I will be more likely to question your credentials. For instance, are you saying that WTC7 had to be a demolition because you teach physics and know for sure? Or are you a substitute English teacher who is making an educated guess?

    I use 9/11 conspiracy as an example, but any extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. And I have every right to question a source on this site, mainly because the purpose of my blog is to give accurate science-based information to parents.

    I do my best to be fair and accurate. Like you, I don’t have a lot of time to chase down experts and refute arguments. These comments happen during my kid’s naptime. And I do it because I think the hobby of scientific skepticism is intellectually stimulating, and I feel many of the topics are important. Other than that, and the practice of writing, I don’t get anything out of the deal.

  16. Eeeeeeeeeeasy there Ticktock, nobody said that vaccines cause wide spread death and malformations. What I said was that there were instances where medical science deemed SOMETHING safe like Thalidomide or Vioxx just to name a couple off the top of my head. These medications did cause wide spread death and malformations. These were not hypothetical, but feel free to debate those points as well.

    I’m curious as to how you can say that vaccines have been used safely for years when it is my understanding that the only known cases of polio in recent years was caused by the vaccine itself. Then there is the fact that there is an entire web site dedicated to adverse reactions. Besides that, the number of vaccines have increased dramatically in the past 10 years or so and there are still more to come. My argument is that it should be up to the parents to decide what is safe for their children. To say that just because someone went to medical school, they can not be wrong or influenced by something other than medicine is simply ridiculous and not even worth debating.

    As far as your friend Dr. Offit, I found this interesting:

    “Offit further attempts to rewrite medical history by alleging that DPT vaccine does not cause brain damage. He does this even though he knows (1) the largest case controlled study ever conducted to investigate causes of brain damage in children, the 1981 British National Childhood Encephalopathy Study, concluded that the pertussis (whooping cough) portion of DPT vaccine causes acute brain inflammation and permanent brain damage; and (2) the Institute of Medicine agreed with that conclusion in 1994”

    I believe he also stated that children can receive 10,000 vaccines safely.

    If I had to chose between a religious nut or this guy, I’d go with the nut.

    As far as more proof that the antibody theory is just a theory, there are many people that lack the ability to produce antibodies and do not get infected when exposed to disease. Conversely, people that get vaccinated and have a high titer or antibody count still get infected. Those are facts, it happens all the time. If anyone thinks that science knows everything there is to know about immunity, then they are crazier than any religious fanatic.

    Way to go Pat. I always say that you should question everything that is questionable. Science based information gets rewritten all the time and the only reason that happens is because it is question by someone concerned. I urge people to question everything I say but you should do your best to be respectful to others.

    Besides, If your children are vaccinated, then you don’t have to worry about getting diseases from other children.

    Not to change the subject ticktock, but are you a watch guy?

  17. There are checks and balances for unsafe vaccines, such as the web site for adverse effects that you mentioned. Your examples only prove that poor quality vaccines are eliminated from the schedule, and as I’ve mentioned, each vaccine undergoes years of testing before being added to the routine.

    Vaccines have been used safely for years because they’ve been mandatory for years without significant health problems. I’ve never said that they’re completely safe from side effects, but those who object to the safety of vaccines should prove that they are unsafe or admit that they are specualting. With nearly the entire world’s population being vaccinated, I submit that such proof would be hard to come by.

    I didn’t say that “because somebody went to medical school they can not be wrong”. My argument is that somebody who went to medical school has more authority on a health-related topic than someone who didn’t. I think that’s a fair argument. I also admitted that Dr. Offit should be subject to more scrutiny because of his stated conflicts, but that doesn’t mean he should be immediately dismissed.

    I called myself ticktock originally to remind myself that I’m spending too much time on the computer. Case in point. :)

  18. I’m going to inject (no pun intended) a little bit of my own version of common sense into this debate.

    First of all, thousands of children are vaccinated everyday without incident, but all we hear about are the few that might have a problem.

    Second, prior to the invention of vaccinations, diseases such as polio, smallpox, mumps, and measles (among others) were extremely widespread and claimed thousands of lives.

    Third, while far from perfect, modern science is responsible for our life expectancy rising from from an average of 58 in 1930 to nearly 80 that it is today.

    If everyone decided to take the anti-vaccination crowd’s ideas and stop have their children vaccinated, then we would see these common childhood diseases return.

    There is no proven autism link. The child who got autism has an underlying genetic disorder that may have been triggered by the vaccine. That’s it. If there was a link, the rates of autism in this country would be tremendously higher.

    Thanks for your responsible post.

  19. Hello Paul,

    I found this interesting article on Wikipedia you might be interested in:

    Life expectancy is the average number of years a human has before death, conventionally calculated from the time of birth, but also can be calculated from any specified age.
    One of the biggest jumps in life expectancy coincided with the introduction of sewers, which greatly reduced the spread of disease. In the last few centuries a strong statistical effect was caused by the near elimination of infant mortality in the Western world and elsewhere. Average life expectancy before the health transition of the modern era is thought to have varied between about 20 years and 40 years. It is important to note that most people who quote pre-modern life expectancies include infant mortality in their calculations. Also, the life expectancy for women was lower throughout history than it was for men; because, until modern medicine, one in four women died in childbirth. If you survived childhood you could expect to live into your old age in any time throughout history.

    So, to say that modern medicine is to be credited for the increase in life expectancy is a little misleading since there are countries that don‘t have the modern resources we are fortunate to have and yet are fairing better than us. You may also be interested to know that the US is ranked 45th in the world despite spending far more on health care than any other country.

    To say that I am speculating about autism vaccine link is an understatement. I don’t purport to be an expert or a doctor (although my wife is), but when I see things like autism and SIDS climbing at astonishing rates, it is hard to believe that something isn’t amiss. There a many possible explanations for these increases, but to sit here and pretend that the medical and pharmaceutical communities are interested solely in our wellbeing is hard to swallow.

    Just as there hasn’t been definitive proof that cell phones cause brain tumors, there are two neurosurgeons quoted in this weeks NY Times saying they would never put a cell phone up to their head.

    Anyway, keep up the good posts and thanks to the host of this site, as I have never posted anything on a blog before. This is fun and educational.

  20. I have one thought provoking question. If my child is vaccinated when vaccinations are supposed to work, how is an unvaccinated child a threat to mine? I fail to understand the “scientific” theory behind this. This makes me question the effectiveness of these vaccines.

  21. Hi Tony,

    There is definitely more then one reason our life expectancy has risen, but I think it can all be summed up in the fact that we have improved medical and scientific technology. Vaccinations are a part of that.

    I wouldn’t necessarily equate the rising rates of autism with vaccinations. There are all kinds of reasons that the number of children with autism are on the rise. I also haven’t seen any link between SIDS and vaccinations. Wikipedia briefly mentions it and says, “The relationship between vaccinations and SIDS has been well studied. Babies that are vaccinated are possibly protected from SIDS according to one study in the British Medical Journal.[34] Other studies[35][36] indicate that there is no significant difference in risk.”

    People have to weigh the benefits vs. the risks of having your children vaccinated. To me, the risks people mention are minimal and not likely to effect me. My children are more likely to be hurt or injured playing inside or outside of the house then they are getting vaccinated. When they do get vaccinated, I am very secure in the knowledge that they won’t catch any of the diseases they are being vaccinated against.

    The benefits far outweigh risks as far as I’m concerned.

  22. Diseases Had Already Started to Disappear Before Vaccines Were Introduced Because of Sanitation and Better Hygiene?

    Diseases are not worth the risk?

    Vaccinated children are at risk for diseases too? Yes, but they are 35 times less likely to contract measles than exempt individuals.

  23. Bailing out of the discussion, guys. I know you probably meant no harm by the comment, ticktock, but to equate me (or others who question vaccines) with 9/11 conspiracy theorists tells me I can spend my time better elsewhere.

    Here’s to hoping we all find the truth concerning this matter. Good luck.

  24. Good skepticism is based on solid facts proven by science. The purpose of this parenting site is to promote quality science and refute different types of speculative claims such as the supernatural, pseudoscience, alternative medicine, and any other claim that contradicts facts established by science or common knowledge.

    There are elements of anti-vaccine activism that are similar to conspiracy, such as the accusation that respected scientists (whether they be members of the CDC or NIST) are lying or in the pocket of corporations. RFK Jr. started this whole thing by putting forth the imagery of a secluded cabal of “big pharma” scientists plotting to cover up their misdeeds in a secluded bunker. Then, people like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey make things worse by inventing “toxins” (anti-freeze is NOT in vaccines) to condemn.

    But, as you say, I meant no harm. In fact, there are quite a few 9/11 conspiracy theorists who would consider it a compliment. They don’t see anything wrong with their speculations either. Of course, we all know that most of the people who believe strongly in an issue, whether it be vaccines, conspiracies, or science, that every party has good intentions.

  25. Good skepticism is based on many things including scientific facts and studies. The problem arises when scientific facts and studies become corrupted. Call me a conspiracy theorist but there have been many instances where researchers have been fined or jailed for intentionally skewing studies in order to increase or maintain funding. People can be convinced of anything under the right circumstances, especially fear.

    Here are some interesting articles I ran across, many of which can be deemed biased or questionable but interesting none the less:

    Cal-Oregon Unvaccinated Survey Background ”We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys.” – Generation Rescue 
    – Read our press release discussing the survey here.
    – Read an article from UPI Investigative reporter Dan Olmsted Discussing the survey: Study Sees Vaccine Risk.

    If you are interested in learning about alternative vaccine schedules, please read our section titled On Vaccines.

    a study published by the British Medical Council in 1950 during a diphtheria epidemic concluded that there was no relationship between antibody count and disease incidence; researchers found resistant people with extremely low antibody counts and sick people with high counts. [32] Natural immunization is a complex phenomenon involving many organs and systems; it cannot be fully replicated by the artificial stimulation of antibody production.

    Yet another surprising concern about immunization practice is its assumption that all children, regardless of age, are virtually the same. An 8 pound 2 month old receives the same dosage as a 40 pound five year old. Infants with immature, undeveloped immune systems may receive five or more times the dosage (relative to body weight) as older children.
    Furthermore, the number of “units” within doses has been found upon random testing to range from 1/2 to 3 times what the label indicates; manufacturing quality controls appear to tolerate a rather large margin of error. “Hot Lots”–vaccine lots with disproportionately high death and disability rates–have been identified repeatedly by the NVIC, but the FDA refuses to intervene to prevent further unnecessary injury and deaths. In fact, they have never recalled a vaccine lot due to adverse reactions. Some would call this infanticide.
    Finally, vaccination practice assumes that all recipients, regardless of race, culture, diet, geographic location, or any other circumstances, will respond the same. This was perhaps never more dramatically disproved than an instance a few years ago in Australia’s Northern Territory, where stepped-up immunization campaigns resulted in an incredible *50%* infant mortality rate in the native aborigines.[34]
    Researcher A. Kalokerinos, M.D. discovered that the aborigine’s vitamin C deficient “junk food” diet (imposed on them by white society) was a critical factor (studies had already shown that vaccination depletes vitamin C reserves; children in shock or collapse often recovered in a matter of minutes when given vitamin C injections). He considered it amazing that as many survived as did. One must wonder about the lives of the survivors, though, for if half died, surely the other half did not escape unaffected.
    Almost as troubling was a very recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine which revealed that a substantial number of Romanian children were contracting polio from the vaccine, a less common phenomena in most developed countries. Correlations with injections of antibiotics were found: a single injection within one month of vaccination raised the risk of polio 8 times, 2 to 9 injections raised the risk 27-fold, and 10 or more injections raised the risk 182 times [Washington Post, February 22, 1995].

    In 1985, the CDC reported that 87% of the cases of polio in the U.S. between 1973 and 1983 were caused by the vaccine, and later declared that all but a few imported cases since were caused by the vaccine–and most of the imported cases occurred in fully immunized individuals.

  26. I ran across some more interesting reading in my spare time that I thought concerned parent might like to debate:

    Eight Medical Lies and Why I Abandoned Medicine

    We live in the most seamlessly disinformed nation in world history. It matters not the topic—historical or contemporary events, theology, politics, economics, science, medicine—we are being fed an endless barrage of lies. The lies are continually reinforced, generation after generation, through public instruction and the international multimedia. As of today, most Americans are living their lives with minds so filled with lies they blindly engage in numerous self-destructive activities, including the faithful ingestion of pharmaceutical poisons errantly believed by millions to be medicines. In order to free our people we must help them to tear down the walls in their minds. The article below is excellently crafted and should start the process by removing a few key bricks.

    by Shane Ellison, M.Sc.

    By education and by trade, I was a drug chemist. My passion for science motivated a successful career in drug design and synthesis—in both academia and industry. As a scientist, I witnessed first-hand the priorities of international pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma), which ranked wealth first and health a distant second.

    In the pharmaceutical industry, making money supersedes science. Science no longer prevails in medicine. Instead, modern medicine has been democratized. Drug approval is a simple matter of 51 percent telling the other 49 percent that a prescription drug is safe and necessary. The outcome: Deadly drugs are approved for use among misinformed medical doctors and patients. Herein lies a story of deceit and a chemist’s abandonment of modern medicine.

    Carcinogenic cancer drugs

    My suspicion of modern medicine began while I was employed by Eli Lilly to design a new generation of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs. Such drugs include tamoxifen and raloxifene. Initially, these drugs were thought to block estrogen receptors (excess estrogen can initiate cancer growth) and thereby halt cancer. As time progressed, though, it was learned that they were also capable of activating estrogen receptors. The end result was a biochemical environment favorable to cancer growth among users.1

    The Journal of the American Medical Association recognized this trend and stated, “our data add to the growing body of evidence that recent long-term use of HRT is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and that such use may be related particularly to lobular tumors.”

    The risk of cancer associated with HRT drugs was obscured from doctors by drug companies. This can be seen by the fact that tamoxifen is the gold-standard used by medical doctors to fight cancer among their patients, particularly breast cancer. This explains why medical doctors might not notice its ability to cause cancer—the patient already has it.

    At any rate, my task was made clear: Design HRT “knock-offs” that are effective without causing cancer.

    My attempt to design safer alternatives was unsuccessful. And after one year, the project was ended. However, access to HRT drugs like tamoxifen was not. They remained on the market.

    Inmates given keys to

    asylum in 1997

    The fuel driving the continued use of HRT drugs was disinformation via Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) advertising. Since 1962, monitoring DTC advertising has been the sole responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But in a ghastly conflict of interest, the FDA granted the duty of DTC advertising to the pharmaceutical companies in 1997.

    Officially, this was done as a means of “promoting health awareness to ensure health and safety.” Unofficially, it was done to sell more drugs. DTC advertising dictated that all women over 50 should use HRT to remain healthy. Women scurried to their doctors to ask if “HRT was right for them.”

    My suspicion grew into conflict.

    The disinformation campaign behind HRT drugs was not an isolated case. I learned that drug advertising and science are frequently in direct opposition to each other. For example:

    n DTC advertising dictates that lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that an aspirin a day will keep heart attack away. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that depression is a disease that must be treated with prescription drugs. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that ADHD is a disease and that our children must be treated with amphetamines. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that infants must be vaccinated to prevent childhood illness. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that blood pressure must be controlled via a lifetime of servitude to prescription drugs. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that chemotherapy is your first line of defense against deadly cancer. Science proves otherwise.

    n DTC advertising dictates that Type II diabetes must be treated with daily insulin use. Science proves otherwise.

    DTC + Drugs = health?

    By spreading the aforementioned health myths, DTC advertising forges a belief among the general public which asserts that drugs—not lifestyle habits and nutrition— confer health and longevity. And although, in reality, medicine is only necessary for sick people in times of emergency, DTC advertising has been wildly successful in convincing people that being healthy requires a lifetime of prescription drug use. While it’s true that the advertising usually mentions the potential side effects of drugs, doctors tend to discount them. They simply regurgitate the pharmaceutical-company line that “the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks.”

    Don’t believe it

    Western medicine’s plague of deception is deadlier than any virus, illicit drugs, and terrorism combined. Well-documented in scientific journals and reported by media outlets nationwide, FDA approved drugs are killing an estimated 106,000 people every year.2 That equates to one individual dying every five minutes from “approved” drugs— 300 people dying every day. Which is twice as many deaths in a single year from “approved drugs” as the total number of U.S. deaths from the Vietnam War.3 This does not count death by hospital medical error, which adds 98,000 deaths to the atrocity.4 If not killed, an estimated 2 million people are victims of drug-induced illnesses.5 These may include drug-induced obesity, cancer, kidney disease, autism, depression and heart failure.

    Hypnotized by DTC advertising, people are oblivious to the ill-effects of prescription drug use. This is evidenced by their willingness to swallow whatever “the doctor ordered.” They drug their children, hop the borders to smuggle inexpensive prescription drugs back into the U.S., beg their congressman for discounts and pay a lifetime of insurance fees in order to snatch up these silent killers. The avalanche of DTC advertising has smothered common sense.

    For the general public and medical doctors to fully grasp the effect of Modern Medicine’s Deceit, they have to judge the situation by what a drug is actually accomplishing, rather than what the drug company ads and pharmaceutically-compliant politicians insist. The health benefits of prescription drugs are illusory. Step away from the hypnotic drug ads, close the ghost-written medical journals, discard research studies dominated by statistical contortionists and give yourself a prescription-drug reality check: Very few prescription drugs have any value outside of emergency medicine and those that do can usually be replaced with safer and less expensive natural medicine. This was a troublesome lesson for me, as an aspiring drug chemist, to learn. Unfortunately, it was not the only one.

    Humanitarianism among Big Pharma has been abandoned. The technical skills of chemists are not being used for humanitarian purposes. They are being used in a deadly game of profiteering. Those at risk are not the misinformed, high-paid medical doctors but rather their patients. Becoming aware of this ripple effect of DTC advertising led to my abandonment of modern medicine.

    I had to face the cold, hard facts: Western Medicine has become a billion dollar empire not out of keen science, but rather deceit. The end result has been one nation under drugs. This subjugation has set a standard of health in America that, by definition, is sick care disguised as health care.

    Forward thinking chemists recognize the deadly trend. But few have the luxury of speaking out or resigning. The majority of chemists in the U.S. are foreigners. Their career secures them the right to live and work in the U.S. This demands allegiance to their employer, regardless of the end result of their labors. Admittedly, that this is an intentional act of Big Pharma is speculative.

    Individuals outside of the drug industry often question my conflict with Big Pharma. How can a single person denounce a philosophy adhered to by millions of medical doctors? That is simple: I ignore the majority thinking that is steeped in disinformation. I stand firm in science. Truth in science requires only one scientist to verify reproducible results in the face of pharmaceutical tyranny.

    Science proves that habits, not drugs, create and eradicate disease. The current devastation of prescription drugs is a warning that healthy lifestyle and nutrition habits must replace blind worship of prescription drugs in the pursuit of life-extension. As people obtain better health intelligence and heed this warning, drug use will recede. A new model of health care based on common sense, not profiteering, will emerge.

    About the Author

    Author of Health Myths Exposed and Hidden Truth about Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs, Shane Ellison is dedicated to stopping prescription drug hype in its tracks. To this end, he has made it his mission to introduce healthy lifestyle habits as well as safe and effective nutritional supplements to the public. With his keen ability to sift through scientific literature and weed out fact from fiction, Shane has empowered thousands to assert their health freedom by saying “no” to prescription drugs. Learn more at http://www.healthmyths.net

    References available electronically at the website indicated above.

  27. Statistics can be misleading. The majority of people are vaccinated, so if you start running the numbers on something like ADHD (not a side effect of vaccines), you can make it look really bad for vaccination. But the truth is that the comparison is unfair because the sample sizes are extremely disproportionate.

    You could say that red heads are 155% more likely in vaccinated groups too, but that doesn’t mean that vaccines cause hair to go red.

  28. Anyone who wants a vaccine should get one, but nobody has a right to force anyone else to get one. I don’t live to serve others, nor do I expect others to live to serve me. The reason the earth is so overpopulated is that we are interfering with natural selection by having all of these vaccines. Brilliant girls have recently died after taking the HPV vaccine. That’s nuts, considering HPV is just about completely preventable by behavior. Vaccines might help protect the people with weak immune systems, but is that what we really want? Why do we want to interfere with Mother Nature? Do we really think we know better?

  29. Nobody is forced to get a vaccine. There are exemptions.

    Yes, we want to help people with weak immune systems. That’s what makes us different than lower forms of animal. Your “mother nature” argument is a slippery slope: how about we don’t live in houses to protect ourselves from the rain and cold?

    I’m guessing that you don’t have children, or otherwise you wouldn’t be so cold-hearted and dismissive of saving lives. Or would you rather your children have an early death so that they can live a more principled existence in harmony with mother nature? How sad.

  30. Vaccinations can and do cause autism (another name for vaccine injury), which appears to be caused at least in part by a virus in the temporal lobe of the subject and by overvaccination in general. Thimerosal can cause immune deficiency which exacerbates the effect of live viruses on the subjects, resulting in autistic symptoms and is a cause for concern. It is also extremely toxic. It shouldn’t be in vaccines in any event. Given that our public health officals were mandating vaccines containing hazardous waste concentrations of mercury from the thimerosal (do the math please)into neonates and since that time, have denied that these horrendously toxic solutions have not brought on a raft of autoimmune and other disease states and conditions in our kids and instead, have lied and jury-rigged epidemiological studies by clearly biased or even perhaps corrupt investigators and the establishment medical community simply acts as if nothing happened, they have no crediblity and a number should actually be prosecuted. Because there is no accountability for this, we have an impasse.
    Given the wholesale corruption and or simply the delusion by the medical community on this issue, it is no wonder that parents question even going to their pediatrician.
    The ball is in the medical establishment’s court and although a new and modified vaccine protocol based upon legitimate scientific studies would help to restore credibility, the problem is that the establishment’s admission on this issue after years of lying will collapse their credibility on a whole host of issues. They can’t do that- they must simply continue to delusionally deny reality. So be it.
    If the medical community continues to dissemble as children are disabled or even killed by vaccines which may not even be necessary, perhaps they will suffer the economic and political accountability and consequences that their collapsing credibility deserves.

    • Vaccinations don’t cause autism. You don’t have any proof of that statement.

      Thimerosal isn’t in mandatory childhood vaccines anymore, and autism hasn’t declined since it was removed seven years ago. Your argument is negated by that very fact.

      There is a difference between ethylmercury and methylmercury. Do the research please.

      You are welcome to prosecute anyone you like. I would like to see you try. Wholesale corruption by the establishment??? Could it be that instead of the entire epidemiological community being corrupt, the amateur antivaccine militants like yourself might be mistaken? Parents had a chance to prove vaccine autism injury in a special court that gives compensation for anyone who can prove even the slightest link between vaccines and injury, but they lost the case for the entire omnibus due to a lack of evidence.

      If you think you have better evidence, replicate the studies that have been done or do some of your own. Tell us all exactly how the CDC and the medical community “lied and jury-rigged” every single study that disproves your theory. Science is open source, so that people like you can duplicate the results and see for yourselves. Instead, you’re spreading misinformation based on conspiracy theories and biased antivaccine groups.

  31. Ticktock is very likely working for the vaccine companies and probably functions as a shill on this site. These people are very common and are paid to go on websites such as this one to provide disinformation. That is simply an unfortunate fact.

    The apparent shill Ticktock probably can’t otherwise get a job after being laid off from the propagandized MSM which noone will read or watch anymore. Is it that Ticktock would rather poison and injure babies than seek out the truth and promote responsible preventive healthcare?

    All of the people who attempt to discuss the dangers of vaccines are either parents whose children have been damaged or doctors and other medical professionals who are doing yeoman’s work trying to recapture some credibility for the public health establishment, which continues to harass these people for telling the truth.

    There is ample evidence that vaccines can and do cause autism and other injuries too numerous to name and the literature is replete with information related to same.

    For example:

    http://tinyurl.com/ld2pd2

    http://tinyurl.com/da6yre

    http://tinyurl.com/2hshq5

    http://tinyurl.com/me5qoh

    http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

    http://tinyurl.com/nwp2us

  32. I should have asked for reputable proof of a link between autism and vaccines, and not crazy propaganda from antivaccine cranks.

    I vaccinated my own children, who were not injured poisoned, or hurt in any way, just like nearly everyone on this planet. Your suggestion that I must be a shill is absolutely absurd, but your rhetorical libelous question that I would rather poison children than see them safe from harm steps too far across the line.

    In case you didn’t understand how vaccines work, they prevent children from getting nasty diseases. Your a hypocrite to say that I want to harm children when your idea to eliminate vaccines would bring back diseases that are known to kill babies.

    Just to make it clear, I’m the blogger here, and you can read my profile in the “about me” section, where I let everyone know who I am, an at-home dad (who gets paid zilch btw) and a science advocate.

  33. [edited because commenter is a troll - see previous comments]

  34. Here is some food for thought from an autism dad. I do understand your perceptions about what has been going on. You and I are in the same theater with different vantage points. For what its worth, this is what I see from my seat.

    I honestly don’t have an opinion whether vaccines are responsible for my son’s autism. I do know they COULD have been the cause just as well as they may not have been. It is simply illogical for me to conclude that research has PROVEN that vaccines are not the cause. It is logically impossible to PROVE a negative. This fact of logic is the basis for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The only logically correct conclusion I can make is that, so far, no research has proven that vaccines cause autism. But the only research I see cited is that which they say proved vaccines NOT to be the cause (i.e. innocence). The Denmark MMR study is such a study. I know of no research that has tested for the presence of causation by the vaccine schedule (i.e. guilt).

    Furthermore, and not unrelated to my point – is that I have discovered some truths about “anti-vaccine activists”. Actually – to be honest – I’m not sure there is such a beast as an anti-vaccine activist. I’ll explain that in a second. I have taken the time to reaseach this issue quite extensively, to the point that I have personally met and spoken to several of the vaccine safey advocates to which you probably refer. Generally, autism parents, and every last one of the most prominent activists I have met or correspond with during this process – are actually very pro-vaccine. Autism parents can’t be both “anti-vaccine” and demand more reassuring vaccine safety research. They want to be comfortable before consenting to the next vaccine. That is why they want more research. Anti-vaccine parents’ behavior is manifested by keeping their kids home and not getting them vaccinated. They wake up every morning in the peace and tranquility of having won their argument by default. There is not a drop of activist sweat in their bodies. After they get up, I don’t know what they do for fun. I’ve never seen one.
    On the other hand, pro-vaccine autism parents want safer vaccines because they want vaccines. Autism parents see their children suffer every day. They do not want their children to suffer even more from a preventable disease. Their pro-vaccine behavior is better characterized by working endless hours beyond their day jobs demanding trustworthy vaccine safety research, establishing dozens of organizations and websites, blogging, writing to their representatives, signing petitions, doing their own research, organizing conferences, and while raising disabled children. It is unfair that they must take the risk of another vaccine without the safety research they’ve been asking for or face the other lousy choice of avoiding more shots.
    The parents of many autistic children are genuinely not reassured that the vaccines are safe. They explicitly stated their questions. Instead, Paul Offit whote his case of the wandering whatever article in the Journal of the AAP last year. Despite what he said in that article,Offit does not speak for the parents. The goal posts are the same since at least 2005. The parents main question is, what is the prevalence of autism in never-vaccinated children? In the early summer of 2005, Dan Olmsted, then UPI reporter, why this study hasn’t been done. You can read Julie Gerberding’s answer on Olmsted’s Age of Autism web page. Get a cup of coffee ready first.
    There is no ethical delemma in polling the unvaccinated population who refuse to get the shots – study or not. Say you can’t find the unvaccinated population? Just google {unvaccinated prevalence measles} and you will see an avalanche of studies reporting the prevalence of measles among unvaccinated kids. Most vaccine safety advocates say they would be satisfied with a never-vaccinated prevalence study that showed equivalent autism prevalence in both groups. This research alone would end the controversy and the parents feel safe in getting the next shot. You say science intrigues you. Wouldn’t you like to know the answer to this question too? It would be a test for guilt. So why not do the study? Congress thought it would be a good idea.
    Your congress (representing you and me)asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC to do unvaccinated autism prevalence research in 2006 and 2007. CDC director Julie Gerberding did not direct any such research rebuffing Congress (read that you and I). Then, she threw explosivly volatile fuel on the fire by accepting a highly paid position at Merck. Anyone sincerely worried about maintaining herd immunity (like you and me)should want to scream to the heavens over her taking a position at Merck. She scraped away at any little remaining trust among many parents – who, when all is said and done, will ultimately determine whether herd immunity is achieved. I don’t want my son to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want you to get sick. Does Julie give a rats behind if we all get sick? Apparently not.
    Autism parents do not just want to investigate the MMR, and never said that was thier concern. Wakefield mentioned the MMR 12 years ago. Offit mentioned it last year. I never said anything about the MMR. It was a study to compare MMR vaccinated to MMR non-vaccinated kids in a much less vaccine exposed population than the U.S. population. Parents also want to know if it is safe to inject so many vaccinations in a single office visit. There are no safety studies answer this question. Another question is whether the vaccine schedule is enough to put a kid over the edge of the toxic threshold for mercury in combination with other sources of mercury eposure. Even if the mercury in a single shot is not enough to cause toxicity, you can remove the mercury from the shots but you can’t remove it from foods or the vapors from the atmosphere. Wouldn’t it be worth while to check out this possibility? I’m not so sure myself, but if this research would satisfy the parents, and they say it would, then why not do it?
    Autism parents also want to know why a newborn baby needs three hepatitis B shots immediately after birth when hepatitis B disease is spread only by blood transfusions, IV drug abusers, and promiscuous sexual activity. There is no proven benefit in giving the shot to protect against maternal contact because the shot confers active, not passive immunity. Parents are saying that unless there is a benefit to their child there is no reason to take any risk, even if the risk is limited to the cost of the shot. When the hep B shot is on the schedule, it causes parents to question whether some of other shots are necessary.
    No one in the government/vaccine empire are stumbling over themselves to answer these questions scientifically. But they do stumble all over themselves to discredit anyone who would dare to find out. Vaccine safety advocates would do the research, are are trying as best they can. But it is too expensive to fund it without the willingness of the government and the vaccine manufactureres to help. The more that the gov avoids answering these questions the more suspicious parents become that the empire already knows the answer.

    One last point. Check out this article by Dr. Sally Ozonoff,et al, A Prospective Study of the Emergence of Early Behavioral Signs of Autism, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Feb 8, 2010. I’ll admit I only read the abstract. But from reading that, the study is consistent with what I observed in my son.
    That is, he was a fine, healthy, hungry, happy little dude until all hell broke loose when he was 18-20 mos old. He was so chronically sick I thought he was going to die. He stopped eating, stopped gaining weight, could not walk, could not poop, started screaming like hell, and could not talk. He has not been able to hold a crayon or pencil correctly. Oh yeah, he does have autism like behaviors too. He was not born this way. He got all of his shots on schedule, then he got sick. He is sloooowly getting better.
    Does that mean that I think the shots caused his autism? Nooooo. It does mean that his illness is not congenital or genetic. Genetic epidemics do not exist. Just as I am genetically susceptible to getting a sunburn, my son may have been genetically predisposed to an environmental autism trigger. But our white skin genes are no more a cause for sunburns that his genes are the cause of his autism. I know the sun triggers sunburn. I want to know what triggered my son’s illness, even if it could be the shots.

    • There are plenty of genetic disorders that don’t manifest at birth. I’m pretty sure that Huntington’s Disease is one. Autism is a behavioral and social disorder, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the trigger was actually developmental in nature, not environmental. There is far more evidence that autism has a genetic component, but I don’t think anyone would say that they have the definitive answer. Similarly, there are noticeable genetic differences in people with Parkinsons, but we’ve yet to pin down the exact cause.

      One reason that some scientists think that autism might be genetic in nature, or a fetal genetic mutation, is because scientists have noticed a correlation between autism and older parents, both mom and dad. What this suggests is that autism is not triggered by environment, but I would not state that definitively without the complete confidence of scientists.

      As I understand it, doing a study where we purposely don’t vaccinate would be considered an ethical violation, especially when there doesn’t seem to be a plausible mechanism for the claim. Is it not enough that thimerosal was removed from vaccines? What other “toxins” would you have them remove? If the antigenic load from viruses and microscopic amounts of aluminum were enough to cause a trigger for autism, then the antigenic load from the environment itself would inevitably overload a child’s system anyway. The imaginative accusation of what is in these vaccines does not equate to the reality. In a world when avian protein means something sinister, instead of matter from an egg.

      Why do I say “anti-vaccine” – because most activists are not as reasonable as you. They say that anti-freeze is in vaccines when it’s not. They say the formaldehyde is in vaccines, but don’t acknowledge that the trace amounts are no more than you would get from eating fruit.

      You’re right that you can’t prove a negative, but there are MANY theories about what causes autism if you follow that logic to it’s logical conclusion. Maybe we should look into whether rap music causes autism, pop tarts, strobe lights, dust particles, etc. We can’t prove that any of THOSE things don’t cause autism either. Or can we? You must admit that at some point we have to rule out certain claims. Or would you have scientists continually testing one claim over and over, despite the evidence that they’ve already discovered.

      Your description of what happened to your son is terrifying. I can’t really imagine. I don’t blame you for looking for what caused this. In the end, it may just be the random shuffling of the genetic deck, or it may be something environmental. Ultimately, I know that you’ll show the same love and reason in treating him as you’ve shown in your comments about the potential cause.


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