Dear parents, you are being lied to.

Standard of care.

In light of recent outbreaks of measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses, and the refusal of anti-vaccination advocates to acknowledge the problem, I thought it was past time for this post.

Dear parents,

You are being lied to. The people who claim to be acting in the best interests of your children are putting their health and even lives at risk.

They say that measles isn’t a deadly disease.
But it is.

They say that chickenpox isn’t that big of a deal.
But it can be.

They say that the flu isn’t dangerous.
But it is.

They say that whooping cough isn’t so bad for kids to get.
But it is.

They say that vaccines aren’t that effective at preventing disease.
But 3 million children’s lives are saved every year by vaccination, and 2 million die every year from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

They say that “natural infection” is better than vaccination.
But they’re wrong.

They say that vaccines haven’t been rigorously tested for safety.
But vaccines are subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than any other medicine. For example, this study tested the safety and effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine in more than 37,868 children.

They will say that doctors won’t admit there are any side effects to vaccines.
But the side effects are well known, and except in very rare cases quite mild.

They say that the MMR vaccine causes autism.
It doesn’t. (The question of whether vaccines cause autism has been investigated in study after study, and they all show overwhelming evidence that they don’t.)

They say that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism.
It doesn’t, and it hasn’t been in most vaccines since 2001 anyway.

They say that the aluminum in vaccines (an adjuvant, or component of the vaccine designed to enhance the body’s immune response) is harmful to children.
But children consume more aluminum in natural breast milk than they do in vaccines, and far higher levels of aluminum are needed to cause harm.

They say that the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (and/or the “vaccine court”) proves that vaccines are harmful.
It doesn’t.

They say that the normal vaccine schedule is too difficult for a child’s immune system to cope with.
It isn’t.

They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.

This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.

They say that ‘natural’, ‘alternative’ remedies are better than science-based medicine.
They aren’t.

The truth is that vaccines are one of our greatest public health achievements, and one of the most important things you can do to protect your child.

I can predict exactly the sort of response I will be getting from the anti-vaccine activists. Because they can’t argue effectively against the overwhelming scientific evidence about vaccines, they will say that I work for Big Pharma. (I don’t and never have). They will say that I’m not a scientist (I am), and that I’m an “Agent 666” (I don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not one).

None of these things are true, but they are the reflexive response by the anti-vaccine activists because they have no facts to back up their position. On some level, deep down, they must understand this, and are afraid of the implications, so they attack the messenger.

Why are they lying to you? Some are doing it for profit, trying to sell their alternative remedies by making you afraid of science-based medicine. I’m sure that many others within the anti-vaccine movement have genuinely good intentions, and do honestly believe that vaccines are harmful. But as a certain astrophysicist recently said “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it”. In the case of vaccine truthers, this is not a good thing. Good intentions will not prevent microbes from infecting and harming people, and the message that vaccines are dangerous is having dire consequences. There are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses now throughout the United States because of unvaccinated children.

In only one respect is my message the same as the anti-vaccine activists: Educate yourself. But while they mean “Read all these websites that support our position”, I suggest you should learn what the scientific community says. Learn how the immune system works. Go read about the history of disease before vaccines, and talk to older people who grew up when polio, measles, and other diseases couldn’t be prevented. Go read about how vaccines are developed, and how they work. Read about Andrew Wakefield, and how his paper that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been withdrawn, and his medical license has been revoked. Read the numerous, huge studies that have explicitly examined whether autism is caused by the vaccine…and found nothing. (While you’re at it, read about the ongoing research to determine what IS the cause—or causes —of autism, which is not helped by people continuing to insist that vaccines cause it).

That may seem like a lot of work, and scientific papers can seem intimidating to read. But reading scientific articles is a skill that can be mastered. Here’s a great resource for evaluating medical information on the internet, and I wrote a guide for non-scientists on how to read and understand the scientific literature. You owe it to your children, and to yourself, to thoroughly investigate the issue. Don’t rely on what some stranger on the internet says (not even me!). Read the scientific studies that I linked to in this post for yourself, and talk to your pediatricians. Despite what the anti-vaccine community is telling you, you don’t need to be afraid of the vaccines. You should instead be afraid of what happens without them.

 

Edited to add: This video is an outstanding summary of many of these issues. I encourage you to watch it.

“Humans try to make sense of the world by seeing patterns. When they see a disease or condition that tends to appear around the time a child is a year or so old, as autism does, and that is also the age that kids get particular shots, they want to put those things together. Parents watch kids more carefully after they get shots. Sometimes they pick up on symptoms then. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other. This is why we need careful scientific studies.”

Note: For people coming via a direct link, please also feel free to participate in a follow-up discussion
here.

1/13/15: Edited to update broken hyperlinks. If you find any additional broken links, please don’t hesitate to let me know. –JR

5,342 thoughts on “Dear parents, you are being lied to.

  1. bobby April 8, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    I’m Bobby and am no sock puppet.

    You’re saying drug companies interest in profit never interferes with human interest?

    • Colin April 8, 2015 / 1:13 pm

      Even people who don’t have access to the IP logs can tell the similarity in your writing style. I do have access to those logs, and I can see David, Joe, Bobby and several anonymous comments all coming from the same blocks.

      In addition to the pathetic use of sock puppets, your rephrasing of Chris’s point is also a childish way to argue.

    • Colin April 8, 2015 / 1:28 pm

      Also, this is the second time you’ve been called on, and lied about, using alternative names to comment. You weren’t banned, all you had to do was use a consistent name so that people weren’t deceived about who they were talking to.

      • Chris April 9, 2015 / 3:23 pm

        What is amazing is that one incarnation of the sock puppet asked above: “Why would an anti-vaxx movement need to lie? What’s to gain?”

        I suspect only he of the many names can answer that question.

  2. Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 9:25 am

    Currently the residents of Mississippi and West Virginia do not own the rights to the contents of their own bloodstreams. The states in which they live have acquired the authority to dictate what goes into their blood by removing their philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccinations. I cannot think of a more personal violation of a persons rights than to take away the right to control what goes into their own blood.
    Has anyone looked at the vaccination issue from an inalienable right perspective? I would think the right to control what is in my blood would be an inalienable right. It is certainly one I’m not willing to give up.
    Seriously, do you want to give up the right to the contents of your bloodstream to the government?
    I can respect anyone’s decision regarding vaccinations provided they do their research and make an educated decision. I respect their right to decide for themselves what they put into their bloodstream. It’s their blood for heaven’s sake!!
    Any individual who would impose their views on others and mandate that EVERYONE do what they personally think is best should really stop and think about that position for a moment. Do they want someone dictating to them what to put into their bloodstream? Of course not. So…don’t do it to others, right?
    Discuss the pros and cons of vaccines, weigh all the issues. If you are convinced you know what is best then try to win people to your point of view. Go for it! But, at the end of the day, respect a person’s right to decide for themselves. You wouldn’t want to be treated any other way. So, do the right thing and show some respect…and really folks, can we dispense with the name calling please? Thanks!

    • moladood April 20, 2015 / 9:47 am

      How do you control what is in your blood today? You don’t have any control over the air you breathe. How about the right not to get an infectious preventable disease? The problem is that if it only impacted you, you might have a point but your choice impacts others.

      • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 10:37 am

        So, Moladood, are you telling me that you’d be fine with someone injecting stuff into your bloodstream that had some potentially helpful side effects and some potentially harmful side effects even though you personally thought the risks outweighed the benefits? Even though, left to decide for yourself, you’d have chosen not to have the stuff injected into you, you’d be fine with someone doing it to you anyway?

        If your answer is “No” then you’ll have to answer your own questions you posed in your response to me. Its a tough call isn’t it?

        If you answer is “Yes”, well, God bless you. I truly do hope it goes well for you and you don’t end up like one of the thousands of people who have been injured by vaccines. If you had chosen not to get injected out of concern for being a injury statistic I would have understood.

        Regarding the air I breathe, yeah, we shouldn’t be polluting either. It’s unhealthy. I’m not particularly happy about that either but, unlike vaccines, breathing isn’t optional. : )

        By the way, unlike most Americans, my family and I do a lot to be healthy and strengthen our immune systems so that we can fight off disease and are not spreading sickness everywhere we go. Twinkies, soda, and vaccines aren’t the best recipe for good health. : )

        I’m not slamming vaccines, I’m just saying there is more to being healthy than getting your shots otherwise vaccinated people wouldn’t get sick would they? Unfortunately, nobody has the right not to get sick. We all get sick, the vaccinated and the un-vaccinated (no its not the un-vaccinated people’s fault. Vaccines just don’t work all the time). That’s life. But, we all should have the right to pursue being healthy the way we think is the most wise.

        For those who choose to get vaccinated I’d like to ask “are you eating your veggies and staying off sugar?” If not then you are weakening your immune system making yourself more likely to be a carrier for disease. Your choice is impacting my health. : ) (the argument goes both ways doesn’t it?)

        You know, if we are going to mandate stuff that will keep us all healthy then lets mandate that everyone eats a healthy diet. Nobody was ever harmed by eating healthy. No risk, all reward. Those are the kind of health choices I like. : )

        • Chris April 20, 2015 / 11:05 am

          ” injecting stuff into your bloodstream”

          Your level of knowledge is shown by you saying this twice, Can you think why it is a glaring error?

          Figure that out and we might try to explain how you totally did not understand Moladood’s questions.

          • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 11:38 am

            Hey Chris, good name. That’s my name.

            I’m fully aware of the “stuff”. I’ve looked up the ingredients in vaccines. I’m also aware that many of them are known neurotoxins or carcinogens. So, it’s no surprise that healthy infants have suddenly exhibited brain injury symptoms following getting vaccinated. It’s no secret. It’s part of the risk of getting vaccinated.

            I just said “stuff” to keep it simple. Didn’t want the conversation to get off target and get bogged down in the details. So, my level of knowledge is probably quite deeper than you assumed.

            Have a great day.

            (I’m pretty sure I answered Moladood’s questions.)

            • Chris April 20, 2015 / 12:17 pm

              Wrong. You made a glaring error. Can you figure out what it was? Hurry up, it hurts my arm as I suppress my laughter,

            • moladood April 20, 2015 / 12:58 pm

              A dose makes the toxin, if doses were irrelevant and just the mere presence of a toxin in us would cause harm – we would all be dead. We come in contact with many of the vaccine ingredients all the time and our bodies are well equipped to deal with them. If you look at everything our bodies come into contact with, you might see that vaccines are extremely mild compared to nature.

              BTW – Too much water will kill you (water intoxication look it up). Formaldehyde (scary, right?) is found in many things including your body which naturally produces it. Eat any tuna, lots of neuro toxins. Enjoy BBQ – lots of carcinogens there. You aren’t going to escape either of those regardless of diet or clean living.

              Still looking for the ‘blood stream’ answer?

              • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 1:18 pm

                So…you’re a fan of giving someone else control over what goes into your blood then? That was my original point. I gather you are okay with that.

                I appreciate your other comments and I’ll consider them. My mind isn’t closed. I’m sure I don’t know everything. Discussion is good. But I still would appreciate the right to choose what goes into my bloodstream. I would think that should be an inalienable right. Don’t you?

                • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 8:40 am

                  Chris Hawbaker,
                  You wrote, ” My mind isn’t closed.”

                  If it’s not closed, you must be able to imagine that your mind could be changed.
                  So what sort of information do you imagine would change your mind?

                  Just as a thought exercise, a hypothetical:
                  What if we had a vaccine that was 90% effective at preventing a terrible, disabling illness, that either kills the patients or leaves them requiring 24/7 care, bed-bound for the rest of their lives? And let’s suppose the chance of getting this illness is 1/100 if the vaccine was never developed. And let’s suppose it strikes during childhood years, so waiting until adulthood to be vaccinated is just not tenable. And let’s suppose that you would need 97% of the population to be vaccinated in order to wipe out the disease within our borders and prevent an outbreak if it arrives from a traveler. And let’s suppose 1% of the population can’t take this vaccine because of serious pre-existing medical problems that would be triggered by this vaccine, but we can and do test for that condition before giving the vaccine, and that test is 99.99% accurate. And let’s suppose there is a 1/10million chance of a serious or life-threatening reaction to the vaccine itself. And let’s presume that all this information is from a source you trust, whatever that might be.

                  A) Would you have your children get such a vaccine?
                  B) Would you recommend offering it to every child, using your tax dollars if the family is poor?
                  C) What if 6% of the population was refusing the vaccine, for unsubstantiated reasons, making the vaccine ineffective as a form of herd immunity, and therefore a couple hundred kids per year are getting the disease in outbreaks? Would you consider insisting that if parents want to have their kids in highly transmissible settings (preschool, elementary school, places where they gather and play in ball pits and similar settings) that vaccines would be mandatory before the children are allowed to be there and put other kids at risk, since no vaccine is 100% effective at prevention?
                  Or would you say that even though we know who those 6% are, and we can easily check their vaccine status at the door, that the parents of the vaccinated should just all keep their kids home all the time because the 6% won’t comply with the recommendation?

                  D) Now what if the risk of a serious or life-threatening reaction to the vaccine was 1/5million, or 1/1million? Would that change your answers to (C) above? What if that risk was 1/1000?
                  Does the risk/benefit ratio in this scenario matter at all? Or is any form of coercion simply not allowed in your philosophy? If so, what sort of behavior that puts others at risk do you think the gov’t can/should restrict?

                  • Chris Hawbaker April 21, 2015 / 11:15 am

                    Gewisn, if everything was as you said it was, and I had no moral objection to the vaccine, my answers to your questions would be:
                    A) Yes
                    B)Yes
                    C) Yes, No (it was a two part question)
                    D) Yes, the risk of reaction is a huge factor in recommending someone take the shot. If half the people who got the shot died as a result I certainly wouldn’t recommend they get it.

                    Coercion is certainly allowed. I use it on my kids all the time. Every choice has a consequence. The question I constantly have to ask myself as a parent is “are the consequences I lay down for my kids just and for their benefit? Or am I simply manipulating them for my own convenience?)

                    I think lots of behaviors that put others at risk should be restricted by the government. Saying someone can’t do something because it puts someone else at risk is legit. Drunk driving laws are a fine example and I understand how this discussion relates to vaccines. If the situation were as clear cut as you show here I think there would be fewer people who would object.

                    • moladood April 21, 2015 / 11:46 am

                      I think the challenge is drunk driving still exists and still kills – you see it on the news. But because of high vaccination rates, no ever hears about diseases so it is much easier to say it is a big corporate money grab. Here is a comical analogy:

                    • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 1:07 pm

                      I really appreciate your answers, Chris Hawbaker. That helps me understand your thought process.

                      How is the current vaccine situation different than I’ve described in my hypothetical?

                    • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 1:08 pm

                      I really appreciate your answers, Chris Hawbaker. That helps me understand your thought process.

                      How is the current vaccine situation different than I’ve described in my hypothetical?

                      My phone is acting goofy.
                      I apologize if this is a repeat post.

        • moladood April 20, 2015 / 12:48 pm

          “don’t end up like one of the thousands of people who have been injured by vaccines”

          I would rather risk being one of the thousands when the benefit is being one of the millions/billions saved by vaccines over billions of doses. Its a numbers game and if you look at simple stats, it is an easy choice.

          “Twinkies, soda, and vaccines aren’t the best recipe for good health. : )”

          Thats a classic argument, that somehow scientific people that are pro-vaccine are also pro-unhealthy diet or want pesticides in their food. You might as well add smoking in there for good measure, it certainly adds credibility.

          There is more to individual health than vaccines but if you want to look at population health, vaccines in general need wide spread adoption to be effective. The reason there is this debate is because they have been so effective that everyone thinks they don’t do anything – a victim of their own success. And disease does not discriminate between someone’s diet (which is actually irrelevant). What about immune-compromised people or children too young for vaccines? Maybe they too should eat less twinkies so we don’t have to vaccinate.

          • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 1:29 pm

            It may surprise you to know that I’m a scientific person as well (BS in Mechanical Engineering, required to make fact based decisions every day). And I know the difference between fact and theory, logic and emotion, sound reasoning a fear mongering. Unfortunately the theory, emotion, and fear mongering outweighs the facts, logic, and sound reasoning in most of these discussions. I don’t know why nobody seems to be able to have a mature, reasoned discussion anymore. What ever happened to respect and civility? We all act like a bunch of Congressmen (1st graders) : (

            I could question the factual basis for several of your statements but I’m not here to argue or make enemies. I just want to have the right to decide for myself what I inject, or don’t inject into my blood. Seems like a reasonable request if you ask me.

            Thanks for your comments. Have a great day.

            • moladood April 20, 2015 / 2:31 pm

              No vaccines are injected into your blood stream.

              http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/D/vacc_admin.pdf

              The reason why I don’t answer the question about the right to control my blood is because it doesn’t make much sense. You do not have the right to put alcohol in your blood and drive. Similarly, I think that if people want to argue choice to be exempt, there should be repercussions in place. Don’t want to participate in vaccinations, then you are exempt from health care and hospitals, schools and public places. Why should a doctor or nurse who believe in vaccinations take an extra risk because you didn’t do the extremely low risk procedure to protect yourself, your family and your community. Would you be ok with that to protect your blood stream from

              Much like drinking and driving, the rules serve the greater good and while driving drunk is easy to grasp, it is hard to grasp vaccine effectiveness when the diseases aren’t around. But that argument is flawed, its like saying I shouldn’t routinely do maintenance on my roof since it has never leaked.

              Anyway, here is an interesting anti-vaxx story. Entire family of 7 get whooping cough and how it changed their position.

              http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/tara-hills-ottawa-mom-changes-anti-vaccination-stand-but-7-kids-still-get-sick-1.3025592

            • Chris April 20, 2015 / 3:48 pm

              “It may surprise you to know that I’m a scientific person as well (BS in Mechanical Engineering, required to make fact based decisions every day).”

              And yet you had no clue how vaccines are administered, or why the four different methods are used. Imagine that.

              So how do you feel about breathing in certain viruses and bacteria? Or getting one particular in a wound? Do you think anyone chooses to get infected? Just provide the PubMed indexed studies from reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the pediatric schedule in more dangerous than the disease.

        • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 11:40 am

          Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. Not sure I’d take health advice from a Judge but I’m curious what he has to say (isn’t that like taking legal advice from a mechanic?). I wonder if he respects people’s right to the content of their own bloodstreams….I’m doubting it.

          • Chris Hawbaker April 20, 2015 / 11:57 am

            Yep, read it. Nothing surprising there. The Judge doesn’t respect a person’s right to the content of their own bloodstream. Welcome to Canada folks, where the government owns your blood.

            • Chris April 20, 2015 / 12:19 pm

              Again, you made the same silly error. You really should not make a person whose arm is in a splint laugh, At least it made m forget about the itch.

      • Hijo Sano May 2, 2015 / 2:05 am

        Who will place their own child at risk for the benefit of others?

    • Colin April 20, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      I don’t think you understand the issue as well as you think you do. First, as Chris points out below, you are making some very inaccurate assumptions about how vaccines work. Second, I’m not aware of any state that actually makes vaccines mandatory. Many, like Mississippi and West Virginia, require students to be vaccinated to enroll in public schools. That’s not very different from mandating vaccinations outright, at least for those parents who aren’t able to find alternative education solutions, but it’s considerably less than the government can do.

      More than one hundred years ago, the Supreme Court decideds Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a case about whether an individual could refuse vaccination in the face of a smallpox epidemic. Jacobson refused to get the innoculation–foolishly, but not very differently from the vaccine skeptics today–and was ordered to pay a $5 fine. He refused and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

      The Court ruled that as long as there was an adequate medical exemption, the government’s police power permits it to require mandatory vaccinations. That’s an oversimplification of course, and you should read the ruling if you’re really curious about this issue. You might also like to read this article, a student note from the Harvard Law Review, which discusses the modern-day implications for Jacobson.

      The Jacobson ruling is not very controversial. The government has the power, constrained by the Constitution, to restrict lots of personal liberties in the interest of public safety. You have the right to attend church, for example, but the government could enforce a quarantine to prevent the spread of a communicable airborne epidemic. And you have the right to publish pamphlets saying more or less whatever you want, but if you encourage yoru neighbors to riot and murder vaccinators, well, that’s a crime.

      An argument against Jacobson would probably have to start, realistically, with making the scientific case that vaccination is unduly harmful or ineffective. And that’s profoundly lacking, since the experts virtually unanimously say otherwise. (You could make the legal case without the facts backing you up, but realistically, such an argument would not do well when it’s only supported by crackpots and opposed by every epidemiologist and immunologist and neurologist and so on and so forth.)

    • Anonymous April 20, 2015 / 7:30 pm

      Gee, 10 replies to my post and I have yet to have anyone answer the question. I know it’s not because you don’t understand. You are all intelligent folks. So, the reason must be that you don’t want to answer the question. BUT, in case I’m wrong I’ll ask it again in simple terms…

      please respond by saying “Yes” if you want the government to have control over what goes into your body and the right to impose it upon you against your wishes.

      Anybody? Anybody?

      • mike April 20, 2015 / 8:12 pm

        people did answer it. You just don’t like the answer. But here let me spell it out for you. I drink tap water, which means I consume some fluoride. I’m ok with that. I live in a metropolitan area which means I breath/drink/eat in whatever the government allows companies to not filter from their waste. I live in a house, which means I’m subject to the off gassing of the fire resistant chemicals used.

        I spent 4 years in the army where I truly had no choice in getting vaccinated, whether or not I needed to get my wisdom teeth pulled,

        Conversely I have a job that will not allow me to put just any chemical into my system. I can’t do any of the fun drugs, cant have a beer after working to save the life of a 6 month old.

        Yes, I’m absolutely ok with putting a vaccine in my system. I’m even ok with the government making it mandatory.

        What I’m not ok with is some one trying to think up excuses as to why vaccines are bad. Not a single state actually makes you get vaccinated. Not a single vaccine is inherently toxic/carcinogenic/ or even remotely bad for you.

        Yes the dose makes the toxins.

        As for injecting mercury into your blood stream.. It’s been done, in doses much higher than any 100 vaccines combined. Patient (not mine) injected 10 ml (135 grams) of elemental mercury into her veins in a suicide attempt… 1 week later she was discharged from the hospital and 9 months later she was still in good shape.

        http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200006153422405

        Apparently you knew less than you thought about the subject.

        • Chris April 20, 2015 / 10:30 pm

          “I spent 4 years in the army where I truly had no choice in getting vaccinated, whether or not I needed to get my wisdom teeth pulled,”

          It was because I was an Army brat that I got the Yellow Fever vaccine twice. It happens that I was born in a hospital named after William Gorgas. If you want to talk about control, you should read about the rules he imposed in both Cuba and Panama to control mosquitoes.

          I did not have much choice when a mosquito gave dengue fever in the interior of an Hispanic country.

          • mike April 21, 2015 / 2:44 am

            Ohh no doubt. See what most people don’t understand is that diseases actually hurt more people even in war than anything else in the military. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all that a military leader would pull out all the stops to prevent a diseases from running rampant through his troops.

            Something else that most people don’t know, is that the sanitary levels of long term combat duty, or combat training isn’t that good. Even now after clean water and better sanitation has supposedly made “diseases fade away” (isn’t it odd that better sanitation and clean water has only lowered the incident rate of diseases with vaccines? and not things such as HIV, or Malaria? wonder when hand washing is going to adapt to those?) And yet men and women in the military aren’t coming down with vaccine preventable diseases?

            • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 8:04 am

              I’m curious about this idea that healthy living makes your immune system stronger.

              What does a stronger immune system do differently than a normal (not immune deficient) system does? How do you define a stronger immune system? How do you measure that to know if your actions are working to make it stronger? How do you test the individual parts of a particular lifestyle, diet, etc, to know which factors make it stronger?
              Do you do some sort of immune system test, add one particular food item or exercise, test the immune system again to determine if a difference occurred, and then remove that diet or exercise item again to see if the increased immune function goes away?

              • mike April 21, 2015 / 9:37 am

                All I know is that during WW1, it was the clean living people that got the most diseases and illnesses. That the lower class who had actually been exposed to more stuff survived the lack of clean water, and bad hygiene better.

                Which if you think about it, is much like being given a vaccine (thereby being exposed to said virus) and being better able to avoid infection.

                • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 10:47 am

                  mike,
                  You wrote ” All I know is that during WW1, it was the clean living people that got the most diseases and illnesses. That the lower class who had actually been exposed to more stuff survived the lack of clean water, and bad hygiene better.”

                  Is that true? I’ve never heard that, nor have I heard the reverse. I just don’t know anything about that particular subject. I think the idea is fascinating, though. Hygiene worked against them in that situation, huh? Do you remember where and when you heard or read that? I’d like to learn more about that, how that was calculated, etc.

                  • mike April 21, 2015 / 4:08 pm

                    I heard it in the military (so perhaps it should be suspect??), and never really bothered to try an research it. Doing a google search now doesn’t help in the least.

                    There is some documented things about vaccination though. Such as typhoid fever not killing anywhere near it’s normal rate thanks to mandatory vaccinations in the US and English armies. And that the measles effected the rural unvaccinated more than the urbanites who got vaccinated.

                    I was able to come up with this paper… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427919/ which has some rather interesting things to say. 1 nutrition prior to enlistment mattered most. It’s also fairly limited as it is not a representative study…

                    • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 5:19 pm

                      thank you Mike for doing the leg work to get some answers on that rumor. I appreciate it.

                    • Chris April 22, 2015 / 4:14 pm

                      “Such as typhoid fever not killing anywhere near it’s normal rate thanks to mandatory vaccinations in the US and English armies.”

                      Also as an Army brat who spent almost half of my youth overseas several borders south of Mexico I received vaccines for both typhus and typhoid.

                      Arthur Allen wrote a good book on typhus and WW II.

                      By the way, my husband refused to play the game “Junta” with me because my tactics were too realistic (well he is an ex-Canadian). And this was before Noriega’s thugs murdered my high school chemistry teacher. I am always amused at the naïve attitudes of those who never venture far from the comforts of the first world. Though I did have to learn a different perspective about the events that took place around me, and that my father was part of some dubious bits.

                      Had surgery on my wrist yesterday, so I still a bit cranky with one good arm and pain meds. Due to a nerve blocker my left arm was a numb paralyzed pendulum swinging from my elbow from noon yesterday until I woke this morning. It smacked my face more than once.

              • Patrick McDonald April 21, 2015 / 10:43 am

                First of all, is your antibody titre within acceptable levels? If it is not, then you are more susceptible to infection. Second, do you have a cancer such as leukemia or a disease like AIDS which impair immune function. Thirdly, do you smoke? All three of these are associated with a higher risk of infectious disease. Avoid “health supplements” that claim to “boost” the immune system without saying exactly how or providing peer reviewed studies which support the claim. I’d
                recommend http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/boosting-immune-system-sorting-science-myth/ as a source for these. However, even healthy people used to get polio, smallpox, measles, and all the other diseases which can now be prevented by vaccination.

      • Chris April 20, 2015 / 9:14 pm

        “Gee, 10 replies to my post and I have yet to have anyone answer the question.”

        Your statements show you understand the issues as well as someone who thinks it would be cool to build a bridge out of aluminum*. Your question is juvenile and ignores that disease pathogens don’t care about what you want.

        Libertarian cred goes to those who get that literary reference.

      • gewisn April 20, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        ‘Yup! Me. I do.
        (waving hand furiously)

        If it weren’t for flouride in the water I’d likely have no teeth left by my 6th decade.
        I’ve noticed that few of my grandparents’ generation had most of their teeth by the age I am now.

        If it weren’t for the fortification of breads with folate, there’d be a whole bunch more kids born with neural tube defects, like Spina Bfida. If it weren’t the for gov’t keeping ADM from putting whatever they’d like onto my veggies, I don’t even want to think about what they’d be putting on it.

        I’m glad there was asbestos put into buildings in decades past, and I’m glad they stopped doing it when they learned more. I’m glad kids’ pajamas no longer burst into flames. I’m glad few people die nowadays from falling asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette. I’m glad there’s no longer lead in interior housepaint. I’m glad I get to be stuck with TB serum every year, rather than wonder if I’ve gotten it and passed it on to someone else. I’m glad various vaccines are required by my employer, so I get them free. I’m glad I can get the flu vaccine every year and reduce my chances of passing it along to someone who could not survive receiving it from me (since I meet several of those people every day).

        And I’m glad this is no longer necessary: http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/iron-lung-wards-933171.html

        So, ‘yup. Me. I do.
        (waving the other hand, cause the first one is tired now).

      • moladood April 21, 2015 / 6:36 am

        You pose the question like government having carte blanche over what goes into my body. I don’t think my meals should be governed but yes, I am OK with safe and vaccines being mandatory to serve the public good. The alternative is far worse and there will always be the conspiracy theorists.

        • Chris Hawbaker April 21, 2015 / 8:39 am

          I appreciate that Mike, Moladood, and Gewisn attempted to answer my question. I appreciate your honesty even though I think you all still missed the point a bit. You all are fine with giving the government permission to mandate things you agree with and things you believe are beneficial to you. My question is are you willing to give the government permission to mandate things you don’t agree with and have some concerns that they may be harmful to you?

          As you wrestle with that question you’ll begin to understand the feelings and thoughts that people have who are still wrestling with the risks and benefits of vaccines. You have made up your minds that you are fine with vaccines. So, you don’t feel the weight of a government trying to force something upon you. Those, such as myself, who are still wrestling with the risk and benefits of vaccines aren’t so keen on the idea of them being forced upon us.

          All I’m trying to do is get you to understand where I am coming from. Yes, I’m asking you to sympathize with an anti-vaxer. : ) I know that is a lot to ask but isn’t that what a civil society ought to do? Isn’t our unwillingness to understand the views of people we disagree with and instead to take the easy way out and demonize them and use our power to control them the root of most of the world’s problems?

          I’m not a vaccine hater. I like the whole concept. If we could accomplish the same ends (build immunity) without exposing ourselves to neurotoxins and carcinogens I’d feel a whole lot better about it. But, until I’m convinced that myself and my family members aren’t going to be injured by a vaccine, I’d rather pursue good health and a strong immune system through less risky, more natural means. It just seems wise to me. And, at the end of the day, I still believe it is and should be an inalienable right for me, and for you, to control as best we can what goes into our own bodies.

          Thank you all for the discussion. I learned a lot from what you had to say.

          God bless

          Chris

          • Chris April 21, 2015 / 11:14 am

            “My question is are you willing to give the government permission to mandate things you don’t agree with and have some concerns that they may be harmful to you?”

            You speak as someone who has not experienced the hazards of non-regulation. I am pretty sure you’ve never lived where the water from the tap could kill you, or where traffic rules are just considered “suggestions” and the actual “government” has a habit of making people disappear. And where a mosquito lived that did not ask me if I wanted dengue fever.

            Seriously, there are no mandated vaccines. You are quite welcome to homeschool your special snowflakes. Or move to Somalia. I hear there are both nice beaches and very government interference.

            “If we could accomplish the same ends (build immunity) without exposing ourselves to neurotoxins and carcinogens I’d feel a whole lot better about it.”

            Here’s an idea: actually learn the biology, chemistry, epidemiology, statistics, history and other issues on disease control before asking others to bow to your Nirvana Fallacy. For one thing many of the pathogens are “neurotoxins and carcinogens.”. Your silly attitude can get you and yours in a world of hurt if you lived where vaccine uptake was low.

            Thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate. They are protecting your family by maintaining the community’s immunity from serious diseases.

          • moladood April 21, 2015 / 11:24 am

            You are wrestling with that question while I wrestle with this – I am not so keen with you (or children) not getting vaccinated and possibly exposing me (or my children) to preventable diseases. I have made up my mind that vaccines are much safer than the risk of disease based on the fact and supporting data.

            You are trying to ask a question about the government mandating ‘anything’ and obviously no one is going to answer ‘yes, I will do whatever’. No one is saying not to question the decisions but weight the facts. And if you choose to ignore facts and data on the safety of vaccines based on some pseudoscience, then why should you be able to put others at risk?

            • Chris Hawbaker April 21, 2015 / 12:10 pm

              I like you Moladood. You are a reasonable person.

              I’m not ignoring anything. I’m just not done weighing all the evidence. I’m pretty skeptical of the “evidence” provided on both sides of the issue. Believe me, I’m not “all in” on the natural health stuff either.

              You’ve weighed the evidence before making your decision. I’m asking for the right to do the same. And, if when I’m done I come down in favor of not vaccinating then I believe I should have the right to decide what goes into my body. If that decision means that the government then decides that I cannot be among the general public then so be it. That may be a reasonable consequence. Forced vaccinations however, in my opinion, are not a reasonable consequence and are a violation of my inalienable right to the control over what goes into my body.

              Unfortunately for those living in Mississippi and West Virginia the only vaccine exemption is the “medical” exemption which is decided by their doctor. So, they do not have control over what goes into their bodies. That right has been taken away.

              • moladood April 21, 2015 / 1:01 pm

                Maybe a good place to start is looking at the evidence that supports anti-vaxx stance – it is a much quicker read. Most of it is correlation vs causation. Here is some correlation for you:

                http://www.tylervigen.com/

                I really think there might be a connection between people falling in and drowning in pools and films staring Nicolas Cage or how divorce is linked to margarine consumption per capita. :)

                On a more serious note (and longer read) on some of the myths, one of the more comprehensive I have found, check out:

                http://pediatrics.about.com/od/immunizations/tp/Anti-Vaccine-Myths-and-Misinformation.htm

                • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 1:31 pm

                  Moladood,
                  It would not surprise me if drownings increase in relation to Nicholas Cage appearances.
                  I’m pretty sure suicide attempts of all sorts rise when he appears.
                  “If Nick Cage is still considered an actor, I don’t want to live in this world anymore.”
                  :-)

              • gewisn April 21, 2015 / 1:22 pm

                “That right has been taken away.”

                incorrect. You simply have to make the choice (to which you’ve already agreed) to not send your kids to public school. In what way has any right been removed? It’s just that there are consequences, like everything else in life. Nobody is required to prevent you from drinking and driving (though there are some restrictions on serving alcohol, that’s not quite the same thing), but there are clear consequences if you get caught. This is legally equivalent.

                You also don’t have the “right” to send your kids to school with a gun, or covered in plutonium, or if they’ve been expelled, but no one complains about those equivalent restrictions on their “inalienable rights.” ”
                Why is that?

          • moladood April 21, 2015 / 11:40 am

            And one more comment.

            “I’m not a vaccine hater. I like the whole concept. If we could accomplish the same ends (build immunity) without exposing ourselves to neurotoxins and carcinogens I’d feel a whole lot better about it”

            You cannot live a normal life without being exposed to the neurotoxins and carcinogens with or without vaccines – you might as well live in a bubble. The vaccines are not introducing anything new and are actually in much lower doses than occur naturally that your body will process with no issues. The dose makes it toxic.

            Would I like the world you describe where we do nothing and just eat healthy? Sure but unfortunately, diseases don’t discriminate between someone who eats McDonalds vs home cooked organic. Even before crappy fast food existed, so did disease. A common anti-vaxxer argument is “we survived 1000’s of years without vaccines, we sure don’t need them”. Which is true, but people lived shorter lives and other stats like infant mortality was high. Not to mention plagues. We can definitely survive as a species without vaccines but I am not sure I want schools and public places to shut down because of a disease – http://www.teachspace.org/personal/research/poliostory/fear2.html

            Don’t want to vaccinate then much like what happened in the polio years, people without vaccinations need to be isolated or kept away.

            • Samantha May 3, 2015 / 1:05 am

              Yes, you are perfectly right. As a matter of fact, formaldehyde, aluminum and mercury are healthy for you! I’ve heard that they make your skin glow and do wonders for your hair. You’re not the brightest of the batch, are you? Carcinogens and neurotoxins are not that harmful, unvaccinated people should be segregated…that’s a genius talking right there! Here, read this – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-06/settlement-for-saba-button-severely-disabled-by-flu-vaccine/5505632

              Maybe that will make you wonder. If it doesn’t, it would not surprise me, seeing how many stupidities you’ve said so far.

              • Chris May 3, 2015 / 10:18 am

                “formaldehyde, aluminum and mercury are healthy for you! ”

                Who said that? What vaccines contain mercury? Is it just like the mercury that used to be thermometers? How do you plan to remove formaldehyde and aluminum from food like pears, etc?

                “Carcinogens and neurotoxins are not that harmful, ”

                That is why we try to prevent hepatitis b and HPV infections, because they cause cancer. We also try to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and other neurotoxin causing bacterial infections. If you have evidence that any vaccine on the American or Australian pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease please post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researcher (not lawyers).

                “read this ..”

                So one legal decision applies to all vaccines in every country? Wow, and to quote you: “…that’s a genius talking right there!”

              • moladood May 3, 2015 / 12:11 pm

                I am so hurt by your comment (no, not really). Coming from someone who obviously lets fear drive decisions, it is impossible to have a conversation on the matter or look at the facts. A news story and settlement do not prove really a link or cause, show me the science and data and I will listen.

                The dose makes the poison. Your body produces formaldehyde – doesn’t that make it all natural? Water is also poisonous at large doses (look up water toxicity). Scary sounding names or because the chemical is used somewhere else, does not mean that at the dose it is in the vaccine is harmful. You have shown that your science reaches grade 4 level so like I said, really no point in discussing. Get some studies and some data, I am open to facts and evidence but like your comment, anti-vaxx talking points are a bunch of BS.

  3. Samantha May 3, 2015 / 1:00 am

    Hey Doc, how much money did you get for writing this piece of crap? Must be lovely being you, waking up each day, looking into the mirror and knowing you are nothing but a mindless pet of the pharmaceutic industry. Get off your lazy, vain, arrogant butt, inform yourself, learn, grow (something most Doctors are not capable of), have an unbiased perspective, and maybe then you’ll be credible and you’ll do yourself and the world a favor. Research all the compensated cases of vaccine injured people, like poor little Saba Button for instance. Is that a lie too? How about having a perfectly happy, healthy baby today and then, just days after a shot, looking at your child dying from organ failure? Coincidence? I think not, since her parents got over 10 million dollars from the trial. And she’s just one in thousands, maybe millions of people harmed. But for you and your sponsors, these are just statistics, right? I pray that you one day wake up and stop what you are doing because it is a CRIME.

    • Chris May 3, 2015 / 10:42 am

      “Must be lovely being you, waking up each day, looking into the mirror and knowing you are nothing but a mindless pet of the pharmaceutic industry.”

      Brilliant use of the Pharma Shill Gambit. Why would a drug company pay an anthropology professor who studies the genetics of ancient peoples? Did you bother to click on the “About Me” link on the top of this page.

      “Research all the compensated cases of vaccine injured people,…”

      Yes, let us do that:

      http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreport.pdf

      The first table shows the data from 2006 to about the present, a total of eight years. The grand total of the first column shows the number of vaccines give from 2006 to 2013, which is 2,236,678,735. That is seven years, so about 319525533 per year, so for eight years it is around 2556204270 vaccine doses. Now look at the total number of compensated claims:, 1,672.

      Take note that the majority are settlements, which means there was no real proof the vaccines caused the injury.

      Now what is the ratio of numbers of vaccines given versus compensated claims? Is it a big or small number? Where are the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers showing vaccines cause more harm than the diseases?

    • gewisn May 3, 2015 / 11:11 am

      Samantha, you wrote
      “How about having a perfectly happy, healthy baby today and then, just days after a shot, looking at your child dying from organ failure?”

      I’m curious. How would you figure out if that was coincidence or caused by the vaccine?
      What sort of decision making process would you use? What logic would you follow in order to make that decision?

      • Patrick McDonald May 3, 2015 / 3:35 pm

        I don’t think there is any sense trying to reason with individuals like Samantha. It’s like trying to sculpt spit.

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