The truth about vaccinations: Your physician knows more than the University of Google

“A cousin of my mom’s survived Polio and lived the rest of his life with its effects. He was not expected to live past his teens but made it to his 40s. I am grateful that modern science can protect us from Polio and other diseases and I choose to take advantage of modern science to give my kid better odds of not dying from a preventable disease. I had heard a lot of noise from people claiming vaccines caused Autism, but never saw any clear evidence. It just seemed to me like people really wanted to point to something as the cause and they latched onto vaccines.”–Jennifer

I have been getting into a lot of discussions about whether vaccines are safe in the last few days. I’m not sure if it’s because of a post going viral about a (terrible) Italian court ruling last year (In contrast, American courts side with doctors and scientists on vaccine safety) or Jenny McCarthy’s recent hiring as co-host on “The View”, or simply (as a friend suggested to me today) the fact that a new school year is starting soon and parents are having to provide vaccination records to schools.

“(I got my children vaccinated) because the science supports it and I don’t want my kids to die. And civic reasons. It’s so straightforward.”–Britta

Whatever the reason, this week I’ve been in many conversations with individuals staunchly against vaccinations, parents who are very upset at the idea of unvaccinated children putting their own kids at risk, and parents who are confused and worried and want to know how to make the best decision possible for their children’s safety. I’m writing this for the third group of parents.

What’s going on?
There has been a very steep decrease in the rate of vaccinations recently, particularly (but I want to stress not only) within communities of affluent, well-educated parents. [UPDATE: Keep in mind that there’s considerable diversity among anti-vaccine proponents. A conservative religious community here in Texas, opposed to vaccines because “faith should be enough”, is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles].

“It’s that whole natural, BPA-free, hybrid car community that says ‘we’re not going to put chemicals in our children,’” Shapiro told Salon. “It’s that same idea: ‘I’m going to be pure and I want to keep my child pure.’”

California law mandates that all students get vaccinated, but it also makes it easy to get exemptions for personal beliefs. And parents in tony places like Marin County are taking advantage of it in seemingly growing numbers. One public elementary school in Malibu, an affluent beach town just north of Los Angeles, reported that only 58 percent of their students are immunized — well below the recommended 90-plus percent level — according to Shapiro.

And it’s even worse in some of L.A.’s private schools, where as few as 20 percent of kids are vaccinated in some schools. “Yes, that’s right: Parents are willingly paying up to $25,000 a year to schools at which fewer than 1 in 5 kindergartners has been immunized against the pathogens causing such life-threatening illnesses as measles, polio, meningitis and pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough),” she wrote. –from (Emphasis mine)

This is particularly frustrating when there is overwhelming evidence that vaccinations DO NOT cause autism. As the wonderful blog Science Based Medicine puts it:

“At this point, the evidence is so utterly overwhelming that there is not a whiff of a hint of a whisper of a correlation between vaccines and autism that it has become irritating that antivaccine activists keep pressuring scientists to do the same study over and over again, coming up with the same results over and over again, and then seeing antivaccinationists fail to believe those same results over and over again. Apparently, antivaccine activists think that if the same sorts of studies are done enough times, there will be a positive result implicating vaccines as a risk factor for or contributing cause to autism.”

Why are parents choosing not to vaccinate their children?
I think there are several reasons, but they all may have some connection to misunderstanding of what the scientific evidence on this issue is, or resistance to perceived authority. In Western cultures, we’re accustomed to framing every public issue as two-sided. People who refuse to acknowledge that there’s legitimacy to the other side are “unfair.” I think this viewpoint is really muddling the vaccine safety conversation. When the media presents scientists on one side, and Natural News on the other, it’s creating a false equivalency. The anti-vaxxers have no credible scientific evidence supporting their position, but placing them opposite a scientist makes it seem like there are two legitimate sides to this debate. There aren’t. The simple fact is that there’s overwhelming scientific consensus that the MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism.

“I unapolagetically vaccinate my kid, and it’s not just because that’s what you do, it’s because I really looked at what the science said and made a decision based on facts, evidence, and rational weighing of risk-benefit. I think the problem is that it’s easier to feel off the hook for risking your kids via inaction rather than action. But realistically, the risks of vaccination are so much less than the risks of what could happen if your child does get a vaccine-preventable disease, and you are also protecting those who *can’t* be vaccinated. That’s why I get a flu shot. Not because I am going to die of the flu, but to protect the elderly, infants, and immunocompromised folks I might come into contact with.” –Melissa (emphasis mine)

Do vaccines work?

Yes. Here are some of the diseases prevented with vaccinations:


from “Demographics of Unvaccinated Chidren”, National Network for Immunization Information.

Do vaccines cause autism?

No. As a starting point for you, here’s a roundup of trustworthy scientific resources for you to read on your own (everything is peer-reviewed, or contains links to peer-reviewed articles):

Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism

Vaccine Safety studies (a bunch of studies, with notes about what they mean):

Concerns about vaccine safety (this is really great, and written in layman’s language)

How do we know that scientists and doctors are right?

I’ve been asked about this quite a bit lately. One person asked me “why aren’t we getting peered reviewed research from other points of view?” The reason is quite simple: there isn’t any.

Scientific research works like this:
You start with the specific questions “Does the MMR vaccine cause autism?”, “Does the MMR vaccine increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease?” and so forth. You then design a study to test that question. It’s not starting from one “side” or the other, trying to seek proof for it. That’s the way politics works, not science. When you get an answer, it’s either “yes” or “no” (actually it tends to be “there is a statistically significant association between this drug and this disease” or “there is NOT a statistically significant association between this drug and this disease.”) Your results are submitted to experts for peer review. These experts then go over your results and methods with a fine-toothed comb, trying to find weaknesses in your approach, or over-interpretation of the results. They evaluate your statistics to make sure that they’re correct. If they decide that it’s acceptable (and this is usually a very hard test to pass), your paper gets published and is considered “peer-reviewed.” But that’s not the end.

Studies are then done by other research groups to both test and build upon your results. While the initial screen by peer reviewers is very stringent, it doesn’t always catch mistakes, and can miss identifying faked data (for example, Andrew Wakefield’s paper got past peer review because the reviewers didn’t catch that his data were fraudulent). However, all scientific research is iterative–that is, it builds upon a foundation created by other research. So if your results are wrong, or faked, it will quickly become obvious to other researchers who try to replicate or use them. Scientific consensus is VERY hard to achieve. So when it happens, pay attention.

Why do I (and others) keep harping on “peer-reviewed” studies? Why do I (and others) refuse to acknowledge the truth of what X blogger says?

Science operates based on the philosophy that the truth is knowable if we design experiments correctly, and we do enough of them to rigorously test our hypotheses. And I hope that you know by now that anyone with a keyboard can make stuff up. Peer review is how we test that someone isn’t making things up. Experts in your field have to agree with your conclusions.

But what about Andrew Wakefield’s research?

“I got my son vaccinated after doing research about it. I had been going through birthing classes that were against it, but the scientist in me questioned what they were saying. I found the info about the falsified info about autism. I still couldn’t believe (and still can’t) that parents would hold chicken pox parties. I’d had chicken pox as a kid, and I know about shingles. It just made sense to me.”–Charity

Andrew Wakefield faked his data for profit. His medical license has been revoked as a consequence. It’s important that people know that the the link between vaccines/autism is based on an outright lie–most of the other authors on the paper have removed their names from it. You can read more about this story here:

What are the consequences of not vaccinating your children?

“We chose to vaccinate Vera on a regular schedule, and to be honest I did not do extensive research. I read enough to know that the studies showing an autism link were bad science and I found a pediatrician I really trusted and talked to her about it. I also really do believe that those of us with healthy kids should vaccinate to protect children who have compromised immune systems.”–Faye

Harm to your child:

Penn and Teller illustrate this beautifully (if profanely: language NSFW)

To put it simply, your child is at risk of contracting a preventable disease.

Image from
Many of us (myself included) don’t remember polio epidemics. This was the treatment. Image from

What happens in the absence of our vaccination program? Read about it here:

Harm to other children:

“Unvaccinated children are concentrated in particular states, increasing the risk of transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases to other unvaccinated children, undervaccinated children and fully vaccinated children.”

One person with whom I was discussing this issue (he has not vaccinated his kids, but does homeschool them) put forth a hypothesis:

“but if you are correct, i guess in the near future the progressive states will have noticeable outbreaks (and not just the ones you read about), ones that touch somebody you know, as more and more hippy parents stop vaccinating their kids. stay clear of the pacific northwest or perish. ahaha. nah, we are growing super strong natural kids for the future here, and not ones reliant on medicines from a lab. we are sprouting wings and soon we shall fly to furthest regions of the universe and beyond”

I agree with that hypothesis. Unlike the rest of his comment, it’s quite scientific. IF vaccines are protective, and IF parents are choosing not to vaccinate, we should be seeing outbreaks of those diseases in states where the rate of non-vaccination is highest.

This is indeed the case. Here are two examples:

Incidents of whooping cough (pertussis) are significantly higher in states that easily allow parents exceptions from the vaccination. In Washington state alone, there was a 1,300% increase in cases.
Have you ever taken care of a child with pertussis? I have. This is what it’s like (warning: video of children in pain):

And cases of measles infection in the United States have already doubled since last year.

That’s just the beginning. This post is already too long, but I urge you to go to the CDC’s website and read about recent outbreaks. They are tied to regions where vaccine rates are low.

Final thoughts

Googling and listening to what people tell you over on parenting message boards, “Natural News”, and similar sites is not the same thing as advice from a trained physician. I really believe that the vast majority of parents who are leery of vaccinating their kids are simply confused because they’ve been given bad information.

“We live in a society, and our actions have consequences for others. It’s our responsibility to protect our children and our neighbors’ children. Plus our ancestors could only have dreamed of something that would protect their children from these horrible diseases.”–Mary

Vaccination is not just to protect your own child. It’s also a moral and civic issue. Remember that we are incredibly privileged in our society to have access to vaccines. In many places around the world, people don’t have easy access to them, and there are even some places where aid workers are killed for trying to administer vaccines. Our privilege confers responsibility as well. By vaccinating your children, you are also protecting other children (and adults) who can’t be vaccinated. Here is a really great explanation of this, and the concept of herd immunity.

“I chose to have my first child vaccinated because I paid some attention in science classes and it works. I paid better attention in history classes and have a sense of the suffering various preventable diseases have caused in the past and I didn’t want that for my child. After my first born spent a week in the hospital with an infection, I feel much more strongly about having my second child vaccinated. In that case, it wasn’t something that could have been vaccinated against, but there is no reason and no excuse for subjecting your child to the risk of that kind of suffering over a preventable disease. It’s irresponsible and cruel.”–Eric

Wakefield, McCarthy, Kennedy and other leaders of the movement are deceiving you. They bear responsibility for the deaths of children. That’s why I keep speaking out on this issue.

I hope that I’ve provided you with a starting point from which to do your own research. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me here, or on twitter, or by email (link at the top of this page), or–even better–ask your physician!

UPDATE: I wrote a tutorial/example of how to critically read a vaccine safety study here. If you wish to do your own research, I suggest that reading the primary, peer-reviewed literature is a vastly better approach than relying on books/Facebook memes/discussion forums. Hopefully the tools you’ll find in that post (and this one) will be helpful.


Edited to remove Lyme disease from list of vaccine preventable illnesses. There’s a vaccine currently in clinical trials, but it’s not fully tested or available yet. Thanks to “justreadingyourblog” for pointing that out to me.

2,204 thoughts on “The truth about vaccinations: Your physician knows more than the University of Google

  1. Jon Mitchell August 19, 2013 / 10:18 am

    I don’t feel that the problem parents have that don’t vaccinate is a lack of information but a lack of trust and it is for very good reason. In the same way that politics has turned o ur democracy into an auction, doctors have handed health care over to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. I f you ask a doctor for the best treatment he asks you what kind of insurance you have. They mask symptoms with pills ratvher than treating the issue. People are starting to get fed up .

    I don’t believe that vaccines cause autism but I would not be surprised if the preservatives used in the vaccines could have a link with autism. The way that I understand the study that was done to discredit the original study focused solely on the vaccine and ignored the mercury preservatives added to the vaccine. Ihave no children and don’t care either way. All i know is every so often a wicked disease pops up and helps to keep an irresponsible breeding population in check.

    • One Blunt Mom August 19, 2013 / 10:36 am

      I absolutely do not agree with your blanket statement that “doctors have handed health care over to insurance and pharmaceutical companies.” If I had a doctor ask me what kind of insurance I had before he answered a question I would walk right out the door. That, to me, is the same as saying that all teachers pass out worksheets all day and do nothing but teach to the test. Not true.

      Paranoia and misinformation does nothing but help to perpetuate the delusion that the government is out to get you. It’s ridiculous.

      • Mr. Crane August 19, 2013 / 3:20 pm

        So, governments are not out to get you…….look up the word “democide”; it’s death by government and it doesn’t include war. Governments killed more than 200 million people in the last century.

        “the death toll from democide is far greater than the death toll from war. After studying over 8,000 reports of government-caused deaths, Rummel estimates that there have been 262 million victims of democide in the last century. According to his figures, six times as many people have died from the actions of people working for governments than have died in battle.”

      • Kayla August 19, 2013 / 7:24 pm

        Dear Mr. Crane,
        Citing wikipedia is probably worse than using no citation at all

      • One Blunt Mom August 19, 2013 / 7:31 pm

        Thank you, Kayla. I was going to say the same thing, but you beat me to it.

    • avs72 August 19, 2013 / 1:16 pm

      The mercury argument made at least a colorable claim, given that mercury is a neurotoxin. However, it fails on two points; first when you consider the epidemiological evidence that autism rates did not drop after mercury preservatives were removed from nearly all vaccines (they actually kept going up); and second the actual form and amount of mercury involved.

      • kaitlyn August 19, 2013 / 8:48 pm

        Doctors do not know, nor care what insurance you have when they walk into your room, that is utter crap. They don’t have time to worry about that, that is someone else’s job.
        Second, there is some new research coming out that points to a correlation between labor induction and autism specifically in boys, but I think it’s evident by now that there is NO ONE cause of autism.
        Third, if you don’t have kids or care either way, why did you bother to read this article and comment on it.
        a nurse and mother of 3 vaccinated boys

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 1:29 pm

      The last sentence in your post is all that needs to be read in order to completely disregard the entire post. It saved me 30 seconds of my life, otherwise I would have read the rest of the ludicrous post above.

      “All i know is every so often a wicked disease pops up and helps to keep an irresponsible breeding population in check.”

      For you that “wicked disease” is ignorance.

    • shannontahern August 19, 2013 / 4:09 pm

      Well, the person who DOESN’T get asked about their insurance before seeing the doctor (below) must have a really special doctor. That is in ALL the paperwork I ever fill out.

      Also, if pharmaceutical companies weren’t invested in the combo vaccines, but made the single-dose shots available more for parents like me (who did as much of that as possible with my son), I doubt uptake in educated, affluent communities would be as low. Making it HARDER, intentionally, for us to track our kids’ reactions to specific vaccines is unhelpful in the cause to increase uptake. It’s simple.

      • chill August 20, 2013 / 3:59 am

        I live in a country with free healthcare. There is no reason not to trust my doctor. He reccomends vaccinations.

    • Bluecat August 19, 2013 / 4:28 pm

      Wow, almost everything you said is provably wrong. Here, you’re not asking for the best treatment. You’re asking for what is the best *prevention.* That is vaccination. You’re not treating anything until you actually have an illness. Yes, doctors (actually their office staff) prescreen for insurance information. They do this so that they know who gets the bill, or if they need to work with you on how they can get paid for their time, and the materials such as vaccines they maintain for their patients. Most will discount their fee schedule for the uninsured. The thing is, preventative care, especially for children, is NOT blocked by Big Pharma or the insurance companies. For the insurers, it’s cheaper to administer a shot than maintain someone in an iron lung for the next 20 years.

      The mercury / preservatives theory has been very thoroughly discredited. Do you know what might actually be credible causes or contributing factors for autism? Mom getting the flu while pregnant, and maybe genetics. Also possibly induced labor. Time and more study will tell. It looks like there is no single cause.

    • Noelle Campbell August 19, 2013 / 4:37 pm

      If injecting yourself with a virus is so dangerous you don’t trust professionals who have studied this, why would you trust someone who tells you not to do it but clearly does it regularly at the dentist/dermatologist/plastic surgeon?Just ask any celebrity who is anti-vaccine to please forsake all chemical treatments themselves. No more going to the dermatologist, dentist, hair dresser for touch ups, and forget that make-up the artists put on them before a shoot.

    • Dr.P August 19, 2013 / 6:29 pm

      Oh for the love of baby Jesus! I am a physician and the few instances I ask if the patient has insurance is when Im making a decision on which antibiotic or medication I will prescribe. Believe it or not some medications are much MORE expensive than others… (i.e. Azithromycin in generic is cheaper than Levaquin however even though both can be used to treat community acquired pneumonia; I think everyone would agree that Levofloxacin is a better antibiotic for such purpose). Thus… It is not for an evil purpose we ask these questions but rather to avoid that call from Walgreens asking us to change the Rx because they cannot afford it.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 9:36 pm

      To the writer of this article: You should get on a support group with parents who have Autism and ask them when it all started. That was evidence to me when I heard devastated parents say that their child was never the same after a certain trigger (sometimes vaccinations!)! My son had a different trigger at age 7 than vaccinations, but my doctor told me that had I followed the recommendation schedule of vaccinations, that my son would have gotten Autism much earlier and severely. He has the genetics to being prone to getting on the Autism spectrum, just needing triggers to start it.

      • Jeremy August 19, 2013 / 10:11 pm

        Unfortunately, as sad as that situation is, your example does nothing more than inject emotion into a discussion that demands facts. I empathize with your situation, but unfortunately the anguish of parents commiserating in a support group doesn’t change the science. The fact is that anecdotal evidence often leads to illogical conclusions. You’ve erroneously correlated the timing of a vaccination to your son’s illness. If your son had been involved in a memorable visceral event such as a car accident during the same period, it is quite likely that you would correlate his autism with the accident. As Jennifer correctly pointed out, therein lies the difference between scientific methodologies and pseudoscience. We all draw conclusions on a daily basis to make sense of our world, but unfortunately we’re often wrong. Science was developed to provide a basis of increased understanding so that we no longer have to rely on tenuous correlations and can instead operate in a world of fact informed by a growing knowledge base. I applaud Jennifer for drawing a line in the sand and signing it ‘science.’ And, in response to a separate commenter – Caleb – GMO wheat does not exist in commercial production. It’s been extensively field-tested, but it is not available for consumption anywhere on the planet. It has no correlation whatsoever to any perceived or real rise in Celiac’s disease.

      • Anonymous August 20, 2013 / 12:20 am

        It really bothers me when I see things like this. My younger sister is severely Autistic. Her Autism has NOTHING to do with vaccinations.In fact, recent research seems to indicate that Autism may be related to brain seizures. Regardless of whether that’s true, my sister’s Autism manifested long before her vaccinations. And yes, she did get vaccinated — we didn’t want her to have polio on top of Autism.

      • Anonymous August 20, 2013 / 8:21 am

        Perhaps you should go to a support group for Parents who have lost their children and see how devastating THAT is. I would much rather have an autistic child than a dead one.

      • Stareyess August 20, 2013 / 9:06 am

        Have you tried talking to a person with an ASD? (Well, you have now! Hi! I’m Stareyes and I’m on the autistic spectrum.) And if we’re going with anecdotes, my mother told me she’d always noticed I was a weird baby. Since I was her firstborn, she was rather hyperaware of anything that could mean she was Doing Parenting Wrong; my the time my little brother (also on the spectrum) was born, she had two school-aged daughters and a move across the country, so she couldn’t be as vigilant about the earliest signs of autistic traits, so Mom mostly twinged to something when my little brother had a pretty strong language delay. So even in a relatively controlled situation — three kids raised by the same parents — you can’t replicate levels of observation. I was more ‘normal’, but the symptoms were noticed first (though not diagnosed until after my brother) possibly because my primary caregiver’s life circumstances were different. For that matter, signs of autism aren’t created equal: language delay seems to be the typical signpost, but not everyone on the spectrum has it (I didn’t), and often other signs (like repetitive motions) are visible earlier but not picked out. Actually, that was one of the points made in the vaccine injury case that went to court in the US: home videos taken before the vaccinations in question were reviewed by doctors familiar with autism in toddlers and they were able to point out signs to the court that the parents hadn’t noticed because of unfamiliarity with autism*.

        * Which is why we have various specialists; because parents shouldn’t have to know everything to do with childhood development, among other things.

    • Jane August 20, 2013 / 8:48 am

      Doctors ask your insurance because which EXACT drug to prescribe depends on the formulary selected by your insurance. Your doctor can (and should) go off-formulary when it makes a difference, but 99.9% of the time that isn’t necessary.

  2. drzeka August 19, 2013 / 10:27 am

    Thank you for writing a simple yet extremely thorough article on how vaccines work and what can happen when we don’t vaccinate. I did not receive any vaccines as a child (other than DTP I think) and I contracted almost every vaccine-preventable childhood illness. I was fortunate to suffer no serious side effects. But as a Pediatrician and Neonatologist, I have cared for patients who suffered some very serious complications (congenital rubella, miscarriage, fetal death, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, and so on) and have been in seen many frightening situations when patients who could not receive vaccines were exposed (imagine an entire oncology floor or children living with HIV exposed to chicken pox). Vaccination is so effective that many of us have forgotten what these illnesses look like. I appreciate your reminders. I especially appreciate your discussion of the scientific process for doing research, and of what it means to be ‘peer-reviewed.’ I find that a large number of parents have difficulty understanding the difference between true scientific research and blogs/media articles that claim to be research. Your explanations are clear and I hope they will be enlightening to many. And I am so glad that the next time I am in a ‘heated’ discussion on vaccines, I can share this and we can all move on.

    • butcherbaby April 10, 2014 / 7:49 pm

      “imagine an entire oncology floor or children living with HIV exposed to chicken pox”

      This sentence is going to stick in my mind for a long, long time. It struck me to the heart. My eyes filled with tears even as I felt a shudder down my spine. I know that sounds melodramatic, but my gawd….I can’t even imagine the horror of it, or the children’s suffering, or how awful it must feel to be one of those children’s parents, family members, caretakers, or doctors. I don’t have children (by choice) and it still makes my gut twist. Anyone not moved by that thought must be made of stone.

      I hope it gets through to some anti-vaxxers out there, that they can imagine that it was THEIR child so threatened, and decide to do the right thing.

      Thank you for being a responsible & caring doctor, and providing information to families confused by the debate. People like you are our this world’s unsung heroes.

  3. Jackie August 19, 2013 / 10:40 am

    I’m a scientist (PhD in molecular biology) and I’m a bit wary of vaccinations. Both of my children, who have been vaccinated, have severe food allergies (we have no family history). I’ve searched all of the peer-reviewed literature and I can’t find any studies about a correlation between vaccinations and food allergies. Clearly, the majority of children tolerate vaccinations just fine, but I wonder if the extreme immune stimulation might not be ideal for some children. In particular, I can’t find any studies on the safety, in terms of food allergies/ asthma, of multiple vaccinations given at one time. I’ve read many theories on the rise in food allergies, but I wonder if this one area deserves some research time.

    • Ben August 19, 2013 / 11:01 am

      Just a question – do you really think adding one, two, or three pathogens to the heap (and I mean thousands, if not millions) of pathogens your child encounters every day really counts as “extreme immune stimulation?” The bottom line is there have been studies that look at spreading out immunizations to counter the “too much, too fast” argument, and they have all been in favor of the schedule recommended by the CDC. It sounds like you’re fishing for answers for your children’s allergies just like parents of children with autism and rationalizing your claims as more logical because of your PhD, which isn’t in immunology. Don’t fall into that trap.

      • Jackie August 19, 2013 / 1:18 pm

        I don’t have time to do the literature search for references right now (I should be at my bench!) but it is really the adjuvant stimulation that concerns me, especially when a child is getting multiple vaccines at once as they are when they are young. I am not rationalizing at all – in fact I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject – and this seems to be one area where the research is really lacking. See this reference from the National Academy:

        All the talk of vaccines and autism has made it impoosible to have a rational discussion (as evidenced by all the comments to my post) as to whether this is a credible area to explore. I repeat: my children have been vaccinated and will continue to receive their vaccinations. I just wish there was more research in this area.

      • KMF August 19, 2013 / 11:24 pm

        I’ll take a severe food allergy over a dead child any day! I’ve seen deadly pertussis first hand in babies. Dead babies don’t care that they can’t eat peanut butter! Mom’s who were not immunized for Rubella don’t care if their children born with congenital rubella are allergic to eggs. They simply are left to grieve over the devastation left behind. This may sound blunt or too harsh and I truly am sorry your children have food allergies but the alternatives left in the wake of an unimmunized population are frightening!

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 11:01 am

      Sounds like you’ve got an NIH grant to write for your next study.

      • Mandy August 20, 2013 / 4:39 am

        KMF, I am convinced that the MMR vaccine caused my son to have febrile seizures for years. Have you ever witnessed a child having a seizure? It is terrifying! And we have no family history of them at all. So, it is a very hard decision for parents to make, especially if they have multiple children. We just want what’s best for our children, and it seems that it should be the parents’ choice, not the doctors!

      • jonnyfunfun August 20, 2013 / 8:29 am

        Febrile seizures from a vaccine? Really? Are you even aware of what a febrile seizure is? You don’t have a “family history” of it – it’s caused by a fever and is actually quite common in children whose parents let a fever go untreated.

    • JC August 19, 2013 / 11:14 am

      …I’m a bit wary of vaccinations.

      I’ve searched all of the peer-reviewed literature and I can’t find any studies about a correlation between vaccinations and food allergies.

      What you’re saying is that your wariness of vaccines is totally unsubstantiated. Please consider that before you attach your credentials to any more unfounded and irresponsible assertions. Somebody is going to read this thread and think, “[person with a PhD in molecular biology] is wary of vaccines, so I should be, too!’

      I very much sympathize with you and your children and their food allergies, but it makes no sense to be suspect of vaccines when food allergies themselves are so little understood. You have no basis for implying causation when you can’t even demonstrate correlation.

      • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 11:42 am

        It would be great if the author could review the recent increase of “celiac disease” and “gluten intolerance” awareness in society. It seems that every young child and their parent is “gluten intolerant” these days.

      • Caleb August 19, 2013 / 12:27 pm

        The last 10 years of Soy and Gluten allergies coincides eerily with the production and flooding of GMO Wheat and Soy.

      • Jackie August 19, 2013 / 1:21 pm

        If you read closely, I never implied causation or even correlation. In fact, the most current meta-studies (see the one I linked above from the National Academy) suggest that the data is insufficient to reject or confirm a link. I wish that all the autism debate didn’t stifle other areas of potential research.

      • rebecca August 19, 2013 / 1:26 pm

        What he said was that there are no studies that have looked at this question. That is not an irresponsible assertion, it’s a statement that we don’t have data about this issue and it would be interesting to look at it. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It’s just the absence of evidence. So this PhD is using his credentials perfectly: he’s asking a hypothesis generating question which can then be tested. Let’s not let ideology get in the way of reason here.

      • Michelle August 19, 2013 / 2:12 pm

        I can’t reply directly to Caleb because there’s no reply button under his post, but I want to point out that his statement that the rise of gluten intolerance is because of the flooding of GMO wheat cannot be true, because there is, as of 2013, no commercial large-scale growth of GMO wheat.

    • Sarah Waller Martin August 19, 2013 / 11:37 am

      Actually, I was just diagnosed with celiac, and if you do some googling in relation to the increase in the cases of gluten intolerance and celiac, you’ll have your answer. A lack of breastfeeding and our love for using antibiotics too much leads to a lot of the digestive allergies and issues, and asthma. I suffered from all.

      And I realize by throwing breast feeding in here that I am totally adding fuel to the fire, and I am neither pro or anti breast feeding (I feel the mother should make that personal call). But there’s lots of interesting info out there.

    • Eric August 19, 2013 / 11:46 am

      Hi Jackie, I’m a scientist too (PhD in biochemistry), and I can tell you that other than the obvious anaphylactic reactions, you can be certain vaccines don’t cause an extreme immune stimulation. I work on a treatment for systemic inflammatory response syndrome, it is an extreme immune reaction, your body literally destroys itself. That certainly doesn’t happen when children get vaccinated. Most strains of the common cold cause more of an immune stimulation than most vaccines, you can tell because you have the coughing, runny nose, fever etc for days, whereas most vaccines cause nothing more than a bit of a sore arm. The idea that vaccines cause an extreme immune stimulation is obviously false by just looking at the lack of symptoms.

      Even if it were the vaccines causing food allergies, what’s a greater impact on someone’s life; potentially having to be careful of peanuts and carrying an epi pen or potentially being paralyzed for life? Personally, I’d risk the food allergy if I had to choose.

      • Jackie August 19, 2013 / 1:52 pm

        I would never want my child to be paralyzed for life, but one of my children is allergic to eggs, dairy, seeds, oats, nuts, shellfish, and wheat. I have no idea what caused these life threatening allergies, but please I would love more research. Vaccinations are just one logical and great place to start.

      • Holly August 19, 2013 / 3:47 pm

        Why, Jackie, are vaccinations “one logical and great place to start” researching your child’s unusual and extreme food allergies? Certainly in your PhD training you must have come to understand that, in order for there to be a correlative link (let alone a causal one), the incidence of children with your child’s unusual allergy profile should have been very high for the last many years, given that the majority of children are still vaccinated (unless you’re in that private school in Malibu). In fact, the number of self-reported food allergies has increased tremendously over the past several years despite vaccination rates decreasing. Still, the majority of children get vaccinated and the majority of children do not have life threatening food allergies. Do they calculate correlation differently in molecular biology?

      • Ichthyic August 20, 2013 / 3:56 am

        ” Vaccinations are just one logical and great place to start.”

        No, this is NOT a logical place to start, as by your own stated efforts, there is not even a proposed mechanism for such action. There is no reason to even propose such a mechanism to exist. I can’t believe this is how you would approach writing a grant proposal, ergo it is NOT logical, and likely a very poor place to start. Ask NIH if you don’t believe me.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 12:30 pm

      I agree with your concern over rising incidence of food allergies, but can’t help but think that the additives to our foods (which we consume daily) would be the first place to start looking, rather than the components of vaccines (to which exposure is occasional). Modern foods, and modern agriculture have dramatically changed over the last half century (pesticides, food colorings, stabilizers, GMOs, etc.). We are now eating (and feeding our kids) increasingly processed foods that contain long lists of ingredients, but very little diversity in actual food types (mostly corn, wheat, and soy). It seems worth studying a possible over exposure to these three American staples as leading to increased sensitivity. Further, the inclusion of GMOs also presents the possibility of increased exposure to allergens if genes from an allergenic plant are mixed into another and not reported on the product label (which is not required by current laws).

      • babys33ds August 20, 2013 / 4:50 am

        I’ll take your anecdotal evidence and raise it with one of my own. My kids are vaccinated, were bottle feed and eat all manner of packaged nutritionally rubbish food and have no food allergies. My sisters kids aren’t vaccinated, were breast feed, are fed organic paleo food and have extreme food allergies and are gluten intolerant.

        Just because you can hypothesize a question and consider it be worthy of study doesn’t necessarily make it so. Devise a study to prove there is no statistically significant chance of an invisible pink unicorn sitting next to me right now.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 12:44 pm

      I would prefer for my child to have food allergies than die from meningitis…

    • J T August 19, 2013 / 3:34 pm

      Jackie, your inability to find studies about vaccines and food allergies may be merely an symptom of the long-standing problem in science, where negative results are not publishable. Thus, there may have been studies, but because there is no connection, they didn’t get published.

    • shannontahern August 19, 2013 / 4:15 pm

      I agree with your wish that the autism issue didn’t make having intellectual and informed discussion about OTHER aspects of vaccine safety so difficult, and this is coming from a mom of an HFA son (who is now 20 and presents Aspie and is fine). I vaccinated my son on an alternate schedule with mostly single-dose vaccines (as available), and he’s been fine.

      There are SO many other things to research, including the incredible increase in auto-immune disorders in our population, and there are the unquestionable issues that people pretend are not even there, even though you get a print-out or a brochure listing contraindications at every shot! There was a government agency to handle vaccine injury LONG before the autism debate, and those consequences have not vanished just because some people want to fuss over Wakefield. There ought to be other research going on, but I fear in this bizarre political climate of science-deniers, other research will continue to be stifled. IT’s a shame.

    • YBB August 19, 2013 / 9:21 pm

      Interesting. My 1 yr old daughter has food allergies as well (and like Jackie’s children – no family history of allergies) and the first question her allergist asked me was, “How was your delivery?” He went on to ask if I received any antibiotics during my daughters birth. I did. I was GBS positive so I got Abx IV on admission.

      He nodded. Said this is one of the leading theories. He is in collaboration with other researchers at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s trying to crack the code (and discover a cure)…

      Another thing – there is some evidence of babies developing symptoms of Allergic Collitis, such as bloody stools (different that regular food allergies) after receiving the Roto Virus vaccine. Actually, one Roto vaccine was pulled off the market a few years back for causing intussusception. Seems that digestive issues have been linked to that vaccine.

      An anecdote which I’m sure some will deride given that it’s just my experience, but I feel like sharing it anyway, my daughter has a form of Allergic Colitis that makes her intolerant of soy and dairy, and the onset of bloody stools was after her Roto vaccine. That said, we’re continuing with all her vaccinations as we believe that it is the right thing to do for her, us, and the rest of society. (Also, my husband is a physician and he staunchly believes that any allergy is worth living with relative to having a life threatening illness. On good days, I agree.)

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 10:26 pm

      There are some studies relating the pertussis vaccine with a greater likelihood of developing asthma in some populations. This has been seen in my family. The two kids who received the pertussis vaccine do have asthma. The two who only received DT (no pertussis) do not have asthma. Allergies and asthma often go hand in hand and I think you are likely correct regarding your children.

    • Widget August 20, 2013 / 12:24 am

      I’m just curious if you delivered your children naturally or had C-sections? I’ve recently read (sorry I don’t have the reference handy) that there has been a proven link between babies delivered via C-section and allergy disorders. The rationale is that when a baby is delivered naturally, the microbiologic flora in the mother’s birth canal is transmitted to the baby, which is important for the development of the baby’s immune system. I’m certainly not claiming causation, just a link. And thinking about it, it really does make sense. A baby delivered via C-section isn’t antigenically challenged as soon or to the same degree as a baby delivered normally. Exiting via the birth canal may be nature’s way of jump starting the development and modulation of the baby’s immune system. I don’t have the data but it seems like many, many women are electing to have C-sections these days. It also seems like kids all over the place have unique food allergies. Just my 2 cents.

      • Dr. L August 20, 2013 / 1:00 pm

        Electing to have C-sections? This is not a procedure that you just order off of a menu nor is it a procedure taken lightly. It is done when it is medically necessary and feasible. As one medically trained in human medicine (MD) and in delivering babies/c-sections, maternal and fetal medicine, I see no link as you describe in any of my patients (my anecdote). No one gets to “elect” to have a c-section. A woman can elect not to when it is medically advisable to have one, but not the other way around.

    • Sara E-C August 20, 2013 / 7:47 am

      In response to KMF:

      Your comment about taking a child with a severe food allergy over a “dead child” any day shows the hysteria inherent in so many of these responses, and also your own ignorance and/or dismissal over the severity and prevalence of severe food allergies. (Studies show anywhere from 0.5% to 2.0% of the population* is affected by severe peanut allergies alone – not to mention any other food allergies). I’ll maintain that this sort of response – ridiculous both in its insensitivity as well as its lack of scientific understanding – is one of the significant contributing factors in keeping some people really edgy about the way that the complex medical issues surrounding vaccination are treated.

      It’s pretty much a given that a child will come into contact with peanut butter, and a severe allergy to peanuts can mean that even breathing in the same area that another individual is enjoying an innocuous sandwich can be deadly. I’m saying NOTHING about vaccination here, but rather that the dichotomy that you set up here is a false one.

      * Relevant research to review on peanut/food allergies (there’s lots more, too):
      Sheikh SZ, Burks AW. Recent advances in the diagnosis and therapy of peanut allergy. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2013 Jun;9(6):551-60. doi: 10.1586/eci.13.33.

      Skypala IJ, Bull S, Deegan K, Gruffydd-Jones K, Holmes S, Small I, Emery PW, Durham SR. The prevalence of PFS and prevalence and characteristics of reported food allergy; a survey of UK adults aged 18-75 incorporating a validated PFS diagnostic questionnaire. Clin Exp Allergy. 2013 Aug;43(8):928-40. doi: 10.1111/cea.12104.

      Taylor-Black S, Wang J.The prevalence and characteristics of food allergy in urban minority children. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Dec;109(6):431-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

  4. Lagerbaer August 19, 2013 / 11:16 am

    Dear Jackie, as a scientist you clearly know about the correlation – causation fallacy? What you are saying is “Both A and B. Therefore, A causes B”.

    • Evan Adnams (@eadnams) August 19, 2013 / 11:52 am

      Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on supporting data, of which there is much of RE: lack of vaccines and outbreaks.

      Wrong: “Both A and B. Therefore, A causes B”
      Right: “Both A and B. Add more evidence than ONLY a correlation. Therefore, A *likely* caused B”

  5. anon August 19, 2013 / 11:47 am

    Jackie, as a scientist, you should also be aware that the number of immunologic components kids are exposed to now is dramatically lower than the number we were exposed to as children, while being vaccinated against significantly fewer diseases. Yay, science.

    • Jackie August 19, 2013 / 2:03 pm

      (I don’t want to highjack this post to be about food allergies, but I must offer a response…) From what I’ve read, this is precisely the leading hypothesis about what leads to allergies/ asthma/ autoimmune disorders. We are exposed to too few pathogens which leads to hyperactive immune systems – sort of the new take on the hygiene hypothesis. The NY Times had a great article a few months ago about a leader in the field. She detailed her hypotheses about the causes of food allergies in the middle of the article (nothing at all in there about vaccines, that’s my own curiosity).

      I would love to see a study one step further where scientists look at the effects of vaccination (even just the adjuvant alone) on the incidence of allergies. Further immune stimulation on top of an already hyperactive immune system seems like a great hypothesis to me.

      • ACD August 19, 2013 / 10:36 pm

        I read that article and asked our allergist about it. According to him that doctor doesn’t publish her research, so while she has done a lot to help her patients and their families. It ends there.

      • Anonymous August 20, 2013 / 2:19 am

        Dear Jackie,
        As a scientist (neuroscience) and a mother also, I just wanted to show you some support given the heat that your thoughtful comment generated. Obviously you did a risk assessment and made the decision to vaccinated based on the evidence that the benefits outweighed any potential risks. We have some moderate allergies around our house, I can only imagine how challenging it must be to feed your kids. I agree that it would be ideal to have even more information. It is regrettable that people have attacked you personally and as a scientist, you’ve handled the comments quite gracefully. I strongly support vaccination but I have often wondered if more improvements to them could be made.

    • shannontahern August 19, 2013 / 4:05 pm

      I don’t know how it’s possible for you to think kids today are vaccinated against “significantly FEWER diseases”. I had about 3 vaccinations as a child in the 60s, my kids have received probably 12 or 15, maybe more. That makes no sense at all.

      • jsb16 August 19, 2013 / 11:03 pm

        The sentence “the number of immunologic components kids are exposed to now is dramatically lower than the number we were exposed to as children, while being vaccinated against significantly fewer diseases” is unwieldy, but I thought the meaning was clear (that children in the 60s were vaccinated less but exposed to more varied pathogens than children now).

      • Olivet August 20, 2013 / 2:22 pm

        She was referring to what *we* were exposed to as children — higher total immunologic components for fewer diseases. (Meaning there are more diseases we vaccinate for now, but with a lower total immunologic load. This is actually true.)

  6. southsidesocialist August 19, 2013 / 11:52 am

    My grandad, born 1918, contracted measles as an infant and spent the rest of his life with partial sight, partial hearing and severe facial scarring. I really think that since universal vaccination has been so common, many people have never seen how horrible these diseases are and just don’t fully understand the severity of them. People die of measles; it’s not a trivial illness. I was immunised against whooping cough as an infant but contracted it last year, in a Scottish outbreak. It was absolutely horrible – coughing till I vomited, several times an hour, for 6 months. I’m an adult and I understood what was happening and that I wasn’t going to die, but I was still distressed when woke up in the middle of the night to find myself in the middle of a coughing fit – I was coughing in my sleep and waking up because of it! I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to go through that as a child.
    Vaccinate your children, people.

  7. Alison August 19, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Cold Knees and commented:
    I cannot believe this is still an issue among educated people with as many free research tools as we have at our fingertips.

    Googling is actually a skill, thus it can be done shittily. Social recommendations (linking/sharing) and, not to be overlooked, social pressure, devoid of independent inquiry, I think are more the problem.

    Anyway, great breakdown of the vaccines issue. I delved far enough into it myself to learn that there weren’t any convincing reasons to risk altering the recommended schedule. I’m thankful for writers like this one who do great legwork for the rest of us.

  8. Abel August 19, 2013 / 12:38 pm

    Unfortunately, “whether to vaccinate or not” is something the society as a whole should decide. Humanity will survive if we stop vaccinating our children or if only 50% of them get vaccinated. However, we should understand that there are consequences (more disease, death and epidemics). Will vaccination stop these things from happening? No. But it will certainly slow them down.

    • Joseph August 19, 2013 / 1:37 pm

      Yes it will. Vaccination has erradicated small pox from this earth and we are on the verge of doing the same with other terrible diseases. The only thing that stands in the way the western world suddenly adopting this new anti-vaccination stance.

      • Anne August 19, 2013 / 6:24 pm

        Small pox has not been eradicated, it still survives in poor countries who can’t afford the vaccine and is still in research labs. I know scientists in America were concerned with small pox being used as a weapon from terrorists because we’ve stopped our vaccinations for it.

      • Anonymous August 20, 2013 / 2:20 am

        Anne, natural occurrence small pox HAS been eradicated. Yes, there’s some in VERY secure research facilities so we can make vaccines quickly if someone manages to weaponize some, but it doesn’t occur in nature any more. There isn’t even a vaccine for it any more.

        Which is what can potentially happen if people keep vaccinating. We can eliminate these diseases from the planet and remove the need for their vaccines.

  9. anonymous August 19, 2013 / 12:59 pm

    As a nurse who vaccinated her 3 children…. when people are looking for the causes of Autism, how about the studies of “older” parents…. so many are waiting until their mid to late thirties before starting a family…. seems more logical than the blaming the vaccinations that have been given for so long….

  10. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    There is a lot of valid research showing that some vaccines are harmful for young children. Their immune systems can’t tolerate the amount all at once. Some vaccines actually increase the likelihood of contracting the illness the vaccine was for. Conventional doctors all push vaccines and drugs which often do not get to the real cause of the problem and can have negative long term effects on the body. Do your own research don’t just read this and agree because a doctor said so. Clearly the fact today that kids receive way more vaccines than 30 years ago and have more behavioral problems should be seriously considered in making a decision in what vaccines to get your child. And why are parents worried about those not vaccinated getting an illness there was a vaccine for and their child being exposed? If you believe in vaccines then your child shouldn’t get it, right? I’m not saying don’t vaccinate at all but take the time to do your own research. Don’t base your decision off any one article or what your doctor says. To the parents who don’t know that this article is directed towards…there are other options. Explore them all.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 1:28 pm

      Kids are also exposed to many more chemicals in their environment, new viruses, etc. There is no way you can link behavioral problems to vaccines. Are we talking about behavioral problems or autism?

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 1:31 pm

      What Valid research? I have done research on Vaccines. I want to see this supposed research! I have a degree in Biology and Chemistry!

    • Joseph August 19, 2013 / 1:40 pm

      Vaccines expose children to a severely weakened form of an otherwise deadly disease. Giving a vaccination does NOT increase the risk of getting the disease either. There is no such valid research which shows this.

      Perhaps instead of blaming healthcare on the ever present behavioral health problems of the present day, it makes more sense to blame society and poor values, poor parenting, etc?

    • Bana Foecke August 19, 2013 / 1:44 pm

      Please list those studies for me about vaccines being harmful to young children. Dates author(s), where I can find them. Seriously, “a lot of valid research” without citing specific studies sounds more like trying to defend one’s personal opinion by vaguely validating it with rumor and innuendo!

      • Anon August 19, 2013 / 2:41 pm

        Sure kid have more behavior problem now then they did 30 years ago. 30 years ago we had 20 min recess 2 times a day at school to burn off energy, we had 45min to an hour for lunch to eat, then go out side and burn off energy (Remember pick up kickball games, jumping rope, Swings, teeter totter?). When we got home from school we were told to play outside till the street lights came on (Remember Tag, neighborhood hide and go seek, bike riding, Kick the can & building forts). 30 years ago half of us walked or rode our bikes to and from school.

        Now we take our kids, drive them to the bus stop (3 houses down the street) put them on a bus, expect them to sit still of 7 hours with little to no breaks, except for 20 min to eat lunch, put them back on the bus, we pick them up in our cars at the bus stop, drive them home, have them do 2 hours of pointless worksheets for homework, feed them dinner and plunk them down in front of the TV set till bed time. If they are lucky, once or twice a week they go to soccer or football or dance. Then we wonder why they can’t freaking sit still and why they act up? I don’t need thousands of dollars of research to figure that one out. We also wonder why there is an increase in childhood obesity. NOT!

    • J T August 19, 2013 / 3:24 pm

      While diagnosis of behavioral problems has skyrocketed over the last 30 years, it is important to understand that these same behavioral problems were only recognized as diagnosable conditions within the last 30 years. Or, in other words, these behaviors went undiagnosed before.

      • JD August 19, 2013 / 10:45 pm

        Beginning in 1980, I was a pediatric audiologist working for the schools. When children were brought for preschool screening, the gateway tools within the school were to determine that hearing and vision were WNL. When children have behavioral components or developmental delay, these simple tests cannot be accomplished by the vision and hearing tech. If it was not possible to complete a reliable audiogram, the kids were sent to me for diagnostic evaluation. I saw 6 children a day four days a week for a period of 24 years.

        My observations are just that, observations. They do arise from a large data set collected longitudinally and cross sectionally by a group of four skilled and trained diagnostic specialists in Northern Illinois (myself and three other pediatric educational audiologists.) In 1980, perhaps once or twice a week, we would meet a child somewhere on the spectrum, usually tactilly sensitive with poor eye contact. Over the intervening years our contact with children on the spectrum increased to a daily occurrence and the severity of the issues seemed to be growing with more perseverative behavior, self stimulation and more vigorous avoidance of the intention to communicate.

        My point here, is that four professionals in daily communication
        were in agreement. We saw kids with a wide variety of problems.
        Some with cognitive impairments, some with language delay, some
        with behavior disorder, some who were either pampered or neglected
        to within an inch of their lives. Lots of hard of hearing and deaf kids.
        There was one group of children whose ranks were swelling at an
        alarming rate. When you work with children who have special needs
        and you know what you are doing, you cannot mistake a child on the
        autism spectrum with a child suffering another kind of delay. We didn not just get better at identifying autism. The incidence of this condition grew, a lot.
        I don’t know what caused it, but it happened.

        The only concern that I have about vaccinations is the schedule. It doesn’t seem like it can be helped if babies are in day care, which mine were. My two cents, well, more like half a dollar.

      • J T August 21, 2013 / 10:43 am

        JD, you’re displaying perception bias. You falsely assume that you remember the past correctly and objectively (you don’t: know one does, which is part of what makes a historian’s job so difficult). To illustrate, you said that most “on the spectrum” children you met were tactilely sensitive. Given that tactilely sensitive children are more visible but not more common than other autistic behaviors, your perception indicates that you were overlooking many other children (such as the equally common tactilely insensitive).

    • Jennifer Raff August 19, 2013 / 4:06 pm

      I have done my own research. That’s what I wrote about. If you have studies saying otherwise, please pass them along.

      • Ichthyic August 20, 2013 / 4:05 am

        oops, sorry, just delete that preivous, I was thinking the antivaxxer had said that. Comment threading is hard 😛

      • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 9:05 am

        @Ichthyic No problem :). I really hate the format of this comment thread!

    • Melinda August 19, 2013 / 8:21 pm

      I think you also have to look to parenting styles and home environments (i.e. 1 parent vs 2 parent homes) regarding behavioral issues. Really, look into it, there is an abundance of research that supports theses factors regarding behavioral disorders in children.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 9:18 am

      You say “a lot” of “valid research”. What do you mean? Which peer-reviewed studies?

  11. James Demetrious, DC, FACO August 19, 2013 / 1:16 pm

    Pertaining to your recent post related to immunizations, what is your view of the conclusions drawn from the following Cochrane systematic reviews:

    Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.”

    Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children. “Influenza vaccines are efficacious in preventing cases of influenza in children older than two years of age, but little evidence is available for children younger than two years of age. No safety comparisons could be carried out, emphasising the need for standardisation of methods and presentation of vaccine safety data in future studies. In specific cases, influenza vaccines were associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions.”

    Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly. “The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older. To resolve the uncertainty, an adequately powered publicly-funded randomised, placebo-controlled trial run over several seasons should be undertaken.” From:

    Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults. “The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.”

    • J T August 19, 2013 / 3:18 pm

      Those conclusions are science-speak for “our study didn’t look at everything imaginable. We’re aware that of these potential deficits (here are some examples), and we are smart enough to have some inklings for how future research projects along these lines might enhance our understanding of the field.” There’s also the subtext of “we’ll conduct these studies ourselves, if someone funds us”

      • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 9:07 am

        Was going to respond along similar lines. It’s traditional in scientific studies to point out what you haven’t yet examined, and what you plan to do in the future. As I read those studies, that’s how I interpret those lines.

      • James Demetrious August 21, 2013 / 6:29 am

        Those studies are systematic reviews. They are comprehensive assessments of all peer reviewed and refereed literature to date related to their topic. PhDs critically assessed all of the available data related to safety and efficacy of those vaccines, in those examinations. While you are correct in noting that such studies illuminate deficits of research, you are missing the most important point. That being, safety and efficacy has not been established. What is noted clearly is the warning that substantive conflicts of interest pervade the research in a manner that should make your blood boil.

        My son is severely brain injured due to vaccines. I was not informed of the toxic adjuvants and their associated risk to my son’s wellbeing, Had I been informed, I would never had my son injected with those poisons and I would still have my son today.

        I would refer you to the following quote by the Jane M. Orient, MD, Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, “Our children face the possibility of death or serious long-term adverse effects from mandated vaccines that aren’t necessary or that have limited benefits.” Dr. Orient’s statement is available:

        For these reasons, I find your conclusions related to immunization flawed, mis-informed and misleading. My son is gone. I pray that your children are not brain damaged by a billion dollar industry that has damaged so many. and then supported in Blogs written by fools.

      • J T August 21, 2013 / 11:03 am

        James, you are misunderstanding your own “most important point,” mainly in that it isn’t as important once you understand what these studies are actually saying (and again, what they’re saying is that research isn’t complete, not that vaccines aren’t safe or that there isn’t evidence that they are safe).

        Take your quote from “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children”: the criticism there isn’t about the actual safety of vaccines, or even how that safety is reported, but that the reporting doesn’t offer as granular level of detail as could be useful for further research. In fact, the suggestion there is that the vaccines may be safer than reported: the negative effects reported could be inflated because they can’t be separated from other factors that are expected to produce negative effects.

        Or, in other words, the vaccines might be safer than studies suggest (and the studies already indicate that they are safe).

      • James Demetrious August 21, 2013 / 4:25 pm

        JT – In reading some of your other posts, you seem to enjoy sparring with others for some self-fulfilling stimulation. I disagree with you and I am uninterested in your opinions.

  12. bakeritalia August 19, 2013 / 1:25 pm

    Excellent post! I just don’t understand why people want to go back to the days when people were begging for solutions!?

  13. Tiffany August 19, 2013 / 1:28 pm

    I don’t think autism is caused solely by immunizations. I believe it is a combination of a lot of things. We live in a society where EVERYTHING is modified for fast and easy. Look at our food!! You can go down almost any street in America and get a perfectly preserved hamburger. Everything in our grocery stores are pesticide laden (unless you buy organic, even then it’s questionable) or genetically modified to grow quicker and faster! I do believe that a combination of all the crap we consume and then putting vaccines into our bodies and cause a reaction in some. NOTICE: I said some…not all. We are all individually different, what works for one WILL NOT work for others. I don’t care how much science proves that the two or three subjects they tested showed no evidence of autism after vaccination, it could (I’m not saying it has) cause some of those symptoms in others!! Our bodies are basically the same, but we have different genetic makeups that cause different reactions in all of us. Don bash others for not Vaccinating. You have no idea what makes them feel it isn’t right. Why are people worried about a non-vaccinated kid causing problems? If your kid is vaccinated, what do you have to worry about?

    • Joseph August 19, 2013 / 1:42 pm

      To address first statement in your post: You are right that autism is not solely cause by vaccinations, however, you need to understand that autism is not in any whatsoever caused by vaccinations. Not even partly.

      • Doug August 20, 2013 / 9:27 am

        Joseph, you can not say that for certain

      • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 2:59 pm

        Doug, actually, yes Joseph can. And so do I. That’s the point of my post (and all of the peer-reviewed studies I included in it).

      • Doug August 20, 2013 / 10:56 pm

        I’m sorry Jennifer. You are wrong. You can not conclusively say that there’s 100% no chance that the toxins in vaccines contribute to the pathophysiology we label autism. That’s pretty cocky, and makes me really question your understanding of research and the entire realm of science.

    • Joseph August 19, 2013 / 1:44 pm

      There are many children who cannot be vaccinated. There are life threatening allergies that some children have to vaccination. Those are the children we are trying to protect. There are also many immunocompromised patients who cannot receive immunizations either.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 1:51 pm

      These studies aren’t done on “two or three subjects”. They’re done on thousands.

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 3:18 pm

      “Why are people woeried about non-vaccinated kids causing problems?”

      This statement shows a very common misconception and poor inderstanding of the way diseases apread, vaxcines work, and how diseases can become erradicated. You need to understand the concept of herd immunity first before you make an more statementson the topic. Not vaccinating your child DOES actually matter to other children because not vaccinating may eventually reach a threahold of losing herd immuniry, and when one child becomes a carrier of a disease, other children can become infected. No one is born immunized and so infants and young children who have not received their full course of immunizations are then at risk. Also, vaccines are not 100% effective individually, but the collective decrease in probability of transmission with herd immunity greater than a 90% rate approaches 100%. Therefore, thinking that others not vaccinating doesn’t cause you harm is actually wildly inaccurate and is disseminating false information.

      Also, as for whoever posted about not trusting science or doctors and doing your own research instead – next time you get an MD and/or a PhD in immunology then you can go ahead and say that yor own research comes close to the same validity of that of scientific principle and peer review as understood by your physician or scientific research in the field.

      • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 3:25 pm

        Sorry about the typos. I’m a poor typist on my phone.

    • Rachel August 19, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      ohmydear Tiffany!! oh my dear Tiffany….
      “If your kid is vaccinated, what do you have to worry about?”

      What do I worry about?!? I worry about having to treat your dying child from a serious life threatening disease! I worry about, as a physician, the children who weren’t able to be vaccinated who might die because of your poor decision-making. I worry about YOU giving your child whooping cough. I worry about the child who had whooping cough that I mis-diagnosed b/c I had never seen a case (I’m a relatively young doctor).

      And the worst part is that you sound like someone who really tries to make good healthy choices, buying organic, non GMO foods. I applaud you. buy organic, buy non-GMO, but don’t link vaccines in with all that other stuff. Vaccine safety is based on COLD, HARD, SCIENCE. what you believe happens when people get exposed to a variety of triggers, causing reactions in SOME people- that’s just vague speak for fear of you don’t even know what.

      Bashing others for not vaccinating is not about judging people for not vaccinating, it’s about being upset that the irresponsible, uneducated, fear-based, poor decisions they make could be LIFE or DEATH for someone else.

      • Dr. L August 20, 2013 / 1:25 pm

        I have had many children of parents that refuse to vaccinate, turn very ill, end up in the hospital, and then the parents want me to save them from some ailment that is know to have a high mortality/morbidity rate. When it is too late, it is sadly too late.

        • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 1:32 pm

          People selectively accept the benefits of medical research but reject the methods. It’s frustrating.

  14. Jim Harrison August 19, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    I had pertussis as a child, and I was old enough so that I remember it 60 years later. The experience effectively immunized me against anti-vaccination hype.

  15. Sarah H. August 19, 2013 / 1:36 pm

    Good article. One point to note about the washington outbreak of whooping cough, the children that were not vaccinated were healing faster and experiencing less symptoms, than those that had been vaccinated. Those that had been vaccinated were experiencing worse symptoms because the shot only affects the blood part of the disease, not the virus in the lungs, so their body was recognizing the symptoms in the blood and fighting there but ignoring the lungs while the symptoms there were growing. The body was thinking it was fighting two different infections rather than one. Just a point presented to me by my pediatrician here in washington and a science study done recently that I was given to read by another pro-vac person.
    I haven’t given my daughter all the vaccinations, but she has gotten some of them. This was done with my pediatrician’s approval after discussing my concerns and his thoughts as well. It isn’t about being worried about autism, it’s more looking at what is necessary for protection. Yes, there are a lot of diseases that can be prevented or reduced by vacs but which ones will really cause death or mental impairment if not given.

    • gewisn August 19, 2013 / 2:23 pm

      It would be helpful if we can have the name/address of your pediatrician and the citation for the article you read. We would like to contact the pediatrician for clarification on the views expressed (we would not ask for any of your family’s health info, since that is entirely private, just for clarification on the opnions expressed and the reasons why). And of course, we would like to review the article you mentioned.

    • YBB August 19, 2013 / 9:27 pm

      can you please share the article you’re referring to. curious to read it. thanks!

    • Dr. L August 20, 2013 / 1:43 pm

      Wow, that post lacks fundamental understanding of how the immune system works. I, too, would like to talk with your pediatrician Doctor to Doctor and to read this study you read. Sounds dubious at best.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 3:03 pm

      “the shot only affects the blood part of the disease, not the virus in the lungs, so their body was recognizing the symptoms in the blood and fighting there but ignoring the lungs while the symptoms there were growing.”

      I really do want to talk to the physician who told you this. That is NOT how infection works.

  16. ARKellogg August 19, 2013 / 1:48 pm

    Very thorough and visceral take on this important issue. I particularly like your videos – in the sense that make the harm clear, even if some of them were difficult to watch. My take is that as information (both true and false) becomes more available and accessible, people need to be able to distinguish between credible (evidence based) and non-credible (supposition based) claims. It’s frightening the numbers of educated people who lack this ability.

    Furthermore, I don’t understand why this has been left as a matter of personal choice is many states like California when it has significant health consequences for the greater community.

    If anyone is interested, you can read more about my take at

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post on the subject!

  17. Christy August 19, 2013 / 2:13 pm

    Mercury is a neurotoxin in trace amounts.
    There is no safe amount of mercury for humans.
    In the brain and spinal cord it activates macrophages called microglia which will destroy cells contaminated with mercury.
    Microglia can ravage the brain in attempts to destroy the invader.
    Injecting people with mercury is evil –

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 3:29 pm

      There is no mercury in vaccinations. Ergo, your statement is irrelevant and vesting a red herring to crash at straws about why there could ever be any reasonable reason to not vaccinate. You will need to reconsider your argument.

      • Jerry segers August 19, 2013 / 5:56 pm

        Here is the CDC list of vaccines that contain Thiomersal. See footnote 6. Thiomersal contains mercury; therefore, your statement that no vaccinations contain mercury seems on the surface to be untrue at least for multi-dose vials. Just for reference Thiomersal is also known as Merthiolate for those that still remember the little red bottle that burned like h;() when mother put it on a cut.

      • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 7:12 pm

        I see just a few forms of the Influenza vaccine (of which there are many, and therefore may not be in the type that you select for yourself or that you are given where ever you may get the vaccine, if you choose, yearly) on the list that contain Thiomersal. Thiomersal was removed from the list of pediatric vaccines that are routinely given, such as the MMR vaccine, when the whole “autism scare” broke out and rates did not go down in the slightest, in fact they continued to go up.

      • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 7:14 pm

        So again, please explain how this statement that mercury, or thiomersal, or under any other name, is given directly to your child. There need not be any mercury or thiomersal in any vaccines that you or your child receive. Therefore, once again as I stated initially, this argument falls flat. Please try again.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 9:21 am

      Christy (and Jerry), here is the FDA’s review of thimerosal in vaccines. As Table 1 shows, it’s not present in any vaccines for children under the age of 6, with the exception of some flu vaccines. (Basically reiterating what SF EM MD said, but with a citation and a better table).

  18. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    One nice feature of the “anti-vax epidemic” (that will likely aid in stopping the movement’s growth) is the large new population of unvaccinated individuals for study. It should be quite simple now to show whether the purported ill effects of vaccines are really due to the vaccine. I, for one, fully expect equal rates of occurrence in both populations for at least the vast majority of unpleasant conditions…except of course for the diseases that the vaccines are designed to protect against. In any case, we’ll have some rather decisive answers rather soon.

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 7:16 pm

      Brilliant point, although the problem is that we are accepting the fundamental fact that people will be put at risk as a result, including those that have intended to protect themselves by receiving all vaccines. But yes, that will definitely make for some interesting epidemiologic data.

    • Dr. L August 20, 2013 / 1:52 pm

      If we were to conduct a study where we denied current approved vaccines to one group and gave them to another, this study would not pass an ethical review in that we would inherently place the un-vaccinated group in potential harm. Letting the population self select circumvents the ethical review, but it doe snot change the danger. One end point of such an experiment is that the un-vaccinated succumb to preventable diseases and die off. Morbid, but a true risk.

  19. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 3:19 pm

    Great article, but As scientists we should gather evidence from all sides then draw our conclusions. Perhaps a more un biased approach to your next blog might not bring such criticism. The science is evident that some relationship has been established. A simple search on the Internet provided me with a large list of studies exhibiting neurological damage following inoculation. VN

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 3:31 pm

      We are conditioned to think that there are two sides to the argument. This has already been considered and researched. Also, please actually read the article in its entirety before just reading a headline and posting a comment. This is well explained in the article.

      • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 10:23 pm

        Why don’t you take a moment and read the studies I listed Ed MD (as you claim). With your extensive scientific background you should be able to discern these studies and draw your own conclusions. As physicians we need to examine all potential side effects of medication we administer, otherwise informed consent is fraudulent. Read up chap.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 9:32 am

      The science is not “evident that some relationship has been established”, and our “simple search on the Internet” has actually bolstered my point. You have to be very judicious when you look for scientific support for a particular finding.

      Take a closer look at those articles. The vast majority of them are published between the 1950s-1970s (or are in German or Czech, which I can’t read. Can you?). My favorite is “Turnbull, H M, “Encephalomyelitis Following Vaccination”, Brit Jour Exper Path, 7:181, 1926.”
      We’ve learned a lot about vaccines since the 1920s.

      I backtracked this list you published to this website: . Not exactly an “un biased approach”.

      Have you read each article in that search you posted, or did you just read the titles and assume a relationship exists? In order to evaluate the scientific literature critically, you have to actually READ the studies, understand them, and analyze them. It’s a lot of work–you can’t just assume that every study is equivalent to every other study.

      The meta-reviews I published above (not going to dig for them again and re-post) cover studies of populations of children within the last 10 years, on *current* formulations of vaccines that are *actually used* in modern populations. Which research findings are more valuable? Those that are current, or those that were published 87 years ago?

      • Dr. L August 20, 2013 / 2:51 pm

        You actually make a case for vaccination safety in that your antiquated data (nothing 10 yrs and older is considered particularly relevant to current medical research) in that with potentially more harmful preparations of vaccines, the rate of morbidity was not higher. If there is a demonstrable link between vaccinations and morbidities then surely you can find plenty of peer-reviewed literature that has been developed in the last 10 years to support that.

      • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 3:10 pm

        Anonymous, my point isn’t that you posted a batch of links. I did, too! But unlike you (I suspect), I actually read all the papers I posted as evidence. It’s not that American science is necessarily better, it’s that I can’t read German or Czech to actually evaluate those papers. Can you? Have you read them? Are their methods appropriate, sample sizes large enough, and conclusions well-founded?

        The polio vaccine that is administered today is completely different from the one administered when those studies you cited were conducted. You can’t use data on the effects of a different vaccine to make statements about effects of the one in use today.

  20. J T August 19, 2013 / 3:51 pm

    It might be useful to look at the anti-vaxx movement as a really being a popular conspiracy theory. The reasons this might be useful is that conspiracy theories are held through faith, rather than reason (hence the term “conspirituality”). Attempting to convince an anti-vaxxer that they are wrong is a bit like trying to convince someone that America really did land on the moon, or that 9/11 was not orchestrated by the American government: evidence is evaluated based on how much it conforms to the belief, but the belief is not changed by the evidence presented. On one hand, this is actually slightly encouraging based on the fact that few conspiracy theories can hold the public interest for long. On the other hand, this might be bad because it’s rare for a conspiracy theory to get this big.

    • Jennifer Raff August 19, 2013 / 3:53 pm

      I think I agree for the most part. That’s why I tried aim this post mainly at parents who are undecided but generally pro-science. I’ve found that in general, engaging with the hardcore anti-vaxxers is a waste of time since their minds won’t be changed by data. Analogous to creationists 🙂

  21. shannontahern August 19, 2013 / 3:59 pm

    I am by no means an anti-vaccination person, but I am an informed parent, and every time anyone says “vaccines are PERFECTLY SAFE”, it’s obvious they are lying, since whenever you get yourself or your child vaccinated, the physician is required to hand out disclosure documentation discussing the prevalence of adverse reactions and what those reactions might be. Generally the list includes at least soreness, fever, seizures, and sometimes includes death. So OBVIOUSLY there is always *some* risk, and for some people, they are clearly contraindicated. For example, some people with specific allergies need to avoid certain vaccines. So pretending they are risk-free is disingenuous at best.

    It would be much more palatable for many parents to vaccinate if the pharmaceutical companies didn’t keep insisting on COMBINING vaccines. I happily vaccinated my son using single-dose vaccines on a schedule that I set with my pediatrician, and every parent ought to have that ability, but since my son was little (he’s 20 now), they have DISCONTINUED many single-dose vaccines, therefore making it impossible to introduce them one at a time to watch for reactions. This is ridiculous and takes the parents’ ability to control the situation away, so many parents just opt out. I don’t agree with having to do that, but more so I don’t agree with parents being bullied by pharmaceutical companies to just introduce 3 or 4 pathogens into their kids at a time, willy-nilly. Single-dose vaccines ought to be widely available, and if that were to happen, I suspect uptake figures would improve.

    BTW. it seems like everyone has just forgotten the rotavirus vaccine that was so highly touted in the 90s but that killed some babies. How soon we forget.

    There is no reason not to WISELY use vaccinations, but there is no reason to blindly assert the good intentions of large corporations when their primary obligation is to shareholders, not our kids. And again, I am NOT anti-vax, I am just pro-rationality.

    • Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 6:14 pm

      It is true that a very small percentage of people of people who recieve vaccines will get sick, and an even smaller percentage die. Which is why there is a trust fund established by law to help families of children who do get sick from them. However that is a far cry from considering death as a likely result from being vaccinated.

      The warning labels of vaccines are almost identicle to those found on other drugs, which by law must report all known possible side effects. Which is why if you look at the side effects of any drug they will include a long list of things, including death. Heck I am looking at my script for aspirin which includes death as a possible side effect.

      • Christina August 20, 2013 / 8:57 am

        It seems disingenuous to equate Reye’s Syndrome (from aspirin) with vaccine reactions. You haven’t even talked about rates. The rate of Reye’s Syndrome in 1977 was 454 in the entire US, and 40% died. Now that children are warned away from aspirin, there are fewer than 2 cases per year. A good example of medical success. It is HIGHLY unlikely than an adult would get Reye’s Syndrome, much less die from it. (Dengan, L, US Pharm. 2012;37(3):HS6-HS8).

        However, let’s look at the Vaccine Information Statements put out by the CDC, which your doctor is required to give you.

        Just the first example, Dtap, causes flu-like symptoms (fever, fussiness, tiredness, swelling) in roughly 1 in 4 children. It is not, as one previous commenter suggested, milder than the common cold. From personal experience, my son’s 6-month shots produced a fever that lasted 5 days (The 2 and 4 month shots weren’t much better). Vomiting occurs in 1 in 50 children, and seizures in 1 in 14,000 children. Seizures are KNOWN to sometimes cause neurological damage, depending on how long they last and how severe they are. In addition, severe pain (crying over 3 hours long) happens in 1 in 1,000 children, and EXTREMELY dangerous high fever (also causes neurological damage in infants) happens in 1 in 16,000 children. Severe problems such as allergic reactions happens in 1 in a million children. Considering that 4 million babies are born every year in the U.S., that means 4 babies will have some kind of severe reaction that could lead to death, so twice as many per year as cases of Reye’s Syndrome.

        And this is just ONE vaccine out of the many that have to be given over the first 2 years of life. And of course, Dtap has to be given 5 times – 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, plus again at 18 months and 4 years. Read the sheets. They all have side effect lists that look more or less the same. Some are slightly better than others.

        Yeah, vaccines…totally harmless, right? And the original poster (and many others) you were responding to is right – pharmaceutical companies keep trying to combine these into multiple shots, negating your ability to determine which drug caused the side effect so that you can report it to the VAERS system and actually get compensation if one of the vaccines caused severe damage. The pharma companies are CONSTANTLY fighting against these claims. They don’t want to have to pay out that money…so they simply make it harder for anyone to make a claim against a single drug.

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 7:21 pm

      Also, to assert that this is a huge corporate machine trying to push drugs on children is just flat out false for the most part. I agree that I generally don’t trust big corporations or big pharma at all, but the fact is that on most vaccines, the companies make very very little profit as compared to other medications. And don’t forget that this is not just Big Pharma campaigning here, this is like international established organizations like the WHO and major non-profits trying to do good in the world like The Gates Foundation really making a strong push to try to eradicate the world of illness, and yet this anti-corporate and anti-vax conspiracy theory perseveres and impedes upon good intentions. I agree with using them responsibly and in carefully studying drugs and vaccines before market, but on this assertion, I just don’t find it fitting with the facts on most counts. On some of the newer and more monopolized ones, there may be more profit involved, but there is also great potential to stop things like the 4 primary causes of cervical and now head and neck cancer with the HPV vaccines. Profit motive? Maybe. But greater good? Definitely.

      • Graham August 19, 2013 / 7:39 pm

        “but the fact is that on most vaccines, the companies make very very little profit as compared to other medications”?

        Really? I mean do a minute of research before posting a comment. The entire article is about not trusting the “College of Google” but the COG links to reputable sites with reputable information. Colleges post information on studies. Government posts information on nearly everything.

        I think there may be some profit in $786,456,400.

    • GP August 20, 2013 / 12:52 pm

      Thank you, shannontahern! This is the most balanced statement I’ve seen on the topic.

      If someone wants to argue that the reduced risk to the public is worth the fact that some children DO in fact suffer from the adverse side effects listed, that may be a good argument on the large scale, but most parents’ first concern is their own child’s safety. So in order to convince concerned parents to vaccinate, something that addresses those concerns (“What if MY child is the one who ends up with an adverse reaction?”) with sympathy and patience will go much farther than labeling those concerns as foolish or neglectful.

  22. Garnetstar August 19, 2013 / 4:12 pm

    You know what’s natural? It’s for half of all children not to live to the age of five. That’s the way it was for centuries, that’s the natural state of things.

    What possible outcome of vaccination could be worse than half of your children dying of “childhood illnesses”, as they were called? I’ll take any of the fantasized ill effects of vaccination over that.

    • Graham August 19, 2013 / 7:33 pm

      So the only thing that’s changed compared the past centuries is vaccines? Not clean water? Not cleaner living conditions? Not improved working conditions? Just vaccines?

      And while debating these things, just please you a reference for your statistics.

      • Spector567 August 19, 2013 / 9:16 pm

        Your right thing are better now. So what percentage of death is acceptable to you? Half as many? Maybe a quarter? Maybe that most of these viruses are NOT waterbourn.

        Of coarse it’s not just vaccinations. But do you know what else it isn’t? DOING NOTHING. most of the items people were vacced for back then are no longer a threat. I don’t mean that only people in poor conditions get them. I don’t mean that fewer people get them. I mean that virus that previously killed millions of people have been whipped out almost across the globe including 3rd world countries that don’t have the advantages you credit.

        vaccinations saves lives and not getting the required ones costs lives.

      • vaiyt August 20, 2013 / 11:48 am

        Not all countries got development and extensive vaccination programs at the same time. In Brazil, for example, polio, mumps, rubella and measles were basically eradicated in the 60’s to 80’s – even in dirt-poor or isolated communities with no access to water cleaning facilities or workplace improvements on the level seen in developed countries.

  23. Noelle Campbell August 19, 2013 / 4:24 pm

    We’ve convinced a generation of people that anything made through a chemical process is evil. From Monsanto, BPA, DDT, to vaccines, there is some backwards thinking that says technology is evil. Two hundred years ago you were LUCKY to live past puberty, women died more often in childbirth than any disease known to man, and famine was always a possibility. Today, through the power of technology and chemical engineering, we live longer, healthier lives and even the poorest nations are fed through the wonders of chemical engineering.

    • SF EM MD August 19, 2013 / 7:22 pm


  24. mgardener August 19, 2013 / 5:39 pm

    The largest numbers of unvaccinated children lived in counties in California, Illinois, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, and Michigan.
    Not just the hippie states anymore! And if the republicans keep cutting programs for kids, you can expect more unvaccinated and undervaccinated kids.
    And wait till there is an outbreak in the schools. In Vermont unvaccinated children(either due to medical needs or on religious grounds) can not attend school while there is an outbreak.
    Those parents may end up with their kids at home for weeks at a time.

    • Melinda August 19, 2013 / 8:39 pm

      I am sorry, what do republicans have to do with unvaccinated and undervaccinated children? I cannot recall the last time, or any time for that matter, that I heard a republican say to cut vaccination for kids. Where does your logic come from? The people I know who do not vaccinate their children all have private health insurance and choose to do so. It isn’t a matter of not having access to vaccinations. The article clearly cites that it is more affluent neighborhoods where fewer children are being vaccinated.

      • Jennifer Raff August 19, 2013 / 10:46 pm

        Honestly , I don’t believe this breaks down by political perspective either. I think both conservatives and liberals adopt both positions. But I’m trying to find better demographics on this. Thanks for making that point.

  25. Kate August 19, 2013 / 6:38 pm

    We are raising our kids in an “affluent” community. We are definitely subscribers to the BPA-free, whole foods, fuel efficient, organic plant based diet, recycling, homemade cleaning products mindset. We co-slept, breastfed, made our own baby food, etc. We also fully vaccinated all three of our children. Are there side-effects to vaccines? of course! But does the benefit of disease prevention outweigh any possible risk of side effects? In my opinion, yes!

  26. Graham August 19, 2013 / 7:29 pm

    Worth 3 minutes of your time if you’re interested in this debate.

    • Melinda August 19, 2013 / 8:47 pm

      So, any time any company provides funding to a cause they are involved with, no research obtained from a trusted source should be valid? All the researchers on this topic are biased with no morals who are willing to manipulate data to make the pharmaceutical companies happy? With no conscience as to how it is going to harm the millions of children who receive the vaccinations? You know, I have four children, all vaccinated on the recommended schedule who have absolutely no side effects! How is this possible?

      • Christina August 20, 2013 / 9:06 am

        Yes. Studies have shown time and again that when you remove people from the visceral aspects of the problem, their morals get wishy washy, and money has a HUGE effect. Even studies with children show the same moral slippery slope.

        And, btw, YOUR children are yet another worthless anecdote with no scientific backing….just because you’re on the side of the article’s author doesn’t make it right.

        Did you even bother to read your Vaccine Information Sheets when your children got vaccinated? You just got really lucky, and perhaps a little good genetics thrown in. Roughly 2 out of 3 children don’t get side effects.

  27. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 7:36 pm

    We had a family friend who had Polio and was in an iron lung. She is but a whif of a thing, but has had long term effects of the polio. Instead of whimpering about the “toxins” you are putting in your children, look at your own diet and environment and then criticize………how many women have been on birth control for abundant years and let’s consider life styles??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jennifer Raff August 19, 2013 / 7:59 pm

      Natural News is the worst site for pseudoscientific nonsense. Please back your claims up with peer-reviewed data.

      • Heidi August 20, 2013 / 12:45 am

        I was just wondering – who pays for all the “peer reviewed” studies (the only “reliable” studies) I would also like to request that someone post a link to a source with every ingredient in every vaccine – the amount (also compared to other common medications given to children (such as tylonol) to see if there is a higher or lower amount of these ingredients in the vaccine as compared to other things commonly given to infants/young children that contain the same ingredients, also studies done on each separate ingredient and the results concluding whether or not, they had harmful effects. Better yet, maybe a study that shows – on a molecular level – how these substances interacted with different systems of the body on a molecular level. Now – if those results concluded all of the ingredients in the vaccines to have no adverse interactions on a molecular level, then THAT would be proof and “real science”. Not just “Studies” done on kids with hundreds of combinations of different genetic and lifestyle circumstances – not being able to even take all these into consideration because there are too many of them – therefore incomplete studies at best – but real hard science. But maybe that’s just the kind of science all the “non-peer reviewed quacks” do that we don’t really want to look at…?

        • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 6:57 am

          Heidi, your comment didn’t post immediately because I was asleep and hadn’t approved a bunch of them. If it’s okay with you, I’ll approved this first one, but not the follow-up one which basically says the same thing.

          Give me a little while and I’ll post some papers addressing a few of your questions.


          Funding for vaccine research in the United States comes from a combination of taxes, corporate profits from vaccines, and entrepreneurial funding sources. Research is done by government grant-funded labs and private corporations. FDA regulation oversees all research, and publications from ALL research are peer-reviewed: So it’s not as simple a story as “Corporations make profits from vaccines, therefore they publish whatever shitty research will help them bring their product to market.”

  28. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 8:56 pm

    I think I alone outnumber the parents who have posted on here that their child had a potential negative side effect from vaccinations. I have four children, all vaccinated on the recommended schedule, and no side effects! No allergies, asthma, or anything else. Yes, they did develop a mild and some fussiness fever after vaccination, but it seems that is a normal immune response. I will take that over the diseases they prevent. Anyone else have a similar experience? I applaud how this article was written and the information presented. I am tired of antivaccination individuals trying to tell me that I am wrong for wanting to prevent these diseases from once again gaining prevalence.

    This was just proven to me when unvaccinated friends thought they had an outbreak of rubella on their hands (in their unvaccinated children), then without bothering to tell other parents, allowed us to expose our not yet 1 year old children to their kids, which means no vaccination for our young kids. That was not okay. Thankfully, it was 5ths disease (which I had suggested and was ridiculed for, I mean come on, vaccinations don’t work to help erradicate disease, it had to be rubella). Guess what? Vaccinations work, they are necessary.

    • Jennifer Raff August 19, 2013 / 9:33 pm

      You’re not entirely alone, all of the parents I quoted in my piece above share your experience. I’m really glad to hear from you!

    • ACD August 19, 2013 / 11:02 pm

      My older son has never had a reaction to his vaccines and he’s allergic to almost all nuts.

      • Louis Pasteur August 20, 2013 / 10:00 pm

        Don’t expose him to the anti-vaccine crowd then!

  29. Anonymous August 19, 2013 / 9:31 pm

    Here’s what I don’t “get” if vaccinating against disease is supposed to keep our children safe from illness, why is the medical industry concerned about the transmission of disease from non-vaccinated children? The vaccine is supposed to cause immunity of the invading pathogen, right?

    • Alison August 20, 2013 / 12:55 am

      Because some people are immune-compromised and can’t get the vaccines. Did you read the article at all?

      People who don’t vaccinate their children risk spreading the disease to people who either can’t get vaccinated or whose immune system is too weak even with vaccines. People with organ transplants, people going through medical treatments that temporarily hit the immune system, people born with poorly functioning immune systems, HIV/AIDS patients, people who haven’t gotten their booster shots because they don’t know they need to or can’t afford it, not to mention children too young to be vaccinated… You choose not to vaccinate your child, and you are choosing to endanger them in addition to your own child. You are not just making a choice for yourself and your family, you are making a choice to endanger strangers.

      No one is an island. Our choices effect others.

    • Olivet August 20, 2013 / 6:23 pm

      Also, the preventive effects of vaccinations are numbers-dependent. Not all vaccinated individuals will be completely immune, but the higher the percentage of vaccinated individuals in a population, the safer everyone is, including those vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated because of allergies or immune disease or immune suppression, as in the case of transplant recipients, for example.

  30. Melissa August 19, 2013 / 10:23 pm

    Diseases are a serious issue; sadly, this article is not.

    Just once, I want to read an article or blog regarding vaccinations that is written in a manner that is logical, pointing readers at neutral, non-biased research, and not putting their personal opinion into their statements or at the very least, checks their sources.

    For example this blogger starts with, “I’m not sure if it’s because of a post going viral about a (terrible) Italian court ruling last year,” implying that Italian courts are less correct/accurate because the ruling was different than what the writer wanted, then stating that US courts rule against the connection.

    Here are three court ruling in the US that state otherwise:

    Click to access CAMPBELL-SMITH.MOJABI-PROFFER.12.13.2012.pdf

    Click to access MORAN.LAWSON011211.pdf

    Click to access CAMPBELLSMITH.%20DOE77082710.pdf

    Some of the links that were provided are well written, but the sources are biased, written by doctors that go on Penn and Teller—not to mention she uses a Penn and Teller link later, who are illusionists and entertainers, not doctors or scientists—or are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, who make profits from vaccinations.

    Unfortunately this is a fear based article, trying to disguise itself as being informative, encouraging the reader to do research, while lumping people who don’t vaccinate or selectively vaccinate into groups like “hippies” and “rich people who are afraid of vaccinations,” and implying all their information comes from, “Googling and listening to what people tell you over on parenting message boards, “Natural News”, and similar sites,” but oddly enough is doing the exact same thing, telling people to do research without checking the validity of the sources provided and highlighting quotes about vaccinations from parents, not doctors or scientists.

    Don’t go into either decision blindly. Look at the statistics on the illness when it was an epidemic, or if it ever was, in correlation to the decline and the introduction of the vaccine as well as the death rates. Then see if the death rate was higher in areas with poor health care vs healthy environments. Statistics are some of the most unbiased numbers you’ll come across. They will help you determine the risk for your own personal choice regarding what is best for your children more-so than any angry parent preaching from either end of the argument.

    And by all means, use Google, just like this blogger did, and check your sources.

    • Colin August 19, 2013 / 11:28 pm

      As any competent attorney should tell you, courts are an excellent vehicle for determining the law. Not science, and certainly not epidemiology. In general, even if these courts HAD concluded that there was a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, it would be meaningless in the face of the solid science debunking that malicious urban legend.

      In actual fact, though, you have misrepresented the findings in these cases. The first is a hoary bit of internet crankery that has been thoroughly debunked by qualified experts. See, for example, As a lawyer, I’m not qualified to say whether the child actually had autism (which the doctor analyzing the case in that link finds very unlikely). What I am qualified to do is read that opinion and point out that it does not find that the vaccine caused autism.

      In fact, the piece you linked merely calculates damages based on a separate finding of fact that there had been some harm. Not “autism,” some harm. Since the petitioners also alleged that their child contracted asthma and “an encephalitis,” there is no basis to conclude from this ruling that the court believed there was a link between the MMR dose and autism. (In fact, the “autism” allegations are only mentioned in passing, and only in the context of pointing out that the petitioners made those allegations. The caption specifically identifies the table injury in question as “encephalitis.”)

      The second case and third cases are also damages awards, not findings of fact regarding any link between MMR and autism. They are also uncontested cases, meaning that the court was never even asked to consider the question of causation. The second case makes no mention of autism or ASD that I could find, and the third refers to a “pre-existing mitochondrial disorder” that, when aggravated by an encephalopathy, resulted in a condition “with features of autism spectrum disorder.”

      In other words, and for multiple reasons, no case supports your claim that there are court rulings finding a connection between vaccines and autism. The most you could possibly say is that in one case, the HHS Secretary declined to contest an allegation that an encephalitis (which has been reported in approximately 1 in 3,000,000 MMR doses) aggravated a pre-existing condition, resulting in something that had “features” of ASD. Which, as any competent lawyer could tell you, is a meaningless statement. To my knowledge, no US court has ever found a link between vaccines and autism. Specifically, the three you misleadingly and inaccurately cited do not find any such link.

      Your comments that this is a “fear based” article, that one should not go into the decision blindly, and that people should do careful research are heartbreakingly ironic. This article presents exactly the sort of solid data and information a parent should consider, in conjunction with a responsible physician, when deciding to protect their children from preventable disease. Your response was to muddy the waters with bad information and fearmongering.

      You said that you “want to read an article or blog regarding vaccinations that is written in a manner that is logical, pointing readers at neutral, non-biased research, and not putting their personal opinion into their statements or at the very least, checks their sources.” This is it.

      • Melissa August 20, 2013 / 8:22 am

        You spent four paragraphs pointing at the three cases regarding damages paid due to this law 42 USC § 300aa–15 – Compensation, which states, “Compensation awarded under the Program to a petitioner under section 300aa–11 of this title for a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, shall include the following:

        See here:

        This part is purely my speculation in response to your very long response and was not at all what my original point was: I’m unsure why any pharmaceutical company would pay close to a million (or more) in each case if the vaccine wasn’t the cause of the problem.

        But like I said, that, was NOT my point. My point is this is a biased blog and simply because you agree with what she’s saying and are a lawyer does not make that any different. I don’t know if vaccinations do or do not cause autism. They didn’t in my children, but a friend claims that was the cause for her sons autism. It’s not up to me to decide for other people, but arguments like these are fear based and provide more opinions than facts, which was my point.

        People should vaccinate their children if they feel it’s best for them, and they shouldn’t if they don’t. It is that simple of an argument, but how they reach that decision should be made with care and not muddled with other people’s personal opinions.

        My response simply said, “Do the research,” while yours simply said, “I’m a lawyer.” Sorry, had to. 😉

  31. I love George Bush August 19, 2013 / 10:59 pm

    Yes! Trust the Dr.’s that told us cigarettes and electro shock treatment were good for us, put dairy in one of our required food groups and prescribe narcotics more addicting and harmful than most street drugs. Trust your physician, he is so well informed.

    “Civic Duty”? Some people never wanted it but had it forced upon them at birth. And what duty is that?

  32. Monica August 19, 2013 / 11:03 pm

    If you are vaccinated then quit worrying about everyone else. If your vaccinations make you invincible then why worry about whether others are or are not. So many don’t want their kids in school with unvaccinated kids; why? If theirs are vaccinated then why the concern; they can’t get it right? Try telling those many parents whose baby was developing normally until their two year old shots that the possible future benefits outweigh the very possible dangerous side effects. There is a large trust fund set up because it happens often enough and it is not a few times, but thousands and thousands of dangerous, terrible, and deadly adverse effects and we are not sure what these vaccines will do to us long term. Studies are looking for links between diseases like alzheimers and cancer and vaccinations of the 60’s and 70’s. Do the homework first and make the best decision for your own family.

    • Olivet August 20, 2013 / 6:44 pm

      Immunizations are not 100% effective, and diseases only reach “eradicated” status on disease when large percentages of the population participate. If this were not true, I’d WOULD be happy to let anti-vaxxers go with a cheery, “May your grandchildren enjoy their polio!”

      But, no. Because so much of herd immunity is dependent on high participation rates, that’ll be my grandchildren, too. There have already been recurrences of formerly “eradicated” diseases for this very reason, and during an outbreak, vaccinated children and adults are also at (somewhat lessened) risk. So, no, vaccines do not make anyone invincible, and the lower the participation the greater the risk to everyone.

      I totally get people wanting single dose vaccines, or to deviate from a vaccination schedule if you feel you have reason to, but not to do it at all is socially irresponsible. It puts EVERYONE at greater risk.

  33. Doug August 19, 2013 / 11:40 pm

    Clinical efficacy is VERY different from laboratory (research) efficacy. When research studies show the efficacy of a vaccine they are typical showing that by taking the vaccine you produce antibodies – this is considered a success, and when most people read that “vaccines work’, they are typically reading about research efficacy. However just because you produce antibodies against this vaccine does not mean you are immune from getting the “disease.” There is no research out there showing clinical efficacy – no studies directly comparing unvaccinated vs vaccinated children showing who contracts which disease and rates, mortalities, morbidities. The words “vaccine” and “immunisation” are often interchanged but mean two very different things. Vaccines causing autism shouldn’t be the conversation – no disease is caused by one factor. Can vaccines contribute to autism? Maybe – there are studies that show links. Those of you who think vaccines are not unhealthy for your children obviously don’t know much about physiology. They are filled with toxins that your little boy/girl must deal with. They are not a nutrient. When considering vaccinating your children you must weight out the risks. Most diseases, in which there is a vaccination for, are not deadly, especially in today’s age. Most of the time when you hear of some poor child dying of whopping cough or measles, there are underlying health factors that are usually the actual cause of death. In other words, these are already deathly sick children before getting the “disease.” So instead of poisoning your children (and yourselves) with vaccines that are not proven in the clinical realm, try introducing and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices for you and your children. Could you still get the measles? Absolutely. Are your children going to get sick from it for a little while? Probably. Will they be fine? Most likely. One thing that IS for certain: Vaccines (like all medication) are poisons given at non-poisonous doses – they are not good for you or your children. The good news…. Organic Vegetables, fruits, and meat and EXERCISE are very healthy for you and your children – start there.

      • Doug August 21, 2013 / 12:14 am

        Oh, my dear Louis, while your heart is in the right place, your attempt at producing a RESEARCH article has failed. This is merely a chart you grabbed off the Internet somewhere – with no real significance. When analysed correctly, rates of diseases and mortality from these diseases were already dropping long before vaccines came into existence. In fact, if you look at the numbers, the rates followed the same path even after the vaccines were introduced. Vaccines haven’t done anything except make Pharmacy EXTREMELY rich. Well I’ll take that back, they’ve added yet another toxin our children have to combat in an already toxic world… Sad

  34. August 19, 2013 / 11:47 pm

    Vaccinations do have risk. The entire programmed is based on the good of the many outways the good of the individual. Thats why they keep mentioning civic duty to take risk with your children to protect others. I am fully vaccinated four or five times over even some most readers here will never have to get like anthrax. Please dont ever tell someone that vaccinations are safe for their children unless you are their childs medical doctor. Vaccinations have risk all of them and they all have proven to have deadly side effects. The information is there you just have to read it. How about a creditable source like THE CDC.

    Health-care providers should consult the medical record, when available, to identify children aged 2–4 years with asthma or recurrent wheezing that might indicate asthma. In addition, to identify children who might be at greater risk for asthma and possibly at increased risk for wheezing after receiving LAIV, parents or caregivers of children aged 2–4 years should be asked: “In the past 12 months, has a health-care provider ever told you that your child had wheezing or asthma?” Children whose parents or caregivers answer “yes” to this question and children who have asthma or who had a wheezing episode noted in the medical record within the past 12 months should not receive FluMist®.

    *** Flumist® is indicated for healthy, non-pregnant persons aged 2-49 years. Individuals who care for severely immunosuppressed persons who require a protective environment should not receive FluMist given the theoretical risk of transmission of the live attenuated vaccine virus.
    ††† Age indication per package insert is ≥5 years; however, the ACIP recommends Afluria® not be used in children aged 6 months through 8 years because of increased risk of febrile reactions noted in this age group with CSL’s 2010 Southern Hemisphere IIV3. If no other age-appropriate, licensed inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine is available for a child aged 5–8 years who has a medical condition that increases the child’s risk for influenza complications, Afluria® can be used; however, providers should discuss with the parents or caregivers the benefits and risks of influenza vaccination with Afluria® before administering this vaccine. Afluria® may be used in persons aged ≥9 years (5).

    §§§ Information not included in package insert. The total egg protein is estimated to be less than 50 femtograms (5×10-14 grams) total egg protein, of which a fraction is ovalbumin, per 0.5 mL dose of Flucelvax®.

    What are febrile seizures?

    Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness and shakes, moving limbs on both sides of the body. Less commonly, the child becomes rigid or has twitches in only a portion of the body, such as an arm or a leg, or on the right or the left side only. Most febrile seizures last a minute or two, although some can be as brief as a few seconds while others last for more than 15 minutes.
    Even when seizures are very long (more than 1 hour), most children recover completely, but a few might be at risk of subsequent seizures without fever (epilepsy).

    In other words, between 95 and 98 percent of children who experience febrile seizures do not go on to develop epilepsy. However, although the absolute risk remains small, some groups of children–including those with cerebral palsy, delayed development, or other neurological abnormalities–have an increased risk of developing epilepsy. The type of febrile seizure also matters; children who have prolonged febrile seizures (particularly lasting more than an hour) or seizures that affect only part of the body, or that recur within 24 hours, are at a somewhat higher risk. Among children who don’t have any of these risk factors, only one in 100 develops epilepsy after a febrile seizure.

    Now I am not questioning the integrity of any medical physician out there. However my wife is from a third world country where they regularly receive donated stocks of vaccines to be distributed thru free health clinics most of these clinics are operated by volunteers who are only trained on how to stick the needle in you and push the vaccine in. They do not know these risk because they are not doctors or even nurses however they are administering vaccines. One vaccine there causes in some people there a reaction that causes a big black mole lick lump to permanently appear at the site of injection. it is so common that most doctors there administer the vaccine like below the “bikini line” or where it will most likely be covered. The free health clinic didn’t even take it into consideration. What if all they were given was this vaccine above thats not for that age group I would hate to be the 1 out of a hundred who had febrile reactions. I would also hate to be the child who is suffering an autoimmune disorder or have an unknown compromised immune system. (BY THE WAY I HAD CHILD HOOD LEUKEMIA) so I know what I am talking about, and my mom decided to take me for that vaccination or seasonal flu shot. I would hate to be that kid. They did not and I have not had a single doctor reiterate to make sure I was not allergic to eggs as most flu vaccines contain or are manufactured with eggs like my coworker a grown 40 something year old man, who went to get is company issued flu shot because its required to keep our jobs, no questions just JAB here you go. He was paralyzed within two months of receiving it. He suffered Guillian Barre syndrome. After extensive therapy and losing his job he was able to walk again and all but fully recovered. Every doctor told him its was from his vaccination because he was a person who had the reaction because he was allergic to eggs, which he new, had they just asked him. MY niece almost died from the guillian Barre syndrome after receiving her shot she too became lathargic and paralyzed limbs and was rushed to the hospital under docters orders and he stated she was within in a few hours of dying. She has made an almost full recovery till this day she has trouble controlling her bladder because of the syndrome.
    “What is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)?

    Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. GBS can cause symptoms that last for a few weeks. Most people recover fully from GBS, but some people have permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, people have died of GBS, usually from difficulty breathing. In the United States, for example, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS each year on average, whether or not they received a vaccination.
    What causes GBS?

    Many things can cause GBS; about two-thirds of people who develop GBS symptoms do so several days or weeks after they have been sick with diarrhea or a respiratory illness. Infection with the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common risk factors for GBS. People also can develop GBS after having the flu or other infections (such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus). On very rare occasions, they may develop GBS in the days or weeks after getting a vaccination. ”
    I am sure if my sister was made aware of this information before the vaccine she would have at least asked what were the chances of her daughter getting this and Jose would have SAID HEY IM ALERGIC TO EGGS DONT GIVE ME THAT. This is just one vaccine they all have side effects some not so severe some are worse these are proven and stated by the CDC. If you do your homework you will see some children die each year from febrile reactions the numbers are small but thats how they justify it, “well its such an insignificant risk.” Its only insignificant if its not your child who dies from any of these possible side effects. By they way I went to the Emergency room three times before a doctor did a blood test for LEUKEMIA two other doctors dismissed it as simple constipation. SO yes DOCTORS MAKE MISTAKES TOO. They are still HUMAN. DO your homework. Understand all risk involved before you let anyone anywhere inject you or your children or issue a dose of anything including Vaccines. Stop them and ask before you stick me with that is there any side effects I want to know even the worst ones and by the way I am allergic to this this and this. Even if its something weird like mustard or Eggs. Use creditable sources. Read between the lines, until 30 minutes ago I had no Idea what Febrile Reaction meant now I do. Remember the good for the many only out ways the good of the few. IF your not part of the FEW.

  35. simnursenancy August 19, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    Monica, not every child who is vaccinated develops immunity from whatever disease he is being vaccinated against. Case in point, a recent newly delivered mom on my unit was rubella “non immune” despite being vaccinated as a child and after 2 pregnancies. For some reason she never “converts”. The beauty of “herd immunity” is that others like her are protected. I spent several years in East Africa and could tell you first hand the price of low vaccination rates. Diseases that are just a memory in this country rob children of their sight, hearing and mind and often rob parents of their children! Ethiopia was 6 months from being declared polio free when those idiotic imams spread the lie that vaccines were an attempt by Western countries to sterilize Muslim children. As a result polio brought into the country from abroad (perhaps unwittingly after a visit to Mecca since the strain was traced back to Nigeria), started a new polio outbreak after 4 1/2 years without a case. New polio campaigns had to be started at considerable expense. Interestingly, we saw little to know cases of autism in the area I served, but several kids deaf or retarded from meningitis. As for the “older father” link to autism, that is laughable. In my area, men could have up to 4 wives, but they would only marry virgins. Hence plenty of young women married to old men! We should have had autistic children coming out of our ears! So now there is supposedly a link between induction of labor and autism. Until there are more studies and peer review, please be careful what you take as gospel truth.

  36. Abcdmm August 20, 2013 / 12:11 am

    I fall into the third category of parents you are addressing in this post.

    However, your post did not address my questions or areas of confusion about vaccines.

    When my son was 6 months old, I dutifully trusted our pediatrician/science and fully vaccinated him. He had a reaction to the rotovirus vaccine and came down with intussiception. He was hospitalized for a week, nearly comatose, was finally correctly diagnosed and given a painful and traumatic treatment that saved his life.

    Obviously we would have much preferred the rotavirus.

    This opened my eyes to the fact that we are giving our children vaccines that are risky, NOTHING TO DO WITH AUTISM, but because of the possible side effects that have been proven.

    For me, the lets say 60% chance (hypothetically of course, to illustrate my line of thinking) of getting rotavirus is a better option than the 5% risk your child will end up seriously harmed by the vaccine. My other child contracted the actual rotavirus and it wasn’t that bad!

    This has made me question the “logic” behind the blanket vaccination schedules we are told to follow.

    Are the proven risks of the vaccinations (the ones listed by the CDC in the handouts) always worth avoiding the actual illness? Some, yes. Others, maybe not.

    These are the questions I am left to deal with as a partially-vaccinating parent.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 6:53 am

      I’m sorry for your experience, and also that my article wasn’t helpful to you. Yes, there absolutely are some children and adults (a small minority) who cannot be vaccinated because they have adverse reactions to the ingredients. It is for those kids’ protection that we need to vaccinate as widely as possible, to prevent reservoirs of disease that could infect them.
      My article was focused on the autism-MMR link, because that’s what I’ve been discussing with people the most lately. But there are obviously many more issues that are important.

  37. MarkW August 20, 2013 / 12:27 am

    –On public policy…
    Allowing people to opt out of vaccination is a fantastic reason to avoid universal health care. Parents that gamble with vaccination either with or against the majority should have the opportunity to win (possibilities may include saving some money to avoiding allergies) or lose (possibilities may range from simple illness to high cost of care or death).

    I don’t want to spend my money on those not following the recommendations from the significant majority of pediatricians, and they wouldn’t want to spend money on my child’s vaccinations.

  38. Gi August 20, 2013 / 1:28 am

    I do not like this part……

    “It’s that whole natural, BPA-free, hybrid car community that says ‘we’re not going to put chemicals in our children,’” Shapiro told Salon. “It’s that same idea: ‘I’m going to be pure and I want to keep my child pure.’”

    I support BPA-free. I like to be conscious about environment and I do not eat or let my family eat pesticides, however, I am vaccinating my baby. I think the text above is not fare.

    It is offensive. It is not because some one is conscious about living a more natural life that they will choose to risk their baby to get sick. So, you guys should remove this part of the text.

    • Jennifer Raff August 20, 2013 / 6:48 am

      That part is a quote from Salon, not me (I support BPA-free too).

  39. Wendy August 20, 2013 / 4:22 am

    I have a question about a comment in the article… You said, “Wakefield, McCarthy and Kennedy are deceiving you.” Might I ask, in your opinion, to what end? What does Jenny McCarthy and others who are anti-vaccination stand to gain from their belief that vaccinations cause autism? There are tens of thousands of “anecdotal” stories of kids developing autism after being vaccinated. Are all these people completely insane in your opinion? Are they lemmings believing it just because Jenny McCarthy said it happened to her son? On the flipside we have the gov’t and pharmaceutical companies who have a whole lot to lose if research did show that vaccines do cause autism. Hmmm…

    I am not anti-vaccination. However, I am the mother of a son with autism and I do understand those who are wary. On Sept. 8, 2005, my son had his 18month well child visit. The doctor said he was healthy and progressing normally on all milestones. He had 15 words in his vocabulary, laughed and played with other kids, hugged and kissed me and was a happy boy. He received his first MMR along with 3 other vaccinations that day. That night he had 103.8 fever, but it was gone by morning. Within 4 days of that appointment, he stopped talking completely, he stopped being affectionate, became very sensitive to sounds, smells and touch and basically reverted into his own world. So please, someone tell me what suddenly caused this radical, overnight change in my son and that having those shots just days before was mere coincidence? I do believe that there are genetic traits for Autism which were already present, but something had to trigger it. Perhaps MMR doesn’t “cause” autism, but why is it so hard to believe that it might have been what “triggered” it. But, because I’m not a doctor or a scientist, according to many commenters on this site, I should not believe my own experience – I should skip along happily and believe everything the gov’t and the experts tell me.

    For the record, when my daughter was born 2 years later, I did vaccinate her, but I only allowed one vaccine per month and paid thru the nose for single dose vaccines. My doctor and insurance company hated that I did that, and I paid a ridiculous amount in co-pays, but it was worth it. Parents who are on the fence about whether or not to vaccinate should be given the option to alter the vaccination schedule without being hassled. What would we think of a parent who let a one year old drink a bottle of diet coke- oh, all those nasty chemicals! Yet, we start pumping babies full of vaccines and chemical preservatives at 2 months? Hmmm…

    • Louis Pasteur August 20, 2013 / 11:51 pm

      Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy get money from endorsing products to “treat” autism. By blaming vaccines for autism, they’re able to tap into the anguish of parents who have kids with autism and become paid speakers at conventions and also by giving endorsements to supplements and alternative therapies.

  40. Betstar August 20, 2013 / 5:27 am

    In the schools where only one in five students are vaccinated, why aren’t all the others dead or dying?

    • Heidi August 20, 2013 / 4:08 pm

      There are plenty of reasons. ever since the 50’s human hygiene (hand washing, bathing, sanitizers) and good nutrition has dramatically improved. This is also around the time the vaccines started being used. So that’s why it’s difficult to determine exactly what played the biggest part in wiping out the diseases in the first place. The other reason is it’s unlikely for a child who has a fever (one of the first symptoms of most serious infectious diseases once contagious) to be taken to school or spending time out in public. The other reason is there are different levels of each infections disease. Of the extremely small percentage of anyone catching one, a very large percentage are subclinical infections and have mild symptoms that take as long as the common cold to recover from “About 95% of infections are subclinical infections” they even admit that in an article about polio here:

      pertussis is the main illness that just looks like “a little cold” at first, making it most likely to have outbreaks these days, because people still go out and take their kids out when they have a common cold. Anything seeming more severe and most people stay home/ keep their kids home.

      In MOST cases these diseases are not even deadly -very uncomfortable if you are among the very few to get hit hardest, and in even more rare cases complications may arise. Which is why, I feel it’s still a good idea to keep vaccines under scrutiny and really test them, on a molecular level, not just against short term reactions , but more importantly on the long term effects on your health and immune system and other important systems. Because they are wanting EVERYONE to be pumped with these substances filled with hundreds of sketchy ingredients, but less than 1% of the population is even getting the diseases that they are for. Also – the argument for countries who don’t have vaccines still having these diseases – these countries also don’t have good hygiene or nutrition -at all….

  41. James August 20, 2013 / 6:54 am

    After reading most of the comments responding to the well written, logical article above, I am left with the overall impression of a group of fruit flies trapped in a glass of wine, struggling with their own impotence at freeing themselves from their situation. There is such grasping at anything, including the carcasses of others to climb upon and somehow survive. Desperation, fear and panic seems to spread like a virus itself amongst parents. And this time, it is bright, educated people that seem to be most vulnerable to the epidemic of misinformation and innuendo. This terrible fear of autism is leading parents to put their children at a greater risk for death. It’s like being so afraid of children being struck by an automobile, that one grabs children walking by the side of the road and hurls them onto a train track as a locomotive whistles in the close distance.

    Autism is a tragedy. So is polio. Celiac disease is a tragedy. So is pertussis. Life is full of danger and sorrow and loving parents must make terrible choices. Sometimes they make the wrong one. And in the end, none of us knows what will take the lives of our children, much less our own. None of us knows what susceptibilities our particular combinations of genes and chromosomes will pose. The science for immortality is not complete yet. But the science around vaccination is filled with millions of success stories and to deprive one’s children of the opportunity for that success out of one’s own sense of parental inadequacy is tragic in more ways than one.

  42. Nicole August 20, 2013 / 7:15 am

    I think the message of this is obnoxious. “Don’t do your own research or take responsibility for your own health. Doctors know everything. Have blind faith in your doctor.” What doctors know is what DRUG COMPANIES (who have profit motive and publication bias of their test results) report to them. If you trust your life to the FDA, Big Pharma and your doctor blindly- good luck to you.

    Look what’s happened with the HPV vaccine.

    There is a PLETHORA of information available from reputable sources on the internet in regards to prescription drugs, your health and adverse reactions. In my opinion, people should trust their doctors LESS and research things on their own MORE. You can also find out a lot from OTHER PEOPLE who have already taken the drug, therapy, vaccine, etc and determine if the risk vs. benefit is right for you. There are patient groups on facebook and independent forums for just about every drug and illness there is- where people can exchange experiences and information. Using one of these groups saved my life. Had I not found them and joined, I don’t think I would’ve figured out what was causing my illness (the drug) and I also don’t think I’d be alive. The doctors (I saw handfuls of them) ALL DENIED that what I had was possible yet there was information about my condition all over the internet and I met thousands and thousands of people ALL OVER THE WORLD with the same exact symptoms and problems that I was having. If I had listened to my “all-knowing” healthcare provider- I’d either still be sick on the “harmless” drug therapy or dead.

    I, personally, found out the hard way that they DON’T know everything and had I done my own research, I wouldn’t be still be sick three years later after putting blind faith in them.

  43. Anonymous August 20, 2013 / 7:34 am

    If you know of anyone (child or adult) with autism please google Laminine. This supplement is incredible.

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