Dear parents, you are being lied to.

Standard of care.

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

Dear parents,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

4/19/16: Edited again to update more broken hyperlinks. If you find more, keep letting us know and we’ll keep fixing them. –CM

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5,667 thoughts on “Dear parents, you are being lied to.

  1. Darlene Hartman August 22, 2016 / 10:31 pm

    I was three years old when I contracted whooping cough, and I clearly remember the terror and panic I felt, time and again, when I would begin to cough–and cough–and cough until my vision would start to black out and I came to the very edge of fainting, when at last I’d begin to inhale, painfully slowly and with a loud ‘whooping’ sound, until I finally had a good breath. It was exhausting, frightening, and incurable. It simply had to do one thing: either it would kill you, or it would finally go away. In my case, obviously, it finally went away. It left me with asthma all my life, but at least I lived. Many children didn’t. When my husband and I had had our children and began adopting the rest of the children we felt God wanted us to have, one of the first children we adopted was our son Sam, who had no vaccine in the streets of New Delhi, India, and caught polio. He ended up affected from the neck down, and still uses a modified car (hand controls), is much shorter than he would have been (because his legs’ inability to apply pressure to his bone ends kept his leg bones from growing longer) and has to use two braces and a crutch to get around. Granted, he earned a Masters’ Degree and is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, even with his handicap. But if he had only been able to have vaccinations… Please, people, get your children vaccinated. You don’twant to have to sit beside their hospital bed and hold their hands while they suffer. Life is hard enough. It’s one little shot. Please…

    • Chris August 24, 2016 / 1:14 am

      Thank you so much.

      I very much remember getting chicken pox and mumps, and suffered a great deal. I do not understand why anyone would want a child to suffer from preventable diseases.

  2. Anonymous November 24, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    There are many advances in medicine today, one of them being vaccinations. There are many parents who do not vaccinate their children due to many controversies going around about the horrible side effects and vaccinations not working. Before vaccinations, many individuals died do to deadly diseases that could not be cured. Vaccinations came into place and have saved millions of lives all around the world with immunizations. Although there may be mild reactions to vaccines, the benefits outweigh the risks 100%. Vaccinating children help the child not receive a deadly disease, help the community and other individuals who may not be able to receive vaccinations. The risks and effects of getting a disease are far more extensive and deadly than receiving a vaccine to help cure it. Vaccinations protect children and are helping protect future generations as well.

    -Maja Velasquez

  3. Maja Velasquez November 24, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    There are many advances in medicine today, one of them being vaccinations. There are many parents who do not vaccinate their children due to many controversies going around about the horrible side effects and vaccinations not working. Before vaccinations, many individuals died do to deadly diseases that could not be cured. Vaccinations came into place and have saved millions of lives all around the world with immunizations. Although there may be mild reactions to vaccines, the benefits outweigh the risks 100%. Vaccinating children help the child not receive a deadly disease, help the community and other individuals who may not be able to receive vaccinations. The risks and effects of getting a disease are far more extensive and deadly than receiving a vaccine to help cure it. Vaccinations protect children and are helping protect future generations as well.

    • Patrick McDonald December 1, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      We shoud all get vaccinated.

  4. Mariaan February 5, 2017 / 5:59 am

    My child has been diagnosed with autism. He was very sick since 6 weeks of age (one of the symptoms of autism is low immunity), so we were always behind on his vaccinations programme. He is luckily up to date now, but he has been showing signs of autism before his vaccinations, not after. Because of his natural lower immunity, he needs the extra protection even more than a child with a natural high immunity. And he was drinking breast milk….

    • MaGaO February 5, 2017 / 9:13 am

      Unfortunately milk antibodies only work in babies six months old or less, approximately.

    • j0bro February 6, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Just a small nuance: there seems to be a correlation between autism and a less effective immune system. That doesn’t imply that it is a symptom. It might be that the hereditary material causing autism can be linked to the same as for the immunity deficit, but it goes too far to say they are directly linked.

      The same can be said for the relation between ice cream sales and shark attacks during the summer. They may seem to coincide most of the times, but are in no way linked 😉

  5. Michael February 5, 2017 / 6:12 am

    By sheer coincidence, big pharmaceuticals are making billions from vaccinations which do more harm than good. Educate yourselves upon the disgusting vaccine ingredients. They include Mercury (Thimerosal), tissue from aborted tortured babies, MSG (Monosodium Glutomate), Aluminiium (contributing to Altzheimers), Amonium Suphate, animal tissues from horse, pig, sheep,monkeys etc), Formaldehyde
    http://liamscheff.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Vaccine-cocktail.html
    So called-cot deaths are an allergic response to the above mentioned poisons which bypass the body’s natural immunity via the needle. You have been warned.
    Doctors will NOT put their money where their mouths are by signing a physician’s warranty of vaccination safety indemnity waiver:
    http://preventdisease.com/news/12/050212_If-Your-Doctor-Insists-That-Vaccines-Are-Safe-Have-Them-Sign-This-Form.shtml

    • MaGaO February 5, 2017 / 10:29 am

      Michael, do you think Big Pharma is bigger than life insurance companies? Because it is not, and life insurance companies are notoriously adept at trying to avoid paying. One of the ways they do it is by covering vaccinations.
      You can find something disgusting, I guess, but its effects on your health will not change. For example, you will get more formaldehyde eating an apple than getting one vaccine.
      Thiomersal is not mercury, it contains mercury. And vaccines basically contain no thiomersal either “thanks” to anti-vaccine alarmism.
      MSG is innocuous at vaccine quantities: you will get much larger doses through food intake.
      I would really like you to check again yes that “tissue from tortured babies” issue.

    • Richard Daggett February 5, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      viewing one of his books, this is what the reviewer said of Liam Scheff, “Never before have I seen someone who is so willfully uninformed put pen to paper and publish their failings for the world to see. Never before have I seen someone be so blissfully ignorant of his or her own ineptitude. And never before have I seen someone suffer this badly from delusions of superiority.”

    • Chris February 5, 2017 / 2:59 pm

      Michael, you should be careful who you hang out with: The Foul-Mouthed Liam Scheff.

      “By sheer coincidence, big pharmaceuticals are making billions from vaccinations which do more harm than good.”

      Really? Then provide us the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease.

      Then when you a done with that, provide a valid economic schedule that it is cheaper to treat diseases like measles, Hib meningitis, etc than to prevent them with vaccinations. Here is a study to guide you on what data you need to provide:
      Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009

    • Evidenceorgetout February 5, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      provide us the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease.

      Still waiting

  6. Derek Main February 6, 2017 / 6:33 am

    Science has become a fraud – particularly for pharmaceuticals. One only need to look at the “science” Monsanto uses to justify their claims to know this. It is difficult to know which science to trust and which not to. In fact, it’s got to the point that if you want to know what the results of any scientific research will be, find out who funded it.

    • MaGaO February 6, 2017 / 8:01 am

      And yet here we are, alive thanks to that “fraud”. Funny, isn’t it?
      Also, you accuse Monsanto of science fraud. Is it related to vaccines?

  7. Erica February 7, 2017 / 12:12 am

    Really?!?? people who follow a shiny clean “proof” that vaccines are safe have a lot to learn. I only had limited vaccines and also had whooping cough at age 4. Was allowed to be around kids who had contracted mumps, measles, German measles, yellow jaunice and chicken pox on many occasions and I never contracted them as a child. Contracted chicken pox aged 21 after my daughter and my now ex boyfiend’s kid brother got it and my immunity was low.

    My son was born a perfect baby and yet suddenly displayed autism after the measles vaccines.

    Catch a wake up. Vaccines cause more damage than help and consider the fact that hygiene played a big part in how childhood diseases went down since the early 1950’s.

    • MaGaO February 7, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Sorry, the plural of anecdote is not statistics.
      Also, hygiene has nothing to do with many infectious diseases. Unless, of course, you assert that hygiene got better at the same time vaccines were introduced in every country because infection rates went down at that time.

    • Jeroen Brosens February 7, 2017 / 10:36 am

      I live in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, a region which was acclaimed as the ‘smartest region in the world’ a while ago. It is the European Silicon Valley, housing a slew of global high-tech companies.

      A lot of us here are highly educated and work in technological jobs where – a form of – autism can be called a gift even. There are numerous companies actively hiring autists to work as software testing professionals because of their excellent eye on detail and focus.

      Currently, our region has a 4 times higher autism rate than average. It has been researched (see linked article) in Cambridge that our region has developed into a higher autism rate over the years because of the concentration of ICT companies. My brother has it, my sister to a degree and – no surprise – both of my parents have aspects of it too. I work in the high tech business and are surrounded with similar colleagues as well.

      Also, our vaccination behaviour is no different from everyone else’s. We breed autism; it’s in our genes. Your baby boy may have shown signs of autism after he was vaccinated. That’s because autism starts to show when the cognitive skills start to develop, which happens to coincide with the moment that one gets vaccinated against child diseases. There is only a correlation, not a causality.

      Sources:
      http://www.brainport.nl/en/news-developments/brainport-regio-eindhoven-is-nieuwe-silicon-valley
      http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/diagnosed-autism-is-more-common-in-an-it-rich-region

    • j0bro February 7, 2017 / 10:37 am

      I live in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, a region which was acclaimed as the ‘smartest region in the world’ a while ago. It is the European Silicon Valley, housing a slew of global high-tech companies.

      A lot of us here are highly educated and work in technological jobs where – a form of – autism can be called a gift even. There are numerous companies actively hiring autists to work as software testing professionals because of their excellent eye on detail and focus.

      Currently, our region has a 4 times higher autism rate than average. It has been researched (see linked article) in Cambridge that our region has developed into a higher autism rate over the years because of the concentration of ICT companies. My brother has it, my sister to a degree and – no surprise – both of my parents have aspects of it too. I work in the high tech business and are surrounded with similar colleagues as well.

      Also, our vaccination behaviour is no different from everyone else’s. We breed autism; it’s in our genes. Your baby boy may have shown signs of autism after he was vaccinated. That’s because autism starts to show when the cognitive skills start to develop, which happens to coincide with the moment that one gets vaccinated against child diseases. There is only a correlation, not a causality.

      Sources:
      http://www.brainport.nl/en/news-developments/brainport-regio-eindhoven-is-nieuwe-silicon-valley
      http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/diagnosed-autism-is-more-common-in-an-it-rich-region

    • Evidenceorgetout February 7, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      “Vaccines cause more damage than help”

      Please present your evidence for that claim, other than unverifiable anecdote.

      • MaGaO February 7, 2017 / 4:14 pm

        Good luck with that request. I think this will be another case of “L’Oréal fallacy” (“because I’m worth it”) 🙂

        • Evidenceorbegone February 7, 2017 / 8:43 pm

          I’m stealing that and never giving you credit!!

          • MaGaO February 8, 2017 / 1:42 am

            You can’t steal what is freely given. Use it at your leisure 🙂

  8. mikrur February 8, 2017 / 11:10 am

    I have a question, there is this idea about cell strains of aborted babies being used in vaccines. My biology knowledge is minimal. Can someone explain how vaccines are made?

    • MaGaO February 22, 2017 / 8:33 am

      You may want to read https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/aborted-fetal-tissue-and-vaccines-combining-pseudoscience-and-religion-to-demonize-vaccines-2/
      If you are in a hurry, you will want to skip to the section named “Fetal cell lines and vaccines”.
      If you are really in a hurry, here is a condensed version: there were a couple foetal abortions (in the 60s) which provided cells to begin”cell lines”. These cell lines are used to grow some viruses (because it cannot be fine otherwise).
      Technically, yes: aborted babies were used. Two of them. In the 60s. And they were early foetuses. Even the Catholic Church considers the cell lines far enough removed from the abortions to accept these vaccines.
      I still recommend you read the link.

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