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

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

5,955 thoughts on “Dear parents, you are being lied to.

  1. Patsy Scott April 13, 2014 / 1:24 pm

    I believe 100 years ago people had very large families and expected to lose some of their children. It was sadly very common for children to die of these illnesses. Although I did not vaccinate my children I have changed my viewpoint as I have aged and I really never was able to explain how we have nearly (or have we completely?) eradicated polio which caused so much harm, not so very long ago. Just the other day I was looking at photos of children in iron lungs from 60 years ago.

  2. Jenny April 13, 2014 / 3:14 pm

    I am wondering, has there been children that have autism that have not had any vaccinations?

    • Anonymous April 13, 2014 / 8:43 pm

      They will tell you YES, of course, children who are not vaccinated have autism. Well, to that I say, if no vaccine, they had something that had heavy metals or some other poison at one time or another, because autism just don’t happen. They will tell you that the Amish have autistic kids, and that they don’t vaccinate, when in fact they have been forced to vaccinate and there are many underlying things with Amish people anyway, such as inbreeding, marrying cousins which is a whole other story. I read an article by a Medical Dr. some years ago…he had 4 children, the first 3 were vaccinated and they all ended up autistic…he figured it out, didn’t vaccinate the last child and he was fine. Doesn’t take Einstein to put two and two together. lol

      • moladood April 14, 2014 / 12:51 pm

        You do not sound at all like Einstein. Your evidence is anecdotal at best. The question is simple, do populations of non vaccinated kids also get autism. The answer is yes they do.

        I really like how if it is not a vaccine that did it, it must be something that gets added to the vaccine. It can’t be something entirely different that is causing all of it. It is this type of irrational thinking that makes you sound like a crazy person.

      • StillAliveThroughthePowerofDisco April 16, 2014 / 5:12 pm

        And of course being autistic is inherently terrible and autistic people shouldn’t exist. Aren’t you a lovely follower of god. I’m autistic and I get sick of people implying that it’s worse to have an autistic child than a dead child. And don’t you dare talk to me about god, people like you have so little respect for other people’s subjective experiences, you disgust me. I take medication for mental health issues and I really really need it to function and I will not take some arrogant egotist like you telling me that I should go off my meds that I need to be OK because “Big Pharma sheeple GOD”. Religion seriously hurt me and I absolutely do not trust it and I don’t trust you and you cannot make me. If by saying that you’re anti-Obama you mean to state that you think that the republican party is better then I have less than zero respect for you, forced pregnancy is rape and you’re OK with making a woman go through that if you support the republican party as it currently stands so why should I listen to anything you have to say, I’m not even saying I’m pro-Obama but damn right I’m not going to vote for someone who treats my genitals and reproductive system as state property. I’m aware that what I’m posting is somewhat off-topic but someone ought to stand up to people like this on humanistic, pro-equality grounds. I hope I did a good job of it.

        On the topic of vaccinations, I’m not in favour of taking the choice away from parents purely because there are some kids that really cannot have vaccines for medical reasons and I don’t want that opt-out ability taken away, but I do think that if you choose not to have your kid vaccinated because you believe that vaccination in general is ineffective and dangerous then you’re ignorant and putting your child and other children, not to mention people of all ages (and particularly those with autoimmune deficiencies like HIV and those caused by organ transplants) at risk.

      • Forced April 24, 2014 / 11:04 am

        I’m a full time mom now so I couldbe a bit out of the loop now that I’ve retired from practicing, but… As a nurse who used to practice in PA very close to Amish country…. I am very interested to know where you heard Amish are “forced” to vaccinate?As far as I can research no one in my state is forced to vaccinate. School districts may huff and puff and want to blow your house down over it, but its all tough talk. All anyone has to do is simply sign a form or write a letter saying they refuse based on a religiius belief or “strong conviction similar to a religious belief.” The conviction statement can be as simple as “my right as a parent.”
        P.S. I personally vaccinated thousands of children including my own ajd I can truthfully report I never saw an parent have to vaccinate their kids against their wishes.

    • elizabby April 13, 2014 / 10:37 pm

      Yes, heaps. The rate of autism is rising all over the world – even in Japan when a shortage of MMR meant that *no-one* got the vaccine for a few years and yet the autism rate continued to rise during that time. (Dr Thomas, Paediatrician)

  3. Ansel April 13, 2014 / 7:48 pm

    All your “science” is great.

    I guess as a scientist I don’t have to tell you that your measles citation lacks any real evidence. It touts the total number of death worldwide, when all of the deaths happen outside of western countries. Any research about these deaths cannot be definitive because the children that succumb to the disease are from third world countries where there is almost certainly other unhealthy things in their environment that comprise their immune system, like exposed sewage, etc. Pretty weak science.

    After seeing the subpar evidence that you uses to convince your readers in the first link, I read on a little more and noticed you called vaccines a “medicine” as in a noun. Medicine is used to treat disease, prevention is medicine the transitive verb (practice medicine). This makes me question the validity of all your claims even more.

    Lastly, you briefly discuss the issue of aluminum in vaccines. I haven’t done any research on that particular issue, but just from your arguments I’d have to question your stance. Specifically you equate oral intake with direct injection. These are two completely different issues and you comparing them as though they are the same is either ignorant or purposefully misleading.

    I hope in the future the “science” you rely on so much is more solid and that you give the articles that support your position with as much scrutiny that you give the anti-vaccine community.

    • Colin April 13, 2014 / 10:19 pm

      If you did the research, you’d find that “the body burden of aluminum from vaccines and diet throughout an infant’s first year of life is significantly less than the corresponding safe body burden of aluminum.”

      Similarly, you don’t have to do much more than Google “measles” to find out that it’s kind of a big deal. (Do you expect the author to put every possible fact on a silver platter for you? If you have the time to complain, you have the time to read.) Twenty percent of people with measles are hospitalized in the United States. Their pain and suffering is significant even if they don’t die (although one in a thousand will). Vaccines are what keep the absolute numbers low.

      Your grammatical point is . . . odd. It’s almost as if you’re reaching for whatever criticism you can dredge up. “Preventative medicine” is a thing. The OED includes preventative treatment in the definition of “medicine.” It’s an incredibly unimportant point, but for what it’s worth, you’re wrong.

    • priceless123 April 23, 2014 / 2:02 pm

      *slow clap*

  4. laura April 13, 2014 / 9:20 pm

    i don’t see any specification between injected vaccines and oral ones here, or did i miss it?

    both of my kids got the major schedule of vaccines but at some point along the way i was convinced to give my son the new rotavirus oral vaccine (they didn’t tell me it was oral, actually, i found that out as they were squirting it into his mouth). it was supposed to be a set of two or three done over a year (if i recall) and this was the first dose. about 12 days later my little guy was wicked sick, since it was after hours i took him to a pediatric urgent care that i hadn’t been to before. as i explained symptoms, and the doc noticed that my son had recently had a birthday, he put two-and-two together and asked if my son had gotten any vaccines lately and i confirmed the ones he had been given. the doctor told me this was a mild case of rotavirus, brought on by the oral vaccine. i told him i had heard that isn’t possible, he said in regular vaccines it isn’t a problem but in oral ones they use live virus. so it isn’t uncommon to get the illness it is supposed to prevent, but in a milder form. by the way, there really isn’t a “mild” form of rotavirus.

    at the next pediatric appointment the doctor started gearing up to give my son the next rotavirus vaccine and i said no thank you. they pressured me so i told them he got sick from the last one. the woman looked me in the eye and said that it wasn’t possible, to which i said i had a doctor at a pediatric urgent care (and gave her the address) inform me, in fact, that it was possible and did happen even though at first i did not believe him. then began the back-tracking. she changed words like “impossible” to “rare” and hurried to finish and leave the room. so now i know what it looks like when a doctor gets caught telling a lie.

    tl;dr – i’ve had medical confirmation and personal experience that oral vaccinations are not as safe as injected ones.

  5. Anonymous April 13, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    But don’t forget!! There is mercury in almost every vaccine… PLEASE explain to me, how injecting your body or your children’s body with mercury is good? We removed it from all our products, especially ones from China SO there wouldn’t be cases of poisoning. But don’t worry folks… it is totally cool to inject yourself with it. Oh please. Spare me.

    • Colin April 13, 2014 / 10:43 pm

      Are you sure there’s “mercury in almost every vaccine”? Have you perhaps been lied to?

    • a concerned man of science April 14, 2014 / 9:25 am

      Yes there is mercury in vaccines but it is a compound. It may be dangerous in its original form but when it is mixed it no longer becomes dangerous. Don’t believe me? Chlorine in its pure form is dangerous but people use it every day in the form of sodium chloride (salt)

      • Concerned Mom April 16, 2014 / 3:25 pm

        I don’t believe you… can you provide any citation on this? Proof that what you say about mercury is true?

          • Colin April 17, 2014 / 4:04 pm

            Concerned Mom, those links both discuss elemental and methyl mercury. Are you familiar with the distinction between that and ethyl mercury? Someone reading your links, without understanding that, would be badly misinformed.

            • moladood April 28, 2014 / 11:45 am

              Let naturally occurring compounds that have always existed in humans set their minds free? Sure, seems to have gotten us this far.

              And your link is dead, maybe because whatever is was is baseless and fraudulent.

              • gewisn April 28, 2014 / 12:02 pm

                The link worked for me yesterday, but I see it isn’t working today.
                You can read my description of it in my reply to it.
                William Davis and I have both calmed some and are conversing in a civil manner and I think it’s leading to a valid concern about the control of the funding of science. I’ve put the shouting (caps) and insults about pro-vax aside in order to continue the conversation. I have no right to ask anything of you, but I’m going to: let’s not respond to the shouting/insults above for now.
                However, I’d certainly appreciate others’ thoughts in that conversation about his concern regarding how some science may be controlled (or buried or not even permitted) by private interests.
                I hope you don’t take my request as any attempt to silence you.

    • moladood April 14, 2014 / 2:07 pm

      There is mercury in food but I guess that doesn’t matter.

      • Anonymous April 14, 2014 / 2:30 pm

        Sure there is mercury in the foods now, because they spray the air so heavy duty, it filters down to the growing food. I know people who have had it analyzed and as one SCIENTIST friend of mine said about a strange cob web on the ground, (that he analyzed) spiders do NOT build aluminum webs. So, all these heavy metals, plus the viruses they are spraying is giving you all triple doses of what you already had in the vaccine, not to mention, heavy metals are in huge amounts of drugs. I also know one who scraped crap off her fence, had it analyzed and then went to the News with it. She is now in hiding, because they threatened her…I don’t even know where she is. It was full of viruses, vaccine ingredients, metals, etc. And so now, you tell me you trust those people, the very ones who want to kill you or make you sick?? LOL

  6. elizabby April 13, 2014 / 10:42 pm

    Many thanks for writing this clear, concise and to-the-point article, without resorting to the inflammatory language that sometimes surrounds this debate. I will direct parents of my patients to read this article and your links – thanks for putting it all together in one place! Cheers, Dr Elizabeth Thomas (Paediatrician).

    (And just in case anyone was wondering, yes, all my children, myself and my husband are all fully immunized including for the flu. As are all the families of all the paediatricians I know.)

  7. Tony Thompson April 14, 2014 / 12:58 am

    Dr. Raff,
    I’m not a parent, but public health affects everyone. There is a lot of misinformation and outright lies surrounding vaccination and it can be hard for a layperson to evaluate the information they read. The links you’ve included in this post make it a good resource. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out.

    • moladood April 23, 2014 / 9:22 am

      This is very misleading rebuttal. I will post here since that comments section is moderated and does not encourage both sides presenting data. They are censoring comments. There are many factual errors stated. If you trust a farmer, photographer to do your research, maybe you should go see a photographer when you get ill.

      A couple points against the link you sent. The math around measles is not a great point. She is using todays data (ex. 159 cases which is in a society of high vaccination and low incidents) to justify not vaccinating. That is counter intuitive. The reason the rate is low is because of vaccination. Cases are increasing as vaccination rates go down so you need to look at pre vaccination rates. Measles is very contagious, about 90% exposed will get it. Here is an interactive map showing cases on the rise worldwide.

      She also interpreted the baboon study incorrectly that was pointed out to someone who read it. She took a single paragraph and concluded that the study showed people who became vaccinated had the active virus and were infecting others. This is 100% inaccurate and false. She has since added an addendum with numerous corrections to her rebuttal. The fact is that the study actually showed a comparison between two vaccines, the acellular and whole vaccine. The conclusions was:

      acellular – if baboons got this vaccine but then were infected with the full virus, they would not show symptoms but could potentially transmit to someone else. This is no different than someone non vaccinated getting it in terms of transmission. At least the vaccinated person is not sick.

      whole – if baboons got this vaccine and then exposed, they did not show symptoms and they didn’t carry or have the ability to infect.

      The way I see this is acellular is a win (no symptoms for vaccinated) and whole is a win-win (no symptoms, can’t carry).

      This rebuttal seems convincing first read through but a little digging, a little common sense dictate that this person is not qualified nor competent to be providing guidance. You should be questioning her conclusions. If you want to do research, read the full studies. Do not settle for summaries or cherry picked data or short quotes taken out of context.

      • Concerned Mom April 23, 2014 / 11:02 am

        “acellular – if baboons got this vaccine but then were infected with the full virus, they would not show symptoms but could potentially transmit to someone else. This is no different than someone non vaccinated getting it in terms of transmission. At least the vaccinated person is not sick.

        whole – if baboons got this vaccine and then exposed, they did not show symptoms and they didn’t carry or have the ability to infect.

        The way I see this is acellular is a win (no symptoms for vaccinated) and whole is a win-win (no symptoms, can’t carry).”

        No, both lose. The whole vaccine isn’t used on children in the US because of bad reactions, correct? So most children get the acellular version. If that version potentially allows the recipient to become a carrier, that right there (if not all of the other information that has already been shared in this thread) blows the cry of “but herd immunity!!!” right out of the water. In other words, those who cannot receive the vaccine can then be exposed to the virus (or a version of it) by those recently vaccinated. I’ve been saying this since I first read that study, and for some reason those arguing keep dancing around this issue. People scream about “herd immunity”, but then say “at least the kid that got the vaccine won’t get the disease” (which isn’t necessarily true, since many vaccinated children actually DO get the disease anyway).

        Please, if you’re going to say “at least the vaccinated person is not sick”, please don’t use the “herd immunity” argument.

        • moladood April 23, 2014 / 11:44 am

          My point isn’t really about the study or what is or is not happening with baboons vs humans. My main point is that the data was completely misinterpreted and presented to mislead. The study was used to incorrectly support a statement that said “people get the active virus through vaccination and spread it and thus vaccinations are evil” which is completely false. This is what happens when people cherry pick a statement or some correlated data to support a belief.

          To your other point, you are absolutely correct, because they can still carry (if exposed to the real one after a vaccine) it does could impact herd immunity but I am not an expert on this vaccine enough to know.

          I am not blinded by a belief to know that everything is not 100% perfect and never will be. I don’t base these decisions on beliefs or intuition which I find that many do (stabbing and poison must be bad right?). I look at the science and will there be the odd screw up or test that shows more work is needed, absolutely. That doesn’t mean I want to go back to a world where disease runs rampant.

        • Scott Nelson April 23, 2014 / 12:46 pm

          For those who care to read the paper for themselves, its available online ( Authors conclusions include “… However, it is important to note that our data in combination with human data show that vaccination with aP provides excellent protection from severe pertussis (52). Therefore, any short-term plan for addressing the resurgence of pertussis should include continued efforts to enhance aP immunization. However, to protect the most vulnerable members of the population and achieve optimal herd immunity, it will be necessary to develop a vaccination strategy that effectively blocks pertussis infection and transmission. ” We may need to go back to the whole cell vaccine, because it does provide excellent protection, due to it stimulating a recently discovered T-cell class.

  8. Katrina Tucker April 14, 2014 / 4:39 am

    I find this article hateful in the extreme. I have a daughter with multiple disabilities, one of problems is that she has a brain haemorrhage at 4 months after the second pertussis vaccine in the triple antigen. A week after the vaccine one side of her face dropped and one eye became turned, it wiped out one side of her brain. It took me 6 years to teach her to walk and she still cannot speak. At the time the health professional who vaccined her did not believe anything was wrong and told me my baby was upset because I was upset. This was after a night of frantic night of bathing paracetamol and and nursing I took her home. I should have taken her to hospital of course but I was exhausted and young and tired and her temperature had came down somewhat. Something went wrong on the middle of the next night and she never recovered. Despite many years of the hard physical work by me, and constant intervention by multiple therapists all privately paid what have we got 23 years later :Today she has a terrific meltdown, oh did I forget to say that she has autism too, and did a few thousand dollars damage to the house, she is becoming more violent, despite medications of a particularly high dosage.

    OK have vaccines but pay parents for the damage that happens, just admit that some kids are going to have reactions and compensate them. Tell the truth! Some people can’t even take paracetamol because of the reaction. There is a gene for severe drug reactions why not test the the kids of sensitive parents and find out if a vaccine reaction is likely instead of the insistence on vaccination.

    • Anonymous April 16, 2014 / 5:24 pm

      im sooo sorry to read about your child. my son is also a vaccine injury and we were also not paid to help with the high costs of therapy and treatments.. We have autoimmune conditions in our family and his vaccines caused his brain to attack itself (autoimmune) and he had brain surgery to stop the resulting seizures leaving him hemiplegic. i think your point of testing kids and familys to pinpoint the problem in our childrens reactions rather then the denial in this thread would be the logical thing to do.

      but then again that would be admitting there actually is something wrong

    • Dr. Anonymous April 18, 2014 / 11:14 pm

      As a doctor, I empathize with your experience. That is a horrendous ordeal to have to suffer through and by all means avoidable. However, the solution is not as cut and dried as it seems. Yes, there are genes that can be sequenced and detected, however, this is a failure of the healthcare system as a whole, and not doctors alone. Doctors are only as effective as the current scientific evidence is when it comes to treating diseases. There was a time when doctors would treat syphilis with mercury, because that is what the scientific evidence at the time pointed towards as effective treatment. The ironic thing is that the gene sequencing technology you are asking for exists. The sad truth is it isn’t feasible economically for most families because it still costs thousands of dollars. But in this case the scientists are not to blame. It is the bureaucracy which allows the insurance companies to dictate what will and will not happen and unfortunately the public puts up with it because they neither ask for change or seek change. Insurance companies refuse to cover gene sequencing because it is a “medically unnecessary” procedure. You know who should be deciding what is and isn’t medically necessary? Your doctor and yourself together. Not some politician or finance jock in an office somewhere with a numbered file/folder with your picture on it, whose only job it is to make sure you don’t get value for service. What you need to do is get rid of the insurance system and let free market economics speak directly to health care. You would see a better quality of care and definitely, faster progression in technology to develop safe and effective treatments. While it is sad that Medicine did not help your child as it was intended to, this is not a purely scientific problem. Science finds effective solutions, but governments are slow to adopt them and give them to the general public.

  9. Anonymous April 14, 2014 / 5:07 am

    I hope you anti-vaccers’ kids get polio and measels

    • Anonymous April 14, 2014 / 6:53 pm

      You are an idiot, plain and simple and of Satan. I won’t even resort to your level by telling you I hope you kids get polio and measles. FYI, I had measles, mumps, chickenpox, etc. all naturally, no vaccine, nothing and now I am immune and stronger for it and don’t even recall being very sick. When I had the mumps, only thing that hurt was one side of my face a little bit. And guess what, my kids won’t get these diseases because they are all grown, not vaccinated and healthy as horses and they’ve had said diseases you just mentioned. lol Weigh what you say idiot!

      • Anonymous April 15, 2014 / 8:13 pm

        You claim to be a christian but here you are calling people names. Is that very christian like? No, it’s not. Here you are attacking other people. That’s not christian like either. Maybe you need to rethink things before you type them! We are taught to follow in God’s image and God loves everyone… but you are hating on everyone on here. Shame on you!

  10. crystal April 14, 2014 / 9:16 am

    I have to say my daughter was dignosed with autism before she even had her first vaccine. So no I do not beleive vaccines cause autism. I do beleive in gettin ur children vaccinated as I have 3 children and none have ever been sick. Autism is hereditary and my daughter is autistic and is that way cuzof her dads blood line

    • armothe April 14, 2014 / 9:01 pm

      Maybe it was a result of your vaccination….

      • Max McKenzie April 14, 2014 / 10:00 pm

        Read the quote again. Crystal clearly stated her daughter was diagnosed autistic BEFORE she had her first vaccination.

        • armothe April 15, 2014 / 6:35 am

          Read my reply again….”result of YOUR vaccination”. That is to say, the mother’s vaccination. While I do believe that genetics allow for a predisposition to autism, the cause has something more to do with the disruption of early brain development in the womb. Just as a mother wouldn’t drink alcohol or use drugs while pregnant, vaccines could also be problematic. Just something worth considering.

          • Anonymous April 15, 2014 / 7:31 am

            YES, the damage can be passed on through the placenta of a vaccinated Mom. AND, as I said before, they pretty much start jabbing them out of the womb. It’s like which came first, the chicken or the egg. Which came first, jab or autism?

        • Concerned Mom April 16, 2014 / 3:49 pm

          Clearly you misunderstood the response… the commenter meant the MOTHER’S vaccination. Pregnant women are routinely vaccinated for various things. I was urged to get vaccinated against Rubella, which as it turns out is a huge no-no according to The March of Dimes website. I refused, of course.

      • Anonymous April 15, 2014 / 7:24 am

        Just curious, since they pretty much give kids vaccines out of the womb, how was your Daughter diagnosed with autism before her first vaccines. They can’t diagnose that in babies properly?

        • armothe April 15, 2014 / 10:36 am

          I think only HebB is given at birth, the rest begin at two months. However, Autism cannot be diagnosed any earlier than 4 months (and more likely months after)- beyond the schedule of DTP, Flu Type B, Poliovirus, Pneumococal & Rotavirus. MMR, HepA should be given at 12 months, but I have heard cases of MMR being given earlier; usually due to travel.

  11. TheGUY April 14, 2014 / 3:16 pm

    Vaccines protect and save. Those who do not vaccinate their children should not have kids, they should have their kids taken and given to someone who cares.

    Those who believe there is poison in such lifesaving things are idiots.

    • Anonymous April 14, 2014 / 4:51 pm

      May I ask who programmed you? Vaccines save, vaccines protect, vaccines saves lives….blah, blah, blah. MIND your own business. Those who do NOT vaccinate love their kids much more than you love yours because they want them healthy. I’d not trade a well child for a sick one, that’s for certain. LOL One more time, It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! Stay busy jabbing your own children!

    • Concerned Mom April 16, 2014 / 3:45 pm

      All I can say to you is read the inserts that come with the vaccines. Then look up each ingredient on the EPA website and the CDC website. Then read the list of adverse reactions on each of the vaccine inserts.

      • Scott Nelson April 16, 2014 / 3:47 pm

        Would you also look at the rate and severity of having the disease in making a decision?

        • Concerned Mom April 17, 2014 / 3:41 pm

          Yes, I have. All of the generations of my family prior to mine have had all those childhood diseases, and come through them fine. No one in the last few generations had died from, or had serious health issues from any of them. My children were extremely healthy up until they were vaccinated, and the vaccine inserts actually list the diseases they’re meant to prevent as possible reactions to the vaccines. So, if going by genetic history, family hasn’t had issue with the actual disease, but I and others closely related to me, and now my child, have had numerous reactions to the vaccines, it really makes the choice very easy for me.

  12. Anonymous April 15, 2014 / 4:23 am

    I’m standing on your side. I should have written this earlier but I have translated your post into Japanese and shared on my blog. I hope this will help Japanese mothers and children too.
    Thank you very much for what you wrote.

  13. Karl April 15, 2014 / 6:05 am

    I’m not saying that vaccines are good or bad. The problem often is that the studies that are often cited in favor of vaccines are quite laughable from a mathematician/statistical point of view because they are made to prove one thing and they are heavily leaning and like that they make very easy targets. I don’t know where the truth lies but a lot more truly independent studies are needed.

    I have vaccinated my kids for most things but I have never been vaccinated for anything myself and I will probably keep it that way. After all, I’m the healthiest person I know (might die tomorrow but so far). But it’s a very difficult decision for a parent as both sides seem to have valid arguments and in whatever direction things should go wrong, it’s very very difficult for the parent to live with the consequences.

  14. Anonymous April 15, 2014 / 10:51 am

    I have teenagers – all vaccinated since they were babies. I have been observing this debate for years, and sometimes wondered if my son, who has Tourette’s, developed this disorder as the result of the immunizations. He did not – it is genetic. It has now been diagnosed in other family members who were not immunized, so I am not wallowing in guilt anymore. It is a humbling experience to raise children, and just about the time my husband and I thought we got it right and were feeling pretty proud and pleased with our children, life threw us a curve ball, and we were back to second guessing ourselves and looking for answers and advice about what was best for our children.
    I certainly respect people who make choices for their children that are different than the ones we made for ours, but I do have to comment on one general theme that I have observed especially regarding this particular issue. It is a scientifically proven fact that immunization works 100% in the vast majority of cases. That is why we have public immunization clinics. It is to prevent these horrible illnesses that can be so devastating to so many people. It is not a government conspiracy. That is simply illogical and ludicrous. The general theme I have observed regarding the militant stance that so many parents (and I have to say this….forgive me….) particularly mothers…..who chose not to immunize……seem to radiate pride and and an almost palpable rebellious zeal that really leads me to question what is really going on behind those rants that so many of them love to write and post online. It is a spirit of self sufficiency that really does not acknowledge that God is in control of all things, including allowing us to discover the knowledge of immunizations. Generally there is not much humility or submission of their convictions at all. They seem to gather fellow believers around themselves and everyone in the gang supports their collective religious zeal. I can imagine that if I was part of the Anti-Immunization club with other moms, I would feel pretty intimidated about ever changing my mind on the matter. I can also imagine secretly taking my children to be immunized but not telling my fellow club members for fear I would be cast out and shunned. Do you see? This has become their cult….the cult of the Anti-Immunizers. It is largely based on information that has never been proven, but there is certainly a business opportunity in telling people what they want to hear. As for me, I am grateful for medical science – it saved me from dying in childbirth, it saved my children from dying in childbirth, and it saved my husband from death a few years ago. God is the author of all science, and science is very cool. Don’t hate science because ultimately science will continually lead us back to the existence of God.

    • Andy AE. April 15, 2014 / 11:41 am

      Your comment is wonderful. You eloquently showed both the innocent source for many anti-vaccine people start with, but also how research and an open mind help to find what is best in the long run. With all the combative and negative comments around (including my own occasionally) I thought that your comment was great at not making anyone out to be evil and supporting both science and religion, because you recognize that they do not have to be mutually exclusive. I hope you have a wonderful day

  15. Harry April 15, 2014 / 9:34 pm

    Wow… the amount of truculently ignorant people here is staggering…

    The Anonymous guy (?) who keeps calling others “sheeple” is so annoying… “I never vaccinated my kids… not a sniffle…” well I don’t believe that, but he doesn’t see it phony logic. Try this one, pal:

    I rode motorcycles for years without a helmet, and never once got injured. Conversely, I know many riders who’ve been maimed, even killed, and THEY were wearing helmets.

    Therefore: helmets are a bad for you.


    Thanks for the original article, Dr. Raff. Shame this knowledge is wasted, and even OPPOSED, by people with logic deficiencies, or religious confusion…

  16. Anonymous April 16, 2014 / 1:22 am

    I clicked on the references but only found an abstract with no way to read the full article

    • Jennifer Raff April 16, 2014 / 9:33 am

      Give me your email and the reference you want and I’ll send you the paper.

  17. Amanda April 16, 2014 / 1:29 am

    I clicked on the reference for “3 million children are saved annually by vaccination”. It took me to an abstract only, not the full paper, of a paper that quotes other people’s research that “estimates that 3 million children are saved annually” and no full references to go to. If you want credibility, when you reference you need the link to go to the FULL article of the actual study done the study that you are claiming, not somebody else citing it in an abstract without the full paper or reference. So far I am underwhelmed.

      • Amanda April 16, 2014 / 3:52 pm

        Nope, that’s the UNICEF web page with a table of numbers, not the link to a scientific paper where these figures were obtained.

        • Max McKenzie April 17, 2014 / 9:36 am

          If you are of the belief that UNICEF go around making up statistics then you aren’t going to believe the actual research paper either.

          Besides the UNICEF article gives the source.

          Let’s look at Measles. In 1980, 2.6 million people died of Measles. In 2012, 122,000 people died of measles.

          1. Simons E et al. Assessment of the 2010 global measles mortality reduction goal: results
          from a model of surveillance data. Lancet 2012; published online April 24. DOI:10.1016/
          2. Levels & trends in child mortality report 2011: Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency
          Group for Child Mortality Estimation. New York, NY, United Nations Children’s Fund, 2011
          (, accessed 11 March 2012).
          3. Wolfson LJ et al. Estimates of measles case fatality ratios: a comprehensive review of
          community-based studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2009, 38:192–205.
          4. The millennium development report 2009. New York, NY, United Nations, 2009 (http://mdgs.

          5. Van den Ent M et al. Measles mortality reduction contributes substantially to reduction
          of all cause mortality among children less than five years of age, 1990–2008. Journal of
          Infectious Diseases, 2011, 203:S18–S23.
          6. Wolfson L et al. Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural
          history modelling study. Lancet, 2007, 369:191–200

  18. Bev C. April 16, 2014 / 7:43 am

    My personal experience:
    I’m a 20 year old girl who was given the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) when I was in 10th grade. 15 or 16 years old. I became bedridden with a fever of 104 degrees. The first injections had make me puke, and run a slight fever, but the last of the three almost killed me. I had to be put on an IV because I couldn’t even keep water in my stomach and I’ve never seen my mother so torn apart for allowing me to get that vaccine.

    Honestly though, even after experiencing something so horrible- I think that vaccines are only meant for good. I don’t get flu shots because at my age and health because I don’t feel that the pros of not getting sick outweigh the cons of injecting who knows what into me. When I become a senior citizen though- (if the flu is still around in 40 years haha) I won’t be fearful of the vaccines.

    • cleverlyconfused April 20, 2014 / 3:17 pm

      Bev, the flu vaccine can also reduce the chance of you spreading the flu to others who are at high risk of serious illness or death – but who cannot get vaccinated.
      How many others being protected would convince you to get vaccinated? What’s the number?
      20? 10? 2?

    • moladood April 17, 2014 / 10:35 am

      Sid – what I find interesting is the link you sent has moderation turned on. Instead of having a debate, the comments are strictly controlled as to what posts get shown and which do not.

      I find many of the links in this comment section that are anti-vaxx lead to holistic sites selling products or click bait for online advertising revenue. Anti-vaxx is also big business except without the science. When you remove the science, you remove the research and the biggest cost of doing business.

  19. zinniamars April 17, 2014 / 7:34 am

    Hi There, I just wanted to let you know that your article helped me “seal the deal” on switching to the pro-vaccination team. I’ve always believed in the role vaccines played to eliminate disease threats in the past, but when my oldest was born, it was right around the time when that autism link rumor started, so we held off except for times when there was what we perceived as a very real threat (example-tetanus from a rusty nail). It was easier to just not think about it for the most part. The idea of figuring out how to even begin (either research or the shots themselves) is very daunting when you don’t have a regular relationship with a doctor (we moved a lot when the kids were young).

    After my youngest just spent a week in bed with the flu, and then finding out there are active outbreaks of measles and pertussis nearby to us, I started to think that maybe I should be looking into this again. And then I found your article, with all the glorious research I could ever need, right in front of me. All three of my girls are going to get vaccinated in the next few weeks. The appointments have been made.

    It may sound stupid, but an honest fear of mine was how I would be treated at the doctor’s office (would they shame me, or think I am stupid or wacky? trivial, but a concern nonetheless). I am pleased to report that the doctor’s office people are being very nice and respectful and not once have they made me feel like a fool. Also, the offices have special charts to figure out how to start the process regardless of the age (again, another “duh” but something I was worried about, with my oldest being 14).

    To other parents like me: it’s ok to change your mind or your beliefs. I did what I thought was best for my kids, and I will continue to do what’s best. And in this case, the thought of them laid up with the measles or coughing so bad their lips turn blue really is the bigger threat. If you have super anti-vaccine friends, they’ll understand. If they don’t, do you really want someone so closed minded that they refuse to believe the facts right in front of them in your life anyway? Probably not.

    • Jennifer Raff April 17, 2014 / 9:21 am

      I appreciate hearing that so much! Thank you.

    • anon April 17, 2014 / 10:06 pm

      hi, please bne aware thet the whooping cough vax is having a high failure rate, many vaccinated are contracting it, it also has a high adverse reaction, so wont neccessarily protect your kids and they may well pass it on to thers.

    • Max Riethmuller April 17, 2014 / 12:05 pm

      “Due to the fact that this blog was guest written, comments are closed.”


      • moladood April 17, 2014 / 1:49 pm

        Yes, there are a few sites with attempts to contradict but comments are closed or moderated to not allow an open discussion. What is even worse is that many other links to anti-vaccine arguments are covered in ads for holistic products. Big pharma it would appear is not the only one making money.

    • mike vlachos June 12, 2014 / 2:39 am

      Stephanie, one of the points that your link tries to make is that measles are only deadly in certain areas, none of which are here in the US. There is a serious logic problem with that.

      How can a disease be deadly to humans only in certain areas. Especially in today’s highly mobile world? The second logic fallacy is best demonstrated by example. I am a medic, I am very highly trained to prevent Cardiac Arrests from being fatal. Does this mean that a Coronary Artery Disease is no longer dangerous because we have access to medics pretty much everywhere in america? To answer that the national average for Cardiac Arrests with a happy ending is about 30~40%.More often than not we save a body, and hope that it gives the family some closure.

      The measles are no less deadly simply because the medical professional (most of whom are firmly on the side of vaccinations btw) are much better at preventing death.

      Now ask how much an ER visit costs, use of a cath lab and the stents they use, or how much it costs to get a CABG (coronary artery bypass graph). Then compare that cost with the cost of eating better, or taking a few pills to lower your cholesterol.

  20. Bec April 17, 2014 / 3:44 pm

    Out of interest, anti-vaccine parents, if your child was going to a developing country where there is a much higher risk of falling ill from diseases such as Hepatitis, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Meningitis and Rabies, would you allow them to have vaccines against these?

  21. charlie April 18, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    So, after this was written it became national news that whooping cough vaccine is no longer effective. That vaccinated children are not immune as the disease has mutated.

    The same happens with flu every year, it mutates. Tamiflu, which only a few years ago was the best thing since sliced bread, has been proven innefective and only delays symptoms up to half a day, rather than provide any real resistance.

    Antibiotics are becoming ineffective because of herd usage, and disease mutation.

    Pharmaceuticals are a ticking time bomb. Tests never show the long term effect. My mother ate thalidomide while pregnant with me, which is probably the cause of my spinal defect that is now causing me issues 50 years later. Yet we have no idea how this might affect my own offspring.

    It is not about research or proof that they work. It is about how long for, and what happens next? Nature always finds a way.

    The liars are those who claim effectiveness when there cannot possibly be long term research over generations of humans to see the true outcome.

    There is no causal proof that vaccines work. Many health practises have improved alongside the mass vaccination schemes, mostly our understanding of hygiene, which could equally, or even more likely, be the true cause of reduced infection.

    Non-vaccinated children are not getting sick more than vaccinated. This one fact really needs to be thought more deeply about.

    • Joe Seatter April 18, 2014 / 6:25 pm

      Except that there is extraordinary evidence that they do work. Yes, sanitation an hygiene also help, but unless you believe that we only learned to wash off dyptheria in the 1920s, and had to wait until the 50s before we figured out how to wash off polio and measles, and the 1990s for chicken pox, it’s very clear that vaccines are highly effective.

      The pertussis vaccine is effective, it’s simply not as effective as the previous whole-cell vaccine, and doesn’t seems to provide a shorter term immunity. It also has far less severe side effects when compared to the old DTwP vaccine. Those who receive the acellular vaccine are still receive substantial protection from pertussis. There are some cases in which they may become short-term asymptomatic carriers, and pass on the virus to the unvaccinated, but that is not the same as the vaccine not working, and has nothing to do with the bacteria mutating.

      Antibiotics and vaccines work though entirely different mechanisms. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are certainly a problem, but that has no bearing on the efficacy of vaccines, or the lack of risk of a widespread vaccination program.

      • Joe Seatter April 18, 2014 / 6:26 pm

        in the second paragraph, it should be “and seems to provide”, not “and doesn’t seems to provide”

  22. Caitlin April 19, 2014 / 5:54 pm

    The link you posted did not take me to the research study for the pneumococcal vaccine. Can you please send the article? Could you post some other research that is not written by a doctor who has ties with Merck? That biased research should be taken with a grain of salt. Do you not feel the other components in vaccines are unsafe, such as the egg proteins and formaldehyde? In order for a vaccine to truly be safe each individual component should be tested. I would like to see the research you have found on this. I have not seen any. Lastly, the VAERS is underreported so it makes sense that it would look as if vaccines are not harmful. What are your thoughts on this under reporting?

    • Colin April 20, 2014 / 9:40 pm

      I’m not the author, so I can’t be positive, but I think this is the paper she’s referring to. I found it by googling the number of participants in the study and “pneumococcal.”

      What ties with Merck are you referring to? How do you think they would bias a doctor? There are good reasons to be careful of author bias, but it’s also possible to use it as a blindfold, an excuse not to consider good information that happens to run counter to your preconceptions.

      Why do you think the amount of formaldehyde in vaccines is harmful? Is there any research supporting that view? Why do you think VAERS is underreported? You are demanding a lot of detailed information to counter some very vague and poorly-supported concerns.

      • Caitlin April 21, 2014 / 8:08 am

        Colin, thank you for posting the paper. I was not able to access it when I clicked on it, and I look forward to checking it out.

        Dr. Paul Offit (also know as Dr. Paul “The Profit” Offit) wrote the 2 published articles (“Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Vaccines Contain Harmful Preservatives, Adjuvants, Additives, or Residuals?” and “The Problem With Dr Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule”), and it states at the end of these papers that he has ties with Merck. My second master’s degree is in the Health/Science field, and I have taken a class on analyzing research studies. However, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand that there is a personal financial interest there.

        Biased research is not an excuse but a fact that you should consider before believing everything you read in these articles. This is not good science.

        My questions are valid and specific. No where did I say the dose of formaldehyde in vaccines is harmful; I was asking. If you think the VAERS is not underreported, you might want to think again because it is stated on their site: “Underreporting” is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS.”

        • Colin April 21, 2014 / 1:02 pm

          That’s two articles out of an enormous body of literature–much of it cited in this article–supporting the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Offit may have profited from a vaccine, but given that he’s an infectious disease doctor it doesn’t seem to have biased him. I’m unaware of any infectious disease specialist who doesn’t endorse vaccination.

          Meanwhile, your source for this alleged bias is Mercola? The article you linked to has a giant banner at the top: “WE’LL MATCH ANY PRICE On Mercola Brand Products.”

          Offit is apparently listed on one rotavirus vaccine (there are at least two). He doesn’t get richer by persuading parents that the flu, measles, and other vaccines that are actually at the heart of the anti-vaxer complaints. Mercola, on the other had, absolutely does profit from spreading fear about vaccines. Your standards seem extraordinarily lopsided.

          • Caitlin April 21, 2014 / 7:00 pm

            If an author is receiving fees from a company who has an interest in disproving any link between mercury exposure and developmental disorders, there is a bias. It is hard to keep a truly open mind, especially if the author has built his career on a certain position being correct. Even with new data coming out, it can be hard to be objective, and even in the best scientists an unconscious bias can exist.

            I rest my case. As much as I sense you think I am anti-vaccine, I am not. I fall in the gray area. Some things are not so black and white, and I think it’s important to hear both sides. I hope you and others will learn to do that too. Good luck to you!

          • Colin April 21, 2014 / 8:28 pm

            On the one hand, you want to discount Offit’s work because he allegedly receives money for an unrelated vaccine; on the other, you’re linking directly to the Mercola marketplace. I think your standards are imbalanced; there’s such a thing as a false equivalence.

    • Colin April 19, 2014 / 9:46 pm


      I would say rather than an excellent rebuttal it’s an excellent example of the lies Dr. Raff is talking about. I describe a few of them in this followup post. I hope you’ll take the time to read it, and seriously consider two things:

      First, the author of that piece is still lying to her readers. The vaccine court has never ruled that there’s a causative link between vaccines and autism, nor have “countless” courts and vaccine inserts copped to such a link. These aren’t matters of opinion, but simple falsehoods. She knows these things are false, she knows that she can’t defend her statements, and she knows she doesn’t have to–her anti-vax readers won’t hold her to a higher standard of ethical conduct, and her pro-vax readers aren’t allowed to speak.

      Which is the second thing I’d like you to consider. The author of that piece, to judge by the hanging threads there and reports here, is still deleting comments to prevent any discussion of those falsehoods on her own blog. You had to come here to find out about them. Had you not, she would have intentionally misled you as to some fairly important points.

      I understand that you probably agree more with the Living Whole perspective than that of Dr. Raff (not to mention pediatricians, epidemiologists, and the rest of the scientific community). But please consider those two points. Of these two articles, one is telling the truth. One is lying. One welcomes open discussion of the facts. One suppresses it.

      Only one of these authors is trustworthy. Lies are never an excellent rebuttal to the truth.

      • priceless123 April 23, 2014 / 6:52 pm

        You welcome open discussion? You call your responses WELCOMING discussion? Your position and those who hold it alone are the speakers of truth? LOL

        • Colin April 23, 2014 / 7:18 pm

          Yes, I do. When someone makes a substantive point I try to respond in substance, rather than just making fun or deleting their comment or cursing at them. The result is a conversation, not an echo chamber.

          People can and do disagree with me in good faith. In this case, the article she cited wasn’t written in good faith–it misrepresents basic facts in order to scare people away from vaccinations. Welcoming discussion doesn’t preclude calling a lie a lie.

        • Jennifer Raff April 23, 2014 / 8:55 pm

          Contrast my comments section with that of the “rebuttal” piece. In which are criticisms and dissenting opinions freely allowed? In which are they prevented from being posted? Yes, I do welcome discussion, and I read every single comment.

        • Notnearlysoanonymous April 23, 2014 / 11:47 pm

          No, the data and the mathematics to analyze it are the source of truth.
          Proclamations of what one wants to be true are no use to anyone, even the one proclamming.
          An education in a related field is an enormous help when trying to know who/what to pay attention to.

    • Anonymous April 20, 2014 / 3:49 pm

      If there was a “like” button I would hit it. Thanks for posting this.

      • Anonymous April 20, 2014 / 4:18 pm

        …To Rock8892’s posting that is.

  23. karenela April 20, 2014 / 6:12 pm

    so why don’t any adults get vaccines if they think they’re so valuable? also, there’s a diff between natural and false immunity. that should be explored further. I have talked to people who’ve had measles, mumps, etc. they said it was no big deal.

    • Colin April 20, 2014 / 9:42 pm

      It’s not “false” immunity if it immunizes the child against disease; it wasn’t “false” immunity that got smallpox and polio under control.

  24. Cindy April 21, 2014 / 1:30 am

    Do you know the story of Michael Rockefeller? He was killed And eaten by the Asmat tribe in the ’60s. After Michael disappeard, helicopters came to look for him. Not long afterwards, cholera broke out in the villages. The tribe believes that cholera is caused by the helicopters as a punishment for michaels death. anti vaxxers believe that ASD is being caused by vaccins, because otherwise they can’t explain what happend to their child. A very human, understandable reaction. When 2 events coincide, it does not always mean that one thing CAUSES the other. But I do understand that is it easier for a parent to have somebody or something to blame….that is is juist the way our mind works.

  25. William Davis April 22, 2014 / 12:25 am

    I agree, educate yourself with all the avaialble data, and you will see the current vaccine schedule is tested, and proven to cause autism in chimpazees conclusively. You will see the risk of following the CDC vaccine schedule is thousands of times more dangerous than completely avoiding their poisons. I was a doubter, had a healthy 2 year old girl speaking and happy, the day of her last vaccine she screamed and can no longer talk, and developed severe regressive autism. Don’t be like me, and sacrifice your child’s health and happiness because you are afraid to admit there is a legion of billion dollar lies seducing you to have faith in big pharma’s vaccines, the same people THAT PAY BILLIONS IN FINES TO AVOID FACING FRAUD CHARGES FROM THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES, as they relate to their lies about their studies on their vaccine safety and efficacy.

    • Max Riethmuller April 22, 2014 / 1:34 am

      Um, the study you mention (but provide no reference for) in primates, was conducted by researchers with a highly controversial conflict of interest themselves. Irony much?

      The researchers ADDED Thimerosal to the vaccine before giving it to the infant primates, The vaccine when given to human infants does NOT contain thimerosal. What the..? Not only that, there is no model of autism in primates that allows researchers to definitively claim the primate subjects became autistic. There were 13 subjects in the vaccine group and 3 in the control group. Not a very scientific sample group and not a very useful control. They were also unable to demonstrate any long lasting symptoms.

      • Concerned Mom April 22, 2014 / 9:15 am

        Wait… I thought Thimerosal didn’t cause autism. O.o

        • Colin April 22, 2014 / 1:06 pm

          Please read the linked report. The study doesn’t show that thimerosol causes autism; the criticism was that the study is demonstrating a potential bias by adding it to the Hep B vaccine without good reason. This study was so flawed that it’s a stretch to say that it proved anything.

      • William Davis April 22, 2014 / 9:23 am

        Yea, well tell my daughter as she screams in agony. We have gone from 1 in 15000 to 1 in 50 in the last 50 years on rates of autism. All the heavy metals contribute, including aluminum, which is also in the baby formulas that get their protein from China, where the rice is full of industrial waste and heavy metals. Make sure you fill up with GMO’s too, so your kid will have a better chance of diabetes and obesity, and you can blame video games instead of our poison food. If you really want them to be healthy, move close to an industrial coal plant, to get an extra dose of that yummy mercury. Double plus good!!

    • Scott Nelson April 22, 2014 / 3:24 pm

      Concluding paragraphs:
      Rosen doesn’t believe this single case merits a change in vaccination strategy—for example, giving adults booster shots—but she says that more regular surveillance to assess the strength of people’s measles immunity is warranted.

      If it turns out that vaccinated people lose their immunity as they get older, that could leave them vulnerable to measles outbreaks seeded by unvaccinated people—which are increasingly common in the United States and other developed countries. Even a vaccine failure rate of 3% to 5% could devastate a high school with a few thousand students, says Robert Jacobson, director of clinical studies for the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn’t involved with the study. Still, he says, “The most important ‘vaccine failure’ with measles happens when people refuse the vaccine in the first place.”

    • Scott Nelson April 23, 2014 / 2:18 pm

      Gee! A vaccine expert in charge of vaccines. Perhaps she would be better at GM. This demonstrates a conspiracy how?-other than a company hiring acknowledged experts to work in their field of expertise. I’d be worried if they had hired Jenny McCarthy to head the vaccine division.

  26. Notnearlysoanonymous April 23, 2014 / 1:33 am
    Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children claim they are exercising their personal choice. Yet, like drunk driving, it’s a choice that unwittingly puts others in harm’s way.

    Now, the concept of choice seems absurd when applied to drunk driving, but that’s exactly how anti-vaxxers defend their illogic. Their willfully misleading websites proclaim Your Child. Your Future. Your Choice and warn vaccine requirements are “a violation of sovereignty over one’s body and the right to free choice.”
    But let’s look at where their “free choice” has led us.
    Measles were effectively eliminated in Canada by 2002, and that was a good thing because it has a mortality rate of 1 to 2 per thousand in developed countries and 3 to 5 per thousand in developing countries. Prior to widespread vaccinations in 1980, the World Health Organization estimates measles caused 2.6 million deaths every year. By 2012, with 84 per cent of the world’s children vaccinated, that global number was reduced to 122,000—which is still 14 deaths every hour. Measles can also cause pneumonia, deafness, blindness and brain damage.
    So far this year, there have been over 400 Canadian cases thanks to outbreaks in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and P.E.I. That’s up from 83 in 2013 and 10 in 2012 (though there was a massive 725-case outbreak in Quebec in 2011). The vast majority of these new infections have taken place in the Fraser Valley, a region known as B.C.’s Bible Belt and which has traditionally low vaccination rates. The current outbreak began among a religious group called the Netherlands Reformed Congregation (whose pastor warned against vaccines) and spread through a local religious school. Fraser Health’s Dr. Lisa Mu told the Vancouver Sun, “My understanding is that this community feels that natural immunity is what God has intended and that vaccinations would interfere with that.” (Interestingly, the hippies on Vancouver’s North Shore outdo even the fundamentalists of the Fraser Valley, clocking the province’s lowest vaccination rate at 63.5 per cent. The area’s immunization and communicable disease coordinator Nicole Roy told CTV, “Definitely many of our parents are going the natural route and in some circumstances that’s okay. But when it comes to vaccines, there’s not a natural alternative to science.”)

    About a 95 per cent vaccination rate is required to create herd immunity—which protects those who can’t be immunized for age or health reasons—and last year the UN rated Canada at 84 per cent (putting us at 28 out of 29 industrialized nations) with some areas falling below 50 per cent. And it’s not just bringing back measles. On April 1, an Ontario mother Facebooked a photo of her five-week-old daughter hooked up to a hospital respirator after contracting whooping cough, which is vaccine-preventable, but not for infants too young to receive the vaccine. “THIS IS WHY YOU IMMUNIZE YOUR CHILDREN!” she wrote. “If you are considering not immunizing your children, think first about the people you put at risk who CAN’T get the immunization.”
    Her daughter could have died if they hadn’t taken her to the hospital in time. In 2010, during an outbreak in California, 10 infants weren’t so lucky. Right now, there’s an outbreak in southern Alberta, with 34 cases, thanks to the area’s low immunization rates. The last outbreak happened there in 2012, and killed one infant.
    But, y’know, it’s about choice.
    Which brings us to Manitoba massage therapist Kim Paul, who made that choice not to immunize her son and is ”furious” that local school officials won’t let him attend school because an older student may have contracted measles. “To me, it almost seems like a bullying situation, you know, get the needle! Get the needle! If you don’t get the needle you can’t go,” the she told CBC.
    No, you’re not being bullied; you’re being stupid and contagious. As is your patron saint Jenny McCarthy, whose claims that vaccines cause autism (based on a discredited U.K. study) somehow became so influential that, just last week, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews called her out as “outrageously irresponsible.”
    On April 12, McCarthy attempted to backtrack in an Op/Ed in the Chicago Sun-Times claiming she’s not anti-vaccine at all, but simply “embarked on this quest not only for myself and my family, but for countless parents who shared my desire for knowledge that could lead to options and alternate schedules, but never to eliminate the vaccines.”
    There are, of course, countless examples of her arguing just that. But McCarthy no longer matters—in an ironic twist, the anti-vaxxer movement she put a pretty face on has gone viral.

  27. Tony Goodfellow April 23, 2014 / 5:33 am

    Thx Jennifer Raff for shining a light amongst the dank world of pseudoscience that exploits peoples fear. Judging by the response you hit the right note. Keep it up.

  28. Max Riethmuller April 24, 2014 / 10:11 am

    Formaldehyde is manufactured by catalyzing methanol using silver, to produce the chemical compound formaldehyde, which is identical to the same formaldehyde produced by nature. All formaldehyde has the chemical structure CH2O. THere is nothing different in God’s formaldehyde compared to the man made stuff.

    You can’t argue in here on a scientific basis by invoking God’s name. Either you say “I have a religious objection to vaccines and no scientific argument is relevant to my choice and I will not attempt to engage in a scientific argument” or you learn some bloody science.

  29. Anonymous April 24, 2014 / 10:34 am

    I’ve seen a lot of arguments made on this issue, but rather than commenting on what’s going on in the sky, why don’t we try to figure out what is happening on the ground? I think it is time for a real hard look at where we are going as a country:

    1. We complain about Big Pharma schills, yet vote for the people who made them Big Pharma in the first place. Your democratic AND republican legislators are BOTH responsible for the mess our healthcare system is in since they BOTH wrote the legislation. As long as you continue to look out only for yourselves, and don’t do your own research, how can you expect real change to happen? The only thing people want these days is “let the government fix it”. History shows the government is inefficient when it takes over and tries to regulate. When you are voting along a party, you will be blind to what is happening in the middle. When you see a dog fight, and you put your money on one dog, you’re looking only at what your dog is doing in terms of damage inflicted on the enemy, and the hits your dog is taking. When you don’t have money invested, you don’t care because of financial reasons, but on moral ones.

    2. When you do your research, you go to the very people who are acting against you. Instead of asking government to fix problems, why not ask people directly involved in the process how to fix the system? Honestly, I think you could figure out how to better design a system talking to doctors, nurses, caregivers, patients, and hospital administrators in addition to the public health officials. These are people who have a vested interest in making a better system and providing people with better standards. Not people who don’t use the system in the first place. You think legislators need healthcare? They have enough money to pay for their healthcare themselves. They don’t need insurance policies. What makes you think a person who hasn’t walked one foot in your shoes, or one mile next to you, is going to have any idea how to fix your problems?

    3. You think doctors are schills as well? You want to know why that is? Because it is an immense burden to be a doctor. You have to study for at least 11 years before you can become a licensed medical practitioner. In order to be taken seriously, you have to come with some serious credentials. The average doctor, by the time he/she graduates, will have accrued over $500,000 in tuition costs. THINK about this for a second. That’s more money than most people will see in a lifetime, and they have to pay that back? How? And you wonder how they get desperate and accept money from whatever side they can get it from? Of course, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if you saw your money go directly to your doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and even hospitals. But the bulk of the money goes to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other companies involved in the process. Despite all this, the healthcare staff you see are concerned for your well-being. Then we turn around and design a system which rewards quantity rather than quality, and then blame the victims of the system rather than the system. It’s like the argument “victims of rape brought it upon themselves”.

    4. You think doctors want to prescribe 10, 20, 30 different types of medications? You ask any doctor, and they will tell you prevention is better than cure. Every time. No doctor WANTS to see your life fall into their hands. They want to make sure you lead a healthy life. You want better care from your doctors? You want a better health care system? Be the better health care system yourself. Diet properly, exercise properly, keep track of your health, and we can change the system to reflect that. Nothing is easier to manage than a patient who is smart, motivated, and who is taking a self-interest in their health. Have diabetes? Why not record your blood sugar every three hours and write it down. Then when you go to your doctor, show it to them. You will automatically see a better standard of care when you give them information that can help. Ask your doctor what YOU can do to help them make better clinical decisions.

    5. You think vaccines are horrible? No they’re not. The vaccines themselves work. But we do not give them the opportunity to do so. Don’t know about herd immunity? That’s because you don’t watch National Geographic. Watch programs about wildebeests. Why do wildebeests and other “herd” animals travel in such large groups? To make security easier. Same concept with diseases. A bacteria or virus is not going to attack the strong and the healthy, but they need to face those dangers to protect the weaker ones from predators. But facing those dangers alone is foolhardy. Unfortunately, if you are selfish, you will never be able to understand that concept, because it involves thinking on a level above only yourself.

    You want better preventive care? Practice prevention. Get rid of the party politics, start to listen to what people are saying, analyzing for yourself and doing your own research, but not from an armchair. Actually take an active role in your life. Get off your high horse, and go see the problems yourself. Volunteer your time, get to know people from a different background than yourself. Vote for the people who will challenge you to be great, not those who are just great themselves. John F. Kennedy’s words ring truer now than ever at any point in history. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask instead, what you can do for your country.” You don’t need fancy speakers to be candidates. In our history, great men and women have already said the smart things. It’s time we started listening to them rather than memorizing their words to bandy about in philosophical arguments. Get smarter America. We deserve it.

  30. moladood April 24, 2014 / 11:37 am

    So it is just an overall distrust in everything. Google and articles can support your argument but not one that isn’t of the same opinion I guess.

    • did not understand it May 7, 2014 / 6:27 am

      What the fuck do you mean?

      • moladood May 7, 2014 / 7:49 am

        What is it that you don’t get? The comment is in response to someone who only believes the info they find not what other people find that doesn’t share opinion. If you only believe articles and research that supports your opinion, it is going to be an uphill battle.

        • Max Riethmuller May 7, 2014 / 7:53 am

          That’s easy, anything you find on google that has .gov or .edu on the end is propaganda of big pharma and can’t believed. Anything with .info is 100% reliable.

          • Anonymous June 1, 2014 / 12:36 pm

            / facepalm @ Max.

          • Craig June 1, 2014 / 3:54 pm

            Assume your being sarcastic or ironic, only way to take your comment.

            • confusedbylogic June 1, 2014 / 4:16 pm

              he was being sarcastic, but, well, “Poe’s Law.”

          • Max Riethmuller June 1, 2014 / 8:04 pm

            Yes I was being what you would think was glaringly obviously sarcastic, but there are people out there who use such a rule to determine whether they will believe or not.

        • Craig June 1, 2014 / 5:12 pm

          The article quite clearly stated “don’t rely on what a stranger says on the internet (not even me)” so I don’t think she is saying believe me, she is encouraging critical thought about all sources of evidence, something all kids should be taught in school.

          The difference being that in scientific papers they have or will be review by other scientists and either the results will be reproduced and the paper supported or the results will be challenged and the original paper challenged with new evidence.

          What most people here seem to be against is sites spreading clames with no real evidence to support them, from very limited observations i.e. its like saying my gran smoked 20 a day and ate fried breakfast every day and lived to 95 therefore I’m gonna smoke and eat lard because it must be a healthy lifestyle. Or in this case my child was vaccinated and developed autism about the same time and paying no regard to the fact that autism tends to develop at the time children are vaccinated.

        • Sheogorath September 21, 2014 / 10:19 pm

          The comment is in response to someone who only believes the info they find, not what other people find that doesn’t share their opinion.
          You know what they say about people who talk to themselves, don’t you, moladood?

    • Muspell June 1, 2014 / 3:29 pm

      You mongrel. Have you even tried to UNDERSTAND the article. This is not a matter of opinions, never has been. We live in a world that is so healthy, so long-living and so very prospering that people forgot the world how it was before that. And because if one doesn’t understand, people tend to find something to rebel against, engage in a fight against this ominous “machine”, that apparently controls our world, because it is just so easy to do, tilting at windmills.

      • moladood June 1, 2014 / 9:24 pm

        Not sure how I am a mongrel or what exactly you find offensive in my comment. It isn’t actually clear where you sit on the side of the debate. It sounds like you are calling me out for not understanding the article which leads me to believe that you support it which is the same as I. The comment you replied to was actually a response to some misinformed opinion statement from an anti-vaxxer. The commenting system on WordPress leaves much to be desired with multi tiered responses.

      • Rosa Jo June 1, 2014 / 11:46 pm

        uhm, say what? cancer and diabetes rates are insignificant?

        you got it all backwards. people are questioning vaccines because they are seeing INSTANT adverse effects on their OWN children. why should they not question, please tell me. these parents tend to remember quite clearly their child up till the moment of vaccination, seeing how they changed abruptly, suffered encephalitis, died or what not.

        • Chris June 2, 2014 / 12:10 am

          Please provide the verifiable documentation of reports “INSTANT adverse effects on their OWN children.” This is what the Cedillo family claimed in the Autism Omnibus Vaccine Court, but the videos of their child showed autism traits much earlier on.

          Please provide PubMed indexed studies from reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the disease. Please remember that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has only compensated a bit over 3500 claims since 1988, which is small compared to the billions of vaccines given in the USA during that time.

          The link has the more exact numbers since 2006, 1300 total compensated out of 1,968,399,297 vaccines given. Or about 0.000066% of all vaccines given in the last eight years. Explain to me how less than one in a million is a big number.

    • Craig June 1, 2014 / 4:03 pm

      If your trying to say that there is actual, peer reviewed science, to support the anti vaccine movement please provide a link. To be clear I don’t mean pseudoscience where someone sees an anicdotal link (which is not proven to be correct) and then says this is proof, its not and children will die through messils mumps rubella or some other horrific disease. This was a brilliant article, well articulated and I’ve had scientific training but the money I earn is in no way linked to big pharmaceutical companies. I work in the environmental field.

      • moladood June 1, 2014 / 9:32 pm

        Not sure how this comment keeps getting taken as anti-vaxx. My comment you replied to was a reply to someone else but due to wordpress terrible commenting system somehow pops up at the top as if it is just responding to the article or to Dr. Raff.

        • Craig June 3, 2014 / 2:47 am

          Agreed comment system is very confusing, looks like your comment is first comment and that you were as you say questioning the author but then having read further down thread I did realise that it was likely an issue with the comment system.

  31. Anonymous April 24, 2014 / 11:42 am

    In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health.[4] In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”.[5][6][7] AND it is produced industrially by catalytic oxidation of Methanol. Comparing naturally occurring to synthesized in a lab is like comparing apples and oranges and saying they are the same fruit!

    • Max Riethmuller April 24, 2014 / 12:36 pm

      apples and oranges don’t have the same chemical structure…..

      Here’s what a formaldehyde molecule looks like, regardless of whether it is naturally occurring or synthesized it is exactly the same. It’s toxicity comes from it’s chemical structure.

      Any formaldehyde, natural or synthetic, is toxic at high enough levels. But the levels of formaldehyde that occur in apples, or in human blood for that matter, or vaccines (lower than in blood), are safe.

    • Max Riethmuller April 24, 2014 / 12:41 pm

      Are you aware how naturally occurring formaldehyde forms? Through the oxidation of methane in the upper atmosphere or from other carbon compounds such as found in forest fires. It’s the SAME THING ffs!

    • cleverlyconfused April 24, 2014 / 1:27 pm

      So is the supplemental oxygen (produced by chemical processes in a sort of factory) that you breathe through a mask in the hospital or in an ambulance different than the oxygen that you breathe out of the air around your home?
      Is that what you believe?

      • Craig June 1, 2014 / 5:30 pm

        It is different, but only in that the oxygen in an ambulance or hospital is usually administered as pure Oxygen (because the patient has a low blood oxygen reading) where as normally we breath air which is a mix of nitrogen, oxygen and many other compounds (including many substances considered to be harmful to health).

        These other compounds are far more likely to harm your children than vaccines are. There is a strong body of evidence to support clames PM10 and PM2.5 are harmful to health.

        However it is exactly the same elimemt, which I believe was your main point.

    • moladood April 24, 2014 / 2:59 pm

      And you can also die from drinking too much water.

      Its the secret that Evian doesn’t want you to know. Those “Big Water” companies have been covering it up for years.

      • Craig June 1, 2014 / 4:53 pm

        So funny, love the parody.

      • Hburnes June 1, 2014 / 5:19 pm

        I freaking love you man

      • Rosa Jo June 1, 2014 / 11:55 pm

        yeah, but it’s not because water is poisonous at a certain level, it’s because it will dilute your sodium levels to a dangerous level, ultimately flooding your cells. it’s liquid with little or no sodium to compensate. anyways, no sane person would continue drinking past quenching a thirst. we’re well designed to prevent excessive water intake.

  32. confusedbylogic April 24, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    And just because you said it means……ummm…..
    I can’t think of a thing that it means.

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