Orac is reporting that a planned Congressional hearing into the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has been canceled. This is unambiguously good news; the hearing was probably a political favor being done for anti-vaccine cranks who despise the NVICP. Their hatred for the Program can be confusing, given how much better it is for their position than the alternative.
Today I took care of myself and my community by getting a flu vaccine.
I get one every year. I do it not just to protect myself (although that’s an important consideration–I don’t have time to get sick!), but also to protect my community from a serious health hazard. Continue reading
Given ongoing interest in this post: https://violentmetaphors.com/2013/08/14/the-truth-about-vaccinations-your-physician-knows-more-than-the-university-of-google/, and based on several people’s suggestions to me, I’m going to put together a FAQ on the subject of vaccine myths/misconceptions. I will be pulling questions from the comment section of the University of Google post (and other places), but I would like to ask for your participation. What questions do you or your friends have about vaccines? What are some vaccine myths have you heard that you’d like to have addressed? What kinds of information would you find helpful for sharing with family members when talking about vaccine issues? Parents, I’m *especially* interested in questions that come up repeatedly on parenting forums and messageboards.
Please leave me any questions/suggestions/links in the comments below, or email me privately at jenniferraff (at) utexas (dot) edu
Thanks, as always, to everyone for reading, commenting, and sharing.
This article by Natural News was brought to my attention a few weeks ago. The author (and founder of NN), Mike Adams claims:
“…the group that organizes so-called “TED talks” has been thoroughly hijacked by corporate junk science and now openly rejects any talks about GMOs, food as medicine, or even the subject of how food can help prevent behavioral disorders in children. All these areas of discussion are now red-flagged from being presented on any TED stage. This is openly admitted by TEDx itself in a little-known letter publicly published on December 7, 2012.”
I want to expand upon my guide on how to read a scientific paper by working through an example. You may not have the time or ability to read a paper in as much depth as I outline below. But my goal with this series of posts is to help people feel less intimidated by research papers by giving them a framework for reading them. I want to make these tools available, should you wish to use them.
I decided to choose as my first example a paper that would also be useful for people grappling with the question of vaccine safety, so that they can become familiar with how these studies are conducted and better understand some of the terminology.
“A cousin of my mom’s survived Polio and lived the rest of his life with its effects. He was not expected to live past his teens but made it to his 40s. I am grateful that modern science can protect us from Polio and other diseases and I choose to take advantage of modern science to give my kid better odds of not dying from a preventable disease. I had heard a lot of noise from people claiming vaccines caused Autism, but never saw any clear evidence. It just seemed to me like people really wanted to point to something as the cause and they latched onto vaccines.”–Jennifer
I have been getting into a lot of discussions about whether vaccines are safe in the last few days. I’m not sure if it’s because of a post going viral about a (terrible) Italian court ruling last year (In contrast, American courts side with doctors and scientists on vaccine safety) or Jenny McCarthy’s recent hiring as co-host on “The View”, or simply (as a friend suggested to me today) the fact that a new school year is starting soon and parents are having to provide vaccination records to schools.
“(I got my children vaccinated) because the science supports it and I don’t want my kids to die. And civic reasons. It’s so straightforward.”–Britta
Whatever the reason, this week I’ve been in many conversations with individuals staunchly against vaccinations, parents who are very upset at the idea of unvaccinated children putting their own kids at risk, and parents who are confused and worried and want to know how to make the best decision possible for their children’s safety. I’m writing this for the third group of parents.
Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent report that the MMR vaccine causes autism has resulted in a generation of children (~age 10-16) who have a historically low vaccination rate (below 50% in some places). As a result, the rate of measles infection has skyrocketed in Britain:
The good news is that thanks to excellent public health outreach in England, vaccination rates are improving significantly. But I worry that many people still don’t understand the issues. Let me summarize them for you: