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Amanda Peet is My Hero(1)

“The graveyards are full of (unvaccinated) men.” Charles de Gaulle, modified by the author.

We live longer than anytime in history. Our long lives are due in large part to good nutrition, sanitation, and vaccines.

There have been numerous posts here and elsewhere about the vaccine deniers, primarily focused around the modern myth that vaccines cause autism.

That is not the topic of this post. Instead, I am going to take a brief tour of the childhood vaccines and review the morbidity and mortality caused by vaccine preventable diseases and the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing these diseases. With the brouhaha surrounding vaccines it is beneficial to step back and contemplate the death and misery that the vaccine preventable disease have caused and continue to cause.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am an Infectious Disease doctor. I make a living from treating diagnosing and treating infections. I don’t make dime one if people do not get infected, so I am against any and all vaccines as they cut into my bottom line (2).

The scope of these infectious diseases is mind numbing. I do not know how to put all this suffering and death into understandable numbers. Billions of people, primarily children, have suffered and died from these diseases. Before vaccines, most children would suffer the majority of these illness before adulthood. They still do in other parts of the world. If the vaccine deniers had their way, our children could suffer again and millions of more would be added to the list of the dead and maimed.

I have seen almost all the illnesses on this list, except diptheria, which is a function of my specialty. Because of vaccines, many of these diseases are rare in the US, and many physicians will never see many of the diseases on this list during an entire career. Which is good. Watching children needlessly suffer and maybe die is not why we go into health care.

As a last note, I have tried to find similar data but each disease has its numbers collected at different times by different organizations. I have tried to find representative data for each disease.

Hepatitis B

The Disease: hepatitis (liver infection) and chronic hepatitis B causes cirrhosis (fibrosis of the liver with liver failure) and liver cancer.

World Wide disease: 300,000,000 carriers worldwide, it kills 500,000 to 1.5 million per year world wide.

US disease: 5% of the US has the disease. An estimated 800,000–1.4 million persons in the United States have chronic HBV infection (CDC). 3,000-4,000 deaths annually from cirrhosis and 1,000 deaths from hepatoma are HBV.

Vaccine efficacy: >90% after three doses of the vaccine.

In 2001 alone, it is estimated that the vaccine prevented 600,000 deaths. Routine infant hepatitis B vaccination, with 90% coverage and the first dose administered at birth would prevent 84% of global HBV-related deaths (3). that’s around 850,000 people, give or take.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. “The most frequently reported side effects in persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine are pain at the injection site (3%–29%) and temperature of >99.9°F (>37.7°C) (1%–6%) (CDC). However, in placebo-controlled studies, these side effects were reported no more frequently among persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine than among persons receiving placebo (CDC).

“On the basis of VSD data, the estimated incidence of anaphylaxis among children and adolescents who received hepatitis B vaccine is one case per 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed (95% confidence interval = 0.1–3.9) (CDC)”.

Rotavirus

The Disease: a viral diarrhea that kills children.

World Wide disease: “Each year, rotavirus causes approximately 111 million episodes of gastroenteritis requiring only home care, 25 million clinic visits, 2 million hospitalizations, and 352,000–592,000 deaths (4)”, primarily in those less than age 5.

US disease: 70,000 cases a year, maybe 100 deaths.

Vaccine efficacy: “This vaccine will prevent 74 percent of all rotavirus cases, about 98 percent of severe cases, and about 96 percent of hospitalizations due to rotavirus. (5)”

Vaccine Side effects: Not autism. “Children are slightly (1 to 3 percent) more likely to have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting within 7 days after getting a dose of rotavirus vaccine than children who have not gotten the vaccine.(6)”

Diphtheria

The Disease: a bacterial sore throat that kills by obstructing the airway or by making a toxin that affects the heart and the central nervous system.

The historical disease: In the 1920s there were 100,000 to 200,000 cases of diphtheria per year in the United States, with 13,000 to 15,000 deaths.

World Wide disease: in 2002, 4,000 children died from diphtheria, from 1990 to 95 there was an epidemic in the old states of the USSR with approximately 125,000 cases and 4000 deaths (7).

US disease: rare, with less than one case a year.

Vaccine efficacy: >95% effective in preventing diptheria.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. Local reactions and fevers.

Tetanus

The Disease: Lockjaw. Severe, uncontrollable, painful spasms of every muscle in your body followed by cardiovascular collapse.

The historical disease: 600 cases and 180 deaths each year in U.S. More than 500,000 deaths per year worldwide.

Death: 1 in 3.

World Wide disease: in 2002, 198,000 children died from tetanus out of about a million cases.

Vaccine efficacy: Unknown from clinical trials, but the series of three gives levels of neutralizing antibody that suggests 100% efficacy and cases are rare in the vaccinated.
In 2002 it is estimated that the vaccine saved 643,000 lives world wide (8).

Vaccine Side effects. Not autism. Mostly local symptoms and rarely severe allergic reactions (1 in a million).

Pertussis

The Disease: Whooping cough. An infection of the throat due to Bordetella pertussis that leads to obstruction of the airway.

World Wide disease: in 2002, 294,000 children died from pertussis.

US disease: “The rate of pertussis peaked in the 1930s, with 265,269 cases and 7518 deaths reported in the United States. This rate decreased to a low in 1976, when 1010 cases and 4 deaths occurred (9)”. Before the vaccine pertussis killed about 8000 children a year.

Death: 1 in 500 (10).

Vaccine efficacy: Vaccine efficacy is 64%, 81%, and 95% for case definitions of mild cough, paroxysmal cough, and severe clinical illness, respectively (11).

Vaccine Side effects. Not autism. Certainly the most problematic of the vaccines. Besides local reactions, there is :”acute encephalopathy. This adverse event occurs rarely, with an estimated risk of zero to 10.5 episodes per million DTP vaccinations (12)”.

Hemophilus influenzae type b

The Disease: sepsis and meningitis.

The historical disease: Before vaccine Hib was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis (1 in 200) among children under 5 years of age in the United States. 20,000 children in the US under age 5 got severe Hib disease each year and 1,000 died.

World Wide disease: three million serious illnesses and an estimated 386 000 deaths per year (13).

Death: 1 in 20 children with invasive Hib disease.

Vaccine efficacy: 95%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. No serious events.

Pneumococcus

The Disease: sepsis and meningitis.

World Wide disease: An estimated 700,000 to one million children die of pneumococcal disease every year (14).

US disease: before the vaccine, 700 cases of meningitis, 13,000 bacteremias and 200 deaths.

Vaccine efficacy: It is more than 90% effective against
invasive disease.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. No serious side effects.

Poliovirus

The Disease: polio.

The historical disease: 38,000 cases per year in the US prior to vaccine, including 21,000 cases with paralysis.
1400 deaths a year.
Permanent paralysis: 1 in 100
Death: 1 in 20 children and 1 in 4 adults with paralytic polio.

World Wide disease: 1900 cases a year; in countries that have stopped vaccines there have been outbreaks.

Vaccine efficacy: 99%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. No serious adverse reactions.

Measles

The Disease: measles.

The historical disease: 400,00 cases a year in the US with 400 deaths.

World Wide disease: Measles infects 25 to 30 million children each year and kills 345,000 (15).

Vaccine efficacy: 90-95%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism, allergic reaction in 1 in a million.

Mumps

The Disease: mumps.

The historical disease: in the US, 200,000 per year before vaccine with
Encephalitis: 2 in 100,000
Testicular swelling: 1 in 5 adults
Deafness: 1 in 20,000
Death: 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 10,000.

World Wide disease: 13,000 cases a year currently.

Vaccine efficacy: 90-98%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism, less than 1 in a million will have a severe allergic reaction.

Rubella

The Disease: German measles

The historical disease: in US 12.5 million cases in 1964-65, including 2,100 infant deaths, 11,250 fetal deaths, and 20,000 newborns born with congenital rubella syndrome (deafness, cataracts, mental retardation).

Death: 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 10,000.

World Wide disease: in 2001, 836,000 cases with 100,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome (16).

Vaccine efficacy: > 95%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism, less than 1 in a million will have a severe allergic reaction.

Varicella

The Disease: chicken pox.

The historical disease: 4 million cases a year in the US before the vaccine with 100 deaths.

World Wide disease: can not find a reference, not even at WHO. Must run into the tens of millions.

Vaccine efficacy: 99%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism.

Hepatitis A

The Disease: hepatitis.

The historical disease: 125,000-200,000 cases in U.S. each year before the vaccine.
Deaths: 70-100 per year in U.S.

World Wide disease: 1.5 million clinical cases a year, many more subclinical.

US disease: 30,000 cases (3000 symptomatic).

Vaccine efficacy: 99%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. No serious reactions.

Meningococcus

The Disease: sepsis and meningitis.

World Wide disease: outbreaks in Africa have 250 000 cases and 25 000 deaths (17).

US disease: 2,500 people are infected and 300 die in the US (18).

Vaccine efficacy: 85%.

Vaccine Side effects: not autism. No serious side effects.

Summary:

Vaccines have prevented millions of deaths and even more suffering with almost no complications.

To quote a JAMA review that looked at the effect of vaccines on morbidity and mortality (19).

“A greater than 92% decline in cases and a 99% or greater decline in deaths due to diseases prevented by vaccines recommended before 1980 were shown for diphtheria, mumps, pertussis, and tetanus. Endemic transmission of poliovirus and measles and rubella viruses has been eliminated in the United States; smallpox has been eradicated worldwide. Declines were 80% or greater for cases and deaths of most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980 including hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, Hib, and varicella. Declines in cases and deaths of invasive S pneumoniae were 34% and 25%, respectively.”

The impact of vaccines on improving the health and well being of mankind has been tremendous. In the US we have lost track of the benefits as we have not had to see our children suffer and die from these diseases. We also have lost track of how quickly infectious diseases can spread and kill. Influenza, without the benefit of modern transportation, managed to kill 25 to 50 million people in 1919. Estimates suggest that these diseases may have helped killed 90 plus percent of the indigenous peoples of North and South America when introduced by Europeans.

The key word of my speciality is infectious. Many of these illnesses, besides being preventable, are highly and efficiently contagious. With the exception of smallpox, all these infections continue to exist and outbreaks continue to occur in populations that, for whatever reason, fail to get vaccinated. Measles, pertussis, polio and others continue to return to kill and injure, always in the unvaccinated.

The amazing feature of vaccines is how much benefit they provide for so little risk and so little cost. Most of the time, especially in acute care medicine, you have to continually weigh the risks of therapies or procedures against the potential benefit. And everything costs so much money. Vaccines are almost a free lunch.

Green our vaccines? The only green you will see by getting rid of vaccines or decreasing their use is the grass growing on the graves of children needlessly killed by preventable infections.

______________________________
1- I would not have used the term parasites, however, to characterize parents who do not vaccinate their children. Freeloaders? Sponges? Ignorant? Uninformed? Dumb as a box of rocks? Incompetent? Child abusers?
2- Sarcasm.
3- http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/34/6/1329
4- http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol9no5/02-0562.htm
5- http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/
6- http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#rota
7- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00043378.htm
8- http://www.dcp2.org/slides/269/preview
9- http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/byname/Pediatrics–Pertussis.htm
10- http://www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/compare.htm
11- http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/267/20/2745
12- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046738.htm
13- http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs294/en/
14- http://www.who.int/nuvi/pneumococcus/en/
15- http://www.unicef.org/immunization/index_measles.html
16- www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/rub_global_review_2003.pdf
17- http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs141/en/
18- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5407a1.htm
19- http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/298/18/2155

Posted in: Public Health, Science and the Media, Vaccines

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290 thoughts on “Amanda Peet is My Hero(1)

  1. Ranson says:

    An excellent article detailing the threats of preventable infectious disease. It won’t change the mind of any true believer, but anyone looking for real information should take note. I think you make a good point when you emphasize that us in the West haven’t had to see or deal with the deadliest of these infections for some time. We are no longer familiar with the horrors of people dying of these things on a daily basis, or lifelong paralysis, or any of the other side effectsthat were commonplace.

    The only thing I could add that would make the data more effective would be some pictures of iron lung wards and the like. Those of us who haven’t seen them in person might get a bit more perspective when you realize how common such interventions were.

  2. TheProbe says:

    Excellent article, one stop reading for a description of the diseases. However, I feel that you are a tad weak in your comments about those who do not vaccinate.

    To the anti-vac sociopaths, the merchants of disease, disability and death, I suggest that they do not vaccinate their children, as they encourage others not to, and, allow Darwin to rule, thus culling the herd of their moron gene.

    As for Amanda Peet calling them parasites, I think she insulted parasites.

  3. BigEoinO says:

    In the examples given above the minimum Vaccine efficacy is 85% and what about when the efficacy drops below this and the “number of lives saved” is lower?

    Currently in Ireland and the UK there is a lot of talk about the Cervical cancer vaccine whose vaccine efficacy is apparently estimated at 70%.
    [http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0805/breaking50.html?via=mr]

    Apart from the usual questions about Autism, and the unusual question about whether a vaccine given against a disease that is spread sexually will increase sexual promiscuity… this low efficacy raises some interesting questions

    Will the vaccine save more lives?
    - taking the vaccine protects against strains that cause more than 70% of cervical cancers (and then, only if recipient hasn’t already been infected dropping effectiveness even further unless vaccine given to younger girls) but there are worries that screening levels may drop overall as people falsely believe they are completely protected so incidences of more advanced nature may increase. (85 women die from cervical cancer in Ireland each year, but about 2,000 potential cases are diagnosed through smear testing.)

    Is the Vaccine cost effective?
    - additionally the cost/ benefit needs to be called into question (it costs around €600 for the three doses required). Could this money be spend more effectively in other ways? (Could the millions being spent to save the lives of around 60 people be more effectively spent in another area of heathcare?)

    I am not arguing about not getting the vaccine, if I had a little girl I would be advocating she took it, but more about whether it is an effective use of resources in these cash strapped times?

  4. David Gorski says:

    Green our vaccines? The only green you will see by getting rid of vaccines or decreasing their use is the grass growing on the graves of children needlessly killed by preventable infections.

    Damn you! That’s the best line ever about the “Green Our Vaccines” nonsense pushed by Jenny McCarthy and her ilk.

    I may very well have to steal it. :-)

  5. jonny_eh says:

    Dude, don’t use sarcasm on the internet. The internet acts as a filter to remove any chance of detecting sarcasm. Even using a footnote to show it isn’t enough for the average internet reader.

    Otherwise, great article! You really know your stuff.

  6. carolyn says:

    The death rates are an eye opener, especially for those of us who’ve had a couple of those diseases (I wouldn’t wish Rubella on anyone).

    I might add post-polio syndrome to the description of polio. I’ve recently met a couple people who’ve been disabled again by polio years after they first had the disease. I’ve been told it’s very common decades later, though I really don’t know.

  7. overshoot says:

    Diphtheria

    The historical disease: In the 1920s there were 100,000 to 200,000 cases of diphtheria per year in the United States, with 13,000 to 15,000 deaths.

    Prior to the antitoxin (1890) in New York, diphtheria alone killed one child in ten before the age of ten.

    Tell us again, Jenny, about the awful horror of one child in 150 being “autistic.”

  8. David Gorski says:

    Tell us again, Jenny, about the awful horror of one child in 150 being “autistic.”

    Except that the DTaP doesn’t cause autism. :-)

  9. overshoot says:

    Varicella

    No mention of shingles. Maybe I take that more seriously now that my kids are grown and I’m getting into the prime shingles age range.

  10. DavidCT says:

    Dr. Mark you should include in your list of links the following: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/vaxliars/pictures.htm. The numbers you gave for the unvaccinated are impressive, but the pictures that Peter Bowditch posted of children suffering from “harmless” diseases are heartbreaking.

  11. dmmiles says:

    DavidCT: You have an extra period in the link you posted:

    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/vaxliars/pictures.htm

  12. overshoot says:

    Except that the DTaP doesn’t cause autism.

    Assume, arguendo that it did. Even assume that every single one were caused by vaccines, such that stopping vaccination would send autism to the history books with smallpox. One autistic in 150 vs. one death in 10. Choose carefully.

    This is why antivaccationists are driven to denying that the vaccines work. If you accept the overwhelming evidence that they save lives, you end up with the conclusion that the autism is an acceptable (if profoundly worth working to prevent) risk.

    Gives a whole new meaning to Jay Gordon’s “nobody wants to think about acceptable risks” line, doesn’t it? I do notice that he found time to reply to a lot of other criticisms but kept a very great distance indeed from the one that whether he wants to or not, confronting “acceptable risk” is part of his professional responsibility and he’s abdicating it.

  13. pec says:

    “We live longer than anytime in history. Our long lives are due in large part to good nutrition, sanitation, and vaccines.”

    I am glad to see an MD admitting that our long lives are not related to the new drugs being pushed to millions of adults.

    Yes the greatest triumph of modern medicine is probably the almost complete defeat of infant and child mortality. This is the major reason for the tremendous increase in average life span.

    Most species produce more offspring than are needed to maintain their population, and only a certain percentage, the strongest, can expect to survive to adulthood. This has also been true of our species, until the advent of vaccines and other methods for saving the lives of infants and children. It used to be very common for babies to die, and until only a couple of generations ago most families lived with this tragedy. Now it rarely happens.

    So yes, that is the triumph of modern medicine. Of course it has only worsened the terrible human over-population and destruction of the natural environment. But no compassionate person would want to go back to the days when mothers could expect at least one of their babies to die.

    None of us wants to get rid of vaccines. It would be nice to stop preserving them with mercury or other poisons though. And we should not assume that, just because vaccines save so many lives, that all of them are perfectly safe.

    As always, we should try to maintain some kind of balance and refrain from hysterical fanaticism in any direction.

  14. weing says:

    “And we should not assume that, just because vaccines save so many lives, that all of them are perfectly safe.”

    Who assumes that? Didn’t you see the side effects posted for each vaccine? I didn’t see any side effects from the “poisons” in vaccines either.

  15. David Gorski says:

    Gives a whole new meaning to Jay Gordon’s “nobody wants to think about acceptable risks” line, doesn’t it? I do notice that he found time to reply to a lot of other criticisms but kept a very great distance indeed from the one that whether he wants to or not, confronting “acceptable risk” is part of his professional responsibility and he’s abdicating it.

    Dr. Gordon is an infuriating case. However, I think he might be reachable–at least when it comes to some of the more egregious and ridiculous claims of the antivaccine movement. For example, on other blogs, commenters got him to admit that the claim that trace amounts of formaldehyde in vaccines was in any way dangerous was a ridiculous claim. Ditto “toxins.” He may even be coming around to admitting that it couldn’t have been the mercury in the thimerosal in vaccines, after all, given that autism prevalence hasn’t shown any signs of falling in the wake of the removal of thimerosal from virtually all childhood vaccines.

    The problem with him is, though, that he doesn’t seem able to comprehend that correlation does not necessarily equal causation and that a single observer (him) can be easily fooled by his own observations and cognitive biases (confirmation bias, for example) into accepting a linkage that just isn’t there. He does not think scientifically. He thinks primarily anecdotally, which is a bad thing in a physician.

  16. overshoot says:

    He does not think scientifically. He thinks primarily anecdotally, which is a bad thing in a physician.

    As an engineer, I’m inclined to see things a bit differently. Medicine and engineering are both practices that depend heavily on scientific advances and utterly require that those entering the field master the results of those advances. However, for the great majority of practitioners in either discipline science per se has almost nothing to do with day-to-day reality.

    I have the relative luxury, for instance, of actually using mathematics in my work. Now and then, anyway; perhaps weekly I get to actually differentiate or integrate a function; I confess it’s been forever since I had an excuse to solve a partial differential equation. I’m also the only one out of hundreds of colleagues who does, despite the fact that we all had to master much more interesting stuff on the way to our BS degrees (much less the MS.) The point being that we don’t use it, and if you don’t use it you lose it.

    The same goes for scientific thinking. You and some of the other bloggers here actually practice science: induction to form a hypothesis, experiments to test the hypothesis, refinement, iteration. I profoundly suspect that the typical physician, on retirement, could count on one hand the number of times in hir career since med school that s/he did anything similar.

    If you don’t use it, you lose it.

  17. overshoot – you may be right about some physicians, but it is not accurate to say that science has nothing to do with day-to-day practice. I think you may be referring to medical knowledge, as opposed to practice. And even there I would disagree. The only way to make sense of all the conflicting evidence is to have some sense of how to evaluate it scientifically.

    But that aside – clinical practice is (or should be) a scientific endeavor. Making a diagnosis is a process of hypothesis testing. It is liable to all of the intellectual pitfalls as scientific investigation – relying upon poor evidence, hasty generalization, the argument from ignorance, confirmation bias, misuse of statistics, etc. You cannot be a good diagnostician without being a good skeptical scientist (at least as it applies to clinical practice even if you don’t apply it elsewhere).

  18. HCN says:

    Dr. Crislip said (sarcastically): “In the interests of full disclosure, I am an Infectious Disease doctor. I make a living from treating diagnosing and treating infections. I don’t make dime one if people do not get infected, so I am against any and all vaccines as they cut into my bottom line (2).”

    There has been economic evaluations in the effect of vaccines. They calculated both direct costs (hospital care) and societal costs (disability, education … though I don’t know if $2000 hearing aids* are “direct” or “societal” costs):
    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136 …”Routine childhood immunization with the 7 vaccines was cost saving from the direct cost and societal perspectives, with net savings of $9.9 billion and $43.3 billion, respectively.”

    * How do I know how much a hearing aid costs? There is a purple hearing aid somewhere in my house. It was lost by a friend of my daughter during a sleepover. She left it on a table in the living room, and we suspect a cat thought it was a toy. So we have less than a month to find it, since hearing aid replacement are not covered by insurance.

  19. TsuDhoNimh says:

    David …

    You forgot to include the therapy for these diseases, to make survival happen.

    Here’s one case: A month or more in the hospital, 15 days on a ventilator, massive medical interventions, instead of a couple of jabs in the leg.

    http://www.pediatriconcall.com/fordoctor/CaseReports/diphtheria.asp

  20. Karl Withakay says:

    >>>As an engineer, I’m inclined to see things a bit differently. Medicine and engineering are both practices that depend heavily on scientific advances and utterly require that those entering the field master the results of those advances. However, for the great majority of practitioners in either discipline science per se has almost nothing to do with day-to-day reality.

    Interesting, as an IT Systems/Network Engineer (Studied Mech/Civil Eng in college) I have to think scientifically every day to troubleshoot and solve problems and engineer solutions.

    I amazed how many people in IT do not even take time to actually define the problem before trying to fix it.

    The scientific method is exactly how I approach problem solving in the IT world:

    From Wikipedia (Items in brackets added by me):
    1. Define the question [VERY IMPORTANT]
    2. Gather information and resources (observe)
    3. Form hypothesis
    4. Perform experiment and collect data [Constrain variables, use controls]
    5. Analyze data
    6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
    7. Publish results
    8. Retest

  21. pec says:

    “Gloria Gronowicz” “healing touch”

    Type that in google. Can’t post links.

  22. bettwice33 says:

    Doc,
    I think you forgot about all the SIDS babies who are now fertilizing the grass thanks to your thimerosal vaporizing their brains. Can you tell us how many of them there are who didn’t use drugs or have sex with drug addicts and didn’t need the HepB shot?

  23. David Gorski says:

    Oh, goody. John Best (bettwice33) has entered the building. For anyone interested in what kind of a man he is, check out John Best’s Greatest Hits. Of course, that post is two and a half years old. John’s added considerably to his body of “work” in the interim. For others who may not be familiar with John, he sometimes uses the ‘nym “Fore Sam,” “Baltimore Bert,” or “Mr. Ed.”

    Whether posting under a ‘nym or his real name, though, Mr. Best makes pec look rational by comparison.

  24. Erica says:

    Thank you for a thorough and effective post. I’ll refer back to it whenever I want hard numbers and facts to support the general idea of “we’re healthier now because of vaccines”. As a mother, I vastly prefer an incredibly low infant mortality rate, and am grateful to modern science for making that possible.

  25. bettwice33 says:

    Dr Gorski,
    Thanks for referencing that post that shows I’m a clear thinker uninfluenced by BS and psychotics.

    [REDACTED--Mr. Best made an accusation that is inappropriate and false.]

  26. bcorden says:

    Great post. As a pediatrician, I am seeing this craziness every day, particularly parents refusing the HPV vaccine for their soon to be sexually active teenagers.

    A couple of points: the change from the old Pertussis to eh acellular Pertussis dramatically decreased the incidence of side effects (e.g. swelling, erythema at the site, high fever, shrill cry, even seizures). I am sure that they still occur, but I haven’t seen it in the last 8 years.

    Also, the oral polio vaccine did cause 6-10 cases of true polio in the U.S. Now that is gone with the injected vaccine. I think WHO has said the Western Hemisphere is polio free for 20-30 years? Last case in Peru in the 80′s.

  27. Jules says:

    I think the whole vaccination “controversy” (why there’s even a debate at all is…?) illustrates one very critical flaw in medical science, though: how many abnormal responses does it take before a working theory is nullified?

    FTR: I am very much for vaccinations. I am not always for following the recommended schedules–as long as your antibody titers are high enough I don’t see any reason why you should have boosters every year–because these are not entirely benign things being injected into you. But all the same, the rewards outweigh the risks most of the time. I’m undecided about HPV and rotavirus, but for things like the hepatitis, varicella zoster, MMR–definitely.

    But back to the main question: undoubtedly someone out there is having a bad reaction to his vaccine. My cat had a bad reaction to her rabies vaccination (she was feverish and sick for a day). One case does not a textbook obliterate, but if there are enough people with enough problems with the paradigm, isn’t it possible that the model might not be entirely correct?

    It is the fear that what we know isn’t enough–I think that’s what needs to be addressed.

  28. daedalus2u says:

    Jules, being feverish and sick for a day is not a “bad” reaction to a vaccine. Vaccines only work by stimulating the immune system. When the immune system is stimulated it causes fever and being sick. You can’t stimulate the immune system without causing fever and being sick. Expecting vaccines to work without causing fever and feeling sick is to have unreasonable expectations.

    You could use weaker vaccines, with less antigen and less adjuvants. They would produce less of a response. Less fever and being sick, but also less immune system reaction and less immunity. They would not protect as much. You could measure antibody titres and revaccinate everyone who didn’t have a high enough level, but that would add a lot to the cost (at least 5x or 10x), and may well cause other side effects. It would reduce the degree of herd immunity (because herd immunity wouldn’t be effective until everyone had a high enough titre). This approach might not even work for any of the live-agent vaccines because they have to produce an actual infection to work.

    I don’t think there has been any evidence put up by anyone that there are any major flaws in the understanding of the immune system and how vaccines interact with it. It is known that there are rare adverse reactions. That is what the vaccine compensation system was created for.

  29. HCN says:

    Jules, I am very familiar with the effects of the rotavirus on a one year old child. There was no way to contain the volumn and amount of diarhhea the poor kid had. I used several diapers at once, with cloth diaper covered with plastic diaper.

    Then there was no way to keep fluids in the poor child… and he became dehydrated, which screwed up his electrolytes. He then had a Grand Mal seizure and ended up being transported to the children’s hospital emergency department by ambulance.

    And to make it worse, I even got it. I ended up borrowing plastic diapers for myself since it was so bad I could not make it to a toilet in time!

    The rotavirus is the most common cause of gastrointestinal problems in children, and the gastrointestinal bug that causes the most trips to the hospital, and even at least 20 deaths in the USA (half a million worldwide). More information here:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/rota.pdf

  30. Jules says:

    @ daedalus:

    I’m aware of how vaccines work–but in my (admittedly limited) experience, neither my dog and none of our cats had the same reaction. I was pretty sure it was just the vaccine doing its thing, and I wasn’t really worried about it, but if you didn’t know about vaccines you’d probably freak out too if your normally spunky and voracious kitty hid in your shower for a day and wouldn’t touch her food. That’s why I called it a “bad reaction”–because it wasn’t a normal response. MOST vaccines don’t cause a fever and they don’t make you sick or drowsy (at least, not as an adult). Because of some unusual life circumstances, I received some otherwise childhood vaccines pretty late, and I can’t recall ever being sick from them (it could also mean that they didn’t work…hmm :-P). I’ve also received some vaccines for traveling, and I certainly did not get sick from them.

    As far as titering: unless the person is a hemophiliac, drawing blood to take the titers isn’t going to cause problems by way of side effects. And it would mitigate the (unfounded) terror of thimersol and mercury and what-all, by only giving boosters when the titers fall. Of course, then you run into the question of who pays for it, and that’s one discussion I’m not going to get into. Medicine, not politics, right? :-D All I’m saying is that if it takes actual evidence for someone to accept that he needs a booster, why NOT give it to him? Doctors need actual evidence to prescribe a pill, why shouldn’t patients be able to demand actual evidence to decide whether they want a particular treatment?

    I don’t think there has been any evidence put up by anyone that there are any major flaws in the understanding of the immune system and how vaccines interact with it.

    No, I don’t think there are any major flaws in our understanding of how the immune system works. But there are some minor holes (otherwise immunology wouldn’t exist), and I don’t think the adverse reactions are all that rare. Talk with any serious pet owner about vaccines and they’ll probably reveal some concern about vaccninosis–being a member of a few online pet communities, every time the question of vaccines comes up, I’m amazed at how many people chime in with “my pet had a bad reaction, too” and then go on to give all the gory details (and some of them are pretty gory). I don’t think these holes will give me much qualms about vaccinating my kids (if I ever have them), but I can understand why they would be a cause for concern for quasi-educated parents.

    But we look back and laugh at the stubborness of doctors in the 19th century–how idiotic these people were, not to understand germ theory! And undoubtedly 100 years from now someone will look back at this e-conversation and laugh his ass off–how idiotic these people were, with their primitive understanding of the immune system! And how stubbornly they cling to the myth of the memory B cell (haven’t found it yet)! So what I’m wondering is how much science needs to be done to move us beyond what we already know and that much closer to reality.

  31. TsuDhoNimh says:

    Jules – you say, “unless the person is a hemophiliac, drawing blood to take the titers isn’t going to cause problems by way of side effects

    Uh … in addition to the expense of running the titers, and the double-visits (one for the titer draw, the next for the shots), how about hematomas, syncope, and doubling the pain and fear factor for the patient?

    I’ve taken thousands of blood samples, and have had many patients faint and even go into convulsions just from that. Although adolescent girls were the most likely to faint, one professional basketballplayer stood up from the phlebotomy chair, took two steps and TIMBERRRRR!!!! He toppled like a tree onto my petite Filipino co-worker. I had a cop pass out while watching me take blood from the suspect, and parents pass out at the sight of blood being drawn from their children.

    I can see the VAERS fatality report now … mother of patient fainted at sight of child’s blood being drawn for a pre-vaccine titer, hit head on corner, suffered fatal subduralhematoma.

  32. AntiVax says:

    Now get the truth http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

    amanda peet is being worked by Offit, a drug company man, Merck mostly.

    100,000 vaccines Offit.

  33. AntiVax says:

    “The graveyards are full of (unvaccinated) men.” Charles de Gaulle, modified by the author.

    LOL. Over 90% of smallpox victims were vaccinated. Smallpox vax was killing 25,000 babies under 5 in 1880 http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    People who don’t vaccinate are informed, and since vaccination is meant to protect then how come you make such a fuss about the unvaccinated?

  34. ama says:

    ># AntiVaxon 17 Aug 2008 at 3:41 pm
    >
    >Now get the truth http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

    OMG, what a bullshit!

    ># AntiVaxon 17 Aug 2008 at 3:44 pm
    >
    >Over 90% of smallpox victims were vaccinated.

    There are idiots who tell this.

    Do you really those idiots?

    >Smallpox vax was killing 25,000 babies under 5 in
    >1880 http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    Even worse: ALL people borne before 1870 are dead.

    >People who don’t vaccinate are informed,

    That is a lie. Nearly all the people, who do not vaccinate, do not have enough money to buy the vaccines.

    I love GAVI alliance!

    http://www.gavialliance.org/

    ama

  35. ama says:

    ># AntiVaxon 17 Aug 2008 at 3:41 pm
    >
    >Now get the truth http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

    OMG, what a bullshit!

    ># AntiVaxon 17 Aug 2008 at 3:44 pm
    >
    >Over 90% of smallpox victims were vaccinated.

    There are idiots who tell this.

    Do you really believe those idiots?

    >Smallpox vax was killing 25,000 babies under 5 in
    >1880 http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    Even worse: ALL people borne before 1870 are dead.

    >People who don’t vaccinate are informed,

    That is a lie. Nearly all the people, who do not vaccinate, do not have enough money to buy the vaccines.

    I love GAVI alliance!

    http://www.gavialliance.org/

    ama

  36. ama says:

    I love GAVI alliance!

    http://www.gavialliance.org/

    ama

  37. HCN says:

    AntiVax = John Scudamore = whale.to

    Scopie’s Law (see http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Scopie%27s_Law ):

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

  38. AntiVax says:

    ama http://www.whale.to/a/american_medical_association_h.html

    HCN–Scopie’s law is an ad hominem logical fallacy, do try harder.

  39. Raising legitimate concerns about the credibility of a source of information is not a logical fallacy.

  40. David Gorski says:

    Indeed. It is not an ad hominem to correctly point out aspects of a person making a claim that are relevant to his claim, such as a lack of expertise, a clear ideological bias that informs his opinions, a history of making erroneous or false claims, or, in this case, a known penchant for pseudoscience and conspiracy theories that can easily be shown by referring to a website.

    Scopie’s Law is not a logical fallacy because it points out Mr. Scudamore’s lack of knowledge of science and his tendency towards conspiracy theories, not to mention the sheer amount of dubious, unreliable, and false information on his website Whale.to.

  41. AntiVax says:

    Thanks, that was a great roundup of ad homimen terms and appeal to past pseudo-glories ;0) I can use that.

    “Mr. Scudamore’s lack of knowledge of science and his tendency towards conspiracy theories, not to mention the sheer amount of dubious, unreliable, and false information on his website Whale.to.”

    Pretty classic ad hominem.

  42. David Gorski says:

    Nope, pretty classic statement of truth. The amount of dubious, unreliable, and false information on your website Whale.to truly does boggle the mind.

  43. HCN says:

    Hey, I didn’t even point out the bit about you burning your bum with demonic black lines! Which is illustrated here, with some of John’s classic “thinking”:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=998

    It is so much simpler to use Scopie’s Law

  44. Numenaster says:

    Truly, the world does not have enough Mark Crislip.

  45. ama says:

    This words filter is a nuisance…

    HCN, did you mean this?

    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~aktenschrank/pigfarmer_scudamore_burnt_his_bacon/Pigfarmer_Scudamore_burnt_his_behind.html

    Burnt bacon, promptly served. :-)

  46. HCN says:

    ama,

    Yes, that is it exactly. Since he edited the link at whale.to, I see someone preserved the page as it exists on the Wayback Machine.

  47. RickK101 says:

    Mark Crislip,

    Thank you so much for this incredibly useful summary. It’s so good that we should all mail the link to our favorite politicians and celebrities, embed it in our signatures, link it on facebook, and post messages on every anti-science or antivax blog we can find.

    Sorry to see Antivax has appeared once again. One day he may very well go through some life-changing event and suddenly gain the perspective to realize that the message of his website is fundamentally evil. How awful will be the day he wakes up and realizes that he’s spent years of his life trying to shorten the lives of others. Mark Crislip’s blog is a concise, well-supported summary of the vast damage that would be done to the world’s children if we believed and followed the philosophy of Antivax and his ilk.

  48. AntiVax says:

    “Nope, pretty classic statement of truth. The amount of dubious, unreliable, and false information on your website Whale.to truly does boggle the mind.”

    More ad hominem. Truth isn’t really your speciality is it. Anyone belonging to a group isn’t exactly on the path of truth, to put it mildly.

    “They must find it difficult…those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.”—Gerald Massey

    “He (Krishnamurti) said he did not want to belong to any organization of a spiritual kind, because such an organization becomes a weakness, a bondage, and cripples the individual. He said that he did not want any followers or disciples, because the moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”

    “The cost of antivaccinationism | What did you mean ?on 18 Aug.”

    I think that needs a bit of work.

    The cost of vaccination—25,000 babies under 5 in 1880 at the height of compulsory vaccination–now you know why they repealed that law, unobeyed laws tend to make the lawmakers look an ass.

  49. AntiVax says:

    LOL, I realise you guys feel real net savvy by using Archive, but if the page is still up you just look like idiots http://www.whale.to/y/black_lines.html

    “How awful will be the day he wakes up and realizes that he’s spent years of his life trying to shorten the lives of others.”

    LOL. Reality check: You lot kill 780,000 every year in the USA alone, 120,000 to drugs, plus about 10 million addicted to them. I realise attack is the best form of defence ;0) http://www.whale.to/a/dean.html

  50. HCN says:

    John said “The cost of vaccination—25,000 babies under 5 in 1880 at the height of compulsory vaccination–now you know why they repealed that law, unobeyed laws tend to make the lawmakers look an ass.”

    And that is relevant how over one and a quarter centuries later how?

    Just show us real scientific relevant evidence that the DTaP vaccine used in 2008 is worse than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. Do the same with the MMR (which was approved for use in the USA in 1971), show it is worse than measles (which still kills), mumps and rubella.

    Just make sure that the studies were done and the papers written in the 21st century. Otherwise, you are just another Usenet/Internet loon staring into a monitor and typing on a keyboard without a clue.

  51. jdc says:

    “Nope, pretty classic statement of truth. The amount of dubious, unreliable, and false information on your website Whale.to truly does boggle the mind.”

    More ad hominem. Truth isn’t really your speciality is it. Anyone belonging to a group isn’t exactly on the path of truth, to put it mildly.

    Brilliant. AntiVax is claiming that describing the information on the Whale website as “dubious, unreliable and false” is an ad hom attack.

    He then states “truth isn’t really your speciality is it” – which seems to me to be attacking the person rather than any arguments they have made. A touch hypocritical, perhaps? Not to mention the fact that this statement has just caused my irony meter to explode. AntiVax is citing whale.to and lecturing others on truth? Quite frankly AntiVax, you wouldn’t know the truth if it came up behind you and burnt you on the bum.

  52. David Gorski says:

    I’ve had to recalibrate my irony meter to deal with the hilariously unhinged blather that Mr. Scudamore routinely delivers up.

  53. AntiVax says:

    “And that is relevant how over one and a quarter centuries later how? ”

    You mean your lie about smallpox vaccine saving millions of lives? Who would buy your vaccines if they knew smallpox vax killed millions, and didn’t save one single life?

    That is why you try and avoid true history, and resort to ad hominem–you can’t deal with the true facts.

    “I have no faith in vaccination; nay, I look upon it with the greatest possible disgust, and firmly believe that it is often the medium of conveying many filthy and loathsome diseases from one child to another, and no protection whatever against small pox. Indeed, I consider we are now living in the JENNERIAN epoch for the slaughter of innocents, and the unthinking portion of the adult population.”—W. J. COLLINS, M.D., B.S., B.Sc. (Lond.) M.R.C.S 1883 (an ex public vaccinator)

  54. i love reality says:

    Is it just me, or does trying to have a logical argument with AntiVax seem to be as wise as getting into a boxing match with a 7 foot heap of wet shit?

  55. Mark Crislip says:

    this may be a waste of time, but here goes

    “Smallpox vax was killing 25,000 babies under 5 in 1880″
    has a reference

    http://www.whale.to/vaccines/deaths.html

    that reference points to

    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/antivaccination_league_quotes.html

    which then points to

    http://www.whale.to/a/navl.html

    which has in it the following from 1880

    “FIFTH.—That since Vaccination has been rendered obligatory, infantile syphilis (under one year old) has been increased in England, according to a Parliamentary return, dated February 25th, 1880, from 472 per million of births in 1847, to 1,736 per million in 1877, or fourfold; and that other inoculable diseases, such as pyaemia, scrofula, erysipelas, and bronchitis, were also augmented in infants. In England, the increase of inoculable diseases was 20 per cent., notwithstanding an expenditure of 200 millions sterling since 1850 in sanitary works. Another Parliamentary return (No. 443, Session 1877) demonstrates that 25,000 babies are yearly sacrificed by diseases excited by Vaccination.”

    that is where I dead end. Evidently the ‘proof’ that 25,000 babies are killed by small pox despite the vaccine are contained in Parliamentary return (No. 443, Session 1877), the original of which I cannot find.

    So that piece of data is second hand information. And as I read it, it is not smallpox that is killing the babies, but diseases caused by vaccination ie secondary processes. But I don’t speak 19th century English, so it is hard to say for sure without the original source.

    Does anyone have the orignal Parliamentary return (No. 443, Session 1877) upon which this assertion is made?

    I know I am being picky by wanting accuracy and the primary sources, but I hope antivax can post Parliamentary return (No. 443, Session 1877).

    Also, I need a good laugh today:

    If not by vaccine, how was small pox eradicated?

  56. i love reality says:

    By reading his responses, I get the feeling that trying to reason with AntiVax will end up being about as productive as getting into a boxing match with a 7 foot heap of wet shit.

  57. ama says:

    You cannot discuss with an idiot as he does not have the brain to understand.

    So you will never be able to make him learn some things.

    The only thing you can do: show the public, what a bloody idiot this guy is.

    It works. :-)

  58. weing says:

    I think arguing with antivax is like wrestling with a pig. You’ll only get dirty and the pig enjoys it. If I recall history correctly, smallpox has been good for America. We even have Thanksgiving because of it. Reportedly, it wiped out most of the Indians in the Northeast leaving ready farms for the Pilgrims to use.

  59. Jurjen S. says:

    Not the first time I’ve read a summary like this, but it’s always good to be reminded from time to time.

    I was born in the Netherlands in 1970, and lived in the UK and the Netherlands during my childhood. I’ve had measles, I’ve had mumps, I’ve had chicken pox twice, though the second time (at age 28) I contracted it during a visit to the Middle East. Reading this list, I realize how many metaphorical bullets I’ve dodged by not ending up with any serious permanent effects. The worst I have is some pockmarks from the second bout of chicken pox (though I’d rather not have those either).

    I have a two year-old son now, and because I know the discomfort caused by vaccinations is negligible compared to the misery of suffering from these diseases (even without suffering permanent damage), there’s no way I wouldn’t have had him vaccinated, and I completely fail to understand parents who won’t vaccinate their own kids.

  60. Jurjen S. says:

    weing wrote:

    If I recall history correctly, smallpox has been good for America. We even have Thanksgiving because of it. Reportedly, it wiped out most of the Indians in the Northeast leaving ready farms for the Pilgrims to use.

    I don’t think that’s right. Disease (spreading from the Spanish colonies in Central America) wiped out 95% of the population of North America before European settlers even arrived in Virginia or Massachusetts, but it wasn’t smallpox.

    My main reason for thinking this is that I know the Lewis & Clark expedition carried, on Jefferson’s instruction, a supply for cowpox serum for the purpose of inoculating as many Native Americans as they could along the way, so that the expedition wouldn’t inadvertently wipe out everyone they came into contact with. That makes it seem likely that smallpox wasn’t something the majority of the native population of North America had been exposed to yet.

  61. ama says:

    >I don’t think that’s right. Disease (spreading from the
    >Spanish colonies in Central America) wiped out 95% of
    >the population of North America before European settlers
    >even arrived in Virginia or Massachusetts, but it wasn’t
    >smallpox.

    Are their statistical data available from reliable sources?

    Thank you
    ama

  62. HCN says:

    Jurgen said “I don’t think that’s right. Disease (spreading from the Spanish colonies in Central America) wiped out 95% of the population of North America before European settlers even arrived in Virginia or Massachusetts, but it wasn’t smallpox.”

    Actually, that is why there were fields for the pilgrims to use. The native settlement had been wiped out a few decades before. The influx of European disease in what is now in the USA started in Florida and worked its way up the coast. The English had a few settlements that actually were wiped out themselves by disease (Roanoke, and almost Jamestown). The “Pilgrims” were in the next wave.

    The Spanish arrived in 1492… Smallpox and measles are pretty deadly. The English Pilgrims landed in New England less than 150 years later — the diseases were pretty devastating (oh, and the Native peoples had some well established trade routes, which is why one can find sea shell ornaments in the middle of the continent).

    “…. That makes it seem likely that smallpox wasn’t something the majority of the native population of North America had been exposed to yet.”

    Actually, Captain Vancouver saw smallpox scars on Natives when he explored the west coast of Canada and the Northwest USA in the late 1700s. There are also notes of smallpox wiping out natives in subsequent years (theories included in article):
    http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5100 …”In 1792, members of the Vancouver Expedition were the first Europeans to witness the effects of the smallpox epidemic along Puget Sound. On May 12, 1792, expedition member Archibald Menzies noted “Several Indians pock mark’d – a number of them had lost an eye” (Menzies, 29). Commander George Vancouver (1757-1798) stated that two days earlier members of his expedition exploring Hoods Canal spotted “one man, who had suffered very much from the small pox.” He went on to say, “This deplorable disease is not only common, but it is greatly to be apprehended is very fatal amongst them, as its indelible marks were seen on many; and several had lost the sight of one eye, which was remarked to be generally the left, owing most likely to the virulent effects of this baneful disorder” (Vancouver, Vol. 2, p. 241-242). ”

    And if you want to continue on the theme of disease devastation and consequences in the American west, a measles outbreak caused a massacre:
    http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5192 …”The Cayuse may have acted in retaliation for tribal members killed by whites, in an effort to stop increased white immigration into the Walla Walla Valley, or most likely, out of the belief that Marcus Whitman was an evil shaman using measles to kill people. The physician was unsuccessfully treating the Cayuse, who lacked immunity, and measles was killing them but not the whites. The massacre will lead to the Cayuse War and will spur the U.S. Congress to create Oregon Territory.”

  63. ama says:

    Thanks, HCN, that is interesting. The figures I see are not as high as 95 percent, but the whole web-site is interesting for our vaccine-guys.

  64. HCN says:

    That is mostly a history site for a regional area. Another one with extensive data is this photo database (not so much for he vaccine/disease stuff):
    http://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/

    From my recollection the 95% figure comes from speculations that are noted in this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Plagues-Peoples-William-H-McNeill/dp/0385121229/
    … which is where I read that the estimates are as high as 90% or more.

    Oh, and as far as the Spanish were concerned… as a child attending an American school in Caraca, Venezuela I benefited from the Venezuelan government requirement that we be taught local history and social studies. Our teacher would give us the full unedited history of the Spanish genocide of the Carib tribes. Not only did they depend on disease, but also arrows, very large dogs and enforced slavery. The slavery was so brutal that Africans were imported as labor. They were called “conquistadors” for a reason (Jared Diamond only nicked the surface of what they did in his book “Guns, Germs and Steel”!).

  65. ama says:

    Thank you, HCN. I put that in our “weapons chamber”.

  66. influenza says:

    As the father of a daughter who died from a vaccine preventable disease – Influenza, I struggle every day to understand people who are dogmatically opposed to vaccines. All the talk of conspiracies is simply ridiculous. The influenza vaccine manufacturing business is just about the worst business you can be in. I have talked to some parents who have autistic children and understand as well as can be possible, through them, the difficulties of raising a child with disabilities. No one has ever offered, or intimated that they want to change places with me. As it so happens, I also have a daughter that is being treated for high risk Leukemia. So I have some hard earned experience dealing with the burden of caring for a child with special needs. Almost every night I recall my panic and desperation as I tried to give resuscitate my daughter who had suddenly stopped breathing. One of the last entries in her medical record reads:

    “After reaching the maximum Epi dose of 1mcg/kg, _____’s BP continued to fade. at 2245 examination revealed cardiac standstill. She died in the arms of her father. Cause of death (1) Influenza A, (2) Respiratory Arrest, (3) Cardiac Arrest”

    As parents we try to protect our children in every way possible. Helmets, seatbelts, etc. Vaccinations are one of the most important tools we have to keep them safe.

    My situation is unique in that I could have prevented one daughter’s death (one can’t know for certain but the credible evidence certainly suggests so); and my immune-compromised daughter cannot be directly vaccinated and thus relies upon herd immunity and our diligence to keep her safe. My perspective is that vaccines, like every agent we introduce into our bodies, carry some small risk of adverse events. These are well known, extremely rare and are communicated clearly. Those who oppose them have too much invested to ever convince otherwise since the really vocal opponents have seemingly made it the focus of their lives. Sadly, I think the vocal opposition to vaccines has more to do with how these people perceive themselves than it does with the truth. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to admit that my life’s purpose was entirely wrong. Less vocal opposition to vaccines is easily remedied through education.

  67. Dana says:

    “Before vaccines, most children would suffer the majority of these illness before adulthood.”

    You don’t have any proof of that.

    Before indoor plumbing, most children would suffer the majority of these illness before adulthood.

    If vaccines were fail-proof and if there were proof of how long the so-called protection actually lasted then your statement would be logical. But since vaccines do fail and nobody knows per child with each vaccine how long the “protection” lasts — then I would say your statement lacks logic.

    Furthermore – IF the statement was believed by pharmaceutical companies and could be backed up with proof then wouldn’t we have our government forcing vaccines and boosters on adults – you know, before they are allowed to go to work. Sorry for the sarcasm, I couldn’t resist.

    I’m a Mom with one partially vaccinated and one not. I’m the sister of a brother who suffered lifelong damage from the whole cell pertussis vaccine…just to let you know where I’m coming from.

  68. Dana says:

    That is so terrible about your daughter. I won’t even begin to think that I could ever understand your pain. I have experienced a similar tragedy through a friend who’s baby died of SIDS. There is no vaccine for SIDS and to say there is one for the flu would be reaching really really far.

    I just wanted to post and say that I wish your daughters flu experience could have been like the three my son has had. Three times he got the flu, as did the entire family – but the only one who even visited the doctor each time was my husband. He was required to have a doctor’s excuse for missing work so that is the only way we knew it was the flu for sure. I have had the flu many times, but never until my husband began to get the recommended flu vaccines. While having the flu, I have never gone to the doctor, and have never sent my kids to see the Pediatrician.

    Are some strains worse than others or are some people not as healthy as others? Why do most flu’s never need a doctor’s attention and yet some people get hospitalized? Isn’t it rare for a person to be hospitalized with the flu?

    I just don’t think you should blame yourself or fool yourself into thinking the vaccine would have prevented your child’s death. I think you would be surprised if you did your research on the flu vaccine. I think you have misplaced the blame…it shouldn’t be on anyone’s shoulders, much less yours.

  69. Dana says:

    “These are well known, extremely rare and are communicated clearly.”

    I would like to read the studies, articles or journals where you get this information.

    They are not well known. Doctors do not report Adverse reactions to VAERS or any other reporting agency. They are not required to, they are not mandated to, they are not even doing it for the sake of the “herd”. Those who claim to help all of mankind with their vaccines can’t help all of mankind with the truth in the numbers?

    How can anyone claim that reactions are “extremely rare” when they have nothing to back up their claims? There is no reporting of adverse reactions so we neither know how rare they are – or how often they occur. It’s convenient though to be without this data I guess. Otherwise – why don’t we have it?

    Having a Pediatric doctor tell a parent that adverse reactions are rare is hardly CLEAR COMMUNICATION – especially since it’s a guess and nothing more. If it’s not a guess then I’m sure someone here will demonstrate how our government and the AAP/CDC base their claims.

    I’m guessing that if parents knew the facts – and this is no conspiracy theory – it’s a fact, then their views on vaccines may differ. There is NO REPORTING AGENCY keeping track of how many adverse reactions occur in this country. Surprised? Do your research and your eyes will be opened.

  70. Dana says:

    “The scope of these infectious diseases is mind numbing. I do not know how to put all this suffering and death into understandable numbers.”

    Well try truthful numbers…and back them up if you don’t mind. It always makes it more “understandable” or so I’ve found.

    Exactly HOW MANY deaths from tetanus occurred in the US last year? Because your numbers are NOT in line with what I’ve read and I can only refer to your rants as scare tactics because of it.

    It’s really hard to take you seriously when you say:

    “600 cases and 180 deaths each year in U.S.”

    I did see the term “historical disease” but I’m not sure what to make of that term and how its used here. Actually, I do, it’s fear mongering at its worst. If not, then why didn’t you tell the facts – or at least something similar to the CDC claims:

    “During 1998–2000, an average of 43 cases of tetanus was reported annually;”

    and

    “The case-fatality ratio was 18% among 113 patients with known outcome; 75% of the deaths were among patients aged >60 years.”

    and did you forget to include the fact that the patients were almost ALL unhealthy to begin with???

    I’ll wait for your reply or the removal of my post before I tackle the rest of your scare tactics.

    I have studied this topic for over a decade, my education is not in the medical industry but when people with the medical and scientific degrees write such lies, I can’t help but to ask you to back it up. Please feel free to prove me wrong but please back it up with something useful. I realize my sarcasm is not always necessary but my anger and frustration over this issue is sometimes hard to contain. When I read statements such as those presented here it makes me wonder and want to ask why. Why do you want to give the impression that people in the US are dropping dead from Tetanus because they were not vaccinated? That is just wrong and I can’t understand the point…how long before that shot wears off anyway???

  71. Dana says:

    The correct numbers on Rubella –

    In 2001, for the first time in history, less than 100 cases were reported in the United States. In 2003, there were only eight rubella cases and one CRS case reported in the United States. In 2004, there were only nine rubella cases reported in the United States.

    Again, the information was copied directly from the CDC’s website.

    That’s not even close to the scare tactics used in your article!

  72. Dana says:

    To say that someone is “dumb as a box of rocks” because they don’t believe in your lies is just ridiculous. How dumb does one have to be to believe what you say over believing their own research? Or how about believing what is before their very eyes? You may not be old enough to realize this but generations before you got these diseases and the majority survived.

    My daughter is 3. She is in great health. She has had Pneumonia, and survived without even a trip to the hospital. She’s had chicken pox and again survived. She didn’t even have to be hospitalized…never even needed a fever-reducer.

    I guess you need all those scare tactics to help convince people that they should have irrational fears of self-limiting diseases – especially when they, their children, and every ancestor before them lived through these diseases. No one in my family can remember a single death brought about by any of these diseases. What they do remember is my brother who was damaged by the whole-cell pertussis vaccine and then died at the age of 23 from a heart that just couldn’t take all the drugs any longer. The drugs kept him from constant convulsions. Just ask my Mom and any family member and they will tell you that whooping cough for even a few weeks does not compare to what that vaccine put him through…or the rest of us for that matter.

    These diseases are not as dangerous or deadly as you make them out to be!

  73. Dana says:

    And to the person who is calling people morons and sociopaths:

    If you are intelligent enough to do so, you may want to research for yourself and find proof of the claims he’s made here. Because not doing so makes you look like the moron…and sound like a sociopath. Stop believing in group speak and see the information yourself. Then ask yourself “Who’s the moron here?”

  74. Dana says:

    “No mention of shingles. Maybe I take that more seriously now that my kids are grown and I’m getting into the prime shingles age range.”

    Well, since your kids are all grown then you may be one of the lucky ones who was exposed to the actual virus. Did your kids get the chicken pox and actually survive??? (Silly question I know.) If so, then recent studies suggest your shingles may be supressed.

    The studies suggest that shingles is occurring more often now because of the lack of natural exposure to the real virus. The exposure helps to keep the shingles at bay. That is my non scientific interpretation but you should study this stuff yourself.

    What will happen to all these kids of this generation when their vaccine wears off? Oh, that’s right, there will be the shingles vaccine they can all line up for. Right, I’m sure all adults will be running to the doctor for that vaccine…but at what age? When will their shots wear off – do we even know? Or will we see thousands dying of this disease because they never got the lifelong immunity offered by getting the disease when they were children? This is a CHILDHOOD disease, you are better off if you get it when you’re a child. If you get it as an adult – it can kill you. THEN (and only then) might we see the death toll that’s grossly overstated in the above.

  75. Dana says:

    “Except that the DTaP doesn’t cause autism.”

    Okay, so the a-cellular version does not cause autism. Did the whole cell version? How would you classify all those mentally retarded children from back before the word “autism” was attached to these brain disorders? Why did they change the vaccine? Do tell your version of the story but please at least try to include rational writings from journals or peer-reviewed articles or SOMETHING besides your sarcasm. I’m asking a serious question. Please consider it with a serious answer.

  76. Dana says:

    Guardasil –

    Those of you who do have a little girl should read about the deaths and other adverse reactions reported (key word there).

    Just some reading to help you realize that someone may not be 100% truthful when they spout about the many reasons you should inject your child with this cocktail of chemicals and disease. Especially when there’s lots of money to be made!

    http://www.nowpublic.com/ten_facts_about_hpv_and_gardasil

    http://www.naturalnews.com/022140.html

  77. Dana says:

    Hepatitis B –

    How do you get it? Does the CDC think that infant babies are having sex or doing drugs? Will the shot wear off in a few years? Will it last until the child actually IS old enough to have sex and share needles with their drug-addict friends?

    There is a simple test that an OBGYN can do to find out if Mom is a carrier. If she is, then the vaccine may THEN have its place. But we don’t test Mom in the US – no, we just shoot up babies with this vaccine when they are ONLY hours old. Canada only shoots up babies who’s Mom or Dad is a carrier – why can’t we do that?

    Why not just give your infant a condom for those late nights outside of his crib??? Why not just teach your daughter to respect her body and not use IV drugs at the daycare center between her nap-time and diaper changes? I mean, gee, isn’t infancy a little early for drugs and sex???

  78. Dana says:

    “Who assumes that? Didn’t you see the side effects posted for each vaccine? I didn’t see any side effects from the “poisons” in vaccines either.”

    And you won’t. Because all side effects are not reported nor are they categorized, maintained or even listed – anywhere!

    How convenient for the pro-vaccine side. Don’t have a reporting agency, don’t know the real numbers of children who have had adverse reactions, but continue spouting claims that there are no side effects or that they are “very rare”. If that’s so true then why not have a reporting agency? Why not? What are you afraid of?

    If you don’t have the real numbers, then just make some up – and then convince the entire scientific community that those are the real numbers. They won’t ever ask, or go against the group speak and look it up for themselves…so go ahead – spread some group-speak today!

  79. Dana says:

    “the almost complete defeat of infant and child mortality. ”

    Hang on there – you need a vaccine for SIDS don’t you???

  80. Dana says:

    “I’ll refer back to it whenever I want hard numbers and facts to support the general idea of “we’re healthier now because of vaccines”.”

    Shouldn’t you look-up those “hard numbers” to see if they are even correct before you go blindly trusting group-speak?

    If you did, you would notice how he avoids using plain English such as: In the US, xxx people were diagnosed with xxx last year, xxx were hospitalized from the disease and xxx died from complications of the self-limiting disease.

  81. Dana says:

    “A couple of points: the change from the old Pertussis to eh acellular Pertussis dramatically decreased the incidence of side effects (e.g. swelling, erythema at the site, high fever, shrill cry, even seizures). I am sure that they still occur, but I haven’t seen it in the last 8 years.”

    I have. The new A-Cellular vaccine put my neice into a coma. At least she’s healthy now and in college. Unlike my brother who got the whole-cell pertussis vaccine and was left brain damaged for life.

    And no it wasn’t “6 to 10″ cases that made them remove the OPV. At least, that’s not what I read in 1999 that made me refuse to allow my son to get it. I printed some of it, and funny thing is, the journals are no longer available on the web today. You will have to find them at the library. I am finding this is the case for a lot of information I read 10-12 years ago.

  82. Dana says:

    My cat had a bad reaction to her rabies vaccination (she was feverish and sick for a day). One case does not a textbook obliterate, but if there are enough people with enough problems with the paradigm, isn’t it possible that the model might not be entirely correct?

    Does your Vet have a reporting agency for adverse reactions? Did you contact them? Did your Vet stop what he was doing and fill out paperwork regarding the reaction and send it in to this agency?

    Neither do doctors or hospital staff. Sometimes parents find out about the agency and then they themselves fill out the paperwork. But most often – it goes unreported when there is a reaction. But then again, if a doctor is of the mindset to close his mind to the possibility…well, if he ain’t gonna admit there’s a connection then why would he report the reaction in the first place? Does he report it when he KNOWS – when it’s quite obvious and makes him look like an idiot to deny it? No, he does not. Why? Nobody says he has to, that’s why.

  83. Dana says:

    “You can’t stimulate the immune system without causing fever and being sick. ”

    Oh, well that clearly explains why my son got the vaccination for chicken pox and then got the (severe case) chicken pox!

    All those toxins injected into his body and for what? You should go warn everyone…if they don’t get a fever then the vaccine may fail them!

  84. Dana says:

    “I don’t think there has been any evidence put up by anyone that there are any major flaws in the understanding of the immune system and how vaccines interact with it.”

    You REALLY should do your homework!

  85. Dana says:

    “If not by vaccine, how was small pox eradicated?”

    If not by vaccine, how was TB or the plague eradicated?

  86. TB eradicated? Are you kidding? It has never left us, and is now increasing with a vengeance. TB is an excellent example of how vaccination is superior to antibiotic treatment.

    The plague still exists also. Infections tend to come and go in waves called epidemics (or pandemics).

    You REALLY should do your homework.

  87. daedalus2u says:

    Dana, huh? If your son got a severe case of chicken pox after being vaccinated, perhaps if he had not been vaccinated the disease would have killed him as it has killed many others.

    It used to be ~145 deaths per year attributed to chicken pox.

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2005/02/02/chicken-pox-050102.html

    Maybe your child was one of the deaths the vaccine prevented.

  88. Dana says:

    daedalus2u -

    I haven’t read the link yet, but I will, thanks. I’ve probably already read it. I will re-read it and post any questions or thoughts. But here is what crossed my mind many times regarding my son and CP…

    My MIL says my husband never had CP. His brother got it when they were children. She kept taking my husband’s temperature and checking him daily for breakouts. There were none. So she told me that he never had it.

    My guess is that either he had it before the brother and had such a mild case that it wasn’t noticeable.

    OR

    He never got it. Is it possible for a person to not get it – not ever? I have heard that a lot of people never exhibit symptoms. I wish we had done titers on my husband. If he had shown the antigen in his blood then I would not have vaccinated my son. I know its a risk – but considering what I’ve witnessed – so is vaccinating.

    Do you or anyone else know where I may read some stories of hospitalization from chicken pox? Any that INCLUDE the child’s past health history? See I’m convinced that my son probably would have gotten the pox just like his sister – it was barely noticeable. She never even ran a fever. My children are very healthy and that is one reason I do not have the irrational fears like I once did. I’m convinced that the treatments or previous health issues – combined with the CP – is what lead to all the deaths. But anyway – don’t you think it’s just a little misleading to use figures from decades ago – back when people didn’t even have indoor plumbing? If I could see some real concrete evidence that the CP killed anyone in this day and time, then of course my thoughts could be swayed.

    When my daughter had it, I was already prepared to use natural fever reducing methods instead of tylenol because I’ve learned that skin diseases should not be treated with fever-reducing medicine. This is new information I do believe – does anyone have any comments or information about that?

    My Aunt (Mom didn’t remember) said that my brother and I both got light cases of the chicken pox. That, combined with my husband’s CP experience makes me believe that he would not have died, or even been hospitalized.

    I’ll share some other thoughts too –

    My brother was not given the small pox vaccine but I was. They say a neighborhood child got the small pox and had been playing at our house in the weeks prior to the sickness. I just wonder why my brother didn’t get the small pox? Details are a little fuzzy from my past – but I’ve read similar stories. All of my Aunts remember because they were very worried since my brother was already brain-damaged, they worried that he would not survive small pox.

    My daughter recently got the chicken pox. I homeschool my children, and contrary to what group-speak tells you, we do NOT stay home all day everyday. (I wish I had even ONE DAY at home, but we don’t.) That week, prior to the rash (when she was MOST contagious), we spent time with 4 groups of kids. Two of the groups were very large and the majority of each group were kids who had never been vaccinated for anything. The few kids that WERE vaccinated, did not get the chicken pox vaccine (something to do with being Catholic). Only days before her rash appeared, her brother had a birthday party. Most of the kids at the party were not vaccinated either. The parents were SO EXCITED to hear our news. They just knew for sure that their kids would get it. Not a single child from those 4 groups OR the party got the chicken pox! One even spent the night and was in the car with us for at least 5 hours one day (just prior to the rash)!

    When someone can make me understand the logic of this and how it relates to what the AAP says with their scare tactics then I’ll change my perspective. Until then, I feel it’s my duty to help others see the lies for what they are.

    Our government thinks that the majority of people are too stupid to ever question the group-speak they’ve spread about vaccines…but they would be wrong!

    Steven -
    You’re right, I meant to use a different disease – I got um mixed up. Sorry – I finally found a place where I thought I might get some answers so I went a little overboard with my comments and questions.

    Since there appears to be some very intelligent Scientist and Doctors here…I wished you would please address my many rants above. I am highly interested in your opinions, thoughts and educated guesses. I’m tough, I can take it :)

    Thanks!

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