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Danger Zones of Parental Vaccine Refusal

Back in 2009 I wrote a story entitled, “The New Plague”, about my experiences as a pediatrician with the frightening trend of parental vaccine refusal in New York City. In that post I discussed some of the complex social factors contributing to this phenomenon, and some of the common vaccine myths to which many parents fall prey. I recommend that you read that post, as it is (unfortunately) as timely today as it was then. Now I’m a pediatrician in Amherst, Massachusetts, and I find it necessary to revisit this dangerous trend in parenting.

As I described in my previous post on the subject, my old practice was at an interesting crossroads of several communities that seemed to perfectly embody the socioeconomic and cultural characteristics commonly found in communities with high rates of parental vaccine refusal. Ironically, these tend to include people who are educated and socially privileged; those empowered to question authority. In 2010, I left New York City and moved to Western Massachusetts to take a job at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield. There I was in charge of the teaching clinic where pediatric residents are trained in the outpatient care of children. The children we took care of in Springfield comprised a very high-risk, underprivileged population. Our patients were significantly below the poverty level, with high rates of developmental and educational disability, a high teen pregnancy rate, and high rates of domestic violence, drug use, and gang involvement. Children who were not up to date with their vaccinations were behind because of poor continuity of care, with many missed appointments and gaps in follow-up. I now work at a private practice further north in the Pioneer Valley of Central Massachusetts. Here, my experiences with vaccine lapses are starkly different. Now, when I encounter a child who is not fully vaccinated or is completely unvaccinated, it is the result of a parental decision. A very flawed, dangerous, and misinformed parental decision.

My new practice is comprised of children from an interesting, rich diversity of sociocultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Its South Amherst location draws patients from many of the local, rural farming communities, and its close proximity to five colleges and universities (The University of Massachusetts, and Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke Colleges), draws a unique mix of highly educated academics. On any given day it is typical for me to see the children of farmers, mechanics, refugees, and university professors, and children who live in Victorian homes, as well as those living in cohousing communes and public housing units. But the proportion of parents in my new practice who are challenging the recommended schedule of vaccines is much greater than what I experienced in my NYC practice. Again, these parents tend to be highly educated, economically privileged, and part of the cultural trend toward self-empowerment and the questioning of authority. While it’s a great thing to be a self-empowered and questioning individual, that can and is being taken to irrational extremes. It is irrational to resist or ignore scientific experts and science itself under the belief that one can be one’s own expert in all matters. It is not uncommon for parents who choose a so-called “alternative” vaccine schedule to state emphatically that, “no one is going to tell me how to vaccinate my child”. The absolute absurdity of that proclamation should be plain as day. Why wouldn’t you take the science-based recommendations of the world’s leading experts on infectious disease and epidemiology when making the most important decision regarding the health of your child? And if not from them, than on whose recommendations will you base these decisions? A quack website such as Natural News, your friends, yourself?

Why are parents so afraid to vaccinate their children? First of all, every parent that comes to me with an alternate vaccine schedule is making a decision that is meant to be in the child’s best interest. These are well-intentioned parents, who want to do the right thing. One of the main issues at play here is the fact that vaccines are a preventative measure, and not a treatment for a visible, tangible disease state. This right away makes it a harder sell. That wasn’t the case when these diseases were commonplace and an ever-present specter looming over every parent’s head. Then, the thought of not vaccinating was inconceivable to most people (though not all, and that’s a different topic altogether). The infections we are trying to prevent with vaccines are now a mere abstraction for most parents. Because vaccines have been so successful at reducing the incidence of these horrific diseases, there are few parents who have ever seen or even heard of them. Add to this the rampant and ever-snowballing avalanche of vaccine myths and misinformation propagated by social circles, the mass media, social media, and the Internet, and you have the conditions for our current decline in vaccination rates.

Concerns about vaccines tend to fall into several different categories including, but not limited to:

  • Vaccines cause diseases, including autism and autoimmune diseases.
  • Vaccines contain toxins, which can harm the body in unknown ways.
  • Too many vaccines given together can overwhelm the immune system.
  • Vaccines are unnecessary, and/or do not work.

These myths have been addressed at length many times on SBM and elsewhere, so I will not discuss them further here. While some parents buy into the more extreme forms of anti-vaccine propaganda, most understand that vaccines are responsible for the dramatic decline in the incidence of horrible diseases and that they are generally safe. However, they may falsely conclude that because these diseases are now so rare, they no longer need to be as vigilant about vaccinating their children. This makes it easier for parents, who don’t necessarily buy into the full anti-vaccine mythology, to take a “play it safe” approach and accept some form of alternate vaccination strategy. It is difficult to explain to these parents that until the diseases are truly eradicated from the planet, we must keep vaccinating everyone; that everyone needs to be vaccinated to maintain herd immunity for those too young to be vaccinated, for those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons, and for those for whom the vaccines do not work.

On a single day recently, I saw five families who had children that were, by choice, not being vaccinated according to the recommended schedule of childhood vaccines. Two of these families had a child that had received no vaccines at all – a 9 month old and an 11 year old. The parents of these children, out of misguided fear and with the belief that they were making the correct, “educated” decision for their children, chose to ignore the recommendations of some of the world’s leading experts on infectious disease, immunology, and epidemiology. They chose to ignore science over the advice of their social network, the popular media, and the pseudo-religious anti-vaccine propaganda mill. The rate with which parents are making such decisions for their children in similar communities around the country is truly frightening. It is a movement away from science and reason that warrants much more attention than it has received so far. That includes attention and action from the media, from science and health organizations, physicians groups, and from parents as well. A new effort from the University of Iowa Computational Epidemiology Group is hoping to use an iPhone app to track data on vaccine refusals submitted by pediatric providers throughout the country. Efforts like this, intended to shine a light on the problem of vaccine refusal and denialism, are necessary if we are to stem the tide of this dangerous epidemic.

Vaccine Refused

The University of Iowa, Computational Epidemiology Group

The very dangerous, very bad vaccine exemption decision

In the US, 48 states currently allow parents to claim religious exemptions from the vaccines their children are required to receive to attend daycare and school. Eighteen of these states allow personal belief exemptions, which include religious, philosophical, and any other unspecified non-medical exemption. Only 2 states (Mississippi and West Virginia) allow only medical exemptions.

The aggregate data for vaccine exemptions in the United States as a whole isn’t bad. But that can be misleading as it hides the wide variability in vaccination rates due to local pockets of vaccine under-immunization. For the 2011-12 school year, the aggregate rate for vaccine exemption claims was 1.2%. In Oregon, the rate was 6.4%. This was mostly due to the high prevalence of dangerous vaccine beliefs in a handful of communities throughout the state. In my state of Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health recently released its analysis of kindergarten vaccine exemption rates throughout the Commonwealth. Similar to trends in some other states, the Massachusetts data reveals a worrisome increase in medical and religious exemptions claimed by the parents of kindergarteners to one or more required vaccines over the past several years. Throughout Massachusetts, the exemption rate for 2012-2013 was 1.5 percent, a 0.4 percent increase since 2010. For the two counties represented by my practice, Franklin and Hampshire Counties, the exemption rate reached 6.0 and 4.2 percent respectively. These were the highest rates in the state. These numbers may not sound high, but it is important to point out that the herd immunity threshold (the vaccination rate required to prevent outbreaks of disease) is quite high, and that even a small dip in the vaccination rate can bring back disease. For example, the herd immunity threshold for measles is approximately 94%. That means if less than 94% of a community is vaccinated against measles, outbreaks of the disease can begin to spread easily among susceptible members of the community. In other words, we can expect to see outbreaks of a disease as the vaccination drops below the herd immunity threshold for that disease. In my community, we are close to this threshold already. In other communities around the country the situation is even worse, and outbreaks of disease are already being seen. Around the world, the situation is truly dire. In the UK, where the MMR-autism myth was created, outbreaks of measles are still prevalent a full 15 years after Andrew Wakefield published his fraudulent report.

The ease with which vaccine exemptions can be claimed varies by state, but it typically requires little more effort than filling out an annual form. In Massachusetts, a parent must present a physician’s written certification for any medical vaccine exemption. However, a parent may exempt his or her own child quite easily. General Law for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts states:

In the absence of an emergency or epidemic of disease declared by the department of public health, no child whose parent or guardian states in writing that vaccination or immunization conflicts with his sincere religious beliefs shall be required to present said physician’s certificate in order to be admitted to school.

In Oregon, the state with the highest rate of vaccine exemptions, a new law was recently passed that will require parents seeking a non-medical exemption for their children to:

document either a signature from a health care practitioner verifying discussion of the risks and benefits of immunization, or a certificate of completion of an interactive online educational video about the risks and benefits of immunization.

A model school immunization exemption law, which would make it much more difficult for a child to obtain a school vaccine exemption, has been proposed for the State of Arkansas by the Institute for Vaccine Safety, the Johns Hopkins Center for Law and the Public’s Health, and the Arkansas Medical Society. Although no law this restrictive has yet to be passed, such laws may become necessary if outbreaks resulting from increased rates of under-immuization continue to occur. Many healthcare providers and public health experts (myself included) believe that time has already come.

Measles

In 1991, I was a senior medical student completing my sub-internship in internal medicine. I was working on a locked drug-rehabilitation ward, where one of my patients was a man with AIDS. He was sick from his disease and from his drug addiction, but what sickened him most, and in the end what killed him, was measles. Ten days later I was in Seattle, having just returned from an interview for a residency position at the children’s hospital there, when I became ill. I had a high fever and a bad cough. I felt something gritty inside my cheek and looked in the mirror to find tiny, sand like particles. I turned to my friend, on whose floor I was sleeping during my visit, and said, “in a few days I will be the sickest person you have ever seen”. I knew right away that I had contracted measles from my patient in New York. For the next 10 days I lay on my friend’s floor coughing uncontrollably, hallucinating, dehydrated, with fever spikes to 105 degrees. In retrospect, I know that I had pneumonia and encephalitis, dangerous complications of measles infection. I have never been sicker in my life, and I could easily have died. I had also potentially infected a lot of people during my tour of the children’s hospital when I was at my most contagious point in the illness. The Department of Health had to be called in to trace my steps and try to protect all of my potential contacts. I, and anyone I may have infected, was a victim of the 1989-1991 US measles epidemic. This was before Wakefield’s paper and the ensuing media frenzy hyping the claim about a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism. It was before people began, en masse, to choose not to vaccine their children against measles. But this epidemic, which sickened over 55,000 people, was still a result of under-immunization. In this case it was due to low vaccination rates in preschool children as a result of unacceptably poor access to health care. Whatever the reason, the failure to fully vaccinate our children is extremely dangerous. Parental decisions about whether or how to vaccinate their children that are based on misinformation have already resulted in outbreaks of deadly disease.

While many parents who claim exemptions for their children do so on the grounds that it is their right to make such decisions for their children, there is ample legal precedent for the mandatory vaccination of children to protect the public. According to the Supreme Court, “the very concept of ordered liberty precludes allowing every person to make his own standards on matters of conduct in which the society as a whole has important interests.” If the trend toward increasing rates of vaccine refusal and vaccine exemptions continues, enlarging pockets of under-immunization (and non-immunization) guarantees the re-emergence of deadly, entirely vaccine-preventable disease. We are already beginning to see this happen on a small scale. Hopefully it won’t take large-scale outbreaks or epidemics, which will kill and permanently injure untold numbers of children, to get the pendulum to swing back again toward science and reason.

Posted in: Public Health, Vaccines

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228 thoughts on “Danger Zones of Parental Vaccine Refusal

  1. Young CC Prof says:

    To be fair, the ’91 epidemic was powered less by vaccine refusers than by young adults who didn’t know that their infant MMR had worn off, crowded together in college dormitories. Heck of a way to figure out that immunity declines between age 1 and age 18, but now we know, so there’s a booster on the schedule.

    Of course, the scattered US outbreaks of the last decade have all been clearly linked to communities of refusers, as have the large measles epidemics in Europe.

    1. Chris says:

      Actually, that is only partly true. There was a realization that one MMR vaccine was not sufficient. But still, many of the kids who got measles were not vaccinated. Also some of the young adults (like Dr. Snyder) may have been missed, or had one of the early killed measles vaccines that did not work very well. Any one who was born in between 1957 and 1970 would have had one single vaccine or no vaccine, and may not have been protected. I was born in 1957 and my very complete military dependent shot record shows no measles vaccine (though I suspect a couple of weeks of losing two weeks when I was eight years old was measles, but no one really remembers).

      Other reasons range from being part of a church in Pennsylvania that did not use real medicine (often discussed by Dr. Offit since he worked there), and also to vaccines not being provided to children in lower income brackets. The latter is discussed in these two papers:
      Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.

      West J Med. 1993 Oct;159(4):455-64.
      Measles epidemic from failure to immunize.

      Also it was because many did not vaccinated their children until it was time to enroll in kindergarten. That epidemic is what prompted the creation of this Every Child By Two.

      In short: it was complicated. Now, not so much.

      1. John Snyder says:

        Exactly. I received a single measles vaccine in 1966. Incredibly, my titers were checked upon entering medical school but they never looked at them! Reviewing them after the fact, I realized I had not responded to that vaccine.

      2. Christine Runquist says:

        Only those that are educated about the dangers of vaccines, are the ones who are refusing them. The CDC and the medical community are doing a very good job of hiding the dangers of vaccines. The beginning of the vaccine refusal movement has come much too late. It is much too late for the sufferers of vaccine related autism to have a real chance at life! It is much too late for those who suffer from seizures and other neurological conditions that came on after vaccination, to be healthy. It is much too late for those vaccine injured victims who have already died- to return to life! It is a real wonder that any parents at all are still subjecting their children to these syringes of poison! The problem lies not in those parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. The problem lies in the CDC and medical community who refuse to acknowledge the truth! There is a reason for vaccine refusal. Parents whose children were victims of vaccine dangers and have ended up disabled because of them, have passed on the knowledge of these dangers, as any moral person would do. So John Snyder- if you care about children and their future, you will consider posting this. Sometimes the only way to accept this knowledge is having it hit close to home. We would hate to see any of your loved ones suffer from a vaccine related injury. Heed the warning.

        1. Chris says:

          If we don’t know the dangers of the vaccines, then provide us the verifiable scientific evidence that show the real relative risk between the vaccine and diseases.

          Please post the PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that shows any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than its intended disease.

          By “qualified”, I mean someone the appropriate educational and experience background. This means no “studies” by lawyers, finance professors, computer scientists or cardiologists. By “reputable” I mean someone who has not been legally stripped of their medical credentials.

          Also, PubMed is an index of the medical journals from around this planet that goes back over a century. Being indexed on PubMed is no guarantee of a quality paper, it just provides a means of getting access to it.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          The CDC and the medical community are doing a very good job of hiding the dangers of vaccines

          What is the basis for your claim? How do you distinguish your conspiracy theory, involving millions of doctors, bureaucrats, researchers, nurses and allied professionals, from there being simply no significant dangers to vaccination? The dangers of vaccination are acknowledged, when research suggests they exist – in the first world, the polio vaccine is the killed variant because it reliably and safely can be transported and stored, but does not carry the risk of iatrogenic polio that the much more robust and transportable live attenuated version has. The pertussis vaccine currently used in North America is the acellular variant, which is much less effective than the cellular variant that was used before but discontinued due to a small increased risk of intussusception. Can you see the irony of this fact in juxtaposition of your comment? Children are dying of pertussis every year because of the use of a less effective vaccine, based on a small uptick in the rate of a relatively rare and nonlethal complication. Tell me again how the medical community is hiding the dangers of vaccines. Tell the McCafferys.

          It is a real wonder that any parents at all are still subjecting their children to these syringes of poison!

          It’s a real wonder that idiots like you are taken seriously anywhere. I’m sorry for calling you an idiot, but after decades of this nonsense, the resurgence of deadly diseases, the deaths of children and adults from vaccine-preventable diseases and no evidence that vaccines cause harm, you’re wasting everyone’s time and spreading fear for no reason. Your only reply (by “you”, I mean all the idiot fearmongering, conspiracy-spouting, ignorant, arrogant idiots out there, not solely you), always and ever, has been the same – conspiracy. Claiming there is a conspiracy is not evidence of the conspiracy. It means you are too lazy to do the research, to arrogant to realize you need to, and too lacking in real evidence to actually support your claim. There is no conspiracy. There is Big Pharma, and they are assholes, and they do try to spin their new drugs in inappropriate ways, but they also make safe and reliable vaccines that elminated smallpox and now ensure we don’t have to watch six kids choke do death in order to have two survive to adulthood.

          If you care about children, perhaps care about them even if they are autistic, perhaps accept the fact that their affliction is not caused by vaccines, perhaps release the idea that there is any link, and perhaps support the idea of not having children die when they don’t have to. You are the person who is not acknowledging the truth, you are the one spinning irrational, spurious and stupid justifications based on fear, you are the one harming children. Just let it go. Vaccines don’t cause autism.

        3. It has nothing to do with a PR campaign, vaccinations were, and remain, the major reason that numerous crippling & deadly diseases are no longer massive public health crises. Tell anyone who had to watch someone be horrifically crippled by Polio that the risks outweigh the benefits, and they can give you plenty of reasons to change your mind. Even things such as vaccination for “chicken pox” are being recognized as important because a full infection can lead to a shingles outbreak in your later years. Your anti-vaccination stance is a threat to the general public well-being. while you may have the right to refuse vaccines, I truly hope you will do some research in scientific journals instead of anti-vaccine blogs that specifically ignore facts in order to convince you that there is a grand conspiracy behind vaccines. The “conspiracy” is this: world governments are attempting to prevent massive outbreaks of potentially lethal childhood diseases through the best preventive method we have. Also, given the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria it is increasingly important to takes all preventative measures available so that the use of antibiotics to treat preventable diseases can be reduced. I would be more than willing to lead you to some peer-reviewed information from the scientific community that backs up the consensus on this forum. We are not the ones taken in by a misleading PR campaign my friend, you are, and as difficult as it is to recognize that fact in one’s self all scientists know that one of the most important things in the field is being open to learning new information that disproves your theory and, as a result, changing your understanding. Please look at the facts, especially in the event that you are a parent or plan to become one, because you are not only putting your child a risk, you are perpetuating a mistrust of true science that could cripple their ability to reason within a scientific framework. Their is no peer-reviewed, proven evidence that vaccines have any connection to autism, autism rates are rising partially because we have a clearer definition and improved detection. I urge you to discuss vaccinations with a medical profession instead of making yourself or your family a dangerous disease vector for your community.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Mrs. Utridge e-mailed me this site today:

            http://shotbyshot.org/

            They have a section where (old) people discuss the polio epidemics their parents had to deal with every summer.

            http://shotbyshot.org/story-gallery/#Polio

            They have to be old, because POLIO IS EXTINCT IN NORTH AMERICA.

            Because of vaccines.

    2. John Snyder says:

      I did clearly state that the 1989-91 US measles outbreak was not due to parental refusal but mainly to under-vaccinated, inner city, pre-kindergarden kids.

  2. Marion says:

    I feel bad and somewhat hypocritical about condemning the anti-vax idiots.
    When I was 5 or 6, I remember screaming and kicking in my family physician’s office, terrified of being stuck with a needle. I gave that poor doctor hell. But, my fear was entirely the needle. I could not have cared less with what they injected me.

    If the anti-vax folks promoted the libertarian idea that those who are afraid of needles should not be forced to be stuck with them, then I could at least appreciate that reason. But, it makes no sense for them to completely discredit themselves by making up a load of garbage that “vaccines don’t work against the diseases for which they are indicated” or “vaccines cause autism” or any other such statement of cause-and-effect: a statement about what is, not what should be (what is fair, unfair).

    Ironically, by the age of 14, I had grown used to needles (though I can’t say I ever love them) and in love with getting surgery to fix things on me and donating blood and getting my blood tested for a million things. This was at least 20 years before I even ever heard of an anti-vax movement. So, when I finally heard about it, I was surprised to hear their reasons where all these bogus assertion, when I had expected it to be a libertarian fear of needles.

    What IS the current technological status of delivering vaccines orally, by the way?

  3. Kasi says:

    The problem is, people are now educated enough know that not all the experts in every country agrree- some countries have very different schedules. Plus you’ve added vaccines for things that are NOT deadly and that virtually everyone survived (varicella, I’m talking about you)). And in cases like that, it isn’t clear that a natural immunity from contractign the disease isn’t more effective in the long run.

    1. Chris says:

      So what is the level of death and disability that you think should be a vaccine criteria. Since chicken pox killed about a hundred each year, and caused some disability (pox in eyes, secondary bacterial infections), it was not benign. Is that the number that must die each that we should care about?

      Personally, since we suffered with a full month of chicken pox (three kids, two weeks each staggered), I would rather not see kids suffer with dozens of open itchy wounds. One was a six month old infant who had just started to sleep through the night, well that stopped. I think it is cruel to let kids suffer it it can be safely avoided.

      But if you personally enjoy seeing kids being sick and miserable, more power to you. Just remember that you have to keep your unvaccinated kids out of school whenever there is a chicken pox outbreak. Because some kids have a real medical reason to not get a vaccine, and their parents are probably not as cruel as you.

      1. elburto says:

        I wish I could ‘Like’ this.

        The recent local measles epidemic terrified me. I can’t be vaccinated as I’m allergic to the culture medium, and I’m naturally and medically immune-suppressed. Measles would kill me, my intracranial pressure is high enough as it is.

        I currently have a simple cold, brought in by my beloved. It has gone to my lungs, I’m feverish, coughing up green stuff, my throat is terribly sore, I have pleurisy (yay!), and I’m sleeping sixteen hours a day. That’s from the same cold that’s causing my partner a few sniffles.

        But, if I die from a VPD it’s no biggy is it? Better dead than disabled, according to the science-denying anti-vax mob. I’m only breathing air and taking up space that belongs to “normal” people , survival of the fittest and all that. Eh?

        1. Chris says:

          Yes, it is people like you who need to be protected. Eugenics is evil.

          I live near a regional children’s hospital that includes long term housing for families who have children undergoing treatment for cancer. The siblings of those children often will attend one of several public schools in the surrounding neighborhoods.

          When chicken pox hit the school where my oldest was in kindergarten more than one family was severely affected. One very young child was hospitalized with necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria), and came very close to losing a limb. Another child was a sibling of a pediatric cancer patient and had to miss school until the chicken pox outbreak was over, almost three months.

          Thankfully, because of the vaccines, the only ones now that get to miss school who are not sick are those who are intentionally not vaccinated. Those who did not choose to get cancer, nor be a sibling of someone with cancer are not denied schooling.

          elburto, I hope you recover quickly.

          1. elburto says:

            Back in 2005 my workplace (in the NHS) was involved in campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of a local baby who desperately needed a liver transpBack in 2005 my workplace (in the NHS) was involved in campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of a local baby who desperately needed a liver transplaBack in 2005 my workplace (in the NHS) was involved in campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of a local baby who desperately needed a liver transpBack in 2005 my workplace (in the NHS) was involved in campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of a local baby who desperately needed a liver transplant.

            He got one and lived, and is now a strapping, happy little lad.

            That is, until a few months ago when he had to be hospitalised after catching measles.

            That is real vaccine-related harm, not some fabricated spectre dreamed up by mercenary sociopaths.

            transplantfamilies.org/blog/2013/04/16/liver-transplant-boy-lennox-nicholson-contracts-measles-local-news-news-gazette-live/

        2. jh says:

          That sucks bigtime. I hope pharma companies figure out how to vaccinate people like you. I know that even at this age, I am already eyeing adult vaccines. I’d rather get an injection than shingles or any other disease for which my immunity has faded.
          I wish that laws were passed that forced doctors and hospitals to refuse treatment to unvaccinated children. Maybe that would scare parents into vaccinating their children. The only other way is education, and unfortunately – celebrities and non-scientific non-medical celebrities seem to have greater sway over people than the actual science.

          1. KellyDeS says:

            Wow you are a psycho socialist for saying that. These people have real concerns and you think hospitals should refuse medical treatment to children that aren’t vaccinated? So if your parents decided not to get you vaccinated and you got hit by a car and were rushed to the er you think it’s ok if they refused to treat you based on that alone? Please use your brain before you mindlessly blurt out psychotic ultimatums.

            1. Chris says:

              True, that is a bit extreme to deny very needed medical care. I am sorry I did not notice this comment, or if I did I did not think it through.

              Though it would not be out of bounds to require a higher insurance premium for not taking advantage of preventative medicine like vaccines. Or perhaps a higher co-pay for treatment if the child actually contracted a vaccine preventable disease that the parents had refused vaccination against.

              By the way, my insurance waived the co-pay for my influenza vaccine at the pharmacy. It cost me exactly nothing!

              Apparently the insurance company thinks preventing diseases is more cost effective than treating them.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              The unfortunate thing is, the parents are making a decision that affects not them, but their children. Worse, it can effect children who either can’t (immune compromised), or didn’t (the <5% for whom a vaccine simply didn't work) benefit from the vaccine whose parents did follow the vaccination schedule. I kinda hope that leads to a law suit and (more importantly) publicity some day.

              Coming up with an incentive to vaccinate is a difficult problem. What would probably help would be if the media stopped pretending that celebrities were somehow on par with doctors when it came to this sort of thing.

      2. I’d like add that for chicken pox it carries the risk of causing a shingles outbreak as you reach your later years, and while not deadly it can be truly crippling due to the amount of pain. These anti-vax folks are truly frieghtning because while they constantly talk about it being “their decision” they are refusing to acknowledge that they are making themselves into disease vectors for the people who are medically unable to be vaccinated, thereby removing THEIR choice. Why someone would want to contribute to misinformation and continuing to allow a preventable disease to exist is beyond me. It is irresponsible, immoral, and ignorant to choose not to vaccinate their kids, but these damn anti-vax emails and websites have misinformed so many people that the threat is continually increasing

    2. Young CC Prof says:

      We don’t need varicella vaccines? Tell that to my cousin, who spent three weeks in the hospital and very nearly died after she came down with it at one week old. (That’s when we found out her mother is one of the rare people who doesn’t keep immunity either from the vaccine or from the disease, fun times.)

      Tell it to all the people I know who have experienced the dreadful pain of shingles, too many to list here. Tell that to the woman with three young children who developed severe epilepsy after shingles spread into her brain. Tell it to my grandmother’s friend who suffered horrific post-herpetic neuralgia for months until he had a heart attack and died.

      Nope. Wipe out varicella, we don’t need that garbage. Viruses that don’t kill you don’t make you stronger, they just suck.

      1. Chris says:

        Young CC Prof:

        Tell it to all the people I know who have experienced the dreadful pain of shingles, too many to list here.

        Somewhere I read that one can expect to experience shingles at a younger age if they had chicken pox prior to their first birthday. Especially if they are under stress, like in college. My daughter had chicken pox when she was six months old. She is one to stress out about grades (she has pulled close to a 4.0 in her first year at the university, and due to AP credits and community college credits is now a junior), and is definitely a candidate for shingles during her 20s.

        Thanks varicella! Like I need more things to worry about!

    3. AlisonM says:

      Oh, yeah. Varicella’s a piece of cake. Unless you get it in high school and it spreads into your vagina and urethra. Or you get it as shingles later on. Except for the pain and itching and infected open sores all over your body, it’s not all that big a deal, right?

  4. Lynn says:

    Mexico seems much more reasonable on this issue.

    “In Mexico, however, where the effects of preventable diseases are not so removed from collective memory, vaccines are a responsibility, a civic duty, and while the enforcement of regulations can be lax in Mexico (see my earlier work on seatbelts and lead-glazed dishes intended for food), vaccine requirements are upheld with a vigilance I haven’t seen applied to any other area.

    At my son’s first visit to the pediatrician, we got the lowdown on how vaccines work in Mexico.

    “They are required here, without exception,” the doctor explained. “Without them, children cannot get papers or enroll in school or anything else.”

    We would have to get a vaccination book and have it certified by the civil registry, he explained. The schedule was different from that in the U.S., and some vaccines, such as tuberculosis, were not the same. Vaccines are given at public clinics, without cost.”

    from http://open.salon.com/blog/loveinmexico/2011/02/14/a_healthy_body_politic_vaccines_in_mexico

  5. Yodeladyhoo says:

    I think we need to generate more publicity about the non-fatal effects of these diseases – deafness, sterility, brain damage, etc. I’m old enough to have seen people permanently disabled by the childhood diseases we all contracted because there were no vaccines for them. I think parents also need to understand that the effects of some of these diseases can be much more severe if the child catches them after puberty. And they need to understand an infected child is a danger to others.

    Come to think of it, the state schools for the blind and deaf might have statistics available on the cause of their residents’ disabilites. It would be interesting to know that.

  6. The measles was an “ever-present specter looming over every parent’s head” Really? Or was it the mumps or flu or German measles? Maybe blatant lies such as this are the reason experts such as yourself are unworthy of parental trust

    1. lilady says:

      My childhood friend died from polio and my older cousin was left with permanent neurological sequelae from measles encephalitis:

      http://www.immunize.org/photos/measles-photos.asp

      11,000 fetal deaths and 20,000 infants born with Congenital Rubella Syndrome during the last major German measles outbreaks, 1960s, United States, Bob:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060408235206.htm

      1. elburto says:

        My brother-in-law lost the sight in one eye and has an altered gait causing pain and impairment when he walks.

        Both were caused by damage to his optic and sciatic nerves, following a measles outbreak in 1969 when he was three years old.

        Lucky him though, his cousin died in the same month.

    2. Janet says:

      I HAD measles and came close to dying. I have permanent scar tissue on my kidneys and they are only partially functioning thanks to the high fever. You sound like an uneducated idiot — ALL of those (mumps, flu, German measles, etc.) were potential death sentences.

    3. Stella B says:

      When I was a child in the 1960s a woman who lived on our block came down with German measles while pregnant. Her child was born deaf and was severely developmentally delayed.

    4. Young CC Prof says:

      I have a less horrible but perhaps equally illustrative example.

      When my mother and her brother caught measles in 1957, both had perfectly ordinary cases, and they both recovered without permanent harm. She was five years old, he was two. Five is a pretty good age to catch measles if you have to, far better then than adulthood or infancy. She simply spent over a week too sick to even think of moving, too sick even to be bored, far worse than any flu she’s ever had. Her little brother ran a terrifyingly high fever, and their mother didn’t sleep for days, afraid to take her eyes off him lest he go into convulsions.

      That’s what a perfectly normal case of measles looked like, going through a family.

      “It’s only measles” didn’t mean it’s a laugh it off disease, like “It’s just a cold.” It meant, “Well, your child has a temperature of 105, and is completely listless with a nasty rash, but it’s only measles, which is less dangerous than meningitis or rheumatic fever, so he/she will probably recover. Have fun being quarantined!”

      1. Chris says:

        Exactly. The only concrete reaction I have had to me remembering that I went to bed feeling ill one day, and the woke up with my hair in a big knot two wees later is from my older brother. All he can tell me is that our parents were very scared.

        My mother died when I was eleven, and my dad says he can’t remember anything.

  7. “you have the conditions for our current decline in vaccination rates.”

    What decline in vaccination rates?

    1. lilady says:

      Why are you posting here, Bob?

      Shouldn’t you be volunteering to use your degree in “Fire Science” from a fourth tier college, to assist the brave firefighters in Northern California?

      1. John Snyder says:

        Absolutely.

    2. David Gorski says:

      BTW, Bob, no sockpuppets allowed. I did not approve your last comment because you used a different ‘nym. Stick with one ‘nym or be banned.

  8. Anne Cooper, osteopath says:

    Thank you. In the early 90′s I nursed a young girl to her horrible death from measles. Can I post your article on Facebook?

    1. John Snyder says:

      Absolutely

  9. Birdy says:

    For a few years, we lived in a community where there was considerable distrust of doctors in general. As a result many children in the community were not vaccinated at all. Given that I spent most of my time on steroids due to very severe asthma, when pertussis swept through the community I caught it despite being vaccinated myself. Due to my already terrible lung function I needed considerable medical intervention to not die. I get very, very frustrated with people who say pertussis ‘isn’t that bad’ so they don’t need to vaccinate their kids against it. ‘Not that bad’ is easy to say when you aren’t the one who can’t breathe.

    It’s the same thing with people refusing the measles shot (or any other vaccine that prevents a disease that is relatively survivable for the healthy.) It’s ‘not that bad’ for otherwise healthy people, maybe. Which is great – if you’re one of them. I wasn’t. My kids are fortunately very healthy themselves, so I get them vaccinated to protect them *and* the kids who are like I was, or who can’t be vaccinated for actual medical reasons, or who have compromised immune systems. It takes a village to save a child.

    1. elburto says:

      I’m another adult asthmatic who caught pertussis. Broken rib, coughing so hard I blacked out, cyanosis, petechial haemorrhages in my eyes and on my cheeks, and so on.

      I’m an adult, I knew what was happening and why. I still had a very hard time trying to squash down the rising panic whenever a coughing fit gripped me,

      I cannot imagine how terrifying it must feel for babies and small children, suffocating, wracked with pain and coughing fits. I can’t even start to comprehend the terror their parents must feel while watching their little ones suffer like that.

      1. Birdy says:

        I was a small child when I had it, which I now realize I didn’t make clear. I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a kid, but the faint memories of that stick out in my mind because it was worse than asthma visits which were essentially routine for many years.

        Not being able to breathe properly is terrifying, no matter how many times one has experienced it.

  10. James says:

    This is a very sad and scary all around.
    Unfortunately education is not enough.
    Just saying trust me I am doctor is not enough these days.
    This makes me think of Typhoid Mary.
    Maybe there should be a scared straight program for these people who do not vaccinate

  11. Anne Cooper says:

    BTW a few years ago, I asked one of the anti vacc people, a bare chested man who prides himself on his self proclaimed virility, his deep understanding of the global plot and for living off the grid and on the dole, and who resides in the jungle of far Northern Australia, (and that is simply MAD) what he thought had actually happened to polio. He was of the vintage that he could recall those days of iron lungs, fear and callipers. He replied that polio had not disappeared with the vaccination program; he claimed it had simply ‘transmogrified’ into viral meningitis. I pointed out to him that at least vm is treatable. Polio is not.
    So, my friends thats how they think. Wishfully, stupidly, narcissistically.
    These people smoke organic tobacco. Go figure.

  12. Alia says:

    My mother caught measles when she was 60+. Naturally, she never had the vaccine and since both her children (me and my sis) were vaccinated according to the schedule, she never caught it from us. And somehow thorough her career as a nurse, she also never caught it.
    Anyway, she had very miserable three weeks, but mostly she was afraid that I caught it from her because we spent a few days together just before her symptoms appeared. Fortunately, I was fully vaccinated as a kid and young adult and I never developed. Which is just as well, since at that time I was scheduled to sit on 12 exams as an examiner and my head teacher would have been very stressed if I had gone on a sick leave.

    And don’t even get me started on varicella, I had it at the age of 21, it was three weeks of hell, I missed Lou Reed’s concert and my face will never look the same again.

  13. Stephen H says:

    One wonders if a few cases of children suing parents who failed to vaccinate them would help the cause. Or perhaps a family suing the neighbour who didn’t vaccinate their children and thus caused the death of someone who could not be vaccinated.

    1. Young CC Prof says:

      I have often thought this. There should totally be a “test case,” and it doesn’t have to be a death. Even if the patient fully recovers, if there are substantial medical bills, there’s your damages.

      One problem is, with a measles outbreak in the US, the health authorities can almost always identify an international traveler as the source, but the other victims can’t necessarily find out the name to sue with, especially if you were infected by a stranger in a public place. Can you sue to break confidentiality to sue someone? Or should the health department sue them, for containment costs? Or should the plaintiff’s health insurance company sue them for treatment costs? (Health insurance subrogation is actually pretty common, my health insurer once tried to sue someone in my name.)

      Of course, sometimes you know exactly whose fault it is. In that case, if it were my child, I’d sue the pants off of them. No matter how long it took.

  14. Ariadne says:

    One of my most vivid memories, from spring of 2nd grade (1951) is of being as sick as Dr Snyder, of having the red body rash and feeling as though I were on fire (103.5). There was a family celebration when I was able to get out of bed with assistance and walk across the hall to the bathroom after a week.

    Every parent refusing immunizations for a child should be given a copy of Dr Snyder’s description of his own measles experience. And should be asked to do a risk/benefit analysis of the statistics.

  15. Candy says:

    Why isn’t “side effects” listed as one of the categories? We have family members who have reacted with seizures immediately after administration. There ARE vaccine related injuries from documented side effects of vaccinations. This is why, in my opinion, parents should always have the final say and choice as to whether or not to have their child immunized.

    1. Chris says:

      A history of seizures are contraindications for vaccines. My son did not get a pertussis vaccine because he had a history of seizures.

      Now, remember the diseases also cause seizures. That same son did get seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease. So the real question is what is the relative risk of seizures between the vaccine and the disease?

      And unless you provide a PubMed indexed study showing that any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule causes more seizures than the disease, your attitude should be encouraging everyone else to get vaccines so that your seizure vulnerable family members are protected by community immunity.

      1. John Snyder says:

        Actually, a history of seizures is not a contraindication to vaccination, though a history of encephalopathy developing soon after DTaP vaccination is a contraindication for that vaccine. Ironically, DTaP is not associated with the development of encephalitis.

        1. Chris says:

          My son’s seizures were in 1988. This was not long after the fearmongering about the DTP vaccine, which is why the county was having a pertussis outbreak. My doctor decided not to give him the DTP.

          And now we know it would not have made a difference. Funny how science actually changes when new information is given.

        2. Chris says:

          By the way, I saw that on the list of table injuries for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that some seizure injuries did not exist anymore for pertussis vaccines. This is, of course, what precipitated the events that led you to write this:
          http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/supreme-court-saves-nations-immunization-program/
          ;-)

        3. Chris says:

          Aagh… sorry, a third comment to be moderated (I’m tired so I am thinking very slowly). I should have said “A history of seizures used to be contraindications for vaccines.” (and then also correct the grammar, aargh)

          My excuse was I was going on my own experience and not the verifiable facts. I will admit that I was wrong, and thank you, Dr. Snyder, for the correction. If my own anecdote does not stand to critical scrutiny, I see no reason why I should accept anecdotes from anyone else without question.

          1. Chris says:

            Another grammar “aaargh”, missing one little word: ” If my own anecdote does not stand up to critical scrutiny, I see no reason why I should accept anecdotes from anyone else without question.”

  16. elburto says:

    Who here has ever claimed that there are never any side-effects from vaccination?

    Any medical intervention can have side-effects, nothing can be 100% safe. Real-world safety precautions like airbags and seatbelts can cause injuries, but do you cut the seatbelts out of your vehicles and disable the airbags?

    Also, if the children in your reacted badly to the vaccinations (I presume you mean febrile convulsions from post-immunisation fever?) then how do you think they’d react to fevers caused by vaccine preventable diseases such as measles? Those fevers tend to be of longer duration and greater severity than those caused by routine vaccination.

    Vaccines are a necessity to prevent wholesale resurgence of VPDs. Community immunity protects the most vulnerable in society, those too young to be vaccinated,pregnant women, the sick, disabled and elderly. Anyone with any hint of a social conscience can see that freeloading on that community immunity will obliterate the benefits for all if too many people abstain.

  17. Candy says:

    I was only bringing to the conversation that the side effects that are possible with vaccines are reasons parents may not want to vaccinate, not only that they may cause disease. As stated from a comment above, nothing is 100% safe. There are many parents with children with neurological disorders of unknown reason, children with mitochondrial disease that are still waiting for a gene defect to be identified, there are children who are in a grey area…. in which their doctors are in fact doing a delayed schedule because of this. It just seems that many here vilify all parents who question the safety of a vaccine for their child. And that’s a shame.

    1. Chris says:

      And those are noted on the Vaccine Information Sheet, required to be given when a vaccine is administered by federal law in the USA.

      And if you are bringing it into the conversation, you need to acknowledge the relative risk of seizures between the vaccine and the diseases. And children with neurological and/or mitochondrial disorders often do worse with the actual diseases, as we learned with our son.

      So what are those risks? Give us the numbers from a PubMed indexed study by a reputable researcher that the risk of seizures from a vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is greater than the disease.

    2. Chris says:

      One reason I asking for citations on which vaccines cause seizures, is due to some research over the past decade:

      Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
      Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

      Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
      Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

      Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41.
      On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.

      Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
      Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

      Now, if you could come up with some equivalent evidence to support why you brought risk of seizures into the conversation, that would be very nice. Perhaps you’ll find it in the Vaccine Safety Datalink publications.

  18. Candy says:

    As for the comparison to seatbelts and airbags, it doesn’t make sense. In fact, children should not sit in the front seat because of airbags. Also, a medically fragile child may need to be in a bed in the car, laying down. And also, children do not wear seatbelts on buses. All these because for those particular people and environments, the alternative is safer for those individuals than wearing the seatbelt or using/not using airbags. It’s about individuals. And that is my point. And in some families, the individual is priority over the herd because of their needs.

    1. John Snyder says:

      Your response is divorced from reality. You do not practice pediatrics. I do. Nearly every child I see who is unvaccinated or undervaccinated by choice is a healthy child. They are not fragile or suffering from underlying, high-risk conditions. I saw two entirely unvaccinated, healthy infants today. That is a tragedy.

  19. elburto says:

    children still sit in the back seats of cars restrained by seatbelts, do they not? Those same seatbelts can cause broken bones, bruising, internal injury etc.

    Also, as the internet is not American, and as there is life outside the borders of the USA, you may wish to consider that laws in America do not apply in not-America. There are places where children absolutely are restrained on certain PCVs, as the potential for harm to an unrestrained child on a coach (for instance) is as great, or greater than, the potential for harm while travelling in a car.

    WRT delayed/individual vaccination schedules – there is no science whatsoever to back them up, despite what certain charlatans mould have you believe.

    WRT mitochondrial disorders they’re not something that either a parent or GP would be aware of around the age that vaccinations typically begin, unless there’s a family history, or said doctor is running complex and expensive tests on his young patients. Therefore they represent a vanishingly small number of parents avoiding vaccines.

    There are legitimate health conditions and allergies that exempt children and adults from certain vaccinations, but the act remains that the vast majority of refusers are the “worried well” who’ve swallowed wholesale the lies about vaccination causing autism or other conditions, or people who consider their child too precious to be “contaminated”, or who flat out do not care about the weakening of community immunity, and the effects that has on the vulnerable. They are content to “hide in the herd”, and perpetuate the trope that children are better dead (from vaccine preventable disease) than disabled.

    That’s why they’re not given respect, they. don’t deserve it. Tell me, has anyone ever told you that it’s a good thing that your child is now deceased, because they were a “drain on society”? Has anyone ever told you that your immune-suppression is a positive thing because then “nature will take it’s course” during an outbreak of VPD, that the disease will kill you, and people like you? Have you ever been told that your child, weak from chemotherapy, is “not worth risking” the chance of minimising their own child?

    I’ve seen anti-vaxers say all of those things. I’ve seen them stalking and harassing the grieving parents of dead babies who died from pertussis. I’ve seen them supporting murderous parents who shook, punched, bit and slapped their own babies to death, claiming that vaccination caused the broken bones, petechial haemorrhages, bruises and subdural haematomas found on autopsy.

    Why should i, or anyone else, give them a nanogram of respect or consideration? They are vile.

    1. Candy says:

      Doctors are advising a slower vaccine schedule for my child, not charlatans. And yes, she had medical problems from birth that pointed to possible mito and also seizure disorder and progressive brain atrophy. Nephews had the seizures after administration, not from fever. All I’m saying is that not every parent who wonders and questions when and if to give certain vaccines is antivax. Some are just trying to navigate through the healthcare system the best they know how and trying to do the best for their child and also listening to the many specialists who are caring for their child. They are listening to doctors, who in our case advise on slower schedule. Yet they are again, vilified. Also, I am not vile. Sigh. Anyway, was just bringing another perspective to the table on a difficult situation that is sometimes in families who aren’t necessarily antivax but unsure as to what is best, while listening to doctors, haters, and charlatans alike. Ugh.

      1. Chris says:

        “Nephews had the seizures after administration, not from fever.”

        Did they apply for table injury compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

        And remember, if someone has had seizures from a vaccine, they would have more severe seizures from a disease. This is why you should make sure all around the person have been fully vaccinated to protect them with community immunity.

        1. Candy says:

          I”m not sure, it was 25 years ago. But I do know they never had the rest of the series per pediatrician. No one in the family is antivax because of that episode. Scared yes, but still had vaccinations.

          1. Chris says:

            “I”m not sure, it was 25 years ago”

            That must have been scary, since that was about the time the measles epidemic started (1988). To think they could not get vaccinated for something so terrible during an epidemic.

      2. John Snyder says:

        Your doctors are, sadly, uninformed. The best thing for tour child is to be protected, as soon as possible, from the diseases to which she is particularly vulnerable.

      3. lilady says:

        Candy, my child was born with a rare genetic disorder in 1976, and he definitely had a grand mal seizure disorder; he was resuscitated in the NICU within hours of his birth and his first grand mal seizure. Would you believe that 37 years ago, the Wadsworth New York State Health Department Laboratory was performing chromosome karyotyping, but no testing had been developed yet to test for de novo gene mutations.

        Now, the Wadsworth Laboratory and other State laboratories have the ability to test for gene mutations, inborn errors of metabolism and mitochondrial disorders. All newborns are tested for these diseases and disorders.

        http://www.wadsworth.org/newborn/babhealth.htm

        So, I don’t understand why your doctors are delaying your child’s vaccine schedule for a possible mitochondrial disorder. In fact, having a seizure disorder or having a history of a febrile seizure and/or a mitochondrial disorder are not medical contraindications to receiving childhood vaccines. I should think that your child’s pediatrician and neurologist would know this and recommend that your child receive timely and complete immunizations, according to the CDC/AAP recommended vaccine schedule.

  20. elburto says:

    Chthulhu on a crucifix.,.

    Read carefully this time:

    I’ve seen anti-vaxers say all of those things. I’ve seen them stalking and harassing the grieving parents of dead babies who died from pertussis. I’ve seen them supporting murderous parents who shook, punched, bit and slapped their own babies to death, claiming that vaccination caused the broken bones, petechial haemorrhages, bruises and subdural haematomas found on autopsy.

    Why should i, or anyone else, give them a nanogram of respect or consideration? They are vile.

    Anti-vaxers are vile. If you are not one of them, then why would you suppose I was calling you vile?

    Also, those who make money peddling “alternative schedules” are charlatans. I’m not mentioning names because I won’t give them the oxygen of publicity.

    Also, I did say that legitimate health reasons and familial evidence of (the admittedly rare) mitochondrial disorders are reasons to abstain from vaccination, so your defensiveness in the face of that is unnecessary. However, there is still no scientific evidence or rationale for an “alternative schedule”.

    If, for example, MMR is going to cause injury to your child, then it will do it alone or in conjunction with others, not to mention the fact the measles and mumps (epidemic in some places) and rubella. will cause far more damage to said child than the vaccination ever could.

    As Chris mentioned, there is no significant data suggesting permanent neurological sequelae of any of the common childhood vaccinations. There are merely anecdotal reports of such adverse events, such as those regarding your nephews. Many of those reporting adverse events post-vaccination mistake correlation for causation. However memory is not a scientific constant, it’s not a tape that can be replayed. It is wholly fallible, subject to suggestion, and memories of events can vary drastically from the reality of those events. If you’ve ever had the grave misfortune to have read any of Jenny McCarthy’s accounts of her son’s “vaccine-injury” you will see that no two accounts are the same. They are mentally edited and altered to fit the needs of her cause du jour. This isn’t a suggestion that people do this deliberately, just that memory is not a reliable source of data or testimony.

    1. Candy says:

      This isn’t defensiveness. It’s uncertainty, questioning what is best because of undiagnosed (not gene specific…yet) mitochondrial disease and then hearing differing views. It puts a parent who is new to disability, mito and the whole vaccine question in a difficult place. (Oh, my nephews had seizures after vaccinations before they left the pediatricians office.) I wish my child was typical and this wasn’t even an issue. But that isn’t the case. I brought this issue up because I believe there is a growing population of parents like me, who are not clear on who to listen to regarding further vaccinations for their undiagnosed special needs children, specifically mito. There are actually mito specialists who are not in agreement on vaccinations and what constitutes legitimate health reasons. There is a lot of unknown still regarding mito and science/research seems to be constantly changing in this area. Thanks for listening.

      1. calliarcale says:

        For what it’s worth, the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule has a pretty wide range for administration of most of the vaccines. It’s possible to slide things around quite a bit without having to make up an alternative schedule, so i find myself wondering just how drastically your pediatrician had to shift things in order to not be complying with the CDC schedule. Basically, the schedule is *designed* to offer a balance between flexibility and effectiveness. Are you sure your schedule is actually alternative?

        That said, the schedules recommended in different countries are not arbitrary. They relate to the relative risks of various diseases in those regions, and the ages at which they are most often contracted, and the ages at which the most effective protection can be obtained. It’s not just about getting your child vaccinated; it’s also about getting your child vaccinated at the right time to ensure protection from whatever the biggest threats happen to be at a particular age.

        Another reason for variation between countries is that some countries vaccinate for things that other countries don’t need to. The US does not routinely vaccinate for TB, for instance. Since some vaccines interact with one another or might present a risk if given together, adding a new one can force a reshuffling.

  21. elburto says:

    No worries. I’m sure. it’s so hard for parents. like you who, searching for info about vaccination, are faced with mountains of falsified claims, manufactured “evidence” pointing to all sorts of conspiracies to hurt children’s. This is especially true for someone like you, with a child apparently suffering from a de novo mutation whose aetiology and progression is unknown.

    Science-based practitioners and advocates are merely seeking to stamp out hives of misinformation like AVN and NVIC, so that parents can. know with certainty that the information they’re finding is based on research, not supposition.

    I am sorry if I appear harsh sometimes, it’s just that anti-vaxers have a habit of flooding posts like this, purveying misinformation and relating terrifying (but unverifiable) tales of “vaccine injury”, and offering “proof” (more anecdotes) that doctors who vaccinate children are “babykillers”.

    Those horrible statements I mentioned above? All happened in discussions much like this one. I’ve been told that as I “contribute nothing to society” that. not only have I no right to the protection of community immunity, but that my death from a vaccine preventable disease could only be a good thing, as it would “remove [me] from the gene pool”. That’s what the anti-vax crowd think of people with disabilities, that we’re “broken” and therefore useless.

    Someone for whom I have tremendous respect, was. taunted over the death of her beloved son. She has contributed enormously to the advancement of rights for young people and adults with disabilities, as well as serving in public health, yet she is sneered at and mocked,, despite making a concrete positive contribution to society.

    And Chris up there? She. could relate some pretty chilling incidents with the science-deniers.

    These are places to get accurate info though. I promise you! I’m off to bed as it’s after 3am here, but no doubt someone will!

    Best of luck with your daughter, and your quest for information.

  22. another harriet h not Dr. hall says:

    Candy, you say your nephews had seizures before they even left the pediatrician’s office. That seems a little quick for it to be caused by the vaccine? Perhaps another person here could answer that. I don’t have a medical background. I had measles encephalitis at 4 months old so I counter anti-vaxxers anecdotes. It is a claim I see often is seizures in the doctors office but it does not seem realistic to me. A couple days to a few weeks after yes. But not within a few hours or months later. What is the timeline for seizures to occur?

    1. Candy says:

      It’s not an anecdote as far as I’m concerned. It did happen. I believe that for DTP seizure risk is possible for day of vaccination and for MMR it is 8 to 14 days later.

      1. Chris says:

        This table shows what the possible risk are:
        http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html

        Even though the risk really does not exist greater than the background rate:
        Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
        Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

        Further evidence showed that what have been thought to be a reaction to DTP was often a genetic seizure disorder, with Dravet Syndrome having a specific gene sequence.

        And again, recent, studies have shown that the seizures are not really related to the vaccines:

        Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
        Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

        Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
        Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

        1. Candy says:

          Seizure occurrence does not necessarily equal encephalitis and encephalopathy. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. Rarely, secondary encephalitis occurs as a complication of vaccination against a viral infection. Encephalopathy is a term for any diffuse disease of the brain that alters brain function or structure. I’m not saying that a single seizure episode after DTP necessarily results in this. But what I do wonder is what the reaction to a seizure after DTP would be for a child with a yet unknown seizure disorder or mitochondrial disease might be. Valid question, especially for those of us with medically fragile kids where a seizure can begin something called status epilepticus. This has happened to our child and it’s a scary thing (not after vaccinations but during common illness). There are many triggers for kids like mine and you never really know what a day can bring. This is one of the reasons why parents feel unsure as to what is best. Hard stuff.

          1. Chris says:

            My son has had seizures. He has a diagnosis of static encephalopathy. It is a standard diagnosis for those who have a history a seizure, and end up with neurological disorders (our son has oral motor dyspraxia, with some dysphasia and functional dysarthria). The first set of seizures there was no reason found, the last one was from a disease for which there is a now a vaccine to prevent.

            Now if you are going to continue to tell me all about it, then come up with some real citations, and not your beliefs. And no more about the DTP, since it is not on the present American pediatric schedule.

  23. MHC grad says:

    I would love to see some sort of educational intervention directed at faculty/staff at places like the Five Colleges. I’m an alumna of MHC, and one of my classmates was Shelley Hendrix Reynolds, who’s been heavily involved in the autism/vaccine movement. We have friends in common, and although these friends don’t believe her theories, they also hail her as a hero bc of how she fights for her autistic son.
    I know that places like MHC will never actually denounce her by name, and I’m not really asking them to, but I’d like to see them make an institutional effort to counteract the damage that she and her anti-vax peers have done, at least within the immediate campus community.

  24. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @Candy

    Doctors are advising a slower vaccine schedule for my child, not charlatans.

    Please read this. If it’s Dr. Sears, he probably is. The thing is, the actual vaccine schedule is drafted by real experts, who specialize. Someone like Dr. Sears, a practicing pediatrician, does not have anywhere near the expertise as someone whose sole job is conducting and reading and teaching about pediatric immunology regarding pertussis vaccination. The vaccine schedules are drafted by several of these incredibly specialized experts. Those doctors are not necessarily charlatans, but they are definitely not comparable when it comes to the ability to understand and plan a vaccine schedule. Part of their job and review is carefully weighing the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Unfortunately they can’t predict what child will have a seizure due to the vaccine (if the seizure is even due to the vaccine, merely because the seizure happened shortly after, or weeks after vaccination, does not mean it is causative) but they know with great certainty that the risks of the vaccine are far, far less than the risks of the disease for the population as a whole.

    The CDC actually maintains a list of specific vaccines that are contraindicated for specific conditions. If your reasons for avoiding vaccination are based on this list, then you are in the realm of evidence-based practice. If it’s based on other reasons, for instance, “too many too soon”, you are antivax; your objections are not based on science and not based on the advice of genuine experts.

    If you are not vaccinating due to “mitochondrial disorder”, which is the direction that antivax lunatics are trending towards now that mercury, aluminum and other ingredients have failed to be associated with autism or other harms, then you must tread carefully. I don’t know enough about the topic to venture a strong opinion, but you run the risk of falling down the rabbit hole of antivaccination lunacy.

    All that being said, it’s quite possible you are a reasonable parent following science-based recommendations from genuine experts and not lunatic quacks, given your specific circumstances and the unique health status of your child. I don’t know, I’m nowhere near expert enough to say what you are doing is right or not, I am only familiar enough with the lies, tropes and fallacies the antivaccination movement to identify them when spouted by an arrogant loon convinced they know better than someone who has studied microbiology or pediatric immunology for several decades. In the comments of SBM however, playing the odds the regular contributors are far more likely to get random commenters who are arrogant loons spoon-fed lies by liars, than you are reasonable people whose children have a genuine mitochondrial disorder. However, if your doctors are sensibly reacting in a science-based way to the unique risks presented by your child, it is even more important that you challenge the lies and fallacies of antivaccinationists whenever you can – because they erode the herd immunity that protects your child from these dangerous diseases.

    From our perspective, there’s no reason to be antivaccination. Either they are essentially harmless with a guaranteed statistical benefit to receiving them, or they are dangerous to your child, and therefore it is even more important that there be a robust uptake of vaccines by the larger population.

    1. Candy says:

      Thanks for the info and the great explanation. The key I think is trusting your doctor to know if they are indeed dangerous to your child…and to be honest, most parents of mitochondrial patients know more than their children’s doctors about mito. There are few true mito specialists in the country and most families piece together a local medical team for their child. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond in such a level-headed and informative matter.

  25. Candy says:

    I came here looking for help and most of you are so bent on arguing that you assume I am antivaccine and you just want to fight and argue. Again, my problem and one that I think is common with mito patients, is what the heck IS dangerous for my child? Thank you williamlawrenceuttredge for speaking to me as if I really am a concerned parent and not the enemy.

    1. Chris says:

      Then ask questions. Don’t tell us about your beliefs. We cannot verify your experience, but since this Science Based Medicine, we can talk about the science. I have told you that the seizure issue is already addressed in the Vaccine Information Sheets, included in the automatic compensation table for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program, and provided several studies. Plus I have mentioned once or twice I am very familiar with seizures and the resulting encephalopathy.

      Now if you really want help for your child, then go to the appropriate support page of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. They should have the information you need. Personally I have found SBM much more helpful than the Epilepsy Foundation, Apraxia Kids, and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (all of which I have used for my son’s issues).

      The key bit of information that is supported by science is that kids who have issues with vaccines, will have even more problems with the actual diseases. Because my son had seizures he only got the DT vaccine, at a time when our county was in the middle of a pertussis outbreak! I had to quit work, not put him in any kind of daycare and make sure every child he cam into contact with was vaccinated (plus get him to various neurologist appointments, etc). Life would have been lots easier if the DTP scare of the mid-1980s was not manufactured by Lea Thompson and Barbara Loe Fisher.

  26. duggansc says:

    They’re trying to scare people into avoiding pet vaccinations as well. *sigh* I guess it was inevitable once they started doing chiropractic and acupuncture on them…

  27. elburto says:

    Today the local Coroner’s office released their findings with regard to a horrific traffic accident that wiped out a local family.

    A truck driver crashed into a car. Why? He blacked out during a coughing fit. He’d caught pertussis from his son.

    When I was growing up pertussis was virtually unheard of. Now this region has suffered yearly outbreaks of pertussis, mumps and measles, and I’ve already had the first two

    Measles reached epidemic levels this year in this region and I was terrified I’d catch that too. The situation has worsened exponentially each year.

    Here’s the link to the news story about the accident:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-23948637

  28. “BTW, Bob, no sockpuppets allowed. I did not approve your last comment because you used a different ‘nym. Stick with one ‘nym or be banned.”

    I’m assuming you were addressing me since it was in reply to a comment I made (or was it since your reply feature is so horribly convoluted) and my name can be translated into “Bob.” Anyway with every site needing a password today, TheVaccineMachine was simply the one attached to this site based on the device I was using. Perhaps Sid was lost as a result of re-registering as a consequence of your hacking incident. I prefer Sid Offit myself and continue to use it on another blog. But it appears thevaccinemachine is the name currently attached to this site. That’s the name I’m sticking with. If you feel compelled to ban, feel free.

    1. David Gorski says:

      You can use Sid Offit if you want. Most of our commenters know who Sid Offit is, and to those who are aware of the antivaccine movement and how much abuse Paul Offit has taken from it, such a ‘nym states your antivaccine proclivities quite clearly.

  29. cphickie says:

    Candy–Dr. Bob Sears is a complete money grubbing jerk who is either dumber than a sack of hammers and/or could give a damn less about your child’s health. That he would, in his for-profit “vaccine book”, as a pediatrician, tell parents that (1) measles and pertussis aren’t dangerous, (2) vaccines don’t work, (3) vaccines aren’t safe and (4) it’s ok to delay/skip vaccines, is absolutely unconscionable, given that Sears has no evidence to support his claims (again, read Dr. Snyder’s prior article on how “Dr. Bob” is cashing in on parents’ fears). Sears, along with Dr. Jay Gordon (another narcissistic, money grubbing anti-vaccine pediatrician) are endangering children and public health through their anti-vaccine rhetoric and lies. They give parents like you a false anchorage for deviating from the CDC/AAP vaccine schedule. Both of them, imho, as pediatrician, deserve to lose their medical licenses for malpractice for such serious deviation for the acceptable standard for medical care in pediatrics.

    I see the same ridiculous “thinking moms” (it’s almost never the dads, btw) in my practice, who think vaccination is like some sort of “build a bear” where it’s ok to pick and choose based on Dr. Google, Dr. Bob or Dr Jay. It’s not, and I, thankfully have the option of kicking all of the non and partial nonvaccinating families (those without valid medical reasons for not vaccinating) out of my practice, which I am now in the process of doing (after a pertussis scare in my waiting room). It’s not worth risking the lives of newborns and immune-compromised children to let un/undervaccinated children into my practice anymore. I’ve reached the point where if you think you are smarter than all the physicians and scientists who’ve developed and tested vaccines and the vaccine schedule–well, you’re beliefs differ so dangerously far from how I practice science-based medicine that you need to seek care for your children elsewhere.

    Sadly, I do think it will take more outbreaks of VPDs and even more VPD deaths (if the 10 infants who died of whooping cough in California in 2010 wasn’t a wake up call, I worry how much worse it will have to get). Pima County, Arizona (where I practice) had a measles outbreak in 2008 with 21 cases (the county health dept declared a medical emergency), but none of the school districts would enforce AZ state law requiring the unvaccinated children to either get an MMR vaccine or be sent home for the duration of the outbreak–nor would anyone from the country health dept or state health dept (or even the CDC representative on-site) order the school districts to do so–which was extremely discouraging.

    We live in a time where very few people will speak up for what is right or do what is required to fix things that have gone wrong. With respect to vaccination, a lot of those very few of us are here and I am basically “preaching to the choir”. Vaccine exemption laws only work if they are enforced. Bad doctors only stop practicing bad medicine if they are sanctioned. I’m not seeing either happening, so I guess only more suffering and death will have to happen for people to wake up.

    Thanks for this article and your insights, John.

    1. Candy says:

      I never said I listen to Dr Sears? Someone was just referring to him in a response to me. Thank you for your concern though.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        @Candy

        I linked to an article about Dr. Douchebag a while back, by Dr. Snyder I believe. Your comments sound very similar to what he urges – delayed vaccination. However, his reasons are wholly spurious, as his entire ridiculous parenting approach. As I said above – if you show up here and talk about vaccine delay, based purely on the odds you will get a hostile reception because we see a lot of nutters. If you aren’t familiar with the nutters and their spurious reasoning, it would be worth it for you to spend time reading some of the “vaccine” category posts to learn about them (and how to refute them). You may be a poster person for why vaccination is important, and why their selfish, antiscientific, borderline illiterate rejection of the most important medical advance, ever, holds the potential for incredible harm. Your child, with a mitochondrial disorder, must rely on herd immunity far more heavily than other children. Your child, with a mitochondrial disorder, gets lumped into the same category as parents who claim, spuriously, that vaccination caused their child’s mitochondrial disorder and autism. It might behoove you to familiarize yourself with these issues. Whenever I speak to a doctor about these sorts of things, I immediately make it clear that I consider vaccination important and unrelated to autism, and they seem to appreciate it. You have even more reason to do so since “mitochondrial disorder” is the latest autism biomed nonsense being pimped by morons and it would probably not be helpful to be lumped with them.

        Seriously, I walk into a new doctor’s office and say “You went to medical school for a decade, you know way more than me, please tell me what you think is important, because I am not among the idiots who think medicine is simple.”

  30. james ainoris says:

    So sad ajd frustrating how the public is so easily misled by media and pseudoscience. More people have been saved by vaccinations than anything in the history of mankind…yet we have the public listen to wack field reports andbhomeopath lunitics…James ainoris

  31. Tim says:

    Once you SEE FIRST HAND a family friend go get their 18 month old child the cocktail of vaccines, the kid comes home, has a fever for a week and goes from a walking, talking, happy little toddler to a slobbering, drooling, screaming child that doesn’t talk anymore and just stares out onto space, maybe that influences my decision to not listen to condescending, arrogant individuals who would call me vile first and then try to convince people to take a chance with their children. You pompous collectivists don’t seem to have many real numbers in your rude remarks to people like Candy, who is a concerned mom. Dr Snyder, it is you that is divorced from reality. To insist that a newborn baby should be injected with synthetic chemicals within minutes of breathing air for the first time, to prevent a form of hep that can only be contracted through shared needles or unprotected sex, is so divorced from reality and humanity it is beyond absurd.

    Where are the measles outbreaks and deaths?

    Why would there even have to be a special vaccine court that’s lobbied for by big pharma?

    Why is there such a incestuous revolving door between the FDA and big pharma’s corporate boardrooms?

    Why did the pharma lawyers show up in force when my 1st cousin, who’s a D1 NCAA baseball coach, was paralyzed for 3 months by a swine flu shot?

    A person who is divorced from reality is a big pharmacy drug pusher who believes it’s acceptable to hurt some people to possibly protect some people.

    Stick with your herd “for the greater good” imbeciles have historically been the worst of society.

    Science based medicine is fine. Compulsory collectivism based medicine under duress with the threat of state force is what you people are actually advocates of.

    1. AlisonM says:

      Where are the measles outbreaks and deaths? Seriously? All over, if you pay attention to the news. Heck, the number in a single church in a single town in Texas went from zero to 40 in a matter of days. Mumps outbreak in New Jersey among people who happened to be in one bar together in one night – 36 cases at last count that I read.

      1. Tim says:

        http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6236a2.htm#fig2

        More people are hospitalized or die from bee stings than measles.

        http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/
        Isn’t the problem described above more concerning?

        The same people that with to forcefully vaccinate children also want to put them on prozac, ritalin, hydrocodone, lortab, zoloft etc. It is criminal.

        http://www.ledgernews.com/news/top_stories/messina-family-files-lawsuit-against-cherokee-county-sheriff-s-office/article_489eff1a-0fdd-11e3-90b6-0019bb30f31a.html?mode=print
        How did the Zoloft script work out for this family?

        Once again, Science based medicine is fine. Compulsory collectivism based medicine under duress with the threat of state force is what you people are actually advocates of. Disgusting.

        1. AnObservingParty says:

          Tim, you have to use the rates of injury/death for measles BEFORE the use of the vaccine for an accurate comparison. Currently, the actual number of people hurt by measles is very, very low, because the vaccine has done such a good job of preventing the infection. Nice try though.

          I think maybe you should travel to a country where measles is still endemic and ask them how they feel about it.

          Nobody would ever say that prescription drug abuse isn’t an issue. It very much is, however, it is completely irrelevant to the issue of vaccination and infectious disease. You clearly never lived in a time/place when these diseases were an issue.

          I have no problem with people stating it is there choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate, however I do have a problem with them thinking that they are allowed to interact with those they may infect if they do so. Is making it illegal to drive while drunk also “compulsory collectivism?”

          I think you just don’t like being told what to do.

          1. Tim says:

            Explain how someone that is not vaccinated can infect someone while not having the disease.

            A person that has not been vaccinated poses no risk to anyone.

            A person that has a disease does pose a risk.

            If a person that has been vaccinated comes in contact with a disease then aren’t they an equal threat until the disease has been fought off? Does a vaccination create a force field?

            Sanitation and sewer systems have done a great job at preventing disease.

            Since drinking fluoride prevents cavities, why not drink suntan lotion? Because it’s a bad idea to ingest a topical preventative?

            I love being told what to do, not that it matters…..

          2. Chris says:

            Why should we bow to your demands when you have not answered my question? Please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that the MMR vaccine has more risk than getting measles. Do not mention any other condition like bee stings.

            “Explain how someone that is not vaccinated can infect someone while not having the disease.”

            Documentation please that this has happens on a regular basis, please.

            “Since drinking fluoride prevents cavities, why not drink suntan lotion?”

            So when was the last time you ever took chemistry?

            “Sanitation and sewer systems have done a great job at preventing disease.”

            Please point to what great sanitation and sewer improvements happened in the USA between 1960 and 1970 to make the incidence of measles plummet by 90%:
            From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
            Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
            1912 . . . 310.0
            1920 . . . 480.5
            1925 . . . 194.3
            1930 . . . 340.8
            1935 . . . 584.6
            1940 . . . 220.7
            1945 . . . 110.2
            1950 . . . 210.1
            1955 . . . 337.9
            1960 . . . 245.4
            1965 . . . 135.1
            1970 . . . . 23.2
            1975 . . . . 11.3
            1980 . . . . . 5.9
            1985 . . . . . 1.2
            1990 . . . . .11.2
            1991 . . . . . .3.8
            1992 . . . . . .0.9
            1993 . . . . . .0.1
            1994 . . . . . .0.4
            1995 . . . . . .0.1
            1996 . . . . . .0.2
            1997 . . . . . . 0.1

          3. AnObservingParty says:

            Tim, it occurs when that person comes into contact with someone who has a disease. Do you watch the news? How do you think the two recent outbreaks have happened? Someone traveled overseas, wasn’t vaccinated, and brought the disease back, where it spreads in a population with an uptake below the required level for herd immunity. So yes, in this global world, an unvaccinated person DOES pose a risk.

            And no, the vaccinated person does not pose a risk, “until they fight it off.” Diseases have an incubation period before they become infectious and have symptoms. Measles is up to two weeks. So, a vaccinated person, provided the vaccine took, never makes it through that incubation period to the infectious period, followed by symptoms. (Oh, and you’re infectious up to two days before symptoms for things like the flu, 4 days before the rash for measles.) But yes, in that regard, by stopping the virus/bacterium before it can complete its incubation, vaccination is like a force field. I know that’s a relatively simple explanation–please any immunologists reading this forgive me–but let’s examine the audience.

            And you’re right, sanitation and sewer systems have done a good job….oh wait, polio continued to spread when we had great sanitation. Also, the best plumbing in the world won’t prevent an airborne or droplet infection.

            You clearly don’t understand how any of this works. And suntan lotion? You have an issue bringing things into a discussion that have absolutely nothing to due with the topic at hand. You should be glad there are people smart enough out there to tell you what to do.

          4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Drinking fluoride doesn’t prevent cavities, a fluoride oral rinse or other topical treatment does. Tim, you should learn about the stuff you are discussing, from real and reputable sources, otherwise you say embarrassing things like this.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Absolutely, if you can find something like a vaccine for bee stings, pretty much everyone would be happy. But you’re bringing up two totally different points – we don’t have to choose between either preventing deaths caused by bee stings or preventing deaths caused by measles. We can’t prevent both, but don’t you think we should try to prevent the deaths we can? Otherwise what, we abandon all medical prevention and treatment until we can prevent all causes of death, for everyone, forever?

          Measles is actually different for another reason. While deaths due to bee stings are rather targeted (only people allergic to bees, or swarmed by a hive, will die due to bee stings), anyone can catch measles and anyone can die. We don’t have the predictability that we do with bee stings. We can proactively identify people allergic to bees, and give them an epi-pen. We can’t do this with measles. Further, the treatment for “dying of measles” isn’t as simple as an injection of adrenalin, it’s expensive, soaks up hospital beds for days, if not months, and did I mention it’s 99% preventable?

          I’m sorry you know people who received vaccines and shortly afterwards had something bad happen to them. But that doesn’t mean the vaccines caused it, and it doesn’t mean we should start racking up hundreds of preventable infant deaths because of it. Sometimes bad things happen.

          But if it makes you feel any better, I’ve never had anyone I know have an adverse reaction to vaccines. Are you convinced now?

        3. Chris says:

          Okay, so exactly how is the MMR vaccine more dangerous than measles?

          Remember to use the relative risk, and use real numbers. Don’t give an excuse that very few people get measles because most are vaccinated!

          Here are some numbers of measles from the CDC Pink Book Appendix G, comparing fifty years apart:
          Measles:
          Year_Cases_Deaths__Year___Cases____Deaths
          2000____86___ 1____1950__319124____468
          2001___116___ 1____1951__530118____683
          2002____44___ 0____1952__683077____618
          2003____56___ 1____1953__449146____462
          2004____37___ 0____1954__682720____518
          2005____66___ 1____1955__555156____345
          2006____55___ 0____1956__611936____530
          Total___460____4_________3831277___3624

          Show us how the MMR vaccine cause as much damage in the 21st century compared to what measles caused in the 1950s.

    2. Chris says:

      U.S. measles cases in 2013 may be most in 17 years

      Now what you have to do Tim, is to post the PubMed indexed study from a reputable qualified researcher that the MMR vaccine used in the USA causes more injuries than measles.

      1. Tim says:

        It only has to cause 54 injuries, right?

        1. AnObservingParty says:

          No, it has to cause more damage than measles when it was common and endemic, because that is what we will return to if the vaccine is not used. Risk vs. cause. You are living in a world where the vaccine did its job. We have to think of this in terms of that not happening for your argument to have merit.

          1. AnObservingParty says:

            *risk vs BENEFIT. Not cause.

        2. Chris says:

          No. Where did you get that number?

          It has to cause injuries equal to that which is documented in The Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review. This means equaling the damage from measles in the pre-vaccine era, so going to the CDC Pink Book Appendix G, we find the decade of the 1960s:

          Disease: Measles in the USA
          Year__Cases___Deaths
          1961__423,919_434
          1962__481,530_408
          1963__385,156_364
          (^^ first vaccine licensed)
          1964__458,083_421
          1965__261,905_276
          1966__204,136_261
          1967___62,705__81
          1968___22,231__24
          1969___25,826__41

          You will see before the vaccine was introduced there were about four hundred deaths per year from measles, and those were only the actual documented cases. And in addition to those deaths, thousands more were permanently disabled with blindness, deafness, paralyses, and loss of cognitive function. Because, that is what measles does to at one out of a thousand who gets it.

          And we now from the recent Wales outbreak that even where there is a National Health Service almost one out of ten of the over thousand who got measles ended up in the hospital. So what is the rate of of hospitalization for the MMR vaccine?

          Now, go and find the PubMed indexed study showing that the MMR vaccine causes at least several hundred deaths, thousands of cases of blindness, etc each year in the USA. Make sure it is from a qualified and reputable researcher. Show us that the MMR vaccine is too dangerous to use.

    3. AnObservingParty says:

      In what hospital is a neonate “injected with synthetic chemicals within minutes of breathing air for the first time?” By the time they receive the vaccine before being discharged, the infant has already been exposed to many, many, MANY more antigens than present in the vaccine. Not to mention all the other “chemicals” they are exposed to simply by way of being in a hospital.

      You also need to do some research on HBV, which is NOT only contracted by exposure to dirty needles or unprotected sex. Anybody regularly exposed to blood is at risk for HBV infection…like, say, the average hospital nurse. I can’t tell you how many positive surface HBV antigens I see show up in my culture list from people who had no idea they were potentially infected. Many of them are HCWs with few other risk factors. They may take care of that infant, and infected children suffer some of the worst complications.

      I want to know where all this “Big Pharma Corporate money” is. If I am going to spend my days being accused of it–especially during the upcoming flu season (thank goodness for NYS Health Code Title 10 http://www.health.ny.gov/facilities/public_health_and_health_planning_council/meetings/2013-04-11/docs/flu_regulation.pdf)–I would like to know where my checks are going, because I have yet to see one.

      Also, temporal correlation, causation, etc, etc. Science-based medicine, which as you state you have no problem with, has shown that regressive-autism is NOT caused by vaccines. I assume that’s what you were referring to? I’m sorry your family friend is dealing with it, but I’m not sorry to point out that your association is wrong. Although, you see to not be so interested in SBM, as you seem to think most of practicing medicine is a nothing but a corrupt factory machine for “Big Pharma.” And yes, I would argue that protecting the children on the peds unit in my hospital from their friends does take precedence over the incredibly small risk of significant injury from vaccines, especially considering that the risk for those diseases is MUCH, MUCH higher. I don’t understand that rational: but vaccines have risks! Not everyone wants them! Ok, have you seen what these diseases do? Boggles my mind. You don’t want to be a part of our herd? Fine, leave it. Go live in the woods somewhere away from the rest of us.

      And as AlisonM and Chris pointed out, have you been watching the news?!?! Or are they in bed with the pharmaceutical companies too?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        The idea that the “syntheticness” of a chemical is somehow indicative of its danger is also absurd. Snake venom, deathscap mushroom alkaloids, radioactive polonium, smallpox viral particles and hemlock are all quite natural, and will kill you far quicker than any vaccine. Lab-synthesized vitamin C is identical to vitamin C extracted from an orange or rosehips, both will prevent scurvy equally well. Fentanyl is synthetic, powerful, dangerous, and essential to treat pain.

        Natural doesn’t guarantee safety, lab-synthesis doesn’t guarantee danger, each should be measured on their own merits and risks.

        What on earth does “pompous collectivist” mean? How does it relate to vaccination?

        1. AnOrdinaryParty says:

          Ditto “chemicals.” For some reason the connotations that word has acquired are horrific, just like “synthesized.” See: dihydrogen monoxide jokes.

          And I don’t know? The actual definition of collectivism is “any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human.” Soooo…I interpreted it as him saying “I’m a selfish jerk who only cares about me and mine” and we aren’t. :)

        2. AnObservingParty says:

          Son of a…I typed in “ordinary” instead of “observing” for my SN. So I’m in moderation…I promise I’m not a sock-puppet! But I can’t promise I haven’t recently returned from a bar and I’m totally going to blame that.

          Apologies if this posts twice, but…

          Ditto “chemicals.” For some reason the connotations that word has acquired are horrific, just like “synthesized.” See: dihydrogen monoxide jokes.
          And I don’t know? The actual definition of collectivism is “any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human.” Soooo…I interpreted it as him saying “I’m a selfish jerk who only cares about me and mine” and we aren’t.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            He does seem like a bit of an objectivist.

  32. Tim says:

    I have a simple, straightforward question regarding the flu vaccine.

    Since the strain for the years shot is based on hypothesis, meaning the makers of the vaccine make an educated guess at what the strain will be that year, and there is no consensus on the scientific cause of “flu season”, and the makers of the flu vaccine have entirely missed the strain yielding a vaccine that is confirmed to have offered zero immunity or protection, why were there no spikes in flu deaths in these years?

    What does science based medicine have to say about the lack of a spike in flu deaths when not one single person got an effective flu shot during the years the vaccine makers missed the strain?

    Please explain this logical contradiction.

    1. Chris says:

      “meaning the makers of the vaccine make an educated guess at what the strain will be that year,”

      Actually, that is not quite true. Please read this::

      Twice a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) organizes a consultation with the Directors of the WHO Collaborating Centers and representatives of key national laboratories. They review the results of surveillance, laboratory and clinical studies, and the availability of vaccine virus strains and make recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccine. These meetings take place in February for making recommendations about the composition of the vaccine for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere’s seasonal influenza vaccine and in September for the Southern Hemisphere’s vaccine. WHO recommends specific vaccine viruses for inclusion in influenza vaccines, but then each individual country makes their own decision for which strains should be included in influenza vaccines licensed in their country. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes the final decision about vaccine strains for influenza vaccines to be sold in the U.S. Information about circulation of influenza viruses and identified vaccine virus strains is summarized and presented to an advisory committee of the FDA in February each year for the U.S. decision about which virus strains to include in the upcoming year’s vaccine.

      Read that whole page.

      Please, explain what this means:

      What does science based medicine have to say about the lack of a spike in flu deaths when not one single person got an effective flu shot during the years the vaccine makers missed the strain?

      You can start by pointing to a particular flu year and explaining where the “lack of spike” occurred. That we can figure what data to talk about.

    2. Chris says:

      “why were there no spikes in flu deaths in these years?”

      I looked at this page, http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html . Can you tell which of those four years did not have spikes? Because even though 2012 was “only” pediatric 35 deaths, I still see spikes.

      Do you have a definition on how high those “spikes” need to be? If you do, can you please give us your source of that definition.

      1. Tim says:

        Try this page Chris.

        http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5933a1.htm?s_cid=mm5933a1_w

        Look at 2003.

        Then look at this:
        http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/12/13/sprj.flu03.vaccine/index.html

        And this:
        http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/12/13/sprj.flu03.flu/index.html

        Would you like to explain? I would love to hear your expert analysis on flu year 2003.

        My explanation is that the flu shot is BS and the CDC’s numbers PROVE IT.

        The people that claim to advocate SBD are far more emotional than the people who DARE question things.

        Why should anyone be skeptical of an industry that employs the lobbying firms that the alcohol and tobacco companies use?

        It’s the same Stockholm syndrome mental disease that infects politics. This divide and conquer mentality that overwhelms rational discussion online through text on a screen doesn’t help anyone. I had to get tested for MMR immunity to work in a hospital and if the test had come back negative I would have rolled up my sleeve. There is no way I would travel overseas, or work in a hospital without protecting myself. That’s MY decision. It’s not yours, and it’s not the state’s.

        Why is there such a thing as this?
        http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation

        Read the legislation that enacted it:
        http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/authoringleg.pdf

        You can say the term “educated guess” is not quite true, but I fail to see a significant difference between educated guess and recommendation. I use that term because it sounds worse on purpose, because I like watching the hacks on this thread attack syntax and minutia, while ignoring the fact that sometimes a vaccine can really mess a person up bad, and usually it’s much worse than the disease it’s meant to prevent.

        You guys enjoy the mercury laced flu shot and the Alzheimer’s. I will take my chances with the flu.

        1. Chris says:

          It was a bad flu, and not a good match. Also, as I remember the only folks encouraged to get the influenza vaccine were elderly adults and those who have certain medical conditions, like my oldest son. His heart condition let him get the influenza vaccine before the rest could get in line for the limited supply. Oh, rats, reality is messy.

          It seems it took a few bad years for them to expand the influenza campaign. What do you have against people trying to do things better?

          And the reason for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is it is what Barbara Loe Fisher requested in the 1980s, she actually worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to draft the first National Vaccine Injury Act in 1986 (see the wikipedia of her National Vaccine Information Center). Plus this:
          http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000452.htm

          This is what happens when you get frivolous lawsuits where anyone can be an expert witness. Like Gordon Stewart who thought a study was done on children, but it was in rats.

          So where is that PubMed indexed study from a qualified reputable researcher showing the MMR vaccine causes more injury than measles?

          1. Tim says:

            So you basically have no explanation for why there was a flu epidemic, the shot was questionable, and the number of deaths were low. Makes no scientific sense whatsoever, does it?

            You are not asking me a question Chris. You are asking me to produce something that does not exist.

            Studies always reflect the preconceived outcomes wanted by the people that finance them.

            My simple point that is well illustrated here is if anyone DARE question that priesthood, then prepare for a lashing.

            You have extremist kooks on all sides of the vaccination topic. I happen to believe that a hep vax at birth is an extremist kook thing to do to a newborn. I also believe that having a closed mind against all vax is equally insane. I watched a child go from normal to autistic in 3 days immediately following vax. It was obvious what it was.

            I just read back over most of this thread. It’s amazing that someone would wish a disease, such as measles, onto a person just to prove a point.

          2. Chris says:

            It was you who chose a flu season from ten years, long before it was even widely available nor even recommended for children. That is cherry picking.

            You also made claims on that there are safety issues with the MMR vaccines. So you are being asked to back them up, with data not pithy pronouncements of our character. Now post the PubMed indexed studies to support you claims Here are some examples:
            Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

            And if you find fault with those, be sure to explain using real data. Explain carefully how the finance determined the outcomes. Directly quote the financial disclosures and tell us how that motivated the outcomes.

            “My simple point that is well illustrated here is if anyone DARE question that priesthood, then prepare for a lashing.

            You really don’t understand science. It is always being questioned, that is part of the process. That is why vaccine schedules change (ex: IPV instead of OPV). You just dislike having to prove your claims with data and not stories.

            “It’s amazing that someone would wish a disease, such as measles, onto a person just to prove a point.”

            Please list that comment number. Most often I see anti-vaxers say kids need to get measles to get “natural immunity.” Personally, I think that is cruel.

            “I happen to believe that a hep vax at birth is an extremist kook thing to do to a newborn.”

            Your beliefs are not important compared to the data, from http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/:

            No. of Death Certificates listing
            HBV as a Cause of Death, 2010*

            1,792

      2. Tim says:

        Chris, please explain flu year 2003.

        Scientifically, of course.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Reality is clumpy, things change, and science is hard. What do you want? Fake reassurance that we can perfectly predict all things and that life is simple? You can get that at whale.to, though of course you aren’t getting anything close to reality. I prefer reality, and not dying of preventable diseases.

          The vaccine courts were put in place to prevent vaccine manufacturers from pulling out of the market, returning us to the “good old days” when we didn’t get mercury from vaccines, and instead we died of polio, pertussis, measles, etc.

          There is no way I would travel overseas

          Do you also avoid everyone else who has been overseas? What about the people who have been in contact with people who have been overseas? Do you live in a body condom or biohazard suit? Do you have a magical way of telling who has been overseas, or in contact with someone who has been overseas, or in contact with someone who has been in contact with someone who was overseas? Or anyone who has been to Texas? It’d be nice if reality would conform to our wishes and plans, too bad it doesn’t, eh?

        2. lilady says:

          How about looking at the CDC article which explains how effective the strains of influenza vaccine during the ENTIRE 2003-2004 Influenza season?

          http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectivenessqa.htm

          Chris already provided you with information about how scientists make a determination about the strains which will be incorporated into the triple antigen influenza vaccine for use in the Northern Hemisphere, fully six months before the start of the influenza season….based on the prevalent circulating strains of influenza viruses.

          “How well do influenza vaccines work during seasons in which the vaccine strains are not well matched to circulating influenza viruses?

          When vaccine strains are not well matched with circulating influenza viruses, the benefits of vaccination may be reduced. For example, inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed influenza was 60% among healthy persons and 48% among those with high-risk medical conditions in a case-control study among people 50–64 years old during the 2003-2004 influenza season, when the vaccine strains were not optimally matched to viruses in circulation (Herrera et al., 2007). However, in a year when the influenza vaccine and predominant circulating influenza viruses were poorly matched, researchers were not able to measure an effect of influenza vaccination against the respective vaccine component (Bridges et al., 2000). It is not possible to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched in advance of the influenza season, and how this match may affect vaccine effectiveness.”

          Tsk, tsk, Tim. Your phrase “the 2003 flu year” and your link to a CNN article from the start of the 2003-2004 influenza season, are an indication to us that you are quite uninformed about how far in advance decisions are made for the inclusion of circulating strains for the manufacturing of seasonal influenza vaccines.

    3. Chris says:

      And since you are back, Tim, could you please answer the questions posted you earlier. Thanks a bunch.

    4. AnObservingParty says:

      1) There is no indication that “missing the strain” confers zero protection, just less protection, so long as it is the same subtype. And which years did they miss the strain entirely as you say? Last year there was ambiguity for the Flu A covered by the vaccines, but still matched enough to reduce infection ~60%, and the Flu B–which started rearing its head around February last year–was covered. Hardly “missing the strain entirely.” Give me the years you are speaking of. However, if you are referring to last year, yes, there were more pediatric deaths compared to the 2010-2011 season and 2011-2012 seasons. See this chart. And, for H1N1 in 2009-2010, of which no recent vaccine had covered, and the seasonal did not cover either, certainly showed a spike of deaths: See this: http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html. In the years flu deaths went up, flu cases were also up. More flu, more deaths. And since only about 50% of the public get the vaccine, we’re nowhere near the required herd immunity, so flu will remain endemic during the winter months.

      2) SBM is fairly certain why there is a flu season: people are in closer, tighter confines during the colder half of the year. Seasonal flu certainly exists in the summer (let’s leave out novel influenza) it just doesn’t get the chance to spread as easily, because people aren’t packed inside as much. I’ve had positive flues in July. Droplet transmission requires a proximity of 3-6 feet, and I know I rarely stay packed with people that close when it’s 90 degrees out. Also, right now, the Southern Hemisphere is in the midst of their flu season for the year, and they work off that, knowing they are likely to match. This is hardly a shot in the dark, although yes, it is less perfect than it should be. Hence why they are working on a universal flu shot that would only require a booster every few years. They have been working on this a long time, and it will be a long time before it’s available, because unlike what some people think, a good deal of time and work goes into vaccine manufacture.

      I fail to see your logical contradiction.

    5. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Observingparty got it covered.

      There is poor uptake which means there will always be incidence and mortality which means a smallish shift in coverage will be a little harder to detect, but it is still detected. And yes, a lack of match doesn’t mean zero protection. It is hardly binary where you either get it right and have 100% protection or miss it and have 0%. Plus, it has been shown that having a partial match means that even if you get the flu it is likely to be less severe and thus have less mortality associated with it.

      So, yeah. No logical contradiction whatsoever.

    6. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Often the ‘flu is not necessarily deadly, but the resulting complication are. The ‘flu can cause respiratory issues that cause death due to pulmonary somethingorotoher (not a doctor). So someone gets the ‘flu, catches pneumonia, dies of pneumonia – and it’s coded as pneumonia, a form of diagnostic substitution (sort-of). Also, the ‘flu causes a general “thickening” of the blood for up to a year or more, leading to increased risks of deaths due to clots – same issue. There’s some other wrinkles as well, since in order to really affect deaths you have to reach some sort of herd immunity, which is difficult. Without herd immunity, you may protect individual people like you or me (who are unlikely to die of the ‘flu) but you fail to break the chains of transmission that lead to deaths in actual vulnerable populations – the elderly, cancer patients, children, pregnant women, AIDS patients and so on. In most, possibly all of these cases, these groups can’t be vaccinated or do not benefit from the vaccine due to compromised immunity. They don’t die of the ‘flu either, they die of cancer, or blood clots, or AIDS-related complications.

      But hey, fuck them, right? The sick, weak and pregnant deserve to die, right? Who gives a shit as long as you don’t have to change your mind or learn something new, right? Fuck ‘em!

    7. Young CC Prof says:

      Actually, if you look at the data over the last 20 years, the only years in which the age-adjusted death rate did not decline were bad flu epidemic years. That’s right, the flu death spike is enough to be seen, dimly, over the wave of chronic-disease deaths in old age that are the usual end to an American life.

      THAT’s why the CDC is now pushing flu vaccine on everyone. When we get a year with decent overall uptake, we’ll see if the deaths go down.

      And there hasn’t been a really bad match year in recent times. The vaccine “guessers” know what they’re doing.

  33. If a person that has been vaccinated comes in contact with a disease then aren’t they an equal threat until the disease has been fought off? Does a vaccination create a force field?

    No, because to be infectious one must first be infected. In other words, you need to have a critical mass of viral particles infecting your cells, which then die and spill the virions out to then spread those to others. Someone vaccinated has antibodies (sort of a force field) that prevents that from happening. An unvaccinated person has no such protection and thus becomes infected and then infectious. In other words, the unvaccinated has to slog through a long battle with many casualties, whereas a vaccinated person has an army of snipers waiting to prevent the whole thing from happening in the first place.

    In the cases of reduced illness instead of fully prevented the same principles apply. The vaccinated person could still be infectious but is less infectious than an unvaccinated person.

    Since drinking fluoride prevents cavities, why not drink suntan lotion? Because it’s a bad idea to ingest a topical preventative?

    Not that we didn’t know already but that right there tells us you are not actually interested in learning anything, but merely spouting off trite and extremely wrong tropes you’ve learned and believe already. What a ridiculous analogy to draw.

    1. AnObservingParty says:

      I like to think that my antibodies use teeny-tiny flame-throwers instead of sniper rifles against the antigens. Sniping is precise but slow moving. :P

  34. Beth says:

    Dr. Snyder

    You ask “Why wouldn’t you take the science-based recommendations of the world’s leading experts on infectious disease and epidemiology when making the most important decision regarding the health of your child? And if not from them, than on whose recommendations will you base these decisions? A quack website such as Natural News, your friends, yourself?”

    As someone who chose to delay some vaccinations for my children, let me explain my reasoning.

    1. The world’s leading experts are not making policy recommendations for what is best for my child. They are making policy recommendations for what they perceive as best for society as a whole. While these two goals will coincide for the most part, they are not necessarily the same. As a parent, it behooves me to understand where they diverge. That understanding may lead me to make choices that differ from their recommendations.

    An example of this would be the recommendation of the live polio vaccine over the killed polio vaccine. I think the killed vaccine is recommended now, but when my daughter was an infant, we had to specially request it because the live vaccine was the recommended one.

    2. In the US, the leading experts on infections disease, particularly those who research vaccinations, have an inherent bias towards recommending vaccinations. This is understandable, and to some extent unavoidable, but it is not something that I, as a parent, am willing to dismiss as unimportant when evaluating their recommendations.

    I think the vaccinations policy missteps back in the 90′s (my youngest was born then) are examples of the kind of mistakes that are made due to that type of bias.

    As a parent, I declined the rotovirus vaccine not long before it was pulled and the Hep B vaccine at birth because my child was at very low risk of the disease as a newborn. I declined these vaccines primarily because they were new at the time and I felt the committee was biased towards vaccinations. Declining new vaccines was my imperfect way of compensating for that bias.

    I believe that both vaccines have since been improved and they have now been in use for over a decade. I would not have the same qualms now that I did back in the 90′s.

    I hope that gives you some understanding of why an intelligent well-educated parent might choose to delay or skip certain vaccines. It’s not that I didn’t respect their expertise. It had to do with recognizing that the experts are fallible human beings with their own goals and motivations that may not always be aligned with mine.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      1) Actually, they are; the CDC maintains a list of reasons people shouldn’t be vaccinated. Unless your baby is one of those reasons, then it should be vaccinated. Your comment about live versus killed is showing a change in practice over time to reflect a changing world-wide risk. You may have made your decision at a time or place when the recommendations were changing, because risk assessment is not a perfect science. The recommendation is still a good one, the live polio vaccine provides superior protection compared to the killed vaccine, and at a time the risk of polio worldwide may have been higher.

      2) Yes, people who understand science, epidemiology and immunization have a bias towards vaccination because it prevents babies, children and adults from dying. To say that it is some sort of irrational prejudice, rather than based on a profound understanding of infectious disease, is simply wrong (unless you are qualified to sit on the panel to decide on the CDC recommendation schedule). The schedule is based on a keen understanding of risks versus benefits, it’s not plucked out of thin air.

      Vaccines haven’t really substantially improved, bar the use of new adjuvants and fewer antigens.

      You claim you are “intelligent and well-educated”. Do you have a PhD in immunology, epidemiology or pediatrics, or perhaps an MD? Because that is the sort of people making these recommendations. You also appear to have an inflated sense of the risks of the vaccines – while a sore arm is unpleasant, at the age you are vaccinating your baby literally would not remember anything as the parts of the brain responsible for encoding memories does not yet function. You are also overestimating their conflict of interest or “bias” towards vaccines, apparently in an attempt to convince yourself that you made the right decision.

      Just vaccinate according to the schedule, and don’t pretend you know better than someone who has spent decades of their life studying the matter. You are attempting to use the myth of the golden mean, as if on one side the antivaxxers with a fair set of points and on the other there are the doctors with their own set of points.

      Just vaccinate according to the schedule, there’s no reason not to.

      1. Beth says:

        I have a Ph.D. in statistics and teach decision making at the college level. I am quite capable of making a sound determination as to whether or not the risks and benefits as assessed by the committee are applicable to my child or should be adjusted according to my situation.

        1. “I have a Ph.D. in statistics and teach decision making at the college level.”

          Waste of some perfectly good letters if you ask me.

          In any case it’s a little disappointing that your rationale seems to consist solely of “they have a bias”. Can you point me to research establishing the direction and degree of this alleged bias?

          1. Beth says:

            Please see my reply to Mr. Graham below who asked basically the same questions.

          2. “Please see my reply to Mr. Graham below who asked basically the same questions.”

            Well you don’t have a PhD in being observant.

    2. John Snyder says:

      I’m not sure what “vaccine missteps” you’re referring to. If you mean the decision to stop giving the live polio vaccine and to replace it with the inactivated vaccine, that did not represent a misstep. We simply reached a point at which the risk of the live vaccine (approximately 1 case of vaccine-related polio in 2.4 million doses), though vanishingly small, was not justifiable given the eradication of the disease from our hemisphere and the availability of a safer vaccine. It was a decision based on science and epidemiology.

      If you’re referring to decision to withdraw Rotashield (the first rotavirus vaccine) from the market, I would also not consider that a misstep. That decision was made after our excellent, post-licensure surveillance system revealed a very small but real risk of intussusception following administration of the vaccine. It was estimated that an additional 1-2 infants over the background rate would develop intussusception for every 10,000 doses of vaccine given. A new, safer vaccine (Rotateq) soon replaced it. Read more here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/vac-rotashield-historical.htm

      As for the hepatitis B vaccine, that hasn’t changed at all since your daughter was likely vaccinated. It remains an extremely safe, single antigen vaccine, that has saved many lives, prevented many cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, and prevented many infants from becoming chronic carriers of the disease. Your daughter was placed at risk by not receiving the vaccine. The disease can, and frequently has been, be spread by non-sexual, non-IV drug related means by young children.

      1. Beth says:

        Yes, I would consider those missteps in that they were decisions that were the best choice for my child at the time. You can quibble about the nomenclature if you like, I do not feel it is a detraction from the point I was trying to get across.

        1. John Snyder says:

          Sorry for the late response to this, and I clearly need to read the tome below. I’m sorry to say your decisions, while I’m sure well-meaning, were not the best ones you could have made. Given the available and prevailing information, you placed your child at risk by not vaccinating, The risk-beneift analysis, from a science-based perspective, tilted only one way. Like many others have, you allowed fear and belief to cloud your judgement.

    3. lilady says:

      “As a parent, I declined the rotovirus vaccine not long before it was pulled and the Hep B vaccine at birth because my child was at very low risk of the disease as a newborn. I declined these vaccines primarily because they were new at the time and I felt the committee was biased towards vaccinations. Declining new vaccines was my imperfect way of compensating for that bias.”

      Was your child born between August 1998 when RotaShield was licensed and October 1999, when the manufacturer voluntarily recalled the vaccine?

      http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/vac-rotashield-historical.htm

      “What action did CDC take when cases of intussusception were reported to VAERS?

      CDC, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health departments throughout the United States, conducted two large investigations. One was a multi-state investigation which evaluated whether or not rotavirus vaccine was associated with intussusception. Based on the results of the investigation, CDC estimated that RotaShield® vaccine increased the risk for intussusception by one or two cases of intussusception among each 10,000 infants vaccinated. The other was a similar investigation in children vaccinated at large managed care organizations. When the results of these investigations became available, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) withdrew its recommendation to vaccinate infants with RotaShield® vaccine, and the manufacturer voluntarily withdrew RotaShield® from the market in October 1999.”

      I believe you are mistaken about declining the birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine, if in fact, your child was born between August 1998 and October 1999. The ACIP made the recommendation for the “Universal Birth Dose of Hepatitis B Vaccine” on Jan 18, 2002.

      http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5125a3.htm

      The recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine was first licensed in 1986, so it was not a “new vaccine”.

      1. Beth says:

        My youngest was born in June 1999. There was a Hep B vaccine routinely given at birth at that time. It was the only vaccine recommended for newborns and we declined it. Several times as every time the nurses changed shift, they would notice it hadn’t been given yet and come in to do so.

      2. rork says:

        “The world’s leading experts are not making policy recommendations for what is best for my child. They are making policy recommendations for what they perceive as best for society as a whole.”

        So it’s game theory time, eh?

        Herd riders deciding they want to be part of the problem rather than the solution should look carefully at their ethics. Protecting others enters my calculations, and I can openly espouse we all act thus, and thereby have expected winnings for everyone. We cooperate to obtain those winnings. Every outlaw is an expected loss for the rest of us, many outlaws and the losses can be heavy. Having selfish ethics that harm others and depend on others having better ones is touted as personally optimal, but let me ask – why should your fellow travelers tolerate it?

        1. Beth says:

          I do enjoy game theory, but deciding to delay some vaccinations for one’s infant is hardly a ‘free rider’ situation.

          Even if the ‘free rider’ situation was an issue (and I agree that it is for some VPD’s), IMO it should be tolerated because not everyone is in agreement with your ethical system. Personally, I do not consider the problem of ‘free riders’ to be worth the cost of putting more onerous requirements in place.

          Choosing to delay or even forgo vaccinations completely is a personal health decision. Recommendations by experts are appropriate and so are opt out requirements for public schools, but I am glad the final decision remains the prerogative of the individual or, in the case of children, their parents or guardians.

      3. weing says:

        I was in my residency when I got the Hep B series. It had to be 1982-1983. But, I think we were guinea pigs.

        1. lilady says:

          You weren’t a “guinea pig” Weing. You received the plasma-derived Heptavax vaccine, manufactured by Merck Sharpe & Dohme and licensed 1981.

          http://www.hepb.org/professionals/hepatitis_b_vaccine.htm

          My multiply and profoundly disabled child received the 3-dose series of Heptavax vaccine in 1985. (My pharmacist ordered the vial for me and my son’s pediatrician administered the vaccine).

  35. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    My youngest was born in June 1999. There was a Hep B vaccine routinely given at birth at that time. It was the only vaccine recommended for newborns and we declined it. Several times as every time the nurses changed shift, they would notice it hadn’t been given yet and come in to do so.

    And exactly what risk do you think you were offsetting by declining that vaccine? There is a reason it is given at birth, and it is because the real experts think it is the best time to give the vaccine. I highly doubt you appreciate the real reason, though I’m sure you think you do.

    I have little but contempt for the amateurs who think they can spend some time on the internet, or even pubmed, and come up with a better recommendation than the people whose sole job is analyzing vaccine research. Even if you manage to do the exact same reading as them, assuming you understand it, you are still not in regular contact with the other experts who exist to challenge, confirm and extend your conclusions, you do not attend conferences where cutting-edge science is disseminated, and you’ve almost certainly never seen a child with one of the infections prevented by the vaccines.

    Just get vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. You may think you are doing what is best for your baby, but you are deluding yourself. The best you can do for your baby is follow the advice of genuine experts.

    1. Beth says:

      The experts documented their reasons why they recommended it for newborns. It was because they felt they would have more success in getting the population inoculated (it required 3 shots given a few months apart) by the time they were sexually active if they recommended it at birth and them gave the additional shots with the other scheduled vaccines for infants.

      It was NOT because of the risk of the disease for newborns, which is very low when no one else in the household has the disease. My judgement was that the recommendation was made to improve the convenience and success of the vaccination program. While that may be an appropriate reason for the committee to make that recommendation, it did not follow that it was in my child’s best interest to have that vaccination at that time.

      “And exactly what risk do you think you were offsetting by declining that vaccine?”

      The Hep B recommendation for newborns was relatively new in June of 1999 as was the rotovirus vaccine recommendation for infants. I was offsetting the bias of the recommendation committee. At that time, all voting members of the CDC committee had waivers on file for conflict of interest with regard to vaccine manufacturers.

      To compensate for that bias, we decided to delay accepting the newer recommendations until sufficient time had lapsed for problems, such as with the original rotovirus vaccine, to be identified and resolved.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        “Bias on the part of the recommendation committee” is not a “risk”, by the way. That’s a failure to trust on your part. A risk would be “the live polio vaccine can sometimes cause polio” or “rotavirus vaccine is associated with intussusception”. What you’ve got there is a rationalization.

      2. Chris says:

        “The Hep B recommendation for newborns was relatively new in June of 1999″

        At least five years is “new”? My daughter got the Hep B vaccine as a newborn in May of 1994.

        Perhaps it was due to location, being on the west coast with lots of those coming from places where hepatitis b is endemic. It may not be a coincidence that the group Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases is near Portland, OR. It was started since they had kids with hepatitis and HIV. They have a Pediatric Hepatitis Report.

  36. lilady says:

    Recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine was not a “new vaccine”…it was available for 13 years, prior to your child’s birth and the CDC Recommendation for the “universal birth dose” was made January, 2002.

    So, is your 14-year-old full immunized now, according to the CDC Recommended Schedule?

    Has your child received the HPV vaccine series?

    Has your child received the MCV-4 vaccine?

    Has your child received the Tdap booster for his/her own protection, and so that your child does not infect an infant too young to have received the primary series of DTaP…or older children and adults who have real medical contraindications against receiving the Tdap booster?

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-schedule.pdf

  37. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I have a Ph.D. in statistics and teach decision making at the college level. I am quite capable of making a sound determination as to whether or not the risks and benefits as assessed by the committee are applicable to my child or should be adjusted according to my situation.

    Yeah, you may think that, but you’re wrong. Do you have a PhD in immunology? If I told you what the appropriate statistical test was “because I like to adjust for my unique project needs”, would you accept that? I took a course in statistics. Right now I’m actually adding percentages together to make my chart look more sensible. Oh, and my data is ordinal at best. But hey – it works for me.

    But whatever. I mean, you get your kid vaccinated, nothing happens. You don’t, and what’s the worst that can happen? It’s just liver cancer, right?

    At that time, all voting members of the CDC committee had waivers on file for conflict of interest with regard to vaccine manufacturers.

    …and there it is. There’s the fallacy, there’s the feeble rationalization – experts are just greedy bastards who are looking to fill their pockets.

    You may think you are an informed and expert consumer because you’ve proven you can master high-level thinking and because you’ve rationalized your choice. I’m not going to pretend I have any respect for it. The risks of vaccination are miniscule. The risks of the diseases they prevent are not. Pat yourself on the ass for being smart all you want, you should have vaccinated your child according to the CDC-recommended schedule.

  38. Beth says:

    Scorn or condemn if you like. I don’t need your approval. I was explaining my reasoning for those who are interested.

    I have not said experts are ‘greedy bastards’. That’s your interpretation, not my opinion. In fact, if you go up a couple of posts, I described them as “fallible human beings with their own goals and motivations that may not always be aligned with mine.” Does that equate to “greedy bastards” in your opinion? It doesn’t in mine.

    I’m a professional. I know the effect that unconscious bias can have on decision making by committee. I’m not going to ignore the fact that when all members of a committee share the same bias that can impact the qualify of the recommendations they make. I’m not going to blindly accept recommendations from such a group.

    No matter how much you want to claim it’s a fallacy, it’s not. It was a problem that needed to be dealt with. In fact, my understanding is that the problem was recognized at some point after 2000 and the committee composition altered as a result.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      And you don’t seem to understand that we are uninterested in your reasoning, anymore than an astronomer would be interested in the reasoning of an astrologer.

      You fail to appreciate that your professional qualifications are only applicable to the field within which you are qualified, they do not automatically make you brilliant at anything you happen to read about on the internet. For instance, are you aware of the Dunning-Kruger effect? Are you aware that the more an expert knows about a topic, the less confident they are about their own conclusions, because they realize just how incredibly complicated it is?

      “I think vaccinations are a good thing” is not a bias, it’s an understanding of how vitally important they are at preventing suffering and death. Your statement is basically akin to saying “anyone who knows enough about a topic to be a world-recognized expert is too biased to trust”.

      1. Beth says:

        “And you don’t seem to understand that we are uninterested in your reasoning, anymore than an astronomer would be interested in the reasoning of an astrologer.”

        I was rather under the impression that some people posting here were interested in my reasoning. No one has presented convincing (to me) arguments indicating I was wrong to do so. Personally, I think it would be an important point of research for those interested in increasing vaccine uptake rates. For example, here http://skepchick.org/2013/09/summary-of-vaccine-survey-results/ is a summary of a study that indicates one problem is that “Parents don’t trust the government or the pharmaceutical industry.” I think my reasoning bears directly on that point.

        However, since you are not interested in what I have to say and only wish to disparage the conclusions I came to, I will ignore your comments in the future..

        1. Chris says:

          Have you considered joining ACIP, as a skeptical parent with a strong statistics background? John Salamone was a parent member, and campaigned for the change from OPV to IPV after his son was paralyzed by the OPV (he had an immune dysfunction).

          1. Beth says:

            That’s kind of you to suggest it, but I don’t have sufficient interest to devote the time such a position would require. Thanks for the info about Mr. Salamone. I wasn’t aware of his efforts in the matter.

          2. Chris says:

            I learned about him in Dr. Paul Offit’s book Deadly Choices.

        2. weing says:

          I am interested. I learn from comparing the descriptive to the normative.

    2. ” No one has presented convincing (to me) arguments indicating I was wrong to do so.”

      Other than the fact that you can not correct for a bias unless you know what it’s biasing, how much and in what direction. The only thing you have argued (poorly “asserted” is a better term) is that.you believe there exists a direction to this bias. You then outline that you have corrected for a bias that you don’t know the extent of.

      “I’m not going to ignore the fact that when all members of a committee share the same bias that can impact the qualify of the recommendations they make.”

      Wait. What? While I think it’s at least conceivable that someone could have information concerning that a group is biased or that a group is making biased decisions. However here you seem to say that you have information on each member of the CDC committee enough to determine they each have a bias? How would you even determine that?

      So forgive me but I’m updating my priors now and they say I should call shenanigans on you. I simply don’t believe you have a PhD in statistics. Very little you say makes sense from even my modest background in the subject.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if your response is “I have nothing to prove” which is too bad because I would like nothing better than to be demonstrated incorrect about this.

      1. Beth says:

        I knew that the members of the CDC vaccine committee at that time had bias and the direction of the bias because they filed conflict of interest statements regarding their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and waivers had to be issued for them to serve on the committee. Such documentation is publicly available, so you can check it out for yourself if you want.

        If you don’t feel those statements on file are evidence of bias, that is your prerogative. Such bias is one reason why those conflict of interest statements and waivers are required and why I was concerned about it.

        While it’s true the extent of the bias cannot be measured and therefore a perfect correction is not possible, I felt it was reasonable to compensate for the bias by moving slightly in the other direction. Overcompensation is, of course, possible. Limiting the size of those changes in the other direction make that less of an issue which is why I made few changes to the recommended schedule at that time and only for the newer vaccines.

        While I don’t have anything to prove, if you want to check out my credentials, you only have to click on my name at the top of the post. It links to my personal website..

        1. “I knew that the members of the CDC vaccine committee at that time had bias and the direction of the bias because they filed conflict of interest statements regarding their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and waivers had to be issued for them to serve on the committee. Such documentation is publicly available, so you can check it out for yourself if you want.”

          If you were looking at cardiac events in a population and wanted to correct for the effect of the people in your population who smoke . It would only be reasonable to correct if there is a known correlation between smokers and cardiac events AND you could only do if if you knew the value and direction.

          Financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry (whatever that means) is not established as biasing people’s decisions on vaccine approval or vaccine schedules. However that still doesn’t make your point even with regard to direction. Someone who spends a lot of time with drug companies might well be tougher to convince than someone who doesn’t owing to having to deal with their marketing hype.

          “If you don’t feel those statements on file are evidence of bias, that is your prerogative.”

          They don’t meet the definition of bias and they don’t necessarily establish direction.

          “While it’s true the extent of the bias cannot be measured and therefore a perfect correction is not possible, I felt it was reasonable to compensate for the bias by moving slightly in the other direction”

          Wait. What? The point you seem to be missing is that you admit don’t have any idea as to the size of the alleged bias or any idea as to the size of the correction (you can’t know that you are moving “slightly”). How can that possibly be a reasonable action in any useful definition of the term?

          “While I don’t have anything to prove, if you want to check out my credentials, you only have to click on my name at the top of the post. It links to my personal website”

          It’s not a valid URL. How about you type up your rationale for skipping vaccines and posting it on your personal website.

        2. lilady says:

          Well Beth, when I clicked on your name…it didn’t actually go to your website. But I did locate this…

          http://www.parentingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=340

          Phyllis Schlafly, Beth????

  39. weing says:

    Sure would be better if they had a few shamans on the committee. Does your decision analysis say that most everyone around you have their kids vaccinated? What if they come to the decision just as intelligently as you? Then you end up with a susceptible community to which nature can present the Darwin award.

    1. Beth says:

      Yes, most everyone around me has had their kids vaccinated, as are mine.

      Why the presumption that anyone who questions the infallibility of any CDC committee recommendation for any reason at any point in time is going to refuse all vaccinations for their children?

      1. weing says:

        So, I gather the CDC committee, as the informed expert, was not acceptable to you when you made your assessment. Who was the informed expert that was acceptable to you? I am glad to hear you didn’t refuse all vaccines. In that case, are you satisfied that your neighbor’s kids also didn’t get the self-same vaccine, or other vaccines? That still leaves your group a candidate for the Darwin awards.

        1. Beth says:

          Why should I worry about whether my neighbors kids have been vaccinated? I had my kids vaccinated, so there was no reason for me to fret about whether the neighbor kids were.

          My group a candidate for the Darwin awards? What group would that be? I’m talking about personal choices I made and the reasons for them. I know of no one else who has made the exact same choices we did. They were unique to our family.

          I do not see any valid reason given to dismiss my concerns regarding bias on the CDC vaccine committee at that time, much less denigrate my choices as foolish enough to merit recommendation for the Darwin awards. Would you like to explain your reasoning on why you think that was an appropriate response to my post?

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            So you don’t actually know that much about vaccines then…otherwise you would know that the vaccines are not 100% effective, even if you follow the CDC schedule. Did you have your kids titres checked? What if they came down with a cancer that prevents them from being vaccinated, or disables their ability to produce antibodies? What happens if they have to spend all day sitting next to a kid with measles?

            Perhaps you might concede that your confidence in your own judgement was unwarranted? But that’s unlikely. Like most humans, you are probably going to double-down. Faced with a decision between “I am smart and protected my children” and “I am not as smart as I think, and I put my children at risk”, you will likely choose the former and denigrate us as somehow biased or ignorant. I expect the engine of the self-justifying machine will land on some sort of ad hominem, my guess is we will be accused of being “shills” for “big pharma”, because you won’t be able to come up with another reason, you’ve already used it once, and you can’t face the challenge to your self-image as an educated person or as a good mother.

            My predictions are taken from Mistakes were made (but not by me) by Carol Tavris. Good book, you should read it, helps you admit you are wrong.

          2. weing says:

            “Why should I worry about whether my neighbors kids have been vaccinated? I had my kids vaccinated, so there was no reason for me to fret about whether the neighbor kids were.”

            You think that vaccines are 100% effective? What if your neighbors are just as smart as you but, unlike you, decide that it is in the best interest of their child not to vaccinate? Are you going to force them to? What if their child gets Hep B and playfully bites your child, or your child hits his arm against the other child’s teeth and gets a little scrape? Do you like to rely on luck? When you made your decision, did you seek out an informed expert to make an assessment? We know that the CDC committee was not acceptable to you. Who was acceptable to you? When you teach decision making, you don’t recommend the use of informed experts?

  40. lilady says:

    “I’m a professional. I know the effect that unconscious bias can have on decision making by committee. I’m not going to ignore the fact that when all members of a committee share the same bias that can impact the qualify of the recommendations they make. I’m not going to blindly accept recommendations from such a group.”

    Are you an immunologist…a virologist…a bacteriologist…a pediatric infectious diseases medical doctor…or an epidemiologist?

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/acip/members.htm

    “No matter how much you want to claim it’s a fallacy, it’s not. It was a problem that needed to be dealt with. In fact, my understanding is that the problem was recognized at some point after 2000 and the committee composition altered as a result.”

    Really? What is your source for the that statement?

    1. Beth says:

      “Are you an immunologist…a virologist…a bacteriologist…a pediatric infectious diseases medical doctor…or an epidemiologist?”

      And if not, I’m just supposed to accept their recommendations without question or hesitation? I should just ignore what I do know about, for example my knowledge of bias, group dynamics, and potential for problems in the decision making process? While you might think that best, I don’t agree. Personally, I will continue to do my own research and make my own choices. I will listen to experts, but I may decide not to follow their recommendations for any one of a number of reasons.

      As for the source, I must admit that I don’t actually know why the make-up of the committee changed to include people that had no conflict of interest to serve on it over the course of the next several years. I only know that when I checked again a few years after that, bias was not as pronounced a problem although the majority of members still had conflict of interest statements on file.

      I had assumed that the change was due to a conscious effort being made to reduce the bias over time as committee members were replaced as it was difficult to find members with adequate expertise who did not have financial ties to the vaccine industry. But it might have simply been happenstance. My apologies for presuming that the change was due to a recognition of the problem without first verifying that was the case.

  41. Sorry for butting in, but I have a minute. You say:

    Why the presumption that anyone who questions the infallibility

    Nobody is claiming infallibility. In fact everyone here, myself included, would be the first to say that there is almost certainly an equally good if not better vaccine schedule than the one that currently exists.

    The problem is that there is no way to know what that schedule would be. And even less so on an ad hoc basis like your choice. You simply have no rational logic to eschew a recommended vaccine. Your mere questioning of the bias – while a reasonable thought – is simply an unreasonable way of deciding not to vaccinate. Because, quite simply, neither you nor anyone else can say that such a decision is actually better. Even if you were able to demonstrate quite clearly a bias, you still couldn’t assert that skipping a vaccine or two is better. There is no evidence upon which to base such a claim and plenty to indicate that the current schedule is as optimal as we can currently make it (note that is not to say it is optimal in an absolute sense).

    WLU’s point is that you are not in any way qualified or have enough knowledge to determine what is more optimal. Additionally, what we do know is that the side effects of vaccines are either very mild or very infrequent. So skipping a vaccine to avoid what is known to be a very small risk of harm is simply illogical. The further point was that thinking in such a manner can lead to more people not vaccinating which increases the risk of infection by decreasing herd immunity.

    The fact that you hold a PhD and teach decision making actually makes you less likely to make correct decisions in this field because motivated reasoning because very easy to justify in your head. You simply do not have the relevant background knowledge to even think to think through what some ramifications would be and thus feel more confident. Which is exactly what happened when Michio Kaku tried to talk about a field that is not his expertise – evolution. He is brilliant and I love his work in physics, but he made an absolute dufus of himself when attempting to discuss evolution.

    The moral of the story is that expertise in one field does not translate into expertise in another and can indeed cripple you into making very poor decisions because of a false sense of confidence coupled with motivated reasoning.

    The reality is there is simply no justification you can possibly come up with that is reasonable and rational to justify skipping the vaccines.

    1. Beth says:

      “Your mere questioning of the bias – while a reasonable thought – is simply an unreasonable way of deciding not to vaccinate.”

      Thank you for at least granting that bias is an issue that should be of concern. While the optimum schedule may not be completely identifiable, when bias is known, it is possible to compensate for it by moving slightly in the other direction. Hence my decision to delay on implementing their newer recommendations at that time.

      The rotovirus vaccine was withdrawn and reformulated not long after I declined it from my pediatrician. I feel the history of that vaccine backs up my concern regarding bias in the decisions made by those committee members and validated my choice to delay on their (at the time) newer recommendations.

      1. weing says:

        I suppose it is better to be lucky than good.

      2. “when bias is known, it is possible to compensate for it by moving slightly in the other direction.”

        Unless you know the strength of the bias to a high degree of accuracy then you really can’t say if you’re compensating or simply biasing in the other direction. IIRC this is your justification for delaying a vaccine. However:

        i) You don’t know that delaying has any effect in reducing the effect of the alleged bias. (i.e. the result of the bias IS something which can be controlled by delay)
        ii) Even if you did, you don’t know that the amount of your delay is significant.
        iii) Even if you did, you don’t know how far you can move before you start incurring a greater risk than you are ameliorating.

        Normalizing biased data is hard which is why statisticians often take other measures to deal with a bias.

  42. While the optimum schedule may not be completely identifiable, when bias is known, it is possible to compensate for it by moving slightly in the other direction.

    And here is the issue – your implicit assumption is that this is a singular binary decision. Of course bias is important. But you have no idea where that bias actually lays and how that plays into a much larger and complicated system.

    Essentially your rationale is that your decision boils down to a binary of “bias exists therefore picking – at nearly random – a vaccine to skip can bring that bias back to the happy medium.”

    But here is the problem. First off, you assume that “vaccinate” is one singular thing and that if it does have bias that the rectify the bias “less vaccinate” is an appropriate response. The deeper underpinning logical fallacy is that of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation&quot;?Argument of Moderation or “fallacy of the golden mean.” Which basically is the assumption that if there are two opposing viewpoints (vaccinate or not-vaccinate) that something in between must be the correct or at least better answer.

    Furthermore, you assume that the HepB and rotavirus vaccines were the correct choices out of all the possible vaccines to skip. Based on what? That they were “new?” Which for HepB was certainly pointed out was frankly and factually incorrect and in general is fallacious. Old or new, something stands on its merits. A better investigated “new” vaccine is less likely to have issues than a less-well investigated older one. It also depends on exactly what the concern is – acute issues vs long term. Or subtle but significant vs prominent but minor. Simply being “new” is absolutely not a reasonable justification for choosing a vaccine to skip.

    Next I’ll make an assumption. Please correct me if I am wrong (though your previous discussion about your neighbors makes me think I am not). You did not consider the prevalence and incidence of the specific diseases the vaccines you skipped would prevent. In other words, a vaccine can only be better or worse to skip based upon the likelihood of actually getting the disease. Which includes factors like prevalence and incidence (you do know what those terms mean, right?), the transmissibility, how much herd immunity you have (now we get into the prisoner’s dilemma), and the individual susceptibility (which is not known). BUt these are concerns that I think are likely you did not consider.

    So rather than we not having convinced you that you made a poor decision, you have yet to demonstrate that you have made a good one. Because the burden of proof lays with you. And so far you have only provided logical fallacy and assumptions to justify what is at best a random decision, but more likely to be a bad decision than a good one.

    You mention that the rotavirus was reformulated and use this to justify your decision. That is also a logical fallacy. The “retrospectoscope” is not a valid way of justifying decision making. And the very fact that you would make that basic fallacy makes me seriously question your professed credentials. Decisions are always optimal based on the information at the time. And based on that your decision to skip the rotavirus vaccine was sub optimal. The fact that you are justifying your decision based on the fact that it was reformulated later is a prime example of confirmation bias.

    1. Beth says:

      Your assumptions are wrong. Prevalence and incidence of the disease and method of transmission were considerations in my decisions.

      I said the rotovirus withdrawal validated my choice, not justified it. That is not post hoc reasoning, but a verification that my attempt to compensate for bias had worked.

  43. Jon, the big thing for me that made me question her credentials was the fact that she used post hoc analysis of the reformulation of the rotavirus vaccine as justification for her decision. You can’t take a statistical scenario in which a negative outcome is less likely, have the negative outcome, and then use that to re-evaluate your model and change it such that the negative outcome is now more likely. You particularly can’t do that in order to have the updated model better fit your preconceived idea of what that model should have been.

    I actually used to play poker for a living and if I played that way I would not have made a living.

    1. Honestly Andrey, Beth is way too vague.

      So if I remember correctly there is evidence that the rotovirus vaccine significantly increased the risk intussusception in infants. So what is Beth’s expectation? Clearly it isn’t that a vaccine will cause intussusception? There’s no way she could predict that. It seems the only thing one could predict is just some form of negative outcome. However vaccines will have significant negative outcomes even when ACIP is perfectly objective.

      So Beth’s hypothesis (H) is that a biased ACIP increases the number of significant negative outcomes. Her expectation (E) is then a significant negative outcome validates this hypothesis. But wait…what about ~E? What about all the vaccines without significant negative outcomes. The fact is, that there are more of those than there are ones with significant negative outcomes.

      And since P(E) + P(~E) must be 1 unless Beth is cheating.

      Well that means that Beth’s hypothesis is unlikely.

      1. Beth says:

        That’s not a bad attempt to articulate what I’m been getting at. I would amend it slightly in that it was not an expectation of a negative outcome but rather an expectation that the actual probability of a negative outcome was higher than the committees computed probability of such. I felt this was more likely to be the case with newer vaccines because there is less history to base those computations on.

        Thus, I can say the rotovirus vaccine validated that hypothesis because the actual probability of harm turned out to be higher than the committees original computed probability of harm.

        My overly simplistic heuristic has been to wait until a vaccine had been recommended and widely used for over 10 years before accepting it for my child. That gives the CDC time to work out solutions to unforeseen negative outcomes, rare but serious side effects, etc. I would have felt differently and reevaluated that heuristic had there been an outbreak of a dangerous contagious disease with a relatively new vaccine in place, but such a circumstance did not arise.

        1. Chris says:

          “My overly simplistic heuristic has been to wait until a vaccine had been recommended and widely used for over 10 years before accepting it for my child.”

          So no DTaP then, and definitely no Tdap.

          1. Beth says:

            No. I didn’t have problems with those. In fact, I got one myself just last year. While the combination of vaccines may have been relatively new, the vaccines for those diseases have been around for a long time.

        2. “That’s not a bad attempt to articulate what I’m been getting at.”

          Except that it doesn’t validate your hypothesis. It implies that there is no significant bias (or that bias is a positive effect). In other words you are wrong.

          “Thus, I can say the rotovirus vaccine validated that hypothesis because the actual probability of harm turned out to be higher than the committees original computed probability of harm.”

          Nope. That’s just meeting an expectation. Your hypothesis is weakened by the fact that ~E is met more often than E.

          1. Beth says:

            No. The hypothesis would be weakened only if ~E occurred more often than expected, not just because it occurred more often than E.

          2. “No. The hypothesis would be weakened only if ~E occurred more often than expected, not just because it occurred more often than E.”

            Mostly wrong.

            If E strengthens a hypothesis – which you have said. Then ~E must weaken it. Otherwise you are only counting when you hit the target and “forgetting” when you miss or are using arbitrary rules for counting.

            Perhaps you mean that E occurring less than ~E doesn’t mean we can reject H?

  44. at that time had bias and the direction of the bias because they filed conflict of interest statements regarding their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and waivers had to be issued for them to serve on the committee.

    A declared conflict of interest is not evidence of a bias. It is evidence of a higher prior probability of a bias but is in absolutely no way sufficient evidence of actual bias. When I read studies I pay attention to potential sources of bias, including declared COIs, which tend to make me scrutinize the data a little more. But as we often say around here – data is data and even if someone is actually very biased that doesn’t mean the data is wrong. In other words, even if the CDC panel actually had a huge bias towards vaccines that doesn’t mean their data and recommendations are actually wrong. You need to examine the actual data in order to make that decision, not just their declared COIs.

    While it’s true the extent of the bias cannot be measured and therefore a perfect correction is not possible, I felt it was reasonable to compensate for the bias by moving slightly in the other direction.

    This once again ignores the points I made before – even if you were correct in your assumption and the CDC was biased, you did not rationally choose how to correct for that bias, let alone how much. Once again, you need to look at actual data to make that determination.

    You made an ultra simplistic assumption about bias and then a second ultra simplistic decision based on the unsubstantiated notion that said bias was correct. You may have ultimately been right, but the odds were very much stacked against you and the method by which you made the decision was simply poor so even if you were right it was for the wrong reasons.

    Once again, you assume that the whole package of the vaccine schedule is a singular entity of “vaccinate” and that the declared COIs of the CDC panel meant that they had actual bias and that said bias was in the direction of “more vaccinate” and that the bias was contrary to the actual data and that the correct way to achieve the correction of the assumed bias was to simply do “less vaccinate.”

    Do you not see how simplistic and fundamentally wrong that decision making process actually is?

    1. Beth says:

      I consider that when every member of committee has documented conflict of interest statements on file, their decisions and recommendations are prone to bias. If you don’t feel that was rational, that’s okay. Me, I’m not so quick to dismiss such influences as trivial or unimportant. That such influences can have an impact is why they were required to file COI statements and waivers.

      Trust is a major issue when trying to persuade new parents to comply with the vaccination schedule. COI statements and waivers being standard procedure for the majority of committee members certainly gives the perception of bias and lessens trust in the committee decisions. It made a major different in my willingness to follow the standard schedule.

      For each vaccination, eventually the decision comes down to a binary choice: either vaccinate now or do not vaccinate now. Certainly mine was a relatively simple heuristic. While not perfect, such simple heuristics can help and I do not see the use of such a heuristic as fundamentally wrong. My avoidance of the withdrawn vaccine was not luck, but a direct result of my heuristic of choosing to delay rather than accept new vaccinations for my infant.

      1. Chris says:

        “My avoidance of the withdrawn vaccine was not luck, but a direct result of my heuristic of choosing to delay rather than accept new vaccinations for my infant.”

        Did you also have your child skip the varicella vaccine because it was introduced only five years before that child was a year old in 2000?

        I really wish our kids did not get chicken pox in the fall of 1994, when my daughter was six months old. It was horrible. There was no sleep for anyone for almost two weeks. If her older brothers and their classmates had been vaccinated before 1994, then my younger son would not have brought it home from preschool. And yet, there it was on the schedule in 1995, and she had already had it (along with both brothers). Le sigh.

  45. I said the rotovirus withdrawal validated my choice, not justified it. That is not post hoc reasoning, but a verification that my attempt to compensate for bias had worked.

    This is internally contradictory. How is validating your choice different than justifying it? But moreso, you cannot apply post hoc outcomes as validation or justification of a priori poor decisions. All you have done is demonstrate that you managed to get lucky, not that your choice was valid or justified.

  46. lilady says:

    Tacky, Tacky, Beth. When you “claim” you do not recall where you “heard” about Conflicts of Interest on the ACIP:

    http://www.parentingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=340

    Phyllis Schlafly, Beth????

    So yeah, I’m calling bullsh!t on everything you have stated here.

    1. Beth says:

      When did I claim I couldn’t remember that? Although, it’s been more than 10 years since I wrote and sent that letter. I had honestly forgotten I ever posted it. Had you asked, I would have honestly replied that I didn’t recall.

      At any rate, are you claiming that the information about the COI of committee members was not accurate? Or do you just dismiss everything written by someone if you don’t like their politics? It’s a common enough occurrence but something I generally try to avoid myself.

      While I rarely agree with the conservative viewpoint on most issues, that doesn’t make the COI claim inaccurate. Dismissing what I say because you don’t approve of a source I used a decade ago doesn’t make the bias from COI’s and the trust problem that such bias can generate go away.

  47. lilady says:

    “When did I claim I couldn’t remember that? Although, it’s been more than 10 years since I wrote and sent that letter. I had honestly forgotten I ever posted it. Had you asked, I would have honestly replied that I didn’t recall.”

    When you first “claimed” there were members of the ACIP who had COIs, as the basis for your ignorant, uninformed decision to deny your child the Hepatitis B vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine, I asked you what your “source” was. Here’s your last explanation and the basis for your choices for opting out of vaccines.

    “Trust is a major issue when trying to persuade new parents to comply with the vaccination schedule. COI statements and waivers being standard procedure for the majority of committee members certainly gives the perception of bias and lessens trust in the committee decisions. It made a major different in my willingness to follow the standard schedule.”

    Phyllis Schlafly Beth???

    http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2000/june00/00-06-28.html

    BTW Beth, I worked as public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist, investigating individual cases, clusters and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable-diseases. I was employed by a large County health department 1993-2004 inclusive and I know the composition of the ACIP committee during those years. There were no COIs (declared or undeclared), that, in my professional opinion, swayed the entire voting members of the ACIP, to approve a childhood vaccine.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/committee/downloads/article-2010-role-procedures-ACIP.pdf

    Scroll down to see “5. Conflicts of Interest”

  48. Beth says:

    You asked for a source regarding why I thought the composition had changed, or at least that was how I interpreted your request. I admitted I didn’t actually know that for certain it had changed in response to recognition of the problem, that that was an assumption I had made.

    If I am understanding you correctly, you aren’t claiming the COI’s do not exist, just that you don’t feel they are significant. You aren’t the first person to tell me that, not even on this thread. Fact remains, it was a major concern of mine then. It might be still if I was trying to make a decision on vaccination and looked up the data on today’s committee members but I don’t know what the composition is currently.

    While it’s nice you don’t see any problem with the COI’s on flle having swayed policy recommendations, I’m not as blithe as you are with regard to dismissing the unconscious bias such things represent. Nothing you’re presenting here contradicts what I have said about the COI statements having been on file and waivers being issued to allow many members to sit on the committee.

    My point was that if people are concerned about why parents choose not to vaccinate and want to increase acceptance of vaccinations, trust is a major issue. Numerous conflicts of interest being dismissed as irrelevant and unimportant does not inspire trust but suspicion.

    At any rate, I feel I’ve getting rather repetitive now. You don’t have to accept my reasoning. I was hoping you might understand it and how important trust is for individuals making those decisions. If you don’t understand why the concerns over COI’s would give someone pause about trusting in the recommendations of such a committee versus hesitating, questioning and ultimately deciding against some or all vaccines, I don’t think anything further I can say will at this point will help.

    1. “You don’t have to accept my reasoning.”

      You admit you don’t know the strength of bias OR the strength of the action you took to correct it (So far you can’t even demonstrate if the alleged corrective act and the alleged bias are adjusting the same thing)

      How is believing you anything but unreasonable? Why would we “understand” an unreasonable action?

    2. weing says:

      “While it’s nice you don’t see any problem with the COI’s on flle having swayed policy recommendations, I’m not as blithe as you are with regard to dismissing the unconscious bias such things represent. Nothing you’re presenting here contradicts what I have said about the COI statements having been on file and waivers being issued to allow many members to sit on the committee.”

      I am not as blithe either. You did not find the CDC committee acceptable to you as an informed expert. You have stated the reasons why. I have no problem with that. What I want to know is who was the informed expert that you did find acceptable to base you decision on? The reformulation of the vaccine after your decision was made is irrelevant to the correctness of the decision. If presented with the Monty Hall problem, you switch your pick to the other door you have made the right choice. Regardless of whether the prize was behind the original door you had picked.

  49. You don’t have to accept my reasoning. I was hoping you might understand it and how important trust is for individuals making those decisions. If you don’t understand why the concerns over COI’s would give someone pause about trusting in the recommendations of such a committee versus hesitating, questioning and ultimately deciding against some or all vaccines, I don’t think anything further I can say will at this point will help.

    Oh no, we understand. We understand why a lot of decisions are made. Our argument here is that those are not good reasons based in rational decision making. You are the one positing a degree and a career in decision making and claiming your reasons were good. You have not in any way demonstrated that to be the case.

    Yes, COIs could indeed give pause and not unreasonably so. The unreasonable part is assuming those COIs mean bias is present (it does not) and that your consequent actions were somehow able to rectify that bias if it were there. None of that has been demonstrated to be the case.

    If all you wished to do was demonstrate to us how a person with a self-purported PhD can still make poor decisions based on flimsy gut feelings then you have indeed succeeded in that. If you wish to learn why the decision making you did was poor and why your simple heuristic failed you and, more importantly, why the post hoc reformulation of the rotavirus vaccine did not in any way justify or validate your decision, then stick around. There are plenty of people giving you very good explanations why.

    Of course, we here also know how easy it is to get entrenched in an idea and to defend any decision through motivated reasoning. Admitting one was wrong is very hard to do indeed. And in particular we are supremely aware of how being intelligent and well educated actually leads to more motivated reasoning rather than better decision making, particularly when the decision in question is well outside of your realm of expertise.

    So if you are keen to learn more then stick around. But if you’ve already concluded you are right and are just here to show us how right you are, you simply won’t get much traction. These topics – both the medicine and the logical fallacy and cognitive biases – are our expertise.

  50. lilady says:

    I believe that Beth has left the arena. She was unwilling to provide any links to any sources that she based her opinions on and invited us to click on her name…which I did and located a post she put on a parenting board 13 years ago.

    On that parenting board, Beth provided a letter that she had written to her Congressional representative, questioning the supposed COIs that existed among the voting and non-voting members of the ACIP which impacted their approval of the RotaShield vaccine. Beth wrote that letter and linked to Phyllis Schlafly, who is an anti-vaccine anti-science crank. Beth also quoted verbatim from Schlafly’s article about Dan Burton’s 2000 Congressional Committee on Government Oversight and Reform hearing on the thoroughly debunked link between vaccines and the onset of autism.

    When we all requested links to Beth’s vague (and unsubstantiated) claims about the composition of the ACIP and their purported COIs which supposedly drove their decision to approve RotaShield vaccine…Beth claimed ignorance except to state she heard/read it somewhere.

    When I actually located her post on that parenting board…she claims she forgot that she ever wrote that letter to her Congressional representative, and she claims she forgot that she ever posted that letter on the parenting board.

    Here’s my opinion Beth. I am so accustomed to anti-vaccine anti-science parents such as you, posting on the many science blogs that I post on. You don’t provide any links whatsoever to any studies or published scientific papers to back up your “opinions”. You are clueless about basic science, immunology, virology, bacteriology, vaccines and the epidemiology of V-P-Ds. You’re a wee bit smarter than most of the science illiterates who troll science blogs, because you didn’t provide the links to Schlafly’s article, Age of Autism, the NVIC, whale.to. and the other typical sources that you and your ilk base your opinions on.

    1. Beth says:

      I don’t consider myself to be ant-vaccine or anti-science. Your grouping me with those who are is as foolish as those who are anti-vaccine attempting to paint all people who argue for vaccines as big pharma shills. It isn’t accurate, but it does make it easy to dismiss and ignore the things that people who disagree with you are saying.

      What I have done was to question some recommendations made by the committee and delay or skip vaccines that I felt were not in my child’s best interest at that time. I made very few changes, but I attempted to explain my reasoning only to be told I didn’t have the credentials to make such decisions. When I pointed out that I do possess the relevant credentials to identify certain types of problems, those credentials were dismissed as not the right credentials, my possession of them suspect or undeserving. Why? Just because I had the effrontery to disagree with some of the ACIP committee recommendations in 1999 and the early 2000′s.

      You claim the report I linked to in a letter I wrote more than 10 years ago was debunked. Perhaps it was. My recollection is that there were parts of that report I did not agree with. However, the issue I was concerned about and the parts I quoted were in regard to the fact that it was standard operating procedure at that time to have COI’s on file and waivers granted for to the majority of members on that committee. That particular claim has not even been denied much less debunked, just dismissed.

      No one claims the committee decisions are infallible or perfect, but I’m told that I should simply obey and get my child the vaccines they recommend on the schedule they recommend. Any questioning of them at any time, even past decisions they later changed, and any deviation from their recommended schedule at any time is apparently evidence of stupidity, and probably anti-vaccine and anti-science to boot.

      When my children were young, I didn’t have the trust I needed that the ACIP committee recommendations were the best course of action for my child. Trust is a major reason why parents choose not to vaccinate. For many parents, particularly those without the resources or ability to investigate each individual vaccine recommendation, the decision comes down to who they trust on the issue.

      Fewer parents get their kids vaccinated today than did back when I was making those choices. I can understand why some parents feel they cannot trust the medical establishment on this issue as I had issues with that. I had hoped someone here might be willing to listen to my reasoning in that regard. I was wrong and no one is interested in dealing with the concerns I had then or the concerns parents may have now about the perceived trustworthiness of the people and the institutional process that results in those recommendations.

      I’ll bow out now and you can continue to disparage me and my choices as being inferior and dangerous and that I was merely ‘lucky’ that our choices were later vindicated when the committee made changes with regard to the polio vaccine and the rotovirus vaccine.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        You questioned the committee as if it were some sort of political decision, when it’s a scientific issue – an area where there are correct answers. You don’t have the relevant credentials, any more than me being able to solve algebra equations makes me able to tell you how to do statistics. You have, at best, an understanding of an area of mathematics that is used as a decision-making tool after other work has been done. The “other work” is far more important, the statistics is merely a rule-of-thumb way of determining the certainty of your evidence after it’s all finished. But if the “other work” is shoddy, then it renders the statistics worthless.

        I also find it amusing that you are apparently a statistician, but don’t seem to grasp the odds of adverse effects. They’re on the order of 1:1000 as the “best” odds for serious adverse effects, yet you consider this a risk. As a statistician, isn’t that irrational?

        Any questioning of them at any time, even past decisions they later changed, and any deviation from their recommended schedule at any time is apparently evidence of stupidity, and probably anti-vaccine and anti-science to boot.

        Not stupidity – arrogance, and yes, antiscientific. This is the fallacy of the perfect solution – the idea that an option must be flawless to be correct, when most decisions are made in the face of less than perfect data. For instance, your decision not to vaccinate wasn’t made due to the concerns that later led to the vaccine being changed, your decision was made due to the belief that you were somehow correcting the bias of a panel of experts. That’s irrational, specifically it’s an ad hominem.

        Trust is a major reason why parents choose not to vaccinate. For many parents, particularly those without the resources or ability to investigate each individual vaccine recommendation, the decision comes down to who they trust on the issue.

        That’s rather, and has always been, our point. They trust the wrong person – they trust the man who published a shoddy “study” of 12 children over the doctors and scientists who have studied vaccines and vaccination their whole lives. They trust their intuition. They trust their pediatricians who base their own recommendations on intuition and shoddy science. You’re pretending the CDC recommendation came about out of fairy dust and wishes, when it was an expert committee deciding on the basis of a large volume of evidence. Had you read any of the primary literature they examined? Which did you find most compelling?

        I was wrong and no one is interested in dealing with the concerns I had then or the concerns parents may have now about the perceived trustworthiness of the people and the institutional process that results in those recommendations.

        Yes, because they are spurious. Sadly, the internet has given rise to the “lay expert” and graduates of “Google University”, and the belief that their 20 minutes on a message board is somehow equivalent to a 4-year undergraduate program, a 2-year Masters, a 4-year PhD and a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship (or MD). I know medicine wants patients to feel empowered and like they are valued, but the reality is patients are never experts and grossly exaggerate their own estimates of competence. We are in the age of Dunning-Kruger, and you are exemplifying it.

        Put another way, would you respect the opinion of a student right out of high school who claimed the normal distribution doesn’t exist? That the t-test is superior to an ANOVA in all circumstances? People seem willing to believe their own experience is valid in all fields merely because they are competent in one. If a student came up to you and said “I don’t need to take your class, I spent 20 minutes on Google and I totally understand statistics”, would you give them a passing grade?

  51. “I made very few changes”

    Which means the effect you are imagining must be weak. What’s that we say about effect size and probability?

    “but I attempted to explain my reasoning only to be told I didn’t have the credentials to make such decisions. When I pointed out that I do possess the relevant credentials to identify certain types of problems, those credentials were dismissed as not the right credentials, my possession of them suspect or undeserving. Why? Just because I had the effrontery to disagree with some of the ACIP committee recommendations in 1999 and the early 2000′s.”

    Talk about selective memory but I guess it does make it easy to dismiss and ignore the things that people who disagree with you are saying. (sound familiar?)

    Your credentials if they are what you claim are only relevant *IF* they are being used. So far you have…

    i) Avoided the question of how you determined the size of the alleged bias (and it’s error).
    ii) Avoided the question of how you determined the effect size (and it’s error) of the actions you claimed normalized this.

    These are required if you are attempting to normalize something. As I’ve pointed out before, in population studies these are often difficult to determine even when dealing with exceptionally large N. Which is why frequently imputation is used instead of attempting to normalize. You don’t have the N to use imputation.

    “fact that it was standard operating procedure at that time to have COI’s on file and waivers granted for to the majority of members on that committee.”

    Except that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in and of itself. At least statistically – which I thought you might know. You can argue that routine wavier granting is the result of regulations which are too strict or just strict enough.

    Not to mention that the phrase “COI on file” doesn’t mean anything bad in and of itself. If I was a medical researcher I’m sure that my research would have been directly or indirectly funded by a pharmaceutical company at one time. The point of documenting these things is so that you can be held accountable.

    “I was wrong and no one is interested in dealing with the concerns”

    Allow me to explain. This is how a rational person sees your argument:

    “Well you shouldn’t accept the decisions of ACIP because none of them believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and as the FSM is the source of all truth they are are more likely to be wrong. As a result I ignored the ACIP in X and was shown correct.”

    Whether the FSM is in fact the source of all truth, is not a feasibly testable claim BUT following the FSM making one more likely to be correct is. Even if I’m open to the idea that believing in the FSM would improve my ability to make decisions about vaccines. It’s entirely reasonable not to accept your testimony on the subject out of hand.

    Your other mistake is probably assuming that this is not a two-way street. You are not willing to give up any of your assertions. Whatever the truth of the COI status of the AICP is – you don’t care. Whatever the actual statistical impact on decision making – you don’t care. Whatever the impact of your decision to selectively vaccinate – you don’t care.

    If you cared about these things you would be able to admit that you could easily be wrong or provide a strong argument for why you’re not. You can’t do either, your ideologies aren’t as we say…paying rent.

  52. tatum says:

    First: I advocate immunizations at their current schedules for patients. Always.

    I do appreciate Beth for sharing her reasons for delaying Hep B and forgoing Rotavirus. Although I do not agree with her reasons, it is helpful to understand how she came to her decision. We can use this information to prepare ourselves by having answers and reassurances to parents with similar concerns regarding the CDC panel, why hep b is given at birth, etc so that we can help prevent others from making similar decisions.

    She clearly stated that she is not “anti-vaccine” but rather a concerned mother. We should encourage patients to be smart and research the who, where, and what of their health care choices (away from woo and homeopathy etc). She did some research and found a few things she was concerned about …

    I would like to ask Beth: what information/counseling/support could your doctor have given you to help address your concerns at the time?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I also don’t agree with Beth’s reasons, and I am quite keen to point out why. I think I did so in a rational and evidence-based manner, but really I doubt she’ll read them in detail, and I really doubt she’ll take my criticisms to heart. Frankly, anybody who has put their child at risk for illogical reasons, then has this pointed out, is immediately slammed with cognitive dissonance and is unlikely to change their mind – which proved to be the case. And her reasons were not rational, not even a little, they were pure Dunning-Kruger. She’s smack dab in the middle of the graph, right where expectations grossly exceed abilities and awareness of this fact is at nadir; where expertise in one area leads to hubris in another. Having already rejected the best experts could offer, she is unlikely to be swayed.

      Incorrect answers and logical fallacies should be criticized.

    2. Beth says:

      Tatum,

      Thank you for your polite response. To answer your question, back in 1999 I don’t think the information existed that would have relieved my concerns.

      Today I would have no problem with the rotovirus vaccine as it’s been in use many years now. The problems identified early on have been corrected.

      On the other hand, if you want to convince me to accept some newly developed vaccine, I would want to know a lot of details about the extent of the testing, the prevalence of the disease, how method of transmission and how contagious it is, how likely my child is to contract it, the risk of serious harm from both the disease and the vaccination, etc. I would then want time to review and reflect on the information before making that decision. I would be very unlikely to agree on that visit, but perhaps the next one if I found the evidence convincing.

      For the Hep B vaccine, I would want to understand the risk and benefits used in the analysis that justify recommending the vaccine for my newborn but don’t justify recommending the vaccine for me. As near as I can tell, my newborn is at a lower risk of contracting the disease than I am and the probability of a serious reaction to the vaccine would be equal or higher for the infant. So you would need to explain why I am mistaken in that or give other reasons why the recommendation is for the babe to be vaccinated but not the parent. If that explanation isn’t about why it is better for my child to be vaccinated, I’m probably not going to be convinced. Justifying it on the basis of herd immunity or because my child may someday belong to a high risk group isn’t going to convince me that my newborn needs the vaccine.

    3. “We can use this information to prepare ourselves by having answers and reassurances to parents with similar concerns regarding the CDC panel, why hep b is given at birth, etc so that we can help prevent others from making similar decisions.”

      Not to be a jerk but the presumption here is that Beth is being rational.

      Can anyone point out even one place where Beth has shown that there is any significant doubt that she acted correctly? I’d say no. Yet one would have to be pretty ignorant to believe that they can judge something poorly defined (and poorly supported) like the alleged bias to some yet unnamed question to any useful level of accuracy. If you can’t judge something accurately how can you rationally have so incredibly little doubt?

      Now certainly we can prepare answers for questions irrational people ask and maybe that’s a good thing because you can’t necessarily tell the difference between a rational person asking a question and an irrational one.

      However if you think Beth has any hope of changing her mind. I’d take those odds.

  53. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    On the other hand, if you want to convince me to accept some newly developed vaccine, I would want to know a lot of details about the extent of the testing, the prevalence of the disease, how method of transmission and how contagious it is, how likely my child is to contract it, the risk of serious harm from both the disease and the vaccination, etc. I would then want time to review and reflect on the information before making that decision. I would be very unlikely to agree on that visit, but perhaps the next one if I found the evidence convincing.

    So…you would completely duplicate the work done by the CDC vaccine recommendation panel – except you lack the relevant expertise in epidemiology, immunology and pediatrics to inform your decision?

    What do you think the CDC panel looks at when they recommend a vaccine? Horoscopes?

    For the Hep B vaccine, I would want to understand the risk and benefits used in the analysis that justify recommending the vaccine for my newborn but don’t justify recommending the vaccine for me. As near as I can tell, my newborn is at a lower risk of contracting the disease than I am and the probability of a serious reaction to the vaccine would be equal or higher for the infant. So you would need to explain why I am mistaken in that or give other reasons why the recommendation is for the babe to be vaccinated but not the parent. If that explanation isn’t about why it is better for my child to be vaccinated, I’m probably not going to be convinced. Justifying it on the basis of herd immunity or because my child may someday belong to a high risk group isn’t going to convince me that my newborn needs the vaccine.

    How old are you? Liver cancer can take 30 years to develop after infection, so the thinking might be you’ll die of something else before you die of liver cancer.

    In addition, the CDC discusses the acute and chronic phases of hepatitis B infection. Turns out, even if it doesn’t cause liver cancer in kids, it can still be dangerous and lead to hospitalization as well as months of symptoms. And if they do catch it, it can lead to chronic hepatitis. Turns out that in 1993, they knew “The risk of chronic infection is highest for infants who acquire infection during the perinatal period (70 to 90%)” and “at least 30% of reported hepatitis B among adults cannot be associated with an identifiable risk factor.” So, why should infants be vaccinated for hepatitis B? Because they are more likely to develop the chronic form that kills them decades later due to liver cancer, and because they can’t tell where all adult infections come from (they could be from childhood infections).

    Oh, and because vaccination is an extremely low-risk form of prevention, and will essentially preclude your child from ever having to worry about this type of cancer.

    Jesus, these are basic facts about hep B infection that apparently were known even as far back as the early 1990s when your child was apparently born. How much research did you do? Just admit it, your decision not to vaccinate is not a rational one, and you’re currently engaged in a post-hoc rationalization for your choice. You were wrong.

    1. Beth says:

      So…you would completely duplicate the work done by the CDC vaccine recommendation panel – except you lack the relevant expertise in epidemiology, immunology and pediatrics to inform your decision?

      I would not be completely duplicating their work, but primarily reviewing it and perhaps redoing some computations to fit my own circumstances. I would need to adjust their recommendations based on my personal circumstances. Frankly, I rather resent doing so, but because I lack faith that their work will result in the right recommendations for my family, I would feel obligated to do so prior to accepting any new vaccines for my children. As I pointed out in my first post here, their goals and motivations are not necessarily the same as mine.

      In addition, the CDC discusses the acute and chronic phases of hepatitis B infection. Turns out, even if it doesn’t cause liver cancer in kids, it can still be dangerous and lead to hospitalization as well as months of symptoms. And if they do catch it, it can lead to chronic hepatitis. Turns out that in 1993, they knew “The risk of chronic infection is highest for infants who acquire infection during the perinatal period (70 to 90%)” and “at least 30% of reported hepatitis B among adults cannot be associated with an identifiable risk factor.” So, why should infants be vaccinated for hepatitis B? Because they are more likely to develop the chronic form that kills them decades later due to liver cancer, and because they can’t tell where all adult infections come from (they could be from childhood infections).

      While the risks you state there about chronic infection are accurate, it fails to include the risk of an infant actually acquiring the infection during the perinatal period, particular the very low risk when neither the mother nor anyone else in the household carries the infection. Taking into account the risk of actually acquiring the disease is an important part of the cost/benefit equation for vaccines.
      If I had been a mother who had Hep B or lived with anyone who had it, then I would have been requesting the vaccination for my child. But I didn’t have that infection, nor did anyone else in our household. Taking that aspect of my personal situation into account, I didn’t feel that vaccination was necessary for my newborn child.
      Unfortunately, the CDC (at least back in 1999) was not publishing or otherwise indicating that this important factor was being taken into account. Instead, in the information they published for the public, they only compared the risk of harm from the vaccine to the risk of harm from the disease itself. Now, this is somewhat understandable as the risk of acquiring the disease varies with location, family situation, and other factors, but it ended up being misleading about the relative risks when it wasn’t mentioned at all. Leaving out such important considerations in their published information led to a degradation of my trust in their publications and recommendations. It also contributed to the impression of bias.

      1. lilady says:

        “….Unfortunately, the CDC (at least back in 1999) was not publishing or otherwise indicating that this important factor was being taken into account. Instead, in the information they published for the public, they only compared the risk of harm from the vaccine to the risk of harm from the disease itself. Now, this is somewhat understandable as the risk of acquiring the disease varies with location, family situation, and other factors, but it ended up being misleading about the relative risks when it wasn’t mentioned at all. Leaving out such important considerations in their published information led to a degradation of my trust in their publications and recommendations. It also contributed to the impression of bias.”

        More bullsh!t Beth?

        Scroll on down to see just a few of the articles published during 1990-2000 inclusive, that you would have access to when your baby was born and when you used your google fu talents and your “expertise”, to decline hepatitis B vaccine for your baby:

        http://www.immunize.org/journalarticles/journal_hepbarchive.asp

        You’ve been busted, Beth.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I would need to adjust their recommendations based on my personal circumstances. Frankly, I rather resent doing so, but because I lack faith that their work will result in the right recommendations for my family, I would feel obligated to do so prior to accepting any new vaccines for my children. As I pointed out in my first post here, their goals and motivations are not necessarily the same as mine.

        1) What adjustments needed to be made? Did your child really have such a unique set of circumstances that over a century of knowledge of vaccination and six years of knowledge about a specific vaccine isn’t enough knowledge? What unique risks factors does your child have, what unique risks does the vaccine have, that makes you stand out from the undifferentiated crowd of parents and children? You seem to be grossly overestimating the “specialness” of your family, based on some very poor information fed to you by a lunatic constitutional lawyer.

        2) It strikes me that your goal, and the panel’s goals, are essentially identical – fewer dead babies. They merely look at it in population terms – the lessons of which apply to individual children.

        While the risks you state there about chronic infection are accurate, it fails to include the risk of an infant actually acquiring the infection during the perinatal period, particular the very low risk when neither the mother nor anyone else in the household carries the infection.

        And of course, your baby played with nobody until vaccinated? Ate no food that wasn’t completely sterile? What if your baby is in the waiting room where someone is shedding viral particles while sneezing? Do you understand what the terms “no identifiable risk factors” means? You seem to be greatly inflating your ability to control your child’s environment. How do you control for the 30% of cases where the risk factors are simply unknown?

        It’s a trick question – you can’t. And you seem to be unaware of this. Have you had your kids tested for hepatitis B? Because they might be infected already. They wouldn’t be if you had vaccinated. The more you talk, the more apparent it becomes that you don’t actually have the grasp of the topic you seem to think you do, but I guess that’s what happens when you think Phyllis “Conservapedia” Schaffly is a valid source for information on vaccines.

        they only compared the risk of harm from the vaccine to the risk of harm from the disease itself

        Again, how does this account for the 30% of cases where infection comes from an unknown source? And what risks are there to the vaccine? Sore arm? What are the risks of the disease again? Oh yeah – liver cancer.

  54. lilady says:

    @ WLU: Beth’s child was born in 1999, after the recombinant hepatitis B vaccines were being used to vaccinate infants, children and adults for 13 years, before her child’s birth.

    Beth never provided any links to her sources about vaccines (and the supposed Conflicts of Interest of the voting members of the ACIP), that she based her opinions on.

    Beth claimed she had forgotten that she had written to her Congressional representative, complaining about those supposed Conflicts of Interest, and claimed she had forgotten that she had started a letter-writing campaign, when she posted her letter on a parenting board:

    http://www.parentingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=340

    “Letter to congressman regarding CDC vaccination policies
    I recently have been doing some reading on the issue of how
    vaccination polices are developed. What I found really bothered me,
    so I decided to write my congressman expressing my desire for reform
    in the system. If any of you have similar feelings, I would urge you
    to do the same. I think it’s important that such policy-making
    committees be as free of bias as possible in order to make the best
    choices for society as a whole.

    If you’re interested, the report that I found so disturbing can be
    found at:

    http://www.mindspring.com/~schlafly/vac/staff.txt

    I know that many people don’t write their congressperson because they
    just don’t have the time to compose a letter, so I’m posting mine.
    Please feel free to copy it in whole or in part if you like.

    Thanks

    Beth Clarkson”

    Here again, Beth got all her information from Schlafly…who in turn got all her information from the infamous 2000 Dan Burton Congressional Hearing on Thimerosal, based on Burton’s observation that he witnessed his grandchild “change before his eyes, after a vaccine and based on Burton’s star witness Andrew Wakefield and Wakefield’s discredited research.

    So, my opinion still stands about Beth’s ability to do research on reliable websites, Beth’s inability to understand that research, and, Beth’s inability to understand the consequences of following her “instincts” in lieu of the opinion of respected scientists, physicians and epidemiologists.

    1. weing says:

      @lilady,
      Thanks. I have my answer. That’s where she found the informed experts that were acceptable to her when she tried to make her decision. Now I have new questions. Why were these anti-vax experts more acceptable to her than the CDC committee? If we knew the answer to this, we could tell why even intelligent people like her, end up making decisions that put their children at risk by declining or delaying vaccination.

      1. Beth says:

        Why were these anti-vax experts more acceptable to her than the CDC committee?

        You appear to define ‘acceptable’ as believing in without reservation or doubt. By that definition, neither group of experts were acceptable to me. Those who wrote the linked report were not MORE acceptable than the CDC committee. If they had been, if I had simply believed everything they wrote, I might have skipped all vaccinations for my child. I did not.

        However, I did not dismiss everything they said as automatically incorrect either. I read the report and considered what they had to say As I explained in my previous response to lilady when she brought this up, there were issues in that paper that deeply concerned me – specifically the use of conflict of interest waivers for the majority of members of the ACIP committee. I did verify that fact independently, and followed it up by writing my congressman to complain. As yet, no one has denied that such routine COI’s and the use of waivers to allow participation did not happen. Dismissal of the idea that those COI’s have any effect on the committee recommendations and denigration of my concern about it has been the response instead.

        Why didn’t I simply accept everything the CDC committee recommended? Let me spell it out for you T….R…..U….S….T. And it’s not just me. Let me point you to a recent study on the matter: http://jref.swmirror.com/20710.

        T….R…..U….S….T is a major factor in why many parents do not follow the recommended schedule today. Why do you suppose that might be? What do you think might help to correct the situation?

        1. “I read the report and considered what they had to say As I explained in my previous response to lilady when she brought this up, there were issues in that paper that deeply concerned me – specifically the use of conflict of interest waivers for the majority of members of the ACIP committee. ”

          I kind of lose Beth’s irrational train of thought every now and then but if we track back she says it was the bias that caused her to decline the rotovirus vaccine. All of the information she cites concerning bias appears to come from a document like this: http://www.whale.to/v/staff.html notice that this originates at that fount of knowledge whale.to!

          However the interesting part is that all the documents it was assembled from information disseminated post hoc to rotashield being pulled.

          How exactly did she use this document to “evaluate” (in the loosest possible sense of the term) bias? Then she took action by declining a vaccine that was already off the market?

          Now the obvious thing for Beth to do here is invent that she got some or all of this information from somewhere else prior to rotashield getting pulled but she sure talks as if she considered this particular document.

          “As yet, no one has denied that such routine COI’s and the use of waivers to allow participation did not happen.”

          Beth seems stuck on this and it’s unclear why. If the waivers weren’t there would that make a difference? Why are the waivers evidence of bias? One would think it could also work the other way. Waivers are a sign that there is no real bias. IIRC only three of the ten members of the panel had waivers.

          “Dismissal of the idea that those COI’s have any effect on the committee recommendations”

          More like dismissing someone who can’t argue their point. Why is dismissal of your theory bad and acceptance good? Why is the belief that the effect is smaller than skipping a vaccine can’t possibly be correct but the belief that it’s larger than skipping a vaccine must be correct?

          I suspect you avoid these questions (and the related ones about effect size) because you don’t know. So you just parrot the same thing *rawk* COI *rawk* bias….

          Colour me bored.

        2. “I had simply believed everything they wrote, I might have skipped all vaccinations for my child. I did not.”

          So the implication being that you used this document to inform the decision you made about rotoshield right?

          As far as I can tell that information was published after rotoshield was pulled. Since you are decidedly mute about statistics can you tell me how you manage to decline a vaccine on the basis of information which appears to be published after the vaccine was pulled?

        3. weing says:

          “You appear to define ‘acceptable’ as believing in without reservation or doubt.”

          No. That is a straw man. I am not changing a definition.

          “T….R…..U….S….T is a major factor in why many parents do not follow the recommended schedule today. Why do you suppose that might be?”

          That’s what I am trying to figure out. It appears that a lot of parents don’t trust the government or corporations. Is it because the wackos have sown the seeds of mistrust in their minds? What makes them more trustworthy? Could it also be epistemic arrogance?

  55. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    So…let me get this straight…panel of world-recognized researchers and scientists who specialize in vaccines and immunology, unacceptable and biased. Phyllis Schlafly, constitutional lawyer, staunch, right-wing Catholic dedicated to lying and notorious for distorting evidence and responsible for the lunatic, batshit insane Conservapedia – totally acceptable.

    Beth, when seeking advice on your car repairs, do you consult with your dentist?

  56. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    T….R…..U….S….T is a major factor in why many parents do not follow the recommended schedule today. Why do you suppose that might be? What do you think might help to correct the situation?

    Probably because, like you, they are convinced being a critical consumer means contradicting their doctor, and they can’t tell the difference between good evidence and bad or logical reasoning and fallacies. The fallacy of the golden mean is still a fallacy, and you’re still playing the “false balance” game. You’re pretending that there are two reasonable sides to the vaccine debate, and you’re between them. There may be two sides to the scientific debate, but they’re far, far far closer to each other than to your position.

    Just admit it – your assertion that you made a valid, evidence-based was wrong. You jumped on a bandwagon and didn’t really understand the reasoning behind the CDC recommendations. You used a heuristic to justify your decision, and you were wrong. You should have gotten your kid the hep B vaccine. Just admit it.

  57. Granger says:

    Thank you for the great read, and information. With so many parents opting out how do we keep up herd immunity? How do we convince people that mandatory vaccination schedules are the way to go?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      That’s a mighty good question. The only thing I can think of is the resurgence of vaccine-preventable disease(s) that kills either a lot of kids, or a famous one. Neither is palatable to me, but I’m at a loss for alternatives.

  58. Clarissa says:

    I am researching about vaccinations in deciding whether to vaccinate my child and came across this article. I havn’t decided anything but have to say that what this article lacks is any kind of scientific evidence that would stand up anywhere. And the people writing comments seem to be filled with hatred and nastiness which I find quite shocking. Wanting more info i clicked the link to find a website under construction. Its easy for people to tell stories but these people can be anything and its not scientific proof, rather scare mongering that you accuse others of. You accuse non vaccinating parents of being influenced by religious superstition but the writings here have that unquestioning and unexplained demand for obediance demanded by religion. Anti vaccination articles i’ve read have been much better researched. If there is scientific evidence where is it because I have seen none here and I’m trying to find it.

    1. windriven says:

      Clarissa,
      Go to Pubmed and research vaccine effectiveness and vaccine side effects. Spend the time to read the studies carefully. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if you do this you will vaccinate your children.

      The world is free from smallpox – a disease that killed millions – because of vaccination. The world is nearly free from polio – another disease that killed millions and crippled millions more – because of vaccination. And today in most of the modern world we only find measles and mumps and rubella and tetanus in clusters where some group has decided that vaccines are unnecessary or immoral or dangerous. When you vaccinate your children you not only protect them, you protect your neighbors’ children as well.

      The world is a vastly better, vastly healthier place because of routine vaccination.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Clarissa, the truth of the matter is that there tremendous evidence for the safety and efficacy of vaccines. There’s almost no evidence of significant harms. Vaccines don’t cause autism, they don’t appear to cause auto-immune diseases, or any other significant or subtle, unappreciated dangers. You are treating the two sides of the issue as if they are equal, and they are not. On one side is nearly every doctor on the planet, every health organization, every government organization, the World Health Organization, the extinction of smallpox and the nigh-elimination of most vaccine preventable diseases. On the other side are…very little. A Playboy Playmate, a pediatrician of questionable expertise, a discredited researcher whose primary motivation appeared to be naked greed, and not much else.

      If you are looking for a popular discussion of vaccination, I would recommend Vaccine by Arthur Allen, but Paul Offit’s 2003 book Vaccines, his other book Vaccinated (covering the history of the development of many vaccines), or really anything by Dr. Offit, would provide a scientific perspective.

      The evidence for vaccination, aside from the fact that you’ve probably never met anyone with polio, or mumps, or rubella, or tetanus, and have definitely never met anyone with smallpox, is rather broad. The original studies of vaccines were done generally decades ago; what is now being investigated are the spin-out, harm-reduction and possible improvements (such as how to reduce the number of antigens while maintaining effectiveness). If you want some specific review articles, here is one for polio, here is another. Here is a review of the cost effectiveness of the rubella vaccine, here is a summary of the research. Here is a review article regarding the effectiveness of a hexavalent (six-disease) vaccine that appears to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B and Hib-B with two doses and reduced adverse effects. You can also search the CDC vaccines page, or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s vaccine education center, written by Dr. Offit.

      Where did you click that gave you an “under construction” message? If you can provide the page, perhaps the admins can correct the error.

      You are mistaking trust in the scientifc process for unquestioning obedience. The nigh-universality of the scientific community regarding the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, particularly compared to the diseases they prevent, is based on a rigorous, voluminous collection of peer-reviewed studies, of basic biomedical bench research, immunology and ultimately clinical trials – and the real-world effects of virtually eliminating the experience of vaccine preventable diseases for most people. The reviews undertaken to produce the vaccine schedule recommendations are comprehensive, incorporating things like meta-analyses and systematic reviews. While the antivaccination articles may include references, they tend to be deceptive – representing cherry-picked single studies, often of low methodological rigor, that is at odds with the dozens and hundreds of studies, and millions of individual doses recorded as part of postmarketing surveillance, that show both safety and efficacy. You might also want to read the skeptical reviews of the claims made, and often of the specific studies cited, as many antivaccinationists tend to promote and repeat the same tropes and flawed research, oblivious to or deliberately excluding any criticisms or counter-arguments made by experts and amateurs.

      If you are really interested, you can search pubmed yourself directly, though with 227,000 results, 32,000 results when the “review article” option is checked, it might take you a while. In addition, you would need a fairly detailed understanding of the immune system to understand most of them (particularly the bench research). The enormous volume and complexity of the literature is why most of us defer to the relevant experts for broad overviews.

      I hope these documents, links and discussion is helpful and informative. If you have more specific points you are curious about or find unaddressed, please ask and hopefully we can help further.

    3. Chris says:

      Clarissa: “I havn’t decided anything but have to say that what this article lacks is any kind of scientific evidence that would stand up anywhere.”

      Because this article was not a discussion of the science behind vaccines. A hint to its intents would be in the title; ” “Danger Zones of Parental Vaccine Refusal”

      It is about the reasons, and legislation pertaining to parents not vaccinating their children. As you read the article you would have noticed some words/phrases were in a different color font, those are URL links. The second link was to http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/vaccines/ . You might try looking at that.

      You continue: “And the people writing comments seem to be filled with hatred and nastiness which I find quite shocking.”

      If you find the level of “hatred and nastiness” on the above set of comments shocking, I suggest that you stay away from the Internet. It is mild compared to what I have encountered, and that includes someone telling me that my kid with the genetic heart condition should die from a vaccine preventable disease because it is part of “natural selection.”

      And some more: “Anti vaccination articles i’ve read have been much better researched. If there is scientific evidence where is it because I have seen none here and I’m trying to find it.”

      Please tell us about those articles. We would be curious to see them, though I suspect that there are articles about many of them in the link I posted above. And also tell me how my post on safety studies done over the past ten years is lacking in science. It is only one of several of my comments with links to papers.

      Also, was I too mean to Tim? Is it hateful and nasty to ask questions? Was he being nice to us to demand answers on one cherry picked influenza year, which was before the vaccine was regularly recommended for children?

    4. Chris says:

      Clarissa: “I am researching about vaccinations in deciding whether to vaccinate my child and came across this article. I havn’t decided anything but have to say that what this article lacks is any kind of scientific evidence that would stand up anywhere.”

      Go up and read the title of this article. It is not about science, it is about parental refusal. There is a link in the seventh paragraph to the posts on vaccines here, go have a look at them:
      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/vaccines/

      Clarissa continues: “And the people writing comments seem to be filled with hatred and nastiness which I find quite shocking.”

      I’m sorry, but you may find what I am about to say “hateful and nasty”: if you think the above replies are shocking, then please do not read blogs or forums on the internet. Or learn to deal with them. Personally I do not find any as shocking as the folks who have told me that my kid with the genetic heart disorder should die from a vaccine preventable disease because it was part of “natural selection.”

      And more: “Anti vaccination articles i’ve read have been much better researched. If there is scientific evidence where is it because I have seen none here and I’m trying to find it.”

      Well, again, this article was on more about legal and social issues, not science. Do go to the link I posted above. Also, please list some of those very scientific anti vaccination articles, it would be interesting to look at them. Some may have already been discussed here, so use the search box on this page to see if the author or website has been mentioned.

      Please go up and look at my comments. Were the papers I listed have too little science at these time stamps:
      September 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm
      September 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm
      September 3, 2013 at 10:59 am
      September 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Please tell my how I can improve my use of science, and become better at responding to people like Tim and Candy.

      (second time, I know all of my comments go into moderation, but the first time there was nothing posted and I usually at least get a “waiting for moderation”)

        1. Chris says:

          Thanks. Possibly for the same reason that my comments automatically go into moderation, any comment I make with more than two links goes into a void where it is never ever found again. Le sigh.

          The folks here have tried to fix it, but so far I am an unchosen one.

    5. Sawyer says:

      Clarissa,

      While some of us here are guilty of the occasional nastiness, most are quite patient when dealing with a concerned parent. If you let us know what articles you are reading that show that vaccines are dangerous, we will happily step through them with you to sort out right from wrong.

      Seth Mnookin has an excellent book called “The Panic Virus” is you’re not a fan of this crowd.

  59. Dave says:

    Clarissa, I live near a town with a cemetary full of gravestones of children who died in a several month period in the early 1900′s from a diphtheria epidemic. Some gravestones have more than one child at the base (one has four). I’ve practiced medicine for over 30 years and have never seen a case of diphtheria. You can read about this town by googling “Elkhorn cemetary” or “Elkhorn and diphtheria”.

    When I was growing up there were hospital wards of patients in iron lungs due to polio. Parents were terrified if their children became ill that it might be polio and they might wind up paraplegic. We no longer see this.

    I have seen only one case of tetanus – in an unvaccinated patient. She was on a ventilator for over a month.

    With the rising problem of antibiotic resistance we actually need more vaccines, not fewer.

    1. nancy brownlee says:

      Anecdote warning

      I am 66 years old. When I was 8, my 5-year-old cousin died of polio. He came home from outside play a little feverish- and 12 hours later he was dead. My 2 best friends in high school were both permanently damaged by “mild” cases of polio in early childhood – both a had a slightly withered leg; both wore a brace for a decade, and neither could run. All of my childhood church services were attended by a young woman in a portable iron lung, feverishly praying to be cured and made well again. I never learned to swim- my parents wouldn’t allow us to use the public pools, for fear of polio.

      I have significant hearing loss in one ear from rubella. In spite of being given whatever vaccines were available then, I has chicken pox, measles, mumps, whooping cough, rubella, repeated strep throat, and fifth disease. You really, really don’t want your kids to have these diseases- I cannot tell you how horrible whooping cough is- and I had a very mild case, along with my entire neighborhood full of first wave boomers.

  60. nwo says:

    Yes, keep pumping your kids full of vaccines! You little aspbergers zombies are so easily led!

    1. Chris says:

      Citation needed.

    2. Chris says:

      Citation needed.

      Please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that any vaccine on the present American pediatric vaccine schedule is more dangerous than the intended disease.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Even assuming vaccines caused autism or Aspberger, which they don’t, I would much rather have a vaccinated living child with Aspberger Syndrome than one dead of a vaccine-preventable disease.

      And if you don’t fear the diseases, you should.

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