Articles

What does “anti-vaccine” really mean?

We write a lot about vaccines here at Science-Based Medicine. Indeed, as I write this, I note that there are 155 posts under the Vaccines category, with this post to make it 156. This is third only to Science and Medicine (which is such a vague, generic category that I’ve been seriously tempted to get rid of it, anyway) and Science and the Media. There is no doubt that vaccines represent one of the most common topics that we cover here on SBM, and with good reason. That good reason is that, compared to virtually any other modality used in the world of SBM, vaccines are under the most persistent attack from a vocal group of people, who, either because they mistakenly believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism, because they don’t like being told what to do by The Man, because they think that “natural” is always better to the point of thinking that it’s better to get a vaccine-preventable disease in order to achieve immunity than to vaccinate against it, or because a combination of some or all of the above plus other reasons, are anti-vaccine.

“Anti-vaccine.” We regularly throw that word around here at SBM — and, most of the time, with good reason. Many skeptics and defenders of SBM also throw that word around, again with good reason most of the time. There really is a shocking amount of anti-vaccine sentiment out there. But what does “anti-vaccine” really mean? What is “anti-vaccine”? Who is “anti-vaccine”?

Given that this is my first post for SBM’s self-declared Vaccine Awareness Week, proposed to counter Barbara Loe Fisher’s National Vaccine Information Center’s and Joe Mercola’s proposal that November 1-6 be designated “Vaccine Awareness Week” for the purpose of posting all sorts of pseudoscience and misinformation about “vaccine injury” and how dangerous vaccines supposedly are, we decided to try to coopt the concept for the purpose of countering the pseudoscience promoted by the anti-vaccine movement. To kick things off, I thought it would be a good idea to pontificate a bit on the topic of how to identify an anti-vaxer. What makes an anti-vaxer different from people who are simply skeptical of vaccines or skeptical of specific vaccines (for instance, the HPV vaccine)? I don’t pretend to have the complete answer, which is why I hope we’ll have a vigorous discussion in the comments.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a relative newcomer to the task of taking on the anti-vaccine movement. Ten years ago, I was blissfully unaware that such a movement even existed; indeed, I doubt the concept would even have entered my brain that anyone would seriously question the safety and efficacy of vaccines, which are one of the safest and most efficacious preventative medical interventions humans have ever devised, arguably having saved more lives than any other medical intervention ever conceived. Even six years ago, although I had become aware of the existence of the anti-vaccine movement, I considered them a small bunch of cranks so far into the woo that they weren’t really worth bothering with. Yes, I was a shruggie.

All of that changed not long after I started my first blog in December 2004. Approximately six months later, to be precise. That was when someone as famous as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. published an infamous screed simultaneously in Rolling Stone and Salon.com entitled Deadly Immunity that was so full of misinformation, pseudoscience, and conspiracy mongering that it altered the course of my blogging forever. Although I had already been becoming less and less of a “shruggie” about the anti-vaccine movement before RFK’s propaganda piece, “Deadly Immunity” resulted in a significant percentage of my blogging turning to discussions of the anti-vaccine movement and the scientifically-discredited myth that vaccines cause autism.

Anti-vaccine, not pro-safe vaccine

Before I try to define “anti-vaccine” in more detail, I should take a moment to point out that, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in nearly six years blogging about vaccines and the pseudoscience used to attack them, it’s that no one — well, almost no one — considers himself “anti-vaccine.” This is very easily verifiable in the outraged reaction elicited from people like J.B. Handley (who simultaneously gloats about the decline in confidence in vaccines among parents), Jenny McCarthy, and Dr. Jay Gordon when they are described as “anti-vaccine. Jenny McCarthy, for instance, will reliably retort, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine.’ I’m pro-safe vaccine.” An alternative response is, “What I really am is ‘anti-toxins’ in the vaccines.” Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon will say the same thing while simultaneously saying that he doesn’t give a lot of vaccines and foolishly admitting in the comments of a blog post that some parents have actually had to persuade him to vaccinate “reluctantly.”

The rule that those holding anti-vaccine views will rarely admit that they are anti-vaccine is a good one, although there are exceptions. It is not uncommon to find in the comments of anti-vaccine propaganda blogs like Age of Autism and anti-vaccine mailing lists comments proclaiming explicit anti-vaccine views loud and proud, with declarations that “I am anti-vaccine.” This dichotomy has at times caused problems for the more P.R.-savvy members of the anti-vaccine movement, as demonstrated two years ago at Jenny McCarthy’s “Green Our Vaccines” rally, where images of vaccines as toxic waste and weapons of mass destruction were commonplace. Even so, the “Green Our Vaccines” slogan and coopting the “vaccine safety” mantle have been very effective for the anti-vaccine movement. In particular, Barbara Loe Fisher has successfully portrayed her National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) as being a “vaccine safety watchdog” group looking out for parents’ rights, this despite hosting an online memorial for vaccine victims and a deceptive and disingenuous vaccine ingredient calculator.

“I know it when I see it”

In a concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, regarding possible obscenity in a movie, Justice Potter Stewart once famously wrote:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

From my perspective, defining what is “anti-vaccine” is a lot like defining obscenity: I know it when I see it. However, as in the case of pornography, even though it’s quite true that what is anti-vaccine is in general easily identifiable to those of us who pay attention to such matters, it’s much more difficult to define in a way that those who don’t pay attention to the issue can recognize. This difficulty is complicated by the fact that there are a number of different flavors of anti-vaccine views ranging from (I kid you not) the view that vaccines are a tool of Satan to depopulate the earth to much milder views. It’s also important to realize that most parents who buy into anti-vaccine views do so out of ignorance, because they have been misled, rather than due to stupidity. When I “go medieval” on anti-vaccine activists, my ire is almost always reserved for the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement, who spread misinformation.

When I’m actually in an exchange with someone whom I suspect of having anti-vaccine views, one rather reliable way of differentiating fear from real anti-vaccine views is to ask a simple question: Which vaccines do you think that, barring medical contraindications, children should receive? If the answer is “none,” then I’m pretty much done. I know I’m almost certainly dealing with an anti-vaccinationist. Be aware that this question may require some pushing to get an answer. Rarely am I able to get a definitive answer on the first try, because most anti-vaccine advocates are cleverer than that. They realize that I’m trying to get them to admit that they are anti-vaccine. Even so, if I ask something like, “If you had it to do all over again, would you vaccinate your child?” or “If you have another child, will you vaccinate that child?” I will usually get the candid response I’m looking for.

“Vaccines don’t work”? “Vaccines are dangerous”? They’re both!

If you look at the types of arguments used to oppose vaccination, they will almost always boil down to two different flavors, either that vaccines don’t work or that vaccines are somehow dangerous. Of course, we discuss the latter argument here all the time when we point out studies that refute the alleged link between vaccines and autism. Like the slogan “Tastes great, less filling,” both of these claims often co-exist to differing degrees, with some anti-vaccinationists arguing that both are true: Vaccines don’t work and they are dangerous.

This being the real world, one has to remember that vaccines are not perfect. They are not 100% effective, and there can be rare serious side effects. What differentiates anti-vaccine cranks from, for example, scientists who deal with issues of efficacy versus side effects and potential complications all the time, is exaggeration far beyond what the scientific data will support. For example, if the influenza vaccine is less efficacious than perhaps we would like (which is true), then it must be useless. This is, in essence, the Nirvana fallacy, wherein if something is not perfect it is claimed to be utterly worthless. Part and parcel of this approach involves the complement, namely vastly exaggerating the potential side effects and complications due to vaccines to paint them as being far more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. In addition, anti-vaccine activists frequently attribute harms to vaccines that the existing scientific data definitely don’t support as being reasonable or legitimate. The claim that vaccines cause autism is the most famous, but far from the only one of these sorts of claims. It’s not uncommon to hear fallacious claims that vaccines cause autoimmune diseases, asthma, and a general “weakening” of the immune system, among others.

One of the most famous examples of exaggerated harm or nonexistent risks is the infamous “toxin” gambit. This fallacious argument claims that there are all sorts of scary chemicals in vaccines. Of course, there are all sorts of chemicals with scary names in vaccines, just as there are all sorts of chemicals with scary names in almost everything, from food to clothing to household cleaners, among others. The dose makes the poison, and the amounts of these chemicals, such as formaldehyde, are tiny. As we’ve pointed out time and time again, for instance, the amount of formaldehyde in vaccines is so tiny that it’s overwhelmed by the amount of formaldehyde made as a byproduct of normal metabolism. Then, of course, there are the chemicals claimed to be in vaccines that are, in fact, not in vaccines. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the infamous “antifreeze in vaccines” gambit. Finally, there is the claim that there are “aborted fetal parts” in vaccines. This particular claim comes from the fact that, for some vaccines, the viruses used to make the vaccines are grown in a human cell line derived from an aborted fetus.

Overall, the “tastes great, less filling”-type anti-vaccine claims that vaccines are dangerous and don’t work, can be differentiated from scientifically valid concerns about the efficacy and safety of vaccines on the basis of how evidence is treated and the types of arguments that are used. Scientists, of course, tend to be a lot more measured and express the level of uncertainty in their claims; anti-vaccine activists are under no such constraints. When, for example, scientists debated how to respond to the H1N1 pandemic last year, there was considerable uncertainty about how to do it, when to do it, and how to formulate the vaccines. Which adjuvants? Should we use squalene in order to decrease the amount of antigen used? Contrast this to the anti-vaccine arguments, which tended to argue that H1N1 wasn’t harmful, that the vaccine was toxic and wouldn’t work, and even that it was a New World Order plot.

Approaching the evidence

If there’s one thing that distinguishes science from the way movements like the anti-vaccine movement approach evidence, it’s that the anti-vaccine movement values anecdotes over careful science. If you check out Generation Rescue’s website or any of a number of anti-vaccine websites, you will find numerous stories using the classic post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy that in essence argues that, because one thing happened before another, that thing must have caused it. Because Generation Rescue preaches that its various forms of biomedical woo can “recover” autistic children, not surprisingly, there are a number of testimonials on its website touting stories of children who regressed after vaccination and then appeared to recover after whatever woo du jour was tried on them. On the surface, these testimonials seem convincing. However, given that millions of children who undergo vaccination each year, the number of vaccinations in the currently recommended schedule, and the fact that approximately 1% of children will eventually be diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, it is not surprising, given the law of large numbers, that there will be a significant number of children who regress in fairly close temporal proximity to a vaccination by random chance alone. Even though such cases are random, though, to a single observer, they appear all the world as though the vaccine caused the regression. What’s difficult for non-scientists (and even many scientists) to accept is that it’s impossible to tell if vaccines are actually correlated with regression unless careful studies are done comparing large populations to determine whether children who are vaccinated really do have a higher chance of autism. Those studies have been done, and the answer is a resounding no. To the anti-vaccine movement, anecdotes trump evidence. Indeed, even physicians, like Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan’s pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, fall for touting their own anecdotal experience over careful epidemiology and science.

Perhaps one of the most characteristic aspects of the anti-vaccine movement is the same one that is shared by virtually every denialist movement, be it denying the science of climate change, evolution, or scientific medicine. That is the use of logical fallacies, cherry picking of the evidence, and distortion of the science. Perhaps the best example of cherry picking and distortion of evidence engaged in by anti-vaccine activists is a set of graphs I discovered earlier this year by a man named Raymond Obomsawin, in which he tried to represent as “proof vaccines didn’t save us.” As I pointed out in my response, this was intellectual dishonesty at its most naked. Basically, Obomsawin deceptively conflated mortality and incidence. Worse, he also chose his graphs in a way that parts of the data were left out. Indeed, less than a month ago, the Australian anti-vaccine activist Meryl Dorey approvingly cited Obomsawin’s graphs. When it was pointed out how Obomsawin had cherry picked his graphs to deceptive purpose, his response was beyond pathetic:

The software that I was using to create the graph did not allow for the creation of either a blank space or a dotted line between 1959 and 1968. There was no intent to be dishonest about this, and thanks to your blog, I will make it a point to specifically note on the graph that there is an absence of incidence data in this period.

I note that, not only have the graphs not been changed as far as I can tell, but Dr. Obomsawin is going to be giving a webinar tomorrow in which he is apparently going to argue the same nonsense. I’m half tempted to sign up and see what he says. It’d make for more blogging material, and an update to the Obomsawin Technique of vaccine denialism (yes, I named it after him) is probably overdue anyway. After all, I never took on several other of the graphs he included in his collection. My guess is that Obomsawin won’t change his graph. Obomsawin’s disingenuous approach to the evidence is mirrored by naturopath David Mihalovic, who wrote the infamous 9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims. Dr. Crislip answered each and ever one of these “nine questions” without difficulty. The result was that Medical Voices (which published Mihalovic’s post) challenged us to a “public debate.” We said we’d be happy to debate them in blog posts but that a “public debate” would be counterproductive and allow them to engage in the Gish Gallup. The result? Like Brave Sir Robin, Medical Voices bravely turned its tail and fled. “9 Questions” remains on the impressively named International Medical Council on Vaccination’s website, formerly known as Medical Voices.

Another example of how anti-vaccine activists approach the evidence landed with a huge thud in the blogosphere last year when the Jenny McCarthy-fronted anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue decided to try to discredit the studies that show no link between vaccines and autism. As Steve Novella, Mark Crislip, and I all showed, Generation Rescue’s arguments were fallacious at best and deceptive at worst. The result was that J.B. Handley launched a broadside at Steve Novella.

Which brings us to another characteristic of the anti-vaccine movement.

Conspiracy mongering and reaction to criticism

Science is, if you’ll forgive the term, a highly Darwinian process. To be a scientist, you have to have a thick skin, because you’ll need it. Reviewers, mentors, other scientists, and virtually anyone to whom you present your results will be picking away at them, looking for flaws, looking for reasons to invalidate your conclusions. There’s nothing personal in it (usually); it’s how the process of science works. Similarly, those who have an appreciation for science understand that it’s a rough-and-tumble world where scientists have to be able to defend their work. Yes, it’s messy as hell, but it works. It may take a lot longer than we’d like and be a lot more confusing than the public likes, but over time hypotheses that don’t hold up are weeded out, to be replaced by those that do. Scientists understand this, and most know not to become too distressed by criticism. True, scientists are human too and can’t always separate themselves from their science; sometimes they lash out at criticism. However, for the most part, they don’t react the same way as denialists do when criticized. More importantly, contrary to scientists, it’s very rare indeed for an anti-vaccinationist to change his mind due to the evidence.

The anti-vaccine movement shares another characteristic with denialists of all stripes, and that’s an intolerance to criticism. Instead of answering it with science (which they can’t do), they tend to answer criticism with vitriol and conspiracy mongering. After all, when it’s all a conspiracy between the government and big pharma to “suppress” the data that allegedly show that vaccines cause autism, then anyone who speaks out for that viewpoint must be a pharma shill. If that critic is a woman, then she must have been the victim of a date-rape drug. Or he must be hopelessly compromised by relationships between big pharma and his university, even if such relationships need to be made up or extrapolated beyond all relationship to reality.

Perhaps the best way of describing how anti-vaccine groups react to criticism is to point out that their first response tends to be to try to suppress criticism rather than to answer it. Usually, this is accomplished through ad hominem attacks and poisoning of Google reputations. One particularly egregious example occurred when Age of Autism Photoshopped the faces of Steve Novella, Trine Tsouderos, Alison Singer, Paul Offit, Amy Wallace, and Tom Insel into a photo of people sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast of dead baby. Yes, likening enemies to cannibals wasn’t going too far. Sometimes attacks on critics can escalate to legal thuggery, which happened when the British Chiropractic Association sued Simon Singh and Barbara Loe Fisher sued Paul Offit. That such lawsuits nearly always fail, at least in the U.S., where the libel laws aren’t as draconian as in the U.K., doesn’t matter. The goal is not to recover damages; it’s to intimidate critics into silence. Unfortunately, even I’m not immune to being at the receiving end of this tactic.

Conclusion

Distinguishing true anti-vaccine rhetoric from cluelessness is not always easy. To help, I’ll recap the eight characteristics I’ve just discussed:

  1. Claiming to be “pro-safe vaccine” while being unrelentingly critical about vaccines
  2. The “vaccines don’t work” gambit
  3. The “vaccines are dangerous” gambit
  4. Preferring anecdotes over science and epidemiology
  5. Cherry picking and misrepresenting the evidence
  6. The copious use of logical fallacies in arguing
  7. Conspiracy mongering
  8. Trying to silence criticism, rather than responding to it

Someone who is anti-vaccine will almost certainly use at least three or four of these techniques. The cranks at Age of Autism use all eight and then some. Indeed, when these eight techniques fail to suffice, they make up more.

One other thing that’s important to mention, particularly since I’ve been guilty of this sin on occasion, is that we have to be careful about leaping to the conclusion that someone is anti-vaccine. That’s where the “I know it when I see it” test can backfire. For example, I was quite distressed at some of the statements coming from Dr. Marya Zilberberg on vaccines, in particular her referring to defenders of the current vaccine schedule as “rabid” and arguments that are reminiscent of the same sorts of arguments that the anti-vaccine movement uses for the HPV vaccine and the chickenpox vaccine, mixed with a question about combinations of vaccines being of concern that sounded uncomfortably like the “Too Many Too Soon” slogan beloved of Generation Rescue. Although I did not explicitly call her “anti-vaccine” in another forum and even went out of my way (as did Steve) to point out that I don’t think she’s anti-vaccine, I did try to point out to Dr. Zilberberg that, if you’re skeptical of some aspect of our current vaccination schedule, it’s important to be aware of how anti-vaccine cranks argue, so that you don’t inadvertently sound like one.

In the end, the anti-vaccine movement is another denialist movement, very similar to denialists of global climate change, science-based medicine, and evolution. As such, it uses many of the same fallacious strategies and distortions of science to promote its agenda and reacts the same way to criticism. Similarly, in the end, the anti-vaccine movement is also far more about ideology rather than science, which is why it remains so stubbornly resistant to reason and science. Finding an effective means to counter its message will likely require developing effective general strategies to counter science denialist movements of all types.

Let the discussion begin! What are the characteristics of anti-vaccine arguments and organizations that allow us to identify and characterize them as “anti-vaccine”?

Posted in: Politics and Regulation, Public Health, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (126) ↓

126 thoughts on “What does “anti-vaccine” really mean?

  1. Shelley says:

    Just to be clear at the outset: I’m not anti-vaccine. I am highly pro-vaccine. However, I do find that finding data on disease and vaccines frustratingly difficult. For example, what is the probability of contracting chickenpox, measles (etc), if not vaccinated? What is the actual probability of complications from the diseases?

    I was recently engaged in an argument with an antivaccer about vaccines, and he pointed out that in order to calculate the probability of an adverse event from the chicken pox, one must multiply the p of getting the disease by the p of complications. Then that (likely small) number can be compared to the p of complications from the vaccine.

    Yes, I realize that the individual is taking advantage of herd immunity in this calculation, but his reasoning seems surprisingly sound. Probability is multiplicative. Both are likely to be very low numbers. Any thoughts on this tactic?

  2. daedalus2u says:

    Shelly, that is correct, but you have to integrate over the person’s entire lifetime. In the case of measles and chickenpox, those are both extremely contageous. If you are exposed to someone with measles and/or chickenpox and are susceptible, is is extremely likely that you will get them both.

    It is my understanding that the severity of adverse effects of both of these diseases increases with the age of the infected person. Getting measles at age 4 is one thing, getting it at age 30 is quite another.

    There isn’t a great deal of epidemiological data on things like this. The “true” probability of catching these diseases depends on many factors that are not predictable in advance. There is no “correct” probability that can be plugged into a formula to calculate the probability of an adverse event.

    In the absence of enough information to calculate things exactly, what is the default? If it isn’t perfect assume it is of zero value?

  3. Wolfy says:

    I wonder how long we have to wait until we get a posting from Th1Th2. . .

  4. bluedevilRA says:

    I’ll be wearing my “Be Wise. Immunize.” shirt tomorrow in honor of Mercola’s Vaccine Awareness Week. I will likely be getting my flu shot tomorrow too, so I will be sure to ask, following Orac’s example, for extra thimerosal!

  5. Deetee says:

    I am provaccine, but not necessarily “pro” all vaccines. Similarly, there are those who are “anti” some vaccines, but not “anti-vaccine”. There will be a continuum of opinion across the spectrum.

    I support the use of some vaccines more than others. The potentially lethal childhood infections are clearly a suitable target, and most rational people will have little problem accepting the small risk from vaccination in order to prevent these diseases afflicting their children. There are other diseases where current vaccines are poor or nonexistent (TB, HepC, cholera, malaria and other parasitic diseases) and any effective vaccine for these is to be welcomed.

    But there is a problem. Some of the diseases for which vaccines are currently in development are very unlikely to cause significant debility or death, and this is where we need to examine carefully the risk-benefit scenarios associated with the use of a preventative vaccine. As with all vaccines, there will be unanticipated reactions or problems that may not show up on preliminary safety studies, or which are too rare to show unless there is extensive post marketing surveillance (such as GBS after some vaccines). What if someone were to produce and promote a vaccine for parvovirus B19, which causes “slapped cheek syndrome”, or HHV-6 virus, which causes exanthema subitum? Would these be regarded as essential components of the schedule? Would we be keen to have our children receive them?

    I come from the UK and our schedule differs from that in the US. We don’t yet have rotavaccine, but I hope it will come. We don’t use varicella routinely, and I sit on the fence a little with that, on balance probably favouring it’s use. Do I support the use of Hep B vaccine in neonates? No. As long as there is good maternal screening so anyone who is at risk of mother to child HBV transmission is able to be prevented, I see no reason for universal vaccination of neonates. I am aware the argument for its use in the US is rather different, but at present I consider the risk-benefit equation to fall slightly on the “risk” side. There is little need, so I am happy for my kids to get HBV vax later in life.

  6. skepdude says:

    Happy Vaccine Awareness Week everyone. Just a quick note that The Vaccine Times is out, in honor of said occasion.

    http://vaccinecentral.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/vaccine-times-july-sept-2010-issue-redesigned/

    Help Orac, SBM, The Vaccine Times, and all others to counter the deluge of misinformation that the anti-vaxxers are planning for this week. Spread The Word . Tweet and link to these entries as much as you possibly can. Any little thing helps.

    Cheers. BTW, did you catch me opening for Dr. Gorski, on Skeptically Speaking #82?

  7. Deetee says:

    Orac,
    You mention the true test of an antivaxer being their response to the question “what vaccines would you give your child?”
    This is very true and is likely to be the most potent discriminatory test between those who are irrationally set against all vaccines, and those who may just feel a bit uncertain, and wish for example to spread out the vax schedule, or to get single vaxes rather than MMR. This latter group of parents is the one that we must wean away from the rabid views of AoA and the like, and provide good information to give them the necesary confidence in the benefits of vaccination. They usually don’t take kindly to being labelled as antivaxers, and find it insulting.

  8. Ian says:

    @1 didn’t everyone get chickenpox? I felt like a freak for not having gotten it when I was a teenager, and by then the vaccine was finally available in the US.

    Talking about the probabilities of getting chicken pox in a world where everyone under ~18 or so was vaccinated seems kind of silly.

  9. Th1Th2 says:

    David Gorski,

    “because they think that “natural” is always better to the point of thinking that it’s better to get a vaccine-preventable disease in order to achieve immunity than to vaccinate against it”

    Uninformed parents who allow their kids to get infected with varicella (pox party), measles etc. and vaccine apologists are a bunch of clueless people riding on the same boat in the middle of the vast ocean. They intentionally create holes on the boat. They promote alternatives to infection and that’s what they do best. One would visit a sick contagious child (natural) and the the other would go to the doctor and get shot (artificial). I just hope they enjoy their ride.

    ‘Vaccinate against’ is intentionally misleading and a deceitful tactic. It really means inoculate with the disease hence promoting infection. Therefore, ‘vaccine-preventable disease’ is another blank idea, a total nonsense created by Modern Medicine for the sheeple.

  10. Adam_Y says:

    There is little need, so I am happy for my kids to get HBV vax later in life.
    blockquote>
    You know I always find it amusing that most people point out the Hep B vaccine as an example of too many vaccines. The first issue is that most people don’t realize that 30% of all Hep B cases don’t have any known risks factors associated with them. The second issue is that Hep B is a gruesome disease that you don’t want your children even to risk getting.

  11. Th1Th2 says:

    Adam Y,

    “The second issue is that Hep B is a gruesome disease that you don’t want your children even to risk getting.”

    And that includes any pathogen-associated crap of HBV from the vaccine.

  12. weing says:

    Did anyone see the South Park episode about the pox party?

  13. Zetetic says:

    Th1Th2 still maintains that vaccination causes infection with a full blown pathogen???????

  14. daedalus2u says:

    Ian, if we lived in a world of universal chickenpox vaccination for those under 18 that would be one thing, but we don’t.

    Adults with shingles do shed live chickenpox virus.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20429711

    So much for the “superior” natural “immunity” from acquiring chickenpox. It is only people who develop “natural” chickenpox that acquire shingles.

  15. windriven says:

    @wolfy re:Thing

    Ask and ye shall receive. Please do us the favor of not asking next time ;-)

  16. windriven says:

    “To the anti-vaccine movement, anecdotes trump evidence. Indeed, even physicians, like Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan’s pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, fall for touting their own anecdotal experience over careful epidemiology and science.”

    To quote (or perhaps to paraphrase) the Pus Whisperer: “The three most dangerous words in medical practice are ‘in my experience.’”

    Really, isn’t that what separates science based medicine from woo? Science provides a time-proven framework for developing the conjecture of ‘in my experience’ into a hypothesis and testing that hypothesis rigorously.

    Magical thinkers dispense with all that confusing math and tedious lab work and just accept the conjecture as self-evident, then head off to the wine and cheese party.

  17. Deetee says:

    The first issue is that most people don’t realize that 30% of all Hep B cases don’t have any known risks factors associated with them. The second issue is that Hep B is a gruesome disease that you don’t want your children even to risk getting.

    Adam, I appreciate that for many who have Hep B there is no known “risk factor”.
    However, if maternal screening for HBsAg or DNA is done, any mothers with it willl be identified, even if they have no known risk factor. The baby can then get immunoglobulin and vaccine.
    I see no reason why babies whose mother is negative in pregnancy should get vaccine at birth.
    The question then arises as to when to give it. Maybe this should be preschool, since kids might encounter others with the virus,, and you know what kids can be like – always scraping and hurting themselves, making a blood exposure possibile.

  18. Th1Th2 says:

    daedalus2u,

    “So much for the “superior” natural “immunity” from acquiring chickenpox. It is only people who develop “natural” chickenpox that acquire shingles.”

    This is the most idiotic crap that I have ever heard so far in SBM. Whether this is intentional or not, is embarrassing.

    FYI, primary infection with either wild-type VZV or inoculation with vaccine-type VZV, is a prerequisite for the development of herpes zoster.

    Like I said, vaccine apologists are like the other reckless parents who advocate disease propagation by preserving the chain of infection among innocent children. There’s no way how we could eradicate chicken pox and even more so we could control herpes when these two uninformed groups start to fight it out on something that they know nothing about.

    It’s nothing but circus.

  19. Deetee says:

    Troll1,
    Can you provide the evidence that VZV vaccinees are susceptible to vaccine-strain zoster?
    Citations, links or any decent reference will do.

  20. Th1Th2 says:

    Zetetic,

    “Th1Th2 still maintains that vaccination causes infection with a full blown pathogen???????”

    Full blown? What the heck does that even mean?

  21. Calli Arcale says:

    Regarding chickenpox vaccine, in addition to preventing shingles later in life, a very potent argument in favor of requiring it for school admission is the affect of chickenpox on the truancy rate.

    In the vaccine debates, we all tend to focus on the cost in terms of lives lost, life-long complications, and the economic cost due to parents being out of work. Rarely mentioned, or mentioned and then forgotten, is the cost to the actual children of missing school, and to the school as a whole. Anti-vaxxers frequently portray the vaccine schedule as something foisted on them by the CDC and completely neglect that schools have their own perfectly valid reasons for requiring vaccination.

    Highly contagious diseases can lead to epidemics, and epidemics can lead to massive disruptions at school. In the age of No Child Left Behind, this can have major ramifications for a school’s future funding, and it’s hard on the students as well. What’s more, schools are responsible for providing a safe environment for their students. That means controlling disease. Sanitation is the first arm of this effort — you don’t want students getting salmonella in the lunch room, after all. Quarantine is the second, but if you quarantine a child for too long, you compromise their legally-protected right to an education, so it’s not ideal. Vaccination is therefore the third arm of this effort, because it helps reduce the need for quarantine. All three arms are vital.

    If a disease is likely to produce a two-week truancy and is highly contagious and there is a sufficiently safe and effective vaccine which can be made available to those students too poor to get it on their own, then it is in the school’s best interest to require it of all those students who are able to receive it.

    Deetee:

    I see no reason why babies whose mother is negative in pregnancy should get vaccine at birth.

    I think it would depend on how sensitive the HepB test is. If there are enough false negatives, then it becomes more efficient (in terms of number of babies contracting Hep B, not in terms of time or money) to vaccinate all of the babies. I don’t know how sensitive the test is, which would be crucial to working out the relative risk.

  22. Th1Th2 says:

    Deetee,

    “Can you provide the evidence that VZV vaccinees are susceptible to vaccine-strain zoster?”

    What are you talking about? VZV inoculees have already become candidates for herpes, a step-up from varicella. No one can develop shingles without acquiring the VZV. They are no longer susceptible because they have had the virus, yes, the crap that you teach every sheeple to avoid, but still they got it. Hence, RE-exposure to wild-type VZV or vaccine-strain from shedding inoculees, will only promote RE-infection. So where’s the immunity these people are talking about? It’s only in their dreams.

    Google is your friend. I don’t have any subscription.

    Risk Factors of Herpes Zoster Among Children Immunized With Varicella Vaccine: Results From a Nested Case-Control Study
    Tseng, Hung Fu PhD, MPH*; Smith, Ning MS*; Marcy, S Michael MD*†; Sy, Lina S. MPH*; Chao, Chun R. MS, PhD*; Jacobsen, Steven J. MD, PhD*

    Incidence of Herpes Zoster Among Children Vaccinated With Varicella Vaccine in a Prepaid Health Care Plan in the United States, 2002-2008
    Tseng, Hung Fu PhD, MPH*; Smith, Ning MS*; Marcy, Stephan Michael MD*†; Sy, Lina S. MPH*; Jacobsen, Steven J. MD, PhD*
    Supplemental Author Material

    Abstract

    Background: Herpes zoster (HZ), or shingles, is caused by reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus after a primary infection with either wild-type or vaccine-type varicella-zoster virus, the latter having been introduced in 1995 for children.

  23. takoyaki says:

    @Ian

    Why would you want to have chickenpox rather than being vaccinated? It’s a pretty miserable disease with miserable consequences.
    My sisters and I were born prior to the varicella vaccine being developed. When we all got chickenpox in grade school, my father – then in his late 30′s – also got chickenpox, as he was never previously exposed. He also got shingles in later years, prior to the development of the shingles vaccination. My father was a stoic, but he definitely was in pain when he had shingles.

    I’ll be getting a shingles vaccination as soon as CDC recommendations permit.

  24. Dawn says:

    @Deetee: re: HepB testing. It is mandatory here in the US for pregnant women to be tested. However, that does not include all family members, and it is possible for an infant to get HepB from another child (sibling or non) who has it, a parent, or caregiver. All those methods have been documented in the medical literature. So, although we all agree if a mother is negative the infant won’t be BORN with HepB, we can’g bet that the baby won’t be exposed. And, with the US’s lack of decent health care perhaps it’s for the best that we vaccinate the newborns to protect them from others.

    @Calli Arcale: IIRC, HepB testing is pretty sensitive, with few false positives and few false negatives. But, the mother has to be tested after she starts to develop antibodies, so if she gets HepB after she is tested, it won’t be known unless she contacts her health care provider. And in our world of lousy prenatal care, no prenatal care, and limited testing, it’s hard to get a good relative risk.

    Ignore the Th troll.

  25. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    “Regarding chickenpox vaccine, in addition to preventing shingles later in life,”

    Oh please, stop the non-sense. How could you say chicken pox vaccine will prevent shingles when you cannot even stop inoculating and infecting innocent children with VZV that, not surprisingly, can cause “shingles later in life”?

  26. Dawn says:

    Argh. Need a preview function, although I doubt that would help with my lousy typing and poor spelling skills.

    we can’T bet not we can’g bet.

  27. Zetetic says:

    Th1Th2:

    Healthcare professionals and scientists are allowed to have interests in other realms, mine is fast automobiles. I’ve owned 17 cars in my lifetime and most of them have been heavily modified. My brother has a PhD in biology and has dirt track raced and competed in international rallies in Canada and Europe. The term “full blown” is a reference to a supercharger (known as a “blower” in auto geek slang) mounted on a muscle car V8 to produce optimum power. I was metaphorically speaking of patients NOT being exposed to highly virulent disease producing organism actually in vaccines.

  28. Chris says:

    Example of Th1Th2′s tenuous grasp of reality. Why discuss anything with someone who thinks toddlers know to stay on the sidewalk?

  29. Th1Th2 says:

    Zetetic,

    “The term “full blown” is a reference to a supercharger (known as a “blower” in auto geek slang) mounted on a muscle car V8 to produce optimum power. I was metaphorically speaking of patients NOT being exposed to highly virulent disease producing organism actually in vaccines.”

    I love the way how you described it. However, there’s a hitch. Whether you described natural infection as V8 and vaccines are like four-bangers, you cannot assess the ‘optimum power’ of the engines unless you mounted (infected) each of them on a car. In medicine, you need to have the subject (car) to be exposed to natural infection (V8) or be intentionally inoculated (four banger) with the pathogen (engine) in order to assess whether the host will develop a full blown disease (V8 power) or somewhat asymptomatic and subclinical infections (four banger).

    I love cars but I think that is NOT the way how to describe it.

  30. Wolfy says:

    “Ask and ye shall receive. Please do us the favor of not asking next time” ;)

    @windriven:

    Sorry, buddy. Curiosity continues to torture the cat. . .

  31. lillym says:

    It is useless to argue with Th1Th2 there’s nothing rational about his/her argument. And pretty soon s/he is going to bust out with the “naive baby” rant.

  32. Shelley,

    If the probability of getting a disease is low because other people are vaccinated, how is that an argument against vaccines?

    If you are the only person who is vaccinated, then when everyone else has smallpox or chickenpox or measles or whooping cough you are sitting pretty with only a 20% chance (or less) of contracting it — and if you do contract it, the disease will be less severe and you will have fewer complications. Yay!

    If everyone else on the planet is vaccinated and you are not, then it’s the situation with smallpox. There used to be epidemics but now — because of vaccines — it’s extinct. There is zero possiblitiy of complications from the disease because you can’t catch it. That means that the odds of complications from the vaccine are infinitely higher than the odds of complications from the disease. And guess what — we don’t vaccinate against smallpox any more.

    If you are afraid of vaccines for any reason, your best strategy is to aggressively promote vaccines for other people so that the disease won’t circulate and you won’t catch it even if you aren’t vaccinated yourself.

    It doesn’t make sense to be afraid of vaccines and tell other people not to vaccinate. That just increases your p of getting the disease.

    If you think that vaccines are bad for everyone and everyone should stop vaccinating their children, then you need to be prepared for the fact that whooping cough will be back. Between 1924 and 1943 (when the first pertussis vaccine was approved) the incidence of whooping cough in Canada varied between 70 and 180 per 100,000. The incidence since the 1970s has varied between 2 and 35 per 100,000. That means your chances of contracting pertussis between the age of 0 and 15 would have been about 2% before the vaccine and are about 0.2% today. (I don’t have rates of death and complications, but if you have pertussis and are vaccinated your p of death and complications is lower than if you are not vaccinated and have pertussis. Lots of things besides vaccination are different between now and the 1930s, but these days about 0.4% people who catch pertussis die; then, it was about 3%.)

    So if you think vaccines are bad for everyone, you need to compare the risk of vaccination for everyone against the risk of getting the disease and complications of the disease if nobody is vaccinated.

    In the 1930s, the odds of getting pertussis and dying from it between the ages 0 and 15 were on the order of 0.05%. Today, they are more like 0.001%.

    The odds of dying from Guillain-Barré syndrome due to a vaccine are on the order of 0.000007%.

  33. Regarding Chickenpox risks, vaccination and shingles.

    As a layperson I just had a couple of thoughts. I think it’s important to note that as children are increasingly vaccinated for chickenpox, an unvaccinated person is more likely to reach the teens or adulthood without contracting chickenpox. While chickenpox in children is often (not always) a really uncomfortable disease, it is much worse in teens or adults. Teens and adults often get dreadfully sick and scarring from the blisters are more likely.*

    On Shingles – From my understanding, I believe that while it seems very likely that people vaccinated for chickenpox will either not get shingles or will get it at a much lower rate (than people who had chickenpox), we can not really say that for sure. Since the chickenpox vaccination was only introduced in 1995 (U.S.) only time will tell what the actual rates of shingles will be when the first vaccinated people reach their 60s. Corrections on this belief are welcome.

    While I was uncertain about the need for chickenpox vaccination for my daughter, I was very grateful that we went ahead. When we were traveling in China to adopt my son, there was a child in our hotel that had chickenpox.

    My daughter did get chickenpox with her first mild symptoms a day or two before we left. But, because she was vaccinated she had atypical chickenpox, an extremely mild case which we did not recognize until we were home and saw the four small itchy blisters she had. I was very glad that she did not get full blown chickenpox in China. That would have been a real bummer and very expensive. So well worth the vaccination, because Murphy’s Law** says if you are going to get sick, it will be at the most inconvenient time possible. :)

    *this is only from my personal experience. :)
    **You are all in awe of the science behind Murphy’s Law, I know.

  34. windriven says:

    @daedalus

    While shingles is more common in those who had active chickenpox infections, it also occurs in individuals who were vaccinated and never had an active chicken pox infection.

    http://www.oah.state.mn.us/cases/health-immun/dr-chickenpox.html

    @Th1Th2

    Your ignorance is trumped only by your arrogance. You are not simply clueless; you do a disservice to your fellow man when you assert crap like this: “And that includes any pathogen-associated crap of HBV from the vaccine.”

    You seem to believe that protecting one’s precious bodily fluids from any of the evil bacterial and viral agents – whether protein fragments, disabled agents or viable agents – is a good thing. Shall we all live in bubbles bathed in HEPA-scrubbed atmospheres?

    You talk like a schmuck, Thing. Go away and educate yourself. Return when you have something meaningful to say, something that you can back up with citations to reliable publications.

  35. Dawn says:

    @micheleinmichigan: consider yourself VERY lucky your daughter’s case was so mild. My younger child brought chicken pox home from her daycare. She had an average case, some blisters, some itching, fever, aches for a few days. She gave it to her sister…

    (the following is reposted from part of a comment over on RI)
    Considering the hell my eldest went though when she had chicken pox, I would have jumped on the vaccine if it had been available then. Tell me that a feverish, broken-out-ALL-over-her-body (can’t sit, can’t lie, can’t stand – every position hurts) child isn’t miserable and I’ll call you a liar to your face. Tell me that a parent WANTS to give her child narcotics so the poor kid can get a modicum of relief and I’ll hit you (oatmeal baths, cortisone cream, ANY cream – nothing gave her any relief she was so covered with pox). Tell me that she’ll never get chicken pox again – well, guess what? For her latest job she had to have titers done. They were so low she had to get the vaccine. BUT, she is still at risk for shingles in the future thanks to having had the disease.

    Additionally: I worked in a hospital. Although I was immune to CP, I was not allowed to work for the 2 weeks my children were infectious (I worked in the labor & delivery area). No one who was exposed to CP could work for at least 2 weeks, preferably the 21 day possible infectious period. The financial impact was huge. Although I could use vacation time, that used all my time for the year. I was short in pay due to this, and we couldn’t take any long vacations for the whole year (this occurred in February). Fortunately, neither child had sequelae that would have prolongued their illness and kept me out of work longer – we would have really been hurting financially. Also, even though the kids were out of daycare, we still had to pay for it as they billed monthly and did not reimburse for illnesses less than a month.

    My husband, who worked at a different hospital and had little/no patient contact, didn’t have the same problem.

  36. Dawn says:

    (add note: the tirade was not aimed at you, michele. Honest!)

    Just want to point out to some of the people in the thread who wonder why CP is seen as so bad some of the realities – to the child and to the parents – that exist.

  37. Enkidu says:

    @Dawn: Your CP story mirrors my own. I caught it from my classmates in school. I had maybe 10 lesions total, very mild if any fever. I looked at it like a week of vacation, no school, yay! Then I gave it to my sister…

    She had pox lesions everywhere: in her hair, in every crease in her body (the worst, she recalls, was between her legs and hips, ouch), down her throat… ugh. I’ll never forget what she looked like, her misery. To anti-vaxers who will gladly go to pox parties instead of getting the vaccine, I shake my head.

  38. Chris says:

    Dawn:

    Tell me that a feverish, broken-out-ALL-over-her-body (can’t sit, can’t lie, can’t stand – every position hurts) child isn’t miserable and I’ll call you a liar to your face.

    Been there, done that… except my daughter was only six months old.

    My oldest was the earliest and easiest to potty train, but varicella made him so sick he wet his bed many nights. That really inflamed the pox on his back. When he got back to school I helped chaperone a field trip, over half of his kindergarten class was absent due to chicken pox.

    Plus one of the kids in the special ed. preschool was in the hospital with a secondary bacterial infection and a very real chance of losing a leg. This is why when I got as a kid, the first thing that was done was to cut my fingernails very very short.

    I don’t understand why anyone would want their children to experience an illness, even chicken pox.

  39. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “Your ignorance is trumped only by your arrogance. You are not simply clueless; you do a disservice to your fellow man when you assert crap like this: “And that includes any pathogen-associated crap of HBV from the vaccine.”

    Dr Gorski writes “The antivaccine movement shares another characteristic with denialists of all stripes, and that’s an intolerance to criticism.”

    I think you’re doing more than they could. A pig with a lipstick is still a pig. Now could you prove to me that the pig with a lipstick is NOT a pig? Of course you will deny it.

    “You seem to believe that protecting one’s precious bodily fluids from any of the evil bacterial and viral agents – whether protein fragments, disabled agents or viable agents – is a good thing. Shall we all live in bubbles bathed in HEPA-scrubbed atmospheres? ”

    Hey genius, why don’t you ask any HCP who works with “precious bodily fluids” on how they observe aseptic technique and maintain a sterile environment while obtaining “precious bodily fluid” samples like blood, CSF, tissues etc. from patients. Is this kind of “protection” a good thing?

    “You talk like a schmuck, Thing. Go away and educate yourself. Return when you have something meaningful to say, something that you can back up with citations to reliable publications.”

    I did not come here to ride along on the same boat with vaccine apologists and other misguided parents. They are dangerous.

    BTW, do you need some more citations from the same ‘biblical’ books Modern Medicine is using?

  40. Roadstergal says:

    Ignoring the Th1/Th2 troll (hey, no love for Th17?), I rather like the automotive analogy for vaccination. The illness is a big ‘ol V8 Mustang, while the vaccine is certain key bits that allow one to immediately recognize the car – the front grille, the hubcaps, the fastback – but with no engine and no drivetrain, so no way to move. You can recognize the car when you see it again, but the vaccine has no way to run you down.

    I might use that one…

  41. Ian says:

    @takoyaki:

    Why do you think I wanted to get the chicken pox? I’m damn glad I dodged it. :D Though maybe I should still get the shingles vaccine if that comes out, I was exposed to live chicken pox a couple of times.

    And btw, the chicken pox vaccine was developed a long time ago. The Japanese have been getting it since the 70s. So dunno, maybe you were still born before then? :)

  42. Th1Th2 says:

    Volume 20, Issue 5, Pages 300-303 (September 2006)

    Herpes Zoster in Childhood

    Alexander K.C. Leung, MBBS, FRCPC, FRCP(UK&Irel), FRCPCHCorresponding Author Information, W. Lane M. Robson, MD, FRCPC, Alexander G. Leong, MD

    A primary infection with either wild-type or vaccine-type varicella-zoster virus is a prerequisite for herpes zoster (Vázquez & Shapiro, 2005).

    Ouch! Like I said, pro-vax and pro-pox are riding on the same boat riddled with holes while they argue in the middle of the vast ocean. I just can’t help but laugh at them.

  43. windriven says:

    @Thing
    “BTW, do you need some more citations from the same ‘biblical’ books Modern Medicine is using?”

    Yes. Or any other material that adheres to the scientific method and is reviewed by competent, knowledgeable people.

    “…observe aseptic technique and maintain a sterile environment while obtaining “precious bodily fluid” samples like blood, CSF, tissues etc. from patients. Is this kind of “protection” a good thing?

    Yes. Are you seriously suggesting that we send our children out to play with their friends carefully fitted with mask and gloves? Shall we have scrub sinks near each swing set at the playground?

    “A pig with a lipstick is still a pig. Now could you prove to me that the pig with a lipstick is NOT a pig? Of course you will deny it.”

    This leaves me with such cognitive dissonance I don’t know where to start. Am I to deny that a pig with lipstick is still a pig? I cannot. And I cannot imagine how I could prove that a pig with a lipstick is not a pig. A pig, with or without any accessory or accoutrement is and will remain a pig until death (after which point it will hopefully become bacon). ;-)

    Thing, I am not intolerant of criticism. In fact I am ever cognizant of my oft-demonstrated ability to be wrong. All it takes is a well-reasoned argument to prompt me to re-evaluate my position. And it is there that you and I seem to part company. I have read any number of articulately – sometimes brilliantly – crafted arguments on this blog supporting vaccination as safe and effective. Yet none of these seems to have triggered a re-evaluation by you. That would be fair enough if you responded with a coherent argument challenging one of these arguments.

    But frothing about evil, stupid doctors and ‘biblical’ science texts, and reiterating untruths about the constituents of vaccines such as the trivalent influenza vaccine do not rise to the level of a coherent argument.

    Thing, choose a disease: smallpox, polio, influenza, hepatitis; the choice is yours. Make a clear statement in one paragraph describing in detail what you think is wrong with the vaccine for that disease. Then in each of the subsequent paragraph elucidate one of the specifics mentioned in the first paragraph. Each elucidation should include citations from one or more reasonable sources supporting your position. Close with a reasoned argument supporting a better prophylaxis for that disease.

    At that point we will all be communicating in a common language. You may find that you sway some to your point of view. Or you may find that respondents will illuminate flaws in your reasoning that may cause you to re-evaluate your own thinking.

  44. Zetetic says:

    Responding to the Th1Th2 entity brings to mind a heated exchange I had on a forum a few years ago with a biblical fundamentalist who vehemently defended his dogma of geocentrism with absolutely no knowledge of astronomy.

  45. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “Yes. Are you seriously suggesting that we send our children out to play with their friends carefully fitted with mask and gloves? Shall we have scrub sinks near each swing set at the playground?”

    You don’t get it do you? You specifically mentioned “precious bodily fluids” which are essential components of the body which are normally sterile and free of any microorganisms and that are NOT in direct contact with the external environment. That means your examples do not make any sense. But here’s something I suggest you to do and that SBM should practice what they preach. Every time you get a blood draw, tell the phlebotomist to put the specimen in an uncovered clean (sterility not a must) collection tube while maintaining atmospheric exposure to the environment. Treat it like a newborn or any other human being who are exposed to the environment everyday of their life. Someone is going to lose a license if this thing happens.

    “Close with a reasoned argument supporting a better prophylaxis for that disease.”

    Do you think Jenner knows the word “prophylaxis” when he infiltrated innocent children with vaccinia?

  46. windriven says:

    @Zetetic

    Ugly is only skin deep but some varieties of ignorance run right to the bone. There is nothing as frightening as a true believer, regardless of the dogma believed. My favorite demonstration of this is a bumper sticker common in some parts of the deep south that proclaims, “The Bible said it / I believe it / That settles it.”

    I keep swearing that I’ve written my last response to Thing. But then I think maybe just one more time and I’ll find the light switch.

  47. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “This leaves me with such cognitive dissonance I don’t know where to start. Am I to deny that a pig with lipstick is still a pig? I cannot. And I cannot imagine how I could prove that a pig with a lipstick is not a pig. A pig, with or without any accessory or accoutrement is and will remain a pig until death (after which point it will hopefully become bacon). ;-)”

    Just get straight to the point instead of beating around the bush.

    Are you DENYING the fact that vaccine-type VZV is a prerequisite for the development of herpes zoster?

    Of course, other so-called “scientific thinkers” of this board are welcome to chime in.

  48. Deetee says:

    @Dawn.
    When all the kids and mothers have been immunized against HepB, and herd immunity is high, do you think it feasible that vaccination would be left until later in childhood?

  49. Deetee says:

    Re VZV vaccine and subsequent zoster:

    Only one placebo controlled RCT has commented
    on the risk of zoster following vaccination:
    no cases were noted in either placebo or
    vaccine recipients after nine months (732 person
    years).26 A single prospective cohort study
    of children has reported a mild case of zoster in
    one of 854 children (duration of follow up
    unknown).67 Other cohort studies report no
    zoster for as much as 19 years 7 months, or
    3277 person years after vaccination.33–35 39 41 68 69.
    However, isolated case reports in children have
    occurred. Two mild cases of zoster (no virus
    isolated) were reported in healthy children
    (aged 2 and 4 years) following vaccination with
    Oka/Merck vaccine,70 and a rate of 21 cases per
    100 000 person-years was estimated for Oka/
    Merck recipients to that time, compared with
    an expected rate of 77 per 100 000 personyears
    in school aged children following natural
    chickenpox. In 1992, White estimated that 14
    cases per 100 000 vaccinees (all mild) had
    occurred over nine years of Oka/Merck vaccination
    in the USA.71 A population based study
    over a longer period found a rate of 42 per
    100 000 in unvaccinated children (20 per
    100 000 in children under 5 years).72 Most
    recently, the US post-licensure Vaccine Adverse
    Event Reporting System suggests a rate of
    2.6/100 000 vaccine doses distributed.73
    Two adult cohort studies have described the
    occurrence of zoster six years after vaccination.
    Gershon et al vaccinated 187 varicella susceptible
    adults and reported one case of zoster
    caused by wild type virus after six years
    (1/1122 person years).44 74 Levin et al reported
    a rate similar to that expected in an unvaccinated
    population for persons over 55 years of
    age who had previously had varicella and
    received varicella immunisation (10/130 vaccinees
    or 1/100 person years).75 In all cases the
    disease was mild.
    Of interest, a recent paper using mathematical
    modelling predicted a short to medium
    term increase in zoster after vaccination if
    exposure to varicella is important for preventing
    reactivation, although a reduction was
    likely in the longer term (level III evidence).76
    Thus, there is fair evidence to suggest that
    there is a reduced incidence of herpes zoster in
    vaccinees. Evidence from studies of leukemic
    vaccinees support this statement.77–79

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1718891/pdf/v085p00083.pdf

  50. windriven says:

    @Thing

    “You don’t get it do you?”

    No, I don’t.

    “You specifically mentioned “precious bodily fluids” ”

    Precious bodily fluids is an allusion to the obsession of Gen Jack Ripper in a 1960s Peter Sellers film. It suggests an unhealthy preoccupation with one bodily fluid in particular.

    “That means your examples do not make any sense. ”

    Well I certainly agree that no sense is being made here.

    “Every time you get a blood draw, tell the phlebotomist to put the specimen in an uncovered clean (sterility not a must) collection tube while maintaining atmospheric exposure to the environment.”

    Thing, what does that have to do with anything? You go off on these convoluted side trips that don’t lead anywhere.

    We are talking here about infectious diseases. I presume that you are acquainted with the germ theory of disease. If not, Google it. Then tell us if you accept the germ theory. Perhaps we can use that as the starting point.

    If you do not accept germ theory then please tell us your alternative theory and why it is a better model than germ theory.

    If you do accept germ theory, do you believe that prevention of infection by mechanical interruption is difficult except in very controlled environments?

    If you accept that infection cannot be totally prevented by mechanical means in the context of ordinary living, do you believe that immunity to disease is desirable?

    And finally, if you agree that immunity to disease is desirable, do you agree that immunity can generally be had only by either vaccination or surviving a bout of the disease itself?

    I’ve tried to put most of these in simple Y/N form so do please try to be clear. Perhaps we can find a starting point from which we can work through this together.

  51. ConspicuousCarl says:

    > Th1Th2on 01 Nov 2010 at 1:42 pm
    > They are no longer susceptible because they
    > have had the virus, yes, the crap that you
    > teach every sheeple to avoid, but still they got it.

    And you could also say that in 1946, Berlin was still occupied by the Nazi army because crippled Nazi soldiers were in the hospitals. OK, but that’s not what anyone else on the planet would mean by “having a virus” or “being occupied by Nazis”.

  52. JMB says:

    @Shelley

    Any thoughts on this tactic?

    There are several potential errors in such risk estimates. The most common error from those that use this argument is that they will rely on published estimates of incidence of disease for one year. Most vaccines provide immunity for several years, if not the lifetime of the person. Therefore, you must multiply the incidence of disease per year by the number of years of protection provided by the vaccine. Furthermore, there is year to year variation in incidence, with often observed cyclical variation with increases in incidence for one year observed at intervals of 5 to 10 to even longer periods of cyclical variation. A better estimate of risk of disease to use in the risk benefit calculation would be to take the total number of cases observed over a 20 or 30 year interval, and adjust that incidence to the number of years of protection provided by the vaccine. I think risks of booster shots is less than the original vaccine, too.

    The final problem is that you gamble on the behavior of others to reduce your risk of disease. Current estimates of percent of people required to provide herd immunity are being revised upward, because of realization that unvaccinated individuals often occur in geographic clusters, so computer simulations underestimated the risk of epidemics. So the question is, can you rely on the assumption that fewer than 5% of people won’t be selfish and take the vaccine thereby achieving herd immunity? If you have talked to a person advocating this approach, then you have already demonstrated the probability of contact with someone who is unvaccinated.

    One last moral argument, if someone in your community dies from a disease for which you chose to remain unvaccinated, will you feel any guilt over the death of that person? You get a vaccine for yourself, for your family, and for your community. You rely on herd immunity for yourself.

    When I was in the military, we were required to have a smallpox vaccine. There were naive individuals that relied on risk calculations to refuse the vaccine. I realized that the risk was dependent on the behavior of governments who had small pox in their biologic weapons arsenal, and I had the vaccine. I wouldn’t gamble on other people/governments’ behavior.

    I’m sure Th1Th2 will respond to this, so in a preemptive defense I will point out that every time you rub your eyes, pick your nose, brush your teeth, or defecate, you are introducing infectious agents past your outer layers of defense. But of course, Th1Th2 does none of those, so he/she never allows infections past their outer layer. The downside of such a strategy is having bad breath and being full of ….

  53. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “Precious bodily fluids is an allusion to the obsession of Gen Jack Ripper in a 1960s Peter Sellers film. It suggests an unhealthy preoccupation with one bodily fluid in particular.”

    Preoccupation? These “precious bodily fluids” are physiologically sterile and they do not come in contact with the external environment. What’s so big deal about it if someone refuses to get infected with pathogen/pathogen-associated crap which are in every vaccine? Or someone refuses to join a pox party? If I have to wear a mask or keep my distance from a known contagious person to protect myself, does that protect me and my “precious bodily fluids” from the infection?

    “We are talking here about infectious diseases. I presume that you are acquainted with the germ theory of disease. If not, Google it. Then tell us if you accept the germ theory. Perhaps we can use that as the starting point.”

    I do believe in the germ theory of disease and that’s where and how vaccination has borrowed the idea.

    “If you do accept germ theory, do you believe that prevention of infection by mechanical interruption is difficult except in very controlled environments?”

    Vaccination and pox parties, being infection-promoting avenues, have never prevented any infection, I tell you that.

    “And finally, if you agree that immunity to disease is desirable, do you agree that immunity can generally be had only by either vaccination or surviving a bout of the disease itself?”

    No, I don’t. Immunity is not limited to vaccines or natural infection. It covers a wide array of immune reaction, that is, an immune response to infection, allergens, anaphylaxis, autoimmunity, hemolytic reaction etc. But to associate vaccines having induced an immune reaction as a mean of protection is the biggest lie, if not purposeful dishonesty, being purported in the medical world.

    A responsible parent can provide ‘protection’ to her child without even having to utter the word ‘immunity’ by keeping the child from any source of known infectious diseases. Is that thing hard to do? Definitely not. But you know how easier it is to get exposed to these known pathogen-associated crap by just merely visiting a pediatrician.

    Hey, I admire your patience.

  54. @Dawn and Enkidu,

    I’m not sure if my post was clear. My daughter’s case of chicken pox was extremely mild because she was vaccinated for it. So we were only lucky in so far as I am lucky to have a good pediatrician who communicated well about the benefits of the vaccine and addressed my concern regarding an increased risk of catching chickenpox when immunity decreases over a number of year by telling me about the excellent efficiency with the use of a booster.

    I really like our pediatrician. She should be cloned (if that weren’t, you know, terribly unethical.)

    Dawn, no offense taken.

  55. Deetee says:

    Out of interest, here is an interesting Canadian article on the timing of infant/adolescent HBV vax.
    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/180/2/196

  56. Th1Th2 says:

    ConspicuousCarl,

    “And you could also say that in 1946, Berlin was still occupied by the Nazi army because crippled Nazi soldiers were in the hospitals. OK, but that’s not what anyone else on the planet would mean by “having a virus” or “being occupied by Nazis”.”

    It is referred to as having persistent antigenic stimulation from asymptomatic infection induced by vaccination and natural infection. Nevertheless, your analogy is still erroneous because the Nazy army is of German race and Germany is their native land. To find them in Thailand let alone other countries which were not invaded, is another thing.

    Let me help you, if I may. You see when a healthy baby is born from a HbsAg-negative mother, these ignorant doctors will still label the newborn as “susceptible” just for being HbsAg-free. And this ignorance continues by having the baby inoculated with KNOWN HbsAg-containing inoculum in the HBV vaccine and declare they are protected. What kind of crap is that? Surely, they don’t know what they are doing. They do not even know how to diagnose a healthy newborn.

  57. windriven says:

    @Thing

    “If I have to wear a mask or keep my distance from a known contagious person to protect myself, does that protect me and my “precious bodily fluids” from the infection? ”

    No, it doesn’t. Because you are only protecting yourself from “known contagious person(s).” In many diseases carriers are contagious well before the onset of symptoms.

    I’m glad to learn that you accept the germ theory of infection.

    “Vaccination and pox parties, being infection-promoting avenues, have never prevented any infection, I tell you that. ”

    I will agree with you on the pox parties part. Pox parties, by definition, are intended to spread disease. On the vaccination part you are thoroughly and completely full of crap. I am dumbstruck that you can even suggest this. It is akin to asserting that the earth does not revolve around the sun.

    “A responsible parent can provide ‘protection’ to her child without even having to utter the word ‘immunity’ by keeping the child from any source of known infectious diseases. Is that thing hard to do?”

    Is that hard to do? No! It is impossible to do unless we return to the baby in the bubble scenario. As I explained before, it isn’t the people whom you know to be ill that present the danger, it is those who are asymptomatic.

    Good luck to you Thing. And good luck to your child(ren). You and they will need it.

  58. windriven says:

    @Thing

    “Are you DENYING the fact that vaccine-type VZV is a prerequisite for the development of herpes zoster?”

    I don’t know what “vaccine-type VZV” is. I know that chicken pox is caused by the varicella virus. I do not know whether the vaccine uses a debilitated whole virus or viral fragments. I also don’t know why it should matter.

    Thing, you cannot prevent every bacteria and virus from penetrating the mechanical defenses that nature provides your child with or the mechanical defenses that you provide. In fact you wouldn’t want to. Many of the cells in your body aren’t yours at all – they are invaders, but they are, for the most part, friendly and useful invaders; symbionts. Without them your gastrointestinal system wouldn’t work.

  59. Chris says:

    windriven:

    Thing, you cannot prevent every bacteria and virus from penetrating the mechanical defenses that nature provides your child with or the mechanical defenses that you provide.

    Well he/she has managed to prevent any information that is not part of his/her fantasy world to penetrate his/her skull!

    Ignore.

  60. Enkidu says:

    I had a co-worker tell me today that if/when she has kids, she will probably not have them vaccinated. This is a woman who has a PhD and worked in a virology lab for her postdoc.

    When I asked her why, she told me that because everyone else vaccinates, disease incidence is low and her kids won’t need to. I pointed out that if everyone thinks like her, herd immunity will erode and then diseases will re-emerge.

    Then she said that vaccines don’t work anyway, she was vaccinated and got whooping cough twice (once at 18 and then a few years later). I pointed out that immunity from vaccination is not 100% guarenteed, and the fact that she got the natural infection twice should tell her that her immunity, if any, is short-lived for this particular disease.

    She then switched tactics and then said that she doesn’t like unnecessary medical interventions, and cited the overuse of antibiotics. I said that antibiotic overuse had nothing to do with vaccination. Then she said that she doesn’t want to give money to companies for treatments she doesn’t need (and cited her lack of Tylenol and Motrin use for fevers). So I guess it all boils down to a distruct of Big Pharma. Oh, and at some point she also threw out the fact that science isn’t always right (yes, she is a SCIENTIST and used this argument, which she admitted was weird!).

    In the end, she used just about every anti-vaccine argument in the book. I was flabbergasted.

  61. windriven says:

    @ Chris.

    Thank you. Please, please … when I engage with Thing, please slap me. I know better, I really do. (Norman Bates music) But sometimes I just can’t help myself!

  62. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “No, it doesn’t. Because you are only protecting yourself from “known contagious person(s).” In many diseases carriers are contagious well before the onset of symptoms.”

    You also have to include those shedding inoculees because you know they are KNOWN to be contagious. But hey, nothing states that asymptomatic infection is ONLY contagious during the asymptomatic stage but I guess your mother has taught you how to cover your nose when someone sneezes, not to share needles, secretions or eat someone else’s fecal matter regardless of the situation. And don’t forget basic hygiene.

    “On the vaccination part you are thoroughly and completely full of crap. I am dumbstruck that you can even suggest this. It is akin to asserting that the earth does not revolve around the sun.”

    Great. So what makes a varicella vaccine any different from where it was derived from?

    “Is that hard to do? No! It is impossible to do unless we return to the baby in the bubble scenario. As I explained before, it isn’t the people whom you know to be ill that present the danger, it is those who are asymptomatic.”

    So you’re trying to tell everyone to just disregard any symptoms whatsoever but to preoccupy themselves with constant fear of the unknown that someone is infecting them. Do you even call this ‘science’ or a psychiatric disorder? Just cover your nose when when someone sneezes in front you whether or not he’s sick. What’s so big deal about it?

  63. windriven says:

    @Thing

    You’re RIGHT! How stupid of me. I will not eat other people’s stool and I will cover my nose when someone sneezes. Damn! Thousands of years of people dying from plague, smallpox, influenza, tetanus, rabies, pertussis, polio and so forth and all they had to do was remove dung and snot from their diet! Who knew? Why the hell didn’t Moses say something about that way back when? All those commandments and not one about dung or snot!

  64. Th1Th2 says:

    windriven,

    “I don’t know what “vaccine-type VZV” is. I know that chicken pox is caused by the varicella virus. I do not know whether the vaccine uses a debilitated whole virus or viral fragments. I also don’t know why it should matter.”

    That’s a polite way of saying “I’ll pass.” Don’t worry, I do understand.

    “Thing, you cannot prevent every bacteria and virus from penetrating the mechanical defenses that nature provides your child with or the mechanical defenses that you provide. In fact you wouldn’t want to. Many of the cells in your body aren’t yours at all – they are invaders, but they are, for the most part, friendly and useful invaders; symbionts. Without them your gastrointestinal system wouldn’t work.”

    Sounds very basic to me but still you failed to differentiate and characterize a normal flora from pathogenic microorganisms. That kind of loose belief is what make people sick nowadays.

  65. Chris says:

    windriven, if you come to one of these, I will gladly slap you in person! Or just have a really good laugh about the troll that is a joke.

  66. windriven says:

    @Chris

    It’s a deal! I happen to live right across the Sound from Seattle. I’m a little ashamed to say that I didn’t know that this group existed. But I’d love to attend one.

    ***

    I just signed up. I think. It isn’t clear where to send my $6. Or even if they’ll have me. I have some history with organized groups. I was … uh … discharged from the Cub Scouts at about age 6 with, as I recall, very little ceremony. But that was a long time ago. I’m much better now.

    Really.

  67. Th1Th2 says:

    JMB,

    “I’m sure Th1Th2 will respond to this, so in a preemptive defense I will point out that every time you rub your eyes, pick your nose, brush your teeth, or defecate, you are introducing infectious agents past your outer layers of defense. But of course, Th1Th2 does none of those, so he/she never allows infections past their outer layer. The downside of such a strategy is having bad breath and being full of ….”

    If your goal is to promote intentional infection then you have to do better than that. You know what dogs do oftentimes when they are done defecating? They drag their butt on the ground. You could also can rub your eyes or pick your nose immediately after wiping your anus with your bare hands. How’s that sound like? You could also use your fecally soiled fingers to ‘brush’ your teeth. Try all these stuff religiously and I’m sure you will not fail with your infection-promoting agenda.

    I don’t even have to discuss why proper hygiene is important. Your mother, I guess, has taught you well.

  68. Chris says:

    windriven:

    I just signed up. I think. It isn’t clear where to send my $6.

    Don’t worry, it is not mandatory (I just give it to the leader). Especially if you need to take a ferry. Some don’t make it all the time due to travel issues.

  69. hippiehunter says:

    Thing sounds like Australia’s Meryl Dorey….uneducated but so grandiose that they assume they know better than the WHO, the CDC and the combined knowledge of every immunologist on the planet and are willing to bet your childs life on it GGGGGRRRRRR.

  70. Th1Th2 says:

    Roadstergal,

    “I rather like the automotive analogy for vaccination. The illness is a big ‘ol V8 Mustang, while the vaccine is certain key bits that allow one to immediately recognize the car – the front grille, the hubcaps, the fastback – but with no engine and no drivetrain, so no way to move. You can recognize the car when you see it again, but the vaccine has no way to run you down.

    I might use that one…”

    I almost missed this part. The last time I knew is that the Mustang, like any passenger car, is originally designed to safely transport people to and from different places and not as a vehicle used for maiming or crushing people to death. Even the big ‘ol Monster Trucks, despite being typically designed to crush smaller vehicles, are not built to ‘run you down’.

    Vaccination is a failed concept and whatever kind of analogy you associate vaccines with, you can never find any benefit whatsoever; only risks and lots of it.

  71. Dawn says:

    @Deetee: have trouble logging on to SBM from home so sorry it took me a long time to respond. The answer to your question is: I don’t know. As I pointed out, the issue isn’t only mothers and children, it’s fathers, grandparents, other children.

    Since HepB is blood and body fluids transmitted, I suppose that if, over many years, we get a level of herd immunity like we got for smallpox where the risk of the vaccine is greater than the risk of catching the disease, then yes, I would say it would be OK to delay or eliminate the vaccine. And that holds for any vaccine. If we are able to eliminate the risk of the disease, then we can quit vaccinating for it, except under specific circumstances (i.e. chemical warfare if someone uses the stocks of smallpox that are kept).

    @windriven: If I wasn’t across the country, I would smack you. DO NOT engage the Th troll. Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away to its sterile environment with its children who never get dirty or hurt and leave those of us who want to talk sensibly to do so.

    @micheleinmichigan: yeah, that’s sorta what my post was supposed to point out, too. If your daughter hadn’t had the vaccine, her case of CP might of been much worse, as you said. Guess we’re trying to say the same thing and talking right past each other! :)

  72. jcwelch says:

    Oh, let thing rant. Let thing rave.

    Thing can scream until its voice turns to a croak, and it can barely breathe, and it won’t change one simple fact:

    Because of vaccines, Smallpox is dead. Gone. Doesn’t exist.

    Thing’s side has got nothing to compete with that. When Thing can show a Smallpox-level killer that has been eradicated by virtue of sitting on ones’s hands and doing nothing, then I’ll care what it has to say.

    When it comes to real-world results, vaccines win.

  73. Dawn – Well all right then. :)

    Windriven – My new tact is judicious use of the scroll bar, when I see that username, I just scroll really quick* so I won’t be tempted to respond. Also, it’s great that people are addressing their comments to that particular username. I can also scroll really fast past those and not be tempted to chime in with support.

    Apparently, I can’t scroll fast enough. I caught a couple of your comments in passing. (The little ball on my overpriced apple mouse is broken.)

    *Life is to short.

  74. Dr Benway says:

    TH1Th2:

    I almost missed this part. The last time I knew is that the Mustang, like any passenger car, is originally designed to safely transport people to and from different places and not as a vehicle used for maiming or crushing people to death.

    Th1Th2 cannot reason by analogy. He responds to irrelevant, concrete details while missing the central comparison between the analogy and the topic under discussion.

    This, combined with grossly inappropriate social skills, perseveration, rigid devaluation of perceived enemies, false beliefs that never budge an inch in spite of many months of patient argument against them, suggest frontal lobe injury.

    Well, at least that is my eNeurologist opinion based upon watching the full first season of House.

    Treatment options at this point:
    1. It’s never lupus so forget the steroids.
    2. Permaban for his/her/their own safety.
    3. Enjoy the hit counts that trolls generate.

  75. Myriam says:

    This makes me laughing…

    One interprete what he thinks about what others anti-his-own-idea MAY think.

    About a Science based … LOLLL

    So scientifics comments about what OTHERS think !

    Is this is not enough to let think that so scientific bases may make somes errors of judgement and are not scientific at all ?

    What about publicity improvement on your own judgement ? What about “medical brainwashing” inside universities ?

    What about the facts that it was MORE deaths about rage the year after implementing this vaccines in France ?

    What about the real facts and not some marketings greats trials to have you scare about not being vaccinated ?

    You are so scared that you may not search the reals facts in a scientific way ?

    There is not scientific conclusions on this topic !

    LOLLL You ALL are scare about not being vaccinated ! No needs to be scientifics to see that.

  76. Th1Th2 says:

    Dr Benway,

    “Th1Th2 cannot reason by analogy. He responds to irrelevant, concrete details while missing the central comparison between the analogy and the topic under discussion.”

    Whoa wait a second. Do you actually believed what the other guy had said when he compared the Mustang to a disease/illness? There are numerous times Mustang was on the list of Car and Driver Ten Best and even won the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year a couple of times. I have never heard of such praise and recognition being given to any common childhood diseases. On the contrary, they are being labeled as threat, killer and that people should be fearful about. Do you see yourself strolling around the city wearing a Mustang emblem on your forehead, a front grille on your chest and of course the rear bumper? More likely smart people will find you as a deranged homeless guy than a mascot if ever you’re pretending to be one. Honestly, I would really feel sorry if people analogize diseases to a Mustang and vaccines to mere parts of the car. They really lost it big time.

  77. Calli Arcale says:

    Th1Th2:

    I almost missed this part. The last time I knew is that the Mustang, like any passenger car, is originally designed to safely transport people to and from different places and not as a vehicle used for maiming or crushing people to death.

    Which is, of course, why they never do. Right? Your brilliance at detecting this flaw in the analogy, that passenger cars are not generally designed for murder, is truly staggering. And you didn’t even leave it there; you went on to point out that it the Mustang is not in fact a disease but is instead a multiple winner of the Motor Trend Car of the Year. Impressive! I never realized you had the sterling intellect to realize that analogies can’t be taken literally.

    I did fully anticipate your complete inability to address the argument made, taking shelter instead in pretending to have misunderstood the argument, as that is your stock in trade. I confess you did surprise me, though. I didn’t think you would go so far as to pretend you were unable to comprehend the concept of an analogy just to avoid addressing the question. Really, most people just back away quietly, with their dignity intact, when they can’t counter a good argument. It doesn’t stop you, and for that I must commend you.

  78. Roadstergal says:

    Frankie Boyle: “Analogies are great, but you have to know when to stop. ‘I’m like a bulldog – I’m stubborn and tenacious.’ That’s good. ‘I’m like a bulldog, you can’t leave me alone with your children.’ Wait… ‘I’m like a bulldog, I’ll grab something and won’t let go, and in order to make me let go, you’ll have to put your finger in my arse.’ No, stop!”

  79. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    Hey, why don’t you do yourself a favor. Offer a little help to one of your apostles to answer a very simple question of mine without resorting to ridiculous analogies of yours.

    Are you DENYING the fact that vaccine-type VZV is a prerequisite for the development of herpes zoster?

  80. Th1Th2 says:

    Roadstergal,

    “I might use that one…”

    Fail.

  81. Dr Benway says:

    Me: When you whine, “answer my question” you remind me of Lucy nagging Charlie Brown to kick the football one more time. But Charlie Brown has been there; done that. “Unbelievable,” he says.

    Th1Th2: You’re comparing me to Lucy? Silly person, she’s just a cartoon character while I am, in fact, an actual person. Moreover, my hair is not black. And I hate dresses. And my name is not “Lucy.” And I don’t even own a football!

    Me: It’s never lupus.

  82. Well I can believe that Lucy would be anti-vax but the real question is WWLD*.

    *What Would Linus Do?

  83. Dawn says:

    @micheleinmichigan: silly, silly person! Linus would snag the syringe with his blanket, make sure everyone got the vaccine, and then wrap the blanket around his shoulders and walk off.

    @Dr Benway: I have a football here for you to kick….

  84. Calli Arcale says:

    Th1Th2:

    Are you DENYING the fact that vaccine-type VZV is a prerequisite for the development of herpes zoster?

    Yes.

  85. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    You are:

    A. uninformed
    B. a medical heretic
    C. a germ theory denialist
    D. all of the above

  86. Calli Arcale says:

    *laughs*

    You are hilarious, Th1Th2. Really hilarious.

    Vaccine-type VZV — by which I presume you mean the live attenuated virus used in the vaccine — is not associated with herpes zoster. To confirm your views, I would have to be in one of those categories.

    Just curious — which of those describes you?

    (And fear not, I will not use one of those “ridiculous analogies”. I do understand that they are beyond your comprehension. I certainly won’t use a metaphor, as that might actually cause your brain to implode.)

  87. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    “Vaccine-type VZV — by which I presume you mean the live attenuated virus used in the vaccine — is not associated with herpes zoster.”

    I guess the answer is A. uninformed. But that’s just my initial impression at least.

    If I may.
    ————
    Varicella Vaccine and Infection with Varicella–Zoster Virus
    Marietta Vázquez, M.D., and Eugene D. Shapiro, M.D.
    N Engl J Med 2005; 352:439-440February 3, 2005

    Before zoster can develop, a primary infection with either wild-type or vaccine-type varicella–zoster virus must occur. …
    ———————–

    Now it’s up to you whether you want to become letter B or C.

  88. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    You don’t like ‘vaccine-type’ VZV?

    OK here’s one:
    ———————–
    Assessing the potential effects and cost-effectiveness of programmatic herpes zoster vaccination of elderly in the Netherlands

    Alies van Lier,corresponding author#1 Albert Jan van Hoek,#2 Wim Opstelten,3 Hein J Boot,4 and Hester E de Melker1

    “Prior infection with VZV, either with wild-type or vaccine virus, is a prerequisite for developing HZ.”

    BMC Health Serv Res. 2010; 10: 237.
    Published online 2010 August 13. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-10-237.
    ———————-

  89. Calli Arcale says:

    I do not see that as saying it is mandatory to have received the vaccine in order to get shingles.

    I do, however, note that it contradicts your repeated assertions that you can only get the disease from a vaccine, by referring to primary infection with wild-type virus. I did look up those references; full text was unavailable, but it appears to me they are referring to the strain from which the vaccine is made, not the attenuated virus actually present in it.

    I will not quibble with your lack of clarity, Th1Th2. I realize that your attention span and reading comprehension skills are not sufficient, and thus, a certain degree of compassion is indicated. You must find life very distressing.

  90. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale,

    “I do not see that as saying it is mandatory to have received the vaccine in order to get shingles.”

    Main Entry: prerequisite
    Part of Speech: adjective
    Definition: necessary
    Synonyms: called for, essential, expedient, imperative, important, indispensable, mandatory , necessitous, needful, obligatory, of the essence, required, requisite, vital

    “I do, however, note that it contradicts your repeated assertions that you can only get the disease from a vaccine, by referring to primary infection with wild-type virus. I did look up those references; full text was unavailable, but it appears to me they are referring to the strain from which the vaccine is made, not the attenuated virus actually present in it.”

    Read it again. I’ll make it simple for you to understand. There are two options to become an HZ candidate, 1. pox party 2. inoculation. That’s why provax and propox are both riding on the same hole-riddled boat arguing while they are sinking.

    Of course, those who were inoculated with VZV are not only infectious but contagious as well for they are able to shed the vaccine strain to others. Ergo, the susceptible can be infected by either a wild-type or vaccine-type VZV.

    Congratulations! HZ likes to welcome all the freshmen. All aboard.

  91. Chris says:

    Calli Arcale:

    a certain degree of compassion is indicated. You must find life very distressing.

    At what point does it become too cruel to bait the silly person for our own amusement?

  92. lillym says:

    Calli I just realized that Throll thinks that the only way to get wild type chicken pox is through deliberate transmission, which is why the emphasis is on pox parties. I guess Throll thinks that there’s no way for accidental exposure.

    I had chicken pox when I was in my early 20s. Despite being exposed to it in my childhood by my brother, cousin, and neighbors (not pox parties, I played with my cousin and neighbors before they showed signs of the chicken pox but while they were contagious) I never got it.

    Until I was a young adult – no one I knew had chicken pox. I didn’t even realize I had it for about a day after I got my first pox. I thought I had a bug bite on my arm (not uncommon in the south in the summer) and scratched it and walked around @ the mall and other public places while I was contagious. It wasn’t until I ran a fever the next day I realized what had happened.

    The doctor said I probably came in contact with someone while during the contagious period before it starts to show. And I had been contagious for a few days before the “bug bite” showed up.

    I will say I was miserable, the doctor finally prescribed something that knocked me out (my mom went to the pharmacy I didn’t expose anyone else).

  93. Th1Th2 says:

    lillym,

    “Calli I just realized that Throll thinks that the only way to get wild type chicken pox is through deliberate transmission, which is why the emphasis is on pox parties. I guess Throll thinks that there’s no way for accidental exposure.”

    Just a quick review. Did it state varicella is ONLY contagious during pre-eruptive stage? Read the last paragraph, shedding inoculees are also the reason for varicella transmission. It’s never accidental; it is the intended result.

    Pro-pox moms, like the provax, DELIBERATELY expose their naive children to varicella infection (in medicine, it’s called inoculation) to trigger a DELIBERATE immune response, they wrongly called ‘immunity’. So everything is done deliberately.

    “I never got it.”

    You never got your titers checked, that’s why you didn’t know. (Hint: asymptomatic infection)

  94. Dawn says:

    All I can say is that I am glad I never had naive children.

  95. Calli Arcale says:

    Chris: good question, but it’s a lot more fun than attempting discourse with someone who thinks acting stupid is a clever way of avoiding losing a debate. Here, for instance, he confuses “prerequisite” for “mandatory”. I imagine he feels he has caught us very cleverly by showing us a definition, but of course in order to do this he must ignore the other definitions and common usages of the word, and in a context which assures he should be aware of them. It is most amusing.

    Calli I just realized that Throll thinks that the only way to get wild type chicken pox is through deliberate transmission, which is why the emphasis is on pox parties. I guess Throll thinks that there’s no way for accidental exposure.

    He has stated that he believes the body to be totally invulnerable. Any breakdown can only happen through deliberate action by a human being. Chickenpox is unusual because he admits it can

    Hold on a moment . . . WOOOOHOOO!!! EPOXI just got telemetry lock! I’m watching NASA TV. ;-) EPOXI (the old Deep Impact mothership) has just come out of LOS after encountering the nucleus of Comet Hartley 2, and is downlinking data over the high-gain antenna now, which means it has survived the unpredictable debris in the coma. Sweeeet.

    Okay, I just had to crow about that. Very awesome stuff. Anyway, Th1Th2 admits chickenpox can be got by a means other than a vaccine, which I think was because even he couldn’t find a way to look plausibly stupid enough to not notice that chickenpox parties did actually work.

    I had chicken pox when I was in my early 20s. Despite being exposed to it in my childhood by my brother, cousin, and neighbors (not pox parties, I played with my cousin and neighbors before they showed signs of the chicken pox but while they were contagious) I never got it.

    I got mine from babysitting kids with chickenpox. We thought I was already immune, having caught it in infancy.

    Th1Th2:

    Just a quick review. Did it state varicella is ONLY contagious during pre-eruptive stage?

    Varicella is contagious both pre- and post-eruptive stage. I passed it along to my siblings before I erupted in pox, and they in turn passed it along to classmates before *they* erupted. In fact, the infectious pre-pox period overlapped sufficiently that they had passed it along before even I began erupting. Fun.

  96. dt says:

    I have been using this thread as an example to my colleagues of the supernova-incandescent antivax stupid that can be encountered on the web.
    One of them laughed so loud he nearly fell off his chair.

  97. dt says:

    The word zoster comes from the ancient greek description of shingles. It means a belt or girdle, so named after the dermatomal spread of the rash around the trunk.
    I wonder, did they vaccinate much in ancient Greece against chickenpox? I believe Hippocrates developed the first live attenuated varicella zoster virus vaccine. Or was it Galen? I forget.

  98. Th1Th2 says:

    Calli Arcale.

    “Here, for instance, he confuses “prerequisite” for “mandatory”. ”

    Main Entry: mandatory
    Part of Speech: adjective
    Definition: required, necessary
    Synonyms: binding, commanding, compelling, compulsatory, compulsory, de rigueur, essential, forced, imperative, imperious, indispensable, involuntary, irremissible, needful, obligatory, requisite

    You’re the one who came up with the word “mandatory”, not me and now you’re DENYING the fact that “mandatory” is synonymous with “prerequisite”. What else are you going to deny?

    “He has stated that he believes the body to be totally invulnerable. Any breakdown can only happen through deliberate action by a human being.”

    You’re the one who’s confused. I never said nor claimed the body to be “totally invulnerable”.

    “I got mine from babysitting kids with chickenpox. We thought I was already immune, having caught it in infancy.”

    People deserve every infection possible when they let themselves exposed.

    “Varicella is contagious both pre- and post-eruptive stage. I passed it along to my siblings before I erupted in pox, and they in turn passed it along to classmates before *they* erupted. In fact, the infectious pre-pox period overlapped sufficiently that they had passed it along before even I began erupting. Fun.”

    And how many more did you infect post-eruption?

  99. Dawn says:

    Um, Th1…prerequisite is not in your list:

    binding, commanding, compelling, compulsatory, compulsory, de rigueur, essential, forced, imperative, imperious, indispensable, involuntary, irremissible, needful, obligatory, requisite

    Please don’t try to say that PRErequisite and requisite are the same word.

    As for your other comments, I’m going to continue to ignore them. Just pointing out your one definition error.

  100. Th1Th2 says:

    Dawn,

    Oh yeah? Obviously, you lack basic comprehension. You missed out the OTHER definition of “prerequisite”. Please check it out on 03 Nov 2010 at 1:38 pm.

Comments are closed.