Del Bigtree is not a scientist

On October 12, 2017, Del Bigtree,  a former producer of the television talk show, The Doctors, producer of the film Vaxxed, and founder of something called the Informed Consent Action Network (ICANDecide), sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wherein he outlined what he perceives as their “failure of HHS to conduct the proper science required to demonstrate vaccine safety.” This letter accuses HHS of everything from ignoring vaccine risks to not doing proper safety testing. For those of us who understand vaccine science, this letter almost seems like a parody. Alas, it was not only real but Del threatened HHS with a civil suit if they did not make the changes he suggested in the letter. He also made demands, such as wanting “vaccine safety advocates” to comprise half of HHS’s vaccine committees.  The letter was co-signed by 58 antivaccine organizations, including Weston A Price Foundation and World Mercury Project.

DEL is not a scientist

After October 12, nothing much happened at ICANDecide. In fact, not much has been heard from ICANDecide in a while.  Even their Facebook page has been quiet.

Until now.

Earlier this week, a notorious antivax crusader (I will refer to him as Pant) who despises Del Bigtree posted a link to a pdf he had created with the response from HHS to Del Bigtree. Pant claimed he was able to get the response through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  The response is from Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH, Acting Director of the National Vaccine Program Office, whom I have confirmed is real. The letter includes responses to all of Del’s claims and accusations, every single one of them proving Del knows nothing at all about vaccine safety.  All of his claims were disproven and all of his requests were denied.

This letter is a glorious piece of vaccine gold and when you read it you will understand completely why Del let this ball completely drop, pop, fizzle into nothing, and fade away.

For your reading pleasure, I bring you the HHS response to Del Bigtree.


Happy reading!



Spreading fear and misinformation to pregnant women


Antivaxers are lately taking the position of very strongly spreading fear and misinformation about the use of vaccines during pregnancy. One source for this information is Informed Choice Washington (ICW), an organization based near Seattle and run by two women who believe vaccines injured their children. Bernadette Pajer believes her grown son’s dairy allergies were caused by vaccines and Drella Stein believe her grown son’s autism was the result of a vaccine injury. They have made it their mission “to educate and advocate for vaccination policies that serve the best interest of the public and the individual patient.”  The problem is that they don’t espouse good science, and instead, cherry pick only what fits their antivax agenda. They believe they support medical freedom and, as such, are members of something called the Coalition for Informed Consent, a network of other antivax (“medical freedom”) organizations.


Case and point: Their Vaccination during pregnancy page. This purpose of this page is to mislead women into not vaccinating during pregnancy, despite good evidence supporting its benefits and low risks.

The page starts off with a melodramatic and inaccurate video from Del Bigtree, a man with no science background whatsoever) tell viewers the CDC knows flu vaccine during pregnancy causes abortion. This is in reference to a study the CDC detailed here.  This one study found that women who had been vaccinated for flu two years in a row suffered a miscarriage at a higher rate than others. They noted “this study does not quantify the risk of miscarriage and does not prove that flu vaccine was the cause of the miscarriage”  They also noted that earlier studies have not found a link between flu vaccination and miscarriage.

Instead of focusing on the facts, ICW plays up the possibility of a risk and creates a conspiracy theory by accusing the CDC of purposely delaying to release this study. They also ignore the FIVE studies that showed no link between miscarriage and flu vaccine.

This is a classic tactic from ICW and Ms. Pajer, to play up the risks and ignore the studies which do not confirm her biases.

She also makes the point that Currently, no vaccine is approved specifically for use during pregnancy to protect the infant(her bolding, not mine). It has been explained to Ms. Pajer many times that the FDA approved flu vaccines TDAP and then post-licensure studies demonstrated efficacy and safety during pregnancy, but that does not require relicensing. The vaccines are already licensed. They do not need to be specifically licensed for use during pregnancy. Still, she feels the need to do this on her website:

CAUTION: No vaccine is currently licensed by the FDA for protection of the infant.

Yes, big bold letters warning you of a fictional issue. This is deceptive. On purpose. Further, they cite a paper by David Ayoub and F. Edward Yazbak, both MDs, as evidence the vaccine is dangerous. This paper has a lot of misinformation in it. First of all, it is about the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) annual report from 2004, which was written before much of the research upon which the current recommendations are based were published. Currently, both ACIP and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and these are based on recommendations from 2016. To cite a review of recommendations from 2004 is deceptive. Again, ICW is deceiving people on purpose.

Another ICW concern is immune activation. This is a relatively new concern from antivaxers and is code for “vaccines cause autism.” They are concerned that giving vaccines to pregnant women could trigger immune activation thus leading to neurodevelopmental issues in all babies whose mothers were vaccinated. They compare the risk of dying from flu to the risk of immune activation in 100% of vaccinated babies.

  • Risk of flu-complication death for pregnant women: .000125%
  • Risk of flu-complication death for pregnant women in a pandemic year: .001875%
  • Risk of newborn death under three months during a non-major outbreak year: .00015%
  • Risk of newborn death under three months during a major whooping cough outbreak: .000375%

These statistics are based on the number of babies and women who died compared to the general public.

It should be noted that there is no evidence that giving a vaccine to pregnant women causes immune or neurodevelopmental issues in the newborn.

ICW also has the usual concerns about vaccine ingredients being dangerous and inserts not specifically stating vaccines are licensed for pregnancy or have been tested during pregnancy. As we have told you many times, inserts are only written about clinical trials. Studies on vaccines for use during pregnancy occurred after licensure, after clinical trials, and are, therefore, not represented in inserts. Inserts have serious limits. Always read more than them.

Ms. Pajer further has concerns that some of the CDC-cited studies were not randomized clinical trials. She has been told by yours truly, several times, that it would be unethical to do randomized clinical trials on pregnant women. The studies which have been done, with willing volunteers, are valid and strong. She criticizes and finds flaws in each of the 13 studies she reviews, which is okay, but does not take them as a body of literature. This is typical of what we call a ‘cherry picker,’ a person who reads studies with a bias in mind and only agrees with studies which confirm her pre-existing bias. So, because no one study meets all her exacting criteria, then none will satisfy her. However, the medical community looks at the ever-growing body of literature showing the safety and efficacy of vaccines during pregnancy. Hence, the recommendations from CDC, ACIP, and ACOG. Again, this is a disingenuous attempt by ICW to mislead people away from vaccinating.

The final concern from ICW is the aluminum salt in vaccines that is used as an adjuvant. The aluminum in vaccines is not a heavy metal. It is not even in a metallic form as portrayed by vaccine fearmongerers. It is in the form of a salt, usually aluminum hydroxide. The aluminum in aluminum hydroxide is not readily bioavailable and retention is extremely low from both ingestion and injection
This is a great explanation. 

It should be noted that we get actual aluminum in our food, including in antacids pregnant women take for acid reflux, a common pregnancy symptom. And, the aluminum salts are about 2 um or 2000 nm, in diameter, as per the work of Christopher Exley. That is much too large to cross the placenta (or the blood-brain barrier, for that matter).  According to my friend with a master’s in chemistry, aluminum salts don’t fit the definition of nanoparticles because they are over 100 nm in any 1 direction.

Here is some reading about the permeability of the placenta.

Most of the literature I’ve seen puts the pore size for the placenta at under 50 nm, and given the size of the adjuvant, I wouldn’t expect it to diffuse across the placenta.

The concerns about aluminum in vaccines are cherry picked and not based on sound science. Here is some excellent reading from learned friends of mine.

Aluminum adjuvant in vaccines – let’s go cherry picking

Torturing more mice in the name of antivaccine pseudoscience, 2017 aluminum edition

Mothers’ Flu Vaccination In Pregnancy Protects Newborns, Even The Second Time Around

Please don’t be scared by antivax websites.  Get the facts. Understand cherry picking does not an argument make.


Remember to think for yourself!




A provaxer watches The Pathological Optimist

The Andrew Wakefield documentary, The Pathological Optimist, popped up on Amazon Prime this weekend. So, I chose to watch it.

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The film starts out with us watching Andy do yoga while media accounts of his fraud and the study retracted are shown. Interesting dichotomy, of a man easing his tension with yoga while the world discusses his malfeasance.

The rest of the film seems to follow him suing the British Medical Journal and Brian Deer, the journalist who wrote about his malfeasance for the Sunday Tims of London newspaper. Apparently, Andy chose to sue these British citizens and entities in the US state of Texas because he was living in Texas at the time and his reputation in Texas had been besmirched.

Some background information

You can read what Brian Deer wrote here and here.

Left Brain Right Brain blog explains the SLAPP suit here.

The outcome of the SLAPP suit here.

The film appears to be a melodramatic look at Andy’s feelings about the SLAPP suit and his life thus far. He is shown pondering thoughtfully quite a few times. This is juxtaposed with him being treated with adulation by fans at a book signing.  News reports about the study, fraud, and Brian Deer are shown repeatedly but Andy’s opinion is this only happened in the USA and was simply about the fact that he now lives in the USA. Thus, this is the reason his SLAPP case was taken on by the law firm DiNovo Price Ellwanger & Hardy.

An interesting fact in the film is that the money for his legal fight against Deer and the BMJ came from what Andy refers to as the “autism community.” From the film, it appears the money came from Autism One conference fundraisers. Autism One is the “autism quackfest,” as ORAC calls them, and it makes sense that they would sponsor the effort to redeem Andy’s reputation.

Ironically, as soon as I type this, Andy starts reading and talking about Orac.

Throughout the film, Andy and his wife, Carmel express their opinion that Andy’s troubles are because Brian Deer lies, that the study from 1998 was not fraudulent at all, and pharmaceutical companies are out to get him. When Judge Amy Meachum, in Texas, throws out his attempt to sue the British journal and related persons for libel, Camille brings up that Meachum’s husband is a lobbyist for pharma. This conspiracy theory was even published on the autism hate blog, Age of Autism. The Poxes blog exposed this ridiculous conspiracy theory for what it is, ridiculous, but still, the filmmakers made sure to include this point in the film.

The point of the film seems to be to portray Andy Wakefield as a fallen hero deserving of redemption. It’s calculated, in how they use conversations between Andy and his mother and Andy and his wife. It’s emotionally manipulative but subtle. In many ways, the film rehashes much of what Andy wrote about in his book. Callous Disregard, although the film is better made and easier to watch than the book is to read. I did read the book, but never blogged about it. Dr Harriet Hall, however, did write about how she read it. 

She writes: “In his concluding epilogue, he says

In the battle for the hearts and minds of the public, you have already lost… Why? Because the parents are right; their stories are true; their children’s brains are damaged; there is a major, major problem. In the US, increasingly coercive vaccine mandates and fear-mongering campaigns are a measure of your failure — vaccine uptake is not a reflection of public confidence, but of these coercive measures, and without public confidence, you have nothing.

How ludicrous: he is clearly the one who undermined public confidence, not the scientists and agencies that are doing their best to reduce the incidence of preventable diseases and to protect the public from alarmists like him.

In my opinion, the whole book is an embarrassing, tedious, puerile, and ultimately unsuccessful attempt at damage control. Wakefield has been thoroughly discredited in the scientific arena and he is reduced to seeking a second opinion from the public. Perhaps he thinks that the truth can be determined by a popularity contest. Perhaps he thinks the future will look back at him as a persecuted genius like Galileo or Semmelweis. Jenny McCarthy thinks so; I don’t.”

The film, like the book, is basically a means for Andy to voice his excuses for why he should not have been struck from the register and why the study was not fraudulent. He even gets his son, James, and his wife, Carmel, to make excuses for why it was no big deal to take blood from James and his mates during James’ 10th birthday party. They all act like it is no big deal to pay children 5 pounds to take their blood at a birthday party, without ethical approval. One wonders why any of them think that this is a valid way to collect any kind of sample for a scientific study. It’s really hard to understand. Andy spends quite a bit of time, in the film, arguing that taking these blood samples was ethical.

As I get halfway through the film, I remember that the filmmaker, Miranda Bailey, maintains that the film is not about proving Andy right or making vaccines look bad and, yet, she spends quite a bit of time painting Andy as a loving family man. He is filmed cooking for his children and spending time with the family, the whole family participates in the interviews, and he is often filmed sitting in front of a large array of family photographs.

The point of this film is obviously to make us see Andrew Wakefield as a victim.

But it is not working for me. I am getting upset as I watch it. I am upset that he cannot admit he did anything wrong. I am upset that he continues to con people with these lies and mistruths. And I am upset that Andy continues to allow these lies and mistruths to be perpetuated, giving fuel to the antivaccination fire. Truly, if it were not for him, I believe we would not have such a large antivaccination movement and we would have a far smaller group of people who think vaccines cause autism. We likely would also have far fewer dangerous “cures” and treatments for autism. Autistic persons would not be seen as damaged and people would not be trying to remove the autism from them. Andy even says, at one point in the film, that he is very lucky that his own children are healthy and have no developmental disorders. The implication is that a developmental disorder is a horrible thing. Again, he is perpetuating the notion that autism is horrible.

The part of the movie I found the most annoying is the tale of Andy’s experience trying to confront Brian Deer in Wisconsin in October 2012.  Included in this part of the film is the story of Cade, the son of Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larsen. Cade was typically developing, in her words, until he had his 15-month vaccines. Between 15 months and 19 months, Cade became autistic, according to his mother. For some reason, the filmmakers chose to show Cade’s mother fangirling over Andy, inviting him into her large, luxurious home, where Cade is shown stimming and enjoying their pool. Cade seems to have a lovely life, which includes two dogs, a huge home and pool, and his own art room. Cade is a very cute boy, perhaps about 12 in the film. By the very sad music, I gather we are supposed to feel sorry for his family but my take is Cade has a blessed life.

In the film, Brian Deer is invited to a journalism school to talk to journalism students. Andy feels it is appropriate to show up to the college uninvited to give “the other side.” Ms. Larsen truly believes, in her own world, that pharmaceutical companies are paying Deer to ruin Andy’s career because they want to bury a link between autism and MMR. So, Andy is shown yelling at a small crowd of supporters and being called a hero.

Melodramatic music plays in the background.

I gather we viewers are supposed to take these moments seriously and see Andy as the fallen hero but all I see is a charismatic liar.  I also have a very hard time with the moms fangirling Andy. As someone who has read a great deal of the scientific literature and someone who has an autistic child and knows vaccines have NOTHING to do with it, I find the adulation of him disturbing. He even goes so far as to blame governments for the increase in measles incidence. He says that because they have removed the single measles vaccine from the market, they gave parents no other choices. He fails to acknowledge that parents are choosing not to vaccinate with MMR because of his opinion that MMR causes autism.

The film returns to the appeal of the SLAPP suit being dismissed. Andy’s lovely Austin home is shown.  It is a large estate in Austin, Texas, with a great deal of land and more than one home on it.  For all the complaints from Carmel about money, the house the Wakefield’s are shown in is a multi-million dollar plus estate, according to public tax documents. Carmel is showing walking around the estate with her daughter, discussing their lack of funds. It is a confusing scene. How could they have money for such a large estate if they have no money?

One clue comes towards the end of the film when Andy states he is $350,000 in debt and he realizes that another source of money, other than autism community, is needed. He states that another “target” is needed, “another group of people who get it.” And that target is the chiropractors. This fully explains Andy’s recent involvement with chiropractor associations and the chiropractor associations recent interest in “health freedom” advocacy. Andy reels them in by explaining to crowds of chiropractors that investigating the connection between autism and vaccines ends people’s careers, that Andy needs their financial help to fight the powers of evil. Andy is shown at a chiropractor conference in San Diego, where $50,000 is raised and everyone who donates over $500 gets to enjoy dinner with Andy. He gets a standing ovation.

Despite that money, the courts dismiss the appeal. Andy loses what many call a frivolous court case. Andy decides not to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and, instead focuses on making Vaxxed.

At the end of the film, Andy does admit that he believes that MMR causes autism. To the filmmaker’s credit, they do cite that there are over 100 studies demonstrating no link between vaccines and autism. But it is only one line in an hour and a half of Andy explaining otherwise.

The film ends with Andy taking to the woods with his ax, in hot pink shorts and a tank top, to chop some wood. Apparently, chopping down his woods is how he relieves stress.

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As far as documentaries go, this is a fairly well-made film. It was fascinating to get a behind the scenes look, albeit a contrived one, at Andy’s life at home. The point of the film is obviously to make the viewer sympathetic to Andy and I do believe the filmmakers did a good job of this, with their choices of where to film (in front of family photos) and how they portray Andy himself. This makes it very obviously a film focused on the antivaccine message, the message that Andy Wakefield is a hero and the MMR and other vaccines are evil. This is not a message based on sound science. It is emotionally manipulative, just like all the other antivax films. In that respect, I find this film very annoying and the producer, Miranda Bailey, to be highly disingenuous in her statements that she was not setting out to make an antivax film.


It should be noted that Brian Deer wrote about this film and the idea that he was asked to participate in it.  It is an interesting read. As you might expect, the filmmakers were not truthful.


Remember to think for yourself!



Vaccines don’t cause mass shootings

Yes, I went there. Why? Because antivaxers have been going there all week, since a teenager opened fire at high school in Parkland, Florida, USA.

Ever since Sandy Hook,  when Shari Tenpenny blamed vaccines for causing the shooter to be autistic and rage against society, antivaxers have blamed mass shootings on vaccines and autism. It is not just pseudoscience but ableism of the worst kind.

No! Just No!  Vaccines do not cause autism, there is no autism epidemic, and neither autism nor vaccines are responsible for mass shootings!


Not much has changed since Shari made that statement. Antivaxers are still blaming all of society’s ills on vaccines. The antivax band and group. The Refusers, was the first one I noticed.  Refusers is basically the brainchild of Michael Belkin, a man who believes his baby died from a reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine, although he has no evidence to back that claim.

refusers copy

Comments have been made around the internet


First of all, we don’t know if Nikolas Cruz was autistic.  Secondly, it doesn’t matter. Humans have been violent since they first started to walk upright. Anyone who has ever read history, studied anthropology, or just bothers to be well-read knows that humans have tended to be violent since the dawn of our time.

“Medieval knights—whom today we would call warlords—fought their numerous private wars with a single strategy: kill as many of the opposing knight’s peasants as possible. Religious instruction included prurient descriptions of how the saints of both sexes were tortured and mutilated in ingenious ways. Corpses broken on the wheel, hanging from gibbets, or rotting in iron cages where the sinner had been left to die of exposure and starvation were a common part of the landscape. For entertainment, one could nail a cat to a post and try to head-butt it to death, or watch a political prisoner get drawn and quartered, which is to say partly strangled, disemboweled, and castrated before being decapitated.”


“Lethal violence increased over the course of mammal evolution. While only about 0.3 percent of all mammals die in conflict with members of their own species, that rate is sixfold higher, or about 2 percent, for primates. Early humans likewise should have about a 2 percent rate—and that lines up with evidence of violence in Paleolithic human remains.

The medieval period was a particular killer, with human-on-human violence responsible for 12 percent of recorded deaths. But for the last century, we’ve been relatively peaceable, killing one another off at a rate of just 1.33 percent worldwide. And in the least violent parts of the world today, we enjoy homicide rates as low as 0.01 percent.”


We have gotten less violent as we have gotten more civilized, primarily due to education and lawmaking. The USA may have the 31st highest rate of violence in the world, but that rate is also decreasing. A 2014 report from the FBI found “Violent crime, however, is about 0.7 percent lower than five years ago, and 16.5 percent lower than a decade ago. The violent crime rate – nearly 373 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in the U.S. – is almost half the 20-year high reached in 1996.”

So, why does USA have so many mass shootings, particularly mass shootings in schools? Well, without good research, which the NRA blocks, we don’t really know. It certainly has nothing to do with vaccines since we know that human’s tendency to violence is nothing new. Perhaps it relates to easy access to guns. Perhaps it is about social media attention. Maybe shooters want to go down in a blaze of glory.  Until we have some research, we won’t really know what this is all about. One thing for sure, this is not about mental illness.

“Our brief review suggests that connections between mental illness and gun violence are less causal and more complex than current US public opinion and legislative action allow. US gun rights advocates are fond of the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people do.” The findings cited earlier in this article suggest that neither guns nor people exist in isolation from social or historical influences. A growing body of data reveals that US gun crime happens when guns and people come together in particular, destructive ways. That is to say, gun violence in all its forms has a social context, and that context is not something that “mental illness” can describe nor that mental health practitioners can be expected to address in isolation”
One thing I know for sure, these shootings are not about vaccines or autism or mental illness. Please stop blaming those for things they do not cause. You are not helping.
PS Did you know we have a Facebook page? Please check it out!


Antivaxers jump the shark


Are you familiar with the term ‘jump the shark?” It refers to the moment when you know a program, band, actor, politician, or other public figure has taken a turn for the worse, gone downhill, become irreversibly bad, is unredeemable, etc. It originated with the show Happy Days and refers to the episode where Fonzi went water skiing and jumped a shark.  It was the point the show was beyond redemption and quality deteriorated.

This week, antivaxers jumped the shark over the story of David and Louise Turbin, the California parents who had been torturing and neglecting their 13 children for years.  California Assemblyman Jose Medina and Senator Dr Richard Pan have both discussed online and in news interviews how there should be oversight of homeschooling to make sure this kind of thing does not happen. Right now, in all states in USA, you can homeschool your children without any oversight by any authorities. Most homeschools are wonderful, but this does present an easy means for child abusers to hide their children away.  Assemblyman Medina, who represents the area where the children lived, made the following statement:

“I was very disturbed to learn about the horrific violence that has taken place in our community, and am thankful that these children are now in safety.  I am extremely concerned about the lack of oversight the State of California currently has in monitoring private and home schools. I have been in conversation with the Riverside County Office of Education, which agrees that we need to do more to protect our students and validate that they are in safe learning environments. I am looking into introducing a bill this year that would provide a legislative solution and prevent a situation like this from occurring in the future.”

State senator, Dr Richard Pan, has also been concerned.

“This tragic situation is the result of the fact that there’s no requirement for anyone to take a look at the kids,” said State Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento.

“It’s certainly not emblematic of homeschooling, but it does underscore the tremendous lack of oversight,” Pan said.

All this has led antivaxers to believe that Dr Pan is coming for their homeschools in order to vaccinate all children in California. In my opinion, they have jumped the shark.  They have swarmed to Dr Pan’s facebook page and Assemblyman Medina’s facebook page, posting endless comments about how they know “big pharma’ has paid Dr Pan to force vaccinate all kids and the idea of mandating oversight for homeschool programs is really about the government controlling them.  It’s been very rare to see anyone express empathy for the Turbin children or provide a solution to preventing children from being hidden away.

Some examples:

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Here’s a rare supportive message:

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Over on leviquackenboss blog, Ms Charron has added her two cents, convinced this might even be a fabricated story! You may remember Levi as the one who harassed then 12 year old Marco Arturo.

“This is starting to look like serendipitous timing for Pan. Just what if… any part of this story is fabricated or exaggerated so that California gets out some kind of “children’s safety” bill to start regulating homeschoolers, and once that’s done, they’ll no longer be exempt from vaccines?

I don’t think the press coverage is about monitoring California homeschools. I think this is about destroying them, making all children subject to SB277.”

A comment from her blog:

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I think it is pretty easy to see that antivaxers seem very concerned about themselves and the possibility that they will lose some perceived freedoms more than they are concerned about protecting vulnerable people. I find that incredible. We have a great many laws which limit our freedoms in the name of protecting others. Americans used to have the right to own their children like property and put them to work, deny them an education, even sell them into indentured servitude. Laws have taken away all those rights because children are humans and deserve protecting. As a homeschooling mom myself, I would not mind one bit if I had to bring my kids somewhere to report in once a month. I have nothing to hide.

And do you see how they’ve gone off the deep end thinking this is all about vaccines?  They cannot fathom Dr Pan might be concerned about children’s well-being. I find it troubling that they are so deeply paranoid.

As for Levi (aka Robyn Charron), I did not provide a link to her blog because I have recently discovered she edits comments. Her identity is pretty well known, in vaccine circles, so I mentioned to her that she could talk to her state representatives in Colorado. She edited out the state name. When I called her on it, she posted this:

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The paranoia runs deep in this crowd. Check out this video!  Someone from “truthertalk” thinks homeschoolers are being attacked and the state doesn’t care about children at all. This story about the Turbin’s is fake and it is all about “big pharma” coming to getcha!



Remember to think for yourself!




More on “jump the shark”

Antivaxer’s challenged me to a quiz



I got challenged to a quiz, while chatting on the CDC Facebook page today. I thought I would share. I answered from the top of my head. Did I do okay? Feel free to share this post if you ever get challenged to this quiz.


Note: I answered these questions as part of a challenge on Facebook. I was pretty proud that I answered them all in about five minutes. I appreciate all the clarifying comments. I am aware of all those details, but did not post them in the FB thread because I was trying to be super  brief.  But thanks!


1. Name 5 vaccine ingredients – aluminum salts, neomycin, various cells, polysorbate 80, albumin,
2. What is MRC-5? Cells from an fetus legally aborted 50+years ago on which some viruses are cultured.
3. What is WI-38? same as #2
4. What is vaccine court? Colloquial term for USCFC wherein people can file a claim of vaccine injury.
5. What is the national vaccine injury compensation program? VICP is the same as vaccine court
6. What is the 1986 national vaccine injury act? Federal act, co-written by founders of NVIC, with a great many safety laws and guidelines for informed consent, etc, also specifies how and when you can file a claim for vaccine injury and mandates high safety standards for vaccine production and distribution.
7. How has the CDC schedule changed since 1986? As science has developed more vaccines to prevent serious diseases, they have been added to schedule. Examples are rotavirus, PCV13, HIB.
8. How much money has been paid out by vaccine injury court? A bit more than $3 billion for claims and attorney fees. Compared to 5 billion doses given in 30 years, injury rate is 0.000011%.
9. How many doses of how many vaccines are in the CDC schedule between birth and age 18? Off the top of my head, we protect against 14-16 diseases.
10. Do vaccine contain DNA from aborted fetal cell lines? No. When viruses are grown on any cells, they are removed from those cells and purified before use in vaccines.
If so, which vaccines? None.
11. Do any vaccines contain dog, Monkey, Pig, and human DNA? No, see #10.
12. What is an adjuvant? Something that stimulates immune response to vaccine works better.
13. What is an antigen? The disease components in the vaccines.
14. Which arm of the immune system do vaccines stimulate? adaptive
15. Which arms of the immune system do natural diseases stimulate? innate
16. What is transverse myelitis? Inflammation of the spinal cord, often caused by natural infection
17. What is encephalopathy? Brain swelling, often caused by natural infection
18. What is the rate of autism in 2017, what was it in 2000? What was it in 1980? Autism rate today is 1.5%.
19. What is glyphosate and is it in vaccines? It is a pesticide and not in any vaccines.
20. If your child is injured, who will take physical, emotional and financial responsibility? Same person who takes responsibility if your child is injured by a disease – you. You could file a claim in federal court, if you meet the time table.
21. What was the Supreme Courts statement on vaccines in 2011? Bruesewitz v Wyeth is too long to summarize herein.
22. Can you provide a study showing vaccinated vs unvaccinated health outcomes? Yes, many. One is called KIGGS. Google it.
23. Can you show me a safety study proving it is safe to inject multiple vaccines? Yes, Dr Offit authored one for the journal Pediatrics. Google it.
24. What is shedding? Something antivaxers fear irrationally but, in reality, is mostly myth. There are no outbreaks caused by vaccines shedding.
25. Do vaccines shed? Which vaccines can shed for up to 6 weeks? Some live vaccines can shed, such as measles in urine, rotavirus in feces, chicken pox in pox, but there are no outbreaks connected with these vaccines. There are only a couple of cases of children shedding to siblings when proper hygiene protocol was not followed.
26. Which vaccines are live virus vaccines? MMR, oral polio (which we do not use in USA), smallpox ( which is only for military), rotavirus, and the nasal flu mist (which we don’t use in USA )
27. What is the VICP? You already asked this question. See #s 4-6
28. What is SV 40? It was a virus that was found in one of the early live polio vaccines. It was killed when it went thru the digestive system and never caused any health concerns in humans.
29. What is MTHFR and how is it affected by vaccines. A gene we all carry. It can have mutations, which antivaxers worry about, but all you need to do is take extra folate and you will be fine. It is not a valid reason to avoid vaccines, despite what naturopaths and health nuts think.
30. What is an acceptable amount of aluminum to be me ingested per day and what is the aluminum content of the Hep B shot given at birth? The ingested limit for intravenous feeding solutions that have aluminum in them is 25 mcg. That has nothing whatsoever to do with vaccines. FDA has approved vaccines as safe.
31. Can someone who was vaccinated for pertussis still spread pertussis after being exposed to it? If so for how long? Vaccinated baboons, when exposed to wild pertussis, were shown to colonize the pertussis in their throats for weeks but they were asymptomatic and thus not spreading the disease. Therefore, vaccinating are not spreading pertussis unless they get pertussis and have symptoms, which is unlikely.
32. What is the death from measles in the past 10 years in the US? From the MMR vaccine? According to CDC Wonder database, there have been 49 deaths from measles in the USA in the last ten years and zero from MMR.
Well, that was fun.
Happy weekend everyone!

Vaccines Save Lives


Happy New Year!

Did you know that vaccines save lives? This can be analyzed in many ways but here is how vaccines have helped babies NOT die of SIDS or other causes of infant mortality. Look at how the numbers drop! It’s astounding.


CIA infant mortality data

Infant Mortality, USA 1960-1980


USA vaccine schedule by year

USA SIDS rate by year, 1980-2010

Meta-analysis showing vaccines cut risk of SIDS by 50%


Aren’t we lucky!


Blessings to you all for a happy and healthy 2018,



Dissolving Illusions Book Review


Thanks to MW, I was able to read this book without giving the author any funds.  I always prefer to share books or check them out from the library, if I can, since I am a voracious reader. I do love to buy a real book, now and then, but simply cannot afford to buy all the books I want. 

The Authors



Dr. Humphries is a currently-licensed nephrologist but is not currently practicing medicine. Instead, she is mostly traveling around the country with the Vaxxed team. I have been aware of her antivax stance for many years, back when she used to post alongside Hilary Butler, a long-time antivaxer from New Zealand. Hilary self-published a book called Just a little prick about ten years ago. I read it when it first came out as she was giving away free copies back then. Back in the early days of online parenting chats, Hilary was often found in vaccine forums. At some point, Suzanne picked up that trail. I can recall, back when I ran Informed Parents of Vaccinated Children page on Facebook (I was founder and ran it from 2011-2013 when I gave it to friends) that both of them would show up to chat about polio being caused by DDT, Vitamin C being the cure for everything, vaccines cause all the world’s evils, and how, at the time, Suzanne was studying homeopathy. Suzanne now denies this happened, but I was there. I just wish I had taken screenshots!  Oh well, that was two computers ago anyway. At any rate, Hilary and Suzanne share a great many ideologies about vaccines, diseases, and vitamin C.

Roman Bystrianyk is the co-author and all I have ever been able to find on him is what was printed on the back of this book, that he has a BS in engineering and an MS in computer science. There is a little more information on him at the book website, but he otherwise keeps a low social media profile. He used to run a site called Health Sentinel but that appears to now be defunct.


First of all, about half the book is quotes from various other texts, articles, and studies, which is extremely unusual. I believe it is self-published and had no formal editing because a book from a reputable publisher would never have allowed this many quotes.  Also, all the graphs are sideways, which is very annoying I ended up pulling them all from the digital copy onto my computer’s desktop so I could turn them the right way and actually view them while I read.  The original writing is not very sophisticated, in my opinion, and there are many snide remarks throughout, such as “Millionaire vaccine inventor Paul Offit, a supporter of mandatory vaccinations, wrote a book on the Cutter incident.”  I feel like this book was likely not edited by a professional as that inflammatory and untrue statement should have been flagged and changed to “Pediatrician and Vaccinologist Paul Offit wrote a book on the Cutter incident.” The book’s version, to me, seems rather snide, as if the authors are trying hard to portray him negatively when they should be letting the reader judge for herself.


Forward by Dr Jayne L. M. Donegan

Dr. Donegan is a general practice doctor and homeopath from the United Kingdom. She says the debate about safety is discouraged and no attention is given to improved social conditions. She states she was trained in medical school to not question vaccines. The UK 1994 measles outbreak, and recommendation to vax a 2nd and third time with MMR led to her doubts. She started to research death rate related to vaccine-preventable diseases and noticed a pattern of death rate decreasing before vaccines. “We get infectious diseases when our bodies need to have a periodic cleanout. Children, especially, benefit from childhood spotty rashes, or “exanthems” as they are called, at appropriate times in order to make developmental leaps, so long as they are treated appropriately. In my experience, the worst complications of childhood infections are caused by standard medical treatment, which involves suppression of all the symptoms.“

Sidebar: If you want to know what vaccine-preventable diseases actually do, I recommend reading the Pink Book. 

Authors’ introduction

Roman Bystrianyk says a book by Neil Z Miller and graphs of death rate decreasing before vaccines influenced his thinking. His experience curing his son of epilepsy “Happily, after a few months, the EEG revealed no seizure activity! Not only was I thrilled that my son’s condition had improved, but the experience had again shown me the power of belief systems. In this case, the belief that nutrients and diet had no effect on brain health was absolutely wrong. ”

Sidebar: Please note we have no evidence Roman cured his son and we do know his ex-wife was a nurse and was not anti-vax.

Suzanne Humphries says, “It would be untrue to say that I ever completely believed in the necessity and safety of vaccination. I have long had an intuitive distaste for vaccines.”

“During my medical residency, I saw many autoimmune diseases and silently wondered if the vaccines could be playing a role”

“The God-given sense that I was endowed with was temporarily replaced by supposed evidence-based medicine and mindless rules, protocols, and guidelines. ”

Sidebar: It is very apparent Suzanne has always had antivax tendencies.

Suzanne says that the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine caused kidney failure in three patients (her diagnosis) and that led her to be antivax. There is no evidence to support these claims.

Chapter 1

This chapter is a reminder that diseases were rampant in 19th-century cities due to sanitation and sewage issues, factories, hazardous housing, and poor quality of food. I don’t refute this at all. However, I would look at more than just mortality rates to talk about community health. Just because death rate dropped does not mean diseases went away. The Pink Book does a good job of explaining modern outbreak data.

Chapter 2

This chapter informs us that in the 19th-century, children were working and labor contributed to disease and injury rates being very high. Again, I do not refute this but there were still large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and some deaths.

Chapter 3

This chapter informs us that disease rates were high in 19th-century. We know that fact. Again, that did not mean diseases all went away. The authors only present death, or mortality, data and not incidence, or morbidity, data.

Chapter 4

This chapter is about smallpox history. The claim is made that compulsory vaccination did not curb outbreaks because smallpox vaccine did not prevent smallpox in 100% of the population. The claim is made that strict vaccination laws had no beneficial effect. Some quotes from the book:

“In fact, more people died from smallpox in the 20 years after the strict compulsory laws than in the 20 years prior.”

“In 1948, there were an estimated 200 to 300 deaths as the result of smallpox vaccination, while during the same time there had only been 1 smallpox death.”

“The death rate for smallpox declined after 1872, but there is no evidence that vaccination had anything at all to do with it. In the early 1900s, death from smallpox all but vanished from England.”

Her implication is that better sanitation and hygiene contributed to the reduction of smallpox. I believe this is an inaccurate and disingenuous view of vaccines and smallpox history. Dr. Vince Ianelli does a good job of explaining smallpox disease and vaccine facts at his blog, Vaxopedia.

Chapter 5

The authors are very concerned about cell culturing using animal cells. I am not sure why this bothers them. They state “as long as animals and animal cells are used for vaccine manufacture, the potential for infection will exist. There is no proposed end to the use of animals in vaccine production.” Since we eat, breathe, and drink non-human DNA all day, every day, and the human race has managed to survive quite a long time, I am unsure of their actual concern. Perhaps they saw “The Fly” with Jeff Goldblum and are concerned humans will morph into non-humans if we are encounter non-human DNA? I would remind them that is science fiction.

For some very good information on cell cultures, here are two excellent links:

Chapter 6

This chapter describes the case of Leicester, in the UK, where some people chose jail rather than compulsory vaccination. They chose quarantine and disinfection. This is now called the “Leicester Method.”  Dr. Ianelli does a great job explaining how this worked on his blog, Vaxopedia.

Chapter 7

Leicester Method employed by WHO in Yugoslavia 1972 after smallpox vaccine supposedly failed. I found a WHO document explaining the outbreak and how it was handled. They quarantined those affected and vaccinated many others.  The outbreak was contained and spread was halted. This was a public health win.

This outbreak was imported and confined to family and contacts from hospital exposures, 175 in all. Yugoslavia had been free of smallpox since 1930. There was a decreasing rate of children being immunized. The vaccination campaign was implemented in communes affected. Vaccination was continued until 95% of the population was successful. Vaccination was then extended to the entire population of 18 million. In areas affected by the outbreak, there was a restriction of movement of the population. “To quote Humphries and Bystrianyk,  “even though they knew that vaccination was ineffective, the Yugoslavian Federal Epidemiologic Commission went ahead and vaccinated 18 million citizens. Vaccination had to continue through the end of April because so many of the vaccinations were considered unsuccessful and had to be repeated.”

Notice the negative tone here? In reality, this tone is not found in the WHO document, linked above, which merely states “it had to be continued to the end of April, however, because vaccination was unsuccessful in a proportion of the vaccinees.” P. 7.   So, the authors of the WHO document recognize that vaccines have a certain failure rate and revaccination is a necessary reality. The authors of Dissolving Illusions, on the other hand, make the implication that revaccination is a problem. The authors of the WHO document also thank WHO for their efforts and explain that any outbreak of a serious infectious disease has to involve a variety of tasks, including immunization campaigns and quarantine.

They Yugoslavia outbreak of 1972 was extinguished because of a combination of quarantine and immunization. The authors of Dissolving Illusions, on the other hand, refuse to recognize this fact.

Chapter 8

This chapter compares compulsory immunization laws to eugenics. This is so completely offensive, I am not going to say anything else.

Chapter 9

This chapter tells the story of Arthur Smith Jr who suffered smallpox as a result of smallpox vaccine he got for school. The compulsory vaccination laws in 1915 New York are blamed. We know that some smallpox vaccinees got smallpox from the vaccine. This is not a reason to dismiss the vaccine.

Chapter 10

Improvements in hygiene and sanitation are explained and credited with reducing disease outbreaks. As has been stated, it is obvious that hygiene and sanitation played huge roles in reducing disease rates but that does not mean vaccines did not help.

Chapter 11

Smallpox decline is credited to improved sanitation and not vaccination. Smallpox cases become mild and routinely mistaken for chicken pox. Sanitation is credited for decreasing rates of typhoid fever, scarlet fever, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, and diphtheria. They refer to this ear of mid-1800s to early 1900s as “the Sanitation Revolution.” Mortality rates are discussed but not morbidity.

In reality, there is no evidence that chicken pox is smallpox. And, again, the rate of disease (morbidity) should not be dismissed.

Chapter 12

The authors claim “the polio story is a haunting one: long, complicated, and ugly. It’s not a story you will have read or that the medical profession will be able to tell. Beyond the smoke and mirrors lie sketchy statistics, renaming of diseases, and vaccine-induced paralytic polio caused by both the Salk and the Sabin vaccines. Dr. Albert Sabin’s oral polio vaccine (OPV) continues to cause paralysis in vaccine recipients today.”

Medical professionals know that low uptake of the oral polio vaccine, which is live, can lead to the shedding of vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks. But, the oral polio vaccine has a very important place in history as it is easier to use than the inactivated version. It has many advantages over the inactivated vaccine.  It is easier to share in developing countries but, in times of war, there are vaccine-derived outbreaks. This is no reason to dismiss the vaccine. In 2016, there were 34 cases of wild polio and three cases of vaccine-derived, on earth. That is astounding! Unfortunately, due to war, there have been 84 cases of vaccine-derived polio in 2017, but we are still extremely close to eradicating polio from earth.

The best place to learn about polio is the Global Polio Eradication website.

Humphries and Bystrianyk further claim polio was a low incidence disease. They introduce the story of the Brazilian Xavante tribe who apparently had no paralytic polio amongst polio cases in a 1964 study. Americans living in the same area had significant rate of paralytic poliomyelitis. The authors make the claim that modern medicine increases susceptibility to poliomyelitis. “ Refined sugar, white flour, alcohol, tobacco, tonsillectomies, vaccines, antibiotics, DDT, and arsenic had become financial golden calves that led humanity blindly down a spiral of disease and misery. Unfortunately, the paralysis was uniformly attributed to poliovirus infections which thus justified and prioritized vaccine research at all costs. Many thousands of people were needlessly paralyzed because the medical system refused to look at the consequences of these golden calves, gave only lip service to the success of the Sister Kenny treatment of paralysis (discussed later in this chapter), and concentrated solely on vaccine research.”

No proof of these claims is offered.

Humphries and Bystrianyk also claim a change in diagnostic criteria and advent of diagnostic tests, which could distinguish between polio and other paralytic diseases. They tell about a 1958 Michigan outbreak where 1060 patients who were believed to have polio were found to have a variety of issues, including 401 with no virus and 176 with other viruses. They make the claim that paralytic polio was, in fact, mostly not actually poliovirus and deformed limbs and life of paralysis could be easily avoided if everyone had good food and employed Sister Elizabeth Kenny’s methods of physical therapy for rehabilitation. This anecdote is not supported by any evidence Sister Kenny’s methods actually work.

The authors further claim that we see high rates of Polio in India and Nigeria and Gaza because they lack safe food and physical therapy. They do not reflect on how India, Gaza, and Niger all have zero cases of polio lately.

Humphries and Bystrianyk then go on to describe their theory that transverse myelitis in the USA today would have all been labeled polio in past generations. They also make the claim that that DDT poisoning causes similar symptoms as polio. Diet is again implicated. ““Diet—in particular, diets high in refined sugar and flour—has a known impact on susceptibility to severe poliovirus infection. The harsh chemicals used in cane sugar refining are thought by some scientists to have contributed to the synergy between an otherwise innocent virus and the sugar. In addition, as Dr. Sandler demonstrated sugar metabolism and post-prandial hypoglycemia increased cellular viral susceptibility.”

These are common antivax tropes but no one ever explains how polio was found before DDT was invented and is currently eradicated in countries where DDT is back in use. Further, they don’t explain how the polio virus has been recognizable in tests for decades and how polio is distinct from TM.  In my opinion, these are unproven conspiracy theories.

The current distribution of DDT shows it’s used in many countries which are free of polio.

The authors also claim polio is related to arsenic poisoning and syphilis. These are pure conjectures. The authors then explain how polio is very mild in 95% of cases and they hypothesize that paralytic polio had other causes and, thus, we do not need a vaccine for polio.

The Cutter Incident is presented as a big issue but I feel the authors try to use this incident as a reason not to vaccinate and that is not appropriate. The SV40 issue is also outlined. ““How much of the abrupt rise in human cancer rates since the introduction of monkey products into the human population is due to SV40 will also remain uncertain due to a lack of precise research.” The Skeptical Raptor does an excellent job debunking this myth.

Finally, the authors claim the increase in the incidence of acute flaccid paralysis in countries like India is due to changing of diagnostic criteria and AFP would have been labeled polio in previous years. I find this claim simple to debunk because India has been able to track viral causes for AFP for quite some time and has seen a yearly rise for the first decade of 21st century. But, is that due to increased access to diagnosticians or is it related to the polio vaccine? That it might be related to the vaccines is an idea primarily promoted by Dr. Jacob Puliyel, a pediatrician in Delhi, India. His opinion is a minority one and his opinion that polio vaccination funds would be better spent on improved sanitation is not one shared by many people. Most experts believe it is important to vaccinate and improve sanitation, at the same time.   Not one or the other. ”

Dr. Puliyel blames the polio vaccine for a sharp rise in India in cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis – weakness or inability to move limbs. “But polio is just one of many causes, with other viruses and bacteria also responsible. Public health officials also point out that monitoring of cases is now far better than in previous decades.”

The authors also fault GAVI for increased efforts to vaccinate children. But, it should be noted that since the publication of this book, India has been declared polio-free. So, something great has been accomplished by GAVI’s efforts. The authors further state that the attention spent to polio vaccine is inappropriate and the billions of dollars spent by GAVI and Gates Foundation would be much better spent on improving nutrition, clean water, farming, and dealing with war and famine. It’s as if they don’t realize that Gates Foundation and WHO all actually do address those issues AS WELL AS immunizations.

The authors conclude:

“History books of the future may reflect upon a disaster with this conclusion: Wild poliovirus should have been left alone and the real sources of paralysis pursued and addressed.”

How on earth can they think the world is not better now? I am flummoxed.

Chapter 13

In this chapter, the authors claim whooping cough is not a serious health threat in healthy individuals and play up quite dramatically the risks of the vaccines. Many incidences of vaccine injuries are presented. Again, the historical death rate is presented as proof that vaccines did not save us. The authors also make the claim that there is much more pertussis around us than is documented because doctors do not consider a mild cough could be pertussis. They also discuss the promise of lifelong immunity made with vaccination. The limitations of the acellular pertussis vaccine are presented as a reason not to vaccinate.

They discuss original antigenic sin ““The concept of original antigenic sin (OAS) was coined by Dr. Thomas Francis, who became well known during the Salk vaccine era when he oversaw and interpreted the results of the largest (and most controversial) vaccine trial in history. He explained the phenomenon of OAS using natural influenza virus as an example.”  This is the concept that the body responds more robustly and naturally to wild disease than to a vaccine. The authors believe that immunity from natural pertussis is stronger than that of vaccine pertussis. They believe that the CDC portrays pertussis as severe to increase vaccine uptake.

“The reason immunologists and vaccine scientists don’t talk about original antigenic sin is that if they had to explain to the public just what it means in principle and in practical fact, they’d have to explain that vaccination breaches a fundamental immunological tenet. They would have to admit that whooping cough vaccine immunity is vastly inferior and that vaccine immunity has immunologic unintended consequences in the future.”

The thing is, immunity from wild pertussis is not that different from vaccine immunity. “A review of the published data on duration of immunity reveals estimates that infection-acquired immunity against pertussis disease wanes after 4-20 years and protective immunity after vaccination wanes after 4-12 years. ”

The authors then go on to explain that pertussis will be a mild infection if the child is properly nourished and treated with Vitamin C. But, they don’t have any actual scientific evidence to support this claim. Dr. Humphries says that “generally speaking, antibiotic-treated children fare no better than their untreated counterparts. In my experience, they often fare worse. Breastfeeding makes a major difference in how well the child handles the infection. Infants as young as two weeks of age have fared quite well at home with the vitamin C treatment and breast milk alone. This makes sense given that antibiotics alter the bowel immunity and, during the dying off of bacteria in the gut, release even more toxin into the already toxic child.”  Now keep in mind that Dr. Humphries was a kidney doctor, so she never treated children for pertussis. And her vitamin C protocol is based on case studies from the 1930s where nothing else was tried but vitamin C.

She makes some truly outrageous claims that are not supported by any evidence:

“Properly managed, natural whooping cough is but an irksome nuisance that will impart true and lasting immunity upon the convalesced.”

“If vitamin C in adequate doses was given to children, and even the youngest infants with pertussis, the reputation of B. pertussis as the devastating 100-day cough would fade away.”

In fact, the Linus Pauling Institue at Oregon State University has research demonstrating vitamin c has no proven efficacy for any virus or bacteria.

Chapter 14

This chapter is about measles and again history mortality rates are illustrated but not morbidity. Real epidemiologists always compare death (mortality) rate to the incidence of disease (morbidity) to better understand trends. Are people still getting sick in huge numbers but just not dying or is the disease truly waning? In this book, only mortality rates are analyzed. And the graphs are all sideways, which is incredibly annoying.

A brief history of some of the bumps in the road to an effective measles vaccine is presented as proof vaccines do not work. Then, we get to Wakefield. The authors paint a portrait of Wakefield’s history that is common amongst his fans. They claim his original 1998 study was valid and only pulled because he was attacked. They also claim his colleagues found proof of his original hypotheses but their research has been stalled due to lack of funding. The authors try to discredit the measles vaccine by claiming that because measles virus can be found in the urine of some vaccinated individuals this must suggest that we are all walking around with atypical measles infections. These claims are all refuted by the facts of the case against Wakefield.

This all led the authors to conclude that there is no danger from measles and the vaccine is unnecessary. They also cite several outbreaks of measles in those with only one MMR as proof the vaccine does not work. Again, the implication is made that vaccines do not really work. They are just a profit scam by pharmaceutical companies. They make the claim that the vaccine does not produce lifelong immunity. Honestly, that the vaccine does not create the kind of immune response as a wild disease doesn’t actually matter to vaccine advocates because the vaccine comes with a far lesser risk of complications than having a wild disease. The idea the authors imply, that we should all get sick with natural measles because it induces a stronger immune response, is dangerous.

The authors also claim that the vaccine is not responsible for the steep drop in incidence of measles after 1963. Their reasoning is because not all children were vaccinated for measles in the 1960s then the vaccine could not be the reason for the decline in incidence. They claim that the vaccinated were still getting measles but were not being counted; thus, measles incidence rate did not really fall. They claim laboratory confirmation of disease was not done for all patients with symptoms. They claim that the 5-10% of vaccinated individuals who get a mild rash after measles vaccine not only actually have measles but that percent is a gross underestimate.

“If 5–10 percent of measles vaccines result in fever and rash, then there are approximately 650,000–1,300,000 cases of measles in the United States per year given the 13–14 million yearly doses of vaccine injected into one-year-olds (live births per year US census = 14 million).”

Humphries and Bystrianyk also claim this is why we have a “present-day epidemic of connective tissue diseases, immunoreactive diseases, and degenerative and tumorous ailments.”  They cite a study by Ronne called “Measles Virus Infection Without Rash in Childhood Is Related to Disease in Adult Life” wherein the author theorizes but does not prove that patients who were given immune globulin had higher rates of certain adult infections and that should lead to the reconsideration of immune globulin for atypical measles infection. This is just an opinion and no support is provided.

Humphries and Bystriany state that “rashless infection would have led to fewer measles reports, but not because measles was not circulating and causing occult infections. So, on one hand, the early vaccines were leading to cases of atypical measles and causing a different disease (which were not counted as wild measles), and on the other hand, the gamma globulin given to prevent the side effects of the vaccines was also interfering with normal cell-mediated processing of the virus.”  Again, this appears to be their opinion.

Finally, the authors believe measles was dying out on it’s own and improvements in nutrition and increases in breastfeeding are the reasons. They make a correlation between low breastfeeding rates in the 1940s and pertussis epidemics. I am sure we can all agree that breastmilk is a wonderful food for infants and I breastfed my own children for 36 months each. However, the authors are implying that all women should breastfeed their children and that because many of us were vaccinated, we are putting our infants at risk by not passing the immune properties of our own measles infections along to our infants via our breastmilk. This makes two deeply offensive implications: that women should all breastfeed and that being vaccinated actually endangers children. The authors provide no evidence to support either assertion.

“Today, because of vaccination, young infants are more susceptible than ever. Scientists are searching for ways to vaccinate them and bypass the vaccine neutralization that comes from placental and breast milk immunity. Why? That immunity protects the infant from measles. This is just another example of how vaccines have created a situation that requires even more vaccines and more manipulation of the immune system. This is financially efficient for vaccine manufacturers but scientifically and immunologically unsound.”

 I am sure I am not alone in not only feeling this argument is unscientific but it is also remarkably sexist.

Vitamins A and C are presented as all the measles patients need. It is implied that children in western countries all become deficient in vitamin A and case studies from the 1930s are cited as proof that Vitamin A is important for all measles patients. They cite a study from 1990 of 20 children in California who had measles as proof American children are low in vitamin A. They also cite case studies from before the 1940s as proof vitamin C has efficacy in fighting infections.

No evidence is offered that American children are deficient in vitamin A nor that vitamin A will prevent most of the complications of measles infection.

The authors also downplay the severity of SSPE, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, claiming it is a disease only in the vaccinated. They cite a study called Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis: Is there something different in the younger children? This was a study of 9 children with SSPE, all but three with no history of vaccination and two of those three also had a history of wild measles infection. They cite another study from China that is also cases of children who previously had wild measles. SSPE is always caused by wild measles, but the authors claim otherwise. They also postulate that fever medicines (antipyretics) and measles immune globulin are to blame for SSPE. I find this claim incredible, mostly because they don’t support it with evidence at all.

Chapter 15

This chapter is about scurvy and vitamin C. More case studies from before modern medical treatments were invented are provided as evidence vitamin C is all one needs to fight disease. These are more anecdotes about children who did not die rather than actual evidence Vitamin C has any value in treating vaccine-preventable diseases.

Chapter 16

This chapter is about herbs and other “lost remedies.” This chapter is also full of very old anecdotes about remedies people tried before modern medicine. There is no actual evidence in this chapter.

Chapter 17

This one is about belief and fear. This chapter is a repeat of all the previous messages that vaccines did not save us.

This, my dear readers, brings us to the end of the book.  I hope you enjoyed my synopsis. I believe is is clear that Dissolving Illusions is based on conjecture and not scientific evidence.


Two awesome ways to help bring vaccines to those in need.

  1. Public Health BC Canada has fun and games on this website, which leads to them donating vaccines to UNICEF. Join my team! I get nothing but the knowledge that we are awesome!
  2. If you don’t want to play a game but you want to make the world a better place, UNICEF is the site! Personally, when antivaxers make me really unhappy, I go donate to UNICEF in their names. Makes me feel better.



Remember to think for yourself!




Note: I just finished a very difficult quarter at the local university, wherein I authored two very long reports using APA style. As such, I am purposely giving myself a break and not worrying about APA-style rules for this blog post. Therefore, I am denoting page numbers for quotes.

Why I don’t believe the Vaxxed bus stories

To remind you, Vaxxed is the film produced by Andy Wakefield that makes claims about MMR causing autism. I watched it and reviewed it here.  The Vaxxed bus is an RV decorated thematically to resemble the DVD package. It travels America with a revolving team of antivaxers, interviewing people who claim a vaccine injury or have unvaccinated children they believe are very healthy.  The main player is Polly Tommey, who fervently believes the MMR caused her son’s autism and that vaccines murder children and pediatricians are murderers.  She believes every story told to her and requires no proof to verify any claims. She films the stories and also allows the names of the “vaccine injured” to be written on the bus in white.  You can see some of them below.


Here is why I believe that nearly all Vaxxed stories are not really vaccine injuries: there is not only no evidence to verify most of the claims, there is often evidence to the contrary. 

Note:  I don’t doubt these are stories of real health issues and I feel tremendous sympathy for all these families.  I don’t think they are lying about the health issues but I do think there are too many holes in their claims to take them seriously. I also believe they are doing harm to both public health and their children’s health by denying the reality of the health issues. For example, we know SIDS risk is cut by 50% in vaccinated children. Blaming vaccines for SIDS and not vaccinating infants for that reason puts them at greater risk for SIDS. 

Let’s look at some of the more public examples of Vaxxed injury claims. I will not be violating anyone’s privacy and will only share names and pictures that are on public sites.

Ariella Aisha Talha’s story first came to my attention in mid 2015.  She is number 1229 on the Vaxxed bus. Reading the story, it seemed pretty obvious to me that the child had Krabbe Disease, a 100% fatal genetic condition. The story (first blue link) is that “Her galactocerebrosidase was low. Indicating it could possibly be Krabbe disease, or another disease similar.” The parents, however, refused to believe and, instead, blamed her vaccines. And now they also blame toxic mold, an idea they got not from the hospital but from a “mold doctor” in their area. I am actually allergic to mold and I can promise you mold does not cause a brain to shrink nor does it cause developmental delays.

As her condition deteriorated, they continue to seek attention for her supposed “vaccine injury,” including fundraising quite a bit for natural treatments for her. Meanwhile, public posts about her continued to show her condition deteriorating as expected with Krabbe Disease. Ariella passed away in August of 2016, shortly after her baby sister was born. Rumor has it that the baby was conceived because they wanted to use stem cells from her to cure Ariella.  And, unfortunately, it appears the most recent baby also has Krabbe Disease. Since she is unvaccinated, this time they are saying she has suffered damage from toxic mold. They have been raising funds to pay for a doctor who supposedly treats patients for toxic mold-related illnesses.

I feel for these two babies and their parents. It must be horrible to watch your child slowly dying. This post is not a personal attack on them at all. I am reading their public posts and going off what they say. If they want to believe vaccines caused low galactocerebrosidase, that is their choice. Science tells me that Krabbe Disease is the genetic cause of this enzyme-making gene mutation. 


Hannah Robinson is #20 on the Vaxxed bus. Her story has gotten quite famous, even appearing in the news in her state. Screenshots I have seen from her pages show her to have gone on multiple trips to the emergency room for paralysis, seizures, pain, and other reported issues. Each time, tests are run and doctors find nothing wrong with her. Her family hints that doctors want to refer to a psychologist, but they have refused to take her to one. They took her to multiple different specialists and she had to drop out of school, due to her health problems. I would guess she had a conversion disorder, which is not a made up illness but a disorder where “the physical symptoms are thought to be an attempt to resolve the conflict the person feels inside.”  But, since her parents refused to take her to a psychologist, they never considered this diagnosis. Hannah also claimed she was infertile. Meanwhile, she had a baby boy earlier this summer and appears to have recovered from a great many of her health issues.  Finally, her claim of vaccine injury was denied for lack of evidence and because the “record neither reveals a “Table Injury” nor contains a medical expert’s opinion or other persuasive evidence indicating that her injuries were caused by a vaccination.”

Colton Berrett is another story of HPV injury.  I found his video interview but not his number on the bus.  Three weeks after his third HPV vaccine, on February 21, 2104,  he started to experience symptoms of neck soreness. He was diagnosed with transverse myelititis.  His family has not, to date, filed a vaccine injury claim.  At this point, the statute of limitations for filing has passed. Still, Colton and his mom continue to believe the HPV vaccine caused his TM and not that it could be caused by a wild virus, which is much more likely.  I am not sure which number he is on the bus.

UPDATE 1/6/2018  Colton has passed away. May he rest in peace.  This is very sad to learn, but, as we read above, it is likely to NOT be related to the HPV vaccine at all. Condolences to his family.

This weekend, I followed an antivaxer named Lu Drago who was trolling a provax Facebook page back to her profile to see why she is so ardently opposed to vaccines. I found her son, #527 on the bus, a survivor of congenital heart disease, a child with clear epicanthal folds on his eyes (sign of Down Syndrome or some other genetic disorder), and autistic. Rather than blame genetics, apparently his autism is the fault of vaccines. Meantime, several genetic disorders that include epicanthal folds among symptoms are comorbid ( existing simultaneously with) autism.  This woman is devoted to the idea that vaccines are the greatest evil on earth. Why doesn’t she spend her time on something more positive, like support for children with genetic disorders?

Look at all these names.


Supposedly, there are now 6000 names on the bus and the Vaxxed bus tour continues.  I have not read all 6000 stories but I have a few hundred. Only one was an actual, bonafide vaccine injury, compensated in court.  When Polly interviews these families, she never asks for any evidence. In fact, she makes a big deal about how parents should be trusted and doctors should not. Parents know what is best. Polly preaches to her followers that doctors are not to be trusted.  How does that help children?  How does that help children live longer and healthier?  We know that SIDS and infant mortality rates are at time lows in developed countries, including USA.  Why doesn’t Polly know this?  Why doesn’t she know that there is no autism epidemic, that diagnosis change is responsible for much of the rising rate.

Most importantly, what has happened in these people’s lives that they do not believe what science is telling them, that they believe their opinions over evidence?

If you want me to believe you or your child are vaccine injured, you better pony up some actual evidence.  I am fully aware that vaccines can cause injury, but at a rate of 5500 claims compensated and 3 plus billion vaccines given, in the last 30 years in USA, the risk of vaccine injury is literally 0.000016%.


This bus and this list are not helping keep children healthy.


Remember to always think for yourself,



PS This is another good post about the veracity, or not, of vaccine injury stories. Written by another Kathy.


PPS: I welcome comments from all walks but any comments that call me nasty names, threaten me, refer to the possibility of me burning in hell for all eternity, or harass me in any similar manner will be trashed. 

There is NO Science that shows Vaccines Cause Autism, EXCEPT ….. explained

You may have seen this copypasta show up in a vaccine debate.

There is NO Science that shows Vaccines Cause Autism, EXCEPT in ALL THESE Government Published Studies which show Vaccines Cause Autism.

This list was made by Marcella Piper-Terry of the website,

Let’s take a look at this list and see what the studies actually say.  I will indicate a YES or NO after each to indicate if the study shows vaccines cause autism. I do have access to full studies and will be interpreting those, not abstracts.


First of all these studies come from pubmed which is a database managed by the  US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health.  It commprises more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. It is not a list of “government published studies.”  The studies are mostly published in independent journals.

This study used raw VAERS data, which is not confirmed by medical evidence and, therefore, not valid. Also, two study authors, David and Mark Geier, have a notorious reputation for performing shoddy science in support of their work chemically castrating autists.  Senior Geier, the medical doctor, has lost 11 medical licenses for causing serious harm to children. NO

This is just a correlation between vaccination rate and autism.  The author analyzed disability rates compared to vaccination rates without regard for diagnoses changes nor increasing disability rates linked with increasing services in schools. Medical records were not verified. She did not analyze historical rates of disability by comparison. I do not find this study to have much validity. No

This is just a commentary regarding the perception, via the film Vaxxed, that Dr William Thompson of CDC found a higher risk of autism in children vaccinated with MMR. Since we know this is untrue, this commentary is meaningless. No

This study’s authors include Geier senior and junior as well as Boyd Haley and Brian Hooker, both antivaxers also very convinced mercury is behind autism. The study, a literature review, was funded by CoMed, the Geier’s business. What they have done is take a list studies that may show mercury can cause neurological damage and try to link that with autism. This study was written in 2014 but an excellent summary of why mercury preservative in vaccines is not accepted as causing autism comes from the Brian Hooker vaccine injury claim from 2016.  No

This is a very small study that compared MMR antibodies in autistic and not autistic children. Study authors conclude vaccines save lives and are necessary but that measles may elicit an autoimmune response in genetically susceptible children. They do not conclude vaccines cause autism.  No

This is just a comparison of hepatitis birth vaccination rate and autism. Study authors found 9 autistic children  received birth dose of Hep B vaccine and 22 autistic children had not. This study has been analyzed by several people I respect, including Matt Carey and a few other science bloggers.  No.

This study has been discredited by many, including WHO.  No

This is just an opinion piece about the supposed dangers (all not true) of vaccines. No

This was written by the Geiers (see above for more about them). They used hair analysis to test for metal toxicity. Hair analysis is a dubious practice that is not accepted as scientifically valid.  When combined with serious conflicts of interest from study authors and their nefarious history, this study is not valid. No

Full text was not available for this one but it is also written by the Geiers.  Their theory is that mercury poisoning and autism are similar so autism must be mercury poisoning. This has been proven untrue. No.

More Geier and Haley. They are again using hair samples. See above.  No.

This study is postulating that children with autism are sensitive to thimerosal. Since thimerosal is out of all pediatric flu vaccines, except multi-dose flu, and has been proven not causative of autism, this is also a no.

The author goes through every possible explanation for autism that has ever been proposed, without regard to changing diagnostic criteria, and postulates vaccines must be contributing to rise in autism rate. It is merely her opinion.  No.

This is just an editorial about another study.  No.

Very old study theorizing autism is caused by mercury poisoning. We know this to be untrue.  No.

I was unable to gain full access to this study. Geiers blame mercury preservative in Rho(D)-immune globulins given during pregnancy for autism. Given their past conflicts and shoddy science, I am going to call this a no.

I was not able to gain full access to this document but it appears to be a hypothesis that conjugate vaccines may be linked with increase in autism rates, not an actual study in and of itself. No.

This is a paper by the Geiers on all the uproven and dangerous treatment options they used to offer autists before Geier senior lost all eleven of his medical licenses.  This is just their opinion on how to treat autism.  No.

This is a look at haircut samples from babies, which we already know is bogus because hair sample tests are unreliable and not accepted as valid. No.

Authors postulate that heavy metal poisoning from thimerosal in vaccines can cause toxicity issues in children, leading to autism. They exposed a small survey of cells from autistic children and not autistic children to ethyl mercury and zinc and found up-regulate metallothionein to be low in the autistic children’s cells.  While I was not able to access the full study, based on the abstract I do not see this implicating vaccines as causing autism because we have removed thimerosal and autism rate did not decrease. And, this study does not conclude vaccines cause autism. No

The author, retired neurosurgeon Russel Blaylock, shares his opinion that vaccines causeimmunoexcitotoxicity (he coined this term, he claims). It is problematic that he cites the now retracted, infamous Wakefield study in his review of literature. This indicates Blaylock is not using quality research methods in his review.  Furthermore, this is just an opinion piece in an alternative health magazine, not a study on vaccines causing autism. No.

Safe Minds, an antivax group devoted to connecting autism to mercury, wrote an opinion piece/literature review stating that “all US influenza vaccines, all mono- and divalent diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, some immunoglobulins routinely given to pregnant Rh-negative women, and some over the-counter ear drops and nasal sprays” have enough mercury in them to cause mercury poisoning and should be removed from the market. This is not saying vaccines cause autism.  Also, thimerosal is out of pediatric vaccines, except multi dose flu, and autism rates did not decrease. No.

Study authors subcutaneously injected mice with thimerosal-mercury at a dose which is 20× higher than that used for regular Chinese infant immunization during the first 4 months of life. I have no idea whatsoever why anyone thought that would be a valid comparison to the amount of thimerosal in vaccines in some countries. No.

Study authors Hooker, Geier, Geier and others from CoMed compared neurodevelopmental rates to vaccination with thimerosal.  First of all, there are serious conflicts of interest here. Comed is a troublesome organization. Secondly, their funding came from Dwoskin Foundation, a known antivax group dedicated to connecting vaccines to autism. Thus, they went in to this study already assuming vaccines cause autism due to mercury poisoning.  Thus, this study has some serious conflicts of interest and cannot really be seen as valid.  If there are any studies independent of this group which confirm their results, I would be happy to change my No.

This is an analysis of raw data from the Vaccine Adverse Event reporting system (VAERS) comparing vaccination to reported deaths.  Since no medical evidence was confirmed, this study is not valid. No.

This is an extremely small study (n=23) of children in New Zealand in 1977 who got DTP and live polio vaccines and has nothing whatsoever to do with autism. No.

This is an analysis of vaccination rate compared to infant mortality rate, but authors do not tell you that infant mortality rate in USA is at all time low, as is SIDS rate. The authors are disingenuous and lying by omission. See my blog series with actual IMR and SIDS facts.  This study has nothing to do with autism.  No

This study has nothing to do with autism. No.

This study has nothing to do with autism. No.

This study has nothing to do with autism. No.

Author postulates a correlation between autism rate and vaccination rate. Correlation does not equal causation. No.


Authors suggest measles vaccine may cause autism. Several large studies, including this one, have proven that wrong.  So, No .

No, thimerosal is not the cause of autism. Just No.

Not about autism.

No, thimerosal is not the cause of autism. Just No.

This study’s authors have been discredited by many, including WHO.  No

An antivax group in New Zealand surveyed their members and did not verify medical records. Not valid. No.

Several others listed at this point had bad links so I could not read the studies. Then, there were a few studies about flu which had no relation to autism.

Again with hair analysis, which is proven faulty.  No.…/
This is about Tripedia vaccine, claiming the insert shows FDA concludes vaccines cause autism. Tripedia vaccine has not been used in years. It was discontinued. And, inserts don’t imply causation. No.


As you can see, none of these studies are written by the US Government and none conclude vaccines cause autism. 

Marcella offers more!

1.…/124-Research-Papers-Supporting-the-… This is Ginger Taylor’s list of studies she thinks implicate vaccines as causing autism. This has been debunked. As you can see, Ginger also cannot read studies accurately.

2. Marcella wants us to believe there are cases where families have been compensated for vaccine injury causing autism. She links a number of cases but did not read them accurately. Here and here are explanations on why that idea is wrong.


In conclusion, not one study on Marcella’s list actually shows vaccines cause autism. This list is cut and pasted (copypasta) EVERYWHERE. So, now you can feel good about debunking it as horseshit.


Remember, always think for yourself,