Vaccines Revealed 3 – a provaxer’s view

Did you read about episode 1? Please check out this post, which has links to all the information about this series and it’s major players.

Patrick Gentempo interviews Robert (Bobby) Kennedy Jr. 

Right off the bat, Kennedy talks about studies that link vaccines, thimerosal and autism. He says the public perceives otherwise, but there is a large body of research supporting vaccines cause autism. Kennedy claims the pharmaceutical industry is paying of the press to post otherwise, to keep these studies out of the press.  One can only assume he is referring to work by Geier and Geier, and others, which have been debunked as very badly done studies. He essentially blamed it all on Rubert Murdoch, saying that only a few entities control the press and they are bought off by pharmaceuticals.

He says the CDC buys and SELLS $4 billion worth of vaccines yearly. However, he is referring to the Vaccines for Children program, which gives away FOR FREE vaccines to programs for children living in poverty.

So, let that sink in a bit. Robert Kennedy Jr is a conspiracy theorist. He believes theories not supported by science and that “BIG PHARMA” controls the media. He also claims Paul Offit is on the payroll of Merck. No, I am sorry Bobby, but Dr Offit works for CHOP. And, yes, he was on the team who developed one of the two rotavirus vaccines but he did recuse himself from voting on the approval for that vaccine. Also, he and the other vaccine developers sold the vaccine along with their employer, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And no one ever claimed the transaction was bad. Ever. Only you, Bobby.

Here is a large list of studies looking at thimerosal and vaccines and autism. Notice they all conclude no connection.

Bridges case, vaccine court

Bobby spends a lot of time talking about how many vaccines children are given today. He claims that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (NCVIA) is the reason we have more vaccines today, because pharmaceutical companies are immune to liability. But, this is all simply untrue. NCVIA mandates that you go through “vaccine court” first, in most situations, but section 300-aa21 does allow for when and how you can sue pharmaceutical manufacturers for claims.

Bobby also spends time talking about how there are no double-blind, saline-placebo or placebo-controlled studies on vaccines. But, most clinical trials are done as such. Pubmed has lists of them.

Again, I have the same impression as with other Vaccines Revealed speakers: Is he lying? Or ignorant?

Bobby goes on to spend some time linking thimerosal to autism and other neurological disorders, without regard to how diagnoses expanded and changed throughout the 1980s and beyond. He appears to not know anything at all about the history of special education and psychology.

He really is a conspiracy theorist, in the classic sense. This is a shame. He even brings up the Amish. This has been debunked.

The “very good science” he refers to is by Geier and Geier. Several doctor/bloggers I respect have written about this widely: Science-Based Medicine and Left Brain, Right Brain. In a nutshell, it has been completely discredited to the point where father Geier no longer has a medical license. That is because of shoddy research and practices.

Bobby closes up the interview claiming that we inject pregnant mothers and newborn babies with hundreds of times more mercury than is in fish.

Sigh

Here is the thing. We give newborns Hepatitis B vaccine. There is no thimerosal in it. None. We recommend pregnant women get a thimerosal-free flu vaccine or a thimerosal-free TDaP vaccine. No thimerosal.  None. Nada.

In fact, there is no thimerosal in most vaccines and it is very easy to avoid it all together.

So, what is he talking about? Is he lying? Or ignorant?

If you want to learn more about thimerosal, or any vaccine ingredient, here is a good website.

After this, Kennedy spends some time talking about his project, The World Mercury Project, and how they need donations.

Next, there is an interview with Scott Miller, who made a film about The Gulf War Syndrome. I chose not to pay attention to this interview since he is not a vaccine information player.

The episode concludes with a shortened version of Vaxxed.

Remember, think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

Vaccines Revealed 1 – a provaxer’s view

golIf you have not heard, some chiropractors are starting to band together to put for propaganda on vaccines. I say propaganda because they are doing so in the classic sense of the term.

From Merriam-Webster

Propaganda: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect

 

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This is exactly what they are doing. In this post, I am going to write about Vaccines Revealed, a 9-part documentary series produced by chiropractor Patrick Gentempo. As far as I can tell, he does not practice chiropractic these days. Instead, he runs a holding company that owns, among other entities, Circle of Docs, a networking group for chiropractors. It is run by Gentempo and Beau Pierce, another chiropractor. My theory, which is mostly an educated guess, is that Circle of Docs and Vaccines Revealed are about pushing chiropractic to the next level; in other words, they are about marketing. By hooking up with “experts” who oppose vaccines, they are marketing to an audience who is already suspicious about medicine. Promoting these videos, which are basically interviews with the standard antivax players (Wakefield, Goldman, Kennedy, Tenpenny, etc), enables them to promote their own point of view about chiropractic being a viable alternative to medicine. Simply put, they want you to see a chiropractor for your healthcare.

But, I digress. A common occurrence.

Why am I writing about these videos? Because no one will ever be able to accuse me of being closed minded. I watched Vaxxed, did I not?

Therefore, I signed up, via email, to get the free previews. And I watched them. And I rewatched them on youtube. There are 9 episodes and they all were free to view online for 24 hours. But, of course, they are all on youtube for free. Just search!

So, let’s talk about these videos.

Video one: Andrew Wakefield 

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Andy starts out with a personal story of mistrusting doctors. He implies all doctors are working only for money and one must trust one’s instincts.  He spends a lot of time talking about autism, which he believes is caused by vaccines, and how debilitating it is to society to have to deal with autism. He talks about special education services and how the burden on the school system is so great that autists are becoming a burden on the social system. He believes the number or autists is growing and it will be a plague. He uses that term, “plague.” He spends some time explaining why he studied MMR. There is nothing new herein. He slanders Brian Deer, as usual.  He still feels he was wronged. Having read his book, Callous Disregard, I feel this is a tiresome argument. Why is he still trying argue that Brian Deer was wrong? There is just too much evidence against you, Andy. Move on.

Andy spends more time talking about Merck and all their evils (according to him).  He believes Merck put people at risk the interest of profit. He does not present any evidence. If you want to read about the Merck Mumps lawsuit, I recommend this blog post. If you want to learn about the CDC Whistleblower, read this fabulous post.   There is no evidence to back his claims that Merck employees should be in prison. He is really very good at hyperbole.

Andy spends some time trying to explain that public perception of vaccines is shifting from trust to anger. He refers to a Michigan study, but of course he misquotes it. Let’s look at the real study.

“One-third of parents who participated in the poll indicated they now perceived more benefits of vaccines, while one-quarter perceived vaccines to be safer now than a year ago. One–third of parents also reported being more supportive of school and daycare entry requirements for vaccination than they were the previous year.

“Over the last year there have been high-profile news stories about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. These news reports may be influencing how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School.

“For a quarter to a third of parents to say that their views on the safety and benefits of vaccines have shifted in just a year’s time is quite remarkable. Parents’ perceptions that vaccines are safer and offer more benefits are also consistent their stronger support of daycare and school entry requirements for immunizations.”

Parents were also asked their opinions about the risk of measles and whooping cough compared to a year ago. Two out of every five parents, or 40 percent, believe the risk of measles for children in the U.S. is higher than what it was one year ago. Another 45 percent say the risk is about the same and 15 percent say the risk is lower.”

Well, that certainly does not say to me that more Americans distrust vaccines.

It is fair to say that Andy Wakefield continues to be a lying liar.

Video one: Gary Goldman

Hour two has Toni Bark, homeopath, interviewing Gary Goldman. Goldman is the editor of Medical Veritas, a website and journal. Goldman is often associated with Neil Z Miller, as they have authored several badly done studies on vaccines. Goldman is a computer scientist and seems to think he has expertise in data analysis. I can find no evidence he ever worked for the CDC. It appears he was contracted by third party groups to participate in a study somewhat connected with the CDC. In the video, he is described as a CDC researcher.

Goldman talks a lot about shingles rate increasing because adults no longer have contact with children who have wild chicken pox. He spends a great deal of time discussing his theory, which has been debunked. Of course, he fails to mention this fact. He spends some time talking about the monetary cost of treating chicken pox versus shingles but fails to bring up the shingles vaccine.

The next segment involves Toni Bark talking about how she went to medical school knowing she would not practice mainstream medicine because she wanted to affect change and practice Chinese medicine. This is why she studied homeopathy. She spends some time talking about how vaccine studies don’t use saline placebos. Strangely, she is wrong and does not understand this. She does not mention that most clinical trials use a saline placebo. Use Pubmed, Toni! You will find many saline placebos in vaccine clinical trials. So, is she lying or just ignorant?  She also talks about morbidity and mortality and insists that sanitation and water saved us. She even says the ingredients in vaccines breach the blood brain barrier and cause autism.  She thinks microglial activation is causing autism.

Sigh.

This has all been debunked.

 

 

 

Remember! Always think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Carey discusses Vaxxed, the film.

Today, I had the pleasure of listening to a pre-recorded conference call between Karen Ernst, the Director of Voices for Vaccines, and Matt Carey, PhD in physics, autism parent, autism advocate and blogger at Left Brain, Right Brain (LBRB). I have been reading LBRB for years, since back when it was run by Kevin Leitch. It is one of my favorite blogs.

vfv-does-vaxxed

Today’s conversation was recorded live and there was an opportunity to call in and ask questions about the film Vaxxed. For those of us who missed the live version, you can listen to the recorded version at this link. You will want to open it with music player for google or podcast app or something similar.

To remind you, Vaxxed is the film Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey, and Del Bigtree made about the “cdcwhistleblower” controversy. I saw it and wrote my own review, which you can read here. You can also read the full facts (or lack thereof) in Vaxxed at Harpocrates Speaks Blog. 

I am not going to transcribe the whole conversation but here are some of my notes. It was definitely worth a listen.

Matt and Karen discussed the facts from the film and the controversy, including going in-depth into what William Thompson actually said and what he did not say. Matt also discussed the idea that the data was thrown away (it was not). Matt has written quite extensively about all of this, on LBRB. For example, herein he writes about how there was not really any whistle to blow.

The first caller was antivaxer Sherry Saunders who came on at about minute 37:00.  She stated that she used to work as a security guard at Huntsville [sic] Hospital and claimed it was part of her job to take care of hysterical parents who had brought a child in having seizures after a vaccine. She asked how she could convince parents the vaccine is not the problem and that the doctors and nurses are not at fault. My first reaction was that she could not be telling the truth because she stated she used to work at the hospital but then asked the question as if she still does work at the hospital.  She switched back and forth in tenses a lot, as if this is not a real story.  She went on to say that she was the security supervisor in the ICU and had to restrain the parents because they were hysterical about their child’s vaccine reaction. She claimed she had to restrain them and call the police and  that she had a stun gun. Because the parents were hysterical. Had. All past tense. Then, she asked what she is supposed to say to the parents since she is being told by doctors to keep them far away from the child in ICU and call the police. Present tense. 
At this point, I am making my “what the….” face and I can hear Matt, in the background, laughing. Here is what my “what the….” face looks like:
319sortlist-facebook-stickers
Matt answered by telling her the doctors need to be the ones talking to the parents, not her, and Sherry responded by saying the hospital told her to keep the parents far away from the kids and call the police. At this point, Matt and Karen told her they did not believe her story and they hung up on her. 
A few more calls and questions were taken, including a nice discussion about how most parents of children with autism know vaccines don’t cause autism and how The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is a great Facebook page and has a marvelous website for respectful talk about vaccines, autism, and advocacy. Matt also explained thoroughly how the idea that African American boys have a greater risk of autism is simply not backed up by data.
The last caller was Joshua Coleman, who identified himself as a member of the Vaxxed team.  Joshua is, in fact, the videographer who went on tour with the Vaxxed team in their bus for the last few months.  He was up at minute 66:34. Joshua is the person who recently ambushed Dr Paul Offit at breakfast and video recorded him without permission.  Joshua began to talk about Del Bigtree showing the film to Senator Ben Allen, but Karen redirected him to stay on the topic of the content of the film Vaxxed.  So, he brought up how we only know MMR and thimerosal don’t cause autism, that the rest of the ingredients and other vaccines, he said, have not been tested. Joshua mentioned the (now retracted) Wakefield 1998 paper. He stated that provaxers often use that paper as proof that Andrew Wakefield said vaccines cause autism. Joshua said these two facts, that vaccines don’t cause autism and Wakefield says they do, are both blatent lies.  This, he says, was his first clue that provaxers lie. He asked Matt to explain to him how this is okay and not a major red flag that there is some deceit going on here. 
Matt responded first by making the point that he, Matt, has published over 100 papers and none have ever been retracted.  Matt then brought up how many papers Wakefield has had retracted and then made a very valid point that the Vaxxed fans and team tend to forget to bring up how many papers Wakefield has had retracted.  Matt explained how Wakefield went in to the press conference for the 1998 paper and made statements that were “wildly extrapolated and wildly irresponsible” and antivaxers never explain about this fact. Matt also reminded Joshua that we can easily go through Wakefield’s public records and find many statements where he has stated, in one form or the other, that vaccines cause autism.  The 1998 Lancet article, Matt states, tends to be the only thing antivaxers want to talk about, not the fact that the work he did for that paper was a result of the ethics violations that were found proved and which cost him his medical license.  We are not talking about an upstanding researcher, said Matt.  
After Matt answered Josh’s question, Josh ignored him and began to argue with Matt. Basically, Matt answered the question in full but, somehow, Josh missed it and claimed his question was not addressed. He was arguing so much, that Karen hung up on him. 
This led to a nice conversation between Karen and Matt about how antivaxers tend to distract and divert by arguing “itty bitty” details.
The final comment made by Matt is that he is not provax, he is an autism parent and wants to counter misinformation that is used to damage his community. He feels antivaxers use vaccines as a tool to damage the autism community.
Karen made very good point that we need to make a place at the table for parents of autists who are harmed by this assault, by this myth getting perpetuated that vaccines cause autism. Matt agreed and pointed out that autists are more medically fragile than the general public and his own child has been hospitalized many times because a minor infection which set off his epilepsy. He made the point that a serious infection like measles could kill his son and not vaccinating puts everyone in danger. Matt concluded by saying how he got into this provax fight not because of vaccines but because of wanting to protect his own son and others in the autism community from the harm that antivaxers cause by not vaccinating and also by thinking of autism as damage. 
All in all, this was a very worthwhile listen.  Thanks Karen and Matt.
Remember to always think for yourself!
Kathy

ETA: For another look at this call and the output connected with it, here is a storification from @jkellyca of twitter responses using the hashtag,  #vfvcall.

 

 

 

 

A provaxer watched Vaxxed

vaxdebunked

 

Yes, I did. I watched it. And, I am still provax.  Here is my review and commentary.

 

I am going to assume that readers know a lot about the CDC Whistleblower. But, if you need a refresher, here is a complete guide by my fellow blogger friend. Please refer to this guide for the evidence that most, if not all, of the claims made in Vaxxed have been proven false. There is no isolated autism, there is no greater risk of autism in African American boys, the data was not thrown away. It is notable that the filmmakers took only Dr Thompsons’s word about the issues, via uncorroborated and possibly highly edited taped conversations with Dr Brian Hooker. Nowhere in the film are any other autism/vaccine scientists interviewed.

 

If you need to know more about the cast of characters, Dawn has created a short bio for each of them.

 

The film opens with news clips about vaccines and measles and then switches to someone typing on a keyboard and producer Del Bigtree’s voice quoting from William Thompson.  We then hear taped recordings from Thompson’s conversations with Brian Hooker and Hooker begins to tell the story of his child, who is now autistic. Of course, the recent “vaccine court” opinion on Hooker’s son’s case concluded that his child was most definitely not vaccine injured, there were clear signs of autism as young as four months of age, as documented in in his medical records.  This is not mentioned in the film. In fact, Hooker actually shows samples of studies he has authored, studies that were proven to lack validity in his court case. To me, this is disturbing. It is just the first of many lies in the film.

Hooker goes on to explain more of his take on the recordings of conversations with Thompson. He claims he had been trying talk to the CDC for years about the research he had been doing that showed vaccines could cause autism but had hit a wall until they assigned Thompson to talk to him. Throughout the film, we see Hooker explaining how he came to participate in phone conversations with Thompson, why they were recorded without Thompson’s permission, and how he, Hooker, analyzed the data. It should be noted that Hooker is a biochemical engineer and biology professor but that does not give him expertise in this kind of data analysis.

We then switch to Andy Wakefield telling his story. Wakefield claims he got the impetus to study vaccines, autism and gastrointestinal diseases when a mother of an autist called him out of the blue.  Bill Gates is shown discussing how Wakefield’s findings were fraudulent and have been disproven but Wakefield goes on to repeat that he made significant scientific findings. The voiceover from Wakefield is accompanied by more footage of children with autism. These videos are repeatedly show autistic children in crisis, hitting themselves, crying, in diapers, or worse. Throughout the film, neurotypical children are shown in a very positive light and autistic children are shown in crisis situations.

Jonathon and Polly Tommey talk about their story. Their first child, Bella, is shown as a lovely, happy child. Their second child, Billy, apparently got sick after his 6 month vaccines. He was put on antibiotics. The film repeatedly returns to Polly and Jonathon Tommey talking about the day Billy got the MMR. They claim Billy was shaking uncontrollably, in his cot, so they rushed him to the hospital.  They were told he was having a “normal” febrile seizure as a side effect.  They claim the Billy they had before never returned. Other parents, with similar stories, are shown, including Mark Blaxil, Jeanna Reed and Sheila Lewis Ealey.  Their autistic children are shown in very sad circumstances, including crying, being violent, in diapers, while their not autistic children are shown in lovely clothing, performing on the piano and playing. Jon and Polly talk about Billy’s vacancy, his lack of smiling, his blankness and other health problems that impaired Billy after his autism months regression. Billy was “gone,” in their words. They discuss the “tragedy” of Billy regressing into an autistic state. Polly and Jon talk about the television show they were featured on, when Billy was a toddler, and how they started The Autism File magazine as a result of the stories they heard from other parents with autistic children. These events led them to move to the USA and continue to be involved in this kind of autism advocacy.

Wakefield returns to ask if MMR is a risk, if it can lead to autism. He discusses the MMR vaccine that was withdrawn from Canada because it had a higher risk for meningitis. He claims that vaccine was shipped to the UK and then to developing countries, where it was used until meningitis rates were proven too high and it was removed. He claims age of MMR was part of the reason for the increased risk of meningitis and that it is plausible that age of MMR could be the reason for autism regression. This led to the IOM recommending the CDC do a study on the timing the MMR is given. Hooker returns and he and Wakefield claim that Thompson found a legal loophole which enabled him to get the data the CDC wanted hidden to Hooker for analysis. This data came from the study the CDC did on MMR age, the one authored by De Stefano and Thompson. The loophole is called a citizen’s request, according to Wakefield.

It should be noted that the mumps vaccine that had the meningitis issues was the Urabe strain of mumps, which we never used in USA. In the USA, we have used the Jeryl Lynn strain.  This is not mentioned in the film.

Wakefield goes into more details about his study. Still no mention from him as to how and why his study was retracted. He treats the study as valid throughout the film. He makes the point that when they had the press conference for his study, the Dean of the college deflected questions about what to do next to him, Wakefield, knowing full well he would recommend the single vaccines in lieu of MMR as triple jab. Wakefield says this was followed up by the single vaccines being discontinued and option taken away from parents. He says the concern was for the protection of the program over and above protection of children. If you read his book, Callous Disregard, this is one of many claims he made about his now-retracted study.

Hooker talks about how he analyzed the Thompson data. He fails to mention how he has no background in this type of analysis and his paper published on the data has since been retracted. A graph is shown wherein two lines, representing autistic children and not autistic, but no mention is made of the significance of the interval between the two lines. The difference is not valid unless that interval is analyzed. The confidence interval is a range of values so defined that there is a specified probability that the value of a parameter lies within it. But, Wakefield and Hooker do not mention this aspect of data analysis and most people do not understand data analysis at all. This is either a huge error, on their part, or a hugely devious action. Did they leave this information out on purpose?  At this point, Wakefield claims he advised Hooker to tape record Thompson in case the whistleblower, as he is now called, disappears or is killed.

Bigtree then explains the analysis plan. I have to remind myself this explanation is coming from a person who has no college education and makes a living producing cable television shows. Bigtree and Wakefield explain that the analysis plan was mainly written by Thompson and that deviating from an analysis plan is fraud. To remind you, the reality of the analysis plan is fully explained in this blog post.

Note: It is annoying that most of Thompson’s words are accompanied by a rather strange video image of smokey, colored lines moving across the screen. It is so inexplicable that I took a screen shot to share with readers.

smoke copy

Another part of the problem, in the minds of the film makers, is that the CDC is complicit with “big pharma” in controlling the pharmaceuticals markets. Brandy Vaughn, former Merck salesperson, claims vaccines have less safety testing than other pharmaceuticals. Strangely, this is a lie and it was put into the film without question. Vaughn has no background or training in any science, so it is strange that the filmmakers would use her opinion.

Several “experts” appear in the film. Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, who runs an autism center called CARD, talks about the signs of autism as videos are shown of children exhibiting these symptoms.  Granpeesheh returns to discuss antibiotic use and regression after vaccines.  We see video footage of Yates Hazelhurt before and after autism diagnosis.  Granpeesheh claims autism is the result of toxic overload, the inability of some children to detoxify. Video of Billy Tommey is shown while Granpeesheh describes how autists become violent as a result of the toxins.

Stephanie Seneff, computer scientist at MIT, comes on to discuss her analysis of the growth of autism. Seneff claims autism rate is going to continue to rise, that it is a perfect exponential curve. She predicts that by 2032, 80% of boys, 50% of all children, will be on the autism spectrum. Respectful Insolence blog has done a nice job of debunking Seneff’s claims.  

Throughout the film, Bigtree speaks to his own self-described expertise as a “medical journalist” and claims that patient stories of autistic regression are ignored by doctors.  He discusses how the CDC “refuses” to do a vaxed versus unvaxed study. He claims the MMR risks would be astronomical and CDC is afraid to do the study. He also discusses how much he does not understand. Yet, even though a great deal of writing about the whistleblower issue had already been done BEFORE the film was made, Bigtree does not bother to interview other scientists, including Dr Matt Carey, for their opinion of the data analysis. He does not say anything about trying to contact Dr Carey or any of the study authors other than Thompson. Further, he makes no mention whatsoever of the autism and vaccine science done by other researchers in and out of the USA. These are all lies by omission.

Debunking a few of Vaxxed’s other lies:

  1. Vaccines are not adequately tested for safety. Wrong. They are more highly tested than other drugs.
  2. The law for vaccine compensation only benefits drug companies. Wrong. The law was written to benefit families and enable a legal climate to exist such that vaccine makers did not stop making vaccines all together.
  3. The vaccine omnibus hearings were defeated by the fraudulent study from the CDC. This is a corruption of justice. Wrong. You can also read more here.
  4. Not one mainstream media source ran the CDC whistleblower story. Wrong.  Stories were run by Time, CNN, Fox, ABC and The Daily Beast.
  5. Autism rate is rising. Wrong. It has stabilized in the last few years.

 

 

So, the film did not open my eyes. The controversy has been swirling since August 2014 and nothing new has changed. The data has been available for download since January 2014. The data was never thrown away as it was always online as part of a large data set called MADDS.

So, why did the filmmakers not mention these facts? Why are they lying? Around the time the film was released, Brian Hooker’s claim for vaccine injury compensation, for his son, was completely denied. I have read the full 58 page opinion and it is damning. Why did the filmmakers not tell the audience about this opinion? I can only guess that they are never going to accept the idea that vaccines do not cause autism, no matter what the science tells them. My guess is that they are going to cling to any “proof” they can find to implicate vaccines as dangerous, whether it is valid or not.

 

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Thanks for reading and remember to think for yourself!

 

Kathy