How did immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych become antivax?

The Vaxxed bus is in Washington state and they took some time to interview the world’s only antivax immunologist, Tetyana Obukhanych.  She is interviewed by Polly Tommy.

Skeptical Raptor has already published a nice post about Tetyana, so you can read it to learn about her background.

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First, she discusses her qualifications and how she has a PhD.  She only worked in research labs and has no experience in medical clinics. She claims to have done some research at  Harvard but I am only aware of a post-doctoral lab assignment at Stanford University. She explains how she is a not a clinical immunologist, but is a research immunologist and used mice models to study the human immune system. She says vaccines were not mentioned in her studies except to talk briefly about Edward Jenner.

She claims that, at one point, she started seeing “things” that did not quite fit into theory. For example,  she noticed mice could be immune activated but they would not develop immunity to a pathogen, which told her that immune response does not necessarily equal immunity. At that point, she started paying attention to vaccine research, comparing immune response to efficacy. She believes some vaccines are only studied for immunogenicity and not efficacy.  When she went to get her green card, she looked closely at her own medical records. She recalls having measles as a child. She found out she had a MMR at age 1 and another one at age 5 but still got measles at age 12. This didn’t make sense to her. How could a person get measles after vaccination, she thought? She then realized she had been “indoctrinated” into believing vaccines work but they clearly do not.  She started also looking into safety and efficacy studies for flu vaccine and research showing that flu vaccines do not work. She says she occasionally tried to bring this up with the senior research scientists but would routinely be told vaccines work and be quiet. She also told a strange story about a department at Stanford where psychologists are charged with talking to parents of children with autism about vaccines. Tetyana found this odd because psychologist don’t know much about vaccines, except Marcella Piper-Terry. (Tetyana claims Marcella is a psychologist). Tetyana then decided she should be the one to talk to parents about vaccines, as an immunologist. So, she started meeting with parenting groups and it grew into her writing her self-published book.  Note: To my knowledge, Marcella, founder of vaxtruth dot org, an antivax website, is not a PhD in psychology. She currently travels the country with the Vaxxed bus and is listed, on her Linkedin page, as a “biomedical consultant.”

Next, Polly asked Tetyana what she thinks about inserts and ingredients. Her answer is that pharmacology is not the focus but the vaccine reactions and immune reactions. She believes vaccines cause long term health issues. She is also concerned with why we need to eradicate diseases, that we should look at childhood infections as have positive benefits. She claims that the life long immunity one gains from having childhood diseases is beneficial in many ways as certain viruses are associated with lower risk of certain cancers.

Her latest project is lecturing about how to keep children healthy without vaccines. She discusses a new website, called bbch dot community, that will be launching soon. Building Bridges in Children’s Health will help parents learn about vaccines and develop communication resources. The goal of the community is to educate about vaccine dangers, the benefits of childhood diseases, and how to manage if you are being bullied by a pediatrician or reported to CPS for your healthcare choices.

She also helps “educate doctors” so they can overcome their “indoctrination.” She does this at Physicians for Informed Consent. She and Polly fervently believe autism, allergies, epilepsy, asthma, SIDS and other issues are all caused by vaccines and doctors need to be “awake” to see this reality. She wants to see legislation passed at the state level so doctors will be free to practice medicine the way they see fit.

Polly asks Tetyana about the criticism that she, Tetyana, is not a vaccine expert. Her answer is that no one is a vaccine expert because no one is trained in vaccines. (I guess she has not met Dr Paul Offit or any other immunologist or epidemiologist who works with vaccines. Or a person with a public health degree who specializes in vaccines.) Tetyana’s theory is that people just don’t want to listen to her expertise. She also explains that she left academia because the focus was too much on sick people, not on the healthy immune system. She claims research grants all come from drug companies wanting to expand their markets.

My thoughts:

Tetyana seems sincere, in this interview. She seems like she believes what she has read. What confounds me is why she has chosen to cherry pick studies that back her point of view (vaccines cause autism, etc) rather than look at the whole body of science. She also makes some outrageous and false claims, such as pharmaceutical companies stopped paying attention to vaccine safety in 1986, after the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986  (NCVIA )was passed. She says that because pharmaceutical companies have no liability any more, for injuries, they don’t need to make safe vaccines. Apparently, she is completely unaware that you can sue vaccine makers, after you first go through the “vaccine court” system. That is outlined in section 300-21aa in NCVIA. Skeptical Raptor blog explains more about the legalities in this blog post.  She also seems unaware of all the ways vaccine safety is assured, through legislation and testing standards.

I also wonder why she does not understand that vaccines do not confer 100% immunity so it is not unheard of for a child, like herself, to get measles in a big outbreak.  If she did, indeed, have two MMRs as a child, she would theoretically have been 99% likely to be immune. If she did get measles, she was in the 1%. According to numerous records I read on the WHO website, measles is a problem in Ukraine and has been for years. So, it is not surprising that a vaccinated child could still get sick. Natural immunity also does not necessarily confer 100% immunity for life. As I often say, I had chicken pox twice in my childhood. It is well known you can get pertussis and tetanus more than once. Natural immunity lasting a lifetime is a myth.

Tetyana ends the interview with the idea that humans have survived for millennia without vaccines. Diseases only became a problem, she says, due to crowded conditions and unhealthy food and water. Now that we know how to eat well and clean our water, our bodies will handle infection just fine. The healthy body will “sail right through” without complications. This is a very naive manner of thinking that puts the blame for disease complications squarely on the shoulders of the parents, mostly the mother since most children have their mother in the primary caregiver role. If as many as 90% of pediatric flu deaths are unvaccinated, then this line of thinking says the deaths are the fault of the parents for not nourishing the children properly. I find this way of thinking abhorrent. Survivorship bias downplays real risk and real efforts to minimize or prevent them and distorts reality. It is also a form of deception, in my opinion, because parents are led to believe they can control the course of illness. It is like telling a veteran soldier that war is not bad because, hey, you survived.

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In conclusion, Tetyana buys into all the usual antivax tropes and has not used her formal education to her best advantage. She has cherry picked the science to show what she wants it to show, that vaccines are not perfect. This is a real shame. No, Tetyana, we are not ignoring you. We just know better than to believe your version of science.

Remember to always think for yourself. And don’t cherry pick!

 

Kathy

 

 

Why this vaxed v. unvaxed study is not valid: Update: Study retracted AGAIN.

Update: This study has been retracted for the second time. 

 

For the last few days, people opposed to vaccines have been posting a link to a study called Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children. The lead author is Jackson State, MS, University professor, Anthony R. Mawson. This study is not valid and here is why.

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First of all, I need to explain what is meant by validity and reliability, with regards to science.  The University of California, Davis, has a very good synopsis. “In order for research data to be of value and of use, they must be both reliable and valid.” Reliability refers to how well the findings of the study can be repeated. If a study was done in a manner that is objective and well-executed, then other scientists should be able to repeat (or replicate) it and get the same findings. Validity refers to the believability of the research.  How well do the findings answer the study hypothesis.  There is internal validity, which refers to how well the procedures in the study measured what they were supposed to measure. And, there is external validity, which refers to how well the findings can be generalized.

So, in an ideal study of children’s health, we would not need to take the researcher’s word for anything. The data would be reliable because all claims would be verified. For example, if the the study claims that 5% of children got colds twice a year or more, it would be reliable data if the researchers used the children’s medical records to determine how many colds they had a year. We would know that the data had been compiled by the children’s healthcare providers and analyzed by the researchers. Nothing would be left to interpretation.

But, if we just ask parents, how many colds a year do you think your child has had, those answers are not necessarily reliable because parents don’t always know the difference between a cold and influenza or allergies. And, they would not be basing their answers on data they collected but rather memories. Memories are notoriously inaccurate.

That brings us to the Mawson study.  First of all, you need to know that there was an attempt to publish this study last year but the methods the study used and the fact that there were only two peer reviewers ( one being a chiropractor) caused alarm in the scientific community. The journal pulled the study before publication.  Many of us found out this was happening from Retraction Watch, a very interesting source to follow if you like reading about how science works and how studies are monitored.  Based solely upon the abstract, the study was criticized by many, including Respectful Insolence blog.

I must take a moment to point out that I homeschool one of my children so I am not biased in any way towards homeschooling. 

At Respectful Insolence blog, ORAC (aka Dr David Gorski, oncologist) rightfully criticized the methodology of the study as well as the fact that a chiropractor was used to peer review an epidemiology study. Chiropractors are not the peers of epidemiologists. ORAC also noted that this study was funded by Generation Rescue, a notoriously antivax group.

These are problems. Real problems. So, the original journal, Frontiers, took note and pulled the study.

Now, months later, the study has been published in a pay-to-publish journal online called Open Access Text. Reputable scientists don’t pay to publish their studies. Journals like Pediatrics or Vaccines or The Lancet don’t require authors to pay and they are considered far more respectable when it comes to considering authors for professorship positions. Scientists know these facts. They know that publishing in a predatory journal is not a good career move.

So, what happened after this study was pulled by Frontiers? It was submitted to Open Access Text, a predatory, pay-to-publish online journal, and published this week. And it is being spammed everywhere as a valid study.

It is not valid and here is why.

One: It was funded by two known antivax groups, Generation Rescue, Inc., and the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI).  Both are well know to be opposed to vaccines. CMSRI is funded by the Dwoskin Foundation, who are big money behind a lot of antivax operations. This does not negate the results, by any means, but it does beg the question – what was the motivation for the study. By the same token, I would look very skeptically at any study published by a pharmaceutical company.

Two: Read the introduction. The authors went into the study assuming vaccines cause grave harm. ” The aims of this study were 1) to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children on a broad range of health outcomes, including acute and chronic conditions, medication and health service utilization, and 2) to determine whether an association found between vaccination and NDDs, if any, remained significant after adjustment for other measured factors.”  That is serious bias.

Three: The study design was flawed. “The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey of homeschooling mothers on their vaccinated and unvaccinated biological children ages 6 to 12. As contact information on homeschool families was unavailable, there was no defined population or sampling frame from which a randomized study could be carried out, and from which response rates could be determined. However, the object of our pilot study was not to obtain a representative sample of homeschool children but a convenience sample of unvaccinated children of sufficient size to test for significant differences in outcomes between the groups.”  Right from the start, Mawson, et al, admit that they aren’t really able to do a good, quality study.  “A number of homeschool mothers volunteered to assist NHERI promote the study to their wide circles of homeschool contacts.”   This is also problematic. They had participants promoting the study to their own friends. How did they account for bias? They did not.

Four: Methods were flawed. The authors categorized the children as unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated based only on word of the mothers. They did not consult medical records. Mothers were then asked to indicate which illnesses their child had had but no medical records were consulted. This data was analyzed statistically but how can they analyze data they have not verified as accurate? They purposely did not use medical records because they said that would have led to low participation.

Five: The limitations. Oh my, the limitations. “We did not set out to test a specific hypothesis about the association between vaccination and health.”  So, this was not even science.

So, what does all this mean? It means we cannot validate the information the mothers gave is accurate or real. It means none of the data in this study means anything, because no one would ever be able to completely replicate it. They would never be able to go back in and find all the same anonymous mothers and guarantee the same answers from them. This kind of survey does not add anything of value to the body of literature on children’s health. Honestly, I could have done better as a freshman in college, in my introduction to research methods and statistical analysis class.

If you want a real, valid, reliable study on vaccinated versus unvaccinated, the KIGGS study is the place to go. Because the researchers used not only a parent survey but also a “standardized, computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) of the accompanying parent by a doctor,” this data can be verified as authentic. That is reliability. This study could be repeated. Children’s vaccination status was documented. “The questions about diseases were followed by data collection on the basis of medical records in the vaccination card, about data concerning the administered vaccinations and the timing of the vaccination”  So, everything was verified. KIGGS is everything this new study is not. There is no reason whatsoever to think this new study is anything but bunk.

Remember, always verify claims and always think for yourself,

Kathy

Updated2: Other bloggers have been tackling this study and since their blogs are just as good as mine, I would like to share. Please check them out.

 

KidNurse: THE TRUTH ABOUT VACCINATED VS UNVACCINATED

Respectful Insolence: A boatload of fail: Were two horrendously bad zombie “vaxed/antivaxed” studies retracted—again?

Respectful Insolence: The Mawson “vaxed/unvaxed” study retraction: The antivaccine movement reacts with tears of unfathomable sadness

Respectful Insolence: The check must have finally cleared, or: Mawson’s incompetent “vaxed/unvaxed” study is back online

Snopes: ‘First Ever’ Study Comparing Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children Shows Harm from Vaccines?

Science Based Medicine: Two (now retracted) studies purporting to show that vaccinated children are sicker than unvaccinated children show nothing of the sort

I Speak of Dreams: About Those “Homeschooled, Unvaccinated Children are Healthier” Studies.

The Truth about vaccines episode 5: HPV, Hep B, SIDS, and Shaken Baby Syndrome

Welcome to part 5 of my discussion of the Truth about Vaccines video series.  You can find links to episodes 1-4 in the index, as well as a run down of all the “experts” who are interviewed.

This episode begins with the HPV vaccine. I have already written about the HPV vaccine, which you can read here.

One: The worst mistake this episode makes is to assume HPV vaccine is only for girls. Host, Ty Bollinger, even claims “I’ve heard this is a public health concern. My question is why are we vaccinating boys for a vaccine that causes cervical cancer.” At no point does he discuss how this vaccine can protect boys as well as girls nor how he thinks girls acquire HPV infections.  As per the provider information for Gardasil 9, the most recently available HPV vaccine in USA, it protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and, 58. These represent 81% of the viruses that cause cervical cancer, 74% of the other HPV-associated cancers, and 90% of the HPV types which cause anogenital warts.  Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most cervical cancers, as well as some cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and oropharynx (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils). These are not limited only to females. A great deal of time, 24 minutes, passes before Ty finally admits that 11,000 males get cancers associated with HPV yearly. And that is all that is said about that.

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Two: Inexplicably, Judy Mikovits is offered as the HPV vaccine expert. To remind you, Judy is a disgraced scientist who chose to embrace pseudoscience rather than admit she made a mistake. She was a researcher looking into possible causes of chronic fatigue syndrome and claimed it was caused by a mouse recombinant virus called XMRV.  The reality is that the XMRV was found to be caused by lab contamination, but Judy could not face facts.  Sadly, bad science has a hard time dying and people desperate to repair their reputation sometimes dig themselves in deep holes.

She says 2-3 strains are associated with cervical cancer but are not the cause of it. She does not elaborate on what she thinks causes cervical cancer if it is not these strains. I think she is playing at words by implying that the virus can cause warts but it is the wrts that cause the cancer, or some such. It is a word play some in antivax land play, as a way to imply that the vaccine cannot actually prevent cancer.  Judy further claims pap smear will identify warts before they become tumerogenic and they should not be mandated for everyone. They should only be offered to families who are susceptible. She does not explain how families would know if they are susceptible to acquiring human papilloma virus nor how one would figure out if one is susceptible to the many types of cancer the virus can cause. Frankly, I think getting the vaccines is a good way to prevent these types of cancers until we do have better genetic screens and preventatives. I am not sure how Judy thinks only pap smears are going to prevent cancer. What if you have a clean pap smear one year and then get diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, less than a year later? That happened to my cousin. She did not survive.

And, pap smears don’t look at throats, penises, anuses, or rectums.

At this point, I start humming C&C music factory’s “Things that make you go hm”

 

Three: Several “experts” come on to discuss how they feel his vaccine is dangerous or unnecessary. The vaccines is presented as very dangerous. But, there have been many large studies of HPV vaccine safety, in various countries, and none have found any significant relationship between the vaccine and serious adverse events. Some other claims are made, such as the vaccine was fast-tracked, it causes other strains to become more virulent, the aluminum in it is neurotoxic, and it was not properly tested. The wonderful Skeptical Raptor has compiled an ever-expanding list of safety studies and more information on HPV vaccines, so I will refer you there to debunk these claims.

 

Four: Toni claims 10% of people who get gardasil visit the ER and 3% of them are hospitalized, per a Canadian study. Study called Adverse events following HPV vaccination, Alberta 2006-2014.  But, the study actually concluded that “of the women who received HPV vaccine 958 were hospitalized and 19,351 had an ED visit within 42 days of immunization.”  This was out of 195,270 females who received 528,913 doses of HPV vaccine.  What she does not say is that only 4 of those hospitalized had a reported AEFI (adverse events following immunization).  For the rest, mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders (19.4%) were the most frequently coded most responsible diagnoses, followed by diseases of the digestive system (15.8%), and injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (13.8%). Which is why the report she quotes actually concludes “adverse events following HPV immunization in Alberta are low, consistent with those seen elsewhere, and consistent in the types of event seen elsewhere. ”

Five: Judy claims cancer is not a public health concern so government should not be spending money on cancer prevention.  Several times, it is mentioned that all we need is pap smears will find all and prevent all cervical cancers. These two statements are frightening. My cousin died, of cervical cancer, less than a year after a clean pap smear. She is not alone. How many people are diagnosed with cancer that is found already progressed into advanced stages? Even if they are found early, fighting these cancers is a terrible ordeal for the body. To tell people that all you need is a pap smear, when HPV is responsible for many cancers besides cervical, is a grave lie.  Furthermore, if HPV is a disease passed through sexual contact (not just sex, but sexual contact), then how could it not be a public health concern? That doesn’t even make sense.

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Six:  Ty says Hep b is a disease only of drug users and prostitutes. He claims that if mother tests negative to hep b, there is zero risk of baby having it. Barbara claims hep b has always had low incidence in USA, Europe and Canada. She claims the high risk groups are adults, IV drug users in particular. She says 99.99% percent of mothers are not hep b positive. She claims the vaccine is only designated to children because adult drug users and prostitutes won’t get it.

However, before the vaccine was recommended for all children in 1994, 30% of infected adults had no risk factors. Vaccinating only those infants from at-risk groups was not halting the spread of the infection to children. This was because of incomplete maternal screening and a “substantial proportion of infections occurred in children of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAG)-negative mothers.” Let that sink in a bit. A substantial number of infections in children came from mothers who had tested negative. You got it. Testing all mothers doesn’t help. The study estimates that 16,000 children under the age of ten were infected with Hep B a year and that does not include the additional 15,000 children a year who acquired Hep B from their mothers, perinatally. Most of these 16,000 children had clinically silent infections that will lead to chronic liver infections later in life, with 25% leading to death.  The study concludes that routine vaccination of infants will save 2700 deaths a year. And, the safety and efficacy of this vaccine are well-established. And, Barbara offered no proof to back her claim that this was an orphan vaccine in need of a population.

Seven: A few other claims made about Hep B vaccine. Del claims hep b vaccine only spent 4 days being tested before it was put on market.  Ty clarifies that this comes from the Merck insert.  They seem to be unaware of the safety and efficacy testing that is done after the insert was written. Let me give you a little research hint. If you want to find studies related to a vaccine, go do the CDC’s page for that vaccine and click on the information for providers and healthcare professionals. This is where they list the safety and efficacy studies.  The parent information section is written much more simply.  In the provider section, you can find a lot of research information, including the link to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP)’s document on Hepatitis B virus and vaccination. This document has a long list of safety and efficacy data, including data analysis from the vaccine safety datalink (VSD) and the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). A great deal of safety study has been done AFTER the clinical trial.

Del also makes the claim that the USA has greater rate of newborn deaths than any all industrialized nations combined. We know from my three part series, that this is simply untrue. Please read parts one, two, and three.

Eight: Paul and Irvin, both medical doctors, spend time talking with Ty about how they believe SIDS is a vaccine injury. The implication is made that there is not enough research done but does that mean they are unaware of the research that has been done? And, are they unaware that the SIDS rate in USA is at an all time low? Infant mortality decreased 15% in last ten years. Inexplicably, they are ignorant of these facts.

And, lest you still think vaccines might be associated with SIDS, read this study. Vaccines cut the risk of SIDS in half.  That’s astounding!

Nine: Shaken baby syndrome is presented as a vaccine injury. This vile assumption is not based on scientific evidence. It is one of the vilest antivaccine lies in existence. It is something they bring up time and again, without reason. “Fortunately, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers their own, better advice – “prosecutors of shaken baby cases should be aware of this untrue defense and be prepared to exclude this irresponsible medical testimony.” source

 

Ten: Jeffrey says we are going to witness medical civil disobedience on a wide scale very soon. He thinks medical freedom will be the next civil rights movement. I just tossed that one in there, to conclude, because it is amusingly crazy. Or, crazily amusing.

 

 

Remember to think for yourself. And always verify claims before you believe them!

Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth about vaccines 4: influenza, HIB, and pneumococcal vaccines and herd immunity

Let me remind you that an explanation as to this video series can be found here and a run-down of the experts biographies can be found here.

Here are the top ten most egregious lies from Episode 4 of The Truth about Vaccines.

 

One: Episode 4 of Ty Bollinger‘s The Truth About Vaccines opens with a discussion about influenza.  Neil Z. Miller makes a claim that the CDC fabricates the annual flu death statistics. This is not true. First of all, the CDC does estimate annual flu deaths, but that is not the same as fabricating.  Here is a good explanation of how they estimate these numbers. One thing that Neil and Ty discuss is pneumonia death rate. Neil claims ” one of the statistical issues is that the CDC places deaths from pneumonia along with deaths from the flu into the same category.” Neil fails to acknowledge that “many seasonal flu-related deaths occur one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection, either because the person may develop a secondary bacterial co-infection (such as bacterial pneumonia)” or some other complication. In other words, having influenza can lead to pneumonia. The cause of death is still related to influenza, however, so it is appropriate to put these two in the same category. Thus, when the CDC reports 55,227 deaths in one year from influenza and pneumonia, they are doing so because they are related.  There are many “reasons that CDC and other public health agencies in the United States and other countries use statistical models to estimate the annual number of seasonal flu-related deaths.” They certainly are not, as Neil claims, making things up.

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Two: Suzanne Humphries says Flumist nasal flu vaccine was “very bad and it wasn’t that great before and it was spreading influenza.” This is untrue. In the USA, the Flumist had four strains of influenza in it, making it a quadrivalent vaccine. In Canada, Flumist had three strains. Studies in USA showed the quadrivalent version had only a 3% efficacy rate, compared to 63% for flu shot for 2015-16. On the other hand, studies in Canada showed the trivalent vaccine was highly effective. So, the problem was not the live mist vaccine, but something to do with that added strain. And, there is no evidence to support Suzanne’s claim that the mist was spreading influenza.

Three: The Cochrane Collaboration says flu vaccine does not work. In reality, this comes from one paper written by Tom Jefferson, a physician based in Rome and a member of the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly respected international network of researchers who appraise medical evidence. Cochrane Collaboration is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of a group of more than 37,000 volunteers in more than 130 countries. They are highly reputable but not everyone agrees with everything they publish. And, this particular idea that flu vaccine does not work, per Tom Jefferson, is controversial. Jefferson has aligned himself with some pretty unscientific characters. And, his ideas have been questioned by many. Basically, Jefferson thinks that because influenza vaccine does not work great, it is useless. Others argue that it is not a great vaccine but better than nothing. To quote Dr Mark Crislip, “I have discussed flu vaccination multiple times in the blog. The question is not IF influenza vaccination works. It does. It is the  magnitude of the effect and in what populations it is effective that is the question.   The preponderance of information suggests the for most of the endpoints above, the influenza vaccine has beneficial effects. It’s not a great vaccine but better than nothing.”

Four:  Ty and RFK discuss thimerosal and RFK says it was only removed from three vaccines. They say nothing about how thimerosal is not in any pediatric vaccines except multi-dose flu. The FDA has information on vaccines and thimerosal. You can read the pediatric vaccine list here and easily see that only multi-dose flu vaccines have thimerosal. Tripedia, a DTaP vaccine, is no longer used.   Neil says “they” are only saving 15 cents per dose by using multi-dose vials. A discussion ensues about how children are worth 15 cents. But, the difference between multi-dose and single dose flu vaccine vials is not 15 cents.  I have no idea where they got the 15 cents but here is a list of how much pediatric vaccines cost. The Vaccines for Children program is a CDC program which provides vaccines free of cost for who might otherwise not be able to afford them.  If you look on their price list, you can see the cost for a multi-dose vial of Fluzone is $16.622 per dose for private sector providers.  It is $18.72 per dose for the single dose syringes. That is about $2 difference per dose. Not 15 cents.

Five: RFK claims that if a doctor drops a multi-dose vial of flu vaccine, the doctor would have to call in a hazmat crew to clean it up. He says the multi-dose vial is hazardous waste, if not used completely. You cannot throw away unused vials. A multi-dose vial of flu vaccine has ten doses in it. Since it has 0.25 mL dose of thimerosal in it, then it has 2.5 ml of thimerosal in a vial. Remember, thimerosal is not elemental mercury.  RFK is referring to elemental mercury being a hazardous substance.  He is confusing thimerosal with elemental mercury. The EPA does have elementary mercury spill guidelines.  But, thimerosal is not mercury and there are no cleanup guidelines for it. You cannot inject elementary mercury into a body but you can inject thimerosal. Because compounds like thimerosal are not the same as elements.  Similarly, the comments by Ty and Paul about how much thimerosal is in vaccines is also based on bad math and misinformation.

Six:  Paul talks about how insurers have quality measures, mostly which include vaccine status. He claims this is pressure to conform to standards. He says insurers don’t look at any other health measures. RFK comes on to say pediatricians and doctors read no science, they just take the word of the CDC on everything. Takes a sec to plug his book. He says doctors are punished dramatically by insurance companies if they do not get a certain percent of patients are not vaccinated. He claims “you don’t cross Blue Cross.” He says if 63% of patients are not vaccines, doctors get no payments from insurers and “he suffers a terrible terrible financial punishment.” Shari comes on to talk about the Blue Cross Blue Shield provider program for Michigan providers, refers to it as the “combo 10” but fails to mention this is only for patients and providers of BCBS of Michigan. She says this applies to entire practice so doctors who have 1000 2 year olds in their practice could get $40,000 if 63% of those are fully vaccinated. This is given as the reason for firing patients. Jack comes on to claim that medical doctors are all about money and seeing the most patients in one day that they can possibly fit into their schedule. Paul claims that by not fully vaccinated all his patients, in 8 years he has lost over $1 million in administrative fees. Apparently, in his practice, vaccines are free for him to buy so any reimbursement from insurers just does into his coffers to cover administrative fees? He says pediatricians could not survive in business without financial incentives from vaccines.

I wrote about the Blue Cross Blue Shield program for Michigan providers. There are many problems with the claims made in the film.  First of all, most people opposed to vaccines  (POTVs) are not recognizing or posting that this program is only for BCBS of Michigan providers and only if they join the incentive program, called the Physician Group Incentive Program.  Secondly, POTVs are not clarifying this only works for patients insured by BCBS, with providers enrolled in the program. Thirdly, they are also not clarifying that the program is comprehensive and involves many different healthcare outcomes, not just vaccines. There are incentives for helping patients achieve healthy weight, healthy diabetes control, hypertension control, and more. Finally, POTVs are not sharing that these programs SAVE the insurance company money.

Seven: Ty comes on to claim Japan delays vaccines. A “board certified integrative oncologist” by the name of Manuela Malaguti-Boyle claims Japan gives not vaccines under age 2. Apparently, she is unfamiliar with the actual vaccine schedule in Japan. She claims this is to protect the children. She claims that in countries which do birth vaccines the children don’t do very well. If you read the Japanese immunization schedule, they do vaccinate children under age 2 years. Here is a close up of the vaccine schedule for infants and children under age 2 years.

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We also know, from my three part series, that many countries vaccinate infants, many vaccinate similarly to USA, SIDS and infant mortality rates in USA are both at all time lows, and vaccines don’t cause autism.

 

Eight: Paul says that informed consent conversations with parents should include the risk of acquiring the disease as well as the risks associated with the vaccines. If a disease is rare, he feels it is okay to not use that vaccine. HIB is an example. This is called hiding in the herd. Paul is advocating that his patients hide in the vaccinated herd because the possibility of getting HIB or measles is rare.  But, what happens if more and more people stop vaccinating? Then, the risk of getting HIB or measles increases. So, Paul is contributing to the increase in disease rates by advocating people not vaccinate.   Joseph Albeitz, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, Denver, and The Children’s Hospital put it well: “It bears to be stated again, frankly and clearly.  The choice to refuse a vaccine, to “hide in the herd,” is an active decision to accept a markedly higher risk of infection, its complications, the associated medical costs and lost wages, the responsibility of spreading the disease to others should an infection occur, and to choose to undermine the very herd immunity on which we all depend.” source

Nine: Larry comes on to claim that vaccine ingredients cause allergies. He says castor oil in Vitamin K shot is linked with peanut allergies. Vitamin K is not a vaccine and it also has no castor oil in it. There is no castor oil in any vaccines except adenovirus, which is not given routinely.

Dr Janet Levatin claims “allergies were unheard of before the invention of the hypodermic needle.” They were not a known phenomenon at all. She says substances being injected into us are the reason we have allergies. She claims HIB vaccine is made with peanut oil in adjuvants in the vaccine. She says this is not disclosed due to trade secrets. She says the HIB bacterium is similar in weight to peanuts so there is also a cross-reaction.  HIB bacterium nothing like peanuts and  there is nothing related to peanuts in any vaccine. 

Ten: Autism is a vaccine injury. Jeffrey Jaxon comes on to say “every child that has a vaccine injury is creating a warrior in the mother and a soldier in the father. And these soldiers will fight to the death.”  Mike comes on to compare vaccine mandates to communism. He says the vaccine industry uses the same tools as Chairman Mao and Adolph Hitler. Both Jeffrey and Mike Adams make mention of impeding violence coming from the vaccine freedom movement. I am not sure if this is a lie or not but it is certainly not a rational claim at all. If anyone is planning violence, that is domestic terrorism and will, hopefully, be treated as such. Why on earth would anyone get health information from terrorists? Personally, aside from all the lies and misinformation told in this series, what concerns me the most is the threats of violence. That is why I make this face a lot, when I watch this series.

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As always, think for yourself. Remember to verify all claims before you make them.

 

 

Kathy

The Truth about vaccines 3: MMR, DTaP, and the Greater Good

I accessed the documentary by joining the email list. From there, I got a daily email with a link to watch today’s episode free for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, the episodes are available for purchase at the Truth about Vaccines website. I am not going to share a link to the video because I don’t want anyone to think I am an affiliate with them, trying to earn referral dollars. On their website, you will see that they have a referral program where can earn $1 per person you refer. (I have taken screenshots)

My goal in watching this series is to “take one for the team” and blog about the worst mistruths and list in each episode.

The series is hosted by Ty Bollinger. Ty is a CPA. See episode 1 for information about Ty. 

 

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The top ten lies from episode 3

Please see this post for the full names and identity of each guest.

One: The theme of episode three should be ” we love Andrew Wakefield.”  Because that is the claim made over and over, by multiple interviewees.  Andrew is a saint. He should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Price. His work has been replicated 28 times. His work was not bogus or fraud. He is a victim of “big pharma” who are only interested in profit.  Please click on the blue words to learn why Andrew is a lying fraudster and his work has definitely not been replicated.

Two: Neil discusses how, if vaccines worked correctly, we would not have anyone vaccinated ever get a disease. Brian brings up the mumps portion of MMR and the current lawsuit about it. These two issues are related. First of all, no one ever promised vaccines work 100%. Depending on type, vaccines have an efficacy rate of 50-99%. Mumps is said to have an efficacy rate of 66% to 95% after two doses. So, some people who are vaccinated can still get mumps. Having followed the mumps outbreak news in detail, I don’t feel we yet know why there are suddenly more cases of mumps in USA.  It could be related to waning immunity.  What I do know is that it is not because mumps vaccine does not work at all nor is it because there is a lawsuit against Merck regarding mumps vaccine. The lawsuit makes claims that Merck did possible fidget with data to bump the effectiveness up from 78% to 95%.  This means the vaccine is still effective, but it might not be AS effective. The lawsuit needs to sort out the details before we can know for sure.

Three: Toni and Tim both claim that current measles outbreaks are caused by the measles vaccine, due to the recently vaccinated shedding the virus.  But, here’s the thing. Measles is a reportable disease and CDC and health departments test for virus type. The vaccine uses measles strain A, which protects against all strains, but all outbreaks are NOT strain A. For example, between 2001 and 2003, the following strains were found in measles patients:  B3, D3, D4, D5, D7, D8, H1, H2. These strains are all imported to USA. Furthermore, there are no cases on record of anyone even passing measles vaccine virus to another person. There are a few cases of vaccinated persons getting full blown measles and this is called shedding, but it is shedding to oneself, not others. Measles vaccine virus does not cause outbreaks.

Four: The vaccines did not save us idea is a lie. Sayer and Suzanne both repeatedly refer to mortality (death rates) graphs showing death rate was decreasing before vaccines. Suzanne has put a bunch of these historical mortality rate graphs in her book. It is true that improvements to water quality and nutrition and other lifestyle improvements did help lead to a dramatic decrease in death rate, even from diseases for which we now vaccinate. But, people were still dying and there was still great suffering from diseases, until we started to vaccinate. Look at this graph comparing the measles (mortality) death rate from 1912 to 2001 to the measles (morbidity) disease rate.

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In this report on the history of measles in USA, the authors found

“In the first decade of reporting, an average of 297,216 cases were reported each year, representing a mean reported measles incidence of 289/ 100,000. In the same period, an average of 5948 measles-related deaths were reported annually. The average annual number of reported measles cases increased to 530,217 (incidence, 310 cases/100,000) in the decade preceding licensure of measles vaccine (1953—1962). Population-based surveys suggested that reported cases underestimated actual cases in the pre-vaccine period by 85%–90% [1]. By 1953–1962, the mean annual number of fatal measles virus infections had decreased to 440, despite more reported cases [2].

Measles case fatality decreased from 21 deaths/1000 reported cases in 1911–1912 to <1 death/1000 in 1953–1962. This improvement in survival of people infected with measles virus presumably resulted from improved nutrition and medical care, especially the availability of newly discovered antibiotics to treat many of the bacterial complications of measles. It is difficult to estimate whether measles-related deaths were as severely under-reported as were measles cases.”

So, in 1912, we had 5948 measles deaths a year and 289 cases per 100,000 people. In 1953, we had 310 cases of measles per 100,000 people. And, since the population had grown, this meant a tremendous increase in the number of measles cases yearly, from 1953-62. Yes, death rate was down. But measles was still causing suffering to many until the vaccine came out in the 1960s.

This argument applies to all the vaccine preventable diseases. Modern water plants, refrigeration, hand washing, and clean food all helped us be vastly healthier. But, VPD rates were still high until vaccines helped lower them.

 

Five: Sayer talks about how we need germs to be healthy and if we allow our body to fight infection naturally, we will be stronger. He and Neil both claim having a vaccine preventable disease naturally will protect one from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  It is true that some studies are being reported showing a correlation between having chicken pox naturally and a reduced risk of a type of brain cancer. It is true that there is a study from japan that linked having had natural measles and mumps with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. But, why is Sayer concluding that children should get sick in order to possibly not have cancer or heart disease later in life? To me, this makes no sense at all and, certainly, the study authors do not make this suggestion at all. No reasonable person would ever suggest that a child should risk getting sick in order to possibly not get sick as a senior. So, this is a half lie, in my opinion. Or, a crazy stretch of the truth. You choose.

Six: Larry makes a claim that combination vaccines are problematic because, in real life, nobody ever gets more than one disease at a time. I am making the face again. Seriously? He thinks you cannot get two diseases at once? The term used for one disease or disorder linked to another is comorbidity. There is scientific literature on vaccine preventable disease comorbidity. Here is a study of children in Ghana having more than one VPD at once. Here is a study from Iran of children getting chicken pox with other diseases.  It is rare to acquire one vaccine preventable disease with another but this does not mean it cannot happen. And, it is not uncommon for people with HIV or other very serious diseases to acquire another infection. Yes, this more common people who are immune compromised or living with malnutrition, but it can happen.

Larry also claims that some countries know that combination vaccines are more dangerous and this is why they don’t offer them. He shares how Japan switched from MMR to MR and M separately because the combo vaccine caused meningitis. In reality, there are different strains of mumps and Japan prefers to use the Urabi strain while USA sticks with Jerryl-Lynn. One brand of MMR, used in Japan, was shown to increase the risk of aseptic meningitis so they switched to a different vaccine for mumps that does not have this problem. They still vaccinate for all three diseases. The switch has nothing to do with combination.

Seven: Paul says the 2004 study discussed in the movie Vaxxed shows a 300% increase in autism in African American Boys. Follow the links to read more about the film and claims.  However, this is a lie, in and of itself, because no studies show 300% more AA boys with autism. This study shows a rate of autism in whites of 62.5 per 10,000 and 42.6 in blacks. Data published in 2012 shows autism rate 1 in 63 white children, 1 in 81 black children, and 1 in 93 Hispanic children were identified with ASD. Here is the dataset.  It is possible that Paul was confused about recent claims made by RFK, but those have been refuted by several scientists who also happen to have autistic children (lest you think they are biased).

Eight: Tetyana says rubella is an unnecessary vaccine for boys and it would be better to simply have rubella parties, the disease is THAT mild. She says pregnant women are the only ones at risk from rubella. It is true that rubella, or German Measles, is a relatively mild disease in children. Complications are more common in adults than the children. The problem is not that rubella is mild but that congenital rubella syndrome is a terrible thing. “A rubella epidemic in the United States in 1964–1965 resulted in 12.5 million cases of rubella infection and about 20,000 newborns with CRS. The estimated cost of the epidemic was $840 million. This does not include the emotional toll on the families involved.”

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Thanks to vaccines, the incidence of rubella as well as the incidence of congenital rubella syndrome both dropped 99%.  The Pan American Health Organization declared all of the Americas free of native rubella in September 2016. The fact that a person with a PhD in Immunology should believe that rubella parties are a good idea is so reprehensible to me that I am just going to say that this woman must not have even one clue that CRS was like, in the days before vaccines. Before vaccines, 20,000 babies a year were born with CRS, in the USA. That we have eradicated this is astounding.

Nine: Paul says there are no safety studies done for TDaP during pregnancy. He says the vaccines is too toxic to justify giving it to prevent 5-10 pertussis infant deaths a year. Pertussis is a very serious illness, particularly in infants under age 1. Infants are most susceptible to complications and death. In 2015, almost 3000 infants had documented pertussis and 6 died. In 2012, 6000 infants had documented pertussis and 16 died. In 2013, 4000 infants had pertussis and 12 died.  It is likely that many of these infants needed hospitalization and probably all of them needed medical care. Does Paul really think that is not worth preventing?

And, yes, there are safety and efficacy studies on pertussis vaccine during pregnancy. Here is a very long list of such studies.

Paul needs to read more than inserts.

Ten: Suzanne says pertussis vaccine doesn’t work and it leads to a worse infection called parapertussis. Neil says the vaccine has caused the bacteria to evolve. This is something antivaxers have been worried about for years. But, parapertussis is milder than pertussis and parapertussis does not produce the pertussis toxin. Even Joe Mercola says it is milder. So, what about the claim made by Suzanne and Neil? This turns out to be related to a mice study where authors added findings to hype their results and this claim is contradicted by many large-scale human studies.

And, with that, I end my take on episode 3. I am going to save commenting on the greater good for a blog post of it’s own, set for next week.

 

Thanks for reading and remember to think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

 

 

Thank you to Michael for helping me access this episode and thank you to Dorit for helping me clarify a few poins.

Truth about vaccines: who are the experts?

I missed out on watching episode three of The Truth about Vaccines.  The episodes are only available for free for 24 hours. I missed episode three. I suppose I could try to find it on youtube but, instead, I decided to bring to you the people behind the series.  It is quite a long list.  It is important to know who they are, why the filmmakers consider them experts, and why they are not truly experts in immunization science. Narrator Ty Bollinger makes frequent claims that his film is unbiased and truthful. Is it? How impartial and free of conflicts of interest are the members of this group?

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Robert F. Kennedy, JR – RFK is an attorney, author, and environmental activist. For a while, he was famous for working with Riverkeepers and then Waterkeeper Alliance but has since moved on to The Mercury Project and vaccines. His claims about mercury and vaccines are not supported by scientific consensus. He is lately becoming famous for his choice of words.

Sherri Tenpenny, DO – Sherri is a practicing osteopath in Ohio, USA, who runs a store online for supplements and a website called The Vaccine Library where, for $100 a year, you can access her information on vaccines. She also runs a website called TruthKings, which publishes very dramatic stories related to science and vaccines, rarely providing evidence to support claims. She calls herself a vaccine researcher but she has, in fact, published no research.

Paul Thomas, MD – Paul is a pediatrician with offices in the Portland, Oregon area.  He is a founding member of Physicians for Informed Consent, an antivax group affiliated with many other antivax groups. Dr Paul makes claims about his patients health that are not supported by any actual evidence and he is the author of a book called The Vaccine-Friendly Plan. He claims not to be antivax but then he spends a lot of time saying vaccines are dangerous, without much evidence to support his claims.

Toni Bark, MD – Toni is a former hospital medical director who currently runs an aesthetic beauty clinic and health center in Illinois called The center for disease prevention and reversal.  She is a practicing homeopath who also offers nutrition advice, bio-identical hormones, and aesthetic treatments like dermabrasion. She has, in recent years, become a very outspoken antivax activist.

Mike Adams, Health Ranger – Mike fancies himself a sort of health lone ranger, but this is really a business model for which he has become quite successful. It has been documented that Mike’s original foray into the business of health blogging was based on what he felt would be the most financially lucrative area of the internet. His it no wonder he “has found a way to foster and monetize the most current fear gripping the cultural zeitgeist?”  He is considered a health scammer and has been under investigation by the FBI for his actions.

Andrew Wakefield, former MD – Andy has been involved in two notorious science scandals, both relating to his 2004 study.  Brian Deer’s profile of him is accurate, as is this explanation of the “whistleblower” manufactroversy. Of course,  I watched his film Vaxxed.

Barbara Loe Fisherfounder of the National Vaccine Information Center, Barbara talks a lot about vaccine risks, including autism, and freedom and choice. She has a son who had a reaction after his fourth DPT shot that she believes led to his learning disabilities. That spurned her into vaccine advocacy, leading to her being one of the authors of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

Del Bigtree – former producer of the television talk show, The Doctors, and producer of Vaxxed. Del was a lower tier producer on 32 episodes of The Doctors (out of 1125 total).  He now makes a full time job out of promoting Vaxxed.

Suzanne Humphries, MD – Suzanne is a former nephrologist (currently licensed but not practicing) who, in 2011, devoted herself to studying homeopathy and then gave that up to focus full time on what she perceives as the evils of vaccines. She has been widely criticized for her ahistorical take on vaccines. I have read her book, Dissolving Illusions, and I am familiar with her vitamin C protocol. Her recommendations for vitamin C are based on case studies from the 1930s.

Larry Pavelsky, MD – Larry is a holistic pediatrician in New York state. He is in practice with a host of “alternative health practitioners.” A hallmark of someone not espousing good science is if they offer a store where they sell supplements and whether they offer to cure autism. Larry does both. Throughout the Truth series, Larry’s comments are among the most outrageously disconnected from fact and science.

Brian Hooker, PhD – Brian is an associate professor of biology at Simpson university in California. He has a teenage son on the autism spectrum and has spent much of the last 20 years working on proving that MMR and mercury caused his son’s “vaccine injury.” He was heavily involved with Vaxxed in that it was his now-retracted study that is featured in the film. His claim of vaccine injury was recently denied with medical evidence proved him wrong.  He has a PhD in chemical engineering.

Sayer Ji – businessman Sayer has a degree in philosophy and runs the website, Greenmedinfo, which is a natural health website oft noted for it’s inexplicable inability to properly read scientific studies. He is also an advisory committee member of RFK’s World Mercury Project.

Judy Mikovitz, PhD – Judy is a disgraced scientist who chose to embrace pseudoscience rather than admit she made a mistake. She was a researcher looking into possible causes of chronic fatigue syndrome and claimed it was caused by a mouse recombinant virus called XMRV.  The reality is that the XMRV was found to be caused by lab contamination, but Judy could not face facts.  Sadly, bad science has a hard time dying and people desperate to repair their reputation sometimes dig themselves in deep holes.

Sin Hang Lee, MD – Sin has made a reputation for himself with his ideas about Gardasil vaccine. Even though his ideas about HPV dna have been widely discredited, he is still sought out by antivaxers.

Stephanie Seneff – Stephanie is Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. That sounds so impressive, doesn’t it. But, why is she trying to study vaccines? This is the question of the day. Lately, she is making incredible claims about vaccines and autism, none of which make any sense.

Marco Ruggiero, MD – Marco is an Italian AIDS denialist and practitioner of autism “cures.” In my world, this makes him pretty low on the respectability totem pole.

Janet Levatin, MD – Janet is in practice with Tenpenny and a known antivaxer.

Joseph Mercola, DO – Joe is the granddaddy of natural health bloggers. He has been in legal trouble for making outlandish claims not based on science and is a millionaire off tanning bed and supplements sales.

Jennifer Margulis, PhD – Jennifer is a writer and known antivaxer. She has no background in science but co-authored Paul’s book (scroll up). She is anti medicine on several fronts, including birth.

Robert Scott Bell, DA, Hom – Robert is a podcaster who supposedly overcame a lot of chronic health conditions with homeopathy (which he now practices) and other natural healing methods.

Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD – Tetyana is a currently not employed immunologist who self published a small manual one can buy online.  She makes a lot of strangely unscientific claims, in her book, which has led to her becoming a popular member of the antivax brigade. She is now also a member of Physicians for Informed Consent. It is not clear why she has rejected her training.

Rashid Buttar, DO – Rashid is a known antivaxer.

Debra Gambrell, DO – Debra is an Anthroposophical Medicine Specialist, which means she espouses the theories of Waldorf School founder, Rudolf Steiner, including that disease makes us stronger.

Allison Fomar, JD – Allison is a parental rights activist.

David Wolfe – David is, well, David.  He thinks the earth is flat.

Jeffrey Jaxen – Jeffrey is an independent journalist who often writes for greenmedinfo and appears on the Robert Scott Bell show.

Robert J, Krakow – Robert is an attorney specializing in vaccine and other injuries.

Polly Tommey – Polly is a friend of Andy Wakefield’s and very involved in Vaxxed, including actively travelling the USA in the Vaxxed bus, collecting vaccine injury stories. She doesn’t believe science is truthful and instead believes whatever parents tell her. She has a son on the autism spectrum and believes he is vaccine injured and his life was destroyed. She is known for saying things like vaccines are murdering babies.

Shawn Centers, DO – Shawn is an integrative doctor who believes he can heal autism.

Neil Z Miller – Neil is a vaccine researcher who likes to use VAERS data that has not been medically verified as accurate in his “studies.”

Laura Hayes – Laura is media editor of Age of Autism, which many in the autism community believe is a hate group.

Tim O’Shea, DC – Tim is the author of a self-published book claiming vaccines do not immunize.

Ty and Charlene Bollinger – Ty is a former CPA who now runs the Truth about Cancer website. Charlene is his wife.

Nico LaHood – Nico is District Attorney for Bexar County, Texas. He believes one of his children became autistic after a vaccine and now talks about it in public.

Brandy Vaughan – Brandy is a former Vioxx rep for Merck who now runs a website called Learn the Risk. She thinks vaccine ingredients are highly toxic and raises money to fund a billboard campaign about them. She feels that her two years selling Vioxx makes her an expert in pharmaceutical company practices.

G. Edward Griffin – G. Edward is a far right conspiracy theorist. 

April Boden – April believes vaccines caused her son’s autism.

Tony Muhammad – Tony is a minister with the Nation of Islam and opposes vaccines. He also believes Vaxxed is truthful and vaccines are causing 250% more autism in African American boys.

Erin Crawford – Erin believes she got cancer from the HPV vaccine but this is not supported by medical evidence.

Mario Lamo-Jimenez – Mario is a Colombian author who now speaks at Autismone conferences on HPV vaccine.

Michael R Hugo – Michael is an attorney

Erin Elizabeth – Erin calls herself “the health nut” and is either currently or has overcome every chronic health condition you can think of, including being aborted as a fetus, mold toxicity, vaccine injury, and god knows what else. Read her story, on her blog. It’s astounding. She is Joe Mercola’s girlfriend and spends much of her time, lately, making a list of “holistic” doctors who have died in the past few years. She believes they are all murder victims.

Heather Rice, DC – Heather is a Vermont chiropractor

Erick Zielinski, DC – Erick is a chiropractor, essential oil salesman, and practitioner of “biblical health” and online ministry out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Srinivasulu Gadugu MD – he is a homeopath

Cilla Whatcott, PhD – she is a homeopath

David Lewis – David is a former research microbiologist and now Co-Chair of the Whistleblower Leadership Council.

Heather Wolfson, DC – Heather is a chiropractor from Arizona who believes vaccines are toxic

Jack Wolfson, DO – Jack is a cardiac specialist from Arizona who now runs a practice with this wife wherein they sell supplements and share why they think vaccines are toxic.

David Brownstein, MD – David is a holistic medicine practitioner from Michigan with specialty in thyroid health, arthritis and other chronic conditions. He believes they can all be overcome through diet.

Edward Group, DC – Edward wins the award for the most initials I have ever seen after one person’s name. According to his website, his title is Dr. Edward F Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM. You can check for yourself what all of that means.

Ian Clark – Ian is developer of a nanno-nutrition supplement called Oceans Alive.  Yes, it is supposed to have two Ns.

Heidi Bonaroti – Heidi believes her son’s autism was caused by vaccines.

Muhammed Rafeeque, AA, BHMS – Muhammed is a homeopath who practices in India.

Edda West – Edda is founder of Vaccine Choice Canada, a believer that vaccines cause catastrophic illness and death in children, and a contributor to whale dot to and Vaccine Risk Awareness News.

Edwin Black – Edwin is a syndicated columnist and investigative journalist. He specializes in human rights.

Manuela Malaguti-Boyle, PhD, NMD – has a master’s in philosophy and a degree as a naturopathic doctor. She practices homeopathy and natural medicine in Australia.

Tom and Candace Bradstreet – Tom and Candace are related to Jeffrey Bradstreet, who killed himself as federal officials were about to raid his clinic. He had been accused of using an unproven, unregulated, potentially dangerous “cure” for autism called GcMAF.

Irvin Sahni, MD – Irvin is a pain medicine specialist from San Antonia, Texas.

 

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Do you see what I see? The only person on the list who comes close to claiming any expertise about vaccines is Neil Z Miller and his studies have been widely refuted as not valid since he uses unverified VAERS data. Every person on this list has a reason to be antivax and completely biased against vaccines. They either make a living off the claims that vaccines cause all manner of health problems or they are people who are convinced they or their child experience vaccine harm. These are not unbiased, impartial people. Not at all.

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In writing this blog post, I have linked often to several blogs I have come to know and trust over the years. Scienceblogs, Science Based Medicine, the Genetic Literacy Project, Skeptical Raptor, Left Brain Right Brain, and Harpocrates Speaks are blogs I have followed for years. They are all excellent quality. But, don’t take my word for it. My criteria for blog excellence is the following: do they cite their sources, do they back up their claims, do they NOT sell things, and are they good people with good intentions.

 

As I alway says, think for yourself.

 

Kathy

The Truth about Vaccines Episode 1: Top Ten lies debunked

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This episode is sub-titled The History of Vaccines, Smallpox, Vaccine Safety and the Current CDC Schedule. I accessed the documentary by joining the email list. From there, I got a daily email with a link to watch today’s episode free for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, the episodes are available for purchase at the Truth about Vaccines website.

 

The series is hosted by Ty Bollinger. Ty is a CPA. He runs a seemingly successful business and website telling people factoids about cancer. For clarity, I am going to refer to everyone by their first name, after introducing them.

The first guest is author Jennifer Margulis. She makes a point is that if a patient did not want an antibiotic for a viral infection, they would never be called anti antibiotic, so why do we call people who question vaccine safety “antivax?”  Now, dear readers, do you see the logical errors here? As someone who is actually allergic to two different kinds of antibiotics, I know that being unable to take certain antibiotics and asking questions about antibiotic risks and benefits does not mean one is opposed to all antibiotics. It behooves my health to double check with my doctor that any antibiotic they are prescribing to me (on the rare occasion I need one) is not related to the two types which caused me allergic reactions.  By the same token, if you had a bonafide allergic reaction to a vaccine, you would want to find out which ingredient caused the reaction and avoid that one ingredient. Asking your doctor questions about your reaction and future vaccines does not make you antivax. What makes a person antivax is, for example, assuming that everything bad is a vaccine reaction or that a minor reaction is cause to avoid all future vaccines.  Also, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, so Margulis’ comment doesn’t actually make a lot of sense to me.

I do agree with Ty and Jennifer that we all want our kids to be safe. As I am oft to say, there is nothing wrong with asking questions. It’s the answers that are the issue.

The documentary says many falsehoods, such as the one above. I chose to narrow it down to ten and debunk just them.

 

One: The first lie comes from Dr Paul Thomas, a pediatrician from Oregon.  Paul explains that the AAP does not investigate vaccine safety. Ty claims that the issue is that we need to entertain the vaccine safety discussion. Now, do you see the lie?  The American Academy of Pediatricians is a professional organization.  They publish several journals, including Pediatrics.  They also research pediatrician office practices and they do research issues related to immunizations. In a way, Paul is correct that the AAP does not specifically research vaccine safety but this does not mean members are not involved in vaccine safety research nor does this mean that AAP ignores vaccine safety. In the journal Pediatrics alone, there have been many vaccine safety studies published. Therefore, it is untrue that the AAP does not investigate vaccine safety.

Two: Paul brings up iatrogenic, the idea that doctors cause harm by what they do. He says that doctors have lost their way and don’t look at the harms vaccines do. He discusses the connection between autism, vaccines, mercury in vaccines, the hepatitis B dose at birth, aluminum and how, in 2008, he had to make a decision to slow down and analyze vaccines for toxicity issues. His implication is that doctors cause grave injury to children, with vaccines, but they are not interested in learning why or how. This begs the question why then are doctors reporting adverse events to VAERS, the vaccine adverse event reporting system? Why are other doctors studying the medical information related to these reports and publishing findings in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a network of nine healthcare organizations across the country? Why are these findings published in journals to which doctors subscribe, such as Pediatrics, wherein they can be easily read? I have to think that Paul must be aware of these facts and is simply misleading viewers on purpose.

ThreeNeil Z. Miller comes to discuss all the side effects he thinks vaccines cause but he never brings up how he got these ideas from raw VAERS data nor does he discuss issues of validity or reliability of using raw VAERS data. The problem is that anyone can report anything to VAERS and reports are made, in comes cases, without regard to proving causation. This is important because the CDC and FDA and the VSD will monitor these reports and do studies of actual medical records to see if vaccines really do cause serious issues. For example, it was the results of these kinds of studies that the first rotavirus vaccine was removed from market in 1999 for causing intussusception more often than would occur normally. Neil should know how this works but he does not have access to medical records, so his studies only look at raw VAERS reports. This is not considered valid since none of the reports have been verified by medical evidence. SIDS is an example of something that may be reported to VAERS but, in reality, is not caused by vaccines. In fact, studies show SIDS rate in USA is not only at an historical low but that vaccines cut the risk of SIDS in half.  Therefore, Neil has nothing valid to offer and it was remiss of Ty to not mention these facts.

Four: Ty then comes on to claim that the CDC states informed consent issues are, according to the 10th amendment, a state’s rights issue. Barbara Loe Fisher, NVIC founder, explains how vaccine laws are state laws. Vaccine laws are statutory, created by states. They are implying that vaccines are given to children without the parent being afforded informed consent; therefore, they argue, this is coercion. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has written about the legalities this topic and states: “The informed consent process for vaccines is carefully regulated and thought through. A serious effort is made to provide patients with the information they need in a short, accessible format. As long as the healthcare provider performs the legal duty of providing the Vaccine Information Sheet before vaccinating, the patient – or parent – has before them the information necessary to make an informed decision.”  Therefore, patients and their parents are give informed consent and the filmmakers, again, have lied.

Five: From this point, Ty discusses how much medical education a typical doctor receives in medical school. Larry Pavelsky states vaccines are not very much discussed in medical school.  Suzanne Humphries says doctors are not taught anything at all about what is in vaccines. Paul talks about how his daughter is in medical school and she is still not being taught what is in vaccines. Shari Tenpenny says the problem is the “big ramp up in the number of vaccines.” Del Bigtree, film producer, comes on to explain that doctors entire understanding of vaccines is “just because.”   He says doctors know nothing about vaccines except that they were told vaccines are safe. This is fraud, in his opinion.  Ty spends some time going over the average medical school curriculum. He claims that only one course is offered, microbiology, which addresses vaccines at all.

standford copy.jpg

 

In reality, doctors spend a great deal of time learning about everything to do with the human body, disease, prevention, treatment, and more. As you can see from the schematic above, which is from Stanford University’s s 2016-2017 MD Program, doctors learn about immunology, microbiology, diseases, systems, and more. What those opposed to vaccines really mean, when they say doctors don’t learn about vaccines, is that doctors do not learn the ingredients to vaccines. This is true. There is nothing on this curriculum list about pharmacology. Do you know why? Because pharmacists learn about pharmacology, not medical doctors. Medical doctors don’t memorize the ingredients to the drugs they look up. They can look up ingredients and side effects on their laptop. If you want to discuss drug ingredients, find a pharmacist.

Six: Barbara Loe implies that all manner of pediatric health issues are all on the rise and, therefore, must be related to the increase in vaccines. She states that the worst public health report card in history coincides with the increase in vaccines. But let’s take a look at the actual data. This report, from AAP, noted that the prevalence of disability increased 16.3 percent from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010 with more children today having a disability than a decade ago, and the greatest increase is among kids in higher-income families. But, “while neurodevelopmental and mental health-related disabilities increased, those due to physical conditions decreased.” “The survey did not break out autism, but we suspect that some of the increase in neurodevelopmental disabilities is due to the rising incidence or recognition of autism spectrum disorders,” Dr. Houtrow said. ”

We also know, from my research project last summer, that shifting diagnosis codes is responsible for the increase in autism diagnosis. And, we know that increases in special education funding and programming have resulted in more children being diagnosed with learning disabilities who would have been ignored in past generations.

We also know that SIDS and infant mortality rates are at all time lows, in USA.

Therefore, it is a lie to say that pediatric health issues are on the rise.

Lead

Seven: Paul brings up how doctors were promoting cigarettes in the 1950s and implies vaccines are similarly waiting for studies to be done on them. This is a bit silly but since it is brought up often by those opposed to vaccines, I am going to give it some time. As you can tell from this 1956 Atlantic Article, science knew a great deal about how cigarettes were related to cancer, even back as far as the 1930s. “The year 1950 saw the publication of four independent statistical studies, each of which established a significantly higher percentage of heavy cigarette smokers among lung cancer patients than among any other group. There have now been more than fourteen similar studies, and without exception they arrive at this same conclusion.” So, why did doctors promote cigarettes in the 1950s? Well, because they were fake doctors in advertisements. The tobacco companies were not yet required to list warning about cigarettes and advertisers were allowed to lie back then. Laws changed in the 1960s. The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act was not enacted until 1965. So, it is a lie to say that doctors were promoting cigarettes and there was not science about them being health hazards.

Eight: Paul comes back on to talk about how doctors don’t know what to look for, with regard to vaccine reactions. He says no one has looked at whether the unvaccinated have febrile seizures or die of SIDS.  He talks about how there are more allergies, more ADHD, etc and they have not been studied in relation to vaccines. (Does he really not know that these questions have been answered already? See #2)   Here is some information about febrile seizures. A lot is known about how they connect with vaccines. Some vaccines can cause a fever which could cause a febrile (fever) seizure. This is not epilepsy and it is not a vaccine issue, per se, but that some toddlers are prone to a seizure with a fever. An illness could also cause the seizure. We also know that vaccines cut risk of sids in half and that sids rate is at an all time low, in USA. 

Nine: Barbara  brings up how vaccines are unavoidably unsafe. Toni reiterates this point. Toni claims that judges don’t understand this point when she discusses it with them. Unavoidably unsafe refers to a legal case Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss explains that it means “these products are beneficial enough that society wants to encourage their manufacturing. Therefore, while strict liability would be applied to most products, a manufacturer that prepared a drug or vaccine carefully and warned consumers of its risks should not have to pay for the side effects of a drug or vaccine whose benefits outweigh the risks unless that manufacturer can be shown to have been negligent.” Therefore, vaccines are not unsafe.

Ten: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger comes on to claim that vaccines are advertised as 100% risk-free, that the vaccine risk are ignored. He claims the vaccine injury wants us to ignore the risk-benefit ratio. He does not explain why he thinks the risk from vaccines is “very very high.” I am sure Mike knows that vaccine information sheets fully state the risks and that disease risks are much higher. Therefore, he is lying to viewers.  Here is a great explanation of risks of diseases versus vaccines from the National Center for Immunisation in Australia.

Sidebar to #10: Ty brings up the vaccine injury awards paid out. He mentions the risks but does not qualify them. We know that 5200 claims of vaccine injury have been compensated, along with attorney fees, in 30 years. We also know that we’ve given out 3 billion (at least) vaccines in those 30 years. Why does Ty not mention that makes vaccines 99.999984% safe?

 

As you can see, there were a great many mistruths and outright lies told in this first episode of The Truth about Vaccines. I hope this information helps you to debunk the film. Look for episode 2 debunking soon!

Some information about Ty Bollinger

Official biography

Woman following his protocol died unnecessary death

Ty Bollinger’s pseudoscience

 

As always, remember to think for yourself.

 

Kathy