Why I don’t believe the Vaxxed bus stories

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


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

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

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

Ariella Aisha Talha’s story first came to my attention in mid 2015.  She is number 1229 on the Vaxxed bus. Reading the story, it seemed pretty obvious to me that the child had Krabbe Disease, a 100% fatal genetic condition. The parents, however, refused to believe and, instead, blamed her vaccines. As her condition deteriorated, they continue to seek attention for her supposed “vaccine injury,” including fundraising quite a bit for natural treatments for her. Meanwhile, public posts about her continued to show her condition deteriorating as expected with Krabbe Disease. Ariella passed away in August of 2016, shortly after her baby sister was born. Rumor has it that the baby was conceived because they wanted to use stem cells from her to cure Ariella.  And, unfortunately, it appears the most recent baby also has Krabbe Disease. Since she is unvaccinated, this time they are saying she has suffered damage from toxic mold. They have been raising funds to pay for a doctor who supposedly treats patients for toxic mold-related illnesses.


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

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

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

Look at all these names.


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

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

If you want me to believe you or your child are vaccine injured, you better pony up some actual evidence.  I am fully aware that vaccines can cause injury, but at a rate of 5500 claims compensated and 3 plus billion vaccines given, in the last 30 years in USA, the risk of vaccine injury is literally 0.000016%. This bus and it’s list is not helping keep children healthy.


Remember to always think for yourself,



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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is just an editorial about another study.  No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This study has nothing to do with autism. No.


This study has nothing to do with autism. No.

This study has nothing to do with autism. No.

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



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

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

Not about autism.

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

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

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

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


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


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

Marcella offers more!

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

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


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


Remember, always think for yourself,





Diseases and their risks


The list below popped up in chats this weekend. Where did it come from? I have no clue. But it is 100% wrong. Dangerously wrong.

diseases copy


Original comments in italics, facts in red.

Chicken Pox = itchy rash; 5-7 days; resolves itself. In the prevaccine era, approximately 11,000 persons with varicella required hospitalization each year. Hospitalization rates were approximately 2 to 3 per 1,000 cases among healthy children and 8 per 1,000 cases among adults. Death occurred in approximately 1 in 60,000 cases. From 1990 through 1996, an average of 103 deaths from varicella were reported each year. Most deaths occur in immunocompetent children and adults. Since 1996, hospitalizations and deaths from varicella have declined more than 70% and 88% respectively.

Diptheria = low fever, sore throat; many infections are asymptomatic or mild; treat with antitoxin and antibiotics. The most frequent complications of diphtheria are myocarditis and neuritis.The overall case-fatality rate for diphtheria is 5%-10%, with higher death rates (up to 20%) among persons younger than 5 and older than 40 years of age. The case-fatality rate for diphtheria has changed very little during the last 50 years..

Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) = flu symptoms, stiff neck; treat with antibiotics for 10 days.  Invasive disease caused by H. influenzae type b can affect many organ systems. The most common types of invasive disease are meningitis, epiglottitis, pneumonia, arthritis, and cellulitis.

Meningitis is infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and is the most common clinical manifestation of invasive Hib disease, accounting for 50%-65% of cases in the prevaccine era. Hallmarks of Hib meningitis are fever, decreased mental status, and stiff neck (these symptoms also occur with meningitis caused by other bacteria). Hearing impairment or other neurologic sequelae occur in 15%-30% of survivors. The case-fatality rate is 3%-6%, despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

Hepatitis A = transmitted orally through feces; children usually have no symptoms; flu symptoms, jaundice; resolves itself. Severe clinical manifestations of hepatitis A infection are rare, however atypical complications may occur, including immunologic, neurologic, hematologic, pancreatic, and renal extrahepatic manifestations. Relapsing hepatitis, cholestatic hepatitis A, hepatitis A triggering autoimmune hepatitis, subfulminant hepatitis, and fulminant hepatitis have also been reported. Fulminant hepatitis is the most severe rare complication, with mortality estimates up to 80%. In the prevaccine era, fulminant hepatitis A caused about 100 deaths per year in the United States. The hepatitis A case-fatality rate among persons of all ages with reported cases was approximately 0.3% but may have been higher among older persons (approximately 2% among persons 40 years of age and older) More recent case-fatality estimates range from 0.3%-0.6% for all ages and up to 1.8% among adults aged >50 years. Vaccination of high risk groups and public health measures have significantly reduced the number of overall hepatitis A cases and fulminant HAV cases. Nonetheless, hepatitis A results in substantial morbidity, with associated costs caused by medical care and work loss.

Hepatitis B = transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids; flu symptoms, jaundice; most people do not show symptoms; acute Hep B resolves itself.  While most acute HBV infections in adults result in complete recovery, fulminant hepatitis occurs in about 1% to 2% of acutely infected persons. About 200 to 300 Americans die of fulminant disease each year (case-fatality rate 63% to 93%). Of children who become infected with HBV between 1 year and 5 years of age, 30% to 50% become chronically infected. By adulthood, the risk of acquiring chronic HBV infection is approximately 5%. Acute HBV progresses to chronic HBV in approximately 40% of hemodialysis patients and up to 20% of patients with immune deficiencies. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 persons die of hepatitis B-related cirrhosis each year in the United States. Persons with chronic HBV infection are at 12 to 300 times higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma than noncarriers. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 persons die each year in the United States of hepatitis B-related liver cancer.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) = transmitted sexually; usually resolves itself with no symptoms; takes years to develop into cancer; regular pap screens prevent cancer; vaccine discontinued in Japan due to adverse reactions. The CDC and National Cancer Institute’s United States Cancer Statistics Working Group reports that from 2005 through 2009 there were annual averages of 12,595 cases and 3,968 deaths due to cervical cancer. HPV is believed to be responsible for nearly all of these cases of cervical cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 are associated with 70% of these cancers.

In addition to cervical cancer, HPV is believed to be responsible for 90% of anal cancers, 71% of vulvar, vaginal, or penile cancers, and 72% of oropharyngeal cancers.

Also, pap smears can only detect cancer. They cannot prevent it. 
Influenza – a.k.a. “the flu”; high fever, cold symptoms, vomiting; lasts 7-10 days; resolves itself; vaccine contains mercury (thimerosal). “Classic” influenza disease is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, myalgia, sore throat, nonproductive cough, and headache. The fever is usually 101°–102°F, and accompanied by prostration (bedridden). The onset of fever is often so abrupt that the exact hour is recalled by the patient. Myalgias mainly affect the back muscles. Cough is believed to be a result of tracheal epithelial destruction. Additional symptoms may include rhinorrhea (runny nose), headache, substernal chest burning and ocular symptoms (e.g., eye pain and sensitivity to light).  Most pediatric flu deaths are in unvaccinated children. 

Measles = fever, cold symptoms, rash; 7-10 days; resolves itself. Diarrhea was reported in 8% of measles cases, making this the most commonly reported complication of measles. Otitis media was reported in 7% of cases and occurs almost exclusively in children. Pneumonia (in 6% of reported cases) may be viral or superimposed bacterial, and is the most common cause of measles-related death. Acute encephalitis occurs in approximately 0.1% of reported cases. Death from measles was reported in approximately 0.2% .  SSPE is another complication, which is 100% fatal. 

Meningitis = flu symptoms, stiff neck; usually caused by bacteria or virus; viral usually causes no symptoms and resolves itself; bacterial is spread through saliva (kissing, coughing); most people who ‘carry’ the bacteria never become sick; bacterial is treated with antibiotics. The case-fatality ratio of meningococcal disease is 10% to 15%, even with appropriate antibiotic therapy. The case-fatality ratio of meningococcemia is up to 40%. As many as 20% of survivors have permanent sequelae, such as hearing loss, neurologic damage, or loss of a limb.

Mumps = fever, swelling of salivary glands; many people show no symptoms; resolves itself within a few weeks.  Complications include orchitis in 12%-66% in postpubertal males (prevaccine) 3%-10% (postvaccine), Pancreatitis in 3.5% (prevaccine), Unilateral Deafness 1/20,000 (prevaccine) and Death 2/10,000 from 1966-1971. In the prevaccine era, mumps accounted for approximately 10% of cases of symptomatic aseptic meningitis (inflammatory cells in cerebrospinal fluid resulting in headache or stiff neck). Men were afflicted three times as often as women. Aseptic meningitis resolves without sequelae in 3 to 10 days. Mumps encephalitis accounted for 36% of all reported encephalitis cases in the United States in 1967.
Pertussis = a.k.a. “whooping cough”; resolves itself. The most common complication, and the cause of most pertussis-related deaths, is secondary bacterial pneumonia. Young infants are at highest risk for acquiring pertussis-associated complications. Data from 1997–2000 indicate that pneumonia occurred in 5.2% of all reported pertussis cases, and among 11.8% of infants younger than 6 months of age. Neurologic complications such as seizures and encephalopathy (a diffuse disorder of the brain) may occur as a result of hypoxia (reduction of oxygen supply) from coughing, or possibly from toxin. Neurologic complications of pertussis are more common among infants. Other less serious complications of pertussis include otitis media, anorexia, and dehydration. Complications resulting from pressure effects of severe paroxysms include pneumothorax, epistaxis, subdural hematomas, hernias, and rectal prolapse.

Pneumococcus = flu symptoms, stiff neck; treat with antibiotics.  Approximately 400,000 hospitalizations from pneumococcal pneumonia are estimated to occur annually in the United States. Pneumococci account for up to 36% of adult community-acquired pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia has been demonstrated to complicate influenza infection. About 25-30% of patients with pneumococcal pneumonia also experience pneumococcal bacteremia. The case-fatality rate is 5%–7% and may be much higher among elderly persons. Other complications of pneumococcal pneumonia include empyema (i.e., infection of the pleural space), pericarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart), and endobronchial obstruction, with atelectasis and lung abscess formation.

More than 12,000 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia without pneumonia occur each year. The overall case-fatality rate for bacteremia is about 20% but may be as high as 60% among elderly patients. Patients with asplenia who develop bacteremia may experience a fulminant clinical course.

Pneumococci cause over 50% of all cases of bacterial meningitis in the United States. An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 cases of pneumococcal meningitis occur each year.

Poliomyelitis = 72% of infections cause no symptoms; 25% flu-like symptoms that last 2-5 days; 0.5% leads to more severe symptoms such as paralytic polio; only people with the paralytic infection are considered to have the disease.  Up to 72% of all polio infections in children are asymptomatic. Approximately 24% of polio infections in children consist of a minor, nonspecific illness without clinical or laboratory evidence of central nervous system invasion. This clinical presentation is known as abortive poliomyelitis, and is characterized by complete recovery in less than a week. This is characterized by a low grade fever and sore throat.  Nonparalytic aseptic meningitis (symptoms of stiffness of the neck, back, and/or legs), usually following several days after a prodrome similar to that of minor illness, occurs in 1%–5% of polio infections in children. Increased or abnormal sensations can also occur. Typically these symptoms will last from 2 to 10 days, followed by complete recovery. The death-to-case ratio for paralytic polio is generally 2%–5% among children and up to 15%–30% for adults (depending on age). It increases to 25%–75% with bulbar involvement. In the immediate prevaccine era, improved sanitation allowed less frequent exposure and increased the age of primary infection. Boosting of immunity from natural exposure became more infrequent and the number of susceptible persons accumulated, ultimately resulting in the occurrence of epidemics, with 13,000 to 20,000 paralytic cases reported annually.

Rotavirus = vomiting, diarrhea; children, even those that are vaccinated, may develop rotavirus disease more than once. Rotavirus infection may result in severe dehydrating diarrhea with fever and vomiting. Up to one-third of infected children may have a temperature greater than 102°F (39°C).  

In the prevaccine era an estimated 3 million rotavirus infections occurred every year in the United States and 95% of children experienced at least one rotavirus infection by age 5 years. Rotavirus infection was responsible for more than 400,000 physician visits, more than 200,000 emergency department (ED) visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths each year in children younger than 5 years. Annual direct and indirect costs were estimated at approximately $1 billion, primarily due to the cost of time lost from work to care for an ill child.

In the prevaccine era, rotavirus accounted for 30% to 50% of all hospitalizations for gastroenteritis among U.S. children younger than 5 years of age; the incidence of clinical illness was highest among children 3 to 35 months of age. 

There has been a 90% reduction in cases since the vaccine. 

Rubella = a.k.a. “three day measles”; flu symptoms; 1-3 days; 25 to 50% of people infected with rubella will not experience any symptoms; resolves itself. Symptoms are often mild, and up to 50% of infections may be subclinical or inapparent. In children, rash is usually the first manifestation and a prodrome is rare. In older children and adults, there is often a 1 to 5 day prodrome with low-grade fever, malaise, lymphadenopathy, and upper respiratory symptoms preceding the rash. The rash of rubella is maculopapular and occurs 14 to 17 days after exposure. The rash usually occurs initially on the face and then progresses from head to foot. It lasts about 3 days and is occasionally pruritic. The rash is fainter than measles rash and does not coalesce.

The concern about rubella was congenital rubella syndrome.  Prevention of CRS is the main objective of rubella vaccination programs in the United States.

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. Congenital infection with rubella virus can affect virtually all organ systems. Deafness is the most common and often the sole manifestation of congenital rubella infection, especially after the fourth month of gestation. Eye defects, including cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, and microphthalmia may occur. Cardiac defects such as patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, pulmonic stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta are possible. Neurologic abnormalities, including microcephaly and mental retardation, and other abnormalities, including bone lesions, splenomegaly, hepatitis, and thrombocytopenia with purpura may occur.

Tetanus = sudden, painful contractions of muscle groups; caused by Clostridium tetani transmitted through broken skin; prevention is to allow wound to bleed freely because the bacteria needs oxygen to germinate; treatment is tetanus immunoglobulin injection and hospitalization. 

Laryngospasm (spasm of the vocal cords) and/or spasm of the muscles of respiration leads to interference with breathing. Fractures of the spine or long bones may result from sustained contractions and convulsions. Hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system may lead to hypertension and/or an abnormal heart rhythm.

Nosocomial infections are common because of prolonged hospitalization. Secondary infections may include sepsis from indwelling catheters, hospital-acquired pneumonias, and decubitus ulcers. Pulmonary embolism is particularly a problem in drug users and elderly patients. Aspiration pneumonia is a common late complication of tetanus, found in 50%-70% of autopsied cases. In recent years, tetanus has been fatal in approximately 11% of reported cases. Cases most likely to be fatal are those occurring in persons 60 years of age and older (18%) and unvaccinated persons (22%). In about 20% of tetanus deaths, no obvious pathology is identified and death is attributed to the direct effects of tetanus toxin.

We’ve likely all seen this famous depiction of tetanus. Modern sufferers are put into a coma to prevent those spasms from causing unbearable pain and breaking limbs.

Vaccine Risks = ALL product inserts list numerous potential reactions including impaired immune system; autoimmune disorders; and/or death. All vaccine inserts DO NOT list potential reactions but adverse reactions reported without regard to causation. See explanation here. 

Vaccines that shed (are contagious): Measles, Mumps, Varicella (Chicken Pox), Oral Polio, Rubella, Rotavirus, Influenza (Flumist). Vaccine shedding is a non issue.

My references





As always, verify your claims



Poison control is provax



For the past month or so, the following post has been going viral on Facebook.  The poster, Ms Figueroa, is a well known antivaxer from New  York who posts a great deal on vaccine-related threads.  She routinely blocks anyone who is provax so please don’t think she is interested in learning from any of us.  I am refuting her post for others.

She claims that she called poison control and had the following conversation:

“I gathered all vaccine ingredients into a list and contacted Poison Control. After intros and such, and asking to speak with someone tenured and knowledgeable, this is the gist of that conversation.
Me: My question to you is how are these ingredients categorized? As benign or poison? (I ran a few ingredients, formaldehyde, Tween 80, mercury, aluminum, phenoxyethanol, potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, sorbitol, etc.)
He: Well, that’s quite a list… But I’d have to easily say that they’re all toxic to humans… Used in fertilizers… Pesticides… To stop the heart… To preserve a dead body… They’re registered with us in different categories, but pretty much poisons. Why?
Me: If I were deliberately to feed or inject my child with these ingredients often, as a schedule, obviously I’d put my daughter in harm’s way… But what would legally happen to me?
He: Odd question… But you’d likely be charged with criminal negligence… perhaps with intent to kill… and of course child abuse… Your child would be taken away from you… Do you know of someone’s who’s doing this to their child? This is criminal…
Me: An industry… These are the ingredients used in vaccines… With binding agents to make sure the body won’t flush these out… To keep the antibody levels up indefinitely…
He: WHAT?!
Your conclusion?”


Now, anyone with any knowledge about how toxicity works would understand that vaccine ingredients are not toxic in the doses they are in vaccines. Nothing is toxic at all doses. Do you know who especially knows this is fact?  The nurses and pharmacists who work for Poison Control!  How do I know this? Because I called American Association of Poison Control Centers  (PC) at (800) 222-1222 and talked to Joan, RN with Washington Poison Control.  We had a very nice conversation.  She laughed at the idea that anyone at PC would be read a list of ingredients and call them toxic in all doses. They are specially trained to know that toxicity is based on dose. They are very provax, at poison control, she told me.  She said that, in her opinion, everything in the above conversation goes against the standardized poison control training nurses and pharmacists receive to be employed by PC. Also, she said a PC employee would never talk to someone about an action being liable for criminal negligence.  Finally, they know very well that THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON.  That is what they do at PC, they talk about dose.  For example, when my then one year old ate some christmas berries, I called poison control and we talked about how many she had eaten and how there is nothing toxic in the berry but the seeds do have cyanide. Since humans don’t masticate (I learned that word that day) much, there was little to no chance of my child actually getting any cyanide. The seeds would pass through her digestive system whole, just like apples seeds.

Nothing in vaccines is toxic at those doses. Don’t fall for bullshit.


Think for yourself! And do call the nice people at Poison Control if you ever have any poison concerns!




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.

tetyaya copy

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.



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!





10 Things I Want Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids To Know

I read a blog post today, entitled “10-things-want-parents-vaccinate-kids-know” and I felt the need to respond.

1.Most of the time the diseases we vaccinate for are very mild and unlike vaccine injury, they last only a short time. This is not true. Back when vaccine-preventable diseases were common, disease injury was common. 30% of measles patients suffer complications and many require hospitalization. Some of those will be permanently injured. Back when nearly all children got measles, this mean thousands suffered injury every year.  Polio was also very bad in the 1950s.  “In 1952 alone, nearly 60,000 children were infected with the virus; thousands were paralyzed, and more than 3,000 died. Hospitals set up special units with iron lung machines to keep polio victims alive. Rich kids as well as poor were left paralyzed.”  source  Before the hepatitis V vaccine was recommended for all children in 1994,  30% of infected adults had no risk factors and 10,000, of children under age 10 were found to have Hepatitis B yearly. source

I could go on but, no, these diseases were not mild for everyone and yes they did cause permanent injury.


2. Even if you choose to vaccinate, please please make yourselves aware of the adverse events that can occur.  Yes, by all means,  check the vaccine information sheets. If you read the vaccine inserts, be sure to be aware that they do not list side effects. Inserts list adverse events reported during the clinical trials without regard to causation. There is always more to read than inserts. Vaccine information sheets list actual, proven side effects.

3. If you are really are worried about viruses and bacteria, you might want to also read about vaccine ingredients.  Sure, by all means ask questions about vaccine ingredients.  But, know that the dose makes the poison and nothing in vaccines is toxic. MSDS are not helpful, as they refer to pure mercury and pure aluminun, neither of which are in vaccines. Antivaxers will refer to the limit for aluminum in IV feeding  but that is not a helpful thing to read because vaccines are not TPN feeding. The Children’s Hospital of Philadephia has great resources on vaccine ingredients. Remember, the dose makes the poison.

4. Your children will be shedding their live virus vaccines (this includes the measles and chickenpox vaccine) after their shots. Just big fat no. Here is a great article for you to read about why vaccine shedding is theoretically, but not actually, possible. Measles and chicken pox rates are down. Because shedding is myth.


5. The Mawson study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, found significantly higher rates of autism, allergies, ear infections, learning disabilities and chronic diseases in those vaccinated to the schedule.  The Mawson study is completely invalid.  Don’t just read my take. Read all the links.

6. Vaccines are far from perfect… but there is not a huge failure rate. Many vaccines have 95% or greater efficacy.  Measles vaccine, for example, is 99% effective for life after two shots. Rubella vax is 95% effective for life. Tetanus vaccine is nearly 100% effective but only for ten years.   You can find all the efficacy rates here.


7. If you are worried about where to get good and unbiased information from. Look at vaccine inserts, VAERs reports, studies that aren’t funded by pharma companies, and most importantly, parents of vaccine injured children. By all means, look at VAERS reports but understand that nothing about them is valid. They are not valid because no medical information has been analyzed to confirm those reports. Also, most vaccine studies are NOT pharma funded, so using pubmed, you should be easily able to find many studies to read. International scientific consensus will show to you that vaccines have far greater benefits than risks.  Finally, parents are not great resources. We are not medical experts.  For example, if you read the Brian Hooker vaccine injury claim, you will see how one parent, even one with a PHd in a science-field, can make mistakes and miss early warning signs.

8. The people trying to convince you not to vaccinate have only one motivation, and that is to prevent more suffering, because they have either witnessed it first hand in their own family or know someone who has.  Okay, moving past the bad grammar in that sentence, which pains me, the reality is that there are people who have been duped by others into believing everything under the sun is a vaccine injury. And, those doing the duping are shysters and snake oil salesmen and women. They call themselves “experts” but they are really selling you products in lieu of modern medicine.   Be wary. Science should verify the validity and reliability of data. Shysters do not.


9. In the time you have spent reading this, more children have been damaged by vaccines, because they believed what Doctors and the government told them. In reality, 5482 vaccine injury claims have been compensated in the last 30 years.  2,845,946,816 doses of vaccines have  been given out in that 30 years. That means that vaccine injury rate is 0.00000195%. That is incredibly rare.

10. It’s not too late to change your mind. I agree. It is never too late to vaccinate.


Remember to always think of yourself and verify your claims using valid science.





All vaccine infographics come from here


The Truth about vaccines 6: rotavirus

Hopefully, you get the picture from my posts about episodes 1-5 that The Truth about Vaccines is anything but truthful.  This series is really just full of misinformation and lies. For today’s post, I am going to focus exclusively on the misinformation about rotavirus vaccine and Dr Paul Offit, as presented in episode 6. This vaccine is the reason I became a vaccine advocate in the first place. You can read my story, “How a bout of rotavirus made me appreciate vaccines.”


For my family, rotavirus was a terrible experience. It was 10 days (times two) of me not sleeping much at all, because my 11 month old daughter was spewing fluids from both ends every hour or so. When she was not vomiting or having diarrhea, she was nursing. If she was not nursing, she was crying. She refused to eat or drink anything else and would not take her pacifier. I took her to the doctor and was given information on how to keep her hydrated.  It was very hard on both of us and I am not exaggerating when I say that I experienced psychological trauma going through those ten days (times two). I have spoken with other moms who’ve experienced severe rotavirus in their babies and they understand and feel the same way.  14 years later, I still get upset and teary just thinking about it. It was godawful.

With all this in mind, watching the “experts” in the Truth about vaccines talk about rotavirus was painful.

First, Robert F Kennedy Jr implied that the only reason Dr Paul Offit invented the rotavirus vaccine was to take part in the “vaccine gold rush.” RFK Jr, also brings up that the rotavirus inventor, Dr Paul Offit sits on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and holds a chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) that is financed by Merck. . It is claimed that Offit voted to add the vaccine to the schedule and then later sold the patent for millions of dollars.  The implication is that because Dr Offit is a “vaccine industry insider,” and this vaccine was put on the market for nefarious reasons.

Next, Jennifer Margulis calls rotavirus “a pretty benign disease.”  She also claims that the decrease in rotavirus incidence has led to an increase in norovirus rates and “that is much more virulent than rotavirus.”  She says ” The theory that I have behind that is that since rotavirus, which was relatively benign, that almost every child in America got before age five and recovered from—no child in America has ever died from rotavirus with the exception of that kid that poor Paul Offit saw when he was a young doctor. Kids in America don’t die of rotavirus. There’s no reason to be giving the rotavirus vaccine.” (Note: Margulis is referring to a story Dr Offit tells of being unable to treat an Appalachian girl with rotavirus, due to her severe dehydration, and how that spurned him to study the disease.)

Then, Dr Paul Thomas, who does not give his patients rotavirus vaccine, claims that his patients who got the vaccine elsewhere have more diarrhea and ER visits than his patients who were not given this vaccine. (Please note he presents no actual data for us to verify his claims nor has he published any data.)  Thomas also says the rotavirus vaccine is contaminated. Barbara Loe Fisher also claims dangerous porcine viruses are in rotavirus vaccines and Sayer Ji implies porcine viruses “are able to infect children with a virus that goes into potentially their germline” and they are in the “same category as HIV, which is associated with AIDS.”


Let’s dive in to these claims.


The first rotavirus vaccine came on the market in 1998 and was called RotaShield. Pretty soon after, it was noted that some infants were experiencing intussusception soon after vaccination. Rotashield was pulled from the market and studied and an increased risk found between the vaccine and intussusception.  “Intussusception from all other causes is most common among infants in the first year of life; 1 child in 2,000 children to 1 child in 3,000 children is affected before one year of age. Based on the results of the investigations, CDC estimated that one or two additional cases of intussusception would be caused among each 10,000 infants vaccinated with RotaShield® vaccine.”

Please note that infants can get intussusception even when unvaccinated.

Seven years passed before another rotavirus vaccine was on the market. RotaTeq, from Merck, was invented by Drs Fred Clark, Stanley Plotkin, and Paul Offit and licensed in 2006. Rotarix, fromGlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, was licensed in 2008. Globally, there are other rotavirus vaccines. Dr Offit did not sit on the FDA committee that approved any rotavirus vaccine and he was not a member of ACIP, as RFK Jr claims, at the time they voted to recommend adding rotavirus vaccine to the immunization schedule.  The patent for RotaTeq was sold for $182 million but by CHOP, not the doctors who invented the vaccine. As co-inventors, each of the three doctors split 10% of that three ways. Keep in mind that they spent 25 years working on that vaccine, nearly all vaccines in development never make it to market, and they never knew if their vaccine would succeed until it did. As Dr Offit himself states, scientists don’t research vaccines for money. “You do it because it’s fun and because you think you can contribute. And the reward for creating a vaccine was also never financial. The reward was watching this vaccine dramatically reduce the incidence of rotavirus hospitalizations in the US and now getting to watch the vaccine enter the developing world in countries like Mali, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ghana, and Nicaragua. That’s why we did it.”

Jennifer’s claim that rotavirus is a benign disease is easily negated by the facts:

Dehydration is the major concern for infants with rotavirus.  Globally, 3.4% of child deaths are from dehydration and rotavirus. Most deaths occur in the poorest countries, but rotavirus was still a health concern in USA, before the vaccine. In the prevaccine era, in the USA, 95% of children under five experienced at least one rotavirus infection by age five.

“Rotavirus infection [in USA] was responsible for more than 400,000 physician visits, more than 200,000 emergency department (ED) visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths each year in children younger than 5 years. Annual direct and indirect costs were estimated at approximately $1 billion, primarily due to the cost of time lost from work to care for an ill child. In the prevaccine era, rotavirus accounted for 30% to 50% of all hospitalizations for gastroenteritis among U.S. children younger than 5 years of age; the incidence of clinical illness was highest among children 3 to 35 months of age. Infants younger than 3 months of age have relatively low rates of rotavirus infection, probably because of passive maternal antibody, and possibly breastfeeding. Rotavirus infection of adults is usually asymptomatic but may cause diarrheal illness.”


And she claims norovirus is worse than rotavirus. Rotavirus is 3 to 8 days of terrible diarrhea and vomiting that can be severe in infants. Norovirus is 12 to 48 hours of vomiting and diarrhea. Rotavirus used to cause 200,000 ER visits a year and 50,000-70,000 hospitalizations a year, pre-vaccine.  Norovirus rates vary from year to year but, in bad years, it has also caused as many as 250,000 ER visits and 50,000-70,000 hospitalizations. As you can see by this graph of hospitalization rates for norovirus, norovirus rates clearly go up and down and have not risen dramatically, other than the pandemic years, since rotavirus vaccine was licensed. And, rotavirus did not only kill the one child Dr Offit met as an intern. It killed as many as 60 infants a year, pre-vaccine. Clearly, Jennifer Margulis is wrong.


Dr Paul Thomas’ claims about his own vaccinated patients being sicker than those who did not have rotavirus vaccine are unable to be verified. There are no better than rumors or anecdotes. I could counter with my own anecdote that I have only had a gastro infection once in my life, never had noro or rota viruses, my younger (vaccinated for rotavirus) daughter has never had a gastro infection in 9 years, and my oldest has never had a gastro bug since she was 14 months old and recovered from that second round of wild rotavirus. Harrumph!

Finally, the porcine dna issue has been studied at great length and not found to be a health concern by anyone reputable. Keep in mind that people opposed to vaccines present a lot of concerns about dna in vaccines without regard to the fact that we eat, breathe, and drink non-human dna all day, every day.  They fear that we are going to turn into mutants, like The Fly. If non-human dna were a health risk, I would be half cat, thanks to these guys.



Remember to think for yourself,



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.


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,


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.



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.


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.



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!







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.


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.

japan copy

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.



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