Antivaxers are mean girls

 

 

I have noticed that antivaxers have a tendency to attack provaxers with what I would call immature vitriol. Vitriol is a term from chemistry meaning caustic but it fits their behavior perfectly. We see it often when they make nasty memes about Dr. Richard Pan or Dr. Paul Offit or my very kind and sweet friend Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a legal scholar with expertise in vaccine law.  Here is an example of the kind of immature and vitriolic posts and memes they make, this one about California Senator, Dr. Richard Pan.

 

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This week, some of the ladies from Informed Choice Washington, the antivax group in my fair state, chose to aim their vitriol at me. This came after I watched two of them, Susie Corgan and Jaclyn Gallion, testify at the latest ACIP meeting.  Jaclyn apparently took offense and posted about it on her Facebook wall.  [Sidenote: I find it funny that she has me blocked but I still get sent screenshots. Nothing is private online!]

 

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Let’s go through her thread.

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So, in this post, Jaclyn posted a link to my last blog post. She thinks I took the photos from her but I actually gathered from friends who found them around the internet. Webster defines “Gaslight” as “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”  I am not sure what she thinks is gaslighting about my comment.  I did not call her sanity into question at all.

 

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Next up we have Sandy who used to bug me on Twitter about debating Del Bigtree. I always said I would be fine with doing it if he could promise to not record audio or video.  Given what he does with clips, how nasty he can be, why would I trust him not to manipulate my words?  She never did set that up. I am not worried about how I look so her comment is very strange. I could make a comment about Del’s looks right now but I am going to rise above.

I did leave a lot out of my post about their ACIP commentary, that is true. I did not feel the need to comment on every single woman’s thoughts.

 

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This made me laugh. I won an award from the CDC, as you can see in my about page, but I had to prove no ties to pharma to qualify. I love how they blindly believe each other without verifying a thing.

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I am not sure what Jaclyn means about trolling. I don’t know anything about her children and I never post on other people’s pages unless we are FB friends. I have never posted on Jaclyn’s FB page.  As for Chris, she posted more than once about her son and so I made a few comments about him. He and my daughter have the same diagnosis so I figured we could chat. She took great offense and blocked me. I found that confusing since she opened the door by labeling him as autistic. [shrug]

Oh, an I am not a member of the Antivax Wall of Shame. I actually find that group too negative and have never been a member. Go ahead and check their membership.

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I am not sure what Drella is talking about. I had several friends help me edit my blog post about them.  I did find one more typo today.  I would be more than happy to entertain Drella’s edits if she wanted to send them to me.  It certainly seems remarkably petty, to me, to make the comment she did with no specifics.

Hi Jack! Always like to see you on my blog. I miss bantering with you, now that you blocked me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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I am not sure who the Housers are. I will have to look. As for hairy actually, I am quite not hairy. LOL  It is telling that Michele, whom I don’t know at all, called me those names. is that really what matters to her? Not the science, just the way someone looks to her?  And is she really THAT perfect that she is above criticism?

 

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I don’t appreciate negativity so I have Craig Egan and all his iterations on block. But, hey, thanks for thinking we are that organized that we are one and the same! What a funny comment!

 

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I am not sure how they think I can be a troll if I don’t troll antivax pages.  A troll is a person whose seeks out the opposition and posts to argue. For example, when these ladies post on the Spokane Regional Health District Facebook page or the Washington State Department of Health Facebook page, they are being trolls because they always argue with page admin’s points. I am the supporter as I always post a positive, supportive comment.  I consider immunization very important but I never go to antivax pages and post. Never. I support the provax, pro-science message, which is the opposite of trolling.

As for my children, what an incredibly low blow for Ms Humphries to make that comment. My children are amazing and beautiful and smart and respectful and amazing. I am incredibly blessed to have a teenager and a tweenager who still enjoy my company and both get all As and Bs in school. One qualifies as gifted and the other is a gifted artist. One plays musical instruments, volleyball, and dances jazz. The older one is on the autism spectrum and her path has not been smooth but she is one of the most incredible people I have ever known in my life and every single speedbump in our lives has led to her being the person she is and I would not change a thing. Not one single thing. She is incredible.

I had a moderate reaction to the MMR in graduate school. My arm swelled up like a tennis ball was in it and it was very painful for about a week. That is not severe but did report it to VAERS and I was told the next MMR might cause a worse reaction.  Luckily, 27 years later, I had my titers run and I am still immune!

Erin’s comment is the worst.  What kind of person thinks this of people they don’t even know? It’s astounding. I will pray for her soul.

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So, now they make fun of my wardrobe from 2015 when I testified in front of the Washington State House Committee on Healthcare at my state capital, Olympia. I wore a brand new abstract floral blouse and navy slacks. Apparently, that was not good enough for them. They didn’t recall a thing that I said but my wardrobe stood out.  [snort – you just have to laugh at this level of immaturity]

As for my weight, I am not obese. I wear a size 16 and am tall with broad shoulders. I am not as thin as a rail but my own doctor says I am fine. Why does it matter to them if I am skinny or not?  Several well known antivax advocates are quite overweight but that is not why we disagree with them.  Their weight is not the issue. Their belief that vaccines cause autism is the issue!  Focus ladies! Focus on the issues! Being pretty or not doesn’t matter!  

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Apparently, Laira does not realize her boyfriend is really just a chiropractor. He is not a medical doctor. He is not a “functional medicine doctor” because he is only licensed as a chiropractor.  I love my chiro for helping my extra straight back and neck but I am very glad he does not deviate from straightening joints and backs.  Why on earth should I consider a chiropractor knows anything at all about immunology? They are not trained in immunology. They are good for nothing except putting joints back into place.

And, again, I did not listen to all the comments from the ACIP meeting. Feel free to link me to any you want to consider.

Jaclyn, your comment is about as vile as Suzanne’s.  Seriously, in what world do you think it is acceptable to say that kind of thing?  I see beautiful children daily and help them succeed. None of them are “vaccine injured” and I certainly would never look at one of them and ever think “you are damaged.”

 

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I call a spade a spade. Antivaxers are those opposed to vaccines for reasons not based on sound science. I certainly don’t call all people on the fence about vaccines “anti” because that would not reflect their thinking. And where do I harass people? I never troll antivax pages. Ever. Also, as I pointed out earlier in this post, Chris brought up her son and I then commented. If she had not mentioned him and his issues, I would never have said a thing.

Moral: If you don’t want people to comment on your family, never mention your family.

 

I am a glass half full kinda gal and it always surprises me when people get so negative and irrational in vaccine discussions.  To me, the issues are science and safety studies and efficacy data, not personal issues like looks, what one wore, or one’s weight. If we wanted to make it personal, we could bring up a lot of well-known antivaxers who are obese, smoke, heavily tattooed, ugly, and/or look very ill. But that is beside the point. When we talk about public health, our looks are not the point. The point is what does the science tells us. If you have to deviate from the science and mock a person’s looks and comments, you have lost the debate. You are being a “mean girl.” You are being vitriolic and immature. You are showing the world you have no valid argument on your side and you are so immature that acting like a catty 14-year-old gossiping behind the backs of others is the only choice you have left.  What kind of person are you inside?

I am going to always stick to the science. There are no studies which show vaccines to have greater risks than benefits. Vaccines do not cause autism.

Seriously, these ladies are ridiculous.

 

Have a great day

 

Kathy

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Remember to think for yourself,

 

Kathy

How a Bout of Rotavirus Made Me Appreciate Vaccines

This article was originally published as part of Project Muse From: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics Volume 6, Number 3, Winter 2016  pp. 161-163 | 10.1353/nib.2016.0073

 

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When my first baby was about 11 months of age, she got rotavirus. There was not a vaccine on the schedule in 2003. She went to play at a city recreation center for toddlers and ended up being part of a large outbreak of this horrible virus, diagnosed by her doctor. She was incredibly sick for 10 days. She reverted to exclusive breastfeeding and refused everything else, including popsicles or Pedialyte. She would only breastfeed, which was comforting for her as well as life saving. She had a very bad case of rotavirus, with diarrhea and vomiting at least 10 times each a day for 10 days. It was pure hell for me as I barely slept for ten days. And I worried non-stop that she would die from dehydration and organ failure.

 

Two weeks later, she got it again. Even though I keep a clean house, in my attempt to keep a healthy house I did not realize I had not actually killed the rotavirus. It can live for ten days on hard surfaces and for weeks on wet surfaces. The healthy, ‘green’ cleaners that smell good do not kill it. Vinegar does not kill it. Bleach kills it but I was not using bleach as I thought it was toxic. And, I had not washed the stuffed animals.

 

When she got it again, it was just as bad as the first time. This time, I also took her to a local naturopath, thinking she might have some ideas about how to help my poor baby. She recommended two things: probiotics and bleach. Probiotic powder on my nipples during nursing eased the tummy troubles. Bleach solution cleaned and killed the virus. I washed and cleaned literally every thing in my house, from Duplos to stuffed animals to the window blinds. Every thing got a wash down with a mild bleach solution, the kind daycare centers use to clean surfaces. Thankfully, I have never experienced another tummy bug with any of my kids ever again. Twelve years later, I still consider this one of the worst experiences of my life. I commiserate with other rotavirus moms since they are the only ones who truly understand the experience.

 

This experience that made me realize how fragile our babies can be. In olden days, the infant mortality rate was very high not only because of sanitation and nutrition issues, but because babies are fragile and can die easily from diseases. Even after we had clean water and good food in the USA, babies still died or suffered greatly from these diseases. I am very thankful for modern medicine.

 

In 2004, I discovered the online world of parenting groups. These groups can help you connect with other people during the day. But, they also bring up a lot of issues for you to stress about which may not be issues with busier moms. Not that busy moms are negligent but stay at home moms have more time to worry about little things that may or may not be important. I have found that only other mothers who have been through having a child with rotavirus understand how awful this experience can be. With chatting online came questions about vaccines. I was a teacher before becoming a mom yet I had never heard of anyone not vaccinating. I was completely unaware, before children, of the extent to the antivax movement.

 

I studied social networking in college years ago, long before online social networking was even a dream. The principles of connecting people together via social groups are very interesting and I really appreciate how amazing it can be to connect with like-minded people from all over the world. When you are parenting alone, because your partner is working and your friends are working and your mom is far away, then online chatting is a real blessing. I have learned a lot from all the chat forums I joined over the years: Mothering, Babycenter, Pregnancy, Diaperswappers, and many others. I learned about and practiced attachment parenting, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, home birth, and making health choices in the home.

 

But nothing prepared me for what I learned about vaccines.

 

The first time I ventured into a vaccination forum, in an online group, was to ask why people discount the science? I asked that most sincerely because, it seemed to me that people were not actually paying attention to what science tells us about vaccines. Little did I know that there are different ideas amongst those who oppose vaccines about what constitutes a risk and what defines risk. I found people who would read the same study as I and see different things in it. For example, a study discussing one very rare reaction, out of millions or billions of vaccines given, could dissuade some from vaccinating even if most people understand the risk is greater with the diseases. For some, a large list of studies showing the aluminum used in vaccines is safe does not counter one study showing it could be dangerous. Cherry picking information is common amongst those opposed to vaccines. I don’t blame them for not understanding cherry picking versus scientific consensus, as most of them have not been taught what it means. Most people opposed to vaccines are sincerely interested in good health. Natural health gurus have misled them.

 

I also found a common argument that vaccines did not really end disease outbreaks and good nutrition and a healthy immune system is all one needs to avoid disease. As a teacher, I approached these discussions like research assignments. I did as much research as I could by reading studies and books. I read all the books I could find, whether for or against vaccines. I got my then-husband in on my research. He is a toxicologist and we looked at the EPA IRIS database and other sources for defining toxicity of ingredients. I consider myself quite open minded and really went into this research assuming I would find out that vaccines are horrible for us. But, quite the opposite, I found the risks associated with vaccines to be extremely miniscule and the ingredients to be not toxic at all at those doses.

 

I assumed I could tell people what I had found, politely, and they would agree with me. I have been doing so for thirteen years and, yet, still there are people who persist in the belief that vaccines cause autism and autoimmune disease and epilepsy and SIDS and a great many other horrible things. Even when I present study after study demonstrating vaccines are far safer than diseases and nutrition doesn’t prevent or cure them, there are still people who won’t agree. And the debate grows more and more contentious as people have gotten caught up in the ideas from the film Vaxxed, which I have seen, and believe in them, despite them all being proven false.

 

It is very frustrating.

 

I wish I could convey to those opposed to vaccines that we all just want children to be healthy. Those of us who advocate for vaccines are parents, adults with autism, adults with injuries from vaccine preventable diseases, researchers, doctors, nurses, and scientists. We aren’t paid to advocate for vaccines. I get accused of that all the time and it makes me very sad. Even if I was paid, which I am not, how would that negate the value of the thousands of safety studies from all over the world, most not conducted by pharmaceutical companies, that demonstrate scientific consensus showing vaccines benefits far outweigh risks?

 

I wish I understood why someone would believe a blog post from a holistic doctor selling an unproven treatment for autism but not a research scientist working for a children’s hospital. I wish I could help people opposed to vaccines understand that most “vaccine injuries” are really not caused by vaccines. I recently read a story of a child diagnosed with a tragic genetic condition that rarely enables the child to live past age two. The parents refused to believe the diagnosis and, instead, called it a vaccine injury. The child’s symptoms worsened, in keeping with the original diagnosis, and then she passed away shortly before age two. The story is tragic but I cannot understand how they can ignore the diagnosis. It doesn’t help anyone to blame vaccines for something that is genetic.

 

For me, too, this decision to vaccinate is about being part of a community. We advocate environmental awareness, in our house, and try to tread gently on earth. We recently switched to having all our sources of energy come from renewable resources. We take the bus often instead of driving a lot. We buy local food so our food’s global footprint is not large. Vaccinating is part of not being a selfish person, in my opinion, and understanding we all breathe the same air. We must take care of each other as well as the environment. I teach my children this lesson, as I want them to understand that the community is important, than the individual’s needs never outweigh the group’s needs.

 

I am not sure how we can bridge the divide between those who vaccinate and those who do not vaccinate. What I can do, however, is help those on the fence about vaccines understand that the rational argument is in favor of vaccines. In my online and local advocacy, I try to always be polite and rational. I hope that helps the science stand out clearly. I was the Washington State CDC Immunization champion for 2015 for my advocacy. When people post articles in which I am quoted or a stolen picture of my award, it is an opportunity to remind them they are proving I am not a paid advocate. To qualify for the award, I had to prove I have no financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry or government. I am proud of my advocacy and have never done anything disrespectful.

 

I have read a great deal about vaccines in the last 13 years, both pro- and anti-vaccine. I fully understand the ingredients, the safety studies, the risks, and the benefits of vaccines. To that end, I have started blogging to share what I have learned.

 

Kathleen Hennessy

2015 CDC Washington State Immunization champion

https://vaccinesworkblog.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vaccines Revealed 1 – a provaxer’s view

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

From Merriam-Webster

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

 

vaccines_revealed_logo

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

But, I digress. A common occurrence.

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

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

So, let’s talk about these videos.

Video one: Andrew Wakefield 

andy-copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video one: Gary Goldman

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

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

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

Sigh.

This has all been debunked.

 

 

 

Remember! Always think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Carey discusses Vaxxed, the film.

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

vfv-does-vaxxed

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

USA does not vaccinate more than other countries

 

vaccinesworld

Have you seen this blog?

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This is a product of Generation Rescue.  The title refers to a quote from vaccine advocate, Amanda Peet, who said there are (were at the time) 14 good studies showing vaccines don’t cause autism.  Now, there are more than 107 studies showing vaccines do not cause autism. And, despite protestations from people opposed to vaccines, there are no studies demonstrating vaccines do cause autism.

But, what was really interesting on this website is the claim that the USA vaccinates more than any other country. We do not.

In this post from 14 Studies, they say

“The United States has the highest number of mandated vaccines for children under 5 in the world (36, double the Western world average of 18), the highest autism rate in the world (1 in 110 children, 10 times or more the rate of some other Western countries), but only places 34th in the world for its children under 5 mortality rate. What’s going on?”

They  provide a list of the number of vaccines given in several major Western countries. For example, they list USA as giving 36 mandatory vaccines, Iceland, Sweden, and Japan all give 11, Norway 13, Finland and Denmark 12 each, and France and Israel 17 each. They also list the autism rate per country, with USA’s being the highest, according to them.  But, are these statistics correct?

None of their information is correct. One cannot even begin to determine how they got this erroneous information because they simply linked to the wiki page for each country, as supposed proof. None of the wiki pages say anything about immunization statistics nor autism data.

Here is the (incorrect) data from 14 studies (note THIS IS THE BAD DATA!)

 

Country # vaccines in schedule under age 5 Autism rate Autism rate by percent Mortality rate per 1000 children under 5 mortality rate worldwide
USA 36 1 in 110 0.0091 7.8 34
Iceland 11 1 in 1100 0.0009 3.9 1
Sweden 11 1 in 862 0.0012 4.0 2
Japan 11 1 in 475 0.0021 4.2 4
Norway 13 1 in 2000 0.0005 4.4 5
Finland 12 1 in 719 0.0014 4.7 6
France 17 1 in 613 0.0016 5.2 11
Israel 11 1 in 1000 0.0010 5.7 17
Denmark 12 1 in 2200 0.0005 5.8 18
 Australia

Here is the up-to-date data:

Country # diseases vaxed for under age 5 Autism rate (2013-2015) Autism rate by percent Mortality rate per 1000 children under 5 mortality rate worldwide Start date of universal healthcare
USA 14 1 in 68 0.012 7.0 56 never
Iceland 10 120 in 10,000 0.012 2.0 3 1990
Sweden 9 1 in 862 0.001 3.0 8 1955
Japan 14 161 in 10,000 0.016 3.0 2 1938
Norway 11 80 in 10,000 0.008 3.0 5 1912
Finland 11 54 in 10,000 0.005 2.0 6 1972
France 11 37 in 10,000 0.004 2.0 14 1974
Israel 14 48 in 10,000 0.005 4.0 21 1995
Denmark 9 22 in 10,000 0.002 4.0 18 1973
Australia 12 1 in 52 0.019 4.0 37 1984
Canada 14 1 in 68 0.015 5.0 46 1966

As you can see, there is quite a bit of difference from the 14 studies page and the reality.  Since 14 studies only linked to wiki pages, I have no idea where they got the numbers they shared. It would be that, for USA, they counted number of diseases vaccinated for as one vaccine. But, why did they not do that for all countries?  At the end of this post, you will find an extensive set of links to all the data I put in my chart.

Look carefully at my data. The number of vaccines we give, in the USA, is not much different from other developed countries. Japan, Israel, and Canada give the same number. Look at the autism rates. The USA’s is not the highest.

Simply put, 14 studies website is not telling the truth.

 

Please think for yourself. Always check sources for claims made.

 

Kathy

 

 

References:

CDC Immunization schedule

European Immunization schedules

Japan Immunization schedule

Israel Immunization schedule

Australia Immunization schedule

Canada Immunization schedule

USA autism rate

Iceland Autism rate

Sweden Autism rate

Japan Autism rate

Norway Autism rate

Finland Autism rate

Israel Autism rate

France Autism rate

Denmark Autism rate

Australian autism rate

Canada Autism rate

Child mortality rate under 5

International Infant mortality rate

Start date of universal healthcare

 

 

This is part 3 of a three part blog series about USA infant mortality rates, vaccines, and autism. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2.

 

 

 

 

 

USA Infant Mortality Rate is low. Part 2

There are claims, by those opposed to vaccines, that vaccines are the cause for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.” Some people think that the only thing that caused infants to die, 50 or more years ago, was poor nutrition and unclean water. This could not be farther from the truth.

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As you can see, infant mortality rates in USA. Please visit Part 1 for details.

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(source)

 

Even when presented with this evidence, persons opposed to vaccines will claim that the rate would be lower if the USA did not have ‘the highest vaccination rate in the world.’ Or, they will claim the USA ‘is the only country on earth to vaccinate newborns.’  (I am paraphrasing from what I have read online.)  So, does the USA have the highest vaccination rate in the world? Are we the only country on earth to vaccinate newborns? Let’s take a look.

Australia: Hep B at birth, infant schedule a lot like USA’s

Israel: Hep B at birth, infant schedule a lot like USA’s

Amongst other European countries, the following routinely give Hep B at birth to all infants: Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. The following countries routinely give tuberculosis (BCG) as well as Hep B vaccine to newborns:  Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Slovenia. All of the rest of European countries do give these vaccines to newborns but only in recommended groups. All of these countries also give vaccines for pertussis, diphtheria, polio and tetanus to infants in the early months. The following countries also give rotavirus to infants, some as young as six weeks: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.

What about in Asian countries or thereabouts?

Singapore: Hep B and BCG at birth, infant schedule a lot like USA’s

Hong Kong: Hep B and BCG at birth, infant schedule a lot like USA’s

The World  Health Organization has a search engine for immunization schedules. The following additional countries to routine Hep B immunization for newborns: Algeria, Botswana, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Nigeria, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Thailand, China, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

All of these countries also routinely give children most, if not all, of the same vaccines we give in USA.

As you can see, it only takes a bit of leg work to disprove the myth that American babies are dying more than ever and that USA vaccinates more than other countries. American babies are LIVING more than ever and we DO NOT vaccinate more than the rest of the world.

 

Remember to always think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

Be sure to read part 3: USA does not vaccinate more than other countries

USA Infant Mortality Rate is low. Part 1

Lately, I keep reading comments from people saying that the hepatitis b vaccine for newborns, along with the rest of the infant vaccines, is causing massive infant deaths in USA. They say that vaccines are the reason the infant mortality rate is abysmally low. They say that vaccines are murdering babies.

america

This is confounding when you look at the actual evidence. Infants in USA are not dying. They are living more than ever before in history. SUID and SIDS rates are both at all time lows.  Look at these two graphs.

graph2-copy

source

graph-copysource

In 1935, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 55.7 deaths per 1000 live births. In 2000, it was 6.9. In 2015, it was 5.87 deaths per 1000 live births. From 55.7 to 5.87 in less than 100 years is an astounding decrease.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the USA currently ranks 167th best, out of 224 countries, for Infant Mortality. The worst is Afghanistan at 115/1000 and the best is Monaco at 1.82/1000.  But, look at the countries close to our statistics:

cia-copy

We are much closer to the best countries than we are to the worst. There are many countries in the same 5 range as  USA. Pretty much all the countries with better IMRs have socialized medicine and far less poverty (meaning more welfare and higher taxes) than USA. Plus, there is an additional reason the USA has a higher IMR than some of the best countries: we count premature births differently and we have significant issues with regards to income and other demographics. According to Chen, Oster, and Williams, some European countries count very premature infants who then die not as infant deaths but as miscarriages. We count them as infant deaths, in USA. Also, there are dramatic differences, in USA, between socioeconomic groups. “Digging deeper into these numbers, Oster and her colleagues found that the higher U.S. mortality rates are due “entirely, or almost entirely, to high mortality among less advantaged groups.” To put it bluntly,” says the Washington Post,  “babies born to poor moms in the U.S. are significantly more likely to die in their first year than babies born to wealthier moms.”

 

April 2017 Update:   A new report shows infant mortality rate decreased 15% in the last ten years. That is astounding!

db279_fig1

As you can see in this graph, the race difference is profound:

graph3-copy

source

Now, some people opposed to vaccines like to say that SIDS is a made up diagnosis, one that did not exist before vaccines. That is because we used to call it cot death or crib death and it was poorly understood. It is clear, however, by looking at the above graphs that infant mortality is lower than ever before in USA. We may vaccinate more, we may have only recently started to vaccinate newborns, but it is indisputable that babies are dying less and less in USA. And that is wonderful news.

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!

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon: Many countries vaccinate newborns.

 

Remember to think for yourself!

 

Kathy

 

 

There is no autism epidemic

autismnotnew

One argument made by people opposed to vaccination is that autism is new, caused by vaccines, and is an epidemic. In the film Vaxxed, which I watched and reviewed here, the filmmakers quote Dr Stephanie Seneff, a computer scientist, as saying that by 2032, 80% of boys, 50% of all children, will be on the autism spectrum.  Respectful Insolence blog has done a nice job of debunking Seneff’s claims. Even though we know Dr Seneff is wrong, there are people who worry she could be correct.

I have already shown you how vaccines do not cause autism.  That argument involved looking at autism and immunization science. Some people don’t trust the science. If you discount the science because you do not trust it, there is another way of making this argument and it debunks the idea that autism is new and an epidemic. This way uses logic, which is reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. This is not about feelings. This is like how Mr Spock from Star Trek talks and reasons.

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Logic statements have rules or conditions. They are called conditional statements. for example,  “If all philosophers are thinkers and John is a philosopher, then John is a thinker,” is logical because if one is true and the other is true, then the third must be true.

 If the mental retardation and schizophrenia rates in USA used to be 3-5% and the current diagnosis of similar behavior is now called autism or intellectual disability and rates are currently 3-5%, then the autism rate is not increasing. 

Autism is not new. Mental retardation and schizophrenia rates have decreased as autism and intellectual disability rates have increased. This is because we have new terms for behaviors which have been in humanity for all eternity. A current diagnosis of autism includes behaviors we formerly diagnosed as mental retardation. Look at this meme from RtAVM. It makes the point visually.

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Source

First, a bit of history. Prior to the early 1900s, we did not have many good tools for diagnosing and treating people who had any differences from the “norm” with regards to their thinking and behavior. Gradually, the fields of psychiatry and psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, have learned more and more about human behavior and the brain.  In his book, Neurotribes, Steve Silberman goes through the “earliest days of autism research” and he  chronicles “the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades.” I highly recommend this book as a starting place for anyone wanting to learn about the history of autism.

Prior to the 1970s, we did not have special education in the USA. Two legal cases from the early 1970s, Pennsylvania Assn. for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PARC) and Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia, paved the way for more laws that have led to what we know today as special education. In 1972, Congress decided to investigate how children with disabilities were living and found many problems, including lack of education. In 1975, they passed The Education for All Handicapped Children Act. Congress has since amended and added to it and renamed it IDEA, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Since 1975, more and more children are now educated in schools and, in order to do so, many changes have been made to medical and educational diagnoses for behavior and disabilities.  When I was a young child, in the early 1970s, we did not find any children with disabilities in the schools. My mother paid for private tutoring for my brother, who had a mild reading issue. There was no reading specialist in schools. Children with severe disabilities were institutionalized and children with mild disabilities struggled and often dropped out of school. Children with behavior issues fared poorly in school. Many school-related issues were blamed on the child or on parenting practices. All that has changed, thanks to IDEA, including the labels we give to children to enable them to get the services they need.

Before IDEA, a diagnosis of autism was rare. More likely, children with severe symptoms were labelled “mentally retarded” or “schizophrenic.” Yes, you read that correctly. Please continue to read as I explain.

In an analysis of the prevalence of mental retardation, Dutch epidemiologists Roeleveld and Zilhuis looked at rates for severe MR as well as mild from 1939 through 1986. They concluded, from looking at data from many countries, including USA, that the rate of mental retardation in children was 3%.

Now, look at the graph below. Yes, I know some of you don’t like Autism Speaks, but I am using this graph to make a point. The rate of autism appears to have risen dramatically since 1975. But, Autism Speaks published this graph and stated “approximately 53% percent of the increase in autism prevalence over time may be explained by changes in diagnosis (26%), greater awareness (16%), and an increase in parental age (11%).”  They acknowledge how the increase has many factors behind it.

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Today, in 2016, the Autism Science Foundation says the rate of Autism in USA is 1 in 68, which is 1.47%. Others think the rate of autism is 1:45, which is about 2%.  As of 2014, an estimated 5.4% of children between ages 5 and 17 qualify as disabled in some way. This includes hearing and vision disabilities as well as ambulatory disabilities and all other categories of disabilities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 14% of public school children qualify for special education services under IDEA. This includes children with speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, and many other categories. (Remember, none of these children would have had services at all prior to IDEA). Of those 14%, 8% are labelled autistic and 7% are labelled with an intellectual disability (ID). Thus, 1.12% and 0.98%, respectively, of public school children are autistic or have an ID. This comes to 2% of public school children. Doubtless, there are also children with ID or autism diagnosis not in public schools so, for the sake of the argument, let’s assume the autism plus ID rate is at least 2% in real life, in USA.

We no longer use the term “mentally retarded.”  So, what happened to it?  Are there no longer any children suffering symptoms we used to label “MR?”  Far from it. We changed the diagnosis from mental retardation to autism and intellectual disability. We know a lot more today than we used to about how intellectual quotient (IQ) tests are not the best way to define a person’s abilities.  In 1941, mental retardation was defined as social incompetence associated with deficits in mental ability. In 1959, it was “subaverage general intellectual functioning which originates during the developmental period and is associated win adaptive behavior.” In 1973, the definition changed again, to subaverage general intellectual functioning.

Meanwhile, according to Autism Speaks,  in the 1970s, autism was beginning to be understood as “a biological disorder of brain development.” In the 1980s, the diagnosis manual (DSM-III) first distinguishes autism from childhood schizophrenia and then the DSM-IIIR showed a checklist of criteria for diagnosing autism. By 2000, the DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR had expanded the definition of autism to include Asperger’s syndrome. In 2015, a Danish study found the “vast majority of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders today would never have qualified under the 1980 classification, and no formal classification separate from schizophrenia existed before then.” Dr Jess P Shatkin writes that most of the early work on childhood “schizophrenia” was really about autism. We also know that in the 1940s, Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger delineated two forms of autism out of the pool of schizophrenia psychoses. Back then, anyone who would today have been labelled Aspergers would have just been called odd. Aspergers did not become an official diagnosis until 1994. Currently, we no longer commonly diagnose children as schizophrenic. Today, this is a very rare diagnosis.

Since the 1970s, thanks in part to IDEA and related research, the diagnosis of mental retardation has been used less and less. Gradually, the shift was made to using the term intellectual disabilities. In 2013, the term “mental retardation” was struck from federal registers by President Obama. It was replaced with the term “intellectual disability.”

So, here is what we know:

  • mental retardation and schizophrenia rates in USA used to be 3-5%
  • current (2016) autism rate is 1.47-2%
  • approximately 1% of public school children are identified as intellectually disabled
  • mental retardation diagnosis was replaced by intellectual disability or autism diagnosis
  • Aspergers was not commonly diagnosed until recently
  • 1+2=3
  • There is a small percentage of children diagnosed as autistic or intellectually disabled who are in private schools. They are not accounted for in the federal special education statistics. Let’s say they would be 1-2%.
  • 3+2=5

If we add all of that together, what I see is that the rate of severe autism has not changed much in the 100 years we have been tracking these kinds of diagnosis. We have just changed the name for it. Three percent (3%) of public school children fall in the autism or intellectual disability diagnoses. This is a similar rate to the mental retardation and schizophrenia rates of yesteryear.

 

Autism is not new.

 

 

Remember to think for yourself.

 

Kathy