The Science of Sustainability

Doubt and Denialism: Vaccine Myths Persist in the Face of Science

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Bordetella pertussis bacteria

Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria that causes pertussis (whooping cough) magnified 40,000 times under an electron microscope. (The image is colorized.) Bacteria cling to the cilia of the respiratory epithelial cells, paralyze cilia with toxins, and cause inflammation and dense mucus in the airways that induce coughing fits. Those who survive infection become immune, though natural immunity, like vaccine-induced immunity, appears to wear off. (Image: Energeo EU)

As a science journalist, I’m often confronted with the unsettling fact that a sizable portion of my audience rejects what scientists know is true.

Take two classic cases, climate change and evolution. Even though two-thirds of Americans believe global warming is happening (up 3% from last year), less than half think we’re to blame. Just 15% of Americans believe humans evolved over millions of years from archaic species, while 46% think God created us pretty much as-is sometime within the past 10,000 years. That’s right, 46%—a figure that’s barely budged since Gallup started asking the question 30 years ago.

But it’s yet another evidence-impervious belief that I find most troubling. Last year, a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that 18% of Americans think vaccines cause autism—a theory that has no basis in scientific reality, doesn’t even have a plausible biological basis, and has been knocked down more times than a metal duck in a shooting gallery. (Nearly a third aren’t sure if there’s any connection, while just over half think none exists.)

The blithe rejection of scientific knowledge in favor of, well, fantasy has become so common that it now has a name: “denialism.”

Denialism can take many forms, but most scholars agree that simply raising doubt about an issue can undercut the legitimacy of an entire corpus of scientific evidence in the public’s mind. And tactics for raising doubt abound. Those identified by infectious disease experts in a 2009 commentary include charges of conspiracy—for example, accusing vaccine advocates of profiting from the “vaccine-industrial complex”—and creating impossible expectations of what science can do—“absolute proof” that vaccines are safe, most recently raised by one-time “Saturday Night Live” cut-up Rob Schneider in a bizarre interview. I must point out that in peddling his vaccine-autism insanity, Schneider noted that autism was “nearly unheard of in the 1930s.” No joke. I guess he didn’t realize the syndrome wasn’t described until 1943.

Opportunistic Pathogens
In a way, that 18% still believe vaccines cause autism shows progress—down from 25% just two years ago. But unlike the idea that humans spontaneously appeared through an act of God, believing against all evidence that vaccines cause autism (or ill-defined harm) can have dangerous consequences.

Last month, CDC officials reported more than 18,000 cases of whooping cough (or pertussis) across the country—a rate of infection they hadn’t seen so early in the year since 1959. So far, nine babies have died.

California had its own epidemic in 2010, with more than 9,100 cases and 10 infant deaths.

Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease. But prevention depends on public compliance. And people like Schneider who doubt vaccine safety tend to consider their children’s vaccinations optional. In the 2011 poll, 86% of doubters opted out of some or all of their kids’ scheduled shots. That’s why some blame vaccine skeptics for the current epidemic. With just 84% of toddlers fully vaccinated, it’s likely skeptics play some role.

But CDC officials aren’t sure what’s behind the epidemic, or why even vaccinated teenagers are getting sick. It’s possible that the vaccine isn’t as effective as researchers hoped or has been targeting the wrong pathogen strains.

polio vaccine poster

The CDC’s national symbol of public health, the "Wellbee", appears in this 1963 poster to encourage the public to get the oral polio vaccine. (Image: CDC/ Mary Hilpertshauser)

What officials do know is that unvaccinated kids are eight times as likely to get pertussis as vaccinated kids. And when vaccinated kids do contract the disease, it’s much milder, doesn’t last as long, and tends to be less infectious.

That’s why public officials are urging adults, especially pregnant women, to get boosters to protect children still too young to be fully vaccinated. Kids get the first of five pertussis shots (plus a later booster) at 2 months. Most pertussis deaths claim children younger than 3 months old. Nine of the 10 children who died in California during the 2010 outbreak were under 8 weeks old.

Separating Fears from Facts
All this weighed heavily on my mind last week, when I wrote about new research that could conceivably feed vaccine doubts. The study, a fascinating investigation of experimental evolution in lab mice, found that vaccines can favor the evolution of more virulent malaria parasites.

Vicki Barclay (a postdoc in evolutionary biologist Andrew Read’s group at Penn State University) vaccinated mice with a malaria protein found in several vaccines now in clinical trials. She mimicked natural disease transmission by using needles instead of mosquitoes and letting parasites grow in one mouse before infecting the next one. (She did the same thing with unvaccinated mice.) Parasites that evolved in immunized mice caused more severe disease symptoms than those that evolved in unvaccinated mice.

Inevitably, some will misconstrue these results to confirm their belief that vaccines aren’t safe. Except the findings don’t say anything about vaccine safety. They show that, from a pathogen’s point of view, medical technologies act like any other selective pressure. We spend billions to develop the most powerful drugs science can muster only to discover we’re outnumbered, outgunned, and outmaneuvered. Millions of years of evolution have endowed pathogens with survival strategies we’ve yet to imagine.

Lest you delude yourself into thinking we humans have an edge in this evolutionary battle, consider this: Scientists have managed to wipe out just one human pathogen. Ever. After Edward Jenner discovered a smallpox vaccine in 1798, it took nearly 200 years and an all-out international effort to eradicate this disfiguring disease.

As Read and Barclay’s study shows, when you try to kill pathogens, they fight back. And when vaccines don’t destroy all the parasites (like the malaria vaccine now in clinical trials) or fail to provide lifelong immunity (like the pertussis vaccine), the survivors can evolve. And they might come back even stronger.

I know that most people who shun government vaccine schedules have their children’s best interests at heart. Some truly worry that vaccines may somehow cause irreversible damage to their child—and if it happened, how could they ever forgive themselves?

But anyone who chooses not to vaccinate their kids is missing something critical: the pathogens vaccine researchers are trying so desperately to control are formidable opponents. And though scientists still have a lot to learn about how pathogens adapt to our efforts to control them, they’re sure of this much: vaccines aren’t the enemy.

Vaccines rarely provide 100% protection. But they’re the state-of-the-art defense against infectious disease.

What’s more, if vaccine-preventable diseases like pertussis become more virulent, and there’s some evidence that this may be true, those who refuse vaccination will have little recourse when their kids—or their neighbors’ kids—take ill.

Public health officials often say that parents who reject vaccination will realize they’ve made a terrible mistake only when these once rare childhood diseases, long controlled by vaccination, return, with tragic consequences. Why on earth would anyone want to help a deadly agent hell-bent on survival get the upper hand?

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Category: Biology, Blog, Environment, Health

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Liza Gross

About the Author ()

Liza Gross, a freelance science writer and senior editor at the biomedical journal PLOS Biology, channeled an early love of wildlife into a lifelong exploration of the numerous ways diverse species, including humans, interact in the natural world. She writes mostly about wildlife, conservation, and environmental health. Her stories reflect a deep curiosity about natural and social interactions and often highlight evolutionary relationships that remind humans of their place in, and responsibility to conserve, nature. Her article "Don't Jump!" published in Slate, won an ASJA award in the op-ed category. She's a visiting scholar at NYU, a 2013 recipient of NYU Reporting Award funding and a Dennis Hunt health journalism fellow. Read her previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.
  • Anonymous

    I've lived in the midwest my whole life. I've experienced climate change first hand (no more ice-skating here). I've fought my whole life to ensure that evolution and evolution only is taught in our public schools. Now when it comes to the safety of injecting infants 11 times with bolus doses of organic mercury (like we did in the 1990's), thats where you lose me Liza.

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      We did not inject children with "bolus doses" of organic mercury. That's simply not true.

      • MC

        I havent heard "bolus" on these discussions in years. used to be a common term by those pushing the mercury hypothesis. I thought they abandoned it for exactly the reasons you give–it's innaccurate. As such, it backfires. A term made to give scientific credibility actually takes it away.

        Mercury in vaccines is one of the most studied risk factors there is. Actually it is *the* most studied risk factor in autism. Study after study shows no link.

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      Bolus? Really. Pop quiz: How much mercury in all the vaccines you have or will ever receive in your life if you stick to the recommended schedule? How much mercury in a gallon of water from any municipality in America?

      Go on and run to do your own research now.

      • No to vax

        Reuben, I am right there with you, I too have done extensive research both anecdotal and published scientific study, and the fact is, much is lacking in unbiased study…I'm sure you know that too….I'd love to see the real study between vaccinated and unvaccinated autism rate myself. There is none! You are completely wasting your time here you see, many of the posts are to arrogant to even hear what your saying. I also have not vaxxed my children, nor would I ever. There are many many people waking up right now to vaccine dangers and eventually, the scales will tip. Say no to vaccines!
        The people you are debating with, have a very limited scope of understanding and are so aggressive and arrogant, you won't teach any of them anything! I do applaud your efforts though, but it is in vain!

        • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

          Golly, no to vax, are you still asking for a vaxed vs. unvaxed study?

          1. Please explain how a prospective study would get through an Institutional Review Board
          2. Please explain how your prospective study would get around the ethical issues.
          3. If you are proposing a retrospective study, please provide the numbers of unvaccinated children required for robustness of evidence that vaccines cause autism, or any other condition.
          4. If a retrospective study, please describe the data collection methods and other elements of study design.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          Idiot. A gallon of water from any municipality in the US has mercury in a higher concentration than you would get from all the vaccines put together. You guys are just too easy to fool.

          • Sara

            all the more reason to reduce our total exposure by not purposely injecting ourselves with it.

        • MC

          So much of the "research" claiming a link between mercury and autism is heavily biased. One group, the Geiers, account for the lion's sharebof publications. Besides being work to promote their own business as "expert" witnesses in vaccine court, the Geiers are unethical. Dr. Geier has been called out for intellectual dishonesty and worse by the Court. Dr. Geier's license has been suspended.

    • Grant Jacobs

      You might try this old article I wrote about research that examined where we get mercury from: http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2009/10/27/autistic-children-and-blood-mercury-levels/

      The relevant point here is what mercury there is in people's blood mostly comes from other things, not vaccines.

  • Doc77

    and medications and allopathic procedures are the ONLY way to help prevent the otherwise "helpless" human immune system. The whole article is flawed in that it never addresses the possibility that the power that made the body can heal the body. I've been a chiropractor for 20 years, and have adjusted over 200,000 people, and I will tell you with certainty that those that receive regular chiropractic care get sick less often, and when they do get sick, recover much more quickly than those that don't get adjusted. I'm just not buying the notion that you can introduce a pathogen, mix it with mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde (I don't care how little the amount!), and tell me that it's going to benefit my immune system more than simply allowing the body's own nervous system to function normally, and without interference. The fact that some in the pro vaccine group are so vicious in the attacks on those that choose to go a different route tells me that they have not studied both sides of the issue, or they simply find it easier to just "go along" with whatever their doctor, and the CDC recommends. That's the sad part of all of this.

    • amy

      Those people are called Sheeple…blindy follow the herd, too lazy or too stupid to do their own research and think on their own.

      • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

        Did you do your own research? Please, tell me where you published. I mean, if your research is so accurate, you surely published it for peer review. While we're on the subject of peers, what's your epidemiological, medical, or scientific background in order to do this awesome research that is better than the sheeple's?

        You do realize how stupid you sound, right?

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      Tens of thousands of children worldwide die of measles every year. What healing power are they lacking, I wonder?

      Just because you don't understand or "buy" the science of immunity and immune memory doesn't mean that science isn't valid. Antigen presentation is antigen presentation, regardless of the source of the antigen.

      I fail to see anything in this article that is "vicious." However, I almost never fail to find myself accused of being a "pharma whore" if I have the temerity to argue based on the science underlying vaccination.

      • Denise

        Really? What healing power are they lacking? Clean water that isn't contaminated with waste? Daily access to nutritious food?

      • Denise

        I see kqed is simply removing posts that they disagree with rather than respond to them.
        Tens of thousands of children worldwide are lacing the "power" (well of course it's not a special power, it should just be a basic human right) of clean water & access to food.

        • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

          Hi Denise: I'm one of the editors of the site, and am glad to reassure you that no comments are being censored. That said, I do see several comments from 'NVICFactCheck' or posted on their behalf that have been caught in our spam queue. They all appear to be similar versions of the same comment.

          I'll take a closer look and release the comment, as long as it meets the community guidelines, as posted at the bottom of each page here.

          For future reference, comments that are excessively long, contain prolific links, and are identical or extremely similar to comments posted elsewhere on the web (e.g. cut n' paste) are often flagged as spam. I think that is what happened in this case.

          • Denise

            thank you- I'm sure it was a glitch then. Sorry for any misunderstanding & for posting essentially the same thing twice.

      • NaturalNurse

        Dont you understand that there is no science? The "pharma whores" and the "anti vaccine extremists" (both atrocious and unnecessary nicknames) are not at equal playing ground. The "pharma whores" dont have any studies that are either not funded by those making the vaccines or poorly done and irrelevant. Telling parents the science says their safe is an outright lie. Not one study has ever tested the safety of the vaccine adjuvents or the COMBINATION of all of these recommended vaccines. Theres nothing to argue about… we should all be on the same "side" requesting a study from the NIH of vaccinated kids vs. unvaccinated. The end.

        • No to vax

          Finally! natural nurse speaks the truth! But I'm going to sit back and watch what arguments come out of the TRuth she spoke!
          Herd immunity is unproven as well, it's all a money making scam propelled by eugenics and the founders of it. What about the live polio vax that was given to the people of India and nearly all of them cme down with politic paralysis? We no vaxxers could go on and on, but the truth is, we can explain it all to you, unfortunately, we can understand it for you!
          Also seems to me both sided are using the term steeple…however, it was us who are awake that coined the phrase….wake up sheep!

          • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

            Really? There's a whole bunch of people with paralysis, even when by the own stats of the anti-vaxers polio only ends in paralysis in 1% to 2% of those who get it. Who understands you?

        • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

          So, NaturalNurse, please list

          1. the studies "funded by those making the vaccines" Include in your list the funding sources, and how those sources taint the results.
          2. the "poorly done studies". Include in your list the flaws in the studies. Be specific with examples.

          Otherwise, you are just repeating tired vaccine-refusers' talking points.

        • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

          While you are at it, NaturalNurse, please answer the questions I posed to No to vax.

        • Science Mom

          "The "pharma whores" dont have any studies that are either not funded by those making the vaccines or poorly done and irrelevant."

          But there you go using the pejorative term. Passive aggressive much? And even more to the point, it is false that vaccine studies are either funded by pharma or poorly done. Most studies are in fact funded by private or governmental agencies/funding sources. As for poorly done, few studies are, most aren't. Shall we talk about the drek that Generation Rescue or SafeMinds fund? None of their studies support their anti-vax beliefs no matter how hard they try.

      • No to vax

        You are brainwashed and believing a lie! The statements you've made are completely bogus and you know it!

      • Anonymous

        The artificial stimulation of your immune system produced by lab altered bacteria and viruses simply does not replicate the exact response that your immune system mounts when naturally encountering the infectious microorganism…"The fact that manmade vaccines cannot replicate the body's natural experience with the disease is one of the key points of contention between those who insist that mankind cannot live without mass use of multiple vaccines and those who believe that mankind's biological integrity will be severely compromised by their continued use. … [I]s it better to protect children against infectious disease early in life through temporary immunity from a vaccine, or are they better off contracting certain contagious infections in childhood and attaining permanent immunity? Do vaccine complications ultimately cause more chronic illness and death than infectious diseases do? These questions essentially pit trust in human intervention against trust in nature and the natural order, which existed long before vaccines were created by man." Barbara Loe Fisher, president, National Vaccine Information Center

    • Sarah

      If pro-vaxers were just going along with what doctors said, why are we so passionate and vocal about the benefits of vaccines?

      • sara

        because they haven't made you or someone you love sick yet.

    • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

      Doc77 is a chiropractor. Evidently they don't teach about the introduction of bias into observations in chiropractic school. Perhaps Doc77 should look up confirmation bias and selection bias to understand why his observations are just anecdote, not evidence for anything.

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      You don't care how little the amount of formaldehyde your body makes naturally through biologic processes either, huh? Biology? How much of that in chiropractic school? I bet not even one credit.

    • Grant Jacobs

      The key to these things is to test hypotheses (ideas).

      For example, your statement "I will tell you with certainty that those that receive regular chiropractic care get sick less often, and when they do get sick, recover much more quickly than those that don't get adjusted." is meaningless unless it is tested.

      Vaccines are extensively tested before they are approved for general use; there are follow-up tests too.

      Regards "the pro vaccine group are so vicious in the attacks on those that choose to go a different route tells me that they have not studied both sides of the issue" – I don't think that sort of thing is helpful to anyone. (You're doing the very thing you're objecting to others doing.)

    • mauradora

      Doc77 brings up a great point about the viciousness. Every time i read a stream after an article like this is always gets nasty. Sad. Some of us should take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouths.

  • Anonymous

    The logic that vaccine proponents use is severely flawed. If we take away all the guilt, propaganda, so-called science, etc., what remains is this; how can we deduce that something we take to prevent something else from happening unequivocally did so? If we don't get whooping cough, for instance, how can we say that the vaccine prevented it? Maybe we just didn't get it? All these supposed statistics claim that the "XYZ" vaccine prevented a specific number of population from getting XYZ disease. How can you quantify something that hasn't happened? It's like saying, "if I twirl around my kitchen three times and recite the alphabet backwards then 900 people won't get pertussis". Maybe 900 people just won't get pertussis. One event does not beget the other. People like to feel safe so the industry preys upon our fears and sells us a bill of goods to make us feel safe. It's sad, it's true, and it sure is profitable.

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      If we take away all that you say, what we have left is one of the most successful medical interventions in human history. You compare some kind of bizarre kitchen dance to the science underlying vaccines and their success. That does not speak to an understanding of either. It's not random chance that causes the body to produce antibodies to disease triggers, whether your body met those via acquiring the disease and surviving it or by encountering the molecules that trigger your body's defense to it by way of vaccines, without having to suffer the disease itself. It's not witchcraft–it's biology.

      • Anonymous

        Person A and person B, neither has whooping cough. Person A was vaccinated, person B was not. The vaccine industry will have you believe that person A had a statistical advantage over person B, yet neither caught the disease. What I'm saying is that no one can measure something that has not occurred. Nor can they claim credit for preventing it. Yet the industry claims both. It has nothing to do with molecules, it has to do with logic and stats and deceptive marketing.

      • Anonymous

        Person A and person B, neither has whooping cough. Person A was vaccinated, person B was not. The vaccine industry will have you believe that person A had a statistical advantage over person B, yet neither caught the disease. What I'm saying is that no one can measure something that has not occurred. Nor can they claim credit for preventing it. Yet the industry claims both. It has nothing to do with molecules, it has to do with logic and stats and deceptive marketing.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          Again, not really bright when it comes to biostats, are you? Why don't you do your own research by reading the wikipedia entry on case-control trials and then get back to us, okay?

        • Science Mom

          " Person A was vaccinated, person B was not. The vaccine industry will
          have you believe that person A had a statistical advantage over person
          B, yet neither caught the disease"

          Such events don't happen in a vacuum. What about the infectivity of the disease? What about host factors such as age? What about how many vaccinated are surrounding and thus protecting the unvaccinated person i.e. herd immunity?

          • Anonymous

            Herd immunity is a guilt trip put upon us because we are essentially decent people and will "take one for the team" if we believe we are doing the right thing. The vaccine industry has capitalized on that notion. Please read this:
            Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), discusses the concept of herd immunity:
            "The original concept of herd immunity is that when a population experiences the natural disease… natural immunity would be achieved – a robust, qualitatively superior natural herd immunity within the population, which would then protect other people from getting the disease in other age groups. It's the way infectious diseases work…The vaccinologists have adopted this idea of vaccine induced herd immunity. The problem with it is that all vaccines only confer temporary protection… Pertussis vaccine is one the best examples… Pertussis vaccines have been used for about 50 to 60 years, and the organism has started to evolve to become vaccine resistant. I think this is not something that's really understood generally by the public: Vaccines do not confer the same type of immunity that natural exposure to the disease does."
            Vaccine professionals would like you to believe they are the same, but they're qualitatively two entirely different types of immune responses.
            "In most cases natural exposure to disease would give you a longer lasting, more robust, qualitatively superior immunity because it gives you both cell mediated immunity and humoral immunity," Barbara explains. "Humoral is the antibody production. The way you measure vaccine-induced immunity is by how high the antibody titers are. (How many antibodies you have, basically.)But the problem is, the cell mediated immunity is very important as well. Most vaccines evade cell mediated immunity and go straight for the antibodies, which is only one part of immunity. That's been the big problem with the production of vaccines."
            Vaccines are designed to trick your body's immune system into producing protective antibodies needed to resist any future infection. However, your body is smarter than that. The artificial stimulation of your immune system produced by lab altered bacteria and viruses simply does not replicate the exact response that your immune system mounts when naturally encountering the infectious microorganism.
            According to Barbara:
            "The fact that manmade vaccines cannot replicate the body's natural experience with the disease is one of the key points of contention between those who insist that mankind cannot live without mass use of multiple vaccines and those who believe that mankind's biological integrity will be severely compromised by their continued use. … [I]s it better to protect children against infectious disease early in life through temporary immunity from a vaccine, or are they better off contracting certain contagious infections in childhood and attaining permanent immunity? Do vaccine complications ultimately cause more chronic illness and death than infectious diseases do? These questions essentially pit trust in human intervention against trust in nature and the natural order, which existed long before vaccines were created by man."

          • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

            >>>Herd immunity is a guilt trip put upon us because we [blah blah blah]<<<
            No, herd immunity is a really obvious statistical concept if you think about it for about two seconds.

          • Anonymous

            "Vaccines are designed to trick your body's immune system into producing protective antibodies needed to resist any future infection. However, your body is smarter than that. The artificial stimulation of your immune system produced by lab altered bacteria and viruses simply does not replicate the exact response that your immune system mounts when naturally encountering the infectious microorganism." To summarize: NATURAL herd immunity works, lab created herd immunity…not so much. Think about that for about two seconds.

          • Science Mom

            @ wakeup9
            ""The original concept of herd immunity is that when a population
            experiences the natural disease… natural immunity would be achieved – a
            robust, qualitatively superior natural herd immunity within the
            population, which would then protect other people from getting the
            disease in other age groups. It's the way infectious diseases work…"

            It's funny how you take the word of a layperson on the internet but refuse the work of actual experts. BLF is not a scientist nor anyone I would look to for vaccine advice, clean my bathrooms maybe. She left out a key point of "natural" herd immunity and that is that every birth cohort is a new susceptible population which is why there were ~4 million cases of measles in the U.S. each year (most statistics cite 400K but that is incorrect as cases went severely underreported as did deaths). How many cases of measles do we have now and who are they occurring in primarily?

            So go ahead and listen to some uneducated woman prattle on about subjects she knows nothing about and blithely lives off the donations of suckers like you.

          • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

            @wakeup9:disqus Kindly list Barbara Loe Fisher's publications in peer-reviewed journals on the topics of immunology, public health, or any other field touching on the human immune response.

            Oh, that's right — you can't, because she has published nothing scholarly, nor does she hold degrees in those fields. Her pronouncements are merely her opinions, not matters of fact based on her own published research.

          • MC

            The current vaccine has been in use in the US for about 20 years. Makes your argument a bit weak. We are just now learning that the vaccine may not confir as lomg lastingnlrotection as the older version.

            Unless you have real evidence that pertussus bacteria are mutating.

            To answer bBarbara, in regards to autism the answer is no. Vaccines do not cause chronic disease. Her refusal to accept the science is denialism.

            Yes, the weakened viruses and bacteria fragments used to make vaccines don't stimulate the same reaction as the disease. That's the point. Vaccines don't cause people to get sick for days or weeks (or longer as in the case of pertusis). I guess we could go back to the old days of mass infections, with injury and death to some fraction of the population. I see that as a bad thing.

        • MC

          But these evnets have happened. The vaccine does reduce risk of infection. Multiple studies have tested this. Ignoring such science is the topic of the article–denialism

      • Anonymous

        I will take my chances acquiring the disease and surviving it vs. having toxins purposely injected into my body causing my "molecules" to shift into fight mode when they don't have to. I do believe in my own biology, singlely and wholeheartedly. No offense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      >>>All these supposed statistics claim that the "XYZ" vaccine prevented a specific number of population from getting XYZ disease. How can you quantify something that hasn't happened?<<<
      Pretty easily. Count the proportion of unvaccinated people who get the disease, and compare it to the proportion of vaccinated people who get the disease. Preferably in the same area.

      • http://twitter.com/wbinfo23 Bill Benson
        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          So? Bread is not immunization (with a Z, because we speak American). What's your point?

      • Sara

        I am unvaccinated and disease free. I'm in. Who will fund this study? Call the NIH.

        • Anonymous

          I'm with you! And no one will fund this study because mother nature can't be bought.

          • MC

            The phrase you are looking for is "thank you". The rest of us are protecting you through herd immunity. We prevent the outbreaks.

            We do this to protect ourselves. To protect those we love. To protect the weak, the immune compromised, those who depend on the rest of us to protect them.

            It's one thing to be a freeloader. It's something else to insult those who are protecting you.

          • Sara

            You have been brainwashed. It's sad. There were people with strong immune systems before vaccines and we are here still. My health comes from my healthy lifestyle choices. And anyway, I don't know many adults who care to get vaccines anymore unless they have to for school or work. They're all okay too.

          • MC

            Strong immune systems didn't stop outbreaks of measles, mumps, German measles, polio, Hib, etc.

            Vaccines did.

            Those of us who vaccinate protect those who can't. The immune compromised. Infants too young to be vaccinated. People with metobolic diseases. People who need the protrction. And you.

          • silverfire

            autism aside, didn't this article just teach you that the vaccinated are still at risk. Furthermore that the vaccinated can and have shown to create a mutated form of some viruses? maybe if we did not vaccinate as a "herd" we would evolve with the diseases and remain in balance. What you are doing is actually promoting the inevitable mutation of the viruses without the counter mutation of the antibodies. I totally pulled that out of my ass but i am pretty sure it is correct.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1513743876 Michal X Wozniak

        Look at all of the country where a government stopped vaccinating their population. The change in disease statistics is remarkable

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      Let me guess. Epidemiology and biostatistics (or simple math) is not your cup of tea, is it?

      • Anonymous

        Despite your personal attacks and use of big words, I do not believe that man-made toxins, nor the studies "proving" their efficacy, which were paid for by the same industry that manufactures said toxins, provide the benefits that they tout. Vaccines are not 100% effective and, in fact, sometimes cause the disease they're designed to prevent. Numerous studies have proven that vaccines are, at the very least, ineffective. However, vaccines make billions and billions of dollars for the Pharma industry, who, by the way owns the CDC, and those dollars are used to fund studies and forge data to support the cause. If Wikipedia is your source of information, then I invite you to read Dr. Mercola, Barbara Loe Fisher, Natural News, Natural Health Dossier, NVIC, anything that's not backed by the almighty dollar of the industry. It's quite obvious where your loyalties lie. For me, I'll take my chances with Mother Nature any day.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1513743876 Michal X Wozniak

          can you please define 'toxin'?

          • Anonymous

            formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, and thimerosal, for example.

          • MC

            at what dose? You left that out. Thimerosal has been extensively studied in regards to autism risk. Thimerosal doesn't increase autism risk. How is that a "toxin"

            Formaldehyde? Which has more: a vaccine or a banana? Are you calling for a ban on bananas?

        • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

          @wakeup9:disqus

          You wrote, "Numerous studies have proven that vaccines are, at the very least, ineffective."

          Kindly list at least four of those studies. The most common form of citation is:

          Author surname initials, Author surname initials, Article Title: Journal date; volume (issue): page-pages

          Otherwise, we just have to take your word for it. Since you cite such unreliable sources as NVIC, Natural News, and Mercola, your word isn't worth much.

        • MC

          Vaccines are typically 80-95% effective. If that counts as "innefective" on your book, chose a few of the alternative therapies promoted by the Mercola website and show that they are more effective.

          Which is a way of saying that there is hypocricy in your statement. You put down vaccines which are highly effective and then use as counterexamples people who promote inneffective and biologically implausible "treatments"

          • silverfire

            my kids are not vaccinated and they have 0 diseases… so i guess my method is 100% effective!!!!

          • yerena

            Yet you cant guarentee anything in the future because of a lack of immunity. Not only that but if your child ecomes infectious with pertisis, then is around a newborn, you are admitting to signing that childs death warrant. Well done!

          • silverfire

            From what i read, in some cases if my kid gets the vaccine they are more likely to contract pertisis. http://digitaljournal.com/article/323187.
            Let me ask you. If you are so into the protecting the "herd" will you quarantine yourself each time you show the slightest symptoms of a cold or flu? Promise?

          • yerena

            Wow…give people the internet and they believe they have the answer to life and everything else. Try getting access to actual data and not someones interpretation. Pertussis is a live attenuated vaccine. Hence if it isnt killed properly then yes, it can cause problems. But the rate that this actually occurs is tiny and everything is tested prior to dispatch and unless you live in a third world country where temperatures arent monitored, then your fine. The article that you are reading from is from a specialist in journalism and engineering. Dont know what that says to you, but id trust my dog over someone that doesnt have a clue about medical science.
            A pertussis nurse will tell you exactly the risks of getting vaccinated. Over watching your child have collapsed lungs, blood vessles rupturing in their eyes and nose, potentially being displaced or having to be put on respirators.
            Your children are more than likely healthy because you have either bubble wrapped them, or they are reaping the rewards of other parents getting their children immunized.
            Flu vaccinations on the other hand, are a different story. They are based more on corporate investment for those between 15 and 50 years of age. And unless you are with or spend time with anyone that is younger or older then thats a personal choice which has little ramifications. If you are in health, nursing home etc then yer, id definitely get vaccinated and quarantine if i get a different strain to what i was immunized for.
            Back to the whooping cough, if there is an outbreak, i certainly hope that you and your children get immunised, coz it would suck watching the old folk get sick based on an ill educated and purely anecdotal bit of evidence.

          • Sam

            Wow…ummm hmmmm…if you read the journal properly, they are saying "that the effectiveness of the vaccine wears off" which is essentially the whole point of the article. That is a natural immune system mechanism. Dont get the germ around you, why have so many cells in the body? Its the reason why they say every ten years or so, get a tetanus booster. Rubella is also a prime one during pregnancy, coz of the impact and possible risk of stillbirth or miscarriage, the mother does require a booster. For a long time, scientists believed that you had lifelong immunity, this guy is pointing out that it is not the case. Still, would be better if you get some expert testimony on a subject that they are fully participating in, rather than an engineer/journalist specialist.

          • 8teach8

            Thank those parents who were responsible adults by getting their children vaccinated.

    • Grant Jacobs

      See my earlier example of Japan temporarily stopping the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine – stopping the vaccine resulted in more than 13,000 cases and 41 deaths.

      The example I've just given is probably easier for those who don't study the science to understand, as it's simpler, but in practice researchers can determine how many cases a vaccine prevents though careful statistics. One way, for example, it compare the spread of the disease from those who do get infected. This isn't as easy to "see" (if you don't want to follow the analysis), but it does show the effect of vaccination.

      • silverfire

        Careful statistics are right only 75% of the time.

    • MC

      Did you think about how your comment reads in context with the article above? I'll tell you: it reads as denialism.

      If we take out the science we are in denial. Calling science "so-called" just reinforces the denialism.

      The twirling in your kitchen argument is odd at best. Seriously, how does that help your argument? So you don't understand how science works. So you don't understand the concept of biological plausibility. Do you think advertising these facts helps your argument?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, if you read the package inserts for several of the DTaP shots you will see that autism is listed as a known possible side effect, along with SIDS and seizures. You would think the author would have done the 2 seconds worth of research before arrogantly and foolishly trumpeting that science has spoken and that no vaccine causes autism. In light of such a glaring error, it's hard to take anything else she says seriously.

    • BYBO

      Which brand? I couldn't see autism but brain damage.

      • I figured it out
        • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

          Autism is mentioned once in that link as an adverse event reported during the the post-approval period, i.e., self-reported events, not events occurring in a controlled study population. That does not indicate a link between the given event and the medical intervention.

          • I figured it out

            You're right. Whom should I believe? You, or my lying eyes?

          • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

            Well, since what I'm saying is right there where it says "autism," I would assume both.

          • MC

            basically, a lot of parents have claimed that the vaccine caused their child's autism. No evidence. No studies. The vaccine manufacturers include those ckaims on the insert and people spread fear by claiming autism is a side effect. It's fear mongrring and dishonest.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

          And even given what it says, there's still no causal link.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1516584388 Twyla Ramos

        Oops, I meant to post this link:
        DTaP Side Effect: Autism. Now You See It. Now You Don't.http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/12/dtap-side-effec.html

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          An anti-vaccine site? Awesome. Let me go read that right away.

        • P Felice

          CDC’s July 20,2012 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) http://tinyurl.com/bsypo7h tells us “The incidence of reported pertussis has increased in the United States after reaching historic lows in the 1970s. Since 2007, children aged 7–10 years have accounted for a substantial proportion of pertussis cases in the United States, a finding attributed to waning immunity in persons fully vaccinated with acellular vaccines in childhood.” In addition, a recent Wall Street journal article has CDC on record with with this, Washington state has one of the highest exemption rates in the nation. But the CDC said that does not appear to be a major factor in the outbreak, since most of the youngsters who got sick had been vaccinated.” http://tinyurl.com/c3lchvy

          • Science Mom

            "But the CDC said that does not appear to be a major factor in the
            outbreak, since most of the youngsters who got sick had been
            vaccinated.”

            Oh that tired trope. P Felice, not being vaccinated is a factor since unvaccinated school-aged children are 6-25 times more likely to be infected with pertussis than their vaccinated counterparts.

        • MC

          the Age of Autism blog is exactly the sort of denialst group discussed in the article above. A short visit to the site shows a site devoted to ignoring science, promoting pseudoscience and attacking people who accept the results of scientific inquiry

    • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

      Goonies2012, what part of "vaccine inserts are written by lawyers. They are not sound scientific evidence for autism causation" don't you understand?

    • Science Mom

      "Actually, if you read the package inserts for several of the DTaP shots
      you will see that autism is listed as a known possible side effect,
      along with SIDS and seizures."

      Actually, if you read the package inserts for several of the DTaP shots you will see that autism has been reported during clinical trials, along with SIDS and seizures. If Goonies actually read the package insert, she would see that they AREN'T listed as side effects at all.

  • Fedbull Nomore

    The findings don't say anything about vaccine safety and no study ever has because none of the ingredients in vaccines have ever been studied for safety! NEVER, yet, you belittle parents for questioning their safety? Meanwhile, you completely ignore the fact that the instances of childhood diseases had already greatly declined prior to the introduction of the corresponding vaccination programs. How did we manage that with an uncomprimised immune system?

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      What you say here is a common trope about vaccines that is simply untrue. A simple search on PubMed demonstrates as much. For a synopsis debunking this and other common misrepresentations about vaccines, see this article:
      http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/vaccination-myths-busted-by-science-cheat-sheet-on-immunisation/

    • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

      Fedbull Nomore, the "vaccines didn't save us" is a common, but completely false trope of the anti-vaccination movement. Yes, mortality (that's deaths) from vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) did decline before the introduction of vaccines, possibly because of improved living conditions such as nutrition, clean water, and sewer service. But morbidity (the number of cases of disease) for VPDs did not decline until the introduction of the respective vaccines.

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      No, deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases had gone down. Incidence was unchanged until vaccines came along. Or how do you explain the precipitous drop in cases of measles in the ten years after the vaccine was introduced?

  • I figured it out

    Then I look down the page and see that this is sponsored by Amgen, which is making new vaccines. That explains the nonsense and half-truths in this article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      Which nonsense? Which half-truths?

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      Which nonsense? Which half-truths?

      • I figured it out

        Read the rebuttal by NVIC. Oh, that's right, KQED censored it.

      • I figured it out

        Read the rebuttal by NVIC. Oh, that's right, KQED censored it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

          Censored what? Link to it here if you like. I doubt there's any underhanded conspiracy going on.

          • I figured it out

            I saw a reply here by NVIC. It was deleted. Reposted, then deleted again. Yet again. Several times. This site is just a shill for Amgen.

          • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

            Doesn't matter. What credible evidence could that rabid anti-vaccine group have anyway?

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      The "pharma shill" gambit? Really? That's all you have?

  • Dawn Doubts

    Who is ignoring the science (or lack the of) here? Here is a clue; it is NOT your audience…

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      So … show some science.

      • I figured it out

        KQED censors it. I've seen a well argued post deleted several times on this site. Seems pointless to try to make a point on a website that is devoted to vaccine maker profits.

        • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

          That's odd because I've been here on the site and seen neither a well-argued comment against vaccines nor a comment deleted.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          And yet they don't censor you whining about it. How odd…

      • Dawn Doubts

        Exactly, show me it is safe! And show me it is even effective! There is no independent science proving either one.

        • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

          Dawn Doubts, please restate your question. Which vaccines are "unsafe"? Cite evidence other than VAERS, please. And which vaccines are ineffective? How do you know?

          Also, please provide evidence for your claim that "there is no independent science proving either one".

  • amy

    This is the problem in present day (information online is so skewed and its creators corrupt.) People with no research skills and a strong bias (a drug company is funding this site!) put this online, where people are hoping to hear valid, detailed, and truthful info on vaccines. So they think, "its online, it must be true" and blindly move on with their life, brainwashed. Luckily, there are smart people out there that know valid sources from non.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      So people should disregard online sources and instead believe your online comment?

  • http://twitter.com/DrBruceL Dr Bruce LeWinter

    who paid you to write this misleading article?

    • I figured it out

      Look below. Amgen paid them.

      • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

        That's it? That's the crux of your argument? You are basically saying that Amgen paid off all of us who look at the evidence and say, "Yep, there's nothing to the vaccine-autism link?" How much did they pay me? I'd ask for at least one billion or I go to the press with my story. How much would you ask for?

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      Care to enlighten us on which parts of this article are misleading?

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      Care to enlighten us on which parts of this article are misleading?

      • I figured it out

        KQED keeps censoring detailed, well referenced replies.

    • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

      Bruce LeWinter is a chiropractor. The best he's got for criticism is to accuse the author of being a Pharma Shill.

    • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

      Hi Bruce: personal attacks on the writer as opposed to disagreement with the ideas expressed, violate the terms of service on the site. Consider this your only warning.

  • I figured it out

    KQED keeps censoring posts from National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). I see the post appear, then disappear as it is censored. It appeared to be a well argued and well referenced post, too.

    • http://twitter.com/wbinfo23 Bill Benson

      KQED don't like evidence and facts, they just deal in emotion and threats. And then has the gall to say "a sizable portion of my audience rejects what scientists know is true". Shall we go over the numerous things that scientists have said in the past were true and have turned out to be nonsense!?

      • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

        Bill Benson, please specify what is counter-factual or not based in evidence in this post.

        The "turned out to be nonsense" attack on science betrays your ignorance. That's how science *works* — a constant self-correcting of our understanding of the world.

        • http://twitter.com/wbinfo23 Bill Benson

          Excuse me, are you attacking me? That breaks the terms and conditions of this site apparently.
          You clearly do not want to understand my point, which is that there have been people who have put complete trust in certain scientific 'truths' in the past only for them to be found wrong. Clearly the same can be said of some of today's 'truths' (it matters not that that is how science works). But that still doesn't seem to stop some people (like you, per chance) from showing zero humility and taking a step back. It is always "you're ignorant" and "we're right".
          Your reply clearly shows that faith is required because science is constantly self-corecting.

          • ken

            Bill, when was the last time that NVIC or GenRes self-corrected?

          • http://twitter.com/wbinfo23 Bill Benson

            What has that go to do with anythng here? We're discussing vaccines. We were discussing science that can change, correct itself and even contradict itself over time. My point is, you clearly need faith to put so much trust in vaccines.
            For example, some doctors and scientists in the 50s were saying stuff like this in adverts: "More doctors smoke Camel than any other cigarette!" etc. That scientific opinion has rather changed now, hasn't it? No doubt all of those people that totally trust science would have totally trusted that statement in the 50s.

          • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

            Uh, dude, news flash. That "Camel and Doctors" thing was not a scientific opinion. Camel asked doctors outside a conference, who were smoking at the time, which cigarette they smoked. Most of them smoked Camels. Your statement – again, not a scientific one – that "More doctors smoke Camel than any other cigarette!" doesn't even answer the question of whether or not doctors think smoking is safe.

            If you would have, ehem, done your own research, you would have found that medical associations were warning about the dangers of smoking even back then. But that would contradict your bias and your use of the "tobacco science gambit".

        • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

          Bill Benson, how is Ms. Ditz's polite request for further clarity "an attack"?

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      Really? But yet your comment is still here. How come one idiotic anti-vaxer is censored but not another? How does that work?

  • http://www.facebook.com/topview Mel Smith

    I agree that Vaccines do cause Autism…Dr. Wakefield from the UK proved it and they took his license, but now they found out he was right. Also the Pertussis vaccine is not safe and don't work as 81% that caught the disease were already vaccinated.
    Also …there is a natural substance that will kill all pathogens and also remove all heavy metals along with all toxins from your body… it is mms (Sodium Chlorite), and when mixed with Citric Acid,,, it turns into Chlorine Dioxide. The most powerful pathogen killer known to man.
    I have been taking MMS for 5 years now and I have used it just about every way possible on me and also on my animals and we are all doing fine. If you want to find out more on MMS go to http://www.jimhumble.biz

    Also the author of this article needs to check out the facts before trying to convince people to think Vaccines are safe. Even the Drug manufactures have no PROOF that they work as they try to say they do. And The FDA is protecting the Big Pharma and their poisons.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      >>>Also the Pertussis vaccine is not safe and don't work as 81% that caught the disease were already vaccinated.<<<
      Learn some statistics. This isn't a useful quantity without knowing what proportion of the population were vaccinated. If 99% of the population is vaccinated, and 81% of people with the disease were vaccinated, it means that the 1% unvaccinated counted for (about) 19% of the cases, meaning that being unvaccinated makes you almost 20 times more likely to get the disease. As an analogy, if statistics showed that 81% of people injured in car accidents were wearing seat belts, would you immediately conclude that seat belts don't prevent injuries?

    • http://twitter.com/ejwillingham Emily Willingham

      For anyone interested in actually understanding the meaning of the 81% value in the context of the vaccinated vs unvaccinated population, this article is a good one:
      http://skeweddistribution.com/2012/05/14/true-or-false-there-are-more-vaccinated-pertussis-cases-than-unvaccinated/

    • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

      Let's start at the top. Wakefield proved nothing. His work was prompted by thousands of pounds paid by lawyers, hoping to find a link between MMR & autism, so that the lawyers could enrich themselves with personal-injury suits against vaccine manufacturers. He fudged most of the data.

      Mel Smith, who has proved Wakefield right? Post one proof in a respectable journal that the measles vaccine persists in the gut, causing gut permeability, which allows specific proteins to cross the blood-brain barrier, which causes autistic symptoms. That's Wakefield's claim, and it has never, ever been validated.

      Next you need to prove that the pertussis vaccine "isn't safe".

      And finally, you are advocating for a product that the FDA has warned consumers about since 2010. MMS is a dangerous substance and should not be consumed by anyone. Parents forcing MMS on their children are endangering the children's health.

      • Sara

        Not right. Wakefield proved that illeal lymphoid-nodular-hyperplaysia was associated with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and autism. It was a study that was desperately needed as parents had been told that their children's toileting troubles were behavioral. In fact, he showed the medical community that there are indeed differences in the intestines, and therefore the ability to digest food, of children with autism. Thanks for pretending to know what information is contained in something you have yet to read.

        • http://twitter.com/lizditz Liz Ditz

          I'm sorry, Sara, Wakefield proved nothing, and his "research" has never been independently replicated.

          And contrary to your claim, I have read Wakefield's original article and every single one of the articles he claims "replicates" his work. None of the articles do so.

          Further, Sara, I can't claim to have read every single article on GI issues in autism, but I have certainly studied:

          Hornig et al., Lack of association between measles virus vaccine and autism with enteropathy: a case-control study. PLoS One. 2008 Sep 4;3(9):e3140.
          Mouridsen SE, Rich B, Isager T. A longitudinal study of gastrointestinal diseases in individuals diagnosed with infantile autism as children. Child Care Health Dev. 2010 May;36(3):437-43. Epub 2009 Nov 2.
          Buie et al., Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with ASDs: a consensus report. Pediatrics. 2010 Jan;125 Suppl 1:S1-18.
          Gorrindo et al., Gastrointestinal dysfunction in autism: parental report, clinical evaluation, and associated factors. Autism Res. 2012 Apr;5(2):101-8. doi: 10.1002/aur.237.
          Maenner et al., Brief report: Association between behavioral features and gastrointestinal problems among children with autism spectrum disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Jul;42(7):1520-5.
          Please study these articles. Your ideas about GI issues in autism may evolve.

          • Sara

            The retracted paper you referred to WAS a paper on GI issues and autism. It WAS NOT a paper about MMR, whatsoever. In fact it concluded "We found no association between MMR and the syndrome described." said syndrome being illeal lymphoid nodular hyperplaysia. What the crap? You seriously still want to lie and say you read it?

          • Sara

            Oh, your name is Ditz. How fitting.

          • Sara

            Furthermore, Andrew Wakefield was considered a world class gastroenterologist before the GMC hearings. He published other papers which were very well-respected. He did not lose his license due to any falsification of data, and that is not a charged levied against him in the GMC report. I would challenge you to interpret the actual findings of that paper as you understand them. You are a fool who is spewing bs you have read in blogs and online articles that aim to dumb things way, waaaay down so people like you don't have to do your own thinking.

          • Science Mom

            "Furthermore, Andrew Wakefield was considered a world class
            gastroenterologist before the GMC hearings."

            No he wasn't, not even close. He also uses FRCS in his title when he doesn't even have that credential.

            "He published other papers
            which were very well-respected."

            Go ahead and name one and that is respected by his former peers.

            "He did not lose his license due to any
            falsification of data, and that is not a charged levied against him in
            the GMC report."

            No, he was struck off for abusing special needs children, abusing his privileges, lying and being considered such a threat to patients he needed to lose his medical license that's all. His research fraud was merely uncovered during the GMC FTP hearing.

          • Sara

            Again, fraud was not a charge against him. He wouldn't have been working at the royal free if he didn't already have a good reputation. He never abused a child. You are ridiculous. I'll post all his other titles here, if you like, the minute you back up that he abused even one child. Doctor Andrew Wakefield is a good man.

          • Science Mom

            "I'll post all his other titles here, if you like, the minute you back up
            that he abused even one child. Doctor Andrew Wakefield is a good man"

            Right here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6289166.stm
            Charges found proved but not limited to:

            "It was also alleged that 11 children were subjected to a series of
            invasive tests, including colonoscopies, lumbar punctures, blood and
            urine tests and MRI scans.

            This was contrary to their best
            clinical interests and Dr Wakefield did not have the "requisite
            paediatric qualifications" nor sought the right approval for the tests,
            the charge sheet went on.

            And it is alleged that a drug was administered to one child for experimental reasons.

            The allegations that he took blood from children at his son's birthday party date back to prior to 20 March 1999"

            That is abuse in every legal, medical and ethical sense. And I wouldn't let the scum even examine my pet frogs. I'll also be happy to provide the GMC transcripts.

          • Sara

            Fail. Medical testing ≠ abuse.

          • Science Mom

            Medical testing particularly with the risks that those procedures carry, that wasn't clinically indicated is abuse. Taking blood samples from children without ethical approval, causing them harm (fainting and vomiting) and then laughing at them at a conference is abuse. Using a child as a guinea pig for a drug with no approval is also abuse. If a pharma physician had done the same you'd be screaming murder.

            Over 40 charges proved and found guilty.

          • Science Mom

            Wakefield performed invasive and dangerous tests on special needs children that weren't medically indicated. That's abuse.

            Wakefield tested his goat nostrum on a special needs child with no ethics approval. That's abuse.

            Wakefield took blood samples from children at his son's birthday party with no ethical approval and not in the proper medical setting. He made fun of the children who vomited and fainted. That's abuse.

            If a physician did this for a pharma company; you'd be screaming at the top of your lungs about how abusive it was. And it would be.

            Wakefield had more than 40 charges proved against him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

      Wakefield was paid to do his "research" by a personal-injury lawyer. When this was exposed, 10 of his 13 co-authors withdrew their names from the paper. He also ran a clinic claiming to "cure" autism.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrea-Leong/545025527 Andrea Leong

      To follow on from Andrew M, above:
      Also, the effectiveness of the pertussis vaccine wanes over time*, so unless people have had boosters, they're effectively only partially vaccinated.

      We now use DTaP instead of the potentially more effective DTwP because of side effects of the latter. How about that, the vaccine schedule was modified in response to safety concerns!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrea-Leong/545025527 Andrea Leong

        I mean, "Andrew M, below". Odd that newer replies appear at the top.

    • Ken

      Do you know that MMS is bleach?

      • silverfire

        LOL…

  • Sarah

    Sadly I don't think even an outbreak of deadly diseases will make anti-vaxers realise they are wrong. They'll probably say that it's the fault of the scientists for not finding a 100% safe, 100% effective vaccine.

    • I figured it out

      The fault is in not revealing the risks, and in coercing patients to take unsafe, misrepresented drugs.

    • Matt Carey

      Very true. Jenny McCarthy has already said that any resurgence would be the fault of others for exactly the reasons you cite. I beleive Andrew Wakefield has also made similar comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/topview Mel Smith

    The reason the Small Pox vaccine worked, was because it was placed on the skin and then scratched. This is a normal way for pathogens to enter our bodies, On the skin or through an orifice. Not injecting into a muscle. The immune system will fight a pathogen when it gets on or under the skin but it don't know what to do with a pathogen that is injected into the muscle, as that is not the way we evolved. Our bodies never get pathogens in the muscle so the immune system don't know what to do with it. That is why most vaccines never work and the immune system don't make antigens against those injected pathogens.

    Oh, and BTW I tend to believe Lloyd Pye, that we were Genetically engineered by the Anunaky and we are the decedents of the Sumerians. (Everything we're told is wrong) by Lloyd Pye on U-tube

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      You never got the smallpox vaccine, did you? It was given with a bifurcated needle, well deep into the skin. And how do you explain the oral polio vaccine? The nasal flu vaccine? The oral rotavirus vaccine?

      Oh, wait… We're decedents of the Sumerians? Do you even know what a decedent is? We politically oppose the Sumerians?

    • Matt Carey

      I wonder how many generations ago the "scratch the skin" delivery method for small pox vaccination was abandoned in favor of injections. My guess is your information is about a century or more out of date.

      but with your space alien/genetic engineering comment, i do wonder if you are serious at all

  • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

    Thanks for this excellent nuanced post, Liza Gross. The issue of the waning effectiveness of the pertussis vaccine is particularly difficult to get across, and I think you did it well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mageea Andrew Magee

    I've gotta say — although the anti-vaxxers' points are mostly entirely wrong, I think it's counterproductive to delete them. Better to debate them with facts.

    • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

      Hi Andrew. No worries. No comments are being deleted, unless they are cut and paste duplicates or personal attacks that violate out terms of service.

  • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

    Hi All:

    Site editor here. Numerous versions / copies of the above comment are being posted – one is fine, but further copies will not be necessary. As to @ead857206afe7b4db6956937934759ab:disqus , see comment below, the owners of this blog are not censoring comments, and have no affiliation with the pharmaceutical industry. Unless you have evidence to the contrary, further unsubstantiated personal attacks will be treated as spam.

    • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

      Hi Craig

      Posted a response about an hour ago to Reuben Gaines. Any reason it is showing in the comment string? We said he didn't prove his case but certainly did not "attack" him and the comment was most certainly not a copy and paste.

      Would appreciate seeing it posted.

      Regards
      Pamela Felice

  • James

    There are valid points on both sides, but vaccines are NOT 100% without risks. That is something parents have to take into consideration. It is their RIGHT to do so. We live in a messy world were we have to live with the decisions other's make. The autonomy of families and individuals must be respected. Our laws reflect that right, even if it is information that is not readily disseminated.
    Either way, either side requires a measure of "faith" and denialism. Proponents like yourself have faith in the science behind vaccines. You have faith in the companies that produce them. You have a measured faith in the vaccines efficacy. And you still believe, that even though the current pertussis vaccine has been proven to not be very effective; that people should still get it.
    All I know is that there are no black and white answers in life; there are lots of gray areas. I know that scientific paradigms change. Really, is artificially amping up our immune systems the answer to human survival? I don't see how it's sustainable.

    • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

      Alright, let's talk risks, James. What's riskier, a vaccine or driving your child home from the hospital after delivery?

      Be honest, now.

      • James

        In the case of my child, who did have a reaction; I'd say the vaccine.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1513743876 Michal X Wozniak

          excellent. you've now demonstrated 'anecdotal' evidence, that is, evidence from one case, which is also your child's case. Yet that isn't what Reuben is actually getting at.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          In my case, we had an accident on the way home yet nothing from vaccines. There, we've cancelled each other out.

      • James

        Made it home just fine both times, btw.

  • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

    I am referring to the comment above, to which I made the reply. If the above is not the comment, I will continue to look for it.

    • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

      The above is the comment that I originally posted at 4:34 pm eastern but just appeared 36 minutes ago. I have numerous screen shots reflecting the many times that I tried to post this very same comment.

      • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

        And what happened to this response that I posted several minutes ago: Thank you. We originally submitted this post at 4:34 eastern this
        afternoon and have re-attempted the post numerous times. We have made
        absolutely no personal attacks on anyone and Amgen Foundation is listed
        at the bottom of this very page as a supporter. Amgen is in fact a
        developer of vaccines. http://tinyurl.com/8l5kthd

        • http://science.kqed.org/quest Craig Rosa

          Hi there: I released the aforementioned comment from our spam queue, that is why it was late. You may have other comments in the queue. But if they are cut n' paste comments you have used on other sites, they will continue to are going to get automatically flagged by Disqus, our commenting system.

          You personally may not have made any attacks, but a careful reading of the comments will show others have done so. It is not allowed. If you have evidence that Amgen influenced the post, by all means provide it. Otherwise it is an unsubstantiated (and untrue) connection to assert there was influence.

          • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

            Thank you Craig. NVIC is very consistent in our messaging and while some of the content in our comment has been posted in other places, this comment was addressed to this specific article. As to personal attacks, NVIC is in no way responsible for the comments of any other persons and it is unclear why you would associate the comments of other individuals to our organization. We did not originally make any reference, in our comment, to the "pharmaceutical industry." You brought up pharmaceutical industry support in your response to our comment and I simply noted that you do receive support from Amgen, a vaccine maker…that would create a potential conflict of interest, whether acted on or not.

          • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

            Oh, you're consistent in your anti-vaccine and anti-science message, alright. I documented your misinformation thoroughly here:

            http://thepoxesblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/nvic-information-exhibit.html

            Here:

            http://thepoxesblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/nvic-information-thats-not-exhibit-b.html

            And here:

            http://thepoxesblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/nvic-information-thats-not-exhibit-c.html

            You should really remove "information" from your name. You guys are embarrassing yourselves.

          • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

            Mr. Gaines
            We've posted a response on your blog and one here, well over an hour ago, though it hasn't shown up on either site yet. I'm sure we'll see it on both soon.

          • Grant Jacobs

            I would suggest NVIC research what Amgen actually make. I believe I'd be correct in saying that they don't make any vaccines (they do make a range of drugs).

          • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

            We did provide a link above to their involvement in vaccine development.

          • Grant Jacobs

            Noted. I hope you'll note my point that interest from a supporter is not a reason that an article itself is flawed, just that the supporter has an interest in the article.

          • http://www.nvic.org/ NVICFactCheck

            Thank you Grant. To your point we did say "…you (Quest) do receive support from Amgen, a vaccine maker…that would create a
            potential conflict of interest, whether acted on or not." However, potential conflicts aside, the article is most definitely flawed for the reasons stated in our original comment.

        • Grant Jacobs

          See my comment below (I addressed it to Craig); you might want to check what Amgen in fact make.

          • Grant Jacobs

            Other sources suggests that recently they have move towards vaccines. The claim of a conflict of interest from a supporter is not a reason that an article itself is flawed, just that the supporter has an interest in the article.

  • liberybell

    It is clear that $$ien$e is behind this, not science!

  • Grant Jacobs

    I think the clearest examples for general readers to understand the value of vaccines are the rare cases where a country has suspended a vaccine for a period.

    In 1979 Japan temporarily stopped the pertussis (whoop cough) vaccine. That year they had over 13,000 reported cases of pertussis and 41 deaths from pertussis. (Compared to no deaths and about 400 cases a year earlier.)

  • Elle

    It takes a measure of faith and denialism to bully, guilt trip, and argue parents who saw their children have a reaction, be it autism or otherwise, to a vaccination; and DENY that it could possibly be linked to a vaccination they had recently.

    As NVIC said, "Informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right."

    Even the author of this article admits there are risks involved with vaccinations; those of you arguing that there are no risks are in DENIAL.

    • Science Mom

      "Even the author of this article admits there are risks involved with
      vaccinations; those of you arguing that there are no risks are in
      DENIAL."

      What a strawman. No one says vaccines are risk free but those minute risks far outweigh those of disease. No one is taking away your right to listen to anti-vaxx morons and behave as such yourself but don't think you are immune to criticism for your ill-informed choices.

  • MercZomBoy

    I've had dark circles under my eyes from a young age as a child even at the age of 10 years old, pretty sure it's from mercury. Thanks for the healthy zombie look that doesn't run in my family vaccine Co, still can't close my third eye though…

  • healthylifestyleabc

    This is the best website i've found to educate yourselves on vaccines:
    vaccinationcouncil.org
    Its important as parents to educate ourselves on all the dangers present in our modern society (vaccines and Genetically Modified food being at the top of the list).

  • http://twitter.com/wbinfo23 Bill Benson

    Wow, they do censor on this site. One of my posts was hidden for being reported as spam or inappropriate. All it contained was two recent news reports on Pertussis and HPV vaccines.

    • Grant Jacobs

      For most forums on-line, comments with 2 or more links are treated as spam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.souter1 Justin Souter

    The autism/vaccine relationship seems far more complex than we can currently understand. Our current science obviously doesn't have a full understanding of how biological systems work and what factors are causing the rise in autism and other chronic childhood illness. These causes could include toxins in vaccines, in the environment, and in consumer products.

    If science had a complete picture then we would not have had a pertussis outbreak in vaccinated people, we would not have a multi-billion dollar Federal vaccine injury compensation fund, and we would not have new studies calling into question the basics of vaccine doctrine ("B cell maintenance of subcapsular sinus macrophages protects against a fatal viral infection independent of adaptive immunity" Immunity, March, 2011).

    A rise in autism paralleling an increase in the number of vaccines given should be enough for those truly interested in health and science to take a precautionary posture.

    Maybe vaccine proponents should consider that the "anti" vaccine movement might not be entirely composed of luddite morons. Perhaps one vaccine proponent could stand up for manufacturer accountability, vaccination schedule review, minimizing potential toxins & allergens in vaccine ingredients, and maybe be open to the question of vaccine's role in chronic childhood illness.

    • Science Mom

      "Our current science obviously doesn't have a full understanding of how
      biological systems work and what factors are causing the rise in autism
      and other chronic childhood illness. These causes could include toxins
      in vaccines, in the environment, and in consumer products."

      It doesn't mean you get to make stuff up Justin. Don't you think there is active research into all of the diseases/disorders you like to blame on vaccines? Have a gander at PubMed or Web of Science or this: http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov/Pages/default.aspx

      "If science had a complete picture then we would not have had a pertussis
      outbreak in vaccinated people, we would not have a multi-billion dollar
      Federal vaccine injury compensation fund, and we would not have new
      studies calling into question the basics of vaccine doctrine ("B cell
      maintenance of subcapsular sinus macrophages protects against a fatal
      viral infection independent of adaptive immunity" Immunity, March,
      2011)."

      Good grief; it really puzzles me how people can think these are viable conclusions. The pertussis vaccine is one of the least effective and durable vaccines, yet even with those deficits, more unvaccinated people get pertussis than unvaccinated. Vaccines are a societal issue and as such and given they are administered to healthy people as a preventative rather than as a therapeutic for illness, then to increase confidence in vaccine programmes (the U.S. isn't the only one with a vaccine injury compensation scheme) and yes, to shield vaccine manufacturers from baseless lawsuits (to ensure adequate supplies), a compensation fund is in place. This is a good thing and ironically Barbara Loe Fisher, who was part of it's founding is now caterwauling about it because her sycophants can't abuse it the way she would have liked.

      That study doesn't "call vaccine doctrine" into question at all but feel free to explain how it does or did you just read that somewhere that it did?

      "A rise in autism paralleling an increase in the number of vaccines given
      should be enough for those truly interested in health and science to
      take a precautionary posture."

      Um no for you could find a correlation with many things that are equally, if not more plausible. How about the rise in obesity during this same time? In fact studies are coming out that do demonstrate an increased autism risk with obese mothers and gestational diabetes. Or how about the increase in parental age during the same time? Yup, studies are showing that too as a risk factor for autism. Or how about certain drugs during pregnancy? You guessed it. Now how about if you are truly interested in health and science you take more interest in more plausible avenues of research and stop being one of the fools that is wasting time and money.

      "Maybe vaccine proponents should consider that the "anti" vaccine movement might not be entirely composed of luddite morons."

      I have yet to see that they aren't.

      • Anonymous

        Justin says, "we would not have a multi-billion dollar Federal vaccine injury compensation fund" and your response is "to shield vaccine manufacturers from baseless lawsuits"? Are you kidding me? Baseless lawsuits? Tell that to the HPV vaccine victims who can no longer function as young adults or to the moms who were victims of society's guilt trip and end up with shells of their formerly normal children. If science is all about helping us and saving lives, it sure sounds like you're on the wrong side of that equation. Here's a question for all of you scientists, has there ever been a study of children who were not vaccinated and their rate of autism? And…?

        • Science Mom

          "Justin says, "we would not have a multi-billion dollar Federal vaccine
          injury compensation fund" and your response is "to shield vaccine
          manufacturers from baseless lawsuits"? Are you kidding me? Baseless
          lawsuits? Tell that to the HPV vaccine victims who can no longer
          function as young adults or to the moms who were victims of society's
          guilt trip and end up with shells of their formerly normal children."

          Ok, I'll tell them, "if your claim is presented with medical validation that the vaccine more likely than not caused your disorder then you are entitled to compensation, otherwise not". I've read the OAP transcripts, you have not and the evidence presented by the PSC was pathetic. Furthermore, your characterisation of autists as "shells of formerly normal children" is disgusting, ignorant and makes you a big part of the problem with acceptance by their parents and society.

          • Anonymous

            Your pompous attitude and loyalty to the industry which perpetuates this entire discussion, IS the problem. Don't hide behind science and don't chastise those of us who have no skin in the game. You and your attitude disgust me. Again I ask, where is the study of children who have not been vaccinated?

          • Science Mom

            "Hide behind science"? What kind of stupid thing to say is that? I will absolutely chastise anyone who speaks of autists in the revolting manner you do. They are special human beings entitled to our care and acceptance. They aren't "shells of formally normal children" and you aren't going to get any validation or pats on the back for those kinds of putrid remarks.

            "Again I ask, where is the study of children who have not been vaccinated?"

            Since none of you braintrusts bother to give any thought to what you are asking for, here are some questions you should consider and answer instead of mindlessly parroting others:
            1. What is the study design?

            2. How many in each group would you have and why?

            3. What are your endpoint/outcome measurements?

            4. What statistical tests would you apply?

            5. What is your hypothesis?

            6. How would you recruit study subjects?

            Also ask your fearless leaders at GenRescue, NVIC, SaneVax and SafeMinds why they aren't funding such a study; they're funding others, why not your Holy Grail?

          • Anonymous

            I'm asking for answers, not more questions. The rhetorical nonsense that you address reeks of pharma-sci-babble. The difference between us is that I seek truth and you seek a popular path to follow. In this we can agree, we should love each other, regardless of our afflictions, unconditionally. In this we do not agree, causing such afflictions can be swept uncerimonioulsy under the carpet of bought-and-paid-for "science", unconsciounably and without regret. You have to live with your beliefs, and I with mine.

          • Anonymous

            p.s. studies are funded by the very companies whose results they seek to promote and capitalize on. i.e. if it occured on wall street, they'd call it "insider trading".

          • Science Mom

            "p.s. studies are funded by the very companies whose results they seek to promote and capitalize on."

            Prove it. Demonstrate that all vaccine studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies.

          • Anonymous

            You profess to know everything, prove that they're not. Bottom line is, I believe that vaccines are dangerous and mass marketed for profit, period. Your beliefs are based on what YOU consider to be facts, which is not necessarily the truth. Wisdom isn't attained by reading science books and being so condescending discourages us from contemplating anything you've said. Maybe you should follow your own advice and start "critically evaluating some of these claims that are contrary to your own dogma".

          • Science Mom

            You profess to know everything, prove that they're not
            You made a declaration that all vaccine studies are funded by pharma; it's an easily falsifiable claim so prove your point and stop dodging. You made the claim the onus is upon you to support it.

            Your beliefs are based on what YOU consider to be facts, which is not necessarily the truth.

            See, truth is mumbo jumbo philosopher speak. Facts are facts and they can change and a true sceptic will accept those changes. I do, you don't.

            Wisdom isn't attained by reading science books and being so
            condescending discourages us from contemplating anything you've said.

            Spare me the tone trolling. You wouldn't contemplate anything vaccine proponents would say if it was served up dripping with chocolate and a cherry on top. You definitely don't obtain anything but foolishness by reading anti-vaxx websites and calling that "research". Particularly when you are going against those who actually do research.

          • Anonymous

            I also asked you a yes or no question regarding studies about unvaccinated autistic children. You're the scientist, where are those studies? Here's the thing, man is not smarter than nature, that's a fact. Man can emulate and imitate, but not duplicate. Therefore manufactured products can never be 100% effective. Vaccines are toxic cocktails that wreak havoc on our immune systems and do more harm than good. Why don't you read this verbatim copy of a US Government concession in a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-vaccineautism-court-d_b_88558.html? and then give us your opinion. And please drizzle it with chocolate, I love chocolate. :)

          • Science Mom

            I also asked you a yes or no question regarding studies about
            unvaccinated autistic children. You're the scientist, where are those
            studies?

            No it wasn't a yes or no question. The study YOU want to see doesn't exist yet for a reason and that's why I asked you the questions I did. I want you to understand what you are asking for.

            Therefore manufactured products can never be 100% effective.

            No one is saying they are. You have fallen into the Nirvana fallacy.

            Why don't you read this verbatim copy of a US Government concession in a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/… and then give us your opinion.

            Read it a long time ago and many times since and testimony from her treating physicians and clinicians. Hannah Poling has a mitochodrial disorder, a suite of vaccines she was given more likely than not caused an encephalopathy which left her with neurological deficits and autistic-like symptoms (she doesn't qualify for an ASD diagnosis). This (encephalitis) is a rare and known severe reaction and she doesn't represent the other 5K + OAP petitioners. Her parents and anti-vaxx groups hold her out a poster child for vaccinesdidit but her parents won't release her medical records. Don't you think all the evidence should be considered and not just what the parents say. Oh and Dr. Poling was professionally admonished for duping his co-authors for his case report on his own daughter and not declaring his conflicts of interest.

          • Anonymous

            Well it looks like we're just going to have to agree to disagree. That's the beauty of freedom, we get to make our own choices. I truly don't understand your perspective and you don't understand mine, but that's ok. It's been fun sparring with you and I will try to keep a more open mind going forward.

          • Science Mom

            @ wakeup9, The path to answers is asking yourself relevant questions in order to understand the answers. Critically-evaluating claims and accepting evidence that is contrary to your own dogma is knowledge. You mindlessly accept and regurgitate rubbish that massages your beliefs. There is no truth in science, just facts; truth is for philosophers. My beliefs are based in fact, what are yours based on?

    • Grant Jacobs

      You wrote: "A rise in autism paralleling an increase in the number of vaccines given should be enough for those truly interested in health and science to take a precautionary posture."

      If this correlation were true and indicative of a causal relationship between autism and vaccines we'd expect more autism in those that vaccinate than those that don't; that has been examined and found not to be the case.
      The article you cite doesn't oppose vaccines. (Nor it it saying that most of what is known about immunology is being turned over.) It points to a response to *primary* infections by a particular class of viruses as having a "quick response" without requiring antibody production. Vaccines, by contrast, are in effect about *re*infections – the vaccination be the primary infection, as it were. (Excuse my emphasising some parts; just trying to highlight an important difference.)
      As they summarise in that paper:
      "(1) During primary infection, B cells are critical enablers of innate immune responses by inducing and maintaining SCS macrophage phenotype through LTα1β2 presentation. (2) During secondary infection in the presence of established immunological memory, antiviral antibodies neutralize infectious virions before host cells can be infected."
      Vaccines are about the second point, secondary infections. The vaccine is a "dummy" primary infection that prompts the production of antibodies and immunological memory that enables a fast response if a subsequent reinfection occurs, just as the authors summarise. I'd hope you'd agree that prevention is generally a good idea!
      It's an interesting paper, but it doesn't oppose vaccines or turn over the basis that they are made and so on.

      • Grant Jacobs

        Hmm. Must remember to put two blank lines between my paragraphs to make them easier to read! – sorry about that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maddi.klein Maddi Klein

    Autism has been correlated with so many things, from plastic to stress during pregnancy. All this proves is how prevalent autism is. for anyone interested in a probable reason for the so-called "rise," see: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2012/07/autism_not_actu.html
    for anyone who wonders how we feel about being considered an "epidemic," : http://www.autreat.com/dont_mourn.html

  • http://twitter.com/MrJeffSimon Jeff Simon

    If you want to vaccinate, vaccinate. If you don't, don't. It really is that simple. I've talked to folks on all sides of this. I can appreciate a doctor who only sees disease. I can appreciate a mom who has a healthy child until they are vaccine injured. I can appreciate someone who lost a loved one from either a disease or a vaccine-injury.

    What I do NOT appreciate is this kind of 'I-know-science-and-anybody-who-doesn't-agree-with-me-is-out-of-touch-with-reality' piece. It's a rant. Commentary masquerading as science. If you hold the scientific high ground, lay out the science specifically, acknowledge the gaps (Here's a hint from a scientist: there is always room for study, examination, and re-examination. It's not called "search." It's called "RE-search." Look at the history of any scientific discipline. There are always advances that completely shift the at-the-time conventional thinking.)

    To suggest that the vaccine safety issue has been settled is hubris. Don't bother telling me there aren't any studies. There are plenty. Here are a few scientific studies that you won't find in this article, because they don't exist. And–at an absolute minimum–have to be done before you can reasonably ask people to trust vaccines.

    – Conclusive support for the herd immunity hypothesis. That is: vaccine coverage replicably produces immune protection for everybody. There's a distinction to be made between cell-mediated immunity (the body's cells are resistant to infection), as opposed to humoral immunity (anti-body production). Vaccines only 'trick' the body to produce anti-bodies. Neither permanent nor reliable in preventing disease.

    – Safety studies for the whole breadth of childhood immunizations. 2 dozen by 18 months. Over 50 by kindergarten. That's a whole lot of toxins to be filling such small bodies.

    – Not even an attempt by vaccine-makers to produce toxin-free vaccines. They have the technology. They chose not to.

    – No examination of vaccine-free vs fully-vaccinated populations.

    Too many vaccine-prescribing physicians blow right past these issues in the same tone this piece reads. It's a formula for skepticism. It's human nature to ask questions and desire an honest, thoughtful, considerate response.

    This kind of "I'm sick of you people asking me that" response doesn't settle the debate, it just split the sides of this issue further apart. And, ultimately, dis-serves public health.

    • MC

      If it was "that simple", you wouldn't have gone on and on.

      Anyone who doesn't understand and accept the very simple concept of herd immunity is a denialist. Plain and simple. And that's just one of your misconceptions.

      • http://twitter.com/MrJeffSimon Jeff Simon

        Sorry MC, I was just talking to a Mom whose 18 month old had a severe reaction to MMR. You can think what you want. I suspect that if I dropped a truck load of evidence on you, you'd still think what you want. If you're just a parent who believes in vaccines, be well and I wish you all the best.

        • http://twitter.com/ThePoxesStory Reuben Gaines

          And I investigated several cases of deaths from measles. What's your point? That anecdotal evidence is the best we have? That case-control studies done to investigate outbreaks are invalid?

  • MC

    So, you write an article about the dangers of vaccine denialists and they (the denialusts) come out in hordes to spread their misinformation.

    Ironuc, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1513743876 Michal X Wozniak

    There is often talk about a vaccine-industry conspiracy. Has anyone considered the conspiracy behind anti-vaccine movement websites? If you dig deep enough you will find that the agenda is pushed by right-wing religious groups masquerading as anti-establishment and rebellious medical experts. The irony is that they successfully target middle-class housewives, along with the usual fundamentalist groups, 'alternative health professionals', and libertarians… very interesting.

    • http://twitter.com/stop_NVIC StopNVIC

      @facebook-1513743876:disqus Hi — I've been following the anti-vaccine movement since the mid-1990s (before Wakefield even!).

      Yes, originally the AV movement was heavily influenced by libertarianish "personal freedom" types, plus the radical wing of the anti-abortion movement. Then came the autism fears. Wakefield's fingering of the MMR vaccine in 1998 was followed by Safeminds' claims that autism is mercury poisoning in 2001. To my mind, the "autism is vaccine injury" wing of the AV movement was at the outset, apolitical, and continues to be for the most part, apolitical, Canary Party aside.

      In sum, I don't think there's a politically-motivated AV conspiracy.

  • DrBeaver

    I just want to put my two cents in, I will probably never look at this post again.
    1. Vaccines don't cause autism. Period. However, additives to vaccines, such as Thimerosol, have the potential to react negatively with the recipient and can agitate symptoms taking the subject from mostly normal to showing signs of Autism.
    2. Evolution is not science. Before you freak out on me, read this next part. Wait for it… neither is creationism. Neither are reproducable in a lab setting. We can't control variables, we haven't seen either in action (you will disagree, but think hard about the 'evidence' with which you would refute me).
    3. Credentials, for those who want them: 3rd year Biology Major at a state university. 3.98 cumulative GPA. Hardly one of the uneducated, scientifically illeterate masses.
    4. End with a Quote: "Question Authority."

    • mike

      Evolution is not science? You truly are ignorant. You don't have to reproduce something in a lab for it to be science. I cannot reproduce The Big Bang, yet there is plenty of evidence supporting it. I cannot reproduce the Continental Drift in a lab, is this also not science? Seriously, go back to school or speak not on things you do not know.

  • Anonymous

    Pharma Schill 101:
    1. Insult and belittle anyone who is anti-vax, maybe they'll shut up
    2. Ask them to cite references, it makes you sound smarter and gives us a larger group to harass and try to shut down.
    3. Use words like "science" and "-ology", very intimidating.
    4. Be sure to throw in a guilt trip about herds, works best with moms.

    What a lively discussion we've had, as per usual when it comes to vaccines. I thought this was a forum to discuss our opinions rather than to hurl insults, but I know how large the pharma payroll is and I can't compete on that level. To the person who thinks that I should be thanking you all for being my "herd" and protecting me, I say this; our creator, whatever you chose to call him or her, made us perfect. No amount of chemistry, science, man-made "ologies" or money will ever trump that. I say thank you to our creator, the rest of you had nothing to do with it.

    Here’s something I will reference, a quote from German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer:

    “All truth passes through three stages.
    First, it is ridiculed.
    Second, it is violently opposed.
    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
    It seems like we’ve made it to stage two, so we’re making progress.
    And to the doubters and anti-vaxers, what you know in your hearts to be the truth, is.

    • switzerland

      what i always find curious is that proponents for vaccines are always quick to dismiss them as a possible cause of illness/disease/damage instead of including them as a possible cause. They can neither be 100% blamed or disregarded as playing a role in the epidemic of auto immune and neurological disorders we see today. We have no idea what long term adverse effects they may or may not cause.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly! And those of us who have nothing to profit from, nor any corporate loyalties, are lashed out upon. My sole interest is to provide a sense of doubt for those who blindly follow the proponents of vaccines without question, when those very proponents are the ones who, as you say, deny any blame and dismiss any responsibility.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.souter1 Justin Souter

    I just became aware of an article published in 2007 in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: "A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders," by Geier and Geier

    "This new study leaves little doubt there is a direct causal link between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-preserved biological products (vaccines and Rho(D) products) and mercury poisoning diagnosed as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Thimerosal (49.55% mercury by weight) is a highly toxic mercury compound used as a preservative in some OTC and prescription drugs, including most flu shots given to pregnant women, infants, children, adults, and the elderly."

    • Grant Jacobs

      "by Geier and Geier" should be a good pointer to disregard it. I'm not trying to belittle anyone (you especially), but these two are shysters. More on the work done by these two can be found here and other posts at the same site:

      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/06/why-not-just-castrate-them-part-7/

      e.g.

      "autism quack extraordinaire Dr. Mark Geier had his medical license suspended by the State of Maryland"

      "David Geier is not a physician and has no qualifications to diagnose or treat autism (or anything other medical condition, for that matter). Not that that’s stopped him thus far; he does it anyway."

  • give me a break

    You will never convince me that the MMR did not give my son autism. Hours after getting the shot my normal child started bashing his head into the floor and within 6 months was full autistic. Your "proof" is flawed. mmr could not responsible because kids who received 2 mmr shots instead of one were not "more autistic" than kids who got only 1. Give me a break, you call that proof? When you find the real why you let me know, until then none of my kids/grand kids will get that shot.

    • Science Mom

      "You will never convince me that the MMR did not give my son autism.
      Hours after getting the shot my normal child started bashing his head
      into the floor and within 6 months was full autistic."

      And you will never convince me that you aren't making this up. Anecdotes aren't proof and certainly don't trump controlled studies. Also, what is the mechanism by which your son started to become autistic within hours of an MMR?

      • Anonymous

        On behalf of "give me a break", the mechanism by which her son started to become autistic within hours of an MMR was that "hours after getting the shot, her normal child started bashing his head into the floor and within 6 months was full autistic." WT_? Do you think people make this stuff up?!! You are cruel and neither scientific, nor a mom.

        • Science Mom

          No, that's an unsubstantiated story on the internet posted by a random stranger and yes, people do make things up and are mistaken by what they believe. That is most scientific and sceptical. Rather ironic of you to demand evidence that you don't even understand but throw yourself into a credulous lather over an internet story.

  • Anonymous

    Here's a link to"The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read", judge for yourself whether vaccines play any role in auto-immune suppression and disease: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-vaccineautism-court-d_b_88558.html?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacqui.butterworth Jacqui Butterworth

    global warming research is not 'rock solid' as you state in your article-there has been a lot of manipulation/fraud and cover up

  • MC

    Thanks for this article. it is strange and sad that my own commumity of autism parents has such a large fraction of denialists.

  • Yerena

    Lets see how anyone with a naturally strong immune reaction can ward off tetanus, rabies, etc etc.

  • delighted

    Autism is a dead horse.
    One thing about vaccines that is "denied" by "scientist" is that it is completely plausible, that the risks outweigh the reward. What do we trade? While some diseases are apparently, and i do mean apparently, eradicated are we not triggering other diseases with our method? Who has studied this. Does the rise in Cancer and Diabetes coincide with the rise in our use of certain vaccines? We have all read recently that a certain vaccine may have the ability to reverse type one diabetes.. Well logic tells me that if that is true then certain vaccines can cause the same or other health problems by similar means, and quick look at how many of my friends and family have suffered from cancer and diabetes in my lifetime compared to how many my parents saw suffer the same tells me something is happening.

    Those of us on the sideline in doubt of your precious vaccine science are not to be shunned or looked down upon. We are merely people who have weighed what you have told us and have concidered under heavy burden the risk and reward and found it wanting. The "what ifs" are big and not addressed to our satisfaction by your side and for some of us, whether it be innate, logic, or insanity just do not want it.. Get over it, because even if you vaccinated the entire planet tomorrow, you would not have cured the world or even gotten close. And that fact alone my friend, puts me far away from letting you inject my children with disease on the notion that you know what the f_ck you are doing.

    • 8teach8

      God you are truly an idiot. You define the term denialism. You are putting your children and my children at risk by not vaccinating your children against these childhood diseases. The science is solid. It is no one else's fault but your own if you are too ignorant to understand and accept the science being done. The risks of vaccinations are minimal and the rewards far outweigh any risks.

  • Christina

    I honestly believe a lot of you women that don't vaccinate your kids spend WAY too much time on the internet and are paranoid because of it. I was vaccinated, my husband was vaccinated, my niece, everybody I know has been vaccinated. I think you people need to step away from the internet, go out and play with your kids, and stop believing everything you read on the internet. Most vaccines are even safer than they were 20 years ago.