To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…

Once again got drawn into a Facebook post where people debate wildly about vaccines.

On the one hand, the anti-vaxxers who have as ammo, “anecdotal” evidence (i.e. what happened to them personally, their children and people they know personally).  They also have the whistleblower William Thomspon, senior scientist at the CDC, “My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.
“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”
http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/

On the other hand, the medical establishment, whose war cry is “Dr Wakefield was a quack” and “package inserts mean nothing”.

Excuse me?  The big pharma cover their own butts by printing on the package insert that MMR (and several others) might have autism as a side effect (“from what was observed at field trials – symptoms listed here because of their seriousness”).  And the ped wants to tell me the insert “means nothing”?

Statistics are flung to and fro, most of which citing astronomical figures that simply boggle the mind.  There’s one “expert” claiming that “50% of couples were unable to produce offspring before vaccinations”.  Wow!  How’s THAT for you?  And “there have been hundreds of thousands of studies proving that vaccines don’t cause autism”.  Hundreds of thousands of studies.  And “autism is diagnosed at birth” -!  How?

When piece by piece, one strips away the obvious BS from these arguments, they resort to “you’re free-riding on herd immunity!  Shame on you – and you don’t want to contribute!”

So here we’re down to the basics.

Herd immunity.

So we are a herd.  Who else resents being likened to cattle?  It is an uncomfortable reminder of how humans were trade items until far too recently.  How in certain parts, certain people are still trade items, possessions, cattle, today.

If I’m part of a herd, who owns me ?  Why, Central Bank of course (or is it Monsanto)!  So if I, the disobedient piece of cattle, refuse my injections “for the good of the herd”, I get to feel the punishment… the herd’s sentiment is turned against me, I’m cast out, I’ve become a “useless eater”.  And only while I still have human rights – but we’re working on removing those and forcing all parents to have their children vaccinated.

But – bear with me – if you follow this comparison to its logical end, you’ll understand the whole picture, it will become crystal clear.  As long as we are cattle, freedom of choice is not part of the deal.  We have not the right to protect our own babies against our “owners”.  And each of us is merely a statistic, and hey, if some of us implode on the side-effects, that’s “controlled damage” as compared to the overall heightened health of the “herd”.  Never mind if the “controlled damage” happens to hit your beloved child…  that’s just your bad luck but remember, you don’t count and neither does your child, when the good of the “herd” is on the table.

In other words, we have been dehumanized.  Where vaccines are concerned, we’re a hair’s width away from having no human rights at all.

As you see it is not at all a medical issue.

If someone is dying from cancer, she can refuse treatment.  Nobody will stand against her.  But refuse to give a healthy baby a shot against an STD she’s unlikely ever to contract (because you’re planning to make darned sure she won’t become a drug addict), and suddenly you’re a criminal, an outcast, a leper?

It’s not a medical issue.  The person dying from cancer is no good for the owners anymore anyway, so let her die any way she likes.  But the baby – instead of making sure there’s a legal system protecting 99.8% of babies and toddlers against sexual abuse, we inject against the STD?  Because we don’t give a rip how that poor child grows up, as long as she’s part of the “herd” and will be a useful work animal one day.  Cheaper to inject the potential victim than to decapitate the paedophiles (who are, after all, useful herd animals too, who cares about their personal habits).

You see, the debate has long since left the grounds of whether vaccines are effective, whether they are safe and whether there actually is such a thing as herd immunity (there are more and more cases where measles breaks out amongst vaccinated children, without an antivaxxer anywhere near).  All the debate is about now is whether parents ought to be allowed to stop doctors from vaccinating their offspring.

Vaccination should be the choice of the parent.  And the parent has the right to all the information, and then to be left alone while they weigh the risks of childhood disease side effects against the statistical risk of vaccine damage.  Both are real.  It’s a serious decision to take.  Also, if you vaccinate, which vaccines you decide on.  You’d e.g. need to know how many boosters each course has, and what the risks are with each booster.  What specifically each vaccine is for and why you should consider it.  A lot of information; the alternatives also ought to be on the table.  E.g. we don’t vaccinate against bubonic plague even though this is one of the most lethal diseases in the history of mankind.  Far higher mortality rate than HPV, for example.  And what about rabies?   Why don’t we inject against that?  It kills within 48 hours – 100% of its victims as far as I’m aware.

(Equally dangerous topic: Homeschooling.  Removing children from the state-indoctrination system.)

America, stand up!  How many more of your basic human rights will you allow your corporate government to remove?

 

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45 thoughts on “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…

  1. Wow! I seem to remember disagreeing with Americans over vaccination before. Now, I think they are pretty clued up about medication and health care, presumably because of their insurance-based system, far more than Brits are, with the NHS and doctor dishes out the pills so we don’t need to know about them, mentality.

    But a few things struck me where they didn’t seem so clued up. One was vaccinations, another was the assumption that SSRIs cure everything, and the third was an obsession with screening services eg cervical and breast, without seeming to know the scientific data/evidence behind them. I worked in the screening programmes, and there is no evidence to show annual screening (which Americans love) is of any benefit at all.

    My anecdotal contribution is that I didn’t have MMR, got measles, didn’t get mumps, never got pregnant so rubella doesn’t apply, and didn’t have the TB jab because I had natural immunity. I did however have a tonsillectomy, adenoids out (because they were always taken out too), and an appendectomy. So my vote says we need vaccines for tonsillitis and appendicitis for everyone, to save on potential operations 🙂 oh, and chicken pox. We need one for that too because I contracted that in my 20s when I went to a pantomime.

    Freedom of choice? I didn’t know it still existed.

    • 😀 That’s exactly it, vaccines against appendicitis. And pls while we’re at it, can we have vaccines against car accidents?

      Yup one gets the impression that “freedom” in America is mythical by now… but the problem is that companies like Monsanto and the UN grow on American soil, so the Americans have to start standing up for themselves. Only in America could such corruption grow to such enormous size these days.

    • Actually I was thinking more on the lines of a vaccination for my dog breaking my ankle. That would have been helpful.

      I think part of the issue is the great American dream. Brought up to believe in the land of whatever (fairyland in my opinion) where everyone has the opportunity to go from rags to riches.

      Hence the worship of money, and money equals success, yes? consumerism, celebrities, the must-have culture, while at the other end of the scale there are people on food stamps and living in poverty.

      But that isn’t part of the dream, the dream is wealth, and so anything successful is worshiped, and more importantly, believed in. So Monsanto must be good. GMO must be good because Monsanto says so, the additional herbicides/pesticides (can’t remember which, I’d have to look back at my blog post) they are selling because of GMOs must be good too.

      It’s all good, someone says so, so it must be true. I can’t end without saying there are WMD. America to the rescue! Save the world!

      Gullible?

    • You nailed it.

      And the Great American Myth is that anyone can get rich if they just think in the right way.

      There may be germs of truth in that… at least, partial germs (whether they are viable remains to be seen), but the flipside of that is that if you’re poor, that must mean that you’re lazy; lazy to educate yourself about the “right” kind of thinking that will get you rich. Which means that being poor is your own fault resulting from your laziness to change your poor habits. Which means that instead of being pitied (like in European society forever and ever), poor people are treated with disdain and arrogance because it’s their “own fault”. Yeah.

      All part of the same herd mentality. “Get in line.” And (*sorry a butterfly just went past and erased what I wanted to say… can’t remember.*)

      Makes me think of Monty Python: “The Life of Brian”:

      “You are all individuals!”
      (Crowd choruses:) “We are all individuals!”
      “You are all different!”
      Crowd: “We are all different!”
      Voice in crowd: “I’m not!”

    • Now you know not to start on about health/freedom of voice/America if you want me to avoid jumping on my soapbox.

      I remember that scene. Interestingly, it seems to be making the rounds at the moment. For a while.

      But there is a difference in acknowledging it and applying it to your own behaviour.

  2. 1. There is a rabies vaccine. We do vaccinate people with it (animal trainers and people who are bitten by wild animals)–so get your facts straight (http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/medical_care/vaccine.html)

    2. Get a clue about package inserts before you make blanket statements about them: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2014/09/package-inserts-understanding-what-they.html

    3. Re the “whistle blower”–very overblown (http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/09/11/an-open-letter-to-the-national-whistleblowers-center-david-lewis-and-the-outing-of-a-cdc-whistleblower/) and the one “paper” based on it has been withdrawn because it was horribly flawed (http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/18).

    4. Vaccines are not mandatory in the US–and it always has been the choice of the parent.

    • I’ll answer your points backwards.

      4. From the way life is being made difficult for the anti-vaxxers, it doesn’t appear as though the patient’s choice is actually respected. Parents deciding not to vaccinate get hell from their medical providers as well as from the schools. As yet they have freedom of choice but there is an incredible push to make vaccines mandatory. This trend is exactly the concern here.

      3. Funny how whistle-blowers are always overblown. He is certainly not the only person who ever linked a vaccine to autism. But all these are played down in the hope that they will only ever come one-at-a-time, and a single one can always be shouted down.

      2. Your link isn’t loading properly. Be that as it may: I understood molecular and cancer genetics, biochemistry, the concepts behind psychoneuro-immunology, and so on. Try me, I think I can read a package insert. If it says, “side effects may inlude”, I’ll take that at face value, that side effects may include. Many people may not get side effects; then again others may. Not everyone who gets immunized will develop a rash, but to say that therefore vaccines are not associated with a rash that follows injection, is simply fraudulent.

      But on that note, do you understand what “lyophilized, attenuated virus” means? In which case could you please give a good reason why a disease as dangerous as Hep B is vaccinated with attenuated virus (rather than the other option)?

      1. You totally missed the point about rabies. We don’t blanket-vaccinate newborns against rabies. (Of COURSE there is a vaccine and has been for decades – duh.) There are a lot of diseases we don’t blanket-vaccinate against, my question is, why against STDs? (There’s even a push to make Gardasil one of those newborn vaccinations.)

  3. “we don’t vaccinate against bubonic plague even though this is one of the most lethal diseases in the history of mankind. Far higher mortality rate than HPV, for example. And what about rabies? Why don’t we inject against that? It kills within 48 hours – 100% of its victims as far as I’m aware.”

    It’s obvious you have done your research, or at least it obvious where you have and haven’t done it. Not much evidence of evidence based research in these or any other comments you have made. Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by infected fleas found on rats and mice. Since we can fairly easily control fleas, rats, and mice, we don’t need a vaccine. And plague is treatable with antibiotics, so it is not really considered as life-threatening as it once was.

    And we do ‘inject against rabies.’ Our pets get their rabies vaccines as a preventative measure and we get rabies shots if we are ever have contact with a rabid animal or an animal that may have rabies.

    Rabies kills within 48 hours? Rabies does kill fairly quickly once you develop symptoms, but it isn’t 48 hours, and there is a long incubation period from when you get bit to when you would develop symptoms.

    As most of what you write seems to be from the viewpoint of ‘as far as I’m aware,’ I doubt any of the rest is any more factual. Time to do some more research.

    • Dear Vincent MD. I am a microbiologist / geneticist and do have the background, only I haven’t chosen to flog that dead horse in this particular post. I’ve posted on this topic before, and how vaccines are produced etc. I also have an in-depth understanding of the immune system, and of bacteria to a far greater depth than is taught in the MBCHB. Such is the nature of a scientific degree. You are welcome to lose the condescending tone which you no doubt use on your patients the moment they raise an intelligent question. It’s unprofessional.

      It was a medical doctor who “diagnosed” my son with “Yersinia pestis” when he indeed had a 6-month-long infection of Yersinia enterocolitica. You may think that you are omniscient but indeed this is only the impression they give you in med school.

      And you totally missed the point of vaccinating against rabies. I am aware that the rabies immunization is a long and very painful process; but we don’t blanket-immunize babies against rabies the way we blanket-immunize them against Hep B. Why not? As far as I understand, the mortality of rabies is a lot higher than of Hep B, and the chances of a baby picking up rabies are about on par with them picking up an STD. I would suppose that the amount of babies born to parents with STDs would possibly compare to the amount of babies born in hospitals where rats run free. (I don’t know where you’re from, but where I am, there are a number of hospitals with such conditions. I used to work in one of those.) Believe me, it’s not that easy to control rats and mice in a rural hospital in Africa. Then again, the plague is more endemic to India, as far as I gather. We don’t have all that many cases here. The trouble with plague these days, the way I understand it, is that doctors often don’t recognize it until it’s too late.

      As I said, lose the condescending tone. As a scientist I’m trained to say “as far as I’m aware”, and “the theory is”, and “last I heard”, because in actual science, unlike in medicine which claims to know everything, new insights are gained almost on a daily basis, so saying “this is so” is simply bad science. But I don’t expect a mere body mechanic to understand that…

    • “why should that mean we can’t immunize? ”

      Did I even say that? I said we don’t need one. There actually used to be a plague vaccine, but they stopped routinely using it a long time ago because human plague became so rare.

      “As a scientist I’m trained to say “as far as I’m aware”, and “the theory is”, and “last I heard”, because in actual science, unlike in medicine which claims to know everything, new insights are gained almost on a daily basis, so saying “this is so” is simply bad science. ”

      But you are not simply “saying” something at a dinner party or in a hallway. You are writing an essay. You have time to do your research so that you know what the latest research shows.

      For example, you can easily check what the statistics show about the number of people who die from hepatitis B infections (and children who contracted hepatitis B in the prevaccine era) vs rabies. That way, you wouldn’t have to simply say what you think you are aware of.

    • I’m not talking about the statistics of how many children contract rabies. I’m talking about the course of the disease which, according to what I have read (if that can be trusted, it came from a medical journal), is lethal in almost 100% of cases, unless it can be diagnosed and vaccinated against before symptoms erupt. The trouble is to diagnose it.

      I’m not writing a school essay, I’m airing a political view (more precisely a concern, namely that the drive is to take away freedom of choice from the parent about vaccinations). My aim is not to educate you; I was actually addressing those who are already educated. The whole crux of the post is the “herd” attitude the media (and medical establishment) take towards the vaccine issues, rough-stepping over people whose children were injured or even died from vaccine. Statistically, the chances of your child getting hit by lightning are very small. But speak to a parent who lost a child to lightning strike. Will they tell you, “oh, I suppose it doesn’t matter because mine was only one in 100 000 children who get hit by lightning”? I’m sure. (Oh, disclaimer: Don’t go quoting me on the stats of lightning strikes now, I guess I have to point this out to someone as dense as yourself, because I’m only making up an example and haven’t the time to research the statistics on childhood lightning strike right now. Beyond being aware that they are quite low – last I looked.)

      Got to move on, it was fun, keep well…

    • … and you missed the point of the post, in any case. It’s about this “herd” view. I’m not taking sides in the vaccination debate (though I have to say it’s tough to respect the side that’s permanently trying to cover up where things go wrong, and trying to muscle people out of their free choices). This is not actually a medical post, it’s a political one.

    • …lastly your ignorance also shows (I’m beginning to doubt that MD). So bubonic plague is a bacterial disease, why should that mean we can’t immunize? We immunize against tuberculosis.

  4. Such a large can of worms being opened here… From what I can see from the comments, it seems like a person isn’t allowed to air their view on a matter without being burnt at the stake.
    I don’t have kids at the moment and I doubt I’ll have any in the next few years but I do believe it should be a choice that parents get to make without being ostracised. As a chronic pill popper, I know that everything has a side effect and I’m one of the unlucky ones that will experience at least one of them. I know that it’s not the same as a vaccine where you’re preventing something that may or may not affect you but in the end it still boils down to the fact that it’s your choice whether or not you want to take it

    • 🙂 Heya. I certainly don’t mean to burn anyone at the stake. I think there are a few Don Quixotes out there who are attacking windmills… so used to dousing any noise that isn’t 100% in-line with the establishment, with an overdose of references (half of which are bogus and illogical, like trying to convince us inserts don’t mean anything – then why do they waste paper on them). They miss the point of the post; for them it’s a fail. The point is the “one size fits all” attitude with which people are treated by the big honchos.

      I’m not an anti-vaxxer in principle, I just detest the fact (and it is a fact no matter how big pharma try to cover it up) that big pharma are trying to cover up negative results they got in their field trials. People like Dr Wakefield established something. The whistleblower I mention, tells us how findings were deliberately not published because they’d influence profits and “general consensus” (i.e. the uninformed public opinion). Unfortunately the medical field, along with politics, banking and the food industry, is rife with such underhandedness. I further detest how people whose children were severely damaged by vaccines (and I know 3 of them personally) get shouted down by the medical establishment and labelled as conspiracy theorists. That’s low.

      You’re dead right pills have side effects. I found out to my detriment, far too late, that PPI’s that were prescribed long-term for a stomach ulcer, actually kill the gall bladder. All the while I thought I was having acute stomach pains, half of the time it was my gall bladder dying from the very medication that was supposed to put a stop to the pain. Did my GP warn me? My GP wasn’t even aware of this side effect. Do GPs read every insert of every drug they prescribe? That would be hundreds per day. Test your GP – ask how safe Panado is. But to tell the patient that the insert means nothing is not ignorant anymore but fraudulent.

    • … but I have to add that I get nasty and arrogant with people who get nasty and arrogant with me. This MD and the other chickie addressed me as though I were a fool… yet they had both entirely missed the point of my post. I’m used to a certain cast of medical professional believing because they are a GP they are an expert in every field, when in fact on the fields of virology, genetics and immunology I have a lot more in-depth knowledge than them. So I put them down when they put me down.

  5. Well since you’re going to pretend you know more than you really do (as in you clearly know jack s*** about vaccines and then furiously backpedal to act like you’re not the stupid mope you really are), I also have an MD and am a pediatrician and I also have a PhD in neuroscience I also have a bachelors in physics and frankly I find your attitude, tone and complete lack of knowledge in your column to be very disturbing. Why don’t you prove to me that you’re really a scientist and not some stupid dumbass like you sound like on your blog? Sincerely, Chris Hickie MD, PhD

    • Yeah… I’m leaving your comment there so that others can see it. I’m sure you also hold a doctorate in nuclear science and were the invisible member of Wernher von Braun’s team.

  6. Not understanding the science, but having always been wary of any form of ”pill-popping”, ( I am an habitual reader of drug packet inserts and have often not taken a particular prescribed drug after becoming shit scared solely based on the insert info!) irrespective of the package , how necessary is the MMR vaccine in this day and age?

    I only ask because the vaccine issue is huge it seems.

    Bearing in mind how we have become so conscious of the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco, for instance, and enforce these respective companies to advertise on their own products how bad they are, would not similar advertising on ALL drug packaging and vaccinations be at least even-handed?

    It would then allow the consumer to make a more> informed choice and might encourage the medical profession to become more self-policing in this regard?

    Who could ever forget Thalidomide?
    Well, most of today’s generation probably have never heard of it.

    Just a thought …

    • What part of the package insert typically scares you? It is important to understand that the package insert contains a list of adverse reactions that can range from adverse reactions discovered in clinical trials to less common, low-frequency adverse reactions for which there is less reason to suspect causality, and then adverse reactions from postmarketing spontaneous reports.

      That last group of spontaneous reports of adverse reactions is typically the one that antivaccine folks (or people who are against psychiatric drugs, etc.) turn to when they want to say that a vaccine has been proven to be dangerous or is proven to cause autism or that the drug’s side effects sound scary. Per FDA rules though, these types of adverse reactions are reported voluntarily and are included in the package insert without any way to “establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.”

      In other words, vaccine package inserts are not the smoking gun of “vaccines are dangerous” evidence that anti-vaccine folks believe.

    • What part of the package insert typically scares you?

      The ones that give me pause for thought have usually referred to adverse reactions that may lead to severe symptoms etc and even death.
      While i realise these are extreme cases, if the condition of my illness has not been that severe I have rather ditched the drugs.
      No, I am not paranoid, but simply prefer to believe that the body is often able to cope better than we give it credit for.

      Re the vaccines.
      I made a point of stating up front I am not au fait with the science.

      Surely, if there is a chance that they may cause autism should this not be made more apparent?

      At least the info should be presented in an open fashion by MD’s etc so there is no suspicion of collusion or of subtly avoiding the issue.
      You are an MD – how many patients do you personally tell that MMR may cause autism – even if the occurrence is extremely rare?

      I would be helpful if you could respond to the question re: how necessary are MMR’s in this day and age?

    • Again, what kind of chance are you talking about? An anecdotal report from a friend of a friend or a chance, even very small, that has been causally liked to taking the drug or getting the vaccine? Again, both types of reports are essentially in the package insert. You have to learn which is which if that is what you are basing your decisions on.

    • Hi Ark. Tx for visiting. Yes, typically when cardiac failure or respiratory failure leading to potential death are mentioned on a package insert, I also get wary of the drug. I read on the package insert of my Hep B injection (in 1996), “attenuated virus” and “thiomersall”. I didn’t know then that thiomersal is a mercury-derivative, but I did know that “attenuated virus” is not dead and can actually revive (there is a tiny chance). Still I chose to run that risk because picking up the non-attenuated virus from getting infected from a lab sample out of the hospital (you know which hospital it was, it services a HUGE rural area, practically all of the north), was the larger risk. I remember being a lot more scared of Hep B than of AIDS.

      Death is mentioned in surprisingly many package inserts of common household drugs. I’m almost sure Panado is one of them. Liver failure. I’d always chose the natural remedy over the chemical drug – with one proviso… remember natural medicines are also often poisons. Elder flower (which contains a natural antiviral) is quite safe (and surprisingly effective), but e.g. the homeopathic brand product called “Tonsillite” contains traces of mercury. My GP warned us against using it, regardless how effective it is. His argument: Why load a child’s system with mercury if you don’t need to? It’s the same argument that holds against amalgam fillings.

      @ Dr Vincent: I do read and respect package inserts. They contain such information as, “not to be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women” which I was for quite a time. They also tell you that “this drug is a central nervous system depressant and shouldn’t be used concomitantly with alcohol”; “can lead to drowsiness, do not take while operating heavy machinery” and so forth. “Overdose can lead to….” and “treatment of overdose is ” oh for heaven’s sakes you know yourself all the information that is given in those inserts. If an insert warns not to give that drug to an asthmatic I pay heed because my son is asthmatic. I do realize that some of the side effects are extremely rare and in some cases there is not even a fully established link, but (as with aspirin, children and Reye’s Syndrome) one prefers to err on the cautious side.

      Why would this caution suddenly not apply when dealing with vaccines, simply because we’re now not treating an individual but a “herd”? My article is about why in that particular branch of medicine the individual has stopped counting.

    • “Why would this caution suddenly not apply when dealing with vaccines, simply because we’re now not treating an individual but a “herd”?”

      No difference at all with vaccines. The point again is that not all parts of the package insert are the same. Like I said, some are about proven adverse effects and some are not. When a few vaccines included autism, it was not because any of the vaccines were shown to cause autism. The same goes with package inserts for medicines. If you avoid medicines that might benefit you because you get scared and misinterpret what you read in a package insert, then you might suffer unnecessarily.

      http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/vaccine-package-inserts-debunking-myths/

      http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2014/09/package-inserts-understanding-what-they.html

      FWIW, thalidomide has a lot of new uses…

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/booming/the-death-and-afterlife-of-thalidomide.html

    • Hi Dr Vincent. Yes, I agree. Nowhere in the package insert does it state that it causes autism; it only states that there might be a link (and it ought to say but doesn’t that more research needs to go into that). (Just like not going for pap smears does not cause cervical cancer.)

      Which brings one to the second part of your statement. By avoiding the medicine unnecessarily if you might benefit from it, you might suffer unnecessarily.

      For this you’d have to decide whether there is indeed enough benefit to warrant the risk. (Don’t know if you found my comment to RoughSeas about the Hep B and why I did take it.)

      And that’s where my personal opinion is that it ought to be the right of the parent to make an informed decision. To be accurate, how many parents get informed of all the side effects of measles, mumps and rubella, and the statistical chances and risk factors (and influencing factors) for each? I don’t think all that many, because (I’d suppose) a doctor’s time is very limited because there are so many patients, and so often parents therefore don’t get told (or don’t know to ask for) the complete story.

      If they realized e.g. that most deaths from infective childhood diseases occur in countries with poor hygiene facilities and insufficient health care, this might influence their choices. It is this fudging of the statistics that gets antivaxxers so up in arms; and also the feeling that they are being shouted down for the benefit of pharma companies. Most antivaxxers are that because they have or know someone with a vaccine-injured child (okay you also get the health crowd that is antivax out of principle).

      They have seen vaccine injury but never the disease against which the vaccine is directed.

      Vaccine injury can be very frightening, and there are deaths that are reported on the VAERS. If it’s a gamble, a parent might not want to be the one who rolled the dice. It’s a hellish position to be in, to have allowed a vaccine that cost your child’s life. I think I’d kill myself.

      I feel that while the principle of vaccine is very good, a lot more should be done to improve safety. I’ve never understood (except for the cost calculation) why they can’t use only the surface protein of the pathogen for vaccinating, as this is what our immune system recognizes. A surface protein alone cannot replicate; the vaccine would be safe in principle (if the carrier substances could also be improved not to contain mercury and other heavy metals). The only type of reaction one would have to guard against then would be one of those auto-immune super-reactions; not “shedding” as from live measles vaccine, or potential nerve damage (or even, as diagnosed in the case of a little boy I knew, diabetes resulting from the destruction of the Langerhans cells by mercury).

      If vaccines were made safe in that way, there ought to be no further objections. Why is that last bit of development not done? It’s the same kind of riddle as why margarine is still on the market despite the danger of trans-fatty acids.

      Re thalidomide, I’m horrified.

    • Not me. Mainly because I could never pronounce it correctly. But I was classic thalidomide generation. Luckily my mother were tough. She came thru’ Yorkshire after all.

      Look at how I was virtually force-fed paracetamol in hospital for the broken ankle. Look at how my consultant was stunned when I questioned signing patient consent for my op.

      Most people do not read the info. I look up the manufacturers info for my dog’s drugs. Cox 2? I’m your woman for NSAIDs (AINEs)

      But there again I would read cornflakes packets.

    • Bwahaha “could never pronounce it correctly”! You’re a card :-D.

      Me too, NSAIDs for me rather than paracetamol. And I was the patient who, when signing the form for my wisdom teeth removal op, drew a line through the paragraph that gave doctors the authority to perform any additional op as they saw necessary. My skeptical, conspiracist mind instantly conjured up how they’d find a hysterectomy necessary just because at that point I had a medical aid that covered everything

  7. Again, what kind of chance are you talking about?

    Any chance.

    If it was my kid that contracted it and I was unaware and this problem – however slight – was known then it should have been made known to me by the pediatrician medical practitioner at the time of administration. That way the option to refuse is on the table.
    It is already, I realise but how many people are aware of the possible side effects of vaccines?
    May the consumer beware?

    Thalidomide is an extreme example of a case in point.

    I am picking up a certain amount of hostility here. Why are you sounding defensive?

    An anecdotal report ….

    Was the report from the whistle blower mentioned in this post anecdotal or a ”friend of a friend”?

    There was a time when there were no warnings on anything from cigarettes to foodstuffs.( I stand under correction)

    And once more, could you offer your view on how necessary are MMR’s in this day and age?

    • The question I posed to the MD , and I’ll ask you as well, as you are more clued up than I am, is how necessary are blanket MMR vaccines in this day and age?
      I have no idea of the science so a layman’s answer will do fine, for me.

    • Hi Ark.
      I only took Ray and Meg for their MMR when they were over 2 years old. This was based on two pieces of med advice. One came from my m-i-l who is a Dr in pharmacy: The immune system of children is only fully mature by the time they are 3. The longer one can delay vaccinating, the better they’ll respond because more parts of their immune system are coping with the invader. Of course this carries the risk that they might contract the disease before they have a chance to be vaccinated.
      The other part of med advice came from my Dr brother, who (per long-distance) advised me that South Africa is not Canada and we have third-world conditions here. While there were remarkably few outbreaks of those three diseases in North America, in South Africa (which has a non-stop influx from the north, and according to another Dr family member who works in a public hospital, all of them sick) these diseases are still rampant.

      Blanket immo’s have nearly eliminated the diseases in the “First World”. The most dramatic one was the actual pox virus which killed many many people (and most of W.A. Mozart’s children), but which was successfully eradicated (except for, and that too boggles my mind, samples kept in labs – humans are monkeys!). I don’t know how much of a risk measles would be in a world with good hygiene and excellent medical facilities, it would possibly only be the pesky, miserable childhood sickness it is, but you only need to read Charles Dickens to understand how big the win was to get diphtheria under control. Children were dying like flies from it.

      So one could argue, those diseases are TG gone. But unfortunately they are actually not; they are still around in the third world (of which we are part), and by means of illegal immigration, asylum seekers and also quite legit travellers, they are being spread back into the places from where they were already eradicated. Blanket vaccines are definitely important.

      What freaks me out (also see my comment to Vincent) is why they don’t make vaccines just that one little bit safer. They can. For the last 20 years or more it was known how to synthesize a single protein in a laboratory. And I cannot believe that there are no possible safe alternatives to heavy metals for carrier and preservative substances.

      What irritates me further is the one-size-fits-all attitude that gets applied to vaccines. Hep B is dangerous but not everyone is at risk. Influenza can be dangerous but once again, we’re pretty sure of the risk groups. HPV is an STD. Most HPV infections are cleared away by the immune system within 2 years and also, like shark species, 95% of HPV species are not carcinogenic. But there’s a limited amount of ways in which one can acquire HPV. Babies should not fall into the risk group and neither should 9-year-old girls (they are blanket immunizing for HPV in my children’s primary school).

      Measles is not necessarily dangerous. It can be, in the same way a vaccine can cause a reaction. And so on. It’s not a simple topic. Grr.

    • On MMR…

      http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/mmr-vaccine.aspx

      SA is clearly different. I’d take my chances. MMR was well after my time. Tonsillitis caused me more problems than measles. I think polio was the only jab I ever had.

      Gipsika mentions the herd. Herd immunity (ie natural) is also an important factor. Inoculation against everything under the sun doesn’t sound like a clever strategy to me. But I’ve worked with too many public health doctors.

    • When you say, herd immunity (ie natural), – isn’t natural immunity the type that is acquired without vaccination? Why is “herd immunity” always used as an argument for blanket vaccinations?

    • No lack of clarity at all, I just couldn’t believe what I read… “herd immunity” is what the pro-vaxxers always use as their argument for vaccines, and they use it in a context as though the herd immunity arose from blanket vaccinations.

      You have more insight into this than I because while I know the theory, you’ve audited / worked with such companies. You’ve seen things that we haven’t.

    • I worked with CCDC obsessives, believe me.

      However, your other commenter mentioned why MMR is – or isn’t – necessary. It’s like your comment about high risk groups, it doesn’t need to be across the board.

      Sure our focus should be on helping developing countries. A decent water supply might help to start with. Stop sticking on the band aid and sort out the problem.

      That’s the problem with medicine, back to our earlie discussion, it’s not about determining the cause and sorting that, it’s always treating the symptoms and patching up. Bah! I’m off for some soup 😀

    • That’s a good question, Dr Vincent – coming to think of it, immunity always only applies to an individual, never to a herd. It’s a flawed concept.

  8. On both the blog links re package inserts you provided, Dr V, the system does not allow me to comment even after signing into Disqus / WordPress. So I’ll comment here.

    “Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include…autism…Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia vaccine.”

    It is how one reads the insert. Of course “have been reported” doesn’t mean it proves a causal relationship; but failure to prove a causal relationship doesn’t disprove a causal relationship either.

    There certainly is a lot of empirical data that seems to indicate some sort of association of the two events. And if I use “seems” I’m not back-pedaling; this is the correct way to phrase a budding hypothesis in science. Nothing is black and white and cast in stone, in good science.

    Therefore to say that vaccines definitely do not cause autism is, sorry, as bad quackery as to inform a woman that she’ll get cervical cancer unless she comes for a pap smear. And to discredit everyone who blows the whistle on non-published correlations, or who raises concern about injecting with three unrelated live viruses at the same time, and to discredit every parent’s report of adverse reactions as “anecdotal” (which a lot of people misunderstand to mean “fiction” when actually it means “case study”), that is not science, it’s guerilla warfare.

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” (Richard Feynman)

    “One of the key points of the scientific method (the whole basis for science) is that it is negativistic. This means we keep moving towards the impossible goal of actually knowing anything. The goal is impossible because we can never really be certain the answers we have for something are correct, and there is always the assumption that there are better answers out there.
    So, calling science the “belief in the ignorance of experts” is basically saying that following science is the same as putting your faith into people who admit they don’t really know anything. Even though they might have a lot of knowledge in their field, scientists are aware that all that knowledge is temporary and could easily be replaced by new theories, so they are all essentially ignorant (in a way).” (“Answers”

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