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Left is right and up is down: An actual pro-vaccine article on The Huffington Post?

ResearchBlogging.orgWhen it comes to science, I’ve always detested The Huffington Post.

Nearly four years ago, when Arianna Huffington’s vanity group political blog went live, I was the first one to notice a most disturbing trend about it. As far as I knew at the time (or know now), I was the only one to have noticed that The Huffington Post had become a hotbed of antivaccine propaganda a mere three weeks after its launch. It was home to David Kirby, author of that paean to the mercury militia Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy and now antivaccine blogger on both The Huffington Post and Age of Autism; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., antivaccine über-crank supreme; and Dr. Jay Gordon, antivaccine pediatrician to the stars known to show up on television and who is ever so offended whenever it is pointed out to him that he is an apologist for the antivaccine fringe and so deluded that he thinks himself to be “not antivaccine but pro-safe vaccine.” Since then, with only occasional exceptions, HuffPo has remained staunchly antivaccine, adding Deirdre Imus and even Kim Stagliano, also of Age of Autism. Even Rachel Sklar, Media & Special Projects Editor of The Huffington Post, is a total antivaccine crank. Indeed, HuffPo is so bad that I ruthlessly mocked the very idea of its starting a science section, given that it has done so well with its pseudoscience section, including not just antivaccinationists but woo-philes like Deepak Chopra.

That’s why, on those rare occasions when HuffPo allows a voice of science and reason a chance to write, it’s an amazing event. It’s even more amazing when that voice of science and reason is Dr. Paul Offit, the man whom the antivaccine fringe considers the Darth Vader of vaccines, the Mouth of Sauron, and the pharma shill to destroy all pharma shills. Even more amazing is when actual peer-reviewed science is cited by said Darth Vader, peer reviewed science like this study in the December issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology entitled Geographic Clustering of Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements and Associations With Geographic Clustering of Pertussis.

I wonder if Rachel Sklar’s head will explode.

Dr. Offit’s article, entitled Don’t Risk Going Unvaccinated, gets right to the point:

This past year the United States witnessed a measles epidemic that was the largest in more than a decade. About 135 people, mostly children, were infected with measles; some of those children were hospitalized with severe dehydration and others with pneumonia caused by the virus.

Why did this happen? The answer can be found in a study published in December 2008 in the American Journal of Epidemiology that received little attention from the media. The authors, epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined school children in Michigan whose parents had chosen not to vaccinate them. They compared clusters of unvaccinated children with clusters of documented whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks. Not surprisingly, the clusters overlapped. The authors concluded: “Geographic pockets of vaccine exemptors pose a risk to the whole community.”

This is exactly what had happened during the measles epidemic in 2008. Almost all of the children who caught and transmitted measles were unvaccinated. The authors of this study had provided an insight into the obvious. If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, not only do they put their own children at risk, they put others at risk. Because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, some vaccinated children can still get pertussis. Others at even greater risk include children who haven’t completed the entire series of pertussis vaccines or those who can’t get vaccines because they are receiving steroids for asthma or chemotherapy for cancer.

The study itself is worth looking at in more detail. Here’s its hypothesis:

…pockets of high exemption rates occur within states (5, 6). These pockets could produce the critical mass of susceptible persons required to maintain transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases, even when overall state-level vaccination coverage is high (5, 6). In a Colorado study (7), the incidence of measles and pertussis among vaccinated children in a county was associated with the frequency of exemptions in that county. In addition, at least 11% of nonexempt children who acquired measles were infected through contact with an exempt child with measles. School-based outbreaks have been associated with high exemption rates, and in a recent survey of schools, substantial intrastate variability in implementation of exemptions was reported (7, 8).

We evaluated the spatial clustering of nonmedical exemptions in Michigan and tested the hypothesis that there is a higher likelihood of pertussis cases’ occurring in areas with high rates of nonmedical exemptions, as measured by geographic overlap between exemptions clusters and clusters of reported pertussis cases.

This study tested just that. Depressingly, the investigators tested my home state for these reasons:

We chose Michigan because it has had relatively high overall exemption rates and has easy administrative requirements for obtaining exemptions in comparison with other states (9). According to the Michigan Department of Education, there were 4,500 schools in the state in the fall of 2005. The Michigan Department of Education has not retained records for previous years. In recent years, the number of schools reporting exemption information has been very close to the number of schools on record with the Michigan Department of Education, giving us confidence that the school-level exemption data used for this analysis were reasonably complete.

Bummer that my home state has high overall exemption rates and easy administrative requirements for exemptions. I hate to think that Michigan is so easy that vaccine investigators from Baltimore found it to be a perfect subject for studying the relationship between clusters of unvaccinated children and clusters of pertussis outbreaks. So what did the investigators find?

Surprise, surprise! There was evidence of increased exemption rates and strong evidence of spacial and temporal clustering of pertussis outbreaks related to areas with the highest levels of of unvaccinated children. In other words, areas of pertussis outbreaks correlated both in location and in time with areas of increased percentages of children who remained unvaccinated. No doubt antivaccine advocates will point out that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. True enough. I’ve said as much many times myself when arguing against the “science” that antivaccinationists routinely cite in support of their cause.. However, correlation can be strongly suggestive of causation when appropriate studies are done.

Another frequent refrain from the antivaccine fringe is the question: If vaccines are so effective, why do the vaccinated worry about catching pertussis from the unvaccinated? That one’s easy. Although very effective, accines are not 100% effective. No medical intervention or preventative measure is. That is why herd immunity is so important. Herd immunity is the observation that epidemics or outbreaks cannot get a foothold in a population if more than a certain percentage of that population is vaccinated. For most diseases and vaccines, a good rule of thumb is that greater than 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated. When the percentage of vaccinated people falls below that threshold, outbreaks become much more likely, often fed by a reservoir of the infectious agent among the unvaccinated population. Indeed, this very thing has happened in the U.K., thanks to the activities of one Andrew Wakefield in promoting pseudoscience claiming that the MMR vaccine causes autism. In a few short years, the U.K. went from having the measles under control to having declared it now endemic again.

Basically, this study is pretty strong support for an obvious hypothesis, namely, that ease of getting nonmedical exemptions to vaccination leads to higher numbers of unvaccinated children, which leads to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. Vaccines have prevented more disease and suffering than any medical advance in history, but their effectiveness is compromised if resistance to vaccination leads to large pockets where vaccination rates fall below the level required for herd immunity. That’s exactly what we’re seeing now, thanks to the likes of antivaccine advocates like Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, J. B. Handley, Barbara Loe Fisher, and all the other antivaccine activists, aided and abetted by useful idiots like Dr. Jay “don’t call me antivaccine” Gordon. On its own, this study might not be that worrisome. However, taken in context with other studies and evidence, this study represents simply one more piece of confirmatory evidence of how easy it is for even mildly decreased vaccination levels to lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. That’s not so hard to understand, nor is it surprising. High levels of vaccination provide the herd immunity that makes it much less unlikely that infectious diseases can take hold well enough to spread. It protects the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

One thing that was depressing to read was the comments after Dr. Offit’s post. They included the usual collection of antivaccine talking points, but they also revealed another recent addition to the lineup of HuffPo Antivax All-Stars, Anne Dunev, a naturopath:

Shooting a newborn or infant full of bacteria straight into their blood, 23 different kinds on a “recommended” vaccination program is nothing short of insane. It is most certainly NOT good medicine. Developing immune systems should not be subjected to this kind of assault and there are no studies that prove this is safe. But there is plenty of Autism and other disorders that indicate this is a very bad idea.

The stupid, it burns. My neurons cry out in pain from the stupidity waves emanating from Anne Dunev, clueless wonder. Really, she’s that dumb. Fortunately, there is a vaccine against such stupidity, and it’s called science and critical thinking, neither of which Dunev seems to have taken advantage of. She stands in marked contrast to the cleverer antivaccinationists, who can at least come up with reasons to fear vaccines that aren’t so clearly based on idiocy, reasons that at least to people without a sound understanding of the scientific method, sound somewhat plausible. The part about “shooting a newborn or infant full of bacteria straight into their blood” betrays such a profound ignorance of how vaccines are made and is so brain-meltingly dumb that it could only come from a naturopath. Point one: Vaccines against bacterial pathogens are made of either the killed bacteria, carefully cleaned up, or of bacterial proteins made using recombinant DNA technology. Vaccination is not, as is clearly implied by Dunev’s rant, the equivalent of injecting live bacteria into children. Point two: These killed bacteria or recombinant bacterial proteins are not injected “straight into the blood.” They are injected intramuscularly, where the components of the vaccine remain, some of which are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream to provoke an immune response. Injecting them “straight into the blood” would be useless and unlikely to provoke a significant immune response.

Using such emotionally loaded language designed to provoke fear is the mark of a true antivaccine nut. Even J.B. Handley doesn’t use such idiotic terminology, and that’s saying a lot. Heck, I’m not even sure that Jenny McCarthy sinks to such levels of the hell of burning stupid. Here’s a hint, Anne: When Jenny McCarthy seems reasonable in comparison to you, you have a serious, serious problem. Get help. Learn something other than on the University of Google, NaturalNews.com, and Whale.to.

Seeing Paul Offit in the pages of HuffPo is a start of HuffPo wants to shed its image as a bastion of vaccine and autism pseudoscience and quackery. It’s heartening to see him there. However, given the readership of that scientifically misbegotten excuse for a weblog and the pseudoscience fervently believed by its commenters, I seriously doubt that even the stalwart Paul Offit will ultimately have the patience or stomach to stick around very long. Like Arthur Allen before him, he’ll probably tire of the nonsense there and move on to less irrational pastures. More’s the pity.

REFERENCE:

S. B. Omer, K. S. Enger, L. H. Moulton, N. A. Halsey, S. Stokley, D. A. Salmon (2008). Geographic Clustering of Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements and Associations With Geographic Clustering of Pertussis American Journal of Epidemiology, 168 (12), 1389-1396 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwn263

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

151 replies on “Left is right and up is down: An actual pro-vaccine article on The Huffington Post?”

I had given up reading HuffPoop because of the intense lack of anything approaching science, and the entire lack of humor possibilities therein. As you know, that other suppository of anti-vax poop is far more humourous.

When I read Dr. Offit’s article, I was hopeful that HuffPoop was undergoing “Change” in the new era of a pro-science President. Then, it struck me. I followed the money.

I suspect that HuffPoop’s revenue is down, and they figured that they could score higher and get more visits by posting something that would be controversial. IOW, they are using Dr. Offit to make a profit.

Disgusting.

Have you read the comments on the HuffPo’s article? I need to go to bed because my head is hurting.

It’s especially telling about the moderation style at HufPo that people are ripping pro-vaccine comments that obviously have been deleted after slipping through moderation in the first place.
The gem of all gems was the “you’re pro-vaccine, so you must have a financial or other bias” comment.

Newborns are constantly exposed to many types of bacteria and viruses through many different methods. This is actually GOOD for them. Also, many vaccines are viruses, not bacteria and all vaccines contain dead or weakened versions anyway.

I used to post on their pro-disease blogs (and on a lot of other stuff there), usually attempting to link to actual published studies demonstrating a lack of linkage between vaccination and autism. Almost always my posts would be blocked by the moderators or show up and be deleted by the blogger (presumably) afterwords. When my overall rate of comment censorship reached about 15% (and I’d made over 2000 posts) I gave up. Since they apparently have an unpublished rule of “its against the rules to disagree with a blogger” I was pretty much out of luck.

One day I saw a pro-vaccine post by Arthur Allen and I was so happy to see a rational post that I actually emailed him to thank him. He responded and seemed just as happy that someone appreciate what he said.

Speaking of Michigan (which is also my home state) has a study ever been conducted to see if there’s a link between states with an active “citizen’s” militia, and states with large numbers of unvaccinated children?

One would assume so, since both feed off self-righteousness, conspiracy theory run amok and hysteria.

I’ve read through some of the comments on the site as well. There seems to be reoccurring themes: 1) there is an autism epidemic and the numbers are rising (population increase is not addressed) 2) 1 in 150 have ASD, which means 1 in 150 kids are completely incapable of doing anything “normal” (when in fact the vast majority of that 1 in 150 have aspects identified as ASD characteristics and are fully capable of growing up and living an otherwise normal life) 3) lots of ‘my’ and ‘I’, and me, me, me…feel sorry for me because I have to deal with my damaged child. There was even one comment that dealing with childhood cancer should be put on hold to address those with autism because that is more important 4) there is low incidences of measles (and other infectious diseases) so we don’t need vaccinations.

I think the IQ of America has dropped and the ego/narcissism has skyrocketed. These people claim to understand the issues better than those trained in medicine or working in a relevant scientific field.

I am glad Offit provided a voice on the Huffington Post. It’s shaking up their little delusional sanctuary. Kirby must be crapping himself.

Please don’t wake me up,I must be dreaming!Sanity and reason at HuffPo…intelligence and diplomacy in the White House….and the week’s not over yet.

Wow. I used to read Huffington Post occasionally for non-science articles. Now they’re losing any ad revenue I might have generated.

It really does look like they just allowed this “controversial” article to drive up their traffic and give their regular anti-science folks a punching bag thread. It’s sick.

Shay posted an idea to correlate citizen’s militia membership to anti-vax and disease outbreaks. I’d add church affiliation, doctor’s offices (of patients), natural food coop membership, and tv ratings for shows on which Jenny McCarthy appears or gets positive press. Could be some interesting ammunition in this.

Well Joshua, there is no written rule that says that. However, I have probably ~200 posts that were “moderated” and the only conceivable thing wrong with them was disagreeing with the blogger (in the non-woo blogs). I also have several which probably actually did violate their stated rules but they comprise a sliver of a fraction of the total “moderated” posts 😛

I mean its also definitely blogger specific as there are some who encourage discourse and actually, gasp, respond to comments. Maybe things have changed in the last 6 months or so but that’s how it was going when I gave up.

I wonder if you or any of your readers can help me with this. Partly as a result of getting thrown out of a friend’s house for arguing with some anti-vax fuckwits, I’ve become even more pro-vax, and even more outraged that middle-class parents who don’t even understand the risk that infectious diseases, now preventable, pose to us, I’ve been investigating the issue.
The question is this: I’ve read somewhere that a very recent on (I think) MMR came up with the following conclusions.
1) That vaccines were safe
2) that vaccines marginally improved the general health of vaccinated children, possibly because only generally healthy children were vaccinated in the first place (is this always true?)
and 3) That rates of asthma in vaccinated children were lower, both in terms of frequency and intenstiy of attacks.
What study was this, and do I have my (remembered) conclusions generally correnct?
Over to you…
PS if any pharmaceutical company would like to pay me a lot of money to promote vaccination I am certainly up for it 😉

There is another anti-vaccine article on HuffPost today, this time about Gov. Paterson’s selection of Kirsten Gillibrand to take over Hillary Clinton’s senate seat, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/senator-gillibrand-suppor_b_160231.html. Apparently Ms. Gillibrand is a strong supporter of autism-vaccine research and the posted article praises Gov. Paterson’s choice for this reason. I posted the following comment:

“May I ask why the mountain of research already completed on the subject is so inadequate? The most obvious possible answer is because the large body of existing research has not found any link between vaccines and autism. Autism typically presents during the same years vaccinations take place but correlation does not equal causation. And causation has never been proven.”

I know it won’t make anyone think or change their mind, I freely admit that I was just throwing meat to mad dogs. But I believe that a day without subversion is a day wasted.

Anthony, the heart of the anti-vax movement is that it sounds plausible and sympathetic to people that don’t understand science. Science appeals to logic, anti-vaxers appeal to the emotions. They use very sympathetic terms that make it seem like they only want the best for children and the justifications sound plausible on the surface.

To disagree on an appeal to emotions makes you appear cold and heartless. Don’t you CARE about THE CHILDREN!?!?! Logic and science are easier to dismiss when you are debating on those grounds. By disagreeing with your friends you made yourself into someone that doesn’t care about the children! At least in their minds. Therefore, anything else you had to say was soiled by that.

Science is scary and complex. Most people don’t understand it. Even less can describe it effectively. Caring for children? That’s easy to explain. You don’t have to have proof to debate emotions.

There is a local anti-vaxer that stalks around the young mommy forums. She has her own little “organization” that does “education seminars”. The thing is she sounds very sympathetic, she sounds like the valiant mistreated hero that is putting up the good fight to protect the welfare of the children. When anyone disagrees with her she shouts them down and people defend her because she has an autistic child “damaged by vaccines”. Any dissenters are branded as uncaring of her efforts and struggles in dealing with an autistic child for over a decade!

The reality of the situation is much different, but no one dares question a “dedicated mother”.

Her “education” is nothing but the latest tripe and brochures procured from whale, AoA, GR and anything else she finds on the University of Google, translated with comments that show how little she understands it. She talks about the horrors of autism, but her child was cured(!!!) through prayer and homeopathic medicine (if you can fix autism with water and a bible, why avoid vaccinations?). No one questions why this mother of teenage children spends most of her time with mothers of very young children (the young frazzled mother is a much easier target for woo, and easier target for appeals to emotion). Above all she is quite frankly a bully that preys on the sympathy of other parents, the same as most other anti-vaxers (when your logic is flawed, you have to be a bully to get your point across). All of this time and effort to prove to the world that it couldn’t possibly be her own genes that caused her child’s autism.

Arguing with her is pointless, and anyone who does so comes off looking like the bad guy. Many times I wanted to argue, but I know deep inside it won’t do any good so haven’t. Anti-vaxers don’t have to be right, they just have to be appealing and make you look uncaring. It reinforces their point to the onlookers. And that is what they are after.

Actually, it was worse for me than I mentioned. I started agrguing with them about homeopathy. When I said that it was pseudo-scientific nonsense, which only “works” by means of the placebo effect, and that it was mostly harmless except in its denial of the efficacy of vaccines, she said that her son had got cerebral palsy as a direct result of his vaccines. That is a conversation stopper, and impossible to argue with. I still think it’s important for us rationalists and those who support evidence-based medicine to loudly argue with these people, but, as you say, this can be difficult.

AnthonyK
she said that her son had got cerebral palsy as a direct result of his vaccines
I’d have asked her to prove it but I do get your point. Argument against ‘the group’ is generally pointless. You need to get people one on one and try to make them think for themselves.

Well their nonsense does need to be countered, it’s the arguing that doesn’t work. They thrive on that. It gives their view credibility that you would take the time to acknowledge their point and argue over it. They justify the “controversy” by people arguing with them.

If I say that the sky is red with green spots and you tell me I’m wrong, it isn’t a controversy – but an anti-vaxer would argue that it is. The debate is over. They want more research in the same way Death kept wanting more tries at beating Bill & Ted in Bogus Journey. Best 2 of 3? Best 3 of 5? Best of 7? They want to keep trying in hopes that eventually a study will tell them what they want to hear.

@Shay and Mike Ma

Actually, if you correlate the pockets of un-vaxed kids with median household income, you find that these children come from fairly well-to-do families, mostly nuclear households, at that. The measles outbreak in San Diego hit in a very affluent district.

This is not just any kind of stupidity we’re dealing with, it’s LUXURY stupidity.

Nice post, but the induction of the immune response from intramuscular injection of antigen occurs in lymph nodes as antigen is transported by draining lymph and by dendritic cells. The induction of the immune response from intramuscular injection does not, however, occur in the bloodstream at all.

“The induction of the immune response from intramuscular injection does not, however, occur in the bloodstream at all.”

No, but statements like “…injected DIRECTLY into the infant bloodstream” are much more dramatic! Imagine an evil doctor stabbing a 10mm-wide needle into the baby’s arm, giving the child autism. It just makes for a better read.

Rogue
Interesting. I think that having too much time on one’s hands might be the operative feature of this. If all adults are busy working, they don’t have time to listen to bullshit and much less money to spend on crap the insurance companies wont cover. A confluence of money (ladies who lunch), time (to google, watch oprah, etc) and enough self-assurance to trust your feelings (over logical proof) are required in that order to make it happen. Cool.

Ms. Huffington is a major league magical-thinker. She was once (and probably still is) in thrall to a charlatan guru called John-Roger in California. The far right has Jeebus and the Rapture, the far left has Deepak and Peak-Oil. The middle looks better and better every day.

@ababa
There’s a name for curing a sick person using water and a Bible: exorcism

I had to come back and look because I couldn’t remember whether this study was Michigan or Minnesota. Just saw this in Minnesota:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090123/ap_on_he_me/med_hib_infections

Minn. illnesses worry CDC officials

Three of the five children — including the dead child — had not received any vaccine, due to a decision by their parents. But a shortage of Hib vaccine may also have contributed, CDC officials said.

Sigh. Same S***, Different state.

RJ: “No, but statements like “…injected DIRECTLY into the infant bloodstream” are much more dramatic!”

I know, it’s all about the fear factor with them. I’ve just about given up trying to correct it every time I read someone posting on parenting sites that vaccine viruses are “grown in human fetuses.” It conjures up images of tiny babies in jars, with viruses bubbling out of them. *sigh*

Also, I’ve seen this claim thrown around a lot, can someone please explain it to me? That the fever one might get post-vaccination is due to “the chemicals being processed through the brain.” What the…?

CP from a vaccine??????
CP does not just “come on”, it is the result of a fetal or neonatal complication *up to age 14 days*. The specific motor or developmental deficits the child has depends on the stage in gestation (or post birth problem) the damage to the brain was incurred. Some factors include heredity, older mothers, fetal anoxia, rupture of blood vessels,fetal stroke, smoking while pregnant, compression of the brain during labor, asphyxia by the umbilical cord, premature separation of the placenta, prematurity, vascular accidents, intracranial hemorrhage, head trauma, brain infections, toxoplasmosis, etc. Injuries sustained at different weeks of fetal development can specify certain expected deficits, with a direct correlation with any embryological development table.

The kid’s problems/deficits may not be detected until later, especially if the parent isn’t observant or knowledgeable of the typical infant behaviour/development timeline.

Your “friend” obviously is in denial, as any physical therapist or pediatrician she has seen because of the kid’s condition will have explained all this to her, and there are a 50 decent CP information sites on line.

I know! But at that point, for me, argument over. Shortly afterwards my host told me to leave.

AnthonyK, I have also heard the claim that vaccine can cause cerebral palsy from a strident anti-vax mom. This was years ago, she claimed it was a study from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, but she never gave any specifics.

But it was also from a person who claimed that aluminum was a heavy metal, and was upset when she was told that the MMR vaccine never contained thimerosal.

I suspect there was something on that idiotic whale.to website that had an old moldy paper that was misinterpreted.

Yes, seeing your reference to that wonderful site, I now see how wrong I was. Still, easily cured using chiropractic though.

Funnily enough, IIRC I found this blog through HuffPo (a long time ago). Even then I could sense the woo, before I’d even been made aware it was this bad.

Shooting a newborn or infant full of bacteria straight into their blood, 23 different kinds on a “recommended” vaccination program is nothing short of insane

And here I was, all thinking that vaccines were primarily for viruses. And weren’t given until quite a bit after birth. Over several years.

Rare sickness kills child; officials urge vaccination
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/23/hib.vaccine.cdc/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday. Authorities recommend that those younger than 2 years be vaccinated against 14 diseases, including Hib. The five children were infected with a bacterial infection known as Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b. Three of the affected children had not received any vaccinations, including the 7-month-old who died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

dreiken said “And here I was, all thinking that vaccines were primarily for viruses. And weren’t given until quite a bit after birth. Over several years.”

Well, actually the DTaP, pneumococcal and Hib vaccines are for bacterial infections. The pertussis and Hib are particularly nasty to infants. But they are give at the 2mo, 4mo and 6mo old.

The viral vaccines given to infants are the rotavirus, polio, and HepB. The other vaccine for viral diseases like mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and others are give after the child’s first birthday.

See schedule:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/2009/09_0-6yrs_schedule_pr.pdf

This post was quoted on the Bad Astronomy blog:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-a-offit-md/dont-risk-going-unvaccina_b_160018.html?page=3&show_comment_id=20003133#comment_20003133

Proof some of these people do not really understand some of the basics:
“Our son is currently undergoing chelation and is excreting 2-6x the amount an adult is expected to in a lab test that is done. Heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, mercury and uranium to name some.”

I’d really like to know which lab found the uranium!

(and not to mention where he lives that aluminum is a heavy metal)

I don’t follow the vaccination issue carefully, but I am really heartened that science and openness are already being promoted with the new Administration.

It’s been 10 years since my shoulder met up with a porcupine regarding the issue of Td so I guess it’s time…

I patronize natural foods markets mostly for food free of HFCS and trans-fats. I don’t really care about micro-traces of pesticides, but I try to eat low-glycemic index, and some of the hippie-food store products are good for that.

RE: the above post – analytical chemistry technology is good enough that it can probably detect, in most anybody, find ppt (parts per trillion) amounts of just about any naturally-occurring element, as well as a number of manmade compounds from environmental exposures. Doesn’t necessarily mean the exposure is at physiological threshold levels.

I’m not from the USA so this doesn’t directly affect me, but what is the typical policy of health insurance providers regarding unvaccinated children? Seems to me that hospitalization costs could be refused on the basis of a ‘pre-existing condition’ namely being unvaccinated. Or a substantial premium increase could be justified on an actuarial basis which shouldn’t be covered by an employer.

Not that I want to see sick kids untreated when they need treatment, but the prospect of higher insurance premiums or possibility of ruinous uninsured medical expenses might bring woo-followers back to reality.

And this shouldn’t apply to those who can’t be vaccinated for valid medical reasons, or those whose vaccination fails to protect.

I just read half the comments on the article. The stupidity there is knee deep.

They keep repeating the autism is on the rise hypothesis. The problem with that is that yes autism on the rise. However diagnosises of learning disabilities and mental retardation have fallen at the same time.

So that’s why the number of cases of autism have increased.

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20050307/study-childhood-rise-in-autism-cases-real

I also wish they’d shut up about the 135 cases of measles. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the planet. Stop vaccinating in the United States and you damned well bet you’ll see a lot more than 135 cases of measles. You’ll also see a lot more ugly side effects than any vaccine ever created.

The NWO is putting uranium in the vaccines now??

Is there no limit to what those evil bastards will do?

Are the anit-vaccers aware that their tinfoil hats are made of the dreaded “heavy metal” aluminum?

Credulous minds want to know.

I would love to contact these parents for clarification on vaccination status. After all, common sense tells us all not to believe anything the media tells us.

If anyone can provide their names, I would love to research it further. Please let me know.

After all, common sense tells us all not to believe anything the media tells us.

You can’t believe what Common Sue tells you either, Dawn.

Dawn said “After all, common sense tells us all not to believe anything the media tells us.”

Especially when that media is the “journalism” at Age of Autism.

I thought so…that is why these “facts” are bogus. Plain and simple. I am not a moron. Vaccines are not scientifically proven safe and effective – my family is living proof of that along with no scientific data.

Ah, here’s Dawn to tell us that evidence based medicine has got it all wrong. You see, the real truth is that miasmas cause disease, affecting as they do the four humours of the body – and they’re never prevented by vaccines. Anyone who disagrees is wickedly conspiring with the pharmaceutical companies and doctors like Orac and Paul Offit, making vast sums of money while unleashing a tidal wave of easily preventable mental impairment on helpless children. That’s it in nutshell, yes? Or have I left anything out?
Where is this pharma shill money, goddamit? I’ll happily spread disinformation if it’ll make me rich!

I have a homework assignment that everyone might find entertaining.

First, find a homework “buddy” in a different county.

Next, set up a journal online with your “buddy”.

Lastly, have them “read” your online journal to “evaluate” you on a daily/monthly/yearly level. By far, Americans are exposed to the most amount of toxins around the globe. It would be interesting to see how your “buddy” assesses you on a monthly level – at least.

Actually, Anthonyk, I don’t blame you guys for going on the defense. If I spent thousands of dollars on my eduation in medicine – I too, would probably be “tempted” to lie and say that vaccines are good – not – I would never lie and hurt someone. Some people don’t have a conscience though. I speak to nurses every day that are questioning everything that they have ever been taught though – thank God – we have “some” with a conscience.

Dawn – do ever support your position with evidence or do you just insult the character of others?

You wooist are fond of the old days, right? Remember when people would kill you for accusing them of something you can’t prove?

Actually, Julian, my family’s vaccine nightmare begins in Sept 2008 of this blog.

http://vaccinesexposed.blogspot.com/

I do have everything saved on a hard drive with a friend in the event that everything just “magically just disappears” though.

You just never know what Big Pharma’s move is though. I have had friends physically threatened so many years ago!

No, really it’s no trouble for them to lie. I mean, most doctors don’t spend all that time and effort learning medicine because they want to make people better – it’s really about power (and money obviously). Thank goodness that there are people like you who know so much about real science and will stand up for what’s right and true. Just think how many more children would die if we just relied on these so-called experts and their corrupt ways, rather than trusting to anecdote, paranoia, and magical thinking?

Actually, Anthonyk, I don’t blame you guys for going on the defense. If I spent thousands of dollars on my eduation in medicine – I too, would probably be “tempted” to lie and say that vaccines are good

Thousands? What is this? The 1980s? An average private medical school charges more than 40k per year now. Throw in living expenses and interest and you’re talking more than 200 grand in debt. And the interest is piling up on all but 34k of those loans for the entire time the student is in residency.

I speak to nurses every day that are questioning everything that they have ever been taught though – thank God – we have “some” with a conscience.

Should this inquiry include anatomy? Are the names of the cranial nerve pairs also an evil lie manufactured by Big Pharma?

“You just never know what Big Pharma’s move is though. I have had friends physically threatened so many years ago!”

I call bullshit.

Bullshit that people are harassed and bullied? Are you guys for real? I think that you had better get to know your patients better – that’s all. Find out who they are and where they came from.

Anthony – people don’t trust doctors anymore and with good reason. They sold their souls to the devil.

“Bullshit that people are harassed and bullied? Are you guys for real?”

You accused the Pharamceutical Industry (acting as one body) of physically threatening someone you know. Like a shakedown. That’s a damn big charge so don’t start balking now.

Shut up Julian is all I have to say….Your “medicine” is eventually what kills people. That and their stupid vaccines and junk medicine!

Yes, God gave us medicine, but not like this…”some” people die during clinical trials??? Are you guys nuts? Have you lost your minds? Medicine was meant to save people not hurt them! I don’t care if just one life was lost – that is too many in my book.

I honestly do not want you to act ignorant to the fact that the majority of our “kids” feel “stupid”. We need to act together as “parents” PLEASE!!! Forget about the vaccine issue, we have enough to deal with!

Orac,

My husband and I would love to meet you. Seriously, as geekish as it is… we would.

If you ever have the balls enough to meet, let me know.

Dawn

Dawn said “I honestly do not want you to act ignorant to the fact that the majority of our “kids” feel “stupid”.”

Evidence please?

It may depend on the parents since intelligence is frequently inherited. Though the observed Flynn effect seems to counter your unreferenced statement.

Dawn, medicine really did fail you. After your son was born very prematurely due to your preeclampsia, your tubes should have been tied to prevent any further pregnancies. That way you would not be at risk for the high blood pressure and would have not needed a rubella vaccine.

Dawn impatiently said “What? You need to run this by your bosses first? Long time before a response guy!”

Look at the clock, it is presently almost midnight on the East Coast. He may have turned off the computer before your request, which is almost a threat (I’m not a lawyer, but that is not a good thing to do these days).

I would suggest that you switch whatever you are drinking with just plain water, turn off the computer and go to bed.

Wow..HCN you are a true insensitive jackass!

I would like to meet JERK too! Give me this address please?

Christ, Dawn, I’d be afraid to meet you, too! You come off here like a rabid dog, snapping at anyone who gets too close! Perhaps you’re very nice in person, but anyone who has ever read your comments on this blog is more likely to run for their lives if they know you’re in the room with them!

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