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Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

Thanks, John from Australia

You know, whenever I’m at a meeting or on vacation, I still sometimes feel the tug of the blog. Yet, I tell myself, I need a break. Usually, I handle the problem by setting up several old posts from at least a couple of years a go to repeat, you know, to see how well or badly they’ve aged. Sometimes, however, material is given to me. For example, this e-mail from someone named John who happens to have a .au (Australia) e-mail address:

WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID…

To put your real name to this Blog—

its probably because you are not a Real person and don’t actually exist–

I have seen Direct evidence of Vaccinations as per Mouldens photos in
children around me, in my family.

Their parents get told by Doctos all sorts of excuses as to why they have
the problems they do—

someone would try and make you believe they were Born ‘WITH A LAZY EYE” but
they weren’t.

Any way if such Vaccinations programmes were so successful around the world
we wouldn’t see the problems we have today. The Medical system has failed
us.

But you know if all your Science was so successful, and based on Truth, then
it wouldn’t need Defending—so

WHY ARE YOU OUT THERE ATTEMPTING TO DEFEND THE TRUTH—THE TRUTH DOESN’T
NEED DEFENDING!

let us others make their own choice——

So have you taken the Swine Flue Shot yet?—based on your ponderings you
would have been the first one lining up for one…..

Infact why don’t you take 2 just for good measure……………..
Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.557 / Virus Database: 270.11.3/1970 – Release Date: 2/24/2009
1:35 PM


Oh, I really exist, John. Honestly and truly I do. And lots of people know my real name. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the medical blogosphere. But thank you for playing.

I wonder if John saw my post from about a year ago about “Dr.” Moulden’s pseudoscience.

Come to think of it, if you haven’t been following this blog at least a year, that’s a good post for you to go back and read. Then consider that Age of Autism promotes Andrew Moulden.

Feel free to have some fun with both John and Andrew in the comments while I’m away.

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]

213 replies on “Thanks, John from Australia”

Is he trying to tell me my strabismus came about because of vaccination? Because I technically only had “lazy eye” after the surgery. Meanwhile there are lots of picture of little ol’ squinty me born jaundiced and cross-eyed, well before my first vaccine. Oh wait! I’m sorry, anecdotal evidence only counts if it proves vaccines are eeeeeevil. Sorry.

Hmmm. Seems John’s AVG anti-virus program is out of date. He really should update to the newest version which, I believe, eliminates 50% more of the crazy. Just saying…

DUMB ASS.
My good friend whose son is special needs, just vented to me about how people have asked her if she had him vaccinated. She looks at them and says, “Yes, he was showing signs before the vaccines anyway, they had nothing to do with it.” She hates the assumptions uneducated people make because once you have a special needs child, you know more about medicine then you ever thought you would. Personally I would like to kick the shit out of people for assuming just a vaccine can cause something instead of their genetics combined with environment, diet, etc.

If they want to obsess over some chemical interaction with the brain, why focus on occasional vaccinations? There’s a daily onslaught of food additives, dyes, plasticizers, and pesticides to which modern children are exposed. Some of them do have known hormonal or neurological effects. To say nothing of heredity, or prenatal and early-childhood development.

Or would that fail to scratch the itch for conspiracy theory? Much more satisfying to imagine that jab is part of the government trying to control you. To make your children autistic for some reason. It’s got to be somebody’s fault, doesn’t it?

Embarrassing that he is Australian, although there are a lot of them here. Even worse, I’ve discovered that a lot of my friends (especially the ones who don’t study science) feel like it’s unclear which side is right. You could call them “agnostics” in regards to vaccines perhaps. This is despite the fact that they’ve all been vaccinated and appear to be relatively intelligent.

In fact the debate reminds me a lot of the “new atheist” debate. They accuse me of being dogmatically in favour of science, and in this case vaccinations and that I am “just as bad” as the people who campaign against vaccinations.

It seems that we now live in a world where the mainstream is unable to evaluate information accurately but judges people on their passion. Ie. people who express the same amount of “zeal” for a cause are just as bad as each other, even when their expressions are at polar ends of the spectrum.

So here’s a guy who chews you out for not using your “real name” for your blog and signs it “John” (from Australia).
Well, THAT narrows it down, doesn’t it?

I ran into this idiocy on another blog when I made a critical comment about an HIV denialist. I attracted a shitstorm of abuse, including several people who traced some of my other postings under my “real name”, reposted them, and then used them for further abuse. Fair comment, I suppose, but every one of these assholes posted anonymously. I refuse to even respond to crap like that.

Hey, The Chemist, I have squinty, cross-eyed pictures just like that! And now I’m wall-eyed, but that was from the surgery and the headache-inducing glasses.

Maybe the vaccines caused my astigmatism instead…

… as if where hard to figure out who Orac really is.
I did not look for it and realized it at some point when reading carefully his blog and some blogs he links to.

John,

In your message to Orac you said:

Any way if such Vaccinations programmes were so successful around the world we wouldn’t see the problems we have today.

I’m very curious about what problems you see and how they relate to the success (or lack thereof) of vaccinations programmes. Perhaps you refer to the annual Polio epidemics that continue to plague Australia or the thousands who die every year from smallpox.

“The stupid is strong in this one…”

He should thank Orac for witholding his last name. “…names witheld to protect the terminally clueless…”

There are some things that can immediately cue you that the person speaking/writing has not a clue about the subject.

In sports (an area where I have a great weakness), people who use the wrong terms (e.g. saying “…scored a goal…” when discussing baseball) are obviously not familiar with the sport.

In science, there are many cues that the clueless and arrogantly ignorant use to help us identify them. Among the most common is referring to “truth”. Science isn’t about “truth”, it’s about “fact” (or, better yet, data). Science is about finding the rules and mechanisms that control the universe – it’s about finding the ultimate reality.

Reality doesn’t need “defending” any more than the “law” of gravity needs police officers to enforce it.

Likewise, “science” doesn’t need to be defended from the “attacks” of ignorant and uninformed people. It is the ignorant and uninformed who need to be defended from those who would use their ignorance to exploit them. As a biologist, I do not feel “threatened” by creationists (excuse me, “Intelligent Design Advocates”). If it weren’t for their insistence on trying to misinform millions of school children, I wouldn’t pay any attention to them at all.

Orac, like me, is trying to provide information to counter the “forces of ignorance and exploitation”. Andrew Moulder is a perfect example of these “forces”. Whether the result of fraudulent intent, mental illness or simple self-deceipt, Dr. Moulder claims that he can diagnose “micro-infarcts” of the brain by viewing a videotape of the subject. He has provided no data to support these claims.

Dr. Moulder’s claims do not “threaten” science any more than they “threaten” reality. Even if a large number of “scientists” beleived Dr. Moulder’s claims, science would eventually triumph, because even “well-entrenched dogma” has trouble surviving in the face of contradictory data. If nothing else, eventually all the “believers” die off.

The people who are “threatened” by Dr. Moulder’s claims are those people who – because they lack the type of education and training necessary to see through them – are convinced to spend their money and waste their time pursuing his unsupported (and physiologically improbable) “techniques”. It is these people that Orac (and, to a lesser extent, me) is trying to protect by providing them with information to correct their ignorance.

People who feel “threatened” (as “John” does) by information contrary to their beliefs should ask themselves why they feel threatened. A true scientist doesn’t feel threatened by contradicting data – they should take these data and use them to improve their hypothesis.

On the other hand, there is a realm where contradictory data is rejected out of hand and the “messenger” attacked for daring to bring such data. That is the realm of religion.

Most “alternative” medicine practitioners and advocates (and even many consumers) show the unmistakeable signs of religion. They may say (and even think) they are being “scientific”, but it’s just religion dressed up in a lab coat.

I never try to argue a person out of their religious convictions, but I do caution people about the hazards of joining the “faith”.

Prometheus

oh John . .. Dear John.
I’m so so sorry to have to tell you this while you were away, Dear John, but I have to be honest. Dear John, I’m so sorry to tell you that I have met someone else. His name is Science, and, even though he demands evidence and insists on a calm, logical procedure, he means so much more to me than your vague guessing. I’m sorry, Dear John, but your rival Delivers the goods, as they say. I hope that you can understand. Goodbye, John.

John said:

But you know if all your Science was so successful, and based on Truth, then it wouldn’t need Defending—so

WHY ARE YOU OUT THERE ATTEMPTING TO DEFEND THE TRUTH—THE TRUTH DOESN’T NEED DEFENDING!

It does when the world is full of gullible fools like you John, willing to believe any outrageous lie they get fed.

At one time scientists had to go out and defend the idea that the Earth was round too, thanks to a movement of people willing to lie about the truth and lots of fools to believe them.

Would be nice to be able to blame something other than crappy bad luck and bad genes caused my lazy eye. Maybe then I wouldn’t have had to wear that eyepatch over my good eye for so long as a little kid (who’s bright idea was it to make those adhesive like bandaids?). It did work, sort of, I’m still legally blind in that eye but I do have some use of it.

Since when does the truth not need defending? Do I need to make a list of times that the truth was denied? We still have people denying the holocaust happened, for that matter the fact it happened at all is a case of lies being taken to their ultimate tragic end.

Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.

That just made me laugh. His computer needs a vaccination! Odds are, though, that he won’t, because he’s never seen evidence that it’s helpful, then when he gets infected, he’ll infect all his friends’ computers…..

Oooh, apropos!

As an Australian born with nystagmus, strabismus and astygmatism due to my Mum copping rubella whilst gravid with me, I’m getting a kick out of this.

It seems John’s ability to search the internet for the truth is about as powerful as his ability to search for Orac’s real name.

@Interrobang

I was still cute as hell though. I bet you were too. Let’s face it, a lot has to go wrong before you get an ugly behbeh [sic].

@Noadi

Did the patch thing, but I used the piratey kind- which was a lot more fun. We alternated eyes daily to avoid one eye going blind. In the end though, it didn’t sort itself out and we had to go the surgical route. I have full use of both, but I can only rarely get the two to work together.

People don’t realize that while it can cause sight issues, a big problem for many is not directly medically related. People take for granted how much first impressions and daily interaction occurs through eye-contact. If you’re focusing on someone with one eye, they get weirded out by what your other eye is doing. Some people are more affected by this than others. I got no end of teasing from people at school, and I’m still self-conscious about it to some extent.

What gets me about our friend John, what really pisses me off, is that now he’s going to insult me the same way his ilk insult autistic people every day. Autistic people get to enjoy labels like “vaccine-damaged”. How insulting. They’re not objects, just because parents expected a cooing and googooing baby, they don’t get to label the child “damaged” because he or she isn’t what they bargained for.

Fuck you John. Or at least the horse you rode in on.

Aww crap. I think I screwed up. My comment dropped the F-bomb, I got confused for a second and thought I was in a more Pharyngulan environment. Can you make like some people do with almond chocolate bars and eat around it? (I.E. “bleep” it.)

Hey, John – I’m a doctor in Australia, and last week I signed the government form requesting a swine flu vaccination.

Like tens of thousands of healthcare staff round the world, I will be having the vaccination as soon as it’s delivered to my hospital.

I am fully vaccinated, and get my yearly flu vaccination as well, to reduce the chance of me infection vulnerable people such as the elderly, babies and those on immunosuppressants.

You, on the other hand, contribute to disease and death around the world with your lies. Did you watch the programme about the baby who died of whooping cough? Did you know that the only measles outbreaks in recent years have been brought by unvaccinated people arriving from outside Australia?

I spend my working life saving lives, John. What do you contribute?

“At one time scientists had to go out and defend the idea that the Earth was round too, thanks to a movement of people willing to lie about the truth and lots of fools to believe them.”

That’s an urban legend, I think. People have known the earth was round for a very long time.

John’s still an idiot though.

“At one time scientists had to go out and defend the idea that the Earth was round too, thanks to a movement of people willing to lie about the truth and lots of fools to believe them.”

That’s an urban legend, I think. People have known the earth was round for a very long time.

Yes and no, Although educated people have known the Earth was round (and how bit it was) since the ancient Greeks, this knowledge was not common. Christopher Columbus had trouble getting financial backing because most potential investors knew the diameter of the earth was 3 times what Columbus thought it was. The first Prime Minister of South Africa, Paul Kruger, believed the Earth was flat as did many Afrikaners.

Ender @ #22:

That’s an urban legend, I think. People have known the earth was round for a very long time.

Sorry for not being more specific Ender. I wasn’t referring to the story that the the Earth was flat being a widespread belief, but more specifically to the Flat Earth movement in the 1800’s.

Rather than try and convince the scientific community, since they knew they couldn’t, they tried to persuade more of the public that the Earth was flat. The Flat Earth movement back then was a group of religious extremists. The movement was trying to promote the idea that the Earth was flat in order to defend “Christian Morality” in society. They thought that unless the Bible was interpreted literally (including the references that implied the Earth was Flat and circular) that there was no reason to believe any of the Bible, and therefore no basis for any morality at all.

They would invite scientists to join in public debates for which the scientists were usually unprepared for their dishonest tactics. Apparently the Flat Earthers had mastered the “Gish Gallop” even back then. Of course this made the scientific community look bad and the Flat Earth people look “good” to some of the public. They also wrote books,articles, and made public speeches that carefully misrepresented the data to attack the idea of a round Earth.

You can find info on them in the book “Worlds of their Own” by Robert Schadewald.

The current creationist movement seems to be based largely on their tactics and arguments, including the belief that only a literal interpretation of the Bible can promote a sense of morality in society.

John,

If you had thirty seconds and a functioning brain, you’d know why Orac doesn’t post his name on this site. (Hint: Click on the link top left of the page that says “Disclaimer”).

Also, if the mystery of Orac’s identity is really keeping you up at night, another thirty seconds and a google search should cure that for you.

Orac exists. I have seen the evidence.

He’s actually not a bad guy at all. You know how watching Bill O’Reilly, Stephen Colbert, Glenn Beck and others gives the strong–and correct–impression that they’re playing characters calculated to draw viewership and attention? Orac is somewhat similar. In real life, he’s a nice man, a good doctor and probably a pleasant conversationalist. On this blog, he’s sarcastic, bombastic and more than occasionally insulting to those who disagree with him.

That’s OK. Just don’t take all of this too seriously.

Stop escalating the insults and return to scientific discourse even when you’re dealing with someone who disagrees with you.

“John” does not represent the point of view of those of us reluctant about the current vaccine schedule or the newest of new shots.

By the way, if you believe the hype about Swine Flu, you’re not thinking about this issue very clearly.

Best,

Jay

I should have looked first. Orac says it better than I can:

“Finally, Orac’s “real” identity is more or less an open secret among some parts of the blogosphere, but he nonetheless keeps using the Orac pseudonym because (1) he doesn’t want his blog to be the first thing that comes up when patients Google his “real” name; (2) he has a long history on the Internet under this particular pseudonym; and (3) he likes the persona that the “Orac” pseudonym allows him to take on. Indeed, even if Orac ever decides to ditch the whole anonymity thing, he will likely retain the pseudonym and simply place a link to his faculty page somewhere on the blog.”

Ahistoricality,

Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
That just made me laugh. His computer needs a vaccination!

FTW!

PS (Clearly, at some point his PC was vaccinated, which still protects it from older viruses — but he should worry about new ones.) 😉

[I]f you believe the hype about Swine Flu, you’re not thinking about this issue very clearly.

No hype belief necessary. The flu has made me miserable whenever I’ve had it. I’ve never had any noticeable ill effects from a flu vaccine, and have never had flu in the years I’ve been vaccinated (though of course some of that was luck in the years they guessed wrong about the seasonal variant).

If my own personal health and comfort weren’t enough motivation, I’m about to visit my nephew at a large university, and I have a 91-year-old father and a mother who’s about to turn 85 whom I visit frequently. I’d rather not be a vector for a disease that could potentially kill my parents at their age.

Therefore I’m getting the seasonal flu vaccine this week, and will get the swine flu vaccine when it’s available to me.

And what is a pseudonym exactly?

Me, my name is Sally. For 30 years I used a second name I got from my father, who got it from his father etc. then I changed to a surname my husband got from his father, etc.

But I’ve been Our Sally all along. This is the real me. On other blogs where I might be talking about something else I use other names, which may be different, but appropriate and they are still me.

Also there is the problem that I can be a pretty pushy atheist at times, and I don’t want the crazy wingnuts to turn up on the doorstep with an axe (it has been threatened).

I’m fairly sure that Orac dosen’t exist as a human..

– Far too much blogging to be compatible with a career. Or, indeed, eating and sleeping.
– To few spelling errors/Grammar errors for a Real Human.
– Uses the name ‘Orac’.
– Gets people to claim to know him – clearly evidence of his non-existance.
– I can’t be bothered finding his real name, so it can’t exist.
– We know there’s only one John in Australia. Everyone else is called Bruce – I saw it on TV.
– Case closed.

Well, I am really a Time Lady from the planet Gallifrey, and a member of the Arcalian chapter (hence my assumed surname when I am operating on Earth; why do you all insist on surnames, anyway? what are they for, if you don’t care so much about bloodlines anymore?).

But some minimal searching can probably figure out who I really am too. “Outing” bloggers is very silly. (I did have a laugh when that “before you take that pill” fellow outed Orac, as if he’d discovered some vast secret. Perhaps his google-fu is weak.)

My baby brother had a lazy eye, but with extensive therapy was able to get back nearly full use. He can’t quite point it far enough over, so he wears prismatic glasses. I am *quite* certain that vaccines had nothing to do with it. Snerd’s case, recounted above, is an even better slam-dunk, though, as not only was his case *not* caused by vaccines (as he was born with it), but widespread vaccination could’ve prevented it. (Rubella vaccine doesn’t always “take” so even if his mother was vaccinated, she may not have been protected and would’ve been relying on herd immunity.)

Dr. Gordon is our resident tone troll.

We’ve asked Dr. Gordon to write up case summaries of patients under his care who seemed to demonstrate symptoms of autism shortly after vaccination. Strangely, he’s not done that.

When doctors have important observations that might change how we all practice medicine, they write case summaries and submit them for peer review. Refusal to do so while offering pseudo-scientific arguments in a public forum is not ethical.

The AAP ought to revoke Dr. Gordon’s board certification in pediatrics for such behavior.

“John” does not represent the point of view of those of us reluctant about the current vaccine schedule or the newest of new shots.

And yet, curiously, we never hear of any differences between “John’s” position and Jay’s. Perhaps those differences are merely ones of style and presentation.

(note-posted part of this on the wrong thread before-sorry)
I dont know where you guys live, but over 70% of our county has already had the swine flu. Most of the rest has already been exposed to it. 2 middle schools, 2 highschools and 4 intermediate and primary schools experienced over 400 kids absent at each school every day in the month of Sept. There are only 600-1100 in each school. Of course, the rest of the families all ended up with it too. They are actually still testing people for h1n1 here because most people are paying themselves. Thankfully, no deaths to date. We were waiting for the vaccine, but all 4 of my kids, my husband, me and my mom all already had the virus. Most people will not need the vaccine now, and the school absenteeism has decreased dramatically. I wish they were keeping better track of the outbreaks so they could send the vaccines first to where the most people had not been exposed to it yet.

Had the vaccines been available, most everyone I know would have chosen the vaccine over missing a week of work and/or school with very high fevers, aching bodies, and left with a cough for weeks(still coughing). Actually, by the time each kid in the family went through sickness and then 48hrs of no symptoms before going back to school, most of us missed several weeks of work.

John is just mad because he doesn’t have a pseudonym, case closed.

John, I chuckle at your lack of vaccination, both biological and virtual. For your sake, may you get a case of Win32:Virut before you catch H1N1. You won’t get as sick, and at least then you’ll be off the blogs for a while.

I dont know where you guys live, but over 70% of our county has already had the swine flu.

Which country is that, if you don’t mind my asking?

Ooh oo0h i just has to jump in without reading other comments! I too have the lazy eye problem but i was religiously restrained from getting any vacinations as a child. Must have been the religion that caused my visual problems!!!

@D.C. Sessions

I give vaccines every day. I have told pregnant women that I defer to their discussions with their obstetricians regarding flu shots and that I respect allergists’ recommendations to vaccinate kids with asthma.

The combinations of vaccines we use today are not supported by sufficient safety and efficacy studies.

Best,

Jay

You keep saying that, Dr. Jay, but you can never give specifics. What specific evidence do you find lacking and what is the scientific basis of your doubt? I’m really getting sick of your repeating the same schtick over and over again without being able to provide a single example or a single cogent criticism of a single study other than that you don’t believe it or you don’t find it adequate. Quite frankly, I don’t care what your opinion with regard to medicine is if you either can’t or won’t back it up with science and evidence.

I’m not asking that much, am I? I certainly don’t think I am.

The Chemist: Your story sounds eerily like mine, except for the order – I did the patch thing (first trying an adhesive patch, but I was allergic to the adhesive, one of my few allergies) on one eye in the middle of eye surgeries for my strabismus. I’ve had four eye muscle surgeries, not all of them on both eyes, the first when I was only three and the last at 11. The third one caused double vision for the year between it and the last one (boy, that was a fun year…), and I was finally able to get both eyes to function simultaneously (most of the time) after surgery #4. (It’s a remarkable thing to finally be able to use a Viewmaster in 5th grade.) I’ve never really heard of any other similar stories before, so your history is very interesting to me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Orac’s Bill O persona. Bluster, disdain ending with a meaningless rhetorical question unsupported by either facts or the preceding statements

One more time, you do not have safety and efficacy studies for combining vaccines the way we do now!! You would not give your own child the “cocktail” of six vaccines with 10-15 components at the same time. Informal surveys of pediatricians have shown that we agree and do not give our own kids all the shots at the same time.

It’s not my job to show that the combined vaccines are dangerous, it’s yours/theirs to show that they’re safe!!! Don’t point at the few scattered studies funded by the manufacturers, show me comprehensive data showing long term safety and efficacy of combining vaccines as we are told to do.

You can’t.

Jay

In reply to my “if you disagree with ‘John,’ we sure can’t tell from your public disagreements with him” observation, Dr. Jay replies:

I give vaccines every day. I have told pregnant women that I defer to their discussions with their obstetricians regarding flu shots and that I respect allergists’ recommendations to vaccinate kids with asthma.

You really should get a medal for allowing those parents to bully you into “reluctantly” [1] vaccinating their kids.

The combinations of vaccines we use today are not supported by sufficient safety and efficacy studies.

And then right back to channeling Jenny McCarthy.

[1] Dr. Jay’s words.

Informal surveys of pediatricians have shown that we agree and do not give our own kids all the shots at the same time.

Oh whoa. Dr. Jay, I don’t doubt that the sort of pediatricians you pal around with could well agree with you, but, as a broader generalization, your statement is dangerous nonsense.

Hi guys unfortunately i come from a land down under like john. And the johns of the world put so many people at risk. Can I ask Orac and others here one vaccine question (YES I AM A SUPPORTER). I have a 16 year old daughter with fairly serious chronic asthma, the swine flu vaccine has become available but she has always had a cold or asthma when I’ve tried to arrange it. Should i go ahead in this situation or wait for a window of “health”?

PS Is it possible to self adminster (i undertsand it is single use Im injection) or does it need to be administered by the GP or nurse?

Hey guys, it’s bullshit “natural” kook mad-libs! Look, I can make Jay sound like Michael Pollan!

Ladies and Gentlemen, [scientist]’s Bill O persona. Bluster, disdain ending with a meaningless rhetorical question unsupported by either facts or the preceding statements

One more time, you do not have safety and efficacy studies for combining [foods] the way we do now!! You would not give your own child the “cocktail” of six [food groups] with 10-15 [nutrients] at the same time. Informal surveys of [nutritionists] have shown that we agree and do not give our own kids all the shots at the same time.

It’s not my job to show that the combined [foods] are dangerous, it’s yours/theirs to show that they’re safe!!! Don’t point at the few scattered studies funded by the manufacturers, show me comprehensive data showing long term safety and efficacy of combining [foods] as we are told to do.

You can’t.

[Crank]

Jay –

If my child falls over outside and scrapes their knee, then they must be exposing themselves to hundreds of different strains of live bacteria! You have to wonder how the human race has survived if exposure to just 15 antigens causes damage.

Andrew Dodds @ #53:

Indeed, and breathing, touching household items or other people, etc., expose us to hundreds or thousands more. Of course there is a difference between skinning knees and breathing on the one hand, and vaccines on the other – the bacteria or viruses in the environment are capable of causing disease in humans, whereas the killed, weakened, or otherwise disabled varieties in vaccines are not.

Vaccines mimic the natural process of “teaching” the immune system to respond to an antigen, but without the, ehm, inconvenience of getting deathly ill in order to achieve that.

Dr. Gordon writes: It’s not my job to show that the combined vaccines are dangerous…!

Well, er, OK, it’s all fine and dandy to claim the privilege of not having to marshal evidence to convince us that what you say is true, but in return, I claim the privilege of remaining unconvinced.

Could ya maybe, just as a special favor to us, explain a plausible biological mechanism that might make the combined vaccines “dangerous”?

yoyo: I could be wrong (I Am Not A Doctor), but my understanding is that having asthma is not a contraindication for getting the shot, but having a cold is — not necessarily that it would keep the shot from working, but there is a definite preference that you (or your daughter, natch) wait until the cold is gone or at least until there isn’t a fever any more.

I don’t think the shot is self-administered. I believe there is a preference that it be done in a controlled setting in case there IS a reaction.

One more time, you do not have safety and efficacy studies for combining vaccines the way we do now!! You would not give your own child the “cocktail” of six vaccines with 10-15 components at the same time. Informal surveys of pediatricians have shown that we agree and do not give our own kids all the shots at the same time.

Are you sure of this, Dr. Jay? I thought that each addition to the vaccine schedule was tested versus the previously existing vaccine schedule. I can’t even think of any other ethical way to do a vaccine trial, since you cannot reasonably deny people vaccinations that have previously been shown to be safe and effective in protecting against disease. Can you provide citations or other evidence that this was not done?

Rationally, I can think of many reasons why risks could be multiplied by multiple injections, aside from the additional expense of multiple doctor visits (although that is a benefit to you isn’t it?), not to mention the discomfort of multiple injections, which is certainly significant to children. So what safety and efficacy studies can you cite to show that giving multiple injections is as safe as following the standard protocol, which has been subjected to standard safety testing in development, as well as extensive post-marketing surveillance? (Although I’m probably wasting my time in asking, since your standard answer to such questions seems to be along the lines of, “I don’t need no stinkin’ evidence–I’m a doctor and I can divine the truth intuitively due to my vast clinical experience”).

@45 This bothers me, but Dr Jay’s experience is the same as what I have seen in regards to pediatricians vaccinating their own children. My children are older, and this was not a common discussion among pediatrician parents 10 years ago. However, I can tell you without a doubt that it is a hot topic now, although usually private . I specialize in neurodevelopmental disabilities, and as such, have conversations with pediatricians daily. I also travel in the states and abroad as part of an IHS (international health spec) team. I meet pediatricians from all over the world expressing the same comments as Dr Jay. Most of them do not speak of it publicly. They admit privately that they do not follow the current vaccine schedule as far as timing, some dont give all the vaccines, and some none at all to their own children. They all, categorically agree, that “vaccine studies to date dont exist to show safety when vaccines are given in multiples and dont take into account the things infants are exposed to in our world today”. The most common thing I hear is that they are still keeping the herd immunity intact by vaccinating, and… delaying doesnt hurt anyone, but it could possibly lessen the burden placed on a developing child’s immune system. Dr Jay ‘speaks out’, but he is far from alone.

@40 county, not country. red zone area(widespread) in Fl for h1n1 for about 5 weeks. It is decreasing now according to the health dept.

@52 I know that was meant to be funny, but you actually can poison your kids faster with some foods than you could with a vaccine. Nothing tastes better than homegrown and home cooked. That is why I married an amazing retired chef turned farmer! amongst other reasons 🙂

Thank you, EJB.

trrll–Please stop doing that. That’s not how I think and it’s not what I say.

Titmouse–I passed oral boards decades ago and each and every day is filled with “board questions.” I have to get a grade of “100%” every day in my office or I could hurt children.

Jay

“Why don’t you actually answer trrl’s questions Dr. Jay?”

Because his questions are either inane or rhetorical and need no answer: There are no sufficient studies supporting either “my” side of this discussion or the other side.

Jay

It’s typical that Dr. Jay would embrace anecdotes about how many pediatricians supposedly don’t follow recommended vaccination schedules for their children. After all, his own antivax prejudices are based on anecdote and personal bias rather than solid evidence-based research.

We have better evidence than supposition and rumor when it comes to pediatricians’ immunization practices affecting their own kids. Multiple surveys have shown that better than 90% of pediatricians follow the official guidelines promulgated by groups such as the American Association of Pediatrics (the same organization that Dr. Jay never tires of boasting his affiliation with, even as he embarrasses it through his wilful ignorance). Surveys in other countries demonstrate similar findings, as with this one in Switzerland:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16263976

92% of pediatricians in that sample reported following the guidelines for their own kids.

And even in cases like the varicella vaccine (where there was some initial controversy in the medical community over adding vaccine protection), roughly the same percentage of pediatricians practiced what they preached in regard to their own children:

http://cpj.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/42/7/635

Sorry, Dr. Jay – you’re still very much an outlier when it comes to vaccination. Most pediatricians base their practices on solid science, and value it when it comes to their kids as well.

Waiting…”Why don’t you actually answer trrl’s questions Dr. Jay?”

Dr. Jay doesn’t answer questions that might actually require him to be responsive, or to think. He’s here to snipe at critics and to get attention. Lately he’s taken to random appearances in threads like this one, where some other antivirus wacko’s ravings are being debunked. Dr. Jay resents being out of the spotlight.

Dr. Jay keeps telling us that he’s learned ever so much by participating in discussions on this blog. But he keeps repeating the same antivax tripe. To repeat a question you failed to answer in an earlier post, what exactly is it you’ve learned about vaccination, Dr. Jay, and are you actually applying this newfound knowledge in practice to the benefit of your patients?

Dr. Jay: “I have to get a grade of “100%” every day in my office or I could hurt children.”

Another irony meter blows up with a bang and a shower of sparks. 🙁

While I realize that this is a futile effort, I will ask – yet again – the obvious questions.

“Dr. Jay” states (emphatically):

“The combinations of vaccines we use today are not supported by sufficient safety and efficacy studies.

The “weasel word” in this sentence is “sufficient”. Thus I ask the question:

What, in your opinion, “Dr. Jay”, would be “sufficient safety and efficacy studies”?

As a follow-up question:

Describe in detail the safety and efficacy testing done to validate the current vaccination schedule.

As a teaser, let me opine that “Dr. Jay” doesn’t have an answer to the first question because he doesn’t know the answer to the second question.

Oh, an “informal survey” can be nothing more than talking to your buddies over coffee. This is on par with “clinical experience” – not useless, but not real data, either.

As always, waiting for a clear answer to some simple questions. Also waiting for Godot – expect it will take about as long.

Prometheus

I’m still waiting for Dr. Gordon to explain his personal hierarchy of scientific evidence that he invented

I won’t hold my breath.

Prometheus, as usual, gets it right. The weasel word that Dr. Jay is using is “sufficient,” which he can define any way he wants in order to dismiss studies. So, I join Prometheus in requesting that Dr. Jay define exactly what he means by “sufficient.” Then we can look at the scientific evidence and see whether it is or is not “sufficient” by Dr. Jay’s definition.

Of course, I suspect that the evidence supporting Dr. Jay’s and Dr. Bob’s practices will be considerably less than “sufficient” by any definition and less “sufficient” even by Dr. Jay’s definition, but that’s what you get when you argue belief rather than science.

Dr. Gordon rejects the current scientific consensus regarding childhood vaccination. He also evangelizes others to his anti-vax stance.

However, Dr. Gordon cannot explain the current scientific consensus that he rejects.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Ooookay…

The combinations of vaccines we use today are not supported by sufficient safety and efficacy studies

is now

The combinations of vaccines we use today are not supported by no safety and efficacy studies

per Dr. Jay.

Double negatives are generally very clumsy when used, but I have to agree with Dr. Jay here…

Because his questions are either inane or rhetorical and need no answer: There are no sufficient studies supporting either “my” side of this discussion or the other side.

So your argument is that neither is “adequate” by your standards, so that one is just as good as the other? Even though the standard schedule has been given to a huge number of people and subjected to extensive post-marketing surveillance, while you just pulled yours out of your…er…clinical experience?

And you still haven’t answered my other request, for a citation supporting your claim that there has been no testing of the combination schedule. Surely you wouldn’t make such a claim without evidence–or did you get it from the same place where you got the idea that traces of formaldehyde in vaccinations were likely to be dangerous? Please provide evidence that new additions to the vaccination schedule are not tested for safety and efficacy against the previous schedule, or else retract the claim.

“Dr. Jay” evades by saying:

Change “sufficient” to “no.” Does that work better for you?

Although this results in a double-negative (“…not supported by no safety…”), I suspect that “Dr. Jay” is trying to say that no safety and efficacy studies have been done on the current vaccination schedule. Unfortunately (for “Dr. Jay”, that is simply not true, so he can’t weasel out that easily.

Each vaccine, as it was approved, was tested in combination with all previously approved and recommended vaccines. That means that the latest approved vaccine (rotavirus, in the US, I believe) was tested in combination with all previously approved and recommended childhood vaccines.

So, now that your assertion has been shown to be false, how do you intend to proceed, “Dr. Jay”?

Answering the question might be a good start. Let me restate it, so you don’t have to strain your web browser.

What, in your opinion, “Dr. Jay”, would be “sufficient safety and efficacy studies”?

[NOTE: I expect that “Dr. Jay” will next lash out in a fit of pique, accusing all present of being “rude”, “uncivil” and “argumentative” or other such nonsense. I seriously doubt that he will even attempt to answer the question, for reasons I have already stated.]

Prometheus

Bacon @65 Those surveys were done 5-7 years ago. I am afraid vaccines are not looked upon in the same light anymore. Not to mention, pediatricians have told me to my face that they dont vaccinate their own children with the same schedule, but that they would never admit that on the record. They do not want ‘any problems’. Cant say I blame them. I dont give my own dogs the same vaccines I give other people’s pets. I only vaccinate them on that schedule because the AVMA recommends it. Anyway, I thought this blog was about something else, but I see it is about some Jay person.

Credentialed–Got me!

What I meant was that are no studies supporting the safety of vaccinating as we do. None. Fragmented publications of one combination or another but no studies which show that it’s safe to give that many vaccines to a six-week-old baby.

And, yes, my understanding of how pediatricians vaccinate their own children–and their close friends’ children–is anecdotally based. But, the “official” surveys suffer from flaws big enough to give even you pause, Bacon.

And speaking of unanswered, multiply-asked questions, define “science” please.

trrll, as usual, you’re behind the curve.

Bacon, your irony meter should be set to stun instead of kill, obviously. It would malfunction far less often.

What have I learned, Bacon? I’ve learned that absolute statements about vaccination are not intelligent nor viable parts of any argument. Vaccines are neither absolutely good nor bad and should be given, not by rote, but using judgement and experience. For those of you with neither, use the book.

Jay

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