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A confluence of the anti-vaccine and “health freedom” movements at AutismOne in Chicago

One of the biggest examples of either self-delusion or lying that emanates from the anti-vaccine movement is the oh-so-pious and indignant denials that inevitably follow from its members and leaders whenever someone like me has the temerity to point out that they are, in fact, anti-vaccine. The disingenuously angry denials usually take a form something like this, “I’m not anti-vaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccine.” (This is Jenny McCarthy’s favorite variant of this gambit). Another variant is for anti-vaccine activists to claim that they aren’t anti-vaccine at all; they’re just “concerned” that children are getting too many vaccines. What belies their claims, which are seemingly reasonable on the surface to the uninitiated, is what happens if you try to pin them down on just what, exactly, it would take to convince them that vaccines are safe as administered. A good way to approach this is to try to ask them to tell you specifically exactly what it would take to convince them to vaccinate their next child. What evidence would convince them? What you’ll almost inevitably find, if you push them, is that the answer to that question is: Nothing! Nothing will convince them. Ever!

The reason I bring up this topic is the impending arrival of the yearly autism quackfest known as AutismOne. As far as gatherings of the anti-vaccine movement and all manner of autism quacks goes, AutismOne is the 900 lb gorilla; everybody who’s anybody in the anti-vaccine and autism quackery world will be there, with Jenny McCarthy giving the keynote, as she has for the last couple of years and the disgraced anti-vaccine “scientist” Andrew Wakefield being a featured speaker. This year, apparently three days not being enough, the quackfest has expanded to a full week. As if that weren’t bad enough, on Wednesday, May 26, there will be a rally in Grant Park, an “American rally for personal rights.” Perusing the website, you’ll rapidly find out that the manifesto of the rally is about vaccines:

We believe in the rights to life, liberty, and personal security for ourselves and our children.

We demand the universal human rights standard of informed consent for all medical interventions. Compulsory vaccination cannot be legally and morally justified.

We affirm the sanctity of personal space, the right to be left alone, and the freedom to make personal health care decisions guided by the professionals of our choosing.

We invite all people, families and organizations committed to protecting these fundamental rights to stand with us in downtown Chicago on May 26, 2010 at our inaugural rally, and to work with us after the event to support grassroots advocacy, education, and leadership in defense of our personal – individual, parental, legal, moral, religious, civil, and human – rights.

Is it a coincidence that this rally is occurring smack dab in the middle of AutismOne? Of course not! The happy band of anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism are pimping this rally, but get a load of who’s going to be the keynote speaker there! Come on, guess! Oh, all right, I’ll tell you:

Andrew Wakefield himself!

If you wanted yet more evidence that the “pro-safe vaccine” movement is really the anti-vaccine movement, here it is. But, wait, I hear. It’s an entirely legitimate issue about how much power the government should have to require that children be vaccinated and under what circumstances, but the whole “personal rights” bit is a smokescreen to hide the true nature of the rally: Anti-vaccine to the core. In reality, this “personal freedom” angle is very much the intellectual offspring (I think I just choked on the word “intellectual” in this context) of the “health freedom” movement. As I’ve said more times than I can remember, “health freedom” in reality is nothing more than the freedom of quacks to ply their trade on their marks without any pesky interference from laws, regulation, or the government. “Vaccine freedom” is little different at its core. It’s also profoundly deceptive in that parents already have the freedom to decline vaccines. The only real enforcement point of our vaccination policy is admittance to public schools, virtually all of which require children to be up to date on their vaccines before they can attend. Even with that leverage, in nearly every state, there are mechanisms within the law to claim exemptions from vaccination requirements based on religion or even personal philosophy, the latter of which can be something as simple as saying that the parent has some sort of “philosophical objection” to vaccines. In other words, this is a rally for a right that parents in nearly every state already have.

So why bother? Perhaps some of the literature on the website can tell us. First, let’s take a look at the organizations that are participating in the rally. The participants include a veritable who’s who of anti-vaccine cranks, including Age of Autism, Ginger Taylor, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Generation Rescue, the Holistic Moms Network, Medical Voices, Mike Adams, TACA, the Australian Vaccination Network, and many others.

Then there are what appears to be the organizers of the rally. First, there’s Louise Kuo Habakus, who’s described as:

…a board-certified health practitioner specializing in homotoxicology and integrative nutrition. A former senior corporate executive for Putnam Investments and The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Louise received dual degrees from Stanford University. From mainstream corporate America to mainstream parenthood, Louise’s world changed when her children showed damage from vaccines. Louise confronted orthodoxy, found answers, and recovered her children. Louise lectures widely on the subjects of wellness, prevention and vaccination choices.

In other words, she’s an practitioner of dubious “alternative” medicine and a die hard believer in the vaccine-autism myth. If you have any doubt just how anti-vaccine Habakus is, consider this. She was named Age of Autism’s Person of the Year for 2009. Also, her website is chock full of links to anti-vaccine sites filled with pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies. Finally, here she is speaking to a “vaccine choice” rally in Albany, NY:

Then there are Mary Holland and Robert J. Krakow, both attorneys and members of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy, while Krakow runs a law office that advertises its services for parents who want compensation for vaccine injury. He’s also appeared on Lisa Jo Rudy’s site telling parents how to bring legal action in Vaccine Court and has been described by anti-vaccine leaders David Kirby and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as “a leading attorney for vaccine damaged children.” In particular, Krakow seems quite interested in pursuing claims over Gardasil.

Finally, there’s Mia Nitchun, who appears to buy into the myth that vaccines cause autism, and Ginger Taylor, who not only buys into the myth but actively promotes it, attacking anyone who tells her that science does not support her belief that vaccines cause autism and spews anti-vaccine propaganda hither and yon on her blog. The anti-vaccine team is rounded out.

Next, let’s take a look at some of the speakers. Andrew Wakefield, of course, needs no introduction. He’s the British “researcher” who in 1998 published the now infamous study that not only launched a thousand autism quacks but sparked a major scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine that, even now, 12 years later, has not yet abated. Only just this year is Wakefield finally starting to suffer the consequences of his pseudoscience. It’s not for nothing that, more than any single man, Wakefield deserves the blame for the resurgence of measles in the U.K. to endemic levels again. Jenny McCarthy has a long way to go to match his peerless inadvertent promotion of infectious disease and suffering.

Then there’s Michael Belkin, a man who suffered the loss of his daughter to sudden infant death syndrome and attributes it to the hepatitis B vaccine. As sad as this loss is (no parent should have to lose a child, whatever the reason), he has used it to become an anti-vaccine activist whose testimony even appears on Whale. to. Joining Mr. Belkin are Habakus and a coterie of lawyers, all of whom appear to be involved in litigation over vaccines and one of whom, James S. Turner, is described as the “nation’s leading natural health freedom advocate for over 40 years.” He was particularly incensed at John McCain’s ill-fated attempt to tighten up the regulation of dietary supplements. Finally, there’s Boyd Haley, who most recently rose to “prominence” by selling an industrial chelator as a “supplement” with which to treat autism. What more needs to be said?

Finally, let’s take a look at the suggested slogans for rally signs. I’ve selected a few out of the 100 or so slogans there. There’s lots of “freedom” rhetoric, but there are also some signs that can only be described as pure anti-vaccine:

  • 1% US Kids Autistic But Fully Vaccinated
  • Adults Die From Vaccine Reactions, Too
  • CDC Trades Infectious Disease For CHRONIC – Allergies, Autism, ADHD, Asthma, Diabetes…
  • Doctors! Shame On You
  • Doctors! You Took An Oath
  • Greedy Pharma Calling The Shots
  • H1N1 Was a TARP For Pharma
  • I Refuse Forced Vaccines
  • I Trust My Nurse. Why Don’t You?
  • If My Child Is Harmed, You Won’t Pay
  • I’m More Afraid Of The Vaccine Than The Flu
  • My Child Was Murdered By Vaccines
  • No Vaccine Liability! Total Immunity If Vaccine Kills You
  • Schools Are Overrun With Vax-Injured Children
  • Stop Experimenting On Our Kids
  • The Ouch Isn’t What Hurts
  • The Right To Be Left Alone
  • Too Many Shots
  • Too Many Sick Kids
  • Why Does Our Government Want Us Vaccinated So Bad?

And my favorite: “There Are No Safe Vaccines.”

As much as I miss Chicago at times, having lived there for three years in the late 1990s, I’m glad that I won’t be there the week leading up to Memorial Day. I might actually be tempted to wander down to Grant Park on the 26th. I doubt I’d actually say anything much. I’m not stupid. I could picture the reaction of what will probably be a few hundred rabid anti-vaccine loons if they were to learn that Orac was in their midst, and enough of the AoA crowd has seen enough photos of me to know what I look like.

My temptation to do something that not only might lead my brain to suffer massive neuronal apoptosis from flaming waves of stupid but could also potentially lead to physical harm aside, the fact that this anti-vaccine rally is occuring the very week that many the luminaries of the anti-vaccine movement will be in Chicago is definitely no coincidence. It was clearly planned, and the reason is obvious. The “health freedom” movement (i.e., freedom for quacks movement) has always had a strong anti-vaccine component to it that goes far beyond a simple political debate over individual rights to make medical decisions versus a societal interest in preventing the spread of harmful or even deadly vaccine-preventable diseases, and virtually every hard core activist subscribing to the scientifically discredited notion that vaccines cause autism is, his or her self-deluded or disingenuous denials notwithstanding, anti-vaccine to the core. No matter how much the leaders of and foot soldiers in the anti-vaccine movement deny that they are “anti-vaccine” or claim that they are in reality “anti-toxin in vaccines” or “pro-safe vaccine,” in the end to them it comes down to the vaccines and nothing but the vaccines. No amount of scientific evidence will ever sway them that vaccines are safe. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult for someone to reason himself out of a belief he did not come to through reason.

What was that again about Andrew Wakefield and J.B. Handley swearing to high heaven that they aren’t anti-vaccine?

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]

112 replies on “A confluence of the anti-vaccine and “health freedom” movements at AutismOne in Chicago”

I’m glad Orac won’t be there.

You might be trampled under the jackboots of the Holistic Moms Network, and we can’t afford such a loss. 🙁

“We believe in the rights to life, liberty, and personal security for ourselves and our children.

We demand the universal human rights standard of informed consent for all medical interventions. Compulsory vaccination cannot be legally and morally justified.”

That’s the one that always really bugs me. The suggestions that vaccination is somehow compulsory. As you said above, parents can easily get exemptions to avoid the vaccination requirements of school. But even if they could not get a vaccination exemption, they certainly still have a choice. They could not vaccinate their child and not send them to public school and either homeschool or send them to private school (although I’m sure many private schools require vaccination).

Some alternative slogan suggestions:

* Adults Die From Diseases, Too
* AoA Trades Immunity for Disease
* Greedy Lawyers Calling The Shots
* I Refuse Forced Quarantines
* My Child Was Murdered By Measles (Pertussis, etc.)
* Stop Experimenting On Our Kids – Give Us Untested Products Only!
* The Ouch Isn’t What Hurts, It’s The Broken Ribs From Pertussis
* Quarantine – The Right To Be Left Alone
* Too Many Shots – Need More Combos
* Too Many Sick Kids – Vaccinate!
* There Are No Safe Vaccines, Only Safe Diseases

I have to say I think that among the more hilarious aspects of the whole thing is Andrew Wakefield speaking at a meeting about law and advocacy.

This is a man who has lost, or caused to be lost, every legal, judicial or quasi-judicial hearing he has ever, to my knowledge, been involved in. Going back to his complaints to the UK’s General Medical Council about other doctors, through his dismissal from the Royal Free after he refused to carry out research on MMR, the MMR multiparty litigation in Britain, his three “gagging writ” libel actions against me, three US omnibus vaccine court hearings, his own 197-day GMC case and his dismissal from Thoughtful House after complaints to the Texas Medical Board, he has consistently failed.

More importantly, he has shamefully caused thousands of parents to be ensnared in utterly hopeless litigation based on his made-up-for-money theories.

I suppose there might be an argument for any listeners taking careful notes and doing the opposite, but I doubt whether his contribution will be taken in that spirit.

and his dismissal from Thoughtful House after complaints to the Texas Medical Board, he has consistently failed.

Mr. Deer, could you elaborate on the bolded portion? I was under the impression that it was simply a strategic move by Jane Johnson in light of all the very negative publicity Wakefield had recently received.

You didnt mention my personal favorite dingle-berry: Judy ‘The Bartender’ Mikovits is speaking on how “XMRV+VACCINES=AUTISMWARBLEGARBLE!”

But she is sooooo not a kook. **WINK!!**

We want measles
We want mumps
Rubella, pertussis,
Diphtheria rates to jump!

We want those illnesses
And childhood mortality
That is the point
Of our Grant park rally!
——————————–

Yes, this is sarcasm.

Apparently, if we had a new easily transmitted and fairly deadly emerger (coming soon near you with probability approaching 1) that was so scary that we passed laws that failure to vaccinate brought on sanctions, that this would be taken by some people as very strong evidence that one should not get the vaccine.

Archangl508 @ 2:

That’s the one that always really bugs me. The suggestions that vaccination is somehow compulsory. As you said above, parents can easily get exemptions to avoid the vaccination requirements of school.

And the anti-vaxxers damn well know this, because they will happily provide instructions for how to obtain an exemption. “It’s compulsory and our rights are being violated! Oh, and here’s how the system allows you to not get it. And informed consent is violated! See, I can show you this pamphlet my doctor gave me about the risks and benefits to show you how dangerous it is.”

It is a wonder they don’t all collapse due to cognitive dissonance.

I doubt I’d actually say anything much. I’m not stupid. I could picture the reaction of what will probably be a few hundred rabid anti-vaccine loons if they were to learn that Orac was in their midst, and enough of the AoA crowd has seen enough photos of me to know what I look like.

I am with Dangerous Bacon. You are not allowed to endanger your personal safety. It is against the rules (that I just made up). And you have to listen to me, I am a mother which means I just know.

Maybe instead of “My Child Was Murdered By Measles (Pertussis, etc.)” we could have:

“My Child Was Murdered By Your Child’s Measles (Pertussis, etc.)”

And in honor of Sid Offit:

“Only Africans die of infectious diseases, so who cares?”

Mimicking the rhetoric and tactics of the tea partiers:oh, where have I seen that before in the last year or so? Our favorite low-hanging fruit(organic, of course),Null and Adams:these poseurs have used their fame(or is it infamy?)in “natural health” to publicize their political and economic views.It’s all about freedom:freedom from taxes(or flat taxes),freedom from governmental intervention in “people’s lives”(e.g. vaccines),freedom from governmental oversight in “people’s choices”(e.g. insurance reimbursment for any quackery),freedom from responsibility.Interestingly,even in the wake of Null’s “accidental” poisoning,both vehemently oppose Waxman’s addition to the economic reform bill which would regulate *supplements*(as they did McCain’s).These “investigative reporters” “enlighten” their spell-bound audiences with tales of governmental corruption,Wall Street greed,corporate control of politicians,BigPharma’s iron grip on America, and the coming economic end-times:getting the people *angry* and scared(and distracted from examining their “educators'” motives and MO).They offer a “way out”: follow their lead- live “sustainably” on a homestead(or in Ecuador), be “naturally healthy”(why rely on corrupt doctors and evil pharma?), don’t follow the mainstream media- rely on *them*-for products, news, and “literature”! If you peruse their sites,you might be surprized that political/economic topics often get as much page space than “health” issues.Because they fit together hand in glove.

How about: “Stop wasting money on answers; we already know how to spread fear”

Or just quote some of the antivaxers:

Bensmyson: ‘I have my own science’

Jenny: ‘it’s going to take some diseases coming back’

Hi folks-
This is slightly off target, but I thought people would be interested in the attached link:

http://aidwatchers.com/2010/05/a-warning-from-tajikistan/

The link reports an observation that there is a polio outbreak in Tajikstan where the vaccination rate, about 82%, is supposed to be large enough to provide herd immunity. One possible cause for the outbreak is that the health care *system* doesn’t do its part by taking care of the vaccines. There’s also a second thrust of the article which calls into question (I think) the idea of “disease eradication”. I wasnt’ aware that this is a strategy in any formal/semi-formal way and would be interested in people’s perspectives on the ideas…Again, sorry if it’s too off-topic. I’ve loved lurking here for a while. I live pretty close to Grant Park and am really dreading the visit mentioned here by the nuts. With nice weather, anything going on in Grant Park gets lots of publicity around here…

Hey, Orac, I have a tee shirt you could wear if you ever go to their rallies. It reads, “I got my flu shot and all I got was this lousy shirt (no flu, no autism, nothing).”

It was a hit at a party I went to.

DISCLAIMER: Seriously, if you think any of what I just wrote represents anything other than my own opinion, you need help.

It’s also profoundly deceptive in that people in America have to pay taxes. The only real enforcement point of our tax policy is earning money

Steve, the World Health Organization is engaged in a campaign to drive polio to complete extinction, just as they did with smallpox.

And the sad thing is they damn near succeeded in 1998. There was only one place in the world where polio was still going around, in the north of Nigeria. The WHO was closing in. And then a snaggle toothed Islamist thug decided vaccination was a Jewish plot (which, well, in the case of polio, it, um, is), and spread some paranoia about it. Polio quickly broke out of Nigeria (thanks to the Muslim Hajj, an excellent vector for spreading disease), and the WHO is back to square one.

But they still hope to do it. And for another disease, guinea worms, they are on the verge of success.

I attended private school my entire life (up until graduate school, but by then they don’t check such vax records) and know quite a few peers that did likewise. Parents have a real and substantial choice in deciding whether their kids attend a public school or the plethora of private/religious/home-school/charter options. However, when a parent decides on public school- they must affirm to some basic bylaws to take advantage of the public good. Preventing the transmission of diseases to other children and thereby protecting the public well-being seems to be a very basic, rational proposition. If you feel otherwise, go elsewhere. You do not have the intrinsic right to allow your unvaxed child to spread illness and impede (with disease or the worry thereof) on the rights of other children to attend school.

The vaccine enforcement situation in America is not at all akin to the basic and necessary function of making money in society. You are being intellectually dishonest yet again, Sid.

Orac does not seem to be well informed about the side-effects that vaccines can have.

Aluminiumhydroxide injected in mice at doses that are similiar to the one in the current vaccines for babies, does cause behavioural abnormalities and neurological damage.

The proof can be found here:

Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19740540

Doses as low as 300mcg/kg cause brain damage and behavioural abnormalities. This dose can be easily reached with the current vaccine schedule.

The proof is there.

However, when a parent decides on public school- they must affirm to some basic bylaws to take advantage of the public good. Preventing the transmission of diseases to other children and thereby protecting the public well-being seems to be a very basic, rational proposition.

Therein lies the problem, Nick. You assume that anti-vaxxers are rational. Instead, they are lying, selfish loons.

Look at Cousin Squid here. Aside from his racism, he has made it clear that he intends to sponge off the sacrifice of others and provide nothing in return. He counts on us to vaccinate our children and provide a herd immunity so that he doesn’t have to put HIS kids at risk. So he thinks vaccines are too risky, but expects others to accept that risk in order to keep the incidence of disease at bay.

Jay Elmo Gordon clearly believes the same thing, but hasn’t been as explicit about it. In his case, it is more of letting the common masses take all the risk to protect his Beverly Hills clients, who pay in cash.

There is plenty of case law from the Supreme Court whereby vaccination is not a matter of individual rights. It is a matter of the rights of the rest of society. These cases go back to before “big pharma”, by the way. I would be incredibly interested in a question about this to the newest SCOTUS nominee.

DISCLAIMER: The opinion expressed in this comment is my own and no one else’s. To think otherwise would be to acknowledge that Sid Offit, if that is his real name (the coward), has any credence in anything he writes.

DOUBLE DISCLAIMER: The opinion that Sid Offit is a coward is also my own, and it is based on solid evidence of his anonymous commenting. Some of us have solid brass ones to stand up to public scrutiny of our beliefs. Sid does not.

MESSAGE BEGINS

Fear not my Shills and Minions . . .

Everything is going exactly according to our evil plans. All of the antiVax, antiPharma crowd will be in one place, at one time. This confluence of disobedience shall only make our nefarious task that much easier. Unbeknownst to the vexing antivaxxers, Obsidian 4 will be hovering over their heads in full stealth mode.

When our recently upgraded Sid Offit 2.1 and Ginger 4.2 replicant drones give the signal from their vantage point among the fretting throngs, we shall release our new Quantum Fluctuating AviVax Mk. I NanObama™ Injector Drones into the crowd. In seconds they will all receive a full-lifetime recommended vaccine schedule in one microscopic prick. And speaking of microscopic pricks, it shall please us greatly to see Andrew Wakefield’s eyes dim as the NanObamas turn him into our obedient, America-hating, science-loving, socialist servant.

Good times my minions. Good times.

MESSAGE ENDS

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
0010101101001

P.S. Cindy reminds me to tell you that tickets for the PharmaCOM Orbital talent show are selling out fast. You won’t want to miss my rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein’s charming “Getting to Know You”, with all the hatchlings singing back up. We sing it in English first, then in Glaxxonese, where the transliteration of the title is “Sizing You Up in Preparation for Feasting on Your Soft Innards”.

Arch508 and Callie: your oversimplification and naivite about vaccine exemptions is interesting and shows your bias. In many cases parents are very much hamstrung with the vaccine requirements.

A few suitable placards for some public spirited folk, with unwell looking kids in tow, to display in Grant Park:

This kid’s got measles, but it’s harmless, right?
Catch your meningitis here, and be immune for the rest of your life (if you survive)
My Kid has rubella – come check him out all you pregnant moms!

Get enough of them in there, and see how long the rally lasts.

I was so hoping that polio would be the second disease eradicated, but it does look as though guinea worms will go the way of the dodo first. As long as they both go, and soon, the order is probably not important. Terrible things, both of them. (For those not familiar with guinea worms, google them at your own peril, and preferably not while eating. Like many parasitic worms, they are the stuff of nightmares.)

Basically, it all comes down to disrupting the life cycle of the pathogen. Viruses and parasites offer the simplest options for this, as they die or can’t breed without a host. Guinea worms and polio are both dependent on humans, and this means that if you can find a way of keeping all the humans from getting infected long enough for all surviving pathogens to expire*, the cycle will be broken and the pathogen, unable to produce another generation, will be extinct.

*Adult worms will die of age, eggs will eventually perish, and viruses degrade with time and exposure to the elements, some quite quickly.

C’mon mula, everybody knows it’s squalene in vaccines that caused Gulf War syndrome. Or some other vaccine “toxin”. It’s gotta be the vaccines! Never mind the theories about pesticides/depleted uranium/anti-nerve agent drugs or other postulated etiologic agents, it’s gotta be the vaccines!

If all you’ve got is a rusty hammer, everything looks like a nail.

A warning though – anyone persisting on blaming vaccines will piss off Betty Martini, who’s pushing the idea that aspartame is the culprit.

Basically, it all comes down to disrupting the life cycle of the pathogen. Viruses and parasites offer the simplest options for this, as they die or can’t breed without a host.

WAY off topic, but I’ve always wondered about bacterial STDs. Assuming that they are only transmitted sexually, then they should be readily eradicated if all infected people got treated before passing it on, right?

It’s interesting that they make an argument from ethics. The legal argument is complete nonsense, since there is a legal justification for vaccinations – the law says so.

From an ethical perspective, they are making an argument that the government does not have the right to force them to compromise their autonomy in terms of health decisions. However, since their health decisions directly affect the health status of those people around them, they are vulnerable to the exact same argument. In the same way, you don’t have the right to expose me and my child to disease that we would otherwise be safe from.

What they’d have to show is that there is an inalienable human right to divorce themselves from the responsibilities of living in a society. The constitution does not guarantee any such freedoms, since the entire document is predicated on “We the People” as a society rather than several individuals.

Of course, if they were willing to engage in such nuanced thinking, they probably wouldn’t be anti-vaccine to begin with, and if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass when it hops.

Glad you’re not in exile, Rene.

@mula – 300mcg/kg over what time frame?

@Nick

Parents have a real and substantial choice in deciding whether their kids attend a public school or the plethora of private/religious/home-school/charter options.

This real and substantial choice amounts to an $8,000 fine per year, per unvaccinated child.
—————————————–
However, when a parent decides on public school- they must affirm to some basic bylaws to take advantage of the public good.

First, give me a break with the public good.

Second parents don’t really decide on public school since:

· They’re likely already paying for school through their taxes

· They’re forced to send their child to some type of school – unless they choose home school which can deprive children of important socialization opportunities

· They don’t have much choice in the way of private school because of a competitor that offers its services for free. Therefore in many cases your limited to either a religious school or to a school in a distant neighborhood

· Forced, mostly public “education” creates an environment in which a child’s education must conform relatively closely to a mostly useless government model of primary and secondary education in order to enter college or obtain employment

If the government wasn’t involved it would be perfectly legitimate for a school to construct its own rules regarding admission

But, due to distortions created by the government’s presence in “education”, it cannot be said that anything like a free choice, in regards to education, exists. The government basically puts you between a rock and a hard place by creating a world that pushes you into public school then demands you vaccinate to attend

——————————————
Preventing the transmission of diseases to other children and thereby protecting the public well-being seems to be a very basic, rational proposition.

Schools should be allowed to bar sick individuals, and parents have a responsibility to keep sick children away from others. But using forced vaccination to achieve your goals is inherently immoral since it violates the individual liberty of those who don’t want your vaccine
——————————————

If you feel otherwise, go elsewhere.

Again, give me a break
——————————————
You do not have the intrinsic right to allow your unvaxed child to spread illness and impede (with disease or the worry thereof) on the rights of other children to attend school.

My unvaxed child doesn’t have an illness

PS
Are teachers required to receive mandatory flu vaccinations each year so as not to “endanger” their students?

@dangerous bacon

The linked article is available for free on pubmed central. It’s worth a read. It shows some level of change via histology (I’m not up on my histology tho so I have to take their word for what some of it means) and some behavioral tests. For at least one of those experiments I’m not nearly as moved by the data as they are.

@lan

They were modeling the injections after the anthrax vaccination given out during the first gulf war. As such, they were subcutaneous injections, so it’s already a little different from childhood vaccination. It is also worth noting that the aluminum amounts the mice got were, relative to animal size, about 150% of what the humans got.

I’m much too lazy to look up the anthrax vaccination schedule but here’s what they used for the mice in the paper:

In Experiment 1, we performed two injections of a suspension of aluminum hydroxide of (50 μg/kg) in a total volume of 200 μL sterile PBS (0.9%) spaced 2 weeks apart. The mice in this experiment would therefore have received 100 μg/kg versus a probable 68 μg/kg in humans. In Experiment 2, mice received six injections for a total of 300 μg/kg aluminum hydroxide over 2 weeks. Controls in both studies were injected with 200 μL PBS.

Orac does not seem to be well informed about the side-effects that vaccines can have.

Aluminiumhydroxide injected in mice at doses that are similiar to the one in the current vaccines for babies, does cause behavioural abnormalities and neurological damage.

@mula, this is hardly proof and Shaw tried to trot this out as such with a previous study with Pietrik et al. But, when you actually read the study, their methods, results and interpretations thereof, fall apart.

Arch508 and Callie: your oversimplification and naivite about vaccine exemptions is interesting and shows your bias. In many cases parents are very much hamstrung with the vaccine requirements.

@jen, no, Callie’s assessment was spot-on. If parents live in a state that has no or stringent religious exemptions, they can move, homeschool or private school. So, how are any parents ‘hamstrung’?

So, how are any parents ‘hamstrung’?

Because they aren’t allowed to impose their dangerous kids on the rest of society just because they want to!

Sheesh.

@Pablo

Look at Cousin Squid here. Aside from his racism, he has made it clear that he intends to sponge off the sacrifice of others and provide nothing in return.

Sacrifice? What sacrifice? According to the CDC:

Vaccines are very safe. Today, the United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history

Anyway,Pablo continues…

“He counts on us to vaccinate our children and provide a herd immunity so that he doesn’t have to put HIS kids at risk”

I’m not counting on anything. I just don’t fear the mumps, measles, etcetera

———————–
@Rene

There is plenty of case law from the Supreme Court whereby vaccination is not a matter of individual rights.

Yes Rene you are right the court is always right

See

Wickard v. Filburn

Plessy v. Ferguson

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Korematsu v. United States

——————
It is a matter of the rights of the rest of society.

Society doesn’t have rights, people do
——————————
The opinion that Sid Offit is a coward is also my own, and it is based on solid evidence of his anonymous commenting. Some of us have solid brass ones to stand up to public scrutiny of our beliefs. Sid does not.

Do you really think the host of this blog is a robot broadcasting from deep within federation space?

PS
The court decides law not morality.

Here’s a site that discusses the lengthy record of safety of aluminum-containing adjuvants in vaccines. Among the interesting data they cite is that due to aluminum’s ubiquitous nature in the environment, human breast milk contains 40 micrograms of aluminum per liter, and infant formula 225 micrograms per liter.

Obviously we should ban breast-feeding. We’ve got the proof!

Also, here’s a Cochrane review that found no association between aluminum-containing adjuvants and health problems (apart from vaccine site irritation).

On the subject of T-shirts, here’s one to wear to the antivax rally (when Wakefield is speaking). And a bunch of us could wear these while applauding at inappropriate moments.

By the way, if this comment does not appear immediately, it must be due to shenanigans by antivaxers, not anything related to a spam filter that detects multiple links.

@Sid

I wish people would stop throwing the word “immoral” around when they mean “inconvenient”. Ethics is a real field, and to say that because you don’t like it makes it immoral is a gross distortion of the facts.

Your stated philosophy is that things that violate an individual’s freedoms are inherently immoral, since individual liberty is somehow a moral absolute. Here are some other things that are “immoral” by your definition:

– Speed Limits
– Jail for convicted criminals
– Locks on doors
– Self-defence
– Any kind of government and/or legislation

Society exists always at the expense of individual freedoms. I can function in society because I am not free to do certain things, like murder my neighbour and rape his daughter. We are perfectly willing to accept infringement of our personal freedoms and to call them “moral.”

Please note here that I am not saying that all things done for the good of society are moral (slavery, for example, is immoral even though society as a whole may benefit), but your standard of “violating individual liberty” is completely bogus. You wouldn’t like a society where everyone has complete individual liberty.

Ian @32

In the same way, you don’t have the right to expose me and my child to disease that we would otherwise be safe from.

How can you demonstrate that a person has “inappropriately” exposed you to disease? The person that allegedly exposed you, would likely also have a beef with the person who made them ill…and the person that exposed them…and the person that exposed them…and the person that exposed them. If somewhere along this interesting line of infectors someone has been vaccinated, then what? Can you also adequately demonstrate that simply being vaccinated would have prevented that person from spreading disease? Why has your vaccination status escaped scrutiny…. why didn’t your vaccine work and prevent you from also spreading disease?

@Sid
All of the court decisions you mention were eventually reversed. There are plenty of decisions that continue to uphold the good of the many outweigh the right of the one. Over and over again. Stare decisis, I think they call it. And, yes, society has rights. It’s called a societal covenant. It’s just that those rights emanate from the individuals. Want to live in my town, go to my school? Good. Get vaccinated and keep us all healthy.

The disclaimers are the result of your and your colleagues’ attempts to get me fired.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and responses in this comment are my own, not those of some unseen and all-knowing group that sits high atop Public Health’s Mount Olympus and determines whether I professionally live or die.

I felt a great disturbance in science based medicine, as if millions of anti-vaxxers suddenly cried out “no vaccinations!!!” and were suddenly contagious. I fear some terrible disease will happen.

@ Science Mom. It seems you didn’t read the study carefully.

The average weight of a child when multiple vaccines are given is not more than 5kg. If you do the math and make weight adjusted calculations it turns out that babies can easily get as much as 300 μg/kg with the current US vaccine schedule. 100μg/kg already caused neurological damage.

Their is also no reason to believe that an intramuscular injection of AI would be much safer.

I would really appreciate if you point out any flaws but what you provided isn’t really much relevant and also erroneous reasoning. Did you actually read the full paper?

@Ian

Regarding individual liberty, something called the “harm principal” should assuage you’re fears of homicidal maniacs terrorizing the populace. You’ll note however that it’s the “harm”, and not “affect” principal.

@cynic

Are you asking how I can establish that a given individual has exposed me to disease? As you note, that’s quite a difficult undertaking. However, one could start, as so many epidemiologists do, by tracking the source of the disease to the point where it entered the population of which I am a member, that’s a start.

I think the argument that you are trying to make is that one isn’t able to say for sure that they wouldn’t have gotten sick otherwise, which I suppose is fair. However, the argument falls apart when you bring in the responsibility that members of the population have. It’s a liability issue. I’m not a lawyer, but I understand the concept as it relates to ethics.

If company X dumps carcinogens into the water and I get cancer, it’s not possible to state to a medical certainty that my cancer was definitely caused by company X, but the argument can be (and is) made that the company has both a social and legal obligation to prevent contamination. Even though I cannot 100% prove that it was because of their chemical rather than random chance, the preponderance of evidence suggests that their dumping increased my risk, and since I can demonstrate harm (I have cancer), they are ethically (and legally, unless they have a great lawyer) liable.

In the same way, while I can’t demonstrate that non-vaccinating parents are the ultimate cause of my daughter’s pertussis, they had an obligation as members of society to engage in certain reasonable protective measures. Their failure to do so renders them liable. If, however, everyone has been vaccinated and I simply do not respond, or I cannot be vaccinated and get exposed from a foreign vector (a traveller, food-borne contamination, etc.) then that’s just shitty luck. The dividing line is whether you have engaged in an action (or failed to live up to a social obligation) that increases my risk far above the rate of random bad luck, and I am harmed as a result.

@cynic

If somewhere along this interesting line of infectors someone has been vaccinated, then what? Can you also adequately demonstrate that simply being vaccinated would have prevented that person from spreading disease?

We know that, in general, individuals that are vaccinated have X% greater chance of avoiding infection than those who are not vaccinated. Given that, a person who is vaccinated yet is still infected made a good faith effort to avoid infection and spread of the disease. The same cannot reasonably be said of those who do not vaccinate.

I would grant, though, that a legal argument against someone who did not vaccinate would have a very difficult time in court. An argument of negligence could potentially hold, depending on the circumstances.

@Rene

It’s called a societal covenant.

I can make up words too.

————————

Wickard v. Filburn was never reversed

@Sid

I’m not concerned about homicidal maniacs. That’s because I live in a country that recognizes the principle that some infringement of personal freedom is necessary for the group as a whole to succeed. Taxation is infringing on my personal rights (yours too), but that doesn’t make it “immoral”, just really friggin’ inconvenient, which is what I think you’ve been meaning to say all along.

Also, I think you mean “effect”. And when the “effect” of a given action is “harm”, then “they’re the same thing”.

@Ian
I’m not concerned about homicidal maniacs

Jeez, I don’t know where I got that idea.

I can function in society because I am not free to do certain things, like murder my neighbour and rape his daughter.

@Ian

I did mean effect. Thank you. Anyway…

And when the “effect” of a given action is “harm”

What is the harm of not vaccinating exactly?

—————–
@Rene

Want to live in my town, go to my school? Good. Get vaccinated and keep us all healthy.

When you get a town let me know. I’ll come endanger everyone

@mula

The flaw in your reasoning is that you’re assuming that 300mcg/kg of aluminum over 18 months is the same as 300mcg/kg of aluminum in two weeks. If you read any decent introduction to toxicology, it will tell you that the dose makes the poison or something to that effect. It would not be safe to inject a baby with 18 months worth of aluminum adjuvant over 2 weeks, you’re absolutely correct. However, that’s not what’s happening.

Also, what does that have to do with autism? Aluminum toxicity doesn’t look anything like autism, and autism isn’t brain damage.

Dangerous Bacon @ 38

The first site you mention also contains this nice bit of information:

Not all vaccines contain aluminum salts because an adjuvant may not have been needed, was not expected to increase the desired immune response, or was going to cause an imbalance in the immune response. For example, inactivated Polio Virus (IPV) vaccine,
measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), varicella vaccine, Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccine, and influenza vaccines do not
contain aluminum salts.

Oh, and Sid @ 46: the word is spelled “principle.” You’re welcome.

@Sid

Okay, ignoring for a moment that you seem to lack the basic comprehension of what an illustrative point is, if you look at the rest of my comment, you’ll see that I answered why I am not afraid of homicidal maniacs. If there were no laws I would be extremely afraid of homicidal maniacs, harm principle or not.

Also, I know that you’ve had the “what’s the harm of not vaccinating” question answered for you a gojillion times. I’m going to pretend that you’re not as big an idiot as you like to play on the message boards and, assuming you’ve been inflicted with some kind of selective amnesia, refer you to this site so you can see a much better answer to that question than I have the ability to give you.

“Arch508 and Callie: your oversimplification and naivite about vaccine exemptions is interesting and shows your bias. In many cases parents are very much hamstrung with the vaccine requirements.”

http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

I count 18 states with a “Philosophical” exemption and 48 states with a religious exemption.

Also, (anecdote alert) as someone who was (previously) not planning on vaccinating her future children, I’ve spent much time on anti-vaccine boards and parenting boards (such as MDC) and the only time I got the impression any parent was “hamstrung” over the requirement was when they happened to live in one of the few states that either only has medical exemptions (only WV and MS) or one that didn’t have a philosophical exemption and the religious exemption required proof of vaccination being against the person’s actual religion. Even in the situations of the stricter religious exemptions, there were almost always ways concocted to get around it (such as: making up your own religion or claiming your religion is something other than what you actually believe).

And as others have pointed out, there is the option of private schools (ones that are anti-vaccine friendly, such as Montessori schools) or homeschooling. Which, usually for financial reasons, aren’t always feasible.

@ Ian

Please look up the current vaccine US schedule for babies 2-6 months old.

A child can easily get several vaccines in one month. As much as 7. Most of them do actually contain aluminium salts.

If you combine the alumnium doses of several vaccines that could be given within a 2 week period you can easily reach 300mcg/kg and of course 100mcg/kg in one day.

There is no doubt about this. Feel free to look up the vaccine schedule.

I find this to be compelling evidence and it’s quite interesting that you or others are really quick to dismiss the study without having done the simple math.

It is not difficult at all to reach 300mcg in the weeks after the second month after birth. You could in theory even reach the 300mcg/kg in one single day.

Best wishes

Ps. Where did i say that this has anything to do with autism? I can’t remember that i made such a statement nor is this mentioned in the study.

@Ian

an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) has occurred…

…this has caused cancellations of events such as the local Little League All Star tournament

The Horror. . . The Horror. . .

there is the option of private schools (ones that are anti-vaccine friendly, such as Montessori schools)

I believe that it’s Waldorf Schools that can be anti-vaccine. This derives from the viewpoint of their founder. Not all of them are, though. AFAIK, Montessori Schools are not anti-vax.

@Sid: Your Momma StagMom figured out who I am and may have even contacted my employers with some salicious tales of how I waste my time debating antivaxers. So why don’t you ask her where I live and you drop by for some coffee. I have a killer tuna salad with 57 micrograms of mercury (per can used) you’re just going to love. And, what the heck, bring the measles.

DISCLAIMER: Again, just making it clear that these are my opinions, not those of the people on the 13th floor (or the people under the stairs).

Sid @58

Your comment makes me want to reach through my computer and slap you. I sure hope that none of the kids you are poking fun at had to be hospitalized or worse.

@Sid

Okay, so I guess after comments like that I can stop pretending you aren’t an idiot. I really did try. a href = “http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/pertussis_t.htm”>Pertussis is fatal. You can go make jokes to the parents of the dead kids, and see how funny they think you are. Personally, I think you’re hilarious, but probably not for the reason you’d like.

@mula

This post was about vaccines and autism. You posted a comment about aluminum and brain damage. Stupid me, I thought you were trying to make a point that was relevant to the discussion. Nope, turns out you just happen to have stumbled upon the fact that all babies are exposed to acute aluminum poisoning (despite any evidence of such poisoning) and have been for years (again, evidence not shown), and you decided to tell us about it just ’cause. You should call the President – he’ll probably want to know.

@mula

“Feel free to look up the vaccine schedule.”

You’re making the claim, why don’t you provide the numbers with citations?

“I believe that it’s Waldorf Schools that can be anti-vaccine. This derives from the viewpoint of their founder. Not all of them are, though. AFAIK, Montessori Schools are not anti-vax.”

Ah, sorry bout that. I sometimes get those two mixed up on their vaccination stance since they are both pretty popular among the “crunchy” mommas who tend to be anti-vacc 🙂

mula: “Ps. Where did i say that this has anything to do with autism? I can’t remember that i made such a statement nor is this mentioned in the study.”

Speaking of things not mentioned in the study, there’s the word “proof” that you repeatedly use. The researchers did not use vaccines, work with humans or make definitive conclusions about anything, yet you chose a posting about autism and vaccines to declare that you’d found “proof” of vaccine harm.

Your protestations fail to convince.

@ jen 26

“Arch508 and Callie: your oversimplification and naivite about vaccine exemptions is interesting and shows your bias. In many cases parents are very much hamstrung with the vaccine requirements.”

Where was the oversimplification? Perhaps you could back up your opinions with some persuasive arguments.

Is it true, yes or no, that most states allow for exemptions to the vaccine requirements in public school that parents could take advantage of? Perhaps it may take some paperwork, but how does that leave parents “hamstrung”? When you suggest something is compulsory it means that it is obligatory or required, therefore, if there are exemptions, then there are no longer strict requirements and vaccination is no longer compulsory.

Is it also true, yes or no, that even if there are no exemptions, there are certainly other options? Private school and homeschooling are certainly possibilities. They may cost a parent money, but choices come with consequences. If you don’t want to accept the risks of living in society like everyone else, why should you get to reap the benefits afforded by society? Public school is good public policy for long-term societal growth, but is not an inalienable right. In fact, in the quoted passage above, the call is:

“We believe in the rights to life, liberty, and personal security for ourselves and our children.”

Doesn’t say anything about public education. You are free to not vaccinate your child, but that does not mean you are free to reap the benefits of society for that child on the backs of others willing to take risks for the protection of society. Your decision not to vaccinate, but then send your unvaccinated child to public school greatly increases the likelyhood that your child (and by extension you) will infringe on both the life and personal security of other children who attend school with your child.

Jen @ 26:

Arch508 and Callie: your oversimplification and naivite about vaccine exemptions is interesting and shows your bias. In many cases parents are very much hamstrung with the vaccine requirements.

Seriously? No. All states permit a medical exemption (which means all you have to do is find a sympathetic doctor, such as Jay Gordon) and nearly all permit a religious exemption. Many also allow a philosophical exemption, which is basically just “I don’t wanna”.

Hamstrung? Not in this country. And you of all people should know this, since your idols are willing and able to counsel parents on the best way to get an exemption.

T. Bruce McNeely @ 59:

I believe that it’s Waldorf Schools that can be anti-vaccine. This derives from the viewpoint of their founder. Not all of them are, though. AFAIK, Montessori Schools are not anti-vax.

You are correct, though note that the term “Montessori” is not protected, so there are Montessori schools that don’t actually follow the Montessori Method and which could have pretty much any philosophy whatsoever.

I have a daughter currently enrolled in a true Montessori school. This particular one goes up through the equivalent of grade 8, though I expect to move her for kindergarten. (Her older sister stayed there through kindergarten. I’m going to move the younger one sooner for convenience sake — it’ll be nice having them in the same building for a while.) They require proof of vaccination for all of their students, or a medical exemption.

Sid, you’re making the point that homeschooling deprives kids of important socialization chances. On the other hand, parents might not want to have their kids socialize with walking health hazards. Would you be comfortable with voluntary immunizations as long as the immunization status of each kid is made public? That way, each parent can make the informed decision on which contacts to allow or not.

@ JohnV..

That’s not difficult.

The vaccine schedule is here:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/2010/10_0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf

Now look at month 2,4 and 6,

Start with month 2. Up to 6 vaccines are possible.(Most of them contain aluminiumhydroxide)

The PCV vaccine for children contains 125mcg aluminum per dose. The DTaP 625mcg aluminium and the HIB 220mcg alumium.

(You can look this up at the merck, pfizer, glaxosmithkline websites etc. to verify it of you want to)

There could more aluminium containing vaccines be given but i will keep this simple.

You can see that it is not difficult at all to give a babies with 5kg injections with 500mcg aluminium.(100mcg/kg)

Thus potentially harmful levels can be definitely reached and there is compelling evidence that the aluminium levels in childhood vaccines are not safe.

That’s just science that is being applied here. Nothing more.

@mula

If your numbers are accurate, this is indeed an interesting finding. The question then becomes what is the extent of harm, if any, that such a hypothetical overexposure could have. It’s quite a leap to go from “it is possible to be acutely exposed to 100 mcg/kg of aluminum from vaccines” to “vaccine aluminum causes brain damage.”

I disagree with your assertion that this back-of-napkin arithmetic constitutes “compelling evidence” of vaccine harm. I’d have to see some evidence of harm first. That being said, you don’t appear to be pulling stuff out of thin air, unless there’s something here that I’m missing. Being not intimately familiar with the vaccine frequency, I’d still be curious to learn how often, if ever, kids are exposed to that much aluminum at once, or at least within the span described by the mouse study.

To my mind, Kim Wombles at Countering Age of Autism got it correct this morning:

Age of Autism Gets Honest and Changes Its Name (snark)

Today, in an unprecedented show of integrity and honesty, Age of Autism changed its name to Vaccines: The Cause of Everything Wrong With the World: the daily newspaper of vaccine conspiracies.

After running a series of posts having absolutely nothing to do with autism at all, in any capacity, Age of Autism took a deep breath, looked good and hard at itself in the mirror, and decided to quit pretending to be anything other than a gathering place for wackawoos.

Go read the whole thing.

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