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Questions requested for an anti-vaxer

While the drama continues and interesting developments occur, I’ve found that I actually don’t mind taking a couple of days off. Don’t worry. Blogging’s a bug that’s gotten into me and, like PZ, I’ll probably start twitching and seizing if I go too long without producing one of my patented logorrheic screeds of pure insolence, be it here, at my super not-so-secret other blog, or on some other blogging platform. At least 4,000 words would be best. Still, I should take a couple of days off more often and not under circumstances like the current upheaval.

Upheaval or no upheaval, strike or no strike, though, my duty to make life miserable for anti-vaccine loons whenever and wherever I can, waits for no strike. That’s why, when I heard about the appearance of Barbara Loe Fisher with actual physicians in a “debate” on a Cincinnati radio station on a radio show called Impact Cincinnati. Here’s the description:

Dr. Albert Sabin’s oral vaccine helped make Polio rare in many parts of the world. Other immunizations have dramatically reduced once widespread diseases such as Measles, Rubella, and Diphtheria, But some people question the possible side-effects of vaccinations.

Join us for Impact Cincinnati, Thursday, July 22 at 9:20 am, as we discuss the importance and safety of vaccines.

Our Guests include: Professor of Pediatrics in the Infectious Diseases Division at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Robert Frenck, Co-Founder and President of the National Vaccine Information Center, Barbara Loe Fisher and Chase College of Law Professor, Kennith Katkin .

Email your questions to [email protected] or follow us at twitter.com/impactwvxu.

While you’re waiting for your favorite ScienceBloggers (among them, I hope, me) to return, have some fun and send in your questions for Barbara Loe Fisher. Then do me a solid: Post them in the comments here, too.

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]

23 replies on “Questions requested for an anti-vaxer”

I emailed the NVIC a while back with the following question after Ms. Fisher posted a YouTube video including claims of a “fatal” pig virus:

I saw your recent video. You mention “fatal pig viruses”. Could you please point me to your data indicating that these viruses are fatal in humans?

Since NVIC did not respond to my question for information (They are an “information” center, right?), I have asked Impact to pose the question:

Dear Impact,

I see that you will have Barbara Loe Fisher on your show. I emailed her organization the question below after they put out a youtube video claiming that there were “fatal pig viruses” in a vaccine.

What Ms. Fisher neglected to state was that (a) the viruses are fatal only to pigs and (b) they found fragments of the viruses, not whole viruses.

The NVIC did not respond to my question asking if they had data that the viruses were fatal in humans. I’d appreciate it if you would pose the question to Ms. Fisher.

I have been told that the same researchers who found the porcine virus fragments in the vaccines also found it commonly in the feces of humans. When people stop eating pork products, the porcine virus disappeared from the feces. This would tell us (a) people are commonly exposed to these viruses, (b) the viruses are not fatal to humans and (c) the viruses do not actually infect humans.

This is the sort of information I would think a vaccine “information center” would make available, not unsubstantiated claims of “fatal” pig viruses.

“how many antigens can the infant immune system handle at the same time?”

“what differences are there between inorganic mercury and organic mercury compounds and why is this crucial when understanding the relative physiological effects of each?”

“how much more likely are you to contract chickenpox if you have not been vaccinated compared to someone who has been vaccinated?”

“What adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine are there? What are the adverse effects of the diseases the MMR vaccine protects against? Which set of reactions occur more frequently in a)a vaccinated population b)an unvaccinated population? What evidence are you citing?”

“did the smallpox vaccine help to eradicate smallpox?”

“how many antigens can the infant immune system handle at the same time?”

“what differences are there between inorganic mercury and organic mercury compounds and why is this crucial when understanding the relative physiological effects of each?”

“how much more likely are you to contract chickenpox if you have not been vaccinated compared to someone who has been vaccinated?”

“What adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine are there? What are the adverse effects of the diseases the MMR vaccine protects against? Which set of reactions occur more frequently in a)a vaccinated population b)an unvaccinated population? What evidence are you citing?”

“did the smallpox vaccine help to eradicate smallpox?”

this might be a double post on account of Orac’s terribly lackadaisical server, or mine….

I just emailed in this question:
Pertussis vaccine safety
A large meta-study in the journal ‘Pediatrics’ this month found a lack of association between acellular pertussis vaccine and seizures in early childhood. It examined 7191 seizure events among 433654 children and found a lower risk of seizures among those given the vaccine. Can we expect to see this important study mentioned on the NVIC website and on your Vaccine Awakening blog?

@5 Nescio,

That is in the published ahead of print section, not the current issue, but it should be in next month’s Pediatrics.

Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood.
Huang WT, Gargiullo PM, Broder KR, Weintraub ES, Iskander JK, Klein NP, Baggs JM; for the Vaccine Safety Datalink Team.
Pediatrics. 2010 Jul 19. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 20643726 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20643726
.

My question:

In the NVIC FAQ, Ms. Loe Fisher states the following:

“Aluminum can kill brain cells and make the blood brain barrier more permeable.”

No citation is given. What evidence does she have that supports this claim as it relates to the amounts of aluminum in the form of aluminum salts in vaccines, when administered in the same timeframe as vaccines in the same manner as vaccines?

“what is the goal of your movement, and what specifically are you doing to accomplish that goal?”

Program just finished. The host did not pose a single listener question. Dr. Frenck did a credible job, and came across as a calm, reasoned advocate for vaccinations. The host played a little too much he says/she says, so no minds are going to be changed.

Did Ms. Fisher get to tell us what level of safety she and the other “I’m not an antivaxer, I just want safer vaccines” antivaxers would accept?

I keep hoping one of them will suggest an acceptable level of reactions/side effects for vaccination, or else admit to us that their level of hatred of vaccination will allow absolutely no side effects whatsoever. Then they can inform us what other lifesaving drugs and medical procedures must be avoided because they also pose a risk of complications.

Program just finished. The host did not pose a single listener question. Dr. Frenck did a credible job, and came across as a calm, reasoned advocate for vaccinations. The host played a little too much he says/she says, so no minds are going to be changed.

In other words, they were lazy cowards.

Did Ms. Fisher get to tell us what level of safety she and the other “I’m not an antivaxer, I just want safer vaccines” antivaxers would accept?

An equally important question (assuming an answer to the first question is ever given) is: who would you trust to evaluate when a vaccine is safe enough? They don’t trust studies funded by Big Pharma, but they also don’t trust studies funded by governments. Even if the government is that of a country with fully socialized medicine, and hence would presumably not be influenced by Big Pharma, the anti-vaxxers still don’t trust studies funded by that government. So who would they trust?

Did Ms. Fisher get to tell us what level of safety she and the other “I’m not an antivaxer, I just want safer vaccines” antivaxers would accept?

If you click through the link in Orac’s link to “Impact Cincinnati” you can replay the discussion. The mainstream guys were, IMO, a model of rational decorum; I wish the host had not interrupted the discussion so much. Had Frenck and Katkin been allowed to follow a line of discussion in any detail, I think they could have calmly and rationally eviscerated just about any position Fisher took. They did manage to highlight Wakefield’s recent woes … good times …

Thanks for the post, Orac. I haven’t been able to listen to the show yet but am disappointed the moderator did not take questions.

I am loving these Chelorex oral chelation pill ads.

It’s like Seed Media is trying to drive away the medical bloggers.

I couldn’t help but notice the new bit of goalpost shifting going on here:

Autism is a label. We’re talking about immune and brain dysfunction.

Brilliant. Do we have to now disprove a link between vaccines and some nebulous “brain dysfuntion”? It doesn’t really matter what outcome measure we use, the anti-vaxxers are always going to come up with a new one that they insist requires investigation. This is why we can’t kowtow to their request for studies… it’s a money and resource sinkhole.

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