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“Vaccine Awareness Week”: Barbara Loe Fisher dupes Delta Airlines into running an anti-vaccine PSA

The nearest major airport to me happens to be a Delta Airlines hub. Consequently, nine times out of ten, whenever I have to fly anywhere I’m usually stuck using Delta Airlines. It’s actually not too bad, as major airlines go, better than some but about the same as most. Unfortunately, during the month of November, Delta’s in-flight entertainment will leave much to be desired. The reason? Apparently, not satisfied with renting the CBS JumboTron in Times Square last year, this year the highly Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) somehow slithered their way into the in flight entertainment on Delta Airlines in the form of this video, for which, unfortunately, embedding is disabled, as are comments. (So leave your comments here.)

Notice how it starts out as seemingly a normal PSA about how to avoid the flu. It includes sensible recommendations, such as frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, eating a nutritious diet, and getting enough exercise. The first signs of trouble occur when the announcer claims that vitamin C can prevent the flu (the evidence for this claim is, to put it charitably, very shaky at best), but the real trouble doesn’t really arrive until, cleverly on the part of the NVIC, until the last third or so of the video, when the announcer chirps, “Getting a flu shot is another option.” Then, while the announcer keeps chirping seemingly reasonable information about reading the package insert and urging viewers to ask their doctor about the risks and benefits of the flu vaccine, the camera focuses on pictures of the NVIC website, including images of headlines like “Mercury in vaccines” and “Aluminum in vaccines, as the announcer touts “different ways to stay healthy,” the obvious implication is “different than the flu vaccine.” The video concludes with a shot of anti-vaccine grande dame Barbara Loe Fisher telling the audience:

Become an informed health care consumer. It’s about your health, your family, your choice.

I agree. It is about your health, your family, and your choice, which is why you should avoid the mass of misinformation that is the NVIC website.

This is a classic version of what I like to call “misinformed consent.” Anti-vaccine propagandists like Barbara Loe Fisher are clever in that they have finally apparently realized that a straight anti-vaccine message is a PR loser (not to mention that responsible corporations won’t air a straight anti-vaccine message); so they don’t include anything as blatant as what’s on their website in their PSAs anymore. Instead, the take a page from the “health freedom” movement and use rhetoric like what’s in this video. If you didn’t know that the NVIC is the oldest and one of the most influential groups in the modern anti-vaccine movement, the video would appear to be just another health-oriented PSA. Most viewers wouldn’t realize it, either. If, however, out of curiosity they happen to type “” into their browser they will be confronted with slick anti-vaccine propaganda wrapped in the same deceptive rhetoric about “your choice,” including a highly deceptive “vaccine ingredient calculator,” a fetid load of misinformation about the recent Institute of Medicine report on adverse reactions due to vaccines, the Vaccine Freedom Wall (dedicated to supposed “repression” and “abuse” anti-vaccine parents have experienced for refusing to vaccinate), and the worst of the worst, NVIC’s International Memorial for Vaccine Victims, which implies that vaccines are dangerous and have injured or killed many children, an utter lie. As I’ve said many times before, we’re all for informed consent and personal choice, but both have to be based on accurate information, science, and correct estimates of the risk-benefit ratios of the intervention being recommended.

Indeed, the NVIC specializes intentionally on misinformed consent, in which risks of vaccines are exaggerated far beyond what any science can support and when there aren’t enough risks to suit the NVIC’s taste they show no compunction about promoting imaginary, fantastical, and outright false risks, such as the claim that vaccines cause autism. The only difference this year is that the NVIC, apparently stung by the slapdown administered by the blogosphere and the American Academy of Pediatrics over its JumboTron ad earlier this year, has disguised its anti-vaccine agenda even more effectively, leaving the frankly anti-vaccine information to its website, which its Delta Airlines PSA urges viewers to visit.

And then there’s the reason they’re doing it. It turns out that I had forgotten. Apparently this week is Vaccine Awareness Week (VAW), a joint “effort” by Barbara Loe Fisher with the NVIC and Joe Mercola:

It’s rather interesting how nowhere in the video is mentioned. Mercola is, however, mentioned in various posts on the NVIC and websites. Be that as it may, the NVIC has, once again, clearly teamed with the quackery-promoting website, to pick the last week of October/first week of November to spread misinformation about vaccines by any means they can. (I really wish these anti-vaccine loon groups would get together and settle on just one crank “vaccine awareness week” or month. I can’t keep them all straight, kind of like the way I can’t keep the various homeopathy awareness weeks straight.) You’ll forgive me for having forgotten all about it; it just didn’t register to me until it was already halfway over, so much of the “same ol’ same ol'” has it been. As part of his “celebration” of VAW, Joe Mercola is also streaming an anti-vaccine movie, The Greater Good (link to the video on Vimeo here), which I, as your humble blogger, will try to watch and review, although I don’t know whether I’ll manage to do it before the end of VIAW or whether I’ll post the review here or on my other blogging location. After all, even the mighty Orac can only withstand so much concentrated anti-vaccine nonsense at one time. (Yes, I have already sampled several minutes of the movie; so I know of what I speak.)

In the second year of Mercola’s and the NVIC’s intelligence-insulting “Vaccine Awareness Week,” it looks as though they’ve decided to try to move up the time frame of their attempts to reach the general public with their anti-vaccine propaganda. Last year, during the VAW, Mercola and the NVIC posted the same anti-vaccine nonsense that they usually post, only more of it. The NVIC then followed VAW up by buying pre-movie ad space during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend last year in AMC Theaters to air an anti-vaccine PSA, resulting in skeptical activism and pushback against it. Then, a few months later, the NVIC bought ad time on the CBS JumboTron in Times Square for a very brief ad for the NVIC. Now, the NVIC has gotten even more clever at disguising its anti-vaccine message by wrapping it a seemingly normal health PSA that is in reality an ad for the NVIC and the anti-vaccine message on its website. And the NVIC does it all without actually attacking the flu vaccine directly, instead relying on its PSA being in essence an advertisement for its website. The “Vaccine Awareness” that the NVIC promotes is, as is typical of an anti-vaccine organization, only negative awareness.

All of which is why it looks like it’s time for a bit of skeptical activism again, this time to educate the relevant officials at Delta Airlines. In the meantime, I’ll also keep an eye on what Mercola and Fisher are up to for the rest of this “Vaccine Awareness Week,” realizing that the only “awareness” of vaccines they promote is misinformed awareness.

ADDENDUM: Leave it to Elyse to get the ball rolling with a petition at Also, she’s provided a handy-dandy list of contacts at Delta Airlines and its video provider. I have to wonder whether complaints are already having an effect. It’s been pointed out to me that the video has been taken down by the user at YouTube; I note that the video was not hosted at the NVIC’s YouTube channel, but rather at the In-Flight Media Associates YouTube channel. That’s the company providing Delta’s video content.

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]

324 replies on ““Vaccine Awareness Week”: Barbara Loe Fisher dupes Delta Airlines into running an anti-vaccine PSA”

What?!! The whole of October was Vaccine Injury Awareness Month! Why do they need another week on top of that?
I managed to put up five pro-vaxx posts on my blog during October to counteract their, ummm, horse elbows. Looks like I’m going to have to do some more.

Speaking from my experience as a public health nurse in the Division of Communicable Disease Control of a large County health department, I can unequivocally state that all domestic and international airlines have had instances of passengers with communicable diseases aboard their flights.

There have been instances of patients with sputum positive tuberculosis who have been diagnosed after their arrival at their destination, as well as instances of patients diagnosed with bacterial meningitis or measles, who were aboard flights when they were asymptomatic, yet highly infectious during their time on the plane.

Our clinical staff have been involved in investigations of these passengers with communicable airborne or droplet borne diseases because of the geographic area we practice in…at the nexus of two large international airports and one regional airport.

During intensive case surveillance, one of the first questions posed to patients or their families is history of recent travel aboard a common conveyance (buses, trains and airplanes).

The head office or a local administrative office of the airline is contacted to secure the passenger manifest and the airline is directed to immediately contact each exposed passenger at home or at the passenger’s destination.

Staff at the airline is provided with educational material to distribute to any “exposed” passenger and the exposed passenger is told specifically which communicable disease they might have been exposed to; the identity of the ill passenger is never provided.

If a passenger was seated near a person with tuberculosis they are instructed to notify their personal physician for 2-step Mantoux skin testing. If the passenger was exposed to a person with bacterial meningitis they are also directed to go to their physician for prescribing of prophylactic antibiotics to greatly lessen their chances of contracting this serious disease. Measles-exposed passengers should check their immunization records to see that they are protected and receive either an MMR vaccine if they are not fully immunized or receive immune globulin. If a passenger does not have a primary care physician, then prophylactic treatment is provided in a county-run health department clinic.

Whenever a patient with these diseases was located within our county, we, along with our state health department were the lead investigating agencies. At other times, we participated in the investigation, but the health departments where the case was located was the lead agency, whether it was in another state or another country.

News stories and press releases rarely identify the actual airline airline or the actual flight where a communicable disease exposure took place….but again, speaking from experience every airline including Delta has had instances of passengers with highly communicable infectious disease aboard their flights.

Fortunately, there rarely are cases confirmed of these serious diseases that have been communicated to other passengers and influenza usually is nowhere as serious as infections by the measles virus or meningitis or tuberculosis bacteria.

I still cannot understand how Delta or any other airline would permit a notorious anti-vaccination group to run their biased and unscientific PSAs aboard their flights. It is such a disservice to their passengers.

Laura are you trolling again? Haven’t you received enough of a verbal beating from people here…who actually know about immunology and disease transmission?

Stick around, I have a comment in moderation about my experiences in public health when investigating possible communicable disease transmission aboard airplanes.

Laura, you are aware, aren’t you, that newborn children are exposed to more antigens in their first day outside the womb than are contained in a full vaccine schedule? So how does this fit with your ‘too many, too soon’ mantra?

“Frozen human brain tissue (front cerebral cortex) of 8 autistic patients and 8 age and gender matched normal subjects…” As a purely naive observation, isn’t that an awfully low n?

Association doesn’t imply causation.

This study merely shows that patients with ASD have an elevated inflammatory response in the brain.
I don’t see how it correlate with the assertion that vaccines are responsible for it.

There are several possible triggers of inflammation and this study makes no mention of which specific trigger is responsible.

Again, even if we consider that these individuals are susceptible to launching an abnormally high immune response to antigens – vaccines are not the only source of antigenic exposure. In fact, we are exposed to far greater antigens naturally than we are by way of vaccination. Thus those susceptible to launching an abnormal immune response will do so whether vaccinated or not.

@Laura –

The beginning of the study suggests to me they are looking for differences between normal controls and ASD spectrum patients for easier diagnosis confirmation and that inflammation within the brain is visible because of these various markers.

No cause for this inflammation is speculated or suggested within it, so why do you suggest this study says that vaccines cause autism? Have you read the study or at least the abstract, or was this listed as a ‘reference’ in one of the misleading rants by an anti-vaccine advocate? Confirmation bias makes them find relationships where there are none proven and then use those imagined relationships (i.e., if inflammation is present obviously it was vaccines that must have caused it) to insist that what they are saying is true.

Maybe you should step back objectively and look at what is really said in the literature and realize that the millions who don’t react badly suggest that vaccination is on the whole safer than exposure to the disease it hopes to prevent.

Here’s an interesting link for your info…

You didn’t actually read this did you? A small study of n=8, that found results differing from previous studies with regards to inflammatory cytokines has to do with vaccines how?

By the way are you all afraid to use your real names??
I might be inclined to take you more seriously if you did…instead of the
oxymoronic “respectful insolence”

By all means, please post your full name and address since you’re trying to prove something. Please note that a.) The author of this blog uses his real name elsewhere and is a poorly kept secret and b.) Ask your filthy little anti-vax comrades what they like to do when they get the identity of pro-vaxxers. As if someone like you would take anyone seriously who threatens your dogma, name or pseudonym.

So, Delta doesn’t want you to get the flu vaccine before getting on their airplanes? That should really help their business around Christmas time. Maybe I get the shot anyway and check for some open seats later on.

I saw the video yesterday. To someone who does not regularly follow the antivaccine movement, it is a perfectly reasonable sounding PSA. There are subtle suggestions that the flu vaccine is totally unnecessary, but they never come right out and say anything that blatant. I also noticed that one of the views of the NVIC web site has a title/hyperlink for “Gardasil: The Damage Continues”.

I saw the video yesterday. To someone who does not regularly follow the antivaccine movement, it is a perfectly reasonable sounding PSA.

Exactly. It’s very clever, actually. The video starts out with a lot of (mostly) uncontroversial health advice. (The vitamin C claim is dodgy, but other than that…) Then, about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way in, the flu vaccine is mentioned as an “option” (note the choice of words) along with (again, seemingly uncontroversial) advice to read the package insert and ask your doctor questions. Then, the NVIC starts hawking its website as an aid to the viewer becoming an “educated, informed health care consumer.” Then, it’s only when a viewer visits the NVIC website that he will be exposed to the unfiltered, unvarnished anti-vaccine message, including claims that Gardasil is “killing girls,” that the flu vaccine is harmful and unnecessary, that vaccines cause autism and other neurdevelopmental conditions, and that vaccines are chock full of “toxins.”

Isn’t it time for a Vaccine Preventable Diseases Victims Week? Just to remember all victims of diseases which could have been easily prevented by vaccins or which have disapeared, thanks to vaccins.

Somewhat off-topic for a flu vaccine thread but this morning’s CBC news reports that Quebec has a measles epidemic (700+). The anti-vacciners appeared to have scored another hit. The province is still reviewing immunization rates.

I hope the anti-vacciners have not killed anyone.

YES! Please review “The Greater Good.” So many of my anti-vax acquaintances are telling me that it’s so great and is “based on science” and “tries to give an unbiased perspective” which I seriously doubt!


@13 As someone who survived measles (rubeola) but was left with lifelong eye problems, and barely survived whooping cough which came close to killing me at age 9 months, I say a resounding yes! I can assure you, had vaccines been available way back then, my mother would most certainly have taken advantage of them. Every time I had aches or pains in my legs, she was certain I was coming down with polio and made sure as soon as that vaccine was available, I received it. I had the smallpox vaccine and all the “boosters” and have the scar on my arm to prove it. Childhood was dangerous before vaccines, even though, contrary to the nonsense spouted by some people, we did know how to wash our hands and keep our houses clean. This year, I had both a flu shot and a shingles shot, the latter of which I wouldn’t have needed if I hadn’t had a severe case of chicken pox as a child. So yes! Let’s have this Vaccine Preventable Diseases Victims Week.

going back to lurk

@Laura: I DO post under my “real” name, just like you do. The “MI” before my name simply lets the regulars know me. Back in the day, there was another Dawn who posted (who became known as ‘Crazy Dawn’ so I added the MI to differentiate). Orac knows who I am; we have met in person and are from the same state originally, and when we met. He is now back in our original state while I remain – for now – in the other state.

Now, if you would kindly give REAL information about how vaccines are more dangerous than diseases. Oh, and your age would be nice. I’m 50, and recall the fears of the days when measles, mumps, chicken pox all caused many days of missed school, days stuck in bed, some hospitalizations and deaths. And when Rubella was horribly feared by all women of child bearing age. If you aren’t my age, you’d not understand WHY those of us are so glad vaccines prevent those days and don’t want to see them again.

Orac ( in his post and @ 12) describes the “foot-in-the door” technique much beloved by folks who have a bill of goods to sell you: start out with reasonable material your audience will agree with *before* you bring up Xenu….

Seriously though: I mostly read articles promoting anti-vax, HIV/AIDs denialism, and anti-pharmaceutical treatments for mental illness- recently it appears that those I survey are taking a more measured, thoughtful approach to presenting arguments supporting their usual ill-advised lunacy. Here’s what they do:

They appeal to the reader/listener as a reasonable person and themselves as investigative reporters/ scientists who are bringing you the *facts* as a “public service” -not industrial, compromised educational, media, or governmental propaganda ( and hey, we *all* know how corrupt those institutions really are! Just like Wall St!)

Mike Adams tells us how he has “researched” the issue for many years and Gary Null says he will translate the dry, scientific articles “for the layman”; they will talk about “studies” that “prove” their woo-ful hypotheses while delineating all of the conflicts of interests, design flaws, and statistical manipulations “prevalent” in studies that support the consensus while simultaneously maligning their authors and those who report about it. They will then declare the sum total “Junk Science”.

The foot-in-the-door gives charlatans *time* to sell their product and point of view. If you spend additional time in a supermarket chances are you’ll spend more money- the same principle is at work here.

I note that Laura is the 25th most popular name for American women in the past century, given to more than 740,473 women born in this country. (“More than” because the database is incomplete before the 1930s.) So what does “real name” mean here, even assuming that Laura is the name you use offline (whether or not it’s on your birth certificate)?

More to the point, we’re mostly posting either checkable facts, in which case our “real” names don’t matter–if I point you at the CDC website, you can trust or not trust the CDC, but it doesn’t matter what my real name is–or opinions, in which case I’m no more or less a stranger if you think my parents named me Vicki rather than Marisol or Arthur.

Laura refers us to an article written by researchers at IBR (Institute for Basic Research in Basic Research).

Of course she is completely clueless about the article, that looked at cadaver brains of people on the autism spectrum.

Laura, long before you started your “career” as an anti-vax troll, I was doing my own genetics research…not on the internet but at medical school and hospital libraries maintained for practicing physicians. None of these human genetics journals were on the internet.

Here’s a teaching moment for Laura. Rather than your usual citations from sources other than peer-reviewed journals performed by psuedo-scientists, you have stumbled upon researchers at IBR.

IBR is an internationally acclaimed institute, whose scientists first identified the mutated gene that causes PKU (Phenylketonuria) a metabolic disease that is now identified in neonates by a genetic test also developed by IBR scientists. Neonates found to have this disorder now are provided a special formula to avoid the severe developmental disabilities inherent in the disorder. IBR researchers have also intently studied Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) and the link between this disorder and early onset Alzheimer Disease, which has added immeasurably to research into the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer Disease. For other cutting edge research see:

NYS OPWDD-IBR-Major Findings

I’ve actually used my advocacy skills to implement programs of excellence with NYS OPWDD (Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities), including the implementation of the CDC recommendation to immunize developmentally disabled in OPWDD sponsored residential and day programs against the hepatitis B virus…my son was among the first of d.d. people to receive Heptavax vaccine in NYS in 1985.

Having a science background, then having a child with a rare genetic disorder and being an advocate for all developmentally disabled people,has really had an impact on the care received by children and adults similarly situated.

I won’t even dignify your questions about my anonymity when I post. The regulars here including Science Mom, have written extensively about those whose livelihood and personal safety has been threatened by your anti-vax pals.

Oops, the IBR referred to in my first sentence above should read “The Institute for Basic Research In Developmental Disabilities”

Ask your filthy little anti-vax comrades what they like to do when they get the identity of pro-vaxxers.

René Najera could answer that question.

By the way are you all afraid to use your real names??
I might be inclined to take you more seriously if you did…instead of the
oxymoronic “respectful insolence”

No you wouldn’t. That’s an excuse, and a pitiful one at that. Do you know you’re lying, or are you lying to yourself?

As pointed out, Orac’s real name is easy to find. But if you want other names, check Dr. Ben Goldacre (Bad Science), Dr. Paul Offit, and Dr. Steven Novella (Neurologica), all of whom have debunked antivax nonsense quite thoroughly, showing it to be misquotes, lies, badly done (and retracted) studies, and based on misunderstandings of actual research, science, coupled with a grade school or less understanding of chemistry, physiology, and immunology.

You could also check the names of those who write for the CDC, John Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, your provincial/state/federal health units, etc., or you could go into the literature (try Google Scholar) and find the names and affiliations of relevant researchers there.

We’re basically just repeating what we learn from the experts around the world whose names and affiliations are easily found so it is irrelevant whether or not we use real names in comments.

So, what excuse would you like to use so you can ignoring the experts?

As I like to query:

*How likely* is it that *all* of the scientists and institutions that produced / reviewed the consensus *over decades* are wrong, corrupt, or compromised,
AND that a small group with suspect educations and axes to grind are correct?

“Don’t trust your governments, the medical establishment, universities, and the media but trust *ME*!”, says the charlatan.

I particularly like how so many of the people who believe that there’s this massive government-sponsored conspiracy which has somehow never leaked or come to light, ALSO believe that the government is staffed solely by incompetent idiots who can’t manage the simplest of tasks.

Can you say “cognitive dissonance?”

@Denice: It’s all a part of a larger conspiracy. The Government is trying to reduce earth’s population to make room for their alien masters. Doctors are their evil minions and universities their weapons and strategy development wing. Big pharma provides the funds.

If I didn’t mess up again with my posting that I referred “laura” to, early this A.M., you would understand why I post using a ‘nym. Like Rene Najera, I worked for a County department of health and know only too well, the consequences that might ensue should I post under my real name.

Unlike Rene, I also post extensively about my experiences raising my deceased son who had a rare genetic disorder, who deserves, even in death, to remain “anonymous”.

“laura”, should she opt to post under her real name, would not be subjected to any threats by the regular (non-troll) posters here…and she is aware of that. So why doesn’t she pierce her own veil of anonymity?

One thing I can say for Mercola and Fisher is that they typically don’t attack vaccine advocates in a childish matter by using words like, “loon” and “quack”. If a public message suggests that people should read the package insert of the vaccine, what’s the damage? Vaccine inserts are never read by the recipients because they aren’t self administered like drugs. Parents and individuals should read the package inserts and question their doctors if they feel it’s necessary.

One thing I can say for Mercola and Fisher is that they typically don’t attack vaccine advocates in a childish matter by using words like, “loon” and “quack”.

Nice. Ignore the facts in favor of insults. Remove the words “loon” and “quack” and Orac still has a valid argument.

“One thing I can say for Mercola and Fisher is that they typically don’t attack vaccine advocates in a childish matter by using words like, “loon” and “quack”.

The simple uncomplicated answer to Jim’s statement is that “vaccine advocates” who use science-based research are not “loons” and “quacks”.

Jim, are you aware that there is a federal regulation that VISs (Vaccine Information Sheets) MUST be provided to the patient or parent/guardian of a child, before any vaccines are administered. The VISs are available in English and in many foreign lanquages on the internet and contain valuable information about each of the diseases that are prevented by vaccines in “user-friendly” language. They also contain information about every common minor reaction and information about the extremely rare major reactions, that are associated with each vaccine.

Why don’t you peruse these VISs and compare and contrast the information contained in them with the pseudo-scientific information presented on Joe Mercola’s website and the NVIC website?

One thing I can say for Mercola and Fisher is that they typically don’t attack vaccine advocates in a childish matter by using words like, “loon” and “quack”.

The people in question are not, by any meaningful definition, “vaccine advocates.” Their goal is the abolition of all vaccination, and they’re willing to lie extensively to accomplish that. “Loon” and “quack” are overly kind, in most cases. “Attempted mass murderer” would be perfectly accurate.

I will note additionally that you apparently are unable to provide actual evidence that they are correct, and are hence reduced to whining that Orac’s not being nice.

Jim, you’re right that the anti-vaccine crowd doesn’t use childish language to attack their opposition. They merely accuse them of torture, maiming and murder.

I can appreciate the importance of terminology and phrasing in communication. Take political discourse, for instance. No one has ever been convinced by an argument phrased in terms of “Nobama,” “Democrap,” or “Republitard.”

That said, semantics has little impact on fact. Say what you like about the delivery of the message; it doesn’t change that the anti-vaccination people are factually wrong and the “pro-“vaccination people are factually correct.

“Their goal is the abolition of all vaccination, and they’re willing to lie extensively to accomplish that. “Loon” and “quack” are overly kind, in most cases. Attempted mass murderer” would be perfectly accurate.”

Sorry but I don’t see it this way because Fisher and other so called anti-vaxers typically preach vaccine choice. I’ve never heard such language come from that side, so it seems your a bit out there (looney). Mass murder?? It’s a known fact that mortality rates for most vaccinated diseases declined by over 90% prior to the introduction of the vaccine. So, for some other reason, maybe improved living conditions, these diseases were becoming less virulent. If you wanted to commit mass murder, you could blow up a countries sanitation and water filtration systems. Now that would result in an explosion infectious disease that would result in mass deaths.

Orac, has gotten my post out of moderation (See # 3 above). Thanks Orac.

I just tried the link Orac provided to the YouTube NVIC/Mercola PSA and this message came up:

“This video has been removed by the user”

D’oh! I knew I should have captured and saved the video off of YouTube! Anyone want to goes whether it’ll show up again in a different form?

On the other hand, I note that the video was on IMAvids’s Channel, which is the YouTube channel of In-Flight Media Associates. Maybe the complaints are already having an effect, and IMAvid already took the video down!

It’s a known fact that mortality rates for most vaccinated diseases declined by over 90% prior to the introduction of the vaccine.

[citation needed]

“By the way are you all afraid to use your real names??”

Coming from someone who doesn’t, that’s rich enough. Considering that everybody who commented before her is identifiable, it’s hilarious.

Yes, I’m a coward and proud of it, before she starts on anyone else. Assuming it is a “she” of course.

Jim, can you please tell us why the morbidity (rate) of measles went down 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? Please provide actual citations in your response. Here is the data:

Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2

Sorry but I don’t see it this way because Fisher and other so called anti-vaxers typically preach vaccine choice.

They SAY choice, but then proceed to lie their heads off claiming that vaccines have no benefit, cause every ill known to man, etc.

Mass murder?? It’s a known fact that mortality rates for most vaccinated diseases declined by over 90% prior to the introduction of the vaccine.

Even if we were to assume 99% reduction in mortality, when essentially every child gets all the nasty diseases, that will end up being millions of deaths. So yes, mass murder.

@Chris: but we all KNOW that it’s only the mortality rate that counts to people like Jim. It doesn’t matter if fewer people are also getting the diseases (which also means fewer people are suffering from the consequences of the diseases). It’s only the death rate that counts. And obviously, we had an amazing improvement in public health between 195 and 1970 to have the disease rate drop so fast. Right? /sarcasm

@Jim: No one denies that the improvement in medicine, public water supplies, etc have helped with the decrease in some diseases. The improvements in medical care have certainly helped with the death rates. But why should we even suffer from the disease if it can be prevented? And, like smallpox, measles COULD be eradicated in the world if enough people were vaccinated, since it has no non-human vectors. Why are you against that?

As for “loon” and “quack”: it’s better than being called murderers, Pharma Shills, cannibals, and other lies like that. Show me ANY vaccine post by Mercola or Adams that doesn’t imply that doctors only give vaccines for the money, and I’ll apologize for using loon and quack myself.

(And why would doctors want to give vaccines to make money, which is, at most, a 3 time hit, when they could make a LOT more money on office and home visits with sick children? Same with drug companies. Vaccines aren’t high on any companies profit list, but boy, can they make money on antibiotics, painkillers, fever reducers, other medications used during vaccine-preventable illnesses. And a lot of drug companies also make supplements – which Mercola and Adams LOVE – I don’t hear you calling Mercola and Adams Pharma Shills….)

And if we compare the words “loon” or “quack”, with the nasty cancer cartoons on Mike Adams site, I think the words that are used by dr. Orac and others here, aren’t that bad.


They SAY choice, but then proceed to lie their heads off claiming that vaccines have no benefit, cause every ill known to man, etc.

I used to criticize NVIC’s whooping cough page because it only talked about the DTP vaccine and all of its references were old. Then they revamped the site, and I looked at it again. They added some stuff, but it is full of cherry picking and often lying though by omission. Plus its bibliography of references is just full of fail (it looks like it was formatted by a fourth grader).

On NVIC’s pertussis (whooping cough) page are these words: “Other Serious Reported Adverse Events:…., encephalopathy, headache, hypotonia, ear pain, apnea, cough, angiodema, pruritis, rash, fatigue and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).”

Then I click on the link that information apparently came from above, the link labeled “About INFANRIX Vaccine in Brief.” It is an FDA page about the vaccine. That list of adverse events is listed after this paragraph:

In addition to reports in clinical trials, worldwide voluntary reports of adverse events received for INFANRIX since market introduction are listed below. This list includes serious events and events which have a plausible causal connection to INFANRIX. These adverse events were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size; therefore, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to vaccination.

Why was this omitted? It makes it seem that the vaccine is more dangerous than what the data show. Which is why it is called lying through omission.

The DTaP has been used for over a decade, so there should be fewer references to the dangers of the DTP vaccine. Also, it would be more honest to actually refer to the proper vaccine on the line that says: “Pediatrics – August 2005 study on effectiveness of DPT vaccine.” The link goes to a paper titled “Pertussis Vaccine Effectiveness Among Children 6 to 59 Months of Age in the United States, 1998–2001″, and is about about 3 DTaP and 2 DTP vaccines, not the non-existent “DPT” vaccine.

That is not the only reference that NVIC poorly formatted, one is just a title of a book (Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine). If NVIC is to be considered a top notch organization, it should at least use a standard reference format. Also it would be more professional to use the proper name of the whole cell diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine.

Also several pertinent papers have been ignored. Jim, that is called “cherry picking.” Here are just a few that NVIC misses:

Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.

Vaccine. 2007 Jun 21;25(26):4875-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis.
Vennemann MM, Höffgen M, Bajanowski T, Hense HW, Mitchell EA.

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):173-84.
Acellular pertussis vaccines in Japan: past, present and future.
Watanabe M, Nagai M.

MI Dawn:

Same with drug companies. Vaccines aren’t high on any companies profit list, but boy, can they make money on antibiotics, painkillers, fever reducers, other medications used during vaccine-preventable illnesses.

I just peeked at Wikipedia’s list of bestselling drugs, by sales in US dollars. It’s not terribly current; it’s for 2006. But the number two pharmaceutical product in 2006 was Advair. This is an asthma medication. Although asthma tends to run in families, it can also be brought on by severe upper respiratory tract infections which damage the lungs and airways. Examples of these infections include measles, whooping cough, and influenza. Six other asthma meds were in the top 200. No vaccine actually made the list. Tamiflu, an antiviral designed for fighting influenza, made the list at #40. Vaccines reduce the market for some real blockbuster drugs; the pharma shill argument is ridiculous.

Of course, Big Pharma does have a financial reason to endorse vaccination — the economy is better and they have more customers when people aren’t dying in droves. But that should be motiviation for all of us, not just Big Pharma.

MI Dawn:

@Chris: but we all KNOW that it’s only the mortality rate that counts to people like Jim. It doesn’t matter if fewer people are also getting the diseases (which also means fewer people are suffering from the consequences of the diseases).

I now have the opinion that folks like Jim who want children to suffer through measles, pertussis, mumps, chicken pox and even the real flu are sadistic. They want children to suffer and really don’t care if they suffer permanent disabilities.

Correction: three vaccines *did* make the list. Prevnar, for Pneumococcal disease from Wyeth, was #46; Infanrix/Pediarix, a DTaP vaccine from GalxoSmithKline, came in at #115 out of 200; Engerix-B, for HepB and also from GlaxoSmithKline, was #123. I didn’t notice because of the way the list was categorizing these.

I also didn’t notice some other asthma-related medications which were classed under related conditions instead, like COPD. Once those are listed, there are 16 asthma/COPD/brochospasm drugs in the 200 bestsellers of 2006, and only three vaccines. Because I’m curious, I’m in the process of further sorting the list.

No one denies that the improvement in medicine, public water supplies, etc have helped with the decrease in some diseases. The improvements in medical care have certainly helped with the death rates. But why should we even suffer from the disease if it can be prevented?

So, what about the role of contracting these diseases and their protective effect from allergies and autoimmune disease. It seems we may have replaced short termed illness with chronic illness in the majority.

[email protected]:

One thing I can say for Mercola and Fisher is that they typically don’t attack vaccine advocates in a childish matter by using words like, “loon” and “quack”.

I believe that they prefer to infer, rather than state, that “vaccine advocates” are murderous or cannibals or homicidally greedy. Your tone argument is invalid.

As to the use of pseudonyms, I use this one because my True Name™ could lead people to mistake me for a great many other people including a comedian, an authour, and a past president of a major bank. Thanks to the quirk of having a fairly generic name, this pseudonym identifies me far more uniquely than the one listed in the phone book.

(That using a ‘nym also cuts down on telephone harassment by cranks and avoids implying that my place of employment endorses my views are but pleasant side effects.)

— Steve

“However, no associations were found between measles vaccination and allergic disease.”

Seriously, Jim, it is just sick that you think risking a one in a thousand chance of serious complications from measles is better than some allergies. Are you really that sadistic?

Jim…I anticipated your remarks about sanitation and safe water supplies with my posting at # 3 above. You do know, don’t you, that TB and measles are spread through “airborne transmission”. Bacterial meningitis for which their are preventive vaccines are “droplet transmission” diseases. No amount of sanitation or safe water is going to protect you from getting these serious diseases.

And, no modern sanitation and safe drinking water will “save you” once you acquire TB, bacterial meningitis or measles.

Most cases of Tb are curable with a prolonged course of three antibiotics taken simultaneously…of course if you were exposed to and and actually contract multiple drug resistant TB, then you may succumb to TB.

The bacteria that I referred to in my posting that cause bacterial meningitis and/or the more deadly bacteremia are treated with IV antibiotics and the patient usually is on a life-sustaining ventilator during their hospitalization. “Curing” meningitis and bacteremia is not the sole goal here, because “cured” patients are frequently left with severe lifelong neurological impairments, limb amputations and major organ damages leading ultimately to organ failures.

“jim” should be looking at the reports of recent measles outbreaks and perhaps he could inform us how many of the “index cases” are associated with indigenous measles and how many “index cases” are imported from overseas. (Hint, the overseas measles “index cases” traveled to the United States on planes.)

Perhaps “jim” could enlighten us about his expertise in immunology, vaccine-preventable communicable diseases and his “treatment” recommendations. Why not contact the WHO and the CDC about your “expertise”, Jim? The WHO and the CDC are always interested in new innovative ways to protect the public.

Chronic illness in the majority? I tend to doubt this. But look at the terrible side-effects of having a vaccine preventable disease, not to mention the effects of getting polio and probably spend a life-time in an iron lung. Those are real facts and can be prevented by vaccination.

Jim @36

You do understand the a difference between a disease’s mortality rate (the number of deaths due to infection) and its incidence rate (the frequency of new infecton in a population)? There’s a reason why anti-vax advocates cite statistics for mortality rather than incidence–to mislead their audience regarding vaccination’s proven efficacy and afoten to also make a false claim that better hygiene, cleaner water, improved nutrition, etc., will serve in lieu of vaccination.

But while deaths due to infection did decrease prior to the widespread introduction of public health vaccine programs, principally due to improved medical care received by those people who became infected, disease incidence did not. People still became ill and still suffered all the significant adverse consequences of infection short of death, including all the birth defects associated with rubella, paralysis associated with polio, etc.

It wasn’t until vaccines became both available and widely administered that disease incidence decreased. For example, in the US incidence of measles decreased 90% in first five years following the licensure of measles vaccine in 1973. (see

JGC, there is a minor error in that paper. The first measles vaccines were licensed ten years before (which is why their graph ends in 1975). It may be a big ol’ typo.

See the Measles Chapter of the CDC Pink Book:

Following licensure of vaccine in 1963, the incidence
of measles decreased by more than 98%, and 2–3-year
epidemic cycles no longer occurred. Because of this success,
a 1978 Measles Elimination Program set a goal to eliminate
indigenous measles by October 1, 1982 (26,871 cases were
reported in 1978). The 1982 elimination goal was not met,
but in 1983, only 1,497 cases were reported (0.6 cases per
100,000 population), the lowest annual total ever reported
up to that time.

Here is a table that sums it up (from CDC Pink Book Appendix G, with some editing):

Disease: Measles in the USA
(^^ first vaccine licensed)
(^^^ MMR licensed)
(^^^ Measles Elimination Program started)

Ok, so I typed up a big post and lost it because I forgot to put in name/email. It contained links to published studies.
Basically it refered to Vitamin A and reduced mortality from measles. Google it…
It also referred to mortality rates in the developed world as compared to the developing world. Measles mortality is much higher in individuals with inadequate nutrition.
And there were many studies on how natural exposure to measles resulted in lower incidence of asthma and a host of other allergic disorders..
I have no more time here..but appreciated the discussion.

Jim, did you read Chris’ stats? People weren’t exactly malnourished in the 1950’s.

AKA “I’m going to just make up a bunch of BS with some bogus excuse for not providing any actual supporting evidence.” Doesn’t fly; without the evidence the claims mean less than nothing.

@Jim: “Links to published studies”

If they’re like the first published study that he cited, they have no relevance to the conversation or his conclusions. Has anyone actually tried to contact Delta Air about this?

I might be inclined to take you more seriously if you did [use your real name]

Oh joy, an anonymous person on the Internet might be inclined to take me more seriously! I am validated and gratified!

Re: #56
Thanks for the catch Chris–it does look like a typo in Englehart’s first paragraph.

Re: #57

I notice you’re still narrowly speaking to mortality due to infectious disease (in this case mealses). is there a reason why you’re being so narrowly focused, when one of the greatest benefits to society vaccnination offers is reducing the incidence of disease and all associated adverse consequences which fall short of people actually dying?

“Has anyone actually tried to contact Delta Air about this?”

Of course I have!!!. I telephoned corporate headquarters to get the email addresses of Delta’s CEO Richard H. Anderson and/or the Chief Medical Officer. I spoke to the switchboard, got transferred to two other people and was told that email addresses are not given out.

I was also told that a person could lodge a complaint at their website and that it would be forwarded to an appropriate person.

Meanwhile, I have an email composed earlier this morning, addressed to the CEO sitting in my “drafts” folder, awaiting any other suggestions from you guys.

Has anyone located the “disappearing You Tube Delta PSA video” that was taken down earlier?

I spoke to the switchboard, got transferred to two other people and was told that email addresses are not given out.

It’s nominally richard-dot-anderson-at-delta-dot-com. I wouldn’t expect this address to actually deliver directly, though. You could always see if you could drum up some support over at the Flyertalk Delta forum, I suppose, but I’d be very careful not to be argumentative, as there are a lot of long-timers.

@ Narad: I just finished posting a “complaint” at and requested an email reply:

“A friend who is a physician took a flight on Delta Airlines and told me about a Public Service Announcement video which was shown on his flight. It was sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center…a notorious anti-vaccination internet website, that dispenses pseudoscientific medical information and discourages immunizations.

This particular PSA about influenza is quite offensive and I am amazed that Delta condones the advice offered about this anti-vaccination group. Isn’t Delta concerned about transmission of communicable diseases and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to be immunized each year against influenza?

I am a public health nurse who has investigated disease transmission aboard airplanes.”

Thanks so much for the email address…I’ll try it now with the email in my “draft” folder.


You do know, don’t you, that TB and measles are spread through “airborne transmission”. Bacterial meningitis for which their are preventive vaccines are “droplet transmission” diseases. No amount of sanitation or safe water is going to protect you from getting these serious diseases.

Good one baglady. Haha:

Tuberculosis emerged as an epidemic in the 1600s, began to decline as sanitation improved in the 19th century, and retreated further when effective therapy was developed in the 1950s. TB was virtually forgotten until a recent resurgence in the U.S. and around the world-ominously, in forms resistant to commonly used medicines.


principally due to improved medical care received by those people who became infected

Citation needed

And what are your credentials, Mr. Schecter? What makes you an expert in biology or any other field of science?

We’ve had this conversation before, Bob. Thinking that Big Bad Voodoo Government is out to get you and that you are the only one who can hear their secret transmissions (or whatever the hell gets under your skin about vaccines) doesn’t make you an authority, let alone right, about vaccines.

I have a comment in moderation giving the link to the NVIC IMA video on youtube–it is still up, but the Every Child By Two video is down.

Here’s an extract from the pitch letter from In-Flight Media Associates (IMA) for the fall “Cold, Flu and Fall Allergy Season” segment of Lifestyle365″

·Delta Air Lines: Segment to air for a full calendar month on over 17,375 flights in front of an average of 2.5 million passengers
·Delta and Virgin America’s fleets are equipped with WIFI, passengers watching the program can log into your website right from their seat using their laptops or smart phones and instantly make a donation and learn more about your cause

The pitch also had some price figures for a 5 minute video on both Delta and Virgin. I’m guessing production and placement for the video cost somewhere around $20,000-$30,000.

What I want to know is where does NVIC get its funding? Nickel and dime contributions

OK, if you want something that might go through on its own, try Chris Babb, Senior Product Manager, retitled from IFE to Customer Experience Planning: chris-dot-b-dot-babb-at-delta-dot-com.

I would of course explain that any mail being directed his way is in the hope that his previous role in the in-flight entertainment division might facilitate comments’ being directed to the appropriate party most efficiently rather than, you know, just creepy address-mining.

No Offal, I am a recently retired public health nurse who actually was educated in immunology and disease transmission. My clinical experiences in the division of communicable disease control in a County health department and in public health clinics trumps your experiences as a “commodities investor” or whatever, as well as your experiences as a failed blogger.

I have a BSc-Nursing degree and am licensed as a registered nurse. What would your university-conferred degree be…and what would your particular professional license be?

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