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Another defense of the antivaccine propaganda “documentary” The Greater Good from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District

San Ramon, we have a problem.

The other day, I laid some not-so-Respectful Insolence on a clueless school board president in San Ramon Valley, California, named Greg Marvel. What merited a heapin’ helpin’ of what Orac does so well was Marvel’s use of school board stationery to endorse a stinking, steaming turd of a movie that is really nothing more than antivaccine propaganda wrapped in false “balance” about vaccines. The movie I’m referring to is The Greater Good, and it’s going to be shown on Current TV this Saturday, followed by an online chat with the film’s producers. Basically, the antivaccine tropes are featured prominently, while the “balance” from token real scientists like Paul Offit, whose defense of vaccines was treated as though it were no more valid than the antivaccine pseudoscience on parade through most of the movie, which slavishly followed the “rule of three” by presenting three children whose parents believe they were injured by vaccines. As I described in my usual excruciating detail that you all come here for time and time again, none of the three anecdotes was convincing, and lined up against Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Melinda Wharton of the CDC, Dr. Norman Baylor of the FDA, and Dr. Mark Feinberg of Merck were a whole host of antivaccine pseudosexperts, such as Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, Dr. John Green III, and several trial lawyers known for representing parents suing for “vaccine injury.” The presentation made it very obvious on which side the filmmaker’s sympathies lie, and it wasn’t on the side of science.

So basically what happened is that Greg Marvel sent out a credulous letter on school board stationery strongly endorsing The Greater Good as being “balanced” and something that the parents of students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District should watch. In other words, he unethically abused his position as school board president to sway parents to watch a movie that is nothing more than propaganda against vaccines that blames them for neurological damage, autism, autoimmune diseases, and a wide variety of other health problems. One wonders whether our old buddy Kent Heckenlively, one of the stable of bloggers at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, had anything to do with this, given that I’m told that he’s a middle school teacher in that very same district. Or it’s possible that Marvel might have simply fallen under the sway of the antivaccine views so prevalent in the Bay Area, which is where the San Ramon Valley Unified School District is located.

Now, if you were a public health nurse in the school district whose president had just endorsed such a blatant bit of antivaccine propaganda, encouraging parents int he district to watch it, what would your reaction be? If you were science-based, you would be appalled. You might be afraid to speak out because Marvel is, after all, the school board president, and what employee of a school district wants to speak out against her school board president? What I would hope that we wouldn’t see from such a person is something like this:

Re: The film “The Greater Good”

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Nancy Sheets, and I am a credentialed school nurse in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. I earned my Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1980, and worked in medical/surgical nursing, cardiopulmonary and intensive care units, and home health case management prior to my employment as a school nurse and health educator.

As a health professional, I feel it is my responsibility to be informed regarding public health issues, current research, and policy that affects the health and safety of our children. This film raises some very thought provoking questions regarding the development of vaccines and vaccine policy. The information is well presented, and offers a well-balanced discussion of these issues. The viewpoints of individuals in the medical field who are strong advocates for current vaccine policy are presented, as well as the opinions and experiences of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions based on their research or clinical experience in the care of children.

As a school nurse, I encourage parents to confer with their health care providers on many issues. Parents are continually making decisions that influence the health and safety of their child. This film can be an educational resource parents can utilize as they discuss immunization plans with their pediatricians.

Nancy Sheets, RN BSN PHN

Not surprisingly, the antivaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism is touting this letter too.

No, the only thing this film can be an “educational resource” for is how to make a clever bit of propaganda with fairly high production values using a combination of the “tell both sides” and “false balance” tropes, all topped off with testimonials that confuse correlation with causation. It is also a useful teaching material for skeptics like myself to educate readers on how evidence can be cherry-picked and deceptively presented to make a seemingly compelling case for pseudoscience. In fact, I did just that a few months ago.

So let’s see. So far in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, we have a president who is at the very least seriously lacking in critical thinking abilities and at worst antivaccine. (I suspect the worse.) We also have a middle school science teacher named Kent Heckenlively who is so antivaccine that he blogs for one of the most prominent antivaccine propaganda blogs in existence. Then we have a public health nurse who, like Marvel, is either highly credulous or antivaccine–or both.

ZHere’s the mission of the health educators, including Nancy Sheets, as laid out on the dSan Ramon Valley Unified School District website:

Our goals are:

  • to promote the health and well-being of school children
  • to provide for optimal educational experiences

The health educator/school nurse is a registered nurse who has completed additional educational requirements and possesses a current credential in school nursing, a public health credential, and a school audiometrist certificate.

School nurses strengthen and facilitate the educational process by improving and protecting the health status of children. Activities include the identification and removal or modification of health-related barriers to learning in individual children.

The major focus of school health services is the prevention of illness and disability and the early detection and correction of health problems.

The health educator/school nurse is specially prepared in preventative health, health assessment and referral procedures.

Writing a letter such as the one that Nancy Sheets wrote and letting the antivaccine political action group the Canary Party publish it on its website are hardly in keeping with the mission of the health educators at the SRVUSD as stated. Defending and promoting a movie like The Greater Good is not consistent with improving and protecting the health status of children, given that the intent of the filmmakers is clearly to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines.

If there’s one thing that bothers me more than almost any other form of pseudoscience promotion, it’s when health care professionals betray their trust and endanger public health by abusing the authority of their positions to promote nonsense like antivaccination beliefs. The Patriot Nurse did it. Dr. Bob Sears does it (and did it just recently by opposing tighter restrictions on philosophical exemptions for vaccination in California, writing on that other wretched hive of scum and quackery, Mothering.com). Dr. Jay Gordon does it, profoundly misunderstanding science along the way.

And now Nancy Sheets does it.

I feel sorry for the students of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

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]

239 replies on “Another defense of the antivaccine propaganda “documentary” The Greater Good from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District”

I just posted a comment about this nurse on another thread.

Funny, but I had the same thought about the nurse being either incredibly stupid or she is sucking up to the Board of Education President, Greg Marvel.

In spite of emailing a letter to Mr. Enoch, school superintendent of the San Ramon school district and every member of the Board of Education, detailing my objections to Mr. Marvel’s touting of the film…”so that parents know they have the option of an exemption”…the whole bunch of them, are apparently backing Mr. Marvel.

The school district is in Contra Costa County and coincidentally, a public health official from that County’s health department has made a public statement about potential outbreaks of measles due to unvaccinated residents attending the 2012 Summer Olympics:

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/316828/20120320/measles-outbreak-olympics-cdc.htm

“CDC officials recommend that all travelers be vaccinated prior to traveling.

“It’s the most serious and critical thing you can do, both to make sure you’re protected while you’re there and so that you don’t bring it back home,” Erika Jenssen, the director of communicable disease outbreaks in Contra Costa County in California, told USA Today.”

Getting back to this nurse…she has two licenses in California; one is her RN license and one is her advanced practice Public Health Nursing license.

Here is what the California BRN (Board of Registered Nursing) has on their website about PHN licensing:

http://www.rn.ca.gov/applicants/ad-pract.shtml#phn

“Public Health Nurse

The public health nurse is a registered nurse who has received a certificate from the BRN. He or she is an integral part of the public health community and provides direct patient care as well as services related to maintaining public health”.

My state does not have a separate PHN license. I started working in the health department as a R.N., then was promoted to a PHN, only when I had experience in investigating all “reportable” communicable diseases, containment of disease outbreaks, was certified as an HIV/STD counselor and showed proficiency in caring for clinic patients. (I see none of that experience with Ms. Sheets.) She may have technically qualified as a PHN by taking classes in epidemiology and immunology, but she has not mentioned any practical skills or experience actually working in public health.

I also worked in conjunction with every school nurse in every public and private school and in every licensed day care and pre-K program within my County and they were very qualified…and cooperative with the health department, whenever there was an isolated case or an outbreak of a communicable vaccine-preventable disease. If any school nurse publicly recommended a dubious film, that nurse would be ostracized by his/her colleagues. Back then, they took pride in their profession and many of them actually has MSc-school nursing degrees.

Ms. Sheets has brought shame to the nursing profession.

This is wonderful news. We need to take a more proactive look at our vaccination schedules. No more of this blindly adding vaccines to the recommended schedule without question. It’s great news that more and more people will be given the opportunity to see that there are two sides to this story. The crybabies will whine that movies like these will “scare” people out of getting vaccines and the world will turn into a germ infested mess… Get over it. My hope is that this would lead to a modified vaccine schedule. Less vaccines given, more spread out and with an acknowledgement that not all babies can handle all the vaccines given to them in a short amount of time. This is great news! Thanks for the information on the movie.

@Wonderful – really? Have you ever had a conversation with a pediatrician? The recommended schedule is just that “recommended.” Pediatricians are ultimately responsible for working with the parents to address concerns, individual issues that might exist, etc. If you think there is some “Monolithic” schedlue that is always followed lock-step, you are completely misinformed.

Movies like this don’t help anything, they only create more problems – since they are full of falsehoods, misrepresentation of the facts, and drive an agenda that does nothing for the public health (or individual health for that matter).

April, 22, 2015

San Ramon, CA

Today we report a massive breakout of measles, one of the most communicable diseases known to man. This outbreak of the disease has caused health officials to quaranteen large parts of the city to contain the outbreak. So far there have been 7 deaths of infants who were too young to get a vaccine, and there have been over 450 hospitalizations, most of whom failed to receive a vaccination for one reason or another.

This latest outbreak comes shortly after the whooping Cough outbreak last fall which killed 12 babies and hospitalized an additioal 512 people.

The toll on the local economy has been devastating. Visits to the area have dropped off dramatically. Further since this is the second time in a year that people have been prevented from gong to work, some businesses have actually had to close because they were unable to hire local help.

Comments:

Scienceherder
Why cant these idiots be put on an island if they dont want to get a vaccine?

MyBodyIsMyTemple
Why should the government tell me what I must put my my body?

AngryMom
Because of shit like this you moron!

LolCat
Iphones Suck!

“This is wonderful news. We need to take a more proactive look at our vaccination schedules. No more of this blindly adding vaccines to the recommended schedule without question.”

Which vaccine has been added “blindly” to the schedule and which vaccine has not been thoroughly researched or “questioned” (Citation/link please)

“It’s great news that more and more people will be given the opportunity to see that there are two sides to this story.”

What is the “other side of the story” Please expand on this by comparing the science side with any “other side” and provide citations/links.

“The crybabies will whine that movies like these will “scare” people out of getting vaccines and the world will turn into a germ infested mess… Get over it.”

The ignorant clueless whining crybabies have already scared people out of getting vaccines. The children whose parents “opted out” have had serious consequences when their world has turned “into a germ infested mess”…you need to “get over it”, Wonderful.

“My hope is that this would lead to a modified vaccine schedule.”

Do you mean the “modified vaccine schedule” advocated by Dr. Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon? Or do you have another “source” that you want to provide citations/links to.

“Less vaccines given, more spread out and with an acknowledgement that not all babies can handle all the vaccines given to them in a short amount of time.”

Which vaccines would you delay giving? (Citations/links please) Or, are you just making this all up from your fertile, ignorant mind?

“This is great news! Thanks for the information on the movie.”

I doubt that this is the first time you’ve heard about the movie…all the pseusoscience anti-vax websites that you visit have touted this movie, since it made its debut, months ago.

BTW Wonderful, please share with us your educational background, your field of expertise, your employment history and your experiences working in the health care field. And, don’t forget those citations from *peer-reviewed
journals*.

*Peer-Reviewed Journals* do not include links to the websites of the AoA, NVIC, SafeMinds, whale.to or any of the other crank organizations listed on the blog roll of the Canary Party website.

Where was the notice to parents when Frontline did an expose on this subject? That was an excellent resource for parents regarding vaccines and presented interviews with people on both sides of the issue. I’m sure the school notified parents then, too? Right? Right? Hello?

Might I add that anyone assuming that vaccines are simply added to the pediatric/adult schedules “without question” are operating under a severe misunderstanding of how public health agencies make their decisions.

I might also add that the world is a germ-infested mess. Us higher-order multicellular organisms are but a minor part of a planet positively teeming with microbes.

Where was the notice to parents when Frontline did an expose on this subject? That was an excellent resource for parents regarding vaccines and presented interviews with people on both sides of the issue. I’m sure the school notified parents then, too? Right? Right? Hello?

[Crickets chirping]

Of course Mr. Marvel didn’t. That news report expressed a pro-science viewpoint.

Less vaccines given, more spread out and with an acknowledgement that not all babies can handle all the vaccines given to them in a short amount of time.

It’s clear that you believe there’s something wrong with the routine schedule, and an alternate schedule Ifewer vacations over a longer period of time) would be preferable. Which of course prompts the question why do you believe this?

What evidence suggests giving fewer vaccines over a greater period of time will provide equivalent protecion against infectious diseases while reducing adverse events?

What percentage of all babies cannot handle immunization in accord with that recommended schedule (1 in 1000, 1 in 1 million, 1 in 1 billion? surely you’ve determined that percentage before making such a claim) and what demonstrates the provisions already in place to identify and exempt babies who are not suitable candidates for routine immunization aren’t sufficient to address this?

No more of this blindly adding vaccines to the recommended schedule without question.

Changes to the routine immunization schedules aren’t made blindly but only following following extensive consideration and only to meet an identified and well established need.

@Lawrence. Yes, I have in fact had a few conversations with pediatricians on this matter. To be honest with you, I received nothing but grief and rolling of the eyes when asking questions. At first, I was very open to (and wanted to) look into spacing out my child’s vaccinations along with not getting some of the more controversial vaccines (ie Hep B, Prevnar, chicken pox, etc). What made me look further into the topic was the complete melt down of my pediatrician when the topic was brought up. Two things ended up happening after that. 1) I left that ped’s office once and for all (both of us ultimately must have been happy with that decision and 2) I took it upon myself to research the topic more in depth and decided that I hadn’t gone far enough in my initial studies… I guess ultimately for me it was a win / win situation as there were even more problems with the suggested schedule than I had originally imagined. In a sense, I am thankful that my former pediatrician was such a blockhead… Hope the movie wakes some people up! Wonderful.

“April, 22, 2015

San Ramon, CA

Today we report a massive breakout of measles, one of the most communicable diseases known to man. This outbreak of the disease has caused health officials to quaranteen large parts of the city to contain the outbreak. So far there have been 7 deaths of infants who were too young to get a vaccine, and there have been over 450 hospitalizations, most of whom failed to receive a vaccination for one reason or another.”

LOL! Sounds like a plot to a really interesting movie. This does not help your case. Measles used to be seen as a normal childhood illness. Remember the Brady’s? Remember the books about kids having the measles and looking outside their windows because their mommies wouldn’t let them go outside to play with the other children. Poor kiddos… had to actually stay inside and allow the measles to run it’s course. Now, it’s “the most communicable disease known to man” and worthy of “quarantining” large parts of the city? Wow.

@ Wonderful:

Some pediatricians are unfortunately too fed up with the lies being spouted to be diplomatic about it. Make no mistake, what’s said in The Greater Good and similar outlets are indeed outright lies with no validity. There are NOT two sides to the question. There are facts, and there is a propaganda machine which differs from the Flat Earth Society only in its greater effectiveness in getting people to believe the lies.

…wakes them up to the glorious sound of evidence-free, google-PhD, bathtub chemistry, my-feelings-trump-your-science shenaniganry.

Wonderful: So how many paediatricians did you “have conversations with”? You only actually report a conversation with one – what did the others say?

Good investigation work, lilady.

Right now I’m focused on getting California AB 2109 out of committee., which would strengthen California’s ridiculously lax vaccine exemption law. Vincent Iannelli explains

A new bill in California, AB 2109, will supposedly make it harder to get a vaccine exemption. How much harder? Instead of simply signing a personal belief vaccine exemption form on their own, parents will be required to have a written statement signed by a health practitioner that says the parent was given information about the benefits and risks of immunizations and the risks of certain vaccine-preventable diseases.

Bob Sears, of course, is agin AB2109, for reasons that don’t hold water. And he shows his true colors: he is purely anti-vaccine. He directs readers to….NVIC. That’s right, Barbara Loe Fisher’s pack of misrepresentation and lies.

With his usual thoroughness, ToddW has analyzed NVIC’s objection to the bill, and the kind of misinformation and distortion Barbara Loe Fisher and NVIC provide.

Ms. Fisher then provides a suggested course of action, with talking points including the previously mentioned untruth about forcing parents to make appointments with physicians. Here is where we really begin to see what she means by “informed consent”. It appears that by “informed consent” what she really means is “informed with the information NVIC provides”, which other writers have shown on numerous occasions omits important information and that the information they do provide is frequently presented in such a way as to exaggerate the risks of vaccines while downplaying their benefits and the risks of diseases.

Back on topic: Reminder, the town is San Ramon; the school district is the San Ramon Vally Unified School District. The district has 35 schools and has about 29,000 students in kindergarten thru 12th grade.

Wonderful…Where did you do your research?

Where are the citations and links to the sites where you did your research?

“At first, I was very open to (and wanted to) look into spacing out my child’s vaccinations along with not getting some of the more controversial vaccines (ie Hep B, Prevnar, chicken pox, etc).”

Why do you consider Prevnar (as one of the) “more controversial vaccines?

You absolutely closed your mind to having your child immunized against pneumococcal diseases, eh? Have you seen these pictures?

http://www.immunize.org/photos/pneumococcal-photos.asp

Wonderful, do you question local engineers when they design a bridge that you might drive your child over someday? Do you suggest the pilot make changes to his flight plan on a plane you’re taking your child on? These are important questions! If doctors aren’t qualified to make decisions about health care, then why are we letting other professions get away with blindly doing whatever they want without regard to the greater good – because EVERYONE is qualified to make decisions about ANYTHING if they research it on the internet, right? Surely, those bridges and flight plans aren’t decided on with any safety in mind … it’s all about the money, isn’t it? Those greedy engineers and pilots. Why don’t they think about the children???

@Wonderful: The Brady Bunch was a TV show, no more based on reality than Leave it to Beaver. AND, the Bradys had an advantage – mom didn’t work and they also had a full time housekeeper who could help care for the sick kids.

I don’t know about you, but I live in a society where both parents work and depend on 2 paychecks. For one parent to be out of work 2-4 weeks of a year with sick children would mean no vacations, possibly no pay depending on how much sick/vacation time they got.

Oh, and do you remember quarantines? When public health nurses went from house to house, placing signs on the front and back doors warning that people could not go in and out freely? Look into the CA measles outbreak and see what THAT cost, between the public health work and the time/wages lost by parents.

No thanks. I’ll stick with vaccines and my 2 healthy children, thank you. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with your pediatrician – do you think perhaps your attitude in questioning had something to do with the reaction you obtained? Or was the pediatrician just tired of the anti-vax canards you were offering up, having heard them too many times in recent days?

I guess ultimately for me it was a win / win situation as there were even more problems with the suggested schedule than I had originally imagined.

What problems, exactly? Be specific, and indicate the evidence that made you conclude that they actually are problems.

As I said above, while clearly you beleive the routine schedule needs revision you haven’t indicated why you’ve arrived at this conclusion. Hopefully it has some basis in fact, rather than an intuitive feeling of “Just seems like too much too soon to me”.

Measles used to be seen as a normal childhood illness.

Indeed. It was a significant contributor to the fact that many children died in infancy. Normal, certainly – but when the “normal” standards of the time include lots of baby coffins, that doesn’t mean “safe.”

See for example

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5847a2.htm

Wonderful:

Remember the Brady’s?

A TV show? Do you remember Roald Dahl and his stories? Ones like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG? Why does the latter have a dedication that says:
For Olivia
20 April 1955 – 17 November 1962
?

Wonderful, what is “controversial” about the chicken pox vaccine?

As I’ve explained many times before, anyone who forgoes the chicken pox vaccine, and, in particular, deliberately tries to infect their child with the disease instead can only be described as a completely heartless monster.

No one who has an ounce of compassion for their children could ever think was a good idea.

Marry Me, Mindy:

No one who has an ounce of compassion for their children could ever think was a good idea.

A person who thinks that a child suffering for two weeks covered in itchy open wounds (pox) is sadistic. The same goes for anyone who wants a child to cough hard and continuously for three months (pertussis), have their face painfully swollen with a horrendous sore throat (mumps), have a high fever and severe light sensitivity with a real chance of disability (measles), spend over a week with runny diarrhea that will not stay in a diaper (rotavirus) and otherwise wish a child to get sick.

Especially when the prevention is so easy.

“Remember the Brady’s? Remember the books about kids having the measles and looking outside their windows because their mommies wouldn’t let them go outside to play with the other children. Poor kiddos… had to actually stay inside and allow the measles to run it’s course. Now, it’s “the most communicable disease known to man” and worthy of “quarantining” large parts of the city? Wow.

Posted by: Wonderful | March 22, 2012 11:28 AM”

As I’ve explained many times before, anyone who forgoes the chicken pox vaccine, and, in particular, deliberately tries to infect their child with the disease instead can only be described as a completely heartless monster.

Have you also explained to them that the chicken pox vaccine causes primary VZV infection and anyone vaccinated with it qualifies to develop shingles later in their life? So who’s the “heartless monster”?

“Remember the Brady’s? Remember the books about kids having the measles and looking outside their windows because their mommies wouldn’t let them go outside to play with the other children. Poor kiddos… had to actually stay inside and allow the measles to run it’s course. Now, it’s “the most communicable disease known to man” and worthy of “quarantining” large parts of the city? Wow.

Posted by: Wonderful | March 22, 2012 11:28 AM”

What the hell? You must be young enough not to have dealt with measles personally. When I was a kid, our school was shut down and children told to stay home because of a measles epidemic. Two dozen children, including my sister, were in the hospital due to measles induced encephalitis. They had to go through spinal taps, and some had to go into physical and occupational therapy afterwards (my sister included). One little girl never went back to school. She had been institutionalized because of the brain damage.

So, yes, back then quarantine was used, and yes, people were scared of measles.

Don’t go spreading bs about something you don’t know anything about. My family, as well as every other, was impacted by these vaccine preventable diseases before vaccines. Talk to some old people, and find out how many in their families were affected and how, if anecdotes rock your boat. For those who survived, there are those that didn’t.

And as someone who had chickenpox as an adult, oh, that was miserable. I lost two weeks of work, and have permanent scars because I scar in keloids. The pain, the aggravation, the useless home remedies for the itching…it was torture. And now I get to look forward to possibly shingles. Awesome.

@#16: Prevnar vaccine = most reactive vaccine on the schedule today. Plus, why did they move to the Prevnar 13 vs. Prevnar 7? Prevnar 7 was causing MORE issues with children as more potent antibiotic resistant strains of the disease formed due to the original vaccine. Awesome! Great job. Just keep adding more and more vaccines… that’s how to help keep kids healthy. Ha Ha!

Hey awesome guys, by promoting the chicken pox vaccine so strongly, you are now showing your lack of respect for the elderly (and others) who will now no doubt be suffering more with shingles. Great job! Go get em!

Wonderful:

Hey awesome guys, by promoting the chicken pox vaccine so strongly, you are now showing your lack of respect for the elderly (and others) who will now no doubt be suffering more with shingles. Great job! Go get em!

You are seriously advocating two weeks of torture for children as a way to keep shingles away from the elderly? Wouldn’t it be less sadistic to encourage those over fifty to get a shingles vaccine?

You really hate children, (not so) Wonderful. Again, it is sadistic to have children suffer when there are both safe and effective varicella and zoster vaccines.

QUESTION:

“Have you also explained to them that the chicken pox vaccine causes primary VZV infection and anyone vaccinated with it qualifies to develop shingles later in their life?”

ANSWER:

Ignorant, delusional, disease-promoting *SFB* Troll are you still claiming you have an education beyond high school?

Are you still lying about your brilliant (imaginary) licensing and career in a health care profession?

Are you still in custodial care because you don’t have computer access in the sewer you crawl out of?

QUESTION:

“So who’s the “heartless monster”?”

ANSWER:

Ignorant, delusional, disease-promoting *SFB* Troll, who takes particular delight in stating that the death of an infant from pertussis was “iatrogenic”. That same *SFB* Troll states that children who are developmentally disabled are “vaccine-injured”.

Pretty sad when we start justifying vaccinations in this country because 2 parents work and can’t take time away from work to care for their children… Is that really a good reason to vaccinate your kids? Wow.

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child. Take them slow, one at a time and make careful decisions as to which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience. In other words, use your God given brains to actually think things through here. Too much to ask?

What the hell? You must be young enough not to have dealt with measles personally. When I was a kid, our school was shut down and children told to stay home because of a measles epidemic. Two dozen children, including my sister, were in the hospital due to measles induced encephalitis. They had to go through spinal taps, and some had to go into physical and occupational therapy afterwards (my sister included). One little girl never went back to school. She had been institutionalized because of the brain damage.

So, yes, back then quarantine was used, and yes, people were scared of measles.

The fact that we have to inform people that these sorts of things happened continues to tell me that anti-vaxxers have no understanding of history. We’ve got documentation as well as the survivor stories. A lot of anti-vaxxers essentially end up telling me that my grandmother lied about all the diseases that killed or maimed kids during her days. Same thing with the guides who talk about all the dead infants in their graveyard tours. Heck, these people seem to think Mark Twain’s references to the ravages of illness in his books was unrealistic. These people seem to think history is just a change in decor and fashion, like Hollywood suggests. Before vaccination, childhood illness killed a lot of children. Before vaccination, disease was a big part of life. It was only after all these vaccinations that society started taking health for granted, aided by historical myopia.

The fact that Wonderful treats The Brady Bunch as a reference resource for a real world issue is just sad.

(not so) Wonderful:

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child.

The key word: believe (which should have been “belief”).

d which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience.

Sure, tell us how much cheaper it is to treat for pertussis, varicella, measles, rotavirus, Hib, etc than to prevent them with a vaccine. Show us the numbers with real documentation.

I spent a month out of my life treating kids with chicken pox. That included a six month old baby (now seventeen years old), who now has an increased chance of getting shingles because she was so young. It included nights with no sleep (every try to comfort a baby who is covered in itchy painful pox?), changing bed clothes because the six year old was so sick he was wetting the bed, and trying to keep susceptible kids away from the sick kids. Chicken pox went through the older boy’s school, with one child hospitalized with a real chance of having a limb amputated due to secondary bacterial infection.

You really have no idea what you are talking about.

In other words, use your God given brains to actually think things through here.

Well, considering that you think it is okay for children to suffer with disease instead of preventing them: I would say you have an evil sadistic god.

Perhaps you should use what brains your evil false god gave you actually do some real research in science and biology, not beliefs. Because the University of Google and religion studies have failed you.

This just in from the Canary Party

As discussions have spread about the film The Greater Good, more professionals, encouraged by the open discussion the film is promoting, are recommending the film. Today we recieved a letter from pediatrician Janet Levatin doing just that:

Re: The film “The Greater Good”
3/22/2012
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Janet Levatin, MD, and I have been a board-certified pediatrician since 1989. I attended the George Washington University School of Medicine, graduating in 1982, and completed a pediatric residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. I have been practicing pediatrics as an attending-level physician since 1986, and have been following the issues of vaccinations and parental consent for many years.

I had the opportunity to see the film “The Greater Good” several months ago. I found the film very informative and thought-provoking in its discussion of the development of vaccines and vaccine policy. The information is well presented, and offers a balanced discussion of the issues. The opinions of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions about current vaccine policy are presented; additionally, time is given to medical professionals who strongly advocate for vaccine policy as it exists.

Parents are constantly making decisions that influence the health and safety of their children. As a pediatrician I encourage all parents to inform themselves fully and to discuss many issues with their children’s health care providers, especially elective procedures such as vaccination. “The greater Good” is an excellent educational resource that parents can use as they prepare to discuss immunization plans with their pediatricians.
Sincerely,
Janet Levatin, MD

A reminder to watch The Greater Good on Current TV this Saturday at 1pm eastern.

Well who is Janet Levatin?

Uh, oh

HOLISTIC PEDIATRICAN JOINING TENPENNY INTEGRATIVE MEDICAL CENTER,
MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, OHIO NOW ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS

Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center (TIMC) is pleased to announce the addition of Janet Levatin, MD to our holistic medical team. Dr. Janet is a pediatrician and homeopathic physician who was in private practice in the Boston, Massachusetts area for almost 25 years prior to joining our center.

Homeopath. On board with the dreadful Dr. Tenpenny.

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child. Take them slow, one at a time and make careful decisions as to which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience.

OK, Wonderful, since you’ve spent so much time researching this subject, why don’t YOU tell us which exactly vaccines are “truly needed” and which are only “money makers”. With breakdowns of costs of each vaccine, of course.

@Wonderful – I am pretty sure I know exactly why your pediatrician blew up at you….you obviously haven’t studied history, definitely not medical history, know nothing about the ways medical research is conducted, and certainly aren’t using the brains god gave you.

As for Chicken Pox, myself & my two siblings got it (before the vaccine was available) and between the three of us, it was 8 weeks of hell in our household (each sick for about three weeks, with some overlap between infections). I know we would have certainly wanted to avoid that, if we could have at the time.

I also see about ZERO citations in any of your assertions – so unless you have evidence to back up your statements, they aren’t worth the electrons they are printed on.

So, Wonderful @31, I just want to be sure I understand you. Your feeling is that little children should suffer chickenpox so that adults can be exposed to poxy children and therefore not develop shingles because the poxy children boosted their immune reactions? Your feeling is that this is better than the little children getting vaccinated so they don’t get chickenpox and better than the adults getting vaccinated so they don’t develop shingles?

I just want to make sure I understand your position.

So, are you volunteering your children to perform this service for adults by getting chickenpox themselves?

Pretty sad when we start justifying vaccinations in this country because 2 parents work and can’t take time away from work to care for their children… Is that really a good reason to vaccinate your kids?

Have you not been paying the least bit of attention? Severe pain, permanent disability, and DEATH are the consequences – and for some reason you think we’re worried about people taking time off work?!?! You can be VERY sure my imminent daughter will be vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. Because I don’t want her to die from easily prevented disease.

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child.

Belief is irrelevant. What’s your EVIDENCE?

Take them slow, one at a time

[citation needed] that there is any benefit to doing so.

which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience.

Death, permanent disability, severe pain, etc. – yep, definitely not “simply money makers” or convenience.

In other words, use your God given brains to actually think things through here.

Done. Said thinking (and the facts) demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that you couldn’t be more wrong if you asserted that 1+1=James Earl Jones.

Pretty sad when we start justifying vaccinations in this country because 2 parents work and can’t take time away from work to care for their children… Is that really a good reason to vaccinate your kids? Wow.

Talk about dishonest. The economic cost was only one reason. The big, big reason is that these illnesses kill and maim children.

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child. Take them slow, one at a time and make careful decisions as to which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience. In other words, use your God given brains to actually think things through here. Too much to ask?

Is a citation for this unfounded belief too much to ask?

Measles used to be seen as a normal childhood illness

Bubonic plague was a statistically normal illness at one time too.

The only thing “Wonderful” you are is an example of the morally horrifying antivax cult of infanticide. It’s no different from withholding medicine from kids because you’d rather speak-in-tongues over them. Your brainless voodoo is only good for killing children. All antivaxers are unfit parents who should have their children immediately removed from their care and never allowed contact with them again.

QUESTION:

“Have you also explained to them that the chicken pox vaccine causes primary VZV infection and anyone vaccinated with it qualifies to develop shingles later in their life?”

ANSWER:

Ignorant, delusional, disease-promoting *SFB* Troll are you still claiming you have an education beyond high school?
Are you still lying about your brilliant (imaginary) licensing and career in a health care profession?
Are you still in custodial care because you don’t have computer access in the sewer you crawl out of?

Trans: No

QUESTION:

“So who’s the “heartless monster”?”

ANSWER:

Ignorant, delusional, disease-promoting *SFB* Troll, who takes particular delight in stating that the death of an infant from pertussis was “iatrogenic”. That same *SFB* Troll states that children who are developmentally disabled are “vaccine-injured”.

Trans: Of course, it’s me, lilady the Gila Monster

Take note, Th1Th2 has been asked repeatedly how to prevent diseases without vaccines, and everything she has produced has been either:
1) Uselessly vague.
2) Comically unrealistic.
3) Ludicrously unfeasible.
4) Horrifically immoral.

@TTT

Hilarious. 🙂

And people call me crazy… TTT is a nut job. Glad he/she is on your side. Lol!

On the topic of these preventable diseases being a “normal” part of childhood: It was once “normal” to discover that some of your classmates died from these diseases. Or were permanently blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or brain damaged. It was once “normal” for adults who didn’t get childhood immunity to suffer some nasty effects of their own, like shingles from chicken pox or sterility from mumps.

Wonderful is apparently trying to whitewash history so that it conforms with his white bread TV sitcom expectations.

@#16: Prevnar vaccine = most reactive vaccine on the schedule today.

No it isn’t, in fact it’s one of the least reactive but feel free to dazzle me with more of your “research”.

Plus, why did they move to the Prevnar 13 vs. Prevnar 7? Prevnar 7 was causing MORE issues with children as more potent antibiotic resistant strains of the disease formed due to the original vaccine.

Prevnar did have problems with serotype replacement, that’s true. However as par for DIY mummy research, it did not cause MORE “issues” with children nor did it allow for a MORE POTENT antibiotic resistant strain. The abx-resistant strain was already circulating. Even when there is a legitimate concern with a vaccine, your lot still manages to lie about them and shoot your credibility in the foot.

Wonderful, I doubt we will change your mind here. Would you kindly link some of your sources? I’m interested in seeing where you learned this.

“I worked in a hospital…” – Th1Th2 on MDC website, before posting child-harming garbage as ‘professional medical advice’ (and eventually being exposed and banned).

What hospital, what job?

(This question will never be answered.)

@ Zab: I’ve been asking for citations/links from “Wonderful” since 10:27 EDT this morning. He’s not just pulling those factoids from his orifice…he knows they are from the notorious anti-vax websites that he visits.

So Wonderful, where are those citations/links?

(not so) Wonderful:

And people call me crazy… TTT is a nut job. Glad he/she is on your side. Lol!

Why? For pointing out that only a bad parent would be sadistic enough to have their children suffer diseases because their unscientific “beliefs”?

So, do tell: why did Roald Dahl put that dedication in the front of The BFG?

Liz Ditz @37

Hmm, if you compare the 2 letters from the “health professionals”, it’s obvious that the second paragraphs are identical, and the third para is just re-arranged a bit.

Obviously a bit of a form letter campaign going on…

Just about any new troll to RI:

“I didn’t know much about the subject, but then I did my own research online. I never took a class or even bothered asking a person who did. It was then that I discovered The Truth™. Someone is making money, just follow it. People in their basements with nothing more than an internet connection are right. And all of you here are idiots and jerks for not listening to me and agreeing with my rants even when I’ve offered you nothing in the way of substantial evidence, only mined quotes and talking points from the websites of celebrities. Idiots. Jerks. The whole of you. FREEDOM!”

Sounds about right?

Wonderful:

I am of the believe that the more vaccines given, the worse off the child.

I’ve asked multiple times now: why is this your belief? If thre is actual evidence which convinced you this is the case, share it with us and maybe we’ll be convinced as well.

Take them slow, one at a time and make careful decisions as to which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience.

Why take it slow? What evidence argues the schedule as it stands needs revision?

In other words, use your God given brains to actually think things through here.

I have. I’ve simply reached a conclusion different than yours after considering the available evidence. If there’s evidence I’m unaware of you feel I should consider (perhaps whatever evidence convinced you of a need for revision?) share it with us all.

Unless of course your belief doesn’t derive from evidence…

@12 “Measles used to be seen as a normal childhood illness. Remember the Brady’s? Remember the books about kids having the measles and looking outside their windows because their mommies wouldn’t let them go outside to play with the other children. Poor kiddos… had to actually stay inside and allow the measles to run it’s course. Now, it’s “the most communicable disease known to man” and worthy of “quarantining” large parts of the city? Wow. ”

No, you moron. Having measles was not a fracking Brady Bunch moment. Those of us who had measles couldn’t go outside, not only because we were contagious, but because we couldn’t go out in the sun. I remember those precious moments right after the street lights came on, when I could lift the shade and say hello to my friends who were just going inside their houses. It left me with permanent light sensitivity, and I was very ill. It was painful. My body hurt, my eyes hurt, and coughing hurt. I remember that bout of illness very well, and it took place 61 years ago. It used to wipe out whole villages, and crews of ships. It isn’t some cute little Let’s All Count Our Spots Disease!

People who want to “protect” their children from vaccines should be put in an iron lung for a day.

Hey awesome guys, by promoting the chicken pox vaccine so strongly, you are now showing your lack of respect for the elderly (and others) who will now no doubt be suffering more with shingles.

Except that the vaccine is less likely to manifest as shingles in later years than wild strain chicken pox, and should they manifest symptoms are much milder and more manageable for those vaccinated than those unvaccinated.

I had a great aunt suffer shingles and have to manage the pain with opiates… I have no wish to do the same (which is a possiblity, as I have a scar or two from “natural” chicken pox) or have others do the same. So get your kids the shot, dammit.

— Steve

@Wonderful (and Thingy):

This is what medical literature looks like.

http://www.nature.com/msb/journal/v7/n1/pdf/msb201155.pdf

This is what people mean when they say “give us citations.” I have Cystic Fibrosis, and you can be damn sure that I got pretty excited when I read this study. The hard part is reading enough of this kind of thing so that you actually understand it, though discussing it with my doctor helps, too. Now, if you’re going to assert that the current vaccination schedule is not reasonable or whatever, please link to medical journal articles that you have read (not just the abstract!) which support that view.

This is what we mean by “evidence” vs. “belief.” You can believe all you want, but unless you have evidence, citations, etc. to back up those beliefs, your beliefs have no real-world consequence and are effectively useless.

Ren, I would add…

“I have done the “research” and I am flummoxed, so I get my knowledge about immunology and vaccines, from crank websites. With my (limited or non) knowledge of science, I cannot understand how vaccines have eradicated smallpox, how polio is no longer indigenous in all of the Western Hemisphere and only exists in small pockets in 3rd world countries, the simple epidemiology of disease incidence going up, when vaccine rates go down, eludes me (someone is tricking with the statistics), my belief that childhood diseases are benign, therefore the reports about the dramatic decrease in incidence and reported deaths from vaccine preventable diseases…are false…and a giant conspiracy involving *Big Gubmint* and *Big Pharma*. I know this to be true because:

a. my “mommy” or “daddy” intuition trumps science

b. my paranoia about conspiracies

c. my belief that natural disease is “better that vaccines”

d. I have the support of other trolls who post on blogs

This comment is a work in progress, so feel free to add more *valid* reasons for “opting out” of vaccines.

Dave–

Always nice to read another of your reasoned, balanced and fair pieces about vaccines and science (“science”) in general. Thanks for adding to the measured, calm discussion about the relative merits of whether or not giving six vaccines to a six-week-old is the best way to do it.

As Always, Best to You All–

Jay

@ lilady

Unfotunately:

e. I have the support of attention-seeking, morally bankrupt ‘public figures’ and pediatricians.

Wonderful @ 30:

Plus, why did they move to the Prevnar 13 vs. Prevnar 7? Prevnar 7 was causing MORE issues with children as more potent antibiotic resistant strains of the disease formed due to the original vaccine.

Just curious — how exactly does a vaccine cause antibiotic resistance to evolve? What evolutionary advantage does antibiotic resistance give against a vaccine, that would drive such a thing? I always thought it was improper/irresponsible/etc antibiotic use that did that.

Actually, I do know what you’re referring to. It’s not that Prevnar 7 was causing more issues; it was that it was successfully wiping out the strains that it covered. While total cases were down, the ratio of strains was clearly shifting to ones not covered by the vaccine. It doesn’t take much effort to see why, nor to work out the next logical course of action — extend the vaccine to cover whichever strains are now dominant. By taking out the biggest ones, you can start to see which ones need to be tackled next.

and @ 34:

Take them slow, one at a time and make careful decisions as to which ones are truly needed and which ones are simply money makers and/or given out of convenience.

I don’t choose any vaccines out of convenience, which is part of the reason I refuse to take it slower than necessary. It it was just convenience, I wouldn’t care how long it took to get my child fully vaccinated. It’s about the child’s safety, not my convenience; spreading into more needle sticks hurts my child needlessly, and making it take longer increases the risk of infection (by extending the time she is unprotected). Spacing out vaccinations doesn’t reduce risk anyway — it actually increases it (since many reactions are to adjuvants, and you’ll get those in each dose whether you’re going polyvalent or singly), while at the same time reducing the odds of being protected before the child is exposed to one of these diseases.

I’d vaccinate myself against the 24-hour stomach flu if I could. Seriously. I *hate* vomiting. I really really really hate it with a passion. This isn’t about convenience. This is about reducing suffering.

Nursy-Nurse letter:

The information is well presented, and offers a well-balanced discussion of these issues. The viewpoints of individuals in the medical field who are strong advocates for current vaccine policy are presented, as well as the opinions and experiences of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions based on their research or clinical experience in the care of children.

Holistic-Homeopath Doctor letter:

The information is well presented, and offers a balanced discussion of the issues. The opinions of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions about current vaccine policy are presented; additionally, time is given to medical professionals who strongly advocate for vaccine policy as it exists.

Hell, I don’t even have to run this through a plagiarism detector to see they are essentially identical.

So how did that mysteriously happen? Shouldn’t one of them be acknowledging the other?

Nursy-Nurse letter:

The information is well presented, and offers a well-balanced discussion of these issues. The viewpoints of individuals in the medical field who are strong advocates for current vaccine policy are presented, as well as the opinions and experiences of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions based on their research or clinical experience in the care of children.

Holistic-Homeopath Doctor letter:

The information is well presented, and offers a balanced discussion of the issues. The opinions of neuroscientists and physicians who raise pertinent questions about current vaccine policy are presented; additionally, time is given to medical professionals who strongly advocate for vaccine policy as it exists.

Hell, I don’t even have to run this through a plagiarism detector to see they are essentially identical.

So how did that happen, without one acknowledging the other?

Sorry about the prev double post.

I also notice this is in the Gale Ranch Middle School’s Student Wellness Policy (PB5030)
http://grms.schoolloop.com/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1331118073956

The Governing Board recognizes the link between student health and learning and desires to provide a comprehensive program promoting healthy eating and physical activity for district students. The Superintendent or designee shall build a coordinated school health system that supports and reinforces health literacy through health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, psychological and counseling services, health promotion for staff, a safe and healthy school environment, and parent/guardian and community involvement.

and:

To encourage consistent health messages between the home and school environment, the Superintendent or designee may disseminate health information to parents/guardians through district or school newsletters, handouts, parent/guardian meetings, the district or school web site, and other communications. Outreach to parents/guardians shall emphasize the relationship between student health and academic performance.

They specifically mention they have a policy on Infectious Diseases.
Shouldn’t someone be directly contacting the School Principal and senior administration to enquire why their policies are being undermined/contradicted by their own staff?

FWIW, the schools where Kent Heckenlively (Gale Ranch Middle School) and Nancy Sheets (Tassajara Hills Elementary School) work are only 5 miles apart. I have a feeling that they may be acquaintances.

@ hinterlander: Good for you, for coming up with…

e. I have the support of attention-seeking, morally bankrupt ‘public figures’ and pediatricians.

Oh Dr Jay, I visited the Frontline website to video the entire program, and to see the expanded interviews of the participants in the “Vaccine War” episode:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1479321646/

As I recall Jay, you were somewhat miffed that all of your interview ended up on the editing room floor. Your sniveling whining statement about this omission, was a gem:

http://respectfulinsolence.com/2010/04/poor_poor_pitiful_me_jenny_mccarthy_and.php

@dt:

I already contacted the district school superintendent and the entire school board via email; I also spoke on the phone with Steven Enoch, district superintendent (See my post #1 on yesterday’s blog)

@ Broken Link: Heckenlively is a science teacher and Sheets is the school nurse at the same middle school. See the list of staff here:

http://grms.schoolloop.com/staff

Thanks for adding to the measured, calm discussion about the relative merits of whether or not giving six vaccines to a six-week-old is the best way to do it.

I hereby publicly challenge Dr. Jay Gordon, pediatrician, to find his way into the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He must have some connections to get in. Once in, he will maybe (and this is me going out on a limb), maybe, understand “the relative merits of whether or not giving six vaccines to a six-week-old is the best way to do it.” Or he can discuss with others on the committee why they’re all full of it. Personally, I can’t wait to read “statistical porn” in one of their reports should he serve on ACIP.

How about it, Doc?

ADDENDUM: Anyone missing resident troll Robert Schecter, not a scientist, not a writer, can find him on the discussion at this article: h_ttp://pediatrics.about.com/b/2012/03/21/pass-the-new-california-vaccine-bill.htm

Remember to take out the underscore in “http”

Hilarious. 🙂

And people call me crazy… TTT is a nut job. Glad he/she is on your side. Lol!

In case you haven’t gotten hep to this, a string of vapid emoticon-punctuated assertions capped off with “Lol!” is the rhetorical equivalent of dumping a bucket of shit on your head.

Ah, formidable!

Pretty sad when we start justifying vaccinations in this country because 2 parents work and can’t take time away from work to care for their children…

It’s me, or is Wonderful advocating for one parent to stay home and do its God-given duty to take care of the children? (and if so, can I guess which of the two parents should stay home?)
As if measles, chicken pox and the like were the results of child neglect.
And as if 2 weeks (or more) of missing wages, plus costs of care, times how many children and illnesses, were a trivial thing for everybody. You sound very privileged, sir.

given out of convenience.

Eh, it’s the same argument against measures surroundings reproductive health. Just clench your teeth and go through the pain, lads and gals. Or just stay cloistered home and avoid it altogether (if only it was that simple).
Yeap, very privileged.

“Pretty sad when we start justifying vaccinations in this country because 2 parents work and can’t take time away from work to care for their children… Is that really a good reason to vaccinate your kids? Wow. ”

It’s funny isn’t it, that when stay-at-home parents were common and vaccines didn’t exist, that children died of diseases like smallpox, measles, rubella, and chicken pox, and that after vaccines existed, children stopped dying of these diseases, regardless of whether mothers worked or not. It’s almost like your premises are completely wrong, and your faux-amazement that parents who like their children vaccinate them is an ignorant pose, isn’t it?

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