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The Canary Party and Rob Schneider versus the Vaccine Court: Guess who wins?

My goodness, when it rains, it pours, to use a cliche. (And I’m not about anything if not throwing in the odd cliche in my writing from time to time.)

Just yesterday, I discussed the resurrection of an antivaccine zombie meme, namely the claim that Maurice Hilleman admitted that the polio vaccine that was contaminated with SV40 in the early years of the polio vaccine causes human cancer and that the polio vaccine also brought AIDS into the US. That came hot on the heels of another antivaccine zombie meme three weeks ago, specifically the claim that Diane Harper, one of the main clinical trialists involved in testing the efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine, had an attack of conscience and “admitted that the vaccine was dangerous.” She didn’t. Then, yesterday morning, I was perusing my usual quack newsfeeds, which I monitor regularly to know what’s hot and what’s not in the quackosphere, thus providing me with a heads-up for new quackery and providing me with copious (sometimes overwhelming) blog fodder, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a third antivaccine zombie meme. Actually, maybe it’s not a zombie meme because it never really dies. It just keeps getting repeated and repeated and repeated by antivaccine loons without ever “dying” for a while to be resurrected.

I’m referring to broadsides directed against the Vaccine Court and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). This time around, the antivaccine quack attack against the NVICP was right there on the front page of the biggest, baddest quack website of all (well, at least one of the two biggest, baddest quack websites of all), NaturalNews.com. it came in the form of an article with an accompanying video from some old “friends” of ours. I’m referring, of course to The Canary Party. It’s even narrated by the most recent celebrity to let his antivaccine freak flag fly in an incredibly brain dead fashion, namely Rob Schneider. Basically, it’s Mike Adams ranting and asking Do vaccines cause autism? Must-see new video reveals the systematic suppression of evidence of vaccine-damaged children:

Truly, a font of burning stupid doth flow most egregiously from YouTube. (Sorry, I’ve been reading my old Thor comics. I’ll stop. Unfortunately, the napalm grade stupid from Rob Schneider won’t stop flowing.) Of course, you know right away that The Canary Party has an opinion of itself much higher than is warranted by any reasonable criteria when it advertises this video as a “viral video.” When I wrote this last night, it had been viewed 15,763 times, which is not too shabby but hardly “viral.”

The video starts out asking the question, “Do vaccines cause autism?” If the makers of the video had any knowledge of science, evidence, and reasoning, they’d just answer now and end the video, but we’re talking about antivaccinationists here. So naturally they just blather on and on. The first part of the video is so standard-issue that it’s not worth much discussion. It’s basically nothing but the typical confusion between correlation and causation, with Schneider claiming that the childhood vaccine schedule has tripled over the last thirty years “while the U.S. autism rate has skyrocketed.” Of course, the U.S. autism rate didn’t start “skyrocketing” until the early to mid-1990s, which is only around 20 years ago; so even then The Canary Party’s correlation isn’t so tight. Neither is it’s understanding of evidence, as Schneider intones that “dozens” of studies have shown that vaccines and autism are linked. I suppose if you say they’re linked in that there is no correlation between vaccines and autism greater than one would expect to find through random chance alone, he might have a point, but if he means that vaccines and autism area actually correlated in a way that suggests causality, not so much. Schneider also neglects to mention that the studies that do link vaccines to autism are uniformly crappy and have been discredited. Indeed, the list of studies published on The Canary Party website is truly amusing if you happen to be someone (like me) who’s been paying attention to antivaccine claims for several years now. Indeed, I’ve blogged about quite a few of these studies. A lot of them don’t show what The Canary Party thinks they show, as a brief perusal of the abstracts makes plain to someone with some scientific and medical knowledge.

None of that stops him from intoning that the “debate rages on.” It’s more like, “The manufactroversy rages on. But why does it rage on? Is it because there’s a real scientific controversy over whether vaccines cause autism? Of course not. There isn’t. They don’t, as far as large epidemiological studies have been able to tell. There isn’t a whiff of a hint of a correlation between vaccines and autism. So maybe the “debate rages on” because emerging science is starting to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism. Nope again. Oh, sure, that’s what antivaccinationists would like you to think, but in reality every decent study that comes out once again fails to find a link, thus strengthening, not weakening, the scientific consensus. No, to The Canary Party, the “debate rages on” because of the Vaccine Court.

Facepalm. Double take. Jaw drop.

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

According to The Canary Party, the whole reason the “debate rages on” is because the nefarious government created passed the nefarious National Child Vaccine Injury Act in 1986 creating the NVICP and the Vaccine Court, both of which are, of course, pure evil (at least to antivaccinationists). Passed by the evil big pharma (excuse me, in response to the lobbying of the evil big pharma), the act is apparently all that’s standing in the way of legions upon legions of parents of “vaccine-injured” children from achieving a measure of justice (not to mention compensation). Yes, back in 1986, if The Canary Party is to be believed, big pharma paid off the government to create a program to compensate the vaccine injured.

History tells a different tale, of course. In reality, thanks to a flood of lawsuits in response to the DTP vaccine, which contained the whole cell pertussis vaccine as one of its components, vaccine manufacturers were at risk. At the time, a 1982 TV news report Vaccine Roulette implicated the whole cell pertussis vaccine as causing permanent brain injury. It turns out that it almost certainly doesn’t. Unfortunately, it took 15-20 years for studies exonerating the vaccine to be published showing that, although the whole cell pertussis vaccine was associated with febrile seizures, it is not associated with long term adverse neurological consequences. Of course, in 1986, this hadn’t been worked out yet, and there were enough anecdotal reports that authorities were concerned. So was the government. There was a real fear that the vaccine program would collapse because no manufacturer would make vaccines anymore.

So the government acted. Unlike what Schneider claims in The Canary Party video, it didn’t act to shut down lawsuits, but rather acted to try to compensate legitimate vaccine injuries quickly and fairly by creating a no-fault system to do so. So, while Schneider is trotting out the trope that the government knew that vaccines were “unavoidably unsafe” (which is a distortion of a recent Supreme Court ruling) and painting the Vaccine Court a grand conspiracy to protect vaccine manufacturers from liability, in reality it was a plan to save the vaccine program. It requires:

In addition to establishing the VICP, the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act requires that vaccination records be included in a patient’s permanent medical record and that they include the following:
date of vaccine administration
vaccine manufacturer and lot number
name, address, and title of the healthcare provider
The act also requires that doctors report all adverse events occurring within 30 days of vaccination to the VAERS. About 12,000 vaccine-related adverse reactions are reported annually; however, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of doctors file such reports.

That’s a rather funny requirement for the government to make if it’s trying to cover up vaccine injuries.

Schneider discusses the fictional case of a child with “vaccine-induced autism” and intones that, had the child been injured by a pharmaceutical product his parents could sue the manufacturer:

To see how this tilted the law in big pharma’s favor, let’s look at Eric, a child suffering from vaccine-induced autism.

Had Eric been harmed by a pharmaceutical product other than vaccines, his parents could sue the manufacturer in civil court, entitling them to the standard legal process with a judge, jury, private attorneys, legal precedent and discovery, all within public view.
But for kids like Eric, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act says NO.

Instead of suing the pharmaceutical company directly, parents of children like Eric are forced to “petition” the Department of Health and Human Services and, if federal health officials oppose compensation, the case is argued before a special master in the U.S. Claims Court. Many refer to this as “vaccine court”—though it isn’t a court at all, but rather an “administrative procedure” in which the family asks the government to admit the vaccine caused their child harm, and requests compensation for the child’s care.

Nonsense. It’s true that the NCVIA requires that parents who think their child has been injured by vaccines to go first to the Vaccine Court. However, that’s not a bad thing compared to going to regular court. In the case of regular court, the parents would have to pay for a lawyer or find a lawyer who would take their case on a contingency basis. If they lose, they’d get nothing. In the case of the Vaccine Court, if they lose their lawyers get paid. Indeed, there’s a veritable cottage industry that’s sprung up around the vaccine court of lawyers who bring cases before it. It might not be as much money as one can get suing in regular civil courts, but it’s guaranteed cash, win or lose. Lawyers don’t mind that at all. Some have racked up some impressive bills.

Even better, in the Vaccine Court, the rules of evidence are a bit more lax. The Daubert standard isn’t always enforced. “Expert witnesses” whose testimony would likely not be permitted in normal court can testify in Vaccine Court. Moreover, there are injuries for which compensation is mandated. In 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that an award should be granted to a petitioner in the Vaccine Court if the petitioner either establishes that a “Table Injury” of injuries that are generally accepted as potentially being caused by vaccines) occurred or proves “causation in fact” by proving the following three prongs:

  • a medical hypothesis causally connecting the vaccination and the injury;
  • a logical sequence of cause and effect showing that the vaccination was the reason for the injury; and
  • a showing of a proximate temporal relationship between vaccination and injury.

Compensation is virtually automatic for so-called “table injuries” (i.e., known injuries that science attributed to vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table) within the correct time frame. Also, compensation can be awarded if plaintiffs can meet a standard of evidence showing a 51% or greater chance that the plaintiff was injured by the vaccine in question; i.e., the same burden of proof that they would face in standard court, only without the benefit of all the extra features favoring the complainant in the Vaccine Court. Finally, if the complainants lose in Vaccine Court, they can still sue in federal court. Basically, victims may still file a civil suit given the following:

  • The VICP petition is dismissed or ruled non-compensable.
  • The VICP compensation offer is rejected by the claimant.
  • The vaccine is not covered by VICP.

Of course, the real reason that antivaccinationists hate the Vaccine Court so much is not so much because it’s so unfair to them. It isn’t, no matter how much they paint it so. Indeed, the government basically bends over backwards to be fair. The real reason antivaccinationists hate the Vaccine Court is because autism is not recognized as a “table injury.” Parents trying to obtain compensation for “vaccine-induced autism” generally lose because there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. The Autism Omnibus decision pretty much shut that door. None of this stops The Canary Party from claiming:

Legal precedent is limited, so the program issues contradictory rulings. In the case of Bailey Banks, a special master ruled the boy’s autism was “caused-in-fact” by the MMR vaccine. Yet in later cases, special masters ruled that vaccines do not cause autism, even though federal compensation has been awarded in at least 83 cases with autism.

Uh, no. This is a lie. What Schneider is referring to is this study by antivaccine lawyers that claimed that the Vaccine Court compensated children for vaccine-induced autism. They didn’t. The study was also arguably profoundly unethical.

Antivaccinationists also don’t like the cap on compensation and think they can win big in federal courts, which they just might if they get a sympathetic jury and a judge who lets the quacks and cranks testify. As you might gather from the video, antivaccinationists also don’t like the fact that they can’t face pharmaceutical companies directly, although it’s not true that the companies don’t pay. (Pharmaceutical companies do pay for the Vaccine Court through an excise tax on each vaccine dose administered.) Antivaccinationists also don’t like the lack of an opportunity to go on fishing expeditions in pharmaceutical company records during discovery. Heck, The Canary Party video basically says that, although Schneider doesn’t use those words.

There’s no doubt that children injured by vaccines deserve compensation. They deserve compensation that is reasonably fast, fair, not unduly burdensome, and adequate to take care of their needs. Through the vaccine court, most real cases of vaccine-induced injury get that. Autism, however, is not a “vaccine-induced” injury, efforts of antivaccinationists to make deceptive arguments otherwise notwithstanding. The science is quite clear on that. As long as antivaccinationists cling to the belief that vaccines cause autism, they will continue to attack the Vaccine Court. What’s really hilarious and ironic about this is that it was Barbara Loe Fisher, the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, and her co-founders of the antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center, who joined with the American Academy of Pediatrics to draft the original National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

That’s right, the NVICP came into being with the help of antivaccine activists. Now they hate it.

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.

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169 replies on “The Canary Party and Rob Schneider versus the Vaccine Court: Guess who wins?”

Finally, if the complainants lose in Vaccine Court, they can still sue in federal court. Basically, victims may still file a civil suit given the following….

This list was basically cribbed from NVIC. Bruesewitz eliminates state-law design-defect claims. In fact, it was precisely the first bullet point that was at issue.

The only path for a rejected claim is a limited-scope review in the CFC, followed by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, followed by SCOTUS. For the second point, I can only presume that Vaccine Rule 12 does not permit an end run around Bruesewitz.

..and the vaccine manufacturers can still be sued directly if there is an injury stemming from a manufacturing defect or a labeling defect.

Speaking of not-so-entertaining washed-up has-been celebs like Schneider, is anyone keeping an ear what ms e-cig might say as part of her new View-spew gig? I just can’t watch that show as it triggers neuronal death.

How does this “explainer” video, and the money that went into making it, help autistics? Mad props to whomever can give me a good answer.

One should remember that Mr. Schneider was the trigger for one of Roger Ebert’s most scathing movie reviews, which ended up providing the title for Ebert’s collection of, uh, very unfavorable reviews, “Your Movie Sucks”.

“There is a fountain filled with woo
flowing from Mikey Adam’s site”**

As if that isn’t bad enough, today he bubbles over about formaldehyde ((shudder)) whilst discussing a new law that bans its usage in children’s products but EXEMPTS
vaccines, pharmaceuticals, foods, beverages ( he later mentions supplements as well).

AND vaccines are injected “directly into the bloodstream” and in deadly combination with other poisonous ingredients like Hg, Al, MSG and antibiotics.

Yes, a “chemical holocaust” has been unleased upon us, which OBVIOUSLY betrays its TRUE purpose, to create a future market for “cancer drugs, kidney dialysis, liver transplantation” and other pricey medical procedures. And I suppose that fire will rain down from the sky and the graves will open as the dead are re-animated as well.
Pharma executives will go to any lengths to make a profit.

NaturalNews is the spring that never runs dry , forever quenching our thirst for the stupid and for endlessly uninformed hilarity.

** I hope Christians won’t be offended by my nicking of their hymn themes/ imagery. It might be Methodist.
Surprised that I knew that, huh?

There is a long, long tradition of repurposing tunes for other purposes in Christian music. (Martin Luther wrote a lot of songs, but the tunes were mainly ones he’d picked up beer halls, including his most famous, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”.) So I’d say it’s fair game, Denice. 😉

Ah, formaldehyde, one of those other myths that just won’t go away.

I got into a Twitter tussle with Schneider a while back. At the time, the arguments he used made him seem like a wee babe of the anti-vaccine movement, trotting out some of the oldest, easiest to refute nonsense. Doesn’t seem like he’s matured much at all.

Denice,
I do find it amusing that the Health DeRanger apparently still doesn’t understand that formaldehyde isn’t a contaminant in food and drink, it’s a natural component. All plants and animals that synthesize and/or metabolize amino acids that have methyl groups* will contain some formaldehyde, as will any organisms that eat them.

The most organic vegetables in the world will contain quite large amounts of methanol and formaldehyde, certainly more than any vaccine shot every has. This paper lists formaldehyde content of some foods: apples contain up to 22.3 mg/kg, pears up to 60 mg/kg and “immune system stimulating” dried shiitake mushrooms up to 406 mg/kg. A single vaccine shot contains at most 0.1 mg (apart from the Japanese encephalitis vaccine which contains a terrifying 0.2 mg).

You could no more legislate against food and drink containing formaldehyde than you could against it containing glucose.

* Alanine, leucine, phenylalanine and tryptophan, if memory serves.

Burning stupid, yes. But at least it was relatively entertaining to watch the cartoonist at work.

@ Jeff1971:

He sells supplements, freeze dried fruits, powdered organic nonsense ( see Natural News Store)… so you never know but also, I doubt he wants to run anti-supplement propaganda in large print or in the first paragraph.

@ Krebiozen:

I guess he hasn’t discovered any formaldehyde with HIS microscope in HIS products in HIS forensic food lab though,

I’m sure that there is a weasel-way to respond to the fact that foods contain the evil, corpse-preserving substance- it’s all natural and from the earth, thus, it is formaldehyde blest by Gaia herself.

It seems to me that the ‘Vaccine Court’ is yet another example of antivaxxers being given an inch and them taking a mile. Any attempts to please them or assuage their fears seems to be spat back in the faces of those who try to help. Similarly anything that is intended to reassure those who are incapable of assessing relative risks is taken as a concession that they are right in their deluded beliefs. They are beyond reason, and have no scruples about lying and twisting the facts to further their stated aims of reducing vaccination uptake.

The Simpsonwood conference is a good example; scientists met to discuss the possible health effects of thimerosal in vaccines, as I understand it largely because of the concern being spread by antivaxxers. They discussed worst case scenarios, and speculated on possible mechanisms that might barely conceivably mean that the minuscule amounts of thimerosal in vaccines could cause problems, all very admirable.

The antivaccine brigade then quoted (and continues to quote) these speculations and worst case scenarios as actual facts that were being covered up. Of course when thimerosal was later phased out, this was taken as evidence that it really was toxic and was causing problems.

The whole cell pertussis vaccine and the Urabe mumps component are also continually dragged out as ‘evidence’ that all vaccines are dangerous. As we saw yesterday, they are still writing about SV40 which has not been found in vaccines for over half a century and was not harmful anyway. Similarly I noticed that on the SBM blog recently Dr. Jay was citing the discovery of some vaccines production problems as evidence that vaccines cannot be trusted. I see it as a reassuring sign that safety standards are being monitored and enforced.

Agree, Krebiozen. They do nothing but rant and rave about how their concerns aren’t addressed, then when their concerns are addressed and the results are 1) there is no significant risk, 2) we don’t really have enough yet to determine a risk but we’ll do something as a precaution, 3) we accept that there is a small risk of something legitimate, so we will compensate based on these small, legitimate risks, or 4) it was fraud, they scream they the goverment doesn’t care. The government and vaccine companies caring enough to research and adjust fuels the conspiracy theories that they are covering things up. Like McCarthy’s defense of Wakefield, asking why someone is demonized when questioning the safety of a vaccine. They investigated! They did the studies! They didn’t brush him aside, they just couldn’t replicate what she wanted him to. Then they found out he lied, so it was a waste. But of course we know all these studies and interests mean is that they’re looking for new ways to cover it up. What level of investigation will be enough? What level of safety? When will they realize that them changing the schedule is an example of them being non-rigid? I know I’m preaching to the choir, so to speak, but typing this here is far more productive and less illegal than finding an antivaxxer to punch.

Also, since you bring up Dr. Jay from SBM, I can’t help but think his frequent returns to post nonsense and be summarily destroyed by the responses are cries for help. Has he switched teams and is trying to do penance but can’t admit it publicly? Who is that much of a glutten for punishment? Or is he that obtuse?

So is Mike Adams selling products that are packed with formaldehyde?

But….it’s natural formaldehyde!!

Alain 😉

The thing that amazes me about the whole VICP/Vaccine Court thing is that Barbara Loe Fisher herself has, in recent years, started calling for the program to be abolished. She claims it shields manufacturers and was driven by them, almost completely discounting her own role in its creation, particularly in the writing of the act itself! It boggles the mind, it does.

There is a long, long tradition of repurposing tunes for other purposes in Christian music.

Joe Hill certainly had some winners in this category at the expense of General William Booth’s brigade. (W*k*pedia also reminds me that “The Preacher and the Slave” “In the Sweet By and By” gets a poke in Connecticut Yankee, which pleases me tremendously. I should figure out why Ives was making reference to it.)

Dr. Jay “put me on probation” on Respectful Insolence and then “banned me” on the SBM blog…because I whup his butt every time he posts on those blogs.

He’s a proven pathological liar…he posted on R.I. that he was providing the varicella vaccine to children with cancer under a “compassionate use protocol” (before the vaccine was licensed in the United States and during the period of time when the vaccine was undergoing testing on healthy volunteers in Japan).

He’s also a misogynist because, I, a lowly registered nurse who worked as a public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist called him out repeatedly on his false statements, his “opinions” based on crappy science and his “Links” section of his website, that provided links to mercola.com and whale.to about childhood vaccines.

@Narad —

There’s a long, long tradition of repurposing hymn tunes, as well. Most of them by military personnel and most of them unprintable.

in reality it was a plan to save the vaccine program

You just don’t get it, do you? Saving the vaccine program was EBIL!

According to what I have read one of the primary reasons for the NVICP was to protect the manufacturers against safety related financial liability.

The primary reason for passage of NCVIA was to attempt to secure the national vaccine supply. Insulating manufacturers from state civil lotteries by having an up-front tax is a means to this end. (It’s not clear to me why that capsule history omits the 1980s.)

^ (This certainly isn’t the only realm in which preemption applies, but the field is something of a mess, and different examples have different nuances. If one considers the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which preempted Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., is the conclusion that a “primary reason” for NTMVSA was to “protect the manufacturers against safety related financial liability”?)

It seems to me that the ‘Vaccine Court’ is yet another example of antivaxxers being given an inch and them taking a mile. Any attempts to please them or assuage their fears seems to be spat back in the faces of those who try to help.

Indeed. When the Thompson et al. Pediatrics study on thiomersal and neurological disorders was under way, Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds was invited to participate in the study design and analysis. When the data didn’t turn out to what she had hoped, she flounced off and publicly trashed the study.

He’s also a misogynist because, I, a lowly registered nurse who worked as a public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist called him out repeatedly on his false statements, his “opinions” based on crappy science and his “Links” section of his website, that provided links to mercola.com and whale.to about childhood vaccines.

I have to admit that it chaps by bum when misogynist is used so erroneously. Dr. Jay may be accused of being elitist in this context but definitely not misogynist.

Okay Science Mom. 🙂

“He’s also an elitist because, I, a lowly registered nurse who worked as a public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist called him out repeatedly on his false statements, his “opinions” based on crappy science and his “Links” section of his website, that provided links to mercola.com and whale.to about childhood vaccines.”

The thing that amazes me about the whole VICP/Vaccine Court thing is that Barbara Loe Fisher herself has, in recent years, started calling for the program to be abolished. She claims it shields manufacturers and was driven by them, almost completely discounting her own role in its creation, particularly in the writing of the act itself! It boggles the mind, it does.

Acutally, it makes perfect sense if you look at it like an antivaxxer. As our esteemed host is always pointing out, it’s always going to be the vaccines with these people. Fisher didn’t get the results she expected from the creation of the Vaccine Court and since the possibility that she’s been completely wrong about vaccines all along cannot be entertained, then the Court must go.

(This certainly isn’t the only realm in which preemption applies, but the field is something of a mess, and different examples have different nuances. If one considers the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which preempted Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., is the conclusion that a “primary reason” for NTMVSA was to “protect the manufacturers against safety related financial liability”?) I don’t know. Did the NTMVSA set up a fund that adds a surcharge to the cost of each motor vehicle to compensate people who were injured as a result of driving or riding in a vehicle that has a manufacturing defect?

I don’t know. Did the NTMVSA set up a fund that adds a surcharge to the cost of each motor vehicle to compensate people who were injured as a result of driving or riding in a vehicle that has a manufacturing defect?

No. Then again, neither did NCVIA, which, post-Bruesewitz (an important distinction), encompasses only design defects. In that sense, NTMVSA goes easier on the manufacturers than NCVIA does. I think the case law on FDCA preemption is similar.

For a combination of regulatory preemption and indemnification, one can look to the Price-Anderson Act, although you’re going to have to read Duke Power and Silkwood to understand the nature of the limitations on state-law claims, which aren’t disallowed.

All the anti-vaccers are missing the big picture, the issue was taking the lead out of petrol and replacing it with benzene. Autism-spectrum disorder rates increased substantially after that, so clearly ASDs are a lead deficiency problem not a vaccine-related issue.

/sigh I read quite a bit on how bad people generally are at estimating risk and relationships. I also read how that beliefs are emotion-based, so appeals to science tend to not work very well because they’re missing the base. I just wish I knew what to argue instead.

Is some of it peer group effects, i.e. that people holding these wacky beliefs tend to associate and seek out others holding the same wacky beliefs. If so, then it would appear that these people need to change their peer groups, and I’m stuck on how that might happen in large numbers. 🙁

aren’t ASDs caused by acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer and Halley’s comet? ;<)

Nah, it’s broccoli, DVDs and Justin Bieber.

Actually the Mercury Hypothesis was partially correct:
rates of ASDs increased dramatically after –

1. it was removed from children’s vaccines and
2. after the death of Freddie Mercury –
although none of its advocates could have predicted that Mercury INDEED had had a DOUBLY protective- rather than a deleterious- effect.

Should I know this guy?

http://tinyurl.com/p42ttcj

The story showed up on my News Feed page. The original article doesn’t have many comments, but the ABC News Facebook page is loaded a thousand or so comments with the usual crap.

OK, who’s up for taking the soundtrack in that quasi-“viral” video and replacing it with “Rob Schneider derpa derpa derpa derp….”? (Hey, *somebody* had to mention it.)

‘Cause that’s what all this anti-vaccine nonsense sounds like to my ears.

According to what I have read one of the primary reasons for the NVICP was to protect the manufacturers against safety related financial liability. http://www.vaccineethics.org/issue_briefs/industry.php

That’s akin to saying “The purpose of a heart surgery is revenue for the heart surgeon.” It’s not inaccurate – I’m sure the surgeon feels, with some justice, that she should be paid for her efforts – but it certainly isn’t the whole of the story, or even the most important part. From the point of view of a heart patient, the purpose of the heart surgery is to save his life. You might agree that this is in fact the primary purpose of the heart surgery, and that paying the heart surgeon for their work is a necessary means to that end.

Vaccines save lives, just as heart surgeries do, but with the possible exception of tetanus and rabies, it’s less dramatic and visible when they do so. A responsible government realizes the need to have a vaccine program for the purpose of saving its citizens’ lives. Yet it needs cooperation from other actors to make this program work and serve its purpose; they need companies to manufacture the vaccines, and they need citizens (who may have been misled to believe in a much higher risk of side effects from the vaccines than actually exists) to get themselves and their children vaccinated.

If you read the link you yourself cited, Curious, you might have noted its mention of many companies that stopped manufacturing vaccines, with liability concerns being one of the big reasons why. (Remember that this was the same era in which Dow Corning was forced into bankruptcy by product liability lawsuits claiming that the silicone breast implants they manufactured caused anything from breast cancer to rheumatoid arthritis to lupus – none of these claims ever being substantiated by scientific consensus.) What would you do, if you were trying to preserve a literally life-saving program, but liability concerns were causing manufacturers to stop making the product on which your program hinged?

What the US government did was to institute the NVICP, which did not shield vaccine manufacturers from all liability concerns, but did offer reassurance against what might be called “the Dow Corning scenario”. Parents also got reassurance from the program that if their child was one of the very rare children who suffered actual side effects with lasting harm from vaccines, the government would help them bear the financial cost of that misfortune. In order to persuade cooperation of these stakeholders, the government showed them that the program would look out for their interests, too.

The result is that we have a vaccine program that continues to save lives. I have to look askance at anyone who would overlook that fact, the fact that the program achieves its primary purpose, and fixates instead on what the vaccine manufacturers get out of it. That’s like undergoing a successful heart surgery and obsessing over the possibility that maybe you could have talked the surgeon into accepting a smaller fee.

Did the NTMVSA set up a fund that adds a surcharge to the cost of each motor vehicle to compensate people who were injured as a result of driving or riding in a vehicle that has a manufacturing defect?

You failed in your research. Either that, or you deliberately made your analogy poor – but let’s give you the benefit of the doubt.

The NVICP is a no-fault compensation system. That information is not hard to discover, and should not be hard to understand. Your hypothetical NTMVSA fund, however, which you suggest would be analogous to the NVICP, presumes that in every case fault lies with “manufacturing defect” of the product. Even if, through another failure of research, you are using “manufacturing defect” interchangeably with “design defect”, you’re still describing a system which differs from NVICP on the most fundamental levels.

Let me describe a hypothetical case. Suppose petitioners came before the NVICP seeking compensation for their son, who was injured by a vaccine. It’s not that the vaccine was manufactured badly, or that there was a defect in the vaccine; the child in question had a condition that should have contraindicated that specific vaccine, and through a mixup of records, he received the vaccination anyways, and was injured.

Is it your impression, Curious, that if that case came before the NVICP, they would deny compensation because the blame did not belong to a fault with the vaccine? If so, then what precisely do you think it means that the NVICP is described as a “no-fault” system? If you get the correct answer, that the NVICP would compensate because compensation is not contingent upon finding fault with the vaccine, then why are you talking about a fund which would only compensate in cases of manufacturing defect, and offering that as if it’s analogous to and sheds some light on NVICP, when it differs on the most fundamental levels?

Acutally, it makes perfect sense if you look at it like an antivaxxer. As our esteemed host is always pointing out, it’s always going to be the vaccines with these people.

Too true Edith and this is an excellent example of that: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2013/09/autism-0906
Now check out the money quote from the Dachelbot:

If scientists at UNC really wanted to do something to significantly advance our understanding of autism, they’d conduct a
simple comparison study of fully-vaccinated and never-vaccinated children. If one in every 50 never-vaccinated children also has autism, we’d have proof that vaccines are not among the environmental factors causing autism. There are now so many parents too afraid to vaccinate that the study group is out there. Our health officials do retrospective studies like this all the time but they refuse to call for one that could end the most heated controversy in pediatric medicine. We all should be asking why.

Unless and until this study is done, the question remains open.

Yea right because Dachel and the rest of the AoA braintrust are doing so much to elucidate autism aetiology.

Alain: “me think ASD is caused by plain old sex”. I have spent my entire life trying to have sex that was anything but old and plain, so how do I come to have an ASD?

I knew the video was going to be crap when the intro referred to “actor Rob Schneider”.
If ever oxymoron there was, it’s right there (Not saying anything about just-plain-moron. You can decide that for yourself.).

The AI algorithm that goes by the name of Dachel* wrote:

If one in every 50 never-vaccinated children also has autism, we’d have proof that vaccines are not among the environmental factors causing autism.

Like that Generation Rescue phone survey found 6 years ago? I know it was somewhat dodgy methodology, but even so if the claims of the antivaxxers were true, this should have shown up in the results. It didn’t. All that they found was a bit of random variation, and several unvaccinated autists who are not supposed to exist. Unless GR are paid Big Pharma shills under deep cover, of course…

* She failed my Turing test, so that’s my conclusion.

@ Krebiozen:

Unfortunately, I am afraid that Dachel is a person albeit an extremely limited, drearily repetitive, one note person but a person never the less. Believe it or not, some people are severely restricted and ritualistic in their linguistic expressions and in their interactions with their fellow/ sister human beings.

I don’t think she’s an algorithm- that would sound better. Less whiney.

One of these days I might put together a overview of antivax writers’ language and expressive styles.
Heh.

@ Denice

I shudder and I cringe to think she may well be autist (even most autist are better than her) but hey, she might well be.

Alain

I have spent my entire life trying to have sex that was anything but old and plain, so how do I come to have an ASD?

Unfortunately, sex is old (else, we wouldn’t exist) but I admit there are several variations of sexual prowess and techniques so I retract my comment and add:

old sex with any of its variation is responsible for autism 😀

Captain’O

An Observing Party : “Glutin for penance? Well, I suppose that in his world, since bread and sugar are toxic, consuming them would be a penance.

For those interested in what the late Roger Ebert had to say about one of Mr Schneider’s movies (thanks palindrom!): read this. Quite entertaining.

If she were an algorithm, there would at least be the possibility it could be revised sufficiently that it would generate conclusions reflecting reality.

Offtopic: Is there an expert on learning which would be available for a few emails exchanges on troubleshooting a learning problem that I have?

I’m seeing my psychiatrist next week and the problem I have is related to the field of learning (law) which does not compute to the point that I want to change program (computer science) tomorrow but I’d like to troubleshoot the problem regardless of what I do. It’s more in regard to aptitude and the need for logic.

Alain

p.s. I’d do it here (nothing’s very much personal in my issue) but this is offtopic.

Addendum: might need an increase in Strattera too which is one of the reasons I’m seeing my psychiatrist for.

Alain

How in the world do you keep your sanity arguing with those people lilady?

I wish there had been Gardisil when my sisters and I were younger. Just finding out today my sister has cervical cancer. So tell that douche that regrets giving it to their daughter to PFFFTTT off from me.

@ Scared Momma: Who said I keep my sanity, when I post at the trolls? 🙂

I’m so sorry to learn of your sister’s diagnosis. I’m send best wishes to you and to your sister.

– lilady

#27 Yeah, I don’t think he dislikes women who disagree with him any more than he dislikes men who disagree with him, honestly.

Carolyn @38: This doctor and his ideas are new to me. But I can’t believe he won’t consider the one big factor that the brain has a big influence on the gut. Besides of course, confusing cause and correlation.
I say this because my gut is sensitive to my moods; when I’m stressed, I get wind, burping, pains and diarrhea. In one memorable episode, my digestive tract decided all by itself that I needed to run right away from the situation and that rapid emptying of itself at both ends would best facilitate this. Fun times!

lilady,
I posted a couple of comments at iol.co.za but my second went into moderation.

I am still astonished that anyone can argue that measles is good for children when it unarguably causes encephalitis in around 1 in 1,000 cases (5 cases of measles encephalitis this year alone in the EU), not to mention other sequelae such as death.

The same person then claims that MMR is bad for you because it causes encephalitis when the best evidence I have seen, looking at over 2 million children, suggests it doesn’t cause encephalitis at all.

How does anyone manage to believe this stuff?

Actually, sex of any kind can cause autism. Without parental sex noone with autism would have been born.
Also why don’t they send donkeys to college?
Because nobody likes a smart ass.
Running and ducking for cover.

@lilady, well, lets just say you SOUND more sane than those crazies! (Thank you, hugs)

One person said (I can’t keep track of them) that all you need to do is keep your vitamins up, exercise etc etc etc and you will be fine getting measles. I have to imagine that Native Americans were some of the healthiest people on earth, variety of diet, exercise, fresh air, community . . . yet what wiped them out?! Disease. (and guns, but you get my point)

‘How does anyone manage to believe this stuff?’

I was hoping Orac or you guys would answer that for me.

Smoke……Fire
Well, to be certain, I wont vaccinate my kids. Those who do don’t need to worry about that do they if the vaccines work.

@ Antaeus Feldspar – you are overly analytical. As you well know that analogy was introduced by Narad, so I have no idea why you would think I agree with it or support it, I was merely replying to Narad. However seeing as you asked me, “no fault” means blame is not being assigned but it does not mean the product or service is free from defects. And continuing with the analogy, the manufacturing process of an automobile could equate to the vaccination program – both are designed to deliver a finished product to the consumer. In respect of a “manufacturing defect” this would equate to the inability of vaccination programs to identify all individuals who are at risk of experiencing a debilitating adverse event.

@Curious – pharmaceutical companies can be held accountable for “design defects,” such as bad batches of vaccines that were manufactured incorrectly.

Holding a company responsible because they couldn’t anticipate every single instance by which someone might be harmed by a product (have you seen some of the ridiculous warning labels that some products come with? They are there because of the stupid things people do, plus unintended / unforeseeable consequences).

Vaccine reactions (serious ones) are incredibly rare – and tracked extensively….what you are asking for is what is called a “Perfect World” or “Nirvana Fallacy” where everything is guaranteed, 100% of the time – we don’t live in a perfect world & in the case of vaccines, the Vaccine Court is actually a much fairer and easier system to navigate than trying to sue an Automobile Manufacturer in civil court (as a person that works in the Legal World, civil litigation is perhaps the most complicated, expensive and horrific process you could possibly imagine).

@Scared Momma:

I think that often belief in woo is a self-protective, psychological mechanism that denies the lack of control that people have over life events.

One woo-meister I survey tells his enrapatured audience that they could live to be 150 years old- twice their expected lifespan- if only they ate correctly, exercised and “de-stressed” properly, i.e. his way.

Obviously this is a sales pitch for his products, books and shlock-umentaries but also somehow, somehwere I can hear the deep-seated fear that lurks percolating beneath the surface of his sickeningly modulated, incredibly phoney sincerity.

He had recounted how his parents ate a standard diet, smoked, drank and lived incorrectly- going to doctors, breathing polluted air, drinking public water, you know the drill- and they died in middle age ( even though his mother was a ‘sensitive’ and “healer – talents which he inherited”) and his brother died at 50 or so,
BECAUSE none of them listened to him- he who had the rescue formulae and the keys to the kingdom of eternal youth and long life.( Actually the only long-lived person in his family was a vegan who lived on her own organic farm… in the 1950s)

Frightened people who listen to him or read Natural News or Mercola.com are searching for an easy way out of inevitable aging and death: people are especially scared of cancer.
You’ll notice that many of alt med’s talking points involve avoiding cancer by correct diets, supplements etc.

Utilising SBM involves an admission that experts understand and control the technology which is beyond most patients’ ken- thus, they have to hand over control to an expert- perhaps to save their life or improve it vastly.

Woo utilises the fear and dislike many folk have for the aforementioned situation and stress how doctors mis-use people, are arrogant and make too much money- they’re not to be trusted; accordingly, they also try to illustrate that they have much in common with the patient ( truth is, they’re both non-experts) they’re GOOD people- despite their arcane knowledge of life energy or whatnot.
Perhaps patients as well as woo-meisters envy the accomplishments of professionals as well.

Woo also gives simpler explanation than reality does. Some studies have shown an inverse relatuonship between beliefs like these and cognitive complexity.

In the anti-vax contingent, I believe that fear is the chief motivator and amongst those parents who already have a child with an ASD, there’s a measure of wanting to “get even” after being so “short-changed” as THEY believe they have been.

There’s a great deal more- but I have work- stick around.

@61 -Toby
I’ll keep this short as I’m at work (attempting science!)

Vaccines are not 100% effective (and they aren’t claimed to be). Some of those who have been vaccinated may still be at risk of infection.

Additionally, some people cannot be vaccinated, so these people are at risk from infection and must rely on herd immunity to prevent exposure.

By not vaccinating your children you put not only them, but others in danger.

@Toby:

I wont vaccinate my kids. Those who do don’t need to worry about that do they if the vaccines work.

Tell that to the parents whose children were too young to be vaccinated who were infected by unvaccinated children.
You
Are
A
Total
Fool.

“One person said (I can’t keep track of them) that all you need to do is keep your vitamins up, exercise etc etc etc and you will be fine getting measles”

That person lied.

Misinformation like this’d leads to people skipping vaccines, getting sick and dying of sspe.

And these people are the first to blame shift and refuse responsibility for their actions.

@ Krebiozen: If you post a “link”, your comment will never get posted. What I do is tell the commenter to “google”..

“The Canary Party and Rob Schneider versus the Vaccine Court: Guess who wins?”

I then cut and paste a few paragraphs from that article that I want them to see

@ Scared Momma: Are you referring to the crank who posts under her ‘nym “courageandhope”? She especially is the poster I encounter on blogs. She knows diddly about nutrition or vaccines.

Kids who contract measles in areas of the world where there is malnutrition, (Africa, especially) are provided 2 doses of Vitamin A, which has dramatically decreased mortality associated with measles:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

CIA Parker is a real head case, who posts the same old lies about the diagnosis she made for her child of “Vaccine-Induced Encephalits” related to the birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine which she claims she never gave permission. When Todd W. posted at her she kept posting at him, calling him Lawrence. She accused me and Lawrence and other posters ganging up on her on “a blog”. That gave me the opportunity to remind her that she was banned by the blog owner at the “Shot of Prevention” blog for her thread-derailing post under dozens of sock puppets.

The real “Lawrence” has now posted at her, which makes for some odd comments.

I keep checking back at that blog to make certain that my comment is on top…and if one of the cranks has posted atop my comment, I post atop the crank’s post. It really p!sses them off.

By electing not to vaccinate your children you’re compromising herd immunity, placing others who either cannot be immunized (because they’re too young, who for known medical reasons aren’t suitable candidates for immunization, etc), or though immunized failed to produce sufficient antibody titers to be protected (recall that although very effective at reducing the risk of infection–typcially in the 85 to 9per cent ballpark–no vaccine is100% effective at conferring protection) at an increased risk of disease or death.

More information about the Canary Party video from AoA.:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/09/canary-party-video-highlights-us-vax-injury-compensation-program-failures.html#more

Jennifer Larson is claiming that another Hearing, this time on the VICP Program, is schedule for “November, 2013”.

“We are thrilled that Rep. Darrell Issa will be holding a second round of vaccine hearings this fall in the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to examine just what is happening in the VICP,” said Canary Party President Jennifer Larson. “We are eager for Congress and the American people to see just how far the program has strayed from what it was intended to be when Congress put it in place in the 1980s. It has failed families and become nothing more than a tool to protect vaccine makers and cover government malfeasance in the vaccine program, to the detriment of countless children.”

Odd, I am not seeing any notification about that hearing on the Congressional Oversight Committee’s Calendar or on Daryl Issa’s websites:

lilady, thanks for fighting the good fight. I don’t really go to IOL as it is hell to load. But I saw your posts. Excellent work and thank you.

Too early in the morning to post for this night owl, but I must chime in on the esteemed Ms. Walter’s very excellent woo-view. As a former resident of Wooville and someone who was once a card-carrying member of The Worried Well,™ you’ve hit the nail on the head. From my personal experience and my experience working for Whole Life Expos back in the 90s, Fear (with a capital “F”) is the main driver. And not just any old fear, Existential Fear. Usually gnawing away at one in the background. I won’t get into my theories on the causes of this since I’m not a doctor, or an actor like Robert Schneider (I can actually act), but I was writing a long rant the other day at an HIV denialist and realized that what I was writing, had I read the same thing 20 years ago, would probably have zero effect on them . . . now. However, I will say to those of us who rail against woo now, it gets in. They hear it, even with their fingers in their ears, rocking back and forth going “la, la, la, la, homeopathy is real, la, la, la, la, vaccines are teh ebilz,
la, la, la, la, HIV is harmless . . .”.

When I came-to after a ten year slog out of magical-thinking, I realized that all the scary things (facts, science, logic) I had tried to avoid in Wooville had seeped into my conscious mind. I compartmentalized it, but it was there, gnawing away. My inner skeptic had been bound and gagged since about 17 or 18, but he was in there gobbling up all these tidbits. He finally worked the ball gag out of his mouth by about 36 and by 46, he was free and in the driver’s seat. Unlike the stereotype “cold scientist” he’s very compassionate, he escorted a trembling, underfed, neurotic Woo-self away from the controls and set him down with a nice cup of herb tea, some pads and pens and a copy of Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. Wooboy still chimes first whenever there’s an unidentified light in the sky or a bump in the night, but, then again, he also writes all the best parts of the Lord Draconis stuff and draws all the pictures. If only I could get him away from my checkbook . . .

Don’t forget to contact me when you’re ready to write that book Denice.

I hate that there’s no edit feature on this ghastly system. Anyway, I meant that I was the ex-resident of Wooville and former card-carrying member of the WW™, not Ms. Walter.

@ Scared Momma

One person said (I can’t keep track of them) that all you need to do is keep your vitamins up, exercise etc etc etc and you will be fine getting measles

One of RI’s most notorious antivax trolls used to claim that keeping your toddler on the sidewalk (instead of the germ-ridden grass) would protect against VPDs. We had a lot of fun with that notion.

Thank you very much for taking the time Denise Walter to write that insightful answer. I know that it is easier to ‘believe’ in life, than know. But one thing has stuck with me since a child, ‘Knowledge is Power’. Apparently they don’t teach that anymore. My generation has converted back to ‘woo’. I am in awe of science and what it can do.

Whenever I read an article or a comment about not vaccinating, I am just so incredibly thankful my children have made it through their early years not contracting one of those diseases.

I know you have more to write, but do you think that also it is due to America’s (and other developed nations) pure lack of comprehension of how the rest of the world lives? Our ‘its my life, not yours’ mentality? It’s ironic to me these believers in natural healing, the ‘connected-ness’ of nature, that they can’t see beyond the end of their nose how their lives and decisions affect others.

@lilady, you are my hero. I can’t argue with dumb people, or even nice people like my family and friends that believe in woo. (Oh, you are right, I guess my grandpa should have just eaten fruit to cure his cancer, or, oh yes, please, snap my nephews neck to cure his allergies.) And thank you for the explanation to where the Vit A reference comes from, and yes, I think it was courageandhope, that rings a bell.

And I am sorry, I don’t want to get banned here for posting too many off topic comments. I finally got up my nerve to post among you amazing people. Just warn me 🙂

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