National Infant Immunization Week 2014

And now for something completely different (sort of).

Somehow, I totally forgot that the week of April 26 to May 3 is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. In fact, it’s the 20th anniversary of the NIIW. If any medical intervention in existence deserves such a week, it’s vaccination. Unlike travesties such as Naturopathic Medicine Week (or, as I liked to call it, Quackery Week). Vaccines work, period. They’ve arguably saved more lives than virtually any other invention from the mind of humans. Yet the antivaccine movement continues to demonize them as the cause of autism, autoimmune diseases, sudden infant death syndrome, and pretty much any disease or condition that children suffer from.

So naturally, the band of cranks over at the antivaccine crank blog, Age of Autism (AoA), are not so happy about NIIW. One of them, at least, is downright ticked off. I’m referring to Cathy Jameson, whom we’ve met before here many times before. And this time around, she’s just as full of Dunning-Kruger arrogance of ignorance as she’s ever been. Maybe even more. I’ll show you what I mean:

Please note that I am exercising caution while using the term immunizations in this piece and will replace it with the word vaccine. While immunizations were designed with the hope of creating life-long immunity, immunity isn’t a sure thing. In fact, diseases these immunizations supposed prevent actually still exist, and according to the media, are coming back in droves causing major “outbreaks” in several area across the US. Oddly, with these increased “outbreaks”, instead of ceasing use of the immunizations associated with them, in the same news reports that state immunized individuals are spreading a so-called “vaccine-preventable” disease, it also says to run right out and get another immunization! With the first two doses and a booster obviously being ineffective, my guess is that the CDC hopes that a third, and even fourth, dose will hopefully do the trick.

So many fallacies, so little time. She clearly doesn’t understand basic math. It’s not the sheer number of children who come down with a vaccine-preventable disease in an outbreak that determines if a vaccine is working. It’s the attack rate; i.e., the risk of being infected and coming down with clinical illness in an outbreak is higher in the unvaccinated than it is in the vaccinated, because vaccines work. For example, unvaccinated/undervaccinated children have a 23-fold increased risk of acquiring pertussis in an outbreak than fully vaccinated children. Because so many more children are vaccinated than unvaccinated, numbers alone give a deceptive picture, in which the number of children who are vaccinated who catch the disease will seem substantial. But if you figure out the attack rate (number of cases of disease/total at risk population) for unvaccinated and vaccinated children, there’s where you get the 23-fold difference.

So, in fact, contrary to Jameson’s position, running right out and getting the immunization is indeed the smart thing to do.

Next up is the “toxins” gambit, where Jameson tries to inspire fear based on vaccine ingredients, demanding “full disclosure of certain ingredients still found in vaccines.” Of course, there already is full disclosure of all ingredients in vaccines. Certainly neither Jameson nor anyone else has demonstrated that there isn’t. If you want, you can even find the concentrations of the various components. It’s not as though they’re secret. None of this stops Jameson from proclaiming:

Some of the people who speak up and who speak out are parents of vaccine injured children. Others have been vaccine injured themselves, injured by the very vaccines the CDC plans to parade around this week. These people, who valiantly speak up about vaccines and vaccine safety, have one of the most valuable opinions on the matter, but I doubt that they will be asked to join the CDC and their vaccine celebrating festivities.

Except that the vast majority of these “vaccine-injured” children proclaimed so by Jameson are autistic, and we already know from numerous studies that there is no correlation between vaccines or mercury in the thimerosal that used to be in vaccines and autism. Vaccines don’t cause autism, no matter how much Jameson proclaims that they do. Nor does it stop her from listing a whole bunch of pseudoscientific posts from—where else?—AoA itself. To get an idea of how scientifically bankrupt everything she’s posting is, she includes the infamous Canary Party video asking Do Vaccines Cause Autism? narrated by the latest antivaccine celebrity idiot Rob Schneider (well, before Kristin Cavallari and Alicia Silverstone started spewing antivaccine nonsense publicly this year. Besides the Canary party, Jameson cites Barbara Loe Fisher’s antivaccine National Vaccine Information Center, lots of AoA posts, and even, one of the loonier antivaccine sites out there. Let’s just put it this way: Reliable information, there is not there. Not any.

Not that any of this stops Jameson from conspiracy mongering, because, you know, the CDC is obviously hiding all that information about vaccines being so horrible, the better to continue their nefarious plans to vaccinated every child who doesn’t have medical contraindications to be vaccinated and thus prevent harmful and potentially deadly infectious diseases from wreaking havoc among children. Those bastards! Those evil plotters! At least that’s what Jameson thinks. But first, she must proclaim:

The vaccine information we share here is meant to assist others because not enough has been done in that regard. Information is based on science as well as reality, the reality of a vaccine injury. Sharing this information and being more informed about vaccines is not a bad thing. Shouldn’t the pregnant woman who’s being told to get this vaccine and that know that neither vaccine has not previously been tested on pregnant women? Shouldn’t the teenager who’s gotten one HPV vaccine be told she doesn’t need to return for shot 2 and 3 in that series? Shouldn’t the parent who’s told by the school nurse that those “required vaccines” for school entry are merely recommendations and her children can in fact attend school without them?

I tell ya, Jameson owes me a new keyboard. I guess I should know better than to be drinking anything when I read anything from AoA. She says that “sharing this information and being more informed about vaccines is not a bad thing.” I’d agree with half of that, if that half weren’t also hopelessly deluded. Sharing the antivaccine information from AoA is definitely a bad thing in that it gives parents a false view of vaccination, presenting it as being far more risky and less effective than it actually is, in essence scaring them out of vaccinating. Becoming more informed about vaccines is a good thing, but that’s Jameson’s delusion. What she’s doing and becoming “more informed” about vaccines are related only by coincidence, if that. In fact, not even that. What Jameson posts is the opposite of science and the opposite of reliable information. It’s the misinformation that is intentionally used to lead parents into “misinformed consent” for not vaccinating.

Now here’s the conspiracy:

Those who withhold vaccine information and guard it as they do is troubling. Instead of keeping the negative side of vaccines a secret, everyone who is contemplating them should know as much as they can about them. I’d hope that they’d know each vaccine ingredients and how the body interacts with them. I’d expect they’d be told how to recognize a vaccine side effects and know what to do about them. I’d pray they’d realize that adverse reactions occur more often than is reported and they should be taken very seriously. Finally, I’d hope they’d investigate if vaccine choice (exemption) is an option and to exercise that right if needed.

Personally, I’d hope that Jameson would stop spewing antivaccine misinformation, but I’d hope in vain.

It is, after all, the very purpose of AoA and antivaccine blogs and groups like it. No matter how much they claim it’s about autism and helping autistic children, in the end, it’s always about the vaccines. Always. No matter how much they claim to be “vaccine safety advocates,” it’s always about demonizing vaccines as evil and harmful. Always. No matter how much they claim it’s about science, it isn’t.