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Tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement (2014 edition)

With very few exceptions, antivaccinationists labor under the delusion that they are not antivaccine. The reason is simple. Deep down, at some level, even the most dedicated antivaccine advocate knows that society quite rightly views it as a bad thing to be against a preventative intervention that has arguably saved more lives than any other medical intervention. Of course, as I’ve documented many times in the past, there are some who are openly antivaccine and proud of it, but they seem to be the minority. Most antivaccinationists, like Jenny McCarthy, hide behind a mantra resembling, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine.’ I’m pro-safe vaccine.” This rhetorical device serves two purposes. First, it camouflages a pseudoscientific belief system that demonizes vaccines, at least to those unaware of the scientific bankruptcy of the arguments used to support it. Second, it allows the antivaccinationist to see herself as the real defender of public health, compared to those evil “vaccine pushers,” who, no doubt under the influence of all that filthy pharma lucre showered upon them by vaccine manufacturers to run astroturf operations against Brave Defenders of the Truth, are the real ones fighting to save The Children.

This particular bit of presto change-o prestidigitation applied to reality has been popping up a lot lately. It began with a piece that’s been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites. Having first appeared on the website of the antivaccine group that we all know and love (actually, not Generation Rescue, but that other antivaccine group that we all know and love, SafeMinds), it’s a piece by Scott Laster, a SafeMinds board member, entitled Dear Parents, you are being deceived about vaccines and autism.

It’s a deeply deceptive piece, full of logical fallacies and antivaccine tropes long debunked both here and elsewhere, including the claim that the Hannah Poling case represents evidence that the government has admitted that vaccines can cause autism “in some children” (it isn’t; rather it’s a “rebranding” of autism on the part of the antivaccine movement) and that the government compensated 83 children for vaccine-induced autism. That latter claim is a particularly fetid mixture of rotting dingo’s kidneys, based as it is on a “study” by antivaccine lawyers whose conclusions do not flow from the data they examined and who seem to have “forgotten” (or not acknowledged the need) to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to study. It’s a favorite antivaccine study cited by antivaccine “journalists” such Sharyl Attkisson and useful idiots like Rob Schneider for the Canary Party. Not surprisingly, Laster also cites the usual litany of dubious studies that don’t show what he (and sometimes the authors) think they show, including a claim that the basic science has never been done to “study autism rates in children who have been given the recommended 24 doses against 9 different diseases before age one versus autism rates in children who have not received those vaccines, which is, of course, a distortion at best.

Then he provides a statement that serves as good evidence for the point I’m trying to make:

We also know that hundreds of thousands of parents, like this one and this one and this one, followed the rules, did everything their doctors told them, and had no autism in their families. Now they have children on the autism disorder spectrum. We cannot say for certainty that vaccines cause autism. We cannot say for certainty that vaccines do NOT cause autism. Nothing has been definitely proven. Despite what you read and what the government wants you to believe, this is still very much an open debate.

They call any organizations “anti-vaxxers” if they champion vaccine safety.

But the organizations are simply calling for a smart approach to vaccination in which plausible vaccine-injury theories are actually studied and parents are informed of the measured risks versus benefits. These organizations call for the science to be performed in order to have a vaccine schedule that is properly researched, as opposed to being a massive public experiment in regards to autism risk. Instead of “anti-vax”, the proper label for these organizations is “pro-science.”

Imagine if after the food-poisoning outbreak, the organizations that questioned why no other food but potato salad at the buffet was tested were ridiculed and attacked as being “anti-food”?

Imagine if doctors who call for a more judicious and safer use of antibiotics were ridiculed and attacked for being “anti-”antibiotic?

The stupid, it burnsss usss, precioussss.

But for all the burn marks across my face and body from the napalm-grade idiocy contained within that passage, I still find this passage quite useful. First, note how Laster is following the tried-and-not-so-true antivaccine playbook of trying to claim the moral high ground by claiming to be “pro-science,” which is, of course, a variant on Jenny McCarthy’s attempt to proclaim herself “pro-safe vaccine,” lo those many years ago.

Then there’s another favored technique of antivaccine activists: Use of false analogies, such as the examples of a food-poisoning outbreak or critics of overuse of antibiotics. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, just someone with half a brain (which Laster obviously lacks) and some critical thinking ability, to see the enormous holes in Laster’s “logic.” Obviously, in the case of a food poisoning outbreak, there is a good scientific and logical reason to suspect the food if people who ate it come down with the symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea and vomiting with or without diarrhea, during a time frame that’s clinically consistent with food poisoning. Similarly, there is abundant evidence that antibiotics are overused; so questioning current practices with respect to antibiotics is reasonable. In marked contrast, there is no convincing scientific, clinical, or epidemiological evidence to suspect that vaccines cause autism. Consequently, there is no reasonable scientific rationale to demand the investigations that Laster demands.

But don’t call him “antivax.” Oh, no. Don’t do that! Never mind that blatantly antivaccine rhetoric with no science to back it up, Not that a lack of evidence stops laster from a massive case of projection. First, he tries to claim the mantle of science in which evidence accumulates to result in a revolutionary change in our understanding:

Science is the active pursuit of inquiry and our understanding of how diseases, the human body, and medicines interact is always changing.

Normal science tends to discover what it expects to discover, until unresolved anomalies accumulate and eventually lead some scientists to begin to question the paradigm. At this point, science enters a period of crisis characterized by explicit discontent until there is a revolutionary change in worldview in which a now-deficient paradigm is replaced by a newer one.

Well, yes and no. Sometimes science works this way. The replacement of Newtonian physics with quantum mechanics (sort of—it happened over several decades of extremely fertile experimentation in physics beginning in the late 1800s and continuing well into the 20th century). The rise of germ theory was not universally accepted at first. New science often has to prove itself. That’s what science requires.

Now here’s the problem with Laster’s claiming the mantle of scientific change with respect to vaccines. Such radical changes, such as the transition from Newtonian physics to quantum mechanics and relativistic physics requires actual observations that can’t be accounted for by existing theory, which physics had in abundance 150 years ago. More importantly, they also require copious evidence, evidence sufficient in quantity and quality to overthrow the existing paradigm of the time. Again, physics and chemistry had that in abundance between 150 and 100 years ago. In stark contrast, quite simply, there are no such observations with respect to vaccines and autism that cannot be explained by existing science, and there is no good evidence to lead us to suspect that vaccines have anything to do with autism. Indeed, multiple large studies have been carried out to determine whether there is a correlation between vaccines and autism. Not even a whiff of a hint of a link has been found, at least not by reputable scientists. Antivaccine quacks, of course, like Andrew Wakefield and Mark and David Geier, have claimed to find such a link, but the validity of the conclusions of these studies melts away under even relatively mild scrutiny. Now here’s Laster’s projection:

So many parents are now walking away from doctors who ignore their concerns about vaccines, and so many are speaking up against unnecessary vaccination and over-vaccination, that health officials can no longer ignore it.

Vaccine-injury deniers can make the false statement that “studies prove vaccines don’t cause autism” over and over. But repeating a false statement never makes it become true.

Yes, according to Laster, apparently because parents confusing correlation with causation or influenced by antivaccine propaganda pumped out by groups like SafeMinds have become fearful of vaccination, the tide of science is moving Laster’s way. Sorry, bub. Wishing doesn’t make it so. It is amusing how Laster has tried to appropriate the language of how we describe science denialism, the way that I first noticed a couple of years ago and that inspired me to retort: Denialism. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. As for Laster’s bit about repeating a false statement never makes it become true, well, the delusional belief that repeating a false statement often enough makes it into the truth seems to underlie the antivaccine movement’s entire method of promoting its pseudoscience.

Not surprisingly, Laster’s bloviating broadside has—if you can call it that—”inspired” Laura Hayes over at that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism, to pontificate on The Oxymoron of Safe Vaccines, in which we’re treated to this:

I still think it is of paramount importance for people to understand that the term “safe vaccines” is an oxymoron, and therefore, I would argue that even those who might call themselves “pro-science” would not agree that there is any “smart approach to vaccination”. By their very nature, vaccines cannot be made safe, as they artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system (by injecting these toxic cocktails, versus inhaling or consuming them, the first part of the immune system’s response is bypassed, which is essential to trigger the next parts of the immune response…it’s analagous to intervening during a woman’s pregnancy and forcing the process to go out of order, missing some of the critical steps, and thinking that won’t matter for the end product), with unsafe ingredients (e.g. adjuvants such as neurotoxic aluminum, proteins which cannot be broken down in the circulatory system as that needed to be done in the GI tract, and known neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum, which are injected at a time when the blood-brain barrier is still wide open), in a way that is foreign to the immune system (i.e. via the vascular system and muscle tissue versus via airways and the GI tract), etc. Thus, “safe vaccines” is an oxymoron of the first degree. Then, multiply that unsafe effect by giving multiple vaccines at once, without consideration of family history or body weight, and before any allergies or metabolic problems have been discerned, and that is a recipe for absolute disaster.

Wow. That second sentence is longer and more convoluted than even a typical lengthy Orac sentence, complete with an ellipse to make it an unnecessary run-on. Now, I’m not really one who should be criticizing grammar and sentence construction, but wow. Talk about convoluted and pretentious writing, and that comes from someone who is on occasion prone to a bit of convoluted and pretentious writing. I can’t compete with that, though.

Oh, and don’t call Hayes antivaccine, even though she thinks vaccines can’t be made safe and are “toxic cocktails.” Oh, wait. Scratch that. She has “no problem being called anti-vaccine” because she is and considers it a “barbaric practice that is not founded on any sound science.” Of course, if you’re scientifically ignorant enough and sufficiently devoid of critical thinking skills to lay down the howlers that Laura Hayes lays down in her piece, there’s only one thing missing. Yes, Hayes “takes it to the next level,” so to speak, but invoking a trope of the antivaccine movement that I’ve described before:

Informed consent, which includes the option to say yes or no in a coercion-free manner, is intricately related to medical choice freedom and must also ALWAYS be an essential component of any free and moral society. With regards to vaccines, it actually can’t truly happen because vaccines have never been properly studied, either individually, or in the myriad combinations in which they are given, or as a complete whole over the first 18 years of a child’s life. Thus, any information a doctor gives as to the benefits of vaccines is not only uninformed and not actually based on any factual information, it is strictly personal opinion…it is absolutely not based on any sound science. This is especially true when doctors and the government proclaim that there is no link between vaccines and autism, given what we now know about Paul Thorsen, upon whose study many base their claims of no link between vaccines and autism. The man STOLE the money he was given by the U.S. government to do a study about the relationship between vaccines and autism (in another country, by the way, why not in the U.S. we must ask?). He’s a wanted fugitive, yet his worthless study is cited all the time. Again, talk about CRAZY! A “pro-science, smart approach to vaccination” must always include true informed consent, which of course includes the right to accept or decline any or all vaccines without any interference, coercion, or cost.

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that to you, my loyal readers. I shouldn’t have quoted not just one but two paragraphs from Hayes’ diatribe. However, I don’t think you can get the full flavor of her “arguments” without seeing a generous sampling of her “reasoning,” if you can call it that. In any case, what she is advocating is something I’ve described quite a few times before, namely what I like to call “misinformed consent.” What do I mean by “misinformed consent”? Glad you asked!

Normally, in medicine, the concept of “informed consent” means that a patient needs to be informed of the risks and benefits of any procedure, to the best of medical science’s knowledge and recognizing that there is always some uncertainty in any medical conclusion. Then the patient decides, after hearing the doctor’s counsel. Antivaccinationists engage in a parody of this process that I’ve dubbed “misinformed consent,” in which no true informed consent can happen. Basically, they exaggerate the risks of vaccination beyond anything supported by science and downplay—or even deny—the benefits to the point where any rational person, if she accepts the risk-benefit analysis as presented, would decide not to vaccinate her child.

The depressing thing about this latest round of antivaccine projection is that it’s all so depressingly the same, a fact made even more depressing by an actual “integrative pediatrician” named “Dr. Paul” Thomas, who in response to the SafeMinds piece chimed in with a spectacularly brain dead blog post in which he proclaims Andrew Wakefield to have been right and not to have committed research fraud. Unfortunately, the tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement never change. They might evolve somewhat, but at their core the same deceptions reign eternal.

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]

178 replies on “Tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement (2014 edition)”

Perhaps not entirely OT: the analyses of febrile seizures associated with Fluvax during 2010 are in (here and here).

So, they hate being called “anti-vaccine” then turn around and say that they will never support a single vaccine or that vaccines will always be “unsafe.”

Yeah, they aren’t anti-vaccine….not at all…..morons.

Dr. Paul Thomas…another “vaccine friendly doctor” who doesn’t take insurance payments and who sells supplements to “detoxify” yourself.

Dr. Thomas’ “inspirational” post about forgiveness when one of his drug addicted patients made a complaint to the Oregon medical licensing board, here:

http://www.integrativepediatricsonline.com/blog/category/generalhealth/inspirational/

“….One of the most traumatic challenges I have faced in my career was an attack on my professional character and standing by the board of medical examiners (BME). One disgruntled poly-substance addict in my addiction practice went home on her first night after starting treatment and supposedly had a seizure that broke her hot tub and flooded her house, for which she wanted financial compensation.

The BME requested numerous other random charts, I appeared in front of the investigation committee, and despite my lawyer saying I had nothing to worry about, after a year of waiting, the BME sent a letter accusing me of everything they can legally accuse a physician of. I responded with a detailed report using the same charts they had requested, showing line by line how each accusation was false. All charges were ultimately dropped but the damage to my psyche and reputation was deep. How to forgive and forget?

I realize my little run-in with the board, while they threatened to end my medical career, was nothing compared to victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. It nevertheless gave me insight into how hard it is indeed to put past trauma behind us. We fear that if we forget, it could happen again so we keep our guard up, but as a result we live in constant bondage to the memories of that past trauma….”

That’s not quite the way it went down:

https://techmedweb.omb.state.or.us/Clients/ORMB/Public/..%5COrderDocuments%5C67a68a14-2335-4e33-acea-e0d5d767115f.pdf

Dr. Thomas’ “inspirational” post about forgiveness when one of his drug addicted patients made a complaint to the Oregon medical licensing board

I wonder how he handles complaints to the Disney antipiracy division.

Health officials, doctors and the media are intentionally deceiving the public, Laster says. The reason being that they genuinely believe what they say – but believe with a blind religious fervour.

That’s not logical, now is it? Say officials, doctors and the media were all saying what Laster believes, would it be because of blind religious fervour? Well, yes it would have to be something like that, because that directly contradicts the science, but they would not be intentionally deceiving. They would be be ignorantly deceiving themselves and others.

@lilady

Incompetent “Dr. Paul” very much appears to be an unctuous liar.

Dr. Paul Thomas has a slew of YouTube videos up…about aluminum and Thimerosal. He also defends Andrew Wakefield…because, he believes what the mommies of his 157 autistic patients tell him about how their kids were “gone” after receiving the MMR vaccine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqB4T4KbPpw

All charges were ultimately dropped

That’s not quite the same as “The board agrees not to deliver a verdict as long as the doctor promises to be more competent in future.”

By their very nature, vaccines cannot be made safe, as they artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system (by injecting these toxic cocktails, versus inhaling or consuming them

Sabin’s oral vaccine was, what, 1960? Perhaps that is so recent that Hayes can be forgiven for never hearing about it, or about the various inhalable flu vaccines.

I should be used to reading lies from these ‘safe vaccine advocates’, but it still disturbs me to see the sort of nonsense Hayes writes.

By their very nature, vaccines cannot be made safe, as they artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system (by injecting these toxic cocktails, versus inhaling or consuming them, the first part of the immune system’s response is bypassed, which is essential to trigger the next parts of the immune response…

Firstly, does Hayes really believe our immune systems have evolved to deal only with ingested and inhaled pathogens? What about pathogens that get into our bodies through cuts and abrasions? What “next parts of the immune response” aren’t triggered by these?

Secondly, (I see HDB asks the same question) is Hayes happy with the oral polio vaccine, and inhaled influenza vaccines? If not, why aren’t these safe?

it’s analagous to intervening during a woman’s pregnancy and forcing the process to go out of order, missing some of the critical steps, and thinking that won’t matter for the end product),

I don’t follow this at all. How is an immune response to a pathogen or a vaccines analogous to pregnancy in any way?

with unsafe ingredients (e.g. adjuvants such as neurotoxic aluminum, proteins which cannot be broken down in the circulatory system as that needed to be done in the GI tract,

Aluminum salts don’t need to be “broken down”, they are readily excreted in urine, along with the other aluminum salts already in the circulatory system from our diets. There are plenty of proteases in the blood that can deal with the proteins in vaccines. How else do we deal with the 20 billion or more cells that die in our bodies each and every day? The idea that the human body, which is largely made of protein, cannot deal with a few micrograms of protein (or DNA) in vaccines is just ridiculous.

and known neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum,

Do these people simply not understand the concept of dose?

which are injected at a time when the blood-brain barrier is still wide open),

The blood brain barrier is never “wide open”. This piece of misinformation seems to be based on some studies in the 1920s that have since been proven wrong. For example, this study looked at a wide range of substances in neonatal and adult rabbits and concluded:

Permeability-surface area products were also derived; these data confirmed no differences in permeability could be detected between newborn and adult blood-brain-barrier capillaries.

We have every reason to believe the same is true in humans.

in a way that is foreign to the immune system (i.e. via the vascular system and muscle tissue versus via airways and the GI tract), etc.

This idea that inhaled and ingested pathogens are normal, and pathogens introduced to the body through other channels are unnatural or “foreign” intrigues me. There are many diseases that are contracted through channels other than inhalation and ingestion. Tetanus, hepatitis B and C, HPV, various STIs, a wide range of insect-transmitted diseases (which are injected into the body, in many cases), I could continue.

Thus, “safe vaccines” is an oxymoron of the first degree.

A false conclusion based on demonstrably false premises.

vaccines have never been properly studied, either individually, or in the myriad combinations in which they are given, or as a complete whole over the first 18 years of a child’s life.

This is not only untrue, but anyone can look up vaccine studies in PubMed, or read the CDC pages on vaccine post-marketing surveillance to see that it is untrue.

Thus, any information a doctor gives as to the benefits of vaccines is not only uninformed and not actually based on any factual information, it is strictly personal opinion…it is absolutely not based on any sound science.

Only if you ignore the many studies that show the efficacy and safety of vaccines. These are a serious stumbling block for Hayes and her ilk, so they have to discredit them in any way they can. Enter Poul (not Paul) Thorsen. I haven’t the heart to go over the reasons why Thorsen’s alleged misconduct has nothing whatsoever to do with the reliability of the research he was a minor author for, or all the other research he was completely uninvolved in that came to the same conclusions.

Why do these people keep repeating these obvious lies? More to the point, why does anyone take them seriously?

@Kreb – it just shows how out of touch & insane these people are….they continue to espouse the same lies (and ridiculous ones at that) over and over again like they were facts, even though they’ve been shown time and time again that their statements are patently false.

It was difficult not to get angry reading that trash – seeing a person repeat obvious lies, without a single clue about actual biology or immunology.

“Science is the active pursuit of inquiry”…until a poorly constructed version of it tells us what we want to hear, then the inquiry stops.

I really think that they have to dig in the more information that comes out against their ideas because to believe otherwise would mean they made a horrible, dangerous, and irresponsible medical choice for their children.

Here’s another trope:

TMR today blesses us with two entries-

the first is a short film ( from AutismOne) by Leslie Manookian which features several of the TMs ( most prominently, the Rev, Mamacita, Dragonslayer and Prima) who espouse the belief that “THEY KNEW” how dangerous vaccines are and still, they jabbed our children into oblivion.

This belief is echoed by Rev** Goes in the second article, which encourages TMs to spend the summer Thinking. She first presents a 1973 paper which shows how adjuvants ” cause long term damage” to immunity.

Yes, THEY KNEW alright: ” chronic illness is A BUSINESS MODEL” she tells us. Look how many children have ASDs, speech prolems and behave atrociously. Yet they exist on meds and junk food diets.

HOWEVER the “elites” eat “green’, travel with their “personal homeopaths”, avoid toxic meds like the plague they are and “suppress every word “of Truth that she and her rebellious, Thinking sisters write.

It never fails to amuse me that alt med types believe that chronic illness didn’t exist in the past: Or that patient demand and quality of life issues have no effect on what products are created and marketted by pharmaceutical companies.

** observe her avatar with 1200lb gorilla.

” why does anyone take them seriously?”

Because it makes them feel better about themselves and their current situation:
it is all self-aggrandisement all of the time.

Rather than being an everyday parent and caretaker of a child with an ASD, they are suddenly Brave, Rebel Warriors and Critics of Science as well as Epitomes of Morality.
They are Saintly Fighters for their Sacred Child, destroyed by Evil personified.

I’ve never been a Jungian but I do see alties tap into mythological themes frequently which means that it’s unrestrained emotionality and has little to do with Thinking… I mean, thinking.

@Krebiozen

Pure speculation on my part, but for those that don’t have a child with ASD, the world is a big scary place and sometimes it is easier to see and fight an imaginary monster under the bed than real ones in your life.

Second, it allows the antivaccinationist to see herself as the real defender of public health, compared to those evil “vaccine pushers,”

i actually see this as the main purpose of the “I’m not anti-vaccine” stance. Rationalization, ego-boosting and all that. Most of them even believe it, I’m sure.
It’s not so different than when someone said “I’m not racist, I’m just devoted to protect my fellow citizen against the criminal part of [insert ethnic group of choice]”.

@ Krebiozen

Why do these people keep repeating these obvious lies? More to the point, why does anyone take them seriously?

The usual: confirmation bias, single-study syndrome, the desire to belong to a community and thus being too emotionally invested to even consider to question the main tenets…
Plus, a very simplistic view on biology and chemistry. During a recent trip, I brought up vaccines into the conversation with my traveling fellows. A few clichés were trotted out, notably aluminium and Alzheimer.
What do you answer when people ask you “how do you know vaccines didn’t hurt the poor baby in its brain? It is too young to tell you!” or someone tell you they know people who are allergic to aluminium?
(are there really people allergic to aluminium oxide?)

@Krebiozen: Looking at the anti-vaccine movement these days reminds me of a documentary I once saw on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, after Warren Jeffs was imprisoned for polygamy and sexual abuse. Even though their prophet is in jail and his theology was exposed as a perverted, criminal sham, the people in his sect believe him now more than ever because they think he is a martyr.

Basically, with Andrew Wakefield and other discredited and their community coming under attack for causing outbreaks, the anti-vaxxer movement is going through a similar phase. They are becoming increasingly terrified as their world falls apart around them and are looking to anything to keep their reality alive, even repeating long-dunked falsehoods to themselves again and again and again.

Laura Hayes’ testimony submitted when Minnesota was holding hearings to tighten up vaccination school entry admission requirements.

She’s a piece of work, with her rants against Rhogam shots and the many diseases and disorders that she attributes to vaccines. She heard from a researcher at the U.C. Davis Mind Institute that the blood brain barrier does not close until a child is two years old…and she has a list of ten demands:

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/immrule/comments/comment44.pdf

@Narad #1 –

Regarding the increase in FS in that vaccine, I’m kind of confused. See I keep reading that it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response. It gets shouted around here again and again, ‘there are fewer antigens today than before’. Heck, even Paul Offit made a whole table about it in his fantastic paper:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/1/124.full

Parents who are worried about the increasing number of recommended vaccines may take comfort in knowing that children are exposed to fewer antigens (proteins and polysaccharides) in vaccines today than in the past.

That is a relief. But it does make me wonder why the people studying FS in Australia bothered to try to understand if a combination of B/Brisbane/60/2008 and A/California/07/2009 resulted in a different immune response; don’t they understand it’s all about just counting the antigens up?

Curiously the analysis you link to seems to indicate that the *number* of antigens isn’t what is affecting the altered immune response, but rather *characteristics and interactions of the viral RNA* contributed to the increased immune response and resulting FS in a subset of children.

It is likely that the FS reported in children <5 years were due to a combination of the new influenza strains included in the 2010 SH TIV and the CSL standard method of manufacture preserving strain-specific viral components of the new influenza strains (particularly B/Brisbane/60/2008 and to a lesser extent H1N1 A/California/07/2009). These combined to heighten immune activation of innate immune cells, which in a small proportion of children <5 years of age is associated with the occurrence of FS.

Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers what Paul Offit and the sciencebloggers already know; it isn’t about anything except counting antigens. That’s how the quality and quantity of the immune response is determined.

Right.

I’ve been hearing an entire *story cycle* that details the criminal activity of various malfeseants associated with vaccines of which Poul Thorsen is a relative latecomer. The details of the tale may change but usually it contains the following elements:

Simpsonwood
Verstraten
CDC cover-ups
monkey kidney cells
cancer causing virus
Paul Offit ‘made millions’
a death bed confession or two

and may be padded with charts showing that VPDs were greatly diminished before vaccines arrived.

More recently, Jake Crosby has added stories about how anti-vaccine advocates themselves “betrayed” their fellows and sisters- in fact, that’s in great measure the subject of his blog.

And even more recently, David Lewis has entered the fray by appearing on PRN ( perhaps 3 times in a week) to air dirty governmental linens: the government perverts science in order to protect its own policies.-btw- he’s got a new book out.

Sorry Denice, I don’t understand the point of that last post. Are you proposing that we have a writing contest and see who can come up with the best Poe?

It could be fun but incorporating “monkey kidney cells” into the plot sounds iffy. Still a little judiciouis plagarism reserach probably would handle the problem.

What’s the prize?

@ rkrideau:

Oh no, they’ve already DONE the writing : they link up those elements in creative ways that usually have nothing to do with reality.

HOWEVER…
I’m sure that our incredibly talented minions could come up with Poes that make more sense than the tall tales I hear.

And -btw- monkey kidney cells may have been over-used already by Janine Roberts.

Do you really think that I’m in a position to judge “Best Poe” and aware a prize yet?

pD,

See I keep reading that it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response. It gets shouted around here again and again, ‘there are fewer antigens today than before’. Heck, even Paul Offit made a whole table about it in his fantastic paper:

Pointing that ‘there are fewer antigens today than before’ is a response to those who claim that too many vaccines are given too soon, and that children’ antibodies cannot cope. It does not equate to a claim that, ” it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response”. I have never seen anyone make that claim here, and anyone with even a basic grounding in immunology, or the slightest understanding of how vaccines are developed knows that isn’t true.

This has been pointed out to you before, so I don’t really understand why you are waving this tired old strawman around again.

Reading the TMR blog, I must note that if the elite suppresses every word she and her friends say, they’re not doing a very competent job of it.

And I’d be careful calling her sisters to think. They might learn things.

I do agree with the stand for something idea. How about standing for preventing preventable diseases?

Denice @22: I’m not familiar with Simpsonwood or Verstraten (I assume these are people), but the rest of it looks like a garden variety conspiracy theory. And I agree with Dorit that if The Man is trying to suppress this stuff, then he isn’t doing a good job of it.

“Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers what Paul Offit and the sciencebloggers already know; it isn’t about anything except [the existing body of scientific evidence attesting to the safety and efficacy of routine vaccination].”

FTFY, passionless.

“This has been pointed out to (pD) before, so I don’t really understand why you are waving this tired old strawman around again.”

pD: “Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers”

Beyond the obvious strawman argument, pD’s veneer of civility seems to have worn thin.

@ Eric:

Simpsonwood is a place, a resort which is implicated in the malfeasance mythology promulgated by RFK; and it’s actually *VerstraEten*. Orac has written a great deal about this( see June 2007 esp).

Anywa,y there is a series of stories which get passed around by anti-vaxxers and keep transforming but it all boils down to:

Vaccines are dangerous and this has been known for a long time but it has been covered-up by industry in league with government and the media.

The TMs and others accept these tales as Holy Writ.

Orac, a meta note about this article:

You linked to safeminds.org using their full URL. A search engine crawling your page will count this toward the relevance of that page — in other words, you are driving up the visibility of a bad page. There is a link shortening service (http://www.donotlink.com) which deliberately avoid this, allowing you to embed links to woo without driving up their relevance score.

More information: http://skeptools.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/do-not-link-donotlink-ethically-criticize-seo-nofollow/

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with DoNotLink, but I have worked in the search industry.

The blood brain barrier is never “wide open”. This piece of misinformation seems to be based on some studies in the 1920s that have since been proven wrong.

Saunders sketches its modern history:

“There is a widespread belief amongst pediatricians, neurologists, neuroscientists, and neurotoxicologists that ‘the’ blood–brain barrier in the embryo, fetus, and newborn is ‘immature’ implying that it is poorly formed, leaky, or even absent. Statements about the immaturity of the blood–brain barrier frequently seem to be made without evidence, or by reference to an earlier review that also lacks any evidence (e.g., Järup, 2003; Costa et al., 2004; Watson et al., 2006). This seems to be particularly common in the neurotoxicology literature and in toxicology reports (see review by Ek et al., 2012).”

@Krebiozen and JGC –

pD has degrees in immunology, neurobiology, gastroenterology, genetics, metabolism, epigenetics, and knows how they all work together in the world of autism.

You do not. How dare you even hint at the suggestion that he misunderstands anything, or is in any way incorrect?

/sarcasm

Oops on me! I didn’t look at your page source until after posting the previous; you are already using the “nofollow” attribute, well done! But it isn’t totally foolproof, as it is only a suggestion to the crawler.

You linked to safeminds.org using their full URL. A search engine crawling your page will count this toward the relevance of that page — in other words, you are driving up the visibility of a bad page.

All the links out have rel=”nofollow” set, so they don’t affect search rankings. Donotfollow is more of an irritating link obscurer than anything else.

^ “Donotlink,” that is. I see you noticed the attribute about the same time I commented, but I still don’t care for DNL; in fact, it’s so effective that I generally don’t look at the payloads when people use it.

On the ViolentMetaphors site there is one mother whose son went through several medical crises in his first two years:

My situation (my son’s situation) is that at 3 months pregnant I almost lost him; at birth he went emergency C-section and had 2 hours of respiratory distress (that interestingly the all-knowing doctors [that’s not directed at you] didn’t tell me about, I read it in his chart); he had massive ear infections which resulted in 4 sets of tubes and now in 2012 he had a permanent set placed; at 13 months he became incredibly ill and at 15 months they finally diagnosed him with Kawasaki Disease and placed him in the hospital and gave him Immuno-Globulin overnight.

During this time frame, before he was diagnosed, I had the paramedics at my house so many times for him because he was so sick he was having febrile seizures and stopping breathing and all kinds of stuff. One time the 911 operator asked me to describe what he looked like and she said “you just described a dead person to me”.

He then went on a minimum 3 month aspirin regimen and had many EKG’s/chest X-rays/etc…

The poor child did not get the MMR until he was 22 months old. But a month after that she claims he went from normal to autistic. Despite everything it had to be the MMR, which she determined by looking at his shot record a while later. Or was it the other shots with thimerosal? Or perhaps the vaccine with lead?

No matter what, it had to be the vaccines. Because she knows of other kids who had medical issues that are okay, so it can’t be that. And we are all rude for questioning her conclusions.

Le sigh.

@Johnny – you left out “self-awarded”

Yah, well, it’s not like they’re from the University of Google. Those are really worthless degrees. The degrees pD has are much better, right?

/more sarcasm

One time the 911 operator asked me to describe what he looked like and she said “you just described a dead person to me”.

I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but I’ve never encountered a 911 dispatcher who did Joe Friday impersonations.

I suspect that a parent’s memory can get muddled over the years, especially in regards to 911 calls. I had actually forgotten about a previous 911 call to our house a couple of years ago, but the paramedic said he’d had been to our house a few months before. (thankfully no more since the open heart surgery!)

I still don’t care for DNL; in fact, it’s so effective that I generally don’t look at the payloads when people use it.

Seconded. I avoid the more traditional URL shorteners like bit.ly for the same reason. There are some dangerous neighborhoods on the internet, so I prefer to know where I’m going before I go there.

Laura Hayes’ testimony submitted when Minnesota was holding hearings to tighten up vaccination school entry admission requirements.

As it happens, I noticed last night that Patti Carroll submitted the SafeMinds “What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us” screed to the same hearings.

The reason I mention this (well, it’s also a trope) is because I just now saw this, from Carroll in 2009:

“But Hodan knew immediately that vaccines had played a role in her daughter’s regression. She spoke out and asked questions but was scoffed at for her beliefs. By the time Hodan contacted me, she was totally disillusioned with the medical establishment and had begun her own research on how to help Geni. I was impressed with what Hodan already knew about biomedical treatments and how many of those treatments she had started already. She was fearless in her resolve to heal Geni.”

Fast forward to 2011:

“In Hassan’s case, she stopped vaccinating her children after she learned that her daughter, Geni, now 6, had autism. At the time, she said, she was desperate for answers. Medical experts could not explain what caused her daughter’s condition, a severe communication and behavior disorder. But she quickly learned about the autism activists who blame the vaccines, in spite of medical assurances to the contrary. She began reading their books and attending their conferences, she said, and the fear took hold….

“Later, Hassan said, a local doctor challenged her to do her own research on Wakefield, who was accused of scientific misconduct in connection with the study, and ultimately stripped of his medical license in England.

“Now she is one of his biggest critics. ‘I was shocked when I found out people used to die [of measles],’ she said. Many still do in her native Somalia, she noted, and in other in parts of the world where vaccines are not available….

“Just this week, Wakefield returned to Minneapolis for a private meeting with Somali families. Members of the news media were barred from Wednesday’s gathering, which reportedly drew only about a half-dozen Somali parents.

“But one of the organizers, Patti Carroll of Shoreview, said she doesn’t believe parents are worried about the measles outbreak.

“‘They’d rather have them get the measles than deal with the effects of unsafe vaccines,’ said Carroll, a volunteer with Generation Rescue, an autism advocacy group….

“This week, Hassan circulated an e-mail inviting members of the Somali community to tonight’s forum at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.

“‘Our community has been misled about MMR causing autism,’ she wrote. ‘Vaccines don’t cause autism and the benefit [outweighs] the risk.’ She added: ‘We are very much against an unlicensed doctor to make our community his scapegoat.'”

There are some dangerous neighborhoods on the internet, so I prefer to know where I’m going before I go there.

I see now that DNL does have a simple prepended form, but I’ve yet to encounter someone using it. Where I mostly see DNL used is on FB, where it just dumps a preview blob for DNL itself. I’ve even seen people use it in images they’ve created, where it’s still too long to fit properly.

I like the line about how injection is unnatural but ingestion and inhalation are fine. So I guess OPV, rotavirus vaccine, and intranasal flu vaccine must be awesome in her book? No? I suppose internal consistency was too much to ask for, then.

i may not have degrees in degrees in immunology, neurobiology, gastroenterology, etc., but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. So there!

@ Chris: That Violent Metaphors poster made a major mistake when she posted a snide remark at a mom whose child died from meningitis.

She has a child who went through a traumatic birth with resuscitation, multiple major seizures with anoxia which were not post-vaccination and who is dually diagnosed with a psychiatric overlay. Her other child also has been diagnosed with an ASD and she claims on her YouTube page that she has an ASD. Her husband has epilepsy with breakthrough grand mal seizures….and she and her family have not undergone genetic testing.

She’s a nasty ignorant POS and as thick as a plank.

But, lilady, why go through genetic testing when she knows it’s the vaccines?

She said I was rude when I was shocked at what she said to the woman whose child died. Perhaps she will blame a vaccine.

@Sebastian Jackson:

[…] after Warren Jeffs was imprisoned for polygamy and sexual abuse. Even though their prophet is in jail and his theology was exposed as a perverted, criminal sham, the people in his sect believe him now more than ever because they think he is a martyr.

I always liked the idea about cults undergoing evaporative cooling. Whenever something like the ‘martyrship’ of Jeffs happens, any people with any doubts would leave anyway, and the average fanaticism of the group will always rise. The people who were previously in the middle of the group are now only hearing arguments from the fanatics on one side, so will tend to lean more that way. Eventually the group either collapses on a single core fanaticism or explodes.

But Chris, you like I, traipsed around a bit whilst getting educated which means that we were probably vaccinated much more than is usual-
I’m sure they’d probably blame our scepticism on that..

According to much woo that I hear- genetics mean very little – it’s ALL what you do and HOW you live.
Every condition is reversible if you live correctly.

Sullivanthepoop: because to believe otherwise would mean they made a horrible, dangerous, and irresponsible medical choice for their children.

You’re assuming they care for their kids. That’s a big leap, in my opinion.

“Every condition is reversible if you live correctly.”

After my son’s open heart surgery for literally having too much heart (it was kind of blocking his aortic valve), he got a call from the health insurance nurse to discuss “preventative measures.” I really wanted to ask what I should have done to prevent a genetic heart disorder.

Regarding the increase in FS in that vaccine, I’m kind of confused. See I keep reading that it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response.

Oh, I can explain this one, pD.

The answer is that you read like you’ve got sh!t between your ears where brains should be.

Remember when you were burbling about how the “mantra” of the science-based community was that the incidence of autism throughout history had been a stable 2%? And those of us who considered ourselves part of that community yet never heard that “mantra” asked where you got it from?

And the answer was, you were taking it from an argument where one of the key premises was “It is *very, very unlikely* that 2% of the population has been autistic throughout history”? In other words, exactly the OPPOSITE of what you were claiming was the “mantra” of the science-based community?

Now, passionlessDrone, it’s possible that you are just, in the final analysis, a feckng liar. I suppose we *could* extend the benefit of the doubt, and believe that instead of being a treacherous, smarmy, sleazy scumbag liar who deliberately lies about what he reads in order to further his agenda, you are simply a stupid sh!t-for-brains whose reading comprehension is so pathetically bad that he can’t tell the difference between “A is extremely improbable” and “A is my mantra, and since I am the spokesperson for the entire science-based community, it is the mantra of the science-based community as well.”

However, since this makes you functionally indistinguishable from a fecking liar, perhaps you should just go away and hope you can find people who don’t know yet what an untrustworthy waste of time and attention you are.

Nominations are now open for today’s Internetz Award.

Antaeus Feldspar is definitely a contender.

I teased local boss of “information” of vaccines-site. I asked “what vaccines woud You recommend to childs ?
-I don’t recommend.. just scheduling info
“..to childs of Your relatives” ?
– (silence)

That way You can reveal them.. 😉

In related Somali measles news, this is not good.

“Most of the Somali parents [Patti Carroll] has talked with, she added, are ‘thrilled’ to have their children get the measles rather ‘than deal with the effects of the vaccine.'” —2011 March 26

Pediatrics just published the post mortem of the 2011 Minnesota outbreak (paywalled).

@Narad

I read through the Pediatrics article. A more formal write-up of what the MN Dept. of Health shared in their IDSA presentation. I wrote a bit about that here.

It’s good to see, though, that some of the people who were originally gulled by DAN! doctors, Generation Rescue and Wakefield have realized that they were sold a load of crap. Hopefully the community will start turning around and we’ll see the immunization rates start to climb again. I know the MDPH has been having a hell of a time trying to combat anti-vaccine misinformation among the Somali community there.

ORAC a pharma paid stooge who functions as an agent of misinformation so parents don’t reject faulty vaccines.

Mr. Coe, you have returned! Hello there, it is so nice to see you here. Now, have you learned about the measles experience of Roald Dahl’s daughter, Olivia? Will you finally answer a this question I asked you over three years ago? I’ll repeat it for your:

Ross Coe, exactly how does asking about why Roald Dahl’s oldest daughter cannot say “I had measles and I am okay” be construed as describing autism?

A more formal write-up of what the MN Dept. of Health shared in their IDSA presentation. I wrote a bit about that here.

Ah, thanks. People sometimes look at me funny when I sit outside the nearest dorm with an ancient laptop, which also has a display showing mainly flashing vertical lines.

Hello everyone.
I have a problem. This week, it was reported in the local newspaper that a Canadian study showed the MMRV vaccine raises a child’s risk of seizures. The article was very thin on details, and I’d like to ask if anyone has a link to the actual study so that I can have a look at what it really says.

@ passionlessDrone

You know, I used to be impressed by the amount of verbiage you would put out on vaccine topics. I mean, in a good way.

Recently, I started having a few doubts about your debating honesty.

After your post #21 ? A massive strawman where you distort our arguments and insult our intelligence?

I’m glad you finally revealed your true colors.

Thanks lilady. I’m at work so I cant’ read them now, but I’ll try after work. 😀

Thanks lilady. I’m at work so I cant’ read them now, but I’ll try after work. 😀

I am more cynical about antivaccinationists. I believe that most of them do not labor under the illusion that they are anti-vaccine. I think they hide behind claims they aren’t anti-vaccine in order to escape a much harsher level of criticism they’d receive if they openly copped to being anti-vaccine. They have also learned they can fool more parents into not vaccinating by wearing the camouflage of being “pro-safe vaccine”. We can thank the most vile of all “pro-safe” vaccine groups, the NVIC, for that. They’ve learned the game and taught it well to others.

Of course, if they really were “pro-safe vaccine”, they would like the TDaP because the acellular pertussis component is safer than the previous whole-cell pertussis vaccine.
And Paul Offit would be a hero, because he developed a rotavirus vaccine that was safer than the previous rotavirus vaccine which had to be withdrawn because of safety issues.

It’s called quality improvement and that’s how we really get safer vaccines.

But, of course that’s not really what they want.

Oh, Jay and Bob, too. You helped.

I don’t want to not give credit where credit is due.

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