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“Dr. Bob” Sears: Perfecting the art of the antivaccine dog whistle

Dog_whistle

Oh, no, here we go again.

In fact, before I get started, I feel obligated to show this clip, saying, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in again:

Yes, I know I’ve used this clip on multiple occasions before over years. However, sometimes it’s just so completely appropriate to how I’m feeling about a topic I’m about to write about that I just don’t care and have to use it again. This is one of those times. I’m referring, of course, to Robert, “Dr. Bob” Sears, MD, the antivaccine-friendly (if not fully antivaccine) pediatrician from Capistrano Beach who has lately been digging himself in deeper and deeper over the rapidly expanding Disneyland measles outbreak that started over the holidays. I’ve been hitting the topic of the Disneyland measles outbreak fast and furious over the past, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog, that, quite frankly, I was getting tired of it, particularly after Dr. Bob’s petulant whine the other day in which he complained about how mean skeptics have been to him over his utterly inane mutterings on his Facebook page trying to “reassure” his patients that the measles just isn’t that bad a disease. (Wrong.) I was looking for a nice bit of tasty quackery to deconstruct or a good scientific study to write about, when people started sending links to this post on Facebook:

Here we go again. I figured I might as well just give in and finish out the week on this topic. I can start fresh next week.

And, yes, that’s Dr. Bob, who had just written a sarcastic diatribe against “stupid people” that tried to be tongue-in-cheek but failed utterly, seriously entitling his post: WHEN WE STOP LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, WE LOSE OUR HUMANITY. One of my readers who sent it to me told he recommended vodka while reading it. Unfortunately, I have to give a talk and lead a workshop discussion tomorrow morning. Even though the groundwork and slides are done, vodka tonight is out of the question. So I settled for a nice brown ale. Very refreshing, and perfect for a cold winter night. So join me as we wade in. Because this is one of Dr. Bob’s longest posts ever, I’m only going to selectively quote from it, unlike past posts, where I quoted the whole thing. Sorry, people who don’t have Facebook accounts.

First off, he tries to position himself as the voice of reason telling people to “calm the F- down!”, the Rodney King lamenting, “Can’t we all just get a long?” Try to keep the rising tide of bile in your stomach from getting past your epiglottis as you read this opening volley:

Why does the vaccine debate have to get so ugly? Why are some people on both sides of the issue so harsh to each other? Why can’t we all just get along? If the Beatles were still around, I’m sure they’d write a song. I don’t know if they’d call it “We All Live in Two Separate Submarines” or “Lucy in the Sky With Red Spots All Over.” Whatever it would be, the chorus would include “Everybody Calm the #$*@%!& Down.”

If both sides could calm down and start listening to each other, everybody would be able to get along.

Sadly, no. No, we probably wouldn’t. The reason is simple and is known as irreconcilable differences. You see, we on the pro-vaccine side have listened to the antivaccine side. We’ve listened to them ad nauseam. The problem is that, nearly always, they’re spouting pseudoscientific quackery that is completely resistant to evidence, science, and reason. Indeed, that’s why I, at least, no longer even attempt to persuade the hard core antivaccinationists. Doing so is simply an exercise in frustration, every bit as much as trying to deprogram a cult member. What I hope to do, and have had some success at times in doing, is persuading the fence sitters, parents who have heard the pseudoscience of the antivaccine movement and have become frightened enough to consider not vaccinating. The idea is to counter the pseudoscience, not to win friends and influence people among the antivaccine movement.

The most frustrating thing about Dr. Bob’s little invitation to join hands and sing Kumbaya is that there are parts where he shows just glimmer of actual insight but just can’t bring himself to take the next step. To be honest, it’s hard for me to tell if this is just posturing on his part or if it’s really what he believes. Probably a little of both, but I can’t tell which is which. In fact, he states bluntly that “I firmly believe that vaccines do work” and “they do provide immunity.” He even says, “I do believe that vaccination is immunization.” So far so good. Then he immediately bends over backwards to emphasize how “imperfect” this immunity is:

I don’t believe it’s perfect immunity, and neither does anybody else on the pro-vax side. Some vaccines provide a very high level of immunity, like 99%. Some really suck, like this year’s flu shot. DTaP vaccine is somewhere in between – maybe 85 to 90%, but it wanes quickly. To say that vaccines don’t work at all is incorrect, in my opinion.

OK, so different vaccines have different efficacies, and this year’s flu vaccine is a bit of a dud compared to past years. We know this. Dr. Bob even recognizes the reason why antivaccine activists try to downplay the efficacy of vaccines:

How do anti-vaxers attack these goals? By claiming that vaccines don’t work. If vaccines don’t work, then all the pro-vaxer attempts at disease prevention are fruitless, and the anti-vaxers don’t pose any risk because the vaccines they didn’t get wouldn’t have helped anyway. This makes pro-vaxers understandably angry.

So what does Dr. Bob do? He invokes the fallacy of the Golden Mean, in which it is assumed that the correct answer to a controversy always lies somewhere between the two extreme views, although he does it by casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccines, just not as badly as antivaccinationists do:

But what’s tough is that some vaccines wear off quickly, within just a few years, as is the case with the whooping cough portion of the DTaP. Many 4 to 5 year olds are susceptible before they get the booster, and many 8 to 11 year olds even more so. That doesn’t mean the vaccine doesn’t work well for a couple to three years after the initial series and each booster. To say that vaccines don’t work doesn’t accomplish anything useful, in my opinion. I’ve studied so much data that show vaccines work, and I am convinced. That’s why I offer them in my office. If I didn’t think they worked, I wouldn’t bother.

He’s actually fairly clever here, but he might be too clever by half. He’s saying that vaccines work, in the hopes that those supporting science-based medicine will take him seriously and think that perhaps he’s not an antivaccinationist after all. At the same time, he’s casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccines by emphasizing the shortcomings of certain vaccines. It’s basically an antivaccine dog whistle, a notice to his antivaccine patients that he’s really one of them, regardless of what he said earlier in his post.

He then reinforces his identification with the antivaccine movement by saying that most of them, like him, believe vaccines work too. The real reason they are hesitant, according to him, is because they “aren’t willing to risk the side effects, but they do acknowledge that they at least work.” Of course, at this point, someone making an honest effort to understand both sides would point out here that the risks of vaccines are so infinitesimally tiny that it simply makes no sense not to vaccinate. He doesn’t go there. Instead, he says that severe vaccine reactions are rare while implying that maybe they’re not so rare after all. First up:

Now for the other side, because there are always two sides. How do the non-vaxers feel? I think that their number one issue is this: They want a choice. They don’t want to be forced into a medical treatment they are not comfortable with. That’s probably the number one freedom that they want preserved. IF vaccines were 100% harmless to every single person that got them, I think that we could insist on vaccination. BUT because they are not, because occasional severe and even fatal vaccine reactions do happen, it is unethical to force them on anyone. Yes, I know they are safe for MOST people, but not for all.

Of course, what is totally lacking here is any sort of risk-benefit consideration. By any conceivable stretch of the imagination, vaccines are far safer than the risk of illness. Moreover, Dr. Bob misrepresents the situation. He describes “forced vaccination,” but there is no such thing as forced vaccination in this country. Really, there isn’t. There are vaccine mandates that require certain vaccinations before children are allowed in school or day care, and these serve a very reasonable societal purpose, namely to prevent outbreaks in institutions where lots of children are packed together. Non-vaccinators or antivaccinationists don’t have to vaccinate, but their children pay a price. They can’t attend school or be in day care. Of course, these vaccine mandates are more porous than the average sponge, the rise of religious and “personal belief” exemptions having made not vaccinating and still getting your kid into school as easy as signing a form in some states, but antivaccinationists object to even these often toothless mandates. And Dr. Bob, through his use of another antivaccine dog whistle (“forced vaccination” instead of “school vaccine mandate”) and painting the issue as one of personal freedom, just as many antivaccinationists do, is letting antivaccinationists know that he’s really one of them.

To hammer that point home, Dr. Bob immediately starts harping on the risks of vaccination. He does it in a manner that uses another antivaccine dog whistle, in which he says these reactions are “rare, but…” This is then interspersed with claims that it is really doctors who are close-minded because they were raised not to believe that serious vaccine reactions even exist! I kid you not!

Behold:

Back in the 70s and 80s, when severe (but rare) vaccine reactions began to be reported, victims were crying out for help and no one was listening. The medical community was in complete denial that severe vaccine reactions were even possible. These victims were ignored. A generation of doctors were trained that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen. So, it’s taken many many years, but now almost everyone in the medical community agrees that they CAN happen. They aren’t common, but they can happen. They are still some naysayers, however, who use pseudoscience to demonstrate that those who have severe vaccine reactions have genetic problems which would have eventually caused the same problems anyway, given time. The vaccine just happened to trigger the problem sooner, or triggered it coincidentally. Yet the vaccine isn’t the cause. So, these naysayers continue to make victims and their families angry and up in arms. Those doctors are the minority, but they are a vocal minority, and families are worried that more and more doctors will once again believe that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen. And, will that lead to forced universal vaccination? Such parents are worried it will. So, families who feel their children are victims of a vaccine reaction will continue to be very vocal, as they should be. As long as the right to choose is threatened, which it currently is in the back rooms of the legislatures in most states, vocal anti-vax parents will continue to fight back.

So many antivaccine dogwhistles, so little time. That bit about “genetic problems which would have eventually caused the same problems anyway, given time”? That’s a straw man argument aimed at discussions of the Hannah Poling case and mitochondrial disorders and/or at Jasmine Renata, a young woman who died after the HPV vaccine, almost certainly due to an inherited cardiac conduction problem. Doctors who are “trained that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen”? He’s almost certainly referring to pro-vaccine champions like Dr. Paul Offit, caricaturing their views beyond recognition. Straw men this enormous can be seen from space when set aflame with burning stupid, and set this straw man ablaze Dr. Bob does, after which he then repeats the antivaccine dog whistle about “forced universal vaccination.” His empathy with the paranoid fears of antivaccinationists that there will soon be jack booted thugs from the government coming to vaccinate their children against their will is the loudest blowing on the whistle yet, particularly when coupled with his reference to nefarious secret cabals meeting in the back rooms of state legislatures.

Dr. Bob then asks how “pro-vaxers” can respond (rhetorically, of course), and answers the question by telling them, “Acknowledge that bad vaccine reactions can happen, that’s how. Stop trying to tell these parents and their children they are wrong. Have a little empathy.” More dog whistling. “Pro-vaxers” do acknowledge that bad vaccine reactions can happen.” The problem is that “bad vaccine reactions” do not constitute what antivaccinationists claim they do. They do not include autism. They do not include neurodevelopmental disorders. They do not include most of the evils attributed to vaccines by antivaccinationists. The vast majority of claimed cases of “vaccine injury” are not, in fact, actually due to vaccines. Certainly, as I’ve documented more times than I can remember, “vaccine injury” does not encompass autism, but most antivaccinationists believe that it does. Another whistle sounds when Dr. Bob dismisses the “pro-vax vocal minority” who won’t “have a heart” or show empathy. He even tries to turn the pro-vaccine against each other by trying to urge the “quiet, majority pro-vaxers” to “get louder about it.”

Yeah, that’ll work.

At the end, while seeming “reasonable,” Dr. Bob keeps those antivaccine dog whistles blowing. In fact, in the end, he goes a bit beyond that, making it very clear where his sympathies lie. He tries to accuse “vaxers” of a double standard in which they lambaste antivaccinationists for “hiding in the herd” (Dr. Bob’s term is appropriate here), taking no risk but gaining the benefit of herd immunity, as though “pro-vaxers” actually claim vaccines have no risks. I have never seen such a claim. I have only seen explanations why what antivaccinationists consider to be “vaccine injury” are not. Yet, Dr. Bob twists that into a straw man and then twists it again into a straw man pretzel saying that “pro-vaxers” claim there is no such thing as a vaccine injury. It is intellectual dishonesty more naked than even most antivaccine loons.

It’s also a cynical appeal to “rights” that all antivaccinationists who use it know will appeal to Americans:

A final bit of food for thought. Let’s talk about rights. Which right is more important, the right to not get sick with a disease or the right to make health care decisions for yourself and your child? The way I see it, the diseases were here first. They are ubiquitous to our world. Whether created by God or by evolution, they are here. They are the status quo. Because we have invented a medical treatment to try to change the status quo, yet that treatment can cause harm to a very small percentage of people, it is my belief that we shouldn’t force anyone into accepting this treatment. Life happens, death happens. It’s terribly tragic when death happens before it’s time. Nobody wants anyone to die. And no one wants their child to suffer a severe vaccine reaction. So, it is my opinion that ethically speaking, we must give precedence to what the status quo was or is, that diseases exist and cause some casualties, and those who decide they want to take part in the disease prevention can enter into vaccinations by their own free choice.

The stupid, it burns. It goes beyond setting a gargantuan straw man aflame with burning stupid into the realm of forming a black hole of stupid so dense that all medical knowledge threatens to be sucked in beyond its event horizon.

To call this thinking “muddled” is to be far too kind, the naturalistic fallacy at its most mind-meltingly boneheaded. Dr. Bob is seriously arguing that, because the bacteria and viruses that cause diseases were “here first” they are the status quo, and that ethically we must give precedence to the status quo? On what planet? The exact same “logic” (such as it is) could be used to justify letting parents fail to obtain medical care for their children for treatable diseases because, you know, those bacteria that caused the children’s pneumonia were there before us and penicillins and some other antibiotics demonstrably cause severe allergic reactions in a small number of children. Besides, by Dr. Bob’s “logic,” those bacteria causing pneumonia are the status quo. Life happens. Death happens. Shit happens. No big whoop. Time is a flat circle.

Dr. Bob probably thinks this is profound. It’s anything but. He is, however, as always, a master of the antivaccine dog whistle.

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]

340 replies on ““Dr. Bob” Sears: Perfecting the art of the antivaccine dog whistle”

I suppose NASA should invite people of the Flat Earth Society and astrologers for discussions and meet somewhere in the middle. I wonder how the earth would look like.

And why aren’t airports open for flying carpets?

I suppose Dr. Bob is also against laws to force people to wear safety-belts. And that would be a bit resonable, because the person not wearing it is the one who has the damages in case of an accident.
I rather would compare it with allowing driving drunk. No-one tells you, you can’t drink, but if you want to drive a car, you aren’t allowed to do so intoxicated, for the safety of others. You are allowed not to vaccinate your kids, but if they go to a public place, vaccination might be mandatory, to protect others.

Dr. Sears has touched on a fascinating and novel new argument against vaccination. While the rights of the parents or the rights of the person being immunized have been brought out before, this is the first I can recall someone speaking out for the civil rights of the pathogens! And not just any minor right, like a germ’s right to bear arms – vaccination directly goes after the three inalienable rights listed in the US Declaration of Independence of life, liberty, and pufuit of happinefs!

In this light, how can we see the eradication of smallpox as anything other than the crime of genocide? The Variola major held in captivity under inhumane conditions at WHO approved facilities are medicine’s political prisoners, and the facilities medicine’s gulags.

Can we stand by when so many of our fellow beings are being hunted down, tracked, and wiped out nearly to the point of extinction?

Free the Enterovirus C!

He even tries to turn the pro-vaccine against each other by trying to urge the “quiet, majority pro-vaxers” to “get louder about it.”

And they are, unfortunately for “Dr. Bob” they are lambasting his selfish, dunderhead clients for putting others at risk and ushering in outbreaks of VPDs.

So, it is my opinion that ethically speaking, we must give precedence to what the status quo was or is, that diseases exist and cause some casualties, and those who decide they want to take part in the disease prevention can enter into vaccinations by their own free choice.

So, Dr. Bob, why are you practicing medicine? By practicing medicine, are you not directly interfering with the “status quo”?

“A generation of doctors were trained that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen.”

Really? Lecturers, professors, and supervising physicians told medical students and residents that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen? I’d love to meet these now-physicians and ask them how that discussion even came about.

Any person with a gram of scientific mindfulness in their body knows that severe vaccine reactions can and do happen. It’s just that the reasonable person understands that they don’t happen at the rate that antivaxxers claim, and that they’re not as severe as antivaxxers claim, and that — most often than not — they’re not the reactions antivaxxers claim they are, e.g. autism.

It seems as if Dr. Bob (who’s blocked me on his Facebook page ever since I reminded him that, yes, he did talk to Seth Mnookin) is trying to justify the quack physicians out there who claim that they somehow “discovered” the truth all of a sudden and had their intellectual pendulum swung all the way to the antivax side over it.

It’s not a paradigm shift to know that vaccines can and do cause reactions from mild to severe. No one has ever denied that. It’s a constant accusation that is exhausting to defend when people let their perspectives and subjective opinions replace the cold, hard truth. I do not expect Barbara Loe Fisher to show up on a YouTube video and say that the risk of Guillain-Barre in the population in general is about the same as the risk from the flu vaccine. That’s the truth, but, instead, we are reminded time and again of the 1976 swine flu scare as if 2015 were 1976, as if 2015’s surveillance and epidemiology was the same as 1976’s, and as if we had not made one single refinement to the vaccine or the recommendations for it since.

“By practicing medicine, are you not directly interfering with the “status quo”?”

Not if he gets paid for it, Todd. That there is THE status quo he seems to only be interested in. Someone mentioned that Yelp reviews of his practice have been quoting upwards of $170 per visit, cash.

As always regarding “Dr Bob” and vaccines (and shown many times previously), in answer to Seth Mnookin’s question from 2012: “Bob Sears: Bald-faced liar, devious dissembler, or both?”–the screamingly loud answer is BOTH.

And now that there has been a measles case in my state of Arizona from this Disneyland outbreak, I would personally like to (sarcastically) thank Sear for his continued destruction of public health in America. Dr. Robert Sears, MD, FAAP– YOU are the nasty, dripping urethral discharge from the fecal-covered phallus that is anti- vaccinationism.

My bet is that the reference to genetic origin goes beyond Hannah Poling, referring to –
A. The fact that seizure claims blamed on DTP were traced to Dravet Syndrome.

B. The line of research on the genetic origins on autism.

One more thing: he’s ignoring the fact that the right to make decision is the parent’s, but the right to health is the child. Basically, the question is “which is more important, the right to choose whichever risk you want for your child, or that child’s right to health?”

We respect parental freedoms and parents’ rights to make decisions for their child. We do it because for many questions there is more than one answer, and with responsibility should one authority: parents are responsible for their child, ideally put a lot of work to take care of that child, have responsibilities for discipline and more. They need the authority to make decisions to do that – and the system really won’t always serve the individual child as well without a parental advocate to help navigate and act.

But parental rights are not there to make the parent warm and fuzzy by letting the parent do what she or he feels like, and child’s interest be damned. By phrasing it the way he does, Dr. Bob Sears is marginalizing the children – his real patients. That bothers me. I would like to see him put those children in the center.

@Dorit

Very possibly. It may have simply been inspired by those examples and worded vaguely enough that any time anyone suffers some sort of mishap anytime after having received a vaccine, which is then later discovered to be caused by something other than the vaccine, he and his anti-vaccine cronies (he’s still an admin on that anti-vaccine FB group, right?) can crow, “See? Another example of a ‘convenient’ genetic cause.”

“Back in the 70s and 80s, when severe (but rare) vaccine reactions began to be reported, victims were crying out for help and no one was listening. The medical community was in complete denial that severe vaccine reactions were even possible.”

The smallpox eradication was pursued in the 70s in part because reactions to the smallpox vaccine could be so severe. There were very serious reactions to the early polio vaccines (the Cutter incident). The antivax claim that SSPE is caused by the measles vaccine is based on a paper from 1968 raising this as a possible risk. It is beyond stupid and well into dishonesty to make the claim that doctors were *ever* taught that vaccination had no risk.

We’re interfering with the status quo?

You’ve gotta be kidding me.

His antivax pal Jay Gordon has claimed that human beings have lived for millions of years in symbiosis with measles (which diverged from rinderpest less than a thousand years ago) and that we risk who knows what disasters by trying to eliminate our symbiote.

human beings have lived for millions of years in symbiosis with measles

Hmm. Tell that to the Native Americans.

Morons.

So, it is my opinion that ethically speaking, we must give precedence to what the status quo was or is, that diseases exist and cause some casualties

I really hope that the CA state medical board and AAP pay attention to this bit. Dr. Bob Sears, a licensed pediatrician and fellow of the AAP, is advocating that we should give precedence to the “status quo” (i.e., the diseases), which comes with what one can assume Dr. Bob thinks are acceptable (if unfortunate) “casualties”. Let’s stop for a moment and consider what those “casualties” are: hundreds to thousands of deaths per year from disease, many thousands of severe injuries, including permanent harm (blindness, deafness, disfigurement, sterility, loss of sensation), lost productivity, etc.

The Native Americans and the Polynesians and everyone else who wasn’t part of the Old World disease pool. We told Jay Gordon that in detail on this site. It’s hard for me to search on this iPhone, but perhaps someone can find Jay Gordon’s comment about the “dirty little secret” that measles improves the human race.

Actually, wasn’t Measles first traced back to about the 7th Century (and first described as “worse than Smallpox”)?

And since we already eradicated one of Measles’ Cousins – Rinderpest, it shows that we could also do it for Measles as well.

I find his comments to be bordering on Eugenics – saying that we’re better off letting diseases run rampant – with the undertone of “only the malnourished will die.”

In the United States alone, prior to vaccination, there were about 4 million cases of chicken pox each year, resulting in 10,000 to 16,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 150 deaths.

By any rational argument that isn’t a status quo to be given precedence but instead astatus quo to be oppsoed and altered.

WHEN WE STOP LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, WE LOSE OUR HUMANITY.

When a doctor stops listening to scientific evidence they should lose their license to practice medicine.

The gift that gives on giving. We clearly have no ethical obligation to address anything that used to represent “business as usual”.

Human slavery? It used to be the status quo (it’s championed in religious scripture like the bible for dog’s sake) so where’s the problem?

Child labor? Once the status quo, so it’s all good.

Racial intolerance? Women as second class citizens? Children as property? Stop whining about individual or civil rights and give these the precedence they deserve. They used to be the status quo!

Dr Bob, in his attempt to be ‘fair and balanced’- a voice of reason as it were, amidst the fray- has done exactly what our old friends, Blaxsted, did in their new book, Vaccines 2.0: they separate vaccines into good ones vs bad ones. I’m not sure if they and Dr Bob rate the same ones similarly but this strategy appears to be a way to misrepresent science in a way that isn’t obvious. It boils down to saying that doctors are giving some ( not all- persish the thought!) dangerous vaccines and thus shouldn’t be trusted and that adherence to the schedule that is recommended to by their professional organisation is direly problematic- a danger in fact- to children’s health.

I suppose that he’s a milder version of brave, maverick rebel.
Not the full Andy.

human beings have lived for millions of years in symbiosis with measles

And with lost of other illnesses, like polio, the plague and lots of others, which were responsible for lots of deaths and resulting in lots of people dieing when they were childs. Would Dr. Bob like to live in those days? Why has he studied medicine, if he considers illnesses just as a fact of life?

And whilst I’m here:
TMR has surprised me by including *new* posts these past few days instead of re-treads.
Ms Juicy Fruit today informs us about just how hard it is to be a TM.
You have to do your research, ask hard questions and stand by your decisions even though you are targetted by the ND crowd, “vaxtremists” ( SBM), Child Protective Services and governmental agencies for your choices. You must TELL YOUR STORY. And cringe as you read another new mother’s recitative about her child’s descent apres vaccines.

AND all the while, the entire internet is watching you!
HOWEVER you stand “in the company of giants”.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t say *what type* of giants.
I’m sure the minions have educated guesses.

In the United States alone, prior to vaccination, there were about 4 million cases of chicken pox each year, resulting in 10,000 to 16,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 150 deaths.

You are correct on the morbidity, short, very short on the mortality. That was also under-counted and was in the thousands/year.

This was posted in the comments under Dr.Bob’s Facebook post.

Are you in the 14-year gap that was unreliable for measles vaccine?

January 21, 2015, 6:33 PM|Disneyland is offering to test its employees for measles. The move comes after an outbreak of the disease was found to have originated from its theme park. But even if you’ve been vaccinated before, experts say there’s a troubling 14-year period where people may not have been properly vaccinated. Ben Tracy reports.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/are-you-in-the-14-year-gap-that-was-unreliable-for-measles-vaccine/

Rumors are floating around the web that the Disneyland measles of 2015 is a newly mutated strain that may be vaccine resistant.Just thought I’d toss that out.

They want to be able to go to the doctor without being read the riot act every time. Read them the riot act once, then move on. They don’t want to have to call 10 different pediatricians just to find one who isn’t prejudiced against their kind.

Move on? So that it becomes one discussion in the pediatrician’s office versus the endless river of internet NVIC garbage to guide parents’ decisions? Bob knows how that plays out, and seems content to let it do so.

Oh my my my. I must add this voice to Dr. Bob’s supersonic whistling:

“It’s premature to blame the increase in reports of measles on the unvaccinated when we don’t have all the facts yet,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group raising concerns about inoculations. “I do know this: Fifty-seven cases of measles coming out of Disneyland in a country with a population of 317 million people is not a lot of cases. We should all take a deep breath and wait to see and get more information.”

Oh, sure Babs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/measles-cases-linked-to-disneyland-rise-and-debate-over-vaccinations-intensifies.html?_r=1

There may be a tiny sliver of common ground that I can find with the likes of Dr. Bob: current vaccines could be better, more effective. Our vaccine technology has lagged behind because of lack of funding and slim profit margins for risky product development pipelines.

Of course, my vision of a better vaccine involves shooting people with DNA or injecting them with transgenic virus … which I’m going to go out on a limb and assume most of the anti-vaxers are not going to embrace with open arms.

Rumors are floating around the web that the Disneyland measles of 2015 is a newly mutated strain that may be vaccine resistant.Just thought I’d toss that out.

Roger, while I haven’t seen the molecular epidemiology of the strain circulating, that is not the case at all. That’s just anti-vaxx defensiveness. That 14 year period encompasses the time when a killed vaccine was used and gaps in vaccination. There is also 1971~1993 where most only received one dose. Those are the “vaccinated” who are contracting measles and very few with the full two MMRII doses. Anti-vaxxers got what they wanted; they just don’t want the blame for it.

“When asked, even on FoxNews, Doctors consider the whole “personal liberty” argument to be a bunch of BS.”

Even Fox’s Keith Ablow says ‘parents should get their kids vaccinated.’ He also said that the ‘withdrawal of study linking vaccines to autism is “the global warming, if you will, of autism”.’

c0nc0rdance,

Of course, my vision of a better vaccine involves shooting people with DNA or injecting them with transgenic virus

I have wondered here before if it would be possible to develop a virus that inserts the appropriate DNA into memory T cells to make them recognize a wide range of pathogens. As I understand it pathogen recognition gets hard-coded into the DNA of these cells. Someone with immunity to measles must have a sequence of DNA that codes for this immunity, and I see no reason* that we couldn’t engineer a retrovirus to insert that DNA into the appropriate cells.

* Apart from the enormous practical problems, of course.

‘Lucy in the school, with measles…’

What real scientists (and technologists) do when the empirical facts falsify their preferred hypotheses, is to recognise their errors and express thanks that someone spotted them.

Clearly Dr. Bob is no scientist. Not even close.

Whilst we’re on the subject of the status quo, someone should ask him if he ‘believes in’ public water supply and sewage treatment.

Lastly, ‘standing in the company of giants’ was likely a typo. It should have read ‘standing in the company of germs.’

The morbidity/mortality figures are taken from the CDC website, which made no mention of under-reporting, and I felt it best to post them as given on their website. I’m certainly ready to believe that they represent the lower bound for average annual mortality.

Rumors are floating around the web that the Disneyland measles of 2015 is a newly mutated strain that may be vaccine resistant.Just thought I’d toss that out.

Hard then to understand both why so many more of those infected in this outbreak are not vaccinated against measles and why the numbers of those infected are not much, much larger. Measles is so contagious that in absence of vaccination we’d expect 90% of those exposed to become infected, after all.

I agree with the general substance of this article. But notwithstanding his frustration, it’s unfortunate that the author chose to write in such a mean-spirited and frankly, childish tone (“The stupid, it burns. It goes beyond setting a gargantuan straw man aflame with burning stupid into the realm of forming a black hole of stupid so dense that all medical knowledge threatens to be sucked in beyond its event horizon.”) State the issue, explain the science, conduct your analysis, and present your conclusion. Of course, if the purpose of the article is, in part, to show how clever you are by identifying straw man arguments and “dog whistles,” then disregard. My wife and I met with Dr. Sears after our first child was born. We had legitimate concerns after an adverse reaction to his first shot. Dr. Sears explained to us that one of his sons is fully immunized and the other has received no immunizations. He didn’t try to push us in either direction and we ended up opting to vaccinate our son. I think that attacking his views and opinions is legitimate. I think that attacking him as a person is just kinda dickish and serves only to ratchet up the rhetoric, not further the scientific arguments.

Dr Bob Sears (and Dr Jay Gordon, too, for that matter) should stay overnight at a hospital with a child who has measles every single night until each and every Southern California case in this Disneyland outbreak is discharged.

I think the Onion captured the spirit of the parental rights involved:
“”As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be raising my child, I simply can’t tolerate it. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated diseases come roaring back.

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.”” http://www.theonion.com/articles/i-dont-vaccinate-my-child-because-its-my-right-to,37839/ ~D.

Concern Troll Father:

Did you notice that you’re reading Respectful Insolence? And that Orac has spent years trying to get through to Dr. Bob, who clearly isn’t listening.

By all means, go ahead and write and post the calm, just-the-facts version of this post on your own website.

@45
When you met with Dr. Bob to discuss vaccination, did he provide you with the necessary information and guidance for informed consent?

Do you understand that pediatrician Dr. Bob’s “advice” runs contrary to the standards of care issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics?

Your son had an adverse reaction and that is unfortunate. Why would you seek out Dr. Bob’s counsel on this issue? I am genuinely curious.

A great retort to fools like Dr. Sears who argue that measles isn’t a big deal in a developed country, especially because of improvements in health and sanitation:

“It’s hard to argue that in 1989 we had problems with modern sanitation. Arguably, we were healthier 25 years ago than we are now, if one uses the U.S. obesity rates as one marker of health and good nutrition. We had antibiotics for secondary infections, such as pneumonia, that settle in to measles-infected lungs—and fewer antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens than we do in 2015. Measles-associated pneumonia isn’t easy to treat if it’s caused by a “superbug,” and we’ve not had to deal with a huge measles outbreak in the age of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and other drug-resistant bacteria.

Despite our advances and our modernity and our status as a developed country, we still saw 123 measles deaths during this epidemic—here, in the United States, where we get plenty of Vitamin A. There were also 11,000 hospitalizations—fully one-fifth of people infected with measles became sick enough to be hospitalized.

In modern-day America.”

Exactly.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/01/measles_outbreak_at_disney_anti_mmr_vaccine_activists_claim_disease_isn.html

Roger Kulp @33
That “gap in efficacy” mentioned in the video suggests those born before 1971 get a second dose, just like children do today.

The same applies to those born in the 1970s who have not been in school since 1990, for the same reason – that’s the year the second dose was added (I started grad school after that, and had to get the second dose).

Rumors are floating around the web that the Disneyland measles of 2015 is a newly mutated strain that may be vaccine resistant

They’re probably being circulated by the same folks who have the vaccinated vs unvaccinated ratio for this outbreak backwards.

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx

Patients range in age from 7 months to 70 years. Vaccination status is documented for 34 of the 59 cases. Of these 34, 28 were unvaccinated (six of whom were infants too young to be vaccinated), 1 had received one dose and 5 had received two or more doses of MMR vaccine..

There are more cases among the unvaccinated – including all 13 San Diego County cases reported to date: http://www.countynewscenter.com/news/three-probable-measles-cases-reported

After double checking my sources:

One of the first ten San Diego cases was vaccinated, which is 12 out of 13 who were not.

I thought I had read that the vaccinated individual is an adult over 50, but I failed to save the link at the time.

Fifty-seven cases of measles coming out of Disneyland in a country with a population of 317 million people is not a lot of cases

IT IS WHEN THERE SHOULD BE ZERO CASES YOU FECKING HALFWIT!

Fifty-seven cases of measles coming out of Disneyland in a country with a population of 317 million people is not a lot of cases.

In 2013, 290,000 people were injured in accidents involving a drunk driver. Out of a population of 317 million, that’s not a lot of cases–only 0.091% of the population, less than 1 1/100th ot 1 per cent..

I guess we shouldn’t address the risks associated with driving under the influence, and we should all instead just take a deep breath when accidents involving a DUI occur …

Orac wrote:

The most frustrating thing about Dr. Bob’s little invitation to sing Kumbaya is he shows just a glimmer of actual insight. It’s hard for me to tell if this is just posturing on his part or if it’s really what he believes.

I suggest we forget Robert Sears – an IRL human being who believes something, somewhere down inside – and address ourselves to ‘Dr. Bob’ – a constructed media persona. The question then isn’t whether the pro-vax bits of his post are “posturing” but how they work rhetorically and ideologically. It doesn’t matter if Robert Sears is deploying them in a Machiavellian, consciously disingenuous state of mind. It matters that they FUNCTION disingenuously in the text.

Dr. Bob is a master of blowing the anti-vax dog-whistle while pleading “Not me, I’m Mr. Compromise!” at the same time. (Y’all can decide for yourselves which orifice on either end of the alimentary canal is blowing the whistle, and which is doing the sweet talking…) Of course, he’s still deeply involved with the Vax—>Autism scare movie Trace Amounts.

But I want to focus on another dog-whistle. The OC dog whistle. The ‘libertarian-conservative’ dog-whistle. Dr. Bob gets where Robert Sears lives. I shall venture an ideological decoding:
. . . . . . . . .
“Non-vaxers don’t want to be discriminated against.”
That’s right. YOU are the victim here. All you want is your liberty, and those damn statists hate you for it.
“They want to be able to attend school if they want. They want their children to be able to play with the vaxer’s children. They don’t want it to be an issue that affects social and family life. They don’t want their pro-vaxer relatives to give them such a hard time.”
If YOU want. You are the absolute ruler of the kingdom that it you. Anybody who tries to lay that nonsense about ‘responsibility to the community’ is just a pest who wants to take from the makers and should STFU. Your un-vaxed kids are going to the big family holiday gathering, they’re going to play with their cousins, and if John and Marsha don’t like it they should either trust the vaccines they believe in so much, or leave THEIR kids home if they’re worried. This is NOT a family issue at all.
“Non-vaxers want to be able to go to the doctor without being read the riot act every time.”
Repeal Obamacare!
“They don’t want to have to call 10 different pediatricians just to find one who isn’t prejudiced against their kind. Instead of become more understanding, more pediatricians in my area are discriminating against these people.”
Talk about Stupid with a capital ‘S’; what else is snotty talking talking back from the the hired help? These pediatricians seem unable to comprehend that they work for YOU. When you had a boss while you were working your way up, did you talk back to him? No. You showed him respect. (Just like Dr. Bob shows you!) But we’re beyond that here. America has so lost it’s way we’re letting the proles actually discriminate against those of use who build the economy and create jobs, including their jobs. Under the lab coats, they’re no better than union thugs, really.
“Let’s talk about rights.”
[Goodie! MY rights are my favorite subject!]
“Which right is more important, the right to not get sick with a disease or the right to make health care decisions for yourself and your child?”
Duh. Obviously YOUR individual rights and parents rights. No brainer. This is not Cuba.
“We shouldn’t force anyone into accepting this treatment.”
Damn straight. You are NOT going to let Big Government nannies force YOU into doing anything you do not want to do. “Life happens, death happens.”
The pro-vaxers think YOU owe them something. They want a free ride, on YOUR dime. Because they’re soft. Dr. Bob is as nice as he can be, but he is not soft. He understand the world is a hard place, that survivial of the fittest isn’t just the way things are, it’s right. As the great Reverand Shuller always said, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” YOU toughed it out. As the Rev. Shuller says, you had “the guts to get out of the ruts” struggle up the ladder of life and make yourself “something different from the average man”. As he also observed, most people “don’t even know there is a ladder”. So if anyone wants to get up the ladder it’s totally on them to get smart enough to find the first rung and tough enough to make the climb. And if they try to pull you down in the process, and get the foot in the face they deserve, that’s their problem.
“Those who want to take part in disease prevention can enter into vaccinations by their own free choice.”
Free choice is what makes America the greatest country on Earth, and YOU are not giving away YOUR free choice to anybody, for any reason whatsoever.
“There will always be those who don’t vaccinate.”
Because: Freedom. And Dr. Bob has many freedom-loving patients, so he can assure you you are not alone.
“We’d better figure out a way to get along and love each other.”
And who is not showing the love? YOU are not hating. You just want to be left alone, and respected for your own free choice. For which the hate is being directed at YOU, by those uppity pediatricians, the other parents at your kids school treating you like a leper, your smart-ass liberal brother-in-law ripping into you during what’s supposed to be family time, and especially those insulting so-called scientists dumping smack on Dr. Bob. THEY need to learn some love. You’re fine.
. . . . . . . . .
Now, again I’m not suggesting Robert Sears thinks any of these things. I’m arguing that these are the responses that will go off in the minds of his clientele and Orange County neighbors as they read the text.

While there may be a certain liberal/conservative balance between IRL parents who have un-vaccinated kids, the ideology of anti-vax is fundamentally right-wing ‘libertarian’. If we look at liberal/conservative positions on a wide scope of issues, we could reasonably define a ‘liberal’ as someone who has concern and empathy for other people’s children, and favors enacting policies to protect and help those kids; and we could define a ‘conservative” as a fundamentally selfish individual whose attitude towards other people’s children is basically 3rd person: Was einen nicht umbringt, macht sie stärker.

As such, my guess is in the wake of the Disneyland outbreak and further media attention to the spread of VPDs vax rates will go up in SF and the East Bay, and stay the same or get worse in Orange County. Marin County might as well be Mars, so I have no guess about how things will go there.

[Marin’s not ‘conservative’ by any means, but I wouldn’t call it ‘liberal’ either. Liberals like cities. Marin has lots of big hills and tall forest. There are small towns like Mill Valley where people go for services, but to get to an awful lot of the posh residences you have to drive up long winding roads deep into the woods where the homes are tucked away hidden by the terrain and the tree canopy. From the road, mostly you just see the driveways. Few folks if any can see their neighbors. It’s a different kind of ‘leave me alone’, in some ways more thorough than a conservative ‘gated-community’.]

The morbidity/mortality figures are taken from the CDC website, which made no mention of under-reporting, and I felt it best to post them as given on their website. I’m certainly ready to believe that they represent the lower bound for average annual mortality.

@JGC, I’m sorry if I sound nitpicky; measles epi is a “hobby” of mine. I understand why you used the CDC website and maybe yours is a typo but even they have 495 annual deaths listed for pre-vaccine era: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt07-measles.html However, they also mention the estimate of 4 million cases per year with 1-3 deaths/1000 cases. This is a result of retrospective analysis of death certificates that were not attributed to measles but rather complications. Even back in the 1970’s, this was known: http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=505944

I harp on this particular point because it flies in the face of the anti-vaxx claim that measles is/was a harmless disease. The morbidity and mortality rates are a lot higher than they’d like to believe and mostly in children with no underlying problems. And refusing MMR is not just going to fuel measles outbreaks, mumps too and it won’t be long before we start seeing congenital rubella syndrome in infants. How many cases of SSPE will we be seeing 3-7 years from now; several children and infants have been infected this year and last. This outbreak is only the beginning of the harms the anti-vaxxers are causing.

“They are the status quo. Because we have invented a medical treatment to try to change the status quo, yet that treatment can cause harm to a very small percentage of people, it is my belief that we shouldn’t force anyone into accepting this treatment. Life happens, death happens.”

Well sh!t. I guess we better go tell smallpox we’re sorry and re-release it into the wild. Dr Sears, I suggest you start with yourself if you so strongly believe this.

“I agree with the general substance of this article. But notwithstanding his frustration, it’s unfortunate that the author chose to write in such a mean-spirited and frankly, childish tone”

Concerned father-

I get what you are saying, but must say I don’t really agree. A big part of learning skepticism and science is to learn to look at the evidence alone when making decisions. Don’t let any perceived tone get in the way.

Further, I think there are times what such tone is absolutely warranted. Skeptics and real scientists are people too. We get offended, we get angry, especially when someone is quite literally putting his personal profit above the well-being of children.

I post a lot on the Science Based Medicine website and a few months back we had some ignoramus who was pushing for a random trial of vaccinations where the study design would mean hundreds of kids dying unnecessarily. It was a complete clusterf^ck of an argument and about as unethical as one can get.

We pointed this out to the guy, and he was left unfazed. He then started lashing out calling us all ignorant and ‘afraid of the truth’ since we didn’t agree with his [email protected] ideas.

I have no issue railing on people like that.

In fact, I think that if growing up, more people were checked when they say stupid stuff, we wouldn’t have a generation of adults who think that the fact their opinion exists is all the justification necessary for such a belief. If you something dangerous and stupid, it should be denigrated as such.

Ultimately, I think people have to put on their big boy pants when discussing issues such as this and not let their delicate sensibilities get so offended by snark, dark humor and disdain for the ever present stupid people among us…

I left an an otherwise good breastfeeding advice blog because of her tendency to post anti vaccine ‘advice’ and within minutes , post a ‘why can’t we all just get along and respect each other’s opinions’ whine minutes later. In the end, it wasn’t the anti vax advice that finished me off, if was the gross hypocrisy ( she knew full well it was inflammatory) and this pervasive idea that we all have to constantly validate and support everyone’s crap ideas so as not to make anyone ‘feel bad’.

After the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed that protected vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits, the number of vaccines for infants has been dramatically expanded:..In contrast, many of the vaccines on the USA schedule are not included on the vaccine schedules for other developed countries. A 2009 Special Report “Autism and Vaccines Around the World: Vaccine Schedules, Autism Rates, and Under 5 Mortality” demonstrates that most developed countries do not include the varicella (chicken pox), rotavirus, pneumococcal, influenza, or hepatitis A vaccines on their schedules. A slight majority of countries administer the hepatitis B vaccine to infants, but many of those countries (such as the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, and Japan and several Canadian provinces routinely screen pregnant women for hepatitis B and only administer the hepatitis B vaccine to the infant if the mother tests positive for hepatitis B). The report points out that the USA has a higher vaccination rate and a higher mortality rate for children under the age of 5

We have many more vaccine requirements than almost all other countries, and we lead the world in autism.

AUTISM PREVALENCE in the United States has soared. In 1970, Treffert et. al. published the first known
autism prevalence study in the United States, Epidemiology of Infantile Autism, with an autism prevalence rate
of less than 1 per 10,000. In 1987, Burd et. al. published a study, A prevalence study of pervasive developmental
disorders in North Dakota, showing an autism rate of 3.3 per 10,000. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control’s
Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network released data showing that prevalence of
autism had grown to 66 per 10,000 or 1 in 150, an increase of more than 6,000% from the 1970 study.

I would be happy to smile and make peace if I could choose the vaccine schedule of Israel, 1/3 the vaccines, better child mortality and 1/7 the autism rate…

As far as all the snark and sarcasm goes, this site has the biggest collection of pro-vax assholes I have ever seen. rude, nasty, snarky sarcastic, in the face of one of the biggest corporate health screwings in history by big pharma. So, these are the facts, and you know how I feel about you.

Concerned Father @45’s comment could easily be used as the prototypical example of tone trolling. It’s among the finest examples I’ve seen in the wild.

Mr. Willcox (added emphasis):

AUTISM PREVALENCE in the United States has soared. In 1970, Treffert et. al. published the first known autism prevalence study in the United States, Epidemiology of Infantile Autism, with an autism prevalence rate of less than 1 per 10,000. In 1987, Burd et. al. published a study, A prevalence study of pervasive developmental disorders in North Dakota, showing an autism rate of 3.3 per 10,000. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network released data showing that prevalence of autism had grown to 66 per 10,000 or 1 in 150, an increase of more than 6,000% from the 1970 study.

The MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in 1971, and was the preferred vaccine for the 1978 Measles Elimination Program. So if it caused an increase in autism that would have been noted by 1987. But your numbers do not show it.

So Mr. Willcox, by presenting that information you have proved the MMR vaccine does not cause autism.

“As far as all the snark and sarcasm goes, this site has the biggest collection of pro-vax assholes I have ever seen. rude, nasty, snarky sarcastic, in the face of one of the biggest corporate health screwings in history by big pharma. So, these are the facts, and you know how I feel about you.”

Only what you posted is quite bluntly, wrong. It’s been belabored here plenty, but there is no link between autism and vaccines. The rise in prevalence is due to a rise in awareness and expansion of diagnostic criteria.

If you want to remain willfully ignorant to that reality, it is your choice, but understand that that is not in any way shape or form ‘facts’ as you have declared them.

I would be happy to smile and make peace if I could choose the vaccine schedule of Israel, 1/3 the vaccines, better child mortality and 1/7 the autism rate…

Typical anti-vaxx ignorance of epidemiology. Israel has different collection methods and less resources for minorities than the U.S.: http://www.timesofisrael.com/low-prevalence-of-autism-seen-among-israels-minorities/ and more stigma attached to an ASD diagnosis. Their infant mortality rate is also lower because of differences in criteria for live births. And you’re making medical decisions with this profound ignorance of basic epi?

As far as all the snark and sarcasm goes, this site has the biggest collection of pro-vax assholes I have ever seen. rude, nasty, snarky sarcastic, in the face of one of the biggest corporate health screwings in history by big pharma. So, these are the facts, and you know how I feel about you.

Yours are not facts and get used to the snark; it isn’t kewl any more to leave your spawn unvaccinated and spreading VPDs. People are tired of your ignorant entitlements.

The original 2002 Danish study by Dr Samy Suissa of McGill University in Montreal (Canada) came up with an even more astonishing result. Contrary to the original ‘no link’ finding, diagnoses of autism within two years of an MMR vaccination increased to a high of 27.3 cases per 100,000 children compared with just 1.45 cases per 100,000 in non-vaccinated children. The children who had had the MMR vaccination were 45% more likely to have developed autism than the children who had not had the MMR vaccination.

Don’t forget, there is enormous profit from vaccines since they have no liability…. Ten years ago, the vaccine market sat at $5.7 billion dollars…now, that market has soared to $27 billion.” So from 2003 to 2013 the vaccine market increased nearly five-fold! This is astonishing.

Vaccines save lives. That’s more than I can say for most of the things I buy. Why are you happier that someone can make a profit selling me unnecessary electronics, jewelry, furniture than that they can make a profit saving people’s lives?

(If I’m wrong and you’re actually a communist, I submit there are better places to attack capitalism.)

@Science Mom…Thank you for the reference. It showed that for almost all inhabitants of Israel, most had massively fewer incidents of autism than the US. They also have better infant mortality. Al I ask for is civil debate, an Israeli vaccination schedule, and more research that is not funded by Bib pharma. We know they cheat. see Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda Paperback – February 6, 2006
by Jacky Law

As far as infant mortality, here are the facts you need….

A baby born in the U.S. is nearly three times as likely to die during her first year of life as one born in Finland or Japan. That same American baby is about twice as likely to die in her first year as a Spanish or Korean one.

Despite healthcare spending levels that are significantly higher than any other country in the world, a baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see his first birthday than one born in Hungary, Poland or Slovakia. Or in Belarus. Or in Cuba, for that matter.

You are truly ignorant.

Mr. Willcox, an MMR vaccine has been used in USA for over forty years, the numbers you provided show it has nothing to do with autism.

@sadmar (#57):

The funny thing is that solid liberal Democrat types are often persuaded by or will parrot libertarian talking points when it comes to public health measure they don’t like.

A prime example of this was the big brou-ha-ha in Portland, OR (where I spent a very happy period of my life in between college and grad school) over flouridation. (Yes, flouridation – I know, I always thought it was a fringe, John Birch Society-type concern, but…)

Portland really doesn’t have a lot of conservatives to speak of, so it was basically liberals vs. liberals when it came to flouridation. (The issue got bizarrely heated. I’m generally pro-flouridation, but I’m not that invested in the issue. Plus I’m a registered Michigan voter, so I basically sat on my perch and watched it all play out without participating, in part so as not to lose any friends over the issue.)

Quite a few people I know very well, who, again, are solid Democrats in general, took a rabidly anti-flouridation stance, basically based on the naturalistic fallacy, with a little anti-corporatism thrown into the mix. (“Flouride is an evil corporate byproduct of smelting!”) Thing is, when they finally argued themselves into a corner on the science and actual facts involved, they would retreat to the rather disingenous libertarian-style talking point of “Forced mass medication is unethical!” Which, I agree, it is, but that’s not even what flouridation is. It’s the maintenance of a naturally ocurring mineral at optimum levels in drinking water – neither too high nor too low – as a prophylactic, in the interest of public health.

We also don’t count “infant mortality” the same way as some of the other countries on that list (like including any birth over 26 weeks as a “live birth”).

Keating Wilcox,

Contrary to the original ‘no link’ finding, diagnoses of autism within two years of an MMR vaccination increased to a high of 27.3 cases per 100,000 children compared with just 1.45 cases per 100,000 in non-vaccinated children. The children who had had the MMR vaccination were 45% more likely to have developed autism than the children who had not had the MMR vaccination.

This particular claim never fails to amuse me. Suissa didn’t correct for age, so of course there is a correlation between MMR and autism. Within the age range of the study the older the child was, the more likely it was to have had MMR, and also the more likely it was to have been diagnosed with autism. At birth none of the children had had MMR and none of them had been diagnosed with autism. By age five most of the children had had MMR and most of the autistic children had been recognized and diagnosed. If you used the same methods Suissa used you would find a correlation between height and autism.

Madsen corrected for age and the correlation vanished. Case closed.

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