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Are unvaccinated children more healthy than vaccinated children?

There are many myths that undergird antivaccine beliefs, such as the myth that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and basically anything antivaccinationists like to blame on them. Basically, if you believe antivaccinationists, there’s nothing bad thta vaccines can’t do to children. The flip side of this myth is perhaps the central myth of the antivaccine movement, which is that unvaccinated children are somehow so much healthier than vaccinated children and that fewer vaccines equates to better health. This one pops up time after time after time after time. It is also the central motivating belief behind frequent calls by antivaccine activists for a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study. These calls began with proposals for—I kid you not—a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. When it was pointed out that such a trial would be completely unethical because it lacks clinical equipoise and that message finally sank in, antivaccinationists pivoted to wanting an epidemiological “vaxed versus unvaxed” study, even though the expense and challenges of such a study would be monumental and antivaccinationists wouldn’t believe a negative outcome anyway.

Of course, these “minor” setbacks haven’t deterred antivaccine advocates from trying to make their case. I remember the first time I saw it, now many years ago, when J.B. Handley and Generation Rescue actually paid a company to do a telephone survey on the health of unvaccinated children. Let’s just say that the design of the survey and wording of the questions were…not exactly rigorous. Hilariously, though, the survey actually showed some groups of vaccinated children were healthier than unvaccinated children. Even though it was a worthless telephone survey whose results meant nothing, it was hard not to laugh at how it backfired on Generation Rescue. And don’t get me started on an Internet survey administered by a German homeopath that didn’t show what he thought it showed. He wasn’t the first. Others followed. All generated data (if you can call it that) that turned out to be—surprise!—utterly worthless and unsupportive of the hypothesis that unvaccinated children are generally healthier. They do provide me with fun targets at which to direct some Insolence, though, along with opportunities to point out that the vaccine schedule is not only evidence-based, but safe and effective.

I was reminded of the “healthy unvaccinated child” myth last night when I came across a post on a website known as Stop Mandatory Vaccination. You can tell there’s going to be a lot of misinformation there when you see its tagline: “Vaccines don’t save lives, healthy immune systems do!” The post is entitled We Have Healthy Vaccine Free Children which basically aggregates comments made after a post on the group’s Facebook page:

Now, anyone with even the slightest bit of understanding will immediately realize that posting a question like this on an antivaccine Facebook page is what we would refer to as “stacking the deck.” The audience already believes that not vaccinating is healthier and that injecting what they view as all those nasty “toxins” is just about the worst thing in the world you can do to your baby, short of feeding him GMOs. So it’s not surprising that the responses were overwhelmingly positive, with parents bragging and exulting about how fantastically healthy, smart, and just generally awesome their children are.

For example here are three examples:

Tiffany Elizabeth: My daughters are both 100% vaccine free and are smarter and healthier than other kids in their class. Their teachers think they’re gifted and they get over any illness faster than any other kids. They’re smart enough to move up a class and are well above most of the class. The epitome of health and brains. No allergies, eczema, Asthma or behavioral issues of any kind.

Ingrid Johanns: 3 unvaxed boys 10, 7 and 3. Seriously healthy kids. I can literally count on one hand the number of times any of them have been “sick”- where they have had a fever and needed to stay in bed, etc. and not one of them has ever been sick for more than two days in a row. Typically they’ve gotten better within 24 hours. They all are way way healthier than the vast majority of my friends kids who are vaccinated. To give you an idea, my ex, asked me once why our kids are SO much healthier than his co workers kids who “all seem to have issues…” I told him it was because we don’t vaccinate. I truly believe that is why.

Brianna Kinney: I have 2 completely 100% vaccine free children – Ages 4 and 17 months. Neither have ever been sick besides the common cold once or twice, no food allergies, no seasonal allergies, no fevers, no ear infections, no attention disorders… both are extremely healthy and above average in absolutely everything.

Yes, for some parents, it’s not just enough to portray their unvaccinated children as being healthy and happy, but they have to be portrayed as healthier, happier, and smarter than all the other kids in their class. Of course, it never occurs to them that the reason these children are healthy has nothing to do with their not having been vaccinated. In fact, the reason they are healthy is because they are sponging off the herd immunity of their classmates who were vaccinated without their parents accepting even the minimal risk of vaccination. They would have been just as healthy, happy, and intelligent if they had been vaccinated. The key phrase in those three anecdotes is “I truly believe” because what we’re dealing with is belief, not science.

Not surprisingly, in the some of the anecdotes there is quite a bit of confirmation bias, which is the very human tendency to see what one wants to see. Basically, we human beings tend to be more likely to remember observations that fit into our preconceived beliefs and to forget observations that do not. As a corollary, when we can’t avoid remembering or confronting facts and observations that do not support our beliefs, we tend to make excuses.

For example, here’s some excuse-making:

Shanti Marie Bates: Three completely unvaccinated children ages 28, 25 and 21. None of my children have allergies of any kind, never had an ear infection. First two excellent health but number two child periodically gets shingles with stress. First and second had chickenpox and measles under age 5. Third and youngest grew up with colds off and on. Tried exposing to chickenpox throughout childhood but never got it. Haven’t titer tested her. She has struggled with emotional deregulation since birth, she’s now diagnosed bpd potentially bipolar, her biodad was bipolar and took his life, since she’s struggled since birth it may be genetics. Thank God I knew not to vaccinate her. If she’d try cutting out gluten dairy and inflammatory foods I believe she’d have a much stronger system.

So let’s see. Bates proclaims her unvaccinated children healthier, but one out of three of them, who is only 25, regularly gets shingles because she had chickenpox when she didn’t need to. I note that it’s unusual to get shingles that young, which suggests to me that maybe this child is not as healthy as Bates thinks. Another out of the three of them doesn’t sound as though she’s in perfect health either, having been diagnosed with probable bipolar disorder. Of course none of that can be Bates’ fault. Note how she points out that her biological father was bipolar and committed suicide, thus saying, in essence, it can’t be my genes; it’s the father’s genes. (Remember, one of the reasons why antivaccine parents hate research into the genetic causes of autism is because they can never, ever admit that it might have been their genes that contributed to their children’s autism. It had to be something external, obviously those evil vaccines ± GMOs and other “toxins.”) Be that at it may, notice the next part. Thank heaven Bates never vaccinated her, or she would have been worse, and, of course, it’s also her daughter’s fault because she won’t cut out gluten, dairy, and “inflammatory foods” (whatever that means) and therefore her immune system isn’t what it should be.

And here’s some confirmation bias:

Meg Annan: 3 kids, 2 are 100% vaccine-free. They are 3 and 3 months. Excellent health. My infant never got the cold that just went through our house. My 3 yo had it for a few days. My older son, 5, who had a few series of vaccines before age 1 still has a cough. He always gets sick first and stays sick the longest. My unvaccinated kids are healthier. They’ve never been on antibiotics and have no allergies. No asthma. No autoimmune disorders.

Jennifer Tyler: 2 of our kids are vaccine free and there’s no comparison of their health with their five other siblings who had vaccines. It’s something only you can see to believe. I will never put another vaccine into any of our children. I believe if others could see the health difference in the unvaccinated many wouldn’t vaccinate. When you know better you do better. 🙂

Ashley Cates: 1 out of 2 of mine are vaccine free. That one is super healthy, never had a concern except for colds and a couple ear infections as a toddler, which I attribute to the antibiotics she was given as a newborn. Chiropractic fixed that. My partially vaccinated one has had developmental delays, sensory processing issues, gastrointestinal trouble, tics… But he’s coming back around with good nutrition and avoiding toxic junk.

Denise Aguilar: I’m a mother of three. 17, 5, 2. My first two were vaccinated and injured from it. They have issues such as eczema, migraines, ear infections, sleep apnea and have trouble eating. My two year old is vaccine free. Never has had any of the above, never been sick minus the common cold that his body expelled without any type of medication. Eats amazing, loves his sleep and has excellent health. I have my own vaccinated vs unvaccinated study in my home.

You get the idea. Whenever it’s a “mixed” family (a family with vaccinated and unvaccinated children) the stories are all the same. The vaccinated children are sick, developmentally delayed, or otherwise chronically unhealthy, while the unvaccinated children are the very picture of health, often with the help of quackery such as “detox,” chiropractic, and homeopathy.

Here’s the most horrifying one (to me, at least):

Brittjay Jaybritt: I have an immunecompromised (heart transplant) one year old. He has been sick 2 times, same as me. He fights it off just like any normal kid… I was told he would be sick 8 to 15 times a year. thank You Jesus!

Holy hell! This is one of the most horrifying, irresponsible things I’ve ever heard, leaving an immunosuppressed child unvaccinated. Remember, immunosuppressed children can be vaccinated just like any other child, with one exception. They can’t receive live attenuated virus vaccines. But they should get everything else. For diseases against which they can’t be vaccinated, children like this rely totally on herd immunity, which antivaccine beliefs undermine.

I like to say that the plural of anecdotes is not data. This is particularly true when the anecdotes are taken from an obviously biased website. However, parents who come across such a website with parents so full of Dunning-Kruger and the arrogance of ignorance, they might reasonably wonder: What is the real story? Are unvaccinated children really healthier? Are there really no studies comparing the health of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children?

The answers to both questions are: No.

Of course, the primary health benefit of vaccination is one that the antivaccine contingent denies. Basically, children who are vaccinated against measles, pertussis, and all the other diseases we vaccinate against in the CDC-recommended schedule get measles, pertussis, and all the diseases we vaccinate against much less frequently than unvaccinated children do. As a reesult, they do not experience the suffering due to those diseases or the potential adverse consequences of such diseases, such as measles-associated encephalitis, or even death. Preventing these adverse health outcomes is the primary function of vaccines. This is summarized in a great article in the New England Journal of Medicine from three years ago and this nifty infographic (click to embiggen):

Vaccine infographic

But what about all the other bad things that vaccines supposedly cause (if you believe antivaccine activists)? Antivaccine activists seem to discount how vaccines prevent infectious disease because, thanks to herd immunity, they don’t see such diseases in their special snowflakes, even though by not vaccinating they put those snowflakes at a much higher risk of suffering from those disease. It turns out that there is no good evidence that the general health of unvaccinated children is better than that of vaccinated children. Actually, if anything, existing evidence suggests the opposite, that vaccinated children tend to be healthier. For example, contrary to what antivaccinationists claim, in a German study asthma incidence was actually lower in vaccinated children than unvaccinated. Another German study (damn those Germans!) found in a study population of 13,453 subjects that the prevalence of allergic diseases and non-specific infections in children and adolescents does not depend on vaccination status. While there are some studies that suggest an association between vaccinations and allergic diseases like asthma, for often the results are due to bias and overall there is no consistent set of evidence implicating vaccination as a cause of asthma or allergies. A study from the Phillippines found a strong association between being fully vaccinated and higher cognitive test scores.

I’m reminded of a post that I wrote about a study last year that examined the benefits of the MMR vaccine. It turns out that the measles vaccine go far beyond just protecting against measles, a benefit that’s not too shabby in and of itself. Basically, measles produces immunosuppression that lasts for a period of up to three years after a child suffers from it. During that time period, children are more susceptible to infections other than the measles. Preventing the measles decreases all cause mortality because fewer children develop life-threatening infections in the two or three year period after the measles, when they are immunosuppressed. As I said at the time, antivaccinationists like the ones posting to the Facebook page I referenced above belief that the MMR “damages” the immune system, but in reality if anything damages the immune system it’s the measles.

The bottom line is that antivaccinationists can post all the anecdotes, full of selective memory, confirmation bias, and excuse-making when their unvaccinated child isn’t perfectly healthy, that they want to, but they are not objective evidence and they are certainly not scientific evidence. That’s because scientific evidence is not on their side. There is no good evidence that unvaccinated children are healthier than vaccinated children. In fact, if anything, existing evidence suggests that vaccinated children are probably, by and large, healthier, even if you leave aside the not inconsiderable health benefit of being much less likely to catch the diseases vaccines protect them against.

Are unvaccinated children healthier than vaccinated children? The answer is clearly no. That is nothing more than a myth based on anecdotes and no scientific evidence peddled by antivaccinationists. Don’t fall for it.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

147 replies on “Are unvaccinated children more healthy than vaccinated children?”

“Vaccines don’t save lives, healthy immune systems do!”

That worked so well for the Native American populace when Europeans brought Measles and smallpox over with them, didn’t it?

Wouldn’t retrospective studies comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children also be susceptible to selection bias? Vaccine-preventable diseases might improve average health darwinistically by purging those from the study group less able to survive them.

Vaccines don’t save lives, healthy immune systems do!”

Yeah, as that worked out so well during the Spanish Influenza pandemic, where the healthiest died and the “weaker” immune system people managed to survive.

Still, let’s go testimonial against testimonial.
I’m in my mid 50’s, I’ve had pretty much every vaccine there is to offer, counting the smallpox vaccine. I’ve IQ test scores that show that I’m smarter by far than your moron children. Morons, not due to intellectual deficit, but because they’re likely home schooled by you.*
I’ll add, all of our children had every vaccine recommended on the table for them. They’re smarter than your children are (we have IQ scores on them at multiple ages) and while we did perform home education, that was on top of what our public school system offered.

On and off topic a bit. Arkansas has a mumps outbreak, much larger than before.
Ah, but population control is a good thing, sterile college age and up kids will lower the birthrate.
Or something.

Second OT, something that those who put a double helping of moron milk upon their stupid flakes in the morning will make a lot out of.
Costa Rica, Guillain–Barré syndrome secondary to, probably, the influenza vaccine. I say probably, as even the moderator wondered if the patient was tested for Zika virus infection, which is also associated with Guillain–Barré syndrome.
As is pretty much every other infectious disease on the planet.
Ah, I can hear it now; “It’s not the disease, it’s the vaccine, a strong immune system…”, ignoring the fact that the syndrome is *caused* by an overactive, mistargeting immune system.
Which would and does trigger as hard or worse against the actual disease.**

*Excuse the extremely dark tone, bad mood today. Back is killing me, to the point where I spent an hour without the usage of one leg, during a major cold front hit. Likely, barometric pressure changes that added to a highly probable disc injury.
I’m rescheduling doctor’s appointment from January to ASAP. It’s past the insurance company 60 day window and not being able to actually adduct a leg is something that I consider a lack of improvement, indeed, a disimprovement.

**Seriously, I have a bag of hammers in the garage that are smarter than these dimwits.

Once upon a time, all children were unvaccinated, everybody ate pesticide-free food, and the graveyards were full of the graves of those “healthier” babies and children.

Once upon a time, smallpox was so well known as a contagious scourge that if someone in a family caught it, the custom was to isolate them in a room and have one and only one person tend to their needs. The helper was considered a great sacrifice because they would often contract smallpox and die too.

Once upon a time, tuberculosis was so prevalent in the West that we developed a genetic tendency to getting fat. It also influenced the canons of beauty: being overweight was seen as healthy, hence desirable, because it showed you didn’t suffer from “consumption”. And it also probably shaped the myth of vampires: creatures that come after their death to suck the life out of their relatives, leaving them pale and sickly…

Don’t get me started on TB, which is “trying” to make a come-back.
My maternal grandfather died of TB, leaving mom and the kids to live in “the projects”.*

*Just a little more about what makes up “me”.

In other depressing news (but with a silver lining): the case of a boy in New Zealand who contacted tetanus because his parents refused to vaccinate him… So much for the “healthy” immune system! Now the parents, horrified by the suffering of their child, who had to be on life support in the hospital, speak out and warn against others making the same terrible mistake:
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/06/06/3776327.htm

My missus is unfortunately afflicted by health anxiety in a variety of ways.
She reads up on all the “research” about supplements, complementary and alternative medicine (SCAM, as I read in this fine blog).

Recently I found in the fridge door a log of how many days she has successfully kept to the 10-a-day minimum servings of fruit and veg, which is not a terrible thing, except it is accompanied by the belief that this is the *one true way* to fend off disease. Despite all those efforts, it’s been nearly a full week since she has been feeling “a bit under the weather” – just like pretty much everyone else around this time of the year.

When *I* had the first symptoms, I used the Vicks First Defence spray as indicated in the packaging. Had some rest that day. After a full week of feeling fine, I saw on TV (evil mainstream media, of course) that it’s a good time to get the flu jab. Got that too.

I should get my Big Pharma Shill award any time soon. And a fat gift voucher, I hope.

We all have our biases. It’s a pain in the arse. At least there’s no contest about which one in the household is the healthiest.

Contradiction #1000 of the anti-vaxxers: They brag how healthy their kids are. They seek out and brag about “natural immunity” when their kids get sick.

The anti-vaxxers brag how healthy their kids are. Yet the seek out opportunities for them to get “natural immunity” and are thrilling when this happens. Typical.

@aairfccha #2

Vaccine-preventable diseases might improve average health darwinistically by purging those from the study group less able to survive them.

Wait, what ? Deaths would be counted too, and would make a pretty bad impact on “average health”, wouldn’t it ?

Then there is the poor little girl – unvaccinated, of course – whose mom set up a gfm site because she’s in the hospital being treated for tetanus (see Skeptical OB’s post about it). Such a healthy little girl! Why, she’ll toss off that disease in no time with her superior immune system. Oh, wait…

I laughed out loud at this: “never been sick minus the common cold that his body expelled without any type of medication.”

I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life. I didn’t realize I needed medication to “expel” the common cold from my body. Since I’ve been vaccinated I guess my body can’t do it on its own, I wonder how I ever managed to get over all those colds I’ve had in my lifetime.

I have three fully vaccinated boys, and my anecdote could fit right in with the anti-vaxxers. Mostly healthy, blah, blah, blah…

All the (four) puppies here were fully vaxxed–one of them twice after losing shot records! None ever had a major illness–they’re in 30’s and 40’s now (very long-lived puppies they are!) and all were well above average intelligence. One has an auto-immune disease, but so did his bio Sire.

Talk about having your priorities mixed up – I exposed my kids to a 1 in 1000 chance of dying of measles but thank god they never had any allergies or earaches! I wonder how “number two child” feels about having recurrent bouts of shingles at 25 because her mom deliberately exposed her to an easily preventable disease.

There’s something underlying some of those comments from parents, and it horrifies me. It’s the level of pride they take in their childrens’ health, which, even above and beyond their suspicion of real medicine, has driven them to deny the children medical care. Not only are they not getting vaccines and other needed medicine, their medical problems aren’t even being acknowledged.

That poor woman who lives with bipolar and, instead of getting family support, has to endure her mother constantly lecturing her about her diet and how giving up all food will fix her brain. Not only is medical care useless, but admitting that the child has a serious illness would mean admitting that the child is “broken” and that they failed at natural parenting.

Your child getting sick is usually the fault of nature, not of anything you did. You fail as a parent only if you fail to help.

“Julian Frost writes:
“That worked so well for the Native American populace when Europeans brought Measles and smallpox over with them, didn’t it?”

You obviously have no idea how the immune system works. Being chemical injection free doesn’t mean that you don’t get sick with news diseases. Of course you can still catch diseases that you were never exposed to. The body then develops antibodies to protect itself afterwards. That’s the same thing that chemical injections are supposed to do, but fail to do miserably with sometimes disastrous results.

Wake up and think logically before posting the next time.

That’s the same thing that chemical injections are supposed to do, but fail to do miserably with sometimes disastrous results.

Yeah, because smallpox is still killing 35% of the populace and polio has a large number of children confined to iron lungs today, right?

Wake up and think logically before posting the next time.

Pot, meet kettle.

@Cypher:
1) Learn to blockquote.
2)

The body then develops antibodies to protect itself afterwards.

If the body survives. It is believed that those diseases cut down as much as 90% of the Native American population.
30

That’s the same thing that chemical injections are supposed to do, but fail to do miserably with sometimes disastrous results.

In every single recent outbreak, a disproportionate number of cases were in the intentionally unvaccinated and undervaccinated. Hardly a failure of vaccination.
3)

Wake up and think logically before posting the next time.

I advise you to follow your own advice.

Orac writes,

…the myth that vaccines cause autism…

MJD says,

In an article from Scientific America (July 21, 2015) titled, “Important Link Between the Brain and Immune System Found”, author Bret Stetka writes, “The newly discovered vessels — which were also identified in human samples — could explain a variety of pathophysiological conundrums, namely how the immune system contributes to neurological and psychiatric disease”.

“It’s early to speculate,” says Kipnis, “but I think that alteration in these vessels may affect disease progression in those neurological disorders with a prominent immune component, such as multiple sclerosis, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.”

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/important-link-between-the-brain-and-immune-system-found/

Is brain development adversely affected by forced immunity in some children with atypical immunity?

“It’s early to speculate,” says Kipnis…”

Dude made one small step for man, one giant leap off of the cliff of random speculation.

Ah….Michael #20. I have seen a number of anti-vaxxers try to use the interesting work of Dr. Kipnis to try to somehow show that vaccines could autism (and everything else). They seem to gloss over the fact that his lab is devoted to developing new vaccines. In his own words.

“Neuro-Immune interactions in neurodegenerative, mental, cognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders – understanding of basic mechanisms and development of novel therapies and vaccines.”

https://med.virginia.edu/neuroscience/faculty/primary-faculty/jonathan-kipnis-ph-d/

There is an odd tendency with anti-vaxxers to feel they understand the implications of basic researchers better than the researchers themselves. The hubris.

“It’s early to speculate,” says Kipnis, “but I think that alteration in these vessels may affect disease progression in those neurological disorders with a prominent immune component, such as multiple sclerosis, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.”

I followed that Scientific American link, and noticed something: Kipnis attempted to explain how that might work with MS and Alzheimer’s, but not autism. And the two examples given had no obvious connection to vaccines.

I don’t know anything about this Dr. Kipnis, or Stetka, beyond what was provided in the article. So I don’t know if one or both of them might be anti-vax. In particular, I don’t know is Stetka is putting words in Kipnis’s mouth.

Also, Scientific American is not a journal, even if it is owned by Nature Publishing Group.

Yvette says,

There is an odd tendency with anti-vaxxers to feel they understand the implications of basic researchers better than the researchers themselves.

MJD says,

To better understand basic research directed at therapeutic-interventions for autism-related symptoms I’ve written the following book:

https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=60262&osCsid=b

Not surprising, there were just two autism-related patent applications (both rejected) that describe a linked between vaccines and autism.

Most important, both rejected patent applications describe potentially-harmful vaccine additives/contaminants that many manufacturers are now eliminating.

The hubris?

So Michael says, “If you won’t accept a popular science magazine article as confirmed research showing a connection between vaccines and autism, will you accept my self-published book?
What, no?
How about a couple of rejected patent applications?”

Ha!
Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha!

Michael, there are multiple studies of large groups aggregated into a meta-analysis of over a million people which gives enough non-vaccinated people to show there is NOT a statistical link between vaccination and autism.

Mere hand-waving and random speculation are much too flimsy evidence to overturn that.

Yes, Michael, you do a very good job of displaying it.

“I’ll prove my point! Read my book!”

A book which is an instruction manual for quacks on how to obtain patents.

Our patent system is broken beyond repair due to issues that have nothing to do with modern medicine. Gaining a patent doesn’t replace the peer review process, and it doesn’t even bypass FDA approval. You could get a patient for some treatment, but if it requires FDA approval you still have to get it before you can sell it, patent or no.

NOT impressed.

So MJD has a book to sell?

Hie thee to the talk show circuit, Mr. Dochniak. That’s what it’s there for, and you will probably find a more receptive audience than you do here.

I would have guessed that the anti-vax kids would be in fact, be healthier.

1) Because we mostly have herd immunity, only a small percentage of the unvaxxed will get the vax-preventable diseases.
2) Poor people can’t afford to home school their kids or send them to one of those creepy private religious schools, and poverty correlates with illness. They also can’t afford to pay stupid chiropractors to make up a medical exemption, and they have to send their children to licensed day cares and public nursery schools.
3) When a child does get a vax-preventable disease, the parents leave that horrible place and get caught up on the shots, unless they are completely delusional like that person who thinks shingles is a sign of health.

A lot of these unvaxxed stories read like they were written by the same person, which wouldn’t surprise me that it is some NVIC shill of BL Fisher churning out boilerplate.

One of the parents claims of her children (one was partially vaccinated, the younger two never):

My older son, 5, who had a few series of vaccines before age 1 still has a cough. He always gets sick first and stays sick the longest.

A five year old would likely be in kindergarten, where he is exposed to whatever his classmates happen to have. Is it a surprise that this kid is the first one to get sick? As for why he stays sick the longest, could it be that he has to go back to school and therefore doesn’t get as much time to rest as the younger kids? No, it has to be because he has had some vaccines and his younger siblings haven’t. Post hoc ergo propter hoc indeed.

Fortunately for my mother, I had my infant vaccines (being the oldest, before she was “enlightened”), so she could self-righteously apologize to me causing for my slightly sub-perfect health record (i.e. fertility issues) as an adult. Less fortunately for her, the really, really bad stuff (i.e. cancer) that showed up in my under-vaccinated sibling was genetically linked to her. I doubt she believes it, but I haven’t asked. I don’t really want to know what hand-waving and raving about diet quackery would ensue.

Cypher #18:
You obviously have no idea how the immune system works. Being chemical injection free doesn’t mean that you don’t get sick with news diseases. Of course you can still catch diseases that you were never exposed to. The body then develops antibodies to protect itself afterwards.

So, you’re saying that the unvaccinated are healthier because they catch diseases? You don’t see the disconnect, there?

By the way, the “natural immunity” gambit doesn’t help. First because, as Wrz1 said, of the high mortality and/or long-term disabilities following various diseases. Can’t get immunity if you’re dead from smallpox! Or meningitis.

Second, because natural immunity is no better than vaccines, in many cases. There’s no natural immunity to tetanus, for instance. And getting influenza A doesn’t protect you from influenza B (but the flu vaccine does). And natural immunity wanes with time too. I wouldn’t want to catch chickenpox as an adult, but I can get a vaccine booster, thank you.

Interestingly, people had noticed from centuries that you could get smallpox only once. This is indeed a case where natural immunity is life-long. But they also noticed that getting it was a dangerous gamble. So what happened? Someone very bright, probably in China, about 500 years ago, had the idea to inoculate healthy people with a small quantity of dried up pus gathered from the pustules of an afflicted person. The one inoculated would develop a fever, sometimes a rash, but after a few days would be okay. And protected against smallpox! Sure, there were adverse events: among the inoculated, some would contract smallpox and die… But it was better odds than letting nature take its course. The practice of inoculation was adopted in large parts of Asia and eventually European travelers learned about it in the 18th century. It became widespread around the world until the very end of the century, when Jenner discovered that you could have the same immunity with vaccine, a smallpox-like virus that affected cows but didn’t cause illness in humans. And the rest is history.

“never been sick minus the common cold that his body expelled without any type of medication.” Well, this is also true of, oh, just about everyone, vaccinated or not. Talk about setting a low bar.

@Terrie, a low bar indeed.

I never get sick, except when I do and since I get better, it doesn’t count.
That level of doublethink would amaze even Orwell.

There’s a medication that makes people expel the common cold? Can someone name it?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Vaxers and AntiVaxers.

Hear me!

I have a vision, where the good, genuine, not for profit stakeholders in the vaccine issue, could obtain their goals, from both sides of the fence.

What really is the issue at hand? I say it’s partial immunity to the Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD). The AntiVax lot just (well mostly) don’t like the shots.

Yet there is another way: Vaccine Shedding!

Most Antivaxers have heard of this and know it to be totally true. What they usually forget (don’t get told), is that it’s the attenuated vaccine strain from the live vaccine*.

Well how about ProVax volunteers stand by their “vaccines are really safe” mantra, take a full dose of a live vaccine and then socialise with a load of unvaxed (they can bring the GMO free cake).

The Antivaxers would get a mild form of the disease, smugly attributing their easy ride to the GMO free cake and more importantly would have a greater immunity to the VPD, contribute to the herd immunity and on passing a titre test; get to go to normal school.

So Antivaxer, would this be acceptable? If not, what’s your objection?

Provaxer, would you put your body on the line, taking a maybe unnecessary shot, so the innocent children of establishment-phobes can go to school?

Dammit I would take a shot!

Especially if there was cake 🙂

*With the exeption of live Polio vaccine, where the strain can mutate back to the original

Young CC Prof @ #16:

“There’s something underlying some of those comments from parents, and it horrifies me. It’s the level of pride they take in their childrens’ health”

One thread I’ve noticed among the anti-vaxx/SCAM-enthusiast people I know– they fetishize health and wellness. They tend to view physical wellbeing as an extension or expression of one’s moral purity. Sickness is a result of moral weakness– eating “bad” foods or engaging in “bad” lifestyles or even harboring “bad” thoughts and feelings. Conversely, living a “good, pure” lifestyle and eating a “pure” diet will reward one with perfect health. In this framing, their children are of course their precious little angels, unpolluted with toxic vaccines and raised on the highest quality organic and non-GMO gluten-free diet, so of course they are in perfect health.

There’s a medication that makes people expel the common cold? Can someone name it?

Beer works for me.

Orac:

So let’s see. Bates proclaims her unvaccinated children healthier, but one out of three of them, who is only 25, regularly gets shingles because she had chickenpox when she didn’t need to.

The varicella vaccine was available starting in 1995, just 21 years ago. My 22 year old child got chicken pox as a baby, which makes her more likely to get shingles as a young person (especially in the future when she starts graduate school).

aairfccha:

Vaccine-preventable diseases might improve average health darwinistically by purging those from the study group less able to survive them.

Oooh, doncha just love random eugenics!? I am sure that my great grandparents were delighted that both of their sons died before age ten. So how many children are you willing to sacrifice for this Darwinian Eugenics paradise? One, two, or all of them?

Also, the vaccine preventable diseases do not just cause death. They also cause blindness, deafness, paralysis and neurological disorders. Did you know that one known cause of autism is Congenital Rubella Syndrome?

Since I had to take care of three kids with chicken pox a year before the varicella vaccine was available, I do not look kindly on those who think kids should suffer from dozens of itchy open wounds. Especially since one was only six months old (and only getting breast milk, so don’t pull the “breast milk gives babies immunity” gambit).

Kids who get vaccine preventable diseases are by definition not healthy. And full grown adults who think they should get “natural immunity” by suffering with actual diseases are just sadistic.

Then there is the poor little girl – unvaccinated, of course – whose mom set up a gfm site because she’s in the hospital being treated for tetanus

Still cached. No, it’s not a “medical anomaly.” The anti–tetanus vaccine nuts are some of the very dumbest.

There’s a medication that makes people expel the common cold? Can someone name it?

Moreover, does it require a catcher’s mitt?

@18, Cypher
[hm, also the name of the Matrix character who betrayed his friends most horribly – coincidence?]

You obviously have no idea how the immune system works.

And you claim that you do know how it works? You could have fooled me…

Being chemical injection free…

Erm, not to put too fine a point (pun intended) on it, but most “chemicals” in a vaccine are also naturally occurring in the body — and mostly in much higher concentrations, at that. Also, most of these ‘chemicals’ are not meant to do anything in the body, but actually the contrary: some are there to match the vaccine to the body’s pH and ion concentrations, so as to minimize adverse reactions; one or two “chemicals” are there to prevent spoiling of the vaccine (and thereby potentially lethal infections). And all “chemical” vaccine ingredients are also used extensively in other medical as well as nutritional applications, without any adverse effects whatsoever — with vaccines containing the lowest quantities by far.

… Of course you can still catch diseases that you were never exposed to. The body then develops antibodies to protect itself afterwards.

Oh dear … For someone who claims to know how the immune system works, this is a bit of an oversimplification (which is unfortunately rather a bit of an understatement). For example, you left out the bit about ‘dying from a disease’ where the body’s immune system can’t keep up with the pathogen, which is multiplying at a faster rate than the immune system can kill it. You also left out the bit about ‘physiological damage’, which is the damage done to your body by a pathogen, even if your immune system eventually overcomes it. This damage is part of what makes you feel ill, produces a rash, irritates the airways etcetera. All these things can be prevented when the immune system is presented with an APB on the expected pathogen before it invaded your body. By vaccines, that is. But apparently you claim that contracting a serious and potentially lethal disease is the best protection against this disease. Um, do you mind if I’m a bit confused?

That’s the same thing that chemical injections are supposed to do,…

Erm, have proven to do …

but fail to do miserably with sometimes disastrous results.

Yes, vaccines have a certain, known failure rate. But these “disastrous results” you mention appear to be rather elusive as soon as one looks beyond anecdotes and beliefs.
I have scoured several countries’ VAERS databases and equivalents, and worked my way through countless epidemiological studies and population statistics on disease, searching for correlations between e.g. the introduction of a new vaccine and a marked increase in particular health-related problems, and many other things that should be clear evidence of vaccines being the cause of health problems — and this not just for the Netherlands (where I live), but for several other Western and Oriental countries as well.

And you know what? I did find a strong correlation between children’s health and vaccination. After quite a few years of painstaking research, my conclusion is that vaccines prevent childhood morbidity and mortality.

Wake up and think logically before posting the next time.

This is really not a subject where “logical thinking” provides any useful answers. For most people, this is a matter of trust: do you trust medical professionals who have spent 8+ years of their life of rigorous and arduous education on this matter, and are being educated further all the time as new knowledge becomes available? And who are required by law to prove their knowledge before they’re allowed to treat people in a medical fashion?
Or do you trust complete strangers on the Internet who can’t produce any medical credentials, try to scare you with phrases like “chemical injections”, and say things that are proven falsehoods?

It is rather simple, really: if the subject at hand is beyond your personal level of knowledge, the best option is to trust licensed professionals over total strangers.

@Troublemaker #40

Yeah, it’s really noticeable that the most hardcore alt met circles are basically ancient mysticism with new window dressing. Health is maintained by obeying the rules, disease is caused by sin, ailments are cured by ritual, and everything is the patient’s fault or the will of God. Just with different names for everything.

@MJD #21

. . . I’ve written the following book . . .

At $230 , I am sure it will find a wide audience. I hope it is filled with fully paid for pictures not duck any issues, but adheres to the subject.

BTW, are you still claiming to be a mugwump on the issue of vaccines, or do you declare yourself to be anti-vax?

Oh, the things people do to their kids. I can only hope that Mrs. Bates’ kids are old enough to be out of the house and away from her influence and get appropriate medical treatment (for the shingles and the bipolar and all the immunizations they missed).

And if they do learn that they should have at least been spared the measles, and that their mother chose to not protect them, well, it will be interesting to see how that affects the family dynamic.

sirhcton writes (#49),

BTW, are you still claiming to be a mugwump on the issue of vaccines, or do you declare yourself to be anti-vax?

MJD says,

I’m pro-vaccine and not a mugwump, I declare!

I’d like to be considered one of Orac’s minions. He’s the Mark Twain of medical-science blogging.

sullenbode @51: I’m confused about why that’s funny. It’s a pretty common term (along with biomom) used to differentiate biological parents from parents one is raised by (step-parents, adoptive parents foster parents, etc).

Or did I miss a pun?

It’s a pretty common term (along with biomom) used to differentiate biological parents from parents one is raised by (step-parents, adoptive parents foster parents, etc).

In more antagonistic relationships, I’ve heard the term “sperm donor.”

In more antagonistic relationships, I’ve heard the term “sperm donor.”

In more Traditional puritanical and patriarchal relationships, I’ve heard the term “egg donor.”

Egg donor? How about procreative stumps–

When one of the youngsters asked if they would take the carcass to the vats or try for a procreative stump, he paused for only the briefest reflection before agreeing that they should try for a stump. Perhaps some of that female flesh could be revived and preserved. If her womb could be maintained, she might yet serve the Hive. It would be interesting to see a child of that flesh.

— Frank Herbert, Hellstrom’s Hive

I don’t have kids, but I’m fully vaccinated. I feel like I’m pretty healthy in a little over seven years working at the hospital I’ve only ever had one case of bronchitis. I have to clean up really gross things sometimes too.

@Dorit #37

Something to “expel the common cold”?
Homeopathy, vitamin C, reflexology, Bach flower remedy, herbal tea, green monkey emotional support therapy, chelation, placebotherapy, hypnotism, kissitbetter therapy, zombie infusions, aura therapy, rectal ozone enemas and crystal plutonium therapy of course.
But nothing conventional, mind.

I had to look up the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Wikipedia page says this…”The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink,”

I hope they did not form the hypothesis based on this event.

Dunning-Kruger effect: Occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyse their performance, leading to a significant overestimate of themselves.
In simple words it’s “people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are”.

The inverse also applies: competent people tend to underestimate their ability compared to others; this is known as impostor syndrome.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

I often note that the Dunning-Kruger effect is basically the arrogance of ignorance. A person doesn’t know what He’s talking about but but strongly believe that he does.

ORAC said”…but they are not objective evidence and they are certainly not scientific evidence. That’s because scientific evidence is not on their side.”

I am objective.

In year 2000 Dr. Hurwitz published a study that showed, in his words….”The odds of having a history of asthma was twice as great among vaccinated subjects than among unvaccinated subjects (adjusted odds ratio, 2.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.59 to 6.74).

The article you alluded to about asthma was called: “Early-life determinants of asthma from birth to age 20 years:
A German birth cohort study” and only had 218 people who were ultimately included in the data. This was from Germany and has milder vaccination requirements. They found…”: adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.66 [95% CI, 0.47-0.93])”

A more statistically powerful study showed a greater (absolute value) risk ratio [2.00] then your German study [.66]; twice the likelyhood vs a 1/3% less likelyhood.

Moreover, one of the German authors…”has received payment for lectures from GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Sharp Dohme, Forest Labs, Roche, Novartis, ALK-Abello,”
[Under conflict-of-interest declaration; bottom of page one]

Is there a vaccine manufacturer not on that list?

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475400900721
http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(13)01860-5/pdf

Interesting. An article about vaccines from a chiropractic journal published 16 years ago compared to an article published two years ago by reputable researchers. Hmmm… Which one is more likely to be correct?

There’s also this article, which I missed, showing that MMR might actually protect against asthma:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845848

It suffers from the problem of low numbers of unvaccinated children, but at the very least it fails to find an increased risk of asthma attributable to MMR. Then there’s this study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448377/

They found an association that was completely explained by ascertainment bias and was therefore due to bias, rather than a true association.

Before someone makes a sarcastic quip; what I mean’t for the absolute-value of the odds ratio was that a RR=2 would be equal in magnitude to an RR=1/2, but opposite in direction.

I need to practice my English.

Obviously, if you were to take that sentence literally, it would be ridiculous. I should have worded that differently…

I didn’t even notice. I did notice your saying a 1/3% decrease, which would be an amazingly small decrease to be detected in an epidemiological study.

LOL! Forgot the parenthesis. (1/3)%

PS. But maybe not as small as you think….

1/.03 = 33.3333

Katie: “I am objective.”

None of us are objective, seeing that we are human beings. The best we can hope for is to be fair-minded and to weigh evidence according to its quality and reproducibility.

The anti–tetanus vaccine nuts are some of the very dumbest.

They run a poor second to the anti-rabies vaccine nuts, however.

You forgot coffee and black pudding.
A.k.a. “breakfast”.

a medication that makes people expel the common cold?
Moreover, does it require a catcher’s mitt?

Narad is possibly thinking of Ballistic Organ Syndrome.

You forgot coffee and black pudding..

Where’s Gilbert?
I wouldn’t know myself, but I’ve heard Black Acid expels just about anything.
Just a bit more seriously… It seems SCAM actually has some places credibility will not let it go. Potions can expel Satanic demon possession, but no one’s going to believe a potion can expel the common cold. So the claims are just ‘prevention’ or ‘shortening’.

Black Acid?? Would that be morning glory seeds? I’d recommend intranasal zinc for the common cold:

On June 16, 2009, the FDA advised consumers to discontinue use of three nasally administered versions of Zicam Cold Remedy—Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs, and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product)—because the FDA had associated a serious risk of anosmia with them… The FDA indicated that it had received reports of a loss of smell from approximately 130 Zicam Cold Remedy users since 1999

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zicam#FDA_warning_and_product_recall

Meh. There is always nano-silver; You shoot it up the butt (boofing) until you turn blue — Then you’re good to go.

Does anyone know of a five year independent, double blind study done on vaccinated and unvaccinated children to prove effectiveness of vaccines?

Henri, there are plenty of epidemiological studies. that those of us that understand statistic and the ethics of human studies understand.

Do you know of a five year independent, double blind study done on comparing the health outcomes between tobacco smokers and those who smoked a placebo?

If her womb could be maintained, she might yet serve the Hive.
— Frank Herbert, Hellstrom’s Hive

Not to forget the Tleilaxu Axolotl tanks. Frank Herbert kept coming back to that reproductive-technology-misuse theme.

@Gilbert:

Black Acid?? Would that be morning glory seeds?

No. It’ a substance that’s also known as Black Salve. It’s supposed to cure cancer without the side effects of chemotherapy. It doesn’t work, and as for side effects, it has a quite horrific one.

I’m sorry I have to vent. I have an intense hatred of nurses. For some reason they think even though they have never cleaned professionally in their lives that they know my job. Most don’t even know that cleaning chemicals have dwell time to actually work. For example Lysol all purpose cleaner has to sit on the surface for 10 minutes in order to actually kill the 99% of germs it advertises (just read the back). It pisses me off when a nurse who has not worked as long as I have there blows me off in regards to floors. Typical nurse stuck up.

Sarah: ” I have an intense hatred of nurses”

Hmmm…. I think I have developed a intense hatred of those who cannot tell the difference between the difference between nurses and the janitorial staff.

From my understanding, nurses clean up the patients, and it is the well train janitorial staff that clean up the floors. One of those who stopped her cleaning work to cheer up my child and myself when he ended up in the hospital during one of our American Thanksgiving holidays.

I believe I respect that member of the cleaning staff more than someone who claims a hatred of nurses.

JR’S original mention was of black pudding, which is a type of blood sausage commonly served for breakfast in England and Ireland.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/all-you-need-know-about-black-pudding

Although sometimes touted as a “superfood” like kale, broccoli and spinach, even the BBC is dubious of those medical claims.

I vaguely remember eating blood sausage and it didn’t have the same nasty chemical properties as black salve.

@73, Henri

Does anyone know of a five year independent, double blind study done on vaccinated and unvaccinated children to prove effectiveness of vaccines?

The unacceptable ethical problems of such a study have been explained at length, as was the lack of necessity to use this instrument to assess the effectiveness of vaccines. This effectiveness has been established by myriads of other studies, with a combined power easily surpassing one double blind study.
Often, simply looking at epidemiological data already says a lot. Here in the Netherlands, we have a governmental body called the CBS, the Central Bureau of Statistics. One of the tings they keep track of, is child mortality, including causes of death. Until 2001, meningitis killed between 20 and 40 children aged 0-5 annually, and caused permanent brain damage in even more.
From 2001 onwards, these numbers dropped dramatically, to just one or two meningitis deaths annually since 2006. What happened in 2001? Well, one thing in particular: the MenC vaccine was added to the pediatric vaccination schedule in the Netherlands. And that it was indeed the vaccination preventing dozens of deaths a year, is supported by the fact that the exact same decline in meningitis deaths occurred in other countries, exactly from the moment the vaccine was introduced on a large scale.
There is no other plausible explanation — the treatment of meningitis had not changed, and there are also no other known factors which may have influenced meningitis incidence. Also somewhat noteworthy is the fact that the introduction of this vaccine has had no other effect than reducing childhood mortality by several percentage points. There was no increase in other causes of mortality, nor was there a clear increase in the incidence of any of the numerous health conditions that antivaxxers claim are caused by vaccination. The only observation is that the MenC vaccine prevents meningitis, without any significant risk.
And there are many, many more ways to prove the effectiveness of vaccines — e.g. the 2013 measles epidemic here, where 96% of measles patients were not vaccinated, almost exactly matching the known effectiveness of 97% of measles vaccination.

Naturally (pun intended), antivaccionationists are not impressed, let alone convinced, by these facts, and keep saying that vaccination is not as effective by far as claimed — yet always without producing any credible statistics or other information to bolster their claims. Ah well, a true believer is not easily led astray…

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