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Antivaccine misinformation by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones in the Toronto Sun: Retracted (under pressure) but not forgotten

A week ago, The Toronto Sun published a syndicated column by a pseudonymous Canadian doctor, Dr. W. Gifford-Jones. The column was packed with antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience. Apparently due to complaints, the article was taken down after an uproar, but is still available on the website of at least one other Canadian newspaper. How is it that a physician who writes such twaddle can be syndicated in over 70 newspapers?

Occasionally, there are weekends when I settle down to crank out a post for Monday, and there’s nothing going on out there that’s getting me fired up. (It happens from time to time if you’ve been blogging for nearly 14 years.) So it happened last week, as I was perusing local news, medical sites, and quack sites for inspiration when I got a message with a link to an article of a type that should never, ever appear in a mainstream newspaper. Indecision about what topic to pick and writer’s block instantly faded away, and I knew what I had to do. The link was to an article the Health section of The Toronto Sun by someone I had never heard of before (or at least didn’t remember) named Dr. W. Gifford-Jones. The very title of the article, “What you may not know about vaccines” (Wayback Machine version at Archive.org here, given that—spoilers!—the paper was ultimately forced to retract the article), immediately sent up red flags.

Those flags were an accurate warning, as Dr. Gifford-Jones’ article was pure antivaccine propaganda, something that should, I repeat, never, ever appear in a mainstream newspaper. I suspect that even the editor knew that it shouldn’t run, because at the very end of the column, I read:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The column does not constitute medical advice and is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease. Please contact your doctor. The information provided is for informational purposes only and are the views solely of the author. See Docgiff.com. For comments; [email protected]

This is what we in the biz call a “quack Miranda warning.” In the US, the quack Miranda warning will also often include a sentence about how what is being described has not been approved by the FDA, but this is a Canadian newspaper. In any event, let’s just say that, whenever you see a quack Miranda warning, it’s not a good sign—quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a sign that what is being published is not supported by evidence. It’s a sign that the editor knew on some level that Dr. Gifford-Jones’ article contains a heaping helping of antivaccine pseudoscience, and it does. Let’s dig in.

Misinformed, not informed, consent

You can get a good idea from the very first paragraph where Dr. Gifford-Jones is coming from, and it’s not from a science-based place:

Every year readers ask me if I get flu shots. I reply, I don’t. I rely on high daily doses of vitamin C to build up my immune system. But I may be wrong. So, I’ve sought the opinion of experts in the field. Their primary message is that informed consent is vital.

Most people believe vaccines would not be advised unless researchers and doctors deemed them safe. But I’ve often stressed, there’s no such thing as 100% safe surgery. The same is true of vaccines. That’s why 3.6 billion dollars has been awarded to families due to the complications of vaccines.

I almost have to grudgingly admire Gifford-Jones for packing so many antivaccine tropes into such a short passage. Let’s unpack some of them. First and foremost, there’s the issue of “informed consent”. There is no doubt that informed consent is vital to any medical treatment, so that the patient understands as well as is possible why the treatment is recommended, what it entails, and what the benefits and risks are. Indeed, I get informed consent from patients on whom I’m going to operate every week, and I document it in my clinic note, in my operative note, and by having the patient sign an informed consent form.

However, what antivaxers mean by “informed consent” is not what most doctors mean when they refer to informed consent. Rather, it’s something that I like to refer to as “misinformed consent”. Informed consent is nothing without accurate information, and the information antivaxers want to provide to parents prior to vaccinating their children is anything but accurate. Indeed, the information antivaxers try to provide parents tends to vastly inflate the risks of vaccination and add nonexistent risks (e.g., vaccine-induced autism, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, developmental delays, asthma, Alzheimer’s and the like) that have never been linked to vaccines even in large epidemiological trials. (I can’t resist pointing out that in some cases it’s exactly the opposite; for example, SIDS risk might actually be lower among vaccinated children.) Antivaxers also do the opposite, downplaying the benefits of vaccines, claiming that they don’t work, and touting “natural immunity” obtained by suffering through the disease as superior to immunity due to vaccination. In portraying vaccines this way, they present a false risk-benefit ratio for vaccines that’s so unfavorable to vaccines that there’s no way a parent who believes the false narrative would consent to vaccinate their children. That is, of course, the idea.

So that’s the central trope of this article, presenting misinformed consent as informed consent, but there are others. For instance, the idea that taking high doses of vitamin C can “boost your immune system” sufficiently to make you immune to the flu is utter nonsense. Yes, there’s some evidence (not great evidence, but evidence) that vitamin C can slightly reduce the duration of colds, but studies have been inconsistent and, to me, most compatible with little or no effect. As for the flu, there are no good studies I’ve been able to find suggesting even a minor preventative effect against the flu.

Antivax anecdotes, not data

Then there’s the “$3.6 billion paid by the Vaccine Court” trope. Here’s a hint. The Vaccine Court was designed, if anything, to err on the side of paying out, as the Daubert standard for admissibility of expert witnesses isn’t always enforced, leading sometimes to “expert” witnesses who would never be allowed in regular courts. Speculation is permitted, and all that is required to potentially win a settlement is a “biologically plausible” mechanism, rather than a scientifically demonstrated mechanism. Also, it’s a civil court, and the standard of evidence for compensation is what some have called “50% and a whisker”. Moreover, compensation is automatic for so-called “table injuries” (known injuries that science attributed to vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table). Also, think of it this way. The Vaccine Court has been in existence only around 30 years, during which time hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines have been administered. $3.6 billion sounds like a lot of money, but when considered over three decades and so many vaccine doses, it’s really not that much, which is why lawyers who represent parents who think their children have been injured by vaccines hate the Vaccine Court. Sure, the Court covers the complainants’ reasonable legal costs, but there’s no chance for truly massive payouts for the lawyers representing them. You’d think that if the Vaccine Court had paid out so much for vaccine injuries over the years, lawyers would be lining up to take these cases.

So let’s see what else Dr. Gifford-Jones has to say:

Here is a typical parent’s story. “My child was healthy, was given a vaccine and then something happened.” The occurrence is usually a neurological reaction due to inflammation in the brain that triggers problems such as autism, which has skyrocketed over the years. Or there’s a lack of coordination, sleep problems, seizures, severe allergic reactions and at times, death.

Yes, this is a typical story from parents who believe that vaccines have injured their child. It’s also confusing correlation with causation, not to mention that on a number of occasions when I examine these parents’ stories there isn’t even convincing correlation, such as when parents blame vaccines for medical problems that occur a long time after vaccination, a particularly common issue with stories of death or premature ovarian failure after vaccination with HPV vaccines. Many large epidemiological studies have failed to find a correlation with autism or these other health issues and vaccination other than rare allergic reactions, to the point where it is probably safe to say more than just that there is no evidence linking vaccines to these health problems. It is safe to say that, as far as science has been able to detect, vaccines do not cause autism or those other problems.

Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

Of course, Dr. Gifford-Jones feels persecuted for speaking out against vaccines, so much so that he has to preemptively warn about it:

Unfortunately, it’s become a medical sin for doctors to speak out about the negative effect of vaccines. In fact, the few who have the intestinal fortitude to do so are often labelled medical outcasts and sometimes punished by losing their job. So much for scientific fact!

Funny, but Gifford-Jones says this as though it were a bad thing. In reality, of course, doctors who spread medical misinformation about vaccines should be medical outcasts. The problem is actually the exact opposite of how Gifford-Jones portrays it. In actuality, the problem is that antivaccine doctors all too often suffer little or no professional consequence for spreading demonstrably false antivaccine misinformation. For example, look at how long Dr. Bob Sears spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines before he finally faced discipline by the Medical Board of California. Even now, he remains able to practice and unrepentant. All he has to do is to keep his mouth shut and practice according to the standard of care for three years, and he will have done his penance and be free to resume being an antivaccine pediatrician who compares school vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. No, the problem is not that doctors like Dr. Gifford-Jones suffer for promoting antivaccine views; it’s that they don’t suffer (much) for doing so.

Of course, Dr. Gifford-Jones doesn’t want you to think he’s antivaccine; so he does admit part way through his article that vaccines are “vital in preventing a number of infectious diseases and they do save lives.” That preemptive acknowledgment that maybe vaccines do some good does not mean that Gifford-Jones is not antivaccine. He is. He even continues to demonstrate his antivax views by going full “toxins gambit” on us:

So how do vaccines cause unintended consequences? It’s primarily due to what’s added to vaccines. For instance, some vaccines contain mercury, which is one of the most toxic ingredients known. Another additive, aluminum, is a known neurotoxin that can cause a toxic inflammatory reaction affecting the nervous system. Moreover, many people, including doctors, are unaware that there may be foreign DNA particles in vaccines!

Another frequent complaint is that vaccines are given too soon when young children are more susceptible to toxicity. For instance, in Norway, vaccines are not prescribed in the first two years of life. Contrast that to North America where newborns are routinely given vaccines such a hepatitis B.

Mercury in vaccines does not cause autism, and there hasn’t been more than traces of mercury in childhood vaccines in the US at least for at least 16 years, when the mercury-containing preservative that used to be in several childhood vaccines was removed. (Indeed, the observation that the prevalence of autism has continued to climb so many years after mercury was removed from childhood vaccines is an excellent natural experiment refuting a link between thimerosal and autism.) Aluminum in vaccines does not cause autism. The “foreign DNA” in vaccines is present at such a tiny concentration that it is vanishingly unlikely to cause a biological reaction, much less harm to the whole organism.

In which Dr. Gifford-Jones could use a fact checker

Hilariously, too, Dr. Gifford-Jones apparently didn’t even bother to check his claim on Norway’s vaccine schedule, which can easily be googled and shows that Norwegian infants get their first vaccinations at 6 weeks (rotavirus) and then rounds of vaccines at 3, 5, 12, and 15 months. Now, it is true that vaccination in Norway is not compulsory, but the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has an article on its website touting the highest vaccine uptake among two-year-olds compared to previous years. Doesn’t he bother to check his facts? At first I thought that maybe he meant to say that Norwegian babies don’t get the hepatitis B vaccine in the first two years of life (which is possible, given the variability of when this particular vaccine is administered in different countries), but that’s not true either. Norwegian infants get the hepatitis B vaccine at 3, 5, and 12 months of age. Seriously, Dr. Gifford-Jones, hire a fact checker—or at least go to the source whenever you hear a claim such as that Norway doesn’t prescribe vaccines for children under two years of age!

Keep those antivaccine tropes rolling!

And the tropes keep rolling along. Next up, the “too many too soon” gambit coupled with the “doctors don’t know vaccines as well as antivaxers do” lie:

Surely doctors would not advocate the benefits of vaccines without the knowledge they’re safe. But experts say this is part of the problem, namely they don’t know. During their years in medical school they receive very little training in immunology. Or, vitally important, never learn what’s actually in a vaccine.

Moreover, years ago there were just 3 vaccines. Now, by five years of age children can receive 46 or more vaccines. In fact, the message physicians receive from health authorities is, “Here is the vaccine schedule. Do it.” And some physicians have bluntly told parents, either have your children vaccinated or find another doctor. Namely, it’s my way or the highway!

The question of whether pediatricians should be able to “fire” parents who refuse to vaccinate their children from their practices is a complex one, with ethical arguments on both sides. However, I understand why some pediatricians do it. Antivaccine parents take up a lot of time and, if they still refuse to vaccinate, their children are potential disease vectors sitting in the waiting room every time the parents bring them in. As for the antivaccine myth of “too many too soon,” science doesn’t support the view that children are receiving too many vaccines.

Next up, Dr. Gifford-Jones thinks that vaccines might cause SIDS:

What worried me as I listened to authorities talk about vaccines was this recurring phrase, “We don’t know whether the vaccine triggered the complication.” As a surgeon I know post-operative complications happen and why they happen. With vaccines, they remain in the never-never land of “maybe”.

For instance, I learned of babies dying of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This has occurred 24 hours after a vaccine was given. Some authorities claimed the death was a coincidence. Maybe it was. But as one critic remarked, “If I hit my toe with a hammer, the cause of the soreness is usually the hammer.”

Again: No. Vaccines do not cause SIDS. This has been studied numerous times, and, if anything, vaccinated children might actually be at a lower risk of SIDS. I don’t care if a Nobel Laureate claims vaccines cause SIDS; they do not. Dr. Gifford-Jones is spouting nothing but antivaccine misinformation here. We also know that many of these “complications” of vaccination are not complications of vaccination at all. Many—albeit admittedly not all—of these questions have been studied, some, such as whether the MMR vaccine causes autism, extensively and repeatedly.

Finally, Dr. Gifford Jones finishes his antivaccine propaganda with a flourish of false balance:

As I researched vaccines, I discovered the heavy responsibility of providing the truth. No journalist, nor any doctor, wants to advise against vaccination and have a child die needlessly from an infectious disease. Nor do they want to see a child vaccinated and develop a life-long complication.

I expect criticism from readers of this column. I’m also not your doctor, but believe you should be aware of these facts. So I urge all people, particularly parents, to discuss vaccines with their doctor. Try to read both sides of the vaccine debate. Then if a complication occurs, there are no surprises. And in medicine, the best surprise is no surprise.

That part about no doctor wanting to advise against vaccination and see a child needlessly die of a vaccine-preventable disease contrasted with not wanting to see a child vaccinated and develop a life-long complication is peak false balance. Which decision is far more likely to lead to harm? It’s certainly not the decision to vaccinate.

As if that peak false balance weren’t enough, Dr. Gifford-Jones tries to inoculate himself against criticism by trying to claim he’s just about “providing facts” and letting the parents decide for themselves. Got it? He’s just providing “both sides” of the “debate”. The problem is that the “side” of the “debate” he’s telling is a load of pseudoscientific nonsense and there aren’t really “two sides” to “debate” here. Basically, Dr. Gifford-Jones is presenting pseudoscience, bad science, and fabricated vaccine risks as being equivalent to the real science that demonstrates vaccines to be safe and effective at presenting disease.

Who is Dr. W. Gifford Jones?

Now that I’ve dispensed with this horrible article, one question kept bugging me: Who is Dr. W. Gifford-Jones and why is he writing for The Toronto Sun? Perusing his previous columns didn’t show me anything particularly horrible, except that perhaps Dr. Gifford-Jones is a bit too credulous when it comes to claims for supplements. So I perused his website and found his bio:

Dr. Gifford-Jones (AKA Ken Walker) is a graduate of The University of Toronto and The Harvard Medical School. He took post-graduate training in surgery at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, McGill University in Montreal and Harvard.

During his medical training he has been a family doctor, hotel doctor and ship’s surgeon. He is a Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons and author of seven books.

His medical column is published by 70 Canadian newspapers, several in the U.S. and the Epoch Times which has editions in a number of European countries. He was Senior Editor of the Canadian Doctor, a regular contributor to the magazine Fifty Plus and other publications.

He was awarded a certificate of merit by The Mitchener Foundation for his efforts to legalize heroin to ease the suffering of terminal cancer patients. His Gifford-Jones Foundation donated $500,000 to establish The Gifford-Jones Professorship in Pain Control and Palliative Care at The University of Toronto Medical School. During his career he has travelled extensively to interview a number of internationally renowned scientists and researchers.

So this guy is a syndicated columnist who writes under a pseudonym? It’s odd that I’ve never heard of him before. After all, it didn’t take me long to locate a fair number of questionable articles about vaccines on his website. In fairness, in an article from 2006, oddly enough he seemed quite supportive of Gardasil. However, he really, really doesn’t like the flu vaccine:

The simple answer is that flu shots, although normally safe, are on rare occasions associated with minor or serious complications. So, why take the risk? Years ago I decided to rely on high daily doses of Medi-C Plus (available in Health Food Stores) to fight the flu. This daily use maintains a high blood level of C in the circulation. If flu strikes, immune cells can quickly withdraw C from this reservoir. They will then contain 100 X more C to fight an infection than is present in the blood.

Studies show most people, particularly those with diabetes, arthritis, gastritis or under stress have low amounts of C in the blood. This can fall as low as 10 percent! So if flu strikes immune cells have insufficient amounts of C to combat the infection.

This is basically the same thing he claimed in his Toronto Sun article. In another article, he laments that children are dying of the flu because health authorities have forgotten history that shows vitamin C can treat polio and influenza. (They can’t, as far as the science can tell.) In yet another article from this year, “Doc Giff” recommends multiple supplements instead of the vaccine to prevent the flu—that and 10 grams a day (!) of vitamin C. In yet another article, he credulously cites Stephanie Seneff, a computer scientist at MIT who’s become anti-GMO and anti-vaccine and thinks (erroneously) that she can do epidemiology and her belief that vaccines contribute to Alzheimer’s disease:

What about annual Flu shots? The elderly are encouraged to renew their flu shot every single year, but Seneff believes, contrary to other experts, that this is another major factor in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as about half of flu vaccines contain mercury, a preservative, which is probably the most toxic heavy metal known. Moreover, she claims, the flu virus is grown on gelatin which contains substantial amounts of glutamate, a known neurotoxin.

Yes, Dr. Gifford-Jones appears to believe the words of a woman who thinks that GMOs will make half of all children autistic by 2025. Worse, The Toronto Sun published the article, too! I kid you not. Elsewhere, he thinks intravenous vitamin C would be effective in combatting Ebola outbreaks. When I encountered that article, suddenly I remembered! I have encountered Dr. Gifford-Jones before when he made these same claims in another article.

It turns out that Dr. Gifford-Jones is into a wide variety of quackery, including the claims that cell phone radiation causes cancer and that vitamin C plus lysine can prevent or reverse coronary artery disease. And guess what? He sells his very own supplement, Medi-C Plus, which contains vitamin C, magnesium, and lysine. Because of course he does.

So what we have here is a retired doctor who’s made quite the second career for himself selling supplements and somehow getting his medical column syndicated in 70 North American newspapers, the vast majority of them Canadian. Interestingly, I did not find Dr. Gifford-Jones’ antivaccine propaganda op-ed in 70 newspaper search results. I did find it in several, however. I also noticed that it has been taken down in all of them save one; the article is still available in the Canada Free Press. It’s good that the Toronto Sun and several of the other Canadian newspapers that originally published the article have since had second thoughts, but the newspapers should never have published such a bad article in the first place.

Worse, here’s a Tweet from the editor of The Toronto Sun announcing the decision to remove the article:

Don’t get me wrong. It’s very good that the offending article has been removed from The Toronto Sun, but what does Ms. Batra mean by mean by “balanced”? Whenever I hear the word “balanced” used in the context of vaccine coverage by the media, it’s almost always false balance that gives way too much credence to antivax misinformation—false balance of the type that Dr. Gifford-Jones tried to spin in his last couple of paragraphs.

Maybe the editors of The Toronto Sun haven’t learned anything after all.

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]

49 replies on “Antivaccine misinformation by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones in the Toronto Sun: Retracted (under pressure) but not forgotten”

The simple answer is that flu shots, although normally safe, are on rare occasions associated with minor or serious complications. So, why take the risk?

Oh the idiocy. The answer to that rhetorical question is because the flu poses a much bigger risk. I’ve mentioned my flu horror story before. Unable to get out of bed for two days, sick for three weeks, lost 9 KG in total. The thing I remember most from it was the constant nausea I felt for those three weeks.
I’d rather have five flu vaccines a day for three weeks than go through that again.

Funny fact, this Saterday there were 2 columnists writing about flu vaccines for teachers, argueing against it, because teachers also had the right to get ill. The flu was not a big deal for otherwise healthy people, so why should teachers be vaccinated. Normally the flu vaccine is only prescribed for the elderly.
Weird thing is, those columnists are far from anti-vaccinists, though one of them argues that there are a lot of healthcare workers, who refuse the vaccine, because they know it is not of much use. The other columnist argued that getting the flu would have a humbling effect and making one appreciate ones healthy situation.
I’m sorry, but I didn’t really expect such nonsense from those writers.
Alas those columns are in Dutch so providing a link to them would be quite useless.

And here I have to pay for my flu vaccine out of pocket (an equivalent of $10 or so), so that I don’t get the flu and keep on working and preparing my students for their exams. My colleague, who got the flu in one of our worst flu seasons, was on sick leave for 3 weeks (would be longer but then it was time for Christmas break) and she was left with permanent heart murmur.

Flu related fevers when I was young probably is what damaged my adult teeth. They look chipped and discoloured.

So because hyperthermia is used to kill tumours, you’re saying that having fevers in childhood is likely to prevent you from having cancers? That’s you argument?
To paraphrase Batman, “If I had a whole week, I still couldn’t describe all the reasons you are wrong.”

The only time I felt worse (but not for as long) than when I had the flu in 1992-93 flu season was with the measles as a kid. With that flu I had a temperature for two weeks, could barely drink let alone eat for several days, and lost a ton of weight. Have not missed a flu shot since then and encourage my staff and students to get it every year.

I used to have a pantagraph. Is there a case report on this unfortunate woman? I wasn’t even aware of ocular complications from H1N1pdm09.

Pantagraph is evil.They make you turn off your ad blocker,and answer a multipage survey in order to read one stupid article.

The title of your article says the Toronto Star while the article you are talking about was in the Toronto Sun.

Please correct, as the Toronto Star is an entirely innocent and reasonable newspaper, uke the Toronto Sun .

Orac writes,

It is safe to say that, as far as science has been able to detect, vaccines do not cause autism or those other problems.

MJD’s comment to Orac,

Please consider using “Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with unknown etiology” in place of autism. In my opinion, medical science needs to determine if select vaccines induce atypicality in a subset of infants having a predisposition to said disorder.

Commenter Note: The comment above does not constitute medical advice and is not meant to be anti-vaccine. The comment is for informational purposes only and simply expresses the personal view of a vaccine safety advocate.

Your opinion is worth less than stale popcorn. That you cn at least use as packing material for fragile items.

“(known injuries that science attributed to vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table).”

And no road map to fix the vaccines. Why?

Well, get on with it then. I mean, you clearly don’t know or care what any researchers (academic or industry) are doing, so you might as well just do it yourself.

I mean, you clearly don’t know nor do you care what any researchers (academic or industry) are doing,

FTFY. Vinu can be a bit thick.

I saw his website, docgiff.com:
there’s an interesting article ( July, 2018) about Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Could anything have helped him? The doctor says probably not, dismissing the effects of meds.
The website is rife with articles Orac and his minions would appreciate.

It frequently amazes me how anti-vaccine activists are simultaneously so far ahead of the curve as to be able to KNOW that vaccines are causing harm contrary to every single unbiased study ever published and yet so far behind as to KNOW that mercury (Thiomersal) is still used in vaccines.

Why dont they say that vaccines contain the deadly chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide which can be linked to thousands of deaths per year?
That at least is true if you consider water a hazardous compound.

A quick look into Vitamin Cs effect on cytotoxic T-cells which are the primary first responders to Viral infection shows mixed data, there is evidence that it is essential for cell maturation and proliferation. The evidence of its effect on cell function is less clear with some studies proclaiming that it enhances their effect while others claiming the radical scavenging effect of Vitamin C actually reduces the Cells cell killing potential.

Essentially it appears Vitamin C may assist in dealing with a full blown infection, or at least is harmless but does nothing or may be detrimental for actually preventing infection.

Apologies for the long post, this is my first post on the site and I wanted it to be a bit longer than “I disagree with the anti-vaccine doctor” which was the first thing that came to mind.

Commenter Note: The comment above does not constitute medical advice and is meant to be pro-vaccine. The comment is for informational purposes only and simply expresses the personal view of a Vaccine advocate.

Except vitamin C isn’t harmless. In high enough doses it can cause all kinds of problems (diarrhea) and there are people with some medical conditions for whom it is very dangerous (sorry, I can’t remember which one off the top of my head, some kind of anemia).

So not only does it probably not help, it could also hurt.

Apologies I should have clarified, taking the recommended dose of ~200mg a day may assist or is harmless to regular body function during infection. You are right in that incredibly high doses, such as 10 grams, is harmful with it capable of exacerbating kidney damage if its already present. I am unsure what other problems it can cause in excessive doses as I have not looked into it.

Usually, when people speak of the Royal College of Surgeons, they mean the Royal College of Surgeons of England. I looked on their online database, and he isn’t listed.

Interesting. He’s not listed on Canada’s either, and since that’s where he’s from, that’s where I’d expect to find him.

I looked for both Ken and Kenneth. The strange word coincidences with Sex, Politics and Empire kind of leapt out. No results FRCS, etc., otherwise, except for a Ken Walker who died quite some time ago. I’m not on LinkedIn, but someone could take a gander at this one.

I also looked for both 🙂

I didn’t take the time to look at them all. But he certainly seems a bit disingenuous, at the very least.

Stephanie Seneff, a computer scientist hanger-on at MIT

FTFY. I doubt that she could whomp up a few tail-recursive lines to produce a factorial at this point. L-rd knows she can’t fit a time series.

I know whenever anyone cites Seneff for any biological or medical subject, they are a conspiracy theorist. Seneff has so many possible causes of autism, that you can pick whatever conspiracy theory they like from her self-published ravings.

But I am starting to suspect her on other topics after she produced a graph predicting that 100% of all children born in 2050 will have autism and 300% of children born in 2060 will have autism.

Among “serious” readers, the only discussion about the Toronto Sun is how many notches it is below “Huff Po”

Dr. Gifford-Jones did write for the Toronto Star and was syndicated in many reputable newspapers across Canada. Back in the 70’s and 80’s his columns were very much science based (for the day). Dangerous Bacon comes close with “Emeritus Syndrome strikes again” as I suspect age is a contributing factor the current Gifford-Jones writing. In the past he did make some significant contributions.

@ Brian Deer. As the Tetley Tea commercial once went: “Only in Canada you say”. Normally here, it is acceptable to use the term “Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons” in a summary popular media type bio, but in all professional references it is always currently written “FRCSC”. More often before roughly 2000, it would mostly be written as FRCS(C) with the “C” the obvious reference to Canada. We do keep up some pretense to Royal.

Memory fail correction, on the Tetley Tea remark, just for posterity. It is not Tetley Tea, but Red Rose Tea which started the expression in 1977. YouTube has a number of the original commercials.

@ Panacea, Orac, Narad. Only active members of the Royal College are listed. At The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario there is a Walker, Kenneth Francis (CPSO#: 14000) listed, graduated Harvard Medical School, 1950, resigned from membership, 02 Jun 2012, which would explain the non listing at the Royal College. Although I am fairly sure this is the same person, I could not find any cross reference proof.

If it’s him… let’s see… graduated Med school 1950… perhaps at age 24 (being charitable) .. so he’s how old?
Emeritus syndrome for sure.
No, I’m not being ageist but going on probability: It’s much more likely to be emeritus syndrome than say, graduated 1970..

@Denice. Dr Walker is now about 94. He had a heart attack in 1998 at age 74 and was taken to Toronto General Hospital. Against recommendation he refused any statin and embarked on the natural path road with large amounts of vitamin C and the amino acid lysine to lower his blood cholesterol. His recommendation: 4,000 milligrams of Vitamin C and 3,900 milligrams of lysine daily for a person who has no family history, or personal experience of, a coronary attack. If a coronary attack has happened, the dosages should be upped to 6,000 milligrams of Vitamin C and 5,000 milligrams of lysine. That he remembered as a good idea from a conversation he had with Linus Pauling. It has been downhill ever since.

I almost mentioned Pauling.. little did I know of this connection.

Unfortunately, I know way too much about vitamin C cures, orthomolecular medicine/psychiatry, woo for heart issues..
AS if the Bourdain article ( of recent vintage) wasn’t bad enough.

-btw- I had several 90-somethings in my family who didn’t fall for alt med, bad science etc.

Some years ago, I tried to wear contact lenses. Not long after I got them, I found my eyes getting red and irritated and my lids swollen when wearing them. The comfort drops, the rewetting drops, were no help. I went to an ophthalmologist, and by careful analysis and by trial and error, learned that I was allergic to the thimerosal all the solutions then used as a preservative. I was able to use later solutions preserved with, as I recall, benzalkonium chloride, or unpreserved single use vials.
How is this story relevant?
Since then I have had flu vaccine from multidose vials.This is just about the last remaining use of thimerosal in vaccines. As wildly allergic as I am, as prone to anaphylaxis as I am, the tiny amount that’s in there has never triggered an allergic reaction in me.
I seem to recall that allergic reactions can be triggered by minute quantities of an allergen, one much smaller than a toxic dose is likely to be. If the total amount and/or concentration of thimerosal in the vaccines is unable to provoke a response from someone as allergic as I am, how likely is it that it’s enough to do any harm to anyone not, or not as, allergic?

Moreover, years ago there were just 3 vaccines. Now, by five years of age children can receive 46 or more vaccines.

I just did a count and the most number of vaccinations for Canada is 22 for 14 diseases (depending on province) including yearly influenza. The only way to get close to 46 is to count each disease vaccinated against by the number of boosters given.

Years ago (by the late 1950s) a quick check shows at least smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio vaccines in Canada and there would have been boosters for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

So these values appear to be an underestimate of historical vaccinations and an overestimate of current vaccines.

“The Vaccine Court was designed, if anything, to err on the side of paying out”

Is this stated somewhere in a document or just assumed? If so, can you please provide a link to it?
Thanks!

It is implied by this statement on the main VICP web site.

It provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. Even in cases in which such a finding is not made, petitioners may receive compensation through a settlement.

The standard of evidence is also lower than required in civil cases. I didn’t find that on the website, but it may be in the law itself.

@Narad “Better G–gle Foo…” Not really as I have home court advantage being resident in Ontario, plus insider advantage of knowing where to look, which did not happen to be the big “G” as they do not generally show data bases of organizations or societies.

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