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Josh Rushing pwns antivaxer Del Bigtree

Josh Rushing takes on antivaxer Del Bigtree on Fault Lines and does what needs to be done. Although the report is not without problems, Rushing pwns Bigtree most satisfyingly.

I complain a lot about bad reporting, more specifically false balance, in reporting about vaccines. Indeed, deconstructing such reporting on vaccines has been a recurring theme of this blog at least since 2005. Back in those days, I used to point out how pretty much every story about vaccines seemed to feature an interview with at least one antivaxer, and every story about autism seemed to feature an interview with at least—you guessed it—one antivaxer. Sadly, I had the opportunity to discuss this phenomenon in detail twice in the last month or so. Back in those days, it was Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, and the like who were the featured antivaxers in these stories. These days, it’s often Del Bigtree, producer of the antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary known as VAXXED. Usually, he’s portrayed as charismatic, complete with references to his flowing long gray hair; so it’s nice to see a report from Fault Lines by Aljazeera in which, to put it kindly, Bigtree does not come off appearing nearly as good. In fact, he kind of gets pwned, and, although the reporting isn’t perfect and the correspondent Josh Rushing makes some choices that annoyed me, the story represents better and more accurate reporting on the nature of the antivaccine movement than average. It’s just incomplete.

Let’s take a look. The Fault Lines story is entitled The Viral Threat: Measles and Misinformation:

It’s about 25 minutes long and definitely worth watching. Before I go on, I won’t let this report’s one screwup pass:

Vaccine sceptics represent only a tiny minority of the population, but their digital advocacy has evolved into the “anti-vaccine” movement – a well-organised online network with significant offline implications for public health and politics. These groups promote medically inaccurate information about vaccines and their viral content has dominated US’s most powerful online platforms, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and YouTube.

No, no, no, no, no! These are not “vaccine skeptics.” They just aren’t. They are vaccine science deniers, just as creationists are deniers of evolutionary science, not “skeptics” of evolution, and climate science deniers are not “climate skeptics.” These are people who explicitly deny the science of vaccines, and it’s not frontier science, but mature science, so much so that it is not controversial to say that there is no credible evidence that vaccines cause autism as these (and most other) antivaxers believe.

Rushing does better elsewhere:

Ill-equipped to respond to the social media savvy anti-vax movement, the US medical community must now confront both the contagion of online misinformation and the real-world viral spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. In this episode, Fault Lines travelled to Washington state, as it was in the midst of containing an outbreak, to speak with public health officials and community members battling on the front lines of the measles crises while waging online “info-wars” against the anti-vaccine movement’s misinformation.

It’s true, too. The US medical community is ill-equipped to respond to the social media onslaught of the antivaccine movement. They’ve gone from being risibily inept on Twitter to being, unfortunately, pretty savvy, allowing Twitter to become an amplifier of their message. Ditto Facebook. Antivaxers have also become quite adept at gaming social media abuse reporting algorithms to weaponize them against pro-science advocates seeking to counter them.

Overall, the report does a good job of showing the passion of the antivaccine movement, along with the pseudoscience. Along the way, we meet some familiar figures, such as Jackie Schlegel, founder of Texans for Vaccine Choice, and Jinny Suh, founder of Immunize Texas. I’ve discussed both before in the context of my multiple discussions of how school vaccine mandates are becoming hopelessly politicized, with antivaxers like Schlegel successfully co-opting political messenging that conflates school vaccine mandates with big government overreach and philosophical exemptions to those mandates with “freedom” and “parental rights.” It’s this successful messaging that’s sucked in significant swaths of the Republican base. This success has led me to conclude that the Republican Party has become the party of antivaxers, so much so that in Oregon Republican legislators held the state senate hostage by refusing to come to work until Democrats dropped a bill that would have eliminated nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, the Democrats ultimately caved.

The key strength of this report, what it does that leads me to forgive most of its other shortcomings, is how in an interview Josh Rushing so expertly pwns Del Bigtree, who makes his appearance around the 14 minute mark, Rushing starts off asking Bigtree point blank, “Do you still believe that autism can be caused by the MMR shot?” Unsurprisingly, Bigtree answers, “Yes, I do.”

Now here’s where Rushing shines. He’s one of the rare reporters whom I’ve ever seen doing a story on the antivaccine movement that tackles someone like Bigtree head-on for his misuse of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database. Regular readers, of course, are very familiar with VAERS. I’ve written about how antivaxers misuse VAERS more times than I can remember, going all the way back to 2005. I’ve noted how lawyers seeking to sue vaccine manufacturers encourage parents to file reports in VAERS for their child’s autism and for any other condition they attribute to vaccines, thus hopelessly distorting the database. Regular readers will also remember that a key issue with VAERS is that it is a passive reporting system to which anyone can report an adverse reaction to a vaccine. Also, there are better systems, systems that are active surveillance systems, out there. Antivaxers love VAERS, though, and misuse it all the time. Basically, VAERS functions as a “canary in the coalmine,” where increases in reports are hypothesis-generating, not hypothesis confirming. It is utterly useless for tracking prevalence of adverse events related to vaccines.

And that’s where Bigtree is deconstructed by Rushing. I will pick a nit with Rushing, here, though. He shows Bigtree ranting about VAERS, and as part of that rant Bigtree claims that VAERS is the only system we have to monitor vaccine safety in the US. As I just mentioned above, that is, of course, inaccurate (if you’re feeling generous) or a lie (if you are not, as I am not). Rushing didn’t mention that. It gets better, though. Bigtree is shown ranting about how VAERS had 58,000 entries in 2018, including 412 deaths. Sounds horrible, right? Well, not quite. For one thing, given the tens of millions of doses of vaccines administered every year, 58,000 is not that huge a number. Second—and here’s where Rushing gets it right—anyone can report these adverse events or deaths, and there is no evidence of causation.

The look on Bigtree’s face is priceless when Rushing confronts him, pointing out that the government explicitly warns against using VAERS data in such a fashion. So is Bigtree’s dancing around Rushing’s statement and challenge. Particularly hilarious is how Bigtree tries to deflect by saying, “I said there were 412 reported deaths; I never said there were 412 confirmed deaths.” Priceless. Rushing then can’t resist twisting the knife a bit by listing some of the causes of death in the reports on VAERS, which include drowning, co-sleeping, a preexisting heart condition, and others. He then reiterates how the CDC warns explicitly against using the database to infer causation, after which he points out that it sure sounded in his episode of Highwire as though Bigtree was claiming that vaccines caused over 400 deaths in 2018.

Yes, basically, Bigtree straight up admitted on camera that he lies and distorts using VAERS.

More interesting was Rushing’s revelation of just how much money Bigtree rakes in for his advocacy. Rushing notes that Bigtree’s nonprofit (Informed Consent Action Network, or ICAN, an organization whose spreading of misinformation I’ve written about before) took in nearly $1.5 million according to its most recent filings. As an aside, I’ve long wondered where the money comes from to fund the activities of “luminaries” of the antivaccine movement like Del Bigtree. Who pays for people like Del Bigtree, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Andrew Wakefield, and all those other “big name” antivaxers to fly around the country to speak at rallies, lobby legislators, and generally agitate to make measles great again in the US? It can’t be cheap, and I’d be willing to bet that none of these people works for free. There’s definitely a story there if a reporter somewhere wants to try to dig into it.

Even better is where Rushing explains Bigtree’s conflict of interest. Rushing very pointedly challenges Bigtree’s characterization of himself as a journalist by pointing out that Bigtree is the CEO of an advocacy organization ICAN) that has exists to promote a specific position on the only issue that Bigtree ever “reports” about and then asks, “Is that a conflict of interest?” Bigtree appeared surprised and flummoxed by the question. His first reaction was a stunned, “What?” After being challenged a second time by Rushing, all Bigtree could muster was to recite the mission of ICAN in response. Rushing was having none of it, though, and continued, “You can do that, or you can do journalism, but you can’t do both.”

Indeed.

Bigtree’s next response? More stunned hesitation, followed by, “I’m simply finding the information as I find it.” Brilliant, Del! Someone should make a T-shirt with that saying emblazoned on it! To twist the knife yet again even more, Rushing next shows footage of Bigtree donning the Yellow Star of David at a recent rally “in solidarity” with Jews who to him were being “targeted” because antivaccine beliefs in their communities had led to huge measles outbreaks. Yes, nothing tells the world you’re “not antivax” like explicitly comparing attempts to increase vaccination rates to what Hitler did to the Jews, as Bigtree does here and as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. did when he compared vaccination to the Holocaust.

Finally, brings us to another aspect of reporting on the antivaccine movement that bothers me. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and unfortunately, this story falls for this trap as well. Rushing clearly (and quite correctly) wants to portray defenders of vaccines as outgunned and outfunded by the antivaccine movement. I have no problem with that, because, today at least, they are both. However, to paint this picture, he focuses only on public health officials. Unfortunately, Prof. Peter Hotez, whom I consider a friend, said on in this report that defending vaccines against antivaxers is left to a “small band of pediatricians and academics.”

Orac nearly blew a circuit seeing that message feature so prominently in this report.

Besides leaving out groups like Jinny Suh’s group of parents (which, to be fair, was featured in the story, complete with an interview with Such) and the grass roots parents groups that helped Senator Arthur Pan to pass SB 277 , the California law that eliminated nonmedical exemptions (which, unfortunately, were not), Dr. Hotez’s assessment is only part of the story. There’s a lot more to countering online antivaccine misinformation than just pediatricians, academics, and public health officials.

If only—if only—there were another group out there defending vaccines. If only—if only—there were a network of online bloggers and social media influencers who spend a lot of their time deconstructing antivaccine misinformation. If only there was a skeptics movement that views part of its mission as combatting antivaccine misinformation. If only there were skeptical bloggers all over the world refuting antivaccine pseudoscience. If only there were groups like Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia out there, guarding vaccine-related Wikipedia pages from sabotage by antivaxers, who are always trying to add antivaccine nonsense to those entries.

If only…oh, wait, there are! You’d never know it, though, from the vast majority of media reports, including this one.

I don’t want to be too hard on Dr. Hotez or Josh Rushing, though. In this story, Rushing and Fault Lines have done significantly better than average, and it has to be conceded that they’re not wrong to report that those who promote vaccination are outmatched in funding and intensity by antivaccine groups on social media and in the old media. (I’d add that we’re also significantly outgunned politically in some states, particularly Texas.) However, there are way more people out there than just a tiny band of pediatricians, academics, and public health officials combatting antivaccine misinformation. It’s an omission that I frequently see, even in otherwise very good reports of this type.

I can forgive Rushing, though, because damn if he didn’t pwn Del Bigtree most satisfyingly. That definitely needed to be done—and badly—given all the semi-sympathetic coverage in the media Bigtree has been garnering lately. That’s why seeing Bigtree reduced to near stuttering at points was glorious to see.

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]

262 replies on “Josh Rushing pwns antivaxer Del Bigtree”

It seems like the VAERS is more like a complaints database than a scientific review process. There are millions of complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau about Microsoft, for example, but that doesn’t prove that their products are actually malware. (Though some Apple fans might argue the point.)

I think I’m right in this, but isn’t the US the only country that has such a system. I know when I practiced in the UK we didn’t have such a self reporting system and here is Canada we don’t either.

Both countries have adverse reaction reporting systems, but are totally different and more robust than the VARES system

Australia has a process whereby consumers can report adverse reactions to vaccinations. Called (poetically) the National Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting Form. It is available on the Commonwealth Department of Health website. Reports are forwarded to the Theraputic Goods Administration another federal department.

In fact there are a lot of ways someone can report a suspected adverse reaction as set out on the website. Indeed people can call a number and talk to a pharmacist if they think an adverse reaction has occurred. I’m pretty sure claims of vaccine induced autism are not really what the pharmacist is meant to be dealing with, however.

Addit:
There is a link to a data base of reported adverse reactions, you should try it, it allows you to search by medication AND date of administration and gives a ton of fun information. One thing we do well here is collate historical data and make it easy to access.

Being me I have attached a link below. Just follow the prompts to get to the TGA database.

https://beta.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/health-professionals/reporting-and-managing-adverse-vaccination-events

The US system was designed as a response to the DPT scare in the 1980’s. VAERS has outlived its usefulness because of antivaxxers. The original idea was actually a good one had it been used properly. It would have alerted vaccine scientists to potential issues that might not have been reported by providers.

As it stands now, it’s so horribly abused we’d be better off ditching it. But in today’s political climate, that won’t happen.

I actually wish these kind of reports will point out the available high quality content on vaccines, like VEC, and your own articles responding to this, and call on those supporting to share and use it more.

I understand the targeted attacks problem, but there are ways to address that. Among other things, having thousands of people share the content may make it harder for the antis to concentrate attacks.

Indeed. I must admit that it’s long been a pet peeve of mine that if, when it comes to vaccine defenders, it isn’t public health officials, academics, or a group like Jinny Suh’s, it doesn’t exist to these reporters. As much as I admire and like Peter Hotez, his frequent repetition of the same bit about how defending vaccines is left to a small band of pediatricians and academics has always grated on me because it is so incomplete.

As a pediatrician, I wish to state I don’t relate much to that small band, as I’ve written many of them and most don’t reply (notable exceptions: Drs. Hotez and Offit). Someone is most definitely coordinating the anti-vaxxers much better than anyone is coordinating the pro-vaxxers.

Off Topic:

The image used by Orac at the beginning of this post clearly shows a non-manicured, yellowish, finger or thumb holding an M-M-R II vial. Do medical personnel often avoid using gloves when administering vaccines? Polychloroprene or vinyl gloves would seem appropriate. What other types of gloves are used when administering vaccines? If gloves are not warn, are medical personnel required to wash their hands before administering vaccines?

@ Orac,

Are there documented standards or procedures for personal hygiene when administering a vaccine? Please advise.

MJD: “Are there documented standards or procedures for personal hygiene when administering a vaccine?”

It seems MJD is incapable of using the internet to access information so I’ll hand feed the little fella:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/administration.html

“Hands should be cleansed with an alcohol-based waterless antiseptic hand rub or washed with soap and water before preparing vaccines for administration and between each patient contact. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations do not require gloves to be worn when administering vaccinations, unless persons administering vaccinations have open lesions on their hands or are likely to come into contact with a patient’s body fluids. If worn, gloves should be changed between patients”

BillyJoe writes,

“It seems MJD is incapable of using the internet to access information so I’ll hand feed the little fella”

MJD says,

Thanks, you would be a kind and patient kindergarten teacher.

The M-M-R-II vial clearly states the preferred dosage to be administered is 0.5 millilitres. The syringe image at the beginning of Orac’s post appears to contain ~ 1.0 millilitre.

Raising my hand to ask one more question, please.

Q. If vaccines are over/under administered using such an antiquated syringe technique, will this affect the vaccines efficacy and/or safety.

“The M-M-R-II vial clearly states the preferred dosage to be administered is 0.5 millilitres. The syringe image at the beginning of Orac’s post appears to contain ~ 1.0 millilitre.”

It seems, kindergarten child, that you are also blind and ignorant.

The syringe contains about 0.5ml of vaccine and some air. It is being drawn up from a multidose vial. Before it is injected, the air will be expelled and the plunger aligned with the 0.5ml mark.

Oh dear.

BillyJoe writes,

It seems, kindergarten child, that you are also blind and ignorant.

MJD says,

You answered my vaccine questions admirably, even so, your teaching license is permanently revoked.

Quit picking nits, Michael. This is not an actual dose being drawn up. It’s a stock image for promotional purposes Orac used to add a graphic for his article and nothing more.

While some vaccines come in prefilled syringes, they are more expensive. Expense matters when you’re trying to control costs in the health care system.

MJD: “You answered my vaccine questions admirably, even so, your teaching license is permanently revoked”

Seems you don’t need a licence to teach in order to teach. Glad I taught you a lesson 😉

Standard precautions apply. They were developed by the CDC, and taught to everyone who works in healthcare: physicians, PAs, NPs, RNs, LPNs, CNAs, MAs, rad techs, phelbotomists, lab techs. If they have patient contact, they are taught standard precautions.

Hand hygiene is required before drawing up any medication from a vial or ampule. The rubber stopper is cleaned by rubbing an alcohol pad on it for 15 seconds, then allowing it to air dry. A sterile syringe and needle are removed from sterile packaging and used to withdraw the medication from the vial. The provider must avoid touching the needle and the needle hub (and the luer lock of attaching a needle to the syringe), otherwise the equipment and med must be discarded and the provider must start over.

Gloves do not typically need to be worn during that process (an exception might include working with a chemotherapeutic agent). The gloves are non-sterile and protect the provider, not the patient. Gloves are donned for the injection itself to protect against the risk of a bare hand coming in contact with blood or a bodily fluid.

After the injection, the needle is disposed of in a sharps box (and should not be recapped). The provider removes and disposes of the gloves, and hand hygiene is again performed.

While OSHA may not require gloves to be worn while giving vaccines, it is good practice to do so.

Regarding VAERS, you said “there are better systems, systems that are active reporting systems, out there. ” Could you name and provide a link to those active reporting systems? Thank you.

Do you mean the post titled “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his World Mercury Project: Antivaccine, NOT “fiercely pro-vaccine”? It has links to the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Project and FDA Voices: Perspectives From FDA Leadership and Experts, but neither of those sites indicate they are running “active reporting systems” for vaccine adverse events. If an active reporting system exists in the U.S. I’d like to find out where it is and how I could get access to the data. Did I miss a link in the post you linked to?

Beth, you’ve been here long enough to know about the existence of the VSD at the very least and there are also PRISM and CISA, none of which you can access as a member of the public given the sensitive patient information in their databases.

Yep. You need an IRB-approved research protocol to access the data. This reminds me. Mark and David Geier got into trouble looking at the VSD data for a study they were doing because they tried to combine two VSD databases in a way that would have unmasked confidential patient information.

With regard to the VICP, is it possible to find any greater detail about compensations paid than what is presented in the summary documents?

In comments on CBC website articles on vaccination against measles, a small number of anti-vaxxers keep repeating the assertion that there have be 23(?) deaths due to measles vaccines (MMR et al). They arrive at the number by looking at the claims filed as reported in the summary documents. Perhaps I’m just incompetent at searching, but I haven’t been able to find any real numbers to use to counter such assertions.

Not easily. The Department of Justice provides quarterly reports and they’re not hidden, but not easy to find online – anti-vaccine sites have been putting their powerpoints up (with misleading articles) in past years, but they’re the recent ones. They don’t provide compensated deaths numbers.

But if in thirty years only 23 claims for death from MMR were filed (not compensated), that’s pretty striking. Especially since MMR has quite a few conditions on the Table of injuries, where causation is presumed.

The Department of Justice provides quarterly reports and they’re not hidden, but not easy to find online

Don’t these show up in the Federal Register?

Thanks, Dorit.

The typical approach on this issue by an anti-vaxxer on the CBC site is to ask when someone last died of measles and then claim the chances of dying as a result of measles vaccination are much higher. They use the numbers from the US NVICP because they parrot what they find on US anti-vax websites, and always imply, if not state outright, that the number of claims equals the number of confirmed deaths from measles vaccination.

Since poor Beth Clarkson’s Google-fu is lacking when it comes to learning about post-licensure vaccine monitoring, perhaps she can look up the VSD (Vaccine Safety Datalink), PRISM, CISA, and vaccine monitoring systems run by the DoD and VA. After that she can spend time on PubMed finding and reading some of the voluminous peer-reviewed research on vaccine safety.

Then she’ll be able to JAQ off from a position of less ignorance.

While my google-fu is indeed weak, I’ve read a great many peer-reviewed studies on vaccine research. But studies are not the same thing as an active reporting system for adverse events that would provide better quality data than VAERS. Can you name and link to such a database? CISA and PRISM were linked in the post Orac linked to, but neither of those qualify as an active reporting system for vaccine adverse events. The VSD does not have such a database. If the DoD and VA do active monitoring, it would be limited to adult member and former members of the military and not include adverse events reported for vaccines administered during childhood. However, even with that restriction, if you know of a database that the DoD or VA have available to the public, I would be interested in it and appreciate a link.

The wording should likely read “active monitoring system.” Passive monitoring systems are those that rely on reports; active monitoring systems don’t, they actively look for problems without waiting to be triggered by a report. Therefore, reporting systems are, by definition, public.

Orac was responding to this claim by Mr. Bigtree: “Bigtree claims that VAERS is the only system we have to monitor vaccine safety in the US.” He is correct to point out we have multiple active monitoring systems in place, though I agree the term used should be “active monitoring” and not “reporting”. That’s a language slip, though, an editorial error. On the substantive point, Orac is clearly right.

Oh, bloody hell! It was after 1 AM when I finished this post. I fixed it by changing it to “active surveillance system.”

The Department of Defense administers dependent coverage for the armed forces, and so would have records that include children of service members.

As Orac pointed out, IRB approval is needed to access the other monitoring systems. It’s needed because the database also contains confidential protected health information like names, dates of birth, and so on. Federal law prohibits the disclosure of that information to the general public. It’s available on a “need to know” basis that is obtained by acquiring IRB approval for a scientific study. IRB approvals have to include a plan for how the researcher plans to protect confidential information.

That would be why the Geirs got into trouble. When they tried to merge datasets against instructions, they violated the plan they filed with their IRB. Then they lied about it, even thought they got caught red handed, and lost their access to the VSD.

I’ve always wondered how Del got involved- many anti-vaxxers have a child they think was “damaged” by vaccines or they sell treatments, products, films, books or a worldview opposed to vaccines – like “natural health” or other woo. Sometimes, both.

AFAIK Del worked on television shows as a producer and went to film school, I read about productions he was involved in- . Then, suddenly, he quit/ left the Doctors show and started on VAXXED and later, created a show/ podcast/ whatever, The HighWire. A few years ago, Andy was raising money at an event in Hollywood/ LA where I assume he was trying to make connections. Someone @ RI mentioned that he knew the former Mrs de NIro, Grace Hightower. Was Del another LA connection?

Why anti-vax? Does he have a child with ASD or does he think that this is his route to greater fame? It seems like a big switch to go from his primary career to becoming a full time anti-vax proselytiser? Whatever VAXXED earned ( and there will be a VAXXED II) is this big money enough to justify a career change? He wouldn’t be the sole recipient of the profit.

Some people ( Orac, Anna Merlan) discuss the role of lawyers in anti-vax world: RFK jr wants to sue Merck, woo features prominent anti-vax lawyers like Krakow, Finn, Holland ( see Autism One 2019 list of speakers). Are Del and others anticipating a big win a la Roundup and hoping that their paychecks will grow as this occurs?

Del’s MO doesn’t make sense to me. Neither does Del.

Interestingly, net worth post lists his net worth as 19 million USD on the page BUT clicking on the link says, 700 K.

I believe there are some deep pockets ready and willing to finance the anti-vax propaganda machine. The Dwoskin Family Foundation gave loadsadough to Tomljenovic and Shaw for their crummy retractable papers and for the anti-vax Jamaica Jerk-Off a few years back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bigtree’s got a big money backer or two.

Left Brain Right Brain reports VAXXED pulled in 1.3 million dollars in donations, and that most of it went to a company owned by Wakefield and Polly Tommey

They examined tax returns of the 501(3)c that made the movie. Only about 200K or so actually went to pay expenses related to the movie. The rest went to an LLC owned by Wakefield and Tommey, which means no transparency on where the money went.

It’s all about the Benjamins. https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2018/11/19/vaxxed-pulled-in-over-1-3m-in-donations-and-most-of-it-went-to-wakefield-and-tommeys-company/

Jim Sears, brother of Bob, was a Dr. on The Doctors. “Why antivax?” There doesn’t have to be any obvious reason. Most conspiracy theory obsessions are removed from the everyday lives and concerns of the obsessed. E.g. “Why the Apollo Hoax?” The obsessions work to fill some hole in the CTer’s life, and in that, the apparent disconnections are a feature, as they make the hole less obvious to observers. As for $$, I’d guess whatever Del is pulling in from whoever is banking anti-vax, is more or less on par with what he was pulling down as a TV producer. But, the “career change” is giving him a purpose</>, you see…

RFK jr wants to sue Merck

I suddenly wonder whether he owns gold, which would be supremely ironic.

Denise Walter: Not everyone is living for money or to make money. Why would it be strange that someone leaves a well paid job when they find something that is worth living for -such as warning people of the danger of vaccines? Not everything in life is making money. That is why is hard to understand why Del is doing what he is doing even though he’s not making as much money as before. Just because most people are willing to do most anything to make big money it doesn’t mean that everyone is. There are still people with good hearts out there trying to make a difference in the world.

warning people of the danger of vaccines?

I’m afraid that is not what Del is doing. He is spreading lies, distortions, and exaggerations. He is scaring people away from one of the most effective disease prevention methods ever found.
Del may be utterly convinced he is doing the right thing, but he isn’t.

So everyone here is in favor of vaccines because of the money and only people like Del Bigtree and RFK are warning for vaccines, because of the kindness of their hearts?
They are overstating the dangers of vaccines, while understating the real dangers of the illnesses we vaccine against. Even if they are not in it for the money or to satisfy their egos, they are still endangering the health of children.

While you’re correct in that not everyone’s primary motivator is money…..but Bigtree is either in it for the money and notoriety, or he’s just an utter and complete moron. Either way, he’s just a genuinely shit human being. I just hope those that bought into his BS, don’t have children who were made to suffer. People like him shouldn’t be put on a pedestal like he has been. He’s a blatant liar, woo-peddler, and, quite frankly, a threat to public health and safety. I hope you figure that out BEFORE you or someone you love is seriously harmed by believing in this nonsense and foregoing important preventative measures. Before they spend their savings on ‘treatments’ that do absolutely nothing remotely positive, except possibly a placebo effect.

Oh dear, I had to look up pwned–thought it was a weird typo. Anyway, it couldn’t happen to a better person than Bigtree.

So how does his group raise all that money anyway? Do they have to disclose?

I think you and I know what pwned means because we’re old farts; I picked that up on Usenet, which is ages ago in Internet time.

I’m an older fart than you, so mind your manners! : ))

I didn’t get a computer until 2003 and I’ve never played a video game.

‘Pwned’ (or more properly pwn3d) originates from hacker “leet speak” slang from old BBS systems of the 1980s. Basically has three meanings: 1. the domination of a player in a video game (complete crushing, as opposed to just simple victory), 2. the successful compromise and takeover of a computer system, or 3. (related to 1) the complete domination of an opponent in an argument., usually resulting in their utter humiliation.The latter definition is what Orac is going for. More information down on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pwn

In addition to U.S.-based monitoring systems, “active” and “passive” vaccine surveillance systems operate in Canada and numerous other countries.

For those who think (or want others to think) that “passive” reporting means that no one pays attention to the data – in addition to numerous research studies performed to analyze that information, it is studied to quickly pick up on any trends, as in the case of Rapid Cycle Analysis by the VSD. From the CDC:

“Rapid Cycle Analysis (RCA) External allows VSD to detect adverse events following vaccination in near real time so the public can be informed quickly of possible risks.

Using VSD data that are updated each week, the rates of adverse events that occur in people who have received a particular vaccine are compared to the rate of adverse events that occurs in a similar group of people who have not received that vaccine. If the rate of adverse events among vaccinated people is higher than among the comparison group, the vaccine may be associated with an adverse event. VSD has used RCA to publish important safety information regarding many vaccines, including:

Pentacel (DTaP-IPV/Hib)External (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis [DTap], HiB, and polio)
Kinrix (DTaP-IPV)External (DTaP and polio)
Gardasil (human papillomavirus)External
Influenza
SeasonalExternal
2009 H1N1External
RotavirusExternal
MeningococcalExternal
Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV)External
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap)”

If Beth is still harumphing that such projects aren’t “active” enough for her and that the CDC should be calling up Del Bigtree and random names out of the phone directory on a daily basis to learn of vaccine horrors, well, too bad.

C’mon Beth, you can learn to use the Internets, I just know it. 🙂

Thanks for that video. Given that Del is supposedly media trained maybe it’s more appropriate to capitalize PWNED and add an exclamation point or three in this instance.

I shouldn’t be surprised (but I am) that a guy that clearly doesn’t understand the concept of what can constitute a placebo in vaccine trials also cannot understand his obvious conflict of interest: as CEO of a company creating and spreading mis/disinformation about vaccines he maximizes his personal pay by creating and spreading more mis/disinformation.

Ignoring any ethical or moral issues, until now his business model is a success: no R&D spend, no technology/manufacturing costs (and thereby no disruptive technology threat), he isn’t liable in anyway for his “product”, he’s not accountable to FDA for his claims, and even in an outbreak he can personally make ~1.5 million simoleons. Add to that that his customers are deniers who appear to be growing in number and will continue to pay him regardless of facts that refute his claims. Nice.

I can see why part of the video included his strident complaint (@15:16 of the video) about being repressed because it appears the only existential threat to increasing his personal income might be limits on disseminating his product via Amazon, FaceBook, etc…

@Orac – thank you for the correction. That clears up my misunderstanding regarding what you claimed.

I don’t suppose you’d also correct the misquote you attributed to Mr. Bigtree. You wrote “Bigtree claims that VAERS is the only system we have to monitor vaccine safety in the US”. He does not make any claim about whether or not there are other monitoring or surveillance systems. He may make such a claim elsewhere, but in this video what he says is: “Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. This is the only system that we have in America where you report vaccine injuries” (15:35). The Vaccine Safety Database referenced by Science Mom and Dangerous Bacon does use a different system, relying on physician reports. But Mr. Bigtree was speaking of a reporting system the general public (you) has access to. The VSD does not allow the general public to either report adverse events or access data about the reports.

Del’s claiming that VAERS “is the only system that we have in America where you report vaccine injuries” clearly is designed to make viewers believe that no other system exists for anyone to report vaccine injuries – just as his blandly citing 400+ reports of deaths to VAERS was meant to deceive people into thinking that they all were due to vaccines (including deaths actually due to such causes as heart disease and drowning).

Who are trying to fool here, Beth? Del Bigtree has a worshipful audience deficient in critical thinking skills. But we’re well aware of your antivax games

And so what if the VSD takes reports only from health professionals? VAERS is open to everyone, docs, clinics, parents, antivax loons and lawyers, you name it. Are you now insisting we have multiple VAERS-like reporting systems?

Better lie down and take your NSAIDS, Beth. You must be sore from all that goalpost-shifting.

Bigtree isn’t a journalist and as you note he isn’t simply “finding the information as I find it.” Witness his tirade against pediatricians to an anti-vax crowd of several hundred people at the Arizona State Capitol on May 18th, ending with Bigtree declaring of pediatricians: “Damn, they must go down!”.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ACZiAfVmM?start=1&w=560&h=315%5D

Bigtree is not a journalist. Bigtree is a rabble rousing instigator with a history of calling others to armed action.

“Bigtree is a rabble rousing instigator with a history of calling others to armed action.”

Another antivaxer has just outdone Bigtree.

The “Millions Of Health Freedom Fighters” guy has an article up on his website calling for the death penalty for pro-immunization advocates who have called attention to current measles outbreaks (he specifically mentions Paul Offit, Dorit Reiss and a certain David Gorski).

His charming imagery includes reminiscing about citizens’ committees guillotining opponents during the French Revolution.

“The whole future of America is at stake”, ya know.

It looks to me like Del Bigtree’s segment has been HEAVILY edited. If you’ve ever heard Del speak he never sits there nodding, saying yes, yes. He knows this topic inside and out and would never be caught off guard, as this interview makes him appear. Del’s responses to the interviewers questions/assertions have been edited out.

Your evidence is? A belief is not a fact. If he has indeed been misused in this way he has recourse. Has he spoken publicly about your, um, hypothesis?

I never said it was fact. If you reread my first sentence where I state “it looks to me…” it’s clear I’m expressing my own opinion. As someone who has been following both sides of this issue for a long time Del can think on his feet much faster than depicted in that interview. Whether you choose to believe what he says or not is up to you, but he’d have a reply.

Creative editing is mention here: https://violentmetaphors.com/2016/06/13/vaxxed-reviewed-what-happened-inside-the-movie/

When Brian Thompson redid the statistics of a study of the MMR done in Georgia he found an increase in autism among black boys who were vaccinated late. Now what is the most logical explanation for that result based on fewer than ten kids?

It is safer to administer the MMR vaccine on time between twelve and eighteen months age.
The boys missed getting the vaccine due to lack of health because of poverty. But were then referred to Child Find* by a concerned child care provider. The local school district, which implements Child Find, discovered a developmental delay issue that qualified them for special ed. preschool. Which is free**, but the kid needed to catch up with vaccines to be enrolled. More than likely the parents were referred to a clinic that provided the vaccine for free because of the Vaccine for Children Program***.

Now what was the most likely reason? Tell us.

ChildFind is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program to find disabled children. I saw the notice about it on a bulletin board at the indoor play center I took my kids too. I called them up because I had a kid who was almost three years old who did not speak. This is how he got enrolled into “free preschool”.** Turns out he was autistic. More information: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

** Never ever, and I mean never tell a parent of a disabled child that they are “lucky” that their kid got free preschool. You have been warned on how to not be a total jerk.

*** The Vaccines for Children Program was created after the 1990 measles outbreak to catch up toddlers, who were most affected. The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay (yeah, I cut and pasted that second sentence from the CDC site).

Aargh… missed an important word: “due to lack of health insurance because of poverty.”

Apparently some people like that we are the only developed country without a national health insurance program. Yet, many seem confused that poor people can’t afford it.

Del can think on his feet much faster than depicted in that interview. Whether you choose to believe what he says or not is up to you, but he’d have a reply.

Not if he’s caught in a blatant lie and the fact is, he’s out of his depth in this subject so getting him to stumble when he’s not thrown slow balls is not hard at all. But it’s really cute his defenders have to cry foul rather than see Bigtree for the ignorant, unethical tosser he is.

Wow, the format of this comment got totally muddled. I tried to make a bullet point with numbers but that was deleted. I shall try again…

When Brian Thompson redid the statistics of a study of the MMR done in Georgia he found an increase in autism among black boys who were vaccinated late. Now what is the most logical explanation for that result based on fewer than ten kids?

1: It is safer to administer the MMR vaccine on time between twelve and eighteen months age?

2: Or the boys missed getting the vaccine due to lack of health because of poverty. But were then referred to Child Find* by a concerned child care provider. The local school district, which implements Child Find, discovered a developmental delay issue that qualified them for special ed. preschool. Which is free**, but the kid needed to catch up with vaccines to be enrolled. More than likely the parents were referred to a clinic that provided the vaccine for free because of the Vaccine for Children Program***.

Now what was the most likely reason? Tell us.

ChildFind is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program to find disabled children. I saw the notice about it on a bulletin board at the indoor play center I took my kids too. I called them up because I had a kid who was almost three years old who did not speak. This is how he got enrolled into “free preschool”.** Turns out he was autistic. More information: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

** Never ever, and I mean never tell a parent of a disabled child that they are “lucky” that their kid got free preschool. You have been warned on how to not be a total jerk.

*** The Vaccines for Children Program was created after the 1990 measles outbreak to catch up toddlers, who were most affected. The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay (yeah, I cut and pasted that second sentence from the CDC site).

@rs If you dare, watch his latest episode of the Highwire. You can forward to the piece where he breaks the interview down. He has a very interesting conversation afterward with Josh.

“He knows this topic inside and out …”

He fails so much with the actual science and statistics.

“Del’s responses to the interviewers questions/assertions have been edited out.”

I am sure Del knows how to deceptively edit a video inside and out. It is folks like him with an agenda that this documentary is being made: https://sciencefriction.tv/

Have you read the science he’s looking at? I suspect not. I’m sure Del does know how to edit a video but he’s not the one in charge of this particular one is he?

Chris, yes Miles Power has on his YouTube channel some truly spectacular examples of editing being used to make a person seem to say the opposite of what they actually did say. These examples come from that wonderful “documentary” “House of Numbers”.

“Have you read the science he’s looking at?”

Yes. And he is wrong, terribly wrong. Now if you have evidence that the present American MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella then please post that evidence in the form of a PubMed indexed study by reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll.

(Cue for Narad to bug me about my choices… to which I say: frankly I don’t care)

Then when you are done with that tell us what you know about the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Which one of those studies show the present MMR vaccine causes harm?

And when you are done with that, tell me which MMR vaccine Wakefield was studying with his small 1998 case series that was withdrawn. In 1988 in the UK introduced three different MMR vaccines, but removed two of them in 1992 (do you know why?). But to complicate things Wakefield included an American child with a fourth different MMR vaccine. So which vaccine was that case series all about?

Bigtree is clearly not used to being interviewed by a tough interviewer who asks challenging questions. He tends to freeze for a moment after a tough question and then mindlessly retreat to talking points.

Cue for Narad to bug me about my choices…

C’mon, I can’t remember the last time I did that.

I watched the video all the way through. (I had to go to the Al Jazeera article to get it because the direct link was down!) As far as I could see, the editing allowed each respondent to make a complete reply in their own words. If Del has a complete, direct response to any of Rushing’s questions in any of his many videos, I’d appreciate getting a link.

In general, I thought the video was very well edited. There were some obvious editing tricks, like giving a short clip of the main personae when they were first mentioned. And there was the use of voice-over from the Vaccinate Texas lady while running video of Rushing and her walking around the rotunda. But it was enjoyable and easy to watch.

Also, there was quite a contrast between Rushing’s journalistic style of asking open ended questions and letting the respondents reply in their own words and what Bigtree considers “journalism”.

As an aside, I also liked the editing in this 4-year-old PSA video which I saw on TV for the first time last night.

https://youtu.be/0idZghw97dc

Well look at you, issuing directives as though you’re somebody. I love people who state their opinions as fact. And I don’t believe you’ve read any of the peer reviewed studies Del or RFK, Jr. have presented. It would be really beneficial for everyone if people could have a rational and sane discussion about this subject. Vaccines are not all bad for all people. They are also not the totally benign things so many want people to believe. Have a nice evening.

Well look at you, issuing directives as though you’re somebody. I love people who state their opinions as fact. And I don’t believe you’ve read any of the peer reviewed studies Del or RFK, Jr. have presented.

I love people who waltz into blogs and start calling regulars of long standing liars. Except for all the gristly bits. You remind me of a horrible childhood experience I had with a tube of Oscar Mayer braunsweiger that was full of little opaque nodules.

Narad – Fair enough. But in this braunsweiger’s defense, I would have no idea who was a “regular” and just because they are “regular’s” doesn’t make them right. But I should have guessed from the dense fog of ego that permeates this space that trying to find a middle ground with people like you is impossible. No wonder so many are flocking to the “anti-vax” side.

Science Mom – Cute name. I don’t believe Del is lying, nor is Bobby Kennedy. Neither one of them are out of their depth. That doesn’t mean I believe all vaccines are bad either. The trouble is, people on both sides have their minds made up and everyone who thinks differently is stupid or evil. Kind of like you have your mind made up right now. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. And that’s ALL it is, an opinion.

The difference between your opinion, Del’s and RFJ, jr’s opinion is that Science Mom and I are relying on actual data and evidence. Where is your data and evidence?

Just work on my questions (yes, it is an obvious cut and paste… I am still waiting after years for someone to answer these questions):

Now if you have evidence that the present American MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella then please post that evidence in the form of a PubMed indexed study by reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll.

(Cue for Narad to bug me about my choices… to which I say: frankly I don’t care)

Then when you are done with that tell us what you know about the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Which one of those studies show the present MMR vaccine causes harm?

And when you are done with that, tell me which MMR vaccine Wakefield was studying with his small 1998 case series that was withdrawn. In 1988 in the UK introduced three different MMR vaccines, but removed two of them in 1992 (do you know why?). But to complicate things Wakefield included an American child with a fourth different MMR vaccine. So which vaccine was that case series all about?

@ Chris:

Although we know this, people who are enraptured by woo-meisters/ anti-vax proselytisers think that the mis-information/ tall tales they are presented with ARE standard research. Their leaders lie to them saying that they only use “peer reviewed placebo-controlled* studies to support their position. This is a common, oft-repeated message that I receive form PRN**, NN, AoA, TMR etc.

If you look in detail, you’ll find that the “research” articles are Dwoskin-funded, AJW, Exley, unrelated to the central issue or some other pile of crap that they dug up.

Our problem is that real research may be beyond the ken of many anti-vax advocates. Or else, they substitute a grand conspiracy to explain away the facts. I feel that one of the reasons we’ll have trouble communicating the real deal to average people ( non-scientists, non-statisticians) is the VOLUME of the background material necessary to understand the basics. Plus, we can’t just lie.

** every Null article is “supported” by so-called research- there’s often a long biblio accompanying the dreck article.

And apparently you are the ones chosen to decide who’s “science” is worthy and who’s is not? Someone said you can’t argue with science. Ha! No, but you can argue with the scientists. I’m not going to get into all of your demands. I freely admit I don’t know a lot of what you’re asking and I don’t have the time to be on the computer going at this in detail. I WAS trying to understand both sides but the people here are more than likely to push me to the other side.

The questions are designed to make you think. Most people are unaware that there is no one MMR, but several. They depend on the country and manufacturer.

What this one reveals that Wakefield was a lousy researcher. When one does a study you need to control the variables, and he failed to control which MMR vaccine was being used. Total fail.

Theresa
You can’t argue with good science and the science showing that the risk presented by vaccine preventable diseases outweighs the risk of having a vaccination against those diseases is overwhelming. This is not opinion it is mathematical certainly.

I’ve dipped my toe into the comments sections of blogs both pro and anti vaccine (for want of a better term). Have you ever read the comments from places like AoA.? Vitriol, conspiracy mongering and flat out lies infest the comments section. Sadly even blogs on Science Based Medicine sites resemble the colosseum on a bad day; compared to them this place is high tea with the queen.

Yes people who comment here tend to think alike but a lot of the regular commentators actually have deep professional knowledge of what they discuss, people with PHD’s in relevant fields and years of work in health, science and legal fields. For example Michael (Who is our resident anti vaccine pundit) listens (sort of) to Panacea because she lectures in nursing at uni and knows her way around universal precautions. That said while you’re comments will be challenged and you will be asked for proof of them. I urge you to stick around, you don’t have to agree with what’s been said.

@Theresa,

WRT whether specific scientific research is worthy or not, anyone is free to express their opinion and explain the reasons that support it. But the real determination is made by other scientists doing research in the field such as microbiology, immunology or epidemiology. They develop procedures for doing tests reliably like detecting the wild and vaccine strains of measles virus. Wakefield’s doctoral student apparently got this right even though the lab he sent the samples to botched it.

Those scientists also work out ways of studying the effect of different factors like receiving one or more vaccines or getting the actual disease on health outcomes by performing case-control or cohort studies. And they determine how to analyze the data from those studies. For instance, the DeStefano study that Hooker analyzed for himself was a case-control study.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14754936

But he analyzed it as if it had been a cohort study. And even then he only got a statistically significant result in one small subgroup.

Also, studies with a large, randomly selected population such as the two Hviid studies on the MMR vaccine and the ongoing German KIGGS study are more likely to give results applicable to the general population than a small study of 12 individuals with no control group for comparison.

I think the one researcher commonly cited by antivaxxers who has some scientific credibility is Aaby, who has made a career out of searching health records following the introduction of vaccines in various countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Papua-New Guinea and looking for general effects. Even though his studies lack enough detail such as actual cause of death to assess the importance of his results, they can generate useful hypotheses for future research such as that done by Hviid and the KIGGS group.

Perhaps you can help us learn more by suggesting a couple studies that you think are worthy?

Also, you did not answer my question on why the only increase in autism was among the less than a dozen black boys who were vaccinated late. Apparently the formatting was screwed up the first time, it is fixed now. Now do tell us the most likely scenario in your opinion.

Also, did you know about Child Find before today?

“Neither one of them are out of their depth”? 😂😂😂

These guys are the very epitome of Dunning-Kruger.

I was intrigued, though, by simmering you said, “That doesn’t mean I believe all vaccines are bad either.” OK, I’ll bite. Which vaccines, in your opinion, are not bad? Which ones are safe and effective? Which ones would you recommend that parents give their children?

Your arrogance and condescension does not inspire anyone to engage with you. There is nothing I could say that wouldn’t be met with contempt unless I were to kiss your ass.

Not true for you. Maybe true for Del Bigtree and RFK Jr., but that’s because their long history of antivax activities has earned my contempt.

Here is the thing, you made a claim. It is up to you to support that claim. In short: don’t say stuff that you can’t back up with actual evidence.

So, Theresa, do you have an answer to Orac’s question?

Answer for the rest of us even if you don’t want to answer him directly. If you can, that is. Can you?

The whole point of science is that it’s NOT a matter of opinion. Facts are determined by evidence, and if the evidence is not on your side, you’re simply wrong. Period.

That’s true only for those who worship at the alter of science. Scientific findings are changing every day. To say “the science is settled” is not the statement of a true scientist because they are always questioning and looking. Plus, scientists can be downright stupid, make mistakes and be bought. So why would you expect people to NOT question something so important? How many times has your doctor given you different advice based on different findings? It’s simply not as simple as “science”.

It’s more correct to say that scientific knowledge evolves over time, rather than changes. That’s the nature of science; it take awhile to answer many questions because of how the process works.

But at a certain point, science does get to an answer, and after that new knowledge is mere refinement of what we knew before. That’s why evolution is settled science, though we continue to learn more about how the process works. That’s why climate science is settled science, even though we’re still learning nuances about how the process works, whether or not we can influence it to avoid the worst consequences, or how. That’s why vaccine science is settled science; we might come up with new adjuvants, and will come up with new vaccines but the overall safety and efficacy are not in doubt, and it is accepted among everyone who is not a crackpot that vaccines do not cause autism.

But if you manage to come up with real, verifiable evidence to the contrary you can get people to listen. Just expected to be questioned heavily and proof demanded. When you’re not willing to provide that, that’s when you get laughed out of the room.

How many times has your doctor given you different advice based on different findings?

It’s true, it took her a while to unify V. plana with a meniscal tear, but by gum, the woman’s a genius.

Science Mom – Cute name.

Glad you think so but what has it got to do with anything?

I don’t believe Del is lying, nor is Bobby Kennedy. Neither one of them are out of their depth.

Oh they lie consistently even though they appear to be true believers. What is their particular expertise? Last I checked, they were an unemployed TV producer and former environmental lawyer, respectively.

The trouble is, people on both sides have their minds made up and everyone who thinks differently is stupid or evil.

Actually the trouble is, people thinking that there is “both sides” and there isn’t.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. And that’s ALL it is, an opinion.

This is precisely why there isn’t “both sides”. There are evidence and facts and there is opinion. They’re not comparable nor in competition.

@Shelly – Shelly – I’ll respond to you because you don’t come across like a mad dog on the attack. As someone who sincerely wants to understand both sides of this issue, this is CLEARLY not the place to do that. The arrogance, condescension and insults from your colleagues/friends or whatever they are do not inspire either confidence or interest in listening to them. Has anyone ever wondered why so many people have no faith in the medical profession? Has anyone ever wondered why so many people are listening to Del Bigtree and Bobby Kennedy rather than their doctors? They are the result, NOT the cause. People are sick and tired of the exact attitude I’m witnessing here on this blog. No wonder the anti-vax movement is gaining so many followers. No one here will even acknowledge there IS another side to this issue. Maybe they are the ones who aren’t terribly bright.

I don’t disagree that you can’t argue with “good” science. That seems to be where a lot of the issues arise. Whose version of “good” science do you listen to? The pro-vaxers discredit any science and scientists that don’t agree with them and the anti-vaxers discredit any science that doesn’t fit in with their beliefs. There are more and more doctors coming out against vaccines, or at least their overuse. Many of them will confide quietly to patients because this whole thing has become so acrimonious many are afraid for their job security. That’s a damn shame. I know many here will pounce on me but I believe the bottom line is whether or not to vaccinate is between a doctor and patient. Nobody else has any business getting in the middle.

I don’t know who or what AoA is. I have been in some anti-vax groups and seen the sheer stupidity exhibited so, yes, I understand what you’re saying. And those groups can get like this place with the attacks if you dare to disagree or even question. Honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two sides. There needs to be a middle ground. Yes, I have gotten the impression most, if not all, in this forum are either in the medical profession or something similar. That doesn’t mean anything really, even less after seeing the chumps in here. Only the truly ignorant are this arrogant. I have first hand contact with a lot of PhD’s and have had many unfortunate experiences with ignorant MD’s; I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say I know there is a lot they don’t know. One of the PhD’s I know is a retired scientist with the CDC. He has a very low opinion of his former employer and has often expounded on the many shortcomings. I think a recurring theme among people questioning vaccines is they have seen the mistakes and lack of knowledge on the part of the people in whose hands they put their lives. Many, many people do not trust their doctors anymore, often with very good reason. There are more chronic illnesses than ever and the medical care is abysmal. But they know it all.

You say I’ll be asked for proof to back up my comments. LOL I stated in the beginning that I was here to learn more about why you think vaccines are so safe. I’m trying to follow both sides and learn (and yes there IS another side whether they get that or not). So while I have read some studies, listened to a LOT of experts from both sides of the issue, I don’t have a lot of time to be digging up studies for every comment I make. I believe that means I do not belong here because clearly there is no room for anyone who doesn’t buy into everything that’s being pushed here. Frankly, you’re the first one who has responded cordially and I thank you for that. The rest here aren’t worth the time it takes to type an FU.

Apologies for the rushed and possibly redundant response. Holiday weekend and company. Thank you again for the civility and the invitation to stay. I don’t know how you can stand it in here.

Has anyone ever wondered why so many people are listening to Del Bigtree and Bobby Kennedy rather than their doctors? They are the result, NOT the cause.

Facts not in evidence (and rather easily disproved), and there seems to be some sort of temporal paradox as written.

Theresa, for someone who wants “civility”, you certainly don’t encourage it. However, perhaps I can suggest a change in our approach, something along the lines of “suffering fools gladly”.

@TBruce – Encourage civility? And what would that look like in here? Sorry TBruce. I started out civil but I’m not going to be civil to little men making derisive, condescending comments and thinly veiled challenges just so they can say “gotcha”. I wanted to have a conversation, ask some questions, but that’s clearly not possible in here. The minute I defended Del I was toast in this space. I won’t suffer fools gladly either and this space looks to be full of them. I’ve seen several mentions of the Dunning-Kruger effect and this space is a perfect example of that. Lots of overly inflated egos and superiority. You can have it.

“Thinly veiled”? Look, falling back on effective tone trolling isn’t going to give. your putative exit more oomph.

Theresa,
I’m not sure there is a middle ground with the vaccine debate. There IS good science. The Danish cohort study showed no increase in autism amongst vaccinated children as opposed to unvaccinated and they looked at over 500 thousand children over eight years. Numerous studies have shown a decrease in morbidly and mortality amongst populations following the introduction of vaccinations for preventable diseases including this one from 2007:
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/articlepdf/209448/joc70121_2155_2163.pdf

About vaccines being between you and your doctor that’s not entirely correct. Vaccination certainly protects you from many diseases, but there are individuals in the community who are either too young or suffering from medical conditions which mean that they are unable to be immunised against diseases, think whooping cough in tiny babies (to whom it can be fatal). So we have to think of these people when we think about vaccinations too.

I think that the anti vaccine crowd are pushing misinformation and scare mongering vulnerable populations and they know it. Particular insidious is the belief that vaccine pundits like to encourage that vaccines preventable diseases are no more a risk to your health than a bad cold, there not, they can and do kill.

You are right to ask questions about vaccines and push for data from BOTH sides. This blog is actually a good place to do this, people ARE passionately pro vaccination (for the most part) but if you ask they will explain and provide links to relevant data sources, yes they will reply to any silly statement with “citation needed” but you can do that too. Just don’t get Orac started on integrative medicine.

Theresa: “I don’t believe Del is lying, nor is Bobby Kennedy. Neither one of them are out of their depth. That doesn’t mean I believe all vaccines are bad either.”

Which vaccines on the pediatric schedule would you agree are good choices for parents to get for their children?* And if there are any, why those?

*standard question (rarely answered) for anyone who says something like “I’m not antivaccine, but…”.

So why would I get into a “gotcha” question with you? But I’ll bite, just this once. In my own opinion and if I were doing this again I would never get the numbers of vaccines they are giving kids now. For example, I would never give my newborn Hep B. I would space them out more. I would also like to see them go back to single ingredient vaccines instead of the combinations. There is not a medication in existence that doesn’t have some type of synergistic effect when combined with a second one. That’s a very condensed version so now you may proceed to pick me apart.

OK, that’s fair. You would vaccinate less. You would seek out single ingredient vaccines

NOW, why do you believe that these steps would make vaccination safer than the standard schedule? What sources lead you to believe this? Are there studies that show that a more drawn out schedule has superior results? That single vaccines work better or are safer? Whom do you cite – either research-wise or as a medical/ scientific guide? A name is alright, you needn’t cite specifics

You know, the schedule was not just created arbitrarily without research.
HOWEVER those who object to it have their own reasons.

Alright, then. Which vaccines would you eliminate from the schedule and why, other than hep B? Which would you keep? Realized that that bit about synergistic detrimental effects combining vaccines is a generalization you are making with no evidence, though.

It’s also against the way combination vaccines are tested. Combination vaccines need to meet non-inferiority criteria to be licensed: they have to be at least as safe and as effective as the individual vaccines. The only exception I know of is that MMRV has more febrile seizures than MMR and V.

There is not a medication in existence that doesn’t have some type of synergistic effect when combined with a second one.

This is one of the silliest things I have ever read, and it suggests that you consider “medications” to be some sort of psychic blob. It definitely reveals that you don’t know what “synergistic” means.

Theresa “I would space them out more. I would also like to see them go back to single ingredient vaccines instead of the combinations. ”

Why? How does the vaccine recipient benefit from more injections?
Which diseases would you prefer to risk for the longer length of time?

@Theresa: Are you following a “Dr. Sears” or a “Dr. Thomas” schedule?

I don’t believe Del is lying, nor is Bobby Kennedy. Neither one of them are out of their depth.

Not lying? Okay, delusional,then. Works for me.

As far as being out of their depth, neither has any scientific or medical education whatsoever. If they claim to overturn
accepted scientific and medical knowledge, they need to present good solid evidence for their claims. They have nothing except hot air.

Theresa asks,

Why am I unable to reply to certain comments?

MJD says,

If a comment does not have a “Reply,” option, search above for the nearest “Reply” option. It’s helpful if you reference the comment you wish to apply respectful insolence towards. Narad is an excellent resource if you need more information on the reply idiosyncrasy.

WordPress only lets the reply level to go so deep before it stops. After that, you have to use the next level up and maybe add a statement like @ X individual to make sure people know who you’re talking to.

@Theresa Antivax papers are fraudulent, use ridiculously high dose, lack controls and/or are full of plausible hypotheses not proved. If you know a better paper, you can cite it. But please give citations one by one. This helps discussion.
Antivax critique is based on mistakes, like forgetting that longer cohort time means more diagnoses, or crying nonexistent conflict of interest. Again, you can cite a good critique.

… how antivaxers misuse VAERS …

Not only that, but they built their own VAERS interface that appears to have a built-in antivaxx bias, as it comes up with significantly more adverse events than the official VAERS database.
E.g. on several occasions, I found that the antivaxx version listed more than twice the number of deaths of the official version with identical input information. And yes, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t make any mistakes – but it would of course be nice if others could check and possibly confirm my findings – it would appear that the antivaxx crowd now tries poisoning and distorting even the actual information from VAERS itself.

I don’t believe anti-vaxers actually read any of the VAERS reports they claim to cite.

For instance, there are at least two (that I found) reports that boil down to “a friend of a friend died from a vaccine 20+ years ago.”

My personal favorite is the “109 people died from neurotoxic vaccines” – which lists no names, no dates, no places, and no other information besides the narrative.

no names, no dates, no places, and no other information besides the narrative

Yup, and even if they offer factual information from e.g. VAERS, they usually leave out essential information, like the fact that many causes of death can’t possibly be related to vaccines. I recall finding several cases of drowning among purported ‘vaccine deaths’ — which elicits all sorts of weird images of babies being administered vaccines by the gallon…
In other words: it’s cherry picking and lying by omission as usual with the antivaccine prophets…

@ Richard,
But because of the vaccines, those babies weren’t able to swim. Without vaccinations, they would be able to swim like fish.

When I built my models with data pulled from VAERS downloads, I created a process to highlight duplicates and break out single filings that contained multiple vaccines. Two databases had to combined to make a single useable model. The model made it easier to look at both specific events or specific vaccines. And yes, I could have easily inflated numbers if I wanted.

For the most part, it was a huge waste of time, but I now have a great understanding of how VAERS and the individual Wonder filings work. Using VAERS to cite dangers is dishonest and/or ignorant.

Not only that, but they built their own VAERS interface that appears to have a built-in antivaxx bias, as it comes up with significantly more adverse events than the official VAERS database.

The Babs version has the “All Locations” switch turned on, so it pulls in some overseas reports. I forget the details, but I’m running late for an appointment and can’t look it up now unless I want to look and stink like a goat.

Theresa: “So why would I get into a “gotcha” question with you? But I’ll bite, just this once. In my own opinion and if I were doing this again I would never get the numbers of vaccines they are giving kids now.”

I don’t know why you view my question as a “gotcha”. It’s very simple, To repeat:

“Which vaccines on the pediatric schedule would you agree are good choices for parents to get for their children?* And if there are any, why those?”

People who proclaim they are not antivaccine (but reel off antivaccine tropes) have extreme difficulty responding to such questions.

You say you wouldn’t give hep B vaccine to newborns. OK then – what vaccines should children get?

If you’re unwilling to answer this question it’s reasonable to conclude you’re an antivaxer and have a strong antipathy to immunizations in general.

Yep. Antivaxers never give a straight answer to this question, making it a good screening tool to identify antivaxers. When someone actually tried to give a straight answer to this question, even if it’s wrong or based on bad science, I then entertain the possibility that this person might well not be an antivaxer.

Oh, sometimes they answer it. Their answer is usually HepB and/or varicella. Because chicken pox is not that bad, doncha know. Sure, unless the child is a baby under a year old… then it is just misery with a chance of stroke.

Remember the case report from Seattle Children’s about a child under a year old who got a stroke due to chicken pox? That same hospital just admitted a six month old with measles, after exposing the emergency department: https://mynorthwest.com/1395853/baby-confirmed-measles-case-seattle-childrens/

I’m not going to be civil to little men making derisive, condescending comments and thinly veiled challenges just so they can say “gotcha”

Little men? I’m pretty sure that at least half of the commenters here are women,.

. I wanted to have a conversation, ask some questions, but that’s clearly not possible in here.

Bullcrap. You came blundering in, all belligerent and sarcastic, dismissing factual statements as “opinion”, and you want a conversation? Give me a break.

The minute I defended Del I was toast in this space.

Boo hoo. Poor “Del”. On an first name basis with “Del”, are you? Poor you.

Yeah, I am always amused when I am told I am a condescending little man. Especially when I tell them I had to take care of a six month old baby with chicken pox, and ask them why a baby should get chicken pox.

“I’m pretty sure that at least half of the commenters here are women”

Little Women, most likely.

@TBruce
Director, Global Vaccine External Communications at GSK…is this you TBruce? Probably just a coincidence.

Go ahead and investigate. There’s plenty of information about me if you search this blog. Enjoy wasting your time.

Yeah right,
we here at RI all know that TBruce is a thinly veiled reference to TRex which OBVIOUSLY designates Marc Bolan which of course is another way of writing BOb DyLAN.
or so I’ve heard.

Thanks for all of your great work in both music and pathology, “Bob”/ Bruce

Thank you, Denice, for the kind words. I do attempt the guitar and piano, but I am nowhere in the same league (galaxy,whatever) as my anagram namesakes.

Here’s a factoid from one of Kennedy’s talks: The follow up in the study of newborns getting the Hep B vaccine was for less than a week (5 days) before the committee approved it’s addition to the schedule. Bigtree has also mentioned this, but I give him less credence than Kennedy because I find his exaggerations to be more frequent than Kennedy’s. Is anyone able to provide me with a citation giving evidence of the CDC committee relying on a longer study before making that recommendation? Is this statement true or false?

Perhaps you should look up that citation, because you apparently care more about RJK, jr’s ramblings more that most of us do.

Here’s a video where Kennedy makes that claim: It’s towards the end, in the corruption of the CDC vaccine committee section. Feel free not to bother actually listening to what he has to say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUjrKBxdI9o&fbclid=IwAR0hYpCiy5ZKhWDdwD15cmTp56I8Ae4_ztduPYaC6fCiJXXwU_mdejRQB0Q&app=desktop

If you meant, instead, by ‘looking up that citation’ that I should look up the data verifying that claim, Kennedy provides references and links on his website to the original studies. I think this particular information was obtained via one of his FOIA lawsuits, but what I’m interested in is a citation that would provide a counterexample. Do you know of one?

Frankly, I find it a rather disturbing factoid, but also one that fits with my memory of researching that vaccine back in 1999 when my youngest was born. I was appalled at the significant financial conflicts of interest regarding the committee members at that time.

Assuming this factoid is false, there should be documentation in the form of studies dated prior to the recommendation that were done on giving Hep B to newborns and then following the infants for adverse reactions for longer periods of time. If I don’t see evidence to the contrary, this is something I’m willing to believe Kennedy is telling the truth about.

What makes you think we would be impressed by a video of him making that claim?

You literally told us to look up that claim to verify it when you said: “Is anyone able to provide me with a citation giving evidence of the CDC committee relying on a longer study before making that recommendation? Is this statement true or false?”

No, if you want that done… do it yourself. Essentially, if you want something done… do it yourself. I am sure you have also told your kids that you will not do their homework for them.

I will tell you that the HepB vaccine was originally given to vulnerable adults in 1986, but that did not work. In 1991 it became a universal vaccine for infants. You can read about it in the following link. There are several links to sites there, but you may have to look if some have been moved in the last ten years:
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/why-universal-hepatitis-b-vaccination-isnt-quite-universal/

That should also give you a timeline to look at ACIP meeting minutes, which seem to change location every five years or so. The CDC Pink Book chapter on hepatitis b may have some of the bibliography. But again, if you want that info… go it yourself. Good luck.

There is also a study on VAERS reports of the HepB vaccine between 1991 and 1998. The most important take-away from that study is that co-sleeping with an infant is dangerous: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/348303

@ Chris – Thank you for your link. Unfortunately, the linked paper was published in 1999, so it doesn’t qualify as information that would have been available to the CDC vaccine committee when they made their original recommendation for newborns to get the Hep B vaccine. Since you didn’t link any papers that would meet that qualification, I’m going to presume that you, like me, couldn’t find any studies that showed that claim to be false.

@Dangerous Bacon – I’m not sure why you think what you posted answered my question, but it doesn’t. There is no indication in that copy pasta of any study that followed newborns for more than 5 days being used by the CDC vaccine committee. To answer your question, all vaccines come with inherent risks so none are completely safe. Some vaccines are worth the risks given the benefits they provide, but that decision should always be made on an individual basis. Personally, I found vaccines for contagious diseases such as measles, pertussis, diphtheria, etc. well worth the risks for my own children, but then no one in my family ever suffered a worse than expected adverse reaction nor did my kids have any medical conditions that made vaccination more dangerous than normal.

@doritmi – Thank you for attempting to answer my question. Assuming Kennedy and Bigtree are using the same source, I’m not sure how what you wrote contradicts what Kennedy claimed regarding the information available before the CDC vaccine committee made their recommendation. Newborns were monitored for adverse events for only five days after the initial dose. Why do you feel this is a “misreading” of the study in question? Do you know of any sources that the CDC would have used, prior to making their recommendation, that actively monitored newborns for more than five days after getting the Hep B vaccine?

“Thank you for your link. Unfortunately, the linked paper was published in 1999, so it doesn’t qualify as information that would have been available to the CDC vaccine committee when they made their original recommendation for newborns to get the Hep B vaccine”

I expected you to check its bibliography. The ACIP minutes should also give you a bibliography. Do try to do your own homework.

@ squirrelelite Thank you, but the study you linked – assuming it is the one Chris referred to – was designed to look at efficacy, not safety, and didn’t look at newborns but children under 2yo. Chris also indicated there was a study of 26 neonates for 24 months, but that would likewise be a study for efficacy, not safety, as 26 infants would be insufficient for a safety study. These studies do not contradict Kennedy’s factoid that I found concerning. I’m not sure why you and others keep posting information about studies that were done after the recommendation was made as my question is regarding the information available to the CDC committee at the time they made their recommendation that newborns should receive the Hep B vaccination. Is there any safety study available at that time that followed newborns for more than 5 days as Kennedy claimed? I have yet to see anything that contradicts his claim. It seems to me that if there was such a study, the people here would be posting links to it to conclusively demonstrate the wrongness of that claim. At this point, my tentative conclusion is that it is a factual claim on his part.

@Beth,

From 2006 to 2016, the U.S. administered 173 million doses of the hepatitis b with only 76 cases of adverse effects meriting compensation from the VICP, a rate of about 1 in 2.5 million. That makes it one of the safer vaccines on our list of recommendations.

Why do you think we should ignore that safety record and go back to square zero to assess its safety?

Or are you mimicking Kennedy’s legal approach of looking for minor technical violation of procedures so he can justify overturning the ACIP recommendation?

What do you personally think is the biggest safety concern with the Hep B vaccine and what research is that based on?

I posted below re your general claim. As to my point, if you monitor babies for five days as they are brought back three times over six months, you would have data on the babies for six months and five days.

Does that help clarify?

I would add that efficacy studies routinely also keep data on safety.

Alex, I would like to take “Kennedy doing some cherry-picking” for $100 please.

Prior to the vaccine becoming available for use in the US there had already been more than 5 years of testing in humans. There were numerous studies including the Szmuness et al. double blind trial on over 1000 gay men in the US, the Maupas et al. trial of more than 600 young children in Senegal and the Barin et al. study of 26 neonates in Senegal followed for 24 months published in the scientific literature. There was already plenty of evidence available for the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in humans.

“Alex, I would” like to take “Kennedy doing some cherry-picking” for $100 please.”

Oh, come on! The man is still hung up on “mercury in vaccines”! First it was thimerosal, which is a compound and not the element mercury. Second there was no evidence it caused harm. And third it was essentially removed twenty years ago.

The man is not just a day late, but well over a decade late! Actually two decades late!

A. Your claim was “the committee had a study of newborns for less than five days before adding it to the schedule.”

I’m still waiting for a citation on that. This is a pretty specific claim, and I think asking people to go look it up without a citation is unreasonable. You are making the claim. Bring the citaiton. “Kennedy has it on his cite, so go look for a counter for me without me actually giving you a way to factcheck” is problematic.

B. You were provided multiple citations on hepatitis B safety in spite of your lack of direct reference, and rejected them all. This is a factor of your choice not to actually and properly provide the claim you want examined.
You are welcome to either provide the actual source, or accept the evidence on hepatitis B vaccine safety. Do you understand why asking people to fact check a claim you are not properly citing is problematic?

My claim was only that Mr. Kennedy had made that statement, not that the statement was true. I have rejected the evidence regarding the safety of hepatitis B because I’m not questioning the safety of the vaccine, I’m questioning whether Mr. Kennedy’s statement was true. I thought that if it was false, posters here would be able to provide a counterexample showing that. So far, I have not seen any such counterexamples so I am tentatively accepting it as true.

Regarding your clarification, my understanding is that similar monitoring (5 days) was done after the second and third doses, which does not make his statement regarding the length of follow up of newborns false. If an infant in that study suffered a health problem between the 5 day window after the first dose and the next dose, it would not automatically be identified as a potential adverse reaction to the vaccine. Any infant that developed serious health issues in the intervening time would result in that infant not receiving later doses and thus not being included in the later follow ups. If this is an incorrect interpretation of that study, please correct my misunderstanding.

So you are not questioning the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine, right?

You just want us to fact-check RFK, Jr’s miscellaneous claims for you?

I’m sure you are quite capable of doing that for yourself.

So you are not questioning the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine, right?

This seems to be squishy:

I have rejected the evidence regarding the safety of hepatitis B because I’m not questioning the safety of the vaccine, I’m questioning whether Mr. Kennedy’s statement was true.”

I mean, I think I know what she means, but it’s a blobular way to put it.

To all of you here … Children are precious ..and all this nit picking between.you all… Question vaccine ingredients his insanity ? and how many vaccines are given these days insanity .. when I was a child I had three vaccines we had the child illnesses chicken pox measles the deadly measles god forbid German measles and and all my brother sisters yes and all are here today and most of our age group are ,,we had parties to get these illnesses .. my god where We have come to day and the whole issue of vaccines the holy grail of medicine and it’s not there always side effects to most things
.,, and get this in to your heads we are not antivax people.. !!!! this his what what Need to look at ?? none vaccinated are they healthier to vaccinated that’s the big question here and what his the problem with that my friend has five grandchildren none where vaccinated and they the healthiest kids I have ever seen never go to see a Doctor … parents of today are scared to death by the medical media your kids will die if you don’t vaccinate (( not true )) so stop nit picking and lets gets some answers there his a survey on none vaccinated to vaccinated wouldn’t you all like to know the out come I know would …

Who is doing the survey and how do the methods compare with this study?

https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Health_Monitoring/Health_Reporting/GBEDownloadsJ/Journal-of-Health-Monitoring_01_2018_KiGGS-Wave2_first_results.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

What medical media has parents “scared to death”?

Is it not true that 4-500 children were dying of measles each year in the U.S. for a decade before the introduction of the measles vaccine? And that many people have died in several European countries that have experienced major outbreaks in the last decade?

“…parents of today are scared to death by the medical media your kids will die if you don’t vaccinate (( not true ))”

Wrong, parents are being frightened by websites that literally lie to them. Those include any that are associated with Wakefield and Bigtree.

To all of you here … Children are precious

Meh. Those grotty little nails creep me out.

Carol:

Can you resend the above message? There appear to have been some technical difficulties with it, resulting in garbling. I think we are in basic agreement that it is wonderful that children today are protected from diseases that you and I had to suffer through (I wish I had had a chicken pox vaccination, so that I would not be at risk of shingles today (fortunately,there is now a shingles vaccine)). We also agree that nitpicking about the specific ethical, moral and mental defects of the pro-disease side (you’re right that calling them “Anti-Vax” is wrong – they are pro-disease) is pointless (although I don’t agree with calling them “insane” – even the former drug-addict RFKJr. is not insane). We need instead to make sure that as many children as possible are made safe from the diseases that the pro-diseasers are encouraging the spread of. I recommend donating to “Every Child By 2” – I make a donation every year.

Wonderful, Beth is back Just Asking Questions.

Antivaxers love targeting hepatitis B vaccination, so they can sell the line that Evil Pharma is targeting innocent newborns with a vaccine against a disease that we all know only drug abusers and the sexually promiscuous get, not innocent widdle babies. The reality of transmission to infants from adults who are unaware they are infected, and prospective lifelong incurable liver disease, complications and cancer must not be broached, along with evidence that the vaccine is effective – and safe. From the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices:

“Hepatitis B vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe when administered to infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Since 1982, an estimated >60 million adolescents and adults and >40 million infants and children have been vaccinated in the United States.

The most frequently reported side effects among persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine are pain at the injection site (3%–29%) and fever >99.9° F (>37.7° C) (1%–6%) (156,157). However, in placebo-controlled studies, these side effects were reported no more frequently among persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine than among persons receiving placebo (87). Administration of hepatitis B vaccine soon after birth has not been associated with an increased rate of elevated temperatures or microbiologic evaluations for possible sepsis in the first 21 days of life (158).
Adverse Events

A causal association has been established between receipt of hepatitis B vaccine and anaphylaxis (159). On the basis of data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project, the estimated incidence of anaphylaxis among children and adolescents who received hepatitis B vaccine is one case per 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed (95% confidence interval = 0.1–3.9) (160).

Early postlicensure surveillance of adverse events suggested a possible association between Guillain-Barré syndrome and receipt of the first dose of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine among U.S. adults (161). However, in a subsequent analysis of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases reported to CDC, FDA, and vaccine manufacturers, among an estimated 2.5 million adults who received >1 dose of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine during 1986–1990, the rate of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurring after hepatitis B vaccination did not exceed the background rate among unvaccinated persons (CDC, unpublished data, 1992). A review by persons with clinical expertise concluded that evidence was insufficient to reject or accept a causal association between Guillain-Barré syndrome and hepatitis B vaccination (159,162).

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has not been reported after hepatitis B vaccination among children. However, one retrospective case-control study (163,164) reported an association between hepatitis B vaccine and MS among adults. Multiple other studies (165–168) have demonstrated no association between hepatitis B vaccine and MS. Reviews of these data by panels of persons with clinical expertise have favored rejection of a causal association between hepatitis B vaccination and MS (169,170).

Chronic illnesses that have been reported in rare instances after hepatitis B vaccination include chronic fatigue syndrome (171), neurologic disorders (e.g., leukoencephalitis, optic neuritis, and transverse myelitis) (172–174), rheumatoid arthritis (175,176), type 1 diabetes (177), and autoimmune disease (178). No evidence of a causal association between these conditions or other chronic illnesses and hepatitis B vaccine has been demonstrated (159,169,170,179–182).

Reported episodes of alopecia (hair loss) after rechallenge with hepatitis B vaccine suggest that vaccination might, in rare cases, trigger episodes of alopecia (183). However, a population-based study determined no statistically significant association between alopecia and hepatitis B vaccine (184).

No evidence exists of a causal association between hepatitis B vaccination, including administration of the birth dose, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other causes of death during the first year of life (185–187). Infant death rates, including rates of SIDS, declined substantially in the United States during the 1990s, coincident with an increase in infant hepatitis B vaccination coverage from <1% to >90% and implementation of efforts to reduce SIDS through infant sleep positioning and separation from other persons in bed (188).

The safety of hepatitis B vaccine and other vaccines is assessed continuously through ongoing monitoring of data from VSD, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), and other surveillance systems. Any adverse events after vaccination should be reported to VAERS; report forms and assistance are available from CDC at telephone 1-800-822-7967 or at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov.”

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5416a1.htm?s_cid=rr5416a1_e

Additional response to Big Del (and by extension, Little Bobby):

https://vaccinesworkblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/hepatitis-b-vaccine-is-safe-necessary/

Did we ever ask Beth Not-An-Antivaxer Clarkson which vaccines she thinks are safe and necessary? Any?

Wonderful, Beth is back Just Asking Questions.

Antivaxers just love targeting hepatitis B vaccination, as it is obviously a plot by Big Pharma to target precious newborns with a vaccine against a disease that we all know only drug abusers and promiscuous people get, and there is never never a risk of transmission to infants by those unaware that they’re infected, causing lifelong liver disease with risk of serious complications including cancer. And it must never be conceded that ample studies demonstrate the vaccine is safe – and effective. From ACIP:

“Hepatitis B vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe when administered to infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Since 1982, an estimated >60 million adolescents and adults and >40 million infants and children have been vaccinated in the United States.

The most frequently reported side effects among persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine are pain at the injection site (3%–29%) and fever >99.9° F (>37.7° C) (1%–6%) (156,157). However, in placebo-controlled studies, these side effects were reported no more frequently among persons receiving hepatitis B vaccine than among persons receiving placebo (87). Administration of hepatitis B vaccine soon after birth has not been associated with an increased rate of elevated temperatures or microbiologic evaluations for possible sepsis in the first 21 days of life (158).
Adverse Events

A causal association has been established between receipt of hepatitis B vaccine and anaphylaxis (159). On the basis of data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project, the estimated incidence of anaphylaxis among children and adolescents who received hepatitis B vaccine is one case per 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed (95% confidence interval = 0.1–3.9) (160).

Early postlicensure surveillance of adverse events suggested a possible association between Guillain-Barré syndrome and receipt of the first dose of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine among U.S. adults (161). However, in a subsequent analysis of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases reported to CDC, FDA, and vaccine manufacturers, among an estimated 2.5 million adults who received >1 dose of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine during 1986–1990, the rate of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurring after hepatitis B vaccination did not exceed the background rate among unvaccinated persons (CDC, unpublished data, 1992). A review by persons with clinical expertise concluded that evidence was insufficient to reject or accept a causal association between Guillain-Barré syndrome and hepatitis B vaccination (159,162).

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has not been reported after hepatitis B vaccination among children. However, one retrospective case-control study (163,164) reported an association between hepatitis B vaccine and MS among adults. Multiple other studies (165–168) have demonstrated no association between hepatitis B vaccine and MS. Reviews of these data by panels of persons with clinical expertise have favored rejection of a causal association between hepatitis B vaccination and MS (169,170).

Chronic illnesses that have been reported in rare instances after hepatitis B vaccination include chronic fatigue syndrome (171), neurologic disorders (e.g., leukoencephalitis, optic neuritis, and transverse myelitis) (172–174), rheumatoid arthritis (175,176), type 1 diabetes (177), and autoimmune disease (178). No evidence of a causal association between these conditions or other chronic illnesses and hepatitis B vaccine has been demonstrated (159,169,170,179–182).

Reported episodes of alopecia (hair loss) after rechallenge with hepatitis B vaccine suggest that vaccination might, in rare cases, trigger episodes of alopecia (183). However, a population-based study determined no statistically significant association between alopecia and hepatitis B vaccine (184).

No evidence exists of a causal association between hepatitis B vaccination, including administration of the birth dose, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other causes of death during the first year of life (185–187). Infant death rates, including rates of SIDS, declined substantially in the United States during the 1990s, coincident with an increase in infant hepatitis B vaccination coverage from <1% to >90% and implementation of efforts to reduce SIDS through infant sleep positioning and separation from other persons in bed (188).

The safety of hepatitis B vaccine and other vaccines is assessed continuously through ongoing monitoring of data from VSD, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), and other surveillance systems. Any adverse events after vaccination should be reported to VAERS; report forms and assistance are available from CDC at telephone 1-800-822-7967 or at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov.”

Additional response to Big Del (and by extension, Little Bobby):

https://vaccinesworkblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/hepatitis-b-vaccine-is-safe-necessary/

By the way, could Beth refresh us on what vaccines she thinks are necessary and safe?

I have not – and do not intend – to watch the full RFK jr. movie, but when Del Bigtree make that point he was misreading a study in the insert in which adverse events were solicited for five days after each dose. That’s after each dose over six months of the study. And solicited does not mean that other things reported that came up were not taken down – just that this was the active monitoring. So even that study was misread, and he ignored the other longer studies in the insert.

Beth is welcome to provide the citations she says RFK jr. gave that impressed her. I suspect they’re subject to similar misreading.

“Wonderful, Beth is back Just Asking Questions.”

And even better, wants us to do her homework for her. Of course what I gave her was inadequate, but silly me…. I thought she knew how to look at a bibliography at the end of a paper.

@Chris – I did look through the bibliography. I didn’t see anything that would contradict the claim Kennedy made. Did you?

You don’t, of course, need bother to answer any of my questions. But it doesn’t make much sense to accuse me of “not doing my homework” for pointing out that the “homework” you suggested I do does not answer the question I asked.

My claim was only that Mr. Kennedy had made that statement, not that the statement was true. I have rejected the evidence regarding the safety of hepatitis B because I’m not questioning the safety of the vaccine, I’m questioning whether Mr. Kennedy’s statement was true.

Beth I have already shown that Kennedy’s statement is untrue. Prior to the vaccine being available in 1982 and well before it was recommended in 1991 there was already published in the scientific literature (Barin et al. 1982) a 24 month study of neonates given the vaccine in Senegal. This would be in addition to unpublished studies.

In the intervening period to 1991, a quick literature search finds numerous other studies of Hep B vaccination of neonates and follow up studies up to 2 years. I stopped looking after the first dozen studies.

What a joke! You think you have the moral high ground? In this sicko-phant echo chamber? Your 20-30 BILLION DOLLAR vaccine business pales in comparison to Del’s measly million from donors. Del has a heart and conscience. I was able to complete the 9 hour Stanley Plotkin deposition, thank you Karen Ernst! Did Karen get fired from Voices for Vaccines? Oh yeah, I forgot, she’s a dedicated volunteer. Truly an eye-opening experience! Four companies consulting and four companies rule over the minions: MERCK, Sanofi Pasteur, GSK and Pfizer. Now can someone explain to me why children in poor countries are given the DTP with it’s known problems while children in 1st world countries are getting the marginally safer TDaP? Are children in Africa and Latin American countries less valuable? Less important? Is it really just saving money? What about saving lives?

You know what really would bring in the money?
Let people get ill, so they need to be in hospital and buy all kinds of medicines.

@Renate We are ill. Americans are an unhealthy bunch. For an industrialized nation we have an unusually high infant mortality rate.

Natalie, does every family have health insurance in the USA? Does everyone have access to medical care? If the answer is no, perhaps you should contact your legislators to fix that. Especially if you are in Texas where the old white men in their legislator have continued the war on women’s health.

ANY infant mortality is too high…but it happens, unfortunately. If you wanna talk about infant mortality, let’s talk about how people don’t feel the need to have 8 children in the hopes that 4 make it to adulthood. We don’t really have that issue anymore, do we? A SUBSTANTIAL part of that is because of vaccines. Babies aren’t dying from infectious diseases at the rate they used to, because as vaccines were introduced, and more people got them, the beautiful thing that is herd (or community) immunity, was able to occur. Granted, many other factors play a part in this also, but to pretend that vaccines aren’t one of, if not THE, biggest reason, I have to assume you’re simply delusional, woefully uneducated, or willfully ignorant….none of which anyone should aspire to be.

Oh look, Natalie is back! And once again you’re throwing block capitals around like they actually mean anything. It warms my heart it really does.

So are you saying that you have a problem with Pharmaceutical companies making money from vaccines but you’re totally okay with Del Bigtree making money from telling people not to use vaccines and lying his merry little heart out in the process? Is that your version of ahem “having the moral high-ground”. I mean is it just about the size of the numbers for you?

While you’re here and we’re discussing people making money from vaccines do you want to discuss Andrew Wakefield’s profiteering (both attempted and successful) yet? Or do you plan on ignoring it (again) and throwing insults and insinuations around like confetti (again) instead?

I mean, I get that you’ve already started doing option two but maybe you’d like to change tack? Just for the sake of variety if nothing else?

Oh look, Natalie is back…

… to trying to change the subject when yet another hoary, shrieked trope falls by the wayside.

@moto. Anyone who questions the vaccine religion is at odds with the majority. Do you think it is enjoyable being on the outside? Chastized? Most of us asking questions were once wholehearted participants, believers…then either we are injured or a loved one is injured and we start reading, asking questions. When we go to our doctors and report, “The only thing that was different is I had ________vaccine.” At this point, most are gas lighted and told, “It’s not the vaccine” and that part of the medical history is ignored. So, you think your doctor knows what’s best, but then it happens again. Then you start talking to others and realize it has happened to them. I was questioning the practice of vaccine stacking before I was even aware of Andrew Wakefield.

“Your 20-30 BILLION DOLLAR vaccine business pales in comparison to Del’s measly million…”

Interesting comparison. Perhaps you can tell all about the economics of disease prevention. Do tell us how much money this country would save if it ceases MMR vaccination versus treating measles, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome. Just please prove this economic study is wrong:
https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/189/Supplement_1/S131/821190

“Four companies consulting and four companies rule over the minions: MERCK, Sanofi Pasteur, GSK and Pfizer. ”

You can thank the lawsuits in the 1970s and 1980s on the pertussis vaccine for that. They were prompted by the bad reporting by Lea Thompson, and horrible book by Barbara Loe Fisher and Harris Coulter (a Russian translater and homeopath). Many vaccine manufacturers just decided to close up shop.

Turned out those seizures were not caused by the vaccine, but by a variety of genetic problems. There is a large research study going on to find more. If you actually cared about kids then you would encourage families to participate: https://sparkforautism.org/discover/

“Now can someone explain to me why children in poor countries are given the DTP with it’s known problems while children in 1st world countries are getting the marginally safer TDaP?”l

Actually in the USA young children get the DTaP, older children get the Tdap.

Because they are different countries with their own programs and manufacturers. If you do not like it, then appeal to the World Health Organization and find a way to funnel more money to those immunization efforts.

No one life is worth more than another which is why your advocating for people living in poor countries is admirable. Perhaps you could petition vaccine manufacturers to supply their vaccines to poor countries at reduced rates?

The death rates in the developing world from vaccine preventable diseases is far, far to high. I’ve appended a study on the lives that could be saved by extending vaccine coverage in third world countries. The numbers are staggering; children are dying of preventable diseases we almost never see here such as tetanus, dyptheria and infectious gastroenteritis.

Wouldn’t you agree that in countries where basic medical care is scarce and the effects of poverty on health are most profound it is vital that all children have access to immunisation against these childhood killers?

https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/182/9/791/96333

Now can someone explain to me why children in poor countries are given the DTP with it’s known problems while children in 1st world countries [sic] are getting the marginally safer TDaP?

Children younger than 7 get DTaP. Adults get Tdap (I’ve had three in the past few years) or Td. I frankly don’t know whether DTP is still manufactured anywhere; it should be, as it offers better protection against pertussis.

” Your 20-30 BILLION DOLLAR vaccine business pales in comparison to Del’s measly million from donors.”

Interesting. There are over 50,000 pediatricians in the United States – all of whom must be being bribed, if you are right. If we divide 30 billion dollars (or even “30 BILLION DOLLARS”), the result is less than a million dollars per doctor – and of course, there are far more people in the industry than the pediatricians – and those people must be being bribed as well. Why are so many people working for so little money, when Del has shown us all that there’s a lot more money in hysterical accusations about the dangers of vaccines?

@math – Aren’t pediatricians and primary care providers given incentives through insurance companies to maintain a certain rate of vaccination? I thought in the U.S. this was practiced. Del’s not in it for the money. He has a heart and conscience and felt compelled to do something after hearing story upon story of children becoming injured after vaccination. He would have made more and had to do far less if he remained with the establishment and continued his career on TV in production.

Why do you think health insurance companies encourage vaccination? Is it cheaper to prevent diseases or to treat them?

Now come up with that economic analysis that shows we would all be better off if the MMR vaccine was removed the vaccine schedule.

I’m afraid you’ve underestimated the number of people who need to be paid off – if you count the pediatric nurses and the pediatric doctors you get closer to 250,000 people. If Big Pharas used all of its money for nothing but bribing doctors, all they could afford is about a 100,000 per doctor or nurse – leaving no profits for Big Pharma at all. Selling one’s conscience to “Big Antivax” as Del did, seems like a much more lucrative endeavor – you don’t need to go to medical school, work 12 hours days, or care for children whose maladies are heartbreaking. All you need to do is kill your conscience (Dear Natalie assures us that Del has (or had) one), and lie about vaccines, and the money apparently comes rolling in. I don’t know why more doctors don’t get on the antivax gravy train – if you have no shame, and are indifferent to the suffering of children, there seems to be no downside to selling the antivax garbage*.

*sometimes I wonder how much Big Pharma pay Del and Natalie – Big Pharma lost a lot of money was smallpox was exterminated by vaccines – the smallpox vaccine makes no money anymore, and the money they got for treating smallpox is also gone — so perhaps Big Pharma is playing it smart this time. Whenever a disease gets too close to being exterminated, they pay off Del or Wakefield or Natalie to make sure that polio and measles remain around to cripple and kill (and make sure the money keeps flowing in).

He would have made more and had to do far less if he remained with the establishment and continued his career on TV in production.

You are assuming he had a choice there.

@Natalie You keep repeating that Del Bigtree “has a heart and conscience”, I wonder which of those he was using when he deliberately misrepresented the words of a mentally ill CDC employee to further his cause? Maybe he really is a credulous fool who has bought Wakefield’s bullcrap and swallowed it whole but I doubt it.

I also seriously doubt he was in a position to make more as a TV producer – he has only two halfway notable credits to his name. As segment producer on Dr. Phil – typical salaries for segment producers are ~ $84k and it was probably less as a producer on The Doctors (a show I’ve only heard of due to it’s connection with him), and based on that being produced by Paramount in LA this gives us a typical salary of about $81.5k

So both of those gigs were likely to be paying significantly less<i/i> then he pays himself at ICAN – and I expect that he’s taking fees for his speaking engagements etc on top of that. All for very little actual work from what I can see.

I don’t begrudge someone making a living – but let’s be clear about this he’s making his off the back of lies, fear and the misery and the suffering of others. And of course the gullible who swallow his narrative and give him money. He is not the plucky hero, pharmaceutical companies are not an evil empire and this is not a lifetime movie.

He claims to be a journalist (he’s not), his scientific credentials?

I had about 10 years of working first in psychology and then in medicine and surgery and cutting edge techniques in science as form of entertainment.

Oh, how he hopes no-one notices the last four words. If Del Bigtree were to be talking about TV production, or cinematography I’m sure he’d have things worth listening to but his absurd claims that working on some medical themed shows makes him an expert in their subject matter is like me claiming I’d be qualified to give someone an appendectomy because I’ve watched 150+ episodes of Grey’s Anatomy

What his experience and education does give him though is extensive knowledge about how to engage an audience with a narrative, to create a suspension of disbelief and to evoke emotional responses in them.

Maybe one day you’ll wake up one morning and realize that he has done exactly that to you (and thousands of others) – he took Wakefield’s script and made a movie out of it. Both on-screen and off. That it’s all fiction doesn’t matter one jot, as the old saying goes “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

@ Correction to Math
And don’t forget the payments for all those bloggers and the people arguing on these blogs, who are, if they attack anti-vaxxers, all on the Big Pharma pay-roll.

I suppose being one of the leading anti-vaxxers must be very satisfieing for the ego of Del Bigtree, which is also a kind of reward, besides the money he makes.

I seriously wish there was a laugh reacts button here…..there’s been so many instances where it would be appropriate. One statement in particular that is BEYOND laughable:

“Del isn’t in it for the money”

That’s just…..I can’t even describe how hilariously wrong that is.😂😂

Natalie: “Are children in Africa and Latin American countries less valuable? Less important?”

That’s the impression one gets from antivaxers, who sneer at vaccine-preventable diseases as inconsequential (i.e. “measles is just a skin rash”) when they kill more than three million (mostly in poor countries) every year.

@Dangerous Bacon. With the right circumstances, measles can be deadly…that’s why death from measles in 1st world countries is rare. I don’t sneer at disease and complications from disease, however, I think the fear propaganda gets in full tilt and there needs to be perspective. If those poor children in the poorer countries had proper nutrition, clean water, and decent sanitation, they would have a much healthier baseline to handle disease. I wonder how many of these less than healthy children are subjects in clinical trials. An unhealthy baseline seems likely to skew results and not make the results applicable to 1st world children.

Natalie White

With the right circumstances, measles can be deadly…that’s why death from measles in 1st world countries is rare.

What rate do you consider “rare ,” Natalie? 1 in a million? 1 in 100,000? 10,000?

What do you consider “common”? 1 in 100? How about 1 in 1000? Would that rate still fall under common?

And how many decades and trillions of dollars would be required to get Developing Nations up to the sanitary and nutritional standards of the United States?

Natalie, you may not know this, but a case of the measles causes temporary immune suppression of 2-3 years after the person has the measles. And it’s not just general immune suppression, but also loss of immune memory. So after you have the measles, every disease you’d already had and gotten over? Now you can get them again like the first time.

Measles can kill, but it also takes away the body’s immune system, making children far more vulnerable to all the other diseases they’re exposed to. Thus measles vaccination reduces not only measles mortality, but all cause mortality. This was seen in children in the developed world as well as in the developing world.

Here’s the paper that describes this (I’m not any good a links): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954009
“Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality”, Mina et al, Science 2015 (vol 348, issue 6235)

I don’t sneer at disease and complications from disease, however, I think the fear propaganda gets in full tilt and there needs to be perspective. If those poor children in the poorer countries had proper nutrition, clean water, and decent sanitation, they would have a much healthier baseline to handle disease.

Sure you sneer at complications from disease and if only the poor brown people had “better sanitation” and whatnot. If you didn’t sneer, you would have mentioned the several infants that ended up in ICUs on ventilators with pneumonia during this measles outbreak. And do you even care that some of those children have a statistical likelihood of dying from SSPE a few years from now? All from something preventable but scared away by liars and grifters.

Your 20-30 BILLION DOLLAR vaccine business pales in comparison to Del’s measly million from donors.

Well thank God for that, Imagine the harm he could do with billions of dollars going to his propaganda mill.

@TBruce Propaganda? Laughable. You and yours are masters of fear propaganda. Hype the fear. There is even a power point or some BS avail. through the CDC that tells practitioners to exaggerate the danger to get more to comply with flu vaccination. I can find it if you like. What was this years efficacy? At 40% or something? Put 40% into ANY other product and that would be considered a big FAIL. How about a KEVLAR vest at 40% protection?

Natalie White. I looked for the PowerPoint you mentioned thinking that if it existed some anti vaccination doctor would have posted it for all to see, after all this would be evidence that a government agency was encouraging health professionals to lie.

I couldn’t find it. I did find a CDC presentation that has the figures on morbidity and mortality from influenza in 2017 / 2018 with some equivalencies to everyday things – like there were 8000 deaths from influenza which is equivalent to twice the number of hospitals in the USA.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/burden-averted.htm

The CDC has some statistically dense information for health professionals available which talks about the effectiveness of flu vaccines in varying situations but nowhere does it ask practitioners to massage the facts about influenza vaccination.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/effectivenessqa.htm

Natalie:

I don’t know what the survival rate is for a high speed MVA but let’s just say it’s 40% while wearing a seatbelt versus 0% without. Would you buckle up, even though seatbelts aren’t “perfect”?

I sure as hell would (and do). Likewise with the flu vaccine.

BTW, did you find out who I was?

“Who pays for people like Del Bigtree, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Andrew Wakefield, and all those other “big name” antivaxers to fly around the country to speak at rallies, lobby legislators, and generally agitate to make measles great again in the US? It can’t be cheap, and I’d be willing to bet that none of these people works for free. There’s definitely a story there if a reporter somewhere wants to try to dig into it.”

Their nonprofits do, by way of donors.

JFK Jr’s IRS 2017 990 form: $131250 salary, only paid employee
https://apps.irs.gov/pub/epostcard/cor/260388604_201712_990_2018102615838445.pdf

Del Bigtree’s 2017 IRS 990 form: $146000 salary, one of two paid employees
https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/814540235

So, not getting lawyer rich, or hardly rich-in-California rich, but drawing salaries in the top 10% of earners. Not a bad racket. The Falconer is is listed as “legal counsel” in the exhibits at the end, even though it seems like his main job is flying around the country and making a pest of himself. He served Of Counsel to the families suing City of NY Health Department for their emergency rule on the measles outbreak (spoiler, it did not go well: https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/brooklyn-measles.pdf; not listed here, but is in earlier briefs on behalf of plaintiffs).

The Texas thing doesn’t bother me as much, at least, from a policy perspective–they can’t get anything out of the legislature, and their dorky PAC mostly just kicks campaign contributions back into their nonprofit (start here, stupid javascript–http://204.65.203.5/public/100730451.pdf). When they do spend on campaign committees, they don’t spend enough to make a difference, or just help their opponents.

@squirrelelite “So you are not questioning the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine, right?

You just want us to fact-check RFK, Jr’s miscellaneous claims for you?

I’m sure you are quite capable of doing that for yourself.”

No, I’m not questioning the safety of the Hep B vaccine in this thread. That is correct.

Yes, I’m asking others here to fact check a specific claim that RFK, Jr. made. I found his claim concerning but believable. I appreciate your confidence in my capabilities. I’ve tried looking for evidence myself, but my google-fu is admittedly weak and I haven’t found anything contradicting it.

I thought others here, who routinely call him a liar, might be motivated and able to find something when I had not. It would bolster their claims that he’s a liar as opposed to my perception, which is that he sometimes exaggerates and misstates things to make his side slightly stronger – as our host admittedly accidentally did in the OP. I don’t find Kennedy’s exaggerations any worse than ORAC’s.

At any rate, I am tentatively accepting this claim as true. At least until a counterexample is found and brought to my attention. Thank you for your help in establishing what evidence is available.

I’m sorry, but “there’s a claim without a citation somewhere in this video. Can you show it isn’t true, even though I haven’t provided the actual citation that is in the video I claimed I saw” is not a reasonable demand – and followed by “I tentatively accept his claim as true because you could not fact check the citation I did not provide” is not reasonable, either. You were provided points and evidence.

You simply want to believe RFK Jr.

And no, comparing RFK jr.’s repeated misrepresentations to Orac’s typo is neither valid nor honest.

You simply want to believe RFK Jr.

This is Beth’s MO wherever I have run into her.

I have provided her with a citation on two occasions here that completely contradicts Kennedy’s assertion. Yet Beth is still going to accept Kennedy’s assertion as true. She is only different to your run-of-the-mill anti-vaxxer, by pretending to be reasonable.

Beth Clarkson: “I don’t find Kennedy’s exaggerations any worse than ORAC’s.”…”my google-fu is admittedly weak”

“Weak” to say the least. It took me a few seconds to pull up a couple stories detailing RFK Jr.’s gross distortions, exaggerations and outright lies, starting with the following from Seth Mnookin:

“Just four days after a correction confirmed that his story (in Rolling Stone/Salon) had misstated the levels of ethylmercury infants had received — it was actually “40 percent, not 187 times, greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methyl mercury”— Kennedy told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, “We are injecting our children with 400 times the amount of mercury that FDA or EPA considers safe.” Kennedy also said on-air that children were being given 24 vaccines and that each one of them had “this thimerosal, this mercury in them.”

“Those statements were not even remotely true: In 2005, the CDC recommended that children under 12 years old receive a total of eight vaccines that protected against a dozen different diseases. Only three of those vaccines had ever used thimerosal as a preservative, and all had been thimerosal-free since 2001.”

https://www.statnews.com/2017/01/10/kennedy-vaccine-book/

RFK Jr. has continued to spread falsehoods and idiotic conspiracy theories to this day.

https://www.sciencealert.com/robert-f-kennedy-tweets-a-ridiculous-conspiracy-theory-about-vaccinations

Read the book that he authored/edited (no one actually claimed authorship, but RFK Jr.’s name is on it), “Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak” and you’ll find a ton of similar misleading and false antivax garbage.

Beth: “I’ve tried looking for evidence myself…and I haven’t found anything contradicting (RFK Jr.’s hepatitis B vaccine claim).

Here’s how it works, Beth – you make a claim (or in this case, regurgitate a claim from a notoriously unreliable source) and it’s on you to support it. No one else is obliged to do your homework for you. While you’re at it, try documenting your pretense that Orac’s reputation for accuracy is in the same ballpark* as RFK Jr.’s.

*or in the same galaxy.

Here’s the thing about Beth. She says things like ”my google-fu is admittedly weak”; but she’s been around here and SBM for years. That’s plenty of time to learn where to look and what key words to use to find this information herself.

I don’t think she wants to learn or wants to look. I think she just wants to argue.

It’s official.
There have already been more US measles cases in 2019 than any year since 1992 and we’re not even halfway through the year.

The US has already recorded more measles cases in 2019 than in any year since 1992, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 971 recorded measles cases between January 1 and May 30, 2019, the CDC said in a press release on Thursday. The number tops the 963 cases recorded by the CDC in 1992.

Thank you so Goddamn much, antivaxxers.

Yeah the numbers aren’t looking good. I’d say that it’s likely to be just a matter of time before the first US measles-related death this year but as we’ve been told that only happens in poor countries without clean water, sanitation and healthcare like..um.. Switzerland (2 so far) and France (3 so far) and anything else is just fear mongering.

@moto. I said deaths from measles is rare in 1st world countries. People die. It’s sad and it happens everyday.

How is one to two deaths per thousand cases of measles rare? Since the USA is pushing up to over a thousand cases, the chance of someone dying is going up: https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/189/Supplement_1/S69/2082538

So where is that economic study that shows it would be cost effective to not use the MMR vaccine in the USA, let every kid get measles and dealing with the one out of ten that need hospital care?

Natalie, if you don’t realise just how vile your comment is, I can’t help you.
MMR is an order of magnitude safer than getting Measles. Part of the reason Measles causes so few deaths is because we vaccinate. Even healthy people have been killed by Measles. In 1962, Olivia Dahl, the eldest daughter of Roald Dahl, was killed by Measles Encephalitis.
That you think even a few Measles deaths a year is acceptable is revolting.

@Natalie the fact that measles related deaths in the first world are relatively rare is largely because of vaccination. No ifs no buts no squirming around.

The deaths we have had in 2019 so far are, while low are still at an unacceptable level given we can prevent even those easily and for a minimal level of risk and if Del Bigtree and you get your way those numbers are only going to rise. I’m sure your words will be a great comfort to the grieving relatives.

Heart and conscience indeed.

@Shelly from Increasing Awareness and Uptake
of Influenza Immunization slide 8 “Fostering demand, particularly among people who don’t
routinely receive an annual influenza vaccination, REQUIRES
CREATING CONCERN, ANXIETY, AND WORRY. For example:
” A PERCEPTION or SENSE that many people are falling ill;
” A PERCEPTION or SENSE that many people are experiencing bad illness;
” A perception or sense of vulnerability to contracting and experiencing
bad illness. ” Fear propaganda? Yes. The presentation in it’s entirety. http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/MicrobialThreats/Nowak.pdf

@Narad….Thanks for all the technical corrections. I do appreciate it and your snarky remarks. Although I do not equate a case of the flu with being shot. I’ve had the flu, survived but have never been shot. Are you familiar with Narad Trabant? An interesting coincidence – you use the same first name, Narad, the Hindu god. I can’t find much info on him…except that Trabant is an obsolete car from East Germany. Dorit likes to thank him for his contributions on pieces she’s written. He’s like a ghost. Seems like a pseudonym. Hmmm…. Weird.

Are you familiar with Narad Trabant?

That that’s some fancy dot-connecting. Of course it’s my pseudonym. I don’t want antivaccine crazies harassing identifiable people who are close to me.

As for the choice, it’s self-deprecating. Go find Millbrook by Art Kleps. And none of the Narads in Hinduism are deities as far as I can tell.

I had a little birdie
And her name was Enza
I opened up the window
And In -flew-Enza!

(A jump-rope song from the early 20th century, when on third of the world’s population was infected and 20-50 million people died.)

Nope, nothing to be worried about there.

@Justatech – Thanks for the study. Read it in it’s entirety. Not convinced. Says measles “can” wipe out the immune system. Along the same lines…. MMR “can” cause encephalitis and encephalopathy. Measles “can” cause encephalitis and encephalopathy. Trust in the establishment is waning… corruption, cooking the numbers, burying studies, removing data sets to fit objectives, changing parameters to fit objectives and fraudulent work (the scientist caught using monkey blood to skew results) . Even ORAC is ripping on the WHO for their policy choices re: chinese medicine. The WHO is also under fire for their part in the opiod crisis we have in the U.S.

Natalie White wrote: “Not convinced. Says measles “can” wipe out the immune system.”
Quote mining is fun, isn’t it? Perhaps you should try it with these studies:

“The morbidity and mortality of MV is associated with severe immune suppression.” Rev Med Virol. 2013 Mar;23(2):126-38. doi: 10.1002/rmv.1735. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
“Measles remains a significant childhood disease, and is associated with a transient immune suppression.” PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(8):e1002885.
“Hallmarks of [measles] modulation of immune functions include: (1) lymphopenia, (2) a prolonged cytokine imbalance consistent with suppression of cellular immunity to secondary infections and (3) silencing of peripheral blood lymphocytes that fail to expand in response to ex vivo stimulation.” Med Microbiol Immunol. 2010 Aug;199(3):227-37 .
“A hallmark of the disease is a generalized immune suppression that can last for several weeks to months after resolution of measles virus (MV) infection.” PLoS Pathog. 2014 Dec; 10(12): e1004482.
 “[Measles virus]  infection is also associated with several weeks of immune suppression with the consequence that the primary causes of measles deaths are secondary infections.” Immunol Rev. 2010 Jul; 236: 176–189.
“Measles causes a transient immune suppression, leading to increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 23;9(1):4944.
“Measles is characterized by a transient immune suppression, leading to an increased risk of opportunistic infections.” J Virol. 2018 Mar 28;92(8). pii: e00131-18.
“Clearance of [measles] viral RNA from blood and tissues occurs over weeks to months after resolution of the rash and is associated with a period of immunosuppression.”Viruses. 2016 Oct 12;8(10). pii: E282.
“Measles virus (MeV) causes several unique syndromes, including transient immunosuppression.” J Virol. 2015 Oct;89(19):9709-18.
“Measles virus (MV) is highly contagious pathogen, which causes a profound immunosuppression, resulting in high infant mortality.” Cell Mol Immunol. 2016 Nov;13(6):828-838.

“Fostering demand, particularly among people who don’t
routinely receive an annual influenza vaccination, REQUIRES
CREATING CONCERN, ANXIETY, AND WORRY. For example:
” A PERCEPTION or SENSE that many people are falling ill;
” A PERCEPTION or SENSE that many people are experiencing bad illness;
” A perception or sense of vulnerability to contracting and experiencing
bad illness.”*

What nerve! Influenza never hurt nobody!

“CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 48.8 million illnesses, more than 22.7 million medical visits, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths during the 2017–2018 influenza season.”

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm

Oops.

*Fostering fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines is probably what led Natalie to use ALL CAPS in quoting the CDC slide, though it did not in fact use ALL CAPS.
BAD NATALIE.

ALL CAPS is vital – Without ALL CaPS, how would anyONe know that pro-DISeaSE people are SERIOUS about making the BABY COFFIN industry GREAT AGAIN!!!1!!

@Dangerousbacon – I like my ALL CAPS. It makes points that I think are important STAND OUT. As soon as I read, “CDC estimates”….I’m out. They exaggerate their numbers. They do it ALL THE TIME! They are instructed to hype the flu, year after year. I get almost daily notices from them and their chicken little, “Sky is falling mentality.” They have vaccines to sell and if they don’t sell them they get wasted. How many vaccine patents does the CDC hold? Oh, 200 or so? With a lot more in development…. revolving door from government positions to private industry.

How many vaccine patents does the CDC hold? Oh, 200 or so?

I have concluded that you are simply TOO FUCKING STUPID to waste my time explaining it again.

Did I put the emPHAsis on the right sylLABLE?

@Narad….you beat me to it. I keep thinking I’ve had to have read the most stupid comment from her, and then she proves me wrong.

I don’t get why so many AV/pro-disease people are able to get sucked into this garbage so easily. I mean, when I really started reading and learning about vaccines, it didn’t take much time at all reading from both ‘sides’ to realize who was lying to push a bullshit agenda…and it’s not like the (sometimes legit-looking/sounding) misinformation wasn’t immediately available. It was everywhere, and I read alot of the articles and stories. The parts that common sense didn’t already file away as bullshit, were easily shown to be wrong once I would fact-check. It baffles me how anyone of moderate intelligence could buy most of the crap spewed by AV talking heads.

For AV, is ignorance bliss? In the case of vaccines, ignorance isn’t bliss….ignorance is going to result in children suffering and dying. If that’s what they consider bliss, then f*@!k them.

@Dang Bacon! Don’t understand how my all caps are a form of deception. Interesting take. I disregard both of the sites you listed. They are the same ones routinely referenced by professional blogger DORIT REISS.

This reminds me of an instance in our country many years ago. The government tracked price index routinely under-reported inflation. This was noticed since consumers knew prices had been rising far faster than the published statistics.

The reason was that the index excluded items with “volatile” prices. These included: fuels, housing, rent, electricity, taxes, among others. That is, items that were rapidly rising in price and were major components of the household budget.

In the same fashion one can downplay or eliminate the health benefits of vaccines by excluding all studies that demonstrate those benefits. Our government eventually learned their lesson from forceful public backlash and rejigged the index to include all empirical price data. Will Natalie ever learn? Or should I say, will Natalie ever LEARN??!!?

My comments are getting removed. Industry insiders are uncomfortable with certain truths. You know who you are. Here’s a quote I agree with by Stanley Plotkin, MD – SCIENCE NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDS ANYTHING. Good day and good health to all of you who stay in the echo chamber.

Natalie, I sincerely doubt your comments are being removed. Mostly because you lack veracity.

So how does that cost comparison coming? How much of a cost savings would their be if the MMR was completely removed? Remember to show your work.

SCIENCE NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDS ANYTHING.

There is no reason to shriek. Please define define “completely understand.” You want more digits in the fine-structure constant? Not satisfied with the NIST kilogram?

Oh, wait, skip that. Please define “science.” Then you can explain why apples fall down rather than up.

Considering the amount of posts by Natalie White that suddenly turn up in the list of latest reactions, I hardly get the impression her posts are removed.

Natalie White made this bizarre and intentionally dismissive comment: ” I disregard both of the sites you listed. They are the same ones routinely referenced by professional blogger DORIT REISS.”

Professional blogger? Really? Dr. Reiss is a professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

You might learn something from her 2019 article:
Informed Consent to Vaccination: Theoretical, Legal, and Empirical Insights. UC Hastings Research Paper No. 315

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3319395

I disregard both of the sites you listed. They are the same ones routinely referenced by professional blogger DORIT REISS.

Lalalalalalalalalalala I can’t hear you!!!

@Tbruce – What happened to the Strawberry Girl?

Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
LIVING IS EASY WITH EYES CLOSED
MISUNDERSTANDING ALL YOU SEE
It’s getting hard to be someone
But it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me

@Dang Bacon! Don’t understand how my all caps are silently modifying other people’s words is a form of deception.

FTFY. Now, RIgulars who don’t just scroll past my comments may rightly object that although I know how to create a blockquote, as opposed to some people who just slop all over the place, I sometimes add boldface, but this is generally in a direct reply and, I hope, obviously relevant to the comment that I’m responding to.

Natalie wrote:

“My comments are getting removed”

And yet this comment and dozens of others remain. Weird. It’s almost like you were making an excuse to run away from a discussion.

Thanks for the recommendation to check out Dorit Reiss’ work. Good luck back in the echo chamber where you can just ignore any articles that have facts.

One, and only one, of her comments was removed because concern was expressed to me that it could represent an attempt to dox a regular commenter here. That’s it.

Natalie: ”I disregard both of the sites you listed.”

I’ve run across dismissals of these and similar websites before by antivaxers, but typically because they’re “blogs”, or run by “shills” (no evidence of such is ever provided); antivaxers can’t refute the information they provide, so they attack them with ad hominems.

This however is the first time I’ve encountered an antivaxer who says she ignores them because a pro-immunization advocate referenced them. 🙂

There is yet another article about a measles outbreak up on the CBC website. The comments have attracted the usual anti-vaxxers – who are quite remarkably incompetent, but still need smacking down. There is a nasty know-nothing one named Keh and a civil but almost invariably-wrong one named Taylor.

If any of the minions are feeling ambitious, the comments would benefit. It is necessary to register to comment (perhaps not if you have a social media account), but I know of nothing evil resulting from registering. Comments for the article will probably close within the next day.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/measles-outbreak-saint-john-hampton-high-school-1.5158687

An anti-vaxx troll named Natalie
With ad hominems dished willy-nilly,
..All science she disdained,
..Ad nauseum she kook-splained,
Digging deeper a hole of banality.

Natalie: “@Tbruce – What happened to the Strawberry Girl?”

Excuse the inexcusable pedantry, but who or what is the “Strawberry Girl”? She doesn’t appear in the lyrics of “Strawberry Fields Forever”*.

*which is obviously an ode to Darryl Strawberry.

@Dangerous Bacon:

Natalie may have meant Strawberry Fields, a character in the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, or perhaps the childrens’ animated character Strawberry Shortcake. What this has to do with anything is beyond me.

Who are you? brilliant article. But, you missed the point that the vaccine industry has not ONE scientifically valid study to show that vaccines are safe and effective. Show me one and you cannot. It does not exist. Who’s paying you to write this clever trash? I am pro-immunization in concept but modern Big Pharma poisons are anything but that. Follow the money ORAC and you will see that people, you included, mean nothing. Wake up.
JW

Who are you?

Immediate fail. Orac’s real identity is not only one of the worst kept secrets on the internet, but can be found on this website.

…the vaccine industry has not ONE scientifically valid study to show that vaccines are safe and effective.

Interesting that when I went to Google Scholar and searched ‘vaccine efficacy’ a huge number of hits were returned. Or maybe you’r talking out of your hindquarters.

Who’s paying you to write this clever trash?

Pharma Shill Gambit.
My Antivaxx Bingo card is almost filled out.

But, you missed the point that the vaccine industry has not ONE scientifically valid study to show that vaccines are safe and effective. Show me one and you cannot. It does not exist.

Sorry to fruitlessly necromance, but what is with this ignorance of the Salk trials?

“Wake up.”

No, no, no. You’re doing this all wrong. You were supposed to write it this way:

“Wake up, sheeple!!!!!!”

A rise in diagnosis is not the same as a rise in cases. With autism, increased awareness, the broadening of diagnostic criteria and diagnostic sustitution explain most if not all of the increase.

“… tremendous rise of autism…”

Please be more specific of what level of autism under DSM V is going up. Is it Level 1, 2 or 3?

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