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Antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. writes to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi about measles in the middle of an outbreak

As a deadly measles outbreak continued to kill children in Samoa, antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. His deceptive pseudoscientific talking points became the template for antivaxers seeking to deflect blame from themselves.

Even though it’s been raging for a while now, yesterday represented the first time that I’ve written about the deadly measles outbreak in Samoa. Since then, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi has announced that two more have died, bringing the death toll to 62, of whom 54 were children under 4 years of age and 26 were under one year of age:

By any stretch of the imagination, it’s a truly catastrophic situation, and it’s gotten so bad that beginning on Thursday the entire government of Samoa, as ordered by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, has shut down for two days to devote all its effort to vaccinating its citizens. Given that, as I noted yesterday, the vaccination rate against measles had fallen to 31%, this is a monumental task, particularly given the vaccine hesitancy and mistrust of the government fueled by a the deaths of two children last year due to a nigh unbelievably dumb mistake mixing up doses of MMR vaccine, augmented by antivaccine misinformation spread antivaxers such as Tay Winterstein and outside antivaccine activists, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr..

RFK Jr. is, of course, well known here and, thanks to his longtime history of spreading antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience, has been a topic of many a blog post here. Let’s just put it this way. RFK Jr. is fond of Holocaust and Nazi analogies when it comes to describing vaccine mandates, and the latest iteration of his antivaccine group, Children’s Health Defense, is fond of spreading myths that the current generation of children is the “sickest generation” and antivaccine misinformation galore. Meanwhile, US-based antivaxers have organized to infest the social media pages run by the Samoan government, flooding them with antivaccine misinformation, up to and including comparing the mass vaccination campaign to the Holocaust. The images in this video report from a New Zealand news crew are both heartbreaking and infuriating:

Unsurprisingly, for the most part, the antivaccine movement has been notably quieter than usual. After all, more than five dozen people, of which for and a half dozen are children, have died so far, and nearly every day brings new deaths, with no sign yet that the outbreak has peaked. However, I recently learned that a couple of weeks ago, when the outbreak’s toll hadn’t yet become as deadly as this, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote a letter to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi about the measles outbreak. This morning, I and a number of others, came into possession of the actual letter, which had been described and quoted in a Washington Post article. The letter itself (PDF) is a masterpiece of antivaccine dissembling, misinformation, distortion, and lies and appears to have served as a template providing antivaccine talking points to be used by quacks who have thus far tried to deflect blame for the deadly outbreak from the low vaccine uptake rate in Samoa and their role in discouraging people from vaccinating their children.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi

The letter begins:

I write with profound sadness to offer my condolences for the measles outbreak that has recently affected your country and taken the lives of precious Samoan children. These deaths are a personal tragedy for their bereaved families and for all the people of your tight-knit nation.

I was dismayed—but not surprised—to see media reports that linked the current measles outbreak to the so-called “anti-vaccine” movement. While we can expect pundits to engage in uninformed finger-pointing, Samoa’s public health officials must undertake the serious tasks of containing the infection and—equally importantly—to thoroughly understand its etiology. To safeguard public health during the current infection in and in the future, it is critical that the Samoan Health Ministry determine, scientifically, if the outbreak was caused by inadequate vaccine coverage or alternatively, by a defective vaccine.

Stop right there! Just stop! There is no evidence—zero, nada, zip—that the outbreak in Samoa had anything whatsoever to do with a “defective” vaccine. RFK Jr. was just pulling this right out of his nether regions. Moreover, when you have vaccine uptake well south of 50%, measles outbreaks happen. Measles is an incredibly contagious disease, one of the most contagious in existence, and easily spreads. In the background of low vaccine coverage (particularly as low as it was in Samoa before the outbreak), one case coming in from another country can rapidly become hundreds and then thousands of cases.

After that inauspicious and disingenuous introduction, RFK Jr. asked three questions:

  1. What were the ages of the victims?
  2. Were Samoa’s fatal measles cases caused by strains of measles not targeted by Merck’s vaccine?
  3. Were the fatal Samoan infections from a vaccine strain?

Let’s take on #1 first. I’ve already told you the age of most of the victims, with 26/62 being under one year of age and 54/62 being under four years of age. So what was RFK Jr. playing at? Nothing good:

Media reports from Samoa suggest that the infection is targeting young infants who are not yet of age to receive the measles vaccine. If true, the culprit is most likely a vaccine that failed to produce antibodies in the vaccinated mothers sufficient to provide the infant with maternal immunity. Young infants contracting measles is a relatively new phenomena first recognized in the 1990’s. Prior to the development and widespread use of Merck’s measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, mothers passed protection to their infants via passive immunity derived from the placenta and breast milk. In contrast, mothers vaccinated with a defective Merck vaccine provide inadequate passive immunity to their babies. Merck’s version of the MMR has created a crisis where infants under the age of one are now highly vulnerable to these infections. These young infants suffer a much higher morbidity and mortality compared to populations historically impacted by wild measles later in childhood.

First of all, passive immunity to a disease like measles doesn’t come primarily from breast milk. It comes from the IgG antibodies passed to the infant through the placenta into the blood. Thus is immunity to diseases the mother has had passed on to the baby for a time. At term, dependent on the immunological experience of the mother, placental transfer allows the newborn to acquire different specificities of IgG antibodies. This results in an identical recognition pattern of antigens between the mother and her offspring. After birth, the baby receives no further IgG antibodies that can result in measles immunity from the mother, and levels of IgG antibodies in the infant wane to zero by between 6-12 months of age. The antibodies in the breast milk consumed by the baby are primarily secretory IgA, a class of antibody that is adapted to resist digestion by the GI tract and that serves primarily to protect the mucosal surfaces (e.g., mouth, nasal passages, etc.) from environmental pathogens. There are antibodies to measles in milk, but, contrary to the myth that breast feeding can protect against measles, in a study of Nigerian women and their infants the level of measles-specific antibodies in milk dropped below the protective level within two weeks of birth.

But what about antibody levels in babies born to mothers who had natural immunity to measles versus those born to mothers who had been vaccinated against measles? A 2010 study sought to answer that question in 207 mother-infant pairs in Belgium, measuring serum IgG antibody level over the first twelve months of life in women who had natural immunity to measles and comparing those levels to what was observed in mothers vaccinated against the measles. These investigators reported the already known and accepted result that at birth babies born to vaccinated mothers have significantly lower anti-measles antibody titers than babies born to mothers with natural immunity. However, here’s the key sentence: “At 6 months of age, more than 99% of infants of vaccinated women and 95% of infants of naturally immune women had lost maternal antibodies according to the model.”

Basically, high vaccine uptake is the best way to protect these infants, coupled with earlier vaccination during outbreaks. If herd immunity is high, faster waning of immunity due to maternal antibodies is much less of a problem. If herd immunity is not high, than vaccinating earlier is a viable option to protect these infants. I also repeat that there is no evidence that the vaccine was defective.

An earlier review of the literature found that, yes, antibody level does tend to start out lower and wane to lower than needed for protection against measles in the children of vaccinated mothers compared to children of mothers with natural immunity, although not all studies showed a difference. The whole issue is, as you might expect, way more complicated than RFK Jr. lets on. For example, part of the reason that the first dose of MMR isn’t recommended before age 12 months is because the persistence of maternal antibodies can interfere with the generation of an immune response to the vaccine. However, in nations with high vaccination rates, waiting until 12 months of age to administer the first dose of MMR is not a problem, due to herd immunity. Also, although it might blunt an immune response to vaccine, persistence of maternal antibodies doesn’t prevent an immune response. That’s why the CDC recommends:

In outbreak settings with community-wide transmission in which infants are affected, health departments may recommend vaccinating 6- to 11-month-olds, but it would not count toward the two-dose series. The CDC updated its Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases to clarify that infants living in and traveling to these areas should follow the advice of the health department in the outbreak area.

“Benefit of early protection against measles during a period of increased transmission and exposure should be carefully weighed against the potential risk of decreased immune responses following subsequent doses of MMR in infants less than a year,” said Manisha Patel, M.D., M.S., measles surveillance team lead for the CDC.

Health departments in outbreak areas also may recommend a second dose of MMR at least 28 days after the first for children ages 1 through 4 years who are living in or visiting the area.

If children are traveling abroad, infants ages 6 months through 11 months should have one dose of MMR, and those 12 months and older should receive two doses at least 28 days apart, according to the CDC.

I must admit that I laughed out loud at this passage from RFK Jr.’s letter to Prime Minister Malielegaoi:

When it first introduced its measles vaccine in 1963, Merck promised that a single dose of its vaccine would provide lifetime immunity and maternal immunity equivalent to that provided by wild measles. Merck predicted that its vaccine would eradicate measles by 1967, so long as 55% of children were immunized. Leading scientists including the world’s preeminent bacteriologist, Sir Graham Wilson and Harvard Virologist John Enders, who first isolated measles, warned against introducing a vaccine unless it provided lasting life-long immunity, as Merck promised. Measles, they cautioned, would rebound with increased virulence and mortality as the vaccine shifted outbreaks away from children—biologically evolved to handle measles— to young infants with inadequate maternal immunity and senior citizens vulnerable to measles-induced pneumonia. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the global emergence of the exact pattern that scientists cautioned against.

I do like how RFK Jr. pointed to nearly 60-year-old predictions by scientists, who clearly vastly underestimated the level of herd immunity necessary to keep measles in check in a population and likely didn’t envision how easily diseases can now jump borders, thanks to air travel, tourism, and people traveling to visit their families, over 55 years later. It’s a classic “science was wrong before” bit of misdirection. I also counter by pointing out that lifelong immunity can be provided with the help of booster vaccines. Indeed,, just to be safe, I myself recently got an MMR booster because I fall in the age range where immunity due to the old measles vaccine from the 1960s might be waning and I want to do everything reasonable to make sure I’m immune.

Next, RFK Jr. made this claim:

Both Dr. Enders and Dr. Wilson and other leading Virologists warned Merck that in addition to shifting the disease to vulnerable infants and the elderly, a defective vaccine with high initial failure rate, or substantial long-term waning, would provoke the evolution of more virulent measles strains.

American public health officials have recently admitted that, instead of providing lifetime immunity, Merck’s vaccine failed in about 10% of vaccine individuals within seven years. And, as scientists predicted, the measles virus has therefore mutated. Two new strains of measles that are not included in the current vaccine are now spreading like wildfire among populations worldwide. Global Public Health Officials have recently identified these deadly new rogue strains as measles genotype D4.1 and D4.2. The vaccine genotype A in the current MMR vaccine cannot adequately neutralize new strains. Merck cannot claim that this development is a surprise. Virologists have long known that viruses with multiple strains often shift to evade a vaccine that targets just a few strains. This is the reason that public health officials develop new flu vaccines each year to target the emerging viral strains.

I recognized this nonsense right away as coming from Andrew Wakefield and his risible speculation about an impending “sixth extinction” due to the evolution of resistant measles mutants due to—you guessed it!—vaccines. Thankfully for purposes of keeping this post from ballooning to 10,000 words, I dealt with Wakefield’s incompetent attempted prestidigitation with facts and science three months ago. That means I can just quote myself and you can read the whole piece if you want the gory details of this particularly unscientific and deceptive bit of antivaccine propaganda:

Naturally, I went straight to the source study. (It’s Wakefield. I’d be a fool to accept his description about any study.) Yes, this is what the authors observed, more or less. They identified two strains of measles virus less susceptible to neutralization by pooled human sera. Wakefield, however, took the significance of this observation beyond what the data support, because of course he did, and he left out something very important, but that’s more because the study authors pulled a trick that I hate. Here’s what I mean. What this study did not show is that these strains of measles identified by the authors are any more virulent or any more likely to cause disease in vaccinated children. Tellingly, Wakefield failed to mention that the difference between the strains in their susceptibility to neutralization by immune sera was not statistically significant—not even close. The p-value was 0.21. (The term “trend towards” is always a red flag that could indicate that an experiment’s results were not statistically significant. I’m shocked that peer reviewers allowed it. The correct interpretation is that the researchers did not observe a difference in neutralization between the strains, not that there was a “trend” towards resistance to neutralization. You might get away with that for p-values between 0.05 and 0.10, but certainly not for 0.21.) In other words, the experiment Wakefield cited is a negative experiment, at least as far as sera from vaccinated individuals being less able to neutralize these measles variants. I hate when researchers try to make a non-significant result sound real by saying there was a “trend,” and this was a particularly egregious example.

So, in brief, RFK Jr. laid down a stinky thick layer of bullshit. There is one of two possibilities. Either he was utterly clueless and was just regurgitating a particularly brain dead bit of Wakefield antivaccine propaganda, or he knew just what he’s doing and was lying. Take your pick. In his letter to Prime Minister Malielegaoi, he despicably weaponized that very bullshit in order to try to convince the leader of a country in which measles has already killed over five dozen people and sickened thousands more that the MMR vaccine both caused and has exacerbated the epidemic. Words fail me when it comes to describing how—dare I say?—evil this is.

Let’s look at RFK Jr.’s final question for Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi:

There is also the possibility that children who received the live measles virus during Samoa’s recent vaccination drive may have shed the virus and inadvertently infected vulnerable children. It is a regrettable possibility that these children are causalities of Merck’s vaccine. Alarmed CDC officials documented this emerging phenomenon during the measles outbreak in California in 2015. Federal epidemiological investigations found that at least 1/3 of Californian cases were vaccine strain. In fact, CDC identified 73 of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained across the entire United States in 2015 as vaccine strain A sequences. This means that those children contracted measles from vaccination or from someone who received the vaccine.

For obvious reasons, it is critical for Samoa’s public health officials to quickly determine if the Samoan children who recently died suffered measles from the Merck vaccine or from a mutant strain that evolved to evade the Merck vaccine. In each of those cases, Samoa’s public health officers would react with a very different strategy than if the lethal measles genotype was a wild strain that spread due to inadequate vaccine coverage.

No, no, no, no, no! RFK Jr. was either lying or just misinforming Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi There were no vaccine strain measles cases in the Disneyland outbreak. All measles cases in that outbreak were caused by wild-type measles. The claim that “vaccine shedding” can cause measles outbreaks is not scientifically supported. It is, in fact, utter nonsense. Again, there are only two possibilities. Either RFK Jr. was utterly clueless but didn’t care, or he knew and was lying. Again, take your pick. That he would have the temerity to write such a letter to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who’s struggling to lead a small, underdeveloped country through a major crisis, says a lot about RFK Jr.’s character, none of it good.

Meanwhile, quacks are echoing the antivaccine talking points that RFK, Jr. laid down. For instance, here’s Jim Meehan, an ophthalmologist turned antivaccine quack whom we’ve met before:

You can see the similarities in Meehan’s claims and RFK Jr.’s talking points. For example, Meehan parrots the lie claiming that it’s the vaccine strain, not a wild strain, of measles causing the outbreak and deaths. (One more time, it’s not.) To these claims, Meehan adds his support for Edwin Tamasese, a coconut farmer in Samoa and antivaxer who’s been arrested for promoting quack treatments for measles, including vitamin A and C supplements, and discouraging parents from taking their children to the hospital.

Meehan also pulls a claim out of his nether regions that giving patients the MMR vaccine is dangerous, particularly to children with symptoms of measles because it provides two additional attenuated live viruses in addition to the attenuated measles virus. He also does a bit of speculation that giving acetaminophen can be harmful because supposedly malnourished patients are deficient in glutathione and recommends supplementing them with glutathione. There is no evidence to support this recommendation.

Antivaxers cause real harm. First, they seize on tragedies like the deaths of two children due to a vaccine preparation mistake to introduce even more fear, mistrust, and misinformation about vaccines, thus exacerbating a situation. Then, in the middle of a deadly measles outbreak that is killing dozens of children, they make the situation worse still by promoting quack treatments for measles and spreading false and distorted information about the MMR vaccine designed to portray it as ineffective, dangerous, and even the cause of the outbreak and its resulting deaths.

Just to show you how despicable, RFK Jr.’s letter is, consider this. He undoubtedly knew that the Kennedy name would guarantee that Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi would at least read his letter promoting this misinformation and would probably pass it to his health officials. (Never mind the obvious observation that Malielegaoi should not listen to a hack like RFK Jr. rather than the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and all the physicians and many public health experts from around the world streaming into the country to provide aid, vaccines, medicine. and advice.) In doing so, RFK Jr. clearly wanted to use the Kennedy name to persuade the Samoan government to undertake pointless investigations into whether the measles strain is causing the outbreak and to lead health authorities to hesitate to vaccinate infants. That goes beyond callous and into the realm of evil.

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]

205 replies on “Antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. writes to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi about measles in the middle of an outbreak”

Children’s Hearth Defence?

Those anti-vaxxers have weird ways to defend the health of children. Or do they consider the dead children just as some kind of collateral damage, in order to protect the health of the other children?
They really want to go back to the past, when cemetaries were filled with the graves of children who died of vaccine preventable diseases.

They want to defend children from missing out on the experience of having diphtheria.Or here, measles.

Well it does offer a lifetime of immunity and numerous other health benefits. Some difficulties in life can be a good thing.

Well it does offer a lifetime of immunity and numerous other health benefits.

Numerous other health benefits? Oh, do list them. I like a good belly laugh

Some difficulties in life can be a good thing.

Of course. Minor difficulties like months of immunosuppression, pneumonia, SSPE and other causes of death. No biggie, right? If your child is dead, at least he or she will be measles immune for life.

Um, wait a minute…

Or for diphtheria choking to death.

As I said, that’s what the organization and its supporters want to defend children from missing out on.

Mr. Ball: “Some difficulties in life can be a good thing.”

Like encephalitis? Why do you hate children so much that you want them to suffer from high fevers, seizures, pneumonia, and a higher possibility of permanent disability?

Nobody is talking about forgetting basic sanitation here Miss Dorit. Because that is what has been the principle cause of the elimination of infectious diseases since they first began to decline. Unfortunately vaccines were being introduced around the same time, actually shortly after sanitation practices became widespread Unlike vaccines, which are a disaster and have only turned around the diminishing numbers at that time and been the source of more and various kinds of illness and debilitation. You as well as the other vaccine promoters on this blog should learn some basics about biology and chemistry instead of parroting what the “experts” say. And by the way there are significant numbers of experts, and growing steadily who are opposed to them. As Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth” Sorry for your predicament of being so poorly educated and ignorant of both common understanding of basic science, health and history. I hope you never have to learn the hard way as so many thousands have had to.

As Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth”

Never fails. Anyway, I suspect that SharHi got caught up in the mod queue and is long gone, but it’s worth pointing out yet again that improved sanitation is what brought about polio epidemics in the U.S.

So, SharHi, could you provide the verifiable documentation of what sanitation measure was introduced in the 1960s to cause by 1970 a 90% drop of measles incidence (not mortality!) in the USA?

From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2
1991 . . . . . .3.8
1992 . . . . . .0.9
1993 . . . . . .0.1
1994 . . . . . .0.4
1995 . . . . . .0.1
1996 . . . . . .0.2
1997 . . . . . . 0.1

Then tell us what horrible sanitation flaw brought measles to Japan in 2000s that caused so much death: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1177963/

Which says: “According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88”.

Cripes, another anti-vax dolt babbling about parroting after parroting the sanitation gambit and finishing up with parroting the Einstein quote – things we’ve all heard repeated ad barfium.

Nobody with a shred of sense argues that sanitation is not important in the reducing the spread of many infectious diseases, but as has already been noted, measles is airborne and sanitation has little effect in limiting transmission. It is also very conspicuous that vaccination has been extremely effective in reducing incidence of diseases like polio in areas where sanitation and hygiene have been and remain problematic. Recent outbreaks of measles in North America have not been in communities with poor sanitation but in communities with low vaccination rates.

Oh, yes, let’s not have anyone miss out on the joys of encephalitis. Everyone should have their brain swell.

Like David, for example.

The least they can do in that situation is keep quiet and not try to make it worse.

It seems several antivaccine organizations want to write to the Samoa police and complain about arresting Edwin Tamasese for his antivaccine efforts (apparently, aside from discouraging parents from going to the hospital, promoting vitamin A and C protocols, and going to the hospitals directly, he also promotes antivaccine misinformation, as you showed).

Because showing that he is a local arm of the international antivaccine movement will really go over well.

About that arrest: https://www.samoaobserver.ws/category/samoa/54397?fbclid=IwAR18YROyjKudpEolZKPCnF0zJkZZFwCHtE8upuOuEjLGEe7GkHBMdzwNGN8

Dunno, Orac. Seems like someone else is agreeing with some of RFKjr arguments and that ‘antivaxxers’ are being scapegoated.

We tend to tell two basic stories about measles: first, that we had more or less eliminated the disease, and second, that it has resurfaced — more than 440,000 cases were reported worldwide between January and November — because of mindless anti-vaxxers who ignore science and celebrate libertarianism from the comfort of their Internet echo chambers.

Both of these narratives, however, are, at best, partial truths. While anti-vaxxers are certainly part of the problem, increasing the numbers of people susceptible to the virus, they are best understood as harmful scapegoats or dangerous distractions for public health experts. The real threat of measles is rooted in the disconnect between what we know about the disease and actual public health practices.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/12/04/we-must-talk-more-about-measles-less-about-anti-vaxxers/

I doubt that you are capable of telling the truth about anything greg, and it’s clear that you are more than willing to lie by omisssion. That same article you selectively quote points out::

“Measles is probably the most contagious human disease we know: One person can contaminate 18 others, compared to just two in the case of the flu. This is why vaccination is so important. But it requires an extremely high rate of immunization, 95 percent, to protect “the herd.” ”

and

The 2018-2019 outbreak in New York City was halted this summer by enforcing mandatory vaccination and opening more vaccination clinics, but the core issue of why measles spread — the absence of public prevention policies including steady access to a free, efficient vaccine that parents could trust because they were educated about its benefits — was not addressed.

and

“Vaccination is one of the greatest medical achievements of modern civilization. But it is not a panacea, and anti-vaxxers, for all the damage they do, are not the only culprits in the revival of measles. All of us share in the historical amnesia of which we are accusing hesitant parents. We overlook links between social inequalities, malnutrition (a vitamin A deficiency may well have an impact on the seriousness of measles and on vaccine failures worldwide) and climate change (global warming leads to movements of groups in which density of population and malnutrition help propagate the infection).”

Were you taught to be a lying integrity POS by your parents or did you learn it on your own?

Don’t be so hard on Greg for lying. If he ever slips up and tells the truth, his boss will immediately recall him to Hell, no excuses accepted.

Check your reading comprehension. That’s not what the author of this op ed piece said.

He’s a historian, not a medical professional or scientist. Unfortunately, he gets some of his conclusions wrong. He’s trying to make the point there are other factors that can worsen epidemics, and we are ignoring those to focus on AVers. Unfortunately, he’s wrong about that, and he (intentionally or unintentionally) minimizes the problems AVers created in placed like Samoa, Minnesota, New York, or Southern California.

It was only a matter of time before AV rhetoric started killing people. We’re seeing that now in Samoa.

I’m starting to think that Greg might be only barely literate. So often he posts things where he clearly hasn’t read or understood the link he is posting. Add that to his bizarre negative comments about books and I think we can find some insight into Greg. (And he’s a huge jerk, there’s that too.)

He’s trying to make the point there are other factors that can worsen epidemics, and we are ignoring those to focus on AVers. Unfortunately, he’s wrong about that, and he (intentionally or unintentionally) minimizes the problems AVers created in placed like Samoa, Minnesota, New York, or Southern California

Panacea, and on the other Samoan thread, Athaic is agreeing with you, reporting that Samoan MMR vaxxed rate was only 30% because antivaccine activists scared people away from the vaccine after their problem with the vaccine a few years ago. Yet, is this not complete rubbish? Is Athaic suggesting that adult Samoans did not get vaccinated when they were younger because they saw into the future that there would be a crisis with the vaccine. Indeed the article rightly hits the nail on the head explaining….

Many of those who do receive the vaccine don’t get both doses to make it work effectively. In fact, by the end of 2017, only 67 percent of children worldwide had received two doses, which means there are many children and adults who have been inadequately vaccinated

Interestingly, down-thread we also have Dr Gordon musing…

By the way, how many of you here are certain that your measles immunity is in place? And, if not, why have you not received a booster? I’d guess that some of you have.

Truth is, pro-vaxxers too can be seen as responsible for outbreaks by focusing solely on stigmatizing vaccine hesitant parents, and while ignoring the vast majority of undervaxxed adolescents and adults. They should also encourage these individuals to get their shots, but they are choosing no to. This inaction is quite telling, revealing a very important point

The point of course is that despite the faux outrage, pro-vaxxers are choosing to protect vacccines over protecting the public. With their propaganda of demonizing vaccine hesitant parents, they rally the undervaxxed adult masses to their side and at the expense of these parents. Telling the masses that they too are part of the problem, and in fact an even a bigger one, you risk losing this valuable ally. If challenged to also ‘get their damned shots’, they too might start questioning vaccines and –yikes!– start siding with the ‘antivaxxers’. In sum, scapegoating serves as a useful tool in protecting vaccines; protecting the public? — not so much!

Perhaps an even more profound point is the issue of whether it’s possible to protect vaccines and also protect the public. As a ‘reprehensible’, ‘detestable’ antivaxxer who sees vaccination as a failed paradigm, I say it’s not possible. Funny, I suspect even some provaxxers agree with me on this point.

Truth is, pro-vaxxers too can be seen as responsible for outbreaks by focusing solely on stigmatizing vaccine hesitant parents, and while ignoring the vast majority of undervaxxed adolescents and adults.

Toldja.

Greg: “because of mindless anti-vaxxers who ignore science and celebrate libertarianism from the comfort of their Internet echo chambers”

I swear you are actually a provaxxer pretending to be an antivaxxer. Come on, Greg, come clean.
BTW, I believe your efforts in converting antivaxxers to provaxxers has probably been successful 😉
Keep up the good work.

142,000 (plus) deaths from this nice, unscary, easy to handle illness. In one year (2018). Suddenly the moron claims about measles not being a problem seem, well, more moronic.
Please Greg, go to Samoa and catch this.

I can make the most mundane post and everyone here seems to be always getting their knickers in knots. Choir, please hear me out: We have had incessant talks of the bogeyman Wakefield starting it all; Russian antivaxx bots infiltrating the net; social media giants on the cusp of taking down the antivaxxers; UK losing its measles elimination status, US also with record cases and on the cusp of losing theirs, mandates to sweep the entire world; teenage Mexican kid ‘punking’ antivaxxers, man trolling the Vaxxed bus, US adolescent defying his parents and getting vaxxed, and so on, and so on. Choir, this outbreak will sort itself out and tomorrow and we will hear next to nothing about it. In fact, all these sagas will come and go, but what will always remain in the room is that big, freaking elephant, wearing a pink tutu and eating ice cream. Who wants to name her? I know you can!

“…big, freaking elephant, wearing a pink tutu and eating ice cream. Who wants to name her? I know you can!”

You, and other lying integrity-free piles of shit like you.

Wow. Just wow. Total lack of empathy.

Turn in your human card. Your attitude towards the tragic deaths of innocent children is simply appalling.

“…big, freaking elephant, wearing a pink tutu and eating ice cream. Who wants to name her?”
Let’s call her Greg.

Oh, I was expecting another antivax loon.

“Virologists have long known that viruses with multiple strains often shift to evade a vaccine that targets just a few strains.”

[citation needed], RFK Jr.

Bob seems very unclear on the concept of ‘strain’. It’s not the viruses who ‘shift’, they don’t magically become another strain, it’s the prevalence of these strains which shift.
IOW, out of a population in which are present strains A, B and C, block strain A from infecting people, and now you will mostly see people getting infected by strains B and C.
If strains B and C are as harmful than strain A, OK, that’s a non-optimal solution.
If strains B and C are less harmful… The issue is not that big. If strain A is the most dangerous and widespread, then blocking it was the priority, the other strains can wait.

It’s not the virus that evade the vaccine. It’s just that the vaccine only works on a selected part of the virus population, so of course the other strains are unaffected. More or less..
If Bob was right, then people vaccinated up until the outbreak of this ‘vaccine-evading’, mutated strain would be susceptible to this new strain and become sick. The rate of infection among vaccinated people would quickly become equal to the unvaccinated, as the new strain spreads into the not-anymore-immune population.
Heck, people with natural immunity to measles would also be affected by these ‘evading’ strains.
That’s not the case.

Also, the flu virus doesn’t care which vaccine was given to humans last year. The strains of this year are the ones emerging from the animal reservoirs (ducks, bats, pigs…) and being the most successfully passed on to humans. The dynamics of contacts between human and animal populations (hunting, deforestation, husbandry…) are the major factors here.

Let’s not go into co-infection, cross-reactivity and other complicated stuff. I don’t want to make the tiny brain of antivaxers explode.

Quack anti-vax pediatrician Paul Thomas also medically advised Edwin Tamamese (it’s on Tamamese’s Facebook page 11/25) where Tamamese cites Thomas telling him that no acetaminophen is to be used on measles patients. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas also spouted to Tamamese the same anti-vax nonsense that Meehan did as well. Kudos to the Samoan government for arresting Tamamese to prevent him from further sabotaging public health efforts to care for measles patients and contain the outbreak.

This vile aggressiveness of the anti-vax movement does not bode well for future outbreaks in the US either (it was already bad in NY with anti-vaxxers hosting anti-vax meetings in the middle of outbreak areas). Expect anti-vaxxers to behave even more badly during future US outbreaks. Anti-vaxxers have a goal of destroying public trust in vaccines. I don’t think they will succeed, but they will increase mortality and morbidity along the way with their reckless uncaring actions.

I looked up Samoa and the news, images and quotes are truly heartbreaking.

I think that RFK jr and his followers frantically create excuses about why those children got sick and frequently, died, because they know that parents in the US, UK, AUS, EU etc who may have originally aligned with them are thinking more seriously now- maybe it’s not just poverty and developing nation status that caused these many tragedies BUT because the kids weren’t vaccinated! Perhaps herd immunity is not a myth about cattle.

Many of RFK jr’s/ AJW’s strongest support comes from mothers of young children/ potential mothers who are TOO YOUNG to remember measles outbreaks ALTHOUGH the aforementioned ARE old enough: are their memories so selectively biased that they only recall good outcomes from measles? After all, Wakefield is medically trained and RFK jr comes has many siblings. Either they should know better or they’re lying.

-btw- Please pardon the errata. I am recovering from a 24 hr something- not measles – which I already had- miserably- because I got sick before I could go for my appointment and get the vaccine.

I AM old enough to remember Measles, Mumps and Rubella. My siblings had Mumps. I had Rubella (German Measles). My cousins had Measles (not German ones). We got sick, recovered were fine. My uncle had Polio twice. Got sick, was in Iron lung, recovered. Lived normal life. He got it swimming in Silver Lake, but the 4 brothers swimming with him were fine. (It is a water-borne virus that spreads) and prior to the obsession with swimming was rare. YES. I said that. POLIO WAS RARE. It has been on earth for thousands of years. Most of those infected show no symptoms. My Dad had TB. He got sick, recovered. Lived. I have seen the children damaged by vaccines. Most of the people who die from the flu were vaccinated. They only publish the ones who weren’t. Vaccinated populations are getting sick. Duh…viruses mutate once they hit a host. and they shed. There are 4 types of vaccine. Dead virus, live virus, attenuated virus and proteins. Dead virus is not used. The other 3 “shed” through the host they are injected into and those idiots are walking contagions. They contaminate the air and anyone their bodily fluids (tears, snot, saliva, sweat, pee, poop, blood) touches for 48 hours. Vaccines do not stop the spread of infections. They Cause them. Sanitation stops disease. It was actually chlorinated water and heated water that stopped Pilio.
Stop the vaccines. Take your vitamins. Wash your hands. And follow the lawsuits. Don’t listen to the doctors… FOLLOW THE LAWSUITS. They knew the Gardasil vaccine was poison before it went on the market. Their own people outed it 3 years into its use. Japan, France, Spain and India are all suiing. But the US doctors will not tell you that. Nor will the CDC. Nor will the media. FOLLOW THE MONEY. AMericans are not allowed to sue for damages. But the vaccine injury fund has paid out billions. Step out of your vaxxer echo chamber to find out WHY we are against vaccines.

There are 4 types of vaccine. Dead virus, live virus, attenuated virus and proteins. Dead virus is not used.

This will no doubt come as a surprise to IPV.

Here’s a throwback to the days of polio, demonstrating that polio was anything but rare. It’s an article from Time Magazine entitled “Polio Season,” dated September 8, 1941. imgur com / gallery / Obp1q

(It is a water-borne virus that spreads) and prior to the obsession with swimming was rare. YES. I said that. POLIO WAS RARE.

Yep. That’s true.
Well, until people started gathering in big cities all together, with sanitation which, while good, was not up to today’s standard.
And pools, public baths and, to a lesser extend other places of social gathering facilitated the spread of the polio virus.
Then polio became commonplace, with pools and so on regularly closed in an attempt to curb down contagion.

People were awaiting in line to get the live oral polio vaccine, while fully knowing that the vaccine may give them polio.
They were not stupid. Just more aware than you of the deadly risks of the alternative – getting the real deal, the wild polio virus.

BTW, the live polio vaccine is about the only one from which virus shedding was observed in real life situations.
Moreover, the other live virus vaccines are attenuated vaccines; if the attenuated virus doesn’t give the full-blown illness to the main recipient, there is very little chance that they will do it to bystanders.

Most of the people who die from the flu were vaccinated.

(sidenote – the flu vaccine is about 60% effective at protecting, so yes, of course, vaccinated people are still going to get sick. It is known and said)

An alien teenager died recently of flu while in custody of US stormtroopers.
He was certainly not vaccinated. The CDC offered the vaccine for free, but you Americans cannot give freebies to brown people.
You can <a href=https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-the-cell-where-a-sick-16-year-old-boy-died-in-border-patrol-care”>watch the video of his agony if you like.

You and your ilk, recovered and were fine.
But how about those who suffered dead, braindamage, or other problems that stayed with them all their lives?
Do you have shares in a company manufacturing iron lungs?
I suppose you really like to see childrem suffer. Because, when the suffering is over, they live just fine, except those who didn’t survive or suffered the consequences.

He got it swimming in Silver Lake, but the 4 brothers swimming with him were fine. (It is a water-borne virus that spreads)

Polio is only “water-borne” if the water is fecally contaminated. I don’t know what the “that spreads” part is supposed to mean, but it certainly doesn’t reproduce on its own outside a host.

While sanitation and hygiene are helpful in reducing the spread of polio, for less than tuppence you can buy the clue that polio vaccination has been extremely effective in dramatically reducing and even extirpating polio in parts of the world where sanitation and hygiene have been and remain poor.

That must be why people didn’t line up around the block for the polio vaccine when it became available.

Oh, wait! They did. MY uncle died from polio. My mother had a milder case but developed neurological problems in her legs later in life.

What utter nonsense.

” They Cause them. Sanitation stops disease. It was actually chlorinated water and heated water that stopped” poliomyelitis.
Pray give us the benefit of your wisdom by explaining the role of chlorinated water in eliminating smallpox and rinderpest. Then tell us why poliomyelitis remains in populations where antivaxers have Kalashnikovs and aren’t afraid to use them, while closely matched populations not currently under threat by terrorists have a much smaller incidence.
And while you’re at it, please enlighten us as to how chlorinated water use reduced the incidence of poliomyelitis just coincidentally with mass vaccination. Did water usage change so profoundly between 1953 and 1954? Show us the statistics that we may be enlightened too.
Beyond that, kindly benefit our closed minds as to your course of action should you be exposed to Ebola. Would you wait for natural immunity to kick in? “Boost” your immune system with herbs and “superfoods”? Or would you push and shove your way to the head of the vaccination line?

@Meg Medicke: “But the vaccine injury fund has paid out billions.”

This is absolutely true, and thank you for bringing it up.

Over the last quarter century, vaccines are suspected to have caused 5000 serious injuries in the US. Those injuries have been compensated at an average of $750K out of a fund into which all vaccine users contribute. That’s because pro-vax folks look out for each other and do the right thing when bad outcomes happen.

Over the last month, anti-vaxxers are KNOWN to have caused 68 deaths and many more serious injuries in Samoa. How much compensation will you and your anti-vax chums be paying to the victims of those bad outcomes? Because at NVICP rates you currently owe $17M to Samoan families just for the deaths alone.

Let us know when you’ve paid it.

“Japan, France, Spain and India are all suiing.”
I live in France. Could you al least clarify if my government is suing (as some might interpret your sentence that way) or if it comes from isolated individuals ?

How do people shed acellular vaccines (proteins)? There’s nothing that can reproduce. Even if they did, the entire point is that it’s not complete enough to cause disease.

Saw this in a comment on a pro-science, pro-vaccine site… maybe one of the SBMs or one of the Facebook. Twitter accounts I read for news/views.
May be good the next time they hold an anti-vaccine death conference:
.
Hey, Hey!
RFK.
How many kids
Did you kill today?

Hey Heyt!
Ho Ho!
Del Bigtree
Has got to go!
.
Shades of the 60s.
Have fun.

Wait a minute.. I thought that WE were the baby killers!
for those who live in cloud cuckoo land, I suppose we are.

If true, the culprit is most likely a vaccine that failed to produce antibodies in the vaccinated mothers sufficient to provide the infant with maternal immunity.

RFK, Jr. is quite the scumbag and really spinning his wheels to deflect attention away from the simple fact that low vaccination rates are a powder keg for measles epidemics and how “organisations” such as his are heavily responsible for spreading and stoking fear about vaccines. As for this gem I quoted, even if the infants had his precious “natural immunity” to measles, it wouldn’t have mattered because the vast majority of deaths have been occurring in infants one year and older.

In contrast, mothers vaccinated with a defective Merck vaccine provide inadequate passive immunity to their babies.

One might wonder why he keeps babbling about MMR-II when Samoa uses Priorix.

I wouldn’t judge them all by RFK, Jr–some of the family have publicly disavowed him, or least his views on vax.

If nothing else, RFK, Jr. offers a powerful argument for the theory that intelligence and integrity skip generations.

“The Kennedys are privileged in many ways. Superior intelligence, however, is not one of them.”
They are a fine living example of the meaning of “regression to the mean”.

They are a fine living example of the meaning of “regression to the mean”.

Regression to the mean predicts that RFK Jnr’s children will be more intelligent and less mendacious than he is.

Is there any word on what the PM did with the letter, or even how he responded?

What the hell makes RFK think he somehow knows more than the combined brain power of so many highly-trained medical professionals? Sometimes freedom of speech can be really irritating. It makes you want to go all pre-Enlightenment and just disembowel him for heresy.

My spy tells me the PM was going to wipe his ass with it but decided that even that might pose too great a risk to his health.

Yes. He just might have done that! There are problems in Samoa. It is a poor country. Outhouses, no toilet paper, no hot water and no soap…. so not a lot of hand washing….basic infection control. We know what happens when people don’t wash their hands. https://www.samoaobserver.ws/category/columns/27360

Malnourished with obesity and diabetes affecting most of the population. The child mortality rate is already at 16 without the measles.

Samoa is tragic, no dispute. When did RFK, Jr. visit DRC, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia, Ukraine? Oh, ….he didn’t. Without the RFK connection, the rest of the outbreaks aren’t useful in the quest to demonize anyone who questions the current vaccination schedule/propaganda. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/measles-outbreaks-continue-unabated-five-countries-accounted-nearly-half-all-measles

A. Let’s put aside the fact that measles isn’t prevented by sanitation. Most of the population in Samoa has access to modern sanitation – at over 91%. https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/samoa/indicator/SH.STA.ACSN For comparison, Russia is in the 70%s, and Nigeria below 30%.

Have you considered that your view on the situation in Samoa reflects your prejudice, not reality? Yes, it’s poorer than U.S. or Europe, but it’s not as poor as you seem to think.

B. In a global world, rich, privileged antivaccine activists should probably consider that their efforts to spread misinformation can also harm people in countries with less infrastructure to handle outbreaks.

C. As was mentioned already, nobody says RFK jr. – or any of you – started the outbreak by yourself. But he, and the collective you (antivaccine activists), are clearly and openly working to make it worse, for example, with this letter.

Hence the criticism.

Faster than spreading bullsht. More powerful than a benevolent motive! ABLE to leap over logic in a single sentence! Look! Up in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a planeload of zealots and missionaries?
It’s Whiteman, who because of his skin color and his superior attitude stands up for rescuing brown people everywhere
he sees them as primitives living in huts who don’t know how to solve their own problems (or so he thinks).

*As long as they don’t live anywhere near him.

@ Dr. Dave – Yes, they (Samoa) don’t seem to be able to solve their own problems…Hence the international crews on the ground working to contain the outbreak. The “Whiteman”, to use your words, has been importing disease and exploiting the natives since Capt Cook. My point is there doesn’t seem to be as much hysteria and outcry for DRC, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia, and Ukraine. Besides, the last time I checked, not a whole lotta’ “brown people”, again, to use your words, in Ukraine.

@Dorit – Thank you for replying. Oh, congratulations on the continued growth of your GSK stock especially with these current big hitters – Priorix, Fluarix Quadrivalent, and FluLaval Quadrivalent. I was surprised GSK ranked 8 worldwide as far as profit but it is in the top 10, not bad! However, PFIZER is king according to this: https://www.mbaskool.com/fun-corner/top-brand-lists/17612-top-10-pharmaceutical-companies-in-world.html

@ Whoever – The CDC is sounding the alarm, another killer flu season! Pregnant moms are encouraged to get the influenza vaccine by the media, etc. However, the insert doesn’t say that and says this instead, Pg 14 “There are insufficient data on FLULAVAL QUADRIVALENT in pregnant women to inform vaccine-associated risks.” Pg 25 – “Encourage women exposed to FLULAVAL QUADRIVALENT during pregnancy to enroll in the pregnancy registry [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].” The language is interesting, “exposed”. It’s as if pregnant moms are being encouraged as an unknowing test group since the only testing that has been done was on pregnant rats. https://www.fda.gov/media/115785/download

Natalie White,

You are seriously misinformed and you are spreading this misinformation.
Please stop putting pregnant women and their infants at risk.

The flu vaccine is safe in pregnancy.
Getting the flu while pregnant puts you at increased risk of complications of the flu.
Here is the CDC website for accurate information on the flu vaccine in pregnancy:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/qa_vacpregnant.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/pregnant.htm#anchor_1571257723

The second link contains an:
– Infographic
– Fact Sheet.
– List of studies attesting to the safety of the flu vaccine in pregnancy

Avail yourself of this accurate information.
– Do not rely on medication “inserts”.
– Do not rely on internet bloggers.

I’ve found something that leads me to believe that RFK jr is not entirely clueless:

he has a twitter account, @ RobertKennedyJr, that has 68K followers and is chiefly about the environment- I’ve never seen anti-vax talking points there HOWEVER his other account, @ Children’sHD, with 11K followers, is almost purely anti-vax.
Now if he truly believes vaccines are the scourge of the earth contaminating the purity of children why wouldn’t he mention that at his more popular account UNDER HIS NAME? Isn’t it also an environmental issue? Isn’t ( wasn’t?) it all about Hg?
No, he must be aware that his toxic ideas might poison some of his more reality-based followers against him.

” why wouldn’t he mention that at his more popular account UNDER HIS NAME?”

A thought: the people who believe him on vaccines know where to find him on that ‘special’ account. Putting the same lies under his name would attrack far too much detrimental (in his mind) attention. He could block the people who aren’t deniers, but that could be more bother than it’s worth to him.

Again, just a thought.

This is one reason why, whenever I Tweet about him, I make sure to tag his account under his name. I don’t know if he’s muted me or not, but if he hasn’t he’s guaranteed to see it because, before Twitter put the program on hold, I managed to score that most desired Twitter decoration, the blue checkmark.

On a positive note the Samoan prime minister does not suffer fools gladly. Dangerous fools least of all, I hope.

“Let us work together to encourage and convince those that do not believe that vaccinations are the only answer to the epidemic,” Tuilaepa said. “Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures.”
Washington Post, Dec. 2.

Kennedy is not at all clueless. Charity Navigator has Children’s Health Defense’s 990 form (registration required). He earns 131250 and works 20 hours per week. Talk about making a killing!

@ Arno Syvanen:

You bring up a concern of mine:
quite a few of the woo/ anti-vax websites/ advocates I survey are registered charities in the US. This is disturbing: are they not spreading misinformation and mistrust about serious health issues? Therefore, they’re harmful not helpful to the public.
AoA, TMR, CHD, NVIC, ICAN, Polly Tommey/ Andy, Natural News, Gary Null ( several – Nutrition, Veterans, Progressive etc) and many newer anti-vax groups like CrazyMothers In addition, some of their protagonists espouse political views PRN, NN)
Aren’t these groups supposed to be a-political? I know that’s how they criticise Wikipedia- it’s not, they say.

Perhaps the quality of their charitable work could be exposed which might discourage potential contributors. It would be hard to shut them down probably, free speech and all.
I suppose someone could create a charity to propagate other bizarre belief systems but that probably wouldn’t be harmful to general health –
oh wait, Scientology does that and does spread misinformation about mental health.

Aren’t these groups supposed to be a-political?

The limitation on 501(c)(3) organizations is with regard to actual lobbying activity. [501(c)(4)’s are different,as I recall.] They’re free to spout noxious tripe otherwise.

It seems there has been a stepped-up response by the Samoan government. If the details are true, it’s probably not what Kennedy and the rest of the clowns hoped for.

“Samoan authorities on Friday warned that propaganda opposing a mass vaccination drive would not be tolerated after an anti-immunization campaigner was arrested.
Police arrested Edwin Tamasese and charged him with incitement against a government order late on Thursday. The country is struggling to control a measles epidemic that has killed at least 63 people, most of them children.”

Apparently he had been told to stop spreading his lies — and he didn’t.

https://www.dw.com/en/samoa-arrests-anti-vaxxer-amid-measles-epidemic/a-51553140?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

While he was formally charged based on his anti-vaccine claims, he apparently also openly went to hospitals and interfered with treatment of sick children, and yes, advised people on treatment and to not take sick children to hospital. Medical advice is a strange category, as are direct instructions.

Holy crap! In Samoa they’re now arresting people for posting online ‘antivaxx’ comments. Remind me not to vacation there. I am not afraid of measles, but being locked away in some stink-hole and having to account for my online ‘transgressions’ with their Bubba. “So Greg, what were you saying again about vaccines being mass poisons”?

Seriously though Choir, show of hands who here are cool with arresting people for such speech? You democrat and liberal enlightened ones who ordinarily are such big champions of individuals’ rights always amuse me with your rabid defense of vaccines. Then you have no qualms in letting your Nazi freak-flags fly high and proud.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/samoa-arrests-anti-vaxxer-immunisation-drive-continues-191206010948814.html

Again with only giving half the story. He wasn’t arrested only for his speech. He also did things, Greg, like practicing medicine without a license, sneaking into a hospital to “treat” the children there, etc. Also, there is no such thing as ultimate free speech. There’s a limit to what any of us can say, as there should be. For example, you’re free to lie and lie and lie some more on this comment board. Do it under oath in a trial, and you’re in big trouble. It’s called putting things into context, choir boy.

Thank you for the additional details on his arrest. The Al Jazeera headline seemed a bit click baity.

They briefly mentioned the arrest of that one gentleman and that the government would not lend countenance to antivaccine misinformation. But dedicated way more column space to the actual measles outbreak.

The Nazi reference is too strong. Viewing freedom as having limits when lives are perceived to be at stake and valuing collective responsibility does not make one a Nazi.

Whether the Samoan government will potentially go to far too when suppressing antivaxxers and the weight to be given to the concerns of those who have embraced alternative facts is a totally separate issue that has nothing to do with Nazis or genocide.

If anything, I’d say that the Nazi regime gave far too much freedom of speech to those who would spread their message. As Sasha Baron Cohen said, “Imagine what Goebbles would do with Facebook.” I don’t see any Samoan being arrested for stating truths, like the fact that vaccines work and save lives. Pretty simple thing to do, not lying.

Seriously though Choir, show of hands who here are cool with arresting people for such speech?

it was a bit more than speech, greg. This guy clearly stated that the physicians vaccinating people are murderers. Riots have started for less than that.
It could even be argued that the reason for arrest was not ‘speech’, but ‘insubordination to the law’ and ‘interfering with the work of government-mandated agents’.

If I read my Popehat explainer correctly, in the US you are free to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, even if people wish you weren’t.
In other countries, not so much. Especially when the gov’ has announced a state of emergency.
Even in the US or in Canada, go in the way of working government agents at your own risk.

Ah. Prison rape jokes to rill up the libs. I told you, you have secured your biggest douchecanoe award, don’t fret over it.

You democrat and liberal enlightened ones who ordinarily are such big champions of individuals’ rights

You are confusing us with libertarians.
We are for a balance between individual rights and common good.

But feel free to go to Samoa and milite for freedom of speech.

Greg also seems to be stupid enough to believe that the Nazs were a left-wing group. Is there a bingo card on how many things he can be competely wrong about?

“The Nazi reference is too strong”

True. The only people who should be equated (openly or by implication) with Nazis are other people who are Nazis.

Not just a prison rape “joke”, bad enough by itself, but a racist one too.
gregger, do the world a favor and play Russian roulette with a machine gun.

Samoa is also not the United States. Their constitution and laws are different there. I imagine they have some kind of free speech law, but it may look different from ours.

The man arrested wasn’t arrested for his speech. He was arrested for his actions, and reluctantly by police at that. They would have preferred not to get involved, but the doofus made it impossible for them to ignore.

gregger, in a state of emergency extraordinary measures can be justifiable.
Abraham Lincoln assumed extraconstitutional powers that made him into a virtual dictator, and aren’t you glad he did.
Spreading enemy propaganda or defeatism, became illegal, with many Fascist sympathizers locked up for the duration, and aren’t you glad they were.
I would say that when thousands of people are infected with a highly contagious disease that is killing children is the kind of emergency that can make a government temporarily abridge rights that would be protected otherwise.
There is reason enough to muzzle him for the duration, even without the acts he is accused of.

“If I read my Popehat explainer correctly, in the US you are free to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, even if people wish you weren’t.”

No, that’s not the case. One can argue about the consequences of particular speech, but in general speech that is found to pose imminent danger of harm/lawless action can be restricted.

https://billofrightsinstitute.org/fire-in-a-crowded-theater/

I’d hope that in the U.S. we never come to the point where in the middle of an epidemic killing scores (hundreds? thousands?) of people, spreading gross lies to scare people away from immunization becomes cause for prosecution. Antivaxers crying “free speech!” might well find out there are circumstances under which tolerance has its limits.

One can argue about the consequences of particular speech, but in general speech that is found to pose imminent danger of harm/lawless action can be restricted.

Yes Dangerous One, criticizing vaccines poses an imminent threat as yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. As the packed crowd takes their seats for the latest Star Wars flick, let’s see how the comparison would play out…

Fire!!!

Aahh!!! Quick — rush for the Exit honey!! Good God — look at all the people getting trampled on and dying!!

And now — Vaccines cause autism!!!

Aahh!! Quick — call Dr Anderson right now and cancel Johnny’s vaccination appointment!!

Wait honey — why don’t we wait till we get home and do some research. Can I have some more popcorn?

Dunno Dangerous One, think the comparison is just a laughable attempt to justify stiffling free speech.

And yet…
Samoans listened to people like you, stopped vaccinating, and now have lost 50 of their children.
Not to mention the hundreds who will suffer long-lasting harm from measles.

“Look at all the people getting trampled on and dying.” Indeed, we get to look at it.

You got what you wish for. A population full of unvaccinated children.
Own it.

“These investigators reported the already known and accepted result that at birth babies born to vaccinated mothers have significantly lower anti-measles antibody titers than babies born to mothers with natural immunity.”

Orac, never use one word or short phrases when you could use many, many words and paragraphs… Have you ever considered getting an editor?

RFK Jr’s points of view are not always in line with mine. But his letter to the Samoan Prime Minister is clear and scientifically sound. I certainly don’t agree with everything he has written though. You, on the other hand, have just repeated the same boiler plate arguments you have offered in every vaccine post since the beginning of time. And even when you make sense, your disdain and ridicule of others make for hard reading.

(You have also taken the Prime Minister’s comments out of context: He does not want people during to alternative care practitioners.)

[b]As I have stated here and on social media, in the midst of a measles outbreak, get your damn shot!! Personal and public health considerations require that.[/b]

That’s easy to figure out, even if RFK might disagree.

Describing arguments like “Merck’s version of the MMR has created a crisis where infants under the age of one are now highly vulnerable to these infections,” the claim that the vaccine does not work against new strains, and that the fatalities were due to the vaccine strain – all of which are blatantly incorrect – as “scientifically sound” is simply unfounded.

Mr. Kennedy’s letter is simply trying to blame the outbreak – the result of low vaccines rates – and the deaths on vaccines, with no scientific basis. It should be called out, and Orac did a wonderful job calling it out.

RFK Jr’s points of view are not always in line with mine. But his letter to the Samoan Prime Minister is clear and scientifically sound.

Dr. Jay wonders why I frequently point out that he is not a scientist and, indeed, isn’t particularly good at science and scientific reasoning. If you want a demonstration of that, I’m hard pressed to find a better example than his conclusion that RFK Jr.’s letter is “scientifically sound.” I explained in exquisite detail how vaccine strain measles doesn’t cause outbreaks and how RFK Jr. parroted Andrew Wakefield’s incorrect claim that measles vaccination is leading to the evolution of strains not covered by the vaccine, a claim based on a study that, when I looked at it closely, was actually a negative study, and what does Dr. Jay conclude? That RFK Jr.’s letter was “scientifically sound.”🤦‍♂️

But his letter to the Samoan Prime Minister is clear and scientifically sound. I certainly don’t agree with everything he has written though.

I for one, would love for you to expound upon both these statements Dr. Jay.

Yep, antibodies from mothers vaccinated rather than experiencing natural measles are lower with less duration in newborns. However, in the 1950s when almost ALL mothers as children experienced a case of measles, thus, natural measles antibodies, we had over 1 million cases of children suffering for a week or more, 50,000 hospitalized, 300 – 500 deaths per year, cases of deafness, etc. Yup, having a mother who suffered from natural measles certainly made a difference??? If everyone around an infant is vaccinated, creating a “cocoon” then combined with the weaker, less duration antibodies from mothers still protects them. Just look at stats in U.S. Prior to early 2000s with advent of antivaxxers, literally NOT one single case of measles domestically. Given measles thousand year history, extremely high contagion, and prevalence abroad (but a plane flight away), the vaccine worked. I am sick and tired of people pointing out that vaccinated mothers pass on weaker, shorter duration antibodies. So where high rates of vaccine, measles absent.

You have a lot of gall coming here and claiming to advocate getting the “damn shot” as you put it, when you have done almost as much to contribute to antivax misinformation and the decrease in herd immunity in the United States as Bob Sears.

Shame on you. You cannot have it both ways. Either vaccination is safe and effective or its not. It doesn’t magically become more safe and effective only during an outbreak. We want to PREVENT outbreaks, you moron. You know, primary prevention? Surely you remember that from med school.

Until you start publicly telling people to get their kids vaccinated ON SCHEDULE (CDC or AAP, doesn’t matter which) with every recommended vaccine, you are nothing more than a shallow, mealy mouthed two faced SOB.

Shame on you. You are a disgrace to the profession of medicine, and I hold you just as responsible for every death from measles as I do RFK Jr and the whole antivax lot of you.

It could even be argued that the reason for arrest was not ‘speech’, but ‘insubordination to the law’ and ‘interfering with the work of government-mandated agents

I am reading this, and reflecting on dictators dismissing a coup with such creative language as, ‘an act fulfilling the democratic will of the people’.

How on some level can one not admire Trump’s candidness when he declares he wil do as he wants in Syria, and will stay for the oil?

I find not admiring Trump on any level remarkably easy, including allowing Putin and Erdogan to push him around.

Hi Dorit. My reading of the quote above is that newborns and babies in the first months of life have lower level of protective antibodies now than they did prior to the time before measles vaccination. RFK Jr does have some scientific basis for that aspect of his argument.

BUT, obviously that time has long passed and the only answer remains increasing vaccination rates against measles. I continue to wonder why the facts and the weight of the entire medical and scientific community cannot convince people to get that vaccine. My salient thought is that they just don’t trust doctors as much as they used to.

You also just said that RFK Jr.’s letter was “scientifically sound.” So, I assume, you must also think that his ridiculous claims that vaccine strain measles might have caused the outbreak and that measles is evolving so that strains not covered by the vaccine are coming to predominant, both shown to be incorrect, are also “scientifically sound”?

Even on the lower antibodies levels in vaccinated women, he is wrong, at least as far as the claim is that mass vaccination is why babies are less safe.

Before vaccines and without vaccines, babies may have had somewhat better protection for the first few months (and as Orac and skeptical raptor showed, he’s overstating that difference), so their chances of getting measles if exposed were lower – but their chances of being exposed were dramatically higher, because measles was so much common. You have to combine these two to assess risk to babies. And the claims babies are safer without mass vaccination programs is unfounded.

RFK jr. is not on solid scientific ground in any part of his claims, not even there.

Let’s use the counterfactual to this, Dr. Jay:

For newborns to be better protected, the mothers would have to give them better levels of antibodies. For better levels of antibodies, they would have to get measles “the natural way.” As a result of that, a significant number of women would have died in the process while a significant number more would develop SSPE.
Now, try and look at it from the public health point of view:
We protect the lives of the women through vaccination. We protect the lives of the newborns through vaccination of close contacts and >93% of the children. No one dies in the process. Amazing, right?

This is the problem with the “scientifically sound” bullsh*t RFK Jr (not a doctor, not a scientist) is peddling. In his utopia, moms should get measles in their youth so they can give better protection to their children, ignoring the obvious fact that 1 in 1,000 of them would die (higher rates in places like Samoa) in the process, never giving birth to those children in the first place.

Yet another reason why I am absolutely amazed that you are still a practicing pediatrician, Dr. Jay. You’re too far gone to the antivaccine side that you won’t listen to reason, in my opinion, of course. Your friends are going to destroy us all, in my opinion, of course.

My reading of the quote above is that newborns and babies in the first months of life have lower level of protective antibodies now than they did prior to the time before measles vaccination. RFK Jr does have some scientific basis for that aspect of his argument.

Dr. Jay, what are the age bins of the cohorts experiencing the highest case fatalities?

Vaccinated mothers would pass measles immunity to their children, too. Immunoglobin is immunoglobin is immunoglobin, you know. Actual data:
Jenks, P., Caul, E., & Roome, A. (1988). Maternally derived measles immunity in children of naturally infected and vaccinated mothers. Epidemiology and Infection, 101(2), 473-476. doi:10.1017/S095026880005442X
Invididual differences are high, though.

No, I do not want a return to natural measles immunity. You band of repetitive perseverating “scientists.”

What I am saying is that the numbers in that quoted article speak for themselves.

Rene’, you do not know sh*t about the practice of pediatrics and every time you try to prove otherwise, you sound didactic and wrong at the same time.

Orac…you know as well as I do that viruses change and that over time vaccines may become less effective because of that. Notice,

(David, note that I continue to complain about incivility while becoming less civil myself. Cognitive dissonance. Oh, well.)

Seriously, stop blaming everyone for measles returning to Samoa and elsewhere. Present the facts better and you should be able to trounce anti-vaccine activists. I know that I could and every day in my office I have to take up that battle: No, vaccines are not poisonous…Yes, vaccines work.

Orac…you know as well as I do that viruses change and that over time vaccines may become less effective because of that.

Some don’t change as much as others. Measles is remarkably slow to evolve, as you would know if you knew anything about the measles virus. I discussed that very aspect of measles evolution not too long ago:

Another issue that Wakefield doesn’t mention is that, compared to the influenza virus, for instance, the measles virus is known to be slower to evolve than the average RNA virus. An interesting study from 2015 showed that the surface proteins that the measles virus uses to enter the cell are rendered ineffective if they undergo any mutation, meaning that changes to the virus come at a high cost. The authors suggested that the “inelasticity of these proteins prevents the sequence variation required to escape antibody neutralization in the host, allowing for long-lived immunity after infection with the virus.”

And:

Bottom line: invoking evolution of the measles virus in response to mass vaccination doesn’t explain our current measles outbreaks any more than Wakefield’s totally made-up idea about “permissive infection constraint” and “natural herd immunity” do.

Basically, evolution of resistance to vaccination is very uncommon, far less common than evolution of resistance to drugs, so much so that it’s even been proposed that vaccination is the answer to the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Also, vaccines are much less effective at inducing evolution than drugs, because immune responses usually involve targeting multiple antigens on a virus. Because too many things are being attacked at once, the likelihood of the virus mutating in such a way to evade all the attacks before being neutralized is much smaller. Basically, RFK Jr.’s argument, obviously cribbed from Wakefield, is bullshit. Not only that, it’s based on a paper that was a negative study:

Naturally, I went straight to the source study. (It’s Wakefield. I’d be a fool to accept his description about any study.) Yes, this is what the authors observed, more or less. They identified two strains of measles virus less susceptible to neutralization by pooled human sera. Wakefield, however, took the significance of this observation beyond what the data support, because of course he did, and he left out something very important, but that’s more because the study authors pulled a trick that I hate. Here’s what I mean. What this study did not show is that these strains of measles identified by the authors are any more virulent or any more likely to cause disease in vaccinated children. Tellingly, Wakefield failed to mention that the difference between the strains in their susceptibility to neutralization by immune sera was not statistically significant—not even close. The p-value was 0.21. (The term “trend towards” is always a red flag that could indicate that an experiment’s results were not statistically significant. I’m shocked that peer reviewers allowed it. The correct interpretation is that the researchers did not observe a difference in neutralization between the strains, not that there was a “trend” towards resistance to neutralization. You might get away with that for p-values between 0.05 and 0.10, but certainly not for 0.21.) In other words, the experiment Wakefield cited is a negative experiment, at least as far as sera from vaccinated individuals being less able to neutralize these measles variants. I hate when researchers try to make a non-significant result sound real by saying there was a “trend,” and this was a particularly egregious example.

That is anything but “scientifically sound.”

“Rene’, you do not know sh*t about the practice of pediatrics and every time you try to prove otherwise, you sound didactic and wrong at the same time.”

LOL, like I’m making myself out to be a pediatrician? Triggered Jay is entertaining.

Orac…you know as well as I do that viruses change and that over time vaccines may become less effective because of that.

This is the fuckknuckle who once proclaimed that measles co-evolved with human beings over millions of years. Conceivably his opinions on measles mutation and vaccine effectiveness are.equally ill-informed.

By the way, how many of you here are certain that your measles immunity is in place? And, if not, why have you not received a booster? I’d guess that some of you have.

I wanted a booster before having my second child in 2015. Doctor decided to do blood work first. I’m immune to the MMRV viruses, at least as late as 2014.

My mom vaccinated me against measles when I was a baby.

A question from a 70 year old.
I had all those “childhood diseases” in the 1950s.
Should I have boosters at this late stage?

Just an FYI: do not ask total strangers for medical advice. Make an appointment with your primary medical doctor.

Khan,

Follow the advice given by Chris and see a GP.
He will probably recommend the shingles vaccine and a DPT booster.

By the way, how many of you here are certain that your measles immunity is in place? And, if not, why have you not received a booster?

Wow, that’s Gergworthy.

I got the measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella, etc. as a child. Missed weeks of school and, though memories vague, not a fun time; but, yes, I survived without being hospitalized, without any permanent sequelae, so I really don’t need a booster, though got an MMR shot many years ago.

I got a titer in 2016 that shows immunity. I’m 54 years old; if my immunity hasn’t waned by now, it’s not likely to. But if my physician recommended a booster, I would simply get it. Right now I’m focused on trying to find Shigrix. As soon as they get it in stock, it’s gone.

I received an MMR booster before travelling to India some years ago along with several other recommended vaccines.

I had my booster before I started college. I’ve also had Prevnar after a bout of pneumonia, a DTaP booster last year, and my annual flu shot.

Being someone born in the cutoff year of 1957, and since my dad had no clue about my medical history because my mother died when I was eleven (just the year after she told me she was surprised I got mumps twice!)… I got an MMR vaccine before visiting the Napa Valley almost five year ago. Apparently there was measles outbreak near there.

Thanks, Jay for you contribution to the Merck Company by making us older folks get vaccines because we cannot trust that there would be community immunity when we visit your state.

“Bottom line: invoking evolution of the measles virus in response to mass vaccination doesn’t explain our current measles outbreaks any more than Wakefield’s totally made-up idea about “permissive infection constraint” and “natural herd immunity” do.”

Of course not! Measles outbreaks are caused by inadequate vaccination rates. You know and I know that.

In respect to Wakefield’s paper: “I’m shocked that peer reviewers allowed it.” I remain shocked too. I’m not sure we here have ever discussed why on earth that prestigious journal and their august reviews allowed that research to occupy many pages of “The Lancet.” What is your explanation for that incredible error on their part?

In respect to Wakefield’s paper: “I’m shocked that peer reviewers allowed it.”

This sentence was not about Wakefraud’s paper.

I’m not sure we here have ever discussed why on earth that prestigious journal and their august reviews allowed that research to occupy many pages of “The Lancet.”

Five is “many” now?

What is your explanation for that incredible error on their part?

Surely, Jay, as someone who wrote the following, you can understand that sometimes people make stupid and incredibly egregious errors:

“Any thoughts I ever had about wavering in my support of Andrew Wakefield have dissolved.”
“Doctor Jay” Gordon

I see. Wakefield lies, but it’s the Lancet’s fault and not his for the consequences. Your situational ethics and lack of insight are just astounding.

I feel confident about my measles immunity since it was conferred by a bad case of measles in pre-vaccine days. If there was an outbreak in my community I’d consider getting a booster shot anyway.

Jay Gordon laments a loss of faith in physicians. Instead of blaming it on advocacy of vaccines, he should look in the mirror. It’s Jay and his antivaccine colleagues who, by spreading misinformation and fearmongering about immunization have made a subset of parents/patients suspicious about professional recommendations on the subject.

Jay: “every day in my office I have to take up that battle: No, vaccines are not poisonous…Yes, vaccines work.”

This pious glurge would be more believable if Jay could be relied on for good advice about vaccines. Instead, he evidently thinks we should wait for measles outbreaks in order to give the MMR (instead of preventing them through high vaccine uptake), and continues to claim that CDC/AAP recommendations to vaccinate for measles at 12-15 months of age pose an unacceptable danger to children (Jay wants parents to delay until “later”, which apparently means not until their kids are at least three years old).*

*according to a blog post that appears on Jay’s website. Cleanup needed on aisle Gordon.

How likely is it that Gordon’s comments like “Measles outbreaks are caused by inadequate vaccination rates. You know and I know that.”
and his comment about Wakefield are nothing more than attempts to shine his crappy reputation (as in “See, I’m not totally an idiot. Only 98% an idiot.)?

It’s Jay and his antivaccine colleagues who, by spreading misinformation and fearmongering about immunization have made a subset of parents/patients suspicious about professional recommendations on the subject.

Well it has proven to be quite a lucrative business model. Scare parents about vaccines, write books, offer cash-only consultations and “vaccine exemption visits”, television and anti-vaxx circuit.

Only 98%. Why, gee, that’s the nicest thing you’ve said in years.

“Glurge” might be one of the greatest new words I have learned in a long time, Bacon. Thank you.

Yes, age three years is a better age than age 12 months for giving the MMR. But extenuating circumstances cause 9-12 months to be the right thing in Samoa and elsewhere.

Why are you so stunned when I appear to have learned something and therefore changed my opinions and my practice? I guess I understand because I would be stunned if you deviated from your dogma by even one tiny bit.

Yes, age three years is a better age than age 12 months for giving the MMR.

Well, except for the fact that that would leave children unprotected from the age of ca. six months to three years of age. Please revisit the measles-associated morbidity and mortality data with respect to age.

@ Dr. Jay,

I’m not sure why Dr. Jay being able to critically think & evolve through an issue is seen so negatively here. That is literally the best quality a doctor could offer.

The right vaccine for the right patient in the right environment & at the right age. While acknowledging that there will be the wrong vaccines for the wrong patients in a wrong environment & at the wrong age.

Pharmacogenomics. Vaccinomics. Immunogenomics.

This has already been considered by the ACIP but it’s thought to be be bad for one-size-fits-all, mass-immunization campaigns. It’s not the bargain-basement health care they so desire:

*Our uptake-metrics that we now celebrate as the highest we have ever achieved in the history of public health depend on our one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination

We have certainly considered prevaccine screening for immune status but in many cases, (with the exception of the unvaccinated adult with respect to varicella) vaccinating is cheaper than testing*
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831634/k

So what is good for ‘uptake metrics’ is bad for patients & Dr. Jay is trying to do the opposite WITH the benefit of vaccines & you are all are COMPLAINING?

Damn, Dr. Jay; you are obviously WAY ahead of your time! Way ahead of these blind, bumbling Narnia dwarfs who are criticizing you. Let the dwarfs be for the dwarfs; we need you to be for our kids. Wish you were here in Colorado.

When I see evidence of Jay Gordon’s critical thinking and “evolving through an issue” . . . any issue . . . we can talk.

I don’t see it. Talking out both sides of your mouth is not critical thinking. We have TWO heavily researched, proven vaccine schedules. Gordon won’t adhere to either one because . . . something something.

You are taking Dr. Poland’s work completely out of context. He’s not talking about new vaccines to prevent non-existent vaccine “injuries,” or not screening patients because of costs. He’s talking about changing how we make vaccines to address issues among those who don’t respond to the ones we currently have.

The world Dr. Poland is talking about doesn’t exist yet. Until it does, we have to use the tools we have, and we have very effective tools indeed.

But the way you distorted your source . . . Christine . . . it was just dishonest as hell. As dishonest as Jay Gordon is himself.

“Why are you so stunned when I appear to have learned something and therefore changed my opinions and my practice? ”

Because of your history of dishonesty.

Jay Gordon,

“Why are you so stunned when I appear to have learned something and therefore changed my opinions and my practice? ”

You goddamn idiot.

Like the deluded narcissistic fool that you are, you think that your own personal opinion about the vaccine schedule trumps the opinions of the world’s immunologists and vaccinologists who have based their conclusions on multiple decades of peer-reviewed research to which they have dedicated their lives.

You are a goddamn idiot if you think that.

Do you not appreciate how much work by numerous immunologists and vaccinologists all over the world has gone into fine-tuning the vaccine schedule?
Do you not understand how arrogant it is to use “personal opinion” to go against that recommendation?

Right now on television:

Daniel Effron: ( London Business School)
Repeated exposure to misinformation makes it seem less unethical to share:
So repeat the truth more than the falsehood- report carefully; he suggests a “truth sandwich” : report falsities between realistic information. “Gut reaction” to BS.
People may know that story is crap but “it’s cool”, said host referring to his daughter looking at “ghost” videos,

Jay: “Why are you so stunned when I appear to have learned something and therefore changed my opinions and my practice?”

Apart from attempts to shine on contributors to RI, I haven’t seen convincing evidence of this. Significant alterations in your views and practice as regards vaccination haven’t been demonstrated in your public statements or on your website.

“Why are you so stunned when I appear to have learned something and therefore changed my opinions and my practice?”

I’ll believe it when Jay Gordon, MD, FAAAAAAAAAP — or whatever — makes a YouTube video telling people to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their country of residence and then never, ever talks publicly about vaccines ever again. He can’t. The draw into the cultural controversy — because it’s not a scientific one — is too much for him. He salivates at the thought of sitting close to Bill Maher, in my opinion, of course.

On Bill Maher…

Jay Gordon: “I don’t trust the manufacturers of children’s products, whether it’s pharmaceuticals or baby food.”

Video ID on YouTube: FVoi-KV6D90

So which is it, Jay? Do you recommend a vaccine from a manufacturer you don’t trust? If so, where are your ethics on that?

And if you do trust the manufacturers — against what you said — and do recommend the vaccine, why not recommend it in the time and manner that experts (not me, not Orac, or anyone else you loathe so much) recommend?

Do you think you know more than they do? You’re really going to tell us that you know more than people who’ve spent several lifetime’s worth of years studying all aspects of vaccines?

Do you know who your audience is when you post on here?

Do you even science, bro?

Jay saying that I try to come off as a pediatrician is, frankly, the stupidest thing I heard today. The hell kind of rhetorical comeback is that, Jay?

Of course, if I ask the good doctor to show me where I’ve tried to be a pediatrician — or know about pediatrics — he won’t be able to. I haven’t. I know my lane, and my lane is epidemiology, Jay, the study of that which comes upon the people. I’m trained to recognize the signals in the noise, to tease apart the false associations from the real ones, and to understand the data and what they are telling me.

My daughter’s pediatrician has more pediatrician in her pinky finger than you will ever have, Jay. She not only recommends the vaccines on schedule, but she fires patients who won’t vaccinate for non-medical reasons because — SURPRISE! — she cares about her patients’ health. She doesn’t go on television to tout her friendships or push her ideas. She just quietly goes to work every day, saving goddamned lives, and I am embarrassed for her that here we have you — yet another showman — calling yourself a pediatrician also.

Is that didactic enough for you, doctor?

Samoa food for thought – from today’s Wall St. Journal editorial “The Backward March of Civilization”:

“The outbreak (of measles in Samoa) is especially tragic because measles can be contained with vaccinations. But misinformation from vaccine opponents has spread around the world in recent years, including in supposedly civilized America…”

“The outbreak – and death toll – ought to chasten celebrities and others in the U.S. who have spread fears about vaccines…Especially in the age of social media and lack of social trust, bad information can drive out good. Avoidable deaths like those in Samoa can be the tragic result.”

Interesting read but he didn’t blame the government. He tried to ask the PM if he thought he should apologize to his people for not taking steps to address a known risk for measles coming into the country.

There maybe a nuance missing since this is a third party report. So I looked up Brian’s article. Apparently the Samoan government was warned by New Zealand about NZ’s measles outbreak, and took no action despite knowing Samoans regularly travel back and forth between the two countries. Requiring measles vaccination to re-enter would have been a simple step that would have prevented this whole mess.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/samoa-lock-measles-death-toll-rises-60-community-anger-grows/

Christine Kincaid,

Despite your false implication, Brian Dear did not blame the Samoan government for the measles outbreak, he apportioned some of the blame for the outbreak to the Samoan government (or specifically the Samoan PM).

No matter how much your might squirm, this, in no way, lets antivaxxers like yourself off the hook.

@ BillyJoe:

I think that that may be why anti-vaxxers are so cavalier:
they know that even if kids get sick/ die because their parents were frightened by bad information about vaccines that they provide NO ONE can ever directly trace it to them and blame them. Even the celebrities amongst them.

Denice Walter,

You are probably right. But I’m not going to let Christine Kincade get away with giving out false information and advice which she, as a nurse, should know is false. In her own small way, she has contributed to the deaths of over 60 people just in Samoa alone. I can well understand why she would try to wriggle off the hook.

Brian Deer blames Samoan Government. Samoan PM says; ‘You are not Samoan’, lol.

Anything is fine as long as you can childishly see Brian Deer get smeared. But he’s not wrong. At all. In fact he’s spot on to ask the government why they are blaming their own people when the government fell short rebutting anti-vaxx activities and their slow response to the MMR diluent cock up by the nurses. It’s just a dodge to claim it’s “a Samoan thing”.

Rene’, I need to correct a misconception. I do not loathe either you or David. I really like you, read almost everything you post and have learned to think more critically about things we have discussed. We’re soccer players, child health advocates and I respect your opinions.

And Orac…we have known each other for 15 years. I actually also really like David. We’re dog lovers, perhaps iPhone geeks and agree on virtually every area of medicine except for vaccine science.

I was listening to “Science Friday” just now and they were talking about “Bottle of Lies”–I’ll send you a copy when I order mine. Unless you prefer Kindle books.

https://www.amazon.com/Bottle-Lies-Inside-Story-Generic/dp/0062338781/ref=sr_1_1?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIx4Dp_8Wk5gIVhchkCh31gwCKEAAYASAAEgJnMPD_BwE&hvadid=321827917647&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9031038&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=12834786084044841891&hvtargid=kwd-670620999326&hydadcr=22533_10344512&keywords=bottle+of+lies&qid=1575756460&sr=8-1

No, I don’t think we can trust that industry. But they’re the only game in town. So if I want to vaccinate my kids I have to use a product I sorta’ trust.

Until we have better vaccines and regain the public’s confidence there will be outbreaks. A small group of very vocal extremists will continue to adversely effect vaccination rates, but not as much as you imply. And I…I increase vaccination rates by helping to retain and regain that confidence. Maybe the only thing I loathe around here is the deception. Twisting words, cherry-picking quotes out of context, dichotomizing an important topic which precludes discussion of third ideas.

But “loathe”–hell no.

@ Dr Jay:

I really want to like you.
But if you agree with Orac and Rene on so many issues concerning health and even enjoy the same things they do like soccer or dogs, don’t you at least consider that they may be right about other things like vaccines? Maybe? A little?
-btw- I really love the Pacific Ocean, watching surfers and sampling restaurants in CA.

That’s disingenuous. If you’re encouraging an alternate vaccination schedule that has no science to back it up, you’re anti-vaccine. I don’t see that behavior as increasing vaccination rates or helping to retain and regain confidence of . . . who? Parents?

The word twisting and cherry picking is coming from you.

Funny that you draw in generic drugs. Big Pharma just hates them, because they are cheap alternative to patented drugs. An actual pharma shill could write a book like this.
And there is, of course, no need to just trust. You can read actual papers. Brian Deer has article “Merck’s Killer Painkiller” that shows actual research manipulation, and helps to spot it.
https://briandeer.com

Denice! Of course they might be right. And I might be 100% right. (Doubtful) And I ignored there experience and opinions, I think I’d be wrong.

Jay Gordon,

“Of course [David Gorski] might be right”

He IS right.

Because he follows the vaccine schedule recommended by immunologists.
And of course he understands the basis on which they make those recommendations.

“And I might be 100% right”

You are 100% WRONG.

Because you do not follow the vaccine schedule recommended by immunologists.
It is not you against David Gorski.
It’s your personal opinion against that of the world’s immunologists.

How arrogant can you get?

@Denise
.
“But if you agree with Orac and Rene on so many issues concerning health and even enjoy the same things they do like soccer or dogs, don’t you at least consider that they may be right about other things like vaccines?”
.
No matter how many times I run this through Occam’s Calculator it never settles on an answer. Keeps oscillating between ‘Money’ and ‘Ego.’
.
Sometimes you just have to admit that Dr. Occam knows more than the rest of us.

Even if you take a Sharpie and write ‘ego’ at one end of the line and ‘money’ at the other end?

Trivia – there is a golden age sci-fi story about a group of people marooned in a spaceship around Mars after the computer burned a few of its diodes, and they build up a combined network of human-operated abacuses to make complicated operations and calculate their return to Earth.
A bit exaggerated, but learning how to use an abacus beyond addition and subtraction is in my bucket list.

@ Smut Clyde

Thanks! I thought it was Arthur Clarke, but I was not sure how to check it.
There is really everything on the ‘net.

@BillyJoe – Thank you for your reply. You stated I was spreading misinformation, did I get the stock part wrong? Did Dorit sell her GSK stock? She disclosed ownership while working with Senator Pan from California to limit the exemptions and finally remove religious/conscientious objections – SB 276 or SB277. I’d have to look for it.

Is PFIZER not king?

Regarding your advice to stop reading the inserts: Well, since my medical providers don’t read the inserts to all vaccines, medications and treatment recommendations, I do. My comment was pointing out the inconsistency in recommendations.

Ah the CDC…Have you seen this presentation from Mr. Glen Nowak? Page 6. http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/MicrobialThreats/Nowak.pdf

Reminds me of the story of the boy who cried wolf. The CDC is the boy if you or anyone in the pack is unclear on the analogy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heasnJY8HMM

Toodles.

You stated I was spreading misinformation, did I get the stock part wrong? Did Dorit sell her GSK stock? She disclosed ownership while working with Senator Pan from California to limit the exemptions and finally remove religious/conscientious objections – SB 276 or SB277. I’d have to look for it.

Could you be any more petty and hypocritical? Yes, I’m sure you can but this is just ridiculous. I don’t always know what is in my portfolio; I will probably have a pharma stock in there. Whoopdefreakindo. Prof. Reiss declared the potential COI, meanwhile people like RFK, Jr., Bigtree, Wakefield, Tomey, Sears, et al. profit directly from their anti-vaxx activities and numpties like you don’t say shit.

Exactly.
RFK jr is part of a law firm that is currently suing companies for products ( Roundup) causing cancer He envisions a similar scenario for vaccines in order to compensate the “vaccine injured” and SAYS SO: whipping believers into a frenzy may benefit him in the future if that occurs. He is paid for his activities at CHD by believers who contribute money to that charity. Wakefield, Bigtree, Tommey, Sears and many other anti-vaxxers ( including woo-meisters) benefit through charities, book sales, films, speakers’ fees, medical fees ( Sears), product sales and other lucrative scams. In addition, their activities and opinions make them more visible and thus, able to earn additional money in the future as they create their brands.

RFK jr is part of a law firm that is currently suing companies for products ( Roundup) causing cancer

Don’t forget that Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman are $cientologists.

@Science Mom – You ask, “Could you be any more petty and hypocritical?”

My example of petty…”Also, “tootles,” the word you were looking for is “tootles,” with a T… “from Mr. Najera. The statement is also inaccurate.

Hypocritical assumes I have biotech/pharma stock…I don’t.

You may have pharma stock that you are unaware of in your portfolio that wasn’t the point. The point is, Dorit is well known and she helped write SB276 and/or SB277. Ya’ know, the bill that did away with religious/personal exemption for children to attend public school in CA? The bill that limits how many medical exemptions a physician can write for their practice? A law with SERIOUS government overreach. If COI was important to list then, I think it is important to bring it up now. I don’t think it is petty.

Hypocritical assumes I have biotech/pharma stock…I don’t.

No, you’re a hypocrite because you hold pro-vaxxers, like Prof. Reiss to a different standard than your anti-vaxx luminaries who have created an income stream directly from anti-vaxx activities.

You may have pharma stock that you are unaware of in your portfolio that wasn’t the point. The point is, Dorit is well known and she helped write SB276 and/or SB277. Ya’ know, the bill that did away with religious/personal exemption for children to attend public school in CA? The bill that limits how many medical exemptions a physician can write for their practice? A law with SERIOUS government overreach. If COI was important to list then, I think it is important to bring it up now. I don’t think it is petty.

She declared it, because she’s honest and you can’t even give any explanation as to why this is a problem. Do you really think that her stock (even if she still has them) has increased as a direct result of her activities in the CA State Legislature? If they did, would a few dollars really be an incentive or do you think that perhaps she was there because her living is in public health law? Yea, you’re petty.

Where you think package insert comes from ? It comes from clinical trials and post licensure surveillance. So you think that these work OK.
Problem with package insert is that it is, legally, difficult to remove a side effect. A company could be sued if customer is not warned.
You can actually tell us what part of CDC mortality data is fraudulent. Brian Beer did this, and Wakefield lost his medical license.
Dorit Reis will give you a good legal advice. Check, for instance, Zucht v KIng. You know, it is Supreme Court that decides what is constitutional, not you or any other antivaxxer.
Del Bigtree never tells how much money he earns from his antiavaxxing and who finances him. I would tell to you that I do not own pharma shares,

Del doesn’t tell us but Orac does!
ICAN is funded by a wealthy couple, the Selzes, ( see RI, 21 June, this year) who provide about 3/4 of its budget: Gel gets paid and generous travel expenses ( perhaps about 300K USD)

And inserts don’t actually list “side effects,” they list “reported adverse events” which occur during clinical trials.

And why do anti-vaxers trust inserts, but don’t trust the companies which produce them?

Oh, White. So privileged. So quick to draw false assumptions. I can bet you a crisp dollar bill that most people who own a retirement account own a share or two, or a tenth, of a pharmaceutical company. That doesn’t mean that they’ll have some sort of windfall if the company makes a new drug, or that they’ll go broke if it’s found the company did something wrong. But you go ahead and live in your own world.

Also, “tootles,” the word you were looking for is “tootles,” with a T. (Antivaxxers can’t seem to get anything right these days.) “Toodles” is a portmanteau of “toot noodles,” which I won’t tell you what that means. Look it up. 🙂

Natalie White,

I was not commenting about whether or not someone or another owns stock in some company or another (I’ve got not idea who owns what stock in what company). How bizarre. I was talking about you spreading misinformation about vaccines. And I didn’t tell you to stop reading inserts. I told you not to rely on them. Big difference. And I gave you links that you should follow for proper advice, advice based on all the available evidence, and not cherry-picked evidence cherry-picked by a cherry-picked cherry-picker.

Your first link seems to be irrelevant as to the safety of flu vaccines in pregnancy. Maybe I missed it. Maybe you can quote the relevant passage. But, never mind, I am interested in the consensus view of the experts, not the opinion of one of those experts.

And “the boy who cried wolf”, really?

@ Natalie

the story of the boy who cried wolf. The CDC is the boy if you or anyone in the pack is unclear on the analogy.

We are not that dumb.
In the context, you made it quite clear you believe that the CDC is out into fearmongering.
If one believes, as i do, that contagious illnesses like measles and flu are dangerous and serious matters of public health, I find it justified. Mostly.
If one believes, as you do, that these illnesses are no big deal. Well, what can I tell you?

You also hit on a catch-22 issue any agency tasked with security is facing
– not enough paranoid about risks of incoming threats – they will let bad things happen and will be called incompetent.
– properly paranoid about incoming threats – they will be seen as alarmists and generally a pain in the @ss. And if they are successful at stopping a threat, well, since the harm from this threat failed to happen, people will just conclude that it was not a real threat, the CDC was just crying wolf.

As an example of the later, you seem shocked that Nowak seems outrightly calling for emotional manipulation to convince people to get the flu vaccine. I can understand that.
For one thing, we humans are emotional animals, whatever we may wish to believe. Any advertiser will tell you that, campaigns based on emotions are more efficient than if based on reason. In an ideal world, vaccines shouldn’t be advertised like a novelty muscle car, but here we are.
If not emotional, we are very apathetic, going along our own business and not caring much about what’s going on in the outside world. “I don’t care, do u?”
Most of us French and Belgian and Dutch and Poles just accepted occupation by Nazi Germany. Most people just went along their life in the Eastern communist republics. Or your Americans getting along your grifter of a president for the past three years, barely objecting to him and his gov building concentration camps for children.

To emphasize, there is this whole “boy who cried wolf” business. The CDC, health authorities, and in their humble way Orac and a few others scientists/physicians have been warning about the return of measles and other infectious diseases for two decades.
Well, since about a decade, measles has definitively returned.
And now, unvaccinated children are dying.
The reaction from your antivaxers pals, including on these recent threads?
We are still a bunch of paranoid bullshitters crying wolf.

Suddenly, I see why people at the CDC may believe it necessary to crank the warnings to 11. Obviously, some people with thick skulls are hard of hearing.

The thing is that Nowak’s not calling for fearmongering. Natalie left out some important context. Her page six? Is describing a thing that happens when we have a very bad flu season, not a strategy, and discussing what that means for communicating the importance of the flu vaccine. But making that clear would require Natalie to be honest and accurate, and she’s not capable of that.

And I remember about 10 years ago when the H1N1 strain emerged and was killing healthy children and young adults and was announced as a pandemic, people were complaining that it was being hyped when it was announced to be officially a pandemic. The reasoning seemed to be that it didn’t qualify because not enough people were dying.

I wonder if Natalie has any romaine lettuce from the Salinas valley in her fridge, or if she believes the CDC/FDA/USDA about things like that?

I understand that you were frustrated that I pointed out that you were mistaken and you did not have an answer. So you tried to slap me down by reaching for the Pharma shill gambit, maybe in the view that it’s a valid substitute to supporting your point or hides your error. It’s not, and the reaction you received was to this attempt. It doesn’t really help your argument.

To correct some of you other errors, my stock was disclosed since 2013, long before SB277. I did not actually help to write either bill, though I did support them, and did say openly they are constitutional – which they are.

@Dorit – Motivation Dorit. You advocate for more governmental control over medical care and then you benefit financially from it. It doesn’t matter when you purchased/obtained/received the stock. More profit when more product is moved. Fewer exemptions + more mandates = more vaccines sold = more money. From a financial standpoint, it is a brilliant business plan.<<<not sarcasm

I understand you want to imagine that.

If you had better understanding of finance and business, you would understand that –

A. The tiny difference in sales that the mandates would make on products that aren’t blockbusters it likely to make a difference in the price of shares.

B. The profit from a bump in shares to a small shareholder with a diverse portfolio isn’t actually meaningful. For us, for example, if anything I did made a big difference to the share price (Which isn’t likely), by skeptical raptor’s calculations here it would net us $90 a year. https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/anti-vaccine-education-bullshit-ignorance-finance

I donate $50 a month to Voices for Vaccines alone. Do the math.

Your financial motives claim isn’t very convincing.

And you brought it here not because I showed you wrong and you were frustrated.

I’m afraid it doesn’t help you much. You’re still wrong on vaccines, wrong on Samoa, and wrong on this, too.

I should probably look at fewer antivax rants.

Yesterday I was at the supermarket and misread a sign as saying “Fetal Tissues” (it actually said Facial Tissues). 🙂

Could have been worse, DB. I read your “Fetal” as ‘Fecal” (even though I’m a Brit and spell it with the dipthong;’ Faecal’),

@ Dorit – The vaccine business is very profitable. You are being dishonest. You advocate for more government control over personal medical decisions. You are a medical fascist. Own it! You are considered a hero by many.. https://www.fiercepharma.com/vaccines/glaxosmithkline-tops-its-peers-7-16b-2017-vaccine-sales

With the merger of GSK to King Pfizer…CHA-CHING! Maybe you can go across state lines and assist others lawmakers in limiting personal medical choices and imposing more mandates…on second thought, you’re probably already working on it.

Too bad proper infrastructure, sanitation, and clean water aren’t more profitable. Even the magical potion delivered with a jab has it’s limitations especially when the receiver is already unhealthy/sick. Why not add another insult to the immune system?<<<sarcasm

So, Ms. White, I would love to see your economic analysis that refutes this:
Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):577-85.
Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.

Right after you tell how more economical it was to not have this child get the DTaP series: https://www.oregonlive.com/health/2019/03/unvaccinated-oregon-boy-6-nearly-dies-of-tetanus-racks-up-1-million-in-bills.html

I am sure the taxpayers of Oregon would love to know how much money they saved by that kid being in the hospital in a coma for weeks.

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