Filed under: CDC Watch, News, Opinion, Pro-Vaccine Memes, Vaccine Myths, Vaccine Science
These little items go up on Facebook first and then I’ll add them to this ever-expanding blog post.
Here is one that was delivered right on our page not long ago–vaccines only represent 2% of the global pharma market, therefore the pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t ever be tempted to do anything dirty like fake research or bribe legislators. And here is a perfect refutation coming directly from the mouth of a pharma web-site. http://www.pharmpro.com/
Refutations to Pro-vaccine Memes (number 2 of a series) “Comprising a little over 8% of the earth’s crust, aluminium is the most abundant metal on the planet.” and here is the sub-text which is implied but rarely stated: therefore human beings should be able to cope with aluminum in the air, in their water, in their food and in their vaccines.
The first thing to sort out is the source of this statement. It is sort of true but doesn’t actually mean much in terms of the safety of exposure to aluminum in air, water, food or vaccines. In addition to turning up on reference sites, you’ll find this quote on the site of corporations that mine bauxite and manufacture aluminum. Of course such companies want to minimize concerns about pollution and contamination. An example: http://www.constellium.com/aluminium-company/aluminium-properties-and-uses
Aluminum doesn’t occur naturally as aluminum, so the story that it is 8% of the earth’s crust is a bit twisty right off the bat. Here are some facts: “Aluminium never occurs naturally in its pure form; in the ground it is combined with other chemicals as minerals in ore rocks.
The major source of aluminum is layers of soft ore called bauxite, which is mostly aluminum hydroxide.” http://www.houseandhome.org/facts-about-aluminum
Filed under: CDC Watch, General, Legislation, News, Parents' Pages, Vaccine Exemptions, Vaccine Mandates
Coming soon to t0 your home state (if you haven’t already been hit): an attempt to “tighten” vaccination exemptions, justified on the basis of “increased” exemptions and “soaring” childhood illnesses. Washington State was the first target and their exemption law was changed, forcing parents to visit a doctor, listen to a lecture and then, maybe, get a signature on their exemption form. Next came Vermont and then California. In Vermont the vaccine critics won a small victory, in California there was a definite loss, slightly redeemed by a signing statement from the governor defending religious freedom. Currently Oregon is the main target but Maine is also facing legislation. (2013).
What can you do to protect your freedom of choice when it comes to vaccination?
- Get organized before the legislative attack on your rights begins. Various organizations have been planning these attacks for about 10 years, perhaps longer. There may already be a vaccine choice organization in your state, join it! If there isn’t, create one and contact everyone you know who might be concerned and ask them to join too. These law changes are aimed mainly at parents who have concerns about vaccines but are on the fence. With new vaccines in the pipeline and some of the currently approved vaccines making parents itchy (HPV for example), tightening up the exemption process is the best way to avoid a mass exodus from compliance. Read more
Filed under: CDC Watch, Vaccine Exemptions, Vaccine/Disease Analysis
According to the CDC (2002)
However, since the early 1980s, reported pertussis incidence has increased cyclically with peaks occurring every 3–4 years.
And yet whooping cough increases are being described as though they are a new problem. Here is an example, one of many:
Whooping cough cases have outright ballooned in Washington; state health authorities actually declared epidemic status earlier this year, there has been a 13-fold increase in diagnoses since 2011.
Washington — though home to a lot of highly-educated, tech savvy people — is also the epicenter of the U.S. anti-vaccination movement. Over the last few decades, more and more parents there have opted out of inoculating their kids against preventable illnesses. As some 90 percent of any population must be inoculated for vaccines to work — AKA “herd immunity” — many are blaming Washington’s anti-vax camp for spurring the disease’s spread. Read more
Filed under: Parents' Pages, Reviews of web-sites, Vaccine Science
Shot of Prevention recently put up a blog article: Choosing Vaccination for Your Child is an Informed Decision explaining where to go for information on vaccination.
I believe that parents must begin by understanding the importance of research, science and statistics in order to make an informed decision. In other words, it’s not that parents should look for a “neutral page”, as this mother suggests, but more importantly, an accurate one that uses scientific evidence to support their recommendations.
Insidevaccines agrees on the importance of using research, science and statistics to make an informed decision. The challenge is determining which pages are accurate and which use scientific evidence to support their recommendations. The writer on Shot of Prevention recommends various resources and provides links.
One thing the author does not recommend, and we find it an interesting omission, is to simply look at each resource she links to, choose a statement at random, and follow up on the references to see if the citations chosen actually support the statement or not, as the case may be. This simple step would demonstrate that she is actually pointing to science-based rather than faith-based information. We’ve written up evaluations of two vaccine supportive sites and found significant holes in the references. (see: Overinformed Refusal has to be Stopped and Written by Parents? Based on Science? ) This is not a terribly difficult step, and it will lay a real foundation of confidence in the data (or not). Any parent who has ever done a research paper has the basic skills required and the Internet makes it surprisingly easy to find article abstracts and sometimes even full-text articles. Read more
It is magical thinking that there are virtually no injuries caused by vaccines and the vaccination process. The safety factors promoted are completely unrealistic and could not be achieved by the use of a real placebo. Why? Because virtually all vaccines are injected, and the injection process itself, separate and distinct from the vaccine, is by definition an invasive medical procedure with multiple known risk factor rates greater than current vaccine safety claims.
Ask any responsible medical professional if it is possible to perform 1,000,000 insulin, Vitamin B12, or even saline injections without an injury. Serious adverse reactions from injections happen all the time. And medical error in general is a much larger problem than most people realise.
From the National Academy of Science: Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People and Cost Billions of Dollars Annually
This PowerPoint illustrates multiple common errors, see slide 2
Here a technician was using improper injection techniques for flu shots
“But they must be the only ones…” Nope, sorry. It turns out that this is a continuing problem across the entire health care industry.
“3 Myths About Safe Injection Practices”-
….Premier survey conducted in May and June last year, indicating that of 5,446 provider respondents (better hope your HCP is not one of these), the following engage in unsafe injection practices:
- 6% sometimes or always use single-dose/single-use vials for more than one patient
- 9% sometimes or always reuse a syringe but change the needle for a second patient
- 15.1% reuse a syringe to enter a multidose vial
- 6.5% save that vial for use on another patient.
So, are vaccines and vaccination magical? Read more
Filed under: News, Parents' Pages, Reviews of web-sites, Vaccine Myths, Vaccine Science
This is our second post reviewing the new pro-vaccine site brought to you by Sanofi Pasteur. In our first post we followed up on the claim that the site is science-based. In this one we’ll have a look at claimed authorship and continue our search for scientific references to back-up their declarations.
On the “About ImmYounity” page it is claimed that the information on the site is written by fellow parents:
“There’s a lot of confusing information today about immunizations and parents need the facts. This is why you can look to ImmYounity and Vaccines.com. This Web site is written by moms for moms (and dads, too!) and is grounded in science — the best tool there is to help you make your own decisions about immunization.”
This is an interesting claim, considering that the answers provided are eerily similar to the soothing answers provided by the CDC and AAP on their websites. Read more
And Sanofi Pasteur is taking action with their new web-site.
The ImmYounity(SM) campaign provides consumer-friendly, accurate and science-based information about immunization that can be easily accessed at www.vaccines.com. The site contains useful facts and resources, including visuals that can be easily shared via social media and email, and is supplemented by educational brochures offered for use by health-care providers.
Sounds absolutely wonderful. Especially as they set the bar high in these statements on their Educate Others page.
- Make sure the author cites the sources where he or she got the information, along with links to these sources. Is information presented objectively, or is it biased?
- Does the Web site cite scientific evidence for the statements that are made? Can facts and opinions be easily distinguished?
This is certainly what insidevaccines strives to do. How does Vaccines.com hold up when you start looking at their references?
On their Vaccine Q & A page we found this question and answers:
Why are additives put in vaccines?
Additives in vaccines serve some of the same functions as food additives—they can act as preservatives and help extend shelf life, and are only used in very tiny amounts. Small amounts of additives are also used to kill or inactivate vaccines.67
Here are some additives you may have questions about:
Aluminum is used in some vaccines to allow for a better immune response. Infants are constantly exposed to aluminum in a number of ways: it’s present in air, water, food, even in breast milk. The amount used in vaccines, though, is a tiny fraction of the amount a baby would receive through breast milk or formula in the first 6 months of life. That small amount is eliminated quickly from a baby’s body.68
Antibiotics are used to prevent growth of bacteria during production and storage and rarely cause allergic reactions.67,68
Thimerosal is a preservative that is no longer in most children’s vaccines. It has been used in very small amounts to multidose vials of vaccine (which hold more than one dose) to prevent bacteria from contaminating the vaccine.8
If you have any concerns about what additives are in a specific vaccine, be sure to talk to your child’s health-care professional.
So, for supporting references we have 67, 68 and 8.
8 is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thimerosol in vaccines. http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/safetyavailability/vaccinesafety/ucm096228.htm. Accessed August 15, 2011.
67 is CDC. Vaccines and Immunizations. Ingredients of Vaccines – Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm. Updated February 22, 2011. Accessed August 15, 2011.
68 is Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Vaccine ingredients: what you should know. http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients.pdf. Accessed August 15, 2011.
Secondary sources. Okay. So we’ll go and see if the secondary sources are supported by primary sources. Read more
Review: The average cost of measles cases and adverse events following vaccination in industrialised countries
Filed under: Article Reviews, Vaccine Science, Vaccine/Disease Analysis
One of our readers posted a comment asking us: “Can you tease out some facts in this study?” We think we could probably write several papers discussing the issues surrounding this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC128813/ but we will provide a brief summary because a study such as this isn’t worth spending an inordinate amount of time on.
We are going to make a few opening caveats:
1) Some of us believe that measles might be the only vaccine that is justifiable on a large population basis and that is only because there is some evidence that measles can have a relatively high (still low on an absolute basis) rate of serious side effects in some populations.
2) Cost justification studies (such as this) are usually based on a house of cards, and are only as good as the data that underlies the layers of assumptions made in the model.
3) Cost justification studies that are used to support mass vaccination mandates almost invariably turn out to be wrong due to underestimating the cost of the vaccine program and side-effects and overestimating the effectiveness of the vaccines.
4) These studies are often misleading because they are usually sensitive to a few key assumptions and they normalize everything to a dollar value. Here is a sample problem with normalizing everything to a dollar value: let us imagine we have two different vaccines that we want to give to 1 million people. In the testing, 50% of the people suffered 3 days of mild illness causing missed work with no long term effects from vaccine A. 1 person died from vaccine B with no one else suffering any ill effects. The cost of vaccine A would be far higher in almost any financial model, and yet clearly we would much rather fall mildly ill for 3 days rather than risk a 1 in a million chance of dying.
This particular study is interesting in that it is not actually performing a cost comparison or justification. It is only trying to set the cost of a measles case and the cost of a measles vaccine reaction. In order to judge the likelihood of bias in a study, a quick check on the authors reveals that although there are no direct conflicts of interest declared, several of them work for organizations which were desperate to defend the MMR vaccine in the wake of the Wakefield papers from around that time period. There is nothing wrong with that, but it provides context for the timing, content, and potential bias’ of the study. Read more
Filed under: News, Vaccine Science, Vaccine/Disease Analysis
We are now in the thick of the influenza season, and it is a true shame that the emphasis on vaccines against the flu has drowned out any mainstream discussion much less headlines for an important study recently released in Nature about the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus: Severe pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza disease due to pathogenic immune complexes . The press release is worth reading.
There are a few initial things that make this study worth noting:
1) It is not funded by the industrial/governmental health care complex
2) It is short, concise, and doesn’t draw any reaching conclusions
3) It furthers our understanding of the 2009 H1N1 Flu by doing a rigorous scientific follow-up of real cases.
The last point is a refreshing change as one of the best ways to learn something is to examine the medical outcomes for real people and this is something we don’t see very often from our medical authorities. The study itself does not address vaccines but the findings have important implications for mass influenza vaccination policies. Read more
A new law, sponsored by Senator Klobuchar, allows children being adopted into the U.S. to skip being vaccinated in their home countries because apparently millions of children are being exposed:
to unsafe immunizations in foreign countries.
The news story continues:
The bill also allows U.S. parents adopting foreign-born children to safely immunize their children in the United States within 30 days of their arrivals, rather than have to subject their children to potentially unsafe immunizations in foreign nations. Previously, parents who adopted internationally were frequently required to immunize their children before bringing them to the United States.
We can only hope that all those foreign nations don’t pick up on this news story and wonder why it is okay for children who are remaining in Africa, Asia, South America or Eastern Europe to receive unsafe vaccines.
There are, of course, two obvious answers to why these vaccines are unsafe.
2) Mercury content. Due to a lack of refrigeration and a shortage of money, most vaccines in the developed world come in 10 dose vials, preserved with that wonderful, inexpensive toxin, thimerosal.
How could the journalists who put together this lovely, upbeat story miss the huge question of why it is okay for some kids (adopted in to the U.S.) to get “safe” vaccines and other children (remaining in their home countries) to receive unsafe vaccines? Why don’t all of those upbeat stories about vaccine campaigns in developing countries mention the hazards of “unsafe immunizations” and ask donors to give that little bit extra so children’s lives can be saved for real?
Stories like this one:
Burkina Faso has become the first country to begin a nationwide campaign to introduce a new meningitis vaccine that promises to rid the entire region of the primary cause of epidemic meningitis.
“This historic event signals the beginning of the end of a disease that has brought sickness and suffering to generations of Africans,” said Seydou Bouda, Minister of Health of Burkina Faso.
We can hope that despite the very inexpensive vaccine the budget for this campaign allows for the use of needles that cannot be re-used and omits the cheap mercury preservative, or some of the sickness and suffering will come as a consequence of the nationwide campaign.
Returning to our fortunate adoptees, how many vaccines are these kids going to receive within 30 days of their arrival in the U.S? If they are expected to catch up on several years worth of vaccination within 30 days they may still end up with some major health problems…