Written by Parents? Based on Science?
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.
On the Vaccines Questions & Answers Page we found this:
Aren’t so many vaccines too much for a child’s immune system?
A baby’s immune system can handle considerably more germs than they will ever get from vaccines. In fact, babies are exposed to thousands of germs every day from the day they are born. As one doctor said, ‘Worrying about too many vaccines is like worrying about a thimble of water getting you wet when you are swimming in an ocean.’9
Reference number 9 is a link to a 64 page booklet for parents from the CDC’s website called “Parents’ Guide to Childhood Immunizations”. There is no author listed except for the “National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases” and there are no references cited. Weirdly, the quotation attributed to a doctor is there, word for word, but no name is given. Under “Frequently Asked Questions” the answers given are exactly the same as those found on the CDC and AAP sites. It seems pretty clear that if parents are writing the information for the ImmYounity site, they are copying the official party line very closely. Seems a bit lazy to just cut and paste someone else’s words and treat them as your own. Good thing this web-site isn’t being turned in to a professor as a class assignment or someone would be getting an “F” for plagiarism.
The next question asks:
Can I spread out the vaccination schedule for my child so there is more time between each shot?
… The childhood immunization schedule is designed to work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages and at specific times, at the time when the child is at higher risk for most diseases.50 For these reasons, it is not advised to change the recommended schedule.
Spreading out shots can leave your child unprotected and open to getting serious diseases. It has also been shown that not sticking to the schedule can result in outbreaks of disease.50
Because you may not know the vaccination status of other children, you can at least make sure your own child is protected by having him or her vaccinated.
Some children should not receive certain vaccines for medical reasons. For example, they may be allergic to certain ingredients contained in the vaccine (though severe allergic reactions are rare) or have a weakened immune system. In those cases, sometimes a vaccine may be delayed or skipped altogether.50
For children who should not receive certain vaccines, their only protection from infectious disease is the immunity of people around them.16
Reference number 50 links to a two page AAP handout from 2008 for parents that contains brief (a paragraph or two) answers to questions about the recommended schedule. There are no citations to back up the statements.
Reference number 16 links to a one page CDC handout which has many unreferenced claims about pre-vaccine diseases incidence and morbidity.
We’ve noted elsewhere that the CDC demands references from vaccine critics, but are very thrifty about referencing their own claims about the history of infectious illnesses.
In the case of ImmYounity we wonder why their claims of being science based are so thinly supported by actual science. Is it because the science just isn’t there? Stay tuned!