Where Do They Find These Scary Statistics III – Let’s Make a Few Assumptions – Hepatitis B

September 2, 2008 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch, Vaccine Science, Vaccine/Disease Analysis 

[Part I, Part II, ]

Parents have questions about the risk-benefit equation of the Hepatitis B vaccine. It is possible for a parent to be quite certain that their infant is not at risk of prenatal or birth exposure to this disease. The risk factors for exposure during infancy, early childhood, and the elementary school years can be reasonably well assessed on an individual basis. Read more

Health Marketing, Risk Communication, and the Media

August 7, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch, General, Parents' Pages 

Remember the Great Influenza Vaccine Shortage a few years back?

Panic swept the nation after the FDA rejected many European flu shots because of possible contamination during manufacturing.  What was left was rationed according to age and risk factors, and the public could  be seen every night on the news waiting in long lines to get the remaining doses.

Now, setting aside for the moment the ongoing questions regarding the usefulness of flu shots in any age group, especially the elderly, one might come to wonder what has changed in recent years to bring about this new terror regarding influenza.

The answer, as outlandish and implausible as it might sound, is that this fear has been manufactured and marketed by the people in public health. Read more

Where Do They Find These Scary Statistics? Part II: Gross Estimation–Diphtheria Statistics Defy Reality

Top graph from page 423 of The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century.
Lower graph from page 208 of  Trends in Diphtheria Mortality.

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Series Links: Part I, Part III Read more

Where Do They Find These Scary Statistics?


Dr. Gerberding of the CDC

[Series Links: Part II, Part III]

Remember Hannah Poling? The head of the CDC, dressed in a very nice pink suit, appeared on TV and discussed Hannah’s case. In one of her appearances she said something like this: “Vaccines prevent 33,000 deaths a year in the United States.” Just to make sure I had the statement right, I searched for the phrase and found it again, from CNN, this time in print.

Today, through immunizations given in the first two years of life, we can protect children from 16 diseases, preventing 33,000 deaths and 14 million illnesses per year.

A few searches made it clear that this is a very popular statistic. A variety of news stories included the information that vaccines prevent 33,000 deaths a year in the United States. This is an interesting number to anyone who knows a bit about the history of infectious diseases. I decided to dig deeper.

My next find was this chart, which is on a the web-site of an organization called Every Child by Two. The chart provides morbidity (incidence) and mortality (deaths) for each disease. How in the world would someone be able to calculate (for example) the exact number of cases of diphtheria which would occur and the exact number of deaths which would follow? Amazing! There must be some truly extraordinary scientific research underlying these numbers, don’t you think? Read more

For the Good of the Herd

In an era where CDC experts are saying, “Just line up for Gardasil, and you’ll have a 70% reduced chance of getting cancer”, are parents asking any critical questions about the crystal ball gazing abilities of these experts now and in the past? Why is there talk of adding a third MMR vaccine into the childhood schedule, and also putting it into adult vaccination programs as regular boosters?

Will most people just roll up their sleeve, assuming the new ideas will have the good outcome the CDC will predict?

Most of those people won’t know, that in 1967, the CDC said: *

For centuries the measles virus has maintained a remarkably stable ecological relationship with man. The clinical disease is a characteristic syndrome of notable constancy and only moderate severity. Complications are infrequent, and, with adequate medical care, fatality is rare.

Effective use of these vaccines during the coming winter and spring should insure the eradication of measles from the United States in 1967. Read more

Vaccine Information Statements For Dummies

April 4, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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Before any doctor gives your baby vaccines, you should be given Vaccination Information Sheets (VISs) to read.

Developed by the CDC, they inform vaccine recipients, their parents or legal representative, about the benefits and risks of vaccines. (1) Federal Law requires their use. This is a result of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. 300aa-26. (1) Before 1986, parents didn’t have any right to printed information about vaccines.

VISs sound like a good system. Parents get concise and easy to understand information on a vaccine’s risks and benefits so they can make an informed decision.

Is that really how it works? Let’s examine the nuts and bolts of VISs.
Read more

Pertussis: Yo-Yo Stats

February 14, 2008 by · 15 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

yo-yo.jpgPrevious CDC articles: Stupid , Measles

Pertussis, popularly known as Whooping Cough, is an illness that ranges from mild to very dangerous. The levels of incidence seem to be a bit of a mystery. One department of the CDC claims that the vaccine is doing a great job of protecting us from death-dealing outbreaks of pertussis while another department of the same organization claims that pertussis is endemic in the United States. Follow me down the bureaucratic rabbit hole, as we try to discover the truth about The Cough!

Read more

Measles: The Grim Reality

February 2, 2008 by · 32 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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(Part I of this series: Parents: Does the CDC Think We are Stupid?)

What does the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have to say to parents about measles?

Before measles immunization was available, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles. An average of 450 measles-associated deaths were reported each year between 1953 and 1963.

Was measles a major health problem between 1953 and 1963? Were parents begging for a vaccine? Terrified that their child would die or be permanently damaged by a dangerous disease? Well, no. Some here could give their answer to that question, but better still, ask your parents, and grand-parents what they thought about measles.  Find out who in your family was “at risk” of serious complications or death.

The big question, when you see a death rate, is how many deaths occur in relation to the total number of cases? The reported cases, with something like measles, are always going to be much lower than the total cases, and reported cases will generally be more severe, more likely to be hospitalized, and more likely to have a bad outcome.  I had measles when I was eight, but my parents didn’t report my case of measles, I never saw a doctor and no one in my family (including two younger siblings) caught it from me. Here, from the CDC Pink Book, is the complete story:
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Parents: Does the CDC Think We are Stupid?

January 31, 2008 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch 

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Why else would the CDC supply the parents of America with dumbed down information that contradicts their very own guidelines on how to distinguish trustworthy information from mere opinion? Here are the guidelines from the CDC on evaluating information found on the Internet.

The CDC on trustworthy information.

What is the scientific evidence for claims made? The original source of facts and figures should be shown. For example, the Web site should provide citations of medical articles or other sources of information. You should be able to distinguish facts from opinions. Also, facts are more reliable if they come from a published scientific study on humans rather than from unpublished accounts or from reports of a single person or of animal studies.

When it comes to information for parents, the CDC motto is clearly: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Read more

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