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Dear Antivaxxer: This is why I do not care for you

March 26, 2012

Over the years I have heard many plaintive cries from the anti-vax movement about those who would dare to confront them. They ask for respect for their opinions and don’t understand why I am so “mean” to them. Here you go, anti-vaxxer. Here is why I am the Honeybadger, and you are the cobra.

1. You believe that your opinion should be respected no matter how ridiculous it may be.

I must quote Poland and Jacobson to begin with. “Ultimately, society must recognize that science is not a democracy in which the side with the most votes or the loudest voices gets to decide what is right“.  Anti-vaxxers, your opinions regarding vaccination are not based on science. They are ill-formed things with little basis in any reality and are due no respect whatsoever. I do not know where the idea that all opinions must be respected came from, anyway. Should I respect the opinion of a racist or a bigot? No, I should not. And I do not now, nor will I ever, respect yours. Just because you state your dangerous antivaccination views “politely” on an internet message board does not mean that you are due any kindness. It’s like putting a pretty red bow on a turd. The underlying basis of your belief system is about as rude and harmful as can be imagined; therefore, I do not feel compelled to be “nice” to you for any reason.

2. You believe that people who understand the benefits and safety of vaccination “haven’t done the research” or are “elitist” or “brainwashed” or “arrogant”.

It is simply amazing to me that your ilk has somehow convinced yourselves that the more qualified a person is to talk about vaccination, the less he or she actually knows. A simple thought experiment for you here, anti-vaxxer. Can you envision a position that is more arrogant than one that is held by a person with no degree in any field of biological sciences and yet goes against 99.99% of the healthcare community? Do you truly believe that you know something that hundreds of thousands of scientists, physicians, nurses, and public health practitioners don’t? If so, how can you even function each day? You exemplify the Dunning-Kruger effect, which, as put by Daniel R. Hawes, describes the phenomenon whereby “people fail to grasp their own incompetence, precisely because they are so incompetent“. In other words, people who know the least about a subject tend to think they know the most. Only after real education do you realize the limits of your own knowledge. This real education does not come in the form of Googling shit and reading anti-vax websites.

3. You are selfish.

Oh stop.  Yes, yes you are. First of all, don’t tell me that you are only responsible for your own children, because if you were actually responsible, you would get your children (and your pets) vaccinated. Further, the concept that you need to tend only to your little snowflake is a great example of how our society has devolved. You simply cannot state that you care about your community when you refuse to vaccinate your children. Yeah, I get that you don’t think measles is a big deal, and maybe it’s not to you, but it is to many other people. By choosing not to vaccinate, you have made a conscious decision to place every single person in your community at risk; some more than others. But you don’t care about your next-door neighbor’s newborn, and you aren’t even ashamed to admit it. You are quite happy to parasite away off of the good health of your vaccinated community instead, and you are proud of it. There is something profoundly wrong with that.

4. You are purposely trying to manipulate others.

You claim that you want to “educate” others, yet you have no quality information to provide. You post emotional anecdotes and sketchy “articles” that don’t survive any sort of critical analysis whatsoever. In addition, you have your strategies in place to sow this misinformation. These strategies include “comment bombing” every news article that comes out about vaccinations with utter nonsense. We’ve all seen Anne Dachel from Age of Autism at work, for example, spreading misinformation from sea to shining sea. And you’re not even embarrassed by the fact that you use this strategy. I must admit that you caught scientists out for quite a long time; we didn’t quite grasp how vulnerable people were to massive toxic doses of lies and misinformation. Now we know, and your comments are no longer going unaddressed.

5.  You seem to think that the Constitution was designed to protect your stupid-ass ideas.

Well, I suppose that sometimes it does. But when an anti-vaxxer throws around the first amendment in defense of their position, you can be sure that they do not fully understand the right to religious freedoms in this county. Remember, for example, that the Establishment Clause limits not only restrictions upon religion, but prohibits the state from giving preference to one religion over another. One could argue that by allowing for religious vaccine exemptions, the state is indeed preferring one religion over another, and putting the entire community at risk while at it. Further, people a lot smarter than you and I have already mulled over how First Amendment rights relate to the vaccination issue. In short, they don’t. Just as you are free to practice your religion, you cannot impose your religion on others, particularly if it harms the community at large.

This is just a short capsule of reasons that I don’t much care for anti-vaxxers. My reader is welcome to add any items to this list and I will update it as needed. Special thanks to Autismum for adding another to the list in the comments section below from her unique perspective.

From → vaccines

136 Comments
  1. There. How do you feel now? Better, don’t you?

  2. Well, you summed-up perfectly how I feel about anti-vaxers and why I’m so insolent to them, even calling them names like “d__chebag” and such. I feel better emotionally when I release my anger.

    • Yeah, I hear ya dude. I feel like I’ve written this stuff over and over through the years, so I figured I’d just put it all in one place and link back to it forevermore.

  3. Remind me to one day tell you about the discussion I once had with a member of my own family who managed to proclaim herself an atheist because of the science denialism in religion AND rant against vaccines in the same Facebook posting. We had a back-and-forth about her hipocrisy, and we haven’t spoken since. I’ve already warned the rest of my family that they should be prepared to lose my friendship if they ever decided to be anti-vaccine or go to a homeopath. I hate homeopaths.

    • René was one of my first Twitter pals. Is anybody wondering why? Although, the more I learn about homeopaths, the more it’s clear to me that homeopath = antivax.

      There were 34,000 cases of measles in France last year. France has a population of 65 million and MMR is recommnded, not obligatory

      • Agree re. the homeopathogens. I just have a great deal of difficulty understanding how anyone can be one or see one with a straight face.

        • Eurgh. Just found this on Scoop.it. Coincidence? Yes, but not a wildly improbable one, alas.

        • Science-based homeopathy, eh? I laugh in their general direction.

        • Megan permalink

          I once had a lady at a birthday party we were all attending tell me I wasn’t really helping my son with autism unless I put him in a hypovaric (sp) chamber. He had an episode earlier. Finally I just told her that we were doing what felt was working and to back off. My mom was big into homeopathy and ended up going to the mayo clinic because her “treatments” had damaged her liver. I have big problems with homeopathogens.

        • Sorry to hear about your Mom, yikes. I’ve had some experiences with folks like that. I have a family member with an autoimmune disease, and everyone just wants to stick their oar in with all sorts of information about homeopathogens and Goji juice and all that crap.

  4. Kathy permalink

    Great post

  5. Autismum permalink

    I’ve a personal one I’d add:
    You lie about my son
    You use autism, described variously by you and those like you as a condition that is a living death, worse than terminal cancer and that renders a child soul-less. You make people view my child with pity and as a tragedy: a perfect being stolen by faceless vaccine-pushing monsters. No-one pushed me into vaccinating my child. He was autistic before I ever met him. He was autistic after vaccination. He will always be autistic and none of the poisons *you* push like EDTA and lupron will ever change that.

    • Thank you Autismum for such a very moving comment.

    • (Warning… First-hand anecdotal story to follow.)

      My oldest is “high-functioning autistic”. However, in our particular case, it turns out that a large part of this was a problem digesting milk. (Look up “casein intolerance” if you’re not familiar with this.)

      Although the idea seemed crazy at the time, we decided that going dairy-free for a few weeks really had no down-side that we could think of. There certainly aren’t any of those nasty side-effects that you see on all the drug commercials. What’s a “fatal event”, anyway? :-)

      It’s amazing how much he changed once we switched to a gluten-free/casein-free diet. Is he “normal”? No, but he’s certainly far ahead of where he would be if we never found out about this. (We only wish we knew about this earlier.)

      • campbellwlkr permalink

        I am/have aspergus and I have been curious about how various foods and additives have affected me and others like me, milk and gluten haven’t been an issue, but, High concentrations of things like MSG have seriously been an issue. To be blunt, it turns me into an arsehole. Has this been noted by anyone else?

        • Hmmm, I haven’t noted that you are an arsehole. :)

          MSG has no effect on me to my knowledge, but I think there may be people out there who are sensitive to it.

    • Amber permalink

      Autismum- the part about autism being “worse than death” really angers me. I’ve had many students with autism spectrum disorders and while they have great challenges to face I have cherished every one exactly as he or she is. I absolutely can’t understand how these people, some of whom have autistic children, could say something so cruel.

  6. Autismmum & Sr. Honeybadger: hear, hear.

  7. Megan permalink

    Some just shared this on their FB page, thank you so much!!! My husband and I are pro-vaccine and you would think that we intentionally caused my son’s autism by the responses we’ve gotten. Even when we point out he has chromosomal duplication that affects him in many different ways, I still get people who insist the vaccinations caused it. You can argue science, you can argue that it doesn’t matter and it’s not the end of the world. You can argue that with therapy he’s making great progress and we can show how science has improved his life. It doesn’t matter. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

    • Thanks Megan for your comment. I often think of all of the epidemiological studies that have been done and which have shown that vaccines don’t cause autism. They had to be done, but in many cases it seems they did no good whatsoever–people still want to believe that vaccines cause autism, and as you say, nothing can change their minds. It’s truly a shame; in my opinion resources for any further studies could be much better applied to providing therapies and services for children and adults with autism and/or for delving into other potential causes.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      • feebletinker permalink

        That would mean that parents of autists would need to accept that nothing that someone else did caused the autism…and that feels a whole lot like self-blame to many of them.

  8. Chris permalink

    Some of them tell me that my son does not deserve to live because he has health issues. They actually claim that children who die or are injured by diseases are part of natural selection. They do not like it when I tell them my son had seizures due to a now vaccine preventable disease. The claim is that if a child is healthy they would do fine getting measles, pertussis, etc.

    They refuse to answer certain questions, which I have been gathering over the years. They will not tell us how the vaccine are more dangerous than the diseases, how treating a disease is more cost effective than preventing it, why measles incidence in the USA dropped 90% in one decade, or what one must “read and understand” before entering the official VAERS database (NVIC has a portal to the database that bypasses the disclaimers).

    • I’m so sorry Chris. I find it disgusting when anti-vaxxers throw around “natural selection”. It suggests, among other things, that they believe themselves and their offspring to be superior, health-wise, to anyone else. A cursory glance at the “Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children” Facebook page seems to indicate otherwise, with constant appeals for “natural” remedies for myriad diseases and conditions. It also demonstrates that they have no idea whatsoever about how infectious disease spreads, injures, and kills. I have seen the argument many times from these morons that people have died for millenia from infectious diseases and yet THEY, the smugly self-righteous anti-vaxxers, are STILL ALIVE. It is simply a fact that they do not understand natural selection at all.

      • Chris permalink

        I recently saw one anti-vaxer on ShotOfPrevention claim her children have a medical exemption from vaccines due to immune issues. But there is now a local chicken pox outbreak, so due to the exemption her children are now not allowed to attend school for several weeks.

        She is whining because they believes that they will be okay getting chicken pox because it will give them better immunity, obviously ignoring future shingles. It seems her “medical” education is a bit substandard. Another anti-vaxer admonished us for ignoring her credentials in Integrative medicine.

        So her children are too sensitive for the vaccines, but would be okay if they got the full blown disease!

        Le sigh.

        • Le sigh is right. The “logic” is a mobius strip of idiocy.

        • elise permalink

          Chris, Children with immune deficiencies are one of the reasons we vaccinate our children, it is to put up a fence around kids like that, who have cancer or other types of immunity problems. I can’t understand that lady saying her children have immune problems and then wanting them to get chicken pox. Worse than shingles is scarlet feaver which is a more immediate complication from chicken pox.

  9. Chris permalink

    I was reminded of another question they refuse to answer: When one says “I had measles and I am fine!” I then ask them why Roald Dahl’s oldest child cannot say that after her bout with measles. No answer. One of them did say that she that Mr. Dahl’s daughter could say whatever she wanted,. I then had to tell her that Olivia Dahl died from measles when she was seven years old. That is the child that The BFG is dedicated to.

  10. feebletinker permalink

    Summed up perfectly, as usual Skewed.

    I would also add that, for at least a small percentage of anti-vaxxers, I dislike you because you make money off of providing false hope and false promises (though you are ever so sneaky – making disclaimers about not providing medical advice…and then dispensing you opinion…couched in terms that sound a whole lot like medical advice). I dislike you, and others of your ilk, who convinced my not-altogether-sane Aunt that she needed to try crazy diets on my young cousin to “cure his [genetic] deafness.” I dislike that this is legal, and I have only my poor Aunt and [still] deaf cousin to blame, though you certainly should shoulder some of that, shouldn’t you.

    /rant

    • Oh yes, thanks for this comment FT. I had a section on the lying liars who benefit financially from pushing the anti-vax movement, but I decided to focus on the average joe anti-vaxxer instead. I will get to those folks in due time…never fear.

      • Autismum permalink

        can’t wait for that one. Working on a profile of one such myself xx

  11. Marry Me, Mindy permalink

    To anti-vaxxers:

    You ungrateful little selfish swine.

    You decree that vaccination is too risky for YOUR precious child, and you’d rather take the very small risk of your child catching the disease, completely ignoring the fact that the only reason the chance of catching the disease is small is because people like ME vaccinate MY precious little children.

    So vaccination is too risky for your child, but it’s not too risky for mine?

    Hey, I’m willing to do my part to help minimize your child’s risk of exposure to disease. All I ask is that you do the same for mine.

  12. thank you!! I’m a registered nurse in public mental health…. I have an auti diagnosis since my sixth and have suffered guillian barre syndrom…. neither is caused by vaccine….. in fora around GBS the other participants have blacklisted me for not claiming to have had a vaccine before my GBS….. and for daring to say that it followed a regular influenza episode…….

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I have had similar experiences regarding my relative with MS. Someone once told me on a message board, quite confidently of course, that MS was caused by “mercury poisoning” from vaccines and that this relative should stop taking her interferon injectibles. I was banned for my response to that. It’s simply maddening, isn’t it?

  13. I think you trawled my brain and wrote the contents better than I ever could. Wonderful post. You know, I think it’s okay to be offended by the indignant indefensible.

    • Great to see you, reasonablehank! Thanks for the comment, it is much appreciated. And keep doing what you do, you are leagues ahead of me!

      Note to my reader: if you are interested in people who are taking on the anti-vax movement, reasonablehank’s blog is simply outstanding.

  14. christerbjorn permalink

    I love Science too. This is intelligent and insightful, I agreed with every word written, it really made my day. I’m a Doctor dealing with these people every day, keep up the great blog.

    • Thanks very much for your kind words, and thanks for stopping by. I think doctors are in the worst possible position when it comes to anti-vaxxers. You are forced to take time to explain a very simple concept to people who in many cases do not want to hear a word that you are saying. They jeopardize your other patients and waste valuable time. That is why I feel as though I have a responsibility as a public health practitioner to take anti-vaxxers to the woodshed.

  15. Speaking of Chicken Pox… (Note: all of my children are up-to-date with their vaccines.)

    I have 4 children. Prior to my youngest being born, the 3 older kids caught chicken pox from the neighbor’s kid. Some years later (I forget how old he was), my youngest, despite being vaccinated, got chicken pox as well. (Not sure where it came from.) The three older kids, none of whom had been vaccinated due to their already having had it, were fine.

    • Yes, this is why herd immunity is important. One of my vaxxed sons also got chicken pox, and in his case the disease was no walk in the park. My partner and I are fortunate enough to have jobs that allowed us to stay home with him for two weeks and telecommute as he recovered.

  16. Brilliant Post SD,

    This is exactly what I try to get across in nearly every thread that I take part in. I advise the anti vaxers that unless they have credible information (peer reviewed etc etc) to back their case, then all they should expect from rational people is mockery and derision.

    Unlike any of the other fringe groups, the anti vaccination movement is one that I have no tolerance for. I can handle creationists (barely) and even global warming deniers (to a point), but those that put our communities at direct risk of VPDs (VPDs that should realistically no longer be a threat) deserve no respect.

    If you find yourself head-desking during a discussion with an anti vaxer, don’t feel ashamed if you do lose it, don’t be ashamed if you do call them, as well as their arguments insanely idiotic.

    DBAD works with other areas of skepticism, however, with antivaxers – they deserve nothing less than the mocking laughter and derision of the millions that they put at risk.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Scott. I firmly believe that anti-vaxxers’ opinions have been “respected” far too much, leaving them with the illusion that their position is somehow valid. It’s a mistake that can hopefully be corrected. Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Found your post through #StopAVN. A great summary of why anti-vaxxers and their nonsense are not worthy of any form of “respect”. Cheers.

  18. Daniel Sinnott permalink

    I would add a 6. You prey on the weak, the weak-minded, the desperate and the easily led.

  19. Dr Geoff permalink

    I agree with 90% of what you write, except the bit pertaining to the First Amendment. I do not agree it should be compulsory to vaccinate your children- sorry I am a libertarian and to be true to my beliefs must maintain a consistent stance.

    I do believe it should be compulsory to debate, denounce and ridicule those who continue to sprout this anti-vax bullshit.

    • Fair enough Geoff. I actually agree that parents should be able to choose not to vaccinate. At the same time, I also understand schools have a duty to protect their students, staff, and faculty. As such, they also have a right to refuse admittance to unvaccinated students. And in fact, this is what has been upheld numerous times in the courts. The right to religious freedoms does not trump the health of the community.

  20. bam permalink

    Much of the reason these anti-vax people don’t feel threatened by these diseases is because everyone ELSE has been vaccinated. This has pushed the incidence of these diseases so far down that we barely ever think about them, except in the context of the vaccination.

    So thanks, anti-vaxers for taking the benefit of vaccinations, but not doing your part.

  21. Jane DJ permalink

    Get out of my head, you!! Articulated perfectly – I think I shall be linking back to this gem. I’ll add it to my arsenal when playing whack-a-mole with anti-vaxers around teh interwebs!

  22. Uh oh… Check out the quote here:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/29/health/autism/index.html

    CDC: 1 in 88 U.S. children have autism

    Why? Better, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and “50% of ‘We don’t know,” expert says.

    How long before we hear screams of “it’s the vaccines”?

    • Honestly, I think it’s already started…

    • feebletinker permalink

      It has started (just do a cursory stroll around FB – Inside Vaccines, Vaccine Skeptic Society (misnomer of epic proportions there), “Dr” Tenpenny, etc….it’s everywhere…

      It is so frustrating because their refusal to look beyond vaccines as a cause is actually hurting autists. How much more money and research would be generated if all of these loons decided to focus on actually helping improve quality of life and search for the genetic component of autism?? Seriously – Tenpenny has tens of thousands of “fans” on FB – what kind of huge amazing mass of change that could be if they focused their energies, and their righteous indignation, on something that would actually HELP??

      • Agree. The money could definitely be better spent elsewhere. And it is truly terrifying how little Tenpenny actually understands about vaccines. The level of misinformation at her Facebook page is quite simply disgraceful.

      • Autismum permalink

        Vaccine Skeptic Society is hilarious! The randomness over there is matched only by the lunacy. It’s my current favourite.

  23. Julie permalink

    I think this particular facebook stream could use some schooling! https://www.facebook.com/seattletimes/posts/338336819547742 Perfect example of what you are talking about. Your lead quote pretty much sums it up.

    • I almost can’t bear to look…

      • Julie permalink

        Oh but you should. And you should comment as much as possible. It really is that bad. I would but I really have no idea where to start. I guess I could just post a link to this but so much more needs to be said.

  24. I made an educated decision based on the facts that were presented to me regarding my son, who was born 5 weeks premature. I was presented with NO facts and was told that it was time for his vaccinations by my doctor.
    I have spent the last 18 years trying to understand why my son is significantly delayed. I still know nothing, but at least I am more educated on the decisions I make regarding his health. That is what democracy brings to the table, along with differing opinions.
    I did vaccinate my oldest son with the ‘oral polio vaccine’ because I was told too. The following year when I had to vaccinate my youngest son for polio and it was via injection, I was provided a fact sheet of why they no longer offer the polio vaccine orally. I got nothing the first time round.
    Funny how when SARS was an epidemic in Toronto, Canada, the Nurses tracked me down to a city outside of Toronto because I had visited the hospital during a 2nd SARS epidemic (which had been hidden by the government and it’s agencies). They were able to trace me, but never followed up on the oral polio vaccine.
    Hypocrites, hypocriscy, hidden agendas, $$$$$$
    Now that I have educated myself, he gets his vaccinations on my schedule. Most but not all of them. Their dollars will not be at my son’s expense any longer.

    • Yes, different opinions are allowed in a democracy. Also allowed is the thumping of ill-informed opinions.

      • Perhaps you could inform the reader of how much money is actually LOST in vaccines? (No vaccine-preventable diseases translate to better health and less contacts with healthcare, less buying medications, less chronic health conditions.) It is my opinion that anti-vaxers are the ones in league with Big Pharma. They want these diseases to come back so Pig Pharma can make money on antivirals, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, long stays at the hospital, and other sequelae to VPDs. They’re virtually bleeding money on vaccines.

        • All true. Not to mention the fact that anti-vaxxers are in bed with Big Alterna, which is every bit as bad as Big Pharma, if not worse, because the industry is largely unregulated. Who do they think they are fooling?

      • And the thumping of Pharma-controlled stuides. It’s a lose/lose situation, definitely not a win/win. Corporate Canada/America/Britian (fill in the blank) has made me a synic.
        Not just the Autism World but blatent white collar crimes that rob people of liveyhoods with penalties that are negligible compared to the damages done.

        • You are making some widespread accusations with absolutely nothing to back them up. If you want to attempt to thump some scientific studies, then please provide full references along with your critique of the individual study. Otherwise, your comment provides no information at all.

        • Chris permalink

          I have asked many who claim that Big Pharma pays for the studies to list the company funding papers I have cited. Since many are from the American CDC, the UK’s NHS and the Danish health system they start hand waving about governments being in the thrall of Big Pharma.

          Science Mom wrote about this a while ago:

          http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/03/dr-bob-sears-alternate-reality-or.html

          There is a bit of truth about the initial safety studies. The FDA requires companies to prove their products are safe and effective. This is because of incidents like the Sulfanilamide (poisoned at least a hundred children in the late 1930s) and thalidomide (which was not approved by the FDA when it was being used elsewhere). So the pharmaceutical companies do pay for those studies.

          The studies we cite are often post-license ones that are by public health agencies. Like the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.

        • Thanks Chris for all of this useful information. Agree about the initial studies, which are required to be performed by the IND holders. It’s a Catch-22 really.

  25. Here are three cases of fraud since you asked:

    Cetero Research – who provides stuides for Pfizer, Novartis, and AstraZeneca

    CDC researcher Poul Thorsen who was part of the Denmark Study on the MMR

    Dr. Scott Reuben, a former member of Pfizer’s

    I will let you google those three, but you asked and there is your answer. There is proof that Big Pharma companies have provided fraudulent data and have got caught. There penalties just aren’t enough for the damage they have done.

    I was born in 1961, Thalidomide – case in point.

    • You have not answered my question. I asked for references to scientific papers, along with your critiques of the papers. Why am I not surprised that you are unable to provide these things?

      Your response exemplifies #2 of my original post.

    • Chris permalink

      Thorsen was a minor author of two papers. He did not have any impact on any of them. Here is another Danish paper, now explain carefully how it was influenced by Big Pharma:

      Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
      Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
      Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

      I don’t think you fully understood my comment above. Thalidomide was not approved by the FDA in the USA. I don’t know if that was true in Canada, but Dr. Frances Kelsey refused to approve it because of lack of data.

      I also said the initial studies are paid for by the pharmaceutical companies prior to being approved. The studies we are talking about are done by public health agencies, like this one (Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds participated in the study design):
      Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
      Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

      The part on funding says: The study was supported in part by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through contract 2002-N-00448 with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

      And this one, which tried to replicate Wakefield:
      Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
      PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

      The part on funding for this one says: Funding: This work was supported by CDC grant U50 CCU522351 to AAP and by National Institutes of Health awards AI57158 (Northeast Biodefense Center-Lipkin), HL083850, and NS47537. Role of Study Sponsors: Members of the funding organization (AAP) and its sponsor (CDC) participated along with experts in virology and neurovirology, autism pathogenesis, and vaccine design and safety; representatives of the autism advocacy community; and study collaborators in an Oversight Committee that reviewed and agreed to all aspects of study design prior to data collection. The final decision to submit for publication was the responsibility of all study collaborators.

      There is a Conflict of Interest statement: Competing interests: Authors JOL and OS were compensated for expert witness statements concerning MMR vaccine and autism on behalf of claimants in litigation in the United Kingdom. (JOL = John O’Leary, who did the initial PCR for Wakefield, he has since fixed quality control problems)

      I believe the above is the type of data that skeweddistribution is looking for, and both papers are free online (just go to PubMed). Here is a list of autism/vaccine papers, what you need to do is find the ones that are not behind a paywall that were paid by Big Pharma, with evidence that the funding influenced the results.

  26. I made an accusation of Pharma-controlled studies and White Collar Crimes. I supplied 3 situations whereby fraud was proven in each three cases. I ‘hear’ your word about ‘scientific’ studies.

    The average Canadian/American/Brit, etc isn’t reading scientific studies. They take the word of their doctors or worse yet ‘tv doctors’ and ‘believe’ that their word is correct. That is what they know, so that is what they listen to. They are educating themselves through modern media because that is what is in their senses ALL of the time, therefore that is what they have to draw on.

    I took the faith of my doctor in knowing the oral vaccine was safe. I never would have questioned him. Know because of media, I have learned to question what doesn’t sit right. I grew up in an era that doctors were ‘god-like’ and I am only 50. It was a hard and fast lesson with no roadmap when my son was born. And as an FYI, I don’t believe ANY vaccine caused his delays and I don’t even believe he is Autistic. But now through knowledge, I have at least learned to question.

    In your post #2 is a generality, in your response to me it’s ‘name-calling’. Which is rather sad, in my opinion.

    • “The average Canadian/American/Brit, etc isn’t reading scientific studies”

      Exactly the point of #2 of my original post. I do read scientific studies, as do hundreds of thousands of physicians, nurses, and researchers all over the world. We are trained to be able to parse out well-supported scientific information from crappy information. The media, on the other hand, picks up what is “interesting” to the general population, even if it has absolutely no scientific merit. See Donald Trump’s comments on Fox News yesterday regarding vaccines causing autism. This is precisely why the media is generally NOT a good source of scientific information unless you have the ability to take it one step further and look into the scientific literature. In the interest of “fairness” all manner of nonsense metastasizes all over the media.

      There is nothing wrong with questioning things. There is a lot wrong with seeking answers in the wrong places and making misleading statements without being able to understand the primary source documentation. And, BTW, I did not call you a name. If my comment stung a little bit, then I would recommend considering why that is the case.

  27. lilady permalink

    aefountain: We are still waiting for your scientific studies. You might also clarify some prior statements about vaccines and your choices to not fully immunize your child but rather “Now that I have educated myself, he gets his vaccinations on my schedule. Most but not all of them. Their dollars will not be at my son’s expense any longer”.

  28. matthew permalink

    I gaurantee you these people would not prefer to have tetanus versus getting a tetanus shot, if they stepped on a rusty nail. What is hillarious is they probably do not realize that they are also being vaccinated against diptheria and acellular pertussis, as DTap is usually prefered. If any of these anti-vaxxers have someone in their ancestry or knew of anyone who had polio, they should be ashamed of themselves. Do they not agree with that perfect example of virtually eradicating a virus? I am in the heathcare profession and these idiots will never be able to work in a hospital setting or the medical field.

    • Agree Matthew. And some of them are outraged that nursing schools won’t let them in. Le sigh.

    • Christian permalink

      What does rust have to do with Clostridium Tetani?

      • Chris permalink

        It is a colloquialism.

        It was common many years ago to believe that tetanus was caused by being cut by rust. When I was growing up we were warned about stepping on rusty nails.

        It is just that they contain soil, which may contain the bacteria.

  29. darwynnia permalink

    I always read the studies.

    Just because some idiot can get a study published (let alone through peer review) doesn’t mean that the study is:

    A: Valid
    B: Well thought out
    C: Comes to the correct conclusion(s)

    An excellent example of a study which was published, but isn’t valid:

    Rodrigues, et al. 2010. “Identification and distribution of mercury species in rat tissues following administration of thimerosal or methylmercury.” Arch. Toxicol. 84:891-896

    They had 3 groups of male Wistar rats (n=5 per group):

    Control
    Thimerosal
    Methylmercury

    Each rat weighed between 180-200g. Just for the easy math, let’s assume that all the rats weighed 200g. That means there’s 1 kg of rat in each group.

    They have a lovely Table 1: At the bottom of the table it reads, “Results are based on a SINGLE administration of each compound (0.5 mg Hg/kg), and the tissue was collected on the fifth day after exposure.

    So, 1 kg total of rat in each group = each group has received 0.5 mg Hg total.

    Now for the fun part:

    Thimerosal (n=5)

    Inorganic Mercury was quantitatively identified in ng/g in the following tissues:

    Brain: 162.9
    Liver 2999.7
    Heart 844.7
    Kidney 9581.9

    For a total amount of 13589.2 ng/g Hg found.

    So, how does that compare to our 0.5 mg Hg administered in 1 kg of rat?

    (13589.2 * 10^-6) converts ng to mg.

    So we have 0.0135892 mg Hg/g

    1 kg = 1000g

    (0.0135892 * 1000) = 13.5892 mg Hg/kg

    Since we had 1 kg of rat, the Thimerosal group was reported to have 13.5892 mg of inorganic mercury.

    Something is definitely wrong with their picture. How this study made it through peer review eludes me.

  30. darwynnia permalink

    I have to make a correction; I finally got more information on that study. (WTB people that can actually write a study properly!)

    They administered 0.5 mg Hg/kg per day. (That wasn’t listed as such in their methods, rather in their introduction – wtf – and the “Results are based on a SINGLE administration of each compound (0.5 mg Hg/kg), and the tissue was collected on the fifth day after exposure.” is missing the key word: daily!

    Also, the ng/g value is for the tissue sampled (and they conveniently don’t mention what the sampling weight for any of their tissues are for a comparison).

    So I did some digging on research which used Wistar rats to try to get a feel for what the ‘average’ weight for those tissues sampled might be.

    Brain: 1.71 g
    Liver 10.95 g
    Kidney: 0.605 g
    Heart: 1.15 g

    So I did some recalculating based on those averages (which are reasonable, but not exact – so there’s a bit of leeway there).

    For the thimerosal group, that gives us:

    278.6 ng Hg Brain
    32846.72 ng Hg Liver
    5797.05 ng Hg Kidney
    971.405 ng Hg Heart

    So we have 39893.7 ng Hg for measured INorganic mercury. We have 1053.303 for methyl mercury found, and 5800.026 for the ethyl mercury found.

    Converting to mg we have a total Hg load (for inorganic, methyl and ethyl mercury) of 0.047 mg Hg, for an initial dose of 2.5 mg.

    That’s a recovery of 1.9% from those tissues.

  31. Frogglin permalink

    I see your autism and I raise you: leukemia. Yes, someone I know actually blames vaccination for her son’s cancer. She had refused to have him vaccinated as a baby, but he required a shot to be enrolled into his school. Two years later, he was diagnosed with leukemia and therefore, that leukemia was caused by the shots. Yes, seriously.
    I’m 33, and had all the usual shots as a child. Surely I should be autistic, cancer ridden and probably filled with a million other diseases by now…

    • Sanity permalink

      Just a small point, on the literature for one of the vaccines (Aus Varivax – I forget the US equivalent – Tri-something) it does list Autism as a longer range side effect.
      I’m not stating anything further either for or against, but I’m on a quest to find out EVERYTHING I can about vaccination so I can be completely sure I am doing the very best for my children.
      I used to be 100% pro-vaccination, but after what I’ve seen and heard about Western medicine, drug approvals, raw data of studies being interpreted for a specific purpose and the importance of the $ overtaking the point of ‘do no harm’, I am questioning everything and looking for the BEST solution, not just the popular one.

      • That may be the case, Sanity, but at least in the United States the listings of potential long-range side effects is not in any way related to causation by the vaccine.

        Rest assured that I do not support vaccines because it’s the ‘popular’ solution. As it happens, it is the BEST solution.

        • Sanity permalink

          It was a US vaccine’s literature that I was reading, just to clarify. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the 2nd point. If you’ve truly looked, not just in your own experience but broadly, you can’t possibly be 100% sure – unless you’ve gone to see every child whose parents are convinced the vaccine harmed them and seen the raw data from every study and actually looked at the children homeopathically immunised to see if they’ve contracted the illnesses when exposed. What shits me from the hateful posts re those choosing not to vaccinate is how they’re just name calling & ‘you’re wrong, deal with it’ rather than seeing how many people have serious questions about vaccination and actually getting to the bottom of it. I’d like to see some actual independent studies done. Pity there’s no money in doing the right thing. I’ll just have to do it all myself. I’m not going to rest until I’m completely satisfied and I’m not satisfied with the official line. (for the record, I’m not anti-vax)

        • Look, you can’t be 100% sure about anything in life. We get into aluminum tubes and hurtle through the air at 30,000 feet at 600 mph, which seems like an insane idea, and which comes with a non-zero risk of a horrible death. Yet we do it every day. I’ve looked broadly at the scientific literature. I’m convinced that vaccines are safe and effective. I’m vaccinated, my kids are vaccinated, my cat is vaccinated.

          Incidentally, there are many people who are involved in research asking how many people have serious concerns about vaccines and “getting to the bottom of it”. I’ve read the papers. It’s simply wrong to claim that such research is not being conducted. But perhaps you don’t believe the data, as it appears that you do believe that science is not independent, as though every scientist on the planet is a shill for Big Pharma. It’s a ridiculous concept.

          Further, I and many others have spent a great deal of time on the internet and in our professional lives attempting to use science to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Anti-vaxxers shout. They do not listen. This blog post is my response. Whether you agree with my approach or not is irrelevant, but I’m tired of people rolling over and letting anti-vaxxers sow misinformation.

          One last thing that you should know. There is no such thing as homeopathic immunization.

        • Chris permalink

          Sanity: “It was a US vaccine’s literature that I was reading, just to clarify.”

          Which you did not cite. You could help out by listing the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers that you are using to make your statements. Especially the bit about homeopathic vaccines (where a substance is considered stronger the more you dilute it, even past Avogadro’s Number, see http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/ ).

          Much like I did above when I cited this:
          Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
          PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

          See, that is not so hard. Is it? If you want to tell us something is wrong, do it with evidence.

          And today there is a something about homeopathy in the comics:

          http://www.gocomics.com/thenewadventuresofqueenvictoria/2012/04/23

  32. Istateyourname permalink

    I agree with SD and thank them for the article. Anti-vaxers do sound uncomfortably like creationists and climate deniers!

    I wanted to let you know that you can count among your supporters an adult, who after her first immunisation as a baby, was hospitalised for 3 months with a reaction. She grew up to immunise her first son, without hesitation, who from sheer co-incidence was later diagnosed as being mildly Autistic. Me! I now face pregnancy, as an un-immunised person, again. I will immunise my baby without hesitation.

    I looked into my first son’s little face, and thought back to when I was 12 and got whooping cough because I wasn’t/couldn’t be immunised. I could NOT imagine a little guy like him surviving anything that was anywhere near that severe. It was just common sense to me. A trait that isn’t as valued as it once was, methinks.

  33. Mandiii permalink

    Ok my two cents worth.. Now I didnt get my eldest two kids immunised against chicken pox. My reason, it was a new vaccine and i wanted to be certain of other reactions first. But they got it anyway. My 3rd child is vaccinated and still got it, but was so mild that is was hard to diagnose. I remember having it in my hair in my ears, under my eyelids and not being able to close my eyes without pain.
    I havent gotten my eldest girl immunised against cervical cancer as I wanted to be certain it was safe and I have seen the next generation born ( which I have) but in my defence, my girl isnt yet old enough to be exposed to the virus.

    But I believe it is worth doing. My mum had drummed it into me how I nearly only had one brother and not 3 due to only one being vaccinated when whooping cough struck. It was 60 years ago..they all slept int eh same room and my middle brother nearly died and both him and my youngest have had issues with their health, yet my eldest brother is fit and healthy … they had different schedules back then, and mum didnt have a car to drive nor opportunity to get the younger two vaccinated. Though after the scare, she never let any of us miss our vaccines again

  34. Chris Nelson permalink

    Statistically, there is a SMALL possibility that vaccines MAY cause autism in an INFINITESIMALLY SMALL number of individuals.
    However, the risk of harm from the disease FAR FAR outweighs the risk of harm from the vaccine. Anyone who fails to immunise potentially exposes the remainder of the population to new strains of viruses which will require new vaccines to be developed.
    Failure to immunise reduces “Herd Immunity” and thus increases the risk to the whole population. This may be construed as an assault on any number of people. Perhaps failure to vaccinate/immunise should be treated the same as assault and, for anyone who actually contracts one of these diseases, the source family should be charged with battery. I am sure there are other legal recourses available.

    • Hmm, interesting idea regarding assault. I suspect that with the ability to type strains and DNA sequencing this type of lawsuit is not as science-fictiony as it once was.

  35. split-Pea permalink

    Here’s another constitutional issue: the preamble admonishes us to “provide for the common defense”. In my mind, this does not necessary just mean invading miliitias. But how about protecting us from invasion from serious vaccine-preventable illness? Those can be as much a threat as the most hostile army.

  36. educated and pro-vax permalink

    Skeweddistribution, thank you for what you do! Thank you for presenting valid research and proof against the “proud parents of unvaccinated children” group who are filling the minds of innocent parents with here say and gibberish. Do you have any posts about the “vaccine injuries” they reference so often?

    • Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. That particular FB page is one of the great meeting places for morons. I don’t really have any posts about all of the “vaccine injuries” that have been claimed by anti-vaxxers; the list is simply too long. I have seen everything from child abuse to obesity blamed on vaccines. The only specific issue I took on was the LeRoy tic incident, which was blamed on HPV vaccination (naturally) and which, of course, the data demonstrated was not caused by vaccines.

  37. SMFDO permalink

    I am so happy that I came across this blog. I have spent the last 2 days attempting to debate with the geniuses over at the “Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children” to no avail. It seems as though no matter how many references to valid, scientifically significant studies showing that there is no link between vaccines and autism, chronic intestinal measles, and other “vaccine-related injuries,” it is impossible to reason with these people. I have posed a number of legitimate questions to them, asked numerous times for them to send me scientific proof of these things, and even explained how the immune system functions to create antibodies, and none of my questions are answered and my explanations are ignored. I get responses like “I won’t be swayed by the obvious” in reference to the explanation of statistics regarding the recent pertussis outbreak in Washington. I was also told that the CDC is not a reputable reference because they are paid for by the government, who is obviously out to get everybody and take all our money. And I have even come across people that have referred to their physicians as “idiots” and “incompetent.” I find their references to the “medical mafia” even more amusing. These people should never be allowed to go to the doctor for anything, no antibiotics, no hospitalizations, no surgeries, no NSAIDs, nothing. If the medical mafia is out to get them so much, they should not have access to the basic things that the medical field uses to keep people healthy and alive. It blows my mind how they can say that they are “educating” people. Educating them with lies and opinions and theories?? My intention was to make some people who were on the fence about vaccinations do some research on their own instead of listening to the opinions of the anti-vaxxers. Instead, I argued with close-minded conspiracy theorists who have no scientific evidence backing any of their claims.

    • Sing it! It’s like you are in my brain wandering around. The level of idiocy that it takes to ignore the actual scientific evidence regarding the benefits of vaccination is simply staggering. I have been banned from the FB page you mentioned for trying to clarify some of the finer points of vaccination. Isn’t it odd that they cannot tolerate dissent? Hmmmm…

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  38. Alisa permalink

    This is AMAZING! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  39. Crutnacker permalink

    I have to add a bit to this one: You believe that people who understand the benefits and safety of vaccination “haven’t done the research” or are “elitist”

    “When I question you about your research and your sources, you tell me that it “isn’t my job to do your research for you”. This has happened to me at least a half a dozen times. Is there a script these people follow?

    • Yes! I see this all the time. I don’t think it’s a script so much as a way to hide the fact that they don’t actually have the original sources for the evidence for their claims. They read it on some nutty site, they might even have the link to the article on the nutty site, but they don’t want to give you that as evidence because a part of them knows it is a nutty site and they will get blasted for it.

  40. Glenda Wilson permalink

    A friend on Facebook linked to this today. Yes. Just… yes.

    I’m old enough to remember my parents’ fears when summer rolled around, when I was little – pre-Polio vaccine. I’ve an acquaintance, my age, whose case of polio was mild, but who now endures post-polio syndrome.

    I made sure to get the pertussis etc. shot the last time I was at my doctor’s. I’m not around children, but people I come into contact with are, and, well, herd immunity.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Glenda. It’s great that you get the pertussis vax to protect those around you…wish there were more like you around.

  41. useless article. Stop complaining about us not vaccinating, we dont complain about you vaccinating. Not to mention, im sure your small mind cannot even begin to understand the reasons we do what we do. Do some research and learn a little before you try to sound like a grown-up please. This article was pathetic and ridiculous. Walk a mile in our shoes and then judge, bigot. Our grand parents were not vaccinated for 1/4 of the vaccines we forcibly inject into our babies. Our precious children of the future being killed by our own country for their own scientific studies. Sad. Did you read the article where they admit the Merek and other pharma companies lied about the information and results to make more money? Now, doesnt that sound suspicious? Why would they need to lie if the vaccines were doing their “jobs”? Not to mention also, that boosters are only mandated bc the first vaccine doesnt guarentee ANYTHING. Most people even get sick from vaccines, like the fluvitol vaccine, and the guardisil vaccine, which gave girls CANCER! WAKE UP PEOPLE AND STOP BEING SO DAMN CLOSED MINDED AND NEGATIVE! maybe for once someone else is right and your wrong! But im sure you will dismiss this comment and continue to think your the most amazing person ever. I hope you never expierence what some parents do, the loss of their precious baby, bc some doctor demanded you inject your child with aborted fetal tissue, toxic metals, animal products/cells & tons of other murderous chemicals. Enjoy your black and white world, i hope one day you see the gray.

    • Provide scientific evidence to back up ANY of your statements, or go away. Your ignorance about vaccination is simply astounding.

      1. You don’t complain about people who vaccinate because we protect YOUR unvaccinated children, allowing you to continue to be selfish.

      2. I have done all of the research I need to do to demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt of the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. I use scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals for my research, because Googling shit is not “research”.

      3. You blather on about grandparents and their lack of vaccinations. How many people do you suppose are alive right now whose grandparents died from a now vaccine-preventable childhood disease? Think hard now, I know this is difficult.

      4. You are quite frankly unbalanced if you truly believe that our country is using scientific studies to kill children.

      5. Gardasil has never given anyone cancer. Ever. But I have to admit, that’s a new (and frankly insane) one from the anti-vaxxers. Never heard that one before.

      6. My kids are the most amazing people ever. I am not. I realize my own limitations, a trait that seems to have escaped all anti-vaxxers.

      Now, as mentioned above, either come back here with some science or go away and scurry back to your ignorant anti-vax echo chamber. You have provided absolutely no information of any value to anyone.

  42. Former Natural Parenting Movement Member permalink

    Vaccines cost Big Pharma millions in chronic condition treatments. I think it’s safe to say that funeral directors and body bag manufacturers also lose quite a but of income because of vaccines.

    • Chris permalink

      I think that funeral directors very glad that they do not need to bury children.

  43. I respect your freedom of speech. . . You agree that antivaxers are nice and patient with you, as well as trying to inform you to do your own research. I saw none of the same respect, or good character from you sadly in this article. I was formerly convinced that the health authorities (“99% of which you say agree with you) were to be trusted as well. I did a lot of research into what all our countries best health authorities had to say. I was also a Christian, and believed it was arrogant to think I knew more about the Bible then my pastor. Well, I realized that I didn’t need an education in the Bible, (though I did have it), to see that taking the Bible as an authority was ill founded, based on a larger worldview. I later realized that any trust on Doctors in this country is the same. They were schooled in one way of thinking, and never taught to question it. Statistically speaking, the world has proven the danger and ineffectiveness of vaccines, but if you want to just trust our government and the doctors and medical establishment (that’s in their back pocket), well, reading more from them will never show you any actual research.. The unquestioning and uneducated mainstream will be dumbed down and hurt with more vaccines, drugs, fluoride and mercury and will get sicker and sicker until they either die, or get smart and stop listening to the authorities. Listening instead to those who are questioning and looking for unbiased sources.

    • No, Angela, I don’t agree that anti-vaxxers are “nice” or “patient” with me. That is what they claim. Regardless, my point is that even if dressed up with politesse, their viewpoint itself is about as far from “nice” as a person can get. I don’t care if you see no respect in my article. I am pretty straightforward about having absolutely not one scintilla of respect for the anti-vaxxer’s views. Was I somehow vague on this point?

      As for the rest of your post, please do not ever, ever confuse science with religion. Ever. Science is built on data, facts, observations. Religion is built on faith. And perhaps you need to read my post from today, where again I pretty clearly explained that I question everything.

  44. melissa permalink

    How do we get more of this great information out there? I can yell as loud or louder about the crisis we are facing with the anti vax movement.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Great Post « Autismum
  2. Who is responsible for enforcing vax laws: Parent, school or state? « SkewedDistribution
  3. Dear Anti-Vaxxer: Yes, I do the research « SkewedDistribution
  4. Vaccination fears: People Like Us vs. People Like Them « SkewedDistribution
  5. Dear Anti-vaxxer: This is why I still do not care for you. | SkewedDistribution

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