Anti-Vaccination In NZ

By Darcy Cowan 01/11/2010 49

As promised here’s my first entry for “Vaccine Awareness Week”, I thought I would take a little look at Anti-vaccination in New Zealand. In particular the  Immunisation Awareness Society. This organisation has set itself up as pro-choice on the subject of vaccination but this is essentially a thin smokescreen for their anti-vaccination views. Here, rather than pick apart a certain piece of writing from their website (of which there is much to choose from) I’ll focus on the points they have put forward as their basic philosophies and see how they stand up. Without further ado, once more into the breach…

1. That natural immunity is far superior to artificial immunity.

This is true, but only for a given value of “Better”. If you are concerned with antibody production and response to infection over your life time then yes, often immunity acquired via infection by a pathogen can last longer than that stimulated by vaccination.  One reason for this is that if you live in an area where vaccine uptake is relatively low (because, you know, they are so harmful) then you will be periodically re-exposed to the pathogen which naturally boosts your immune response. Vaccine induced immunity does tend to wane over the years and if your only contact with antigens (those parts of the pathogen that promote antibody production) is via the Vaccine then the only way to combat this is a booster shot.

Therefore, to benefit from this longer lasting immunity you must actually contract the disease. You must then also suffer through the consequences and complications of that disease. Then you must be periodically re-exposed to the disease to keep antibody production high. Those that survive will have superior immunity to those who don’t, I believe it’s called “thinning the herd”.

I also notice some weaselling in the reference to artificial immunity.  It is not the immunity that is artificial but the method of inducing immunity. This may seem like splitting hairs but how we use words affects how those words are understood, by implying that the immunity gained by vaccines is itself artificial this group is subtly undermining how vaccines are perceived. Then again the rest of the website is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face so…

2. That breast milk is the best immune stimulator for the baby during the first year of life and that a great deal of immunological protection is provided to the child for as long as breastfeeding continues.

That’s fine, I agree that breast feeding has undeniable benefits, but unless you intend to breast feed your child for life, making for the creepiest business lunch ever*, your child will eventually need to acquire immunity in some other fashion. In this instance, see above.

3. That good health, which starts with a balanced diet that includes important vitamins and minerals, is safer, and more effective at preventing many diseases than artificial immunity.

I can’t argue that a balanced diet isn’t good for you, there is good evidence that ensuring your body has the vitamins it needs does improve your immune response to infection. Beyond this diet is not a replacement for acquired immunity, once again vaccination is the best method of acquiring immunity without actually having to contract and suffer the disease itself.

4. That appropriate allopathic (conventional) and homoeopathic/naturopathic treatment in the event of illness is safer and more effective than trying to prevent illness through artificial immunity.

Homeopathy is not a treatment for anything besides thirst. Apart from that , treating the disease is safer than not contracting the disease in the first place? Are you kidding me? So not only do you have to contract the disease and chance any side effect of the disease itself but also any complications from treating the disease. Seems to me it’s better to just sidestep the whole issue and not get sick.

5. That most diseases contracted by a healthy child, at an appropriate age in childhood, provide important challenges to the immune system enabling it to mature and strengthen, and almost always provide lifelong immunity to the disease.

I’m so glad that the potentially life threatening  diseases contracted by children are actually good for you. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? How about Measles, that’s one of the dreaded vaccinations our children now receive, what does the WHO have to say about it’s safety?:

Complications: Up to 75% children may develop complications which include diarrhoea, otitis media,
pneumonia, laryngo-tracheal bronchitis (croup) and encephalitis. Measles also depletes Vitamin A status that
results in severe eye complications and blindness. Measles can lead to longer term brain damage and deafness.

Death: Case—fatality ratios for children under one in emergency settings: 3—30%. The three major causes of
high case—fatality rates are pneumonia, diarrhoea and croup. Children may also die from measles infection or
its sequelae including encephalitis and malnutrition. Measles infection often leads to a prolonged suppression
of the immune system, increasing susceptibility to secondary bacterial and viral infections.

But at least we get life long immunity. Surely the purpose of immunity is to prevent us from getting the disease, in that case a wide vaccination policy will do the same thing and also gives us a chance to wipe out the disease altogether.

Then there is the “important challenges” bit, the number of antigens children are exposed to as part of the vaccine schedule is minuscule compared to the number that they are exposed to every day just interacting with their environment. Our normal body flora, those bacteria that call our skin and gut home, outnumber the cells that we would normally think of as “us” by a factor of 10 or more.

This represents hundreds of different species of organisms, add to that the numbers of bacteria we might come into contact with due to food, dirt, household and public surfaces etc. and the number of antigens represented by the organisms prevented by the vaccine schedule can be seen in their proper context – insignificant. Not just insignificant but not even worth mentioning.

6. That the vast majority of childhood infections are benign and self limiting in a healthy, well-nourished, well cared for child with a healthy immune system.

This must mean that the organisation supports vaccination for those diseases that are life threatening (I couldn’t find any evidence on the website that this is the case though). Say pertussis, or Whooping cough as it is more commonly known (from Wikipedea):

Pertussis is fatal in an estimated one in 100 infants under 6 months, and fatal in one in 200 infants aged 2 to 12 months. Infants under one are also more likely to develop complications (eg pneumonia (20%), encephalopathy, seizures (1%), failure to thrive, and death (0.2%)). Pertussis can cause severe paroxysm-induced cerebral hypoxia and apnea.

Well it’s only 0.5-1% of children who die. Tell that to the parents. The best way to prevent this disease is vaccination, not just of the individual child but of all who come into contact with her. Herd immunity is the barrier between potentially fatal diseases and those who are too young to have received the vaccine and those whose immune system is compromised and the vaccine is not as effective.

Ok, that’s just one disease vaccinated against, the rest must be very safe. the vaccination schedule can help us here. The list of diseases vaccinated against and the complications for each is:

DiphtheriaThe bacterial toxin can lead to nerve paralysis and heart failure. Between 2—10 infected people in 100 die.
TetanusThe bacteria produce toxins which cause painful muscle    spasms and lockjaw. Hospital intensive care treatment is needed. About one in 10 patients dies. The risk is greatest for the very young or old.
Whooping CoughCovered above.
Polio – About one in 20 hospitalised patients dies and 0.1—2 in 100 patients who survive is permanently paralysed. The overall risk of paralysis is about one in 100. This increases with age, ie, one in 75 adults. There are 2—10 fatalities in 100 cases from paralytic poliomyelitis. Post-polio syndrome may occur 30—40 years after poliomyelitis (ie, muscle pain and worsening of existing muscle weakness).
Hepatitis BThe virus causes liver infection and acute illness. Severe illness is rare in children. Fatalities are rare and are more likely in adults. Some people become carriers of the virus, especially children (six in 100). Liver cirrhosis occurs in one in 20 carriers (half of these will die). Liver cancer occurs in one in 10 male carriers and one in 20 female carriers and usually leads to death.
Haemophilus influenzae type bAbout one in 20 patients with meningitis dies and one in three survivors has permanent brain or nerve damage.About one in 100 patients with epiglottitis dies
PneumococcalAbout one in 10 children with pneumococcal meningitis die and one in six survivors will have permanent brain damage. About one in three children will be left with a hearing impairment after pneumococcal meningitis. Pneumonia and septicaemia (blood poisoning) leads to hospitalisation. Less severe illness, such as ear infections, may lead to deafness. Children with medical conditions such as congenital heart disease, some chronic lung diseases, kidney diseases, HIV infection, and children whose immune system is lowered through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or organ transplant are at higher risk of pneumococcal disease. Children with spinal fluid shunts and with cochlear implants are also at higher risk of pneumococcal disease.
MeaslesCovered above.
MumpsIn about one in ten people it causes meningitis, but it is usually relatively mild. It causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in about one in 6000 people, of whom one in 100 will die, and nerve deafness in one in 15,000 people. If infected after puberty, one in 5 males gets testicle inflammation and one in 20 females gets ovary inflammation. In rare cases this leads to infertility.
RubellaFor women in early pregnancy, 85% of babies infected during the first eight weeks after conception will have a major congenital abnormality such as deafness, blindness, brain damage, or a heart defect. This declines to about 10—20% by 16 weeks of the pregnancy. About one in 3000 patients gets thrombocytopaenia (low platelets causing bruising or bleeding). One in 6000 develops encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). This usually occurs in young adults. This may result in death.

Well, they all sound like a barrel of laughs, and perfectly safe. Seriously, the complications from these diseases are serious while the vaccines are relatively safe**.

That’s it for the IAS “philosophies”, while there are good recommendations mixed in (healthy diet, breast feeding) mostly it’s a collection of misinformation, misunderstanding and distortions. I am of two minds about this organisation as a whole, on the one hand I’m a proponent of free speech and that includes topics that I don’t agree with. On the other hand organisations like these have the potential to do great harm, both to individuals and greater society. Balancing these two things can be tricky and where to draw the line between them is not always clear.

On a related note, the Australian based anti-vaccination group the Australian Vaccination Network – has had it’s charitable status revoked. Part of this decision was based on the group’s failure to place a disclaimer on their website stating that it’s purpose was anti-vaccination and that it’s information should not be considered medical advice.

IAS also has charitable status. Under New Zealand law Charities must serve a charitable purpose, as specified by the Charities Act 2005:

Section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005:
“In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, charitable purpose includes every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community.”

Given that the information distributed is often incorrect or presented in such a way as to misrepresent the facts I consider this organisation to fail both the “educational” and “beneficial” aspects of this definition. As such I would question the validity of it’s charitable status, but that’s for the law to decide not an irritable blogger***.

Finally, for accurate information on vaccines you should head on over to the Immunisation Advisory Centre, which also has a handy list of websites for both Parents and Health professionals.


*Although This can’t be far behind.

**No active intervention is 100% safe, no-one is claiming that.

***Similar to irritable bowel only more annoying.

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Filed under: Medicine, Psychological, Sciblogs, skepticism Tagged: DPT vaccine, health, Health and Medicine, Immune system, measles, mumps, New Zealand, Pertussis, Vaccination, Vaccine, Vaccine controversy

49 Responses to “Anti-Vaccination In NZ”

  • To make a stat truly meaningful you need to state also the number of people who get infected in the first place. For example if in a room of 100 only 2 people get infected then only 1 per 100 of those has a chance of death thats a low illness with low death rate. If 70 out of the 100 get sick and 1 per 100 dies then the amount of death goes up.

    • That is true.
      First, we should be clear about the incidence rate we are taking about. We should use the rate in non-vaccinated populations as this is the state that anti-vaxxers would like to return to. For Measles the rate has been estimated as 99% infection rate by age 20. Here is a reference to a study conducted in the Netherlands early in their vaccination program which recorded a rate of 91% among susceptible individuals.

      Not exactly rare.

      But lets assume that the rate is are, say 0.01% of the population. Using simple numbers and not trying to account for age of infection, reservoir populations etc. that gives a number or infected at current world population of (rounded up to the nearest 10 million) 70,000,000. if say one in 1000 die that’s about 700,000 deaths.

      Now you are actually telling only half of the story. Yes incidence rate is important but so is the risk/benefit calculation. In this case, what is the risk of the vaccine in relation to the benefit? If the risk of the vaccine is lower than that of the disease (it is), then is is worth giving.

      We are not taking here about diseases that occur in only a few tens of individuals world wide and a medication that costs thousands of dollars. These are relatively common illnesses (in unvaccinated populations) and a vaccine that is relatively cheap to produce and distribute. Or are these deaths not worth averting if we have the capability?

  • “If the risk of the vaccine is lower than that of the disease (it is), then is is worth giving. ”

    The Hypocratic Oath states “First, do no harm.”

    A few minutes after being vaccinated my child had a full blown siezure tyhen became unconscious and could not be roused. We went immediately back to the doctors and about one half hour later our son come out of his coma. We were refered to a pediatrician who informe us it was nothing. He then was diagnosed as autistic. When applying for ACC we got to view our child’s medical records. The nurse had lied and said he was easily roused and it was the equivalent of a burp. The pediatrician we saw had written in words to the effect that he thought he had sucessfully blown us off. We don’t trust medical personal now.
    “First do no harm.” You imply that the Hypocratic oath should be broken because it is more important for man to prove his superiority to nature than for man to not brain damage and cripple children. That is what they are doing and it is criminal. It is criminal to assault children and permanently injure them. And there is a criminal conspiricy operating within our society to injure our most vulnerable. My son is living proof. Save the medical experiments for the death camps. Keep your hands off our children.

  • “A few minutes after being vaccinated my child had a full blown siezure tyhen became unconscious and could not be roused. We went immediately back to the doctors”

    I thought everyone was supposed towait in the doctors office for 20 minutes after a vaccination? Or is it different with child vaccinations?

    ” because it is more important for man to prove his superiority to nature than for man to not brain damage and cripple children”
    This is a complete misrepresentation of the argument on this blog. While what happened to your son is terrible, that is no reason to twist the points made in this post.

  • Michael, indeed it is advised that you wait. We had to wait after my son’s vaccinations but I don’t know it that is enforced if you insist on leaving.

    Anthony, first let me say you have my sympathies for the situation with your son.

    That said, you have made an argument that rests on the assumption that the vaccine and subsequent seizure are causally related to the autism diagnosis. This is simply not borne out by the many studies performed in this area.

    Second I do not in any way imply that the Hippocratic oath should be broken. You ignore the fact that taking no action also has risks. The consideration is not “give the vaccine and risk the side effects or do nothing and everything will be fine” it is between the side effects of the vaccine (which are known to be rare) and the consequences of contracting the diseases and the complications which can arise from this.

    Your appeal to conspiracy is over dramatic and serves the dual purpose of giving you someone to blame for you son’s conditions and a convenient way to sweep discomfirming evidence under the rug. If it goes against your convictions it’s simply part of the conspiracy.

    Finally, using your son’s medical condition and appealing to his medical files to support you case is completely legitimate but I would point out that it is simply a rhetorical device if no-one else can view the file and confirm your version of events.

    As you seem willing to use the files in this way I’m sure you won’t mind making the records public so they may be examined by both sides.

  • “Second I do not in any way imply that the Hippocratic oath should be broken.”

    But you have. And you have no need of confirmation of the events but mere logic to see that you have indeed implied that the Hippocratic oath should be violated for what you deem to be the greater good.

    As for me twisting the point, it rather the other way around. All I see is excuse making so a fellow human being can destroy another fellow human being because s/he is convinced it is for the greater good. Where have we seen that before?

    And don’t bother with the psycho-analysis as logic proves my point and your jugglery can’t hide your moral turptitude.

  • Compare this article to yours:

    “I would also be particularly interested to learn of any documented cases of completely unvaccinated children who have later dramatically and inexplicably regressed into autism after a normal infancy. To date, no such case has ever been identified to me.”

    Go a head, knock yourself out. Until then consider me a skeptic. I have experience and you have your beliefs and word twisting. The vaccinations could be done differently but that would cost more.

    “Thorsen, a Danish scientist, has already been cited for academic misconduct by Aarhus University in Denmark and is now charged with embezzling a $1 million grant for autism from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For several years, Thorsen was involved in influential studies defending the controversial use of Thimerosal (about 50% mercury by weight) as a preservative in several vaccines.”

  • Moral turpitude? For wanting evidence and thinking that diseases have consequences?

    Demonize your opposition if you like but anger and vitriol does not a convincing argument make.

  • “If the risk of the vaccine is lower than that of the disease (it is), then is is worth giving. ”

    And thanks for the moderation. Ignoring the fact that indeed you imply the nullification of the Hypcratic oath and instead issuing an ad hominem does not a convincing argument make. That should be the sauce not the meat.

  • Anthony Smith,

    So did you not have to wait 20minutes after the injection before leaving the doctor’s?

    You are completely mispresenting Darcy’s argument in a most aggressive manner.

  • You also might want to consider the full version of the Hippocratic Oath which includes
    “I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous.”

    By using the “first do no harm” simplification you are making medicine seem more simple than it really is. For example, if someone uses chest compressions there is a risk of breaking ribs which is “doing harm” by your definition. Does this mean people should not attempt to revive someone who heart has stopped?

  • Anthony, what I am say regarding the Hippocratic oath is that both action and inaction have consequences. Are you saying that doctors should not perform any action if there is even the remotest possibility of harm? The entire medical profession would be paralysed.

    No ad hominem was intended in my remarks, if you received them that way then I’m sorry. But questioning my morality and implying that I would endorse death camps is not appreciated either.

  • The comment held for moderation due to the links has been approved. Sorry something screwy happening with the notifications. I didn’t even know there were new comments on this post until the notification for Michaels comment came through.

    Apparently you haven’t gotten the memo that is not a reliable source.

    And I’m afraid neither is personal experience. No judgement implied, it’s simply true.

    I did find this study regarding autism in vaccinated vs unvaccinated populations. No info on whether the autism was regressive, so you’ve got me there.

    Discrediting of a single scientist does not bring down the consensus I’m afraid. Unless you think all of the scientists working on this are morally bankrupt like myself?

  • ‘’ is not exactly a reliable source of sound scientific information.
    And Thoresen’s financial fraud does not mean that the studies he was involved in were scientifically fraudulent – for that, you’d have to posit that all the authors were equally involved in misleading reviewers & readers, & there is no evidence of this. (Thoresen was not a lead author in any of these projects.)

  • That’s it for me tonight, long day of nefarious deeds you see. I’ll look at the last paper tomorrow, but skimming the intro does not give me high hopes for it’s veracity.

  • “Michael Edmonds has spent the last decade as a chemistry lecturer, researcher, and more recently as manager of programmes at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). With a background in medicinal chemistry…”

    Yeah… about as I figured.

    “One hundred and eighty Swiss physicians formally rejected the MMR vaccine, stating “After careful analysis of the relevant material we, (the 180 unified physicians) reject the state MMR immunization campaign…”
    Albonico, H, Klein P, et al. “The immunization campaign against measles, Mumps and rubella – coercion leading to a realm of uncertainty: medical objections to a continued MMR immunization campaign in Switzerland.” JAMA 1992; 9

    That is an example of the hippocratic oath in action. Just blindly sticking foreign living beings into people without doing serious personal reserch on the matter, I would suggest, violates it both in word and spirit.

  • Thorsen wasn’t called in for academic misconduct, he was called in for financial misconduct. See an in-depth explanation at Science-Based Medicine:

    The “mercury” & vaccine link to autism has long been show to be not there. I wrote reviewing one paper than looked at the sources of mercury some time ago that might help clarify this (ignore the introduction – it’s an old article):

    There is also a recent study that reported an inverse relationship between diagnosis of childhood mental illness and autism; it would suggest the shift in diagnosis is the main factor in the apparent rise in autism cases.

  • “’ is not exactly a reliable source of sound scientific information.”

    If you had bother to read it you would have seen it was first published in theNorth American Journal of Medical Sciences
    2009; 1: 28-47

  • foreign living beings

    MMR isn’t a “live” vaccine and the live things in the few that are live vaccine aren’t “living beings” but weakened viruses.

    without doing serious personal rese[a]rch

    Vaccine development involves a *lot* research well before they get used.

  • One hundred and eighty Swiss physicians formally rejected the MMR vaccine

    180 out of how many? And were they doing this on the basis of evidence of harm, or due to philosophical objections to what might be called ‘mass medication’ (not exactly the same thing)? I would have read the JAMA article (which appears from what you quote to be a letter) except that I can find nothing with that title in volume 9 of JAMA from 1992. If you can provide a more detailed reference I’d be keen to have a look at it.

    I see the letter was written in 1992 – where do these same physicians stand now, following a rise in measles morbidity & mortality following on from the publication of Wakefield’s fraudulent study?

  • From the NAJMS article: There is a compelling argument that the occurrence of regressive autism is attributable to genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, arising from the overuse of vaccines
    Scientists would agree that there is a strong genetic component to autism, but not with the author’s statement that this arises from the ‘overuse’ of vaccines. There is no credible evidence, given the very low doses involved, of mercury toxicity arising from vaccine use, for example. I see that the original article has been cited only twice, which indicates that the ideas it promotes don’t have any real level of support in the scientific community.

  • Viruses are not by any definition of the word ‘alive’, whether attentuated or otherwise.

  • “Scientists would agree that there is a strong genetic component to autism, but not with the author’s statement that this arises from the ‘overuse’ of vaccines. ”

    I know, they tried to get a genetics test for my son, but he would not co-operate (I would, he wouldn’t). But then you have the problem that that may only show a genetic propensity for the vaccine to do damage. This as far as I can tell is not considered. The spook in the head is that the vaccines are fine and the problem must lie elsewhere and yet the level of autism is such that it just can’t be a case of better diagnosis. So when the researchers go in with a pre-conceived notion they are already working at a disadvantage to find a solution, though it seems to me from my experence they don’t want to find a solution. My kid hasn’t even been offered a simple mri to check for any brain damage or malfunction.

    “Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find truth.” – Heraclitus

    So, excusing me for being skeptical.

  • “Viruses exist in two distinct states. When not in contact with a host cell, the virus remains entirely dormant. During this time there are no internal biological activities occurring within the virus, and in essence the virus is no more than a static organic particle. In this simple, clearly non-living state viruses are referred to as ‘virions’. Virions can remain in this dormant state for extended periods of time, waiting patiently to come into contact with the appropriate host. When the virion comes into contact with the appropriate host, it becomes active and is then referred to as a virus. It now displays properties typified by living organisms, such as reacting to its environment and directing its efforts toward self-replication”.

    Yeah and pluto suddenly isn’t a planet.

    “One major assumption has to be made, if one is ever to make any sense of the sorts of relationships emerging from molecular phylogenetic studies. This is:


  • So viri are not alive when they are “weakened”?

    You wrote ‘living being’, as I did in my reply. Changing to ‘alive’ is rewriting your earlier statement after the fact. Not what it’d change the reply. With all respect, virus are not ‘alive’ in the sense of a living being. (I think you’ll find most people use viruses, not virii, which is generally regarded as incorrect (note the two i’s at the end, too).)

    I said “personal”.

    I know, I can read. Perhaps you might like to make clear what you mean – it reads many different ways, none of which made sense so I gave you the benefit of the doubt, i.e. in your favour (so I find it bit rich for you to be short to me in reply). You can’t dismiss research done by others by insisting that only “personal” research done by you is valid, so I presume it can’t be that. Testing on one person wouldn’t demonstrate anything conclusive, so it can’t be “personal” in that sense. If you mean “personal” in the sense that each doctor has to research it for themselves: in the sense of understanding how and when to use medicine yes, but not in the sense of conducting ‘research’ that determines how to make them, their proper usage, etc – no. Doctors certainly should (and do) read an understanding of the use of the medicines they prescribe, but the research work to establish how they are made, their safety and usage, etc., is done by scientists and regulatory bodies. So that doesn’t fit either.

    So, what else is there?

  • I know, they tried to get a genetics test for my son, but he would not co-operate (I would, he wouldn’t).

    There is no genetic test for autism: there is no means for him or you to.

    But then you have the problem that that may only show a genetic propensity for the vaccine to do damage.

    There is no genetic test for this either, even if it were a meaningful thing to test for.

  • Obviously you can’t read. Where did I say there was a genetics test for autism? Duh. No where. I was discussing with the lady the “strong genetic component to autism” she mentioned.

    “You wrote ‘living being’, as I did in my reply. Changing to ‘alive’ is rewriting your earlier statement after the fact. ”

    So a “living being” is not “alive”?

    just, duh.

  • As for all that spurious verbage about the word ‘personal’, you seem to end up on a note of “argument from authority”. On a point of personal acceptance of responsibility that doesn’t wash.
    I am daily forced to accept my responsibility. It is about time others accepted theirs.

  • Fine. If your intention is just to be rude, twist my words to make me have said things I didn’t—as you did several times in your last two comments—and generally write childish taunts, then I won’t bother try help. I try put up with people who are a bit moody or just misguided for whatever reason (life happens) but in the end I have no obligation to help you, and there is only so much rudeness and stupidity I want to put up with.

    Basically, if you want people to help you, I suggest you be polite to them.

  • ““Michael Edmonds has spent the last decade as a chemistry lecturer, researcher, and more recently as manager of programmes at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). With a background in medicinal chemistry…”

    Yeah… about as I figured”

    Your point being?

    This cut and paste of my work history seems typical of your arguments – using information you do not understand to make dubious arguments. My work in medicinal chemistry has largely focused on enzyme inhibitors and has been funded by academic and not industry funding. More specifically, most of my work involved looking at potential HIV protease inhibitors.
    Even though I have a background in medicinal chemistry my personal view is that medicines should only be used when necessary (years as an asthmatic has convinced me of this).

    If you are going to argue at a scientific level perhaps you should learn a little science first. Learn that medicinal chemistry is a very wide field, learn that the plural of virus is viruses not viri. Learn that whaleto is not a reputable resource and that just because you can find something on the internet does not mean it is true.

    If you want to continue arguing using insults, pseudoscience, innuendo and emotion then expect to most other bloggers here to counter your arguments with real science.

  • Anthony Smith,
    “A few minutes after being vaccinated my child had a full blown siezure tyhen became unconscious and could not be roused. We went immediately back to the doctors.”

    You still have not explained why, if your child suffered a seizure minutes after receiving the injection, you were not still at the doctors.

    “I am daily forced to accept my responsibility. It is about time others accepted theirs”

    Perhaps you should consider that life is not completely controllable and therefore perhaps it is unreasonable for you to “accept your responsibility”.

    Also perhaps you should consider the consequence of not vaccinating children – how would you feel if you had not and your child had been debilitated by measles, mumps or rubella?

  • Had a quick look at the paper, like Alison I don’t think the statements within are held up by the research.

    Just looking at the introduction, the statement “That the occurrence of autism has risen steadily in the last decades is not in dispute.” actually is in dispute, there certainly is an increase in diagnosis but whether this reflects a true increase in incidence or can be attributed to other factors is a question that is being researched.

    Three studies that look at the increase in autism diagnosis and where it might be coming from, each with a slightly different focus:

    Diagnostic change and the increased prevalence of autism

    Autism and diagnostic substitution: evidence from a study of adults with a history of developmental language disorder.

    Social influence and the Autism Epidemic.

    review of this paper here:

    Each of these studies find that a proportion of the apparent rise in Autism can be explained by factors other than a true increase in incidence. The first two alone may account for 50% of the increase due to diagnostic substitution (Mental Retardation and developmental language disorder respectively). The third looks at social factors in receiving an autism diagnosis and notes that the chances are greater when living in a community with other diagnosed ASD children. This could be due parents communicating and assisting each other to find the help they need.

    This does not mean that there is not a true increase but that is exactly what needs to be established before we go looking for something to blame.

    I don’t have the expertise to comment on the entire paper but skimming further down I do see statements that are correct but irrelevant. Such as “Vaccines are not 100% effective”, NO ONE argues this.
    One of the statistics cited is that >60% of patients infected with Measles are vaccinated. Well, given that in many countries where vaccination for Measles is performed compliance is generally greater than 80% and often greater than 90% this means that proportionally, vaccinated children are less likely to contract the disease. Exactly as we would expect.

    The point of vaccination is to both prevent individual occurrence of disease and to reduce the disease’s ability to spread through the population. If this is done consistently and effectively eventually the disease can no longer transmit itself and becomes extinct. Or for individual populations at least no longer endemic and must be brought in from the outside for new outbreaks to occur.

    If this is the level of argument used in the entire paper then I’m not impressed.

  • Darcy,

    Just a small correction:

    If this is done consistently and effectively eventually the disease can no longer transmit itself and becomes extinct.

    This is only true if we are the only host for the disease organism. Smallpox is the classic example of this.

    If humans are the only host, and you wipe it out in humans, then it’s gone.

    This isn’t true for, say, influenza where natural hosts include birds and pigs. Even if you got rid of all human infections, the disease organisms would still be out there and if you stopped vaccinations they’d infect people again.

    (I’m leaving bacterial infections out for simplicity.)

  • So a “living being” is not “alive”?
    Viruses aren’t alive. They are incapable of carrying out any life processes themselves & can only replicate when their DNA is taken up by/inserted into a host cell. At which point expression of that DNA results in the host cell producing a bunch of viral proteins & nucleic acids & assembling them into new virus particles. It’s a far stretch to go from that to saying that a virus is itself ‘alive’.

  • I personally know, and have friends who know, of children who became autistic after vaccines. One child died. One child stopped growing for two years and had bone issues. The facts are that there is NO evidence that vaccines perform according to the claims of their manufacturers. The claims on this website about the effectiveness of vaccines is wishful thinking.

    • @Scott, the problem is with anecdotes such as yours the best you can say (and you do) is the children exhibited symptoms of autism after getting vaccines.

      Given that autism starts to exhibit noticeable symptoms around the same time as childhood vaccines this is to be expected. To assert that therefore vaccines caused the autism is to commit the post hoc ergo propter hoc (or after this therefore because of this) fallacy.

      I’m sure you can see that for causal relationships the effect must be seen after the cause, but simply because an event occurs prior to another event does not mean they are causally related. For instance I could say that this morning my mail was delivered and right afterwards I was in a car accident, therefore receiving mail causes car accidents.
      This could be true, I live rurally and the mail is delivered via a large van turning into our driveway to access the mail box, this could have caused an accident in any number of ways. Is it then prima facie reasonable to simply assert that receiving mail causes car accidents based on my single anecdote though? No, we need to investigate the question using evidence.

      Such is the case with vaccines and autism, at one time the vaccines cause autism hypothesis was a reasonable one (at least in so far as it was worth investigating, if only to rule out such a connection) but this time has passed.
      The topic has been studied many times from many different angles and it has turned out that vaccines do not seem to raise the risk of developing autism like symptoms. In some cases the risk is actually seen to decline.

      Unfortunately certain members of the public have decided that rather than accept the scientific findings and focus their energy on more productive things (support groups, funding research into genetic/other environmental causes etc) that they prefer to vilify the scientific community, surround themselves in a comfortable echo-chamber of reinforcing ideas and basically cut themselves off from evidence because they just “know”.

      You are welcome to your perspective but simply asserting things without evidence is not welcome.
      In that vein if you wish to peruse some of the evidence backing up my perspective (which I strongly doubt you will do) please refer to this page:
      scroll down to the section “Summary of Key Research about Vaccines & Autism” for specific studies.

      • Hmmm, my vaccination history is similar.
        When I was 3 months old I received a vaccine, 1 week later my doctor reported I had the worst case of tonsillitis he had ever seen in his career. When I was 29 I received a vaccine for hepatitis, 1 week later glandular fever that turned into chronic fatigue, that cost me my job, wife and life.
        The web is full of anecdoltal cases of illness after vaccination.

        It’s not that people turn against science, it’s that when their health turns against them suddenly they look for insights.
        Look at the numbers of people who put RA into remission with dietry changes .

        • I’m sorry you’ve been affected by poor health. Unfortunately while this feels compelling to you all I see is life happened toyou, and you also got vaccinated. A single experience is not supporting data. You may well argue that it’s not just you.
          But life happens to other people too.

  • surely that surname ^ is made up?

    In response to the assertions you’ve made – back them up. Data please or it didn’t happen.

  • Scott,

    Quick comments, as I have thing to do (don’t we all!) –

    “I personally know, and have friends who know, of children who became autistic after vaccines.”

    There are studies showing that in the hands of specialists, autism can be detected very early (i.e. before vaccines are given).

    Autism has a strong genetic component and it’s generally thought that autism arises very early it’s just that parents recognise the symptoms much later and some try associate them with other things going on in the kid’s life at that time even though these things aren’t the cause of their child’s autism.

    There are many studies testing for a link between vaccines and autism, and finding none.

    “One child died. One child stopped growing for two years and had bone issues.”

    Symptoms similar to autism are associated with other disorders or syndromes. I would (strongly!) suspect this is the case for these children. (I’m happy to stand corrected, but as best as I know autism isn’t usually associated with poor bone development and I’m not aware of a tendency for children with ‘just’ autism tend to die in infancy.)

    “The facts are that there is NO evidence that vaccines perform according to the claims of their manufacturers.”

    Vaccines have to pass testing in order to be approved; they have evidence prior to their public use.

  • #1 The whistleblowers, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, claimed they witnessed “firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.”

    They charged that Merck used improper testing techniques; manipulated testing methodology; abandoned undesirable test results; falsified test data; and failed to adequately investigate and report the diminished efficacy of its mumps vaccine.

    In 2014, CDC whistleblower William Thompson admitted to omitting statistically significant information in a 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested African American males receiving the MMR vaccine had a 340 percent increased risk for autism. In light of Thompson’s admission, there has been a growing list of health practitioners in France who are openly questioning the safety of vaccines and trustworthiness of scientific journals.

    #3 the US government has paid out over three BILLION dollars to families of children who have been injured by vaccines. This was recently disclosed to the US Senate.

    At some stage your healthy scepticism needs to look around a bit and recognise that big pharma , politics and PR have more than a minor effect on studies.

      • Of course nefarious things happen in big business, does that mean you should willingly make use of products which are created by questionable companies? I find it difficult to understand why anyone in their right mind would trust these companies given their track records. If a car manufacturer was found to have lied repeatedly about the safety aspects of a vehicle I am sure that most would avoid purchasing said vehicle, and hopefully any vehicle that the company made in the future. Unfortunately, most are not willing to exercise the same caution when it comes to vaccines, and under the weight of media and social pressure they allow them to be injected into their own children without first verifying that the source is trustworthy.

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